Title: The Pupil
Author: Simply Kelp
Summary: Riley had spent his life being tolerated. To have someone act- and he was pretty sure it was an act, no matter how convincing it seemed- at all interested in what he had to say. Well, it was strange. but not entirely unpleasant. References to paedophilia.
Warning: slash, and paedophilic themes, but nothing graphic.
Disclaimer: I don't own National Treasure, and just has to rub it in…
Note: Riley seems so socially awkward, I was curious about his childhood. I started something else, but this came out. I kind of think that he would have had a similar childhood to mine, where he relied more on books than people. O, and the thing about the movie, that actually happened to me when I was younger, I thought it would be interesting to put in because he seems pretty naïve. Sorry if the writing style is a bit rambling, and tangent-y, he seems vaguely scatter-brained, and it kind of fit.
Really it all started when Riley was thirteen. He was in the eighth grade (his parents had had him bumped up a grade), but taking math at the high school. It all would have gone fine if the crabby, old Ms. Black had not decided to retire the previous year. But she had, and her replacement was none other than Mr. Davis. He was- well there was no other way to put it- cool. From his too green eyes, to his killer smile, and his barely wrinkled shirts (the kind almost no one could pull off without looking stupid), he reeked of cool, and style, and sex- and even though Riley was only thirteen, he had read a lot, so he knew what that meant.
And probably if Riley weren't only thirteen years old, he would have been able to blend in. But he stuck out like a sore thumb. He didn't mind his classmates calling him weird- he was an eighth grader in Pre-Calc for goodness' sake. He was used to that. What he couldn't handle, though was Mr. Davis being so genuinely nice, and concerned about him.
Riley had spent his life being tolerated. To have someone act- and he was pretty sure it was an act, no matter how convincing it seemed- at all interested in what he had to say. Well, it was strange. But not entirely unpleasant. Most days he would stay after school to 'get help on his assignments,' which really meant that he, and Mr. Davis would talk about stuff. Anything really. From the latest lecture, to how annoying his brother was yesterday, to the latest books he read. Riley never realised he was able to talk so much. And Mr. Davis would sit, and absorb it all. Paying close attention. He would sometimes ask him a week later how he was coping with such-and-such, and Riley would be amazed that he remembered, and bothered asking.
His brother had always been going on about girls. And dating. And girls. It wasn't until he called Riley weird for not being at all interested in girls that he noticed something was different. His brother had, quite graphically, told him about what he did to girls when they were alone. Riley couldn't help feeling a little sick. Girls- they were just… gross. He was much more interested in reading… or talking to Mr. Davis. But he knew that was something he had to keep secret. Normal thirteen-year-old boys weren't infatuated with their math teacher. Especially their male math teacher.
He hadn't known there was a name for it- it being the feelings he felt for Mr. Davis, and not girls- until he happened upon a movie his mom was watching with a friend. One of the characters (a barely seen on the movie, you would almost not notice he was there) said something about liking other men. He said he was 'gay,' which didn't really make sense in the context (sure the guy looked happy, but there seemed to be some deeper, cryptic meaning behind the phrase). Riley thought he would look it up later. But what surprised him was that after the character (he couldn't for the life of him remember if the character even had a name) said that, his mom, and her friend started saying bad things about the character. That he was wrong, and disgusting, and unnatural. And Riley gathered that meant he was wrong, and disgusting, and unnatural.
At first he had enjoyed the attention, but as time wore on, Riley realised that there was something wrong. He spent so much time reading (one would scarce think him so socially awkward with how much he studies interpersonal relationships in his books) that he could not separate his life from fiction. Mr. Davis had been like a modern-day Pemberton, and they were entwined in a complex situation with his amoral family. Of course the only thing amoral about his family was their vague neglect, and indifference to Riley, but he had ignored that inconvenient fact at the time.
But one day, when he was sitting at Mr. Davis' desk, talking about how his mom didn't think he was responsible enough to have a pet hamster, something happened that confirmed his suspicions. His suspicions being that a man who was so cool could not possibly be interested in the mediocre happenings of a nerdy thirteen-year-old boy without some ulterior, and decidedly sinister, motives. It was so smooth, that Riley hardly noticed at first. Mr. Davis was reaching for a pen, when his hand just happened to rest on Riley's. It lingered there, his thumb rubbing circles into the soft flesh. Had he been saying, perhaps, that his parents just died in a car accident, that might have warranted some comforting gesture. But he wasn't all that bothered about the whole hamster thing.
His eyes were also staring so intently at Riley; he had only ever seen that look when his older brother was looking at girls. It made him feel exposed, and insignificant. Everything just seemed so… not right. Like there was something behind it.
Granted nothing actually happened, but it still changed Riley. He never stayed after in Pre-Calc, and didn't answer questions- even if called on. Many days he would whine, and carry on, and convince his mom to let him stay home from class. He could teach himself out of the book, so there really was no point in going, right? He just felt so guilty. Like he was (actually there was no 'like' about it, he was) hiding this big secret from the rest of his family. And he knew they would be so ashamed of him if they knew.
kudos to anyone who recognised the reference to Henry James' the Pupil. O, and that's where the title came from too.
Thanks for reading, I hope it was satisfactory. I would love to hear from you! Kelp