Well, even though I didn't get MANY reviews on my first post, I'm not worried, because the few I got were VERY nice! My confidence is up so here's another! It's short, though—about half the length of my sunrise one. But I think Neil is more in character here.

Err…I stole the title from a line out of 'The Tempest.' We read it in school last year.

O' the Dreadful Thunder Claps

Todd lay curled in bed as the thrashing gale outside reached a tumultuous climax. He could feel his own heartbeat in his stomach, along with the ominous pulse of the monstrosity outside.

Todd had never liked thunder storms. He'd always tried to dull the fear by taking away the mystery of the thing, reminding himself that all that there was to a thunder storm was warm and cool clouds running into one another. This never helped. If anything it made the storms all the more distressing. Visualizing the massive, black storm clouds, ramming themselves into one another among the wind and the rain, miles above the ground with the ominous crash of rock on hollow metal was not exactly comforting.

He tried to ignore the storm, but it was too loud. He wondered vaguely to himself how Neil could possibly be sleeping through it.

Out of nowhere a loud crackling, like tearing cloth cut the air and then one loud percussive explosion shook the window in its pane. Todd jumped in surprise and sat up.

There was a rustling of sheets on Neil's side of the room and a squeak of floor boards, and a moment later Todd could see Neil, silhouetted in the window by a flash of lightning. He was staring out the window, a look of wonder in his eyes. He was enjoying the tempest.

He must have heard Todd sit up, or otherwise sensed him looking at him, because Neil looked around, grinning.

"Isn't it amazing?" he said, his voice quiet with awe. When Todd didn't answer, Neil turned fully to face his roommate. "What's up?"

"Nothing," Todd muttered sullenly. Neil shrugged, returning his attention to the storm.

Another clap of thunder sent Todd unintentionally lurching into the wall. Neil looked at him curiously and caught the look of wide-eyed alarm on Todd's face before he had a chance to hide it.

"Gosh, you really don't like thunderstorms, do you?" he said as he came to sit next to Todd on the bed. Todd could feel the familiar warmth of Neil's arm against his. He shrugged, looking away. This was embarrassing. He shouldn't have jumped like that.

There was a creaking of bed springs and he felt Neil lie down and stretch out on the bed behind him. Todd looked over his shoulder at the other boy. Neil's face lacked significant expression, as if it was a perfectly ordinary thing for him to crawl into his roommate's bed at all hours.

Todd looked away, leaning his elbows on his knees as he thought to himself. It didn't look as if Neil was going to move, and Todd wasn't quite sure how to handle the situation. A simple "Get off my bed," was all that he could think of saying at the moment, but Todd knew that if he said that, all Neil would have to do was look at him with those belligerent eyes and utter that matter-of-fact "No," that he was so good at and he would be stuck.

Hating himself for being so submissive, Todd lay back down next to Neil, who was looking up at the ceiling, apparently still listening to the distant metal-on-metal cacophony of the thunder. He was relieved when Neil moved over, making room for him. For a moment he'd thought he'd been kicked out of his own bed—although if that had been the case he could have easily retorted by commandeering Neil's bed.

Todd lay with his head against Neil's, their shoulders overlapping, inside arms pressed together. The beds at Welton had obviously been intended for one occupant only.

"I'm not sure what problem you could have with thunder storms, Todd," Neil said decisively. "There's so much power in them. And to think that they're naturally like that. I mean, they aren't man-made. That something honestly exists like that is so…amazing! I just want to run around outside in the middle of them!"

At first Todd thought Neil was poking fun at his fear, but then he noticed the insistent tone in Neil's voice. Todd got the feeling that this was Neil's way of telling him not to be afraid. He realized that, in his own eccentric way, Neil was comforting him.

Todd smiled to himself. He had one strange friend. He could appreciate what Neil had said about thunder storms—the beauty in their natural power. It made sense. With Neil's warmth beside him, he slowly relaxed. Soon they where both asleep, and the slow decrescendo of the arrhythmic timpani outside tapered off into an almost unheard rumble.

And I wrote this during a real-live thunder storm, too! This one is more friendship than romance…And I'm afraid I have terminal Abrupt-Endingosis …Guh. And what a corny one too! I HATE how I ended this one. Cornycornycorny. I like the IDEA, but I could have pulled it off more gracefully…

I think I FINIALLY got Neil in character! WIN! (And I don't REALLY think Todd is afraid of thunder storms…It's just this story wouldn't work if he wasn't.) This is actually me saying how similar Neil and his father are. They both actually care VERY much about those close to them…they just express it weirdly.