Fandom: Dead Poets Society
Disclaimer: Please don't sue. I don't own *insert fandom name from above*... All I own is an overactive imagination.
Summary: Neil/Todd. Pre-slashiness. In the dead of night, Todd is thinking of his life at Welton when Neil asks him if he can read his poetry.
Warning(s): slash (that's homosexual content for those of you who don't know)
Word Count: 1,296
A/N: Day 03 of "22 new fandoms in 22 days."
Story note: Mostly Todd's POV. This fic made me a little sad.
By: Lucifer Rosemaunt
On nights when he wasn't completely exhausted from studies, from activities, or from late meetings with the Dead Poets Society, Todd would lie in bed and think about how much he'd dreaded coming to Welton. He thought about how he'd expected his life to be completely miserable, how he would have to suffer in silence as everyone stared at him and eventually came to realize a fact that his parents already knew, that he was nothing like his brother, that he wasn't as smart, as athletic, as absolutely perfect as his brother had been when he'd gone to Welton. They would come to the same conclusion that his parents had come to; he would never be good enough. He'd thought that their disappointment would taint his whole school experience even in their absence.
Todd would think of those particular thoughts only because he still couldn't believe that he'd been proven wrong. He didn't hate Welton, and though his parents were still there in the back of his mind and yes, they were still disappointed, it didn't bother him as much. There were so many things that made him want to be here.
There was Mr. Keating, who was an amazing teacher, who'd opened his eyes by forcing him to shut them. He could still feel the panic that had filled him as he stood before the class, so afraid to stand vulnerable in front of them all, waiting to be judged. He'd been judged, but somehow he'd survived and had been accepted.
There were the friends he'd made. People who knew about his brother, but never threw his accomplishments in his face. They were the Dead Poets Society, and the fact that he was part of something so special, so secret always made his mind reel. He was one of them.
Then, there were nights like tonight when all the excitement of classes and of being with his friends had died down. Of course he liked spending time with them, but more than anything, he loved nights at Welton. There was something about retreating to his room and having the one person he'd been the most glad to have met all to himself. Todd couldn't imagine life at Welton without having Neil as a constant presence, hated to think of what life might have been like had Neil not been his roommate.
Neil was special. That much was obvious, and it wasn't just because he was intelligent and confident. It wasn't because when he spoke people listened or that he was filled with so much passion that sometimes Todd felt like he could just allow himself to be swept away in it. He was so alive. He embodied their beloved phrase, carpe diem, seen in the light in his eyes, his easy smile, and above all his earnest candor, one that cut through all the pretenses that Todd tried to maintain.
Todd could still remember as though it had only happened a few moments ago, the way Neil had smiled at him when he'd confronted him about truly being a part of the Dead Poets Society. The memory alone made his heart beat faster and breath catch in his throat. The subsequent chase afterwards had also been nice, and he could admit only to himself that perhaps he had touched Neil more than necessary in order to retrieve his notebook.
"Todd?" Neil's voice cut through the darkness, and fear spiked in Todd's mind for a second.
He worried that maybe Neil knew what he'd been thinking, that maybe he'd been thinking too hard about that moment, wishing it had lasted a little longer. He knew that was stupid though. It wasn't uncommon for Neil to start up a conversation before they fell asleep. And though their beds were close, it was when Neil would speak to him in that now familiar hushed tone that Todd felt even closer because then, Neil really was all his. It didn't even matter what they talked about, just that they were talking about anything at all. Todd knew with absolutely certain in those moments that he wasn't just another boy at this school or even just another member of the Dead Poets Society. He was Todd, Neil's roommate, and of all the titles he could possibly have, he found that this was his personal favorite, one he wanted to keep for as long as possible.
He mumbled, pretending to have been close to sleep even though they both knew he hadn't been. Neil never called him out on it – one of the other things Todd loved about him.
"Will you let me read your poetry?" Neil asked, his voice a little difficult to hear.
Todd turned his head just a bit so that he could look across the room. Enough light shone through the window that he didn't have a problem to see that Neil was on his side, his back turned to him.
"What poetry?" Todd decided the best way to go was denial. Neil couldn't read his poetry, they were too… revealing.
Neil let out a small laugh before saying, "Don't think I don't see you writing away furiously every day."
"It-it's nothing," he replied. The thought that Neil was watching him was enough to make him worry. He'd never noticed, and what if he'd never noticed that Neil had been reading over his shoulder or something.
There was a pause when Todd thought that maybe Neil had fallen asleep already, so he started a bit when Neil said, "I'd still like to read it."
"I don't…" Todd tried to think of a good reason why he shouldn't because he knew that Neil wouldn't stop asking until he could come up with one. There was also a chance that even if he did have a good excuse, Neil simply wouldn't care.
The sound of sheets rustling and bed coils creaking made him pause. Neil turned around to face him. Even in this darkness, he could see Neil staring at him intently. "You know I'd never laugh."
Todd nodded. He knew Neil wouldn't; that hadn't been his fear. "Why do you even want to see?"
Neil sighed and considered his answer. "I want to know what you think about, know what inspires you."
Blood rushed to Todd's face when his mind supplied the answer that would be all too obvious if he allowed his roommate to read his poetry, "You do."
How could he tell Neil that he was inspired by him? How could he tell him that he thought he was beautiful, that he reminded him of the winter they were in right now, pale and sometimes difficult and more than a little forceful? Neil wasn't as cold, but Todd knew that the shock he felt as his bare skin touched the frigid snow reminded him of the way it felt whenever Neil touched him. His body would tremble and all his attention would be drawn to that point of contact; his world narrowed to just that touch.
He couldn't say the words aloud even though his resolve was already crumbling. Neil had been serious, and that made things worse because Todd knew that he could never really refuse Neil anything he asked. He just feared what would happen when he let him see it.
Trying to summon the courage, he managed to croak out, "Okay, after your performance tomorrow night."
Neil pulled the blankets tighter around himself and Todd could hear the smile in his voice when he replied, "Good. That'd make my day perfect."
While Neil had fallen asleep shortly after, Todd had only been able to stare at the ceiling for long hours. He was nervous, but knowing Neil and after everything they'd been through together, he believed that somehow everything would turn out alright.
A/N: Don't forget to R/R (Read and Review)!