A/N: Well, this is my first ever fanfic, so I'm kind of scared to be posting this. There's also a bit of Chox in it so that makes me even more nervous. If anyone finds out I wrote this, they'll hate me, the Danbury's will hate me, my parents will kill me. But alright, goddamn it. Your right. Carpe Diem, even if it kills me. (Sorry for the Knox moment) :) Anyway, I hope it doesn't suck too badly…
Disclaimer: I do not, nor have I ever, own Dead Poets Society. I also do not own Knox or Charlie, which saddens me deeply. Lastly, I do not own Walt Whitman, the late great sweaty-toothed madman.
It was a dark and chilly night in early November. The rain of the day before clung to the last of the hanging leaves, the water droplets shimmering in the translucent glow of the flashlight. Seven hooded figures could be seen exiting an old Indian cave, the mutterings of "Then I saw the Congo creeping through the black" echoing through the otherwise quiet forest. As the figures drew closer to the dark, looming form of Welton Academy, the mutterings died down to a whisper and eventually to nothing at all. They continued on in silence, the only sounds the occasion snapping of a twig underfoot and an owl hooting off in the distance.
It wasn't until they were only five feet from the edge of the forest and the flashlights had been turned off that Charlie realized he was missing something. He swore under his breath.
"Guys," he whispered, "I forgot my smokes." They all stopped walking. Someone groaned irritatedly. Charlie was pretty sure it was Cameron.
"Can't you just leave them there until the next meeting?" Neil's voice sounded out through the darkness.
Charlie shook his head, forgetting for a moment that they couldn't see him in the dark. "No. That's a whole week away. What will I do without them when I sneak out of study hall? Besides, if anyone finds the cave and sees them, they'll know we've been there."
Neil sighed tiredly. "Fine but you can't go back alone. I don't trust you to sneak back into school without waking someone up." Charlie made an offended noise. "One of us will have to go with you." Neil stared expectantly at the rest of the group. They all looked away; none too thrilled at the prospect of taking the long, cold hike back to the cave when they could be on their way to bed.
Charlie looked pleadingly at his best friend. "Knox..." he began.
Knox glanced at him and sighed in defeat. "Fine, I guess I'll go with you."
"Alright," Neil glancing between the two, "here's the flashlight. Be careful. We'll see you in the morning." With that, the rest of the boys silently headed back to the school. Meanwhile, Charlie and Knox turned to face the dark woods, which suddenly seemed much more threatening with just the two of them there. It was Charlie who finally broke the silence.
"Well, come on; let's get a move on. We haven't got all night." He flipped on the flashlight and began to walk at a rather fast pace back the way they had come. Knox had no choice but to follow. They silently made their way through the woods, the shadows of the trees stretching long and ominous in the faint yellow glow of the flashlight. After about ten minutes they reached the cave.
"Alright, stay here while I go in. I'll just be a minute," Charlie said and Knox nodded in agreement. It was only after he disappeared into the cave that Knox realized Charlie had the flashlight and he was left alone in the dark in the woods, where he was vulnerable to any unseen creatures that could be lurking in the shadows. Not wanting to seem like a wuss, he decided he would just wait it out. This plan was short lived, however, as the moment he heard a slight rustling in the bushes, he ran into the cave.
Now, unfortunately for Knox (who never really seemed to have the best of luck) it had rained the day before and the night had been cold, preventing the ground from drying quickly. Had Knox not been Knox and had he remembered this and not been in such a hurry to escape from the 'monster' in the woods, he may have entered the cave more cautiously and Charlie and him may have simply found the cigarettes and returned to school and the rest of the story may not have ever occurred. However, as Knox was Knox, such was not the case, and he slipped on the rocks leading into the cave, tumbling down them and landing with a thud on the hard cave floor, thus startling Charlie, who in turn dropped the flashlight on his foot.
"Knoxious!" Charlie whined in exasperation as he hopped up and down trying to rub his wounded foot. "What the hell happened? I thought I told you to wait outside!"
Knox just groaned in reply as he rolled onto his stomach and tried to stand up, only to have his ankle give out under his weight. He grumbled as he hit the floor once again.
As the pain in his foot subsided, Charlie stopped hopping and picked up the flashlight, which luckily hadn't been broken. He shined it on Knox, whose face was in a grimace, and looked with growing concern at his ankle, which was bent at a slightly awkward angle.
"Crap," he mumbled, "you can't walk can you?" Knox shook his head. "How the hell are we gonna get back to school if you can't walk?" Charlie was looking a little a panicked now. He sat down on the cave floor next to Knox and lit a cigarette, a nervous habit he had picked up in middle school.
"Alright," Charlie said after several moments of quiet. "I can probably support you well enough to get back to school but it's not really the best idea to try to walk like that through the woods in the dark. We'll have to wait till dawn and then move quickly. And if anyone asks in the morning, you can say you fell out of bed and hurt your ankle or something."
Knox moved into a sitting position and scrunched up his nose, looking incredulously at Charlie. "Seriously? That's the best you can come up with? "I fell out of bed and hurt my ankle"?"
"Hey, I'm not the one who came running into a wet cave, now am I?" Charlie snapped. "You try thinking up something better then. We sure as hell have enough time." It was only around two in the morning and they would have to wait several hours for the sun to come up.
The cave filled with silence again. Charlie finished his cigarette and stamped it out on the ground. Water could be heard dripping down from the cave ceiling, landing in puddles on the ground. After a while, Knox broke the silence.
"Hey, Charlie?" he whispered.
"I'm sorry, you know, for falling. Now you won't get any sleep."
After a moment, Charlie sighed. "It's ok," he replied softly, "it's not like you meant to. Besides, tomorrows Saturday so we don't have classes anyway."
Knox nodded, then paused. He looked back at Charlie. "Hey, Charlie, can I ask you a question?"
Charlie chuckled. "Knoxious, you just did." He moved closer next to Knox and put his arm around his shoulder in a mock-friendly fashion. "What's on your mind?" His tone was amused; he knew what was coming. Knox looked a little timid now. "Let me take a wild guess," Charlie said with a smirk. "It's about Chris."
Knox nodded sheepishly. "Yeah," he said. He cleared his throat. "See, I really want to impress her so I was um wondering…how….uh…how do I know when it's ok to kiss her?" He said the last bit in a rush so that all the words jumbled together.
Charlie laughed. "Knoxious, my friend, you have come to the right Dead Poet. After all, it's only proper that you should ask a god of love for advice." He grinned and wiggled his eyebrows suggestively. "And how many times do I have to tell you- the name is Nuwanda!"
Knox rolled his eyes at his pretentious best friend. "Ok, 'Nuwanda', what's your advice?"
Charlie looked thoughtful for a moment, then smirked. "Well, first of all Knoxious, if you want to impress Chris, don't read her anymore of your poetry."
Knox glared at him. "You're the one who told me women swoon."
Charlie laughed. "They do. Well, for me anyway. But clearly you need to try something different." He stared at the cave wall for a moment, biting his lip, then looked back at Knox. "You really like this Chris, huh?" Knox nodded. "Why don't you just try being yourself?"
"No, Knox, I'm serious." Charlie did indeed look serious; his joking expression from moments before had disappeared and been replaced with a solemn, if not grave, look. "You're a hopeless romantic, a goofball at times. Show her that. There's no way she won't fall for you." He looked down at the ground, mumbling something indecipherable.
"Sorry, what did you say?" Knox asked.
Charlie jumped slightly and pulled his arm away from Knox. "N-nothing! I said nothing," he stammered out. His face was turning bright red, a rarity for Charlie.
Knox stared at him for a moment. Charlie's eyes were darting around the cave, looking anywhere but at him. He was about to ask him what was going on when Charlie finally looked up.
"What?" he snapped, glaring at him. Knox just shook his head, deciding to let it go. This was Charlie after all; surely it couldn't be anything too serious.
A few minutes passed by in silence. Finally, Knox sighed. "It feels weird being here without the other poets, doesn't it? I almost feel like we should be reading poetry or something." He glanced at Charlie, who now had a devilish smirk on his face.
"Oh god, Charlie what are you-" he was cut off as Charlie jumped up from the ground and practically pranced over to the center of the cave, grinning in that maniacal way that only Charlie can.
He pulled a small crinkled piece of paper out of his back pocket- not a centerfold this time, but rather what appeared to be a page ripped out of a notebook. Clearing his throat, Charlie began to read out loud dramatically, Knox suppressing giggles the entire time.
"To-day, I go consort with nature's darlings—to-night too;
I am for those who believe in loose delights…
I dance with the dancers, and drink with the drinkers;
The echoes ring with our indecent calls'…
I will play a part no longer—why should I exile myself from my companions?
O you shunn'd persons! I at least do not shun you,
I come forthwith in your midst—I will be your poet,
I will be more to you than to any of the rest."*
Unable to contain it any more, Knox erupted in a fit laughter as Charlie finished reciting with his usual exuberance. He put the paper back in his pocket, and then sat down next to Knox.
"So was that an 'original' piece by Charlie Dalton?" Knox asked with a knowing smirk.
Charlie put his hands behind his head and leaned against the cave wall, closing his eyes peacefully. "Walt Whitman," he said with a grin.
Knox chuckled softly, shaking his head in disbelief at the pure audaciousness of his friend. After a moment, he moved closer to Charlie.
"Hey, Nuwanda?" he whispered, nudging him softly with his elbow.
Knox licked his lips nervously. "You… uh, well, you never really answered my question."
"The one about, uh…how to know when…to kiss Chris."
Instantly, Charlie's eyes snapped open and he sat up, all serenity gone from his expression. He blinked a few times, as if getting his bearings, then sighed and smiled slightly.
"Well," Charlie spoke slowly, as if contemplating what to say, "it's really rather simple."
"How is it simple?" Knox asked, growing anxious. He desperately need some advice and he really hoped now wasn't going to be one of the many times that Charlie decided to pull his leg.
"You know you can kiss her," Charlie was taking his time answering- he was really enjoying watching Knox squirm, "when she gives you the 'look'." He smirked as Knox groaned.
"Seriously, Charlie? I really need help here!" Knox cried out, exasperated.
"What?!" Charlie exclaimed in mock-incredulity. "I just gave you quality advice! It works for me every time." Knox rolled his eyes. "No really. That's how you know when to kiss her," Charlie insisted.
"Fine," Knox replied, beginning to feel discouraged. "So she gives you a look. But what sort of look is it? How do I know when she's giving it to me?"
"Well, that's hard to say. It depends." Charlie thought about it for a few moments before getting an idea. "Okay, how about this- how about we role-play? This way you'll be able to see the look first hand."
Knox stared at him as if he'd lost his mind. "Charlie, we're both guys."
"So? I'm the one that has to pretend to be Chris, not you. Besides, it's not like you're actually gonna kiss me. You'll just get an idea of what the 'look' looks like," Charlie reasoned.
"But won't it be kind of-"
Charlie cut him off. "Come on Knoxious! Carpe diem, right?"
Knox sighed and nodded. "Okay, I guess you're right. Let's just get it over with."
"Good," Charlie said with a grin. "So as of right now I'm Chris."
"You sure as hell don't look like her," Knox mumbled under his breath. Smirking, Charlie reached inside his coat and pulled out a black beatnik beret, placing it on his head in a facetious attempt to look slightly more feminine.
"Better?" he asked.
Knox put his face in his hands and groaned, rubbing at his eyes. "No," he replied. "Now you just look like a pompous ass. This is never going to work."
Charlie scoffed. "Come on, this is perfect. Don't be such a pansy. How else are you going to learn?"
"Ugh, fine." Knox sat back up. "What am I supposed to do?"
"Ok well first, put your arm around my shoulders." Knox looked at him hesitantly. "Come on, come on. It won't kill you," Charlie urged. Sighing, Knox cautiously put his arm around Charlie.
"Alright, good. Now, if she moves away a bit-," Charlie leaned away from Knox to demonstrate, "it means she doesn't want to go any further. But if she moves closer to you-," Charlie shuffled closer to Knox until their sides were touching, leaning gently into him, "it means she likes you too." He could feel Knox's heart pounding, beating in time with his own, almost mesmerizing in a way. The weight of Knox's arm on his shoulders was warm, as if the heat was physically radiating off of his skin, yet it was comforting, pleasant almost. Looking up at Knox, Charlie saw that his face was turning pink. He briefly wondered if his looked the same.
"Okay," he said softly, licking his lips, "now if she wants you to kiss her, she'll stare into your eyes and…" Charlie trailed off as he looked up and gazed into Knox's eyes, immediately getting lost in the large brown orbs. It was as if everything else melted away; the night, the cave, everything; and all that existed was Knox and his heartbeat and his warm arm and his transfixing brown eyes- all seeming to drag him in, pulling him closer and closer to Knox. His breathing quickened, becoming uneven, and he heard Knox's doing the same.
"And you just know," Charlie managed to whisper, before the space between them disappeared and he suddenly felt lips on his own. The lips were soft, much to his surprise, and seemed to fit his perfectly, as if they were made for each other. The kiss started out slow, cautious, but as the moments drew on, Charlie began to move faster, Knox meeting his every move, using his free hand to grab the back of Charlie's neck, pulling him impossibly closer.
Whether it was him or Knox who had closed the distance, he didn't know, nor did he care- for once in his life Charlie's mind had gone completely blank. All he knew was that there was warmth shooting through his body, making every part of him tingle, and it all just felt so good, so damn good, and he never wanted it to end. He felt Knox's hand playing with his hair as his tongue slide across his lower lip, begging for entrance, which he gladly permitted. As their tongue's touched for the first time, Charlie couldn't help but let out a moan.
The small sound was just enough to break the spell and Knox immediately pulled away, a look of horror on his face. Charlie jumped up and his eyes went wide. The moments passed by in silence, both boys trying to even out their erratic breathing.
"Wh-what the hell just happened?" Knox finally managed to stammer. He looked like he wanted to flee, if only his twisted ankle would allow him to.
"I-I'm not sure," Charlie replied, equally as flustered.
"It was nothing… right, Charlie? It was nothing?" Knox was really starting to freak out.
Charlie stared at him. "Nothing? What do you mean nothing? Knox, we just kissed!"
"Well, yea I know that. Of course I know that, Charlie! I just mean it didn't mean anything. We just got caught up in the moment. It was just…just…" Knox trailed off, searching for a way to phrase it.
"Passionate experimentation?" Charlie supplied weakly, looking down at the ground.
"Yes!" Knox exclaimed. "That's all it was. Passionate experimentation! It means nothing.," Knox kept nodding his head, as if trying to persuade himself.
"Yea, that's all it was," Charlie agreed, sitting back down on the ground but farther away from Knox this time. They sat without talking for a while, until Charlie noticed that it was just beginning to get light outside. With Knox leaning on him for support, the two boys slowly made their way back to the school, trudging in silence the entire time. Upon reaching the dormitories, Knox stopped Charlie.
"You won't tell anyone about what happened, right?" he asked as quietly as he possibly could.
Charlie just shook his head and they went their separate ways, neither uttering another word.
* Native Moments- Walt Whitman. Charlie omitted a few lines (italicized). Here is the whole thing:
Native moments!-when you come upon me-ah you are here now!
Give me now libidinous joys only!
Give me the drench of my passions! Give me life coarse and rank!
To-day I go consort with Nature's darlings—to-night too,
I am for those who believe in loose delights—I share the midnight orgies of young men,
I dance with the dancers and drink with the drinkers,
The echoes ring with our indecent calls,
I take for my love some prostitute—I pick out some low person for my dearest friend,
He shall be lawless, rude, illiterate, he shall be one condemn'd by others for deeds done;
I will play a part no longer—why should I exile myself from my companions?
O you shunn'd persons! I at least do not shun you,
I come forthwith in your midst—I will be your poet,
I will be more to you than to any of the rest.
A/N: Alright, well I hope you enjoyed it :) Please let me know what you think! Reviews are like candy.
I'm thinking of continuing this at some point. Or I might just leave it as a one-shot- I haven't decided yet.