Title: "Dare"
Fandom: Dead Poets Society
Pairing: Todd [Ethan Hawke]/Charlie [Gale Hansen]
Author: MonaR. (aka Mona Ramsey, aka Mona)
Series: No.
Webpage: The skeleton of one is at
Rating: PG-13.
Warnings: Slash (m/m) content, teenaged (16-17) characters.
Archive: Yes, at The Marrow of Life.
Notes: I don't use betas. :( Any mistakes are solely my fault and the fault of my *#^&@ spellcheck. ** is used for emphasis, // for thought. Any weird characters should be hunted down and killed.
Feedback: Yes if you're moved to write me by the story, no if you think that *unless* you write me, I won't write any more stories. Anyone with even a glancing knowledge of my posting history (this *is* my 400-and-something-th story) knows that isn't true. Feedback is gratefully accepted and responded to whenever possible. Flames are buried in the backyard, along with a few skeletons.
Spoilers: Yeah, for the movie.
Summary: Seven boys, two beers, one meeting of the Dead Poets Society, and a game of "Truth or Dare".

{I'm trying to stop mulling over my ideas until I wear them down into nothing - believe it or not, I only write about half of what I think up. I'm just a terrible procrastinator.}

by MonaR.

The boys anted up their night's offerings on Meeks' spread-out jacket - two oatmeal cookies, some fruit pilfered from the kitchen, biscuits leftover from dinner. Charlie Dalton tucked a spare behind his ear and then dropped down half a pack of cigarettes, which the boys all dove greedily for.

"Hey - those are my last. Don't crush 'em."

Todd Anderson shook his head when Neil Perry offered him a cigarette, and reached for one of the apples, his hand brushing against Charlie's as he brought it up. Charlie stole the apple out of his hands, and winked at him as he bit into it.

"You cheap bastards," Charlie said, looking at the meager pile of supplies. "You're lucky I even come to these meetings."

"Shut up, Dalton," Neil said, with a grin.

"Bite me, Perry," Charlie retorted, equally as facetious. "Gentlemen - and I use the term loosely - tonight, in honour of the seventh meeting of the Dead Poets Society, I have brought us nectar of the gods," Charlie said, and pulled two bottles of beer out of his coat pockets, waggling them invitingly.

"Get out!" Stephen Meeks said. "You brought beer?"

"We are *so* going to get expelled over this," Richard Cameron said, folding his arms across his chest.

"Stop being such an old woman, Cameron, and seize the day! Why do you even come to the meetings if you're just going to bitch about what goes on all night? Why don't you go back to the school and go to bed and pretend all of this is just a bad dream? Oh, shit." Charlie was fishing around in his pockets, and finally came up with a bottle opener. "Thought I left this behind."

"You loser." Neil swiped the opened bottle away from him. "Oh, yuck - this is *warm*."

"What do you want me to do? Lug a bag of ice out here for you, your Majesty? Give it here if you don't like it."

"I didn't say I didn't like it, I just said it was warm." Neil handed the bottle over to Todd, who took a hurried swig, grimaced at the taste, and passed it on to Knox Overstreet, who was on the other side of him. "So, who's reading first?"

"I think we should do something different tonight." Charlie shrugged out of his coat, cigarette dangling from the corner of his mouth, bundled the coat up, and sat down on it.

"I know I'm going to regret asking this," Neil said, "but what did you have in mind?"

"Oh, I don't know." He took a final drag on his cigarette, then flicked it into the fire and said, casually, "What about a good old-fashioned game of Truth or Dare?"

The collective of boys groaned.


"What is this, Charlie?" Knox asked, passing the open bottle over to him. "Summer camp?"

"It might as well be. What's the matter? Afraid we'll find out all about your secret obsession over Chris?" Charlie downed a third of the bottle of beer. "Oh, that's right, we *already* know all about that, don't we?" He handed the bottle on, and took a healthy bite out of the apple in his hand.

"At least *my* dream-girl doesn't come folded in half with a staple on her stomach," Knox retorted.

The boys gave a collective "whoo", and laughed, including Charlie, who acknowledge the hit with a nod of the head at Knox. "Yeah, well at least I've actually, you know, *touched* a girl," he said, laughing and giving Knox a shove.

"So you keep telling us," Meeks said. "But you know what they say about people who keep *talking* about something - "

"If that were true," Cameron laughed. "Anderson over there would be the biggest Casanova in the school. He never says *anything*."

Todd, who was busy jotting down minutes in his notebook, started at the sound of his name, then flushed a little. He relaxed when he felt the gentle brush of Neil's hand on his shoulder, grounding him.

"Cut it out," Neil said. "Truth or dare, huh?" he asked Charlie, who nodded at him. "Oh, hell, you brought the beer. I'm in."

"Me, too," everyone eventually said, except for Todd, who stayed silent, as per usual.

"Great." Charlie rubbed his hands together. "I think that Mr. Perry should lead us off."

"You should go first," Neil argued. "You're the one who suggested it."

"Yeah, but you *volunteered* first."

"Fine, get it over with. Truth."

Charlie mulled over his question for a while. "What's the biggest lie you ever told your parents?"

"That's easy," Neil said. "That I got a B in Chem last year. It took them exactly three hours to find out I really got a B minus, and then - "

"Summer school," the boys chorused.

"Summer school," Neil agreed. "Who's next?"

No-one volunteered.

"Oh, no way," Neil protested. "I am *not* the only one who is playing this."

Gerard Pitts, the last in the circle and the one on Neil's immediate right, was currently holding the bottle. "To be democratic, we should just go clockwise."

All eyes rested on Todd, who was sitting to Neil's left.

Neil looked prepared to argue the point on his roommate's behalf, but Todd surprised him - and everyone - by agreeing to the suggestion. "Fine," he said, quietly, and then looked up. "Truth."

Meeks, who was on Charlie's left, asked the question. "Who was the last person you kissed?"

Todd, mouth open in shock and staring at Meeks, could only focus on the smell of apple and wood-smoke and cigarettes that filled the cave. Charlie was still eating noisily - the sound amplified as the silence dragged on, seconds into minutes. When he finished the apple, he tossed the core into the fire, where it sizzled and sparked, and lit another cigarette.

"Great question, Meeks," Charlie said, sarcastically. "Who here wants to have a wet-dream about Anderson's *mom*?"

The silence broken, everyone laughed.

"Oh, yeah," Meeks said, cheeks flushed, "like you'd come up with a better question."

"No, but I'd've waited until I was in a better crowd than *this* to ask it." He looked around the cave. "Unless any of you bozos are holding out on us?" When nobody 'fessed up, he nodded to Meeks. "Told you. We're all as pure as the driven snow - and we'll all probably go blind before the end of term."

"That's just an old wives' tale," Cameron spoke up, too quickly, and the cave echoed with laughter again.

"Geez, Cameron," Charlie said, "it's bad enough I've got to *listen* to you every night - " He mimed an obscene gesture in front of his own crotch. "But do you have to *talk* about it, too?"

"That is a *lie*, and you know it, Dalton. I never - "

"Oh, Cameron, calm down - everyone does it. Apparently some of us more than others," Neil said, laughing so hard he almost snorted beer out of his nose. Pitts had to slap him on the back so he could breathe again.

"Don't spill it," Charlie warned him.

"Don't worry about it," Neil said, still coughing. He up-ended the bottle. "It's empty. Open up the other one. It's Knox's turn." He grinned evilly at his friend. "Truth or dare, Knoxious?"


Hours later, they all staggered out into the cold air, drunk on a little beer and far too much laughter, trying to make their way back to the school as quietly as possible - which wasn't very quietly at all. They were more than halfway back, Neil and Todd bringing up the rear of the group, when Todd suddenly stopped in his tracks, and patted himself down, panicked.

"Oh, no. No."

"What is it?" Neil asked.

"The minutes," Todd groaned. "I left the book in the cave."

They looked at each other, despairing. "Leave it," Neil finally said. "It's too cold and too far to go back tonight."

"Someone might find it," Todd said. "I *have* to go back."

"Nobody will go in there before tomorrow night. We'll go back together then and get it."

Todd shook his head. "I wouldn't be able to sleep, or think about anything else. If somebody found it and we all got in trouble because of me - " He trailed off. "I'll go back on my own. You go on with the rest of them."

"I'll come with - "

"No, go on to the school. There's no point in both of us going back." When Neil looked as though he was going to argue the point, Todd added, "I'll run faster without you."

Reluctantly, Neil handed over his flashlight. "Take this. And hurry. I'll wait up until you get back, and keep an eye out for Haber for you."

"Thanks." Todd smiled at him, then turned around and started to run back to the cave, as fast as he could. Although he hadn't had more than three little sips of the beer, he could still taste it in his mouth, and the sharp, cold air in his throat made him a little dizzy. His pulse pounded a dull roar in his ears. He had to stop at the edge of the trees to catch his breath, and then picked his way along the path to the cave, thankful that they'd been there several times and he could remember the way, alone.

The book was just where he'd left it, thankfully, beside the remnants of the fire. He picked it up and pocketed it, and turned around. A crackle of branches behind him made him call out. "Wh-who's there?"

"Just me." Charlie stepped out into the glare of the flashlight, hands up. "I called after you back there, but you didn't stop."

"I didn't hear you."

"I figured. Why'd you come back?"

"I forgot the minutes." Todd held up the book, as if he was afraid Charlie wouldn't believe him without seeing it.

"Oh." Charlie stepped a little closer to him. "I was hoping that maybe it was because - " He trailed off.


Charlie was standing right in front of him. Flashlight and book both hit the ground when Charlie grabbed Todd and kissed him, on the mouth. The flashlight went out when it landed, plunging the cave into darkness.

Charlie tasted like cigarettes and beer and apples and cold night air. His tongue was warm and wet and the feel of it in his mouth made Todd shiver everywhere.

"For a minute there, I thought you were going to tell them," Charlie said, when he finally removed his mouth from Todd's, and buried it in his hair, instead. "I just about had a heart attack when Meeks asked you who you'd kissed last."

"Me, too. I didn't even dare look at you. I would have given it away for sure, if I had." Todd kissed him again - softer, more fleeting, but no less hungry. "Great idea to play Truth or Dare, by the way."

"Well, I *never* thought you'd agree to it. And I certainly never thought - " He was cut off by another kiss.

"I hate lying about this," Todd sighed.

"We can't tell them," Charlie said, a touch of fear in his voice. "We can't tell anyone about this, you know that. They wouldn't understand."

"I know. I just hate it." Todd nuzzled Charlie's neck, and grinned at the shudder he felt in the other boy's body, as a result.

"Stay," Charlie said, impulsively. "It's not that late, yet. I'll build up the fire again, and we can go back in the morning, before sunrise. We have just as much chance of being caught then as now."

Todd was torn by the proposition of spending the night here, with Charlie. "I can't," he said, finally. "Neil's waiting up for me. If I take too long, he'll give me the third degree."

"Tell him you got lost in the woods and couldn't find your way out until it got light."

Todd smiled. "I want to," he said, "but I can't. I'm lying too much already. Any more, and I *will* pop the next time someone asks me anything, and tell them everything about us."

"Believe me, I am *not* suggesting Truth or Dare again."

"I hope not." Todd knelt and reached around on the cave-floor until he found Neil's flashlight, which he switched on. He picked up the book he'd come back for and brushed the damp leaves off of it. Charlie was watching him. "Why don't we come back here Friday night? There's no meeting then."

"What about Neil?"

"When he's asleep, he's *asleep*. Nothing less than an atomic blast wakes him up," Todd said, and took Charlie's hand to pull himself up. "What about Cameron?"

"Who cares about Cameron?"


"I'll tie him to the bed," Charlie said. "He'll wake up and think one of his sex-dreams came true."

Todd laughed. "You're crazy."

"Hey, they're *his* dreams - " Todd cut him off with another kiss. "You serious about coming back here Friday night?"

"If you want."

"Oh, I *want*, believe me." Charlie caressed the side of Todd's face. "Okay," he said. "We'll do it. Friday. I'll bring a blanket - so we won't freeze," he added, quickly.

"Okay." They kissed, one last time, and Todd made a move towards the mouth of the cave. "I've got to get back. You staying out here?"

"For a little while."

Todd grinned a little shyly and said, "Do me a favour?"


"Don't go blind before Friday?"

Charlie threw his head back and laughed out loud. "That's just an old wives' tale - but I'm not making any promises."

Todd started to run through the woods to the school, the echo of Charlie's laughter roaring along with the pulse in his ears, and the taste of him in his mouth.

The End

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