Neil wanted to sleep. He really did. But he just couldn't bring himself to close his eyes, fearful that Todd would vanish as all wonderful dreams do. Instead, he watched Todd sleep, greedily observing everything about the other boy. Neil loved knowing that he alone could touch Todd's silken skin; smell the sweet delights of his silken hair; kiss that perfect mouth . . . that's truly what Todd was. Perfection.
Gently, so as not to wake the sleeping boy, Neil rubbed Todd's forehead. "Don't disappear," Neil pleaded. "Leave whatever heaven you came from behind, my angel, and be mine forever." He brushed his lips lightly over Todd's.
As if on cue, Todd yawned, and snuggled down deeper onto Neil's chest. Neil started to say something, then went silent when he realized Todd was still asleep.
Although Neil was awake all night, the time passed far too quickly. In next to no time at all, the unfeeling six-o-clock bell rang, signaling the beginnings of a new day at Hell-ton. Neil glanced down at the sleeping boy in his arms and smiled. One thing was for sure - this day would be far different than any that preceeded it.
The second he woke up, Todd felt extremely disoriented. He lay in bed with his eyes closed, wondering why it was suddenly so warm and why his pillow was so uncomfortable. Then he heard a sound . .. . Neil's heart beat. Todd's eyes fluttered open.
Neil gazed at him tenderly. "Good morning baby."
"Neil? You stayed with me?"
His lover kissed his forehead. "Of course I did. Todd, you are absolutely beautiful when you sleep."
Todd looked at his lover critically. Neil's eyes were full of love, but they were also bloodshot as if he did not sleep. "Are you okay Neil?"
Neil kissed Todd until both boys were left shaking and gasping for breath. "Why do you ask?"
"You look tired. Did I keep you awake?"
"No baby. I just wanted to hold you last night." Todd scowled. "Don't look so concerned. You were better than any dream could possibly be."
Todd blushed. "You're good for my ego."
"At least I'm good for something." The boys kissed again.
"Neil, we'd better get ready for class."
Neil frowned. "I'd rather stay in bed."
Todd freed himself from Neil's embrace, and got them each a uniform from the closet. Neil sulked. "Do you want me to dress you?" Todd asked, smiling seductively.
"Don't tempt me baby. I might have to rip those pajama pants off of you and smack that beautiful ass."
"No, that's okay. It's sore enough already."
"I didn't hurt you, did I?" Neil looked genuinely scared.
Todd caressed Neil's cheek. "A little. But it was worth it. I'm officially yours."
Neil placed his hand on top of Todd's. "I love you so much Todd. Have I told you that recently?"
"Not since last night."
Neil, with a sense of regret, buttoned Todd's dress shirt. "Well I do love you baby."
Todd handed Neil his sports coat. "And I you."
Fully dressed, the boys gathered their mounds of books and homework. Neil handed Todd his poem. "You almost forgot this."
"Leave it," Todd said quietly.
"Why? It's a wonderful poem."
"I can't share this. It's horrible."
Neil sighed, knowing Todd wasn't going to change his mind. "Are you going to get the chance to write a new one?"
"No. Screw it."
"Todd . . ."
"Just forget it Neil. It isn't your problem." Todd kissed his lover in a successful attempt to shut him up. "Ready to go?"
"Um, yeah. I'm right behind you." As soon as Todd left the room, Neil stuck the poem in his coat pocket. Todd was going to learn how talented he was.
"Hey Neil!" Charlie yelled. "What took you so long?"
Neil shrugged. "Couldn't find my trig homework."
Knox laughed, sending a stream of milk from his nose onto Pitts' lap. Pitts jumped up; his face a mask of disgust.
"Nice going, Overstreet!" he snapped. Meeks silently handed him a napkin, and they shared a secret smile.
Neil took a spoonful of the grayish mixture that the chefs at Hell-ton tried to pass off as oatmeal. "What was so funny Knox?"
"You, Neil Perry, couldn't find your trig homework? What's with you today?"
Neil shot a glance at Todd, who wouldn't look back. "Late night last night."
"Whatever," Charlie said, thoroughly bored with the conversation. "Are we meeting today?"
"It'll have to be late. I have play practice tonight."
Todd tried to keep his jealousy to a minimum as Charlie rubbed Neil's hair. "Our Neil. Master thespian."
Knox suddenly sat up straight. "What did you call him?"
"A thespian, dipshit. Quite different than a lesbian. Speaking of which, are there any hot girls in this play?"
"Actually, there is someone. A beautiful blonde."
"Meow!" Charlie shouted. "Break me off a piece of that ass!"
Neil and Todd laughed.
"Come on Mr. Anderson. Let's put you out of your misery."
//Shit!// Neil thought. //What's Todd going to do?//
"Um, I didn't do it," Todd stammered, looking flustered and oh so fuckable.
Neil knew Keating wasn't going to let Todd get away with it. "Mr. Anderson thinks everything inside of him is worthless. "Isn't that right?"
Todd looked desperately over at Neil, begging his lover to stop the torment that would soon follow. Neil stood up. "Mr. Keating sir, I have a poem I'd be willing to . . ."
Mr. Keating dismissed Neil with a wave of his hand. "Yes Neil, and I'm, sure it's a very good one." He wrote a quote from Whitman on the board. "Now Todd, I want you to give me a barbaric yawp."
"Yawp," Todd said softly, feeling naked and vulnerable.
"Oh come on Mr. Anderson! You can do better than that."
"Yawp." Neil could tell Todd was only seconds from crying.
//God if you exist please keep My Todd from breaking down.//
"Mr. Anderson . . ."
"YAWP!!!" Todd screamed.
Keating looked pleasantly shocked. "You're a barbarian!" Boys snickered, and Todd looked down at the floor.
Todd tried to slink off, praying the ordeal was over. Keating clamped a hand down on his shoulder, and pulled him to a picture of Walt Whitman.
"What do you see?"
"A madman," Todd said, hoping it would shut Keating up.
"What kind of a madman?"
"A sweaty-toothed madman." Where the hell did that come from?
Keating smiled. "My God! There's a poet in you after all!"
Neil pulled out Todd's neglected poem. "I told you."
Cameron turned around. "You say something?"
"No." He was caught up in the poem Todd was weaving about being choked by a sweaty-toothed madman, and a blanket that covered your face but never your feet. Todd was the most talented poet Neil had ever met.
Cameron laughed rudely. "What the hell is all this crap? Todd's nuts!"
"Fuck you!" Neil hissed "Todd's a much better poet than you could ever be!"
Cameron mumbled something about "sensitive assholes", and once again gave Todd his full attention.
Exhausted and totally out of breath, Todd turned to stare at the sea of classmates that still sa in awe. Charlie began to clap and the rest of the room joined in, except for Neil, who looked at Todd with total wonder.
"Don't you forget this," Keating whispered.
Todd thought of Neil's dazed expression and smiled. "Don't worry sir. I won't."
Keating looked up from the book he was reading. "Yes Neil?"
"I just wanted to thank you for helping Todd."
Keating grinned broadly. "I like Todd. He's a good kid, but too damn shy. I hope this helped."
"I do too." Keating looked at Neil curiously, but the boy showed no expression. "Anyway, I wanted to give you this." Neil handed Keating Todd's poem. "Todd did write a poem - and a damn good one, might I add."
"I figured as much." The teacher stuck the poem in his grade book. "Thank you Neil."
"I'll see you tommorow." Keating watched as Neil left the classroom, touching Todd's hand when he figured no one was looking.
"Teenagers," Keating muttered, and began reading Todd's poem.
"Okay, let's see. I have my script, the 'permission slip' from my father." Neil snickered. "And some trig homework. It's off to play practice for me." He slid a note inside of Todd's Latin book.
Someone knocked on the door.
Neil smiled. "Todd?"
"No, it's me Pitts. Can I come in?"
//This is odd . . .//
Neil opened the door, and Pitts began pacing. "What's wrong Pittsy?"
The larger boy fell bonelessly into Neil's desk chair. "I know we haven't been exactly been best friends Neil, but I have a problem and I didn't know where else to go."
"Let's hear it."
Pitts glanced around the room nervously. "Promise you won't tell anyone?"
Neil held up his left hand. "Dead poets honor."
"Well, it's about Stephen."
"Meeks?" Neil interrupted.
Pitts nodded slowly. "Yeah. Lately things have been happening - things I can't bring myself to think about."
Neil bit back a smile. "What kinds of 'things'? You have to be more specific."
"Let's put it this way. Stephen and I have become more than just friends."
"You and Meeks - "
"Yeah! And I never thought of myself as gay! I mean, I like girls and all, but . . ." His voice trailed off.
Neil touched the other boy's arm. "Love can occur where you least expect it. Trust me, I know."
Pitts laughed. It wasn't a particularly nice laugh, but it was a laugh just the same. "So does this mean I'm going to hell?"
"I doubt it." Neil checked his watch. "Shit, I gotta run!"
Pitts followed Neil to the door. "Thanks for listening. I really owe you one."
Neil patted Pitts on the back. "No problem. Listen, if you and Meeks ever want to go somewhere and you want me to cover for you . . ."
"I'll keep it in mind. Good look at play practice." Pitts walked out of the room with a spring in his step.
Neil smiled and shook his head.
(end part 2)
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