Title: "The Game"
Fandom: Dead Poets Society
Pairing: Todd Anderson [Ethan Hawke]/Charlie Dalton [Gale Hansen]
Author: MonaR. (aka Mona Ramsey, aka Mona)
Series: I'm not sure, yet. Might have a sequel, or I might go on to something different.
Webpage: The bare skeleton of one at:
Archive: Sure!
Rating: PG.
Warning: Slight slashy (m/m) content.
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.
Spoilers: A familiarity with the movie would help.
Summary: Todd plays a game with himself, and with Charlie Dalton.

{I'm making a concerted effort to write smutty stuff into my stories, now - thus, you might find a few more pwps than usual from me, for a while. It got to the point where I was so plot-heavy that I was forgetting just what makes slash *slash* - not just the eroticism, but the expression of it.
Or, you know, maybe I'm just horny. Whatever.
I have another DPS story on the go, but it's set about 8 months after the end of the movie, and I want to be on firmer ground with this fandom before I finish it, I think.}

"The Game"
by MonaR.

It was a game that he played with himself: get up, go to the bathroom, relieve an aching bladder, crawl back in bed, and never completely wake up for any of it.

It had been easier at home, especially walking down the hallway from his bedroom to the bathroom, exactly fifty-six strides away. The floor there was carpeted, too, so he didn't have the shock of cold linoleum to deal with, or have to worry about where his other slipper always seemed to disappear in the dead of night. Here, things were disconcerting, and there was more to be considered; Neil slept a few short feet away, for one, and the door was loud and had a tendency to squeak, for another. Add to that the fact that the bathroom was a lot further away - and had to be gotten to without waking up the floor-master, who looked very suspiciously upon midnight bathroom trips by the young gentlemen in his charge - and what had been a game at home was suddenly a challenge worthy of a Whitman poem in celebration.

These late-night trips weren't nearly so necessary at home, either; there, his family all knew that he didn't speak, and they didn't pressure him for an opinion or a contribution to the conversation. They were probably glad for his silence, and counted it as just one more thing that Jeffrey had over him. His mother imposed a strict curfew on late-night drinking - cut off three hours before bedtime, and it was a good thing. Here, he had to keep a glass in his hand, hovering near his mouth almost constantly, just to have an excuse to nod his replies. Water, coffee, whatever, it didn't matter. They probably thought he was some sort of an aquatic throwback to pre-history - one of Darwin's 'little fishes', flopping around on dry land. And he didn't even *like* to swim.

It didn't matter. It was an excuse. It was okay.

He opened his eyes just enough to make sure that there was no-one in the hallway; there was no strip of light under any of the doors, but that didn't necessarily mean that no-one was afoot - you could do as much here *after* lights out as during the day, and even more. They had had exactly one Dead Poet's meeting, and it was a thrill - not the poetry, so much, some of which was pretty bad, but just being *out* and *free* of the constraints of the school. He couldn't wait for the next, especially since Neil had made it okay for him not to speak. Neil made a lot of things okay, but that was just the way that he was.

The corridor was cold; the entire *place* was cold, unless you huddled right over the radiators in the rooms, and even then, sometimes. The late-autumn days were still sunny but there were fewer and fewer hours of sunlight and the leaves were falling from the trees, and it took longer in the mornings for the sun to burn the dew-frost from the grass in the common. That was one thing to be said about the school uniform - it was plain and it was itchy, but at least it was *warm*.

He didn't bother with the light in the bathroom; even in the dimness he could make out the white porcelain row of sinks, and saw a fuzzy reflection of himself in the mirror that made him blink, then shut his eyes quickly, remembering the essence of the game. He walked over to one of the urinals and shifted his dressing-gown, freeing himself from his pajama-bottoms. The only sound he could hear was the splash against the bowl.

He sighed, and it turned into a yawn, mid-way through. An indistinct sound came from somewhere right behind him, and he froze, mouth open, waiting for the lights to flash suddenly on. It didn't happen. He shook himself and tucked back into his trousers, and turned around, still listening. There was no other sound in the room, only the sound of his slippered feet on the floor as he made his way over to the row of sinks.

He was almost out the door when he heard it again; it was muffled, like half a cough, and he had the sudden thought that maybe someone was being sick in here. That was the only reason that he turned back into the room, and didn't go get the master, he would tell himself later - he just wanted to make sure that everything was okay.

Whoever it was had to be in a stall; that was the only place in the large room to be even partially hidden. There weren't any legs or feet visible underneath any of them, but that didn't mean anything - it was dark in the room and darker still in the stalls. He briefly considered turning on the lights, but decided against it. Stall-doors swung open under his touch, as he felt for the one that would surely be locked.

One, two, three, all empty, and then -

"Hey." Charlie Dalton whispered, managing to sound pissed-off even at low volume. "Do you mind?" He was crouched with both of his sneakered feet on the toilet seat, fully dressed, a cigarette in his hand. "I was looking for a little privacy, here."

"I - " Todd gaped at him, in shock. "I'm sorry," he said, and latched on to the door, prepared to pull it shut.

"Wait." Charlie grinned at him. "*I'm* sorry," he said. "I didn't mean to yell at you. You scared the hell out of me, when you came in here; I thought these were going to get confiscated again - would have been the third time this month." He held out the glowing cigarette in his hand to Todd. "You want a drag?"

Todd shook his head, but he took the cigarette anyway, not knowing what else to do. He brought it to his lips and sucked in a full lungful of the acrid smoke, handed it back to Charlie, then immediately started to cough.

"Shit!" Charlie pulled him inside the stall with his left hand gripping one wrist, pushed the door closed, and started to thump him on the back with his right. He dropped the half-finished cigarette into the toilet and kept pounding on Todd's back. "Breathe," he hissed, through his teeth, still trying to be quiet. "Or at the very least cough *quietly*, okay?"

That final request was so absurdly perfect that it made Todd laugh, even though he was still coughing; his breath was coming out in a pained wheeze as he tried to fill his lungs with some clean air - no easy trick in the close, smoky stall. It didn't help when Charlie put one of his hands halfway over his mouth, trying desperately to muffle the coughing-laughing sound, and pushed him up against the back wall of the stall. Todd struggled against the hand over his mouth, but he couldn't get free; finally, the fingers lifted, only to be immediately replaced with something else, something soft and wet and totally unexpected.

It was already dark but Todd's eyes closed automatically, and he stopped struggling, even though Charlie's hand still caught his wrist in a painful grip. Charlie's tongue snaked into his mouth and he tasted like cigarettes, and even though it wasn't a pleasant taste it tasted familiar, and friendly, and even good. Todd surprised himself by pushing into the kiss, and opening his mouth, trying to capture more of the taste of Charlie.

They were both breathing heavily but far more quietly when Charlie finally pulled away from him.

"You going to live?" he asked, at length, and Todd could only nod his head. "You're not supposed to inhale the first time, you know."

"I didn't know," Todd said, shaking his head, and wondering if he was supposed to just leave, now.

Charlie raised an eyebrow. "Three words. I think that's the most I've ever heard come out of you at once, Anderson."

"It's hard to get a word in edgewise, Dalton," Todd countered, surprising both of them.

Charlie started to laugh, softly. "Yeah," he said, shaking his head. "Take my advice - the next time someone offers you one of these," he said, shaking a fresh cigarette free from the pack and lighting it, "say no." He dropped the match into the bowl, and took a long drag.

"You smoke too much."

"Yeah," Charlie agreed. "It's only the bad habits that are really any fun," he said, resting one foot up on the seat.

Todd leaned against the wall, hands behind his back. "Is that why you kissed me?"

Charlie grinned, not looking at him. "Nope."

"Why, then?"

"I was trying to shut you up, remember? I'm surprised that every master in the whole school isn't in here by now, you were making so much noise."

Todd nodded. "Okay," he said, and tried to push past Charlie, out of the stall.

Charlie caught his wrist in a tight grip, again, stopping him where he stood. "You have to go so soon?"

"I'm quiet now; there's no reason for me to stay." Todd looked at him evenly. "Right?"

Charlie shook his head. "Okay, so maybe that wasn't the *only* reason." He dropped Todd's wrist, and raised his hand, skirting through his hair. "Maybe I've been wondering what it would be like, ever since I first met you."

"You looked at me like you were looking *through* me," Todd said, remembering.

"I was just trying to figure out if you were going to be your own man, or if you were going to try to be a clone of your brother, the hero."

Todd stiffened, involuntarily; that was his usual reaction when Jeffrey's name came into the conversation. "And what conclusion did you come up with?"

"I couldn't figure you out," Charlie shrugged. "I decided you needed further study."

"Like the monkeys in the zoo?"

"In this place, we're *all* monkeys in the zoo - locked into our cages at night, and let out to play during the day, as long as we don't roam too far."

"Where were you tonight, anyway?"

Charlie grinned, again. "I went out to the cave."

"And you didn't tell - "

"I told you, I was looking for some privacy."

Todd narrowed his eyes. "What's her name?" he asked.

Charlie laughed. "I'm hurt by the accusation," he said, then added, "She didn't show up."

"Sounds like you got more privacy than you needed."


"And that's why you kissed me?"

"I told you already - I wondered what it would be like." Charlie tossed the butt of his cigarette into the bowl, and listened to it sizzle. "Why are you having such a hard time believing that?"

"I don't know."

Charlie leaned in against him. "Am I going to have to prove it to you?" he asked, and hovered about an inch from Todd's lips.

Todd shut his eyes again, but nothing happened. When he opened them again, Charlie was staring at him, a puzzled look on his face. "What - "

"Shh," Charlie said, a finger over his lips.

Todd stilled, listening. Then he heard it - the unmistakable heavy stride of the floor-master. None of the boys would dare to tread so loudly so late at night. The lights in the bathroom came on a second later.

"Who is in here?"

Charlie tugged on Todd's arms, and pulled him up so that he was crouching on the toilet seat, as Charlie himself had been when Todd found him. He then flung open the stall door, and Todd leaned forward, holding it slightly ajar but mostly closed, so that it would shield him from view. He held his breath, and heard Charlie say, "Me, sir."

"Ah, Dalton. Sneaking out again - and smoking? Is it your intention to be kicked out of here *before* mid-term?" There was no reply from Charlie. "Go to bed, Mr. Dalton, and report to my office in the morning, before breakfast. It will give me time to decide your punishment. The lack of sleep that you have already caused me will no doubt add to the term."

"Yes, sir."

Todd held his breath, and kept holding it even after the lights went out. He counted, slowly, until he was sure that five minutes had gone by, and then ten. His legs were cramping as he got down off the toilet seat, and pulled the stall door open.

There was no-one in the hallway as he crept back to his room, and inched the door open, praying that it wouldn't squeak. Neil was still breathing evenly across from him when he pulled back the covers on his bed and slid in.

"Thought you got caught," Neil said, rolling over on his stomach. "Y'were gone so long."

"No," Todd said, but Neil was already back asleep; he probably wouldn't even remember this conversation, when he woke up. Todd wondered if it was a game that he played with himself.

The End

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