Neil Perry
19 June 2010 @ 09:28 pm
Everything came flooding back to him at midnight, of course; and though he didn't need to he'd been watching the clock, waiting, and when it came he spurted some random line with a laugh, the first piece that came to mind. I will drink life to the lees!, and turned to Todd who waited with him with a grin, pushing him back and down with a passion that surprised both and displeased neither, though Neil, too enchanted with the delayed restoration of everything to rights, broke off his kisses to mutter nonsense, bits and pieces of things he'd tried and failed to remember. It takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility, damnit, and that's out of an essay, nobody knew where I was and now I am no longer there.

The next night nothing would do but to sneak off to the woods for him; to light the fire, together alone, to intone the invocation and read by flickering light, Todd from his own given pages, Neil from the dogeared tome that wasn't Five Centuries but was the closest he could manage. They kept no minutes. Certain things they could not have borne recording. Walking home in the dark, shoulder to shoulder, arms slipped about each other they forgot for a time, brief and eternal, that things had ever been other than this: ridiculous, perhaps, except that the certainty that things need never change again allowed some liberty with history, the intoxication of poetry and love outweighing sense. And if Todd kissed Neil in the elevator, it was only good fortune that kept their secret, because neither of them would have noticed any other eyes upon them then.

All the words humming in their hearts made up the silence as Neil pulled his friend down beside him, atop him, mouth seeking mouth and fingers twisting in thin fabric that still smelled of smoke, letting his body ask for something he still couldn't find the words for; shifting and turning and catching the other boy's body between his legs, tugging with shy insistence at someone's clothes though in the darkness and the haze of uncertain lust he couldn't be sure whose. And then the sheets were soft, unfamiliar against him; and it hurt (though less than he'd feared) and coming really was a little like dying, just like so many poets said. But then he'd died as well as can be expected (as awful as it was, in all the ways that mattered): swift and waking up on the other side in a better dream than he deserved.

Todd kissed his breast, just above his heart and muttered something ineffable.

You'll have to write that out for me in the morning, he answered, already more than half asleep.
Neil Perry
22 June 2009 @ 02:17 pm
"Was it weird playing Robin? Now that you know him, I mean, and with him being there."

Neil glanced over at his friend briefly, eyes darting back to the icy path before him. Snow on Midsummer's Eve; the City never failed to surprise him. He considered the question for a moment, shrugging.

"Not really? I didn't really think about it, during."

Within the confines of the stage, the span of the play, reality had suspended itself for Neil. That was part of the appeal acting held; one ceased to be oneself for a time, immersed in the role, willingly accepting the fiction. Living someone else's life, in part. It wasn't that Neil hated his own reality-- far from it, especially now (bittersweet though that admission was.) But he liked the adventure, the chance to lose himself, to be someone impossible and amazing in ways he could never be on his own.

"For me... Robin wasn't Robin, when he was on stage," Neil added thoughtfully. The Puck had been Bottom-- an excellent, if ironic, performance-- and the fiction had been at the forefront of Neil's mind, allowing him to ignore the reality of the situation.

"You were," Todd added with a nod, his breath steaming in the frigid air.

"Mnn." No cloud of fog accompanied the actor's words; a quiet reminder that he was no longer quite among the living, animate and lively as he seemed. They strolled along in companionable quiet for a while, considering the evening. Happy overall; the tragedy following the last performance of Midsummer, on a similarly snowy evening not long ago (for them, at least; ages ago, by some standards,) not forgotten, but certainly lessened by the pleasant glow of tonight's unmitigated success. Even the troubles of the curse were forgotten, their fathers' images having disappeared some time ago, when midnight struck.

"I'm not sure you quite captured him," Todd said suddenly, a calculated air of haughtiness in his voice, grin belying the apparent seriousness of the comment. Neil gasped, feigning indignation.

"What do you mean by that?" He could guess the gist of this joke, though. Neil sidled a little closer to his friend, a lascivious smirk curving the corners of his lips upwards. He winked, doing a credible impression of Robin's appraising, inviting glance, raising a hand to adjust the crown of branches he wore. A single pale rose sat jovially upon it, bright against his dark hair. Considering the centuries of practice he hadn't had, Neil did a decent job of it, mimicking the Puck's ever-inviting attitude.

Todd laughed delightedly. "Absolutely nothing!" he assured Neil, waving off the comment.

"I should hope so." Ever one to play to the audience, Neil slipped an arm playfully around Todd's waist, hand coming to rest on the other boy's side, moving close enough that their hips bumped together lightly. It was oddly comfortable, and something in Neil thrilled at the contact-- though for a moment he was uncertain what it was that appealed to him. The act, or the reality.

Todd's cheeks were pink, he noticed. Was that merely the cold? Had he been that flushed before? He was still smiling, though there was a note of shyness to it now, and he seemed a little stiff. Uncertain, but-- not displeased? Neil thought, perhaps, he'd taken the act too far. He slowed his steps, his friend coming to a halt alongside him, and turned inward a little to face him.

Neil hadn't moved his hand, and they stood together, bodies separated by only the barest of margins. Another few flowers were tucked into the lapel of Todd's coat, and the night smelled of ice and roses. Neil hesitated, not quite sure why he'd paused, what had happened.

Todd reached up, fingers brushing against Neil's face as he pushed the crown back a little, dispelling the shadows that had fallen across the young actor's expression. Pushing aside the costume, and with it the act. The pretense. Neil's hand had drifted to the small of Todd's back when the other boy had shifted; he didn't remove it, and after an achingly long moment, Neil placed his free hand uncertainly on Todd's hip, eyes intent on the other boy's face, trying to gauge his reaction. He was himself; only Neil, no grand and ancient trickster-- but for a moment he felt like more, unnatural and mercurial, standing beneath the snow-softened streetlamps. He licked his lips nervously. Todd let his hand fall, coming to rest lightly on Neil's chest.

Neil glanced down at the fingers curled lightly into his scarf, then back to meet that clear blue gaze, shyly cast through a fringe of golden lashes.

He leaned forward, hands slipping together so his fingertips touched behind Todd's back, and kissed the other boy. His dearest friend, the only reminder of home he had. Todd shivered a little-- no fault of the cold, Neil was certain-- but did not pull away, his lips parting hesitantly as he returned the kiss, hand snaking back up to brush Neil's throat, to rest on his shoulder. They pressed against one another, heedless of the cold, the fact that they stood in plain sight of anyone who cared to look, a kind of subdued desperation drawing them together.

They pulled apart after a time, mutually embarrassed and uncertain of what to say. But pleased; wholly pleased, in spite of a lingering guilt about what they'd just done. Suddenly shy, Neil took a step back, chill air rushing between them-- though he didn't break contact entirely. After a moment's deliberation, he let his hands fall from Todd's sides, instead twining his fingers with the other boy's.

Neil smiled nervously, nodding his head in the direction of their building, an unspoken question. Todd nodded, shifting a little closer so they stood shoulder to shoulder, hands clasped.

They walked home through the midsummer snow.

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