Spoilers, written for word #94 at 15minuteficlets. Short and sweet, hints of slash.
He sits up slowly as he is shaken awake, absently wondering what the hell Neil could want at this hour…whatever hour it is. His eyes open and are met with a bit more light than had been present when he had fallen asleep, and the solemn, tear-streaked faces of five boys.
He straightens immediately, gazing at their faces separately and his stomach sinking as it ties itself into knots. He knows before they tell him. He casts a glance at the empty bed on the other side of the room. He knew last night that in one way or another, he would never see Neil again. After Neil’s dad had told off Mr. Keating, he knew. As he watched Neil disappear in the car down the street, he knew.
What he didn’t know was if there was anything he could have done differently. If he had told Neil he loved him, would that have changed anything? It certainly wouldn’t have stopped Neil’s father from being the oppressive, domineering asshole that he was.
He doesn’t start crying until he’s up and out of bed and in the snow and on his knees. He doesn’t know why he’s out in the snow on his knees or why the others are sobbing and hugging him and telling him it will be all right. He has no recollection of leaving his room or falling to the ground. All he knows is that Neil is gone, gone forever, and that he feels like screaming. So he does. He gets up and runs, tripping, flailing, screaming, crying, alone. Alone. No one to console him when his parents buy him the same present again and again, no one to break him out of his shell, no one to give him a charming smile. He stares across the frozen water, the cold weather making it even more of a labor for him to breathe, and then he closes his eyes. He imagines Neil up on the stage, smiling as the world claps for him, and he sobs.
The word was Discombobulate. My titles are so unoriginal.