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TITLE: The Last of his Breed
AUTHOR: Amy Throckrex-Smythe
E-MAIL: http://geocities.com/amy_t_s/email.html
RATING: PG to NC-17 (just to be on the safe side)
ARCHIVE: Wherever, just keep the headers intact and let me know where it lands, thanks in advance.
SUMMARY: Various scenes from the Alan and Billy romance.
DISCLAIMER: Author's copyright (2001) only covers original content. Everything else is Universal or MC's or whoever's and they are welcome to it.
NOTES: Thanks x 100 to hergerbabe for the beta. Vielen Dank sehr viel, T Len, für die schöne deutsche Übersetzung zum Teil Fünf. The academic stuff is deliberately vague, please excuse it. If you have any constructive pointers for me, please contact me offlist at the email above.



 


The Last of His Breed

Scenes from the post-JPIII Alan and Billy romance
 

by Amy Throckrex-Smythe

 

~1~

Wending his way through the Lantern streets of Dana Point, Alan wondered why Billy had taken up paleontology and not surfing. 'Because if he'd taken up surfing, I'd never have met him,' Alan thought. 'And I wouldn't be in this ridiculous situation.' He was brooding so deeply, he almost missed the turn from Del Prado to Ruby Lantern. A moment later he was parking his rental car before Billy Brennan's mother's house. He nearly choked on the words, "Is Billy home?" but managed to force them out.

"Aren't you Dr. Grant?" she asked.

"I am. How did you know?"

"Oh, I've seen one or two pictures of you Billy has around," she said.

"Is he here?" Alan asked, wondering why Billy was showing his mother photographs of him, and then apologized for the unexpected visit.

Billy's mother asked him to wait in the garden while she told her son he had a visitor.

Alan paced the shady patio and fought down his nervousness. He hadn't seen Billy since they'd separated in Costa Rica; Alan back to Montana and Billy to a hospital near his parents' home. He had spoken to Mrs. Brennan several times about Billy's progress - he'd had two surgeries to repair bone and muscle damage and was doing lots of physical therapy - but not to Billy himself. Not even after, in response to his letter, when Billy had left him a message that he, Alan Grant, could go to hell. Since Alan would be grubbing for research funding in Palo Alto and Los Angeles, he decided a personal visit was probably in order. He was seriously resisting the urge to flee, when he heard an uneven step and turned to watch Billy, leaning heavily on a cane, coming toward him.

The urge to catch the younger man up in his arms and carry him the rest of the way was almost overwhelming, but Alan managed to control himself. And he was glad he had because Billy's greeting was much colder than the mild Southern California October afternoon.

Alan decided to wade right in. "I got your message," he said mildly. "I'm not sure why you're telling me to... why you're resisting this."

"I'm not sure I want a PhD in paleontology anymore."

"That surprises me. Why not?"

"After Isla Sorna..."

"Those were not dinosaurs, Billy, and you know it," Alan cut him off, seeing this for the subterfuge is was. "You told me to go to hell, not paleontology, and I'd like to know why. I went to a great deal of trouble to get Dr. Heilbronner to take over as your thesis advisor and you have simply to write to him and ask him for it, as I outlined in my letter to you."

"I don't want to work with anyone but you," Billy said slowly. "So I can study raptor laryngeal physiology," he added.

"Dr. Heilbronner has no objection to that line of research, even though it is not his specialty, you're far enough along to continue that without me and he's still willing to be your advisor," Alan said.

"I'm not interested in being shoved off on Dr. Heilbronner," Billy said flatly after a moment of staring at Alan.

"'Shoved off on Dr. Heilbronner?' Do you have any idea what I had to do to get him to consider you?"

"No, I have no idea and I'm not interested."

"You're being unreasonable, Billy."

"Am I?"

"Yes," Alan said wearily. "Look, can we sit down? Watching you lean on that stick is making me tired." He sat and looked around Billy's mother's garden; it was peaceful and orderly. Watching Billy hobble over and take a seat opposite him, Alan rather wished Billy had taken up surfing and missed Isla Sorna entirely. The young man looked like hell; pale, thin, exhausted, and very sad. Alan was thinking about this when Billy's mother offered him a cup of coffee, which he accepted, as it gave him a little more time to collect his thoughts. It was also very good coffee; it gave him courage. "Okay, Billy, here's the situation: if you want to stay in paleontology, your only hope is to do your PhD with Otto Heilbronner. He's one of the best in the field and with his recommendation and your own intelligence and research, you might possibly overcome the credibility problem you now have."

"What credibility problem?"

"I swore the Kirbys to silence but I never realized you'd tell anyone about taking the raptor eggs," Alan said carefully. "It's been likened to tomb robbing and it's not doing your reputation as a paleontologist any good."

"Then I can't stay in the field," Billy said, looking away.

"Sure you can, just stay in it with Otto. He's an impeccable scientist and researcher; in his lab you'll have the protection and safety to rebuild your reputation over the next two or three years. And you'll like him once you get used to him."

"Why can't I keep working with you?" Billy asked, still staring into a flower-bed.

"Two reasons," Alan said crisply. "As you might recall, my research was flat broke before we went... before we met the Kirbys..."

"I don't need a salary, Alan, I..."

"And second," Alan held up a hand to forestall him. "Second, I have a credibility problem myself - I swore I'd never go near InGen's creations again, and then I did." He did not add that, as Billy's mentor, Billy's egg stealing reflected almost as badly on him as on the grad student. However, telling Billy that just then would have been unnecessarily cruel. "So, I, too, have some reputation building to do in the safety of academia - writing, teaching and editing dinosaur books."

"What about the dig?" Billy asked, still not looking at him.

"Well, the winter will keep it closed anyway, and, with luck, I might be able to fund it next year," Alan admitted. "That's partly why I'm in California at all; I'm hunting funding."

"The researcher's lot," Billy said finally looking at him. "Why are you so hot for me to work with Dr. Heilbronner?" he asked suddenly.

"For the reasons I said." It was Alan's turn to look away.

"Only those reasons?" Billy leaned forward.

"Well, yes, mainly," Alan said, looking at him. "Billy, I..."

"How do you do, Dr. Grant? I'm Robert Brennan, Billy's father, I've heard a lot about you from Billy." A large cheerful man bearing a remarkable resemblance to Billy loomed over them, his hand outstretched. "A pleasure to meet you."

"Yes, for me, too, thank you," Alan muttered vaguely. They exchanged a few pleasantries before the elder Brennan was called back inside by his wife.

"Your father seems quite nice," Alan said to Billy.

"He is. You were saying?"

"Yes, I..."

"Hey! Are you Dr. Grant?!" A younger version of Billy came bounding onto the patio. "Billy read me your books."

"Oh, did he?" Alan listened to Billy introducing his younger brother, George, to him. "And do you like dinosaurs as much as Billy?" he asked.

"No, I like living animals," he said. He made a face when his mother called him. "I'm going to be a vet," he said over his shoulder on the way into the house.

"Alan..." Billy began.

"Is that your only sibling, Billy?" Alan asked quickly.

"Ah, no, I have an older sister. She lives in Costa Mesa. Alan..."

"Where's Costa Mesa?"

"North of here," Billy said firmly. "Alan, you were saying... about your reasons..." Billy sat back to wait.

Alan took a steadying breath. "We've worked quite closely for some time now, Billy, and over that time I've..."

"Would you like to stay for dinner, Dr. Grant?" Billy's mother said cheerfully from the patio door.

 

"I... I'd love to," Alan said, thinking it might be a good idea to get to know the parents and younger brother of the man he loved.

***

Billy tried not to fidget too much through dinner. No one noticed him, they were too focused on the legendary Dr. Grant. It was Billy's fault, really, he'd talked about Alan in such glowing tones... he was surprised neither of his parents had realized he was in love with his professor.

And, to be honest, Billy was just so glad to have Alan near again and to know that Alan cared enough to look out for him. Look out for his career at least, but maybe that was a start. Or maybe not, he thought as he walked Alan to his car, Dr. Heilbronner was at the University of Massachusetts and Alan was in Denver...

"So, you'll write to Otto Heilbronner and apply to U Mass?" Alan asked at the car.

"Yes; I'll do it tonight," Billy said. "Alan..."

"Otto's department turned up a little grant money for you, Billy," Alan said. "I'll call his office next week about sending the forms to you. Once he gets your letter, Otto's office will push everything through. All you have to do is fill out the forms and send them back."

"Thank you, Alan."

"You're welcome, Billy. I wish I could do more," he said, gravitating closer without really realizing it. "I feel... responsible for you."

"And yet you're sending me off to get a PhD on the other side of the country from you," Billy said quietly. "I don't know when I'll see you again."

"Actually, Billy, a doctorate from U Mass with Heilbronner is more impressive than UCD."

"Since when?"

"Well, always," Alan admitted. "My department at UCD was flourishing because I was lucky in my funding, my finds and my students." He looked at Billy and smiled a little. "Those days seem to be over for me."

"Don't say that."

"It's true. You know I was only at Montana State for the dig, which may or may not be defunct. Except for advising the two students already writing their dissertations, I've left Denver completely."

"What will you do?" Billy asked, concerned and suddenly worried about Alan, cast adrift outside of academia. It was a frightening thought.

"I'll be fine, Billy," Alan assured him. "U Mass offered me a full professorship and I took it. I start in January, about that same time you do. It was part of the deal for getting Otto to take you as his student. He's been trying to get me on his faculty for years and this was his chance. Otto owes me but, like usual, he still managed to get the best of the deal. Well, goodnight."

Billy watched Alan's rental car out of sight and went to his room to write to Dr. Heilbronner. He even sent George to the post office that night to mail the letter.

~2~

As Alan predicted, Billy did like working with Otto Heilbronner once he got used to him. Dr. Heilbronner was a large Teutonic person who, when he bothered to speak English (and after more than 20 years in the United States), still had an accent one could cut with a knife. Billy's high school German got quite a work out those first few weeks but the other grad students were there to help him, so it was all right.

The transition to Massachusetts had been remarkably easy. A week after Billy had sent his letter requesting Dr. Heilbronner be his thesis advisor, a packet of forms and grant paperwork arrived. The next day, Heilbronner's assistant, Marva Chang, called to make sure he'd gotten all the paperwork and to answer any questions he might have about it. She also asked if he would like to share an apartment with one of the grad students or a house with four of them. He chose the apartment since it was a two bedroom and the house was also a two bedroom. Several days before he was to leave California, Nathan Brazil, his new roommate, called to ask him his flight information so he could pick him up at the airport. Billy thought this was all incredibly nice of everyone.

"Well," Nathan had said over the phone. "We like Dr. Grant a lot around here."

Dr. Heilbronner's lab was in a three story warehouse full of fossils. He had a dozen grad students in there classifying and cataloging and another dozen in the field, shipping more back. Nathan quickly introduced Billy to the other doctoral students before showing him into Heilbronner's office.

"I understand you vish to theorize on raptor vocal capabilities, no?" Heilbronner said, looking up at Billy standing before his desk. "I have no objection to that line of inquiry, however, as long as you are in this lab I never vant to hear about any subject that is less than sixty-four million years old. Verstehen Sie dieses?"

"Ja verstehe ich." Billy silently gave thanks to his subconscious for providing that answer.

"Alan tells me you have no German."

Billy realized it was a question just in time. "I studied in high school, but never used it when I worked with him."

"Gut. You vill use it here," Heilbronner said, studying him. "You have much of Alan's...", he paused to search for a word. "Esteem. More than I have ever seen in Alan before. You are aware of this, Mr. Brennan?"

"Yes sir, I realize Dr. Grant went to a great deal of trouble to..."

"I hope you are aware of this, Mr. Brennan," Heilbronner said as if Billy hadn't spoken. "It vould be unfortunate if there vere a misunderstanding and I have known Alan for many years, I vould not vant there to be a misunderstanding, and this happens often because Alan can be... ah... undurchlässige," he said giving up and calling for Nathan to show Billy 'ze ropes.'

"Nathan, my German is a little rusty," Billy said, after they'd been working together awhile. "What does 'undurchlässige' mean?"

"Undurchlässige? It means opaque."

Billy had two months to think about this as Alan didn't actually get to the university until March.

***

"How was the dig?" Billy asked over dinner the day after Alan arrived at the college.

"Better than I thought it was going to be," Alan said, gazing happily at the man he'd been thinking about non-stop for the past five months. "Tanzania is certainly warmer than here."

"And you missed most of the snow, Alan," Billy said with a smile. "Tell me about Dr. Athos, Dr. Heilbronner called him an idiot."

"I'm sure Otto is as jealous of David's dig as I am," Alan admitted. "If he doesn't die of malaria, he'll have some wonderful stuff to write up whenever he finishes it."

"What did you do there?" Billy asked.

"Oh, not much. Offered some useless technical advice as required by the grant that got me there and then just spent time drinking and catching up with David." Alan called for the check and paid it, ignoring Billy's protests. "You know Athos will be here lecturing on the dig in a few weeks?"

"You know you have Dr. Heilbronner's habit of phrasing questions as statements?"

"Sorry, Billy," Alan said as they strolled back to the campus. "I thought I was over it, but David's gotten me back in the habit. Those of us who studied with Pierre Giroux - me, Otto, David, Mike Logan, Henry Pickett -we all picked up his way of speaking." He passed his hand over his face.

"Tired, Alan?" Billy asked.

"Jet lag. I'll walk you home and then get some sleep."

"Oh, I think I can make it on my own."

"No, the walk will do me good," Alan said firmly.

"All right. Where are you staying?"

"Some cheap and cheerful furnished apartment that Marva Chang turned up for me."

"She's amazing," Billy said. "She got my grant and admissions processed really fast and even found me a place to live."

"Yes, she built this department with Otto over the past twenty years by doing that and more for talented people," Alan said, looking at street numbers. "Which one do you live in?"

"They all look the same, don't they?" Billy laughed. "Number 341; there. Would you like to come in, Alan?"

"Not tonight, Billy, some other time."

"Thank you for dinner."

"Oh, you're welcome, perhaps later in the week we could have dinner again."

"I would like that."

"Then we shall. Goodnight." Alan watched Billy go inside and then went to his cheap and cheerful furnished apartment, where, after a rather intense fantasy about Billy, he fell into a jet lagged sleep.

***

Several weeks went by. Billy worked with the raptor skulls in Heilbronner's warehouse. He saw quite a bit of Alan and made friends with the other grad students. His good nature won over their initial suspicion about the way he'd been brought in; Heilbronner very seldom went to any trouble to collect doctoral students. Vy, sorry, why should he when the best of the best came to him?

So, Billy was happily researching his raptor skulls late one afternoon when a tall, lean and very weather-beaten man tapped him on the shoulder.

"You're Billy?" the man asked in a gravely whisper.

"I am," Billy said. "And you are...?" he asked when the man simply stared at him.

"Oh, me? I'm David Athos."

"Oh, Dr. Athos," Billy said, extending a hand. "Dr. Grant talks about you a lot."

"Probably not as much as he talks about you."

Billy turned to find another stranger examining him.

"I'm Mike Logan," the stranger introduced himself and shook hands with Billy.

"Dr. Logan?"

"And an old friend of Alan Grant, as well," Logan said pleasantly.

"Ah, there you are," Heilbronner came up to them with another stranger, who seemed very interested in Billy. "I thought you might be here." He turned to Billy and introduced him to Dr. Pickett.

"I was expecting you to be more god-like, Billy," Pickett drawled. "Based on the way Alan's been talking about you."

"Really? I..."

"True enough," Athos broke in. "Alan just doesn't fall in love with anyone."

"You know, I can remember... What's the matter, Billy?" Logan asked, seeing the shocked look on the younger man's face.

"Excuse me but what did you say, Dr. Athos?" Billy asked when he could.

"I said Alan doesn't fall in love with just anyone."

"No, David, I think you said ' Alan just doesn't fall in love with anyone,' which is different," Logan said. He watched Billy look at the faces around him for clues. "Are you the only person in this little group who doesn't know Alan Grant is in love with you?"

"Yeah, I think so," Billy murmured.

"This is unwelcome news, Billy?" Logan asked.

"Ah, no; just surprising," Billy said.

"How very Alan not to plight his troth or troth his plight or whatever you gay guys do," Pickett said brightly.

"I wonder," Athos said. "Possibly in primitive societies, homosexuals threw a spear and whoever threw farthest got to top."

"Fascinating theory, David," Logan nearly snapped at him. "You should have become an anthropologist."

"Never! With these social skills, I barely get along with fossil material," Athos shot back.

"You vill excuse me." Heilbronner bowed graciously and went to his office, where, even with the door closed, they could hear him roaring with laughter.

"We don't mean to scare you, Billy, but we thought Alan might have changed a little after all these years," Pickett said kindly. "I mean, Alan moves slowly..."

"Glacially is a better word," Logan said.

"... if you've got the patience for it, you know he means it," Pickett finished up. "I'll tell you a highly instructive Alan story. Many years ago, Alan was courting Athos' sister so subtly that she never knew it until he just happened to mention it... at her wedding."

"That's Alan for you," Athos sighed.

"And this is how most of Alan's romances go," Logan said. "Based on the way he's been talking, I thought he was proceeding differently with you. That's why we all came up here to meet you."

"I thought you came to hear my lecture tomorrow," Athos said.

"Well, that was the cover reason," Logan said.

"It was a total surprise, Billy?" Athos asked.

"Well, no," Billy admitted. "I wondered, but I thought it was my imagination or wishful thinking."

"Well, hang in there, Billy," Pickett advised. "Alan Grant is worth the trouble. And speak of the devil." He nodded at Alan coming up the stairs to join them.

Alan said hello to Billy and then turned to his fellow paleontologists. "There you are! I just happened to run into Dr. Rowan, who just happened to mention that he just happened to meet you on your way here. I thought you were all flying in tomorrow morning."

"Change of plans, Alan," Pickett drawled.

"Yes, we couldn't wait another minute to meet your boyfriend," Athos said coolly, looking Alan right in the eye. Alan winced but otherwise maintained his usual poise.

"You will excuse us," Logan said and dragged Athos and Pickett off in the direction of Heilbronner's office.

Alan cleared his throat and, with his composure firmly in place, looked at Billy, who had his beautiful lashes demurely lowered over his lovely brown eyes. "So, you enjoyed meeting Athos, Pickett and Logan?"

"Yes, very much. And we need to talk, Alan," Billy said, raising his eyes and giving his 'boyfriend' a level look.

"Yes, well, I'll be busy with them all evening, perhaps tomorrow..."

"You can come to my place as late as you like, Alan," Billy said firmly.

"I don't want to disturb you..."

"You won't."

"Then I shall be there as soon as I can this evening."

"I'll be waiting," Billy said, and disappeared into the warehouse labyrinth and back to work.

***

Billy was just finishing up washing his dinner dishes when the doorbell rang. Thinking Nathan had forgotten his key, he went to answer it with a dishtowel in his hand and was surprised to find Alan on the other side. "I thought you'd be much later," he said, ushering the older man into his apartment.

"Once I mentioned that I would be coming here after dinner, I was hustled through my entrée and tossed out of the restaurant," Alan said, dropping his coat on the couch and following Billy into the kitchen. "I didn't even get an after dinner coffee."

"Do you want one?" Billy asked, reaching for the coffee grinder.

"Please." Alan watched him make the coffee in silence. As usual, whenever he took the trouble to notice, he admired the precision of Billy's movements. He might have called it grace if he didn't consider the word too effeminate to be applied to Billy. "Thanks," he said accepting the coffee and moving into the living room. "Where's Nathan?" he asked, settling on the edge of the couch.

"On a date. That's what people do when both parties know they're dating," Billy said, a wicked gleam in his eye. "Why do you ask? Do you think we need a chaperone?" he asked, perching on Alan's knee.

"Possibly," Alan said, dryly but sternly. He watched Billy ease off his lap and onto the couch, staying close but not crowding him. "I got a run down of the conversation I missed this afternoon," he said when he knew Billy was ready to listen. "I suppose I could have been a little more obvious about how I feel about you, Billy, but I'm old fashioned and methodical."

"And undurchlässige," Billy said.

"Impermeable?" Alan's German was a little rusty.

"No, opaque. That's what Dr. Heilbronner called you the first day I met him," Billy said, looking off into the middle distance. "And I had no idea what he meant until this afternoon. I guess I was kind of... of stumpf."

"Blunt?" Alan smiled into his coffee, amused by the German vocabulary Billy was picking up in Heilbronner's lab.

"No, obtuse. I didn't realize all those dinners and films were, um, dates," Billy looked up at him. "Actually, Alan, I thought it was my imagination, that I was making myself believe you cared for me, really cared, which is what I've wanted almost since I met you."

"I have always been fond of you, Billy," Alan said, slipping his arm oh-so-casually over Billy's shoulders. "But I didn't feel, ah, deeply about you until I almost lost you on Isla Sorna."

"I thought I'd lost you on Isla Sorna," Billy said, snuggling.

"Oh, those stupid things I said to you about the... those stupid things I said." Alan tightened his arm. "I didn't mean them, Billy, it was just the terrible moment and everything that led..."

"Shhhh." Billy placed a gentle finger on the older man's lips, gazing into his eyes. "Shhhhh, it's not important now, is it?"

Alan shook his head as he brought his other arm around Billy and held him close. "No," he murmured, planting a gentle kiss on Billy's forehead. "No, none of that matters now." He could feel that Billy was waiting for him to lean down and kiss him on the lips, but the moment was so perfect for Alan that he did not lean down. And he held Billy tighter, actually held him still, when the younger man tried to lean up and kiss him. There would be plenty of time for that and Alan was not about to let Billy rush him into anything. He'd been rushed into enough for one day. He fractionally loosened his grip when he felt Billy relax in his embrace.

They sat like that until Alan's coffee got cold and he decided it was time to go home anyway. "You needn't see me to the car, Billy, it's chilly out," Alan said, putting on his coat.

"Then you'll just have to kiss me goodnight right here," Billy said, standing in Alan's escape route.

Realizing, pleasantly realizing, there was no other way out, Alan practically held Billy at arms' length and softly placed his lips on the younger man's. And then, seemingly through no will of his own, he caught Billy up in the most passionate embrace of his life.

After a moment or perhaps an hour, Billy gently pushed him away, saying that Alan should either go now or plan on spending the night because this was more tease than any normal male could continue to endure. "I now see why you like to move slowly," he said breathlessly.

Alan exhaled, said good night and that he'd see him at the lecture tomorrow. "We'll sit together; Athos will give me hell if we don't," he said on his way out. He was glad for the chill in the air, it took the edge off the heat in his body and kept him from running back upstairs to Billy.

~3~

"Are you sticking around for dinner?" Billy asked Nathan one evening.

"Nah, I don't want to interfere with your date," Nathan said, pulling on his jacket. "I'm throwing myself on the mercy of my girlfriend. She's taking me in tonight so I won't have to witness the slowest gay courtship in recorded history."

"That's amusing, Nat," Billy deadpanned. "This evening's bacchanal is dinner and a paleo documentary; nothing to make you blush, so you're welcome to stay."

"Dinner does look good, Billy, but I'm only using you and Alan as a blind to spend the night with my girl."

"Ah. The truth at last."

"And speaking of the truth... I think it's cute that you cook for him and why doesn't he ever spend the night?" Nathan asked, hand on the door, ready to bolt if he offended Billy.

"I cook because it's the only way I get to pay for any entertainment in this relationship," Billy said, checking the salmon in the oven. "And he never spends the night because this is, in truth, the slowest gay courtship in recorded history."

"Huh. Well, have a nice evening, whatever you do," Nathan said, opening the door just as Alan was about to knock. "Hullo, Dr. Grant."

"Hello, Nathan, are you off?" Alan came in with a bottle on wine under each arm - one for dinner and a spare.

"Oh, very," Nathan said, leaving.

Alan gave Billy a nice, dry kiss by way of greeting and said, "Otto thinks Nathan has great promise as a paleontologist."

"Nathan's brilliant, Alan."

"Probably, but I've never really understood anything he's said to me."

"Try talking about dinosaurs sometime," Billy said, laying out plates. "You'll be glad you did. Come eat."

~*~

"This is good wine," Billy said after dinner as he settled on the couch next to his... his lover.

"I'm glad you like it," Alan said, cueing up the video, oblivious to Billy's abstracted look.

'"Theoretical lover"? "Potential lover"? Is that possible?' Billy wondered as the camera panned over a wind-swept prairie. 'This is the slowest gay love affair in the history of humanity. It's ridiculous. Alan should be throwing me on the bed by now and ...' Alan slipped an arm around him and Billy eased in closer. 'And this is a deeply boring video,' he thought as Alan began to graze on his forehead and cheek and run his fingers through his hair. 'So boring, in fact, we'll neck through most of it and then he'll go home.' Billy sighed. And then Alan kissed him, coaxing his mouth open, and he mostly stopped thinking at all.

~*~

By the third time Billy's hand strayed to his belt buckle, Alan usually decided it was time to leave. Gently removing his lover's hand, Alan listened to the frustrated groan Billy was doing less and less to conceal as their relationship progressed.

"Alan, we're adults and we've known each other for a long time..."

"Poor Billy," Alan soothed. "The sexual tension starting to get to you?"

"Yes! Very much," Billy said, sitting up. "And I'm also getting to know my right hand again, better than I want to know it, which is..."

"Why don't you bring what you need for tomorrow and come spend the night with me?"

Billy smiled delightedly. "I'd love to."

~*~

When they reached Alan's apartment, Billy developed a mild case of nerves and so was glad when Alan waved him into the bedroom while he made a call. Billy had been here numerous times before, but never to have sex.

'How unnatural that sounds,' he thought, pulling off his clothes and getting into Alan's bed. Alan's bed had blue plaid sheets and Billy wondered if they matched his lover's shirts. 'My lover,' he thought, trying not to get sleepy now that he was horizontal. 'Finally my lover.' In spite of his best efforts, he dozed off.

Alan walked into his bedroom and saw Billy sleeping in his bed and had the most sublime moment of happiness he had in his life since he saw Billy laying in the helicopter. And this was better; Billy was whole and healed and his, very much his. He went into the bathroom and brushed his teeth. When he came out, he found Billy watching the door, waiting for him. "I'm sorry I woke you," Alan said.

"It's all right." Billy smiled. "I'm a grad student; I only sleep in twenty minute intervals anyway."

"God, I hope not."

"I'm kidding." Billy lay back to watch Alan's unceremonious strip and found it arousing anyway.

"I'm sorry that call took so long," Alan said, tossing off his blue plaid shirt. "I had to cancel my morning run with Dr. Rowan. I thought I'd just leave a message but he picked up the phone and wanted to know why I was canceling."

"What did you tell him?"

"I finally told him I had a house-guest and then he wanted to know who." Alan sat on the bed to take off his shoes and noticed Billy's frown. "I was trying to be discreet and Rowan would think my house guest might be another professor, someone in the field that he also knows."

"So, how did you get him off the phone?" Billy asked, mollified that Rowan wasn't prying unnecessarily.

"I finally told him it was you and he said he'd see me tomorrow afternoon," Alan said removing his pants. "We run in the late afternoon, too," he added, sliding into bed and pulling Billy into his arms. Easing Billy against the pillows, Alan simply enjoyed the sensation of the beautiful man finally in his arms and in his bed. He was glad he'd waited and made Billy wait for this. In Alan's opinion, the suspense just made the release that much better.

"No wonder you're in such great shape," Billy said, running his hands over Alan's shoulders.

"You are so beautiful, Billy," Alan breathed in his ear.

"You must have a thing for scars," Billy whispered back.

"No, all of it; everything about you is beautiful and wonderful," Alan said, lowering his lips to Billy's. He could feel Billy's sex rapidly hardening against his minor erection. 'Ah, youth,' he thought as he pried himself off his lover's soft lips. "Turn on your other side," he said, kissing Billy's neck.

"Like this?" Billy asked, turning around so his back was to Alan.

"Uh huh." Alan spooned up behind him and caressed his chest and lower. He cupped the younger man's balls and stroked his half-mast sex to full hardness. "Stop wiggling," Alan said, lifting his lips from Billy's shoulder.

"Let me touch you, Alan," Billy said.

"Later, Billy, later," Alan growled, pulling him closer and soothing him. His strokes became harder and more insistent as Billy responded to him. "Yes, like that, Billy, like that," he sighed hearing the amorous groan his caress pulled from deep inside his lover. "Yes, yes," he said as Billy writhed against him in his climax. Reaching for the towel he'd put under the pillow earlier, he wiped him off and curled up to go to sleep.

"What about you, Alan?" Billy asked when he had his breath back.

"In the morning. Go to sleep."

"Why not now?" Billy persisted, turning around in Alan's arms and pressing against the older man's fading erection.

"I'll tell you if you promise to turn around and go to sleep," Alan said, stilling Billy's wandering hands.

"Okay."

"Sex keys me up too much to be able to sleep afterwards," Alan said, turning Billy's back to his chest. "I'd rather have it in the morning and especially like it in the late afternoon or early evening. That's why I exercise at those times."

"Ah," Billy murmured sleepily. "I can live with that."

"That's good," Alan said spooning up behind him.

"I have one more question," Billy said, yawning. "These sheets seem a little more, um, luxurious than the usual furnished place sheets."

"I bought them yesterday and put them on the bed this afternoon," Alan admitted.

Billy stretched a little in his arms and got more comfortable. "You had this planned since yesterday, didn't you?"

"Mm huh." Alan grunted into Billy's curls.

"We really are on your schedule, aren't we?"

"We are. Go to sleep"

"Works for me," Billy said, snuggling back against his lover and going to sleep.

~*~

Alan woke up when the sky was light gray. He woke with one of his favorite fantasies playing, the one where Billy has just taken the head of his cock into his mouth and... "Billy," he growled, reaching down and tugging at the younger man's shoulders. "Come up here."

"Mmmmm."

Alan was rapidly losing his cool under his lover's very skilled tongue. "At least let's sixty-nine," Alan sighed. "This is so unfair... to you." The vibrations from Billy's muffled laugh nearly sent him over the edge but he managed to hang on as the very warm tongue glided up and around his cockhead and then devoured him again. It was wonderful. Stroking Billy's hair while the younger man drove him crazy, Alan lay back and simply enjoyed one of his cherished fantasies coming true. And speaking of coming... "Billy... I'm..." How intuitive and understanding of Billy to take him deep into his throat as Alan came.

After one final swallow, Billy crawled up on top of him and kissed him, darting his wonderful tongue into Alan's mouth. The older man allowed himself to enjoy one more passive moment before flipping Billy onto his back and pinning him down. "I like waking up like this, Billy. I like it a lot," he whispered, bending down to kiss Billy's neck.

"Me, too," Billy sighed, arching his back. He spread his legs and wrapped them around Alan's body, rubbing his erection against his lover's groin encouragingly.

Not stumpf (obtuse), Alan got the message that Billy would like to be fucked. Too bad Alan had a class to teach at nine and he was never one to rush through this kind of thing anyway. Alan was many things, but spontaneous, except under the most of dire circumstances, was not one of them. "Mmmmm, you smell good," he said, leaning back to look at him and being rewarded with one of those wonderful smiles. He bent down for a kiss and then continued down to suck on Billy's hard nipples. Alan arched his back to get a little more comfortable between Billy's thighs, which were still gripping him, and felt the younger man tilt his hips up, assuming Alan was about to penetrate him. 'Well, at least he knows what he's doing, if not what I'm doing,' Alan mused as he kissed his way down Billy's chest and tummy. He felt Billy finally understand what was not going to happen and relax. Alan grunted his pleasure at the base of Billy's cock, breathing in his wonderful scent, before gliding his lips up the smooth shaft to tease the head. He was taken by surprise when Billy arched and yelped and came almost before Alan had time to take him in his mouth. Running his tongue around the head of Billy's spent cock, Alan decided he tasted remarkably sweet, almost as good as he smelled. He nipped at Billy's inner thigh, but got no visible reaction. 'Maybe later,' he thought, crawling up beside Billy and cuddling him. "That was easy," he teased.

"I was so turned on sucking you," Billy said between pants. "I'm surprised I didn't come when you did."

"Hmmmmm," Alan said, running his fingers through Billy's tangled curls. "What do you want for breakfast?"

"Carbohydrates."

They had cornflakes.

"Why don't you come back here around five and we'll, um, take a shower and then I'll take you to dinner at The Mandolin," Alan said as they were leaving his apartment.

"Only if we can have more sex," Billy said, smiling. "Are we celebrating?"

"Of course," Alan said. "I'd take you to Danton's if I could afford it."

"I don't think they let you in Danton's in a plaid shirt."

"Billy, for you I'd put on a real shirt and a tie," Alan said.

"I'm impressed, Alan," Billy said, looking impressed.

"Yeah, me, too, Billy."

~4~

Alan slid his tongue along the underside of Billy's cock and up around the head before he took it in his mouth. He paused while a thrill went through him at what Billy's mouth was doing to his own cock. Backing off for a moment, he dipped his middle finger into the pre-cum and saliva on Billy's cockhead. Taking his lover back into his mouth, Alan casually let his fingers wander into the crack of Billy's ass and began to caress the puckered entrance. Billy's moan encouraged him to press his fingertip inside and suck a little harder on his cock. Gently easing his finger in to the hilt, Alan went right to the hard place behind Billy's penis that he'd taken so much care to discover. Feeling close himself, he knew it would only take a few strokes, inside and outside, to bring Billy over the edge. His timing was perfect; he had Billy deep in his throat when they both came and came hard.

Alan disengaged and eased up the length of Billy's body to kiss him. On his way up, he felt Billy's cock hardening again. "Ah, youth," he teased and reached down to stroke the arching flesh.

"I could take a cold shower," Billy suggested.

"Not on your life," Alan said, pushing Billy's hand away from his penis. He knew it was just a courtesy, as they both knew he needed a longer 'down time' between erections. "Yes, Billy, like that, like that," Alan crooned as Billy began to lose control and came. Alan cuddled him for awhile, enjoying the glow. However, it was only late afternoon and Alan had no intention of spending the rest of the day in bed, at least, not this time. "Now I need a shower. Can I borrow your robe?" he asked, getting up.

"Actually, I bought you a present," Billy said, waving at the flannel blue plaid robe on the door next to his black one.

Alan laughed and put it on. He said hello to Nathan, who was watching TV, as he went by. One of the drawbacks, for Alan, of making love at Billy's in the late afternoon was running into Nathan, but they'd both (Alan and Nathan) gotten used to it. Halfway through his shower Billy joined him and it turned out to be a longer shower than he'd expected.

On his way back to the bedroom, Alan noticed that Nathan had left so it must have been a very long shower indeed.

"Alan," Billy began while they were dressing to go out for dinner. "Why haven't you, um, fucked me yet?"

"I wanted to get to know you better."

"Be serious."

"I am." Alan buttoned his shirt.

"For a while I thought you were waiting for me to make the first move," Billy said.

"Mmmmmm." Alan remembered growling at his lover until the offending hand moved to a safer part of his anatomy.

"Don't you want to?" Billy asked. "I mean, I like it and I've done it before and I'd love to feel you inside me. If you want to."

"I do want to," Alan said slowly. "But I'd like to take you away for the weekend for that."

"I'd love that, but we don't have to make a big deal out of it, Alan," Billy said.

"I'd like to make a big deal out of it," Alan said. "It will be the first time we make love that way. Once you've done something, it can never be the first time again. I think it deserves a little..."

"Ceremony?"

"For want of a better word."

"Or is this more of the first sighting, first discovery paleo researcher mentality?"

"Possibly that, too. Possibly also I'd simply like to get away from this university for a few days, wouldn't you?"

"I would. Even though we've been very discreet, we're very watched, you know."

"By those who like Noh dramas, I guess. Actually, it's only in the paleo department and after Isla Sorna, we'd be watched no matter what we were doing," Alan said. "Can you get away this weekend? If we can leave Friday afternoon, all the better."

"Yes. Where are you taking me, if I might know?"

"Baders Inn."

"I've never heard of it."

"It's a nice quiet little spa an hour from here, just over the state-line."

"I hope you can get reservations."

"I made them last week."

***

Arriving at the Inn late in the afternoon, Billy was a little surprised that the man at the front desk greeted Alan by name. "Do you bring many student's here?" he asked when they were alone in their room.

Alan laughed. "No, Billy, well, not many and not lately. I've known his family for years and have been coming here for one reason or another since they opened it. I like it here; it's nice and quiet."

"I noticed. Seems like we'll have the place all to ourselves."

"It's early in the season, so that might be." Alan opened his suitcase and tossing a zippered bag on the nightstand. "Are you tired, Billy? Shall I order tea or do you want a swim or..."

"I want," Billy said, advancing on him, "sex." He pounced.

Alan was tipped onto the bed and lay flat on his back as Billy undid his trousers. Occasionally Billy asserted himself like this and Alan was usually happy to oblige. He watched, enraptured as ever, as Billy coaxed him to full hardness; admiring his lover's dark lashes, lowered in concentration. So much beauty and so much his - it didn't take long for Alan to come.

"Now do you want to go swimming?" he asked.

~*~

They swam, they dined, they talked about Billy's dissertation and relaxed into the fact they would have two days of nothing but each other. They took a walk in the mild night air, simply enjoying each other and the silence.

Billy was having a mild case of nerves, so he was glad that Alan seemed completely at ease when they got back to their room. 'I want this, I'm just nervous,' he thought, relaxing into Alan's arms and kiss. He helped Alan help him out of his clothes and into bed. "God, you feel good, Alan," he sighed.

"So do you, Billy," Alan said, holding him in a loose embrace. "Thanks for being so patient."

"It's been tough, Alan. Why are we going so slowly?" Billy asked, leaning up on one elbow.

"Partly because it's just my nature to go slowly in love," Alan said, drawing Billy back into his arms. "And also because I've seen you rush into one or two inappropriate affairs over the years. I simply didn't want to be another one of your ex-lovers."

"I never knew you were paying that much attention, Alan."

"I've been watching students fling themselves on one another for years, I've always found it amusing," Alan admitted. "But this is different."

"I love you, Alan," Billy said after some silence.

"I love you, too, Billy," Alan said, rolling on top of him. "That's why it's different." He bent down for a long and careful kiss. "You haven't been bored, have you?" he asked, drawing back.

"Not for one moment," Billy said pulling him back down. He kissed Alan hard and pressed his erection against the older man's rising cock. Encouragingly, he wrapped his legs around Alan's waist. "Now I've got you," he said, smiling up at his lover.

"Very much so, Billy, very much so," Alan said, reaching for the zippered bag on the nightstand.

"I brought some, too," Billy said eyeing the condoms and lube Alan was laying out. "You know, Alan, I just can't see you buying condoms and lube at the grocery store."

"Neither could I," Alan said, spreading gel on his fingers. "I got these through mail order off the Internet."

"Who says you don't like technology," Billy said, lifting his hips and squirming happily against the invading digits.

"Depends on the technology." Alan suppressed any response from Billy with a kiss as he stretched and prepared him. "Ready?"

"Very," Billy sighed, draping his legs over Alan's arms and tilting his hips up. He winced ever so slightly when Alan pressed the head in. "No, no, don't stop," he said, holding the older man close.

"I don't want to hurt you," Alan said.

"You're not. It's just been a while," Billy said. "Just go slow."

"With pleasure," Alan sighed and sank a little deeper into his lover's body.

This was what Billy had wanted for a long time, to feel Alan inside him, filling him. He relaxed against the hard cock inside him and made encouraging noises when Alan was in to the hilt. Alan's kiss quieted him and he lay passive for the first few strokes but was soon undulating against his lover in the same rhythm. Neither of them lasted very long, especially when Alan reached between them to bring Billy off. The older man managed two more thrusts into Billy's arching body before collapsing onto him.

"Are you all right?" Alan asked when he had his breath back.

"I'm more than all right, Alan," Billy assured him.

Alan laughed softly and then attended to removing his spent cock from Billy's body and then rising to dispose of the condom. After cleaning up, he poured two glasses from the half bottle of champagne he'd ordered during dinner.

"I'm going to be very spoiled, Alan," Billy said, clinking his glass against his lover's.

"I certainly hope so," Alan smiled at him and slid back into bed.

"You really do things right, don't you?" Billy asked, snuggling up.

"I try, Billy, I try," Alan said, sipping his champagne. "You're worth the time and effort to make this right. If that makes me old fashioned, well, then I'm happy to be the last of my breed."

"And mine, all mine," Billy said, kissing him. He was wrapped in Alan's strong arms and kissed into oblivion. He was exactly where he wanted to be.

~5~

"Of course I'd love to see Eric and so would Alan," Billy said. He'd answered the phone, Amanda Kirby, and the door, Alan Grant, at the same time. He turned his cheek up for a kiss and then went back to his conversation. "There is something that you and Mr. Kirby should know; Alan and I are lovers now." He watched alarm course over his lover's face. "Oh... you thought we were lovers before… huh, well, so I guess it's not an issue..." He rolled his eyes at Alan. "No, we don't live together, but Eric can stay with me, we have fold-out couch he can sleep on... That's great, just let me know when he's arriving so I can get him at the airport. It would be nice to see you and Mr. Kirby, too... oh... maybe next time... Okay, let me know about Eric, bye."

Alan made sure the phone was hung up before he said, "It would not be nice to see the Kirbys again. Ever."

"Maybe, but Eric is delightful; even you think so," Billy said, gliding into Alan's arms and kissing him. "Doesn't he write to you? He said he did."

"Have you spoken to him?" Alan asked.

"Sorry, he emailed me that he was writing to you." Billy looked up into the stern face he adored so much. "Does he write to you?"

"Yes."

"And do you answer?"

"Of course," Alan said, smiling at last. "I answer all my interesting mail."

"If you'd use email, it would be much quicker," Billy teased.

"Not everything is improved by speed." Alan let his hands roam down Billy's back to clasp his ass and pull him closer. "But going to bed with you sooner than later might be the exception."

"I think we should investigate that, just to make sure," Billy said, leading Alan into his bedroom.

Billy turned on the Stones Let it Bleed CD because Alan liked it. He'd once tried to play a Dire Straights CD but Alan had turned it off, saying that it reminded him of swarms of students at digs and that was not very sexy for him. Billy had asked him what he wanted to listen to in bed.

"You, silence, Chopin Nocturnes, or anything by the Stones prior to 1978," Alan had said.

This was fine with Billy, he'd been able to pick up a few classic Stones CDs at the used CD place for a song. He thought he'd save Chopin for later in their romance.

But this was not uppermost in his mind as he rolled around naked in bed with Alan Grant, paleontologist and lover extraordinaire.

Alan gently restrained his young lover, who was trying to open the drawer containing the lube and condoms. "Shhh, slow down, Billy," he whispered, nuzzling his ear. "You're in such a hurry."

He felt Billy relax beneath him and let his mouth wander south to the younger man's neck and chest. He caressed Billy's rock hard nipples with his lips and tongue until his lover's violent trembling threatened to become violent orgasm. This was not Alan's goal for that particular afternoon, but it was good to know he could bring Billy off just playing with his chest; it might come in handy someday.

Lazily, Alan dragged his tongue along Billy's ribcage and tummy. He noticed in passing that the latter was not quite as hard as it used to be but the sedentary academic life did not lend itself to perfect muscle tone. The dig had kept them both in excellent shape, but that was on hold for now. And Billy's injuries had kept him from vigorous exercise; except for their sex life, which, even Alan knew, was pretty tame, however rewarding it might be. Nevertheless, Billy was still exquisite as far as Alan was concerned. He let his mind drift off these topics as he ran the tip of his tongue around the head of Billy's cock.

Alan slid both hands under Billy's ass as he worked his cock down his throat. He had become very good at giving Billy head and he was proud of this fact. In the past, Alan had never really enjoyed this act, but he loved doing it for, as well as getting it from, Billy.

As Billy's moaning and writhing were quickly reaching the point of no return, Alan gently worked his middle finger inside him. He had only caressed the hard place behind Billy's penis twice when his lover came and came hard. Watching Billy shuddering with pleasure, Alan let the limp flesh slip from his lips. He inserted another finger and was rewarded with a happy wriggle and sigh. "Now, we need the condoms and lube," he said, disengaging and opening the drawer himself.

Billy was too floppy to do anything but watch. He did manage to work up enough energy to run his fingertip along the underside of Alan's erection. This got him a smile and a growl. Obediently, he rolled onto his stomach when asked and lifted his hips so Alan could put a pillow under them. Alan was the most considerate lover Billy had ever had and he never failed to appreciate that fact. Especially when Alan was easing into him, so slowly and so gently, but not teasing or making it into a power play. Just good, thorough and wonderful lovemaking.

In this position there was very little Billy could do to participate, which was fine since he was still wiped out from his own orgasm. He was impressed as usual that Alan would think of this and choose a position that would give them both pleasure and he, Billy, some rest. Of course Alan was doing all the work but that was Alan for you. And Alan seemed to be reading his mind, too, because the older man slid a hand under his belly to stroke his renewed erection.

With Billy hard (again) and writhing beneath him, Alan felt no compunction in pounding him a little harder, if only to stay on. Billy might be losing muscle tone, but he was still strong as an ox and Alan would truly feel idiotic asking him to hold still so he could fuck him. At any rate, the extra exertion brought Alan to the edge of climax and he held off a moment to bring Billy along with him. He did allow himself to lie on top of Billy for a few moments, whispering his name and other nonsense, before propping his weight on his elbows. "Are you okay?" he whispered.

"I'm excellent," Billy sighed.

"That," Alan said, withdrawing from his lover's body, "you are. Very much." He listened to Billy's contented chuckle as he rose to tidy up. When he came back, he curled around Billy, who was lightly dozing, for a few moments and then chased him out of bed. It was dinnertime and Alan was hungry.

~*~

"So, what will you do with Eric while he's here?" Alan asked over the remains of Chinese food.

"Show him dinosaur stuff," Billy said. "I'll ask Dr. Heilbronner if I can bring him to the lab."

"I'll ask Otto; he'll say no to you and yes to me," Alan said, looking around the restaurant patio for the waitress. "And I've mentioned Eric to him, so he might even want to meet your guest."

"Yes... my guest," Billy mused, twisting a little to relieve the pain in his shoulders. "I wonder what my guest likes to eat."

"Probably anything he doesn't have to catch." Alan listened to Billy laugh. The waitress brought the check and he paid it. It was a great relief to Alan when Billy stopped offering to pay for all or half or some of the check or leave the tip. It had been something of an early but defining struggle and it was an important victory for old fashioned Alan. Of course, occasionally Billy ambushed him by making arrangements with the restaurant to have them put it on his credit card, thereby checkmating Alan from the gitgo. Unless Billy swore he'd behave, they now only went to places that didn't take credit cards. "How's your back?" he asked, reaching over to rub between Billy's shoulders.

"Okay," Billy said and looked up into Alan's silence and continued. "I saw the orthopedist at the med school; she said more surgery would just make it worse so just let it continue to get stronger. I'll see a physical therapist next week but probably they'll only give me the same exercises I do now." He frowned. "You know, I hate it when you go all 'dad' on me."

Alan frowned back at him. "I'm not going 'dad' on you, Billy," he said. "Don't confuse loverly concern with paternal concern"

"I..."

"Oh look, there's Dean Fag-Hater," Alan said abruptly. "Smile and wave, Billy, smile and wave."

"I wish you wouldn't call Dean Houston, Dean Fag-Hater," Billy murmured under his polite smile.

"Assistant Dean Houston loathes homosexuals and makes no secret of it," Alan said under his own polite smile. "Therefore, I call him what he is and even give him a promotion to full dean."

"But not to his face."

"No, but I'm sure it's been repeated to him," Alan said, waving the assistant dean to a chair. "How pleasant to see you, Assistant Dean, too bad we're just leaving."

"And I'm just waiting for my take-out order," the dean drawled through his nose. He inclined his head with its thinning thatch at Billy and snarled his name. This was as much greeting as he ever gave the young man.

In addition to the way the dean spoke to Billy, Alan hated his voice and so he was glad they had no reason to linger, but said, "What a shame, I was looking forward to discussing how badly the baseball team is doing this season." Alan was never demonstrative in public, but draped his arm around Billy's back in a casual embrace that the dean could not fail to notice.

"Because they suck and that makes fundraising very difficult."

"Then we must pin our hopes on the football team," Alan suggested, watching, with some relief, the waitress approaching with a large take out bag.

"I know I am," Dean Fag-Hater said. "Because right now you, Dr. Grant, are one of my chief fundraising attractions for this university and if you weren't, I'd have kicked you and your boyfriend out of here five minutes after you arrived. Good evening, gentlemen." He stormed out.

Alan took his arm off his boyfriend and asked if he was ready to go.

"Yes, very," Billy said, rising. "You know, Alan, you never hug me in public unless Dean Houston..."

"Assistant Dean Houston," Alan corrected, scanning the parking lot for his car.

"Alan."

"Would you like me to hug you more in public?" Alan asked.

"I'd like you to stop using me to provoke Assistant Dean Houston," Billy said, getting into the car.

"I don't do..." Alan looked over at Billy. "All right, I do provoke Dean Fag-Hater, but he needs it."

"No, he doesn't," Billy laughed at last. "I feel sorry for people like that," he said more seriously. "They don't know what they're missing."

Alan patted Billy's nearest thigh and asked, "Your place or mine?"

"Mine. I have to be at the lab early tomorrow."

***

Alan was not especially happy about giving up his afternoon lovemaking to pick Eric up at the airport. But, well, since Billy was going to be picking Eric up at the airport that afternoon whether Alan was happy or not, Alan decided to tag along. Besides, he had a car and it was a long bus ride to and from the airport. And he was looking forward to seeing Eric in spite of all the grumbling he was doing about it.

"There he is," Alan said, waving at the kid.

"Where?" Billy asked, scanning the deplaning passengers.

"There," Alan said, pointing, realizing that Billy simply did not remember what young Kirby looked like. "Eric! Over here!"

Eric recognized Alan and then turned his attention directly to Billy and kept it there. "Billy!" he yelled, rushing into his arms. "Hi, Dr. Grant," he mumbled and went back to hugging Billy.

"Eric! You've changed," Billy said.

"Has he?" Alan asked, looking at Eric.

"I had a growth spurt," Eric said, looking closely at Billy. "It was weird. You look so much better than the last time I saw you."

"Yeah, a lot has changed," Billy said, smiling at Alan and then back at Eric. "Let's go, okay?" He slipped his arm around Eric, who still had his arm around Billy's waist.

Alan had his arms around no one as they made their way to his car. He also had the very distinct impression that Eric was there to see one person. And it was not him.

They drove to the campus to visit Otto's lab and show it to Eric. On the way there Eric hung over Billy's seat while Billy filled him in on his research. Alan was completely ignored by Eric but that was okay because Alan liked hearing Billy talk about his work. Alan thought perhaps Eric was just a little strung up from his trip. Although that seemed a little strange that a child who could survive eight weeks on Isla Sorna would be 'strung up' from a few hours of plane ride, it was the only explanation he wished to entertain at that time.

"I'm glad you're doing well, Billy," Eric said. "I think about you all the time."

"I think about you, too."

"Doing any parasailing?" Eric asked.

"No," Billy laughed. "You?"

"Nah. Well... just in my dreams sometimes."

"I have those dreams, too, Eric," Billy said, patting Eric's hand.

"They're creepy dreams," Eric said, caressing Billy's neck, and looking deeply into his eyes.

"We're here," Alan said flatly. They'd been parked in front of Heilbronner's lab for some time; Eric and Billy were too wrapped up in each other to notice.

Dr. Heilbronner actually came out of his office to meet Eric and even spoke English as he showed them through the lab. Nathan and several of the other grad students were there to show him around as well. Eric was famous with them for having survived Isla Sorna, rescuing Alan from the raptors and then being rescued from the pteranodons by Billy.

Keeping close to Billy, Eric listened to the students showing him their work and asked several intelligent questions. He was a bright kid and a pleasure to be around. Heilbronner's students, including Billy, could remember being Eric's age and dinosaur crazy. The tour had a festive air of a homecoming, partly because Eric and Billy were so happy to be together, and their happiness was contagious.

However, it was not lost on Heilbronner, who had a fine eye for human interaction that did not involve him, that Eric was staying between Alan and Billy. As the tour continued, this became more obvious to him and he suggested Alan come to his office for a drink. "You've seen all this before, Alan, come with me," he said, leading him down to his office. "Alan, wissen Sie, dass dieses Kind Sie wegen Billy herausfordert?", fragte er, ins Deutsche wechselnd, als sie in seinem Büro saßen. ("Alan, you are aware that this child is challenging you for Billy?" he asked, switching into German, when they were settled in his office.)

"Ja, ich habe das bemerkt", sagte Alan. "Vielleicht sollte ich nachgeben, schließlich habe ich die acht Wochen auf Isla Sorna nicht allein überlebt. Ich schaffte es kaum mit seiner Hilfe." ("Yes, I've noticed," Alan said. "Maybe I should yield, after all, I didn't survive eight weeks on Isla Sorna by myself. I barely survived it with his help.")

"Seien Sie ernsthaft, Alan." Heilbronner nippte an seinem Getränk. "Diese Art von Zuneigung kann sehr schädlich sein für die Psyche eines jungen Mannes." ("Be serious, Alan." Heilbronner sipped his drink. "This kind of infatuation can be very damaging to a young man's psyche.")

"Nun, ich bin wohl kaum mehr jung, Ottto." ("Well, I'm hardly young anymore, Otto.")

"Alan."

"Selbstverständlich haben Sie Recht, er fordert mich wegen Billy heraus, aber sehr subtil", gab Alan zu. "Wie auch immer, er hat noch nichts Offensichtliches unternommen - wie etwa einen Mordversuch. Ich habe nicht die Absicht, irgend etwas dagegen zu tun." ("Of course you're right, he is challenging me for Billy, but very subtly," Alan admitted. "However, since he hasn't done anything overt, like try to kill me, I'm not planning to do anything about it.")

"Herr Brennan weiß nichts,von diesen Spannungen zwischen Ihnen dreien", sagte Heilbronner. "Diese Ignoranz überrascht mich." ("Herr Brennan is unaware of this dynamic between the three of you," Heilbronner said. "This obtuseness surprises me.")

"Es ist merkwürdig, Otto, aber Billy – und auch ich zu einem gewissen Grad – wir behandeln alles, was mit Isla Sorna zu tun hat anders, fast mit einer Art von Blindheit", sagte Alan. "Sehr seltsam, ich habe auf einer Karte der Küste Costa Ricas mit Billy nachgesehen, um die Insel jemanden zu zeigen, und wir könnten sie nicht auf der Karte finden. Sie lag genau vor uns, aber wir könnten unseren Verstand nicht dazu bewegen, sie zu sehen. Sehr eigenartig ." ("It's odd, Otto, but Billy, and I to some extent, treat anything connected with Isla Sorna differently, almost with a blindness," Alan said. "Very strange, I was looking at a map of the Costa Rican coast with Billy, to show the island to someone, and we couldn't find it on the map. It was right in front of us, but we simply couldn't make our brains see it. Very odd.")

"Alarmierend, würde ich sagen." ("Somewhat alarming, I would say.")

"Nein, nur ungewöhnlich", sagte Alan leise. "Ich denke, es ist das gleiche mit Eric, Billy sieht einfach nicht, dass Eric Interesse an ihm hat. Oder er sieht es, weiß aber nicht, wie intensiv es ist. Ich habe vor, mich einfach darüber zu amü sieren, bis es mich zu sehr ürgert." ("No, just odd," Alan said quietly. "I think the same thing is happening with Eric, Billy simply can't see that Eric has a crush on him. Or he does but can't see how intense it is. For myself, I just plan to be amused until I’m annoyed.")

"Das sind Sie bereits, Alan." ("You're annoyed already, Alan.")

"Nun, da haben Sie es." ("Well, there you have it.")

They drank in silence until Nathan came by to tell Alan he'd invited himself along to dinner with Eric. Dr. Heilbronner thought that was an excellent idea and invited himself along as well. "Wunderbar," Alan said, and led them to the cheapest Chinese restaurant he could think of.

Dinner was an interesting event. Somehow, Eric maneuvered Billy into one corner of the booth and Alan on the far end of the table. He answered questions politely and made exceptionally good conversation for a pre-teenager, but mostly he stayed focused on Billy, practically snuggled up against him and the booth was not that small.

Alan looked on impassively and talked about Nathan's research with Nathan and Heilbronner. Occasionally he glanced at Billy to see if his lover was recoiling in horror from his too young suitor yet. He then felt stupid for thinking this because even if Eric could 'get' Billy, the kid would have no idea what to do with him. On the other had, the kid had survived Isla Sorna and would probably figure it out very quickly. Alan dismissed that as jealous and absurd and concentrated on his dinner. He did notice that Nathan seemed to be watching the Eric and Billy show with more interest as the meal progressed.

Alan and Heilbronner split the check, Heilbronner waving off Nathan's polite offers to pony up for at least the tip. Alan gave Billy, Nathan and Eric a ride to the grad students' apartment and saw them upstairs.

"Are you staying at Dr. Grant's, Billy?" Nathan asked.

"No, I'm staying here with you and Eric," Billy said, puzzled by the question.

Nathan looked uncomfortable and said, "Well, it would be less crowded if you were at Dr. Grant's."

Billy thought back on the times when three or four of Nathan's friends were camped out in their place and simply couldn't believe his ears. "What?"

"Perhaps Eric should come stay with me," Alan said, beginning to get Nathan's drift. Eric and Billy in close proximity could lead to trouble.

"I don't see why it's..." Billy began.

"Perhaps you both should come home with me," Alan said firmly.

"I think we should stay here," Eric suggested, giving Billy's arm a squeeze.

"No, I think one or both of you should go with Dr. Grant," Nathan said.

"Okay," Billy said through clenched teeth. "Let me get a few things and we'll go."

Nathan shot Alan a grateful look and retreated to his bedroom.

Left alone, silence spread between the man and boy, until Alan asked, "Enjoying your visit so far, Eric?"

"Yes."

"Good."

Billy came out with a small bag and they went to Alan's place.

Alan's apartment was the same size as Billy and Nathan's place, but seemed bigger because he lived alone. There was a fold out couch in the room he used for an office and he let Billy settle Eric in there. The kid seemed tired, but still kept Billy with him until Alan had to go 'dad' and insist Eric go to sleep, if only so he and Billy could get enough sleep for the next day.

"Nathan has a lot of nerve," Billy said as they were undressing for bed.

"How so?"

"Asking you to take Eric because it's 'crowded' at our place," Billy said. "We had the fucking crew team staying with us for a week last month and they were all his friends."

"That's not why Nathan wanted Eric here or you and Eric here," Alan said, getting into bed. "He had the same concern I had."

"Which is?" Billy asked, puzzled.

"That Eric would try to crawl into bed with you."

"Alan, that has to one of the weirdest..."

"How are you not seeing..."

"...ideas you've ever had."

"... this? The kid is all over you like a cheap suit."

"He has a crush on me, Alan, it's totally innocent."

"Is it?"

"Yes, I have a crush on him, so what?"

"You do?"

"Yes, he's adorable," Billy said. "And smart and brave. Just like you." He snuggled into Alan's arm.

"He is not just like me," Alan said, slightly mollified. "He's tougher than I am."

"And he's thirteen," Billy said, yawning. "Ummmmm... Alan..." He drew away as Alan's hand drifted below his waist.

"What?" Alan pulled him back and pressed his hard-on against him.

"I don't think I can make love with Eric in the next room."

"Pretend he's not there," Alan said, nuzzling Billy's neck.

"But he is there," Billy insisted.

"Use your imagination," Alan said, rolling on top of him. "And pretend he's not there."

"Alan, I don't want to have sex right now."

"But I do! Humor me. Please."

"Oh, all right," Billy sighed, rolling Alan onto his back. "But nothing elaborate," he added, tugging the covers back with a business-like heft and easing between Alan's legs.

"We could at least sixty-nine... or is that too elaborate?" Alan asked, lying back.

"Humor me," Billy said, pumping Alan's cock a few times before working it down his throat. He didn't linger or spin the blow job out; he did what Alan liked but he also did what made Alan cum quickly. And he noticed that Alan was making a little more noise than usual and speeded up accordingly. "Happy?" he asked, stretching out beside his panting lover.

"Very," Alan said, reaching for him. "Now, for you!"

"Go to sleep, Alan."

"But, Billy..."

"No, I mean it, go to sleep."

Billy didn't get that 'tone' in his voice very often, but when he did, Alan took it seriously. He curled around his lover and went to sleep; he was tired anyway.

***

Billy gave Eric breakfast while Alan was out running with Dr. Rowan. Having heard about Eric from Alan, Dr. Rowan came in for a few minutes after the run to meet him. "I'm told you're quite an amazing young man, Eric," Rowan said.

"I wouldn't be here if it weren't for Billy," Eric said, gazing fondly at Billy and making sure he was securely between his rescuer and Alan. "It's nice he says that about me."

"Dr. Grant says that about you, Eric," Rowan said, glancing at Alan, who was laughing into his coffee.

"Oh... does he?" Eric said vaguely.

"I think you're amazing, too, Eric," Billy said, putting his hands on Eric's shoulders.

Eric beamed at him and asked what they were doing that day. Billy listed off a few museums and a late afternoon lecture on a South American dig by a visiting grad student. It was a fundraiser for the project so it would be at a level Eric could understand.

"I might even join you for that lecture," Alan said.

Eric said, "Oh," and smiled hollowly. Breakfast was over and he and Billy left for their day.

"You know, Alan," Rowan said. "I'm not a psychologist or romance novel writer but, as an observer of nature, it seems to me that young man is more interested in Billy than perhaps he should be."

"Otto thinks Eric is challenging me for him," Alan said.

"Yes... the signals are there," Rowan said, thinking back on Eric's demeanor. "Not aggressive, but obvious nevertheless. What does Billy say about it?"

"He says it's just a crush," Alan said, omitting that Billy had a crush on Eric, too. "And because Eric is so young, it's perfectly innocent."

"How old is Eric?" Rowan asked.

"Oh, twelve, thirteen, fourteen; something like that."

"Interesting ages," Rowan mused. "Eric seems like the kind of adolescent who would succeed at whatever he set his mind to."

"That would worry me more if he weren't leaving tomorrow morning," Alan said. "Early tomorrow morning."

"Oh, I'm sure you'll prevail, Alan," Rowan said, laughing. "How will you get through this evening though?"

"Paleo videos, and lots of them," he said, seeing Rowan out.

~*~

"Good morning, Marva," Alan said on his way into his office. He nodded at the student waiting to see him. "Any news?"

"Dean Houston..."

"Assistant Dean Houston," Alan corrected, absently flipping through his mail.

"Assistant Dean Houston would like to see you tomorrow," Marva said.

"His place or mine?" Alan tore open a letter from Science magazine.

"Here, if you don't mind," she said, trying to read through the backside of Alan's letter from Science magazine. "What time?"

"Well, let's see, do I want Dean Fag-Hater to ruin my morning or my afternoon?"

The student waiting for Alan's eyes got big and he lowered them when Marva shot him a warning look.

"Alan," Marva said under her breath.

"Nine o'clock then, if the Assistant Dean has nothing better to do. Might as well get it over with," Alan said. "Oh, by the way, Science wants my paper on raptor vocalizations; the theoretical vocalizations the dead ones might have made, that is, the one I dashed off while Billy was away on a field trip. It will be the cover story."

"Congratulations," Marva said.

"Yes, I'm obviously still loved in pop science circles," Alan said, waving the student into his office. "Whereas the Journal of Paleontology is willing to be willing to just possibly consider my more in-depth paper on a similar subject that I sweated blood over if, and only if, I make the changes requested, but actually demanded, in the reviews by my peers."

"And which one do you want more?" Marva asked, knowing the answer.

"Why, the peer reviewed one, Marva, of course," he said. "You know I only care what other paleontologists think of me."

"And Billy," she added.

"Yes, and Billy, he's a paleontologist; a very good one, too."

~*~

"Hello, Nathan. To what do I owe this visit?" Alan asked, looking up at the grad student standing in the sun slanting into his office.

"Billy said you might be attending Toby's lecture this afternoon," Nathan said, leaning on a file cabinet. "I thought I'd walk over with you and tell you about my interesting day."

"Oh?" Alan said, glancing at the clock. "It is that time, isn't it?'' He put on his coat and went out with Nathan. "Tell me about your day then," Alan said, trying very hard not to sound 'dad'.

"Well, first off, Billy is really pissed off at me," Nathan said.

"I know; he'll get over it. Where'd you see him today?" Alan asked, knowing Billy had the day off but Nathan should have been slaving away in Heilbronner's lab.

"I tracked them down in the Natural History Museum to test a theory I developed with Dr. Heilbronner."

"Which was?" Alan asked, curious as to what Otto and Nathan might be gossiping about.

"That Eric only mauls Billy when you're present," Nathan said.

"And?"

"It's true; when you're not there, he keeps a reasonable distance and interacts normally with the environment."

"Which he? Billy or Eric?" Alan asked.

"Eric! I'm further testing the theory by going to this lecture to see what happens there," Nathan said. "Dr. Heilbronner will also be there to observe."

"I take it you've already reported back to him about the museum," Alan said.

"Of course, and he told me to come get you."

"Will you be setting up a blind to observe us from or just blend in with the environment?" Alan laughed.

"We'll be blending in," Nathan said. "Billy is really mad at me about last night."

"Did he give you hell in front of Eric?" Alan asked, surprised that Nathan was so disturbed by this.

"No, but I could tell," Nathan said.

"I'll keep Billy occupied and at my place until he cools off," Alan said. "Unless your girlfriend will let you move in for a week."

"Hey, there's an idea!"

"Always happy to help out, Nathan," Alan said. "Ah, here we are."

Once inside, Nathan faded away into the crowd and Alan found Billy, seated on the aisle, Eric next to him. Considering the best vantage, Alan took the seat next to Eric. He gave Billy's shoulder a squeeze on the way by and got a sharp look from Eric.

"Enjoy your day with Billy, Eric?" Alan asked with a smile.

"Yes, thanks."

"Oh, you're welcome, Eric," Alan said, noticing that Eric's knee was against Billy's and Eric's hand was drifting toward Billy's thigh. Or possibly he was just imagining it. "We certainly want you to enjoy the time you have here, while you're here," he said coolly. He looked around the auditorium and found Otto watching them with a pair of opera glasses. Alan had such a pair of glasses, which he used to get a better look at specimens the lecturer had on stage, but he also used them to spy on people in audiences. Like Otto, he thought people were, on rare occasions, more interesting than fossils. He caught Billy's eye and returned his lover's warm smile over Eric's head. This only caused Eric to sit up straighter.

Fortunately the lecture started and it was a fairly interesting lecture. Toby Malone was an excellent speaker and Alan thought if he had a grad student who spoke so well, he'd send him out to grub for money, as Norris Vaton, Toby's mentor, had done.

At the end of the question and answer period, Toby leapt into the audience and flung his arms around Nathan and pounded him on the back.

"I guess they know each other," Alan said to Billy.

"He can have him," Billy growled.

Alan disguised his laughing as coughing but knew Billy was not fooled.

Hearing Billy say, "Hmmmmm," Alan followed his lover's gaze and saw Nathan waving them over. Nathan must have noticed Billy's hesitation and pointed at Eric and then Toby, who must have wanted to meet Eric, and waved harder.

"C'mon Eric," Billy finally said.

Alan tagged along to see how Billy was going to treat Nathan; quite cordially, in front of company, as it turned out.

Toby was delighted to meet Eric and asked him a few questions before suggesting they all be his guest at an early dinner. "You especially, Dr. Grant," Toby said.

"Oh? Why me especially?" Alan asked.

"Dr. Vator says he owes you a dinner..."

"That he does," Alan said, suppressing a chuckle at the memory of Vator's grumpy visit to the Montana dig and the subsequent dinner in a cowboy bar, at which Vator made a pass at three female students in quick succession and was rebuffed by each and every one.

"... and if he could return the favor without actually having dinner with you..."

Alan laughed out loud at this.

"...I should make every effort to lure you into a restaurant," Toby finished up graciously. "Now, if I could get all of you, that would be a real coup."

'No wonder Vator sends this kid to grub for money,' Alan thought, but merely said he'd be charmed to accept. Eric, Billy, Nathan and Otto were charmed to accept as well and they went to the cheap and cheerful Thai place all towns with a large college population have. "I wonder you're not dining with funding types, Toby," Alan said after they'd ordered. He was flushed with victory as he'd outmaneuvered Eric and was seated on the other side of Billy from him, instead of at the other end of the table.

"I did lunch and tea with them," Toby said, over his Thai iced tea. "Dean Houston..."

"Assistant Dean Houston," Heilbronner corrected.

"Assistant Dean Houston arranged a meeting place for us and lunch and tea as well," Toby said.

"What's this university's cut of what you raise here?" Alan asked, knowing Dean Fag-Hater would never do anything out of pure goodness.

"Ten percent," Toby said. "And it's funneled through his office."

"Athletics must be doing worse than I thought if Dean Fa... Assistant Dean Houston is money funneling for only ten percent," Alan said.

"Hopefully the football team will have a better year," Heilbronner said.

"I didn't know you followed the football team, Dr. Heilbronner," Nathan said, amazed since Heilbronner never seemed to leave his office.

"I am aware of whatever affects the prestige of this institution," Heilbronner said, majestically.

"Which affects how much money the fundraisers, like Assistant Dean Houston, can twist out of donors," Alan said and turned back to Toby. "Ten percent? I doubt Vator will like that."

"We're very hard up, Dr. Grant," Toby said. "We'd rather lose ten percent of whatever I raised here than not raise anything at all because we're on your turf, so to speak."

"A new era in paleontology: Co-operative grubbing for money," Alan said, watching Eric whispering to Billy. Actually the entire table was watching them and they broke apart when they realized they were observed. The ever charming Toby came to the rescue by asking Eric about Isla Sorna. Alan found himself actually enjoying a second evening of discussing that painful subject. This was probably due to the fact that they were all in the field and knew the hardships and rewards of the paleo life. Isla Sorna was an extreme theme-park-from-hell nightmare version of that life.

The little group discussed the incidents on Isla Sorna with scientific detachment and courtesy. There was no lurid curiosity here, only a group of people sharing their experiences in their field. It was pleasant to be sitting next to his lover, with whom he wanted to spend the rest of his life, in the company of good scientists and friends. A warm glow suffused Alan's being until he glanced into Billy's lap and saw how far up Billy's thigh Eric's hand was resting. The warm glow turned to ice cold rage and he lifted his eyes to find Eric watching him, not moving his hand away, just watching him. Alan leaned halfway across Billy and Eric leaned the other half. Lowering his voice to a dangerous whisper, Alan growled, "If you don't take your hand off Billy right now, I will take you to the airport and put you on the first plane going anywhere."

The whole table froze. Eric removed his hand and he and Alan leaned slowly back.

Alan took a deep breath and blandly asked if there was any pad thai left.

~*~

Outside the restaurant, Alan separated Eric from the group. Seeing Alan's intent, Nathan, Heilbronner and even Toby distracted Billy long enough for him to herd Eric out of Billy's hearing. The man and boy silently squared off.

Alan felt rather stupid for having to say this to an adolescent, but say it he would and, low and deadly, he said, "Eric, Billy is mine."

"For now," Eric returned, just as low and just as deadly.

Alan stopped feeling stupid and began to feel really angry. "Forever, Eric, forever," he snarled.

Eric removed his piercing gaze from Alan's face to just over his shoulder and cut off whatever he was going to say. Alan looked over his shoulder and found Billy looking on impassively, his face unreadable.

"Let's go," Billy said slowly, enunciating clearly. They said goodnight to Heilbronner, Toby and Nathan and went home.

Once there, due to the late hour and Eric's early flight, Eric excused himself and went straight to bed.

"Well, I guess I'll go to bed, too," Alan said, hoping to avoid a scene.

Billy followed him into the bedroom and began to undress. "Alan, how can you be jealous of a child?" Billy asked, sitting on the edge of the bed.

"Billy," Alan said, sitting up. "If a grown man had his hand on your crotch..."

"His hand was on my thigh, Alan."

"It was awfully damn close to your crotch, Billy, but, be that as it may; if a grown man had done that, you would have been horrified," Alan said. "Why can't you see this kid is after you?"

"Because he's just a kid!"

"He's an amazing kid!"

"I don't disagree..." Billy leaned forward and kissed Alan on the forehead. "What did you say to him back there, outside the restaurant?" He rose to finish undressing.

"I said you were mine," Alan said.

"Of course I am."

"Don't you want to know what he said?" Alan asked.

"If you want to tell me," Billy said, sliding into bed and cuddling up.

"He said, 'for now'."

Billy sat up to think about this and lay back down. "I wonder what he meant?" he murmured sleepily.

Alan rolled his eyes and told him to go to sleep.

***

"Welcome, Assistant Dean Houston," Alan said the next morning at nine sharp. Dean Fag-Hater was punctual if nothing else. "What can we offer you in the way of hospitality? Marva, what do we have?"

"Instant coffee and cheap tea in bags," she said, admiring Alan's show.

"Will you have some..." Alan began.

"Nothing, thank you," the dean rapped out and walked into Alan's office. "I suppose you want to know why I'm here." He took a seat by Alan's desk.

"Would you like me to guess?" Alan asked, sitting behind his desk and folding his hands in front of him. He'd left his Science magazine letter of acceptance where the dean could not fail to see it and he watched the dean skimming it, twice, before turning his attention back to Alan.

"No. Don't guess," Houston snarled in his dreadful nasal voice. "I believe I've found a funding source for your Montana dig. It will be necessary for you to be nice to certain people over the next few weeks. I'm warning you so you can prepare yourself to fundraise."

"This is most kind of you, Assistant Dean," Alan murmured wondering why the hell Dean Fag-Hater would raise funds for a project outside this university. Possibly it was connected with the new grubbing for money model he'd discussed with Toby last night at dinner.

"If I can get your dig back open," Houston snarled. "You'll go there. If you take Brennan with you, that would be optimal."

"Not mention wonderfully romantic," Alan said dramatically. "But I doubt Dr. Heilbronner will let him go. He is, after all, Otto's student now, not mine."

"Work it out, Grant," Houston said, rising. "I'll get the money, you two just go for a few months."

"I'll do my best not to disappoint you, Assistant Dean," Alan said, opening the door. He found Billy pacing nervously outside. "Billy! You remember Assistant Dean Houston, don't you?"

Billy said hello and then extended Alan's car keys to him. "Thanks for lending me your car to take Eric to the airport," he said with a weary sweetness Alan found odd.

A look of complete horror possessed Assistant Dean Houston's face and he choked out, "You lend him your car, Grant?"

"Oh, Assistant Dean," Alan said, drawing Billy into his arms. "That is the very least of what I lend him." He managed not to laugh until the dean had bolted from the room. He felt Billy slump against him and hugged him tighter while Marva looked on smiling.

"Want some tea, Billy? We have a good Ceylon. Or coffee, I could grind some Mocha Java for you," she offered.

"Nothing, thanks, Marva," Billy said, managing to smile a little.

"Come into my office for a moment, Billy," Alan said, wondering what was wrong. Had Billy crashed his car or gotten a ticket or something. "What's up?" he asked closing the door.

"Alan, you were right!" Billy said, wrapping his arms around Alan's neck.

"About Eric?"

"Yes!" Billy's face was buried in Alan's neck so his shout was somewhat muffled.

"What happened?" Alan said, deeply curious and holding Billy a little away from him.

"Eric's flight was called and as I was hugging him good-bye..." Billy took a deep breath. "He grabbed my ass and told me that if I ever got sick of you, he'd be waiting."

"I'll kill him."

"No, don't kill him, he's just a kid," Billy said, recovering a little. "It was worse than that, Alan, he said it in Paul Kirby's voice."

"Oh, my poor darling Billy," Alan said drawing the shuddering young man into his arms and hiding his utter amusement at the thought of those words coming out of Eric in his father's voice. It was as funny, to him, as it was horrifying. "Well, never mind, he's just a kid."

Billy leaned back to look at him. "A kid who will be an adult very soon."

"He'll probably go hetro when puberty kicks in," Alan said. "After all, he lives in Enid, Oklahoma; no queer role models there I'm aware of."

"Alan!"

"Are there any queer role...?"

"I've no idea," Billy laughed. "Still... he'll probably marry the first girl he knocks up in high school."

Alan got to laugh at this. "Is my car all right?" he asked.

"Yes, 'dad', thank you for lend..."

"I'm just asking," Alan said hastily. "I'm sure it's fine."

Billy leaned forward and kissed him affectionately. "Now that my guest is gone, let's make love on your couch this afternoon," he suggested, rubbing noses with Alan.

"With a paleo video on?"

"Is there any other way to make love on your couch?" Billy asked, drawing back when Marva buzzed Alan to announce his next appointment was waiting for him. "See you later."

"Yes, about three; we'll watch paleo videos." Alan saw him out, wishing it was three already. And then he went back to work.

***

A few days later Billy received a thank you note from Eric with a tactful but obscure apology for grabbing him at the airport. This made Alan suspicious of the kid's motives, but it made Billy feel better and that was the most important thing.

~6~

Billy thought he knew Alan well. After all, they had worked together in Denver and then at the dig in Montana for a couple of years. Alan had been his thesis advisor at one time and although Billy had adored him from afar, he'd still gotten close enough to get snapped at a time or two and thereby find Alan's boundaries. And now they were lovers.

However, the man could still surprise him, at least in the area of fashion. At the dig and in Denver, Alan used to wear jeans and flannel shirts or cotton shirts in hot weather. If he needed to dress up, he added a herringbone or hound's-tooth jacket with the regulation academic leather patches on the elbows. And of course the ever-present battered fedora. Alan had always dressed this way; Billy never gave it a second thought, just assuming that this was Alan's taste in clothes. Being more of a khakis man himself, Billy considered Alan's wardrobe to be the height of macho paleontologist chic.

So, he had been stunned the first time he'd seen Alan – his dusty, grumpy, rumpled Alan – clad in an elegant black suit and homburg hat, his hair neatly brushed back and smelling of bay rum aftershave. Alan had laughingly explained this was how paleontologists on the east coast dressed and this was borne out when they met up with Dr. Heilbronner, on his way to the same event as Alan, dressed almost identically (Heilbronner's tie was more daring than Alan's). Billy got to go home and think it over by himself that evening. Later on, he had very much enjoyed pulling the chic ensemble off his lover, who still smelled of bay rum overlaid with cognac and cigar smoke, so that was all to the good.

By now he was used to seeing this sleeker, smoother Alan, but was still fascinated by the transformation whenever he was allowed to witness it. That afternoon they had made love and, still abed, Billy was watching Alan dress through lowered lashes. He was also striking the most alluring poses he could think of in an effort to lure his lover back to bed, which he'd already done once, but Alan was studiously ignoring him so he gave up and thought about their conversation earlier in the day while seated on Alan's couch.

"Billy, I'm sure you realize that there's nothing I would not do for you," Alan had said. "But I want to set some limits right now, before you begin to think I don't have any."

"Okay," Billy said, snuggling closer and letting his hand creep up Alan's twill clad thigh.

"No, Billy, don't distract me; this is important," Alan said, removing the much loved hand from his leg. "I even have a list," he added, taking a folded sheet from his breast pocket.

This made Billy sit up and take notice as Alan began to read it.

"First of all," Alan began, glancing over his reading glasses at him. "There is to be absolutely no cross-dressing in our relationship, no marching in Gay Pride parades – hopefully you won't wish to attend such things, but if you do, you'll have to go alone – no strange costumes in public or private, no leather, no S/M, bondage or other forms of kinky sexual behavior, no pornography, and no visits to gay bars, bathhouses, or other gay events or venues."

"No leather? Alan, you've seen my leather jacket; you've never objected to it before," Billy said, trying not to laugh out loud at Alan's list.

"Yes and that jacket is acceptable. But no pants or hats to go with it," Alan allowed. "And absolutely no chaps," he added, with a small shudder.

"And pornography? Alan, one man's porn is another man's erotica," Billy said seriously.

"Possibly... We shall consider that on a case by case basis," Alan said.

"And gay bars; Alan, does this mean you'll never take me salsa dancing? A gay bar is probably the only place we could possibly..."

"I regret to inform you, Billy, that we must continue to confine our salsa dancing to the kitchen," Alan said without a trace of regret.

"With the doors locked and the blinds drawn. Oh well, too bad; you're such a great dancer, a shame the world will never know..." Billy said. Alan, as Billy discovered after teasing him about it, was a wonderful dancer; he had learned in South America and Africa which is where all the major digs had been when he was Billy's age and younger.

"Well, perhaps if we were in Paris or Berlin..." Alan relented a little.

"Or LA, New York or San Francisco?"

"Remind me of this conversation when we're in one of those places and I'm in any danger of dancing with you in a gay bar," Alan said, dismissively.

"Is that the end of your list?" Billy asked, snuggling closer.

"For now."

"I do have a question." He raised his big brown eyes to Alan's blue ones. "If we live together..."

"When we live together, Billy, that's the reason for this whole discussion," Alan said, rather sternly. "To clarify things well in advance."

"Okay, when we live together, may I have a Christmas tree?"

"Of course, Billy! What kind of an ogre do you think I am?"

"I don't know," Billy said, straddling Alan's lap. "Let's find out," he added, devouring his mouth.

With much practiced grace and efficiency, they wrestled each other out of their clothes and, in the process, to breathlessness. A firm grip here, a well placed caress there was all it took to bring them both to the brink.

Knowing exactly what he wanted that afternoon, Alan had pinned Billy long enough for the younger man to calm down and be more malleable.

Alan very discreetly kept lube and condoms and towels in the lower drawer of the end table. He had so few visitors; he never worried that his cache would be discovered. Sitting up, he opened the drawer and took out what he needed. He drew Billy astride his lap and pulled him into a long, sweet kiss and then down to nuzzle his lover's warm neck. "You're not sore, are you?" he asked, pressing Billy's erection against his own. "Good," he said, when Billy whispered 'no' in his ear.

As Billy charmingly squirmed in his lap, Alan applied lube to his fingers and pressed them inside his lover. He sheathed his cock with latex, more out of fastidiousness now than hygiene, and drizzled some lube on it. Guiding Billy's hips over his erection, he gently eased into the younger man.

Billy arched his back as Alan progressed into him up to the hilt. Pausing to rest when he was fully impaled, Billy gently removed Alan's hand from his erection; he was rock hard and didn't want to come before Alan.

Understanding that Billy wished to set the pace for their love making, and that in this position that was optimal, Alan let his miniscule passive streak rise and sat back to enjoy Billy riding his cock. It was, as usual, a delightful show and very pleasurable for both of them. By the time Billy had reached the apex of his arousal, Alan was thrusting up into him in the same rhythm he was stroking the younger man's cock. Unable to wait any longer, Alan held Billy hard on his lap and came with a strangled shout. He heard Billy's orgasmic cry, felt his cock jerk in his hand and then moisture. It was wonderful. Billy collapsed against his chest, murmuring incoherently, and Alan cuddled him, stroking his back in an exhausted but comforting manner. Eventually, he found the energy to get the younger man into bed for a quick nap and then more sex.

Alan loved these afternoons with Billy and didn't know how he'd lived all his life before this man was his lover. Really he didn't.

But now, glancing in the mirror, Alan noticed that Billy had been suspiciously still for some time. He had been enjoying the sultry poses he was being treated to very much but, not that he was unappreciative (quite the contrary), Otto Heilbronner was picking him up shortly and they were dining with Dean Fag-Hater and some serious money donors. 'Dean Fag-Hater ought to be good for something,' he thought, adjusting his suit cuffs on his way to the bed. 'And the department certainly needs the money.'

"Hey, you," he said, sitting next to Billy and looking into his warm brown eyes. "What are you doing in there?"

"Thinking about Christmas trees," Billy said innocently.

"Already?"

"Yes, we'll have to get a big one," Billy said, putting his hands to Alan's well-tailored shoulders.

"Hmmmm," Alan said, leaning down to kiss him. "Don't muss me, Billy," he warned gently.

"Yes, dear," Billy murmured, inhaling the scent of soap, toothpaste and bay rum aftershave. "Who are you all dressed up for tonight?" he asked, letting his hands fall to his sides.

"Mr. and Mrs. Walspurgus."

"Sounds like it will be a very German language evening," Billy said.

"Unfortunately for Otto, it won't," Alan said, glancing at the bedside clock. "They don't speak a word of it. Dean Fag-Hater will be there. Did you know he speaks German? And quite well, too."

"I doubt I shall ever have the pleasure, Alan; he hates me."

"He hates us, Billy, not just you." Alan brushed a stray curl off Billy's forehead. "Will you be here when I get back?"

"If that's alright with you."

"It is, but I feel I'm keeping you from your work..."

"You're not, Alan. I brought my laptop; I'll be productive until you get home."

'Home.' What a lovely sound that word had in Billy's mouth, Alan thought. "Ah, there's Otto." He shot an annoyed glance at the door. "I'll see you in a few hours."

"You shall," Billy said, giving him a quick kiss and wishing him good luck.

"Thanks, I'll need it; I hate fundraising."

"I know."

***

"But where's Billy Brennan? I was so hoping to meet him!" Mrs. Walspurgus had said five seconds after they arrived at Assistant Dean Houston's lovely home. Another few moments passed while Alan and Otto were introduced to the excruciatingly thin Mrs. Houston. "Really, I was," Mrs. Walspurgus said, re-inserting herself into the conversation.

"Billy?" Alan said, nonplussed and looking at Otto for help.

"I believe Herr Brennan had other plans this evening," Otto said smoothing over the subject and exchanging glances with Assistant Dean Houston.

"Well, I'd still like to meet him while where here," Mrs. Walspurgus shrilled. "I mean, anyone who'd go parasailing with pteranodons is far too exciting a person not to meet."

Alan had pretty much decided he didn't like Mrs. Walspurgus at all when Mr. Walspurgus glided up and told him how much he admired his work. Drinks were handed out and Alan was trapped in the evening. Fortunately, Otto Heilbronner was a master fundraiser and over the course of the evening he and Dean Fag-Hater diverted as much of the conversation as possible to themselves. Alan was spared a nasty interrogation and was therefore able to answer a few questions about Isla Sorna and Isla Nublar affably. He froze up whenever the conversation veered toward Billy and since this was apparently a 'no-go' zone, the Walspurguses left it alone after a few pokes.

Surprisingly, for Alan, Dean Fag-Hater and his wife were perfectly charming hosts. However, he wondered how pleasant they were when there wasn't a five million dollar gift on the line.

Anyway, the evening ground on and on. The catered dinner was good, Mrs. Houston was gracious, the conversation fairly interesting - Otto could be quite charming when he was so inclined - and none too soon it was over. Assistant Dean Houston saw the paleontologists to the door.

"Grant, I think that..." Houston began.

"I believe we would rather discuss this tomorrow," Heilbronner neatly cut him off and closed the door behind himself and Alan.

Alan slumped gratefully in the passenger seat of Heilbronner's ancient Mercedes. "Thanks for the rescue, Otto," Alan said when they were on their way.

"Not at all, Alan," Heilbronner said, guiding the car along the quiet streets to Alan's apartment. "I wanted to be gone as badly as you did." He listened to his colleague's noncommittal grunt and drove on in silence. "May I come in for a moment?" he asked, turning the car off.

"Billy is waiting for me," Alan said.

"I'm sure he won't object to waiting a little longer, then," Otto persisted, thinking that he should not have to put up a fight over such a simple request and if this is Herr Brennan's effect on his old friend it was...

"Please come in, Otto, I have some of that cognac you like so much," Alan said with a smile.

"That would be pleasant," Heilbronner said, following Alan into the building.

Alan hesitated at the door of his apartment and asked Heilbronner to wait a moment. "Let me make sure he's, ah, dressed," Alan said awkwardly.

Heilbronner suppressed his amusement at Alan's discomfort and, since Billy was fully dressed, was soon settled of his host's couch and sipping some excellent cognac. Alan sat next to him with Billy, drinking peppermint tea, curled up on the opposite end. It was not a very large couch but, with Billy snuggled into Alan's side, Otto had enough personal space around him to feel very comfortable. He also enjoyed observing Alan and Billy when they were feeling safe and relaxed. They presented a picture of great happiness and devotion that Otto found touching.

"How'd it go?" Billy asked, looking up at Alan.

"Oh, fine."

"Mr. and Mrs. Walspurgus were somewhat disappointed," Heilbronner said.

"What about?" Billy asked Alan, who was not looking at him.

"Oh, nothing," Alan said. "Do you want some cognac?"

"No, thanks. Why were they be disappointed, Dr. Heilbronner?" Billy asked.

"It is something you should discuss with Alan," Heilbronner said, enjoying his drink very much.

"Alan?"

"Billy, it's nothing," Alan said dismissively.

"Oh, I see." Billy sat up and drank down the last of his tea. "Can you drop me at my place on your way home, Dr. Heilbronner?"

"Of course."

"Then I'll..."

"Alright, I give in," Alan said with a sigh, drawing Billy back under his arm. "The Walspurguses wanted to meet you."

"Me?"

"Yes, Billy, you," Alan continued. "They seemed to be expecting you and were disappointed in just me and Otto tonight. I didn't know a thing about it, did you, Otto?"

"No, nothing," Heilbronner said, watching the couple next to him. "But I cannot imagine Houston inviting you and Herr Brennan to his home; ever."

"Nor I," Alan said. "And I'd rather not expose you to the Mrs. Walspurguses of the world if I can help it, Billy."

"Why? Are you ashamed of me?" Billy asked.

"No, of course not," Alan laughed. "I'm ashamed of her."

"She was a very loud woman, I agree," Otto said, accepting more cognac. "But a very rich woman and willing to part with quite a bit of money for a few moments of conversation with..."

"I would prefer not to inflict Mrs. Walspurgus on Billy, Otto," Alan said in his end-of-discussion voice.

Heilbronner let the silence spin out, knowing that Billy, in his innocent youth, would crack under it and speak first. If overprotective Alan would let him.

"Well, I suppose my last fundraising effort was disaster all the way around," Billy said slowly.

"Oh, I don't know; we lived," Alan said, hugging him. "And we rescued Eric," he added through clenched teeth.

"But no money, which was why..."

"That," Heilbronner said, cutting the young man off, "was completely Alan's fault. One always makes sure the check clears before the work starts."

"You had to be there, Otto," Alan sighed.

Heilbronner shifted his gaze from his drink to Billy, who was looking at him with soft brown eyes. Probably Alan had looked into those eyes, remembered how important the dig was to Billy's career, not to mention that Alan might lose him as a student if the dig closed and Billy had to find another way to finish his PhD. And, knowing Alan as he did, Heilbronner could guess that Alan was half in love already and didn't know it. Of course he caved in like rotten fruit and went on the mad errand with the Kirbys. It was to be hoped that Alan would learn to say no to those eyes one day. Unfortunately for the current fundraising project, it appeared Billy would obey Alan in all things and not press to be involved. However, the situation might be more salvageable than Heilbronner gave it credit at just that moment. Finishing his drink he excused himself and went home to telephone Assistant Dean Houston with a slightly revised plan for happily parting the Walspurguses from their five million.

***

The water rushed into his throat. Pressed into the rock. Fighting for air, fighting to get a way from the claws and beaks. Blackness. Cold. Fear. Lifting him and slamming him back down. Fighting them off again and again and...

"Billy! Billy! Wake up!" Alan was yelling and holding him at arms' length to shake him awake. Trying to hold Billy any closer while he was in one of these nightmares had gotten Alan bashed in the face and ribs once or twice. Nonetheless, he still would have a few bruises on his forearms in the morning from Billy's flailing around. "C'mon, Billy, wake up!"

"Alan!" Wild-eyed, Billy flung himself against his lover and buried his face in his neck.

"It's alright, Billy, it's alright; you're safe now, it's alright," Alan crooned, stroking the shaking man in his arms. "Better?" he asked, when Billy had calmed a little.

"I think so," Billy said shakily.

"Want some water or...?"

"No! Don't leave me!" Billy clutched at him desperately.

"I won't, I won't; I'm right here, Billy, still here." He settled them against the pillows and drew the covers up again. "It's been awhile since you've had a dream like this."

"Yeah," Billy said, omitting the dreams he had when Alan was not around to soothe him.

"You see why I don't want the Walspurguses picking at you," Alan said, running his fingers through Billy's hair.

"Alan, these memories aren't something we're reminded of," Billy said softly, feeling sleepy and safe in his lover's arms. "We live with them."

"Yes, I know." Alan held him closer and went to sleep himself.

***

That Friday afternoon, when the sunlight slanting through the high windows was making the fine dust glitter diamond-like in its rays, Billy and Nathan were alone and cataloguing away in Heilbronner's lab. Ostensibly, they were both in the final stages of their dissertation research but Heilbronner still had them come in and do little jobs so they wouldn't forget where they came from. Lately, they and all Heilbronner's lab slaves, had been enjoying their servitude a little more because, due to some construction work on the heating system over Otto's office, they could hear everything that went on in there. It was quite amusing to hear Uncle Otto, as they thought of him occasionally, on the phone arguing with his tailor, setting up what sounded incredibly like a date, speaking English with much more fluency than he had led his students to believe he could, speaking French and Russian (which they didn't know he could), laughing, scolding, singing, farting all in the supposed privacy of his office. It gave them a view of his more human side and lots of giggles. They would miss it when the construction was finished the following week. It would also be nice to have some ventilation in the upper part of the building, but such was life in old academic structures.

That afternoon they were listening to Heilbronner speaking English to a group of people, one of them a female with a loud, shrill voice. Neither of them could imagine having to listen to that voice for very long and they wondered why Heilbronner was honoring her in his office, let alone speaking English to her, which he hated speaking to anyone.

A few moments later Heilbronner, Dean Fag-Hater and an overdressed middle aged couple ascended to Billy and Nathan's area and introductions were made. Billy was pleased that he didn't betray any shock when Mr. and Mrs. Walspurgus were introduced to him. He tried not to flinch under their inspection, which gave him the impression that they might be deciding whether or not to buy him.

Heilbronner ordered him and Nathan to show the little party around the lab and explain their research to them. Billy shot Heilbronner a grateful look, which was ignored and followed Nathan over to his bench and listened to him explain what he was working on. Fascinated by Nathan's work, Billy listened as raptly as the rest of them. On their way down one level to Billy's area, Heilbronner abruptly excused himself and went back to his office just as Billy was explaining his theories on the vocal resonating characteristics of prehistoric raptors.

~

Heilbronner intercepted Alan at the bottom of the stairs. "Alan! You're early," he said in German, leading his old friend into his office.

"I thought I'd come and see Billy before we went to this horrible meeting and then dinner," Alan said, pacing the office.

~

Billy's ears pricked up hearing Alan's voice but he didn't let it interfere with the smooth flow of his exposition.

~

"It won't be so horrible, Alan, I..."

"Possibly not. I'm tired, Billy had a nightmare last night; I always find that upsetting," Alan said.

"I'm sure it is..."

"I can't imagine why he'd think I'd be ashamed of him," Alan said, as much to himself as to Otto. "I adore him, I think he's brilliant..."

"And you're overprotective of him."

"No, I'm not."

"Yes, you are."

~

Billy and Nathan exchanged wry looks. "Do you speak German, Mrs. Walspurgus?" Nathan asked.

"Not of word!"

Desperately hoping his little lecture would help Alan's fundraising efforts, Billy went on with his discussion. "The technology is still imperfect, but we are now better able to make replicas of what the raptor's physiology might have been," he said, picking up the raptor resonating chamber he'd made at the Montana dig for Alan.

~

"No, I'm not," Alan insisted.

"Yes, you are," Heilbronner insisted back at him.

"Otto!" Alan looked into his old friend's bland face. "Well, you didn't see him being torn apart by... by a..."

"I know, Alan, I have seen the scars, emotional and physical," Heilbronner said, "on both of you." He poured them both a little Calvados to clear their heads. "But fundraising is hardly the same thing."

"I know," Alan said, sipping his drink. "I also know that the trip to Isla Sorna could have been avoided if I'd just stuck to what I know, which is what you said; make sure the check clears before you do anything."

"Alan..."

"Life is hard enough without being desperate for money! I nearly killed us both being impulsive and desperate for money!"

"And a little in love and afraid of seeing him hurt," Otto said sympathetically.

"And being old and foolish, Otto; at my age... well, anyway." Alan winced at another memory. "And then the utterly unforgivable things I said to him over the raptor eggs when all he was doing was trying to find a way to keep the dig going. Otto, I love him! I'll do anything to never see that kind of hurt in his eyes again!"

~

Billy paused to listen to a question from Mrs. Walspurgus and still had to ask her to repeat it.

"I said is that what they sound like in the wild?"

"Yes, actually it is," Billy said, looking at Assistant Dean Houston, who was listening very intently to Alan's passionate recital in Heilbronner's office. "Let's see, where was I?"

~

"Alan, I realize that your feelings for Herr Brennan are very intense," Heilbronner said. "I feel he shows promise as a researcher, but in other areas his weaknesses are startling."

"Such as?" Alan asked hostilely.

"He is a dreadful, demoralizing teacher and a wretched lecturer," Heilbronner said, refusing to be cowed. "You tell me he is an excellent dig manager. Well and good, but he hardly needs a doctorate from my lab to work for someone else. His grant writing is excellent, but that must be your tutelage. He might make a good fundraiser with proper guidance. But without proper guidance, Herr Brennan hardly has the drive or personality to get enough funding to keep his own research going. And keeping him tied to your apron stings is hardly...."

"Otto!"

~

"Nathan," Billy said, handing him the raptor resonating chamber. "Finish explaining this." He turned on his heel and left the little group on the mezzanine.

"As if I knew anything about it," Nathan muttered, turning the exotic noisemaker in his hand. "Just imagine, Mrs. Walspurgus," he said with more confidence than he felt. "You're running through a savage landscape and you hear this," he blew into the chamber; the eerie, hair-raising raptor cry filled the upper part of the building, "coming closer... closer... closer... Gaining on you, no matter how fast you run. Rapier claws and razor sharp teeth, snarling in powerful reptilian jaws, whose sole purpose is to tear you into a thousand pieces." Nathan blew into the chamber again and looked at the rapt and terrified faces before him. "Just imagine that."

~

"Otto! How dare you...?!"

"Alan, you are in love, you have no perspective anymore and..." Heilbronner was distracted by a firm knock on his office door and then saw with a shock that it was Billy on the other side of the glass.

"Otto, I know I'm in love! It's not a secret!" Alan practically yelled and then swung around to look at what Heilbronner was looking at. "Billy, I love you!" he said, switching into English, when the young man let himself into the office.

"Yes, I know; I love you, too, Alan," Billy said, casting a black look at Heilbronner. "I think the whole building knows that now," he added, glancing at the hole in the ceiling.

Alan and Otto followed his glance.

"So you heard all of that?" Alan asked, pulling him into his arms.

"Yes; we all did," Billy said.

"And how long have you been listening to my office, Herr Brennan?" Heilbronner asked sternly.

"Only this morning," Billy lied and nestled in Alan's arms.

"Hmmmm, you will excuse me," Heilbronner said, leaving his office. He'd just seen Nathan bring the Walspurguses and Assistant Dean Houston to the main floor. After greeting his guests, he shot Nathan a black look, as if to say there would be some serious discussions later on.

~

Alan looked over Billy's shoulder and sighed. "I've got to go out and fundraise, Billy," he whispered, not letting go.

"I know," Billy said softly, but did not draw away. "Good luck."

"May I come by your place later? I'd like to explain what..."

"Of course, Alan." Billy looked up into his eyes. "You're always welcome wherever I am."

Alan nodded and then, knowing they had an audience of millionaires, paleontologists and a fag-hater, kissed Billy with all his heart. "I'll see you later," he said giving him one last hug and reluctantly letting him go. He strode out of Otto's office and greeted the Assistant Dean and the Walspurguses quite pleasantly. "Well, shall we go?"

***

Nathan accompanied a silent and brooding Billy back to their apartment. "Look, Billy, Uncle Otto says a lot of things he doesn't mean and..." he began.

"He says those things to our faces," Billy said bitterly. "He was saying this to Alan; it sounded more real or something."

"Well, I wouldn't take it personally."

"You would if he was saying it about you."

"Billy..."

"Nathan, I now know my thesis advisor thinks I'm a shitty teacher and lecturer and am tied to Alan's apron strings." He shuddered and opened the liquor cabinet Alan kept well stocked for him. Billy didn't drink much but occasionally liked a little tequila; he drew out an almost full fifth. "Do we have any lemons?"

~

During the interminable dinner at the Faculty Club, neither Isla Sorna nor Billy were mentioned, but they hovered over the meal and caused it to have a gravity that had been hitherto lacking in Alan's experience of the Walspurguses.

~

"I mean he's right, why do I need a PhD if all I'm good for is managing a dig site?" Billy said, licking the salt off his wrist, shooting his shot and chomping down on a lemon wedge. "That and sex."

Nathan took a lemon wedge out of his mouth and asked, "How would Heilbronner know you're only good for sex?"

"I think he implied it," Billy said, pouring out two more shots.

"Did he?"

"Drink up, Nathan."

~

Over brandy and cigars, Mr. Walspurgus began to seriously discuss how the university might best benefit from the Walspurgus Foundation's gift. This was Assistant Dean Houston's turf, so Alan hardly listened to it and thought about how hurt Billy had been by Otto's assessment of him. Otto's incorrect assessment of him, he amended.

~

"There's no more tequila in this bottle," Nathan uselessly announced, shaking the last few drops into Billy's glass.

They drank up and stared at each other in somber, drunken contemplation until Billy asked, "Can you salsa dance?"

~

"I would like to speak to Herr Brennan this evening, Alan," Heilbronner said when they were in the car.

The Walspurguses were shaping up to be major donors for the university, but the success of their fundraising was not uppermost in the two paleontologists' minds.

"If you're not going to lacerate him anymore, I guess you can come with me to his place," Alan said and directed him there.

"You have a key to Herr Brennan and Herr Brazil's apartment?" Heilbronner was slightly scandalized when Alan let them in after there was no answer to his knock.

"Of course, Otto," he said, looking around for signs of life. "And Billy has a key to my apartment as well. Oh dear," he added when his eye landed on the empty tequila bottle and the lemon rind and salt littered kitchen table. He and Otto exchanged looks, recalling evenings when they themselves had gotten plastered on whatever they had, which was frequently tequila. "I guess we can wait for them to come back," he said, getting out snifters and a new bottle of cognac.

"I admire Herr Brennan's taste," Otto said, relishing the liquor. "Or is this your doing, Alan?"

"Mine. Since I'm here so often, I try to keep him well stocked," Alan said. "It's the least I can do."

~

Billy and Nathan salsa danced in one of the town's rougher gay bars until a fight broke out (they had no idea over what) and they decided to go over to a punk club and get in the mosh pit for a while. In the course of the evening they acquired another fifth of tequila, this time dispensing with the niceties of lemon wedges, salt and glasses.

~

"I don't doubt you love him, Alan, he must be highly loveable if you do," Heilbronner said vaguely as he watched Alan opening a new bottle of cognac. He'd lost track of time by then but was still determined to speak to... speak to... whoever it was he was determined to speak to that evening. He also failed to notice that Alan was drinking more slowly than he was and also pouring smaller snifters for them as the evening progressed. Of course, they were both so drunk by then it could hardly have mattered.

~

Bruised, exhausted, and smashed (of course), Billy and Nathan staggered home in their ripped clothes. Billy's shirt had been torn off at some point and they were both soaked in beer or whatever else the onlookers were throwing around the mosh pit. They were far from the most beautiful sight in the world.

"Key... must have key...?" Nathan muttered, leaning on the door, patting his pockets.

"I think so..." Billy came and leaned next to him.

~

Hearing a thump and rustle outside the door, Alan got up to investigate. He pulled the door open and stepped back as Billy and Nathan tumbled in and landed at his feet.

"Alan... hey..." Billy said, smiling like a drunken idiot. Next to him, Nathan waved like a drunken idiot.

"Billy...? Where's your shirt?" Alan asked, helping him up and over to the couch, where Heilbronner looked on with drunken serenity. Nathan crawled over and sat on the far end of the couch, next to Billy.

Seeing Billy's baleful gaze at Otto, Alan sat between them. He put his arm around Billy and then wished he hadn't. "What is that smell?"

"What smell?" Billy asked, reeking of sweat, liquor, cigarette smoke and god knew what, sitting next to Nathan, who also reeked of sweat, liquor, cigarette smoke and god knew what.

"Herr Brennan, there is something I wish to say to you and I am glad Herr Brazil is here to hear it... here," Heilbronner said vaguely.

"Okay." Billy leaned against Alan and put on his listening-to-bullshit face. Nathan was leaning on Billy, but did his listening with his eyes closed.

"I think you did not fully understand what I was saying today... at the lab... I do not mean to denigrate you as a scientist... merely to point out how badly Dr. Grant has spoiled you," Heilbronner said.

"Otto!" Alan nearly yelped.

"He doesn't spoil me," Billy snarled sleepily. "He won't go salsa dancing with me or let me wear leather or tie him up or... anything..." Billy nodded off.

Heilbronner looked at Alan with heavy heavy eyes and asked, "Vy not?" before he let his head fall on his arm and started snoring softly.

Alan Grant looked at the sleeping figures around him and decided they might have the right idea.

***

The phone ringing at four AM woke them all with a start. The machine clicked on and Nathan's current, although not for long since she was calling to break up with him, girlfriend, Misty, was screaming at him for standing her up last night. The four men listened to the enraged female rant until the message ran out. Then they went back to sleep. Later, Nathan would discover numerous such messages Misty left over the course of the evening on the machine and with some of his friends.

***

Around seven, Alan woke up sober enough to put Billy to bed and crawl in beside him. Like Otto's, his black suit would need pressing, but he couldn't be bothered about that now. His last conscious thought was that he hoped he wouldn't be too thrashed when he woke up later.

***

Sometime near noon, Billy's groaning woke him. Alan got up to get aspirin for both of them, it was a bonus to find orange juice in the fridge and he brought a glass back. On his way back to bed, he noticed that Otto had disappeared from the couch but Nathan was still there. He hoped Otto got home okay. "Here." Alan handed Billy the aspirin and juice. "Leave some for me, Billy," he said, taking the glass and finishing it off with his own aspirin.

"Thanks," Billy said, lying back against the pillows.

"You're welcome," Alan said, pulling off his clothes and getting back in bed. They were asleep in minutes.

***

Several hours later, they woke up and swore off drinking forever. A shower and some food helped their physical state, but it was all they could do just to bathe and eat. Nathan had disappeared from the couch and, after ascertaining that he'd simply moved into his bedroom, Billy crawled back into his own bed and looked at dinosaur books with Alan for the rest of the evening. "I hate losing a day like this," he said, trying not to pout or wince from his headache.

"I know," Alan said, turning a page. "I hope you'll forgive Otto for what he said. He's wrong; I think he knows or strongly suspects it, too."

"Well, okay," Billy said, snuggling closer. "When I have my PhD, I just won't ever ask him for a job as a teacher or lecturer, that's all."

"Very wise, Billy," Alan said, kissing his forehead and deciding they needed more sleep. He put the book down and turned off the light. "Very
 


 

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