Title: ... and into the Frying Pan
Fandom: Jurassic Park III (AU)
Archive: A&B List, Britslash only. Others with permission
Spoilers: errr... none, really
LOADS of thanks to Tomy for looooong beta read - she's wonderful :-)
Disclaimer: characters are beloved creations of and copyright Michael
Crichton and Peter Buchanan. I'm just playing with them.
... and into the Frying Pan
The world was moving all around him, rocking him with a sickening motion.
For a moment, his nightmare - that he’d been trapped by a raptor pack and was still conscious as they started to eat him - rooted itself in the waking world and he tried to scream, forcing his eyes open, terrified of what he’d see.
He was in a grey walled room. There were machines around him beeping quietly at regular intervals. And he could hear quiet voices talking somewhere near by.
Almost from nowhere, a stranger came to standing over him, smiling kindly.
“Welcome back to the land of the living.”
Confused, Billy attempted to push himself up. The man in the white coat came forward, touching a hand to his chest ever so gently.
“Oh, no you don’t. You have to stay put. You’ve got an entire reel of thread holding you together, so you’ve got to take it easy.”
Doctor Glenn had hoped that the humour would relax his agitated patient, but it didn’t. Although he didn’t try to sit up again, Billy turned his head to first one side then the other.
“You’re on a Naval aircraft carrier heading for home,” Glenn told him. “We picked you and your colleagues up off the coast of Isla Sorna. They’re fine, before you ask. They’re in a lot better shape than you are.”
Billy stared at the doctor for a few seconds. “Alan….”
Glenn nodded. “He’s been driving us mad asking to see you. I’ll go tell him you’re awake. On one condition - you don’t move a muscle.” He tilted his head to one side. “Promise?”
Billy didn’t even smile.
The doctor stepped closer to the bed, touching the back of his patient’s hand. “You’re going to be fine, Mr Brennan. It’s nothing that a couple of weeks of TLC won’t heal.” Finally, Billy gave him a small nod. With a last smile, Glenn left the medical bay.
Billy closed his eyes, hoping all this was real. The pain at least
seemed to be very far away. Letting himself be cradled by the warm
darkness, he rested for a couple of minutes.
When he next opened his eyes, Alan was sitting at his side, the tips of his fingers resting on the back of his hand.
“Hi,” he whispered softly, trying for a smile.
Alan’s smile was stunning as he sat forward. “Welcome back, scamp.”
It had been seven hours since Doctor Glenn had finally allowed him in to see Billy. The young man had fallen asleep, and Alan had been more than content just to sit and watch him breathe. The final count of stitches Billy had needed had ended up in treble figures. Glenn had been amazed that he’d managed to stay conscious, never mind make it half way across an island being chased by dinosaurs.
“The others?” Billy mouthed, more than spoke. The drugs in his system kept pulling him back toward sleep, despite how much he wanted to stay awake now.
“Eating,” Alan told him with a smile. “And worrying about you.”
“The doc said… I’ll be okay.”
Alan nodded. “You will be.” He didn’t mention the scars, the possible skin grafts that might be needed. Or the fact that Billy had been in surgery for ten hours from the moment their helicopter had landed on the carrier.
“Alan… about… everything….”
But Alan shook his head. “We don’t have to do this now, Billy. I’m not going anywhere. We’ll talk when you’re feeling better, okay?”
Billy’s eyes closed, and Alan took that as agreement.
* * *
Alan stepped out of Billy’s room and closed the door quietly behind him.
They’d transferred him to the hospital in L.A. from the Naval carrier
by medivac. The whole journey had taken less than an hour, but it had
He turned, and his face broke into a smile. “Ellie….” Suddenly he was engulfed in a great big hug that he gladly returned. “Ellie… how can I ever thank you?”
“Just tell me you’re okay.”
“I’m okay.” For a moment he just held her. There had been so much horror, and Ellie, as always, just anchored him in the present.
“What about the family?”
“They’re fine,” he nodded, face pressed into her shoulder. “We got them away from that place.”
Finally, he released her, stepping back. “I can’t….” He shook his head. “You saved us all. And you can’t have heard more than screaming.”
“I heard you say, ‘Site B’,” she told him happily. “I didn’t think, I just acted. What the hell made you go back?”
Alan sighed. “Guess. The same thing that made us go in the first
“At least I went back for a good reason.”
Alan’s head snapped around at the sound of the third voice. “Ian!” A moment later, he was wrapped in a stronger, masculine bearhug.
“Just because it turned out to be a rescue mission, it’s no excuse.” A sudden sob caught in Alan’s throat and Ian held him tighter. “How’s Billy?” he murmured softly.
Alan pulled himself together and backed away slightly. “He’s… not so good. God, Ian, they practically had to stitch him back up.”
Ian let his hand linger on his friend’s shoulder as Ellie came forward again, the question on her face. “Who’s Billy?” she asked them quietly.
Ian’s eyes widened and he glanced at the other man.
“He’s my assistant at the dig in Montana,” Alan explained to her. “He… harassed me into taking him to the island.”
She studied him, knowing there was more. Why did Ian mention him so specifically?
But she didn’t get a chance to ask.
“Why don’t we take you for a coffee?” Ian suggested cheerfully.
They sat down at a small round table next to the window. Alan hadn’t really eaten since they’d left the island, despite the Kirbys badgering him about it and Amanda eventually trying to spoon feed him.
Ellie bought him a plate of chips and a large coffee, watching him as he picked at the chips, not really eating.
“Do you remember what you said to me after San Diego?” Ian asked him carefully.
Alan smiled. “I called you some choice names, if I remember correctly. Told you you were an idiot.”
“And what does that make you, Dr Grant?” He kept his tone teasing, understanding the knife-edge that Alan was balanced on. The constants of danger, terror and threat while on the island were, in a way, more exhausting the all run the running and fighting. They remained when the flight was a distant memory. For a while, it was difficult to let it all go and accept that the threat was no longer present.
“I know,” Alan admitted easily.
“You got that family to safety,” Ellie prompted him, trying to find the silver lining.
He shook his head slowly, but he couldn’t say it. Ian had to. “The cost was almost too high, right?”
Alan nodded. Sighing, he looked up, directly at Ellie. “Billy… is more than just my assistant,” he told her steadily. “He’s….” He faded off. What the hell was he? There was a lot he might be, given time. So many possibilities that, before, had terrified Alan. Now… now he needed time to think about them. Time that he hoped would be spent with Billy close by.
“They’re crazy about each other,” Ian finally supplied, putting his old friend out of his misery. He smiled at the expression of surprise on Ellie’s face. “They just haven’t got around to doing anything about it yet.” He shifted his piercing stare to Alan. “But they will, now. Won’t they?”
Alan smiled wanly and nodded. “Yeah. We will.”
Ellie looked from Alan to Ian and back again. Ian ducked his head to hide his grin. “I have to go visit the little boys’ room….”
He didn’t have to see the expression on Alan’s face to know what it was as he left the two alone.
Quietly, Ian pushed open the door to Billy’s room. It’s only occupant looked as if he’d just woken up again.
“Hello, young idiot,” Ian greeted him softly.
Billy lifted his head slightly, and smiled. “Hey, Ian,” he murmured roughly. Dropping his head gently back to the pillows, he watched the tall man pull a chair to the side of the bed, turn and straddle it, arms crossed along the top of its plastic back.
“How are ya doin’ kiddo?”
“They say I’ll make it.” Was the neutral answer.
“Hey! Of course you’ll make it! You still have all the moving parts, don’t you?”
Billy smiled at that even though he wasn’t sure he did have. His right arm felt heavy and he found it difficult to move his fingers. But apart from that, he wasn’t missing any bits and that had to be something.
“Where’s Alan?” he asked groggily, fighting the effects of the medication in his system.
“In the canteen, explaining you to Ellie.” Ian grinned, “My fault. I thought he’d told her already.”
Billy moved his head ‘no’.
Ian sighed. Of course he hadn’t. Alan had barely managed to explain Billy to himself. He changed the subject. “So even after all the horror stories I told you, you still went.”
“We needed the cash. It was my fault. I… didn’t try to stop him. He reckoned it would be okay.”
“He reckoned that the last time. You’re supposed to protect him from himself.”
“You know how stubborn he is.”
Ian snored wanly. “Tell me about it.”
Ellie sipped her coffee, eyes wondering over Alan’s embarrassed expression.
“He reminded me of me, when I was a grad student.” Alan finally found a place to start.
She grinned at him. “What? Dashingly handsome and devilishly sexy?”
Alan smiled and nodded, giving her a peek at his wicked sense of humour. She’d worried that he’d lost it on the island. “And bright, intelligent, passionate about his work.” Alan remembered the early days, getting to know the man he would eventually fall in love with. “I was drawn to him. Not attraction, not initially. I was fascinated. He’s got so much energy it’s infectious.”
“And… he feels the same way about you?”
He nodded, smiling openly now. “Yeah, for some strange reason. We’ve been inseparable. When the Kirbys came up with this trip…. Ah, Ellie, I couldn’t have said no to him even if I’d known what was going to happen. He was so excited.”
She considered that. “Do you think we would have stayed away from Isla Nublar if we’d known what was going to happen?”
As much as he wanted to say no, he knew it wasn’t true. “I doubt it,” he muttered. “Still… that was the first time. I’d sworn, only the day before to a group of potential sponsors, that nothing on earth could get me to go back to the island.”
Ellie shrugged. “Well, you didn’t go back. You at least went to the other site.”
Alan snorted. “Yeah. The one Ian went to three years ago. The one I called him a moron – among other things – for even going near. I mean, on Nublar at least there was some pretence of sanctuary. On Sorna… the place is theirs, Ellie. And I almost lost the most important person in my life to them.”
Alan stood in the corner of the room, watching as the doctor gave Billy a final once-over. He wasn’t overly happy about the idea of his patient being discharged, but they’d done all they could for now.
“You have to take it easy,” he stressed, his expression emphasising his distrust in the young man doing as he was told. He glanced up at Alan. “He has to take it easy.”
Alan nodded, smiling at the pained look on his assistant’s face. “Don’t worry, he’ll rest if I have to tie him to the couch.”
Billy’s eyebrows lifted at the suggestion, and Alan looked away, afraid he’d start to blush.
“I mean it,” the doctor was continuing, addressing his patient again. “You have more stitches on the inside and outside of you than the rest of this hospital’s occupants put together. Please give yourself time to heal.”
“I will, doc, I promise.”
“Umm.” Pulling the sides of Billy’s shirt together again, he finally lifted his ward’s right arm carefully, one palm cupping the elbow, the other supporting the back of the wrist. “How does it feel?” Billy shrugged. “It’s so nice when I get a useful answer.” The doctor shook his head. Gently, he began to press his fingers around the wrist. “Can you feel that?”
Billy nodded. “A little.”
“Good. Can you move your fingers for me?” He could, with restricted movement in his thumb. “Keep exercising your fingers. I’m predicting that you will get ninety-five percent of use back in time even if you’ve permanently lost the feeling along your arm.”
The mess that the Pteranodon had made of his right arm had been extensive. The nerves around the massive wound were dead. Muscles had been stitched back together, bone had been set. They hadn’t been able to put the arm in a cast because of the deep injury, so for his stay in the hospital a metal brace had been fitted to hold it still.
Now, two weeks later, they’d swapped the heavy brace for a narrower, lighter one to allow him to go home.
Finally, the doctor nodded and backed away. They’d stocked Billy up with painkillers and arranged a follow-up appointment in three days’ time with a local hospital.
Alan could finally fly him back to Montana.
Alan had always travelled. He didn’t know what it was like to actually own a house. Now and again, he envied Ellie and Mark; the home, the babies, a family, a full-time job, as secure as any job could be.
But only on the odd occasion.
The place he’d rented near the dig in Montana was a small, ground floor apartment. Billy had been lodging with him on and off, using the spare room, sleeping on a camp bed surrounded by equipment for the dig.
Alan had lost count of the number of times he’d almost invited Billy to share the double bed.
This time, he dumped their stuff in the ‘master’ bedroom. He caught the glimmer of hope in Billy’s eyes and just smiled.
“You’re having the big bed for now. At least until you’re healed.”
Billy didn’t let the dismissive tone put him off. He’d known Alan too long. “And you?”
Alan shrugged. “I’ll sleep on the camp bed, or on the couch, which ever’s more comfortable.”
Billy nodded, smiled, and let the subject go. For the moment. It had been a long flight and he was exhausted. He watched Alan wonder off to check the kitchen and dropped onto the couch.
As soon as his head hit the cushions, his eyes closed and his system
shut down for some well deserved rest.
Alan ended up dumping almost every foodstuff he owned into the trash. Everything had gone either mouldy or out of date. They were supposed to have been away for four days. They’d been gone for almost four weeks.
“Billy, I’m going to just….” He stopped in mid-sentence as he walked into the small lounge.
Billy was sprawled out on the battered couch, feet hanging off one end, head dropped onto the arm at the other. He looked like an angel when he slept, with his short blond curls and long lashes. Alan had always thought so privately. God only knew what the young man would have said to that sentiment.
Quietly, he scribbled a note and left it on the low wooden table in the
centre of the room. Then he grabbed the keys to the jeep and went out.
It felt odd to be doing something so mundane as shopping. They’d spent four days on an island being chased by dinosaurs after their plane had crash-landed. They’d been rescued by the marines and spent a couple of days on a Naval carrier before Billy had been fit enough to be flown inland to a hospital where they’d spent two weeks.
Alan could have come home a fortnight ago. Technically. But he’d chosen to stay in L.A. with Billy. Ellie and Ian had kept him sane as his young assistant had started his recovery.
Now he was pushing a cart through a large, airy supermarket. There were people around him who had no idea how close he’d come to being torn apart by prehistoric legends.
For a moment, he wished they were still in L.A., with Ellie and Ian who knew and understood. Who could listen and talk about their shared experiences and terrors.
But they had friends here, people who would also find out soon enough about what had happened to the two palaeontologists. And once they’d stopped staring and managed to hinge their jaws again, they would listen and offer whatever support they could if and when it was needed.
He bought some supplies – fresh bread, fruit, milk, juice. Some
goodies that he thought might put a smile on Billy’s face. And he got a
six-pack of beer. He had a real craving for an ice-cold beer.
Back at the apartment that had been his home for over a year now, he found that his note hadn’t even been touched. Billy was still sound asleep, chest rising and falling slowly, eyes moving from side to side under the lids.
He was dreaming. Alan hoped that it wasn’t the beginnings of a nightmare.
Padding quietly through to the kitchen, he started to prepare some dinner.
The meal was nearly ready when he heard a hard cry from the other room. Dropping the spoon into the saucepan, he hurried through to the lounge.
Billy had pushed himself up on his arms, palms flat against the cushions of the couch, right arm trembling with the force being exerted on it suddenly. He was panting for breath, sweat on his forehead and at the neck of his t-shirt. Obviously the horror had been building for some time.
“Billy….” Alan perched on the edge of the couch, putting one arm around the young man, under his left arm and around his back to support him. Gently, he slid his other hand under Billy’s right and lifted it from under him.
“It’s okay, it’s just a nightmare,” Alan reassured as he pulled Billy to rest against him, forehead to forehead.
Billy nodded. He knew that. It would just take a couple of minutes to convince his racing heart and replaying mind that he was safe. That he wasn’t being dropped time after time into a raging river against bone-breaking rocks.
Finally, his breathing slowed and he relaxed, leaning into Alan rather than back against the cushions.
This was good. Since getting to know the man he’d craved physical contact with him. It felt easy to touch him – friendly gestures; a hand on his shoulder or arm, a leg rested against Alan’s under the table at a bar or café, shoulders and thighs touching as they lay together at the edge of a find.
He felt Alan’s hand on his back start to move up, over his shoulder blade and then back down, fingers pressing firmly as if feeling out the contours of his back.
Very slowly, the quality of that touch altered subtly. In a few, long strokes, it went from being reassuring and comforting, to being a confident caress.
This time, as he stroked downwards, Alan went a little lower. His fingertips touched Billy’s skin, the small of his back where his t-shirt had ridden up slightly during his dream-fight with the Pteranadons.
Billy caught his breath at the intimate contact. His body, which an hour ago wouldn’t have woken if an earthquake had hit, was awake and aware in a second.
Alan’s fingers lingered on his skin, convincing Billy that the touch hadn’t been an accident. Slowly, he lifted his head.
He touched his nose to Alan’s nose, and finally it seemed that the other man had the same thoughts, because he too was moving.
In the next moment, their mouths met, lips touching hesitantly at first. Then, as they both consented, the contact became a kiss.
Cautiously, Billy touched the other man’s lips with the tip of his tongue, stroking across them in a dry caress. Alan moaned softly, and gave in, opening his mouth, letting Billy inside.
For an age they sat there, tasting one another, tongues engaged in a cautious battle of exploration.
Alan’s hand moved over Billy’s back, under his t-shirt, palm stroking long caresses over his skin, minding the dressings that covered his wounds.
Getting to Alan wasn’t easy with one hand. Billy reached for the buttons on Alan’s shirt, struggling to even undo one.
Frustrated, he muttered into the kiss, making Alan smile. Pulling back, he glanced down at Billy’s fingers and then at his face.
“You should be resting,” he murmured, unable to resist another quick taste of Billy’s lips.
“Alan,” the other’s smile, his tone of frustration, his obvious annoyance with the shirt buttons, all served to convince the older man that the last thing his assistant needed right now was rest. And the truth was that he’d have needed a cold shower himself.
Combing the fingers of his free hand through Billy’s soft, short curls, Alan stole another kiss, deep and long. God… he could stay here forever and be happy.
“Lie back,” Alan instructed quietly, lips still against Billy’s mouth.
Billy had had to satisfy himself for now with pushing his fingers between the buttons of Alan’s shirt. Now, he didn’t want to let go. “Alan, please….” He’d waited too long for this, for Alan to finally admit that what was between them was more than teacher and student, more than mentor and protégé, so much more than friends.
“I’m not going anywhere,” that low voice promised. “Just lie back.”
Slowly, Billy unfolded his fingers and lay back, shifting his braced arm slightly.
The first thing Alan did was to unfasten his own shirt buttons, take hold of Billy’s good hand and touch the fingertips to his own chest. “That what you wanted?” he asked, voice rough with long-restrained desire.
“It’s a start,” Billy told him with a smile.
“Umm.” Licking his lips, Alan used both his hands and a little skill to pull Billy’s t-shirt up over his head and off his heavily bandaged arm. He smoothed both his hands down over Billy’s sides and back up over the muscular, hairless chest, avoiding the bandages that hid the lines of stitches. With the white sterile dressings and the fading cuts and bruises, Billy closely resembled a patchwork quilt.
Leaning down, Alan circled one hard nipple with the tip of his tongue before taking it between his lips and suckling gently.
Billy arched up, moaning softly, bringing his hand up to rest it against the back of Alan’s head. As he did, he felt the hint of teeth on his nipple and let Alan know how much he appreciated that.
Alan bit harder, then immediately soothed the sensitive bud with his lips and tongue. He transferred to the other one, going through the same pattern. Wetting, suckling, biting then soothing. He could feel Billy’s hard erection pressing against his thigh where he was leaning over the younger man.
Lifting his head, he balanced himself on one arm and covered Billy’s mouth with his own. Fear and nervousness gone, he stroked his tongue between his lover’s lips, humming softly as Billy retaliated in kind.
Smiling to himself, he kissed a burning trail down over Billy’s chest and stomach. He tasted vaguely of the sterile hospital room, mixed in with the heady aroma of sweat and musk.
Stopping at the waistband of Billy’s loose khakis, Alan showed off another little trick he’d learnt. How to unzip a fly only using his teeth. Billy was impressed, smiling openly as he lifted his head to watch his older lover pull his pants and underwear down enough to get at his prize.
His smile was lost in ecstasy the next moment when Alan swallowed him to the root.
“Oh fuck! Alan….” He dropped his head back, mouth open, as his whole world became nothing but a single point of pleasure. An incredible, addictive contrast to the constant of pain he’d lived with for almost three weeks now.
He reached down, stroked his palm over Alan’s thinning hair, combed it through his fingers as Alan’s head rose and fell at his groin.
Opening his eyes, Billy struggled to sit up slightly, using his right elbow for balance, keeping his good hand in Alan’s hair. The sight of Alan Grant’s lips moving slowly up and down over his cock, cheeks hollowed, sparkling blue eyes watching Billy’s every reaction, was just too much.
His whole body tensed as his climax hit its peak and dropped him over the edge. Then he was spurting, coming like he’d been saving it up for months. Alan pulled him deep into his throat, working the crown of his cock with strong muscles, milking every last drop from Billy.
Alan treasured every sound, every little cry his young lover made. He tasted warm and salty; simply glorious.
Even when he was sure that Billy had given up everything he had, Alan kept his lover’s cock in his mouth until it went flaccid. Gently he caressed the wrinkling skin with his tongue until the man beneath him was squirming.
“Alan… please!” Billy eventually resorted to pulling on Alan’s hair to get him to let go. Not that the other man was hurting him, just that he was so terribly sensitive after his orgasm that it was a special kind of torture to have Alan still tonguing him.
For a few minutes after, Billy couldn’t move. He lay boneless on the couch until Alan got up and dropped to his knees on the carpet.
Billy shifted then, stretching his wonderfully aching body and sitting up into the corner of the couch so that he could reach for his lover. Alan leaned forward, meeting him half way for a deep kiss. It thrilled him to think that Billy could taste himself in that contact.
Alan pulled back a little when he heard the words whispered. “You’re not really in a fit state….”
“Shut up, and come sit up here.” Billy patted the edge of the couch in front of him, the space he’d created by moving back.
Raising his eyebrows sceptically, Alan unfastened his pants and sat up next to his lover.
“Lean back.” Billy’s words were husky, murmured through lips pressed to Alan’s neck.
“I don’t want to hurt you.”
“You won’t. Just do as you’re told for once.”
Alan leaned back slowly, cautiously, and found himself cradled in the crook of Billy’s right shoulder, his braced forearm rested on the arm of the couch. So concerned was he that he might be hurting Billy, he let loose a shocked cry when a firm hand dug into his underwear and freed his aching erection from the confines of his jeans.
“Oh, God…. Billy!”
Even in this non-too-comfortable position, it didn’t take long.
Billy’s skilled hand flew across the silky hardness of Alan’s cock, squeezing and caressing in all the right places, applying just the right pressure where Alan so desperately needed it.
He came in white ribbons through Billy’s oh-so talented fingers, lost in sensation.
As his orgasm subsided, he limply slid off the edge of the couch to the floor, landing on his ass with a gentle bump.
Billy chuckled, leaned forward and wrapped his good arm around the man’s neck, kissing the side of his throat tenderly. “I love you, Alan,” he declared softly, needing to say it so much that it didn’t matter anymore what the response would be.
Alan stiffened. Then he turned, Billy’s hand sliding over his shoulder to his back. He sat there for a moment, looking into Billy’s big brown eyes, trying to commit this snapshot to memory.
Billy felt his heart plummet. So much for ‘sod the consequences’. What had he done?
“Are you sure?”
Billy frowned. “Sure?”
“What you just said….”
He felt he might burst. “Alan! Yes, I’m sure!”
“Then I love you too. More than… more than I’ve ever been able to acknowledge before.”
Billy stared at the man before him. From his finger tapping nervously against the edge of the cushion, to the stunning blue eyes that held him captive.
“It’s okay,” he murmured finally, brushing his hand over Alan’s hair. “I won’t hurt you.”
Alan smiled wryly. “I don’t quite understand what you see in an old crone like me.”
Billy grinned, dropping back into the corner of the couch, closing his eyes. “It’s the hat, Alan, guys dig the hat.”
* * *
He’d been putting it off, but eventually, Alan knew, he had to go up to the dig.
They’d run out of cash a week ago. He had no idea if anyone was even still there, or if they’d just packed up and left. ‘Would the last one to leave please turn out the lights….’
Five days after they’d flown back into Montana, Alan took Billy out to the Fort Peck Lake dig.
As Alan pulled the jeep up the track to the camp site, he stared out at what was once his excavation. Obviously, he thought, it wasn’t his any longer.
There seemed to be a small army of students working at several cordoned-off finds. Having clambered out of the passenger side, Billy leaned heavily against the side of the jeep, Alan coming around to stand next to him. “We couldn’t even afford rope,” he muttered, looking about.
Someone else must have taken over, it was the only explanation.
Alan looked across to the entrance of what had been their computer equipment tent. Or rather Billy’s. Alan hated computers.
John Hammond was standing waving at them.
Billy frowned. “Is that…?”
Alan nodded. “Remember – if the world ‘island’ comes up just once – run.” Billy grinned his understanding. “John! What brings you out here?” he called down.
“You do!” the smiling man shouted cheerfully. “Come down, Alan, and I
give you my word that I’m not going to try to talk you into any long
They climbed down the slope carefully. Billy was recovering quickly from his injuries, all of the dressings were gone, except for his right arm which was still in a bandage and brace. There had been talk of a skin graft to help the gaping wound to heal, but Billy had decided to leave it for a time and see if the worst to come out of it was a deep, ugly scar. He could live with that, he’d decided.
In a way, he was starting to feel proud of it. It was a great story to tell the undergraduates after all.
Hammond had one of the students making coffee for them when Alan and Billy stepped into the tent. That was enough to make Alan wince. On his digs, everyone chipped in and did their share of the monkey work. Alan wasn’t only famous for his Jurassic Park exploits, his morning coffee was legendary.
Billy glanced around the tent as they stood inside. The prototyper was still there, as was all the imaging equipment they’d hired, even if no one was using it right now. There seemed to be a couple of extra gadgets too, that he couldn’t quite identify but that looked expensive. Whoever was running this site now had lots and lots of backing.
“We… shouldn’t be here,” Alan started when he saw the sad look on his assistant’s face. “We only came….”
But John was waving his hands in the air. “Nonsense! Nonsense, of course you should be here.” He turned to look at that, beady eyes sparkling in the light. “You both belong here.”
Billy frowned, confused. Alan just shook his head. “No, we don’t have the funds….”
John quieted him by resting a gentle hand on his forearm. “You do now.”
There was silence for a moment, broken only by the whistling of the teapot on the stove in the tent next to them.
Billy was the first to speak. “Sorry, Mr Hammond, but what are you talking about?”
John regarded them both seriously. “I heard what happened on Isla Sorna, Site B. Dr Grant… you seem to have a knack of saving children from my creations.” Alan didn’t even smile. He just shook his head, unbelieving. “And you, young man….” John seemed to study Billy for a moment. “The Kirbys have a lot to thank you for.”
Billy shrugged. “I still don’t see….”
“I hold myself personally responsible for both the islands,” John interrupted. “You both almost lost your lives, you risked everything to get Eric Kirby home and you did it even after they lured you there under false pretences, well….” He paused for breath. “After all that, how could I let you lose your dig?”
The light suddenly dawned. Alan’s eyebrows rose, his mouth dropping open. “You mean, you’ve funded this dig? For us? That’s why these people are still here?”
John nodded, grinning like Santa Claus at Christmas. “For as long as you need me to, until you find whatever you’re searching for.”
Alan’s gaze locked with the old man’s and he knew in that moment that John wasn’t talking about the dinosaur bones, or even about the evidence that ‘raptors could communicate. Something he knew now for certain anyway. John was talking about something far more elusive than any of that.
He couldn’t think of what to say. But Billy didn’t have the problem. He reached out with his left hand. “Thank you!”
John chuckled and took the proffered hand awkwardly, shaking it firmly. “You’re welcome. Alan’ll find his tongue eventually.”
The tease prodded Alan’s brain. “I honestly don’t know what to say.”
“That’s all right. All I want is for you not to feel the need to return to either island ever again.”
That brought at least a smile to Alan’s face. “Then I think I can promise you’ll be happy with the results.”
“Good. Good! Now then, can I offer you both a cup of coffee?”
Standing in the circle of Alan’s arms, Billy tipped his head back to his lover’s shoulder and gazed up at the canopy of stars over head.
“You’re wrong about me,” Billy murmured, breaking the silence after a long time.
Alan pressed his face into the blond hair against his neck and breathed in. “Um?”
“I know you think I wanted to be an astronaut, but you’re wrong.”
Alan chuckled. “How did you know about that?” he asked, surprised.
“Eric told me, when he came to see me in the hospital. He said that when you thought I was dead, you were miserable, and sad, because of what you’d said to me. He told me about your astronaut and astronomer theory.”
Billy squeezed his fingers around Alan’s arm. More than anything about their new relationship, he treasured this new freedom to touch this man.
Alan returned the gesture, cuddling his lover closer, supporting Billy’s right elbow in his palm.
“So what did you want to be when you were a kid?” Alan murmured.