Title:  The Theory of Reverse Darwinism (Part One)
Author: elfin
Email: elfin@burble.com
Homepage: http://www.sundive.co.uk/
Rating: NC-17
Fandom: Jurassic Park III (AU)
Pairing: Alan/Billy
Archive: A&B List, Britslash only.  Others with permission
Spoilers:  errr... none, really
Summary:  Hammond persuades Ian and Alan to return to Isla Nublar on a
rescue mission that changes Alan's life in more ways than one.

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.


 

The Theory of Reverse Darwinism  Part 1
 

by elfin

 

Standing just inside the impressive entrance hall of John Hammond’s
secluded country mansion, Dr Alan Grant lifted his hat from his head and
glanced at his companion.

Dr Ian Malcolm read the expression on his friend’s face and shrugged.

They’d been summoned here.

Two days ago.

Neither man had wanted to come.  Neither man trusted John Hammond for a
single moment.

Latent fear and suspicion had kept them away until natural curiosity had
caused them to contact one other.

Last night over several beers and several more shots at a bar near
Alan’s dig site, they’d come to the joint conclusion that Hammond
couldn’t talk them into doing anything that they didn’t want to do.
They were grown men, with very healthy survival instincts that would get
them through any meeting with John Hammond.

Nothing on this earth would get them anywhere near Jurassic Park again.

Footsteps on the wide staircase in front of them caught their attention
and they both looked up.  A man – Hammond’s butler, Malcolm assumed –
stopped a few steps down and gazed at them, his face blank.

“Doctors Grant and Malcolm?”  The two men nodded.  “If you’d follow me,
Mr Hammond will see you now.”

Alan couldn’t hide his smile.  He closed the gap between him and Ian.
“Remind me why we’re here.”

Ian just grinned at him and, side by side, they climbed the wide stairs.



They were shown into an office, all ornate wooden panelling with high,
stacked bookshelves and a large mahogany desk in the centre of it all.

John Hammond turned from a laptop computer when they stepped inside.
The door was closed behind them as the old man came out from behind his
desk and greeted them like dear friends.

“Please, make yourselves comfortable.”  He indicated the expensive, deep
red leather suite in the other half of the room.  “Can I get either of
you a drink?”

Both men shook their heads and they cautiously sat, watching as John
dropped carefully into one of the matching armchairs.

“It’s so good to see you both again!” he told them heartily.  “How are
you?”

Ian looked at Alan, watching the other man look away.  They weren’t here
for a reunion.  They were here to find out why Hammond had contacted
them after four years of silence.

After Jurassic Park, Ian had taken a year off, recovering from his
injuries and starting to piece together the events, theories and
reasonings that would make up his book.

Alan’s relationship with Ellie had collapsed.  But his book had sold
millions of copies and that, as well as the mystery of Isla Nublar now
linked with his name, had allowed him to fund his digs and research for
the foreseeable future, and he was at least happy about that.

Both had finally returned to lecturing, in universities at opposite ends
of the country.

They didn’t need any reminders of the hell they’d encountered on John’s
monster island.

“Why are we here, John?” Ian asked without answering the man’s question.

Hammond sat forward, and Alan’s heart sank.  He looked as guilty as
hell. What had the madman done this time?

“I need your help,” John told them firmly.  “Three weeks ago, my niece
and nephew –“ he caught the expression on Alan’s face, “-my other niece
and nephew, my son’s children, came to see me.  They’re both
palaeontology students at UCLA.  They wanted to spend the summer on Isla
Nublar, charting the animals, cataloguing them, finding out how they
were surviving – if they were surviving.”

Ian shook his head, “They’re not animals, John, it isn’t a zoo!  They’re
dinosaurs.  Million-year-old predators.”

Alan sat forward, pinching the bridge of his nose, groaning softly.
“John – tell me… tell me you didn’t let them go.”

John avoided looking at either of them directly.  “I wouldn’t let them
go alone.  And I wouldn’t let them go unprepared.  I have contacts.  I
made sure they went with all the weapons they’d need.  We flew them in
with an armoured truck loaded with supplies, guns, rifles, grenades, the
works.”

“No expense spared,” Ian murmured softly.  He didn’t back down from
John’s sudden glare.  And the expression quickly faded.

“You said you wouldn’t let them go alone,” Alan picked up.  “Who did you
con into going with them?”

John sighed.  “A young man came to see me, a couple of days after Tom
and Clare.  He was desperate to know if there was some way I could
recommend him to you,” he looked pointedly at Alan.  “He wanted to work
with you, was willing to do whatever it took to get onto one of your
digs, but he couldn’t even get a letter through to you.”

Alan moaned low in his throat, his face crumpled.  “I don’t believe
this.  What did you tell him, John?”

“I suggested that… you’d be more likely to take him on if he had some
field experience.”

“And you didn’t mean with long-dead bones, did you?” Alan asked,
pained.  “Oh, God….”

“He’s quite capable of looking after himself and the other two.”

Ian was on his feet in a second, arms flailing.  “What is that supposed
to mean, John?  How can you expect anyone to be capable of surviving on
that island?!”

Alan was shaking his head, leaning back in the sofa, eyes closed.

Turning, John took two photographs from the low table behind him and
handed them to Ian.  One was of a girl and a boy.

“Tom and Clare,” John told him.  “They’re twins, twenty-two years old.
They’re both very fit and in great shape.”

The second one was of a young man, older than the other two but not by
too many years.

“His name is Billy Brennan.  He’s twenty-six, a graduate student working
to complete his dissertation.”

Ian handed both photos to Alan.  “What exactly do you expect us to do
about this?”

John smiled softly at the tall man pacing the wooden floor.  “I want you
two to go in and pull them out.”

Ian laughed.  A full-throated belly laugh that could have cut glass.
“Not a chance, John.  They’re dead.  And you know it.”

“They didn’t break radio contact until three days ago.  They had the old
visitors centre secure and the perimeter up.  We sent them in with all
the latest technology, full security that would ensure they remained
safe if they stayed within the perimeter they set up.”

“What did their last report say?”

John didn’t answer for a moment.  Ian glanced at Alan, who was staring
at the photos.  He was about to ask his friend what was wrong when John
said, “There was a lot of screaming.”

“Jesus Christ….”

With a deep sigh, Alan sat forward.  “I’ll go.”

For a second, there was nothing but stunned silence.  And then John
smiled triumphantly at Ian who dropped back into his seat, hand reaching
for Alan’s arm.

“Hey… er… you do remember, right, Alan?” he stammered.  “This… this
isn’t DisneyWorld, this is the one with the real life monsters.  What
the hell are you saying?”

Alan held up the photo of the graduate student – Billy.  “All he wanted
to do was work with me,” he explained quietly.  “If they’re alive, I’ll
get them home.”

Ian dropped his head back against the high back of the sofa.  “Oh,
shit!”

* * *

Ian felt his stomach leap into his throat as the helicopter jerked
through the turbulence caused by the air currents in front of the
waterfall.

This time they were in a military chopper.  And this time, it wasn’t
going to take off again without them back inside it.

This time they had guns and backpacks full of ammo and grenades.

This time they knew what they were facing.

Still, they were both petrified.

The phrase, ‘I’m a palaeontologist, not a hero,’ had been on Ian’s lips
more than once over the last forty-eight hours.  But for whatever
reason, Alan Grant wasn’t backing out.  Ian wasn’t sure he believed what
his obviously insane friend had said about Billy Brennan.

Sure, the young man had wanted to work with the famous Dr Grant and had
instead found himself on an island inhabited by prehistoric killing
machines.  But anyone stupid enough to believe anything John Hammond
told them deserved all they got in Ian’s book.

Alan was characteristically quiet.  He had stared out of the small
window for most of the trip from Costa Rica, the high-powered,
high-velocity rifle held loosely in his hand.

Ian remembered back to the last time they’d made this flight.  Alan had
been carrying nothing more dangerous than a fossilised raptor claw.

What the hell were they doing going back?

Not that they were alone this time either.  John had offered them all
the military assistance they could use, but Alan had wanted the marines
simply to back them up, to safeguard their only escape route and not to
leave without them.

Ian had to agree with the lunatic on that.  A huge group of
military-types trampling through the undergrowth was going to be an
easier, more obvious target for a dinosaur attack.  At least from the
T-Rex, if she had survived.  The ‘raptors… Alan hadn’t wanted to discuss
the ‘raptors.

For a man whose life’s work was dedicated to studying fossils of the
velociraptor, he was oddly reluctant to talk about the living examples.


The helicopter landed with a soft bump on the pad.  Ian and Alan climbed
out and ran a little way from it, stopping at the edge of the site.
More marines were landing around them, in nearby clearings.

Alan checked his rifle and slung his pack onto his shoulders.  All the
hardware made it heavier than what he was used to, but he’d take the
extra weight.  Excavation tools were useless when it came to fighting
the ‘theme park monsters’ that InGen had created.

Ian shifted his own backpack until he was comfortable.  He turned to
Alan.  “Ready?”

Alan merely smiled at him ironically and set off toward the massive
metal gate that would lead them into Jurassic Park.

They kept to the road as much as they could.  It was overrun now with
vegetation that, in the highest parts, reached waist-height on Alan.
But it wasn’t particularly hard going and they covered a lot of ground
in a relatively fast time.

They didn’t talk.  Each knew the other was listening out for the
telltale signs that danger was nearby with sharp teeth and terrible
claws.

The only sound, though, was a slight breeze in the woodland around them.

At one point they crossed along the ridge of an incline.  Looking across
and down they saw the large lake and realised where they were.

‘Welcome… to Jurassic Park.’

Alan felt a strange emotion squeeze his chest, and stopped for a moment
to remember.

They’d been excited at first, blown away by everything they were
seeing.  Alan had touched a dinosaur, reached out and actually touched
one.  It had been warm under his hand.

And then it had turned from a dream into a nightmare.  Those creatures
that had been with him all his life had turned on him and tried to kill
him.  Tried to kill them all.

He felt Ian’s hand on his shoulder.  “You okay?”

Alan nodded, smiled once at his companion.  “Fine.  Just….”

But Ian knew.  “Let’s find those kids.”

It was an hour’s hike to the old visitor’s centre.  The first time
they’d seen it, it was all glass and gleaming mock marble.  Those who’d
built it had hopes of it welcoming thousands of tourists to the centre
of a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Now the building, like those hopes, was in ruins.

The plant life had taken over.  But at least the plants didn’t try to eat
people.  Alan and Ian climbed the steps at the front of the
once-impressive building.  The nearer the got, the more shattered glass
cracked under each footfall.

No windowpane was intact.  Inside the massive entrance hall, metal
girders had come crashing down amongst stained dinosaur bones.  Alan
stopped in the centre of the room and looked up.  They’d escaped through
here, running from the ‘raptors straight into the path of the T-Rex.  He
and Ellie, Lex and Tim.

He smiled to himself when he thought of Ellie.  She would kill him
herself if she ever found out he’d come back here.

A sound caught their attention suddenly.  Both readied their rifles,
glancing at one another and then around to try and ascertain the
direction.

A few moments, and they heard it again.  The scrape of metal against
metal.  At least, that’s what it sounded like.

They looked up.  Another sound confirmed it.

“The control room.”

Ian nodded.  The noise was being filtered to them through the holes in
what remained of the ceiling.  Alan knew his way around this part of the
complex better than anyone.

Moving together, as quietly as they could, they climbed the stairs that
remained intact, up around the right hand side of the circular hall.

Every step creaked threateningly, but none gave way.  At the top, Alan’s
foot crunched something long and obviously fragile.  He bent down to
pick up what was left of it, stared at the long cylinder for a second,
and then handed it to Ian.

Ian studied it like he knew what it was.  Then shrugged and put it
quietly back onto the floor.  He opened his mouth to suggest that it
might have been part of the security system the students had set up, but
the words weren’t worth the risk.

To their left, a door marked ‘Authorised Personnel Only’ was ajar.
Pushing it further open, Alan stepped through.

A narrow, dark corridor led down a gently inclined ramp and then they
came out on a walkway in front of the shattered glass window of the
control room.

What they saw in the next moment had Alan choking back on a scream.

On one of the desktops, amongst the smashed wreckage of what had once
been the nerve centre of Jurassic Park, two young men were squatting.
They were curled up as small as they could get, heads down, as a pack of
four ‘raptors circled them.

“Oh God,” Ian breathed, watching, horribly transfixed.

When they struck, everything happened almost too quickly.

One of the creatures, who’d been a little further back from the rest,
suddenly jumped up on to the desk, jaws closing around the shoulder of
one of the men.

At the same time, another raptor from the other side of the desk joined
the first, its wide open mouth closing with a sickening crunch around
the back of the man’s head.

The second man screamed; a sound that scraped over Ian’s nerves.

Before Ian could stop him, Alan jumped from the walkway through the
broken glass into the room.  He leapt up, putting one foot on the edge
of the desk and launching himself over it, grabbing the screaming man as
he went, slamming his palm over the open mouth and catapulting them both
into the far corner with a crash.

Ian found his reflexes were better than he’d imagined them to be.
Raising his rifle he fired four rounds in rapid succession.

Three of the ‘raptors fell.  The forth, which still had fragments of
skull falling from its snapping jaws, moved towards him.  He froze to
the sound of Alan’s shriek of his name.

And then another shot rang out and the raptor collapsed sideways on the
tiled floor.

Alan dropped his rifle and turned back to the young man he’d saved.

Chocolate brown eyes were darting side to side.  He was gasping for
breath, short, shallow intakes that were only increasing the adrenaline
in his system.

Alan put one arm around his shoulders, his other hand to the man’s head,
stroking his hair, hushing him softly.

“Come on, it’s okay, it’s okay.”  The expression on the poor kid’s face
was one of absolute terror bordering on madness.  “You’re okay.  They’re
dead.  Just calm down.”

He continued the litany as Ian lowered himself into the room through the
same broken window and gingerly checked that all four animals were dead.

Just to make sure, he fired a bullet into each one’s skull.

Bile rose in his throat as his eyes were drawn to the fallen body on the
desktop.  The ‘raptors had torn off the back of the skull, ripped away
the left shoulder and arm.

He turned away and for a moment watched Alan comfort the survivor.  He
tried to remember what the two men looked like, tried to work out
whether or not John’s nephew had been killed in front of them.

Alan ran his hands down the young man’s arms, soothing.  Finally the
hysteria was easing.

He looked the guy over.  He seemed to have gotten away lightly.

Alan assumed the fresh blood splattered down the front of his dark green
t-shirt wasn’t his own, although some wounds were visible on his chest,
stomach and arms, through rips in his clothing.

After a minute or so, the young man sat back slightly, pulling himself
together.  He looked properly at his rescuer for the first time.

“Dr Grant….”  He spoke the name like he didn’t believe his own eyes.

Alan smiled.  “And you’re Billy Brennan.”  A nod.  “John Hammond told us
all about you.”  Ian moved to stand at his friend’s side.  “This is too
far to go to get a guy’s phone number, Billy,” Alan joked quietly,
helping the young man to his feet.

Ian’s eyes widened behind them, and for a moment an idea formed in his
head that he refused to even acknowledge.

Billy stood shakily, leaning on Alan until he got his balance.  A couple
of deep breaths later he found he could manage to stand on his own.
Unable to stop himself, he glanced behind the other two over at the
half-eaten body on the desktop.

“Tom….”  He squeezed his eyes closed, fighting tears of despair and
exhaustion.

Alan rubbed his shoulder gently.  “Where’s Clare?” he asked as carefully
as he could.  He already knew the answer.

“Dead,” Billy replied, his voice monotone as he explained.  “The
Tyrannosaur.  It just….”

Alan nodded.  “Okay.  Is there anyone else?”  He didn’t trust John
Hammond to have told them the whole truth.  But Billy shook his head.
“Right.  Let’s get out of here.”

The expression in those wide brown eyes became hopeful.  “You came
prepared.”

Ian grinned at him.  “Oh, did we ever.”


They left the visitor’s centre the way they’d come in.

“Any idea how many ‘raptors there are?” Alan asked Billy quietly as they
descended the stairs cautiously.

“We counted ten when we first arrived.  They circled the compound but
didn’t try to cross the perimeter until… two days ago.”

“Since when you’ve been on the run?”

Billy nodded.  “We’d already lost Clare.  We… ventured outside the
centre.  We thought the ‘raptors had gone and we hadn’t seen the T-Rex
at all.  We imagined she hadn’t survived.  We didn’t get too far.
Almost like she’d been waiting.”

“One thing we learned,” Alan explained, “they’re not stupid.”

“Unlike me.”

Alan patted the young man’s back gently, still looking forward, missing
the curious expression in the brown eyes that settled on him for a
moment.  “Hammond talked us into it too, twice!  Don’t be too hard on
yourself.”

Standing on the steps outside the main building, they paused, listening.

Alan and Ian reloaded their weapons.  Alan dug out one of the handguns
that the marines had put in his backpack for backup.  He loaded it and
handed it to Billy.  “Know how to use one?”  Ian turned away, grinning
to himself.  Alan Grant, the thinking man’s Indiana Jones.  He stifled a
chuckle.

Billy nodded in answer to Alan’s question and tucked the gun into his
belt, making sure the safety was on.

Alan glanced at Ian, caught the tail end of his amusement and smiled
gently.  Ian knew him now, better than anyone.

“It’s about an hour to the troops,” Malcolm told their ward.  “We didn’t
meet anything coming in, but maybe that was just luck.  Not that we
seemed to have any last time we were here.”

Alan shook his head.  “If we see anything that isn’t human, we shoot
it.  Agreed?”  He looked pointedly at Ian, who nodded.  Then he shifted
his blue gaze to Billy, who hesitated before doing the same.  “Good.
Let’s go.”


“John said you were a grad student?  UCLA?”  Alan spoke quietly, not
wanting to attract any undue attention yet feeling a need to put Billy
at ease.

Billy nodded.  “Palaeontology,” he confirmed, just as quietly.  “It was
your work that inspired me into the field.”

Alan chuckled softly.  “So now it’s my fault you’re out here?” he
teased.

Ian shook his head, smiling.  Despite himself, he was impressed with the
speed at which Alan was working.  They were out here, with the most
dangerous creatures on earth, and Alan was still thinking about his
libido.  When – if – they got back alive, he was going to slap his
friend really hard.

He stepped ahead of the other two, gaze running over the long grass all
around them.  He was looking for movement, anything that might suggest
that they weren’t the only ones making their way across the island.

As far as he could tell, they were alone.

Billy stayed close to Alan’s side.  He hated being out here.  Not that
the main compound had offered them any form of security in the last
seventy-two hours.  But out here… anything could be hunting them and
they’d never know about it.  Not until they were being torn apart.

Dr Grant and Dr Malcolm had been on this island once.  They’d escaped
with their lives.  And now they were back, risking themselves again for
three young idiots.  Two of whom were already dead.

“I can’t believe you came back here for us,” Billy murmured, thankful
beyond belief.

Alan glanced at the man walking next to him.  “Hammond lied to you and
he used my name to do it.”

“I just wanted a chance to prove I was good enough to work with you.”

Chuckling softly, Alan looked at Billy with an indulgent smile.  “Billy,
if we get off this island you are welcome to come and work at the
Montana Badlands dig.”

Billy’s eyes widened, and Alan saw a smile light his boyishly handsome
features for the first time since they’d rescued him.  “Really?”

Alan shrugged and nodded, trying to pretend that it was an offer Billy
could take or leave.

A couple of feet ahead of them, Ian turned around to catch the
expression on the kid’s face, and to raise his eyebrows at his friend.

Between them, a few yards behind the pair, a raptor had paused in its
stalking and was staring at Ian with big, beady eyes.

It took him a second to find his voice, during which he thought he heard
his companion mutter something along the lines of, “oh my god.”

As Ian had turned, Alan had caught sight of a Dilophosaur standing a
little way in front of them.  He assumed for a moment that Ian had seen
it.

“Alan!”

“Ian!  Run!”

“Wha…?”

Alan’s mind was working on the best escape strategy when faced with a
creature that was probably deciding on the best way to kill him – to
render him blind and paralysed first or simply tear into him as he stood
there.  When he felt Billy grab his arm, he glanced at him,

Alan’s eyes widened.  He saw the creature standing in the long grass to
Billy’s right.  He looked around then to find the other members of the
raptor pack and his heart sank.

“We’re dead,” Ian murmured, actually sounding surprised.

Alan’s gaze finally came to rest on Billy’s terrified face.  “No…” he
whispered, “no, we’re not.  Get down, and when I say, run like hell.”

Despite the fact that the words themselves hadn’t been directed at him,
Ian got the idea.  He squatted down slowly, bowing to the challenge of
the ‘raptors around them.  His eyes widened as he watched Alan turn
purposely toward the Dilophosaur before taking a couple of steps back.

Not about to lose its prey to the other, smaller dinosaurs, Dilophosaur
straightened its neck and shot its venom where Alan’s face should have
been.

The raptor shrieked its pain into the open sky, startling its two
companions who leapt onto the back of the angry Dilophosaur.

“RUN!”

Ian and Billy didn’t waste any time watching the prehistoric fight
increasing in ferocity around them.  They ducked out and followed in
Alan’s wake.

They didn’t stop running until they reached the overgrown ridge on which
Alan and Ian had stopped on their way in.

Ian doubled over, his hands on his knees as he sucked in much-needed
oxygen.  Glancing up, he saw that the other two were finding it much
easier to get their breathing back.

“Jeez, Alan….”  He pulled in another couple of lungfuls.  “Aren’t you
older than me?”

Alan just smirked at him.  “You okay, Billy?”

The student nodded, still not quite believing that they’d escaped that.
“Thanks,” he managed a moment later.

“Don’t mention it.  Let’s get out of here.”


Alert for any more attacks, the three of them walked in single file
along the ridge.  Alan once again remembered the wonder of this place
before they knew anything of the inherent danger.  Casting a glance
behind him, he let his eyes linger on Billy’s face.

For a few moments, his regard was unnoticed.  The big brown eyes were
searching the horizon to their right, wide with barely buried fear.

Whatever the reason, Alan found himself wishing Billy could have known
the beauty and the wonder of the herbivores before he’d experienced
first-hand, and in brutal clarity, the violence and terror of the
carnivores.

He’d known the young man all of an hour and already he wanted to help
shape his future so that this terrible experience here would fade into
the past, into nightmares, and he’d be left only with hopes and dreams
for the future.

Alan almost laughed out loud at himself.  He hadn’t ever been aware that
he had a romantic side.  As he was about to turn back, Billy looked
forward and caught him staring.

Instead of making some comment, the young man smiled openly, and for
just a moment, Alan would have sworn he was batting those perfect, long
lashes in seduction.

And then it was gone.  But still the smile remained.  Alan imagined that
he could look into those eyes and be the receiver of that smile for the
rest of his life.

He hoped that would be longer than half an hour.

Shaking his head, he faced forwards and carried on walking.  He wondered
briefly if Ian was ever going to let him live this down.

Ten minutes later, they rejoined what had once been the main road from
the heli-pad to the main compound.

Almost as soon as they’d set foot on to the concrete through the
vegetation that had taken over, a roar of hungry frustration cut through
the heavy warm air.

Billy felt his heart start to pound.  Unconsciously, he closed up behind
Alan, looking around them, searching for the source of the sound.

At the same time as wanting to know where the danger was, he didn’t ever
want to see the T-Rex again in his entire life.  Last time, the huge
gaping jaw had had Clare’s ravished body hanging from it.  It was a
memory Billy knew would haunt him for as long as he lived.

Alan paused only for a few seconds.  “We keep going,” he told his
companions, “she could be a mile away.  She could be hunting anything,
not necessarily us.”

Ian nodded, uncertainly.  But they continued their journey side by side.

The next roar was practically on top of them.

The woodland to their left seemed to fold open to reveal the massive
T-Rex as she once again let loose a ground-shaking noise that resonated
through their bones.

“Stand still!” Alan ordered.  The last time he’d issued that particular
command to Ian, the man had all but ignored him.  Running was the
natural reaction to a T-Rex appearing.

Standing in a line, the three men stood absolutely still as she
approached.

“She knows we’re here,” Ian murmured to the other two.

“She can’t see you if you don’t move,” Alan reiterated.  If one of them
started to run, they were all dead.  But at his shoulder, he could feel
the tremours driving through Billy’s body.  “It’s okay,” Alan breathed,
tilting his head very gently in Billy’s direction, “she’ll leave us
alone.  Just hang in there.”

“Oh, god….”  The shudder through the young man’s body was echoed in his
voice.  Terror was starting to cloud his mind but he held still, finding
strength in the touch of Alan’s body against his.

The T-Rex was close behind them now, sniffing the air and letting out
hot breaths that were moving the hair on the back of their heads.

“Alan….”  This time it was Ian’s voice the broke the tense quiet between
them.  “What are we doing?”

“Just trust me.”

“Right.”  Ian imagined his heart trying to beat its way out of his
chest, but he fought the desperate urge to take himself out of the
T-Rex’s path.  Just one bite and she could eat him whole or those teeth
could tear him in two.

Alan glanced at Ian, ensuring he wasn’t about to bolt.  Then he turned
to look at the man on his other side.  Billy was shaking, embarassedly
blinking tears from the corners of his eyes.

“Hang on, Billy,” Alan murmured softly.

They seem to have been standing there forever.  In fact, only a two and
a half minutes had passed since they’d frozen in place.

Behind them, the T-Rex bowed her head and gave one last howl of fury.
Alan tensed as he saw her raise her head up out of the corner of his
eye.  She’d backed up slightly, and he thought for a moment that she was
going to turn.

And then she lifted one clawed foot and took two long, quick strides
forward.

Ian and Alan threw themselves to the left, Alan pushing Billy hard out
of the way as he did so.

They heard a crack too much like bones breaking, and a scream too much
like human terror.

Alan scrambled to sit up in the undergrowth.  A few feet away he could
see Billy lying on his front, blood already covering much of his back.

Alan’s yell of the student’s name was drowned out by a cacophony of
bullets being fired from all around them.

The barrage forced the T-Rex back from the group.  She attempted a
second attack but the retaliation was unrelenting, and finally – wounded
– she sloped back towards the ridge with a low main of pain and anger.

Alan crawled across on his knees to Billy’s prone form.  There was a
deep wound in left shoulder where it looked as if the T-Rex had dug a
long talon.

“Billy!  Oh God, Billy….”  Shrugging his jacket off, Alan balled it up
and pressed it down hard over the injury in an attempt to stop the
bleeding.  “Don’t you dare die on me!”

Reaching his other hand to Billy’s neck, he pressed two fingers to the
hot skin, finding a strong pulse.  With a deep sigh of relief, Alan
shifted his legs out from under him and sat back heavily on his ass,
keeping the pressure on the wound, his other hand reached to stroke
Billy’s other shoulder.

“Alan!” he heard Ian calling, “the cavalry’s arrived.”

Alan knew that somewhere in his mind.  He’d known that someone had been
firing at the T-Rex.  But hearing it confirmed, hearing the evident
relief in Ian’s voice, made all the difference.

“Hear that, Billy?” he murmured.  He was keeping up the movement on his
hand over the young man’s right shoulder and side.  “You’re going to be
fine.  We’re going to get off this godforsaken island in one piece.”

He looked up as Ian came to stand beside him.  “How’s he doin?”  A medic
joined them, all business, and he moved Alan’s hand away to get at the
wound on their new patient’s back.  Ian winced as they moved the jacket
away.  “Ouch.”

“He’s going to fine,” the medic reassured as he worked.  “He’s out cold,
but it’s only shock.  We’ll take of him.”

Ian helped Alan to his feet and they waited around to follow Billy’s
stretcher down to the heli-pad.

“You and I need to have a serious talk about your idea of a first date,”
Ian told his friend as he threw an arm around his shoulders.

Alan actually blushed.

* * *

Billy came around slowly, keeping his eyes closed while he tried to work
out where he was.  His first thought was that he’d passed out.  He
remembered the sudden agony sheeting through his shoulder and back, but
nothing after that.

The pain was still there, but it was distant, numbed.  He was hot, but
at least he was comfortable.

There was something holding his hand down.

He tried to pull it away, and he heard a voice.  Agitated, he tried
again, and this time, his hand was released to the sound of more words.
He couldn’t quite make them out, but the tone was friendly.

Cautiously, he opened his eyes, expecting to be in woodland at the very
best, pinned down by the talons of the T-Rex at worst.

Instead, he was in a small room that looked wonderfully like the inside
of a modern hospital.  Turning his head to one side, he looked down at
his freed hand and then up at the man sitting by his bedside.

“Dr Grant….”

Alan leaned forward.  “My name’s Alan.  And it’s good to have you back.”

Billy smiled, still wondering about his hand.  “Where am I?”

“The Queen of Angels hospital in L.A.  They flew you here from Costa
Rica.  They said that the painkillers, the fact you hadn’t eaten in two
days and the stress you’d been under….  You slept through the flight and
once you arrived here they rushed you into surgery to mend your
shoulder.    It’s been about sixty hours.”

Billy took this in.  He still had his left arm, so it couldn’t be too
bad. He decided not to think about it now.  “Are you… okay?  And Ian?”

“We’re fine, Billy.”  Fighting the urge to retake the young man’s hand,
Alan linked his own fingers.  “And I’m sorry about Clare and Tom, that
we weren’t in time.”

Billy squeezed his eyes closed, and Alan instantly knew he’d said the
wrong thing.  He leaned forward.  He knew the nightmares, knew what
lurked in the darkness every time eyes closed.

“It won’t always be so raw,” he promised.

Billy parted his lips, the words coming out on a breath.  “We should
never have gone.”

Alan snorted softly.  “You know, that’s exactly what Ellie said to me
when we got home the last time.”

Haunted brown eyes opened to meet his.  “She was right.”

“She’s always right.”

That at least brought a small smile to Billy’s face.  Alan hoped to see
more smiles sometime soon.  “Get some rest.  You’re going to be fine but
your system’s been depleted and it’ll just take a couple of days until
you feel… human again.”

Billy looked at Alan for a long moment.  “Thanks for saving my life,” he
murmured eventually.

“Don’t mention it.  And I meant what I said about the dig.  Once you’ve
recovered, you’re welcome to join us.  If you’re still interested.”

Billy would have laughed, if the last of his energy for now hadn’t been
used up.  With another smile for Alan, he fell back into the clutches of
sleep.

*

Ian took the plastic cup from the coffee machine and sipped the steaming
liquid.  He moved to stand next to the window of the private waiting
room and gazed out at the rain that pounded against the glass.

He and Alan had come away with scrapes and bruises, and a couple more
new nightmares.  Nothing they wouldn’t survive.  Like the last time.

Billy’s shoulder muscles had been torn and a hole punched in the bone.
He’d been in surgery for three hours after they’d arrived while they dug
out the splinters of bone, patched him up as best they could and
stitched the open wound.  He’d have a terrible scar there, but at least
it would be a hell of a story to tell his kids one day.

If he ever had kids, Ian amended ruefully.

Alan had been like a man on hot coals from the moment Billy had been
taken from them, for five hours, until the doctors had moved the young
man from recovery into a private room (at Hammond’s expense) when he’d
been finally told he could sit with their patient.

Ian had been utterly relived.  His friend had been driving him insane.
He’d refrained from asking about the reason they’d gone out to Isla
Nublar – the real reason – and he’d refrained from interrogating Alan as
to the reason for his anxiety regarding Billy Brennan.

He could do all the teasing he liked once he was sure everything would
be all right.  Preferably over steaks and beers.  Alan’s treat, Ian
determined.


“Dr Malcolm?  Ian?”

He turned from the window and saw John Hammond standing in the archway
entrance to the bright room.  “John….”  He stepped forward but stopped.

“Is… everyone okay?”

Ian shook his head, resisting the urge to immediately lay the blame at
the old man’s feet.  “John… I’m sorry.  We were too late.  Clare and
Tom… didn’t make it.”

Leaning heavily on his cane, John rubbed his eyes with his free hand.
“What about Dr Grant?  And Billy?”

Ian nodded.  “Alan’s absolutely fine.  Like me, we got away lightly this
time.  Billy… was hurt, but he’ll be okay.  Alan’s with him now.”

“Thank God.”

Shuffling over to the nearest seat, John dropped down into it heavily,
letting his cane drop to the floor while he covered his face with his
palms.

For a few minutes, Ian left him alone with his grief.  He moved back to
the window and sipped his coffee.

So lost was he in his own thoughts that he jumped when Alan put a hand
on his shoulder.

“Hey…” he kept his voice down, “how’s Billy?”

“He’s… scared, but he’ll be okay.”  He sighed, glancing at John.  “How
long’s he been here?”

“Two minutes.  I told him about Tom and Clare.”  Alan nodded.  He looked
pointedly at the cup in Ian’s hand, and smiled when the other man moved
over to the coffee machine and dropped some change into it, letting Alan
press the button for strong and black.

“I take it you’ll be staying on here until they release him,” Ian
murmured with a smile as Alan took the cup from the machine.  He nodded,
sipping the dark liquid.  It seemed like forever since he’d had good
coffee.  This was surprisingly good.  Or maybe he was just desperate.
“You want me to stay?”

Alan shook his head.  “I’ll be fine.  He’s a student in L.A. anyway.
Once he’s out of here, I’ll go back up to Montana.  He can come up if
and when he’s ready.”

Ian grinned, but he held his tongue for now.  “Call me when you get back
up there.  You owe me dinner.”

Alan looked at his friend over his cup.  “I imagine I owe you a lot more
than that,” he said with a knowing smile.

Ian just wiggled his eyebrows.

* * *

Alan stepped out of his tent and stretched in the early morning light.
He’d been back at the Montana dig site just two weeks but the memories
of his second trip to the island were already starting to fade.  This
morning had been the first time he hadn’t woken to the fading sound of
the T-Rex’s angry roar.  It was at least an improvement.

Before he’d left L.A., he’d met one of Billy’s fellow students who’d
reassured him that once back at their cramped accommodation, Billy would
be well looked after and pampered with a great deal of TLC until he was
fit enough to leave for Montana.

Alan had resisted the incoherent jealousy that had tried to insist that
he be the one to lavish the graduate student with TLC.  He’d forced
himself to come back to his dig, leaving Billy in the capable hands (he
hoped) of his roommate

Ian had been called out of the country on business, and so he hadn’t yet
had the chance to sit down with his old friend and clear the air after
their brief but harrowing time back on the island.

He’d thrown himself into the day-to-day functions of the dig; overseeing
the finances and publicity as well as doing a fair bit of excavating.

Still, he’d been unable to get Billy Brennan out of his mind.

After a week, he’d caved in and called a friend of his at UCLA.  Suzanne
Dale had been curious at first as to why Alan wanted to know about her
top student.  But once he’d told her about his offer of a place at the
Badlands dig, and lied to her about how he’d met Billy, she told him all
she knew.

He’d graduated with honours a year ago, getting a joint degree in
archaeology and palaeontology.  Since then, he’d been working on his
dissertation, working toward his doctorate in palaeontology.  He
lectured undergraduate courses at the university and worked part-time in
a local bar to earn the money he need to travel.

He and his friends were always off somewhere or other, mixing whatever
field experience they could get with thrill seeking.  Parasailing,
hangliding, parachuting, they’d even managed to arrange a bungee jump
for charity at the university and persuaded over two hundred other
students to join in.

Billy was, in her opinion, one of the very best palaeontology students
she’d ever had the pleasure of teaching.  She assured Alan that he
wasn’t making a mistake by offering him a place on the dig.

When she’d asked if there was anything else she could tell him, Alan had
to bite back the question of there being serious girl or boyfriend in
the picture.  Suzanne knew him, but not as well as some others.  He
didn’t want what felt like a stupid schoolboy crush getting out around
one of his affiliated universities.  So he told her, no, thanked her for
everything she’d done and said goodbye.

Strictly professional.

That had been almost a week ago.  He’d been getting more and more antsy,
more difficult to work with and almost impossible to talk to ever since.

And then, yesterday, Billy had called to ask if it was still okay for
him to come up.

Alan had worried that if he’d spoken to the young man personally, the
delight in his voice would have scared him away.  So he’d told Gracie –
his administrative assistant who’d taken the call – that yes, it was
still okay for the graduate to join them.

‘Great!’ had apparently been the student’s reply, Billy would be up the
following day, late in the afternoon.

Deliriously happy and as nervous as hell, all at once, Alan had taken
his entire team out to dinner in the local town.  Beers, steaks and
fries on him.  They’d been so surprised, they hadn’t asked what the
occasion was, had only accepted the offer and enjoyed their night out.

Gracie had brought up one point when had Alan filled her in on the
details of their expected new arrival.  They were out of tent space.  A
Florida University student named Erin Cage had arrived just before Alan
had gone on vacation (that was what he’d told them – some vacation!
Maybe with Billy’s arrival, he’d tell them the truth) and she’d had to
bunk in with two of the other girls.

Alan had shrugged.  He and Gracie were the only ones with their own
tents, everyone else was already sharing.  As nonchalantly as he could,
he’d told her not to worry, that Billy could bunk in with him.

As she’d happily nodded at his suggestion, he’d suddenly had a flash of
what Ian Malcolm would have said if Alan had just as innocently tried
that line on him.  He’d have choked on his beer, Alan suspected
ruefully.  Ian just knew him better than anyone here.

He really hoped to rectify that, given time.



Alan had already cleared out the left-hand side of the small tent, and
set up a camp bed for his new roommate.

He felt like a teenager again.

He’d lain awake last night running a million different scenarios through
his head.  He’d thought he’d seen something in those gorgeous big brown
eyes when they’d been on the island.  Some interest in his vaguely
flirtatious comments.  He wondered if Ian would have called them
‘vague’.  Possibly not.

But that had been on the island, where he and Ian had been Billy’s only
chance of survival.  Billy would have done anything to get to safety,
even if it had meant feigning interest in a man old enough to be his
ageing father.

In the small hours of the morning, Alan had let his thoughts give over
to fantasy, and allowed his imagination to take over for a while.  He’d
jerked off to the images in his mind – he and Billy lying naked under
the stars, rubbing against one another desperately as each brought the
other to orgasm.

While he still had the privacy of his own tent, he told himself, he
might as well take advantage of it.

Tonight, the object of his desires would probably be sleeping only a few
feet from him, and then he’d really know frustration.


The previous night’s merriment had improved morale no end, and had
cleared the air.  Alan put the coffee on and then wondered down to greet
the early risers who were already laid out around the edges of their two
major finds so far.  Two raptor skeletons, in tact, perfectly preserved.

They greeted him cheerfully.  As he too lay down on his front at the
side of one of the sets of bones, they explained the progress they’d
made and he listened.  He’d been far too immersed in himself recently,
he knew, and today he would dedicate all his time to listening to his
team and answering any questions they had.

The day passed quickly.

No major new finds, but what they had was coming along nicely, and Alan
had high hopes that the raptor skull they were slowly excavating would
help with his research into their ability to communicate, and the baring
that had on their social skills and hunting methods.

He would need some technological help there; he’d already worked that
out.  He just needed to find someone with the unique ability to be able
to handle the computers and Alan’s own hatred for them, to enable
something to come out of the union.

At seven-thirty that evening, he arrived.

One of the students who had been over at the Montana State University
for a lecture had picked Billy up from the airport and brought him to
the site.   Alan met them at the entrance to the dig.  His heart was
pounding by the time Billy dropped out of the jeep and shook his hand,
but the ease in the graduate’s greeting soothed his nerves.

“I can’t thank you enough,” Billy enthused as he looked around the site
from where he stood.

“It’s a lot more than what you see here,” Alan assured him proudly.
“The dig itself stretches back for miles.  Groups take a jeep out to the
other end of the site for the day and come back to the camp when they
lose the light.  There’s a great deal to work on, Billy, don’t worry
about not having anything to do.”

Billy’s expression told Alan that was the last thing he’d been worrying
about.  “I wasn’t sure if you’d still want me,” he said quietly as Alan
gave him a hand with his bags.

For a moment, Alan couldn’t come up with an answer to that.  ‘You’re all
I’ve thought about, every minute of the day and night, since I got back
here,’ didn’t really seem to be appropriate.

“Why wouldn’t I still want you?” he asked instead, allowing a measure of
disbelief into his voice.

Billy shrugged, and Alan noticed him wince slightly at the movement.
“We were under a lot of stress on the island.  People say things that
they don’t necessarily mean.”

Alan led him into the tent that would be their home.  “I don’t say
anything I don’t mean,” he told the young man, “and I don’t make
promises I don’t intend to keep.  You can ask anyone around here.  Mind
you,” he murmured, leaning in and lowering his voice, “I did take them
all out to dinner last night, so they might construe that as bribery.”

Billy laughed and dropped his bag to the compacted ground.  “Are you
sure it’s okay to bunk with you?” he asked Alan once he’d realised who
he was sharing a tent with.

Once again, it took all his self-control to keep his expression
neutral.  “Sure.  Everyone else has a roomie except Gracie – our Admin
genius.  And I thought you’d prefer sharing with me than with a strange
woman.  Not that she’s strange….”

Billy glanced over and saw the sparkle in the vivid blue eyes.

He’d thought about precious little but those blue eyes for two weeks.

“How’s the shoulder?” Alan asked, again seeing some slight pain on
Billy’s face as he bent to move his bags under the camp bed.

Billy straightened up, looking a little guilty.  “Actually, it’s not
completely healed yet.  I’m supposed to take it easy, keep any weight or
pressure off of it….”

Alan sighed.  “You came out here before you’d fully recovered?”

Sitting on the edge of his makeshift bed, mirroring Alan’s position,
Billy frowned.  “Sorry.  I just… I was desperate to know whether or not
you’d meant it, about the job here, and I thought, if I left it too
long, you’d find someone else.”

‘Like that would ever happen,’ Alan muttered to himself.  “Well now
you’re here, we’ll have to make sure you take it easy for a week or so,
get it looked at again and make sure you don’t do anything you shouldn’t
until its completely healed.”

“I want to be of use to you, Dr Grant.”

Alan moved, crossing to sit on the edge of the other bed, next to
Billy.  “It’s Alan.  And believe me, you will be of use.”


Dinner was almost ready and the team that had gone out to the other end
of the site were back in time for food.

Alan introduced Billy to the rest of the people who worked at the dig.
Within an hour, they’d accepted him as another member of the team, and
were chatting away with him easily about his experiences in L.A., his
own pet theories on their particular science, eventually getting around
to his love of dangerous sports.

Alan chose then to tell them the truth about where he’d met Billy.

“That vacation I had two weeks back?”  They nodded, almost in unison.
“I flew out with Ian Malcolm to Isla Nublar to rescue this idiot.”

There was a stunned silence, followed by a barrage of questions and
requests for the whole story.

Alan let Billy tell his part first.  How Hammond had conned him into
going out there with Clare and Tom Pritchard.  How they’d been alone for
the first ten days, how they’d ventured out further into the island from
the compound and seen only harmless herbivores; the most beautiful site
Billy had ever seen.

Then the day they’d met the Tyrannosour for the first time.  When Clare
had been killed right there in front of them as they’d stared on,
helpless.

They’d returned to the compound, believing themselves to be safe within
the perimeter.  But the ‘raptors had broken through, and although they’d
tried to run, they’d been hunted.

Alan took over then, knowing how difficult it was to recount the death
of one friend, let alone two.  He’d left out all the details of Clare’s
demise, and Alan paid Tom the same dignity.  He glossed over that,
gathering back the attention of his audience with the story of their
escape and Billy’s second, and personally closer run-in with the T-Rex.

It was a small group of the male students, along with one or two of the
girls (and Alan couldn’t help but suspect their motives) that wanted to
see Billy’s healing wound.

Only slightly embarrassed, Billy pulled his t-shirt up, and over his
head from behind, turning his shoulder toward those that had crowded
around him.

Alan couldn’t help but watch the young man’s every move.  He caught more
than a glance at Billy’s lightly haired, muscular chest.  And then, when
he turned his shoulder, Alan caught his breath.

The stitches had been removed, but the wound where the T-Rex’s talon had
driven through his skin and bone was still reddened; he was going to
have a massive scar there.  And the shoulder would always be weakened.
He’d have to be very careful which dangerous sports he chose to risk his
neck with in the future.

Alan left them to it, leaving Billy to explain more if he wanted.  Even
to make some stuff up if he needed to.  After all, Ian had, in his book,
when they’d got back from Jurassic Park the first time.

He walked up to the dune that overlooked this end of the site.  The sun
had set a couple of hours ago, and the stars here were so clear, so
stunning, he’d spent many a night staring up at them.

So lost was he in this pastime, that he almost jumped when soft words
were spoken close to his ear.

“I owe you my life, I never got a chance to thank you.”

Alan turned, eyes unashamedly looking over Billy’s profile in the
darkness as the young man moved to stand next to him.

“You don’t owe me any thanks.  I am sorry we weren’t in time to save Tom
and Clare.”

“They shouldn’t have died.  I was there to protect them….”

“No.”  He interrupted Billy.  “No, you weren’t.  The only way to have
prevented what happened was not to go.  You can’t turn back time,
Billy.  Don’t take any guilt onto yourself because of Hammond.  He’s
given us all enough nightmares to last a lifetime.”

“Then I should have known better.”

Alan smoothed a hand over Billy’s good shoulder.  “John Hammond is a
manipulative man.  He took advantage of what you wanted, lied to you,
and out you went, thinking it would get you a place on my dig.”  Alan
dropped his hand down Billy’s back, stroking down his spine, keeping his
touch reassuring.  “And now you’re here.”

Billy tilted his head and grinned at his new mentor.  “Yeah.  That’s
true.”

He tipped his head back and looked up at the stars above them.  The ones
he’d watched Alan studying for a few minutes before he’d snuck up on
him.

It was truly beautiful out here.  In L.A., there was far too much light
pollution to see anything much of the treasures that the night sky
held.  But Billy imagined that he could happily spend the rest of his
life out here with the view it afforded.  And the company he could keep.

The only sounds were the chorus of laughter and chattering from the team
of students in the near distance, and the music of the secadas playing
around them.

Alan suddenly realised he was still moving his hand over Billy’s back,
and drew it away.  Billy glanced at him, but said nothing, just kept
smiling that beautiful smile.

Taking a deep, calming breath, Alan forced himself to say, “You must be
exhausted.”

Billy nodded, going easily into the conversation.  “It was a fairly long
flight….”

“And not too comfortable for someone with a hole in his shoulder.”

Billy at least had the decency to look away, slightly embarrassed.  He
knew he’d been mad to come up here so soon, against his doctor’s
advice.  But he hadn’t been able to wait another day, and he’d been
starting to drive his roommate insane.

Billy followed Alan back down to the camp, toward their tent.  As they
walked, Alan heard their satellite phone ringing.  It was the perfect
excuse.

“I’d better get that,” he told Billy, “make yourself at home.  And sleep
well.”

Billy smiled and nodded, and carried on while Alan veered off to the
Administration tent.


“Dr Alan Grant,” he told the caller, his gaze locked onto the tent at
the far end of the campsite.  The glow of the lamp inside the nylon
frame tantalisingly illuminated the figure undressing inside.

“Alan?  Are you even listening to me?”

Shaking his head, tearing his eyes away from the tempting silhouette, it
took a moment to register Ian’s voice on the other end of the invisible
line.

“Yeah, Ian, sorry.  Got distracted.”

“I’ll bet!”  Ian sounded like he was a million miles away.  “Heard that
whatshisname has joined you.”

Alan wasn’t going to rise to the bait.  “How’s the trip, Ian?”

“I’ll be back on Monday, I was calling to ask if you wanted to go for
beers Tuesday night.”

“Sounds great.  Drop in at the dig, you can drive us into town.”

“In that case, you’re buying.”

Alan smiled to himself.  Despite everything, and completely against his
better judgement, he’d grown incredibly fond of Ian Malcolm.  “Deal.
See you next week.”

“Bye Alan, and don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.”

Ian cut the line, leaving Alan to wonder if there was much that he
wouldn’t do.

* * *

Billy stood, stretching in the afternoon sun.  He’d been on site for
five days now, and he’d been quietly pleased with his own performance.

He’d proved to Alan, and to the other members of the team, that bringing
him on board hadn’t been a mistake.  He knew how to use both the
traditional tools of the science as well as the new technology they had
employed at the dig.

A couple of his fellow palaeontologists had explained to him that they
had to form a committee and talk Dr Grant into to renting any bit of
hard or software, however small or cheap.  And for the most part, the
equipment was never small or cheap.

“Alan hates technology, hates computers, hates anything that goes
against the old fashioned methods of excavation,” Gary – who’d been
working at the dig for as long as it had been here, before Alan’s first
visit to Jurassic Park – explained to Billy one afternoon.  He’d happily
shown the newcomer around the three tents that housed their computer
equipment.

Billy had had some experience with the new technology.  A part of his
major had been involved with computers.  He was happy around it and
easily picked up everything that Gary told him.  In turn, Gary was
inordinately pleased to have found someone as comfortable around the
software as he was.

He was fine with the excavation tools too.  He was careful with the
bones, understood the fragility of the finds and knew how to handle
them.

The only problem he had been having was with his shoulder.  It was
bugging him, and the medication was only taking the edge off the pain,
wasn’t giving Billy any respite at all.

He hadn’t thought that anyone had noticed, but yesterday Alan had driven
him into town and had a doctor look at the wound.  It was healing well,
he’d been reassured.  He’d been given more painkillers, slightly
stronger this time and had been warned that they might make him a little
drowsy.

“The body heals better without the burden of pain,” the young doctor had
explained to them both as he’d issued the pills.

Billy could only agree with him.  Before, he’d been in almost constant
pain, not to any debilitating degree, but it had definitely begun to
tire him.  Today, it was much better and he was able to work without the
constant irritation.


But the best part of it, the best thing about being out here, was being
with Alan.

He’d been almost sure that he hadn’t imagined the come-ons while they’d
been on the island.  But by the time he’d arrived out here, he’d
convinced himself that they’d been in a very stressful situation, and
Alan had only been making him feel at ease.

After five days here spent in Dr Grant’s company he knew he’d been right
in the first place.

Alan was interested in him, but too nervous or something to do anything
about it.  Billy had been trying to work out exactly what that
‘something’ was.  Because he hadn’t wanted anyone more in his life than
he wanted Alan Grant.

The man was addictive.  He had the most wonderful accent that seemed to
change whenever he wasn’t thinking about it.  His laugh was to die for.
And his eyes… more than once, Billy had found himself drowning in those
deepest blue eyes.

He let his gaze roam the site until he found Alan, standing a little way
off, talking to a couple of members of the team; Erin and a guy she
seemed to have hooked up with… Pete, Billy thought.

Their illustrious leader was so animated when he was excited.  They’d
found something, maybe a third complete raptor skeleton, and he was
overseeing the initial excavation and the cordoning-off of the area.

He smiled to himself.  For now at least, he could be happy just being
around Alan, working close to him, sleeping even closer.

He rubbed his hands on his black t-shirt and rubbed his forehead with
the back of his wrist.

“Billy?”  He started.  Alan had called to him from where he stood.
Immediately he went over to where the small group stood.

He grinned when he got close.  “Reporting for duty, Sir.”

Alan chuckled.  “Billy – could you take over here?  Oversee this
excavation?”

Billy’s eyes widened, his mouth dropped open and Erin even giggled.

“Er… sure!  Thanks!”

Alan smiled wryly and nodded, turning away.  Billy was an incredible
student, he wished he would just have a little more faith in himself.

Then again, wasn’t that the very reason he was still watching the
graduate from afar and hadn’t yet made a move on him?

Shaking his head, he left Billy to it and wondered back to their tent.
He needed a shower before Ian arrived.


An hour later, Ian drove onto the dig site.  He spotted Billy at the
edge of the site and called to him, waving.  Billy saw him and
immediately made his way up the incline to the parking area to shake his
hand and thank him for his part in the island rescue.

“You’re looking well, kiddo,” Ian was pleased to see their sole
survivor.  He shook his outstretched hand firmly, smiling widely.
“Enjoying the balmy heat of Montana?”

Billy grinned.  “Better than the balmy heat of Isla Nublar.”

“That is a very true point.”

Ian leaned back against the jeep he’d hired, crossing his arms and
looking Billy up and down.  “How are you really?”

Billy shrugged.  “I’m okay.  Shoulder’s still giving me trouble, and the
nightmares….”  Ian nodded his understanding.  “But Alan knows.  He just
lets me talk about it when I need to remember, and lets me forget about
it when I don’t.”

Ian smiled slyly and nodded.  “Alan’ll look after you, that’s for
sure.”  He’d expected Billy to have the grace to at least look a little
surprised.  But Billy smiled, blushed and nodded.

Ian sighed softly.  ‘At least I know now what he sees in you,’ he
thought dryly, but kept it to himself as Alan came up the incline.

“Hey, Ian.”  He looked between his old friend and his new one.
Something was going on.  “What?”

Shaking his head, chuckling, Ian pulled Alan into a powerful hug that
was immediately returned.  “You okay?” he asked quietly, seriously.
Alan just nodded.

When they parted, Alan turned to Billy.  “You’re in charge until I get
back.  See if you can handle this lot on your own for a couple of
hours.”

Billy nodded and grinned.  Then he watched as Alan jumped in the
passenger seat and let Ian drive him into town.

*

“Okay,” Ian leaned forward, having told Alan everything there was to
tell about his lectures on ‘Chaos Theory And Evolution’ that he’d been
giving in Oxford, England for the last two weeks.  “Now it’s your turn.”

“You know what I’ve been doing.  Digging up dinosaur bones.”

“Don’t tell me you’ve somehow kept your hands off that sensual angel
you’ve got back at the site?!”

Alan rolled his eyes.  “I’m old enough to be his father, Ian.”

“Experience counts for a lot.”

“Right.”  Alan sighed softly.  “I don’t know….”

“Alan, we ended up back in hell because you fell for him, hook, line and
sinker, from the moment you saw his photo!  Don’t tell me we fought off
‘raptors, that awful spitting thing and a T-Rex just for you to get cold
feet back here!”

“We went to the island to save them all.”

“Yeah, yeah.”  Ian waved his hand between them.  He knew that, but there
was nothing they could have done for Hammond’s relations.  “Alan,” he
murmured, “let something good come out of it.  Please.”

Blue eyes rose to meet Ian’s, looked at him curiously.  “Why does it
matter so much to you?”

The other man shrugged.  “I want to see you happy,” he admitted
quietly.  “After we came back and you and Ellie split… you had such fire
and it just… went out.”

Alan dropped his gaze again.  “I loved her.  My life’s two passions were
gone.  What’s the point of digging up bones for study when you can fly
down west of Costa Rica and see them with flesh on?”  He sipped his
beer.  “But then… life goes on.  People were suddenly interested in my
work, interested in the digs and the research.  My publisher all but
bribed me to write the second book, and I found myself with money, cash
to fund the dig, for the first time in… ever!”

Ian nodded.  “But Alan, there’s more to life than work, you know that.”
He paused.  “He’s as crazy about you as you are about him, you do know
that?”

Alan looked up sharply.  “How the hell do you work that out?  You’ve
spoken to him for what?  Two minutes?”

Alan’s sudden spurts of pique had never bothered Ian.  This time, he
found it kinda sweet.  “Have you watched him watch you?  Those big eyes
he has…” Ian raised his hands, palms forward, fingers parted, “they
follow your every movement.”  He shook his head.  “Jeez, you two are as
bad as each other!  He’s nuts about you and you’ve been ga-ga over him
since you dragged him off that table like Superman to stop him becoming
raptor food….”

“Okay, okay!”  Alan took Ian’s hands into his own and lowered them to
the table.  “Point taken!”

“Then do something about it!  He could make you really happy.  Let him!”

Rolling his eyes, Alan sat back.  “Why is everything so simple to you?”

Ian laughed.  “Simple?  You forget – I am the master of chaos!”

*

Billy was still up when Ian dropped Alan back at the site.  “Look, he’s
waited up for you,” Ian teased as Alan dropped out of the jeep.

“Get outta here!”  Alan told him.

“See you soon?”

“I’ll think about it.”  But he winked at his old friend.  He waited
until the jeep was out of sight before starting down the incline.

Billy was lying on the ground outside their tent, stargazing as he had
taken to doing these passed couple of nights.  He couldn’t get over how
clear the stars were, how much he could see.

“I wanted to be an astronomer before I wanted to be a palaeontologist,”
he murmured as Alan came to sit down next to him.

Alan smiled to himself, putting his hands out behind him and leaning
back, crossing his ankles as he looked up at the night sky.

“Not an astronaut?”

Billy moved his head, one side to the other.  “I’m not great with
heights.”

Alan glanced down at him.  “Liar!  What about the parasailing, bungee
jumping, all the other dangerous things you get up to.”

Billy looked up at Alan curiously.  “How did you know about the bungee
jump?”

“You must have mentioned it.”

“No.  I was saving that one.  I thought… I didn’t want to come over as
too pretentious all at once.”

Alan shrugged, trying to stay nonchalant.  “Maybe someone else mentioned
it.”

“Or maybe you rang Suzanne at the university and asked her all about
me.”  Guilty as hell, Alan looked away.  “Hey!”  Billy reached up,
wrapped long fingers around Alan’s forearm.  “I don’t mind.  She
mentioned that you’d called, that’s all.”

“She gave you a shining reference.”

“Glad to hear it.”  He smiled, still gripping Alan’s arm lightly.  “How
was your evening?”

All too aware of Billy’s touch, Alan tried to keep his voice neutral.
“It was good.  When I first met Ian… I took an instant dislike to him.
But shared experiences, especially bad ones, often breed the strangest
friendships.”

Billy let the opportunity go.  Too obvious, almost like Alan was feeding
him a line.  He moved his fingers up Alan’s arm to his shoulder, and
brushed his hand over it, down the man’s taut back.

“Billy….”  The word was almost a warning.

Immediately, Billy removed his hand.  He sat up, wrapping his arms
around his knees.  “I’m sorry….”

He sighed, frustrated yet not willing to throw away everything just
because of a failed come-on.  He started to get to his feet.

Alan’s hand touched his arm, gently squeezing his biceps.  “Wait.”
Leaning over, as nervous as hell and more tentative than a virgin, Alan
closed the gap between them, tilting his head to one side.

Without another word, Billy leaned forward the last inch and touched his
lips to Alan’s, pausing for a moment before opening his mouth under the
other man’s, inviting the same.

Backing away slightly, with the tempting taste of Billy on his lips,
Alan smiled.  “Stay, please?”

Billy laughed softly, leaning his forehead against Alan’s, curling his
hand around the back of the older man’s neck and pushing his fingers
into the fine hair.

“I want to stay here for the rest of my life,” he whispered, eyes
closing for a moment.

Alan swallowed.  “Billy….”

“Don’t try any of your arguments on me, I have answers to everything.
I’ve worked them out.”  He touched his lips to Alan’s once again.
“You’re not too old for me.  You have the most incredible body… I get
hard when your shirt rides up your back if you’re leaning over too far.
You’re cranky in the morning and need at least two cups of coffee before
you’d ready to talk to anyone.  You sleep on your back and you snore.”
Alan sat there, amazed.  For once he was lost for words.  “I want to
know everything about you.  I want to fall in love with you more each
day.  And if we sit here much longer, I’ll come from just being so close
to you.”

Alan laughed, delight filling his expression.  Then he wrapped his arms
around Billy and lowered him back to the ground, lying down beside him,
covering his mouth with his own and kissing him deeply.

Billy seemed to be all over him, despite being below him.  He’d wrapped
one leg up, drawing Alan closer, fingers combing through his hair,
raking down his back to pull his t-shirt from his jeans.  Finally,
Billy’s hand touched skin and they both moaned into one another’s
mouths.

“There must be somewhere more comfortable and less… public than this,”
Alan complained eventually, leaning in to kiss a trail down Billy’s
throat.

Billy really didn’t care.  “Anywhere….”  He breathed, hands pushing
further under Alan’s t-shirt, stroking heated skin.

One of them had to break it up, or they’d be out here until sunrise.
Alan found the strength somewhere within him to break away from Billy’s
intoxicating touch.  Standing, he gave his partner a hand up and slid
his arm around the young man’s waist as they walked into the tent behind
them.

Zipping the flap, Alan pulled his t-shirt up over his head, watching
while Billy did the same.  “God, you’re gorgeous,” he breathed, stepping
forward to circle Billy in his arms, chest to bare chest.  Fine hairs
tickled Alan’s own smooth body as he tipped his lover’s head back to
kiss him again.

The thrill of feeling Billy’s rock-hard reaction to his touches set a
match to the slow burning desire coiling in Alan’s groin.

He’d been waiting far too long for this.  This first time, it wasn’t
going to take much.

Releasing Billy’s body, but not his lips, Alan stepped back and
unfastened Billy’s fly, his hands colliding with the other’s as he had
the same desperate need to touch hardened flesh.

And then it was more than their hands touching.  Neither was able to
suppress a groan as Alan’s long cock knocked against Billy’s thick
length.

They groped one another shamelessly, Billy’s fingers teasing their way
up Alan’s cock as Alan cupped Billy’s testicles and pressed the pad of
his index finger a little way behind them, stroking Billy’s perenium
firmly.

Billy broke the kiss, gasping for a breath.  “Oh God, Alan!”

Alan grinned and stepped back, breaking all contact between them, loving
Billy’s cry of protest.  He kicked off his shoes, pulled off his socks,
jeans and underwear all together and sat down in the centre of his camp
bed – a little wider and definitely more sturdy than Billy’s.

Staring at his lover’s cock standing proud, almost beckoning to him,
Billy stripped off the rest of his own clothes and moved to the edge of
the low bed.

Alan reached out to grasp Billy’s hip, keeping the young man standing
there while he shifted forward and slid his lips over the head of
Billy’s cock.

Billy tried to bite back the sounds he just wanted to yell into the
tent.  He put the edge of one hand into his mouth and rested his other
hand gently on Alan’s head.

“Alan….”

The older man’s talented fingers reached back, teasing his balls,
stroking back between his thighs, finally caressing Billy’s tight anus.

Billy started.  He was no novice but he hadn’t expected Alan to be this
good.  He swallowed hard, releasing his own hand before he cut through
the skin with his teeth.

That finger was as relentless as Alan’s mouth.  Relaxing Billy’s body,
Alan pressed carefully, slowly, into him.  Billy could barely control
his breathing as tiny lights exploded as fireworks behind his eyes,
blurring his vision.

Alan’s finger pushed deeper, stroked over Billy’s prostate.  And then he
added his thumb, on the outside, pressing against the perenium, one
touch in direct counterpoint to the other as he deep-throated Billy’s
cock.

Billy yelled hard and came against the back of Alan’s throat.  Muscles
continued to work the crown of his erection and he felt like he was
being swallowed whole.  Alan’s hand came around from his hip to cradle
his balls, and Billy came again, fingers curling in his lover’s hair,
knees almost buckling.

Finally releasing him, drawing his lips slowly over the softening
length, Alan moved, coaxing Billy forward until his shins hit the edge
of the bed and he fell to his knees, straddling Alan’s lap.

Stroking his back, Alan was soothing him.  But it was a couple of
minutes before Billy found the power of speech again.

“Fuck, Alan, that was….”

“Good?”  Alan trailed the tip of his tongue over first one hard, dark
nipple, then the other.  He felt Billy’s shiver, as it drove through his
lover’s body, and smiled.

“Good,” Billy repeated breathlessly.  “Good… doesn’t come close.”

Forehead to forehead, Alan waited until Billy reached between them.
“Let me do something for you,” he whispered.  Alan started to speak then
hesitated, unsure his request would be welcomed.  “What?  Anything,
Alan.”  Billy sat back, still stroking the long length.  “You want to be
inside me?” he murmured.

“God, yes.  But it’s okay, we can wait….”

“What for?  The next Jurassic age?”  Billy shifted, moving off from
Alan’s lap and crouching by the bed.  “Lie down.”

“Billy….”

“Come on, Alan, trust me.”

The sparkle in those big brown eyes… Alan would trust him with his life,
not just his pleasure.  He lay down and watched, heated gaze following
every move Billy made, loving the graceful movements of the muscled
form.

Kneeling over him once more, Billy reached back and started to position
Alan’s cock at the entrance to his body.

“Billy,” Alan tried to stop him, “you need… something….”

But Billy was already shaking his head, kissing Alan’s neck, his
shoulders and chest.  “Just do it, I’m ready for you – more than ready
for you.”

Alan was going to protest once more, but Billy’s lips surrounded his
left nipple and he felt just the slightest bite of teeth around the
sensitive bud.

Alan cried out, and at the same moment that Billy forced the tip of
Alan’s cock through the tight ring of his anus, Alan’s thrust up as best
he could.

Sheathed, Alan found Billy’s mouth and plundered it with his tongue,
hands grasping the firm hips as Billy shifted back slightly and sank
further down onto Alan’s cock inside him.

He swallowed the vibration of Alan’s moan, adding his own heady mix of
pain and pleasure into the sound.

After a few long seconds, Billy broke the kiss and sat up, hands pressed
against Alan’s shoulders as he started to move in earnest, lifting
himself before dropping down on the cock impaling him.

It felt better than he could ever remember it feeling.  It felt right,
more than right.  Alan stretched and filled him so perfectly it was like
he belonged there inside him.

While Alan’s right hand gripped his hip, the fingers of his left hand
were torturing his nipples mercilessly.

Alan tweaked the hard buds until Billy squirmed out of his fingers.
Then he smoothed his hand down over his lover’s chest until Billy’s
spent cock rose against his palm.

Alan forced his eyes open, raking his gaze over the ecstatic
expression.  Billy grinned, locked his eyes with his lover’s and
squeezed his ass muscles hard.

Alan gave one last thrust upwards and let loose a howl of pleasure as he
bathed Billy’s rectum with his seed.

Billy continued to squeeze until Alan had nothing left to give him, then
he stilled, lying carefully down on Alan’s chest only to be surrounded
by strong arms and held tightly.

“Oh my God,” Alan murmured, kissing his lover’s damp hair.  “Oh… Billy…
That was….”  He moved his head, side to side, unable to voice his
feelings at the moment.

With some considerable effort, Billy lifted himself onto trembling
arms.  “It was incredible,” he murmured, lips pursing in a delicate
smile, one Alan knew he could easily come to treasure.

“More than incredible.”  Alan reached up to touch Billy’s cheek.  “I
could fall for you so hard….”

Turning his head, Billy pressed his lips to Alan’s palm.  “I already
have done.”

Slowly, he rose, feeling the loss when Alan’s soft cock left his ass.
He glanced over at his camp bed.  Alan saw him.  “Oh no, you don’t get
away that easily.”

Taking his sleeping bag and unzipping it, he laid it out on the floor,
smiling when Billy did the same, placing it over the first one for extra
padding against the hard ground.  Alan found a spare bag to open out
over the top of them.

“Tomorrow, I’ll drive into town, pick up a double air mattress from the
touristy camping store.”

Billy sat himself down gingerly on the doubled-up sleeping bags.  “Won’t
that start a few… rumours?” he murmured, a smile touching his lips.
He’d imagined that Alan would want to keep this relationship under
wraps.

But Alan shrugged as he lay down next to his seated lover.  “And you
think our performance over the last hour won’t?”

He had a good point.  They’d tried to be quiet, with very little
success.

Alan’s hands stroked over Billy’s body as he turned and lay down.

The older man spooned up behind his young lover, really looking, for the
first time, at the wound next to his shoulder blade.

“It’s ugly,” Billy murmured, feeling the examination, “but at least I
have a great story to tell.”

Alan touched his lips to the reddened area.  “You’re alive to tell that
story, Billy,” he whispered in reply.  “It’s not ugly, it’s a reminder,
that’s all.”

Billy let his eyes close.  He pressed back against Alan’s sturdy frame
behind him, curling his toes to touch his feet too.

“Whatever Ian said,” he breathed, “I’ll have to thank him.”

Alan just smiled and finally let his body relax into sleep.

*

Billy woke to the sunshine peeking in under the tent sides and entrance
flap.  He was cocooned in warmth, despite the hard ground, and he turned
onto his back, expecting Alan to be between his side and the sleeping
bag.

But he found he was alone.

Sighing, feeling a sudden numbing anxiety crawl into the pit of his
stomach, he rose and dressed faster than he ever had in his life.

When he practically stumbled out of the tent, he almost walked into
Erin.  She grinned at him, and he blushed furiously.  But he had more
pressing concerns.

“He’s in the mess tent,” she told him before he could ask.  “And in case
you’re worried, he’s grinning like an idiot, so I think you’re okay.”

Smiling his thanks, Billy headed for the largest tent on site.  Stepping
into the cool darkness, letting his eyes adjust to the light, Billy
spotted Alan by the coffee machine, chatting to a student whose name he
couldn’t place.

But she saw Billy and pointed him out to Alan, who turned.

For a moment, Billy’s heart skipped a beat.  He had no idea how Alan was
going to react to him after last night.

Alan ended his conversation with the girl and smiled at Billy as he
closed in on him.

“Good morning,” he murmured, holding Billy’s gaze.

“Morning.  I thought….”

“Like you said, I’m cranky in the morning before two cups of coffee.”
He flexed his shoulders.  “Not to mention that the ground was hard… just
like me.”

Billy’s eyes widened, and his worried expression became a grin.  “I hope
I get to spend some mornings with you… all hard.”

Alan raised his eyebrows.  “Tomorrow morning, if the camp store has a
double air bed.  Coffee?”

* * *

One month later


John and Elinor Sattler request the company of

Dr Alan Grant and guest

at the marriage of their daughter Ellie to Mark Degler



Billy read the card that Alan had handed to him.

“I’m….”  What?  He couldn’t say that he was sorry – what would that
mean?

“It’s okay, Billy.”  Alan turned from where he was standing at the
entrance of the Admin tent.  “I’m fine with this.”  Not particularly
convincing.  Sighing, he crossed to Billy and took his lover into his
arms, standing with him, forehead to forehead.  “I have you,” he told
him certainly, “I wouldn’t change that for anything.”

Billy smiled, kissing Alan’s lips lightly.

“So… are you going to go?”

Alan nodded.  “Of course.  Ellie’s… she’ll always be my friend.”  He
thought for a moment, taking the card from Billy’s fingers and
re-reading it.  “Would you be my guest?”

“Me?”  Billy smiled, and then frowned.  “Are you serious?”

Alan moved closer, tightening the circle of his arms.  “I want to show
you off.”

Billy couldn’t believe it.  “Alan… she knows a lot of people in
academia.”

“You’re worried about your career.”  Alan’s voice was loaded with
affection.

“No, Alan….”  Billy chuckled.  “I don’t give a shit.  As long as we’ve
enough to fund the digs, I don’t care about my career.  I’ll make them
give me my doctorate whether they like it or not!  I’m worried about
you!”

“Me?”

“You have a reputation!”

Alan kissed Billy’s head and breathed him in.  “I certainly do.”

“I didn’t mean like that.”  Billy lifted his head, met Alan’s mouth with
his own.  “I meant… the community… respects you.  I don’t want to damage
that, don’t want to….”

“Billy… ssh.”  Alan kissed him again, deeper, moulding his body against
that of his lover.

They didn’t notice Gracie come in until they heard, “Guys!  Get a room!
Or a tent….”  She laughed at her own joke as she went around them to get
to her desk.

*

Billy got out of the rental car and straightened his suit.  He’d had his
roommate send it to him from L.A. last week and hoped he’d ironed out
all the creases.

“I’m amazed you own a suit,” Alan had told him, impressed.

“Interviews and weddings,” had been Billy’s reply.

This particular wedding was being held in the garden of Ellie’s parents’
house in Washington.  Billy and Alan sat on the back row and the seats
soon filled up.

Ellie looked stunning, and Mark looked like a decent enough man.

Throughout the ceremony, Billy kept glancing at his lover.  Ellie, he
knew, had been the love of Alan’s life.  He wished he understood how the
older man really felt about her marrying, but Alan had only said that he
was fine, that he had a new love now.

Billy could only hope he was enough.

As Ellie walked back between the two sets of seats - her arm through
Mark’s, her ring glinting in the sunshine - she spotted Alan.  He’d come
alone, she immediately assumed, as the two people sitting either side of
him were male.  She smiled at him and he smiled back.  At least he’d
come today, it was more than she’d hoped for.


Alan handed Billy a glass of champagne.

“Alan Grant!”  Both men turned to look at the man who’d called out.
Billy glanced at his companion’s face and saw the sincere smile.

“Terry!  My God….”  Striding up to the large man, Alan shook his hand.
“How the hell are you?”

“I’m good!  What about you?  You’ve been busy, I hear!”

“You could say that.”  Alan looked around, beckoning Billy forward.
“This is my research assistant, Billy Brennan.  He’s working for his
doctorate from UCLA.”  They shook hands as Alan continued, “Billy, this
is Terry Duncan, works at the University of Denver – or at least he used
to….”  Alan looked to Terry for confirmation, who nodded.

“Still there, for my sins.”  He swapped his empty glass for a full one
as a waitress walked passed.  “Alan abandoned us three years ago,” he
told Billy.

“I didn’t abandon you.  I still have connections in Denver.  It just
seemed like a good idea to work for the university nearest to me.”

“And they, of course, snapped you up.”  He wiggled one podgy finger at
Alan and sipped his champagne.

For all his overbearing countenance and seemingly brusque attitude,
Billy got the feeling that Alan really liked this man.

“…and the dig is going well, right?”

Alan nodded.  “It’s good.  Becoming a famous hero really pays off.”

Terry laughed, a full belly laugh.  “Well, you should definitely get out
more.  I mean – why did you bring your research assistant to your
ex-girlfriend’s wedding?”

Billy froze, his stomach doing a flip-flop.

He shouldn’t have come, he thought all of a sudden.  He should’ve
convinced Alan this was a bad idea.

He was startled when Alan curled an arm around his waist, drawing him
close, and leaned in conspiratorially to Terry.

“It seemed the only thing to do, as we are sleeping together.”

Billy’s eyes went wide as he looked from Alan to Terry and back.  Terry
was silent for a single moment, and then he howled with laughter.

“Alan,” he told him, a fat hand landing on his shoulder, “you are
utterly priceless.”


“Alan!”  In the next second, Alan was surrounded by white silk and the
scent of fresh flowers.

He returned the hug carefully, not wanting to crush the beautiful
dress.  “Ellie….”  He sighed her name, backing away to kiss her cheek.
“Congratulations.  You look… breathtaking.”

She smiled, delighted.  “I can’t believe you made it, I didn’t think
you’d come.”

“I wouldn’t miss being here for the world,” he told her sincerely.

Her eyes sparkled in the sunlight.  “I was hoping you might have brought
someone.”  ‘I hate to think of you alone.’  She didn’t voice the
afterthought.

But Alan was smiling.  “I did bring someone.”  Turning, he saw that
Terry had moved away, but Billy was still standing just behind him,
looking pensive.  Alan reached for him again, this time with what Bully
could only describe as reverence.

“Ellie, this is Billy.”

Ellie looked a little confused, but she shook the firm hand.  As she
looked him over quickly, Billy couldn’t help but smile a little
self-consciously.

“It’s nice to meet you,” she said politely.  But her glance at Alan was
one of obvious confusion.

“Billy’s my research assistant at the Badlands dig,” Alan explained, “we
met on Isla Nublar.”

It took a moment before Ellie comprehended what she’d heard.  “But I
was….”  Her eyebrows rose.  “You went back?!”

“Ian and I did.  Hammond asked us to go, to rescue Billy, and John’s
other niece and nephew, two UCLA students.  They’d gone there to do some
research into the animals and John had conned Billy into going too.”

“My God….”  She touched Alan’s arm.  “You’re okay?”

He nodded.  “We were in and out in less than three hours.  It was close
at one point, but we took lots of guns this time.”  He decided not to
mention Clare and Tom hadn’t made it.  Not today.  That news could wait.

“Wow.”  She was still amazed that Hammond had managed to get either
palaeontologist back to Jurassic Park.  Their first visit hadn’t exactly
been a vacation.  “I can’t believe you went back.”

“Neither can I.”

“I’m… glad they did,” Billy put in quietly.

She smiled at him, and was about to say something when she heard Mark
calling her name.  Glancing around, she saw him waving her over to him.
“Listen, I want to have more of a chance to talk to you….”

Alan nodded, “This is your day.  Enjoy it.  I’ll come see you when
you’re back from the honeymoon.  Promise.”

She studied him for a moment; the sincere smile, the dancing light in
his eyes.  “That would be great, Alan.  It was good to meet you, Billy.”

She turned from them, took a couple of steps forward, and stopped,
looking around.  Alan and Billy were walking away from her.

As they went, Alan moved closer to his assistant, and each slipped a
comfortable arm around the other’s waist.

Her face broke into a wide smile and she shook her head.  “Alan, you
rat!” she murmured to herself happily.  “Wait until I get you for this!”

* * *     * * *

Part Two coming soon!
 


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