No infringement of the following characters and situations is intended.
Warning: Rated [MA] Mature Adults only. Contains adult themes
Title: Thy fearful symmetry
Series: Jurassic Park III
Web site: http://uk.geocities.com/havisham06/fic.htm
E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rating: MA - Mature Adults only
Pairing: Alan Grant/Billy Brennan
Date: 18 June 2003 -
Disclaimers: The characters of Dr. Alan Grant, Billy Brennan, et al. are the property of Universal Pictures, Amblin Entertainment and (in Alan's case) Michael Crichton. No copyright infringement is intended or inferred.
Warnings: may contain slash, H/C, violence, m/m hanky panky, sex scenes, drug use, nudity, coarse language, horror, dodgy research, adult themes
Spoilers: Jurassic Park III
Summary: Alan and Billy are invited to join a feral dinosaur hunt.
There was a rather fierce looking, flame haired Scot to meet them at the airport, a man who wouldn't look out of place with his face painted blue as he came screaming out of the heather bearing sword and shield.
The Americans were a little taken aback until his face spilt into an enormous smile and he grabbed their hands in a vigorous shake, greatly pleased to have them there. The presence of two world renown experts gave him some sense of validity, even if there was a good chance they would lay his worst fears to rest.
There was no formalities and it was straight down to business as the man who had introduced himself as Roddy Ferguson led them out to his muddy Land Rover in the parking lot and drove them directly to the university.
It felt a little like being kidnapped and Billy shifted restlessly in the back seat, wishing desperately for a caffeine fix, and feeling bored, tired and confined, pressed uncomfortably up against some of the luggage as he was.
Alan for his part was keen to get this over and done with, so the lack of time wasting pleasantries appealed to him. He listened attentively as Roddy described the events that had lead him to believe The Beast, as the papers called it, that was responsible for the most recent attack and several others, was not merely an overgrown dog or cat grown wild, but something far more exotic, and far more dangerous.
Roddy's description of the tracks and the way the old man had been torn open made Alan sit up in his seat, mind ticking over, nodding intently.
Billy saw this and he didn't like it. It meant that what the Inspector was saying to Alan was making sense. It meant that Ferguson's evidence was fitting into Alan's model of identification. It meant that their wild goose might not be a goose after all, but something much, much worse. With teeth.
The protective sheet was flung back with a magician's flourish and the local scientists stood back in a clump and waited nervously as Alan leant in to peer closely at the plaster casts, examining them close enough almost for his nose to stroke along the plaster. Occasionally he'd straighten, pausing to compare them with his own notes and some photocopied pages, illustrations and photos he'd brought with him, including a few copies of the photos Billy had taken on the island.
Alan placed Billy's photo of raptor tracks beside the cast, and with a pair of callipers he began taking measurements, jotting them down in his battered notebook. Everyone held their breath until finally he stood back with a scowl on his face.
"They're velociraptor," he agreed darkly, his icy glare swinging onto one student who'd dared to let their enthusiasm get the better of them, enthusiasm quickly silenced under that cold reptilian stare.
Alan leant on the table, studying the casts again, as though wishing them away would actually work.
He glanced up to meet Roddy's eyes across the table.
"Somebody has imported a velociraptor from that damn island. Probably smuggled out as eggs, sold on the black market. My god."
Billy, who had been hovering by Alan's shoulder, felt the terrible sting of guilt, and stepped back a little, head bowed under the weight of his burden.
Alan's anger boiled up and spilled over. "Some stupid rich bastard has gone and bought himself a raptor egg. The bloody things were probably sold in ebay, for all we know. They are the most cunning and dangerous predators on this planet, and somebody's bloody hatched one."
"It escaped," Roddy added.
"Of course it escaped. They couldn't keep the bloody things caged on the island and they were using my research. It was all theoretical - we speculated the things might be able to jump, but nobody could ever say definitively yes, or how high, until one leapt over the electrified fence and disembowelled one of the keepers. I sincerely doubt that anyone stupid enough to buy a raptor egg and hatch it would be sensible enough to build a secure enclosure."
Alan thumped the table angrily. He felt it was his work, his books that had advertised the presence of raptors, raptor eggs, and had made them somehow cool. Cool enough for people to want to steal them. Cool enough to actually steal them.
"They couldn't have taken a couple of herbivores?" Billy asked wistfully.
Alan cocked an eyebrow. "Did you?" he reminded archly.
Billy ducked his head again, newly chastened and conceding the point.
"Billy," Alan followed up, suddenly realising they were back to that argument, that accusation, the one that had torn up their lives.
Every condemnation Alan heaped on these rich prats could also equally apply to Billy, though Billy's motivations had been driven by an altruistic scientific curiosity, he'd wanted to study and sell the eggs only to fund the dig, only to please Alan.
Billy had never thought about what would have happened to the eggs once sold. That's what Alan had been trying to impart to Billy, only it had come out much harsher than he'd meant it to - being chased and nearly eaten by dinosaurs tended to make Alan cranky and more likely to snap at his nearest and dearest.
This is exactly what Alan had feared when Billy had shown him the eggs hidden in his camera bag. Now a couple of morons with more money than sense had obviously bought some eggs smuggled off the island as an expensive addition to their private zoo, no doubt meaning to show them off to their rich and bored friends. Now the damn things were loose.
"Why do we do now?" Billy asked, in a small, subdued voice.
Alan met Roddy's again across the table.
"Hunt it and kill it, before it kills anyone else."
Now they weren't going anywhere, certainly not back to Mongolia. Now they were here for the duration, until Alan was sure the raptor had been eradicated.
They were to be put up in an old farm house that now did duty as a bed & breakfast. It was just on the outskirts of the tiny town, north of Inverness, that was closest to the most recent sightings. Their hosts were nice enough, if a little curious at the two Americans in their midst, one of them with a mechanical arm.
Alan carried their luggage up the stairs and let Billy put the key in the lock. The door swung open to reveal a room that looked almost exactly like the twee little tea shop they'd stopped in on the way up here.
It was simply festooned in generic tartan and knick knacks of dubious antiquity alternating with dried and beribboned bunches of herbs and horse brasses and even more tartan and faux Victorian china and still even more tartan, like a Scottish Martha Stewart had been through the room in a whirlwind. The furniture was all heavy dark wood, probably dyed, and crudely carved. It was all designed to appeal to the most vulgar American tastes.
Billy saw the huge four poster bed and whooped as he made a flying leap onto it, bouncing up and down like a hyperactive six year old before lying flat and making Billy angels on the thick faux tartan quilt.
Alan pulled the key from the lock and closed the door behind him. As he had thought, it was truly designed to placate the most vulgar of American tastes.
Billy grinned up at him from the bed as Alan put down their luggage.
"Ravish me," Billy purred. "Right here, right now." He was giving Alan his come hither bedroom eyes.
"Little minx," Alan growled, crawling on the spongy bed with him, crawling over him, when his phone rang.
Alan groaned and rolled onto his back beside Billy, fishing his phone out of his pocket.
"What?" he demanded testily.
"There's something I want you to see," said Roddy's voice on the other end.
Standing on in the middle of a cold wet field under a slate grey sky that slapped them with small rain squalls occasionally and bit at the noses and fingers with a wind laced with ice needles was not Alan's idea of a good time.
He and Billy had squelched across the muddy paddocks, climbing over the stys of each ancient drystone wall as they came to it, until finally they came to a field with a large square of plastic laid out in one corner.
When they arrived at the large blue plastic square, Roddy peeled it back carefully, revealing bloody torn up grass and a few tufts of wool, all that remained of a couple of sheep, and some tracks. They were churned up by other sheep and, later, human footprints, but they were unmistakable as Alan and Billy both crouched down to look at them more closely, Billy taking careful photographs with an old wooden ruler laid down beside them for reference.
Alan nodded, still crouching by the prints, scanning the horizon, just in case. They were raptor prints all right, and fresh, too, from a kill just two nights ago. The farmer had dismissed it as the work of dogs so it had taken a while for the report to land on Roddy's desk. Roddy had also been busy: setting up Alan and Billy in the nearest town that was going to serve as their headquarters for the duration of this monster hunt.
Finally, the men all stood, stiff legged and cold. Billy and Roddy had argued a little over the best way to take a cast of the prints, but they'd eventually settled on a method and had carefully saved and bagged as much forensic evidence as they could find. Roddy had driven around the local farms for a while, with Alan in the front seat with a pair of binoculars, hoping for some sort of sighting, but there were none to be had. Having eaten its fill of sheep the raptor was probably laying low somewhere, maybe even sleeping it off.
There was nothing to be done except to turn the Rover around and held back into town as a damp twilight fell.
They found the local pub warm and cosy, with a well lived in feel from a couple of centuries of constant use. There was a fire crackling on the hearth and the smell of beer and food and the happy sound of chatter and it was a welcome relief to be in from the cold.
The locals turned as one to study the strangers in their midst, especially Billy, but eventually they lost interest and returned to their own conversations.
After a dinner consumed hastily by hungry men, Billy had found a pool table in the corner and a couple of locals willing to challenge the one armed American to a game. This left Alan to lean back in his chair and slowly sample the produce of the nearby distilleries before moving onto the warm beer he'd left foaming quietly away on the table beside him.
Alan's lips curled upwards of their own accord as he watched Billy lean over the pool table and line up his shot, resting the cue on his hook, being careful of the felt.
"Aye, the lad's got a fine arse on him, I'll give you that."
Alan nearly choked on his beer as Roddy's rousing amusement cut across his thoughts.
"It's all right, man," Roddy leered at him while thumping him soundly on the back. "I wish I had someone who looked at me like that."
There was a fond wistfulness in his voice, which Alan caught.
"I thought I was...I was trying to be discrete," Alan managed, his voice coming out as a squeaky rasp as he felt the effects of malt beer on the nasal passages.
"Discrete?" Roddy rocked back on his chair with a roar of laughter. "Maybe back in the States where they don't want to know, but you're over here now, and a professor who isn't queer is a rare bird indeed," he grinned with a wink.
Alan spluttered his beer again but managed to inhale less this time. Over the foamy rim of his beer glass he was still watching Billy.
Billy was leaning on his pool cue in a most seductive manner, grinning at him, having overheard most of the conversation, bless his little cosmopolitan heart. A flash of dimples, a glint of mischief in those hazel eyes and he turned back to his game, hiking up his hips so Alan could get a really good look.
"He'll ruin his shot if he keeps mucking about like that," Roddy observed, leaning back, keeping a careful eye on the way Billy played, the way he compensated for only having a metal hook for a hand.
"He's been practicing," Roddy nodded, appreciating the skill involved. "The arm?"
"Industrial accident," Alan answered automatically.
"I thought he lost it on the island."
Alan shot Roddy a look. So, he'd done his research after all.
"Not on the island, after we were airlifted. They couldn't save it."
"I'm sorry, Alan," Roddy offered. "It means he knows what those creatures can do though, and he'll have a healthy respect for them, and that's good, because I don't need any cowboys on my team."
"Billy's no cowboy," Alan replied, quietly affronted. "And we both know exactly what those creatures are capable of."
"That's why I asked for you," Roddy amended, returned to his former good humour.