No infringement of the following characters
and situations is intended.
Warning: Rated [MA] Mature Adults only. Contains adult themes
Title: Working Without A Net
Series: Jurassic Park III
Status: WIP 1/?
E-mail address: email@example.com
Pairing: Alan Grant/Billy Brennan
Date: 18 July - 19 September 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: Dinosaurs aren't the deadliest creatures on the planet.
Previously: In this series Billy carries the scars of Isla Surna, most noticeably in the loss of his left arm, but also emotionally. Now new horrors are about to be piled upon old and even if Billy survives, his relationship with Alan might not.
Notes: To my embaressment I finished this third installment before fic two, which is a happy Billy story. Ah well, RL angst equals fic angst. A lot of the ideas here came from the fact that a lot of my paternal family work in industries that take them to freaky and funky countries and even though you know you're not supposed to, you worry. Especially as my maternal family love a disaster and revel in pessimism. I've lost family and friends to adventure holidays, off the sides of mountains and that sort of thing, and it's not fun. I've also had friends and family caught up in local troubles, and I've heard some harrowing tales. Plus I watch a shit load of tv and what I've been watching lately has coloured this (cf Spooks, Reilly). I should note the guitar thing was more inspired by Laurel Canyon than Angel, but whatever...
"Do you like your party?"
Billy nodded emphatically. He was sitting perched on the kitchen counter, drinking beer, legs wrapped around Alan who was standing very, very close in front of him. Billy put his beer down and draped his arms around Alan's shoulders.
"Good party," he purred, leaning forward to kiss Alan. "Nice party." He kissed him again. The kiss was followed by another then another until somebody passing told them to get a room for fuck's sake and they drew apart slightly, at least enough to see a sliver of light between them.
Alan rubbed Billy's thighs where they wrapped around him in a fond and familiar gesture.
"God, I'm going to miss you, you know."
Billy caught the achingly wistful note in Alan's voice.
"This is the way we decided to work this: you tenure, me freelance," Billy reminded quietly.
"I know. I just miss you, when you're away."
Billy smiled impishly. "I'd have thought you'd be glad to get me out of your hair, have some of that peace and quiet you're always accusing me of stealing from you."
Alan tilted his head slightly. Billy was half right, and yet...
"My bed gets cold," he pouted slightly.
Billy took a swig of beer, nodding in agreement. "I know. When I get to London I'm going to fly you over for a fuck."
Alan's eyes sparked with interest, thinking of a long dirty weekend in London. They might even get out of the bedroom this time, maybe.
He leant closer. "I'm going to hold you to that."
"I'll settle just for being held."
Alan's hands rested on Billy's waist and they pressed foreheads and noses together for a moment, sad at their inevitable parting, hours away now, then they drew apart again, before brushing each other's lips with a kiss.
The kiss ended and they just gazed at each other.
"You're eyes are so blue," Billy murmured.
"You're just noticing?" Alan teased.
"Remembering," Billy insisted, making a study of Alan's face. "It's going to be a long six weeks, with only my hand for company."
Alan's lips curled upwards, bemused by Billy's brutal honesty.
Billy slammed the top off another beer bottle with his metal hand. It was the quick, sudden violence of it that always unnerved Alan. Billy had learnt better and better control of his arm, especially his old favourite metal one, but he could also wield it like a club at times, and there was something about articulated metal claws, that even when attached to your lover, were the stuff of nightmares at times.
Billy caught up the neck of the beer bottle between his metal hooks and drank from it that way, keeping his flesh and blood arm draped around Alan, not wanting to break contact, not yet. He had his job, he loved his job, but parting was always such sweet sorrow.
The pile of books kept their promise to tip over and they rained down on Billy from the top shelf of the linen closet.
"Damn it, Alan, do you have to have every damn shelf in this place booby trapped," Billy hissed, bruised, crouching to pick up he books he'd dislodged. Several of them had landed sprawled open and from one had slid an old photo of Alan. An image of a very young Alan looking very, very intense and serious, wearing nothing but impossibly tight dark stovepipe jeans and boots, cigarette in hand, sitting on an unmade bed, leaning up against a wall covered in political posters that just screamed university dorm.
Billy sat down on the floor where he was and studied the photo, deeply amused, and resisting all of Alan's attempts to pluck it out of his hand.
"God, look at you," he breathed, enchanted.
"I was young," Alan excused himself.
"I know," Billy grinned. "Look at you, you were so incredibly hot back then -" he caught himself. "You're still hot, but, I've never seen pictures of you when you were -"
"Your age," Alan finished for him, sourly.
Billy bowed his head. "Alan, I'm getting on a plane in a couple of hours, let's not start this. We're together now, that's all that matters. I've just never seen pictures of you before, pictures like this. You're so damn serious," he looked up, grinning.
"I've always been serious," Alan remarked dryly.
Billy stood, still hanging onto the photo. "I want to keep this."
Billy leant in and kissed him.
"You're hotter now," he promised. "And warmer. I don't think this guy ever smiled."
This brought the flicker of a smile to Alan's lips.
"No, I don't suppose he did."
"See?" Billy kissed him lightly again. "Much better now."
Alan had no need to doubt Billy's sincerity, yet he still felt foolish at times.
Billy had always been serious and committed to Alan but when they'd first gotten together Alan had still been in rebound mode, and he'd been skittish. Alan also suffered all the anxieties and insecurities attendant with taking a very pretty and much younger lover.
Billy had still been very, very young then, barely out of his teens, and he'd kept his own interests, his own place and his own circle of friends. He was always going off and having adventures with these friends, thinking the last thing Alan wanted was to hang out with a bunch of silly young college students. He'd been quite right, but Alan had still felt the pangs of jealousy in spite of himself, and when Billy's friends had answered his phone at odd hours, it hadn't helped.
Most of those friends had melted away after the island and Alan had finally had Billy all to himself, for better or worse. Now Billy's life was back on track and his career had taken off and there was nothing like being on television to widen one's circle of friends, even if it was only on cable.
Alan felt the pull of the world outside and he felt he had to compete for Billy's attention these days. Though it wasn't really true, of course, it was hard to argue the fact when Billy was about to fly away from him again to start work on another short series for the BBC on dinosaur hunting.
A large part of Billy didn't want to go, he wanted to stay here with Alan, but he had his job and he liked his job and he needed his job. They were both professionals with their own careers and this was just the way it was.
Alan's last minute gripings were just his way of saying goodbye. Billy couldn't blame him. Alan had lost Billy on the island, and that hideous sense of loss had never left him. It made him over-protective and fussy and Billy enjoyed it as much as it irritated him at times. It was just Alan's way of showing he cared.
They packed up the books and moved onto Billy's room to gather up the last of his things. Alan was grumbling about Billy leaving things to the last minute, but that was Billy, flying by the seat of his pants, as always.
Alan tried to drag the suitcase out of the back of the wardrobe but it had snagged on something. He gave it a tug and Billy's guitar fell out onto the floor, face first, with a loud and discordant note.
Alan picked it up, annoyed, and practically threw it back into the depths of the wardrobe where it belonged.
"I don't know why you even bother hanging onto that," he snapped, irritated.
Billy shot him a look frozen in hurt and anger and then he'd just dropped the clothes he'd been holding in a tumble onto his bed and stalked out of the room.
"Billy -" Alan tried, calling after him, exasperated.
Alan found Billy standing out on the back porch, as far as he could go in anger when the taxi was due in just under two hours. Billy was hugging himself tightly with one arm, refusing to acknowledge Alan's existence.
Alan stood two paces behind him.
"I'm sorry, I'm so sorry, Billy. That was a stupid, insensitive thing to say. I'm so sorry. Please, you can't leave like this. We can't leave it like this."
Billy just turned his head slightly and shot him an impossibly injured and hostile look, then he turned back to staring out at nothing. The island was still between them, and the fact that Alan had left Billy there, alone, to die.
Alan bowed his head. There was nothing he could say or do to make it right. How could he ever make up for what Billy had lost? How could he even try?
"I'm sorry," Alan murmured again and then turned back inside, finishing the job of packing for Billy, fastening his suitcase, feeling very much that Billy really was leaving him this time, all because of a few careless words.
Billy had taken the taxi alone to the airport, and there had been no cheery, beery phone call when he'd finally gotten into London. There was nothing but empty silence, and Alan pretended not to notice, sifting through his notes as he worked on his next paper.
Billy was staring forlornly out of the train window, watching the scenery fly past. He was dressed warmly against the Russian autumn, and the only deep scar that was visible was the one on his throat that hooked up just like the Nike symbol, peeking above the collar of his jumper. The rest were all hidden from sight. Even his metal and plastic hand was disguised beneath mittens.
Strangely, it was more important to keep his prosthetic arm warm than his real one. Nobody had told him how much the mechanics didn't like icy weather, nor how very bloody unpleasant it was strapping something ice cold to himself first thing in the morning. Still, he supposed it was no colder than Montana, and his homesick mind was just playing games with him.
"Cheer up," grinned Iain, lurching back into their compartment and surprising him by thrusting a steaming cup of hot black tea in his face. "It might never happen."
"I think it already has: he's been a sullen and moody bastard since we left London," put in Geoff.
"I think he's homesick," placated Iain.
"Or lovesick," put in Terry, somewhat lustily.
Geoff turned on this line of questioning. "So, what is it? Girlfriend or boyfriend?"
Billy gave them one of his sourest looks. "None of your damn business."
Terry and Geoff shared a grin. "Boyfriend!" They shouted gleefully in unison.
"Fuck off!" Billy yelled at them, kicking the seat between them, but the shout was split with a grin and the kick wasn't that hard.
"We had a fight," he offered quietly by way of explanation once the tittering had died down.
Iain nodded sympathetically, blowing on his own cup of tea and sending up small swirls of steam.
"Good. I thought you might be going all J-Lo on us and being pissy that the BBC is sending you all the way out there by rail. It's just so we can get some extra footage, travelogue stuff."
"I know," Billy turned to them, smile dimpling. "Michael Palin has a lot to answer for," he added, grin growing vicious.
His film crew laughed and Billy returned to gazing out of the ever changing window scene again. "I'm being silly. I've always wanted to do this and I've been too wrapped up in my own problems to enjoy myself."
"It's a film shoot, you're not supposed to enjoy yourself." Terry reminded sourly, but he was only joking, sort of.
It was a working holiday. They had deadlines to keep, footage to get in the can and a schedule that could easily fall apart if they missed a connection or failed to grease any wheels along the way.
The Powers That Be had decided to send Billy out to the Mongolian dinosaur fields by way of the Trans-Siberian railway, second class no less, no doubt hoping the crew could catch a little local colour on film along the way. They were about seven hours into their first day aboard the train and starting to settle into the routine and each other’s company. They’d met back in London during pre-production, and Billy had worked with Geoff and Terry before, but there was nothing like a four seater carriage for really getting to know one another.
The train suddenly shuddered to a grinding halt, causing Billy and Iain to juggle their tea, trying not to slop it everywhere.
"Oh, what now," huffed Terry, all piss and vinegar and not at all a happy traveller.
"Mexican bandits holding up the train again," Iain joked, sharing a smile with Billy beside him.
They stood on the tracks for a long while, and watched the conductors walk up and down the corridor ponce or twice. The landscape quickly grew boring and the quiet waiting even more so.
Just as suddenly the train shuddered, shunted backwards and forwards a bit, then started moving again.
"Must have been a cow on the tracks," Geoff decided.
“More likely the local post,” Iain surmised in crisp, expensively educated tones.
The train picked up speed again and they settled back again into dozing, reading, working on lap tops or just staring out the window. They'd been clipping along for about forty minutes when everything suddenly went dark and loud.
Alan ignored the phone, then glared at it, but it wouldn't stop ringing. At last he finally decided to pick it up, or he'd never get anything done.
"Go away, I'm busy, " he started gruffly.
"Alan - it's going to be on the news."
"Ellie?" Now he was confused, and he felt his stomach start to sink like a stone.
"Alan, listen to me. A separatist group boarded the Trans-Siberian railway and took some passengers off the train as hostages, including a BBC film crew."
Alan couldn't manage to make a sound in reply.
"Oh, god, Alan, I'm so sorry."
Alan swallowed, still trying to find the power of speech.
"Billy," Alan murmured, finding it hard to hold up the phone. "Is he - is he?"
"He was alive when they took him, that's all we know - all I know. I'm not supposed to - but I had to tell you - I couldn't just let you find out on the evening news. I'm so sorry, Alan. Mark is working on it, trust me, he is. The Russians want to handle it themselves."
"Oh, God," Alan murmured, remembering that theatre in Moscow.
"I just thought you should be told, not hear it on the news. I'm so sorry, Alan. Can I do anything? Do you need me to come over?"
"No," Alan answered quietly. "I think I just need to be alone
right now. Thanks," Alan managed, as an afterthought. He let the phone
drop from his hand and back onto its cradled. He found a chair and sat in it
and just stared at nothing. He felt like his world had just bottomed out and
there was nothing he could do.