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
E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pairing: Alan Grant/Billy Brennan
Date: 18 July 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 Sorna, 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.
Alan woke up in the middle of the night, feeling his age again, and he noted Billy wasn't in his bed. Nor had Billy returned to his own bed, which was an encouraging sign.
Billy was leaning on his open windowsill, smoking quietly, casually browsing a large wad of printouts. Alan could see clearly that he really was going to have to buy some nicotine patches with his next box of condoms. Billy was practically chain smoking.
Still, there was something rather erotic in watching Billy light up, even one handed, and watching him now as Billy lit one off his own and handed it to Alan, it gave Alan a little thrill.
He joined Billy at the window, indulging himself. The two of them leant there quietly, framed by the window, just smoking and watching the night pass.
Alan glanced down to what Billy had been reading at last.
"That's my book," he noted with some surprise and some small sense of violation.
"I printed it out, I thought I'd make notes."
Alan's lips quirked. He was sure Billy would. Gone was the boyish hero worship, and the deference given to his title and position. Billy wasn't afraid to argue with Alan as an equal these days, and they'd had some pretty heated discussions. Alan enjoyed their academic bickering, and even enjoyed it even more when they grew wildly passionate in their debates, but sometimes he missed simply being able to pull rank on Billy. 'Because I say so', just didn't cut it very much any more.
Billy noted there was now much more of Alan's book than there had been before he'd left.
"Well, I had to do something to keep myself occupied. There's an odd comfort in working, as you know."
Billy's sharp rebuke that Alan obviously cared more for his book than him died on his lips, hearing the heartbreak in Alan's voice.
"I'm sorry," Billy murmured in apology.
"It's alright, it's all over now." Alan moved him on.
"I'd like to hear what you think," Alan asked honestly.
Billy ducked his head. "I haven't finished reading it yet." He wasn't quite up for a full on academic discourse at 3am. At least, not today.
"I thought you might be working on your own book," Alan prodded. He was happy to have Billy collaborate, but he was certain that there was an urgent expectation that Billy's latest adventures would warrant another book destined for the best seller list.
Billy shrugged. "People have been asking, but I want the dust to settle a little bit. It's still too real, too raw. I've been putting it all down in a journal, while it's still fresh, so I won't forget, but it's still too close, you know?"
"Problems sleeping?" Alan asked again, concerned.
Billy inhaled on his cigarette and shook his head.
"No, not really. I think I'm still on Russian time, or Montana time, or something. I was just awake," he shrugged. He saw Alan watching him, like a hawk, and it caused him a wrinkle of irritation.
"I'm okay, really. It wasn't fun but it's over now. I've been in worse situations," he added, and he had.
Alan nudged his empty t-shirt sleeve.
"Any news on your new arm?"
"Nope. They'll call when it's ready. I haven't even been for a proper fitting yet. I don't mind," he added. Billy had been offered the use of a temporary prosthesis from the hospital but he'd hated it. Billy could manage well enough on one arm alone and when he couldn't he just flashed his dimples for help.
Billy had a spare arm back in Montana but Alan hadn't even thought to pack it. Poor Alan hadn't even remembered to pack a change of clothes, for either of them, he been so frantic. Billy couldn't fault Alan for that - it was kind of sweet that Alan had worried so much.
Billy stubbed out his cigarette in the tea cup saucer he was using as an ashtray, balanced on the sill beside him. He cocked a speculative look at Alan, and Alan stubbed out his cigarette beside Billy's.
Billy was sliding up and down on the bed, nuzzling at Alan's stomach, down his thighs, and between his thighs and all over.
Alan, his eyes closed, sighed happily as Billy mouthed him again.
Billy licked at him, and made a small gagging noise, complaining about the taste of latex.
Alan suddenly felt himself ripped bare and Billy's tongue lathing over the delicate skin. Alan's eyes snapped open and he gazed down at Billy, asking a question.
"It's okay, it's just me we have to worry about. I'll be careful, I promise. I won't bite." He grinned and Alan felt a gentle nip.
Alan closed his eyes with a soft groan of frustration. No more playing rough with Billy, either, for the foreseeable future, and he liked it when they were wild and growling and grappling at each other.
Billy was making happy sucking noises. He drew back, licking a trail across Alan's stomach, bringing Alan back into the game.
"I love the way you taste, sliding down my throat," he purred, sliding his mouth down Alan again.
Alan let out a sigh. Slow and steady was good, too, and he knew Billy would be careful. He, too, needed the sensual pleasure of skin stroking over skin, and he shifted restlessly on the mattress as Billy demonstrated just how lovely that sensation could be.
In the morning Alan found Billy had already been down to the local shops for milk, bread, and, yes, another packet of smokes. He'd brought back the morning paper, too, but beside it was one of those high-end glossy fashion magazines, fresh off the presses. Inside there was an interview with Billy, which must have been put in at the last minute before going to press.
Alan was very aware that Billy was spending an unhealthy amount of time on media relations, instead of just relaxing and recuperating, as Alan would have preferred. Unfortunately Alan was no match for the publicists the BBC had hired to spin the incident and its aftermath.
Alan knew he was right though, that Billy would be much better off just being left to unwind, especially when he saw the photographs. They had been taken just days after Billy's release. The photographer had probably thought he was being clever, capturing Billy in harshly lit and forensic detail, like something from a crime scene. A full page black and white image of Billy, turned away from the camera, thin enough to show the bones of his spine, shoulders and ribs sharply through his skin. His skin was still painted in dark bruises and marked with the swatch marks from where he had been beaten and still striped with jagged scars from where the pteranodons had torn at his skin.
Billy's face was turned slightly to the camera, gazing coldly over the shoulder that ended abruptly in his amputation. It was a shocking image, even to Alan. Especially to Alan.
Alan turned the page and was confronted by another haunting image: a close up of Billy's face, and there was his soul, right there in his eyes for anybody to see.
Billy was looking at the camera with an angry defiance, annoyed at the intrusion, yet there was a sad fragility in his eyes, eyes that had witnessed unspeakable horror, eyes that burned betrayal like a beaten dog and eyes that screamed accusation. Those eyes spoke of heartbreak as well as horror. They told of a soul abused and a soul damaged.
Alan had seen those eyes before, but never quite so shockingly forlorn, never captured forever on paper. This was the face Billy tried to hide from him. Alan stroked the glossy paper softly, tracing Billy's face, the paper cold under his fingertips.
Oh, Billy. What had the world done to that bright eyed, smiling little imp he'd known and loved so dearly?
Billy came out of his room, chewing on a pencil thoughtfully, still engrossed in Alan's manuscript, now covered in coffee stains and points scrawled up and down the margins.
"Hey, you're up," he flicked Alan a look, acknowledging his existence in a happy change of temper. He saw that Alan had the magazine open.
"Cool photos, huh."
Alan straightened. "I find them confronting." He spoke evenly.
Billy shrugged. "I was in a pissy mood that day - I think he caught that."
"You were up early." Alan changed the subject slightly.
"Too much coffee," Billy shrugged off his concern again.
Alan knew he was being fobbed off, even gently.
"Alan." Billy teased, refusing to take this seriously. He wasn't in the mood for another serious talk, at least, not before breakfast.
Alan gave in, letting the magazine fall closed.
"You'd tell me, though, if something was really wrong, right?"
"Yeah." Billy tossed off his answer, then frowned in annoyance. "Stop fussing, Alan, for fuck's sake. It's getting on my nerves. Shit happens, it's over, I'm fine, okay? I don't need a mother, I need a lover."
"I'm sorry," Alan fumbled through his apology. "You just looked so sad in the pictures."
"It was a bad day. I wanted to be home with you, not stripping for some stranger in a cold, empty warehouse."
"You should have said no."
Billy shrugged. "Well, you always said selling my soul to be on TV would always come bake and bite me on the arse some day. I was contractually obliged to say yes. I just wanted it over and done with."
Billy sat down at the table, half cluttered with books, ashtrays and empty coffee cups, searching desperately for something to turn the subject away from himself. He dragged the draft of Alan's book towards him.
"Are the differences between American and Chinese velociraptors really that pronounced?" he asked, tapping the manuscript.
"Yes, the more specimens we find, the more variations we can measure. There's discussion on whether we're looking at juveniles and adults, gender differences, species variations or even parallel development." Alan warmed to his topic, pulling up a chair beside Billy.