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: email@example.com
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.
Notes: Damn, I finished it, already. Oh well, onto #2. A hunting we will go...
Billy subsided into the pillows silently, his suddenly lax form the only clue Alan had that Billy had climaxed.
Billy had always used to be a very noisy lover, a screamer. He'd been loud, too loud for Alan at times, but now he never made a sound, not at all. It was as though he kept himself tense and tight and under control, barely breathing. Nor would he make love face to face as often as Alan would like, preferring to turn away, hiding parts of himself no matter how much Alan tried to cajole or reassure him.
Still, Billy had been through an ordeal, and these things took time. Alan had to let him settle back into their life. He could share Billy's bed and hold him and love him, and that was something. Alan wanted to take Billy and make him burn with the old fire and make him scream his name, but that would have to wait for just a little bit longer.
Things were better now. Billy was making a conscious effort to be more affectionate to Alan, and to involve Alan more in this life he'd carved out for himself in London.
The trouble was that Billy was making an effort, where once it had flown from him effortlessly. Billy was going through the motions, doing his best to please Alan, but he wasn't really there, not all the way there, not all the time.
Alan often found this more than a little disturbing at times, more than Billy's previous coldness, and he worried for him and watched him like a hawk when he hoped Billy wasn't watching him back. Billy was trying so hard, and Alan didn't want to rock the boat too much or make too many demands, but still, something was out of kilter. Alan couldn't put his finger on it, but something still wasn't quite right between them, not entirely.
It was as though their deep friendship and partnership, for Alan even now avoided the word relationship, had been smashed to the ground with a heavy hand. They were trying to glue it back together again as best they could, but there were little chips missing and the fragility was there, it would always be there, now, in the faultlines that would break apart if anyone squeezed it.
Alan was still in London. He'd taken a sabbatical. He couldn't in all conscience leave Billy to his own devices. He didn't trust Billy to be left alone. Billy, sweet, successful boy that he was, was damaged goods and it was Alan's duty if nothing else to stay and keep an eye on Billy and be there if the brave face Billy put on for the world started to slip.
It wasn't just duty that kept Alan in London. Duty and guilt might have tied Alan to Billy, but friendship and shared passions held him closer. Physical passion burned for Billy and he took great pleasure in Billy's mind and body: in the way he smelt and the way he tasted, in the feel of his skin under Alan's fingertips, the way Billy laughed and smiled, the light in his eyes, the way they would verbally spar and bounce ideas off each other and the way Billy would look at him, even now. In short, Alan loved Billy and he knew that he would never leave him.
No, it would be Billy who would be the making or the breaking of them and Alan lived from day to day waiting for the other shoe to drop. It was a bad way to be and Alan knew he should push forward or leave, for Billy's sake. But not today.
Alan was walking back to Billy's flat, mind churning away, having little work to occupy it, keys in one hand, two bottles of twelve year old scotch nestled in the other - a seasonal indulgence.
He glanced up at the rather charming façade of Billy's terraced flat as he started up the couple to steps towards the front door and that's when he saw him: Billy standing on top of the very edge of the roof, staring straight ahead, as though he were about to take flight.
The bottles of scotch smashed down beside Alan on the footpath.
Billy was standing on the very edge of the building, looking down into the street, considering.
"Billy!" Alan called out, having raced to the very top of the stairs.
Billy turned, hearing his name, and then Billy smiled, a soft sweet smile. And Billy did nothing. He just smiled, then glanced over the edge of the building again, then took a step. A step away from the edge, a step towards Alan.
As Alan jogged up to him, breathless, face grey, Billy was just smiling, turning around in the falling snow like a child.
"Isn't the view up here just magic?" he asked of Alan.
"I suppose it is," Alan replied, leaning over slightly, waiting for his heart to start beating normally again.
"Shall we go?" Billy asked. Christmas dinner was to be eaten at Billy's local, cheap and cheerful in the company of strangers and acquaintances. It was the way Billy lived his life, on the fly.
Billy was still smiling, dusted with snowflakes, looking like an angel. Alan was still being seismically shaken by unbidden images of Billy lying sprawled in the street below, bright red blood seeping out into the thick banks of white snow.
Alan had been so sure Billy had come up here to jump, and not to just admire the view. He'd been so sure that he'd be too slow, too stupid and clumsy to catch him and pull him back, again.
Oblivious to Alan's near heart failure, Billy trotted down the steps and Alan followed, numbly.
They'd walked up almost to the pub when Billy realised he'd forgotten his present for Sarah the barmaid. He'd been flirting on and off with Sarah the barmaid for several months now, and she'd always asked him when he was going to make good on the gifts of chocolate and stockings that young American men were supposed to use to relieve British girls of their knickers.
Billy had already relieved Sarah of her knickers in a couple of meaningless shags up against the wall after closing time. At the time he'd just needed something, someone, someone who wasn't Alan, because Alan would have known, he would have seen it in Billy's eyes: that Billy's heart had simply closed down and grown cold.
Sarah saw and she didn't really care. He was cute and a little bit famous and she liked him. So Billy had decided to finally buy her the long promised chocolates and stockings. It was more of a thankyou present, a good bye.
Billy wanted to stay with Alan, he wanted to try and make it work with Alan. Only Alan could be bothered to kick and shake him out of his self imposed doldrums, only Alan could make his heart beat again.
He wasn't there yet, but he had felt himself start to thaw, he'd heard the ice cracking. When Alan smiled at him, really smiled at him, he could feel himself slowly come to life again.
Alan was still waiting faithfully on the corner, looking slightly annoyed, and Billy waved to him, hurrying to catch up. Then the world exploded.
Bricks and glass littered the street and there were a few moments of inblown shock and silence, then smoke and screams filled the air.
Billy picked himself up from where he'd been thrown backwards and stumbled onwards through the rubble. Alan was lying on the footpath where he'd been knocked off his feet, speared through with a wooden piece of window frame.
"Don't move," Billy warned, dropping beside him, taking off his jacket and wadding it up under Alan's head as a pillow. Blackened and bleeding people were starting to stagger down the street like a dazed army of the undead but Billy had no time for them. He wasn't a paramedic and Alan was his first and only priority.
"What happened?" Alan asked groggily, his breathing laboured.
"Car bomb, I think. High street, near a pub, probably something Irish." There were a lot of Irish in the neighbourhood, which had attracted Billy to it, feeling the need to get in touch with his roots.
Alan just lay still and watched as Billy found a broken piece of window glass and used it to hack off his unused shirt and sweater sleeves and used the lengths of fabric to pack around the wound.
"Good thing it missed your heart or you'd be vampire dust by now," Billy joked feebly as he worked, earning himself a small look of admonishment from Alan.
Billy was bleeding from small cuts but otherwise quite unflappable. People he knew and liked were probably dead or dying but there was nothing he could do. He could hear sirens and his job was to stay here and keep Alan calm and comfortable.
Alan was looking at him anew.
"You really are okay, aren't you."
"I keep telling you that," Billy dismissed his worries.
"I thought you were going to jump," Alan admitted feebly. "When I saw you standing there, I was so sure you were going to jump."
Billy's eyes flicked downwards. "I've thought about it, I'll admit that. I was thinking about it. I've had a lot of long dark moments and it's hard, so hard." He met Alan's eyes at last. "But I know I've got a lot to live for. I've got you, and you're my everything. I know that now. I really know that. I want to spend the rest of my life with you, so you're going to lie still and you're going to be okay." That was an order. Anything less was unacceptable.
"Yes, Sir," Alan agreed, teasing, light headed.
The Emergency Services arrived at last, swarming over the site. A young blonde ambulance officer dropped beside Billy with an exclamation, seeing his bloodied torn off sleeve.
"Oh no, I lost that arm some time ago," he corrected her assumption. He ducked back from her attempt to examine the cut on his scalp.
"Don't - I'm still waiting to clear a HIV test. This is Alan. He's clean, and he's been impaled by a piece of window frame. He was knocked over in the blast and was unconscious for a couple of minutes."
"Thanks. You've done well. I can take it from here."
Billy moved back a little, watching her examine and treat Alan.
Sarah was brought out in a plastic bag while he waited for them to get Alan into the ambulance. He'd seen them working on her before, but he'd known it had been hopeless. It hadn't been an easy death.
He bowed his head, but there was nothing he could do. He turned back to Alan, taking his hand, rubbing his cheek over the knuckles gently, all the while gazing at Alan with strong yet soulful eyes. Deep down he was frightened, but he wasn't going to show it. Especially not to Alan.
"Can I ride with him to the hospital?" Billy asked, hopeful.
A meaningful glance was exchanged between the young technician and her partner, but she nodded anyway. If nothing else he was having a calming influence on her casualty, and that was as good as gold in her business.
As she and her partner were getting ready to lift Alan onto a stretcher, she suddenly turned, recognition in her eyes.
"You're Billy Brennan, aren't you?"
"You've really been in the wars lately, haven't you."
She snapped off her rubber gloves and pulled on a fresh pair.
"Now, are you going to let me look at that cut?"
Billy was nicked all over but a deep cut to his scalp was pissing blood down the side of his face and throat and soaking his shirt collar.
He ducked away from her slightly.
"Don't be such a baby," she scolded, dabbing at the wound. "But if you're worried about it we can get you tested when we get there. It's better to know, don't you think?"
" I was told I had to wait."
"Near enough." She saw the dark circles under his eyes. "Better to get it over with. It's been keeping you up nights, hasn't it."
"Yeah," Billy admitted.
Alan glared at him but said nothing. Billy had lied to him, after all. Sometimes it really annoyed him, the way Billy could make new friends so easily and confide in them, but now wasn't the time and the place for Alan to argue the fact.
"I know," she was a pressing a bandage to his scalp. "I had a scare too. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy."
"I would," Billy grinned.
She tsked him mildly and put his hand on the bandage, making him hold it firmly in place.
"That'll need a few stitches," she told him offhandedly.
Billy shrugged and allowed himself to be poked at while they rose back to the hospital, picking their way through the debris and emergency vehicles.
"Did they hurt you?" She asked, referring to his recent history.
"Who? The Russians? Yeah, they did."
She nodded. He seemed a little detached, but that was to be expected, he'd been through a lot. He was probably in shock. Later, when he realised a few more steps would have meant certain death, that's when it would hit him.
She dabbed away at his other cuts and bruises, noting the distinctive scar on his throat, and guessing where it had come from.
"I don't know whether you lead a charmed life, Mr Brennan, or a bloody unlucky one."
"A bit of both," he agreed. "Luck of the Irish. What's that old Chinese curse, about living in interesting times?"
She shared his smile as the ambulance rocked sharply around a corner, and Alan groaned.
Billy's attention immediately snapped back to Alan, dropping his bandage and reaching out to take Alan's hand again, easing him through the pain.
The bond between them was very strong, and she smiled, happy and relieved to find at least one piece of humanity left in this horror of a Christmas day.
"Alan." Billy rubbed Alan's hand against his cheek.
"You're doing well, Alan. We're on the on the way to the hospital. It won't be long," soothed the technician. She packed another bandage around the piece of window frame that was still sticking up from his chest as the ambulance went around another tight corner.
Alan coughed and tiny red flecks scattered over the inside of the oxygen mask over his face. Billy glanced worriedly at the technician, but her face was carefully school in trained and gentle neutrality.
The lines on Alan's face had deepened. He was really starting to look in a bad way. He was really starting to scare Billy.
Alan. Billy sank back against the side of the ambulance as it rocked.
Alan opened his eyes to find Billy sitting in a plastic chair beside his bed. Billy looked great, really great, all bright eyed and even glowing. He'd obviously had time to go home for a shave, a shower, a change of clothes and maybe even some sleep and something to eat.
"You look chipper," Alan observed, mildly offended that the sight of him flat on his back and stuck full of holes seemed to give Billy so much good cheer.
Billy leant forward, beaming.
"I'm clear. My tests came back - all clear."
"Oh, Billy, I'm so glad," Alan breathed out in relief, sharing his smile. They touched digits fondly, as close to an embraced as they dared.
Billy leant forward. "You scared me, you know. For a moment I thought it was going to be one of those horribly ironic moments, like the ending to an old movie. You know, where I realise you're the most important thing in my life, only too late."
"It's never too late," Alan murmured, then: "Important?"
Billy grinned. "Yeah, important. I want you in my life. I need you."
"Yes, need," Billy murmured, low and whispery enough to give Alan goosebumps.
"I'm glad," Alan sighed, feeling things were going right between them again, at last.
Billy was eyeing the square bandage that was pasted over Alan's ribcage, covering the stitches from where the windowpane had punched a hole through him.
"Anyone would think you were jealous of my scars and were trying to start your own collection," he teased softly.
"Hardly," Alan snorted, and winced at the effort.
Billy ignored him, leaning further forward to ghost feather light kisses across Alan's exposed skin. Alan closed his eyes, feeling himself respond on a thousand different fronts, his skin tingled, his groin twitched and stirred and the pit of his stomach warmed pleasantly.
"Billy, not here," he whispered urgently, eyes still closed.
"There's always a time and a place, Alan," Billy insisted, not taking
any argument. "Besides, I haven't given you your Christmas present yet," he
grinned, his breath tickling across Alan's skin.
Alan was still sore from the catheter but he was willing to wear it, and what was pleasure without a little bit of pain occasionally? Billy was capable of giving him both, but they seemed to have sailed into calmer waters. He hoped so. He liked having Billy around.
Alan relaxed back into the pillow, eyes still closed, a satisfied smile playing about his lips. If he must, he must, he supposed. It was a small price to pay for the privilege of having Billy Brennan in his life.