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Going Home

by kaly

Homepage: the shadowland - kaly's fan fiction -
Rating: PG
Fandom: Jurassic Park 3
Pairing: Alan/Billy
Archive: elfin, list page, other: want it, just ask.
Classification: angst
Spoilers: plot elements throughout the movie
Warnings: angst
Timeframe: after the movie ends.
Summary: The trip home is a long one for Alan and Billy.

Feedback: happily and gratefully accepted.

Notes: Don't read it if you haven't seen JP3 and want to... You'll get spoiled.

Thanks & Dedication: To Nix for the cheerleading and the beta. Greatly appreciated as always :)

Disclaimer: Billy, Alan, etc aren't mine. This doesn't shock me. If it does shock you, I'm sure someone is willing to offer you psych help. ;) So, moral of the story: no money, no sue me.

As the chopper flew away from Isla Sorna, noisy and rough, it was a haven to those who'd barely escaped the island with their lives. While the Kirbys huddled as close together as the jump seats would allow, Alan slumped into one just at the head of Billy's stretcher.

Fumbling with the hat between his hands, for lack of anything better to do with them, Alan tried to push the memories of raptors and Pteranodons and running out of his mind. They weren't, however, content to be buried just yet. All it took was a single glance at the man lying beaten and bruised beside him to bring them rushing back.

Billy, meanwhile, had fallen asleep. Drug induced or otherwise, Alan wasn't sure. His own body was begging for rest, but he couldn't bring himself to close his eyes. Not yet. It was still too soon. Too soon since they escaped or since he almost lost his protege, he wasn't sure.

Sighing, he dropped his hat onto his head and leaned back against the wall of the helicopter. Tilting the brim of the hat down over his face, he pretended to sleep. It would keep the others, he hoped, from trying to talk to him. From his new position he could see the steady rise and fall of Billy's chest. It was comforting, somewhat. Reassuring, even, after all they'd been through.

The cold words he had flung at Billy the day before haunted him. They echoed in his mind whenever he was still enough to hear them -- which admittedly had only been a few blessed moments of peace on the boat. But in the relative solitude of the helicopter, they returned with a vengeance.

As had the memory of Billy's face -- the pain that had filled the soft brown eyes at Alan's hatred. And then he had been gone. Lost to the water and the Pteranodons.

For a moment Alan watched Billy breathe. He wasn't lost, wasn't gone. There was still a chance for... Anything? Everything?

Alan sighed. Nothing?

Against his will, Alan's eyes began to droop closed and before long the steady movement of the helicopter lulled him into an uneasy sleep.


Alan was startled awake, in part by a nightmare as well as strange noises rushing around him. For an instant, he tensed for another dinosaur attack, before remembering their rescue. He then looked around with bleary eyes only to realize they weren't on land, but rather on a large ship. Wondering for a moment if he had been asleep for any time at all, Alan shook his head and unhooked the safety harness.

It was a second later when he realized that Billy was already gone. A stab of panic caught him in the chest before he remembered to breathe. Standing on somewhat shaky legs, Alan climbed out of the chopper and squinted in the bright light.

"Dr. Grant." Looking to his left, Alan saw a young woman in fatigues hurrying toward him. "Corporal Simms, sir. This way, please," she gestured toward the front of the ship. "I'll take you to your friends."

Nodding, Alan slung his bag over his shoulder. "How are they?" he yelled, to be heard over the noise of the rotors.

Simms shook her head. "I'm not sure, sir. You'd be best off if you asked the docs."

Disappointed with the answer, but not surprised, Alan merely nodded again. It was only after following a maze of corridors that he finally heard familiar voices ahead of him.

"Right in here, sir," the corporal indicated the door to his left with a quick tilt of her head.

"Thanks," he replied, already walking through the open doorway.

Once inside the first familiar face he saw was Paul, leaning up against a bulkhead with a medic tending to a cut on his arm. When Alan entered, the other man looked up. "Wondered where they had you."

"Seems I fell asleep," Alan said, his eyes darting around the rest of the room.

When his gaze landed on Amanda she gestured toward another door -- this one closed to prying eyes. "Eric and Billy are back there. The doctor wanted to check them over more closely."

His attention focused on the door she indicated, Alan missed the quiet approach of another Navy medic. "Sir?" Tensing slightly, Alan turned quickly. "It's okay," the medic said, his hands out. "I just need to make sure you're okay."

"I'm fine," Alan snapped, turning away from the man.

With an easy laugh, the medic shook his head. "If you don't mind, I'll be the judge of that." Pulling the worn green bag from Alan's arm, he pointed toward a bed along the opposite wall. "Please, just let me do my job and it will be over that much sooner."

Muttering under his breath, Alan allowed himself to be guided to the bed. He hopped up onto the raised surface, trying in vain to hide a wince.

"See?" the medic said with a small smile. "I can help you with that."

From across the room, Paul was still holding his arm out to the other medic. Paul muttered, "Yeah, ouch just keep saying stuff like that. Maybe someone will even believe it."

Surprising even himself, Alan smiled at the grousing. "I doubt it. Doctors everywhere seem to be the same."

"I'll just keep that in mind Dr. Grant," Alan's medic said good- naturedly while touching an alcohol swab to one of the cuts on his face.

Once again focused on the closed doorway -- as was Amanda, Alan noted -- he settled for simply shaking his head in reply.


The medics had finished with both Alan and Paul when a nurse still dressed in scrubs finally emerged from the other rooms. All of them jumped down from their seats, Amanda and Paul rushing forward to meet him. Alan, for his part, hung back for the moment.

"How's Eric?" Amanda asked, her arms crossed over her chest.

"Can we see him?" Paul continued, leaning against his ex-wife.

"He'll be fine," the nurse hurried to assure them. "Although he's sleeping right now."

Alan heard Paul sigh. "But can we see him?"

The nurse nodded, gesturing behind him with one hand. "This way, I'll take you to him."

Alan held his breath, shaping the top of the hat in his hands without thinking about it. As he was leaving the nurse turned around to look at Alan. "You're waiting on the other one?" The Kirbys were paused in the hallway behind the nurse, watching the byplay.

Alan nodded mutely. He wasn't sure he could speak if he even tried.

"I'm not on his case..." The man paused, as if considering what to say. "They're still working on him. I'm sure you'll hear something soon."

Nodding once more, Alan dropped into a near by chair. The others left, leaving him alone in the sterile white room. His heart trying to pound its way from his chest, Alan's eyes dropped closed.

For someone whose work was the very nature of patience, he hated waiting.

The thought of what he would say when he could speak with Billy left him paralyzed. He had no idea where to begin.


Alan came awake, panting and almost falling onto the floor. Pressing a hand to his face, he took several shuddering breaths before sitting up straighter in the hard plastic chair. He didn't even remember falling asleep, but the gruesome images still lingering behind his eyes was proof enough that he had.

Only in his nightmare, the ending hadn't been quite the same. There was no military rescue. Only more dinosaurs every which way they ran. And instead of escaping, Billy had died on the rocks.

Alan clutched his bag in both hands, squeezing the worn material. They were safe, he reminded himself. Billy was safe.

Standing, he stretched his arms over his head and was rewarded with several small cracks. Letting his hands fall back to his sides, Alan walked the length of the room and back again. Dropping into the chair, he cursed the lack of a clock. Earlier he'd realized his watch was lost somewhere in the depths of the jungle. Or in the depths of a dinosaur, which was just as likely, he thought.

He had no idea how long he had slept, or how long it had been since the Kirbys had disappeared back into Eric's room. Instead he was left with nothing to do and no where to go.

Not much later, Alan was about to begin searching for someone who could tell him something. Anything. Even if he had no idea what to say to Billy once he saw him, the need simply to see the graduate student was beginning to wear on him.

So many things had happened since they'd left the dig site. The safe dig site, Alan reminded himself. Things were done. Things were said. Mistakes and regrets. Alan almost groaned. He had always been better at hiding from those kinds of things. Ellie could tell anyone that.

He had resorted to pacing when a woman in green scrubs finally emerged into the room.

"Dr. Grant?"

Two steps and he was standing in front of the doctor. "How is he?" he asked, sparing any pretense, just as the Kirbys had before.

The woman smiled. "Unconscious. Rather the worse for wear. He's been through quite a bit." Running a hand through her hair, the doctor shook her head. "I won't lie to you, Billy's injuries are many and varied and it will be a while before he's up and running around on his own."

Relief washed over Alan like he hadn't felt since the moment he'd laid eyes on Billy in the helicopter. "But he will be okay?"

"He'll be fine," she replied, all good humor missing from her features. "We had to operate. There was internal bleeding from all the blunt force trauma that needed to be taken care of before you could reach the mainland. But he's sleeping and we have every reason to expect him to wake with no problems."

"You operated here?" he asked, surprised.

She laughed. "Dr. Grant, you'd be surprised what the Navy can do on a ship."

Alan let out a long breath, glancing toward the ceiling for a second. "Can I..." He blinked quickly. "Can I see him?"

Her smile returning, the doctor nodded. "I don't see why not. I'll take you to him."

"Thank you," he said, his voice rough. "Doctor..."

"Emerson," she replied, gesturing toward the open doorway. "Now, please, follow me."


If it were possible, Billy looked worse lying on the hospital bed than he had on the helicopter. Alan dropped into a chair that had been pushed next to the bed, ignoring the silent retreat of Dr. Emerson.

Alan didn't realize his hand was shaking until he reached out to brush his fingertips against Billy's arm. It was hard to decide where to touch -- it seemed every inch of skin was any color but what it should be. Almost hesitantly he laid his hand down on Billy's arm, his gaze flickering to the younger man's face.

The touch brokered no response, but Alan forced himself to admit he hadn't been truly expecting one. Taking a deep breath, he contented himself with simply being near his protege -- finally knowing he would be okay.

He lost all track of time, sitting there in silence and was startled when someone placed a hand on his shoulder. Glancing up quickly, he was surprised to see Amanda standing there.

"How is he?" she asked, looking between Alan and Billy.

"He's..." He stopped and cleared his throat, wondering just how long he had been sitting there. "They say he should be okay."

She nodded. "Good. That's good. I'm glad."

"How's Eric?"

"He's good," Amanda said with a small smile. "Thanks to both of you."

Alan shook his head, then looked past her toward the door. "It was as much his own doing as any of ours. Left alone on that island... He survived."

"I know," Amanda replied in a whisper. Shaking her head quickly, she blinked tears out of her eyes. "Anyway. Um, they just came to ask us if we wanted to eat. I said I'd ask you."

"No, I..."

"You need to eat," she interrupted. When Alan glanced at her she added, "What good will you do Billy, if you pass out?"

"Mrs. Kirby..."

Hugging her arms to her chest, she continued unabated. "Please."

Looking back at Billy, Alan sighed. "Okay." He squeezed Billy's arm lightly, hoping the contact wasn't hurting him.

She nodded. "Good. Paul and Eric are waiting for us."

His hat -- never far from his hands since their rescue -- forgotten by Billy's side, Alan followed her into the corridor.


Meals aboard a Navy ship are something akin to organized chaos. In other words, Alan admitted to himself, something Malcom would enjoy. Enjoy tormenting the rest of them about, as well, no doubt.

"You laughed."

Alan blinked, caught daydreaming. "What?" he asked, looking at Eric.

The boy took another bite of his potatoes, swallowing before he replied. "That was the first time I think I've heard you laugh."

"Huh," Alan replied, more moving the food around his plate than eating it. Even after two days of next to nothing, the meal didn't interest him. "I didn't realize I did."

Eric nodded. "You did." After stopping to take a drink of his juice, he asked, "What was funny?"

Looking at his own drink only to wish it were something far stronger, Alan managed a half-grin. "Just thinking."

Eric rolled his eyes, obviously having expected a more revealing answer, but turned his attention back to his meal. Beside and across from him, his parents sat eating quietly. Alan couldn't help but notice the looks each was throwing at the other when they thought they weren't looking. It was clear their near disaster on Isla Sorna had sparked something between the two.

Sighing, Alan dropped his fork onto the tray. "I think I'm going to head back."

Paul looked up from his food, a surprised look on his face. "You haven't eaten anything."

"I guess I'm not very hungry," Alan replied. Glancing at Amanda, he forced a small grin. "Thank you for trying, though."

When she nodded but didn't comment, Alan picked up his tray and headed toward the exit. The seemingly endless corridors between the medic station and the mess hall gave him a few moments to himself to think, but by the time he reached Billy's room again all he'd decided was that he had entirely too much time on his hands to think.

Taking his seat beside Billy's bed he glanced up only to find groggy, brown eyes looking back at him. Alan opened his mouth to speak, but no words would come.

One corner of Billy's mouth lifted, almost a smile but not quite. "You keep," he stopped, licking his parched lips. "Losing this," he finished in a low whisper a moment later.

"What..." he asked, before seeing his hat resting against Billy's hand. He laughed, the far better option presented to him at that moment. "I suppose I do," he said a moment later.

"'s okay." Billy's eyes were drooping, and Alan could barely understand what he was trying to say. "'s wha' 'm here for."

Before Alan could think of a response, Billy slipped back to sleep. Alan blinked several times, fighting the burning he could feel behind his eyes.

Daring to brush his hand across Billy's forehead, he smiled sadly. "You're here for so much more than that, you know." He shook his head, knowing Billy couldn't hear him. Maybe that made it easier. "So much more."


It was the next day -- the best Alan could tell, seeing as how Billy's temporary room didn't have a clock either -- before Billy woke up again.

Alan had been dozing in the chair beside Billy's bed when he woke to once again find bleary, but somewhat more alert eyes watching him.


Alan's breath caught in his throat, after trying to swallow, he coughed. "Billy."

Smiling, Billy closed his eyes for a moment. "You slept through the doctors."

"I did?" Alan glanced around the room, noticing a change or two from what he could remember. "They say when you could go home?"

"No," Billy mouthed the word silently, just barely shaking his head. Taking a breath, he winced slightly. Concern flickered across Alan's face but Billy held up a hand before he could interrupt. "I hope it's not too long, though," he said after the pain passed. "After all this, I miss the dig."

"So do I," Alan admitted before he caught himself. "How do you feel?" he asked a few seconds later, almost embarrassed he had yet to ask.

Risking another deep breath, Billy held it a moment before replying. "I've been better," he replied honestly, but grinned to keep the sting out of the words.

Looking at his hands, Alan shook his head absentmindedly. "Billy. I'm..."

"Don't," Billy interrupted, wincing with the force he put behind the word. Catching his breath, he continued. "Don't say you're sorry."

Startled, Alan looked at the younger man. "Billy."

"Alan. No." Billy looked at Alan for a minute, searching the familiar eyes for something. "Please."

Tearing himself from the probing gaze, Alan stood quickly. "Damn it, Billy. You can't just ask..." He turned in the middle of his exclamation only to find Billy's eyes had again closed. "That," he finished in a whisper, running a hand through his hair.

Calming down, Alan returned to his seat beside Billy's bed. In the back of his mind he wondered how long until one of the Kirbys came looking for him, but he pushed the thought away.


It was two days later before Billy was pronounced well enough to be flown the rest of the way to the States. While they had been onboard, the ship had headed toward the California coast, Paul had told him at some point the day before.

Also in that time, neither Billy nor Alan had broached the subject of apologies. In fact, the usual friendly banter between the two had been reduced to long silences and empty conversation.

In between, each spent long moments staring at the other. Alan was left to wonder if he might ever have the chance to atone for his hasty condemnation. Even knowing Billy had refused his apology, it still hurt. As the helicopter lifted off -- the Kirbys again clustered closely together while Alan rode near Billy -- he was uneasy.

They had left the dangers of Isla Sorna behind, but what was still in front of them? Too many questions were still unanswered. Closing his eyes and leaning back against the seat he tried not to think about that.

Beside him, Billy clenched his eyes closed. They had done their best, transferring him to the helicopter, but he was still weak. Somehow realizing this, even through his own self-recrimination, Alan reached over and placed a hand on Billy's shoulder. Squeezing lightly, he tried to let him know it would be okay.

Somehow they would both be okay.

Billy opened his eyes just long enough to glance at Alan -- silent thanks in his eyes. It was a short trip inland to the hospital, and Alan was thankful for that. The last thing he wanted was to see more pain on Billy's face.

Once there, Billy was again pulled quickly away from the others, sleeping the entire time. Alan, left with the Kirbys, stared at the double swinging doors for a long moment.

He could hear the others talking quietly but turned only when he heard his name.

"Dr. Grant?"

"Yes, Mrs. Kirby?" he asked, continuing to look at the closed doors for another minute before turning. "What is it?"

Amanda ran a hand through her short hair before answering. "We're going to get a room in town. We were wondering if you'd want to come with us." When he spared another glance in the direction Billy had gone, she smiled. "But I guess you're where you need to be, aren't you?"

Smiling in spite of himself, Alan nodded. "Something like that, yes."

"We'll be flying back to Oklahoma soon," Paul said, taking a step forward. "If..." He paused, seeming to consider what he wanted to say. "If you're ever in the area, give us a call."

At that, Alan did laugh. "Mr. Kirby, I do hope to never be in Oklahoma." He smiled, hoping to take the sting out of the words. "There are so few digs there, you understand."

"Ahh." Paul nodded, and Alan saw that he did understand. Holding out his hand, Paul said, "It's been..." Shaking his head, Paul laughed. "I'm not sure what it's been, but you're a good man to know, Dr. Grant."

Taking the offered hand, Alan nodded. "You, too," he replied, and found himself surprised that he meant it. "It took guts to do what you two did. Three," he amended, looking at Eric.

"Would you let me know if Billy's okay?"

It was the first time Eric had spoken, and Alan nodded at the boy. "Yes, Eric. We can do that."

Eric smiled. "Cool. I'd hoped to get to talk to him about what he did..."

Touched, Alan nodded. "He knows, Eric," he said in a low voice.

"Could I come see your dig sometime?" Eric asked, the words tumbling forth in a rush.

Glancing at the boy's parents from the corner of his eye, Alan said, "Sure. If you're parents agree." He thought for a moment. "And then you can thank Billy in person."

"All right," Eric said, his grin becoming broader. "Thanks."

They were interrupted when a nurse walked into the room. "Dr. Grant?" When he nodded, the man said, "If you'll follow me, please?"

He nodded his acknowledgement and turned back to the Kirbys. "Have a safe trip home."

"You, too," Paul replied.

Amanda surprised him when she stepped forward and wrapped her arms around his shoulders. "Thank you," she whispered near his ear.

The embrace was over as quickly as it had begun, leaving Alan with a bemused expression on his face.

"Well then," Alan said, shifting his pack from one shoulder to the other. "Good bye."

"Bye," he heard Eric say as he turned to find the nurse still waiting on him.

Taking a deep breath, Alan gestured forward. "Lead the way."


"Hey, you're awake," Alan said softly, walking into Billy's hospital room. According to the doctor, they were hoping to release Billy the next day. To Alan the prospect brought equal amounts relief and concern.

The other man laughed. "Yeah. It's amazing what the ground not moving underneath you can do."

"I'd guess so." Shuffling his feet from side to side, Alan looked out the window for several seconds. "Look, Billy..."

"Alan," Billy interrupted, any attempt at humor gone from his voice.

"Damn it, Billy." Pacing over to the window, Alan leaned against the frame. Eyes searching the bustling city beyond, Alan sighed.

Billy laughed, but it was an empty sound. "Is every conversation we have from now on going to include you saying 'Damn it, Billy.'?" When Alan turned just enough to look at his protege, Billy looked at his blanket. "If so, can we just skip it once?"

Dropping his head so that his chin rested on his chest, Alan was quiet for a moment. When he finally looked up and spoke it was in a low whisper. "It's not that easy."

"What isn't?" Billy shrugged the one shoulder that wasn't in a sling. "We escaped. We're here and we're alive. What's not easy about that?"

Frustrated, Alan tugged at the collar of the borrowed shirt someone had dug up for him the first night on ship. He'd long lost track of the clothes he had been wearing on the island. They'd probably burned them, Alan guessed. The extra set he'd taken on the trip were also more than a little worse for wear

"It's just... not."

Groaning, Billy slumped back onto the bed. "Why?"

Moving jerkily, Alan walked toward the door. "I'll..." He shook his head. "I'll be back later."

Billy was silent until Alan reached the doorway. "I watched you face down raptors. Why are you running away from me?" Alan paused, his hand on the doorknob and back to Billy. "You're the one who wanted to have this conversation."

"You don't want to hear what I have to say, Billy," he said, still staring at the door.

"Say it. I'm tired of fighting. Or not speaking." Billy rubbed the bridge of his nose with his fingers. "Whatever the hell it is we've been doing. I hate it, Alan."

"So do I," Alan whispered, resting his forehead on the door. A moment later he opened it and was gone.

"Damn it, Alan." The irony of the statement should have made Billy laugh, but it didn't. Not even close.


Alan stormed through the never-ending corridors of the hospital, not seeing any of the activity around him. Sometime later, his mind finally clearing of the confusion that seemed to surround his relationship with Billy since the island, he slowed to a stop. Taking a deep breath he looked around only to realize he had no idea where he was.

Stuffing his hands into his pockets, Alan continued walking. Eventually he would find his way back to Billy's room.

But he didn't know if he'd ever manage to say what he needed to say. The guilt hadn't lessened with discovering Billy was alive. Nor had it disappeared when they arrived back in the States.

Instead, the easy rapport they had always shared had dwindled into a shadow of its former self. And through that, the conflicting emotions Alan was feeling only doubled onto themselves.

Billy didn't seem to think there was a need for 'I'm sorry'. Alan wasn't sure he could trust himself again where Billy was concerned, even if he was given the chance to apologize. Who was he to assume the worst of the person who mattered most to him?

There were no easy answers, Alan realized. The question lay in if there were any answers to be found at all.


Billy was waiting for him when Alan returned to his hospital room an hour later.

"You can say it," Billy said before Alan could say anything.

Pausing just inside the room, Alan chewed on his lower lip. He pushed the door closed and walked over to the bed. Resting his hands on the blanket beside Billy's arm, Alan let out a long breath.

"It's not that easy."

Billy growled low in his throat. "You're beginning to repeat yourself again, Alan. Thought we'd discussed that already."

"Why are you so angry?" Alan snapped. However as soon as the words left his mouth he regretted them. That was the one question he was certain he did not want to know the answer to.

"Because you're so damned guilty!" When Alan flinched, Billy lowered his voice. "I hate the way you look at me now." Pausing again, Billy sighed. "And that's when you look at me at all."

Alan collapsed into the chair that was beside the bed. "Billy..."

"Alan, you can't avoid me forever."

"I'm not trying to avoid you." Alan rubbed a hand over his face. "I just... When I thought you were gone. Jesus, Billy. You have no idea."

Billy was still for a second, before blinking slowly. "I have no idea." He laughed shortly. "Do you have any idea what that first night was like? The last time I'd seen you, you were carrying two raptor eggs and we were surrounded." Billy took a stuttered breath. "They were after you, Alan. You. Because you bothered to pick up my stupid mistake."

"You didn't know..."

"I didn't think," Billy cut in. "You were right to be angry before." His voice softening, Billy shook his head. "You were right to be angry, Alan."

Alan stood up quickly, the chair tilting wildly behind him. "I had no right to treat you that way. You could have been killed and... And the last thing I said to you was..." Clutching his hands into fists, Alan looked skyward for a moment. "Damn it, Billy. Why did you do it?"

"I told you, the dig..."

"I'm not talking about the damned eggs!" Alan let out a long breath, searching for control. "I'm not talking about that," he repeated more calmly. "Why did you jump out of that window, Billy?"

Confusion made Billy's eyes dark. "I did what I had to, Eric was in trouble."

"You were in trouble," Alan answered too quickly.

Billy shrugged. "We all were. Why not me?"

"Because..." Again, Alan looked away, unable to meet Billy's gaze.

"Why not me, Alan?" Billy repeated in a low voice. "It was the best option we had at the time. I had the 'chute."

Alan ignored the question. "There were other options."

"There weren't, and you know it." Realizing that Alan wasn't going to answer, Billy asked again. "So, why not me? Why you or Paul?"

Dropping back into the chair, Alan covered his face with his hands and rested his elbows on the bed. "I don't want to lose you," he said so quietly Billy almost missed it.

Billy placed his uninjured hand on top of Alan's head, touching the soft hair for the first time. "Do you want to know why I did it? All of it?" he asked in a whisper.

Alan nodded, but didn't look up. His attention was focused entirely on two things -- the sound of Billy's voice and the fingers still threading through his hair. A spiral of hope cut through his heart before he tried to crush it.

"Because I don't want to lose you either. To funding cuts or Pteranodons."

"Billy," Alan said, lifting his head. "You don't..."

"I love you, damn it," the younger man said quickly, realizing the comments that were likely to come next. Moving his hand to touch Alan's cheek, he smiled. "That's why I did it."

Alan swallowed nervously, his mouth suddenly dry. He didn't blink, couldn't really. Instead he stared at Billy. Finally he took the hand that was cupping his face and held it in between his own.

"I love you, too," he whispered, many minutes later. Alan pulled Billy's hand to his lips and pressed a kiss against the battered knuckles.

"I know." Billy smiled, a distant look in his eyes. "I've just been waiting until you knew it, too."

Billy's eyes closed and soon he was asleep. Alan sat there, continuing to hold Billy's hand until he rested his forehead on the edge of the bed and he too, finally fell into a restful sleep.


Home. More than once during their adventures on Isla Sorna Alan had doubted they would see their homes or the dig again. Alan sighed, dropping both his and Billy's meager belongings onto the floor just inside the door of Billy's small apartment.

Just ahead of him, Billy collapsed onto a worn chair. Rubbing tired eyes with his fingers, he was silent for a minute before looking up at Alan.

"I've never would've thought doing nothing could make me so tired."

Alan smiled softly, taking a seat on the couch. Reaching over to rest a hand on Billy's arm he said, "Give it some time. You'll be running around driving me crazy in no time."

"I drive you crazy?" Billy asked as he moved from the chair to sit next to Alan.

Laughing, Alan placed his arm around Billy's shoulders. "Completely."

Leaning into the touch, Billy dropped his head onto Alan's shoulder. "You don't regret it?" he asked, his voice serious.

"Regret what?" Alan asked, his forehead scrunching. "Going to Isla Sorna? I guess, as much as I hate to admit it, I understand what the Kirbys felt they had to do. It's..." Billy shook his head and Alan paused. "No?"


"Billy..." Alan knew what was coming. Ever since their argument while Billy was in the hospital they hadn't discussed what was said. Alan had convinced himself it was because of the lack of privacy, now he wondered if it wasn't just cowardice.

Moving back, Billy looked at Alan for a long moment, searching his gaze. Resting his hand on Alan's chest he gestured between them with the other. "This. Us. I was worried once we got back you'd..."

"Pull away," Alan finished.

Billy nodded. "Something like that." Cupping Alan's cheek with his hand, Billy rubbed his thumb across the skin just below Alan's right eye. "There's been... something there for a while now Alan. Even if you ignored it before, you can't deny that."

Leaning into the touch, Alan covered the hand with one of his own. "No, I can't deny it."


"But what, Billy? I guess this whole nightmare taught me a few things." Pulling Billy's hand away from his face, Alan kissed the palm.

"The main thing was that sometimes you can't keep waiting for another day. Some things you've just got to take a chance on. Even if you think it might blow up in your face." Alan laughed softly, "You'd think Isla Nublar would have taught me that, but apparently it took a second course to get it through my head."

Billy smiled, intertwining his fingers with Alan's. "You always have been stubborn."

"You're not the first to say that."

"I'm not surprised," Billy said, laughing. Letting go of Alan's hand, Billy wrapped his arms around the older man's waist. Nuzzling his face under Alan's chin, he closed his eyes. "Did you really think this might blow up in your face?"

Alan sighed, resting his chin on the top of Billy's head and running a hand against his back. "I was afraid, Billy."

"Of me?"

Alan shook his head. "No. Of change, maybe. Perfect thing about my field, things don't change very fast, do they?"

Alan could feel Billy smile against his throat. "Guess not."

"I meant what I said."

Billy leaned back, trying to read the expression on Alan's face. "Wha..."

Alan smiled softly, his eyes brightening. "I love you," he whispered.

"That's good," Billy said in a quiet voice. Turning his head, he placed his lips next to Alan's ears and whispered, "'Cause I love you too." Alan shivered, causing Billy to smile. "And I don't plan on letting you forget it."

"You do that."

"Oh I will," Billy said, bracing his hands on the back of the couch on either side of Alan's head. "Count on it." The last of the words was nearly smothered as Billy covered Alan's lips with his own.


The next day Alan was back at the dig site. He caught himself wandering around the area somewhat aimlessly. Oddly enough, he found he couldn't concentrate on the fossils, the deadlines and the funding problems. In other words, everything that had been his entire word for far too long.

Instead it was Billy he kept thinking about, even though it had been Billy who'd convinced him to return to the dig site. Alan almost laughed at the memory. Apparently he'd been... hovering was how Billy had put it, just before kicking him out that morning.

"Dr. Grant?"

He looked up to see Kellie -- one of the few students still on the dig -- looking at him, a bemused smile on her face. "Yes?"

"You've been staring out into space for ten minutes." She took a step forward. "Are you okay? I must have called your name five times."

"I'm fine," he replied, smothering the grin that had formed.

The look on her face proved she knew there was something going on. "Right." She shrugged. "When's Billy coming back?" she asked, in an obvious attempt to find out what had changed.

"Soon. He'll be back soon, Kellie."

She tilted her head to the side, and Alan had to fight the urge to shift under the weight of her gaze. "You look..." Kellie shook her head, grinning. "Happy. You look happy, Dr. Grant."

Alan smiled. "I guess I am."

"Good," Kellie replied, with a knowing smile. "Tell Billy we miss him."

"I will." Shaking his head, Alan felt the beginnings of a blush on his cheeks. Waving a hand toward the area containing the fossils he asked, "Don't you have work to do?"

Turning to return to the dig, she glanced over her shoulder at Alan and winked. "Aye, aye, Sir."


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