Billy slammed into awareness from a profound sleep, with a jolt akin to hitting the rocky waters of the river. He lay still for a moment, disoriented, eyes wide and trying to detect any threat.
What was that blank white stuff overhead? And why couldn't he hear any howls or cries in the distance?
The one sound he did hear broke through his panic and restored him to reality- Alan's quiet breathing beside him. Safe. He was safe home, half a world away from the island. He remembered something about a motel- too late to drive home? Was that it? Yes. But still, the motel was in Montana, not Costa Rica. The only dinosaurs around here were dead and gone, turned into rocks by the incredible stretch of time separating them from humanity- as it should be.
He rolled carefully off his back, face screwed up with the effort of keeping quiet as the movement woke the relentless fire of his injuries. Why was it, anyway, that whenever he managed to hurt himself, he'd wind up laying right on whatever part was the sorest? He succeeded in moving onto his side and clung to Alan, burrowing his face into his shoulder. Safe. Alan was safe too. Not eaten.
Billy started to drift, floating on the aftermath of yesterday's powerful drugs. He didn't like them, truly he didn't... he preferred to be in control of himself and his actions, not flopping about like a rag doll and quite likely babbling nonsense when he was awake. He couldn't remember much of yesterday. Oh, he could remember the day before- no mistake about that. But not yesterday. Flashes of a hospital, disturbingly shabby by American standards... the sound of the intercom bleating for nurses with incomprehensible names... Alan.
Billy wished his hand didn't feel so heavy and limp. He'd like to rub along Alan's side, reassuring himself that indeed, the man was there. But his hand just didn't want to move. It sat there, warm and tingly and unresponsive. He settled for making his eyes focus on Alan instead. Yes, he was really here. Finally asleep after all the hell of the last few days- Billy remembered thinking how tired he looked yesterday. Outside, humid air so thick you could wring it out, leaning on Alan's shoulder- I'm sorry.
He remembered that, now. Alan had apologized to him, not the other way around. Billy squinched his eyes shut. He remembered all too well the shock and betrayal on Alan's face when he realized exactly what was in that damned pack. Of all the stupid things he could have done... he sighed. His muscles tried to react to his internal tension, but they couldn't respond and returned to a state of utter limpness. Pathetic, really, the way he felt now- all he had were some scratches. Big deal. Okay, so the ones on his shoulders felt like they'd scratched all the way to the bone, but still- just scratches. Shouldn't have been bad enough to make him run for those killer strong pain pills.
At least his mind was working now. He might feel about as energetic as a newborn kitten, but he was able to think. Sort of. What had he been thinking about, anyway?
Again he tried to move, tried to cling tighter to the man sleeping beside him. He looked so peaceful, now- rather battered, true, but relaxed. Not like before. Billy smiled a little. Alan had been truly impressive out there, taking charge of the disastrous situation in a way that made Billy proud to know him. Without Alan, Billy had no doubt none of them would have survived, except maybe that kid. Eric.
*Eric clinging to his legs, bleeding from dozens of bites- the extra pull on the harness- but the sail could take it, after all it was built for two- ripping sound as the sail tore.*
Billy quivered inside. He really did not want to remember that right now.
Worse even than the memory of the wreck was the remembered feeling of waking alone, in a tree, with only a pair of idiots for company. No Alan. He knew Alan was alive, but where? Somewhere out there in the dinosaur infested wilderness, all alone. Yeah, sure, he'd survive- Billy couldn't allow himself to doubt that. But would they ever find each other again?
His throat clenched tight at the remembered pain of loss. He blinked. Alan was here. Alan was right here, warm and living and sound asleep.
Memories drifted to the surface of his hazy mind like bubbles on a pond. Memories of waking countless mornings beside Alan, at home anyway... then the day out on the dig, after Billy had graduated college and been hired by the museum, when Alan decided he didn't give a damn anymore what people thought and they'd taken over one of the trailers. Funny how the things had multiplied... he could remember a time when there wasn't a single trailer on Alan's site, just a makeshift pavilion to cover all the sensitive equipment. Then he'd brought one trailer. Then someone else had brought one, and someone else- currently there were five of them, making life on the dig incredibly luxurious compared to past years.
Years... many years. Over five now, long enough to overcome the problems inherent in having a relationship between two utterly different people such as themselves. Billy's thoughts quieted for a moment, drifting, then he struggled out of the thick fog. No. He didn't want to sleep anymore, and he wasn't going to.
He could imagine Alan chuckling at that. Stubborn, he'd say. Always get your way, don't you? To which he'd reply, You've got that right! and launch himself into Alan's arms... Mmmm. Now there was something he never grew tired of, even after five years- the feeling of being in Alan's arms. Nice.
A loud bang overhead startled him. Alan didn't even twitch. Billy made a supreme effort and lifted his eyes to the bedside alarm clock. Red digital numbers blurred, then formed into something that made sense- 9:36. Whoa. He hadn't slept this late since he'd moved in with Alan. Come to think of it, he didn't believe he'd ever seen Alan sleep past eight in the morning, ever- not even after they'd been up late at night. Billy found the energy to smile and snuggle closer. Nice memories, there.
The leftover remains of the percocet tried to steal up and carry him away into sleep again. Billy caught himself before he could drift too far, again focusing on Alan as his anchor to reality. Who would ever have believed that they'd get along so well, anyway? He could still remember his first sight of the man, what, when he was seventeen? Yeah. Seventeen, rebellious, annoyed as all hell because his parents had decided he couldn't go to Neosho that summer. Funny, it didn't hurt any more that his parents had torn him away from Spence that summer. Spencer- now there was a wild child. As an adult, he had to agree with his parents- spending his summers with Spence every year had definitely been a bad influence on him. But then he'd been furious, torn away from his first love... Billy snorted. First love. Yeah, whatever. He hadn't even recognized true love waiting to happen when he'd met Alan, just thought the scientist guy was pretty cool. And then, even though he would have died rather than admit it, he started getting interested in what was going on at the dig... wasn't until a few years later that he'd started feeling interested in Alan. Several years, in fact. After he'd read those books, after he'd gone on a dig with his parents again, after he'd suddenly found that Alan worked for the Museum of the Rockies. Back then he'd just tried to sign on because he'd thought it was cool that he'd met Alan before, and that he'd written actual books. But then he'd gotten accepted, had made it out there and seen Alan out there under the brilliant summer sun, with that old hat perched on top of his head and an eager light in his eyes... oh, yeah. That had hit him like a board to the back of the head. He'd known right then and there that this was the man for him.
The fog stole up quietly, wrapping around his thoughts. There was something annoying him, something repeating over and over in the back of his head... Whatever it is I think I see, becomes a dinosaur to me... Now where in hell had that come from? Tootsie Roll candy with your chocolatey chew, Tootsie Roll I think I'm in love with you... whatever it is I think I see, becomes a dinosaur to me!... Excuse me, Mr. Owl, how many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop? One... tu-whooo... three. And the owl, which bore a strange resemblance to a pteranodon, snapped off his head.
Billy opened his eyes, heart racing. Dammit, that was why he hadn't wanted to drift off again. Not only was he having utterly bizarre dreams, but the leftover drugs were making it hard to wake up from them. And now he had that blasted Tootsie Roll song stuck in his head. Not to mention the Tootsie Pop commercial. When he was a kid, he'd actually tried to count licks before hitting the center. He couldn't remember now how many it had taken. Hmm... licks. Alan. How many licks...
Really nice memories. God, but he loved Alan... insecurities, quick temper, and all. He wished they were back home, waking for a quiet day together, neither one of them injured.
Hmm, now there was a pleasant thought- Alan had thought he was dead. He'd refused to think Alan was dead, but known it was a possibility. And then there was the matter of the eggs. Seemed like they would have a lot of apologizing to each other in the future, along with a lot of showing just how happy they were to find the other alive again...
Billy chuckled faintly. Leave it to him to reduce such a nasty situation down to a chance to have lots and lots of sex... but hey, he was a guy. So what if he only had one thing on his mind.
He drifted again, thinking about what he'd like to do to Alan when he felt better. He was going to enjoy convincing Alan that he was still loved and wanted.
Like I could ever make it without him around, anyway... Billy winced away from the thought and the memory of the time they'd spent apart. But that was over now, and best forgotten. Alan was his again, and he was Alan's, and they were together, and they were safe. They made a hell of a team, really, with Alan's knowledge and his own outdoor survival skills. Quite effective when lost in dino-hell. And even more effective in ordinary life- quite a pair, each balancing out the other, strengths cancelling out the weaknesses. Made for each other, made to be together...
Together... forever and always. Billy's eyes drifted shut again, and he slept.
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