Silence. Pain. Something was very, very wrong but no matter what he did he couldn’t move. His first awareness as he struggled to swim through the gelatinous obsidian quagmire that enveloped him was complete silence.
His brows drew together tightly fighting through tangled images that skated through his head. A tangled kaleidoscope of memories that flickered behind his closed eyelids played like a disjointed home movie inside his mind. Idyllic sun drenched days. Golden Hawaiian sand. No that wasn’t right. New Zealand sand. The airport. Dominic. His heart lurched in his chest, as one hand reached out to grope the air beside him. A scream bursting from behind his lips as a dagger of white-hot pain lanced through his shoulder. Terrified he refused to open his eyes and see an answer he didn’t want to know.
Where was Dom? Was he okay? His breathing fast and shallow he struggled to maintain some control. He tried to relax and sort through his jumbled memories. Sifting through the images trapped inside his head he remembered holding Dom’s face between his hands and kissing him. Tracing his lips with his tongue he could almost taste the memory of Dom’s sweet lips against his. He could taste the poignancy of their shared pain at their imminent separation. Billy felt lightheaded at the realization that wherever he was Dominic was not sharing this hell. Dominic was safe.
Steeling his nerves against what he knew he would see, he slowly opened his eyes. A murky red haze covered his vision, the all pervasive black curtain that surrounded him was punctuated only by small spot fires. Twisted lumps of metal that burned brightly lay on a sandy beach. A lump formed in his throat as his mind began to catalogue what it was seeing. Luggage lay scattered amongst mangled debris. Some of it intact most of it burst open spewing forth items of clothing and spreading it across the beach like a madwoman’s washing adventures.
He could feel tears trickling across his cheeks as his eyes scanned the beach. Bodies lay all around him. His mind vaguely acknowledged the fact that some people were stumbling across the sand. He could hear them moaning and calling out to their loved ones. The wanton destruction and carnage that surrounded him was almost too much for him to bear. He could smell the sharp acrid tang of blood on the air, underlying the blood was the smell of burning flesh. He closed his eyes, his lips moving wordlessly as he said a prayer for the people whose lives had been cruelly ripped from existence.
Struggling to release himself from the seatbelt that still strapped him into his airline seat, his fingers clasped the buckle and pulled it harshly. His seat and its partner were hanging sideways in the lowest branches of a tree. Belatedly, as he could feel his now unrestrained weight falling, he considered the fact that he would fall the three feet to the sand below him.
Excruciating pain lanced through his shoulder, tears running from his eyes as he folded in on himself trying to absorb the pain of impact as best as he could. Taking stock of his own body, he rolled on the ground unable to find a way to sooth his own pain. Struggling to even open his eyes again, he cried out in surprised horror as he found himself looking straight into the sightless eyes of the man who had been beside him on the plane.
Pulling himself to a seated position he pulled himself backwards until he could lean against the tree, his useless arm cradled against his body as each movement sent a lance of pain through him.
He was going to die here. He knew it now. They would look for them and not find them. He remembered clearly now. A large explosion seemed to happen at the rear of the plane and the plane had spiraled out of control, as it had plummeted downwards, the engines whining and moaning like a huge prehistoric beast as parts of the fuselage had broken free under the stress and had fallen away like huge chunks of molten confetti. The passengers had screamed and prayed and tried to make their peace with their own gods as it plummeted. Maybe the lucky ones were the ones who had died.
Dom checked his email for the eightieth time in the last thirty minutes. Neither his home phone nor his cell had rung since his return to his Hawaiian home. At first it had been like any other time they were parted. He had arrived home, showered then rummaged through his luggage until he found his prize.
A soft sensual smile had split his face as his long fingers closed around the sealed plastic bag. He opened it close to his face and inhaled the scent he loved so much. It was a habit they had fallen into early in their relationship. It had been Billy’s idea, something to help Dom’s sleep while he was alone. Whenever they got time together, just before they parted they traded sealed bags containing a pillow sham.
Dom had slipped the forest green fabric onto his pillow and rolled onto his bed, his face buried in Billy’s scent.
He had slept well until the dreams started. He woke in a cold sweat. Fear pulsing desperately through his veins. Irrational fear. He couldn’t go back to sleep, he couldn’t think, he couldn’t concentrate on anything but contacting Billy. So in the six hours since he had woken he had paced and called. His cell phone. His home phone. Thirty minutes ago he started emailing. Maybe the plane had been held over somewhere and his cell was out of range. Fifteen impassioned messages left on his voicemail and an equal number on his home answering machine. Desperately longing emails sent on their way begging for a reply of some sort.
Something. Anything, any contact at all to erase the acrid smell of burning flesh from his nostrils and the coppery tang of blood from his mouth that had been there since he woke.
He paced frenetically across his bedroom, back and forth, his cell phone on the bed, his landline on the bedside table, his mailbox blinking ominously at him from the desk in the corner. He felt like his nerve endings were rubbing raw against each other, each breath creating infinitely more pain than the last. The hole inside him growing with each second that passed.
Something was wrong. Dreadfully wrong.
Standing at the sliding glass doors that opened onto his lanai and by extension the beach outside, his fingers hooked on the lip of the frame above his head, his toe nervously tapping at the floor beneath his feet. When the phone rang, he nearly fell over himself in his rush to get to it. Before it had time to sound a second time, he had it pressed against his ear.
“Billy you wee Scottish git where have you been.” He breathed unable to hide the relief in his voice.
“Dominic, It’s Maggie.” The voice replied after a long pause. He could hear the tears thickening the Scottish brogue that was so like her brothers.
“No.” Dom stated vehemently “No.” he repeated “I’m not.” He continued. “I won’t.” he paused sinking to his knees beside the bed, one hand reaching for the forest green pillow that lay tumbled amidst its stark white counterparts, the other gripping the phone so tightly his knuckles whitened. “I can’t.” The sobs that had threatened to choke him all morning escaped, unable to listen to Maggie’s voice he buried his head in the pillow and cried.
Dom could hear Maggie speaking to him but he refused to pull the phone back to his ear. If he didn’t actually hear the words then they wouldn’t be true. They couldn’t be true. He wouldn’t, couldn’t believe it. His Billy wouldn’t leave him. They were meant to be together always. He wouldn’t hear the words that meant he was alone. He couldn’t be alone and he wouldn’t let Billy be alone either. He pressed one black varnished nail to the phone and disconnected the call.
“To the world you may be one person,
but to one person you may be the world.”
Billy drew a deep breath trying desperately to erase the smells from the air he sucked into his lungs. His whole body ached desperately. One arm hung uselessly at his side, every breath inflicting pain that threatened to steal his consciousness. He knew his shoulder was dislocated, he could feel the bones grinding and trying to slot themselves back into place every time he moved. Dragging himself to his feet, he rested his forehead against the bark of the tree as his consciousness swum, pain dragging him back into it’s inky black hold. He gripped his elbow with his other hand trying desperately to still the movement that prolonged the pain as his useless limb swung at his side.
His wrist rubbed against his belt buckle as he staggered trying to ride out the pain. He had to use his head. He had to think. Dom would know he was here. Dom would know he wouldn’t leave him alone. Hadn’t they pledged that to each other a thousand times. No, he would know that he wasn’t dead, regardless of what he had been told. He had to survive. His Dommeh would find him and make them whole again.
As his wrist rubbed against his buckle again a plan formulated itself in his mind. Carefully trying not to move too much or too fast he unbuckled the belt and slid it from his belt loops. A cold sweat beaded across his skin, he bit his lip to keep from crying out as he wrapped the end around his wrist and slid it through the buckle, pulling it tight. Leaning forward he grabbed the end of the belt from around the tree trunk.
Closing his eyes, he tried to focus on the task at hand. He tried to relax, but his mind betrayed him. With a sharp pull on the end of his belt he screamed in agony, but he refused to let go. Dragging on the strip of leather he bit down on his lip trying valiantly to quell his own agonized whimpering as the stiff leather pulled at his arm. His skin turned ghostly white, the blue of his veins standing out against the translucent skin that was beaded with cold sweat. He felt more than heard the scraping pop as his shoulder slid back into it’s socket.
Dropping to his knees he released his hold on the belt and cradled his arm against his body, deep wracking sobs vibrating through him as he curled into a ball and tried to absorb the pain coursing through him.
Long minutes passed. Slowly the pain began to subside until the bone grinding intensity in his shoulder faded to a deep nagging ache. He rolled onto his back, his green eyes tearfilled and watching the stars above them.
He could feel in his own heart the pain this would be causing Dom. He’d give anything to be able to tell him that for the most part he was fine. Physically he would mend, but emotionally he was crumbling. He needed the other half of his soul to stay strong. He needed to touch him, feel him there, to know that he was fighting to find him.
He scrambled to his feet, casting a frantic gaze across the beach, his eyes stopped at each suitcase, desperately searching for his own. He needed to find his suitcase. He needed it as desperately as he needed air to breathe. Luggage lay scattered amongst the twisted bodies of his flight mates. As he struggled to reach suitcases he fought against a rising tide of nausea that threatened to engulf him. The bitter scent of blood hung in the air around him. Sightless accusing eyes stared at him from the sand as he stepped over them to reach the luggage. He sank to his knees in front of a suitcase. A suitcase that from a distance had looked very much like his but now that he was here, bore little or no resemblance.
All he wanted was his little piece of Dommeh. Tears welled in his eyes as he cried for the comfort of his Dom, wrapped around him, making this all a horrible nightmare. He pressed his head against the suitcase and sobbed for what he was sure he had lost forever.
Evey found Dom on his bedroom floor, curled in a ball, his face pressed against the pillow he held tightly in his arms. His knees drawn up to his chest, he sobbed against the pillow, not even noticing when she lifted the ringing phone from the bed and spoke softly into it. Dropping it back onto his bed she knelt in front of him, reaching out one gentle hand to touch his shoulder.
“Dom,” she spoke softly “Dom honey, talk to me. Please?” Her fingers stroked his arm as she spoke, desperately trying to coax him back.
“He’s not gone.” Dom sobbed into the pillow. “Evey, he can’t be gone.” He whispered as he sat up pulling the pillow with him. “I can’t do this without him.”
“They’ve found the plane already Dom.” She murmured folding him into her arms and hugging him tightly.
“Nooooo..” Dom wailed into her shoulder, heartbreaking sobs wracking his body as she pulled him closer.
“Maggie said they’ve asked her to provide a hairbrush or a toothbrush of his.” Evey spoke softly against his unruly hair, “They have to do the identifications via DNA.”
“He’s not dead Evey.” Dom pulled back and pressed a hand against his heart. “I’d know in here if he was gone and he’s not. We just have to find him.”
“Dom don’t do this to yourself.” She soothed him. “If he’s gone you have to let him go. He wouldn’t want you to do this.”
“Do what?” Dom pulled back anger bubbling up inside him “Believe in him? Have faith in him surviving? Not give up on him? What am I supposed to do? You of all people should know that it’s possible for some of them to survive.”
“Dom, we make a tv show, its entertainment, it’s not real honey. As much as I want it to be, for both your sakes, it’s not real. The plane was a flaming fireball, and landed on a small rugged island.” She bluntly stated wincing at the way her words touched him physically. “I’d already seen a recreation on CNN before Maggie called me. There was no hope for any survivors before it even hit the ground. I’m sorry honey but there’s very little hope that he survived.” She replied.
“I can’t Evey.” He muttered “I can’t do this without him. I won’t.” He looked up at her his eyes gray with sorrow, tears trickling unchecked down his pale cheeks. “I can’t Evey, he’s the glue that holds me together. Without him I’ll crumble. Without him I’m not whole.” He paused “I can’t and I won’t do this without him.”
“You might have to.” Evey whispered quietly.
Dom rolled to his feet and began pacing. “No….No I won’t. He’s alive and they’re going to find him.”
He stalked from the bedroom into the living room and flicked his television on. Finding a news channel he watched as the reporter read one story then another. As the beginnings of the story of Billy’s plane started Dom sank to the floor, his knees pulled up to his chin as he watched the report. Somehow they knew Billy was on the plane, and had latched onto the story with the fervor of seagulls fighting over a hot chip. Several pictures of he and Billy flashed across the screen and then a short clip from Return of the King.
“Bastards. Why did they have to use that scene?” Dom whispered, tears began to fall anew as he watched Pippin and Merry’s parting scene in Edoras. The look in Billy’s eyes as Gandalf took Pippin from Merry was the same look that Billy wore every time they were parted. The same look that had been the last expression he’d seen on his beloved Billy’s face just yesterday. The reality of Billy’s situation sank in as Dom watched the same recreation Evey had already seen. Dom frowned tightly. Billy was still alive. He wouldn’t give up hope. His heart would know if he was gone. If it was him on that flight, Billy would already be resolutely fighting to get to him.
“I’ll book you a flight Dom.” Evey murmured “Do you want me to come with?”
“JJ’ll kill me.” He mumbled into his knees.
“He knows and said I could go too if you need me.”
“I can’t ask you to do that.” He whispered.
“I offered and I’m not going to take no for an answer.” She stated firmly.
She moved closer and pulled Dom to his feet and pushed him into his bathroom. “Shower and we’ll leave.” She ordered him.
Twenty minutes later, plane tickets booked and Maggie and Dom’s closest friends informed, she found him under water gone icy crying on the floor of the shower cubicle. Grabbing a towel she pulled him to his feet and wrapped him in it, pushing him down until he was seated on the closed lid of the toilet.
“Dom are you sure he’s alive?” she cupped his face and looked into his eyes.
“Never been as sure about anything else.” He whispered. “I’d know.”
“Then I believe you.” She nodded. “He can’t afford for you to meltdown now.” She explained “He needs you to be his strength. He needs you to force them to look for him. You have to keep it together….for Billy.” She stood and held out a hand to him. “Are you with me?”
Dom took a deep grounding breath and stood, taking her hand in his, not trusting his voice to answer her he nodded in reply.
Billy woke. His head pressed against the suitcase he had collapsed against, his aching body folded tight against itself. Although he aced all over and his face bore the crusty evidence of the gash at his hairline, he felt physically better than he had. He smiled wryly as he realized that he could move all of his fingers and had lost the tingling sensation that they had been enduring. Lifting his arm tentatively, he realized that he had regain a lot of his arms mobility, despite the fact that he had to bite down on his lip to keep from crying out at the pain the movement caused him.
Standing he walked away from the wreckage and sat with his back against a tree, watching the pale orange sun rise against the horizon. Dark black smoke billowed into the sky from the opposite side of a small island a handful of miles from edge of the horizon, it’s steely presence cheapening the picture postcard ideals from the vista that he watched.
His weary green eyes scanned the beach, cataloguing the luggage strewn across the sand and the bodies that lay amongst it. Starting a list of things they would have to do to survive. He watched his fellow survivors too. For a plane that held more than two hundred people, not many of them were in evidence here. His eyes filled with tears as he counted the poor lost souls that hadn’t survived the impact, then moved on to catalogue the living. A tiny young girl, huddled in the arms of an older yet still young boy. An elderly couple, the man injured. Two young women and a man at least a decade older than himself. Billy couldn’t help the laugh that bubbled from his lips as he considered their plight.
“We sure as hell wouldn’t make a good cast.” He whispered.
It was only logical, he guessed, that he should be the one to organize them or at least try to imbibe them with some sort of hope.
Rising to his feet, he walked towards the youngest of the survivors. It wasn’t until he got closer he realized that he had spoken to them on the plane. The youngster’s mother was a huge Rings fan and had recognized him then begged an autograph from him, but it hadn’t been long before Billy had been asking to meet the daughter named for a hobbit. Tears filled his eyes and he glanced quickly around the beach wondering if the children had been forced to endure seeing their parent’s bodies strewn across the beach.
“Hello Merry.” He spoke tentatively not completely sure what to say to them. “Are you two alright?”
At their answering nods he almost laughed and extended a hand to the young boy.
“I’m Billy.” He smiled as he shook hands with the youngster.
“No you’re not you’re Pippin. Mama said so.” the little girl spoke.
“Aye. I am.” Billy answered with a grin. “Can you tell me how old you are?”
Merry held a hand up with three fingers waving proudly at him. “I’m four.’ She pointed at her brother “Luke’s this many.” She offered holding both hands up with her fingers splayed.
“Am not.” Luke smiled at her, poking his tongue out as he did. “I’m 11.” He replied.
“Ah’m pleased to meet the both of ye.” Billy spoke, before opening his arms to them and offering a hug. Merry crawled straight into his arms and hugged him tightly. Luke watched for a minute, holding back before shyly pushing his way under Billy’s arm.
Hugging them both as tightly as he could he pressed his face against Merry’s hair and absorbed the strength he needed from them. Putting them away from him for a moment he looked into Luke’s face and spoke solemnly to him.
“I have a very important job for you Luke do you think you can do it and keep Merry safe as well.”
“Depends.” Luke frowned.
“I need you to collect all the firewood you can find and stack it down there.” Billy gestured to an open part of the beach that was far enough away from them for comfort but still close enough to light quickly. “Can you do that for me?” he asked.
Luke pondered the request for a few long moments and then smiled crookedly nodding.
“Yessir.” He spoke clearly and Billy watched him lead his sister away by her tiny hand until they were just into the tree line then carrying branches and twigs to what would be their bonfire.
Billy watched them for long moments, tears in his eyes wishing for his own Merry. Taking a deep breath he stood. He knew in his heart of hearts that Dom would know that he wasn’t dead, just as he knew he would move heaven and earth to find him. Until that happened he had to keep up his end of the bargain. It was his job to stay alive until that happened, and by God he was going to do it if it killed him.
Dom spent the flight in virtual silence. His headphones on, his eyes staring blankly at the screen in front of him. A trail of tears occasionally tracking unchecked down his pale cheeks. Evey did what she could for him. Forcing him to pick at his food when the flight attendant brought it to him and making him drink water when she could.
Shortly before the flight was due to touchdown one of the attendants knelt beside Dom and spoke softly to him.
“Mr Monaghan.” She started softly, her eyes wide and glistening with emotion. “The pilot has asked me to inform you that the press are creating quite a disturbance in the arrivals lounge. He wondered if you might like to use our VIP lounge and avoid them.”
“Thank you.” Dom nodded in acceptance of the offer.
“Mr Monaghan.” She started awkwardly reaching out to cover his hand with hers. “I don’t expect you to remember us, if we’re doing or jobs right you won’t, but I’ve,” she paused gesturing to the two stewardesses who waited at the top of the aisle. “We’ve all worked on several flights that you’ve been on, you and Mr Boyd. E want to tell you how sorry we are for your loss.” She paused her eyes luminous. “You were so perfect together. I can’t believe that he’s gone.”
One lone fat tear trickled down Dom’s cheek, his breath catching in his throat before he looked up into her eyes.
“I won’t believe that he’s gone.” He spoke softly. ‘He is still out there somewhere waiting for us to fin him.
“But…” the stewardess started to speak.
“I know he’s still alive Shona.” He spoke glancing at her name tag.
Evey caught Shona’s eye as she would have argued, shaking her head almost imperceptibly.
“I’ll be back after touchdown.” She spoke softly, squeezing Dom’s hand gently. “We’ll be stop away from the terminals and take you and Miss Lilly by waiting car to the VIP area and immigrations and then take you to your friends.” She smiled.
“Friends?” Dom frowned.
“They’ll be waiting in the VIP lounge.” She smiles as she walked down the aisle.
True to her word, the plane had barely touched down before he and evey were whisked off the plane and into a waiting car. After they had been put through immigration they were taken to the terminal via secure access. As they walked down the deserted corridors following a security guard Dom’s resolve hardened. No matter what it took he was going to find Billy.
Turning into the room, the door held oen by the guard Dom almost smiled. His closest friends in the world were all here. Elijah, Orli, Viggo, Bean and even Sir Ian were all scattered about the room. Maggie sat looking tiny and fril in the corner of a sofa.
“You all look like shite.” He spoke softly unable to muster his normal bravado.
“Best you don’t go near a mirror than Merriadoc.” Ian laughed solemnly.
At the sound of his voice Maggie launched herself across the room and slammed into his arms.
Their arms wrapped tightly around each other attempting to draw strength from the other. Absorbinf each others pain.
“He’s not dead Maggie.” He murmured over and over against her hair. “He’s not.”
“Dom.” Bean spoke from across the room. “We’ve all seen the wreckage mate, there’s no way he could have survived.” He trailed off shrugging his shoulders at the frowns from the others.
“I don’t give a shit what anybody has seen. He’s not fucking dead.”
“Dom.” Viggo glanced at the others. “You shouldn’t make this harder than it needs to be.”
“You know what.” Dom pressed his fists against his hips and glared around the room. “If you don’t believe me you can all just fuck off right now.” He paused to draw a deep breath. “If you can’t have faith in his survival then he doesn’t need you here. He’s out there somewhere.” He waved his arms wildly. “He’s out there somewhere alive and I’m not going to let him die alone and forgotten.” His Anger ran out of steam and his voice broke into shaking sobs. “For Fucks sake, he wouldn’t give up on any one of you.”
Bean walked across the room and opened his arms to Dom.
“C’mere.” He spoke gruffly his eyes bright and pulled Dom into his arms hugging him tight against his chest. “If you believe then so do I.” He stated gently stroking Dom’s back.
“Surely lads, if we can save Middle earth surely we can find a wee hobbit.” Orli stated softly.
A security guard had entered the room and spoken softly to Evey. Clearing her throat she interrupted apologetically.
“Dom they’ve asked if you could make a statement.”
“No fucking way” Dom hissed angrily. “He’s not dead and he’s not their cheap headline.
“It might be advantageous Dominic.” Ian spoke softly “You’ll need resources should you need to search.
Dom pulled out of Bean’s embrace and looked at his friends hopeful faces.
“Lets do this then.” He stood still and inhaled several long deep calming breaths.
Trying to maintain a calm demeanor was the hardest thing Dom had ever done, all he wanted to do was find his lover, but the press seemed intent on dragging him down into the sorrow they expected him to wallow in.
“I’d like to thank you all for coming.” He began. “I’ve come here today to find my closest friend, Billy Boyd” Dom’s voice caught painfully as he spoke “As you’re all aware his plane crashed and so fare there have been no survivors. So far.”
“So you believe there could be survivors?” One journalist asked.
“I know there are survivors.” Dom answered “I know Billy is not gone.” He added quickly.
“So does this mean we can expect a relationship with Evangeline now?” another asked. They all recognized him, he was a sleazy tabloid reporter with no morals and even less dignity.
Dom couldn’t help himself, without a second’s hesitation, and in the blink of an eye. Dom launched himself off the small podium and drawing his arms back quickly, punched the offending reporter squarely in the face. One hand screwing his shirt into a ball and pulling him closer. The other winding up for another, when the security guard grabbed him by the elbow.
“Don’t you ever fucking say that again you dirtbag.” Dom growled at him as he was pulled away from him. “Billy will be back….where he belongs beside me.” He pulled out of security’s loose grasp and stalked back towards the room that held his friends and their plans to bring their lost member home.
Billy sat on the sand, Merry cradled on his lap and Luke seated close by his side, one of his arms looped loosely around the youngsters shoulders. They had managed to start their path to survival and as the sun set on their second day on the tiny beach Billy was pleased with their progress.
He had left Luke and Merry in charge of firewood collection and they had done an admirable job. Claire and Annie the two sisters from Portland, Oregon on the first (and probably last) overseas adventure had dragged all the suitcases off the beach and to the shade of the trees where Bertha waited. Bertha, a lovely octogenarian sorted through them looking for food, water, medication and suitable clothing while she watched over her injured husband.
While the others had all been occupied with their own tasks, Liam, the only other able bodied adult male, a man in his late 50’s from Dublin, and himself had taken on the grisly task of moving the bodies from the beach. Fifteen people had dies on this beach and Billy had carefully catalogued their documentation in a little bag that even sat at his side. The bodies lay a short distance along the beach, currently shrouded by a large piece of fabric like insulation from the small fragment of the fuselage that was lying in the water. Neither he nor Liam were sure what they should do so they had decided to cover them and decide what they should do tomorrow.
Bertha and the girls had found enough food and bottled water that it should last another two or three days if they were careful.
Now all he wanted to do was rest. His shoulder ached and he wanted nothing more than to be folded into Dom’s strong arms. Instead he pulled his young charges close to him. Merry was already asleep, her blonde curly head pushed tightly into the side of his neck her hand pressed over the steady reassuring beat of his heart. Luke remained a little more aloof, but he still curled into Billy’s warmth.
Billy leaned back against the tree stump he was using as a bakrest and wondered what happed to their parents. Talking to them during his wait before the flight had been a godsend. The bright conversation and genuine affection had taken his mind off the soul eating pain he always felt when he left his Dom.
Jane had recognized him immediately, even with his tear stained eyes hidden behind sunglasses. It amazed him how long it had actually taken her to screw up the courage to talk to him. When she had blushed and told him she was a lifelong scifi fantasy fan he had almost laughed. But when she had explained that she had named her children Luke Skywalker and Merry Brandybuck he had been compelled to meet the rest of the family. He pressed his lips to the top of Merry’s curly head as she murmured restlessly in her sleep.
His eyes misted as he wondered what had become of the young couple. He prayed they had survived and were stuck somewhere just like their children were. However, if the worst had happened he sent a silent prayer heavenwards that it had been quick and painless for them, and let them silently know that he would make sure that Luke and Merry were always safe and happy.
He cast his eyes across the others, as his eyelids grew heavy. Claire and Annie slept side by side, he smiled. In a different world he would like to be their friend. In a different environment he knew they could be good friends, even now their quirky dry senses of humor made him chuckle. Liam had lost his wife in the crash and under the circumstances he was holding up better than Billy would have. The only one that really worried him was Chuck, Bertha’s husband, he was seriously hurt and none of them could help him.
Billy let his eyes drift slowly closed his head falling forward to rest against Merry’s curls, Dom’s name on his lips and he drifted off to a restless uncomfortable sleep.
Dom paced. That’s what he did. Six steps took him from one wall and another six took him back to the other. Bean leaned against the doorframe, his eyes squinting against the fading sunlight, listening to Dom’s agitated footfalls and watching for the return of their friends from a long day searching. Evey sat in the corner of the room, her arms folded against her chest, slouched in the armchair just watching Dom.
Each time his six steps brought him to a blank gray wall he fought not to drive his fist through the aging plaster. He had barely slept, hardly eaten. He knew he looked like shit, he certainly felt like it. The others were worried about him. Convinced, he was sure, that he was clinging to sanity by a gossamer thread, Really during more lucid moments, if truth be told he wondered how far from right they really were. No matter how much he knew that Billy was still out there somewhere, he was slowly starting to lose his unshakeable faith in his lover. It had been four long days since the plane had crashed.
The airline had taken him and several of the fellowship to the crash site in the hopes of allaying his survival claims. The wreckage had been scattered over one entire half of the small uninhabited, unfriendly rock that it had plummeted onto. The smell of burnt metal, flesh and vegetation and the invasive pall of death that hung over the site and filled his senses had turned his stomach and filled his eyes with tears. When he returned he had showered over and over, rubbing his skin raw with a nailbrush desperately trying to scrape the smell of death from his body. His heart and soul praying that his gentle caring Billy didn’t have to experience that horror.
So now here he stood in the control room of their search headquarters. Each of the fellowship members had exerted whatever favors they could and between them all they had this tiny room, three search choppers and a medivac team on standby should they need it.
Tears he thought he had no more of started to trickle down his cheeks as he traced his fingers across their search map. The map that served as the basis of their search.
“Where are you Billy?” he murmured letting his fingers wander across the dozen or so tiny islands, he stood still for what seemed like hours watching the map, willing Billy to tell him where he was. His fingers followed their own path returning again and again to a slightly larger island well outside their search area.
Turning, his eyes sparkling he scanned his companions faces quickly.
“Beanie, Evey.” He stated quickly to the people he was beginning to think of as his shadows. “I know where he is.”
He didn’t miss the quick glance they shared before Evey spoke softly.
“Where?” she asked.
“Here." he pressed his finger against the island. “He’s there.” He murmured, “We need to go there now.”
“We’ve got no sunlight left Dom it’ll have to be in the morning.” Bean replied, "but that’s beside the point." he spoke calmly “Dommie if we go there and he’s not there I think it might be a good idea for you to start to consider he’s not coming back.”
“No…..He’s there I know he’s there.” Dom stated his agitation fading in the force of his own certainty.
Bean folded his large hands over Dom’s shoulders and turned him to face him before cupping his chin in one hand and forcing him to look into his eyes.
“Promise me Monaghan.” He spoke his eye serious. “If he’s not there you’ll let him go.”
Dom swallowed hard. “I don’t think I can.”
“Bollocks” Bean spat “I…” he paused “We won’t let you kill yourself like this. If he is gone, let him go gracefully mate." he pulled Dom into his arms, hugging him tightly as Orli, Viggo and Elijah walked through the door, their faces weary and discouraged.
“No luck?” Evey asked quietly, her eyes liquid, meeting them at the door.
Viggo shook his head and clasped the hand she extended.
“What’s the deal?” Orli asked softly gesturing at the embrace.
“Dom thinks he knows where Billy is.” Evey whispered.
“He couldn’t have worked that out three days ago?” Elijah grumbled wearily.
“Nope.” Dom smiled at his friends, an almost serene smile on his weary face as he walked past them out of the small room and into the open air. “I had to wait for Billy to tell me.” He shrugged as if that was a perfectly logical explanation, leaving his companions looking at each other wondering if he’d finally snapped.
Dom sat in the chopper watching the ocean flash by beneath them. He smiled as he watched the glittering water. He smiled serenely as he watched, knowing that every minute brought him closer to his Billy.
He knew the others thought he was insane. It had taken all his persuasive powers to make them bring their full search team of three helicopters with them. He knew that they were humoring him, but he also knew as surely as his heart beat in his chest he was going to find his Billy alive.
Maggie sat opposite him, her eyes watching but not seeing the ocean as it flashed by. She didn’t believe him. She thought he was just delaying the inevitable, he could see it in her eyes every time he told her Billy was alive. His shadows flanked him and as he watched the ocean flash by he knew that their eyes met above his head, their concern lining their tired faces, but until they found Billy he was helpless to assuage their concerns. They traveled with him waiting to hold together the shell he was without his Billy, not realizing that it would be impossible even for them.
Glancing backwards he briefly watched the other two choppers behind them. Viggo, Orli and Lij traveled in the garish blue one painted with commercial signage and the bright garish rescue chopper followed closely behind them. For a fleeting moment uncertainty gripped him. What if he was wrong? What if his Billy was gone? What if he had to live out the rest of his life filled with the agony that had enveloped him just after Maggie’s call? What if the light that lit his soul had been snuffed out forever?
He shook his head sharply, tossing the negative thoughts aside with a flick of his scruffy blonde hair. His sudden movement startled both of his minders, Sean watched him through narrow concerned eyes. Evey reached out and placed her hand on his knee, the warmth of her hand offering comfort where it could.
He covered her hand with his own and let his fingers linger, tapping gently along with the rhythm of the thrumming blades above their heads, leaning close to speak to her.
“It’s all going to be good Eve.” He spoke against her ear “Trust me,” he lifted her hand to press it against his chest above the steady beating of his heart. “I know it in here.”
“I wish I had your faith Dom.” She whispered her soft words stolen by the noisy cabin.
Dom’s attention was stolen by the approach of land in front of them. Scrunching into Evey’s side he struggled to get closer to the window beside them, desperate to see more of the land then his current position afforded. Standing awkwardly she let him slide across the seat and then claimed the seat he had vacated. Catching Sean’s eye she shrugged on a deep sigh and let her fingers lace with his.
Dom pressed his fingers against the glass and watched as the island approached and finally was under them. As islands go it really wasn’t much. Rugged rocky ground, small sandy beaches, trees, and then he saw it. Smack in the midst of the tiny desolate little piece of rock lay the charred twisted metal that had once been a piece of a plane. As the chopper hovered over it they could see the charred remains of what was bodies still trapped in their seats. His heart in his throat Dom looked away from the wreckage, he couldn’t have come so close to lose him. He wouldn’t.
“God Damn.” Bean’s voice broke into their thoughts as he pointed out the other side of the chopper, there through the dense trees was clearly a trail of destruction. Scattered pieces of mangled plane, luggage and other wreckage.
All of them could hear the excited voices of the other choppers and the three pilots searched for somewhere to set them down. The rugged uneven terrain was completely unacceptable for anything remotely like set down. After much discussion the pilots made the decision for them. They would drop their passengers on the ground and then regroup on the wide expanse of white sandy beach on the island they had flown past and wait until they were required for pick up.
As the doors opened, the smell that assailed them was horrendous. Pushing out of the cabin Dom landed lithely on his feet and extended a hand to first Maggie and then Evey. Bean pushed their bags into his hands and then jumped down after them, glad to finally be off the damned machine. Dom knew he hated helicopters with a fear that bordered on compulsive and was eternally grateful to him for enduring this for himself and Billy. Moving quickly away from the landing site they waited for the others.
Helping Maggie with her backpack, he scanned the surrounds with one hand shading his eyes. He closed his eyes desperately trying to control his wayward emotions. Long minutes later he opened his eyes and reached a decision.
“That way.” He pointed into the trees, “I’m going that way.” He looked at them as he spoke. “Alone.”
“Mate.” Bean spoke “Do you think that’s wise?”
“No but it’s the way I want it.” He waved the walkie talkie he held at them “I’ve got this I’ll be fine. He’s here guys I can feel it.”
Billy sat in the shade his legs splayed Merry sitting on the sand in front of him, his hands around her torso as he struggled to comb her hair, soothing out the tangles as best he could without hurting her. Luke was down at the waterline with Liam, both of them patiently trying to fish. Claire and Annie were foraging for berries and Bertha bless her heart was sitting beside her husband, willing him to survive.
Somehow since his world had shrunk to these seven people he could never quite settle until he knew where they all were.
“Billy.” Merry’s voice broke into his thoughts. “when can we go home?”
“Yeh tired of me already?” he pulled her onto his lap.
“No Silly.” She swatted at his arm playfully “I just want to see mummy and daddy and Buster again.”
“Ah know ye do sweetheart.” He cuddled her tight against him “One day you’ll see them again.” He pressed his lips against her hair “Ah promise one day ye will.”
Anything Merry was about to say was forgotten as Annie and Claire burst out of the trees, tears streaming down their faces, their slight frames heaving with the exertion of running.
“Choppers.” Claire managed.
Annie stood slightly behind her, her hands on her knees trying desperately to catch her breath a wide grin splitting her face.
“At least three.” She gasped “We think they landed.”
“Where?” Billy asked softly, his arms tightening on Merry.
“Other side of the island, we only saw them for a minute but we heard them.” Claire answered.
“Girls, Can you light the bonfire?” he asked waiting only for their affirmative answer before he placed Merry on her feet on the sand and stood beside her.
Taking Merry’s tiny hand in his he walked to Bertha and squatted at her side.
“How is he Bertha?”
“No better child,” she replied on a deep sigh “But no worse either.”
“Bertha.” He nodded “I need a favour.”
“What’s that child?” she spoke quietly watching him closely.
“Could you watch Merry for me?” he asked “Ah wouldn’t ask but Ah need to go away for a little while and Ah can’t take her with me.”
“Sure.”Bertha replied “We’ll have chocolate won’t we Miss Merry.”
Merry nodded quickly a bright smile on her face tempted by the promise of sweets. Billy pulled her into his tight embrace and brushed her hair from her face.
“Ah want you to stay with Bertha ok honey?” he spoke. “I’ll be back soon.”
“Can’t I come with you?” she frowned tears welling in her eyes “Please if I promise to be good? Please don’t leave me Billy.”
“I’m sorry sweetheart, I can’t take you with Me.” He hugged her tightly suddenly reluctant to leave her alone. “Ah promise Ah’ll be back before ye even miss me.” He whispered in her ear “Besides Miss Bertha needs a friend for a little while. Can ye do that for me.”
Merry touched her bottom lip with her finger and thought seriously for a long moment then nodded sagely.
“Good girl.” Billy kissed her forehead and released her quickly. Running down the beach towards Luke and Liam, he explained what he was doing. Grabbing a bottle of water to take with him, he slipped it into a salvaged backpack that he looped over his good shoulder and set off through the trees in the direction the girls had indicated.
Dom moved quickly through the thick forest, one advantage to working on Lost he was accustomed to scrabbling through rainforest. He wasn’t sure where he was going, he was just basically following his feet.
Pausing in a small clearing to take a long drink from a water bottle in his pack, he was slipping his pack back onto his back when he heard the sounds of something approaching through the heavy undergrowth. Stepping back a little behind a huge tree trunk, just in case it was something dangerous he waited patiently, convinced that it was one of the others backtracking. What he saw when the noise grew louder and then burst into the small clearing stole his breath and wrenched his legs out from under him.
“Sweet heaven.” He spoke his voice thick with emotion, his cheeks wet with tears, he fell to his knees and cried.
The noise pulled Billy to an immediate halt. He blinked owlishly over and over. Frightened to move lest the apparition before him should evaporate.
“Dommeh.” He murmured softly. “Dommeh.” He repeated his voice thick with emotion as he struggled to decide if this was reality or hallucination.
“It’s me.” The only words that Dom could choke out around the knot of emotion in his throat sounded strange even to his ears.
Billy stumbled toward him, closing the distance between them and sank down in front of him. Dom’s arms closed around him holding him tight, weary green eyes searching blue hungrily.
“Thought Ah’d never see ye agin.” Billy murmured his accent thickening as his tears spilled.
“I thought I’d lost you.” Dom whispered.
“Ah’d never leave ye.” Billy answered.
“I’ll always find you.” Dom stated.
“Ah love ye.” Billy whispered against his hair.
“I love you.” Dom murmured as his hands roved all over Billy.
Billy let the fingers of one hand trace across Dom’s face before he leaned in and pressed their lips together. His mouth trailed across Dom’s wetly, his tongue tracing across his soft plump lips before delving into the honeyed cavern of his mouth. A long, slow wet kiss that held all of the hopes and fears of the last week and for the briefest of moments calmed them both. Pulling reluctantly away from Billy’s sweet mouth Dom cradled his face in both hands.
“Are you alright?” he murmured, pressing a kiss to the gash on his forehead. To his hungry eyes Billy looked smaller, frailer, older than he had a week ago.
“Ah am now.” Billy whispered, “Were there any others?”
“None.” Dom stated simply “But I knew you weren’t dead.”
“There’s seven more back on the beach.” He spoke “Dommie.” He remembered the others plight “Chuck he needs a doctor.”
Dom pulled him back into his arms resting his head on his shoulder, pulling back when Billy flinched.
“What’s wrong?” he asked puling Billy’s shirt back and seeing the intense black and purple bruising.
“Jesus Bills what happened?” he leaned forward to press butterfly kisses across the bruised skin.
“Dislocated.” He shrugged painfully.
“We’ll find the doctor for you.” Dom reached for the walkie talkie and spoke into it.
“No for Chuck, he’s not well Dom.” Billy wrapped his arm around Dom’s waist and rested his head against his shoulder drawing comfort and strength from him. He listened to Dom relay his news through the radio and frowned.
“Who else is here?” he asked, he'd heard the excited voices, voices he knew but couldn't quite decipher.
“At the moment?” Dom asked his fingers softly stroking Billy’s hair reluctant to stop touching him. “Lij and Orli, Viggo, Bean, Evey and Maggie. Sir Ian had to go back to filming, Sean couldn’t get away but has phoned every day as have JRD and Karl and Daisy and Liv.”
Billy nodded awed that his old cast mates cared. “Ah thought Ah was going ta die and never see ye agin, but somehow Ah knew ye’d come.”
“I knew you wouldn’t leave me.” Dom cupped his face and kissed him gently. “C’mon, lets find your friends and get you back to civilization Boyd.” He smiled “You need a shower.”
“Thanks ye wanker.” Billy poked his tongue at him as he let Dom pull him to his feet. Dom pulled Billy’s pack from his shoulder and wrapped his arm carefully across his back, pulling him tight against his side, his hand resting on his hip, stroking gently and sighed.
“What?” Billy looked up into Dom’s face.
“Finally.” He murmured his eyes misty, his voice quivering. “We're whole again.”