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Creepy old professor, was his new identity.

Alan sat in the camp chair watching the sun set over the dig, nursing a beer and musing on the bite-you-in-the-ass humor of his life. He had known quite a few identities in his time: smart-mouth wunderkind, hard-nosed scientist, bright-eyed theoretician. Adventurer, wise-ass, crackpot. He'd been called them all, and quite a few names rather less attractive, though those were mostly by women he'd been dating at the time. And now, apparently, he had a new one: creepy old professor.

"Hey, Alan." He glanced up to see Billy standing at the edge of the equipment tent. "You do brush check already, or you want me to?"

Alan squinted into the horizon bleeding purple and crimson into the canyon rim, and sighed. "Give it a look over, will you?"

"Sure thing." Billy began a slow careful shuffle over the site, head down. They had funding now, oh boy did they ever have funding, thanks to all the post-Isla Sorna publicity, but money brought its own special set of curses. Curses that arrived by the busload from the university, fresh-faced and eager in ripped jeans and too little sunblock, all slavering at the mouth to sit at the feet of the great Dr. Alan Grant, even if it meant spending the summer kneeling on the dusty ground in 105-degree weather, scraping at microscopic fragments of rock with a toothbrush for the pleasure of getting their heads ripped off and stuffed up their asses by the great Dr. Grant. Okay, maybe "sitting at the feet" was a bit over the top, but they sure as hell wanted his name on their resumes, those earnest little resumes as bare as their midriffs, their ambitions as overbaked as their exposed skin.

"Found one, goddamnit! Stupid goddamn fucktards."

Alan smiled at Billy's distant grousing and took another sip of his beer. Billy had less patience with the interns these days than he did, a situation that amused him greatly. Time was, Billy could be counted on to take the time to guide a trembling, unsure hand, to reassure with a gentle smile. They had had a sort of Good Cop, Bad Cop thing going, back then. Now, it was more like Bad Cop, Really Bad Cop. Bad Cop, Indictable Cop.

"Jesus H. Christ! What the hell! The magro, the fucking magro. I swear. . ." Billy bent to pick up the abandoned tool and wandered off down the ridge, shaking his head, apparently still muttering to himself. Alan shielded his eyes from the glare and watched the backside of Billy's retreating form.

Oh yeah. Creepy old professor it was.

How the whole thing had started, he didn't even remember. It had been there, lurking, before Isla Sorna. Or at least, he thought it had. The it. The thing. The ridiculous unnamable. The occupational hazard. If he totted it up, it would take both hands, the number of professors he knew personally who had taken a shine to their young research assistants. Their young, nubile, impossibly attractive research assistants. It was sordid, it was common, it was mildly nauseating in the best of cases and, in the cases that involved wives and children and tears and confusion and mid-life crises, it was downright revolting.

So what was the word for the ones who took a shine to their young, nubile, impossibly attractive and undeniably male research assistants? He didn't know, but he had a feeling it involved the adjective "creepy."

Billy collapsed into the empty camp chair beside him, the one that always sat there now. The one nobody else sat in. He flipped open the cooler and pulled out a beer. "I swear, Alan, that's it. I've had it. It doesn't matter what the hell we do, how much we yell and scream and jump up and down, they don't fucking listen. They walk around with, oh, collectively about eight thousand dollars in grant money in their sweaty ignorant little hands, and then at the end of the day they cannot fucking be bothered to listen to instructions about putting up equipment. You know what it is," he said, finishing with a hasty swallow of beer that dribbled onto his chin. "You know what it is, don't you."

Alan continued to study the sunset. "I know what it is."

"You're goddamn right you know what it is! They're not following protocol. They are not fucking following the goddamn instrument protocol. You take an instrument out, you put another one back in. But oh no, they hoard them. They cannot fucking be bothered to get up and walk the extra twenty feet—" He shook his head and chugged the rest of the beer down, indignation still working his throat, and Alan turned from the sunset.

"You know, Billy – and believe me, I am alive to the irony of my saying this – you might want to consider going a little easier on them."

Billy just shook his head. "Unbelievable. Just un-fucking-believable. I swear, Alan, one of these days I'm gonna take an eleven gauge titanium surgical and gut one of them myself, just do it. Leave the bones out here to bleach and rot, and in another, say, 450 million years another herd of interns can dig them up and fragment the bones to powder underneath their clumsy-ass stupid Doc Martens, and who the hell wears shoes that weigh nineteen pounds in weather like this? Because I'm telling ya—"


"I know, I know, I just—"

"Take a deep breath, Billy. And here." He popped the cooler open. "Have another beer. You're giving me a headache."

Billy took the beer and settled deeper into his chair. "Sorry," he said in the sheepish voice that made him sound seventeen. "Long day," he offered, by way of explanation, and quietly began work on the second beer. They settled into the silence that was normal for them. At the end of the day, it was a good thing to be able to sit with someone you didn't have to talk to. It was something Alan had noticed about himself, recently, and it was probably something to do with aging. The more he knew, the less he had to say, it seemed. Or maybe he was wrong, and his silence and tendency to brood had to do with Isla Sorna. Maybe some primeval part of his reptilian brain stem would eternally be listening, now – listening for the faint sharp click and whirr of the raptor, listening for the barely detectable shudder in the ground that said, Beware. Large predator on the move. Scurry out of the way, small warm-blooded thing. Maybe he would never find that switch in his brain, never be able to turn it off now.

"You know," Alan said after a while, when the sun had finally slipped below the rim and the evening's show was over. "Not so long ago, you were one of those—what's the word?"

"Fucktards," Billy grinned.

"Right. Descriptive, that. So cut them some slack, occasionally."

Billy cocked a brow. "You want me to cut them some slack."

"I do. This dig only has room for one tall, dark and glowering. You keep this up, you're going to interfere with my, what's the word."

"I have no idea."

"Yes you do, the one you use all the time. My jojo, my yoyo, my you know."

"God help us, Alan, I think you're trying to say mojo."

"That's it, that's the one. You're stepping on my mojo."

Billy laughed, his silent hearty belly laugh, the one that flashed his white teeth in the dusk, the one Alan always had to look away from. "Ah, man, that's – you did it, man, you completely did it. You have just restored my shithole of a day, right here and now. Alan Grant has just told me to back off his mojo. I can die a happy man."

"Oh, fuck off," Alan said sourly into his beer. Nothing like being reminded he was staring in the face of his fiftieth birthday. How was it Billy made the twenty years between them feel like twice that? And then, in the next instant, with a shared glance, the quirk of an eyebrow meant only for him, he could make it feel like a matter of weeks. "You know," he began again. "Now that you're a card-carrying thirty-year old, I think you're not allowed to use words like mojo, either."

"Nah, I'm good for another five years, man. Target demographic, 18 to 34 white male. Totally desirable." And he tilted his head back to take another long swig of his beer, letting a thin trail of wet – beer or sweat or water from his freshly-showered hair – meander slowly down his cheek, his throat, to pool in the hollow of neck and collarbone. Oh, shoot me now, Alan thought.

"Yes you are," he mumbled absently. He swallowed down the remainder of his beer and set it down on top of the cooler, only to feel Billy's eyes resting on him. He glanced up, and there it was. The look Billy wore sometimes, the intent one. His bone-hunting face, the face he wore when his fingers had just brushed something, some indefinable, nearly undetectable trace difference in soil that alerted him to the presence of fossilized bone. Like he was listening for something only he could hear, and not even with his ears. "You've got another five years of your youth yet," Alan said, backpedaling. "You're good."

"Yeah," Billy murmured, staring out at the first pinprick of star overhead. Alan pushed himself out of the chair and picked his hat up from beside him, dusting himself off. He stayed like that for a minute, waiting for the blanket of black to tuck itself into the corners of the horizon, for the desert to take its final deep breath of twilight before settling into dark. "Yeah," Billy said again, softly. "So are you."

"Well." Alan plucked invisible lint off his hat. "To bed with me, then. Long day."

"Today, or tomorrow?"

"All of 'em, Billy. All of 'em."



In the trailer, Alan sinned. Gravely, unpardonably, and completely without remorse. He let himself stand in the shower, let the precious water run over his aching body, let it pool and swirl around his feet. And when the timer went off – the oven timer that reminded him to keep his shower to a maximum of four minutes – he ignored it. Out here, you could probably get away with chopping up an intern and hiding the body. But ignoring water regs? Not hardly.

But he needed the shower, needed the time to think. He closed his eyes and leaned against the plastic wall of the tiny shower, trying to figure just when things had gotten so out of hand.

For one thing, it wasn't like he was even, you know. That way inclined, on a usual basis. Unbidden, a long ago conversation with Ellie surfaced. Jesus, Alan, you're so homophobic you can't even say the word. Can too. Homosexual. So there. She had rolled her eyes. Ellie used to do that a lot. He had thought it was just a mannerism of hers. But when he was around her now, he never saw her do it. So maybe it had just been him. More proof that they had not been meant to be, but the point was, he was not gay.

He knew for a fact he was not. He knew he was not gay better than most people did, because he had actually tried it once. Once, back in the dark ages. It had been college, and he had been hanging with a crowd much cooler than he knew himself to be, and one of his friends had put some moves on him, and he had thought, ah, what the hell. It had been his one fling with exoticism. And surprisingly, it had been pretty easy. Same basic goal and everything, same basic physical reactions. Nothing special, nothing earth-shattering. Just a couple of guys fooling around. Except after a while, his friend had gotten all pissy and weird, and all of a sudden there were scenes, and shouting, and how-could-you-do-this-to-mes, and all the crap Alan thought you at least got a pass on if you were screwing a guy. And he hadn't meant to be a bastard, he really hadn't. It was just, he didn't get it. How could you work up all that emotion for someone who was, at the end of the day, just another guy? A guy, for Christ's sake. So whatever he had been supposed to feel, he hadn't felt it. Disappointing, maybe, but not unsurprising. He was Alan Grant, apostle of normalcy, just your average Joe, and hip exoticism was something he was obviously not cut out for.

But now, this. This thing. He shut his eyes tighter and let it happen, let himself go hard as he thought about it. It. The thing. The unnamable. Fucking him. Fucking him slow. Fucking him as his breath began to go raspy. In, and out. And in his head, Ellie was ripping back the flimsy shower curtain and rolling her eyes at him, hands on her hips. Jesus, Alan, you can't even say his name. Yes I can yes I can. So there. He curled a hand around his prick and tried a lazy tug. Can too say it. Billy. Billy.


Alan slammed the water off and stood there, heart hammering, hand still clutching his dick. Fuck oh fuck. He had said it aloud.


"Yeah, whatcha need?"

Billy. In his trailer. He wet his lips, praying his hard-on away, willing his voice down. "Billy, what are you – is everything all right?"

Billy stuck his head in the open bathroom door. "Yeah, man. Out of beer, that's all. Just making free with your stash. Hope you don't mind."

"No, no, that's—" he swallowed. "Sure. Take all you want. I'll be right out."

He hastily toweled off and slipped his clothes back on. He could hear Billy still knocking around in the tiny kitchen area, rifling through his fridge, opening cabinets. In another minute he would find his Nutella, goddamn it. Alan shuffled out, running a hand through his damp hair. Billy was buried in the fridge.

"You're wasting refrigeration, you know."

Billy popped up, grinning. "Yeah. And how long was that shower, again?"

"Oh, go to hell."

"I'm having a sandwich attack. The interns got into my stash of Miracle Whip, can you believe it. Amazed I didn't find the fucking Magro in the empty bottle. You got any lettuce?"

"No, I do not have any lettuce. Are you—what on earth are you doing?"

"I told you, fixing a sandwich. You want one?"

Alan sighed and sat heavily on the bench seat. "Sure."

"Good." Billy looked up, looked at him, and Alan saw it again. The look. The bone-hunting one. "Because we need to talk."

It was Alan's gift that at moments of deep panic, his head went utterly clear. Moments that no normal human being could survive, moments of crippling terror, of overwhelming fear, when most people felt only the rush of blind endorphins and the choke of blood in their throats. In those moments, Alan's brain went very still, and he knew exactly what to do. It was his gift. It was the one evolutionary trait that had probably been passed down in his particular genetic line since Grants were furry twitchy-nosed creatures diving into their burrows and out of the path of the rampaging carnivore, and it had served him well on Isla Nublar, and again on Isla Sorna. It had kept him alive when outrunning and outwitting raptors and pteranodons and spinosaurs, and it served him well now, as he watched Billy making his meticulous sandwich. It enabled him to say, in quite a level voice, "Talk about what?"

Billy sliced the sandwich right down the middle, with a careful rocking motion of the blade. He wiped the knife, studied it. "Tonight, Alan, we talk about it."

Thud thud thud. From a great distance, he heard the noise of his heart, and he was able to shut it down, set it aside. "We do, do we? What 'it' did you have in mind here?"

Billy turned and leaned against the counter, and any hope Alan had that maybe this was one of those oblique conversations in which Billy meant "talk about it" as in, talk about their pending grant application, or talk about mass spectrometry-based genotyping, evaporated. "You have a choice, Alan," he said, and his voice was Billy's, but a different Billy. A voice that shot right to his groin. "You have a choice. We can talk about it." He reached around and took a bite of his sandwich, watching Alan as he chewed, not hurrying. He wiped his mouth and swallowed. "Or we can do it."

Alan made himself sit quietly for the space of three blinks. "Do what, Billy," he said, and the question mark had evaporated, too.

Billy set the sandwich down. He crossed the eighteen inches between counter and kitchen bench and slid next to Alan. "We can fuck," he said softly. "I can suck your cock all night long the way it was meant to be sucked. I can fuck you blind and stupid, and then you can do it to me. We can fuck each other six ways to Sunday between now and tomorrow morning, hot and hard and as many times as you want, in any way that you want, and nothing, I swear to God nothing, Alan, that you want to do to me or me to do to you, will be off limits, because tonight," and here he let his eyes drop down to flicker along Alan's throat, his chest, and back up to his face. "We fuck."

The atomic weight of oxygen was 16, Alan knew. This explained its tendency to leak unexpectedly out of any given room, and it explained why, although his lungs continued to take in air and expel it at regular intervals, no oxygen was actually available at the moment. He licked his lips. Billy, go back to your trailer, he said, only he had no voice to say it aloud. Billy, of all the bad ideas ever articulated, yours is the Grand National. Billy, go home. Billy, out. Billy, no.

"Is this," Alan said, slowly, weighing each word. "Is this a line that has produced results for you, in the past?"

Billy smiled, a slow upturning of the corners of his mouth. "Let's just say it's a line I've been working on for some time, and this is its trial run. Your decision, Alan. Your choice. We can talk about it, or we can do it. But one of the two things is going to happen. Right here, right now, in this trailer." He leaned over and grabbed his sandwich off the counter. "And while you decide, I'm gonna finish my sandwich." He bit into it, contemplating his bologna.

Alan raised an eyebrow. He swallowed again. He took deep breaths to keep his heartbeat from escalating out of control – another of those revived prey instincts, probably. He nodded at the sandwich. "I thought you were going to make me one of those."

"You ran out of bologna." Billy took another bite.

"I see." And so he sat there, and waited for Billy to be done with his sandwich, in a silence not unlike the many they had sat through before. He waited while Billy swallowed down the last of his sandwich and wiped his mouth, waited while Billy tidied his mess – Billy was a bit of a fanatic that way – and wiped the tiny counter. He waited while Billy came and sat down beside him again.

"So," Billy said, in the voice that belonged to the other Billy. "Have you decided?"

Maybe Billy was having a stroke. That could account for it, the way he could sit there and say such incredibly, deliciously obscene things with the same mouth that calmly ate his sandwich. It wouldn't even have to be a cerebro-vascular event. It could be as simple as heat stroke. "I guess this would be a good time," Alan said in the same deliberately modulated voice, "to ask if you're feeling all right."

Billy smiled, the same thin smile. "I'm feeling fine, Alan. I've had a shower. I've had some beer. I've had a sandwich. I couldn't be better." He looked at Alan's knee like there was something on his pants leg. "You know what I think, Alan?"

"What?" he asked, though he knew this could only be the set-up to even greater disaster.

"I think this is a decision you're going to need some help making," Billy said, and with that he leaned over and brushed his mouth against Alan's. His moist, sandwichy, utterly gorgeous mouth, and Alan froze, the same feeling rocketing around his chest as when the raptor had nudged him. Contact with the unthinkable.

"Billy, I—" and then Billy had stopped screwing around, evidently, because his mouth closed on Alan's with deadly intent, and Alan tasted beer and mayonnaise and something else, something more, something he couldn't quite place, so he tilted his head and opened his mouth a little bit more to see if he could figure it out, and what do you know, Billy's tongue was in his mouth, swiping around it, licking his teeth, and man oh man, there were not enough words in the English language for how bad an idea this was. Just as soon as he was done here, he was going to tell Billy exactly that, that while he may not be Billy's thesis supervisor there were still such things as boundaries that should not be crossed, and inequitable power relationships, and inappropriate, inappropriate, oh inappropriate somethings, because as Billy's tongue moved a little deeper in his mouth and found his own, nouns became suddenly hard to find. So he brought his hands up to push Billy away, and they found a convenient resting place on Billy's chest, just below the arms that were now, apparently, pinning him against the seat. It would be a great place for leverage, just as soon as he found the right time to push Billy away. Any minute now.

"Choice B, I take it," Billy was saying, which was annoying, because hadn't he promised no talking? And suddenly there were only lips and tongues and hands, seven or eight of them, all over him, and the thrum in his groin became a steady pulse, and he was being hauled to his feet.

"What the—"

"Better," Billy murmured, and Alan was backed against the wall, pinned by someone of arguably greater strength than he, and he had a sudden flash of realization that the way he had envisioned this, in his most lubricious fantasies – Billy stretched out and at his mercy, lambent skin glistening beneath his masterful hands, Alan, oh Alan – may not be at all the place this was heading.

Billy's mouth was back on his, Billy's hands had resumed their plundering, and this, this was hotter and harder and dirtier than anything he had ever done before, and they still had all their clothes on, and speaking of clothes, he might just be about to come in his. He found enough air to push Billy's mouth from his.

"Clothes off," he gasped, and Billy nodded against his neck, and somehow they were shedding clothes as they stumbled backward. Alan seemed to be losing his clothes at an astonishing rate, in fact – Billy's deft hands were everywhere. Then Billy was pulling his own shirt off over his head, and Alan froze.

The scars.

A network of them, a pale silver river delta of pteranodon talons feathering out over his flawless suntanned chest. Of course. He had forgotten that there would be scars, and suddenly he knew why it was he had forgotten. He had forgotten their existence because Billy had made sure he forgot. Because Billy never took his shirt off in the heat anymore. Because Billy didn't own tanktops anymore, and he was such a bastard he hadn't even thought about why that was, until this moment.

"Billy," he whispered.

But Billy was pulling his shirt back on, his head turned away, his eyes elsewhere. "Sorry," he murmured.

Alan frowned, confused. "No, I just—"

"No no, I know. 'S okay. Look, I should have worn an undershirt. I just, well," he shrugged, and the corner of his mouth gave a small lift. "I honestly didn't think it would be choice B."

Alan nodded. "I see," he said, and it occurred to him that Billy might be as surprised by this turn of events as he himself was. That Billy might be following through here because he pretty much had to. Also, that Billy might be a little creeped out. And why? Because he, Alan Grant, was now the walking definition of Creepy Old Professor.

"Enough to make anyone lose their hard-on, really," Billy was saying, and Alan realized that Billy had mistaken his silence for disgust.

"Billy," he tried again, shaking his head. "Ah Christ, Billy, you can't think—" but he stopped, because that was precisely what Billy thought, that he had seen the scars and been revolted, because that was precisely what happened to Billy every time he saw himself in the mirror, and it was clear that the heat in Billy's face was no longer arousal, but shame.

"Billy," he said, and this time he was the one to cross the space between them. "Oh, Billy." It was not often that Alan knew the right thing to do – in fact, it was just about never – but this was one of those times when somehow, some way, he did. He pushed the hastily grabbed shirt off Billy's shoulders and lowered his head. Carefully, gently, deliberately, he ran his tongue over the broadest scar, following its trail down, then up again. He closed his eyes and gave himself over to his project, pouring everything he thought about Billy into his lips, breathing in the scent of Billy.

"Beautiful," he murmured against the golden skin, and it didn't sound bizarre to be saying this to another guy, because in Billy's case, it was absolutely true, and you didn't have to be anything other than a disinterested observer of the human species to know that Billy Brennan was one beautiful example of humanity. Alan laved and licked his way around the warm chest, and felt no ease in the tautness beneath his tongue. Billy was rigid with shame, and the thought of that – of Billy bearing these badges of honor, of self-sacrifice, of a kind of nobility Alan had never pretended to have, could never hope to attain – the idea that Billy could possibly be ashamed did something to his insides. A thought struck him, and he raised his head.

"An undershirt? You wear undershirts?"

The odd quirk was back in the corner of Billy's mouth. "Yeah. Goes great with my black socks and sandals."

"So you didn't think I'd say yes."

"Couldn't really tell, but my money wouldn't have been on it, no."

"Billy—" Alan traced a smaller scar with the tip of his finger. "This. . thing we're doing here. . ." he swallowed.

"Alan. We have to do something about it. I can't function like this anymore. Can you?"

"There is no part of this," Alan tried softly, "that does not make me your creepy old professor."

Billy held and weighed his eyes. "I have to say I don't really care what it makes you, or what it makes me, for that matter. For one night – for one goddamn night, Alan – let's just. . ." He subsided, and for a minute Alan thought he was done. "Look," he continued, and his voice had gone even softer. "For one night, let's just not be the people who worry about what this makes them. Let's," he said, and he sidled closer, until the sibilance caught the side of Alan's face, gusting his ear. "Just." Billy's voice was nothing but a husk of breath that shivered his neck. "Fuck." And with that, Billy's hand was cupping his groin, Billy's thumb was tracing his dick, pushing him at just the right places.

"I'm betting you have a fabulous dick, Alan," he whispered, brushing a light trail up his neck. "I'm betting you've thought about fucking me with it."

"I have—I might have—unnh—once or—twice—" and then speech was at an end, because Billy had managed to push his pants down and somehow, miraculously, his own at the same time. Billy was dexterous like that.

"What—oh, God. . ." Billy's hands were cupping his ass now, pulling him in close, and in one hard jolt he felt Billy's dick up against his own, taut and blindly stabbing, and this this this. He gasped and dug his fingers into Billy's warm waist, and the voice was back at his ear.

"Let's talk about what we want to do, Alan," Billy was saying, in that voice from before, the one that turned Alan's spleen to liquid. "We could do this until we both come," he said, and he pushed them closer together, dick to dick, and the rush of friction almost undid him right there. "I can come just from this, just from humping you, God—" and Billy's voice broke, and he buried his face in Alan's shoulder, and Alan could feel him struggling to control his breaths, and that was it, that was it for him right there, forty-nine years old and he had the control of a fifteen-year-old, apparently, because he was grabbing Billy and riding him, just fucking riding him, pushing their dicks together, sweet sweet sweet, hump and rub and God yes, right there—

"Fuck," he gasped, crushing Billy to him, pushing into the sweet spot between Billy's dick and thigh, feeling the brush of Billy's balls against the head of his cock, "oh God," he whispered, knowing he was beyond caring, beyond wanting anything but the sweet explosion of the pressure in his balls. Beyond caring that Billy was digging strong fingers into his back, Billy was humping him just as hard, and there was a waft of air – unh unh unh – as Billy grunted in his ear—

"Fuck, I'm coming," husked the voice in his ear, but it might as well have been the voice in Alan's brain, because he was, he was coming and coming and coming, thick spurts of it into Billy's groin and balls and dripping down his thighs, fuck yes, the ache of it, the unstringing of something in his insides he hadn't known was there. For long minutes they stayed slumped against the trailer wall, holding each other up, and then Billy pushed off and grabbed his wrist.

"Shower," he said. "And screw the regs. Screw everything. Come on." Alan stumbled behind him to the shower, still orgasm-stupid, and let himself be half-shoved into the shower. Billy was laughing now, the insolent little prick, staring at something down at their feet as the water planed off them and into noses and mouths, just standing there laughing his ass off.

"Wha—" he began, and then he looked down too.

"Alan," Billy breathed, struggling for air as he laughed. "Your pants, man. You might wanna—" and he collapsed in another fit of laughter at the sight, Alan Grant standing in the shower, naked as the day he was born except for his pants, puddled at his ankles, and his wet socks.

"Hold still," Billy said in his ear. "Give yourself a minute."

Alan shook his head, leaning back against the weight of the head on top of his. "I'm good," he whispered.

"Yes you are," Billy murmured, and shifted, and oh oh oh.


"Oh, yeah."

"Alan, I'm gonna – I gotta move."

"Yeah." His voice was not his own, it was another person's. And then Billy was sliding out, and sliding back in, and on the upthrust Alan heard this noise leave his throat that he wouldn't have thought he could make, something deeper and more primal than a groan, and Billy froze.

"Fuck, do that again," he said, into Alan's hair, and there was the slide and the thrust again, and again, and their hands were clenching, twining underneath the pillow. Alan found his legs spreading of their own accord, widening to let Billy in further, and with one more shift – oh God oh God oh God – Billy slid in deeper, and there was no sound but the rattle of his own breath as Billy fucked him, slow and hard and good.

"Been thinking about this," he said into Alan's neck. "So fucking long. . ."

He was wrung, he was finished, he was over. Hung out to dry, rode hard and put up wet. No more water in the well. It was only polite to tell Billy so. In fact, he raised his head to tell Billy so, but dropped it back down at the sight of Billy's head, curls sweat-dark, moving up and down at his groin. And his mouth, God, his mouth. Hot and wet and doing things with his tongue that no one had ever done to him before. . okay, maybe he would just lie here for a bit and enjoy it. What would it hurt. After all, he had just let Billy fuck his mouth. He had let Billy fuck anything he could reach, and Billy, it turned out, could reach quite a lot.

His orgasm happened in slow motion this time, a languorous curl up from the root of his balls and out in thick lazy jets that took a sharp turn there at the end into something that made him gasp like a gutted fish and bury his fingers in Billy's shoulders as he pumped into his mouth, arching up, up, up. . . he collapsed back in a world gone black at the edges.

"You're killing me," he whispered, his mouth too dry, and he was just loopy enough to think he had come all the moisture out of his body, that was it, he was going to die of dehydration right here in his trailer.

Billy flopped back next to him, heavy and panting. He was doing something with his hand, and it took several clicks for Alan to realize what it was, that Billy was jerking himself right there next to him, that sucking him off had got him so hot again that he had to—

Alan closed his hand over Billy's, too tired, really, to do anything much about it but close his hand over Billy's dick in a rough workmanlike fashion, tugging too hard for it to have felt very good, surely, but there was Billy, thrashing under his hand, back arching, saying things—

And there were Billy's eyes, locked on his, and they were right with each other, never had Alan felt anything quite like this, and his lips formed words he should never, never have allowed himself even to think, and Billy's eyes blanked out as he came and came and came over Alan's hand.

And that was that.

Billy had been right, Alan thought as he contemplated the sunset. It felt like a tremendous weight had been lifted off him, like a load he hadn't known he had been carrying had been picked up off of him. It had taken a few weeks of trying a little too hard to be normal, of forcing a companionability he didn't quite feel. But now, at last, they were back to the easy silence over beers, and it was enough. It was enough, he told himself. Enough that they had the memory of that one incredible night – okay, even in his head that sounded like something out of a chick flick, but still. It was enough. And if Billy's hand lingered a bit now when he patted him on the back, if he himself let his hand brush Billy's a bit longer than he should have when he handed him his beer – well, those things were only to be expected.

The tension was gone now, that much was certain. He didn't want to look at what was in its place, because he was older and smarter than that. He knew better than to look too closely.

Billy settled with a groan into the chair beside him.

"I'm telling you, Alan, we need a break. I have got to have some time away from the kids or I'm going to go nuts here."

Alan wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. "You're the one that wanted to have 'em in the first place."

"Yeah, but. . . fourteen of 'em?"

"Well." Alan glanced over at him, let his eyes run up and down him for a minute. "You've got those childbearing hips."

"And now you're insulting my body. No respect, I get no respect."

"I'm not sure," Alan said, tilting a critical eye at the sunset, "that someone your age gets to quote Rodney Dangerfield."

"Oh, hey," Billy said, tapping his beer bottle lightly against Alan's. "Guess what? I confiscated three Naked Gun movies from, um, Chews On Toothbrush. So, Leslie Nielsen-fest, all the way, I'm thinkin'."

"Chews On Toothbrush?"

"Yeah, you know, the kid with the, the," he made a vague gesture. "The fuzzy dark hair and the big glasses, who always forgets and sticks the damn brush in his mouth like he's smoking it, or something. You know. I forget his name."

"Billy. Did you ever know his name?"

"Sure I did. It's Albert."

"Albert. Albert what?"

"Albert, um, Lundisferger. Son. Ovitch. Lundisfergersonovitch, that's it."

Alan shook his head, smiling at the horizon. "You're right. You do need a break. I thought that blonde with the, you know, was going to burst into tears today."

"The blonde with the you know?" He didn't have to turn his head to hear the smirk in Billy's voice.

"You know what I mean. The, um. . ."

"Breasts," Billy supplied.


Billy whuffed a laugh and swallowed down half his beer. "Yeah, she has got a nice set. And anyway, I didn't pull her aside to yell at her."


"My hand to God. I was asking her out, in fact." Billy stretched back further in his chair and tipped his head back, closing his eyes. "Thought it'd be nice. Some down time, you know. So after this, I'm gonna grab a shower, who knows, maybe even a clean shirt, and head into Bozeman to the honky-tonk." He twirled the neck of his beer absently in his fingers. "Might even get lucky tonight."

That's great, Billy, Alan said. I think that's a good idea. Be good for you. She seems like a nice girl. Brighter than average.

Except, none of those things came out. His tongue had turned to desert grit, the grit that after a while got into every crevice of your body out here, that insinuated itself into the fissures in your teeth, in between the hairs in your nose, under your toenails, inside your ears. The grit that no shower ever completely washed away, no matter how many times you told yourself you were clean, that you had destroyed all evidence of it, that there was none of it on you. You would know, the first time you went into town and stood in line at the grocery, and looked around at all the normal people. You would know that you were no longer one of them, that what you had come to think of as an acceptable level of clean was in fact what other people thought of as a constant mild state of filth. You would know. He swallowed against the grit, because now, apparently, this was something he would carry around, like the grit, and no beer would ever wash it down, no shower ever rinse it off, no sunsets ever bleed it away.

"That's great, Billy," he managed at last, and he was pleased to hear that his voice was empty of anything that could have betrayed him. His voice was empty, and sudden self-knowledge was not the wondrous thing he had thought it might be in Dr. Reichert's Intro to Philosophy class. Sudden self-knowledge sucked. It filled your chest with sand and weighed it down, and you could never scour it out, not ever.

There was a clink as Billy set his beer down on the little fold-out table between them. "That was an incredibly shitty thing to do," he said quietly. "I am unbelievably sorry."

Alan looked up, not blinking, and his lack of comprehension must have been all over his face, because next Billy took his beer out of his hands and set his down, too.

"It was a stupid-ass joke," he said, in the same voice as before. "And it was a stupid-ass way to do it. I'm sorry." He fiddled with the wraps on his wrist, with his watch. "Look," he said. "The kids are all in bed. No one will miss us if we sneak out for a bit. I meant it, about getting away. Even if it just means we have a beer someplace else, I don't care. You wanna come with me?"

Alan narrowed his eyes at him. "Billy. Is this a friendly conciliatory gesture, or a spectacularly bad idea?"

"The latter, I'm hoping."

Alan weighed the horizon, felt the little kick of breeze that meant the temperature shift was setting in, all the heat beginning to leech out of the day. "Well, all right then." He extended his hand and let Billy pull him to his feet.

"Old man."

Alan held onto his wrist. "Yes," he said simply. "Is that all right?"

Billy used the hand to pull him close, and Alan wondered what anyone peering from one of the trailers would think. Wondered why he couldn't find it in him to care, because Billy was looping an arm around his neck, Billy was whispering in his ear, and with a wild chest-crunching leap Alan knew that that, that right there, was what he had been listening for. For the past few weeks, for the months since Isla Sorna, for God knew how many years before that. That particular thrum, the low husking shiver of Billy's voice in his ear. He had thought, all this time, he had been listening for the footsteps of the predator, and maybe he had, maybe he had. Maybe he had just misjudged the predator, was all.

"It's better than all right," was all Billy said, and kept the arm looped about him all the way to the pick-up.