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When You Sleep

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    Ian wakes in a cold sweat, shaking, with a throbbing ache that cuts straight to the bone. He’s barely back on his feet, and the pain is still unbearable every now and then, but it always seems to be worse when the nightmares yank him from his sleep.


    He’d left that island shattered, he’d been prepared to put himself back together on his own. Wasn’t the sort of thing you asked an ex-wife to do. But it was enough he’d survived, he hadn’t thought he would survive. He knew when he picked up the flare that he was sacrificing himself for Alan and the kids. His own survival never occurred to him then. But… they were kids , a girl not so much older than his own oldest. A boy so like her half-brother. Good kids who couldn’t help having been excited for a vacation to see this park their grandfather was building, what… what kind of irresponsible… To bring children! With a skeleton crew staffing the place and nothing tried and tested, not really, to bring those children…


    And Alan Grant… over the course of the time they’d spent together, he’d have been a liar if he’d said he wasn’t equally drawn to Dr. Grant as he had been to Dr. Sattler. But… there are things you can express to a woman you’ve only met, that you can’t hope to be able to say to a man. You can flirt, and he does like to flirt. A very welcome and necessary distraction from how certain he’d been from the start that there would be deaths and the thought that one of them might be his.


    Alan was prickly. Alan wasn’t the type you could come out and flirt with. Not too much, not all at once. But he wasn’t…


    He wasn’t straight, either. He wasn’t there to be flirted with and he wasn’t the kind to respond eagerly to it, but Ian hadn’t imagined everything. He hadn’t imagined the soft look, the smile you had to really look for to catch, the moments where he thought he was being measured and could only hope to fit what Grant was looking for.


    Well. It had worked out for him in the end.


    “Ian…” Alan mumbles, not quite awake, even as he gently tugs Ian back down to be cuddled.


    Alan, it had turned out, is a very tactile man. Bear hugs and full body cuddles, ever-present offers of an arm to lean on, a helping hand, a massage.


    Ian had thought he would be putting himself back together alone, but Alan Grant had been unwilling to see that happen. He had thought Alan and Ellie were a unit he would have no hopes of coming into-- Alan himself had led him to believe as much, at first. But then, when he’d been lying in a hospital bed, he’d been less than half an hour from death when they’d finally gotten him to a hospital, gotten him treated before sepsis could take him, he’d been so close to dead and he had known that the moment he wrapped his hand around that flare and decided he could save three lives with his one, and Alan…


    Alan had been sitting up at his bedside when he’d woken. Had laughed sheepishly and admitted that maybe the situation wasn’t quite what he’d suggested. Maybe the situation was, Ian didn’t have to recover alone. None of them had to be wholly alone in the wake of it, no one had to be without someone to talk to who understood, but that he didn’t only mean did Ian need someone to talk to.


    He’d felt what Ian had, and maybe neither of them would have pursued much, if the weekend had gone as planned. Maybe it would have been a might-have-been, if it wasn’t for the T-Rex. For Alan being as sure as Ian was when he grabbed the flare that he would die, for Ian hearing about the jeep that went off the cliff and Alan and the kids unaccounted for and fearing the worst, for finally reuniting, for the hospital and the talk they had had there, for…


    For a million little things that could change the course of your life irrevocably. For chaos.


    “Go back to sleep.” Ian says. He won’t be, not for a good while, his heart is still pounding. The dreams are always of the T-Rex, and this time he’d dreamed he was frozen, unable to do a damn thing to save them, only able to watch, and he’d seen a man torn in half before his eyes, had watched it happen even as he struggled to tourniquet his leg while half-buried in the mercifully lightweight wreckage, he’d seen that happen and in his dreams it keeps happening to Alan instead…


    “I’ll sleep when you sleep.” Alan says, and his hand moves to Ian’s thigh.


    He has careful hands, Alan. Has to, for his work. Ian’s never watched him out in the field, though he wants to try, when he’s able to be out there. When his leg can take the long drive out over rough dirt roads to get to the dig site, well maybe by then he’ll be able to face whatever long-dead things Alan’s work has him unearthing. But he knows what the job is. Painstakingly careful work with chisels and brushes, preserving specimens that might be small and brittle. He has careful hands, and he uses them well.


    The repaired muscles of Ian’s leg are knotted with scar tissue, and it’s deep, and it’s bad, but Alan knows how to knead at his thigh when the pain is bad, to ease it as gently as possible. When the nightmares wake him, wake them, Alan is there with strong, steady hands, to ease as much of Ian’s pain as he can, and not only the physical pain.


    Ian doesn’t know if the pain triggers his nightmares or if his nightmares trigger his pain. Maybe it’s six of one, half dozen of the other. What he does know is, Alan makes both a lot easier to bear.


    “I might not sleep.” He sighs, but his racing pulse is already dropping down nearer to normal the more Alan massages at him.


    “Well, that’s okay. I’ve got tomorrow off.” Alan shrugs.


    “Doctor Grant, there is... something very sexy about such a practical man.” Ian smiles. He hears the soft exhale of laughter, can picture the blush that always takes Alan whenever Ian puts enough purr on that ‘Doctor Grant’.


    “Practical. That’s me.”


    “Honey, you can sleep whenever you’re tired. You know I don’t mind watching you.”


    “Mm. Maybe.” Alan says, and there’s a long pause, a deep breath and a near-sigh. His hand rests warm over the worst of the scarring. “But you know I don’t mind sitting up.”


    “Get some sleep.” Ian shakes his head.


    Alan kisses his shoulder. “Sure, in a minute.”


    “Will you?”


    “Oh, I will if you will.”


    “Has anyone ever told you you’re, uh… you’re just incorrigibly stubborn?”


    “Not since breakfast.”


    Ian laughs. Maybe they’ll both get some more sleep, in just a minute.