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Fighting the Same Battles

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“Maybe it's true that shared trauma brings people closer together,

a common hardship,

a battle to survive,

because when times are quiet people relax and go their own separate ways.

They're lulled into believing they've got everything under control and don't need what they did before.”

― Laura Wiess, Leftovers

For the longest time, Ian Malcolm just stands there. The boat containing the tyrannosaur retreats back into the vast sea before him and he just stands among the carnage. He takes a moment to register the facts around him. Kelly is safe, Sarah is safe, there are no more monsters nearby, and it’s finally over. His left leg throbs from all the activity of the past couple days and he’s freezing. He can feel the adrenaline drain away.

Having the visual of the dinosaur’s flee helps ease his nerves; Still, he jumps when Sarah Harding takes his hand. He looks down at her. Her hair is dripping and he tenderly tucks a red strand back behind her ear. “Let’s get Kelly.” He mutters and she nods in agreement. Ian shudders. His clothes are still soaked and despite the California heat, it’s night and the breezes plaster the chill to his skin. Much like the sound of Peter Ludlow’s recent screams that sing out in his memory.

Malcolm reaches Nick Van Owen. Having earned his trust, he left his daughter in Nick’s care but once they saw Ian and Sarah approach, Kelly flees from the car and darts to her father. Falling to his knees, Ian gathers his little girl into his arms and buries his face in her shoulder. His heart feels heavy and he waits for himself to break yet he feels unphased and numb. Kelly, on the other hand, shutters with tears staining her cheeks. “Dad,” She chokes. He holds her close for a moment too long before taking her hand. Nearby, Sarah’s eyes glisten with tears and Nick leans against the car with his hands in his pockets. Malcolm keeps his head down.

“Let’s, uh, let’s go home.” Not a single voice objects.

“Come on Malcolm. Answer your phone.” Alan Grant muttered under his breath with the phone pressed to his ear. He had just finished speaking with Ellie for hours on end and his eyes were glued to the television before him. Alan stopped pacing to focus on the screen. The news reporter continued sharing of all the aftermath the Tyrannosaur had left in its wake in San Diego. Alan didn’t think he’d ever see a dinosaur with skin again. That is until he was pulled into the trailer by one of the interns today. He’d just stood staring at the television screen for a while staring at the Rex. Through the crowds, he spotted Ian Malcolm in San Diego as well and needed answers.

At last Malcolm picked up on the other side of the line. “Who is this?”

“Ian, it’s Alan.” Across Ian’s apartment, Sarah tried not to eavesdrop on her boyfriend’s conversation as he shot up from the counter abruptly.

“Alan Grant?!” Ian didn’t know what to think. He had only seen Dr. Grant and Dr. Sattler a few times after 1993 and they haven’t spoken since before Malcolm had shared about Nublar to the public. “I take it you’ve seen the news?” He added gravely, pacing around the house.

“I did.” Alan paused and looked around to make sure no one was nearby. “Ian, how did an extinct predator end up in California?” He heard Malcolm sigh on the other side of the line.

“It’s, uh, a rather long story.”

“You didn’t bring it there did you?”

“What?!” Malcolm roared before his eyes landed on Sarah. Her curious gaze was sparked with concern. He glided to his bedroom and shut the door behind him. “No! Of-of course not! Why would you even-”

“Just had to make sure.” Alan mumbled, feeling guilty for even thinking such a thing.

“I tried to warn them, but they were, uh, they were near bankruptcy, which is what they deserve.” Ian spit out.

“Warn who?” Grant asked, his voice and head lowered as he already knew the answer.

“It was InGen. They wanted to create, uh, a new park like,” Ian’s voice trembled as he sat on the edge of his mattress. “like the last one.”

“I thought Hammond was out of the theme park business.”

“Oh Alan, you really need to get out more.” Ian laughed weakly. “His nephew, Peter Ludlow, was knighted the, uh, the king of InGen. You don’t watch the news enough.” Reminded of what happened before San Diego, Malcolm turned on Grant. “Is that why you never thought to come forward?” He snapped. Alan stared at the ground.

“I was busy.”

“You could’ve at-at least tried to tell them I wasn’t insane!” Malcolm erupted, leaping up to pace across the dark bedroom. None of the park’s other survivors had even tried to defend him; They just stood by and watched him crash and burn and Malcolm considered it a betrayal.

“I’m sorry, Ian.” Alan confessed and to his surprise, it was a weight off his chest. Ellie and he had several conversations on whether to intervene. The decision to remain silent left them both weighted with guilt for letting Dr. Malcolm take the fall.

“Whatever. It’s not-not important anymore.” Silence began to rise on both sides of the line without either knowing what to say. Alan got up to grab a beer from the fridge. He almost didn’t catch Malcolm’s words. “You know, my daughter was on the island with me.” The phone wedged between his shoulder and face, Alan paused with his hand over the cap to his drink.

“Nublar?”

“No,” Ian massaged his eyes with his thumb and forefinger and pinched the bridge of his nose. “Where San Diego’s Daddy Rex came from: Site B.”

“There was a second island.” Voice terse, it’s not a question, but a way for Grant to absorb the information.

“Isla Sorna.” Malcolm confirms. “Where they originally bred those creatures.”

“Your daughter was there?” Grant took a prolonged swig of his beer.

“And my girlfriend,” there was a pause. “Am I the worst father ever?” Alan didn’t know what to say. Clearly, Ian was going through something and Alan wasn’t good with emotions, kids, women, or pretty much anything that wasn’t as straightforward as he was. Ian sighed and ran a hand through his hair. He prayed that Kelly’s mother wouldn’t take her away. He was grateful, though because this time he wasn’t alone. After Nublar, the kids had each other as did Alan and Ellie but Ian was alone. Now he had Sarah. For better or worse, they had gone through it together.

“Would you be entirely disinclined to share the whole story?” Ian shrugged but felt foolish afterward because Grant couldn’t see.

“Why not? I’ve got nothing better to do.” The two began to work out the details and Alan agreed to bring Ellie as well.

“The, uh, the gang is coming all back together again then.” Ian monotonously remarked. Alan just rolled his eyes before hanging up.