The Important Thing
* = emphasis
Alan stared for a moment at the bandaged figure on the helicopter unable to comprehend for a moment what it meant.
/ He's alive. Billy's alive! /
"I rescued your hat"
/ We almost get eaten by dinosaurs and he worries about my hat?!/
Alan had to swallow down a moment of hysterical laughter before taking his fedora out of Billy's trembling fingers.
He could feel the lump in his throat as he saw the fear behind Billy's pain filled eyes knowing it was he that had put it there with his harsh words. He cleared his throat roughly trying to get his voice back.
" Well,...that's the important thing" he answered trying to lighten the mood and smiling to reassure Billy that it would work out.
Billy smiled faintly in return but it was obvious to the older man he was still worried about the events of the last couple of days.
As the helicopter prepared to take off, Alan grasped Billy's hand.
"Hey, it's okay, we're alive and safe, so are the Kirby's that all that matters" He could see Billy relax slightly. Alan knew he had to apologise for the things he had said and repair their friendship, but the younger man's pain and exhaustion were clear.
"We'll talk later, when you're up to it"
Billy nodded slightly before closing his eyes and slipping into sleep as the helicopter rose to fly them to across the ocean towards the medical attention the younger man so obviously needed. Alan never once relinquished his grip on his assistant's hand.
A Hospital in Costa Rica: -
On reaching the hospital after a quick examination, and after looking at the x-rays, Billy was taken to surgery. Alan tried to fill out the necessary documentation that always seemed to be required whenever someone was admitted into hospital, /if everyone has to fill out this much paper work I'm surprised there's room left for the patients/ he thought idly.
Once he had finished and handed everything back to the receptionist, Alan was left with nothing to occupy his thoughts while he waited for news about Billy, his mind kept drifting back to the events on the island.
Billy's paraglide in the Pteradon enclosure had undoubtedly saved young Eric's life.
Alan just wished they hadn't parted on such heated terms. /If only I hadn't reacted the way I did/
Alan knew that Billy's actions in stealing the eggs had been stupid but it had been done with the best of intentions, though in itself not an excuse he was hardly the first person to make a mistake, Alan included.
/I'm going to apologise, try to get him to understand that I wasn't thinking, that I didn't mean what I said, and pray that he forgives me/. His thoughts were interrupted by a familiar female voice calling his name.
"Alan? Are you all right?"
Alan looked up to see Ellie walking towards him "Ellie? What are you doing here?"
"After that phone call you didn't think I'd sit around at home did you? You scared the hell out of me!"
"How did you know where they'd bring us?"
"Well, when I realised where you were when you phoned, I called Hammond, he was the one who arranged everything, he contacted me when they found you and said they were bringing you here. I'll admit I was worried, I didn't know how badly everyone was hurt though Hammond mentioned something about Billy"
"I'm fine Ellie, the Kirby's are okay too, mostly cuts and bruises, Eric the worst of the three but he'll be fine, Billy?" Alan hesitated not sure what to say "I don't know yet they took him to surgery, he was torn up pretty badly"
"Oh Alan. I'm sure he'll be alright" Ellie stopped not sure what to say herself but not wanting to sprout off empty platitudes that didn't really comfort anyone. Instead she just took hold of Alan's hand and quietly gave support. Alan smiled thinly at her and silently thanked her for understanding.
Neither where sure how long they sat they sat there, when a doctor approached them.
"You are friends of Mr Brennan?" Alan nodded "How is he? Can I see him?"
"Your friend is a very lucky man considering his injuries. There was quite a bit of tearing to the skin and muscle of his back, shoulders and chest and he lost a lot of blood, but apart from a couple of fractured ribs he has no broken bones and no major organs were damaged. The damage is repairable and he should make a full recovery, though there will probably be quite a bit of scarring. He's been moved to the ICU until we can be sure there are no complications. I'm afraid considering the time it took before he received medical attention added to the tropical climate and the harsh environment where he was injured, there is a strong possibility of infection."
Seeing the fatigue on Alan's face combined with his general worn appearance the Doctor added "He hasn't come round from the anaesthetic yet, why don't you get some rest and something to eat and come back in a couple of hours, you should be able to see him briefly then."
Seeing he was about to protest Ellie jumped in "Alan, he's right you need to rest, you won't be any help to Billy if you collapse yourself, I have a hotel room not far from here and I brought some things for you" seeing his surprise she continued "well considering the circumstances I knew you wouldn't have anything with you, so come on, I can leave the hotel phone number at reception so they can contact us if they need too."
Alan knew she wouldn't give up, he also knew there really wasn't anything he could do but he still felt guilty leaving Billy, but as Ellie had pointed out they could contact him if necessary so he reluctantly agreed.
A Hotel in Costa Rica: -
"Why don't you get a shower and change while I arrange for some food, and I'd better call Mark and check in on him and Charlie"
Alan felt a little guilty at that "I'm sorry Ellie you didn't have to come all the way out here, I'm sure you?" Ellie interrupted him "Alan, I know better than most what you just went through and I want to be here so get used to it. Mark understands too so stop feeling guilty and take that shower"
"That bad huh!" he responded smiling "Well I wasn't go to say anything" she laughed back at him.
Alan took the clothes she handed him and walked into the bathroom, as he closed the door and moved to start the shower he caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror. He had to admit that after wearing the same clothes for the last couple of days in the tropical heat of that Island running from dinosaurs not to mention the unexpected fight for survival in the river, had left in quite a state /no wonder the Doctor practically threw you out of the hospital, you're a mess, bet you smell fairly ripe too/.
Alan had to admit that the hot water not only helped get him clean but alleviated a few of the aches he'd collected over the last few days as well, the clean clothes also aided him in feeling more human. As he entered the main room he saw the food laid out and was surprised at just how hungry he was /nothing like running from man-eating monsters to work up an appetite/ he thought wryly.
After he had finished eating he could see the questions on Ellie's face, if anyone could understand what he'd just been through it would be her, so he began to tell about the past few days, starting with the Kirby's offer and how he had been deceived. He didn't leave anything out and went on to tell her about theft of the eggs and his subsequent accusations, about how he'd thought he had seen the last of Billy as he was attacked by the Pteradons. The Struggle in the river when they were attacked by the Spino with his desperate attempts in trying to call Ellie for help, and how the Raptors had come for the egg shortly before they were rescued.
After he had finished and she finally responded it wasn't what he expected "Does he know you're in love with him?"
Alan was surprised and for a moment he thought of denying it but realised she knew him to well "is it that obvious" he sighed.
"Only to someone who knows you, I suspected the last few times we talked, whenever you mentioned him the affection was obvious, but I admit it wasn't until I saw you at the hospital that I knew for sure. I've never seen you look so, well, lost"
"He'll be okay," responded Alan though he wasn't sure who he was trying to reassure. He was still reeling from Ellie's statement; he'd only recently accepted himself that his feeling for his assistant went deeper than just friendship.
"I take it from what you told be about what happened on Sorna that he doesn't know" it was more of a statement than a question.
"Are you kidding, I'm old enough to be his father, what would he see in an old fossil like me?" then as he realised who he was talking too "It doesn't bother you that I'm in love with a man?" he asked somewhat incredulously.
"So you do admit you're in love with him" she said with a smile "and as for your question I want you to be happy. If Billy does that, then I'm fine with it. I have Mark and Charlie, it's time you found someone too, and your not old Alan, if you're worried about keeping up, well hell Alan you survived Jurassic Park *and* Sorna"
Alan remained silent for several minutes at that revelation, "There have been times when he thinks I'm not looking and I've thought I've seen something in his eyes that maybe he feels something for me too." He said finally "but even if he does and we discount the age difference there's still the fact that he's my student, it would be unethical, and he can't stay at the dig with me forever, that is if I even still have a dig, Ellie he has his whole life ahead if him it wouldn't be righ?"
Ellie stopped him mid sentence" Alan. I don't know Billy so I can't say what he'll decide but before you map out his whole future for him don't you think you should find out what he has to say, if he does love you has it occurred to you that he might *want* to stay?"
Before he could answer she continued "If there's one thing I learned from Jurassic Park it's not to let things slip through your fingers, if you want something you have to go for it, because you may never get another chance. If he doesn't feel the same way then at least you'll know, but if you don't and he does move on, can you honestly say you won't regret not knowing if you could have had a chance.
"I understand what your saying Ellie but after this business with the eggs things are already strained. If I tell him, and he doesn't feel the same, then it could end our friendship completely. It could make working together a nightmare!"
"What's more important work or Billy?" Ellie asked
Alan thought back to when he and Ellie had first split up, he had dived back into his work with a vengeance, but after facing Ingens creations and without Ellie by his side he had found he'd lost his enthusiasm. Oh he still worked, very much so, he even went so far as to avoid going out with friends and co-workers so he wouldn't have to talk, as he desperately tried to forget the events on Isla Nublar, but he didn't really enjoy it any more.
Then came his new research assistant, an extremely bright, and very enthusiastic doctoral candidate in the form of William Brennan. Billy's love for his work had begun to affect Alan and they had quickly become friends, and it wasn't long before Billy was dragging Alan out of his self-imposed exile, forcing him to live a life outside of work. Alan had also found he was enjoying his work once again, now that he had someone to talk to, and he was forever grateful that Billy never asked about Jurassic Park.
As Alan's thought's came back to the present and to Ellie's question he didn't hesitate to answer "Billy".
Seeing the slightly sad smile on Ellie's face realising he hadn't made that choice for her, he tried to explain, but once again she interrupted "It's alright Alan. We just weren't meant to be, I'm happy with my life the way it is, and if you're ever going to be you have to tell him."
"Hell he's probably not even conscious yet, I can't spring this on him now while he's still recovering it wouldn't be fair. Without funding the dig will close and we'll both have to find something new to work on, he may even have to finish his PhD with someone else."
Seeing Ellie was about to protest it was Alan's turn to interrupt "I have to correct the mistakes I made on that Island and repair our friendship first, it's too important to risk now, but I promise Ellie I *will* tell him *when* the time is right"
6 Months Later: -
Just as it had been after Jurassic Park, everyone wanted to talk to the survivors of Isla Sorna, Alan hated all the questions especially since he had told everyone before that ill-fated trip that he would never return to those Islands. The one unexpected bonus from all the publicity was everyone suddenly seemed to want to fund Grant and his dig though he suspected it more to do with the fact that they wanted to be associated with the only man (apart from Ian) who had survived Hammond's dinosaurs, *twice*, then any real interest in his work. He had even been asked to write another book.
Alan looked across the dig site and his eyes settled on Billy, who had only been allowed to come back to work full time fairly recently. Through out his recovery from his injuries and the time spent in physiotherapy Alan had never been far from his friend's side they had spent quite a bit of time talking about what had happened.
Billy explaining why he had taken the eggs knowing it was stupid but also knowing how much the dig meant to Alan, whilst the older man tried to explain his reaction even hinting at his feelings in an attempt to judge his friends reaction. This had resulted in their friendship being stronger than ever, and Alan had finally accepted just how much this man meant to him and he wasn't going to let his fears and doubts about the future ruin any chance he had with the younger man.
As Billy looked up from where he was working on some of the bones they had found, Alan saw the warmth in his gaze as they're eyes met.
Alan knew it was time to keep his promise to Ellie and tell Billy how he felt