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Someday by alyse [Reviews - 8]
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Category: Jurassic Park III
Characters: Alan Grant
Rating: NC-17
Genres: Angst
Warnings: Adult themes

Summary: Billy runs.





Notes: Response to the contrelamontre songfic challenge on Livejournal. Written in 30 mins and inspired by the lyrics of 'Someday I Will Treat You Good', as sung by Alessandro Nivola on the OST to 'Laurel Canyon'.

Thanks to Circe for the beta.

~*~

Billy runs. He can't help it. It isn't even something he does consciously, not at first. It's just that the pressure builds up inside him and before he knows it he's standing by the side of a road somewhere, his battered backpack slung over one shoulder and three days worth of beard growth on his face.

When he finally stops running long enough to think about it, he catches sight of his face in the mirror of a filthy restroom, washed out in the flickering light of a fluorescent strip that enhances rather than hides the squalor. Or reflected back to him by the dark, cold window of an overnight bus to nowhere. He looks disreputable, shady. The kind of character people cross the street to avoid, rough and ready. He knows the truth. He's not tough. If he were, he wouldn't have to run, would he? No one ever gets close enough to see the look in his eyes. If they did, they'd know the real reason he runs.

He's haunted. Lost and alone and the thought is so frightening it usually gets him running again, the respite but a faint pause in his flight.

He usually hitchhikes, flitting from truck stop to truck stop, travelling vaguely eastwards, away from Montana. He never has a destination in mind and that makes it easier to get a ride, beard notwithstanding. Besides, the truckers don't care. They've seen it all, and he's five foot ten and slightly built next to their beer guts and brawn. It's cheaper than the bus and because he never plans this he only has the cash that's in his wallet when the urge to flee overtakes him.

The rides are cheaper but they're never free. Some days he pays for them in conversation, breaking the monotony of these men's lives with a minimum of effort on his part. Even though he doesn't talk much now, he's better than the radio. The radio never talks back to them at all, just churns out never-ending country dirges about no-good men and women and lost and lonely lovers.

Some days he pays for the rides on his knees in one of those filthy restrooms, or in the silence of a parking lot while the man at whose feet he is grunts and strains and mutters obscenities above him, fingers digging into his hair. He's taken to carrying soda with him now just in case that's how he has to pay, so he can wash the taste of them out of his mouth as the dark roads roll by outside the window.

The attempts at conversation afterwards are no different, although he doesn't put any effort into replying since the real payment has already been exacted. The mournful songs on the radio don't change either. He tries not to think of Alan when he hears them, of how he's left Alan behind in his wake, of how Alan will look when he sees him again; tired, worn down, with that worried furrow between his eyebrows.

Some days he stops long enough to call Alan from the payphone in a truck stop or bus station. He never says anything when he does, just closes his eyes, scrunching them up tightly as Alan's voice washes over him and the harsh tannoy behind him announces the latest departure. At first there were loud demands to know who he was, pleas of 'Billy? Is that you?' Then came attempts at one-sided conversation, with Alan trying to keep him up to date with the minutiae of life on the dig, what new, exciting finds they've made, what bones they've dug up. On those occasions Alan tries to sound as though Billy was there with him, nodding every now and then, but the strain in his voice comes through.

These days there are often long silences but Alan never hangs up on him and Billy just listens to him breathe until he runs out of money.

He's taken to leaving a change of clothes in his rucksack so that he at least has something else to wear when he's on the road. Sometimes he stops, finds an all-night Laundromat and wears one set while the other rolls around and around in the machine, the only sound in the early morning silence. Some nights he dozes on the benches, only stirring when the bell over the door rings to announce he's no longer on his own. One night he found himself on his knees beside the dryer while someone with a face as desperate and disreputable as his clutched at him and moaned.

He didn't have soda with him that night, and spat the taste out in an alleyway, hawking up phlegm until all he could taste was acid, all the time wondering if his brief encounter was doing the same somewhere else.

Today he's on a bus and he's all but run out, exhaustion weighing him down. There are dark shadows under his eyes when he catches sight of his reflection, and he closes them, not wanting to see more. The bus depot is ahead and he wonders if he'll call Alan again, if Alan will even be there. There was no answer the last time he summoned up the courage to dial. There's the vague hope that maybe Alan is ahead, waiting for him with worried eyes and a tired expression rather than having finally given up on him and gotten a life that doesn't involve Billy at all.

He's never figured out how Alan finds him. Thinks it might have something to do with the phone calls but he can't exactly imagine Alan doing anything as technologically challenging as running a trace, not given the man's hatred of computers. Poring over maps, that he can imagine. He's seen Alan do that countless times on digs. He can imagine Alan phoning every cross-country bus company too, digging out timetables and routes with the same tenacity he shows in hunting down long dead beasts.

It's a comforting thought but in the end it's not important. It doesn't matter how Alan finds him, only that he does. He wonders what he'll do if Alan ever stops trying to track him down, whether he'd stop running, but the sheer idea of Alan giving up on him fills him with such terror that he stops the train of thought in its tracks. He's left shaking in his seat anyway, fingers clutching at the worn fabric beneath him, trying not to rock and mutter to himself like the crazy bums he sees hanging around bus stations. In the end it's enough to know that Alan hasn't stopped yet.

Yet.

The sun is low in the sky when the bus finally stops, and he squints his eyes against the sleepy, orange-tinged light that sends long shadows across the tarmac. He's stiff and tired after the trip, muscles aching as he heads towards the neon lit rest stop, jostled by the other passengers as they push past him in search of loved ones or maybe just a quick beer before the next leg of the journey.

He only had enough money to get this far, and wonders if he'll have to hitch a ride now. Wonders where he'll head, where he'll wash up next. He can't find it in him to care. Never can but especially not now when he catches sight of a familiar hat sitting on a lowered head, the long, lean form slumped onto a bench, jean clad legs stretched out in front of him, every line speaking of an exhaustion that matches Billy's.

It doesn't matter how Alan's found him, or that the expression on Alan's face is as tired as he knew it would be. Doesn't matter that the worry in Alan's eyes is even greater than the last time that Billy pulled a stunt like this; Alan will forgive him for running, even while continuing to fret.

None of it matters because Billy's through running.

At least until the next time.

The End

Lyrics: 'Someday, I Will Treat You Good'

Something going on around here
I could not crawl back if I tried
I couldn't wait around
I couldn't wait another second
There's something going on around here

I left my baby on the side of the highway
(He) just couldn't see things my way

Someday I will treat you good
Someday I will treat you fine
Someday I will treat you good
You know I should

Everything that's made is made to decay
The shrinking bones in the sun
Won't you tell me why
The fearful ones are always crazy
(He's) whispering like a mortician now

I left my baby on the side of the road
I left (him) with a heavy load

Someday I will treat you good
Someday I will treat you fine
Someday I will treat you good
You know I should

Something going on around here
I could not crawl back if I tried
I left my baby on the side of the highway
(He) just couldn't see things my way

Someday I will treat you good
Someday I will treat you fine
Someday I will treat you good
You know I should






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