Recipient: jira_rd
Author: pippinspeach
Pairing: Dominic/Billy
Rating: PG


Well, come on down, come on down, you gotta come lay down here

And say those things, those warm things, right here in my ear

Heart - "How Deep It Goes"


New Zealand, February 2000 (summer)

A well-worn path slopes gently down the mountainside, and Dom follows Viggo, carrying a heavy, plastic cooler that seems brightly out of place among the ancient tree trunks. Billy follows silently, a thoughtful frown on his face. My frown, Dom thinks, every time he "accidentally" glances back. Mine. I put that there.

He's not proud of this.

The quick pace doesn't allow any talking. Which is okay, since Billy hasn't really spoken to him much this past week. Childish, Dom thinks, while being somewhat glad of it since he doesn't want to wreck things any more than he already has. Still, it's an oddly boneless feeling, being at a loss for words around Billy.

Slapping yet another buzzing insect away from his face, he curses eloquently enough to make the others laugh. Sweat drips down his temples, and the only thing keeping him from continually wiping his face in the sticky afternoon heat is that it does no good.

He could have stayed home. He just didn't want to. Truth is, he can't take another lonely night in his flat. Months and months of constant companionship, and then...poof.


Throughout the weeks of prep work, Dom gets on with everyone quite well, but he pays particular attention to Billy. Day and night, he catches himself discreetly studying his new scene partner. And friend, which is what he instantly becomes.

Dom has skimmed the books and gotten an idea of the type of guy who'd be cast as Pippin, but he hadn't expected this little ball of energy from Scotland to be able to read his mind, to become so essential. The laughter that Billy instantly knows how to provoke, those glinting green eyes that seem to hold such depth...where have they been all his life?

Because that's how it feels, cliché or not. Meeting a stranger's eyes across the room and being drawn to them, magnetized by that feeling of, "ah, there you are. Finally." But usually it's a romantic or sexual thing, yeah? And this is no exception, his body makes crystal clear. So what is it?

Bloody embarrassing, that's what.


Now, following Viggo down this narrow forest path, Dom knows he has no one to blame but himself. Best friend he's ever had, a mate for life. Until he had to go and ruin it. His arms ache with the weight of the cooler, but he doesn't ask for a break. Instead, he forces himself on, one foot after the other, wondering over and over why he didn’t just shut up.

Over the last few days, he's come to realize that there are boundaries with Billy, boundaries that none of them have crossed. There are whole pieces of Billy that never see the light, parts that aren't shared. Years and years of adulthood and experience, stories that would take too long to tell. Unexpected mystery in someone who looks like the most open book imaginable.

If only he'd left it at that first conversation. But no, of course he hadn't.


Months go by, and shooting's going smoothly. They fall into a routine, the group of them, but one night, Dom breaks away from the others to walk Billy back to his new flat. Not five minutes after going inside, Dom finally spills it.

"So there it is," Dom finishes, staring at a reddened scratch on his thumb. There's so much in Billy's eyes that he can't look anymore. A tiny spark of fear, laced with sadness. Compassion, is it? Worst of all. "Not gonna tell me you haven't noticed, are you?"

"Of course I've noticed." Billy leans back, shoulders tense inside Dom's arm. As if he'd spoken, Dom pulls away, and Billy rests his head in his hands. "Dom...I don't know what to say."

"Say you'll stay. The night, I mean."

Silence. A long silence. Then, "I'm sorry, Dommie....we can't...I can't do this. There isn't even really...ah, damn it..."

"C'mon Billy, haven't you ever been curious?" Billy doesn't respond, just rubs his forehead and sighs. "Our secret, mate. I'd never tell a soul, if that's what you want. Never."

"I said no."

"Just close your eyes and pretend I'm someone else." They haven't put a CD on, and the muffled noises from the muffled television across the wall sound foreign. It gives Dom an idea, and he affects a silly Swedish accent as he moves. "Think about it. Stronger lips, men have. You could be sucked off in ways you've never dreamed of."

Billy laughs, but it has an edge to it, and he looks away as he unceremoniously dumps Dom on the floor. "Did I ask you onto my lap, boy? Get off me."


Dom knows he should have let it go at that. He tried, really. But he couldn't quite figure it out, and the frustration had built to a fever pitch. There's always been certain jokes Billy doesn't laugh at, certain subjects at which he wrinkles his brow just slightly before a quick change of subject. When they're out with the others, it's all Dom can do to resist asking someone else to help his cause. Or to resort to drunken begging. But he somehow manages not to.

And then I had to go and wreck it all, he thinks yet again. Ever since that first conversation, he'd held it in and everything had been fine. And then, this past week, something had caught fire, burning and sparking into a mess he didn't know how to fix.


"I'm going along with Viggo this weekend." Dom waits for Billy's reaction, and there isn't one. "Did you hear me? I said..."

"I heard you." When Billy turns to him, there's a kindling heat behind his eyes, a heat Dom has never seen. "And no, you're not."

Dom shrugs in triumph, knowing Billy's remembering Orlando's satisfied Monday morning smiles. He doesn't plan to actually hook up with Viggo, but if he gives Billy that impression, so be it. "Oh, I am. All weekend long. And Orlando's not going. It'll just be me and him, out in the woods."

Billy smiles, but it's clearly an effort. "No, it won't."

"And why's that? Change your mind? What does it matter to you anyway?" Billy just shrugs and goes back to picking bits of dried glue off his shirt. Finally, Dom loses all patience. "What's wrong with you, anyhow? We go out to don't want girls, you don't want guys? What the hell?" He waits for an answer he doesn't get, and then he goes on, unable to stop. "I think you're a bloody coward! How old are you, twelve? Maybe you need to see a shrink and get over it!"

As soon as the words are out, he knows he's crossed the line. He fully expects to be punched in the face, but Billy doesn't do that. He doesn't do anything, doesn't answer, no reaction whatever. Instead, he backs away, and they stare at each other, shaken.

The door makes such a terribly soft noise as it shuts behind Billy, worse than a slam could ever be.


Walk and walk and walk some more. Over an hour now. Dom begins counting steps, watching his mud-covered shoes making their way down this root-covered, twisting path. Finally, they arrive at the clearing by the lake. Dom sets down the cooler, his pulse thumping hard as he bounces on his heels.

"Stand still, willya?" Viggo says, as he comes closer and sprays a cold mist of insect repellent on Dom's arms and legs. He tosses the can back onto their pile of stuff without a word. "Don't forget to wash that off later on," he adds, his voice full of low, sweet assuredness. "Tastes like crap."

"Not that it matters."

"Never know, do you? You just never know."

"Give me a break. He's a bloody eunuch or something," Dom mutters, glancing at Billy. "And you thought this would wake him up." Viggo merely laughs, and Dom goes to gather sticks. Brown ones, Viggo reminds him, as if he didn't know. Tastes like crap, Dom thinks. I'll show him crap. In a big pile on top of his sleeping bag, maybe.


As the sun sets, the three of them ease into a companionable banter that smoothes things over somewhat. Nothing significant is said, nothing meaningful, but maybe that's all right. Once they've caught enough for dinner, it's easy to just cast and reel in while enjoying some Australian beer. Easier to tell jokes and talk about Europe. It isn't quite what Dom's used to, this surface talk, but it's enough.

Hours pass, and the chirping crickets fall silent. Staring into the firelight and listening to Viggo ramble on about nonsense is just the ticket. The fish were biting enough to make a plentiful dinner, and Dom feels lulled into a pleasant stupor. Across the campfire, Billy's hugging his knees with one arm, draining the last of another bottle.

It's getting so late, so dark as clouds blanket the horizon and blot the stars out. Stretch out right here on the leaves, Dom thinks. Yeah. Who needs a tent? I think I'll just kick my shoes off, and do that.


He feels nothing, knows nothing, until he's slowly awakened by hands on his shoulders. Small hands, tucking a blanket lightly around his back. Dom opens his eyes and turns over, rubbing his fingers through the coarse stubble on his chin. "What's going on?"

"It's alright. Go back to sleep." Dom forces his eyes open, surprise turning to shock when Billy stretches out next to him under the blanket, draping an arm over his chest and tickling his shoulder with every breath. "Please, Dom. Just...let me...can I only do this?"

"Let you do what?" His mind is reeling. Maybe he's dreaming. Yeah, that's it. He blinks hard, but Billy doesn't go away. In fact he laughs.

"Relax, Dom. It's alright. I just...I need...I don't really know what I need, but I was talking to Viggo just now about...the way I've been and what you said, and how stupid I've been, and he suggested that maybe I could start with...well, anyhow..."

Dom's mind reels as he suddenly comprehends. Or thinks he does. Dares to. "I didn't say you were stupid."

"No, but...well, it can't be all that different, can it?"

"From what?" Dom rises up onto his elbows just enough so that Billy's forced to meet his eyes. "Different from what?"

"I think you know." A couple of breaths later, Billy's voice has dropped to a whisper. "Maybe it's time, that's all. Maybe I've waited long enough. You have too, in a way."

Dom shakes his head, lying back down and stroking the closely cropped hair on Billy's temple. He's afraid that if he makes one wrong move, all this will evaporate. Finally, he finds words. "It doesn't have to be so different. I mean, if it comes to that, I can go slow. Really...and it doesn't have to go that far...not at first, I mean...or ever, I guess..." He feels like an absolute cretin. "What I'm trying to say is that I can be patient about it."

"Do you mean it, Dom?" The question is soft, barely audible as a breeze sends the trees above into a hissing dance. "The going slow and being patient part." Billy rests his head on Dom's shoulder again. "I need to know you can do that."

It's strange and so new, this compulsion Dom has to be careful with Billy, to do everything he can to make this right. "Of course I can...I mean, I guess I don't know what you've done and what you haven't..." He stops. "But you...jeez, look at me making stupid assumptions. You've probably..."

"No, I haven't," Billy whispers. "You were right about one my age, there's no excuse for it. Coward's about the best word, I suppose. Scared, more likely." He's silent for quite some time, just breathing. "I've known for years and haven't done anything about it."

Dom bites his lip softly, finally allowing himself to feel the shame that's threatened to overwhelm him for days. "Still never should've said it that way. I didn't mean to push so hard, Bills. It really isn't...I'm not always such a bastard."

"Not unless someone drives you to it," Billy says with a small shrug. "There's just something about being here, away from home and everyone I know, and then you brought it up, and I thought, when else if not now, and who else if not you? You know? And other than this past week, you've been really good about it, and...well, we're friends, or we were, and..."

"Are." Dom stares away, but finally forces himself to meet Billy's eyes. "Present tense."

"Alright, then." Billy's deep breath fills up the space between their bodies, and they both laugh. Both of them are breathing more easily now. "But I'd rather wait till we aren't so drunk, if we could."

"If you mean that," Dom says with a laugh, "you might want to stop touching me there."

And now Billy's looking at him in a new way, that burning curiosity in his eyes. His raised eyebrows soften into a nod as he removes his hand from under the collar of Dom's tee-shirt. "Just that's enough?"

"More than." Dom pulls him close with a quick kiss on his forehead, reveling in this new freedom. Just running his fingers through the soft hair on Billy's arms feels incredibly daring. "And..."

He's interrupted by a light kiss, a gentle hand cradling the back of his neck. Dom feels as if the only thing keeping him from sinking into the earth are Billy's hands, surprisingly strong and calm. His kiss is entirely different from any kiss Dom's ever had from man or woman...simpler, tentative. But Dom can feel it already, how Billy will be when he stops being afraid. He can feel a fire inside Billy, making him capable of anything.

Dom relaxes into Billy's familiar strength, rests his head on Billy's arm just as he's done so many times. But never like this, never being kissed, never being held in quite this way. His body shakes, betraying his nervousness as he turns to hold Billy more tightly, as he tries a real kiss of his own.

As soon as the kiss melts away, Dom tries to speak, and Billy holds a finger to his lips, smiling. "You're right...nothing so different about that," he murmurs, so close to Dom's ear in that melted-butter voice.

"Told you."

The two of them lie in contented silence for a few moments, and then Billy chuckles softly. "You told me something else, as well. Something about men having stronger lips." Billy shifts his weight, cocking his head, and everything slides back to normal. "Do y'know, annoyed as I was with you, I couldn't quite get that out of my mind?"


Concept created by Megolas in 2002
Fabulous artwork ©2002 by Hope.
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