Sekrit Slasha

Slasha, Baby is the LOTR RPS Fanfiction holiday fic exchange. This story depicts real-life public figures engaged in completely fictional, false and untrue activities. It never happened. This story is a work of fantasy and satire which in no way professes to express the truth about the life, thoughts, feelings, desires, opinions, beliefs, activities or sexual orientation of any person mentioned herein.

Something That's Enough to Keep You (if the Bright Lights Don't Receive You)

Title: Something That's Enough to Keep You (if the Bright Lights Don't Receive You)
Pairing: Billy/Dom (vaguely implied Billy/Ali/Dom)
Rating: Hard R, maybe?
Summary: Eight months in Los Angeles was too long, and never long enough.
Notes: Romance and fluff are not my usual mode, but h/c I can certainly do, so here's hoping this is the best a mix of all three worlds could be.

There's underfoot, and then there's undereverything, and that's just about how Dom would describe Jack over the course of the day since he's been in Billy's place to watch the kid at it. Dom's ostensibly here to help Billy finish packing out the house he's rented for the last eight months in the Los Angeles suburbs, but for once in his life, Billy seems to have thought and planned ahead, and there's not much left to do. Sometime in the next hour the larger boxes will be gathered by a team of of removal people of a lot stronger and more interested in manual labor than either Dom or Billy has ever been, and not too many hours after that, Billy's bound to be sleeping like one half-dead for the last time in the creaky bed that came with the place, dreaming of the next night he'll spend in his own--even creakier, Dom will tell you from memory--in Glasgow. Right now, though, Billy's skin is flushed with exertion under the tan he's developed over those eight months, and he's just on the edge of irritable, taking deep breaths before he scoops Jack out from under or into whatever's engaged his rampant curiosity.

"Leave him," Ali says as she passes from the bathroom at the back of the house and into the kitchen, a laundry basket balanced on her hip and what looks to Dominic like one of those old-fashioned plastic leatherette cassette boxes tucked under her opposite arm. She's just as harried as Billy but more cheerful about it by a wide measure, and only laughs when Billy shoots her the give me strength look Dom's seen from him about a thousand times in very different circumstances. "I said leave him," Ali continues. "There's nothing in there that'll break or hurt him, and if you give yourself a heart attack chasing him, I'm leaving you here, just so we're clear on that."

"I've got an idea," Dom says, one finger in the air. "I'll take him."

"Fantastic," Billy snorts, already turned back to the small mess of boxes around him. "He can climb you instead of the shelves."

"Yes, he can." Dom rounds the corner of the sofa at the other side of the room, crouching down to surprise Jack, who meets him with a laugh that could shake the rafters of a less-sturdy building, Dom thinks. Jack doesn't scramble out of his arms when Dom picks him up and marches him to the windows, and as Jack's focus moves to the trees and cars and people walking by, Dom looks back over his shoulder at Billy watching him now. "I didn't mean Jack, though."

"I'm not going anywhere, Dom," Billy sighs. "Look around you. Does it look like I'm ready to walk out of here?"

"It looked like that two hours ago," Ali says, stepping between Billy and Dom to take Jack. "Come here, you. And you," she nods at Billy. "Get yourself sorted and go out. There's hardly anything to do now, and the two of you together are probably more trouble than this one by himself."

"I'll think about it." Billy stays where he is, frowning at the room, and Ali rolls her eyes as she passes him, beckoning for Dom to follow her. He does so without thinking, pausing only in the hallway to pull his quietly humming mobile from his back pocket and laugh at the text that appears, a plea from Elijah of all people to get himself and Billy to that one Thai place they all can agree on and then let the night take them where it will. Dom's first reaction is to text back a definite no; Billy's in no state to deal with general humanity, and Elijah's chirpy insistence on anything might earn him something a little uglier than what he's hoping for. But when Dom looks up, Ali's smirking a little in the hall, and even Jack's grin seems pretty smug, too.

"The cavalry," Ali says, and Dom nods, opening his hands as if there's nothing he can do but follow where fate seems to be leading him. Ali's smile is real now, and she leans a little against Dom when he steps closer, ruffling Jack's hair.

"You're alright with this?" Dom asks her quietly. "I mean, I know you are, but--with everything. You're still alright with this."

"You're assuming I ever had a choice," she says, still amused. "Don't be an idiot. If I weren't, you would have known it by now. I thought coming here would be the most difficult thing we'd ever done, and if we made it through, then there wasn't anything that could ever be harder." She pauses, then brushes a light kiss to Dominic's cheek. "And here we are now, yeah? I'm going to miss you, Dom, but he's going to--" Another pause, then Ali shakes her head, lowering her voice even more. "We were off to a hotel tonight anyway; I wouldn't have been able to stand it here without our things. Just--he's all yours, yeah? For tonight. Make it a good one, yeah?"

Dom's still holding his breath when she steps away with a broader smile, but he lets it go as soon as she's disappeared back to Jack's room, leaning against the wall and staring at the ceiling until his mobile hums again and Dom feels like fate's in control again, telling Elijah that he and Billy will be downtown sometime after sunset, sometime after Dom's driven them around and around, and exorcised a few of whatever demons are eating up Billy's insides at the moment.

Billy takes this news in about as much good humour as Dom expects. Several minutes of discussion go from tetchy muttering to slightly raised-voice straight-up bitching before Billy throws a hand in the air and tells Dom that unless some magical creature arrives to clean up the rest of this place, he's not going anywhere, so just--

"Abracadabra," Ali murmurs from the doorway; when they turn to face her she nods toward the front door with an expression that sweetly won't take any argument. "Oh, don't think it's going to be me, but let's just say I'll make it happen somehow. Jack's down for a little sleep, Billy; I'd like to keep it that way, so now would be a good time." When Billy hesitates, her next trick is to produce his battered brown jacket from behind her back and toss it Billy's way. He catches it one-handed and still frowning, and when Ali takes another few steps forward to Billy, Dom hides his own smile as he reaches for his own jacket. "See you in the morning," Dom hears Ali tell Billy softly, and then he feels the weight of her gentle stare on his own back. "Don't be late."

Permission granted twice over, then, and Dom pulls Billy out of the house before he can object, not that he's actually doing so now that they're outside, the late afternoon sun casting everything around them in a glow Billy looks like he's trying to absorb on the way to the car.

"Just Elijah, yeah?" Billy says as he falls into Dom's passenger seat. "I don't think I can take anyone else tonight."

"Just Elijah. Everybody's going to meet up at your blessed brunch tomorrow, Bill."

Billy nods. "Good. It'll be--great. It'll be nice."

"And then it'll be even better, because it'll be more than just me trying to push-start your fucking car."

Billy laughs, shaking his head again, thinking of the poor little hatchback he's used and abused to its near end in California. "I won't miss that. It's like it knew we were leaving, so now's a good time for it to pack up as well."

"Just get it cleaned before you have it chopped," Dom mutters as he merges into the freeway. "Not even a thief should have to deal with what you do to cars, mate. I love you, but--"

"Just for the record, I haven't left a single bottle opened in that car."

"That you'll account for. So what are you going to miss?"

"Oh, Christ." Billy tips his head back against the seat and hums, really thinking about it, it seems, and Dom leaves him to it, almost laughing at the pensive expression on Billy's face. "The weather. Obviously. My beach--"

"Yours. Only your beach, I like that. Pride in ownership, it looks good on you."

"Everything looks good on me. Those shops in Venice, those carnival things. That studio where Ali took all those classes; the things she's learned here, Dom, it's like everything's changed, and she found a path, like, while I just started taking all the odd ones--"

"What else," Dom asks quietly, and Billy takes a deep breath before he continues.

"Us. You." Dom gives Billy a minute to elaborate, but there's nothing more to really be said, he supposes after Billy stays silent. When Dom turns to look at him, Billy's grinning like the idiot Ali told Dom not to be, and Dom knows what's coming before the words even leave Billy's lips. "But I'm gonna miss my beach a hell of a lot more."

Elijah's in a brilliant mood when they finally meet him, hours after the texts but a little before the start of the movie they're going to lose themselves in for a little while tonight. He presses bottles of beer into Billy and Dom's hands and guides them to a booth in the cinema lobby bar like a shepherd, on familiar ground here like he so rarely was when they were most often together this way, when they were all so much fucking younger, Dom thinks. Elijah peppers Billy with questions about his next moves once he's home, asks for and receives promises of news of bands and short films and plays and all the weird amazing shit Billy will be around again in Glasgow and Edinburgh, and pays for their second round, too, the smile never leaving his face. Dom's grateful for Elijah's relentless cheer now, because it means he doesn't have to work as hard to distract Billy, but eventually Billy shows Elijah his palms, begging off any more enthusiasm even as he apologizes for bringing the room and the night down around them. They all know this isn't like Billy, but there's nothing any of them can do to fix it.

"You should be happy now," Elijah tells Billy, his forehead creased with concern and confusion at once. "You're going home, man. You did everything you were supposed to do here, and you lived through it. Not a lot of people do."

"I didn't," Dom says, honesty plain in his voice before he takes a long drink. "Not the first time, anyway."

"I'm about had it with just survival," Billy says sharply, then sighs, pushing his hands against his face and into his hair roughly. "Look, I did alright here, yeah, but I don't know what the point was anymore. I worked, but not enough to make it worthwhile, was it. And I wandered around the whole fuckin' state like a git, like some long-term tourist. And that's it."

"You loved it," Dom says, working to make it sound as if he's said it absently, looking around the room rather than at Billy like this, on physically obvious shaky ground for one of very few times since Dom's known him. "And you don't give a fuck about the work, Bill, not really. You wanted sunlight, I think that was it. You wanted to be warm for more than a week on the trot, and you wanted your kid to be able to go to the beach. That's what I remember you telling me."

"Me too," Elijah says cheerfully, smiling like they're having a normal conversation here. "Sunlight and sand everywhere and shit. That's not, like, verbatim, but you get the idea."

"I wanted a lot more than that."

"And I'm pretty fucking sure you got it." Dom pushes his bottle to one side, then folds his hands, leaning in across the table until Billy flinches a little and sits back. "Whatever you didn't, you must not have wanted it that much after all, because however fucking lazy you are--"

"Which is very--"

"Which is very," Dom echoes Elijah's murmur. "You make it work when you have to, and you just get up and take whatever you want or need out of anything. It didn't take me a decade to suss you out, Bill; I don't know why it's taken you more than four to do it."

"Fuck you," Billy says, grinning again around the neck of his bottle before he takes a much longer swig from it. "I'm not denying any of this, okay, but I'm just--it feels like there's some list I've left somewhere in this city, and I can't check the last bits of it off until I find it again. Like there was more I was supposed to do, and I'm not going to remember it until it's too late or it won't--matter anymore, like. It'll happen without me, the wrong way or so much better than I would have done it."

"Okay, so," Elijah's nodding, following Billy's train of thought, and now Dom sits back, grateful again for Elijah's willingness to do so. "What's the worst that does happen? Somebody else gets a role or you never get to take that one picture? Maybe I wasn't paying enough attention or something, and if that's the case, I'm fucking sorry, man, but from what I remember and what I know about you, okay, Dom's right; you don't care enough about your next check, and there are gonna be other shots. At everything, of everything, all of it. You move on, right? You just move on."

"Voice of reason," Dom nods, tipping his bottle in the direction of Elijah, and as Billy snorts again, Elijah takes a seated mock-bow.

"Right, right," Billy sighs, then narrows his eyes at Dom. "Can I get off the couch now? Could we analyze something or someone else? Like you and those hideous fucking trousers--"

"Here we go."

"And that shirt. I thought we burnt that after you got back from New Orleans."

"We set fire to all kinds of shit," Elijah laughs. "Somehow it escaped. Movie's gonna start in a few, dudes. I call aisle."

The aisle's not an option, though; the theatre itself isn't packed, but the groups of twos and threes are scattered enough around that Elijah marches them instead right down the middle and into a cozy center section, spreading Dom's jacket on the empty seat beside Billy and Elijah's constant companion of a man-bag on the one beside him. It's about as alone as they're going to be left, as best evidenced by the moviegoer who turns from his seat two rows in front of them and then double-takes, reaching for his camera as Dom and Elijah immediately settle into photogenic mode. Beside him, Dom can feel Billy's not up for this, but there's a baseline courtesy to almost everything Billy does in public, at least until he's had more than a few, and so whatever picture this guy ends up with, he should be pleased enough with their poses. When no one else approaches after a few minutes and the lights begin to go down, Dom hears Billy's long, slow exhale of relief and brushes his hand over Billy's thigh, gripping gently before he eases off and waiting to hear what he next expects, the light hum of Billy gone fast asleep in the dark.

Elijah abandons them after one more drink in the bar once the film's over, and Dom gives him and Billy a moment to themselves so Elijah can make his goodbyes; he won't be able to attend the ridiculous farewell brunch so many of their mutual friends have planned tomorrow, and he's terrible at group goodbyes anyway unless they're based in full festive nonsense, preferably with embarrassing placards flashed at passport control somewhere. Dom returns from the men's room in time to see Elijah's last, longest embrace of Billy, and the determined, fierce little nod he gives Billy before he disappears into the night, the flash and flare of his lighter guiding his way. Dom curves his hands over Billy's shoulders from behind, and Billy doesn't flinch this time; he's perfectly still under Dom's touch, odd enough in itself that Dom takes a side step and peers at him just to be sure Billy's aware of anything right now.

"Ready to go home?" Dom knows the answer already and Billy's too unsteady on his feet to say it out loud anyway, but asking seems like the polite thing to do. The long walk to where Dom's left the car is nearly silent; Billy only surfaces from his gloom to remark on this person's bad parking job and that person's excellent (if a little pink for even Dom's taste) hair, and Dom doesn't want to waste energy he might need later on simply humouring Billy now. Once back in the passenger seat, though, Billy relaxes again and gives Dom an honest, tired but fucking beautiful smile, one that makes Dom reach for him, fingers tugging at the back of Billy's hair.

"You're gonna stay, yeah?" Billy asks, his voice raspy now but heavy, too, like every word takes a little more out of him than he thinks it should. Dom nods but doesn't say anything else; he'd rather be doing something else, something Billy lets him do for a long while until they both start laughing a little and pull away, Billy warning Dom that if they don't get back to the house soon, he's liable to fall asleep and not wake up again until it's proper morning, and they'll have wasted all the little time they've got left.

"We've got all the time in the world," Dom tells him, full force charm as thick as cream in his voice, and Billy erupts in the sort of mad giggles Dom hasn't heard from him in ages, crumpling into himself in the seat. By the time Billy's recovered Dom has them back on the freeway again, and Billy contents himself with the odd certain touch to Dom's forearm and thigh when Dom shifts, fingers brushing skin here and denim there, leaving Dom just about ready to not let Billy sleep at all tonight.

When they walk back into Billy's house, they find it about as magically clean as it could be, deserted but for the crummy furniture that came with it, and echoing a little with their steps. The only other things Dom can hear are the deep breaths Billy's taking again, shuddering things forcing down other expressions of confused, strangled grief Dom knows Billy would have a hard time allowing release even if he were alone here. Dom recognizes what's happening; he went through it leaving Wellington and Hawaii, and while Billy's never going to approach much of anything that same way Dom has, Dom's still surprised Billy's not nearly doubled over now a little with the weight of it all. He might be going home, yeah, but what if it's not that anymore? There's a world of difference between The Grove and Kelvingrove, but that doesn't matter; they can both exist happily in Billy's heart and mind, and he can exist happily in both of them, too. Dom sort of wants to shake that into Billy somehow, wants to tell him he can have both, he can have everything and--yes, for fuck's sake, Billy--everyone. He just needs to remember how, and acknowledge why he wants it and them.

It would be cruel to put them both through that now, though, and Dom knows it; he's not here to be a voice of reason or hard-earned experience. He's here to be a friend, the closest one Billy's got if Dom can believe him (and he can), and to get Billy through this night the way Billy got him through countless others, through circumstances a lot uglier than this. It's not about just pushing each other's back into mattresses and blocking out the rest of the world; it's about acknowledging what they've got and calling it what it is: escape and encouragement at the same time, safety net and springboard, trust and truth and all that crap they never say out loud but just know and understand like they do little else.

"You're gonna stay," Billy says again, not a question this time, but Dom answers anyway, the bed creaking mightily underneath them in agreement.

Billy's barely got the stuff to maintain a grip on Dom as they shift around, and Dom finds it's still new and lovely to take over, to manage Billy this way, pliant and mostly passive if not terribly patient. Billy pushes and pulls weakly at Dom's shirt and the trousers he'd called merely hideous before really seems to actively hate now, and Dom makes both their lives easier by pulling off everything, resting on hands and knees naked over Billy still mostly dressed and heavy-lidded now, his hands stroking over Dom's shoulders and upper arms, fingers tracing tattoos Dom keeps adding on seemingly every time Billy looks the other way.

"I think I'm going to remember this bit," Billy murmurs. "You. Like this."

"I'd like to think I'm pretty fucking hard to forget," Dom laughs, then moves one hand carefully down Billy's chest and stomach, cupping him gently through his trousers. "We'll make sure, yeah?" Billy closes his eyes and nods, the strength in his grip returning as his finger curl around Dom's bicep and Dom leans down, pressing kisses along Billy's jaw and down his throat, lips and tongue looking for the right spot above Billy's collarbone and breathing another laugh against Billy's skin when Billy hisses and arches up beneath Dom, wanting a little more of that, a lot harder, and again. Dom backs off a little, working open Billy's shirt and pushing at it, exposing a chest covered in all the mottled evidence of clumsy, resentful packing and clumsy, accidental toddler kicks. Dom stares a little too long, and he looks up just in time to see Billy swallow hard and reach for him, pulling Dom back down like he'll take whatever Dom can give him now, as long as they don't have to think about anything else leaving Billy bruised, inside or out.

Dom takes his time brushing every visible mark with hands and lips, easing his way down again until his fingers ease off Billy's belt and slide inside trousers and boxers, finding Billy hard and eager and warm in his grasp. Billy's too far gone to be of much help getting those trousers and boxers off, but Dom's used to that by now, and as he's done nearly every time Dom's attempted this in the last few years, Billy just lets him have at it, yanking himself out of his stupor finally when Dom's mouth wraps around his cock and Billy's focus abruptly shifts and narrows to only that wet heat and what it's doing to him. But there's more going on here; beyond Dom sucking off Billy like it's the last time he'll have the chance to (which it's not), beyond Billy looking down at him like he thinks Dom will disappear if he closes his eyes (which he won't), there's a warmth they don't feel anywhere else; there's a part of both of them that calls this home, this feeling, this stupid, perfect intimacy they don't otherwise achieve, not even with those they love in different, more grounded and steadier ways. It's home, maybe, or the closest they'll get in this latest city they've both lived in but can never call their own.

As if he can't bear where Dom's thoughts are taking both of them, Billy reaches with both hands for Dom now, pulling him up and dragging their bodies against each other. Dom nods before he knows he's done so, pushing back then moving his hand between them before Billy stops him, just wanting more of that roughened back-and-forth slide of skin, the rasping sweaty give and take for a little while longer. It's not going to be an issue in a bit, Dom thinks between breaths and scattered, messy kisses; he's not going to last under his own power, and Billy hasn't got the strength to hold himself back, much less Dom, too. The scrape of Billy's short fingernails against his skin and the chattering curses from Billy's throat are the only warnings Dom gets, and the only ones he really needs; it's Billy's release he wanted more than his own, but he takes them both greedily, joyfully, a weird comfort in the familiar sounds and feelings and sticky aftermath that leaves them both breathless and trying hard not to laugh, or move more than they absolutely have to.

Later, after they've cleaned up as much as they ever intended to, Dom catches himself in ridiculous, rapt attention, watching the rise and fall of Billy's chest as he sleeps and timing the deep, long breaths Billy takes. It could be months before he has the chance to do this again, but it still feels absurdly romantic now, and Dom finds that he doesn't mind that; in fact he might love it as much as he does Billy. Save it and just fucking go to sleep, Dom tells himself, and eventually he doesn't have the choice not to do that, either.

At the restaurant the next morning, the goodbyes are raucous, the dares of one last ride through Los Angeles traffic many. Billy refuses those with mock horror, but takes the other blessings on offer with better grace, dragging strength from somewhere Dom didn't think he had in him to stand and give his own toast to his guests, to those who've received him and his family as if they've all been lifelong friends, and hopes this won't be the last time he sees any of them, notwithstanding perhaps the hungover bastards Jason and Elijah (who'd shown up anyway, as Hannah's plus-one and wearing a sheepish grin and the same clothes he'd had on last night) at the end of the table there. After a while, Dom has to look away again from the ease of Billy's little performance, knowing what it's still costing him, and only when Billy sits back down again and closes his eyes for a moment, forgotten as the others argue good-naturedly over the bill they've refused to let Billy pay and chairs scrape and push around them, does Dom look back at him and push out a hard breath, happy they've all survived this, however little stake Billy places on survival anymore.

He's not the only one feeling it, though. Lost in his focus on Billy, Dom's startled at the touch of Ali's hand on his shoulder and looks up wide-eyed, prepared for something very much other than the quiet advice he receives to get Billy out of here, too, into the sunlight again and away from the noise. Billy doesn't fight Dom's tug at his arm any more than he had anything last night, and once they're outside, Billy does indeed seem better, choosing to squint up at the sky rather than reach for a pair of the hundreds of sunglasses he must have acquired by now.

"They're going to miss you," Dom says, and Billy nods.

"They'd better. I've paid for half their tabs for the last half-year; they'll notice that when their wallets get lighter after I've gone."

Dom sighs and pushes on his own sunglasses. "This is it, Bill. You might want to think about being serious for a minute. I know it's hard for you."

"And it always ends so well."

"If it's any consolation, I'm not going to miss you. Not for at least a week."

"Well, you've got a passport and the time off; you can find me when you need me."

"Like now."

Billy closes his eyes and shakes his head, and Dom tugs at him again, pulling Billy tight against his chest as if they're back at the house alone, and Billy doesn't fight that either; whether he's too tired or he needs it, too, Dom doesn't care. They're left to it, to Dom's surprise; he can hear the voices of their friends mixed among the sounds of others on the street behind them, but no one approaches; Dom wonders if Ali's woven another spell around them, something warm and protective like the sunlight Billy would steal off in his carry-on bag if he could.

It's not going to last, and that's okay. Billy will step out of Dom's grip first, as he always does, with the same apologetic half-smile he always shares. It's been a long time since Dom's taken any offense, and now it's almost a relief for him, too; goodbyes destroy him in different ways than they do Billy, and he's learned to work through that alone afterward rather than as those goodbyes happen.

"Pictures," Ali says finally behind them, and in small groups and large they all convene on the pavement, laughter both annoying and charming the people who have to get around them on their own way to brunches and lunches, hellos and goodbyes. Billy takes at least twenty photos before his camera's taken from him and he's pushed in front of the lens instead; at least fifteen minutes more pass before most everyone's given their last hugs and gone off home themselves. When Ali strides back inside the restaurant with Jack on her hip, ready for the car to be called from the valet parking, Billy nudges against Dom and leads them a little more into the sunlight before he raises the camera above them slightly, tilting the viewscreen until he can tell he's captured himself and Dom in the frame. Dom first throws a mugging smile, then lets it fade into what he wants Billy to see most when he has these developed properly or simply scrolls through them; the second picture Billy takes will show Dom's turned profile just at the flash, to look at Billy with the same appreciation he's held for years, grown warmer with all that time, especially the first sixteen months and the last eight. If it's a bit blurry, well, no one's to blame, and if it doesn't come at all, well. There will be other shots, at anything and of everything.

That's it, then, really; a flurry of motion behind them alerts Billy and Dom that the car's been brought around again and it's time to tuck Jack inside the carseat and let Billy go on every level but maybe the most important one. Dom throws his arms around Ali and she bites her lip to keep from saying first the things Dom tells her instead, and then there's one last, longer but also a little more detached embrace with Billy. They don't have anything left to do or say now, and the sooner Billy's behind the wheel, the easier this will be.

"Safe trip," Dom says kindly from outside the passenger door, and Ali nods, sadness and joy turning her cheeks rosy and warm. Dom peers back inside the car at Jack and waves, only wincing a little at the loud shriek of laughter Jack gives him in return along with his own wave. Billy gives Dom one last frowning thanks for that, and then puts the car in drive, his hand resting nervously on the gear shift as he looks for the strength to pull away. Dom nods several times, knowing his role again here and taking it, slapping the top of the car twice in benediction and release and then stepping onto the curb. With Billy's careful touch to the accelerator, the car moves off into the street; with a last exchanged look in the rearview mirror, he and Dom both move on.

Created by megolas, revised by yueni
fabulous artwork \0xA92002 by Hope
Moderated by MSilverstar & feelforfaith