Trees, part 5b Title: Trees (5b/10) Author: (capra_fera) Rating: PG-NC-17 for the series, NC-17 this instalment (for sexual situations, at long last :D) Pairing: Billy/Dom AU Disclaimer: I don't know these people, I don't own these people, I am not these people. This is all a product of my fevered imagination. Astrid belongs to ingve9 and myself. All other OC's are mine. Summary: Dom introduces Billy to a very special place.
He let go of Dom abruptly and sat slowly on the ground. "I didn't think I was. Just...annoyed...."
"What made y--?"
"You never tell me anything! I..." Billy bit back the rest and ran his hand roughly through his hair. "Just when I think I understand what's happening, something else pops up."
"Welcome to Faerie," Dom muttered sardonically. When Billy looked to continue his tirade Dom cut him off. "I'm not omniscient, Billy. I can't predict every little thing that happens here," Dom tapped Billy's forehead,"or in here. And you're fucking daft if you expect me to." Dom gripped his arms and shook him once, but his eyes showed only determination when they looked up into Billy's face. "Deal with your fears, dammit, don't just bury them or...or punish me for them."
After a moment Billy looked away, and willed the clench of his jaw to ease. He conceded that Dom was right - it was fear that was driving his anger - and swallowed against the shame that was rising to choke him. He tried to back away but Dom clasped hold of Billy hands and pressed his lips to them. "You are in no danger, not here, I promise you." Dom squeezed his fingers, then quirked his lips into a smile. "Just don't expect me to be able to protect you from what's inside your twisted excuse for a brain."
Billy nodded slowly. He didn't trust himself to speak aloud just yet - no telling what other nastiness would burst forth. He picked himself up off the ground, then stopped where he was, uncertain. Dom smiled encouragingly and clapped him on the shoulder.
"Let's go have that swim. You're starting to reek."
"Go fuck yourself," Billy grumped (but without the previous vitriol, thankfully) as he picked up his pack and shoes yet again. Dom laughed and led a subdued Billy to the edge of the pool, just outside the cover of the willow tree. Billy watched wistfully from his perch on a rock as Dom gleefully threw his pack and his clothes to the ground and, with a raucous war-cry, jumped noisily into the water.
A slight breeze sprang up and ruffled Billy's hair. It reminded him of his Gran doing that to him when she was feeling particularly affectionate. He slowly let out his breath and let his head hang to his chest for a moment, clinging to that bit of peace.
A nearby splash caught his attention and he looked to see Dom watching him, only his grinning eyes rising above the surface of the water. Billy smiled to see him slip through the sparse reeds like some deranged kelpie, and thinking that a swim looked like a good bit of fun after all, he finally turned and started to strip. The shock of cold water on his bare back made him jump, and he whirled to see Dom swim away, giggling maniacally. The cool drops felt invigorating after the initial shock of the cold, and Billy surprised himself by feeling an honest-to-god grin on his face. He chuckled softly as he removed the last of his clothes, carefully folding them before placing them on the rock he had been sitting on.
Dom had slunk closer again once he had determined that Billy wasn't about to go ballistic. Billy noted his slight frown of impatience when he stopped to wiggle his toes in the astonishingly silken grass near the edge of the pool, and pondered deliberately drawing out the blissful experience simply to drive Dom mental. He closed his eyes and let out a loud, contented sigh that was only slightly exaggerated.
"Get in here, grumpyguts," Dom heckled, standing upright to shake the water out of his eyes.
"It's not going anywhere," Billy chided, then yelped when Dom reached up to pull hard on his wrist. His shoulder hit the water first, smacking against the surface, and he was enveloped in an instant by the surrounding wet. Billy found himself floating beneath the surface of the most crystal clear water he'd ever seen. It was the perfect temperature (cool without being frigid) and it felt amazing on his skin, like liquid silk, but oddly comforting, like it was cradling him, holding him aloft. He came up for breath and noticed how his nose twitched at the sweet smell of the water, and sighed in pleasure at the sound of it rushing over the nearby rocks along the face of the cliff.
Grinning, he submerged himself again. He watched air bubbles slowly escaped from his nose and mouth, making odd shapes, moving slower than normal to the mirrored surface. He wanted to stay down here forever, basking in the silence and the faint starlight that didn't hurt anymore, floating free of his doubts and fears. A shame he couldn't grow gills.
When Billy finally came up for air he found Dom watching him kindly.
"Dom, d'ye mind if I swim...eh...by myself for a tic? Just...I need a bit of quiet...." he tensed, hoping Dom wouldn't be upset.
"Take all the time you need, Billy," Dom said softly, and kissed him tenderly in perfect understanding before disappearing under the surface, bubbles trailing behind him.
Billy watched, bemused for a moment. He didn't just read my mind, did he? Shaking his head of the passing fancy, he turned and swam a meandering course, exploring his end of the pool.
Their swimming hole had seemed bigger to him from the shore, but it was maybe thirty feet across, and stretched almost eighty feet along the cliff-side and beyond into a small meadow. He noticed many natural ledges along the rock face, perfect for sitting and sunning oneself. The willow tree dominated this end with its branches spreading out in leafy welcome, shimmering in the light of the stars. The perfect vacation spot, Billy thought wryly, if you disregarded the ongoing Jedi mind-fucks.
The water continued to fascinate him - it felt fantastic against his bare limbs, and it was astonishingly clear. Even when the water was neck-deep he could still watch his toes curl into the sand and grasses along the bottom, the rough grains distinct against his skin despite the depth and the dark. He elected to avoid the reed patch that was growing near where the small spring burbled down the rocks - their edges looked sharp, and he didn't relish meeting up with any otherworldly leeches.
He lay back into the water and floated for a bit, drifting serenely under the shelter of the willow's branches. His view of the stars was blotted out by the living canopy, and the resulting shadow enfolded him in a blanket of indigo. He closed his eyes and smiled, lulled by the peacefulness of the spot. It came to him that this was the first real break he'd had for the last month, and his body was telling him in no uncertain terms to stop for minute and just rest, dammit. He could easily imagine falling asleep here, rocking in the cradle of the water, soothed, waiting to be born. He snorted at that - amazing, the bits of whimsy burbling up through his subconscious today.
He sighed and felt his body loosen further, his thoughts flowing slower, languid, in time with the to-and-fro rhythm of the boughs above his head.
I still think you'd like her.
The memory of Dom's words was a stone cracking the still surface of his thoughts. Tension crept back into his frame, born of a niggling worry: Dom had sounded at that moment like he had been trying to pawn him off.
That's ridiculous. Billy paused in mid-dismissal to re-examine that thought - time spent on introspection was why he was hiding here under a tree in the first place. In all the time I've known Dom he's never pushed me away, not even when he was floundering in L.A. Why risk showing me all this if he wanted me gone? And I know he wouldn't deliberately put himself into danger if I were around, so Ali's not meant to be his replacement, either.
He stilled, the only movement his hands lightly sculling, keeping him afloat. But what if Billy weren't around? What if he failed at...whatever this 'training' thing was? Or, more importantly (and Billy paled to think of it), what if he and Domhínithe couldn't 'get along' - would Dom give up on him then?
Billy took in an abrupt breath of air and submerged himself, swimming powerfully through the water. He glided through the gloom, brushing his hands against submerged tree roots and rocks slick with algae. When he broke the surface again, panting, he was startled to find himself right back where he had started, under the willow tree.
And how obvious is that.... Billy growled in frustration and slammed his fists once onto the rippled surface. The brief outburst helped clear his head and sheepishly he lowered himself into the water again, seeking the calm he had lost.
So, back to the beginning. He was afraid that Dom would leave him, was in fact preparing to hand him off to Ali (which didn't really ring true. But...). He worried at that thought, trying to unearth what was giving the fear its power. As far as he knew, Ali was meant to be just a teacher. But why her? What exactly did she know that Dom didn't?
We are magic, but we can't do magic.
Billy grimaced at that. He had finally accepted that magic was real (difficult not to in this place), but the notion that he'd have to learn how to do it still made his stomach clench despite his profound awe of being here at all. He supposed he didn't relish having to trust a stranger who had been pretty much hand-picked for him (without a by-your-leave, thanks very much) to teach him skills that on some level made him very uncomfortable, all without any guarantee of success.
Dom's insinuating comments hadn't helped, either - they'd stung more than a piss-taking would merit. Something else was obviously gnawing at him, something that he couldn't grasp. He watched the water run through his fingers, mouth in a thin line. Why did it matter to Dom so much that Billy like her? Was she the only teacher available? Was Dom as afraid of Billy's failure as Billy was?
After a number of minutes of endless deliberation, tension tightened the skin around his eyes, and Billy sighed in disgust. His thoughts were only going in circles - best to just give it up as a lost cause. He submerged himself and blew out bubbles of frustration, watching their odd forms break the surface, wondering what he was supposed to do now.
Slowly he felt his vexation dissolve, and he imagined that the water from the pool seeping into his mind, cleansing it of all worry. He swam slowly about, stray thoughts and memories swirling away without him, escaping from the sargasso of his hair, schooling brightly in the water like tiny fish.
Billy giggled as he rose to the surface with one graceful sweep of his arms. He'd always fancied tales about mermaids and water creatures, and now here he was, pretending to be one. His imagination was running amok, and Billy let himself enjoy it. After all, what else was a vacation good for but to lay aside one's potential fears and failures to frolic in the sea of infinite possibility?
Maybe you're afraid you'll succeed.
Billy stiffened, and immediately started to sink. He hastily got his feet under him, breath quickening, a sickening feeling roiling in his gut. He leaned against a knot of roots and shuddered at an ancient memory of a beloved form hunched with pain, and gentle eyes lost in a mad tale of love and blood in the moonlight. His younger self wept in silent horror as his father gruffly pulled him out of the hospital room, forbidden by his relations to associate with the family lunatic.
No one ever discovered what had happened during the weeks his grandfather's cousin had been missing, but Billy, eyes newly opened to the wonder and peril of Faerie, could well venture a guess.
Leaves crushed in his fists as he shook in the waist-deep water, his mind shying from the abyss of the unknown before him. Scenarios born of his fears flashed through his mind: of losing the love of his remaining family, like Old Rob had; of returning home from this trip only to find his family and friends long dead; of violent death, both of him and Dom; of losing his career to scandal and ridicule; of looking into a mirror and seeing a monster - a thousand and one nightmares brought forth by the fear of the unknown. He forced himself to not shy from them, but to acknowledge them, gasping as they tore through his psyche like poisoned darts. Plunging to the bottom, he opened his mouth to release his distress in an explosion of air bubbles.
A sudden up swell of roaring energy engulfed him, as if his silent cries had invoked a great answering flood. It surged over and through him, drowning out the last of the terror visions from his mind, and slamming the air from his lungs. Disoriented and beyond fear, he forced his body to go limp in the uncanny undertow, surrendering himself to the inevitable.
After a long, blank eternity his back arched suddenly, and he took in a great breath, expecting to cough out vast quantities of seawater. He was profoundly relieved to discover that he had not drowned at all but was in fact floating on the surface, lungs blissfully dry, his hands holding tightly to the willow branches dragging in the water around him.
He pulled himself upright, gulping in air, and collapsed against the bank. Once his lungs had stopped screaming, he started a fumbling massage to loosen the cramping ache of his hands. His mind remained curiously blank as he tended to himself, the last of the pain easing marvelously when he submerged his hands into the water. He stared at them, waiting for something; some sign that he'd be broadsided by another tsunami, but Faerie seemed appeased for the moment.
He sagged against one of the willow's great roots, exhausted from his internal ordeal. He looped one arm over it, grateful for the anchor. The feel of the rough grey bark against his skin grounded him, its grooves affording perfect resting spots for his fingers. Slowly he felt his tiredness fade and his normal energy return, and he sighed with relief as he rested his chin on his arm, staring out into nothing, content to remain still and quiet.
A ripple of anticipation gently filled him. He lay back into the water's embrace, letting his mind drift, opening himself to it. The water rolled underneath him in a soft undulation, the motion of the water and his growing expectancy a pleasant reminder of the first time he'd managed to stay on his board long enough to ride a really big wave all the way to shore. He laughed suddenly, and spread his arms wide in the water, embracing the coming adventure.
Holding his breath, he descended easily to the sandy bottom. His excitement calmed, changing effortlessly to a profound sense of balance. The peace he had experienced earlier had now taken up residence within his spirit, a part of him now rather than something outside himself to be searched for in vain.
Surfing was good for something, he laughed to himself as he emerged renewed from the water, ready to meet with Dom again. He looked up through the leaves at the constellations and wondered how much time had passed, in this world and in his own. He nodded to them in whimsical salute before leaving behind the maternal shelter of the willow tree.
Dom smiled to see him approach, and Billy's own answered back, clear of bitterness or irritation. Dom's eyes widened, and his smile swiftly rivaled the sun.
"Yes, much." Billy took his hand and held it. "Thanks," he added softly, touching his lips to his lover's fingers. "I needed to do that, more than I knew."
Dom kissed him and held him close. "It's good, here," he said simply, and Billy nodded in total agreement before stopping the conversation with more kisses.
"Could take your bandage off now, yeah?" Dom remarked when they came up for air again.
"Christ, I'd completely forgotten," Billy grinned and started to pull eagerly on the edges of the tape. With a few sharp pulls the now sodden bandage came off easily. He rubbed his fingers against the skin, and gratifyingly felt no pain or even the trace of a scar. He sent a silent thank you to Astrid, knowing that Dom would now have no excuse to cling to his guilt.
Dom had to see for himself and stroked the perfectly healed skin with a happy sigh. He kissed the spot, then tenderly sucked on it.
Billy sighed in pleasure. "Don' be wounding me there again just yet."
"I won't," Dom whispered, and slid his arms around Billy before soundly kissing him.
They took their time, Billy reacquainting himself with the taste and texture of Dom's mouth and skin. There was such newness to their lovemaking here, an ethereal quality, almost. Billy thought kissing by starlight in an enchanted pool hidden somewhere in Faerie might account for that. Dom's opinion (expressed once his mouth was free) was that it had more to do with the obvious changes within Billy, with how solid Billy felt to him compared to his floundering self before. Billy would have argued the point further if Dom hadn't picked that moment to ghost his lips over the edge of his ear. Billy's trembling intensified, and he let out a low moan, debate forgotten.
The hands on his body were slow, reverent; very different from usual. Billy felt his face heat at the intensity of Dom's worship, and wondered again if it were the place or the circumstances. He decided that really he didn't care all that much, as long as Dom continued stroking the skin of his throat.
"You're so beautiful," Dom whispered, awe evident in his voice. Billy felt himself redden and wondered at himself for being embarrassed by a simple, heartfelt endearment.
The smile Billy received was suddenly more demonic than pious. The touches continued in their reverent vein, though their location became increasingly less innocent. Billy closed his eyes as familiar longing surged in the wake of fingertips teasing the inside of his thighs. When a loving hand wrapped around Billy's hardening cock, he bucked joyously into its grip, no thought or worry in his head save for the blissful sensations of the present. It took only moments for him to come, Dom grinning quietly into his mouth, drinking in every heartfelt cry, every gasp for air.
Billy collapsed for a moment against him, panting. He gently squeezed Dom's arms before softly kissing his lover's neck. His leg brushed against Dom who was half hard against him, and it belatedly occurred to him that Dom hadn't come once since they'd arrived.
"D'ye...do you want me to-"
Dom stopped his hand with an iron grip. Billy looked up, startled, and went utterly still at the anguished loneliness betrayed in Dom's eyes. "Yes, Billy. I do want you to," he rasped, taking his hands in a supplicating hold.
Billy stared, the sudden realisation like ice water down his back, and started to shake with excitement and trepidation. Now. It's going to be now. Before either of us loses our nerve.
Time stretched taut between them, their hands gripping hard in mutual support. Dom was wide-eyed, hope and fear and love hopelessly jumbled together in his expression. Knowing full well his face mirrored Dom's (and taking a measure of comfort from that), Billy pulled in a shaky breath and slowly nodded.
That small movement evaporated the tension in Dom's frame and he sagged against the bank. "Thank you." He slid his hand along Billy's chest, fingertips searching out every curve and plane, every touch conveying relief and astonishment. "Just...for everything."
Billy swallowed around the emotion lodged in his throat, but words refused to come. He stroked a finger down Dom's cheek, memorising each familiar crease and bump. His fingers prickled against the beginnings of stubble - far coarser that what he imagined he might discover there, later. The touch-memory of soft fur over muscle, experienced only in visions, tantalised him. He pressed the flat of his palm against his cheek, seeking, but the ghostly sensation had faded, leaving him strangely bereft yet full of expectation. Billy pressed one last kiss to Dom's lips and smiled softly before skating his fingers down his sternum to light briefly over his heart.
Dom lowered his head and sighed before he turned to splash water on his face. The droplets sparkled and shimmered on Dom's skin and in his hair, adding a celestial air to his greenwood lover. Billy watched, spellbound.
Dom looked up at the night sky. "The clouds have cleared some."
"Yes," Billy whispered.
Dom shivered once, then climbed out of the pool. He walked the few steps to the blanket he had dropped along with their rucksacks and rubbed himself dry with it, slowing as he finished. Billy continued to watch, relishing the feyness and the familiarity of the man before him. A familiarity which would soon be swept away.
Dom noticed the shift in his expression. "What is it?"
"Will I even be able to talk to you?"
"Of course you will. I won't be able to talk easily but, yeah, I'll understand you." Dom crouched down on the bank, his face in shadow, and rested the butterfly tips of his fingers on Billy's neck. "Mostly we communicate by sound, smell and touch."
"Touch?" Billy almost squeaked as a finger teased its way along his neck, kissing his pulse. Dom's words fluttered against his cheek.
"Touch, my Billy," he whispered, and slid his hands up and down the sides of Billy's face before settling on his shoulders. Billy managed to refrain from clutching at Dom's forearms, instead leaning against him, forehead to forehead. The shared rhythm of their breath ghosted over their lips in silent prayers of support and encouragement. Billy could feel his heart accelerate, echoed by the increased trembling of his body.
Above them, the breeze shredded the curtain of clouds, revealing the spotlight of the moon. The sudden waxing of light marked the end of the moment, and reluctantly they pulled away from each other. Dom pulled him out of the water and handed him the blanket, almost forgetting to let go when Billy took it, his gaze locked on Billy's face.
Billy gave a small smile and quickly dried himself off. He instantly regretted throwing the blanket over to where his clothes were still folded on the rock and used his thighs to remove the persistent clamminess from his hands. He looked up to see Dom take a couple of deep breaths and shake his limbs loose before stepping back, those few feet a sudden, insurmountable gulf. Billy half raised a hand in protest before forcing it back to his side, waiting.
Dom turned his face into the lunar radiance and smiled. "Look at her, Bills, how lovely she is."
Billy kept his eyes on the graceful form bathed in the full moonlight, refusing to miss these last few moments. "Look at you."
Dom relaxed completely at the longing in Billy's voice and he met his eyes, clear and calm as the water at his feet. "Yes, look at me," he whispered, and changed.