Title: Western Lovers: Cowboys and Biologists <21/33>
Beta the patient and talented charlieisagirl
Rating: NC-17 for the series, and for this chapter.
Summary: David is a hard, jaded warrior, Orlando is a biologist tracking Big Cats on the Double L.
Feedback: Feedback is my writers crack, which is not to be confused at all with plumbers crack.
Disclaimer: Not at all true in reality. These men whilst adorable and perfectly happy to slash themselves, their actual relationship is something that they only know. This story is adapted from a series of books that I adored when I was younger written by Elizabeth Lowell.
Word Count: 3348
Previous Story: Can be found here
Previous Ordaisy chapter: As suggested by mystery_ink can be found here
Previous Chapters: Chapter 1| Chapter 2 | Chapter 3| Chapter 4| Chapter 5| Chapter 6| Chapter 7| Chapter 8| Chapter 9| Chapter 10| Chapter 11| Chapter 12| Chapter 13| Chapter 14| Chapter 15| Chapter 16| Chapter 17| Chapter 18| Chapter 19| Chapter 20
Posted to: fellowshippers, monaboyd and ordaisy
Header Art: Courtesy of the incredibly talented loki_girl.
Author’s Notes: Special thanks to dylan_dufresne.
Dom sat on their front steps, his knees drawn up to his chin, his long arms folded around his legs. The letter Billy had written weeks ago, and left propped against the framed photo on his desk was clutched in his trembling fingers.
When David had returned, emotionally broken, after just a few days, willing to impart so little information on his Billy’s whereabouts, Dom had really started to worry. It wasn’t as if he didn’t trust David’s judgment, but Dom had seen the state Daisy had come home in. His Billy was strong, Dom knew that, but he had also seen first hand the scars that the warrior life had left on Billy’s soul. Dom wasn’t sure how deeply new wounds would affect his lover, or if, this time, he’d be able to completely recover. At least while David had been with Billy, they each had someone they could lean on, now Billy was ostensibly all alone and suffering.
For thirty seven days Dom had done as Billy had asked. He had loved their children enough for both of them, assuring them that their papa would be home soon, laying with Daisy-May in her little princess bed each night assuring her that her Billy would be back to tuck her in himself soon. Watching Daisy-May’s sleep patterns slowly degenerating as Billy’s time away increased. But, for Dom, the calm façade was just that, a fragile shield that he showed the world. Inside Dom was crumbling, day by day, the endless waiting without news of Billy’s health and wellbeing was tearing him apart.
His elegant fingers worried the edge of the envelope he held. Not a day had passed since Billy had left when Dom hadn’t finished his own day, his legs drawn up to his chin, sitting in Billy’s office chair, watching the envelope as it sat on the desk. Taunting him. Dom wasn’t stupid, naïve maybe, but not stupid. He knew that inside that envelope was what could be his partner’s final thoughts of their life together. He both loathed and loved that small rectangular offering. The fact that Billy had felt the need to leave such a message broke Dom’s heart. Billy had known the harsh realities before his departure, the danger he faced would make his return more than improbable. The fact that Billy had neglected to tell Dom of the danger they were facing only deepened his undying love for the man he had married.
There were days when Dom could barely stand to leave the envelope unopened. He missed the husky Scottish brogue that lulled him to sleep each night, he missed the tight embrace of his lover’s arms, he missed waking up with his Billy wrapped in his own arms, their protective roles reversed as they slept; he missed sharing their children’s lives with Billy, but most of all he missed knowing that his Billy was safely by his side, loved, protected and well out of harms way.
Early this morning David had received a phone call, after which he had briefly visited Dom to tell him that sometime tonight, Billy would be home. Dom had all the patience in the world when sifting through the remnants of history, but when it came to waiting he had none, his Billy was on his way home in God knows what state and Dom needed to see him, if only to put his mind to rest. So immediately after he had put the children to bed, Dom, the envelope and a baby monitor, had been sitting on their steps waiting for his lover, waiting patiently for Billy to return.
Watching the sweep of powerful driving lights as they entered the Double L’s home yards, Dom could barely contain his anticipation. He recognized the rumble of Viggo’s truck, he knew that very soon his soul would once again be complete, but more importantly, he would be able to put his Billy back together, the same way he had watched Orlando begin to heal Daisy.
Dom sat on the stairs, silently, even as Viggo stopped his truck at the end of the driveway. He appeared to be watching patiently as Billy and Viggo sat and spoke for long moments. To anyone who knew him, however, Dom’s impatience was tangible, his bare toes tapping the air nervously as they hung over the edge of the step, desperate for a glimpse of his Billy as the light of the full moon cast shadows across the interior of the trucks cab, obscuring Billy from his hungry gaze.
The truck door opened, and Dom’s breath caught in his throat as he got his first glance of the man he loved. It was exactly as Dom had feared, Billy had suffered while he was away. He may not have been physically injured, but to Dom’s loving but critical eye, Billy appeared to have endured the pain of a lifetime in every minute he was away.
As Dom watched, Billy slid from the truck. Dom could see the strain of Billy’s journey weighing heavily on him physically. His every movement told Dom that Billy felt every one of his years and then some. Leaning into the back of the truck, Billy pulled out his pack and slung it over his shoulder. Tapping his hand twice on the side of the truck as Viggo drove off, he sighed deeply and moved towards his home. Eyes focused on his feet, Billy walked slowly to the bottom of the front stairs, as he reached the bottom step, he saw bare toes and looked up into Dom’s face.
Watching as Billy walked closer, tears welled in Dom’s eyes at the pain that radiated from his lover. Billy’s shoulders were slumped, his clothes rumpled and hanging more loosely on his frame than they had when he left, and his hair was disheveled, peppered with more gray than Dom remembered, framed Billy’s too pale face.
“Dom.” Billy breathed, searching Dom’s face, his usually sparkling green eyes dull and red rimmed, before he looked down again.
“Billy.” Dom sighed, his own eyes filled with tears, as he drank in the sight he had resigned himself to never seeing again.
“I’m so sorry, Dom.” Billy murmured, dropping his pack to the ground at his feet.
Dom sat, for the longest of moments, tears trickling down his cheeks before a wide smile split his face. Lifting the envelope he still held, he saw Billy watching the envelope. Gripping it in both hands Dom ripped it sharply down the middle, destroying that which he would never need to read, before launching himself off the step and into Billy’s arms.
Billy closed his arms around Dom’s trembling body and held him tightly against himself, soaking up his warmth and his love.
“I’ve missed you so much.” Billy murmured into Dom’s neck.
“I can’t begin to tell you how much I missed you.” Dom’s hand’s framed Billy’s face, his thumbs caressing Billy’s cheekbones as he watched his beloved’s face, tears gathering on his long lashes. “Next time I’m going with you.”
“I’m the warrior, Dom,” Billy smiled wanly, “You’re the lover, remember?”
“I think I’d have to dispute that, you’re the only lover I ever want.” Dom whispered, pressing his lips to Billy’s.
“How are the kids?” Billy asked quietly, breaking off their kiss, he pressed his forehead against Dom’s.
“The twins are perfect. They’re good kids, almost every night they sleep right through.” Dom replied, his voice soft and wistful, “Lana is so your daughter, she’s got the most adorable whistle when she sleeps,” Dom pressed a kiss against Billy’s cheek.
“How’s my sugarplum?” Billy probed quietly, his fingers caressing Dom’s skin, as if he were making memories with his fingertips.
“She misses her Billy.” Dom shrugged, “I read to her, I hold her while she goes to sleep, but I’m no substitute for her Billy. I can’t wait to see the look on her face when she knows you’re home.”
“I love you, Dom,” Billy murmured regretfully, lifting his hand to caress Dom’s face gently as he spoke.
“Billy, what is it? What’s wrong? What aren’t you telling me?” Dom’s hand covered Billy’s as his other hand cupped Billy’s chin and turned his face up to force him to look into Dom’s eyes. “You won’t look at me, you’re obviously upset about something, what happened to you that you can’t look at me.”
“I don’t deserve you Dom, or the kids.” Billy murmured, allowing himself to look briefly into Dom’s eyes before letting his eyes slide quickly closed. “I should never have come back.” He reached down to loop his hand through one strap of his pack. “I’m going to go and find a bed in the bunkhouse.”
“Like Fuck you will,” Dom growled, his chest tight with the pain of Billy’s attempted departure. One hand snapped out and long fingers closed around Billy’s wrist. “You’re staying here in your home, with your family.” He paused, unable to hide the sound of tears in his voice. “With me.”
“I can’t Dom, I won’t taint you. I’m not worthy. Not of having beautiful children, and certainly not to accept your pure, beautiful love,” Billy replied.
“We’re not going to fight about this now Billy.” Dom spoke softly, his hands folded around Billy’s wrists. “You’re going to come inside, you’re going to take a shower and then we’re going to bed. I don’t know about you but I’m bloody knackered and I want to sleep wrapped around my husband.” He lifted Billy’s hands to kiss his knuckles gently. “I miss my Billy’s arms around me.”
“Can I see the kids before I go, Honey?” Billy asked softly, his eyes closed.
“Of course you can, because you’re not going anywhere,” Dom murmured.
“I can’t stay Dom. You all deserve so much better,” Billy whispered, his arms dropping limply to his side.
“Maybe.” Dom shrugged, a slight grin turning up the corners of his lips as Billy’s eyes snapped open and searched his face. “But not one of us wants anybody but you. You’re stuck with us Billy. Whether you want us or not.”
“Wanting is not the issue, Dom,” Billy replied, his voice flat, “I’ve done….things…illegal things.”
“Things which saved Craig’s life,” Dom retorted quickly. “When it’s life or death important Billy sometimes legality is blurry. It doesn’t matter to me, you’re still the man I love, you’re still the father of my babies, and most importantly, you still have two living, breathing brothers who love you for who you are, not what you’ve done.”
“Your rose colored glasses won’t help you if anything comes of my actions, Honey,” Billy tried to explain.
“Then we’ll deal with that when and if it happens, Bills.” Dom cupped Billy’s cheek and leaned forward to press a kiss against Billy’s lips. “Now come inside, you’re exhausted.” Dom bent down to slip his fingers through the straps of Billy’s backpack. “Things won’t look quite so bad in the morning.”
“Things will be exactly the same in the morning, Honey.” Billy sighed, giving in to his hearts wish, ignoring his better judgment.
As they entered their home, Dom dropped Billy’s pack on the floor just inside the door and looped his arm around Billy’s waist, leading him wordlessly through their bedroom and into their bathroom. A fresh fluffy towel, clean sweats and a faded t-shirt sat on the edge of the vanity unit, waiting for Billy.
Turning him in his arms, Dom cupped Billy’s face with one hand and pressed their lips together. A long slow kiss filled with need and love and relief, Dom’s fingers lifted to slide through Billy’s tangled hair.
“Shower, Bills. I’ll be here when you’re done.” Dom wrapped his arms around Billy’s waist and held him tightly against his body. “I’ve missed you so much,” He whispered before he released him and turned to leave the room.
Billy’s hands moved mechanically, pulling his shirt over his head then moving to unbuckle his pants.
“Dom?” Billy called softly without turning around. “I missed you so much. I couldn’t not come back.”
“I know, Bills,” Dom murmured softly from the doorway as he paused, watching Billy drop his khaki pants to the floor. Tears welled in his smoky blue eyes as he saw the ravages of his journey on Billy’s body. Turning away before he could take his love back into his arms and make all the hurts go away, he walked out of the bathroom.
Dom didn’t know how long he stood in the doorway of the nursery, watching their children as they slept peacefully, unaware of the struggle their father was fighting, their innocent faces pressed into their pillows, tucked into their beds safely, just as their papa promised them.
Walking slowly back into their bedroom, his brow furrowed as he heard the water in the shower still running. As he stepped into the bathroom, he saw Billy kneeling naked under the steady jets of water, his forehead pressed against the white tiled wall, his shoulders trembling, the skin of his hands scraped raw as Billy scrubbed at them with a nailbrush. The tears that had been clinging tenuously to Dom’s lashes trickled down his cheeks. Without hesitation, Dom dragged his t-shirt over his head, opened the door of the shower cubicle and stepped under the flow of tepid water. Wrapping his arms around Billy’s waist, Dom pressed his body against Billy’s.
“Ssh, Bills,” Dom soothed him, his hands gently stroking Billy’s chest “It’s alright, let it out sweetheart.”
“I can’t get the blood off, Honey,” Billy whimpered, grinding the nailbrush harder against his knuckles.
Dom’s hands slid slowly over Billy’s hands, stilling the frantic scrubbing, his thumbs gently caressing the abraded skin. “It’s alright, Billy. I’ll help you get clean.”
“I didn’t want you to see it,” Billy explained. “You should hate me for it.”
“Ohhh, Billy,” Dom whispered against Billy’s ear, the slowly chilling water pounding against their skin, one hand reaching to lift a face washer, rubbing it across Billy’s hands. Taking one of Billy’s hands in both of his, Dom washed it slowly, swiping it tenderly across the sensitized skin. “Look, Sweetheart, I’ll help you get them clean. We’ll do it together.” Dom pressed a soft kiss against the side of Billy’s face as he spoke.
“I shouldn’t have done it, Dommie.” Billy turned his head and looked into Dom’s face, blinking as the shower spray hit his face. “I didn’t think. I shouldn’t have done it.”
“Bills,” Dom sighed. “I don’t know what you did but I’m sure that whatever it is you had to do it.” Pulling him back against his chest he held him tightly. “I love you, we’ll get through this.”
“I should never have come home, Honey,” Billy murmured, his hands covering Dom’s on his chest.
“That’s crap. You belong here, with me, with our babies.” Dom spoke against his ear, water cascading across their bodies.
“When you know what I’ve done, you won’t want me here. You won’t want me near our children,” Billy whispered.
“I don’t care about any of that Billy, I care about you,” Dom answered. Pulling back a little, Dom’s fingers lifted to caress Billy’s tense shoulders. “Just for tonight, Bills, forget all about what you did, whatever it is that is bothering you. It never happened. Just tonight, come to bed with me. Let me hold you and keep it all away.”
“I don’t deserve you, Honey.” Billy leaned back into Dom’s touch.
“Yes you do,” Dom crooned, pulling Billy with him from the cubicle. Lifting the towel from the vanity, he slowly toweled Billy dry.
“Dom?” Billy observed distractedly. “Your pants are wet.”
“I was just in the shower with you.” Dom grinned up at him, as he knelt in front of him the towel brushing across his skin.
“’m sorry, Honey.” Billy’s fingers trailed through Dom’s wet hair as he spoke.
“I’m not,” Dom stated with a small smile. “You’re back, at the moment that’s all that matters.”
“Maybe.” Billy shrugged, pulling Dom to his feet and kissing him softly.
“Why don’t you go say hello to the kids while I get changed,” Dom suggested as he handed Billy the sweats that were still laying on the vanity unit. “Then I think we could both use a good night’s sleep.”
“I could sleep for a month.” Billy admitted. “It feels like I haven’t slept since I left here.”
“Then I’ve got just the prescription for you.” Dom pecked him quickly on the lips as Billy stepped into the sweats. “Our bed, you and me.” Dom pushed him towards the door. “Go see the kids, sweetheart.”
Stepping out of his wet yoga pants, Dom walked naked into their bedroom and pulled a pair of faded sweats from the dresser, stepping into them before following the path Billy would’ve taken to get to their children. Pausing at the door, he watched as Billy moved away from Lana’s crib and leaned into Lennox’s, his trembling fingertips dragging across his son’s paper fine, baby skin gently, the palm of his hand cupping his son’s head tenderly. Dom wrapped his arms around his naked chest as he watched Billy turn and walk across the room to the toddler size bed that held their eldest daughter.
Many times over the last few weeks, Dom had marveled over the similarities between Billy and Daisy-May. Genetically they had nothing in common but no-one could ever be mistaken that she was Billy’s daughter. She shared all of his mannerisms and as her vocabulary grew her voice even had traces of Billy’s Scottish accent. She even slept like Billy, her tiny body curled up in a ball, burrowed deep under the covers, only her cherubic face exposed. As he watched, Billy fell to his knees at the bedside, his trembling fingers reaching out to push her tousled ebony curls back from her sweetly innocent face. Leaning forward, Billy pressed a gentle kiss to her forehead, a small smile curling Billy’s lips as Daisy-May snuggled into his touch.
Fingers caressing her tiny fist as it lay on the pillow beside her head, tears began to trickle down Billy’s cheeks. Dom watched from the doorway as Billy’s tears splashed against their daughter’s warm skin before he moved quietly into the room to clasp his warm hands around Billy’s bare shoulders. Kneeling behind his lover, Dom released his hold long enough to let his hand trace gently across Billy’s bare back.
“C’mon Bills,” Dom murmured against his ear. “I think it’s bedtime.”
Billy didn’t speak, he merely leaned forward and pressed a gentle kiss against Daisy-May’s forehead, and stood. Dom slipped one long arm around Billy’s waist and steered him out of the nursery. His brow furrowed at Billy’s unusual complacency as he allowed himself to be led toward their bedroom.
Reaching the side of their bed, Dom turned Billy in his arms, his fingertips tracing Billy’s face slowly, memorizing every pore of his skin.
‘I love you, Billy, no matter what you think you’ve done.” Dom pressed his lips against Billy’s gently. “We’re going to bed now, I’m going to hold you in my arms, and keep you safe. The memories and the pain and torment you’re putting yourself through, they’re not coming to bed with us, Billy. Just you and me, and a good night sleep.” Dom closed his arms around Billy tightly, kissing his neck gently. “I’m going to keep you safe.”
Releasing Billy, Dom lifted the bedclothes for him and waited as he climbed into the bed. Dom walked around the bed and climbed into the other side, sliding into the middle of the mattress. Stretching his arms out, Dom pulled Billy into his embrace. Spooning his love, Billy’s tense back pressed against his body, Dom’s arms wrapped snugly around Billy’s torso. Dom’s face pressed against Billy’s neck, their legs tangled together and they laid there for long, silent moments.
“Billy, you can relax now. You’re home and I’ll watch over you,” Dom whispered into Billy’s ear. “It’s my turn now, Bills.”