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Dec. 31st, 2008

Title: You're A Map Of A Place Maybe Someday I'll Go Ch. 5/22
Author: Pip
Pairing: Billy/Dom
Rating: this chapter PG-13, NC-17 overall
Disclaimer: Don't know 'em, never met 'em, this is all lies.
Feedback: Would be treasured beyond pearls.
Archive: Not without permission.

A/N: Thanks to fitofpique and elmathelas for the brilliant betas, and thanks to buckle_berry for the Britpick. This fic would not be the same without you three, and I thank you from the bottom of my squishy little heart.

Chapter 1, 2, 3, 4

First posted June, 2006



Dom was sitting in front of the TV with his second cup of coffee when Billy finally came shuffling out, still wearing only his pants. He disappeared into the kitchen, and a moment later there was the sound of a struggle, followed by the unmistakable patter of dozens of paracetamol scattering all over the floor. And yet, Dom noted with an empathetic little chuckle, not a sound from Billy. Two minutes later he shambled into the living room, the glass of water in one hand and a mug of black coffee in the other. His eyes were once again bloodshot and puffy, his face an unhealthy shade of pale, his hands trembling. He set both beverages on the coffee table, climbed onto the sofa, and lay down in the foetal position with his head on a pillow and with a pathetic but involuntary little whimper.

Dom stood smoothly so as not to jar him, fetched the spare blanket from Billy's bed where he'd spread it the night before, and returned to lay it over Billy, who clutched it under his chin. Dom then went to the kitchen and spent several minutes picking up all the paracetamol that he could find and putting them back in the bottle, before getting the icepack out of the freezer, wrapping it in a cloth, and taking it to Billy. Rather than putting it directly on his head, which might be too startling, Dom simply put it in his hand, and watched as Billy groaned and raised it to his forehead. Suppressing a grin, Dom sat back in his spot, near Billy's feet, and turned the volume on the TV down just a little further.

It was half an hour before Billy moved, and then it was just to sit up slightly, gulp down some coffee, and lay down again, the icepack going to his temple.

Twenty minutes later he sat up a bit further, dropped the now-warm icepack on the table, and drank both water and coffee before slumping back into the corner and muttering, "What the fuck did I do?" in a thick, gravelly voice.

"You got trolleyed last night," Dom said very softly.

"I'm such a fuckwit."

Dom didn't say a word, knowing whichever way he answered that, it wasn't likely to be taken well.

"Did I do anything spectacularly stupid?" he finally grumbled.

"No, not spectacularly. You were just ... well, paralytic, actually. Do you remember anything at all?"

Billy rubbed at his red eyes, the lines on his face looking deeply etched. "Not much. I remember ... going outside for a smoke."

"The first time, or second time?"

"Dunno."

"Do you remember nearly falling headfirst over the balcony?" Dom arched his eyebrow, his voice still quiet.

"Oh, God. No." Billy leaned his head against the back of the sofa. "I remember--you gave me something to eat, didn't you?"

"Yeah."

"And I remember puking my guts up."

"Of course you do," Dom said wryly. "Why can we never forget that part? No matter what else we forget, we always remember the vomiting."

"Can I ask a favour, Dom?"

"Yes."

"Could you please--get me a beer?"

"Billy--" Dom began, his voice full of concern.

"No, no," Billy waved his hand to forestall him. "Just want a bit of ... you know. The hair of the dog. Worth a shot. Can't feel any worse than I do now."

Dom hesitated, but finally stood up again. "All right. If you think you want to try it." He went to the kitchen once more, getting a beer from the fridge and twisting off the cap for him, then returned to hand him the bottle. He was relieved to see Billy slowly sip at it, rather than gulping it down as he had the night before.

"How are you feeling, Bills?" he asked gently.

Billy gave a weak shrug. "Like shite on a stick. You might as well go out for the day, Dom. Go ... I don't know. Find something to do. I'm not going to be much in the way of company."

"No, I'd rather stay in, I think. For now, anyway." Dom stretched and yawned. "Would you mind if I do a little load of washing? Your machine's not very loud, is it?"

"No, go ahead. Help yourself to whatever you want, Dom, you know that," he said, and leaned his head against the back of the sofa, closing his eyes.

"Okay. Take it easy, Bills, and if you need anything, just call me, all right?" Dom rose, rested a light hand on Billy's hair, then quietly left the room.

Dom collected the clothes he'd worn over the past two days, then carried them into Billy's bedroom and chucked them in the hamper. He'd already picked up all the clothes from the living room and left them by the washing machine, so now he stripped the bedding off of Billy's bed; if the silly sod couldn't be arsed to make a meal for himself, it was unlikely he'd done any washing recently. He chuckled at the thought of how surprised his mum would be if she could see him looking after Billy like this, and even voluntarily doing the washing. Then again, he rather suspected she had a good idea how important Billy was to him, so maybe she wouldn't be so surprised after all.

Dom started the load in the machine, then peeked into the living room to check on Billy. Except for the fact that the beer bottle was on the table and the coffee mug in his hand, he had barely even moved.

Dom went back into the kitchen and made a piece of toast, putting the barest scraping of butter on it, and took it out to Billy. "See if you can work on that," he murmured, setting it on Billy's lap.

Billy didn't look up. "Dom."

"Yeah, Bills?"

"You're--ah, bugger. Don't take the piss, all right?"

"All right," Dom agreed, suspecting what it was Billy was trying to say.

"You're a good mate," he muttered. "You're a right rare sonofabitch, you are."

Dom smiled. "Thanks, Bill. You'd do the same for me, I know."

Billy looked up at that, and the intensity of his bloodshot gaze caught and held Dom's eyes. "I would. I really would. Anything you asked, anything you needed."

Dom felt the need to sit down, and quickly. He sank down beside Billy, and frowned just a little. "Are--are you okay?" he managed.

Billy still watched him. "No. No, Dom, I'm not okay. I feel ... I'm a bit ... wretched."

Suddenly Dom wasn't sure he was really talking about his hangover.




Dom was just switching the laundry from the washing machine to the dryer, checking the labels on Billy's clothes in an attempt not to ruin anything, when--somewhere--the phone rang very quietly. "Want me to get that?" he called.

"Yeah," came the lackluster answer.

"Where is it?"

"No clue."

He found Billy's phone in a kitchen cupboard behind a packet of rice noodles. Shaking his head, he opened it, walking to the doorway. "The Den of Iniquity, how may I direct your call?"

From the direction of the couch there was a strangled noise.

"Hello, Dom. How are you?"

Dom froze. Cleared his throat. Said, "Hullo, Ali."

There was an agonized moan from the sofa, and Dom saw Billy fling the blanket up to cover himself completely, head and all. A low recitation of "No, no, no, can't be happening, nononono ... " drifted over, making Dom frown.

"I'm pretty good, how are you?" he asked.

"Oh, you know how things are," she answered him noncommittally. "Are you finished filming, then?"

"Yeah, finished up last week. Another season in the can."

"That's great. Congratulations, Dom, it's a good show," she said, and sounded sincere.

Dom was a little surprised. He and Ali had always considered each other friends, but both of them were aware that if circumstances were different, if they'd met without Billy to draw them together, friendship would have been unlikely. They just saw things from opposite spectrums, and not often in a complementary manner. And now there'd been some sort of parting between her and Billy ...  "Thanks, Ali. Good of you to say."

"I mean it."

"I know you do--and I appreciate it. How about you? Another show in rehearsal?"

"Just started, actually. Sort of a fresh start all around," she said calmly, giving him an opening if he wanted it.

He didn't want it. "Any chance this one will be touring to the U.S.?"

"It's looking likely, yes. The major cities, anyway."

"That's great." Dom was pleased for her. He didn't always understand Ali, but he respected her immensely, not the least for her work ethic when it came to her dance career. "I hope you'll let us know if you make it to L.A."

"I could email you if we're going to be on the west coast, if--"

"Yeah, please do. That would be great."

"Okay. I'll do that, then." She sounded like she was about to say something else, but fell silent again.

Dom wondered if she was waiting for him to ask what had happened. And yes, he wanted to know, but he wasn't sure he wanted to hear it from Ali. He also wasn't sure it was his place to ask--if she wanted him to know, she'd tell him, right? "So ... " he said, a little uncomfortably.

Ali sighed. "Yeah. Is he there?"

"Billy? Umm--" Dom looked over at the sofa just in time to see the blanket curl in on itself even more, heard the muttered, "No. Not today. Go away, goddammit. Later. Tomorrow. Not today."

"Ehm--he's a bit ... indisposed," Dom said, knowing how pathetic it sounded, and he wondered how Ali would interpret that.

But she knew exactly what he meant. "Is he hung over again?" she asked softly.

"Yeah." Dom turned, walked down the hallway into his bedroom, and closed the door. "He's in rough shape today. Could you call him back tomorrow, maybe?"

"Of course. He'd been drinking a little the last time I talked to him, too. How pished was he last night?" she asked with a trace of a smile.

"Totally bollocksed. Nearly fell off the balcony, puked his guts up during the night."

Ali's smile disappeared as she whispered, "Shite. I knew he was having trouble with this, but--" She paused, then diffidently asked, "How much has he told you?"

"About what happened?" Dom sat on the edge of the bed, slouched over with his elbows on his knees. "Bits and pieces. Not too much. I--hope you don't mind, he didn't say much, honestly--"

"I wish he would," she cut him off, and there was an odd note in her voice. "I wish he'd stop sitting on the fucking fence, stop sitting back and letting things fucking happen to him whether he wants them to or not. I did my part, it's bloody well time he did his."

"Ali--this isn't really my business--" Dom tried to distance himself. Billy had told him (even if unintentionally) that Dom had been a part of it in some way, even if he hadn't known it, but for some reason he found he was reluctant to have Ali know that. It seemed far too ... personal, for both of them, each in their own way.

"Actually, Dom, it is. It's very much your business. But I'm not letting Billy off the hook, I'm not doing this for him too," she said angrily. "Will you do me a favour?"

"If--if I can." Dom's head was whirling with the implications of what Ali had just said.

"How long are you there for? How long can you stay?"

"I'm here for a--a while. Couple of weeks, maybe."

"Good. Don't let him fucking get away with this, you make sure he bloody well talks to you. Make sure he tells you everything, and I mean it. You can get him to talk to you."

"Ali," Dom said, pained, "I don't--I'm not sure I know what you're saying. But if you're saying what I think you're saying, then ... I doubt I'm the best person for him to discuss this with."

Ali's voice was suddenly more gentle than Dom had ever heard her. "You two are enough to drive a body mad, you know that? I don't know--" she paused, obviously not wanting to say anything concrete that up until now had only been hinted at. "I don't know what you would say to him. I don't know how it's all going to turn out in the end. All I know is that Billy is my friend and always will be, and I hope you will be, too. And Billy deserves to be happy, but he never will be until you two actually sodding communicate. And I hope--I hope ...  Yeah. I think you know what I hope."

"Do I?"

"Yes, Dom. You do," she said softly.

Dom was at a loss for words. "I don't understand how--Ali, you've been with him for so long. And--and you're saying this to me? How did you know I--"

"I didn't for sure. I still don't, not really. But I've seen ... enough. To make me wonder. Did he tell you why I decided it was time for me to go?"

"He--he said--"

"Go ahead," she prompted.

"He said you were considering separate holidays when you'd originally planned one together. And that you weren't--you weren't lovers anymore, you were just friends," Dom said quickly, his ears turning red.

"That's all true, Dom," she agreed. "Billy and I aren't in love anymore--we haven't been in a long time. But he's ... well, he's probably my best mate, and I want him to be happy. He was comfortable with me, but he wasn't truly happy. I hope he finds what he needs soon. That's why I'm telling you this. But Billy has to actually say the words, I can't do that for him. I won't."

"Jesus, Ali, do you know what you're saying--?"

The door to the bedroom swung open and Billy stood there scowling. "What the fuck are you two talking about?"

"You," Dom said shortly. "Now go and lie down before you fall down, you wanker. You look like death on a platter."

Ali laughed in Dom's ear. "Well said."

He suddenly grinned. "I thought so."

"Dom--" Billy growled.

"Fine, then come and lie down here. Seriously, Bill, you're white as a sheet. You know, for a Scotsman, you really can't hold your drink."

Ali snorted. "You're in for it now."

But all Billy said was, "Sodding arsing twat," before staggering over to the bed to lie down.

"Wow. He must be near death if he didn't tear your head off for that," Ali said wryly.

"Yeah, I think you're right." Dom watched Billy slowly curl onto his side. He got up, pulled the duvet up and over Billy, and sat down again, this time at the top of the bed so he could lean against the headboard. He put his hand on Billy's head and smoothed his hair, then moved to his shoulder and just began gently rubbing up and down his arm through the duvet.

"Is he still there with you?" Ali asked quietly.

"Yeah."

"Tell him ... tell him ... shite," she swore under her breath. "I don't know. Tell him to stop the self-pity, it doesn't become him. And he has no right to it."

Dom snorted. "Yeah, sure. Like I'm going to tell him that."

Billy rolled over, winding up with his forehead against Dom's thigh. "Tell me what?" he asked gruffly.

"Nothing, Bill."

"Tell me what, bawheid?" he growled.

Dom sighed, sardonically said, "Thank you very much, Ali. Thanks for coming out, it's been great."

She laughed lightly in his ear. "Go on, tell him. He knows it's from me, he'll know how to take it."

"Yeah, so you say from your distant position of safety. All right. Bill, Ali says--says to stop the self-pity, it doesn't become you, and you have no right to it." Dom cringed and waited for the explosion.

But surprisingly, Billy was silent. And then--even more surprisingly--he pressed his forehead harder against Dom's thigh and mumbled, "Sorry. Fuck. Sorry."

"What did he say, Dom?" Ali asked, having heard Billy's voice but not his words.

Dom was taken aback. "He said he was sorry. Twice."

"Oh, for--put him on, will you? Tell him I'll talk quietly."

He lowered the phone to near Billy's hand. "Ali wants to speak to you. She promises she'll talk quietly."

Billy lay perfectly still for a moment and then, without moving his head or opening his eyes, held his hand up. When Dom gave him the phone, he put it to his ear. "Yeah."

Dom stopped rubbing the arm that was now holding the phone and instead moved his hand around to stroke up and down Billy's back through the duvet. He could occasionally hear Ali's voice from the phone, but she was keeping her volume low as promised, and he was grateful he couldn't tell what she was saying. Billy's side of the conversation was less than intimate.

"Yeah ... no, I ... no. I will ...  I said I will, Al ... yeah, why? Yeah ... Jesus, Ali--" he muttered.

Dom laid his hand on the back of Billy's neck, thumb rubbing soothingly on his skin.

"Mmngh ... no, I'm listening  ... I can't--no, I can't ... fuck. Bloody hell, all right ... yeah, he is ... I know. I know, Ali, it's just ... no. I won't. Yes, I promise. Can I go now, please, and die in peace?" he groaned. "You're fucking killin' me here, Al ... yeah, you too. Ring me in a week or two? Good ... yeah. Later." Without moving his forehead from against Dom's leg, Billy held up the phone for him to take.

Dom put it to his ear, not sure if Ali was still on the line or not. "Hello?"

"Still here. Listen, Dom, he's promised me he's going to talk to you by the end of the week. Keep at him. Because I'm ringing on Sunday night, and if this isn't sorted out one way or the other, I'm going to bloody well kick his arse from here to Inverness. All right?"

"I'll--I'll try. Ali ... " Dom paused, not entirely sure what to say, or how to say it with Billy right beside him. "Are you sure--I mean, you're not ... "

"I'm sure," she said quietly but firmly. "If you were going to say I'm not the person to get involved in this--that's shite. I'm the only other person who could get involved. And if you were going to say am I just fucking with you--"

"No," Dom said immediately. "I wasn't."

"Good. Because I'd tell you to go to hell." Ali was cool as a cucumber, and it was rattling Dom's nerves a bit.

"I wasn't going to say either of those, actually. I meant you," he said obliquely.

There was silence from the other end of the line. "You mean am I all right with this?" she finally asked.

"Yes."

"I--I wasn't expecting that," she said honestly, taken aback. "Would it make a difference to you?"

"I doubt you'll believe me, but yes, it would."

Ali hesitated again before finally saying, "Oddly enough, I think I do believe you. Yes, Dom, I'm all right with this. I told you, I'm not in love with Billy anymore. Trust me, if I were, we wouldn't have had this conversation because I'd be ready to rip your bollocks off and feed them to you with a spoon."

"You always were subtle, Alison." Dom surprised a sharp laugh out of her. "But I'm glad. Things are ... "

"Complicated enough?" she finished wryly.

"Got it in one."

Ali sighed. "I'm finding it very ironic indeed that you and I are understanding each other now better than we ever have before."

"I was thinking the same thing," Dom smiled.

"I should go. I have a chiropractic appointment in half an hour. If Billy needs reminding of what he's promised me, call. I'll straighten him out." She paused, then grinned. "So to speak."

Dom laughed out loud. "I bet you will. Thanks Ali."

"Talk to you on Sunday, then."

Dom closed the phone and looked down at Billy, who still lay with his head against Dom's thigh. "Why don't you take a nap, Bills?"

"And was all that cryptic enough for you? Did you have fun with your little code?" Billy asked, his voice annoyed, a little snarky. "'Cos I think you forgot the one about the dog's pants sailing with the goat at midnight."

Dom forced a chuckle. "That's a good one. I'll have to use that next time."

"Fuck off, Dom. Or do I have to say it in code?" Billy rolled over, away from him.

"Let's not go there today, all right, Bill? Not like this. It's not fair to either of us," Dom said quietly, a little hurt and not bothering to hide it anymore.

Billy turned his face into the sheets. "Jesus fucking Christ," he muttered, his voice tormented. "I'm sorry, Dom. I'm sorry."

Dom put his hand back on Billy's head. "It's all right. I mean it, it's okay. But for today, let's just keep things light, yeah?"

"Yeah," he mumbled, nearly inaudibly.

"Why don't you get under the blankets and take a nap, Bill? You really do look like shite."

"Thanks very much," Billy said weakly, turning onto his back to look up at Dom. After a moment, he said, "I'll be better tomorrow. I won't be such an arse to you tomorrow, I swear."

"It's okay, Billy. Now stop talking and go to sleep."

"No." He struggled against the duvet, but gave up only a minute later. "Bloody hell. Get me out of here, and then I won't steal your bed."

"Hate to tell you this, mate," Dom smiled at him. "But it's your bed. You own this motel, remember?"

"Your bed," he insisted. "I'll go to my room. Sleep there."

"Well, I'm afraid that's just not an option, Bills. Your bed is in the tumble dryer at the moment."

Billy stared at him. "You washed my sheets?" His eyes skittered away and a crease appeared on his forehead as a thought occurred to him. "Where are all the clothes that were in the living room?"

"Also in the dryer. I did check the labels, so I won't be held responsible if something shrinks," Dom said lightly.

"You washed my sheets and my clothes?" The lines on his forehead deepened, and he closed his eyes. "Aw, fuck. What the hell am I doing, Dom?" he asked miserably. "What the bloody sodding fucking cunting arsing hell am I doing?"

"Showing off your vocabulary?" Dom said with a gentle smile. "Don't worry about it right now, Billy. Keep it light today, remember? Time enough tomorrow for you to wait on me hand and foot to make up for one little load of washing, yeah? Go on, go to sleep." He rubbed his hand lightly on Billy's chest, just below his collarbone. "I'll wake you for dinner."

"You can't make dinner, too--"

"Oh, so I'm not allowed to eat, now? Just what kind of motel are you running here, Boyd?" he teased.

"No, no," Billy moaned. "Of course you can eat, just--"

"You're so easy to wind up when you're hung over, Bills. Would you just shut it and go to sleep?"

"Just a little nap. Don't want to sleep long." His voice was already starting to slur.

"Okay. Just a little nap," Dom repeated. "And when you wake, you'll feel much better, I promise. Everything's going to be fine, Bills, so just relax and go to sleep." Suspecting he might already be out, Dom stood carefully, rearranged the duvet to make sure Billy was completely covered, lowered the blind on the window, and noiselessly left.




An hour and a half later, Billy wandered into the living room, dressed for the first time that day.

"Hey," Dom smiled at him. "Feel any better?"

"Marginally. Is the paracetamol still in the kitchen?"

"Yeah."

He disappeared again, only to return a few minutes later with a glass of water. He sat in the armchair. "Keep yourself amused while I was passed out?"

"Oh yeah, I've been fine. It's actually been nice to hide out here, have a quiet day, and know that hardly anyone on the planet knows where I am," Dom admitted a little sheepishly.

"Yeah," Billy smiled a tiny, almost sad little smile. "I won't give you away while you're here."

Dom watched him closely. "I know you won't. Why would you?"

Billy shrugged and looked away. "I don't really know what I meant. Just ... hide all you like, I suppose. I'll probably hide with you."

"That sounds nice," Dom replied, turning his gaze back to the TV. "It's been a while since it's been you and me, without the rest of the world barging in, hasn't it?"

"I don't know if we've ever had that, have we?" Billy's voice was quiet, almost as if he was speaking to himself, but Dom answered anyway.

"Not often, no. But we have. We had those three days after New Year last year. And the week in Lisbon. Although, I guess there were others around, weren't there, even if they were friends, but still ...  And we had that week in New Zealand." Dom debated clarifying what he was talking about, that week when they had been waiting for filming and spent every minute together and very nearly--after all, it was a few years ago now. But judging by the shuddery, indrawn breath from the armchair, a reminder was unnecessary. Recalling too late that he had suggested they keep things light for the day, Dom blithely continued. "Too bad we can't go surfing like we did then, innit? Although we could go and play pool easily enough. And I was thinking about your suggestion of going on a bit of a road trip, I was looking at the map. Could we get to Dunvegan and back in one day, do you think?"

Billy opened his mouth, then closed it again. Cleared his throat. "Ehm--not easily, no. We'd have to ... have to stay over for a night, probably."

"Well, let's think about that for a few days, then. Maybe we could just do a trip out for a day, for now. What's up the coast that would make for a good day out?"

"The coast ... " Billy sounded lost. "Dom--"

"Just a nice drive, Bills," he said warmly. "Just you and me, and you can show me this country you keep insisting you can't leave, yeah?"

But Billy closed his eyes, muttered, "Oh, fucking hell. Goddammit."

"No, Billy, don't," Dom said lowly, urgently. "Don't. Not today. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to--look, maybe we'd better leave the idea of the trip for now. We can talk about it later, okay? Come on, why don't we go for a little walk, get some fresh air. We can go and rent a couple of films. What do you say, Bills? Shall we rent a couple of slasher films for tonight, see if we can't scare the pants off of ourselves?"

Billy leaned forward, his elbows on his knees, the heels of his palms pressed to his forehead. He nodded wordlessly.

"All right. I'm just going to go and borrow the gents in this motel, and then we'll head out, yeah? Rent a couple of films so we don't have to pay for the bad porn--and now I'm just going to shut my fucking mouth, how about that?" Dom said despairingly, muttering to himself as he walked down the hall, glad to hear Billy snort in reluctant amusement. "Always have to take a joke that one step too far, don't you, Monaghan? Comedic timing my arse." He was relieved to hear Billy give a low chuckle, just as Dom closed the door to the bathroom.

Chapter 6