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Title: You're A Map Of A Place Maybe Someday I'll Go Ch. 8/22
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 to buckle_berry for the fabulous 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, 5, 6, 7


First posted June, 2006



"It's beautiful around here, Bill," Dom marveled, craning his head to look up at the mountains that rose up practically from the road. "I mean, we've seen some stunning sights in our travels, but this really is different, you know? It feels different, somehow. Maybe beautiful is the wrong word, because it's ... a bit harsh, isn't it? But God, it gets you right in the gut."

"Yeah," Billy agreed simply, smiling.

"And the names--bloody hell, I'm fine with Birdfield or Castleton, but how the blazes do you say that?" Dom pointed in disbelief to an approaching road sign.

"Auchindarrach? Ach, it's not that hard."

"Maybe not for someone who actually says 'ach'," Dom snorted. "Do you have a map I can look at? You don't have to tell me where we're going, I just want to see if I can figure out some of these names."

"In the pocket on the door."

Dom pulled the ordnance map out and unfolded it on his lap, giving most of his attention to the scenery passing by, but glancing down every once in a while. "All right, so we're coming up to ... oh bugger. Lochgil--fead?" he tried.

"Close," Billy allowed. "Here's a hint--the water down there is Loch Gilp. We are coming to the end of the loch, or the--"

"Head," Dom finished, nodding. "Lochgilphead."

"Nearly perfect," Billy grinned.

"Look at that cottage, Bills," Dom suddenly said, pointing out the windscreen toward Billy's side. "That's fucking brilliant, that is. I'll probably end up living most of my life in city flats, but if I can ever have a second place, I want one just like that." He watched the small white, tile-roofed, multi-chimneyed cottage as long as he could keep it in sight.

Billy watched Dom as much as he could without driving off the road. With manufactured skepticism, he said, "You? The man who eats takeaway three nights a week? The man who has to go to the cinema at least once every fortnight? The man who likes going clubbing until all hours?" He turned off onto the exit for the A816.

"I know. That's why it would be a second place," Dom grinned. "The city until I got sick of it, bugger off to the cottage until the noise of frogs and crickets drove me mad, head back to the city, rinse and repeat."

Billy chuckled. "Well, as long as you've got it all figured out."

"Totally. I'll buy myself green wellies and a down-filled vest and brown corduroy trousers and I'll say things like 'ach' and 'bugger off my property, ye cuntybaws!'" Dom imitated Billy's accent perfectly.

Billy laughed delightedly. "So you do occasionally listen to me! I'll make a Scotsman out of you yet, my lad."

Chuckling, Dom glanced down at the map, and his eyes widened. "Not so fast, Bills. I think I just failed the Boyd Academy. Up ahead is," he took a deep breath, "Achna--Achnasel--no that's not right. Achnashelloch?"

"Good work, Mr. Monaghan, you pulled it out of the fire."

"You mean I said it right?" Dom asked, surprised.

"Mostly. A bit off, but by the end of today you'll be rolling these off of your tongue with no problem," Billy averred.

"If you say so. I think I'll wait until then to try this one." He held the map where Billy could see it, held it still while Billy glanced down to where his index finger pointed out the name he'd been looking at.

Billy laughed when he saw Dom's finger beside Loch Gaineamhach. "We'll work on that one, yeah."




Billy turned off the A816 onto the B844.

Dom looked up from the map. "Ah ha--a B road. We must be getting close, if you're taking secondary roads."

"Excellent detective work, Dr. Watson."

"And you're Sherlock Holmes, I suppose?"

"But of course. Older and wiser, as I should be." Billy glanced over at the map. "So, have you figured out where we're going yet?"

"Was Holmes older than Watson?" Dom pondered. "I always thought he was younger, and just far more brilliant and intuitive than the staid, stuffy old Watson--"

"Stuff this, wanker."

Dom grinned. "See? I am good at code. You obviously got that one with no trouble." He looked down at the map again. "Well, seeing as this road doesn't seem to lead to too much except the island of Seil, I'm going to guess we're headed there."

"Once again, I am astounded by your deductive reasoning. And as theories go, it's definitely a front-runner."

"So why are we going to the island?" Dom folded the map up and stowed it back in the door pocket, smiling at the quaintness of the tiny town they were passing through.

"We're not," Billy said cheerfully.

Dom's head swiveled. "We're not? But--you said--"

"I said your theory was a front-runner, I didn't say it was leading the pack," he grinned.

"I hate you."

"No you don't. You love me."

Dom said, "So you keep telling me." But what he really wanted to say was more along the lines of, "Why yes, Billy, as a matter of fact I do love you, truly madly deeply to coin a phrase, so why don't we head to this island of yours that we're actually not heading to at all and kick everyone off and take it over for the day so I can spend the afternoon making love to you on a bed of purple heather with the sea birds keening overhead, and then we'll have a little bite to eat before you tell me how much you love me while you fuck me into next week."

"Dom?"

He came back to himself with a sudden horror that maybe he'd said all that out loud, but the fact that Billy hadn't driven the car off the road was reassuring. But he was looking at Dom a little oddly. "Yeah, Billy?"

"Are you all right? You had the strangest look on your face ... "

"Did I?" Dom swallowed, then shrugged. "I'm fine."

"What were you thinking?"

"I was--just wondering if there's any heather on the island."

Billy looked at him sideways. "Riiiiight."

"No, really, I was," Dom protested.

"Okay, Dom, if you say so." Billy turned the car into a small graveled car park. "We're here. Well," he amended, "the first here. We probably won't stay all that long."

Dom looked out the window. "I shouldn't think so. There's nothing here but a bridge." He quickly added, "I mean, it's a very nice bridge and all, really quite lovely--"

"Give it a rest," Billy chuckled. "Yes, it's just a bridge, but I thought this particular bridge might appeal to that persistent little whimsical streak of yours." He climbed out of the car and stretched.

Dom scrambled to follow, being sure to grab the camera. "Why this particular bridge?" He caught up to Billy, handed his camera to him, walked beside him down to the edge of the watercourse spanned by the single high stone arch.

"Well, I could wish it stretched just a little bit further, but ... " Billy paused, mulling something over, then seemed to almost give himself a little shake. "The water?" He gestured along with his hand.

Dom looked down at it--flowing fairly well--and puzzled, said, "Yeah?"

"It's the Atlantic Ocean. This is the bridge over the Atlantic."

Dom looked at it with a growing sense of enchantment. "Really?"

"Yes," Billy smiled, watching him.

"Bridge over the Atlantic," he murmured, trying the sound out for himself. "That's fantastic, I love it. It belongs in a book. A fairytale."

Billy unobtrusively lifted the camera and snapped a picture of the faraway look on Dom's face.




Billy kneeled on his seat to reach into the back and root around in the bags, and Dom did his level best not to gawk at Billy's arse. It was a bit of a losing battle, really.

"Cold pasty or two day-old ham and cheese?" Billy asked him, voice laboured, strained from the headrest of his seat digging into his stomach. "Hurry up, Dom, this is fucking uncomfortable."

"You could have just opened the back door, idiot. I'll have a bag of crisps."

Billy yanked a foil bag of crisps out and tossed it behind him. They landed on the dashboard. With a grunt and a groan, he grabbed his own food and a bottle of Coke, and turned back around in his seat. "Ah, bugger. I think I bruised something," he groused, rubbing his ribs.

"Poor Bills," Dom grinned.

"Cheeky sod. Why just a bag of crisps, aren't you hungry?"

Dom looked down at the stale sandwich in Billy's hand and his nose wrinkled. "I'm still not sure why we had to bring those. Couldn't we have just stopped for fresh?"

"You're the one who bought them," Billy pointed out.

"They were supposed to be eaten yesterday. Not my fault if someone was too hung over."

"That's right, rub it in. Fine, I'll eat them as my penance, all right? Happy now?" he asked grumpily.

Dom reached over and soothingly patted his leg. "My poor tight-arsed--I mean, frugal--Billy. You're so hard done by, aren't you?"

"I am." Billy took a bite of his sandwich, chewed, swallowed, put it back in its packaging and tossed it into the back seat. "Give me some of your crisps?"

"So much for penance." Dom held the bag out. "Can you grab those cheese twists? They looked good."

A few minutes later, with a variety of crisps, twists, and sweets on their laps and bottles of Coke in hand, Billy and Dom settled back for a gloriously unhealthy feast, parked by the bridge over the Atlantic. "Cheese twist?" Billy grinned, holding the box out.

"Don't mind if I do." Dom pulled one out, sniffed it, took a bite. "Yeah, those'll do nicely. This isn't quite the decent meal I was going to make you eat, though."

Billy turned slightly sideways in his seat so he could look over at Dom without having to turn his head so sharply, waited while Dom followed suit. "You were going to make me eat a decent meal?"

"Well, yeah. You've been eating like shite, so--"

"Says who?" he frowned.

"Ehm--you did. You said you hadn't been arsed to cook, so you hadn't really eaten much. And then you were sick, and you didn't manage much yesterday--"

Billy wouldn't meet his eyes. He crunched a crisp, muttering, "When did I say that?"

"When you were pie-eyed. How about we find a good restaurant for dinner tonight?" Dom suggested. "My treat. I'll buy you a good meal in return for the personally guided tour of Scotland."

"Dom, you don't have to--"

"I know. I want to. Let me take you out for dinner tonight, yeah?" he said earnestly.

The corner of Billy's mouth quirked. "I did have a good breakfast this morning. Or are you asking me out on a date? Because I don't put out on a first date, you know."

Dom nearly spit out the mouthful of Coke he'd just swigged back. He carefully swallowed, then casually said, "Good thing it's not our first date, then."

"Really?" Billy craned his neck to look up at the sky through the windscreen, watching a bird wheel high overhead. "Odd. You'd think I would remember something like a date with you."

"You'd think. Anyone else I've taken out on a date has considered it an unforgettable experience."

"So remind me."

"Oh, there've been so many, I don't know where to start," Dom said breezily. "Let's see. Well, our very first date was the day I met you, and you took me to Fidel's and bought me lunch--"

"We had to get to know each other, it was lunchtime, and you'd been wobble-brained enough to come to New Zealand with no local currency whatsoever!"

"--and the time I flew you to Berlin, and you rather let your feelings show--"

Billy snorted. "Since when did you fly me? I don't recall seeing your name anywhere on the ticket, New Line picked up the tab and you know it. And you looked even more lovesick than I did, you twat--" he stopped abruptly, then said, "I--you--"

Dom stilled. More lovesick? Implying Billy had been as well? And he knew Billy was now wondering if Dom had wanted him even then. He hesitated for a second, trying to decide what to do, and then thought that maybe this was a bit too much for right now, right here.

"And then, of course," he continued, working up a little cheerfulness, "There was the time I took you to that big bash in L.A., and went all out--the valet parking, walking in on that posh red carpet, being escorted to our seats, all the rich and famous people we were rubbing elbows with, and we even won a door prize--"

It took a bit of obvious effort, but Billy matched his tone of playfulness. "Door prize? It was a fucking Oscar, you gobshite! And I like how suddenly it was you who took me to the Academy Awards--"

"So, you see," Dom went on blithely, "We've been out on a lot of dates, those were just the highlights. And really, considering the amount of time and effort and dosh I've laid out for you, I think I've been quite patient about you not putting out, and I think it's high time you considered maybe changing that state of affairs."

"Well, I'm going to have to think about this, Dom," Billy prevaricated with a spot-on bit of maidenly shyness, "I mean, it's all so sudden--"

"Sudden? Six bloody years is sudden? Good God, I'd hate to see what happens if you take your time!" Dom exclaimed, then popped a sherbet lemon in his mouth with a grin.

"Six years?" Billy said softly. "Has it really been six years?"

"Six years this August." Dom smiled at him fondly.

"Wow." He sat back with a nostalgic huff of a sigh.

"Yeah."

"Dom?" Billy looked down at his fingers, picking at the label on his bottle of Coke.

"Yeah?"

"Do you remember ... "

"What?" Dom asked, but fancied he knew, although he thought it was probably just wishful thinking. He was surprised to discover it wasn't.

"That week."

"The one famous for its lack of filming?" he said lightly, his stomach bursting into a storm of butterflies.

"Yeah."

"Yeah, Bills, I remember it. Almost one of the best weeks of my life."

Billy raised an eyebrow but still didn't lift his eyes from his fingers. "Almost?"

"Almost. We've never talked about that week, have we?"

"No."

Dom looked out the windscreen, looked over to the bridge. "I always kind of wanted to. But ... "

"But?" Billy asked.

He shrugged. "Time just never seemed right, did it? Busy filming, busy leaving, busy premiere-hopping ... busy moving in with people."

Billy flinched, even though he had to know by the tone of voice that Dom hadn't meant it harshly. "So why was it only 'almost'?"

"Because you and I were only 'almost'," he admitted quietly, a little embarrassed.

"Dom--" Billy whispered, anguished. "Have you--since ... ?"

"Do you really want to talk about this right now? Today? It--it can wait for a while, you know." Dom didn't actually know which would be better, finally coming out and saying he'd been at least half in love with Billy for nearly five years now, that his pint-sized longing had never ever gone away, or putting off such an emotional admission until they were both a little more prepared. And not sitting in a rather cramped car beside a narrow ocean sound with nowhere to go, no matter what the result. He suddenly felt claustrophobic. "Never mind. I don't want to," he forced out, and had his door open and was out of the car before Billy could even speak.

Dom hurried away from the car, toward the bridge; he crossed the road, went down the embankment a bit, and leaned against the stonework where he couldn't be seen from the other side. Shaking a little from ... well, he didn't know what, really. Just nerves, he supposed. And he began to have a vociferous argument with himself in his head.

Because why the hell had he just run away? It was Billy who was supposed to be afraid, tentative, unsure. Dom was damn sure if his affections were returned, if he actually had the chance to kiss, to feel, to touch Billy the way he wanted to, that he would fall completely in love with him so hard and so fast he'd never resurface again, so what the fuck was his problem, why run away when they were maybe heading toward that?

Because, the other side of his brain pointed out, and Dom wondered if perhaps he was going a little mad because he would swear that this side of his brain sounded like a rather disdainful Jeremy Irons, but maybe that was something to worry about at another time, yeah Monaghan? And Dom snorted, and relaxed against the wall a bit, crossing his arms on his chest as his eyes followed the watercourse into the near distance.

Because, the Jeremy Irons side of his brain said, with a touch of annoyance at being interrupted, if he had the chance to kiss and touch Billy the way he wanted to, he'd fall so hard and so fast, he'd never resurface again.

Which was what he'd just--oh.

Exactly, said Jeremy Irons. And they were only maybe heading toward that. Was he willing to live with it if he fell hopelessly in love with Billy and Billy decided to walk away? Right now it was a pint-sized longing, it was tolerable, he could comfortably hold that in for the rest of his life and still be happy, just like he had up until this trip. But if that pint spilled over any more than it already had, if it flooded him and swept him away--well, that couldn't be held in, could it?

Like damming up the Atlantic, Dom thought.

Exactly, said Jeremy Irons.

"Dom?" Billy approached him cautiously. "All right, there, Dom?"

Dom smiled up at him, if a little weakly, and Billy's caution disappeared. He made his way down to lean against the stone wall of the bridge beside Dom. They both looked out over the narrow stretch of ocean.

"Do you ever have an argument with yourself inside your head?" Dom asked in a remarkably normal voice.

"Sure. Everyone does."

"And do you actually hear it? You know, the voices in your head laying out the two sides, weighing the pros and cons, whatever?"

Billy thought for a moment. "Yeah, sort of. You could say that, I guess."

"Sort of. That's what I thought. Yeah--just so you know, Bill, it's entirely possible that I'm cracking up. I don't think insanity runs in the family, but there's a definite possibility that I'll be a complete raving lunatic within a few years. Prime strait-jacket candidate."

Dom didn't look over, but he could hear the smile in Billy's voice. "What makes you think so?"

"I just had an argument with myself. A logical, fully realised argument complete with interruptions and sarcasm and Billy, I swear to God the other side sounded like Jeremy Irons and he was sorely fed up with me."

A laugh gurgled in Billy's throat and he clamped a hand over his mouth.

"No, go ahead, laugh," Dom said resignedly. "I'm completely crackers, aren't I? I am. Right around the twist."

"Ah, Dom, sometimes you're just ... " Billy chuckled.

"Insane? Go on, you can say it."

"Not quite the word I was searching for. 'Refreshing' is closer, I think."

"Then again, maybe it's something in the water, because I think you're cracking up too."

Billy huffed a laugh, leaned sideways to bump Dom's shoulder with his own. "I mean it. I can't see myself being staid or stuffy with you around."

"Not so much Watson?" Dom asked with a barely there smile.

"Not so much Watson, thank God." He paused, then quietly but still with a smile said, "Care to tell me what you and Jeremy Irons were arguing about?"

Dom snorted. "Fuck, it sounds even more insane when you say it."

"Relax, Dom, you're not insane," he grinned. "You're just ... highly imaginative."

"So you say. You're not the one who has Jeremy Irons getting snarky in your head."

"Sounds like it could be rather amusing, actually. So what was the argument about?"

"Bugger," Dom sighed. "It was--I have--fuck." He kicked at a rock in front of him.

"Want to walk?" Billy asked, watching him.

Dom pushed off the wall in answer and they climbed back to the top of the bank, walking along it while Dom struggled with what to say. "I have this little marmalade jar inside me. A pint jar."

"Marmalade jar?" Billy said, confused.

"No, don't interrupt, or I'll never get through this."

"Sorry," he said quietly, and Dom felt gentle fingers on the back of his shoulder for a moment in support.

Dom thought if he was the crying sort, that probably would have done it. As it was, his throat tightened a bit. "I have this jar," he said finally. "And in it is ... is everything that ... that started that week in New Zealand. And it all fits in the jar, I don't even need to put a lid on the jar, it's the perfect size to hold everything. But every once in a while I feel, if I spend a lot of time with you, or, or if I'm missing my best mate something fierce ... then the jar can't quite hold it all, and there's a little overflow, a little spill, an inch of water on the floor." Dom paused to scrub his hands through his hair, and he drew in, held, and released a huge breath. "But now there's ... this. This path you're walking. And Jeremy bloody Irons felt the need to point out to me that ... that while you're walking your path and we're--we're being adventurous ...  What if my marmalade jar overflows, floods me, sweeps me under?" Dom said with rush. "And what if you come to the end of your path, and it leads you elsewhere? I'll be awash, swept out to sea, pulled under and ... I will very likely drown."

"Dom ... " Billy's voice was low, distressed. They found their way forward impeded by a thick gorse hedge, and without breaking stride turned and began walking back toward the bridge. "I don't want that to happen any more than you and Jeremy bloody Irons do. I don't want you to drown, Dom. How do I--how do we keep that from happening? Should I--maybe I should pick my way down the path by myself, and just, you know, tell you at the end where I find myself? Not make you watch and wait and have your--your jar fill beyond what it can hold. I don't want you getting hurt, Dom." Dom made a small noise, whether of refusal or denial or just a groan he didn't know, but Billy quickly said, "I'm not saying I think you're going to be hurt. I just ... I don't want to risk it. I don't want to risk you."

"But I do!" Dom finally cried and even as he said it, he realised it was nothing more than truth. "Don't you see? I have to believe your path is going to wind up at my jar and I know that's a fucked up little analogy but I'm here and we're half-saying all these things and I think it's too late, I think the tide is already rising but you know what, Bill? I don't care. I want to dive right in and let it swamp me because I don't think there's any other alternative left to me but to swim while you walk, and I don't know, maybe I think if I keep swimming your path will lead down to the beach and you'll see me and you'll decide the ocean looks pretty damned inviting and you'll swim out to me and bloody hell I don't know what the fuck I'm saying anymore, suddenly we've gone from being people to being goddamned seals!"

Billy couldn't help one little snort of a laugh. "We're letting this get way too complicated, you know that? We're dating, we're Holmes and Watson, we're a jar and a path and Jeremy Irons and selkies." Suddenly he didn't look amused anymore. "Fuck it. Just bloody fuck it." They arrived back at the car, and Billy pushed Dom up against the door and stood squarely in front of him.

"Billy--" Dom's voice shook.

"No. Listen to me."

"Bill--"

"I said listen to me, Dom," he said sharply. "I'm going to stop fucking around. I'm going to stop being all shy and mysterious and pulling metaphors out of my arse. I'm going to come straight out and tell you--"

"Don't--" Dom flattened himself against the car, afraid of what was coming, afraid of what he would do.

"--that for the past five years I've wondered. I've wondered what would have been different if I hadn't backed away from you, danced around it, twinkletoed my way up and down and around and everywhere but toward you. And you seemed to move on so I did too, and I set you aside and you were the best mate a bloke could ever have and I met Ali and I fell a little in love with her and I made myself believe it was a grand lifelong passion when it wasn't, and you're a persistent bastard, Dominic, you'd worked your way into me like a burr that I couldn't pull out but I ignored it, I ignored it until finally Ali grabbed me and made me look at it, look at you, look at whether or not I loved you, wanted you, needed you. I didn't know, not until you got here and I looked at you and I saw something in you I'd been blind to and it seemed like you were trying to tell me something. And I've been ignoring things and dancing around them so long that I can't see clearly, and that's why this is taking me so long, I need to trust that I'm seeing clearly before I can--"

Dom fisted his hands in Billy's jumper, hauled him in, and kissed him hard and fast, lips pressed flush against Billy's and nose digging into his cheek.

Billy whimpered in the very back of his throat and crumpled against Dom, and when Dom felt Billy's arms steal around him, he knew he was being swept out to sea, and he surrendered to it gladly. It was warm, it surrounded him and stole his breath and buoyed him up and made him want to frolic and cavort in the waves, and then he was leaning his forehead against Billy's and laughing quietly, his breath a puff of summer humidity on Billy's skin. "I really am a selkie," he murmured unevenly.

"Dom ... " Billy's voice shook.

"Are you okay, Bills?" he asked softly.

"No ... yes. I need to sit down," he admitted, sounding dazed.

"Yeah, I think I need to as well. Let's get in the car?"

"Yeah."

Billy stepped back, letting Dom stand up straight, and he smiled bemusedly as Dom opened the driver's side door for him before circling the vehicle to his own side.

Dom climbed in, pushing the remnants of their junk food lunch out of his way, and the second he could, the very instant Billy started to turn towards him, Dom had the fingers of one hand buried in Billy's hair as the other hand cupped his cheek and guided him closer, and he kissed him again, this time softly, sweetly, and slowly. He could feel Billy hesitate--not pull away, so Dom didn't let him go--but then finally he was kissing Dom back, smooth lips warm and tender and Dom felt his breath catch and his stomach flip-flop and he was drowning but really, he didn't mind one bit. When Billy's mouth opened and his tongue darted out to wetly, lightly flick at Dom's lips asking entry, Dom didn't know what to do first--melt, tear Billy's clothes off and lick his way down his body, or shout with delight. He hazily decided the last two might interfere with the kiss and if he had his way nothing was going to interfere with the kiss until the end of time, or maybe three days after the end of time, so he simply melted into Billy, wrapping an arm around his neck, his elbow crooked around Billy's neck, and he breathed a gentle sound of joy into Billy's mouth.

Dom lost himself in the sheer pleasure of kissing Billy. Really, the man had an extraordinary tongue, and it was something Dom had never considered before, not in terms of kissing, anyway. Of course he'd fantasized once or twice about what Billy's tongue might be capable of, but that was with regard to another activity altogether, and Dom decided he really should not have thought about that at this particular moment in time because now that he knew how precise and flexible and strong and slick Billy's tongue was, he could fantasize all the more clearly, and he didn't realise he was moaning into Billy's mouth until Billy's palms flattened on the small of his back and wrenched him closer. Dom discovered two things simultaneously. The first one was that Billy growling in the back of his throat was quite possibly the hottest, most erotic thing on the bloody planet. And the second was that a handbrake to the groin was a painful thing.

"Fuckity buggering fuck!" he shouted, doubling over, his face nearly in Billy's lap, and if he hadn't been busy trying not to weep from the atrociously sharp pain, he would have fallen about laughing over the way Billy tried to scramble away.

Billy was quick to realise there was something going on other than a desire on Dom's part to nuzzle his privates. "Dom? What's wrong? What is it?"

"Fucking sodding buggering cunting handbrake!"

"Ah, fuck," he said with great sympathy and a little guilt. "God, I'm sorry, Dom, I didn't mean to--"

Dom barked out a laugh that thanks to the throbbing smarting ache in his crotch came out more like a squeak. "I should hope not," he gasped. "You want it all in working order, don't you?"

"Well, if I'm going to be putting out for you, you'd better be able to take advantage of it, yes," he said with a grin, surprising Dom to no end. Billy shifted over a bit in his seat so Dom--still huddled over--could rest his head on his thigh, and he put a hand on his back and rubbed it firmly. "Are you going to be all right? Or should I be hightailing it to the nearest shop for some ice?"

"No, I'll be okay," he moaned pathetically. "Eventually. Some day. Jesus, Boyd, one kiss with you and I'm curled up in an agonized ball. Do you have this effect on everyone, or am I just lucky?"

"You're just lucky, I guess," he chuckled. "I am sorry, Dom. But look at it this way--at least you'll be unlikely to forget our first kiss."

Dom uncurled enough to look up at Billy. "As if I could."

Billy's smile faded, but softly, and he gazed at Dom's mouth for a moment before bending over awkwardly to kiss him. Their mouths didn't match up, it was too odd an angle, and yet Dom wouldn't have stopped it for the world. He realised it wasn't just the kiss itself, it was the way Billy surrounded all his senses. Billy tasted like Coke and the ocean and tangy spicy sugar and heat, and Dom wasn't quite sure how heat tasted, but he rather imagined it tasted a bit like Billy.

To Dom's disappointment, Billy sat up, and the grimace on his face and tipped Dom off to the fact that it had been awfully uncomfortable position for him. They continued to watch each other, though, and Dom noticed for the first time the gentle fingers in his hair. "So what now?" he asked.

Billy's face took on a slightly pained expression. "I--I don't know just yet, Dom. This has all come at a bit of a running leap for me, you know? I--"

Dom smiled up at him fondly. "No, Bills. Today. Where are we going next? Home?"

"Oh--ehm--no--that is to say--" he stammered, then took a deep breath and got hold of himself. "Sorry. I had been thinking of going further up the coast. But it's up to you, if you feel like heading back, that's a good option too."

"Up the coast sounds perfect. I don't think I want to go back to the real world just yet. I'm enjoying our day."

"Except for the handbrake to the man-tackle?" Billy asked wryly, and Dom laughed out loud.

"Except for that, yeah." He paused, and then sniggered, "Man-tackle?"

"I heard Viggo say that a few times. It struck me as funny."

"I don't want to know what was in that tackle box he took fishing, then." He sat up with a grimace and a bit of a grunt.

"Sure you're all right?"

"Yeah, fine. It's just going to smart for a bit." He looked over at Billy. "I'm not sorry I kissed you. But I'm sorry if I pushed you."

Billy smiled. "I'm not sorry you kissed me, either."

"It's just--what you were saying. Didn't think I'd ever hear that, you know? Even if you were still hedging."

"Hedging? And here I thought I was being straightforward in finally saying anything at all." He stuck his lower lip out in a mock pout.

Dom darted in and drew Billy's lip between his, nibbling it gently, felt a twinge in his groin as his blood rushed to points south after hearing and feeling Billy softly moan. With an effort he pulled away. His voice was husky as he murmured, "You said you weren't seeing things clearly. So I kissed you. Anything clearer now?"

"A few things, yes," he breathed.

"Good. And just a point for future reference?"

"What?"

"Keep making those sounds when I kiss you and Rangers will be winning the Scottish Cup today. Because I've never heard anything quite so fucking sexy."

Billy flushed, but looked pleased. "Better even than 'rum-butter dark liquid gold'?"

"Intensely better. Insanely better. Mind-bendingly better."

"Okay, I get the point," he chuckled, but then sobered again. "Not sure I'm ready for Rangers to win the Cup today, though."

"No," Dom agreed with a quirk to his lips. "Give them a bit more time on the pitch before match day, yeah?"

Billy snorted ruefully. "Yeah."

Dom couldn't help himself. He leaned forward and kissed Billy, already wanting--practically needing--to taste him again, and that spicy sweet heat left him nearly breathless. The feel of Billy's fingers ghosting over his face, along his jaw, sliding down his throat and around to the back of his neck, made him quiver, made him hum little sounds of pleasure, made him vocalise the quicksilver thrill that sparkled up his spine.

Billy wrenched away, breathing heavily. "You might want to--to take your own advice," he growled.

"What's that, Bills?" Dom reached for him, only to have Billy catch his wrists and hold him off.

"Stop making those fucking erotic noises before I start tearing your clothes off right here and now." He lifted one of Dom's wrists, turning his hand inward to place a hot, open-mouthed kiss on Dom's palm.

"Bloody hell--" Dom whispered, growing almost painfully hard. But then he gave himself a mental shake, took a deep, shuddery breath, and said as evenly as he could, "As much as I want you, as much as I want to touch you and feel you touch me, as much as I want to do all sorts of lascivious things to your body--" He didn't flinch when Billy's grip on his wrists tightened. "I seriously do not want to fuck this up. We're not doing anything until you are unequivocally sure that it's what you want, and that it's not just your lonely and desperate man-tackle talking. Understood?"

Billy was surprised into a snort of laughter. He dropped his head for a moment, then looked back up with a half-smile. "Understood. And thank you." He let go of Dom's wrists to reach out with one hand and brush the backs of his fingers down Dom's cheek. "You're quite lovely, you know. You look happy."

"I am."

"Lovely or happy?" Billy softly teased.

"Well, I don't know if I'd say lovely, the nose kind of buggers that up. More ruggedly handsome, I think. But yes, I'm happy." Dom looked at him for a moment, wondering if he should continue. Decided he would. "I've wanted to know for five years what you taste like. And you taste even better than I thought you would."

"Don't--don't--" Billy began, then slowly said, "It scares me a bit, you know?"

Dom's brow puckered. "What does?"

"You."

"I scare you?"

"How happy you look," he clarified. "I'm so afraid of hurting you, Dom."

Dom sat back in his seat, opening up a bit more space between them, but still facing Billy squarely. "I'm afraid of getting hurt too," he said honestly. "I don't want me to get hurt, I don't want you to get hurt, and I don't want to bollocks up the best friendship I've ever had in my life. But neither do I want to be so afraid that I pass up on ... " he hesitated, not sure which words to use. "What this could be," he finished a little lamely.

Billy searched his eyes, then looked away. "And what could this be?" He watched a car travel over the bridge.

Dom opened his mouth, then closed it again. Somehow the conversation had shifted sideways, and he was having trouble finding his equilibrium. "What--what do you want to know, Billy?"

"I want to know what you think this could be." His voice was tight.

"I'll answer if you want me to. But you sound like you might want me to back off--I mean, back up a bit. Do you want that, Bills?" Dom asked gently. "It's okay if you do."

Billy was silent for a moment. "Just for a while," he finally said. "I've been--been looking at now. I didn't even think about--ahead. Not really. And I think I'm just freaking myself out a bit."

Dom chuckled sympathetically. "Yeah. I know that feeling. But you don't have to look ahead right now, Bill. Let's just deal with today, with this week, okay? There's time enough to look ahead." He watched as Billy looked down, then returned his gaze to something outside the car.

"But ... what if--"

Dom took a guess, based on what he was worrying about a little himself. "What if now looks good but ahead doesn't?"

"Yeah."

He knew a shrug was pointless since Billy wasn't even looking at him, but he shrugged anyway. "That's sort of the problem, or a question at least, for most of our lives, isn't it? We make choices every day, and we very seldom ever know how they're going to turn out down the road. All we can do is make the best choice we can with what we know and how we feel now. You know that. In fact, I think you're the one who told me that, once. There are no guarantees for us, Bill." Dom wondered with a vague sense of dread if he was shooting himself in the foot.

"Us," Billy repeated quietly.

Dom cringed. "Listen, Bills," he said in a bit of a rush, "I'm backing up a bit, so why don't you just, you know, not think about it for a while, and we'll continue our road trip, and you'll find some posh restaurant that'll let us in even in our jeans because you're Scotland's beloved son at the moment--"

"Dom--" Billy tried to stop him, but Dom didn't want to hear it, didn't want to hear him say that he couldn't do it, it was too much with no guarantee.

"--and I'll buy you that decent meal I promised you, and I won't even take the piss and make rude noises if you order haggis, and then we'll--"

"Dom--"

"--do whatever you had in mind next, or we could go home if you want, maybe go down the pub and play some pool, it's been a while since I've whipped your arse--"

Billy leaned across, reached over and grabbed Dom, hauling him in to stop his mouth with a kiss.

It began hard and demanding, short-circuiting Dom's brain as Billy's frustration left the imprint of his teeth on Dom's lip, and Dom made a noise that Billy must have interpreted as some sort of protest because he suddenly gentled. He kissed Dom softly, slowly, as if he would memorise every tiny detail of Dom's mouth and tongue and lips, and he did it with such obvious gladness that Dom, who had been trying to claw his way onto some sort of self-preserving life raft, found himself letting go to be swept away by the flood once more.

Finally Billy lifted his mouth from Dom's, but his hands didn't slacken their grip, and he leaned their foreheads together. His mouth curved upward. "That seems to be a good way to shut you up."

"Rather effective, yes," Dom managed, staring at Billy's mouth. "It--it kind of defeats the purpose of me backing up, though, if you jump my bones."

"You backed up too far. Ridiculously too far. Besides," Billy breathed, "That was hardly jumping your bones. Wait until you put out for me, then you'll see jumping your bones."

"Wait until--" Dom nearly choked. "I think--I think I'm a bit lost here, Bill. I thought you were freaking yourself out?"

"I was. I still am a bit," he admitted. "But you said something that really helped."

"I did?" Dom's forehead creased as the tried to think back. "What?"

"Us."

"I--I don't get it." Dom leaned his head back so he could see Billy's eyes more clearly, see his face. He thought he'd been off-balance before when things had shifted sideways--that was nothing compared to his sense of vertigo now that things had turned upside-down.

"I don't either, to be honest," Billy smiled at him. "But the way you said 'us', it--I guess I'd been thinking in terms of me, and of you, and not in terms of us, and it sounds good, Dom. It sounds right. Don't you think?"

"What are you saying, Billy?"

"I'm not sure. Nothing just yet. But ... 'us' doesn't sound weird. Dunno why."

"Because we've always been us," Dom said truthfully. "Since day one it's been you and me, us, we, Dom'n'Billy--"

"Billy'n'Dom."

"If you insist," he chuckled. "This is just--a new version, a variation, a 'new and improved product', if you will. That's how it feels to me. You said--how did you say it?" Dom scrunched his eyes up, trying to remember. "Foreign but familiar. And I know you're still getting used to the idea, but for me the foreign part isn't weird, it isn't scary, it's just--exciting. It's uncharted, but exhilarating."

"Virgin territory? So to speak," Billy added dryly.

"Yeah. So to speak," Dom grinned.

Billy seemed to realise that he was still holding on to Dom fairly tightly, and he forced his hands to loosen, then let go. He sat back and gusted a sigh. "So. For the rest of the day, let's make believe."

"Make believe what, Bills?"

"Make believe ... none of this is as serious, as important as it really is. I don't want to ignore it anymore, I've had quite enough of doing that, thank you very much. But I'd like to leave it just for today, I don't want to think about consequences or ramifications or repercussions or what next week might bring, just for the rest of the day. Would that be okay, Dom? Would you mind?"

"Of course not, you silly twat. We'll just have some fun, yeah? Although I should warn you, I plan on being a terrible flirt and hitting on you shamelessly and taking the piss out of you mercilessly," Dom said comfortably.

Billy laughed. "Promise?"

"Even the flirting and hitting on you?"

"Especially the flirting and hitting on me."

"Then it's a solemn promise," he grinned.

"Not too solemn, I hope. Solemn and flirting don't exactly go hand in hand."

"No, no more solemnity. Now, if you'll give me one minute and your camera, I'll just take a picture of the bridge and we can be off," he declared.

Billy looked at him, amused. "And you call me a girl?"

"What?" Dom asked defensively. "You're the one brought me to see the bridge over the Atlantic, and now you're calling me a girl for taking a picture of it?"

Billy grinned. "You just want a picture of the place we had our first kiss, you hopeless romantic, you." He held out the camera.

"That," Dom said haughtily, snatching it from him, "is just an added bonus." He scrambled out of the car to the sound of Billy's chuckling, and quickly walked over to take several pictures.