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Title: You're A Map Of A Place Maybe Someday I'll Go Ch. 20/22
Author: Pip
Pairing: Billy/Dom
Rating: this chapter PG-13
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, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19

First posted Aug, 2006



Half an hour later, Dom joined Billy on the tiny balcony, stepping out gingerly. "It's cold out here. What are you doing?"

"Nah, it's not that bad." Billy leaned against the wall and looked up. "Just felt like getting a bit of fresh air."

"Not smoking?"

"No. Go ahead, if you want one, though."

Dom shook his head. "I've decided no more ciggies for me. Probably not wise, what with the asthma and all."

"Good choice."

"I know. Sucks, though." He flashed Billy a smile, then relaxed against the door. "You okay?"

Billy nodded. "Yeah. Yeah, I'm good."

"You sure? It's been ... a long day."

"Yeah," Billy sighed.

Dom waited, but Billy didn't speak further. After several moments of comfortable silence, Dom heard a jet plane going overhead, lower than he would have expected. "Guess you're not really all that far from the airport, are you?"

"Not really."

Dom leaned his head back against the stone building, his eyes on the night sky above. "You know," he mused quietly, "When I was a kid I used to lie in the grass and watch the planes going overhead. So many of them, crisscrossing Europe, going to God-knows-where. Some days the vapour trails would disappear in seconds, and on other days they'd last for an hour. Don't suppose you know why that is, do you?"

There was a smile in Billy's voice as he said, "Can't help you there. Science was never my strong suit."

"Oh, well. It was worth asking, at any rate. Have you ever seen a sky with nine or ten of those long white streamers in it? It's like this enormous bridge crossing the entire sky, from horizon to horizon. When I was young, I used to think if I could find the end, I could climb up it and walk across the sky. I could land in Timbuktu and ride a yak and be home before Mum called me for supper, that's what I thought. Or I'd just walk over to Italy for a pizza, and then America for a burger. Or the British government would need me to enter Russia as a secret agent, and I'd just walk in on my sky bridge so no one would even see me coming." Dom sighed, feeling nostalgia twist in his chest. He gave a half-hearted laugh. "I was a right nutter of a kid, wasn't I?"

Billy didn't answer, and when Dom looked over, it was to see Billy's hands in his hair, his eyes scrunched up tight.

"Billy? Bill, what's wrong?"

He shook his head. "Could you go inside, Dom? Give me a few minutes."

Dom's ears flamed red. "Sorry, I'll shut up."

"No, no, that's not it. I swear that's not it. Just give me, like, ten minutes. Please?" His hands still gripped his head tightly.

"Ehm--yeah, all right. Not gonna jump, are you?" Dom tried to joke, but even he knew it was a lame attempt.

"Daftie. Go on. I'll be in soon."

Biting his lip, wishing he knew what was going on inside Billy's head, Dom opened the door and stepped back through into the living room. Just before he closed it behind himself, though, he heard Billy's voice.

"Dom? Love you, yeah?"

Dom's smile was crooked as he put his mouth near the door to murmur. "Yeah. You too, you silly twat." He closed the door with a quiet click and went to fetch himself a beer from the fridge. Twisting the cap off, he took a long swallow and then sat at the kitchen table. He stared down at the label on the bottle, his fingers already starting to pick at it.

He had a bad feeling about all this. Maybe Billy had managed to figure out what it was about Glasgow that held him here--he'd seemed to accept Dom's idea that part of it was tiny links to his parents spread all over the city--but it didn't seem to have helped. Just the mere mention of aeroplanes had him almost literally pulling his hair out.

Dom was willing to do an awful lot to make a relationship with Billy work, but he wasn't sure he could take on the entire responsibility for their being together. How long until he began to resent always having to travel? How long before Billy began to resent that Dom wasn't living in Glasgow? The whole situation was just rife with possibilities for disaster.

So then get shot of him, Jeremy Irons said.

Dom groaned and dropped his head on his arms. "Not again."

Why even start if it's going to end in such a debacle? Get out while you can, find a nice girl, and settle down, Jeremy Irons drawled, and Dom could almost picture him slouched in a leather armchair, a whisky glass dangling from three fingers.

I don't want to get shot of him, Dom thought, grinding his teeth. I want a solution, not a sodding excuse to get out. If you can't be a helpful delusion, then bloody well bugger off.

Jeremy Irons sounded amused when he said, I'm not a delusion, I'm a hallucination. And I'll show you just how helpful I can be. Tell him you want an answer now, tonight. Can he live with you in Hawaii or not? Otherwise you're on the next plane home.

I'm not giving him an ultimatum, Dom snapped silently.

You have to. Put your ineffectual foot down and demand an answer. It's time you pushed him; he'll either come to the sticking point, or he won't.

I can't do that. He needs more time, dammit. It's only been a week--

Jeremy Irons interrupted him with a cavalier air. Time be damned! If he really loves you, he'll at least try for your sake. Push him, boy!

"I will not," Dom muttered into his arms, his voice sounding hollow.

"Won't what?" Billy asked from the doorway.

Dom jumped, looked up guiltily. "Nothing."

Billy smiled and sat down in the chair opposite Dom. "Is Jeremy Irons pestering you again? Inconsiderate bastard."

"You have no idea," Dom mumbled.

Billy reached across and took the beer from Dom's hand and drank deeply, then set the bottle on the table and gave a little burp. "Look, Dom, I know all this has been hard on you--"

"Don't patronise me, please, Billy," Dom said quietly, and his stomach twisted.

Billy looked surprised. "I'm not. Jesus, Dom, I mean that--it's been every bit as difficult for you as it has been for me, if in a different way. Don't think I don't know that."

"Right." Dom leaned his forehead against the heels of his palms. "Sorry."

"It's all right." Billy was silent for a moment, and then he rose, the feet of his chair scraping across the floor. "C'mon. Come with me."

"Bill, just say whatever it is you have to say."

"Look at me."

Dom took a deep breath, and looked up to find Billy leaning over the table, his palms flat on the wood surface.

Billy's eyes flicked back and forth between Dom's. "I love you," he said, his voice soft and warm and balm to Dom's jagged edges. "Taisgeal. Finding that which was lost, remember? I am not giving up on this, all right? It's just ... it's not easy."

"I know, but--"

"But you may have hit upon a--well, if not an answer, at least a start towards one."

Dom's mouth hung open for a moment. He closed it, cleared his throat and, trying not to let hope drown common sense, said, "I did?"

Billy smiled. "Aye. Now will you come with me?"

Rising, Dom let Billy take his hand and lead him from the kitchen into the living room. They sat on the sofa, and Billy slouched down, his feet propped on the coffee table, before pulling Dom in close against his chest and kissing his hair.

"I was really discouraged earlier," he began, his voice quiet but steady. "What you said, you know, about me having these little ties all over the city? It made sense to me. It felt like, yeah, that was it, there were all these little loops of memory binding me to Glasgow. And it's my city, I know it, I'm comfortable here. From the river to the hills, from one end to the other, I’m just ... I fit here. Hell, Dom," he huffed a weak laugh. "You know how good I am with change. And when I buggered off before dinner, I ... well, I thought about leaving. About moving to Hawaii permanently."

"It doesn't have to be permanent--" Dom began, tensing up, but Billy hugged him tighter and rubbed a hand up and down his back.

"I know, I know. But I thought about it, really thought, to see what the idea would do to me."

"And?"

"And I felt sick. The thought of never coming back here made me fucking miserable. And I was just so dispirited, you know?"

"Yeah. Yeah, I know," Dom said wretchedly.

Billy chuckled. "Hang in there, taisgeal, I'm getting to the good part. After dinner I just ignored it all for a bit. We watched the movie, and I ... I started to be aware of you. I know that sounds daft, but I don't know how else to explain it. I could ... I could feel you with me. I swear, if you'd blindfolded me and stuffed cotton in my ears and then gone for a walk around the flat, I still could have sensed exactly where you were the whole time. And then you took me to bed, and it was ... well. You know what it was."

"Billy--"

"Shh, just let me finish, okay?" Billy kissed the top of Dom's head again. "I realised I'm every bit as tied to you as I am to anything here. I have been ever since we met, I suppose, but being best mates, the phone and email and the odd visit was enough. But now that there's this--now that we're--"

"It's not enough anymore," Dom finished for him. He laid his palm against Billy's chest.

"No. No, it's not." Billy let out a sigh. "I started feeling even worse, actually. Because suddenly I was tied to you, and tied to my home, and what did that make me but a giant rubber band that was constantly being stretched between two anchor points? I went out on the balcony for some clear air and to try and figure out what next, but then you came out, and started nattering on about aeroplanes and vapour trails, and that's when you hit on it."

Dom frowned. "Hit on what? I don't understand how this is any sort of a solution."

Billy's fingers massaged the back of Dom's neck. "You said the trails were like a huge bridge, and that you used to imagine you could walk across them."

"Yeah, and I also used to believe in Father Christmas. What does that--"

"Shut it, you silly tit. It's just that I--I can visualise it, y'know? I can visualise the trail left by a plane as a tangible thing, an actual bridge over open space. And ... I don't ... it almost feels like it makes everything ... local, or something. Ah, bugger, I'm not explaining this--"

"Yeah, you are, actually," Dom interrupted, thoughtful. "I think I sort of know what you mean. Remember during that asthma attack I had, how you told me to visualise my lungs as dusty stone corridors, with torches and everything? It really worked, Bill. I could absolutely see them, could focus on the steam sweeping them clean. It's like that, isn't it?"

"Yes," Billy agreed, and he sounded relieved. "Yeah, it's like that. For me it's ... if you have no way to get home, there's nothing more that you want than to be there. But if you know there's a bridge across the gorge, if you can see that bridge--well, there's no harm in exploring a little further, then, is there?"

Dom sat up, straddled Billy's lap, and took his face in a gentle grip. "Tell me more," he said, his heart beating erratically.

Billy flushed, but nodded. "Ehm ... well, if you were in Hawaii, I--well, I'd miss you, obviously. But ... you wouldn't be halfway around the world anymore. You'd just be at the other end of the bridge, yeah?"

"Yeah," Dom whispered, and kissed him hard. "Tell me more."

"Dom--"

"Tell me more," Dom insisted, his thumbs stroking Billy's cheeks.

"Christ. All right. Ehm ... if I was in Hawaii?" Billy murmured, thinking it out. "Well, all those ties you found, they were constantly pulling me back, and I missed my home because it was too far away. But ... it's not so far away if it's just across the bridge, is it? I'd be with you on the beach, but just over the bridge and around the corner is the Necropolis. Or just around the corner and across the bridge is the park my mum always took me to. It forges a new link. Or ... no." His voice softened. "No, it re-forges an old one. The link that used to reach across the city is now reinforced by the bridge, and it can keep me connected from half a world away."

"The bridge over the Atlantic," Dom said, and then he found himself kissing Billy, open mouthed and sloppy and joyous and laughing. "Do you know what you're telling me? You're telling me you think we can do this. Kiss my lily white arse, Jeremy fucking Irons."

Billy leaned his head against the back of the sofa and laughed out loud. "The inside of your head must be a very interesting place."

"Says the bloke who believes in imaginary bridges," Dom grinned. "I need a piece of paper. And a marker."

"What?"

"Paper. Marker. Where are they?"

"God, I don't know. What are you on about now?" Billy demanded, but his smile betrayed him. "Bottom of the bookshelf, left hand cupboard--there's a pad of paper in there. And a ton of pens in the drawer in the kitchen."

Dom scrambled off Billy's lap and ran to collect his supplies. He returned to throw himself into the corner of the sofa, his knees up and the pad on his knees. "A Sharpie," he said happily, uncapping the marker. "My favourite."

"Your Sharpie, actually," Billy grinned. "I nicked it last time I was at your place."

"I should have known, you thief. That's all right--I have dozens of them." Dom bent his head, and with his tongue between his teeth, began to draw.

"So what exactly is it you're doing, then?" Billy asked, craning his neck to try and see the paper.

"I'm drawing a map."

"A map of what?"

"Your arse. Would you give me a minute, here, Boyd?" Dom feigned annoyance. "Bloody hell, everyone says I'm the impatient one. Such a load of bollocks."

Billy propped his chin on Dom's knee and gave him one of his most charming smiles. "And nice bollocks they are, too."

"Damn right. Nicest bollocks this side of ... well, this side of yours, actually." Dom continued to sketch on his paper, pausing every few minutes to write something carefully.

"Aren't you the romantic? Maybe you should actually put your bollocks this side of mine. What do you think? Wanna shag?"

"Now who's the romantic? Besides, this is important."

Billy bit Dom's knee. "Which I would know, if you'd tell me what it is."

"Just one ... more ... thing ... to draw ... " Dom finished and looked down at it, his head cocked to the side. It wasn't particularly pretty, but he supposed it got the point across. "Here."

Billy took the piece of paper from him and sat back to examine it. "It's a map of ... what, exactly?"

"You and me," Dom supplied helpfully.

"You and me," Billy repeated. "Well, okay, I see you've written Hawaii on this cake--"

"That's a volcano."

"--on this volcano. And this," he smiled, tracing an arch with his finger, "Must be the bridge."

"Our bridge."

Billy looked up at that, and Dom nodded.

"It works both ways, you know. Maybe it will help keep me from missing you so terribly when you need to be home."

Billy's smile faded a bit. "I will, you know. Still need to be home sometimes. I can't sell this flat, I can't leave entirely. I might ... I can't promise I won't still get homesick sometimes."

Dom softened, and he reached over and brushed his knuckles down Billy's jaw. "I know that. I would never ask you to sell up. When I don't have to be in Hawaii, we'll be here, Bill. And we'll start slow, yeah? You can come and stay with me just for a few weeks."

Billy nodded, looking down at the map. After a moment, he chuckled a bit weakly and said, "What the hell is this supposed to be?"

Dom looked at where Billy's finger pointed. "That's the Necropolis."

"Last time I looked, it wasn't covered in mutilated trees."

"Those aren't trees!" Dom said, putting a little outrage into it. "Those are zombies!"

Billy's face lightened again, and he sniggered. "Zombies. What's this?"

"A giant pint. To mark Tennent's, of course."

"Oh, of course. Aren't you worried the zombies will fall in?"

"Wanker."

"Can I keep this?"

Dom nodded. "Just ... if you're here, and I start in on you about being there ... send me a copy, yeah?"

"Yeah." Billy set the map carefully on the table and then turned to pull Dom close, lips hovering a hair's breadth from Dom's. "I love you. Love you so much, taisgeal."

"Me too, Bills. We can do this. We're going to be fucking brilliant together. Now didn't you say something about a shag?" Dom kissed him, fingers working at Billy's fly.

Chapter 21