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Disclaimer: A work of fiction; the recognizable people in the story belong to themselves and have never performed the actions portrayed here. I do not know the actors nor am I associated with them in any way. If you are underage, please do not read this story. I am not making any profit from these stories, nor do I mean any harm.

Title: Grace Is Gone. 4
Rating: PG-13 to R
Fandom: Lotrps
Pairing: BB/DM
Notes: one / two / three / four




*Could you make it strong cause I don't need to think / She broke my heart, my Grace is gone*

Dominic stumbled into the apartment trying very hard to be quiet. The deadbolt clicked into place very slowly as he rested his forehead against the door. Shower, he thought, then bed. He turned around and started towards his room.

"How drunk are you?"

"God, Lij. You scared the hell out of me." Dominic turned towards the living room where Elijah and Sean sat on the couch in front of the muted TV. Both twisted around to look him.

"Are you drunk?" Elijah asked again.

"Not very," he lied. "What's going on?"

Fear suddenly gripped him at the sight of a tired and anxious Sean, sitting in their living room at four in the morning rather than at home asleep with his family. Dominic stumbled into the room, one hand clutching at the doorframe and reaching for Sean with the other. "Billy," he shouted, "what's happened to Billy."

Sean jumped up and came around the couch, grabbing the outstretched hand. Dominic was shaking and grasped at Sean's shirt in tight fistfuls. Sean traded looks with Elijah, which Dominic noticed and looked from one to the other feeling lightheaded and nauseous from the alcohol and adrenaline. He started crying and yelling. "No! Where is he? Where is he!"

Sean shook his head back and forth, grabbing onto Dominic's upper arms, shaking him lightly. He raised his voice over Dominic's, "Dom! Dom-stop. It's not Billy."

"He's not hurt? He's all right?"

"He's fine," Sean said, giving Dominic another shake to quiet him. "It's not Billy."

"Though it's nice to know you still care."

Dominic ignored Elijah and focused on Sean's voice, searching his eyes.

"Billy's all right. He's safe. I just talked to him earlier." Dominic let Sean's words process then dropped his head to Sean's shoulder and sagged against him in relief before pushing out of Sean's rough hug. Stepping away, he turned to run shaky fingers over the small Star Wars figures that sat on a bookcase behind him. "Who then?"

"You."

"Me?" Dominic drew a tremulous breathe, trying very hard to calm his racing heart. He picked up a miniature Millennium Falcon and forced his voice steady. "I'm fine, mate. Right as rain."

"Bullshit." This from Elijah, who leaned against the back of the couch.

"Bullshit," Dominic echoed. "You called Sean over here to sit and wait for me to . . .for what?"

"Because I'm worried about you, and I'm tired of you telling me it's nothing."

Dominic carefully replaced the small figurine back on it's shelf. He turned back to glare at Elijah and began to speak in a carefully controlled voice, forcing the words out of his mouth. "I have no idea what you're on about, Elijah. I'm fine. I'm having a fucking fabulous time in fucking California with my fucking great new life. Besides being completely shattered and needing a shower, I'm fine."

Elijah curled his hands into fists and threw Sean a See-what-I-have-to-put-up-with face. Sean reached a hand over to Elijah's shoulder and squeezed.

"This is what I see, Dom," Sean began in a quiet voice. "You have thrown yourself into having a good time-into making everyone believe you're having such a good time. But really, you're completely miserable. You're drunk every night. You haven't worked. From what Elijah says you're not even reading scripts. You've been here for almost four months and how many times have you spoken to your best friend?"

Dominic didn't answer. He turned his back to them and started down the hall towards his room.

"I'm worried about you, Dominic."

"Piss off, Elijah."

"Billy and I think . . ."

"You talked to Billy about me?" Dominic yelled. He turned around and took a couple of steps back towards his friends.

"Fucking A I called Billy."

"What the hell did you say to him?"

"I told him what an ass you're being," Elijah yelled back.

"Damn it, Lij, stay the fuck out of it."

"Elijah," Sean warned when Elijah started to yell back. Sean stepped closer to Dominic, saying "Listen Dom, we're your friends. We don't know what happened between you and Billy but," Sean raised his voice when Dominic began protesting. "We love you and we're worried about you. There's obviously something wrong and we want to help."

"What is this? A fucking intervention? I can take care of myself."

"It's not just about the drinking, Dom. Billy is worrying himself sick over you."

"Whose fucking fault is that," he said with a pointed look towards Elijah. "Billy wanted me out of his life. He offered to drive me to the fucking airport."

"He wants you to be happy."

"I am happy. You can tell him I'm fucking delirious." Dominic turned and started for his room again.

"You can tell him yourself. He'll be here in the morning."

Dominic stopped again. Sean and Elijah watched as his shoulders sagged and his hand came up to his forehead. Then he went inside his room and closed the door with a soft click.

--------------

*I woke with you beside me / Your cold hand lay in mine*

Dominic woke up slowly, reluctantly, squeezing his eyes shut tighter. He wanted to pull the covers over his head and stay forever. His head hurt. His body hurt. His mouth felt sticky. He brought his hands from where they rested on the sheets and ground the heels of his hands into his eyes. He rubbed at his face then cradled his aching head, bringing his elbows together over his face.

Billy would be here. Today. His stomach gave an unpleasant lurch. Might already be there, here in the house. That thought brought him fully awake. He brought his hands down and began to sit up. And stopped.

There was Billy. *His* Billy. Next to him. Lying on his stomach on top of the covers, asleep, wearing jeans and a black shirt but barefoot. His shirt had ridden up, exposing a thin band of pale skin. Dominic's fingers reached out and touched Billy's spine, feeling the skin smooth under his fingertips. He pulled his hand away and leaned down to softly kiss the back of Billy's head.

Fighting the urge to curl his body around Billy's sleeping form, Dominic eased out of the bed, picked up his jeans and crept out of the room. Outside the closed door, he pulled the jeans over his boxers and quietly made his way down the hall towards the kitchen. Passing by Elijah's open bedroom door, he peeked in. Elijah was huddled under the covers, his mouth partially open in sleep. Dominic breathed a sigh of relief.

Nobody was awake; he could escape. Shoes, he thought. Damn-in his room. Not a problem. I'll go to the beach, don't need shoes. Another thought had him stopping in the hall, feeling around for his keys. As he pulled them out of the pocket he had left them in the night before, he smiled and continued around the corner and into the kitchen. And froze.

"Afternoon, Dominic."

Shit.

"Hey, Sean. You stay here last night?" he asked casually as he inched his way towards the backdoor.

"Mostly. Picked Billy up at the airport." Sean uncrossed his legs, set down his coffee cup, all the while watching Dominic's moves.

"I saw that. Still sleeping, probably sleep for hours yet. You know Billy." This was the most critical part. He could probably get to the door in three steps; pull it open, then run like hell. Just act casual, he told himself, as if you just want to look out the window. He took another step.

"Yeah. Going somewhere?"

"No, mate, just thought I'd step outside." This is it! Go!

He made a dash for the door but Sean was quicker and damn where did all that muscle come from? They ended up sprawled out on the floor, Dom going "oof" as Sean fell on top of him. He began twisting to keep his keys out of Sean's reach while trying to toss him off. "Get off, Rudy."

"Knock it off, Dom, you're worse than a kid." Sean straddled his stomach, using his feet to pin Dom's legs to the floor and a hand pushing heavily at his chest while the other tried to grab the keys.

"Am." Grunt. "Not."

They both stopped at the sound of Billy's voice.

"Were we going out, Dom. I'd love to go for a ride in your new car," he said as he plucked the keys from Dominic's fingers.

Dominic looked upside-down to where Billy kneeled by his head. He watched as Billy cocked his head to one side as though trying to figure him out. Finally, Billy spoke again, twirling the keys on his finger by their ring. "Allo, Merry."

"Allo, Pip."

Sean rolled off Dominic and stood up. He reached down and grabbed Dominic's upper arm, pulling him to his feet. Sean dusted him off, turned him around to face Billy, putting his hands on Dominic's bare shoulders.

"There you go Billy, better take a good hard look cause he's likely to be gone the minute I take my hands off him."

"It's his choice, Sean." Billy looked at the keys in his hands and then held them out to Dominic.

Dominic reached out for them, not looking at Billy but saying softly "I won't leave."

"Billy!"

They all turned to look at Elijah standing in the doorway. His hair was spiked in every different direction; he still looked sleepy but ecstatic. He ran across the room and wrapped his arms around Billy, hugging, kissing, and talking at the same time before sensing that there was tension in the room. He stopped greeting Billy, turning accusing eyes on Dominic. "What's going on?"

"Hey, Lij, why don't we go and leave these two alone." Sean dropped his forehead to the back of Dominic's neck and kissed him softly on the back. He let go and walked towards the door, stopping to hug Billy before walking out the room. Elijah looked at Billy who nodded his head silently. Elijah followed Sean out of the room.

Billy and Dominic stood there for a long time, not saying anything. Dominic shoved his hands into his jeans pockets, and kept his eyes trained on Billy's feet. He didn't want Billy watching as he blinked back tears. Didn't want Billy to be there when he finally broke down. Didn't want him to know what a complete prat he was by launching into his arms and begging Billy to take him back.

Billy waited. Then Billy sighed. "You want tea, Dom?"

"Yeah," Dominic said, his voice cracking on the word. He cleared his throat and said, "that'd be great."

"Why don't you go wash up and I'll make it."

"You don't know where anything is."

"I'll manage."

Dominic left the room, walked back down the hall to his room, and closed the door.

-------------

"Billy?"

Billy looked up from where he stood at the stove. Elijah stood at his side with a look that said he had been there a while. Billy offered him a small, apologetic smile.

"I'm sorry about Dominic," Elijah said.

"Not your fault."

"I feel bad. We, I mean, I fought with him last night. I said some things that. . . I told him you were coming and I shouldn't have. And before, he didn't want me telling you anything was wrong and I did. Now, he's mad at me and maybe you're mad at me, too. I shouldn't have gotten into the middle of it."

Billy turned towards him and put a hand on his shoulder. Elijah could seem so old or so young, by turns. Right now, he seemed very young.

"You care about him, I know Lij, and you're concerned for him. But this thing between the two of us isn't your fault and you don't need to apologize for it." Billy turned back to his tea making and continued, "I'm not mad at you. I'm mad at myself. This is all my fault. I shouldn't have let him go without a fight. But then, I always tried to let it be his choice. I just wanted him to be happy."

"What about you, Bill? Are you happy?"

Billy didn't say anything. How to explain that his happiness was so bound up in Dominic's that one equaled the other.

"He misses you so much it's driving him mad. He really loves you a lot."

"He doesn't seem to be very happy to see me."

"I think he wants to be but he's scared. Last night, he said that you offered to drive him to the airport. Maybe he thinks that you don't love him anymore. You know, scared that you don't want him."

Billy didn't answer again, just continued with the tea. He heard Elijah sigh.

"Listen, Billy. Sean needs to go home and I'm going with him, stay with them for a bit, and give you two some time alone to sort things out."

"Thanks, Elijah. I appreciate that, I do."

"If you need anything, you know, a referee or a mortician, you'll give us a call?"

"I will," he said, turning to give Elijah a little grin and hug.

-------------

Sean softly knocked at the door. Dominic opened it, still wearing just his jeans, and looking slightly more rumpled. Their eyes met briefly before Dominic turned his back on him and went to sit on the edge of his bed. Sean moved into the dark room, stepping over shoes and clothes. He sat next to Dominic and clasped his hands together, resting his elbows on his knees. They sat in silence for a few minutes before Dominic finally spoke. "I'm sorry, Sean, for losing my temper last night. I didn't mean to yell at you."

"You were pretty drunk, weren't you?"

"Yeah. I was at that."

"I don't like seeing you this way. We all really do love you and we're worried, especially Billy. You're scaring us, Dom. We need for you to pull it together 'cause we can't risk losing you and it feels like you're disappearing right before our eyes."

"I know. I . . .You were right, last night. I am miserable. I didn't think it would be like this. I didn't realize how much . . .. And I feel like I fucked up so much that I can't make anything better."

"He's come all this way just to make sure that you're okay. At least talk with him. I know if it was Christine and me, I would move heaven and earth to make things right. If you love him, you have to at least try."

Dominic didn't speak but nodded his head.

"Sean?" Both looked up to where Elijah stood in the door. "You about ready to go."

"Yeah," he said standing up.

"You're leaving?" Dominic stood up too, clutching Sean's arm and looking panicked.

Sean embraced him in a tight bear hug. "I've got to go home and check on the wife and kid. Elijah is coming too for a little while. Give you a chance to, um, you know, make things all right."

Dominic clung to him for a moment longer then stepped back. He watched as they left the room.

"Lij?"

"Yeah, Dom," Elijah said, stepping back into the room.

"I'm sorry, mate, about everything."

Elijah bounded back into the room and hugged Dominic tight. "You are a silly cunt."

-------------

*I could never love again so much as I love you / Where you end, where I begin is like a river going through *

Dominic showered and changed clothes. When he came back into the kitchen, he found Billy standing at the door Dominic had tried to escape through earlier, looking out through the window at the darkening sky. He walked over to the counter and fixed himself a cup of the now cooling tea. He held the spoon, stirring in sugar and milk, watching it turn the creamy tea color he liked. Taking the spoon out and putting it in the sink, he noticed that his hands were shaking. He took a sip and set the cup down.

Billy hadn't moved. Dominic looked at Billy's back and knew that those shoulders would feel tense under his hands. He looked back down at his tea and fought past the lump in his throat. "You must hate me."

"What for, Dom?"

"I've been a right bastard."

"Aye, you have."

"Thanks for making this easier."

Dominic turned his head and studied Billy again. His chin had dropped to his chest, his shoulders trembling slightly, his palms rubbing at his upper arms. Great, Dominic thought, I've made him cry now. He took a step towards Billy, and then stopped.

"I sorry, Billy. I just . . ."

Billy turned towards him and met his eyes. Dominic saw that he wasn't crying; in fact, he looked quite pissed. Dominic took a step back and braced himself. Billy's very loud rage hit him like a wave.

"You what, Dominic? I *didn't* want you to go. It nearly killed me letting you walk away. I didn't fucking kick you out of my life. You left."

"You talked about it for months, Billy," Dominic yelled back. "Always on about how long distance relationships didn't work. I knew how much it bothered you when I was in London or Manchester. I thought you were telling me to make a choice."

"And so you did, Dom."

"No! You did. I did what I did because I thought it was what *you* wanted."

Billy moved closer to Dominic, his hands in fists, pointing at his chest. "This isn't what I want."

"And all of your fucking talk about 'friends with privileges'? I don't want to be your fucking friend. I don't want to hear you talk about how happy you are without me."

"I'm not happy."

"I don't want to think about you being with someone else."

"I don't want to *be* with anyone else."

"You don't?"

"No. I love you."

Dom opened his mouth, then shut it. Opened it again but nothing came out. He stood there, blinking his eyes, trying to comprehend what Billy was telling him. Finally, lowering his voice, he said, "You wanna be with me?"

"Yes, you idiot," Billy said, still yelling.

"But what about me being here? Does it bother you?"

Billy took a long time to answer and when he did his voice was quiet too, the anger out of him.

"Aye, but any time you're not by my side it bothers me. We can work it out. I just…" He took a deep breath and put his hands on his hips. "We'll work it out. I love you. We can work it out."

Dominic rubbed at the back of his neck. He looked down at the floor then back at Billy, smiling. Billy's eyes sparkled and he grinned back. Dominic smiled wider.

"So, um, what do we do now?"

"Well, first you hug me, ya bastard. You haven't seen me in four months."

Dominic launched himself into Billy's outstretched arms, knocking them both over onto the floor. He heard the air rush out of Billy's lungs as Dominic landed on top of him. He laughed and started placing little, wet kisses all over Billy's face.

"Did I break you, Billy?"

"No. But I think you might have to keep doing that."

"What? This?"

Dominic leaned down and kissed Billy's lips, sucking on his lower lip. Billy kissed him back, touching Dominic's cheeks with his fingertips and drawing his fingers through Dominic's hair. Ending the kiss, he pushed Dominic's head away from his and looked into his eyes. "Dom. Wait. Wait a minute. I need to know something."

"What, Billy. God, I missed you. Missed touching you." Dominic said, lowering his head again, pushing his knee between Billy's thighs, and leaning down to nip at his throat. Billy gave in for a moment, groaning as Dominic brought their hips together hard. "Stop, Dom. Stop for a minute."

Dominic smiled his lop-sided smile and raised up to hold still on his elbows above Billy.

"Elijah told me that you had been with other people. Is it true?"

Dominic's face fell and Billy felt he had his answer. Dominic started to get off him and Billy wrapped his arms tightly around Dominic's body, trying to hold onto him.

"It doesn't matter, Dom. Really. We weren't together. I dated too. Tax accountants. Scores of them. I just wanted to know if there was . . ."

Dominic pulled out of Billy's arms and rolled over to lie next to him on the floor. His hand pushed up Billy's shirt and rested on his flat stomach, rubbing it lightly.

"No, Billy. I have to tell you and I need you to hear this from me 'cause I don't want it coming from a stranger. This is hard because I don't want you thinking any less of me. Just remember that you love me."

Billy lie still and took hold of Dominic's hand with both of his. "I won't, Dom. I do love you."

Dominic looked into Billy's eyes and then at their joined hands. He took a deep breath.

"I quite possibly have the worst reputation in Los Angeles. Nine times out of ten, I was too monged to get it up. When I wasn't too drunk, then I couldn't get past the feeling that I was cheating on you. I was never actually able to, um. . ."

Dominic looked back up through his eyelashes at Billy, a smirk on his lips. Billy looked shocked momentarily then started giggling.

"You have to be kidding. The great Dominic, sex god of the British Empire. Not able to . . ."

"You go ahead and laugh. One kind lad suggested a clinic in the Valley that apparently works miracles. Said they provided all natural treatments."

Billy rolled over and curled into a ball against Dominic, holding his stomach and laughing loud and hard. Dominic smiled down at Billy, curling a hand around his neck and kissing his temple.

"I'm glad you find this so amusing," he said over Billy, trying and failing to sound injured. "I've been scarred."

"Oh God, Dom, I'm sorry, really I am."

"I can tell."

Billy sat up, pulling Dominic up to sit next to him. He wrapped his arms around Dominic's waist, resting his head on Dom's shoulder, his shoulder's still shaking. "I haven't laughed like that in ages. I've missed that. And you."

"I know. I've felt as though I was stuck in one of my mum's daytime stories. Everyone running 'round making speeches and such, crying and carrying on like a bunch of old ladies."

Billy laughed again and Dominic felt it vibrating through him. He smiled and rested his head against Billy's hair, turning to pull him closer. "And who would be the damsel in distress, then?"

They looked up at each other and said together, "Elijah," dissolving into giggles again. Billy stopped first and reached up to hold Dominic's face in both his hands.

"Let's not, then, Dom, make anymore speeches. Let's just. . . " Dominic closed his eyes and felt Billy's lips against his again as they stretched back out onto the floor.

...end

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