Summary: Of all the things he could have found after leaving that wretched park, the last he expected was a family./ Alan/Ellie. Post-JP1.
English Family/Hurt/Comfort Rated: T Chapters:1 Words:
a/n: hey yo did you guys know that electricity causes such violent seizure of the muscles that the victim is likely to break a bone before they start burning? ahead: some slightly stressful stuff, panic attacks, anxiety, mentions of death, mentions of blood/icky stuff, swearing, and some expected Murphy child coddling.
"He left us! He left us!"
"Well, that's not what I'm gonna do."
The doors clanged open and the light was immediate, harsh and scathing and spinning deliriously like a halo gone haywire, and the attending nurse shrieked in Spanish and the linoleum tile rushed up- -
Doctor Alan Grant was not an affectionate man. Where others indulged themselves in emotions and sought drama like a narcotic (or stimulant, depending on who you asked), he surrounded himself with fact and realism, lining them up like a surgeon's tools. He rarely, if ever, allowed himself to become unnecessarily close with his colleagues. They were there to learn after all, not be showered with the sentimental platitudes his fellow diggers doled out in excess. How he had become intimate with Ellie was still a mystery to him. She was a woman steeped in love; a woman who radiated the metaphorical light like some sort of messiah and embraced the idea that love was what bound the entirety of humanity together. In Alan's opinion, Ellie had more than enough affection for the both of them.
She had always wanted children. The notion of having another human to lavish with fondness and adoration was a dream come true for her. Alan disliked children intensely, but he had never explicitly confided into her his fear of rearing a family. His own father had done such a goddamn number on him; the thought of following that age-old proverb and becoming a boy just like his father scared the hell out of him. Being responsible for a human and their emotional upbringing was just too much of a risk for Alan.
Which was why he audibly cringed when those two blond children came rushing up the spiral staircase. He didn't like kids. They were annoying and loud and Ellie wanted one, she actually wanted one- - look at how they act honey, do you really want a kid like that?
He ignored the deep, unfeigned admiration Tim regarded him with. He looked away whenever Lex smiled with a glimmer of prepubescent infatuation in her eyes. It was pretty easy until that flattened Jeep went sailing over the guardrail and Lex's heart started trip hammering into the space between his shoulder blades and the whole thing unraveled.
The helicopter ride was nightmarish. It should have been a relief to finally unfurl his battered, bruised frame across the plastic seats and rest, and, initially, it had been.
When Alan awoke from his brief tango with unconsciousness, his shoulders were aching like a bastard and Ellie was watching him intently from the opposite bench. He still wasn't able to fully articulate how thankful he was that she had survived. Even imagining what he would have done if she had been… killed on that wretched island turned his throat to cotton and his insides to warm gelatin.
Her rutted eyes traced him. Alan glanced down at the kids, one clinging to either side of him, and smiled. I did it, his expression declared. I looked out for two human lives and showed actual affection- - you should have seen me, Ellie! I could've been Father of the Year!
If only that were so.
Then the sun went down and Lex woke up with a fever. She quickly became inconsolable, her eyes glazed with a febrile shimmer and her throat heaving as she struggled for breath. Alan had never witnessed anyone in the throes of a panic attack before, so he didn't know what to do other than stroke her back awkwardly. Ellie knelt down to her and helped her count breaths (one, two, three- - just feel the air, don't rush, that's a good girl, just breathe.)
Alan realized then that he had- - somehow- - become responsible for the emotional wellbeing of these children. As expected, it scared the hell out of him.
But with Ellie holding Lex's hands, both of them teary-eyed and trying to smile, and Tim still breathing steadily against him, a tiny voice in the back of his head pointed out that maybe such a responsibility was good. And that maybe he loved these kids.
Maybe he wasn't afraid to love them.
"I hate this IV."
The needle had been plunged to an exorbitant depth and was now pulsating in his vein. His skin itched fiercely beneath the tape, which was laid so tightly that he couldn't even wedge a fingertip beneath the adhesive and scratch. If it weren't for Ellie in the wheelchair beside him, he would have gone off the deep end long ago.
They had arrived at the medical plaza just an hour before, a time which seemed much longer once he reflected on it. Returning to a world of normality, of law and reason and safety, had been quite the culture shock for him and his traveling companions. The hour saw the children being carted off to pediatrics (in spite of Alan's spirited protests), Malcolm taken into emergency surgery, and Ellie given a sedative that dimmed the glow of her face and dulled the cadence in her voice. Still, she was here and that was what mattered.
"Don't pick at it, honey." She was grinning, albeit faintly.
"It itches like hell," he mumbled, running a finger along the plastic. "I think an hour with this in is more than enough."
"Alan…" There was a touch of delirious severity to her tone that banished all thoughts of the damned needle from his mind. "On the helicopter… the kids… I think they really trust you. They love you."
This threw him. He had never heard the three little words from anyone but Ellie. To think that there was more than one person on this Earth who truly appreciated him was daunting, if not somewhat pleasant. Alan squeezed her hand and ran his callused thumb across the delicate whorls of her joints and hilts. "Is that the intriguing breed of child you wanted?"
She was crying again, but her smile strengthened. "Yes, honey. Yes."
The next day was better. Alan took Ellie down to breakfast and strictly monitored her intake (she had been up with nightmares after the sedative lost its power), stirring cups of weak Costa Rican coffee and pushing slightly stale triangles of toast her way. After a little nourishment, her color returned and she was able to speak without her voice trembling and eventually fading away. It was almost like breakfast in Montana, where they blew dust off their dining bowls and chatted about discoveries and grandparents and movies in the sepia, syrupy dawn light. Almost.
In spite of his objections, Alan was coerced into a visit with Malcolm. "I don't even like the guy," he had said in the elevator, not bothering to mask his contempt.
"He was there too, Alan. He was in a lot of pain."
It had occurred to him then that Ellie had undergone something completely different in the park. She had yet to share what she had seen and done beyond the realm of raptors and Ian Malcolm. If last night's screaming was any indication, it had been downright horrific. So he quieted down and took her hand and walked into Ian Malcolm's hospital room.
The man was considerably doped up and his injured leg was encased in what seemed to be a foot of cement, but neither of these factors prevented him from cheerfully greeting them. Alan recalled the pangs of envy he had felt back before everything had gone to Hell and did his best to quell these resurging emotions. After all, Malcolm didn't mean any harm- - right? He certainly wouldn't be sweeping Ellie off her feet anytime soon, unless propped upright on crutches.
Still, Alan made a point in keeping his fingers laced with hers.
"I don't know any fucking Spanish," Malcolm admitted, mouth quirked into a lopsided smile. "There's only one translator and he's always on break. So they'll come in here and try to tell me my leg's gonna fall off and I'll just have to nod and smile like an idiot."
"Well, maybe that's a good thing," Ellie teased. Despite his jealousy, Alan silently rejoiced: her personality hadn't been taken by the park.
Malcolm chuckled and rolled restlessly onto his side so he could punch the button at his bedside. "Painkillers. The only useful thing the translator told me. It's a great machine. Whenever my leg starts hurting like a bastard, I just push the magic button and I get shot full of drugs. Really, this is the thing we outta be putting in malls and libraries." He laughed at himself again, then sobered considerably. "Kids okay? They won't tell me anything."
"We don't know much, either. Apparently, Hammond doesn't want them accepting visitors yet."
The whole lot of them rolled their eyes in unison. John Hammond was not their favorite person at the moment. Alan hadn't seen the man since last night, which was probably best considering that he had quite a few choice words for Hammond (most being "you selfish bastard").
Malcolm, freshly alleviated, smirked at them devilishly. "Who cares what the bastard thinks? Go down and see them, and tell them their grandfather is nothing more than a crazy sonavabitch. I'll come down once they take this goddamn coffin off my leg."
Alan fought tooth and nail, but he grinned at Malcolm anyway. Maybe the bastard did have a couple of good ideas after all.
The pediatric ward was two floors down and bedecked in a sprawling mural that depicted fantastic jungle scenes. Verdant treetops lined the linoleum corridors, their peaks littered with swinging monkeys and colorful birds. It was quite beautiful, if not somewhat unsettling.
Ellie prattled on the whole way down about how excited she was to see the kids, her speech punctuated with phrases like "they're so sweet, I can't believe how sweet they are" and "I hope John stayed with them all night". Her affection for children never ceased to amaze Alan. In Montana, she would always stop to coo over capped babies if they were out walking or start a conversation with a bored toddler at the store. Even though she had only known the Murphy siblings for all of two days, she loved them.
And- - there it was again- - so did he.
Ellie remembered just enough Spanish from college to ask the attending nurse a fragmented, poorly-tensed question. After a few minutes of awkward conversation, she returned with a room number. "Poor woman was so confused. I don't think she even knows we aren't supposed to be here."
"It doesn't matter: we have Malcolm's blessing, don't we?"
Hammond had acquired a private room for his grandchildren. Like the hallways, it was splashed in bright greens and rich beiges: the very antithesis of the whitewashed cavern Alan had shared with Ellie yesterday. The room had two beds and even a clunky television that had probably seen much better days.
Alan had barely gotten the door open before someone thrust their arms around his waist and buried their face into the front of his hospital shirt- - Lex. He smoothed his callused hand down her crop of blonde curls, which had been washed and combed since he had last seen her. "Hi, Lex. How're you?"
"Much better," she replied once she peeled herself off of him. She looked much better too: the gash on her forehead had been stitched into a tiny railroad track and her bruises were already fading into yellowish oblivion. With the blood and grime scrubbed away, Alan noticed that she was quite a pretty young lady. In fact, with the sunlight framing her gently sloping cheeks, she looked like Ellie.
"Doctor Grant!" Tim threw himself at Alan's hip, considerably more energetic than his sister. Alan chuckled and wrapped his free arm around the boy.
"Well, hi Timmy. Seems like you're feeling better."
"Yeah. But my hands itch." His palms had practically been entombed in bandages and gauze; his left ear and ankle were similarly wrapped. Alan took one of Tim's hands in his own, examining it with a clinical eye and feeling each exposed finger for signs of a break. He had been fretting over the fence's effects on the boy ever since arriving and was almost elated to see that he would be okay. "And it's boring here."
"Yeah," Lex chimed in from Ellie's side. "It's so boring without anyone else to talk to. Grandpa comes sometimes, but he's mostly busy."
"He says we can go back home soon!"
"Did he…" Alan had knelt down on the tiles (which were painted vivid jades and candy pink: a yellow brick road compared to the Kansas plains upstairs) and was gingerly applying pressure to Tim's ankle. "Can you put weight on it?"
"Some. Hey, Doctor Sattler- -"
"Ellie's fine, honey," the woman interrupted happily. Lex giggled and Tim ducked his head, blushing.
"Okay, Ellie. Um, Grandpa said that your mom called and that, um, she left a message for you downstairs."
"Thank you, honey." She squeezed his shoulder affectionately before approaching her now upright fiancé. Her satiny lips shivered past his ear and jangled more than just his nerves. "I'll be right back. I need to tell her… I-I just need to talk to her a minute. Okay?"
"Take as much time as you need." Alan dropped a kiss on her brow, relishing the familiar softness of her skin. Her scent- - an intoxicating cocktail of jasmine hand lotion and talcum powder- - was nothing but a vestige. That was all he needed to feel safe.
When Ellie returned, she was greeted by a sight more amusing than anything she had conjured on the elevator ride. Doctor Alan Grant- - her sullen, strong, and incurably impatient fiancé- - was braiding Lex Murphy's hair.
The girl was sitting cross-legged on her unmade hospital bed while he meticulously plaited her pretty curls into what was becoming a rather lopsided French braid. Upon catching Ellie's eye, Lex beamed proudly. "I taught him how to braid."
"Did you now?"
"Not just digging bones anymore," the man deadpanned. He wasn't particularly thrilled to imagine the earful he would get from Ellie about catering to the whims of a twelve-year-old girl. She rarely, if ever, forgot his moments of vulnerability.
Ellie seated herself in the tackily-printed armchair between the beds and sighed. Recounting what she had faced at the park had been nothing short of exhausting, even when abbreviated by her mother's gasps and exclamations of "oh, baby, you didn't!" The memory of the raptors… their clinical eyes and effluvial breath. It was enough to send her heart racing and shrink her lungs down to marble pouches.
She realized that she was attracting some worried glances and hurried to change the subject. "Where's Tim?"
"He has to get his bandages changed and do his therapy." Lex looked down at the grey blanket, suddenly upset. The procedure only reminded her of the helplessness she had been overcome by at the perimeter fence. Her brother's devastatingly still body was a worse mental image than anything she encountered on her grandpa's island.
Alan decided a distraction was in order. After all, he wouldn't know what to do if she descended into that horrible state of panic again. "I think I'm all done with this… I don't know if it's right, but..."
Lex ran her fingers down his messy handiwork and smiled faintly. "It's perfect."
Doctor Alan Grant was not an affectionate man. But in the oppressively humid darkness of the hospital room, where he had eaten dinner with Ellie and the kids, and watched Spanish programming that made his ears ring and counted breaths for Lex after she woke up screaming and told Tim stories from the dig site until he fell asleep, he felt like perhaps this wasn't the truth.
Maybe he was an affectionate man. Maybe he did love the kids as much as Ellie.
Maybe he just needed a family of his own to understand that.
"What if the dinosaurs come back while we're all asleep?"
"… well, I'll stay awake."
a/n: *punches wall* it's midnight and this is shit like I'm not even going to edit this fuck that. I should probably be working on my actual story instead of this, but I needed a writing exercise, which turned into a self-servicing epilogue to the stupid movie. Ughh. (PS: I totally think Lex would have some serious anxiety and panic attacks in the wake of the incident. I know I would. Jesus.)