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Jurassic World fic: Lost and Found (1/1)

December 22nd, 2015 (01:07 pm)
hopeful

feeling: hopeful

Title: Lost and Found

Disclaimer: I do not own Jurassic World.

A/N: Set sometime post movie. This is another gift for sendintheklowns, who also gave me the idea for this fic. Conveniently, this little fic is a fill for my runaways square on hc_bingo. Very unbeta’ed. Merry Christmas!

Summary: He’s not running to hide. He’s running to be found.



-o-

The thing with tracking is that it’s not as hard as most people think it is. To be fair, most things aren’t. It just takes time, effort. It takes quiet and patience. It requires you to see things outside yourself, to put yourself last in the equation, so small that you almost don’t exist at all.

That’s probably what’s hard.

No one wants to be small.

No one wants to be overlooked.

The thing about Owen, though, is that he’s never been looking for notoriety. Most people, when they find out that he’s trained raptors, they assume he’s an adrenaline junkie who wants the limelight. It’s not about him, though. If it had, those animals would have killed him faster than they killed Hoskins.

No, it’s about the animals.

Owen’s always had a thing with service. He supposes that’s why he joined the army when he was a kid. The army’s big on service, about giving it up to the greater good. It taught him a lot, about how to track, how to protect others. It also taught him that men in uniforms are more dangerous than dinosaurs -- and not for the ways that they’re smarter.

It’s the ways that they’re stupider.

Because it’s still in their DNA to think that controlling something is the only way to keep it in check. That it’s their right to be better.

That’s why most people can’t see what’s right in front of them until it’s too late.

Owen’s not better, he just knows his place.

He takes the time to see.

A broken tree branch; an indentation in the fresh mud. A scuff on the cement; a torn piece of cloth.

Owen follows the trail, tracking it faster and faster as he goes along. He’s getting closer -- he can feel it -- and no matter how hard he tries to keep his adrenaline in check, his own heart is pounding in anticipation.

Over a grassy knoll and into a thicket.

Owen slow, quieting his mind as he tries to listen.

Birds chirping; a rodent scampering in the underbrush.

Then, he hears it.

A small sound, rustling.

Too quiet.

Like something is trying to hide.

Keeping very still, Owen looks around.

Something is trying to hide very, very well.

Carefully, Owen takes another step. He’s tense now, the adrenaline thrumming through his body more with each passing second. This close, he can’t screw it up. Not with the stakes like they are. Of all the things Owen has fought for, he thinks this might be the most important.

The most terrifying, to be absolutely sure.

He takes another step, and another. When a twig snaps beneath his foot, he winces, coming to a dead stop. He listens, scared he’s blown his chance.

He knows he might not get another one.

The thicket is deadly quiet, though, and Owen forces himself to swallow and take another step. He edges closer, hesitating for a moment before he reaches down and pushes back the blanket of branches.

This is where the trail has led.

It’s time to see if the search has paid off.

He holds his breath, tensing his body.

Then, he looks down.

And lets out a breath.

Because there, tucked beneath the foliage, is Gray Mitchell.

He’s curled up in a ball, knees drawn to his chest. His hair is long over his eyes, but Owen can still see his eyes, bright and blue, staring back at him.

“Hey,” Owen says, not sure what else to say. Tracking dinosaurs isn’t easier, necessarily, but it is more straightforward. Usually, when you find one, you shoot it before it shoots you.

Tracking ten year old boys, on the other hand, is decidedly more awkward.

Gray doesn’t say anything for a moment.

Owen clears his throat, remembering that Gray’s newfound difficulty in communication is what led them to this point in the first place. His mom had tried to put him in therapy after they got back from the island, but it hadn’t helped much. It had been Zach who called him finally, worried that none of them could make Gray talk about what was really bothering him.

Naturally, by the time Owen got Claire on the plane to visit, Gray had taken the chance to run away. Owen had been sent tracking before even getting his bags unpacked.

“Your parents are kind of freaked out,” Owen says, and it’s an understatement. There had been hysterical crying and calls to the police before Owen had calmly agreed to track the kid. “Even Zach’s worried.”

Zach had, in fact, tried to come with Owen, but the last thing Owen wants to do is put anyone else in harm’s way. He’s been there, and done that, and he still dreams of every person he got killed back on the island. Sure, they say he saved lives. But it’s the ones he lost that haunt him.

Gray twitches, blinking a few times, but he still doesn’t talk.

Sighing, Owen sits down. The ground is moist, and he’s actually wearing a pair of his better pants. Claire will not be happy with the dry cleaning bill.

Still, it might give him an excuse to wear his board shorts after all.

“I hear you’ve been having some trouble,” Owen observes.

Gray’s looked turns from wide-eyed to withering.

Owen holds up his hands disarmingly. It works with raptors; he hopes it has a similar effect on traumatized kids. “Just trying to make small talk.”

Gray grunts a little, but his posture eases somewhat, fingers unfurling just slightly from around his knees.

Owen sighs again, looking around the thicket with fresh eyes. This time, he doesn’t have to see the minor indentations of small affectations. This time, he sees it for what it is: a small wooded lot no more than a mile from Gray’s home. Gray’s not running to hide.

He’s running to be found.

Looking at Gray again, Owen understands that. In fact, he’s a little envious. Kids know how to be brave about things like that. Owen’s too busy hiding inside his own life to make a spectacle of it and get the help he actually needs.

“What bothers you the most?” Owen asks. “From the island?”

At that, Gray flinches.

“I can tell you what it is for me,” Owen continues, aware of Gray’s keen gaze. “It’s just the sense that I’m never really safe. That no matter how much distance I put between myself and that island, no matter how well I train or how many bullets I have, that it’s not enough. That someday, I’m going to turn around, and there’s not going to be anywhere to run. Someday, I’ll just have to, I don’t know -- face it.”

He shrugs, falling silent for a moment.

Looking at his hands, he shrugs. “That’s the thing that wakes me up at night,” he admits. He turns his eyes to Gray again. “The worst part is that sometimes I want it to catch me. Just to find out, you know? So I can feel like I’m done running.”

These aren’t new things for Owen. It’s come up with Claire more than once, because she’s the only who has to calm him down when he wakes up in a cold sweat. And it’s come up with the shrink she drags them both to every week to deal with what they’ve been through. They call it a control issue with Owen; that he’s scared of being powerless, of finally admitting that he doesn’t have control.

But Owen’s never had control.

Hell, he’s never wanted control.

A relationship, he remembers.

That’s what saved them on the island.

It’s what’s going to save them now.

He smiles faintly at Gray. “If it were up to me, we could sit here for a while,” he says. “But apparently I’m not the one calling the shots.”

Gray slumps, bringing his eyebrows together. “They don’t get it,” he blurts finally, small voice carrying more weight than it should. He shakes his head. “It’s like they think I don’t know that I’m off the island, that there’s no dinosaur coming to kill me. They act like I don’t know what’s real.”

Owen holds himself steady, like he used to do with Blue when he was trying to gain her trust. He remembers the way he’d held his hand out, close to her nose without touching, waiting for her to make the last move. It would have been a good way to lose a hand, but that’s not the way the story went.

With a tremulous breath, Gray unfurls himself a little more. “But I know what’s real,” he says, more insistent than before. “I don’t pretend like everything is fine by making out with girls. I don’t try to sweep it under the rug and pretend like as long as we’re together, then everything’s okay. They’re all hiding. Zach, my parents. At least the dinosaurs, when they showed their teeth, you knew what they really wanted.”

Owen’s chest aches a little, if only because he understands. He spent years with his raptors, and he had better relationships with four animals who wanted to eat him than any living person on this earth. Sure, it’s fun to blame Claire for their failed first date, but to be fair, he’d tried to woo her with nothing more than tequila, stained shorts and a smirk.

It’s not exactly easier now, but he wants to give it a chance.

He needs to, or he’s not sure what would happen to him.

Codependency, he’s told, is another issue he probably has.

“Yeah, that’s not easy,” Owen agrees with a nod of commiseration. But then he tilts his head, hedging his voice. “To be fair, though, have you ever thought that they might be running, too?”

Gray doesn’t say anything to that, sitting just as still as before.

Owen gathers a breath and gives his most nonchalant shrug. “None of us -- not me, your Aunt Claire, not your mom or your dad or even Zach -- came away from this things unscathed. You and me, we hit the ground running, but everyone does it in their own way. Some of us kiss pretty girls; some of us try to make relationships work; some of us run as far and fast as we can,” he explains. Then he snorts in self deprecation. “Some of us try all three.”

Unexpectedly, Gray chuckles at that, ending with a sniffle.

“The thing to remember is,” Owen says, sitting forward a bit more. “Is that you can outrun a dinosaur, but you can’t outrun the people who care about you. Your mom, your dad, Zach -- me and your aunt Clair -- we’re always going to look for you.”

“So you’re saying I should give up?” Gray asks.

“There are worse fights to lose,” Owen says, and he knows. Better than the rest of them, he knows.

Finally, Owen shifts, getting to his feet again. “Come on,” he says, holding out his hands. “If we head back before they file a police report, I’ll bet we can get dinner out as part of the deal.”

Gray looks at him, looks at his hand. “You think it’s that easy?”

“Oh, it’s not easy,” Owen says. “But the way I figure it, you’ve already survived a genetically modified dinosaur. So you can definitely do this.”

He hesitates one more second.

Owen doesn’t move.

Then, Gray reaches out, taking Owen’s hand and allowing himself to be hoisted out of his hiding place and back to his feet. When they’re both upright, Owen grins at him. “You ready?”

Gray glances around nervously. “Actually,” he says. “I don’t remember the way.”

“That’s okay,” Owen says, squeezing Gray’s smaller fingers inside his own. “We’ll find our way back together.”

Comments

Posted by: sendintheclowns (sendintheklowns)
Posted at: December 25th, 2015 03:13 am (UTC)

That's exactly what I wanted to read! Owen is just as connected with children, or at least Gray, as he is with the raptors.

“But the way I figure it, you’ve already survived a genetically modified dinosaur. So you can definitely do this.”--Loved that!

Thank you for the super cool fic.

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