Fandom: Jurassic World/Jurassic Park series
Prompt: After the incident, Owen realizes Claire is pretty banged up and takes care of her.
Rating: PG-13 (non-graphic sex)
Disclaimer: Everything belongs to...whoever is responsible for these movies, I can't remember.
Notes: Written for the Clawen Ficathon, using the prompt from @ragingbulldurham, who asked for Claire’s shoes, Sweet! and Protective! Owen, and a reference to Claire being covered at some point in dino poop.
Much thanks to carlyinrome for running the ficathon, allowing me to do it away from Tumblr, and giving me a helpful and informative last-minute beta read. Yeah, she should really be getting more credit for this story than I should.
As the door closes behind her, Claire observes Owen walking around the limited space of the room, and how he explores with his eyes but not his hands. This is one of the hotels meant for visitors who stick to budgets, less luxurious than the ones which are located on Isla Nublar itself. Claire has never been in one of the rooms before. Owen seems to acclimate automatically, but maybe he does that everywhere.
“So,” she says, “you think we brought the awe back into dinosaurs for the next generation?”
There’s no pause before his reply: “Who cares? Now they have you instead. You’ll be a goddamn legend.” He stares off, as if into the distance, stretching out an arm before him. “Claire Dearing, Tyrannosaurus Regina, come to save us all with her death-defying, probably enchanted…” Both arms are waving now. “...Designer pumps! Wait, are those them?” His eyes have landed on the neat pile of her possessions on the floor. Before she can answer, he’s already picked up the left shoe and is turning it over in his hands, fascinated. “You were running. I don’t get how women even walk in these things.”
She smiles wearily. “Practice.” Sitting down on the bed hurts, so she does it in stages, pulling up one leg after the other. Once her back is against the pillows she decides to call it good and mentally crosses movement off of tonight’s to-do list.
Owen is still absorbed by the shoes. “Can I keep one for my trophy cabinet?”
It’s something of a surprise to find she still has enough energy to laugh. “You have a trophy cabinet?”
“Well, I have a cabinet. No trophies in it yet, but your shoe would be in the prestigious company of Alan Grant’s raptor claw.”
She wants to present him with the shoe in a spontaneous awards ceremony. She wants to hear about how he ended up with the famed paleontologist’s prized fossil. She wants this to be a date, or another wild adventure, or even an ordinary day at work - some situation where she can shine and impress him again. Right now she’s afraid that even speaking is going to reveal how vulnerable she is, so she pretends she has nothing to say in response.
He suddenly sounds concerned anyway: “Hey, are you bleeding?” She checks her skin, bemused, but it’s her shoe that’s betrayed her. He’s pointing out a red stain that pulls her attention to the pain in the corresponding place on her left foot.
“No,” she says, and it’s mostly true. The booties she’s wearing are covering a dozen bandages which in turn are covering every scrape and blister that she found on her feet, or at least, they were the last time she checked, which was admittedly hours ago. She attempts a casual shrug, which backfires by making her wince visibly.
“You said you went to the infirmary,” he says in a tone of mild reproach.
“I did, but there were so many people who needed it more than I did. I just had them look me over to see if I had anything that needed immediate attention and then I took a shower and got my bag and came here.”
Before she can brace for an argument about it, he’s rummaging through his own bag and then sitting on the bed beside her holding a first aid kit. “May I?” he asks, one hand light on her ankle.
He doesn’t peel off the booties until he gets her nod. For the next few minutes the conversation is limited to his remarks as he attends to her feet, swabbing her with ointments and replacing the household plastic strips with real bandages. It feels good, especially when he finds enough unbroken skin to rub gently until the pain subsides and she begins to believe she’ll be able to walk again at some point.
When she tells him as much, he grins and says, “What else hurts?”
The answer is everything, but if there’s one thing she knows how to do it’s delegate for maximum efficiency, and she directs him to her back. It’s so sore that she’s a little bit afraid to have it touched, which she thinks means that’s where she needs it most.
She stops herself from telling him that he’d better know what he’s doing; he clearly does. Without leaving space for any awkward discussions about how much clothing she should keep on, he starts by kneading her shoulders through her robe, and remains tactfully silent when she lets it fall. His hands are big and comforting on her bare skin, but there’s an element of first aid to this, too. Instead of massaging he applies concentrated pressure where it’s needed, which makes her gasp and then sag in relief.
“Thank you,” she remembers to say as he’s finishing up whatever magic it is he’s working.
“Thanks for letting me,” he responds right away.
The cynical edge to his voice makes her do a double take as she cinches the robe up again and turns to face him. “Did you think I wouldn’t?”
“I think you would work yourself to death before you asked for a break.”
Her impulse is to think that’s unfair. “I give myself breaks whenever I need to.”
“Right,” he says. “You give them to yourself. You don’t ask for them.” He scoots back on the bed, giving her space while relaxing his own posture, and she realizes belatedly that he must feel as worn out as she does. “Claire, I’m not trying to give you a hard time. I just want you to know I wouldn’t respect you any less if you had to lean on someone now and again.”
“You wouldn’t,” she agrees. “But other people have expectations. Image is important in what I do.” She shakes her head when she hears her own words; she’s still talking as if Jurassic World is her life. “What I used to do.”
She feels his fingertips on her back again, not looking for anything, just caressing a methodical path up and down her spine. “I always wondered,” he says, “what was your actual job title? ‘Director of Everything’? ‘Seraphic Control Freak’?”
Nobody else would have ever gotten away with teasing her that way, she reflects, smiling. Her title was “Operations Manager”, but she doesn’t tell him that. Instead she launches into a story she’s never told before: “There was one day the juvenile Gallimimus were scheduled to be released into the habitat, and we were filming it for a promotional video so a few of us from the executive branch were down there to participate. I kept moving us around to get a better shot. Everyone was pissed at me, I could tell, but there was a huge pile of dung in the foreground and I didn’t see why we couldn’t just walk the animals a little distance away.”
The memory is clear in her mind, but feels so distant it might as well have happened sixty-five million years ago. Owen is listening raptly, and she chuckles and goes on, “So I was having this argument with the Paddock Supervisor while each of us are holding the lead of a Gallimimus, and the camera crew shouts at us to hurry it up and spooks the one I have.”
“And she jerks the lead,” says Owen, poker-faced. “And you slip and fall, directly into the dung.”
There’s a pause, during which Claire deduces that he isn’t guessing. She gives him a side-eye. “Were you hiding in the trees or something?”
“I saw the video,” he confesses, then holds up a defensive hand as her eyes widen. “I know you made them delete it, but I knew a guy on the crew and he secretly saved the original reel. Sent it to me with a note that said, ‘Did you ask her out yet?’”
“What did you do with it?”
“What any Boy Scout would.” He shrugs, as if to leave it at that, then rolls his head back and sighs, “I spent the next three hours watching it on a loop and then I destroyed the film.”
It’s the assurance that she needed to sink back down on her pillow and laugh it off. “Thanks, I think.”
“You shouldn’t have worried. Trust me, nobody was going to mess with you after you popped back up covered in Apatosaur shit and started barking out orders.”
He’s wrong. That video could have ruined her career. But now her career is over anyway, and she’s just registered that Owen saw the video before he asked her out. So it didn’t ruin this.
“Funny,” she says. “I used to think that was the worst day on the job I’d ever have.”
She expects that to elicit a laugh, but instead he stares at her for a second and then wraps an arm around her waist. “If you could for just one second…”
He’s pulling her toward him, making her shift her position. It’s not a sensual touch, which frankly confuses her. “What is this? What are we doing?”
Once she gives in and lets him guide her into alignment with himself, he answers, “You’re leaning on me. Just to give it a try.”
In the spirit of giving it a try, she closes her eyes. If he’s still speaking, she’s missing it, but the movement of his breath under her ear fills in the rest of the conversation.
Claire dreams of a flame in her hand, but she’s underwater, and the illumination flickers against the shadow of a Brobdingnagian creature circling at a distance. If her light fails, the leviathan will come closer in silence. Only then will she know if it means her harm.
When she wakes the room is pitch black, giving her no sense of how much time has passed, but her body feels rested. Healed. Instead of groping for a lamp or holding her breath to listen, she reaches to the other side of the bed to check for Owen. She finds him immediately, her hand alighting on a satisfyingly firm chest beneath a thin layer of fabric. Does he always sleep on his back, she wonders, or was it a challenge for him to hold this pose all night?
She’s still wearing the robe, but she’s twisted it around uncomfortably in her sleep, and a blanket has been thrown over her. She shucks them both off and returns her hand to Owen’s chest, letting it travel up past the t-shirt, caressing his neck and his stubbly jaw, holding it there to plant a kiss on his lips.
His mouth opens under hers. It’s the only movement he’s made, but she takes it as an invitation, and keeps going. This time her hand starts at the hem of his shirt and proceeds underneath it.
Suddenly he’s clasping her at the elbow. “Claire?” His voice is a whisper, and she can’t tell if his eyes are open. “Claire, are you awake?”
She’s not interested in mocking him right now, but she still has to laugh. “Why do you ask?”
“I just didn’t want to...if you’re not…” His own concession to laughter is subdued, self-deprecating, delighted. “Am I awake?”
Her answer is nonverbal, but it’s one he enjoys, if his low moan is anything to go by. She helps him out of the t-shirt, and he’s turned them over and is hovering over her before she can even wonder what happened to the boxers she’s sure he was wearing a second ago. Her eyes can’t seem to adjust to the darkness, and as soon as she has that thought she realizes that there’s no electronic light in here at all, not a digital clock, not a cellphone.
That means they’re truly alone together. That means she doesn’t need to see his face, as long as he keeps kissing her, as long as he can find his way between her thighs, first with his fingers, then slowly, slowly, tremendously…
She understands now that Owen doesn’t and can’t control his raptors. To force a creature as fierce and as wild as Blue is to lose her. He offered them what he had to give, food and protection and leadership, and they gave him their allegiance. There was never an illusion that he was stronger than they were - there was a pact.
Claire buries her face in his neck, inhaling his scent and finding complexities in it that she knows must be coming from her imagination and not her senses: sweat and soap and skin, yes, but beneath that, raw earth and motorcycle grease and the unique musk of warm-blooded reptiles. After penetrating gradually he’s been gaining speed, and now he moves within her as if hesitation means a swift and bloody death.
This is our pact, Claire thinks as she digs her nails into his back. It must be coincidence that Owen chooses that exact moment to gasp out, “Yes,” but she doesn’t need a word to know it anyway.
Her climax is the sweetest thing she’s felt since the moment she knew that they were safe. It’s followed by a sudden bolt of shame; any victory she’s won in the past twenty-four hours is insignificant beside the tragedy from the same timespan, much of which she counts as her own fault. Rewarding her body is selfish. Even the rush she felt from securing safety for herself and her loved ones was beyond what she deserved.
She turns to her side while Owen is still on top of her, interrupting him from nuzzling her face in a way she likes very much. “What?” he asks.
“I want to check on Zach and Gray.”
His objection comes in a tentative voice. “You’d only wake them up.”
She knows that, and she knows they’re nearby and they’re fine. They need their sleep as badly as she did. “Then I want to call Karen again.”
“She’ll be on her flight by now. Claire, everyone is okay. Just relax a little.”
The bed is soft and welcoming and his warm naked body feels wonderful pressed against hers, and she doesn’t want to get up for the world, but he’s wrong again: not everyone is okay. “There has to be something else I can do to help,” she whispers.
“Yeah, you can help me. Stay here. Talk to me. Take my mind off the hell we just went through. If all we get out of it is each other, we deserve to actually have each other to ourselves for a few minutes.” She feels his sigh against her back. “You did everything you could. More than anyone else in your place would have.”
“Still.” She’s given up on talking herself out of bed, but she still can’t raise her voice. “I feel so powerless. All this time pushing paper and increasing capital, thinking that meant I was the one in charge. Like a seven-ton predator cares about my resume.”
“So, what, then? You think you should have run out there and fought the Indominus yourself?”
The mental image that gives her is a little too graphic to be humorous, but she appreciates the point he’s making. “Don’t underestimate my death-defying designer pumps,” she advises him, then sobers, echoing his sigh. “I had an idea that worked. It doesn’t mean I can control a T-Rex.”
“No,” he agrees. She can hear his smile. “Nobody can. But you knew how to ask her for help, and she gave it to you. Think about that.”
The dark grey blur of the room suddenly seems clearer. Claire turns back around. Spooning is nice, but if her vision is back, she ought to be able to see that smile for herself. He doesn’t ask what she’s looking at, just cups her head to steal another kiss, adjusts the blankets over them, and wraps her in his powerful arms.
It’s true. She did make a deal with the Tyrannosaur, offering her little light in exchange for primal power. She can ask for help, forge a relationship built on mutual respect.
For now, she can lean on Owen.