A/N: This is one of two separate finale AUs, featuring Owen and Claire! :D I meant to do the two ages ago, but kept putting it off. Hopefully the next one will get done quicker.
Despite himself, Owen breathed a sigh of relief when the ferries came into view. Nothing could have prepared him for the day of the Indominus Rex's escape and all the chaos involved. Just thinking of his raptor pack made his back stiffen, so he forcefully pushed all those thoughts out of his head.
The docks were nearly empty, with just a few people filing into one of the two remaining ferries. An automated voice announced the final departure in thirty minutes.
Beside him, Claire sighed. Owen glanced at her woeful expression, but remained silent. Behind them, Zach and Gray watched everything with tired eyes.
"C'mon, guys," Owen said after a moment. "Let's just get out of here."
Owen climbed out of the Jeep, then helped Gray clamber to the ground. Zach dropped heavily beside his younger brother and shepherded him toward the haggard-looking crew members beside the ferries. Owen rounded the Jeep to where Claire still sat, staring back at the jungle in the direction of the park.
"You okay?" Owen asked.
Claire started, as if just seeing Owen was beside her. She sighed. "I will be."
"Something's wrong," Gray suddenly said.
"You mean besides how many times we almost got eaten?" Zach asked.
Gray shushed him. "Listen."
Owen didn't hear much past the roar of the ocean and murmur of the final park visitors, so he looked where Gray was staring. Off to the side, four park employees were furiously talking. One of their voices rose above the others.
"We can't leave them!" declared a woman with a distinct British accent.
Owen was instantly on alert. He knew Claire was as well, as she leaned closer toward the group.
"They'll already be back on the mainland," said the other woman of the group.
The British woman took a step forward, but a third employee slid between them. He wore a big, obviously fake, smile.
"Okay, okay, let's just take a breath here, Roxie" said the man with the smile. "Look, guys, we've looked everywhere, and there's no way the kids beat us here."
Claire inhaled sharply.
"We're not letting you back into the jungle," declared the forth employee in a frustrated voice. Owen noticed he was twitching a dinosaur prod toward the woman with the accent.
Claire was on her feet in an instant. Her expression was steady and controlled once again as she approached the employees.
The second woman was the first to notice Claire. "Miss Dearing! I thought you'd evacuated with everyone else."
"Something came up," Claire said shortly. "Is someone missing?"
The British woman, Roxie, opened her mouth, but the dinosaur prod guy cut in, "No, everyone's already evacuated."
Roxie threw her hands in the air. "There's no way the kids got here before Dave and I."
"You said they got onto the monorail," said the other woman.
"We still would have beat them," Roxie growled.
"Okay, I'll handle this," Claire cut in before anyone else could speak.
Claire motioned Roxie and Dave to the side, and the other two employees quickly went to the ferries. The guy with the prod didn't stop watching them, though.
"Alright, what happened?" Claire asked.
"You remember the kids with Camp Cretaceous, right?" Dave said. "Well, we kind of… lost them."
"We didn't lose them, David," Roxie said. "We went to the main park to speak with you, Claire, but everyone ditched us!"
Claire blinked. "Er… when was this? Nobody told me you were waiting."
"This morning," Roxie said. She began pacing. "We finally had to steal a park Jeep and head back to camp ourselves once they tried evacuating us."
Owen smiled, thinking he liked Roxie's fiery attitude.
"Then," Roxie went on, her despondent tone wiping away Owen's grin, "The campers contacted us and said the camp had been destroyed. We were supposed to meet up at the park, but they ended up on the monorail, so Dave and I took the road. We should have arrived before the kids, but they're nowhere to be seen. We have to check the monorail line, but all these idiots won't let us leave the docks!"
The last bit was clearly directed at the man with the dinosaur prod. The man glared at her. Owen wondered how long he'd had to put up with her and how nobody had been electrocuted yet.
"Are you sure the kids didn't just arrive ahead of you?" Claire asked.
"The ferries have been leaving every thirty minutes," Dave jumped in. "We got here just before a group left, and we checked both. They didn't beat us."
Owen looked back at the monorail. The control car was dark, and he wondered if the monorail even had power. If the kids were stranded in a car, would they be able to get out of it? Probably, but would they follow the rail or try cutting through the jungle? Either way, the kids couldn't be too far away.
"We still have half an hour," Claire murmured. "There's only two roads between the park and docks, and they weren't on the main road. They have to be on the service road. Do you still have your Jeep?"
"Yes, but they won't let us leave," Roxie said with a sigh.
Claire nodded, then crouched in front of Zach and Gray. "Listen, you guys, I need you to distract the ferry crew while we head back for the campers, okay?"
Gray's eyes got big. "I want to go with you."
"Gray, if I let you back into that jungle, your mom will kill me," Claire told him with a smile.
Gray still hesitated. Zach shook his shoulder.
"C'mon, you can tell them about the Ankylosauruses," Zach said.
Gray frowned, then nodded and ran toward the man with the dino prod with Zach trailing behind. Owen caught a snatch of the younger boy asking about the baby dinosaurs in the petting zoo, then he and the other adults shuffled closer to where the Jeeps were parked, trying to act casual.
"Now!" Owen said once the employee turned to Gray with an exasperated frown.
Owen and Claire hopped back into their Jeep. Roxie, quickly explaining that there were six kids missing, ran with Dave to another Jeep.
Owen started the Jeep and spun it around, ignoring the startled shouts from behind. He raced to the service road, where Claire used her keycard to open the gate, then the two Jeeps took off.
"Where did you see the kids last?" Owen asked.
Dave's response crackled over the Jeep radio. "At the Lagoon. They were on the rail headed straight to the docks."
Owen eyed the monorail line that ran alongside the service road. "Could they have missed their stop?"
"Doubt it," Roxie said. "Ben, one of the campers, memorized the evacuation routes."
Claire raised an eyebrow. "Why would a kid memorize evacuation routes?"
"Ben kept expecting the worst to happen."
"Well, it did," Owen said.
Static crackled, then Roxie said, "Yeah."
The Jeeps raced on without another word. The road was normally well-maintained, but a few stampedes had knocked debris on the road and gouged chunks from the dirt. Owen had to focus on the road as he drove deeper into the pitch-black jungle.
"Stop!" Claire suddenly cried.
Owen slammed on the brakes. The second Jeep skidded past them to a halt.
"There!" Claire said before anyone could ask. "Is that smoke?"
Owen squinted at the sky. The trees had opened up just enough to notice a dark smudge blocking out the stars.
"It's probably from the park," Owen said.
Before Owen could hit the gas, there was a loud bleat from the bushes. Everyone turned as a juvenile Ankylosaurus burst into view. Owen looked behind her, but she was alone.
"Hey," Dave said, leaning to the side, "Isn't that Bumpy?"
"You know this dino?" Owen asked, watching the Ankylosaurus thump the Jeeps with her tail.
Roxie pushed herself up with her hands. "It couldn't really be…" Roxie trailed off. "It is! Look at her horns."
Owen peered at the Ankylosaurus. It was hard to tell as she shifted in and out of the headlights, but her horns appeared to be different sizes.
"What's that mean, then?" Claire asked.
"Ben, one of the campers, was near Bumpy when she hatched," Roxie explained. "Then she was with them earlier today."
"She couldn't… lead us to the campers, could she?" Claire asked.
Owen shrugged. He knew as well as anyone how intelligent dinosaurs could be. He wasn't as sure about an Ankylosaurus as he would be about a raptor, but…
Everyone jumped. Bumpy, apparently impatient with their talking, had slammed her head into the Jeep door. Bumpy bleated, then ran back into the woods.
"Follow her!" Dave said, jumping out of the Jeep.
Figuring it couldn't hurt, Owen grabbed his gun and a flashlight from under the seat, then followed Bumpy. The others were right behind him, stumbling in the undergrowth after Bumpy's swinging tail.
A short time later, Owen found himself again on the service road. He stopped, confused, then realized Bumpy had just cut through the jungle where the road curved. He turned toward the young dinosaur, where he saw a small, limp form.
Roxie, right behind Owen, gasped and said, "Ben!"
Owen knelt beside the boy, quickly looking him over. Ben was bleeding from a sizable gash on the back of his head and cuts on his legs, but he was breathing and the wounds were nearly scabbed over. His eyes were closed, though, and he didn't react to Roxie saying his name.
"Kids!" Roxie suddenly screamed.
Owen winced. "That's a very bad idea."
"The Indominus is dead," Claire pointed out.
"The what?" Dave asked.
"There's still plenty of dinosaurs loose," Owen said. He stood. "Where did he come from? The monorail?"
"But why would he jump?" Roxie asked. "And even if he did, where's the others?"
"Yeah, pretty sure someone would have had to drag Ben out of the monorail," Dave added.
Owen shushed them. He strained his ears, but he didn't hear anything beyond Bumpy's soft bleating. His eyes found the smudge of smoke above the treeline. Nobody would jump out of the vehicle bringing you to safety unless faced with something worse...
"Oh, no." Owen started running. "Claire, Dave, stay with the kid. If anything shows up, take him and run. We'll meet you back at the Jeeps. Roxie, follow me."
"What're you-" Claire started, but Owen was out of earshot before she could finish.
Owen and Roxie followed the road until it turned sharply. The trees had thickened too much to make out the smoke, but Owen spotted an orange glow deeper in the jungle.
"Oh, no, no," Roxie said, then sped past Owen.
"Wait-" Owen started.
Something shrieked, then a pair of pteranodons shot into the air. Owen raised his gun, but the reptiles vanished into the night.
Owen trotted after Roxie, all his senses on alert. But nothing appeared in the brush, and it soon became clear why.
A monorail lay smashed in the forest floor. The control car was in flames, and the rest of the cars were a burnt heap perpendicular to the track. The fire was slowly spreading, fed by a fuel leak and jungle foliage shriveling in the intense heat.
Roxie stood dangerously close to the fire, her body shaking as though cold. Her flashlight laid in the grass at her feet.
Owen went to Roxie's side. Heat washed over his face, forcing his eyes into a squint. He peered about the wreckage for a sign of the other kids.
"Kids!" Roxie abruptly screamed.
Owen didn't scold her this time. The fire and crash had driven every creature away. Soon, Owen knew they'd have to leave as well.
Owen lifted his gaze to the rail above. The metal was dark with smoke and ash. It seemed to be… bent. Squinting, Owen turned his light up.
Yes, where the track forked, one side of the track was noticeably bent out of shape. The monorail had gone right off the track, and it must have landed straight and hard, for the surrounding foliage was relatively intact.
Owen looked back at the monorail, then in the direction they had found Ben. He'd had the counselors tell him about the campers on their way in order to get an idea on the kids' chances of survival on their own.
From what he'd heard, Ben was the most likely to get eaten by a dinosaur. That had been Dave's own words.
Owen supposed that the kids had seen the damaged rail ahead, but kids like Ben didn't jump out of a monorail. He'd have been pushed out first or dragged out last, meaning the rest of the campers had to be close.
"Roxie. Roxie, come on."
Owen had to grab Roxie's arm to get her to move. She shook her head and looked at Owen, then the way they were headed.
"The other kids should be between here and Ben," Owen explained.
Roxie pulled away and ran. Owen kept pace, both of them watching either direction of the rail.
Owen's heart sank at Claire's voice ahead. Claire and Dave rose to their feet, hopeful smiles fading as Owen and Roxie stopped beside them.
"We found the monorail, but no sign of the kids," Owen explained. "You two, get back to the Jeeps and go further up the road, until you can see the wreck. If you don't see the kids, come back this way."
"Where are you going?" Dave asked.
"The others might be further back," Owen said, already on the move.
It was a hopeless search, Owen knew. No way could the kids have seen the damaged track so far ahead. It was more likely that Ben had fallen from the monorail at a smaller bump.
Still, Owen couldn't leave without trying. He and Roxie ran on either side of the rail, scanning the woods for any sign of the kids or further damage on the rails.
Eventually, though, they had to stop and admit that there was nothing to find. No amount of searching was going to give them any more clues. For whatever reason, only Ben had escaped a fiery fate.
They trudged back to the service road, where they found Claire and Dave waiting in the Jeeps. At Owen's questioning look, Claire shook her head.
Owen looked in the direction of the wrecked monorail cars, debating on where else the kids could have gone. But if they weren't on the service road or near the rails, where else could they be?
"We should go back before the ferry leaves without us," Owen said.
"But what about the other kids?" Dave asked.
"Dave," Roxie said hesitantly.
Dave's shoulders drooped. "Y-yeah…"
Nobody could bring themselves to say it out loud yet. Adding five more names to the list of casualties was too much for even Owen at the end of a very long day.
"Want me to drive?" Owen asked Claire.
"No, I… you can help Ben more than I could."
Owen sat in the back of the Jeep, focusing his attention on Ben sprawled beside him. Not that he could do anything. The kid had been unconscious for a long time; he needed proper medical attention as soon as possible.
No sooner had the thought crossed Owen's mind, then Ben's face clenched. He groaned and reached for his head.
"Hey, don't touch your head," Owen said, gently grabbing Ben's wrist. "Can you hear me, kid?"
"Wha happened…?" Ben mumbled.
"Long story, kid," Owen said. He bent over Ben's head, carefully parting his bloody hair. "Did a number on your head."
Ben mumbled incoherently, then his eyes shot open. He sat halfway up before falling back with a pained cry.
"Woah, woah, take it easy, Ben," Owen said. He glanced ahead, wishing one of the counselors had ridden with Ben instead. "You're safe now."
"The others!" Ben panted. "A-and Bumpy!"
"Bumpy's safe," Owen assured him.
Bumpy rumbled in agreement. The young Ankylosaurus was easily keeping pace with the speeding Jeep. Owen briefly wondered if she would try to board the ferry, then pushed the thought aside. That was the least of their worries at that moment.
"The… the pteranodons…"
"Do you remember how you escaped?" Owen asked.
"They grabbed me," Ben mumbled. He shuddered and wiped his hands on his shredded shorts. "The pteranodons…"
Owen shook his head. So, Ben had coincidentally been dragged off the monorail before it wrecked. The kids must not have seen the damaged rail after all. As for Bumpy… well, Owen had seen young dinosaurs do strange things if their parent -biological or accidentally imprinted- was hurt or taken away.
"Where are… where's the others?" Ben asked haltingly.
Owen hesitated, then admitted as gently as he could, "The monorail wrecked after you fell."
Ben stared at Owen for a second before tears welled up in his eyes. They ran down the side of his face, cutting tracks in the dirt. Ben rubbed his eyes, muttering miserably to himself.
"Why me? Why just… just me?"
Owen ran his fingers through Ben's hair, careful to avoid the gash. He wished he had an answer for Ben. He wished he knew why any of them had made it out alive.
A/N: Welp, this one ends here. It would continue largely the same as canon, I think. Ben's memories of the monorail remain foggy and the gaps get filled in with false memories accidentally planted by Owen, Claire, Roxie, and Dave, so nobody realizes the other kids are still alive.