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Chaos Fic: The Lament of Stars 1/1

July 2nd, 2011 (08:44 am)
Tags: ,

Title:  The Lament of Stars

Disclaimer:  Not mine.

Warning:  Deathfic.

A/N:  I wrote this per the request of sophie_deangirl .  She begged me, so therefore my killing and maiming of characters is not entirely my fault.  Beta’ed by the wonderful moogsthewriter .  I still tweaked it after her read, so mistakes are my own.

Spoilers:  Eaten by Wolves.

Summary:  And Rick can’t forget.  He doesn’t want to forget.

-o-

The CIA commemorative stars have no names, no dates--nothing special to distinguish one from the rest--but Rick still knows which one is Billy’s.

It’s been months, but it feels like yesterday.  Rick still expects to see Billy lounging at his desk or to hear him telling stories on a lonely stake out.  Sometimes, when Rick looks down, he can still see Billy’s blood all over his hands.  Sometimes he can still feel the stagger of Billy’s heart before it stopped beating altogether.

And Rick can’t forget.  He doesn’t want to forget.

It had been a simple protection detail.  It was supposed to be in and out, no problems, no questions.  But they’d been betrayed by a long-standing Agency contact and when the bullets started flying, all hell had broken loose.

Rick still can’t remember everything, but he remembers coming to, blinking dazedly up into Billy’s concerned face.  The older operative smiled at him, patting him on the shoulder.  “You’ll be alright, Rick,” he said, so calm and confident that Rick had no means to doubt him. 

There was still a firefight going on, and Billy squinted back at it before looking again at Rick.  “You need to stay put,” he said.  “Provide some cover when you’re up to it.”

Rick was going to protest, was going to ask for clarification, but Billy’s smile silenced him.  “Trust me,” Billy said, giving one last nod of his head before moving back into the melee.

It was all Rick could do to get to his feet, one hand on the bulkhead in front of him to keep from falling over.  Casey and Michael had their hands full subduing the attacks.  From his position, it was easy to see that Billy was headed across the room to their mark, who was still holed up and hopefully alive.  It was a necessary task, Rick knew, but with the bullets flying, it was also the most precarious part of the mission.

Rick blinked, trying to remember his part in this.  Billy had asked for cover, he thought, and, if anything, Rick needed to stay true to the mission.

Maybe it was the head wound; maybe it was his focus on getting the job done.  But Rick didn’t see the other gunman.  He didn’t hear the shot.  But even across the room, Rick saw Billy take the bullet and go down hard.

Rick saw it--saw it almost in slow motion--but couldn’t stop it.

And everything changed.  The dizziness didn’t matter; the pounding in his head was an afterthought.  The armed assailants, the mark--none of it mattered as Rick tore through the room toward Billy’s side.

On his knees next to his fallen teammate, it wasn’t quite as bad as he’d expected, although in truth, Rick had feared the worst.  The patch of red was spreading across Billy’s chest, but the Scot’s eyes were open.  That meant they still had a chance.

Still, when he met Billy’s eyes, there was something different there.  Something beyond his typical suave persona; something more than the well-honed humor he so often presented.  There was pain and there was resignation: this was a fight that Billy was losing.

Choking back tears, Rick tried to smile even as the gunfire raged over his head.  “You should have waited for cover,” he said by means of reprimand as he pressed his hands down hard on the wound.

“And you should have stayed put,” Billy chided him back, chest heaving with exertion.

Rick swallowed, shaking his head.  The sounds of the fight were winding down behind him.  “Someone has to watch your back,” he said.

“I’m not sure it would have mattered this time,” Billy admitted, squeezing his eyes shut against a fresh onslaught of pain.

Rick kept his arms steady, glancing around desperately to see Michael and Casey securing the scene and checking their mark.  Blinking rapidly, Rick turned his head back to Billy.  “You’ll be okay,” he said with as much certainty as he could muster. 

Billy smiled weakly, opening his eyes again.  “You need to be a better liar,” he said lightly.  “Spy like you should pull it off with more feeling.”

The certainty in Billy’s voice turned Rick’s stomach, and he shook his head again, the denial stuck on his tongue.  It couldn’t be happening like this.  They had to have another miracle; they had to have a way out.

In the background, Michael was on the radio, barking orders.  Casey came up to Billy’s other side, starting first aid in earnest.

Rick didn’t move, though; didn’t look away.  His walls were crumbling now, because there was no lie he could tell Billy that the other man wouldn’t see through.  No matter how much he wanted to believe that things would be okay, he knew better.  Rick just knew, no matter how much he hated it.

Pressing his lips together, Rick furrowed his brow to keep the tears at bay.  “Why?” he finally asked, because Billy had gone alone.  Billy had left Rick in safety and put himself in danger so no one would else have to.

Casey was checking the wound around Rick’s ministrations, shouting things back at Michael.  Rick couldn’t hear them, still focused on Billy.

“The mission,” Billy said, coughing now.  Blood flecked his lips and his body convulsed with the effort.

Rick shook his head, almost panicking now.

Billy let his facades fall, and the smile on his face was genuine, tired.  “Friends,” he said.  “The mission matters, but the men you’d die for are the highest calling of all.  Don’t forget that.”

The words resonated, and Rick didn’t just hear them; he felt them.  Deep inside, they resounded stronger and stronger until they seemed like the only truth left that mattered in the world.

Billy’s eyes unfocused a little, and Casey was frantic and Michael was yelling and Rick realized he was kneeling in a pool of blood.  His pants were soaked with it, and for a moment, he couldn’t figure out where all the blood had come from when he still had pressure on the wound.

But it wasn’t the entrance wound that was the problem.  It was the gaping exit wound in Billy’s back, letting blood out at an alarming rate.  Despite all his efforts, Rick was treating the wrong wound.

Not that it would have made a difference.  That much blood, that large of a wound: it was too late.  It had been too late the minute Billy had made the decision and took the bullet and now there was nothing they could do.

It was a battle they’d already lost, but none of them knew how to accept the defeat.  So Casey kept making bandages and Michael kept ordering backup and Rick didn’t move his hands from Billy’s chest, no matter how futile any of it was.  He kept his eyes locked on Billy’s, wishing he could do something, say something.  Rick’s voice was tight in his throat, threatening to choke him as he searched his mind and came up blank.  Billy would know what to say.  Billy always seemed to know what to say.

But this time, there was nothing more to say.  Nothing that Rick knew how to verbalize and that Billy didn’t already know.

There was just nothing except a successful mission and a dying operative.  Collateral damage and acceptable losses and nothing.

Billy held Rick’s gaze until Rick blinked, just for a second, and Billy’s glassy stare never changed.

Not when Casey tried CPR, not when Michael ordered the paramedics kept trying, not when they finally brought Billy home in a body bag.

They buried Billy in Scotland, because they all knew he’d want it that way.  Higgins gave him all the honors he could, but none of it matters now.  Billy’s still dead and Rick’s still here, staring at one star among many on the wall.

Rick can still remember the first time Billy took him here.  Rick had thought it was a warning.  He sees now that it was a promise of just how far Billy would go for his team.  Of the sacrifices he’d make for his friends.

It’s a sacrifice any of them would have made if given the chance, but that doesn’t make it easier.  Nothing makes it easier, and no matter how hard they try to go about life as normal, they can’t forget and they can’t let go.  This is why spies wash out, Rick realizes.  This is why they harden themselves into cold shells and cut out all relationships just to stay afloat.  Because loss can break a man in a way that torture never could, and some days, it’s all Rick can do to show up to work at all.

But Rick still shows up .  He comes to the office where Casey still checks his email and Michael still reads at his desk with his thick rimmed glasses.  They still go on missions and they still break the rules to get the job done, and they all honor Billy’s sacrifice in their own unique way.

Casey trains harder, fights dirtier.  He always carries extra ammunition and is never afraid to use it.  He pelts Rick with self defense questions, pushing Rick to spar after hours just so they’re all prepared.  No one will ever get the drop on his team--at least, never again.

Michael’s plans become even more frenzied.  His paranoia is heightened, and he plots for every contingency possible.  Each mission has backups to backups to the point when Rick has trouble remembering all the fail safes designed to save his life.  But Michael won’t design a plan that allows for failure--not even a little.

Rick understands, because Billy’s death was a wake up call for him as well.  He’d always known that this was a dangerous job, but part of him had always thought the ODS was invincible.

He’d been wrong.

Now Rick honors Billy in his own way.  Because he knows that all the training and all the planning isn’t what Billy would want.  Billy died willingly--not so they could keep doing their jobs, but so they could live. 

So Rick doesn’t doesn’t come to the wall to remind himself to train harder.  He doesn’t look at Billy’s star to remember to plan better.  He comes here to remember that it’s more than the job.  It’s life.  It’s life and the people in it.  Billy died in the name of national security, but he died for his friends, and that’s a lesson Rick can’t let himself forget.

That’s why Rick still stands here, staring at the wall, looking at one anonymous star that has made all the difference in his life.

Comments

Posted by: lukadreaming (lukadreaming)
Posted at: July 2nd, 2011 02:13 pm (UTC)
Billy

*Snivels shamelessly*

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: July 2nd, 2011 08:26 pm (UTC)
chaos team 2

*hands tissue*

Thanks :)

Posted by: fara (farad)
Posted at: July 2nd, 2011 05:26 pm (UTC)
Martin - sex

Wow. That was intense, and very sad, and *very* well done. Thanks for sharing.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: July 2nd, 2011 08:26 pm (UTC)
billy watches

Thank you! Writing deathfics can be hard since I never know how it feels to an outsider reading it. So I'm glad you found it worthwhile.

Posted by: fara (farad)
Posted at: July 3rd, 2011 12:46 am (UTC)
Martin - sex

I did - it was really well done. Good job.

Posted by: squeezynz (squeezynz)
Posted at: July 3rd, 2011 01:12 am (UTC)

*bawls unashamedly*

oh dear, I wasn't prepared for this.....

excellent writing.

*swipes at tears*

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: July 3rd, 2011 06:27 pm (UTC)
billy earnest

It's a strange thing that pushes fic writers to kill their favorite characters, so I apologize for doing it but thank you for reading it anyway :)

Posted by: Ally (leafy07)
Posted at: July 3rd, 2011 02:28 am (UTC)

D:

Beautiful and poignant. And now I'm a little teary.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: July 3rd, 2011 06:28 pm (UTC)
billy

I do feel somewhat guilty for killing Billy, but I can't deny there's something interesting about exploring such things. Thanks :)

Posted by: sophie_deangirl (sophie_deangirl)
Posted at: July 3rd, 2011 02:42 am (UTC)
So beautiful!!


Shamelessly and proudly taking all the blame for begging you unabashedly to write this!! LOVED EVERY SINGLE WORD!!!

This started me crying and I couldn't stop once it started:

"Sometimes he can still feel the stagger of Billy’s heart before it stopped beating altogether."

*sobs just cutting and pasting that sentence!!

On my knees in gratitude for this beautifully poignant story!!

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: July 3rd, 2011 06:29 pm (UTC)
Re: So beautiful!!
billy watches

LOL! I do love that you are so unrepentant for such things. I probably wouldn't have gotten around to killing Billy without your prompting :)

I'm still very glad you liked it. I made it extra angsty, just for you. Thanks!

Posted by: nietie (nietie)
Posted at: July 3rd, 2011 01:12 pm (UTC)
Chaos2

*whimpers* I read this fic through my fingers.

Sad and intense and beautifully written.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: July 3rd, 2011 06:30 pm (UTC)
chaos team 2

I feel sort of bad for going there, but there's just something fascinating about exploring such (tragic) possibilities.

Thanks :)

Posted by: daisymall13 (daisymall13)
Posted at: July 4th, 2011 03:28 am (UTC)

*sniffles* That was absolutely excellent..Well done!

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: July 6th, 2011 01:43 am (UTC)
billy watches

Thank you :)

Posted by: Lena7142 (lena7142)
Posted at: June 4th, 2012 03:58 am (UTC)
chaos don't mean

I re-read this whenever I just need to go have a good sad.
*sniffles*

BILLY! GAAAAAAH!

I love/hate deathfic so much.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: June 6th, 2012 12:09 pm (UTC)
chaos three musketeers

Sometimes a good sad is necessary. So I'm happy to help in that.

But still. The thought of Billy dying is really not one I like to dwell on often. Even if I have killed him once or twice.

Thanks!

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