?

Log in

No account? Create an account
do i dare or do i dare? [userpic]

Chaos fic: A Stab in the Dark

August 16th, 2011 (07:27 am)
Tags: ,

Title: A Stab in the Dark

Disclaimer: Not mine.

A/N: moogsthewriter  asked for Casey and Billy: stab wounds and banter. This ensued. moogsthewriter  also provided a helpful beta :)

Summary: Casey can only forgive so much stupidity in a day and Billy is testing his patience.

 

-o-

"I blame you."

Billy snorts, turning his head slightly to look at Casey. It seems to take some work, given that they're walking in tandem, arms draped across each other in a display of mutual support as they traverse through the jungle. "That hardly seems fair."

Casey grunts as he limps another step. "I think it's more than fair," he says tersely.

Gathering a breath, Billy purses his lips. "And how, in your infinite wisdom, do you figure that?"

"Easy," Casey says, heaving as he speaks. "Because you're the tall oaf who went and got himself stabbed."

"Protecting you!" Billy shoots back incredulously. He barely manages to step over a protruding root while they walk. "I ran headlong into danger in order to spare you from certain peril."

"And look how that turned out," Casey gripes, eyes on the ground as he keeps their path straight and narrow.

Billy sulks for a moment. "I admit, the outcome was not favorable."

"Not favorable?" Casey asks, looking up at Billy, eyebrows lifted. "You got stabbed in the stomach."

"Only after you got stabbed in the arm," Billy reminds him.

"It's a flesh wound," Casey snaps, and he's annoyed that it's true.

"Oh, really," Billy says, reaching with his free arm to tentatively poke it. "So that doesn't hurt?"

Casey can't quite control his gasp of pain as Billy's fingers hit the wound. "Pain does not necessarily denote severity," he grits out, determined to not show how much he wants to cry out.

Billy nods agreeably. "So the fact that you're heaving desperately for air on what would otherwise be a leisurely trek in the jungle?"

"Is because I'm dragging your sorry ass along, too," he says pointedly, which is true even if it's not the only reason. "Or should we review the excessive amount of blood leaking from your stomach right now?"

Billy pales just slightly, though it's hard to tell because his face is already ashen. Still, Casey knows him well enough to note the change. "No, that's entirely alright," Billy says. "I'm quite aware of my injury and, unlike some, I am man enough to admit that it is indeed a rather painful experience."

"Painful and unnecessary," Casey reminds him, focusing his eyes on the uncertain path before them.

"Seeing you bleed from the arm is not a pleasant experience," Billy says as they plod along. "But I still find it preferable as to watching you bleed out from a knife to the heart."

This makes Casey scowl. "I was fine."

Billy seems incapable of letting it go. "It was three on one."

Casey wishes he was capable of scowling even more. "I was fine," he says again, more emphatic this time.

"You were on the ground, semiconscious and bleeding."

The fact that it's true is not something Casey is proud of. It's also not something he wants to think about right now. He will assess his shortcomings at a later time and adjust his practices accordingly; right now, he just wants to get them out of here alive.

"Oh, and we're so much better off now?" Casey says finally. "The two of us, both injured, traipsing through the jungle in the off hope that we manage to make it to the drop without passing out from exhaustion or blood loss?"

"Come now," Billy cajoles. His voice is chipper somehow, even if stunted. "It's not so bad."

It is just like Billy to opt for understatement when he should be leaning toward melodrama. "You can barely walk," Casey points out.

"But I can," Billy reminds him with a smile.

"You do realize that we still have five miles to go," Casey says, because he's been keeping track in his head, step after agonizing step. He knows Billy needs his optimism for some reason, but Casey needs his realism just as much.

Billy lurches next to him, his weight still unevenly distributed over Casey's shoulders. It's an awkward march with the height discrepancy and for as much as Casey complains, he doesn't mention how much more of the burden he's carrying.

"Which is two miles closer than when we started," Billy says with the eternal buoyancy that so frustratingly defines him. "And at least we're not being followed."

"Because we blew up the camp," Casey says.

Billy is undeterred. "As per our orders."

"We also blew up our equipment and effectively damned ourselves to likely slow and painful deaths alone in the jungle," Casey says, and it takes effort now--more than he wants to admit--and he almost spits the words as his lungs struggle for air.

"Not alone," Billy says, almost stumbling this time. "We have each other."

Casey braces him, gritting his teeth against the pain, and rolls his eyes. "And that's somehow supposed to make me feel better?"

Billy's forehead creases and his footing slips again. "I know I find much comfort in it."

It's all Casey can do to keep them both upright this time and he has to stifle a grunt. "Until I leave your sorry ass behind for being so utterly useless."

Head dipping forward a bit, Billy frowns. "You know, your personality lacks some charm."

"Your personality lacks common sense."

"People like me better than you," Billy reminds him, words starting to slur slightly. "Better than Michael, too. It's probably still a toss up with Rick. He's got such a trusting face."

Casey tightens his grip and pushes them onward. "People are morons."

For a second, Billy has no response while they fumble along. The hot moisture in the air has soaked them through and it's impossible to tell how much of their sweat is normal to the climate and how much is the early onset of shock.

After several paces, Casey shakes Billy. "No witty return?"

"The knife wound is painful, but your words do carry a much more stinging barb," Billy says and he sounds noticeably tired.

Casey looks at him, noting the eyelids at half mast, the pallid hue under his skin. "It's just sticks and stones," he says.

"Aye," Billy says, eyelids fluttering a bit. "But maybe more than that."

For a second, Billy's body slackens, his knees giving way. Casey swears, trying to catch them before they end up in the underbrush. He hauls them upright and Billy's head rolls forward again, only this time he doesn't lift it even if he manages to stay standing.

Casey's chest feels tight and he works to stay calm. "Don't be a pansy," Casey hisses.

A smile passes over Billy's features. "Just a little tired," he says.

Casey drags them forward and Billy's feet fumble to comply. "You can sleep later," he says firmly. "When you're dead."

Billy slumps a little further. "May not be so long," he murmurs.

The spike of panic in Casey's gut is entirely from the pain in his arm--he's quite certain of that--but he pulls Billy closer anyway. "I can only forgive so much stupidity in a day," he says sharply. "Your suicide charge earlier is your freebie. Passing out or worse will certainly not be so easily absolved."

Billy's breath is hot against his neck as he laughs airily. "Most people would try a thank you," he says. "But in this case, your forgiveness is something worth noting."

"Good," Casey says as they make it another few paces. The heat is almost debilitating now, Billy's weight heavy on his shoulder, making his arm ache with new fervor. "So don't squander it."

"I'm not so good with orders," Billy says shakily. His legs are moving sluggishly now, his long arm flopping limply against Casey as they walk. "Hence my flourishing career with the ODS."

"Make this a first, then," Casey orders, his jaw taut. It takes all his focus to navigate in the forest, to keep his direction straight while keeping Billy from planting his face into the foliage.

"Normally I'd love to comply," Billy mumbles.

Casey's about to reply, something scathing if he can think of it, when Billy's knees go out entirely. This time, the downward momentum is too much and Casey loses his footing, and they both go down.

The impact jars Casey's arm hard and for a moment, he sees black.

He breathes--harsh, fast breaths through his mouth--and he tastes dirt and grass as he sputters back to consciousness.

Gingerly, Casey pushes himself up, mindful of his own injured arm. He doesn't admit it, but Billy's right that it may be more than a flesh wound. At a glance, it's clear that it's still bleeding and Casey has to blink away the cobwebs from his mind as he gathers his wits.

Billy's sprawled next to him, arms at awkward angles, face pressed into the dirt. He's breathing hard, back rising and falling in dramatic fashion.

On his heels, Casey rolls Billy over. When the taller operative is on his back, his eyes are wide and blinking, his face colorless as he pants through open lips. The bloody spot on his torso is larger now, seeping through the bandage Casey had applied, and Casey doesn't need to check to know that Billy's getting worse.

Still, Casey has to try. No matter what he says, he has to try. With his good hand, he squeezes Billy arm. "Hey," he calls. "We need to keep moving."

Billy's eyes roll and he shakes his head. "We aren't still moving?"

"Being passed out on the jungle floor doesn't count as movement," Casey says crossly, trying to calm the frenetic beating of his heart.

Billy's eyelids continue to flutter as he heaves for air. "Oh," he says. "That's too bad."

"No, what will be too bad is if you die here in such an utterly idiotic manner," Casey gripes, his fingers still tight on Billy's arm. He shakes him again. "Billy."

Billy's eyes close and they don't open.

"Billy," Casey says again, more insistently this time.

But Billy stays still, gasping for air even in unconsciousness.

Casey swears. Whether it's pain or blood loss, Casey doesn't know, but he knows it's not good. He also knows that short of an IV and a blood transfusion, there's no way he's bringing Billy back around to continue this trek.

Looking up, Casey eyes the forest, ignoring the haziness at the edges of his vision. It's still almost five miles. Five miles through uneven terrain in stifling heat. With a bleeding wound in his arm and an operative almost twice his size to haul the entire way.

It's tantamount to suicide.

If he tries to take Billy with him, they're both probably going to die. It'll be a pointless sacrifice and it'll be a tossup to see if Michael and Rick find them before some jungle predator does.

It'd be smarter to leave Billy and go meet up with Michael. They might make it back in time to still save Billy.

They probably won't, but it's still the option that will mostly likely yield success.

And Casey knows the smart choice. Casey knows what he should do.

He doesn't do it.

Instead, he pulls Billy by the wrist, hoisting him to a sitting position. Billy's head lolls back and Casey doesn't hesitate as he maneuvers himself next to Billy. It takes effort, but he gets himself alongside Billy, pulling the larger man onto his shoulders as he shakily gets to his feet.

They teeter for a moment, Billy's breath hot on his arm and his dead weight pressing hard on his shoulders, but Casey breathes through it. He fights off the pain and clears his vision, focusing again on the jungle ahead.

He blinks, breathing as best he can. One hand tight on Billy's wrist and the other wrapped around one of his legs, Casey takes a step. It's staggering and uneasy--and the pain is bad--but Casey doesn't fall.

Another step follows, and another, and Casey gains momentum. Billy's arms flop limply against him and Casey can feel the blood running down his arm and back, but he doesn't slow down.

Doesn't dare to.

Walking turns into a jog and Casey charges forward. His vision tunnels but it doesn't matter. Nothing matters. Just five miles to the drop point and Billy's breath on his arm, step after step after step.

When Casey finally sees Michael and Rick in the clearing, he thinks he could be hallucinating. Somehow, he's not. Even if he is, he doesn't care.

Exhausted, he goes to his knees, Billy still precariously on his shoulders. Rick and Michael are on them in an instant, pulling Billy away and lying him flat on the ground.

"What happened?" Michael demands.

Casey can barely breathe, can barely see. He looks at Billy, pale as death as he lies unmoving on the green ground.

"Casey," Michael barks. "What happened?"

"Suicide run," Casey says finally, and it's anyone's guess if he's talking about Billy or himself.

Michael is on the phone; Rick is looking at Billy's stomach. It's over, Casey allows himself to realize.

It's over.

And with that, Casey lets go of his consciousness and hits the ground hard, too tired to care about anything else.

-o-

Casey doesn't remember a lot of the rest. The flight out is a bit of a blur, and his admittance to the hospital is a haze of bright lights and voices in Spanish. If he's honest, it doesn't seem entirely relevant. Casey normally likes to be in control of his own fate, but this time, he thinks he can trust Michael and Rick to cover all their bases.

He wakes up once, burning pain in his arm and a burning in his throat. Rick is there, fumbling for water.

Casey takes a sip, too proud to be grateful, and demands, "Billy."

"He's still in surgery," Rick reports, and his voice wavers with worry.

That's not exactly reassuring, but Casey still snorts a little. "He'll be fine," he says gruffly, voice thick with sleep.

Rick's forehead creases. "How can you be sure?"

"Because he's Billy," Casey says and closes his eyes. There's nothing more to it than that. Casey knows Billy--knows him well enough to know how much of the idiocy is a ploy, how much of the flippancy is a ruse. Knows him well enough to know that he'll always have Casey's back, even at his own peril, and if he's stupid enough to get himself stabbed, he's also strong enough to hold on until it's over.

And it is over, Casey remembers as he slips back to sleep. It's over.

-o-

After several days, Casey is ready to go home. He's tired and he's grouchy. The nurses are sadists and the hospital food should be outlawed. Rick and Michael are frustrating company. Rick keeps trying to make friendly small talk and the more annoying it gets, the more Michael just smiles in utter bemusement.

These are the reasons Casey is grumpy. It has nothing to do with Billy still laid up in the ICU and the doctor's stupid restrictions that keep Casey from visiting. Michael says Billy is looking better, but Rick still blanches when Casey asks, so Casey knows the truth is somewhere in between.

When Billy is finally upgraded to stable condition, Casey threatens to haul himself up there on his own, blood loss and low grade infection be damned. Michael relents, securing him a wheelchair, and Rick maneuvers the IVs for the trip.

They both warn him that Billy's still weak, still not quite coherent. The breathing tube was removed and his fever is finally under control, but he's still got a long way to go.

Casey endures their advice plaintively because it would take more energy to argue them to reality than he cares to expend.

When they get to Billy's room, Casey asks to be alone.

Rick looks skeptical but Michael nods. "We'll be right outside," he says.

Casey doesn't watch as they leave. Doesn't even flinch when the door closes. He remains stiff in the wheelchair, eyes fixed on Billy.

Michael's right: he does look better.

But Rick's right, too: he still doesn't look great.

His skin is still waxy, cheeks blushed red with fever. His face is covered with stubble, his hair matted awkwardly from the bed rest. His lips seem parched and irritated. In general, he's far too still, and that bothers Casey more than the rest.

He sighs. "You're supposed to get better," he says, scowling

He waits and listens to the sound of Billy breathing.

"If you don't," Casey says, hedging somewhat, "then how will I ever be able to tell you just how stupid you are for this stunt?"

Billy doesn't reply, but he doesn't have to. Casey settles in and watches as the minutes slip into hours and beyond.

-o-

Casey wakes up to the sound of movement.

It's startles him and he jars, feeling fresh pain blossom in his arm. Even days after being stitched up, it's a sore and throbbing injury, especially since he's been forgoing his pain medications when he can.

He comes to quickly, though, shrugging off the vestiges of sleep as he tracks the source of the movement.

That's not a hard task. He's still alone and Billy's still in the bed. Only this time, Billy's moving.

Calling it moving might be a slight exaggeration, but Billy's legs are fidgeting beneath the sheets and one arm is flailing slightly by his side while his eyes blink intermittently.

Wetting his lips, Casey rolls himself forward and waits.

Billy flails for a second more before his blue eyes stay open, staring at the ceiling as if in shock.

Casey glowers. "You're awake," he says.

Looking surprised, Billy rolls his head toward him. "We're alive," he says, as if that's somehow a shock.

"Of course we're alive," Casey grouses.

"You told me I was an idiot," Billy remembers, his face clearly showing his groggy recollections.

"You are an idiot," Casey confirms.

"You told me you forgave me," Billy recalls next.

"For getting stabbed," Casey amends. "Not for passing out and making me haul you five miles to the extraction point."

Billy's eyes go a little wide. "You did that?"

"What else was I supposed to do?" Casey asks.

"Leave me and go get help," he says, and his voice is hoarse but increasingly aware. "With your injury--that's a bit like suicide."

The irony is not lost on either of them.

Casey shrugs. "Maybe I owed you one."

Billy's face brightens. "Maybe you cared."

Casey rolls his eyes in exasperation. "You're still an idiot," he says. "And if you do that again, I may not save you."

"That's a pity," Billy says. "Because I'd do it again in a heartbeat."

Casey sighs. "Figures," he says, shaking his head. He could leave it at that. The well-placed insults are apt enough between them, and there's never been a need to say anything more.

But somehow, this time Casey thinks maybe there is. Because Billy almost died for him and Casey almost died for Billy and so much unremitting idiocy almost needs to be justified, if only by sentimental measures.

Accepting this inevitability, Casey looks at Billy, almost furtively. "I suppose under similar conditions, I would probably do the same as well," he admits.

Billy's face brightens further. "You do care!"

Casey's frown deepens. "If you tell anyone, I will pull out your intestines and rearrange them myself," he threatens.

Billy nods seriously. "My lips are sealed," he says sagely.

"That would be a first," Casey mutters crossly.

"Well, with your gushing displays of affection, I must say that this proves there is a first for everything," he says, as cheerily as he can considering his weakened state.

If Casey agrees, he's not going to show it. He shakes his head. "All this sentimentality is exhausting," he grumbles. "I don't know how you ever have the energy for it."

"You get used to it, after a time," Billy says.

"Why would you want to?"

Billy shrugs. "Friendship. Companionship. The satisfaction of a trusting relationship."

"It's making my arm hurt," Casey says. He furrows his eyebrows and glares in earnest. "I blame you."

Billy nods, unaffected, even as his eyelids begin to droop again. "This time, I think I'm okay with that."

It only takes a minute of silence for Billy to drift off, and Casey knows he needs to alert Michael, Rick and the doctors to Billy's change in status. But for a moment longer, Casey sits there, watching Billy sleep.

Eventually, he smiles. "Yeah," he agrees in the comfortable stillness. "Me, too."

 

Comments

Posted by: blackdog_lz (blackdog_lz)
Posted at: August 17th, 2011 07:29 am (UTC)
Inconspicuous

I absolutely love the banter :) And two character whump, this is definitely always a good way to start the day.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: August 18th, 2011 04:38 pm (UTC)
billy considers

The banter is one of the things I miss most about this show. And I practically live for whump :)

That said, I hope you've got something in the works to help this show move on because I really am going through withdrawal.

Thanks!

Posted by: blackdog_lz (blackdog_lz)
Posted at: August 18th, 2011 07:12 pm (UTC)
Chaos Team

Urg, just barley survived this week of hell. And I mean literally, a stupid cab nearly hit me, passed by knee with less than an inch to spare, and I've had a rather loud row with my now ex-boyfriend about my new haircut of all things. So writing right now goes a bit slow, but I've got an idea and I'll hopefully will be able to bring it to paper. But I do need a bit whump to cheer me up :)

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: August 19th, 2011 12:39 pm (UTC)
billy earnest

Aw, that sounds like a very not fun week! I hope you get the chance to write soon :)

And also, if there's a specific kind of injury/illness you'd like to see, I'm open to being prompted...

Posted by: blackdog_lz (blackdog_lz)
Posted at: August 19th, 2011 03:35 pm (UTC)
Coffee

How can I pass up an opportunity to prompt you :)
Considering my near miss how about Billy getting hit with a car?

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: August 19th, 2011 03:37 pm (UTC)
billy watches

Oh, that's a fun one :) I make no promises on how quickly I'll get it done, but it's now on my to do list!

(Deleted comment)
Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: August 18th, 2011 04:39 pm (UTC)
billy likes

The dynamic between Casey and Billy really is pretty awesome--I wish we'd gotten a chance to see them in an h/c situation together.

Of course, I just wish we'd gotten more of the show at all.

Thanks :)

(Deleted comment)
Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: August 19th, 2011 12:40 pm (UTC)
billy considers

I'm still pretty addicted to this show (and honestly, all things James Murray) so I imagine I'll be writing for a bit longer yet.

Posted by: The Headkicker (tekiclutch)
Posted at: August 17th, 2011 08:50 pm (UTC)

This is my favorite thing in the whole of today - or possibly ever.

You write their interactions particularly well, too. XD

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: August 18th, 2011 04:40 pm (UTC)
billy earnest

Aw, I'm so glad you liked it! It's really hard for me to accept that this show is gone, so I'm happy there are still people in the fandom--no matter how small it is :)

Thanks!

Posted by: Starrylizard (starrylizard)
Posted at: August 21st, 2011 11:17 am (UTC)
T - Human weapon @ work (Casey Chaos)

Loving the banter. Dry irony vs optimistic sarcasm. Perfect! :D

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: August 22nd, 2011 01:11 pm (UTC)
billy content

They really do have a nice balance with one another. Thank you :)

Posted by: sophie_deangirl (sophie_deangirl)
Posted at: January 6th, 2012 11:18 pm (UTC)
Yin and Yang

I LOVED, LOVED this story. You do such a FANTASTIC job of pairing these two together. It's a magical combination. Where pairing Billy and Rick together would make total sense, mentor and mentee, in this case, Casey and Billy are equals on many levels and Billy's penchant for self-sacrifice is equal to Casey's only with a significant attitude switch. I LOVE their tête-à-tête!

Fav Parts:

Gathering a breath, Billy purses his lips. "And how, in your infinite wisdom, do you figure that?"

"Easy," Casey says, heaving as he speaks. "Because you're the tall oaf who went and got himself stabbed."

"Protecting you!" Billy shoots back incredulously. He barely manages to step over a protruding root while they walk. "I ran headlong into danger in order to spare you from certain peril."

--There's something delightful about this argument in the midst of escaping in the jungle, both of them wounded! I LOVE Billy's protest that he was saving Casey.


"Oh, and we're so much better off now?" Casey says finally. "The two of us, both injured, traipsing through the jungle in the off hope that we manage to make it to the drop without passing out from exhaustion or blood loss?"

"Come now," Billy cajoles. His voice is chipper somehow, even if stunted. "It's not so bad."

It is just like Billy to opt for understatement when he should be leaning toward melodrama. "You can barely walk," Casey points out.

"But I can," Billy reminds him with a smile.


Casey drags them forward and Billy's feet fumble to comply. "You can sleep later," he says firmly. "When you're dead."

Billy slumps a little further. "May not be so long," he murmurs.

The spike of panic in Casey's gut is entirely from the pain in his arm--he's quite certain of that--but he pulls Billy closer anyway. "I can only forgive so much stupidity in a day," he says sharply. "Your suicide charge earlier is your freebie. Passing out or worse will certainly not be so easily absolved."

Billy's breath is hot against his neck as he laughs airily. "Most people would try a thank you," he says. "But in this case, your forgiveness is something worth noting."

--LOVELY!!


"Because he's Billy," Casey says and closes his eyes. There's nothing more to it than that. Casey knows Billy--knows him well enough to know how much of the idiocy is a ploy, how much of the flippancy is a ruse. Knows him well enough to know that he'll always have Casey's back, even at his own peril, and if he's stupid enough to get himself stabbed, he's also strong enough to hold on until it's over.

-- I LOVE Casey's one determined bit of positivity and that's with Billy's ability to come back from injury.

"For getting stabbed," Casey amends. "Not for passing out and making me haul you five miles to the extraction point."

Billy's eyes go a little wide. "You did that?"

"What else was I supposed to do?" Casey asks.

"Leave me and go get help," he says, and his voice is hoarse but increasingly aware. "With your injury--that's a bit like suicide."

The irony is not lost on either of them.

Casey shrugs. "Maybe I owed you one."

Billy's face brightens. "Maybe you cared."

Casey rolls his eyes in exasperation. "You're still an idiot," he says. "And if you do that again, I may not save you."

"That's a pity," Billy says. "Because I'd do it again in a heartbeat."


--My UTMOST favorite exchange. I can hear Billy's incredulous but pleased tone of voice over the fact that Casey chose to drag him along versus leaving him behind.

SO LOVELY!

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: January 8th, 2012 08:20 pm (UTC)
Re: Yin and Yang
billy content

I love Billy with each member of the ODS, but there's something particularly fun about matching Billy and Casey because of their disparate outlooks on life. Plus, it's so much fun to get under Casey's skin and reveal the chinks in his armor with his concern for Billy.

So I'm very glad you enjoyed this in its banter and its whump :) I like writing long fics but sometimes a nice short one is very fun as well.

Thanks!

14 Read Comments