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Chaos fic: Run for Your Life (If You Can) 1b/3

November 8th, 2012 (06:30 am)
cranky

feeling: cranky

PART ONE (A)
PART ONE (B)
PART TWO
PART THREE



It was a slow, staggering walk. Billy took each step tentatively, breathing in hard with every movement in a futile attempt to control the pain. He managed not to whimper, but every step was agony, igniting renewed pain through his leg, sending shafts of misery up his body and turning his stomach. The nausea made him want to fold over; the constant motion made him want to cry.

He kept going. It went against his instincts, but he needed Michael. At first, he tried to minimize the amount of weight he shifted toward the team leader, but after a few paces, it had become painfully evident that such restraint would not be possible. His leg felt wooden and too large, moving awkwardly, bumping on the ground at unexpected times. There was nothing to be done for it, and he was forced to concede that without Michael, he’d be curled up on the ground and helpless.

Though sometimes, that sounded appealing to Billy. Helplessness, not so much, but curling up on the ground. Because moving hurt and his entire body felt like it was fraying at the seams, and he wasn’t sure how much longer he could do this.

Or if he should bother at all. What was he fighting for? Was his life even worth the effort? Would anyone even miss him if he were gone? Maybe he was just prolonging the inevitable. Torturing himself needlessly. Maybe he should have eaten a bullet before the bloody review board could sack him and spare himself the trouble.

The pain.

“You know, this reminds me of my first mission,” Michael said suddenly, his voice oddly conversational and light.

Billy blinked, feeling sluggish as he attempted to hoist his leg over a branch. “Breaking your leg while being chased by angry drug dealers?” Billy huffed out, too tired to be incredulous.

Michael chuckled softly, unconsciously hefting Billy closer to help him clear it. “No,” he said. “I mean, Venezuela. My first mission was in Venezuela.”

Breathing, Billy squinted, trying to clear his vision as they made their way along the bottom of the incline. It felt like they had been moving for hours, in a state of endless drudgery. Billy was sweating profusely, his stomach still threatening to rebel.

He swallowed. “And how did it turn out?”

Michael hesitated. “Honestly? Not the best,” he said. “My team leader told me it was something of a learning experience.”

Billy snorted. “Somehow, that’s not very encouraging,” he said, chest heaving.

“I’m still alive, aren’t I?” Michael mused. “That counts for something.”

“It depends what you learned, though,” Billy said, sucking in harshly as his leg clipped the ground. “I mean, was that the first mission that taught you how to be a paranoid, sadistic bastard?”

“Oh, sadistic,” Michael said. “That’s a new one. I admit, I get paranoid a lot. And bastard more than I should. But just don’t throw the sadistic one to my wife. She’d love to use that one against me.”

“You sound like you’re enjoying this,” Billy said, breathing heavily as he labored across the ground.

“Hey, I’ve been on worse missions,” Michael told him, shrugging.

“Well that’s easy for you to say, mate,” Billy snapped. “You’re not the one with the bloody broken leg walking through the jungle with no painkillers.”

“No,” Michael said. “But I’m the hauling your ass and leaving myself totally exposed to angry drug dealers. So I’m not so sure it’s easy at all.”

Billy frowned, but didn’t reply, because Michael had a point. This was Billy’s fault; Billy needed Michael and Michael had no reason to stay…

“Why are you doing this anyway?” Billy asked. “If you’re so keen on leaving me behind, then why don’t you just stop postponing the inevitable?”

“Because I’ve already had one learning experience in Venezuela,” Michael grunted. “I don’t need another.”

Billy’s frown deepened. He was about to ask what lesson he might learn – perhaps the best way to create dependency in new operatives or the most innovative techniques for stripping other people of their sense of worth – but he never got the chance.

Because his foot slipped, giving out. Michael tried to catch him, but Billy’s bad leg hit the ground hard. The sharp, driving pain doubled him over and he went down – the impact enough to blind him. Everything went dark, pain eclipsing his consciousness, the fire spread and burning—

His stomach couldn’t take it anymore. It rebelled, violently turning, twisting inside out until he was heaving, pulling up the contents of his stomach in hot, acrid bile—

Someone caught him, a hand on his shoulder an arm across his chest, but Billy was almost senseless to it as his stomach churned again, bringing up more acid. It burned his lips and he spit, retching again until he was reduced to dry heaves.

When it was over, Billy’s body ached and he fell back unresistingly into the arms around him. His eyes were open, but he couldn’t see. The lights and colors didn’t make sense. His ears were ringing and his senses were delayed; Michael’s voice was slow and distorted, words incomprehensible even as Billy recognized the cadence by his head.

He wanted to answer; he wanted to stay awake; he wanted to keep his control. If he gave up, he didn’t know what would happen. If he surrendered, then he had no guarantees.

He didn’t know.

And he couldn’t hold on.

The grip around him tightened and Billy slipped into darkness.

-o-

This time, Billy knew time had passed. His senses were muted, dulled by the cloying grip of unconsciousness. The pain was still there, ever-present and persistent, but the sharpness had effused into a general misery that permeated his entire being.

Mostly, he wanted to go back to sleep. He wanted to just close his eyes, drift away and let what come whatever the worst might be. He was hurt and scared and humiliated and alone—

Something shifted near him, a small sound for a small movement.

Not alone then.

“You think you’re ready to stop sleeping on the job?” Michael asked. The tone was light, but still somehow pointed.

Squinting his eyes open, Billy glared. “I don’t recall asking you to stay,” he muttered, tongue thick in his dry mouth.

Sitting nearby, pack next to him, Michael lifted his eyebrows. “I took your passing out as an implicit request for help.”

Billy had no defense against that, so he didn’t bother. Instead, he sucked in a breath and closed his eyes, trying to clear his head. When he opened his eyes again, his consciousness was firmer, if only because the pain was more acute. “I didn’t realize spies were in the habit of giving charity outside the boundaries of a mission. What was it you told me my first day on the job? Trust isn’t earned within the Agency? It’s owned.”

The funny look returned to Michael’s face.

Billy hummed a little, shifting slightly, his jaw working against the pain. “Is that what this is? A little additional emotional leverage to make me stay in line? Since all you’ve done to me so far isn’t enough? Are you taking photos on the side? Documenting things for it all? Because I have to tell you, posting them won’t get you much. Most people about the Agency already have a low opinion of me. A little extra fodder can hardly worsen my standing.”

“You know, a simple thank you would be sufficient,” Michael said. “Monologuing isn’t necessary.”

Billy grunted. “Necessary? Like bugging my flat?”

Michael didn’t flinch. “We’re spies,” he said. “That’s what we do.”

“But then you posted the live feed to the CIA breakroom!” Billy exclaimed, his frustration peaking. His body tensed and he bit back a cry, settling back down meagerly.

This time, Michael had the decency to look chagrined. “Okay, you may have a point there,” he said. “But I’ll have you know, most people were entertained by your full-on cover of ‘Hey Jude.’”

It was probably supposed to be a joke. It sounded like a joke. But it wasn’t funny. Nothing was funny. It hadn’t been funny when it had happened, and it wasn’t funny now. Not when Billy was barely getting by, not when Billy didn’t know where he fit in with this so-called team, not when he couldn’t go home, not when he had broken his bloody leg in the middle of the jungle.

It just wasn’t funny.

Gritting his teeth, Billy turned his eyes to the canopy of leaves, refusing to acknowledge the sting of tears. It was the pain, he told himself. It was the pain.

He blew out a breath, hot and bitter. “Take your bloody pictures then and just go,” he said.

“You think it’s that simple?” Michael asked.

Billy turned his eyes, eyes narrowing with distrust. “And how’s it so complicated?” he said, with heaving breaths now. The pain was mounting again, and with his growing exhaustion, he didn’t know how to fully contain the burgeoning emotions. “I screwed up. I fell down the hill. I broke my leg. You’ve done more than required by getting me this far, so just go.

He seethed the order, almost spitting the words, desperate.

Michael watched him. Calculating, but not quite cold. “We’ll go when you’re ready,” he said evenly. He paused, eyes not wavering. “Together.”

Billy groaned. “My leg is broken.

“I know,” Michael replied. “I set it.”

“Then you also know that I can’t walk on it,” Billy said. “They’re going to come back. Sooner rather than later. You’re going to get yourself killed if you hang around here with me.”

“And you’ll probably get killed if I leave you,” Michael countered.

“And somehow this matters to you now?” Billy asked. “You’ve left me in harm’s way more times than I can count and I’ve hardly been at the CIA for three months. If my well being has been a concern of yours, then I’m afraid you have a funny way of showing it.”

The speech left him spent, the entire exchange wearing away at Billy’s increasingly tenuous control. The pain was getting difficult to hold back now, and his emotions were fraying with the exertion. Normally he could keep his confusion in check – and that was important, given the sundry confusions he faced on a daily basis with the ODS – but with his energy leeching out of his body, all that was left were his pathetic vulnerabilities.

And Michael sat there, pack at his side, just staring. Watching. There was no malice, no glee. If Billy didn’t know better, he might attribute it all to concern.

Except Billy did know better.

Didn’t he?

Michael shrugged. “You’re right,” he said.

Billy’s forehead scrunched up. His ability to think was slowly being compromised, but he hadn’t thought he was so far gone yet. “What?”

“We do have a funny way of showing most things,” he said. He offered a small, half smile. “I might call it part of our charm, but I have a feeling you’d disagree.”

Billy could only stare back, mouth hanging open as he tried to understand. With the ongoing pain, Billy might have thought himself numb, impervious to further shocks, but he would have been wrong.

Because Michael Dorset was surprising him yet.

It figured, though; Billy was wrong about a lot of things in life.

“But I’m not leaving you,” Michael said flatly. “So we go together.”

-o-

Together.

It was apparently Michael Dorset’s new mantra. After weeks of tormenting Billy, of reducing him to humiliation, of teasing him with the possibility of being fired and deported again, now the paranoid bastard was a firm believer in the leave no man behind mentality.

It might be encouraging – hell, it might be funny – if it made any damn sense whatsoever.

To be fair, Billy wasn’t exactly functioning at full capacity. The gnawing pain was taking a toll on his ability to think clearly, and it seemed to take more effort than he had to expend just to keep moving forward, pace after limping pace. Even then, he had to lean heavily on Michael, half squashing the man with his listing, but there was nothing to be done for it. If Michael was intent on dragging Billy along, this was the way it had to be.

Painful. Miserable. Confusing. Exhausting.

Each step was a monumental task that Billy dreaded. Throwing his weight to one side, he had to pull his broken leg up just enough to try to keep it from scraping on the ground. The effort was excessively tiring, and he was dripping with sweat, half blind from the pain as he had no choice but to trust Michael to lead them.

And then when his leg did hit the ground – which was agonizingly often – Billy was almost reduced to tears, breathing through a tight chest and constricted throat. His pride was probably a lost cause, and he could no longer tell if the wetness on his face was sweat, tears or both.

Yet, Michael didn’t mention it. He didn’t flinch when Billy bore down on him, didn’t snort derisively when Billy buried his head at Michael’s shoulder, sobbing against the pain he couldn’t control or avoid.

He wanted to stop. He wanted to curl up on the ground and just sleep. If he died, that might be preferable.

But that apparently wasn’t an option. Not with Michael, still there. Not with the idea of survival still too glaringly close to reject. It was pathetic, he supposed, being half dragged by the man who had dedicated himself to destroying Billy’s already tattered reputation and grinding the remains of his fledgling career into dust. Just like it was pathetic to take a plea deal and leave with his tail tucked between his legs, with everyone back home thinking he was nothing but a coward and a traitor.

He was a coward and a traitor, though. Not in the way his country thought, but by taking the deal, he’d proven it. Just like he was proving it now, limping along, dependent, pathetic and—

“We’re making good time,” Michael said, thoughts cutting through Billy’s bitter ruminations.

“Have we missed the drop yet?” Billy managed to ask, breathing raggedly.

“Not yet,” Michael said. “We’re still a few miles out, though.”

Billy winced. “So we have a few miles, the drug dealers are likely to return, and Carson and Casey don’t even know to look for us yet?”

Michael seemed to shrug, an infinitesimal movement as he shouldered Billy’s weight. “The farther we get, the better.”

Billy had learned the art of reticence when it came to the ODS, where everything he said could and was used against him for no other reason than it seemed like fun to pick on the Scottish reject. But his normal self-control was gone – along with his pride and dignity –so he laughed outright.

“Something funny, Collins?”

Almost wheezing now, Billy laughed again. “As if it could get any worse!”

Michael was silent for a moment, face darkening even as he pulled Billy another step. “Our angry friends haven’t come back yet, at least.”

“You almost sound disappointed,” Billy mused, feeling almost hysterical now. “I mean, is that it? That’s why I’m still here? You want me as bait? Maybe throw me to the wolves when they show up so you have a fighting chance of making it out alive?”

“You really think I’m dragging your ass along for that?” he asked. “That’s the stupidest way to get us both killed.”

“I never said it was a good plan!” Billy exclaimed, lurching unsteadily. “I merely fail to see how you think pulling me along is any advantage at all? What, is there an Agency-wide bet about how long I’ll last and your date isn’t up yet?”

“You really think that?” Michael asked, as if there was reason to doubt.

But there wasn’t any reason to doubt. Billy wasn’t wanted in this team, and so Michael’s sudden benevolence wasn’t just strange, it was confounding. Maybe being a spy had made Billy paranoid too, but the possibilities were endless, and now that he had started, Billy was finding it hard to stop. It was all tumbling out: every emotion, every doubt, every frustration.

What was the point of holding it back, anyway? What was the likelihood of him even surviving? Did he even want to go back? To an Agency that didn’t trust him, to a flat that didn’t feel like home, to a life that would never make him happy?

He was lonely. He was scared. He was ashamed. And now he was hurt.

And for what?

Breath hitching, Billy shook his head.

He took another grating breath, and kept talking, too worked up to stop now. “Or maybe it’s just the bloody paperwork if I die overseas? Or do you just not want to give up your convenient Agency lackey just yet? Or—“

“Hey—“ Michael interjected. “Quiet—“

Billy grunted, almost drunkenly now. “Why? Because what? I’m hurting your bloody feelings? Because—“

The words were smothered, cut short when Michael pressed a sweaty hand over Billy’s mouth.

Shocked, Billy flailed, breathing sharply through his noise and squawking in protest.

“Because I think they’re back,” Michael hissed, voice low in Billy’s ear.

His train of thought was cut short, and suddenly he was acutely aware of the sounds around him. The sudden stillness, the faint rustling of leaves. Then, voices in Spanish, Michael’s breath hot on his ear, his own heart thudding in his chest.

“They’re coming,” Michael said.

Billy blinked, the anger giving way to fear. It was easy to talk about, but he didn’t want to die. If he had, he would have been dead already. Billy survived, even when he shouldn’t, and he wanted to survive now. For another chance, for anything.

Louder voices, moving closer.

Billy’s heart quickened, and he found himself breathing hard around Michael’s hand as they stood stock still in the jungle.

“Do you trust me?” Michael asked.

He blinked furiously, and there were fresh tears again. Billy shook his head.

Michael sighed. “Well,” he said. “Now’s the time to start.”

Billy frowned, confused, but there was no time to indulge it. Not when Michael flung him to the ground. Pain erupted and he couldn’t help but cry out, cursing at the overwhelming intensity as he writhed helplessly.

It was too much. And as the blackness came, he heard shouts in the distance, and the sounds of gunfire dissipating into his unconsciousness.

-o-

This time, consciousness was slow in coming. He hovered just below it, fighting doggedly, although it occurred to him that he wasn’t sure if he wanted to pass out again or finally ascend.

It turned out, however, that the choice wasn’t his to make. That shouldn’t have been surprising, even if it was ever so unpleasant.

“Come on, Collins,” Michael said, sounding gruff and tired. “I know you like to be difficult, but it really is okay to wake up now.”

Billy opened his eyes so he could glare. “That’s easy for you to say,” he muttered.

Michael stared back at him, nonplussed from his seat on the edge of the slope. “You would think so.”

Billy blinked, his eyes clearing, and he realized that maybe he’d spoken prematurely. Because Michael certainly looked worse than Billy remembered, hair a complete mess and face freshly bruised. There was a cut on his cheek weeping blood and his hair was matted behind his ear. There was a tear in his shirt and a small bloody streak at his side, his fist bloody and torn in front of him.

Swallowing tentatively, Billy realized he was on his back now, propped up by a pack. He didn’t know how long he’d been out, but the sun seemed lower; the jungle settled back into its normal rhythm.

The sounds of footfalls were gone; there were no more voices. The gunfire…

Wetting his lips, he asked, “What happened?”

Michael shrugged. “I took care of it.”

Billy was foggy with pain, plainly disoriented by exhaustion, and simply too overworked to be certain of his own point of view, but Michael’s plain answer didn’t make sense. “You took care of it?” he asked.

Michael nodded.

“You took care of a group of bloodthirsty, vengeful drug dealers, intent on killing us?” Billy clarified.

“You don’t have to sound so surprised,” Michael quipped.

Billy gaped. “But…how?”

Michael’s expression softened just slightly. “It was your idea, actually.”

Billy was still too slow on the uptake.

Michael looked a little chagrined. “I figured if they heard you yelling, I could circle around and pick them off,” he said.

Brow furrowed, Billy’s stomach dropped. “You used me as bait!”

“Well, I knew you’d be pretty out of it,” Michael said. “And they’re a pretty amoral group but they’re not going to shoot an unarmed man writhing in pain. You played your part very well.”

Billy stared. He was suddenly glad he’d been unconscious, though less glad that he’d bothered to wake up. “So you…killed them?”

Michael snorted. “Does that bother you?”

“No,” Billy said. “I just…” He frowned. “You really used me as bait?”

“I only went up the ridge and hid,” Michael said. “I knocked off as many as I could before they even got down the hill and took the rest out before they got to you. They were never close.”

Billy tried to process that. Tried to understand.

He failed.

“And they’re not dead,” Michael said, as if that was some kind of assurance. “But they are disarmed and tied to trees until we can call a tip in to the local police. Rule of law may be hit or miss here sometimes, but drug dealers aren’t good for the local economy, so I think they’ll know what to do with our friends.”

Billy blinked. It sounded good. It sounded great, actually. It sounded damn near perfect. Michael had taken a blown mission and turned it into an unprecedented success. He’d saved Billy’s life, he’d nabbed the intel, and he’d subdued the threat for the benefit of the local population and the stability of the world.

Michael Dorset wasn’t just a team leader or paranoid bastard.

He was an honest to God hero.

As if Billy needed more reasons to hate him.

“Anyway,” Michael said, getting to his feet and coming closer. “I was just waiting for you to wake up—“

His voice cut off as he approached. Kneeling next to Billy, he frowned, pressing a cold hand to Billy’s forehead. “You’ve picked up a fever.”

Billy huffed, shuddering. That explained why things felt so funny, why his limbs tingled and his vision kept going dim around the edges.

Michael shifted, producing a bottle of water. He unscrewed it, holding it out.

It took Billy a moment to focus on it, a moment longer to realize that Michael was offering it to him.

Mind still foggy, Billy did his best to reach out, but he found his movements uncoordinated. He missed once, brow furrowed, and tried again. When he fumbled, Michael eased closer, moving the bottle to Billy’s mouth. “Here,” he said. “Just drink slow.”

Disoriented as he was, Billy still frowned. But before he could protest, the bottle was pressed to his lips, tipped back, tepid water trickling over his mouth. Just like that, he realized his thirst, opening his lips and drinking.

It was a messy, awkward process, but when Michael finally took the bottle and recapped it, Billy felt marginally improved. His senses were less dull; his mind was more clear.

Which meant he could feel the aching pain in his leg again.

Which reminded him of their situation.

Which was suddenly greatly improved.

“So,” Billy said, pushing himself up a little. He paused, gritting his teeth in pain as he sat up, easing himself back against a tree. “It looks like things are squared away.”

“They should be, once we hook up with Casey and Carson again,” Michael said. He glanced at his watch. “Speaking of which, we should start out again. That is, if you’re up to it.”

Billy shook his head. “You’ve subdued the enemy,” he said. “Why would you bother dragging me along?”

Michael laughed. “Because you’ve got a badly broken leg and the start of an infection,” he said wryly. “Our friends may be tied up, but that’s no guarantee. Plus, if anyone else comes around, they’re not likely to be real friendly with a banged up American. You wouldn’t be safe.”

Billy grunted. “I’m still a little confused as to when my personal safety became an actual concern to the team.”

Michael rolled his eyes. “I hadn’t realized you were taking everything so personally.”

“Well,” Billy said. “It’s a mite hard not to, all things considered.”

“But we’re a team,” Michael said. “We can be asses to one another, but if anyone else messes with us, all bets are off.”

Billy chuffed bitterly. “But I thought trust was owned in the Agency,” he reminded Michael. “As I recall, you still have photos of me kissing a known terrorist sympathizer.”

Michael smirked, clearly amused. “Yeah, I still can’t believe you actually kissed her.”

“You told me it was part of the contact protocol!” Billy exclaimed. “I didn’t know that you and yours would set me up and keep me in perpetual fear of losing my life and liberty on the first day.

“Well, you are a MI6 washout,” Michael reminded him. “We had reason to doubt.”

Billy gaped in incredulity. “And you wonder why I’m perplexed as to your sudden kindness on this mission!”

Michael sighed. “That’s a fair point, maybe,” he conceded. “And trust is owned within the Agency, but sometimes it’s also earned. And I think by now you’ve probably earned it from us, though I’m beginning to wonder if we’ve earned it from you.”

Billy shook his head. “This is a set up again,” he said, defenses flaring. “Because you’re talking rubbish. Absolute rubbish. You’ve got this recorded? Maybe you’re going to break my other leg now just to see what happens?”

“Oh, come on,” Michael protested. “I just want to get us both out of here—“

But Billy shook his head again, more adamant. “No,” he said. “I’m not going to be indebted to you anymore.”

“But you can’t walk—“

Struggling, Billy pushed himself up. His arms shook and tears sprung to his eyes, but he didn’t give in. It was hard, but he found a way to balance precariously on one leg, leaning heavily against his tree, even as Michael stood with him, reaching out to steady him.

Billy pulled away. He’d relied on Michael too much already; he’d put his life in the hands of a man who had tormented and maligned him. The nicer Michael was, the less Billy could trust him.

Billy couldn’t trust anyone.

Billy just needed to run.

Instincts were instincts, and trained and educated as Billy was, sometimes he was still fourteen, afraid to face the truth, afraid to face his failures, just afraid.

And he was afraid now. Of Michael, of Venezuela, of his broken leg.

He just needed to run.

It was a horrible, awkward gait but he lurched ahead, moving from one tree to the next, his leg bouncing and tears springing to his eyes. He swallowed and pushed through.

“Come on,” Michael said. “This is stupid.”

“Then it’s par for the course, yeah?” Billy asked, throwing himself forward and barely catching the next tree. He was crying now, in earnest. “And what do you care?”

“Collins,” Michael tried again. “Billy—“

Billy shook his head. “No,” he said. “This entire thing is rubbish, and I just want to – I just need¬—

He landed hard against the next tree, teetering. The pain was building again, but he didn’t slow. His vision blurred – from the tears, from the pain, from his waning consciousness – Billy didn’t know.

Didn’t care.

“Wait, Collins,” Michael said, a hint of urgency now. A hand locked around Billy’s arm. “Just stop—

Billy thrashed, hissing angrily. “Why?” he spat, seething now. He tried to pull away, but then he saw the movement. Not Michael. Not the leaves.

It flicked, small amongst the brush. Dark scales, coiled body, beady eyes and—

Fangs.

Billy blinked, dumbly, head going light. A snake. It was a snake.

It hissed, body tensing, ready to strike.

And Billy, for all his fight or flight, just stood there and watched.

The snake leaped, lunging through the air, straight at Billy.

For a killing blow.

And Billy didn’t fight it. Couldn’t fight it. Accepted it. Welcomed it.

Until Michael’s arms wrapped around him and pulled him down. They hit the ground hard, and Billy’s leg exploded with pain again. It stole his breath, and he found his nose pressed into the foliage as he cried helplessly.

It was a long moment, lingering and tight, but he didn’t pass out. This time, consciousness refused to leave him, even as his awareness ebbed and the pain took over. As it cleared, Billy found himself cognizant again, still face first on the ground. Still breathing. Still alive.

He blinked, looking back.

No snake.

Michael had pulled him out of the way.

He’d probably saved Billy’s life. Again.

Face red, Billy swallowed back his humiliation. “That was close,” he murmured, his heart still thundering. “No way of knowing it if was poisonous, I reckon—“

Then his eyes settled on Michael.

Who was looking at something else.

Something on his leg.

Billy cocked his head, trying to see as Michael reached down, gritting his teeth as he ripped at the cuff of his pants, revealing his leg underneath.

And the neat puncture marks, weeping blood.

“Well, seems like there’s one way,” Michael said, shrugging. He looked up, meeting Billy’s eyes grimly. “We wait and find out.”

Comments

Posted by: Evil Insane Monkey (eviinsanemonkey)
Posted at: November 9th, 2012 02:01 pm (UTC)

THIS FIC! ♥
So, I read chapter one last night and I would've just finished the whole thing but I had to sleep but I thought I'd comment on chapter one because I am absolutely loving this!!

(it has also inspired a Princess Bride Fusion with Casey as Westley because of: Unless Michael had somehow built up an immunity to whatever he might use to dose Billy, but that seemed unlikely, even for the ODS.

Well, for Michael anyway. Billy had his doubts regarding Casey.
)

Can't wait to finish reading this :D

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: December 2nd, 2012 12:46 pm (UTC)
billy knows

(LOL, I do hope you write that someday.)

Thank you!

Posted by: sophie_deangirl (sophie_deangirl)
Posted at: November 12th, 2012 07:10 pm (UTC)
You do all the right things!

I love that you just push the lovely h/c envelope by putting Michael in peril. With all of Billy's self-pity, the fact that Michael gets hurt by saving him just delights my h/c sensibilities no end and that later Billy has to put aside his own injuries and insecurities to put Michael first is just so *sigh worthy. It almost feels like Michael got hurt on purpose to prove something to Billy. Hee!

Fave parts:

“You almost sound disappointed,” Billy mused, feeling almost hysterical now. “I mean, is that it? That’s why I’m still here? You want me as bait? Maybe throw me to the wolves when they show up so you have a fighting chance of making it out alive?”

“You really think I’m dragging your ass along for that?” he asked. “That’s the stupidest way to get us both killed.”

“I never said it was a good plan!” Billy exclaimed, lurching unsteadily. “I merely fail to see how you think pulling me along is any advantage at all? What, is there an Agency-wide bet about how long I’ll last and your date isn’t up yet?”

“You really think that?” Michael asked, as if there was reason to doubt.

But there wasn’t any reason to doubt. Billy wasn’t wanted in this team, and so Michael’s sudden benevolence wasn’t just strange, it was confounding. Maybe being a spy had made Billy paranoid too, but the possibilities were endless, and now that he had started, Billy was finding it hard to stop. It was all tumbling out: every emotion, every doubt, every frustration.

--I love the raw honesty here, painful and so vulnerable.

Billy gaped in incredulity. “And you wonder why I’m perplexed as to your sudden kindness on this mission!”

Michael sighed. “That’s a fair point, maybe,” he conceded. “And trust is owned within the Agency, but sometimes it’s also earned. And I think by now you’ve probably earned it from us, though I’m beginning to wonder if we’ve earned it from you.”

Billy shook his head. “This is a set up again,” he said, defenses flaring. “Because you’re talking rubbish. Absolute rubbish. You’ve got this recorded? Maybe you’re going to break my other leg now just to see what happens?”

“Oh, come on,” Michael protested. “I just want to get us both out of here—“

But Billy shook his head again, more adamant. “No,” he said. “I’m not going to be indebted to you anymore.”

“But you can’t walk—“

Struggling, Billy pushed himself up. His arms shook and tears sprung to his eyes, but he didn’t give in. It was hard, but he found a way to balance precariously on one leg, leaning heavily against his tree, even as Michael stood with him, reaching out to steady him.

Billy pulled away. He’d relied on Michael too much already; he’d put his life in the hands of a man who had tormented and maligned him. The nicer Michael was, the less Billy could trust him.

Billy couldn’t trust anyone.

Billy just needed to run.

Instincts were instincts, and trained and educated as Billy was, sometimes he was still fourteen, afraid to face the truth, afraid to face his failures, just afraid.

-- this is such a beautiful revelation of Billy and I love that you correlate his history for running away then getting a broken leg to keep him from running to face his fears. Lovely!!

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: December 2nd, 2012 12:46 pm (UTC)
Re: You do all the right things!
billy likes

It goes against my instincts to hurt other characters but I suppose variety is good sometimes. This one did push me out of my comfort zone!

Thank you!

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