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do i dare or do i dare? [userpic]

Chaos fic: A Stoic Mind and a Bleeding Heart (1/1)

December 18th, 2012 (09:27 pm)
restless

feeling: restless

Title: A Stoic Mind and a Bleeding Heart

Disclaimer: I do not own Chaos.

A/N: For blackdog_lz. Beta given by lena7142.

Summary: Not all emotions are bad. But most of them are.



-o-

Casey can’t sit still. He paces and he taps his foot. He shoves his hands in his pockets and mutters a tune under his breath.

Nearby, Michael is slumped in a chair. He doesn’t look at Casey; he doesn’t look at anything at all while they wait.

And wait.

Rick comes out, pale and shellshocked. There’s a line of stitches on his forehead and he stares at his hands as he sits next to Michael.

“Any word?” he asks.

“If there was any word, would we still be here?” Casey snaps.

Michael sighs, lifting an arm and resting it on the kid’s shoulder. “Nothing yet,” he says. “You okay?”

Rick blinks a few times, but nods. “Yeah. I just -- the stitches,” he fumbles. “I’m just worried about Billy.”

“We all are, kid,” Michael says with a squeeze. “We all are.”

-o-

It had happened fast, which was usually the case. One second, they were running surveillance, the next, one of the guards was yelling. The firefight had started before Casey could stop it, and Rick took a spray of splintered concrete while diving for cover.

Billy took one to the chest.

Michael hauled him back while Casey disarmed the guard, and they dragged Billy to the car before speeding away, Michael at the wheel and Rick trying in vain to stem the bleeding from his forehead. Casey ended up in the back, Billy half on top of him, with all the blood...

Billy was looking at him, though.

Casey looked back, pressing a hand over the hole in Billy’s chest. “That was stupid.”

Billy’s chest hitched. “If it helps, I didn’t mean for it to happen,” he said, and then he grimaced, body contorting as Casey pressed harder.

“It doesn’t help,” Casey said sharply.

Billy’s eyes were closing now, the hot blood seeping up through Casey’s fingers. “Yes, well,” Billy murmured, but he didn’t finish the thought.

Casey shook him violently, and Billy sucked in a harsh gasp. “Stay awake, Collins.”

Billy was crying now, and his breathing was fast and strained. “Is that -- concern?”

“It’s pragmatism,” Casey told him.

Billy ground his teeth together and shook his head. “In your head, maybe,” he said, wheezing now, a deep gargling sound in his throat. He coughed, blood flecking his lips, even as he tried to smile. “But your heart...you’re soft, Malick.”

“And you’re still stupid, Collins,” Casey said, without missing a beat.

But Billy’s eyes dimmed, his lids slipping shut, and this time when Casey jostled him, there was no response.

“Drive faster,” Casey ordered, voice taut as he pressed down, holding on as they tried to outrace the inevitable.

-o-

Billy survives surgery, though it’s not a sure thing still. He’s on the critical list, and when Casey finally gets a turn with him, the Scot looks even worse than before. His entire body seems to have shrunk, his vitality sapped from his cheeks, leaving him hollowed out and wan.

But his heart beats. His eyes are closed and there’s a tube breathing for him, but he hasn’t given up yet.

And Casey hasn’t either.

Casey won’t.

-o-

“I hate these missions,” Casey said tersely, stretching one of his legs on the hotel bed.

Billy grinned at him. “No, you don’t.”

“Yes, I do,” Casey returned. “This is stupid and pointless. I mean, we’re being asked to run surveillance. Any idiot can run surveillance.”

“This is a high security compound,” Billy reminded him.

“It’s lackey work.”

“Tell that to the three agents who were compromised by this cell last month,” Billy said, a little pointedly.

Casey made a face. “That’s sentimentality. It should never dictate decisions in the field.”

“Ah,” Billy said. “Your heart has grown cold.”

Casey shifted his legs and snorted. “Yes, after I turned ten and realized the world was worse off for the feelings people had.”

“Not all feelings are bad,” Billy reminded him.

Casey scoffed. “No,” he agreed. “But most of them are.”

-o-

The doctors talk about permanent damage; they stress the risk of complications. They monitor for fever and for blood clots and for other things Casey doesn’t care to think about.

Because Billy is going to be okay.

He says that staunchly, without doubt or irony. He says it while Billy’s in a coma. He says it when Billy’s extubated. He says it when they reduce the sedation. He says it when Billy wakes up.

Michael and Rick have stepped out -- Michael’s having trouble making sure the kid looks after himself in all this -- and Casey finds himself alone at Billy’s bedside as he blinks hazily upward. At first, Casey expects him to go back under, like he’s done before. But after several moments, his eyes focus and then, recognition dawns.

When he opens his mouth to speak, the words are garbled and unintelligible.

Casey smirks. “For once, you really are speaking gibberish,” he quips, but he gets a cup with a straw and holds it close enough for Billy to drink.

Billy drinks, swallowing with a wince before he wets his lips. “Wha’ happened?”

Casey grunts. “You were stupid.”

Billy closes his eyes for a moment and nods. He opens them again. “Maybe we can be more specific?”

Casey’s pretenses waver just a little. “You were shot on the patrol,” he says. “We missed the guard on our second pass. He managed to shatter one of your ribs and puncture your lung.”

Billy pales a little, but he nods. “Sounds about...right,” he says haltingly.

There’s an awkward lapse and Casey shifts. He frowns. “You’re going to be okay, though.”

Looking up at him, Billy manages a grin. “You think?”

“I know,” Casey replies without hesitation.

“Is that hope I detect?” Billy asks coyly. “One of those lesser emotions?”

“No, still pragmatism,” Casey says. “Believing in the possibility of failure is counterproductive.”

Besides, he’s seen Billy through this much. He’ll see him through the rest. No matter what.

Billy nods, humming his agreement even as his eyes start to drift. “If that’s what you say,” he murmurs. His smile widens. “Softie.”

As Billy slips back into sleep, Casey still stands there, cup in hand. He’s out of place, somehow. And yet, not. There’s no place else to be.

It’s uncomfortable; it’s still right. It’s no crime to be relieved, even if Casey won’t admit to being scared.

Because Billy’s right sometimes: not all emotions are bad.

But Casey’s right, too: most of them are.

Watching Billy sleep, though, he knows these feelings are not among them.

Comments

Posted by: blackdog_lz (blackdog_lz)
Posted at: December 25th, 2012 02:39 pm (UTC)
Casey and Billy

That's absolutely lovely and heartwarming :)

Thanks. The story is a wonderful Christmas present.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: January 3rd, 2013 02:41 pm (UTC)
billy bruised

I know you love h/c, so I hope this hit the spot for Christmas!

Thanks!

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