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do i dare or do i dare? [userpic]

Chaos fic: Impact (2/2)

January 31st, 2013 (06:19 am)
pessimistic
Tags: , ,

feeling: pessimistic

Continued from Part One.



-o-

Michael has a painfully good sense of time. The day crawls by, the minutes excruciating as he feels each second that separates him from the cliffside. He does what he can to keep going, but the hard truth is there’s not much he can do.

Casey showers and dresses, looking as trim and proper as ever as he sits down and glowers his way through breakfast. He continues stalking the edges of the room, and Gillet seems to be increasingly uncertain of Casey’s agitated presence. In any other circumstance, Michael might tell Casey to back off, but Michael knows better.

Hell, he knows Casey can’t. Casey’s grieving, in his own way. Without something to destroy, predatory glances are all that’s keeping Casey from going batshit crazy on Gillet and Clack -- and Michael.

Rick wakes in the mid morning. He seems dazed and confused, and when he sits up he asks where Billy is.

When Michael hesitates Rick remembers, and Michael has spent the rest of the day trying to make Martinez go through the motions. It’s a bit awkward when he shuffles Rick to the shower, but the kid manages to dress himself in sweatpants and a t-shirt, so Michael counts that as a win.

Not that it’s much of a win. It’s telling that Michael’s willing to count it anyway.

Clack disappears for part of the day -- presumably to rest -- and Gillet watches them warily. When the afternoon finally starts to wane, Michael’s about ready to coax Rick into eating when Clack comes back out.

“Just got off the phone,” she says. “Transport’s about five minutes out. So load on up.”

Michael doesn’t generally like taking orders, but he’s so relieved for something to do that he gets up immediately. His first instinct is to gather the intel -- it’s all still secure in his satchel -- before turning to Casey, who is pressed against the wall, eyes narrowed at Michael.

“You need to pack anything?” he asks. “If you want I can do a sweep of the bathroom for your stuff.”

Casey purses his lips. “I’m sure that’ll be quite helpful,” he intones sarcastically.

“I just don’t want to leave anything--”

Casey snorts loudly. “We’re leaving behind a teammate, Michael,” he says. “Do you think I care if I have my toothbrush?”

The jibe is pointed and well placed. Still, Michael hardly feels it. Casey is probably looking for a fight, but Michael has no intention of giving him one. Hell, he doesn’t have the energy to give him one. “Okay,” he says instead. “When the car comes, we’ll be in it. No arguments.”

“Except Billy, you mean,” Casey remarks coldly. “Or are we already pretending that he doesn’t exist? Since that’s worked so well for us before.”

Michael collects a breath and lets it out. “Just be ready,” he says shortly. “I’ve got to go get Rick.”

Casey says nothing, probably because Casey is pissed off and hurting but he’s not stupid. He wants a rise out of Michael, but they both know the kid has more problems to contend with. Rick’s a good operative, but he’s young. He’s too young, and sometimes Michael takes that for granted. Other times, he painfully aware of it. Like in Bolivia.

Like now.

He finds Rick sitting on the cot in the bedroom. He’s still barefoot, holding a toothbrush in his hands, as if he had been trying to get up to brush. He’s staring vacantly at the wall, and he looks like he’s 12.

Michael winces, but doesn’t hold back. “Hey,” he says, puttering over to the beds and throwing the sheets back, checking for any lost items. “Just heard from Clack that our ride’s about here.”

Rick doesn’t reply.

Michael remakes the beds hastily, picking up Rick’s back and zipping it shut. “You ready to go home?”

Rick finally looks at Michael. “This is really it, then?” he asks. “We’re just going to go home.”

Michael sighs. “We’ve talked about this--”

“I know,” Rick says quickly. “I just...” He looks at the wall again, shaking his head. “He should be with us.”

The longing is hard to hear, harder still because Michael knows. Michael knows better than all of them. This was Michael’s mission and Michael’s plan. And he let BIlly go last. He let Billy let go.

This is Michael’s fault. It’s Michael’s fault that Casey’s so angry that he can barely stop from hurting people. It’s Michael’s fault that Rick is pale and shaky. It’s Michael’s fault that they’ll go home a man short.

It’s Michael’s fault that Billy’s dead.

And there’s nothing Michael can say to change that. There’s nothing he can even say to make it more palatable.

Yet, he has no choice. He closes his eyes, sees the long drop and the empty rope.

He opens his eyes, and Rick is looking at him. Finally, Michael manages a grim smile. “Yeah, he should,” he agrees. “But he’s not. And if anyone would want us to get home, it’s Billy. He’d want us to buy a round when we get back, just to celebrate.”

“Scotch,” Rick says weakly.

“Nothing fancy, though,” Michael jokes. “Bastard never cared about nuance.”

Rick smiles feebly. “Quantity over quality.”

Michael’s lips twist bittersweetly. “Sounds about right.”

The smile falters and Rick swallows. “I miss him, Michael.”

“Yeah,” is all Michael can say around the tightness in his throat. “Me, too.”

-o-

Billy’s falling.

This mission, that seems to be a recurring theme, but when he goes down he finds himself forgetting if this is a short fall or a much longer way. Either way, impact is unpleasant.

He hits the ground on his hands and knees, the jarring pain making him cry out. He chokes on a sob, his chest feeling like it’s being squeezed, and he’d curse but he doesn’t have the energy.

He doesn’t have the energy for anything. He just wants to lay down, to let this fall be his last. He knows what they say about the horse, about getting back on, bruises and damaged ego be damned but--

This isn’t a horse. This is Billy, broken and bruised and bleeding and so, so tired...

He can’t, though. He let go once, and now it’s time to hold on. It’s time to get up. It’s time to get up.

He’s on his feet, though he can’t precisely remember how. It doesn’t matter how. What matters is moving, finding his friends, hanging on.

This isn’t the last fall.

Not yet, Billy thinks as he staggers on. The pain is almost too intense to understand now, and he can’t make sense of the myriad of sensations. He might be hungry; he might be thirsty. Or he could just be bleeding to death from a thousand internal tears. Still, he’s nothing if not tenacious, even stupidly so.

If he remembers nothing, if he has nothing, he still has this: the look on Michael’s face before he let go. He has to see Michael. He has to keep going. Fate’s given him a million chances, and apparently Billy needs each one.

His foot catches something and he goes down, this time his arms can’t catch him. He’s face first on the earth, spitting out dirt and his vision is blurred with green. He has to roll awkwardly and he almost retches when he sits up, and his vision blackens precariously by the time he finds his knees. But he still makes it to his feet and lurches on.

Not yet.

-o-

It’s time to go.

In truth, it’s been time for a while now. If Michael had played things safe, they would have been packed and out of the country three days ago and none of this would have happened. But it’s not Michael’s job to play it safe, and he has the broken team to show for it.

But it’s too late to change that now. Now, it’s just time to go. To take what’s left of his team, and leave.

Rick’s sitting by the door with his bags, staring at the window. Casey refuses to shoulder his pack, so Michael has it ready by Rick’s and he plans to carry it out himself. His own things and the mission intel are secured by the door, and Clack and Gillet have cleared the transport and have greeted the extraction team.

It’s a four man team, but two of them have already brought their bags in. They don’t say anything to Michael, and they won’t look him in the eyes so he knows what they’re there for. They’ll be the ones to find Billy.

Michael’s not particularly sentimental; he’s also not superstitious. Death is death, and it’s all pretty simple to him. The body lives and then the body dies, and that’s pretty much that. He hasn’t positively ruled out the possibility of an afterlife but since he has no control over that, he doesn’t see much reason to worry about it.

The point is, of course, that Billy’s gone. Finding his body is the right thing to do, but the closure is for his team, not for Billy. He supposes Billy might like a proper burial -- though, CIA honors won’t mean as much to him as going home. Michael’s not sure if he can finagle a plot in Scotland, and if not then scattered ashes will have to do.

Born and bruised in North Edinburgh.

Buried, too.

Michael shudders at the thought. He can still hear Billy, the musical lilt of his voice. He’s come to count on that, and now it’s gone.

Now two strangers are going to comb the gorge and put whatever’s left of Billy in a body bag back to the States.

It’s a little hard to take.

Clenching his teeth, Michael busies himself. He picks up the bags and smiles at Rick as best he can. “You ready?”

It’s a stupid question. Martinez is no more ready than Michael is, but that’s not the point.

Rick looks up at him lamely, but he doesn’t resist when Michael helps him to his feet. Then, he glances back at Casey. “We’re loading up,” he announces.

Casey’s gaze is icy. For a minute, Michael worries the older operative is going to defy him, but instead Casey stiffens and stalks past Michael. “I call shotgun,” he mutters on his way, not pausing to look back.

Michael sighs, lifting Casey’s bag as well before handing Rick’s to him. “Come on,” he says.

Clack comes up behind them. “Everything’s clear,” she says. “The extraction team will take it from here, and they’ve got a military transport waiting for you. You’ll be Stateside before you know.”

It’s as much kindness as Michael can expect from Clack, and he tries to be grateful. As he shuttles Rick out into the sunlight toward the car, Michael tries very hard to be relieved it’s over, that he hasn’t lost anything more. They’re going home. That counts for something.

Up ahead, Casey is ducking into the front seat, face taut with concentration.

Next to him, Rick looks young and terrified.

Instinctively, Michael looks behind him for Billy but no one’s there.

He closes his eyes (and sees the empty rope dangling in the wind).

A shiver races up his spine and he swallows desperately, opening his eyes, picking up his pace to move around to the trunk. One of the agents has opened it and Michael numbly lifts the bags and starts loading them in. He has everything. He’s not going to leave anything behind.

Except Billy.

He feels lightheaded at the realization. He’s been here before. He’d thought leaving North Africa would be the hardest thing he’d ever done. There’d been no body then either. He’d told himself that with the fire and the flames, there’d be nothing but ash. Casey and Billy had wanted to stay, but he’d made them come home.

Three years later, Carson Simms was still alive.

This is different, though. This is a long drop and an empty rope and Billy.

Leaving is the right thing. It’s the only thing that makes sense. Casey’s already in the front and Rick’s settled in the back. The engine is idling and Clack is thanking the other agent. Michael has to get the intel back; he has to protect his team.

But he can’t. He’s already failed his team in every way possible, and he has a bad habit of coming home without his teammates. He always does what needs to be done, and most of the time it’s enough.

This time, it’s not.

This time, Michael’s not sure he can walk away. He can give Casey space and he can be Rick’s strength, but he can’t walk away. Because he can still see the fear in Billy’s eyes, he can still feel the wind.

Billy’s still talking, and his voice is clear across the valley

Sometimes when we’re holding on, it’s for ourselves.

And Michael can’t let go. Michael’s still holding on.

Michael can’t leave.

He backs away from the car, shaking his head.

Clack looks at him strangely. “Dorset?”

He swallows, feeling shaky. “I can’t,” he says, but his voice sounds funny, the words twisted and strangled.

Clack inclines her head. “We already talked about this--”

He almost laughs, a hoarse, choked sound. “I can’t leave,” he says, the certainty growing cold and hard in his gut. “Billy’s still out there.”

For a moment, Clack looks annoyed, but to her credit, she covers it quickly with a facsimile of concern. “You told me yourself, that drop would kill him instantly.”

“I know,” he says, chest hitching now as his breathing quickens. “I just. I can’t. I won’t--”

Clack steps forward and Michael finds himself flinching, pulling away. “I can’t let go,” he tells her, vehemently now. It’s irrational and he knows it, and he doesn’t even know what he thinks he can do, but he has to stay, he has to find out. He shakes his head, tears burning even as he refuses to look away. “I won’t.

And not for the first time on this mission, he turns and runs.

-o-

Billy has to hang on.

He can still feel the rope in his hands, split and fraying as it sways against the cliffside. Michael tells him to hang on.

Billy trips, and he almost falls again. He stumbles drunkenly, arms flailing a bit as he tries to stay upright.

Because he can’t let go. Not this time. Not when he’s so close.

But is he close? Billy’s doesn’t even know. He can’t even remember. Right is left and up is down and he runs and runs and...

Don’t let go. Keep going. Hang on.

But Billy can’t. He can give everything he has, but eventually he just runs out. Sometimes, there’s nothing left. It’s not quitting then, he tells himself. It can’t be quitting.

It feels like it.

Tears blur in his eyes and he chokes on a sob deep in his chest. He doesn’t want to die. He doesn’t want to give up. He wants to hold on, he wants to find his friends. He wants to see Casey and Rick and Michael...

He trips again, his knees weakening. His legs move desperately now, an uncoordinated gait that he has no control over. It hurts. It’s exhausting. It’s too much.

And it’s over.

This is why he let go on the cliffside. Because he was already dead.

It’s not fair. And it’s not okay. His feet fall numbly and his vision is almost gone. The pain rises and he cries out in frustration. It’s a last, dying yawp, the last of what he has. The sound is guttural, born so deep in his stomach that he can almost feel it grating against his damaged insides. It escapes his throat, broken and keening, and it leaves his body with a painful rush of air.

Billy lets go.

It’s one last fall, and as his body goes weightless, he closes his eyes because this is the longest one yet.

-o-

When Michael runs, he’s usually pretty sure of the destination. He has his jogging routes mapped out, and he knows every twist and bend in the road. On missions, he has clear objectives and when he runs, it’s with obvious and simple intent. Sometimes he’s running from something; sometimes he’s running to something.

This time, however, he’s just running. He’s too aware as he passes over the terrain that he doesn’t know where he’s going. At all. His run is frantic and uneven, his breathing tight as his feet tumble across the ground with horrendous form.

It’s stupid. He knows it’s stupid. There’s no reason to run now. But he can’t stop himself.

The CIA annex is relatively small, but with the transport the gate’s still open. Michael’s sure that violates some sort of protocol, but the lock isn’t simple and it was supposed to be an in and out job. The ODS was supposed to load up and leave.

As if anything is that simple.

Because Casey’s pissed off and Rick’s in shock and Billy’s dead and Michael just runs.

When he slips through the gate, he can hear the yelling. He doesn’t care. He doesn’t stop. He doesn’t even slow down. If anything, he just picks up his pace.

He was fast enough back in Bolivia, when he got to the clinic and found the doctor. That had been close -- too close -- but it had ended up okay. They’d survived.

But no matter how fast he runs now, Billy’s still gone.

He’ll never catch up to Billy; he can’t stop long enough for Billy to catch up.

Billy’s dead.

An empty rope.

A sheer drop.

And Michael closes his eyes.

Just like that, his feet trip and Michael’s careening. He almost falls, but fumbles forward. His eyes are blurred with tears now and his chest clenches so tight that he actually feels like he’s suffocating. He can’t breathe. He can’t think. He can’t run.

He can’t.

It’s all a blur now, the emotions rising and swelling as his stomach twists. Uncontrollably, he goes to his knees and the first sob that comes out is taut and painful. He waits for the second, but it doesn’t come.

Nothing comes.

He can’t do this, but what else is there? What else can he do? Go back and be Casey’s whipping boy? Be Rick’s strong shoulder to cry on? Does he go back to Langley, turn in his report and write Billy’s obituary for the Agency newsletter?

Is that it?

Does he arrange the funeral? Does he clean out Billy’s apartment? Does he take Billy back to Scotland in a nondescript urn?

Is this really it?

Michael drops his head and squeezes his eyes shut. Billy’s still there, in his mind. Smiling sadly, because he knows.

You know what has to be done.

And Michael’s tried. He’s tried hard. But he can’t.

Behind him, there are footsteps. Voices.

He still hears Billy. It’s like he’s crying out for help--

A lone, anguished cry. The sound of a dying animal, resounding through the hills.

The intensity of it makes Michael flinch.

The voices behind him are closer.

“Dorset, what the hell--”

“He’s fine--

“Michael--”

But Michael looks up, Billy’s voice echoing in his head. He blinks, his head clearing and his eyes focusing. He can hear Billy...

Not in his head.

He can hear Billy.

Dimly, he gets to his feet. Part of him is aware that this is probably some sort of psychotic break. Hell, he’s sort of hoping it is at this point, but Billy. Hurt and dying and Michael has to try.

Then he’s running again, shoving away the hands that try to stop him. He picks up his pace, his legs burning as he crests the hill and looks down over the downward slope. At first, it’s just empty vastness, but then he sees the figure.

It’s crumpled, nothing more than a dark heap at the bottom of the incline. It sort of looks like a rock -- that is the logical explanation -- but...

Michael lurches forward, half falling down the hill. He slips and hits his backside, skidding his way down even as the voices behind him call for him to stop. He’s too far now; he’s going to see this through.

At the bottom, he goes to his knees, the grass burning through the fabric. He reaches out to touch the crumpled form, almost afraid to look. It is a body, though, and it’s still warm beneath his touch. When he rolls the body toward him, it sags, and a bloody visage is splayed up to the sky.

For a second, Michael can only see the blood and stained clothing. Everything is ripped and mangled, blood smeared and dirt crusted. But the chest rises and falls in ragged breathing and Michael’s eyes lock on Billy’s face.

Billy.

Real beneath his touch, fresh blood still leaking. There’s no way, of course, but Michael’s sort of given up on reality by this point. It doesn’t make sense, but then, nothing has made sense since the bridge gave out and Billy fell. Billy’s dead at the bottom of the valley, but Billy’s here, lying broken before him, and if Michael can’t make those two things parse, he just doesn’t try anymore.

Instead, he cries out inarticulately, fingers reaching to Billy’s face. Billy doesn’t flicker, but he’s still breathing wetly and Michael’s desperate enough to hope.

Hell, he’ll cling to hope, clutch it so tightly that he may never let go.

His hand grasps Billy’s shoulder, squeezing firmly.

This time, no one is letting go.

-o-


It’s freefall.

For a moment, he’s suspended, wind rushing past his ears as he falls with his face to the glaringly blue sky. He’s falling hard and fast, and he feels like there should be something to do, but this time, there’s just not.

His strength has left him, and as he descends the darkness rises to greet him. The pain fades, the agony settles and there’s nothing but inevitable cold as his consciousness spirals to a fine point and then--

He doesn’t feel impact.

There’s a hand on his shoulder, someone calling his name. When he opens his eyes, he sees Michael.

Michael.

He wants to smile. He wants to cry.

As it is, he doesn’t have strength for either.

Michael hoists him up, and Casey pulls alongside, strong hands on his damaged body. And Rick is there, holding his hand, telling him it’s going to be okay.

That’s almost funny. After all this, Billy’s not sure how it can be okay. Given how far he’s fallen, how many times he’s let go--

Then again, it’s not the fall that kills you. This time, there’s not even a sudden stop at the end.

There’s just his team.

Maybe it’ll be okay after all.

-o-

Ever since Billy fell, time has been slow. Painfully slow. Every minute has aged Michael a lifetime. But now that Billy’s back, it’s all moving too fast to keep up.

In fact, Michael can’t even remember how he got here. He remembers breaking out of the annex, and he remembers the sound of Billy’s voice. He remembers seeing the broken form at the bottom of the hill and rolling Billy over and holding him in his arms.

He remembers Billy’s eyes opening, Casey checking for internal injuries. He remembers Rick’s steadfast presence and Clack calling for backup. And the paramedics and the hospital and the doctors and Billy.

He’d looked horrible when they got him here. Face gray and bloody, each breath a garbled mess. His lips had been turning blue, and the monitors had chirped readily. It was bad, Michael knew. But considering that Michael’s spent the last day thinking Billy was dead, he’s too aware that it could be worse.

Yet, in the waiting room, Michael’s not sure how to call this better. Because Michael’s spent the last day thinking Billy was dead; Billy’s spent the last day struggling against the elements and his own broken body to get back to them. If Michael hadn’t left the annex...

In this, it’s a relief. It’s a heady, overwhelming relief that leaves Michael breathless and shaky. Billy’s alive. Against all odds, the Scot survived the fall and made it back to them. He’s hurt, but they’ll all go home together.

And then, it’s guilt. Because Billy’s alive -- no thanks to him. Casey had wanted to go back out; Rick had gone damn near catatonic just trying to make Billy’s death parse. And Michael had simply planned and executed the perfect way to leave Billy behind.

To leave Billy to die.

He’d given Casey space; he’d been Rick’s shoulder to cry on.

And he’d left Billy to die a slow and agonizing death.

Even now, in the waiting room, Michael’s just as useless as he was before. Casey has gone silent, so still that he almost looks like a statue as he stares his anger right through Michael. Rick’s snapped out of his shock, and has taken up Casey’s pacing, marking an uneven course across the room, checking the clock, checking the corridor, looking for anything to do.

They don’t say anything.

They don’t have to.

Billy let go of the rope, but Michael let go of all the things that mattered. This is his fault.

This is his fault.

He’s weak and shaky, but there’s nothing to be done for it. Instead, he drops his head into his hand and closes his eyes, squeezing them shut against tears he doesn’t deserve to cry.

And to make it worse, he can still hear Billy.

I could lie to you and tell you that I’m not afraid, but you know better.

Michael knows better.

At least, he should.

He just wishes he did. His team trusts him, and he let them down. He let Billy fall; he almost left Billy to die. Billy could still die.

Stomach fluttering, Michael looks up blearily, hoping for some kind of change, some kind of hope.

But Rick’s still walking, wiping his palms on his sweatpants. Casey’s still staring, eyes boring into Michael’s head, almost looking to his very soul.

And Billy’s still not there. He’s not wandering through the wilderness; he’s not smashed against the rocks. He’s in an operating room, he’s probably got his stomach cut open as the doctors try to save his life.

He could be dying.

Michael doesn’t know.

He doesn’t know anything. And he doesn’t trust himself to even pretend.

The guilt almost destroys him, and he drops his head again, closing his eyes because he’s just too terrified to look anymore.

-o-

In the dark, there’s no up and there’s no down. Billy’s tumbling through oblivion, head over heels, flipped and twisted until he’s not sure which way is which. In fact, he’s not even sure he’s still alive.

Except that fear of falling. That’s all there is that makes him know he’s alive. If he’s scared, then he’s not dead yet. He’s still waiting for impact...

Then, it hurts. It hurt before, but he’s aware of it now more than before. He’s moving and someone is talking, and then a light shines into his eyes--

He flinches, but he can’t turn away. The voices are louder, but the warm familiarity of his team is gone. These are strangers, and they poke and they prod and his body seizes up in desperation but they don’t let him move.

He’s alive, though. He’s still breathing, even if he’s not sure how the air is moving in and out of his chest. That fact is an uncertain truth, leaving him unsettled as he fumbles with oblivion again. He’s still waiting for impact, still waiting for the ground to come rushing up and to make this struggle meaningless.

Still, it’s for the right reasons. He remembers that. He remembers his team on the cliff, and he knows why this matters. Just like leaving MI6 mattered. Just like every other fall before that. A fall from grace is long and hard; it’s cold and scary, but Billy knows it’s the right thing to do.

And the fact is, Billy is scared of heights but maybe he’s not scared of falling. Because he’s in pain and he’s tired and he’s ready to be done, but the fact is he doesn’t regret so much of this. He doesn’t regret letting go; his team survived. He doesn’t completely regret his exile from England because he did things for the right reasons. And it brought him to his team.

It always comes back to his team. Impact hurts, but some falls are worth it.

The trick is, of course, knowing when to let go.

And knowing when to just hold on.

Billy’s not sure what’s happening -- he’s not sure where his team is -- but somehow he knows one thing, even through the disorientation and the pain and all the rest--

Hold on. Just a little longer.

And Billy does.

-o-

As team leader, Michael’s always naturally taken point. When prepping for a mission, he always makes sure their emergency IDs list him as the next of kin. This is as much about control as it is responsibility. Michael doesn’t trust anyone else with the well being of his team.

Of course, this time, he’s not even sure he trusts himself, and when the doctor explains what happened, Michael almost wants to start running again.

The point is, though, that Billy’s alive. The doctor -- who’s using a nurse to translate into English -- makes that clear from the start. That makes it a little easier.

But not a lot.

Because Billy’s alive. And there’s no way he should be.

“He suffered a wide range of broken bones and fractures, especially in his legs and arms. The fact that he was able to run to safety is remarkable, though it did do further orthopedic damage,” the nurse explains, pausing for the doctor to continue. “There are some hairline fractures in his pelvic region that are most concerning to us, which is why he’s in traction for the time being. With rest and subsequent therapy, there is a strong possibility that he will regain full mobility over time.”

Michael takes a shaky breath. He’s in this meeting alone. Since Billy’s not conscious he can’t approve the transmission of patient information to people outside his next of kin. Rick had looked hurt at being left behind when the doctor escorted Michael to a conference room; Casey had just look infuriated.

“The head injuries are moderate and we’re monitoring the swelling in his brain, which seems to be under control for the time being,” she continues. “There is some swelling along the spinal cord, but he’s thankfully free from significant spinal damage.”

That sounds suspiciously like good news. Michael braces himself for the other shoe to fall.

The nurse takes a breath, nodding at the doctor before looking at Michael. “The most pressing of his injuries, however, was the internal bleeding. The impact caused a small bleed in his stomach, and the time he went without treatment allowed the bleed to get quite advanced. We’ve had to transfuse him extensively and he became extremely hypovolemic during the operation. We believe we’ve managed to control the bleeding, but his condition is still very precarious as he heals. The surgery was invasive, and he is extremely critical at this moment.”

It shouldn’t surprise Michael, especially not on this mission. Impact is everything.

The nurse’s expression softens and she leans forward intently. “His odds are uncertain, but this should not be so disheartening,” she tells him. “Your friend fell from a great height. There are only a few stories of people surviving that fall, only one of which has been documented. He’s already beat the odds. He clearly has something worth holding on to.”

It’s spoken as comfort, but it nearly rips Michael’s heart out. If anyone has the will to survive, it’s Billy. There aren’t many agents he knows of who could survive what he has, to get kicked out of one country and fight the good fight in another even with the disgrace. Billy may be lazy and careless in his personal life, but he’s all fight in the field.

He hadn’t wanted to let go.

But for Michael and Rick and Casey...

Billy had done it for them. Michael just has to hope he can return the favor.

Numbly, he thanks the doctor. He knows he needs to go inform Casey and Rick, but he’s not ready for that yet. Besides, he’s been there for Casey and Rick as best he can over the last two days. Now it’s time to be there for Billy.

In the ICU, Billy looks horrible. The bruising on his face has darkened, leaving him looking sickly pale in contrast. His chest is securely wrapped and there’s a bulky bandage covering part of his stomach. There’s a strange contraption positioned about his waist, and both of his legs and one arm is casted. He’s still connected to the ventilator, which whooshes expectantly while the nurse promises to check on him soon.

Standing there, Billy looks all wrong. He looks small and weak. Like he has nothing left.

And Michael worries maybe he doesn’t. Billy fell off a cliff; he ran through the wilderness for over a day. If Billy’s given everything he has, maybe there’s nothing left to hold on with. Maybe there’s no choice but to fall.

Michael can’t believe that. He won’t.

He moves forward, reaching down to grasp Billy’s limp hand in his. Mindful of Billy’s injuries, he squeezes gently but firmly.

“Don’t you dare let go,” he says, unable to stop the tears from spilling over his cheeks. He takes a shuddering breath. “Whatever you do, this time, just don’t let go.”

It’s not easy, but it’s what needs to be done. If Billy will hold on this time, there’s no way Michael’s ever letting go.

-o-

Falling always happens fast. It’s a rush and whirlwind; he inhales and then it’s over.

Getting up, on the other hand, is a slow and laborious process. It took him months to find his footing at the CIA, and he still hasn’t pulled himself out of his mess in the UK.

As for this, Billy’s not sure how much time he’s spent fighting against the dark, but he’s aware of the slow ascension to awareness. The darkness is cloying, and the pain threatens to pull him back, but Billy doesn’t quit, even if he wants to sometimes. Even when he opens his eyes, it’s not exactly clarity, and it takes a few minutes before he realizes that he has, in fact, done it.

“Billy?”

Billy breathes in, trying to ground himself. He blinks his eyes a few times -- clearing away the thickness of sleep as best he can -- and when he rolls his head to find the source of the voice, the darkness almost threatens to take him again. As it is, the small movement makes his chest tight and his vision tunnel. He wants to cough, but it takes too much work and he can’t muster the energy.

His eyes slowly focus and the figure next to him takes shape.

“Billy?” Michael asks again, leaning closer. “You with me?”

It seems like a stupid question, but given how much trouble Billy is having keeping his eyes open, he reconsiders that. Besides, Michael looks horrible. He has the makings of a beard on his chin and his face is haggard. His clothing is wrinkled and he is generally unkempt, which means that this is perhaps no time to joke.

With effort, Billy swallowed, doing his best to ignore the parched feeling in his throat. He has to work to build up enough saliva to speak, and even when he does, his tongue feels like sandpaper as he opens his mouth. “Think so,” he murmurs, the words strained.

Michael’s face breaks into a grin. “That’s great,” he says, clearly enthusiastic. Then, he hesitates just a little, reaching out and squeezing Billy’s arm. “I know it’s probably a little painful right now, but you’re doing really well. You’ve got all the doctors blown away.”

Somehow, Billy finds that hard to believe, given how pathetic he feels. He’s the idiot who dropped himself off a cliff and then didn’t have the common sense to die. He’d stumbled through the wilderness with the utmost determination, but now that he’s here, in the hospital, it occurs to him that he doesn’t remember exactly how his team found him. His eyes lock on Michael’s with new intensity. “How...?”

Michael’s smile falters, and he looks unusually shaky. “What do you remember?”

Billy remembers more than he wants to. He remembers the freefall; he remembers running. He remembers his team. “The fall,” he says, the words still taxing. “Running.”

Michael’s face retains its composure, but Billy knows the other man well enough to see that it’s not easy for him. “You ran nearly five miles,” he says. “The doctors don’t even know quite how you did it, considering how many fractures you had. You passed out not even a mile from the annex.”

Billy struggles to keep his eyes open. “You found me?”

This time, Michael can’t quite keep it together. His expression wavers and his shoulders fall. “It was luck,” he says, the words almost breaking. Michael looks close to tears. “I didn’t come looking for you. I almost didn’t -- we almost -- you almost--” He cuts off and takes a shuddering breath. “I’m sorry, Billy.”

Billy blinks, trying to get his mind around that one. Billy worked hard to get back to his friends; he’d never expected them to come. There’d been no reason. He shakes his head. “You couldn’t know--”

Michael’s breath caught, and he shook his head. “I should have checked,” he says. “It was stupid and it was selfish not to go back for you. I was going to send a recovery team back, but they would have been too late. You took the fall for us, and I was just going to leave you there.”

Billy’s brow furrows. He’s only seen Michael this upset a few times since they’ve met. Once, after Simms. Once, in the wake of his divorce. Nothing else.

In the States, Billy would joke and cajole, pick a few choice words and take Michael out to get good and drunk. Here, though, it’s all Billy can do to shift his splinted arm, turning it over so he’s grasping Michael’s wrist. He doesn’t have much strength, but he holds on, steady until Michael finally looks at him.

Billy has to wet his lips, trying in vain to lubricate his throat again. “I fell off a cliff,” he says carefully. “No one was more surprised than me when I woke up.”

It’s almost more than he can take, and the words leave him exhausted. But he needs to hang on a little longer, just so Michael understands. That this isn’t his fault. That it’s no one’s fault. That Billy made a choice, and he’s okay with the consequences -- as long as Michael and the rest of his team are, too.

Michael looks like he wants to argue. Michael’s never one to admit defeat, so Billy wonders just how hard his team grieved for him during the time they thought he was dead. He’d let go to save them, but this doesn’t feel like the victory he was hoping for.

Michael’s eyes are bright and he looks away. “I just...you fought so hard and I gave up,” he says, looking up again. His expression is nothing short of tortured. “I gave up.”

“Good,” Billy says with the last of his fleeting strength. He tightens his grip just a bit. “When I let go, I wanted you to let go, too.”

Michael’s breathing hitches again, and he clenches his jaw. He doesn’t protest, though. Instead, he nods. “Okay,” he says, then turns his hand slightly to grip Billy’s wrist back. He swallows, his fingers squeezing again. “Okay.”

It’s not much, but it’s a start, and as Billy slips back into unconsciousness, his grip is still locked with Michael’s into the darkness and beyond.

-o-

The doctors are exuberant in helping Billy, and it’s all he can do to talk them out of using Billy for a medical textbook. Apparently fall survivors are rare and noteworthy, and the way Billy is bouncing back is impressive.

In some ways, Michael understands. It is impressive. It seems like just yesterday that he watched Billy presumably fall to his death. And he doesn’t even know how to chart the time after that: the day of grief, losing it during extraction, finding Billy’s broken body on the hills beyond the annex. And the waiting in the hospital, sitting through the surgeries and keeping a tense vigil at Billy’s side as the days went by.

Despite the doctors’ enthusiasm, Michael is too well aware of how close they came. Billy required extensive abdominal surgery, and they had to go back in again to correct a bleed they missed the first time. They’d kept Billy cinched up tight from the waist down to minimize any further damage to his bones, but the scans were showing a good recovery so far. And then the swelling in his brain had gone down and his ribs were starting to heal and Billy woke up.

Billy woke up. Tired but coherent; hurting but okay. Awake enough to offer Michael absolution.

Absolution Michael needed, no doubt, but absolution he didn’t know how to accept. He still wants to refuse it, but he’s denied Billy too much on this mission; he won’t take that away from him, too.

He’ll take Billy’s forgiveness -- for Billy’s sake.

But that doesn’t fix everything. In fact, that doesn’t fix most of it. There’s still the reality that Casey won’t look at him, that Rick can’t look at him, and that Higgins is calling twice a day, demanding updates and reports.

And there’s still the little detail that Michael failed as team leader. Billy can forgive him, but nothing changes his multiple lapses in judgment.

Nothing fixes it. He can say sorry; he can analyze what went wrong. But in the end, it’s pretty simple. Michael left one of his own to die, and there’s nothing he can do to make that right.

But there is something he can do to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

He’s waiting outside of Billy’s room when Casey and Rick show up. He’s put them up in a motel, insisting on staying the nights with Billy so they can split up the day. Usually he times it so they can duck out with nothing more than a fleeting glance at each other, but not today.

Head high, he looks Casey right in the eye as he approaches. It’s Martinez, though, who speaks. “Is something wrong?” he asks, face going ashen. “Is Billy okay? You could have called--”

Michael shakes his head. “Billy’s fine.”

Rick is still wide eyed, even as his eyes lock with Michael for what feels like the first time in weeks. “Are you sure?” he asks, and he sounds so damn young and desperate that Michael can barely stand it.

Which is why he knows without a doubt he’s making the right choice. “Relax,” Michael says. “Chart’s on the door if you need to check. They’re talking about moving him out of the ICU soon.”

“But what about the traction?” Rick asks, moving toward the chart and peeking at it. “I mean, he fell off a cliff--”

Rick’s so distracted about Billy, that he doesn’t seem to realize what’s coming. Casey, however, has had his eyes on Michael this entire time. His expression darkens, and he tilts his head. “You’ve made a decision,” he says, breaking the silence between them.

Michael nods, not looking away. “I have.”

Rick turns back toward them. “About Billy’s care? Because I think we should get another consult--”

Michael shakes his head. “About the team.”

Rick goes still. “But they said he’d be able to have a full recovery--”

Michael sighs. “It’s not about Billy.”

Rick’s brow furrows. “But shouldn’t this be about Billy? I mean, he fell off a cliff and we left him--

“I know,” Michael interjects, a little forcefully. “And that’s why I’m about to say this--”

“Say what,” Rick says. “I mean, all this time, you haven’t said anything. You told us to let go and then Billy’s alive and it’s like nothing happened--”

“You’re quitting,” Casey interrupts plainly, eyes still fixed on Michael.

Michael is not surprised by the conclusion. Because it’s the same one he reached a few days ago, and he’s just been working up the courage to tell his team.

Michael nods. “I am.”

Rick’s mouth falls open. “You’re quitting the Agency?” he asks, positively dumbfounded.

Michael glances around, hoping no one has heard the outburst. “No, not yet anyway,” he says. “I have certain skills that wouldn’t do much good elsewhere.”

Rick looks a little relieved.

“But I am resigning from the ODS,” he continues, unyielding.

Rick’s jaw drops again, more dramatically this time. Casey regards him skeptically.

Michael sighs. “It’s the only thing that makes sense,” he says. “I’m team leader. These calls come back on me, and I’ve got a track record of being wrong. This isn’t the first time I’ve left a teammate behind to an unjust fate. But I can promise you both it will be the last. Higgins has wanted to get rid of me for a while, so I figure some deep cover overseas will be just the ticket to solving all this.”

His delivery is perfect, even better than he’d rehearsed in his head. It’s simple; it’s logical; it’s feasible.

It’s the way it has to be.

“Anyway,” Michael says, shrugging a little. “I just wanted you to hear it from me. And to just...tell you I’m sorry. I may have left Billy, but I let you all down. I know an apology isn’t worth a lot, but I hope that my actions will show you just how serious I am.”

For a moment, Casey and Rick just stare. It’s a little awkward, but the fact is, Michael hasn’t thought this far ahead. He’s planned his speech, but he always sort of counted on making some grand exit and having that be that.

This is just weird.

“Well,” he says, smiling feebly. “I’ll let you go see him.”

He moves to leave, but Casey snorts. “So that’s it?” he asks, incredulous.

Michael stops. “I told you, I’m sorry. I gave you my resignation. You want me to quit the Agency, too? Is that what you want, Malick?”

Casey scoffs. “No,” he says tersely. “I want you to stop being an idiot and, more than that, stop leaving your team behind.”

It’s an insult and then...it’s not.

Michael makes a face. “I made a mistake--”

“We all made a mistake,” Casey says sharply.

“So you’ve been staring at me with deadly intent for the last few days--”

Casey rolls his eyes. “Because that’s what I do,” he mutters. “You know how I am -- or you should. I channel my emotions into other, more useful mediums. Since I don’t have anything to do right now, apparently glaring at you keeps me from punching holes through the walls.”

There’s some sense to that. But Michael shakes his head. “It’s not that simple--”

“Of course it is,” Casey says. “Strip away the sentimentality, and it’s exactly that simple. Billy fell off a cliff. By his own choosing. There’s no realistic way he should have survived that. If I had thought for a minute he was alive, you never could have talked me out of going out there. I thought he was dead. We all did. You can’t be expected to predict statistical impossibilities.”

Michael’s been ready for a lot of things. But forgiveness...

He’s really not sure what to do.

“I was going to leave without the body,” Michael reminds them.

“Yeah, and have a recovery team out there the minute we were in the air,” Casey replies. “I’m angry, but I’m not stupid. And I’m not even angry at you.”

“I’ll admit,” Rick jumps in, “I haven’t known quite what to think. Part of me, I think, blames you. But then the rest of me just wants to thank you. If you hadn’t run out when you did--” He trails off, shaking his head. “It’s like you knew.”

Dumb luck, Michael thinks, but his throat is too tight to speak. And he’ll cry with Billy, but not here. Definitely not with Malick.

Rick shrugs. “It’s all a miracle, really,” he says. “I mean, I never put much stock in that sort of thing growing up, but I don’t know what else to call it. Billy survived the fall. He ran all that way back and then somehow you knew to go out and find him when it mattered most. If that’s not a miracle, I don’t know what is.”

Miracles. The impossible. Two things Michael’s never put much stock.

Two things he can’t deny now. Because Billy’s alive, and he’s going to be okay. And his team is still here, and they forgive him.

Michael didn’t come looking for absolution, and he hadn’t been prepare to take it even if it was offered, but now that it’s on the table...

It’s hard to resist.

But still. Forgiveness doesn’t change what he did. It doesn’t change how it feels. It doesn’t change the doubt festering in his stomach, the guilt that churns every time he looks at Billy. It doesn’t stop the nightmares, of waking up in a cold sweat, looking down for Billy and finding nothing.

He swallows, tries to breathe.

Casey purses his lips and then seems to resign himself. “Look,” he says. “We almost lost Billy on this one. Somehow, we didn’t. So I don’t know why we’d go about risking the rest of the team in the aftermath when we actually got the chance to do it better the next time.”

Rick nods earnestly. “Together.”

Miracles. The impossible.

The ODS has always been a team about defying the odds. They’re not perfect, of course, and Michael almost left Billy behind to prove it. And maybe someday their luck will run out. Michael’s still not sure how to lead a team when he can’t even trust himself.

But looking at Rick, looking at Casey, thinking about Billy, he thinks maybe it’s time to find out.

Hold on,
Michael remembers.

Billy hasn’t let go. Neither has Casey or Rick.

Michael owes it to all of them to just keep holding on.

-o-

For as much as Billy’s been through, he might have thought spending time with people tending on him hand and foot would be easy. But the truth is, Billy’s lazy but he also strives to be self reliant. It’s the most American trait he has, and it’s actually his team that challenges him to ease up on that a bit.

It’s hard, though. To be stuck in a bed. The traction is uncomfortable and the total stillness feels like torture. When he closes his eyes, he’s stuck on his back, and when he dreams of freefall, he can hardly even startle awake sufficiently to shake the memories away.

Which is why this is really the hardest part. Falling is easy; impact hurts. His adrenaline-fueled desperation had been painful.

Recovery is just slow.

It’s a tedious climb where the minutes are strung out and accentuated by his own helplessness. Especially when his team is hurting just as much as he is.

Physically, no. Billy bore the brunt of this mission, which was really the point. Billy’s not always running about looking for a cause to martyr himself for, but when someone in the team has to draw the short stick, he’s willing to do it. Because falling is hard but watching someone else slip away...well, Billy knows that’s harder.

In this, the fall has tested them all. Billy’s the only one that hit the canyon floor, but they’ve all slipped more than a little. Billy doesn’t blame them -- how could he? -- but he knows their guilt for not coming back to look for him is almost more devastating that the force of impact had been for him. Billy’s bone are broken, but something much deeper is fractured in his friends.

It’s ironic, perhaps. Billy’s the one laid up in the hospital with more injuries than he can catalogue, but he’s the one who can help the rest of them back up.

Still, recovery is slow. For all of them.

The harder it is, the more Billy works to return things to the status quo. And not just in terms of his injuries.

“They have the worst motivation of any physical therapists I’ve ever met!” Billy complains in true melodramatic fashion. He’s able to sit up now and he’s started walking again. A little more, and they’ll let him go home. He’s pushing their expectations as best he can, and he doesn’t tell his team how exhausted he is.

Michael smirks, and Casey rolls his eyes. Rick, however, is dutifully stoic. “What motivation do you need?” he asks. “You want to get back to duty.”

“Certainly,” Billy says. “But there are short term benefits that can be quite motivating.”

Rick shakes his head. “I don’t understand.”

“He wants there to be hot nurses,” Casey interjects blandly. He sighs, shaking his head. “Not that I don’t appreciate beauty from time to time, but I think such things are distracting when trying to attain true physical perfection.”

Michael scoffs. “This is Billy,” he quips. “Since when has perfection been one of his concerns?”

“Hey!” Billy protests. “Need I remind you that I am suffering greatly here!”

“I might believe you were you not still on the good drugs,” Casey says.

“Yeah, you’ve got to knock back a bit if we’re going to get home soon,” Michael reminds him.

Billy settles back a bit, pursing his lips. “Well, I did tell you that you have my permission to go home without me,” he says. “I’m sure Higgins is quite anxious to have us back.”

“Higgins is always anxious,” Michael mutters.

“Which is more reason to stay here and put up with your antics,” Casey agrees.

“Besides,” Rick adds. “Clack and Gillet already transferred the bulk of the intelligence back home. We’ve had some video debriefs from the annex.”

They’re taking care of business, Billy thinks with some approval. That means things are getting better.

But considering how badly they’re hovering, Billy knows they’re not there yet.

He shrugs diffidently. “Still, I’m sure we don’t need all of you here,” he says.

The idea of separating is practical, and Billy knows it. He also wouldn’t be offended if they took him up on it. Heaven knows he feels self conscious enough with his team doting over his every need and whim. It’s awkward as hell and a constant reminder of his own failings and fall on this mission. Billy can pick himself back up with the best of them, but that doesn’t mean that he likes pity. He knows his team means well, but the best way to move on is to well and truly move on. No pity; no more apologies. Just life as normal.

Which is why he is relieved when his team doesn’t fail him now. In all of this, his team has done what he’s expected of them, what he’s needed of them. Michael let him fall, and led the team to safety. They protected each other and preserved the intel. Billy had had no delusions to the contrary.

Now, they need to banter and they need to joke and they need to go home.

Together.

Rick pales a little and Casey goes a bit still. It’s Michael who shakes his head. “No,” he says, voice a little flat and it’s as close to an order as it gets when it comes to the ODS. “We left you behind once on this mission. We’re sure as hell not going to do it again.”

There’s a bit of raw emotion that is unsettling, but it’s a necessary, pointed and strangely comforting thing. While his team let him fall, they never actually let him go. Billy stumbled through the wilderness with naught another soul, but he was never truly alone. And he knows that now better than ever.

When one of them falls, they all fall. And when they get back up, the do it together.

Billy nods, unable to hold back a grin. He’s still a little scared, he has to admit. He’s scared he might not recover fully; he’s scared he may not be the man he was. But this time, it’s a choice to live. To be there for his team. Which really, is no choice at all.

“Well, then,” he says, bracing himself just a little as he lets out a breath and holds his teammates’ eyes. “Let’s go.”

Comments

Posted by: sophie_deangirl (sophie_deangirl)
Posted at: January 31st, 2013 09:21 pm (UTC)
LOVE THIS!

Man, I never get enough of Billy's struggle, or more accurately, how you make Billy struggle. HAHAHA. It's just delightful reading. I just can't get enough and of course, this just makes Billy's forgiveness of Michael that much more LOVELY, more than words can EVER express enough!!

Then of course, there's Michael's decision to quit for the sake of his team! THUD!!!


Fave Parts:

Not yet, Billy thinks as he staggers on. The pain is almost too intense to understand now, and he can’t make sense of the myriad of sensations. He might be hungry; he might be thirsty. Or he could just be bleeding to death from a thousand internal tears. Still, he’s nothing if not tenacious, even stupidly so.

If he remembers nothing, if he has nothing, he still has this: the look on Michael’s face before he let go. He has to see Michael. He has to keep going. Fate’s given him a million chances, and apparently Billy needs each one.

His foot catches something and he goes down, this time his arms can’t catch him. He’s face first on the earth, spitting out dirt and his vision is blurred with green. He has to roll awkwardly and he almost retches when he sits up, and his vision blackens precariously by the time he finds his knees. But he still makes it to his feet and lurches on.

Not yet.

--OH! I LOVE how he just keeps on going ins spite of everything!


It’s almost more than he can take, and the words leave him exhausted. But he needs to hang on a little longer, just so Michael understands. That this isn’t his fault. That it’s no one’s fault. That Billy made a choice, and he’s okay with the consequences -- as long as Michael and the rest of his team are, too.

Michael looks like he wants to argue. Michael’s never one to admit defeat, so Billy wonders just how hard his team grieved for him during the time they thought he was dead. He’d let go to save them, but this doesn’t feel like the victory he was hoping for.

Michael’s eyes are bright and he looks away. “I just...you fought so hard and I gave up,” he says, looking up again. His expression is nothing short of tortured. “I gave up.”

“Good,” Billy says with the last of his fleeting strength. He tightens his grip just a bit. “When I let go, I wanted you to let go, too.”

Michael’s breathing hitches again, and he clenches his jaw. He doesn’t protest, though. Instead, he nods. “Okay,” he says, then turns his hand slightly to grip Billy’s wrist back. He swallows, his fingers squeezing again. “Okay.”

It’s not much, but it’s a start, and as Billy slips back into unconsciousness, his grip is still locked with Michael’s into the darkness and beyond.

--OH MY GOD! You have a way with words!!! Billy telling him that it was good that Michael gave up that when he let go, he wanted him to let go. I still WEEPY reading that line! It's BEAUTIFULLY written!!


“Anyway,” Michael says, shrugging a little. “I just wanted you to hear it from me. And to just...tell you I’m sorry. I may have left Billy, but I let you all down. I know an apology isn’t worth a lot, but I hope that my actions will show you just how serious I am.”

For a moment, Casey and Rick just stare. It’s a little awkward, but the fact is, Michael hasn’t thought this far ahead. He’s planned his speech, but he always sort of counted on making some grand exit and having that be that.

--You capture Michael's nobility SO WELL!!!!

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: February 7th, 2013 12:27 pm (UTC)
Re: LOVE THIS!
billy likes

I know you love a good deathfic, which is why I wrote the first one, but even while writing it, I was struck with how much fun letting him live would be. The notion of him struggling to survive while the others thought he was dead...it was too much fun to pass up :)

I'm very glad you liked it! Thanks :)

Posted by: Moogs (moogsthewriter)
Posted at: February 2nd, 2013 03:09 am (UTC)
CHAOS - Guitar Billy

My heart. My heart!

Man, every time I think, Oh, maybe I can finally be out of this fandom a bit, you turn around and suck me back in with ALL THE FEELS. IT'S ALL YOUR FAULT.

YOU WIN. :D

But srsly, loved, loved, loved this. The emotion, the drama, the angst (especially the angst), just all of it! This team! <3

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: February 7th, 2013 12:28 pm (UTC)
billy considers

If you want me to feel guilty for making you NOT forget about Chaos, well...LOL, probably not going to happen. I don't even know how to explain the fact that my muse cannot move on from this show, but I'm always glad that other people are dwelling on it with me to some degree :)

This team is pretty awesome.

Anyway, thanks!

Posted by: blackdog_lz (blackdog_lz)
Posted at: February 5th, 2013 07:13 pm (UTC)
Inconspicuous

This totally mended my heart after you nearly tore it apart with the sequel.

The team's pain at loosing a team member and Billy's fight to get back to them just hits right in the feels :)

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: February 7th, 2013 12:29 pm (UTC)
billy watches

Aw, glad it helped. I had this in mind pretty much from the start but it just took me a bit to get to writing it :)

Thanks!

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