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do i dare or do i dare? [userpic]

Chaos fic: The Gift of Life (1/1)

March 21st, 2013 (06:49 am)
pessimistic
Tags: , ,

feeling: pessimistic

Title: The Gift of Life

Disclaimer: I do not own Chaos.

A/N: I blame lena7142. Everything is always her fault! Beta thanks to sockie1000.

Summary: Billy will give a lot for his job, but even he has his limitations.



-o-

Billy wakes up by degrees.

He’s never been a morning person -- his poor mum had to half drag him out of bed to get him to school on time each morning -- so the hazy filtering of consciousness is not altogether unsettling. It starts with thought, piecemealed but cognizant, flitting streams of idle thoughts, fragments of dreams following back to the waking world.

And then, he hears. The faint whoosh of air in the ventilation system, the distance sounds of the street muffled from far below. The pounding of his own heart, steady and loud in his ears.

Sensation is next, a brisk chill trickling down his spine and ghosting over his skin. He’s on his back, and the surface is hard, neither of which makes sense.

Next, is movement.

But when Billy tries to move, nothing happens. He tries to sit up, to swing his legs over the bed, but his body refuses to cooperate. He tries again, in earnest this time, telling his legs to move, his arms, his torso, his head, his fingers -- anything. When it all fails, he opens his mouth to speak -- but no words come out. His eyes pop open, fully and quite suddenly awake now, but that’s all there is.

He hears his heart skip a beat, feels his pulse start to pick up its pace. Something is wrong, something is very, very wrong.

Frantic, he flails, sending impulses to every limb and extremity. He’ll settle for a twitchy pinky at this rate, but to no avail. The impulses come back, dead, and his throat clenches with a scream that he is entirely incapable of releasing.

Billy’s paralyzed.

But not exactly. Because he can still feel everything. He feels the cold air prickling his exposed skin; he can feel his swollen big toe on his left foot from where he stubbed it the other morning. He can feel the elastic of his boxers tickling his waist -- but he can’t do anything about any of it but blink.

That doesn’t make sense.

None of this makes sense.

Billy heart starts to race, and his mind tries to work. He knows something about this; he knows something. He can’t move, but he can remember. He should remember...

The bar.

He’d been at a bar. Undercover, of course. He’d been tasked with drawing out their mark. He’d drawn the easy task, he’d chortled. All he had to do was eat, drink, and be merry on the CIA’s dime.

The last drink had been compliments of a gentleman across the room. Billy had toasted, downing it in one sip before his stomach had soured and he excused himself.

He’d been dizzy in the bathroom, bracing himself at the sink. And that was all he remembered.

Until this.

Until waking up, paralyzed and confused.

Billy’s heart is racing, but he’s better than this. He’s better than this. He can’t move, but he can figure this out.

Straining, he moves his eyes, scanning what he can of the room. It’s wholly unfamiliar to him, and entirely nondescript. There is nothing resembling decoration, and the furnishings are sparse. There’s a table not far from him, lined with covered trays and a series of pristine coolers.

Above him, there’s a harsh light, positioned over him but not pointed at his face. The rest of the room isn’t just blank, it’s sterile. It smells like disinfectant, and the air conditioner is audibly running on high, blowing far too much cold air, even for a hot summer’s evening like he remembered before waking up.

It’s hard to look down at himself, but what he sees is hardly reassuring. As he noted before, he’s naked except for his boxers. But that’s not actually the disconcerting part. No, the part that bothers Billy most is that he’s on a metal table.

Worse, he’s strapped down.

The thick band is leather and pulled painfully tight across his chest. There’s another pair of straps on his wrists and another set on his ankles.

The revelation makes him want to shudder, but he doesn’t even have the ability to express his fear. Still, he can feel his skin prickle with goosebumps, chafing the bands that hold him into place -- as if he’s actually a flight risk in his present condition.

It’s not so bad, though, Billy tries to reassure himself. He’s alive, after all. And besides from the drug, he’s actually in one piece. There’s been no fighting, no gunplay. For once, he’s not even bleeding. So maybe this isn’t so bad.

But then, the door opens.

For a second, Billy dares to hope. Maybe this is rescue; his mates will come for him, after all. Wherever he is, they’ll find him.

They have to.

But when Billy’s eyes jerk to the side, his hope dissipates. Because he recognizes the man who enters -- and it’s not Michael or Casey or Rick. It’s the bloke from the bar, who bought him that last drink.

Billy’s stomach churns.

The man is casual, though, as if entirely oblivious to Billy plight. He whistles good naturedly as he disappears out of view, and Billy can hear water running. When he comes back into sight, the man is patting his hands dry, depositing a clean cloth on the table and finally looking Billy in the eyes.

“Good to see you awake,” he says, and he sounds like he actually means it. “I realize that this must be a bit confusing for you -- possibly even a little terrifying.”

Billy breath catches in his throat, but there’s nothing he can say in reply with his deadened vocal cords.

The man seems indifferent. “So before we begin, I just want to assure you of a few things,” he continues. “First, you should know, that you will be helping many people tonight. It’s a scary thing, the way hospitals organize and dictate care. They come up with criteria and reason away while people just go on dying. It’s all business for them, deciding who gets what drugs, who should receive what treatments.”

Billy struggles to make it parse, to understand the relevance even as he feels his pulse thrumming in his throat.

As he talks, the man picks up a marker, uncapping it with a sad shake of his head. “The worst example of this is with organs,” he says, diverting his eyes from Billy’s now, placing the marker gently on Billy’s stomach as he starts to draw. “They depersonalize the system -- as if that somehow makes it fair.”

The marker tickles Billy’s abdomen, before the man picks it up, tracing a line down the center of his chest.

“If you’re dying and you need a kidney, you should have the right to do whatever is necessary to get a kidney,” he says. “If your child needs a heart, you should be able to pull together the money and buy the heart so your child can live.”

He stops, pulling the marker back and nodding before looking Billy in the eyes again.

“People say that black market sales of organs is unethical,” he says. “But I say rationing organs by a bland set of criteria is unethical. What we’re doing here, tonight, is offering people hope. Is offering people the chance to define their own destiny. We are doing an important and necessary service.”

It’s an impassioned speech, one with some merit, Billy thinks.

That is, if Billy had been a willing participant.

As it is, though, Billy’s strapped to a table, drugged, and as his eyes flicker down, he sees that his torso has been marked with lines.

Guide lines.

For when the man cuts him open and takes his organs out.

The entire thing becomes horrifyingly clear, and Billy realizes in that instant that the sacrifice is not just his organs.

It’s his life.

The man is going to take Billy’s organs and sell them to the highest bidder and leave Billy to die.

Above him, the man seems to sense his sudden realization. His grin widens, his eyes glinting with a sadistic intent. “Of course, I feel compelled to add that you will also be making me even richer tonight,” he says. “Do you know how much a good heart will get? Even a kidney is worth more than you’re worth living. Harvesting all of you -- you’ll earn me more tonight than you could make in a lifetime of work.”

The fact that it’s bloody true doesn’t exactly assuage Billy’s growing terror.

“Though, if this was really all business,” the man continues with a feral tilt of his lips, “I’d probably just put you under. No pain; no fear.”

Billy’s chest tightens, his heart starting to pound so loud that his blood was deafening in his ears.

The man reaches over, unveiling one of the trays and picking up a gleaming scalpel. He winks at Billy. “But where’s the fun in that?”

He reaches up to reposition the light, and Billy feels his panic swell. It builds in his chest, churning his stomach and he screams at himself to move, to move, to just bloody move. He can’t lay here and let this happen.

This can’t be happening at all.

Billy’s survived too much, he’s fought too hard. He can’t die here, not like this. Not awake and unconscious and totally helpless while he makes some nutjob rich.

His adrenaline mounts, and his awareness sharpens. Mind over matter, he tells himself, mind over matter. He can do this, he has to do this--

With all he has, he fights and thrashes, channeling his surging energy into his limbs, pushing and pulling and refusing to give in--

The scalpel descends, ghosting over his stomach.

Billy harnesses it all for one last effort--

And the only thing he produces is a single tear, dripping from his eye and trailing down his cheek. He feels it, hot against his cold skin, trickling into his ear. He wants to scream, but there’s nothing. There’s nothing.

Then the scalpel presses down, flaying open the surface of the skin--

And the door opens.

This time, he doesn’t see who enters, but he doesn’t need to. He recognizes Casey’s telltale fighting style, sees Rick frantically securing the door while Michael rushes over to him, looking down the length of his body before meeting his eyes.

“You okay?” Michael asks, even as his hands are reaching down and tugging at the strap around Billy’s chest.

Billy can’t answer, of course, but this time he doesn’t feel like he has to. The strap comes free, and his wrists and ankles are loosened too. Casey has their mark tied up and Rick is grimly going over the contents of the room while Michael helps Billy sit up.

“You’re okay,” Michael says this time, even as Billy sags against him. “You ready to get out of here?”

Billy’s more than ready, but there’s nothing he can do about it. When Michael pulls him to his feet, Billy’s legs refuse to cooperate and as Michael catches him, his consciousness fades and everything slips away.

-o-

This time, Billy wakes up with a start.

His awareness comes back with a startling intensity that has him jolting upright on the bed. He’s breathing heavily, heart pounding and mouth gaping before he realizes he can move.

He can move.

He looks down, wiggling his arms and legs, flexing his fingers and feet. The sensations are all connected to the movement, and it feels so damn good that Billy may very well cry.

“Easy, there,” Michael coaxes from nearby. “We’re still not sure how much of the drug you have in your system.”

Billy turns his head, and finds himself grinning. “Any amount less than before is all I’m asking for,” he says, rolling his shoulders for good measure. Then, he furrows his brow. “You all cut that pretty close.”

Michael looks a little chagrined. He’s perched on the other bed in the hotel room, Casey and Rick positioned on the chairs not far behind him. “Well, your new friend smuggled you out the bathroom window,” Michael explains. “We hadn’t counted on that.”

“We picked up your signal pretty quickly,” Rick adds. Then he shrugs, sheepish. “But he still had a head start.”

“And he also chose the most crowded apartment building in all of Bombay,” Casey says with a note of disgust. “Even with your signal, it was like a needle in a haystack.”

Billy grunts, because it all is coming back to him with vivid clarity. Not just his close call, but the mission. He’d volunteered to play the bait -- even had let them inject a tracker into his wrist. They’d promised him they’d be right behind him the whole time.

He’d just counted on them being a little bit closer. He’d wanted to catch the lunatic cutting open tourists and selling their organs -- but he hadn’t wanted to lose his own organs in the process.

“Well, much later and I’m afraid I would be short a kidney,” Billy admits, fingering the red mark from the scalpel.

“Eh, he would have stopped after seeing your liver,” Michael jokes.

“It is hard to imagine that he saw you as such a viable candidate,” Casey says.

“We’re just glad we got there,” Rick says for all of them.

Billy has to smile. Because he can. And because, really, it’s okay.

It’s okay.

“This mission has brought one issue into painful clarity for me,” Billy continues.

“Oh?” Michael asks.

“Organ donation,” Billy says with a nod. “It is serious business. I’m thinking about changing my status and becoming an organ donor.”

Rick gapes. “You mean, all this hasn’t turned you against it?”

“Not at all!” Billy says. “Our friend was greedy, sadistic and generally insane, but he was right -- organs do save lives.”

“I actually think I agree with you on this one,” Casey says. “Given the care I take of my body, I would think it’s almost criminal to let the parts go to waste if I meet an untimely end.”

“See,” Billy says, nodding toward Casey. “And that’s from someone with a self-professed dislike of mankind.”

Rick is still shaking his head. “I don’t know,” he says. “After seeing that set up...I’m just not sure I could do it.”

“Eh,” Billy says, waving a hand through the air. “I reckon that it’s better to serve the greater good -- as long as you’re good and dead first. I would definitely like to add that stipulation.”

Michael chuckles. “Noted,” he says. “Though, given how hard we worked to saved your ass this time, let’s try to avoid the dead part.” He shrugs. “At least for the time being.”

Billy grins. “I heartily endorse that,” he says. Then, he winks. “No pun intended.”

Rick groans and Casey rolls his eyes.

But Billy just keeps on smiling because it feels so damn good. His heart is beating, his lungs are breathing; he’s still alive and he’s okay.

More than that, everything’s okay. Because the man was right about one thing: they did make a difference tonight. They stopped a black market organ ring. They saved countless victims from a fate worse than Billy’s.

That counts for something.

Plus, his mates came, and Billy’s still alive.

That certainly counts for the rest.

Comments

Posted by: sophie_deangirl (sophie_deangirl)
Posted at: March 21st, 2013 08:54 pm (UTC)
I'm such a sicko

I relished in Billy's helplessness here. Probably too much so, hee, but as I've said so many times and you know me well enough to know that I'm a bit of sicko for this kind of stuff.



Fave parts:

“Though, if this was really all business,” the man continues with a feral tilt of his lips, “I’d probably just put you under. No pain; no fear.”

Billy’s chest tightens, his heart starting to pound so loud that his blood was deafening in his ears.

The man reaches over, unveiling one of the trays and picking up a gleaming scalpel. He winks at Billy. “But where’s the fun in that?”

He reaches up to reposition the light, and Billy feels his panic swell. It builds in his chest, churning his stomach and he screams at himself to move, to move, to just bloody move. He can’t lay here and let this happen.

This can’t be happening at all.

Billy’s survived too much, he’s fought too hard. He can’t die here, not like this. Not awake and unconscious and totally helpless while he makes some nutjob rich.

-- THUD! I LOVE the point you make about how much Billy has survived, it makes the situation that much more dire, Billy's reaction that much more understandable and his rescue that much more imperative.


And the only thing he produces is a single tear, dripping from his eye and trailing down his cheek. He feels it, hot against his cold skin, trickling into his ear. He wants to scream, but there’s nothing. There’s nothing.

Then the scalpel presses down, flaying open the surface of the skin--

-- AWESOME SUSPENSE build up!!! I'd stopped breathing myself.


“Eh, he would have stopped after seeing your liver,” Michael jokes.

“It is hard to imagine that he saw you as such a viable candidate,” Casey says.

-- HILARIOUS, nice teasing.


“Organ donation,” Billy says with a nod. “It is serious business. I’m thinking about changing my status and becoming an organ donor.”

Rick gapes. “You mean, all this hasn’t turned you against it?”

“Not at all!” Billy says. “Our friend was greedy, sadistic and generally insane, but he was right -- organs do save lives.”

-- I LOVE Rick's reaction and Billy's outlook in spite of his involuntary recruitment. It's so Billy!


“I actually think I agree with you on this one,” Casey says. “Given the care I take of my body, I would think it’s almost criminal to let the parts go to waste if I meet an untimely end.”

“See,” Billy says, nodding toward Casey. “And that’s from someone with a self-professed dislike of mankind.”

Rick is still shaking his head. “I don’t know,” he says. “After seeing that set up...I’m just not sure I could do it.”

“Eh,” Billy says, waving a hand through the air. “I reckon that it’s better to serve the greater good -- as long as you’re good and dead first. I would definitely like to add that stipulation.”

--I LOVE Casey's "opinion" on the matter as well. Typical reaction.

LOVELY as always!

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: March 24th, 2013 02:36 am (UTC)
Re: I'm such a sicko
chaos team 2

LOL, well I did write this, so I can't call you out on being a sicko :) And I had fun with Billy's helplessness -- it would be so terrifying, but thankfully his team showed up.

Thanks!

Posted by: kristen_mara (kristen_mara)
Posted at: March 24th, 2013 08:52 am (UTC)
Stephen Clouds


Now THAT was a scary situation! Billy, don't accept drinks from strange men, or if you do, have them analysed first!

Billy certainly was a splendid specimen to choose... Eeek

Love this exchange:
“Given the care I take of my body, I would think it’s almost criminal to let the parts go to waste if I meet an untimely end.”

“See,” Billy says, nodding toward Casey. “And that’s from someone with a self-professed dislike of mankind.”

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: March 31st, 2013 03:07 am (UTC)
billy content

That would be downright terrifying. Though Billy is quite lovely. Seems like a shame to cut him up, though.

Thanks!

Posted by: fara (farad)
Posted at: March 26th, 2013 12:56 am (UTC)
Vin - hand

Awh - nice! And timely on the part of his rescuers! *g*

As ever, thanks for sharing! So - is Michael an organ donor?

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: March 31st, 2013 03:09 am (UTC)
chaos michael

LOL, yeah, I couldn't let the guy actually cut up Billy. And LOL, I don't know. I think Michael is too paranoid to be an organ donor. In my mind, Michael refuses to think about his own death because he's too busy trying to prevent everyone else's.

Thanks :)

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