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do i dare or do i dare? [userpic]

Chaos fic: Five Times Casey Hurt Billy (1/2)

June 23rd, 2013 (06:29 am)
pensive

feeling: pensive

Title: Five Times Casey Hurt Billy (And One Time Billy Hurt Casey)

Disclaimer: I do not own Chaos.

A/N: For lena7142. She deserves a lot more than this for all the wonderful things she brings to the world, but hopefully this will do. Thank you for your friendship :) Happy birthday! With beta thanks to sockie1000.

Summary: He didn’t like Billy Collins, but Billy Collins was a part of his life -- a part Casey had come to count on, whether he wanted to admit it or not.



-o-

One.

Casey was waiting.

This was an unfortunate part of his job. Casey was well schooled in acts of discipline, but the fact was, waiting on a side street in Buenos Aires after midnight was just boring. There was no purpose to such self discipline, except that it was an order.

An order.

Casey bristled at the thought. He’d been reluctant to take an assignment with a team for just this reason. Because there’d be someone else around, calling the shots, and Casey would be expected to fall in line.

Not that he thought Michael Dorset was a bad planner. In truth, the man was about as good as Casey had seen. He respected Michael, and he appreciated the broad range of missions they were able to undertake under Michael’s leadership.

Except that sometimes, Casey got stuck with the grunt work.

It was inevitable. Casey was the new guy, and even if his experience and expertise far outweighed Carson’s, apparently he still hadn’t built up enough good will amongst his teammates to pick and choose his own role. He saw value in playing backup, but waiting for possible assets on a street? Made him feel like a common prostitute. Only worse, he had to declare his pay and there would be no sexual satisfaction from this act.

Casey wasn’t even sure why they needed an asset, but Michael seemed pretty sure about the potential. Michael had intended to be here himself, but when something had come up, he’d sent Casey instead.

“Just wait there and keep him company until I get there,”
Michael had said.

When Casey had asked what to look for, Michael had shrugged. “Codeword is uptown. He’ll reply with downtown.”

At which point Casey had agreed to stand there and make sure the asset didn’t do anything stupid. Michael had rolled his eyes, but Casey thought he was being rather magnanimous about being forced to play babysitter while Michael and Carson did actual spywork.

Which was how he ended up here. Watching. Analyzing.

Waiting.

He eyed the people. The crowds had thinned, and most of those who staggered by looked drunk now. A few homeless people scuttled by, and a couple walked briskly by with their hands entwined. For a while, someone across the street soon under the light to smoke, and Casey was about to approach them when they put out their cigarette and walked away.

When Casey turned to settled back into his darkened doorway, he saw the guy.

He was tall with stupidly spiky hair and and friendly face. He was wearing well fitted jeans and a tight t-shirt, accented by a vest. The man looked appraisingly down the street before settling onto a stoop not ten feet from Casey.

Casey watched him. Watched his casual mannerisms and his total nonchalance. He had no business out here at this time of night, and it was like he was waiting for someone.

Frowning, Casey approached him. “Excuse me,” he said. “Do you have the directions for uptown?”

The man raised his eyebrows. Up close, he looked like nothing more than a kid. “Uptown is a bit high brow for you, don’t you think?” he asked.

The accent was Scottish, which was unexpected. Cautiously, Casey pursed his lips. “Then what would you recommend?”

The man grinned. “I make no recommendations, mate,” he said. “Uptown, downtown, midtown -- they’re all the same. Just wasting time myself.”

Casey paused. The codeword was there...but so casually. Most assets weren’t that smooth. Most of them stumbled and made it obvious. This kid talked like it was the easiest thing in the world.

Which could mean it was all a coincidence.

Casey pursed his lips. “So you don’t know the way uptown?”

The kid gave him an odd look. “And if I do?”

The Scottish accent was peculiar. He would expect the asset to be native or at least an ex-patriot. What would a Scottish man know about the drug scene in Buenos Aires? Why would a Scottish man be inclined to work with the CIA when MI6 had its own operations at hand?

Mostly, though, he hadn’t repeated the word. Casey had dropped the codeword twice for verification, and the man hadn’t returned in kind. Even the stupidest assets usually got that right.

Casey sighed. “Never mind,” he muttered as he turned away.

The kid made a sound of protest. “You don’t have to leave.”

“What makes you think I don’t want to,” Casey snapped.

“I could use some company,” the man suggested.

“I couldn’t.”

“You know, you are living up to the American stereotype of being gruff, stupid and unfriendly.”

“I’ll take that as a compliment,” Casey snarked.

“Ah, and there’s the egocentrism that the world so hates,” the kid rejoined.

“Look,” Casey said. “I’m sorry to have bothered you. I should go.”

“I’m not sure I believe your apology.”

Casey was feeling vexed. He shook his head. “Why not?”

“Where was the sincerity?” the kid asked. “The feeling? You have to emote.”

“No, I don’t.”

“Then how do you expect anyone to believe you? Or like you?”

“I don’t want people to like me,” Casey replied.

“Spot on, then,” the kid said.

Casey blew out a breath. He was trained. He was capable. He could face any foe. He could face this.

“Though maybe you should try to darken your scowl, just so,” the kid suggested. “It would really complete the look.”

“What?” Casey asked.

“The grumpy American,” the kid said. “With a little fine tuning, you could have the perfect aura to annoy people with one look, which is a rare feat, indeed.”

“Shut up.”

The kid made a face, looking almost apologetic. “I’m afraid that’s always been a bit of a problem for me.”

“All the more reason to start learning,” Casey told him with a dark look.

The kid shrugged indifferently. “There are some lessons I’ve always reckoned aren’t worth learning,” he continued. “And if my da couldn’t beat it out of me when I was a lad, I highly doubt there’s much you can do to change it now.”

Casey tweaked his eyebrows. “Would you like to bet?”

The kid grinned. “That’s cute,” he said. “But I should warn you that I’m not always as good natured as I seem. Appearances can be deceiving.”

“You say that,” Casey said, “yet you show no indication that you apply such sweeping generalizations to anything except your own running mouth.”

“I have found myself to be an apt judge of others.”

“Oh?” Casey asked. “And me?”

“Cantankerous and dour, but I dare say you are more bark than bite.”

“Keep talking and you may find otherwise,” Casey warned.

“I do love the bravado,” the kid said with a flippant smile. “So cute.”

Casey narrowed his eyes. “You should really shut your mouth now.”

“I’m afraid I was here first,” he said. “And if you want me to leave, I’m afraid you are very well going to have to make me.”

Searching for patience -- he did not want to fill out another incident report, he did not -- Casey took a breath. “I don’t want to fight you,” he gritted through his teeth.

The man patted him convivially. “Of course you don’t, mate,” he said. “It takes a real man to know when he’s outmatched. Speaks well of your character, now if you’ll kindly vacate the area--”

Casey knew he shouldn’t. But the man kept talking. And demeaning Casey. And talking incessantly. Casey had a job to do, and sitting here entertaining the village idiot was not a part of that. He could finish this in two seconds and hide the unconscious body in a safe location for the idiot to wake up on his own before Michael even knew what happened.

The kid paused long enough to wink.

And Casey threw the first punch.

To his surprise, the kid feigned and Casey only landed a glancing blow. At the ready, the kid lifted his hands, lashing out with a quick jab that Casey easily ducked.

Annoyed, Casey pulled back, assessing. The kid had some skill, but he’d made one devastating mistake -- he’d underestimated Casey.

That was a common flaw in his opponents. Casey knew his unassuming figure didn’t suggest that he was a human weapon. It was one of his greatest assets, the built in element of surprise.

And this kid had been so smug, so sure of himself, so talkative, that Casey would enjoy teaching him the lesson of assumption the hard way.

Well, hard for the kid.

It’d be pretty easy for Casey.

The kid had the stance of a boxer, so Casey opted for martial arts. Going low, he sweeped the kids legs out from under him. With an oof, the kid hit the ground, but he rolled quickly, working toward his feet--

He didn’t get there.

Casey followed up, latching onto the kid’s back and grabbing one arm and wrenching it. Beneath him, the young man yelped and Casey increased the pressure until the kid cursed and sucked in a hard breath.

In a grappling match, this would be the point of submission.

This wasn’t a grappling match.

And Casey still had a job to do. Torturing the kid with his humiliation might be fun, but Casey needed to get to the point.

“What do you think about the art of underestimation now?” Casey asked gruffly.

The kid whined, still struggling valiantly.

Casey rolled his eyes.

Letting go, the kid scrambled, but when he was turned back toward Casey, fist already balled, Casey chopped viciously at the kid’s neck.

The kid deflated, eyes going wide and his mouth dropping open as he fell to his knees. Dazed, apparently the kid still wasn’t out yet.

Perturbed, Casey executed one last hit across the jaw and the kid crumpled lifelessly to the ground.

Straightening, Casey smirked. “I did warn you,” he said. Then he looked worriedly down the street. Although Casey had held back significantly in the fight and sought to avoid any real damage, he was sure the image of him thrashing a kid in the black of night would be a less than reassuring sight to onlookers. Fortunately, the street was empty.

Looking down at the kid, sprawled on his back and clearly unconscious, Casey sighed and bent over, clasping the kid’s wrist before hauling him away from the light. In the darkness of his concealed entryway, the kid would be relatively safe and, most important, hard to see unless someone was specifically looking.

And Casey would be free to babysit the asset when he showed up and Michael would be none the wiser.

Except--

“Malick,” Michael said, calling from a bit down the street. “What are you doing?”

Casey dropped the kid unceremoniously and turned around hastily. “Just cleaning up a bit,” he said without missing a beat. “This country lacks proper sanitation.”

Michael didn’t buy it. “Is the asset here?”

“Nope,” Casey said. “Which is more proof that my skills are being thoroughly wasted.”

“You sure?” Michael said, glancing at his watch. “The kid likes to be fashionably late but he’s not this late.”

“Kid?”

“Yeah,” Michael said. Then his eyes narrowed. “Are you sure you haven’t seen him.”

“No one verified the code word,” Casey said resolutely.

“Are you sure?” Michael said.

“I was -- mostly,” Casey replied petulantly.

Michael gave him a look.

“So one person did, but he was so damn flippant I couldn’t be sure,” Casey said. “I tried it again, he didn’t use it. I assumed the first was a fluke.”

“So he was here!”

“How was I supposed to know?” Casey protest.

“The codeword,” Michael snapped. “He said it.”

“Yeah, and everything else,” Casey said. “I think there was reasonable doubt.”

“He followed protocol,” Michael said. “Damn it, Malick. He really was here, wasn’t he?”

Casey resisted the urge to curse. The kid had said it, but Casey had made a judgement call. He’d looked at the kid, considered the text and written it off -- because he’d assumed.

Damn it.

Appearances were deceiving. The kid had learned that the hard way. Now Casey was about to, too.

Michael’s face fell. “You didn’t let him leave did you?”

Casey purposefully did not look behind him. “No,” he said. “I can honestly say I did not let him leave.”

The deflection did not go unnoticed by Michael. He stepped aside, peering around Casey. “Oh, come on,” he said, brushing past Casey and stepping into the shadows.

“He asked for it,” Casey said, defending himself as Michael kneeled down and untwisted the kid’s arms and tilted his lax face toward him. “Literally.”

Michael pressed two fingers into his pulse point. “He’s a talkative pain in the ass, which is why he’s so valuable,” he said, before lifting the kid’s eyelids one at a time. “And you had to knock him out?”

“He wouldn’t shut up!”

“Because he was trying to establish contact with you!” Michael said.

“Well, we definitely had contact,” Casey pointed out.

“Your hand to his skull is not the contact I was thinking about.”

“I didn’t even hit him hard,” Casey said in exasperation.

“Is that supposed to make me feel better?” Michael asked.

“A little,” Casey said. “Given how annoying the kid is, I was tempted to seriously maim him.”

“Instead you were going to leave him abandoned on the street,” Michael said, shaking his head. He got to his feet. “Well, let’s go, then.”

Casey felt himself brighten. “You mean we’re done?”

“Yep,” Michael said. “We’ll meet up again back at the hotel.”

“Great,” Casey said. “I was beginning to feel interminably bored.”

Michael stopped him.

“What?” Casey asked.

“Aren’t you forgetting something?”

Casey knitted his brows together.

“The asset,” Michael pointed out.

Casey looked down to where the kid was still laid out.

“Your orders were to bring him in,” Michael pointed out. “That hasn’t changed.”

“But he’s unconscious,” Casey said.

“Yep,” Michael agreed.

“And look at him,” Casey protested. “He’s all limbs. He’d be worse than a sack of a potatoes.”

“You better start walking, then,” Michael advised.

“It’s five miles to the hotel,” Casey reminded him.

Michael grinned, patting him on the shoulder. “Good thing you’re a human weapon, then, right?”

With that, Michael turned and headed off.

Casey glowered at the kid. Sighing, he bent down, roughly taking the kid’s wrist and slinging him up. He flopped lifelessly, and Casey grunted as he yanked him up and over his shoulder, securing him by holding onto his wrist and wrapping an arm around his leg.

As he got to his feet, the kid’s long limbs falling heavily against him, Casey shook his head. “You better be worth it, kid,” he muttered, before heading off into the night.

Two.

Most of the time, Casey resented any time he had to spend at Langley. The CIA was full of people trained to spy, which made them pretty much horrible company. Not only were the vast majority socially incompetent, but many of them were so far alienated from normalcy that they weren’t even interesting. It was all well and good if someone could infiltrate the Russian mafia, but they were hell for small talk in the breakroom.

Plus, there was nothing to do at Langley. Just meetings and paperwork and email. Casey spent so much time checking email, that he felt like a glorified IT guy most of the time.

There were two things he did like, however. First, the massages. They weren’t the best massages in the world, but it was the only time he was paid to be naked and relaxed, so it counted as a win.

The second -- training.

The CIA had ample training facilities, and Casey had taken advantage of them all. He’d used every treadmill, every weight machine. He’d sweated on every mat and studied every self defense book in the CIA library. Training. It was a lovely, beautiful thing, and he would never admit to it, but he’d work for free for the wealth of access he had to secure training facilities where he could focus exclusively on his exercise without having to worry about anything else.

Of course, workouts were less fun when they were a team effort.

“I’m too old for this,” Carson complained.

“It’s required,” Michael reminded him.

“You haven’t even gotten off the bench,” Casey said with a glare as he did a deep squat.

Billy stretched his legs, smiling boyishly. “Besides, there’s no better way to combat the fatigue of age than with a rousing workout,” he said. “Gets the heart pumping -- reminds you you’re alive.”

Casey rolled his eyes. “You should never bring sentimentality into a workout,” he muttered.

“Oh, and why’s that?” Billy asked.

“Because it’s a distraction,” Casey said crossly.

“And what is so bad about a distraction every now and then?” Billy asked gamely.

Michael shook his head. “Every now and then?” he asked with eyebrows raised. “Remind me the last time you focused on anything.”

“Besides the attractive new analyst,” Carson said.

Billy grinned. “I pick and choose my moments,” he said with a salacious wink.

“Well, pick now,” Casey said, stretching to his full height. “Because we’re sparring today, and I’m going first so I can get on to an actual workout that will make a difference.”

“Well, don’t feel like you have to spar on my account,” Carson said with a yawn. “Though I think I pulled a hamstring, so maybe I should sit today out?”

“An injury from pulling down the last bottle of alcohol off your shelf at home?” Michael asked.

Carson smirked. “A worthwhile cause.”

“Fine,” Casey said. “Michael?”

Michael held up his hands. “I let you kick my ass last time,” he said. “It’s the kid’s turn.”

Casey glared as he looked at Billy.

Billy smiled back. “My turn? For a bit of hand to hand?”

“We all have to go one bout,” Casey said.

“Well, if you’re thinking you can make quick work of me, you can think again,” Billy warned.

“The first time we fought, I made you tap in less than a minute,” Casey reminded him.

Billy blushed. “It was 52 seconds.”

“Not bad for a first go,” Michael pointed out.

Carson chuckled. “Hell, that’s twice as long as I’ve ever lasted.”

Casey leveled him with a look. “That’s because you tap the minute I touch you.”

“That’s a win for all of us,” Carson said.

“And never matter,” Billy said. “I’ve been practicing.”

Michael shook his head.

Casey scoffed. “Practicing?” he asked skeptically.

“Sure,” Billy said good naturedly. “Clearly you have high standards so I’m doing my best not to disappoint.”

“Somehow I don’t think that’s possible,” Casey said.

“Try me,” Billy invited.

Casey looked at Michael, as if asking for permission. “It’d be like hitting a puppy.”

Michael shrugged. “He asked for it.”

That much was true. The kid did ask for it.

And who was Casey to stop him?

If a newbie was good for anything, it was putting him in his place until he learned the humility to shut up every now and then.

Decided, Casey turned back, surprised when Billy was already on him. It wasn’t a particularly well executed move, but Casey had to give the kid credit for having the balls to take the offensive as an element of surprise. It gave him an advantage as he got in behind Casey with an arm lock.

Jerking back, the kid took them to the mat, getting to a mounted position as he kept Casey on his knees on the mat. Looking down, Casey heard Carson whistle.

It was impressive.

It was short lived.

Cheeks burning, Casey’s brain switched from thought to fight, and he twisted, moving himself down to break Collins’ grip. Collins held on hard, but in two quick moves, Casey had squirmed free, flipping Billy over the top of him as he moved in for a takedown.

Billy scrambled back, struggling to find his foot, red faced. His eyes were a bit wild, but he did an admirable job of keeping his head about him despite his disappointment of not landing a more prolonged offensive.

They circled for a moment, trading easily deflected kicks and punches. Then, Billy charged, going low, taking Casey’s legs out from under him.

They both went down, but Casey easily rolled away. Billy scurried away just as quickly, a small smile playing on his face.

Casey’s narrowed his eyes.

Billy’s grin just widened. “See,” he said. “Practice.”

“You’re evading me,” Casey pointed out.

Billy treaded lightly from one foot to another. “By whatever means possible,” he said with a smug grin. “Timekeeper, where are we at?”

“Just hit a minute,” Michael noted, sounded a little impressed.

Billy brightened. “Really?”

“It could be a new record,” Carson said, sitting up with genuine interest.

Billy beamed, looking over at them. “And you all tell me I’m incorrigible,” he said in a singsong voice. “I dare say I may have proved you all wrong--”

Casey scowled, crouching low as he waited for his moment.

Still moving evasively, Billy turned his attention just slightly away from Casey, clearly ready to scurry at any sign of an attack. He was rightly expecting Casey to lock him up or pin him. In their previous tussles, that had been Casey’s preference.

But that didn’t mean that was his only means of fighting. Casey was adept in most major forms of martial arts. He could choke someone out, he could wrench arms out of sockets, he could find pressure points to stupefy someone.

And he could knock someone the hell out.

So when the kid turned back, Casey planted his feet and kicked.

It was a good kick anyway, though Casey had meant for it to be a glancing blow -- just enough to get his point across.

The kid, however, turned right into it, practically offering his temple as a target that Casey just couldn’t miss.

The impact reverberated down Casey’s leg, and Billy went down hard, eyes closed as he sprawled out on the mat.

Michael winced sympathetically. “Not sure that was what he wanted to prove,” he observed.

“Hey,” Carson said, “the kid still broke the record.”

Casey huffed. “The kid’s lucky I didn’t break his skull.”

“Hey, better him than me,” Carson said, clapping Casey on the shoulder as they looked down at Billy, whose chest was rising and falling evenly as he lay splayed out on the floor.

Michael gave Casey a quizzical look with a small nod toward Billy. “You know, you have to make sure he’s okay.”

“What?” Casey balked. “I have training to do.”

“You knocked him out,” Michael reminded him.

“He walked into it,” Casey said. “He wasn’t even paying attention. I intended to knock him on his backside, not flatten him.”

“Noble intentions,” Carson said with a smirk.

“Still,” Michael said with a shrug. “Wake him up and take him to medical to get him checked out.”

“We already know he has a hard head,” Casey protested, gesturing in frustration at the recumbent Scotsman. “And really, what damage could it have done?”

Michael tweaked his eyebrows with vague disinterest. “I know you want to teach the kid his place, Malick,” he said. “But maybe you need to learn yours, too.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Casey asked sharply.

“Fun as it is to push the kid around and make him do our dirty work, he’s still part of the team,” Michael said. “And we watch out for each other.”

“I didn’t ask for him to be part of this team,” Casey said darkly.

Michael shrugged. “And we didn’t ask for you,” he said. “We’re still making that work.”

As he made his way out, Casey was left gaping.

Carson sidled up next to him in commiseration. “If it makes you feel any better, your learning curve is a whole lot less painful than Collins’,” he pointed out. “Because damn -- did you see that shot? He went down like a ton of bricks!” Carson winked at him. “Have fun explaining this to medical!”

“Wait,” Casey called as Carson started to leave. “You’re not going to help?”

Carson gave Billy a look. “Give me a call if he’s got brain damage,” he said. He gave Casey a small salute. “Otherwise, have fun bonding with the new guy!”

As Carson retreated, chuckling to himself, Casey looked back down at Billy with a glare. Kneeling, he felt for the kid’s pulse before lifting his eyes and checking his pupils. When everything appeared in order, he sat back and glared some more.

“You know, I’m still not sure you’re worth it,” he said crossly, as he rolled Collins onto his side and started patting his cheek. “You’re just lucky the decision’s not up to me.”

The kid’s brow creased a little, and he started to moan.

Impatient, Casey reached down, squeezing the kid’s ear just so to jumpstart consciousness.

Billy groaned, trying to swat Casey’s arm away. When he blinked up fuzzily, Casey stared at him.

Billy frowned. “Did I win?”

“If by win, you mean you got your ass handed to you thanks to your own inability to focus, then yes,” Casey said, as a matter of fact.

To his surprise, Billy grinned lazily. “So I did last a minute.”

Casey sighed. “Through deflection and general cowardice, yes.”

Billy’s smile widened. “Success.”

“Do I have to remind you that you just got knocked the hell out in a training match?” Casey said.

“It’s not how you win or lose,” Billy murmured, eyes still heavy. “It’s how you play the game, yeah?”

“You’re a moron,” Casey told him flatly as he levered the kid up.

Billy moaned, face going pale as Casey forced him to his feet. “Perhaps,” he said. He looked at Casey through slitted eyes, a mischievous lilt to his smile. “But I’m a moron who lasted over a minute against the great Casey Malick.”

“You really are proud of it, aren’t you?” Casey asked.

Billy lifted his head. “Shouldn’t I be?”

“You are a special kind of idiot,” Casey said, shaking his head.

“I’ll take that as a compliment,” Billy said, voice hinging as they started to walk.

“You would,” Casey told him snidely, not bothering to mention that he might have meant it as one, too.

Three.

“He’s not worth it,” Casey said. He narrowed his eyes, steadying his arm and correcting his aim.

The man laughed. “You say that while I have a gun pressed to his head,” he mocked, jamming the gun roughly against the side of Billy’s head.

In the man’s beefy grasp, Billy winced, his jaw tightening. From pain, from embarrassment - it was hard to say.

Ultimately, it didn’t matter.

The man wasn’t just any man, after all. He was a gun smuggler, and an angry one at that. When he’d found Casey and Billy poking around, he’d said hello with his fist, damn near knocking Billy’s head off with the first punch. While the kid had been groggy on the ground, Casey had found himself going one-on-one with the strongest man he’d ever encountered.

Strongest -- he was twice Casey’s size and towered over Billy -- but not the brightest. Because he’d retreated from Casey and taken Billy as a hostage.

As if that was going to help him.

Casey pursed his lips. “I don’t think you understand,” he clarified.

“No,” the man said gruffly. “You don’t understand. You say he is worth nothing, and yet, here you are, trying to save his life. If he were worth nothing to you, you would not be threatening me.”

Billy swallowed, and it was clear how uncomfortable he was. The man had him in a brutal headlock, his body pulled tight against his assailants like a human shield. The kid had blood dripping down the side of his face, but his eyes were clear when he looked at Casey fully and shook his head.

Casey took a breath, eyes flickering away from Billy again. “No,” he said evenly. “He’s not worth it to you.”

The man snorted.

“See, if you harm him, I will harm you. If you hurt him, I will hurt you. And if you kill him, I promise you that you will not live to see any profit or hope of escape,” Casey growled. “So, you see, to you, he is not worth dying for.”

The man sneered, tightening his grip. Billy shifted uselessly in his grip, wheezing slightly as his throat was forcibly constricted. “You think threats can make me turn over my only bargaining chip?” he seethed. “Do you think me so stupid?”

Casey focused, mentally projecting the path of his bullet. It would be a hard shot -- a damn near impossible shot -- but the man was getting twitchy, his trigger finger was sweating. Casey could threaten, but he was no hostage negotiator. He took things by force.

Normally he preferred using his hands and feet. But those were not the only deadly weapons with which he was skilled. He was a good shot -- a damn good shot -- and he didn’t hesitate.

He couldn’t hesitate.

Not with Billy’s life in the balance.

He just had to find the right moment.

Billy was starting to struggle more, but feebly, eyes going wide with apparent panic. He was having trouble keeping his footing as the man jerked him harder, his actions exaggerated with Billy helpless in his grasp. The kid was good at keeping his emotions close to the vest most of the time, but now he was scared.

The kid was downright terrified.

It occurred to Casey that this was the first time he’d seen the kid like that. In two years, the kid had never wavered in the face of danger. He’d taken the most dangerous assignments; he’d faced certain peril more than once--

But the kid had never actually thought he was going to die.

Looking at Billy again, his eyes just slightly wild as they locked on Casey’s once more, Casey knew that was the case now. Billy thought he was going to die.

The surge of uncontrolled anger he felt was surprising, and it pulsed through him with an intensity he almost didn’t know how to control.

Then, the guy moved the gun. It shifted from its position pressed against Billy’s skull moving toward Casey, finger tightening on the trigger, ready to shoot--

It wasn’t much of an opening.

It was the only opening Casey needed.

He fired.

The retort of the gunshot was deafening, and the man cried out in anger, jerking back before crumpling to the ground.

Just like that, it was over.

Casey let his arm fall, blowing out a breath before smirking. “Still think it’s worth it?” he muttered. With a few short steps, he crossed the distance. It didn’t take much to see that it was a direct hit. Head shot, square in the face. Messy -- and no hope of survival. That was the kind of shot that most people couldn’t pull off, but then again, Casey wasn’t most people.

He was a human weapon, and he’d spent countless hours honing every craft of destruction possible. He took no pleasure in death, but he understood how to respond with appropriate force. He would knock out someone who was going to knock him out. He would humiliate those set out to humiliate him.

If someone wanted to kill him--

Casey would kill them first.

And if they wanted to kill one of his teammates...

Well, this was the answer to that.

Casey had never been much of a team player, and he’d never cared much for Billy, but seeing the kid with a gun to his head, seeing him so scared--

Casey’s stomach still roiled, and he shifted his focus from the downed gun smuggler to Billy. The kid was on his side, still half in the man’s lax grip. Stepping around, Casey kneeled. “Billy,” he said, reaching down and making a face. With the close proximity, the kid had caught more than a little of the blood spray. “Billy.”

The kid didn’t move, and Casey sighed. “Of course you wouldn’t make this easier,” he said, reaching down a hand to shake Billy’s shoulder. “Come on, kid. It’s time to wake up. It’s over now.”

Except Billy didn’t wake up. He didn’t so much as flinch.

Perturbed, Casey moved around, taking the kid by the shoulders and pulling him free from the body and laying him flat on the ground. He settled heavily on the ground, head lolling as Casey resigned himself to tapping Billy’s cheek.

To Casey’s annoyance, Billy didn’t even flinch.

Frown deepening, Casey tilted the kid’s head to the side, checking the oozing cut from where he’d been hit initially. The skin was broken, but it didn’t look too serious. Unless Casey had missed something.

Concerned, he ran his fingers around the back of Billy’s skull, looking for bumps and abrasions before finally tilting the Scotsman’s head to the other side and peering closer at the blood spatter.

It was worse than Casey had remembered, more blood than he would have expected.

Casey leaned closer.

It wasn’t blood spatter at all. It was fresh blood -- and there was more of it.

Billy was still bleeding.

Forehead creased, Casey usd his fingers to probe the skin--

His stomach dropped.

The skin was split, flayed open from the temple into the hairline, leaving hot, dark blood everywhere. This was no punch. This was no contact with the ground.

This was a gunshot wound.

Casey’s awareness tunneled, and he was acutely in tune with his own body. He could feel his heart, pounding an even rhythm in his chest, his blood throbbing hollowly in his ears. Casey had taken the shot to avoid this; Casey had taken great pains to avoid this.

Sometimes the trigger was pulled reflexively, but Casey hadn’t heard a shot. He’d been intimately aware of the man’s finger, he’d seen the grip ease; he’d mentally assessed the risks and deduced that the chances of the man getting of a shot of this magnitude had been slim to none.

Casey hadn’t been wrong about that.

Which meant...

Casey’s stomach went cold and his entire body went numb as the blood drained from his head.

Which meant Casey had shot Billy. The shot intended to kill the man had found its mark, but not without clipping Billy first.

Casey had trained his body to be like a machine. He had schooled himself for predictable perfection.

Near-perfection.

Casey was a weapon, but he was still human. Sometimes he misjudged an opponent; sometimes he feinted left when he should have gone right. He could hit a target dead on nine times out of ten. There was still that one time, however, when he pulled just slightly to the left...

He swallowed, feeling suddenly and uncharacteristically nauseous. The sight of blood had never bothered him. He did not relish death, but he’d never shied away from acknowleding his own deeds. But looking at Billy, Casey just wanted to turn away.

He did this. He’d pulled the trigger to save Billy, and he’d done this.

The surge of angst was melodramatic, and Casey reined it in quickly. With a steadying breath, he resumed his examination, trying not to think about how this was Billy’s scalp he was feeling, how it was Billy’s blood on his hands, how he was looking for traces of Billy’s brain matter. How he was trying to see if he’d killed his teammate.

No matter how deeply he probed, though, there was no sign of gray matter. There was blood -- and lots of it -- but head wounds had a tendency to bleed copiously, even when they weren’t necessarily serious. In reality, it could be nothing more than a graze. After all, Casey had only fired one shot. Even if it hit Billy, it still had enough speed and force to kill his assailant. That was not so good for the other guy, but it probably boded in Billy’s favor.

Still, Billy’s unconsciousness was worrisome. If the bullet cracked the skull, there could be a whole host of complications. Even a hard enough impact could cause intracranial bleeding. Head injuries were complicated and unpredictable. Casey hadn’t even considered them, because he’d been so sure it wouldn’t be an issue. His goal had been to stop Billy’s attacker.

Casey didn’t fail.

That wasn’t entirely true, though. Casey did fail, but just not with things that mattered. Not all missions were feasible, but he’d always made a point to make sure the important things were salvaged. Namely his life.

It’s not worth it,
his own words haunted him. He’d used them as a taunt, but they’d been true. Not just for the man, who had lost his life; but for Casey.

His eyes were fixed on Billy.

It wasn’t worth it for Billy, either. Casey could have tried finesse. He could have tried negotiation. He could have tried anything, but he’d deemed it too laborious, too tedious.

He’d thought it wasn’t worth it.

But as he looked at the kid, Casey had to second guess himself. Accidents happened. Collateral damage was inevitable. He didn’t even like this kid. He’d spent most of the last few years looking for ways not to be stuck in the same room as Billy Collins.

So what was this growing ache in his stomach? What was this tension building in his shoulders? Why were his fingers trembling?

Concern; worry; guilt.

Fear.

It wasn’t worth it. It wasn’t worth doing things the easy way at the expense of his teammate. It wasn’t worth satisfying his pride and his vengeance if Billy died anyway. None of it was worth Billy’s life.

Because he cared about the kid. He didn’t like Billy Collins, but Billy Collins was a part of his life -- a part Casey had come to count on, whether he wanted to admit it or not.

And now he just needed Billy to wake up.

“Collins,” Casey snapped, squeezing his shoulder again. “Come on, of all the times to be quiet, now is not one of them.”

Billy was still under his touch.

Casey sighed, clenching his free hand into a fist and blowing out hard. “Come on,” he growled again, feeling his frustration mount. The tightening of his throat was painful, and he gritted his teeth together to pull back his emotions to an acceptable level. “Please.”

As if on cue, Billy twitched.

Eyes wide, Casey squeezed Billy’s shoulder again. “Collins?”

Billy twitched again, his face creased as he moaned.

“Come on, Collins,” Casey ordered, still not letting go as Billy started to stir in earnest.

It took a long moment, and Billy still looked more than a bit lost when his eyes were finally open. “Casey?” he asked, sounding genuinely perplexed.

“Collins?” he asked. “Do you know where you are?”

“Mmm,” Billy mused, closing his eyes for a second before Casey jostled him awake again. “Ah, mission. Gun smuggler and an unfortunate hostage situation.”

“Which we do need to discuss when you’re better,” Casey said. “It’s called self defense so you can defend yourself.

“Well, those details are a bit fuzzy,” Billy admitted, eyes searching the room absently. When they settled on Casey again, Billy tilted his head. “So are the details as to how I ended up on the floor.”

Casey went still, hoping the kid wouldn’t notice.

Pain in the ass that he was, of course Billy noticed. His gaze narrowed on Casey. “There was a gunshot.” He paused, looking quizzical. “Did he shoot me?”

Casey glared. “I wouldn’t let him do that.”

Billy blinked a few times, as if putting the disparate pieces together. “Then why does my head hurt?”

Casey clenched his jaw.

Billy’s eyes widened. “You?”

Sighing, Casey frowned deeply. “He flinched on his way down,” he said. “The shot was tight. I had thought it was an acceptable risk.”

“Of course it was,” Billy said quickly. “In all the time I’ve known you, you’ve never missed.”

Casey’s head throbbed with guilt. “That’s obviously not true,” he said. “Or you wouldn’t be bleeding from a graze?”

Billy winced at the reminder. “It does feel awful.”

Casey could feel his face going white.

Squinting up at Casey again, Billy’s expression softened. “Thank you.”

“For shooting you?”

“Better you than him,” Billy said. “You took a risk to save my life. You’re still here, stemming the flow of blood with your bare hands. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say you care, Casey Malick.”

Casey grunted. “You’re concussed.”

Billy’s lips quirked into a smile. “I’m also alive,” he said. “Thanks to you.”

Glowering, Case made a show of fashioning a bandage to apply to Billy’s head. He scowled, willing his fingers to be gentle and nimble even as he made a point to look annoyed. “Don’t make me regret it.”

Billy chuckled. “At this point, I’m not sure I could.”

Casey huffed, pressing down roughly on Billy’s seeping head wound, trying not to think about how close they’d come, about how right the kid was, about how he was going to explain this to Michael.

Mostly, though, he tried not to think about the answer to his own question, about how Billy being alive was worth it, after all.

Even if Casey would never admit it.

NEXT

Comments

Posted by: sophie_deangirl (sophie_deangirl)
Posted at: June 23rd, 2013 11:40 pm (UTC)

I'm really enjoying these snippets and the evolution of the Casey/Billy dynamic that you have laid out here is so natural and in an adorable way I like that the realization that Casey likes Billy and cares about him creeps up on him and that nearly losing him hammers home that caring. I also love that Billy absolves Casey's guilt for shooting him and teases him as well, of course,

Fave Part:

Sighing, Casey frowned deeply. “He flinched on his way down,” he said. “The shot was tight. I had thought it was an acceptable risk.”

“Of course it was,” Billy said quickly. “In all the time I’ve known you, you’ve never missed.”

Casey’s head throbbed with guilt. “That’s obviously not true,” he said. “Or you wouldn’t be bleeding from a graze?”

Billy winced at the reminder. “It does feel awful.”

Casey could feel his face going white.

Squinting up at Casey again, Billy’s expression softened. “Thank you.”

“For shooting you?”

“Better you than him,” Billy said. “You took a risk to save my life. You’re still here, stemming the flow of blood with your bare hands. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say you care, Casey Malick.”

Casey grunted. “You’re concussed.”

Billy’s lips quirked into a smile. “I’m also alive,” he said. “Thanks to you.”

--So sweet!

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: July 24th, 2013 03:17 pm (UTC)
casey general dislike

The evolution of their friendship will never cease to amuse me. Those two had such great rapport on the show.

Thanks!

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