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do i dare or do i dare? [userpic]

Chaos ficlet: The Man with the Plan

June 29th, 2014 (10:14 pm)
mellow
Tags: , ,

feeling: mellow

Title: The Man with the Plan

Disclaimer: I do not own Chaos.

A/N: Random preseries h/c. Beta by sockie1000.

Summary: Michael always has a plan. Some are better than others.



-o-

“Do we have a plan?”

Michael stifled a curse, turning hard on the wheel. He kept his foot on the gas, even as the car careened around a corner, rocking precariously before it settled and Michael pressed down further. “Sure,” he replied tersely.

Holding on tight to the door, Billy’s face was pinched. “And that is?”

Michael took another sharp turn. “Not dying.”

“Simple,” Billy said. “Generally I like it. I was just curious as to the...particulars.”

Before Michael could reply, gunfire pinged off the car, shattering the back window. Michael ducked down as Billy yelped. Desperate, Michael jerked the wheel, taking them back and forth before he found another street. In the mirror, he could still see the car, gaining ground.

They were running out of time.

Michael took another hard turn.

They were running out of options.

Then he saw the river.

And Michael knew what he was going to do.

-o-

On the main stretch by the river, the car behind them gained quickly. Next to him, Billy was slouched and pale. “Michael...,” he said.

“I know, I know,” Michael muttered. “I’ve got a plan here, but um...you’re going to have to trust me.”

Billy looked at him, blue eyes wide. “Well, in the past year, you haven’t let me down,” he said.

“Good,” Michael said, jerking the wheel hard one last time. “Because I don’t plan on starting now.”

Billy inhaled sharply, bracing himself desperately against the door as Michael pressed down on the pedal and drove the car full speed down the pier.

And straight off the end.

-o-

For a moment, they were airborne. Foot still pressed down, Michael’s hands were tight on the wheel as he felt his stomach flip and the water came up fast.

And then impact.

It was sudden and jarring, and Michael was flung forward, ramming into the steering wheel hard with his chest. It drove the air from his lungs and his head whipped forward, the whiplash sending a sharp wave of pain through his skull. His vision dimmed and his consciousness waned into darkness, floating and suspended...

And then water.

It soaked his legs, the cold shock of the water startling him and bring him back to awareness. By the time he blinked a few times, the water was up to his waist and he realized they were fully submerged, still sinking slowly as water filled up the cavity of the car.

He was alive.

The giddy rush of adrenaline conflated with the pressing reality that he was in a car, filling with water and he had to get out.

Frantic, he unbuckled his seatbelt, turning to look at Billy.

The rookie of the team was still in his seat, head tipped forward. The water was at their chests now, and Michael scooted over, reaching down into the murky water to find Billy’s seatbelt while he jostled the man. “Billy,” he said, unclicking the buckle. “Come on, Billy. Wake up.”

Under his touch, Billy moaned, his head rolling a bit as he muttered something unintelligible. With the buckle removed, Michael shook the Scot with more vigor. “Come on,” he said. “I know you like to take your time, but I really need you to move.”

Turning the younger operative, he lifted a hand, pushing Billy’s head back. That was when he saw the blood.

Michael gritted his teeth. Billy must have hit his head -- that was always a risk, Michael knew, but he’d hoped...

Then again, Michael wasn’t one for hope. The odds could work for them or against them, and Michael would make it work.

He had to make it work.

“Billy!” he said, grabbing his face and almost smacking him. “It’s time to go!”

Billy blinked, eyes looking blearily at Michael. “M’chael?”

“Yeah,” Michael said. “Now, you ready?”

Billy looked around, still clearly confused. “Ready for wha’?”

“You still trust me, right?” Michael asked, reaching into his pocket and pulling out his emergency device.

Billy’s head rolled, arms starting to move weakly in the water. “Well, I--”

Grabbing Billy and holding tight, Michael pressed the tool against the windshield. “Good,” he said, pressing down hard until the windshield shattered.

And water came rushing in.

-o-

The rush of water was sudden and jarring, but this time Michael kept his wits about him. One arm wrapped around Billy, he pushed off the seat, swimming hard out the windshield, Billy in tow. Under his touch, Billy looked shocked, but he was still conscious and with one look, Michael could see that the other man was at least remembering to hold his breath.

That was something.

Still, it was clear Billy wanted up and so Michael felt downright cruel, pulling the man down.

Billy struggled, eyes wide in protest, but Michael didn’t relent. Instead, he yanked, pulling Billy down toward the bottom. It was only Billy’s disorientation that allowed him to be manhandled, but by the time Michael got to where he was going, Billy looked like he was ready to lose it.

Michael couldn’t blame him necessarily. His lungs were burning, and his fingers were shaking as he felt along the tire, looking and searching and...

There it was. The air valve. Because Michael and Billy needed air, and going to the surface would fix that. And would promptly get them filled with holes.

His fingers were numb, his brain was screaming. Next to him, Billy was starting to drift. Then, the cap came clear and Michael’s chest unclenched with relief.

But as much as he wanted to take a breath, he pushed Billy down first. For a second, Billy was confused but when Michael nearly shoved him against it, he seemed to understand. Billy breathed -- once and twice. On the third breath, Michael’s head was almost spinning, his vision going gray around the edges and he started to feel himself slipping.

And then Billy was pushing him forward and Michael’s mouth found the valve and he inhaled deeply, filling his lungs with precious oxygen. The flood of air revitalized him, restarting his brain and defining his thought process. When he pulled away, he felt calmer, collected.

He knew he could do this.

They were under the water; the bad guys were probably still waiting for them to surface. But they could do this.

He pushed Billy back down and focused on holding his breath, eyes toward the surface, well over his head.

Just a little longer, he told himself, squeezing Billy’s wrists to make sure he understood. Just a little longer.

-o-

Michael was usually good with times, but the seconds beneath the surface were interminable. He figured they were lucky -- the depth wasn’t too deep that there was no light at all, but it was certainly down far enough that they would be totally obscured from the surface. Michael hadn’t been sure when he’d driven off, but he’d made a good bet and it seemed to be paying off.

For now.

There was limited air in the tire, and while there were three more tires, he also knew it was only a temporary fix. Even if they could get to all three tires, Billy was barely hanging in there. It was hard to tell if it was the head injury, the limited oxygen intake, or just the general distress at being underwater this long, but Billy was looking bad.

Michael had to help him breathe each time, his blue eyes more clouded with each passing cycle. Still, Billy didn’t fight; he didn’t protest. Michael had asked for trust, and Billy was giving it to him -- no matter what.

Taking another breath, Michael tried to gauge the time. He couldn’t say how long the men would wait for them. Surely they’d have left by now. Unless they were being extra thorough. There was no way to tell for sure. Going to the surface would always be a risk. Swimming downstream would be smarter, but given how long they’d been under, Michael doubted Billy would be able to make the trek.

Hell, his own head was fuzzy. He wasn’t sure he could make the trek.

Moving back, he squeezed Billy’s arm again, willing the Scot to look at him again. He wanted to assure him that it was going to be okay, that Michael had a plan, that they would still get out.

But this time, Billy didn’t look back. Because Billy’s eyes had closed and a stream of bubbles was escaping his mouth.

Suddenly, Michael’s plan didn’t seem so good after all.

-o-

Michael had a plan: not dying.

It was the same as when this started, but now it meant something different. Something more pressing. Because Billy wasn’t moving and Billy could be drowning and Michael needed to get to the surface -- now.

He kicked hard, driving them up toward the surface rapidly. His legs were rubbery, his chest hurt, the edges of his vision were fading --

And then air.

He sucked in raggedly, taking a second just to breathe. The gulping breaths were desperate and renewing.

Then he remembered: the men.

Then he remembered: Billy.

The good news was that the pier was empty; the shoreline was abandoned. Apparently, Michael’s brilliant plan had worked.

Except Billy was limp in his grasp, head lolled against Michael’s shoulder, lips blue. Apparently Michael’s brilliant plan hadn’t quite worked.

Heart racing, Michael started swimming, dragging Billy’s dead weight back to the pier. It was a cumbersome trip -- slower and more meticulous than any task yet. Getting on the wooden planks was another issue entirely, and he nearly lost Billy more than once as he maneuvered himself before hauling Billy up after him.

Exhausted, he nearly collapsed, laying Billy heavily down on the pier. The younger operative didn’t move, splayed where Michael dropped him, eyes closed and chest still.

“Come on, Billy,” Michael muttered, not for the first time. He dropped his head down, pressing his head against Billy’s chest, listening and hoping...

Only Michael didn’t hope.

Michael just played the odds.

And this time, his luck was split. Because Billy wasn’t breathing, but he had a pulse. Sluggish and weak but there.

Lifting up, he moved up to Billy’s head, tilting his head back and pinching his nose. Leaning down, he breathed once and twice, watching as Billy’s chest rose and fell.

He breathed again.

And again.

Even on the surface, Michael found his chest tightening. His vision was still dimming and he sat back, pressing his fingers into Billy’s pulse point. The pulse was still there, but Billy still didn’t breathe.

“Damn it,” he said, leaning down again. “Come on, come on, come on.

He breathed again.

And again.

And--

Billy shuddered, choking underneath him. Quickly, Michael grabbed Billy by the shoulder, rolling him to the side while he coughed and choked, water spilling over his lips.

Relieved, Michael sat back, keeping a steady hand on Billy’s shoulder while the Scot wretched.

It seemed to take forever, and Michael looked around for the first time, ensuring they were well and truly alone.

When he looked down, Billy was blinking, trying to push himself up.

“Hey,” Michael said. “Take it easy now.”

Billy only half seemed to hear him, and when it became apparent that Billy wasn’t about to heed his advice, Michael shifted to help prop the other man up while he heaved and gasped for air.

“Just breathe, okay?” Michael said, inching closer as Billy started to shiver. “You’re okay.”

Billy hacked. “That was your plan?” he asked, sounding completely indignant.

Michael couldn’t help it: he laughed. “Well, we did lose the tail.”

“But you drove us off a pier!”

“Well, we had to do something they wouldn’t think we’d survive,” Michael said.

“And we very nearly didn’t!” Billy protested.

Michael’s stomach twisted. Michael didn’t hope, and he didn’t do guilt. He played the odds. Sometimes he lost.

Sometimes he won.

“We didn’t, though,” he said, trying to believe that that was enough.

For a moment, Billy slumped against him, seeming to spend all his energy on breathing alone.

“For what it’s worth,” Michael added finally. “I’m sorry for cutting it so close.”

Billy barked sharply, spitting water again as he shook his head. “No apologies,” he said, tilting his head to meet Michael’s eyes. “I never doubted you for a moment.”

Michael quirked his head.

Billy shrugged. “Well, maybe for a moment.”

Michael grinned. “Yeah, well,” he said, feeling the rise and fall of Billy’s chest. “Me, too.”

Comments

Posted by: kristen_mara (kristen_mara)
Posted at: July 1st, 2014 08:49 am (UTC)
Stephen Clouds


Eeeek! Geez, what you put these guys through... LOL. Great idea with the tyres. I now picture Casey and Carson arriving and reading the riot act to them. ("We can't keep losing cars like that...")

Love the banter and Michael's resolve. Poor Billy, like a soaked puppy!

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: August 21st, 2014 01:36 am (UTC)
billy guitar

LOL, I'm pretty sure I got this idea from a TV show somewhere. But I'm always looking for new ways to put people in peril.

H/C writers are so weird.

Thanks :)

Posted by: sophie_deangirl (sophie_deangirl)
Posted at: July 7th, 2014 10:12 pm (UTC)
Lovely little ficlet!

I'm hopelessly behind on your fics between work, watching some TV (Defiance being one of them -- seeking some muse to grab me -- Niles is smitten with Amanda, but I'm not sure it's for the good which worries me just a tad - maybe the cave-in episode will make a difference) and oddly being completely obsessed with Grant Ward redemption and Marvel Agents of SHIELD. Now that I'm facing yet another battle scene with it and still trying to make time to figuring out the battle scene for Secret Identity, I feel like I have a ton of balls in the air.

I loved this ficlet. I knew you would put Billy in peril in deliciously silent ways and Michael in desperate leadership mode. It was a fun read. I don't want to lose the Chaos vibe and appreciate how you keep the flame alight with your stories.


Fave Part:

Michael’s stomach twisted. Michael didn’t hope, and he didn’t do guilt. He played the odds. Sometimes he lost.

Sometimes he won.

“We didn’t, though,” he said, trying to believe that that was enough.

For a moment, Billy slumped against him, seeming to spend all his energy on breathing alone.

“For what it’s worth,” Michael added finally. “I’m sorry for cutting it so close.”

Billy barked sharply, spitting water again as he shook his head. “No apologies,” he said, tilting his head to meet Michael’s eyes. “I never doubted you for a moment.”

Michael quirked his head.

Billy shrugged. “Well, maybe for a moment.”

Michael grinned. “Yeah, well,” he said, feeling the rise and fall of Billy’s chest. “Me, too.”

-- Billy's delightful when he switches gears and toys with Michael.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: August 21st, 2014 01:38 am (UTC)
Re: Lovely little ficlet!
billy knows

Well I'm always behind so never worry about that :) I'm always flattered you take the time to read and review my stuff when I know how busy you are!

Speaking of AOS, I need to polish up a few fics I wrote over the summer here before the new season starts. It'll be interesting to see what they do!

But the Chaos boys are always worth a jaunt :)

Thanks!

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