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Chaos ficlets: Bastard In Training (1/1)

May 11th, 2016 (07:24 pm)
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feeling: good

Title: Bastard In Training

Disclaimer: I do not own Chaos.

A/N: I wrote this quite some time ago. Some of them were probably beta’ed by sockie1000 but some may not be. They’re not connected or anything, but they all focused on Rick and Billy, so I thought I’d post them together.

Summary: A series of ficlets about Billy mentoring our favorite new agent.



-o-

Nothing Personal

Rick lifts Billy, unzipping the Scot's coat and throwing it aside before he pulls off the man's sodden shirt. Billy groans, tangled in the garment as he squawks in protest. "Hey!"

Rick opens his own coat, hitches Billy's half-naked form into his arms, pressing their bodies together until he can feel Billy's heart thrumming lightly against his chest. "It's nothing personal," he quips.

Billy shifts, shuddering. "Feels a bit personal," he mutters. "I like you and all, but my interests are purely platonic."

Rick snorts. "We're stranded in a blizzard and you just fell into a lake," he reminds Billy. "This place may keep the snow out, but it doesn't have any insulation. If we want to stay alive, body heat is our best option."

Humming, Billy's eyelids flutter closed and he seems to relax into Rick's crushing grip, his skin icy and frigid. "See," he breathes, the words hard to hear. "It's very personal."

As Billy slips into unconsciousness, Rick holds him closer and doesn't disagree.

-o-

Some Kind of Luck

"Never fear!" Billy croons as the group of heavily armed men bear down on them. "I have a unique type of luck in these situations!"

Two weeks later, when Billy wakes up after fighting a severe infection following complications of a gunshot wound to the stomach, Rick is sitting by his bedside. He's been sitting there for the better part of a week, after he was finally discharged for his own barrage of injuries and ailments. Even now, his leg in a cast and healing wounds from where the doctors extracted bullets from his arm and side.

Billy is bleary, but awake. Rick gives him several moments to get acclimated before he leans over and looks the Scotsman in the eyes.

"A unique type of luck?" he asks indignantly.

Billy murmurs a little, snuffling weakly on his hospital bed. "Well," he says, licking his dry lips and swallowing hard. "Bad luck is still luck."

-o-

Leap of Faith

"You know," Rick yells over the rushing air. "When you talked about taking a leap of faith, I didn't think it'd be literal!"

Billy checks his harness before testing Rick's. "I tend to believe that there are multiple interpretations for everything."

"Sure," Rick says, his anxiety rising. "But this isn't English class, Billy!"

"Aye!" Billy says with a grin. He adjusts his helmet. "Nothing like real life application, eh?"

"But--"

"Oh, come now," Billy says. "I know you've done this before."

"Sure," Rick says. "In safe, sanctioned environments with trained professionals and proper gear! We don't even know if these parachutes work!"

"Makes it more interesting that way," Billy says. "Besides, if you'd rather, we can always go down with the plane..."

Rick gulps, looking again at the smoke streaming from the engines as they keep rattling. "What if they can't find us," he worries. "Michael and Casey won't be looking for us in the middle of the nowhere."

"I reckon the smoking hull of our plane will be a good indication that something is amiss," Billy says.

Rick pales.

"If you didn't want to jump out of a plane, you shouldn't have killed our pilot," Billy admonishes.

Rick gapes. "He was going to kill you!"

Billy shrugs. "Still, this is sort of your fault."

"How is it my fault?" Rick protests.

"At least he had the common sense to put it on autopilot before sabotaging our engines," Billy says, as if that is legitimate consolation.

"Hey, I'm the one who saved your life!" Rick protests.

"While simultaneously killing our only chance out of this!"

"He was a terrorist trying to kill us," Rick says. "He was going to shoot us, kill the engines and jump out to make it look like an accident."

"All things considered, a better plan than yours," Billy points out.

"I cannot believe you're arguing with me!" Rick exclaims. "Now!"

Billy winks. "Well it did take your mind off the inevitable jump--"

Rick's eyes widen. "Wait, Billy--"

But Billy has already grabbed him and they're both jumping free, falling into the vast blue sky. Rick screams, squeezing his eyes shut for a moment, his fingers gripping the cord. He counts...one, two, three...

He hears Billy's chute open and he opens his eyes in time to see it billow up, catching the wind perfectly. For all that he's scared; for all that he's pissed off; he's still a spy.

And he's not going to die here.

He pulls the cord and the chute unfurls. There's a moment of suspended terror before it catches the wind -- and holds.

Then, the world slows. The rushing wind abates. And Rick can see for miles as he glides down, Billy easily cascading down not far below him.

Turns out, the leap of faith was worth it after all.

-o-

Of Heroes and Bastards

He finds Rick at the bar.

The kid doesn't flinch when Billy sits down beside him, and it's a testament to how close they've gotten that he doesn't look surprised to see him. Rick hadn't asked for company, but that doesn't mean that his team doesn't know how to find him.

Or that they wouldn't seek him out at a time like this.

"Drinking alone," Billy observes with a nod to the half finished glass. "Not really your best choice."

Rick doesn't say anything but takes a drink instead. The bar is mostly empty, but there are still people milling about. The bartender seems to know to give Rick his space. Probably since the kid's been here long enough.

Billy sighs, chewing his lip. This will take more than a friendly slap on the shoulder. "I know this one was rough--"

Rick's face contorts.

"--but it's part of the job. You've known that since day one."

This time, the expression twists into a grimacing smile. "I never killed anyone before," he says. "Almost been killed, seen people get killed, kidnapped people -- yeah. But...someone's not going home tonight. Someone's father. Someone's son. Someone's lover..."

Billy presses his lips together, and weighs his words carefully. It's easy to tell jokes and pass the time with stories. He likes to deflect, to keep up his defenses while getting everyone else to drop theirs.

But not this.

There are many first for a new spy in the field. Some more momentous than others. They all know what they do has consequences.

But seeing those consequences. Seeing them laid bare, stained with blood.

He sighs again. "I could tell you it wasn't your fault," he says. "I could tell you that that man made his choices; that he wasn't, in fact, a very good man at all. I could tell you that you did what you had to do. That you saved lives by taking one."

Rick finally glances at him, a flicker of hope in his eyes.

"But it won't make any difference," Billy continues with a sad smile. "We all justify it, but the fact is, sometimes we do unsavory things. Unforgivable things."

Rick swallows hard. "How do you do it, then?" he asks. "How do you keep going?"

Billy shrugs half heartedly. "It gets easier. You think about it less. The world doesn't approve of men like us, but it needs us."

"So that's it then?" Rick says. "I just keep going until I become, what? A killer?"

"No," Billy says with a wave of his hand. "Until you become a right bastard like the rest of us."

Rick is almost incredulous. "And that's it?"

Billy tweaks his eyebrows. "It's something, I reckon," he says. "Though, I also find that alcohol helps in the short term. Me, I prefer scotch, but whiskey will do the job just fine."

Rick's lips turn up, and Billy nods to the bartender, who fills Rick's glass and gets Billy one as well. When he walks away again, Billy lifts his glass.

Rick joins him, tipping his glass against Billy's. "To bastards," he says.

"To heroes," Billy adds as Rick takes a long swig. "For they are much the same."

-o-

Burnout

"No," Rick said flatly.

Billy looked vexed. "No?"

"No way," Rick said, resolute. "I'm not doing it."

Billy was somewhat aghast. "But it's your duty--"

"Uh uh," Rick insisted. "It can't all be my duty. Every time this happens, it's my duty. Every time things get rough, you play that card. Again and again. And I'm done."

Billy's brow furrowed. "Done?"

"It's burnout," Rick said, matter of fact. "I can't keep doing this."

"Lad, normally I'd sympathize, I really would--"

"No, you wouldn't," Rick said.

"--that's not fair, now--"

"You're a liar," Rick said.

"And I've also got a bullet in my leg!" Billy snapped. "So I'm sorry if it's wearing you down, but I'd really appreciate it if we got the hell out of here!"

"You can't get shot every mission! It's not being a spy that wears me out, it's taking care of you!" Rick said.

Billy's mouth dropped open. "I'm risking my life--"

"You're walking into bullets--"

"Did I mention how much it hurts?" Billy asked.

"Did I mention that you've been shot, stabbed, beaten, and otherwise maimed half a dozen times this year alone?" Rick asked.

"It's a bit of bad luck--"

"And I'm burned out playing hero!" Rick said.

"Well, that's bloody brilliant," Billy snapped. "Because I'm a wee bit burned out myself, ending up on my arse every time. Do you think I like it? Do you think I enjoy the hospital stays and emergency field treatment? Do you think I like being dragged all over the world over shoulders? Do you?"

Rick sighed, put out. "Fine," he muttered, reaching over to help Billy up. "But next time the shooting starts--"

"I promise," Billy muttered back with a huff of pain. "I'll let you take the bullet."