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do i dare or do i dare? [userpic]

Chaos fic: Adventures in Carpooling

June 26th, 2011 (09:37 am)
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Title:  Adventures in Carpooling

Disclaimer:  Not mine.

Spoilers:  Based on one line in “Remote Control.”

A/N:  For some reason, I liked the notion of Michael and Billy carpooling.  So I wrote this.  Thanks to geminigrl11  for a few salient plot points (and the frightening insight into Ke$ha’s music) and the overall beta.

Summary:  When Michael and Billy carpool to work, they end up getting more out of it than saving gas.

-o-

On Monday, Billy drives.  He’s not quite late, but certainly not early, and Michael has had three cups of coffee before Billy’s dilapidated excuse for a car shows up in Michael’s driveway. 

Pouring the fourth cup to go, Michael heads out, locking the door behind him.  By the time he gets to the car, Billy has managed to clear away a spot in the passenger’s seat for Michael to sit.

Making a face, Michael kicks an empty bottle of water out of his way as he sits down.  He has to throw a handful of napkins in the back to make room for his coffee in the cup holder and it takes two pulls before the seat belt decides to work.

When he’s situated, Billy grins at him.  “Good morning, my fearless leader,” he says, sounding eternally chipper, as though he actually rolled out of bed with a smile on his face every morning.

Michael offers him a grimace back.  “You could try cleaning your car every now and then,” he says.

Billy scoffs a little as he looks over his shoulder to back out.  “You know, it was on my list of things to do last week,” he says, pulling into the street.  He squeals the brakes a little as he puts it in drive and goes forward.  “But then you had us flying to South Africa and things sort of got put on hold.”

Michael shakes his head.  “We were only in South Africa for two days.”

“Sure, but there’s travel time,” Billy says.  He shrugs.  “And I needed a few days to prepare and another few to recuperate.”

Michael gives him a look.  “You memorize your files in two hours at work,” he says.  “What could you possibly be doing in the evenings to keep you from cleaning every now and then?”

“Packing,” Billy offers, coming to a harsh stop at a light.

Michael can barely control his incredulity.  “You throw your clothes into the suitcase,” he says plainly.  “How you even manage to look presentable is beyond me.”

Billy glances at him with a sparkling smile.  “Cleanliness is only the illusion of control,” he says.  “Besides, what motivation would I have to venture into areas of self-improvement when clearly things are going just fine as they are?”

“Personal satisfaction,” Michael suggests.

“I’m perfectly satisfied.”

“The consideration of your teammates,” Michael contends.  “This thing is a deathtrap!  From the fungus growing on the food in the backseat to the consistently flashing Check Engine light.  We’re lucky to still be alive.”

Billy just inclines his head, looking at Michael.  “Oh, come on,” he cajoles.  “If you didn’t love me just the way I am, why else would you endure carpooling with me for nearly three years now?”

“I save on gas,” Michael says, as if that somehow is the real reason.

“Then I’ll take that as a thank you,” Billy says with a self-satisfied nod.

Before Michael can protest, the light turns green and Billy floors it toward Langley.

-o-

On Tuesday, it’s Michael’s turn.  He has to fill his car with gas, ignoring the unhappy lurch of the engine as it chugs into traffic.  At Billy’s place, he has to wait a few minutes before Billy comes out. 

When he does, his vest is still unbuttoned, the tie not tied around his neck with his jacket stuffed under his arm as he locks the door while holding a cup of half finished coffee with his teeth.  He finally makes it to Michael’s car, his tall body taking up all the available space, and he sprawls his things all over the place in two seconds flat.  Michael has to shift out of the way while Billy somehow puts his jacket on in the small space.  They’re already on the road before Billy is settled, checking his tie in the mirror.

“You sure you got everything?” Michael asks, a little wry.

Billy glances at him.  “Is there something else you had in mind?”

Michael shrugs.  “No,” he says.  “I’m just wondering how it’s possible that you’ve managed to stay alive in the field when it seems like you can barely survive as a bachelor in the real world.”

Billy makes a face in the mirror, pushing it back up and settling back in the seat.  “The real world?” he asks.

“Yeah, everyday life,” Michael says, guiding the car easily through traffic.  “Getting up, going to work, coming home.  I mean, how do you even manage to feed yourself?”

Billy shakes his head.  “If you’re referring to the meager hours I spend outside the office, then I have to disagree,” he says.

Michael frowns.  “Disagree with what?”

“I disagree that it’s the real world,” Billy says simply.

“Then what is it?”

“Time to decompress,” he says.  Then he nods.  “We have a very stressful job.  The CIA psychologist recommended that I focus my off hours on personal enjoyment.”

“So you think that’s a reason to live like a slob?” Michael asks.  “And since when do you talk to the CIA psychologist?”

“Since you had us on five back-to-back missions that involved discharging firearms with multiple instances of kidnapping, one serious bullet wound, and a vaguely explained toxin exposure,” Billy reminds him.  “Department policy.”

Michael thinks about that.  Then he shakes his head.  “But you listened to her?”

Billy just grins.  “I believe in accepting advice that endorses behaviors I already enjoy,” he says.

“So you’re a slob with justification,” Michael concludes.

“You can’t control everything, Michael,” Billy reminds him with a smug sageness.  “It will improve your health and overall attitude if you know when to let go.”

Michael glares at him, hands tightening for a moment on the wheel.  “Well, if you die of a preventable bacterial infection, don’t look for sympathy from me.”

“That’s a compromise I can live with,” Billy says agreeably.

Michael scoffs.  “At least one of us can.”

-o-

On Wednesday, Michael clamors into the car hoping to talk about their latest case.  They’ve got news about an arms dealer they’ve been tracking around the world, who may finally be making a stop within the States.  Despite trying to work through the DOJ and the FBI, it seems increasingly clear that this case will require a little extra attention--under the radar--from the ODS.

He has his files and he has some extra notes but when he gets in the car, Billy is has the radio blaring.

"We're pretty and sick.  We're young and we're bored."
 
Worse than the singing--which is bad enough--Billly is.  Well.  Twitching.  It's a disturbingly regular hip gyration, somewhat impeded by the obvious tug of his seatbelt.   

“Do you think we could turn that down?” Michael asks.

Billy looks at him, eyes full of playfulness.  He lifts his eyebrows.  “I’m sorry, what?”

“Turn it down!” Michael tries again.

Billy nods.  “Turn it up?” he says.  Michael opens his mouth to protest, but it’s too late.  Billy has turned it up a few more notches and then looks at him in all seriousness. "Muenster is edible lactose gold."
 
Suddenly those visits with the office shrink don't seem so outlandish.

Resigned, Michael settles back into his seat, feeling somewhat petulant.  "Agreed," he says, despite himself.

For a second, Billy stares at him gaping, before a grin spread across his face and his voice ratchets upwards for the chorus.  "This place about to blow..."

-o-

On Thursday, Michael barely lets Billy buckle his seatbelt before they’re speeding off down the interstate.

Still working to tie his tie, Billy looks at him.  “Are we in a rush today?”

“We’ve got a lead,” he says.  “Casey and Rick are meeting us there.”

“And it’s time sensitive, I presume,” Billy says, bracing himself slightly as they swerve around a corner.

Michael doesn’t spare him a glance.  “Most things are,” he says tersely.  “Unlike you.”

“Michael, you wound me!”

“And your general lack of hygiene and personal organization wounds me,” he says.  “Literally.  Did you see the cut on my leg from the broken bottle in your car last night?”

Billy seems to think about that.  “I haven’t bought a bottle of soda in three years.”

Michael turns to look at him.

Billy realizes the insinuation.  “Oh,” he says.  “Maybe I can see your point.  I will consider that before I pick you up tomorrow.”

Michael just grunts as he takes a hard right off the interstate to follow their lead.

-o-

On Friday, Michael is outside waiting for Billy.  He isn’t even seated when he’s giving Billy an address and telling him to go.

Billy doesn’t hesitate, and they’re already on their way before Billy asks where they’re going.

“It’s happening today,” Michael tells him, feeling his heart pound a little.  “I got a call from our informant.  He gave me a tip on the location.”

Billy raises his eyebrows, banking the car hard toward the destination.  “You sure we’re ready for this?  I thought we didn’t operate within US borders.”

Michael pulls out his gun, checking the clip.  “I’m not sure we have much choice.  If we wait until they take to sea, we’ll have no way of tracking them and we’ll have to wait another four years before we get a lead this solid.”

They beat Casey and Martinez to the drop point, but they’re still almost too late.  Billy’s a skilled driver for pursuit and stealth, but there’s really no way to hide a car careening into a loading zone at an abandoned warehouse that’s surrounded by gun smugglers.

Still, they’ve had worse entrances before, and before the car’s even in park, Michael has jumped out.  When the gunfire starts, Billy turns it hard, leaving it to idle as he slips out.

Michael joins him, back pressed against the side of the car.  He meets Billy’s eyes and nods once.  They don’t have to talk before the move, and Michael is grateful that he can count on Billy to be messy but consistent in all things he does.

They fan out, Michael to the left, Billy to the right, picking off the smugglers while they edge in to the source of the deal.  When they get inside the warehouse, there’s a few moments of chaos before the bad guys are on the ground and Billy is helping Michael secure them with zip ties.

It’s going so well, that Michael is surprised by a fresh barrage of gunfire.  He ducks madly out of the way while Billy does the same.  The new crowd of smugglers has them seeking refuge, retreating back out the door.  When they find themselves on the far side of Billy’s car, Michael takes a moment to breathe.

“Well, that was unexpected,” Michael says blandly as he reloads.


Billy is already done and laughs.  “A new day, a new surprise,” he agrees.  “And to think, in all this excitement, you didn’t even notice my car.”

Michael frowns.  “What?”

“I cleaned it, just for you,” he says.  “I even found the ID badge I lost four years ago.  You were right: I did look like an aging boy band member back then.”

Michael’s brow furrows.  “You really cleaned it?”

“Spic and span,” Billy confirms.

“Huh,” Michael says.  “Wonders never cease.”

“At least, let’s hope not,” Billy says a second before they pull out again, returning fresh fire.

This last firefight is shorter than the first, and Billy takes out the last bad guy as he takes one last shot.

The shot goes wide by a mile, and at first Michael is confused until he realizes that it was never meant for Billy or Michael, but Billy’s car.

Still idling, the car is a bullet-ridden mess.  Michael barely has time to drag Billy with him out of the way, throwing them both to the ground before the engine explodes and the entire thing is engulfed in flames.

After a moment, Michael pulls away, first checking to make sure Billy is in one piece.


He is, of course, just looking slightly worse for wear.  There’s a small cut on his forehead, leaking blood down his face, but Billy doesn’t seem to notice.  He’s too busy gazing in stunned silence at his car.

Or what’s left of it.

Michael turns to face it, and sees the fireball raging in the early morning sunlight.  Another small explosion rocks it, sending parts flying through the air.  This is a mess--literal and figurative--and Michael’s is mentally calculating how hard it will be to pitch this to Higgins without getting fired.

“Well, I didn’t see that coming,” Billy says.

Michael suddenly feels mournful.  “And to think, you even cleaned it.”

Billy nods.  “I suppose it just goes to show that you really can’t control all the elements, not even when you make a sincere effort.”

As another small blast rattles the blackened corpse of the car, Michael has to agree.  “Maybe you’re right.”

“Maybe the CIA shrink is right,” Billy corrects.

They stand there, another moment, watching the flames climb higher. 

“Well, there is good news in this,” Michael says finally.

Billy looks at him.  “And what’s that?”

“You’ve got until Tuesday to find a new car to pick me up in,” he says.  He smiles, patting Billy on the shoulder.  “Get something comfortable, okay?”

“Maybe I’ll even keep this one clean,” Billy offers.

Michael has more than enough reason to doubt that, but as another burst of flame surges up, somehow Michael knows it doesn’t matter much anyway.  “You know,” Michael adds, because he really can’t help himself.  “I always told you that your car was a deathtrap.”

Billy just rolls his eyes as the car continues to burn while Michael has to fight of the irresistible urge to laugh.

Comments

Posted by: lukadreaming (lukadreaming)
Posted at: June 26th, 2011 02:55 pm (UTC)
Billy

Wonderful dialogue! And the poor old car!

I particularly like the way you nail the characters so accurately. And the aging boy band member line was great!

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: June 29th, 2011 12:13 pm (UTC)
billy content

These characters all have such distinct voices that I really do enjoy writing them--and am very glad they come across well, too :)

Thanks!

Posted by: Evil Insane Monkey (eviinsanemonkey)
Posted at: June 26th, 2011 04:28 pm (UTC)

Haha, this is great!

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: June 29th, 2011 12:14 pm (UTC)
billy

Thanks :)

Posted by: i want to cause a ruckus (geminigrl11)
Posted at: June 26th, 2011 05:00 pm (UTC)

HEEEEEEEEEEEEEE. You know you love it Ke-dollar sign-ha. Awesomesauce!

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: June 29th, 2011 12:15 pm (UTC)
billy content

LOL. I think "love" might be too strong of a word...

Thanks!

Posted by: nietie (nietie)
Posted at: June 26th, 2011 05:00 pm (UTC)
Chaos2

Hahaha. Poor Billy and poor car.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: June 29th, 2011 12:15 pm (UTC)
billy earnest

I'm glad it amused :) Thanks!

Posted by: Ally (leafy07)
Posted at: June 26th, 2011 10:41 pm (UTC)

Brilliant :) I'd been thinking of writing something about that line, but I think you did it more justice than I ever could have :P

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: June 29th, 2011 12:15 pm (UTC)
chaos team 2

The line was too good to pass up on. I'd love to read your version someday, too :) Thanks!

Posted by: smokeygirl19 (smokeygirl19)
Posted at: June 26th, 2011 11:23 pm (UTC)

Nice day-by-day dialogue...interesting insight into the daily lives of the characters. That Billy is a slob is a nice continuation of what was in the background in Billy's home in the opening scenes of "The Mole."

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: June 29th, 2011 12:17 pm (UTC)
billy earnest

I'm glad I'm not the only one who picked up on the Billy as a slob thing. I also thought his suitcase was particularly poorly packed when they got back from France (although that could have been from being screened for bugs, but it still seemed consistent to me).

Thanks!

Posted by: smokeygirl19 (smokeygirl19)
Posted at: June 29th, 2011 04:59 pm (UTC)

Yes, I noticed the arrival after France...also the way Billy packed before going to Bolivia. He just stuffed everything in his duffle bag. And it explains why his shirt is a bit more wrinkled in each episode compared to the others.

Posted by: squeezynz (squeezynz)
Posted at: June 27th, 2011 08:24 am (UTC)

love it, great dialogue and spot on with the characters. love it.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: June 29th, 2011 12:17 pm (UTC)
billy content

I'm glad they seemed in character! Thanks!

Posted by: blackdog_lz (blackdog_lz)
Posted at: June 27th, 2011 01:28 pm (UTC)

Great :) I immediately thought about the shennenigans/chaos that would happen when I heard that they were carpooling. This fic just really plays into that imagination.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: June 29th, 2011 12:18 pm (UTC)
chaos team 2

The idea of them carpooling was really too much fun not to write about :) Thanks!

Posted by: Kerry Louise (kerry_louise)
Posted at: July 21st, 2011 06:35 pm (UTC)

*giggles* this is awesome

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: July 22nd, 2011 07:51 pm (UTC)
billy likes

Thank you :):

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