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Chaos Fic: Dating Tips from Billy Collins 1/1

June 29th, 2011 (07:06 am)
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Title:  Dating Tips from Billy Collins

Disclaimer:  Not mine.

A/N:  Written from the prompt dating tips from Billy Collins which was provided by eviinsanemonkey .  I can’t explain why my Billy is always so angsty, but it is what it is.  moogsthewriter  was kind enough to give this a read through for me but all remaining mistakes are my own. 

Spoilers:  General for the season and maybe sort of for “The Mole.”

Summary:  Billy doles out lots of advice with a wink and a smile and he knows it’s all valid and true because it’s the opposite of what he does in his own life.

-o-

Rick

The kid is simply too easy to read.  It’s easy to see he’s smitten with their lovely Deputy Director, just as it is equally easy to see that her motivations are not nearly so pure.  This is sadly typical for young Rick, who greets all tasks and relationships at the Agency with undue enthusiasm and naivete.

Still, for as much as Rick is oblivious to her more scheming wiles, she, too, is not readily aware of the powerful seduction of his shocking innocence.  She is very likely ready to fall for him even more than he is ready to fall for her, no matter how she fancies herself otherwise.

In many ways, Billy knows well enough to leave such things alone.  The ups and downs of office romance often prove much too complicated in the end.  Entanglements create weakness, which can often prove problematic at the most inopportune of times.  But there’s something about the two of them, and Billy has never been able to stop himself from meddling.

At lunch, Billy stays behind when Michael and Casey take their leave.  Rick tends to be the slowest eater, if only because he’s the only one amongst them who actually takes the time to eat a real meal.  Billy has work to do and should probably follow after the two senior members of the team, but helping the state of Rick’s love life ranks right up there on his to-do list--at least, as far as Billy is concerned.

It is work to be casual, but Billy has mastered such things over the course of time.  So when he brings up the topic of the coming weekend’s planned revelries, it seems entirely natural.

Rick, true to form, blinks at him, shrugging.  “I didn’t have much planned.”

This is partly true, Billy is sure.  Rick’s entire life seems geared toward the CIA.  But it’s also partly false, if only inadvertently so, because Rick’s blossoming almost-affair with a certain blond will certainly afford him something to do. 

It’s for this reason Billy gives Rick a knowing and disappointed look.  “So, no particular plans with your lady friend?” he asks, because there is a time for subtlety, but Billy is hard pressed to find it under normal circumstances.

Rick blushes slightly and stiffens, scuffling his chair closer to the table as he looks around furtively.  “We’re still leaving it open,” he says, voice hushed as if the other straggling members of the lunch crowd might be listening.  “You know, not getting too serious too fast.”

This sounds entirely reasonable, and Rick likely believes in what he’s saying.  But Billy also knows that the words are coming entirely from the feminine half of the relationship, no matter how genuinely Rick can parrot them back.

Billy shakes his head.  “That’s no good.”

Rick frowns, genuinely concerned by Billy’s disapproval.  “What do you mean?’

“Your course of action sounds entirely mature, but it’s not what your lovely lass wants,” he says.

“Yes, it is,” Rick replies.  “She said so.”

Billy lifts his eyebrows, wondering if it’s possible for Rick to truly be so naive.  “Of course she said so,” he says.  He sits up a bit, elbows on the table with a sigh.  “Look, can I offer you a wee bit of friendly advice?”

Rick looks vaguely skeptical, but he nods.

Billy purses his lips, wetting them to continue.  “The fairer sex has many admirable qualities, and they are perfectly capable of being our equals in everything they so choose, often surpassing us with ease,” he says, lifting his hand to gesture.  “However, equality in the relationship does not mean that she wants to set all the boundaries herself.  It means she wants to know her boundaries can meet up with yours for a happy medium.”

Rick just looks confused.

Billy sighs.  “I’m saying to take charge, lad,” he says.  “Miss Ferrar may not want a long term relationship right now, but she’ll never want one if you don’t show her what it might be worth to her.”

It takes a moment, but recognition dawns on Rick’s face.

“So,” Billy says, leaning back in his chair.  “I will ask the question again.  What do you have planned for this weekend?”

Rick’s mind is still working.  “I guess I could make reservations for dinner,” he says.

Billy looks at him expectantly.

“And pick up tickets to a ballgame?”

Billy grins, slapping the table in approval.  “That’s my boy,” he says.

Rick seems to be bolstered by this and he settles back contentedly.  “So what about you?” he says.  “Anything special on the horizon for you?”

Billy scoffs.  “Plans are only for long term relationships,” he says.  “Right now, I prefer to keep my calendar open and flexible for all possibilities.”

Rick shakes his head.  “You can probably pick up a girl in five minutes.”

“Ten,” Billy amends, getting to his feet.  He slaps Rick’s shoulder.  “Fifteen if there are language barriers involved.”

Casey

Over the years, Billy has learned to never underestimate Casey Malick.  Though his physical stature is unimpressive, he has proven himself in the field.  And while his appearance is often bland and unapproachable, he often has the most colorful personal exploits to tell.

In this, Billy is actually fairly certain he has much he could learn from Casey, if odd romantic hookups and offbeat sexual situations were actually something Billy had more interest in.

Still, it never ceases to surprise him when he calls at Casey’s apartment and scantily clad young women open the door, all smiles to welcome him in.  Even more surprising when they take a good look at Billy and do not seem inclined to flirt with him.

Waiting in the living room, Billy makes small talk with the sated girls until Casey comes out, still pulling on his tie.  “I don’t see why we have to carpool for this,” he grouses.

Billy shrugs.  “Michael’s request,” he says.  “And I never doubt our fearless leader.”

Casey doesn’t look so convinced as he grabs his things and heads to the door.  Before he leaves, the girls say goodbye with twinkling smiles and melodic voices; Casey’s only response is a hand wave without look back.

It’s still mind boggling to Billy, even after all this time.  Casey’s fulfillment of most male fantasies is impressive, and yet he seems completely devoid of satisfaction.

In the hallway, Billy waits a few paces before he says, “Quite lovely girls you have back there.”

Casey doesn’t slow down.  “Greta and Renee,” he says.  “High maintenance and flighty, respectively.”

Billy nods at the expected critique.  “Then why are they there?”

He shrugs.  “They’ll probably be gone by the end of the week.”

It might be wise to leave well enough alone, but Billy can’t help but feel compelled.  “And that doesn’t bother you?”

Casey spares him a glance.  “Why should it?”

Billy shrugs back.  “I don’t know,” he says as benignly as possible.  “Meaningful companionship has its merits.”

“No,” Casey says.  “It has its drawbacks and limitations.  I get what I need and they get what they need.  When we don’t, the relationship ceases.  It’s perfectly progressive and reasonable.”

“And lonely,” Billy amends.

“I never sleep alone,” Casey assures him as they start down the stairs.

“A warm body next to you doesn’t make you less alone,” he says, with pointed wistfulness.

Casey stops mid-flight, bringing Billy to a stop next to him as he fixes him with a look.  “Are you giving me dating advice?”

Billy feigns indifference.  “Just an observation.”

Casey’s expression hardens.  “I don’t need dating advice from you,” he says.  He shakes his head and starts back down the stairs.  “You think that spouting romantic drivel by candlelight is a meaningful way to engage another person.”

“I haven’t had any complaints,” Billy says with a grin.

Casey rolls his eyes.  “Then consider this your first,” he says.  “I don’t need your advice.”

Billy shakes his head in bemusement.  “Just keep telling yourself that.”

Casey charges ahead.  “Don’t worry,” he says.  “I will.”

Michael

Michael doesn’t have a love life, though he’s probably the one amongst them that thinks about it most.  This makes Billy sad sometimes, but it’s hard to feel such sympathy for long when Michael continues to get stuck on the fact that his wife divorced him.

Really, for such a brilliant mind, Michael’s been fairly slow to pick up on the fact that she left him and hasn’t looked back.

Still, Billy’s not beyond compassion.

Which is why when they pass Fay’s office and Michael lingers longingly for just a moment, Billy politely intervenes.  “You know, pining can be romantic but only when it’s secretly being reciprocated,” he says.

Michael looks at him.  “What?”

Billy nods toward Fay’s office.  They can see her through the window, busily attending her work.  “The lovelorn puppy routine was quite effective as a means of hooking her, but I’m not sure it’s going to be effective in the aftermath except in securing a restraining order.”

Michael scowls at that.  “You don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Billy just stares at him.  “Then why are we still standing here when in fact we need to get over to the counterfeiting office?”

Michael doesn’t have a good reply.

“A bit of advice, maybe?” Billy offers as an olive branch.

Michael eyes him warily.

“Just remember why she fell in love with you,” Billy says.  “As I recall, she enjoyed the fact that you weren’t afraid to take action.  You didn’t linger outside her office and long for her; you went inside and made a difference in her life.”

Michael’s eye narrow.  “You think I can win her back?”

Billy shrugs.  “I wouldn’t say it’s likely--”

“But you think it’s possible?”

Billy knows enough to know when a lie is necessary.  He smiles, nodding in reassurance.  “Yes, of course,” he says.

Michael seems skeptical a moment longer before he pulls himself together.  “We better get going,” he says.  “We were supposed to be down there five minutes ago.”

Billy just smiles, holding out an arm. “After you,” he says.

Michael gives him one last look before leading them down the hallway once again.

Billy

After the week is over, Billy goes home to his apartment, which is actually nothing more than a by-the-month hotel room.  The room service people know him by name and the wait staff all greet him when he walks through the halls.

The actual apartment is small and dingy.  It was nice, once, but since he’s moved in, he hasn’t bothered to do anything resembling cleaning.  He spends his time watching bad American TV and strumming on his guitar, falling asleep at will on the couch.  The rumpled sheets on his bed haven’t been washed in nearly six months, and that would bother him if he actually used the thing more.

It’s funny.  He’s quick with advice and ready with pick up lines, but none of it seems to matter all that much.  Because he can tell Rick that most people want a relationship even when they say they don’t because it’s what he’s probably wanted all along and never quite found.  He can tell Casey that you can have a girl in your bed or you can flirt them up on missions and still be utterly alone.  And he can tell Michael to take that first decisive move, but never know when to take it himself.

Billy doles out lots of advice with a wink and a smile and he knows it’s all valid and true because it’s the opposite of what he does in his own life, which is why he’s still in this hotel room, ordering room service, and searching for a clean pair of underwear each morning.

Mostly, Billy doesn’t mind.  With the traveling demands and overall stress of his job, a relationship would be almost impossible anyway.  And he misses the girls back home--not that Americans aren’t lovely people--but he misses their accents and their smiles as they talk football and laugh in the pub.

So mostly, this is for the best.

When it bothers him, which Billy would contend to anyone is rarely, he opens a beer and turns on the TV.  He watches reality programming until he’s feeling buzzed enough to sing, composing bad blues songs on his guitar.  When he falls asleep, he wakes up in the same position, beer on the table and guitar on his lap, alone in his room.

Then he gets up, cleans himself up, and goes to work where he can offer more advice and hope that someday he learns how to follow it, too.

Comments

(Deleted comment)
Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: June 29th, 2011 01:16 pm (UTC)
billy earnest

I seem to have a thing for angsty!Billy. There's just something about a character who is so outgoing that makes me think of what must really be going on underneath.

That and I just seem drawn to angst :)

Thanks!

Posted by: Evil Insane Monkey (eviinsanemonkey)
Posted at: June 29th, 2011 12:53 pm (UTC)

Aw, poor Billy :(
This is great.

(your turn)

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: June 29th, 2011 01:22 pm (UTC)
billy earnest

I do apologize for continually taking prompts that lend themselves to light fics and making them angsty. I have problems.

(If you've seen this past week's episodes: Billy and chins. If you haven't, I'll think up another one :)

Posted by: Evil Insane Monkey (eviinsanemonkey)
Posted at: June 29th, 2011 01:26 pm (UTC)

psh, s'okay. I like angsty fics :)

(oh, I have. I almost forgot about that, but that'll be fun)

Posted by: Evil Insane Monkey (eviinsanemonkey)
Posted at: July 4th, 2011 11:13 pm (UTC)

here it is :) Sorry it's so short...

Posted by: nietie (nietie)
Posted at: June 29th, 2011 01:56 pm (UTC)
Chaos2

Poor Billy, but I think this is so canon!

Although I'm Dutch, there wouldn't be any language barriers if he tried to pick me up ;)

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: June 29th, 2011 09:26 pm (UTC)
billy approves

I just wish we had more time to see his personal life in canon.

And hee. Yeah, I'm pretty sure he's underestimating his skills slightly there :)

Thanks!

Posted by: lukadreaming (lukadreaming)
Posted at: June 29th, 2011 05:51 pm (UTC)
Billy

This is so sad, particularly that final scene. There's a nice balance between the wistful, a touch of humour in the exchanges and the angst. Very nicely done.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: June 29th, 2011 09:26 pm (UTC)
billy earnest

I find Billy lends himself quite well to angst for some reason, even more than the rest.

Thanks!

Posted by: blackdog_lz (blackdog_lz)
Posted at: June 30th, 2011 04:30 pm (UTC)

That feels entirely too true. There is so much hiding behind Billy's always happy face.
It was also one of the things that struck me as weird in Mole, that it was Casey with the two girls and Billy, the supposed charmer of the group was alone in a hotel room.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: June 30th, 2011 08:25 pm (UTC)
billy earnest

I am completely intrigued by Billy's potential angst because for as much as he's the one who is supposed to get whoever he wants, he's also the only one without any apparent love interest or even casual flings. And with what little we know of his backstory, it just seems like there's ample room for some sadness/tragedy there.

Anyway, thanks :)

Posted by: smokeygirl19 (smokeygirl19)
Posted at: June 30th, 2011 09:19 pm (UTC)

I agree this is probably closest to cannon. heehee...but he's really pining for the woman he left behind when he was deported. A secret no one knows....heehee.

Well done! And a wonderful take on Billy from a different perspective! I liked it a lot.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: June 30th, 2011 09:29 pm (UTC)
billy content

Heh, actually I thought about your AU while writing this fic and the idea that Billy is actually pining for someone back home really does fit into all the things we've seen in canon so far. At the very least, it's pretty clear that Billy has a past and no matter how much he smiles and jokes, it's a past he'd rather not talk about.

Thanks :)

Posted by: smokeygirl19 (smokeygirl19)
Posted at: June 30th, 2011 09:51 pm (UTC)

Actually, mine isn't AU (alternate universe)...it's called spec fic. Before a series airs or there's much of a storyline for fanfic, one writes fiction that speculates on how a character will turn out and be presented in the series or a series season. It was done a lot on the Babylon 5 series.

I've been surprised at how much of my spec fic acutally turned out to provide a background for the Billy Collins character in the series and how much of the initial presentation of the Billy Collins character actually seemed to match.

Posted by: iridania; (iridania)
Posted at: July 2nd, 2011 06:13 pm (UTC)

This was lovely!
I especially liked the bits about Casey.
Thank you for sharing :)
/bookmarking

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: July 3rd, 2011 06:32 pm (UTC)
billy earnest

I think the quirks with Casey's characterization make for a very interesting character. Actually, I could say the same about all the characters :)

Thanks!

Posted by: sophie_deangirl (sophie_deangirl)
Posted at: January 5th, 2012 05:27 pm (UTC)
AWWW!!! I want to volunteer!

This is SO LOVELY! I love the idea that Billy is doling out dating advice based on his own lack of ambition of said same pursuit. It makes him so vulnerable and I want to hug him and also fangirlishly raise my hand to volunteer to comfort him! Not to mention to be romanced by him! My favorite is the one with Casey because Casey is getting all of the physical intimacy easily despite his seemingly boorish (as Billy once coined) and general lack of stereotypical handsomeness and yet Billy campaigns for the deeper relationship and how much more satisfying that is and all Casey can do is look at him blankly. It's HILARIOUS and reveals so much about Billy's POV on relationships despite his rationalization to the contrary applied to himself.


Fav Parts:

Still, for as much as Rick is oblivious to her more scheming wiles, she, too, is not readily aware of the powerful seduction of his shocking innocence. She is very likely ready to fall for him even more than he is ready to fall for her, no matter how she fancies herself otherwise.

--I like that Billy sees this. As the episodes progressed and the relationship seemingly became more than just a ruse on Adele's part, we forgot that it started out that way. It would be interesting if Rick learned the truth and to see how "pure" Rick would handle it, would be be forgiving or not? One would think it would be difficult for him to accept that he'd be played, at least initially.

Entanglements create weakness, which can often prove problematic at the most inopportune of times. But there’s something about the two of them, and Billy has never been able to stop himself from meddling.

Billy has work to do and should probably follow after the two senior members of the team, but helping the state of Rick’s love life ranks right up there on his to-do list--at least, as far as Billy is concerned.

--I LOVE that Billy sees the potential of the relationship and wants to help it along. It's just SO CUTE!

Billy scoffs. “Plans are only for long term relationships,” he says. “Right now, I prefer to keep my calendar open and flexible for all possibilities.”

Rick shakes his head. “You can probably pick up a girl in five minutes.”

“Ten,” Billy amends, getting to his feet. He slaps Rick’s shoulder. “Fifteen if there are language barriers involved.”

--I LOVE this facade that Billy portrays, portrays it so well that Rick believes the reputation as well and it's also poignant to learn later that Billy doesn't gallivant around getting dates, that he sits at home alone.


Still, it never ceases to surprise him when he calls at Casey’s apartment and scantily clad young women open the door, all smiles to welcome him in. Even more surprising when they take a good look at Billy and do not seem inclined to flirt with him.

--HAHAHAHA! This is just too HILARIOUS and I can see the surprise on Billy's face and I can also see Billy finding it refreshing a little.

It’s still mind boggling to Billy, even after all this time. Casey’s fulfillment of most male fantasies is impressive, and yet he seems completely devoid of satisfaction.

--HAHAHA! Another delightful and HYSTERICAL observation. Casey's approach to dating could make any reasonable man both question and yet wonder about what they are doing wrong.


“I never sleep alone,” Casey assures him as they start down the stairs.

“A warm body next to you doesn’t make you less alone,” he says, with pointed wistfulness.

-- BEAUTIFULLY philosophical and very telling! And it makes your heart ache for Billy because you can read his desire there even when Casey misses it entirely.


“Just remember why she fell in love with you,” Billy says. “As I recall, she enjoyed the fact that you weren’t afraid to take action. You didn’t linger outside her office and long for her; you went inside and made a difference in her life.”

--Again, LOVELY insight and for Billy to give a man who's normally a take-charge person advice and telling him to be more take-charge with his ex-wife is just delightful!

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: January 6th, 2012 01:33 pm (UTC)
Re: AWWW!!! I want to volunteer!
billy earnest

It was so interesting that for all of Billy's charms, we never saw him hook up with anyone (except possibly Masha, which is interesting, too, since he charms her by being honest and vulnerable). He strikes me as lonely in that way, even more closed off than the rest even if he doesn't let it show. He really does need a good woman to open him up. LOL, of course you would be the first of many volunteers!

Thank you!

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