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do i dare or do i dare? [userpic]

Chaos fic: Plan B 5/5

December 16th, 2011 (09:01 am)
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Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five



-o-

In some ways, Casey thinks Billy’s slow ascension back to full awareness is a blessing.

Well, not a blessing. Blessings are for weak willed people who find a need to look for greater purpose in their life. But he does consider it to be more of a good thing than a bad thing.

After all, Billy’s fighting a nasty infection and even if he’s in front of it now, it’s still done a number on his body and he can’t imagine Billy would enjoy being so badly weakened that he has to pee in a bag while conscious.

More than that, Billy’s foot is still somewhat questionable and every time Casey is around for a bandage change, it still makes his stomach churn uncertainly. It looks just as painful now that it’s showing signs of healing, the skin red and stretched with tentative new scabs. They’ve reduce Billy’s painkillers somewhat, so Casey can imagine that the leg is going to be hellish to deal with once Billy’s fully aware.

Plus, all this sitting and waiting while things are looking up has given Casey ample time to get himself back together and properly dour for when Billy is ready for real conversation.

Not that Casey’s looking forward to that. That would be ludicrous. He has a healthy concern for his teammate’s well being is all. And the sooner Billy is actually awake and talking, the sooner they can get out of this hospital and this Godforsaken country of borderline socialists.

“You look thoughtful,” Billy says, his voice startling Casey.

Refocusing his eyes from a wayward point on the wall, Casey glowers sufficiently, because he’s somewhat perturbed that Billy woke up without his notice. Billy has a tendency to drift in and out of consciousness at will still, but Casey must be slipping.

Plus, it’s just reflex at this point in Casey’s life. “And you sound surprised,” he retorts.

Billy inclines his head. His bed is lifted up now, head propped up by a pillow. He’s looking better to some degree -- he even managed to shave at some point -- but there are still dark circles under his eyes and his cheeks are more hollow than they should be. “More like concerned,” he rasps. He’s been battling a mild case of pneumonia, which the doctor called inevitable based on the infection, and even though the tube’s been out for several days, Billy’s throat is still healing.

Casey lifts his eyebrows.

Billy shrugs somewhat. “I have learned over the years to always be duly afraid when you’re thoughtful,” he says. “You tend to be blunt and violent in your machinations.”

That makes Casey genuinely smirk. “You must feeling better,” he says. “You’re back to flattering me. But if you were at 100 percent, you would remember that your charms have no effect on me.”

Billy manages a wounded expression. It’s probably not that hard given his general weakness and pale countenance. “To the contrary,” he says. “I have the mighty Casey Malick sitting a bedside vigil. I think my charms are quite effective.”

Casey scoffs. “So you’re telling me that you stepped in a rusty bear trap in an effort to soften me?”

Billy wets his lips then smiles. “Let it never be said that I’m not willing to go that extra mile.”

It’s all Casey can do to keep from smiling. But just because Billy’s still weak and recovering doesn’t mean that Casey wants to let the Scot obtain that kind of emotional advantage. “I’ll keep that in mind next time I’m hauling you through the Canadian Rockies for two hours,” he quips wryly.

Billy has the decency to look chagrined. “Aye, though I remember it only vaguely, I get the impression it was quite the journey.”

“You got the easy part,” Casey gripes. “Lying down while the rest of us did the work.”

“If it makes you feel any better, I would have preferred holding my own weight in that one,” Billy tells him in self-deprecation. “Seems like I didn’t have much choice in the matter.”

Casey can be sour, but that one is hard to deny -- and he knows it better than Billy himself. After all, Casey was the one who pulled the trap off Billy’s leg. He’s the one who still has healing wounds on his fingers to prove it.

Despite that truth, Casey’s not about to expose himself to that kind of emotional vulnerability, although he has a sneaking suspicion the Scotsman is already well aware of it.

Casey is a bit too slow in his response, because Billy’s eyes are blinking, long slow blinks and Casey knows that if he says nothing, it’ll only be a few more moments before Billy’s out again. With the pain and the drugs and the lingering low grade fever, this is an excusable weakness.

However, before Billy can drift off entirely, there’s a small knock at the door.

Casey is about to glare violently at the intruder, but when he sees Billy’s doctor, he settles for a look of mild annoyance.

Billy, on the other hand, straightens, smiling brightly. It takes effort -- Casey can see this -- and it seems like more energy than the Scot should reasonably have to expend at this time. But Casey knows Billy; he only just lets his guard down around his teammates. He’s going to pull out the stops for strangers, even those who have extensive medical knowledge of his actual weakness.

To Billy’s credit, though, he manages to make it look almost effortless when he says, “Good afternoon, doctor.”

The man comes closer and smiles back. “I thought we’d do your daily check a little earlier today,” he says easily. “If you’re up to it.”

Billy makes a sound of diffidence. “Anything for my favorite medical professional.”

The man quirks an eyebrow as he moves toward Billy’s monitors, checking their readings. “I hear you’ve been saying that to all the nurses,” he muses. “You’re going to get quite the reputation around here if you don’t watch out.”

It’s entirely the wrong thing to say because Billy actually beams in response, chest puffing slightly. “Then my purpose here is complete.”

Casey snorts. “Yes, you stepped in a rusty bear trap and nearly died just to charm the entire Canadian medical profession,” he snipes.

The doctor gives Casey a look and Billy shifts slightly in the bed, pressing his lips together in something akin to embarrassment. “Not one of my finer plans, I’ll admit,” he concedes.

The doctor shakes his head, chuckling somewhat as he moves down to Billy’s leg. He pulls back the sheet. “Shall we see how it’s doing today?”

Billy’s countenance flickers just slightly, a hint of a real grimace showing. “I can’t say it’s my favorite part of the day,” he says, “but I suppose now is better than later.”

The doctor doesn’t reply, just starts undoing the gauze.

Casey tries not to look overly interested, but he can’t help but sit up straighter, craning his head to get a better look. As the injury is revealed, the red, puckered skin is familiar. However, it seems less today. The scabbing is less raw and there isn’t as much weeping. There are very few sections that are open and though the entire thing is inflamed, it’s lost the fiery hue of deep infection.

The doctor presses on a few places, eliciting a series of muted winces from Billy. But the man nods with a smile as he pulls out fresh gauze and starts to wrap it back up.

Billy looks at him expectantly.

“Well,” the doctor says, as surprised as he is pleased, “I think you’re out of danger.”

Billy blinks and waits for clarification. Casey knows what the man means, but he still needs to hear him say it, too.

Finishing up the wrapping, the man looks at Billy intently. “The infection is almost gone,” he says. “It’s healing and you’ve already regained most of the feeling in your foot. You’re going to have a long road of rehabilitation to regain full motion, but I think we can safely rule out amputation as a possibility.”

It’s not the best news Casey has heard in the last few weeks -- Billy being moved off the critical list and into a regular room had been more elating -- but it’s still pretty damn good to hear.

For his part, Billy is smiling so wide that it looks like his face may actually split. “I think that’s fantastic news,” he says.

The doctor looks pleased to share it.

It’s a good moment. The kind of moment that makes a day.

Which is why Casey has to frown, rolling his eyes and shaking his head. “You actually sound surprised,” he says.

“Well, I admit, there was some uncertainty,” Billy admits.

Casey scoffs. “Not for me,” he says.

“Indeed,” Billy agrees, bowing his head deferentially. “And lest we ever forget not to listen to the master of such matters in the future.”

At that, Casey smirks. “And don’t you forget it.”

No matter what he says, though, Casey likes the sounds of that: the future. Billy and the rest of the team could use a nice idea like that.

-o-

For Billy, it’s still the same old story.

He has a tendency to fly in the face of disaster and get his wings clipped. He never quite burns, but he certainly crashes, even if there’s usually enough left to pick up the pieces and start again.

This landing is harder than most, and sometimes when he’s still waking and sleeping with the pain relievers, he still wonders how this happened, how he ended up here at all. Even in retrospect, it’s hard to put the pieces together when things take him so thoroughly by surprise.

And this certainly has done that. In his mind, he still can’t see the bear trap that took him down; he can’t even see the fallen branch he’d bounded over right before he fell. In truth, all he can see is the weaving path through the trees, his mates around him, and the hope of safety on the ever distant horizon.

This is how it is for Billy, though. So focused on one thing that he fails to see another and that’s the thing that always bites him in the ass.

Or, as it is this time, the ankle. Perhaps less embarrassing of a locale but definitely more painful.

This inherent failure bothers him to some degree, and in the hours of waking and sleeping, it’s on his mind more than he’d like. He feels like he should have avoided this, that he shouldn’t have been so blind as to let this happen. He knows what it is to make a mess of things, and as he recovers slowly, he’s too aware of the days turning into weeks, and the drain of medical expenses and paid time off on the CIA’s sparse budget.

And yet, there’s nothing to be done for it. It’s been a painful road to recovery, and given the pain in his leg, he knows he has a ways to go yet. Things are getting clearer for him and he manages to rally enough strength to put on a good show, but he feels weak and achy. The pain medication is still his constant companion, and it leaves him vaguely muted, no matter how hard he tries for clarity.

It’s fairly obvious what he’s been through; his mutilated ankle speaks for itself. Still, the details of how he got here remain hazy, though he remembers snippets of pain and motion: Rick’s conversation, Michael’s plans, and Casey’s orders.

Those are the things that matter, ultimately. He still can’t help it if he wakes and sleeps at random, but his team has always been there, even at his worst.

Just like they’re there now.

And that, despite everything, makes Billy smile.

Plus, his team is quite amusing when cooped up in a small room for hours on end.

“I just don’t see it as inherently necessary to allow children on commercial flights,” Casey explains unapologetically.

“That’s ridiculous. Then how are families supposed to travel?” Rick asks, clearly perturbed and perhaps a bit offended.

“Let them drive,” Casey says. “Or a mass rail system. And I hear busses are quite affordable.”

“That could add hours to their trip,” Rick protests.

Casey shrugs. “Hours I don’t have to spend listening to some spoiled brat whine about how she wants to watch some over hyped animated feature while running up and down the aisles presumably to entertain the rest of the unfortunately trapped passengers,” he says.

“What about international flights?” Michael asks.

Casey pauses. “Ships can be quite accommodating.”

Rick snorts.

Billy is still grinning in spite of his better efforts to contain it. “But that does add a wee bit of time onto the trip.”

“They’re the ones who chose to have kids,” Casey grouses. “I shouldn’t have to suffer for it.”

Rick looks incredulous; Michael is vaguely bemused.

Billy collects a contented breath and shakes his head. “You do remember that the flight back to the States from here is only a few hours in length,” he says.

“And those few hours could be torture if we’re cooped up in the cabin with misbehaving children,” Casey says banally. “I’ve already been stuck in Canada far longer than I’d like; adding screaming children to the mix is like insult to injury.”

“My injury,” Billy reminds him helpfully.

Casey scowls. “And my insult.”

Michael shakes his head, settling back in his seat. “Well, you probably don’t have to worry about it for at least another week,” he says. “You know they want to keep Billy just a bit longer to be safe.”

That’s a nice spin, but Billy is well aware that it’s not entirely true. The fact is, Billy’s nowhere near 100 percent. He’s barely managed to put any weight on his foot, which makes him only marginally mobile. Getting out of bed leaves him winded and staying awake for more than three hours at a time is entirely a chore for him at the moment. He’s just been downgraded to less aggressive painkillers and he hasn’t told the team just how much pain that’s left him in.

He’s going to live and he’s going to keep his foot -- two things Billy is quite grateful for, all things considered. But he’s a long way from being back in the field again.

Billy knows this and he figures his team knows it, too. That doesn’t mean they have to talk about it.

They’ll talk about commercial airlines and wayward children instead. It’s just easier that way. And far more entertaining.

Given Billy’s circumstances, that’s definitely the way to go.

“Socialists,” Casey mutters.

Rick shakes his head.

“I know it’s not anyone’s first choice,” Michael relents. “But I’ve had to let plan A go entirely by the wayside.”

Billy lifts his eyebrows. “You mean, plan A didn’t involve rusty bear traps and extended hospital stays?”

Michael smirks at him. “Not quite.”

“So what’s plan B?” Rick asks.

At that, Michael looks at Rick. Then he looks at Casey and then his eyes settle on Billy. His mouth lifts into a small smile. “Well, I thought plan B might involve a nice Canadian vacation before we all head back,” he says. And he holds Billy’s gaze because this is the important part. “Together.”

And Billy’s still smiling. He has to. “Well, then,” he says with all due grandeur. “I don’t know about the rest of you gents, but plan B doesn’t sound so bad to me, then.”

To that, no one can disagree. Not even Casey. Because there’s something in this. In all of this. More than international espionage and near death experiences; it’s camaraderie, belonging. This is what this mission almost cost them and this is what still makes the mission worthwhile.

Really, it’s like most things in Billy’s life. It’s entirely his own fault that he’s in this mess, and really, he probably should have seen it coming. But in all of this, he’s missed something else, something more salient, something more meaningful. He’s been so busy recovering from disaster that he’s failed to realized that he’s come out on the other side already. More than that, he’s come out better.

When he crashed his bike, he was without simple transportation for months until his mother conceded to buy him a new one. The hours at home had been interminably difficult for him, but that was the summer he first started running and built up his stamina in whole new ways. When he nearly failed art history, he gave up his notions of pursuing endless degrees and listened when the MI6 recruiter picked him out for something better.

When he was kicked out of his homeland, he found a new life at the CIA. He lost one home, but the thing is, he’s found another. His birth family won’t talk to him, but he’s found a new one that accept him for all he is.

He didn’t choose this life; he didn’t choose these men. But somehow, they found him. They chose him. And that matters more than the rest. There’s a lesson in that -- the most important lesson yet -- and it’s taken Billy a long time to figure out it out, but he thinks maybe this time it’ll stick.

Maybe.

It’s easier said than done, of course, but what Billy knows for sure is that he’s ready to start moving again. Not alone, though; no matter how much he may fancy himself a loner, it’s simply not the case. When he goes down, they’re right by his side. When it’s time to move on, his team is still there, too.

And this time, Billy certainly sees it coming.

Comments

Posted by: sophie_deangirl (sophie_deangirl)
Posted at: December 21st, 2011 08:15 pm (UTC)
Just a lovely way to end

Oh, how I love a happy ending and the comradeship that is here in this chapter. There are downright moments of whimsy after such grim set backs. You know how to get a girl all warm and fuzzy over team bromance.

It's so nice to hear Billy talking and he emerges as if he hasn't lost a beat:

Billy manages a wounded expression. It’s probably not that hard given his general weakness and pale countenance. “To the contrary,” he says. “I have the mighty Casey Malick sitting a bedside vigil. I think my charms are quite effective.”

Casey scoffs. “So you’re telling me that you stepped in a rusty bear trap in an effort to soften me?”

Billy wets his lips then smiles. “Let it never be said that I’m not willing to go that extra mile.”


HILARIOUS EXCHANGE and 100% Casey indignation all the way. Even my hubby laughed uproariously at this:

“I just don’t see it as inherently necessary to allow children on commercial flights,” Casey explains unapologetically.

“That’s ridiculous. Then how are families supposed to travel?” Rick asks, clearly perturbed and perhaps a bit offended.

“Let them drive,” Casey says. “Or a mass rail system. And I hear busses are quite affordable.”

“That could add hours to their trip,” Rick protests.

Casey shrugs. “Hours I don’t have to spend listening to some spoiled brat whine about how she wants to watch some over hyped animated feature while running up and down the aisles presumably to entertain the rest of the unfortunately trapped passengers,” he says.

“What about international flights?” Michael asks.

Casey pauses. “Ships can be quite accommodating.”

Rick snorts.

Billy is still grinning in spite of his better efforts to contain it. “But that does add a wee bit of time onto the trip.”

“They’re the ones who chose to have kids,” Casey grouses. “I shouldn’t have to suffer for it.”

Rick looks incredulous; Michael is vaguely bemused.

Billy collects a contented breath and shakes his head. “You do remember that the flight back to the States from here is only a few hours in length,” he says.

“And those few hours could be torture if we’re cooped up in the cabin with misbehaving children,” Casey says banally. “I’ve already been stuck in Canada far longer than I’d like; adding screaming children to the mix is like insult to injury.”

BEAUTIFUL summation of all of the events and emotions:


When he was kicked out of his homeland, he found a new life at the CIA. He lost one home, but the thing is, he’s found another. His birth family won’t talk to him, but he’s found a new one that accept him for all he is.

He didn’t choose this life; he didn’t choose these men. But somehow, they found him. They chose him. And that matters more than the rest. There’s a lesson in that -- the most important lesson yet -- and it’s taken Billy a long time to figure out it out, but he thinks maybe this time it’ll stick.

Maybe.

It’s easier said than done, of course, but what Billy knows for sure is that he’s ready to start moving again. Not alone, though; no matter how much he may fancy himself a loner, it’s simply not the case. When he goes down, they’re right by his side. When it’s time to move on, his team is still there, too.

And this time, Billy certainly sees it coming.


Thanks SO VERY MUCH for this!! As I said, I LOVED every agonizing moment.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: December 22nd, 2011 01:43 pm (UTC)
Re: Just a lovely way to end
chaos team 2

I'm a big fan of taking characters through the gamut and then making it end all happy. LOL, as you know :) But usually I don't get to be quite so gratuitous so this was entirely a joy to write. More so because you liked it so much!

Thanks!

Posted by: blackdog_lz (blackdog_lz)
Posted at: December 27th, 2011 08:43 pm (UTC)
Hard at Work

That whole story packs one hell of a punch. The whump is awesome and left me speechless at several points.
I absolutely loved the different POV and you again managed to nail the characters perfectly. I am - and probably will always be - in awe at your writing skills.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: December 28th, 2011 02:26 am (UTC)
billy watches

I had way more fun that I should have writing this. I can't help myself. Hurting Billy is just one of my favorite things right now.

And thank you. That's kind of you to say :) I am just glad that there are people to enjoy my wayward ramblings.

Posted by: seanj111 (seanj111)
Posted at: January 14th, 2012 04:44 pm (UTC)

Wow, another fantastic story. Reading your stories I always marvel at how well you write, you have such an amazing way with words and your wit always leaves me smiling. Thank you for sharing this - it is indeed a gift!

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: January 18th, 2012 10:00 pm (UTC)
billy guitar

I'm glad to see you got an LJ -- especially since I just turned off anonymous comments due to an influx of spam :)

But yeah, I'm glad to entertain. Thank you for reviewing!

Posted by: altpointofview (altpointofview)
Posted at: January 22nd, 2012 09:48 am (UTC)

Well I guess you knew I couldn't really wait till tomorrow to finish this. Waiting really isn't my style now is it?
This fic was just a total *squee*-fest!!!! All the action, angst, whumpage, emotional turmoil - seriously were you trying to kill me?!?!?
As always your characters were spot on - seriously when you write Casey I swear I can hear him say everything just the way you have written droll inflection & everything! It actually kind of scares me a little bit that you can channel him so well. ;)</p>

Favorite moments :
- the way you have Billy keep pace with Rick when they're running but the way he shifts to keep his taller stature twisted to protect Rick's back as they run
- the way the whole thing tortured Rick cause girl you know Rick/Billy friendship is my favorite thing
- the way Michael had to grab Rick's arm cause the boy was totally going to go after Nurse Hippa
- when Rick just had to walk away cause he'd reached his breaking point - *sniff* - the way Casey lost it & Michael explaining that he couldn't go after Rick cause he had to make sure Casey was okay cause Casey could kill people
- Casey & optimism --- oh yeah that was a winner

But my break is over & I have no time left to *squee*. Time to put on a wound vac & change a chest tube - now if I accidentally call my patient Billy I'm going to blame you girl. :)

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: January 23rd, 2012 02:17 pm (UTC)
chaos three musketeers

LOL, I'm always glad to provide a distraction :) I like to think I'm good for something in this world!

Casey is quite fun to write, actually. I'm not sure what it says about me that I heard his voice so clearly, but he's got such a distinctive cadence that I think he comes across particularly well in writing.

Also, Rick walking away when it got too much is because of you. You mentioned that kind of thing to me once and it's been in my head ever since, so I'm glad you like it here :)

Anyway, I know you're busy so I appreciate the comments! Thanks!

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