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Chaos fic: The Play's The Thing, ACT THREE

February 1st, 2012 (11:06 am)

feeling: groggy


Rick could be surprisingly furtive when the situation demanded. He seemed to take great care and no small amount of pleasure in arranging seemingly casual encounters to pass along the growing intel over the last few days.

This time, he had taken Billy’s sword to polish it as they approached the final dress rehearsal. “Michael’s been on the phone with Fay,” he said, taking his rag and cleaning the length of light and blunted metal.

“Always a fun proposition,” Billy said.

Rick made a face, rubbing at a spot on the surface. “Apparently, we just got word from the FBI about a massive sale they think is going down,” he continued.

Billy frowned. “And they think they’re related?”

Rick nodded, buffing the tin even more. “The logistics add up,” he said. “But they don’t have any word on the specifics. No one knows the buyer.”

“But we may know the seller,” Billy mused.

“The intel suggests it’s going down within the next few days,” Rick said, holding up the sword to examine his handiwork.

“So we know they want to move the product,” Billy said.

“But they need us to figure out who’s backing this and when it’s happening,” Rick said. He looked around, nonchalant but cautious. “Any thing from Pierre?”

“Just that he’s getting increasingly nervous,” Billy said. “He’s gotten quiet but seems like he trusts me.”

“You think you can get him to talk?” Rick asked.

Billy smiled at Rick fully. “Good sir, what do you think?”

Rick smirked, holding the sword back to him. “Just don’t screw it up.”

“This but begins the woe, others must end!” Billy said, brandishing his sword.

Rick grinned. Then he tilted his head. “That means okay?”

Billy rolled his eyes. “The state of education in this country is appalling,” he muttered, walking away.


Working Pierre was easy. A good woman was hard to charm but a weak-willed man caved at the slightest interest. Billy brought him coffee, but the man was too jittery to drink it.

“Are you sure everything’s okay, mate?” Billy asked.

Pierre looked at him. Really looked at him. “Do you ever just want to do something for yourself?” he asked. “Just for you, no one else, consequences be damned?”

Billy thought about Olivia. The desire of it all panged within him. He blew out a breath. “Been there, done that,” he said honestly.

Pierre’s expression wavered, a mixture of hope and regret. “The consequences, though, can be hard to swallow, yes?”

“I know that all too well,” Billy consoled.

Pierre sighed, offering up a weak smile. “I’m talking nonsense.”

Billy sensed he was losing his opportunity. “No, I don’t think so,” he said. “I mean, I certainly know how tempting it is after being looked over for so long. Sometimes I think I’d do anything for a chance at the things I really want and I’d be willing to bend a little moral fortitude to do it.”

Pierre looked away.

Billy stayed close. “You’ve got a kindred spirit here,” he assured the Frenchman. “What you say will stay between us.”

For a moment, Pierre looked like he would tell. He looked like he wanted to tell. But then he shook his head. “You need to run your lines,” he said instead. “And maybe we’ll talk later.”

But this was a part Billy had known for years and no matter how he said the lines, the outcome never changed.


The hours with Olivia, however, made it easy to forget. For she was lovely and she was talented and she was smart and she was everything he wanted.

He remembered what it had been like. Who he had been. And with the rediscovered desire came the repressed loss.

She was trying not to show it, but she felt the same. He felt it when they touched, saw it when their eyes met, heard it when she spoke to him.

And Billy dared think, dared believed.

So when they found each other alone in makeup, he couldn’t stop looking at her.

Smiling, she watched him in the mirror. “You’re staring,” she observed.

“Just keeping in character,” he said.

“What, as Romeo?” she said. “Or as an aspiring actor?”

Billy inclined his head. “Are they so different?”

She turned to look at him, her expression wistful if fond. “You’re good, you know,” she said. “The stage has always come naturally to you. It seems a pity that you waste your talent on nefarious deceptions.”

“Maybe that’s why MI6 saw fit to sack me,” he said.

She paused, considering. “Yes, I have been wondering about that,” she said. “You and the Americans make a good team, but you were the golden boy at MI6. Your career seemed so certain. What happened?”

It was a valid question. It was a question that Billy had been asking himself in all the years since. For he knew the answer but it never seemed good enough.

He shrugged. “It’s a long story,” he said. “Or really, it’s just not a happy one.”

Her expression turned wry. “Still keeping your secrets, I see.”

Billy returned a smile. “Still wishing there were better truths to tell, mostly,” he replied.

“Oh, Billy,” she said, shaking her head. “You always do come up with just the right things to say. Not quite lies, but certainly not truths. Though I have to admit, I always did love the way you could make me feel.”

The energy in her eyes was electrifying. Billy felt the tension building and he dared moved closer. “And how do you feel now?” he asked.

Her lips twitched, the smile there almost against her obvious intentions otherwise. “Like a fool for ever loving you,” she said.

Billy took another step and didn’t avert his gaze. “And I was a fool for ever letting you go,” he said.

And then they were face-to-face, so close they were almost touching. And the years didn’t matter and the lies weren’t as important and they loved each other still.

She didn’t blink; she didn’t move.

Billy leaned forward, his eyes closing, his lips parting.

For a moment, it was everything. Their lips touched and the world exploded, all the emotions coming back again. Billy could hope and he could be happy and he could be real because there was Olivia and there was love and there was everything.

Then, she inhaled sharply and pulled away. Fingers on her lips, she shook her head, almost aghast. “What are we doing?”

Billy moved forward again. “What I’ve wanted to do since you came back.”

She snorted. “I came for the mission,” she said.

“You could have asked for anyone,” he said.

“And I’m wishing I had!” she said, and the force was strong enough to silence him. She turned away, muttering a curse. “I can’t believe I let you do this to me.”

“I didn’t—“

She turned on him, eyes flashing with hate. “You did, though,” she said, accusingly. “What, you thought I’d just forgive you? That you could charm your way back into my heart just so you could break it again?”

Blinking, Billy stammered. “It wasn’t like that.”

“It was exactly like that,” Olivia snapped. She shook her head. “So don’t you stand there like that, with your big puppy dog eyes, and act like I’m the villain here. You’re the one who left, Billy. You’re the one who broke my heart so you don’t get to stand there like I’m the one who hurt you. You don’t get anything because you gave that up years ago when you walked out and I’m not some foolish girl who will give my life away for some two-bit lover who always has the right thing to say.”

The tirade left her speechless.

It left Billy gutted.

She turned promptly on her heel, storming out.

For a moment, Billy just stood there, thinking about how she was right. Because she was right, he knew, even as his stomach grew cold with the pain all over again.


On stage, Tybalt was a small, hotheaded ginger man. He postured and squawked and suddenly Billy understood. He understood Romeo, standing there amidst his well-intended mistake. He had tried to do the right thing, after all. He had tried to do what was best for everyone. He had let Tybalt taunt, returned love for hate and walked away a coward as needed.

And then Mercutio died, and the whole thing had blown up in his face.

Romeo’s rage was a palpable thing. It built within him until he let it out with a roar and charged after his foe with all the ferocity of all the years. For Billy had lost more than a Mercutio, much more indeed, and the wrongs had broken his self control.

But when the rage was spent, he had gained nothing and lost more for it. For Tybalt’s death changed everything, the one thing Romeo could never come back from.

Standing there, in the wreck of his own life, Billy shook his head through tears. “O, I am fortune’s fool!”

Benvolio was there, pushing him away. “Romeo, away, be gone!” he said.

The first step was hard, but after that, Billy was running and didn’t look back. After all these years, it was still the thing Billy was best at.


Nothing had changed.

He had never had Olivia; therefore, he hadn’t lost her. This was Billy’s logic, even if he couldn’t quite believe it.

At any rate, there was still a job to be done, and he was tired of waiting for Pierre to get his act together. Billy wasn’t a spy to sit around waiting for leads; he sussed them out, all on his own, regardless of personal peril.

So when he ended up by the supply room between scenes, it was second nature to pull his lock pick and walk right in.

Inside, the boxes were just as Casey had described them. Quickly, Billy ascertained that the boxes were full of the drugs that Olivia had shown them that first day back at Langley. The boxes were packed on pallets, and there were five lined up but only three filled.

Billy studied it for a moment, thinking. It was clear that the set up was for easy movement. If the sale was going down, chances were they wanted it to go down quickly. Security wasn’t precisely tight in this place, but since this was the DC area, chances were high that a cop would patrol nearby at some point.

So why the unfinished pallets? All props and sets had been delivered.

Then Billy remembered Rick’s news of the FBI tip. A sale was about to go down. Pierre’s odd behavior.

There wasn’t enough here yet to warrant the FBI’s tip, but Pierre’s uncertainty made it apparent that something was about to happen.

But what if John, their not so friendly stagehand, wasn’t the seller? What if he were the buyer?

This shift in paradigm suddenly made sense. They weren’t selling to US customers. They were buying from them and taking their wares overseas. The US had an ample supply of high-end illegal merchandise, and with the production’s private travel accommodations, squeezing in the extra crate would be relatively easy.

Billy wanted to stay, to parse it out, but he was needed on set. Careful to disrupt nothing, he slipped out, closing the door gently and turning.

To see John right there.

Startled, Billy laughed. “You’re surprisingly light footed for a fellow of your stature,” he quipped.

John was not amused. “That room’s locked,” he said.

Billy glanced at the door. “Yes,” he said. “So it is. I was just looking for a new sword.” He unsheathed his, and held it out, shaking his head. “Far too shiny. Not the proper sword for such a dashing and debonair bloke as young Romeo.”

John eyed him, still cautious. Then he lifted his chin. “You’re about on,” he said.

Billy smiled. “Quite right,” he said, putting the sword back in his sheath. “Off to save the world, then.”

John said nothing, but Billy could feel his eyes on him, even as he walked away.


On the floor, Billy saw through tears. He’d been stripped of his dignity, cut off from the ones he cared about. The words were spoken as a mercy, but Billy understood them as the death sentence they were.

He shook his head. “There is no world without Verona walls,” he said. “But purgatory, torture, hell itself.”

He swallowed and tried to find the words, but the pain was still too raw. “Hence-banished is banish’d from the world, and world’s exile is death.”

It choked him, the loss too profound to comprehend.

“Then banished, is death mis-term’d,” he said. “Calling death banishment, thou cutt’st my head off with a golden axe, and smilest upon the stroke that murders me.”

Because Billy knew. Billy knew that death could kill the body, but banishment killed the soul.


He’d forgotten how exhausting this work could be. The constant action, the continual facades; being someone else was almost harder than just being himself. Even with all these years of experience, it was beginning to take its toll on Billy.

Still, the mission was coming to its apex and it was almost the day of the show. There was no time to indulge such human weaknesses.

“Are you sure?” Michael asked. They’d managed to meet up, the four of them, in one of the dressing rooms.

Billy nodded wearily. “Sure looked that way,” he said. “There was clearly space set aside for more and if you think on it, it makes sense. Receiving shipments isn’t going to attract much mind, and they’ll be able to ship it all overseas without much hassle.”

“The cocaine they found earlier is produced in the United States,” Casey pointed out. “And it’s fairly high grade.”

“Ah, so there is one industry left that still can say made in America,” Billy quipped.

Rick shook his head. “So we have to stop them from buying the next shipment,” he said.

“And stop them from taking any of it overseas,” Michael added.

Billy nodded his agreement. “We know the rough timeline, and our friend Pierre is more than a little restless, which makes me think it’ll be soon,” he said. Then, he hesitated. “There may be one additional complication.”

Michael’s face froze and Rick’s eyes blinked wide. Casey pursed his lips. “And that is?” he asked.

Billy drew a breath and tried to smile. “I believe it’s possible that John clocked me poking around the storage facility,” he said.

The looks of exasperation and regret were pointed.

Billy held up a hand. “Now, I don’t think he saw anything definitive,” he said. “Just perhaps a wee bit suspicious. I think I talked him out of it, but we all need to be wary.”

“Maybe you should pull out,” Michael said. “If he’s on to you, there’s no telling what he may do.”

“With a deal this size, the stakes are high,” Casey said.

“Exactly,” Billy rejoined. “Too high to bail out for something like this. I can watch my back, but you need me.”

It was the truth, and Michael was too good to deny it.

Casey sighed. “You are the only one with an in to Pierre,” he conceded.

Michael eyed him carefully. “Are you sure you have this under control?”

Billy held up a solemn hand. “Oh, let us hence,” he said, lifting his eyebrows. “I stand on sudden haste.”

Michael’s face screwed up. “What?”

Billy rolled his eyes. “Yes, yes, we’re under control!” he said with a groan as he left the room. “Honestly, gents, we’re going to have to work on your literary skills!”


It was hard to see her sometimes, but so easy to be with her. Love and hate were two sides to the same coin, and Billy had a hard time sorting the former from the latter.

He knew her feelings; he understood them.

Yet, he could not deny his own.

Holding her, pressed against her, he said, “I must be gone and live, or stay and die.”

Her love was fickle in return and she fretted and swayed, and when Billy left, neither of them rejoiced in it.

Atop the balcony, she looked down. “O God,” she cried, clutching the railing desperately. “I have an ill-divining soul!”

Billy stared back but dared not move.

Olivia took a breath. “Methinks I see thee, now thou art below as one dead in the bottom of a tomb,” she said. “Either my eyesight fails, or thou look’st pale.”

And she was right, of course, but then, she usually was. Because Billy felt pale, and looking up at her, feeling the weight of this mission on him, sometimes he thought he might actually be digging his own grave.

He forced a smile. “And trust me, love, in my eye, so do you,” he said, holding her gaze so she could understand. “Dry sorrow drinks our blood. Adieu, adieu!”



Posted by: kristen_mara (kristen_mara)
Posted at: February 3rd, 2012 11:39 am (UTC)
Old Fashioned Stephen

Poor Billy and Olivia!

////Billy rolled his eyes. “The state of education in this country is appalling,” he muttered, walking away.////

LOL. I love their confusion.

////He understood Romeo, standing there amidst his well-intended mistake.////

Parallels with Billy and with Stephen...

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: February 3rd, 2012 01:29 pm (UTC)

Parallels with Billy and with Stephen...

Ah, yes. The poor boys.

(This reminds me that I need to try to go back to my Stephen becomes Billy fic someday. You know, with all my free time!)


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