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do i dare or do i dare? [userpic]

Chaos fic: Silence (1/1)

February 22nd, 2013 (09:38 pm)
stressed

feeling: stressed

Title: Silence

Disclaimer: I do not own Chaos.

A/N: I blame lena7142. And postfallen for beta’ing. It’s not my fault!

Warning: Deathfic

Summary: Casey craves silence; he gets Billy instead.



-o-

Casey liked the quiet.

He’d grown up in a large family -- girls, and too many of them -- and their incessant prattle had driven Casey to do anything and everything except be home to listen to them. He’d joined the military to get away from them, and found solace in the off hours in his barracks, which his compatriots foolishly wasted time burping and eating and doing other inanely macho things.

In the silence, Casey found time to study, to train, to hone himself. He mastered fighting techniques, survival skills and more. In silence, Casey found himself. He found perfection.

After that, the CIA had been an even smarter choice, where his silence was an asset of unspeakable measure. Keeping secrets was paramount to him. He kept his wants, wishes and desires locked up from anyone close to him. State secrets, by comparison, barely warranted conversation by contrast.

Casey liked coming to work, closing his mouth and doing what needed to be done. He liked deep cover, with all communication cut off. He liked to immerse himself, to lose himself, to saturate himself with the stillness and the quiet needed to discern the secrets of others and hold his own even closer.

As far as Casey was concerned, there was nothing that needed to be said that wasn’t expressed best by stretches of silence.

-o-

“Hey, Casey, you met the new kid yet?” Carson asked.

Casey curled over his computer and scowled. “No. I don’t need to, either. He’ll wash out, just like the rest.”

Carson grunted. “Only if you scare him like the rest.”

Casey lifted an eyebrow, pinning Carson with a withering glare. “If they can be scared by me then they’re not worth keeping around.”

Carson smirked. “Yeah, well, I heard Michael say this kid is different.”

Casey shook his head, looking back at his computer. “We’ll see.”

-o-

Casey had never wanted to join a team. He had originally found the idea repulsive and unnecessary. He worked best alone.

But the challenge intrigued him. The scale of the missions had appeal. And Michael Dorset made an appealing case, not with words, but with the mission reports Casey couldn’t help but yearn for.

Ultimately, Casey had traded some of his silence for the challenge.

He could only hope it wouldn’t be a choice he regretted.

-o-

“So,” Billy said. “I hear you’re something of a novelty around here.”

Casey didn’t look up. Somehow he’d gotten stuck babysitting, and while he would sit in the same room with the kid, that didn’t mean he had to encourage him to speak.

Billy apparently didn’t need encouragement. “In fact, I’ve heard the term human weapon,” he said, leaning forward with his eyes twinkling.

Casey flatly ignored him.

Billy wet his lips. “I have to admit, I find such a term slightly surprising,” he said. “But what is it they say? Never judge a book by its cover?”

Casey looked at him, coldly and nonplussed. “They also say that it is better to keep your mouth shut and seem like a fool rather than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”

Billy blinked, surprised.

Then, he grinned.

Casey glared. “What are you smiling at?”

“That’s the first time you’ve addressed me directly,” Billy said, beaming.

“And you think that’s a compliment?” Casey returned incredulously.

Billy nodded, leaning forward and getting back to work. “I think it’s a damn good place to start.”

-o-

Much to Casey’s chagrin, Billy Collins didn’t wash out. Instead, he stayed. He flourished.

And talked the entire time.

He talked in the office; he talked at briefings. He made idle chit chat in hallways and during lunch. He struck up conversations in elevators and made friends with complete strangers. Once, he started talking to Casey over a urinal in the men’s room, and Casey very nearly drowned him in his own excrement.

And he talked on missions, too. He talked on plane rides and stakeouts, in hotel rooms late at night and through bathroom doors while Casey tried to shower in peace.

Billy talked his way into the CIA, onto the team...and unfortunately, right into Casey’s life.

-o-

“So, you see,” Billy said, tapping his fingers restlessly on the wheel, “this really isn’t the worst mission ever. I mean, yes, we’re in the desert and yes, our car is most decidedly out of gas. Yes, we’re low on ammunition and there are terrorists coming our way any moment, but all things considered, we’re still alive, and we have each other, so we have an honest fighting chance.”

Casey glanced in the rearview mirror, noting the dust kicking up, signalling an approaching car. He shook his head. “That’s not what I was complaining about,” he muttered.

“Oh?” Billy asked, glancing over at him.

“No,” Casey said, checking his gun and undoing his seatbelt. “I was saying that this mission is the worst ever because I’m stuck in a car, in the desert with terrorists coming at us...with you.”

Billy’s eyes widened.

“You and your incessant verbiage, which I suppose you think is supposed to be conversation.”

“And what would you call it?”

“Torture,” he said. “Now, kindly shut up and lay down cover fire while I take care of this little problem.”

Billy inclined his head, offering up a small salute. “Aye-aye,” he said. “Anything for you.”

-o-

Casey had to admit, though. Sometimes Collins had his merits. He could talk them out of most situations, no guns or fists needed. He could wheedle them through checkpoints, flash a smile and get a necessary tidbit of intelligence. He could sweet talk other Agencies and departments. He made friends in a world where Casey only had enemies.

Casey didn’t like it, but sometimes, he could accept it.

-o-

“Now, now, let’s not be hasty,” Billy said, hands up. “I mean, after all, do we even know exactly what we’re fighting about?”

“You’re spies,” the mark said gruffly, jerking his gun at Billy as if to prove his point.

Casey stiffened, too aware of how close the muzzle was to Billy, how a shot from this angle would kill the Scot before Casey had a chance to stop it.

“But what is a spy?” Billy asked, seemingly unbothered. “I mean, best friends spy on each other all the time. It’s a compliment, that’s what it is. A sure sign that you’ve arrived. That you’re at the peak of your game. That you have something so lucrative that other people want it, too.”

The gun didn’t waver, and Casey felt himself edging toward Billy, glaring as the mark stepped back, widening his aim, switching between Casey and Billy in turn.

Billy stepped forward too, arms up, features inviting. “And spies are notoriously untrustworthy,” he said. “Plus, they’re smart.”

The mark frowned, shaking his head. “You should shut up--”

“That’s what I tell him,” Casey muttered.

But Billy didn’t listen. Billy never listened. “You’re missing my point,” he said. “My point is that yes, we were sent to spy on you, but we’ve discovered that you’re far better than the person who sent us.”

The mark’s face showed indecision, and Casey realized what Billy was doing.

“I’d rather not die here,” Billy continued. “Awfully messy and unfortunate thing, that would be. But I do recognize that my continued life expectancy needs to be worth your while. And wouldn’t you rather know who sent us? As satisfying as pulling that trigger may seem now, we can get you bigger fish.”

The mark looked thoughtful. Casey tensed, ready to spring.

Billy looked expectant.

The mark tensed.

Then lowered his gun.

Casey let out a breath and Billy grinned. “Wonderful!” he said. “I think this is the start of a wonderful friendship! Now let’s take this someplace more comfortable and get to know each other a bit better, yeah?”

A bit better. A bit more intelligence.

A bit more survival.

For once, Casey was all on board.

-o-

Most
of the time, Casey could accept it.

Other times, he still wanted to reach down Billy’s throat, pull out his vocal cords and choke him with them.

-o-

“Americans have an unnatural obsession with football,” Billy said on the flight.

It was a chartered flight for once -- and a nice one -- but Casey hadn’t gotten to enjoy a second of it thanks to Billy.

“I mean, for one thing, it’s not even really football,” Billy continued nonsensically. “You don’t play it with your feet, right? So it’s really more like handball, though there’s already a sport for that.”

“I think most organized sports are a waste of energy,” Casey muttered.

Billy seemed to barely hear him. “It’s just like Americans, though,” he said. “To ignore the worldwide standing of things and usurp terms and ideas as their own, even when they’re not. I mean, don’t get me wrong. You Yanks have done some impressive things, and I’m proud to be serving this fine nation, but you have a certain ethnocentricity that does make you seem a mite juvenile--”

Casey tried to put in his earphones, turning up his music.

“--though I dare say, you could all learn a thing or two if you just tried--”

Casey closed his eyes, upping the volume a little more and smiling. As Billy’s voice prattled on, Casey thought about how easy it’d be to throw Billy out, about Billy talking the entire way down, splatting on the ground and bursting into pieces, tongue still in motion before all movement stilled--

Then the earphones came out of his ears. Billy was close -- too close -- and Casey tensed.

“Michael wants us in the back,” he said.

Casey blinked.

“Something about another briefing,” Billy said shaking his head. “Sorry I had to wake you, mate. You looked like you were having a nice dream...”

Casey thought about Billy’s dismembered tongue.

He smiled. “You have no idea.”

-o-

And then, sometimes, Billy’s words filled the voids Casey didn’t want to acknowledge. When Carson disappeared, the silences stretched with uncertainty and self-recrimination. The memories, the doubts: they ate away at them all, gnawing through the quiet like a cancer.

Billy talked. He told stories and he made jokes. He talked about the way things used to be, about mistakes and victories, as though they mattered the same in the end.

He kept talking until Casey had no choice but to believe him sometimes.

Or if it was a choice, it was one Casey made gratefully, as Billy talked on.

-o-

“This is stupid,” Casey said.

“Rubbish,” Billy countered. “You love it.”

“No, this is stupid,” Casey insisted. “I don’t like parties.”

Billy grinned. “But you do like cake.”

Michael chuckled. “Blow out the damn candle before you set off the fire alarm.”

“I protest the absolute pointlessness--”

“Make a bloody wish!” Billy said. “Or I’ll do it for you--”

He leaned over, lips pursed, but Casey held up his hand. “One blow, and I will kill you.”

Billy stopped, stepping back, hands up.

Casey looked back at the cake. In the brief silence, he thought about his friends. Then, he blew out the candle.

And Michael clapped while Billy whistled, filling the room with chatter once again.

-o-

When Rick joined, Casey wanted to be annoyed. The kid was young and green and superfluous, and he made almost as much racket as Billy with his protestations and overly dramatic posturing.

But Rick was a dissonant note, one more off key counter-melody that made them all come together in perfect harmony.

Michael planned, Billy charmed people. Casey hurt people and Rick translated.

They were the ODS.

After all these years, Casey could finally admit, he liked the sound of that.

-o-

“This seems unnecessary,” Casey growled, trying to eke out more space for himself.

“Oh, I don’t know,” Billy said. “I know it’s a touch on the cozy side, but I for one am looking at this as a chance to better bond with my teammates.”

Rick yelped. “Hey! Who’s stepping on my foot!”

“It’s also the only transport that I could find that would take us.”

Casey grunted. “We should have walked.”

“It was fifteen miles,” Rick reminded him. “Across the desert.”

“Better than being crammed in the back of a transport like sardines. This is cruel and unusual."

"It's an opportunity," Billy said emphatically. "A chance to grow closer. Literally and figuratively. After all this time together, I think theres still plenty to learn about one another, don't you think?"

"Like I said," Casey muttered. "Cruel and unusual."

-o-

All these years, so much had changed. Casey clung to the constants, held onto them as reference points in an ever variable life.

He counted on Michael's ruthless plotting. He trusted Rick's wide-eyed naivete to work in their favor more often than not.

And he trusted Billy to talk.

In good times.

In bad.

Billy talked.

-o-

"I’m sure that killing me seems like a really good idea,” Billy explained, shrugging his shoulders with his hands up. “I mean, positions reversed, I can’t say that I wouldn’t have the same thought--”

Billy was talking.

This was not so unusual, of course. But Billy wasn’t talking to save his life.

He was talking to save Casey’s.

Because Casey needed time to work his bonds free. He needed time to rally his strength, to make a surge and get them out.

He needed time he didn’t have.

Time Billy would buy him with every word he spoke.

Pointless and inane --

And totally useful.

“But all the blood -- it’s so messy!” Billy said. “And, is that fresh paint on the wall? You’ll have to redo the entire room entirely, and blood in the rug will be a costly thing to clean.”

Casey jerked his hands, roughly now. With the bad guy watching Billy, he had almost free reign.

“And have you considered the guilt?” Billy asked. “Granted, you look like a bloke who’s been through more than his share, but have you ever had to live with murder? Could you look in the mirror day after day knowing you took another life?”

Casey gritted his teeth, holding back a grunt as he tugged one more time and the bonds came free.

He was on his feet, ready to move when a gunshot split the air--

-o-

Casey liked the quiet.

In the silence, Casey found time to study, to train, to hone himself. He mastered fighting techniques, survival skills and more. In silence, Casey found himself. He found perfection.

Casey told himself he always liked the quiet.

-o-

There was no sound.

In Casey’s mind, all rational thought went blank. He reacted, lashing out with the cold ferocity of a predator, killing the mark with no fuss.

No satisfaction.

When it was over, his heart was pounding, blood burning in his ears, chest aching as the pronounce silence filled him to the core.

-o-

“Billy,” he called, going to his knees next to Billy’s prone body. The Scot was on his back, limbs tangled and limp, blood staining the front of his shirt. “Billy.”

He reached down, tilting Billy’s face toward him. His head rolled limply, flopping to the side, eyes closed.

“Come on, come on,” Casey muttered, moving his fingers to press into the pulse point on Billy’s throat. The rapid thrum was hardly reassuring. “Don’t do this to me now, Collins. Stay with me.”

With that, he shucked off his jacket, balling it up and pressing down hard on the bullet wound to Billy’s chest. Hot blood welled up, but Casey ignored it, using his other hand to pull out his phone. “I swear, Collins,” he said. “If you’re doing this to torture me...”

Under his touch, Billy stirred, eyes opening sluggishly.

Casey leaned forward. “That’s it,” he coaxed. “Isn’t it about time you started talking again? Telling me how this really isn’t so bad? About how we’ve had worse?”

It took a moment -- a long moment -- but Billy’s eyes focused, a dim awareness settling as he met Casey’s gaze. Then his mouth opened, and he inhaled raggedly, and Casey sat straighter, expectant.

He’d listen. To whatever story, to whatever joke. To whatever attempt at diffusement or absolution Billy might offer. Casey would take it, would gladly let it fill the cloying silence that threatened to consume Casey once and for all.

But nothing came out.

Billy’s eyes rolled back and his body went limp, and the only sound was Casey’s wrenching cry, splitting the stillness with his desperation.

-o-

Billy didn’t talk, so Casey did what he could. He kept the pressure, he called for help; he filled in Michael, made contact with Rick. He secured the intel; he kept talking.

Eyes on Billy, he talked and talked and talked.

After all these years, he figured he owed Billy that much.

-o-

“Can you tell me what happened, sir?” the doctor asked, his English laborious and slow, but still clear.

“He’s been shot,” Casey said tersely.

“Yes, yes,” the doctor said. “But what happened?”

An alarm pinged, and a nurse called out. Another nurse responded and a monitor started wailing before the room devolved into conversation that Casey couldn’t understand or follow.

Beneath it all, Billy laid limp on the table. Stripped and bloodied, his skin was pale, eyes closed. The doctor moved around, opening Billy’s mouth and working down a tube, taping it off.

No one asked Casey any more questions.

Billy offered no answers.

This time, the blood said enough for all of them as a monitor wailed before resounding with a monotonous tone that became the only thing Casey could hear.

-o-

Casey talked.

He talked to Michael about what went wrong. He explained the circumstances to Rick. He debrief over the phone with Higgins. He answered all the questions.

He used more words than he ever had, more words than he knew he was capable of.

And ultimately, they all meant the same thing: Billy was dead.

So Casey talked. He explained and he justified and he talked until all the words ran out.

And the only thing left was silence.

-o-

Casey had always liked the quiet. He’d craved it, yearned for it, wanted it.

He had it now. He had it every moment of every day. Casey had time to think and reflect, to better himself. Casey could seek perfection with no reservations, just like he’d wanted all along.

Day became weeks.

Weeks became months.

Months became years.

And finally, Casey realized he didn’t like the quiet all.

Comments

Posted by: sophie_deangirl (sophie_deangirl)
Posted at: February 23rd, 2013 04:39 am (UTC)

Delightful story and it fulfilled the need to have a deathfic to "cheer me up" after another brutally busy week. Again, you do so much with a silent Billy and in this, the pain that comes from Casey's moment of "be careful what you wish for" is palpably tragic. It reminded me of an old Twilight Zone episode where a bookworm wishes humanity to disappear so that he can read in peace and when a nuclear event happens and he gets his wish, he breaks his glasses and can't enjoy the books. Casey's loss is much more heartbreaking and you can feel it.

Amazing as always!

Fave parts:


Carson smirked. “Yeah, well, I heard Michael say this kid is different.”

Casey shook his head, looking back at his computer. “We’ll see.”

--love that Billy came off different to Michael.

Billy nodded, leaning forward and getting back to work. “I think it’s a damn good place to start.”

--Billy's delight is SO CUTE!


He made friends in a world where Casey only had enemies

--such an admission!!

“But what is a spy?” Billy asked, seemingly unbothered. “I mean, best friends spy on each other all the time. It’s a compliment, that’s what it is. A sure sign that you’ve arrived. That you’re at the peak of your game. That you have something so lucrative that other people want it, too.”

--Awww!

He’d listen. To whatever story, to whatever joke. To whatever attempt at diffusement or absolution Billy might offer. Casey would take it, would gladly let it fill the cloying silence that threatened to consume Casey once and for all.

But nothing came out.

Billy’s eyes rolled back and his body went limp, and the only sound was Casey’s wrenching cry, splitting the stillness with his desperation.

-- gulp! Sob!



Edited at 2013-02-23 04:46 am (UTC)

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: February 28th, 2013 01:16 pm (UTC)
billy thinks

I know how much you love deathfics so I'm glad this one worked for you :) Even if Billy didn't have any angsty last words!

Thanks :)

Posted by: nietie (nietie)
Posted at: February 23rd, 2013 10:40 am (UTC)
Chaosketeers

They were the ODS.
After all these years, Casey could finally admit, he liked the sound of that.

Loved that part!

Beautiful, heartfelt fic. Sometimes we start to appreciate something, when we have to miss it. Poor Casey.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: February 28th, 2013 01:17 pm (UTC)
chaos team moves

I think Casey would never admit it, but he's probably more attached to the team almost than any of the rest.

Thanks :)

Posted by: blackdog_lz (blackdog_lz)
Posted at: February 23rd, 2013 04:49 pm (UTC)
Casey and Billy

This short piece certainly packed a punch.

It's heartbreaking and sad, because Casey didn't realize the friendship and companionship he had with Billy until after it's too late.

But I adore how clearly you describe the difference between a taciturn Casey and a verbose Billy and how it shapes their interactions and their way to approach missions and live.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: February 28th, 2013 01:18 pm (UTC)
billy casey trouble

I loved the interaction between those two characters. It was just so well done and it had so much potential.

I'm glad you liked the fic :) Thanks!

(Also, I'm almost done with the beta -- I'm sorry it's taking me so long! This has been a crazy busy week. I've got about three pages left to go -- I hope to have it back by the end of the weekend at the VERY latest. I love it, though!)

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