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do i dare or do i dare? [userpic]

Chaos fic: Unimportant Jobs (1/1)

June 27th, 2013 (06:02 am)
Tags: , ,

feeling: determined

Title: Unimportant Jobs

Disclaimer: I do not own Chaos.

A/N: You know how I slit Billy’s throat last week? Apparently once wasn’t enough. Same prompt, different take. Beta by sockie1000. Warnings for some blood here.

Summary: In less than a minute, everything had changed.


Over the course of time, Rick has gotten used to the ins and outs of the spy game. He’s learning to lie under pressure; he’s starting to be suspicious of anyone who happens to be in his vicinity. He’s always looking for ulterior motives and trying to think three steps ahead.

He’s learning to be bored.

This is perhaps the biggest let down of his job. It involves prolonged periods of sitting and listening, sitting and watching. Sitting and essentially doing nothing.

He travels to exotic destinations and sits in his motel room with an audio feed. He ventures to the most dangerous places on earth and gets cooped up in the back of a van, watching a video stream. Because sometimes spies get to go undercover and catch the bad guy.

And sometimes they play backup.

Especially when they’re the new guy.

So yes, Rick is disappointed that he’s sitting in the back of a nondescript black van in Nigeria while his teammates infiltrate a powerful drug lord. He’s more than a little let down that Casey gets to go undercover as a hired security officer while Billy plays a janitor. He supposes the only consolation is that Michael’s the one stuck on the phone giving updates to Langley all the time, but that doesn’t help stave off the boredom of watching drug lords conduct their business.

He would have thought criminals would be more interesting.

After a week, he realizes that criminals may be more violent under pressure, but they’re just as mundane as the rest of the world in the rest of life.

He’s passed the hours doodling pictures in his notepad or playing games on his cell phone. He organizes everything in the van and starts creating ridiculous scenarios in his head to entertain himself. He makes contingencies for things that will never happen -- nuclear war, a devastating asteroid hit, a zombie plague -- and begins to wonder if Michael’s a paranoid bastard not because he’s a tactical genius, but because he’s bored.

Rick is reconsidering his career choice -- maybe he would have been an awesome accountant like his mother always said -- when there’s an activity on the screen.

Rick gives it a cursory glance, expecting it to be another kerfuffle about cheese on a hamburger meant to be plain. But when he sees Billy being dragged in, struggling and dazed, he knows something is wrong.

He’s fumbling with the monitors, turning up the volume, trying to get a better grasp of the situation. But before he can make heads or tails of anything, Casey strides into screen, pulling Billy back by the hair. The move exposes the Scotsman’s throat, and Rick pauses, confused before Casey pulls out his knife.

The blade glints on the feed and Rick sits frozen, not sure what to do as Casey puts the knife to Billy’s throat.

And pulls.


For a second, Rick thinks he must be seeing things. The feed isn’t the highest quality and it’s not in color. So maybe it’s just a perspective issue; maybe it’s not what it looks like.

But then dark liquid starts to pour door Billy’s throat, soaking into his shirt and staining across his chest. Rick sits, too shocked to move, as Billy’s eyes go wide and all other sound goes dissipates. Over the audio feed, there’s only the slight sound of feedback before Billy audibly chokes, fingers gripping uselessly at Casey’s unwavering hands.

Then, Casey lets go, his hands pulling away. Immediately, Billy crumples, going first to his knees before falling to his side on the pavement. He’s gaping now, eyes still wide as he almost convulses, blood starting to drip onto the ground. His breathing is grating and halting, stuttering before he gasps. His limbs go lax before he gurgles, and his eyes roll up into his head before he goes horribly and irrevocably still.

There’s a small chortle and a round of affirmation. Someone pokes Billy with his foot, tipping the Scot onto his back. Billy falls back, sprawled and unmoving while another spits on him and walks away. One by one they leave, with Casey following behind, wiping his bloody knife on a handkerchief before he walks away without looking back.


Rick blinks, trying to make sense of what just happened. One moment, he’d been bored. The next, Casey had slit Billy’s throat. In less than a minute, everything had changed.

Suddenly, none of the contingencies make sense. Because Rick has planned for the zombie plague, but he hasn’t planned for this.

Fumbling, he takes off his headphones and tries to see if he still has his gun. He’s haphazard and sloppy, and he wonders if leaving the van will be safe. He’s not sure what the protocol is on this. He’s memorized the mission file, and he’s gone over all of Michael’s ancillary procedures, but he can’t think of what this qualifies as.

He can’t think of anything.

But then he looks at the feed and sees Billy, lying prone on the ground.

And Rick doesn’t have to think. Rick just runs.


It’s not a far distance. Rick picked that spot for the van because of its proximity to the primary operation zone, which was important in case of emergency extraction. Michael had timed it when they got here; under duress, they could make it in less than five minutes.

Rick arrives in less than two.

From the security feed, he knows he needs to move around to the back. He also knows from his round the clock surveillance that security in this area is minimal. Apparently, drug lords of this magnitude believed that the best security was a reputation for violence. Rick had thought that to be arrogant and stupid.

After this, he’s having second thoughts.

Not that it matters.

Rick skids around a corner, moving down the alley. They hacked a security feed from one of the nearby businesses, so he knows Billy’s been left outside. He makes it halfway down the alley, turns once and moves around a dumpster when he stops short when he sees the blood.

The puddle is stark, glistening under the hot sun.

Then he sees Billy.

The Scotsman is still on his back, unmoving. His entire upper body is stained with red, and the grisly image almost turns Rick’s stomach. Because Billy’s lying, discarded in an alley, in a puddle of his own blood.

Right where Casey left him.

Casey did this. He slit Billy’s throat; he left him here.

Casey killed Billy.

And Rick doesn’t know what to do.


He’s still standing there, when there’s footsteps from down the alley. Rick tenses, and almost manages to pull his gun when Casey comes up next to him. “Good,” the older operative says breathlessly. “Have you called for backup?”

Rick stares.

Casey moves past him, neatly stepping over the blood as he shrugs out of his button up shirt. He looks up at Rick. “Have you let Michael know we need a medical cover in place?”

Rick blinks.

Efficiently, Casey folds his shirt, pressing it down against Billy’s throat before narrowing his gaze on Rick again. “Martinez,” he says sharply. “Call Michael.

Gaping, Rick doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry. “You killed him.”

“Dead men don’t bleed, moron,” Casey snaps. “So hurry up and call for help.”

“But you slit his throat,” Rick says emphatically.

“Technically, yes,” Casey concedes.

“Technically?” Rick asks, aghast.

Casey sighs. “Most people don’t don’t know how properly cut a throat,” he says, as a matter of fact. “They think you grab the head by the hair and pull it back to expose the throat, but this way, the windpipe gets in the way. A real expert tilts the head forward and to the side to expose the carotid.”

Rick gapes and stares and blinks in equal turns this time. “So?”

“So,” Casey says, adjusting his grip and keeping pressure consistent, “I slit Billy’s throat in the least efficient way possible, giving us more than enough time to get him proper medical treatment and save his life.”

It sounds reasonable. Casey says it like it’s no problem at all. Except, this: “But you slit his throat!

“You’re being melodramatic,” Casey replies curtly.

“And you’re psychotic!” Rick insists, starting to flail a bit.

“Aye,” a shaking voice says, and Rick startles, looking down, surprised to find Billy look up at them. “You’re both right. But you reckon we can...argue it later? Perhaps when I’m not...bleeding to death?”

The words are quiet, hushed and strained, but unmistakable.

Casey turns his gaze back to Rick. “Phone,” he orders. “Now.”

Numbly, Rick obeys.


Michael arranges for medical support, pulling some sort of miracle through Langley that keeps Casey’s cover while still getting Billy the best medical help possible.

Casey stays close to Billy, keeping the pressure steady and talking to the other man.

And Rick stands stupidly, watching and wondering. It feels wrong to say he’s bored, but he’s certainly not doing anything productive, so he feels just as useless as ever.

When the sirens approach, he sets his jaw. “I still don’t understand,” he says.

Casey refuses to look at him this time. “It’s not that complicated,” he mutters.”

On the ground, Billy’s replies have been growing fainter. His breathing is tenuous, and when he looks at Rick, his eyes are faded and his gaze is distant. “These people...,” he wheezes. “What do they do...to traitors?”

Rick frowns. He knows the case file. He’s seen the pictures. “Execution, usually.”

“Immediate,” Billy says, the word sounding laborious as his eyelids start to fall. “Casey...saved my life.”

“He slit your throat,” Rick reminds him.

Billy’s eyes drift close. “Same difference,” he murmurs with one last exhale before the ambulance arrives and Rick is superfluous once more.


They let Rick ride in front after Casey threatens the medic to allow him in the back with Billy. Rick sits with the driver, feeling awkward, stealing glances through the glass and mostly not knowing what to do.

When they finally arrive, Rick piles out and watches as Billy is rolled out. He’s not moving anymore, and air is being pushed into his lungs. His skin is frighteningly pale, truly colorless, making the red blood that still stains everything seem even more appalling.

He stops at the ER door, standing next to Casey. The other man’s hands are coated red as they hang limply at his sides. He looks through the window to where the doctor’s treating Billy, and Rick notices for the first time that he’s just as pale as Billy is.

Rick watched Casey slit Billy’s throat, but it’s not that simple. It’s undercover work and it’s compromised aliases. It’s doing what’s necessary and fighting like hell. It’s lies and truth and deception and the good fight. And, at it’s core, it’s friendship; it’s brotherhood. It’s fear and loss.

It’s hope.

And for the first time, Rick thinks he might truly understand. It’s not about action and drama; it’s not about espionage or the mission.

It’s about a team you trust; a team you’d fight for. A team you’d hurt to save their lives.

Rick just hopes he hasn’t lost it just as soon as he’s found it.


In the waiting room, the seconds tick by. He thinks he should be used to it, but it’s still the most painful wait yet. But as hard as it is for him, he knows it’s harder for Casey.

For all his explanations and deflections, Casey is a mess. He can’t sit still, pacing off the confines of the waiting room and all but growling at anyone who gets in his way. He can’t be convinced to clean himself up, and it’s all Rick can do to keep the man from getting called out by security.

When they find out Billy’s being taken up to surgery -- to repair damage to his windpipe, mostly -- Casey tries to disappear, but Rick’s had enough of being idle. He follows Casey to the bathroom, and arrives just in time to see the other man neatly punch a hole through a door.

“Feel better?” Rick asks.

“No,” Casey replies. “But I find that rage is an appropriate outlet.”

“Against doors?” Rick quips.

Casey doesn’t laugh. Instead, he goes to the sink, turning on the water and starting to wash his hands.

Rick hesitates, watching as the blood starts to flow off. His knuckles are cut now from the impact with the door, and it’s hard to tell how much blood is from what.

It probably doesn’t matter.

Wetting his lips, Rick ventures forward. “It’s going to be okay.”

Casey doesn’t look at him. “I don’t need your comfort.”

“You don’t?” Rick asks.

“As you were so keen to point out, I’m not the one with my throat slit,” he replies, a distinctive strain of venom in his voice.

Rick shifts awkwardly. “I know,” he says. “I didn’t get it then.”

Casey gives him a sideways glance. “And you do now?”

Rick shrugs. “We do what we need to do,” he says.

“We’re bastards, Martinez,” Casey replies curtly. “There’s no way around it. I just slit Billy’s throat. No matter what reasons, I took a knife to his skin and split it open. I left him there, possibly to die.”

“They would have killed him,” Rick argues.

“And if he dies now?” Casey asks.

Rick sighs. “He won’t.”

Casey goes back to washing his hands. “You sound awfully sure about that.”

“Well,” Rick says. “I’ve had more time than the rest of you to think about it.”

Casey scoffs. “So that makes you an expert?”


Casey finishes scrubbing his hands, turning the faucet off. “I suppose this time I can live with that.”

As far as Rick’s concerned, that’s a good start.


It turns out, Billy’s okay. He makes it through surgery with flying colors. He’s had multiple transfusions, but the doctors are optimistic that there will be no lasting damage. His voice is still raspy, and the bulky bandage around his throat looks uncomfortable, but it could have been worse.

Rick still remembers the video footage, seeing Billy go down -- and he knows it could have been much worse.

Plus, Casey’s cover is still in order. The human weapon is grimly satisfied by this -- that was his play all along, after all -- but he still seems unusually reluctant to go back into the field. He lingers longer than Rick expects, and when Michael asks Rick to help him get something from the cafeteria, he quickly realizes that the request isn’t for Michael; it’s for Casey and Billy. They trust each other with their lives in every way possible, but that doesn’t make this easier.

Rick takes some comfort in that. That his team is human. And yet still so damn good to defy the odds. After everything, they salvaged the mission -- and saved Billy.

But this means that while Casey’s in the field and Michael’s playing backup, Rick has to stay with Billy at the hospital. At first, it’s a relief to see the Scottish operative awake and smiling. But as the days wear on, Rick starts to feel a little restless.

“Am I boring you?” Billy finally asks.

Rick blushes. “No,” he says quickly. “I just. I, um--”

“You were thinking about Casey and Michael and the mission,” Billy concludes.

Rick smiles sheepishly. “I never thought I’d miss being stuck in the van.”

“Such things are often relative,” Billy says by way of commiseration. “I dare say I’m a bit bored myself, but every time I look in the mirror, I’m reminded that I could have traded a week-long hospital stay for eternity. Makes my present situation seem not so bad.”

Rick makes a face. “That’s morbid.”

“That’s perspective,” Billy tells him. “You can look at the positive or the negative in life. On the one hand, you could say that one of my best mates slit my throat.”

“Well, he did--

“Technically,” Billy amends, holding up his finger. “Or you could say that one of my best mates risked his sanity and self control to save my life when it was surely forfeit.”

Rick rolls his eyes, but he can’t deny it. “You know,” he says. “There is one silver lining I can think of.”

“That’s my boy,” Billy says. “And what is said silver lining?”

Rick grins. “Well, I was thinking, even when we get back to the States, they’re going to keep you on desk duty for a while. At least a few weeks; maybe a month or two.”

Billy starts to frown. “I’m not entirely sure how this is the good news--”

“Well, with you stuck at a desk, this means I’ll be able take your place in the field more,” Rick continues. “If someone is going to be stuck doing research; if someone’s going to be back in the van, it’ll be you.

Brow furrowed, Billy starts to look vex. “Suddenly this predicament is sounding less appealing all the time.”

“Eh,” Rick says. “What is it you guys tell me? No job is unimportant?”

“No job is unimportant, but that doesn’t make them all fun,” Billy says, and he’s starting to sulk a little.

Rick chuckles. “Welcome to my world.”

“Aye,” Billy says. “And next time someone has to get their throat slit for the cause, I nominate you.”

As they keep bantering, Rick realizes idly that he’s still doing nothing. The mission isn’t advanced by this; he’s not even providing any tangible support to his country.

But he’s here, with Billy. An injured teammate; a recuperating friend.

Doing nothing has never seemed more important.


Posted by: blackdog_lz (blackdog_lz)
Posted at: June 27th, 2013 06:34 pm (UTC)

I barely recovered from the first fic and now this. Very gritty and very true :)(the fact about throat slitting; thank you physiology classes)

I can only tell you again how much I'm impressed by your writing and your ideas.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: July 24th, 2013 03:14 pm (UTC)
billy watches

I didn't know the throat slitting fact before writing these fics. It certainly is an interesting if gruesome tidbit!

(I'm about half done with your beta. It will be done this week, I promise!)


Posted by: blackdog_lz (blackdog_lz)
Posted at: July 25th, 2013 05:41 pm (UTC)
Hard at Work

Definitely gruesome (still, I always nag about it when they get it wrong in movies)

I'm longing toward the beta :) Although my weekend will be fairly short, since I'm celebrating the stag night of my best friend and I'm giddy about the wedding too, because I'm the maid of honor :)

Posted by: kristen_mara (kristen_mara)
Posted at: June 29th, 2013 06:49 am (UTC)

So, slitting his throat once wasn't enough for you??

And you found a great twist this time, getting Casey to be the one to do it!

I love Rick's thoughts about his team mates and boredom and boring criminals *G*

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: July 24th, 2013 03:14 pm (UTC)
billy considers

LOL, there were so many ways to use the throat slitting prompt. I could have done one more....

And this one had so much ANGST.

Thanks :)

Posted by: sophie_deangirl (sophie_deangirl)
Posted at: June 29th, 2013 04:58 pm (UTC)

I loved this "double take", but then you knew I would. I love Casey's turmoil over what he had to do. It reveals such a vulnerability. And that Billy can quantify it for Rick speaks volumes especially when he says that Casey risked his sanity and valued self-control because hurting a friend so drastically even if it was to save him, still would leave a mark on a conscience, even one trained to suppress guilt as a superfluous. Love it!

Fave Parts:

Then, Casey lets go, his hands pulling away. Immediately, Billy crumples, going first to his knees before falling to his side on the pavement. He’s gaping now, eyes still wide as he almost convulses, blood starting to drip onto the ground. His breathing is grating and halting, stuttering before he gasps. His limbs go lax before he gurgles, and his eyes roll up into his head before he goes horribly and irrevocably still.

--delightfully grim description!!!

“Technically,” Billy amends, holding up his finger. “Or you could say that one of my best mates risked his sanity and self control to save my life when it was surely forfeit.”

--leave it to Billy to see the heroism of Casey's act and finding absolution. I love that about him!

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: July 24th, 2013 03:15 pm (UTC)

Heh, I love your love of h/c. It makes my countless whump ficlets seem worthwhile.

And this prompt had so much potential that it deserved another take.


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