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do i dare or do i dare? [userpic]

Chaos fic: Put the Past Away

February 6th, 2014 (06:14 am)
anxious

feeling: anxious

Title: Put the Past Away

Disclaimer: I do not own Chaos.

A/N: A bit of a different whump fic :) Beta by sockie1000. Preseries.

Summary: That underneath the guises; underneath the facades; Billy’s no hero at all.



-o-

As the new guy, Billy likes to present himself as calm and unflappable in the field. He talks in grandiose phrases, favoring heroic turns of phrase to paint himself as a rascal and an idealist. While it is true that he has faced many a danger with nary more than his wits or courage, that does not mean he is invincible.

To the contrary, when given time and position to consider the sheer audacity of some tasks before him, he is as green and terrified as a novice. He doesn’t want to make this public knowledge, of course. His tenure as a CIA agent is precarious enough as it is, given that he is nothing more than a MI6 reject. He has to build a reputation, and it’s hard enough to avoid looking like a rookie when he’s shaking, quite literally in his boots.

It doesn’t help that he knows things can and do go wrong in the field. He’s living proof of that. If his experience with MI6 has taught him anything, it’s that spies are fallible, be they brave or cowardly. Disposition, willpower, strength -- none of it is a guarantee of success. That level of uncertainty leaves Billy’s platitudes hollow inside. He may fool everyone else, but he fears that he knows the truth.

That underneath the guises; underneath the facades; he’s no hero at all.

He’s a coward.

A bloody coward.

He swallows and blinks, feeling a cold sweat break out across his forehead. Five minutes ago, he was entirely in control. Five minutes ago, he was all smiles and jokes. Five minutes ago.

Five minutes ago there wasn’t so much blood.

It’s all over the floor, staining the walls and spattered on the boxes in the warehouse. There is nothing in the mission plan about blood, especially not at this juncture. Billy and Casey are doing a routine security sweep. It’s in and out, no problems, no hassles.

No bloodshed.

Apparently not.

It had started with one guard, and quickly became two and then three and four. Between the two of them, Casey and Billy had managed to down them all without too much difficulty but when the fifth, sixth and seventh arrived, and the eight came shooting first, things had got a bit harried. The action had left Billy too flummoxed to be scared, but now that the gunfire and imminent peril is gone, Billy is faced with the terrifying reality of the aftermath.

Because there are nine bodies on the floor. The eight guards, maimed and out.

And Casey.

His body looks almost comically small, and he’s splayed against a box, half slumped over. His shirt is torn, and the blood has soaked through it, dripping to the floor. His face is slack and pale, and he looks dead.

He looks dead.

And there’s so much blood.

Billy can smell it and he can’t take a step without smudging it around. He can almost taste it, thick and coppery, and his stomach wrenches painfully as his lunch comes up and he goes to his knees.

He vomits so hard it hurts, leaving his throat burning and his eyes stinging. The bile on the floor turns watery as he spits, heaving for air that just leaves him even more nauseous. Eight people are dead. Not even bad people; not even their enemies. They attacked first, but that doesn’t make it seem much better. Billy’s too aware of the damage he inflicts on the lives of those around him, and eight strangers are dead because of him and he doesn’t know what to do with that.

And Casey.

Billy’s hardly been with the ODS a year, and he’s fought hard for every ounce of respect. Carson and Michael had been easier sells, but Casey -- Casey never gave him anything. Never gave him an inch. Billy pouted and he harrumphed, but maybe Casey was right.

Maybe Billy shouldn’t be here.

Maybe Billy’s a walking magnet for disaster.

Maybe Billy never should have left the UK.

Maybe Billy should have died instead.

His breath catches and his head spins. He can’t do this. He can’t he can’t he can’t hecan’thecan’t. What is even happening? How is this even happening? Why do people keep dying? Why do missions always go so wrong? Billy is a grown man, he’s a capable man, but he feels like a child, clamoring in the cupboard in fear while his father rages.

He should have known.

He’s sobbing now, tears wet on his face as his nose starts to run. He breathes noisily, trying to hold onto consciousness as it flutters dimly about him.

He can’t be the last man standing. Not again. He’s the only member of his family alive. He’s the only one who walked out of that last mission with MI6. He can’t do it again. He can’t and he won’t. No. No, no, no, no.

“Yes.”

The voice is so unexpected that Billy startles badly. He jerks, almost falling onto his arse as he looks up in total horror. He’s expecting someone to be holding a gun on him -- it’d be telling, he thinks, to die after having a panic attack -- but there’s no one there.

Just eight bodies.

And Casey.

Casey.

Billy swallows shakily. “Casey?” he asks.

The other man is still slumped, but his hands are tight against his stomach. He grimaces, his eyes clouded but open as he breathes heavily. “Yes, Collins,” Casey says, slowly and purposefully. “You can do this. And you will.”

Billy blinks, not even sure what to say. Not even sure this is real. He realizes vaguely that he must have spoken out loud. That he’s not just crying and vomiting, but he’s actually talking to himself because he is well and truly have a total nervous breakdown.

Even the horrifying self awareness can’t change the fact that it’s happening. It doesn’t ease the pressure in his chest; doesn’t quell the shaking in his fingers. He shakes his head, not trusting himself to speak.

Casey inhales raggedly, pushing himself up a little as his face contorts in pain. “You are going to do this,” he says. “So whatever issues you’re having -- whatever fears you think are so important -- you are going to put them aside and help save my life.” His eyes narrow and drill into Billy. “Now.”

There is an inherent threat in the order that shouldn’t be intimidating. Casey is broken and bloody; he’s keeled over and holding to consciousness by a sheer fortitude alone. He’s hardly a threat to Billy.

And yet, Billy feels the weight of the threat. Feels it like the responsibility he carries. Because he started this, and he needs to finish it.

Trembling, he tries to steady his breathing with marginal effect. “How?” he asks, the one syllable almost inaudible.

Casey looks heartened by it, though. “Let’s start by controlling the bleeding.”

Billy stares at him, because it doesn’t make any sense. Casey can’t be asking this. Casey shouldn’t be asking this. Billy can’t fix things; Billy can only destroy things. Everything important in Billy’s life has slipped right through his fingers.

“Come here,” Casey says, leaving no room for argument.

Billy flinches, but doesn’t move.

“Come. Here,” Casey hisses.

Billy starts shaking badly again as his limbs numbly move. He half crawls the distance, sitting gingerly just beyond the pool of blood.

Casey nods. “Okay, so we’ll need to use your jacket.”

Billy blinks at him.

“Your jacket,” Casey growls. He flails a foot to kick Billy. “Take off your jacket.”

Dumbly, Billy fumbles with it and it comes off.

“Now put it against the wound,” Casey instructs.

Billy looks at the jacket.

Then he looks at the wound.

And sees the blood. It’s worse now, coating Casey’s hands and smeared over everything. It’s gushing, steady and consistent and…

Billy’s head goes light, blood draining from his face. He can’t do this. He can’t.

“Collins,” Casey says. “Damn it, Collins. You haven’t screwed up yet, but I swear to God if you pass out on me now, I will never forgive you.”

The world is tunneling, but Billy still hears. Still hears and understands.

His brow furrows. “I haven’t?”

Casey looks annoyed. “What?”

“I haven’t screwed up?” Billy asks, too aware that his inflection makes him sound childish.

Casey stares at him, almost in disbelief. But he slowly nods. “This isn’t your fault,” he says, a little haltingly now. “You fought good. Had my back. I’m the one who got shot. Now I need you to get me out of here.”

Billy looks at him, almost afraid to believe it. It’s not his fault. How can it not be his fault? Everything is his fault, and it’s always his fault, and it’s his fault.

But Casey is bleeding and people are dead and it’s not his fault.

Casey’s face is pale, but he holds Billy’s gaze. “Please,” he says. “I need your help.”

Please.

It’s not just a request; it’s trust.

It’s not just trust; it’s absolution.

And Billy’s scared. He’s still terrified and shaky, and he wants to run away.

But there’s still something here to salvage. There’s still something here to set right. There’s still something here to fight for.

There’s still something here.

Finally, Billy nods. He looks at the jacket and balls it up. He takes a breath, glances at the gushing wound, and then presses it down hard.

Casey grunts, his body jerking in pain. Billy grits his teeth, though, and bears down. It’s a long moment before his nausea subsides; longer still before Casey meets his gaze again.

“Okay,” the older man says breathlessly. “Good. Now how about calling in for backup?”

Billy’s still a bit slow, but he understands faster now. He digs into his pocket, pulling out his mobile. Hastily, he pens a one-handed text. His fingers are red with blood, leaving the keys wet and glistening, but he doesn’t think about that. He doesn’t think about anything except getting through this alive.

Both of them.

Because Billy has failed at many things in life, but there’s still a chance he might not fail this time. He doesn’t have to be the last man standing. He’s scared, but he’s not alone.

He looks at Casey, holding his mobile tight.

He’s not alone.

Still, his hope is a tenuous thing, and he’s more than a little relieved when Michael replies promptly to his 9-1-1 with an ETA.

“Help’s coming,” Billy reports.

“Ambulance?” Casey asks, starting to slump back down again.

Billy holds steady as best he can. “I thought it best.”

Casey nods gruffly, eyes flitting up toward Billy’s again. “You want to tell me why you’re so scared?”

Billy reddens. “I’m not good around blood.”

“You picked a bad line of work,” Casey mutters.

“I’m also not good with failure,” Billy adds.

Casey almost laughs. “What the hell are you doing here, then?”

Billy’s fingers go a little numb. “I’m not sure I should be here at all,” he says. “I had a bloody meltdown…”

“Fear isn’t the problem,” Casey snaps.

Billy looks at him in surprise. “It’s...not?”

Casey’s face screws up. “Fear is a normal psychological response to many situations.”

“I’ve never seen you flinch in the field,” Billy points out.

“That’s because I know how to use my fear,” Casey says. “Look, on a scale of one to ten, where is your fear at right now?”

Billy swallows. He thinks of the bodies and the blood. He thinks of the possibility of failure. “The scale only goes to ten?”

“Perfect,” Casey says. “Because the higher the number, the more energy you have to use.”

Billy looks at him, confused.

“Fear is a powerful stimulant. You can let it drive you into a corner crying, or you can harness it to do impossible feats,” Casey says. He’s wheezing now, his eyes starting to glaze as his fingers start to go slack. “Fear is your best friend.”

Billy’s heart skips a beat. “Casey,” he says, jostling the older man as his eyes flutter. “Casey!”

The fear is back, building behind his eyes. It creeps into his fingers, settling into the pit of his stomach. If Casey dies; if Casey doesn’t make it; if Billy’s the last man--

Fear is a powerful stimulant.

The words echo heavily in his head.

You can let it drive you into a corner crying.

Billy’s been there; Billy’s done that. He has no shame left, he reckons. No one left to see it anyway.

Or you can harness it to do impossible feats.

Like survive a firefight with four-to-one-odds. Like be a spy at not one, but two agencies.

Like saving a teammate.

Fear is your best friend.

Billy can’t be sure, but he also can’t afford to doubt. Doubling down, he steels himself and swallows back hard against the nausea. He keeps one hand on the gushing wound, using the other to pull Casey up toward himself. It’s not easy, but he gets the other man situated in his arms, getting to his feet.

His legs feel wooden, and from here, the tableau is daunting.

He takes the first step anyway. He falters, his breathing spiking.

He takes the second step, and then a third.

Soon, he’s running, past the bodies and past the blood. If an ambulance is coming, Billy’s going to meet it halfway. He’s going to give Casey every chance in the world to survive this. Besides, getting Casey away from the warehouse is the best way to keep their cover. Even if Billy’s not sure he’s much of a spy, he’s pretty sure Casey wouldn’t want to be compromised.

And there’s no reason to risk it. Not when the only thing holding him back is fear.

He gets to the street as the ambulance pulls up. He falters, almost dropping Casey as he waves them down for help. If they’re confused, the blood is a compelling argument and soon they’re prying Casey from Billy’s grip.

It’s a blur, then. Billy’s head spin in the flashing lights, and when they load Casey up, he’s too dumbfounded to try to follow. He’s still standing there, bloody and dazed, when the ambulance pulls away and police start to probe the scene. He thinks Michael and Carson may be back at the warehouse, cleaning up. He thinks Casey might be bleeding to death at the hospital.

He thinks he may be the last man standing.

With the mission in peril, with his team in jeopardy, with his career on the line -- he’s the last man standing.

It’s terrifying, sure.

But it’s also suddenly empowering.

If he’s scared, there’s still something left to lose.

If he’s scared, there’s still something left to fight for.

If he’s scared, then there’s still reason to hope.

Billy doesn’t have to be calm or unflappable. He just has to do his job. He just has to be there for his team. He just has to fight.

Even if he’s the last man standing in the end.

Comments

Posted by: sophie_deangirl (sophie_deangirl)
Posted at: February 7th, 2014 07:09 am (UTC)

Once again you pull off the greatest Casey and Billy moments! And OMG! You had Casey be the inspiration for putting a number to fear that Billy then used on Rick! ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT!! I loved that!! This also was the most sweetly vulnerable and inspiring take on Casey. He was simply marvelous and I saw a courage that went beyond the physical prowess and I loved what I saw!


Fave parts:

Casey inhales raggedly, pushing himself up a little as his face contorts in pain. “You are going to do this,” he says. “So whatever issues you’re having -- whatever fears you think are so important -- you are going to put them aside and help save my life.” His eyes narrow and drill into Billy. “Now.”

--I loved that Casey makes Billy focus to get past his fear and even though there is that characteristic clinical control of Casey’s that makes his evaluation coldly practical, there is also a sense of confidence that Billy can overcome his fear and save his life. He is making a statement, declaring that Billy will save his life. Love that!


Casey stares at him, almost in disbelief. But he slowly nods. “This isn’t your fault,” he says, a little haltingly now. “You fought good. Had my back. I’m the one who got shot. Now I need you to get me out of here.”

Billy looks at him, almost afraid to believe it. It’s not his fault. How can it not be his fault? Everything is his fault, and it’s always his fault, and it’s his fault.

--This is just beautiful! I mean, to hear Casey actually absolving Billy, practical assessment, sure, but it's touching that Casey takes the time to say the words, to compliment Billy’s actions, that he fought well is just wonderful. I got a little choked up!


Casey’s face is pale, but he holds Billy’s gaze. “Please,” he says. “I need your help.”

Please.

It’s not just a request; it’s trust.

It’s not just trust; it’s absolution.

And Billy’s scared. He’s still terrified and shaky, and he wants to run away.

But there’s still something here to salvage. There’s still something here to set right. There’s still something here to fight for.

There’s still something here.

--Amazing admission and such heartbreaking trust! I loved this!

Because Billy has failed at many things in life, but there’s still a chance he might not fail this time. He doesn’t have to be the last man standing. He’s scared, but he’s not alone.

He looks at Casey, holding his mobile tight.

He’s not alone.

Still, his hope is a tenuous thing, and he’s more than a little relieved when Michael replies promptly to his 9-1-1 with an ETA.

-- I love the uncertainty here. It's so authentic.


“That’s because I know how to use my fear,” Casey says. “Look, on a scale of one to ten, where is your fear at right now?”

Billy swallows. He thinks of the bodies and the blood. He thinks of the possibility of failure. “The scale only goes to ten?”

“Perfect,” Casey says. “Because the higher the number, the more energy you have to use.”

Billy looks at him, confused.

“Fear is a powerful stimulant. You can let it drive you into a corner crying, or you can harness it to do impossible feats,” Casey says. He’s wheezing now, his eyes starting to glaze as his fingers start to go slack. “Fear is your best friend.”

--What a pep talk! Fantastic!!! Brilliant! It makes perfect sense that Casey would inspire in this way. You nailed it!

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: March 8th, 2014 03:12 am (UTC)
billy casey trouble

You know how I feel about Casey and Billy, so writing moments between them make me especially happy. I know I whumped Casey more in this one, but Billy's angst was still fun to play with :)

Thanks!

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