Title: Five Times Billy Stabbed (And One Time He Should Have Thrown)
Disclaimer: I do not own Chaos! Sad but true!
A/N: This fic is for the amazing lena7142 on her birthday. She not only writes spectacular Chaos fic (and Primeval fic!) but she also draws better than I could ever imagine. So the point is, she deserves to have the best birthday ever and what better way to celebrate than with Billy and a knife?
A/N 2: Much thanks to moogsthewriter for the beta. Mild spoilers for several eps in the series.
Summary: I'm more of a stabber, myself.
This is it: his first kidnapping.
He's been a part of a variety of abductions in the past, but never as the point man. In all his sundry missions, he's never been so integrally responsible for the ultimate outcome as he is in this. This is his kidnapping. He has to track the mark, get him sectioned off and then subdue him. All on his own.
He doesn't let it show, but the truth is, he's nervous. Better put, he's scared out of his mind. And with reason, because it's not going so well.
Rather, it's going horribly. The mark has made him, and what was supposed to be a simple in and out has turned into an all out brawl, one that Billy realizes he's in real danger of losing.
After all, the mark is an oversized rugby player, with grit and stamina and the hardest-hitting elbows Billy's ever come across.
Plus, he's armed with a pocketknife.
None of Billy's punches make much difference, and he's long since lost the needle he'd been carrying to administer the sedative. His nose is bleeding badly and he has a gash in his arm. He manages to duck the latest swipe, using his foot to kick the man sprawling in the other direction.
It's only a momentary reprieve, but it's enough for Billy to get to his feet. Direct hand-to-hand is not going to work, so he makes a desperate leap and lands heavily on the man's back, wrapping his arms around the thug's neck and squeezing.
The man grunts, flailing for a moment. Then he staggers, and Billy dares to hope.
Until the mark rams backward, sending Billy right into the plated doors and hard onto the wood floor below.
The shock of it leaves Billy dazed, and the entire room is spinning in a fantastic display of lights and shapes. He's not sure he's breathing and his entire body feels like pins and needles as the man looms over him.
Billy thinks to kick, but there's three of the mark, and his feet don't seem to be working.
Still, he sees the smirk, sees the knife, and realizes that this is going to end poorly.
As the man lunges, Billy does the only thing he can think of. His fingers wrap around the closest shard of glass and as the man comes down, Billy stabs upward.
The mark's eyes go wide and he halts. Then he sucks in harshly before going to his knees and crashing gracelessly to the floor.
It takes more work than it should for Billy to get to his feet, and he wavers precariously once he gets there. Bending over is even more of a task, and he nearly passes out as his blood-stained fingers feel for a pulse.
And then he remembers he still has to lug the man to the checkpoint.
When he gets there, his boss is shocked. He looks Billy in the eyes, assessing his condition before stepping back and clapping him on the shoulder hard enough to make Billy wince. "Impressive," he says. "Though I have to admit, I'm surprised."
Billy blinks, only half awake. "Yeah?"
"I never would have guessed you'd be a stabber," he says.
Billy shrugs. "Well," he says. "Whatever works."
And then he unceremoniously passes out.
Michael calls it a probationary period.
"I've got it from good sources to trust you," he says. "But trust isn't earned in the Agency."
Billy, still reeling from his deportation, manages to smile. "Lovely," he says. "It's a good thing you Yanks aren't known for your undying hospitality."
Still, Billy knows what he has to prove. He knows he has to show his worth, he has to deserve his place on this team. After everything he's been through, he's lucky to get a second chance at all, even one with all the conditions Michael saddles him with.
That's not what he's thinking about, though, when the latest mission goes pear-shaped. The entire thing is a mess, and Billy's been in some sideways operations before, but this is the first time he's not sure how they're all going to get out alive.
In the end, Billy has a straight shot at freedom. If he turns back, he may be condemned to a Russian prison for the rest of his life. Billy has a healthy sense of survival. He's not one to seek out danger for the mere thrill. Casey and Simms are waiting for him on the highway, and he just has to run a little further to be out of range of the melee.
The problem is, of course, that Michael's still back there. He's been caught up in hand-to-hand, and he's holding his own, but the odds are not in his favor.
The other problem is that he's not armed with anything except a knife and from this distance, throwing could be a disaster and ultimately ineffective.
Stabbing, however, might have potential.
But it'd be five on two – more likely one, if Michael's heavy listing is any indication.
Really, there's no time to think about it. And more than that, there's really no decision to make.
He turns back and he runs. His blind charge is easy to see coming, but he barrels with such force that he's bowled over the first man before the others can fully assess the risk. Billy stabs with all he's worth, not waiting to see the placement before he pulls out the knife and stabs again.
He stabs five times.
Five assailants go down.
When it's over, Billy's panting heavily as he turns to Michael, half sprawled on the ground while trying to support himself with one arm. "You ready then?" he asks.
Michael blinks at him, whether from a concussion or just shock, Billy can't tell. "Nice stabbing," he says.
"I'm handy with a knife," Billy tells him with a shrug.
"No arguments here," Michael says with a grunt as Billy hoists him to his feet and half carries him to the rendezvous.
Afterward, when Michael is treated and they're back in the States, no one talks about probation any more.
Just because Billy's part of the team doesn't mean he's an equal part of the team. Michael trusts him with an implicit silence, and Simms seems to take to him immediately. But Casey is much harder to win over.
Everything Billy does, Casey has a critique. He bemoans Billy's lack of organization, his unique sense of punctuality, and his accent.
"It's ridiculous," is Casey's only explanation, but he says it like it's the only one he needs.
Billy doesn't argue much – being agreeable is in his nature – but he hopes that his actions will speak for themselves and that someday, he'll at least warrant silence instead of condescension.
The mission is in Belize, and overall it's going fairly well. At least until Billy and Casey are pinned down with an angry pair of gun smugglers on their tail. They've taken cover behind a dumpster in an alley, but it won't last long, and they've long since lost their guns.
Casey glances around the edge, then pulls back. "Okay," he says in a hushed voice as he pulls his knife out. "How are your knife throwing skills?"
Billy glances around for himself and frowns. The distance is too long and his own knife is too light to weather the flight well. He pulls back and shakes his head. "I'm more of a stabber, myself."
Casey glowers at him. "That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard," he says. "Stabbing puts you in too much danger. All you need is accuracy and patience, and throwing is by far the superior option."
As if to prove his point, Casey turns back, knife in hand. He pauses for a moment, eyes narrowed, and then throws.
There's a cry as a body hits the ground.
Next, there's gunfire.
Casey looks to Billy. "Your turn."
Billy gapes at him, wanting to point out the injustice of the situation. Casey has provoked the remaining assailant, leaving Billy at a distinct disadvantage.
No doubt, the self-professed human weapon could dispatch the remaining gunman. And no doubt, Billy would never live it down.
Resolved, Billy takes his knife and eyes his assailant. He gauges the distance, the number of shots left in his round, his height and build and general disposition.
Then, he runs.
The man is reloading and doesn't have time to defend himself while Billy hurdles forward. Billy stabs just once, clean and neat in the shoulder. When the man keels over, Billy disarms him, kneeing him promptly in the face before he goes down with a thud.
Standing over the downed man, Billy holds his head high while Casey comes out from behind the dumpster. When he's close enough, he actually looks surprised.
"So as I was saying," Billy said, eyeing his bloody knife disdainfully. "I'm a stabber. Any further questions?"
And for once, Casey has none.
Billy is always looking for a teachable moment. Maybe it's because Rick reminds him of himself at that age; maybe it's because Billy's simply so glad to finally not be the new guy after all these years. Maybe it's because Rick looks so annoyed when Billy waxes poetic over the finer points of spycraft.
Maybe it's just because he's the only one who take Billy's kernels of wisdom with a grain of truth.
Any way it goes, Billy finds he has ample experience to share, plentiful wisdom to impart. Even under the most unusual and stressful of circumstances.
So when they're in the midst of a firefight, pinned down with dwindling ammunition, Billy should probably be thinking about how he's going to get them out alive.
Instead, he's thinking about all the things Rick should be gleaning from this less than pleasant experience.
"So, tell me," Billy says over the din. "What lessons can we gain here?"
Rick's face is pinched as he jolts up, firing off a few rounds until the barrel clicks on empty. He comes back down with a curse. "That we should carry more ammunition."
Billy chuckles even as the bullets ping noisily over their heads. "A rather simplistic solution," he said. "And not overly practical."
Rick glares at him. "Yeah? So what would you suggest?"
Billy ducks lower as a fresh volley seems too close. "So much to learn!" he exclaims, but he's only half-listening to Rick now. Instead, he's counting the shots in his head, listens for the pops, one, two, three, four, click.
With that, he doesn't hesitate, springing to his feet. Rick yelps in protest, but Billy's already halfway across the distance, his knife in hand.
When he clears the remaining distance, the man is up and ready to fight, but it's entirely too late. Billy stabs, expertly positioning the blade in the upper shoulder, perfect for incapacitation without incurring severe damage.
Still, Billy drives the blade deep and the man cries out, crumbling helplessly to the ground while Billy kicks the gun away.
Rick comes stumbling up after him, staring down at the man in shock.
Billy dusts his jacket off and looks to Rick. He could gloat, but that's not his purpose. Instead, he nods sagely, touching his finger to his nose. "Lesson of the day," he says. "You run out of bullets, young Rick, but you don't run out of a knife."
Billy's a stabber, and he's not ashamed of that fact. Stabbing has saved his life and the lives of his friends more times than he can count. In fact, he would say that his stabbing has been an asset to international peace and security.
In short, stabbing has never failed him.
Though, this time, he thinks it might.
Because he finds his mark and stabs, but the knife is too small and his assailant is too big. Billy pulls it out and the man's eyes widen with rage as he advances on Billy with fresh vigor.
Desperate, Billy stabs again, barely able to keep ahold of his knife as the man pummels him, knocking him hard on his back. His ears are ringing as the man hefts him up, and Billy stabs blindly as he's slammed into a brick wall.
His vision goes dark and Billy's limbs feel loose. He forces his fingers to clench around the knife, flailing it forward as the man comes at him again. He hits flesh, but he doesn't see where. It doesn't make a difference.
This time, a foot kicks him hard in the chest, and Billy's breath leaves him forcibly. He curls up, almost crying, managing to get to his knees as the man advances again.
And Billy stabs. Once and twice and three times and more. He stabs and stabs until a massive fist crashes into his skull.
That's it. Everything goes black. Billy doesn't feel himself hit the ground, but he feels it when he's kicked, flopped onto his back. His eyes open to slits, and he knows he needs to move, but he can't. His body has stopped responding and the knife is gone from his lax fingers.
Above him, the man sneers. He's covered in blood, and it drips down his fingers as he moves forward heavily and reaches down.
Billy can't resist as he hoisted up by his neck. The large hand wraps around his throat, slamming him against the wall as the vice grip starts to squeeze.
Billy kicks, but it's feeble. He twitches, but his consciousness is leaving him quickly.
Then, it's over.
Billy hits the ground and takes a breath.
Then he takes another breath.
Finally, he realizes he's not dead.
Blinking, it takes a moment to get his bearings. But as his vision clears, he sees the man. He's on the ground. As Billy's consciousness solidifies, he sees his handiwork, evident across the man's massive frame. There are at least a dozen stab wounds, probably more. On the arms, legs, and torso. None of them were deep enough to kill, but the blood loss was apparently enough to do him in.
Everything hurts. Billy's not sure he can even move. He thinks he may very well need to go to the hospital. But suddenly he's laughing, despite everything.
He laughs so hard it hurts, until he's flat on his back, staring up at the blue sky.
"And the stabber wins again," he says, exhausted but gleeful as he waits for his team to arrive.
And One Time He Should Have Thrown
Billy talks about living life on the glorious edge and he hails the heroic perils of his job, but the truth is, he rather prefers not to cut things so close.
And it doesn't get much closer than this.
They have the intel they were sent to get but in the process, Billy's managed to lose his team. The entire team. Michael and Rick were nabbed much earlier, and Casey's attempt at rescue had ended more or less in disaster.
Which just leaves Billy. He's secured the intel and now he has to rescue his team.
That sounds quite easy in theory. In execution, Billy is remembering the benefits of working with a team in the first place.
Michael's genius and Casey's brute force have been two things he's relied on for years, and it doesn't occur to him until he's flying solo just how used to it he's become. He's always been capable on his own, and he's worked his way out of more than a few scrapes with nothing but his ingenuity and charm, but orchestrating the infiltration of a highly fortified facility and freeing three heavily guarded prisoners is still a bit beyond his normal scope of duties.
And yet, he can't fail.
Ultimately, he decides the less he belabors the point, the easier it will be, so he sets about his task with subterfuge first, sneaking his way in through the outer layers of defense. When he's finally noticed, he opts for sheer firepower, using explosives and firearms to literally blow his way through. It works, somewhat miraculously, and then he's face-to-face with the captor.
Everyone else has fled in the confusion, and Billy knows it's only a matter of time before local police show up and their covers are severely compromised. All of this is of concern, most certainly, but Billy can't really pay such details much heed because the captor has Rick hoisted on his feet, pulled against his chest. A veritable human shield.
Worse, Michael and Casey are secured to the walls flanking him. A human shield with human padding, just to be extra safe.
And the ultimate cherry on top of the disaster, Billy's out of bullets. He has his knife, but Billy's always been more of a stabber.
The man laughs. "All that work," he said, wielding a knife of his own, trailing the blade against Rick's throat. The younger man stiffens, but doesn't move, looks at Billy and shakes his head. "All that work, and you're still coming up short."
Billy inclines his head, putting his hands out, but tensing his body to go for his knife if he needs to.
Michael's eyes are boring into him; Casey stares daggers. They don't want Billy to take any chances; they don't want Billy to make a move that might harm Martinez.
But Billy can't do nothing.
He smiles. "There's nowhere for you to go," he says. "And your men are proving to be not so loyal under pressure, which might not go so well for you. You could consider this a favor."
The man narrows his eyes, fingers tightening on the knife. The blade scrapes Rick's neck, and a small line of blood appears. "Then maybe I should repay the favor," he said.
Billy's destroyed his operation; the man can take out what matters most to Billy. One swipe, two stabs, and it'd be over.
The longer Billy plays this out, the less likely he is to recover anything. Waiting will only bolster the captor's position and make Billy's more vulnerable.
He has to act.
He could throw; it's a tight shot, but Billy could pull it off. The man's head and shoulders are exposed, which make for plentiful targets, and Billy's always been good under pressure.
But Billy doesn't like the risks. And ultimately, Billy's a stabber.
So Billy moves, barreling forward while he grabs his knife. The man responds exactly the way Billy expects, his surprise causing him to let Rick go, turning his attention fully on Billy's attack. Rick falls out of the way and Billy leads with his blade, burying it deep into the man's torso with expected precision.
Blood blossoms across his chest and his eyes go wide. He staggers and then hits the wall, sliding down with the blade still embedded to the hilt in his ribcage.
Billy tries to grin, but can't. Tries to take a breath but finds himself coming up short. He tries to look at his mates, tries to say something clever, but his vision is tunneling and his limbs are going numb.
Confused, Billy looks down.
He sees blood spreading across his chest, a blade embedded to the hilt in his ribcage.
"Oh," Billy says when he realizes what happened. Stabbing has its advantages, but the close proximity has one key vulnerability. If Billy is close enough to stab, the assailant is close enough to stab back.
Billy's knees give out and he crumples. The world tilts and his on his back, blinking up in shock. He coughs, and something metallic fills his throat. He can't hear, can't really see, can't even think straight as he can't focus on anything except pain.
It's ripping through his chest, and he feels each beat of his heart, more tenuous than the last.
Then Rick's there, and Michael and Casey. Michael is yelling and Rick's face is ghost-white. Casey grimaces and jostles him, something ripped before there's pressure on his chest.
The pain mounts and Billy squirms helplessly against it. But the darkness is encroaching now, and he doesn't know how to fight it.
He tries, but he can't. When the darkness takes him, it's a rough, breathless exit before oblivion stretches.
When he rises again, the entrance is no less auspicious than the descent. The pain is sharp, and the pressure in his chest is almost unbearable. He tries to breathe, but finds he can't. He can't do anything.
Then, there's a hand on his arm. "Just relax, Billy. Relax."
Billy's not one for orders, but this is one he can't help but obey.
The next time, the pain is muted, a constant throbbing pressure dispersed throughout his body. His head feels like it's wrapped with cotton, and his mouth feels almost too dry to use as he sucks in a noisy breath.
The oxygen seems to stir his awareness and his eyes are open before he can make sense of what he's seeing.
A plain white ceiling.
Billy blinks and turns his head. Everything feels stiff and the pain threatens to overwhelm him, but he forces himself to focus.
On Rick. On Michael. On Casey.
Awake. Alive. Okay.
He smiles, feeling a little spacey but also too relieved to worry about it. "You're all right," he says, voice breathy and strained.
Rick smirks. "You would worry about that when you're the one who almost died."
Billy frowns, and he realizes the full weight of the implications. "He stabbed me."
"Right through your lung," Casey confirms. "You nearly bled out before we could get you here."
Billy remembers this more clearly now. Still dazed, he wets his lips as best he can. The pain makes more sense now, and he can feel the bulky bandage and the itchy stitches pressed into his skin. He shifts, but that just makes it worse, so he settles himself and forces a smile. "Well," he says, feeling drowsy already. "I suppose next time I should consider throwing."
Things start to get hazy, and Billy tries to keep his eyes open, but he's failing. Still, his team seems to edge closer, and Michael's voice is sure in his ear. "Let's try not to have a next time at all," he says.
And as Billy slips back into sleep, he couldn't agree more.