Title: Team Dynamics

Disclaimer: Nope. Still not mine.

A/N: Written for the awesome moogsthewriter for her birthday. Beta provided by postfallen.

Summary: Michael's the team leader; Billy's the new guy.

-o-

Michael swears.

Beneath him, sprawled on the floor, Billy grimaces. "That bad, eh?"

Michael swears again, shrugging out of his jacket and pressing it hard into Billy's stomach. Blood wells up, warm and sticky, and Billy convulses, crying out. Michael doesn't budge, though. "That was stupid," he says curtly.

Billy blinks rapidly, his breath catching in his chest even as he tries to speak. "So very bad," he concludes.

And he's not wrong. Billy's got a bullet in his gut and their mark is long gone. Casey and Carson are on the way, but Michael's not sure it'll be fast enough.

There's so much blood...

Doggedly, he refuses to look at it, even as it seeps beneath his touch and starts to pool at his knees. Instead, he turns his gaze to Billy, narrowing his eyes and setting his jaw. "What were you thinking?" he demands.

It's cruel, maybe. And it's not so much that it's a valid question - and it is - but Billy's losing blood quickly; keeping him awake and coherent is critical. Some people like to offer assurances. Michael knows better, though. The best way to keep someone awake is to annoy them. And Collins is like a damn puppy most of the time. If Michael is berating him, Billy will probably stay awake just to stick his tail between his legs and make Michael feel guilty.

And he should feel guilty.

It's his fault.

Billy starts to tremble, but his eyes are fixed on Michael. "You were going to be shot."

Michael's cheeks burn. He remembers that too clearly. He'd thought he had it under control, but the mark had turned on them, lifting the gun. Michael had been so busy trying to salvage the mission that he'd almost forfeited his life.

Until he got bowled over by the new guy.

He can still hear the shot. He still feels the expectation of fiery pain from the impact.

Instead, he's on his knees, trying to dam Billy's blood. Michael plans for everything, but he didn't plan on this.

"And you thought it looked like fun?" Michael remarks coldly.

"I'm not a martyr, Michael," Billy says, quite seriously now. "But I know how this works."

"Yeah, you follow orders," Michael says. "You stay in your place and you shut up. You don't go running around after bullets meant for someone else."

"You're team leader," Billy says, and the words are starting to slur. Billy's breathing is ragged now, each gasp more tenuous than the last.

Michael makes a face. "So?"

"So," Billy says, eyelids starting to drop as his trembling increases. "I'm the new guy."

Michael shakes his head, frustration mounting. "All the more reason for you to follow orders-"

Billy moves his head vaguely, but his disagreement is plain even as he refuses to look away. "Team members are replaceable - especially the new guy," he says earnestly. "Team leaders...aren't."

For a moment, Michael's too stunned to say anything. He stares at Billy, trying to understand. Trying to make sense ofsomething. Because Billy jumped in front of a bullet meant for Michael, and he's bleeding out and backup is taking too long and what is Michael supposed to say? Thank you? Shut up? You're an idiot?

Before he can answer, Billy's eyelids flutter shut and his body goes lax. Panicked, Michael leans forward, using one hand to tap Billy's cheek before shaking him in earnest.

Because Billy's only half right. Michael is crucial to the ODS, but so is Casey and Carson.

So is Billy.

Together, they're a team.

Together.

And that's not going to change on Michael's watch - not if he can help it.

So he presses harder, he holds on, and he trusts that if he doesn't let go, neither will Billy.

Because Michael's the team leader and Billy's the new guy, and Michael will use that for as long as he can.