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Chaos - A Deal with God - A Chaos Fanfic Part 1 of 3
sophie_deangirl
Summary: A mission goes horrifically wrong and Billy is presumed killed. Rick handles it badly. Michael and Casey relive leaving Carson behind. NO CHARACTER DEATH

A fanfiction written based on the characters from the cancelled TV show, Chaos.

Disclaimer: I don't own the characters and I seek no financial gain. Just hope you enjoy the story. You don't have to be a fan of the show.



Part One:


Horror was on his face. Everything was moving in super slow motion as he watched while being pulled in a direction away from danger by his friends, but resisting with every muscle he could engage.

The mission had been a disaster.

He heard them yelling at him.

"COME ON!"

"There's nothing we can do!"

"He's gone!"

There was a touch of agonized resignation in the voice. Michael’s voice. Sometimes, he was glad he wasn’t a leader because for better and for worse, this time being for worse, it was all on Michael’s shoulders to declare something done, over, or someone, beyond rescue, beyond hope. Dead.

But all he could hear himself say was, "NOOOOO! NO! He’s not gone!!!"

He could have sworn he heard an echo reverberating back to him saying, "Save yourself!"

He was in stupefied shock. Though intellectually he couldn't imagine how anyone could survive being shot several times like he had seen, the ache in his chest wouldn’t let him give up.

Still, when the bullets rattled the body of his friend, all he could see was gravity pulling it down, blood drenching the clothes he was wearing, his face contorted in pain and when he hit the ground, he looked dead, eyes, at first clenched in pain, then closed.

Rick saw Billy mouth "Go. Get out," before he closed his eyes, before he went silent, as if to give him permission to leave him, that he knew he was gone.

The yanking of his friends was getting more insistent, harder, his resistance waning. Billy dropped to his knees, slowly going down to the ground, first knees, then his hands, on all fours, his body heaving with pain and exhaustion. He looked over, his face laced with misery, both at leaving his friends behind, but from the agony of the wounds.

He then mouthed again, “It’s all right. Need you all to get to safety. Go.”

He could almost hear his voice saying the words.

He watched as Billy crumpled to the ground, unable to hold himself up anymore.

His body went still. His eyes fluttered closed. His breathing, if he was breathing at all, barely registered.

They then left him to die alone.

No. He was already dying before he hit the ground. No one, not even Billy, could survive getting shot so many times.

It was one of those harsh realities that they all had to accept and face. It didn't make it any easier, just inevitable.

He kept looking back over and over. Nothing changed. Billy didn't change. And they left him behind to die or to allow his body to just rot away in place. Either thought was reprehensible to him, but he knew like the others did, that there was no other option and that Billy would want them free and safe.

The truth didn't alleviate the guilt.

It just made it easier to leave.

ChaosChaosChaos

Billy was rudely brought out of fading consciousness by what he thought were hands lifting him, transporting him somewhere. The blinding pain was assaulting him and he just wanted it all to end.

“S…stop…d…don’t…n…no use in saving me…let me go…” Billy tried to communicate in the hopes that whoever was carrying him would hear his pleas, take pity and release him.

No such luck.

“Hang on. You’re with friends…we’re going to try to save you,” said a man’s voice, a voice that contained a knowingness that Billy couldn’t identify.

“Too…late for that,” Billy gasped.

“You let me be the judge of that, son.”

He felt them lay him on a comfortable bed. The momentary relief of being at rest almost brought unconsciousness, an unconsciousness that Billy begged for because it would at least be a better way to slip into death.

Instead, the moment passed and the next thing he felt was jarring and jostling, his clothes being pulled off unceremoniously and yet with frantic purpose. Chilly cold air made him shiver and the shaking brought more pain. He found himself breathing raggedly through it.

“Listen to me. You have been shot five times. I’m amazed you are still alive –“

“You and me both,” Billy grunted in response, a shaky smile on his face.

He saw the face of a gentle, older man gazing back at him, returning his smile.

“A sense of humor during a time like this is admirable and might do you well.”

Billy could only continue smiling until a wave of pain assaulted him.

“I am going to try to pull the bullets out, in the end, it will be better for you. I’m not a doctor, but I know what to do, been a medic in too many wars so I’ll let you take that information as comfort or not. I’m going to be honest with you, this will not be easy and I can’t guarantee you’ll live, but I’m going to give it my best.”

Billy observed the cool calm of the man and believed that if he had any chance at all, it would be in this man’s hands. Some how the certainty of death he had felt earlier wasn’t as definitive now.

“We don’t have much in the way of medical supplies, which is my way of telling you, we don’t have anesthesia. We do have liquor and in this case, it’s better than nothing so I have a bottle –“

Billy saw it emerge in the man’s hands and took it from him. He began to glug it down. He grimaced with the raw, harsh and almost antiseptic taste it had, but kept on drinking. Anything to numb the pain he knew was coming.

The old man smiled. He gathered instruments that were as sterilized as he could make them given the conditions. A woman brought him a wooden spoon and Billy understood its purpose. He drank until he couldn’t really drink anymore. Moments like these, he cursed his ability to hold his liquor so well, but what he had ingested would have to do for now. He tried to hand it back to the old man, but he shook his head.

“You might need it.”

Billy didn’t argue. He then took the spoon out of the man’s hands.

“I hope you’ll be blessed with unconsciousness as soon as I work, but best be safe than sorry.”

Billy nodded. Just before he placed the spoon into his mouth he gave as confident a glance as he could to the old man.

“No matter what happens, I appreciate you trying,” he breathed with pain. “I want you to know that I’m grateful to you.”

The old man had worked on many soldiers in his time. Most of them young, naïve about the ugliness of war, seduced by the glamour of being a hero only to find themselves dying horrifically, most of them scared and crying for their mothers. This man, he knew, had seen his share of battle, had borne his share of wounds, the scars on his body painful tattoos of his own personal skirmishes.

In his career, no one had ever thanked him for trying to save their lives, more like begged him to save them, but they were never grateful for the attempt. Gratitude only came when he was successful, but not this man, this man was different than any one he’d ever met.

“Thank me when I save your life. Your gratitude won’t matter if I don’t.“

“It matters, sir. It matters.”

Different, indeed.

Billy then placed the spoon in his mouth, his hands found purchase on either side of the bed he was in and nodded his readiness to the man.

Odd, but the old man was suddenly unsure of himself. He had been scared in the past about operating on any one, questioned his ability to save the life in his hands, but it was usually fleeting and he quickly went about the task with steady and perhaps with even cold detachment, but now, he was worried that he would fail miserably with this man, fail to meet his expectations despite the fact that he had none at all.

Billy detected it and gave him a look of confidence that couldn’t be misinterpreted.

And the old man plunged his scalpel into the first wound, the one at the shoulder.

Billy was restrained at first. You could see the discomfort in the stretched features of his face, his eyes clenched so tight, but without tears. Soft groaning filtered through the gritted teeth clamping down onto the wooden spoon. He exerted all of his strength into his arms and pulled at the frame of the bed, as much to keep his body as subdued against the pain as he could to help the old man, as it was to alleviate it for as much as he could for himself.

He dug into the wound and felt himself tunnel into the concentration he needed to help this young man survive. He felt and extracted the first bullet, the easiest of them in his estimation. He took another bottle of liquor and poured it liberally into the wound. Billy stiffened, but relaxed just as quickly. He nodded to the old man, even managing a small smile as if to say, one down, four more to go.

The man then quickly moved on to two other wounds with bullets that he had assessed were going to be the easiest to remove. One was in the arm, the other in the leg. Billy barely flinched when they were extracted. Three down, two to go, two of the worst ones, the two that could kill him.

The man took in a deep breath.

Billy took out the spoon from his mouth and breathed tiredly.

“Take a rest. You’ve earned it.”

“And you haven’t?” The man joked. “No, the last two, they are –“

“The trickier ones…life and death, yeh?” Billy surmised as he took another swig of liquor.

“Yeh, exactly. One is in your abdomen, the other, a little higher up. What I don’t know is what I expect to find digging around in there, how much soft tissue damage there is and if I can –“

“Do anything about it.”

The old man was continuing to be impressed at how knowledgeable this young man was.

“What’s your name, son?”

“Billy…”

“Well, Billy, I gather from your expertise, you’ve been on this ride before.”

“Too many times, I’m afraid and believe it or not under worse conditions. Least you’re here,” Billy said truthfully.

The man was almost humbled by the credit.

“What’s your name, mate?”

“Samuel.”

Billy smiled and nodded.

“Meaning God’s heart or requested by God. Guess I’m in good hands then, yeh?”

The man smiled in surprise at the knowledge Billy possessed, but it fell a little.

“I hope so.”

“Well, either way it goes, I figure I’ve got a bit of an edge, right?” Billy said with a smile but he then stiffened with pain. “Guess break is over…bloody hell.”

The man watched as Billy reached for the spoon, but before he placed it into his mouth, he said, “No matter what, right?”

“Right.”

Billy placed the spoon back into his mouth and clenched again in pain.

The man took in a deep breath and began cutting.

This time, Billy could no longer hold back the pain ravaging his body. A part of it was just being too weak to fend off any more pain after exerting all of his willpower into the previous “operations”, the other was that they were entering more dangerous territory, pain receptors much more sensitive. Billy kept his eyes closed, sometimes from weariness, other times clenched in so much pain he didn’t think he could squeeze them any tighter.

The spoon though serving its purpose earlier, was now becoming useless to him, no longer a relief, just something preventing him from biting his tongue off. The pain radiating through his body now was hot, burning and the only urge he felt to relieve it was to scream, to yell, maybe to even cry so he spit the spoon out and kept breathing through every cut, every investigatory probe into his abdomen then when it became too much he glanced over to the old man and he nodded.

“Go head, son.”

Billy wailed, moaned and grunted, uttering words like “Mother Mary”, “son of a bitch”, and “bollocks”. Remarkably, spitting each word provided a moment’s release from the pain.

His body wanted to writhe and thrash, but Billy knew even through the pain that he couldn’t do that, would make Samuel’s job that much harder and would make things that much worse for him so he grappled the sides of the bedframe tighter and straightened ever so slightly, trying to find a focal point of resistance that would allow him release and still give Samuel as steady a surface to work through as he could.

His vision blurred with the tears he couldn’t hold back anymore and he thought his hands would break under the pressure he was exerting. He mentally begged for blissful unconsciousness and just when he had convinced himself that he wasn’t good enough to deserve such respite, he felt his body relax, his vision tunnel into darkness and let go willingly.

Samuel noticed and gazed skyward.

“Thank you, God.”

ChaosChaosChaos

Michael watched Rick and was worried about him because he had seen that look before, on himself.

Hopelessness, anger, despair, all rolled into a vacuous stare, along with red-rimmed swollen eyes from the hours, days, sometimes weeks’ worth of crying, crying that Michael never did openly, but could never hide because it was drawn on his eyes. Rick, however, held no such embarrassment or insecurity issues, no such fear of revealing weaknesses such as shedding tears, for someone he had helplessly watched die.

Michael recognized the symptoms but he had no cure for the condition other than time and sometimes time only deepened the grief because for them, for CIA operatives, particularly the ODS, the passage of time only rubbed painful sand and salt into the wounds of failing to save one of their own. They were not men who let their men be left behind and yet they had once before and the “creation” that resulted was an embittered, angry and vengeful shell of an operative.

This time, they were leaving a dead body behind but they had also thought that before and had been wrong.

Rick looked over at Michael, his glare, mournful.

“I’m going back.”

“Rick –“

“Don’t bother. I’m not going to leave Billy behind –“

“Rick, he’s –“

“No, he’s not,” Rick insisted, but he wasn’t sure he felt the conviction behind the declaration.

“You saw –“

“What I saw was a man going down to the ground. I didn’t hear his breath stop. I didn’t search for a pulse that wasn’t there. I just ran.”

“We all did,” Michael admitted, believing the blame sat squarely on his shoulders alone.

“He’s not dead until I know for sure he’s dead. And if that…” Rick took in a tear-choked breath. “Then it’s his body I’m bringing back.”

Michael heard his words and didn’t question the conviction he heard in them.

“You can go back home. I’ll understand, but you have to know that I can’t. I can’t leave him behind.”

Rick’s voice finally broke.

“I’ll break every protocol I have to, to get Billy back.”

Michael patted him on the shoulder.

“You already know that we aren’t leaving. We’ve gone through this before. I left Carson behind and he was in prison for three years. I won’t do that again. I won’t do that to Billy.”

“We both won’t,” Casey finally chimed in.

A man of few words, his emotions always tucked neatly away, Casey was feeling as close to frightened as he has ever experienced. Losing Carson had nearly broken his will, made him question whether he was truly good at his job and for a man with an admitted God-complex, that was a seminal admission. When he thought he would quit, he, instead, decided to work his frustration, his rage inward and had vowed that he would never let what had happened, happen again.

Yet it did happen again. And Casey, once again, was at both a personal and professional crossroads. This time, though, there was no hesitation, no ruminating on what had failed, what he had done wrong.

There was no time and no luxury for it. Billy wasn’t Carson. Billy was better. It wasn’t to say that Carson wasn’t a good man, but even at his performance best, Carson didn’t have his full heart into the work. He was closer to Corwin than any of them. He was ready to cash in his experience by the time he met his “end” in North Africa.

Billy, Billy though he was the “new guy” at the time of Carson’s “death”, decommissioned from the British Secret Service and who had every reason to treat his induction into the CIA as just a cast off job, a job that he had no choice but to accept if he had wanted to still do the spy craft at all, was dedicated to the work. He had every reason to be bitter and jaded, but instead, invested his clearly advantageous international experience to the ODS whole-heartedly. He had never pulled anything back, had immersed himself into the many roles he had played with the fervor that communicated complete commitment.

Casey wasn’t an easy sell under any circumstances, but Billy had proven himself to him as a true operative who possessed not a whiff of self-interest.

He owed him the same back and would be happy for the payback he would inflict getting him back.


ChaosChaosChaos

Billy awakened admittedly surprised that he was still alive. His body ached and he had noticed that he was bandaged where he had been wounded.

“Glad you’re awake. I was getting worried that maybe I had actually killed you after all,” Samuel said with a smile. “Try not to move. I’ve patched you up as best as I could, but you really need stitches.”

“Long as I don’t spring a leak then, I should be just fine,” Billy joked weakly.

Samuel smiled in return.

“Do you want some water?”

“Yes, if you would,” Billy said, his throat sore, likely from the screaming.

Samuel poured the water into Billy’s mouth, not wanting him to move even towards the water. A few sips were all Billy could intake, but the coolness was a relief.

“You’re a lucky man.”

“Funny, I feel far from lucky,” Billy said, his eyes opening and closing languidly.

“The other bullets you took, the ones I thought would be your undoing, must have impacted at just the right angle. They hadn’t penetrated too deeply. Not exactly grazes, but minimal damage nonetheless.”

“Guess running from assassins can work to your advantage after all.”

“I’d say it did. There’s still a risk of infection, especially out here so you’re not out of the woods yet, no pun intended.”

Billy smiled, trying to hide twinges of pain he was feeling.

“Well, then it’s a good thing I’m not going anywhere anytime soon. Couldn’t even if I wanted to really.”

Samuel couldn’t help his admiration.

“Why were you out here?”

Billy took in a tired breath, “While I’m grateful for your help –“

“I understand. You were on a mission here. Arms smugglers my guess. They have been infiltrating further into the remote villages. I’m doing research on local indigenous tribes here and have been hearing about them taking over villages to hide their operations. I’m worried that they might come here next.”

Billy listened with interest. Even though he was injured, he was still on assignment and would gather intelligence even after being shot five times and recovering from a makeshift bed in a tribal village.
“I can’t either confirm or deny.”

“Again, I understand. Top secret.”

Billy then suddenly realized that he had to contact Michael, Casey and Rick. He understood that he had been preoccupied with being in pain and unconscious, but they had watched him get shot, might even believe him dead. After what they went through with Carson, he knew that he couldn’t leave them not knowing.

“How are you communicating with the outside world from here?” Billy asked, slipping back into his spy craft mode.

“Satellite phone.”

“I need to contact my mates so they know I’m here. The way I left them, they might believe I’m dead,” Billy paused to stave off dizziness. “They…we lost someone assuming that and I can’t have them believing…”

Samuel watched Billy’s expression change to a concern that went beyond just doing a job.

“Say no more, son. I’ll get it for you after I’m done. I need to make my rounds, but you’re safe. You’re staying in a family home. One of their children might come around curious though.”

“It’s all right. Likely they’ll get bored from watching a grown man sleep.”

“It’s what you need for now.”

“Thank you for helping me,” Billy said before he fell back asleep.

Samuel was cautiously optimistic about his recovery then set off to go back to his work.


ChaosChaosChaos

For the past 3 days, Rick hadn’t eaten or had barely taken a bite here and there. Not even a cross continental call from Adele had buoyed his spirits or had encouraged him to eat regularly. Rick’s sleep had been plagued with nightmares that had finally made him decide to prevent sleep if he could help it.

Once again, Michael was worried about how this was affecting Rick. He was becoming obsessed.

They couldn’t go back to the compound because their covers had been blown. Any entry that way would surely mean getting killed. Intel had told them that Billy hadn’t been captured nor had they gloated about killing an agent. It kept hope alive, however marginal it was. The only problem was if there was no body or no Billy where did that leave them?

That same hope of finding Billy dwindled rapidly as did Rick’s resolve and his health.

“We need to figure out the coordinates of where we left Billy. We can backtrack from there,” Rick suggested, a distinct rasp had resided in his throat.

“And how do you suggest we do that?” Casey, ever the optimist, asked.

“I need maps…I…”

Michael felt Rick’s frustration.

“Look, we need to get out of here and regroup. You need to get some rest and something to eat.”

“I’m FINE!” Rick insisted angrily, teetering on his shaky legs. “I’m NOT leaving here. I know that if we walk away now, we won’t be back and Billy, we just can’t leave him like…”

“Like we left Carson,” Michael finished.

Rick realized what he had said and felt immediate regret.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean…”

“It’s okay, kid. Not a day goes by that I don’t keep rehashing what we could have done, should have done or remember what leaving Carson behind did to him. I want to find Billy as much as you do, but we need to think clearly. You need to think clearly and you’re not. I don’t need to have a God complex to see that you’re burning up with fever and from the sound of your cough you’ve probably got pneumonia. Being out in that forest probably started the process, but by not eating or sleeping you just accelerated it. Now, this is the plan, you’re going to the hospital and Casey and I are going to find Billy.”

Rick shook his head slowly, but as he tried to protest, all that came out was a wet rasp and wheeze. He tried to get up from his chair, but just collapsed into Michael’s arms.

“Call EMS,” Michael lightly commanded to Casey even though he was already dialing before the words left Michael's mouth.


ChaosChaosChaos

Billy woke up feeling a presence in the room with him. Even compromised as he was, he had finely tuned instincts that were always in play. There was no sense of danger so he opened his eyes to find a young boy staring at him. One of the children of the family, he surmised. He gave the boy a smile to ease any anxiety.

“Don’t be afraid there, lad. What’s your name?”

The boy walked up to Billy shyly.

“I’m Hector.”

“Good to meet you, Hector,” Billy said, feeling feverish and tired. “I’m Billy.”

“Are you one of those men hurting people in the villages?” He asked, the scared little boy coming out.

Billy was struck speechless for a moment. It saddened him to see someone so young touched by such evil. Hector should grow up without fear and be allowed to be a child unscarred by violence.

“I promise you that I’m not one of those men. I also promise you that we'll catch them so that they never hurt anyone ever again, no harm will ever come to you or your family."

Hector smiled at Billy's firm assurances and despite being ill, the belief was there and even a young boy like Hector felt that belief, but then his expression changed to concern.

“But they hurt you too."

Billy never ceased to be amazed by a child’s instincts and always respected them.

“Just a wee bit of recklessness. I’m going to be fine.”

The boy’s smile didn’t return.

“How are you going to stop them when you’re hurt?”

“I have good friends who are coming for me. They will bring others to help. Don’t worry.”

Hector then smiled a little and Billy had an idea.

“You know, I could really use your help until they get here. Like you said, I’m on the mend here.”

“What can I do?” Hector said as his face lit up with the idea of assisting him.

Billy smiled.

“I want you to watch out for things for me. If you see anything that doesn’t look right to you, you come and tell me, all right?”

“What kind of things?”

“You know the village the best, Hector. Like if strangers you don’t know come in or if any of your friends or the other families start acting strange, you know, things like that. You’re a secret agent now. I trust you. Trust is the most valued between agents like you and me, yeh?”

Hector smiled widely, enjoying the idea that he could help, but even more that he could be an agent.

“I’m an agent?” Hector beamed with pride.

Billy watched the fear melt away from Hector’s face and it gave him joy.

“That you are, lad.”

Billy began feeling a growing ache in his midsection. As it got worse, he found himself curling into himself. He didn't want to startle Hector, but he couldn’t hold back a groan.

“Are you okay?” Hector asked, worried.

Billy's breathing quickened and the pain felt like it was spreading throughout his body.

“I need you to get Samuel for me, all right?” Billy clenched as the pain worsened.

Hector then got scared, frozen in place.

Billy understood and forced himself to think clearly through his discomfort.

“Hector, it’s okay, all right? I’m just not feeling too well and I need Samuel.”

“You’re not going to die like my father did, are you?”

Billy’s sympathies went out to the boy who had suffered so much loss. He tried to calm himself down further so that Hector would as well.

“No, no, lad, I promise you, I’ll be all right, but I need Samuel’s help to get better all right?”

Hector nodded.

“It’s all right to be afraid. The bravest men are afraid, it’s why they are brave because they know they are afraid and yet overcome it. Okay, Hector?”

The boy nodded.

Hector's fear eased with Billy's words of confidence and he ran out of the house to get Samuel.

Billy groaned again and panted quickly. He closed his eyes and hoped that Samuel had something to help him.


ChaosChaosChaos

Billy woke up, groggy from poor quality sleep, his whole body shivering with cold yet he was slick with a sheen of sweat from his fever. He turned his head and through filmy vision, he saw Hector and standing beside him was Samuel. He licked his lips and smiled.

“Fine…work there, Hector…A stellar agent you are indeed,” Billy gasped out, bringing out a smile on Hector’s initially frightened face.

“I don’t think I have to tell you what’s happened,” Samuel said, his expression serious.

“Infection…Inevitable, I expect,” Billy said with acceptance and experience.

He felt tired, drained of strength.

“I have some antibiotics in pill form, but without knowing what kind of infection you have, I can’t promise -“

“That they’ll work,” Billy said and nodded. “Do you have that satellite phone?”

“Yeh, I do.”

“Good. I’m going to have to contact my mates. They have to know I’m still alive…while I’m still alive,” Billy joked, moaning.

“Of course.” Samuel said, looking worried. “I wish I could do more for you.”

“You’ve done quite a bit for me, both you and Hector,” Billy said as he threw a smile towards Hector, eliciting a smile in return. “I grateful to you for everything.”

Samuel was moved by Billy’s appreciation and worried about his condition. He knew that Billy needed real medical attention, not the makeshift situation he had.

Infection was one of the primary things that killed the people there. That and arms smugglers. He had to hope that neither would kill Billy.


ChaosChaosChaos

Michael and Casey watched as the doctors in the emergency room examined Rick.

Worry was etched on their faces even Casey’s granite features revealed signs of concern.

Rick had collapsed into Michael’s arms, breathing with difficulty. It seemed like pneumonia had set in and the doctors were trying to confirm it while also making Rick as comfortable as possible.

Michael's phone then began to ring. He stepped away to answer it.

"Dorset," he said and as he listened, his face went from shock to relief. "Thanks, Fay. That's great news."

Casey joined him. He saw the faint smile on Michael's face and found the conclusion easy to come to.

"Billy's alive," Michael said knowing he didn't need to preface for Casey.

"Of course he is. Where?" Casey asked cutting to the chase.

"He got help by a researcher in a nearby village and called in by satellite phone. Fay has the coordinates," Michael's expression then turned to concern.

"What is it?"

"Billy said he's okay, but Fay could tell something was wrong."

"He was shot at least four times. Even if he survived field surgery, under the best of conditions it's still the jungle, ripe with opportunities for infection. If he's already compromised, we don't have much time to get to him," Casey said with a kind of disappointed, if practical, authority in his voice, hating that he had such knowledge.

Michael looked over to Rick, an ache in his chest at the idea of leaving him behind. It was a leader's curse that was the hardest to bear even for a paranoid bastard like him.

Casey saw his indecision and realized that he would have to make the hard choice.

"Michael, Rick is in good hands in a hospital with doctors who can give him the best care. We can't do anything for him but wait and I know that neither one of us can stand by and leave Billy behind facing infection and possible capture by arms dealers. Rick wouldn't want that either. Remember, he sacrificed his own health so that we wouldn't leave Billy behind. The choice is a no brainier."

Michael appreciated his team. They looked out for each other so that when he lost objectivity, one of them would bring him back to the important perspective he needed. Casey was doing that now.

"You're right. Let's get Billy."

ChaosChaosChaos

Billy stirred with discomfort, unable to shed the heat ravaging his body. It was clear to him that infection was well underway inside of him. He continued to take the antibiotics that Samuel had given him in the hopes that it would keep the infection even a little under control. He had never felt so weak.

Hector watched over him and the worried nature of the company wasn't lost on Billy.

"Hector, you don't have to stay with me. I'll be all right."

Hector's face trembled then collapsed into tears.

"Don't be like my father," he blurted out.

The request caught Billy by surprise. He wasn't expecting it.

"I could never measure up to your father, lad -"

"No, no," Hector said, his anxiety increasing. "He stood up to the bad men and they killed him."

Billy took in then let out a long breath. The poor boy had watched his father getting killed standing up to men he didn't have a chance of defeating, likely protecting his son, his family. He admired his bravery, but his heart went out to young Hector.

"I'm so sorry, Hector. I'm sure he just wanted to protect you and your family. He was a brave man."

"Brave men die. He died and left us. Who's going to protect us now? I don't want you to die, like he did, Billy." Hector begged.

Billy was moved by Hector's pleas. His voice was wracked with tears. It was the sound of a desperate young boy who had bonded with Billy as a father figure and who was afraid as any child would be about losing that figure after already losing his real father.

"Your father didn't want to die. He didn't want to leave you. He loved you and had to make sure you wouldn't be harmed. It's what a father does."

Billy felt the exhaustion deepening into his body, but he couldn't lose consciousness not yet, not until he helped Hector understand.

"Good, then you don't have to die too. You're not my father."

Billy was touched by Hector's caring attempts to save him as only a young boy could rationalize wanting to spare him any more pain let alone to spare him dying.

"I'm not planning to die, Hector, but protecing you and your village is the right thing to do. Your father didn't die for nothing. I know a part of you thinks so and I'd give anything for you to have not lost him, but he was the best kind of man, someone who believed that evil must be stood up to. He did it for love and there is no greater sacrifice. I would consider it an honor to live up to your father's sacrifice by protecting you and this village."

Hector listened feeling both upset at the idea of losing someone who had reminded him of his father in both the best and awful of ways and yet also felt selfishly relieved that Billy would stay with him because he was frightened.

"I'm scared for you. The bad men, they are too strong. You can't win."

"I've called my mates and they are on their way to help us. I won't be alone in the fight. I believe we can win and I need you to believe that too."

"And if you die like my father?"

"I won't."

"You don't lie that well."

Billy had never been told that he was a bad liar. Lying was his stock and trade and he had applied it effectively on many missions, deceiving the most deceptive and intelligent of people, assets and enemies alike yet this innocent young boy had challenged him on his veracity. He was impressed at Hector's perceptions, ironically though, he truly believed that once Michael, Rick and Casey got to him, everything would be fine.

"I am not lying to you, lad. I believe everything will be all right. Trust, it's the best weapon an agent has. I'm asking you to trust me. Can you do that?"

Hector looked at Billy, wiping his tears, he saw the conviction on his face and wanted to believe him.

"Okay, Billy," he said.

"Good, now can you get Samuel for me?"

Hector nodded his head and left to retrieve him.

Billy closed his eyes in extreme fatigue. Dizziness was threatening to become unconsciousness and he couldn't let that happen. There was relief in knowing that Michael, Casey and Rick were heading to his location. There was a part of him that wanted to just let go, to rest and leave the responsibility to them, but he knew it wasn't in his make up to do that wherever he had the control to prevent incompacitation from happening.

He had noticed something strained in Fay's voice that made his instincts flare into suspicion, that there was something she wasn't telling him. He'd have to query the boys when they got to him.

In the meantime, he'd rest and keep on taking the antibiotics.

His heart ached for Hector's loss and he not only worried about his frame of mind in the present, but if anything worse happened, how it would scar the young boy's perspective for life. He had heard of young boys becoming indoctrinated into the arms smuggling world because the seduction of power over helplessness becomes so appealing. Billy was resolved to prevent Hector from becoming another victim, another recruited foot soldier for the arms trade.

His thoughts were then interrupted by Hector running into the room, if possible, even more scared than when he had left.

"Hector? What is it? What's wrong?" Billy asked already suspecting what it was.

"The bad men, they have Samuel!"

TBC. Thanks for reading.

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You've come up with such a wonderfully cruel scenario here. The pain the other three feel at having to leave Billy behind is palpable and Billy's dogged survival is something to behold. Being shot so many times, undergoing surgery in the field -- you are so hard on him! And I love every minute of it!

But all he could hear himself say was, "NOOOOO! NO! He’s not gone!!!"

He could have sworn he heard an echo reverberating back to him saying, "Save yourself!


I commented on it already, but I love that moment. SO heart-wrenching.

Rick shook his head slowly, but as he tried to protest, all that came out was a wet rasp and wheeze. He tried to get up from his chair, but just collapsed into Michael’s arms.

Poor Rick.

Hector smiled at Billy's firm assurances and despite being ill, the belief was there and even a young boy like Hector felt that belief, but then his expression changed to concern.

I really like Hector's character. :) He's a great addition to the story.

Great work as always!

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