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Reveling in the fickle nature of fangirlishness

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Chaos - Lead by Example Part 2/4

Summary: The ODS loses Michael and it's left to Billy to keep them together, but at what cost to him? WARNING: 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 Two:

Casey and Rick returned to the office, but Billy wasn't there. It gave them both a twinge of worry. Billy had never disappeared without telling them where he was going. It was an unwritten understanding that Michael had insisted on. Paranoia may have driven it, but they had all abided by it. It was a way to ensure each other's safety. In their line of work, danger lurked in less obvious circumstances. Billy would never break it, especially now when they were all vulnerable emotionally and at risk for not thinking clearly. Michael's death had left them all on shaky ground.

"Have you seen Billy?" Rick asked.

"I was going to ask you the same thing." Casey said.

Casey then bowed his head. Rick noticed.

"What's wrong?"

"I'm worried about him. I'm afraid in a moment of weakness, trying to deal with Michael's death, I've been punishing myself. Billy saw through it and helped me see that there was nothing I could have done to save him, but I said some things...did some things..."

"What did you say to him?" Rick asked concerned, but not accusing.

"That he should have been more careful, that he should have stopped Michael...I wasn't thinking straight. I was angry at myself, but it didn't come out that way."

Rick shook his head and at first Casey thought he was chastising him.

"I said that Michael didn't deserve what happened to him, that he deserved better than a star on the wall and I think Billy took it personally, that I was blaming him. I didn't mean it that way at all."

"Damn it."

"Billy's okay. He helped me see that Michael wouldn't want me to mourn him. He told me that Michael saw potential in me and that I shouldn't waste that faith he had in me," Rick rationalized.

"He's right," Casey said.

Casey then shook his head.

"Billy let me hit him. He goaded me into hitting him knowing it was the way to break through to me, but I've known him a long time. He was in pain too yet he tabled it for me."

"For us," Rick added and agreed.

"And now he's missing. I'm worried that when he needed us, we let him twist in the wind alone."

Suddenly Higgins walked in.

"Have either of you seen Operative Collins?"

"We were just asking each other the same question," Casey said.

"I was waiting for his answer."

"Answer? Answer about what?" Casey asked suspiciously.

"About leading the ODS."

"You asked him to replace Michael?" Rick asked, a little aghast at the seemingly insensitive request despite the fact that he would gladly follow Billy into hell if he asked.

"Well, not to replace Operative Dorset. I know how all of you are still mourning his death, but yes, if the ODS is to continue -"

"Can the false sympathy. Why the sudden change of heart? I thought you'd jump at the chance at disbanding the ODS?" Casey accused.

Higgins balked at the accusation.

"I assure you that my sympathies are sincere. Think what you like about me Operative Malick and perhaps you'd be justified in some respects, but make no mistake that I take the loss of every agent personally. As for the ODS, I admit that I did want it disbanded at first, but all of you have accomplished amazing work -"

"Because of Michael," Casey declared, fresh grief bloomed in his chest.

"Yes, of course, Operative Dorset was a principle part of your success," Higgins said with earnest regret. "All the more reason that someone will need to eventually lead it. I thought that Collins would be a good choice. He said he needed to talk to both of you about it before he could make his decision. From your reactions, I take it he didn't mention it to you."

"No, he didn't. We didn't know," Rick said, regret in his voice.

"That's curious. Why wouldn't he mention it to you?"

"Because we were too busy feeling sorry for ourselves." Casey chastised more himself, but he saw Rick nod in agreement. "We'll find him, Director and for the record, we're going to convince him to take it even if it means I have to use some convincing arguments to persuade him," Casey said.

"I'm sure you will, Operative Malick," Higgins said with a knowing smile.

Higgins left and Casey began to pace.

"Damn it, Billy," Casey cursed to himself. "He blames himself. I made him think..."

"So did I, but what's more important now is that we find him and help him like he helped us."

Rick paused for a moment.

“I’d follow Billy into hell and back,” he asserted.

“So would I. We just have to convince him of that.”



Billy felt his leaden legs slow his stride towards Fay’s office door. He stood and watched her work, blissfully unaware of what had happened and of what he would be telling her.

He had broken such news before both in the British Secret Service and in the CIA. It had been difficult with strangers because any innocent’s death was a loss he not only took personally, but that he had always felt should have been prevented.

In this case, it was as personal as it came.

Michael had confided that he had never stopped loving Fay and had admitted that the reason Billy had been employed to always be the seducer of any female asset was as much about his talent for doing it as it was Michael’s inability to do it himself, that for all his faults, he had never cheated on Fay, at least not with other women, but maybe he had with the job he had admitted reluctantly. He was a monogamous person and even though he had accepted that he and Fay would probably never get back together, he didn’t think that he would ever love anyone else like that again.  The admission had brought out the terminal romantic in Billy.

So now, to have to bear the news of his death to Fay, who he had considered a friend as well, felt like a knife ripping into his heart.  Still, he would never let anyone else do it.

He took in a breath and walked into her office. She looked up, her beaming smile radiated up in greeting and it just made his heart that much heavier.

“Billy! How good to see you! Are you and the guys back already?” She asked innocently.

“Yes, yes,” He said stumbling a bit, completely uncharacteristic of him.

“Where’s Michael? Normally he just can’t wait to tell me all of the…” she trailed off as she watched Billy’s expression turn somber. A chill ran up her body. She had never considered the scenario that she knew was now coming. “No, no…you’re not…he’s not…”

Billy tried to act strong for her, tried not to let himself falter because he knew that she would need that strength from him, but he found the effort excruciatingly difficult.

“I’m so sorry, Fay…” was all he could say, his skill for glibness lost to him at that moment.

“No, no, it can’t be! He never…he always lets you guys…” Fay rambled, unable to gain control of any coherent thought from the shock of the news.

Billy took in a breath.

“It’s all my fault, Fay. He saved my life. I…bollixed the mission…”

Fay watched Billy collapse into a nearby chair and felt only sympathy. She was worried about how he had looked. He was trying to hide pain that she could tell he was feeling perhaps injuries suffered on the mission. It seemed obvious to her that Billy was neglecting himself.

“Billy, no, I know you and I know Michael. Whatever happened, I know in my heart that it couldn’t have been prevented. Are you all right? You look like you're in pain. Have you see the Company doctors?" Fay asked her concern evident.

"I'm fine. You mustn't worry yourself. I had to come to you first. I didn't want to risk you hearing about what had happened from anyone else but me."

Fay was moved by Billy's compassion. She had already known that behind the charm was a man who cared deeper than any operative she had ever known, especially more than Michael, much as she loved Michael, she knew that Billy was a rarity in the Company.

"I wanted you to hear from me how Michael died saving my life, taking the fall for my incompetence and how deeply sorry I am."

"Billy, no, please, you mustn't blame yourself. I know you, supported you on missions, I know you did the best you could. I know that Michael thought you were worth it. I'm more surprised that just when I think that I’ve gotten over him, gotten over the hurt and abandonment, I get reminded that we loved each other once and now....”

Billy appreciated her words, but couldn't convince himself that he had done all he could for Michael.

Fay allowed herself to shed tears, the shock still raw, but slowly dissipating into her body.

“He never stopped loving you, Fay. You were his last thoughts, the last words he uttered were how he never stopped loving you.”

Fay sat down herself, her expression less of loss and more of guilt.

“That’s what makes this so hard for me. I did love him, Billy, but all the hurt between us, the love between us, I had put it firmly in the past. Yes, I’ll always love him and I’ll mourn what might have been, but I feel terrible that he never did move on, that he died hoping for something that I knew could never happen again.”

Billy nodded and understood. Fay noticed that he seemed to be taking the loss particularly hard.

“What will happen to the ODS?”

“I honestly don’t know."

"I think you should lead the ODS," she suggested sincerely.

"What? No, absolutely not."

“Billy, Michael often talked about how capable you are and how he trusted you.”

“I’d feel like I was betraying him.”

“And if you don’t, the ODS dies with him. Of all the things Michael loved, he loved working with all of you more than anything else in his life. It’s why we could never have a life together. I wanted more than he could ever give and to be honest, he wasn’t capable of giving to a relationship other than to the work. The work was his true mistress.”

Billy listened, still feeling unworthy.

“I got him killed.”

“No, Billy, the job got him killed and I know that he wouldn’t have it any other way, dying to save a friend.”

Fay saw the uncertainty and insecurity in Billy’s eyes and in his normally confident posture. She knew she had to convince him that he would be the only choice because she truly believed he was the best choice. She had been privileged to watch him work with the others, with Michael and his devotion was clear.

There was also something else she had noticed. Illness. Billy didn't look well at all.

“Michael was many things, Billy, but first and foremost, he cared about all of you in the ODS. He loved the work and cared about all of you. I know in my heart that he would want the ODS to go on. It’s his legacy and I know that he would want you to command it,” she said, her hand on his knee.

She then smiled.

“Let’s be honest, can you really imagine Casey at the helm?”

Billy allowed himself a small smile.


“Think about it, Billy. You're not betraying Michael. I know that Casey and Rick would be by your side.”

“I’m not so sure about that,” he said, the insecurity back again.

"Why would you think that?" Have you talked to them about it?"

"No, but..."

“Billy, one thing you have to be different than Michael about. Don’t be the distrusting paranoid that he was. Your greatest gift is your inherent and unquestioned belief in Casey and Rick. Of course Michael trusted all of you, but he was incapable of expressing it. It’s why our marriage failed. I needed to hear that sometimes. Despite how tough Casey and maybe Rick a little are, they need to know that you trust them. I know that Michael died because of his trust for you."

Billy nodded.

"I promise to give it serious consideration," he said as he rose stiffly to leave, clenching in pain.

"Are you sure you're all right?"

"I'm fine, love. Nothing a good night's rest can't fix," he evaded as he walked towards the door.

Fay wasn't convinced; her empathy for him grew. She was worried about him. His compassion towards her was meaningful and so like the man. His pain over Michael's death palpable, even more devastating for him than it had been for her.

"Thank you for telling me about Michael."

Billy nodded again, smiled and left.


Rick and Casey showed up at Fay's office looking for Billy.

"Have you seen Billy?" Casey asked.

"No, what's happened?"

"He's disappeared," Rick said.

Fay's expression softened with worry.

Casey caught it.

"What's wrong?"

"He didn't look well at all. He was taking Michael's death very hard. He blamed himself. I tried to tell him that it wasn't his fault, but..."

Rick and Casey gave each other knowing and worried looks.

"We need to find him," Rick said, guilt piercing his heart. "We were so wrapped up in our own grief, we ignored the fact that Billy was hurting too. He was with Michael and he thinks he should have saved him, prevented him from dying."

Rick's pained expression deepened as his worry and guilt worsened. He had let Billy down and yet in spite of his own guilt and grief, Billy had taken the time to listen and comfort.

"Only no one could have. Michael, he did what he knew he had to do. He saved Billy. He saved the mission," Casey said feeling his own self-flagellation for allowing his selfish guilt to blind him from Billy's pain.

In retrospect, Casey should have seen that Billy's surrender to his punches were as much to receive punishment for what he felt as his failure to save Michael as it was to help Casey unleash his own guilt.

"Billy was trying to make us feel better, but at the expense of his own grief," Rick said. "We have to find him and convince him to take over the leadership of the ODS."

"What?" Fay asked.

"Higgins asked him to take over," Casey said.

"And he refused?"

"No, he told him he had to talk it over with us," Casey continued as he swallowed his regret down. "And all we did was make him feel like he's the last person we'd want."

Casey hit a nearby desk in frustration.

"We'll have to interrogate everyone," Casey said.

Rick could only stare at Casey incredulously at his idea. If the situation wasn't so grave, he would have laughed at Casey's overreaction.

"Maybe we should go to his place first. If he was feeling as bad as Fay says, maybe he just went home to rest," Rick suggested logically.

Casey looked over and nodded.


Billy was feeling wrecked.

Pain radiated from every pore and muscle and he'd been throwing up all night without the benefit of getting cracking smashed the night before. He wasn't holding food down so he could forget about alcohol.

He'd had a sleepless night and his body felt like it was made of lead. He had never made it to his bed, as every time he had tried to stand, he had felt his legs buckle underneath him and shooting pain seized his abdomen, forcing him to sit back down on this couch.

If truth were to be told, he felt like he was dying a slow death. His intellectual mind was screaming at him to get help, to call someone to get help for him, but his grief was a more seductive voice, berating him, telling him that he deserved to die. He had let his leader, his friend, die, to die in his place and to his disillusioned mind he was only letting happen what should have happened in the first place.

This was only right he heard his grief convince him. He was righting a wrong inflicted on the universe. Even his teammates didn't believe he could lead them. What was there left for him?

But as his weakness began to overwhelm him, suddenly another voice intervened. His will to want to make it up to everyone, to serve as an example, to lead by Michael's example.

Billy had no wish to die. He wanted to live.

But as he struggled to get up and reach for his cell, hearing it ring and vibrate, seeing Rick's name on the screen, he wondered if he was too late in coming to that conclusion.

His cell continued to ring and vibrate as if begging him to crawl out of his pain to answer it.

And all he wanted to do was answer it.

He reached out, his hand trembled with the pain it brought to move his body towards it, still, he fought it.

His fingers curled around the phone then grabbed it. Once fisted firmly, he dropped back onto the couch, breathing as if he had run a mile. He pressed the "answer" button and brought it to his ear.

"Billy? Billy! Answer me!" Rick called out.

Billy found himself smiling at the comforting sound of the voice of someone he cared about.

"Rick..." he breathed.

"Billy, where are you?"

"My place...afraid I'm buggered..."

"No, no, listen to me, we're coming to get you, hold on, keep talking to me," Rick said, his emphatic voice rising with insistence.

"I'm sorry..."

"Don't be sorry...just stay with me."

"Don't…want to die..."

"You're not going to die, you hear me?"

Billy wanted to believe Rick, but he was feeling as if he was being pulled away slowly from what energy was left to keep him present, to keep him alive. Grief's seduction was almost complete.

"Higgins...he asked..."

"Yeh, we know and…" Rick took in a breath. "I'd go to hell and back for you so don't die."

Rick heard a wet, gagging laugh then coughing.

"Billy?" Rick called out, panic rising.

"And I for you, mate, for the both of you...let's hope it doesn't come to that...aye?"

Rick then heard a thud. A thud that hit him squarely in the chest through the phone line.

"Billy? Billy!"

No answer.

The pain in his chest then moved into his throat.

"Martinez?" Casey called out as he drove towards Billy's hotel. "Rick!"

"Hurry. Hurry, Casey."

Rick then felt the car lurch forward.