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Chaos - Denial then Acceptance Part 2/5

Summary: Hallucinations and reality merge for both Billy and Rick as they face their worst fears. Capture and torture.

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 2:

Billy awoke with a start, the first thing that registered was that he was aflame with pain and he groaned, but as he tried to curl into it, he found his arms tied to a wall above his head and he couldn’t move. He felt a chill that only made the pain that much more fresh and relentless. He then noticed that he was shirtless. He looked to find where some of the pain was coming from to assess how hurt he was and he found bruises, cuts, and blood on his torso, needle mark trails at the crooks of both of his arms. His breathing was rapid, trying to gain some control over the pain, but failing.

“Comfortable?” A voice asked.

Billy looked up to follow it and saw a man that he thought was dead, emerge from the shadows, his old partner at the British Secret Service.

“Eddie?” Billy said. “I must be hallucinating…you’re dead…”

“Nah, mate, only made you think I was. I work for the other side now,” Eddie said casually, as if declaring himself a traitor didn’t even matter to him.

“What?” Billy asked, pain and confusion muddling everything.

“I know the drugs have made you a bit clouded, but pay attention now. I defected, you see?”

When Billy heard the words, the feeling of betrayal raged into his muscles and veins, intermingling with the pain until he couldn’t distinguish them.

“You bloody bastard! You're the mystery man hiding in the shadows like the coward you are! You traitorous git!” Billy tried to say with vehemence in his voice, but the attempt at communicating his rage was lost in his fading strength and what he knew was his failing health, only a rasp of indignation came out of his sore throat.

“I prefer to call it taking a better job offer, aye? I was really undervalued back at British Secret Service.”

“You’re starkers!” Billy said, incredulous at Eddie’s casual demeanor.

“Think that if you like, if it makes you feel better, but denying it won’t change things.”

Billy had to admit the pain and the drugs were making it difficult for him to focus, but he couldn’t deny Eddie’s presence in front of him and could only wish that he could blot out the words he was hearing.

“I heard you died in prison.”

“Was supposed to believe that, mate, it took me off the radar, yeh?”

Billy’s face contorted both from pain and from a disgust at having mourned the loss of a friend, a friend who was no more dead than he was, although at the moment he felt a lot closer to it, and of the agony of the guilt he had felt for having left a friend behind. It had all been a sham and a waste. Billy now wondered if the loss of his own career because of it had also been a waste, but he immediately knew that it hadn’t been.

If he hadn’t been deported to the States, he’d never have the career he had now, with mates, true mates, who believed in the same things he did and for whom he would die for, no, he couldn’t regret anything that had brought him back to the life he loved with people worth doing it for.

“Well, then, let’s just keep the charade going, aye? Seeing that you took such pains to fake your death. Far as I’m concerned, you’re still dead to me.”

“Ah, now there’s the spit of my mate.”

“I’m NOT your mate.”

“No, no, I guess you’re not,” Eddie said, almost regrettably.

“So cut to chase, what’s all this about, aye? If you think that I’m going to talk –“

“Oh, no, you forget, I know you like I know the back of my own hand, mate. You’re the most stubborn bastard on the planet when it comes to loyalty, to Queen and Country and to the CIA now, is it?”

“What then? Practicing for a new career, are you now? Torture, is it?”

Billy clenched, his eyes closed and his body rattled with spasms of pain. He couldn’t stop the moaning.

“I guess you could call it that. I have ventured into a new line of work, see? Did some actual studying, got me some schooling with the help of my compatriots. Got a degree even. In chemistry –“

“Ah, I see where this is going,” Billy smiled weakly.

“Do you? Because I don’t think you have any idea.”

“So you telling me that what’s coursing through my veins right now isn’t your handiwork?” Billy asked, not really needing an answer.

“Oh, it’s my work all right, but I think you’re missing the point about why you’re here.”

Billy watched and listened to Eddie and he saw something in his eyes, a kind of emptiness, a vacancy of emotions, a lack of compassion; madness, perhaps, that had been allowed to fester for six years.

“You’ve gone rogue, haven’t you? This, what you’re doing to me, it’s not sanctioned is it?”

A broad smile appeared on his face.

“It took a long time to find you, you know? After they sacked you, they put your records under seal, but we have very good hackers here. I paid someone off to help me. When he got your records –“

“You killed him, didn’t you?” Billy said, shock registering on his face.

“No loose ends, right?”

“So this is some kind of payback, is it?” Billy asked.

“Finding you after that was easy peasy,” Eddie taunted.

“Just tell me what you want, Eddie!” Billy demanded weakly only to bring on an onslaught of pain.

Eddie just smiled.

“Your soul, Liam. I want your soul.”


Rick watched over Billy and occasionally glanced at the monitors. His vitals were stable and because he had head injuries, they had added an additional assault by wiring him up to an EEG. It was reassuring to see everything leaping with lively activity, but he would have given just about everything to hear Billy’s voice versus the sounds of the machines showing that he was still alive.

The brain waves were literally dancing wildly on the screen. He asked a doctor about what it all meant, what it showed and he had told him that it was showing Billy in REM sleep, dreaming. If the meager signs of Billy’s hands twitching every once in awhile, or curling into fists and even an imperceptible stiffening of his body were any indication, the dreams were vivid. The doctors said that any further sedation would be akin to putting him into a medically induced coma and they weren’t ready to commit to that yet. Rick and the others were grateful for that bit of conservative medical care. Casey even mocked that Billy didn’t need any more help sleeping.

Rick could only watch and stare, feeling the guilt pressing so firmly into his chest that he would have to take the occasional deep and halting breath because he hadn’t noticed holding it for so long.

“I’m sorry for being late,” Rick said, the emotions clogging his throat. “Casey hates apologies, that we could only get there when we could get there. I’m glad that he can rationalize, but after seeing you…what they did to you…”

Rick took that breath.

“We should’ve gotten there sooner. I don’t know how we could have, but we should have.”


Billy couldn’t help himself. He laughed. Even though it brought wave after wave of pain, mixed with the laughter it created a whole new sound, a pathetic combination of mirth and mewling which only fueled his laughter.

“What are laughing about?” Eddie asked, irritation transforming to anger in his voice. “I think YOU’RE the one who’s gone starkers here, mate. I don’t think you realize the gravity of the situation you’re in.”

“Oh, I do, believe me, I understand the gravity and the sheer lunacy of all of this,” Billy smiled, pain cutting through it. “You want my soul, Eddie, but I’ve already sold it, mate lock, stock and barrel, you see? And not even to the highest bidder like you did. What you see here is just an empty vessel where a soul used to be.”

“Bollocks that. I know that you haven’t surrendered your precious principles, your high horse moral ground. More importantly, I know that you still feel guilt, as you should, for taking everything from me, for taking Emma away from me.”

It was then that the laughter petered out; ragged, struggling breathing replaced it.

“What…are you…talking about?” Billy asked, his confidence slipping away from him along with his strength as the pain rushed in to take their places. “I had nothing…to do with Emma leaving you…she saw through you like a polished pane of glass, long before I saw your duplicity, a sharp lass, that one. You didn’t deserve her. Neither of us did.”

“Ah and that’s the point. You didn’t deserve her and yet she chose you.”

Eddie’s anger deepened and Billy saw once again, the madness that he had spotted earlier. There was revenge there, bright as day and now Billy saw what was driving it like a freight train towards him.


“How’s he doing?” Michael asked Rick as he approached him and patted him on the back.

Rick had only left Billy’s side when visiting hours were done and even after them, he would only go home to shower and change and eat the cafeteria food when he was hungry which wasn’t very much or very often.

Michael recognized the ragged features of exhaustion. He had been there too many times to count not to see it. He also knew that no one could keep him from it until he had faced the limitations straight on. He knew that Rick was reaching his threshold and all he could do was be there when the crash happened.

“The doctors say his stats are good,” Rick scoffed. “What the hell does that mean anyway?”

“It means that Billy’s fighting and getting better.”

Rick looked over at Billy and couldn’t convince himself of that.

“Does it?”

“Don’t go by appearances, Rick. For as long as I have known Billy, he has defied the odds. He doesn’t know how to surrender.”

“Doesn’t mean he won’t now. When I think about what he went through…it seems impossible that a human could survive or would want to after…”

“I thought you knew Billy better than that,” Michael scolded softly.

Rick looked at him, confused.

“He’s only a man, like we all are. The things they put him through…”

“Of course, he’s a man, but Billy’s will borders on superhuman. I’ve seen him come through things, mentally and physically, that would have destroyed other men so until he tells us himself he’s done, whether it’s with his own words or…” Michael trailed off hesitantly. “We have to believe that he’s fighting and I won’t give up on him until then.”

Rick nodded.


Michael sat next to Rick.

“I know how you feel, believe me. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone over it all in my head what I could have done differently to get to Billy sooner, but doing that doesn’t help Billy and it doesn’t change anything. Capture and torture are always very real possibilities in this line of work. I know you know that, but it’s one thing to know it. It’s completely another to go through it. All of us have gone through it at least once, Billy, more than that. I can only hope that you’ll never have to, but if you do, I hope that the belief that we’ll get to you will be enough to keep you alive. I know that Billy has that belief and in a way, his knowing that, his unshakeable conviction in that knowledge comforts both Casey and me when we fall short. He’ll tell you that all that mattered to him was that we got to him and got him out, it is…but I’ll always blame myself for not getting to him sooner.”

Rick listened and felt guilty for ignoring that the ODS is a team effort, that rescues aren’t one-man operations. They had all contributed their part to getting to Billy, to saving him, but the reality of it was it’s not like the movies. Rescues don’t happen in a two-hour time span and in a neat and tidy happy ending. They take planning, control, even when your mind and body are vibrating with urgency. He knew that it was Michael’s talent to be calm under pressure, to apply his fevered brain to the task and formulate the necessary plan and it was Casey’s talent to remove any and all obstacles to making that plan come to fruition. He knew his talent was translation, but what good did that do in an English-speaking situation? He just then becomes extra muscle and he knew that he had shortcomings where that was concerned. So, he felt he should have contributed more, felt that he hadn’t and no matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t get past his frustration about it.

“I know you did the best you could. We all did, but seeing him like this, I can’t help imagining all he’d been put through and that maybe he wondered if we were ever coming, that maybe he stopped believing…”

“Not Billy, Rick. I know that he never stopped believing we were coming for him and I know that he’d have done everything to stay alive until we got to him. Billy isn’t a quitter even when his captors try to break him by telling him that we had abandoned him, it’s a common tactic, to break a person’s will that way, but he would never let them. He’d accept dying before he’d accept defeat.”

Rick watched Michael defend Billy’s conviction towards them and felt ashamed for his doubts. He thought he was being sympathetic, but he saw the truth now. He was preparing himself for the worst and hoped that by taking the blame he could somehow make himself feel better. He wasn’t doing anything for Billy and he didn’t need to. Billy had all he needed.


Billy was finding it hard to stay conscious. It would have been easier to answer where he didn’t feel pain versus where he did. Even then, he would be hard-pressed to concentrate on where he didn’t hurt. He looked at his captor, someone who he had once called his mate, and couldn’t see that man anymore. All he could see now was an embittered man bound and determined to exact revenge on him. In some ways, Billy believed that he had a right to that revenge, but deep down the evil had lain in wait to emerge and all it had taken to let it go free was the loss of a good woman. Billy had to smile at the Shakespearean nature of it all. Shakespeare did know how to get to the very heart of things.

“What are you smiling at?” Eddie yelled.

“I’m thinking about how deluded you are, how we both were.”

“Stop talking in riddles!”

“Emma could have made better men of us both, but being the stupid gits we were, we chose to destroy ourselves instead.”

Eddie’s expression flared with rage and he punched Billy in the abdomen. Billy tried to prepare for the blow as Casey had taught him, but at best he mollified it to a glancing blow. With his body a complete raw nerve, even a touch seemed to ignite agony and he grunted.

“She would have been better off with me!” Eddie yelled again.

“No, mate, she was better off without us both.”

“No, she was better off DEAD!”

Billy reacted as if he had been struck, the words punching him in the throat without Eddie raising a hand to him.

“What?” Billy said with hushed shock.

“You heard me,” Eddie spat out.

“You’re lying. You’re a lying bastard!” Billy yelled back, his anger drowning out the pain in his body.

Eddie then flashed a satisfied grin.

“See? There’s the Liam I know. You might pretend to not care, you might stand there and act like you’re impervious, above the baser emotions, the baser acts but I know better.  I know how to reach those weaknesses.”

Billy took in a cleansing breath to calm himself.

“Brilliant, there, mate. You had me going there. Good on you, but you can think whatever you like, do whatever you want to me, but it won’t help you get out of this. My mates will make sure of that.”

“Ooo, your mates, right. Where are they now, aye?” Eddie taunted, then his expression went cold with an icy satisfaction. “And who said I was lying? About Emma?”

Billy did his best to hold back any more outbursts, inwardly cursing himself for allowing his emotions to best him against an enemy, especially an enemy who used to be a friend.

“You’re not going to bait me again, Eddie.”

“Bait you? I just revealed your true colors, yeh? Emma just happens to be both our Achilles Heels, but just like she is that, she is also the one thing that could hurt us both.”

Eddie flashed a signal to one of his men. A chill ran down Billy’s spine, the kind of dread that he had learned never to distrust because it had unfortunately never failed him. At that moment, he would have given anything for it to be wrong.

He then heard sounds of struggle, high pitched, feminine. His face betrayed his realization and shock.

A woman, bruised, squealing in both fear and defiance as well as fighting against her restrainers, was hauled into the room. Billy’s fears went straight to his stomach and he thought he was going to throw up. Emma.

“You sadistic BASTARD! Let her go!” He yelled.

“AH, see, there it is again, your greatest vulnerability, that caring bleeding heart of yours.”

One of the men tore off the duct tape on Emma’s mouth, her own struggle ending with her realization of whom she was seeing.


Billy’s gaze softened as his eyes began to fill with tears despite his best efforts to keep them at bay. He could only just nod.

“Oh my God, what’s he doing to you?”

The sound of her concerned voice washed over him like a warm and comforting blanket over the chills he was feeling.

“Guess I’ll leave you two lovebirds to catch up, aye?”

One of Eddie’s men released Billy from his bonds and he fell unceremoniously to the floor, his legs unable to hold him up. Another man released Emma’s bonds and she went straight to Billy. She turned back and gave Eddie a quick venomous stare. Eddie just smiled and walked out of the room, locking the door behind him.

Emma tried to help Billy up, but he shook his head groaning all the while as he pushed himself up to a sitting position. He unintentionally slammed against the wall as he lost his balance and the impact made his sight black out for a second. Once he settled down, he looked over at Emma, his eyes swollen again with tears, both from pain and regret. He reached out with his left hand and she took it without reservation. She kissed it and then held it to her cheek.

“I thought you were dead, Liam,” she mewled.

“I’m sorry, Em. I’m so sorry…The Liam you knew IS dead and should have stayed that way.”

“You have nothing to be sorry for, not for what Eddie’s doing –“

“It’s because of me this is happening, Em, his hatred for me…”

“For both of us.”

“Doesn’t matter, love, all that matters is that I get you out of here. Are you all right?”

“I’m fine. I’m just a bit banged up. Eddie didn’t bet on my not going quietly.”

Billy smiled.

“You were always feisty,” he said.

“Yeh, among other things as you well know,” she teased with a raised eyebrow.

“Indeed I do,” Billy stiffened with pain, trying to smile.

“What’s he done to you?”

“I’ve had worse done to me. This is nothing,” Billy said. “As long as you’re all right…”

“I’m all right,” Emma said as she crawled over closer to Billy.

She tried to assess his injuries, but he stiffened and shook his head.

“Not that I don’t appreciate it, love, but I’ve been worked over right proper and at the moment, I’m barely keeping things in check, yeh?”

“This is madness,” she said, distress in her voice that cut to Billy’s heart.

“Aye, it is and I’m afraid Eddie is as well. I’m sorry you have to be in this mess.”

“Stop it, Liam, you didn’t do this. I know that with my heart.”

Billy sighed at the sound of her forgiveness even when he felt he didn’t deserve it.

“What happened? I mean I know what happened to you. Damned injustice is what it was. I knew it, everyone who knew you knew it.”

“Not so sure about that.”

She smiled at him and giggled lightly.

“One thing Eddie’s right about, is that bleeding heart of yours. You took the fall for him and still, you don’t blame anyone but yourself and think you should be punished. And for what? For being a good mate? For being loyal to the British Secret Service? British can’t wipe their own arses is more like it, if you ask me.”

Billy smiled wide. It was the first time that he had felt liberated from his circumstances, fleeting, as he knew it was.

“God, how I’ve missed you,” he said.

Emma blushed.  “And I, you. Why didn’t you contact me when you got deported?”

Billy demurred. “I thought it was best to let everything –“

“And every ONE go? Why? I’m a bit insulted that you’d think –“

“You deserved better. You deserved to move on. Most of all, you deserve to be happy. I’d only be a reminder of what…”

“Of what? Because if you’re going to say of how you failed, that’s a load of rubbish.”

She retook his hand into hers and stroked it.

“I’d’ve gone with you in a heartbeat –“

“All the best then that I didn’t call.”

“Liam, don’t know what you’re remembering, but for me, there was no one better than you. I loved you…I still love you.”

Billy sighed at the words.

“How can you love a man who’s put you in danger like this?”

“How many times do I have to say it to get it through that thick head of yours? You didn’t cause this. If anyone’s at fault here, it’s me. I should never have let Eddie think he could have any part of my heart.”

Billy squeezed her hand and smiled. “Headstrong as always.”

“I think you called it being pigheaded.”

Billy laughed, but he paid the price for it.

He let go of her hand as his body arched in pain and he gulped in a deep breath.

“Liam, tell me what I can do for you,” she said, distressed that upon reuniting with the love of her life he would be in such agony.

Billy let the spasm work its way through this whole body then as he relaxed a little, he smiled.

“You’re already doing it, love. I never thought I’d see you again and even if this is all a hallucination, I welcome the joy it brings to know you don’t hate me for all that I have done.”

She gave him a sympathetic gaze.

“I could never hate you and you're not hallucinating. I'm here."

The declaration should have made him happy, but the spy in him knew that she being captured with him only meant that she was in as much danger as he was. It would have been easy to face Eddie alone, with no one at risk but himself. With Emma there, he knew that Eddie in his unstable state of mind could use her to get to him and Billy had to find a way to keep that from happening. He had to save her, but he honestly didn't know how to do it.

The years hadn't diminshed the love he felt for her and seeing her, hearing her express that she, too, had never stopped loving him had selfishly fed his ego. Deep down he knew that he couldn't let the emotion cloud his judgment because he was already compromised to the point that if push came to shove, he wasn't sure he possessed the needed strength to overtake Eddie or his men alone.

Billy was afraid.

Eddie had played him well. He may be stark raving mad, but he knew Billy's vulnerabilities and was effectively using them against him. Eddie's hatred for the both of them only fed his madness. It was the x-factor that made the situation difficult to impossible to antipate.

Emma had been the best part of his past life and had been the only thing he had regretted leaving behind. She had given his life meaning, had him see beyond the spy craft and had made him a better man. She was the last person he had wanted to disappoint and when he had been disgraced and deported, he had painfully come to terms with the fact that he had lost her forever and rightfully so. So to hear her say that she had never lost faith in him, that she had believed in him had only deepened his love for her.

It also made saving her that much more of an imperative.

"Em, you must promise me something."

"I don't like the sound of that."

"You must promise me that no matter what Eddie does to me, you won't intervene -"

"I will NOT stand by and let him kill you-"

"You must."

"Liam, I just got you back and I won't give you up without a fight."

Billy could only smile.

"You are a pigheaded lass you are."

"It's what had you fall in love with me."

"Aye, that and more."

Billy felt her sidle closer, careful as to not hurt him, but her presence brought immeasureable comfort and a kind of pain relief that no narcotic could ever provide. He sighed and encouraged her nearness, bringing his arm around her, needing her pressed against him. It had been so long. She laid her head on his shoulder and let out a breath. They both fell asleep and as Billy faded into unconsciousness, he allowed himself to forget the six years he had lived without her.


Rick had been jostled awake by running doctors and nurses. As soon as wakefulness had taken a firmer hold over him he finally realized that they were running into the ICU and towards Billy. When he stood up, he had been joined by Michael and Casey.

"What's happening?" Rick asked as he felt his grogginess being replaced slowly by panic.

"I don't know," Michael said, his own concern growing.

The three men watched and through a small parting of the curtain, Rick spied Billy's eyes and they were open.

"Billy's awake," he said absently.

"What?" Casey said. "How do you know that?"

"I see him through the curtain."

Michael and Casey craned their necks to see if they could catch a glimpse just as one of doctors emerged from it. He walked over to them. Rick was rigid with anticipation and fear.

"What's happened, Doctor?" Michael asked.

"Mr. Collins has regained consciousness and was fighting the ventilator tube so we've removed it."

"Can we see him?"

"In a couple of hours. We gave him a sedative because he was very agitated."

"Well, isn't that how you'd react if you woke up with a tube down your throat?" Casey said glowering.

"The tube was only part of it. He was acting confused, disoriented calling out a woman's name, Emma. Do either of you know her? It might help him if she were here."

"No, no, I don't..." Rick started to say as he turned towards Michael and Casey. He noticed a knowing and surprised expression on Michael's face. "What? What is it?"

"Emma was Billy's...he loved her."

"Well, maybe we should call her?" Rick queried. "Maybe she can help him?"

Michael bowed his head and stalled.

"She can't."

"What do you mean she can't?" Rick asked, his frustration and his need to help Billy escalating.

"She's dead, Rick. She died six years ago. She was killed by the agent that destroyed Billy's career."


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I love your use of flashbacks in this fic -- it's particularly well done and gives us so much insight into poor Billy's angsty past. You do the h/c so well that I could just reread it again and again :)

(LOL, and I do reread it often!)

Though someday you're going to have to give poor Billy a happier ending!

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