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Chaos - Denial then Acceptance Part 4/5

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 4:

The doctor came into the waiting room. All three men stood up, worried expressions on their faces.

"I'm afraid Mr. Collins has developed a fever. We think an infection has set in."

"How bad is it?" Casey asked.

"I'm afraid it's become life threatening. He's also hallucinating again, the fever is probably contributing to his already compromised mental condition."

"What was he saying?" Rick asked.

"He was calling out for Emma again," the doctor answered. "The combination of the sedative and infection has weakened him so he was less agitated."

"What's the prognosis?" Rick asked again.

"We'll have to wait and see how he responds to the antibotics and if they defeat the infection."

All the men were speechless, unable to come up with anything else to ask about in order to keep their collective hopes alive.

"Thank you, Doctor," Michael said as he sat back down again, burying his face into his hands.

The doctor walked away silently.

"I know what you're thinking. You didn't cause this," Casey said.

"I certainly didn't help him by forcing him to face an unpleasant truth that upset him. I should have waited."

"He asked you questions so how could you have helped him by lying to him?" Casey asked. "Eventually you would have had to tell him the truth and telling him that after misleading him with lies would only have made it worse."

"And besides, Billy understood, he said so himself and the infection was probably already in the works anyway," Rick assured.

"It doesn't matter. None of it does, the only thing that does is Billy coming out of this whole again," Casey emphasized.

“I hope he does,” Michael said, his hope waning.

“Okay, you know things are bad when I’m the optimistic one,” Casey teased with frustration.

Michael and Rick couldn’t help, but smile.

“Billy will survive this,” Casey emphasized in a way that the other men couldn’t disbelieve.

The men had decided that they wouldn’t leave Billy alone, to give the fantasy any chance of taking hold, to keep reminding him, no matter how painful that he belonged with them and not with Emma.

Rick was in Billy’s room and could only watch helplessly as he heard Billy moaning and take breaths so filled with exhaustion that it made him ache.

Billy then stirred and awoke looking disoriented. He saw Rick sitting in a chair next to the bed and smiled with recognition.

“Ah, you look more worse for the wear than I do, lad.”

“I find that really hard to believe,” Rick countered with a soft smile communicating relief as he stood up and walked over to the bed.

“Perhaps, that would be a bit of a stretch,” Billy said, his mouth parched.

Rick saw his need and grabbed a cup of ice chips and carefully fed them to Billy.

“Thank you,” Billy sighed after he allowed them to dissolve.

Billy saw the veiled distress underneath the boyish fear and felt sympathy and guilt for being at the root of it.

“I’m sorry for scaring you like that -” he said, not knowing what would be the right thing to say.

“Don’t be sorry. You were tortured. We didn’t get to you in time and they…they had too much time to do this to you…” Rick said the agonized guilt fully bloomed in his voice. “It was my fault.”

“Rubbish, if I know anything at all, I know that to be untrue. You did all you could, all of you. Even one’s best efforts isn’t always enough, it’s no one’s fault. The villains win sometimes. In many ways I’m glad it was me instead of you. If there is a saving grace in all of this, it’s that.”

“How can you say that? You were put through things I can’t even imagine –“

“And I’d rather you never do. Can’t promise it can be always prevented, but I can at least be glad that it was this time.”

Rick’s eyes began to well and he couldn’t stop them. Hearing that Billy was glad that he was suffering to spare him the experience seemed beyond noble and it only made Rick’s failure all the more pointed.

Billy noticed and tried to bore home his conviction.

“You did nothing wrong, lad. I know it because I’m here and I’m alive. The rest is just overcoming some insignificant setbacks is all. You brought me back. I’m among friends. I’m not suffering anymore. It’s all a man can hope for and more. This…” Billy emphasized as he patted Rick’s hand. “This is real.”

Billy took in a breath as he looked beyond Rick’s shoulder and saw Emma standing there smiling at him.

“Thanks,” Rick said in hushed tones.

“Aye, I think I need my beauty rest now.”

Billy closed his eyes and his body relaxed into the bed. Rick watched him drift off and sat back down in his chair, pondering Billy’s words. They seemed so lucid and they had given him renewed reason to hope.

Billy woke up again later and saw Rick asleep in his chair, crumpled uncomfortably. He could only smile.

He then felt a presence next to him and he looked up. Emma. He smiled at first.

“Ah, there you are, lass. Haunting me with your beauty as you should.”

“Billy, why are you still here? Come with me. There is nothing more for you here. You have served your men well, but at the cost of being away from home, from me. You needn’t suffer any longer. I can relieve it.”

“Would that you could darling, but you’ve been gone from me for six years. I know that now. It was the drugs that were muddling up my mind, but I know that I belong here with these men, these fine lads who faced danger and who risked their lives to bring me back. I owe them more than my life. I owe them my soul and I'd gladly give both to save them.”

Billy took Emma’s hand and though knowing it was an illusion, he allowed himself to be deceived one last time.

“Much as I love you with all my heart and I always will, I have much to do here with my mates. In my own way, I avenge your death every time I defeat an enemy and in the small fantasy I do allow myself, I convince myself that I saved you instead of failed you.”

She smiled at him.

"I have to let you go, love."

She bent down and gave him a chaste kiss. He closed his eyes to savor the illusion one more time. When he opened them, Emma was gone and Rick was staring at him in her place. His expression was trembling with trepidation.

"Are you all right?" He asked.

It saddened Billy to see Rick so unsure of himself and of him.

"Fear not, lad, madness hasn't seized me, not yet. I know that Emma is an illusion, an apparition from my past falsely created to break me of my will and sanity. I know that she no longer lives...I failed her, you see, but I'm not seeking to join her...I just needed to say good bye for the last time..."

"Oh, I..."

"I won't lie to you, mate, I'm not back from wonderland just yet, I have hurdles to overcome, but with your help, Casey's and Michael's as well, I think I can come back through the looking glass."

 Billy twitched with pain. He was pale from pain and fever and Rick continued to worry.

"I’m sorry about Emma.”

“Aye, lad, so am I. So am I.”

The few weeks that had followed had been a roller coaster for Billy, gains and setbacks jockeyed for dominance, pushing Billy to the brink.

A week ago, Billy had turned gravely for the worse, fever spiking dangerously, delirium in full force, his breathing bordering on hyperventilation.

The doctors weren’t sure that Billy would make it and had instructed each of the men that it might be wise to say their good byes, that by doing so would have been the humane thing to do, giving Billy permission to stop struggling, to let go.

Each man refused and instead were resolved to remain present and give Billy the needed tether to remain with them.

Still there was one day when that resolve wavered.

Rick, watched Billy whimper with pain and effort, felt that maybe Billy did need to be told to let go.

“Billy, it’s okay, you know? I know we’ve been trying to…no, forcing you to fight, but I’m not sure…”

Billy smiled through his panting breaths.

“What? You…giving up on me, are you?” Billy teased.

“No, never, but sometimes there’s a certain point when asking you to keep on suffering feels wrong and I…”

Billy felt compassion for Rick and appreciative of his offer to release to him.

“I…understand and appreciate the mercy you’re offering me…but my choice to fight…don’t know any other way, lad…was raised you fight until you can’t no more. If I truly can’t…go on…it will be my body letting go…not my will…only then…will all of us be forced to yield…”

Rick nodded.

“I wish I could do something.”

“You can…lad…just talk to me, keep me focused, keep me here in the present.”

“Are you still having the hallucinations?” Rick asked, worried that Billy had been putting on a front for the last couple of weeks.

“No, no, they seem to be gone…but I’m not one to take things on face value…paranoid, yeh?” Billy smiled.

Rick smiled. “Yeh.”

“Now, it’s just a matter of…keeping the spirit willing and the flesh fighting, yeh?”

Rick’s smile faded a bit.

“How do you do it? Keep going after everything you’ve lost, after everything that’s been done to you?”

Billy sighed, closed his eyes briefly to breathe through a spasm of pain.

“Have no other choice…” Billy said, with a smile and without any resignation in the statement.

Rick gave him a puzzled look.

“This life, for better and for worse, is all there is. One can waste it wallowing…and I have done my share believe me…not painting myself a saint or a martyr here…or one can make themselves useful…cliché as it may be, to make a difference. Shakespeare expressed…such with Hamlet. Our beloved Dane toyed with ending his life, but he had a mission to complete, avenging his father’s death. That’s how I see my life…an ongoing mission…so when my end finally comes…my own Horatio…” Billy pointedly shifted his gaze towards Rick eyebrows raised, “will tell my story both as inspiration, I hope, as much as cautionary tale.”

Rick nodded in understanding and hoped that he would be worthy of such a responsibility.

“And I assure you…I’m doing my best to keep the ending of my tale from finishing prematurely.”

Rick smiled again.

“I should let you rest then.”

Billy shook his head.

“The thing…you should…already know…about me, lad…is that…mindless chatter…is my forte and my saving grace…”

Billy licked his lips and Rick gave him more ice.

“Thank you…” Billy said. “I’m…also a superb listener…”

Rick smiled. Billy didn’t need all of his faculties to realize that Rick had been unable to rid himself of the guilt he still felt about what had happened. Billy kept forgetting that Rick was still a fledgling, a young and idealistic man who may know about the evils that lurk in the hearts of men, but had yet to experience the truly darkest hearts first hand. Billy hoped that he never would as he had told him, but that didn’t mean that in his idealistic world, he wouldn’t feel empathy for the infliction of such cruelties on someone he cared about and felt responsible for. It was that burden that made Billy admire the young man as much as feel concern for him.

“This…what’s happened to me…you still harbor unnecessary guilt, don’t you?”

Rick nodded. “Hard not to.”

“And fear, I suspect, perhaps that more than the former…your confidence’s been shaken,” Billy said tiredly.

Rick could only nod.

“I understand…I have been in your proverbial shoes, as it were, every field agent has at one point in their lives. You can’t let it remain with you.”

“You make it sound so easy,” Rick scoffed lightly.

“Far from it, lad, what happened to Emma is the albatross I must bear, but she also drives me to do better, to learn from the mistake I made with her…to honor her sacrifice. It tempers the loss and the guilt if not alleviate it entirely. It reminds me that I was spared to do more good work. To think otherwise would be worse than death and would be defaming her memory.”

Billy melted into his bed from the exhaustion of fighting off the infection, perhaps death itself, Rick wondered.

“I was raised to take responsibility for my actions, to take care of my family. It’s hard not to take responsibility…”

Billy could only smile at Rick’s conviction.

“Your family must be very proud of you, as they should. You’re a credit to them,” he said, a certain sadness and admiration as well as envy in his voice.

“I’d think the same of your family. You can’t be as fiercely determined to save people as you are without having that protective nature instilled in you,” Rick said.

Billy closed his eyes in pain for a second then had a dreamy expression on his face.

“Aye, my mother, she was a fiercely loving woman, believed in the charitable nature of people. I could never hope to measure up to standards of compassion, but I learned from her that no matter how you are treated you must rise above it and only in giving compassion do you truly triumph.”

Rick smiled.

“She sounds admirable.”

“Aye, courageous and loving as well.”

“Don’t sell yourself short, Billy. You’re a credit to her too.”

Billy looked at Rick.

“Thank you, lad. I hope so…I’ll never know for sure. I lost her a few years ago. She never knew about my new life here…I was afraid she’d still be disappointed in me so I never told her. Amazing how no matter how grown up you become, a mother can still bring you to your knees in supplication.”

Rick was surprised at the revelation. Billy, like the others, but also less than them, kept his personal secrets to himself so to hear this tidbit made Rick wonder who was doing the confessing, Billy or the fever.

Billy then closed his eyes in what Rick hoped would be blissful sleep. He waited nervously, watching the machines, almost praying that Billy’s vitals would not change, that they would not squeal in protest.

And they didn’t.

Rick took in a breath and squeezed Billy’s hand.

“I’ll be here for you. We all will.”


Billy’s fever finally broke a couple of days later, not before scaring everyone by staying unconscious the entire time. The infection was slowly being defeated and the doctors were astounded and feeling optimistic that he had defied their predictions and had survived.

The three men weren’t.

Billy slowly came back to consciousness and though he slept more than he was awake, a fact that Casey found unsettling because Billy was never silent or incommunicado for as long as he had been, he was clearly in the present and his recovery was both physical and mental.

Billy had remembered everything that had happened to him, had been briefed that the terrorists who had tortured him had been killed in the raid to rescue him. There were other captured agents from other governments who had been imprisoned there as well. Some hadn’t been as lucky, if one could even see Billy’s condition as lucky, and had died in transit or were found already dead.

Billy counted himself as lucky. He had never doubted that he would be found and knew that being found still alive was just a part of the faith he had in his friends.

He knew that he had work to do with their youngest recruit. Rick was as innocent as a man could be in their business and Billy knew that he couldn’t take back that innocence. He had seen too much of how far the brutality could be administered to a human being and still stay alive.

That naivete was gone for good and he believed he was as much in mourning about that as Rick was.

Every visit after his fever had broken, Rick had acted just as subdued in his mood, as he had been when he had thought Billy was at Death’s Door. He had hoped that impending recovery would soothe his guilt, but Billy was amazed at Rick’s dogged determination to continue brooding.

What Billy had to salvage was Rick’s faith. Getting better and stronger was just one component of the process. He had to make Rick believe again.

Rick watched Billy struggle back, go through physical therapy with fierceness and admired his determination. He never saw him waver, he never heard him complain. The only words he heard were ones of encouragement for the therapists as well as humorous jibes to maintain their focus and spirits. It was his way of letting them know how much he had appreciated their patience and persistence to help him get back to normal.

Rick could only watch in awe. If it had been him, he would be angrily cursing his lack of progress and taking it out on everyone. Billy acted with grace and gratitude in front of them and only applied harsh criticism upon himself. It was only in the privacy of being alone or so he would believe, that Rick sometimes caught the Scotsman revealing frustration, but never once resignation. If anything, Rick thought Billy was pushing himself too hard.

He would catch him lean against a bar in exhaustion and clench in pain as he panted with a windedness that was his constant companion while recuperating.

Inspiration wasn't enough to describe the feeling that Rick had felt watching Billy, lending a hand when he could, knowing that no matter how difficult it was, in the end, all he could do was watch, let Billy know that he was there for him, because recovery had to come from Billy and Billy, alone.

One day, Rick had become worried when Billy had arrived to PT looking as if he had already done a workout. He looked pale and weak, his legs wobbly seemingly barely able to hold him up. Billy was doing his best to hide the pain he was clearly having, stopping to brace against a wall, groaning from the sudden impact against it then curling into himself. When the pain passed, he would try to walk over again, but then he collapsed and Rick thought that his own heart had stopped as he ran over, calling out for him. Two other therapists joined him and tried to help as they also summoned a doctor. Before all was said and done, they had determined that Billy was just suffering from exhaustion and dehydration; that he just needed to rest. They admitted him for observation just in case despite Billy's exhausted protests.

"That was really stupid, you know," Rick scolded his voice a mix of gentle anger and tease. "Why are you in such a hurry? Are you trying to kill yourself?"

Billy smiled shakily.

"Aye, I agree it was a foolish endeavor. I guess I'm just anxious to get back to normal."

"The doctors said you need some rest. Have you been sleeping?"

Billy paused and hung his head in shame.

Rick didn't need to hear the answer to know it.

"You're still having the hallucinations, aren't you?"

"Not exactly..."

"Don't lie to me."

"I admit that I've been eluding sleep because..." Billy hesitated, "the nightmares have been haunting my slumber."

"You should have told the doctors -"

"And what could they have done, aye? Given me more narcotics to plunder me deeper into unconsciousness? No, lad, that I cannot abide -"

"So doing without sleep is a better alternative?" Rick scolded.

"It's just a temporary set back is all. I'll be right as -"

"Don't. At least be honest with me if you can't be with the doctors," Rick said, his voice plaintive and almost desperate for the need to help. "Tell me how I can help you."

Billy felt and heard the need.

"Talk to me, Billy."

Billy leaned back in the bed and sighed.

"Perhaps, I do need a wee bit of help, yeh?" he admitted.

It was then that Michael appeared in the room. Rick gave Billy a stern look then excused himself so that Michael could visit Billy. Michael waited until Rick had cleared the room and hallway. He also then gave Billy a knowing look.

"I know what you're doing, you know."

"Why, I have no idea what you're talking about," Billy protested slyly. "Are you questioning my motives?"

Michael smiled.

"You've done this before..." Michael said. "For me."

Billy demurred.

"I must be losing my touch if I've become that transparent."

Michael smiled.

"Only to me," Michael said with a pat on the shoulder.

Michael looked at Billy, gratitude on his face.

"Higgins has you to blame for my sticking around, you know," he teased.

"A cross I'm happy to bear," Billy smiled tiredly.

"And now you have to save another."

"An even worthier cause than any mission I could deploy," Billy said with brotherly devotion in his eyes.

Michael nodded. His expression then became worried that Billy would one day expend far too much for them, to protect them, so much that they would fail him…that he would fail to save him.

"And who's going to save you?"

Billy quirked his head, a mischievous smile on his face which then softened.

"I've already been saved, mate. More times than I can ever repay."

Michael nodded.

"If you can restore a cynical paranoid's faith in the system, Rick will be a slam dunk." Michael assured with a wry smile.

"I hope so. I'm worried about the lad. He'd come to us with seemingly unimpeachable belief."

"We all do. It doesn't take much to jade us."

"Perhaps, but I cannot have Rick be so disillusioned and certainly not on account of me."

"I'm counting on you."

Rick came back into the room after Michael had left.

"I talked with the doctor and if you improve overnight, you can go home tomorrow morning after some additional tests."

"Then I shall be on my best behavior," Billy promised with a swish of a salute.

Rick shook his head.

"Just get a good night's sleep."

"I shall do my utmost, but on that, I have little control. My subconscious has literally a mind of its own."

"Tell me what I can do to help."

"More to the point, what has been troubling you, lad. You aren't your usual jovial self."

"What? I'm fine."

"Must I remind you that you cannot hide from a spy, from THIS spy in particular who’s learned your tells well. You are far from fine. I thought we had put the nature of my captivity behind us once and for all."

"We have...it's just..." Rick evaded.

"I will refuse succumbing to sleep until you are honest with me and reveal all about what is causing you such consternation. Is it not enough that I hold you blameless for what happened? That there was nothing you could have done to prevent it? That you couldn’t have rescued me any sooner? Michael briefed me that others were not as lucky as I was and that's exactly how I see it. I'm a fortunate man to have emerged alive and to have mates like you having my back."

Rick bowed his head and took in a breath.

"I get that. It's not completely about that..."

"Then enlighten me, please, as your broodishness is exhausting me more than my recovery."

Rick scanned the room in order to avoid eye contact with Billy.

"I don't know if I believe I can fight against that kind of evil anymore. I was naive to think that people who did what they did to you can ever be completely defeated. We might take down some, but there are others just waiting to take their place. It's all too much. I don't believe we can win anymore. I don't think I can do it anymore if there's a chance you...one of us becomes captured and faces such cruelty."

Billy listened and Rick's words hadn't come as a surprise. It was what Billy had suspected was bothering Rick. Crisis of faith came to call often in their line of work. Questioning if the world was worth saving or if sacrificing one of their own to an ungrateful government was an acceptable price to pay.

But there was something deeper than that that Billy detected immediately.

Rick was afraid, more than just afraid, terrified. Billy understood. He gave him a sympathetic look.

“You’re afraid and don’t deny it nor act ashamed. It’s not a weakness.”

Rick couldn’t help but react as if he had revealed some terrible national security secret.

“Yes, it is. This isn’t like LaRouche where I can give a number to my fear and be over it or at the very least accept it. This fear…I can’t shake. And I know very well that if I don’t, I can’t do the work anymore.”

Rick turned his gaze away again, unable to look Billy in the eye. Having endured all he had and still remain optimistic about the work, let alone wanting to return to it so quickly, made Rick feel all the more ashamed for being wracked with terror.

“I paraded my patriotism in front of everyone and I’m a hypocrite. I’m a coward.”

“Rick –“

“Don’t you dare tell me how I have the heart of a hero because I don’t. You, you have that because you can go through all you have and I don’t mean just the torture, I mean, being deported too, I mean, you’re either a hero –“

“Or a fool,” Billy said with earnestness.

Rick turned around again.

“Oh no, you don’t get to use reverse psychology on me –“

“I wouldn’t know where to begin to use that on you, lad, but I mean it, what else, but a fool keeps coming back for more beatings, tortures and not wise up to the fact that maybe he’s being foolhardy? Seems to me what you’re feeling is closer to normal.”

“That!” Rick said, pointing at Billy. “That’s what I mean by reverse psychology, turning it around so you’re the one whose the whack job because you believe in saving people, that you do what has to be done, even if it means getting tortured to accomplish it. At least you’re not a hypocrite.”

“Who says –“ Billy started before Rick fixed him with a “don’t you do it” glare.

Rick plopped himself into a chair, his expression melting into sadness then grief.

“I don’t want to be captured. I don’t want to be tortured…I knew it was always possible, but after what you…I don’t think I could bear it…I don’t think I could…”

“Keep silent?” Billy finished, understanding with clarity where Rick was heading.

Rick then looked up, his face revealing everything. Billy saw it.

“Now we’re getting to the crux of the dilemma, aren’t we? It’s not the torture, well, it is, I mean, nobody, not even the great Casey Malick wants to be captured and tortured, but it’s not all about that either, is it? You think you’ll break and put people in jeopardy, don’t you?”

Rick’s silence was Billy’s answer.

“Ah, your silence speaks volumes.”

“How can I possibly be a good agent if I can’t…if I crack under pressure…under the kind of pressure you went through? I could compromise someone…” Rick then looked at Billy. “Compromise you.”

Billy saw the terror, the very real terror, in Rick’s eyes and his heart broke for him. For once, Billy would have no easy quip for an answer, no pithy comment to soothe Rick’s pain.

“Rick, you would never compromise me or any of us,” Billy said with confidence.

“You don’t know that. I don’t know that.”

“True, I don’t, not with the kind of certainty you need, only with the belief I have in you and I wouldn’t mislead you by claiming otherwise. Only faced with the situation can one truly know what one will do in it, to discover one’s limits, one’s true threshold for pain, one’s point of surrender. I can’t tell you that. What I can tell you is that everyone fears what you are feeling now and only in that moment, will you know. It’s not a moment I would wish on anyone and I plan on doing my utmost to make sure you never do, but it can happen. The one thing I know for certain is that no one, me especially would hold you to blame. The only thing I can give you to carry you when you’re faced with that moment is that nothing you would say or do would diminish our opinion of you or of our drive to save you. Sometimes it’s that knowledge alone that will be enough. It always is for me.”

Rick saw the sincerity in Billy’s eyes and appreciated it. No coddling or false assurances, just honesty. It was what he knew he could always depend on from Billy, even when they were hazing him; his participation had been marginal at best. He had intuited that there was more to Rick and had never given him less than honesty mixed with the much needed humor to make the bitter pill palatable.

“If I did break, I’d rather be dead.”

“A sentiment we all share, lad. I wish I could tell you different.”

Rick felt a bit of comfort from the assurance.

“No, no, it’s a relief to know that I’m not alone.”

Billy fixed a determined expression as he looked at Rick squarely in the eyes.

“Let me make one thing perfectly clear. You are never alone.”

Rick saw the determination on Billy’s face as well as the encroaching weariness of very little sleep. He nodded and Billy allowed himself to finally close his eyes.

TO BE CONTINUED…  Almost done. One more to go! Thanks for reading so far!

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So much good stuff here. I love that the team rejects the notion of letting Billy let go, no matter how bleak it seems, because Billy is always a fighter. And then Rick's doubt about if that's the right thing is so spot on. No wonder his innocence is lost in this mission!

I'll always love how you make Billy the strong one, even when he's so badly compromised. You write his heroic suffering so deliciously! This may be my favorite chapter of all!

"... Shakespeare expressed…such with Hamlet. Our beloved Dane toyed with ending his life, but he had a mission to complete, avenging his father’s death. That’s how I see my life…an ongoing mission…so when my end finally comes…my own Horatio…” Billy pointedly shifted his gaze towards Rick eyebrows raised, “will tell my story both as inspiration, I hope, as much as cautionary tale.”

Of course Billy would be Hamlet. And I love the comparison of Rick to Horatio (he would be the one left alive with the whole tragic mess in his lap!)

Shakespeare references are win.

Thanks again for your lovely comment. In my eyes, Billy and Shakespeare are a package deal and being an English major graduate, I can't resist a reference whenever I can. I'm glad you liked it and thought it fitting. I see it the same way with Rick as a Horatio figure.

They do fit together quite perfectly, don't they?

Ah, I wussed out of the English major. Almost double-majored in it, but by that point the art department held the exclusive rights to my soul. Sigh. Still, I'm a huge Shakespeare dork and get ridiculously happy whenever I find references to the Bard in fic and whatnot. ^_^

They do fit together. Their partnership though never allowed to flourish or have potential on the show, inspires me in fanfic. The snippets of brotherly protectiveness Billy showed Rick in both MOLE and especially in CORE FORTITUDE, my favorite Billy episode, continue to visualize in my head as I write more stories. It's an endless mine of possibilities for this very fertile imagination of mine.

I understand the "contract" that passions can have over one's soul. Mine was writing and I still hope to write a novel someday, but in the meantime I sublimate happily with fanfic. I almost did my senior thesis on Shakespeare, but my professor passed away so I had to settle for Edgar Allan Poe, still, Shakespeare will always have my heart.

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