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Chaos - Denial then Acceptance Part 5/5

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 5:

Rick startled awake.

He noticed that he felt achy, probably from sitting uncomfortably in a hospital chair in Billy’s room. He hadn’t remembered nodding off, but he had been exhausted worrying about Billy’s recovery. They had had a good talk and the fear and apprehension that he had felt since Billy was rescued had lifted enough to allow him sleep, a commodity that had been robbed from him as much as it had been from Billy.

He reached with his hand to rub the pain from his shoulders, but was shocked to learn that he couldn’t, that something was restraining it. He groggily tried to clear his vision and looked over; every motion brought searing pain that puzzled him. Still, even that revelation didn’t diminish the shock he felt when he had realized that his hand, his whole arm, was being restrained. His gaze followed the restraint up to a wall. He surveyed his surroundings and he found blood on his once crisply pressed shirt, more pain began to assert itself as if to give him an inventory of the various injuries that for a brief moment at awakening he had forgotten about.

He was in a small cell. The walls were cement, the only view a window so high up that even if he craned his neck to the straightest upturned angle possible, enduring the inevitable pain that would follow, he couldn’t discern where he was.  One thing was certain though.

He was a prisoner.

He blinked and wondered how much time he had lost and more importantly, how much reality. The last thing he had remembered was being in a hospital with Billy as the patient.

Had that happened? He wasn’t sure.

Was that all an illusion?

Was it a hallucination that his mind had conjured up to deal with the fact that he was a prisoner, to comfort him? To help him towards acceptance that this could be his last mission?

He didn’t know the answers, but oddly, he didn’t resist the conclusions.

He knew that his friends were coming for him and that was enough.

He was at peace.

Just as he faded into darkness, a darkness in which he didn’t know where it would lead him, he heard explosions and his door blast open. He felt someone grab him, a reassuring hold.

“Rick? Rick? We’re here. Hold on, lad.”


“You get him out of here and I’ll make sure these SOBs pay for what they did.”

Casey. It brought a smile to his face. Billy noticed.

“That’s right, son. This is a bona fide rescue, the cavalry’s here. Hang on now.”

He felt Billy releasing his bonds and being in the company of his friends, he allowed himself to relax.

“No, no, Rick, me boy, stay awake. You have to stay with me, mate,” Billy encouraged. “I know it’s difficult and I know you want to sleep and you will be able to rest soon, but not yet, all right?”

“I…knew…you’d come,” Rick said, his voice a whisper; the gratitude, a warmth of trust threaded through his words.

Billy swallowed back his emotions, the responsibility of the statement not lost on him.

“Come on, lad,” Billy said as he hoisted him onto his shoulders and led him out.

“You were right…” Rick rasped.

“Was I now? Well, that will be a first. You mind telling me what I got right exactly?” Billy coaxed as he guided him out of the compound toward Michael who was standing by a car, back seat door open and ready to receive them.

“When you told me…I’d only know my limits when faced with it…”

Billy crinkled in confusion.

“Now, I know…what you meant…what you told me, it kept me…going…”

“What exactly is it that I told you, mate?”

“That I’d never be alone…”

Rick then fell unconscious.


It took a day to stabilize Rick, but all in all, he would be all right. A collective relief fell over everyone, but there was also an air of sadness.

Billy had acquired another infection while trying to recuperate from the last mission and had fallen into a coma.

He had already been falling prey to the raging infection and as always, had managed to stave it off until this body couldn’t fight back anymore.

The doctors weren’t optimistic and Michael and Casey didn’t know how they were going to break it to Rick so true to form for the ODS, they lied to him until he was well enough to handle the truth.

Rick laid in bed, in shock over the news about Billy’s declining health.

“No, no, it can’t be. He was with you guys…he got me out.”

Michael and Casey looked at Rick, their concern shifting to him.

“You must have been under the influence of whatever it was they pumped into you,” Casey commented.

“What? No, no, I remember talking to him. He was telling me to stay awake and hang on and –“

“That was me, I was pulling you out,” Casey insisted.

Rick took in a breath; confusion was swimming in his mind.

“I told him that I knew he’d come for me, that you all would, that what he had told me just before the mission had kept me going…”

“Rick, you were going in and out when we were getting you out of there. You were probably crashing from the drugs they injected into you. You just need some rest,” Michael comforted.

Rick continued to struggle with his memories.

“Back at the compound…what he told me kept me alive. I was so scared after what happened to him that I wouldn’t measure up if it ever happened to me then I was captured…but…I remembered what he told me and I knew I’d be okay, that I wouldn’t betray you guys. All that time, I just remembered Billy telling me that if I did break, you would still come for me, that I wasn’t alone.”

“Well, of course we would, Rick. We’d never leave you behind. Frankly I’m a little hurt that you would think we would,” Casey teased.

Rick only slightly registered Casey’s flippant tease, the confusion etched deeply on his face. Michael, too, was confused and worried.

“When was the last time you remember talking with Billy?” Michael asked, his practicality along with concern needing to make an assessment of Rick’s state of mind.

Rick thought long and hard, finding it hard to slog through his memories to differentiate when he was captured versus just before that when he had talked with Billy.

“I think it was when we rescued him from that prison, when he thought that he had seen his old partner and Emma. He’d been tortured for a week before we got to him, but he was starting to get better, he was going through PT. I was really shaken up about what had happened to him, that it had taken so long to get to him, but he told me that I needed to get over that plus I was worried about how I would handle getting tortured like he had…I was terrified that I would break and compromise all of you. He told me that I’d only know my limits when faced with it, but that you’d all be there for me and I believed him. It helped me get through the torture knowing that you’d find me. I realized what Billy was trying to tell me then, that knowing all that would keep me from breaking. And it did.”

Rick let out a deep sigh.

Michael and Casey gave each other knowing and worried looks.

“That was over three months ago, Rick and yes, we did find Billy, but he was close to dying and he’s been fighting to live ever since.  He hasn’t regained consciousness.”

Rick felt pain in his chest that he knew hadn’t come from his injuries. He recognized it as the shock of learning that Billy had never talked to him and the confusion that had caused.

Could his recollections be false? Created by the drugs that his kidnappers had injected into him? In a way, there were worse hallucinations to have so if that were the case, then he couldn’t find fault in it. If the images were supposed to break him, they had done the opposite. They strengthened his resolve. Still, the uncertainty remained along with the deep sadness he felt that Billy was barely hanging on to survival. He found himself preferring the hallucination over the harsh reality.

“Can I visit him?” Rick asked.

“I don’t know if that’s –“ Michael said.

“I have to see him. I need to see him,” Rick pleaded.

“Okay,” Michael said.

Much to the dismay of the doctors, Michael and Rick collectively managed to convince them that it was important for Rick to see Billy, that it was as much for him as it was for Billy.

A nurse wheeled Rick into Billy’s ICU room and Rick was shocked by the fragility he was seeing. His last recollection was of a tired and weak Billy, but a Billy who was getting stronger by the day. This Billy was decidedly thinner and since he was already tall and lanky to start with, becoming thinner only added to the starkness of his frail and helpless form.

Rick wheeled closer to the bed and his senses picked up the antiseptic smell that inevitably develops over being bed ridden for long periods. It deepened his sadness for a silenced Billy was a painful visage to behold.

“Billy,” Rick began, trying to think of the right words to say. “I don’t know what happened to me when I was imprisoned, but I wanted you to know that even though I seemed to have hallucinated a moment that never happened between us, the words you said, they rang so true to you and I clung to them. You helped me get through hell so I’m hoping to return the favor here. I’m not the metaphysical type, but if you can hear me, please come back. We all need you here. If a guilt trip will work…we won’t survive without you…I won’t survive.”

Rick’s eyes filled with tears as he stared at Billy’s pale face.  It was then that he spotted Billy’s eyelids flutter open, tiredly at first then his eyes roamed his surroundings trying to ascertain where he was.

“Billy?” Rick said shocked yet elation brimming in his eyes.

His eyes fixed their gaze onto Rick and there was no fear there, just relief.

“Hold on, Billy. Don’t fall asleep again, please. I’m getting help.”

Rick pressed Billy’s call button madly as if pressing it over and over again could bring anyone in faster. Finally a nurse came in.

“He’s awake! Please help him!”


After a flurry of doctors and nurses surrounded Billy to assess his situation, one of them finally came out to the men.

“Mr. Collins seems to be breathing on his own. His vitals are good so we are cautiously optimistic for now. He has a long way to go to full recovery, but if he keeps up this progress, he should be fine. He needs his rest right now, but you can see him tomorrow.”

The three men released long sighs of relief as if they had all been holding their breaths the entire time Billy had been unconscious. Even cynical Casey and paranoid Michael couldn’t help but feel hopeful. Rick just closed his eyes as if in prayer. Casey noticed.

"Never keep a prayer to yourself," Casey said.

Rick smiled and nodded.

The next day, Michael and Casey agreed that Rick should visit Billy, that he needed to see Billy more than they did, if only to keep boosting his own recovery.

Rick wheeled into the room, a bright smile on his face. Even in his weakened state, Billy was glad to see it and determined his energies to make sure that he did everything he could to prevent that positivity from deflating on account of him.

“Young Rick, I daresay you look chipper today,” he said, his voice a scratchy whisper from his throat having been imprisoned by the ventilator for so long.

“Never mind about me, how are you feeling?”

“I feel on the mend. I fear it will be a long road, but I am bound and determined not to be run off of it,” Billy smiled, exhaustion lined his face.

Rick returned it then became pensive.

“I can’t stay long, you need to rest and they’re on my case to get some as well, I just…”

Billy saw the raw relief and gratitude on Rick’s face.

“Save it, lad, for when both of us are not dulled by the ever delightful medications we’re on,” Billy deflected for Rick’s benefit. “Suffice it to say, none of it matters right now. Healing is around the corner and all that matters is that we’re here among the sanctity of friendship, yeh?”


Rick recovered fairly quickly, still needing to take it easy so that his bones would knit and his body would return to elasticity. For every day that he was in the hospital, he visited Billy.

Billy’s recovery was a much longer road. He had been bed ridden for months, muscles, sinew, and bone, inactive. Small victories came in sitting up, staying conscious for longer and longer periods of time and cognitive functioning returning. And every day, his friends came to visit to keep his spirits up though as Billy regained his stamina, they began to notice that he had switched roles and had become the Billy they had come to depend on, the Billy who made them laugh, who gave them the proper perspective on the future even it was his long term engagement with physical therapy. Each of them vowed to help him, Casey seemingly particularly relishing putting Billy through his paces, enjoying the prospect of pushing him to this limits to make sure that he came back 100%.

Rick though undeniably happy to see Billy’s recovery, still harbored a sense of uncertainty that dimmed his joy and Billy had noticed it.

“Rick, is something bothering you? You seem a bit distracted,” Billy queried.

He was propped up in his bed, the angle of it comfortably placing him in a sitting position, still his face was pale and every word he spoke was laced with discomfort and weariness.

 “No, I…”

“Come on, lad, you can’t keep such secrets to yourself for long. You know I’ll continue to cajole you until you reveal. I have my strength back now,” Billy teased tiredly.

Rick smiled.

“Yeh, I know you will.”

“Then tell me what’s wrong?”

“Nothing’s wrong really…it’s ridiculous. I was hopped up on whatever drugs they had me on –“

“Rick, your dilly dallying is making me nauseated. Can you come to the point please?” Billy teased.

Rick nodded.

“When Casey and Michael rescued me, I told them that what kept me going was what you had told me about learning my limits when tortured and that the only thing that I needed to know was that I would never be alone…”

Rick sighed, sadness in his eyes.

“Knowing that…hearing those words kept me alive, Billy. The entire time I was being drugged and beaten, all I could think about was that you, Michael and Casey were coming for me, that I would rather die than break and I didn’t because of what you told me…”

“I’m glad I was of some comfort to you during the worst moment in a spy’s life, but forgive me, Rick, I don’t understand –“

“We never had that conversation, Billy. It never happened. I hallucinated it all at least that’s what people are telling me. Even when I got rescued, I could have sworn that you were there pulling me out, carrying me on your shoulders, but Casey and Michael told me you were already in a coma the entire time I was captured. I’m just…it felt so real. I guess my kidnappers really did a number with my mind.”

Rick looked dejected almost disappointed that everything he had thought was real was all just a dream.

Then it was Billy’s turn to look confused.

“Of course we had that conversation, mate. I remember it well,” Billy said his voice breathy and labored.

“Now you’re just humoring me.”

“I’m not, lad. Unless you and I both have fallen through the looking glass together, I do remember it. I foolishly rushed my recovery and my setback happened shortly after you left for the mission. It was at that point that I had fallen into a coma. Perhaps it’s Michael and Casey who have their timelines confused. Now, true, I wasn’t there when they rescued you, I truly wished I had been. Though I’d rather that you had never had experienced all you did, I’m heartened that anything I could have told you saw you through it.”

Rick took in a breath only a little uncertain about his state of mind, but glad that Billy shared the recollection.

“More’s the point that you are back safe and on the mend. That’s all that matters. By the way, I had no doubt that you would not crack under the pressure. I’m just glad that you were able to prove it to yourself because there was no need to do so with me nor with Casey or Michael neither.”

Rick smiled as he watched Billy fall asleep. He left feeling lightened. It was typical of Billy to make him feel better even feeling so weak and out of sorts himself.

Michael watched him leave.  Later when it was his turn to visit, he had decided to talk to Billy about what he had heard.

“How are you doing?”

Billy looked over and smiled.

“Getting better every day my fearless leader,” Billy teased. “I’ll be back before you know it.”

Michael gave him a dubious look.

“You’d sound more convincing if you weren’t still flat on your back.”

“I’m hardly that. I’m propped up rather nicely actually.”

Michael shook his head then fixed him a look.

“Why’d you lie to Rick?”

Billy was taken by surprise by the question.

“Are you spying on me now?” Billy asked, not in any accusing way, but with a bit of delighted mischief in his voice.

“No, I happened to hear when I came by earlier.”

“Ah, well, in that case, I didn’t lie exactly.”

“You were already in a coma before Rick left for the mission,” Michael insisted.

“Yes, well, perhaps, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t have the conversation.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Michael, you’re not a man who believes in the intangible, things that can't be explained or that you can't see and prove with your own eyes. Your paranoia gives you a suspicious nature. Sometimes there are things that can only be explained metaphysically."

"Are you saying-"

"That I did have that conversation with Rick? Yes, of course. I remember every detail. How else would I know the exact details as he had remembered them?”

“That’s what I’m asking you, Billy."

Billy smiled.

“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy,” Billy quoted Shakespeare, his favorite go-to writer.

Michael shook his head again, humorous disbelief at how even in his weakened state, Billy could conjure up a Shakespeare quote befitting of the moment. He had to admit he was always impressed by it.

"It's called metaphysics for a reason, Michael. If I could explain it then it wouldn't be a mystery now, would it? Some things just have to be taken with nothing more than faith as its foundation. I'd like to believe that when Rick was in peril and needed something to believe in his mind reached out to me for strength and I'd also like to believe that the need was so great that in my altered state I heard his plea."

Michael listened, admittedly skeptical, but understanding that Billy was more than the logic of the job, he was the heart and soul of it and without him, none of them could get through the missions they did.

"I guess I'll have to just take what you're saying on faith."

"A wise idea and a significant step forward for a diehard cynic such as yourself."

Michael took in a breath then gave Billy a look. Billy spied tears filling his eyes. It gave him pause.

“After all, I’ve done it.”

“What’s that? Take a leap of faith, is it?” Billy smiled teasingly.

“I don’t know if I’d go that far, after all, this is me we’re talking about. Let’s just say I place my faith and my life to men who defy logic at times.”

Billy felt the sincerity behind the words and was moved by Michael’s concession to something more at work than just practical drug-induced hallucinations.

Sometimes, acceptance is as simple as taking a leap of faith.

He nodded and smiled again at Michael then drifted asleep.

If he were the kind of man who shared his inner secrets, Michael would admit to his own leaps of faith and if he were to be honest, he had often reached for the belief and certainty in the loyalty of his men when he had found himself in the dark recesses of his own insecurities and weaknesses and Billy, he had always been at the center of that resisted faith. He could only hope to be as lucky as Rick had been as he grasped for a thread of reality in a surreal situation to find someone at the other end of that tether giving him what Michael knew to be an unshakeable belief and strength.

He was willing to concede to how lucky they all were to have that in their midst.

FIN. Whew! Finally finished. I had fun writing this story and it took on a life of its own. Hope you enjoyed reading it. Thanks for reading!

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Even having reviewed every chapter on FF.N, I couldn't resist leaving another comment here. This is great! You did a fabulous job keeping the reader guessing just what was real, and I loved all of Billy's thoughts. :D Awesome work!

I love the twists in this -- Rick's capture is harrowing and the revelation that the conversation that kept him alive may not have been real fits perfectly with the flow of the fic. And the image of Billy, wasting away -- gah! It kills me. But I'm so glad that Rick and Billy pull each other back and I do suspect Billy is right in the end :)

This fic is awesome. Definitely one of my faves!

Man, this was like the Inception of Chaos fic. Hallucination within a hallucination... hehe. Thanks for posting! :D

Wow! Thanks for the compliment!

Thanks so much for your comment and for the very much appreciated complimentary comparison to Inception. I'm so pleased that you found it that complex. I hoped that it would translate versus confuse and your compliment was more than I could have hoped to have accomplished. Thank you so much! You humble me.

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