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A Lesson in Exquisite Pain
sophie_deangirl

This is a Happy Birthday fic for faye_dartmouth

I hope she enjoys it and had a great day! I hope that you'll enjoy it as well.

A Lesson in Exquisite Pain

The greatest good you can do for another is not just share your riches, but to reveal to him his own.

-- Benjamin Disraeli

He never screamed.

He barely moaned nor groaned, but sometimes even an iron will and constitution wasn’t enough to quiet a body’s desire to express its strain.

Still, he never screamed.

He laughed instead.

Heartily with a grin so wide, you’d think he was witnessing something hilarious or think he had gone completely stark, raving mad.

From relentless, heartless pain.

Sometimes the grin would waver, become more of a clenched smile, but he fought to keep it on his face, the strain evident to knowing eyes.

Yet his defiance against his tormentors was absolute.

He would pant, though sometimes it would be interrupted by one of those brief yet inescapable groans.

He was in excruciating, agonizing, harrowing, seemingly unendurable pain.

Yet he laughed, daring the gods as well as his torturers to try to wipe the smile off his face.

His body would twitch, tremble even quake slightly.

His hands were wrenched into fists, his fingernails dug into his palms, the small cuts into his flesh bled only slightly, but added, if incrementally, to the already racking torture.

Still, he stood firm against the torment as a close comrade he held in high esteem, who valued and practiced such endurance when applied to him watched powerless, feeling pride and admiration for the friend who was staunchly resisting being broken. Rage, disgust and helplessness warred for his attention as well as the overwhelming desire to inflict innumerable pain, tenfold strong in return to the torturers of his friend.

ChaosChaosChaosChaos

Yet impotent to help was how he felt, if it was enough to describe how he felt at that moment, unable to move and not just because of the bonds that held him.

They had agreed that he was not to intervene, that doing so would only bring the same relentless agony upon him and his friend had told him that there was no point to that, no gain measured for their captors having two victims under their control.

It went against everything he believed in and against his years of experience to just sit idly by and do nothing, but it was the plan they had come up with, had mutually agreed upon and he knew it was the right one...he knew his friend was right even though he hated admitting it. He also knew arguing about it would get him nowhere. His friend had been cloyingly convincing teasing that he had a performance to present that would earn him his friend’s highly coveted respect.

It felt anything, but the right thing to do at that moment and as for earning that respect. His friend had done that long ago, just months into their association though he had never given him any hints to that respect. He now wished he had.

Now, doing nothing, watching the hideous execution, pun intended, of this most tragic of plays in front of him, felt more like betrayal.

There were other emotions there too: Frustration, empathy, respect, and most fervently, friendship.

He didn’t think he was capable of feeling those emotions anymore, hardened by so much failure, suffering, many times, his own, doing the work, but what came as a surprise was how much he had changed in six years, how much one man had changed him and his outlook.

How much of what he was doing now was from change initiated by the man who was enduring insurmountable pain in order to stall for time, to stall for rescue, a rescue he, himself, didn’t believe was possible or had any faith would happen.

Doing nothing was against everything that had defined him.

Yet, he stayed silent because his friend had asked him not to intervene, to trust him. Trust was a sacred and scarce commodity. He, especially, didn’t give it away that simply, but to this man, he had given it gladly. He had earned it, was earning it at the moment. His friend was thinking of his safety, had told him that he could handle it...because he had taught him how to find his own stoic center.

The memory gave him a twinge of more emotion that he had to swallow down.

Grim determination was his only control as he watched, knowing that if rescue didn’t come, he’d lose the conscience that had come to him in the form of a foreign national, a disgraced foreign national at that, who had held not an iota of anger towards his former home country for disregarding him and who had embraced his adopted one as if he were a true citizen of it.

So he watched, filled with the anger that the other man should have felt, feeling certain that his friend would die in the name of his adopted country and die gladly, dying anonymously with only a lone star to mark his existence and sacrifice.

He thought it wasn’t nearly enough and it angered him even more, the injustice of it seethed within him, but he was helpless to release it because he had promised him.

And that man had known that he never broke his promises, had counted on it. Six years and he had changed in ways that he had thought would have been impossible to imagine, finding his own humanity through his friend's unflinching and unquestioned gift of loyalty and trust.

Still, if his friend died, nothing would stop him from exacting revenge even if his friend would disagree that it was the right thing to do. He wouldn't care anymore because his friend wouldn't be there to temper him anymore. He would no longer be his voice of conscience.

His true self would be unleashed untethered and there would be no mercy shown.

All he would have would be silence if he lost his friend. And he had never imagined that he would ever want that, that silence.

ChaosChaosChaosChaos

The explosion rocked the room, blasting the door open bringing smoke and debris into it with a whoosh. He felt the restraining grips of his captors release and gravity pulled him down unceremoniously to the floor, his strength draining swiftly, too fast to grapple it and control it, his reflexes torn away with his muscles and tendons. He allowed the assault of pain to penetrate, but only for a second. He knew that he had to assist his friends, not only to take down his tormentors, but to also ensure their safety. He lifted himself up to a standing position if a bit wobbly at best. His world spun wildly bringing him dangerously close to the precipice of unconsciousness, but he managed to regain his equilibrium.

As soon as his head cleared a little, he saw the gun and knew the direction it was being pointed; towards his partner in the spy craft, his friend of whom he had asked, pulling the friendship and favor card unfairly against him, to go against his very nature just because he didn't want him harmed along with him.

His friend hadn't seen the imminent danger as he battled the numerous combatants fighting for dominance in the growing firefight. He dislodged the gun from the grip of the threatening assassin, pain seizing his body with every move he made. He then grabbed the gun and with quickly fading strength he shot his friend's enemy.

He had been startled by the shot. He turned in time to watch his friend flash a pained smile and his unmistakable wink then collapse. He ran towards him, yelling his name along with his other friends who had orchestrated their rescue.

A rescue he had cast doubt of ever happening, felt convinced it would never come, but his friend had remained resolute and his faith had been rewarded.

Maybe rewarded too late to enjoy his victory.

He refused to believe that, couldn't believe that no matter how much his negative nature pressed ganged him not to doubt what his eyes were seeing, that his friend wouldn’t survive to enjoy the spoils of his defiance.

He saw wounds on every conceivable revealed flesh, blood oozed from them, some profusely. Bruises were beginning to form and though he did feel some relief that there weren't any obvious broken bones, it's what he couldn't see that worried him the most, internal bleeding that could be dragging his friend down with organ failure as they waited for aid to arrive.

He had to keep his friend in the present despite the act keeping him suffering.

He shook and coaxed, but only got moaning as an answer at first. He observed that the tormentors and his followers were being rounded up so he was able to concentrate on his friend.

He yelled to his teammates that they needed to get help, fast and they sprung into action. He turned back to his friend, finding his eyes open, a smile slowly creeping back onto his face in spite of his pain.

Words hadn't been exchanged since the horrific ordeal had begun. It had been a tactic to deny their captors any intel of their relationship to use against them.

Now with their capture, Billy could finally not only nod to Casey his acknowledgement, flash his characteristic, if trembling smile again, his way of telling him that all would be well, that he would be all right, but he could also find his voice again, crackly and weak as it was in timbre, but just as jovial and convicted.

"And....so concludes...our lesson…in exquisite pain for today..."

Happy Birthday Faye!!!!


  • 1
I already commented on FF.N, but I had to say again, I really enjoyed this one! :D

Eeep! Billy! Casey! Great angst and whump. Interesting stylistic choices as well.

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