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Unabashed Spoiler Hound & Fanfic writer

Reveling in the fickle nature of fangirlishness

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Sound of Silence

Dedicated to lena7142 who is my fellow compatriot in loving all things h/c and deathfic, especially when it comes to Billy Collins.

Sound of Silence

They were pinned down. Nowhere to go. Casey cursed under his breath and there was an edge of panic laced in the words.

Billy had been caught in the crossfire and was leaning against a wall, panting with pain.

Casey assessed his own injuries and at best he might have a concussion, but as long as he didn’t sleep, he would be fine and the last thing he wanted to do was sleep. It was taking all of the energy he had just to keep from pacing.

Billy, on the other hand, had been shot twice. It was impossible to know how much damage the bullets had done. The only thing that Casey could assume was that the one in the chest hadn’t hit a lung because Billy would have been choking on his blood or his heart, which would have had him dead with only a handful of heartbeats.

Assume...where you make an ass out of you and me...

It wasn’t lost on Casey that despite his wealth of knowledge of field medicine, he wasn't a field surgeon and even if he was, he had no tools, not even alcohol to disinfect Billy's wounds. There was nothing he could do for him other than to get him help and quickly.

The last time he had felt that helpless was when Martinez was bleeding out after being shot in the leg, at least then, they could apply a tourniquet, at least then, Rick had morphine.

Billy only had his willpower over pain which Casey would only admit to himself rivaled his own.

It was Rick who was getting the help this time, dodging bullets along the way. Casey offered to go, almost begged to go, but Michael pointed out that Rick knew the area better and could speak the language.

Casey hated logic at times. Logic that didn't conform to his needs and demands anyway. He acquiesced reluctantly. He was worried about the kid. It hadn’t taken him long to accept him into the team, not that he would admit that to him or anyone else for that matter. In some ways, Rick reminded him of himself...He had been eager and green once too. Years of harsh reality had turned him into the cynical, angry and what had Billy called him? A boorish man with no discernible charm? He hated to admit that Billy had pretty much nailed him accurately. He hoped that Rick would never become what he had become. Being an unfeeling, almost neutral, robotic killing machine may be a tactical advantage, but it eroded the humanity in you.

Billy would say that Casey was far from a lost cause, that he demonstrated his humanity in his own “special” way on every mission. Casey wasn’t so sure about that most times, still, now, doing nothing but stand by and watch his friend suffer from his wounds, he felt completely useless and nothing drove home his humanness more than not possessing the needed skills and tools to help his friend...to save his friend.

Billy...he was hurt badly. Casey knew that...

Harsh realities. There had been way too many of them in his life.

He hated waiting even more than logic and he couldn’t help but pace. He was on the verge of singing a tune when he heard Billy call out to him.

“Don’t you...dare...sing...” Billy moaned yet managed to crack a smile, trembling with pain as it was, pointing with fragile emphasis at him. “We are far...from being...that desperate...to have to endure that...”

Michael fixed Casey a look that gave him a cold shiver he wasn’t expecting. He hated being cold. Especially when there was no reason to be, when the weather was warm or in their case, blistering hot. It made the shiver all the more frighteningly out of place and coming from something other than temperature.

Billy began to slowly drop to his knees, his strength draining quickly, the pain forcing him to curl into himself. Casey and Michael rushed in under each arm and helped lower him down to the ground in the hopes that they wouldn't jar him too much. Billy hissed and groaned as his knees touched the ground then paused to take in more halting breathes before finally coming to rest in a sitting position. He closed his eyes then squeezed them in pain.

"There, that's better," Billy sighed as he pulled his hand away and saw all of the blood coating it. A handful of blood was never good.

Casey began to pace again.

"Where is Martinez?" He said impatiently.

"Casey...all will be well, you'll see...you mustn't trouble yourself..." Billy said grunting with each breath.

Michael watched Billy weakening with each intake of air he drew in and there was nothing he could do but wait for help and hope that Billy could hang on until then.

Except he knew that Billy wouldn't make it because Billy had told him that he wouldn't.

Michael hated watching a team member, a friend die without doing something. He also hated lying to another team mate, another friend but when Casey left to do reconnaissance, Billy had asked Michael not to say anything, to stay silent as his last request.

Michael hated the sound of silence.

"Michael...I...fear...I'm in a bad way..." Billy groaned.

"I know, but Rick -"

"Isn't going to make it..."

"You don't know that..." Michael insisted, chastising himself for the lack of conviction in his lie.

Billy shuddered as a rush of pain washed over him and he grunted.

"Aye, I'm afraid...I do..."

Michael was surprised by the anger he felt at hearing Billy calmly confess that he knew he was dying.

"Don't you quit on me!" Michael said, as if ordering Billy to live could make a difference.

Billy wasn't phased by the reaction, had felt almost guilty for making Michael feel that frustrated.

"I wouldn't if I could...stop it...you know that...but I can't...it's out of my hands..." Billy admitted with a trembling smile. “It’s something...you just...know...”

Michael tried to resist what he was hearing, preferring to accuse Billy of giving up than accept that maybe Billy did know he was dying.

It was a disservice to a man he respected and he hated himself for denying it.

"I'm sorry," Michael said, the agony of the reality pressing on his chest so hard, he felt his own breaths leaving him as quickly as Billy's. "I know you're not a quitter."

"I'm not...sorry...not for a single moment...not for being...a part of this team...of being commanded by a leader...whom I would gladly...die...a thousand deaths for...I'm not sorry...I'm grateful...to ya...to all of ya..." Billy uttered, panting through the agony that was coursing through him.

Billy had had his share of injuries, had experienced all too well the wealth of discomfort that came with injury, but he had never regretted a single wound nor distress that he had gone through especially when it resulted from the act of saving his friends. Dying was just another hurdle to overcome, nevertheless, the realization didn’t comfort him, not so much for himself, but for his friends, how they would be affected by his death that brought a much greater pain to him.

Michael went rigid with Billy's words, humbled by a respect he felt he didn't deserve.

Billy stiffened as well, but with yet another wave of pain. Michael took his hand and the grip was surprisingly strong.

"Casey...mustn't know..."

"I don't think that's a good-"

"You know him...Michael. He'll lose himself...in trying to get help...risk his own life...can't let that...happen...You know I'm right, Michael...Can't lose another friend...not while I still can draw breath."

Michael listened and could only nod silently.

Billy smiled weakly, feeling satisfied that he had won his last battle, the most important one of his fading life. Casey would lose himself in the madness of frustration despite Billy’s assurances that there would be nothing he could do. He had to protect his friend this one last time.

Michael looked at Billy as he emerged from his reverie and it amazed him that through the pain and discomfort, Billy winked at him.

"Casey, relax. Rick will come back," Michael assured, even as he felt as if he wasn't acting very convincingly.

"Aye, Michael's right...you're sapping...my strength...just watching ya..." Billy said with a wink.

Casey scoffed.

"If anyone is taxing anyone, it's you taxing my patience."

"My lot in life, yeh? To forever be...your proverbial thorn in your side..." Billy stiffened, arched and groaned with agony.

"You'll be the death of me," Casey said with frustration tempered by concern.

Billy's breathing hitched and stalled as he whimpered through the pain. Casey heard the catch that he knew shouldn't be there.

Casey hated silence sometimes. Most of the time, he'd rather Billy would just shut up, but when he was quiet, he could still hear the steady, easy breathing that told him Billy wasn't far, ready to leap into action when asked. It gave him a secure feeling.

The silence of Billy’s easy banter, punctuated only by staggered inhalations gave him no such security. It was only yet another harsh reality he had to accept. The worst of any that he would ever experience. Billy was trying to do his characteristic “stiff upper lip” Scottish way, but Casey knew better. Billy was only doing it to keep Casey from losing his composure, but it was slowly slipping from his grasp and all he could do was let it slide, a part of him wanted to let it go, the other part of him tried to resist on principle because it knew no other way. Casey knew that part would lose and he’d let it.

"You're not fooling anyone, you know," Casey said solemnly.

Billy looked into his friends eyes and saw the redness in them, deeper still, he spied the resignation that he had never spotted in them before over the last almost seven years together. To see it now was sobering for him, but he was resolved not to let Casey slip without somehow bracing the fall with the only tools he had left to him, his words, his last act on this mortal coil was to save Casey metaphorically.

"Well...guess...there goes my...Oscar...then," Billy groaned, his breaths becoming gasps.

Casey grabbed Billy's hand and felt him arch and struggle for purchase against the pain. When it passed, Billy could barely wheeze an inhalation.

"P...promise me...you won't give in…to the anger...not what I want...not what I want you...to become..." He said as he struggled with each word.

"I don't make promises I don't know if I can keep," Casey declared sadly and truthfully.

"Perhaps...I'm asking...too much...but I need...to know...my death...will have meaning..."

Casey straightened with surprise even though he shouldn’t have been. He knew all too well that Billy was dying.

"I...don't know...I..." Casey said, caught wordless.

"My dying...it has to be...worth more than the mission...mate...it has to save your soul..."

Billy's grip loosened in Casey's and involuntarily, Casey squeezed back as if keeping Billy from falling off a cliff.

"Promise me...you won't sell your soul...because of me..."

"Billy..." Casey choked.


Casey was literally shaking from the sobs he was trying to contain, failing miserably. Failure wasn't in his vocabulary and yet his self-proclaimed stoic center was gone, failing him at that moment.

"I promise," he finally said, but wasn't sure Billy had heard him, that he had waited too long, had said it too late.

At that moment of despair, he saw it, a weak smile briefly appeared on Billy's face.

It then faded away, taken with the death rattle that was Billy's last breath.

Casey stood up abruptly, swallowing breaths. He turned then slammed his fist into a pillar, over and over and over until his knuckles were bloodied. In between sucked in breaths, a sob would escape, timed in rhythm with the punches so that no one would hear.

But Michael heard and he joined in the chorus of his sobs.

Thanks for reading, for letting me vent out a hectic week of work and some nagging knee pain. I channeled it into this story.

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Just had to say again how much I enjoyed this. :D Oh, I mean, poor Billy...

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