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Secret Identity Part 3/5
sophie_deangirl
A completely, fanciful story without any logic whatsoever so fair warning to suspend your disbelief and just let your imagination take over. It came as inspiration from watching too many Man of Steel interviews.

Disclaimer: I don’t own Chaos

Chapter 3:

Billy and Blanke had slipped out of the hospital stealthily with Billy disguised as a hospital professional in scrubs. Still healing, he was struggling to keep up a little, but he girded through his discomfort, knowing that time was of the essence to save Michael.

They had placed a device that Billy had cobbled together which when the leads to all of the various vital statistics machinery are connected to it, it would fool the nurses monitoring at their stations into believing that Billy was still there until they did a bed check and physically discovered that Billy had gone. They had to hope that they will have gotten a good head start by then.

Blanke had parked the car near the back entrance and quickly climbed into the driver side while Billy sat in the back seat. A medical bag was there and he opened it. He pulled out another syringe. Blanke noticed.

“You shouldn’t take another dose until we at least get to the storage facility. You’re pushing your tolerances,” he warned.

Billy had to admit it was nice to hear someone so concerned for his health. Until he had decided to include Blanke in his secret life, he was constantly pushing the tolerances of his healing so that he could recover more quickly. He had come close to dying both from over medicating with the serum and from life threatening wounds he had ignored for too long. Foolhardy was his middle name. Still, the choice of speeding up the healing was necessary.

“I may never reach the tolerances of our human weapon, but it’s necessary that I boost the healing. I need to be as close to full strength as I can when I confront and challenge Valdez. I know him. Any weakness and he will use it against me and against Michael.”

Blanke made no comment as he drove out, but the concern was evident in his expression.

Billy gave himself the second injection then laid back to let the serum flow into him.

“Has there been any word on their locations?” Billy asked, fatigue in his voice that he couldn’t suppress.

“None, but Casey is frantic and drilling people hard. I’m surprised he hasn’t punched a wall yet,” Blanke reported with a bit of amusement in his voice then it became more somber. “Rick is keeping it together, but just barely. The kid is doing everything procedurally possible, but I can tell that he’s cracking under the pressure.”

Billy, too, had to smile at the image of Casey’s barely controlled mania.

“I can well imagine Casey’s control slipping. I only wish I could see it for myself,” Billy said then closed his eyes both in a twinge of pain and sympathy. “As for Rick, I regret that he’s facing this without some kind of grounding force. Casey is a man of action, but a man of comfort, he will never be, especially when one of his own is in peril. I fear that they are facing the worst possible scenario for them both for different reasons. I hope that once we -”

Suddenly, Billy’s words were cut off by the ringing of his cell phone. It gave Billy an unexpected chill. No one would call him. Casey and Rick knew he was in hospital, the Agency as well. Billy looked at the screen and it said “Blocked call”. He swiped to answer it and a rush of recognition hit him.

“Rhys?” He said.

Blanke heard the pain in Billy’s voice that wasn’t a part of his injury. It worried him, but he had to concentrate on the road and getting to the storage facility.

“Ah, knew that psychic ability would come in handy,” Rhys taunted, his voice no longer harboring the jovial lilt it had once possessed.

“Where’s Michael?” Billy asked, anger bubbling to the surface, his fatigue fading.

“There you go, lad, straight to the point. Good on you. I knew you were the right guinea pig.”

“Valdez is dead, isn’t he?” Billy said.


ChaosChaosChaos


Rhys was the only other person who knew about his transformation. He had been the one who had offered him up to the traitorous scientists so that they could test their serum on him. If he survived, then they could try it on another person. Rhys. That was his reward for not only sacrificing Queen and Country, but for bringing a badly wounded, likely dying, Billy to use as a lab rat. Since Rhys had shot him, everyone believed he was dead and no one would miss him if he had died during the experiment. What the torturers had underestimated was Billy's “acting ability”. Performing all those Shakespearean tragedies had served him well. Billy's ruse of being less than optimum after surviving the torturous “treatments” had fooled everyone enough that they had released the restraints, believing Billy was too weak to escape. It also led them to think that the experiment might have been failing, that Billy would die from it.

The surprise for Billy was that he was actually feeling better. Whatever they had given him was making him recover from his wounds in a matter of hours. Once the horrific pain stopped, he began to feel his strength returning. Billy knew he had to get out of there, but he was also a man without reinforcements so he had to bide his time. Two days later, he had waited for nightfall and though he was still a little weak, he had marveled that he had gone from dying by five bullet wounds to skulking for an escape.

Betrayal cut both ways and it was Billy's turn to rationalize ending a career; a life; his own and his mentor's.

And there was Rhys’s voice, a ghost from his past, re-emerging from the ashes of a funeral pyre; Billy's pyre. But the Rhys he was talking to wasn’t the Rhys who had had the misguided belief that he was helping Billy, making him better. No, this Rhys was the result of a transformation gone horribly awry. It wasn’t something Billy knew from observation, it had happened after his escape. There just was a distinct, icy cold, dark sensation that was coming through the phone that Billy felt as if it was touching him directly. Another asset gleaned from the experiment: Psychic abilities that went beyond mere vibrations, simple transient feelings, but that manifested in physical forms through the sense of touch.

“If you harm Michael, Rhys, so help me I will end you,” Billy threatened.

Rhys laughed maniacally.

“I think you know I haven’t, lad. You know very well that the powers you possess allow those who are closest to you to weave their psychic tethers to ya so that you can feel what they’re feeling. You may be hurting from your wound, but your guvner’s pain would be distinct. You’d know the difference.”

Billy wasn’t surprised that Rhys had shot him. He closed his eyes in frustration. Rhys knew everything about him. There were no secrets from him and that frightened Billy. He knew he would have to defeat Rhys, perhaps die trying as he was the only one who stood a chance of doing it, but Rhys's intimate knowledge of him could play against him.

“You also know that the tables can be turned against ya. I could use his pain, yeh? Make you feel it all too keenly, as if you were the one experiencing it. You’re not like me, you see? You feel too much for others. It’s your greatest weakness, your kryptonite, yeh? And I plan to make you see how pathetic that weakness is for a man of your abilities.”

“Tell me where you are and let’s just test that shall we, aye?” Billy uttered more vengefully confident in his voice that he really believed at that moment.

Billy hissed and grunted as a growing stabbing pain ripped into his brain, with it an image of a warehouse, of Michael tied to a chair unconscious, and of an address.

“Two can play at this game, mate. Only you’ll find that I’m a right expert at it. Took me the seven years we’ve been apart to gain that expertise, to hone my skills, to build on the vengeance I wanted to exact. To think I let them waste this formulation on a goodie goodie like yourself. You’d be amazed at how hate can amplify these abilities.”

Billy clenched his eyes closed as his face contorted again. He had to brace against a flood of images rushing into him like flying daggers slicing into every nerve of his body. His hand gripped against the hand rest so hard, his knuckles went white.

“You...killed them...all of them,” he said in breathless and hushed shock. “Burned the building, destroyed everything.”

Billy sucked in air as he gasped.

“You...tortured them…” Billy uttered.

“Isn’t that what you accused them of doing to you? I would think you’d appreciate the retribution.”

The razor sharp cuts dulled into an ache and Billy exhaled with what he knew was temporary relief.

“You intend to be the only one,” he declared without surprise or shock at Rhys’s intentions.

“Yeh, well, can’t have everyone possessing these gifts, now can we, mate?” Rhys taunted. “What would be the fun in that? Even you can see the practicality in that.”

The cold declaration gave Billy an icy shiver.

“Get here as soon as you can, lad. I can’t promise your guvner’s going to stay unharmed for long.”

Rhys then hung up. Billy felt exhausted as if talking to him had taxed and depleted all his energy. Blanke was concerned.

“Billy? Are you all right?”

Billy grimaced as he tried to focus back from the images he had seen.

“7000 North Emerson, Blanke. Hurry. Michael has very little time left. I fear he’s in the hands of a madman. One I helped create.”

Billy then closed his eyes to rest for as long as he could, letting the serum he had just injected work it’s way through his body. Whatever healing took place would have to be enough.

When they had arrived, Billy sat up and perched himself on the edge of the back seat. He placed a hand on Blanke's shoulder.

"It is here where we must part ways, my friend," Billy said with sincere warmth of friendship. "You have to get Casey and Rick to this location. Most importantly, all of you must get Michael safely away."

"What? No, you can't face this guy alone."

"On the contrary, not to overstate my abilities, I am the only person who can face Rhys without significant injury. He is the dark side of what was done to me."

"But no one will believe me if I call in for backup, least of all Casey and Rick."

Billy heard the uncertainty and the fear of failure in Blanke's voice and it pained him to put such a weight of responsibility on his shoulders, the wounds of being disparaged still so fresh, but Michael's life was at stake.

"You can do this,” Billy encouraged with the very same words and tone he had used to boost Rick. “It's time you came into your own, face your greatest fear and become one with the Agency again. In my estimation, you have more than earned your place having assisted me in my quest these past few years. Sancho Panza to my Don Quixote, as it were.”

Billy had a shaky, but wistful smile on his face. “There were desolate days when I felt that all I was doing was tipping at windmills, that I was more Frankenstein’s monster than...well, anyone or anything else normal. It was difficult keep on task at times, to stay human, to resist giving into the dark veil that has befallen Rhys. I won’t lie to you. I have fenced with that devil more than once.”

Blanke listened with sympathy and understanding as he drove. He would take the occasional glance in the rear view mirror to see Billy’s expression. In the past, he had sometimes caught the characteristic glimmer in Billy’s eyes dim when he confided in him the evolution of how he came to the powers he now possessed. As he captured a glimpse of Billy at that moment, he saw it again, the playful dance of light that made Billy the optimist of the ODS, the compassionate cohort to Blanke, dimmed again. What gave Blanke a sense of fear was how much dimmer it seemed from any other time he had spotted it.

He had seen Billy both jovial and in the private times away from the others, dejected, but never defeated. Billy had battled back from being so badly injured that death seemed merciful with an unparalleled will to live. Yes, the serum helped, but there was a point where surviving was more than about healing organs, that living was much more than a beating heart or inhalations by the lungs. It was about a spirit so strong, so bonded to life that defying the odds was also about demonstrating that true belief in one’s purpose was just as important a factor as the rest.

What Blanke spied in that split second glance in the rear view now was a resignation that he thought was inconceivable to associate with Billy. As if facing Rys, once a friend, a mentor, would be his last stand. In that moment, Blanke actually inwardly cursed the return of his spy instincts because knowing Billy as long as he had, having gone through so much with him, he knew he wasn’t imagining what he was detecting. The painful part was realizing that he was helpless to do anything about it. He knew that he wouldn’t be able to convince Billy to walk away, to not face Rhys to save himself or even to wait until reinforcements arrived first. It was against Billy’s very nature to do those things especially when someone else’s life was potentially forfeit and maybe even more so because it was Michael’s life at risk. That, Blanke knew, hadn’t been forged by the torturous transformation Billy had gone through, that content of character was already there in Billy.

Then as if Billy was reading his musings, he finished his thought in concert with Blanke’s.

“Then I’d remind myself that I survived all that was done to me for a reason. In a way, whatever they pumped into me changed me, enhanced me not only in obvious ways, but in ways I had never expected,” Billy continued. “Just when I thought I was done for, wished for it, truth be told, my purpose was renewed. As my beloved countryman Winston once said, ‘if you’re going through hell, keep going’ and so I did and I never looked back.”

Billy patted Blanke on the shoulder. He took another glimpse in the rear view and the glimmer was back in place.

“But no man’s an island, Blanke and I knew that when I chose you to share my secret, you wouldn’t let me down and you haven’t. Thank you for sticking by me. For foregoing your identity to feign a secret one of your own in order to protect mine. I’ll be forever in your debt for that.”
Blanke felt Billy's confidence and was moved by it, but his spy sense was also still picking up a touch of sadness in his voice.

“Now, it is your time to be who you really are, to rid yourself of your secret identity. In the end, it’s done more harm than good and doesn’t do you justice. As I face Rhys, I need to know that I’ve given you the opportunity to be rid of it for good. You won’t need it anymore. Just as I will no longer need to harbor the ruse I’ve been feigning for lo these many years. Talk to Rick, his mind and heart are open. He will believe you. Tell him to trust you and he will. The time has come to shed your Falstaff mask and become the hero I know you are."

"What if you need help in there? I can’t leave you to face that lunatic alone."

"Much as I appreciate it, mate, what I need most from you is to ensure in any way you can that everyone escapes unharmed, especially Michael. Nothing is as paramount to me than that. You will be helping me where I need it most."

Blanke was struck wordless, unable to come up with a proper argument.

"It has been an honor to serve with you," Billy said, a look of regret that Blanke had caught in the rearview mirror.

He stiffened. The tone in Billy’s voice was laced both with pride, that sense of resignation he had noted before and, what brought the most fear, finality.

"I'll see you later," Blanke gently insisted, his voice trembling with renewed apprehension as well as a commitment to make sure they did see each other again.

Billy felt Blanke’s shoulder muscles constrict beneath his gentle grip and recognized that he had sensed something off with Billy, that a decision had been made. Billy had to reassure him even if he didn’t believe it. Blanke deserved to be left with the hope that the outcome of his confrontation with Rhys would end with Rhys captured and Billy alive and in once piece. It would be the performance of his life both literally and figuratively.

"Of course, mate," Billy said as he squeezed Blanke's shoulder, hoping the gesture would translate convincingly. “With you and the others having my back, I fear nothing and all will be well.”

Billy then stepped out of the car. Blanke watched him walk towards the warehouse for a moment. He hadn’t experienced such concern for a fellow agent, let alone for a human being in a long time. It had been replaced by resentment, empty loyalty and deep distrust. They had overshadowed his senses for so long, he had ceased to pick up on true selflessness and heroism. Billy had renewed all that in him and as he watched him walk towards a bitter and crazed adversary alone, despite all of Billy’s abilities and Blanke’s shortcomings, he found it difficult to push back the need to be by Billy’s side. Billy didn’t need him, but Blanke had enjoyed being needed, being depended on. He then took out his phone and dialed Rick’s cell. He had to help Billy in the only way he could at that moment.

“Hello?” Rick said, his voice harried and panicked.

“Rick, I need your help,” Blanke said, his voice no longer containing the buffoonish tone he had manufactured for his “cover”.

“Blanke? What are you doing calling me? I don’t have time -”

“It’s Billy,” he said, his tone even, but struggling to stay that way.

“What about him? He’s in the hospital in a coma. You’re wasting my time-” Rick said, his voice rising in anger at having to entertain Blanke.

“Rick, please listen to me,” Blanke said, trying to communicate as deliberately as possible so that Rick wouldn’t detect any hint of the Blanke he knew and take what he was going to say next seriously.

Rick calmed a little as he heard Blanke’s voice over the phone. There was something about it. His instincts were not only telling him that the Blanke he was hearing was different from the man he felt more pity than respect for, but that there was something else in his voice...something that raised the hairs on the back of his neck.

“Okay, what is it?” Rick said, his voice calming.

“I need you to put aside your opinion of me right now and know that I am telling you the truth, that I am begging you to trust me this once because I need your help. More importantly, Billy needs your help. Both you and Casey,” he inhaled deeply to keep his own calm in his voice.

Rick took notice.

“I’m listening, Blanke.”

Relief washed over Blanke as he swallowed his past and ventured toward a new beginning, a new start. It felt hollow in light of Billy’s face-off, like it was at Billy’s expense, but he knew he had to trudge onward for Billy's sake.

“Billy isn’t in the hospital. I can’t explain everything now, but I need you and Casey to head to 7000 North Emerson. Billy is there. So am I…” Blanke swallowed the bile back in his throat dreading to say the next words. “Valdez is dead. Michael is being held captive here and Billy’s gone in to face the kidnapper.”

“What? How?” Rick had so many questions.

“Trust me, Rick, please. Just get here as soon as you can with reinforcements,” Blanke said as he suddenly felt like the man he once was, the agent who had a long future ahead of him, the confidence of a seasoned professional in the business returning if ever so slowly. He only wished it hadn’t come at the worst possible time. “I don’t think Michael and Billy have much time.”

The next thing he heard was “We’re on our way” and Rick hanging up his phone.

Blanke pocketed his phone and waited. He confirmed that his gun was in its holster. He hadn’t liked the tone he had heard in Billy’s voice and that preyed upon him as he waited.

TBC. Thanks for reading.

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Ooh, I like this. I like Blanke stepping up and seeing a whole new side of him. Hopefully he can make sure Billy has all the back up he needs.

Because Billy!

This is such a fun fic!

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