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Title: The Reunion Pitch
Ficverse: Leverage & The Princess Bride
Series: The Princess Bride Job, 7/18
Rating: Gen / PG-13
Length: 1700 ish / 29,500 ish
Characters: Team Leverage, Westley, Buttercup
Summary: Fencing. Fighting. Torture. Revenge. Giants. Monsters. Chases. Escapes. True love. Miracles. And hitter, hacker, grifter, thief, mastermind.
Notes: Does Buttercup still love Westley??? Tune in to find out.
Disclaimers: Yeah. None of it's mine, apart from the idea to mix'n'match, and in abstract that's not mine either. I am now directly lifting some lines from the PB screenplay, as if anybody can't tell.
Spoilers: Most of The Princess Bride, eventually.
Concrit: go for it


Previously, on "The Princess Bride Job":
Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three
Chapter Four
Chapter Five
Chapter Six


Chapter Seven
Buttercup’s breathing had steadied. She was looking a little pink and weepy but otherwise still flawlessly beautiful, and generally more stable than anytime since she pushed Parker down the ravine.

Eliot prefaced his interrogation cautiously, not sure if she was ready for this. One meltdown was enough. “Can I ask you something?”

Buttercup nodded, inhaling deeply and sitting up to meet his eyes with something like trust.

“What did you mean, up there? About the Dread Pirate Roberts, and thinking Parker and I – you know –”

“Oh,” she said, flushing with embarrassment. “I am terribly sorry about that.”

“It’s okay,” he quickly assured her. “But what did he do?”

Her head drooped, and he braced himself for another round of sobbing, but she surprised him once again. She drew herself up and faced him with all the dignity of a deep, terrible grief that had become quiet and solemn in the passing of years.

“He killed my love.”

Eliot found himself staring, captured by the intensity of her beauty and loss. That was, until Nate’s impatience jolted him out of it, reminding him of the listening tension he could feel on their coms. “~Eliot – ~”

He cleared his throat, warning the others to back off. He did not need the demented Greek chorus of Leverage, Inc. in his head right now. “Who was he? Another prince, like Humperdinck?”

She almost laughed, but with no real amusement. “Him?”

Eliot was pretty sure he could give Westley the answer he was looking for right now, but there were some things that a man needed to hear from the woman herself, beyond any doubt. And there were still a few things that could take some unraveling. “You ... don’t love him?”

“Of course not.” Her scorn at the idea was palpable.

“~Or she’s not capable of love – ~” Westley said, sounding worked up, but Nate hushed him.

“But you’re engaged to him.”

She shook her head. “It doesn’t matter. Nothing does.”

He just looked at her, letting his silence give her room to continue.

Buttercup smiled, with the same resignation as when she accepted that he held life or death over her. “Once, I thought I was living in a fairy tale. I was given love, true love ... and I gave true love in return. He was poor.” She glanced at Eliot to see if this surprised him, but he only nodded. “A farmboy, poor, and perfect. He had eyes like the sea after a storm....”

Watching her, any censure Eliot might have been tempted to make of her engagement drained away. He just listened.

“Then ... I discovered there is no fairy tale. I live in the real world, where even true love can be lost on the high seas.” She bit her lip, and steadied her voice. “He was killed – by the Dread Pirate Roberts – and I lost everything except the breath in my body. I could gladly give even that, too.”

She met Eliot’s eyes, finding some solace in the understanding he showed in them. “The prince claimed me for marriage. I didn’t care. I loved once. I will never love again.”


                                                                

In the command center, everyone was openly watching Westley, who was completely oblivious to them. He gripped Hardison’s chair, white-knuckled, staring at the little yellow circle on the satellite feed as though he could almost see her through the canopy of trees.

Sophie blinked, and wiped away a tear before it could fall. She caught Nate’s eye, and smiled to see that even he was moved by the romance unfolding before him. “Eliot ...” Nate said softly, giving him permission.

Eliot took a breath. “~I need to tell you something,~” he said. “~This ... might be a shock.~”

Buttercup sounded unsuspicious. “~What is it?~”

Eliot searched for words. “~He’s alive. Westley. He wasn’t killed.~”

There was a pause. “~He’s – Westley is – I don’t – ~”

“~He sent us to rescue you. To bring you back to him.~”

“~But – he was attacked by the Dread Pirate Roberts! He never takes prisoners!~”

“He didn’t kill me,” said Westley, redundantly. He struggled speak, almost overcome, and Nate laid a hand on his shoulder for a moment. “He threatened to, but – I told him about her, her love and beauty, and – so he didn’t, not for three years, he made me his valet instead –”

“~Yeah ...~” said Eliot, and paused. “~He can tell you about that when you see him.~”

“~But how can I be sure?~” Buttercup asked with a sob in her voice, as it wavered between hope and fear.

Quietly, Westley said, “Tell her, ‘As you wish.’”

“~He said to tell you, ‘As you wish.’ Does that – ~”

“~Oh,~” Buttercup said, almost inaudibly. “~My sweet Westley....~”

Westley bowed his head, eyes squeezed shut.

“~Why didn’t you tell me this before?~”

Eliot didn’t need help explaining. “~He wasn’t sure. He thought, maybe, you didn’t want to wait for him. Maybe you wanted the new guy. You know ... instead.~”

“~I don’t want anyone but Westley! But he was dead!~”

“Death cannot stop true love. All it can do is delay it for a while,” said Westley, and the restored conviction in his voice was so strong that it echoed in Eliot’s when he repeated it to her.

Then Eliot said, “~I promise, I can get you to him. Do you think you can keep going?~”

Wild joy bubbled up through her words. “~You tell me Westley is alive and waiting for me, and ask if I can keep going? If you want I could fly!~”

Eliot laughed with what might have been relief. “~That ... could be helpful.~”

Suddenly, a strangled cry rang out across coms, and was abruptly silenced. Before anyone in command could react, they heard Eliot’s shout.

“~Parker!~”


                                                                

Parker immediately spread-eagled her body, to slow her sinking as much as possible. She decided to not panic, at least after that first instant of fright as the sand literally sucked her down into itself.

Eliot would come. She just needed to wait, and not panic. Eliot would come, would find her, and get her out. Somehow.

She hadn’t had time to get much air, what with that stupid girly scream which she already felt embarrassed about, and the sand was becoming uncomfortably close around her, getting everywhere, but Eliot would come.

Movement was strange; the sand was pressing in on her, but so fine and slipping that she couldn’t get any purchase, and it felt like she was still sinking. All she could hear was the grains filling her ears.

She sheathed the knife by feel, very cautiously. She didn’t want to lose it, but she didn’t want to stab Eliot, or herself, either. She’d already let go of the bottle; she hadn’t found any water anyhow. As she twisted around, she brushed against something more solid, shifting in the sand, then another. Her mind filled with images of other animals, sucked down here to die, nothing but rotting carcasses entombed in bottomless sand.

But Eliot would come. He would. Eliot could do anything, he could do this.

She wasn’t running out of air, not yet, but she would soon. Eliot would come, but what if she had already blacked out? What if she was dead? What if he couldn’t find her?

She stretched out again – not panicking, of course – to cover the widest possible space. She was losing all sense of direction, but spreading out was still a good idea. She had to help him find her.

She brushed past something else and recoiled, then freaked out when something grabbed her leg. As she thrashed, it let go, then grabbed again and pulled at her.

It felt like a hand. She reached toward it and found it, grabbed at it as it grabbed back. Eliot.

He jerked her toward him and put a line in her hand. Her hand closed over dimensions so familiar it almost made her smile; it was the line from her rig. She didn’t need any encouragment to start dragging herself upward.

It was tough, the sand didn’t want to let her rise, but she kept going. Hand over hand, endlessly, trusting that it was getting her closer to air and light. A little more. A little more. Until a little more became just a little more than she could do.

She felt herself begin to let go of the line, which was a bad idea, she knew that, but she couldn’t seem to help herself. And then suddenly there was a shoulder in her back, an arm under her, moving, pulling, a little more ... and they broke the surface.

Where a cacophany of yelling hit her ear, Nate and Hardison’s voices being the most prominent.

Behind her, coughing, Eliot shook sand out of his face. “W’re’kay. Shut up,” he croaked, then spit more sand out of his mouth.

“Eliot ...” said Buttercup, urgently.

Eliot squinted his eyes open and swore. He heaved them both onto solid ground and left Parker to recover, running to where the princess was using his sword to fend off a rat bigger than she was. As Parker sat up to regain her breath, she noticed several sets of beady eyes high around them, on branches and rocks, circling around potential prey. She scrambled to her feet and drew the knife again, angling to get between them and the princess’s back.

The R.O.U.S. attacking Buttercup shifted attention to Eliot, leaping with a hiss at the new threat. Eliot let himself buckle under it, then propelled it further in its leap, landing the thing in the lightning sand. Its squeal lasted less than a second before it disappeared completely into the ground, while the rest of the creatures drew back and scuttled away.

Eliot lay where he was, panting, ignoring the return of voices demanding to know what was going on. In a minute he rolled over and got himself up, half by kneeling and half by holding on to a nearby branch. He patted at his ribs, then his shoulder, where the R.O.U.S.’s claws had scored bloody lines. By his expression, they weren’t deep enough to worry him.

“Okay,” he said, rubbing sand off his hands and face, managing to not wobble when he let go of the branch. He waved vaguely at the lightning sand. “Nobody go near any more of that freaking stuff.”

                                                                

A/N: It's been a while since I actually read it, but my description of the experience of the lightning sand owes a lot to the scene in the book.


Chapter Eight

Comments

( 6 speakses — have a speak )
deepbluemermaid
Apr. 2nd, 2010 12:25 am (UTC)
Oh, what a great chapter! The emotional intensity of the Buttercup & Eliot scene is so well done; I really like the way you worked it so Eliot was carefully asking the questions that Westley (as the masked man) asked so scornfully. Buttercup's answers are perfect, full of pain and loss. I liked this especially: I live in the real world, where even true love can be lost on the high seas.

And then Parker got sucked under - I may have squeaked at this point! I love the way you wrote her mental voice (She decided to not panic), her practicality, and her faith in Eliot.

Also, pushing the R.O.U.S. into the lightning sand was a brilliant idea.

And, as always, so many great lines! One of my favourites:

He did not need the demented Greek chorus of Leverage, Inc. in his head right now - yes, I imagine that would get highly irritating ;-)
themonkeytwin
Apr. 2nd, 2010 05:10 am (UTC)
Thank you! I loved writing this one. The characters gave me so much to play with. I kind of liked giving Eliot a little more emotional closure to having the woman he loved move on from him while he was away, maybe dead – that he could see how hard it was for Buttercup, and sympathise. And I liked digging for the nobility in Buttercup, which gets pretty surface treatment in PB. She's not the deepest of characters, but still....

I love writing Parker's voice, it's so linear in its own corkscrew way. And I loved the Greek chorus line too, which I wasn't 100% sure fit Eliot's voice – but then I rationalized that he'd probably dated a classical theatre actress.... :)
goodbyemyfancy
Apr. 4th, 2010 10:21 pm (UTC)
"He did not need the demented Greek chorus of Leverage, Inc. in his head right now."

This has got to be one of my all time fave Leverage fan fic sentences now!! That just sums up their comm lives to a tee :)

You did a perfect Parker in this section. Her way of thinking as she sank was uttterly bang on.

LOVE THIS!
themonkeytwin
Apr. 5th, 2010 04:17 am (UTC)
Thank you! That line leapt fully formed from my head, like Athena from Zeus, in keeping with the Greek theme. I do a glad-dance to know it is bringing joy to others, too :)

One of the things I love about Leverage is that the characters help one another help them. There's no way Parker would be content to just hang on to Eliot and let him pull her out, and Eliot wouldn't expect her to. It says so much about how strongly their dynamic as a team is drawn by the show that I didn't even consider it either. Yay show!
brasslizard
Aug. 4th, 2011 05:57 am (UTC)
I'm quickly reading my way through but I wanted to pause and note that I love, LOVE that Parker didn't panic because she knew Eliot would come. You wrote that scene perfectly.
themonkeytwin
Aug. 5th, 2011 04:28 am (UTC)
Thanks! It was one of my favourite sequences to write. Parker and Eliot's heads are both so much fun to be in sometimes.
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