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So, finals week really ate up all available brain, leaving none for ficcing. But I should be on track now. I hope....

Title: The Disclose Gambit
Ficverse: Leverage & The Princess Bride
Series: The Princess Bride Job, 15/18
Rating: Gen / PG-13
Length: 1700 ish / 29,500 ish
Characters: Team Leverage, Westley, Fezzik, Buttercup, Inigo, Rugen, Humperdinck
Summary: Fencing. Fighting. Torture. Revenge. Giants. Monsters. Chases. Escapes. True love. Miracles. And hitter, hacker, grifter, thief, mastermind.
Notes: Business as usual, flying by the seat of their pants. You'd think they'd have got the hang of approaching the story's climax in a more organized fashion by now.
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
Chapter Eight
Chapter Nine
Chapter Ten
Chapter Eleven
Chapter Twelve
Chapter Thirteen
Chapter Fourteen


Chapter Fifteen
Westley and Fezzik reached the end of a corridor.

“~That’s it, you’re at her door,~” said Hardison.

Westley smacked his palm against the wood. “Buttercup!”

There was a second of silence, then a wild cry of response from the other side. “Westley? Westley!”

“Stand back from the door,” he told her urgently, and gestured at Fezzik.

The giant lumbered forward and felled the thick door in one blow. Before the crash settled, Westley had darted through the doorway and caught an armful of princess coming the other way. It was impossible to tell if they were laughing or crying, dancing or twirling, but Fezzik could see they were very happy about it all.

“Oh, you’re alive – you’re here – you came for me!” Buttercup said exultantly as soon as she could draw a real breath, hands roaming his face.

Without a word, still clasping her to him so that her feet barely touched the ground, he kissed her long and fiercely. She returned it just as eagerly, but he slowly gentled it before drawing back a little. “I’m sorry I doubted you,” he said softly, unable to look away from the radiance in her eyes.

Buttercup pressed her lips to his again with an aching tenderness. “I’m sorry I doubted you,” she said back. “Never again.”

Westley met her vow for vow. “There will never be a need,” he said, and very reluctantly set her down. “Are you ready?”

She straightened, chin lifted. “For anything.”

He caressed her cheek one last time and took her hand. Then Buttercup caught sight of Fezzik by the door, fiddling awkwardly with his shirt, and recoiled, looking from him to Westley.

“Oh – yes – Fezzik’s helping us now,” said Westley in offhand explanation.

“Oh.... I see,” she said, then gave a puzzled smile. “Well, alright.”

Fezzik’s worried expression cleared, and he smiled back. “Hello, lady,” he said cheerfully.

“Nathan, we’re on our way,” said Westley, and the three of them headed for the chapel.

                                                                           

Eliot looked around the choices of corridors, considering where to go next, when he heard the distant, unmistakeable scuffle of a fight taking place. Even as he listened, it died away, and he ran after the memory of the sound. Two corridors away he came across the corpses of four neatly dispatched guards, clearly the work of Inigo’s sword, but no one else in sight.

“Hardison, have you got Inigo –” he started to ask, when a desperate shriek echoed back to him, and he took off in its direction.

He rounded a corner to find Inigo repeatedly throwing himself at a heavy door, trying to break it down, yelling like a crazy man that Rugen was getting away from him.

He reached out to catch Inigo mid-tilt, bracing himself hard to not be pulled off-balance by the man’s momentum. For a second Inigo looked as though he would attack Eliot too, but then recognition dawned.

“He went through there – he’s getting away –” he said frantically.

“Okay, okay. Together, on three,” said Eliot. “One, two, three –”

The two men barged the door, which gave a little.

“Again,” said Inigo, and they did, twice, but it held. “Again!” he shouted, priming himself, but then Eliot grabbed him and shook his head.

Inigo slapped his hand away. “My father’s murderer –”

Eliot looked pointedly over his shoulder, and Inigo turned to see Parker running up to them. “We know,” he said, as she crouched in front of the door’s lock.

She made a sound of frustration. “You’ve jammed the mechanism against itself –”

Eliot frowned. “Well, can you –”

“Ha!” she said in satisfaction, standing back as the door swung open. “Would have taken three seconds otherwise,” she explained out of professional pride, while Inigo dove through it.

Eliot looked back at her. “Weren’t you supposed to be finding us a quick exit, in case this all goes south?”

“I am.” Parker’s response was hard and unapologetic. “But I heard what was happening, and that son of a bitch is not getting away from what he deserves.”

“He won’t, I promise. But we need you focused, okay?”

As soon as she nodded, however reluctantly, he sprinted after Inigo.

“~You find any more locked doors, I’m coming,~” she said, getting in the last word. “~So don’t use your head as a battering ram next time.~”

Eliot didn’t waste a breath on a reply, chasing after Inigo and Rugen’s path almost by instinct. Down a spiral stair, toward the open door of a huge dining hall, when he heard a crash. He hugged the wall and snuck to the doorway, in time to glimpse Inigo sliding down the wall on the other side, a knife and a blossom of blood in his stomach.

“Sorry, Father,” the Spaniard said dazedly. “I tried.... I tried....”

Eliot closed his eyes for a moment, mouth drawn in pain as much as Inigo’s was.

Unseen, further inside the room, Rugen voiced his realization with cruel amusement. “You must be that little Spanish brat I taught a lesson to all those years ago. It’s simply incredible – have you been chasing me your whole life only to fail now? I think that’s the worst thing I’ve ever heard.... How marvelous.”

Eliot’s mouth firmed. He strode through the doorway, down the few steps into the room, taking a great deal of pleasure from the look on Rugen’s face.

Holding the count’s wide eyes with a promise in his own, Eliot reached for Yellin’s sword, and, very deliberately, drew it.

                                                                           

Nate droned happily on to the bored audience in the hall. “... So treasure your love.... On that subject, Humperdinck – can I call you Hump? – perhaps you can take this opportunity to explain to us all why you had your previous fiancée kidnapped, and tried to have her killed?”

Like a wave of attention and whispers washing through the hall, people suddenly stood straighter and even began craning to see the front. Those with a clear eyeline were able to witness Humperdinck going deeply purple.

“I don’t have any idea what you are talking about,” he said haughtily, with a surreptitious scan of the room, full of open eyes and mouths turned in his direction. It was also empty of his guards, who he’d all sent with Rugen. He drew himself up. “Who are you? What have you done with the other clergyman? What is this plot to malign me on my wedding day?”

“You’re saying you don’t know anything about the Sicilian, Vizzini, hired to use the princess in an attempt to start a war with Guilder? Oh, but there’s no direct evidence linking you to him, is there? You made sure of that, when you killed him and dumped the body.”

Humperdinck maintained a regal composure. “Somebody call the guards!”

There was a stir in the back, but before anyone could obey, the doors pounded violently open. The momentary hope in Humperdinck’s eyes turned to horror at the sight of Buttercup standing there, Fezzik and Westley on either side.

Humperdinck reacted quickly. “A conspiracy!” He pointed accusingly at her. “They’re all in this together, to bring down the proud name of Florin’s monarchy! She’s a faithless whor–”

“Liar.” Buttercup didn’t shout, but the word carried through the hall, quieting it to a breathless anticipation. She began walking toward him, Westley hovering a few steps behind her, Fezzik remaining to guard the door. “Liar. You had those men take me, to kill me. I am only alive because my Westley rescued me. I would be lying dead on the Guilder frontier, your reason to declare war on them, when they have done nothing to deserve it. You are an evil, cowardly swine, not fit to rule six square feet of a prison cell, much less this country!”

Her sincerity was starkly obvious, and an ugly murmur rippled through the crowd. Humperdinck cast around wildly for a second, then abruptly drew his sword, leveling it at Buttercup. Not another second passed before Westley’s was out too, and Humperdinck jeered, careful to keep Buttercup between them.

“One move, by any of you, and she dies,” he said forcefully.

                                                                           

Even with his usual pallor, Rugen was noticeably white. “I see I killed you too quickly last time,” he said, regathering his backbone. “A mistake I shan’t make again. And this time, I’ll be sure to leave more time for questioning.”

“You really want to try?” Eliot’s lip curled almost happily, and he nodded in invitation. “Come on.”

“No.” It was a small word, uttered weakly, but it stopped both men in their tracks. “Eliot ... no.”

Eliot backed up just a little, keeping his attention firmly on Rugen, but able to see Inigo too. “Inigo –”

Inigo gave a sudden jerk, pulling the knife from his stomach, pressing his fist in to staunch the renewed spill of blood. Inch by feeble inch, he dragged himself up the wall until he was standing, albeit only with the wall’s help.

“Good heavens.” Rugen sounded genuinely amazed. “Are you still trying to win?”

Inigo tried to push himself away from the wall, but failed, and now neither Rugen nor Eliot could tear their eyes away. They stared, Rugen disbelieving, Eliot sympathetic, at Inigo’s determination to overrule his body’s total inability to do what he was asking it to.

“You’ve got an overdeveloped sense of vengeance,” Rugen said venomously, moving in closer, sword raised.

Eliot flicked his blade at Rugen in clear warning to stay back, making him pause warily, before Inigo spoke up again.

“Eliot – let him....” His agony only added to the fervency of his plea.

Eliot faltered, torn. Finally, he took a deep breath, and nodded in concession to Inigo’s prerogative to ask. He stepped back and sheathed his sword, bracing himself to not interfere.

Rugen gave an astonished laugh. “That’s going to get you into trouble some day,” he said, and lunged at Inigo.


Chapter Sixteen

Comments

( 2 speakses — have a speak )
deepbluemermaid
May. 1st, 2010 12:43 pm (UTC)
OMG, so exciting! I'm incoherent at the sheer awesomeness here, from Nate suddenly accusing 'Hump' to Buttercup's bravery to Parker's professional pride. Great read at the end of a very long and tiring day (I caught 7 buses, saw three different sets of friends, shopped in 5 different clothing stores and went swimming for an hour).
themonkeytwin
May. 1st, 2010 05:03 pm (UTC)
Wow, I'm really glad it was a good end to a crazy day like that. I feel like I'm setting everything up for the final run, that this was the build-up chapter. I just hope the resolution pays off well!

I loved shining a bit more light on Buttercup's bravery, here. I came to realise at some point in writing all this that she may be useless, but she's brave and keeps the faith. I really do like her more now than I ever have before!
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