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Secret Santa fic for fleurlb. ZOMBIES!

So other than so much semester finals work, and life things, one of the main reasons I only just got around to watching the two most recent episodes of SPN is because I was working on this. Which ate my brain. And time. BRRAINNNS....

For fleurlb. Hope this is what you wanted, hon. Extra love and length for Christmas and the birth of your little boy.

Title: The Zombie Apocalypse Job
Ficverse: Leverage, with a sprinkling of SPN. (ZOMBIES, c'mon!)
Series: one shot, Leverage/SPN zombie apocalypse, Leverage Secret Santa exchange

Rating: PG-13, some violence. (ZOMBIES, c'mon!)
Length: 6500-ish
Characters: Team Leverage and an ally or two.
Request: by fleurlb. The general gist? ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE! Oh, and in-character thingies, and whatnot. ZOMBIES!

Notes: This kept getting longer than I expected. (ZOMBIES.) I may have had some themes on the brain. Do these puns ever get old? I say no.
Warnings/Spoiler: almost nothing much for either, except the brief mention of a character from Leverage S3 who some are not so keen on.
Disclaimer: Stuff that's not mine is not mine.
Feedback: let's hear it. The good, the bad, the ugly....


In retrospect, the stress in the Italian’s voice when she called made perfect sense.

However, having no way of knowing what curveball she’d thrown them this time, the team had approached the compound she sent them to with maximum caution and suspicion. Which turned out to be fortunate.

“What the –” Nate squinted at the figures emerging from the front door. There was something about them that looked ... wrong.

“Nate!” Eliot came barreling toward him, abandoning any semblance of stealth. “Get back to the van! Hardison, get her going! Parker, where are you?”

They all had enough self-preservation to obey the urgency in their hitter’s voice without question. Parker arrived seconds after Nate, and Eliot wasted no time falling back once they were all safely in. He leapt in, reached behind a panel and pulled out a shotgun. “Drive!” he yelled, ignoring the shock on his team’s faces.

O-Day + 2
The Z Word

The attackers can be stopped by removing the head, or destroying the brain.”

“Yeah, tell us something we don’t know, genius,” muttered Hardison. “Guys, it’s official. They’re calling it. It’s the freaking zombie apocalypse, like, everywhere. The army is not getting on top of things ... it’s kinda weird, actually. But whatever’s left of the government ain’t coming out of those bunkers. I think we’re on our own.”

“At least for now,” Eliot agreed.

Sophie rolled her eyes. “So much for the cavalry. Where’s the military-industrial complex when you need it?”

“Okay, then,” said Nate grimly. “Let’s go steal ourselves a fortress.”

O-Day + 3

The team stayed in tight formation all the way to the control room, Eliot in the lead with the shotgun that hadn’t left his hands for three days, a machete strapped to his thigh. Three days may not have been long enough for any zombies to have made their way into an abandoned, secure building, but it was more than long enough for the team to have learned to take no chances. Each one of them now carried weapons, but were under strict orders not to use them unless Eliot was already dead.

“That’s it ahead,” said Nate; even though the team’s recon four months ago had given them a decent feel for the layout, his familiarity with it made him prime navigator. “Hardison, can you get the back-up generator online? Without turning everything else on?”

“Yeah, we told you at the time, Nate. Twenty-first century tech. I can make the whole place dance if I want to.”

“Just – start with the power, Hardison.”

Parker was looking around them with a huff of offended dignity. “Just because it’s the zombie apocalypse is no reason for us to go to jail, Nate.”

This was the last time Nate was going to argue about this. “It’s been shut down since the investigations. If we can get it working, it’s probably the best place to hole up there is.”

Sophie looked over at the thief and smiled. “And we’ll be the ones running the joint.”

O-Day + 11
Stocking Up

“Coming in hot!”

The prison van careened through the outer gate and screeched to a halt, inches from the inner gate. The outer gate was already closing behind them, but the zombies – far quicker and more aggressive than the shambling creatures of the classic movies – managed to slither in before it closed completely, three in all. The rest of the pack scrabbled at the outside, but found no weakness in the reinforced steel doors. Four careful shotgun blasts neutralized the situation inside the security chamber, confirmed by cameras before the inner gate was released.

Once inside the compound, every occupant of the van breathed a sigh of relief, and relaxed their frantic attempts to keep food items from rolling, falling, and sometimes flying around them. Like it or not (and most didn’t), the most effective configuration had turned out to be Eliot riding shotgun, literally, with Parker driving. The zombie threat could sometimes seem the less terrifying option.

“Five more, Nate,” Eliot called when Nate opened the back doors, and surveyed the faces himself. That made twenty-three refugees so far; every time they went out, they found more, and no one had even mentioned the idea of not taking them in.

Willing hands unpacked the supplies, while those from “the open” were ushered gently but firmly into individual quarantine cells, except Parker and Eliot. They were put in the same cell, on the principle that someone had to keep her from immediately breaking out again in protest. Eliot had already come to dub these periods as “the longest half-hours of my life.”

This time, though, he came prepared. “Okay,” he said, spreading a rough sketch of the prison van’s layout on the floor of the cell, pulling out a pencil and nudging her boot with his. “Help me redesign Big B. I’m getting sick of recipes featuring crumbed crackers.”

“We need netting,” she said immediately, curling down next to him on the floor. “And reinforced portholes to fire out of. And some kind of grille over the cab windows.”

O-Day + 83
Shotgun Wedding

Sophie woke with a drowsy smile on her lips, ignoring the quiet murmur from the other side of the door, where a semi-permanent tent city wound throughout the complex. Right now, the logistics of water and food and space and repairs and assigning manpower could stay where they were. As for the problems outside the walls of their fortress – rumors of mysterious outbreaks in supposed safezones, even military bases and bunkers, stories of countries employing “loose” nukes against the zombie threat with limited success, the disintegration of national infrastructures, and the dwindling of supplies within a raidable distance – all seemed even more distant, and even less her concern.

She twisted, dislodging the nose nuzzled between her shoulder blades, and was struck anew by how adorable Nate looked with bed hair. Even with everything else going on, there were times when she didn’t regret the zombie apocalypse at all.

“Mmnhm,” he protested, arm tightening around her. But when she craned over and rubbed her cheek slowly against his, he stopped fighting off consciousness. After a few lazy, snuggly minutes in which they reacquainted themselves with each other all over again, she ran her hand down his arm and tapped him thoughtfully.

“Nate,” she said softly, trying to ignore the nervous thread tying knots under her ribs.

“Hmm?” His fingers were circling and playing with her belly button in an unwitting counterpart, tempting her to just shut up and let him distract her. She put her hand over his and held it still, trying not to think about that, either.

“I ... did you ever work out whether that wedding you did for those kids – the Gilberts – was technically legal?”

The question was incongruous enough to catch his attention. He propped himself up, blue eyes never so intense as when they were inches away and fully focused on her. “Well, considering there isn’t a country which has escaped infection, and we’ve essentially devolved into a global stateless society with most communication networks in shambles, it’s as legal as it’s going to get ... at least for now. Why?”

Her hand tightened on his involuntarily, and she bit her lip before meeting his look. “Uh, because ... I think, um, you’re going to have to make an honest woman out of me.”

He stared at her for a frozen second, before his eyes darted to where her hand trapped his against her stomach, then back to her. “Really?” Even before she nodded, a grin was breaking across his face, uncontainable in its elation. “Really?”

Her smile couldn’t disguise her own relief and happiness at his reaction, before his arms enfolded her and his lips took hers in the most honest kiss they’d ever shared. She pulled him closer. Everything outside their door was going to stay that way for several more hours.

O-Day + 569
Battles And Wars

“Okay, little lady.” Eliot did his best to look stern, but he was fooling absolutely no one, and certainly not his mark. She only smiled, serene in her total mastery of the situation. Eliot didn’t want to resort to brute force, but she’d left him no choice.

Unfortunately, picking her up bodily only made her give him such a gurgly, delighted laugh that only a fool would think he hadn’t lost the fight completely.

“You are going to be worse than your mother and father combined,” he grumbled by way of clutching his last shreds of manly dignity to himself, before giving in to the inevitable. He gobbled noisily on the fist she was waving in front of his face, then belatedly checked to make sure there was no one around to see. Doing daily battle with an eight-month-old might be causing a total paradigm shift in his understanding of winning and losing, but there was no reason for anyone else to know that.

Seeing that they were still alone, it couldn’t do any harm to cuddle her just a little. He got momentarily lost in her clean baby smell, her downy hair, and found himself pressing a soft kiss to her forehead. It wasn’t until she pulled away that he remembered his stubble and worried that it had scratched her, but she was only yawning, a big, arching yawn that took up her whole body.

“Ha! Told you you were tired,” he muttered in triumph, laying her in the crib Parker had scrounged, pulling up the blanket Hardison had crocheted for her (who knew?). But she had other ideas. Her little face crumpled, not in temper but in a breathy whimper of sad, quiet anxiety. Eliot didn’t even bother trying to offer resistance.

“Shh-sh, I’m here, I’m here.” He rested a gentle hand on her. “Hush, baby girl. I’m here.”

Something like a sob escaped her and she reached for him, and there was no conscious decision involved in Eliot pulling her back up into his arms. “I know, I know.” He held her close and rocked. “They’ll be home soon. Only a few more days. Mom and Dad will be home soon. I gotcha. Shh, shh.”

Well, it wasn’t like he had anywhere to be. He could let her take her time. He began humming, crooning snatches of half-remembered songs while aimlessly wandering the room. Slowly she settled, nestling her head at the crook of his neck, against the vibration of his voice. Her warm, quieting mewls sank through his defenses like fishing weights through water, adding more hooks to those already embedded deep under his ribs.

He smiled helplessly. “Okay, okay, I give up,” he whispered, whether to himself or to her, he didn’t know. “The field is yours. There’s such a thing as overkill, though, missy. It’s not good manners to keep proving you won.... Or maybe that’s me. Not knowing how to stop fighting.” He stilled for a moment, before pulling his thoughts back from dark places.

“But I’m gonna warn you, this ain’t over. You ain’t twisting me around your finger forever. I am tough. There are plenty of men who tried to break me ... and plenty of women who tried to keep me. And you are never, ever gonna hear those stories, not a single one ... but all I’m saying is enjoy this victory while it lasts. Battle. Not the war. You think you can just waltz through here and take Uncle Eliot’s heart and soul for yourself, you can just think again. You hear me?”

She hadn’t. She was asleep. His sigh was not unhappy, and he didn’t even notice the smile lingering on his face as he laid her down and carefully tucked the blanket around her. “Fine. You can have’m for now. Just a loan, got it? Temporary. Because of extenuating circumstances. And it’s conditional. You tell anyone, I’ll take it all back, don’t think I won’t.”

“Take what back?”

“Sh!” Eliot backed up to the door quietly, watching for any disturbance, but deep slumber appeared to have set in. He ushered Hardison into the hallway. “The offer to babysit. Ever again,” he said smoothly. “This is not my job, man.”

Hardison’s face became serious. “Well, get ready to do your job. We just lost contact with Nate and Sophie.”

O-Day + 571
Breaking Out

Eliot lowered the binoculars, the slump in his shoulders having nothing to do with the the 700 miles of wastelands they’d just driven through. Hardison grabbed them from him, and surveyed the area himself.

“This is really weird, man,” said Hardison. “I mean, there are four ways out of this place, right? And it’s specifically built to be able to maintain communication with the outside world, no matter what. With the VIPs here for the forum, there would have been security everywhere. Even if there was an outbreak, they should have been able to get out. At the very least we should still be in contact. So what the hell?”

“The broadcast tower is down,” Eliot pointed out, then lapsed back into a bleak silence.

“Yeah, but still....” Hardison shook his head. “At this range, the smaller antennas should be more than enough.”

Parker, sitting dutifully behind the wheel of Lucille, fidgeted. “Well?” she asked in piercing whisper.

“If we can’t contact them somehow....” Eliot’s pause was so long, Hardison began trying to think of ways to finish the sentence, too. Finally Eliot managed to say it. “... I don’t know if we can risk it.”

Hardison’s jaw tightened, and he kept scanning the scene in front of them, as though that might hold the answer. Then he did a double-take and peered more attentively. “Is that ... Eliot, am I dreaming, or is that the Italian?”

“What?” Eliot pulled the binoculars out of Hardison’s hands. “Where?”

Hardison pointed. “Down, right, right – near the entrance.”

Eliot focused, finding the figure among the pack, its long limbs moving with the toxic gangling quickness that was now instantly identifiable. “Huh.... Did we know she was going to be at the forum?”

Hardison shook his head. “Nope. But whatever happened here, I’ll bet my showering ration for a month that she had something to do with it.”

Eliot watched the figure with a maliciously satisfied slant to his mouth, and didn’t argue with Hardison’s hunch.

“The sun is going to be up soon,” Parker reminded them. “We’ve got to make some decisions, here, people.”

Hardison shot a look at the two taciturn strangers standing with them, also assessing the situation. They’d barely said a word since the rendezvous outside of town. “I don’t suppose you two have anything helpful to add,” he said, with hope and sarcasm mixed. There was something about their silent watchfulness that was unnerving. As was the way two heads turned with one gesture, and the way two pairs of eyes fixed on him with one look. “Yeah, okay. You probably think we’re crazy.”

There was a pause, in which the one who was freakishly tall cocked his head to the side and the one who was simply tall raised his eyebrows. Then the latter asked, “That’s family in there, right?” He didn’t even need their nods. “No. We don’t think you’re crazy.” He looked at Eliot. “What do you need?”

“Hopefully just backup. A diversion so we can get our people out. But until we know their status, lay low. You okay to stay out of trouble in the open for now?”

The two men shared an amused look. “We’ll manage,” the taller one said drily.

Eliot didn’t question it. He turned to the others. “Let’s go see what the access shaft can give us. And hope there’s no one around it.”

It took until mid-morning to approach the shaft, set higher in the backwoods, avoiding the crowd of zombies clogging the building and main entrances to the bunker. Between the stealthy quietness of Lucille’s refitted electric motor, and the weird waxy goop the strangers had smeared on the sides of the van to camouflage scent, nothing seemed to pick up their trail.

“You sure about this, man?” Hardison asked, doubtfully rubbing some of the goop on his jacket and neck. “You sure about them?

Eliot swiped some on Parker’s back, then wiped his fingers off on his sleeve, and shrugged. “Singer sent them.”

Hardison didn’t find this phlegmatic answer as reassuring as Eliot intended. “Oh, sure. Great. And ... Singer is who, exactly?”

Eliot took a look at Hardison’s face, and didn’t snap back at him. “A guy I know. Look, Singer vouches for them, and that’s good enough for me.” He put his hand on the younger man’s shoulder, and added gently, “Which should be good enough for you. No one’s taking risks with Nate and Sophie’s lives, here. Okay?”

After a second, Hardison nodded. “Yeah, man. I know. I’m just ... what if....”

Eliot stopped him. “Look, I know. We’re all ... worried. But it’s going to be okay. We’re gonna find them,” Eliot said, doing an excellent job of looking utterly certain. “Ignore the ‘what if’ crap and hold it together, got it? I need you 100% here and on your game. They need you 100% here.”

Hardison took a breath, but his nod was interrupted by a sharp, “Guys!”

They both looked at Parker, startled.

Her eyes were blazing with frustration. “Can we stop talking about our feelings and just go rescue them, now?”

Eliot and Hardison exchanged a look. “Uh – yeah.” Eliot grabbed their bag and slid Lucille’s door shut. “Let’s go.”

It didn’t take long to find the shaft, or rather what was left of it. The gasps of shock from Hardison and Parker only made Eliot’s grim lack of surprise more obvious.

Parker crouched next to the depression of cement debris and twisted steel sheet. “This is recent. A couple of days at most. It looks like someone just dropped explosives down the shaft.”

Eliot hunkered down next to her and nodded. “Effective enough. They’ll have sealed off the east and west entrance points, too, if they know what they’re doing. And leave the inside entrance clogged with zombies to finish it off. Make it look like just another outbreak.”

Hardison had started examining the mangled antenna, pulling out his toolkit. “You’re saying someone trapped them in there?”

There was no other rational conclusion. “Yeah.” Eliot shook his head grimly at the myriad of questions this raised, then looked over to Hardison.

“You getting anything?” Eliot asked with more skepticism than hope.

“Maybe. The line itself is pretty well protected, so it might only be the antenna that’s busted. If the line is intact, and there’s enough power, I can connect with the bunker’s own communication system and use our piggyback for the earbuds. That is, assuming the system is even still functional,” he explained, while the others helped him clear rubble from the base of the antenna. “Otherwise, the range is going to be limited, for us too when we’re in there.... Ah, here we go. Yeah, baby. This looks promising....”

There was a crackle on their coms, and a choppy but instantly recognizable voice. “~...dison? ~~ –ou? Can y– ~ –r m–~”

“Nate!” Parker looked ready to dig right down through the rubble with her bare hands.

“Make it better,” Eliot ordered Hardison. “Nate? We’re here. Nate, do you read?”

Hardison rolled his eyes, but intensified his efforts. After a few minutes of work and erratic bursts of uncommunicative syllables, his frown was as deep as it could get. He finally shook his head. “Sorry. I think there’s some power down there, but nothing like what they should have ... and it looks like the computer network has been totally fried. I can’t do anything about the signal.”

Eliot pulled out the map they’d sketched out between them. “Okay, then. If we were Nate, where would we hole up?”

“If I had to guess, the level of power I’m picking up right now is a patch job. If the power plant was sabotaged, then the whole place is dark. They’d be on their way to suffocating by now.”

Elliot nodded. “So if Nate couldn’t get out, he’d have rigged up enough power for air.”

Parker pointed on the map. “If they could keep these rooms around the power plant secure, this is the place to stay.”

The three looked at each other, nodded an immediate consensus, and turned back to the van. Eliot got on the radio to inform their allies of the situation, and received assurance that the decoy was ready as soon as they needed it. Within half an hour a sleek black ’67 Impala growled along the front access road, flirting with top zombie pursuing speed. From their vantage point, they could just make out the arm of whoever was riding shotgun, holding up out of the window what the shorter one had happily termed “chum in the water”.

“Wow. That was effective,” said Hardison as the ragged crowd converged and trailed after the car. He sniffed the goop on his jacket. “I guess they really do know what they’re doing.”

They waited until the freak parade had disappeared over the ridge before breaking cover. They approached the building’s entrance warily, but everything looked clear. “Let’s hope that was the bulk of the zombies,” muttered Eliot, unsheathing his well-worn machete and leaving the shotgun slung. “Stay close. Parker, that means you.”

An impatient huff answered him, but told him that she’d obey. He eye-checked them both for emphasis, then squared his shoulders and ducked through the front door.

The ground level seemed to be clear all the way to the lobby containing the only remaining entrance. The concealing panel was hanging brokenly to the side, and behind it the ponderous blast door gaped open. The only light came from behind them, casting their shadows long into the waiting darkness. They paused, listening, but there was no sound, no movement, even of air.

“Parker, flare.”

She cracked one and bowled it down the tunnel. They waited while it skittered to the bottom of the incline, its fiery green blush revealing the decontamination room door, standing ajar. They followed its path, Parker lighting another flare and tossing it into the room at Eliot’s gesture. Both of them stayed just outside the door after he entered, keeping weapons ready, in a pattern now so ingrained as to be utterly automatic.

A grunt of surprise was the only reaction to the attack. Leaving Parker to guard their six, Hardison slipped just far enough into the room to get a clear sightline, face set and hands steady as he trained his shotgun on the four figures scrambling around Eliot. He waited, motionless, watching Eliot decapitate three of them in short order and ram the head of the fourth into the wall, before coolly lowering his weapon. Eliot glanced at him, wiped at the blood spray on his face and finished checking the room, then gave him a quick thumbs-up.

Hardison reached back and tapped Parker, and they followed Eliot into the bunker proper, where their coms abruptly sizzled into life.

“~ be okay. They’re coming, I swear, they’ll find us. Just stay with me, okay? Please – Sophie? Sophie!~”

The frozen grip of horror that Nate’s words had upon the three was broken by the sound of a hiss, further back in the shadows. Parker immediately lit another flare, flinging it along the hall, catching the crowd of bodies slithering toward them in light.

Eliot didn’t hesitate. With a wordless roar, he charged the pack, slowing neither to count those ahead nor take notice of those left headless behind as zombie after zombie fell around him.

“Nate, we’re coming!” shouted Hardison, as he and Parker kept pace behind the hitter, firing intermittently when any of the zombies seemed about to get around his furious and unflagging assault. “Where are you?”

“~The medical room. Hurry!~”

“Nate, is Sophie okay? What’s wrong?”

“~She was shot, during the initial attack. She’s lost blood. A lot of blood. She’s been in and out of consciousness – guys, I don’t know –~” The desperate uncertainty in their mastermind’s voice gave it a fragility that was even more frightening than the words themselves.

Eliot had already mowed his way to the end of the pack, throwing another flare to the end of the corridor and chasing it, and another as he swerved left around the corner. Even in his berserker state, he appeared to have registered enough of the conversation to know where to head to. Hardison and Parker lost no time in racing after him, hopscotching through the zombie bodies and heads and trying to avoid the ice-slick blood.

Past the debris, Hardison caught his footing and his breath. “Hold on. We’re coming. Just – hold on!”

Apart from a few zombies who emerged from doors in the wake of his passage, which were promptly shot by Parker or Hardison, Eliot didn’t miss a beat or a head in carving their passage clear. By the time they reached the small-scale medical suite, not far from the power plant, nothing was moving except them. Parker hammered on the door while Hardison watched over Eliot’s path back from clearing the end of the corridor.

“Nate, it’s us! Open up!”

There was the sound of barricades being pulled aside, and the door opened to strangers' faces, pale and gaunt in the dim lamplight of the room. Parker barged past them without a second look. “Sophie!”

The group of strangers didn't receive any more attention from Hardison or Eliot, except for a barked order to re-barricade the door. One look at the head-to-toe decoration of carnage on Eliot produced instant, silent obedience, and again when he yanked together materials for a make-shift stretcher, thrusting them into their hands with a few curt instructions.

“Sink? Water?” he demanded of one of them, pulling his gloves off. They pointed quickly. “This working? Nate?”

Kneeling next to Sophie, seeming unable to attend to anything apart from gripping her hand tight, Nate answered dully, “Yeah. We pulled enough power for that, at least.”

A hush fell, oddly focused on Eliot’s carefully thorough washing of hands, as though in this labyrinth tomb of the dead, undead, and living, his driven will and actions eclipsed everyone else’s. Wiping dry, he turned toward Sophie, and for the first time he hesitated. He looked at his hands, then at Parker, clutching Sophie's own free one, and cleared his throat. “Your hands clean?” he asked suddenly. “Any of that filth get on you?”

She shook her head, holding one up to demonstrate its lack of contamination. He looked at Hardison. “You?”

Hardison nodded, dependable, calm. “I’m clean, man. What do you need?”

Eliot held his up, starkly white against the darkening muck of the rest of him. “I don’t want to risk it, even with gloves. Be my hands?”

“Yeah. Of course.” Hardison snagged the box of medical gloves, gently nudging Nate to the side, and snapped them on. He handed the box to Parker and looked questioningly at Eliot.

Eliot squeezed Nate’s shoulder briefly, then leaned in. “Cut away the bandage. Parker, flashlight.”

All three sucked in dismayed breaths at the mess of her shoulder, chewed up by a glancing encounter with a shotgun blast. Eliot let his out slowly. “Okay. Yeah. I ... we can’t do much here.” He glanced at the saline bag snaking into her arm, then around at the infirmary. “You did what you could, but we’ve got to get her somewhere safe before we clean her up and stitch it all together. So we won’t have to move her while she recovers.”

Nate finally registered a reaction, locking onto Eliot’s eyes. “But ... she will? Recover?”

Eliot held his gaze. “I – don’t know. I hope so. If we can find somewhere not too far. But we have to get out of here. Nate, you know this was sabotage, right? The Italian’s out there, or was. And if they come back and realize –”

“The Italian?” Nate’s face contorted with rage. “She’s still out there? I’m going to kill her, I swear to God!”

“Slow down, Papa Wolf.” Hardison looked up from where he was gently bandaging fresh gauze around the wound. “The walking dead beat you to it.”


“Nah, infected.”

Nate’s mouth twitched. “Good,” he said with relish. “That reminds me.” He nodded at a briefcase, sitting incongruously in one corner. “We picked up a party favor. The records in that case are from a military R&D lab where this whole thing started.”

“What a shock,” commented Hardison flatly.

“That’s definitely enough reason to bring this place down with y’all inside,” added Eliot.

Nate grimaced. “I know. We might be able to not only find the source of the virus, but with the right people and resources even put together an inoculation. Won’t do anything for the infected, but we’d be able to keep people from becoming infected.”

“Right.” Eliot straightened and eyed the room. “You, you and you,” he pointed as he spoke, “grab everything that will hold anything – pillow cases, sheets, whatever – and pack up every last damn medical supply in this place. Nate, you got food in here?”

“Only what’s left in those boxes there. We got what we could from the dining room, but we were overrun too quickly. The last group that went out to get more didn’t come back.”

“It’ll do. Where’s that stretcher?”

One of the men who’d been working on it stood, mouth belligerent. “Listen, young man, we’re grateful for the rescue, of course, but –”

Eliot’s tone didn’t lose terseness but did gain a layer of testiness as he stared the man down. “Yeah, well, then grab one end of that stretcher and earn it.” A half-step of menace was enough to make the man recoil, and the larger man beside him bristle. Eliot ignored this, staying locked on the first man, deadly serious. “And if you so much as jostle that woman it’s your ass, Mr. President. You got me?”

“Sure thing,” the president said quickly.

“That your muscle?” Eliot didn’t wait for the answer before handing over his own shotgun and shell belt to the larger man. “Bring up the rear, big guy. Parker, with him, Hardison with me. You and you, take the other corners on the stretcher. Everyone else, load up. Stay together, stay between us. If anything goes down, stay together. Break, and you’ll all die, whether by the zombies or by me. Nate, you got her?”

Nate and Hardison settled Sophie on the stretcher and Nate pressed a kiss to her forehead, then hefted his corner while the president, a governor, and a senator took the others. “Ready.”

“Remove the barricade.” Eliot drew his machete once more, took a breath, listened for a moment, and pulled the door open. A simultaneous swing of his blade removed a slathering head from its shoulders, and he kicked the body out of the way as it fell. He looked both ways and stepped into the corridor. “Okay. Move out.”

Their flare-marked path back to the surface was slow, navigating bodies strewn and twisted where they’d fallen, flashlights picking through the wax and wane of green fire like some sickly Hell, alternating too bright and too dim for eyes to adjust properly. Occasional stragglers, drawn to the commotion from other parts of the bunker, dropped before a flicker of sharp steel or a flash of powder and shot. After what seemed like endless bad footing and skidding on things better not thought about, an infinitesimal suffusion of natural light leaked hope into the corridor from ahead. The party picked up speed without any spoken agreement –

And Parker screamed.

Eliot and Hardison wheeled as one, but the group behind them just couldn’t let them through fast enough. Two blasts crashed through the space from the back, one on top of the other, deafening, and then somehow through the ringing echoes the big guy at the back was shouting to move, he had her, move, move move!

Stumbling forward, the whole group sprinted through the decontamination room and up the slope, spilling out of the blast door and into a once-lavish lobby. They didn’t stop, scurrying through empty hallways, Sophie bouncing on the stretcher and dead to the world, Parker bleeding in the big guy’s arms, until they stood panting on the front entrance terrace.

The valley in front of them was completely clear of any human figures except two, leaning in boredom against the side of the black Impala. At the sight of the group bursting through the front doors, they straightened, then raced up the stairs when the shouting started.

“What happened?” Nate had paused only to hand off his corner of Sophie’s stretcher before shoving his way to where the big guy was still holding Parker. “What happened?”

“Grabbed me,” Parker said faintly. “It’s okay –”

“One of the zombies on the ground wasn’t dead,” the big guy explained further. He indicated her leg, cloth and skin torn and bloody, and his face said everything else.

“No – no –” The words were ripped from someone’s throat, but in that moment there was no distinction between thought and sound, no knowing who actually said it.

“Put her down. Now!” Wide shoulders, eyes on level with the big guy’s, and a voice full of authority had Parker on the ground before anyone could react. The smaller of the two strangers was already kneeling next to her, slicing away the shredded cloth, cinching a tourniquet above her knee.

There was plenty of reaction now. “Who – what are you doing?” yelled Nate.

The first man loomed over him, unfazed. “When did it happen?”

Eliot put a hand across Nate’s chest. “Less than a minute ago.”

A lightning-fast look passed between the two strangers, and the one with the tourniquet clamped an iron grip down on her leg. The other knelt and pulled out a silver knife in one swift move, pressing the flat of the blade to the wound. The contact made Parker flinch back hard, but her slim calf remained stock still under the second man’s hold.

“Get her head,” he snapped harshly, but Hardison was already there. The strangers paused, intent on the effect of silver against her wound. After a long, breathless minute, they shared another look, and then relaxed with the same abrupt, wordless tandem in which they’d done everything else.

The tall one pulled out a compact syringe, uncapped, tapped and cleared the nozzle, then unceremoniously jammed it into her thigh. “Just to be sure.” While he sounded almost diffident, the glint in his eye as he continued to watch her was anything but. “It looks like the bite didn’t get through. Just the shotgun. She probably won’t even lose the leg.”

The other one finished a deft field dressing and looked up at Eliot. “Bobby’s in Ohio right now. A safehouse, not far, maybe four hours. Your friends can follow with the other wounded. You and her ride with us – in case.”

“In case what?” demanded Hardison, then stepped back from the man’s stony expression.

“In case we’re wrong,” he said flatly.

Nate moved forward and plucked the empty syringe out of the tall one’s hand. “What is this?”

“Something Bobby cooked up. Slows the toxin long enough to amputate.” His shrug was bleak. “Sometimes it works.”

Nate looked at the briefcase, and back at them. “Then let’s get to this guy’s place. I think we’re going to have a lot to talk about.”

O-Day + 577
After the Eschaton

In the late summer afternoon, the light lying golden over rolling fields, it was possible to pretend nothing had ever happened. Eliot sat on the porch steps, beer in hand, and pretended.

A gruff voice behind him actually managed to startle him, but he covered well, taking another sip.

“I’ve been tryin’ to figure what’s in your head that’s got you so miserable-lookin’.” Bobby eased down beside him. “But I gotta admit, I’ve been drawin’ a string of blanks. Your ladies upstairs are recovering well, that Cora back at your prison is on the radio five times a day just to tell us the baby girl is doing fine, you saved the life of the President of the United States – such as it is – and you all may have just managed to save the world with this inoculation.” He studied Eliot for a while, but got no response. “So I take all this into account, and I ask myself, what is it that’s got young Spencer’s panties in such a twist?”

Bobby waited again, but all he got was a scowl creeping into Eliot’s face.

“And then,” Bobby resumed mercilessly, “Nate has barely left Sophie’s side, and nobody’s prying Hardison away from Parker without one hell of a big stick – but you? You hardly set foot upstairs since you all arrived.” He leaned back, visibly unimpressed by Eliot’s fierce silence. “Nothin’ to say? Don’t you worry, son, I’m an old man. I can talk all day if you can’t. Let me see, here. I could take a shot in the dark and say somethin’ like: It’s all my fault, I screwed up, I almost got her killed, I couldn’t protect her, what happens next time, I couldn’t live with myself, how can I make sure that never happens, how can I sacrifice myself to keep my family safe, I’ll tear my damn heart out if it means controlling the fate of those I love.... I miss anything in that lot?”

Eliot flicked the beer bottle cap out into the long bushes and took a moment before answering. “Thought you said you were drawing a blank.”

The wry composure with which he answered seemed to surprise Bobby, but it was a pleasant surprise and Bobby rallied well. “Yeah, well, that was my way of saying you’re being an idjit, idjit.”

Eliot’s glance was amused, at least on the surface. “Sounds like you get this a lot.”

“Like you wouldn’t believe.” It was Bobby’s turn to exhibit a depressed look, and he sighed. “Which means I ain’t got any pretty speeches to turn that particular frown upside down. I’ve worn every damn pep talk and lecture through and through. All I got left for you is some perspective.” Bobby laid a heavy hand on Eliot’s shoulder, and wouldn’t let him look away. “You save the damn world – or even just what’s left of it – and you only almost lose a leg? Kid, that is one freaking good day. Take it from an old man who knows.”

Taken aback and a little awed by Bobby’s vehemence, Eliot could only nod.

“Good.” Bobby let go of him to smack him on the shoulder. “Now stop being a little bitch and get up there and see those girls of yours. Because they’ve been asking for you.”


( 24 speakses — have a speak )
Dec. 18th, 2010 10:54 am (UTC)
OMG....this was so very perfect - it is exactly what I've been wanting for ages. So much to love here, I barely know where to start. :) I love the structure and the set up. I love that the Italian got zombified. I have melted into a puddle of estrogen at the idea of Eliot taking care of a small child. I love the team's shock when Eliot busts out the shotgun.

But the surprise crossover cameo is definitely the most awesome addition. I couldn't even imagine such awesomeness. It was great to see the Winchesters through someone else's eyes. And Bobby's sage words of advice at the end were the perfect ending.

Thank you SO much. You've totally made my Christmas. :)
Dec. 19th, 2010 05:10 am (UTC)
Yay! I'm so glad it hit the spot. And thank you for such an awesome prompt. How can you go wrong with something like that? I was SO relieved to get you, and I knew I could loosen up and let the fun train ride. Pretty much the first thought (after ZOMBIES!) was hey, I should zombify the Italian for her. Opportunity too good to miss.

And everything pretty much flowed from there. As soon as I realised Nate and Sophie would get together, I realised they'd get pregnant; and as soon as there was a baby involved, you can't not put Eliot there. It'd be like a crime against humanity to not write that.

I was wavering on the crossover for a bit, because I didn't want it to take over. But then, outsider POV is a lot of fun with the boys, and somehow Bobby and Eliot knowing each other just makes sense to me. I imagined that as Eliot went up the stairs, Bobby yelled something like "And call your mother, would you?" after him. :D

Anyway. You're so welcome. It was such a pleasure!
Dec. 18th, 2010 12:37 pm (UTC)
I got woken up early by the cats and of course obsessively checked my flist. I have fed them and I have to go back to bed now, but as soon as I get up OMG I AM GOING TO READ THIS! *grabby hands*
Dec. 18th, 2010 11:36 pm (UTC)

Ok, so it took me longer to get back here than I would have liked, but !!!! This fic is AMAZING! With bonus!SamnDeannBobby!!!! And everyone's voices were PERFECT and Elliot with a BABY and SamnDean being all BORED waiting on some ZOMBIES and !!!!


This is epic. Imma go watch me some Leverage right now. RIGHTNOW.
Dec. 19th, 2010 05:23 am (UTC)

Thank you! :)

As soon as you have a baby hanging around, you can't not make Eliot look after her. Something about the denim and boots crowd that our ovaries just demand they be put in that situation. And I loved the idea that the zombie apocalypse was kind of small change for SamnDean, that they're still freely roaming the country doing their thing. Those boys are FUN from the outside. That whole mystique thing. "Dean Wincehster is behind you," indeed.

Yay for watching Leverage! Have fun!
Dec. 19th, 2010 05:14 am (UTC)

Bow before your benevolent overlords, puny mortal!

... I mean, *cough*.
Dec. 18th, 2010 04:41 pm (UTC)
This is so kick-ass! I would like to see more interaction between the Winchester boys and the Leverage team, but the z
zombies more than made up for it! :)
Dec. 19th, 2010 05:26 am (UTC)
Thanks! I could probably write the team and the Winchesters all day, but I wanted to keep it mostly Leverage-centric. It was Eliot's show to run; after all, retrieval is his job. And the Winchesters' issues can start taking over the narrative REAL quick, I discovered. Even Eliot couldn't avoid them! :)
Dec. 18th, 2010 05:22 pm (UTC)
That was pretty damn awesome. And I don't even *like* zombie stuff.
Dec. 19th, 2010 05:28 am (UTC)
Thanks! And I understand. Zombies aren't for everyone. They're a "sometimes" food. :D
Dec. 18th, 2010 06:11 pm (UTC)
this. is. flawless. everything about this fic is FLAWLESS. i don't watch supernatural, but the fic still worked superbly.
Dec. 19th, 2010 05:33 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! I was hoping it worked anyway; I wanted to keep the team, and Eliot in particular, front-and-centre. "Flawless" is some encouraging feedback to get! ;)
Dec. 18th, 2010 08:51 pm (UTC)
Totally. freakin'. AWESOME!!! I can't even single out individual parts because the whole thing ROCKS!!!

Seriously. You just made my day with this!
Dec. 19th, 2010 05:37 am (UTC)
Thanks! It's so cool to hear that the fic made someone's day. Certainly makes the effort of writing worth it – on top of the fact that it's also just damn fun! Score on both points \o/
Dec. 19th, 2010 09:53 am (UTC)

MADE of AWESOME. :D Love that the Winchesters saved Parker's leg. The babysitting, the Italian biting it (ha!), Bobby doing his Bobby thing and the Leverage Team winning, as ever.

Dec. 19th, 2010 07:46 pm (UTC)
Thanks! :D That's the great thing about these kinds of AU – anything that occurs to you, you can make happen, with the minimum of logical justification. UST doesn't stand a chance in the face of the ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE. And I thought it was about time the team saved the world, no?

Dec. 20th, 2010 12:00 pm (UTC)
I love zombies, and this was perfect!

The bleakness, the strength of the human spirit (or possibly it's just stubbornness), Eliot and the baby, Eliot the hero, the brothers, the Impala, the ending with Bobby.

I loved all of it, I really didn't want it to end.

Dec. 20th, 2010 06:02 pm (UTC)
Thanks! This fic kind of became an excuse to just write all those things I wanted to see happen – and Eliot with baby is high on that list! Plus the opportunity to explore what happens a year, two years after the zombie apocalypse.

I seem to swing wildly between cracky stuff and really quiet, character-driven stuff. It's not zombies, but if you're interested, you might like this one, and it's kind-of sequel. :)
Dec. 20th, 2010 10:04 pm (UTC)
I read them, and they were both fabulous! And I usually never read anything below an NC-17 rating ;)
Dec. 20th, 2010 11:53 pm (UTC)
Ah, see, while sex and violence are indeed the staples of fanfiction, I like to explore the other options too. Everyone else has the rest covered for me ;)

Well, at the risk of being shamelessly self-promoting, you might also like my attempt at The Princess Bride done Leverage style. 18 chapters, though. Be warned. :)
Dec. 21st, 2010 11:16 am (UTC)
I've found so (relatively) few Leverage fics that I take everything I can get. I love The Princess Bride and I will read your story as soon as I have time. :)
Jan. 16th, 2011 09:21 pm (UTC)
This is like rainbows and puppies and unicorns. Zombie-flavored delight imbued with essence of family and topped off with mayhem!

So I kind of love it. <3
Jan. 17th, 2011 02:30 am (UTC)
Awesome! Sounds like the best ice cream flavour EVAR. :)

(Deleted comment)
Mar. 8th, 2011 03:42 am (UTC)

Eliot is ESSENCE OF AWESOMESAUCE. *overdoses*
( 24 speakses — have a speak )

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