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I am currently trying to figure out the next part of this, and necessarily the shape of the revelations for the rest of the story. It's been all chase so far, but soon things need to take a breath and maybe reveal some backstory.... And, of course, there's RL stuff. This might slow me down just a smidge. Anyhow, this chapter is nailed down, so here we go....

Title: The Fire Swamp Slip
Ficverse: Leverage & The Princess Bride
Series: The Princess Bride Job, 4/18
Rating: Gen / PG-13
Length: 1600 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: Ooh, things are getting a little tense.
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: Nothing for Leverage, a whole lot for The Princess Bride. Is there anyone who is unspoiled for that movie?
Concrit: go for it

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


Chapter Four
The princess was wheezing by the time they paused at the deep, jagged gash in the landscape they’d been told to look for.

“Okay, we’re at the ravine,” said Eliot, turning to search the horizon behind them for pursuit.

“~Good. Go to your left,~” said Westley. “~That will take you around the head of it.~”

“~Then you got a clear run to Florin City,~” added Hardison. “~We’ll meet you there.~”

“Yeah, just one problem. It doesn’t matter how clear the run is, if Humperdink catches us, we’re screwed.”

“If you release me,” said the princess, between gasps, “whatever you ask for ransom ... you’ll get it, I promise you....”

“Yeah, not now, sweetheart,” said Eliot distractedly. “He’s got horses, man. We’re on foot. That doesn’t work too well on the open road.” On top of that, there was the bright red dress the princess was wearing. Bold fashion choice, yes, but not exactly ideal for reducing their visibility. He and Parker, all in black, could probably find a way to evade the hunter on their trail easily. It was the not-very-fit, conspicuously-dressed target they were dragging with them that was going to give them trouble.

Hardison sounded put-upon. “~Hey, this wasn’t my plan.~”

“This isn’t a plan at all. Just once, I’d like to not end up making it up as we go along.”

The princess drew herself up haughtily, voice hard with warning. “No matter where you take me,” she said, “there’s no greater hunter than Prince Humperdinck. He could track a falcon on a cloudy day. He can find you.”

Eliot glanced at Parker, who shrugged. He walked over to the brainless young beauty – not that he had a problem with that, but trying to outrun mounted men on unfamiliar terrain was not the time – and was taken by surprise by the fearlessness with which she met his eyes.

“Look,” he said gently. “We’re going to get you back to where you belong. We’re just not sure who to trust right now. You’re safer with us.”

She gave him an incredulous look, and he had to admit that appearances were not so much in their favor here.

He turned up the charm a little. “My name’s Eliot. This is Parker,” he said, his tone inviting her to respond.

She gave her name guardedly. “Buttercup.”

He smiled encouragingly at her. “Okay. Buttercup. We came to save you from Vizzini, and we’re trying to figure out what he kidnapped you for.”

“But why?” she asked suspiciously.

“This pirate called –” Parker was harshly cut off by Westley.

“~Don’t tell her!~”

At that moment, Eliot caught sight of a dust cloud rising from the horizon.

“Pirate?” Buttercup’s eyes snapped to Eliot. “The Dread Pirate Roberts?”

“Who?” asked Parker.

“~Me,~” said Westley tightly.

“We gotta move,” said Eliot, reaching for Buttercup.

She wrenched away from him and backed off, glaring with accusation. “And is she your love?” she asked rather dramatically, pointing angrily at Parker.

“What?” asked Parker.

“Of course she is,” Buttercup said venomously. “Why else would you have a woman as a companion?”

Eliot did not have time for this. “Can this wait?” he asked pointedly.

“Then you can feel the pain you have inflicted on me,” Buttercup continued with a kind of frenzied triumph, and without warning turned and shoved Parker over the edge of the ravine.

Caught flat-footed, Parker lurched and grabbed onto Buttercup to stop herself from falling, but only succeeded in pulling the princess after her. Eliot swore and ran to the edge, watching the two women tumble down the steep slope. Parker managed to achieve a controlled slide, but there was every chance Buttercup would be dead by the time she hit the bottom.

“~What the hell just happened?~” demanded Nate.

“Your damn princess had a crazy-fit and pushed Parker into the ravine,” Eliot snapped. “Parker took her with her.”

“~Are they okay?~”

“~I’m okay,~” said Parker breathlessly, getting to her feet. “~I don’t know about her. She’s out cold. It’s going to take time to climb out, unless we just leave her here.~”

“I vote yes,” Eliot said coldly.

He could practically hear Nate shaking his head; the mastermind did not like giving up leverage. “~No. We can’t. Hardison, where does the ravine lead?~”

“~The Fire Swamp,~” Hardison said apprehensively. “~Sounds very, very bad.~”

Westley joined in, but sounded preoccupied. “~It is.~”

Eliot looked over his shoulder. The horseriders kicking up the dust cloud had become visible, and, if they were any good at all, had already spotted him. At least they couldn’t follow them down here.

“Out of time, Nate,” he said, and dropped smoothly over the side.

                                                                      

Nate turned to look at Westley, eyebrows raised in question. For the first time, the pirate captain betrayed less-than-total composure, finding it hard to meet Nate’s eyes. Then he lifted his chin, put his earbud on the desk, and nodded stiffly at the group staring at him. “Excuse me.”

Nate looked at them, pocketed his own earbud and followed Westley out.

Hardison glanced at Sophie to see if she was going to go too, but she shook her head. Nate would not thank her for it; nor, she suspected, would Westley. Anyway, she was determined she would get it out of Nate soon enough.

“~Hardison? What are we in for?~”

“I don’t even know, man. Westley punked out and Nate went after him, but they took off their coms and I got no idea what’s going on anymore.”

“~What? The Fire Swamp, Hardison!~” Eliot had his “you idiot” mood on. Typical. It had been an honest mistake. “~The very, very bad thing we’re walking into! Tell us about it!~”

“Oh, are we feeling a little stressed? Not so fragrantly fresh?” Hardison couldn’t resist needling back. The search hits he was getting from “fire swamp” couldn’t be called reassuring, but between Parker and Eliot, he wasn’t that worried about their ability to get through it. Besides, this might be the time he could finally make the hitter’s head explode from sheer irritation. Which would be counter-productive, but satisfying.

“~Yeah, and how’s all that very strenuous sitting going for you?~” Eliot retorted.

“Alright,” said Sophie, an edge to her voice that immediately made them both subside. “Florin’s Fire Swamp is infamous, locally at least. No one’s ever survived it. They say there are three terrors of the Fire Swamp: flame spurts, lightning sand, and R.O.U.S.s.”

“~Rodents of Unusual Size? Seriously?~” It was somehow unsurprising that Eliot had heard of them. “~I didn’t think they existed anymore.~”

“~Rodents of what?~” Parker asked, needing clarification.

“Rats, Parker,” said Hardison, staring in disbelief at an image. It was enough to give anyone nightmares, no matter how tough – or how ready to shut themselves up in frightening places to get over phobias – they were. “Giant, like, man-sized rats.”

“~Oh, okay.~”

Sophie glanced at the picture, too, and shuddered. “Well, that’s what they say is in there. There’s not a lot known, really, because no one’s ever come out of it. No one who has any choice goes in, in the first place.... There might also be flesh-eating vines.”

Hardison stared at her, then started another search.

“~Really?~” Parker sounded fascinated.

Eliot didn’t. “~Soph, are you just messing with Parker here?~”

Sophie exchanged rueful looks with Hardison. “I wish I were. I’m only telling you what I’ve heard.”

“~Holy crap.~”

That Parker’s quiet exclamation had not followed from their conversation was obvious. “What?” Hardison asked sharply; his contrition and alarm had spent the last few minutes climbing somewhat.

“~We can see the swamp,~” Eliot answered, matter-of-factly. “~Let’s get inside, we’re sitting ducks down here. Hardison, get us everything you can on this place.~”

“Working on it, man,” said Hardison fervently, initiating more data crawls. He toggled briefly to the real-time satellite image; Buttercup’s red dress made it easy to spot them, only fifty yards from a tangled, ugly canopy. And that wasn’t all. “Guys? Humperdinck almost has you in sight.”

Then a weak groan that didn’t come from Parker or Eliot floated across coms, followed by a gasp and shrill panic and struggling.

“~Put me down!~”

After a moment they heard Eliot give up and dump her on the ground. “~Here, stand up. Come on. We’re moving.~”

“~What – where – where are you taking me?~”

“~Into the Fire Swamp,~” he said, in the tone he used when making it clear there was no alternative and no argument going.

There was a kind of sigh, and brief movement, then silence.

“What happened?” Sophie asked, while Hardison compulsively brought up the satellite’s feed again. They were apparently equally jumpy being stuck so far away, of no substantial help.

“~She fainted.~”

“~Eliot. Look,~” said Parker suddenly. “~Humperdinck.~”

For a few minutes the only noise on coms was Eliot scooping Buttercup back up, and the panting of he and Parker as they sprinted for the swamp.

“This is not going to help us prevent a war with Guilder,” Sophie said dismally, watching their tiny figures disappear under the trees.

“~One good thing,~” said Parker, as they halted within the cover of the Fire Swamp and caught their breath, “~they know we’ve gone in. They won’t expect us to come out.~”

                                                                      

A/N: The flesh-eating vines are not my invention; they're in the book and in the directions in the screenplay. In the movie, Westley hacks at them a bit. It's not that exciting.


Chapter Five

Comments

( 2 speakses — have a speak )
deepbluemermaid
Mar. 23rd, 2010 08:49 pm (UTC)
Oh, so brilliant. I love Buttercup pushing Parker over the edge, Eliot and Hardison arguing even 'when death is on the line', Sophie as peacemaker and Nate as Westley's confidant.

Take as long as you need to update, by the way...I can totally sympathise. I'm currently writing my own crossover (Leverage / White Collar) and I'm having trouble working out the ending. Plus I have a thesis to write, which really should be my priority!
themonkeytwin
Mar. 23rd, 2010 10:10 pm (UTC)
Thesis, schmesis. This is Important.
:)
Also, love your icons.

I was trying to figure out how much to stick to the plot of PB, which arises directly out of how much I want to railroad characters who are not Westley along his path. If I can keep them in character and still have it work (such as Buttercup going mental and forcing the Fire Swamp issue, for essentially the same reason she did in the movie), I will. If I can't find a good reason for it to happen, I'm leery, you know? But I think it's working out. Sometimes the bits you've already written give you unexpected little gifts to help you out.

I've never seen White Collar, but from what I hear it would crossover with Leverage pretty well. Good luck!
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