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The End, dagnabbit.

Title: now you're one of us (pt 3)
Ficverse: LeveragePlus (crossovercrack!verse), Ke$ha's "Blow" music vid
Series: crack addiction
Rating: Gen / Crack-Horror, I guess? / PG-13
Length: 3800 ish / 6900 ish
Characters: Eliot, James, Parker, Ke$ha, Winston
"Ke$ha’s virtually untraceable if she wants to be, and I never thought to put a tracking device in my head. What are we going to do?"

Notes: the rest of the explanation is with PART ONE, here. PART TWO is here. I ain't explaining any more even more. (Except to say that, in my world, doormen do not just let fifteen year olds into clubs to be ogled by thirty year old men. Also that yes, parts of this is even more tahirire's fault. To be fair, it also kept growing on its own; I just slammed the breaks at the first available opportunity. I reiterate: WTF, self?)

“It won’t be easy,” said James once they stepped out on the street in front of the club, words issuing oddly from his unmoving face. “Ke$ha’s virtually untraceable if she wants to be, and I never thought to put a tracking device in my head. What are we going to do?”

Eliot looked up, and smiled. “I have breadcrumbs.”

James’s immobile expression conveyed his incomprehension remarkably well. “Oh.”

Eliot rolled his eyes. “Never mind. Just follow me.”

He set a fast pace following the trail of pixie dust left by Parker, invisible to the human eye but blazing bright through his imaginary visual filter, the super-charged body beside him keeping up easily. It was mere minutes before they reached another club strip and the end of their chase; Parker, lurking with consumate professionalism across from an entrance, saw them and came over.

“They went in there. I went through the vents and found them in one of the back rooms. I think they’re in for the evening.”

“You’re sure?”

Parker gave Eliot a look. She wasn’t often wrong about these things.

“Alright, alright. And she still had the head with her?”

Parker nodded, and glanced at James. “All the normals thought it was really cool. Well, a few of them. The ones who actually knew who he was, anyway.” James looked at her, and once again his motionless face was remarkably expressive. She shrugged at him. “What? They were calling it a meme, I think. What’s a meme? And are we getting it back?”

“Not just it,” James said firmly.

Eliot exhaled. “So I really can’t talk you out of that?”

James drew himself up, staring Eliot down with all the wooden, tragic nobility his face could muster. “It’s the only reason I’m here. It’s my purpose. My raison d’être. And one way or another, she ... is my destiny.”

Never one to be loomed over, Eliot closed the small gap and got right up in his face. “Listen, man, in case you didn’t notice, she’s already killed you once tonight.”

James nodded slowly, not backing down. “That’s what I mean.”

“Yeah, and who had to half-fry themselves putting you back together?”

“Oh-em-gee, you guys, are those guys gonna man-kiss? That is so hot.”

Eliot and James turned, although Eliot seemed much the more startled of the two of them. “What?”

The three girls watching them looked like fifteen year-olds fresh from raiding their older sisters’ closets, and the blonde at the back who’d asked the question immediately started giggling with the brunette at being overheard. The blonde at the front just sneered slightly.

Quietly, James leaned a little closer to Eliot, then had to grab his arm to keep him from forcefully maintaining distance between them. “It’s a thing, don’t worry about it.”

Why do they think we’re going to kiss?”

“Because we were standing close to each other. They’ve been neurologically programmed by the internet to assume that means kissing. And, er – uh, kissing. Definitely nothing else,” James hastily amended, showing a far greater instinct for survival than the two girls who started whispering excitedly.

His grip on Eliot’s arm was the only thing that kept Eliot from marching over there and expressing himself. “Careful,” he said quickly. “That’s an alpha blonde flanked by an ancillary blonde and a brunette, in ridiculously sassy clothes, no less.”

Eliot stared at him, then at the group, further confusion adding its fuel to the fire. “What are you talking about?”

“Look at them. It’s a classic tween girl version of a Power Trio,” James hissed, as though it were obvious. “Don’t you watch music videos or teen dramas?”

Eliot was nearing the apoplectic event-horizon. “NO!”

Meanwhile, the alpha blonde had arrived at a verdict. “Oh. That’s just James Van Der Something. He was a star in the eighties I guess. My sister had a total crush on him but she’s way old.”

The brunette squinted. “How come his face doesn’t, like ... change?”

“Nah, he’s always like that.”

“But isn’t there all those gifs of him –”

“Photoshop or whatever.” She flipped her shoulder decidedly and turned her attention to the club’s entrance. “Do you see him?”

“Oh! There!” The ancillary blonde pointed excitedly at some boy in line. “There he is!”

“Okay.” The alpha blonde settled her clothes and fluffed her hair. “You sure this makes me look like I don’t even know he exists any more?”

“Oh, totally. I mean, we’ve changed clothes like three times already. This is the outfit, I promise.”

The girl nodded, and struck a pose. “Formation,” she ordered, and the two took up a complementary arrangement behind her.

Parker looked bewildered. “So ... what’s going on?”

“They’re attempting the power trio strut.” James studied them for a second. “It’s a breaching tactic. It can be very effective – in skilled hands it can even dominate the whole room. If I’m not mistaken, that’s Kaya – she’s kind of a sober Ke$ha. Word has it she can actually sing.”

“Is that even important any more?”

“Eh, it gives her an edge in some areas. I don’t know if she’s ready for this, though.”

Eliot shook his head. “How do you know all this?”

James half-turned. “Eliot. This is my beat. Now, watch. They’re starting their run.... Ooh, that was sloppy. You see how she made eye contact? Rookie mistake. She’s not even supposed to notice anyone in the line, let alone that kid they were trying to ignore. She might get away with it, though ... and, no, right there. They misjudged the doorman gauntlet. That’s the trickiest pass, especially with seasoned doormen – too fast, they get pissed and pull you back. Too slow, and – there he goes, she’s getting carded. That’s going to go well.”

“Right. That’s our way in. Parker? How’s your strut?”

“Our what?” James asked at the same time as Parker’s “My what?”

“Two blondes, one brunette,” Eliot pointed out. “We have to do this fast. If Ke$ha came here with spoils after a fight, it’s probably because this is friendly territory. Her people might be all over the place in there, and we can’t give her a chance to entrench. Not to mention that charge you’re running on ain’t gonna last forever, Jay. Parker?”

She looked helplessly at James. “Um....”

“It’s easy,” James assured her quickly. “Just imagine you’re the only person in existence, and lead with your hips like they’re parting the Red Sea. Keep your focus on the doorman. It’s all about the attitude.”

Eliot nodded firmly. “Like he’s a diamond you’re stealing. It may not be in your hand yet, but it’s already yours.”

Parker perked up at their conviction. “Oh, okay. I can do that.”

“Sure you can,” Eliot encouraged her grinningly. “Get through that door and keep going straight to where Ke$ha is. Don’t stop for anything. We’ll be right behind you the whole way.”

She nodded and turned to contemplate the approach. As the two men fell in behind, Eliot noticed the uncertainty that had leaked into James’s body language. “What?” he whispered, careful not to let Parker overhear.

“Okay, one, this is can be a very tricky maneuver even for pros. At best it’s about 50/50 that the beachhead will crack the inside, too. And it’s usually done unisex. You know, either all guys or all girls. Also? I’ve never heard of a strut being done barefoot.”

Eliot glared. “Do I look like I carry ladies’ shoes around with me? This is what we’ve got, and we’re running out of time. Next time I ask you to wait, you wait!”

“Sure thing, cowboy. If we survive this.”

In front of them, Parker opened her eyes slowly, emerging from visualizing the course in front of her. Her hand had found her hip, and glance over her shoulder caught Eliot’s confident nod. She threw him a wink and a smirk, then with a whip of hair she faced front and locked onto the doorman, the one fluid movement continuing all the way down to her feet. She stepped out and it was as though time slowed around her.

Alerted by a prickle in some primal section of his spine, the doorman looked up from the pout of the girl he was refusing to admit into the club. Across the street a pair of eyes were slitted onto him like a cat’s on a mouse, above a body that was all curves and long limbs and moving toward him like a steadily swishing tail, meshing perfectly with the pounding bass beats from inside the club. His mouth fell open. He’d been strutted hundreds of times on this door, but as she bore down on him it was suddenly as if he’d never built up any tolerance at all.

On the street a car screeched to a halt, barely missing the girl and the two men flanking her, but none of them so much as twitched in acknowledgment of it. The strut continued inexorably, the three of them flowing like a force of nature as a hush rippled along the waiting line and everyone turned to watch, even the girls arguing to get in.

Moving of its own volition and with perfect timing, his hand went to the plush rope and unhooked it, drawing it back just as she reached him. Strut protocol had minimal acknowledgment for the doorman, but the little sly sideways smile she rewarded him with somehow made him feel like a precious gem must when it’s stolen; guilty and elated all at once. This impression didn’t strike him as odd until much later.

With this sole beat in their forward momentum, they swept through the door and plunged into the pulsating crowd. The doorman shook his head out, then looked down at the rope in his hands, and replaced it. The girls who’d been toppled out of the trio’s trajectory tried to regroup, and he just shook his head at them, sadly but not unkindly. “Just go home, girls. Come back in a few years once you’ve had time to get it right.”

Inside, the mass of moving bodies parted smoothly around their sheer impetus, Parker driving a path clear through to the back rooms. In less than a minute, she pulled up next to a door.

“This one,” she said.

Eliot scented the air and nodded. “Well done,” he said with a proud twinkle at her, then checked the way they’d come. Several people were moving for them purposefully now that the natural currents of the crowd had been restored, and he glanced at James, who drew his gun and nodded his readiness.

The faint sound of laughter on the other side of the door cut off as four deep pounds busted it wide open. Ke$ha’s mouth fell open in shock and she dropped the monohorn’s hand she’d been holding, but before she could reach for her own pistols she was staring down the barrel of James’s.

Eliot extended his claws to gesture at the monohorns sitting on either side of her. “Gentlemen? Time to go.”

They obeyed quickly and ran straight into the personnel coming the other way, the collision holding them up just long enough for Parker to slam the door. She slapped her hand over the latch with a quick flare of golden light. “It won’t hold long,” she said over the thuds and rattles of them trying to get through. “You’ve got maybe three minutes.”

Ke$ha smirked at James. “James Van Der Cockroach, I see. Just how hard are you to kill?”

“About as hard as you are,” he said, an odd undercurrent in his voice. “Once upon a time, you’d have known that. Stand up. Nice and slow.”

She did, a sinuous movement and a brief simper at Eliot, who ignored it as he took her guns away. She only grinned and turned her attention back to James. “So what now? You gonna execute me and mount my head on your wall?”

Eliot looked up at the wall behind her and snorted.

“No.” James kept his gun trained on her while pulling out his phone with the other, and pressed a button. “Parker, kill the lights,” he orderd, and in the dark the phone’s screen lit up Ke$ha's face with an erratic strobe. “You’re coming with me.”

After a few seconds there was a sigh, and the pulsing flashes caught Ke$ha’s fall back into her chair in freeze-frames. “Parker, lights,” said James, switching his phone off, only lowering his weapon once he could see the vacant, blissful look on Ke$ha’s face.

“What did you do to her?” asked Parker.

“This strobe pattern releases a certain kind of endorphin in her bloodstream. Combine with the chemicals released by muenster cheese, it’s like hitting her with Rohypnol.”

“You roofied her? With cheese?... Neat.”

James shrugged. “It takes a very specific combo.”

Eliot was looking at him oddly. “That was your plan all along, wasn’t it?” James remained silent, and Eliot’s eyes flickered to Ke$ha’s loopy expression and narrowed. “I don’t know if I’m okay with this. How did you know it would work on her?”

The attempts of those outside the room to get in were getting noisier, and James bent over Ke$ha, waving Eliot off. “Eliot, I swear, I’ll explain later. But right now this is the only way we’re getting out of here, and we’ll have to move fast. – Hey, baby. This party ain’t really popping. I know a better one. How about we blow?”

Ke$ha looked up and slung her arm happily over his shoulders, letting him pull her to her feet with a giggle. “Sure thing, Poker-face.”

“Well, I think some of your friends are gonna try to make you stay,” said James, indicating the banging on the door.

She rippled with mellow belligerence. “Let them try and stop me.”

Parker pulled the door open on James’s nod, following them out with Eliot in the rear carrying James’s mounted head. The people gathered around the door fell back in confusion under Ke$ha’s high-beam withering look. “I am bored with you,” she informed them haughtily, and before they could recover, she took James’s hand and wove their way out through the back with effortless drunken expertise.

Between them, Parker and Eliot stole the nearest parked hummer, and Eliot sped them all to Winston’s crash zone. He pressed the intercom button on the building. “It’s us.”

“You followed?” came Winston’s voice, tinny over the cheap speaker.

“No one all the way up to the blind zone, and Parker disguised the vehicle. We’re all clear out here.”

A buzzer sounded, of the kind that would usually indicate the door unlocking, but instead the front step sank away beneath them. It delivered them quietly into an underground corridor, which led to a security door and a wide, well-lit room beyond.

“I like your party,” Ke$ha mumbled into James’s chest, giving him a sloppy smile before stumbling, almost falling on her face.

“Yeah,” he said quietly, lifting her in his arms with unexpected gentleness and carrying her the rest of the way, laying her on the table Winston directed him to. She promptly curled up on her side and started snoring.

“Okay, what is this?” Eliot asked, handing the head off to Winston. “Who is she really?”

“She’s Ke$ha,” James answered simply, touching the backs of his fingers to her hand before pulling himself away and meeting Eliot’s demanding expression. He sighed. “She’s my partner.”

Even Winston, who was placing the head carefully in a complicated oven-like contraption, stopped and looked up at him at this.

“Partner as in ... partner?” Eliot voiced the common question.

“Er, well, I don’t actually know what you mean by partner, but partner as in our mission was to crack the pop music scene. Two years ago we got a break, and she’s been in undercover ever since.” James’s blank face turned from person to person, returning their looks with an intangible sense of defiance and agony. “Two years! Do you have any idea how dangerous that is? What that does to you?”

He turned away. “I was partnered with her because of my experience in the tween pop scene. I was supposed to keep her safe ... if I could. But infiltration took priority. No matter what. And, so help me, that’s what I did. What I did to her.”

Eliot approached slowly. “What you did to her?”

Wordlessly, James lifted her tangled hair, baring the back of her neck. He pulled his phone out again, attaching a slender jack and plugging it into the base of her skull, then showed Eliot the schematic on the screen.

Eliot frowned, then made sense of what he was seeing. “You set her to evil?”

Parker looked worried. “That’s bad.”

James took it back from him, activating several programs, downloading data and running diagnostics. “Evil party junkie, to be precise. It’s the only way to survive that scene, believe me. Even if They don’t sniff out a fake – and even in that world They’re incredibly good at that – the scene itself will destroy you. I mean, it’ll destroy you anyway, but not as quickly. It was the only way, and ... she knew the risks. I never thought she’d be immersed for so long, but I couldn’t endanger the misson. I don’t know how far gone she is.”

“So why get her out now?”

“You remember her tweet about not being a douchebag?”

Eliot and Parker exchanged looks. “Uh, no?”

“A few months ago. It was a signal, part of a dormant subroutine we put in for when she had enough intel to be extracted. I’ve been tracking her, waiting for my chance ever since.”

“So when she shot you....”

James touched his bullet-pierced shoulder with a wince. “She wasn’t faking, believe me. We had to make her honestly despise me, or They might have suspected something. I mean, there was always something between us that we couldn’t quite ... it’s not just flipping a switch. At this point ... I don’t know if I’ll be able to get her back.”

A quiet ding from the oven indicated the head was ready.

“Let’s start by getting you back, then,” said Eliot

James turned to him. “You sure it’ll work?”

Eliot opened his mouth to lie, then shrugged honestly. “No. Your head and your body have both been through the wringer, and the longer we leave it ... your head’s not getting any fresher over here, and you’re going to run out of charge soon.”

“So you’re saying that reattaching it could just leave me dead.”

“Well, yeah, but –”

“How long can you give me?”

Eliot stared. “What do you mean?”

“How long before ... the charge runs out or my head is past its use-by?”

“Uh ... this isn’t an exact science, Jay. I mean, usually once your head is off your neck, it’s past its use-by, you know? Right now, it’s been forty minutes. I don’t know – I’d give you good odds. Say eighty-five, ninety percent,” he hazarded, looking for Winston’s confirming nod. “But once it goes, it’ll plummet.”

“So another fifteen or twenty minutes?”

“Could be the difference between ten to one and one to ten. What the hell are you thinking?”

“I’m thinking that I’m the only one who can restore her, and if I’m dead, she’s gonna be stuck this way. Because of me.”

“She knew the risks, you said. So she made her own choice. You can’t –”

“I knew the risks when I went in that club tonight! I’ve made my choice! I am not leaving her like this, no matter what, Eliot. So back off and let me work!”

Eliot held his hands up in surrender. “Can we do anything to help?”

“I’m hoping the muenster will act as a catalyst for old patterns,” he said as he bent over the interface in his phone. “Mr Wolfe – it is Mr Wolfe, correct? – she likes the smell of roses, fresh coffee, acoustic guitar music ... if you have any of that, it could help.”

Winston brought over a cup of coffee and placed it beside her on the table. “Call me Winston,” he said. “Eliot, there should be a guitar out the back. No roses, though.”

“No no, thank you,” said James gratefully. “Every bit will help. Do you have a hair brush?”

Winston raised an eyebrow. “A comb,” he offered, pulling it out of his pocket.

James nodded, never stopping his work. “Parker, do you think you can comb out her hair? Gently, though. She likes the feel of it. It’ll relax her, help lower defences she’s put up.”

Parker looked doubtful, but accepted the comb and started working carefully through the tangles. When Eliot returned with the guitar, he settled in next to Parker without a word and began strumming a melody, soft and sweet in strange counterpoint to the tension as James fought his deadlines.

After ten minutes without a change, Eliot paused. “James....”

“Not yet.”

Eliot played patiently for another five minutes, while James worked ever more feverishly fast, visibly burning energy, then paused again. Before he could say anything, James shook his head. “I’m getting there. Not yet.”

In the next five minutes, a creeping slump began to claim James’s extremities as he directed all available energy to his work. Eliot was about to open his mouth when Ke$ha stretched on the table, knocking the cup of coffee to the floor. The smash startled her awake, blinking in confusion, before her eyes focused on James.

“William?” she whispered slowly.

“Rose,” he replied softly, taking her outstretched hand.

“What’s ... your face....” She stilled as the memories of recent events played out, then abruptly sat up, yanking the jack out of herself and taking in the room at a glance. “Is that your head?”

“Yes, and time is of the fucking essence,” said Eliot forcefully.

“I need to make sure –” began James, interrupted by her jumping to the floor.

“Get the hell up on this table,” she ordered, even as Eliot arrived at their side and helped lift him onto it. “Tell me you can fix this.”

“We’re going to do everything we can. Was 'William/Rose' your code for you being reset? Because if not, you’re not walking out of here, no offense.”

“Middle names,” said James weakly. “We’re good.”

“James, I swear, if you die because of this, I will find a way to resurrect you so I can kill you,” Ke$ha promised.

James angled his head toward her, and it was only by contrast to the face’s utter immobility to this point that the tiny curve of the mouth was apparent. “Missed you too.”

Yes, that is THE END. I don't know if he survives or what happens next. You tell me. And don't give me any of that "you're the author" rubbish.

crack addiction (LeveragePlus) series:
guys' night"Come with me if you want to live," Hardison intoned happily in unison with the Governator.
girls' nightDeciding what to do for a girls’ night – because the boys had gone off to watch some stupid mutant movie completely lacking in emotional depth and resonance – turned out to be more difficult than anticipated.

get in for free (pt 1 of 3)Eliot pulled out his earbud before replying. “It’s James. He says he’s got a bead on Ke$ha and he’s going in.” – “Alone?” Parker’s expression contrived to indicate that even she thought that was crazy. – “That’s what I said!” He showed her the message. “Can you get us there?”
drink that koolaid (pt 2 of 3)A screech of car tyres outside the back entrance reached his ears, and for the first time since he received the text, a grin appeared on Eliot’s face.
now you're one of us (pt 3 of 3)"Ke$ha’s virtually untraceable if she wants to be, and I never thought to put a tracking device in my head. What are we going to do?"

wiggle wiggle wiggle wiggleI keep saying I won't do more of these but now I know I'm lying. Originally posted in comments at tahirire's because it's ALL HER FAULT.


( 7 speakses — have a speak )
Mar. 23rd, 2011 11:22 pm (UTC)

First off, I've been meaning to say since part 1 that this has a totally Sin City feel to it, what with the bodies walking around sans head and stuff. I approve of this wackyness.

“Careful,” he said quickly. “That’s an alpha blonde flanked by an ancillary blonde and a brunette, in ridiculously sassy clothes, no less.”

Marry me.

“They’re attempting the power trio strut.” James studied them for a second. “It’s a breaching tactic. It can be very effective – in skilled hands it can even dominate the whole room. If I’m not mistaken, that’s Kaya – she’s kind of a sober Ke$ha. Word has it she can actually sing.”

I just almost spewed orange juice everywhere. And I mean everywhere. If my laptop gets ruined because of you, I'm holding you accountable. *super serious sternface*

He’d been strutted hundreds of times on this door, but as she bore down on him it was suddenly as if he’d never built up any tolerance at all.

.... marry me and buy me a new laptop.

*gets to the end*

Ok, seriously, this was pure, farm-fresh, grade-A crack. And the sickest, most twisted thing is that it makes the video make SENSE. I just cannot even. You. Rule.

*goes to find a new crack video to spring upon the masses*

I think he lives and they finally - FINALLY have the intel and the resources they need to take out Lady Gaga before she destroys the world with her mutant monster babies.

Mar. 23rd, 2011 11:25 pm (UTC)
You know you want it.

Mar. 24th, 2011 01:57 am (UTC)

*thinks about it*

Hey, waitaminute, you are TRYING to get me into trouble!

I'm SEERIUS, missy. I got a very stern review on FF informing me that I had "pushed right past the limits on "inspired by" the Ke$ha video, and the Wolverine movie and Tinkerbell" and that the characters have "transmuted to the point where they aren't Eliot and Parker."

However, "if you really want to write it, and obviously you did, then the word is "Unicorn" not "monohorn""

I got TOLD.

Although there was some encouragement: "On the positive side, your grammar and spelling are pretty good."

Mar. 24th, 2011 02:19 pm (UTC)
*Is dying, cannot... breathe ...*
Mar. 24th, 2011 01:51 am (UTC)
Yay! I'm glad you enjoyed it, even though it kept trying to go all serious on me. How does my brain decide to make a unicorn-horn powered headless James Van Der Beek a tragic figure? How? WHY? (Probably not helped at all by the sneaking liking that video kept building up in me for both of them.)

Marry me [...] and buy me a new laptop.

... And the sickest, most twisted thing is that it makes the video make SENSE.

T, I swear, the freakiest one of the freakiest freakiest thing to come out of all this is realising that all that cracky stuff, power trios and whatnot, is actually how my brain works. That's like a literal transcript of how it reads events and stories and so on. This crack!verse is basically just me recording my inner monologue. AND THEN IT GETS ANGSTY. OF COURSE. *headdesk* (I was initially just going to have it be like in one of the Simpsons halloween eps, where the Krusty doll is set to evil – quick, simple, funny. BUT NO. All of a sudden there was a relationship there and *headdesks some more*)

I think he lives and they finally - FINALLY have the intel and the resources they need to take out Lady Gaga before she destroys the world with her mutant monster babies.

Oh HELL yes. *not writing it*
Mar. 24th, 2011 02:18 pm (UTC)
That's like a literal transcript of how it reads events and stories and so on. This crack!verse is basically just me recording my inner monologue.

I wish you could see the hearts in my eyes right now, lol. THIS IS WHY I LOVE YOU SO MUCH. *CLINGS*
Mar. 24th, 2011 08:27 pm (UTC)
( 7 speakses — have a speak )

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