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the PB is really quite dark, actually

It took me a day or two to figure out where this thing is actually going, and what the Leverage team think they're going to do about it. But it seems to have taken basic shape, so yay....

Title: The Deadly Device
Ficverse: Leverage & The Princess Bride
Series: The Princess Bride Job, 9/18
Rating: Gen / PG-13
Length: 1700 ish / 29,500 ish
Characters: Team Leverage, the Albino
Summary: Fencing. Fighting. Torture. Revenge. Giants. Monsters. Chases. Escapes. True love. Miracles. And hitter, hacker, grifter, thief, mastermind.
Notes: For everyone who likes their hitter half-dressed and tied up, this is the chapter for you. It's not very exciting, though.
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
His ear was fizzing. That was not normal, waking up from being knocked out. This was something he knew.

The pounding headache and wooziness was normal, though, and Eliot spent a while just appreciating lying still. He worked out pretty quickly that he was on a wide wooden bench, and that he was shackled to it very securely, which had never once worked out well for him in the past. However, right now he was horizontal, in a quiet, dim room, with no one in imminent need of rescue except maybe himself. That was reason enough to relax and enjoy the moment.

The fizzing in his ear had resolved itself into the intermittent buzz and crackle of a very weak com signal, which meant that no one had found his earbud. Hopefully that meant they hadn’t found the cell, either, so that Hardison had followed a nice, clear little dot to his geeky heart’s content on his computer screen.

An educated guess said he was in Rugen’s Pit of Despair, which he’d only ever heard of in whispers, until now. And there were limits to how much he wanted to be put through the wringer for this job, even if it was for true love’s sake. As restful as all this lying down was, some kind of cavalry moment would be good, and sooner rather than later.

His mouth was distractingly dry.

A creak announced the entrance of someone; he craned his head and watched the weird, pale man with a tray shuffle down the steps to the lower level of the dungeon, to his side. The Albino put the tray down and cocked his head at Eliot.

“You’re awake,” he said, and it was hard to tell through the moist whisper, but it was possible that he sounded surprised.

“Pit of Despair?” Eliot voiced his guess.

The Albino raised his eyebrows, then grinned, which unfortunately drew attention to the generous scabs encrusting his mouth. Eliot tried not to stare.

“Don’t even think –” The man started sputtering and coughing, then hacked his way to a clearer throat. “Don’t even think of trying to escape. The chains are far too thick. And don’t dream of being rescued, either. Only the Prince, the Count –”

“Yeah, good. Listen, man, I don’t usually give this kind of advice, but do you think, maybe, vitamin supplements...?”

The Albino looked a little derailed. “Tried those. But then the Count said I didn’t look suitable for the job anymore.”

That figured. And the Count’s early retirement package probably wasn’t very attractive. “Condolences, then. I guess.”

The Albino gave an amiable shrug. “The hours are okay. I like the work.”

“Right....” Eliot didn’t bother dwelling on that. “Is that water?”

“Juice.” The Albino fetched the tray, and held it so Eliot could drink. Then he set about cleaning out the gouges left by the R.O.U.S.’s claws, tutting occasionally.

Eliot made another guess. “Rugen wants me fixed up before breaking me?”

The Albino nodded. “He insists on it. So he can kill you properly.”

Eliot followed the direction of the Albino’s look. A great hulking contraption lurked to one side of the room, seeming to suck the very light out of the air.

“Nice,” Eliot said, unenthusiastically. At least he had a day or two before they got this show on the road.

The Albino smiled dotingly at it. “The Machine. No one withstands it – Vizzini didn’t last hardly any time at all.” He was clearly disappointed. “You were the one who left him for them to find, weren’t you? He didn’t expect his contract to work out that way, I can tell you that much.”

He snickered, and then looked Eliot over speculatively, visibly cataloguing the wounds, burns, bruises, and wrenched joints the hitter had sustained in the last day without ever slowing down. “The Count says you’ll go longer,” he said, anticipation gleaming in his eyes.

Eliot almost rolled his eyes. “Wow. Rugen sure picks up some class-act twisted scumbags.”

The Albino only smirked. “Yes, well – he hired you once, didn’t he?”

                                                                       

Somewhere above, not very far from Eliot, Parker was getting frustrated. “It’s a forest, Hardison! Dirt and trees!”

“~There’s got to be something. The signal dropped out right around where you are. Is there a ... trapdoor or something?~”

“I don’t know, why don’t you check the floor plan?” Forests were not Parker’s forte. No one stored art or jewelry in them. At least the full moon provided enough illumination that she didn’t have to use a flashlight, something which anyone watching tended to notice in a dark environment. She pressed the heel of her palm to her forehead. It had been a long day.

“~Uh....~” Hardison paused, trying to figure out if she was being sarcastic. She’d been tense and snippy ever since Westley picked her up from the Fire Swamp, not that Hardison blamed her. That Rugen dude kept a very low profile, but the scraps Hardison had managed to dig up were not appealing. “~Maybe we should leave this for the morning,~” he said as soothingly as he could, knowing she wouldn’t go for it.

“Wait a minute,” she said suddenly, catching a faint sound. She hid – forests were good for cover, she’d learned – and peered around, to see a portion of a nearby tree swing inward. “Oh. Found it.”

The man who came out was shaggy and sickly pale in the moonlight, humming quietly to himself, and generally suggested janitor or caretaker, rather than guard. To Parker, who had an eye for these things, his demeanor said he was done for the night and going home.

She waited for him to leave, then went and inspected the trunk. “This is new,” she observed.

“~What?~”

“I’ve never broken into a tree before. Hang on ... yeah, that.... Just one knot?” She was mildly astonished. Not even a combination of them, or special timing to press, or anything.

“~I guess they thought a tree in the middle of a forest was security enough.~”

“Standards,” Parker muttered. She pulled out her flashlight, on its dimmest setting designed to preserve nightvision as much as possible, and started down the narrow steps. After a few turns, it straightened out, and Hardison stopped her.

“~I’m beginning to lose you. Got the signal booster?~”

She pulled it out and flicked it on for an answer, then found a place to hide it inside the jags of the tunnel wall. “How’s that?”

“~Parker?~”

“Eliot!”

“~Hey man, how’re you doing? Still got all your fingers and toes and manly bits?~”

Eliot thought about this. “~Is Nate on?~”

“~I’m here. Welcome back. Are you okay? What have we got?~”

Eliot quickly filled Nate in. Meanwhile, Parker made her way through the passage to a thick door, which made her happy by being locked, although not for very long. It swung open to a cavernous room, lit by a few of the huge number of candles set around it. On the lower part of the floor, Eliot was lying on a cart with half his clothes off.

She eyed the room, circling it slowly. Eliot held up his wrists at her, as much as he could, anyway, to bring attention to the manacles around them.

“Could we get on with the rescue?” he asked pointedly.

Nate spoke up on that one. “~Yeah, um. No, actually.~”

“Excuse me?”

“~Look, if you escape, they’re going to know you’ve got help, and you’re still in play. We don’t need these guys distracted by the idea that you’re running around with a grudge.~”

Eliot took a breath, and counted at least partway to ten. “So, what – you’re just going to leave me here with the guys who want to torture me to death, so we don’t upset them? Because in case you were wondering, Nate, being tortured is not that fun. For that matter, neither’s dying.”

“~Yeah, okay, but big picture, here. You said it yourself, we have at least a couple of days while they heal you up.~”

“~I don’t know about this, Nate,~” Sophie joined in quietly. “~What if you’re wrong?~”

Parker jumped down from where she had fixed Hardison’s spy cam to the wall. “Then they’ll kill Eliot to death,” she said helpfully.

                                                                       

Nate, who was lurking discreetly at a pre-wedding function at the castle and keeping an eye on Rugen, shifted uncomfortably. “Guys, it’s not like I’m happy about the risk, but we don’t have many options. We need some breathing space here. We’ve got eyes and ears down there, now, for Hardison, and we’ll keep Rugen under surveillance.... We won’t let Eliot be, uh, hurt, or anything. Trust me, we’ll have him out before you know it.”

“~So what’s the game, then?~” Eliot asked, with understandable personal interest.

“Well, okay, so we need to get Buttercup away from Humperdinck, but in such a way that he can’t then say Guilder had anything to do with it. And the easiest way to do that is to make it his idea, right?” Nate looked over to where Sophie was mingling and charming her way through the room, toward Humperdinck and Buttercup. “What do you think?”

“~Not a problem,~” she said easily.

Eliot made sure he was tracking. “~Are you – you’re going to make him fall in love with you, and, what, call off the wedding?~”

Nate corrected him. “Mm, no, not just call off the wedding. We have to make sure he can’t make any claim on Buttercup or her disappearance.... He’s going to publicly announce he’s marrying Sophie instead.”

“~In the time we have?~” Eliot sounded doubtful.

“~Eliot,~” Sophie purred, turning his name into a one-word sucker punch of playful chiding and sultry suggestion. “~You doubt me?~”

The silence over coms was eloquent.

Nate grinned. “Okay, guys. Let’s go steal us an engagement.”


Chapter Ten

Comments

( 4 speakses — have a speak )
deepbluemermaid
Apr. 8th, 2010 10:14 pm (UTC)
YAY! Parker being disappointed by the Pit of Despair entrance's security is hilarious. I'm a bit nervous about Nate wanting to leave Eliot there, and Sophie seems very confident that she can take on Humperdinck. I can't wait to see how she pulls that off!

And this made me laugh out loud: he was shackled to it very securely, which had never once worked out well for him in the past.

themonkeytwin
Apr. 9th, 2010 02:43 pm (UTC)
I know. The security on that tree is kind of woeful, really, in the face of Parker's skills. And Nate has been known to be overconfident before; poor Eliot, to be a veteran of this kind of thing that he has previous experiences to compare it to!

I'm so excited to finally give Sophie something to actually do.... And I'd say she can handle Humperdinck and then some :)
dreamfall_nnwm
Apr. 14th, 2015 06:04 pm (UTC)
Security by obscurity. Never adequate! Just found this courtesy of Saenachais's crossover recs and am enjoying it immensely.
themonkeytwin
Apr. 15th, 2015 11:32 am (UTC)
I'm glad, and welcome! Although, you know, sometimes I think Parker has unreasonable expectations. ;)
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