SUMMARY: Hardison and Eliot are about to die. There's no escape in sight for our good guys, so obviously it's time to fire off a killer one-liner.
RATING: R (for language; here be lots o' swearing)
WORD COUNT: 1657
AUTHOR'S NOTES: Written for leverageland's TV Tropin' Challenge. My trope was "Facing the Bullets," natch. An extra big thank you goes to lmx_v3point3 for making the delightful banner for me.
“Any last words before you die?” asked the man pointing a gun at Hardison’s face. His accent was Irish, his face was pockmarked, and his oily smile revealed a disturbing lack of proper dental hygiene.
At the moment, Hardison happened to be duct-taped to a wooden desk chair in a dank, grimy basement beneath a long-abandoned garment factory that was frankly not the healthiest environment for someone with his chronic asthma. Eliot was bound to the chair beside him, and if he had a plan for getting them out of this, Hardison was dying to hear it. Like, literally.
A single bare bulb shined in the light fixture overhead, casting a tepid glow around the space that did little to make it seem more cheerful. Besides the ugly dude holding the gun, there were two other thugs standing back by the room’s only door, arms crossed. It was too dark to get a good look at them but from what Hardison could see they both looked an awful lot like Ben Grimm. His earbud was long gone, as was Eliot’s, and Nate and the others had absolutely no idea where they were and no way of finding out. So basically, they were pretty much completely and totally fucked.
Hardison looked at the gun in his face, then up at the man holding it. He smiled serenely. “If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.”
Beside him, he heard Eliot snort derisively. “Seriously?”
Hardison’s head snapped around to glare at the other man. “What?”
Eliot shrugged. “The guy’s about to put a bullet in your head and the best you can come up with for your last words is a quote from Star Wars?”
“Ain’t nothing wrong with quoting Star Wars.”
“Geek.” Eliot smirked at him. Like, actually smirked. Hardison had a gun pointed at his face and all Eliot could do was sit there and smirk.
Hardison gave him a what-the-fuck-is-wrong-with-you look. “Come on, man, this is my Obi Wan moment. Don’t be messing it up with all your hating. Anyway, it ain’t like you could do better.”
Eliot shrugged. He actually looked bored, like being held at gunpoint was something that happened to him every day. Although, come to think of it, Hardison supposed it kind of was the sort of thing that happened to him a lot. Still didn’t make it right for him to be harshing on Star Wars, though.
“You got something better let’s hear it,” Hardison snapped. “What’s that? Yeah, that’s what I thought. You got nothing.”
Eliot rolled his eyes. “I’m just saying, if you’ve gotta fall back on a movie quote, pick something more badass than Star Wars.”
Hardison stared at him, aghast. Smirking was one thing, but dissing Star Wars outright like that? In what were possibly their last moments on earth? No way. That was not something he was going to stand for. “You did not just—ain’t nothing more badass than Star Wars! Nuh. Thing.”
“Hey!” the man with the gun cut in irritably. “You eejits want to shut up? I’m getting ready to kill you here.”
Hardison bobbed his head apologetically. “You’re right, man, that’s totally our bad. You go on, we’re done.” He threw an indignant look in Eliot’s direction.
“What about Full Metal Jacket?” Eliot shot back. Because apparently he wasn’t done.
“For real?” Hardison scoffed. “Come on, ‘What is your major malfunction numbnuts?’ As last words go, maybe not the most eloquent choice, you know what I’m saying?”
“Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, shut up, would you!” the Irishman barked.
Eliot ignored him. “Ain’t about being eloquent. It’s about showing your opponent you’ve got balls of steel.”
Hardison’s eyebrows arched. “Yeah, Sgt. Hartman had balls of steel all right. After Pyle shot him in the face and rigor mortis started to set in, I’m sure his balls were plenty steely.”
“Come on, man, R. Lee Ermey was one of the baddest motherfuckers ever to—”
“I said, shut up!” The Irishman, his face bright red with anger, reared back and savagely pistol-whipped Eliot across the mouth.
Hardison winced as Eliot’s head snapped back with the force of the blow, but Eliot barely even seemed fazed by it. He spat a mouthful of blood on the floor and looked up at the Irishman, his mouth curving into a terrifying smile that exposed a row of blood-smeared teeth. “That all you got?”
The Irishman pressed the barrel of the gun against Eliot’s forehead. His knuckles were white around the trigger. “Say something clever now, smartarse. I dare you.”
Eliot surged upwards, splintering the chair like it was made out of matchsticks. The move took Hardison by surprise, but not nearly as much as it surprised the Irishman holding the gun. There was a blur of motion and somehow Eliot’s newly-freed hands were wrenching the gun out of his captor’s grasp even as his forehead slammed into the soft cartilage of the man’s nose. Before the Irishman even had time to properly register what was happening, Eliot delivered some sweet payback by whipping the butt of the gun across the man’s face. And while he was still reeling from the shock and indignity of that, Eliot’s foot kicked out savagely at the man’s kneecap. There was a sickening sounding crunch and the Irishman fell to the floor moaning.
By that time the two Ben Grimms had decided to join the fight. They lurched forward as one, only to meet with the unstoppable force that was Eliot Spencer in full battle fury. Hardison whooped and cheered him on from the ring-side seat to which he was duct-taped. “Come on! Let's go! YEAH! Come on! Come and get it, bastards! Come on, you too! Oh, you want some of this? Take it! Yeah, fuck you!”
It was over in less than a minute. Three bodies lay on the floor in varying states of incapacitation and Eliot stood in the midst of them, calmly brushing the hair back from his face like it’d been no more strenuous than tying his shoe. His gaze found Hardison’s and he shook his head in mild amusement. “Aliens, man?”
“What? Aliens ain’t badass enough for you, either?” Hardison tugged ineffectually at his restraints as a not-so-subtle reminder that he was still duct-taped to the damn chair and any time Eliot wanted to cut him free would be just fine.
Eliot grunted and flipped open his pocketknife. “No, Aliens is pretty badass.”
On the floor at his feet, the Irishman moaned and made a feeble motion like he was trying to get up. Eliot gave him a Timberland to the side of the head and the man's movements stilled. Eliot’s mouth curved into another one of those terrifying smiles. “Yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker.”
Hardison grinned. “Die Hard. Nice.”
Eliot shrugged as he started sawing at Hardison’s restraints. “You can’t beat a classic.”
“Thanks man,” Hardison said when he was finally free. “Hey, so, you were just trying to buy time with that Star Wars crack, right?”
Eliot started for the door. “Come on, man, it’s a long walk home.”
“Hey!” Hardison hurried after him. “You didn’t mean what you said about Star Wars, right, Eliot?”
Eliot didn’t say anything.
Eliot rolled his eyes as he jerked open the door. “Whatever, man.”
Hardison trailed him up the stairs and out of the basement. “Whatever? No, not whatever. Star Wars is badass. I wanna hear you say it.”
“I’m not saying it,” Eliot growled as he pushed his way through the doors out into the street. The night air was cold and the streets were as good as deserted here in the middle of the warehouse district. There weren’t even any parked cars around to steal. At least not any that looked like they were in working condition.
Hardison tugged his jacket closed and trudged along stubbornly beside him. “You can either say it, or you can listen to a lengthy and extremely detailed explication of the top twenty reasons Star Wars is, in fact, totally fucking badass.” Eliot shot a glare at him and Hardison shrugged. “Like you said, man, it’s a long walk home.”
Eliot scowled. “You know it only takes eight pounds of pressure to crush your larynx, right?”
Hardison ignored him. “Reason number twenty: Tusken Raiders. For starters, they look like robots crossed with mummies. Those tubes they got for eyes and that crazy gaping mouth, that’s the stuff of nightmares, right there. You ever wonder what they look like under all that fabric? Maybe their skin’s all cracked and falling off from the dry air. Or maybe they don’t even have skin. And you know what else lives out there in the desert with them? Dragons, man. They’re living side-by-side with damn krayt dragons and making that shit work because why? Because they are badass.”
Eliot was working hard to ignore him, but there was a muscle in his jaw that had started to twitch. Hardison recognized it as a sign that victory was within his reach so he pressed on.
“Reason number nineteen: Han Solo fucking shoots first. Because that is exactly the kind of badass mofo he is. Any version where he doesn’t shoot Greedo first doesn’t exist. Period. You just can’t be messing around with canon like that, even if you’re George damn Lucas, because it undermines the integrity of the entire narrative—”
“All right!” Eliot finally cut in. “Jesus! Star Wars is badass. I said it. You happy?”
Hardison smiled. “I am now.”
“Just so you know, next time? I’m letting the bad guy shoot you,” Eliot grumbled.