The challenge had to feature a major character and death.
Title: ask not...
Word Count: 485
Warnings (if any): None
Unscreen after voting? Y
Eliot looked up when Parker breezed in then shook his head and went back to reading, trying to ignore her. Of course, that didn’t work since she sat right beside him crunching loudly on… whatever it was she was eating these days. He sighed, aware she only did it because she knew it annoyed him, and shifted away. And of course she shifted right next to him, crunching right into his ear.
It was like she knew exactly what she was doing.
"What's up with him?"
Eliot closed his book. Quiet time was over apparently. Actually, why had it been so quiet? Hardison had been in the room for longer than thirty seconds (in fact, now he thought about it, he'd been here for over half an hour) and yet there had been a distinct lack of annoying techno-babble or… anything, actually.
"I don’t know," he said, checking to see if there were any visible injuries. Nothing. Eliot mentally replayed the last few minutes and realized Alec hadn't even registered Parker's entrance, he'd been busy with his laptop. But, ignoring Parker? Something was seriously wrong here. Eliot was at the hacker's side in an instant. "Hey," he said, putting his hand on Alec's arm. "What's wrong?"
He didn't doubt there was something wrong, but, when Hardison finally looked up, the anguish on his face stopped Eliot's heart.
"They're gone. All…" his face froze. "Dead."
Eliot rocked back on his heels. Death was something he'd run from all his life, something he just didn't know how to deal with. And yet… Hardison needed help to handle this and with the only other person in the room being Parker, Eliot knew he had to step up. He cleared his throat, forcing a softer tone into his voice.
Hardison closed his eyes and leaned away from them, apparently struggling with the words.
"The FBI," he choked out. "And the DOJ."
Bigger stakes than Eliot had expected but if there were individuals he could take on then revenge wasn't out of the option.
"Who did they…" he struggled to find the words, "hit?" He hated that the word had come to define what he did more than ever.
"Just one, but it's the end, man. It's over. They've killed them all!"
"Breathe, man. Gimme a name. Who's dead?"
Eliot actually felt the blood drain from his face.
"Megaupload?" he said. "That's… a website, right?"
The sounds coming out of Hardison might have been audible to small dogs, but Eliot was hearing nothing over the white noise in his ears.
"A website. You're upset because a website was shut down."
"No, man, you just don't get it. It's not just a website. It's… it's like the first symptom." Hardison took a deep breath. "The whole internet. Seriously. This is it. The end. The bells are ringing, man, and they are louder than I've ever heard."