A/N: So, my first Lethal Weapon fic! This is also my my 40th story to date, and the first story I've written since November 7th. That might not seem like long, but believe me, for me, that's years.
Anyway, this is basically a what-if story; what would have happened if Martin took the cigarette at the end of the movie, instead of asking Roger to throw it away? Be warned: This is a deathfic. Also, I am very much aware that Roger says a**hole after he tells Rudd to drop the gun, but I don't put swearing in my fics, so... If that bothers you, you don't have to read it.
I'm really unsure of how I did here, since this is my first LW fic, so any and every review would be extremely appreciated. Thanks!
Disclaimer: The only thing I own about Lethal Weapon is the four disc Director's Cut DVD collection. Please don't sue me, I'm literally flat broke.
Seriously. I don't have a quarter.
A gigantic booming noise filled the air, followed by a hollow reverberation. Murtaugh glanced in the direction of the crash. He didn't know what Riggs was doing, but it couldn't be legal. He affirmed that the emissary below him was dead, and then headed for the origin of the sound.
"Riggs!" he called, readying his weapon. "Riggs!"
There, in the sunken area of the deck. He appeared to be limping away from a body, tired but alive. Roger noted how he favored his right leg.
"Hey, Riggs! You okay?"
A low "Hey" sounded from his partner's throat, accompanied by a raise of the hand. He then turned around and began to drag himself in the other direction, towards the ladder. Murtaugh breathed a sigh of relief.
A shot rang out from above them, and Roger watched in horror as Martin collapsed. Another shot followed, and then another. Eleven bullets were discharged overall, and he could have sworn five missed Riggs. Murtaugh dropped and rolled, pointing his .48 Smith at the attacker.
There stood Rudd, apparently out of bullets. Roger wasted no time standing and cocking his own weapon.
"Diplomatic immunity!" Rudd brandished his South African I.D. with an arrogant smile.
Murtaugh had had enough. He rolled his neck around on his shoulders, took aim and fired.
"It's just been revoked," he spat as Rudd fell to the deck. The headshot wasn't quite as accurate as Martin's would have been, but it did the job.
Martin. Murtaugh swore, running to the edge of the deep cavity.
"Riggs!' He ran around to the opposing side towards the ladder, repeating his partner's name. "Riggs!" He rushed down the ladder and into the dimly lit space, pausing to take in the scene before him.
On the far side of the enclosure was a large freight container, not unlike the one they had vaulted out of a little while before, reading Transvaal Lines on the gray sides. Dust was visible in the bluish light, and all sides of the chasm were shadowed and dark. A small control box with two buttons swung eerily back and forth from its cord, and Roger would have bet that it controlled the cargo containers, which would explain the noise from earlier.
In the middle of this quiet, empty space was a lone figure, lying on the ground. His torso was flat on the ground, though his head was turned away, and his lower body had twisted in his fall, leaving his right leg straight and left crossed over the top of the right. A bloodied knife was lying, discarded, in the corner a few feet away, and the concrete was beginning to show hints of crimson below the still form.
Roger slowed and came to a stop, staring at the body, .48 hanging loosely in his hand. He didn't want to admit it, but he was scared to venture any further – or, rather, scared of what he would find when he got there. He watched desperately, willing Martin to move or speak, unable to do either himself.
Those moments seemed to last years, but then he realized that there was a slow rise and fall of Martin's chest, so slow that he had failed to see it at first. Unsteady, yes, and undoubtedly painful, but they were breaths. Murtaugh crossed over with a quick stride and dropped down beside his partner, holding on tightly.
Sirens could be heard faintly in the distance as Murtaugh told Riggs, "If you're breathin', you're alive. You're not dead. Oh, don't die. You're not dead until I tell you, you got that?" He knew those words were just as much for himself as they were for Riggs. Martin shifted slightly.
"You got that, Riggs?" He increased his volume as Martin closed his eyes. "You're not dead until I tell you." The blue eyes reopened.
"Now breathe with me. Breathe."
"Hey, Rodge. Rodge," Martin panted, breaths short. Roger leaned in closer to hear.
"Rodge, in my pocket. In my pocket." He probably didn't realize that he was repeating himself. Roger reached for his partner's jean pocket and withdrew a pack of cigarettes, immediately understanding. He selected one and began to pull it out of the packaging.
Martin opened his mouth to speak, but coughed instead. When the bout was over, there was a slight hesitation in his eyes, but he accepted the cigarette, holding it between his teeth as Roger lit it up for him. He then slowly sucked in the nicotine, turning his head so that he didn't exhale in Roger's face.
Murtaugh's forehead creased with concern as he began to cough again. He had never known Riggs to cough while smoking. It was when he noticed the red stain beginning to tinge his partner's lips, however, that the situation hit him with full force. Martin's earlier words drifted through his mind, the seriousness with which he had said, "I'm here, and I don't plan on going just now."
That got him thinking. "Martin," he began, "do you plan on it now?"
Although it would have highly contradicted Riggs' personality, he looked almost contemplative as he inhaled. Finally, he spoke.
"What did you really think of Rianne's commercial? Were you proud of her?"
Murtaugh sighed. "You didn't answer my question."
Roger's answer was so quiet, Martin could hardly hear it. "Of course I was proud of her."
Riggs seemed satisfied with that answer, as he gave a funny little smile. "So was I." He turned his head back towards Murtaugh. "Make sure she knows it."
"That you liked it?"
"No," he clarified, "that you did."
For some reason, it took Roger a moment before he was able to speak again.
Clearing his throat, he realized the reason Martin hadn't answered his question. "So, this is it, then."
"Guess so." You would think that someone would care more about the fact that their life was ending, but not Martin Riggs. They were silent for a few moments.
"I'm not afraid, you know."
"I guess that's good."
"Yeah." Riggs paused. "Why are people afraid of things they don't know, anyway? It could be something great, but they don't like to take risks."
"I don't know." He considered. "Maybe because they don't want to leave the way their lives are."
"Maybe." Riggs coughed again.
A few more minutes passed. Martin finished his cigarette, his breathing shakier by the minute. Eventually, Murtaugh spoke.
"I'm sorry, Riggs."
"Don't be. It was a good run." His partner flashed him a signature smile. "Here."
Hand shaking uncontrollably, he lifted his precious firearm and pushed it into Roger's hands.
"Teach your kids to shoot with that. And hey, when you're done, maybe you could learn yourself."
They shared a laugh over that, along with a joke about Trish's cooking. Through Martin's snickers, though, Murtaugh didn't miss the way his partner winced when he moved.
To be honest, Murtaugh had never once considered that Riggs could be taken down. He had always appeared a bit invincible, in that no matter what, he would invariably swoop in to save the day, followed by a pat on the back and an annoyingly charming smile. Roger never thought that Martin would give up the way he seemed to be now.
"See you later, Rodge."
The sirens grew closer, but not fast enough. Roger looked into his partner's steadily closing eyes and recognized something there, something seemingly foreign to Riggs: exhaustion. Not just physical debilitation, but an actual mental weariness was displayed on Martin's features.
He's tired of trying to be Superman.
That realization was the reason why, when Martin's weary lungs failed to inhale again, Roger didn't protest. He didn't cry, scream or command that the younger cop stay with him.
He simply grasped the last gift his partner gave him – his beloved Beretta – tucked it into his pocket, and waited for the cavalry to arrive.
Normally he resigned himself to deskwork, but upon hearing of the mess his two detectives were making, Murphy had retrieved his police-issue firearm from his desk drawer and donned a bulletproof vest, prepared to shoot his way to his officers. That appeared to be unnecessary, however, as, on arrival to the Alba Varden, all gunfire seemed to have ceased. He climbed aboard and assisted SWAT in searching the ship.
All calls over the radio echoed "Clear", until one called, "Captain Murphy? You may want to come see this, sir."
"What is it?"
"It appears we've found them."
He rushed to the location he was given, where SWAT was standing at the edge of a depression, observing two still figures at the bottom. Murphy climbed down the ladder alone, slowly and cautiously approaching the form of his officers.
Murtaugh looked up as Murphy approached, eyes red but dry. One glance at Riggs told the Captain that an ambulance should be traded for a gurney. He sighed deeply, sitting next to the Sergeant.
Neither of them spoke. There was nothing to say.
Scattered sunshine fell between the trees, the leaves creating a green prism for the light. Somewhere on the premises, Rianne was crying. Murtaugh looked around at the memorial service, shocked at how few people had showed up. True, he knew from experience how hard it could be to get along with Riggs, but he would have thought there would be at least a few more people here. There were hardly fifteen, counting himself and his family.
Despite the lack of mourners, it was still a nice service. Roger couldn't help but wonder how any priest would care to show up at Martin's funeral, but by some miracle, there seemed to be one that his partner hadn't ever insulted. This both surprised and amused him.
In spite of Martin's apparent nonchalance about death, Murtaugh couldn't help but wonder once again, as one so frequently did on this job, what happens when you die – and whether Riggs had been faking his fearlessness. That would have been just like him.
As Trish wrapped her arms around his waist and asked if he was alright, he cleared his thoughts. Whatever happens after death, he would find out eventually; what he knew now was that there wouldn't be another partner like Riggs, and he wasn't going to wait around for Martin to be replaced. The Captain had been saddened by his resignation, but had understood.
That evening, after everyone else had left, Roger stayed for the burial. He owed Riggs that much. The thing that made it real for him was when the headstone was set in place, the date of death inscribed in the granite.
He knelt by the new grave as the workers left, reading the stone over and over, along with the one next to it – Victoria Lynn Riggs. He didn't leave until he noticed it was beginning to get dark.
As he walked away, though, he paused, turning and glancing back at the grave.
"See you later, Riggs."
A/N: Earlier, when I said I was uncertain about this fic, I was lying. I'm actually really unhappy with a few things, so if ANYONE has ANY suggestions to make it better, please, the review button is right down there. If you loved it, PLEASE tell me. If you hated it, definitely tell me. I need to know these things. Anyway, thanks for reading!