"Flight 342, nonstop to New York, is now preparing for takeoff. Please store all baggage in the overhead compartment and take your seat. We hope you have a wonderful flight an thank you for choosing North West airlines."
The cabin was filled with the sound of light chatter, the clicking of seat belts, and the annoying whoosh sound the engines made. Ellie stored her green backpack, ignoring the fact she had to sit alone. Damn Riley had to go get jury duty this week. Sure, they'd meet up in a few days but the girl afraid of planes was alone, on the plane. Fuck her life.
Sliding into the window seat, Ellie sighed. She hoped an asshole wouldn't sit next to her. Six hours next to a complete jerk was not how she wanted to spend this flight. In fact, she planned to sleep most of the ride. It was a late one, departing at 8:35 PM and arriving at 3:40 AM. Finding a room at four in the morning was going to be hellish, but it was the only flight available.
Ellie, so lost in her thoughts of what tomorrow would bring, hardly noticed the man sitting down next to her. He was rough looking, sporting a scraggly beard with short, dark hair. He was in his early thirties perhaps, maybe late twenties. The man wore a gray button up with faded jeans that looked thoroughly worn. He had a watch on his left wrist. The glass was cracked and the hands were stuck on four and nine.
She didn't greet her fellow flyer. Words eluded her; leaving the girl awkwardly staring at the inflight movie screen that had yet to show anything but a title menu. Obviously the man didn't care to greet her either as he pulled out a work tablet and starting drawing up figures.
The seat belt light flashed overhead. Ellie hurried to buckle her belt. The man did too, hands awkwardly meeting at the middle like a clichéd book scene.
She went bright red and hurriedly apologized. "Sorry, sorry about that."
He didn't answer. He was looking as though he excepted her to continue, so she did.
"Uh, I'm Ellie." His mouth quirked at her very obvious lack of social skills.
"Joel," the man said, offering a calloused hand. His appearance matched his voice almost to a tee. She shook hands briefly.
Neither knew what to say next, but at least Ellie wasn't next to a jerk. He seemed pleasant enough. Kept to himself. Very business like.
"You look a little young to be flying alone," Joel commented. Ellie glances out the window as the plane started rolling.
"I'm nineteen and I wasn't suppose to be alone. My friend got held up. Jury duty," she answered somewhat evenly. Too young? Did she really look that young? She'd always thought she looked older than her real age.
"My apologies, miss." Ellie waved him off. They fell into silence as the plane started it's ascent.
This, by far, was the worst part. Ellie hated it. Her ears always popped, her heart pounded, her hands clenched- it was absolute terror. She forced herself to look away from the window in case she got airsick.
"First time flying?" Joel asked calmly. He was at ease with the heightening, obviously an experienced flyer.
"No," Ellie replied as the plane began to even. "I just really hate that part."
He chuckled deeply, which sounded a bit like bass instrument.
"The worst is the descent. Never can get over the feeling that we're falling," he said.
"Falling would be rapid and sudden. The descent is easy," Ellie replied. He shrugged.
Their banter continued for a while. The conversation was immersive to a point where Ellie missed the movie, which turned out to be Star Trek. She learned he was a construction worker who lived in Huston, Texas. He was twenty-eight, though his birthday was next month. He had a brother. Ellie didn't catch his name as the drink cart passed and they got off topic. Ellie in turn told him she was a college student at Boston Institute, majoring in biology to become a veterinarian. Her best friend/roommate Riley was apparently the prankster and they were currently discussing the time Riley set her clock forward two hours causing her to think she was late for class.
"I showed up looking like shit with a mug of coffee and a burnt bagel, apologizing for being late to a class that hadn't started," Ellie finished with a grin. Joel laughed.
"Damn, bet you were pissed."
"That would be an understatement. But I locked her out that night."
Chortling, Joel rubbed his eyes. Ellie yawned. She looked at her phone. The screen read 12:06 in the morning.
"Shit, it's late," Ellie cursed. He looked over her shoulder and nodded.
"Yeah, I got work to finish before we land. Suppose you probably wanna sleep, huh?" Joel said, pulling his tablet from the seat pocket.
"Sure but what about you? I mean, don't you get tired?"
"Don't worry, my hotel rooms all booked and the taxi'll be waiting. All I gotta do is go in and crash until noon. You, on the other hand..." He trailed off. He turned back to his spreadsheet.
She leaned her head against the window, watching the city lights far below. When Ellie woke up, Joel was shaking her in an almost panicked way.
"Ellie, wake up. We're in danger here!" Joel whispered loudly. She snapped to attention.
"What? What's going on?" Many of the people were looking worried. The smaller children curled up in their parents lap. A flight attendant stood stiffly at the front of the cabin with her hands behind her back. A masked figure stood behind her.
All Ellie could think was 'shit' repeatedly. This could not be happening. Absolutely no way that this plane of all planes could be hijacked. The plane she was ever alone on, the flight she meet Joel, the ride that was suppose to be her gateway to a vacation.
She gripped the upholstery of the armrest as Joel filled her in.
"Guy stood up and grabbed the flight attendant, put a damn gun to her head. Another one came on the speakers. He told everyone if they remained in their seats and stayed calm nobody would get hurt. Bunch of bullshit," Joel said lowly. He kept his eyes on the gunman. He acted so level headed that Ellie almost doubted they were actually being hijacked.
Meanwhile, her heart was in her stomach and her stomach was trying to crawl in her mouth. Ellie was caught in a cold sweat.
What were they going to do? What was SHE going to do? They were all dead. They were going to die in a big fireball.
Well, she'd always wanted to go out blazing.
"Fuck. Fuck! Joel, we're going to die," Ellie declared. He shook his head, taking a second to glance at her.
"No, we ain't."
"The hell we are! You think they're gonna give us parachutes or some shit like that? We are going to die!"
Joel remained stoic. "Ellie, calm down," he started.
"Calm down? Joel, we're all fucked! I- I'll never see Riley again. Or Winston! And what about you-"
He grabbed her hand at she wrung them worriedly. His eyes were cold.
"Listen! We will be okay. I swear."
Wrong, so wrong. They were dead men walking. But as she stared at his eyes, dark but flickering with hope, she actually believed for a second that they would survive.
"Okay," Ellie said. If she was going to accept a lie, she would play along.
"Alright, so what do we do?"
Joel let go of her hand, though she kinda wished he wouldn't, and rustled around in his bag. He pulled out a pen, a stick of gum, a red marker, and a black one.
"Gum?" He offered. Ellie frowned at her friend.
"How're we going to do anything with this junk?"
He stared at the marker before carefully uncapping it.
"I've got an idea."
Several very solemn moments later, Ellie started to cough. She coughed until she gagged. This drew the attention of the gunman.
"Hey, what the hell's wrong with her?" He gunman asked Joel. She looked at Joel, who gave her a concealed smirk.
"She's sick, I think she needs medical attention."
Ellie drew her hands away from her mouth. They were stained blood red with marker ink.
"Holy shit! Does she got some kinda disease?" The gunman yelled, stepping back. Ellie bit the inside of her cheek and spit blood in her hands.
"I just need to use the restroom," she said with a cough. Gun guy nodded, waving for him to stand. As Ellie was escorted to the bathroom at the front of the cabin with the gunman trailing behind to make sure she didn't escape, Joel silently rose from his seat. He stalked the gunman for a few feet. Then, when Ellie had entered the restroom, he jammed the pen in the hijacker's neck. He sputtered in his own blood and fell to the ground. Dead.
Joel leaned against the wall. Ellie picked up the handgun.
"Fuck, that was horrible," She mumbled. He pushed passed Ellie to get in the bathroom. He felt sick, but there was no time to be weak. Breathing deeply, Joel splashed some water in his face.
"Sorry you had to do that," Ellie said. He shook his head.
"Go sit back down. I'll deal with this. Gimme the gun," Joel requested, reaching for the pistol. She gave it to him, but her expression hardened.
"I'm going with you. I can watch your back."
Joel checked the gun for bullets and tested the aim. "No, it's too dangerous. Stay here."
"And do what?" Ellie demanded, "Twiddle my thumbs and hope some fucker doesn't kill you? For fuck's sake, Joel, you are not going alone."
"What if you get shot, huh?" Joel said harshly. Ellie glared back at him.
"I won't. You'll watch my back."
"Damn it, I don't have time for this," he replied and spotted a rather strong man in the second row. Grabbing Ellie's arm, he hauled her over.
"Hold this. Make sure she doesn't follow me." The guy nodded, a tight grip on Ellie's shoulder.
"Let go of me, chickenshit!" She yelled. The strong man nodded to Joel. He understood. This had to be done. Ellie was too young, too innocent. He'd already killed a man. Did it matter how many more's blood would stain his hands?
Joel gritted his teeth and opened the door to the first class cabin. He aimed at the gunmen's heads and popped off a couple shots. Their brains splattered on the pristine airplane walls. He approached the door to the pilot's cabin. Holding up the masked hijacker's head to the window, he knocked on the door. The door slide open, revealing the boss hijacker in the pilot's seat and the pilot bound on the floor.
"What do you want, Fra-" the man never finished his sentence. Joel immediately untied to pilot.
"Oh God, thank you," was all the aviator said. He quickly slid into his seat and took control of the plane.
Joel relaxed. That was easy.
Out of the corner of his eye, Joel caught a glimpse of a masked attacker. It was too late to fire before the first shot hit Joel. The second one came from the stolen gun and the attacker was no more.
"Shit." Joel was numb. He knew the bullet hit him. He could feel the blood soaking his shirt. Staggering, Joel lifted the end.
There, in his right side, a bullet hole. Joel slumped to the ground.
Back in coach, Ellie was still struggling against the man. The gunshots had stopped which meant one of two things. Either Joel had been successful or Joel was dead.
If he won, why wasn't he back yet?
'I've had enough. I have to know.
She threw her elbow into her captive's stomach and bolted. The first class was a bloody mess. But Joel wasn't there. She made her way to the front. The control room door was open. The pilot was flying the plane. Bodies of the hijackers lay lifeless on the floor.
And Joel's crumbled form rested against the wall.
"Joel!" Ellie cried as she rushed over, "Someone get help!"
A couple passengers stood and started searching for first aid. Finally they were good for something.
Ellie patted Joel on the cheek. "Hey, Joel, wake up. Come on, stay awake."
He lifted his head and smiled at Ellie. "Ya know, I didn't think angels were real," he said.
"Really? You're flirting with me now?" He shrugged lightly.
"Figured I ain't got a whole lot of time left," said Joel. He glanced down at his exposed stomach. Everything was red. It only ached a little. Wasn't death suppose to be scary? He felt kind of calm. Maybe he would live.
Ellie frantically looked over her shoulder in search of the people finding first aid. They were still looking.
"I told you I should've come with you," Ellie whispered. She pressed gently on the bullet wound. Apply pressure to slow bleeding, she'd read that somewhere.
Joel groaned in pain. "You... You would've got hurt."
Ellie bite her tongue. Now was not the time to argue. And he was probably right.
At last first aid arrived. They had managed to find a nurse on the plane and brought him along. Ellie was pushed out of the way. Joel looked like he was fading fast. By the time they had bandaged the hole in his stomach, Joel had blacked out.
"You think he'll live?" Ellie asked the medic as they tried to get Joel into a comfortable position. He was laying down in two seats with his head in her lap.
"Miss, I'm not a doctor. I haven't even graduated from med school yet. As far as I know, he's lost a lot of blood. All we can do is wait until we land and get him to a hospital."
She nodded distractedly.
"He is a brave man. He saved a lot of people. We were suppose to hit the White House."
Joel was brave. A stupid idiot, but a brave one. She hoped her new friend wouldn't die because of it.
Three days later, Joel woke up. Everything was white and smelled of Clorox. The sound of a heart monitor beeping reached his ears. His abdomen hurt a lot more now. His limbs were stiff from laying in bed.
Joel saw a spot of red hair to his far left. Tommy was sleeping in the hospital chair, and Ellie was leaned against the side of his bed staring of into space. He wondered why she bothered to see him. The dude she meant on a plane; why was he important to her? Perhaps she felt guilty.
"Mornin'," Joel ground out. His voice was rough and dry.
Ellie blinked. She grinned widely.
"Joel, thank God you're awake!" She physically restrained herself from hugging him.
"Can't get rid of me that easy," he replied smirking. Ellie reached behind her and shook Tommy.
"Tommy, get your lazy ass up." Tommy shoved her hand away.
"'M up! What's going- Holy shit, Joel!" He laughed at his younger brother.
While Joel was unconscious, much had happened. The plane landed in Tennessee a mere half hour after they'd patched Joel up. They had rushed him to the hospital immediately. Ellie, feeling a sort of responsibility toward him and not wanting him to be alone when he woke up, followed.
Tommy Miller got a phone call at around two in the morning saying his brother was in a hospital in Tennessee. He caught a train (because planes were out of the picture right now) and arrived just yesterday. Upon finding Ellie still hanging around, he took a seat and the long wait began. Fortunately, it wasn't too long.
The tale of Joel's bravery had spread to the social media. He was practically a celebrity. No one knew his real name, as Ellie had wisely decided to deny the reporters, but the story of the unknown patriot was very popular.
"And that's about it," Ellie summed up. Joel mangled his orange jello.
"So if you were only hanging around because you didn't want me to wake up alone, why're you still here?" He asked rather sullenly. Tommy very conveniently remembered the food court would be closing soon and hurried away.
"I don't know. I mean, you know. Can't a stranger hang out in the hospital with her savior?" Ellie joked, but her cheeks were tinted pink.
Joel hung his head. "All I did was shoot a bunch of people."
"Don't," Ellie said firmly. "Don't even start with that angst shit. It was kill or be killed. You saved innocent people while stopping the bad guys."
The man didn't speak, instead nodding slowly. Ellie patted his hand and grinned.
"Hey, cheer up. I happen to know a very good movie is showing downtown and tickets are on me."
"Ellie," Joel drawled with a small smile, "are you asking me out? After four days, three of which I was unconscious?"
Shrugging slightly, Ellie replied, "What can I say? You had me at 'First time flying'."
A/N: yes I made a JoelxEllie fanfiction. No I do not think it's weird. I ship both romantic and platonic ships. They are both adorable and I can do what I want. So shut up.
This idea came to me at four in the morning after staying up all night on IFunny. It is my baby. Please review and tell me what you think.