A/N Just so you know, this is not femslash. Sarah could use a friend, and Hannah is an awful lot like Chuck.
"She's not my friend."
"Panzer's got Sarah."
"I'm with the CIA."
Hannah looked at Sarah with pain in her eyes. Sarah hoped it was just her stomach. "You're a spy?"
"You were spying on me?" No, not just her stomach.
"No, not at all. I was just sitting next to you. I tried to stay as far from you as I could." I wanted to keep you safe.
"And I followed you. Serves me right." She folded over in a sudden spasm. "Am I going to die now?"
"Not if I can stop it. I don't let my friends die."
Hannah's head came up. "Friends?" Were we ever…? Are we still…?
"If you still want to be. I wasn't lying to you, out there. Well, not about that."
Someone knocked on the door. "Can I help you?"
Sarah opened the door. "No, thank you, we're–"
The stewardess pointed a small gun into Sarah's face.
"Well, we were fine."
"I want the key."
"I want the antidote."
The stewardess looked shocked. "You'd give up the key to save a civilian?"
"No, I just said I wanted the antidote. I'd prefer not to have to kill you to get it." Unfortunately, the room they were in was too small for Sarah to act effectively. She could go for the gun but the stewardess was close enough that she couldn't miss, and if she did miss the only thing left to hit was the plane itself. She had to get some room to maneuver. "Fine, you win. I hid it down below. Give her the antidote and I'll show you where."
"You show me where and I'll give her the antidote before I shoot you. Mess with me and you'll both watch each other die in agony."
"I've had better offers."
"Unfortunately, no." Sarah leaned toward Hannah and lifted her arm over her shoulder again. "Time to go."
This wasn't going according to plan. "You're bringing the civilian?"
"Is that any business of yours?"
"Fine. Burden yourself. See if I care."
"Hello again, Mr. Panzer. Did I mention how I thought you were such a gentleman earlier?" Sarah released Hannah's arm, allowing the brunette to settle herself down on a piece of luggage left strewn about.
"If you did, I've forgotten it. Concussions have that effect on short-term memory."
"I thought you were a professional. Don't tell me you're holding a grudge?"
Panzer smacked her across the face, sending the glasses flying. "No. I let my grudges go at the earliest opportunity."
Chuck saw the blow coming, and flinched on his wife's behalf. The screen went all static-y for a second, the electronics in the pen not at all meant for such abuse.
Sarah didn't flinch, the force of the blow turned her head to watch as Hannah caught the glasses. Slowly, she turned her head back towards Panzer, one finger lightly stroking the side of her nose, where the glasses had hit hardest. "You're going to regret that."
Ellie's screens were in turmoil. "Chuck, what's going on in there?"
Chuck was busy with his monitor. "I'm sorry, Charles Bartowski is not in right now–"
"If you say 'beep' I swear I will break down that door and kill you myself!"
Panzer reached out and grabbed Sarah's arm, hauling her to stand between the two Ring agents. "You're alone, CIA. All you've got is a poisoned civilian for backup. No one in this whole plane knows we're even here."
"You're so right," said Sarah. "And so wrong. I am CIA, but I'm not alone."
Panzer smirked. "She's all yours, Serena."
The stewardess grabbed at her. "Enough talk, CIA. Give me the key." She raised her gun and aimed at Sarah's right eye. In the other hand she held a small bottle. "Or perhaps I'll just let this fall and watch your friend die, for the fun of it."
The screen came back into focus. Hannah's face, distorted by interference. No, that wasn't interference. That was pain. That was fear. And she could only be looking at one thing.
Ellie's screen's flatlined.
"Chuck? Are you all right?"
Charles was upping the gain, disabling the overrides, and tearing out the hardwired buffers with his bare hands. "I'm fine, Eleanor. Really."
"One last chance," said Sarah. "Give her the antidote, and you won't get hurt."
Serena burst out laughing, followed by Panzer. Her face hardened. "Any last words, CIA?"
"Sure," said Sarah, with a sigh. "Don't say I didn't warn you."
Charles pressed a button.
The pen in Hannah's hand began to heat up, as it received a far more intense signal than it had been designed for. The damaged glasses spread the signal, down in the hold. Outside the insulation that protected the plane's sensitive electronics from cell phone signals. There's a reason they don't want cell phones on planes.
The plane went into a dive.
Sarah caught her hand on the webbing of the pallet nearest her, lashing out at the hand holding the gun with her foot, before Serena could do something stupid like fire it and possibly kill them all. The pistol went flying, but Sarah caught the bottle.
Hugo Panzer braced himself against the sudden acceleration, and lurched into motion to help his partner.
Hannah's fingers hurt as the pen began to burn, just as Panzer stepped in front of her. She fell forward, pen in hand, driving it as hard as she could into his leg.
Behind Serena, the unlocked coffin lid flipped open.
Sarah shifted her grip, and with a second kick sent Serena stumbling backward to land, sprawled atop the body. Panzer, in sudden agony, lost control and barely kept his balance as he stumbled the length of the hold, slamming into a distant pallet. Hannah dropped the pen and curled into a ball as luggage started to fall around her.
One of them hit the pen and smashed it. The plane righted itself as the interference stopped.
Serena opened her eyes, staring down into the cold, dead face. The lid of the coffin dropped on the beginning of her scream. Panzer rebounded off the pallet and stumbled back up the aisle, tripping over the coffin. Sarah seized the handle of a piece of hard-shell luggage and gave him another concussion. He sagged over the coffin, trapping his partner within.
"Hannah?" Sarah called, and her friend squirmed her way out from under some bags. "Drink this." She handed her the bottle. "I need you to do me a favor."
The antidote tasted worse than the poison, but that wasn't Sarah's fault either. The settling in her stomach, the end of pain, that was something her friend had done for her. "Name it."
Sarah handed her the damaged pen. "I need to get a signal out."
Hannah took it, astonished at the circuitry within. "Um…one question."
She looked at the coffin, grimacing at the muffled shrieks. "You gonna let her out of there anytime soon?"
Sarah sighed. "I'm thinking about it."
Ellie's monitors beeped. "Chuck?"
"Is everything all right in there?"
Charles smiled, turning off the monitor that had just flashed an image of his wife's smiling face before going dark again. "Yes, Ellie. We're fine."
The plane touched down, rousing Hannah from her 'oh my god what just happened' stupor. She looked out the window, all the familiar sights suddenly unfamiliar. "So what happens now?"
Sarah stretched, these seats were just too, too comfortable. "Well, unless I miss my guess, I would expect a team of agents stationed here in Paris to have been alerted by Charles to come on board and take our two friends away. I would further expect that when the plane turned around and flew home I would still be on it, since my mission is done and they'll be wanting to talk to me about things." And I'll be wanting to talk to Mr. Shaw about a lot of things!
"You can't stay, hang out a bit?" Keep me company?
"I've seen Paris," said Sarah, and Hannah slumped. "The hard parts, at least. If you want to know what the outside of the Eiffel Tower looks like I can describe it in excruciating detail." Then she thought of Chuck. "But my husband's never seen Paris, and he wants to, very much. So I'll come back with him when we finally get time for a honeymoon, and maybe I'll see the sweet parts then."
"I'm sorry I said what I said about him, before. I'm sure he really is a saint." He'd have to be.
"I doubt you'll ever meet him, but you're right. He's so much better than–"
"I know, I know, don't sell myself short."
"Better." The plane lurched to a halt, and Hannah discovered that they had taxied up to the terminal and she'd completely missed it. The journey was over. When the stewardess started her announcements, she stood, like all the other passengers except one.
Sarah didn't move at all. "I wouldn't do that, if I were you."
Hannah looked down, to see the strangest, saddest expression on her friend's face. "Why not?"
Sarah pointed at the seat, and Hannah settled back into it. "Why do you think?"
"No, Chuck, we're not going to throw her into a bunker," said General Beckman patiently. "But she has, however inadvertently, gotten mixed up in our business, and she will need to be debriefed, at the very least. After that, we'll have to see."
"General, she had to be the one who fixed the pen long enough to send us even that brief flash at the end. In a cargo hold, with no tools. That's got to count for something."
"It does, Mr. Bartowski. But the plane hasn't even landed yet so no promises." Her monitor went black.
"Did I ever mention that this was an unfair life?"
"Yes, Chuck, many times," said Ellie. "But why would you want fair, Chuck? 'Unfair' equals opportunity. Without occasions to rise to, how can you rise to them? 'Unfair' is the mother of greatness, Charles."
Then I'm Superman. "It's also the mother of roadkill, Eleanor." No, not Superman. Superman could never have been roadkill. Batman, now there's a hero!
"Ready for download?"
"Hey Chuck," said Devon as he answered the door early the next morning. "I hope you're not here for Ellie, she's still sleeping off the last all-nighter you guys put her through."
"Yes, so's Sarah. That's why I'm here, this seemed like a good time to get in a good run. If you're up for it, that is."
Devon smiled. He was always up for a good run. "Sure thing, bro. Come on in, and I'll go get my gear. What's that?"
He held up a bottle. "I've been experimenting with protein shakes, Big Guy. They don't have to taste like roadkill, you know."
"Outstanding! Stick it in the fridge, we'll have some when we get back."
"Sure thing," said Charles.
A/N2 The flatline scene is a shout-out to the terrific beginning of the finale from the movie Equilibrium. I can't give the full link here, it seems. www youtube com slash watch?v=y_JGI0JhCkQ. Or you can go to youtube and search for 'Equilibrium - Not without incident.'