Chapter 10

Ilsa stared down at the motionless body of her former partner. There were mixed feelings within her, but nothing being expressed on her face. She was silent for a few moments longer, before putting her gun behind her back. "Tranquilizer bullets … The boys back at Research will be thanking me for a successful test."

Without further ado, she approached Ethan and kneeled in front of him, scanning the chair. There was nothing clearly visible, but then again she couldn't rely just on that. Her eyes shifted to Ethan's face. He nodded in response.

"I'm fine."

"Hm … Yeah, sure. Just one tiny problem … "

"We've been through worse."

She smiled lowly, moving her attention back to the device on his chest. Her bomb disarming skills weren't all that great. And, considering the circumstances, she didn't want to risk it. Ilsa tapped on her ear. "Guys, can you hear me?"

No response.

"The signal must be blocked … Shit. I need to do this myself."

"Been to any … bomb disarming courses lately?"

She gave him a look.

"Just trying to cut the tension, darling … "

Just then, the device beeped and a timer popped up on the screen that seemed lifeless until that point. Ilsa's face turned pale on the spot.

"Tell me that's not … "

"Uh … Ok, I won't … "

"How long?"

"Two. Now one fifty … "

The two looked at each other. Seconds ticked away.

"If you can't disarm it, you should go … "

"No. Out of the question."

"Ilsa … "

"Ethan, no! I am not leaving."

She began to search the device attentively for anything that would help her out. She had some rather radical ideas, but they were radical and probably would get them killed in the process.

"Ilsa … "

"No."

"Look at me … Damnit, Faust, look at me!"

Her face was pale, there was a clear tremor on the surface. There was also a drop of liquid in the corner of her eye.

"Ethan, I won't … "

"Go!"

"NO. Damnit, no! I won't leave this time. Screw it!"

A minute left.

She looked to the side. Ramona's body. She had to have some sort of control over the bomb, no? Ilsa rushed over and began searching frenetically. It didn't take long to find the remote.

But it required a password.

"Did she mention a passcode?"

"No … No, she didn't."

"Shit. Shit, shit, shit …" She looked frantically at Ethan, then back at the remote.

Thirty seconds.

"Damnit, Mona … What's the passcode?"

What could it be? She would only have one chance, there was really no time for two tries. First thing that would pop in her head.

On the spot, she typed in … 'Mona Lisa'.

The button went green and she pressed it quickly. The timer stopped. Five seconds to spare.

She breathed in, set the remote aside and went over to Ethan. "Let's get this off you."

It didn't take long to do that. She held the device in her hand carefully, unsure what to do with it. Especially since a thought crossed her mind.

"The pressure trigger. Would it still work?"

"Um … It shouldn't."

"Are you sure?"

"Uh … No."

Ilsa looked at him, then at the bomb. She threw it towards the wall, away from them and Ramona's body, before pulling Ethan against her and to the ground.

Sure enough, the device detonated against the wall. Covering them with debris.

Ethan raised his head a bit, before looking back down at Ilsa. She was staring at him. Silent.

"I always liked being on top … "

Her eyes twitched. Then her mouth. Then laughter ensued, just before the door burst open and three men rushed in.

"Oh look, the cavalry is here … Late as usual.", Ilsa remarked mockingly.

"Well, um … we didn't really want to interrupt anything important. Maybe we should … come back later?"

"Benji … Get Ethan off me."

"Never thought I'd hear this … "

"And you, Brandt, help him."

"What … Why?"

"Because I said so."

The two looked at each other, under Luther's amused look, before finally reacting.

"Yes, ma'am." And they helped him up, despite his protests. "Guys, I'm fine, I can do it myself … "

"Mhm, sure … "

Ilsa managed to get herself up, before extracting something from her jacket pocket. Restraints. After staring at her former partner for a few seconds, she applied the restraints on Ramona's wrists. Just as the latter began stirring.

"I stayed this time … "

"Huh … Yeah, I knew you would. Didn't think you'd shoot me though."

"You were right. I still care about you. But I care about him more … " Forcefully, Ilsa grabbed Ramona's elbow and pulled her up.

"Let's go, honey."


36 hours later

A bar in Norfolk, Virginia

"Explain to me how did I get saddled with the tab for tonight again?"

"Well, Ethan, we did just save your sorry butt. So I guess you owe us."

"Luther … You didn't save me. Ilsa did."

"Don't change the subject. You get the tab," Luther shut down that conversation, to the amusement of Benji and Brandt beside him.

"Speaking of the devil … Where is Ilsa?" questioned the Brit.

"Finishing her debriefing with the Secretary. Should be here shortly."

"Did he decide what he would do with … ?"

"Not yet. I guess she will be in interrogation for quite a while. Ms. Devereaux might have some interesting information for us."

"Think she will just give it up willingly?"

"Well, if Ilsa will be doing the interrogation … Maybe."

"What interrogation am I doing?", a voice came from behind them. "And where's my drink?"

"Ethan, you're getting sloppy, man. Bartender," Brandt stepped in, just in time to allow the familiar figure of Ilsa Faust to slip in and place herself in front of Ethan.

"Hi … ", she smiled sweetly at him.

"Hi back. You done?", he replied calmly, but also smiling.

"Yeah. And I've come to collect my prize."

"What prize?"

"This." And she wrapped her arms around his neck, before planting a big kiss on his lips. In the loud cheers of the three men watching that scene like hawks.

The two separated, grinning at each other, just in time for the bartender to announce ceremoniously. "Got your drinks right here!"

More cheers as the group turned towards the counter. And celebrate like one big happy family.

The End


Author's note: And this is it. Hope you enjoyed the story, despite the delays between the chapters. I am planning another story featuring this merry group, but I am not entirely sure if/when will be posted. It depends on factors beyond my control.

Again, thank you for your attention and, hopefully, see you back here soon.