A/N: The main motivation here is to fill in some of the missing moments in between "Chuck vs. The Other Guy" and "Chuck vs. The Honeymooners". We're going to start out at a nice tame T- Rating for the beginning, but yes, we will be getting a bit more explicit as things go on.
Inspired far more by the "Before Sunrise/Sunset/Midnight" trilogy then any real action packed episode of Chuck, this will be mostly be a catalog of our favorite spy couple exploring the very beginning of their romantic relationship together, and adjusting to a few of the incidental privileges and responsibilities of boyfriend and girlfriend. There'll be jokes and laughter and secrets and surprises, a revelation or two, and yes some hanky-panky … followed by pillow talk (Chuck's a chatterbox, doncha know!). Don't bother with being on the lookout for a villain to spoil our spy-couple's fun this time.
Sarah (and possibly Chuck) will also mentally revisit some of her recent past actions and experiences, so if you're lethally allergic to Sarah/Bryce or Sarah/Shaw some of these chapters might not be to your taste. To be sure, they weren't my favorites either- but IMHO, a true love will blow away the experiences of any previous "un-true" loves. As awesome as Charah is (and trust me folks, I'm a huge Charah fan) it appreciates even more when placed in the context of Brarah, (does that portmanteau work? It should.) Sham, and Chill.
Be patient for the title drop., if you please.
Our little story begins with a familiar scene from another perspective. Enjoy. And if you enjoyed, review!
Oh, and I don't own Chuck. Or a Sig Saur P229. More of a Colt fan. I don't own Paris either, although a nifty travel book was useful in mapping out some of these scenes.
Chapter 1 – Casey vs The Ponts
John Casey only had a moment of triumph before enduring some of the most horrifying minutes of his life. The Director, the highest known member of The Ring was now in custody; his unconscious form slumped in a pile of Parisian garbage. His hands were bound in the cuffs that Casey and Chuck had brought with them from Burbank. The Director's late bodyguards were destined for a local mortuary.
"Don't you go running off now", he grinned at the sleeping scumbag, He only allowed himself a moment of self-congratulations – as now his task was check in on Bartowski and Walker. Up the street he noticed the café – the one Chuck had predicted that Walker and Daniel Shaw would be at. Arriving at a quick sprint, he looked around in dismay. Upset chairs, displaced napkins, scattered silverware – obviously a recent struggle. But no Bartowski. No Walker. No Daniel Shaw.
The most important and desperate mission in Casey's and Bartowski's career was in fact, a rogue one. Walker was in serious danger, but having cried "wolf" once before, Bartowski's credibility was at an all-time low with General Beckman. Casey, not even with the NSA anymore, had no credibility at all. Neither had any sanction from Uncle Sam to rescue Walker. No sanction from General Beckman meant no CIA/NSA equipment. Casey and Chuck didn't have their communication watches to keep in touch. Casey's SigSaur and handcuffs were the limits of their official technical support.
But working at a BuyMore had its advantages. From his jacket pocket, Casey drew his improvised com system – a commercial walkie-talkie from a 2-pack that he and Bartowski had snagged from the electronics store in Burbank. Completely unofficial, unencrypted, unlinked to Castle or Beckman, and unsophisticated, it was also well worth its weight in gold. With a range of two miles, it would allow him to keep in touch with Bartowski.
Casey brought the walkie-talkie to his mouth, and clicked the transmit button,…
…When three gunshots ripped through the night air. They were medium-distant, and out of sight. They came from the direction of the Seine River-near the Notre Dame Bridge. The Frogs call 'bridges" "ponts" for some damn reason, Casey thought.
"Bartowski! Come in! Do you hear me?" Casey yelled into the walkie. Nothing, not even static came in response. Casey groaned. Turn your radio on, you fucking idiot! He charged down the Parisian street, towards the Pont Du Notre Dame, furious to go into a situation with no intel on what was happening, or who was where. In about a minute's time, he was within sight of the river, but still had no idea where the shots had come from.
He tried the walkie-talkie again "Chuck! Damn it, where are you?!"
This time, there was static, and a voice shrieked over the air waves. Everything about the voice was wrong – so wrong that Casey wondered if it was Chuck at all. "CASEY! CASEY! SARAH NEEDS HELP! WE'RE ON THE BRIDGE! CASEY! I NEED HELP! WE'RE ON THE BRIDGE! SARAH NEEDS HELP! The shriek was unearthly and frightening, and caused Casey to suck in his breath at the sound of it. It wasn't the yelping, high pitched, alarmed voice of Chuck that he'd gotten used to by now. It was something altogether different – it was from a place beyond fear, a place beyond panic – it was the frantic, almost feral sound of someone who was just about to lose their mind with terror and shock. People don't scream in real life like they do in the movies. Hollywood will never give you the sound of somebody who just watched his buddy's head get blown off. Or the sound of a woman calling 911 when her kid stops breathing. Nobody would ever go to a movie again if they had to hear that shit. Casey knew.
Dozens of scenarios flew through Casey's head, all of them awful. There had been three gunshots. Was Chuck hit? Was Sarah? Were they about to be taken? Were they dying? Where the fuck are you, Chuck? Another press of the transmit button. "Chuck! WHAT BRIDGE? Find A sign and tell me what bridge!" Shaw, I'm going to fucking kill you tonight. If you shot either of them, I will gag the god damn life out of your god damn throat. I'll feel that windpipe crush under my thumbs, and I'll watch you die, I swear to God I will.
"CASEY!... Casey, we're at the foot of the Pont- Saint Michel! …. We're okay….. But we need you… get here quick….." Chuck was hyperventilating, but even so his voice was calming down a little bit, Casey could tell. What the hell's going on?
Casey was at the foot of the Pont-Notre Dame, and a helpfully posted tourist map of the City told him that Pont-Saint Michel was one bridge downstream. "Hang on Chuck! I'll be there in less than a minute!" Casey charged to the next bridge, and caught sight of Chuck and Sarah staggering down the roadway, clinging to the railings of the Pont Saint Michel. Ever so slowly the two stumbled along the side. Sarah Walker was obviously incapacitated, and Bartowski did not seem to be doing much better.
Casey sprinted the last few dozen yards to the bridge, his Sig Sauer P229 drawn. He arrived at the struggling pair, concerned for their status while simultaneously scanning for threats. "Walker! Bartowski! Are you hit? Are you clear? Answer me God damn it!" Casey threw a glance behind them. No sign of Daniel Shaw or any type of pursuit from the bridge.
"We're okay … we're okay … he's gone … Casey, Sarah's been drugged" Chuck's words came out in shocked gasps. He was hyperventilating. His face was ashen and pale, and his eyes were wide, and darted around everywhere to Casey, to the street behind him, the buildings with open windows, and back to the limp and immobile Sarah.
Holstering his P229, Casey said "put her down, Sit her down right here" He checked out Sarah. She was wearing a red overcoat, which Casey promptly unbuttoned, checking her suit jacket and blouse for entry wounds or blood. None. He then sent two fingers up to her carotid artery, verifying a pulse. There was. Sarah had just enough power to turn her head and look into his face. A new tear stole down her cheek,-it was obvious that she had been crying- and her lips quivered slightly, but she said nothing. "Walker! Can you hear me?" Casey barked at her. Sarah gave the barest of nods.
"They drugged, her. …. Some sort of toxin, "Chuck gasped.
Casey then turned his attention to Chuck "How about you? You hit?" Chuck didn't respond and Casey repeated his check for entry wounds on Chuck's torso. No. "Bartowski! Look at me!" Chuck turned his stare to Casey. The sight of his wide eyes made Casey's blood run cold. Yup, that's what shock looks like. "Chuck, I heard gunshots. Three of them. What happened?"
"Shaw…. He drugged Sarah…. He tried to kill Sarah …and I shot him. … He's dead… He went over the side." Chuck's hand covered his eyes and he sat down next to Sarah. "Oh, God."
"You shot him?" Casey asked in some mild surprise.
"Yeah." Chuck's breath was ragged, "He was going to push Sarah into the water … She can't move, Casey … she can't swim… he wanted to kill her. … I didn't want to shoot. I tried to arrest him… I swear, Casey. I swear." Chuck sniffed.
The kid's close to crying, Casey knew, even if a surge of relief shot through him. Those were good-guy bullets I heard … and they ended up in the bad guy. "I believe, you! I believe you. You did what you had to."
"I told him to give up … he said I wouldn't shoot him …. He tried to push Sarah over …. He pointed his gun at me… and I shot" Chuck babbled.
"I got it. I hear you. You did good." Casey reassured.
Respect was something that John Casey did not give out quickly or easily, and God knew that Chuck had taken a long time to earn even a modicum of it from him. Chuck was whiney, often petulant, could be immature and emotional, and was a sucker for any pretty girl who gave him the time of day. His pathetic puppy love for Sarah had irked him from day one, and Casey never missed an opportunity to mock him for it. Chuck also had a hard time wrestling with the sticky moral questions that were inherent to the spy world, and seemed to want to pretend that they didn't exist. Chuck was nobody's idea of a field agent, and for these last few years, the intelligence organs of the government had been lamenting the day he ever got The Intersect.
Still, for all that, Chuck had a history of delivering the goods. He was clever, imaginative and his mind moved fast. He was honest. In his own quiet way, he was patriotic; willing to suffer stress, inconvenience, danger and heartache for the good of millions of people who would never know his name. He'd never get a parade, or any statue in any park, and was genuinely surprised a year ago to get a payout of any kind. Chuck's was a life of constant threats of kidnapping, torture, and violent, gruesome death, and typically Chuck's idea of a reward was a "well done" from General Beckman, a grunt of acknowledgement from Casey, and if he was lucky, a sweet warm smile from Walker.
Walker. Both Chuck's strength and weakness put together in one toned, tall blonde agent. Perhaps that wasn't really fair. Sarah Walker was just the most recent of a few people in Chuck's life that inspired Chuck's undying loyalty. His sister Ellie did, and so did her husband Devon. Maybe one or two of the Buy Morons, like Morgan Grimes. And yes himself too, Casey had to admit. For these people, Chuck had a sense of self-sacrifice that would make the hardest Marine sob with sentimentality. He'd proven himself ready to wreck his career, or to confront certain death for these few, and for these few seemed to go into the lion's den with a song in his heart. Chuck might not be the type who would survive military basic training, but if he had made it, he would be the type who charged a machine gun nest or fell on a live explosive in order to save someone else, especially someone he really liked.
It was hard not to get annoyed by Chuck. But it was impossible not to like him.
Chuck's breathing was returning to normal, now he had the shakes. His hands were trembling, and he roughly shifted his gaze from Casey to Walker. A compassionate kind of guy, killing people didn't come naturally to him. It didn't come naturally to a lot of people. This was probably going to go down as bad night for Chuck Bartowski.
Casey finally noticed something about Sarah. Sticking out of the back shoulder of her overcoat was a dart. He plucked it out carefully. "Chuck. Look at this." Casey tried to read the medicinal label on it, but couldn't sound out the complex looking word. Had Walker been poisoned? Did she need a hospital? Casey would rather get in and out of Paris without any major medical stays. He turned to Chuck, who hadn't heard what he said.
"Chuck, I need to know if Walker's going to make it! What is this?" Casey held up the dart "Damn it, Bartowski, Sarah needs you to tell her what this is."
At the mention of Sarah's name, Chuck snapped his head at Casey's hand. He looked at the spent dart, and flashed. His eyes rolled back, his eyelids fluttered, and he gasped three times. When he snapped out of it, he spoke in a tranquil, steady voice. "Quadrodotoxin 212. A modified nerve agent from the extremely potent Tetrodotoxin. Causes temporary loss of all voluntary muscular control in its victims, with some short term memory impairment possible. Effects last from 10 to 18 hours. Recommended treatment is hydration and bed rest."
Casey grunted an acknowledgement. "Okay. Chuck I'm going to get the car. We're going to the hotel" Casey dashed of back towards the café, maybe a half mile or so distant.
Five minutes later, the he pulled alongside the bridge in the rental car. As he got there, he saw that Walker was still sitting slumped against the bridge wall. Chuck was on all fours a few feet away from her, panting hard. A puddle of vomit was below him.
"Making friends with Pukey the Clown, huh? Don't worry. It happens. Sorry I missed it." Casey said as he got out of the car. Reaching into the car, he pulled out a water bottle. He walked up to Chuck and tapped his shoulder with it. "Here. Rinse out." Chuck gratefully accepted. "Now help me get Walker into the car. She gets shotgun." Casey got her shoulders and lifted, and Chuck got her feet. The two men then maneuvered Sarah into the passenger seat. Chuck wordlessly got into the rear seat passenger side, and noticed the silent and manacled figure sitting behind Casey. Too tired to speak, Chuck simply looked wordlessly at Casey.
"Bartowski, this guy is known as The Director. He took a bump on the head, and lost a few key employees tonight. So he's having a bad night. His old bodyguards had a really bad night, like Shaw did. You might not feel it yet, champ, but you, me and Walker – we're actually having a pretty good night"
Chuck had actually met him before in the elevator at the Ring compound a day and a half ago, but wasn't up to remembering names and faces at the present time.
"Oi, I know you. " The Director affably mumbled in his Cockney accent. "The elevator lad." Noting Chuck's disarray ,"Wut's gotten into him?"
Next to him, Chuck clung to his water bottle for dear life, and remained silent.
"He just fed your boy Shaw to the eels of the Seine" Casey snarled from the driver's seat.
The Director regarded Chuck. "Looks a bit worse for wear, yeah? First time gettin' it wet, boy? Y'not gonna spew all over me, are ya lad?"
"Shut it. Do it now. Y'see, you don't really have a friend in this car, Mr. Director. You and Shaw tried to kill Walker here. That makes you really unpopular in this car. I'm her partner. I like to kill people who try to kill my partners. Kind of a credo of mine. Walker's good at the killing too. She will be again when she snaps out of it. And our boy Chuck here … well let's just say he's a beginner at the wet work, but he shows some remarkable talent. Walker's his lady, you see." Casey glowered at The Director. "And that makes me the least of your problems – and I can be a very big problem. So unless you want the gendarmes to find two bodies in the Seine tomorrow morning, I suggest you shut your face. "
Leaving the Director chagrined and chained in the back of the car, Casey and Chuck were able to get Sarah up to the hotel. Stripping her down to her underthings, the two men gingerly lay the unconscious Sarah in the bed.
"Water and rest, huh?" Casey asked, showing Chuck the tranq dart again.
Chuck, by now slightly recuperated, willingly took it so he could flash on it once more. His eyes flew wide, his lids fluttered, and he gasped. . "Quadrodotoxin 212. A modified nerve agent from the extremely potent Tetrodotoxin. Causes temporary loss of all voluntary muscular control in its victims, with some short term memory impairment possible. Effects last from 12 to 18 hours. Recommended treatment is hydration and bed rest."
"Yeah, yeah. Heard you the first time." Turning to the stricken Sarah, he growled, "Hear that Walker, stay comfy, and you'll do fine."
"Wait! wait", Chuck said. Digging in his suitcase, he produced a white long sleeve shirt. Cradling Sarah gently, he maneuvered the sleeves onto her arms, and buttoned up the shirt. "She'll get cold."
Casey couldn't resist a grin. "Bartowski, you finally get Walker into bed, and your first instinct is to put clothes on her?"
Chuck looked up, and for the first time in hours, cracked a smile. John Casey had landed a dry wisecrack with pinpoint accuracy. As Chuck nestled Sarah's head onto her pillow, he chuckled. "Well, yeah. I guess."
"And I think our girl's coming around. She's blushing." Sarah was indeed flushing a little, although her eyes were all she could move, drifting slowly and lazily from one man to the other.
Chuck scurried to Sarah's side and whispered into her ear. "Sarah, you've been drugged, and you're probably going to be out of it for a half day or so. But don't worry. I'm not going anywhere. You just sleep." Chuck kissed Sarah's forehead.
Moving around the room, he maneuvered a big heavy chair to the foot of Sarah's bed, where he could watch and guard.
Now that Chuck was a bit more coherent, and Sarah out of danger, it was Casey's time to find out what had just happened. He grabbed his own chair, and sat across from Chuck. "So, Bartowski. Want to tell me what all happened? Take your time, I got all day. The Director sure as hell isn't going anywhere without me."
Chuck took a few deep breaths. "Okay. While you got the Director and his guys, I went after Shaw. He had Sarah drugged. He was talking to her at the café. He didn't notice me as the waiter until I had the drop on him. I kind of think that Sarah gave me away. She looked at me."
"Bet she was glad to see you." Casey allowed. "Go on."
"He sensed I was behind him. He asked how I found him. He told me to just go ahead and kill him – to shoot him in the back right then and there. That's about the time you found the Director and his guys."
"He dared you to shoot him in the back. Mmmmmm." Casey growled. "Ballsy".
"I couldn't do it Casey. I told him he was under arrest. He stood up real fast and grappled with me. I flashed and accessed Eskrima – a knife fighting martial art. We fought, but he got me. Knocked the wind out of me. Then he grabbed Sarah, grabbed her gun, and told me not to follow them. But I did. I recovered my own gun, and caught up to them at the bridge. Shaw was about to push her in. I pointed my gun at him, told him to surrender again. He said that he could pull the trigger but I that couldn't. He pointed his gun at me, and I shot him. He went over and came close to pulling in Sarah, but I got to her and kept her on the bridge. Then I called you."
Casey nodded. "Good. You did good."
"I didn't have any choice. Shaw was gonna kill her."
"Damn straight you didn't." Casey said. "Look, Shaw made his choice. And he thought that just because you're not a natural trigger-puller, it meant that you'd do nothing while he killed Walker. That was a bad choice on his part. A pretty huge fucking mistake, it turns out. He's dead now. Walker's alive. You're alive. And that's the way it should be."
Casey sucked in a breath "Look Bartowski. I've seen people get their first kills in before. It's usually nasty business. Not a fun ride. A real bad day, you know? Some guys take having to do it in stride. Other guys don't. There's no way to tell who's who until it happens. Most guys need some time with it. If you go for a few weeks, and you get a lot of nightmares, and things like that, let me know. There are a few guys who specialize in PTSD that the NSA/ CIA and the Corps use. They help some guys get through it. But for today, know this: You did what you had to do. Shaw wanted Walker dead. He wanted to give you, me, Beckman, everybody a world without Walker. I don't want that, Beckman doesn't want that. I know you don't want that. You stopped that from happening, and you stopped it the only way possible. You looked out for your team. You looked out for Walker. You did us all proud Chuck."
Chuck sighed. "Thanks Casey". He looked over at the now sleeping Sarah. "You know, a few days ago when Sarah thought I killed someone on my Red Test, she didn't want to talk to me. She could barely even look at me. I wonder what she'll say to this."
Casey grunted. "Huh. Well my bet is that she'll say 'thank you'." A sly grin. "What she says and does next is none of my business. Make sure you two keep it that way when you get back. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to turn the Ring Director into my ticket back onto the team. Tell Walker we're rooting for her."
Casey left the hotel, and trotted back to the rental car. The Director was in his proper place, behind the driver seat.
"Looked like your lad isn't one to play with the real men." he leered.
"And your lad? Playing with who? That's right- the crabs on the river bottom." Casey challenged. The Director responded with a shrug. "And by the way," Casey continued. "I told you to shut up". He reared back his hand, and struck the Director with the ball of it. He immediately slumped over, unconscious. "So shut up." God damn power-hungry swine. Thinking that killing people is what makes a real man. Way more than half of the word's problems are caused by that attitude. He readied his laptop to make a connection with General Beckman's office.