One Shot Changed it All

Monday Evening

Chuck was in his bedroom packing his bag. He was going on the run.

The thing that amazed him was that Sarah knew about his plan and wasn't going to stop him. She was clear with him that she couldn't run away with him. Chuck had hoped she might come with him but deep down he knew Sarah Walker would never go rogue. But she wouldn't try to stop him.

Two months ago he had finally reached his breaking point.

First, there was Beckman and Graham who treated him little better than a serf. He was their personal possession, their intersect. He had been sent out on mission after mission with Casey and Sarah.

Yes, there was the excitement and adrenalin rush being out in the field and dealing with danger. It was a far cry from his earlier life being a loser and moping after Jill. But he really wasn't cut out to be a spy, Deep down he knew that.

Hell, he never got a red cent for all his intelligence work and going on missions. His only salary was still from the Buy More store.

When this all started he told them he was a US citizen on American soil he had rights. He was told that he had no rights under the Patriot Act. They were high enough in the NSA and CIA to lock him up and throw away the key or make him just disappear.

Second, Beckman and Graham had made implied threats against Ellie if he didn't cooperate with them, that was a noose around his neck they could always yank on.

Third, he had finally figured out that Sarah loved being the top agent in the CIA. She would never leave them.

He had to run away from them all and quickly.

So he had planned it all out and was now ready to execute his plan.

The one piece he was proudest of was how he would protect Ellie from any reprisals. He had prepared a Trojan virus that he could release with damming evidence against Beckman and Graham if he didn't deactivate it every Monday at 11:55 pm. Once he was out of their clutches he would threaten them with it if they came after him or hurt Ellie. There was nothing they could do to stop the Trojan virus being released, only he could.

He had kept all his escape plans thus far secret; it had taken him months to put all the pieces together.

Then last Friday night Sarah had come to spend a cover evening with him. He was shocked because she confessed to him that she was in love with him.

She confided him in that she wanted to have a real relationship.

They started kissing and whatever inhibitions that Chuck had simply melted away with that kiss. She was his Achilles heel. She fogged his brain with her beauty and sensuality.

On Sunday after the most incredible weekend he had ever had he finally confessed to her about his plan to go on the run. He told her how he despised Beckman and Graham.

She asked him lots of questions about how he was going to do it, how was he going to avoid Casey and the surveillance. He told her everything except his ace in the hole about protecting Ellie.

He shook his head to clear away thoughts of the past.

Chuck looked at his bag went through his mental checklist and turned to look at Sarah and said that's it, I 'm ready to go. Remember your job is to distract Casey for one hour and then I have a chance.

Sarah had a funny look on her face, like she hadn't heard him ... then she said. "Roger that, I will secure the asset and bring him over awaiting extract."

Chuck's eyes widened in horror, a realization came crashing into his brain. My God, Sarah had seduced him and played him.

She had betrayed him and he had no inkling, none.

Chuck greatest strength and his greatest weakness was that he gave his heart completely and once he had done that he trusted the person completely.

Sarah had known that and she had used that against him.

Chuck stared at her.

Sarah almost recoiled from the look Chuck gave her but finally said. "Chuck we can't let you leave. I'm sorry I tricked you into telling me. I was ordered to gain your confidence because we suspected you were planning on running."

In one smooth movement she pulled the gun tucked behind her in her waistband. "Let's go Chuck, it will soon be over and we will put you in a secure location."

Sarah now relied on her training and the fact that Chuck had feelings for her. She talked softly, she just wanted him to start walking out the door.

Once that happened they could tranquilize him at Casey's apartment and the extract team would take him away to a secure location.

Agent Sarah Walker was doing her job. She had always done what Graham told her to do. This was her duty.

Why then did she feel so cheap and soiled? She wanted to be a million miles from here.

When Graham had told her to seduce Chuck she had initially pushed back and protested.

A voice screamed in her head ... don't do this. But she had always managed to squelch the voices in her head before in order to be the best agent the CIA ever had.

She pointed the gun at Chuck.

Chuck had lost all hope, the sense of betrayal was so profound that he wanted to die. He wished the earth would open and swallow him up.

Then like a star exploding in his head he realized that their hold on him this last year had been a fear of dying or being hurt.

Casey had been a bully and was always threatening him.

Right now, in this moment he longed for death, his soul was so weary, the pain in his heart was almost crippling.

So, he would embrace death.

Chuck moved forward towards Sarah. "Pull the trigger Sarah, please go ahead it will only hurt for a second."

Sarah froze. "Chuck don't come closer, I will shoot."

Chuck slowly moved forward, waiting for the bullet that would end his suffering. "I'm counting on it, here let me get closer so you won't miss."

"Chuck, don't". Sarah took her finger off the trigger, she wouldn't, she couldn't shoot Chuck. That she would never do, not for anyone including Graham.

Chuck walked right up to Sarah, until the gun was touching his chest.

Sarah was about to holster the gun and use her martial arts to subdue him. But a half second before she could do it Chuck's hands flashed out and grabbed her hands and the gun.

At first she thought he was trying to wrestle the gun from her and she was ready for him, she would win that battle every time.

But Chuck steadied the gun against his chest and put the thumb on his right hand onto the trigger and pushed.

At the last instance Sarah filled with horror realized what Chuck was doing and moved the gun away from his heart.

There was a loud bang and for a moment everything slowed down. There was the smell of the gunpowder, there was the ringing in their ears.

Sarah felt Chuck's hands relax their grip.

Everything changed with that one shot.

Chuck fell back on his bed and the blood marked his shirt and stained the duvet. Sarah let out a primal scream and the gun fell to the floor.

Casey who had been watching the monitor in his apartment leapt up, grabbed the first aid kit and ran across the courtyard. He burst into Chuck's bedroom.

Sarah was putting pressure on the wound and screaming, 'Help!"

Casey gave her the first aid kit. He then grabbed his phone and called for a medical helicopter. He ran back to the apartment and opened a small fridge with two units of O type blood and ran back.

Ellie and Devon had come back earlier than expected from an evening out. They heard the gunshot and ran into Chuck's room.

Ellie froze at the scene in front of her.

Devon didn't freeze, he saw Chuck on the bed, the blood and the gun on the floor and Sarah putting pressure on the wound. He saw Casey with the two units of blood and then he acted.

Devon checked the wound. It was in Chuck's upper left chest. He carefully moved the body so he could see behind Chuck.

There was the exit wound. He started an IV and said "call 911". Casey said "Already done, there will be a helicopter here in 12 minutes."

Ellie rushed towards the bed and started to talk to Chuck. Doing anything she could to keep Chuck alert.

She looked into his eyes and was happy when Chuck blinked, tears were in his eyes. He groaned. "Ellie they can't hurt you now." Ellie kept on saying. "Chuck look at me, keep fighting ... look at me!"

The helicopter came and they took Ellie and Devon and Chuck away. Ellie and Devon and the medical team fighting to keep him alive."

Casey and Sarah sat in Casey's apartment, waiting for the cleanup crew. Both were covered in Chuck's blood.

Casey spoke first. "Walker what happened?" Sarah was having trouble concentrating, her right hand was shaking and her eyes were blinking rapidly. "He grabbed the gun and pulled the trigger, check the tape. I would never shoot Chuck, don't you know that Casey?"

Casey nodded. "Yeah, I know you wouldn't hurt him. It was all too much for Bartowski. I've seen this before desperate people do desperate things.

"We made him desperate, didn't we?"

Sarah then quietly said. "I didn't shoot him but I hurt him far worse than a bullet ever could Casey. I betrayed him; I could see it in his eyes. I made him desperate by sleeping with him and letting on I loved him. It was the final betrayal for him."

Then the monitor came on and Beckman and Graham appeared. Beckman said "Report"

They did and they sent the tapes that had recorded everything.

At the end of the report Beckman said. "Well, I hope that the asset survives, if he does we can then secure him and make sure he doesn't do this again. You will both return to Washington for further re assignment." Sarah then spoke. "General Beckman, Director Graham the asset has a name, its Chuck Bartowski."

She then stared straight through them, as if they weren't really there.

Casey said. "I'm going to clean up and change my clothes."

Sarah didn't listen she walked passed the fountain and back to Chuck's room.

She sat on his bed for several minutes and looked around the room she had gotten to know so well. She couldn't settle her thoughts or her feelings.

She looked at Chuck's bag and there tucked away in a little pocket was a picture of her and Chuck, a selfie of the two of them. Silent tears now filled her eyes and a pain started to grip her heart.

It was like a vise squeezing tighter and tighter. She stood up took two steps and fainted.

Casey found her on the floor gripping the photo. He checked her and knew she was breathing but something was terribly wrong.

Casey's one though was , 'Shit, what the hell is going on here. Everything is falling apart.'

At 11:55 pm Chuck did not key in a code. The Trojan virus activated and a message was sent to FBI special agent Mac Showers in the Chicago office. Another message was sent to Ann Marie Wittner at the Department of Justice and finally one message went to Senator Donald McKay, chair for the committee that had authority over the CIA and NSA. In it Chuck told his story and pleaded for someone to keep his sister and her husband Devon safe from the clutches of General Diane Beckman and Director Langston Graham.

The next morning the shit hit the fan.

By morning Chuck was in a military hospital under CIA guard.

By noon a dozen FBI agents had swooped onto the base and into the hospital. They detained the CIA guards.

The FBI took over his care and then when Chuck was more stable he was whisked away to a more secure location.

Twenty-Four hours later an urgent and closed door meeting of the Senate select committee was called into session and General Beckman and Director Graham were called to present evidence on the matter of one Chuck Bartowski.

Casey was placed on paid suspension and told to report to the FBI's Los Angeles office for questioning and later to be on hand to talk with the Department of Justice.

Sarah Walker was now a key witness against Beckman and Graham. She was taken into the care of the FBI.

Sarah wasn't catatonic but she did need serious psychiatric care.

The Doctors noted that Agent Sarah Walker had experienced a psychotic break.

Later, after she was off the drugs, and a little more stable. Her therapist would note that her feelings for Chuck were very real as was her devotion to following orders, especially those given to her by Graham. Her unspoken love for Chuck and her strong sense of duty were in direct opposition to each other.

The triggering event had been when the gun went off and she thought Chuck was going to die. Her psyche simply couldn't handle it any longer.

The guilt and shame and real love she felt for Chuck flooded her mind all at the same time and her mind simply shut down.

Six Months Later

In the end Beckman didn't go on trial that isn't how things worked in the spy world. She was demoted to Colonel, and pensioned off. She signed untold documents that threatened with lengthy jail time if she ever talked to anyone about what she had done.

She was shunned by her former military colleagues.

Graham's arrogance was his undoing. He thought he could make a deal but in the end he was charged under the Patriot Act. He was quietly put away in the bunker that Chuck would have spent the next ten years in.

Casey was given a choice; resign his commission and retire or be demoted to the permanent rank of captain and go back to the Marines. He chose to do the latter option and went back to being a real Marine.

The government lawyers worked out a deal with Ellie, Devon and Chuck. The government compensated them all in exchange for their silence.

They removed the intersect from Chuck and he got a letter from the President thanking him for his service. They all moved to Chicago to try and start a new life.

Sarah slowly recovered and was gradually taken off the drugs they had used to stabilize her. She resigned from the CIA and was given a full pension and further compensation.

It turned out that Graham had over the years slowly and carefully conditioned her to follow his orders.

The new Director of the CIA and the FBI were appalled at what she had endured from such an early age.

They determined that she was as much a victim as Chuck had been.

Sarah sat down before she left the hospital and wrote a long letter. It was hard for her because she had always had trouble expressing her real feelings.

She explained about what Graham had done to her; but most all Sarah told Chuck of her shame and asked his forgiveness.

She wished him every happiness in life and knew someday he would find someone that would heal his heart that she had so cruelly broken. She concluded the letter by writing she was going to move to the only place where she had ever truly been happy. She asked the FBI to give the letter to Chuck and left.

One Year Later

Sarah had a little apartment near the beach, she had gotten a dog. The dog was her closest companion.

She had two part time jobs at two different charitable organizations. The jobs along with her government pension allowed her to live comfortably.

She went to a little community church around the corner and was finding it an essential part of making it through each week.

It was Saturday and she was walking her dog a lovely cocker spaniel along the beach. As she was walking she heard a voice from behind her.

"Sarah." She turned and saw Chuck standing there. He had her letter in his hand and said.

"Can we talk, we really need to talk."

Sarah just nodded because there was a lump in her throat and her eyes were a little blurry.

Finally, after what seemed an eternity she said "Yes. Let's go to my apartment it's just down the block."

The apartment was pleasant; there were some prints on the wall and lots of books. Her place was spotless and Spartan neat.

There was no TV. On top of a side table was a framed somewhat crinkled photo of Sarah and Chuck. He remembered the photo and when he saw it he knew he had done the right thing in coming back to Burbank.

It was going to work out. It would take a while and they had a lot of hard work ahead of them. But he needed to be with her. He had always known that.

Chuck looked at her and simply said. "Sarah, I forgive you and I love you."