I still don't own Chuck. I'm not sure who does at this point.
This is the sequel to The Cost of Love Re-mastered. And although reading that story isn't absolutely required, it will make this make a lot more sense. There were original characters previously introduced that have prominent roles.
The idea for this plotline is courtesy of my friend Phnxgrl. Thank her, or blame her as you feel led, lol.
The previous story was rated M. I struggled with the decision on how to rate this story. The story I want to tell definitely has mature adult situations. To be sensitive to people that would want to avoid that kind of story I wanted to rate it M. But I also realize that means a large percentage of the fandom will never see it. So I think I'm going to try and post this as both a T and an M story. It will be the same story, just the T version will be toned down and the adult situations more implied. Even the M version won't ever be smut. That's not my style. I blush when I even think of typing those explicit sex type words. But even the T version will be an adult story.
A word to the wise. One doesn't write an M rated Chuck story if you're looking for huge hit numbers or tons of reviews. That's just a fact of life. There will be plenty of fluffy moments. But this story is going to start off very dark, darker than anything I've ever done, and stay there for a while. Chuck and Sarah, and by extension Team B, have enemies that they don't even know about. And it's hard to defend yourself against the threat that surprises you. So expect some hard choices to be made. Hopefully the story will be tense and exciting. Things will look bad for a while. You know my style. I'm probably going to try and fool you at some point into thinking the worst has happened. If you can't enjoy that sort of edgy story, there is not a thing in the world wrong with that. But please stop reading. Sending me cowardly anonymous reviews isn't going to do any good. The story is already written. If not a single person reads or reviews, ultimately I'm doing this for me.
If I haven't scared you off yet, here is one ray of hope. A BillAtWork story will always have a sappy, romantic, happy ending. This one promises to be even more sappy and romantic then usual.
BTW, We'll meet some existing villains from the show. But Daniel Shaw doesn't exist in this universe so don't worry about that. Would that he didn't exist in any universe, sigh.
Having said all that, I would still appreciate your comments. The worst thing for an author is silence. You can't tell if you're connecting with your readers, if they're getting where you think the story is going or not. And those comments don't have to be praise. Of course, I'd be lying if I tried to say that I don't enjoy the praise. But I actually learn more from the critical comments. Just as long as you're respectful and allow me to respond, you can say anything.
The Luckiest Man in the World
Chuck had to admit one thing. Whatever bit of resentment towards Dad remained, and honestly there was still a bit, being a multi-billionaire made it much easier to take. The private island just thirty miles off the coast of Puerto Rico that Dad had somehow found for them was beyond perfect. They had been here for a couple of months but time honestly seemed to no longer have any meaning. It seemed more like just a few days. Chuck and Sarah were actually the last ones living on The Enforcer. All the other couple's cottages had already been completed.
The compound was an absolute work of art. There really was no reason to spare any expense, so Steven brought in a community planner and architect… and they had struck gold. It was designed like a wheel. Each couple had a cottage on a spoke with absolute privacy. But they all were a short walk down a hallway to the common area in the hub.
The hub was the heart of the compound. It had a world class entertainment room, meeting room, kitchen, dining area, and a communications center that put anything NASA had to pitiful shame. It was built on a plateau, high enough to be out of reach of any tropical storm surge, but still a gentle walk to the brilliant white beach or the dock where The Enforcer was currently docked. The air strip where the private jet that Chuck quickly renamed 'Sarah's latest toy' was parked just a short golf cart ride away.
The perimeter of the compound was surrounded by a security system that would rival that of a nuclear missile base. With Volkoff still out there someplace it made sense. There was no question but that his power had greatly diminished. He had lost his mercenary army a few weeks ago when he started missing payrolls. The Russian government had seized his compound. Steven was trying to keep tabs on him but since he was currently underground, that was difficult. The only trace was that some of his valuable heirlooms were showing up for sale on various web sites. Tracking those items meant he probably had wandered through Europe, stayed in Italy for a while, then made his way somehow to Venezuela. And Volkoff wasn't the only enemy they had encountered over the years. So Casey and Laura were asked to spare no expense in planning for their defense. Not only were there formidable visible security features, there were hidden ones as well. Lord help the poor bastard that tried to enter the compound uninvited. It would be a serious mistake.
Whoever called the living quarters 'cottages' surely had a sense of humor. From the outside they maybe looked like a basic hut. But once you stepped foot inside, any resemblance ended. It was modern, well lit, and had all of the comfort features that a billionaire would expect including a small kitchenette, huge plasma television, and a whirlpool tub that could hold a small army. The master bedroom was bigger than Ellie's apartment back in Burbank.
The truth was that Chuck and Sarah could probably have moved into their cottage as well. The workers were just finishing up installing the kitchen appliances and electronics. Sarah had little use for electronics anyway, and even less for kitchen appliances. Why cook when you had a world class chef who had a massive crush on you, an unlimited food budget, and was dying to impress?
But the real reason was that they were simply in love with the ship. It was the first place that together they could call home and they, well especially Sarah, were reluctant to move.
"You do realize," Chuck said as he walked up to the main deck with two bottles of cold water. "We're going to have to start wearing clothes again pretty soon, right?"
"I don't want to," Sarah said with a faux pout, sounding every bit like a four year old who didn't want to pick up her toys.
Chuck paused to admire his wife. She was lying on her back on a lounge chair soaking up the sun, totally naked save for her ray ban sunglasses. "You do realize that people can see up here?" he asked.
Sarah didn't move a muscle. "There's nobody within a quarter mile of us," she protested. "Even Chef and the crew moved to the island. Who can see?"
That got Chuck laughing. Technically that was probably an exaggeration. He could see most of the gang jumping waves just outside of the protected cove on jet skis. But they were plainly too busy trying to avoid being run over by Ellie, who was quickly getting a reputation as something of a maniac with a jet ski between her legs, to look over here, even if they did have the desire. But the workers, well that was probably a different story. There were currently a couple dozen on the island. And it didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what they were thinking when they looked at the bevy of beautiful women in bikinis, or often less. Since Chuck had a plain view of the compound off in the distance, it was fairly intuitive that anybody there had a plain view of the ship. "You've never heard of binoculars?" he mocked. "Telephoto camera lens? Telescopes maybe?"
Sarah clearly wasn't concerned. "Why would anyone go to all that trouble?" she asked.
Chuck was incredulous. "You're joking right?" he asked. "When is the last time you've looked into a mirror? Mrs. Bartowski, you happen to be the most beautiful woman in the whole wide world. There isn't a man breathing who wouldn't sell his grandma to the devil to get a peak at you lying there, especially given the provocative way you're currently holding your legs. With all of the workers on the island? I'm not sure about how many women would sell their grandma to see you naked. Carina comes to mind."
"Carina's already seen me naked," Sarah pointed out with a yawn. "She's even seen you naked. Remember that night on the ship? And I would like to remind you that if anybody including Carina is looking, your butt is just as naked."
"Yeah," Chuck said sarcastically. "Like anybody would even notice I'm here."
That got Sarah softly chuckling. "Let them look," she finally said with a sigh as she stretched her arms.
"Now see," Chuck teased. "Why couldn't you have had this attitude when we were poor? One strategic Men's magazine, a few high quality images of your current position in a centerfold, and we're in the big money."
"You're disgusting," Sarah replied now openly laughing. "But I no longer care. I'm far too happy to worry about something petty like somebody getting a cheap thrill looking at me. So thank you for that."
Chuck laughed. "You thank me every single day," he said. "When are you going to accept that this is now our life?"
Sarah didn't laugh. "Okay," she sighed. "Yes, I'm out of control. I get that. Make fun of me if you must. But I'm going to keep saying it until I'm convinced you believe me. Anything that you ever want from me, that's not hyperbole, Chuck. I mean anything, in bed or out… just ask and it's yours." She finally smiled at his look. "Like I said, I'm going to keep saying it until you believe it." Then she changed the subject with a grin. "Besides, with Carina back, I predict that not many more clothes are being worn by the rest of the team."
"What?" Chuck protested. "Everyone more or less stayed dressed last night."
"That was just to not horrify Alex on her first night," Sarah insisted. "I'm really happy that Morgan and Alex decided to accept your invitation to come live with us. That took some guts seeing that they just started dating and weren't beginning to talk about getting serious. But introducing a sweet young innocent thing like Alex? With this crew, that's like throwing blood into shark infested waters. It is a sure thing that Laura, Joey, and Carina already have a friendly wager on which will first corrupt her into loosing some clothes on the dance floor tonight. Maybe you should warn Morgan."
"Trust me," Chuck said. "If Ellie is ever less than fully clothed, Morgan will be completely uninterested in anything Alex does, on the dance floor or otherwise. The little man has been trying to get a glimpse of her… umm… her assets since he was twelve. His quest has been most relentless, fairly impressive, albeit a little creepy. Ellie's allowed him to come oh so close so many times. Frustrating Morgan is her favorite sport. Need I remind you that Alex's dad will be in attendance? I seriously doubt that Alex will get naked in front of Casey tonight."
"You're disparaging my girls," Sarah said with a laugh. "I feel the need to defend their skills. Our regular bet that they get her at least topless at some point tonight?"
"Admit it," Chuck said. "You enjoy losing these bets to me. You just set up opportunities to have to pay off. You have yourself a bet."
"I'd like to point out that Ellie's dad will be there too," Sarah said with a grin. "Double or nothing that it doesn't make a difference. Morgan's quest ends tonight. She'll have to find another way to torment him."
"Done," Chuck said confidently.
"Morgan is going to be in a tough spot," Sarah said with a giggle. "Poor Alex. She strikes me as the jealous type. With Carina, that's like waiving a red flag in front of a angry bull. And just when she thinks that she is jealous of Carina… along comes Ellie. Luckily she'll be too drunk to care. Tonight is going to be so much fun… on many levels."
"I think you may be enjoying this situation a little too much," Chuck said as he playfully squirted some of the ice cold water on her."
Well, that got Sarah moving. "Damn," she said as she jumped up. "You are going to pay for that." Then her grin turned decidedly evil. "I'm enjoying the situation a little too much?" she mocked. "Tell me that you're seriously not looking forward to seeing Alex topless tonight. Maybe you're not quite into selling your grandma territory. But who are we kidding? You're driving in that direction and already very close to the same zip code."
Chuck seriously didn't know what to do. The red that he could feel rising up his neck and into his face at warp speed made any denial pointless. But this was Sarah. She was a known jealous hothead with a hair trigger. "Umm," was all he could almost say… awkwardly.
Fortunately Sarah let him off the hook. "Relax," she said as she started laughing. "She's your type. I get that. It's no crime to notice that she is sexy… as long as all you ever do is look. In fact, it may be something that I can use to my advantage. Maybe I can tell you a sexy piece of fiction tonight that… well, inspires you."
"I would never begin to think of cheating on you," Chuck said, now genuinely offended. "Okay, yes. I'll admit it. I find Alex incredibly attractive. That honestly embarrasses me. But I'm married. Morgan is family."
Sarah was enjoying her sport. "Yeah," she said sarcastically. "Like Morgan has never attempted to look down my shirt with approving eyes. Triple our bet that I could get him drooling within an hour tonight. He'll forget Ellie is in the room."
"No bet," Chuck said sadly. "You'd win easily. I don't deny that. The thing is, the idea of you overtly flirting with Morgan, even as a joke would just make things tense for a long while. Alex is maybe even more jealous than you are."
"Here is the deal," Sarah replied. "With Carina on the island, my doing anything is moot. The odds that she is going to take a shot at seducing him approach 100%. She'll probably even work it out so that Alex sees them going at it at their most exciting point. She's not being mean. That's just her."
Chuck sadly realized that Sarah was right. "I'll talk to her," he sighed. "The fallout from that would be pretty predictable. We don't need that much drama. Closing the loop on Alex, for the record I'm married to the most beautiful girl in the world. For some reason I still can't figure out, this beautiful woman is in love with me. I would never do anything to risk messing that up. I'm sorry if I put an unpleasant thought in your head."
"Wow, good answer," said Sarah, now clearly teasing as she resumed her previous position and her deceptively strong arms pulled him in for a kiss. "But who says that it has to be unpleasant, especially if it's only a thought? And that doesn't change the facts. Admitting that you find her sexy was a bad husband thing that you just did, right? Some would say a very bad thing. But don't worry. I'm going to give you a chance to make it up to me."
"It's funny," Chuck said. "Here you keep wanting me to ask for wild, sexy things."
"It's more ironic than funny," Sarah protested. "But as long as that's true, I told you that I would find ways to use this to my advantage. I'd suggest that you do everything in your power to grant me my erotic wish. Come on, Chuck, we both know that you don't want a cranky wife."
Naturally Chuck knew full well what Sarah had in mind, even before she started pushing his head down her body. After all, it had gotten to be almost a daily thing. "Here?" he asked in alarm. "Sarah, I'm happy to grant your wish. You know that. Can't we go to the cabin?"
Sarah just shook her head as she continued pushing his head to her desired destination.
"What part of 'you're going to pay for that' didn't you understand?
There was no question but that Diane Beckman was a very powerful woman. Director of the NSA wasn't quite a cabinet position. But it was maybe the most important job in the country short of that. And personally leading the battle that regained control of the missing nuclear weapon was the cherry on top of a sterling career. Never mind that it was her agent who lost the weapon in the first place. Washington was very much a 'what have you done for me lately' town. And what General Beckman had done lately was save New York from getting a very close look at a mushroom cloud and at the same time save many political careers, including the Commander in Chief's. So her power was at its absolute peak.
Beckman had been in the White House scores of times over the years spanning several administrations. She had led meetings in the Situation Room so many times it was honestly becoming routine. But the Oval Office? That was quite another matter. "You wanted to see me, Mr. President?" she asked crisply as soon as she was ushered into the room.
For his part the President's smile was genuinely warm and friendly. "Come in, Diane," he said. "Sit down. Would you like something to drink?"
And actually, a drink didn't sound bad at all. But it wasn't done. "No thank you, sir," she said, waiting for him to start the conversation. The drink could wait until she was back safely in her own office.
She didn't have to wait long. "Tell me, Diane," he said. "This Jennifer Bowles. Does she really have something? Or is she just bluffing to make a deal?"
That was the six million dollar question, wasn't it? The President was asking for her frank assessment of the situation. On the other hand, she wasn't totally sure what her frank assessment was. "It's very possible, Mr. President," Beckman said. "As a Fulcrum Elder, it's hard to guess what information she had access to. If she's right, then it's something that we simply have to deal with. If she could tell us the names of the players, we could deal with them in the background without the political firestorm. That would be worth a lot… and she'd know it. She would push for as much as she could. Then again, it's also very possible that this is a manufactured ploy… that she is throwing us a line of bull, hoping we'll make a deal. There's really only one way to find out."
The President nodded. "I'm afraid that I agree," he said. "She only will talk to Bartowski? Are we sure about that?"
"I'm afraid that's the one thing we are sure of," Beckman sighed. "We've tried every interrogation technique in our playbook. We've walked to the very edge of legality with her. She's holding firm. Mr. Bartowski and Agent Carter. They're all she'll talk to."
"Tell me, Diane," he said. "Can you talk him into helping us?"
That got a relaxed smile. "Yes, sir," Beckman said. "Chuck Bartowski will always want to do the right thing. He'll be fairly easy to convince."
"It's his wife that will be the issue."
Ted Roark sat in his office watching the monitor. And even though the shot was clearly from a long range lens and rather grainy, it was still fairly obvious what was happening. "She's absolutely gorgeous," he said with a sigh. "Too bad she's burnt out as an agent. We could use her skills."
"How did we get this?"
"We have a man on the island posing as a worker," Roark replied. "This was taken just a few hours ago. Tell me that you wouldn't take his spot in a heartbeat."
Nicholas Quinn sat across the desk. "Who wouldn't?" he asked. "It's the Intersect. You don't get a woman like that in that position without an Intersect."
"We're going to give you every chance to find out what an Intersect will get you," Roark said. "You've earned this, Nicholas."
"Do you think they bought it?" Quinn asked wistfully.
"Hook, line, and sinker," Roark said calmly. "That's good because that island is an absolute fucking fortress. That Colonel Casey is a freak. They actually built a navy. What private family has their own navy? We'd never get him covertly when he's there. Fortunately I had an ace in the hole. My girl played them like a violin. They are too busy looking for Volkoff to pay attention to their real threat. Beckman is on her way right now to ask him."
"Your girl?" Quinn asked with a grin. "Word on the street is she plays for the other team? In fact she'd probably want to take his place more than you or I."
That got a laugh. "You've never heard of a switch hitter?" Roark asked. "I think you misunderstand her. She'd never want to take his place. When it comes to other women, she's pretty domineering, always thinks it's better to receive than give. Besides, our relationship is perfect. She allows me other women… and I return the favor… often at the same time with the same woman. What could be better than that? Once he's away from his protection we'll grab him. The instant that we have that governor off his wrist it's game over."
Quinn stared at the monitor intently. "I'll bet that's the last time he does that for her," he said with a grin. "I predict that her sex life is about to change pretty radically. Word is that she's always begging him to get wild. Maybe our new partner can be convinced to give her that wish during his mission. I predict in the future she'll learn to be a lot more careful what she wishes for."
"Imagine," Roark agreed. "A billionaire living on a fantasy island married to the most beautiful woman in the world who makes it her mission in life to see how kinky she can get to keep him excited. He's perhaps the luckiest man in the world." Then his grin turned evil.
"I'm afraid that his luck has just run out."
A/N: Yeah, I get that the astute among you will realize that this AU predates Alex's introduction and her love story with Morgan as presented on the show hasn't happened. But Alex is a key character in this story for reasons that have already been hinted at. So we'll have to assume that they met some other way. I think we can assume that the Carina/Morgan thing never happened. I mean, who bought that for a single second anyway? I think we can also assume that Casey is ever bit as protective of Alex as he was on the show. I think that maybe the Morgan/Alex story will be a little more rocky than on the show.