Ok. This is my first attempt at fan fiction of any kind, so I'm sure I'm going to make plenty of mistakes. Therefore I appreciate any and all positive feedback that you send.

This will primarily be a Chuck fan fiction, with some crossover with the world of Tom Clancy (most notably Jack Ryan Shadow Recruit) and maybe a few others. This is AU for both, in that I've changed the timeline a little bit, and certain events either didn't happen or happened differently. Also, some of the characters will act differently then cannon.

I own neither Chuck or any of Tom Clancy's stuff.

Prologue: Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning

Oxford University

September 11, 2001

Jack Ryan sighed as he sat up from his position lying on the bench in the quad. It was his break between classes, and he always spent in the quad, napping.

Better get to class. He thought.

Jack began walking toward his next class, not wanting to be late. He was eighteen months into a two year PhD program, and though he was doing well, Professor Sterling was a hard-ass that didn't like him very well. He didn't want to be late.

As he neared his destination, he noticed a commotion as people started talking frantically and running towards the student union. He could tell something was wrong.

Probably another IRA flare up. He thought. There had been a few incidents lately, but this seemed to be different. A lot more people seemed to be running around then normal. Debating with himself for a brief minute, he turned and joined the exodus towards the Student Union. As he entered the building, he saw the crowd of students gathered around several large screen tvs. He looked up and gasped as he saw footage of a plan crash into the World Trade Center.

"Hey you're a Yank, aren't you?" someone said next to him. Jack nodded. "Sorry mate."


Burbank, CA

September 11, 2001

Charles Irving Bartowski, Chuck to his friends, watched the TV screen in shock. The morning had started out normally enough. He had showed up to his job at the Buymore, though to be honest, he seriously considered sleeping in. He was doing a lot of that lately, ever since his douche bag of a former roommate had framed him for cheating and gotten him kicked out Stanford and stole his girlfriend. Life just didn't seem to be worth it anymore. Honestly, if it wasn't for the fact he worked with his best friend Morgan, he probably would have just stayed home. But somehow, seeing Morgan was enough to drag him back from the ledge.

"Oh my God." He said, as the TV showed images of one of the towers collapsing. This can't be happening.

Echo Park

September 21, 2001

"You WHAT!?" screamed Dr. Eleanor "Ellie" Bartowski. "Are you insane!?"

So much for hoping for a reasonable reaction. Chuck sighed. He loved his sister dearly. She had done a great job raising him since both of their parents abandoned them, but she could be very smothering.

"I enlisted in the Marines, Ellie." He repeated.

"Chuck you can't be serous." She said. "Be reasonable. I know you've been having a rough time since Stanford and Jill –"

"Dammit Ellie, will you just listen!" Chuck interrupted, exasperated. "Yes, I've been having a rough time. I've been spiraling further and further into depression. Something had to change. And it did." He took a breath, and then continued. "Ellie, when I watched the attacks two weeks ago, I suddenly realized that all my problems were nothing compared to that. And then I really started to think. Ellie, I've been living in a bubble the last few years, hell even all my life. Yeah, it sucked that mom and dad left, but we survived. We did better then survive. You're a doctor. I got into Stanford. Compared to a lot of other people, our lives have been nowhere near as bad as it could be. I realized I was being selfish. And that I had no one to blame for the last few months since I was kicked out of Stanford except me. Well no more. The world doesn't need another Nerd Herder, or Software programmer. It needs doctors, firefighters, cops, nurses and people who can help people. And it needs people who are going to put themselves between the bad guys and everyone else. I want to keep people safe. And, frankly, I need direction and structure in my life. And I can't think of any better way to get all of that then to join the Marines. This isn't up for debate, Ellie. I've signed all the papers. It's done. I leave in eight weeks."

As she listened to her brother talk, Ellie couldn't help but feel tears welling up. They were a mixture of anger, concern, and finally, pride. She was angry because Chuck hadn't consulted her first before making the decision; angry at Bryce Larkin for getting Chuck kicked out of Stanford; and angry at the world for needing people like Chuck. Concern for her baby brother, because as much as she loved him and believed in him, he was basically a nerd. He was healthy physically but never athletic or a weight lifter; the exact opposite of how she envisioned Marines. And then there was the fact that her country was clearly heading into a war; a war he brother would most likely eventually be fighting in. And finally she was proud; proud that her brother wanted to help protect people. All three of these emotions warred with her for several minutes before pride won out. She launched herself at Chuck and pulled him into a bone-crushing hug.

"I'm sorry Chuck." She said, crying. "It's just that I promised myself when dad left that I would take care of you. I guess I forget that you're not a little kid anymore. I'm very proud of you." She pulled back. "But you better not die or I'll kill you!"