Thank you charahkids for being my beta! I have returned
Taking a deep breath Sarah Walker closed her eyes and cleared her head, emptying it of everything and anything not pertinent to the current mission. Today was an important day .Possibly the most important day of Sarah's life if she was honest with herself. The day they, the people she considered friends, family, and a loose word of co-worker had been planning for the past few months since they found his location. There was no room for screw ups, no take backs, and no second chances. If they didn't succeed this time not only would their target be moved immediately and into a more secure location so far out of their reach Area 51 would look like a cake walk to break into, but they would also be incarcerated for treason or worse, killed.
Sarah couldn't allow that. She wouldn't allow that. Neither option was acceptable and therefore they must succeed at all costs. She had promised his family that she would save him at any cost and she was determined to do so. They didn't ask for any of this to happen to them. They were unwilling participants and all they wanted was their brother back.
It was her fault anyways, even though everyone had told her otherwise. She didn't believe them. If she had spent less time as a girlfriend and more time being an agent she would have been able to see the signs that something was going to happen. That they were going to take him away from her. The near misses and the failed missions were not their faults; she didn't blame herself for those. Fulcrum was just too strong and got too close, becoming too much for Sarah and Casey to protect the asset from them. They should have just stopped the missions, stuck to analysis, but the higher ups insisted the Intersect was more use to them in the field then behind the desk, despite the fact that he wasn't trained to defend himself.
Everything just fell apart so quickly.
The search for Orion, Chuck's father was the catalyst that brought the end. His letting Jill go after not finding his father had pissed off everyone beyond anything else they had done. Sarah thought they had been able to talk the General out of taking Chuck in, that he was just worried about his father but apparently, like everything else during that time, she was wrong.
"Are you ready Walker?" Casey barked beside her. Sarah didn't jump, didn't startle. She was in complete control of herself at that moment, aware of everything around her as she centered herself. All the fear, anxiety, sadness, and pessimism had left her leaving her in complete control of herself. She gave herself one more moment, one more deep breath before lifting her head and opening her eyes to meet Casey's.
"Let's do this. Let's get Chuck."
1 year previous.
"What do you mean he's gone?" Sarah yelled angrily at the screen in front of her. The woman on the other side, General Beckman obviously did not take well to her tone if the expression on her face was any indication. "Where is Chuck?"
"Mr. Bartowski is none of your concern any longer Agent Walker. I suggest that you watch your tone and think very carefully on what you are going to say next." Beckman stated sternly.
She felt Casey place a hand on her shoulder but she just shrugged it off and walked a few feet away, breathing deeply, trying to calm herself. But it was useless. All she felt was panic, anger, and confusion. They mixed up inside her gut and she felt as if she were going to be sick. Her mind raced on Chuck and where he was. Where had they taken him? She hated herself at that second that she wasn't there to stop them from taking him away and they did it right under Casey and her noses.
They took Chuck.
"General, if I may, what happened to change the assets status?" Casey asked behind her, and she held her breath waiting for the reply from Beckman. None came right away; Sarah imagined that she was scrutinizing him on his question. Her mind screamed at Beckman to cut the crap and just tell them what they wanted to know.
"The chiefs believe that the Intersect is no longer safe out in public. His latest act of rebellion of letting Ms. Roberts go was the last straw. He has been taken into protective custody."
"Where was he taken?" Sarah butt in, returning to the front of the screen.
"Again, Walker that is no longer any of your concern."
"What about his family General? His sister is going to notice that he's gone. He has friends and a life here. "She argued.
"A life he unfortunately has to forfeit for the security of our nation Agent Walker." Beckman stated.
"What about Orion, General? Fulcrum still has him. They're using him to build their own intersect. We need Chuck to free him." Sarah argued desperately, hoping Beckman would see that they needed Chuck to complete this mission and bring him back. Bring him back so that Sarah could take him away.
"We have found Orion's current location as Black Rock in Barstow. We are sending drones there as we speak to take care of Fulcrums Intersect."
Sarah gasped in horror at the news, realizing what they were doing. They would be stopping Fulcrum from getting their Intersect by also killing Orion. No one would be able to have one.
"General, Orion is Chuck's father. He's innocent. You can't just leave him to die there." Sarah argued, horrified.
"Stephen Bartowski created a very dangerous weapon. While the American Intelligence community has been benefiting from this weapon for the past year it is too great to allow another one to ever be created. It's better for everyone if Orion was eliminated." With one last glare at Sarah she turned her beady eyes to Casey. "You are to shut down the op. You have one week to tie up any loose ends here and report back to Langley. The two of you." With a final glance she disconnected the call.
Silence descended into the conference room of Castle. Even the sounds of the air unit and soft hums of the computers couldn't be heard of over the loud beating of Sarah's heart and the blood rushing in her ears, muting all sounds around her.
That was it. Chuck was gone. And Orion would be blown up. The one man who could take the damn thing out of Chuck would be gone in less than twenty minutes. She didn't even get to say a goodbye to Chuck. She wasn't prepared for this. She always knew there was a chance that Chuck would be taken away, that the government would finally decide that it was too much risk letting him out in the public and stick him in a bunker, but she always thought she would be part of the extraction team. That they would notify either her or Casey of his change in status and they would be involved.
That way they could stop it.
Instead a team came in after Chuck's shift at the Buy More. A short twenty minute window in-between Chuck and Casey being finished for the day. Chuck wasn't permitted exactly to drive home on his own and Sarah had some things to do in Castle so he was going to work on some dailies while he waited for Casey. That's when they struck. Stopping him in their black van right outside the Orange Orange. Sarah and Casey nowhere near him.
Sarah had been watching the security feed, watching his trek from the Buy More to the yogurt shop, running up the stairs as fast as she couldn't once the van stopped in front of Chuck. She was too late. The van was gone and so was Chuck.
Sarah had called Casey right away in a panic, telling him about the van. They ran the plates and came up with nothing. They followed it through the video cameras on the streets until they came to some downed ones and they lost it. That was when Beckman came in.
"Walker." Casey said softly, breaking through the blood in her ears. She didn't respond, couldn't. She had yet to get feeling left in her body that would allow her the control to do anything other than stand and stare at the blank screen in front of her. "Walker!" He said again a bit loudly.
Sarah shook her head as her breath hitched in her chest. "He's gone."
"We didn't even say goodbye."
"Damn it Walker."
"We weren't prepared for this." She sobbed.
"We knew it would come to this Walker, now get ahold of yourself." Casey barked at her. She turned abruptly to face him, eyes hard as she glared at him. But Casey stood his ground, crossing his arms over his broad chest, tall and straight.
"We weren't prepared for him to just be taken Casey." She stated angrily, smashing her fist onto the table. She felt pain shoot through her hand and wrist but she didn't show it. She embraced it, letting it center her. "We don't know where he is."
"No we don't. But we're spies Walker. Stop thinking like a girlfriend and start thinking like a spy. Use your head." He stated stepping into her personal space. Sarah stared up at him, refusing to back down from whatever game he was playing at the moment. "It was coming, we both saw it. We've had too many failed missions lately."
"It wasn't our fault Casey. We weren't prepared for the scale that Fulcrum is now on."
"It doesn't matter Walker and you know that. All that matters is our success and failures." He argued. "And Bartowski has come close one too many times to being captured. It was inevitable that the government would act. He was become reckless and becoming a danger to himself and to us."
Sarah backed down, taking a step back and turning away from Casey. She didn't like the feeling she had right now. She didn't like feeling this way, out of control. She was borderline obsessive when it came to being in control. Always has been, at least until she met Chuck. Then suddenly everything was out of her hands and into the hands of fate. For the most part she had been alright with that. Everything that happened outside her control all seemed to have some kind of happy ending, or at least positive. Everyone and everything turned out ok. And when it didn't Chuck was there. His everlasting optimism always took away any doubt or fear she had when something didn't go their way. He was there to comfort her or lighten the situation and she was forever grateful for that.
She wondered if she ever told him that.
It didn't matter at the moment. What mattered is that Chuck was gone and she somehow had to get him back.
"What about Orion?" She asked softly, not meeting Casey's eyes. He gave a low grunt and she knew what he was saying. There was nothing they could do for him. He was too far out and they had no contact with him. They would lose him. Stephen Bartowski won't be making up the lost years with his children, explaining why they had to suffer with so much pain. He wouldn't be able to go to his own daughters' wedding, the whole reason he came back into their lives in the first place.
"Oh god, Ellie!" Sarah jolted as she thought of her boyfriends' sister, her friend.
Ignoring Casey's calling Sarah grabbed her keys off the table and ran up the stairs of Castle and out of the Orange Orange to her car that she left out front. Her fingers fumbled clumsily as she tried to get them into the ignition finally giving a loud swear and banging her hand hard on the wheel when they wouldn't cooperate. Every second was important. She had to get to Ellie before the government officials did.
She backed her car out of the spot, jolting slightly as she hit a car that was driving behind her, but not stopping she took off, wheels squealing and rubber burning as she made her way quickly to Casa Bartowski.
She was too late though. As she pulled into Chuck's apartment complex she could see the police cruisers sitting out front and her heart sank to the pit of her stomach. It was too late to get to Ellie and Devon first. It never ceased to surprise her that as slow as the government was, it was quick at the same time.
Sarah waited in her car, unable to bring herself to get out quite yet, not with the fake police men in there talking to Ellie. She didn't think she could control herself listening to the lies they would tell to convince Chuck's family that he had died. Her breath was coming out ragged and she found it hard to breath. She would hold her breath in and count to ten but it wasn't working, it wasn't calming her. She wanted to hit something. Preferably anybody in a uniform that was responsible for this whole mess.
Finally the faux police exited the courtyard and entered the cars. Sarah watched them as they idled for a moment, giving them several minutes to get out of the area before exiting her own vehicle and heading towards Chuck's apartment.
A loud scream of pain echoed around the enclosed courtyard stopping her in her feet near the fountain. Her heart jumped, and normally it would cause her to go into action but she knew what it was, who it was. She could hear Ellie crying out angrily out at whoever was in there with her, or perhaps at everybody and nobody at the same time. And she hadn't even been told about her father yet, probably wouldn't. Ellie didn't know that her father was a government scientist on the run and therefore would not be notified of his death.
Sarah collapsed onto the side of the fountain, her legs unable to hold her anymore as the tears begun falling down her cheek, unable to control them anymore. Everything was happening too fast for her and she just wanted everything to slow down so she can figure it out, think about it. To find the best solution that would fix the problem. The sounds of Ellie's grief still echoed around her, compassing her and pressing in onto her until Sarah finally gave in and let the emotions take over her, letting her own grief out.
That night Sarah somehow ended up in Chuck's bedroom, waking up to the smell of his pillow. She had smiled into it, and rolled over expecting him to be there only to have her heart break again as the space next to her was cold and empty. Tears soaked the pillow as she rolled on her back and covered her face with her hands. She could still hear Ellie crying in her own bedroom with Devon's soft deep tones comforting her to no effect. She wished Ellie would just stop as the pain she cried out dug deep into Sarah's own heart, but she wouldn't ever tell her that.
Not able to lie down any longer Sarah finally crawled off the large bed, standing next to it for a few moments before heading towards the door. She paused in the hall, part of her wanting to go to Ellie, to tell her that Chuck was alright they just had to find him but she stopped herself. Telling Ellie at the moment would do no good. Casey and she didn't have a plan, didn't know all the details yet and knowing Ellie she would take her devastation and turn it into anger, and her anger is not something that is helpful at the moment but is very dangerous. For a medical doctor Ellie Bartowski could teach the CIA something in interrogation and torture.
That could blow the whole rescue attempt. The government was still watching, still keeping an eye out making sure everything went according to plan, and as much as Sarah hated making Ellie suffer any longer she knew their best attempt at getting Chuck back was to act normal until they backed off.
Heading to the kitchen to grab something to drink Sarah stopped in her tracks in the darkened hall as she looked up and saw the normally spikey head of one Morgan Grimes sitting on the couch in the dark. She thought for a moment, her body telling her to flee back to the safety of Chuck's room, she hadn't been seen yet and most likely he needed to be alone, like she did, but she couldn't bring herself to do that. It was her fault Chuck's best friend was sitting in the dark in pain. It was her lack of sight that caused all of this.
Walking softly down the few steps from the hall into the living room Sarah crossed her arms over her chest and stepped around the sofa. Morgan didn't acknowledge her presence as she sat in the large comfy chair at the end of the couch, her back to the door and took the moment of to study him. He was wane and looked tired, his eyes heavy lidded, looking drunk, though Sarah couldn't smell any alcohol. The bedding on the couch indicated that he had been invited to stay over as she apparently had; only she hoped he might have been a little more aware of it.
"I hope you don't mind I brought you in." Morgan said interrupting the silence. Sarah moved her eyes to his face, but he was still staring off at a distance. "You were just by the fountain all crumpled in a heap. I couldn't leave you out there."
Sarah closed her eyes as her mind searched for that memory, but finding none she figured she must have blacked out or something. "Thank you Morgan." She offered softly.
"It's no problem. Chuck, Chuck wouldn't want me to just leave you out there. He'd want me to take care of you." A loud sniffle came from Morgan causing Sarah to jump slightly but she didn't say a word. She wasn't sure what to say. She felt she was the cause of this man's pain. "What am I going to do?"
"What do you mean Morgan?"
"I mean Chuck's my best, I mean was my best friend. We did everything together. He knew everything about me, and I him." A sob escaped him and his chest heaved as the tears came again. "He always stood by me no matter what."
Sarah covered her face with her hands again, not able to take watching the little man she had come to respect in some manner break down in front of her. Everything inside of her told her to tell him it's not real. It's all fake. Chuck's alive if not well and she was going to do everything in her power to bring him back. But she couldn't do that. Not yet anyways.
"We had this whole plan you know. We were going to grow old together. We were going to get married, to uh…other people of course. We would have kids, and they would be the best of friends. We'd have family picnics, vacation. Monday night Halo nights. But now, now there's nothing. He's gone. It's over." He cried out. "Now what am I to do? My best friend."
"You live Morgan." She said finally, her hands dropping suddenly from her face. She scooted to the edge of the chair and leaned towards him, waiting for him to finally give her his full attention.
"How?" He cried out softly. "I'm nothing without Chuck. He's the only one who believed in me." Sarah thought for a moment about what she was about to say. It would sound harsh and cold but she hoped it would be a wakeup call for him.
"Do you know what people say about you Morgan?" She asked hoarsely, not waiting for an answer. "They call you a lazy stupid little gnome of a man who couldn't navigate himself out of an empty Buy More if he had extra eyes, a map, and the Marauders Map."
"Way to kick a man when he's down Sarah, nice."
Sarah ignored him, grabbing his hand from his lap and holding it tightly. "But Chuck didn't. Chuck believed in you. I didn't understand it at first but the closer we got the more I got to know you I saw it Morgan. You are an intelligent person. Like Chuck you could do anything with your life if you would just motivate yourself and have confidence in your abilities."
"No, you're wrong. I'm barely good enough for the Buy More. I almost got fired! Remember the sales competition last year?"
"You almost got fired because you didn't put enough effort into it. You went about it the wrong way. You're so used to doing the wrong thing, you sabotage yourself." Sarah paused, let him take it in.
"I just, I don't know Sarah. I don't know what to do. I don't know what to think. My best friend is dead."
Sarah swallowed the emotions that were trying to come up. Her eyes stung badly from the tears that were being forced out causing her sinuses to hurt.
"Right now we grieve Morgan." She whispered, squeezing his hand again. "Then we honor his memory and his faith in you." She said, but Morgan still looked distrustful, still wrapped in his grief of his best friend. "I'm going to help you Morgan. You won't be alone. I promise."
The funeral was a very huge affair. Definitely one of the biggest ones Sarah had ever attended. Although, it was to be expected when combined with a wedding.
Sarah finally talked to Ellie the next day, both women's emotions had calmed down enough that they could finally see each other without just breaking down into tears. Though Sarah had been ordered back to Langley she had been able to convince the higher ups to allow her to stay in Burbank a little bit longer, claiming that it would help finish the cover they had with Chuck and leave it without any holes or questions. But in reality, Sarah just couldn't bear to leave Ellie, her first real friend even if Ellie didn't realize just how true that statement was, when she needed her the most. Though Chuck wasn't really dead, Sarah still felt his loss as thought he was.
Ellie had wanted to call off the wedding that was that weekend. Devon supported her and surprisingly so did his parents. Ellie had told Sarah first of the decision after making it with her fiancé, stating that she may need her support once she tells her future in-laws but surprisingly they agreed. But it was Morgan who really stepped up to the plate and wouldn't allow it.
"You can't cancel the wedding. Eleanor Faye Bartowski you are going to get in front of that church with Captain Awesome and you are going to marry him." He had stated once they told everyone. It was decided it would be best to bring everyone most involved, closest to them all and have a light breakfast and announce it. Even Casey was there, though she suspected it was more so he can go around and collect the various bugs they've planted.
Ellie shielded her eyes for a moment, obviously counting to ten. Normally she would just snap at Morgan but Sarah could tell she was trying to be a little bit more sensitive to him. "Morgan, my brother is dead." She said simply, before looking at him.
Morgan grimaced slightly as if he'd been slapped but he held still. Sitting on the coffee table in front of Ellie he tried to reach for her hands, which, to Sarah's surprise she let him take.
"Trust me Ellie; you're the only one who might know that more than me." He told her. "But I know Chuck. You know Chuck, and nothing would make him happier than you getting married."
"I can't Morgan. I can't think of that stuff now. I have a funeral to plan. I have things to cancel, I have-" She stopped as the tears begun pouring down her face one more as the sorrow caught up to her.
"It's no big deal babe. We'll help you." Devon wrapped his arms tightly around her and Ellie buried her face in his firm chest.
Morgan however wouldn't give up. Sarah was about to take Morgan out to the courtyard to talk to him when Casey surprised them all by speaking up and agreeing with him, stopping everyone in their tracks. Obviously not used to the attention Casey seemed less confident than what Sarah was used to, but his voice was firm, and commanding, impressing the importance of what he was saying.
"See Ellie. Casey, the man with three emotions agree." Morgan argued. He was pacing back and forth in front of the TV, nervous energy obviously coursing through him. Casey growled at the comment but didn't say anything else, probably due to realizing that Morgan was right.
And so it was decided that two days later, at 4pm on Saturday, Eleanor Faye Bartowski married Devon Christian Woodcomb. The whole ceremony was beautiful and unusual but it worked out and it was beautiful. Sarah had never been to a combination wedding and funeral and she hoped to never have to go through it again.
The bride and groom both wore black instead of the traditional colors. The flowers of the wedding decorated the church, making the place as cheerful as it should be for a wedding. The guest list tripled as friends of Chuck's were invited and so many people came to pay respects to him in addition to the wedding guests that there was only standing room available in the Church.
After the wedding, and the eulogies there was a private burial ceremony before the reception and wake. Dressed in their finest Ellie, Devon, Sarah, and Morgan drove to the graveyard where Chuck was to be buried and said a prayer and their final goodbyes. Though the casket was empty Sarah felt her heart sink lower into the ground as the empty box was lowered. The only thing keeping her from jumping down into it as well as the knowledge that Chuck was not in there. Chuck was somewhere else, someplace safe at least.
The reception had been moved from its previous location to that of the Buy More. Big Mike closed the store and offered it as a space to accommodate the larger group of people. Stores from the entire plaza donated food and equipment to them for the event. And though the store was not open exactly, Buy More had seen its largest amount of high end items sold that day in the history of the store, as guests and mourners bought merchandise while they celebrated both Chuck's life and his legacy and the beginning of the life his sister was building with the man that she loved.
By the end of the day Sarah was so exhausted she could barely think. Casey took her back to her hotel room, unable to stay another night in Chuck's bed without him there. Still fully dressed Sarah lay on her bed facing the window. It was dark now and there was nothing to see and Sarah felt it was fitting as that was how she felt at the moment.
Ellie and Devon were off to their honeymoon, being convinced to still go and Sarah would be gone tomorrow. She had packed up everything of importance to her already and had it packed into one small bag, the rest of the items in the hotel room would be picked up by the CIA cleaning crew tomorrow.
"What are we going to do Casey?" She asked despondently. She had never felt so emotionally drained in her entire life.
"With the Woodcomb away, now is the perfect time to get out." He responded. Sarah signed and sat leaned up on her elbows to look at him.
"I can't leave yet. I promised Morgan I would help him. And I don't want him to be alone while Ellies gone." She stated.
Casey let out a grunt, taking a drink from the glass of scotch he had poured himself. Sarah knew what he was thinking, but for the first time she didn't care. This is what she wanted to do; this is what she had to do. If she had any hope of freeing Chuck, she knew he would never really forgive her if she left his friends and family in such disarray. In a way, they felt like her friends and family too now.
"I have to report to Langley tomorrow. I'll tell Beckman you are finishing up the rest of the op. It should buy you a few days." He told her. Sarah nodded her thanks and then lay back on the bed again, folding her arms over her stomach. "You have to go back Sarah. You have no chance of finding him if you stay here."
He was right, of course he was right. They needed her resources to find him. The ones from the CIA. They had planned it out the night before. They would both go back to their respective agencies and quietly dig around finding out what they can. It would be hard, and damn near impossible. Sarah was sure that Chuck was so deeply covered that they practically erased his entire existence out.
But she wasn't ready to give up. She didn't think she ever would be. She would go back to the CIA in the next few days, stoic and professional like she always was before this assignment and she would play nice. She would do as she was told and she would be the best, because she was the best. Langston Graham and taught her well and she was going to use every bit of training she had gotten to find Chuck and save him.
She only hoped he knew that.
A/N: I'm BACK! As always. RR if you can. Hope your day goes well. Feel free to fb or twitter me. just google 'facebook missmonk928' and you'll find me!