I still don't own Chuck. I'm not sure who does at this point.
Okay, I know. My retirement didn't last all that long. I still plan on retiring, but I've always said that if I got a good idea for a story, I would write it. This idea is courtesy of my friend, CharahKids. What would happen if Casey followed his orders and actually shot Chuck? We've been working on scene snippets for about a month now.
Sarah and Ellie teaming up to avenge Chuck's murder sounds pretty grim. And, yes, it will start off that way. But I don't write those kinds of stories. I write love stories. All of the normal BillAtWork promises apply. I think I'll leave it there.
This is going to get dark. Not in a sex or adult situations way. The story will be pretty tame in that regard. But Beckman and Graham ordered a law abiding American citizen to be murdered… simply because he was an inconvenience for them. Casey seemed willing to execute the order. I don't see how the writers could possibly expect us to like or trust them after that.
So expect a serious family war. Ellie, and especially Sarah, are pissed. They aren't going to take any prisoners. Neither is the CIA. There will be multiple character deaths.
As always a big thanks to Michaelfmx for his beta services. I really appreciate it.
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. CharahKids would probably also enjoy it, lol. 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.
Bryce was in the main room at Castle when the call came. There was one good thing about the Intersect Project. It got Graham and Beckman in the same room and eye-to-eye on some things. Of course neither of them would think that was a good thing and even if they did, they would never admit it out loud. Neither made any attempt to hide the fact that they didn't care for each other. And the institutional rivalry between the CIA and the NSA, which was always present at some level, was currently at an all time high.
"Where is Agent Walker?" Beckman asked.
Bryce looked around. Sarah had been making herself scarce whenever they were alone together in Castle. She had been for the past week, ever since they had been assigned to work as a team again. "She's in one of the rooms going over some surveillance," he responded, trying hard to keep the sadness from his voice.
"Are you sure she can't hear us?" Beckman asked pointedly. "I believe you're well aware of how sensitive this topic is."
Bryce could see her on one of the monitors. She was looking intently at a computer screen. "Yes, ma'am," he said. "If there's any good thing that came out of all of this, it's that she has been pouring herself into her work."
"How did it go last night?" Beckman asked. "Were you successful?"
They had been 'assigned' to attend a dinner party as a couple to tail a suspected Fulcrum money man. The assignment included spending the night together in the hotel. It was all fake, a setup. The man they were tailing was just a prominent businessman. Agent Walker was every bit as beautiful as she ever was. The dress she was wearing was stunning. And she was professional. But Bryce could tell that something was… off. "No ma'am," he sighed sadly. "I put on the full court press. I'm afraid that she wasn't in the mood for any romance last night." Bryce was being a little coy. In fact, he was spinning the details. She had slept on the couch. She also told him in no uncertain terms, that if he touched her ass one more time, he was going to wake up missing that hand.
"You told me this would work," Beckman said sternly. "You assured us that you knew exactly what you were doing, that after a night of dancing, you could have her in bed with it being her idea. You were fairly graphic in describing her favorite… activities."
"It will work," Bryce insisted pointedly. "You don't know her like I do. This has worked many times in the past. He's only been dead for two weeks. Yes, she's a hothead. But that's what makes her so intense… in the field, but also in bed."
"I'm not so sure," Beckman said. "She was obviously in love with him. Now she's messed up. How do we get her over him?"
"Ma'am," Bryce scoffed. "She wasn't in love with him. Agent Walker? In love with a guy who works in a Buy More? Please. You know her. She's a perfectionist. She was protective of him. She feels like she failed in her assignment by letting him be killed. That's all this is. She needs a mission to feel needed."
"We need her back in the game," Beckman said. "We've already lost Major Casey. He hasn't left his room since the incident. We plainly underestimated Bartowski's attraction to them both. We can't have an out of control agent running around. Be prepared to terminate him."
"Yes, ma'am," Bryce said sadly. He didn't like Casey. In fact, he didn't like him a lot. Casey made no attempt to hide the fact that the feeling was mutual. As agents, they were oil and vinegar. But terminating a fellow agent was a tough assignment.
"We'll hold off on Agent Walker," Beckman said. "For now. Bartowski's memorial service is today. Maybe after she gets some closure, she'll be more receptive to your… charm. I expect you to keep trying."
"Yes, ma'am," Bryce said confidently.
"I'll have her back in the saddle in no time."
Sarah was where she had been spending most of her time for the past week… looking at the taped surveillance scene of Ellie's apartment… for what seemed like the millionth time. The story they were telling just didn't make any sense. A Fulcrum hit? How did Fulcrum even know about Chuck? There was no intelligence that suggested that. And if they did, wouldn't they try to capture him first? He would have been very valuable to them.
The story they told Ellie was even more unbelievable. They couldn't tell her about Fulcrum. So they made something else up. But a robbery gone wrong? What did Chuck have worth stealing? She hadn't talked to Ellie since that horrible day at the hospital. And neither had been in any mood to make conversation.
Sarah went to the hospital once last week to look for her and see how she was doing. But she wasn't there. They said she took a leave of absence and nobody knew where she was. It's probably why the memorial service was two weeks after his death. The only family he had was in no shape to organize one. Sarah was certainly sympathetic. Frankly, that's what she wished she could do… find a hole someplace, crawl in, assume the fetal position… and let the rest of the world go to hell.
There was really only one thing left for Sarah to do… track down Chuck's killer, capture him, and use every bit of her training to make his last few hours of life as hellish as she possibly could. It was the only thing that kept her sane. That meant watching this horrible scene over and over looking for clues. At least that accomplished one thing. She was away from Bryce.
Was he the most clueless person on the planet or what? How could she possibly get through to him that, whatever you could call their previous relationship, it was over. She had zero interest in resuming a sexual relationship with him. The very thought turned her stomach. Yet he kept coming on to her like it was happy hour at Chili's. It was time to ask Graham for another assignment. That would be a tough sell. They once had been his best team. He wouldn't want to lose that. She'd have to talk him into it. She knew that she could talk him into a lot. But she was about ready to handle this situation by herself… in the classic Agent Walker manner… and throw a knife into Bryce's fucking throat.
She eventually came upon the part of the scene that she dreaded most but, no matter how hard she tried, simply couldn't tear her eyes away from. She watched herself enter the apartment and find him slumped on the floor. Sarah didn't need the tape for this part. She could still feel the panic as she frantically felt for a pulse, hoping against hope that there was a chance if she could just get him to the hospital in time. But she knew. There was way too much blood. The rest of that day was a blur. All she could remember was Ellie coming out and confirming that Chuck was dead. It was Beckman who told her the autopsy confirmed the cause of death… brain damage from excessive blood loss caused by a gunshot wound to the chest.
Sarah had to pause for a long moment to wipe the tears from her eyes. Crying wasn't her thing, never had been. She had already cried more about this than she had the rest of her life put together. Sarah had thought several times that there couldn't possibly be any more tears left inside of her. Yet they always managed to come leaking out. Dad had always told her that crying was for weak people… for suckers. It didn't accomplish anything. The only man she had ever loved had died without knowing… all because she was a coward. Crying wouldn't change that. Nothing would. She couldn't tell him how sorry she was. So that left avenging his death. That wouldn't bring him back. But it was all that she had. So she got back to work. There were a million fucking cameras in that apartment. How was it possible that not one of them had a glimpse of the shooter?
One of the things that Sarah could not figure out was how the shooter got into the apartment in the first place without being on a camera. The door and all of the windows were covered. The Morgan door was the obvious weakness. But she had watched the footage of his room so many times that she had ruled out missing anything.
Currently she was looking at Ellie and Devon's room. There was a window in there. He could have possibly come in that way. But there was absolutely no sign of anyone. She had watched the scene frame by frame about twenty times before she noticed it. The room was dark. So you could easily see the light coming through under the bedroom door. Wait. What was that? She rewound the scene for a second. There it was again. There was a definite shadow that crossed outside of the door. That must have been the killer. What else could it possibly be? Except that looking at the main room, there was nothing there. She even synchronized the two feeds in a split screen so that she could see both rooms at the same time. There it was again. There was no doubt. That was definitely a shadow. How could there possibly be a shadow with nothing to cause it? It wasn't possible.
It took several minutes before the truth hit her like a bolt of lightening. It now made perfect sense. What she was watching simply wasn't possible. This surveillance had been altered. There was only one organization in the world with the access and the skill to do that.
And that meant…
Suddenly Sarah was kicking herself for not having figured this out sooner. They had terminated him. "Sonofabitch," now Ex-Agent Walker muttered to herself. She threw the remote on the table in disgust and left Castle.
For the final time.
It took Casey a long time to answer the door. She hadn't seen him since the day Chuck had been killed. If she had been thinking clearly she would have wondered why he was still here. He should have been on a new assignment by now.
"Walker," he said as he finally opened the door. "What are you doing here? It really isn't a good time."
Again, if Sarah had been thinking clearly, she would have realized that Casey wasn't looking so good. He hadn't shaved… well, in a long time. He also didn't smell so good. The smell said that he probably hadn't showered in just as long.
But she wasn't thinking clearly. Maybe she was no longer a CIA Agent. But she hadn't turned in her lightning fast left foot. It connected flush on his jaw. Casey was a classic tough guy. But nobody stayed standing after taking that blow.
"Why'd you do it, Casey?" Sarah screamed as she launched another kick, this one directly into his ribs.
Okay, after taking that kick to his ribs, he was currently using all of his energy trying to breathe. So Sarah didn't expect him to answer. They both knew that he couldn't fight her for long. Ex-Agent Walker was far too quick and talented for him. But it took a long moment for Sarah to realize though her rage that he wasn't even trying to defend himself. So she launched one last kick, took out her gun, racked a round, and waited for him to recover.
"Why'd you do it?" she finally asked again.
Casey took a long moment to answer. His voice was strained. He was clearly still in pain. "Why do we do anything, Walker?" he finally answered. It wasn't a denial.
Sarah instantly knew what he meant. Agents followed orders… period. Sarah knew that better than anyone. You didn't question orders. You just obeyed them. And just at the wrong time, here came those damned tears again… right on cue. "Who ordered you to kill Chuck?" she sobbed.
"Who do you think?" Casey answered sarcastically.
"Beckman?" Sarah asked. "Graham?"
"They were both there," Casey said. "I tried to talk them out of it."
Sarah put her gun away. "I have a job for you," she said, still sobbing. "I want you to tell them both that they are currently dead people walking. I don't know how yet, but I'm going to kill both of them."
"Tell them that they can count on it."
Sarah knew that going to Chuck's funeral probably wasn't the smartest idea. She had just threatened the Director of the CIA. Knowing Graham, he had likely already issued her termination order. And if he hadn't yet, he soon would. Right after the funeral, she'd have to go on the run.
She found that she just couldn't stay away. She owed the only man she had ever loved a proper goodbye. She wore the dress that she had bought for their third date… their third real date… the one that Chuck hopefully would ask her for soon. And yes, when she bought it, she fully understood the significance of a third real date. Chuck wasn't aggressive. It was pretty obvious that she was going to have to make the first move. That was fine, she made sure that she picked out a dress that was easy to take off. Fortunately, Chuck had conservative tastes. He liked it when she dressed pretty more than sexy. Of course he never said anything. But Sarah could always tell by the look in his eyes which outfits he really liked. So the dark blue third date dress was also appropriate for a funeral.
It was a nice ceremony… understated and brief… but nice. Sarah would have loved to see him one last time. But two weeks was far too long to have an open casket. He had been cremated right after the autopsy.
It would have been an even nicer ceremony if those stupid tears would have stayed away. But they didn't. As much as Sarah hated to cry, she hated it even more when it happened in public. So the dark sunglasses were mandatory. She knew that she wasn't fooling anyone. But still, they hid the tears.
The kicker was that, as she left the church, Bryce was waiting for her by her car. If there was a termination order out on her, Agent Larkin was in perfect position to execute it.
Bryce looked at her dress. It was exactly the type of dress he hated. He hated anything that didn't show a maximum amount of cleavage. When they had been a couple, he would have openly made fun of it. He would have asked her if she had gotten a job in a library.
"You're not ever coming back to me," he said sadly. "Are you?"
Luckily Sarah's dark glasses hid her rolling her eyes. The moron really wanted to talk about their relationship… now? "No," she said. "I'm not."
"Sarah, I'm worried about you," Bryce said. "He's dead. How long are you going to be in love with a dead man?"
At least that sounded genuine, as genuine as Bryce ever got anyway. Hopefully, he finally got it. And since she was probably never going to see him again, at least not as friends, maybe some closure was in order. So she willed the calm into her voice. "Forever, I'm afraid," she said with as much of a smile as she could muster. "Bryce, I don't regret what we had. You were there for me at a time in my life when I was figuring some things out about myself. I appreciate that. We had some good times. We did a lot of good things. But that part of my life is over now. It's time to move on. Don't worry. You're going to get a great partner."
"Sarah," Bryce said. "You know that they're not going to let you just walk away. It's not how things work."
"I know that," Sarah said. "I'm going to have to face them. They'll probably send someone after me that I'll have to deal with. They'll keep trying and I'll keep fighting. "Bryce, I honestly hope it's never you. If it is, take your best shot."
"So will I."
Ellie made sure to keep the disappointed look from her face when she answered the door. But she didn't need this. Not now. "Hello, Sarah," she said.
"I'm sorry to bother you," Sarah said. "I know this isn't a good time."
Ellie looked at her closely. There was something different about her. Oh, she sure as hell didn't trust this CIA Agent, who had been playing her for the past year. But she looked genuinely devastated. That made some sense. After all, she and Chuck had been together practically every waking moment for the past year. Even for a hardcore agent, it was only natural that she would need to grieve a little. "Come in," she said and moved out of the way.
"It was a nice ceremony," Sarah said sadly. "He would have felt honored."
It was a lame attempt at small talk, and they both knew it. But Ellie refused to make this easy. If Agent Walker had something to say to her, she'd have to summon the courage to say it. So she played it straight. "Thank you," Ellie said. "I think he would have been too."
Sarah had just been called on her lame attempt at conversation, and she knew it. "Look," she said quietly. "I have something to say to you."
That was when Ellie noticed the tears in her eyes. But she still wasn't going to make this easy. "Okay," was all she said… and waited.
Now Sarah was sobbing. They were soft sobs that she was clearly trying to hide. But still. "I found out who killed him," she whimpered between sobs. "I can't tell you everything. You wouldn't believe me. But the rotten bastards took your brother away from you. Ellie, I wanted to come and tell you. I'm going to fucking kill all of them. It doesn't bring him back. I get that. But his death is not going to be unavenged. I promise you that."
Ellie already generally knew who was responsible for Chuck's murder. Now wasn't the time to get into why. That time would probably never come. But Sarah finally being willing to admit the situation had her attention. "Do you know who it was, specifically?" Ellie asked, suddenly interested.
"It was ordered by General Diane Beckman and Langston Graham," Sarah said. "Beckman is the Director of the NSA. Graham is my boss, Director of the CIA."
Ellie let slide that Sarah had just admitted what she already knew, that Sarah worked for the CIA. "Those are pretty important officials," Ellie said. "How are you going to kill them? It sounds like a suicide mission."
"It is a suicide mission," Sarah admitted. "Ellie, I'm afraid this is goodbye for us. How? I'm not sure yet. But I promise you that I will. You can count on it. It's my specialty. I owe it to him."
Suddenly Ellie understood. One look into Sarah's eyes and it suddenly all made sense. "Sarah," she said softly. "Chuck wouldn't want you to die avenging him."
Now Sarah's tears were back with a vengeance and she was openly sobbing. "I know," she said. "He wouldn't. He's too nice a guy. But he died before I could tell him how much I loved him. Ellie, I was a fucking coward. He's the only man I've ever loved. I didn't even believe in love before I met Chuck. Now he's gone. He loved me for a whole year never knowing how much I loved him back. Ellie, I tried. I was always going to tell him. But I was always too scared. I was always able to convince myself that I could tell him tomorrow. Now it's too late. There aren't any more tomorrows. I can't live with that. I'd give anything to have a second chance to tell him."
Ellie looked at Sarah standing there sobbing. Ten minutes ago, she didn't trust her, probably didn't even like her. This was the agent who had been lying to her for the past year. But it was impossible to deny that this person shaking with emotion in her living room was genuinely heartbroken. So she wrapped her arms around her. "If you're going to do this," she said. "I have something that I want to show you before we say goodbye for the last time. I think that you owe me that much. You're going on a suicide mission. A couple of hours aren't going to make much difference."
The next hour was a blur. Sarah just numbly allowed Ellie to guide her to the car. It really didn't register when she drove to the mall, basically dragged her inside, and then directly out the other exit and into another car. Even through her fog, she finally realized that Ellie had just executed a perfect method to lose a tail.
They drove silently for about an hour until they were deep into the mountains. Ellie finally pulled the car next to what looked to be a hunter's log cabin. Not knowing what else to do, Sarah just got out of the car and followed her.
"You said that you'd give anything to have a second chance," Ellie said as she opened the door. "Let's see how much you meant that."
"Chuck, Sarah has something she'd like to tell you."