The Trapped Assassin
Author's Note: This is an Alternate Universe Charah story. As I've warned previously, there will be sexual content in this multi-chapter fic, so if you aren't jive with that, this might not be the story for you. Please note that this is a story with an actual plot, however, which means it won't only be sex.
I also feel the need to add that I am loosely (very loosely!) basing this general story idea off of the 2010 romcom called "Killers". I saw it on TV with my friend and couldn't stop thinking about Chuck and Sarah because I'm obsessed. However, I will deviate quite a bit from the plot of that film, because it was not a good film by any stretch of the imagination. I just liked the way the main characters met.
I really hope you all enjoy it! I am going to do my best to update this as regularly as possible.
Summary: After a mission goes awry, the CIA's most successful and lethal assassin is ordered to take a couple weeks vacation while her superiors figure out what to do with her. But when she meets a disarming tourist, their immediate connection only adds to her disillusionment with the agency and her career. Is he enough for her to finally take the plunge and leave the only life she's ever known?
Disclaimer: I do not own CHUCK. I am not making any money writing this story.
Chapter 1: Prologue
The man sitting alone in his office slumped forward, his head thumping onto his desk, before he lifelessly slipped out of his chair and hit the floor, disappearing from view.
She lifted her head away from her sniper rifle's scope and blinked, before pulling the rifle back from where it was perched on a ledge, sliding down the rock until she was no longer visible to anyone who might be looking up her way.
It only took a moment to dismantle the rifle before she slid it into a fold-up beach chair bag and tied it shut. Checking her bikini top and the wrap she wore over her bottoms, slipping her flip flops back onto her feet.
Tugging the tie at the base of her neck, she let her long, wavy locks spill over her shoulders, reaching up to fluff it a bit to make it look extra beachy. This was Nice, after all.
When she trotted down the stone steps from her momentary sanctuary from which she'd carried out her latest job, turning down a small alleyway, and sliding into a small crowd of vacationers walking along the rows of expensive shops, other tourists saw a stunning, long-legged blonde wearing a dark green bikini that flattered her athletic figure, carrying a beach chair over her shoulder.
She smiled as she moved past a family and caught the mother's eye. And for a moment, she let herself ponder on how different the mother's returning grin might be if the woman knew she was looking into the face of a murderer.
Fighting back the niggling feeling of despondency and inadequacy that had begun to sneak into her subconscious in the last few months, she tucked the disguised rifle under her arm and trotted across the street to slip into the back entrance of the resort where she was staying. With a sweeping glance both ways, she stepped into the hallway and hurried through to the main lobby.
There was at least one good thing about this particular job she was on, in spite of the multitudes of awful, frustrating, annoying things, and that was the vibrant tan she had gotten in the last five days since she arrived.
Tailing Roland Taft had meant a lot of boating, a lot of lounging on pool decks, and one all-day dock party—all of which meant plenty of sun. (And, unfortunately, none of the fun.)
She would return to Langley with quite the glow.
In four weeks.
Which was when her "vacation" would be over. That was what CIA Director Langston Graham had called it. He was the only person in the agency whom she answered to. She was a ghost. Or as close to a ghost as one could get when you had her reputation. Wildcard Enforcer. And that was the nicest thing she had heard. Many said Graham had her in his pocket, and when he needed someone offed, he'd let her loose to do the offing.
It was despicable, cruel, disrespectful, mortifying…
And then she'd hardened enough to deflect it with jabs of her own when she could muster up the energy.
And now that she'd had time to really reflect on her life, on her job (which technically was her whole life), she realized it was all true. She wasn't like other people.
She was like Death. Stalking through life, moving through the throngs of humans who lived on this earth, and picking them off whenever her boss told her to. It had always been this way. Ever since she was recruited by him at 17 years old.
"How many? Combien?"
She looked over at the man gesturing wildly to the unamused but polite gentleman behind the desk.
"Do you understand French?" the man's wife asked.
"Oui, Madame. It is my first language."
With a smirk, the assassin turned away from the unfortunately common scene and continued towards the elevators. The smirk died as she remembered that her job wasn't entirely finished just yet. She still had to tell Graham that Roland Taft was dead. He would send a clean-up crew if it was needed.
But according to the file he'd handed her a week ago when he called her into his office, the drug smuggler Roland Taft was despised by many. Thus it had taken her some days to figure out when best to strike and how. When a man had bodyguards sticking to him like a bunch of leeches for eighteen hours of the day, it took time to distinguish when those remaining six hours were. Those were the hours when she would strike.
Before she went to her room, she had to inform Graham that she had succeeded. The man he had sent her after was gone. For good. She had sent the bullet through his brain. She had watched as he died. It had been immediate. That was how she preferred to do things, even in the beginning. Sometimes she couldn't. If things didn't go to plan, and she had to defend herself. The deaths weren't always quick. And those were the ones that got stuck in her ribcage like a newly sharpened dirk. Killing her slowly.
She'd feel them throbbing at night when it was quiet, lodged between her bones, threatening. Dark. Life-draining.
Instead of continuing to the elevators, she changed course and moved through the lobby and out of the back doors to the gated pool area. The pool was massive, the most massive pool she had ever seen in her life, in fact. And she wondered at the silliness of having a giant pool when the Mediterranean was your backyard.
She wondered at a lot of things these days—things she would never have wasted thought on even just one year ago. Something had changed. She didn't know what, or when. But it had. Maybe it was her last face-to-face meeting with Director Graham. He'd had this look in his eyes, or maybe it was the tilt of his mouth. She hadn't been able to figure it out, but it had felt…bad. She'd left the meeting feeling so discontent, and unhappy.
Maybe it had been even before that. Something planting a seed of disillusionment.
She couldn't shake it, try as she might.
Granted, her trigger finger hadn't hesitated for a moment when she shot Taft. She knew who he was, she knew how he operated, and she knew he deserved what she gave him. There were hundreds, maybe even thousands, of people in the world who would like to buy her a drink for what she did five minutes ago.
But he wasn't like some of the others…the ones she wasn't quite so sure about.
One week ago, she'd been standing in Graham's office, her hands folded in front of her in a professional stance, listening to him talk about Roland Taft. The DEA wanted him, but they weren't going to get him. At least, not in one piece. The world was better off with him gone. He would find a way to come back unless they put him 6 feet under. Graham would handle the DEA himself, as there was bound to be some bad blood, backlash. He'd just deny it was them, so don't leave any traces that will lead to the CIA, Walker.
The usual jargon he spewed at her when he was sending her on a hit.
They're a terrorist. Terrorist terrorist terrorist. What was a terrorist, these days? Who was a terrorist? Why?
So many questions.
Sometimes she listened to Graham and other times she didn't.
But then he had told her about Taft's vacation condo in Nice, along the Mediterranean. And how she would find him there with his wife and their four children. It was what he said after that, though…
Graham had all but ordered her to take some time off. He'd told her she needed a vacation—some time for herself. To recuperate and figure things out. She had never needed anything like that before. She would go, go, go, go until she couldn't go anymore. And even then…
But a vacation? And four weeks, for God's sake. It was a paid vacation, which was nice on the one hand, and on the other, the tone in which he'd said it and the hardness in his face told her exactly what he meant. This wasn't just a vacation—nor was it even a suspension. The CIA was deciding what to do with Director Graham's 'Wildcard Enforcer', and for that, they needed her out of the way.
They were placating her. As they decided her fate. And it pissed her off as much as it worried her.
Would she spend the rest of her time with the CIA sitting at a desk? Would she be pulled from the field completely? Just having turned 27 a week ago, she wasn't exactly old enough for retirement. Or would they retire her with a bullet between her eyes?
No, they wouldn't do that. She wasn't giving them enough credit.
She was dangerous. Hence the 'wildcard' part of her nickname. And she was a legend. Part of that legend was that there was ice in her veins. She killed without blinking. Her heart was ice-cold stone. She was the perfect assassin.
And she was unrivaled when it came to hiding her true emotions behind a spy mask that was impenetrable, even by Graham on his best days. She let them think all of those things because it was easier. And because it meant people stayed the hell out of her path. It also left her friendless. But there was nothing new about that. Even before the CIA yanked her out of San Diego and plugged her into top secret Farm courses with one-on-one training, she'd been friendless. The broody brainiac with a jailbird dad and a grandma so old she was practically dead already.
The assassin swept her gaze across the pool deck and zeroed in on the figure of a man sitting at the bar underneath the cabana on the other side of the large L-shaped pool. He was very much in conversation with the attractive young woman on the stool beside his, completely ignoring the smartphone at his elbow.
She moved around the pool, dodging a little boy who raced across the cement and leapt into the water with an impressive splash. Leaning over the bar next to the man with the phone, she propped her elbows on bar top and covered his phone with her opposite hand as she asked for a cup of water.
The man didn't look away from his companion for a moment, she noticed out of the corner of her eye, and when the barkeep handed her the cup of water, she downed it in one gulp, set the cup down, and calmly strolled away, the phone clutched in her hand.
Waiting until she left the pool area and was safely hidden behind a nearby trellis, the assassin dialed the number Graham had told her when she stood in his office a week ago and held the phone to her ear.
The ringing ended and there was a faint click, a deep, but quiet voice coming on the line.
"Are you alone?"
"What are you calling from?"
"I nicked a tourist's phone. It's safe."
There was a thread of amusement in Graham's voice, then. "You nicked it?"
"He won't miss it."
"Heh." There was a pause. "Is it done?"
She looked left and right, making sure no one was nearby to hear her. It paid to be careful 24/7. "He's retired."
"Good. Enjoy your vacation. See you in August."
"I'd like to discuss my status, Dir—" She was cut off by a loud click. "Sir?" She paused, hearing nothing. "Shit!" she hissed.
She peered down at the screen and let out a frustrated huff. The CIA had booked four weeks in an incredibly nice room at the resort for her, and she had to wonder if it was some sort of peace offering. They had to know she wasn't clueless when it came to this "vacation" they were sending her on. And they had to make certain they played nice with the Wildcard Enforcer.
There was a time when she would have been incredibly satisfied to know one of the most powerful intelligence agencies in the world feared her enough to go to great lengths to keep her happy. They knew what she was capable of and it made them nervous.
But for some reason, at the moment, that realization just made her feel tired. There weren't words in any of the languages she knew that could explain just how tired she was. She shifted the sniper rifle on her shoulder, as it suddenly felt phenomenally heavy. A burden she would've liked to get rid of as soon as possible, if she could. But where did one dispose of a sniper rifle in the resort city of Nice, France?
Maybe she could leave Nice and go somewhere else. If she traveled, she probably wouldn't have time to feel disillusioned and dissatisfied by everything in her life, by her career which just so happened to be her whole life.
"Idle minds" and all that. Maybe if she was looking at new sights and meeting new people…
And even as she dwelled on hopeful thoughts, she remembered a time when those things hadn't meant anything to her.
Or maybe they had. She'd just been so brainwashed and jaded by the agency that she actually believed in what she was doing and took pride in it. She still took pride in her skills, and she still honed them. But the way Graham was using them…
Sometimes she wondered if he was overusing her. Misusing her. Throwing her at a problem he could solve in some other way that didn't involve death. What if she was just a tool that the CIA whipped out to make things easier and quicker for them?
She couldn't help but wonder if the last ten years of her life had all been wasted. Was she some sort of puppet?
Of course she was. Even her pride couldn't deny that she was.
The assassin didn't have the energy to be angry. The vengeful thoughts that should have plagued her mind at that moment were nowhere to be found. She gently folded the phone up in her palm again and gnawed on the inside of her cheek thoughtfully.
She was never dysfunctional enough to see Langston Graham as a father figure. He was her mentor, yes, and her boss, definitely. But never a father figure. She had trusted him somewhat, and for awhile, but never enough to believe he always had her best interest at heart. And now it seemed like the best option was for her to move forward…and perhaps away. Away from him. Away from the CIA. Away from the government as a whole.
Yet, at the same time, this was all she knew. It was ingrained into her. She had nothing else.
That wasn't an exaggeration.
She literally only lived for her career. At least, that was how it had been until recently.
Recently, she had started enjoying the simple things—not just as a means to an end, but to simply enjoy them. Like watching a child and a puppy play together in the park. Or listening to the rain outside of her window. Enjoying the sight of an attractive man passing by. How she had begun to take baths instead of showers, because they were so much more relaxing. Watching reality television shows on crappy motel TVs.
But now she had no mission. There was no one that needed to be killed.
And she found herself with nothing else to do but to try to…enjoy the scenery.
She walked back to the pool area and glanced over at the cabana. The man whose phone she had borrowed was no longer there. In fact, as she looked around the entire area, he was nowhere to be found.
Deciding she could use a drink anyways, she walked to the bar and sat down again, reaching down to surreptitiously set the phone on the seat where the man had been sitting. If he came back to look for it, he might assume it fell out of his pocket.
This time, she actually ordered a drink and took the time to enjoy it. She had nowhere special to be. In fact she had four whole weeks of having nowhere special to be. And she dreaded all four of them.
She heard the man at the other end of the bar ask for a wedge of lime for his beer and then heard the thunk of the citrus wedge plopping into the amber liquid inside of the bottle a few moments later. Perhaps after she finished her unoriginal choice of a piña colada, she might head upstairs, take a shower, and nap for the rest of the day.
Because why not?
If she was asleep, she wouldn't think about the implications of the CIA telling her to take a four week vacation after she made one small mistake. She knew of field agents who had done way worse than she had, who were not only still in the field, but now had high ranking positions within the agency. And of course, all of them were men.
After ten years of work, ten years of doing everything they asked her to do, she was being sent on four weeks of "vacation". What was really happening was that they were nervous about her. Nervous about whether or not she was still Graham's Wildcard Enforcer.
If the CIA's prize assassin was beginning to question why she did what she was ordered to do, if they knew she was wondering about whether or not her victim was guilty, if emotions were starting to overtake an agent's loyalty to her own country, that meant she was no longer useful to them.
The more she thought about it, the more she realized how much of a liability she must be now, at least in their eyes.
If she continued to ask questions about her targets, if she continued to snoop and do research into their lives and dealings before carrying out her task, she might find something that would give her pause. And actually, that was exactly what had happened during the mission she'd failed.
She hadn't been able to shake the feeling, though, that her target didn't deserve to die like the others had. There were men and women who were violent, malicious, greedy, and deplorable—all of them met their end by her hand. And as far as she'd been told by Graham, they were murderers. Their actions had resulted in the taking of innocent lives, and they had to be stopped before more people died.
But when she had discovered that Nico Flores had spent time in communist Nicaragua in the 1980s, as well as some suspiciously vague accounts of involvement in political schemes that ended with a few U.S. agents' deaths, she couldn't help wondering whether the man was as guilty as he'd been charged. There hadn't been anything concrete, and she knew that if these things had been introduced in a fair courtroom, they'd potentially be dismissed as evidence.
It was no secret that the government she worked for feared and hated any sort of communist anything. She'd thought so long and hard about how many ways Flores could have been set up.
By the time she talked herself into taking the shot, he had moved and it merely grazed him. Another agent had luckily swept in to finish the deal, though he had been compromised in the process and ended up being shot as well.
Agent Cardwell had since recuperated to full health and was back in the field, but she was put on probation and received quite the lecture from her superiors about following orders.
Graham's eyes had been sharp, observant as he drilled into her. Duty comes before everything, he'd said. Duty, loyalty to your country, orders from her superiors. He repeated himself over and over again. The head of the NSA had even chimed in over the video conference, calling her actions irresponsible. She sat there and took all of it, her face unchanging. And as bad as she felt about Cardwell getting hurt, she refused to acknowledge any regret as far as taking that pause to reflect on the sort of man Nico Flores really was. A man who'd been afraid in his last few seconds of life, yes. A man who'd probably shot at Cardwell to save himself, but to no avail.
But Sarah would never say that out loud. She knew she'd be discharged and potentially thrown in some cell deep underground for awhile to stew.
She just remembered how suspicious the general and Director Graham had both looked as they glanced at one another while she apologized and promised to do better next time. Was she compromised? Or was this just a simple mistake? A one-time thing? Did they have to worry about her? Was she lying through her teeth to appease them, get them off her back?
A few days after her probation ended, Graham called her into his office and she was given this assignment. They urged her to stay for a month to "regroup" and think about her priorities. She "needed" a vacation, they said. She needed to "recalibrate", like she was some sort of God damn computer. She was working herself way too hard. And it was beginning to show, they said.
Fuck that, she thought to herself as she pressed the bridge of her nose with her fingers to alleviate the brain freeze from her piña colada. She was sick to death of her brain by this point, and she was sick to death of the drink, even though it was delicious, so she pushed it away and decided to immerse herself in a bubble bath. And perhaps she might blast the television mounted on the bathroom wall to distract her from dwelling on her future with the Central Intelligence Agency.
She stood up and placed a few euros on the bar, before walking away, lowering her sunglasses over her eyes and rounding the edge of the pool to move through the gate and back onto the jasmine-lined pathway that led to the side entrance of her building.
She had only gotten about halfway there, when she heard the gate slam behind her and a frenzied outcry. "Miss! Excuse me! Excusez-moi?"
Spinning with her hand hovering over the knife beneath her shirt, she saw a tall man walking towards her, the look on his face a little sheepish. She just stared with an eyebrow raised as he neared her, slowing down a bit now that she'd stopped.
So many different possibilities occurred to her. He was one of Roland Taft's goons. He was playing a part until he could get up close—close enough to take her out. There was no one else around at the moment. No one to see her fall, no one to see her die. Her fingers tightened on the blade.
She was ready, her face hard, unmoving. Trying to stifle her panic, be a professional. She didn't want two deaths on her list for the day. But if she had to…
"I'm sorry. Or, uh…Désolé. Erm…Your phone. Cell. You left it on the bar." He mimicked throwing a drink back. And then he thrust the cellphone she'd stolen and purposefully left on the stool out between them. "Mobile," he said in a terrible French accent and then he winced.
Yeah, so this guy wasn't one of Taft's goons. He was an American. A tourist. Nobody could fake being that awful at French. And he had none of the markers of a habitual liar. There was nowhere he could hide a weapon, what with his swim trunks and tight-fitting T-shirt. And he didn't seem like the type of guy to know how to use said weapon if he had it.
She merely gave him a small smile to set him at ease, honestly amused to no end, even though he had actually done her a bit of a disservice. The poor guy thought it was the opposite, and she didn't have the heart to make him think otherwise.
So she reached out to take it, nodding with a soft, "Merci."
"You're welcome. Or, uh…whatever that is in French. Um…Have a good one. Or, uh…Bonne journée!" He made a popping noise with his lips and shoved his hands in the pockets of his slacks. "Right. Au revoir."
And then he spun on his heel and rushed in the other direction.
She snorted to herself and walked towards her building, tossing the phone into the trash bin by the entrance. The guy she'd stolen it from was rich enough to vacation at this resort in Nice, so he absolutely had insurance. Replacing his phone would be easy enough.
And with that, she disappeared inside, thoughts of hot water, bubbles, and orange-skinned rich people yelling at each other on a television screen making her forget about her troubles for the first time in a week.
There's the first chapter! Interested in more? Leave me a review! Comment, ask questions, fire away!
Excited to hear what you all think! Soooo much more to come, and soon! Thanks for reading!