A/N: No ownership or rights to the television show "Chuck" in stated or implied

Canon influence: S1 E10 Chuck Versus the Nemesis and AU from there.

Fanon influence: Probably every fan-fiction I've ever read has influenced this story (all my stories, really) in some shape or form.

Music influence: "Radioactive" by Imagine Dragons at the start definitely but "Feeling Good by Nina Simone (the only canon song) at the end.

"R" rated violence. Probably the most in the entire story.

Many thanks to my beta yeahokaycool for all their hard work and for putting up with me.

Also no Chuck/Sarah face to face per se…sorry.

"Long is the way and hard, that out of Hell leads up to light." – John Milton, Paradise Lost

Darkest before the Dawn

February 2010

Sean "Mac" Mackintosh could not believe his luck. He had been picked up in Berlin for questioning in the OTP bank hack in Budapest by Interpol. Frost was going to be pissed.

The bank hack had been an opportunity too big to pass up. This complication was going to interfere with their current mission parameters by 24 hours at the least. Completely blow it at the most.

Alexei Volkoff did not deal well with failure. At least not those that failed him. Frost would be spared (he'd seen it happen a hundred times) but he would end up with a bullet in his head, if he was lucky. He'd seen worse. He needed a way out. To drop off the radar or do something so spectacular he would be back in Volkoff's good graces. He just need a break in this streak of bad luck.

As it happened, a opportunity for both was found in his Reddit account that day. A certain Major John Casey had just died from a heart attack. The viewing and funeral would be held in D.C. later that week.

Unknown location, Iran,

"Now that's what I call good hunting, Walker." Casey couldn't be more ecstatic.

"Three traitors! They'll be going straight to Gitmo." Casey had a gleam in his eye and a smile on his face. Sarah was unsure of this look on him. It was foreign to her.

"I have an extraction team on its way and a meeting with Beckman when I get back to DC."

"That's great Casey! In the meantime, can you give me some time with our other guest?"

"No problem Walker. If you need any help let me know. I owe you."

Previously,

Time to go. Radio contact was lost in static after some sort of confrontation. The mission was compromised. She would report to Alexei. If Packard, Issacs and Mackintosh survived they would be killed by a Volkoff agent or Alexei himself. (He seemed to revel in the personal touch when it came to revenge or whatever his twisted definition of justice was).

She opened her door to leave and was pushed back into her room with a blow to her nose. She fell back and rolled through the fog, drawing her Kimber 1911 from its holster at her back. It was summarily kicked from her hand. Before the next kick made contact with her face, she grabbed said foot and sent the owner flying. She then jumped up into a defensive stance. Staring down the barrel of a suppressed Smith & Wesson 5906. It was then that she saw her attacker. A dark haired woman wearing a hijab.

"Leaving so soon, Frost?

Mary shook her head. She knew that voice. Then she noticed the contacts.

"Elana Truffaut, or should I address you by your alpha alias: "Sarah Walker".

Her attacker's eyes widened for a split second.

"Tell me your story, Frost, tell me about your boss...your lover Alexei Volkoff. How could you do that?"

"I don't know what you're…" The blows started again with a fury.

Mary tried to deflect but was unsuccessful and she crumples. "Ooph…" She almost smiled. "I don't think this about Alexei Volkoff, is it?"

After Frost is apprehended, her head is covered with a hood before being shoved in a vehicle. Travelling in silence, she and her captors arrived at their destination within an hour's drive.

Still wearing a hood and restraints, she is stripped to her underwear and brought to a room with a small amount of light. There she is secured, hands and feet, to a metal chair that is attached at its hind legs to the floor. Eventually a distorted voice addressed her.

"Welcome Frost. We have some questions for you. Do you recognize the room? It's a Iranian Army rape room. It is especially designed for torture. We both know everyone talks. The question is, do you want to do it now or later. Now who are you?"

Silence

"It is a simple question….Mary." A brief moment of surprise crosses Frost's face, quickly replaced by a stubborn look the interrogator has seen before. "What is your name?"

6 hours later, with no food and the only water from the enhanced interrogation, she is soiled and filthy. The interrogator asks yet again, "What is your name?" Frost simply grimaces a smile and replies "I am death. Pray that you kill me or I will be the last thing you see." The interrogator is impressed in spite of herself. "Who are you?"

Silence

"You may be expecting Alexei to come to your rescue but please take a look at this video. [ a video of Frost declaring her love to her husband plays]. This video has been left on a server that Volkoff regularly surveils along with a record of money being wired to a Swiss Bank Account with the same identification number as the video. Very sloppy of the CIA, don't you think? What is your name?"

"I am dea…." The electrical shock is sudden. Pain explodes over her entire body.

"Big Words….Now that we have your attention". Frost's chair is tilted back and the water begins….

4 hours later…

"Tell me again."

"My name is Mary Gunter…." The electrical shock caused her teeth to rattle. The crown on her molar had cracked and fallen off some unknown time ago. The water she inhaled with the moments of sheer terror causes the raw nerve to ache sharply.

"What is your full name?" The voice asked evenly.

"Mary Elizabeth Gunter. " The chair leaned back and the water starts again….

As the chair again returned to a sitting position, Frost waited for the inevitable question. Instead she hears a voice she hadn't heard in years.

"Hi, you've reached Ellie's phone. Please leave a message after the beep."

The message repeated over and over. At some point it stops, followed by silence. Frost could keep her frustration and fear in no longer.

"What do you want from me!" she yelled, only to be met by silence.

"Hi, you've reached Ellie's phone. Please leave a message after the beep."

"What is your name?"

Mary gasps and starts to cry. She hadn't cried in years. She wanted to tell them to kill her but it was obvious that wasn't going to happen. "My name is Mary Elizabeth Bartowski." She hadn't used that name in so long it sounded like an alias coming from her lips. Immediately the lights were turned up.

"You are Mary Elizabeth Bartowski. Married to Stephen J Bartowski. Mother to Eleanor and Charles. " the voice said. A door opened to the room and a tall blond woman entered.

"Why have you done this!" Mary screams through tears and pain. "I'll give you what you want...whatever you want to know about Volkoff…just kill me when you're done"

"First, tell me about Volkoff..."

"...and that's how the Hydra database is used…"

Sarah had had enough. They had been over the details again and again. She had the government's intel and her window was closing. Now she wanted hers.

"Tell me about Stephen, Mary. Tell me how you get up one day and leave your family for the bed of an arms dealer?"

Mary, completely depleted, still had the ability to stab Sarah with one of the coldest looks she had ever seen.

"Was it the money? The power? or was your husband too pathetic and the children too burdensome for someone like you?"

"You bitch! you know nothing…"

"Or maybe it was the sex...I've heard arms dealer sex is the bes.."

"Shut the hell up ...you...you…" suddenly Mary's head drops and she takes on a thousand yard stare.

"For love…"

Sarah is momentarily taken aback. "You love Alexei Volkoff!" How..."

"Of course not… I..I...Volkoff was my mission. And then my world fell apart... and I made the best of it."

"How could you just walk out? You had a family, a loving husband...you had what we never get...you had normal. How could you leave that all behind and never look back and take up with Volkoff?"

"I was keeping them safe! I did what I had to to keep my family safe. I didn't want to leave, I had to. After Stephen's death, I had to stay away...to protect them. They didn't need to be around a monster like me anyway. Without Stephen, why not Alexei? He thought he loved me and I had nowhere to go." The distant stare returns as Mary relives the memory.

Mary suddenly cuts a look at Sarah.

"I hope ...Agent Walker...that you never fall in love. In love with a man that is too good for you, that only wants you to be happy, to love you and give you everything you never deserved. I hope you never have to see that man fall apart, disintegrate before your eyes because of the darkness of your world brings to him and then have him gone forever without a goodbye… Having to leave a family you love but the only way to protect them is to walk away from them and pretend they never existed. I hope you never love like that Agent Walker. You would be surprised what you would do then."

Sarah felt like she had been hit in the gut. She swallowed the bile and stared at the woman. The woman she had already started to become.

"I've already taken that test and failed. Someone better than both of us gave me another chance. I'm paying that kindness back by giving you one."

"Why?"

Because finding you would break his heart more than it already is now.

"Because he would think you deserve it. I don't know if he's right but I'm in no position to stand against him."

This was too close but she pressed on with her plan. She unlocked Mary from her confines.

"Clean clothes and a new life are in the next room. Money, identity, you name it. Melt into the world Mary. Start over. Do not contact your children to keep them safe. A word of warning: if I ever see you again I will kill you." Sarah left and never looked back.

May 2010

" ...so anyway he says to me that it reminded him of that scene from "Eyes Wide Shut". To which I replied 'That's rather cheeky' and he burst out with a belly laugh and said that I lied when I said I wasn't funny…"

Silence. "I'm afraid I don't understand." The mousy haired woman responded with a lilting Italian accent.

"You must not get out to the cinema often Rebecca. You see, there's a scene from a movie about ten years ago where they are nude...listen...never mind. The thing is. This young man...Charles, he's American by the way. Just as I'm thinking how I wished I could escape from the boredom and awkwardness of the party, he comes up and starts talking to me."

"Later, he asked 'If it's not too forward, I'll treat you to a pint and a game of darts at the pub in the village if you rescue me from this.' Rescue him...He gave me some puppy dog eyes and told me I was his only hope. So cheesy and yet so cute...sigh...He even invited my bodyguard Hans personally as a chaperone."

Vivian McArthur couldn't believe herself. She wasn't sure if it was the champagne (a new twist, but certainly in line with Saco's attention to detail for personal treatment) or the possibilities of the evening, but she was being so chatty. And about a man to boot.

Saco had sent over a stylist who was visiting from their salon in Milan as replacement for her usual stylist Gwenn. Her request had been short notice and Gwenn was unavailable. She had been assured by the owner of Saco that Ms. Franco was "one of the best".

Her expertise was runway shows so she was very flexible. Vivian had to admit she had done a bang up job freshening up her hair and nails. She felt a little like a model herself now.

She knew it was a little gauche but really, it had been so long since she had any fun in her life. Even riding her horse Artemus, while enjoyable, wasn't that exciting anymore. But the thought of getting out of her routine with an engaging young man, well that was fun and exciting.

Her absentee father had seen fit to raise her and treat her like she was a rare orchid, and a rather sheltered life had left her slightly withdrawn socially. She knew she was capable, and her hard work at The London School of Economics and her mastery of several languages proved her intelligence, but she was also shy and felt awkward around unfamiliar people. Charles made it so easy to forget that.

She often wondered if her mother had lived, if things would have turned out differently. Penelope McArthur had been raped and strangled in a random act of violence while out in London. Vivian's father had said that she had been visiting a friend there at the time. Her body had been found in a bin in the warehouse district by the docks. Her mother's friend had disappeared as well and was never found.

Vivian was too young to remember, but because of her mother's death and Father's parenting, she preferred to stay away from the outside world. As her father's only heir to the family business, she fully understood that could pose as a problem.

Charles Carmichael had been a fun distraction from the masquerade party, her ill conceived plan to overcome her shyness. It had been a rash decision to go off with him but she felt safe enough with her bodyguard Hans there. And Charles had been ever the gentleman.

He was cute and certainly engaging. He never made a pass but she didn't feel like he was disinterested. He admitted that all he knew about Vivian McArthur was what he read about her after an internet search and that he had been there to network for business. What he hadn't expected was the funny, cute (she blushed at the remembered compliment) young woman he invited to the pub.

He called her "Vivi" and they drank beer and threw darts. Charles insisted on playing a game called H.O.R.S.E. in honor of Artemus. By the end of the night they were laughing and wobbling to her car. He gave her his card and told her that he enjoyed her company.

"Vivian, I've had a great time tonight. I hope I'm not overstepping, but I would like to see you again. I'll be in town for a day or two. "Maybe dinner tomorrow night?" His eyes were particularly dark and green.

It must have been a night for impulsiveness.

"Absolutely! I had a lovely time as well but let's meet at my house tomorrow night for dinner and see where the night takes us. Seven?"

"It's a date!" he regaled her with a wide smile.

She left him at his car as he thanked her again and drove off. It's a date! And she couldn't wipe the smile off her face.

"He sounds like a real hero."

"Yes he is..ouch! Careful Rebecca, Don't brush too hard, you just pulled my hair,"

"My apologies Ms. McArthur." Damn him!

"I've never felt so relaxed and comfortable around a man."

"Fanculo!"

"I beg your pardon."

"Again apologies Ms. McArthur, Sometimes you need more arms." Or eyes.

As Vivian looked herself over, she beamed. Charles would be by soon for dinner. As if by request, her chimes at the gate rang. She could hardly rein in her anticipation as Hans entered her sitting room a few minutes later.

"A note, Ms. McArthur." Hans handed the note to Vivian. Her disappointment must have been evident as he added "Perhaps he was delayed."

Vivian tore open the note.

Vivian,

I'm afraid I will not be able to keep our date this evening. I'm sending along schematics and a patent for an interface and database. Please consider it a gift for a wonderful evening.

-Charles

P.S. - You might want to change the name of the software though. You know bad karma and all that.

Some women got flowers, Vivian thought. She, apparently, got tech patents. Just who was this Charles Carmichael anyway? She would have to contact her barrister Mr. Riley about that, but in the meantime all she could think about is that her date had been cancelled.

"Bullocks!"

July 2010

Alexei Volkoff looked at the man in front of him. Tall, slight build with glasses. The man's handshake had been strong but very clammy, leaving him with a distinct urge to wipe his hand on his pants. The man seemed anxious. Alexei was sure he would be more anxious if he knew what was in store for him. Mr. Riley had been quite helpful in vetting him.

"So...Mr. ...Cartwright?...No...Carmichael? Carmichael right? Mr. Carmichael I see that your G6 arrived at 10:05 this morning. I trust that you found our accommodations at my hangar at the Moscow airport to your satisfaction. Now, what can I do for you?"

In that moment, almost like a flash, Chuck slipped from the present into a memory that still made him viscerally sick. It had been when he was hacking the Hydra Database. A file named Victory had caught his eye. Inside were video files. Mostly security footage, but others seemed to be videotaped on a camcorder. Snuff porn. He took note of one in particular named Orion.

"Did you think you could hide forever Stephen?"

The video was split in two. On the left, a man who has obviously been beaten. Chuck recognized him as his father. He is bound, nearly nude, hands and feet in a standing position. His arms were extended over his head and and his feet were only touching the floor with his toes. His head is drooped with his chin resting on his chest, eyes swollen shut. Volkoff circles Stephen, dragging the edge of a blade across his body, leaving small trails of blood accompanied by gasps and mewlings.

On the right screen, Chuck's mother watches stoically from another position in the room. No expression on her face but her eyes were screaming. He had never noticed that about her before she left, but he was young. He had recently come to know a woman who seemed to be able to communicate the same way. His mother seemed to be restrained, with her gaze frozen on the horror before her.

"Do you see Frost? Do you see the weakness? The man you gave your love to is a pathetic, weak excuse of a man. Undeserving of your affections. You spurned me for this piece of shit? You dare to infiltrate my organization for this? Well, amends need to be made, Frost."

Volkoff picks up a heavy metal pipe and immediately begins to beat Stephen about the torso and head. Blood spatters the room and across Mary's face. She gasps and tries to pull away.

"Noooooo! Stop, Alexei, stop. Please stop!"

Volkoff pauses. His eyes are dark with dilation, and a wicked smile filled with madness spreads across his face.

"For you my love, anything! But first…" Volkoff unholsters his gold plated Desert Eagle and shoots Stephen in the head at point blank range. "Death is the solution to all problems. No man - no problem." He crosses the room, licks the blood on Mary's face and kisses her viciously.

"You are mine now."

Mary's eyes are clouded, trance-like as her head just bobs…

Chuck's eyes widened as he returned to the present.

Alexei calmly pulled the same polished gold plated Desert Eagle out and points it at his guest's head. "I'm waiting...Agent Carmichael."

"Whoa, whoa! That's a big...whoa! Big gun, big gun. Listen just calm down. Calm down." The man gestured to his front breast pocket of his suit. "May I?"

"Of course...but slowly" Alexei replied without the gun wavering.

Carmichael placed a small ceramic cube about the size of a child's wooden block on the desk. And then leaned in, placing his forehead on the tip of the barrel of the pistol Alexei is holding.

Alexei is intrigued, impressed even.

"You need to put down that pistol Alexei… or should I say Hartley?"

Alexei's momentary hesitation is all that's required.

"Too late!" Chuck grabbed Alexei's pistol, and in the space of seconds had dropped the magazine and slapped Alexei across the face.

"Sorry for the slap, but one can not be too careful."

Alexei bent at the waist and covered his left reddening cheek, rage building as he regained his stature. He moved to throttle Carmichael, only to be slapped on his right cheek and find himself with right arm behind his back, bent over his desk.

"Now introductions are in order...Hartley…" Volkoff barely acknowledged the man speaking as he pressed the hidden button on his desk with his left hand.

"...so you see I have taken everything from you, Hartley, just as you did to me and my family. I have avenged Vivian's mother's death…"

"She was a whore.. She showed me my weakness and taught me the benefits of power. Convinced me by her indiscretions to use the Intersect to become stronger, better. Her lover begged for mercy before I killed him, and I used her one last time before discarding her for the trash she was…"

"...and delivered to her a legal inheritance." Chuck just stared in disbelief. They say the eyes are the gateway to the soul. Chuck saw nothing but the darkness of a self righteous, narcissistic, sociopath as thick as tar. To think the man did this to himself in some misguided attempt to make himself a better, stronger person. His father and Hartley, apparently, had truly let the genie out of the bottle.

"Hartley, I am giving you an opportunity to make amends." Volkoff's gun, now in Chuck's hand never wavered.

"Charles….may I call you Charles? What would this so called opportunity entail?"

"You make take your own life, of course. To be in control one last time."

Alexei simply smirks. "Let me see if I understand this Charles. I can kill myself, or, if you are to be believed, you will somehow bring a slow and painful death upon me at some point in the future."

"You misunderstand me Hartley. This whole "Alexei Volkoff" thing must be making you stupid as well as psychotic. You are already dead. I'm giving you a choice on how it will happen, which is quite generous considering the how you murdered my father and abused my mother…"

"Your mother loved every minute of her time with me, craved it even, especially after being with your father…"

"Enough! It is obvious that I have been far too kind to you, Hartley. You have two options. I hope you don't choose the former." Chuck throws the empty pistol aside and goes to leave, only to be confronted by a tall, slim, raven haired woman.

"Not so fast, Carmichael."

A pistol barrel suddenly pokes the woman at the back of her head. "Sorry Chuck, she was supposed to be out."

"Elena."

"Sydney. Are you the new Frost in waiting?"

"Well that explains the security detail being neutralized." Volkoff interjects after seeing Sarah. "You see Sydney, Mr. Carmichael is like his father. He is a cowardly conman that relies on the skills of his betters to accomplish anything. Good to see you Elena, although I wouldn't have expected you to throw in with this lot."

"I'd shake your hand, Sydney but you don't deserve it." Chuck sneers.

"Chuck. Let's go."

"I can't believe you let them go, Alexei!"

Alexei brushes Sydney's cheek and kisses her softly. "Fear not my pet, Alexei Volkoff never loses."

A short drive to the Moscow airport and the jet is airborne. With Sarah piloting, the aircraft reaches cruising altitude. She lets out a sigh of relief and looks over her shoulder at Chuck and smiles. He smiles a tired but loving smile back at her. They don't even see the explosion overtake the plane.

A phone rings and Volkoff answers it. "Yes...Very Good" and hangs up.

"Alexei?"

"Do not concern yourself, my pet. It is done. I have some opportunities to consider now, particularly the betrayal of my daughter and Mr. Riley. Be a dear and attend to the security detail, and I will meet you in my suite."

"Very good Alexei." And Sydney leaves Volkoff to his thoughts. He casually picks up the ceramic block Bartowski had used in his little psyops con. Without warning, a glow builds within the cube, turning from a dull color to bright white. Volkoff throws the cube to the opposite side of the room and dives behind his desk. He is about to call for Sydney when he hears a familiar voice.

Hartley?...Hartley?...Hartley?…" the implied question continues to repeat.

"What the hell is this?" A toy to augment his con? He picks up the cube to look at it more studiously.

"Oh there you are. I guess you didn't pick door number one."

"What the…."

"This is a interactive recording, by the way, in case you were wondering."

Volkoff just stares at the cube and sets it on the desk.

"Do you remember a project you and my father worked on in the 1980's...the Norseman project…"

DNA based. A failure, probably due to Bartowski...

"...a failure. My Dad figured out that the delivery process was flawed…"

That was my part of the project.

"...he figured out a better delivery system. Thorium was expensive and an unreliable, though a deadly agent. One of the patents Roark didn't steal from my father was a project Dad had developed in robotics, particularly what is called today, nanotech.

"When I shook you hand, I transferred nanobots to you. They were keyed to your DNA specifically. DNA gathered from a lock of your hair you gave to my mother, and compared to your daughter's. To anyone but you they are completely harmless, deactivate in five hours and are eliminated by the body."

"In your body they will degrade your vascular and neurological systems over a forty hour period. It will appear that you have suffered a stroke while you feel an intense, unrelenting burning pain until you slowly fade away, while remaining conscious the entire time, trapped in your own body".

"My Dad's tech and your hair from my mother. So in some aspects, Stephen and Mary Bartowski are killing you."

Volkoff just smiled at the absurdity.

"Remember, Hartley, amends must be made and in the words of your hero: 'Death is the solution to all problems. No man-no problem.' And Hartley...you look like a man that is having…a stroke."

The cube's color then changed to a dull grey and Volkoff started to let out a boisterous laugh. It was quickly interrupted by a choke and inability to speak or make a sound. As he contemplated that Charles Bartowski may not have been lying, a sharp burning sensation began at the base of his skull. It slowly spread to encompass his entire body as he slumped to the floor.

August 2012

Who the hell schedules a tech conference in Los Angeles in August? Then again, who has a comic convention in San Diego in July? Dammit. Colonel John Casey NSA was currently enjoying a burger at one of his old stomping grounds in Burbank, The Habit Burger Grill. It was nice to get away from the nerds downtown.

Casey was in Los Angeles to attend Slate Con as part of a liaison team to American technology companies. It was his time on the Intersect project and his association with Chuck Bartowski that had put him on the NSA's radar for the position.

Bartowski...hmph...good kid...never stood a chance though. John Casey wasn't one for emotions; much less regret, but he did miss working with Walker. She had really come through for him when he needed it. Walker had gone rogue two years ago last spring. No official reason but he knew why when he heard about it.

The deaths of Sarah Walker and Chuck Bartowski, or rather Charles Carmichael, left the espionage world embroiled in rumors and finger pointing. The most likely reason believed was a hit put out on them by Alexei Volkoff.

Apparently Bartowski had been a thorn in the arms dealer's side. Unfortunately, even if he had been inclined to verify that rumor, Alexei Volkoff had suffered a stroke and died a few days after the jet crash.

Casey knew it was going to be trouble when he found out Walker was working with Bartowski. He had warned her but she hadn't listened. Not that he had expected her to. She had a second chance at something she thought she had lost forever. John Casey knew all about second chances.

Slate Con was organized by Hunter Gelid Technologies. Wired magazine had described them as one of the top ten tech companies of 2012 to watch. Their Clean Slate software products were building a reputation in the industry for their support of the major operating systems by unifying the disparate platforms.

It had been a small company until it purchased the remnants of Roark Instruments in 2009. After that they had increased their presence in the software market, as well as design and manufacturing.

Slate Con had all the big names represented: Apple, IBM, Microsoft, Unix and Linux vendors… but there were some new players as well. The one that the NSA was interested in was McArthur Software. They had patented some software that was rumored to be revolutionary. The government wanted to be involved, considering the increase in cyber warfare.

There was also the fact that security for the company was being coordinated by Verbanski Corp. Casey hadn't seen Gertrude in years and the thought of seeing her was...intriguing.

Casey scanned the room as he pulled out his wallet to leave his bill and the tip. Cash, no paper trail, old habits he supposed. He heard before he saw, the happy squeal of a young child at a table in the back of the restaurant.

The table was partially occluded by some sort of indoor foliage. The child was being held in the lap of his father, if the hair color and curls they shared were any indication. His arms extended and hands grasping to the blond woman walking up to the table.

She has a small upturned grin on her face as she takes in the scene and reaches for her son. Casey was always observing what was missed by others. It was his nature. You didn't need to be trained, though, to assess the scene before him it was so open and obvious. The amused smile was merely a small indicator of the glow of true happiness and love the woman radiated.

For a second the woman's blue eyes caught Casey's, and she acknowledged his gaze before returning her attention to her son and husband. Casey lets out a small grunt and leaves a tip on his table before walking away. Casey knows all about second chances.

A/N: Happy accident: When I searched for a different word for darkness and found/used the Latin word Tenebrae, I found that it also denoted a ceremony leading up to Easter which dovetailed nicely with the themes of the story; darkness then light and second chances. My Alexei Volkoff is based on a concept in Marc Vun Kannon's Nine2Five story. Also another one from Marc; Couldn't the Hydra Database made more money legally licensed than arms dealing? The ending was inspired by a conversation (ok, ok via fanfiction messeging…jeez) with the awesome ninjaVanish. Think "The Dark Knight Rises". I hope you enjoyed the story. Chuck and Sarah always deserve happy endings after all the things they are put through ;)