AN: Let me start off with saying this is a Charah story, BUT its gonna take a while to get there. I went against my normal writing when using an OFC of not getting them too involved but I had to because outside of using Bryce, none of the other characters would work. You'll see why when you read it. Please keep in mind the opinions in the story are mine and may differ from yours. Some of the characters are different than in the show. The biggest changes I made were to Ellie. I think we can all agree that based on Ellie in the show, she would do anything to protect Chuck. How far would she go if she actually had the training and means to really do it? And what if something deeper was the reason?

September 1999

"This is it," thought Chuck Bartowski as he entered his assigned room at Stanford while struggling with the bags he was pulling behind him. Not too bad. It could be worse. He looked around the room he would be living in for the next nine months and let out a small sigh of relief. On the far wall hanging above the already claimed bed was a Star Wars poster and next to it a Star Trek one. On the dresser in a display case were models of the Millennium Falcon and the U.S.S Enterprise NCC-1701. Maybe this won't be as bad as I thought. He was startled out of his musings when another person entered the room and began to talk.

"Hey man what's up? I'm Bill your roommate for the next nine months or so," the person said while extending his hand. Chuck noted he was almost the same height as he was but built a lot better. He had sandy blonde hair, blue eyes and was dressed in board shorts and a tee shirt.

"Chuck Bartowski," taking the offered hand he shook it, "nice to meet you. I like your display case."

"Thanks, I built them myself. That's your bed over there so why don't I give you a hand getting settled in?" Bill said while reaching for one of Chuck's bags. "I could never figure out why most people side with one franchise or the other. I think they're both really good. What's your favorite?"

"I'm more of a Star Wars man myself," Chuck answered while putting things away. They continued their idle chat about the two franchises for a few minutes before Chuck changed topics. "What's your major or haven't you decided yet?"

"That's a tough question. I have a lot of free time on my hands so for the time being I'm going to attempt a double major, electrical engineering and physics."

"Are you insane!" Chuck exclaimed. "Electrical Engineering is my major and I hear the EE degree is crazy hard, yet you plan on attempting Physics with it?"

"Not insane, a bit twisted maybe, but not insane. I'm shall we say gifted in the brain department. I could have graduated high school early but I wanted to fully enjoy my teen years. Despite what people say, today begins our journey into the adult world. From now on we are completely on our own and we have to pay for our mistakes."

"I suppose your right Bill," Chuck agreed as he finished up his unpacking. "That's it for my stuff. It looks like you've been here for a while so what's there to do for fun around here?"

"For me, I enjoy surfing so I plan to go as much as I can. There's several beaches within an hour of here so that shouldn't be a problem. I also practice several forms of martial arts so I do that as well. I would be remiss if I didn't tell you about the parties. There's a lot of hot girls here and surprise they like nerds!"

"I find it hard to believe that a lot of girls like nerds like us. Come on look at me, what girl would want to date me?" questioned Chuck.

"First things first," began Bill, "we're at Stanford dude, one of the hardest schools in the country to get in. Tons of the people going to school here are nerds, even if they don't call themselves nerds. That includes the girls as well. As for you, you're not a bad looking guy but you could use to put on a few pounds of muscle."

"Therein lies the trouble. I've never been much of an athlete," stated Chuck.

"You don't have to be. I love surfing but hate surfing alone; so let me teach you how to surf. Riding the waves is a great way to get in shape and improve your physique," began Bill. "Plus having the added bonus of the girls here liking surfer dudes."

"I don't know, Bill," Chuck said with a sigh, "I was never good with sports or any kind of physical activity for that matter. I spent most of my free time playing video games with my best friend Morgan."

"I see I need to help you gain some confidence in your physical abilities. How do you think you're going to do in school?"

"Really good. I love working with computers and plan to one day open my own software or computer company."

"See, that's the same positive attitude you need to have with surfing or physical things. The better your attitude the better you'll do. Besides what could it hurt to give it a try? What do you have to lose?"

"My dignity for one," Chuck said with a wry smile.

"Think of all the positive things that could happen for you before you dwell on the negatives," Bill said. "You'll get fitter, bigger and more athletic than you are now. When that happens it will be easier for you to attract girls." Bill paused for a minute to gather his thoughts, "Right now when a girl asks you what you do for fun, I bet your only answer is, 'I play video games,'. Stick with me and you'll be able to tell them you're an avid gamer who loves to surf. It's a win, win situation for you. Once you get out on the water a few times I bet you'll be fine," concluded Bill. "Orientation isn't until tomorrow so let's get something to eat and head to the beach for your first lessons."

"I'm doing this under protest you understand," Chuck said with a laugh. Bill seems like a nice guy. I could have gotten a worse roommate. I just hope I don't kill myself today. They made their way to the beach where Bill rented Chuck a board he felt Chuck could handle. The lessons starting in a confusing way for Chuck. Bill had him practice getting to a standing position from a laying one while on the sand. Bill explained that on the water the board moves a lot if your pressure is off on one side or the other so you fall off easier. You can learn to pop up on the board better on the sand easier than in the water.

The rest of the day passed by in a blur and Chuck couldn't believe he had such a good time in spite of his wiping out more times than he could count. He was able to get to his feet a few times before he wiped out. He admitted to Bill at the end of the day that the lesson on the beach helped a lot. Bill was right about the girls and surfers. We met a few good looking ones today and none of them laughed at me when I wiped out. One even helped me out. I should have gotten her name. Oh well lesson learned.

Over the next few months the two would often end up at the beach during their free time. This led to them becoming friends instead of just roommates. Chuck now feeling a lot better about himself than at the start of the school year decided they should enter the occasional beach volley ball game. They started off badly, getting their butts kicked most of the time. Over time they were soon able to hold their own in most games while winning a few. When it came to their classes they helped each other out with study sessions.

Their group grew in size when Chuck met Bryce Larkin. Chuck and Bryce clicked with their love of the video game Zork. Their friendship didn't develop as quickly as the one he had with Bill, because Bryce wanted to party and chase women more than he did. Another member of the group was Jill Roberts, a girl he met walking through the quad. He gave some thought to dating her but when Bill pointed out he was just a freshman; plus, there were quite a few girls they surfed with on a regular basis who were interested in him, that it might be better to wait a while before tying himself down to one girl. Chuck found he couldn't argue with his logic so he remained friends with Jill. Bill's owning an SUV allowed Chuck to visit his sister on a fairly regular basis.

November 1999

The better Chuck got at surfing increased his confidence, which led him to trying more things out. Bill and Chuck became one of the better beach volleyball teams and often played a few games when they finished up their surfing for the day. Chuck went with Bill a few times to his Krav Maga sessions just to see what they were like. Chuck found them interesting so it wasn't long before Chuck started taking Krav Maga lessons. Chuck also learned it was good for his self-discipline. Chuck's new found self-discipline enabled him to schedule one night a week to write the code for game he decided to work on. He learned Bill was very adept at coding but he preferred not to do it. This new information gave Chuck someone to review the codes he wrote and point out any errors he might have made. It turned out over time they made a formidable team in whatever they set out to do. Before Chuck knew it Thanksgiving break rolled around and Chuck was heading home to see his sister with Bill in tow.

"You know Chuck," Bill began as they entered the court yard, "I would have been glad to loan you the Explorer to come home right?"

"Sure do," answered Chuck with a smile. "I tried telling Ellie that believe me but she wouldn't take no for an answer. She kept saying she needed to meet the guy that was, as she put it, 'becoming my new best friend replacing the bearded troll'."

"I hear ya bro. She's one tough cookie who doesn't seem like Morgan too much."

"You're right about her not liking Morgan too much, but he's been my best friend since we were younger she deals with him. Morgan's going to be here as well so you'll get to meet him this time."

"Oh Joy, just what I wanted to do, meet your heterosexual soul mate." This caused both men to break out in laughter until Bill pointed to a bearded man running across the courtyard heading straight for them. "He's worse than the dog I had when I was younger." His statement caused Chuck to sigh. This is going to be a long weekend.

"Hey Buddy, long time no see. How have you been?" asked Chuck.

"Not too bad Chuck," Morgan answered looking over at Bill. "Who's the tree trunk?" No matter how much Chuck changed physically and mentally over the past few months he still wore the same style clothes, Graphic tees with a Sci-Fi logo, jeans and his famous chucks. This hid most of the muscle and definition he was starting to develop. Bill was decked out in his usual attire as well, board shorts, tight tank top and flip flops. Bill merely raised his eyebrow at Morgan's comment.

"Morgan, this is Bill my roommate and friend from school. Bill, Morgan."

"Nice to meet you Morgan," stated Bill as he shook Morgan's hand, hard. "What's say we head in and see Ellie before she sends out a search party. Will Jacob be here?" No sooner had Bill finished up his statement when the apartment door opened and Ellie stepped out and waved them over.

"Nah, he had a family thing or something," Morgan answered. Chuck walked over and gave his sister a big hug. She pulled back slightly and looked at Chuck with a keen eye.

"I do believe someone has been working out a little," Ellie said. "You finally decided to listen to Jacob and start working out?" Bill was barely able to control his laugh and this drew Ellie's eye.

"Ellie, your brother has never worked out a day in his life," he began. "We go to the beach several times a week to surf and play beach volleyball plus he now takes Krav Maga during the day when he has his night classes." The shocked look could plainly be seen on Ellies face to those looking at her. She tilted her head to the left before speaking.

"My brother surfs? And takes Krav Maga? When? How?" asked a shocked Ellie.

"I started surfing the first week I was at school. Bill talked me into it and despite wiping out most of the day I had a lot of fun so I decided to keep it up. When he noticed I was helter skelter when studying or making plans he suggested I take up a martial art for discipline. He's already well trained in Krav Maga and I figured why not? He wasn't wrong about me enjoying surfing plus it gives me someone to practice with."

"Don't forget about the girls Chuck," added Bill. "Since Chuck's beefed up a little after he started surfing he gets the nerd chicks plus the hot surfer babes. He can't lose!" Chuck could see his sister's eyes narrowing at Bill's last comment so he cut her off.

"It's not like he makes it sound Ellie," stated Chuck. "I've dated a few girls but mostly I just hang out with them doing what they like to do. We normally have a good time then head home for the night. I'm not ready to settle down just yet. I plan to enjoy my college years."

"Seriously Ellie, Chuck is the perfect gentlemen with the girls. I just like giving him a hard time."

"What happened to you Chuck?" questioned Morgan. "You used to be just like me. You doing those things is not natural."

"What do you consider normal Morgan?" asked Chuck. He was a bit bothered by Morgan's attitude. "Working at the Buy More for peanuts? Sitting in on a Friday and Saturday nights playing video games?" Chuck had to stop for a few seconds because he felt his anger rising. "Funny as this may sound, I've never felt this good in my life. School is going great and I love it. Surfing is so much fun I can't describe the feelings I get when riding a ten-foot wave. It has the added bonus of allowing me to meet girls. Maybe this summer you can come with us?"

"I'm just glad you came out of your shell, Chuck." remarked Ellie. She turned to look at Bill, "I'm glad I finally get to meet you. Chuck's always telling me about his roommate and how much fun he's having but I didn't know you had such a big impact on his life."

"Thanks Ellie. It was kind of selfish on my part however," Bill explained. "Like I told him, I hate surfing alone and being new to the area, I figured it would take a while to get a surfing partner. Then he showed up looking like me before I started. Chuck's gotten pretty good at it too. He rarely wipes out anymore. Everyone thinks Chuck's a great guy back at school, it just took a little nudging on my part to get him going."

"I hate to do this to you," said Chuck looking at Bill, "but I promised Morgan I would hang with him tonight and play some video games over at his house like old times."

"Sure Chuck," Bill said with an exaggerated sigh, "just leave me here with your sister to fend for myself." This earned him a smack on the arm from Ellie. "Ouch, Ellie take it easy will ya? Did you see that Chuck? We just met and she's abusing me already." He said with a laugh. "Take the Explorer and have a good time, just don't damage it too much," he finished while tossing the keys to Chuck. Chuck thanked him before leaving with Morgan.

Ellie led Bill into the apartment and as soon as the door closed she began attacking his lips with hers. When they finally had to come up for air they were both flushed and out of breath.

"It's been far too long since we did that," Ellie sighed as she pulled him closer.

"No kidding El," he answered while giving her another kiss. "So where's Jacob this weekend?"

"He's over his boyfriend's house for the holiday. It's really starting to suck being his beard like this," replied Ellie. "His parents are so uptight about stupid shit it's amazing. They need to accept the fact that their son is gay and move on."

"I still don't get that guy myself. He's on his own now, well kind of, why does he care?"

"Simple. his folks are loaded so he's worried about getting cut off financially," she answered. "It's not all bad. I like having him here. He's got great fashion sense, cooks like a gourmet chief and keeps me from getting bored because you're not around. I've learned a lot from him too. Enough about him, we have a call to make."

She grabbed his hand as they made their way to the secret room inside Ellies walk-in closet. She keyed in the passcode then placed her eye up to the retinal scanner. The locks could be heard disengaging and the door swung open. They entered and sat down in front of the large monitor on the opposite wall. Bill typed in some commands on the keyboard and inside a few minutes the screen came to life. The split screen was displaying the faces of two women, the first was the diminutive yet very powerful Major General Diane Beckman of the NSA. The other woman, Agent Frost of the CIA, Mary Bartowski to her friends and family, had a smile gracing her face as she greeted her daughter.

"Ellie and Bill it's good to finally see you guys again," Mary said, but before she could continue Beckman cut her off.

"Really Mary, you just talked to her last week. You'd think you never get a chance to see her."

"Hush Di, you know how I get now that I can chat with her on a regular basis. We'll chat more in a bit guys. But to keep Di happy how's Chuck doing so far El?"

"From what I've seen so far he's doing great. He's more physically fit than he was before he left for school, but still has some growing up to do. Bill got him out of his shell by teaching him how to surf, play beach Volleyball, take up Krav Maga plus encouraging him work on the game he always wanted to program."

"What's your take Gunny?" asked Beckman.

"Honestly, the boy needs a lot of work Ma'am, but he's coming along fine. He's really easy to train because he's so gullible," Bill stated. "We knew going in any mention of physical training would shut him down to any ideas I may have had, so I brought up surfing. It's good exercise and fun. Once he got the hang of it he began asking to do other things he never would have thought of doing in the past. He's more athletic than we gave him credit for in the beginning. He plays a mean game of volleyball which tells me he has good hand to eye coordination."

"How do we proceed from here Gunny?" questioned Frost.

"I got this one," said Ellie. "Bill keeps going like he is for the rest of the school year; come summer vacation I ask Chuck to have Bill stay with us for the summer."

"How the hell do you plan to pull that one off Ellie," asked Diane.

"Simple, during Christmas break Bill's family starts giving him shit over stupid stuff. He gets mad at them so they begin to drift apart. He plays the, 'my family hates me card'," Ellie inserted air quotes here, "Chuck will swallow it hook line and sinker," Ellie stated. "There's a three-bedroom place across the court yard on the second floor that will be available in a few months. We figure it gives you three months to kit it out for us with everything we'll need to run our operations from here. Put a top of the line gamming rig with a large flat screen in Chuck's room and the boy will never leave his room unless we drag him out of it."

"Just remember to make Chuck's room the one with the window away from the fire escape or else Morgan may walk in on something he shouldn't," added Bill.

"That goes without saying," Frost replied. "What's the rest of your plan?"

"Bill trains him more without his knowing," answered Ellie. "Bill and I need to keep up our jump status so we'll take Jacob and Chuck with us. Jacob likes rock climbing and other extreme things as well so Bill and Chuck can tag along when he goes. I'll do my best to get Chuck to run with me a few days of the week when Jacob's at work."

"You seem to have it all planned out El," quipped Diane.

"Of course we do," snipped Ellie. "If you think I'm going to spend any more time away from my husband than I have to your out of your mind."

"Don't bite their heads off Ellie, we all put our heads together and came up with the plan."

"Doesn't mean I have to like it," she grumbled.

"Getting back on track, how are you handling college again?" asked Beckman.

"It's a lot more fun than the last time, being of legal age and all. Chuck's never asked my age, and because I look younger than I am, I didn't tell him. Besides I'm only five years older than he is so it's no big deal. Besides I think another doctorate will look good on my resume."

"I think we can wrap this up and let the love birds spend some time together before Chuck gets home. Mary you can get reacquainted with Ellie now. We'll talk again over Christmas break. I'll get busy on securing the apartment for our use. One last thing before I go, Agent Wu will be starting at the Buy More soon to set up her cover for when Chuck goes to back to work next summer. Talk to you later," Diane said as she logged off her computer.

"Has my idiot father gotten back to you yet?" Ellie asked her mother.

"He sent me all his coding for the intersect project but not the data that has to be added, he's being a pain in the ass about it."

"What the hell is wrong with that man? We made these plans up years ago and now he's not holding up his end." Ellie was beginning to get mad and it showed. Bill put his hand on her leg to calm her down. "Have Beckman send the data they have to my secure email along with the program. I'll burn a copy for Bill to take with him when he goes back with Chuck. Between the two of them I'm sure they can fix all of the mistakes dad made."

"You need to give your dad more credit than that Ellie, he's a smart man."

"He may be smart but he's using old technology and coding. We know he's trying to code it for a computer and not the human brain. They store data differently. If we want a working copy for Chuck in a few years we have to make headway starting today," firmly stated Ellie.

"Not to spoil your fun ladies, but are you sure Chuck is going to want to follow in both of your footsteps? In the short time I've known him he seems like a real nice guy. Shouldn't he have a choice?"

"He will babe, no question about it. From the time he accidentally downloaded the first working copy of the intersect when he was nine we knew he could handle it. Doing what we do is in his blood, just like it's in mine. He went off the rails when dad split on us then went into his shell."

"We aren't going to force him into anything Bill," added Mary. "I know my son so if the three of us sit down and talk to him, explain what's at stake and that he'll be working with us, he'll jump at the chance."

"That's why you want me to build up his confidence and get him into shape isn't it? So when the time comes he'll be ready to handle it."

"Exactly Hun. Mom and I both know Chuck's not the most assertive person in the world but would still risk getting his ass beat to protect his friends. That's why we planned to do it this way."

"We know he won't make it through the farm if he's forced to go," added Mary. "The way you're getting him in shape, and the things you will be teaching him are variations of things he'd learn at the farm. He'll be having fun doing them and never realize he's being trained to be a spy."

"Alright we'll do it your way and hope it works out for the best. I'm going to get a shower so you two can catch up." He leaned over and gave Ellie a kiss before leaving the room.

The two women spent the next half hour catching up and making more plans for Ellie's team. Just as they were about to sign off Frost had one last question for Ellie, "I found out one of Volkoff's lieutenants is going to be in Cali next week for a few days. I need Bill to take care of him for me. Can you pass the information along?"

"Sure, send me the details and his picture when you send the intersect program. I'll see you later and love you Mom."

"Love you to Ellie," and she signed off.

The couple spent the rest of the night getting re-acquainted with each other. They had to split up when Chuck called and said he would be coming home and not staying over at Morgan's like they had hoped. Over the next few days Chuck was busy with Morgan when he wasn't working while Ellie and Bill hung out around the house. Ellie as expected had a nice meal prepared for Thanksgiving inviting several of Chuck's friends from the Buy More over. They couldn't do much as a couple because of her cover with Jacob. The holiday weekend was finally over and the guys headed back to school. Bill had the intersect disc with him plus the information on Volkoff's lieutenant.

December 1999

When Bill's Monday morning class was over he went back to his room and opened the file on his target. His target was nothing special based on the file which would make his job easier. He was a mid-thirties male who had risen up the ranks by eliminating his opposition. His main focal point was dealing arms to terrorist groups in the middle east. Now I have an even better reason to kill the scum bag. He would be arriving in LAX on Wednesday, then heading to cabin in a remote part of northern California near Auburn. Could this get any better Bill thought while looking at a map of the remote area. He grabbed his phone and called Ellie.

"Hey Babe," he began, "I looked over the maps of the area and found a good spot to take him out. When can you get here?"

"I have work until three so I can be at our normal spot by six. What are you going to do about class tomorrow?"

"The only class I have is for the EE degree, so I don't really need it. Since I haven't missed any classes so far the professor shouldn't care."

"Which one of your toys should I bring with me?"

"I think Bob can handle this one don't you?" asked Bill. Bob was his M107 .50 Cal sniper rifle.

"I think that's over kill babe, I'd go with Telly if I were you. It has the advantage of using the 7.62 NATO round. It will make it harder to track down if they find the round."

"I think your right about that. I have to go, Chuck will be here in a few minutes and I need to pack. See you in a few hours, love you," said Bill.

"Love you too and see you soon," Ellie replied before ending the call. Bill got busy packing and putting away the file. When Chuck got back to the room Bill was all packed and ready to go. Chuck looked to the bag on Bill's bed and then to Bill with a raised eyebrow.

"What Gives?"

"Some family drama just happened and I need to take care of it. I'll be gone for a while but should be back by the weekend."

"I hope everything works out for you. I'm glad Ellie and I got past our family issues a while ago."

"You two did have it rough for a while I'll give you that. You both seem ok now."

"It took longer for me than it did Ellie. She met a Jacob her first year in college and he's been great with her. I don't think it will be long before he pops the question." If you only knew the truth dude.

"Don't you think she's a bit young to be getting married? She's just finishing up college and starts medical school next year at UCLA?"

"Nope," Chuck quickly responded, "she's been happier than I can remember since she met him and he's taught her a lot." Wait till you find out she's been married for a while and to me. I just know this isn't going to end well.

"I know it's not my business but what makes you think she wants to get married?"

"No problem Bill but it's pretty obvious to me, I mean they live together, hello! Wait a minute," exclaimed Chuck. "Your crushing on my sister!" Oh shit. What the hell do I say to that. I know he'll tell El and if I don't answer it right she's gonna be pissed.

"Not crushing exactly, Chuck, more like hoping I find a girl like her someday. I really have to go so I'll see you in a few days." With that he grabbed his bag and left to meet Ellie. When he arrived Ellie was already in the hotel room waiting for him. She stood up and greeted him with a kiss before sitting back down.

"You seem a bit off today, what's up?" Ellie asked.

"Mostly your brother."

"What did he do now?"

"It's not what he did but what he said." This earned him a confused look from his wife. "He's anxiously waiting for your boyfriend to pop the question." Ellie did a spit take at that and began coughing as well. "Plus he now believes I'm crushing on you."

"He got that part right at least," she sighed. "Let's hope it blows over soon or we're gonna have all kinds of problems."

"What's going the cause problems is when Jacob decides to come out of the closet and move in with his boyfriend. Based on what Chuck said it could happen soon. Has he said anything to you?"

"Not a peep to be honest, but he hasn't been around much lately. We'll cross that bridge when we come to it. You ready to order dinner?" replied Ellie.

"Sure why not? Di send you anymore info on the target?" he asked while getting up and taking Ellie's hand before leading her to couch and sitting down next to her.

"The intelligence shows that he only has two body guards with him this trip. He goes for a run around seven when he's home and they believe he will continue this while here. Other than that not much. Your stuffs in the trunk."

"Thanks for bringing them, babe. Tomorrow we can go scope him out plus look for a place to set up for the shot. But for now we have to make up for lost time," Bill said leading Ellie to the bed. They made love long into the night. It took them two days before they finally had a good place set up so on the third day set the plan in motion. Just like the prior two days the target ran into the clearing followed by his two body guards.

"Here he comes," began Ellie while looking through her spotters' scope. "the wind is stronger today so move one click right to correct. He's about two hundred and fifty meters out so your clear to engage."

"Got it," Bill replied while getting his sight picture. Two seconds later the targets head exploded and he tumbled to the ground. Two more rounds were fired in quick succession and the body guards met the same fate as their boss. Bill quickly policed up his brass and began breaking down his rifle. At the same time Ellie went to confirm the kills. They finished at about the same time so Bill only had to wait a few minutes for Ellie to return.

"Nice work babe," she quipped as they walked to the explorer, "all of them are eliminated. Why does this seem to get easier each time? Is there something wrong with us?"

"We're fine El. If we enjoyed it, we would have a problem but we don't. I think of these people like they're rabid dogs who need to be put down. You better call your mom and let her know it's done."

"I'll make sure I call her as soon as I get home. You need to get back so just drop me off at my car."

"This sucks being apart from you so much."

"Yeah it does but we have winter break coming up then summer. With me starting med school in the fall I'll need all my free time to study so it may be good you're away."

"Not much of a silver lining to that cloud is there?" stated Bill. "Will you and Angela be able to keep in contact when you head to med school?"

"We hope so, with her being from Europe who knows?" Angela was a girl Ellie met her freshman year at UCLA and the became close friends despite not studying the same things. Ellie was going for Pre-Med while Angela was a Political Science major.

When Bill returned to school he found Chuck hard at work on his game. This allowed Bill to give the intersect program a quick once over. He noticed a few things that needed to be tweaked and a few more that needed to be redone completely but he would leave those for Chuck to fix because Chuck was better at coding than he was. He planned on waiting until after Christmas break before handing it over to Chuck.

The rest of the semester went by quickly with Bill and Chuck spending more and more time with Jill and Bryce. Chuck and Bryce played a lot of Zork which led to Chuck thinking about ways to improve the game, or update it to work on the more modern machines. Just prior to the break Bill received word he would need to report to Camp Pendleton to requalify on his weapons. Bill broke the news to Chuck he was having trouble with his family and wouldn't be able to visit him over the break, putting the beginnings of the cover story in place.

May 2000

Not much else happened during the rest of the school year and soon they were packing up their things to head home for the summer.

"Bill, I have a proposition for you if you're interested?"

"I'm all ears Chuck. What is it?"

"Ellie told me a month ago that she moved into a different place that has an extra bedroom. I already asked her if you could stay there during the summer because of your family issues and she agreed."

"It's nice of you to ask Chuck but I don't want to be a bother."

"You won't be. I called my old boss at the Buy More and he said I can work part time during the summers for some extra cash, plus I want to spend time with Morgan and working on the program you gave me. I'll hardly be around anyway. Ellie will be spending time at UCLA for school. Jacob works a lot and from what Ellie's told me they seem to be drifting apart. I'm surprised she's taking it so well."

"Ok Chuck you convinced me. I'll spend the summer at your place."

"Great! I'll call Ellie and let her know you'll be there. Just think one more week and we're out of here for three months. You have any plans for the summer?"

"You know me dude, I plan to surf as much as I can, play some volleyball and work out. Generally, chill out for a bit," he replied. "maybe we can work on that program I gave you as well?"

"If you don't mind I'll tag along on some of your surf trips. Maybe I can talk Morgan into coming."

"You might want to rethink the Morgan angle. He doesn't seem like the beach type to me."

"Neither was I before I met you, so you never know."

"I do know Chuck. I know he's your best bud and all, but he's lazy. He doesn't want to make anything of himself," Bill saw the look on Chuck's face and he held up a hand to keep him from interrupting, "He's content to stay where he's at when he could be going to school to better himself. When I met him his response to the things you are doing now told me all I need to know. One bit of advice, keep being friends with him, but don't let him suck you back into his world. You're much better than that."

"You sounded just like my sister."

"She's a smart girl Chuck, maybe you should listen to her?"

"I'm gonna have to cut this short because I have my last final to study for and I want to keep up my four point oh."

"You worry too much my good man."

"Says the dude who doesn't need to study to get straight A's."

"Eh, it's a gift. I'm out bro see you later tonight." Bill grabbed his bag before he departed the room. Once in his car he called Ellie. She picked up on the first ring, "Hey babe, almost done with classes?"

"I took my last chemistry final yesterday so I'm headed to the beach."

"Sometimes I think you love the beach more than me," she said with a laugh.

"Not a chance Hun. Chuck just asked me to stay for the summer and I agreed. Any progress on getting Jacob to stay?"

"Unfortunately not. He finally grew a pair and told his folks. It was rough for a while but they didn't cut him off so he's moving out in the fall. Everything else is lined up though. I have us scheduled to take Chuck sky diving, repelling, white water rafting and camping for a week."

"Sounds good so far. Start working on him from your end and I'll take care of it on my end."

"Di called last night to tell me she's going to need you for a few weeks in August to help out one of her teams in Afghanistan. They need a sniper to provide over watch while they take out a terrorist cell."

"We can't get a break can we?" he sighed.

"We get a lot of breaks if you think about it. You don't have to deploy like normal Marines for months at a time. You can do your quals when convenient for you. Now stop complaining and have some fun."

"You got it babe, I'll see you next week." Bill spent the rest of the day riding the waves and flat out having fun. When he returned to his room he found Chuck passed out on his bed. Looks like that final kicked his ass, or it could have been all partying he did this week. One more final to go and part one of the plan is complete. Guess I'll go hang with Bryce for the night. He's a fucking tool but Chuck likes him so I'm stuck.

The week went quickly for Bill but not so much for Chuck. He was bogged down with finals three days in a row so he spent every waking hour cramming for them. One thing I'll say about Chuck is he's working hard to make Ellie proud of him and is doing a good job so far. Once finals were over on Wednesday the two roommates moved out of their room and headed to Ellie's place. When they arrived Ellie greeted them and gave them a tour of her new place. It was considerably larger than her last place. Bill was given the room next to hers and Chucks was down the hall. Chuck was amazed at the gaming system and television he found in his room. It didn't take Chuck long to drop his bags and make his way to Buy More to collect his schedule. Knowing it would take him a good hour or so Ellie and Bill went to the secure room the NSA had added in Ellie's room. It didn't take Beckman long to come online after they placed the call.

"Afternoon General, Diane," the couple greeted her.

"Hello to you as well," was her response. "How does it feel to be done your first year of college again? And you Ellie?"

"I'm glad it's over Di. I can't wait to start med school next fall."

"It's school what can I say. I had more trouble getting Chuck trained than I did with classes."

"Speaking of Chuck, how's he progressing?" asked Beckman.

"He's doing well. I'd say he's slightly ahead of schedule. This summer will test his mettle that's for sure," answered Bill.

"I have to give you two credit on this plan of yours. It seems to be working out well so far."

"Thank you Di. I knew my brother was destined for great things, he just needed a push in the right direction. We just had to come up with a way for him to enjoy getting in shape without his knowing. This summer he'll be learning a few more things, I hope."

"Very well," Beckman said, "on to the next order of business. I'm sure Ellie informed you that I'll be needing you during August for a few weeks. You'll be getting your orders and mission via courier in July. Also, something just came up yesterday involving home grown terrorists. The FBI asked for my help and I selected you two. You'll leave Friday night and the op will take place Saturday. With luck you should be back Sunday."

"Please tell me I'm not working the Afghanistan mission with Casey this time?"

"Not this time. I still remember what happened the last time you guys worked together and I do not want to see a repeat performance. One last thing before we adjourn for a few weeks, you'll be getting some new weapons next Monday so make sure Chuck is not around."

"When will you be sending us the FBI mission info?" asked Ellie.

"The files should arrive tomorrow along with your tickets. Good luck agents, Beckman out."

"At least we can spend the weekend together," quipped Bill.

"Not the kind of weekend I had in mind when you got back," sighed Ellie as she hugged him.

AN: I've opted not to cover all the missions the couple went on alone or solo because if I did I'd never get to the meat of the story. I may do one shots of them if there is interest.