Chapter 13

A/N- So, we enter into the final three chapters. Thanks to all for the reviews and PMs. Thank you michaelfmx for editing this story and your valued input. I've run out of verses from Keats but thought this quote might be fitting for Sarah.

"Hinder me? Thou fool. No living man may hinder me!"

Then Merry heard in all sounds of the hour the strangest. It seemed that Dernhelm laughed, and the clear voice was like the ring of steel.
"But no living man am I! You are looking upon a woman. Eowyn am I, Eomund's daughter. You stand between me and my lord and kin. Begone, if you be not deathless! For living or dark undead, I will smite you, if you touch him."

Lord of The Rings, Return of the King.

Echo Park– Sunday, December 17, 2007 – 9am

Sarah couldn't sleep anymore. In spite of her best efforts, her body clock was still on Washington time. She looked over at Chuck, who was in a deep sleep. She smiles at him, he was a complex and fascinating mixture of a grown man with the enthusiasm and vigor of a teenage boy.

Chuck said he didn't like dancing but was actually not a bad dancer, especially after he'd had one or two drinks.

Once again she'd noticed that he was very self-conscious about her being affectionate with him in public, plus he lacked confidence. She made sure that everyone on the dance floor knew Chuck was the center of her world. Sarah smiled at the thought of helping him become more confident in himself in the future.

At the last moment Chuck had begged Ellie and Devon to go out dancing with them. Sarah and Ellie had danced with each other when Devon and Chuck feigned exhaustion and pleaded to sit down and have another drink.

They'd returned at midnight because Devon had a full day today.

Sarah's black satin negligee with lace on the bust had been a bigger hit than the purple one. Chuck had sucked in his breath when she entered into the candlelit bedroom.

Sarah looked over at him as he snored away and was warmed by the memory of last night ….but she desperately needed to pee and get some caffeine.

She went into the kitchen and saw a sleep tousled but smiling Ellie sitting at the kitchen table with a steaming cup of coffee. "Good morning."

Ellie gave Sarah a warm smile.

Standing in front of her near the kitchen table was a tall, leggy blonde. Apart from her mussed up hair, Sarah looked like she had just left a Paris runway. A sheer black laced robe barely covered a sensational looking black satin negligee.

"Did my brother die happy? Or is he still breathing?"

Ellie's comment shocked Sarah, and she barely prevented herself from blushing. But Ellie's eyes were dancing with laughter.

Sarah relaxed. "He's….ahh… resting from his labors."

Sarah grabbed a coffee and sat down across from Ellie. Sarah was just getting to know Ellie so she rejected several possible responses to Ellie's joking about her and Chuck having sex.

Finally, her eyes dancing with mirth she nonchalantly said , "Devon must really like your name, because I heard him repeat it a lot after we all went to bed."

Ellie snorted. "Fair enough, I'll stop teasing you. By the way, we had a lot of fun dancing with you guys last night."

They chatted amiably for several minutes.

Ellie sat back and looked carefully at a woman she barely knew. "Sarah, my brother is in love with you." Sarah blinked at Ellie's directness. Sarah decided to be equally direct. "I know, he hasn't said the words ….but I agree with you."

Ellie had no doubt that Sarah was one of the most guarded women she'd ever met. But this was Chuck, so she pressed on. "I'm less than a mother, but I am more than a sister to Chuck. So, I'm going to be blunt."

Sarah's eyes narrowed and she sat back and braced herself for Ellie's next question.

"Sarah, you're a beautiful, sophisticated and an intelligent woman. I'm pretty sure you can have almost any man you want. I love Chuck, but that doesn't blind me to his lack of confidence, his boyishness and lack of sophistication…compared to you"

Sarah wondered where the hell Ellie was headed with these comments.

Ellie rested her chin in the palm of her hand and looked right at Sarah. "I don't want my brother's heart broken, when you move on. So, if he's a fling for you and you're…"

Sarah couldn't sit still any longer, now that she knew where the conversation was headed. "Ellie, I'm crazy about your brother. I've no intention of moving on." Sarah was surprised with how angry she was becoming.

"Chuck may break my heart, but I promise you, I'll never break his."

Ellie angled her head because she was perplexed by Sarah's comment. "How on earth will Chuck break your heart, my God Sarah, he adores you?"

Sarah needed more caffeine and got up to refill her cup. "Ellie, you know I work for the CIA." Ellie nodded.

"I'm going to tell Chuck some of the things I've had to do as an agent…..dangerous things…..distasteful things. He may find my….my past too difficult to handle…."

Sarah was walking a tightrope here, she sighed deeply. "Ellie, I'm not the girl next door. In fact, I can be….no… not can be….I am…. a dangerous woman in a dangerous world. I really can't say anymore."

Ellie didn't doubt for a second that Sarah might well be a dangerous woman. But now, for the first time since she'd met her, she believed that Sarah was in love with Chuck. She had no doubts, even though Sarah hadn't said it in so many words.

"Sarah, let me tell you something about Chuck, and I'll compare him to the man I love.

"Devon is intelligent, he's a gifted surgeon, he's the guy with the rock hard abs, great athletic ability and like Chuck says… he's really awesome. But Chuck is mentally and spiritually tougher than Devon will ever be."

Sarah leaned forward, riveted to the conversation as she tried to catch every word.

"Chuck and I learned to survive and adapt. Both of us should've gone into foster care….."

Ellie caught herself and paused. "…listen, no poor me, or poor us speeches. What I want tell you is…..Chuck loves you, because of that fact ….it's virtually impossible for him to cast you aside because of your….your past…..your whatever."

Ellie had one more thought to share with Sarah. "Chuck and I, because of what our parents did to us, still struggle with abandonment issues. We are hyper sensitive to betrayal when it comes our way. Jill's betrayal of Chuck with that bastard Larkin put him into a hell of a tailspin."

Ellie was finding this hard, but she needed to share it with Sarah. "When I first met Devon, when we first started dating… he had a period where…..you know that Devon was a male model?…..well, let's just say …he took me for granted."

Sarah could see Ellie's eyes grow sad with the memory of Devon 'taking her for granted'.

Sarah thought she knew what Ellie was referring to.

Ellie composed herself. "Even though I knew I was in love with Devon …well…..I'm no saint, I was beyond furious with him and refused to see or talk with him for months. He crawled over broken glass, that I was spreading on the ground,… in order to make amends ….and eventually, I took him back."

Ellie stood up. "Sarah, my brother will survive almost anything you can throw at him….except maybe betrayal….it hurts us, it cuts us too deeply. Okay, I've said my piece. I've got to be at the hospital by noon."

As Ellie walked past Sarah to head for her bedroom, she briefly touched Sarah on the shoulder and whispered, "Good luck with the sharing."

{o}

Three Hours Later- Noon.

Maison23- Room 832, 322 North Pass Avenue, Burbank CA

Sarah had to catch the Delta red eye flight, at 10pm this evening, leaving from LAX. She'd get into Reagan International at 6:15am the next morning. She wanted to spend as much time with Chuck as possible.

They needed somewhere private and separate from Chuck's life, especially away from Echo Park, in order for her to tell him about the 'wet' work.

The CIA had an arrangement with Maison23, through a shell corporation, to hold two rooms for their agents. She had stayed here two or three times over the years. The room was a little too green for her tastes, but would have to do for now.

They ordered lunch from room service and took their time eating it. Sarah picked away at her salad, her appetite had left her with the thought about the revelation she was about to make. Her nerves were stretched like violin strings, and she felt the tension throughout her body, it made her slightly nauseous.

Chuck was in a talkative mood and was telling Sarah about his mom, at least what he could remember about her.

Sarah was having trouble paying attention to him. God, she needed a drink.

She got up and opened the mini bar and grabbed a little green bottle of Glen Livet. She looked at Chuck and he shook his head, no thanks. She sat down and took two large sips of the single malt and started.

"Chuck, I've already swept this room for any bugs. What I'm about to tell you is for your ears only." She waited for him to acknowledge her request. She saw him tense up.

"Chuck, Director Graham and my instructors at the Farm saw something in me. I didn't know it was there,… in a way I wish they hadn't seen it. I wish they hadn't developed it." Sarah took another sip of her drink. God, this was hard. Start, just start.

"Chuck, in many ways I'm what you would expect a CIA agent to be. I can do covert work, surveillance, counter surveillance, counter terrorism work, intelligence gathering….I can do all of that and please don't think me conceited, I do it well."

Sarah finished her drink and got up and grabbed another little green bottle from the minibar. She poured it on top of the ice already in her glass.

Chuck had never seen Sarah this jumpy. He felt her tension ratcheting up and his left leg started tapping out a rapid rhythm. "Sarah, are you Okay?"

Sarah's response was curt. "Chuck, let me get this out….please."

Sarah steeled herself before she finally managed to say the words, "As it turns out I'm very good at…..killing."

Chuck sat back in his chair and blinked several times. "Do you mean…like in self-defence…?"

Sarah sadly and slowly shook her head. "No, Chuck I mean the CIA sends me out to kill people.

"Graham and the instructors slowly developed that side of me. I'm wired differently from you….probably from most people. I have the ability, for a time, to remove myself from the emotional equation involved with the act of killing. I'm given a mission to do and I carry it out."

Chuck took a moment to find his voice. "How…how long have you been doing this?"

In a soft voice, Sarah replied. "For about two and half years.

"Chuck, I'm very careful to make sure that these people I…. they're horrible people. I make some sense of what I do… by telling myself that by taking their life, I'm saving tens, hundreds, maybe thousands of lives down the road."

As she talked, Sarah was carefully watching Chuck for any signs of how he was taking the things she was telling him. She fully expected him to bolt any second now, fleeing away from her. Quick! Run from the monster.

Chuck didn't run, but he was clearly damn uncomfortable. He got up and walked to the window, looking out pensively.

Sarah needed to tell him one more thing….before he started asking….asking her to justify her actions….to give some reason, some moral defense of her actions.

"Chuck, I've never killed anyone of my own volition. I've killed in self defense and when ordered by executive order, and then only when…. I felt the evidence presented to me by my bosses merited me doing so."

Chuck turned and walked back towards the bed, sitting down near her, albeit somewhat warily.

Chuck's dilemma was that he could well believe Sarah was capable of killing in cold blood. He'd been in that interrogation room, alone with her. He'd seen those blue eyes, drained of any warmth. He'd seen the way she'd held the knife, like it was a part of her, like she'd used it before.

His dilemma was that he also saw the other parts of Sarah Walker. She loved him. He knew that, and he knew she struggled with telling him so. She cared about her best friend Carina and would risk her life to save her. Sarah Walker had depths he was just now discovering. Yes, she was complex, mysterious and difficult to be with. Yes, she was definitely 'wired' differently than him. But, he loved her.

Sarah let the silence grow. She prepared herself for the inevitable questions and listed them in her mind.

'How many people have you killed in cold blood?', 'Do you enjoy killing people?', 'What's it like to take a person's life.', 'Do you feel sad or…..do you feel anything at all….when you're doing it?'

She hated the fact he would ask these question…. but she would answer them all. She knew by the end of his questions, after she'd answered them truthfully…..he would distance himself from her and their short wonderful time together would come to an end.

Sarah waited and fought back the tears as she wrestled with the sadness rising up within her.

Chuck cleared his throat, he was finding it hard to get his question out. "Did you ever not carry out a …a kill order?"

Sarah blinked twice. In a thousand years, she would never have expected him to ask that question. He was looking at her with an intensity that unsettled her. She knew that her answer to this single question would make or break them as a couple.

The spy part of her screamed at her to lie to him. Don't you dare tell him the truth, that's our secret, if they ever find out, you'll end up in prison or worse!

She stood up and walked to the window. She could feel Chuck's eyes on her back, following her every movement. Finally, she sighed and walked back towards him. She sat down beside him on the edge of the bed.

She needed to be near him as she told him the truth.

"Twice, no…. two and a half times….. I didn't carry out my orders to kill someone."

Chuck gave her a surprised look. "Sorry…..two and half? I don't think…..uhhhh…. that doesn't' make any sense?"

Sarah shrugged her shoulders. "The most recent person was….."

Sarah related the story to him of her encounter with her former trainer, Gail Ardis, in Edinburgh. At the end of telling him the story, she looked into his eyes and thought they were warmer, softer. Sarah had a thought flash through her mind, Maybe there's hope for me yet.

"The next person was….he was an eighteen year old hacker, named 'Gars'. It means 'the wraith' in Latvian.

His real name was Vsevolod Bobrov." The color drained from Chuck's face. He knew of 'Gars'. They'd exchanged several pieces of hacker code over the years.

But 'Gars' had disappeared fifteen months ago. Chuck had wondered what had happened to him.

My God, the CIA and the NSA actually sent out kill orders on elite hackers.

Sarah saw his reaction. "Chuck are you okay?" Chuck didn't answer, just stood up. "I think I need a drink."

He walked over to the minibar and grabbed a little white bottle of Chopin vodka. He almost laughed at the thought that popped into his head. Vodka, how appropriate.

He managed to pour his drink without his hand shaking too much.

After he sat down beside her she continued, "Bobrov was from Riga. His mother was Latvian, his father was from Papashevo, in Russia, just across the border with Latvia.

"He was an elite hacker, on the same level as Orion or the Piranha…." Chuck was sipping his vodka, trying to calm himself. When he heard Sarah say 'Piranha' he started to cough as the vodka went down the wrong way.

Sarah leaned over and patted his back, "…are you going to be okay…do you want me to stop?" Chuck finally stopped coughing and wiped the tears from his eyes. "No, no…continue…I guess I'm not used to drinking hard liquor, like vodka….I'm okay…really."

The spy in here filed away his strange reaction when she mentioned Orion, she would examine it later. "The National Security Council, through the NSA and CIA, tried to recruit him online. He refused to work for the US Government.

"He was truly gifted, he'd broken into several NATO databases and stolen thousands of dollars from local banks in Latvia. The CIA and the NSA were very concerned he would eventually be recruited by the Russians, the Iranians or that a terrorist organization would possibly grab him.

"One of our analysts finally tracked him down to a physical location. It was an internet café in Riga. I was sent to carry out the termination order. I watched his movements for two days. I also confirmed that 'Gars' and Bobrov were one in the same person. Finally, the opportunity presented itself to carry out my mission."

Sarah hated to dredge up missions from the past. They should stay in the rooms in her mind where she stuffed them away.

"Bobrov lived with his parents, they were out at some church function. He was all alone in his room, his headphones were on and he was oblivious to everything else.

Sarah looked at Chuck. His eyes were wide with anticipation.

"I slipped into his room and pointed my gun at his head. Chuck, he was a boy in a man's body, he hadn't done anything wrong….yet….something prevented me from pulling the trigger. I stood there wondering what the hell I was going to do…..then I saw a way out, for both of us."

Sarah went on to tell Chuck that she scared the shit out of Bobrov as she stood in his bedroom holding a Ruger with a silencer, all dressed in black. She convinced him to work with MI6.

Sarah called a contact in MI6 and made sure that Bobrov went with the MI6 handlers, when they arrived the next day.

The deal she made with MI6 was that they would confirm that they recruited Bobrov before she'd come into Latvia. Sarah received assurances from 'C' himself that he would honor their special arrangement.

Graham was not happy that she hadn't carried out the termination order. But what could he do? He checked her story with 'C' and his other contacts in MI6. They confirmed the timelines. The termination order on Bobrov was rescinded by the National Security Council.

The vodka had relaxed Chuck. Sarah's decision not to kill the elite hacker was a magical tonic to his soul. He smiled at her. "So,… you don't always follow orders?" Sarah smiled at him for the first time. "Chuck, I'm not a terminator unit from the future…"

Chuck gave her a weak laugh. "And I can't tell you just how glad I am to find that out." He reached out and put his hand on top of hers. "Sarah, I know this isn't easy for you…..but you said, two and a half….?"

Sarah was almost drained emotionally, this was so hard for her.

She had never talked this much in such a short span of time. "Okay, his name was Evgeny Mishakov. He was a cold war relic. He was specially trained by the KGB and placed in section thirteen, he was one of the alpha team members."

Sarah looked up at Chuck. She realized he had no clue what she was talking about. "Chuck, section thirteen of the KGB was the one that sent out the assassins." Chuck nodded, he got it.

"Evgeny was sixty-five years old. He lived in the Ukraine and had been retired for the last ten years. Chuck do you remember when Alexander Litvinenko was assassinated in London last year?"

Chuck clearly remembered the incident. "Yes, supposedly the Russians used polonium-210 to poison him….horrible, ugly way to die, I imagine."

Sarah continued, "This is not known by the public. But MI6 did retaliate for the FSB killing Litvinenko... and so did several other nations. There was up until that point an unwritten rule that stated you didn't kill ex-spies in the other guy's back yard. The reason was obvious, if you went down that path, then the killings and vendettas would spiral out of control. Apparently in the FSB's mindset, that rule was no longer in effect.

"Evgeny was considered one of the best in his day, he was responsible for three intelligence agents' deaths over his career, one CIA and two Mossad agents. I was assigned the mission to terminate him."

Chuck's shoulders sagged. This all sounded so petty, governments carrying out vendetta killings.

"Evgeny was living in Pisky, not too far from Chernobyl. I cornered him in a back alley, near a bar he frequented. Before I could get my first shot off, there was a gun in his hand and he fired twice. One shot grazed my left side. We both took cover and fired at each other. I had forty years on him but my God could that man shoot.

"Finally, we stopped firing at each other. I quickly reloaded and waited. I could hear him coughing. It was a wet, racking your lungs cough. A minute later he threw out his gun and a backup piece."

Sarah then quickly related how Evgeny slowly stood up with his hands raised. He told her to finish her work, he didn't care….. he was dying from lung cancer.

Sarah told Chuck that her training told her to shoot him…. then and there …but she didn't. The reason was because she had a sudden glimpse of her future, being old, and alone, used up and most likely cast aside and forgotten by her government.

Evgeny saw Sarah bleeding on her left side and laughed. 'So, the old fox can still shoot straight…enough of this spy on spy shit… take me home and I will fix you up, I've had a lot of practice. Also, I have something for you.' He smiled at Sarah, '…then pretty assassin, you can complete your mission and kill me, but only after I have one more cigarette.'

Sarah stood up and paced back and forth as she told Chuck the end of the story. "Evgeny did patch me up. The whole time I had a gun pointed at him as he cleaned my wound and put a gauze bandage over it.

It didn't bother him in the least that I didn't trust him. He finally sat down and coolly smoked his last cigarette.

"He was assessing me the whole time. 'You remind me of me, when I was your age, except I would have shot you back in the alley, as soon as you stood up.' He started to laugh and then he started to cough for a whole minute. At last he stubbed out his final cigarette. 'Do you know how Roman senators ended their life, my pretty CIA assassin?'

"I told him I did, they cut themselves and bled out in a hot bath.

He was a little impressed with my answer. 'So, let me make you a living legend. Let me die in a warm bath, like a Roman senator. We'll make sure that there is no evidence that you were ever here….that way it will look like a suicide. But your bosses and my bosses will know you took down the great Evgeny Mishakov and made it look like a suicide. The perfect assassination, the perfect assassin... who leaves no trace.'

"Chuck, at that point I didn't want to kill Evgeny, so I agreed. He was dying anyways. He waved me over to his laptop. He then asked for my account number for my 'out in the cold fund'.

"I didn't answer. He laughed at me, 'Come now my pretty assassin, I know you possess such a fund, please don't' be coy, not now, I will be dead in an hour and there is no one left in my life. You might as well have my money. Listen, I'll set the account transfer up, you can key your account code in and press enter. Then take the damn laptop, I don't care."

Sarah stopped talking. The silence between them stretched.

They sat beside each other on the edge of the bed. She was longing to just lie down and close her eyes…she had never felt so exhausted, even during her toughest mission. Chuck was lost in thought and she dearly wished she could read his mind. "Chuck, I'll understand if you want to leave and we never…."

Sarah didn't get to finish her sentence. "Sarah, I don't think you need to tell me anymore about your 'wet' work. Or any other nasty bits from your past, if you don't want to."

He paused and made sure they were looking into each other's eyes. "Listen, as far as I'm concerned, the problems of the past are your business. The problems of your future are my privilege."

He stood up. "Come on… we need to get out this room and go for a walk, get some fresh air, okay?"

Sarah didn't move from the bed. She was still processing what Chuck had just said. What did he mean by the problems of the past are my business? And what the hell is he getting at... talking about my future. Is my future linked with his future? Is that what he's saying?

Chuck reached down with his right hand to help her up. "Come on Sarah, let's go for a walk…..together."

{o}

They'd returned from a long walk in a nearby park. They'd exchanged very few words, both of them caught up in their own thoughts. Chuck never let go of her hand and that calmed her thoughts as she wondered what was next for them.

When they got back inside the room, Sarah tentatively asked Chuck if he would just lie down with her and hold her. They both quickly drifted off to sleep.

When Sarah woke up two hours later, Chuck was propped up on his elbow, and his head was resting on his hand. He was looking at her. His brown eyes were soft and full of warmth. The beginnings of a smile played on his lips.

Sarah looked at him. "Chuck, what's going on …why are you looking at me like that?"

He moved in close towards her. "I'm wondering if you could show me where Evgeny's bullet grazed you."

Sarah gave him a funny look…. but she reached down with both hands and hiked up her blouse and pointed at the small scar with her finger.

Chuck leaned over and gently brushed the old wound with his lips, causing Sarah's breath to hitch, and mumbled. "I'm really glad he only grazed you." His warm kisses continued and slowly moved closer and closer to her belly button….. Sarah reached down and buried her fingers into his curly hair. Her heart started to hammer….."Chuuck…."

{o}

Maison23-room 803, 8:00pm

"Chuck, Chuck…wake up, I need to shower and head for the airport."

She really needed to talk with Dr. Owens because she knew with certainty she could no longer be Graham's enforcer, or anybody's enforcer for that matter.

{o}

Next Day

Van Nuys Airport, Monday December 18, 2007 – 9am

The C-21A Lear jet landed with a squeal as the tires gripped onto the tarmac.

John Casey was a happy man because he'd hitched a ride with an old colleague, Lieutenant-Colonel George Bennison, USAF. Casey was recently checked out on the C-21A. His colleague in the left seat allowed him to handle the approach and the landing.

When Casey got off the plane, he was carrying two stainless steel suitcases. Each case contained a state of the art DARPA prototype that Bartowski had requested.

General Beckman had approved the use of the NSA equipment with the proviso that the equipment was under Casey's care the whole time.

The door of the C-21A closed and it taxied away to head for the short hop to the USAF base in El Segundo. Casey walked to a private lounge area, sat down and waited.

He wondered to himself how it was that his life had gotten so entangled with Bartwoski's. Casey wondered for a second, if instead of recruiting the tall nerd back in Burbank three and a half years ago he should've just shot him.

Casey and the General had agreed to assist because they both hated traitors and people who betrayed their oath and their country. If indeed, this Amy was a bad egg, then he was on board with putting her away in a super max prison for a couple of decades.

{o}

Carina, Zondra and Chuck arrived two minutes later. Chuck got out of the car to greet Casey, but only got a grunt in return. Casey put the cases in the trunk and saw Carina and Zondra sitting in the car. "Bartowski, what is with you and all these CIA skirts?

"Is that CIA blonde… what's her name, Walker? Is she also a member of your little harem?"

Chuck blushed. "Of course not, our relationship is strictly professional." Casey smiled, the moron was such a terrible liar.

{o}

Safe House-Oxnard St, Lake Balboa Park

Amy Monroe had been on her way to a mission in Mexicali when the NSA requested a special meeting with her at this NSA safe house. Apparently, one of their analysts and a computer genius needed to talk with her about one of her previous missions, when she'd been with the CAT squad.

She was told to meet with an agent she'd heard about, John Casey and some guy named Bartowski. She wasn't happy with the detour but the NSA had agreed to meet her here in Van Nuys.

Unknown to the CIA, Augusto had flown up to meet her in Mexicali. Amy would soon be with him...just four or five more hours.

She had been in love with Augusto for years. Amy had worked exceptionally hard to keep Augusto safe from the CAT squad. Walker had suspected something was up, because she kept saying, "..no one was that lucky". To take the heat off her and Augusto, she'd planted the transmitter in Zondra's boot.

Amy was the smallest member of the CAT squad at only five foot six. But she was dangerous and, as it turned out, smarter than the other three. None of them had suspected her. She smiled, Zondra was such an easy patsy to set up. The CAT squad had been dismantled shortly after the incident. And Amy's career had taken off.

Augusto had helped her target and take down other cartels that were in competition with some of his important clients. Graham and the CIA had gladly received the information from her informants and assets to take down and eliminate the cartels she put the bright spotlight on.

She was now one of Graham's favorites, along with Walker and a handful of others.

Amy easily found the NSA safe house on Oxnard St and parked the rental car.

She looked at herself in the rear-view mirror and took stock of herself. Her blonde hair was held back in a ponytail. She was dressed in black designer jeans, a white cotton blouse and a gray colored light weight leather jacket. Amy was wearing a favorite pair of black suede boots with two inch heels.

She knocked on the front door of the two story house, confident she was ready for whatever this last minute meeting was about.

{o}

Chuck had been beyond curious to meet Amy. As she sat down at the kitchen table across from him and Casey, he took a big breath. My God, she was a beautiful woman, but Sarah was more beautiful and not a traitor.

Casey and Chuck had carefully rehearsed their parts.

Casey started, "Agent Monroe, sorry to interrupt your next mission, but we need to confirm some information with you." He looked over at Chuck to plant the seed.

Chuck took ten minutes to go over the latest information on Augusto Gaez. Amy had listened politely but finally offered up, "I'm sorry, I don't have a lot of dealings with Augusto, since my days on a special squad, I was assigned to, ended. I'm not sure how I can be of help?"

Chuck smiled to himself. Liar, liar, pants on fire. "Oh, I'm sorry Agent Monroe, I was led to believe that you and the CIA were still trying to take Augusto Gaez down. I mean, he is number fifteen on our terrorist list."

Amy recovered quickly, "Don't get me wrong, I get all the Intel on Gaez like other agents at the CIA and would dearly love to take the bastard down. We came close several times over the years but he eluded us. So, how can I help?"

Casey and Chuck baited the trap.

Casey got up and was pissed, "Well Bartowski, as usual you got it wrong, Operation Varrer Limpo will still go ahead tomorrow as planned. We'll have to trust the informant's information."

Amy spoke Portuguese. The NSA, and most likely the DEA, were putting operation 'clean sweep' into play. She needed to warn Augusto, he needed to know about this latest Intel. But she needed to stay here a little longer and pump these two for more information about the operation. "Listen, can we take a break, I need to grab a smoke? Can we pick this up in say fifteen minutes?"

Amy looked at both of them. "Let me reach out to one of my informants in Sao Paulo, okay?" Casey and Chuck nodded eagerly with grateful expressions.

Amy headed out into the park across the street. Chuck and Casey raced upstairs to the master bedroom that overlooked the park.

Casey had brought Chuck a micro-drone that looked exactly like a dragon fly. This DARPA prototype dragon fly was equipped with a micro camera and a microphone relay. Chuck opened the window and Casey piloted the drone out to follow Amy into the park.

Amy's tradecraft was good.

She walked and slowly smoked her cigarette, all the time looking for a secluded spot where no one could observe her. She bent down and stubbed out the cigarette. At the same time she reached down to the heel of her right boot. The transmitter popped out when she touched the heel in the right spot.

She looked around carefully once again. Trees and bushes hid her actions completely. There was only the sound of buzzing insects and a dragonfly that was darting in and out of the bush in front of her.

She keyed the message into the transmitter. "Operation Varrer Limpo tomorrow? Caution!" She pressed the button and quickly put the transmitter back into its hidden spot.

Casey and Chuck had seen everything in HD on his iPad.

Amy was 'dirty'.

When Amy had pulled out the transmitter, Chuck had been able to read the address number she keyed in. He keyed the address number into the special laptop Casey had brought with him. There were only three laptops like this in existence, for a good reason. The laptops were nicknamed the 'golden key'. Each laptop possessed the codes required to gain instant access to the NSA mainframe and search database at Ft. Mead. Chuck had already pointed the system into the three cell towers near the safe house.

Four minutes later, they had a location for the person who had received her message. The person receiving the message was in Mexicali. Chuck turned to Casey. "We have a location, Mexicali….isn't that where she's headed right after we meet with her?"

Casey and Chuck raced downstairs back to the lounge and TV room.

Amy came back into the safe house after composing herself. She put on her... 'I'm really not that smart' smile.

Casey and Chuck were relaxing on the couch talking amiably. "So Casey, if you were trapped on a desert island, what sandwich would you eat?" Casey had a smile on his face but he would dearly love to smack Bartowski across the top of his head for bringing up such an inane topic.

They both smiled at Amy and then Chuck leaned forward. "Agent Monroe, there's one more piece of Intel the NSA has gathered on Augusto that might interest you."

Casey motioned for her to sit down on the couch with them. Chuck clicked the remote he'd picked up from the coffee table, there was a flicker and finally, displayed on the fifty inch TV screen in vivid HD, she could see herself in the park.

She quickly reached into the pocket of her leather jacket, but it was too late, Casey had an iron grip on her wrist. She also felt the barrel of a gun touch the back of her head. She recognized the voice instantly. Zondra! "Hey Amy, good to see you again. By the way, I love your suede boots."

Amy slowly turned around to see Zondra and Carina standing behind her.

Carina pulled out her phone so Amy could see her do it and pressed send. "Thanks Amy, now that we know exactly where Augusto is…..he's in Mexicali… isn't he sweetie…never mind."

The color drained from Amy's face. She'd betrayed her lover.

Carina turned to Casey. "A DEA agent working with the Cuerpo de Fuerzas Especiales should be in Mexicali in under three hours."

Casey had searched Amy for any more weapons. Her hands and feet were zip tied. Casey pushed her back onto the couch. Chuck reached down and tapped Amy's right boot heel. The transmitter popped out. "Well, Zondra looks like your days in the wilderness of Zin are over, you've finally been vindicated."

A/N2- I wish I was making this stuff up about the dragonfly drone. I'm not. See pg. 409, Annie Jacobsen's book about DARPA, 'The Pentagon's Brain.'

A/N3- Chapter 14 will not be published until April 18. My apologies, but alas, work and other commitments will take precedent. Fortunately, there are some really excellent on going stories that will captivate you and more than compensate.