A/N: I know. I know. I shouldn't. But this one won't leave me alone either, and don't ask how long it is, I just don't know. What I do know is this goes cannon until three-quarters through Chuck vs the Break Up and then…AU. I know. I shouldn't, but I can't help myself. One-shot….probably…maybe…who are we kidding, I have no idea.
A/N 2: I hated The Break Up, not because it wasn't a good story, but because it made no sense. They were closer than ever the next episode. I know this episode inspired True Friendship fanfic, which I liked, but what I really got to thinking about was the break up really didn't help Sarah the way Bryce put it. She still cared about him, so what other way could Chuck protect her? Bunker. However, some people who complain the most about their job, really like it. So…here is my take on how this episode should have gone, and part of the next…and who knows after that.
Disclaimer: I don't own Chuck…and I'm beginning to question if I own my sanity.
"We need to talk about Sarah," Bryce said. "She had a chance to take the shot back there and she didn't. She hesitated and almost cost us the microchip and your life."
"I know," Chuck replied. Bryce studied him.
"What are you gonna do about it?" Bryce asked.
"I don't know, Bryce," Chuck said, sounding defeated. "You tell me. What am I supposed to do?" Bryce watched him.
"You'll do the right thing. You always do. That's why I sent you the Intersect in the first place," Bryce said.
Chuck was sitting on the fountain, as she walked in, trying to figure out what to say. He was so deep in thought that he didn't even notice her. She sat down beside him and he looked up at her. "Hey," she said.
"Hey," he responded.
"Everything okay?" she asked. Chuck started to say yes, but couldn't.
"I'm sorry," he began. She gave him a concerned look. "I lied." Now she was a little confused. "I liked the red..er…salmon colored dress earlier, but Bryce was there, and …." He trailed off. She reached over and took his hand. "You've done so much for me."
"It's my job," she said, afraid where this was going.
"Yeah, but Sarah, there's multiple ways of taking care of things. I know you're trying to do things professionally, but, hear me out. When someone says they're trying to be professional, it usually means cold and unfeeling. That's not who you are. You could have let them throw me in a bunker, but you gave me a chance to be with my family. You could have told me what to do, instead of explaining things, taking your time, being kind. Let's be honest, even Casey is doing all he can to make my life easier." Sarah grinned, knowing what he meant. "Thank you, for caring. It means everything to me." She gave him a concerned look.
"Tell me all of it," she said. Chuck gave her his grin.
"That's it," he said. He nodded his head toward the door. "They're expecting us," he said. She gave him a look like she didn't believe him. "Come on, we don't want Ellie to start questioning us. Seriously you think they ever tried to recruit her as an interrogator?" Sarah studied him. She didn't know what was going on, but he seemed at peace at whatever he had decided, and that worried her.
Casey watched the footage in the courtyard again. The moron was about to do something stupid. Casey grinned. If things went the way he thought, he would be able to get out of this hellhole soon. He watched Chuck as he sat there at the fountain. The kid's going to make the sacrifice. That's the right thing to do. Then why was his gut bothering him so much? His phone rang. He looked at the ID. Walker? What did the moron do now?
"Walker, secure," she replied. "John, what's wrong with Chuck?"
"Come on, Walker. First you get upset with him because he can't control his feelings for you, and then you get upset when he does? Just shoot the poor guy and put him out of his misery."
"Casey!" she sputtered, mad. "He didn't ask for any of this. We signed up for it, he didn't, and he does everything he can to help us. Why is it so bad he has feelings, hell, why is it so bad I have feelings? Those feelings make me protect him more, and you know it!" John stared at the phone, not believing what his partner had just said.
"If I went and found Larkin and let you shoot him a few times, would you feel better?"
"No….yes….maybe, ugh! I don't know," she admitted.
"I'm going to say this once, and once only, the way you two are going is going to get one of you killed," Casey began.
"I know how you feel about being compromised," she said.
"Shut up, and listen," Casey cut in. "You two are half in and half out, and it's going to get you all dead."
"We both know I'm not allowed to be all in," she said, wincing at what she thought Casey would say with that softball. He grunted.
"Too easy," he said, and she couldn't help but grin. "You're smart, Walker, figure it out."
"I can't figure this stuff out, and you know it," she said sighing. "Sorry, Casey, I know you hate these talks."
"Walker…you're right, the kid deserves better…and so do you."
"Good night, Casey," she said, and hung up the phone. Casey pulled out a bottle of Johnny Walker. He went back to surveillance. Maybe he should figure out a way to get them together, he'd have less surveillance to watch…he put the glass down. This had to end. He started to get up, but he paused, pulled up a laptop, and began to look at their cases. He had an idea. This would end things, but someone had to put those two out of their misery.
"Chuck, I don't like it, I'm glad you're thinking about taking this job with the government," Ellie began. Chuck had come to see her at the hospital. It was the one place he knew his conversation wouldn't be bugged. He was tired of people spying on him, but he was even more tired of them spying on Ellie. "What about Sarah?"
"Ellie, I won't lie to you, but you can't squeal," he said, pointing at her, mock serious. Ellie was all smiles. "I love her, but she's had so many trust issues in the past, I don't know if there is ever going to be anything more than what we have." Ellie was vibrating. She then smacked him on the shoulder.
"Then how can you leave her!" Ellie asked.
"I'm going to give her the choice of what to do," Chuck said, hating the lie, but knowing Sarah would be gone as well. "Ellie, the thing is, if they decide to hire me, I could be gone quick and not get to talk to you for a long time, but it's for the greater good." Ellie nodded.
"I hate it, but I'm proud of you for realizing you can do more," Ellie said. "When will it happen?"
"I don't know," Chuck replied. "But I'll do everything I can to see you, okay?" Ellie nodded and pulled her brother in.
"It will all work out," she said. Chuck sighed, it was for the best. This protected everyone.
Chuck walked into the Orange Orange and noticed Sarah was a little distracted. A couple was there talking to her…like they knew her. Sarah saw Chuck, and her face fell a little. He turned to leave to give her some privacy, grinning at seeing the surprise look on her face. It will be easier to leave the less he knows about her, he realizes. That's when he sees the male customer's face, and that old feeling comes through his head. It's a little smoother since Bryce gave him the update glasses, but it's still a flash.
"Chuck," Sarah says, realizing what is going on.
"Hey, Sar-" he begins.
"Chuck," she says, trying to look a little admonishing, but looking really irritated. "These are high school friends." Chuck looks at them, and then back at Sarah. He really doesn't want to do this to her, and that doesn't escape Sarah. Why doesn't he want to know? Wait, that should make her happy, right? She pushes those thoughts away. "Remember, I went by Jenny Burton while I was there."
"You changed your name?" the woman asked.
"Chuck, this is Heather Chandler, and her husband, Mark Ratner," Sarah said. Chuck gave a couple of handshakes and nice to meet yous. "After dad," she began, giving Chuck a look that said "later" to which he took calmly like he wouldn't press her. "I decided to change my name. It was silly, but I felt like I needed a new start."
"So, you two are coming to the reunion, right?" Mark asked.
"Oh, I have that thing that S, er Jenny is going to go to me with for the store, right Dear?" he asked, giving Sarah the out. She turned to look at him.
"Well, at least have dinner with us," Mark said, giving Sarah his card. "Give us a call."
"I have an install scheduled tonight to go late, so we probably can't," Chuck said. Again, it took all of Sarah's spy instincts not to give him a look. "But, if I get done early we can give you a call." Everyone said good-bye and the two left. Sarah turned to Chuck.
"Who are you?" she asked, grinning. "What pod person took away Chuck Bartowski. Are you a LMD?" Chuck gave her a sad smile.
"You're spending way too much time with me," he said. Sarah's jaw nearly hit the floor. TWO nerd references and nothing. "I flashed on Ratner, we should tell Beckman so she can figure out what you and Casey are going to do about it."
"Are you going somewhere on this mission?" she asked.
"Yeah," he said dejectedly. "I'll be in the van." And with that, he opened the door to Castle. They went downstairs, and Casey was already there. Chuck hit the button to connect and as they waited on the General, Sarah got close to Casey.
"Something is really wrong with him," she said. "He had an opportunity to learn about my past, and didn't, I made two nerd references and he did nothing, and then he offered to stay in the van." Casey gave her a look, and then moved his head to the side for the two of them to step away and talk.
"You need to think real hard about what you want, Walker," Casey said. "Real hard."
"What do you mean?" she asked. Casey gave her a look.
"I mean, we've done a whole lot of good, with a whole lot of people, and we make a good team," Casey began. "Maybe it's time we called some people, I don't know, like General Stanfield, and make some changes. Especially if those changes help us operate better."
"Casey," Sarah asked, with a hitch in her breath. "Are you all in?" Casey gave an amused grunt, and grinned.
"Make sure of what you want, Walker, but no more half-in," he said, and walked away. What was going on? First Chuck didn't pry about her past, now Casey was basically telling her that she should go for her and Chuck. The countdown came on, and the three took their places. Chuck looked bored and disinterested. The general came on and they Chuck. Sarah kicked him in the shin, and he gave her a dirty look. She gave him a look and nodded toward the screen. He looked up, and waved. The general glanced at Casey, who shrugged.
"Are we boring you, Mr. Bartowski?" Beckman asked.
"Why do you ask, we know you don't care," Chuck replied. Sarah's eyes got wide and turned to Chuck. Beckman leaned forward.
"We have extended you every privilege, Mr. Bartowski," Beckman said. Chuck got a strange look on his face.
"Privilege?" Chuck asked looking around. "Privilege. So it's a privilege to know that when you're done with me you're going to put a bullet in my brain?" Everyone shrank back at that one. "Or I was hung upside down from a building, or putting these two amazing agents in harms way to protect me, knowing if I screw up I might get them killed, or sending the most wonderful person I've ever met in my life, but knowing I can't actually be in her life because I'm an 'asset' well I've got an 'asset' you can kiss." Sarah's eyebrow were almost on top of her head with that one. "Oh, and let's not forget everyone's favorite, 'we haven't thrown you in a bunker.' Well, you know what, let's get to mpphhhh." He turned and looked at Sarah who had her hand over his face. He couldn't resist, and stuck his tongue out and licked her hand. She slugged him on the shoulder. She turned back to the screen.
"I apologize, the asset took some cold medicine and he's just not himself," Sarah said, to the shockingly amused face of Beckman. Beckman looked at Casey who had a look on his face like, "see."
"Mr. Bartowski brings up some interesting points," Beckman said. Casey was the only two who's mouth didn't drop. "Mr. Bartowski has performed more like an analyst then an asset. He has not been compensated, and we are negating his personal life, something he did not sign up for. There has been a significant increase in our budget, I suspect something to do with this team's record plus saving General Stanfield's life. We have encroached on not only Mr. Bartowski's private life but that of his sister, and I think it's time we correct those mistakes."
"Just let me give my sister some notice," Chuck said, accepting his fate. General Beckman nodded.
"That shouldn't be an issue," she said.
"No," Sarah said. "General, this is wrong, you can't throw him in a bunker."
"Sarah, it's not your call," Chuck said. Sarah spun on him. Beckman began to say something but Casey shook his head. This had to get out. "You and Casey are constantly putting your life on the line to save me. We both know I can't stay in the car because I can't sit back if anything happened to you…or Casey…or Morgan…or Ellie…or anyone. I don't know how to push down these feelings I have, and it makes your job so much harder. I am not cut out to lie to my sister, to not feel what I do, and do you know how it KILLS me to see you have to do the seduction missions. Take out what I feel for you romantically, but there is my friend having to do these sleazy things with sleazy people, for the greater good? What about your good? What about your and Casey's lives? You didn't sign up to babysit me. You signed up to save that world."
"That's what we're doing, Moron," Casey said. "Working with you, we've stopped more threats to this country than ever being in some hole in the wall, or in a knife fight in Jakarta."
"Those knife fights are overrated," Sarah said. Casey had to nod. "As for the rest of it, you're right, it isn't fair to you, but what is even more unfair is for you to be locked in a bunker."
"I completely agree with Agent Walker," Beckman said. "Agent Walker, I have a mission for you, but I cannot assign it to you, I need you to volunteer." Chuck sighed, here it comes, they're going to split us up. "There is a mission packet on the table." Sarah reached over and picked it up and began to thumb through it. "I need you to be permanently assigned to a high value analyst," she said.
"Permanently?" Sarah asked, afraid to hope.
"If there comes a point you need to be reassigned, you can request it, but no one can pull you off this assignment," Beckman said with a grin. "You and the analyst will share a two-bedroom apartment, what you do in there…none of my business." Chuck looked over at Sarah. She looked straight ahead, scared of this moment, but secretly hoping. "I must warn you, you must protect this analyst, there can be nothing that comes before it. The analyst has what some in our industry would call emotional issues and you might have to deal with many of those." Sarah nodded. "However you two see fit to handle these issues, is up to you. There will be no bugs in the apartment." A picture of the apartment popped up on screen.
"That's the apartment across the courtyard," Chuck whispered to Casey. Casey shook his head.
"For such a smart guy, you are a moron," he muttered. Chuck looked at him. Casey gave him a 'really' look, and it finally started to dawn on Chuck. He looked over at Sarah.
"I don't know how good of an idea this is, General," Chuck said. Everyone was shocked over that one.
"General, maybe the idiot analyst and I should talk a bit," Sarah said, giving Chuck a look. Beckman tried to contain her grin.
"Very well, but you two have a dinner tonight with Sarah's former classmates," Beckman said, preparing to sign off.
"I don't know if that's a good idea either," Chuck said. Beckman just stared at him. "Hear me out, General. Everything we do, puts me deeper into Sarah's life, her past, and that's her business, not mine."
"When she joined the CIA she knew these things could happen," Beckman said. "Mr. Bartowski, I understand what you are trying to do here, and while it is noble, have you actually thought maybe you should have this conversation with her, because she might not be against it?" The look on Chuck's face said no, he hadn't thought of that. Normally Beckman would cut the feed, but today, well, today she wanted to see this. Sarah looked at him, expectantly, while he tried to think of a dignified way out of this.
"No, I haven't, but general, what if-" he began. The general now looked angry.
"Talk to her, and if it's a problem, deal with it!" she said, and cut the feed.
"I apologize for ever giving you grief for calling him a moron," Sarah said to Casey, and she stormed out of Castle. Casey just watched him.
"You are a special kind of stupid, aren't you?" Casey asked.
"That's insulting," Chuck said.
"And what you did to Walker wasn't?" Casey replied. Chuck paused.
"Oh, crap," he said. Casey stared at him.
"Well, go after her, numbnuts!" Chuck shot upstairs. Sarah was studying the paperwork. "You do know I'm an idiot, right?" She just looked at him and shook her head.
"This ANALYST is getting a new job," Sarah said, showing him the plans. "It appears he will open his own security firm."
"What about the Orange Orange?" Chuck asked. Sarah shook her head sadly.
"It will be gone, and a storefront in it's place," Sarah said.
"That's a shame, I'll miss the toasted marshmallow flavor," Chuck replied. Sarah looked at him.
"You do know that you are the only person that eats it, right? And, we both know it's the gummy bears you'll miss the most," she said with a grin.
"You know this analyst is going to be forced very deep into your life," Chuck said. Sarah nodded.
"He'll probably learn a lot about who I was," Sarah replied, looking at him.
"I hope he's smart enough to know anything you did, doesn't define you, and that you'll share that information with him as you are comfortable. Not comfortable with him, but with his trust, since you've been burned by people and certain organizations," Chuck said. Sarah place her hand over Chuck's.
"In these situations, you sometimes see people getting married, even after the assignment's over," Sarah said.
"Wow, someone could convince Sarah Walker to marry him, he's got to be a pretty special person," Chuck said softly. Sarah looked him right in the eyes.
"He is," she said. "It's not like I'm pushing for that to happen, but it's known to. Two people put together, protecting each other becoming second nature…you can see how that leads down that road."
"I envy the analyst," Chuck said, grinning. "You will send me a postcard to the bunker I'm in every so often, right?" Sarah looked at him.
"Is that what your calling the second bedroom? You're bunker?" she asked, moving closer. "The biggest problem is, I'm going to live right across the courtyard from the analyst sister, and she can be pushy."
"See that's why the bunker, I'm tired of lying to my sister," Chuck said.
"About how your having feelings for a certain handler?" she asked grinning.
"She already knows that," Chuck said. "It's the missions and all that." Sarah nodded.
"Wow, I don't think that's going to be as rough as my situation," Sarah said. Chuck looked at her, and she swallowed. "See, they are going to read the analyst's sister and soon to be brother-in-law in, because she is going to be part of the project and he is going to be the team's doctor." Chuck's eyes about bugged out of his head. "So," she said, wrapping her arms around Chuck's waist, looking him right in the eyes. "I'm going to get all sorts of pressure to pursue a real relationship, and she's so going to count all the cover stuff."
"That sounds rough," Chuck said, barely trusting his words. Sarah smiled.
"Oh, I'm looking forward to it," Sarah said.
"Well, at least you get your own room," Chuck replied. Sarah shook her head smiling.
"Oh no," she said, biting her lower lip. "See, it's still a cover, so I'll be moving in with the analyst, but the good thing is, I can explore a non-cover under the cover relationship." Chuck blinked a few times.
"Sorry, I was carrying the one and got lost," he said. Sarah grinned.
"Do you think this is a good idea?" Chuck asked. Sarah looked him in the eyes.
"It gives me everything I've ever wanted," she said softly.
"What about your own personal space?" he asked. She placed a hand on his chest, and looked right into his eyes.
"I've been alone for so long," she began. "It's time for me to see if I can have a real relationship."
"I hope your asset isn't the jealous type, you know all those seduction missions and stuff you get," Chuck said, looking away sheepishly.
"You don't understand," she said. "No seductions anymore. I have to protect the emotional stability of my analyst." Chuck took a deep breath.
"Just so I'm clear, I am the analyst, right?" Chuck asked. Sarah rolled her eyes, exasperated.
"Yes, you nerd," she said, pulling him into her. "So what do you say, Chuck, bunker or live with me and have a real relationship." Chuck thought for a minute and Sarah looked up at him, shock on her face.
"I'm thinking," he said grinning.
"Oh, you're so gonna get it," she said.
"Really?" he asked, wiggling his eyebrows. He was sober for a second. "Can we take this real thing kinda slow?" She gave him a strange look. "Look, I know we've been on two first dates, but I want you to be absolutely comfortable in this. Living together, staying in the same room, the same bed, and whatever we decided to do, or do not do."
"How slow?" she asked.
"I have no idea, because we both know, if you wanted to, you could wear that purple thing, night one, and slow is out the window," Chuck said. Sarah just grinned at him. "Second serious point," she nearly broke her neck she rolled her eyes so hard. "Are you sure about tonight?"
"Chuck, I want you there," she said.
"You tell me whatever I need to know, and I won't ask any questions," Chuck said. Sarah leaned in and kissed him. Chuck pulled back.
"You can't be kissing your asset, I could end up in a bunker!" Chuck said grinning.
"I thought that's where you wanted to go," she bantered back.
"I got a better offer," he said as she raised an eyebrow. "A MUCH better offer."
"You've not seen nothing, yet," she said seductively.
A/N: Is this a one-shot, the beginning of a series, I have no idea. The idea just wouldn't leave me alone. Itch scratched. Let me know, if you like it, I can see what I can do with it.