A/N: I read First Dates and One Night Stands by Argo0 and really liked it. Unfortunately for us, Argo0 decided to stop contributing to Chuck stories on this site with that story. I do recommend the story, provided you are (a) over 18, and (b) good with reading explicit Charah sex. If you don't care to read that story, no worries. It won't take too long to catch up here. Argo0's story launched an idea that I've been playing with for a few weeks now. I'm somewhat squeamish about writing "M" rated scenes myself, so my story will be "T" not "M". I tried to follow that story's canon (rather than the established canon) in terms of who knows what when.
I attempted to get Argo0's blessing to this continuation of what he/she started, but didn't hear back. Argo0, if you are reading this and are pissed off at what I did with your idea, sorry.
Needless to say, this is AU. It's also my first Chuck submission intended to be multi-chapter from the start (so let's see how that goes).
And seriously, if I owned Chuck the series wouldn't have had that ending. Or there'd be a movie or something.
I have little patience for "will they or won't they". They did. And they are. A lot.
Smiling, Sarah laid her head on Chuck's chest and tried to catch her breath. He was no better, both of them breathing like runners at the end of a race. She smiled to herself, well they'd certainly crossed the finish line and done so together. Planting a kiss on his chest, tasting a little salt from his sweat, she said, "Good morning, Mr. Bartowski."
"Good morning, Ms. Walker. That was way better than an alarm clock."
"Ummmm, yes, it was. But I hate alarm clocks, so that's a pretty low bar." She gave a small laugh. Her face quickly grew somber, thinking of what she had to do next.
She sat up in the bed and crossed her legs to sit next to him, Indian style. "Chuck," she said, "I need you to call in sick to work today."
"Sarah, I really, really want to do that. Like, a lot, but I can't. I have a job. I have to be responsible and stuff. Could we..." He saw the look on her face. "What's wrong? You suddenly look seriously serious."
"We have to talk."
"Are you mad at me? You look like you're mad." The sudden trepidation in his puppy-dog eyes affected her immediately. She felt a surprising urge to comfort him.
"No, not mad and it's not just so I can keep you in my bed longer. It's a serious talk and I don't want you worried about going to work."
"OK, but you're scaring me."
"Don't worry, Chuck. Just call in sick. Please."
He bent over without getting off the bed and found his phone on the floor. He left a message for someone called Big Mike.
"Ok, Sarah. Done. If this is a serious talk can you …" he gestured with a waving finger at her body. "You know, cover up or something? There is zero chance I can have a serious talk while looking at you."
Grinning, she said, "Sure." She reached behind her and felt around on the floor until she found his shirt. She pulled it on. He liked that a lot. This incredibly beautiful woman was wearing nothing but his shirt. It was symbolic of a level of intimacy that was unexpected, but then again, everything about this situation was unexpected. He was sure that last night was the single greatest night of his life - and now this was the best morning. That made him even more scared that the upcoming serious conversation was going mess it all up.
As she pulled his shirt around herself, she grabbed the edge of the sheet and pulled it up to his waist. "Turnabout. I'm as likely to get distracted as you are," she said with a smile.
"So, what' s going on, Sarah?"
"Ok, Chuck. So first of all, don't freak out."
"Why do people always say that when they are going to tell me something that will freak me out?"
"Chuck, tell me about Bryce Larkin."
"Bryce? What? How do you know Bryce?" Chuck's surprise and confusion were written all over his face.
"Me second. You first. Please."
"Ok. I guess. Bryce was my roommate and best friend at Stanford. Then he turned me in for cheating on a test I didn't cheat on. I was...I was..." He looked down and away from her, clearly embarrassed. "I was thrown out of school. Expelled. So, my girlfriend Jill broke up with me and Bryce started to sleep with her. Kind of adding insult to injury. So...I guess you could say Bryce Larkin in just about my least favorite guy ever. How do you know Bryce?"
Ignoring his question, Sarah said, "What did he do after school?"
"He became an accountant. Working for one of the big firms. But seriously, how do you know him?"
"Have you been in touch with him?"
"No," said Chuck. "No surprise there. Not like we're going to exchange Christmas cards or anything. I really ...email."
"He sent me an email a few days ago. On my birthday. Out of the blue." He paused, his brow wrinkling. "Weird."
"Tell me about the email, Chuck."
"Why?," he seemed a little distracted.
"It had a code to open it. A question from an old game we used to play in school. And then just a bunch of pictures. A lot of pictures. Like random ones. It was pretty weird."
"And you looked at the pictures?"
"Yeah. So, when do I get to find out why you are interested in Bryce?"
"Chuck, Bryce is dead."
"What? No. What do you mean? How?"
"He was shot and killed three nights ago."
Chuck's face fell, "Oh no. That's terrible. Oh, no."
"I thought you didn't like him?" asked Sarah.
"I don't. I didn't, but I don't want him dead. That's terrible. Man, that's terrible." Wow, thought Sarah. Chuck reacts this way to the death of someone he didn't even like; this man has a really big heart. "Was it a robbery or something?"
"Chuck, Bryce wasn't an accountant. Bryce was a CIA agent. Like me."
His expression of surprise was almost comical. She kept her gentle hand on his arm to steady him as he tried to process what he had just heard.
"Bryce was...you are...God...Wow...CIA...Um, ok. CIA. Bryce." Chuck uncharacteristically went silent and just looked at her. After a while, he said, "Ok."
"Up until recently, I was his partner."
"And girlfriend," said Chuck. It was not a question.
She frowned at him and said, "Why would you say that?"
Chuck noticed she didn't deny it. "Sarah, you and I have just met. I really don't know you very well at all. But I really do know Bryce. Knew. He would take one look at you and make it his business to get you into bed. And, Sarah, Bryce was really, really good at getting girls into his bed. Anyway, you told me so last night. You just changed his name to Bruce."
"Maybe my ex's name really is Bruce," she said.
Chuck just gave her a look that basically said, Oh, please.
"Fine," she said. "Yes, we had a relationship. It ended six months ago." She said, "Six months ago, he went rogue. He disappeared and, we believe, began to work for the bad guys." Chuck let out a noisy breath. Sarah continued, "Three nights ago, he resurfaced. He broke into a secret government facility and stole a database. Then he blew up the facility. He was killed on the way out. Chuck, the last thing he did before he died was to email you the stolen database."
"What? No, no, no. Sarah, I swear I didn't …." He began to freak out.
"I know. I know. Calm down. I know you had nothing to do with it. Calm down, Chuck. I believe you. We believe you."
"And you were sent here to …"
"Find out if you were involved in whatever scheme Bryce had going."
"But why did you lie to me? Why couldn't you just ask me?"
"Think about it, Chuck. You are a good, honest guy. What if you weren't? What if you were a bad guy? How far would I get just walking up to you and saying, 'hey there, are you in league with a renegade CIA agent to steal government secrets?' Think that would have worked?"
"No. You're right. Of course not. I see...so this," he gestured at the bed and both of them, "this is..."
"NO," the vehemence of her answer startled them both. She took a deep breath and let it out slowly. She took his hand in hers. "No," she said in a quieter tone. "Chuck, I made my decision midway through dinner last night. I knew you had nothing to do with stealing those secrets. I knew you were just what you seemed. A nice guy who used to know Bryce. As far as I was concerned everything after that ...well...I was off the clock. I was on my own time out on a date with a nice guy. I could have walked out in the middle of dinner and still completed my mission and made my boss happy. Everything else, everything after that, was real. Is real."
His smile at that was so genuine and sincere that it seemed to her to light up the room. "Chuck, I expected I would be leaving for DC today. No second date. And I really like you. I didn't want you to look back on the date and think...well, to think that I didn't have a good time. Or I wouldn't want to go out with you again or something. I wanted you to remember the date...to remember me... and smile. That's why I brought you here last night."
"Well, I really like you too, Sarah." He had a goofy expression on his face. Like he couldn't quite believe want was going on. "And I'm really happy that you like me back."
"Chuck, you are a nice guy. Do you have any idea how many nice guys I meet? Here, let me give you a hint. Zero. Zero nice guys. All the guys I meet are arrogant superspy types like Bryce or bad guys, arms dealers, terrorists, tyrants, and other assorted douchenozzles. A nice guy is a really rare thing for me. I think I kind of like it. Not to mention...well," she looked a tiny bit shy, and glanced at him under her lashes, "that was the best sex I've ever had."
"What? It was? Really?"
She gave him a happy, toothy grin. "Really. And I know you are way too much of a gentleman to ask, so I'm just going to tell you. You are way, way better in the sack than Bryce ever was on his best day."
"Really?" She didn't think his grin could be any bigger without hurting his face.
"Yup," She said, popping the "p". "And to think that Stanford Jill broke up with you to sleep with him. Huh. So, in addition to being a cold-hearted bitch she's also a freaking moron. You know, I'd like to meet her one day, I think."
"Why?," asked Chuck.
"I think it might be kind of fun to beat her up. Yeah, definitely. It would be fun."
"Wait, you were the ninja who broke into my apartment to steal my computer."
"Yeah, I was. That didn't work out to well. The hard drive got trashed."
He smiled and said, "It's ok. It was worth it."
"Yeah. The way I figure it, if you had gotten the hard drive you might not have needed to talk to me. And if you didn't need to talk to me, we would never have gotten here."
"I like the way you think, Mr. Bartowski." She leaned forward to kiss him.
"So, what now?"
"Well, when I woke up this morning, I had a plan in my head. You were cuddling me as we were sleeping. It felt so nice...I decided, to hell with one-night stands. I wanted to keep in touch with you. I would have to leave to go back to DC, but I could call you. Skype... Facetime...I don't know. Maybe see you when I get a break or something. Between missions. Maybe meet in Chicago...I don't know...it was all a little ...I totally suck at relationships and I can't even imagine a long distance relationship. I know it sounds vague."
"Vague is ok," he said.
"Well, vague might not be necessary. I don't know yet. Before I came back to bed this morning I had a phone call with my boss. Turns out the database that was stolen was some kind of new set up. The information can be downloaded directly into people's brains through images. They need to know if that happened to you, and from what you told me, it sounds like it did."
"In my head? That's crazy. Professor Fleming at Stanford was working on something like that, but it was preliminary. I have been getting flashes of information sort of randomly, though. Why would Bryce send this to me?"
"I don't know. We may never know at this point, I guess. The Government is going to want to talk to you. Have some experts examine you. If it is in your head, my boss said you will be a National Security asset. Every asset needs a handler and he wants me to be your handler. He also specifically told me not to tell you any of this."
"Because I'm not going to lie to you. You are too good a guy. I can lie to bad guys all day long, but I'm not going to lie to you. Not because of this," she gestured at the bed, "but just in general. You are just an innocent bystander in this rogue spy nonsense. If we have to drag you around to experts and stuff, you should at least know what is what."
"Thank you, Sarah. I won't tell anyone what you told me. Thank you. So, asset and handler?"
"Yes," she said with a smile.
He saw her smile and figured that it was good, "Sarah, I guess that's a good thing, but I really don't understand what it means."
"Well, it means I won't be leaving LA anytime soon. I think that's a pretty good thing right about now."
"So we can ...I guess, have a...second date?"
"Well, I wasn't kidding that I have a ton of baggage. And I really do suck at relationships, so I think it's a little early to go shopping for an engagement ring, but yeah. We could start something and see where it leads us. If you want to, of course."
For once, Chuck didn't say a word. He reached out and took her in his arms. He kissed her long and hard. She found her engine revving once again and had to catch her breath. He pulled back a little and held her, forehead to forehead. He whispered, "Yeah, I want to, Sarah."
She whispered back, "Me too."