At the suggestion of some of my readers, I've decided to put all my crossover fics on hold and write something that's purely a Chuck fic. This first chapter went a totally different direction than I had intended, and it is considerably darker than I had planned. Nonetheless.
Ellie wasn't quite sure when she first realized something was wrong.
Maybe it was the stillness of the apartment when she got home from the overnight shift. Maybe it was nothing at all.
But there was definitely something wrong.
"Chuck, are you awake?"
Maybe he was in the shower. But no, she couldn't hear any water running. Then a thought hit her –
Maybe he had slipped and hurt himself in the shower. The doctor in her spurred her into action. She burst through his bathroom door –
She peered around the door into his bedroom. Nobody. Empty. Bed looking like he had just woken up, clothes strewn about, his Buy More outfit draped over the back of his chair.
Ellie was getting very concerned. She opened the medicine cabinet in his bathroom.
Everything was there. Toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, shave gel, razor, hair gel, CK One –
Since when does my brother wear that?
She pushed the irrelevant thought from her head. It was as if Chuck had just disappeared.
Ellie went back into his bedroom. His computer was in sleep mode, his iPhone still attached to it. Unplugging it from the computer, she scrolled through the call list. Nothing she could see that might've made him just up and leave in the middle of the night.
She scrolled to Morgan and hit the talk button. It rang, and rang. No answer. She tried Sarah next. Same result. She left her a message, asking her to call as soon as she got it.
Ellie went back to the living room, picked up the phone, and dialed Devin. "Yo," he answered.
With no preamble, she said, "Can you check around and see if Chuck's been admitted to the hospital, or to any of the others in the area?"
"Babe, what's up?"
"He's not in the apartment. It's as if he just disappeared."
"Did you call Morgan or Sarah?"
"Yeah. No answer from either of them."
"Did you check with John? He might know."
"No, I haven't yet, but I probably should."
"Okay, babe, you do that. I'll check on hospitals."
Ellie's composure was starting to unravel. "Okay," she forced out, her voice breaking.
"Hey, babe, listen. I'm sure Chuck's okay. He's a good man. He knows how to take care of himself."
Ellie just nodded. "I'll talk to you later, babe. Love you," she heard, and then the phone disconnected with a click.
Taking a deep breath, she collected herself. Crossing to the door, she walked out of the apartment and across the courtyard to John Casey's apartment. She knocked on the door, and waited. Knocked again. No answer.
Slowly, Ellie turned back to her apartment. Returned to the apartment. Picked up the phone again. She knew she should wait. She knew she was supposed to wait twenty-four hours. But something just seemed so terribly wrong.
"Los Angeles Police Department, Rampart Division. How may I direct your call?"
"Yes… I need to file a missing persons report."
The unmistakable voice of an angry, hulking black man echoed across the Buy More. Customers looked up in surprise, then returned to their shopping.
Morgan sprinted across the store, trying to get to Big Mike before he could yell again.
"GRI- oh, there you are. Where the hell is Bartowski?"
"Are you deaf? WHERE THE HELL IS BARTOWSKI?"
Across the store, the head of another Buy More associate perked up. John Casey's ears had caught Big Mike's demand.
He started making his way across the store to where Big Mike and Morgan stood.
"I don't know," Morgan said. "I haven't seen him this morning – I thought maybe he'd called in sick. I haven't heard from him, and he's not answering his phone."
"No call," Big Mike rumbled. "This ain't like his ass. What the hell is going on?"
Casey reached them at that point. "Did you say that Bartowski isn't here? And you haven't heard from him?"
"That's what I said. What business is it of yours, exactly?"
Casey stalked off, went into the home theatre lounge, and pulled out his phone. He dialed Chuck. Rang several times, no answer. Next call.
Rang several times, no answer. He tried the land line.
Finally, after that had rung ten times, it was answered.
"'sey? What's goin' on?"
"Is your cell phone on?"
"What the hell is wrong with you?"
"Hangover, I think…"
"Do you have any missed calls?"
He heard her slowly shuffling around in the background.
"Uhh… Chuck… 'bout twenty minutes 'go…"
Casey's eyes widened. "Did he leave a message?"
"Jus' a minute…"
A moment later, she came back on the line. She still sounded under the influence, but a certain coherent edge had entered her voice.
"That was actually Ellie calling me from Chuck's phone. She asked me to call her as soon as I could."
"Walker, listen to me. Chuck didn't show up for work today."
There was silence.
"Sorry… I tried to get out of bed… I'm having trouble walking."
"What the hell did you drink last night?"
"Not now, Casey. Listen. I need you to come over here, pick me up, and then we need to go to Chuck's apartment."
"I'm on my way. I'll call the director."
"No! I think that's a bad plan."
"We shouldn't tell our superiors that we think there's a problem with Chuck?"
He heard the sigh from the other end. "What if they're involved?"
Casey hadn't considered that. "Shit."
He looked around, made eye contact with Morgan, gave him the "come hither" sign. "Alright, I'll get out of here. I'll be at your place in ten."
He disconnected as Morgan reached him. "What's up, Casey?"
"I'm gonna go look for Chuck," Casey said. "I need you to cover for me, and I need you to not tell Big Mike that I'm looking for Chuck."
"It's gonna cost you, John," Morgan smarmed.
Casey rolled his eyes. "There'll be a pallet of grape soda in your apartment when you get home."
"You got yourself a deal!"
Casey's retired cop car rolled to a stop behind a very active cop car in front of his apartment complex. It was one of several sitting in the street, lights flashing.
"This does not look good," he muttered.
"You think?" Sarah shot back, eyes hidden behind dark aviator sunglasses.
Casey didn't reply, just got out of the car. He helped Sarah out, and walked with her to the door of the Bartowski apartment.
When they entered, they were greeted by the sight of a red-eyed Ellie Bartowski, sitting on the couch, Devin's arms around her. She was being questioned by a pair of plainclothes LAPD detectives.
Her eyes widened when she saw Sarah. "Sarah! Oh, thank God you're here!" she cried, leaping from the couch, wrapping Sarah in a hug that almost toppled her.
"Easy, there," Casey warned, catching the two women before Sarah lost her balance.
As Ellie sniffed a little and backed away, Devin rose from the couch, approaching Sarah. "Are you feeling okay, Sarah?" he asked.
"Just a hangover," she insisted.
"Are you sure? Your skin is awfully pallid, and you almost fell over just there – let me see your eyes."
Without warning, he reached out and pulled off Sarah's sunglasses. She tried to squint. "Open your eyes wide, Sarah," Devin said, shading her eyes with his hand.
He stared into her eyes for a moment. "Bloodshot is normal for a hangover, but…"
He removed his hand from her forehead. "Lack of dilation is not."
Devin's hand went back to her forehead. "You're running a temperature, too…"
His hand pulled away again, and the switch from dark to light and back repeatedly just got to be too much for Sarah. Without a word, she staggered to the kitchen, and vomited in the sink.
Devin shook his head. "There's something wrong," he said. "A hangover shouldn't fix her pupils and give her a temperature."
"What are you saying?" Casey asked, a note of concern entering his voice.
"I'm saying that I want her to get in my car so I can take her down to the hospital and do some tests," Devin replied.
Sarah came back out of the kitchen, looking incredibly weak and unsure of her footing. "No… Devin… you can't leave Ellie…"
By this point, though, Ellie had gone into doctor mode. "No, Sarah, Devin's right. I'll be okay. I want you to go to the hospital with him."
One of the LAPD detectives finally spoke. "Dr. Bartowski, I think we've asked you all the questions we need to about your brother… but I do need to ask, do you think that we're going to need to talk to your friend here?"
Devin answered for her. "I would say that you're almost certainly going to need to talk to her."
As soon as they had walked in the door of the E.R. at City of Angels Medical Center, Sarah had been loaded onto a gurney. Devin had started calling out orders left and right, and within minutes, he was in an exam room with Sarah. Ellie and Casey had come with them, as had the two Rampart detectives.
"Your blood tests are back," said an orderly, walking into the room and handing Devin a printout. It had been the first thing he'd ordered on entering the hospital – a vial of Sarah's blood had been drawn, and had been sent for tests.
Devin looked at the sheet, and his face darkened. "Goddammit," he muttered.
"What?" Ellie looked at him, concerned.
Devin's voice was tight as he said one word. "Rohypnol."
Ellie and Casey's eyes widened, the detectives pulled out notepads, and even Sarah took notice, forcing herself up onto her elbows.
"There's no way Chuck could've…"
"It couldn't have been Bartowski…"
"He wouldn't know where to get it!"
"I'd know if he'd gotten something like that…"
The weak interjection from Sarah caused everybody to take notice. "It wasn't Chuck. You're right, he wouldn't have known where to get it."
She paused, trying to form the right sentence. "He wouldn't have needed it."
Devin shook his head. "I'm not sure whether to be relieved or even more concerned."
He crossed to the wall, picked up the phone.
"I need a rape kit in E47."