- and the blackness vanished as Chuck's eyes flew open.
His clock radio played softly by his bed. "Roxanne! You don't have to put on that red light!" Sting sang out.
Chuck swept his hand across the nightstand, sending the clock flying from its surface. The plug jerked from the wall, and his lamp went crashing to the floor.
Tumbling out of his bed, Chuck stumbled to the bathroom. He flung open the toilet seat, and dropped to his knees in front of the toilet. His gorge rose, and he gagged –
It felt like an hour he lay in the bathroom, but it was in reality less than two minutes. Sarah, roused from sleep, had her own hangover, but it was overridden by her concern for Chuck.
"Hey," she said softly, sensitive of how his head probably felt, as she rested a hand on his shoulder. "Are you okay?"
Chuck looked up at her, eyes rimmed in red, face pale. "You… you're here," he whispered.
Sitting up quickly, he inhaled sharply, not quite prepared for the rapid movement. But then he wrapped his arms around Sarah's back and pulled her close against him, resting his head against her chest.
"That must've been one awful dream," she whispered.
"You have no idea."
While they showered, a thought occurred to Chuck. "Do you remember… back in June," he said, "when Morgan spiked the punch at your birthday party with LSD, and I had all those weird dreams where I was in a bunch of movies?"
"Yes…" Sarah said slowly. "Why?"
"It happened again," he replied.
After getting out of the shower, he dried and dressed quickly. He brushed his teeth for about five minutes to get the taste of vomit completely out of his mouth before letting Sarah have free rein of the bathroom.
Carefully, he walked out to the kitchen, and pulled open the refrigerator door. Yep, there was still some eggnog left in there. With rather unsteady hands, he pulled the pitcher from the refrigerator, and poured a small amount into a plastic water bottle.
Grabbing his aviator sunglasses off the kitchen counter, he put them on his face as soon as he was out the door – even though he was only going across the courtyard. He stumbled to John Casey's door, and banged his fist against it.
"CASEY!" he yelled. "CASEY! Wake up!"
It took about five minutes, but finally, Casey's door was jerked open. Chuck was treated to a rather disturbing sight.
Casey, unshaven, hair wild, in boxers and a bathrobe. Gun in hand, but not aimed at anything. Eyes glazed over. "Wha the FUCK you want, Bowski?!" he slurred.
Chuck couldn't help but laugh – and then he wished he hadn't, as it made his head feel like it was going to split. "Looks like it got you this time, too," he told Casey.
"You remember, back in June, everybody got drugged, except you? Well, merry fuckin' Christmas, John Casey, you got hit this time as well."
Casey's eyes widened. "Gimme moment."
The door closed. Casey was gone for about three minutes, and then the door reopened. He had magically made himself look more human and had a glass of a rather disgusting looking concoction in his hand.
"Casey, what the hell is that?"
"NSA approved hangover cure, Bartowski. Want some?"
Chuck was unsure of the look of what was in the glass, but hell, if it was NSA approved, he might as well give it a shot. "Hook me up," he said.
Casey turned back to his kitchen, Chuck following him into the apartment. Casey poured him a glass of the hangover cure, which he handed to Chuck. Chuck looked at it suspiciously, then took a whiff. The scent of Tabasco was overwhelming.
"Can I assume that that's the offending drink this time?" Casey inquired, pointing at the bottle in Chuck's hand.
Chuck nodded, handing over the bottle. As Casey uncorked the cap, Chuck held his nose and took a small drink of the hangover cure. It burned all the way down.
"Gotta slam it, Bartowski," Casey said. "Don't be a pansy."
He poured a little of the eggnog into a test tube, which he then placed in some sort of analysis device. As he did that, Chuck closed his eyes and drank the rest of the glass.
He nearly coughed up a lung, but as he coughed, he realized that he was feeling a lot better. By the time he finished coughing, Casey's analysis was done.
"Well, that answers that," the NSA agent said, looking at the screen. "Turns out that somebody slipped Absinthe – and I'm talkin' the REAL stuff here, not the fake American stuff – into the eggnog."
Chuck laughed at the irony in that against his last dream. "You dream about movies again, Bartowski?" Casey asked.
"Yeah," Chuck replied. "Christmas Carol, Superman Returns, Star Trek 4, Ocean's Eleven, Office Space, and Moulin Rouge."
Casey started to chuckle. "You got wasted on Absinthe and had a dream about the Moulin Rouge?"
"Yeah, I thought that was pretty ironic," Chuck said.
He was headed back to the apartment with a bottle full of the hangover stuff for Sarah when his phone rang. He pulled it out – it was the Buy More calling.
"Oh, hell," he muttered. "What happened?"
He pressed the call button. "Hello?"
Chuck held the phone away from his ear as Big Mike's voice scorched out of it. "YOU GOT SOME EXPLAININ' TO DO, BOY!"
"Big Mike, what's going on?"
"The wall is currently occupied by a video of your girlfriend and your sister doing a little striptease to the tune of 'Santa Baby', that's what! It's Christmas Eve, Bartowski! I got families in here! They can't be –"
Chuck cut him off, hanging up the phone. He turned around and ran back into Casey's apartment.
"Casey," he said breathlessly. "I need the surveillance footage for –"
"This?" Casey asked, pointing at the screen.
Chuck turned to look at the screen – and there, yes indeed, were Sarah and Ellie, dressed in lingerie, dancing in the living room on the soundless video. And THERE were Jeff and Lester behind a video camera – with an empty Absinthe bottle in Jeff's hand.
"SON OF A BITCH!" Chuck shouted. He stormed back out of the apartment, and made a beeline for the Herder. Sarah saw him out the window, and she scrambled out the Morgan Door, racing across the courtyard to catch up with him.
"Where are you going?" she asked breathlessly, climbing into the passenger seat of the Herder.
Chuck put the Toyota in gear, laying rubber in the street. "Here," he said, handing her the water bottle. "Casey's NSA approved hangover cure."
Sarah raised an eyebrow, but chugged it. "Wow," she said between coughs. "I actually feel a lot better now."
"Yeah, well, you're gonna wish you hadn't run out to catch me when we reach the Buy More," Chuck warned her.
"Why?" Sarah asked, a dangerous tone below her voice.
Chuck sighed. "Apparently, one of my employees decided it would be a good idea to slip some Absinthe into the eggnog, and then that employee and another employee decided it would be fun to tape the ensuing chaos."
"Chuck…" Sarah replied, a warning sounding in her voice.
"You and Ellie did a striptease to 'Santa Baby'," Chuck sighed. "It's apparently currently showing on every screen at the Buy More."
Sarah went completely stiff, her eyes fixed on the road ahead. Then, slowly and deliberately, she reached behind her back, withdrew her gun from her waistband, and popped the clip out. She pulled back the slide, and let the chambered round fall out. Rolling down the window, she tossed both out onto the I-5 freeway.
Chuck looked over at her. "And that was…"
"That was so I don't shoot Jeff and Lester when we get to the Buy More," Sarah replied, biting each word off in anger.
Then she sighed. "Although, I suppose if nothing else, I can take consolation in the fact that it must've been hot."
Chuck smiled. "Oh, it definitely was."
And I'm gonna end it there, because I really can't think of where else to go with it! Thanks for reading, and I hope you had fun with the crackiness!