Chuck vs. the Joys of Parenthood
As Chuck Bartowski held his daughter in his arms, flashes of the future skated behind his eyelids. This is how those flashes actually turned out.
Disclaimer: I own nothing
Rating: Varied through each chapter. T overall.
Timeline: The undetermined future post Sensory Perception.
Pairings: Chuck/Sarah with mentions of Ellie/Awesome, Morgan/Anna, Chuck/Lou, Chuck/Jill, Sarah/Bryce, and Casey/Ilsa.
Important Details: Everything that has happened in season 1 of Chuck has occurred and anything mentioned in Sensory Perception is fair game. This fic will chronicle the trials and tribulations Chuck and Sarah face as they juggle everything from raising their twins to their jobs both with the CIA and their covers to weird encounters with faces from their pasts.
Alternate Characters :
Neil Grayson – CIA agent assigned to replace Sarah as Chuck's primary CIA handler; undercover as Charles Montgomery's personal assistant.
Madeline Eleanor and Landon Charles Bartowski – Chuck and Sarah's twins.
Davis Elliot Woodcomb – Devon and Ellie's son born a year before Chuck and Sarah's twins
Okay, talk about an inspiration strike. I was reading over my final draft of Sensory Perception when I thought to myself, 'wouldn't it be fun to see these flashes play out,' and wham! Instant plot line! So this story chronicles the married life of Chuck and Sarah Bartowski from dealing with Intersect flashes to the normal everyday hijinks of life. Enjoy!
Chuck vs. Mobility
Chuck Bartowski and Sarah Walker could be considered to be many things: one half of the best espionage team in America, CIA operatives codenamed Lancelot and Guinevere, the human Intersect and handler, one of the most epic romances to ever throw the CIA, the happily married Chuck and Sarah Bartowski, or to the more persistent media hounds, the brilliant software mogul Charles Montgomery and his beautiful wife, Sarah, a criminologist and professor at UCLA, and as Casey claimed in his times of utmost annoyance, the Pest and the Skirt. But the newest in their repertoire of labels was parents. Yep. Parents. Proud parents to the newest members of the Bartowski clan: the twins Madeline Eleanor and Landon Charles. And looking at their dark-haired bundles of joy, Chuck and Sarah knew that no amount of their CIA training, none of their past encounters with deadly individuals capable of wreaking the utmost havoc could ever prepare them for the task that lay before them: parenthood.
Even from the start, they had been slightly unprepared for their predicament. Chuck and Sarah had fully prepared for their newest adventure in their life of espionage and wedded bliss expecting a single child, and Chuck was convinced that their product of a whirlwind romance and insatiable passion was a girl. So, despite warnings from their mentors in childbirth, Devon and Ellie Woodcomb, they had stocked the nursery with various accoutrements in a tasteful shade of pale pink. However, despite Chuck's normally unerring clairvoyant tendencies, they had failed to predict the unexpected surprise that emerged into the world a mere eight minutes after his sibling: a calm, wrinkly baby boy they deemed Landon Charles after Kathleen Montgomery's father and Sarah Walker's husband.
But even with the surprise of Landon, late night feedings, teething, and the general chaos of two infant children, plus six weeks of no physical intimacy, much to the chagrin and misery of both parties in question, and the amusement of one John Casey – until Sarah responded to one particularly irritating barb with a well-placed kick to his produce section that ensured Casey a definite decline in sales as well his own form of abstinence – Chuck and Sarah had more or less survived the first stage of their twins' development relatively unscathed. But as the twins neared a year old, Chuck and Sarah faced a new territory in their venture into parenthood: mobility.
- - -
Chuck Bartowski didn't think it back then, but now, he held a gratitude for the rigorous CIA training both Sarah and Casey insisted he undergo for his own safety (and theirs) as the twins and their newly developed mobility had been running him and Sarah ragged. And as he slumped on the couch beside his wife, Chuck could only wonder where the days had gone when Landon and Madeline were such good, immobile babies who simply…stayed in place.
"God, who knew that a crawling baby could go so fast?"
Sarah cast a casual glance to her husband as he tipped over, depositing his head in her lap. "What's wrong, honey? Can't keep up with a pair of nine month-ers?"
"Hey, those kids are quick," Chuck defended. "One second, they're playing patty cake in the corner, the next they're motoring across the living room." Moaning slightly as his back protested his current position, Chuck arched up, feeling the bones pop along his spine. "I hate being tall. It's hard to chase after those little buggers when you have to stoop to catch them."
"Aw, poor baby," Sarah laughed, sifting her hands through his hair. "But you look so cute imitating a gorilla."
"Why can't they just stay still?"
"So you'd rather carry them everywhere? At least they're mobile." Sarah returned her attention to their twins, off in their own little world. "You know, I think they're strong enough to walk…" As soon as Sarah said that, their daughter caught her eye. Madeline had grasped onto a corner of the couch, hefting herself to her feet and was inching her way along.
"Chuck! Chuck, honey, look! Look at Maddie!" Sarah scrambled off the couch, upending her husband in her haste, and knelt down, arms outstretched, beckoning to her daughter. "C'mon, baby! Come to Mama!"
And with a determined sheen to her face, Madeline took one wavering step forward. One step became two. Two steps became three, until she had worked up a steady progression. Her steps took her closer to her mother until her knees buckled and she fell into the arms of her mother. Sarah lofted her daughter high above her head, pressing kisses to her little girl's cheeks, shifting Madeline to her lap.
"What a big girl you are!"
Not to be outdone by his sister, Landon made an impatient noise that caught the attention of his father. With Chuck's hands grasping his to steady him, Landon began his own jaunt forward. As he gained momentum, Chuck gently let Landon go, and his small feet puttering doggedly, marred by only one misstep which he immediately righted, until he, too, fell into his mother's arms as his sister giggled her delight, clapping her hands excitedly for her brother.
Chuck joined his family on the floor of the living room, pressing exuberant kisses to their skin in congratulations. Reaching out a hand, he ran affectionate fingers through Madeline's wispy curls and Landon's straight strands.
"They're so smart, aren't they? They aren't supposed to be walking for another month."
Sarah grinned, jiggling Maddie in her lap. "Product of excellent genes, babe."
"Yeah, that's not egotistical at all, honey," Chuck chided as he fake boxed with Landon, falling dramatically backwards as his son's pudgy fist impacted lightly with his cheek.
"We're one half of the best espionage team in America and parents to two intelligent, beautiful babies," Sarah remarked, standing as Maddie and Landon gravitated to each other. "I think we can afford to be a bit egotistical…"
"Well you got one thing right," Chuck mused. "I've got this feeling Maddie's gonna be just as gorgeous as you." Chuck huffed a suffering sigh, slinging one arm around his wife's waist. "God help me when she starts dating…"
Sarah cocked an eyebrow. "You're gonna let her date?"
"Huh, if I had my way, she wouldn't date until she was thirty, but considering her mother, I'm more than positive that's wishful thinking…" Chuck turned to his wife. "Do you think the CIA could spring for a specially-made chastity belt or would that technically fall under personal expenses?" At Sarah's slightly incredulous glance, complete with slightly cocked eyebrow and furrowed brow, Chuck shrugged. "I'm just saying…"
Sarah shook her head, highly amused as she bumped her shoulder against Chuck's. "Don't think about the future, honey, you'll drive yourself nuts. Just..." she cast a fond eye on their twins, scurrying around each other in a playful dance that amused them all their own, "enjoy this. They're not gonna stay this way forever."
"Personally, I think that's a good thing," Chuck remarked. "I don't think I could handle more than the allotted time for diaper changes. I will rejoice when the twins are potty-trained."
Sarah's brow furrowed. "So are you saying you don't want any more?"
"Of course I want more…just not until I've had ample respite from dirty diapers," Chuck glanced disparagingly at where he had slung one of his t-shirts, a sprinkling of damp spots marring the grey fabric, "and Landon's lack of aim…"
"Well, you know what they say…" Sarah murmured, a mischievous glint to her eyes. "Practice makes perfect." With a well-timed shove, Sarah sent her husband stumbling back, his knees colliding with the couch cushions. Knocked slightly off-balance, Chuck sat down hard, cocking an eyebrow as his wife swung one leg over to straddle his lap.
Grinning bemusedly, he grasped the thighs of the long legs clenched around his sides. "Are we still talking about diaper changing?"
Sarah laughed, shaking her head as her hips rolled forward. "Not even close…"
Chuck audibly groaned as his wife's lips descended down to his. Her palms roamed freely over his torso sliding into the dark strands of his hair as his snaked behind her back, fisting in the cotton of her t-shirt. A strangled hiss caught in his throat as her nimble tongue traced the seam of his lips, urging them to part. Chuck obliged, taking in Sarah's sweet taste, his hands slipping beneath her thin t-shirt, sending shivers rollicking up her back in the wake of his trailing palms. His skilled fingers were inches away from popping the clasp of her bra as the thought of setting the kids down for an early nap idly meandered through his mind so that they could steal away to practice certain…parental skills. That thought shoved itself to the forefront as Sarah became slightly more insistent, her teeth scraping the sensitive nerves of his neck.
"Sweet mother of Ronald Reagan! You two just had kids, don't you think you should hold off until these ones are actually somewhat grown?"
Chuck and Sarah broke apart at the intrusion of another fourth of their team, and Sarah sat bolt upright, surreptitiously fixing her shirt and swinging off Chuck's lap. For his part, Chuck gazed forlornly down at his lower extremities, lamenting the absence of his wife and the presence of an uncomfortable situation, and he turned an annoyed gaze to the source of the intrusion.
"Geeze, Casey, ever heard of knocking?"
"Considering I've got a situation that's threatening national security, I'm reserving the right to stop you two from further adding to your happy family." Casey shot out a feral grin that seemed to take immense pleasure in Chuck's unfortunate predicament.
"Looks like you're gonna have to take matters into your own hands, Chuckles," Casey mocked, "so to speak… Casey trailed off as his gaze drifted down as Maddie had motored her way to him, latching onto his leg. Raising his eyes to his partners, he pointed down to the little Bartowski, one eyebrow cocked.
"Either I have a growth on my leg or this belongs to you." Casey turned a sour look down to Madeline that surprisingly didn't hold as much hostility as normal, keeping his arms firmly crossed across his chest.
Laughing, Chuck bent down, scooping Madeline into his arms, quirking an amused grin at her slight insistence to relinquish her hold on Casey's pants. "Aw, c'mon, Casey, she just likes you."
Casey bared his teeth. "I don't do kids."
"C'mon, Johnny, how can you resist these big baby blues?" Chuck cajoled, hefting Madeline up to stare at the hulking man. As if she understood the her immediate purpose for being displayed before a man who could only be described as a big, growling bear, Maddie smiled, giggling in the strange melodic cacophony only an infant could muster and clapped her hands delightedly.
A corner of Casey's mouth twitched, as much of a reaction as he would bare to muster for the threat of completely melting to the wiles of a girl lacking a good amount of her teeth and sporting a few wispy dark chocolate curls atop her otherwise bald head. Chuck smirked inwardly, knowing that in the deepest areas of John Casey's interior, he really was taken with the little girl, holding a particular soft spot for one Madeline Bartowski.
"Guys, what's the hold up? I've got Graham and Beckman on the phone going bonkers trying to get us up to Hollywood!" Neil Grayson burst through the open front door, looking from Casey to Sarah to Chuck, his eyes finally settling on Madeline. Grinning, the agent gestured to the little Bartowski still squirming with delight at Casey. "Aw, check it out…she likes you, Casey…"
Casey's mouth tightened. "Shut it, Grayson."
Neil cocked an eyebrow, deliberately egging the scowling man on. "Ah, I get it. Only a real man can admit to crumbling to the wiles of a nine month-er…"
Casey only growled, his eyes narrowing at his partner. "I'm leaving now. I'll meet you outside…" Pausing at the where a set of key rings hung from a row of hooks, he snatched one set off the first hook and tossed it to Chuck with a grin. "We're taking your car."
Chuck rolled his eyes at the departing NSA agent. "I wouldn't put it past him, but I swear Casey only insists on taking the car so that he can possibly exact revenge for his original Crown Vic…"
Sarah cocked an eyebrow. "You don't think he's actually harboring that grudge, do you? I mean, you did replace it…" Chuck only shot his wife a withering glance. "Right. Dumb question. It is Casey…"
"So basically my fifteen thousand-dollar peace offering was probably for nothing," Chuck lamented.
Sarah laughed, gathering all they needed for the kids. "Well, it is the thought that counts, even if it does end in our car meeting the same fate as the original Crown Vic."
For that last bit of optimism, Chuck ventured meekly, "You think it's just because Casey just likes the Rover?"
"Casey's still surviving under a government payroll which sure as hell can't afford a luxury SUV," Sarah reasoned. "If he's not after some vengeful vendetta against you, yes, it's because he likes the car."
"Somehow, that's not comforting at all…" Chuck sighed."Well, kids, whattya say to a nice visit with Aunt Ellie and Uncle Awesome?"
As a chorus of giggles burst forth in response, Chuck nodded, bumping fists with his daughter. "Alright. Sounds good. Hopefully your cousin's gotten past his sand-eating phase because we don't want what happened last time to happen again." Chuck turned to Neil. "How long should this take?"
Neil shrugged, scratching his head. "Day and a half, max."
Sarah shifted her hold on Landon as he fidgeted slightly. "Ellie's got the early shift tomorrow, but I think Awesome's off unless there's a call. Besides, they owe us for watching Davis during the hospital's Winter Ball. Worse comes to worse, they could just drop all three off at the hospital daycare center or Morgan's."
"You know, I really do hate to say this," Chuck began, "but we really should look into some kind of sabbatical time until the kids are grown. Missions are taking a lot of time away from the kids."
Sarah pouted as they made their way to the car. "Okay, I've already been relegated to staying in the car. I seriously doubt I can handle not doing anything at all…" Sarah huffed a sigh. "But, yes, you are right."
Chuck couldn't help but laugh at the completely childish glower adorning his wife's face, and he hitched Maddie a bit higher on his arm so that he could reach out and flick Sarah's protruding lower lip. "Aw, c'mon, honey, don't look so down. It won't be forever."
"Six months sifting papers was forever, Chuck," Sarah argued hotly. "And that was just my probation. A year doing absolutely nothing would be like a lifetime of eternities. Plus, it's not too realistic to be completely away from the job."
A crease materialized in Chuck's brow. "Why do you say that?"
"Well, face it, sweetie, sometimes you flash on the most random, inane things."
"No, I…" Chuck began to refute.
"My Red Sox cap – and don't you dare classify my team as inane –" Sarah growled as Chuck smirked, opening his mouth to respond, "that time with the other international arms dealer, you flashed on the toy figurine of a Smurf. The traitor in the Senate dealing war plans to the Middle East, you flashed on the yarn friendship bracelet his daughter made him at camp…No matter if we're doing absolutely nothing on a sabbatical, you're liable to flash on something that would end up in us headlining the mission," Sarah rationalized.
"Well, yes, okay," Chuck conceded, "but the bottom line is that this life," he gestured between them and to where Casey and Neil were waiting by the family Range Rover, "has to have some kind of dividing line. We can't keep putting the country before Landon and Madeline."
Chuck frowned. "And I don't see you coming up with any ideas…"
Sarah sighed. "I'm sorry, babe. This world has been part of me for so long that it's hard to…" She trailed off, the anguish blatant in her eyes. "I wouldn't trade our life for anything," she assured her husband, "but it's just so ingrained in me, I don't know exactly what I would do without it."
Seeing the uncharacteristic wavering in Sarah's composure, Chuck softened, nodding his understanding. Leaning over, he pressed a comforting kiss to her lips over their children's heads. In response, Landon giggled, his small hands reaching out to pat his mother's cheek. Sarah looked down at her son and deep into his chocolate brown eyes that held so much of Chuck in them. Without warning, Landon's features bloomed into a full-blown smile, one that promised to hold the same potent charm and subtle persuasion as his father's. As he nestled into her neck, Sarah felt a sudden bout of emotion flood her senses, and she stroked Landon's fine hairs dusting the top of his head. Even before he had emerged unexpectedly into this weird, wacky world of theirs, Landon Charles Bartowski had been a part of her and a part of Chuck. For nine months, she had protected him before his life began. And the first time he had snuggled into her arms, she promised that the innocence this job and the world that came with it dashed the first time she uncovered corruption in a seemingly government would be preserved for as long as possible in his life and his sisters. Sarah returned her stare to her husband.
"We could petition Graham and Beckman for a supplementary team," Sarah suggested. "That way we wouldn't have to always be involved in every flash." She brushed a kiss to the crown of Landon's head.
"This life isn't quite what I envisioned in my future, and these kids…" Sarah left her statement open-ended. Chuck only nodded, complete cognizant of exactly how much of a miracle the twins were considering the obstacles their parents had to overcome.
"I don't want to miss a single moment of their lives."
Chuck reached out, cupping his wife's cheek. "We'll think of something…"
Once again, Casey's voice cut through the moment, permeating through the air. "As touching as this moment is," Casey gestured to himself and Neil, already buckled up in the passenger seat, gazing at the Bartowski family expectantly, "matter of national security, remember?"
Chuck rolled his eyes, settling the kids in their car seats. "We need to get Casey a girl not in the French Secret Service…"
- - -
Chuck fidgeted slightly in the back of their limousine as Neil debriefed him on their latest mission. Dressed impeccably in yet another tuxedo, Chuck adjusted the silk square in his breast pocket while Sarah fiddled around in the very back.
"Okay, this is a software launch party held by Warehouse Electronics. Your invitation came in the mail and was inconveniently misplaced somewhere between the newest software design and the blueprints for the San Francisco office," Neil shrugged sheepishly. "Sorry. Anyway, we believe someone attending this party is looking to deal select names from the FBI's Witness Protection Program to various contacts for less-than patriotic reasons."
"FBI?" Chuck interjected. "Isn't that technically out of our jurisdiction?"
"Normally, it would be," Neil agreed. "But a few of the names are of choice men and women who dabble in nuclear codes for various countries…"
"Which makes it our problem," Casey interposed from the front seat.
"Right," Neil finished. "Since you're Charles Montgomery, we had no problem getting you in, but once you are in…"
"Find the guy, get the names, take him out," Chuck supplied. "Got it."
Casey tossed Chuck a set of cufflinks that would serve as their communication link. "I'll be with you as security detail and Grayson will monitor our progress from the truck. If things get iffy, he'll be joining in on the action." Casey pulled off to the side, a block away from the site of the party. "Graham's also cleared Walker for field duty. Apparently, it wouldn't be right for Charles Montgomery to attend one of these things without the company of his wife." Casey didn't even bother to hide his exasperation at the absurdity of the idea.
"You weren't here when he debriefed me," Sarah slid into the seat beside her husband, dressed in a mermaid style evening gown in a deep wine red, her hair flowing loosely down the low-cut back. "I believe I was referred to as the 'arm candy.'"
Chuck could only grin as he laughed, tilting his had to take in the absolute beauty of his wife. "Wow…"
Sarah couldn't help the flush from creeping up her neck as she caught the gleam of adoration and the loving smile tilting his mouth. Reaching up, she gently straightened his perpetually askew bow tie, taking the time to run her hands down the length of his chest. Chuck's grin widened at his wife's own brand of appreciation.
"Hey, lovebirds!" Casey's harsh bark sounded through the back of the limo. "Focus!"
Neil shook his head at his partners in slight bemusement, handing each of them an earpiece. "Nothing to it, Chuckster. Call it easy negotiation…"
- - -
Crouched down Chuck skidded to a halt on one knee behind an upturned table, gun drawn and at the ready. He whipped an accusing stare to Neil as the other agent rolled behind the bar area. Chuck gazed down at the main floor, where the other guests milled, completely oblivious to the gun fight going on above them.
"I thought you said this was going to be an easy negotiation!" Chuck hollered as he ejected his magazine, loading another with a deft hand.
"Newsflash, Chuckles," Casey bellowed from around the corner as he fired off a succession of shots in the general direction of their assailants, "in this business, there is no such thing as easy negotiations!"
"I know that," Chuck yelled back, "but even our standards of easy don't usually end in gun battles!" Chuck rose slightly, picking off a few of their attackers before ducking back down behind his barrier. "Fisticuffs, yes, but not a hail of bullets!"
Shouting into his wrist, Chuck attempted to contact his wife, curiously absent from the melee. "Sarah, we need an easy way out. Any ideas?" When deafening silence reached his ears, Chuck tried again. "Sarah? Sarah? Dammit!" Chuck turned a glance to Neil as he slid back behind the bar. "I can't get to Sarah. I think there's too much interference."
"Fuck this!" Casey growled as he reached into his waistband and extracted another gun. "Count of three, we're blowing through these suckers and out the door."
Casey began the countdown when suddenly a loud explosion permeated their hearing, causing all three agents to duck to avoid the hail of debris plummeting from beyond their respective barriers. The dull thump of skin on bone and the muffled groans of pain echoed through the room as below, guests wasted no time scrambling out the doors in the wake of the explosion that wracked the second floor. Wordlessly, the three men exchanged glances of confusion before peeking out, guns brandished. Immediately, all three eyes scanned the slight destruction to find one Sarah Bartowski standing amidst the settling smoke and the unconscious bodies of their assailants, hands on her hips and, despite slightly heavy breathing, looking no worse for the wear.
"Men," she huffed, dragging their targets to some semblance of a pile and handcuffing them before calling for a clean-up crew, "always doing things the hard way." Sarah gestured down at the bodies at her feet. "You guys gonna help me or what?"
Rolling their eyes, the three men moved simultaneously, holstering their weapons before obliging Sarah's request. After a few minutes, they had the unconscious crew slumped against a pillar as Sarah turned to Chuck with a cheeky smile.
"Not too bad for an analyst, wouldn't you say?"
Chuck shook his head as a barrage of NSA agents came streaming in to take the targets into custody. "It's not fair, you know," he remarked, brushing excess dust off of his tuxedo jacket and buttoning it back up. Neil and Casey nodded their agreement.
Fixing her hair, slightly mussed from the excitement, Sarah frowned at her husband. "What's not fair?"
"You always get to handle all the heavy machinery," Casey growled, just barely disguising the petulant whine as he gestured to the equipment that blew through the door. "And we're not just talking about Bartowski," he added with a hitch of the thumb.
Chuck pulled a disgusted face, wrinkling his nose. "Okay, Casey, first of all, completely uncalled for. Secondly, ew. Just ew…"
- - -
The car ride back to Mondo Casa Bartowski (Awesome's label) was surprisingly quiet as Team Bartowski experienced the heady surge of exhaustion following another mission.
Chuck leaned against the back window, his hand absently stroking Sarah's hair as she nestled into the crook of his neck. He could feel the tension beneath her muscles as his hand skated down to the slope of her shoulder. He could sense a question lingering just behind her lips at the way she shifted slightly in his embrace and waited for her to divulge whatever she had on her mind.
Sarah tilted her head back, looking up at her husband through lowered lashes. "Does this ever scare you?"
Chuck craned his head down to meet Sarah's slightly hesitant stare. "Hmm?"
"This…"Sarah gestured to the motley crew occupying their Range Rover. "I mean, it was different when it was just us, Casey, and Neil. We could go on these Intersect missions and not worry about anything. And now with the kids…"
"We have to worry about coming back," Chuck finished. A heavy sigh wracked through his chest as he absently ran one finger down the length of his sideburn, one of his nervous tics.
"Every day," he admitted. "The last thing I want is for our children to grow up without one or both of us. Even, God forbid, one of us does die and the other remarries. I can't stand the thought of another person experiencing the moments we both were supposed to together." Chuck frowned, his eyes returning to his wife. "What brought this on?"
Sarah was silent for a long moment before she answered. "I heard him when he threatened you Chuck," she divulged, her voice soft. "He swore that when he found out who ratted him out, he would hunt down that person and everyone he loved. He didn't suspect you, but what if someone does? What if someone found out about us? You and I both know the type of people we face will not hesitate to use the kids, Ellie, Awesome, Davis, or even Morgan against us." Sarah drew in a deep breath.
"Do you…" she bit her lip, unsure of exactly how to pose the question withering at her lips. "Do you think we'll ever get out of this life?"
This time, Chuck took his time before answering. "I think one day we'll have to," Chuck responded slowly. "But right now, we've got an obligation that we can't really back out of. Maybe one day, the CIA or NSA will find someone with the same of subliminal image recognition that I have and can pass on the latest Intersect to them. But until then, this is still our duty. As much as so many other things are more important, we still have to honor that."
Sarah barked a humorless laugh as their positions reversed. Normally, Chuck was the one who sought reason through emotions with personal sentiments serving as his fundamental basis for decisions while she rationalized decisions with the practicality of their occupation in mind.
"God, this job used to be everything to me. Now, it just pales in comparison to the life we've built together." Sarah cocked her head at her husband. "I think I finally understand how scared you were that one time with Ellie and the nuclear guy."
Chuck nodded. "When you work so hard to keep Normal World and Spy World separate, it's pretty terrifying when they inch towards the dividing line. But that is what you have to do. Protect the medium. Until the day we do get out of this life, we just have to protect the kids the best we can…"
"And you won't have to do it alone."
Sarah and Chuck glanced to the source of the assertion to find Casey's ice blue eyes peering intently at them through the rearview mirror.
Casey's normally stoic stare had a fiery passion they had only seen when the NSA agent was engaged in most harrowing gun battles.
"As much as I may have resented this assignment in the beginning, you two have become the closest thing to a family than I've had in a while, and I don't take too lightly to anyone threatening my family."
"Me, too," Neil chimed in from the passenger seat. "This has been the best assignment of my career. You guys saved me from a lifetime of pushing papers down at the field office. It's only fair that I pay you back."
"As far as we're concerned, no one is gonna touch one hair on those kids' heads and any more that you lovebirds have," Casey growled, the resolution palpable in the words. "Not without getting through us."
Sarah's eyes involuntarily brimmed with tears, and she turned shining eyes of gratitude to the pair in the front two seats. Chuck, on the other hand, practically vaulted the median with his exuberance, situating himself between the two agents.
"Ah-ha!" The uncharacteristically tender moment between the team shattered abruptly as Chuck poked his head between the front seats, one finger thrust triumphantly forward. "You do like me, Casey!" Chuck's voice didn't bother to hide its gleeful delight as he waggled the extended finger. "Face it, man, after all these years, I've gotten under that robotic exterior and found the snuggly teddy bear underneath!"
Casey's eyes narrowed as he reached over with his free hand and shoved Chuck's face back, sending the other man plopping back down to the cushions.
"Don't push it, Chuckles. That was a moment of weakness that will never, ever happen again." Casey's gaze flicked to their general direction. "And put your seatbelt back on. You've still got a database that won't be too useful if it goes through the side window."
Casey's words failed to dissuade his target as Chuck simply leaned back in his seat, dutifully fastening the protective device, a goofy grin across his face and his brown eyes twinkling with amusement.
"Just for the record, I like you, too."
"No problem, buddy…"
And cut! As you've probably gleaned for yourself, this chapter is the first flash in Sensory Perception. Not all of the chapters will follow those flashes but many are based off of them. Just to give you all a taste of where this is going, we will have the return of Bryce, the return of Carina, and the snuggly teddy bear beneath the robotic exterior of Casey all wrapped in a package that chronicles the twin's development from infants to adults.
The next chapter strays away from the lines of the flashes in Sensory Perception and focuses on a momentous event alluded to in the sixth chapter of Sensory Perception, but not really elaborated on: the fateful day that Chuck Bartowski cut those infamous curls and one Sarah Bartowski's reaction to the loss of her favorite Chuck feature…