Disclaimer: 'Chuck' and all it's affiliated characters and settings are the property of their respective owners. This fiction is written for entertainment only.
No profit was made. Just FYI.
This story is dedicated to the memory of Cpl. Mike Starker, and Canadian Forces Medic recently killed in action in Southern Afghanistan.
It isn't much, Mike, but this one's for you.
A/N: Once again, proof that I can't leave well enough alone. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed coming up with it.
The first time Chuck had heard the word he'd repeated it with confusion and not a little disbelief. After a while it became something of a secret watchword. A universal excuse, reason or justification for anything that happened.
Didn't make it to dinner? Intersect.
Late for work, assuming he even showed up at all? Intersect.
Having to lie to his nearest & dearest day in and day out for over a year? Intersect.
And just as any excuse becomes a justification given enough time, that justification became belief and that belief began to run his life.
When Captain Awesome...er...Devon actually asked him to be the Best Man at his and Ellie's wedding Chuck had to refuse, because he knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that the freaking Intersect would do something...just something...that would cause him to miss the wedding. He just couldn't bear to see that heartbroken look on Ellie's face again when he'd have to lie to cover not only himself, but the god forsaken thrice-damned Intersect.
Some days Intersect was practically a four-letter word for him. Even Sarah and Casey avoided saying it out loud, thanks in part to the notable twitch Chuck had developed at its mention. They'd use phrases like 'The Intelligence' or 'The Data' in an attempt to minimize his stress.
Well...Sarah did. Casey actually found the twitching funny and would've kept saying it until Chuck blew a gasket, but Sarah had calmly explained that giving Chuck an aneurysm really wouldn't look good to their superiors. The fact that her hand had been resting on her gun for the entire explanation helped, too.
Sometimes Chuck really appreciated having her around.
But none of that is the point here.
Hidden File Command
Like any other Monday morning, Chuck had emerged from bed with all the vigor and energy of a narcoleptic sloth. Silently mourning the death of the weekend and bound for another day at the Buy More, he pulled himself from the tangled sheets and managed to get himself upright. Forcibly placing one foot in front of the other he made his way to the bathroom, only to be deterred by a suspiciously locked door.
Shaking his head for a moment, he managed to clear his thoughts enough to remember that Sarah had stayed over the previous night. Maintaining their cover story as always. Just another lie with another justification tagged on to it.
Heaving a weary sigh, Chuck headed off to get some breakfast and wait for Sarah to finish. His CIA handler may have been able to strip and assemble an assault rifle in twenty seconds but she seemed incapable of taking less than an hour to get ready in the morning.
As he travelled to the kitchen he passed Devon in the hallway just outside the bathroom he shared with Ellie, clad only in a set of scrub pants. The two shared a silent look of long-suffering commiseration and Devon turned to follow his soon to be poured each of them some coffee and both settled in for the wait.
Things had been a little awkward between the two of them following Chuck's poorly explained refusal to be Devon's best man. But a little time had allowed their respective personalities shine through and the discomfort eased, although the topic of the upcoming wedding was still avoided more often than not.
"So Awesome," Chuck opened. "What's on the agenda today? First ever human-horse brain transplant? You know I've been waiting on that one."
Devon laughed quietly. "Sorry, Chuck. That one isn't on the board this week. It's that whole animal rights thing."
"Well on behalf of Mr. Ed fans everywhere, I feel we've been cheated." Chuck replied as he dumped three heaping spoonfuls of sugar into his coffee. "I really think the hospital needs to have more mad scientists on staff."
"I don't think it's in the budget." Devon countered, taking a seat at the kitchen table. "No, today is just some routine stuff. Pretty boring."
"Yeah, all that doctor stuff." Chuck deadpanned. "With all that life-saving and stuff, it's a wonder you can stay awake all day."
"I manage. Somehow." Devon played along. "That said, there is one interesting thing going on. A woman with a potentially-malignant tumor near her temporal lobe, and the Oncology department needs someone to go in to find out for sure. It turns out that one of the top neurosurgeons in North America is guest-lecturing at UCLA this week and he'll be the one performing the surgery. If I can score some free time I'm gonna go observe the procedure. It's gonna be pretty sweet."
"Devon, you seriously lost me at malignant."
"Malignant tumors are the ones that generally kill people." Devon explained. "If you're gonna have a tumor you'd want a benign one. Easy to remove and they don't come back."
"Given the choice I think I'd rather have no tumor at all, but I'm picky like that." Chuck concluded. "How do they tell the difference, anyway?"
"That part's easy. The surgical team retrieves a little piece of the tumor with a procedure called an..."
He didn't even notice when Chuck's face went blank. A thousand images flew through his consciousness at blinding speed, coming together to form the image of an...
"...Endo-Cranial biopsy!" Chuck practically yelled.
Devon looked stunned for a second before he grinned and slapped Chuck heartily on the shoulder. "You've been reading your sister old textbooks, eh Chuck? Awesome pursuit of higher knowledge, buddy! High five!"
Chuck smiled half-heartedly as he raised his hand, wincing only slightly when Captain Awesome practically high-fived his shoulder from its socket. As much as he enjoyed the moment of comradre with Devon, this latest flash had him feeling a little unsettled.
"Actually, I gotta go." Chuck said suddenly, jumping up from his seat. "Gonna be late for, y'know, stuff."
He bolted out of the room without waiting for Devon's response, running over the new information in his mind. He'd seen images of the neurological procedure of course, and he'd known its name. That had been just like all his flashes, nothing to write home about. But then something had happened. As a sense of real knowledge and experience had washed over him, he hadn't just seen an Endo-Cranial biopsy...
...he was pretty sure he could perform one.
"Sarah!" He hissed, knocking as loudly on the bathroom door as he dared. "Sarah, open up!"
He heard the shower shut off and the sound of the curtain sliding open. Unbidden, the image of Sarah's naked body in the shower came roaring to the forefront of his mind. Giving himself a harsh mental slap, he tried again. "Sarah, open the door!"
"I'll be out in a few minutes, Chuck." She responded sharply. "Go get some coffee."
A morning person, Sarah Walker was not.
"Sarah!" Chuck responded urgently. "I flashed! I had a fla..."
Without warning the door flung open and Sarah (wrapped only in a towel) grabbed him by the wrist and hauled his to his room. On the way, Chuck allowed his mind to briefly indulge in fantasies about what this towel-clad Sarah might be dragging him to his bedroom for. Those fantasies were banished the instant the door was shut. "What did you flash on? What did you see?"
A little annoyed at being dragged around and questioned so sharply, Chuck responded with the first thing that came to mind. "A lot more than I was expecting, at the moment. Would you like to borrow a shirt?"
Sarah looked puzzled for half a second, and then looked down. In their rush to reach his room the towel had slipped almost to the point of indecency. Blushing and pulling the towel back up, she looked up at Chuck sternly. Her expression melted, however, when she saw that he'd turned away politely and was holding her clothes out to her.
She thanked him quietl, and began to get dressed. As she did, he explained what'd happened over breakfast. He was just finishing when she gave him the all clear to turn around.
"We should report this before you head to the Buy More." She insisted, shouldering her overnight bag. "Casey should be up already. We'll call it in from there."
She waited impatiently for Chuck to get dressed, then they headed out. From the corner of his eye, Chuck just noticed Captain Awesome giving him a double thumbs up from the kitchen. The Captain had seen Sarah (in the fantasy-fuelling mini-towel) drag Chuck forcibly into his bedroom and had drawn his own conclusion. Feeling no desire at all to correct Devon on this point, Chuck responded with a grin and his own small thumbs up before following Sarah out the door.