Author's Note: This is the sequel to The Brain Snatcher. It may be a difficult read unless you've read the prior story. Thanks Brickpancake for Beta-ing.

Disclaimer: I own my computer. Nothing else.


Prologue

Sarah Walker

My life has never been easy. But these days make my prior life, as a deep cover CIA Special Agent, seem almost easy. I yearn for the day when it doesn't feel like my insides have been disemboweled.

I never expected love could feel this way.

Of course, I hadn't expected that meeting Chuck Bartowski would change my life. That he would fundamentally alter who I am.

After all, how could a highly trained, mission hardened, CIA Special Agent fall for the awkward nerd working at the local Buy More?

But amazing things sometimes come in unassuming packages. And who would argue that Chuck Bartowski isn't the quintessential unassuming package?

It is ludicrous, really.

When my selfish ex-partner, Bryce Larkin, emailed Chuck the government's most classified secrets, it changed my lovable nerd's life forever.

I sometimes wish that Chuck never received that email. But then, I would have never met him and spent the time needed to know him. I cringe with the knowledge that if I had met him on the street, I would have never recognized the amazing individual that he is.

The very thought makes it difficult for me to breathe. The idea of Chuck Bartowski not being a part of my life is like imagining my life without air. I cannot live without him.

I suppose it's because I was dying before I met him. It wasn't a physical death, but my life at the Agency had finally begun to overwhelm my sense of humanity. I really wasn't a whole person when I met Chuck.

When we met, I told him that I had emotional baggage. I'm not sure why I shared that piece of personal information with him. After all, he was my mark.

But Chuck was an elixir for my soul. He touched something in me that I thought was long past dead.

The rest of the story is in my mission file. Bryce forced Chuck into the world of espionage by turning him into the Human Intersect. I was assigned by the CIA to be his protector and he became something decidedly more than simply my asset.

Whatever it was that linked us together made me feel again. Chuck wanted to name whatever it was that we had. I stubbornly refused to admit that it even existed. I had my professional integrity to maintain. And to be honest, I was afraid.

But I knew I cared for him in a manner that went way beyond my professional obligations. In my quieter moments, I even let myself contemplate more.

Still, I had my duty. When the government ordered Chuck to undergo a series of medical tests, he balked. However, being the CIA trained agent that I am, I cajoled him into it. I had been taught to persevere at all costs.

To my regret, the cost was very high. The medical tests were an insane man's folly. I have come to find out that "The Brain Snatcher" was more than a silly name given to an errant doctor by the CIA pencil pushers. It was an apt description of a doctor who had a long history of turning the brains of his patients into something less than human.

But, Chuck was different. His mind is unique and he did what most have not. He survived the doctor's treatment.

However, he did not survive the tests unscathed. The treatment released a torrid of uncontrollable seizures that threaten to take away all that he is. My guilt, for the role I've played in harming him, is paralyzing. I suppose the pain I feel reminds me that I am still human. I still can feel guilt for the role I played in subjecting Chuck to The Brain Snatcher.

But I can have no rest. Instead, I am forced to defend myself from Ellie Bartowski, who is actively attempting to break the bond that connects Chuck and myself. She is desperate. But then again, so am I.

The woman has wronged me. But I know Chuck loves his sister and I love him. I work to ignore my feelings of betrayal. Logically my heads understands her actions. But my heart doesn't understand logic.

I have never wavered in my intentions regarding her brother. I have steadfastly protected him and will continue to do so until my last dying breath. I have pledged this to myself.

I make no apologies. I have killed in cold blood to protect him. Ellie Bartowski knows this and hates me for it.

I cannot change my past and maybe not even my future. But still I try.