Chapter 1: "Sisterhood"

CAST (in order of appearance):
Chuck Bartowski – Zachary Levi
Jill Roberts – Jordana Brewster
Bryce Larkin – Matthew Bomer
Emmett Milbarge – Tony Hale
Karen Burton – Jennifer Morrison
Elizabeth Burton – Kate Winslet
Sarah Walker/Jenny Burton – Yvonne Strahovski

Author's Note: This story takes place after the events of episode 2x05, "Chuck vs. Tom Sawyer". In this divergence, the events of episode 2x06, "Chuck vs. the Ex", do not exactly happen as they did on the show; however, there are some similarities.

Palo Alto, California
December 1999

"I am NOT getting out of the van!" Chuck Bartowski snapped.

His best friend, Bryce Larkin, and his girlfriend, Jill Roberts, both turned back to him, pleading looks on their faces. "Chuck, come on!" Jill begged.

"It's friggin' freezing out there!" Chuck shot back. "Do I look like I've lost my mind?"

Bryce grinned. "Honestly?"

"Ha freaking ha, Bryce," Chuck growled. "Whose idea was it again for us to go Christmas caroling dressed like Robin Hood, Little John, and Maid Marion?"

"That would be mine!" Bryce replied proudly. "I also seem to remember offering you the Little John outfit when you complained about how showy the Robin Hood outfit was, and yet for some inexplicable reason, you declined."

Chuck turned a dirty look on Jill, who giggled. "I LIKE the way you look in the Robin Hood outfit, Chuck," she said. "It shows off… parts of you that I like."

A warm feeling overtook Chuck as he blushed to the roots of his hair. "Come ON, Chuck!" Bryce said. "Time's a-wastin'!"

With a wordless growl, Chuck vaulted himself out of Bryce's Dodge Caravan, sliding the door shut behind him as he went. "If I get hypothermia…"

"I'll warm you up if you do, Chuck," Jill promised, looping her arm through his. "Now let's go sing."

The three walked up to the front door of a house. Jill pressed the doorbell, and as soon as the door opened, they began to sing.

"On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me… a partridge in a pear tree!"

"On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…"


"Two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree!"


"On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…"


Burbank, California
November 2008

Emmett Debarge suddenly appeared in Chuck's field of vision, causing him to drop the stuffed animal that was playing The Twelve Days of Christmas. "Bartowski!" the Buy More efficiency expert snapped. "I don't believe you're being paid to daydream on the job!"

Chuck shook his head, trying to clear the cobwebs. "No, sir, of course not, Emmett," he replied distractedly. "Uh, my apologies."

Emmett cast a dirty look at Chuck, but didn't say anything further. As he walked away, Chuck sighed.

It had been six days since he had saved the world by playing Missile Command. It was ridiculous enough that Chuck couldn't actually believe it had happened. However, Geek magazine had confirmed that it really had happened by asking him for an interview.

Six days since he had saved the world by playing Missile Command. Fourteen days since he had saved the world by helping to take out a couple of Russian goons at Sarah's high school reunion. Twenty days since he had saved the world by helping recapture the Cipher.

Twenty days since he had maybe saved the world by telling Sarah that there couldn't be anything between them.

"What WAS I thinking?" Chuck mumbled to himself.

He was getting sick and tired of saving the world. He had mistakenly said something to that effect to Casey the night before.

Chuck had been tired. He couldn't help what he was saying. But it had really ticked off Casey, who was still annoyed that John McCain had lost the night before THAT. Casey had ended up going off on a fifteen minute rant about how if Chuck was tired of trying to save the world, maybe he could get his good buddy, "Comrade Barack", to save it for him.

Under other circumstances, Chuck probably would've lit into Casey for that remark. But that particular night, Chuck recognized that perhaps the better part of valor would be to let it go.

And now Chuck was stuck, yet again, at his twelve-dollar-and-fifty-cent-an-hour job, seeing no forward potential, unable to go anywhere as long as he was under the thumb of the damn Intersect. "Ye gods," he grumbled as he looked at the television wall, seeing yet another story about Barack Obama.

It wasn't that Chuck was unhappy about Obama being elected – it was just that he was sick of seeing the coverage. It seemed like every other time he saw Obama or McCain on television, it provoked a flash, and flashes generally led to headaches.

Chuck was getting pretty damn sick of headaches in the name of national security. As such, he deliberately looked away from the wall, hoping that if he couldn't see Senator Obama, he wouldn't flash on anything.

As Chuck deliberately ignored the wall, he scanned the rest of the store. None of the employees he was used to working with were there. Not Morgan, not Lester, not Jeff, not Anna, not even Casey. Emmett had decided that Chuck was responsible for everything that was wrong with the Buy More, and so was trying to make Chuck's life miserable.

Chuck was pretty sure that Emmett was trying to make him quit. There was no possible way that he was going to give Emmett the satisfaction.

Chuck didn't even have Sarah walking in the door to look forward to. Ever since their conversation in the courtyard outside Ellie's apartment, she seemed to have been avoiding him. He had tried to talk to her about it a couple of times, but each time, she managed to artfully dodge the topic and move on to something else.

However, just as Chuck was ready to resign himself to a boring shift of epic proportions, the doors at the front of the store swished open. Two blonde women walked through the doors – two blonde women who bore more than a passing resemblance to a certain CIA agent who Chuck happened to be acquainted with.

As the women made a beeline toward the Nerd Herd counter, Chuck quickly studied them. The one on the left looked to be around thirty, maybe two inches shorter than Sarah, but definitely the same blonde hair, the same blue eyes. The one on the right looked a couple of years older, an inch or so shorter than the one on the left, but again, with the same hair and eyes.

"Good morning," he greeted them as they stepped up to the Nerd Herd counter. "Welcome to Buy More – Burbank. How can I be of assistance to you?"

"Well, this might sound a little weird," the one on the left said, "but we're actually looking for our sister. We heard that she worked somewhere in this shopping center, and thought that maybe you could tell us where she is."

Chuck's eyes widened slightly. "R-really," he stammered. "Um, what's her name?"

"Her name is Jenny Burton," the one on the right replied. "She looks a lot like us, except a couple inches taller, and a couple years younger. I'm her sister, Liz, and this is her other sister, Karen."

Chuck squinted at the two women, but much to his surprise, didn't flash. However, the fact that these two women were standing in front of him using Sarah's real name was cause for a great deal of alarm. "Uh… you know… I'm sorry, but I don't know a Jenny Burton," he said, his voice shaking.

Karen Burton cocked her head to the side. "Are you sure?" she asked. "About five-nine, platinum blonde hair, ice blue eyes?" She smiled. "Big boobs?"

Chuck didn't realize he had been holding his breath as Karen spoke, and nearly choked when she said "Big boobs". "Mphfth," Chuck spluttered, coughing. The two women backed away as Chuck shook his head and tried to catch his breath.

Finally, he looked up at them. "I'm really sorry," he said. "I don't know that person."

Liz Burton shrugged. "Alright, well, we'll keep asking," she replied. "Thanks… what's your name?"

"Chu… uh, Charles Carmichael," Chuck said. The fewer people from Sarah's "real" life knew his actually identity, the better.

"Well, Charles, thank you for your help," Karen said. "And remember, blonde hair, blue eyes, big boobs."

Chuck managed to keep his composure this time, and angrily chastised himself as the two women walked away. Why the hell did he have such a hard time thinking about Sarah having… well… it's not like it was untrue!

He shook his head. He thought of Sarah as a whole person. The individual parts didn't matter.

The two women headed toward the customer service desk, where they would undoubtedly get a very different answer from the kid on duty if they provided the same description to him that they had to Chuck. As quietly as he could, Chuck slipped out of the counter and headed toward the front door.

About ten feet before he was out the door, he realized something. Pulling his iPhone from his pocket, he activated the camera, and aimed it at the two women, who both had their bodies turned slightly toward him.

Pressing the button, he took a picture – okay, that would do at least for Sarah, and maybe even General Beckman if necessary. Saving the picture, he slipped the phone back in his pocket and headed for the door –

"Going somewhere, Chuck?"

Chuck groaned inwardly and tried not to roll his eyes as he was intercepted by Emmett. "Yeah, uh, I've got a thing," Chuck answered lamely.

Emmett raised an eyebrow. "You seem to have a lot of 'things', Chuck."

"It's, uh, yeah," Chuck replied. "My girlfriend, she, uh, she has a spastic colon, and, uh…"

At the words "spastic colon", Emmett's face took on a look of disgust. "There's such a thing as too much information, Chuck," the dour little man said. "Go take care of whatever it is you have to do."

Chuck nodded and headed for the door. "Oh, and Chuck?"

Taking a deep breath, Chuck turned back toward Emmett. "No more pictures of the pretty female customers."

Shaking his head, Chuck bolted out the door, heading down the sidewalk toward the Orange Orange. Two minutes later, he stood inside the frozen yogurt shop, waiting for the customer ahead of him to finish his order.

Sarah gave him a curious look and raised an eyebrow as he came in the door, but he just shook his head, pointing to the customer. She nodded her understanding.

Finally, the customer walked out the door. "Big, BIG problem," Chuck said.

"Well, hello, Chuck," Sarah replied sarcastically. "I'm having a great day. Thanks for asking."

That response stopped Chuck short. "What?"

"Are you purposefully ignoring me?" Sarah asked. "I mean, ever since we came back from San Diego, it's like I'm a total stranger."

"Uh, no… what?!"

Sarah shook her head. "Just forget it. Obviously, you have something more important to tell me. What did you flash on?"

Chuck just stared at Sarah, a look of disbelief on his face. "I didn't flash on anything… what the HELL are you talking about?!"

Sarah folded her arms across her chest. "You want to talk about this now?"

"It would help if I knew what we were talking about!"

"Fine," Sarah said. "I'll break it down for you. I know it's not easy for you to still be around me when you've decided there can't be anything between us. And you know, after that really nice time we spent hanging out when we came back from San Diego, I thought maybe, just maybe, you were going to be okay just being my friend. But ever since then, it's like I don't exist or something."

Chuck raised an eyebrow. "Oooookay," he said slowly. "I don't even know where to start responding to that." He pulled his iPhone out of his pocket. "But right now, I don't have the time. We have a VERY serious problem."

Sarah cocked her head. "I thought you said you didn't flash on anything."

"I didn't," Chuck confirmed, shaking his head, and handing her the iPhone. "However, these two women, who identified themselves as Liz and Karen Burton, came into the Buy More a few minutes ago, in search of Jenny Burton."

Sarah's eyes widened and her face went pale as she looked at the picture. "Uh-oh," she said softly.

"Uh-oh?!" Chuck asked. "I don't like uh-oh, Sarah!"

Sarah looked up at him, her eyes guarded. "Chuck…" She stopped and sighed. "This might be a problem."