Warnings: Spoilers for Chuck vs. Santa Claus, mentions of violence. And it's a short fic.

A/N: This is my first Chuck fic, I'm used to writing House... so hopefully I've gotten the characters right :P I wrote this basically because I wasn't happy with how they left the story hanging, and Chuck isn't back until February.

--

smile for the camera

put on a show for the viewers back home

hide the truth so they'll never know

you hate what you got

can't you love what you got?

- Armor For Sleep, Smile For The Camera

--

Chuck meandered slowly into what he had now come to know as 'the castle', he felt a little wobbly – a strange occurrence of the jitters shaking his limbs, but it had nothing to do with the fact that he hadn't eaten all day.

"Lookin' a little pale there, Bartowski," Casey remarked, altogether unimpressed.

Chuck trudged down the stairs, unable to shake the strange feeling in his gut. "What-what happened to that Fulcrum agent? The one that posed as uh, as a negotiator."

Casey turned from the screen, eyeing Chuck carefully, "He was arrested by Agent Walker, he's being sent to a secure facility as we speak. Never to be seen or heard from again."

"Oh, great." Chuck mumbled, plunking himself down in chair.

Casey frowned, turning fully to face Chuck, "What's your problem?"

"I dunno, maybe the fact that the two people I've entrusted my safety to for the past however many months are lying to me."

Casey's lip turned up as he grumbled his discontent. "You're testing my patience Bartowski."

Chuck sighed and shook his head, "I saw her okay, I saw Sarah kill that guy. He-he told her to arrest him and then she shot him, why would she do that?"

Casey grunted. "You seem to forget that your pretty little pretend girlfriend is an agent Chuck. It's what we do."

Chuck shook his head more adamantly, "But she-"

"She-what? Hasn't killed anyone before? Huh? Does it ruin all those little schoolgirl fantasies you have about her?"

Chuck leaned forward, letting his head thud limply against the table. "You, you – I would get that, no offense, you kill people. But Sarah – she had to have a reason right." Chuck turned his head to the side and stared up Casey, who resisted the urge to growl disapprovingly at Chuck's pathetic look. "I can't get it out of my head, the look on her face... all that blood. I'm afraid, actually afraid of her. I keep thinking – what if she's Fulcrum, what if you're Fulcrum."

"Hey," Casey snarled, "we're not Bryce Larkin, we don't betray our country." Casey leaned on the table aggressively, trying to reign in his overwhelming urge to smack Chuck on the back of the head. "You ever think she did it to protect you, huh? If you would have left when we first tried to extract you that guy never would have found out you were the intersect. She saved you from spending the rest of your existence hunted, in undisclosed locations trapped in bunkers for your own safety, which was your fault by the way – so instead being afraid maybe you should send Agent Walker a thank you." Casey grabbed the gift wrap off the table, "Now if you'll excuse me... I have presents to finish wrapping."

--

Sarah could tell something was off with Chuck, his warm smile was offset by his rigid posture and his normally easy laughs were stunted and forced. It could have been due to the fact that there were cover-snuggling on the couch, or maybe he was still spooked by what happened at the store, but they had been in both situations many times before and something told her it was more than that. She needed to talk to Chuck alone but in the interest of maintaining their cover and not raising Ellie or Awesome's alarms she decided to go with the PDA route.

She moved closer, tucking her head in against his neck. She began alternating between peppering his neck with light kisses and nuzzling it with her nose. Chuck's eyes went wide, swallowing audibly as Sarah continued her assault. She worked her way up his neck, brushing her nose along his jaw before pulling back to entice him to turn his head. She smirked when he craned his head slowly over, an eyebrow quirking as his eyes met hers.

He didn't resist when she moved in and gave him a quick peck. She hesitated before moving back in, trying to appear drawn to Chuck, inspired perhaps by the Christmas spirit. Her plan certainly worked on Chuck. They began kissing in earnest, her hands roaming of their own accord before she finally pulled away, remembering what her intentions had been. She stood up with a smile and dragged Chuck along behind her, leaving Awesome and Ellie with the TV.

Once inside Chuck's room Sarah let him go and locked the door causing the same weird expression to appear on his face. "Chuck, are you okay?"

Chuck sat down as all the previous euphoria evaporated from his body, replaced by that unpleasant jittery feeling. "I-I'm fine, why-why would you ask that?"

Sara gave him a knowing look, "I know you better than to believe a simple, 'I'm fine.'"

Chuck exhaled and tossed up his hands, "I saw you, okay? I saw you shoot that guy, you said you arrested him but I saw you shoot him, and I'm more than a little freaked out now."

Sarah dropped her head, "Your safety is the number one priority Chuck, he compromised it. I couldn't take that risk."

"Will you spare me the agent act for one second please?"

"What do you want me to say? I can't make you unsee what you saw. I'm an agent above all else, I have to protect you no matter what and sometimes it means killing other people."

"It was my fault though, Casey was right, if I left when I was supposed to, none of this would have happened."

Sarah frowned, "Wait, you talked to Casey?"

"Well... I couldn't exactly talk to you about it." Chuck sighed, flopping back on the bed.

Sarah sat down beside Chuck, "Despite what Casey may say about it, it takes a lot of courage not to abandon people while in danger when given the opportunity. I'm sorry you saw what you did, you have every right to be freaked out but I need you to trust that I would never do anything to hurt you."

Chuck turned his head toward Sarah, a relieved look washing over his features, "I hate that I put you in the position where you had to do something so terrible... Casey said you did it to keep me from a lifetime of dungeons in undisclosed locations – I guess I'm thankful, if not still mind-snafu'd."

Sarah smiled lightly, "So you're okay?"

"I will be... eventually." Chuck sighed, "Thank you for saving my life... again."

--

end.