The Boy Who Never Knew Christmas
Spoilers: references to episodes 1.6 (Chuck Versus the Sandworm), 1.13 (Chuck Versus the Marlin), 2.1 (Chuck Versus the First Date), 2.6 (Chuck Versus the Ex).
Warning: Contains explicit m/m slash. If you find this distasteful, or it's illegal where you are, don't read.
'So, Casey, what are you doing for Christmas?' Chuck asked, putting a hand on the agent's shoulder.
Casey looked at him through narrowed eyes, and the young man hastily removed his hand. 'Work,' he snapped and strode off before Chuck could say anything more. On surveillance duty the previous night, he'd heard Ellie quizzing her brother about him, and he had no wish to be invited into the Bartowski home to join in their Christmas celebration.
John Casey spent Christmas day in his apartment with the curtains drawn and the door locked. He couldn't entirely escape the festivities, though; with Walker spending the day over at Chuck's, he was once again stuck monitoring the family over headphones, listening to their happy chatter as presents were exchanged, food cooked and consumed, carols sung and boardgames played.
Nursing a scotch after the Bartowskis had said goodbye to Morgan and Anna and finally gone to bed, Casey sat in his lounge chair and brooded. Another solitary Christmas over with; a new year about to roll around. He understood exactly why it was that the holiday season had the highest suicide rate of the entire year.
Christmas was never good, unless Casey counted that one time he'd been in Georgia helping to destabilise the local governor. That had been a great Christmas. Georgia in the USSR, that is; the month he'd spent undercover in Georgia, USA had been a lot less pleasant.
He sighed, shifting in his lounger until he found the lever that opened the chair out. Shoes off, Casey leaned back, resting his glass on his chest. He knew why this Christmas sucked worse than most. General Beckman's warning to him at the Buy More Christmas party was eating away at him, and despite his denials, Casey had to wonder if maybe she hadn't been right. Maybe he had gotten too close.
It was like naming puppies that you couldn't keep, he thought, scowling. Spending his entire working day with Chuck, going on missions with him, risking his life to save the young man from death and fates worse than death... He'd have to remind himself that no matter how big those brown eyes were, no matter how tempting it was to stroke that curly hair, he was going to have to give Chuck up sooner or later. Have him put down. And it was beginning to look like that sooner or later was definitely going to be sooner.
The weeks passed, and as it turned out, Casey didn't have to kill Chuck after all. But more than the close call, it was Casey's failure to act that bothered the agent. He'd had the order from General Beckman, and yes, he'd made himself ready, gone over to Chuck's apartment and stood in the hallway ready to shoot. But the order had come a good two or three hours before the point at which he'd hid in the shadows and heard Agent Walker tell the kid the second Intersect had blown up.
Casey didn't have the luxury of being able to lie to himself. He knew he had deliberately delayed carrying out the kill order, hoping for a miracle. He wasn't sure whether he was more bothered by his hoping for a miracle in the first place, or by the miracle's appearance, but he had to confess he wasn't especially bothered that his miracle had blown up Director Graham.
The year went on. Chuck started shaping up into a surprisingly competent agent, especially given that his only training was on the job with Casey and Walker. Casey was quietly proud of how Chuck was shaping up, even if his love life remained a source of tension between him and Walker, and even if he almost never stayed in the car. Which meant that, inevitably, Casey had to save his ass pretty frequently, giving him the perfect excuse to scowl, keep Chuck at a distance.
There were high points, of course. The time he caught the young man doing a nosedive off a building, swinging him onto the fire escape.
'I love you!' Chuck called up, and taken aback, Casey responded automatically.
'Keep it in your pants, Bartowski!'
Later, lying in bed, Casey allowed himself to feel the terror of seeing Chuck plunging towards him, the jolt the young man's words had sent through him. Then he firmly, deliberately, squashed down the memory, the feelings, telling himself it didn't mean anything. It didn't mean anything, either, that it took a long time for him to get to sleep.
Another high point: nearly dying of the flu. Chuck trying desperately to keep calm, think of some way to save him, resorting to kissing him in an attempt to pass along the antibodies Casey lacked. Again, a long sleepless night spent burying the feel of Chuck's lips on his, the tongue sweeping through his mouth, the way that with the virus ravaging his system, he hadn't been able to keep up his protestation and had surrendered, kissing Chuck back for the briefest of seconds before Jill's arrival caused Chuck to spring back.
Thanksgiving came and went, and Casey joined the Bartowskis, albeit very late, after another screwed-up mission, sitting at their table, eating Ellie's delicious dinner, joining in the general banter with the occasional dry comment. Feeling included, welcomed, emwanted/em, and that was the loneliest feeling of all.
He'd gotten too close; he was compromised, off his game. Which is probably why, a couple of weeks before Christmas, when Chuck cornered him in the back room at the Buy More, he didn't immediately try to escape.
'What're you doing for Christmas, Casey?' Chuck asked, laying a hand on the agent's shoulder.
Casey turned to face the young man, one eyebrow raised. 'As little as possible,' he said. 'Why?'
'Ellie wanted me to let you know you're welcome to spend it with us. Which, I hasten to add, is her way of saying she expects you to be there.' He smiled and Casey felt his heart twist, somewhere deep inside his chest.
'Not happening.' He turned back to the pallet of boxes, checking them off against his inventory list and definitely not wanting to have Chuck's hand back on his shoulder. Or anywhere else, for that matter. 'Don't you have work to do?' he asked gruffly, when Chuck didn't leave.
'What is up with you and Christmas?' Chuck asked. 'I get that you can't go home to wherever home is, see whatever family you have there, and I am so sorry about that, but you are more than welcome to spend the day with us. Ellie sees you as practically family anyway.'
Casey scowled and put down his clipboard. He faced Chuck again, unaware that his face was giving away more than he intended.
'I don't do Christmas. Most spies don't do Christmas. It's not happy family time.' He took a step closer. 'You might not have noticed, emChuck/em, but most spies don't come from happy familes. Christmas is just one more day when emfamily/em is the last place you want to be.'
He pushed past Chuck, leaving the young man staring after him.
For the next week, beyond what was necessary for work, both at the Buy More and for the government, Chuck avoided Casey, who did his best not to mind. But after the third day in a row that Chuck abruptly broke off huddled conversations with Morgan the second he spotted Casey approaching, the agent started to get angry.
'What the hell are you up to, Bartowski,' he growled, pinning Chuck against the wall in the corridor. 'I can tell you and Morgan are plotting something.'
'I don't know what you mean,' Chuck squeaked nervously. 'Really, there's nothing going on.'
Casey glared. A part of him was gratified to see Chuck try to press himself back through the wall, but Casey struggled to ignore the other part of him, the part that wanted to lean in just a fraction to see whether or not the young man would kiss him back.
'There'd better not be.' He snapped and stalked off, once more leaving Chuck to stare after him.
Chuck had Thursday off. while Casey was stuck working the 7-4 shift.
'Can I hang out at your place?' Chuck asked as they drove home from the Buy More in the Nerd Herder on Wednesday evening. 'Ellie and Awesome have tomorrow off too, and I don't want to be in the way, put a cramp in their game. Be around any of their games, for that matter.'
'Why don't you go round to Morgan's?' Casey eyed Chuck with suspicion.
'Because Anna's staying over tonight and they're not due in until the afternoon, so I suspect I'd be as much in the way there as at home.'
'Walker's?' Casey growled.
'She doesn't like me staying at hers when she's not there. And she's working tomorrow too.' Chuck glanced over at the scowling agent. 'It's either I hide out at your place, or I go down to the arcade on my own. And you know how well that worked out last time.'
'Fine,' Casey gave in. Grumbling, he added, 'But don't touch anything, or I'll make sure you spend your next day off with your hands in plaster.'
'Okay, okay, relax, big guy! I promise I won't mess with any of your things,' Chuck said, pulling up outside the apartment complex. 'I'll come round, say, six thirty?'
'Whatever,' Casey snapped, slamming the car door behind him and stomping into . Chuck trailed after him into the courtyard and Casey, watching from between his blinds, was irrationally hurt when the young man went straight into his own apartment without so much as glancing in his direction.
When Chuck showed up the next morning, Casey let him in, scowling at Chuck's cheerful grin.
Sipping his coffee, Casey said, 'Don't mess with anything. Don't break anything. Don't play with the settings on the tv or you could end up setting off the counter-intrusion measures.'
'What would that do?' Chuck asked, curious.
'Probably kill you.'
'Fine, okay, I'll be leaving the settings well alone,' Chuck agreed, dropping onto the sofa. 'I brought the Babylon 5 boxed set to watch, anyway. Don't you have to open this morning?'
Casey grunted. 'If anything comes up, call me. If anyone calls here, call me. If anything beeps unexpectedly-'
'Call you, I got it.' Chuck put on his best reassuring smile. 'Don't worry. I'll be fine.'
Scowling, Casey checked the gun strapped to his ankle, then picked up his keys and wallet. On his way out of the door, he paused to glare at the nerd.
'Touch my bonsai and there won't be an underground bunker secure enough to keep me from breaking every bone in your body.'
Chuck laughed nervously. 'Have a good day at work,' he said faintly.
Casey growled and left.
Chuck jumped off the couch and went to the window, watching through the blinds as the agent got into the Nerd Herder and drove away. As soon as he was sure the coast was clear, he whipped out his phone.
'Morgan? ... Yeah, he's gone. Half an hour? ... Thanks, buddy, I owe you.'
Still scowling, Casey walked back into the courtyard at four-thirty that afternoon. He noticed Ellie watching from her living room window as he opened his front door.
The first thing that struck him was the smell. He identified turkey, roast vegetables, Christmas pudding, before stepping inside. And when he had...
'Bartowski!' he snapped. 'What the hell have you been up to?'
Chuck poked a head round the doorway into the kitchen. 'Hey, Casey!' he grinned. 'Dinner will be ready in, ooh, ten minutes, so you've got time to get changed first.'
As Casey glared, the nerd disappeared back into the kitchen. He looked around the living room. Tinsel had been draped around the plasma screen tv, fairy lights twinkled from the mantlepiece and the computers set up on the table had been very carefully moved to one end, while a tiny plastic Christmas tree sat proudly on the tablecloth which covered the other end of the table. The table was set for two, with a bottle of wine already opened to breathe.
The agent marched into the kitchen. 'Tell me why I shouldn't shoot you,' he growled.
Chuck looked up from basting the tray of roast vegetables. 'Because then you'd have to carve your own turkey?' he asked hopefully.
Casey's jaw clenched. 'What is this, Chuck? Because I won't come to yours for Christmas, you just decided to inflict it on me here?'
Closing the oven door, Chuck stood and leaned against the worktop, his smile gone. 'I wanted to give you a happy memory. So when this is all over and you're back undercover in South America or wherever it is, you'll at least have one Christmas that didn't suck.' Casey stared silently at the young man and after a moment, Chuck looked away, fiddling nervously with a teatowel. 'I was going to do the washing up too,' he offered, then with a defeated sigh he said, 'Just have dinner. I'll take down the tinsel.'
Finally Casey found his voice. Gruffly he said, 'I'll go get changed.'
When Casey came back downstairs, wearing a black suit with a white shirt and a black tie, the table was crowded with plates. Two candles had been lit, Slade played quietly on the stereo and when Casey pulled out his chair, he found a present wrapped in shiny red and green paper on it.
He looked at the present, at the table, at all the trouble his asset had gone to, just for him, and felt something twist inside his chest. Briefly he contemplated telling Chuck he had to go do secret spy stuff just so that he could get away from all of this, but then Chuck came through carrying the turkey on a platter.
'Hey there big guy, looking sharp,' Chuck smiled, and Casey didn't have the heart to leave.
'Here, let me,' he found himself offering, taking the platter and putting it down in the only free space on the table.
'I got a turkey crown rather than a whole turkey,' Chuck explained, taking a seat. 'I figured you might not want to be eating turkey leftovers for the next two weeks, and even the small turkey crowns are big enough for six people. Do you want to carve?'
Casey lifted the carving knife, testing the blade on his thumbnail. 'You sharpened it,' he grunted approvingly.
Chuck smiled, and the sight lifted Casey's heart. 'Can't carve with a blunt knife!'
'I guess not,' the agent rumbled, the last of his scowl disappearing.
After that, dinner went remarkably well. Wearing paper hats, the two men dug into the meal with gusto.
'Did you cook this yourself?' Casey asked, popping a forkful of roast honey-glazed sweet potato into his mouth. 'This is good.'
Chuck beamed. 'Ellie advised me, but yeah.'
Curious, Casey asked, 'Where did you get all this? I had the Herder, and I know you didn't have it in your house.'
'Morgan. He bought it for me, held it at his place and Anna dropped it round this morning after you left,' Chuck admitted.
'Why what?' Chuck asked, confused.
'Why would Morgan help you do this for me? He's not even here to help eat it,' Casey rumbled.
'Because he's my best friend,' Chuck said, as though that answered Casey's question. Standing, he began to clear dishes away. 'You sit, I'll bring through the pudding.'
Later, so full they could barely move, Casey looked at the present laid on the table in front of him.
'Aren't you going to open it?'
Casey shrugged. 'It's not Christmas yet.'
'Ah, but it is,' Chuck smiled. 'It's our Christmas, just you and me, big guy. I figured if I can have Mother's Day with Ellie in October, I can have Christmas a week early with you. It's like it's your very first Christmas. You don't have to share it with anyone else, be sociable, put on a happy face. All you have to do is show up and have dinner with me, and you've done that. So, happy Christmas, John.'
Casey took a long look at the young man seated opposite him, leaning back in his chair. With the room lights down low, the candlelight made his dark eyes sparkle and softened the outline of his face.
'I didn't get you anything,' he admitted, sliding one large finger under the edge of the paper, carefully easing up the sticky tape.
'You've given me plenty,' Chuck said gently. 'Another eighteen months in my own home. My life, repeatedly. A whole new skill-set.'
'Enough nightmares to last you the rest of that life,' Casey said roughly, looking down at the half-wrapped box.
'No!' Chuck protested.
Casey looked up at him, one eyebrow raised. 'No?' He gestured towards the other end of the table where his surveillance gear sat among the rest of the computer equipment. 'I hear you,' he said in a voice so low it was barely audible. 'Every time.'
Chuck swallowed. 'Well, now you have something else to listen to.'
Casey swept the paper off the box, then opened it to reveal a black 8GB iPod nano.
'I put some tracks on there for you. Your very own spy mix,' Chuck said, his irrepressable optimism kicking back in.
Casey picked up the iPod, deftly sweeping a thumb around the control wheel to reveal the track listing.
'Neil Diamond?' he queried.
'I couldn't help noticing you had some,' Chuck admitted. 'I wasn't too sure I should include it, but hey, you can always delete it, right?'
'You know you didn't have to do this,' Casey said, clearing his throat. 'Any of it. I'm your handler, you're my asset. You don't have to...'
'Be your friend?' Chuck shrugged carelessly. 'Yeah, I do. Besides...' he shifted awkwardly, blushing a little.
'I, uh... I got you another present. But I don't know if you'll like it.'
Casey put the iPod down and leaned forwards. 'Why? Am I going to have to hurt you after all?'
Chuck swallowed again and licked his lips. Meeting Casey's gaze, he said, 'Only if you want to.'
The agent frowned. 'Show me, then.'
'Promise you won't shoot me?' Chuck quipped with a nervous laugh.
Sighing, Casey growled, 'All right, I promise. Now are you going to show me or not?'
Chuck pushed himself to his feet and went over to the couch. From his battered rucksack, he pulled out a small plastic bag, which he handed to Casey before busying himself stacking the rest of the dishes.
Casey opened the bag and looked inside. Wordlessly he looked from Chuck to the bag's contents and back again. As he stood, Chuck took a couple of steps back. Lips twitching, Casey finally spoke.
'Not a joke?'
Blushing, the young man shook his head. 'No, not a joke.'
'Condoms, lube and... furry handcuffs?'
'Yeah. I was hoping to... compromise you.' Chuck said, gazing at Casey with hope-filled eyes.
Casey searched Chuck's face, then took a step towards him, placing a large hand on his shoulder. 'You compromise me every day, Bartowski,' he murmured roughly.
'Good,' Chuck said defiantly, closing the gap beween them. 'So are you going to shoot me, or would you just kiss me already?'
Casey answered him by dipping his head an inch and claiming Chuck's lips with his own.
They kissed lightly once, twice, then Chuck pressed himself against the older man, mouth opening as one hand slid to the agent's neck, the other threading through his hair. Casey groaned, plunging his tongue into the young man's sweet-tasting mouth. He wrapped an arm around Chuck's shoulders, the other hand dropping to his hip. He broke off with a gasp.
'What do you want from me, Chuck?' Casey asked, resting his forehead against the younger man's.
'Peace on earth, goodwill to all, and... and you,' Chuck said, tugging Casey down for another kiss until with a growl, the agent pulled back.
Chuck grinned and rapidly headed for the stairs. Casey took a moment to pinch out the candles, then followed hot on his heels. He paused in the doorway to watch the young man toeing off his shoes, nearly falling over as he hurried to pull his t-shirt over his head at the same time.
'You can take your time,' he remarked, enjoying the sight of Chuck with his shirt off, pale skin covered with a smattering of dark hair.
'Are you kidding? I'm amazed we've got this far without a matter of national security coming up and nearly getting us killed!' Chuck said, unbuttoning his jeans and pushing them off.
'Since you put it like that...' Casey strode into the room, shutting the door behind him. He dropped the bag on the bed and loosened his tie. Unbuttoning his shirt, he took off his jacket and hung it up in the wardrobe. Carefully he took off his trousers and folded them, hanging them up too.
Sitting on the bed, Chuck was practically vibrating with impatience by the time Casey stalked across the room towards him, shirt open to reveal white boxer shorts covered in little black pistols.
'Are you quite done?' he asked, eyes gleaming as he took in Casey's lean muscled body. 'Or do you need to polish a few guns, maybe write a report first?'
'You have no patience. Did anyone ever tell you that?' Casey loomed over him, and Chuck grinned.
'On occasion,' he admitted. 'Want me to show you how patient I can be?'
Casey smiled a predatory smile. 'Go ahead. Impress me.'
Chuck's grin got even wider.
Two minutes later, Casey was handcuffed to his own headboard with Chuck determinedly kissing and licking his way down the older man's neck to his chest. He caught his breath as Chuck sucked at first one nipple then the other, and by the time Chuck had worked his way down to the top of his boxer shorts, he was wriggling and twisting underneath the young man.
Chuck slid a hand up one long, smoothly muscled leg until his fingertips slipped under the hem of Casey's boxer shorts. Slowly he worked his way higher, brushing feather-light touches across the smooth sensitive skin on the inside of the older man's thigh. Bending his head until his lips brushed Casey's cotton-clad erection, Chuck blew gently, sending warm air gusting over that hardness, then flattened his tongue against the head of Casey's penis. Casey's hips twitched upwards, and the agent let out a cry as the younger man's fingers cupped his balls, pausing for a moment before massaging them incredibly gently.
Chuck moved his mouth over Casey's erection until the agent grunted in frustration, then, with a grin, he sat up again and stripped off his own underwear. Throat suddenly dry, Casey gazed at the young man, his long limbs and slim body looking wiry rather than scrawny. Chuck was hard too, and Casey felt a touch of pride knowing that he was the cause.
Then Chuck slid his fingers under the waistband of the older man's boxer shorts and carefully pulled them down, with the agent lifting his hips slightly to help. The young man's breath caught at the sight of Casey in all his glory, face lighting up like a kid in a sweetshop. The answering smile on Casey's face fell away as Chuck wrapped his long fingers around his erection and began to move up and down.
Casey closed his eyes with a low groan as Chuck's hand became more sure, gripping him a little more firmly. With slow strokes, Chuck brought Casey close to the edge surprisingly fast, then stopped. As the older man panted, opening his eyes he saw Chuck, quickly sheathed in a condom, spreading lubricant on his hand. With a moan, Casey spread his legs, bringing his knees up and planting his feet flat on the bedsheet.
'You okay?' Chuck asked, waiting for Casey's nod before brushing his fingers over the older man's opening. Circling gently, it wasn't long before Casey was lifting his hips, trying to push against Chuck's hand. The young man pushed a finger against that dimple and it slid in easily. Again he waited until Casey nodded before beginning to move his finger gently in and out. Casey's breath hitched as the young man slid a second finger inside and began moving them until they were buried inside him. Then he curled his fingers upwards, and Casey's hips bucked as Chuck found his prostate.
Chuck spent a few more minutes stretching the older man until he was painfully hard and on the verge of whimpering. Then, withdrawing his hand and wiping it on a tissue, he reached for the lube again, coating the tip of his penis with it. Chuck settled between Casey's legs, spreading them even wider. After one last pause to enjoy the sight of the agent spreadeagled, waiting and more than ready for him, Chuck guided his erection to Casey's opening and slid inside.
Casey groaned as Chuck filled him. His cock jumped as the young man settled on top of him, stomach hair slightly rough but feeling so good, providing the friction that Casey so badly needed as Chuck started to move inside him. It wasn't long before slow thrusts became harder, faster, and then Chuck altered his position, rolling his hips upwards and hitting Casey's sweet spot dead on. Casey grunted each time Chuck hit his prostate until, with a roar, he came, muscles clenching around the young man.
A few more thrusts, and Chuck stilled with a cry. Casey could feel him pulse as he came, then, muscles trembling, the young man collapsed on top of him.
With practised ease, Casey slipped his wrists out of the handcuffs, wrapping his arms around the slim form of his asset, holding him tightly until Chuck looked up and kissed him.
They lay together, breathing slowing back to normal, until at last Chuck withdrew and wrapped the condom in a tissue, dropping it over the side of the bed onto the floor.
'So, good present?' he asked, looking at Casey with hope and something more, something deeper, in his expression.
Casey stroked the young man's cheek and said, 'Oh yeah, very good. Thank you, Chuck. Happy Christmas.'
With a satisfied sigh, Chuck snuggled up to the older man, using his shoulder for a pillow and draping an arm and a leg over the agent's long frame.
'Happy Christmas, John.'
Casey watched as, smiling happily, Chuck drifted off to sleep. It turned out that Christmas wasn't so bad after all. He grinned: he couldn't wait to see what Chuck was going to give him next year.