A/N: This story takes place after events up through Chuck vs. Santa Claus. I don't intend to stay very close to canon on this one. Pretty much anything and everything can happen before it is through.
I don't own Chuck or any of the characters, just wishing some days.
Chuck vs. the Valentines Day Massacre
February 14, 2009. 7:00pm
Chuck was in his room and unenthusiastically playing Call of Duty. It was too hard to keep his mind on the game with thoughts of Sarah constantly pushing to the fore. Yeah, he could understand everything she had done for him on Christmas Eve from a logical standpoint. But even after multiple conversations, her lie afterward had never ceased to be a viper in his belly, squirming whenever they were together. He knew where he should be. Their cover relationship practically demanded it. However, Chuck felt justified in staying home because Sarah had not really pushed the issue either when they met earlier for lunch.
With a knock, his bedroom door opened. He cringed at what he knew was coming. Ellie was not going to just let him sit home and ignore his girlfriend on Valentine's Day. There had been a hope she and Devon would go out for the evening, but their plans had been shattered by an emergency surgery page. With her night now free, Chuck had been counting the minutes till she started in on his dating faux pas.
"Charles Irving Bartowski, I am ashamed of you! You have a beautiful, amazing girlfriend who loves you and here you sit on today of all days. I don't know what's been going on, except the fact that it is 'complicated'." She spits out the word, so tired of hearing it. "But things have not been right with you two since Christmas. Was it the bracelet? Did Sarah feel it was too big a step for the relationship?"
Pretending to concentrate on his game, 'Here we go again, another lie.' He organizes his thoughts quickly and goes with something close to the truth.
"No Ellie, she loves the bracelet and is very happy with what it signifies. I think that's the problem more than anything. We both are ready for what the gift means, but we also share bad memories of our past experiences when things moved to this level. She'd gotten very serious with her ex before things fell apart and you know the whole Jill story. I guess it gave us a mini case of cold feet. We can get through it though." Giving his sister a brave smile.
Her expression softening as she sits on the bed next to her brother, "Listen Chuck, I don't like to sound like your mother or to butt in all the time. But I do know one thing. If you care about Sarah and mean what you just said, then staying home today is the best way to screw it up. Maybe the two of you just need the right mood to find a place you can be comfortable in again." She starts to smile wider as a plan forms. "You need to get up right now, put on something nice and get over there. Take her some flowers and chocolates and make sure she knows how you feel about her before it's too late." She hugs him tightly and then pushes him off the bed. "Get going."
Looking up from his new perspective, "Thanks sis." Giving her a playful glare before turning serious again. "I don't know if I should. We met for lunch like normal and she didn't say anything either. Sarah is not really a big holiday person."
"That's exactly why you should. Bringing someone flowers after they mention how nice it would be is much less meaningful than surprising them with flowers spontaneously. Showing up to sweep her off her feet on Valentines will be so much more romantic this way." Ellie continues to smile.
"You're not going to let this go are you?"
"Then you can pick out what I should wear while I go and get cleaned up." Chuck starts to grin and thinks maybe tonight is the right time for this.
Half an hour later, he is driving in the herder as he searches for any place that would have flowers at this hour. Finally, he pulls into a convenience store to see what they might stock. There is a picked over selection of chocolates with brand names he has never heard of. He decides on an assortment that looks only mildly hazardous. Then comes the decision on which tiny and bedraggled bouquet of flowers he thinks will survive the drive to her hotel. Mildly pleased with his purchases, he is at least happy they didn't strain his lofty Buy More salary. 'We can still go out for cokes, or at least one coke with two straws.' as the rest of his funds jingle in his pocket.
Back in the herder, he points the vehicle to Sarah's place. He looks over at his gifts in the passenger seat and wishes he could do more. As much trouble as they have had lately, he really was serious when giving the bracelet and knows that she has become more important to him than Jill ever was. Maybe Ellie was right, it is the night for love and romance. Can the old Bartowski charm help to smooth over the rough patch and is tonight the night to forgive her need to keep him innocent of the real world? Chuck considers he may have watched too many movies when his internal monologue starts to sound like that.
Her lot is pretty full. 'Aren't people supposed to go out to celebrate? Or....maybe they are out and at a hotel.', he grins at the implications.Chuck finds a spot that is out of the way. He takes a deep breath and then collects his gifts before leaving the car. Sparing a glance to her window, he is relieved to see light showing. 'Looks like she's home and awake, guess I have to go through with it.' His long strides bring him swiftly across the lot and into her building. Up ahead, he sees one of the staff pushing a room service cart into the elevator. Chuck breaks into a jog, "Hold the elevator please."
The young man pushes the door hold button for Chuck. "No problem dude."
"Thanks a lot. Can you push 8 for me?" Looking over, he sees 8 is the number already lit up. "Well, perfect timing and the same floor." He takes a look at the cart and whistles. "Someone is doing the Valentines thing the right way. Champagne, strawberries, chocolate sauce and whipped cream. Let me guess, your first one tonight?"
Chuckling, "Hardly, this is my seventh delivery so far. But none like this one. They spared no expense I can tell you that. This is the good stuff here." Pointing to the champagne, "Almost $300 just for that." Noting Chuck's self conscious glance to the flowers and box he carries. "Don't worry man. Women want the gesture, they don't care about the dollar. At least not the good ones."
They share a smile as Chuck sticks out his hand. "Chuck, pleased to meet you...?"
"Bowser.", the young man finishes. He grins at the look on Chuck's face. "Yeah, not the most normal of names. What can I say, my mom, huge fan of Sha-na-na." Noting the look of confusion, "Uh, they had a tv show a long time back, singing and such. I never saw it either."
They shake hands and turn to watch the numbers change. "I've never met a Bowser before. You can bet I will remember this day for a long time. Much more interesting than being a Chuck."
"Nothing wrong with being Chuck. When I was young, I wondered what it might be like to be a James or a David. You know, a normal, kids leave you alone on the playground kind of name. But, a guy gets older and now I love having this name. It's me and I can be happy with that."
"And that's all that really matters, right? Being happy with who you are. Sometimes I wish I could convince Sarah of that." Seeing the question in Bowser's eyes. "That's my girlfriend. She has a real problem with being comfortable in her own skin sometimes."
"Don't sweat it. Just be there when she needs you and things will work out. Says the guy who is currently without a girlfriend." Chuck and Bowser share a laugh. "Getting paid extra to work tonight though, so it's all good."
The doors open on the eighth floor. "Well, you have a good night and I hope the tips are plentiful." Chuck steps out of the elevator with a wave.
"Yeah, you have a great night Chuck. Nice meeting you."
As he walks down the hallway, Chuck makes sure he has the flowers and chocolates arranged and takes a deep breath. Stopping in front of Sarah's door, he goes to knock, but has flowers in one hand, box in the other. He brings his hand back, transferring the box of chocolates to the same hand as the flowers. Juggling it and almost dropping them both before getting a handle on them. With a now free hand, he reaches up and knocks on the door just as Bowser pushes the cart up next to him. They trade looks.
Sarah calls from inside the room. "Just a second, I'll be right there."
Which is followed by a man's voice, "Hurry up baby, don't keep me waiting."
Losing his ability to breathe, Chuck just drops his presents onto the cart and flees to the elevator. It's sort of an out of body experience. He can see himself stabbing at the elevator button and watching the doors open. At the same time, there is a door opening behind him, some raised voices and a crash as the cart is pushed against the wall forcefully.
Once inside the relative safety of the elevator car, he snaps back into himself. His finger punching the button for the ground floor like it was an xbox controller, he looks down the open hallway. There she is, coming around the corner at a run. He whimpers at the sight. Her robe is flown open and she has on the purple negligee from their 'first night together'. He had always hoped to see it again, but not like this. Her mouth is moving and he knows she is telling him to come back, to stop, wait for her. All he can see is the bare skin of her wrist, bracelet not in place as the doors mercifully shut.
The lobby and parking lot are a blur. He finds himself standing at the Nerd Herder trying to remember how a key works. 'Now I know why she didn't say anything at lunch.', rebounded through his head. Then, a voice from the shadows adds more good news to his evening.
"Hello Chuck. Having a bad night? Seems a shame, Valentines and all."
As he spins around, the first thing he sees is the silver shine of a gun and silencer. Next, his memory tells him that he knows this person. "Laszlo? I thought you were.."
"Safely tucked away in a bunker? Oh, I was. And I really wanted the chance to properly thank you for that, by the way. I've made some new friends and they've helped me out. All they wanted in return was you."
Chuck starts looking around the lot for inspiration. "I couldn't help it, you were going to blow up all those innocent people. You had to be stopped." Seeing nothing, he glances up to her room.
"No one is innocent!", Laszlo shouts and waves the gun. "I wanted to make them pay for what they did to me."
"Oh come on Laszlo, those people on the pier had nothing to do with that." Chuck sees movement and feels a moments relief. Sarah has to see what's going on, she'll be down here soon. Needing to stall for more time, he talks on. "Would blowing them up have made you feel any better? And do you think the people you are mad at would really care all that much? Sure, the public would be all outraged, but the guy that recruited you? I bet he wouldn't lose a minute of sleep."
"No Chuck, they would've had to notice me. But, that doesn't matter anymore. You can bet they will notice me soon enough. My friends will make sure of that." He points the gun squarely at Chuck. "She won't get down here in time."
Remembering their last meeting, Chuck squints to get a better look at the weapon.
"Not a water pistol this time, Chuck. These guys are serious. I'm sorry."
"Sorry about wha.........", Chuck never gets to finish. Like some slow motion scene from a movie, he watches the gun kick in Laszlo's hand. There is a small muzzle flash followed by searing pain in his left thigh. Crumpling to the ground, he hears the soft "phut" of the silenced shot before losing consciousness.