Chuck vs. the Shuffle

"In This City", Iglu & Hartly – Chuck POV

Sarah Walker could be so maddeningly frustrating sometimes. It had been more than a year and a half since she had waltzed into Chuck Bartowski's life and set it on its head. She went out of her way to get close to Chuck – as any good CIA handler would with an asset – but made sure to keep a certain distance for professionalism.

The problem with that was that Chuck could see through Sarah's BS. He knew that there was far more behind the professional façade that she would not allow herself to show. It seemed like every time their lives got a little more intertwined, Sarah would once again try to separate herself from him. And every time, it hurt them both just a little bit more.

"Twenty-Four", Switchfoot – Sarah POV

Every morning, when Sarah Walker woke up, the first thought that would run through her head would be, I hate Chuck Bartowski. But she didn't hate him because he had hurt her. She didn't hate him because he had done something terrible to her, somebody she knew, or to the country she had sworn an oath to serve.

No, she hated Chuck Bartowski because she loved him so much. She hated him because he refused to believe that she was nothing more than a cold, jaded killer. She hated him because he had gotten under her skin and touched something deep inside her she had thought long dead. And she knew that twenty-four hours later, when she woke up, she would hate him that much more – and all because she would love him that much more.

"Second Chance", Shinedown – Chuck POV

The sad look of betrayal on Chuck Bartowski's face barely mirrored what he felt inside his heart. Watching Jill Roberts be locked in the back of a black, windowless van hurt more than he could say. After all, he had loved her once, and thought that there might be that chance again.

But instead, she had betrayed him. She had betrayed her country. And the final straw had been when she had tried to kill the one person Chuck loved almost as much as his sister. No, when Jill had attempted to end Sarah Walker's life, that's when Chuck knew – there are no second chances.

"Audience of One", Rise Against – Morgan POV

The square of sidewalk on Ventura Boulevard looked up at Morgan Grimes, seemingly mocking him. Nearly twenty years before, the square on Ventura a block west of Laurel Canyon had been poured one March morning, and discovered an hour later by Morgan and Chuck Bartowski.

Chuck. He was gone now. One morning, Chuck and Sarah had just disappeared. It was as if they never existed. Morgan could still remember how violently John Casey had reacted, actually threatening to kill Morgan until Morgan had convinced Casey that he didn't know anything. Ellie had been sad, but she seemed at peace with what had happened.

It still hurt. And the square of concrete, a "CB" in one corner", and a "MG" in the other, the date 3/19/90 in the middle, was just one more painful reminder of a friendship that was gone.

"Bohemian Rhapsody", Queen – Chuck POV

It had been three weeks now, and Chuck still woke up in the middle of the night, drenched in a cold sweat. Some nights, he woke up alone, terrified by the images that he had just seen, but most nights, she was there. She would hold him, whispering that he had done the right thing, until he fell back to sleep once more.

It was for her that he had done it. The masked man had threatened to kill her, and Chuck had walked right up to him, put a gun against his head, pulled the trigger – and now, he was dead. But if Chuck hadn't done it, then Sarah would have died. He knew that if he had to, he would do it again in an instant.

That didn't stop the dreams, though. In the dreams, he was the masked man. He watched himself walk forward, point the gun, and tighten his finger around the trigger. But it wasn't the gun that frightened him.

In his dreams, the look on his face was one devoid of humanity – cold, expressionless, pitiless. And that was what frightened him most of all.

"Dare You to Move", Switchfoot – Sarah POV

Sarah didn't know why she was here. This was just going to get her in trouble. This was not going to end well, and she was going to wind up with one more scar on her already heavily scarred heart as a result.

But for some reason, she just couldn't make herself walk away. The only thing that could possibly make her leave would be the emergence of John Casey, whose silhouette she had just seen in his upstairs window.

Now or never, Chuck, NOW OR NEVER! Her mind screamed as she watched Casey's silhouette fade away from his window. If he came out into the courtyard before Chuck opened the door – well, it wasn't going to be good.

And that's when the door opened. There Chuck stood, a sleepy but happy look on his face. Without a word, Sarah pushed past him, into the apartment, closing the door behind him. She turned around, pushed Chuck up against the door, and kissed him hungrily. "No more lies," she whispered when she finally broke away. "No more pretending."

"Under Pressure", Queen – Chuck POV

It had been the most miserable day. Maybe not Chuck's worst day ever, but it was pretty close. The e-mail from Bryce the night before – Chuck still wasn't quite sure what that had been about, but he had awakened with a splitting headache, almost like a hangover. It had only gotten worse with what he could only assume was a hallucination in the shower, and then another while discussing the virus laden floor display laptop with the Nerd Herd.

And God knew, Chuck would do anything for Morgan, but right at that moment, he was about ready to kill the little bearded man. Between downloading the damn virus onto the brand new computer and now nattering on about how some woman looked like Vicki Vale, he was really starting to get on Chuck's last –

"I hope I'm not interrupting anything."

That was when Chuck looked up… and saw an angel.

"End of the Summer", Theory of a Deadman – Ellie POV

Ellie worried about her little brother sometimes. Well, more than sometimes. Over the last eleven months, she had really worried about him a lot. He had behaved more strangely than he had before, and he just didn't seem to be himself sometimes.

The weird part was, the beginning of his odd pattern of behavior seemed to coincide with Sarah Walker's arrival in his life – and to Ellie, that made no sense whatsoever. Sarah was quite possibly the best thing that had happened to Chuck since he had been admitted to Stanford.

Devon told her not to worry about it, but Devon just didn't know Chuck like Ellie did. Something wasn't right. And that's why Ellie was thankful that Sarah was around – she knew that as long as Sarah was there, Chuck would retain some semblance of normalcy.

"Nothing at All", Third Day – Sarah POV

She tried not to be hurtful toward Chuck. Every day, she swore to herself that she wouldn't say anything to hurt him. She would do her absolute best to be supportive of everything he did, to be the kind-hearted person that he so desperately wanted her to be.

But it is hard to forget one's former self. It's very difficult for a person to just let go of the past, and for Sarah, that meant treating Chuck in a completely different manner than she treated Bryce. With him, their relationship had devolved into a vicious cycle of arguments and sex, and toward the end, it just seemed so natural to hurl invectives at Bryce and have them bounce off.

Chuck wasn't Bryce. Chuck would never be Bryce. And Sarah thanked God for that regularly. Now she just had to remember that.

"This is Your Life", Switchfoot – Casey POV

When the assignment began, John Casey had often wondered what deity he had pissed off to deserve it. Was it Ronald Reagan's spirit, seeking karmic retribution on him for voting for John Kerry in 2004? Or was it just the end of a run of really, REALLY bad luck that had started with three consecutive rolls of snake eyes in Atlantic City two years before?

In the deepest recesses of Casey's mind, he knew that he truly envied Chuck Bartowski and his family and friends. He looked at the way Ellie Bartowski and Devon Woodcomb acted around each other, the way Morgan Grimes and Anna Wu were around each other – and yes, even the way Bartowski and Walker acted around one another, and he couldn't help but wish just the tiniest bit for the happiness he saw on their faces.

But that was not John Casey's life.

"Brick House", The Commodores – Jeff/Lester POV

"I don't understand it," Lester whined as he and Jeff sat in the Nerd Herd booth. "How is that Chuck is constantly surrounded by hot women, and yet two young, virile, good-looking eligible bachelors like the two… well, like me, get no play whatsoever?"

Jeff burped loudly and turned his bloodshot gaze on Lester. "Whaddya mean Chuck's constantly surrounded by hot women?"

"Well, there's his sister," Lester said. "Obviously. And that red-headed chick. What was her name?"

"Uh…" Jeff paused for a moment. "Carina, or 4omething' like that, wasn't it?"

"Yeah!" Lester exclaimed. "And then there was the sandwich girl, Lou… and didn't we see him making out with his ex-girlfriend a while back there?"

Jeff nodded. "Jill," he confirmed. "She was HAWT."

"Yeah, but they all pale in comparison to Sarah Walker," Lester said, eyes glazing over with a certain terrifying – and yet electrifying – memory of Sarah Walker at the Wienerlicious, over a year before. "I mean… that woman was probably handcrafted by God Himself. I seriously think she might stand a chance at being thirty-six, twenty-four, thirty-six, you know?"

Jeff grinned crookedly. "Now THAT's a winning hand."

"New Year's Day", U2 – Devon POV

For somebody whose vocabulary was at least fifty percent "awesome" and "dude", Devon Woodcomb was a surprisingly perceptive and intellectual individual. When he was busy instructing his future brother-in-law to not be a fool and "wrap his tool", he was also very closely watching Chuck for any sort of reaction. Most of the time, Chuck would just roll his eyes and scoff, leading Devon to think that there wasn't actually anything going on between Chuck and the absolutely gorgeous Sarah Walker.

But that had all changed about two hours ago. It was New Year's Eve, and Devon had once again given Chuck a little "pep talk", as it were, and Chuck had spewed beer across the kitchen, turning bright red as he did so. That made Devon believe that perhaps tonight, just perhaps, Chuck was going to get lucky.

And it was looking more and more like it. Dick Clark had said "Happy New Year" nearly two minutes ago, and Chuck and Sarah were still locked together like they had electromagnets in their mouths. With a grin, Devon surreptitiously snuck up to Chuck, and gently laid a hand on his shoulder.

Without looking or taking one iota of attention off of Sarah, Chuck reached his hand up to his shoulder and took the wrapped condom from Devon's hand, then gave Devon a thumbs-up. Wordlessly, Devon pumped a fist in the air in triumph – only to earn a swift smack to the back of his head from his grinning fiancée.

"The Feeling", Kutless – Chuck/Sarah POV

Chuck wasn't sure how much longer he could take this. Over a year and a half he had put up with this madness – getting closer and closer to Sarah, only to have her back away. And she didn't do much to discourage it, either – oh, sure, she said something from time to time, but her actions spoke far, far louder than her words ever would.

He just felt like he couldn't stand still anymore. And so, he marched out of the Nerd Herd counter. "Morgan, cover for me," he instructed his friend as he walked out the door. Chuck forced his mind to shut down as he marched out of the Buy More and across the parking lot toward the Orange Orange. If he wasn't thinking, he couldn't talk himself out of it, and if he wasn't paying attention to anything but the front door of the Orange Orange, he couldn't flash on anything.

"I'm sick and tired of this, Sarah!" he announced as he entered the yogurt shop, startling the CIA agent. The ice cream scoop in her hand clattered to the floor, and she glared at Chuck.

"Sick and tired of what, exactly?" she asked, bending over to pick the scoop up off the floor.

"Of the lies," Chuck replied. "The lies and the pretending – all of it."

Sarah sighed. "Didn't we just go down this path a few weeks ago?"

"No," Chuck insisted. "I was wrong. I don't want our cover relationship to be over. I want to stop lying to everybody I know, and I want you to stop lying to me and to yourself."

Chuck's forceful outburst left Sarah at a loss for words. "Uh… okay," she finally said. "But, how do you explain this to General Beckman?"

Chuck's eyes widened at Sarah's response. She hadn't tried to deny anything he said – instead, she had gone to how they could justify it to the powers that be. "Wow, um… I guess I hadn't really thought it through," he said. "We tell her to deal?"

Sarah grinned. "I don't think that'll work so well," she teased Chuck. "I was thinking maybe we use the Fourth Amendment as a blunt object."

"You know," Chuck said, raising an eyebrow as he moved closer to Sarah, "you're hot when you talk about the Constitution."

"Bawitdaba", Kid Rock – Anna POV

Anna Wu had a lot of unanswerable questions in life. She wanted to know exactly how her parents were connected to the Triads. She knew that they were, even if they wouldn't admit it. She also wanted to know exactly what lay in her and Morgan's future. Even more than that, though, she wanted to know what the hell had happened to Chuck Bartowski a year and a half beforehand that had turned him into a neurotic wreck who somehow happened to have a girlfriend who made Anna's knees weak.

There was that question as well, but Anna tried not to dwell on it. After all, she truly loved Morgan, and her father was too traditional – he would never understand.

But perhaps the most pressing question of all was how she had ended up here, sitting next to Morgan. Oh, sure, it wasn't abnormal to be out on a date with Morgan, but it was CERTAINLY not normal to be in a strip club with Morgan at midnight.

After all, she really hadn't expected Morgan to agree when she suggested it.

"Something In Your Mouth", Nickelback – Morgan POV

Morgan's jaw had been sitting on the floor for the past ten minutes. Anna had talked him into going to a strip club, and it turned out that it was amateur night at the club.

And so Morgan had been staring at his girlfriend as her wild exhibitionist streak came out to play. She had agreed to dance a three song set, and the final song was now playing – a certain Nickelback song with a less than subtle title.

Sure, Anna had gotten the guys in the club going during the first two songs, but she had REALLY gotten them up and at 'em when she started sucking on a lollipop during the final song. The stage was now practically carpeted with dollar bills, and Morgan hadn't had a clean thought for several minutes.

Anna finished, and Morgan just stared after her in slack-jawed disbelief. When Anna reappeared, clothed, Morgan grabbed her by the arm and started dragging her toward the door. "We have to go," he insisted when she objected.

When Morgan said that, Anna froze and glared at him. "Seriously, Anna, please," he begged. "If we don't go now, I'm going to explode."

With that, Anna's expression changed from an angry glare to a mischievous smile. "In that case, why don't we ensure that it's a… contained explosion?"

As Morgan followed his girlfriend out the door, he looked toward the ceiling. "Thank you, God!"

"Everybody Get Dangerous", Weezer – Chuck/Sarah POV

Chuck and Sarah had both aged very well. The only signs that either of them were in their mid-forties were the gray streaks in Chuck's hair and the glasses perched on Sarah's nose. Their fourteen year-old son's friends seemed to greatly enjoy coming over to the Bartowski home to study, or do homework… or just stare at Sarah.

His friends' unabashed love for his mother caused no small amount of embarrassment for Timothy Bartowski, especially since his mother seemed to be highly amused by it. Of course, the absolute worst for Tim had been the time he had brought his new girlfriend home – only to hear the sounds of his parents having VERY loud sex resounding throughout the house.

So, it was time to get back at his parents. He had talked Uncle John into providing him with a handgun – "No sense in a man not being able to protect himself," Casey had said when handing the Glock over to Tim. And as he walked into the living room, the gun in a holster strapped to his hip, his father's eyes went wide and his mother raised an eyebrow.

"Mom, Dad," he said with no preamble, "I want to learn how to shoot."

Chuck and Sarah looked at each other. "Casey," Chuck grumbled.

Sarah shook her head. "I'm gonna kill him."

"Hanging By a Moment", Lifehouse – Devon POV

The last twelve hours had been absolutely nerve-wracking for Devon. He had been planning to propose to Ellie the night before, only to have Chuck drop off the face of the earth, Devon's great-grandmother's engagement ring in hand.

And so, when a very weary-looking, bedraggled Chuck dragged himself through the door just after 6:00 AM, Devon looked at him and made a sort of "WTF?!" hand gesture. Chuck just shrugged. "Sorry," he said, holding out the ring.

Devon looked out the window. There was Sarah, looking in approximately the same disrepair as Chuck. However, the ring itself was shiny and clean – a far cry from the two people whose possession it had been in.

There was no doubt that something had transpired, and that those two had spend the whole night trying to reclaim the ring. That only made Devon even more appreciative as Chuck as future brother-in-law. "Thanks, bro," he said. "Always knew you could handle the family jewels."

"Change Your Mind", All-American Rejects – Sarah POV

Sarah had essentially spent the last week repeatedly cursing herself for blowing chance after chance. She shouldn't have interfered with Chuck's dinner with Jill, but she had. Casey, of all people, had been the one to call her out on that.

When they were in the shower together, both practically naked, she had almost taken action. When she felt his hands pause on her back, she knew that he was on the verge himself – and she should have followed through on it. But she hadn't.

Now, Chuck was off the grid, with Jill – who, as it turned out, was a Fulcrum agent. And that all could have been avoided if Sarah had just been a little more honest with Chuck – and with herself.

"Wake Up", Rage Against the Machine – Sarah/Casey POV

"Oh, this is UNBELIEVABLE," Casey growled as he watched the surveillance footage.

"Calm down, Casey," Sarah replied.

Casey shook his head and snorted, turning toward Sarah. "You kidding me, Walker? You're just as much of a Republican as I am – hell, probably more. Didn't you admit that you voted to re-elect George Bush in 2004?"

"I did," Sarah replied, keeping her voice neutral. "That doesn't mean I'm going to judge Chuck for participating in a protest against the Iraq War."

"It's practically treason," Casey muttered.

Sarah slammed the notepad she was holding down on the table and turned to Casey with an exasperated sigh. "Are you serious, Casey?" she spat. "Exercising his First Amendment right to free speech is treason? If he was bashing the troops, I could maybe understand that, but this?"

She shook her head. "Don't you think we've abridged Chuck's Constitutional rights enough?"

"Slow Down", Third Day feat. Chris Daughtry – Chuck/Sarah POV

Sarah was moving too slowly. It was almost torture to Chuck as she slowly, oh so slowly trailed a path of gentle kisses down his jaw line.

A fingernail gently traced the outside of his ear, causing Chuck to shudder. This was ridiculous. He couldn't stand how slowly Sarah was moving.

With a surprisingly agile move, he pushed off, using one elbow – and before she even realized what was going on, Sarah was pleasantly surprised to find herself on her back, pinned to the bed by a Chuck Bartowski who she wasn't sure she had ever seen before. He leaned down, and with a muted growl, began doing to her what she had been doing to him just a moment before, except moving much more quickly.

Sarah's breathing got heavier and heavier, coming in much quicker breaths, until finally, she grabbed Chuck by the shoulders and physically pushed him away. "Chuck," she gasped. "Slow down."

Chuck looked up at her, a confused look on his face. "Why in heaven's name would I want to slow down?"

Sarah smiled. "Well, you don't want it to end TOO soon, do you?"