Disclaimer: Don't own Chuck. Wouldn't want to, especially if it didn't get renewed. I don't want Jon Stewart and the Daily Show to go all Jim Cramer on me!
The Man of Many Grunts
Chuck Bartowski is a man of many, many words, and partnered with two people who are not. He wears his heart on his sleeve and says what he means, but works very closely with two spies trained to forgo emotion. For instance, John Casey's facial expressions generally range from the gamut of A (The Moron did what?) to B (The Moron did what?!?!). However, his vocal expressions hide a world of thought behind the mask. Chuck had jokingly stated to him earlier about Grunt #7, but had never kept track. Here's how Chuck started his list...
June 17, 2009: Explosive Chatter
"I can do this," Bartowski huffed to Walker and Casey. The three of them were staring intently at a computer rigged to an explosive in the middle of a hotel ballroom. Worried business people were scurrying about, little pin balls bouncing off the sides of the room, searching for the exit.
"Grunt #7" harrumphed Casey, wondering how many fragments of Marriott tables and chairs would need to be removed from his torso this time.
"Chuck, do you think you can do it?" Walker stared at him. The Nerd swallowed big, nodded in return and started typing frantically at the keyboard. Casey scanned the perimeter and eyed the computer screen. 58 seconds were left, and with ten to go, he would hustle Bartowski out of here, whether he liked it or not.
The seconds clicked by no faster, no slower than they normally do. At 30 seconds, Casey noticed Walker getting antsy. They could roundhouse kick bad guys all they wanted as long as the Intersect was safe, and Team Bartowski was cutting it close. 29, 28, 27...
"Got it!" The Nerd exclaimed triumphantly. The Bartowski Special Grin (Casey always thought it deserved a little "TM" in the upper corner) flashed at Walker.
"Grunt #13," Casey commented, noticing Walker smiling happily back at The Nerd. Ugh. If Walker wanted the liberal-leaning, marshmallow soft puppy dog, she was more than happy to have him IF it did not interfere with the mission. However, since she was the one agent who cared more about the importance of a mission than he did, The Nerd would be spending one more night alone.
"Alright, team!" exclaimed The Nerd, although Casey had to hand it to Bartowski. Definitely socially challenged, but he did have some mean computer skills. "Group Hug!"
"Grunt #1." The Moron still had his arms outstretched. They dropped to his sides.
"Chuck, let's go back to Castle," Walker soothed him. Federal agents flooded the room, and the team was safe for now.
Later that evening, Chuck wrote down his list. Maybe he could record and put them all together in a mix?
Grunt #1: Feral, with a dash of No-one-touches-The-Casey
Grunt #7: Incredulous, with a dash of I-don't-want-to-pick-up-pieces-of-Bartowski-later annoyance
Grunt #13: Astounded, with a dash of That's-why-the federal-government-pays-me-the-big-bucks-to-babysit
July 15, 2009: Garden Parties
Ellie Bartowski-Woodcombe was hosting her first dinner party after returning from Hawaii. Casey was sure it could only be, yes, an awesome honeymoon, and he was sure he would be hearing way too many details about kite-surfing with little baby whales. The neighbors of the apartment complex and a few guests were mingling around the star fountain in the courtyard, munching on appetizers and sipping wine under the dark sky. However, she did make good food, and it was easier to spot any troublemakers in person rather than watching the whole shebang on camera equipment ten yards away in his apartment.
Casey scanned the area. Walker was talking to Ellie, with The Moron hovering nearby. Captain Awesome was about 5 yards away, very enthusiastically describing to their upstairs neighbor something involving swimming with what looked to be either sharks or a very touchy-feely squid, according to his sweeping arm movements. Directly across the way was some very attractive woman, doctor-friends of Ellie's according to the dossier he had prepared based on her evite list. Some more information might be needed, he thought.
"Hello, ladies, I'm John Casey, a neighbor of Ellie's. Nice to meet you," he broke into a lull in the conversation. Three mega-watt smiles and some nice v-necked shirts greeted him in return. "Grunt #11." All three ladies colored slightly.
The brunette in the middle responded. "Hi John, it's nice to meet you. I'm Karen, and this is Jackie," she nodded to the blond on her right, "And this is Annie," motioning to the brunette on her left.
A few drinks and discussions of the Lakers' chances versus the Nuggets later, Karen had sidled closer to his side, and the other two ladies had disappeared. Surveying the courtyard, he noticed Walker and Bartowski having what could only be described as an intense, heart-felt conversation. "Grunt #2."
Karen followed his gaze. "They're a cute couple, aren't they? Ellie tried to set me up with her brother one time, but we're just too different. Well, he seemed really hung up on this other girl from college and I never even found out if we were alike. I tried talking sports, traffic and weather with no response. I even asked him about what he thought about President Obama's new stimulus plan, and he didn't really even respond. Who doesn't have an opinion about politics?"
Casey was on his guard now. President Obama had his sworn loyalty, but there would be no pictures in his locker of him.
"Politics can be kind of tricky to talk about," Casey acknowledged, knowing that one mention of supply-side economics would have Karen scurrying away. She was cute, but she wasn't Ilsa. "The growth of our economy depends on less regulation, not more. Higher income earners having more purchasing power will help spur industries to develop and create a greater supply of goods."
Karen smiled. "Really? I'm no fan of Keyes, either."
Casey rewarded her with a fresh Grunt #11.
Chuck, still keeping an eye on Sarah, was well aware of the power of Grunt #11. Was Sugar Bear making another appearance? Casey had quite the well-rounded personality when you chipped away at the stone exterior. Later that night, he scribbled down:
Grunt #11: Appreciation, with a dash of Enjoying-the-view-thanks
Grunt #2: Frustration, with a dash of Can't-they-get-it-on-already?
August 28, 2009: Are We There Yet?
Casey floored the Vic and dashed toward the seventh circle of hell, otherwise known as downtown Los Angeles. Walker was riding shotgun, wearing a dress so tight and short Casey was having a hard time figuring out where her trusty throwing knives were stored. Bartowski was bouncing in the back seat, looking out windows and drooling over Walker. Casey half wondered if he cracked a window, The Moron would stick his face out and bark at on-coming traffic.
Some chatter had been picked up about a major coke deal going down, and the team was headed to a dance club to "flash" and beat up some bad guys.
"Grunt #10. Walker, you flash your gams and get us into the joint. Bartowski, you flash and tell us which bad guys to beat up. We will be in and out in no time." Even though the team was referred to as Operation Bartowski, it was still his team.
Bartowski looked slightly surprised at him. "Gams? What century are we in here, Colonel Casey? I agree with you that Sarah looks amazing, but she is a woman of many talents." The Nerd took a breath, and Casey could tell he was gearing up into full motor-mouth mode. "I think Ellie would beat me up if she ever heard me reference her legs as 'gams,' and I know Sarah would actually…"
Casey stopped listening to the diatribe. He just watched The Moron's mouth flap up and down, occasionally glancing at the odometer. After a couple of years of Chuck-sitting, he knew the only way to stop the motor-mouth was to scare it into submission, and that was not feasible with Walker and her collection of knives nearby. It was much easier to think about bad guys to destroy and innocent civilians to protect, even innocent civilians who enjoyed listening to techno. He felt an involuntary shiver. Techno…
Walker flipped around in her seat. "Chuck," she smiled at him. She fumbled with the strap on the barely-there gown, and The Moron's eyes dropped to a dangerous look but no touch zone, followed by the mouth halting to a complete stop, with invitations for all flying inspects to come on by.
"Grunt #17." Well, that's a way to keep him quiet. Now, if she could figure out a way to make him stay in the car.
Walker caught the grunt, and raised The Eyebrow in return. This was why she was his favorite partner. Who knew how she tolerated Bartowski, but she knew how to shut him up, and that was how partners worked.
Later that evening, Sarah was fixing a downed bug in Chuck's room. She caught a glance of an out-of-order list. She added a couple more and titled it "The Man of Many Grunts."
Grunt #10: Authority, with a dash of You-can-always-count-on-me
Grunt #17: Disbelief, with a dash of I-didn't-learn-that-in-Roan-Montgomery's-seduction-class
September 4, 2009: Feline Assassins and Canine Missiles
Casey hunched over a bowl in the shadows of the community courtyard and ladled wet cat food out of the can. A few months after moving in to his surveillance apartment, clanging of the lid of the trashcan set off his sensors. Armed with his Beretta, he staked out the courtyard and discovered a slightly less-hungry cat feasting on the remains of Ellie's seven-layer dip. Admiring the pluck of the cat, he started setting out bowls of wet cat food every week to make sure the little troublemaker knew not to set off his alarms.
In a time span of a few months, The Kitty had impressed Casey with his ability to appear in front of him within seconds of the can opening, never advertising his presence beforehand. There had been a no touching policy established, although in the last few weeks The Kitty rubbed up against his pant leg, apparently claiming ownership, or so the dossier Casey had read claimed.
Casey admired cats, even slightly mangy ones such as the tom before him, happily chomping away at dinner. They had grace, cunning, strength, knew exactly when to be in a certain position and had no real attachments. In other words, a cat was the embodiment of the perfect assassin.
He knew he was viewed by Walker and Bartowski as more of the large guard dog type like a German Shepard, ferociously guarding his home turf. Casey himself knew that he was capable of blunt force trauma, akin to a large jaw of death chomping on the jugular. However, one could always train himself to be a little bit of both sleek assassin and ballistic missile.
He felt a disturbance in the air around him and The Kitty. A pair of googly eyes had focused on him. It must be either Captain Awesome, who most likely rescued stray manatees in his free time, or Bartowski, who most likely ran in the opposite direction if a bichon frieze looked at him the wrong way. The clearing of the throat and meandering pace of the intruder meant one person: The Nerd.
"Grunt #5." Casey acknowledged his presence.
"So you're the one who feeds the stray! I didn't know you had it in you, Big Guy!" The Moron gave him a big smile.
"Grunt #18" growled Casey.
"Well, no, I didn't mean that I would be surprised that you would respect all forms of life," said The Moron as he back-pedaled from what Casey was sure was an insult disguised as a pseudo-compliment. "It's just that I figured you as the type who would go for a very large and ferocious dog that would be able to locate hidden drugs from 200 yards away and have no problems removing important arteries from important locations in the body and that as a super spy you would not want to make any long-lasting relationships with anyone. I mean, I know you are capable of making long-lasting, deserving, fulfilling relationships. After all, I saw you with Ilsa and that was definitely a fulfilling relationship." The Moron paused for a breath and Casey saw his window of opportunity.
"Can it, Bartowski." That shut The Moron up. "This cat is capable of finding shelter and food. I figure it deserved a nice treat," Casey replied simply.
"Oh." The Bartowski Special Grin broke through, and Casey winced. Where was Walker to deflect it when you needed her? "Well, we'll keep an eye out for it, too. Ellie doesn't like flea-infested cats all that well, but we can always give you a bath, can't we?" The Moron addressed to the cat.
The Kitty, displaying an intelligence Casey had only guessed at, growled at Chuck and ran behind Casey's legs, peaking out to bare his fangs at The Moron.
"Grunt #9," Casey felt an immediate kinship with The Kitty.
"Okay, I guess not." Bartowski took in one last look at the two of them. "See you around, Casey."
The list grew longer that evening.
Grunt #5: Frustration, with a dash of If-you-touch-the-Vic-one-more-time-I'm-telling-Beckman-about-you-and-Walker
Grunt #18: Affronted, with a dash of I'm-hurt-that-you-don't-think-I'm-a-nice-guy-deep-down-inside-Bartowski
Grunt #9: Happiness, with a dash of Reagan-just-won-reelection-with-every-state-that-counts!