Author's Note: This goes AU after Chuck Versus Tom Sawyer (season 2, episode 5) and after Not Fade Away (the Angel series finale). The first part of this is a simple review of part the above-named episode of Chuck. C&C is very much welcome! (Not to mention, it probably will prompt me to post faster too.)


All of the Buy More employees (whether that was a cover story or not) were standing in a line side-by-side. The store was trashed. It wasn't the first time, certainly, but it was a *bit* more conspicuous than when it happened during a day when the store manager was on vacation.

"Looks like you fools had one hell of a party," Michael "Big Mike" Tucker began, practically stalking - for a man his size, anyway - up to one end of the line. He turned to address the man standing there. "Congratulations, Bartowski. That's quite an achievement."

Chuck smiled, still a little dazed by having beaten the ancient video game - something noone else besides its creator had ever done - and found the secret code that saved much of California and the rest of the United States from missiles and radiation-based destruction.

But Big Mike moved on, stepping past all of the rest of the employees to end up at the far end of the line. "And, in light of today's events, I'd like to announce there's a new assistant manager amongst us."

"What'd I tell you, man? It's all comin' up Bartowski!" Morgan whispered, nudging Chuck in the side. Morgan and Chuck had been best friends for years and years, though noone could really say why. But then... you don't really pick your friends, do you?

"You all remember Mister Emmett Milbarge?" 'Big Mike' continued. Reactions were varied, but the sinking feeling in the employee's stomachs was had by all (except for one, whose real job wasn't in Buy More's Appliance Department, after all). "Mister Milbarge has volunteered to stay on for... well, as long as it takes."

Emmett Milbarge was an efficiency expect that had been sent by Buy More Corporate to, in Big Mike's words, 'tighten your slack-asses up.' It was like a television show, it was. The moment you said 'efficiency expert,' certain things were expected. And Emmett lived up to them, particularly the power-madness. No, Emmett being the new assistant manager was not a good thing, especially for a man who had been drafted into the spy business.

Emmett chuckled and began his own stalk up the line, having joined Big Mike at his introduction. "That's right, Michael. I'm afraid this branch is sick, and not the kind of sick that can be fixed with a Band-Aid. What this Buy More needs requires a surgeon. Someone who doesn't mind getting up to their elbows in guts." The new assistant manager had reached John Casey, whose real job had absolutely nothing to do with the Buy More. He was grinning and chuckling along, with no fear at all. Of course, being a trained killer pretty much trumps a power-hungry efficiency expert any day. "And that's exactly what I'm going to do," Emmett said, continuing past the Nerd Herd's only female employee, past Morgan, to stand in front of Chuck. He leaned in on the taller man, attempting to invade the man's personal space and staring into Chuck's eyes. "I'm going to reach in, wrap my fingers around the disease, and rip... it... out."

"I'm afraid that that is not what is going to be happening here," a new British-accented voice added. All eyes turned towards that voice. Two men were standing there, though noone had heard them come in - and, from the look on Big Mike's face, noone had seen him come in, nor expected him either.

The man who'd spoken wasn't particularly notable. He was tall and thin, with black hair slicked back and silver-rimmed glasses perched on his nose. Wearing an Armani suit and carrying an attache case, he looked like nothing so much as a corporate lawyer, though he was, perhaps, a bit young for it, clearly only in late twenties or early thirties.

The man standing behind him, however, is the one who drew the attention. A few inches shorter than the lawyer-type and probably several years younger, he was also wearing a suit. His suit, however, didn't have the elegant tailoring, nor the expensive label - it was more your standard variety work-wear. But that wasn't what drew the attention. What did that was the simple black eyepatch that covered his left eye.

"Oh, don't misunderstand me," the man with the British accent continued, now that he had everyone's attention. "Mister Milbarge is welcome to stay, as I have no orders regarding him. He will simply not be the assistant manager."

Chuck rocked back on his heels, his eyelids fluttering as he stared at the two men.

"Now, wait just a minute..." both manager and ex-assistant manager said at exactly the same time, only to be interrupted.

"Wesley Wyndam-Pryce. Wolfram and Hart Los Angeles, representing Buy More Corporate." Well, that explained the look, at least. "Now, if you would please show us to your assistant manager's office, we can take it from there."