Mr. and Mrs. Carmichael
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Rating: T for violence and some sexual situations.
Timeline: AU. Initial plot taken from the movie Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Any characters featured in Chuck, however, are fair game to be manipulated for my devices.
Summary: Secrets are never good for a marriage. So exactly how do you go about admitting that you're a cold-blooded assassin to your spouse? Well, it's easy when your spouse is the mark.
Okay, obviously this isn't another chapter of Parenthood. That will be coming soon. I honestly just got distracted with this plotline. It wouldn't get out of my head, so I figured the best way was to put it down before I went insane. So here you are. I don't know if this has been done before, but I was watching Mr. and Mrs. Smith and thought 'Wouldn't it be fun if this was set in the Chuck-verse?' So here you are. This will follow the plot of M&MS pretty closely, but I'll incorporate a Chuck spin that will hopefully differentiate it enough that it's entertaining. Hopefully you all like it! This is a bit shorter as its only the prologue. The actual chapters will be longer, I promise.
CAST (In order of appearance):
JORDANA BREWSTER as Dr. Jill Roberts
ZACHARY LEVI as Charles Carmichael
YVONNE STRAHOVSKI as Sarah Carmichael
RODRIGO DE LA SERNA as Bartender
LORENA BERNAL as Malena Bernal/La Ciudad
"Is this a one-to-ten thing?"
As a marital therapist, Dr. Jill Roberts had seen her fair share of couples come in and out of her office. There were the picture perfect suburban folk, not really experiencing any real problems, just looking for some professional validation that. There were the young, inexperienced couples without the savvy to understand the true dynamics of a mature relationship. And there were the hopeless dysfunctionals who couldn't save their marriage if Eros himself shot them with an arrow and were just looking for a reason to sever their ties. These people came to her for advice, and she gave it freely and without judgment, but there was something just oddly entertaining about her job. Yes, she had seen everything from the Stepfords to the Jacksons but she had never encountered a pair quite like Mr. and Mrs. Charles Carmichael.
It wasn't that the Carmichaels embodied any of the extremes, quite the contrary. In reality, the Carmichaels were very much normal. Perhaps excessively so. They had both settled into so much that their life of marriage seemed to be a mere side note in their lives, the irrelevant detail that just served as just another box to check on their tax papers. And perhaps, that was their foible. The spark was missing. She could see it. Now, her job was to make sure they recognized it.
Jill glanced up as the Carmichaels strode into her office. Mr. Carmichael was a picture of contradictions. He was a tall fellow, the measurement of his height placing him head and shoulders above most of his peers but seemed to be minimize in his slightly slumped posture. His appearance was slightly nerdy, but he held a sort of unconventional handsomeness that lay dormant until magnified in his ready smile and unconscious charisma. He was a man that seemed to be comfortable, but still look as though he was born in the expensive suit adorning his frame, the top two buttons of his dress shirt casually undone to show an expanse of skin at his collarbone. He was a good-looking man, but the type that didn't fully manifest itself until you got to know him.
Mrs. Carmichael, by contrast, was simply stunning. No fallacy about it, nothing hiding behind a smokescreen or clever subterfuge. She just simply was. Sarah Carmichael exuded the classic archetype for a beautiful woman in both physical appearance and demeanor. Her hair was a golden ray of sunshine, no trace or evidence of coloring, her eyes were the purest shade of sky blue framed by long eyelashes, and she held her tall, slender frame confidently highlighted with a pair of endless legs and generous breasts. It would not be very difficult to dislike Sarah Carmichael if only she wasn't so genuinely nice. There was a sort of elegance about Mrs. Carmichael, sort of a throwback to the classic Hollywood starlets like Ginger Rogers and Audrey Hepburn. But at the same time, she radiated a powerful confidence that many woman continually strived to possess.
Jill rose, meeting the couple halfway and shaking hands with both in turn. Gesturing them to the seats across from her, she settled into her chair.
"Charles, Sarah, thank you very much for meeting me."
Charles slumped down slightly in his place, crossing one leg over the other, his hands running agitatedly over the armrests. "Okay, wait, first of all, let me start off by saying we really don't need to be here."
"It's actually a funny story," Sarah chimed in, a contrast to her husband as she sat perched with a straight back, her hands folded over her lap, one ankle demurely tucked beneath the other.
"You see, my sister and her husband are doctors and invited us to a charity barbecue at their house to benefit the hospital," Charles began, shifting once more in his seat.
"There was an auction at the end of the evening with all the money going to various charities and organizations," Sarah expanded, as still as ever, paying no mind to her husband's constant fidgeting.
"So the grand lot…was a mystery lot," Charles continued.
"And Chuck gets a bit competitive–" Sarah remarked, shooting a look at Charles. Almost immediately, his agitation ceased and he returned to his slumped position.
"Meaning a few cocktails impeded my judgment," Charles cajoled lightly.
"–and ended up bidding four hundred dollars for the mystery lot."
"Which turned out to be four sessions with Dr. Jill Roberts," Charles finished, the undeniable frustrated grumble prevalent in his tone.
They shared a laugh that seemed as forced as their session. It tapered off into awkward silence before Charles quirked a tight-lipped smile.
"My sister and her husband have a great sense of humor."
"So you really don't have to be here," Jill surmised with a touch of amusement.
"Right," Sarah answered, "but we have a theory for this."
"Plus, we're trying to make light out of the four hundred bucks I completely tanked…" Charles deadpanned. He folded his hands over his stomach. "We've been married five years–"
"Six." The correction came softly from Sarah.
"Five-six years," Charles conceded, "and this is like a check up. A trip to the Nerd Herd. Poke around the hard drive for a bit, delete some old files, update a few firewalls or two."
Jill inclined her head. "Alright then. Let's take a look at that hard drive." She leaned back in her chair. "So on a scale of one to ten how happy are you?"
Sarah answered immediately. "Eight."
Charles wasn't so forthright. "Wait, when you say 'one to ten' is that with the criteria of like one being completely and utterly miserable and ten being nauseatingly happy?"
Jill shook her head. "Just answer instinctively, Mr. Carmichael."
Charles reclined back with a nod. "Oookay." He turned to his wife. "Ready?"
"Ready," Sarah affirmed.
The pair answered in such synchronized unity that Jill blinked in slight bewilderment. On one hand, it seemed rehearsed, as though Charles and Sarah had conditioned themselves to consistently portray the ruse of happy suburban couple. On the other, there was something beneath that pretension, something lurking that told Jill this couple actually instinctively understood each other more cohesively than this problem seemed to present.
She made a note on her pad, moving to her next question. "On a scale of one to ten, how happy do you believe your partner is?"
This time, it was Charles who answered immediately. "Eight."
Sarah held up a hand. "Are we allowed fractions?"
"It's instinctive," Charles repeated.
Sarah once again folded her hands in her lap. "Okay, I'm ready."
A beat again.
Hmmm, this actually might be a bit more difficult than she thought. Jill ventured into more safe territory.
"Describe how you first met."
She felt a small glow of success as Sarah Carmichael's face softened exponentially, her eyes unconsciously sparkling with warmth.
"It was in Columbia."
Charles mirrored his wife's gesture, a small smile gracing his lips. "Bogota," he supplied. "Five years ago."
"Six," Sarah murmured.
Charles's jaw seemed to clench, the only evidence of his irritation. "Right. Five or six years ago."
Charles seemed to drift away as his wife commanded the story. Little did Jill know, he was actually regressing back to that time. The time when none of this was an issue. The relationship was still new. In fact, it was just about to start.
Five or six years ago…
Charles Carmichael, better known as Chuck, sat at the bar, a guidebook in hand, eyes behind dark sunglasses scanning over the page. He was nothing but a tourist, enjoying the day, immersing himself in the culture, seeing the sights. It was a nice day outside, if one would disregard the sounds of gunfire and the irate shouts of the local police that filtered into the establishment. Chuck grasped his drink, tipping his head back and letting the mojito run down his parched throat. He scratched the expanse of skin visible beneath the white linen shirt, his sleeves rolled up to his forearms. The sound of gunfire, this time a lot closer, caught his attention, and he rotated to find the military streaming into through the door led by a local policeman.
Brow furrowing in concern, he turned to the bartender. "Hey. ¿Qué pasó?"
The bartender answered in kind, a bit of English slipping in. "Someone's killed La Ciudad. The police are looking for tourists traveling alone."
Chuck nodded absently as inwardly, his mind raced in an effort to get himself out of this mess. Neck craning over his shoulder, he eyed the policeman scanning the lobby. Much to his chagrin, one caught his eye almost immediately. Mustering as much nonchalance as possible, he shifted, moving his posture to face the man as he addressed him, his Spanish harsh and unrelenting. Chuck braced one hand against the bar, the other slipping inconspicuously behind his back.
"Are you alone, sir?"
Chuck feigned ignorance, raising a finger to his ear, prompting the man to repeat his question much more slowly.
"Are you alone, sir?"
"Miss, your passport, please?" Chuck was saved from answering as a woman entered the lobby, ignoring the demands peppering her from behind. "Miss, your passport, please?"
She stopped, the continual shouts falling on deaf ears as one soldier rounded on her, repeating his demand. "Miss, your passport?"
She didn't offer any movement, only looked straight ahead. Her eyes found his, locking and holding as he continued his lean against the bar, the stormy, clear blue evident even behind his shaded lenses. Impulsively, he knew what she was asking, and he was only too happy to oblige.
"Are you alone?" When she didn't answer, the soldier repeated his inquiry louder and harsher. "Are you alone?"
"No," she answered, making her way across the room and straight to the bar.
Chuck pushed himself off the counter, releasing the safety of his weapon concealed in the waistband of his black slacks, flipping his shirttail over the gun.
"No, no, no, no," he called, intercepting the soldiers as they moved to pursue her. "Está bien," he assured them, reaching for her arm as she passed him. "She's with me. Está bien."
Eager to escape the soldiers in case more questions arose, Chuck quickly led her to his room, ushering her inside and closing the door. He let out a deep breath, rotating to prop his back against the side wall. She leaned against the door, ear pressed to the wood, and Chuck took the chance to take a good look at her without the filter of his sunglasses. She was gorgeous. No doubt about it. Her long, blonde hair was half up in a messy bun with the rest cascading down her back in gentle waves. A slender, lithe body was encased in a white, empire-waist strapless dress that flowed down to legs that seemed to extend forever.
"I'm Sarah," she whispered, still trying to hear the sounds outside.
"Charles," he offered. "Chuck."
She extended a hand. "Nice to meet you."
Chuck grasped her fingers, breaking out a smile. "Nice to meet ya."
- - -
It was much later into the evening when they were finally able to escape the hotel, and Chuck led them to a small café where he ordered a bottle of tequila. She smiled as he poured them both a shot, lifting her glass.
"To dodging bullets."
Chuck grinned, lofting his glass in turn. "To dodging bullets."
They knocked back the alcohol as the music filtered to them. A slow, sensual Latin beat, perfect for a rumba. Chuck couldn't help but feel his pulse quicken as Sarah turned toward him slightly, her bottom lip captured between her teeth and a coy, voracious glint to those amazingly blue eyes. He had once been told that the rumba was a vertical expression to a horizontal desire. And, oh yes, he did desire. Something told him she was thinking along the same lines as she released her lower lip, a sly, almost feral grin melting across her face.
"So he can speak," she demurred, "but can he dance?"
With a look of almost predatory intent, she gracefully rose from her seat, tugging commandingly on his hand. Not stupid enough not to oblige, Chuck ascended from his seat with her, following her to the dance floor.
There was a brief tug of war as the pair battled for the lead. With a raised eyebrow, Chuck brought her tightly to him, one hand wrapped tightly around her waist, the other grasping hers, leading her in the languid dance. Their hips swayed and rolled in time to the music. There was a challenge in his expression, one that she accepted readily as she spun away from him gliding around to his back, shimmying down his body before rising up slowly. Neither broke eye contact, even as they separated, the heat simply fiery in its intensity.
It was a cat and mouse sort of dance to them as she retreated only to have him reel her back in. He guided her under his arm, twirling them around before pulling her back against his chest. He bit back a growl as the slender arms wrapped around his neck, their hips twisting and rolling in unison to the sensual beat. She swiveled outward, before he tugged her back in, catching her in his arms. Their eyes connected, the heat stifling his flashing a smoldering, burning ebony as her leg curled around his thigh. Slowly, languidly, he lowered them closer and closer to the floor, his bent leg supporting hers, the other extended back. Her arms stayed securely around his neck, pulling him as close as humanly possibly he cradled her in a tight embrace. They seemed to reach a slight stalemate in the position, the only sound the harsh breaths that rollicked through them. Neither noticed the thunder as it boomed in the distance, nor the rain as it began to pour down on them. Chuck straightened, setting Sarah back on her feet. Her hand drifted from around his neck to his cheek, feeling the rough stubble beneath her fingertips. As though a magnet existed between them, they drew together, lips crashing in a rough, passionate kiss.
- - -
Sarah Walker felt the morning sun warm her bare back as she shifted from her position sprawled on her stomach in an unfamiliar bed. This wasn't her hotel room. She sat up, mind reeling as she tried to remember the events of the previous night. She remembered getting caught in the rainstorm, the droplets failing to quell the veritable fire that burned through them as they kissed amidst the stormy weather. She remembered them staying out in the café, sharing their bottle of tequila until it was gone. She remembered perching herself in his lap as he skated hot lips over every available area of skin he could reach, their kisses sending her pulse fluttering. She remembered feeling intoxicated with him, none of those feelings having nothing to do with the alcohol they consumed. She glanced down at the sheet she held to herself, her naked form covered. It had obviously led them to here, culminating in a series of adult ventures if her bare body was any indication. Funny, though, she couldn't remember the exact events that made up their journey back to the hotel. He seemed to have that effect on her, though. But the constant fixture in what she could remember however, was the man with the curly hair and that devastating smile.
The door opened, and Sarah smiled in relief to find said subject striding in, balancing a tray and two cups. That hair of his was slightly tousled, tongue poking between his lips as he focused on keeping the tray upright.
That dazzling grin appeared again as he reciprocated the greeting. "Hiya back." He placed the tray down on the bed, careful not to upend the two cups. "I think room service kinda ditched us, so I had to make due."
"Thank you," Sarah murmured, picking up a cup. Inhaling, she closed her eyes at the delicious scent of freshly-made authentic Columbian coffee. Taking a sip, she hummed with delight. "Oh, that's good."
Chuck grinned, drinking deeply from his own cup. "It should be," he remarked. "I had to milk a goat for it."
"Yeah, and I think I did it wrong, 'cause it kicked me pretty good," Chuck lamented.
Sarah couldn't help the snort that escaped from her mouth. "It did?"
"Yeah," Chuck answered. He tilted his head to show the angry red mark by his temple. "Knocked me right on my ass. Glancing blow, though, so I'll live. Plus, I got the milk."
Sarah tried in vain to stop the laugh rising to the surface. "Poor baby." She rose from her spot on the bed, wrapping an arm around his neck and pressing a conciliatory kiss to the abused spot.
"Did I mention, its tail also whipped me right here?" Chuck pointed to his mouth with a mischievous smirk.
Sarah obliged, ghosting her lips across his. She could feel his tongue snake out to caress her top lip before she returned the favor, nibbling slightly on his lower lip. He brought out that smile of his before leaning in once more, his mouth seeking hers. Vaguely, she heard a cup shatter as he pulled her tight to his body, losing themselves in their kiss.
Chuck pulled himself out of his reverie, seeing both his wife and their therapist staring at him expectantly.
"I'm sorry. Spaced for a second."
"It's fine, Mr. Carmichael." Dr. Roberts glanced down at her notes, continuing with their next topic. "How often do you have sex?"
Both visibly froze.
Sarah stuttered out a response. "Can you…repeat the question?"
Chuck's brow furrowed in complete confusion as he straightened and leaned forward, hands braced forward. "Wait, I'm lost. Is this like another one to ten thing?"
"Right," Sarah agreed. "And is one like little or nothing? Because, you know, um, technically speaking, zero would be nothing."
"Yeah," Chuck chimed in, "and is like ten like completely-unrelenting-barely-stopping for eating-sex?"
Dr. Roberts seemed confused herself. "Mr. and Mrs. Carmichael, this is not a 'one-to-ten' scenario. It is simply a straight question. How often do you have sex?"
Neither offered to venture an answer. Sarah shifted uncomfortably, uncrossing her legs, before crossing them once more. Chuck drummed his fingers on the armrest, the platinum wedding band almost mocking him as it wavered with his fingers. He opened his mouth, clacking his teeth together before blowing out a deep breath.
And cut! Well, hope you all enjoyed that. This is just an introductory chapter, kind of setting up the problems in Chuck and Sarah's lives. Coming up, we have Sarah's take on their relationship as well as a look into the lives of the Carmichaels as they go about the suburban existence everyone believes them to embody. Don't worry. Players like Morgan, Anna, Casey, Carina, and of course Graham, Beckman, and Bryce will make their appearance as well as small cameos by Jack, Steve, Ellie and Awesome, and the Nerd Herders. Basically any Chuck character, mentioned, alluded to, appearing, whatever, is fair game for my manipulations. Until next time…