A.N. Even after my grand retelling of Chuck vs. the Ring, they won't let me have him. :( So, I don't own Chuck. This was the epilogue to "vs. the Silence," but also needs inclusion in my Season 3 AU, so...refresh yourselves, and then hang on for Season 3!

Text in ( ) are thoughts.

Chuck's POV

"Guys...I know kung fu."(Holy crap.)

Casey looks at him with undisguised glee. "What else do you know, Chuck?"

Chuck pats down Miles and extracts the key to the cuffs. "I...I don't know, Casey," he distractedly answers as he releases them. "I really have no idea." (And I am trying very hard not to think about how disconcerting that is.)

He reflexively retrieves a discarded Glock, checks the clip, tightens the silencer, and plasters himself in the corner to cover the hallway as he exits the room. He hears Casey and Sarah join him and holds up a clenched fist. (We're not leaving without him.) Chuck enters a series of queries and commands into the wrist computer and motions the team forward. (That should confuse them.) "Sound analysis shows the Ring team's comm channel is scrambled radio stations when passive," Chuck says quietly. "I unscrambled them, which should mean the driver is listening to static from when all their heads hit the floor." He allows himself a small smile. "This was a skeleton crew op, too dangerous for too many to know about." (Or at least, I...think...?)

"Chuck, how do you know this?" Sarah whispers urgently.

"I...I don't know." (How the hell do I know?) "I don't know that I actually know, I think...I think it's probability, the Intersect seems to be doing game theory analysis and I'm just reporting on it." (And that's not scary at all. What the hell did I just get myself into?!) He looks down at his wrist with a sardonic smile. "But I do know there's only one person in the parking lot. That's courtesy of my dad." He shakes his wrist at Casey and Sarah for emphasis. (And let's just forget the rest of it for now.)

Chuck holds up three fingers, counting down. At zero, the three of them burst through the door, guns trained on the driver of the black SUV outside.

"Out," Chuck barks, whipping the door open. (You're lucky I'm not in imminent danger, or you'd be dead.) The driver assesses the situation -- Chuck at the door, Sarah covering the rear, and Casey in front.

(Oh, thinking you can just run us down?) "Try it," Chuck taunts. "See if you can start this gas-guzzling monster before he and I unload our entire clips into your moronic skull. I haven't had any gunplay in months, and him?" Chuck cocks his head towards Casey. "He hasn't gotten laid in that long, and he's a cold school killer on a good day." Chuck smiles, and the predatory gleam in his eyes must have been convincing. The driver lifts both hands to the back of his neck.

"That's what I thought," Chuck murmurs with satisfaction. "Sarah, secure our guest," he calls. (Because I know you don't need to be there when I open the trunk...) "Casey, with me," he says, nodding his head towards the trunk.

"Chuck, do you have cuffs?" Sarah asks sweetly.

(Ha, I can give you that satisfaction, at least...) He makes a production of emptying his pockets. "Gee, Sarah, I don't! How about you be creative?"

She smiles. "I think I can handle that."

(That's probably the last smile you see on a croc before it eats you.) "Casey, help me with this?" Chuck opens the trunk almost reverently and he and Casey pause somberly at the sight of the contents. (Damn. I knew it.)

"Out," Sarah repeats. The driver complies, keeping his hands behind his head and sliding down to stand. Sarah tilts her head thoughtfully, nods, and coldcocks him with her pistol. As the body drops to the ground, she smiles again, landing a solid kick to her prey's ribs. "That's better," she declares.

There are no other words, as Chuck and Casey carefully lift their burden and shift it to the van. He looks down at the cloth-covered shape for a lingering moment before closing the van doors. (I hope I did the right thing, Bryce...I really do.) He looks at Sarah then, as tears run silently down her face. His resolve hardens. (I know you didn't want me to, but, well, let's face it. You've underestimated me before. This time, I'm going to prove you wrong and make Sarah proud.)

(I have to.)

(There's no one else but me.)


Orion's POV

Orion watches the twinkling Christmas lights receding in his rear view and his heart clenches. (Charles, Eleanor, I'm so, so sorry. I hope you can make her understand somehow, Charles. I love you both more than you'll ever know, and I just can't stay. It's not safe. It's not even safe for Charles, but I'm going to be watching. Always.) His melancholy is cut short by an unexpected vibration from his encrypted PDA. (Charles?)

He pulls over, unwilling to chance the distraction. Shutting off the ignition, Orion blows out a breath and clicks over to his messaging program. (What the...) He recognizes the verification code and opens the attached video file as an unexpected voice fills the trailer.

"Hello, Orion. Bet you never figured I could reverse hack you. But being roommates with Chuck taught me a couple of things." Recorded-Bryce paused, looking away from the camera, and then back. "It taught me more than a couple. Like how to treat the people you care about. Orion, if you're seeing this, it means that my biometrics have gone flatline for longer than five minutes, and a series of recordings are now being sent from a secure computer off the grid. Yes, off the grid. I wish I could've told you while you were setting it up, but the new's more than a computer, it's a weapon, and a nearly sentient one at that. I've been after Fulcrum for a year now, and I have to tell you, what I've found is sickening, and what our government is willing to do is worse. You were right to tell Chuck not to trust anyone. Sarah, yeah, and maybe, just maybe, Casey too. But beyond that? I'm not sure. In fact, I'm so unsure I didn't put everything I learned in my reports to Beckman.

I promised you I'd protect Chuck. I've tried. But I don't know if that's even possible anymore. This is bigger than you or me or Fulcrum. To understand, you're going to have to trust me. There's this town, Moab, in Utah..."


Anonymous POV

A lone figure sat in the darkness, smiling a small smile. (Exactly according to plan.)

...End prologue.