A/N: I will keep this short, maybe four short chapters.
Everything changed three months ago.
Bryce Larkin died, and stayed dead. Ellie and Devon got married; Morgan, Ana, Chuck and I quit the Buy More. And…Sarah Walker asked for and received a reassignment.
I know, I know. I didn't believe it either, but I watched her leave in the middle of the night in tears. And even though she was clearly in pain, she had that look of determination that I have come to recognize when she sets her mind to something.
This time, what she had set her mind to do was forget about Team Bartowski.
When I think about it, I'm surprised she gave me her new cell number when I asked for it. There's not much that makes me shudder but the look in her eyes when she told me, "it better be an emergency if you use this," made me shiver in my shoes. I've learned over the years to take a determined Sarah Walker seriously. So you can imagine my trepidation as I sit in the Vic dialing her number.
I've just come from Chuck's new apartment that he shares with Morgan. He's a wreck. I'm not sure what happened between him and Walker but it must have been emotional and traumatic. If I had to guess, I would say that Walker finally told him she loved him, probably after they were intimate for the first time, and that she wanted them to have a normal life. She probably asked him to walk away from CIA. The moron must have turned her down in some fashion. He probably told her they had an obligation to serve the greater good. Only Bartowski would miss just how hard that would have been for her to do, and what the impact of being told no would be to her.
Now, he's alone and wearing a greasy, grey T shirt and a bathrobe and doing his best ZZ Top impersonation while drinking beer and playing video games all day. He's absolutely no good to himself, friends, or more importantly, his country.
Hell, I'd have gone in there to kick some sense into him, but now, even I have to be careful. I never know when Neo might show up and go 'I know Kung Fu" all over me.
I'm jolted back to the now when I hear Walker answer her phone. "This better be good. I'm in the middle of something right now."
"Walker, its Casey."
"Yeah, give me a sec."
I hear the unmistakable sound of someone's fist striking someone's jaw. Then I hear some indistinguishable sounds of exertion and movement. And then, "What do you want, Casey?"
"Are you in control of the situation?" I ask.
"Casey," she said as though she was insulted I had to ask.
I really didn't know how to start this conversation. I'm not Dear Abbey. Anyway, we both knew the second we heard each other's voice what this call meant. And, what the outcome would have to be. But I must have hem-hawed around because she broke in on me.
"What do you want, Casey?" she said more forcefully and not with a lot of warmth in her voice.
"Walker, I have a situation here and it would be beneficial if you could drop by if you're in the neighborhood."
"You're kidding, right?" There was no amusement in her tone.
I knew that she knew that I knew she knew that I wasn't kidding but it seemed we were committed to following this particular script.
"Walker, I need you out here." I didn't know any other way to say it.
"Casey, don't do this to me." I heard her voice change and then stop abruptly and I knew she couldn't continue without giving away her emotional state.
"Walker, you had to know that I might call."
"Look, I'm getting stronger every day. I haven't cried once this week. I could really use a break from you here, John."
I never expected that. Walker being open and honest about her pain. And, her tears. I hated to do it but I had to and I'm pretty sure she expected no less from me.
"I'm not asking for me. I'm not even asking for Bartowski. This is for the greater good," I say and hear her sigh deeply on the other end. After a long pause, she continues.
"How bad is he?" she asks and I finally hear concern from her.
"I wouldn't be calling if I didn't think it wasn't necessary. Look, I don't know what happened between you two but I can tell you the effect on the moron has been dramatic."
"Don't call him that, John."
There was something in her voice. She was asking but then again, she wasn't just asking.
"I'm just saying, he's not been himself recently."
"He's not alone." I hear deep sadness from her and can't help but feel sorry for the best partner I ever had.
"It's not just that you're gone. It's the new intersect. I think it's affecting him somehow, trying to control him in some way we don't understand. He's fighting it, but with you gone, he's-" I hesitate not knowing exactly what it is that Walker provides to Chuck, emotionally, that is. "He's just lost without you, Sarah." I hear a sad laugh from the other end.
"Casey, I do believe he's affected you too. That was absolutely poetic. It's almost as if you've gotten in touch with your feminine side."
"There's no need to insult me, Walker."
"I owe you more than a few insults. Maybe if we both survive the next two years, I'll even the score."
That's when I get concerned about her. "Where are you at, right now?"
"Come on, Casey. You know I can't talk about that."
My concern deepens. I decide to ask the question differently, more subtly. "Can you be here by noon tomorrow?" I ask and hear her laugh on the other end.
"Subtlety is not your strong suite, Casey. I'll be there as soon as I can. I'll let you know."
Goddamnit, Walker. If you've gone deep cover in some dangerous country on some suicide mission, just to forget about Bartowski, I'll kick your ass when I see you, I thought.
"Just get here as soon as you can. Give me a call when you land and I'll pick you up," I say.
"See you in a couple of days, Walker."
A/N: If you desire, let me know what you think. PM or review is fine.