Since finishing "Chuck vs. the 42-Year-Old Virgin," (and if you haven't read that or "Chuck vs. the Alpha Version," you may want to before delving into this story) I've been debating about whether to write a shorter story where Alex Forrest and Jimmy Slade work together on a case. I even put a poll up on my profile to ask what people thought about it. As of December 7th, it was 3-2 in favor of the story. However, there were two other reasons I decided to write the story. Firstly, the feedback at the end of "Chuck vs. the 42-Year-Old Virgin" indicated that people seemed to like the pairing of Forrest and Jimmy. Both are probably as polar opposites of each other as Chuck and Sarah, but they have more than a few things in common as well. Secondly, I wanted to delay the beginning of "Chuck vs. 3 Weddings, a Funeral, 2 Retirements, and a Birthday" until I knew a little more about the 3rd season, as that story is the theoretical "series finale," and I like to try and stay within the canon of the show as much as possible.

So enjoy this shorter story regarding a mission that Alex Forrest and Jimmy Slade take on in New York.

BE FOREWARNED, the "T" rating gets pushed pretty hard later in the chapter, and I don't mean for violence. If it offends you, blame Wepdiggy and MXPW. I've been reading too many of their stories lately. :-P

Of course, please leave feedback if you so desire. Enjoy!

Nellis Air Force Base
November 5, 2010
4:45 PM

Jimmy Slade never liked parties, especially ones that took place in an office. He never felt comfortable around coworkers. He always pitched in whenever he could, and he certainly never participated in the dreaded office politics that seemed to permeate every single job he ever had…and there were a lot of those. Perhaps that's why he settled on working as a computer trainer. He worked by himself, he didn't answer to anybody, and he typically controlled the environment. Or perhaps he saw the movie Office Spaceonce too often. He couldn't think of a single person who didn't feel sorry for Milton, getting pushed around like that and ending up with no birthday cake at Lumbergh's party. Jimmy's youth felt a little too much like that for his own liking.

However, Jimmy couldn't see getting out of this party. In fact, it would have been downright rude to blow it off. The party was for him.

It was his last day at Nellis. He completed his training almost three months ahead of schedule. This was in spite of the fact that the base continued to rely on him to help with their computer systems. Jimmy didn't realize that he had gained in popularity among the men and women who were assigned there. Certainly his instructors liked him. He never complained, and he sported enough black eyes and broken noses to look like the "after" picture of an auto accident. Yet he kept coming back for more. It was hard not to respect someone who wouldn't give up. The people in the C.O.'s office definitely liked him. The commander's secretary, a 58-year-old civilian whom everybody affectionately called "Lieutenant Grandma," was happy that Jimmy taught her a bevy of shortcuts for all of the software she was required to know, cutting her workload almost in half. Twice when someone tried to hack their servers, Jimmy found the culprit within minutes.

This was one office party that was well-attended. Colonel Juan Reyes even relaxed the alcohol restrictions on the base for the party, mainly because he appreciated Jimmy's efforts. Of course, he was also upset to be losing Jimmy. That was a lot of free labor leaving tomorrow, courtesy of whatever branch of the government Jimmy was working for. He wished that Jimmy would be staying, but Colonel Reyes knew this day would eventually arrive. The best he could do is make sure Jimmy knew everybody appreciated what he did.

"And here is your gift from the physical wellness group," said Captain Mike "Marauder" McWilliams, laughing as he brought it forward. That was a joke of a description for their group if Jimmy ever heard one. McWilliams was responsible for Jimmy getting the crap beat out of him more than anybody else. He got his shots in on Jimmy early, because he knew Jimmy would eventually get in great shape and balance the combat scales a bit. Sure enough, once Jimmy started winning a few fights, earning McWilliams a couple of lost teeth himself; he knew that Jimmy was ready. Jimmy was all smiles as he accepted the heavy bag from McWilliams and his fellow Cobra Kai brethren. Of course, they twisted the knife a little bit by pasting images of a beat-up Jimmy on all sides of it and playing the theme to Rocky on one of the computers as he accepted it, trying not to laugh.

The IT group bought him all 4 seasons of "Battlestar Galactica." Ordinarily, most IT groups are not thrilled with an outsider messing in their territory. But they discovered Jimmy would complete any assignment given to him, no matter how mundane or grueling. Suddenly, they liked him a lot. He had only seen the show a few times, but he had to admit the lady who played Number Six was pretty hot. He hoped there would be time to watch it at some point.

"Everybody!" Colonel Reyes raised his glass, and the room fell silent. "Normally I am not given to heaping effusive praise on an individual or saying how much we'll miss them…and that won't happen tonight, either." He waits for the laughing and the pointing at Jimmy to die down. "However, since I know Roger refuses to blow his own horn, I just want to thank you on behalf of everybody at the base for your hard work and dedication…and for allowing Marauder and his cohorts to use your face for target practice." He again waits for the laughter to die down. "But wherever life takes you next, I hope you have great success and the people you meet benefit from your dedication, your tenacity, your wisdom, and your kindness."

Everybody in the room raised their glasses and pointed them at Jimmy.

"To Roger Murdock!" Colonel Reyes' voice boomed throughout the mess hall.

"TO ROGER!" The crowd echoed the sentiment with smiles on their faces.

Jimmy stood up and raised his glass as well. "Thank you, sir. Thank you, everybody. This has been one of the most intense and exhilarating experiences of my life. And all the success I have will be in no small part because of all of you. I am truly grateful for all of the encouragement and guidance you've given me. I hope I honor all of you by being the best out there. Thank you very much."

Everybody applauded as Jimmy took a drink of his own. The crowd split up into various conversations while enjoying the evening and the celebratory music in the background. Many in the crowd came up to Jimmy during the evening to wish him luck.

Washington, D.C.
November 5, 2010
5:45 PM

Agent Alex Forrest walked into the office of General Diane Beckman, awaiting her next assignment. The last two assignments she completed in D.C. had a different feel to them. She wasn't sure, but the parameters of each assignment dictated the missions would take longer than they actually did. Was she suddenly more efficient in her job? Did she get smarter recently? Forrest knew reality was neither of those. The lesson she learned in Las Vegas six weeks ago had a tremendous impact on her work since then. Her two missions in Washington were group efforts with teams of other agents. Unlike prior missions, she used her communication skills more and made sure she put more trust in other agents to do their jobs. The results were instantaneous and profitable.

"General?" Alex Forrest stood in front of General Beckman, a bit of anticipation leaking through her voice.

"Have a seat, Agent Forrest." General Beckman's patented impassive look was working just fine. "When was the last time you were in New York?"

"I was there in 2006, ma'am. I assisted in stopping a cache of biological weapons from being transported into the country. They were supposed to be brought in by a terror cell in New Jersey for distribution to several cities on the East Coast."

"We potentially have that same problem facing us once again. Unfortunately, we have no data on what is being brought in or what is to be done with it. Our only clue is several wire transfers from three banks overseas that have been tied in the past to terrorist activities. The transfers were made to a brokerage firm on Wall Street. Obviously we need to know what their plans are before someone manages to bring a weapon of mass destruction into this country."

"We'll need an IT person to help us hack the systems of the brokerage firm."

General Beckman looked at her for a moment. "Do you remember what happened to you in 2006 with that mission?"

Forrest looked down at the ground. "I barely escaped with my life."

"It's not a knock against you, Agent Forrest. But we need more than a cyber spook on this one. If this new threat is credible, they're going to be playing hardball. Anybody would need help on this one. You need a hacker with a minor degree in ass-kicking."

"Do we have anybody good at Fort Meade?"

General Beckman shook her head. "Of the 4 agents we have with the skills for what you'll need, two are already on assignment, one is in the hospital recovering from third-degree burns on a mission, and the fourth is being investigated for possible ties to China."

"Damn." Agent Forrest rarely let emotion show through, but this situation was becoming more troublesome by the minute. A thought came to her mind. "How far along is Agent Slade with his training?"

General Beckman paused for a moment, considering the idea. She then typed a search into her computer. "Actually, he just finished two days ago. He was heading to Los Angeles for a week off before we sent him on his first assignment." She looked at Forrest for a moment. "Are you sure you want a complete rookie as your partner for this assignment?"

For more reasons than one, Forrest thought with a bit of an inward smile she didn't dare show to Beckman. "Given you sent him out on the assignment in Las Vegas, and that his first assignment took place a year ago with no training whatsoever, it would seem he is a rookie in name only."

"I'm worried about how you two will work together," Beckman cautioned her. "He's been known to improvise when things go wrong, and he doesn't always follow orders to the letter. Even Agents Bartowski and Walker noted that about him, and you know they're his most ardent supporters."

Forrest recalled Jimmy's improvisation skills on the job. His saving grace was that he always tried to follow planned strategy. However, when things went wrong, he wasn't one to follow someone else's orders. One thing was certain: she couldn't question his talent or bravery. If Beckman was worried about her getting in over her head, Slade chickening out was the one thing guaranteed not to happen. Slade's instincts were typically dead-on when it came to real danger.

"I think it will work, General. We'll talk at length about what needs to be done. He'll be fine. I'll consult with Agents Bartowski and Walker and Colonel Casey for any advice they can give me about Slade. They know him best."

"Very well, Agent Forrest." Beckman handed her several folders of data. "Make your way up to Manhattan, and I'll have him out there by tomorrow night."

"Thank you, General." Forrest rose smartly and exited General Beckman's office. As she turned down the hall, a small concession had to be made. She did have a few issues about working with Jimmy Slade again. However, they were of a very personal nature. And they weren't necessarily bad.

Nellis Air Force Base
November 5, 2010
8:30 PM

The crowd was starting to break up in the mess hall. Even though alcohol restrictions were eased for the party, almost everybody at the party chose not to test the boundaries of those restrictions, limiting themselves to only a few drinks. It may have been out of respect for the tough-but-fair methodologies Colonel Reyes administered at Nellis. Perhaps those not on weekend leave just wanted a quiet two days on the base. Jimmy looked around and gave a small smile. He wasn't much for being the center of attention, but certainly everybody had a good time this evening.

He started walking around the mess hall, picking up the various plates, cups and napkins, and placing them into the trash cans. He didn't really know what else to do for the rest of the evening. His flight to Los Angeles would leave tomorrow at 11AM, and he was already packed for it. The CIA had not yet established his new residence, but rumors were he would return to Chicago to live. They were considering an apartment for him in Lincoln Park, where it would be easy for him to work with the CIA office downtown or to get on a plane at O'Hare and be almost anywhere in the world on a moment's notice. Until tomorrow, there wasn't much to do.

"You should let the people on KP take care of that, Roger."

He turned around to see Lt. Elaine Burke standing behind him. Lanie, as she insisted he call her, was always nice to him, and she was more than easy on the eyes. The auburn hair and doe-like brown eyes were the perfect camouflage for a lady who could keep up with the guys in the classroom and surpass them in the bar. He never dared try to outdrink her, given his lack of expertise in imbibing.

Jimmy turned and smiled at her. "You know, I don't think I ever thanked you for doing all that shopping for me, getting those suits, shoes, and the tuxedo. Everything fit beautifully. I'd say you have a good eye for doing that, but I would think that sort of work would be degrading for a communications officer."

Lanie raised an eyebrow. It always puzzled her somebody this hot could also be that oblivious to it. Most of the guys she dated in high school, college, and OTS either thought they were God's gift to women or were so awkwardly shy, they weren't worth her efforts to get close. Roger was neither arrogant nor awkward. But somebody this attractive and this nice? She used to give the same validity to that as she did the Tooth Fairy and the Loch Ness Monster. Obviously Roger disproved that theory.

"First of all, you did thank me. That bouquet of flowers took up half of my desk, and I took full advantage of that spa card, believe me. Second of all, I volunteered to do that, so I would hardly call it degrading work. Certainly not since it was for you."

"Well, it was a great help to me, and I wanted you to know I appreciate all your hard work."

"So, what were all of those clothes for?" Lanie asked, with a hint of mischief in her voice.

"Ahh, I wish I could tell you, but I really can't."

It was obvious Lanie had a few drinks earlier, but she wasn't past the point of coherency. She walked closer to him. "Mmmm, it's classified? You could tell me, but then you'd have to kill me? Doing a little James Bond action there, Roger?"

Jimmy laughed. "Fine, Moneypenny," he says with a dead-on imitation of Sean Connery. "You've caught me, my dear. I was on a secret mission to destroy Blofeld's underground lair. I spent two weeks in Monte Carlo infiltrating his organization."

Lanie couldn't stop laughing, and even Jimmy got caught up in the amusing exchange. She grabbed the lapels of Jimmy's shirt and pulled him in for a kiss. It caught Jimmy by surprise, but he began to reciprocate. He had a few drinks earlier himself, and his guard was down a lot more than he preferred. The feel of someone's lips on his, especially someone as stunning as Lanie, was electrifying. After that 8-hour marathon session he had with Alex Forrest 6 weeks ago in Las Vegas, he quickly learned what all the fuss was about when it came to sex. A make out session was certainly something he could appreciate being part of.

As it turned out, Lanie had no plans to leave it to just kissing. Jimmy was so distracted by the kiss, he never noticed Lanie unbutton her blouse and unhook her bra. It was only after she took his hands and put them on her breasts was he suddenly clued in. She placed her hands firmly on his ass and pulled him to her, hooking her leg around him to keep him in place. Her tongue was a bumblebee inside of his mouth, flittering and teasing his tongue.

Unfortunately for both parties, a thought crossed Jimmy's mind.

"Um, don't you have a boyfriend?"

"No," Lanie breathlessly denied as she planted kisses on Jimmy's neck and unbuttoned his shirt.

"Actually, I think you talked about him once. He's a grad student at Oregon, studying bioengineering? You called him your 'cute little Duckie'?"

That didn't slow her down. She pulled his shirt away, exposing his chest, and started running her tongue all over it. "I haven't seen him in 4 months."

As much as Jimmy was turned on right now, the moral side of his brain was starting to take charge. "Mmmm, uh, I'm not sure if this is such a good idea. I don't want to complicate things for you."

She kissed back up his chest, along his neck, and then she took his earlobe in her mouth. "I don't want a new relationship, Roger…"

She unzipped his pants and slid her hand inside, flicking her tongue in his ear as she massaged him. "I just want to fuck your brains out."

Oh crap, Jimmy thought. This is getting awkward. He certainly couldn't deny he was enjoying this right now. The low moan that escaped his throat gave that away. And if it weren't for her boyfriend, he would do exactly what she wanted. But it just didn't feel right.

"Mmmm, the fun I'm going to have with this thing…" Lanie purred in his ear, playfully biting and licking the side of his face. Clearly she was good at stroking a guy's ego, too.

Jimmy had to find a way out of this. Certainly this scenario could come up on the job. Jimmy thought he might be able to go through with it if this was a mission. But this was simply helping her cheat on her boyfriend. He had to let her down without hurting her feelings. There was only one choice: lie like a rug.

"Lanie, Lanie," Jimmy said, starting to back away. "I don't know if I can do this. Believe me, it's not you."

She glared at him. "Don't even try to give me the 'it's not you, it's me' speech."

Jimmy quickly shook his head. "No, that's not what I mean. It's just…" Jimmy looks down at the ground, pretending to be ashamed. "It's just that my parents broke up because there was somebody else. I mean I was 10 and…well, I didn't even realize what the hell was going on. I hated myself for a long time because I thought I was the reason they got divorced. I just…I have a hard time being involved in that."

He looked up at her. "Believe me, I'd like nothing better than to take you up to your room and make love to you all weekend. Hell, I'd push back my flight to next year if I could. I…I just couldn't forgive myself for doing that to someone else."

Now it was Lanie's turn to look at the ground. Only she really was ashamed. "God, I'm sorry, Roger. I didn't…I wish I knew…"

Jimmy gently lifted her chin and looked into her chocolate eyes. "Believe me, there's nothing to be sorry about. You didn't know. Actually, maybe 5 people in the entire world know. It's not something I talk about. Trust me. Your cute little Duckie is very fortunate to have you."

She smiled. "You really mean that?"

He smiled back and glanced down. "Believe me, it'll be hours before that settles down."

She gave him a wicked grin and pulled her hand out; gently zipping his pants back up. "I am definitely jealous of the woman who finds you."

He gently placed a kiss on her lips and she responded with one that was more friendship than lust.

"Believe me," Jimmy replied. "I'm jealous of your boyfriend right now."

She smiled at him, looking into his deep blue eyes. "Be careful out there, Roger. Don't forget us."

"Thanks. I never will."

Jimmy exited the mess hall and made his way to his quarters. A thought gave him pause as he went up the stairs to his room on the third floor. He had to tell a terrible lie about his parents to get out of an awkward situation without anybody losing face. What hurt was the lie he told was still better than the truth. His father did a lot worse than cheat; he betrayed his whole family. He didn't break them apart over another woman; he killed them for the sake of another drink. Two people were in a grave and another was set afloat because of what he did; not only that night but for the rest of his life. The thoughts of the past rushed up on Jimmy, and he had to stop himself from becoming overwhelmed with guilt and sorrow.

Jimmy, come on. That was your old life. This is your new one. Would you be out saving the world in your old life? Would hot women be feeling you up and trying to get you into bed in your old life? You can't change what Dad did. You can't bring Mom and Joanna back. Leave it there. Make this life work.

Jimmy walked down the hall to his room. He immediately fell into bed, checking to make sure the alarm was set for 7 AM.

McCarran International Airport
November 6, 2010
10:00 AM PDT

Jimmy took a look around the terminal as he waited for his United Airlines flight to Los Angeles. It wasn't very crowded at this hour, but he knew people would start arriving from the East Coast, and there would be a few people trying to catch flights back there as well. He was really looking forward to having a week off and spending that time with Chuck, Sarah, and Casey. Or at least Chuck and Sarah. They had talked to him earlier in the week and were excited to see him again. From what he could gather, things had been pretty quiet around the office and the yogurt shop since they returned from Las Vegas. They even noted that Casey seemed to be in a better mood. Perhaps it was that high-quality scotch that likely littered his apartment right now. Life was too short to drink cheap booze, especially in this line of work.

Chuck had already made a few plans with him. Jimmy had never been to Disneyland, and they were eager to drag him through there. Chuck also insisted they do the "Swingers Tour", including playing Par 3 golf, eating at the diner in the Best Western, going to the El Rey, and listening to Marty and Elayne at the Dresden. Jimmy had to shake his head. Apparently, having Sarah for a girlfriend wasn't enough anymore?

Jimmy's mobile phone rang. He looked at the Caller ID. He didn't recognize the number, but it had the Washington D.C. 202 area code on it.

"Murdock here."

"Go secure."

Jimmy's eyes widened at the staccato voice that replied to him. He quickly punched a few buttons on the phone.

"Bravo-Charlie, Six Seven."

A computerized shrill tone made him recoil a bit, and then the voice of General Beckman came on the line.

"Agent Slade, I wish to congratulate you on completing your training. Your final scores were most impressive."

"Thank you, General. But did you have to call me this way to tell me that?"

"No. I have to cut your vacation short. You are needed in New York. Book yourself on the next plane to LaGuardia. Information on where to go will be sent to your phone when you land. You will meet your contact there. Email the communications group of your approximate ETA once you know it."

"Any other information you can give me, General?"

"Your contact will give you all of the details. But this is an important one, Agent Slade. It's not the sort of assignment we would normally give to rookie agents. However your particular skills are crucial to its success. Good luck."

The phone cut off. Jimmy tried to keep the same look on his face, but the concern was creeping in already. Obviously, this assignment was critical; otherwise they'd just let him go on vacation. Even though he had been on two crucial missions already, a small bit of panic was starting to form in him he tried to shake off. Obviously he had to work on his self-confidence; people still had more faith in him than he had in himself.

He looked up at the large computer screen for flights. The pickings were pretty slim. The earliest he could get to LaGuardia would be 8 PM Eastern time that night. Unfortunately, there were no non-stop flights to New York. The best he could do is a 1 hour layover at O'Hare. At least he wouldn't have to change concourses at McCarran, which would have required taking two passenger trains. He immediately went to the gate in the D Concourse at McCarran to work on changing his flight.

Ritz-Carlton Hotel, New York
November 6, 2010
4:00 PM EDT

Agent Forrest entered the modest suite carrying her laptop and a small attaché case. The bellhop swiftly wheeled her traveling case into the room and handed her the room key. She gave him $20 without saying a word. He thanked her and exited. That was one piece of advice the CIA gave that she never thought of before: never tip too much or too little. Tip too little, and everybody will resent you for being cheap. Tip too much, and they'll bend over backwards for you and give you more attention than you really want. Always be nice but not memorable.

The room itself was nothing ostentatious for this hotel, but certainly it spelled luxury compared to some of the dives she's had to stay in or even do her job in over the years. She checked to see if the rooms next to hers had already been reserved. They hadn't, which helped her. She wasn't sure how willing Slade was to staying with her or if he wanted his own room. Quite honestly, she hoped for the former.

She sat on the couch in the room with the file on Jimmy Slade, sipping the bottle of water she carried with her from the airport. His file was more complete now than when she saw it six weeks ago, and his real name was now at the top of it, although an "AKA Roger Murdock – EYES ONLY" accompanied the name. The file now had Jimmy's correct school. He was still in the Big Ten but went to Illinois instead of Ohio State. The file also corrected his age to 40 instead of 42. She looked down the list of skills in the file. It was a fairly impressive list for a new agent, but aside from computing skills, her file matched most of his. She smirked at the fact that "enticement and seduction" was not on his list of skills, although it was on her list. The thought that they may wish to update that gave her a tingle through her body, especially in a few specific locations.

She suddenly threw the file aside. She was letting someone get close again. She had already compromised too much of her own being after Las Vegas, although she found in hindsight it worked to her benefit instead of her detriment. But developing feelings for a specific person couldn't happen. She couldn't allow it. She refused to put herself through it again.

She was a young hotshot FBI candidate at Quantico. Being a cop was in the family. Her father was one of Philadelphia's Finest, and her grandfather worked as an MP, but he died in the attack on Pearl Harbor. She originally graduated pre-law from Temple University with a B.A. in Criminology but decided that she would best serve her career by joining the Bureau. She met John O'Shea at a bar when she and her fellow candidates were blowing off steam after a tough exam. They fell head over heels for each other. He was the only one whom she let call her Alexandra. Anyone else calling her anything but Alex did so at their own peril. She thought they would work together in D.C. She would work as an FBI agent, and he would work for the Department of Defense as a strategic analyst.

He was walking through the E-Ring of the Pentagon at 9:37 AM on September 11, 2001, when American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into it, four weeks before she was to graduate from the Academy.

The FBI had her on a suicide watch for 3 weeks following the attacks. They tried to get the young hotshot candidate back. The hellfire blonde who could outthink you over the table and drink you under it as well. When she was returned to active status, she requested a transfer to the CIA's training program in Langley. She was in the field within months. Her record for years was nothing short of stellar.

She acknowledged making certain mistakes of late. Perhaps she was growing wiser after 9 years in the Agency. She chided Agent Walker for getting so involved with Chuck Bartowski, but a lot of that was her own feelings about detachment from the people under her protection. She didn't do it, and she felt it repulsive for another agent to do it. She originally had the same feelings regarding Agent Slade. She was mad that General Beckman threw a computer geek at her as part of her team without telling her of his prior associations with people she resented. In the end, it did work out for the best, and she learned a lot. Clearly she must have had a change of heart if she requested Agent Slade work with her on this important mission.

However, any sort of relationship with Slade outside of professional or sexual was completely out of the question. His skills in the field were clearly valuable, and he certainly knew his way around the bedroom. She hadn't had sex for the sake of having sex in three years. Her only other sexual activities during that time were related to the job. Most times, those encounters were far from fulfilling for her. It was generally her job to get her mark to let his guard down until he either gave up information or got her to a location where she could obtain it. There would be no sex while this mission was going on. Once they started planning for infiltrating the brokerage firm, the relationship between Slade and her would be purely professional. That gave her one get laid. Screw him through the night tonight, and work would begin in earnest tomorrow. Once the mission was over…well, she'd play it by ear. But he's not a boyfriend, he's not a date, he's just a lay. A good lay, but only a lay.

She pulled out her mobile phone and dialed a number. She needed information on Slade, and there was only one viable source for that. Forrest figured she owed them two dinners now.

McCarran International Airport
November 6, 2010
11:00 AM PDT

Jimmy quickly got on the phone and dialed Chuck and Sarah's apartment. He hated to do this. He really wanted some time off and to see them again. But they didn't hire him to sit on his butt in the sun all day, ride Space Mountain, and swing dance to Big Bad VooDoo Daddy.

"Hello?" Chuck's voice answers on the other end of the phone.

"Hey, Chuck. It's Jimmy. Sorry to call you so early."

"It's 11 AM. How late do you think we sleep on the weekends?"

Jimmy paused for a moment. He then shook his head in disbelief. "Oh, right. Sorry. I forgot we're in the same time zone. My mind is already on Eastern Time, which is actually why I'm calling. I have to apologize, but they're cutting my vacation short. To…well, no vacation at all. They need me on a big mission out East."

"Aww, man. That totally sucks. I was really looking forward to this week. It's too quiet around here. We are completely lacking in excitement."

"Hey, hey. Don't jinx it. Things tend to get a little crazy when we've gotten together."

"That is a good point. OK, I'll let Sarah know. You be careful, OK?"

"Will do. Give her a big hug and kiss for me."

"You got it, buddy."

"I'll call you the first chance I get. Bye."

Jimmy looked at the gate. His group was already able to board, so he got in line to walk onto the jetway. He certainly felt down for not being able to see Chuck and Sarah. They already had plans for harassing Casey while he was there, and he wanted desperately to goad the NSA's favorite pain in the ass. However, work was work. And clearly the CIA either really liked him or really needed him. Either one of those was valuable to any person.

Ritz-Carlton Hotel
November 6, 2010
10:30 PM EDT

Jimmy was more thankful than ever they put him in first class on the flight to O'Hare and the connecting flight to LaGuardia. They were delayed for 2 hours in Chicago thanks to a winter storm that made an early visit to the Midwest. Of course, 8 inches of snow in Chicago only meant that the roads and airport would be tied up. For everybody else, the Bears-Panthers game the next day would be played in the snow, which made any true fan's heart beat faster. In New York, they landed in the rain, and the descent into LaGuardia was a bit on the harrowing side. Normally Jimmy calmed himself on flights by observing the other passengers. If they weren't looking around or didn't look up from their magazines, he had no reason to worry. However, being in row 2 of the plane meant he was supposed to do that for them. He read a few items on his smartphone while listening to music, all the while not turning back so passengers could see the look of panic on his face.

He entered the hotel and shook off his umbrella. A concierge immediately walked up to him. "Mr. Murdock?"


"We prepared your room key in advance when we knew your flight would be delayed. Your wife is already checked in and upstairs."

Jimmy gets over the initial surprise. "Thank you."

He checked the keycard and envelope for his room and walked swiftly to the elevator. At least he knew his partner for this mission was a woman. Did they assign him to Alex Forrest? That seemed a bit unusual, given they worked together so recently. If it was, he had to make sure he played it cool. Granted, that long Monday in his room at the Wynn Hotel was nothing short of amazing, as two very competitive people tried to outdo the other between the sheets. In the end, they had to declare it a tie, but certainly neither of them was too upset with that result. To say both of them enjoyed themselves to the fullest would be understating it. If Forrest was faking it, she deserved an Oscar for her performance.

He knocked on the door, and then he used his room key to open it. He saw Alex Forrest sitting on the couch, looking over some files. She stood up as he entered the room. She was wearing a white blouse and black knee-length skirt. However, the blouse tapered off into a plunging V neckline that might be on the borderline for acceptable office attire. He kept his eyes locked on hers so the cleavage she showed for him wouldn't get him under her spell. He had the feeling she was dressing to entice without being too obvious. If so, he had to look impressed but not eager. Clearly Las Vegas was not going to be a one time thing. However, she was either going to make him sing for his supper or try not to make it look like she was more than willing to sing for hers.

"Alex, it's a pleasure to see you again."

"And you, Jimmy." There was a tiny hint of a smile on her face, but she was trying hard not too look pleased or upset to see him. "Or do you prefer Roger?"

Jimmy smiled. "It was probably a bit disconcerting that you used James the last time we were together. Given our line of work, it's kind of an odd name to shout right before having an orgasm, even if it is the right name."

She laughed in spite of herself. "OK, Roger it is. This is a very important mission. I requested that you work with me on it."

Jimmy's eyes widened a bit. "You requested me? Damn. How many agents turned you down first?"

Forrest put up a cautionary finger. "Uh-uh. Don't even THINK of pulling that self-effacing crap with me. I already talked to Agent Walker today, and that was topic #1 in our discussion of you. So knock that shit off right now."

"You actually talked to Sarah about me?"

Alex sat down on the bed. "I need to know as much as I can about the people I work with. Bartowski, Walker, and Colonel Casey are the best sources of information regarding you."

"What did she say about me?"

"Sorry, that will stay between Walker and me. Rest assured, it was almost completely positive. All three of them think the world of you."

He smiled. "Well, the feeling is certainly mutual. Actually, I was going to spend a week out there with them before my first assignment."

"I do apologize, Roger. But this mission is critical. We have reason to believe a terror cell in the Tri-State area may be attempting to bring some sort of weapon into the country. So far, our only clue is a series of wire transfers between a brokerage firm on Wall Street and a bank overseas that has been tied to terrorist funding in the past. Obviously we need your computer skills to hack into their systems and get as much information as you can. However, we also have to assume this terror cell is playing for keeps, so we couldn't just bring any cyber spook up here and I would have the additional duty of watching their back. We needed someone who was physically skilled as well. That someone is you."

"I admit, it is rather flattering that people think I've made such an impact already."

Forrest was a bit amused. "And another item on the list of things I discussed with Walker. You're humble to a fault. Crippling The Ring for an extended period of time and preventing a fundamental shift in the Russian government? You're already well past the point of most agents' dossiers."

Jimmy shrugged. "Just helping out where they tell me to."

Forrest stood up at that point and walked towards him. "We'll plan the specifics tomorrow. Did you want to stay in this room or should we reserve the room next door?"

Jimmy looked at her for a moment. If Forrest was hoping Jimmy would sleep in her room, she was keeping a neutral expression about it. Certainly that would be his choice, but he didn't want to be too eager. It was important to keep the Ferris Bueller Rule in mind: don't marry the first girl you have sex with.

He raised an eyebrow as Alex stood mere inches from him. "Well, this is a really expensive hotel, and I think we shouldn't burden the taxpayers any further, wouldn't you say?"

Forrest smiled. Smart man, she thought. He made the choice she wanted and still managed to have a perfectly logical and non-sexual reason for doing it.

"Good," she replied, sliding her hands on either side of his face. They fell into a heated kiss, their tongues dancing and finding each other inside of their connected mouths. Forrest undid the two buttons at the bottom of her blouse and pulled it open. She took Jimmy's hand and slid it inside. His hand found her breast not covered by a bra. He immediately began to caress it. She closed her eyes in pleasure, shaking her shoulder so her blouse fell off of it. He kissed his way downward, his tongue dancing around the soft flesh. She moaned and ran her fingers through his hair as he teased her nipple with his lips and tongue.

He slowly made his way back up and looked into her stormy eyes. "I thought you had a policy about not having sex with the people you work with."

She looked at him with a devilish glance. "We start the job tomorrow."

She held him roughly, her tongue playfully flicking at his upper lip as her hand undid his belt and slid down inside of his pants. "Right now, I'm interested in another job."

"Mmmm, I see." Jimmy let out a little moan, more than agreeable to what she was doing. But he decided for a little one-upsmanship. He slid his hand under her skirt, his fingers tracing along her inner thigh.

"And what sort of job would that be?" Jimmy looked into her eyes with a lustful gaze as his hand slid between her legs. Her eyes rolled back, and her breathing got very shallow.

Forrest was starting to pant hard. "The kind of job I'll definitely owe you for what you're doing right now."

She straddled him and moaned into his ear as he continued his work on her. This night might not last eight hours, but that certainly wouldn't be for a lack of effort.