A/N: So judging from the lack of reviews the last chapter wasn't too popular. Well it was supposed to be a little over the top, but its over now.
Chuck and Sarah finally get some alone time this chapter, but come to a decision that neither is really too thrilled about in order to protect their various covers.
Chuck woke up with a smile on his face, stretched and slipped out of bed. He wiped the smile off his face hurriedly in case The Colonel was watching the cameras over his cereal like he sometimes did. He'd finally broken up with Hannah. It was just one less thing for him to worry about, in a vast array of things he still had to worry about, but it felt like a weight had been lifted off his shoulders. He just had to pretend like he wasn't happy about it. Chuck just didn't feel particularly like seeing Hannah at work today, but he had to go. Maybe he would catch of glimpse of Sarah. Maybe there would be a mission and they'd get some alone time in the van.
Oh the joys of being a spy in a secret relationship. Ten minutes alone time in the van. Chuck sighed and went out into the kitchen to get some breakfast. Morgan was waiting for him.
"Hey, Chuck. I didn't hear you come home last night, things went good with Hannah I take it?" Chuck winced.
"About that, buddy." He said, opening the cupboard and pulling out a box of cereal. "We broke up. Hannah was a mistake. I never should have started something with her."
"Really." Morgan said, and crossed his arms. "You couldn't have figured that out before you ruined my chances with her?"
"I'm— what?" Chuck said. "I didn't..." He sighed. "Sorry, Morgan. I really wasn't thinking clearly. Sarah—" He cut himself off abruptly. Telling Morgan that Sarah had made him date Hannah would hardly be conducive to continued domestic tranquility with his best friend.
"I get it." Morgan said. He hopped up on the counter, pulled out a handful of cereal and stuffed his face. "You were trying to make Sarah jealous. I get it, dude. I get it. But still Hannah's such a sweet girl, that's totally not cool dude. You're my best friend and so I'll back your play on about anything. But so not cool."
"I know. Morgan you're right. Look, that's why I broke up with her. It just wasn't fair to be involved with her under the circumstances. Not to mention, she wanted me to meet her parents." Chuck put his head in his hands. "Work is going to be awkward today."
"You ain't kiddin' brother." Morgan said and clapped him on the shoulder. "Maybe you should take the day off? I'll vouch for you. What do you want, puking? Or possibly some stomach cramps? Pink eye maybe? No, I know! " Morgan snapped his fingers. "I'll get you like a week off. The piece de resistance of faking sick. Syphilis!" Morgan made the pronouncement complete with spirit fingers.
Chuck winced. "What!"
"Well, I mean. That way Hannah won't be all pissed at you for dumping her?"
"I kind of like her pissed at me." Chuck said. "That way we don't have to talk."
"Oh. I guess that makes sense." Morgan mused, rubbing his bearded chin in thought.
"Also, I don't think Sarah would appreciate me not telling her about the 'syphilis.'" Chuck shuddered theatrically and poured a glass of orange juice.
Morgan scoffed. "Who do you think gave it to you in the first place?"
Chuck sprayed orange juice all over the table. "What! Oh this plan is just getting worse and worse. I'll just stick with the basics. Puking. No STDs please." And Sarah would probably hear about this from Casey at some point, if she wasn't watching it live. "No, no, on second thought. I'm going to work. I need to face up to this."
"You're sure?" Morgan said. "Cause, come on: Totally Assistant Manager here. This is one of the few things I actually have the authority for. Please. Let me abuse my authority for you."
"No thanks Morgan, and I'm driving."
"Come on." Morgan said, pointing at himself with both thumbs. "Assistant Manager. I'm responsible. I have a driver's license and everything!"
"We'll see what Casey has to say." Chuck said. Morgan slumped, defeated.
"Bartowski!" Big Mike growled as soon as they were through the doors. "What the hell did you do?"
"Uh, I'm sorry, Big Mike, you'll have to be more specific." Chuck said. Morgan shrugged and inched away to hide from work all day. Casey grinned, and disappeared into the break room. "Do you mean today, or over the last week or so? I'm just kind of drawing a blank here."
"New girl up and quit this mornin'..." Big Mike crossed his arms over his chest. "What did you do?"
"Hah." Chuck said, and tugged at the collar of his Nerd Herd button down. "Uh. What makes you think I did anything?" Big Mike just looked at him, expression saying more than words ever could. "Uh, should I just... I'm just gonna go get to work on those invoices."
"Bartowski!" Big Mike demanded.
"The Buymore is not your own personal hoochie bank. No more dating in the workplace." He said. "Get me?"
"Absolutely." Chuck said, and went over to sit down at the Nerd Herd counter. He put his head in his hands and sighed.
"Well, well well well well." A voice said. "How the mighty have fallen. Couldn't hold onto new girl or blondie." Chuck shuddered.
"What is it Lester?" Chuck asked. "What do you want?"
"How do you do it?"
"Do what, drive away girls with impunity?" Chuck said, raggedly.
"No, get them to sleep with you first!" Jeff said, hollowing out earwax so he could hear better. "We've got the driving away part down. We just need your help with the timing."
Lester smacked Jeff in the chest. "Ulp. Speaking of timing. Fro Yo Ho incoming."
"Hurry up, Chuck. Just give us a quick tip." Jeff pleaded.
"Okay. Don't be creepy."
Jeff's face fell and he let Lester drag him off looking like a sad kicked puppy. A sad kicked impossibly creepy puppy, but still. Chuck breathed a sigh of relief and watched Sarah approach. His whole world contracted down to the way she walked. She was wearing just the tiniest hint of a smirk. He couldn't have torn his eyes off her if his life depended on it.
She leaned against the counter, drumming her fingers on the counter and pulling him out of Happy Sarah Walking Toward Him With Imaginary Wind Blowing Her Hair Everywhere Land. "Wipe off the grin. Beckman wants to talk to us in Castle." Chuck glanced around, but Sarah had been her usual careful self in that respect. No one was close enough to hear.
"Are we good as far as..." He flicked his eyes up and around, taking in the whole Buymore. Sarah shook her head, just a touch, barely noticeable except that he was looking for it. Audio bugs still functional at the Buymore. "Alright then, my break's in half an hour."
"Beckman said now."
"It's going to look like we're getting back together if I leave with you."
"I can always slap you again for Jeff and Lester when we come back?" Sarah said.
"Thanks for the offer, but I think, all things considered, I'll pass." Chuck grinned. "My head's still ringing from that last one.
"Come on." Sarah said, rolling her eyes.
Chuck and Sarah came down the stairs into Castle only to find Casey already halfway through boxing up his M134 mini-gun. Judging by the other gun-cases lined up on the main conference table, there was a war that needed fighting somewhere and John Casey was the Action-hero on-call.
"Hey, Casey." Chuck said brightly. "Why are you packing up all your guns? We have a mission?"
"I do. You don't. I'm heading to Fort Bragg this weekend for a training refresher with some old Delta Force buddies. Lousy bean pushers at Ft. Meade say I have to officially re-certify every five years. I'll be gone for three days. So—well, I'll let the General explain. See you Monday Bartowski."
"Do you need a hand getting everything out to the Crown Vic?" Sarah asked.
"Nah, Walker, I got it." Casey said and hit the remote to initiate the call to the general. "Enjoy."
After the usual telltale beeps, Beckman's face bloomed on the plasma display. "Ah, good. Everyone's here. Have fun at Fort Bragg, Colonel." Casey saluted and started up the stairs. Once Casey had lugged the first armload of cased weaponry out, the general turned her attention to Chuck and Sarah.
Beckman's face on the screen seemed all too glad that Chuck and Sarah were seemingly on the outs. There was just a touch of smug self satisfaction there behind the usual stern expression if you knew where to look. "Colonel Casey's trip leaves us with a gap in your protection, Agent Bartowski. Also, given your status as an agent in training, not to mention the Intersect data you have in your head, we can't risk having you exposed like this. In order to keep you safe for the duration, Agent Bartowski, you and Agent Walker will be entering twenty four hour protection. We can't risk bringing any other agents into the Intersect project to fill out the detail temporarily, and the odds of the Asset's sister or roommate spotting Agent Walker coming or going from Colonel Casey's apartment is too great."
"So, your place or mine?" Chuck sighed dejectedly.
Beckman cleared her throat. "You will be staying at Agent Walker's, unless she wishes to resume her original cover as your girlfriend?"
Sarah glared daggers at the General, then turned it on Chuck, just for show. At least he hoped so. "I'll take that as a no," Beckman went on, oblivious. "In that case, Chuck will be 'attending a Nerd Herd training symposium' and Agent Walker will 'develop a stomach ailment' for the duration of Colonel Casey's absence. Hopefully by the end of these few days the pair of you will be able to conduct yourselves professionally again. That is all." Beckman disconnected without another word.
Chuck and Sarah sat in stunned disbelief for about a minute before Casey came back in. "So. If you're going to kill him, Walker, you should probably wait until Saturday. Give you a better chance of getting off the grid before I'm due back." Chuck frowned and glared at Casey.
"Don't even joke about something like that, John." Sarah said. "Come on, let's get you loaded up." Chuck grinned behind Casey's back, and watched Sarah walk away. It was just as riveting as watching her arrival.
Sarah's Hotel Room:
"Does it strike you as hilarious that Beckman is trying to fix our relationship for once?" Chuck said with a brief good natured laugh. Sarah smiled, leaning her chin on her knee in her chair at the table.
"Maybe a little." She said. "Mostly it just tells me we've been maybe doing too good of a job pretending to be at each others' throats. We said friends, and we haven't been following through on it very well."
"So," Chuck said, sitting across from her. He leaned his elbow on the table. "How should we go about appearing closer?" They both looked briefly toward Sarah's bed, and then their eyes met again. Sarah bit her lower lip.
"Race you?" Sarah grinned. Chuck shook his head slowly, and jumped to his feet. He grabbed Sarah's wrist and hauled her out of her seat and up into a fireman's carry. "Chuck!" She laughed and hit him in the back. "Put me down! Chuck!" He winced and dropped her like he'd been burned. She bounced on the bed and then Chuck lost his balance and pitched over on top of her. Sarah laughed and wrapped her arms around his neck to stop him rolling off. "Mmm. C'mere you." She said, and tugged his lips down to hers.
"Sarah." Chuck said, pulling away briefly. "I'm sorry I thought it would be funny I—" Her blue eyes took on a dangerous glint for a moment. Chuck gulped.
"Shut up and kiss me."
A slow grin spread across his face. "I can do that." Chuck said, and suited his words. He kissed her and Sarah licked his lips. The kiss deepened and Sarah shifted under him, legs splaying around so that she could wrap her thighs around his hips, locked her ankles in the small of his back. "Oh god." Chuck breathed, and trailed his lips down her jawline. He trailed his hands down her sides, started to slip his hands under her t-shirt.
Her hands gripped his wrists firmly, stopping him from pulling her shirt up any further. She moaned, a feeble groan. "Wait. Wait." Sarah said louder, letting go of him with her legs and shimmying up the bed, pulling away with supreme reluctance. "I don't think this is a good idea."
Chuck frowned. "You don't want to—"
"I didn't say that!" Sarah cut him off harshly, puffed her bangs out of her face in frustration. "I want to. God, do I want to... it's been years, Chuck. I just... I don't think I can do this and still pretend to be barely on the way to being just friends with you, not all the time. Can you honestly say you could do that?" Sarah said with a roll of her shoulder. "I know I'm a good actress, just not that good."
"I can't believe this." Chuck said, trying not to whine. "The NSA and the CIA just got together and Cock-blocked me."
Sarah grinned. "Us. The NSA and the CIA just got together and Cock-blocked us. But, if you need to go, 'take care' of anything?"
"What are you..."
"Just make sure to clean up after yourself in the bathroom. I don't want to get pregnant off a toilet seat."
"Not awesome, and that's an urban legend." Chuck kissed her briefly, and managed to slip one hand into her hair. The other went around her waist and pulled her closer. Sarah moaned and pressed herself up against him for a moment before pulling away.
"Go, before I need to take care of something myself." He gave her a quick dose of the Bartowski eyebrow dance. She shoved him away, whimpered and stuffed her head under her pillow."Go!" She growled and pointed. Chuck reluctantly padded away. As the door closed behind him, she shouted. "And you'd better be thinking of me in there!"
Sarah bit her lip for a moment, then vaulted to her feet and slipped silently across her room to listen at the door. She frowned in disappointment. She couldn't hear anything, and it took longer than she expected before she heard the flush of the toilet. She had time to slip a sympathetic hand into her own pants.
Chuck should have been ready to explode with need, not... She checked her watch. Not four minutes alone in the bathroom with need. She must have been out of practice, letting her seduction skills get rusty. Not that she could complain about not having to seduce men she would rather have killed. Sarah grinned. Even with their decision to not have sex, she could still practice on her Chuck. Keep him on his toes and in cold showers. The idea had a certain appeal. The door snapped open and Sarah jumped back, startled, and whipped her hand back out of her pj pants. With her ear to the door, Sarah knew the answer to her question before she asked it. "Did you wash your hands?" She said, with a smirk.
"I did not! Oowah!" Chuck said, grabbing her around the waist.
"Ew, gross, Chuck." Sarah said, and squirmed away a little, but she didn't stop him from pulling her into a kiss.
"Really? Did you wash your hands?"
"I don't know what you're talking about." Sarah said seriously. Chuck grabbed her hand and lifted it up to his face to kiss her knuckles.
"So why are your fingers all... moist..."
Sarah blushed and ducked her head, tugged her hand out of Chuck's grasp and stuck it behind her back. "You fight dirty."
"Well, I'm highly motivated." Chuck said. "You see, my girlfriend won't put out, and it's getting very, very... hard... not to just throw her on the bed and have my way with her."
Sarah sighed and pressed herself up against him in spite of herself. "Chuck, you said you understood." She lost control halfway through, moaning the last word in a singsong, just the idea of Chuck throwing her on the bed setting off alarm bells and amazing mental pictures that she was having trouble shaking off. Sarah wasn't really paying attention to what Chuck was saying anymore, because his hands were doing something really awesome at the moment and NO!
"No!" She said, smacking him in the chest. "Bad touching!" Nice bad touching, god really nice bad touching but still. "Chuck please. We can't have sex."
"Okay? Then why are you still rubbing my butt like that?"
"Hmm? Do what? I'm not doing anything."
"Chuck..." Sarah complained. "Please..."
"No, you're right. We can't have sex. You'll notice that my pants are firmly zipped and buttoned and will remain that way. Your pants on the other hand..."
"Okay, okay. I'm just... you say no sex. Where's the line... Kissing, we have to do sometimes for cover when we're on missions, so obviously fair game." Chuck took the opportunity to plant a quick kiss on the side of her neck. Sarah fisted both hands in his shirt and whimpered as he continued. "Second base? Not in public obviously, but..." He slipped a hand up under Sarah's shirt slowly, and arched an eyebrow, giving her ample time to slap his hand away as he crawled it up until it was just below her bra. He kissed the same spot as before, letting his lips linger, causing her to tremble slightly and bite off a low moan. "I'd like to know if I'm about to get slapped again."
Gasping for breath, Sarah quirked a grin. "How about I just surprise you." She reconsidered. "Or, here's a ground rule for you. No stealing third, unless you want to get slapped. Fair enough?"
"Fair enough." He laughed. "On the other hand, its totally worth it the way you say my name."
Sarah tensed, waiting for it, then pouted for a moment. "Totally worth it, huh, what's the hold up?"
"Well, not now... You're expecting it." Chuck said, creeping his finger under the strap of her bra."
"Chuck." Sarah said warningly.
"Oh, did I not get a ruling on second base? Sorry about that, Sweetness." Chuck whispered into her ear as he toyed with the elastic, slipping his finger under and then pulling back. "So." He kissed the place behind her ear. "Yay or nay, Ms. Walker?"
"You are evil."
"Maybe just a smidge." Chuck said, holding up the thumb and forefinger of his free hand half an inch apart. "Your fault though."
Sarah let out a shuddering gasp as Chuck thrust his hand up under her bra to cup her left breast. His thumb and forefinger found her nipple and she shivered uncontrollably. She licked her teeth and managed to get out a muffled, "Yay."
They kissed, and Chuck slipped the other hand up to join its mischievous partner. Sarah moaned into him, practically melting into his touch. They pulled apart to catch their breath eventually, and Chuck used the opportunity to pose another question about ground rules.
"We have a consensus on losing the shirt?" Chuck whispered. Sarah groaned and grabbed his wrists through her shirt.
"God that's such a bad idea. I just..." God that's such a great idea. Sarah shook herself. "No. Shirt has to stay on. Pants must stay on."
"Those two things do not have a direct correlation." Chuck said, and squeezed.
Sarah moaned and kissed him once more before forcing his probing hands down. She swallowed hugely before she could go on. "Yes, they absolutely do." Once she had him safely back out at arms' length and his hands gripped securely in hers, Sarah tried to regain her composure. It wasn't easy, and she was almost at the point of no return. "Chuck... okay. We can do... things... we just can't have sex. There will be naughty touching... but I've been... going without for so long that we either need to take it really slow, with ground rules, or we need a better system."
"A system." Chuck said flatly. "That's sexy."
"We can't have sex, or I'm going to get all giggly in Castle and ruin everything and god I'm about three more seconds of naughty touching from mounting you right here on the floor."
"Sarah, the bed's like ten feet away."
She squeezed his hands tight. "Too far." She growled throatily. "Sweetie, this is important. If Casey figures this... us, out, he's going straight to Beckman."
"Maybe, I mean he seemed pretty cool with it before Prague. I mean, for Casey." Chuck said, "And I'm going to be an agent, so..."
"We talked about this."
"What really?" He frowned. "I don't remember that."
"Well not this specifically." Sarah shrugged. "And you were probably distracted by me lying on your chest at the time. Relationships between agents are still frowned upon, especially when one of them is the intersect. Beckman would insist on moving me, and the closest place for a field officer is the US Embassy in Mexico City, and that's diplomatic cover. We're black ops, the change would be flagged in my file and it might draw attention to you."
"Is that where you'd go if you got reassigned? I mean, if we didn't already have a contingency plan. It's only a couple hours by plane."
"Long distance relationships never work, Chuck."
"I remember this talk now." Chuck said, pouting. "But we should at least have a plan B, in case I'm with Casey in Castle or something and can't escape when we're supposed to run, right?"
"Yes, but I already have a plan B. We can call that plan..." Sarah thought for a moment. "J? Yeah, I think that could be a decent Plan J, but it still needs some fine-tuning."
Chuck counted on his fingers. "Wait, you already have ten different plans?"
Sarah grinned. "Well what the hell else was I supposed to do on those long cold nights alone in my big empty bed over there, pining for you while you were off failing spy school?"
"Pining?" Chuck said, a massive grin growing on his face. "Is that a euphemism?" Sarah smacked him playfully.
"You forget, Mr. Bartowski, I have access to your surveillance feeds. At least I'm in good company on the pining front, euphemism or no." Realization hit. "You need to stop distracting me. Yes, we need a system. Or at least a safe word."
Sarah glared at him fondly, for a moment before she broke out in giggles. "Not like that. Sort of a, stop-immediately-or-I'm-going-to-ravish-you word, but that seemed a little lengthy."
"No, you're right, Safe word just seems like a much more efficient way to phrase the concept, naughty connotations aside. Have any ideas?"
"Pineapple. Just like at the Buy More."
"That's a panic button, not a safe word."
"Pretty much the same thing, from where I'm standing, Chuck. Anyway, that can be our code word for you to run too. If you ever get a text from John Casey's personal cell that says pineapple, you run." She dug a key from her pocket. "Hide this somewhere when we're on missions. When we're not, it needs to be on your person at all times. Locker 313 at the bus terminal. It's got the first leg of your current escape plan. If we can keep this charade up longer than I think, I might have to get you a replacement."
"Casey's in on it?"
"Of course not, that's just to throw off suspicion." Sarah said. "I cloned his phone before he went out of town."
"You're very sneaky." Chuck said. "Should I be worried about this duplicitous tendency of yours?"
"Please, you love it."
"I do in fact." Chuck said and flopped back onto Sarah's bed. "Why don't you come back to bed."
"That is just the latest in a series of bad ideas on your part." Sarah said with a grin. Great ideas, her subconscious corrected and she clambered in after him, snuggled up onto his chest. Sarah breathed in his scent, and heard Chuck doing the same. She pulled away, eyes soft. "So. How does this work?"
"You're asking me?"
Sarah bit off a laugh. "No, I mean. With Casey gone and Beckman making us shack up to 'get our spy team groove back.' This is... you know. It's like we're actually a real couple for the next two days. No missions, because the team is down a man. Its..." She kissed him softly, just a peck really. "What do we do with ourselves?" She kissed him again, just as brief.
Chuck shrugged and rubbed a brief circle in the small of her back. "Dunno. Same stuff we used to do when we were cover-dating?"
Sarah pouted. "Can't. Might run into Morgan or Jeff and Lester, or Ellie and Awesome, and you're supposed to be out of town."
"Ellie and Awesome barely ever get out of the apartment they're so exhausted from the hospital." Chuck said, "And as long as we avoid Bennigan's we should also avoid Jeff and Lester. And I know Morgan's work schedule."
"I know." Sarah said, and put her head back down on Chuck's chest. "I was just looking for an excuse to get out of town with you."
"Hmm." Chuck said. "Beckman might try to call and check up on us. Or just watch my GPS in realtime. You never know with that lady."
"Well, I figured something out with the GPS watches." Sarah said. She stood up on her knees and flopped over him, started rooting around in her nightstand. An identical watch to the one Chuck was currently wearing came out in her hand.
"Where'd you get that?"
"It fell off a truck?" Sarah tried. Chuck narrowed his eyes and she sighed. "I stole it. Okay?"
She glowered at him. "Come on, we're planning to run away from the CIA and the NSA together, you thought I could do that without breaking at least a couple laws?"She shrugged. "And besides, I covered my tracks. I don't bore you with the details of everything I'm doing to get us off the grid."
"Maybe you should."
"Don't you trust me?"
"Dammit. Yes. Of course I do. Stop throwing that in my face." Chuck sighed. "I'm sorry. I'm not mad. I promise. It's... Do you not trust me? Why don't you want to tell me specifics?"
Sarah frowned. "It's not that I don't want to tell you." She paused. "Okay, I guess it is. I'm no good at this part. Let me think how to say this and we'll talk later?"
Chuck frowned. "I don't..." He took a deep breath and let it out as a sigh. "Alright. But I don't like it, Sarah. I really don't. It feels like you're not in this the same as I am. That you somehow don't trust me after all we've been through."
"Chuck don't—" Sarah said, eyes wet and face scrunched up. "I do trust you. I swear. I l— I llo—" Chuck grinned in spite of himself, in spite of how genuinely angry he was.
"Shh. You say it when you're ready." Chuck said. "I'm not trying to pressure you I just..."
"I know. And in other circumstances," Sarah murmured. "I would just sex you up to win the argument, but--"
"Pineapple!" Chuck blurted and scooted away from her hastily. Sarah arched a disbelieving eyebrow.
"What really?" She said. "All I did was mention..." She cut off, Chuck was nodding furiously, and Sarah blushed and grinned, all teeth and blue eyes.
"Gah! Pineapple! Stop being so damn cute!"
Sarah sat up and put on a playfully stern expression and planted her fists on her hips. Chuck groaned and rolled onto his stomach so he couldn't see her. She let a slow pouty grin melt through the fake sternness and knee walked across the bed and tackled him.
"Hey." Chuck said. "I thought I said Pineapple."
"Shh. I'll be the big spoon. Less chance of... accidents that way." Sarah whispered into his ear, linking her hands together around his chest. "In the morning, where do you want to go?"
Sarah laughed. "I'll see what I can do."
"Okay. Maybe not tomorrow. But eventually. I promise we'll get there."
"How about Barstow instead?" Chuck said, turned in her arms and waggled his eyebrows.
Sarah laughed. "Enough. Pineapple, baby."
TO BE CONTINUED
A/N: Last couple weeks of class are the worst, and I'll be grading papers again until I go crazy. Next couple chapters will get written when they get written. A brief teaser for next chapter: Chuck and Sarah's plan to get out of town goes a little awry and they end up much further out of town than they intended. Like Afghanistan further.
So, in the meantime, I love getting feedback, positive or negative. Feedback is feedback. Reviews are always appreciated. Isn't that little button down there tempting? Can't you hear it whispering to you, saying: Click me... Click me...