Author's Note: Completed another chapter. I do feel good when that happens. So...here 'tis. Enjoy.

Word out to Kuryakinsgirl for all her support! And to all those who are still reading and leaving comments! Because letting an author know what you like about their story does encourage them to do more!

I do not own any of the characters except Agent Fergal Dawlish. I made him up. :)

The Way Things Are Going To Be

She felt the comforting weight of his hand on her shoulder, his strong fingers massaging into the tight knot in her muscles. It was followed by his other hand and now both her shoulders were being eased free of the pain and worried tension. Her eyes closed and she tried to breathe calmly in and out through her nose, but she couldn't.

Her mind was a jumble of worried nerves about who was behind this door, but Ellie didn't exactly help herself when, the attempt to calm down kept her thinking back on last night and what John Casey had made her feel. His hands on her shoulders squeezed.

"Concentrate, Ellie."

His voice sounding in her ear made an excited flush burn in her abdomen, producing a shot of heat up her spine and a euphoric spasm pulse between her legs.

Concentrate! Do as the man says!

"That's easy for you to say." she said, her voice catching in her throat. Ellie cursed herself and tried to slip out of Casey's supporting hold on her. "You're used to this sort of thing."

"I have never had a 49-B in my life." said John, turning her round to face him. As expected there was a devastated look of guilt in her eyes and he stroked her face tenderly with the back of his fingers. "It's not your fault, nor is there any need to blame yourself for this, Ellie. I told Beckman what I felt, I informed her of what happened between us and now this agent is here. You understood that something like this would happen, that it had to."

"I do understand John." Ellie breathed a sigh of relief and allowed herself to lean up against his chest. Her hands pressed up against him and she felt his arms hold her round her waist. "I didn't want the spy life, but everything with Chuck has made that impossible. Devon made his choice, he's thrown himself head first into his new role with the CIA and we parted because of it. Why do I get this horrible nagging feeling, this fear that you will…"

"That I would abandon you? Leave you? Or commit treason for you?"

"I never said-!"

"But you thought."

Two hands palmed on her face, lightly pulling her back her head so Ellie had no option but to look deep into those eyes, the smouldering blues that drowned her.

"You have worries, concerns and fears. I do too, but I'm certain about one thing."

Casey brought her face closer to his and kissed her softly on the lips. Her breath caught, it refused to release even when John pulled away from her and stroked her hair out of her face.

"This is right, Eleanor."

Ellie nodded her head and released that aching inhale. She had to agree. She had never felt this happy with anyone, no one made her feel loved and wanted in this way more than he. All her uncertainties and fears, as real as they were and as rational as they were, they couldn't deny her the feelings that had she held for John Casey.

"So what do we do?"

Casey smiled, that handsome rare smile that she loved so much.

"We go into that apartment and let him tell us the way things are going to be, what his plans for us are. Can't do much else at the moment. It will give me the opportunity to see what kind of a man he is…first impressions aren't always accurate."

Ellie bit her lip a little too hard. Seeing her wince Casey reached up with his thumb and ran it across her mouth before replacing it with another kiss, the tip of his tongue licking at the trace amounts of blood that had surfaced. She nearly kissed him back but decided to pull herself away.

"What if it's not in our favour?" she murmured still in a daze. "You will lose your job? Be reassigned?"

"It won't come to that." Casey replied.

"You seem so sure."

"About us? I am."

Casey wrapped his arm around her shoulder, facing Ellie back towards the door. With a huge fist, he rapt his knuckles on the door and took a step back. When it opened, standing in the doorway was a man that made Ellie snort in surprise. Her eyes widened and she had to clamp her hand over her mouth to hide the huge grin that had grown there. He looked so young!

"Colonel Casey. Doctor Bartowski. You're late." said Dawlish, bringing out a PDA from his pockets and inputting some information on it. The contraption bleeped a few times before Dawlish then stepped aside to allow them in. "That's not a good start."

"You didn't give us much time to get dressed." said Ellie, once she had gotten control over her grin. That grin did quickly fade when she saw Chuck and Sarah sitting on the sofa. Her brother looked quite tired and upon hearing her words looked aghast at both her and Casey.

"I'm sorry, Chuck!" she mouthed apologetically.

"I gave you plenty of time. Please, take a seat." Dawlish closed the door behind Casey, but as he turned round and angled his head up, he gulped with fear at the look the Colonel gave back to him. He knocked his back up against the wall and didn't actually move until he saw Casey walk over to the sofa. Someone was laughing and he noted that Agent Walker was hiding her mouth behind her hand.

"Agents, we are here on a serious matter." Dawlish said clearing his throat and positioning himself in front of the four of them. He rose a quizzical eyebrow at Casey sitting next to Ellie and he cleared his throat again. With his arms across his chest, Casey frowned back at him.

"Got a problem with me sitting here, Agent?"

"No. Course not." Dawlish loosened his tie and then clasped his hands behind his back. "Doctor Bartowski, I am Fergal Dawlish. I am to be the Colonel's 49-B. In the light of your relationship with him, my duties are to see that he can still be entrusted to carry out his. The Colonel is the NSA's best agent and his knowledge, experience and expertise in this organization and of the Marine Corps are extremely valuable. He is also one of the few people who know of the Intersect's identity."

Chuck beamed Casey a huge grin and gave him two thumbs up. Casey rolled his eyes.

"Keeping Chuck Bartowski safe is of the up most importance to the NSA and CIA."

"Keeping my brother safe," Ellie sat up straight and spoke with fierce determination, void of the fears she had felt earlier. "Is of up most importance to me, Agent Dawlish. I would never do anything to harm him or allow harm to come to Chuck. I know that Agent Walker and those who know who he is would do anything to protect him, and I am certain that Colonel Casey would do the same. I'm a hundred per cent certain he would, because I would expect nothing less of him when it concerns my brother. In fact I hope he would put my brother's life before my own."

"Ellie?" Casey and Chuck turned to her in surprise. Chuck looked scared at the revelation his sister had just stated, but Casey smiled, a sad but understanding one and he nodded his head with approval. That changed into a smirk at the flustered and flummoxed expression on Dawlish's face.

"Oh. Right. Of course." The pristine man took out his PDA again and put some more information on it. "Thank you for that statement, Doctor. Though I will be determining Casey's intentions and loyalties for myself."

"Do you care to insult him even further?" asked Chuck. "I know this guy! He would never-!"

"Thanks, but zip, Bartowski. You know what the kid has to do."

"Er.." Dawlish held up a finger. "With all due respect Colonel I'm not a kid."

"How old are you?" asked Ellie, politely as if she was having dinner conversation. "If you don't mind me asking."

"I'm…twenty three, doctor." Fergal grinned proudly. "I'm a fully qualified NSA operative and I am more than capable of assessing someone of the Colonel's stature. I may seem a little unusual, yes. But I know I can do my job, which is to see if the Colonel can do his. So I am informing you all of my decisions."

"Decisions?" Ellie turned to each of the others, only Chuck looked as puzzled as she did. Of course Casey and Sarah expected this.

"For the duration of the team's current mission, I will be observing Colonel Casey's actions very closely. When not in the company of any in this room, Doctor Bartowski, you will be kept under the strictest supervision by a cleared and approved agent of the NSA. Approved by, myself and General Beckman."

"I have no problems with that." said Ellie, even though she did a little bit. Giving some leeway towards the man was important, even if it was difficult to take such a baby faced man seriously.

"Good. At some point I will be questioning you and Casey as to the nature of your relationship. It will be…" Fergal gulped nervously again. "Personal. Unavoidable I'm afraid. This assessment will last as long as the mission does, at the end of it I will put my findings to General Beckman and either one of two things will happen. I will find everything satisfactory and therefore Colonel Casey may continue with his cover and his relationship with you, Doctor. If however I do not approve, Casey will be reassigned and you yourself will be taken to a secure government facility. For the guaranteed protection of the Intersect."

"Oh."

It was all she could say in response to that.

She heard Chuck and Sarah kicking up a fuss about it. She felt Casey's hand entwine with hers and the tingle of her skin as his thumb caressed her.

"Are you sure you want to go through this?" he whispered. "If it is too much for you I can put in for an immediate transfer."

Ellie looked up at Chuck who was going off on a Bartowski style rant at Dawlish and then back to Casey.

"Don't you dare do that. I'm sure. John. I'm certain and I want to do this."

And get it over and done with as quickly as possible.