A/N (1): I decided to jump the gun and post the final chapter early.
Sarah waited patiently in the strip mall parking lot behind the wheel of her Porsche. She had chosen a spot that allowed her to observe the Buy More. She kept thinking about her assignment. By all rights Graham should have pulled her out of it the moment he'd found out she'd been compromised with a man who was now a mark. But Graham was a cunning man too. He knew how she would react if it turned out that the mark was a traitor, feelings be damned. In fact she would take such a betrayal personally. She checked her watch again. Chuck would be finishing his shift in a couple of minutes. She got out and hurried to the store. She approached the Nerd Herd desk. Chuck was there and when he saw her he gave her his biggest, brightest smile, which she could not resist returning.
"Sarah, what brings you here?"
"I want a quiet evening out with my boyfriend. And I happened to be nearby, so I decided to come and pick you up from work."
"Way to go dude," Morgan told Chuck.
"Thanks buddy. Sarah, I still got some stuff to take care of here. Why don't you go and wait for me at my place? I won't be long, I promise."
"I'll hold you to that promise," she said and lightly kissed him on the lips. She turned and left ignoring the stunned and awed looks on the faces of Chuck's coworkers.
"What is she doing here?" Casey mused aloud, seeing a familiar looking blonde exiting the Buy More.
"Excuse me sir?" The question came from one of the NSA agents sitting with Casey inside the black Suburban.
"I know that CIA skirt."
"You think she's after our mark?"
"I don't believe in coincidence. Anyway, I repeat that Chuck Bartowski is your mark. NSA Director wants him with a pulse. Till we find who he's working with and what he knows, he lives. Same goes for her. We'd better cover all bases."
Chuck went home, where Sarah was waiting with Ellie and Devon. He was greeted with an excited squeal by his sister.
"Chuck, about time you got here. Sarah's waiting for you."
"I know sis, I told her to come here in the first place. Hi Captain! Sarah, give me a few minutes to change and we'll be on our way."
"Take your time Chuck."
"I've picked out a shirt for you little brother," said Ellie.
"Why am I not surprised?"
"You look great in that shirt Chuck," Sarah said approvingly when he emerged from his room and found the girls talking in the kitchen where Ellie was preparing a light dinner for herself and Devon. Sarah was by now thinking that the CIA might have made a mistake. Chuck was not deviating from his normal routine and there was nothing to indicate that he was in cahoots with Bryce or anyone else. No, there was no way this man was a traitor. There had to be something else.
"Shall we?" Chuck asked.
"By all means. Ellie, Devon, see you later."
"Have fun guys," Devon said. He was about to remind Chuck to use protection as it appeared that he would be getting lucky tonight, but a glare from Ellie silenced him.
Chuck and Sarah went to a quaint little Tex-Mex restaurant for dinner. He was so happy to be with her that he did not notice she was rather tense. While on the way to a club, Chuck had another flash, as the information recalls were termed. He would learn that later.
In the club, Sarah suddenly noticed several men in dark suits and realized that the competition had arrived. She took Chuck to the dance floor and moved sensually around him, while neutralizing three NSA agents with her knives and sedative-tipped hair pins, the combat moves disguised as dancing. When she saw John Casey's grim face, she dragged Chuck out of the club and towards the Herder.
"Give me the keys to the car Chuck, NOW!"
"Sarah, only Buy More employees are allowed to drive a Herder. Wait, how did you do that?"
"GET IN!" She had seen a huge black Suburban fishtailing around a corner and heading straight for them.
The wild chase through the streets ended when the hulking SUV T-boned the tiny Toyota near an office building. Chuck and Sarah got out and ran towards the building. Sarah managed to disable and stop the Chevy by hitting the button on a guard shack with a throwing knife and activating an emergency barrier, into which the vehicle crashed. She made a call and requested an emergency extraction by helicopter. On the rooftop helipad, she turned to a very frightened Chuck.
"How well did you know Bryce Larkin?"
"Bryce? How… How did you know Bryce?"
"We used to work together at the CIA!"
"The CIA? Bryce Larkin is a spy? Bryce Larkin from Connecticut is a SPY?"
"A rogue spy! Did he try to contact you?"
"I haven't heard from Bryce in… Oh, wait! He sent me an email!"
"Did you open it?"
"Uh, yeah, it was a line from Zork."
"A line from what?"
"Zork. It was a video game we used to play. It was a riddle and I solved it and then there were… pictures; lots and lots of pictures."
"You saw them?"
Chuck just nodded.
"Your computer, did you back it up, is there an external drive?"
"It crashed a week ago. Wait, hold on a second. Was I not supposed to look at those pictures?"
"Chuck, I may have to aim my gun at you, so just don't freak out."
"Aim your gun… Why?"
"It's late, I'm tired… Let's cut the crap and give him to me now. He belongs to the NSA." Casey had followed them to the roof.
"CIA gets him first," Sarah snarled, aiming her gun at Chuck. Immediately Casey aimed his at Sarah. "You come any closer and I shoot."
"Sarah, I'm freaking out!"
"You shoot him, I shoot you, then leave both your bodies here and go out for a late snack. I was thinking maybe pancakes."
Chuck had had enough and bolted. "Chuck, NO!" Sarah yelled, mindful of Graham's order to kill Chuck if he ran. A flash stopped him in his tracks.
"They're gonna kill him!" Chuck said.
"Kill who?" Casey asked. Quickly, Chuck gave them a summary of the day's flashes and what they meant: There was a bomb planted in the hotel across the street to kill an Army General who would be addressing a conference.
"He was working with Bryce!" Casey concluded, now aiming at Chuck.
"NO! He opened Bryce's email!" Sarah said, her gun aimed at Casey's head. "Chuck, those pictures you saw were encoded with secrets, government secrets. If you saw them, then you know them," she explained.
"There were thousands of them."
"Wait a minute… You're telling me all of our secrets are in his head?"
"Chuck is the computer, Casey!"
"What did you say, what does this mean?" Chuck was shocked, to say the least.
"Chuck, I need you to listen to me, you have to tell us where this bomb is."
"WHAT IS HAPPENING TO ME?"
"You said there was a bomb. Is there time to stop it?"
"What? Are you crazy?"
"No," Casey said, "we're the good guys; we are paid to stop bombs from exploding."
"Look, I can't… I can't help you. I really wish I could, but I can't! Call Bryce. He's the one who can save the day."
"Bryce is dead, Chuck," Sarah said. "He died sending those secrets to you."
"Bryce… Bryce is dead?" Chuck shared a sad look with Sarah. Casey fired a shot in the air to get their attention back.
"Yeah, and he's gonna have a lot of company unless you start talking, so pretty please. Can we defuse the bomb now?"
"According to the schedule, the General is already on the stage."
What happened next was a blur. Chuck, Sarah and Casey raced to the hotel, found the bomb and Chuck used the Demova virus to disable the computer that controlled it. When it was all over, Sarah and Casey got in an argument about Chuck's fate. Sarah wanted to keep him with his family and friends, while Casey wanted him taken to a secure government facility post haste.
Chuck told them in no uncertain terms that he wanted his family and friends out of all this and that since he was the one with the secrets in his head, the agents would have to listen to him. He then left them to settle it between them. Finally, Sarah and Casey came to an agreement, after consulting with their respective bosses.
Somehow she had managed to convince Graham that her intimate relationship with the asset, as Chuck's new status was now officially classified by the CIA and the NSA, would be advantageous to the mission, both in protecting him and in securing his cooperation. And in turn Graham had prevailed upon Beckman and gotten her to agree with this point of view. It had taken some convincing, but to him it had been well worth it.
"OK, Walker, any ideas as to where Bartowski is now?"
"I think I know where he is."
"Lead the way. Oh, and, Walker?"
"You did a good job back in A-Stan."
"You too Casey. Too bad we didn't get Khalid though. C'mon, let's find Chuck."
Sarah knew where Chuck would be. Casey drove them there and they spent the night watching him. At dawn, Sarah walked over to Chuck, who was still sitting on the beach, lost in thought. He sensed her presence.
"How long have you been here?" Chuck asked, still looking at the sea.
"All night." She sat down next to him.
"There's nowhere I can run, is it?"
"Not from us. Talk to me Chuck."
"Yesterday, I was making eleven bucks an hour fixing computers. Now I have one in my brain. And I can't figure out why Bryce did this, why he chose me. What are you going to do with me? What happens now?"
"For now you'll go back to your own life, we'll protect you and you'll work with us."
"My sister, my friends, are they in danger?"
"Tell them nothing to keep them safe. I need you to do one more thing for me."
"Trust me Chuck."
"Chuck, you and Ellie helped me in the darkest days of my life. I am a whole person again, physically and emotionally, thanks to Ellie and you. Ellie helped save my life and you saved my sanity and now I need you to trust me. I'll never let any harm come to any of you, Chuck. I'll never be able to live with myself if anything happens to you."
"Sarah, I want to trust you. It has been the happiest time I've had in years since that first dinner with you and Ellie and Awesome and Morgan. I love you Sarah. In fact it was love at first sight. When you said after the party that I am your boyfriend, drunk as you were, you made me even happier. And especially yesterday when you said that you meant everything you'd said the night before. I need to know. Was all that an act?"
"Chuck, I was given this assignment after I returned to my hotel yesterday. And I meant everything I told you about us. I want us to be together. I'm a spy, Chuck, and the cardinal rule is that spies don't fall in love. But I wasn't a spy when I met you. I fell for you after you fixed my computer and before we watched that movie after dinner. So yes, I love you too Chuck. I may be a spy again now, but I don't want to sacrifice what we've got, not for the job. I've seen first hand how easy it is to lose things taken for granted, to lose the chance to do some things I want in my life because I've always been putting the job first. I was fortunate to get a second chance and I will never make the same mistake again. I want it all, Chuck, and that includes you… us." There was a fire burning in her eyes and conveyed her feelings better than words could ever do: sincerity, affection, love, desire, even some sadness for Chuck's plight and also determination to make their relationship work.
"Sarah, wow, this is the longest speech I've ever seen you give."
"Shut up and kiss me," she said smiling. They rolled on the sand kissing, not willing to let go of each other. When they came up for air, they just looked into each other's eyes and smiled. They were about to kiss again, when Chuck bolted upright.
"Oh crap, Ellie!"
"I've been gone all night. She must be worried sick."
"Come on," she said, rising to her feet and picking up her high heeled boots. "Casey's got a car, he can drive us."
They went holding hands to where the NSA agent was impatiently waiting by the car, arms crossed.
"Well? Did you two sort out your lady feelings?"
"That's none of your business, Casey," she said.
*grunt* (I'm not paid enough to be babysitting a lovestruck CIA skirt and her geek boy toy)
Casey drove them back to Echo Park. Sarah kissed Chuck goodbye and went to file her report. When Chuck entered the apartment, a frantic Ellie intercepted him with Morgan in tow.
"All night? You know how worried I was? I called Morgan. Can you imagine that? I even called Morgan!"
Chuck interrupted them by pulling them both into a big hug. Captain Awesome saw the scene as he was leaving for the hospital.
"Group hug, huh?" He hugged all three. "Awesome!"
Later, Chuck was in the Buy More and submitted an application for the assistant manager's position. Big Mike also told him to go train a new guy, which Chuck thought would be fun. Imagine his surprise when said new guy turned out to be Major John Casey, USMC/NSA. And there was a sweetly smiling Sarah Walker doing her shopping in the store too. The ring she was wearing caused Chuck to flash on part of her file (it had been put back in the system when Graham reinstated her on a provisional basis after she had regained full use of her legs).
"Don't freak out," Chuck told himself.
The following morning, after he and Morgan watched Casey apprehend a shoplifter, Chuck took a look around the plaza. He did a double take when he saw Sarah in front of the Wienerlicious, wearing the employee's uniform for that place which consisted of a short red skirt, black girdle and a cute white top with little buttons and a nametag. Her hair was in pigtails and she was also wearing a hot dog necklace. He waved at her and she waved back. He went to see her on his lunch break. She was desperately trying to clean up a mess of burnt food when he entered.
"Sarah, what are you doing here?"
"I work here now, Chuck. For surveillance, it's just a cover," she said, tossing a pair of tongs into the sink and coming around the counter to greet him.
"Well, you look amazing regardless," he said, taking her in his arms and kissing her.
"I don't know about this. I'm a terrible cook and I smell like sausage."
"Ellie could help; I bet she can teach you a few things about cooking."
"I'll definitely need her help if I don't want to get fired from this place." She then took his lower lip between her teeth and nibbled on it. "As for the smell, I think I could use your help to wash it off of me in the shower," she said in a husky voice. "But for now, can I get you a corndog? You'll need the energy."
"*meep* Sure, thanks," he managed to squeak out.
John Casey was returning to the Buy More from Lou's Deli after buying a pastrami sandwich, which he was planning on enjoying in the employees' break room when he happened to glance towards the Wienerlicious. The scene inside the hot dog place made him grunt (Moron's gonna get lucky tonight). Normally he would consider his partner's behavior as being very unprofessional, but by now he had learned what Walker had recently been through, so he could not really hold it against her, or the asset. He was not one for lady feelings, but he was capable of some empathy. As he was about to enter the Buy More, Morgan came up to him.
"Hey John, have you seen Chuck anywhere?" The question was answered when Casey jerked his thumb in the direction of the Wienerlicious. "I see, thanks John," said Morgan, "I'll see him later for some CoD."
*grunt* (Fat chance, imbecile)
"I think your stupid games will be out of the question for tonight."
"Bartowski's gonna need a walker when Walker's through with him," Casey answered knowledgeably.
"They'll be having intercourse, idiot."
"Oh, I see, say no more. Good for them." Morgan was really happy for his best friend. Call of Duty could wait.
A/N (2): That's all folks. Thanks for reading.
I'm glad to see from your reviews that you enjoyed it.