A/N the First: I brought the idea of doing this story up to Wepdiggy several months ago but hadn't had time to work on it at all. A week ago today, however, was the first birthday of the Adorable Psycho, and when she locked me in the closet and took over my blog, we made a deal. So I wrote this story as a gesture of good faith.
Like all of the other esteemed writers that came before me, I added my own spin to the Adorable Psycho. You'd think, with Fates Sarah being called one of the most adorable renditions of Sarah in the fandom, that my version of the Adorable Psycho would be cute as a button.
It didn't quite work out that way. Apologies in advance for language and for…everything else…
Disclaimer: I don't own it. At this point, I really don't want to. I do want to go check myself into mental hospital, though.
Amazingly, Chuck's first clue that something might be wrong wasn't the blaring sirens that all went off at once, filling Castle with a red light more ominous than anything seen on the Bridge of the USS Enterprise, thankfully minus the shuddering of the camera and extras throwing themselves around the deck as though the Enterprise hadn't come with stabilizers. It wasn't the fact that every lock in the place immediately clicked shut with a boom. It wasn't even that the blood drained from the face of the analyst working at the computer next to his.
No, Chuck's first clue was that Casey broke the EMERGENCY glass and with a shaking hand, reached in and retrieved the forty-year-old bottle of Blue Label inside the case.
Chuck asked the first thing that came to mind: "What's she done now?"
After all, only one person could make Casey reach for the Johnnie Walker Blue.
"She didn't murder everybody at the Sauerkraut festival, did she?" She'd been threatening to the night before, something about cabbage and sausage, but Chuck had effectively quelled that line of murderous thought the only way he knew how: by offering himself as a sacrificial lamb and simply holding on and praying that the ensuing plowing wouldn't be too rough. "I thought I distracted her from that."
"It's worse," Casey said in a guttural voice.
"Shoot up the Women's Auxiliary?"
"Stab the Moldovan ambassador?"
"Worse than that, Bartowski. Way worse than that."
"Oh, God," Chuck moaned, his hands over his face. "She's done it, hasn't she? She's finally found the Clairol factory and blown up the brunette hair-dye line. I thought we redacted the coordinates of that from every CIA report! Those people have families!"
"No." With shaking hands, Casey got out two tumblers and poured generous helpings of Johnnie Walker Blue Label. His hand was still trembling as he passed one of the glasses to the nerd. He looked up at the map on the wall, one that showed L.A. from a satellite image, in all of its congested-road glory. "No, I'm afraid it's worse than that."
"How can it possibly be worse than that?"
"Sarah Walker," Casey said, taking a deep breath before he tossed back the rest of the glass, "is…"
Stuck in Traffic: A Tale of the Adorable Psycho
by Frea O'Scanlin, with apologies to Walter Cronkite
The least somebody could have done was put up a sign.
Was that really too much to ask? She'd been driving, happily bopping along to Diana Ross and the girls—Glee was great, but sometimes a woman just needed some Supremes in her life to really make her day, kind of like sliding a warm knife into hot buttered intestines—speeding along with the glee of knowing that she was untouchable to the LAPD traffic department thanks to a waiver signed by none other than the Secretary of State. But somebody had neglected to mention that the 405 was no longer a highway and had mysteriously been turned into a parking lot overnight.
It made no sense why they would suddenly need a parking lot right here. After all, this was her way home to the Provider of the Plowing. And with the number of cars around, just sitting there, it could be nothing but a parking lot.
Sarah frowned and tapped the steering wheel as Diana continued to sing. She didn't want to park her Porsche here, out in the open like this. It was her baby; it required a temperature-controlled garage every night, as well as a good waxing from Giorgio and immaculate detailing to make sure none of the blood from her latest kill—bitch had cut her off at the post office again—had seeped into the carpeting in the trunk.
She highly doubted that the 405 Parking Lot had any of those things, especially since she had had the perfect temperature-controlled garage, equipped with backup generators in case of a zombie apocalypse or power outage, built behind the apartment she shared with Chuck. Sure, they'd had to tear down a day-care to do it, but what did she care about some lousy toddlers?
This was her baby.
Fine, she thought. She'd just turn around and drive the other way and take a different road.
It just figured that somebody pulled in right behind her then. Sarah's eyes widened. What the frak? Did he not realize he was parking her in?
She grabbed her Smith & Wesson from the passenger seat and started to storm out and show Mr. Tool With the Hummer how much she did not appreciate power-players with gas-guzzling tanks (though she did value the Hummer's use in plowing through walls in order to kill skanks. If she couldn't get the good kind of plowing in, that kind would have to do, and if an armored Jeep wasn't available, a Hummer could work in a pinch).
Her cell phone rang. Sarah would have ignored it, but her beloved's face filled the screen. Sarah forgot all about Mr. Hummer Bastard and dived happily for the phone. "Chuck!"
She recognized that voice. In fact, it was the same one he used right before he was going to deliver bad news, like the government was sending him in to seduce some skank. Honestly. Why the hell did the government never learn? They had to have the world's longest learning curve about these things.
Maybe she should stop by the Pentagon, leave a few reminders.
"What is it?" she growled, not a bit unlike Casey. "Which skank do I have to kill now?"
"What?" Chuck actually sounded surprised, and not like he was faking it.
"They're sending you to go sleep with some whore again, aren't you? That's your 'Sarah, I've got kind of bad news' voice."
"What? No! No, not at all. They wouldn't do that, you know what happened the last time they tried—"
A brief, happy smile flitted over Sarah's face as she remembered. That had been a good day. The crime scene clean-up crew had earned their paychecks that day.
"—And it's you I love, you know that!"
"Good," Sarah said, her voice less of a growl. She twirled a lock of hair around her finger, suddenly coy. "And just what is it you love about me, Chuck?"
- O -
"Colonel Casey?" Intern Puck asked right as Agent Bartowski cleared his throat and hurried from the room, looking a bit more umber than he had a few seconds before.
Casey turned. The interns were getting younger and younger every year. It didn't help that, thanks to orders from the General to minimize damage, this year's crop of interns was required to have either curly hair (for the men) or red and blonde hair (for the women). In addition, Sarah had taken a keen involvement in the selection process. Effectively, there were a slew of mini-Chucks and Sarahs running around, and Intern Puck was the worst: he had shot up nearly a foot in height, despite being 22, over the first couple of weeks as an intern, so that none of his clothing fit well. Chuck had taken pity on him and thrown over a few Buy More nerd herd outfits. Puck's hair was a curly brown mop that had attacked his head. He'd had a last name the first day, but Sarah had taken one look at him and gleefully named him Intern Puck.
At this point, Casey wasn't even sure if the kid's name was actually Puck or not. He'd forgotten a long time before, and had stopped caring even before then.
"What is it?" he snapped now as he poured himself another three fingers of the Blue Label.
"Sir, I'm confused."
Casey bit his tongue over a "What else is new?" type question.
"Agent Walker is in Los Angeles, isn't she?" Puck fiddled nervously with the gray Buy More tie.
"What of it?"
"It's just that…sir, she's been in Los Angeles for years, according to her service record."
Casey frowned. "You read her service record?"
"Sir, it was required reading, assigned by yourself the first week of the internship." Puck's tone didn't quite outright say, "Perhaps if you quit drinking so much, you might remember that." But it certainly hinted at it.
Casey's frown deepened. "So, what of it?" he repeated.
"My question is, if she's been in Los Angeles for several years, why hasn't this…situation…occurred before?" Puck gestured one spindly hand toward the board. "Getting stuck in traffic is certainly not that unusual, as it happens to me on a daily basis."
"Son, let me tell you something." Casey slung a friendly mentoring arm over the intern's shoulders, and it may have been to keep him on his feet thanks to the generous depth of the Blue Label bottle. He ignored the freaked-out look Intern Puck gave the arm around his shoulders. "Let me tell you 'bout the Adorable Psycho."
"With all due respect, we were read into Operation Crazy-Legs the first day of work."
"No, no, no, that's all bureau—boo-row—boo-row-crack—"
"S'all bullshit, that's what it is."
"Er, sir, didn't you write the Operation Crazy-Legs briefing?"
"Quit changing the subject." Casey scowled and picked up his tumbler, still using the intern for balance. "Now, the Adorable Psycho, what she is, is she's a pain in my ass."
"Sir, shouldn't you lower your voice? Agent Walker might be—"
"But say what you will about her gluteus maximus agony-inflicting properties, one other thing she is, is good at what she does. Everything she does, Puck."
"Actually, sir, I've been wanting to talk to you about that. It's actually—"
"She can out-shoot Olympic medalists—even the redheads."
"I'm not sure what hair color has to do with—"
"Pick out lies better than some poncy British dude."
"Sir? I didn't know that the British are better lie-detect—"
"She flies planes, scales buildings, do better in Spanish 101 than a bunch of lovable ethnically-mixed misfits."
"I really don't—"
"But one thing the Adorable Psycho does not," Casey said, and pointed one wavering hand at the board. He followed the line of his outstretched finger with a wondering eye, as though he had never seen it before. After a minute, he remembered himself. "Does not do is get stuck in traffic!"
"Sir, perhaps, I'd better…" Cautiously, Intern Puck reached for the tumbler in Casey's hand.
The other man jerked it away. A sneer overtook his face. "Nobody takes Colonel Casey's alcohol. You can have my alcohol when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers."
Intern Puck found himself staring eyeball to eyeball with death. Understandably, he swallowed hard and said, "Yes, sir," in as meek a tone as he could manage.
"Oh, good, there's still some left." Chuck reappeared and snatched the tumbler from Casey's hand. He tossed down the contents and coughed a little. "Thanks, Case. I needed that. I had to promise an extra session every day next week—and two on Sundays—to keep her from shooting some dude with a Hummer."
"Extra session of what, sir?" Intern Puck asked, still holding the Colonel up.
Chuck gave him a strange look before he turned back to Casey. "Has he been read into Operation Crazy-Legs?"
"Oh, I see. Agent Valdemar, perhaps you could be more of assistance in the control room? Get in touch with LAPD and see how long the 405 will be backed up?"
"Yes, sir. Right away, sir." Intern Puck left Casey leaning a bit drunkenly against the conference table.
"They get younger every year," Chuck said.
"Damn hippies," Casey muttered, reaching for the bottle of Blue Label.
Chuck wisely pulled it out of his reach and instead set a glass of water on the table. Casey dutifully glared at it. "I need you sober for this, Casey. We've got a situation on our hands here."
"The only sit—sitch—sitch-u-ration—the only goddamned mess we've got on our hands is the one I'm going to spend the next week cleaning up." Casey picked up the glass of water, but only to hold it against his forehead while he cursed the so-called Ethics Committee.
"If we're proactive about this, there won't be a mess to clean up," Chuck insisted.
Casey stared at him. "Your optimism is touching, Bartowski."
"No, really, Casey. She's just stuck in traffic, it's not the sign of the apocalypse that you seem to think it is."
Casey stared for another minute. Then, without a word, crossed to the keyboard in front of the bay of monitors at the front of Castle. He began typing. A few seconds later, a full schematic and diagram of Sarah's Porsche Boxter filled every screen.
"That is the sign of apo—apock—the world fucking ending," Casey said, stabbing a finger at it.
"What? Sarah's car? Don't be ridiculous." Chuck laughed a little as he neared the monitors to read. After just a second, though, his laugh trailed off. The blood drained out of his face. "She really has dual flame-throwers installed on that thing?"
"With a thirty-foot radius on each."
"How does it fit? The car's so tiny!"
"Does it matter what the geeks at headquarters can do? What matters is that we've got an unhinged blonde with the attention span of a gerbil on speed sitting in the middle of a L.A. Rush Hour traffic jam with a hair-trigger and what is effectively a weapon of mass destruction." Casey punched a button and instantly, maps of the backed-up traffic, which extended for miles. "And all those sitting ducks." He paused. "Poor bastards. Hope their wills are up to date."
"I can fix this," Chuck said, his face still pale. "I'll offer her more sex, unlimited sex for a month, if I have to—"
"Yeah, that'll hold you out for, what, five minutes? Six, tops? You remember the Singapore incident, you know making promises can only distract her for so long."
"Casey, there's gotta be something we can do."
Casey stared at him for a moment, his head swimming just a little. He was able to hold his alcohol, but not a half-bottle of the good stuff chugged almost straight. He glared as he downed the glass of water. The nerd was right.
His head was already clearing a little when he burst into the control room of Castle. "All right, everybody, we've got a Code Crazy-Legs sit—sitch—thing going on here. I want a full tac team, combat gear—" Bartowski made a whimpering noise. "No live weapons, tranq darts only. I want each unit to have enough tranquilizers to drop a rhi—ryenoster—ryenosterust—elephant, and I want it yesterday."
"On it, sir!" the one Sarah had dubbed Intern Finn said.
"Get me every available chopper in the L.A. area," Casey barked at Intern Mercedes.
Intern Kurt was put on monitoring all police chatter. Intern Sue Sylvester was seeing about the possibility of borrowing the same California National Guard tank Sarah had almost destroyed in her attempt to get back at the FOX executives for cancelling Firefly (the gesture had been a Valentine's Day gift for her boyfriend, who said he appreciated it, even several years after the fact).
"You don't think the tank's a bit much?" Chuck asked in an undertone.
"Flamethrowers, Chuck. Dual flamethrowers."
"Maybe see if they have another tank available?"
The control room froze as Chuck's cell phone blared Any Way You Want It. He held up a needless hand for silence. "Yes, ah, sweetie?"
- O -
"I don't understand," Sarah said, her voice rising on the last syllable. "Why aren't the cars moving? You promised me they would move!"
"And they will. Soon. Very soon."
"I don't understand why we're stopped at all!"
"Unfortunately, it's part of living in a highly congested area like Los Angeles."
"But this has never happened to me." Sarah knew she was whining, but Diana Ross had gotten boring, and she just wanted to get home and jump on Chuck. Her Kama Sutra Position a Day email had arrived on her iPhone, and it just looked like fun. She wasn't sure Chuck's knees could actually bend that way, but she was willing to try.
And if they didn't, his knees weren't exactly the body part she wanted right now anyway.
"I know that, I do, really, Sarah." Chuck's voice, at least, was soothing. She liked his voice. She liked how fast he could talk when he was nervous—and he was nervous around her a lot, which was fine, because he tended to forget nervousness once she got his pants off—and how deep his voice could go when she did things like take off her shirt.
Thinking about that made her groan. "I don't want to be sitting in traffic! I want to get on with the plowin'!"
"And we will, soon. Very soon. Maybe you should stretch out and limber up so you're ready when you see me?"
"But you're at Castle," Sarah pouted. "Home sex is better than Castle sex."
"But I've cleaned out the west-entrance broom closet just for you. We won't even have a repeat of what happened with Intern Rachel because I had them replace the lock."
Sarah felt a small stab of guilt actually pierce through the bubble of happiness at hearing Chuck's voice. "Uh, right."
Instantly, the pause on the other end of the line turned suspicious. "What is it?" Chuck asked, and she imagined him standing there with his head slightly cocked, his eyes narrowed. Because it was her, he didn't have any clothes on.
Still, the guilt wouldn't let go. "Ah, Intern Rachel…in the interest of full disclosure, she didn't actually break into the closet and spy on us."
"What? I thought you said—"
"I know, I know. It's just…her blonde hair looked fake!"
"She was a natural blonde!"
"With brunette roots?"
"Exactly," Sarah said, suddenly vindicated. "You noticed the skank roots, too!"
In the background, she heard a distinctly Casey-like growl. "I warned her," the other agent muttered. "I warned her that she needed to get daily touch-ups."
"You can say all you want, but I still say she tripped and fell into that woodchipper on her own," Sarah said. "You could practically smell eau de skank every time she walked into the room. That's why I named her Rachel."
"I thought you liked Rachel Berry."
"She does have a certain…essence that I find oddly familiar." Sarah's face hardened. "But she's a skank! A brunette skank!"
As if there were any other kind than that. Except for the skanks that hit on her man. And the skanks who cut in front of her in line. And the ones that had caused this traffic back up. And the entire crew of Entertainment Tonight. And Walter Cronkite. And that one skank that had left a review on her latest chapter of her Sam fanfiction.
Outside of her beloved car, the traffic moved forward an inch. Sarah frowned, debating if she wanted to move that inch. Mr. Hummer Jerk, however, made the decision for her by laying on the horn. Loudly.
During her conversation with Chuck.
What was his problem?
"Hey, baby?" Sarah asked into the phone as she opened her glove box. "I'll just be a sec. Gotta see a man about a disembowelment."
She hung up on Chuck's "Wait a second, let's not be hasty here!" and pulled out the thirteen-inch cat-skinner she'd picked up at a weapons expo in Louisiana the year before.
"Oh yeah," she said, smiling at the wickedly sharp edge of the knife. "Mama's going fishing."
- O -
The instant Chuck lowered the cell phone, Casey's face took on the glassy-eyed look of panic that Chuck knew well by now. "What?" the other man asked. "She hasn't activated the—"
"No," Chuck said. "She specifically said disembowelment, so I think she's using the knife. It'll be messy, but it's not overly destructive."
"For Walker, a disembowelment doesn't necessarily mean she won't use the flamethrower. You remember the Crete incident."
Chuck grimaced. The Crete incident wasn't one he was likely to forget.
"She's only killed one person this week," he said distantly. "She's still under the limit."
"And if the situation were any less serious, I'd take comfort in the fact that we'd only be cleaning up two dead bodies instead of two hundred, but—"
"Yeah, yeah, lethal blonde with the attention span of a gerbil on speed. Heard you the first time." Chuck hit the side of his cell phone of his forehead a couple of times. "Think, Chuck, think!"
He didn't have time. The cell phone chirped out Journey again.
"Hey, sweetie," he said into the phone. "How's it going?" And how many, he thought, are dead now?
- O -
Sarah slammed the trunk lid shut, unable to stop smiling. "Chuck!" she cooed. "I feel so much better!"
"Are you…are you still…under your limit?"
"Yes, of course. Why wouldn't I be? It wasn't like there was more than one of him in the Hummer." Sarah idly flicked a bit of blood off of her hand. The sheer euphoria of killin' things was such a rush, almost as good as bein' plowed. "I respected your wishes and made it quick, don't worry."
"I know, isn't it? He didn't even scream much. I'm going to need a clean-up crew in the 405 Parking Lot. Don't worry, nobody saw me except some soccer mom, and she passed out."
"Oh, excellent." She heard Chuck cover the phone, for his voice sounded muted as he gave out orders to people in the background. "You don't happen to have a book on you or anything, do you? I just got off the phone with the LAPD and they say that the 405's a mess today."
"But I wanna plow!"
"I know, Sarah, I know. Just...keep it together a little longer? For me?"
"But I killed somebody and now I've got all this energy, and I wanna plow!"
"We're working as hard as we can to get the jam cleared up, I swear. It won't be long."
Abruptly, Sarah stopped paying attention to Chuck. It wasn't by choice; her Sarah-sense, which had three purposes (Chuck locating for the plowin', danger locating for the life-saving and killin', and finding good gelato for the hell of it), had started tingling. She turned her head, carefully studying her surroundings until she located the source.
"Uh, Chuck, you know how I'm still under my limit if it's self-defense?"
Instantly, Chuck's platitudes quieted. "Are you okay?"
"Oh, I'll be fine. But just remember, I'm still under my limit if it's self-defense." Sarah hung up without saying good-bye and tucked her cell phone into her pocket where it hopefully wouldn't get damaged. By the time the danger reached her, she was leaning against the closed lid of her trunk, a short-barreled shotgun in one hand and a tire iron in the other. "Boys," she said, nodding her head.
The leader of the approaching motorcycle gang squinted at her through red eyes. Coke addict, Sarah figured. "Word is, some woman's gone apeshit and gutted a guy in a Hummer on our freeway," the leader said, his eyes trailing down to the shotgun in Sarah's hand. "You wouldn't happen to know anything about that, would you?"
"Nope," Sarah said. "Perfectly sane here."
The people in the nearby cars were all piling out and fleeing, and their screams were a little annoying. She nearly started shooting just to shut them the hell up.
Instead, she just continued, "Except when it comes to plowin'. And, oh, of course, killin'."
And she swung the shotgun up.
- O -
"Shots fired on the 405! I repeat, shots fired on the 405!" Intern Kurt shouted, his voice breaking through the din in the control room.
Chuck ignored the sick swell of nausea. "Get me a satellite feed on that!" he ordered before Casey could. "Casey, ETA on that tac team?"
"Uh, boss, there's a problem with that," Intern Shaft said, but Intern Sue Sylvester waved frantically.
"Satellite's coming up on monitors A through D," she called, and a grainy satellite image filled the bay of monitors.
Every intern present and Chuck and Casey gaped for a full thirty seconds. Finally, Casey cleared his throat. "Intern Brittany, are you recording this?"
Intern Brittany, who had not only the highest SAT score among the interns, but who was also attending Harvard and was in line to be a Rhodes Scholar, confirmed that the satellite feed was indeed being recorded.
"Good. This will be your lesson in H2HC next week. And there will be a pop quiz."
Instantly, the eye of every intern turned toward the monitors, intending to memorize anything that might help him or her get ahead in the game. Chuck, meanwhile, just stared. He was used to seeing his girlfriend in action—you didn't date a killing machine without witnessing a few murders in progress—but it always sort of awe-inspiring to see just how agile and limber she could be. Not that she didn't give him a pretty up close and personal daily show—twice if they were lucky—but seeing it employed in such a lethal and terrifying way...well, it made the temperature in the room rise several degrees.
And heavens to Betsy, he really was becoming just as twisted as his girlfriend.
"Where is that tac team?" Casey roared next to Chuck, making the nerd jump. "I wanted them on site five minutes ago!"
"Sir, there's a major hostage situation down in San Bernadino," Intern Shaft said. "All available units have been on site there for two hours. There's no possible way they could mobilize units in time."
"Oh, frak San Bernadino! What about that tank, then?"
"FOX executives put a boot on it, sir."
"A boot?" Intern Sue Sylvester looked around at her fellow interns for support. "They put it on the wheel of your car to keep it from going anywhere until you've paid your ticket."
"Tanks don't have wheels!"
"Well, apparently they make boots for tanks, too."
Casey swore his opinion of that. On screen, Sarah used her knee, a tire that had been blown off of a minivan in the fight, and the side of an eighteen-wheeler to make sure one biker would never forget this day—or live to see another, really. Edgar Allan Poe would have been proud.
"Well, what about the chopper?"
"The chopper, sir?"
"The one I called for ten minutes ago! Where the hell is it?"
It took some scrambling on the interns' part, but finally somebody located the chopper. It wasn't being used in San Bernadino, and could be mobile in less than two minutes. Getting somebody with a tranq gun and enough tranquilizers to knock over a rhinoceros or an elephant would take a minute longer than that.
"You'd better hope they don't miss," Chuck murmured to Casey. "Or that chopper's gonna take out a lot of people when she shoots it down."
"It's time like these that I wonder why the hell anybody would sign off on a Predator SRAW for her," Casey grumbled, picking up the bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue and taking a swig.
Chuck snatched the bottle. "Hey! Hey! Sober! You're no good to me drunk!"
"Bartowski, I'm great to everyone no matter how I am. ETA on the chopper, people!"
"Sixty seconds, sir!"
"All right, here's your sitrep—in about thirty seconds, Agent Walker is going to drop the last of those bikers with an impressive bout of Teräs Käsi that will have even Neeja Halcyon himself weeping. She will then go back to the state that the Operation Crazy-Legs User's Manual refers to as 'needy.'"
Eighteen interns gasped as one.
"Yes, exactly," Casey said. "That is bad, people. It will be up to Agent Bartowski to distract the target until the chopper arrives on site, and then we will have a very, very narrow window with which our marksman can drop the target."
"Can we not use the term 'drop' when we talk about my girlfriend?" Chuck wondered.
Casey rounded on him. "Your girlfriend is currently sitting on top of not only a limited edition Predator SRAW rocket-launcher, but four pounds of military grade C-4, two high-powered flame-throwers, enough throwing stars to make Chuck Norris bow down and kiss the ground she walks on, thirteen knives, two Smith&Wessons, one M4, and since I know she's been raiding my stash here at Castle, my beer nuts."
"I'm sorry," Chuck said. "Two things. Why is that last one important?"
"Oh, right, I forgot about that. Yeah. And when you say limited edition, you mean…"
"It says 'Die, Skank, Die' on the nosecone," Intern Finn said. "I painted it on myself. What? She asked me to."
"Colonel Casey! Agent Bartowski! It's go-time."
As one, Casey and Chuck turned to face the monitor as Sarah swung for the fences with the tire iron—and hit a grand slam. "Ouch," Chuck said. Though there was no audio on the satellite feed, he swore he could hear the boom as the biker hit the pavement.
"All right, Bartowski," Casey said solemnly. "You're up."
"Wait, I have an idea." Chuck raised his iPhone and began to thumb the screen furiously.
"What are you doing, Bartowski?"
"Uh, what?" Casey asked as half of the interns snickered.
"Sexy texting," Intern Santana put in. "It's all the rage these days."
Instead of looking relieved, however, Casey's eyes widened. "Chuck, are you sure that's a good idea?"
Chuck looked up. "Why wouldn't it be?"
- O -
The biker hit the pavement with a noise that could be described as nothing but music to Sarah's ears. She'd never heard a skull crack precisely that way before, but it was close enough for government work. Whistling, she whipped her blood-cleanin' rag out of her back pocket and began to methodically wipe it down, removing all traces of the blood. And when that was done, she set the tire iron down and repeated the process with the butt of the shotgun. It hadn't been as fun as shooting the skinny guy with the pink Mohawk, but she would take a Barry Bonds Beatdown any day of the week.
Once she was done, she looked around her in satisfaction. Seven bikers lay, mostly whole, on the 405, which was burning hot even in the late hour. Sarah hadn't gotten blood on her second-favorite blouse, but it had been a near miss. But she had started to sweat a little, just a light schvitz that kind of made her action movie heroine perfect.
Now where the frigging hell was her leading man? Sarah cast aside the shotgun and did a three-sixty in place. She knew what this point in the movie of her life was supposed to be. She'd overcome unstoppable odds—well, as much as seven hurly bikers on steroids could be considered "unstoppable"—and now Chuck was supposed to sprint up from somewhere and kiss her desperately. The movies always faded to black at that point, but Sarah figured she could wait awhile until the credits rolled if it meant she actually got the plowing she figured happened during most movie credits (literally, during some of the movies Chuck had dragged her to see, but that was only if the theater emptied out. He could be such a girl about things like privacy).
Chuck did not come running up. In fact, there was nothing but her and a graveyard of abandoned cars, as most people had run away when she had pulled the shotgun from her trunk.
This was not how this was supposed to happen.
"Chuck?" she called, wondering if he was playing a game. "This is very cute and all, but it's time to plow now."
Her cell phone beeped. Puzzled—who would be calling her so close to plowing time?—Sarah pulled it out and looked at the read-out. A text message. From Chuck.
What are you wearing?
"What?" Sarah outright gaped at the cell phone. She had just downed a bevy of bikers, and Chuck wanted to sext? There was an extra letter in that word that Sarah didn't care for. Scowling, she tapped her thumbs a great deal harder against the screen than necessary in her reply.
- O -
It didn't take Chuck's cell phone long to beep a reply.
Just as Chuck reached to pick it up from the table (he had needed his hands to keep Casey from strangling Intern Puck), the lighting in Castle abruptly changed, plunging the room into the moody darkness of operational readiness.
A siren along the back wall began blaring loud enough that Chuck clapped his hands over his ears. "What is going on?" he shouted over the din.
"Something is very, very wrong!" Casey shouted back, lunging for the bottle of Johnnie Walker.
Chuck sacrificed his left eardrum to snatch the bottle away just in time. Casey gave him a desperate look and then pointed wordlessly at the far wall.
There was a large picture of Sarah on the wall, a picture that Chuck strangely had not noticed before. It was a professional agency picture; Sarah wore a business suit with an inappropriately short skirt and far too many buttons left undone on the blouse. Her hair looked cute. She'd worn it in ringlets that day. As Chuck watched, the picture went from a stern agent look to a mutinous frown.
Chuck knew that face. It was heading toward rage.
"Holy Ghostbusters Two," he breathed, and looked at the cell phone he had clapped to his ear in an attempt to block out the siren.
Sarah's reply awaited him on the homescreen:
How the woman managed to make a single word include every bit of her fury, Chuck didn't know, but he felt his knees begin to shake. "Casey," he said in a voice that didn't sound like his own, "I think you were right. I think sexting was a bad idea."
"Somebody shut the gorram siren off!"
"Just out of curiosity, but why do we have an emotion-changing picture of Sarah in Castle?" Chuck shouted over the siren.
"It's our Early Warning System!"
"We have an—" The siren mercifully died to a whimper and Chuck stopped shouting. "We have an Early Warning System? Why?"
Casey pointed. Chuck turned back to the satellite feed with a sense of horror. On the screen, the pixilated version of Sarah Walker, his girlfriend, had pulled the M4 out of the trunk.
Everybody in the room winced as one, though there was no audio, as the Sarah on screen began unloading magazines of rounds into the (thankfully abandoned) cars around the Porsche. It was hard to tell, but years of judging her body language in case of a meltdown made Chuck think that what he was seeing right now as pure fury. After a second, the Sarah on screen tossed down the gun and stalked back to the trunk of the Porsche.
Chuck could see that each car around the Porsche now bore the initials S.W. carved into it. With bullets. He swallowed hard and dialed Sarah's number.
On screen, they saw Sarah pull her phone from her pocket. Then she looked up, right at the satellite, and scowled. With exaggerated movements, she threw the cell phone in the air and flung the throwing star.
The throwing star pinned the phone to the side of the semi-trailer.
The room went silent. "Damn," one of the interns whispered in awe.
"What you are witnessing, plebes," Casey said, "is a full-on Adorable Psycho tantrum."
"Sir, I think she's going for the C-4," Intern Mercedes said, blanching.
"Shit, you're right. Get me an ETA on that chopper! We're going to have to resort to drastic measures, people!"
Chuck shook himself off and focused. "Dr-drastic measures, Casey?"
"Ket-ketamine? Isn't that a horse tranquilizer?"
"Your girlfriend is in the process of making L.A. traffic even worse than it already was," Casey said, stabbing an accusing finger at the screen where Sarah seemed to be singing to herself as she set blocks of C-4 around the highway. "Not many people can do that, but your girlfriend is one of them. And we can't let that happen. Beckman will have all of our asses if we let her go through with this."
"But horse tranquilizers?"
"You got a better idea? Because I'm willing to hear it!"
"Actually," Intern Other Asian said, speaking up for the first time since the crisis had started, "I have an idea."
Casey and Chuck swiveled to face the whitest intern of the bunch. "Yes?"
"We're between the chopper launch pad and the, ah, the—"
"Danger zone," Intern Kurt suggested.
"Thank you, Kenny Loggins. But we're between the chopper launch pad and meltdown ground zero. Why not simply have Agent Bartowski be picked up and flown out to Agent Walker? We all know about his…ah…calming affect on her."
Casey immediately scowled. "No. I can't do it, I won't sacrifice one of my best men that way."
"Aw, Casey, I mean that much to you?"
"Not you, numbnuts, the chopper pilot. If she's got that Predator…"
"She won't shoot if she knows it's me," Chuck said.
"Yeah, that's gonna be real comforting if she doesn't know it's you coming, and it's not like we can contact her with her going all Jet Li on her cell phone!"
"Your references are getting better, Casey," Chuck said.
"But that doesn't solve this dilemma! She'll shoot before we can get close enough for her to identify you."
"If I may, sir?" Intern Brittany stood up, a file folder clutched in her hand. "There is one way that Agent Walker would identify Agent Bartowski without fail. And it's fairly easy to accomplish."
"Well? Tell me what it is."
Intern Brittany laid out her plan. Chuck and Casey listened, their faces going through a myriad of emotion: disgust for one, shock and surprise for the other, keen suspicion, tentative hope, and finally satisfaction.
"I think that'll work," Casey said. "Get to it, Bartowski. The chopper will be here in sixty seconds. Don't forget the rope. Good luck, Chuck. Godspeed be with you, er, except where it matters."
"Oh, God," Chuck said, and hightailed it out of there, wondering how he could strip and run at the same time…
- O -
Sarah poked the tip of her tongue between her teeth, concentrating. Her brow furrowed in the expression that her boyfriend had always found adorable. Right now, however, he would have found it particularly terrifying, as Sarah was crouched over a detonator, carefully pulling a pin to arm it. She had the trigger stuck in her back pocket.
If Chuck wasn't around to give her the damned movie star kiss, well, she was going to blow the 405 Parking Lot sky-high, simply to show it who truly was boss. And the best part was that she would stay under her limit, as everybody in the area had already fled in terror.
Oh, yeah, this was one of her best plans yet.
"Stupid Chuck Bartowski," Sarah muttered, wishing she'd thought to stock up on more det cord before she'd left Castle that morning. Not only had it been several hours since she'd had a good plowing, but he wasn't here right now. And he wanted to sext?
She wanted her movie star kiss, damn it! Did he not understand that she needed him so bad? Did he not need her? Was he tired of her?
No. He couldn't be tired of her. He'd wanted to sext ten minutes ago, hadn't he? Sarah looked at the cell phone shish-kabobed to the semi-trailer in annoyance. Damn it, now she kind of wanted to sext. Maybe Chuck had gotten held up in traffic or something.
She stood up and surveyed her handiwork, nodding when the detonator looked good. Just one more to set, and then she could head off and get to a safe distance. She'd be sad to be giving up her baby, but she had three more in the garage back behind her apartment, and the cupholders in this Porsche had always been a little wonky anyway.
When she heard the helicopter thunder through the air, her reaction was instantaneous. She whirled, her familiar S&W in hand. Her mind instantly categorized every weak point in the chopper's infrastructure, but she would probably need more than her trusty gun for that. With a scowl, she trotted over to the trunk yet again and dug through the stockpile in the back.
"Time for you to meet the Skank-Ya-Later," she said, lifting the Predator onto her shoulder. She looked through the scope to get a good read on the helicopter.
Something light blue fluttered in the wind.
At first, she thought she was imagining it, but Sarah checked in the scope. Definitely not her imagination. She frowned and dropped the predator to pick up the high-powered scope she'd bought at the same weapons expo as her new cat-skinner. She peered through, eyebrows low over her eyes…
Her heart skipped a joyous beat.
Boxer shorts! On a rope!
She'd know those boxers anywhere.
Chuck was finally here!
Overjoyed, Sarah tossed the scope aside and began jumping up and down, waving her arms. Chuck had arrived, and if she read his signal correctly, he wasn't wearing any underpants! How did he always seem to know just what she wanted?
She had to wait impatiently for the helicopter to lower a rope ladder, and for Chuck to scramble down in his cute-yet-ungainly manner. The instant his chucks touched the ground, she launched herself at him, wrapping her legs around his waist. He caught her easily, the way she had trained him.
"You're here!" she said, bouncing a little in her excitement.
"Of course I am. Like I would miss a promised plowing session." He grinned at her before he dipped her—just like the old Hollywood stars!—and gave her a long and proper movie star kiss that had her toes curling inside their combat boots. He tried to pull back, but Sarah just kept a grip on his shoulders, drawing out the kiss until they were both panting. "Uh, not that I'm strictly above voyeurism when I know it's just your video camera and Thursday, but I'm pretty sure there are eighteen interns watching us on a satellite feed right now, so maybe we should find somewhere a little more private?"
"Oh, you prude." Sarah laughed as she began to unbutton his shirt. "Seeing a couple of experts go at it would do nothing but good for those kids."
"Sarah…" Chuck looked pained. He glanced around and spotted her car. "Why not the Porsche? We've almost got the logistics figured out, and I don't mind that cramp in my neck or the Charley Horse."
"I've got a better idea," Sarah said, putting her feet on the ground and grabbing Chuck's hand. She started to pull him away.
He stopped short when he saw her target. "Sarah, I don't know how I feel about…"
"C'mon, there's a lot more room in here. And I'll…" Sarah grabbed Chuck's tie and yanked him close to whisper in his ear. As she expected, Chuck went bright red and made that adorable "Hi-yo!" noise. He then almost beat her into the backseat of the Hummer.
Sarah took a second to look around at the decimated cars, discarded weaponry, and half-set explosives all around them before she dived on top of Chuck in the backseat of Mr. Hummer Jerk's car.
Getting stuck in traffic wasn't so bad after all.
A/N the Second: No, I don't know where that came from, I swear. mxpw calls it the most psychotic version of the Adorable Psycho, and I'm kind of inclined to agree. I don't own Glee, either, by the way. Or Ghostbusters. Or Star Wars. Or Barry Bonds.
Hope you didn't hate it.