A.N. This one is a little different for me. I had the idea, and it wouldn't go away. As far as I can see, this should only be two chapters or so.

Chuck vs Glimpses of the real Sam

I don't own Chuck et al.

AU. No intentional relation or cross-over the TV programme "The Dollhouse."

Warning: Nudity and sexual themes.

August 2010.

"Chuck! Where's Chuck?" she wailed. "Chuuuu-uuuuck! I want Chuck!"

Chuck saw she was badly distressed. She'd been crying. He left the surveillance room for her cell. He tapped in the access code, the door hissed aside, and he stepped inside. The lights came up to half level automatically.

"Shh, it's all right, I'm here now."

She was sitting up in the bed. She threw her arms out to him like a child. The bed sheet had fallen away, exposing her breasts, and her slim frame. She snuffled, and wiped her nose unselfconsciously on one forearm before holding her arms out for him again.

Chuck sat on the bed close to her, and she wrapped her arms around him instantly, burying her face into his neck. "Shhh, I'm here Sam, I'm here. It's all right now" he told her, as he rocked the beautiful blonde girl gently back and forth. His left hand cradling the back of her head, his right stroking her back. Calming her. 'What happened?"

"I had a bad dream" she whimpered to him. "I was … people were hurt."

"Shhh, it's just a dream" he lied to her. "Just a dream. You're a good girl, Sam. I know you'd never hurt anybody. You're a good girl….." the mantra just needed to run its course.

It took a few minutes to calm her down. She was getting worse. It hurt Chuck to lie to her, to hurt her, even if she didn't really know it. God, he hoped this would end for her soon. He continued to rock her, until he felt her relax. He pulled back a bit to make contact with her amazingly blue eyes. He straightened some loose hair from her face. "Are you all better now?"

"Better" she said shyly. Chuck moved to get up. Her grip tightened. "No. Stay, please? Stay with me all night. You keep the dreams away."

"OK Sam, I just need to let them know where I am, OK?"

"OK" she agreed, lying back into her bed. Her sheet still pooled around her thighs. She watched him the whole time as he went to the intercom and reported to control he would be in her cell for the rest of the night.

"No clothes!" she pouted as he headed back to her.

"No clothes" he agreed.

Chuck took his sneakers, jeans and tee off (kept his boxers on) and after lowering the lights, he climbed into her bed. As he lay on his back she rolled over to him, one arm across his chest, her right leg wrapping around his, and she lay her head contentedly on his shoulder.

"Chuck?" she whispered to his ear after a few moments.


"You like me, right?"

"Sam? You're amazing. Of course I like you. I …"

"Good" she wriggled closer, tightening her grip with her thighs "'Cause I really like you, Chuck. A lot."

"I know, Sam. I like you a lot too. Now get some sleep."

"….K" her reply turned into a snoring purr.

Circa 2007.

Three years ago, for reasons he never fully understood, he'd been unceremoniously kicked out of Stanford. For nearly three years he'd hidden in the Buy More. Just existing. Morgan was happy, he was with his bestest buddy again. But Chuck got stuck in the rut.

It was Ellie, his sister, who got him out. Fed up with him moping around the house, she dragged him to the hospital one day and physically sat him in his new chair and told him he was now working in the computer department for the hospital.

Ellie was right. Naturally.

He found his mojo. Well, more than Buymoria had to offer anyway.

He was good at what he did. The staff and nurses loved him. And to his own surprise, he found himself going on a date or two soon after. About six months after starting at Westside, he was working on the LAN for the small psych ward that was affiliated with a larger dedicated psychiatric hospital.

He saw Bryce.

The bastard who'd gotten him kicked out of Stanford.

The staff were having trouble controlling him, he was refusing his injection. Chuck tried to stay out of the way, he wasn't comfortable seeing Bryce like this. The shell that was left wasn't the friend he'd known. Or the asshole who'd betrayed him. Chuck could almost hear his shoulder angel (who, in this case, sounded a lot like Ellie) hoping it was his guilty conscience.

Bryce saw Chuck, and changed instantly. "Chuck!" he cried gladly. "I know a secret" he told Chuck conspiratively "and I saved you from project Om… Omm Omaha."

"Bryce? What are you …"

The two attendants had guns in their hands, pointed at Bryce and Chuck.

They sounded like the silencers they used on TV when they fired.

August 2010.

When he came awake, he realised she was massaging his fingers into her groin. Her breathing was ragged, and she was thoroughly aroused by the feel, and scent. Without warning, she suddenly arched her back against him, and then convulsed as the waves of orgasm rode though her.

"Chuck…" she breathed. God, it was one of the most erotic sounds he'd ever heard.

"Sam, you know we can't."

"…. I really like you. I want to…."

He was able to retrieve his hand (it took three goes. Not all of them Sam's fault) and kissed the back of her neck "You know I want to too, Sam. But we've spoken about this, we need to wait until you get out of here."

She turned around to face him. Her eyes bore into him, her pupils dilated and distant, her lips were bright red and he could feel the heat emanating from her. She moved her hands to his groin.

"Chuck…" she breathed, as her hands found their target. She closed her eyes and had a dreamy look while she tightened her grip. It took all of his self-control to move her hands.

God, right now, all he wanted to hold her tight, kiss her like the world would end in a moment, and…..

But she wasn't Sarah.

Not the woman he loved.

(But she was here, now. She wanted him, and he wanted, oh God he wanted ….But she wasn't…. she's almost Sarah…..)

Damn-it. He'd get reassigned if he wasn't careful. He didn't want to, but to keep Sam safe, he'd have to.

Circa 2007.

When he came to, Chuck found himself in the hospital. It looked like he was in the same ward he'd found Bryce. And he'd been strapped down. With a splitting headache. Duntish, was how he felt. After a moment, he found his voice.

"Wh…. What's going on? Why am I …"

A man came into the room, dressed like one of the attendants who'd shot him.

Shot him. He'd been shot. They…

"They shot me! What the smeg is going on here?"

Lab coat guy referred to his clip board "Tranquilised, Mister Bart…..Bartowski. Have you ever heard the name Ryan Anderson?"

"Why am I tied up here, I work in this hospi….."

"Charles, may I call you Charles? This is important Charles. Do you know Ryan Anderson?"

"….who? No. Why am I…."

"You're sure? Ryan Anderson? No? How about Bryce Larkin?"

"….. Bryce, yeah I know him. We were in college together. Why is Bryce here….."

Lab coat guy made some notes on his clip board. Distractedly, he said "Charles, we will get through this a lot quicker if you just answer my questions. When, we're done, I'll try to answer what I can of yours, OK? So, that would have been 2001 or so, right? Ah, you were the room-mate."

Lab coat guy brushed all of Chuck's questions aside, and kept on boring in. The questions were about Bryce. If he was disappointed that Chuck knew nothing of Bryce after 2003, he hid it.

Chuck began to suspect that Bryce wasn't an accountant after all. The line of questioning hinted at a more …. exotic line of work.

Lab coat guy left without answering any question of Chuck's.

Chuck had no idea of the time, or how long he waited. Hours, for sure.

This time, the man stepping through the door wore a suit. "My name is Wilkins. Bryce tells me you prefer Chuck to Charles."

"Look, what is going on here?"

"Chuck, in our line of work, we don't like coincidences. And it looks like that's what all of this is. You've probably figured out that Bryce isn't a banker. He works for the government. He works for me. Well, my boss actually."

Bryce was a spy. Bryce Larkin from Connecticut was a spy. They were vague, but it sounded like he'd been a spy since Chuck had known him.

The rest was pure cyber-punk.

"Well, the gentleman responsible for the breakthrough was a fan of ah…. Gibson. We call them 'microsofts.' Not to be confused with a certain very large company. Like the book, you plug in a skill set, and the agent has all the knowledge needed for a specific mission. After de-brief, un-plug them, and, well they become child-like."

"So when you're done with him, he stays a … a grown up child?"

"No, Chuck. Despite what you see in the movies, the agencies look after their agents. It cost a lot to train, and, well I hesitate to say 'make' them, but…. look, we look after them. This, this is special though. They volunteered. When they are finished their contracts, they are returned to normal, and have earned the money they'll get. But, as you saw, a physically adult child can be …. problematic when they don't want to cooperate."

"So, I just sign an agreement, and you'll let me…."

Suit guy – Wilkins – smiled. Not a friendly sort of smile.

"You've presented us with a rare opportunity, Mister Bartowski. When they are…unloaded, we need to look after them. It's not an easy job. You really need to connect with them. Get them to trust you. And, being….the people who they are, trust isn't easy to come by. You already have an advantage over Bryce's current handler. He knows you. He trusts you."

"Hey, wait a minut….."

"Congratulations Mister Bartowski. You just got drafted."

The rest of the handlers called it 'the dollhouse' after some show on TV Chuck had never seen. Bryce's handler, the one Chuck was replacing, trained him. Zoe liked Bryce. You had to, to do this job. The facility was in the hills, using an exclusive re-hab as a front.

There was a definite limit to the time the agent could be 'plugged in.' More than twelve hours, and the mission microsoft began to break down. That was why Bryce was in the psych ward at Westside. He'd needed extraction, and was close to, if not over, his limit.

Zoe was great. A pretty brunette, about 5 foot 4. Funny, smart. Perfect girl for Bryce. So, no changes there. Bryce always got the great…..

Zoe explained it "The unplugged agent usually develops feelings for the handler. I mean you're a combined parent, best friend and nurse. You worked in a hospital before, right? How often do patients fall in love with nurses?"

"I've seen it happen"

"Well, it's worse here. And not always one way either. Bryce is great, I'd have loved to know him before….."

"Yeah, I think you would have. He's….."

"I heard. But when the agent is loaded, well, Agent And-er-son is …. Um a little full of himse….. what?

"Sorry, 'And-er-son.' Did Bryce choose that?"

She smiled a little. "It's the Matrix thing, isn't it?"

"We watched that. A lot. 'Guns, lots of guns.'" Chuck did a very poor imitation of Neo. "Sorry, didn't mean to interrupt."

"I just don't know if I can stand the Anderson side of him… Anyway, you'll probably never need the cold spoon. I think you're safe from that side of Bryce."

Chuck's eyebrows shot into his hairline.

At first, Bryce liked having Chuck around. It was the toilet, and shower that got to Chuck. The cell was a decent sized box. One pneumatically controlled door. A bed. The toilet and shower were open to the cell. There was a couch and large flat screen TV, the movies were stored elsewhere, played on demand.

Bryce's movie choices hadn't really changed. More animations than before, but only if you knew the old Bryce. Chuck got to learn both Toy Stories off by heart (mind you, he was pretty close to that point to begin with).

The first time Chuck saw agent Anderson (And-er-son), it was….. well, he'd been briefed. It was …different.

The techs, and the doctor spent hours working on the upload. The base Anderson was the beginning, then the mission parameters were set.

While Chuck was computer savvy, this was way outside the box. The only thing he related to was that they used a computer. They might as well have been using Loa, or casting spells.

The microsoft was plugged into a socket hidden under a dust cover implanted in the mastoid process, behind the (in Bryce's case, left) ear.

A look of incomprehension, and then total awareness. Or more than total, if that was possible. He locked eyes on Chuck "I know you, Cha….Chuck, right?" Anderson blinked a little during the stammer.

"….uh, yeah. B….Ryan, I help out around here." Chuck didn't know what to say.

Anderson ignored him from then on.

When the mission was over, Chuck saw Bryce return with the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen in his life. Tall, blonde, athletic. It was her eyes that captured him. Blue, but 'blue' didn't begin to describe …... She measured him in a heartbeat that measured what felt like a lifetime. She held eye contact with him for longer than he expected.

"That's Walker. Something else, isn't she?" said one of the other handlers.

Chuck eventually closed his mouth. Eventually he went to help Bryce return to himself.

After a month as a handler, Chuck was sent off shore with a mission. He'd progressed to monitor from a van by this stage. The vast majority of what a mission entailed was mindless tedium. Interspersed with 'turn your blood to ice' terror.

It was while they were in France, he encountered Agent Walker again. Chuck discovered that she was Bryce's preferred partner. Chuck found out why. At the ball, they just waltzed. But the way they waltzed, made this the most … it was the sexiest thing Chuck had witnessed. God help him if they'd danced a tango…

Some months later, in Bogota, Chuck saw the two of them in a fight against superior numbers. The way they moved, reminded Chuck of the waltz in some embassy ballroom.

Normally handlers were the opposite sex of the Agent. Not always, but mostly. Chuck and Bryce were probably the only hetero pairing in the dollhouse.

Agent/Handler sex wasn't exactly frowned on by the powers that be. But at the same time, it was not exactly condoned. It was a complicated, grey area.

And that was what drove Bryce and Chuck apart. Bryce was frustrated, and the entire dollhouse knew why. It became almost impossible to control him. Worse, it began to effect missions.

Chuck asked for, and was given reassignment. After a few weeks, Chuck was assigned to Kitty Miller.

Kitty was really nice. Almost as tall and lanky as he was. Somehow 'lanky' wasn't quite the right word for Kitty. Slim. Gorgeous. Redhead. Probably would have been a supermodel in another lifetime.

This time, Chuck enjoyed helping out in the shower….

Kitty was a nice girl. Chuck wished he could have known her before…this.

August / September 2010.

She'd had another bad dream. But they knew it was coming. Chuck hated it when Sarah went on a seduction. It was Sam who suffered.

Chuck hadn't even thought of leaving her, and lay with her when she went to sleep.

Aside from when she had her periods, this was the only time Chuck dressed Sam for bed. Clothing helped. Sometimes. It was a mental barrier to the outside world. Cotton armour.

Normally, Sam had something like an aversion to clothing.

She wasn't dangerous, but she could flail about when the nightmare hit. This was the only time Sam didn't like being touched. The best thing to do was protect yourself, and try to calm her.

It was then she clung to him tightly. Sobs wracking her body. Wait for it to pass. Hot chocolate was the best he could do.

Circa 2008.

Kitty was a sweet girl. She was a dream to look after. She did everything you asked her to do. She trusted Chuck. Her previous handler, Nate, had been a mistake, and she became withdrawn.

Carina, on the other hand… a handful. Sexy, but a handful.

She was a nightmare to observe. She'd improvise on the spur of the moment. The techs were frustrated by that, but they couldn't stop it. No one knew how it could happen. The microsoft was supposed to correct behaviour like that. Some sort of 'bleed through' from base personality was a commonly heard phrase.

Chuck wasn't sure about that. From what he'd seen, Kitty's base personality was nice. Cute and funny. She was like a trusting kid sister. A kid sister that was the almost the same age and height as he was.

Her previous handler, Nate, didn't work here anymore. The rumour was, he'd tried to rape Kitty. Maybe the Carina persona had misled him.

December 2009.

Chuck inherited Sam/Sarah after the death of Bryce.

The death of Bryce had hit the dollhouse circuit hard. Chuck missed his once hated friend. He and Carina were in the Caribbean when it happened. He never found out the whole story. Something important (but it was always something 'important,' wasn't it?) was missing, and Bryce was dead.

About a month later Sarah and her handler, Adam were in the same dollhouse as Chuck and Kitty. It was the first time Sarah ever spoke to Chuck. Both Agents were coming in at the same time. She stopped him with a hand on his chest.

"You're Chuck, right?"

Chuck nodded. Interaction with someone else's Agent was rare. He didn't know what to say.

"Agent Anderson was your friend. An old friend."

"….Um, yes. I knew him from ….before."

"Do you miss him?" she could have been discussing the weather. There was little emotion.

"Yeah, there's a lot I wanted to say, or ask him. And now…."

"I envy you that. I wish I could miss him….. It's like I miss him, and I don't at the same time. Something's missing….."

Adam led her away for debrief. Later in the watch house, he told Chuck that Bryce's death had hit her very hard. Her unplugged persona was becoming difficult. If she didn't get better, he'd get reassigned.

The two teams were in the same dollhouse for some weeks. Carina and Sarah worked well together. They'd apparently known each other … before. Carina kept everyone on their toes. She'd tried to tease Chuck about Sarah.

They had three missions during that time. Chuck later found out it was a seduction that set Sam off.

Adam had set off his alert, and was protecting himself using the toilet for what cover it could provide. He was lucky it was Sam that was screaming and swinging wildly at him. An Agent would have killed him.

Chuck checked briefly on Kitty. She was a good girl. Chuck raced for Sam's cell. Chuck preferred not to use a tranq gun. Agents, even unplugged, didn't like that shape being pointed at them.

"Sam? It's Chuck" he announced as calmly as he could. "Sam, can I talk to you for a moment?"

He stepped away from the door, and kept his distance. It was the tone that was important. "Sam? Can you look at me please? Sam? I think Adam needs to …"

She stopped, and turned to Chuck. She didn't look beautiful at the moment. Naked, red eyed and her hair was messy and tangled. It was her expression that made her ugly. "Sam, can you come over here, please?" would be the bravest thing he'd ever say.

"You're Chuck. You're Bryce's best friend." She moved a little towards him.

And then she began to cry, and fell in a heap to the floor.

Something made Chuck grab the sheet from the bed, and wrapped it around the crying girl. He nodded to Adam that it was clear.

She shied at his touch, and then held the sheet tighter. Chuck got down to her level. She looked into his eyes for a long moment, and threw her arms around him. And cried. Just cried.

For almost half an hour, he held her. When he sat on the floor, she climbed into his lap, and clung to him. He just made soothing noises, and rocked her. She wouldn't let him leave. They spent their first night together without saying a real word at all. She needed him to be there. Just to be there.

She was taken of the mission lists for two days. When he got back from checking in on Kitty, it was apparent his absence had distressed Sam.

And so that was how Charles Irving Bartowski (of the Encino Bartowski's) became Sarah Walker's handler.