A/N: So...some words...this is the last chapter...in this chapter?...yes I'm gonna come back to this world...I kinda like the characters and their interactions...in fact, I had so much fun that I painted myself into a bitch of a corner...but, never fear...I have an amazing way back out...I think...we'll see...thanks to everyone who hung in there...and to those who didn't finish the ride, thanks for the inspiration...33 chapters?...man...never expected it ...thanks for the push, Jim...now I'm addicted and people have to suffer the horrible butchering of the english language...not to mention what I'm sure are a butt load of grammatical errors...next?...more swimmer, cause it's fun...and then... Chuck Vs The Return From Walkabout...good title?...well, give me your ideas...in your review...see how i did that...no overt begging for your adoration...or contempt...just your honest opinion. JT
If you hadn't figured it out by now...this whole thing was beta-less...what, you're surprised...please, put down those magic markers...I think the fumes are getting to you. Oh, another admission...I don't own Chuck or any off the characters if that universe...I do own a couple of the characters here...no, I'm not bragging...hell, borrow any of them you want...just please, don't write any of them into GLEE...thanks.
Chuck Vs. The Walkabout Chapter 33
The setting sun set the horizon ablaze with countless beautiful colors and the late afternoon shadows had stretched all the way onto the porch, just light touching the swing hanging there. Sarah was almost sitting in Chuck's lap and her warm breath against his neck filled him with a sense of completeness that he had never felt before in his life. Glancing down he found his wife staring back at him, a small smile of contentment on her face.
"Dinner?" Chuck asked, not wanting to break their embrace but acutely aware of the hunger his rumbling stomach was advertising.
Sarah smiled at him as she gently rubbed his mid-section. "I'd better feed you, otherwise you won't have the energy you're going to need later."
"Plans, Mrs. Bartowski?" he asked while giving her the eyebrow dance.
"Why yes, Mr. Bartowski" she replied, giving her own version of the eyebrow dance. "So, what would you like for dinner?"
"I was thinking about ordering something to go from Bill and Don…that way we can hang out here, with everyone, and talk about what everyone's plans are."
"Alright…let's check with and make sure that no one has any plans."
"You know" she said as she tilted her head back, "we could just start our honeymoon right now."
"Nope" he answered with a smile as he got slowly to his feet.
"And why not?" Sarah replied, taking Chuck's offered hand and standing up next to him.
"Well, you did say something about food so you'll have to feed me first" he said before leaning down and placing a gentle kiss on her forehead. "Then , we're gonna all have a little talk about what's ahead you can do with me as you will." he answered before taking Sarah's hand and leading her towards the front door. Hand in hand, they walked into the house and soon stood in the doorway of the large dining room.
"Hey…it's the newlyweds" Ginger announced with a smile, being the first of the four people at the table to notice them standing there. "So…what's the verdict?"
"Well…first things first…Does anyone have plans for dinner?…No?…Ok…Sarah and I are gonna order some take out from 'The Heap'. After we've all had something to eat, we want to talk with all of you about what's ahead." Chuck finished while Sarah had her phone out, already dialing.
Almost two hours later, Ginger, with some help from Orion, had cleared all evidence of the fantastic meal from the table. Everyone had eaten in silence, their eyes rarely leaving their plates. Even the usually boisterous Carina had remained silent and stolen glances at Chuck and Sarah, wondering what the couple had planned.
After Ginger and Orion had retuned to their seat at the table, Chuck cleared his throat and then glanced at everyone seated around him, finally looking gazes with his dad. Everyone watched the silent battle of wills and, surprisingly, Orion blinked first after which he looked down at the notepad he had brought with him. Chuck then shifted his gaze to Ginger before speaking.
"Alright 'G'…I don't know how much Casey has told you…but if you're gonna stay, you need to know that what we're about to talk about could change your life…forever." Chuck shook his head. "Sorry…that sounded really melodramatic, didn't it?"
"And now…" Carina intoned in a surprisingly deep voice, "..it's time for another episode of 'As Chuck's World Turns'."
Chuck watched as Ginger and Casey exchanged looks and was shocked when Colonel John Casey smiled…a little. He looked to his side, wondering if Sarah had witnessed the same thing he had. The smile on her faced answered the un-asked question…they had both seen evidence that Ginger seemed to be having a humanizing effect on Casey.
Alright…first things first. Sarah and I are going to take a month long 'working' honeymoon" Chuck paused to turn and share a smile with his wife before continuing, "once we get back…well, that's when dad is gonna load the Intersect back into here" he finished as he tapped his head with a finger.
"Actually" Orion said with a cough, "I'll just be re-activating and updating the existing Intersect…"
"WHAT?" both Chuck and Sarah blurted out, almost at the exact same time.
"Dad…I thought you said that you removed it? What the hell do you mean, exactly, by 're-activating' and 'updating'?"
Orion took several deep breaths and then cleared his throat. "Well…the human brain can be 'loaded' and 'updated' but…you can't remove information…it can forgotten or…suppressed. Since I didn't know what kind of crap was contained in that Fulcrum download, I wrote a program that suppressed anything that wasn't naturally occurring information. Basically, what you experienced at the drive-in was an elaborate 'off' switch."
Dad…are you telling me that the Intersect is still there…that shit is still in my head…you just turned it off…like flicking a light switch?"
"Not exactly, Charles. There was no 'flicking'. The suppression program was incredibly difficult to write…and risky…"
"Risky?" Sarah asked in a quiet and barely controlled voice. "Risky how, exactly?"
"Well…uh…there was a fifty/fifty chance that the program may have suppressed…um…everything."
Chuck caught Sarah before she could grab Orion's throat…just barely. She had been half-way across the table before Chuck had been able to wrap his arms around her waist. Pulling her back and into his lap, he struggled to hold onto the force of nature that was an angry Sarah.
"You took a fifty/fifty chance on killing your own son? What the fuck?" she hissed, still struggling against Chuck's hold.
"Well…it was more like fifty seven/ forty three.." Orion said and then quickly leaned back as Sarah lunged at him again. "…Agent Walker…"
"It's Bartowski now…dad" she countered, the sarcasm almost dripping off her use of the word 'dad'.
"…ok, Sarah…what do you think Fulcrum would have done with him…after you and Colonel Casey allowed him to be captured?…well?…I tell you. After passing him off to this Ring group, he would've been forced to give up any knowledge he had…most likely through the use of torture. Do you think that would have been better than the risk I took? Yes, I knew it was a risk and I took it…and I'd take it again!" he yelled across the table.
Chuck was struggling once again to hold onto his wife. "Sarah…" he whispered into her ear, "…please, just let it go…"
"But Chuck, you could've…"
"But I didn't. I'm here…you're here…please, just let it go…please…for me….for us" he pleaded.
"Chuck, he took that risk once…are you gonna let him take it again?" Sarah asked, having turned around in Chuck's arms to face him.
Orion cleared his throat. "No…no I'm not ! All of my latest research will let me re-activate and update the Intersect with almost no risk to Charles."
The tension that Chuck had felt slip away from the woman seated in his lap suddenly returned and he prepared himself to restrain his wife…again. Before Sarah had a chance to call Orion on his use of the phrase, 'almost no risk', a new voice joined the conversation.
Um…guys…sorry for interrupting this 'family feud' but, what exactly is an 'Intersect'? Ginger asked, a confused look on her face. "It sure sounds important and John's told me a little but I would really like to know more. Since you opened the door and invited me in, how about walking me through…please?"
"Yes…that sound like a great idea" Carina added. "I could use some more info as well. So, how about it Chuckles…you wanna fill me in?" she added with a teasing tone in her voice.
Sarah's attention shifted from her father-in-law to her old friend, re-focusing her glare. Casey smiled and snickered which earned him a shoulder slap and a frown from the redhead seated next to him. Orion also shifted his attention to Carina and almost jumped out of his chair when he felt her hand come to rest on his thigh and give it a quick squeeze. The saucy wink that accompanied the thigh grab left Orion blushing while Sarah and Chuck exchanged shocked glances.
"Carina…what the hell?" Sarah asked, ready to say more before she was interrupted by the sound of laughter that caused her to freeze. She slowly turned her attention to Ginger, finding that everyone else had turned their attention to her as well. "Ginger? Did I miss something?"
"Sarah…" Ginger answered, trying to stop her laughter, "…Carina just flirted with Chuck…and his dad…in less than thirty seconds."
"And?" Sarah asked, confused.
"And I wondered if being cute and irresistible was in the Bartowski genes…"
"And?" Sarah asked again, still confused.
"And then I pictured Carina volunteering to check their jeans…J E A N S" she spelled out before falling back into her giggles.
After a few moments, Chuck felt the tension melt away from his bride, followed by a snort which was promptly followed by a matching snort from Carina.
"Yeah…she would have." Sarah said with a smile.
"Oh yeah…I definitely would have" Carina agreed with a nod of her head, "well, maybe not Chuckles…after all, he just got married…but poppa B…oh yeah, I would."
The rest of the table chuckled except for Orion who's blush was actually deepening, due to Carina's hand which was still on his thigh and slowly moving upwards.
"If you don't mind, miss." Orion said with a slight hitch in his voice. He glanced down at Carina's hand and than back to her face.
"Oh, trust me…I don't mind at all" she answered with another wink before she made a show of removing her hand. Looking around the table, Carina paused and then delivered her verdict. "Tension…broken. Now, how about that story, Chuckles?"
"Dad…you wanna start?"
"Charles, why don't you get it started…it really is your story. I'm going to go get myself a beer." he said as he got to his feet. "Anyone else?" he asked and after a quick hand count, he headed out to the kitchen…blissfully unaware of the pair of eyes that followed him as he walked away.
Almost two hours later the story of the Intersect was brought up to date. Ginger had found it almost unbelievable and if anyone besides Chuck had told her, she would have called them crazy. Carina had listened in silence, nodding her head when parts of the story matched her own limited knowledge. Catching Sarah yawning for the third time, Chuck suggested that they all call it a night after promising everyone waffles in the morning.
"C'mon, wife o' mine" he whispered into Sarah's ear, "time to get you to bed" he added as he lifted her into his arms. "We'll see you all in the morning" he added back over his shoulder as he carried his bride towards their room.
"Anyone up for some cards?" Carina asked, seemingly a fresh as she had been hours before.
"No thanks" Ginger answered for herself and Casey, both of them already making their exit.
"Well, poppa B…I guess it's just you and me" she said with a smile.
"I guess a few hands of poker would be fun" Orion answered.
"Strip poker?" Carina immediately asked.
"Uh…well, how about bridge?"
"UH…how about gin rummy?"
"Is that the only kind of cards you play?" Orion asked, not really wanting an answer.
"Well…it makes the games more fun, don't you agree?"
"How about solitaire?" he asked, sure he had her now.
"Sure…let me guess…one of us plays with themselves and the other strips?"
"What?" he responded, the blush back again. "How about a board game…I think I saw some in the entertainment room."
"Sure…how about strip candy land…or strip monopoly…or strip checkers…that way we get to jump each other while we strip…no?…well, I guess we could play strip chess but that might take all night…which I'm not opposed to, now that I think about it…"
"Young lady…if you're trying to get me flustered…consider the job done."
"I wasn't trying to get you flustered" a suddenly serious Carina answered. "I was just trying to get you to smile. You Bartowskis have the best smiles…they just creep up on a girl and leave her feeling better about herself."
Orion's blush returned, joined by his first honest smile of the night. Before he could act, Carina was on her feet and had placed a gentle kiss on his forehead.
"Goodnight, poppa B…see you in the morning" Carina said with a smile, her first completely honest one of the night. After taking a few steps away, she paused and looked back over her shoulder. "I'll leave my door unlocked…just in case you think of a game we can play."
"Miss Hansen…" he started before noticing the twinkle in her eyes.
"Oh…you're so much fun…and I thought Chuck was an easy guy to make blush…this is going to be so much fun…goodnight, poppa B. See you for waffles."
Before he could think of an answer, Carina was out of sight…but definitely not out of mind. Gathering up the last few empty bottles, he wandered into the kitchen and after giving it a quick once over, turned out the lights and headed off to bed.
Breakfast the next morning turned out to be a crowded affair. As soon as Chuck started his first batch of waffles, every guest staying in Gary's house began appearing, almost everyone looking hung over and hungry. Within minutes, he had to press Sarah into service, not letting her cook but finding other chores for her. Soon she had all sorts of diced fruit piled into bowls and after a panicked Chuck agreed, she started making toast for anyone who asked.
Chuck lost track of time and when he finally paused, he looked up and saw his father standing in the doorway, a small smile on his face. Moments later, Orion almost dropped his glass of orange juice when someone grabbed his ass. Turning around, he clucked his tongue in disapproval when he found Carina smiling at him. Chuck just shook his head and turned back to his waffle iron, nearly dropping his spatula moments later when someone grabbed his ass. Wondering how Carina had gotten across the kitchen so fast, he turned around, ready to ask her to stop before Sarah got upset when he found a pair of twinkling blue eyes that belonged to his wife.
"Sarah?" Chuck asked, a smile suddenly replacing the scowl he had ready for Carina.
"What? Did you think I'd miss out on the Bartowski morning 'ass grab'?" she asked with a smile before leaning in for a quick kiss.
"You saw that, did you? What's Carina up to?"
"Honestly Chuck? I don't think she's up to anything. She's just having fun…like she always does…and that's the first time I've ever seen a smile on your dad's face that actually made it to his eyes…I wouldn't worry about it…they're just having fun…no matter how much your dad may blush and protest, he's smiling."
"You know what? You're right." he said before stealing a kiss. "Now, what would you like in your waffles, wife o' mine?"
"Blueberries and chocolate chips?"
"Coming right up…uh, looks like you've got more toast to burn."
"Chuck…I have not burned any toast…" she stopped talking when Chuck leaned down for another kiss and then went back to the toaster, a huge smile on her face.
Within an hour, most of the house guests had wandered off, pleasantly full of waffles. Gary had stuck around long enough to wish every one leaving that a day a safe journey. Walking into the kitchen he gave Sarah a quick hug and kiss on the cheek before urging her to keep an eye on Chuck on their honeymoon, telling her that too much work wouldn't be any fun at all. Sarah agreed and thanked him for all he had done for them. Turning away, Gary extended his hand to Chuck and then pulled him into a loose hug. Stepping quickly back, he smiled and then handed Chuck an envelope, making him promise not to open it until the hit their first rest stop. After offering his thanks for all of the hard work, he turned away and made his way out of the kitchen, stopping whenever necessary to offer a handshake or a hug. Chuck and Sarah exchanged glances while Chuck slid the envelope into a inside pocket in his jacket.
It was a little after noon when Chuck and Sarah finally made their way to their bikes, ready to hit the road for their thirty day honeymoon. Casey walked up to them, an odd look on his face. Reaching out his hand, he passed his phone to Chuck telling him that someone wanted to talk to him.
"Hello, this is Chuck…well, hello general…yes, we did…thank you…yes, we're very happy…no we won't reconsider…we're taking thirty days…no negotiation…all right…thanks again…yes, we'll see you then, goodbye." Chuck handed the phone back and offered a hand. "Thanks Casey…for everything. We'll see you soon." After a quick handshake and a hug from Ginger, Chuck and Sarah both started their bikes and after a quick wave, headed out for their honeymoon.
As the couple pulled away, Carina walked over to where Orion was busy stowing his gear into his saddle bags. Resisting her urges, Carina simply tapped on his shoulder and waited for him to turn around.
"I almost grabbed a handful" she said with a smile, "but I figured we would have the whole trip for that, right?"
"Whole trip?…what trip are you talking about, Miss Hansen?"
"Why, the trip back to Burbank" Carina answered as if it was perfectly obvious.
"Well, I just thought you give a girl a ride if she asked really nice…so, how about it?"
"What about your bike…is it broken down?"
"Well…it's not really mine…I sorta borrowed it from this guy I met in Daytona…and he wants it back…turns out that Gary knows the guy…he explained everything and promised to get the bike back to him so…well, gonna help a girl out?"
"I'm sorry Miss Hansen…I'm already packed and ready to leave and you probably have lots to pack…"
"Nope…already packed" she said with a smile as she turned around to model the back-pack she had hanging on her shoulders. Turning back around she smiled and then winked. "Were you just looking at my ass?" she said and laughed at the blush the crept up his neck.
"Was I what…no, of course not…I would never…I…"
"Oh come on, poppa B, I was just teasing. Of course we'll have to figure out where you can put your hands when I've got control…don't worry…I'm sure you won't try to cop a feel…right?" Carina laughed as she swung a leg over the bike and turned the key. "Well, get on…I'll take the first shift…now…about your hands…"
"Miss Hansen…" Orion sputtered out, completely confused and beet red.
"It's Carina…not Miss Hansen…now get on…and hold on…this is gonna be so much fun…well, get on, poppa B…many miles to go before we get there."
"Um…get where?" Orion asked as he climbed onto the back of his own bike, still not sure what was happening.
"The next spot where I can grab your ass!" she said with a laugh before kicking the bike over. "Hold on tight, we're outta here."
Casey and Ginger watched as Orion and Carina rode out of the yard, the sound of Carina's laugh drifting back to them over the sound of the engine as she gunned the old bike out towards the road. Exchanging looks, they both turned around to find the rest of their small group loaded up and ready to ride for Rockport. Before he could climb onto his bike his cel-phone rang. Glancing down he cringed, wondering what fresh hell was in store for him.
"Yes General…yes, they're on the road…yeah, Orion's on the road as well…how did you know he had company?…you what?…you know he's gonna be pissed when he finds out…she what?…what?…why?…you gave her the assignment because she asked for it, saying she thought it would be fun…well, you're right, it should be fun to watch…yes ma'am…yes, we should be back in Echo Park within the week…yes I said we…yes ma'am…I'll brief you then." Casey thumbed the disconnect and slid the phone into his pocket before walking back to his bike. Pausing a moment, he pulled Ginger into a hug and just as quickly released when her dad barked at him. Turning around he found Jim laughing while the rest of the group tried to look like they didn't want to join in.
"Hey G…tell your dad to leave me alone before I have to shoot him." Casey said with a huge smile, the sight of which would have probably traumatized anyone who knew him before he'd met the school teacher…and probably any small child, whether they knew him or not.
"Well, things just got more interesting. Carina is now poppa B's bodyguard, I can't wait until he hears that…he's gonna have a cow. Well, let's get going. I told the general we'd be in Echo Park within a week."
Casey was the last on his bike but everyone waited patiently, ready for the long trip ahead of them. Gary watched as the last of the strange little group that seemed to have adopted Chuck…each one in a different way...pulled out of his yard and headed out towards the road. Giving a final wave, Gary wandered back into his house, wondering what Chuck and Sarah would make of his gift. He was sure they'd call as soon as they opened the envelope and he was really looking forward to that call.
It had been thirty two days since Chuck and Sarah headed off for their honeymoon. A few days of bad weather had extended the trip and General Diane Beckman was not very happy. Going over the files on her desk, she looked up when Stephen Bartowski wandered into her office…un-announced…as had become his habit since he found out that she had assigned him a bodyguard…without consulting him. A few moments later Agent Carina Hansen followed him in, quickly making herself comfortable on the couch.
"Orion…Agent Hansen…too what do I owe this pleasure?"
"Diane, I just talked to Charles. He and Agent walker just got back into town…if all goes as planned, we'll be ready to go tomorrow morning."
"About damn time…"
"I'm not going to apologize. The Ring is getting bolder and we need your son if we are going to have a chance of winning this fight. Make sure everything is ready…I'll be there in the morning…is there something else?"
"No Diane…nothing else…I just thought I'd stand here until you asked that very question…I guess I'll be on my way…Miss Hansen…lets go see the newlyweds."
General Diane Beckman watched the two biggest pains in her ass walk out of her office…secretly thrilled that she'd have her new toy tomorrow morning. She hadn't been exaggerating , the Ring had become very bold and she needed the Intersect…new, improved and back where it seemed to belong…in the brain of a young man she just couldn't figure out…no matter how hard she tried.
It was a little after eight am when Chuck and Sarah Bartowski walked into the Intersect control room. The first thing Chuck noticed was the chair that was the center of the room. Looking like a very high-tech dentist's chair, he took note of the leg and arm restraints. A little worried, he looked to his father who smiled before explaining that the straps were only for safety.
"Well…no time like the present" Chuck said to no one in particular.
"Chuck…you don't have to do this…" Sarah said, standing at his side with her hand wrapped tightly in his.
"Yeah…I do. You know that. I love you." he said as he pulled her into a hug. "Dad says everything is ready so lets get this done so we can go out for dinner…ok?"
Sarah simply nodded, unsure if she could trust her voice to not crack. Releasing the hug, she stepped back and watched as the lab assistants strapped Chuck into the chair.
"Hey…this is sorta comfy…maybe we should get one" he said to his wife, a smile on his face.
Sarah returned the smile and then rushed over to place a tender kiss on forehead of the love of her life. Turning around, she followed the techs out of the room, joining her father-in-law in the observation room. Glancing behind her, she saw Carina offer a smile before she turned back to watch the procedure. On the other side of Orion, General Diane Beckman was waiting…very patiently…for the birth of her new Intersect. Looking towards Chuck, Sarah watched as a monitor descended from the ceiling, pausing just a few feet above his head.
"Are you ready Charles?"
"Yeah dad…let's do this." Chuck answered just before the monitor came to life. The sudden barrage of images caught him by surprise. He waited for a feeling…any feeling…but none seemed to be coming. He lost all sense of time and suddenly the images stopped and the monitor began to rise back towards the ceiling. "Well, that wasn't so bad." Chuck said and then everything faded to black. It only seemed like moments ahd passed but when Chuck opened his eyes, he reeled in confusion. He was standing in front of an odd looking podium in a white room. His knees felt weak and he seemed to have trouble getting his eyes to focus. Struggling to straighten his legs, he looked to his left and was shocked to see Bryce Larkin. Slumped against the wall, a pool of blood growing around him.
"What the hell?" Chuck mumbled to himself, confused. The sound of an opening door caught his attention and five armed men rushed into the room, spreading out to surround him.
"What did you do?" one of them yelled at him. "What did you do?" he repeated, his gun just one of five pointed at him.
Glancing back to the wall, he noticed Sarah and Casey standing there and boy, did his wife look upset. Looking back around he noticed that the observation window was gone…and so was the monitor in the ceiling…and so was the comfy chair.
'What the hell is going on here?' he asked himself, shaking his head in an attempt to clear his head as the men surrounding him started to move closer. Their guns not wavering a bit. 'Oh crap!' Chuck thought just before the flash hit.
A/N: Again: That's it...so, what do you think?...hit the bar...right below this...I'll be hitting the other one...excuse me miss, one Jaegermeister...on second thought, better make that four...thanks. JT