Author's Note: This is my first fanfic on this site. Please be gentle. Or not. All reviews are appreciated.
I don't own Chuck. But I do own a life-size cardboard cutout of Elvis, resplendent in his black leather outfit worn in his 1968 Christmas "Comeback" TV special, which was procured from a liquor store in Vegas. Truly.
This story takes place after "Chuck vs. The Family Volkoff" 4.20.
Chapter 1: 616.6922
They both leaned forward, their elbows on the Nerd Herd desk, he on the inside of the circular desk, she on the outside. Their heads were inches apart as they both stared down at the iPhone held in Chuck's hand. When he was this close to her, her scent intoxicated him and he could barely string two thoughts together. Her shoulder brushed against his…
"I don't care what Groupon has available today, Chuck. I'm not eating lunch at Lou's Deli."
The edge in her voice snapped him back to reality. "But Sarah, this isn't Lou's Deli, L-O-U, this is Lew, L-E-W. It's a completely different place."
"I don't care if it's spelled L-I-E-U or even L-O-O, for that matter, I'm not eating anywhere that sounds like Lou's Deli." As if to ensure that he completely understood her meaning, he received a withering glare from her blue eyes. He gulped. Her eyes softened, but a glint remained when she dropped her voice and said, "Besides. I had my heart set on going to In-n-Out today. You know how I like my Double-Doubles," she leaned in to him, her lips brushed against his ear as she whispered, "Animal Style."
Chuck felt his knees grow weak and nearly fell to the floor. "You do like your pickles," he managed to reply huskily as he caught the wicked grin on her face.
At that moment, they both heard someone clear their throat in front of the Nerd Herd desk. Both Chuck and Sarah stood straight up and turned toward the sound. Standing there was a petite woman holding a laptop in her hands. "I'm sorry. I hope I didn't interrupt, but I was hoping the Nerd Herd could help me."
Chuck smiled at the customer, but thought to himself, "Oh, crap! Oh, crap! Trouble!" Chuck cut a look toward Sarah. She had risen to her full, intimidating height, her arms crossed in front of her, her eyes hooded. Chuck saw Sarah assess the current "threat" who stood before her. Two dangerous seconds passed before a smile broke out on Sarah's face. Chuck chanced another cautious glance Sarah's way and was relieved to see the smile reached Sarah's eyes. Her arms were still folded across her chest, but she was clearly more relaxed, leaning her hip against the desk. Chuck let out the breath he hadn't realized he had been holding. During Sarah's "threat assessment," Casey had silently positioned himself behind the Nerd Herd desk, ready to move in if the situation warranted. Chuck turned his head slightly toward Casey, gave a slight nod and a small smile which indicated that everything was okay. Casey raised his chin slightly to show Chuck he received his "all clear" signal. Casey then lowered his chin and looked pointedly at Chuck as if to say, "Don't let your guard down."
"I'm sorry," Sarah said, as she smiled at the customer. "My fiancé and I were just discussing where we should go for lunch." At this, Chuck took a second to ascertain Sarah's quick acceptance of this customer. Petite, 5 foot 2 inches at the most. Petite was usually bad. Early 40's, wearing jeans, white trainers and a blue t-shirt that said, "Librarian by Day, Deadly Ninja by Night" in big black letters. Huh. Shoulder length blonde hair. He knew Sarah was usually suspicious of blondes because they were just brunettes trying to trick her. When he saw a few gray hairs sprinkled amongst the blonde, he realized she was a natural blonde. He let out another quiet sigh of relief.
"Fiancé, huh? I was hoping you were more than a just customer to him," the customer answered with a smile. "If he had to give all his customers that kind of customer service, it could get awkward for everyone."
At that, Sarah nodded and chuckled, "Yeah, it sure would," cutting a sideways smile at Chuck.
"And congratulations on your engagement. May you have a lifetime of happiness," the customer said with nod.
"Thank you," Chuck and Sarah replied in unison as Chuck put his hand on Sarah's back. "Now, what can I do for you?"
"Well, I have this PC laptop that is really slow and takes forever to start up. Seriously, I can turn this thing on, watch an episode of Top Gear and it might be done booting by the time the boys make their way across Botswana. My husband said you might have a utility disk you could run to get rid of some of the useless junk in the startup files. And I hope you don't have any questions for me because I memorized what I was supposed to say to you. My computer knowledge is thus at an end," she said with a bow.
Chuck smiled and said, "Well, I think I can help you out with no additional information needed from you. It will take about 15 minutes to run the utility. I have some time to do it before lunch," this was said more as a question aimed at Sarah than a statement. When Sarah nodded back to him, Chuck continued. "So you can leave it and come back later or you could just wait around while I work on it."
"Oh, I've got time. I'll wait. My husband loves gadgets, so maybe I'll wander around and try to find something to give him for our anniversary coming up in a couple of months." She handed the computer over the desk to Chuck, who turned in on. After what seemed like forever, the blank screens and spinning blue Tron disk finally gave way to the desktop screen.
"Man, you weren't kidding. This thing really needs some help."
"Well, sir. That's why I'm here." She hesitated for a moment and then said with a slight smile, "I hope you don't mind, but I couldn't help but overhear some of your conversation about where you two should go for lunch. I've got agree with your fiancé here," glancing at his badge, "Chuck. I wouldn't want to eat at L-O-O's Deli either. Gross."
Sarah smirked and shot a "Ha! See I told you so" look at Chuck who shrugged and smiled while he inserted the disk into the drive of the customer's computer. The customer was about to move away from the desk when another Nerd Herder moved in next to her. Chuck saw her glance to her right to see a rather disheveled looking Herder with crazy blond hair staring at the words on her chest.
"How may I service you?" Jeff asked with a leer.
"Uh, Jeff, I got this…" Chuck started.
"I saw your shirt. Are you really a librarian?" Jeff droned.
"Um. Yeah," the customer answered cautiously.
"Cool. Is it true that 'Librarians do it by the book?'" Jeff asked with a smirk on his face.
By now, both Sarah and Casey were beginning to move toward Jeff, ready to hustle him away before he could send the librarian screaming from the Buy More.
But to everyone's surprise, the customer smiled sweetly and leaned a little closer to Jeff. "You know, Jeff," flicking an amused look toward Sarah and Chuck, "you'd be surprised at what I can do with a roll of book tape, a kick-stool and a due date stamp."
At that, Casey, Chuck and Sarah's eyes grew wide. They stood there, rooted to the floor. Chuck saw that Jeff's brain had completely seized up; his eyes bulged and his jaw was slack.
The customer continued in a low, sultry voice. "Do you have a library card, Jeff? You should. Everyone should have a library card. Libraries can be really fun. You can learn all kinds of stuff there. I'll tell you what. Go to the nearest library and wait for me there. Burbank has to have a library, right? Meet me in the stacks in the Dewey Decimal number section 616.6922. Make sure you ask a reference librarian to show you where that section is. Tell them those books reflect the real you." As she said this, she smiled wickedly, grabbed Jeff's hand with her left hand and a Sharpie pen from his shirt's pocket protector with her right. She wrote the Dewey number on the palm of his hand, dropped it and put the pen back in his pocket. By now, Jeff's "partner in crime" Lester had seen another human being actually touched Jeff and wanted to get in on whatever was happening.
"So, Jeffrey. What have we here? Ah, a purveyor of knowledge. A kindly yet… wicked ninja-librarian," Lester smarmed as he approached the two. "What is it you two are discussing?"
The customer winked at Lester and said, "Oh, just about books that reflect what kind of men you and Jeff really are. We're going to meet at the library and take a look at them together. You can come, too. There's enough book tape for everyone. Now you two run along. Don't be late!" She winked again, spun them so they faced the front entrance of the Buy More and gave them both a shove in their backs. The actual touch of another human being made them feel like they had been branded through their shirts. They ran out the door as they shouted to each other, "Where's the closest library?"
As the two Nerd Herders sprinted away, the customer turned back around toward Chuck and Sarah with a grin on her face. "Well, that was fun!" Chuck and Sarah continued to stand rooted in place with a look of shock on their faces. Casey grunted his approval and wore an admiring smirk on his face. "What?" she asked.
"How…how…how did you do that? You're not really going to…" Chuck stammered and pointed at the front entrance.
"Ha!" the customer nearly snorted. "Ew! Gross. No. I used to work in a public library. Those two are nothing compared to what I've had to deal with before. Librarians have to be quick on their feet and ready for any situation!"
"I'll say. That was most impressive. You really are quite ninja-like," Sarah laughed.
"Well, I don't know about that. Like I said, not my first time dealing with stuff like that. Now, no offense to your co-workers, but I really feel the need to wash my hands. Could you point me towards…" She had her hands out and had a questioning look on her face.
"Oh! Sure. Right. The restrooms are right over there," Chuck pointed.
"Okay, I'll be back in a few," she said over her shoulder as she walked toward the restroom.
Chuck, Sarah and Casey continued to stare at each other, dumbfounded at what they had just seen. It took them all a couple of minutes to shake themselves from their stupor.
"Well, I don't know about you," Chuck said, "but my attitude about librarians has changed."
Casey nodded and said, "I'm going to make sure my library books get returned in time. I don't want her coming after me with overdue charges." Sarah's eyebrows shot up as she looked at Casey. "What? Like the woman said, 'Everyone should have a library card.' Besides, I like to read a little Clancy every now and then."
"Ah, Clancy. I bet you're a Robert Ludlum fan, too," the customer said as she walked up. "I wonder if being a spy is really as ninja as Ludlum makes the Bourne stories to be."
The three real life spies laughed nervously and Sarah said, "No, it's probably all just fiction."
The customer narrowed her eyes for a split second and then the smile returned. "I'm sorry," she addressed Sarah. "I can get everyone else's names from their nametags, but haven't gotten yours. I assume you don't work here. For one thing, you are too nicely dressed. My name is Jen. Now that my hands are clean, I don't mind offering you a handshake," she put hand out toward Sarah.
"Hi, Jen. It's a pleasure to meet you. I'm Sarah," she said as she shook Jen's hand warmly.
Jen's eyes lit up when she heard the name. "That's my daughter's name! I love that name! It means 'princess' in Hebrew, you know."
Sarah smiled shyly as she said, "Yeah, I've heard that. Chuck told me that some time ago," looking over at Chuck.
"I'll bet he did. Points for you, Chuck," Jen smiled. "I hope my Sarah will grow up to be a gorgeous as you. She just started high school and is in kind of an awkward stage."
Chuck saw Sarah wince. He knew she was thinking of her own awkward years in high school. Sarah said, "Been there, done that. Tell her it will get better."
"Thanks, I will."
Chuck cleared his throat and said, "Well, your computer is all set. It should boot up faster now. If there are any questions or problems, please don't hesitate to come back. Just make sure I'm at the desk and not Jeff or Lester."
"No kidding. Oh, and I found something for my husband for our anniversary. He's wanted to get the original Tron on DVD for the longest time and I see that it finally came out." She handed the DVD to Chuck.
"An excellent choice!" Chuck said with a grin. "One of my personal all time favorites." Sarah could only roll her eyes.
Jen paid for the computer service and the DVD. She retrieved her computer and the DVD in the yellow and green Buy More bag and turned to leave. Sarah said, "I just have to ask. What does the Dewey Decimal number that you wrote on Jeff's hand mean? The one you told him to be sure to tell the reference librarian reflected the real him?"
"Oh, that!" A look of mischief crossed her face as she said, "Yeah. Um, those are all the books on erectile dysfunction."