A/N: So here we are at the start of my first multi-chapter fic. This whole fanfiction writing thing seems to be morphing from a fluke into a habit... I never realized I'd get such a kick out of writing these characters! A HUGE thanks goes out to NMH for being a fantastic beta and an even lovelier person who somehow deems me worthy of her awesomely entertaining messages week in and week out. I can't imagine writing this story without all the help she's provided! Definitely go check out her excellent fics if you haven't already—they are well worth a read :)
This story is set in Season 2, pre-Colonel, when there was lots of delicious sexual tension between Chuck and Sarah, but Sarah was still rather conflicted. I hope you enjoy it, and please let me know what you think!
Disclaimer: I don't own Chuck or its characters. This is just for fun, and I'm not making any kind of profit—please don't sue.
Shots rang out in the darkness of night, breaking the blanket of silence draped over the suburban house. Inside, a woman scrambled to the room where her child lay sleeping, her heart pounding wildly.
"Mark? Terrance?" the mother called out to the guards stationed to protect the house.
She froze, straining to hear an answer, but none came. Terror condensed her thoughts into short gasps of action: run, hide, act, NOW. Making comforting sounds to the child in her arms as she ran, she skidded across the hardwood floors, her toes fumbling for grip in her slippery socks. Reaching the main bedroom, she raced past her husband and threw open the doors to the closet, placing the child as far back into the corner as she could manage.
"Everything's going to be okay," she soothed as she held his chubby little face in her hands. "Stay here baby, not matter what, until the police come. Mommy loves you, always. Just stay hidden, okay baby?"
He nodded, clearly not understanding what was happening but seemingly responding to the desperation in her plea to stay.
"I love you so much. Never forget that," she choked out, a lump catching in her throat. She needed to stay strong. With one last caress of his cheek and kiss to his forehead, she shut the closet doors and turned to her husband. Their eyes locked as she approached his position in front of the bed, a small handgun trembling in his grip. He looked over at the closet and nodded in silent assent.
Abruptly, the door ripped open and guns thrust into the room, quickly followed by men clad entirely in black.
"On your knees! Hands up!"
The wife quickly complied even as her husband attempted to hold his hand steady, his handgun dwarfed by the automatic weapons. Quickly and efficiently, his gun was knocked away as if it was nothing more than a toy, and the man was forced to the ground with his wife.
Muzzles pressed roughly to the napes of their necks.
"Anything you want! Anything! Just please don't hurt us!" the husband cried.
The voice that spoke was cold and emotionless, speaking just a hair too slowly to be conversational. "Give us the plans for the bioweapon, and perhaps you will live."
The woman's eyes filled with tears as she forced herself not to look in the direction of the closet, not to draw attention to the room's smallest occupant, obscured from sight. She willed him to be silent and stay hidden among the shoes and sweaters.
"The pla-plans are on my computer, but you need my pa-password to access the files." The husband stumbled over his words, clumsy in his rush to force them through his lips. "I'll, I'll give it to you! It's D41141425W. Just please, please…" His voice broke, his plea unfinished.
The largest man by the door, the one who had spoken, directed another man to obtain the documents. A tenuous silence filled the room as the husband and wife quivered, the adrenaline that coursed through their bodies the only thing holding them up on their knees.
"Got it boss."
"Move out." The men filed out of the room, leaving only the largest in the doorway. The couple sagged in relief when he turned to walk away.
"Thank you," the woman murmured.
The man looked back down at them, at their expressions of relief, and raised his weapon.
Two shots rang out.
Two bodies slumped lifelessly to the ground.
Two foreheads dripped blood, marred by jagged holes.
Through the slots in the closet door, two wide little eyes watched the scene, trembling. The little boy put his hands over his head and curled into a ball, slowly rocking as silence descended on the house once again.
"Major Casey, Agent Walker," the General's voice rang out.
Sarah quickly lifted her head up from the paperwork she was completing late at night in Castle. Effortlessly, her back straightened and her features schooled into agent mode, any surprise she felt at the late hour of this communication efficiently masked. Casey walked into the room from the armory, his expression equally blank.
"The silent alarm has been activated at one of our safe houses outside of Los Angeles, and as of this moment we've lost all communication with the agents stationed there," the General began without preamble. "The asset residing at the safe house has been developing plans for a bioweapon, and we have reason to believe the plans have been compromised. I've assumed control of the operation from the L.A. field office, and I need you to assemble a team immediately to assess the situation. We cannot have this information falling into the wrong hands."
Sarah nodded briefly in acknowledgement as the General continued. "I've sent you the relevant information and specs of the safe house. Take the Intersect. See if he can flash on anything pertinent. We need to know how this breach occurred and who is responsible. Time is of the essence." The screen turned black once again.
"Go wake the moron, Walker. I'll gather the team and firepower."
Sarah rolled her eyes as she quickly stepped into a cell to change. Of course Casey would choose to gather the weapons; no surprise there. She grabbed a vest for Chuck and hurried up the stairs, barely glancing at her phone as she pressed his speed dial on her way to the car.
"Mmmm…Sarah?" Chuck's groggy voice came across the line.
"We have a mission, Chuck. Time to wake up. I'll be right over."
Sarah ducked through the Morgan door to find Chuck standing next to his bed, looking indecisive and rumpled with sleep.
"Is it actually necessary to change out of my pajamas if I'm just going to stay in the van?"
Sarah flicked her eyes down to rest on his pants, finding them covered in light sabers and Yoda, and wanting to sigh that she could now identify those images so easily. She shot Chuck an incredulous look.
"Okay, okay!" His hands pulled up defensively. "Just thought I'd ask," he mumbled, as he pulled on less conspicuous clothing.
Sarah handed him the vest. "Hurry up. I'll explain what's going on in the car."
The van pulled up at the safe house, an identical black van coming to a stop just behind it. The house seemed dark and quiet, peaceful even, under the night sky.
"Maybe it was a false alarm," Chuck mused as he ducked his head to peer out of the window. "Doesn't look like anything is disturbed from here."
Sarah took a moment to turn and study him, marveling at his innocence while his face was looking out at the house. Chuck turned back towards her and started to smile softly. She quickly looked down under the guise of adjusting her earpiece.
"Appearances can be deceiving, Chuck."
She refused to look at him, cursing herself for letting him catch her with that look of wonder and caring on her face, obviously directed towards him. She needed to steady her footing before she slid all the way down that slippery slope. With a deep breath and a mental slap, she raised her head, no longer Sarah but Agent Walker, and the moment she had allowed her face and heart to soften was long gone.
"Surround the house and survey the damage." Agent Walker ordered through the comm. link. "Be alert for the possibility of remaining infiltrators." The van doors opened, synchronized agents falling into formation.
Agent Walker turned to Chuck before she exited herself. "Chuck, stay in th—"
"Yeah, yeah, I know the drill. Get out there already." Chuck rolled his eyes and turned back towards the monitors.
The agents moved through the house, methodically checking and clearing rooms. "I've got two bodies down," Casey barked into the comm. link as he entered the master bedroom, moving to check the pulse of the fallen individuals. Agent Walker stood with gun poised as two agents pulled open the closet doors and pointed their guns inside.
Among the boxes, clothes, and shoes scattered on the floor of the closet she spotted a shock of blonde hair glinting in the darkness. Stunned, she identified a little boy tucked in the corner, his brown eyes huge in his face, full of pure fear, his breathing fast and shallow as his body shook.
"Guns down!" Agent Walker ordered as she shoved her own in the back of her waistband. She moved towards the little figure, who was curled into a ball, holding his knees. As she moved closer, his eyes grew impossibly wider, and his head started to shake back and forth, tears welling in his eyes.
Agent Walker knelt to seem less imposing and consciously injected warmth and caring into her tone. "Hi there. It's okay. You're safe now." At her words, the little boy stopped rocking but made no move to come any closer. "I'm Agent…" her voice trailed off as she realized her status would mean nothing to the small child. She tilted her head and softened her demeanor even further. "I'm Sarah." She pointed at herself. "I'm here to help you and keep you safe. I'm…uh…I'm the police."
The little boy's head snapped up, focusing his wide eyes on her, and she reached out her hand. "It's okay," she coaxed, holding both her arms out now, palms tilted upwards as she nodded at him reassuringly. His stubby legs ran to her, and he crashed into her chest, crying. He buried his little head in her neck and clung to her. Sarah blinked in surprise, hesitantly reaching an arm out to pat his back despite feeling terribly uncomfortable.
"It's okay," she whispered awkwardly as his tears wet her shirt.
Her agent instincts automatically assessed the child—quickly checking for any injuries, observing his young age, and detachedly evaluating his desperate emotional state. He didn't appear to be in any physical distress, but he was clearly emotionally shaken. Underneath her agent mask, Sarah's heart broke for the scared and grieving child, and she picked him up as she stood. He clung to her tighter, even as his sobs began to subside into little hiccups.
Sarah's attention was startled from the little boy in her arms when Casey spoke.
"Chuck, can you confirm the identity of the asset?" Casey pointed the small camera pinned to his gear towards the faces of the bodies.
She heard Chuck cough, and his voice came cracking over the comm. "Oh, gross. Thanks for preparing me for that one, Casey."
"ID confirmed. That's the asset, and the woman is his wife. FYI guys, the file says they also have a three-year-old son, Danny."
Sarah looked down at the child in her arms, disbelief about the situation coursing through her. "Yeah, we found him," she breathed into the comm. link.