A/N: In "Chuck vs. the CAT Squad," Sarah's car exploded. Then, a few episodes later, she had a new car. This story explores how I think Sarah ended up with that new car.
This story started as a one shot, but as the gang all had to put their two cents in as to what Sarah should buy, it's a little longer. This begins at the end of "Chuck vs. the CAT Squad" (ep. 4.15).
No offense is intended if any of the characters in this story don't embrace a particular car you may like or own. Just chalk it up to Sarah being particularly picky when it comes to her car.
Disclaimer: I don't own Chuck. I don't work for any car companies. I don't work for the BBC or Top Gear (although that would be ripping good fun). I don't own any of the kinds of cars mentioned in this story nor was any money made. (Can you tell I used to work for lawyers?)
Sarah Walker was conflicted. She had just enjoyed one of the most incredible and joyous evenings of her life. Friends and family had gathered to help her and Chuck celebrate their engagement. She was beyond thrilled to be marrying the man she had been in love with for, well, years. And yet here she was, sitting alone on their bed, her back against her pillows, shoes off and feet straight out in front of her. She hadn't bothered to change out of the blue print dress she had worn at the party. Arms across her chest, her eyes were staring and unfocused. She felt a deep sense of loss as thoughts and images from the previous few days flashed through her mind.
Trying to reconnect her with old friends, Chuck had tracked down her old team, the CAT Squad. They had arrived via helicopter and proceeded to "kidnap" her for an impromptu bachelorette party. She smiled at the fun they had that evening. The next morning, she, Chuck and Morgan had endured an uncomfortable breakfast where Amy was perky, Carina was snarky and Zondra was pissy.
She scowled when she thought of how they didn't seem very impressed with Chuck. It made her angry when they judged him like that and was glad when it was time for the squad to leave. Amy had asked for a ride on Zondra's motorcycle and Sarah was going to drive Carina to the airport in her Porsche. She closed her eyes as she remembered tossing her car keys to Carina so she could put her stuff in the car. Carina had walked toward it and hit the alarm button on the key fob. The alarm chirped twice and then the Porsche exploded in a huge fireball. The force of the bomb shot the car straight up into the air and blew it to pieces. Carina was blown backwards and knocked to the asphalt. They had rushed to her side and found a piece of the bomb impaled in Carina's thigh. Carina was lucky that it was only her leg that had been injured.
In the end, Amy was the one who planted the bomb and was exposed as Augusto Gaez's mole, a bad guy whom had the squad had chased for years. Both Amy and Gaez were apprehended. Sarah and Zondra had cleared the air about their longstanding dispute over the identity of Gaez's mole and Sarah was delighted when Zondra and Carina had agreed to be her bridesmaids.
Sarah's anger burned when she reflected on the fact that someone whom she thought was her friend had betrayed them all, planted a bomb and blew up her car. Her eyes stung as she remembered watching the burned out shell of her beloved Porsche be unceremoniously dumped on a flatbed truck and hauled away by CIA cleaners.
What was she supposed to do for a car until the CIA got her a new one? And how quickly would it happen? General Beckman knew her car had been destroyed, but she hadn't had the time to officially submit a request with the Agency to replace it, so she knew it would be a little time before a new one arrived. She sighed when she realized she would be stuck riding shotgun in Chuck's Herder.
Silence had fallen over the courtyard now that the party was over and the cleanup was finished. Chuck had helped with the clean up, but had refused to allow her to help in any way. Instead, he had sent her to their apartment and in no uncertain terms, told her not to come out again until morning. She thought of arguing that she was perfectly capable of helping, but in the end, she acquiesced. It had been an exhausting few days and she was grateful for the respite.
Chuck pulled off his tie as he entered the bedroom. He saw the look on Sarah's face and knew immediately something was wrong. He sat on the side of the bed, flipped off his shoes and hauled his legs up onto the bed, his parallel to hers. He leaned against his pillows and put his arm loosely around her shoulders.
"Hey, what's up?" he asked quietly. "Did something happen at the party?"
She sat up a little straighter on the bed and said quickly, "Oh, no. It's nothing like that." She relaxed back into the pillows and said, "I'm just bummed about my car. My Porsche is gone." The tears stung and threatened to escape.
He pulled her closer and replied sympathetically, "I know. I'm sorry." He smiled and said, "That really was a great car." He thought back to the dates they had been on, fake or otherwise, in the Porsche. He smiled when he remembered the time they drove to his dad's trailer, out in the middle of nowhere, seeing him for the first time in years. She had been by his side the whole time.
"Do you remember the time we drove the Porsche up to my dad's cabin? You came in when the Ring agents were trying to get the Governor. My dad thought maybe you had the Intersect, too." He grinned at his kick-ass ninja fiancée.
She smirked and said, "Well, what was I supposed to do? I had to throw that hatchet to deflect the knife that was about to bifurcate your head." She reached up and tapped his forehead with her finger. "I like your noggin the way it is."
"Bifurcate?" he asked with a smile.
"Well, you know, Morgan gave us that 'Word of the Day' calendar. It's good to expand one's vocabulary, no?" she purred. The earlier malaise she had been feeling was lifting. He always knew how to make her feel better.
He leaned over and gave her a kiss. "Mmm-hmm. So what are you going to do about a car?" he whispered into her hair.
She scooted down a little and rolled slightly toward Chuck, throwing her left leg over his. "I need to fill out the paperwork to request a new one," she answered quietly. Her fingers began to unbutton his shirt. Now she was feeling A LOT better.
"Well, between the Herder and Casey's Crown Vic, we can get you to where you need to go until…" he trailed off, watching her fingers work their way down his shirt.
"Until what, Chuck?" she murmured as her fingers found a button on a different piece of Chuck's apparel to unbutton.
His eyes glazed. "Um, was I talking? I don't remember what…mmmm," she pressed her lips against his, ending the conversation.
Two days later, Sarah was alone in Castle, standing in front of the video monitor waiting to speak with General Beckman. Sarah assumed this conference was about the replacement car she had requisitioned and was excited to find out when it would arrive.
Beckman's face came up on the screen and Sarah smiled, "Good morning, General."
"Good morning, Agent Walker. I assume you know to what this conference pertains?" the general asked, her eyebrows rose at the question.
"Well, ma'am," Sarah started, "I assume it is about my new car." A feeling of excitement fluttered in her stomach.
"Yes, well, about that Agent Walker," the general frowned, glancing down at a piece of paper on her desk.
The flutter of excitement turned to dread. "Is there a problem?" She was afraid of the answer.
"I'm sorry, Sarah." Sarah's stomach dropped. It was never good when General Beckman called her by her first name. "With all of the budget cuts happening in Washington, the CIA's transportation budget has been slashed. We cannot afford to replace your car with anything similar to what you had before."
"What does that mean, exactly?" she asked slowly. "The Agency will give me a cheaper car?"
The general nodded. "Yes, unfortunately it will be significantly cheaper." The general removed her half glasses and looked straight at Sarah. "The Agency can only spend $10,000 on your replacement car."
Sarah's eyes widened in shock. "That's all? $10,000? What can they get with that?"
"Honestly, nothing you would want to drive," Beckman frowned. "My Town Car has been replaced with a Chevy Impala. How is a high ranking officer in the NSA…" she muttered angrily to herself and then stopped. She schooled her features, replaced the frown with a neutral look and smoothed her hair with her hand. "I'm sorry, but this is affecting us all."
Sarah stayed quiet and nodded in understanding.
Beckman continued, "I assumed that you would be less than thrilled at the prospect of driving a $10,000 car that the agency would choose. I'd like to propose a compromise. The Agency will give you $10,000 toward a car of your choosing. You must use your own money beyond that amount to purchase any car. You can get the car you are willing to pay for. I'm sorry Sarah, but that's the best I can do."
Sarah's shoulders slumped in defeat. She knew Beckman was presenting her with the best offer. With the wedding coming up and those expenses, she wasn't sure what she could afford. She looked back to the monitor and responded, "Yes, I know General. Thank you for at least allowing me to choose the car."
"I'm sorry it can't be more," the general said, meaning it. "Let me know when you have purchased the car and the Agency will transfer the $10,000 to you. Good luck, Agent Walker," the general said curtly and pushed a button on her desk ending the video feed.
"Thank you, ma'am," Sarah replied to an empty screen.
Sarah approached the Nerd Herd desk, a despondent look on her face. Chuck glanced up from his work and immediately ran around the desk to give her a comforting hug. "Sarah, what's the matter? You look like someone just shot your puppy!"
She took a deep breath in an attempt to control her emotions. "I just talked to Beckman. The Agency will only give me $10,000 toward a new car. I have to pay for the rest myself. Or I can drive the $10,000 car they'll give me." She shuddered at the thought.
"Well, sweetie, that's not so bad," Chuck said, trying to sound enthusiastic. "I bet there are lots of nice cars you can get for that kind of money. People do it all the time. A lot of people drive cars that are worth a lot less."
She shot him a withering glare and growled menacingly, "I don't drive those kinds of cars, Chuck."
His eyebrows shot up in panic. "No, no, no, of course you don't! I just meant that with a little research, I'm sure we can get you a great car."
"I don't know, Chuck," she said, rather dubiously.
He was silent for a moment, deep in thought and then his face split into a grin. "I know! You love that British car show, Top Gear, right?"
"Yeah," she said slowly. Richard Hammond was her favorite on the show because he loved Porsche 911's more than anything else in the world, except for maybe his wife.
"You know how they are always doing challenges where the producers give them a certain amount of money and they have to go out and buy the best car they can for that amount? You know, it's usually some crazy low amount for what they are trying to buy?"
"Yeah," she replied again, her eyebrow arching. She loved it when the presenters had to buy those horrible pieces of crap and then do all kinds of crazy challenges with them. She just wanted a nice car to drive. She didn't plan on filling hers up with water to see how far she could go around the test track before all the water leaked out to find out how solidly the car was made. She allowed a small smile to creep across her face as she remembered that particular challenge. Goofballs, she smiled fondly.
"Well, pretend this is a Top Gear challenge! Go find the best car you can. As an added bonus, you can go over the amount as much as you can afford. The guys on Top Gear don't have that luxury!" he finished triumphantly.
She flashed him a brilliant smile. "See, this is why I'm gonna marry you," she said, pulling him close to give him a kiss. "You are a genius!"
"Really? That's why you're going to marry me?" He wiggled his eyebrows and said, "I thought it was because of my huge…"
She smacked him on the arm and threw him a look that was a mixture of amusement and desire.
"Knowledge of Star Wars trivia," he finished. He had a self-satisfied smirk on his face.
Smirker. She rose up on her tiptoes and whispered something in his ear that turned his face crimson red. She glanced at his face and then continued to whisper in his ear. Small droplets of sweat appeared on his forehead and his upper lip. When she stopped whispering and nipped his earlobe with her teeth, he involuntarily shuddered. Then she turned on her heel and sauntered off toward the DVD section of the store. She glanced over her shoulder as she moved away. A small smile graced her features as she saw Chuck stand rooted to the floor, eyes glazed and unblinking.
Sarah stood in the DVD section of the Buy More, holding several boxed sets of Top Gear in her hand. The Top Gear guys always reviewed different cars and she wanted to rewatch some of the reviews of cars she was interested in.
Satisfied she had enough DVDs to get started, she turned to head toward the checkout. She nearly ran over Lester and Jeff who had silently sidled up next to her. She put the empty hand on her hip and looked down at Lester. "What do you want, Lester." She didn't even acknowledge Jeff swaying next to him.
"We couldn't help but overhear that you are in need of a new car and that you have $10,000 to spend. I'm sure Jeffrey would be honored to sell you Loretta for that amount, wouldn't you Jeffrey?"
"Huh?" Jeff said as he worked to focus his eyes. "I don't want to sell Loretta. I love her. And she holds all of our surveillance stuff."
He grabbed Jeff by the shirt and whispered fiercely, "Jeffrey, we wouldn't sell the equipment, just the van. Then we would buy a new van and put all the equipment in it."
Sarah rolled her eyes and sighed. She could literally see Jeff thinking through the implications of what Lester had just said. She was afraid he might blow a gasket thinking so hard. She shifted her weight and waited. His brow furrowed for another moment as he remained deep in thought. Then his eyes opened wide and his face brightened. There it is, she thought to herself.
Jeff straightened his stained tie and stood up a little straighter. "Of course letting Loretta go would be very difficult," he slurred, "but since you're Chuck's main squeeze, I could part with her for you." His rheumy eyes stared at her.
She gave a small involuntary tremor. She swallowed a small amount of bile that rose in her throat and replied, "As…interesting…as that offer is, I'm going to have to say 'no.' I'm not sure I'm a van type of girl."
"That's not what I heard," Lester muttered under his breath.
Sarah's eyes flashed dangerously. She raised herself to her full, intimidating height, stepped closer and glared down at Lester. Her face was dark with menace, her eyes a blue fire. "What did you just say?" she asked, her voice like death.
Lester hunched in nervousness and slunk back a step. He cleared his throat and whispered, "'I heard that.' That's what I said," turning his head away from her wrathful gaze.
She nodded and growled, "That's what I thought." She shot them both warning looks, turned and walked toward the checkout.
"That's okay, Lester," Jeff said to Lester. "I didn't really want to sell Loretta anyway."
"Jefferson, I think I soiled myself. I have to go and change my 'armor.'"
Sarah wanted to go home and watch her newly purchased Top Gear DVDs. She had even walked out the main Buy More doors and was striding through the parking lot when she stopped dead in her tracks. She didn't have a car in which to drive home. This was all stupid, perky Amy's fault, she thought angrily to herself. She wanted to pull out her Smith & Wesson and blow out some tires on the cars surrounding her, but knew that wasn't a prudent use of ammunition. So she heaved a sigh, turned around and trudged back toward the entrance of Buy More.
Chuck came to her rescue when he suggested she watch her DVDs in the Home Theater Room. She thought about simply going down to Castle and watching them on one of the screens there, but the idea of watching those fabulous sports cars on a big screen with surround sound appealed to her. So there she sat on the couch with a notepad in her lap, scribbling down copious notes about each car the Top Gear guys reviewed.
Sarah looked up from her notes and paused the DVD when Chuck opened the door and sauntered into the room. She grinned up at him, her eyes shining with excitement. He plopped down on the sofa next to her and put his arm across the back of it, his hand gently resting on her shoulder. She snuggled closer.
"Jeff and Lester are watching the desk so I thought I would come in and see how you were doing," he said, leaning over to kiss her temple. "From that grin of yours, it looks like you're having fun."
"I am!" she exclaimed. "I've never bought a car before. The CIA always just gave me one to use, so this is a whole new, different, fun experience for me. I get to choose what I drive!"
Chuck grinned at her enthusiasm. He didn't want to dampen it, but he also knew that the experience of buying a car wasn't necessarily as much fun as she might think. He decided that it would be best for him to keep that to himself and let her enjoy it.
"So, what do you have on your list?" he asked, sneaking a peek at the notepad on her lap.
She flipped it over quickly and said in a warning tone, "No fair peeking. I'm making a list of the cars I like from Top Gear and the ones they've given good reviews to. That's where I want to start."
She glanced over at him and said with a smirk, "Did you hear that Jeff and Lester offered to sell me Jeff's van?"
"Wha-, what?" He burst out laughing. Then he schooled his face and asked in a serious voice, "So when do you pick up the keys?"
She wrinkled her nose at him and gave him a playful nudge with her shoulder. "I don't think there is enough disinfectant in the world to get me in that van." She shuddered at the idea.
"Oh, I don't know," Chuck teased. "I can see you tooling around Burbank in Loretta. She's got lots of spy gear in her."
She snorted and said, "They were going to take that stuff out! They wanted me to buy just that petri dish on wheels for ten grand."
Chuck snickered at the picture in his head of her driving that Mitsubishi van around town, complete with beads hanging from the ceiling. "Alright, that's fine. We'll get you something else," he said in mock exasperation.
"Darn right we'll get me something else," she growled as she attacked his lips with hers, utterly surprising him. She threw a leg across him and straddled him, her hands raking through his hair. The remote control fell off the sofa and bounced, turning the DVD player back on. They continued their assault on each other's mouths while on the screen from a mile up in the air, a red Volkswagen Beetle was dropped from a helicopter and plunged toward the earth. At the same time, Hammond raced his Porsche 911 across a South African salt flat, trying to drive a mile before the Beetle hit the ground. It was the only way a Beetle could every beat a Porsche in a mile race. The Beetle hit the ground with a satisfying thud just before Hammond's 911 streaked across the finish line. Although the Beetle had technically won the race, it was now nothing more than a wreck of twisted metal.
Sarah pulled away from Chuck and glanced over her shoulder at the screen. She turned back to him and mumbled before smashing her lips on his, "Serves it right for messing with a Porsche."