A/N 1: Euurgh - Blame Uni.

A/N 2: Its been awhile - I'm not going to apologise for that I've had a lot of things going on and unfortunately this had to take the back-seat but I said it would get finish and finish I will since I've finally finished Uni and got some free-time :D I predict only a couple of chapters left and they're -for me- the most exciting ones.

Lucky47 is a magical virtual entity that makes my story readable.

Previously on Chuck Vs ... Big Blasty Explosion: Chuck and Sarah are finally some variation of together after some manning up on Chuck's part and some wall crumbling and burnt cooking on Sarah's. A plan is underway and our duo are working fastidiously on it, but because author is lazy or a writing genius you have to wait and be surprised and just forget about the actual mechanics behind anything ever to do with technology. I may have taken something of an artistic license a bit to far maybe...Anywhooo all caught up - Good :)

All my mistakes are my own, I apologise also for any blunders, or general discrepancies or if things are incorrect.

I hope you like my story

Disclaimer: Still Don't Own Chuck, it owns me :D

We skip a lot in this chapter, so check the dates, ok-aaay :D and also Jaytoyz requested something awhile back - a certain something that I hope I succeeded in blowing up. Winkface

Chapter 14

28th September 2007

The Cul-De-Sac

7:20 a.m.

Where the worn asphalt beneath Chuck's feet curved upwards, a whimper, both pathetic and pitiful in its intensity, worked its way up his throat.

Sarah Walker was lucky she was so incredibly beautiful.

With long hair that flapped in the breeze and eyes so deep and penetratingly blue, it they dazzled clear like an actual constellation of stars were scrawled bright on the very shells of her irises. It made the contents of his stomach flip and his fingers tingle straight down to his toes with each and every footfall. It didn't matter that it had already been established days ago or that each new glance he sent spinning her way revealed new aspects of her seemingly infinite beauty. All that mattered was that if Captain Awesome looked anything remotely like Sarah Walker he would have taken up jogging years ago.

And though it locked his joints in ways he couldn't even begin to describe – the constant undercurrent of ache just always beneath the surface – he twisted a sidelong glance in the direction of his running partner and felt the breath that barely existed in the first place rush out of him. The beginning strains of morning sunlight had begun to creep down the sloping rooftops, pressing everything pastel. It glinted of the sharp curves of her face, lit the dewy patches of exposed flesh on her collar and stomach and reflected of her diamond bright smile.

"Chuc—" the world felt out of sorts, out of time. The shudder of his throat as it rasped for breath vibrated through him and the blaze of Sarah's smile weaved through his mind, tangling his internal organs to knots. "-ust breathe."

His chin jerked up in acknowledgement as white sparked the edges of his vision. Through the floppy jumble of curls Chuck saw her features soften with traces of faint amusement, saw the press of her lips as she tried to hold back the laughter and the mesmerizing swing of her hair, that pulled him back into focus.

Fingers curled tight he staggered forwards; sweat gathering and legs screaming as Sarah matched his pace easily. Her knees rose in perfect intervals and her skimpy jogging vest strained with delicious definition against her chest.

She had shaken him awake at seven through means that Chuck didn't exactly hate—the flush still present on his neck—and had asked him to join her for a morning run. When put like that, with the tip of her finger scrawling incoherent nonsense on his back, the husky sleep-timbre of her voice clouding his jaw and the proximity of her lips hovering so close to his, how could he even refuse much less form a intelligible response.

They rounded the corner and Chuck skidded to a sudden stop. He doubled over and stabbed the air before him with accusation.

"N-no way, am I—I can't do-do that!" Chuck wheezed out between pants. He sent the winking skylight of their house, practically smoldering in the distance like a desert-like mirage, a baleful look and shook his head with further resolve. "Nope, no way."

Breath felt like fire in his mouth, it raked his throat raw and uninhabitable. He shifted on his heels and replanted his hands more firm on his knees, his upper body more flaccid then sturdy. No way could he cope. His body was built for ergonomic desk chairs not trainers that erased a layer of flesh every time he put a foot wrong.

Next to him, a complete vision of intact loveliness with not a hair out of place, Sarah lifted an eyebrow and something mischievous sharpened her smile. "Really?"

With casual grace she stretched her arms out over her head, arched her back outwards and took a big mouthful of air, easing the tightness out of her muscles. Chuck's eyes glazed over. "How about if..."

The rest of her words disappeared into the reddening tips of his ears and his jaw loosened.

Dazed, Chuck's mouth worked open several times before any actual sound came out. "O-on the er-other hand my sister, she taught me to never giv—"

Sarah took off like a gazelle, snatches of laughter riding the breeze.

Brain clunking into gear, Chuck lurched after her but only after he allowed himself several seconds to become momentarily distracted by watching her leave.

All gangly limbs and clumsy left feet, Chuck cupped his hands to his mouth, breath shallow, and sweat fast and greasy on the slope of his brow. "H-hey, wait for me!"

29th September 2007

Kitchen

4:42 p.m.

The 'thunk' of the pristine plate, still wet from its recent wash, hitting the drying rack with perfect precision caused Chuck to look up from his ministration in the sink and glance over. Hands a soapy mess, he twitched a single eyebrow up and said nothing. Loudly. Indifferent to his unwarranted attention, Sarah matched him brow for brow, a smirk all but quirking and a dash of defiance straightening her posture.

"Bet you can't do that again." Chuck broke the silence and a cocky grin materialized.

Sarah eyes brightened at the challenge. "You mean like—' her hand blurred once more, "—this." And the ring of the plate hitting it mark caused her smile to widen further, eyes locked on his.

Not missing a beat, Chuck twisted away from the sink. "Best two out of thre—"

Both Sarah and Chuck lurched.

Catching her wrist mid-flick, Chuck hauled Sarah by the waist and disposed of the giggling spy on the counter top.

"Cheat!" Sarah screeched with laughter even as she snaked her legs around Chuck's waist and yanked him closer. Chuck sucked in an airfull of affront.

"How dare you." Chuck dramatized with a soapy stab of his finger. An idea suddenly unfurled and a grin broadened his lips slow and wicked.

Sarah felt her eyes narrow. "Chuck what are yo—No!"

Even as seasoned a spy as Sarah she failed to wriggle free just as Chuck's hands, lathered to the wrist, swooped down and snared her in a foamy embrace. The streak of tickling fingers left a trail of soapy mess in its wake.

Legs kicking out in all directions, the groove of the worktop digging into her back, the crash of the plate once gripped in Sarah's hand pulled them momentarily back into the present.

"Whoops." Chuck acknowledged with unapologetic look. Red faced and unforgivably flustered Sarah shot him a dirty look between gasps. "—My bad."

"Excellen—Chuck!"

And Chuck dived in again all dancing fingertips and lips.

30th September 2007

Garden

11:20 a.m.

Sprawled out to soak up the full magnitude of the sun's rays on his long legs and bare chest, the day hot on his face Chuck squinted into the sky when a shadow fell across his upper body.

"Sarah?" He hazarded a guess and shifted his limbs for a better look. Vast and green the garden glittered lush around him and made it difficult to discern the face backlit by the sun. Chuck envisioned her expression accurately when it came paired with her equally dry response of:

"No, it's Selina Kyle."

Not missing a single beat Chuck wrung his neck back as far as it would go. "Marry me." A grin curled lopsided at the joke.

The shadow wobbled as if caught off-guard but when Sarah knelt beside him she was the picture of cool as she faked a look of confusion. "I thought we were already married?"

Chuck feigned recollection. "Of course." He snapped a finger. "Beautiful ceremony, all of our closest friends. Small not over the top, the minister officiated in Klingon – remind me again buffet or standing? –"

"—Buffet." Sarah answered as she tossed her towel out.

"Lily's or Gardenia's? —"

"—Gardenia's." She played along without hesitation, a smile small.

"Jazz or instrumental? –"

"—Jazz. Clearly your memory is not what it used to be." Sarah shot back as she settled besides him and Chuck saw her properly for the first time without having to squint.

He rolled over onto his elbow, a playful look burgeoning –"Chicken or fi..."– his words trailed off and all of a sudden Chuck's eyes popped open. He scrambled to his hands and knees. "Are you trying to get arrested!" He demanded and before confusion could fully take hold of her, a whipping sound and Chuck's towel snapped taut over a stunned Sarah.

"Chuck, what the hell are you doing?" Sarah reared and blinked when Chuck smothered her with towel in response. "Chuck?"

But Chuck ignored her in favour of scanning the fences with a suspicion reserved for seeking out the enemy in a warzone.

Peeved by his lack of attention, Sarah pushed herself up onto her hands and forced Chuck's sight into her's. Voice more dangerous with repetition she closed in on his face. "Chuck. What. The. Hell. Are. You. Doing?"

He didn't quite squeak but it was close. "Protecting your modesty..."

Sarah's eyebrows flew above her look of bewilderment. "Why?"

His throat rippled with a gulp. "Because men are pigs."

Her mouth dropped open and Chuck prepared himself for the ass-kicking of a lifetime. Instead the soft strains of laughter almost knocked him to the floor.

He un-squeezed an eye. "Wha—wait you're laughing?"

Her hilarity grew. "Either that or break your whole body with my pinkie toe."

Chuck's eyes sprouted huge.

"Don't worry." Sarah reassured with a gentle swat of his arm. "I like my nerds in mint condition."

"Mint...? Thanks..." Chuck deadpanned with an explosive breath of relief. Then his eyebrows knitted. "...I think?"

She sat up and pried away his towel with slight stern expression. "Chuck your intentions –however misguided— is are sweet but I think I can protect myself from the big bad stares of perverted old men..." the towel disappeared over her shoulder and her hand rummaged for something in the grass. She rolled over. "...Now be useful and put sun screen on my back."

Chuck gave a stiff robotic sort off nod in response just as his eyes made an inadvertent swing to the long length of her even sun-kissed skin that slipped inside the tiniest cerulean biki–

"—Back in a second." Chuck said without explanation.

Sarah half rose "Chuck...?"

A hand jumped to her mouth at his answering splash.

30th September 2007

Living Room

4:00pm

Furniture shoved to the edges of the room Chuck let out another exasperated whine. "Just one more time – I'll get it I swear."

Sarah juggled her head in indecision.

"C'mon, just once more."

"There'res only a finite number of times I can knock you flat on your ass and before it just becomes embarrassing."

Chuck took it in his stride. "Trust me one more time won't make a difference."

"Actually Chuck, believe me..." she swept her stare with deliberate meaning laced and Chuck's brow scrunched. "...It can."

A short-lived flicker of red and mock hurt then Chuck shrugged his shoulders out into circles. "Trust me, you'll still find me irresistible."

Before Sarah could argue back Chuck waved her off.

"Come on Sarah. Fulcrum will break me in half at this rate." Chuck shifted from foot to foot, his movements choppy and overly-enthusiastic. "Just a little kung-fu so I'm not totally pathetic when we storm the secret base and kick some Fulcrum butt."

A dangerous look flashed across her eyes. "I' m sorry what was that?"

A nervous laugh crashed out with his words. "I mean..." Chuck hastened to correct. "So I can show Morgan all the cool new moves I've learnt when I get back home."

He tried for his best wheedling grin.

After a decade of consideration Sarah finally huffed. "Fine—" the dangerous look sprang back with vengeance a split second later though. "But if you purposely put yourself in harm's way..." she let the sentence hang to a stop there and then let her eyes drill him hard lest he somehow got the wrong idea.

Chuck gulped. "Yes. mMa'am."

Sarah's face instantly brightened. "Okay...first thing first." She cut a pointed stare at his feet. "Your footwork is terrible."

Chuck's face dropped. "Straight for the heart!" he groaned out with a tangled mirth.

"Just callin' it like I see em," Sarah raised her hands up. "Okay, " she began to move,. "Just count the steps in your head, it's just like dancing—"

"—Oh. dDancing –that's something am good at." Came his sarcastic response but he complied nonetheless and followed the pattern of her feet. "Chuck Bartowski, connoisseur of all things dance."

Sarah silenced him with a look. "Just think lighter." She ordered. "And when I come for you..." She grabbed him by the upper arms and moved him a couple of spots to the left. "Just do exactly what I taught you."

Chuck nodded and assumed a look of deep concentration. A moment passed and his chest deflated with a breath. "Okay, ready."

"Okay, I'll start from behind," Sarah began. "I'll grab you by the shoulder, you grab my arm, twist one-eighty and try and throw me." A smirk cracked. "Try being the operative word here."

Chuck pulled a face. "Don't you worry, I'm not going to trip over my own feet this time."

Sarah pulled a face right back. "I'll believe it when I see it."

"Ye of little faith. Ready?"

"Whenever you are, Mr Bartowski."

"Alright-y on the count of three—one, two, three—Go!"

A hand snatched his shoulder—impossibly warm and soft—and Chuck yanked away as instructed, twisted what he felt the appropriate amount—and maybe it was because he moved a little too fast, a little too smooth that his weight overcompensated and the outstretched hand that belong to Sarah, the one he was supposed to snatch, sailed out of his grip and—

Her palm smacked into his nose. It didn't quite crack, but it didn't quite click either.

It lurched him into circles and set his face on fire.

"Oh shi—!" Sarah's loud gasp and scrabbling hands only seem to make the pain worse. Something wet dribble down his wrist. "Oh god. Chuck, I am so sorry."

"Pain," Chuck got out, words slurred by his slippery fingers. "So much pain."

He allowed himself to be half-led half-dragged into the kitchen and hoped he didn't leak a breadcrumb trail of blood everywhere.

"Here," Sarah's eyes huge with worry pressed a wadded mush of tissues into his nose. "Chuck I' am so sorry, I lost my balance and—."

"Sarah Walker teaches the male race why..." Chuck grabbed another handful of tissues and mopped up his chin. "—To never to mess with her."

Sarah flinched. "I' m so sorry Chuck, how does it feel."

Chuck waved away her apology. "Don't. I practically asked to have my nose removed and worse—it could be much," he heaved a deep breath "—much worse."

The intermittent strokes of his hair made it hurt less but Chuck still had to force himself not to grimace to hard when he caught the look of horror collapsing Sarah's face. "Don't worry, Sarah, a couple of episodes of Firefly and it'll be as good as new. Trust me all things considering this is not even the worst thing that happened to me this week..." He actually managed to attach a bright smile at that the end of that sentence. So it at least looked like he wasn't lying too horribly to her.

"That doesn't exactly make me feel heaps better," Sarah frowned out as she led him to the couch.

"Of course it should." His smiled suddenly too bright. When he pulled back his hand and it gave way to tissues dripping blood, Chuck nodded with a knowing sort of nod. "Okie dokie time for sleepy time." And before Sarah could refute that he collapsed into a heap of Chuck onto the couch.

Levering his head so she dump it onto her knees, Sarah unpaused the television and ran her fingers through his hair.

"Maybe not our best idea." She said to herself out loud. And tissue balled she began to clean up his face, one eye on the Serenity as it sailed into the black.

1st October 2007

Living Room, Sofa.

5:16 p.m.

Clack. Clack. Clackity-Clack. Clack

A toe swiped his ankle.

—Clack...Clackity-Clack-Clack

A heel brushed her knee in response.

—Clackity-C-clackity—

At opposite ends of the couch, faces hidden by the screens of their laptops, backs dug into the armrests and legs both long and jumbled into each other, his curls briefly jumped up above his monitor and a throat cleared in a pointed matter before the sound of clacking keys joined hers.

—Clack...Clack...Clack—

A toe glided with a tantalizing slowness up the calf of his right leg. A quick flick of his eyes revealed she was, naturally, absorbed by the information on her screen.

—Clackity-Cla-aack...Clackity-Clack-Clack

Still typing with a furiousness honed by years of being a nerd Chuck dug his heels into the cushion and slid his rear so he lay mostly reclined into the armrest. Legs longer he snaked them around hers. A hint of a smile before it vanished with only the X-marks-the-spot quirk dimpled into her cheek.

Clack-Clack-Clacki-ty-Clack. Clack. Clack

Fingertips danced a brief jig into his ankles.

—Clack. Clack. Clack

Deleting a line of text, the slope of his big toe tickled the underside of her knee.

—Clack-Clackity-Clack. Clack. Clack—

A hand, lithe and purposeful, slid beneath the trouser leg of his scuffed jeans, fluttering a ghostly tango of soft fingertips against the now heated skin.

—Clack. Clack. Cla—CLUNK!—

Both laptops slid to the floor, one with a mostly blank word document, decorated with different joint variations of the surnames Walker and Bartowski and the other bright blue with the blueprints of the Intersect base. The second, the one without random lines of letters peppered about, hummed bright and tangled with an array of notes and complex code scattered along the comprehensive outline of the compound, everything detailed and meticulously recorded.

Most notably, the short summaries that emphasized the application of the air-ducts.

As the screens drifted off to sleep an uproarious laugh—hers—filled the air.

2nd October 2007

Living Room, Sofa.

3:16 p.m.

"If you just—" the couch dipped as Chuck leaned over and wound his hands over Sarah's and the control, "—And just—" the joy-pad in her grasp gave a sudden violent twist and triumphant music blared from the speaker as the virtual women on screen bowed –K.O—pasted in large colourful letters across the screen. "—And then that happens—" His grin grew iin size and outlandish proportion, that contagious toothy one, the one hinted at the edges with that certain self-deprecating shyness and charm and bumped shoulders with her. "...Just as kick-ass virtually as you are literally."

Affecting a humble look, she pretended to think. "Well, I have an excellent teacher, you see."

Chuck gave a sage bob of his chin as competent thumbs tapped out a familiar pattern on the strange device Sarah had been officially introduced to a couple of hours ago when they both had been warranted a break. "You must do." He indicated to the television. "-'Nother game?"

Sarah unfolded her limbs and stretched as she once again pretended to consider this. "Sure." They needed to get back to work soon but another game or two wouldn't hurt and she was actually enjoying it. And maybe a little part of it had to do with the actual game.

A quick dart to the fringes of her peripheral vision and Sarah saw Chuck's face as it always did, light up when she readily agreed. The brilliance settled in his eyes and when he handed her the joy-pad Sarah forced her fingers to fumble slightly. Not too much to give herself away but just enough to plant the seed.

When the countdown dwindled to zero Sarah jostled the alien device, dictated a slew of vicious punches, thumbed a different sequence of buttons instead of the ones she had memorized six or seven turns ago that Chuck had issued out at warp speed and poked her tongue out not so it flopped over her lip but just enough to achieve that glazed look in Chuck's eyes.

When her virtual opponent on screen landed a brutal combo of punches and a flying kick, that Sarah herself was eager to try-out, she huffed out just enough hopelessness for the couch to dip once more.

When strong, capable arms snaked snugged around her waist, and his lean gangly frame shifted close enough to mesh them together tight, Sarah let herself enjoy the familiar warmth and heady scent as his thumbs guided hers to victory.

"—And just a couple more punches to the cranium aaaaaand..." He was apparently speaking; Sarah straightened up a little and affected a look of complete engrossment. "—There!"

Only needing to crane a little, he dropped a quick kiss on her nose. "You're good at this game." And a smile seared bright as Sarah nodded along, face just the right amount of pleased.

Chuck disentangled himself. "Drink?"

"Please." Sarah reordered her appendages and kept her smile grateful and eyes flicking until Chuck entered the kitchen and another game loaded. When zero bloomed large, her thumbs blurred and a split-second later when K.O. decorated the screen she muted the TV. A smirk just about stopped flourishing at the ends.

When Chuck returned drink in hand, he misinterpreted the grin and plopped heavily next to her.

"Okay, this time it's gonna be just a little more difficult." And his own expression far too innocent it made Sarah narrow her eyes slightly as he curled closer then teaching her how to play a video game merited.

An eyebrow high, impressed, Sarah concluded maybe she did have an excellent teacher after all as she settled close to Chuck, tuning out his voice and inhaling his whole presence instead.

2nd October 2007

Basement

7:33 p.m.

When the thwup, thwup, thwup of the punching bag proved to be too distracting or in his case welcoming, Chuck eased his hunched and aching frame back into his seat and gave up the particularly nasty and overly complex code as a bad job. More accustomed to staring at Sarah instead in moments of much-needed inspiration he angled his head so the monitor caught her reflection just right.

"Eye's on code, solider." Came a clipped voice between explosions of breaths.

Chuck actually pouted. "Five more minutes?" but he sat up to type anyway.

On the screen, he saw Sarah's smile as she dealt a fast blow of fists that made everything on the monitor jump slightly.

3nd October 2007

Living Room.

9:01 p.m.

"And if you lose sight off me for even a second you—" Sarah shook her fist.

"—Hide out until I track you remotely again." She released the objects in her hands and Chuck's eyes followed them as the rolled to a stop at "—Six. Pick up a chance—and if for some reason—" Chuck beat Sarah to the punch. "—I run into any technological glitch" –Chuck made a look at the likelihood of that— "I wait until the coast is—" at Sarah's pointed stare. "Absolutely clear—" he emphasized without missing a beat and nodded as Sarah shifted her little metal dog four spaces to the left as dictated by the words on the card she flicked in his direction. "—And make my way to the location we approved if anything—" Chuck began to jiggle his fist. "—Should go—" He released the dice. "—Pear shape—"

"Four. One. Two. Three...four. Buy?" Chuck nodded and they made a quick exchange of money and cards. "—And where is the approved meeting place?"

Chuck who had gone over this a few dozen times since he had first passed 'GO' rolled his eyes—into a quick blink before Sarah could notice and heaved a good-natured sigh. "—In the janitors closet for a litt—OW!" a hand leapt to cradle his arm. "Joking! Joking—geez—we meet in room 5567-dash-3, which should be an empty board-room and which I should be able to break into easily."

He handed Sarah the dice. "Your turn—and if the alarm should go off?"

Sarah narrowed her eyes at the board. "I turn on the electrical jammer just..." she tossed the die without a second look and cut a cool gaze up at Chuck "...like you taught me." Twelve dots grinned up at him, six on each white face. Chuck fought down his eighth groan.

"Doubles..." Ccame Sarah redundant gloat. She slid her dog twelve spaces passed Chuck defunct motorcar and with a gleeful noise she'd inherited from him, made a show of buying a prime piece of real estate from right under his nose.

"Are you sure you haven't played monopoly before?" Chuck cast out, words lined with a suspicion, as she fanned the card out with a bright orange border. A bright orange boarder that matched the two in his stack.

"Nope." She drew out in playful tones.

"You could have fooled me." Chuck muttered—mostly—under his breath. He ignored the brightening cockiness of her smile and instead focused on mouthing "—three?" Disbelief loud as his dice rattled to a stop. Chuck let his head fall back. "I needed a five." And shot the trio of blues a baleful look, already pretty with two houses. "—How much?"

Sarah's smirk bordered on insufferable. "Two hundred—"

"—Two hundred—" Chuck blustered.

"—And fifteen dollars." She stuck her hand out. "Beginner's luck?" She offered at Chuck put out expression.

But when he shook his head and with great reluctance dropped two hundred and fifteen notes in her hands, he said. "Beginners luck was fifteen turns ago when you managed doubles every roll." He snatched the dice, momentarily forgotten on the board, and peered close. "—Are you sure these aren't loaded?"

Sarah giggled at his expression. "No they most certainly—"

Something twitched with unnatural swiftness in the corner of her eye, something black upon black that quivered at the very edges of the garden and –

3nd October 2007

Warehouse. Undisclosed location.

9:01 p.m.

A grunt ready to roll of his lips, Major John Casey dragged his legs further apart as he realigned his sight against the deep velvet silence of the night. His face, undistorted by the wind, set into hard glowering line as his eye bore deep into the scope attached to the matte black of his sniper. From a great distance away he examined the fixed point on the horizon where Shaw –a tiny dark green figure in his night vision goggles— signaled his first response team to a stop.

He couldn't help but mouth the word 'amateur' as he watch Shaw issue silent commands to his tiny squadron. When four rounded the building to comply, Casey noted the massive blind spot on Shaw's left, one that summoned a token grumble about pathetic excuse for C.I.A failures who were making Casey work twice as hard to compensate for the lack of actual talent and competency on his team. If it wasn't for Casey's pinpoint accuracy—his index finger rolled along the curve of the trigger at the mention—that would stop dead any Fulcrum agent in their tracks, Shaw's team would be vulnerable to even the sloppiest of sneak attack. Because the man who borrowed his fiercest expression from a plank of wood had favoured brute force and the element of surprise instead of the slow and steady caution that Casey himself would have employed.

After all, the details about this op were sketchy at best. A few bits and pieces here—nothing actually concrete. The location had switched several times something Shaw had took to be a good sign and something that had made Casey dubious.

Bright jittery specs in his goggles, as he readjusted his grip and aim, told Casey when Shaw's team spread themselves thin into the shadowy recesses of the disheveled warehouse and as phase two of their plan set into motion Casey couldn't help but think of the old adage he had learnt to be all but true in the army: Better safe then—

A massive explosion cut off Casey's internal musing and plumed high into the night sky. Like a singular massive firework that shot upright and orange, it singed Casey's cornea's an explosive array of colours and he dropped into the gravel and stubby grass as the air rented with noise. All along the ridge cries of his fellow snipers alarm rang high.

—Sorry.

"Son of bitch!" Casey cursed. They had been set up. He slotted his eye into the scope and wheeled his sniper in a wide arc as the smoke began to waft away.

No survivors. Shit.

Casey snapped to his feet. "Retreat! — I said RETR—" he snatched up a particularly stunned looking agent and forced him down the hill as he tore of his goggles. "—EAT!" he jerked the comm on his vest to his lips as he ran. "Base unit, this is Second in Command—establish a secure connection with Headquarters—We've been set up. I repeat we've been set-up. Shaw and his unit are dead!" The words flinched out of the firm line of his mouth, unwilling and gruff as Casey half-ran half-loped down the slope towards the fleet of burly hummers at the base of the hill. Insidious black smoke curled over the lip of the hill above him when he spared a quick glance for stragglers and saw it spread oily black tentacles down the rocky incline after them.

Stupid C.I.A.

Screw up everything.

3nd October 2007

Living Room.

6:02 p.m.

"—Chuck, DUCK!"

Chuck didn't so much as obey as allowed himself to get flung across the room. A muted blow shook the walls in a way that would have rendered any other house a crumbled brick and mortar version of itself and Chuck skidded to a stop in a heap of limbs and faded girlish screams by the glass fronted cabinet.

The house jumped again.

"—Is it Fulcrum?" Chuck heard himself yell as another BOOM! rattled the floorboards.

"Well I doubt its girl scouts selling cookies." Sarah's voice came from somewhere in that general direction, the sound of clicking and whirring of levers being pulled and the hisses of catches being released in her wake, instilled a sort of pseudo-confidence in him despite the mush of all of his organs. "—Stay down Chuck!"

Chuck snapped his hands up in apology before he slammed his whole body flat into the floorboards. Through the compromised slits of his vision he saw every painting of windswept landscape disappear with a whoosh of gilded frame and reappear with crackling monitor in each. The monitor that showed the aerial view of the house revealed six grey and white ghostly figures scattered about the perimeter and even more clustered around what Chuck deemed were probably considered the weak points of the safe-house structural integrity.

Another hazy monitor showed sidelong footage of burly figures spread out thick and fast in strategic locations around the garden with a slew of strange instruments in their hands.

A horrifying thought occurred to Chuck.

What if they knew how to breach the safe house? They knew how to find them after all—S-so why not?

Breath coming in short bursts of staccato Chuck forced his limbs into motion. If Fulcrum were capable of breaking in it wasn't only his skin he had to be worried about. There was Sarah's too. And he needed to stop being the lame marionette version of himself with his strings cut. He needed to be pro-active and pre-meditative. Not a weight that Sarah had to bear on top of everything else. And hadn't he wanted this? Hadn't he wanted to play the hero?

Well, for all intents and purposes, now was his time to shine.

Fingers clumsy and heavy he crunched the table leg like Sarah had before him and watched the floorboards reel soundless. Not sparing a second thought he thrust elbow-deep and scooped out the two bags he had packed only a couple hours earlier.

It startled him how real it had all of a sudden become...

The house shook again and this time it felt like off its very foundation. The floor rolled out from below him and only barely did he manage to land back on all fours without his limbs skidding out from under him.

Bags slotted secure the crook of his legs, he buried himself in the sofa and directed his next question hot from his lips to the room at large. "Remind me again how secure is this place!" as another BOOM! vibrated though him. It felt like he was on a ship being tossed and turned by a nightmarish, rollicking ocean.

In reality it only took her a couple of seconds to answer but in Chuck's addled brain it felt like an eternity. Finally her voice cut clear across the din.

"Grade three! — Which is pretty secure unless—" she was cut off by a loud revving.

Chuck scrambled onto his knees taking advantage of the houses temporary stillness. Sarah's face wheeled onto his with slow dawning horror.

Fear sprouted like a hungry raging thing in his midriff. "Unless? —" Chuck heard the panic crackling in his voice press. "—Unless...?" And never had he been so afraid to hear the answer.

And when Sarah's entire face cut to a shade of ghostly white Chuck almost rammed his fingers into his ears. "...Unless they have one of those."


A/N: ...Very excited to write the next chapters - expect lots in the way of action and sneaky subterfuge...and maybe an unwelcome guest or two.

Any who, as always suggestions, cool ideas, whatever comes to mind please PM me or review me with some stuff... remember virtual open arms ;)

Don't count on a quick update-Though I may surprise you-but don't count on it.

Dontfreakout