A/N: Time for another story. As mentioned in the summary, this takes place after our favorite characters graduated from college, so it is AU.
As always, standard disclaimers apply to this entire fic and it's unbetaed but proofread.
Chuck vs the Accidental Spy Team
Chapter 1 – Meet the Gang
"Chuck, did you see my lucky jersey anywhere?"
"Didn't you pack it already?"
"I'm sure I didn't."
"Well, good luck finding it in this mess."
"It has to be around here somewhere…"
"Tell you what, let me finish packing and we'll look for it together."
"When is Jill coming?"
"She'll be here as soon as she finishes saying goodbye to her sorority sisters. What about that clunker of yours, is she ready?"
"Ready, willing and able. I've topped her up with gas, checked the water in the radiator, the oil, the tire pressure and the sound system. We're good to go."
"Too bad Hannah isn't here."
"I talked to her over the phone last night. Her dad is doing better after his surgery and she's running the family business with an iron hand."
"So, she's there to stay."
"Hey, she has a good job. Her father's sudden illness notwithstanding, she's fine."
"Found it! Ha-ha! Come to daddy!"
"Are you done packing now?"
"Yep. Let's go, bro."
"Don't tell anyone I said that, but I'm gonna miss this place."
"My lips are sealed."
"Good. Now, let's go face the music."
Chuck and Bryce, buddies and roommates since freshman year, picked up their bags and took one last look at the room they had been sharing in the frat house. They were identically dressed, wearing jeans and fraternity T-shirts. Lined up at the foot of the stairs were their frat bros, wearing bed sheets as togas.
"All hail the pride of the Gamma Delta Phi Fraternity and now Stanford University graduates, our brothers Chuck Bartowski and Bryce Larkin! Gentlemen, your fraternity brothers salute you," their bro, who was master of the ceremony, called.
"Let us all drink a toast to them and their success, wishing them more success and happiness in their lives after college," another man said.
"GAMMA DELTA PHI!" Glasses and beer cans were raised.
"DRINK!" Following the command by the master of the ceremony, all took a long sip of their drinks.
"GAMMA DELTA PHI!" The second chorus was followed by some burps and laughter.
"Who is the designated driver?"
"Chuck is, oh master of the ceremony," Bryce replied.
"Let it be known that the other brother will have the drink for the brother who cannot."
"Bring it on."
"Our brothers, Bryce has agreed to have the goodbye drink for the both of them!"
"Go, go, go, go, go," the assembled brothers encouraged.
"Fetch the Mortar Boards!" Two mortar boards filled with Guinness stout were brought forward. Another guy dropped two shot glasses inside. "Drink, Brother."
"Brothers, the Graduates salute you," Bryce said and downed the first Irish Car Bomb to the cheers of all the others.
"The Fraternity salutes you!"
"The Graduates salute you," Bryce repeated, raising the second mortar board and emptying it in one gulp, like the first.
Outside, a girl was waiting by a car, her bags on the pavement next to her.
"What's going on in there?" The question came from a passerby.
"They are bidding goodbye to a couple of graduates." At that moment, the door of the frat house opened and said graduates appeared.
"Brothers," Chuck said, "we are counting on you to keep the traditions of Gamma Delta Phi alive. Choose the pledges wisely in the fall. Once again, we salute you!"
"See you guys at the reunion," Bryce added. The two drinks had begun to affect him, but he kept his balance as they walked to Chuck's car. Jill kissed Bryce and immediately grimaced.
"Damn, what did he drink, Chuck?"
"Just our goodbye drinks, a couple of Irish Car Bombs," Chuck replied.
"You didn't drink, I hope."
"Naw, he did, for both of us."
"Come on, let's get your stuff in the car, Jill."
"Thanks. I appreciate you guys giving me a lift home."
"Jill, the three of us have been inseparable since we were freshmen. Besides, that's how we decided it, to take my car for this trip."
"I call shotgun," Bryce slurred.
"Get inside," Chuck said.
Thus began the long drive from Palo Alto back to Los Angeles…
Meanwhile, at LAX, a flight from Massachusetts was arriving. The passengers disembarked, claimed their luggage and went to take their cars, find their friends or relatives, hail a cab or take a bus. Among those people, a family of four could be seen heading towards the short term parking area.
"You didn't tell me, Angel," the only man among them asked his youngest daughter, a beautiful blue eyed blonde, "what are you going to do now?"
"For the moment I'll go back to my summer job. I need to make some more money before going on vacation. I'll look for a more permanent career when I get back."
"Sorry to burst your bubble, little sis, but the place closed down last week."
"Hey, I could help you find a job," the older sister said.
"Knowing you, I'm certain I won't like it at all."
"Don't knock it until you try it."
"Really? What's it going to be? Topless waitress? Stripper? Porn actress?"
Their mother tried to look shocked, but the giggles betrayed her. It was customary for her daughters to tease each other like that. Her husband was also trying – and failing – to look serious. The girls were now laughing.
"None of the above," the coppery blond girl said finally. "I thought about getting you a job at Hooters, but I settled for the Wienerlicious at the Burbank Buy More Plaza."
The young man ran a hand over his beard and looked at his reflection in the mirror. Straightening his green polo shirt, he left the men's room and walked back to the sales floor of the Burbank Buy More.
The young man turned towards the source of the voice calling his name. "Yes, Big Mike?"
"When is Chuck coming back?"
"Didn't he tell you?"
"He's due back in Burbank today and he'll be back on the job tomorrow."
"Good, because the Nerd Herd is going all to hell without him."
"You do realize that this is the last summer we're working here, don't you? In two weeks, three tops, we're off for good."
"I was kinda hoping…"
"To keep the both of us here forever? Nuh-uh, Big Mike, Chuck just got a Stanford degree! Besides, Nerd Herding was always just his summer job. From this fall onwards, he'll be pursuing a career more in line with his talents and abilities. And so will I. Now, if you'll excuse me, I see customers coming my way." Morgan Grimes walked off, thinking about his job prospects once he left the Buy More. He'd studied at the Burbank Community College, not having been able to afford anything more, and he'd worked his way through his studies. Still, with a degree in management, he might find something better than being a Green Shirt in a Buy More. For the moment, he turned his attention to the obviously newly wed couple looking at various appliances. "Hi, I'm Morgan. How may I help you?"
"I still think it's funny, man," Bryce said and looked at Chuck, who was driving.
"You, dude, your situation is funny."
"Really?" Jill asked from where she was comfortably sprawled on the back seat. "How so?"
"Look at him, babe. His family owns Orion Computers and Software. Just last year, they wiped the floor with Roark Instruments."
"And?" Chuck asked, still focused on driving.
"You are still working as a Herder in a Buy More."
"Well, you know Dad's philosophy. To fully appreciate business and be in a position to lead, you have to see what it is like low on the food chain. Besides, it builds character."
"Do you see me arguing? Not to mention the funny stories you tell about your job. I wouldn't trade that for the world."
"See? OK, what about you, Jill, are you going to work at the pharmacy again?"
"For the moment yes, I am. I too need more money if we are to go through with our vacation plans."
"Regarding said plans, Dad agreed to let me borrow the Bronco."
"Man, that's amazing!" It was amazing indeed. Stephen Bartowski's old Ford Bronco could go anywhere. Plus it had more than enough room for everything the three friends would take with them.
"I'm glad you think so, pal. Jill, do I drop you off at your house?"
"Yes. And Bryce is coming with me."
"OK, but don't forget, Ellie has invited you and Bryce to dinner tonight."
"I haven't forgotten. We'll be there."
"Will Morgan be there? I missed the little guy."
"Yes, Bryce, he will. Maybe we'll find him there after he clocks out."
"And tomorrow it's back to work," Bryce said glumly.
"Hey, why are you so down about it? You are the one with a nice cushy job."
"Yeah, working for an accounting firm… it's really super…"
"Still, it's not as 'exciting' as Nerd Herding," Chuck retorted, lifting his hands from the wheel to make air quotes at the word exciting.
"Carina, what are we doing here?"
"You are meeting your new boss, Sarah." Carina dragged her baby sister into the Wienerlicious. "Hey, Scooter!"
"Carina, so nice to see you again," Scooter said.
"Thanks for the favor, by the way," Carina said.
"I still owe you."
"You do," she laughed. "Meet my baby sister, Sarah."
"Hi. When do you want to start work, Sarah?"
"When would you like me to start?"
"Is tomorrow OK?"
"Great! This is your schedule and some other stuff you might want to know." Scooter handed Sarah some papers. "Before I forget, I need to give you a uniform."
"Uniform?" Sarah queried.
"As of tomorrow, you are a Wiener Girl, sis. Besides, it'll look good on you."
Scooter gave them a package wrapped in plastic. "Inside you'll find your skirt, blouse and girdle. Tomorrow you'll get your name tag and a hot dog necklace."
"As a Wienerlicious employee, you'll have to wear the regulation uniform. It's all in the manual."
"Scooter, you'll have all the time to show her the ropes tomorrow. Right now, we're going shopping."
"Have a nice afternoon, ladies."
"You don't look pleased," Carina said, after the girls left the Wienerlicious for the mall.
"How perceptive," Sarah said sarcastically.
"Relax, Sarah. It's just for a few weeks. Too bad you didn't try harder with acting, though."
"It was just a commercial!"
"That was aired on national TV. Seriously, you'd become a star very quickly."
"There is a huge difference between eating a messy cheeseburger for a commercial and becoming a Hollywood star."
"What do you want to do then?"
"I'd like to go into the tourism business. Work with Mom and Dad, make the Miller Hotel even better…"
"You really like it."
"We practically grew up there. Except for senior year in high school, when Dad had to go to San Diego and took me with him, since Mom was in Europe, but still, I love the place. And since you are not interested…"
"Don't blame me for being adventurous."
"Yeah, being a cop is not a job, it's an adventure."
"How many times do I have to tell you, I'm not just a cop. I'm a Special Agent of the DEA. Hell, if I were a betting girl, I'd say I'm headed for a deputy director's position at the very least."
"You forgot to mention you are modest, too."
A petite brunette walked into the Buy More. Her shift at the diner where she worked had ended and she needed to get some things. Her eyes swept the store, looking for one particular section. She grimaced in disgust when her gaze paused on two leering men who were openly ogling her. One was balding in his early forties, while the other was short and obviously of Indian descent.
"Hi, welcome to the Buy More," a short bearded man said. "What can I do for you?"
"Come right this way, please."
She noticed that he was steering her away from the other two. "Who are those creepy guys," she whispered.
"Who, Jeff and Lester? Don't mind them, they are mostly harmless."
"Thanks for saving me nonetheless."
"Back to the original question, what would you like?"
"I have a list," she replied.
"Let's see it, then. I'm Morgan, by the way." He stuck out his hand.
"I know, it's written on your name tag. I'm Alex, nice to meet you."
"Chuck!" Ellie Bartowski squealed.
"How was your trip?"
"It was fine. Sis, Bryce and Jill will be joining us for dinner later."
"No problem. Oh, and Morgan's here, in your room."
"Probably playing on the X-Box."
"Why am I not surprised?"
"Captain," Chuck said, doing a fist bump with his sister's boyfriend.
"If you guys want to help, I have a list for some last minute shopping before dinner."
"We can handle it," Devon 'Captain Awesome' Woodcomb said. "Right, bro?"
"I have it right here." Ellie led the way into the kitchen.
"What is it, Chuck?"
"What are you doing to this chicken?"
Devon started laughing. "You sewed it up, babe? Did you use surgical sutures?"
"I needed the practice!" Ellie said defensively. "Here's the list. Go."
Still laughing, the two men left to go to the store as Ellie corralled Morgan to help her with a few things in the kitchen.
"My feet are killing me," Sarah complained as she plopped down on the couch.
"At least our shopping trip was a success," Carina said, eyeing the bags containing their purchases – mostly hers. "Your shopping instinct has improved, but you can do better."
"Forgive me for focusing on my studies over the past few years," Sarah said sarcastically.
"Sis, do I need to remind you how you looked in high school, before I gave you a makeover?"
"No, you don't." Carina had taken a borderline ugly duckling and turned her into a drop dead gorgeous swan.
"So why are you so grumpy? When was the last time you got laid?"
"It's been a while." Of course, Sarah would never tell Carina exactly how long 'a while' was. She'd never hear the end of it if she admitted that she was still a virgin at the ripe old age of twenty-two.
"Then what were you doing in Harvard?"
"I was studying!"
"All work and no play," Carina waxed theatrically.
"I graduated at the top of my class, didn't I?"
"There is so much more to life than just work, Sarah," Carina said, wrapping an arm around her little sister's shoulders. "You know what you need? A little pizzazz; go out more, have fun."
"I'm planning on taking a vacation."
"I don't know yet. But I was thinking about going to Europe for a couple of weeks, if I can afford it."
"It's progress. Not much, mind you, but it still is."
"Yeah, whatever. Are you going to make dinner, or shall I?"
"Oh no, you are not going to be cooking. Neither am I. We'll order some takeout."
"Works for me. Say, do you know a good gym around here? Preferably one where I can also work on my martial arts skills."
"There is one. It's not far from here and I know the owner. It should be no problem at all. We could even spar together from time to time."
"Carina, thank you for everything, including letting me stay with you until I get a place of my own."
"You are my baby sister, Sarah. There is nothing I wouldn't do for you. Now, what should we get to eat? I'm starving."
Chuck's alarm clock started blaring. He slapped the stop button, yawned and sat up in bed to get his bearings. Then it came to him. He was starting again at the Buy More. It's only for a couple of weeks, to make enough money for the vacation we have planned, he thought. In the fall I'm going to have a real job. He shuffled to the bathroom, took a quick shower and put on a white dress shirt, black slacks and a silver gray tie. A pocket protector with a Nerd Herd ID tag and his signature Chuck Taylors completed the outfit.
'The cereal box is in its usual spot," Ellie said.
"Thanks." He quickly filled a bowl with Fruit Loops, poured milk over them and sat down to enjoy his breakfast. "Ellie?"
"I'll be getting a Nerd Herd Mobile today, but since I returned the car to the company motor pool yesterday…"
"Don't worry, I'll drive you."
"Morgan should be arriving soon."
"Ah, yes, you can't do without your other half."
"Chuck and I are like one," Morgan said from the courtyard and jumped in through an open living room window. "We are brothers, heterosexual life partners, like Starsky and Hutch, Tango and Cash… Turner and Hooch."
"Now that you mention it, you do remind me a little of Hooch," Ellie said snidely. Morgan wasn't offended. He was used to Chuck's sister good-naturedly teasing them. So was Chuck himself. They shared a laugh and, after Chuck found his messenger bag, went to the parking spots to get the Toyota for the drive to the Buy More Plaza. Ellie would then go to Westside Medical, the hospital where she and Devon worked.
The very moment Chuck was waking up, Carina entered the room her baby sister was sleeping in.
"Sarah, wake up," she said, gently shaking her shoulder.
"Mmmmhhrrrmph, just a few more minutes please, Mom."
"It's not Mom, it's me. Wake up!"
"Good morning," Sarah said with her eyes still closed.
"Good morning," Carina said. "Come on, get up. Coffee's ready and I have your favorite cereal."
"Fruit Loops?" Sarah asked hopefully.
"What else? And if you are a good girl, I'll even get some Rocky Road."
"I'm not eight any more."
"True, but you still love Rocky Road, so get ready for work. You don't want to be late on your first day."
"Yeah, it wouldn't do to leave people without hot dogs…"
"I already have your uniform out for you."
"No way I'm putting that thing on now. I'll change there."
"Suit yourself. Come on," she said, grasping Sarah's hands and pulling her from the bed. "Take a shower and then we'll have breakfast."
Sarah and Carina had just finished eating when there was a knock on the door. Carina answered and was surprised to see her parents.
"Mom, Dad, what are you doing here?"
"What, no good morning from our big girl?" Jack asked.
"Sorry, it was a little unexpected." She hugged them both. "Come in."
"Who is it?" Sarah asked from the kitchen.
"Mom and Dad are here."
Sarah ran to greet them. "Hi guys," she said.
"A little bird told us that you are starting on a new job today," Katie said.
"The little bird is correct."
"Anyway, Jack and I decided to get you a present."
"Really? What for?"
"Sweetie, you graduated with honors from Harvard University. If that doesn't warrant us getting you something nice, then what does?"
"You didn't have to."
"We wanted to," her father said emphatically and handed her a small gift-wrapped box. "Open it."
"Thanks." She tore at the paper and found a set of keys inside the box. "You got me a car?"
"Like your mother said, you deserve it."
"What is it?"
"Come with us."
Sarah grabbed the bag with her work clothes and followed her parents. Carina decided to tag along, curious about the present her sister was getting.
"Which one is it?"
"That's up to you to find out," Jack laughed. Sarah understood and pressed the unlock button on the remote. A loud beep later her eyes came upon a gleaming black Porsche 911 Boxster convertible.
"Wow… thank you." She enthusiastically hugged Jack and Katie.
"Nice car," Carina said.
"I love it already."
"Then what are you waiting for? Get in and drive to work."
"See you guys later! And thanks again!" Sarah got in behind the wheel and just enjoyed the feel of the supple leather seats, taking it all in. She liked her present, but didn't have the heart to throw her old yellow Volkswagen Rabbit convertible away. Maybe she could talk her parents into letting her keep it at the hotel parking lot for use by employees on errands. That way it would stay in the family, so to speak. Snapping out of her thoughts, she was even a little surprised to find she was so sentimental over a car.
Chuck tugged at his tie and sighed as the automatic doors to the Buy More opened. He'd been working summers at the electronics store since high school. It was as if nothing had changed since the last time he'd clocked out.
"Back to the salt mines, buddy," Morgan said.
"Not for long," Chuck replied determinedly and headed towards the Nerd Herd station.
"Look who's back," Michael 'Skip' Johnson exclaimed. Marvin and Anna smiled and moved to greet him.
"Jeff and Lester? Big Mike banished them to the cage."
While Chuck was getting settled at the Nerd Herd desk and Morgan was prowling the sales floor with the other Green Shirts, Sarah was coming out of the Wienerlicious claustrophobically small locker room in her work clothes, hair pulled in pigtails.
"Well, Ms. Walker," Scooter said, "it's time to show you the ropes in here."
"Oh joy," Sarah muttered under her breath, but forced herself to concentrate as Scooter gave her the tutorial. It's just for a little while, girl, so be patient, she thought.