A/N: Posted 9/26/2011
This is a one shot that has been sitting on my hard drive. It has nothing to do with Three Day Tour, except that they were written around the same time. Enjoy and let me know what you think.
Many thanks to supesfan18 and Doc in Oz for reading this and providing me with feedback and suggestions.
The whole Jill debacle had thrown him for a loop. He was horrified that he had fallen under Jill's spell yet again and jeopardized the Intersect. More importantly, his actions almost cost his partners their lives.
And then, there was his non-relationship relationship with Sarah. What a mess he'd made of things.
Chuck could see the hurt in Sarah's eyes. He didn't think he could've hurt her more if he'd used one of her own knives on her. He knew there was something there, but what? And after the Jill thing, he wasn't sure if he had totally damaged whatever was there.
Now, Chuck couldn't even look at Sarah without the guilt eating away at him.
Be good. Stay in the car. Okay, this is a van, but, you know what she means. Don't give her anything else to hate you for.
He just had to watch his partners' backs as they made their way into the Global Launch Agency for intel on possible criminal activities. The monitors went to a snowy image and there was only static on the audio feeds.
He punched up his link to Sarah, "Sarah? Come in, Sarah."
"Casey, I've lost video and Sarah isn't responding."
No response there either.
He started to panic, "I knew it. They are both in trouble and…"
The sliding door to the van was violently thrown open. A loud bang of the door hitting the end of the rails just barely preceded the three armed men, dressed in black assault gear. Chuck had only enough time to look up before he was hit in the chest with a tranq dart.
Casey tried to stretch, but he found that he barely had room to bring his arms up above his chest. He must have rolled under the ledge. Again. He felt above his face and found the side of the ledge and pulled himself out. At least the pain in his neck and shoulder had subsided and he had slept.
It wasn't an awful smell, really, just one that seemed to get stronger. He chalked it up to a lack of other stimuli making the ones that were there a little more noticeable. It was a dark room without any light or sound coming in from the outside. The floor was smooth, cold and a bit damp. Lying on his back for so long had made him stiff, so he stood and stretched. He could hear her breathing.
"Hey, Walker, you still with me?"
They were together in the same dark cell again.
"How's the head?"
"Someone cleaned me up while we were out. There's a dressing on it and the blood is gone." At least it felt like blood.
He felt something touch his arm and he reflexively pulled away.
"Just me, John."
They had both been stripped of their weapons and clothing, save for underwear. Neither could remember much of what had happened or for how long they had been held captive in their dark cell. They had felt along the walls, floor and ceiling and found a ledge outcropping on one wall and what they surmised was a door. It was smooth and fit perfectly into the wall with only a small crack creating an outline of a door.
Casey spoke his intentions to avoid smacking into his partner, "I'm going to move to that ledge and sit."
"I'll join you. The floor is way too cold and damp."
"Whoa! The ledge isn't much better. The metal is cold, but at least, it's dry."
Sarah found the ledge and tested the edge with her hand and turned to sit, "Damn, that is cold. Any idea what this is all about? Have you seen… um… our friend?"
"No sign of him. We've been drugged, moved between cells at gunpoint and gassed. And the interrogation, if you could call it that, felt more like a job interview." He leaned over, stretching his back as he sat. He could hear Sarah next to him, doing the same.
"I went through the same interview. I don't remember you sleeping while I was awake and I presume the same is true for you."
"Yeah." He felt the stubble on his face, "And we've been here for no more than two days, judging by my face."
"What did they ask you about?"
"Who I work for. How I know Jill. Where is Jill. I don't know who they are, but they sure don't act like cops."
She let out a small sob, "I'm scared, John. What do you think they are going to do us?"
He reached out to her and found her arm. Her hand came up and took his.
"I have no idea. I was in the Marines for a few years and we were told what to expect in an interrogation, but I'm not a soldier any more. So why kidnap us?"
Between sobs, Sarah exclaimed, "I sell freakin' frozen yogurt, for God's sake. I didn't do anything wrong!"
"Hey, don't look at me. I just sell over-priced grills to yuppies!" His voice was a little too loud.
They both started laughing. What was the point to maintaining their covers? Whoever grabbed them had found their weapons and they weren't the kinds of things that civilians would carry.
"I wish you hadn't mentioned those grills. Now, all I can think of is a nice, big, juicy steak."
"Heh. Same here. Sorry, about that. And a couple of beers would go nicely with that."
"I'd settle for a roast beef sandwich."
"Don't you dare!" He warned her.
He couldn't see her, but he knew she was smiling, "You know 'what'." He turned to her, imagining her form as she sat next to him, "The moron and that troll friend of his talked about sandwiches for hours."
Her voice had an iciness to it, "Hey! What did I tell you about that?"
He growled. "Don't get your panties in a bunch, Walker. You know I like the kid, too."
"Then why can't you ever tell him that?"
She didn't hear his response.
That time it was gas. She shook her head to shake the effects. "Casey?" She called out into the ever-present darkness.
A soft light came on, revealing a small table and chair in the middle of the room. As soft as the light was, she still blinked and had to look away. Within a few moments her eyes grew accustomed to the light and she sat up. She was alone, yet again.
She wondered what happened to her partner. And what happened to Chuck? Did they have him as well? Her chest tightened; was he hurt? The whole fiasco with Jill was still fresh in her mind. It had hurt. A lot. But she and Chuck were already working on mending their friendship/relationship.
She looked around the room and saw nothing to indicate that she had been in this room before. The table and light were new elements in her mystery. She stood up and made her way to the table.
There were two water bottles and a plate of prepared fruit on the table in front of the chair. Resting on the other side of the table were a bowl of water, a white towel and a bed pan. The food could not have been there long as the fruit was still wet from being cleaned and the mingling fruit juices on the plate were just beginning to pool. She reached out for a slice of strawberry. It still had its chill from refrigeration and when she popped it into her mouth the taste seemed to explode along the sides of her tongue.
Without taking her eyes off of the table, she called out, "What have you done with Ch…! Where is my partner?" Damn, that was close.
If anyone was listening, they did not respond.
Her stomach growled at her. Since she was not getting answers she decided to answer her own needs. She slipped different pieces of fruit, one after the other, into her mouth. They were as good, if not better, than in any of the finest hotels or spas she stayed at while on missions. Sarah attributed the sensations to the deprivations of the last few days.
She picked up one of the water bottles and examined it. The cap and the plastic circle on the neck that held the cap were gone, as was the label. There was no information to be gleaned there to help to identify where she might be.
She hesitated about drinking it. Too many years of training made her leery of open containers. But then again, her captors could do anything they wanted to her. She guzzled half the bottle down and wiped her lips with the back of her hand. She looked back at the plate and resumed eating. She found a few slices of cheese and crackers, slightly buried by the grapes.
There was very little left on the plate when she had a sense of contentedness. She finished her water and left the empty bottle by the plate. She picked up the second bottle, stood and made her way over to the water bowl.
Sarah cupped her hands and lowered them into the bowl. She brought the water to her face and cleaned as best she could. She couldn't smell any serious funk and that made her a little nervous. What were they doing to her body when she was passed out? Anything they want. She was still wearing only her panties and bra and figured that they had already seen or could see anything they wanted. She removed her clothing and continued bathing.
Grabbing the towel, she dried herself off and redressed. She didn't feel the need for the bed pan, but knew that she might soon be knocked out again. Picking up the bed pan she walked over to a wall and placed the pan on the floor. Sarah had done worse to relieve herself, so she lowered her panties and sat on the pan. She leaned against the wall and waited for the urge. Eventually it came.
She was asleep when they came. One of the guards kicked her in the foot. "Wake up, bitch!"
She was a little slow, so the guard gave her another kick. This one was a little harder.
Sarah moved onto her stomach and pushed herself up.
"Didn't say to get up, bitch."
She felt the boot on her side as it pushed her over.
"Okay, I'm awake." She held up a single hand, palm open, to signal 'Stop'.
There were three of them; two of them had automatic weapons trained on her. They were dressed in black and wore helmets with mirrored visors.
"Now the fun begins, traitor. Lay down on your stomach and put your hands behind your back."
Sarah did as she was told and felt her hands being bound with old-fashioned chains. She could hear the links as they rattled against each other. He bound her feet as well, but she could still separate her legs a little more than a foot. She was yanked to her feet and shoved towards the door. An old burlap bag, smelling of rotted fruit was roughly pulled over her head. She was shoved again and her chin hit something hard. She saw stars.
She heard the door slide open and a guard shoved her again, through the door. They moved slowly, her ankle-shackles giving her limited mobility. A hand was tightly holding her arm and it pulled her back and she was told to wait.
Sarah heard another door slide open and she was shoved to the side. A second hand grabbed her other arm and she was led forward. She was turned in a complete about face. She felt her left leg pulled back against a pole. Another shackle was attached to her leg that held it tightly against the pole. The ankle-shackles were removed and her other leg was pulled over to another pole two feet away and secured.
She was yanked downwards, forcing her to sit. Someone pulled her forward and her hands were freed. Each was shackled to the armrests.
The guards left the room and the door slid closed.
A loud horn blared off to her right, waking her instantly. She found herself still sitting in the chair, her arms and legs firmly restrained. Special, she thought as the ringing in her ears subsided. She listened for any changes in the room and could make out no sounds. The light was on as she could see glimmers shining through the threads of the bag.
She daydreamed about Chuck.
Playing with the curls on his head, she ran a finger along his jaw line. She placed hers hands on both sides of his face and felt his lips as she rubbed them with her nose. Those sweet lips. She pressed her lips against his and felt his tongue licking against hers. It felt so good. Until the guilt gnawed at her heart, she'd denied him. She'd denied herself.
The guilt did not last long as the horn sounded off again. When her hearing cleared, she could hear very soft, soothing music. God, she was so tired.
The light from the flash grenade blinded her, even in her sleep, jarring her awake. Sleep deprivation. Quite effective when you have the time. And they have all the time.
"Wakey wakey, Walker!"
"Where is she?"
Of course. Jill. "I have no idea."
"You wanted her out of Chuck's life, didn't you?"
"She is Fulcrum and is a danger to Chuck, his family and his partners. I want her locked up."
"Then why did you let her go?"
"You were working with her."
"Tell us where she is and we'll give you some time with Chuck."
She gulped, "He's just my partner."
Something snapped at her left nipple making her groan. Damn, that hurt.
"That isn't what your partners said."
She bit her lip and didn't respond.
She felt a presence by her left ear and then a breath carried a whisper, "He screamed like a girl."
She hoped she could hold her voice steady, "Leave him alone. He's just an analyst."
Another snap at her nipple. That really does hurt. No marks, but really?
"Then tell us where she is, Agent Walker, and we won't have to hurt him."
Oh, God! No! Calm! "I don't know."
"Interesting. He loves you, you know. He'll break."
She felt something stroke her breast then trace the line between the top of her bra and skin.
The damn, freakin' horn woke her again. She had fallen asleep and her interviewer was gone. She was so tired, she thought she could sleep through the next horn blast. She waited for the questions to start, but they never came.
The opening stanzas of Beethoven's Fifth blared in her ears and then stopped.
Sarah blinked her eyes. "Okay, okay, I'm awake."
She heard soft footsteps behind her and turned her head trying to follow the movement. There was a slight crackle sound followed by more footsteps.
Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop!
The smell of gunpowder wafted up to her nose.
The horn went off again, but elicited only a small body shift in Sarah.
She sputtered. Cold water.
"Wakey wakey, Walker!" A moment later, "You get that little joke? 'wakey walker'."
"Y… Yeah, a real poet." It was very hard for her to get that out. Her thinking was dragging. She was so tired that the effects of the cold water were already fading.
"Ah, you still have your sense of humor. I don't suppose you've had a change of heart, huh?"
"We'll see. How long have you been working for them?"
"Who?" Who do… She felt herself doze off and shook herself awake. Umm…
"Why, Fulcrum, of course. You wouldn't be the first traitor we've had to deal with."
"No." Her head lolled… sleep... Chuck... and she was asleep.
They woke her with the horn again. Well, almost woke her.
She heard a voice was calling her name. It sounded so far away.
"Walker." It was a male voice. It was different from the last one; softer and deeper.
"Did you help Jill to escape?"
"Are you jealous of Jill?" The deep voice of the interrogator was hypnotic.
Too many questions! "No."
"Do you want to catch Jill?'
When there was no response, the interrogator asked her again, sharply, "Walker! Do you want to catch Jill?'
"Are you afraid of what Jill might do to Chuck?"
"Yes." Her head came back up as her chin bounced off of her chest, shaking herself awake. Her head finally settled with her face looking downwards in a relaxed state as her mind floated back off to sleep. Wonderful sleep.
They used another flash grenade. Or was it two? Did it matter? It made her head sway back and forth. It barely registered in her thoughts. There was a shadow, moving, just to her right.
"Are you in love with Chuck?" The voice was softer. Sympathetic?
"Yes." Then a moment later, "No. Partners."
She awoke with a curse on her lips. She could move her arms and legs again, but they were as stiff as hell. The last thing she remembered was being shackled to a chair. God, she had been so tired. And the same question asked over and over. Now she was here. Wherever 'here' was. Wait! What did she tell them? Or did she dream it?
I did tell them, didn't I? I'm so sorry, Chuck.
The room was dark again, but she heard breathing. "Casey, are you awake yet?"
"Chuck? Oh my God. They got you too!" Her voice sounded almost frantic. She crawled in the direction of his voice. "Talk to me, so I can find you." He's alive!
"Are you okay?" he asked. "It was very lonely in here. What do they want with a nerd and a yogurt maker?"
"I'm fine." Her voice was shaky. He's protecting our cover. "Chuck, don't bother. They know who we are."
He felt her brush against him and suddenly her arms were wrapping themselves around him. The force almost knocked him over. He felt her lips on his and he moaned. When she pulled away, he whispered to her, "That felt so good. I almost don't mind being here."
"Shhh." She didn't want their captors to hear them. "Sorry, I didn't mean to do that." The hell I didn't. But she was still hugging him, her face buried in his neck. She was beginning to feel real fear over what they might do to Chuck.
He felt a wetness on his skin where Sarah had her face pressed against him. He didn't mention it. "They stripped you too?"
"Yeah. They took our weapons."
"Our? They got Casey too?"
"Uh huh. Before they gassed me, he was in here with me." She desperately wanted to avoid the topic of interrogation and her last 'interview' session. She sat up and found that Chuck was already sitting. They were facing each other. She ran her hands over Chuck's head and face and worked her way down his body.
He reached out and examined her. Exclaiming when he found her head dressing, "You've been hurt!"
"I think its okay. They cleaned me up but I don't remember getting hurt."
She felt him squirm as she worked her way downwards, examining him.
"Sarah! That part of me is definitely okay. Please. Take my word for it."
She couldn't help it and smirked. "Sorry, Chuck. I just wanted to make sure you weren't injured."
She felt him move in closer to her and whisper into her ear, "Are we… Are we in the bunker?"
"What?" She suddenly realized why he would think so. "No. That deep, dark part of the bunker threat is a metaphor. It isn't really 'dark'." Or so she hoped.
"Oh. I always imagined it to be a dark hole in the ground, kind of like in The Iron Mask."
We never did tell him what the facility was like. She felt guilty about causing him that kind of anxiety. Maybe that helped with keeping him out of one.
"Chuck, how did you wind up in here?"
"I have no idea. I was watching you and Casey on the monitors one minute, three guys attacked the van and the next thing I remember I was here."
She was shocked, "You actually stayed in the car?"
"Yeah. For a change. See, I told you it wasn't that safe in the car."
She could feel him smiling. She sighed, "So you've told me." She reached out to him in the dark and found his leg, "Since you've been here, did they gas you?"
"I think so. I haven't seen or heard a thing until you showed up."
"Missed me, huh?"
"I was scared that something might have happened to you. I'm sorry, but I couldn't find a way out of this room." He had taken her hand and pulled it up and held it. He then kissed her hand.
She almost jumped at the touch of his lips. She could do nothing about the goose bumps she felt grow along her arm and up to her neck. She shook it off and took her hand back. He was worried about me? "Chuck, I'm supposed to protect you."
"Sorry, I was just worried."
"I missed you, too." She was shocked at her admission. But the utter darkness and being with Chuck had lowered her defenses.
"Let's get off this floor," he prompted her. "I found a ledge before. It's cold, but dry."
"Casey said the same thing."
She felt him shift and grabbed for his hand. She wasn't about to let him go.
"Come on, Sarah. Ledge. Dry."
They groped their way to one of the walls and felt for the ledge. They found it along the second wall and laid down on it. Sarah was emboldened by the lack of light and immediately curled up into Chuck's arms. She felt helpless, unable to protect Chuck. Who was responsible for all this?
Chuck laughed to himself. So much for it being just a cover. He allowed himself to rub Sarah's back with his arm that was under her. He couldn't help himself, she felt so good in his arms.
With his free hand, he reached down to her leg and held it just above the knee. He felt her shift and her leg came further up, inviting him to continue. He slowly brought his hand upwards, feeling the softness of her skin.
He felt her murmur his name, her lips pressed against his chest. He lifted his hand and gently placed it on her rear, cupping a cheek and waited. Sarah leaned into him and he moved his hand down to her other cheek, softly rubbing. His hand moved to the top of her panties and he slid a finger under the elastic.
Oh, God. She wanted this. She lifted her hips…
Am I out of my mind? We can't do this here. Her hand shot down, grabbing his, as her hips slumped back down. She had a huge lump in her throat. She breathlessly whispered into his ear, pleading, "No. Not… Not now. Not here." She wanted to scream in frustration.
The lights flickered on and the door to their cell squeaked open. The three guards came in, wordlessly. One of them held a tranq pistol and shot each of them with a dart.
Sarah's mind became increasingly aware of the brightness in front her closed eye lids. Light! She slowly opened her right eye and saw a dimly lit table. Chuck was gone. So close! Or was it just a dream? She'd had plenty of those of her and Chuck. They had, for the most, replaced the old nightmares. But there were new nightmares too. They consisted of Chuck getting hurt. Or Chuck being put in a bunker. Or her being re-assigned and losing Chuck.
She lived in their cover. It wasn't much. But it was better than no Chuck. The problem was he couldn't. She knew she was compromised. She knew she should be re-assigned. But she didn't want to lose Chuck. But it was more than that, she didn't trust anyone else to protect him. She was close to tears. She used every ounce of strength she had to hold them back. No, she couldn't give the enemy anything to use against her.
If… when we get out of here, I am going to find a way to make this work. I almost lost him to Jill, that bitch! Now 'they' had the entire team. After the endless gassing or drugging and waking up with one or the other of her partners, or worse, alone, she had learned nothing about who 'they' were.
She got up off of the floor and made another search of the room, taking advantage of the light.
It was the longest amount of time she had been awake, drug or gas free and/or had the lights on. She was sitting in one of the corners hugging her legs and her head resting on her knees. She had become her own worst enemy, torturing herself about Chuck. Where did they take him? What are they doing to him?
They should have taught him how to protect himself. Would it have mattered? She and Casey were easily subdued and taken here. If they suspect that he is the Intersect, will they make him work for them? Would he be able to withstand the torture to protect the Intersect and his country?
He can't fight against professionals. He's an innocent civilian. A sweet, wonderful guy. Her guy. He was worried about us. About me. If they do anything to him, she vowed, she'd kill them all. Slowly. Who's she kidding? They'll be lucky to get out of this alive.
Her right foot started tapping in rapid succession. She quickly stopped her foot when she realized that was one of Chuck's affectations when he was nervous.
And when she got tired of the fears, she started in on herself with the guilt. She might never see him again and he would never know how she felt about him. How he had changed her. Damn him, how he'd changed her.
He did this to her. Made her care. Made her have emotions she didn't know what to do with.
Made her hate him.
Nonononono! She didn't mean that. Please, nonononono! Rather than cry she lifted her head from her knees and screamed.
The first guard entered just as the door opened, scanned the room, holding his rifle in a ready position. Sarah held her hands up, palms out and waited. The other two guards came in to her cell carrying a body.
Chuck? No, bigger than Chuck. Casey!
Casey's body was dropped to the floor and several bottles of water were left beside him. Without a word the guards turned around and walked out of the room. The lights were dimmed, but not shut off.
Sarah quickly got to her feet and rushed to Casey's side. He'd been beaten. Badly. One eye was swollen shut and his lip was split. There were, what looked like, several burn marks on his torso.
"Where's Chuck?" He asked her.
"He's not here. They took him away after they drugged me." She opened a water bottle, supported his head with one hand and pressed the bottle to his lips.
He took a sip and coughed. Clearing his throat, he asked her again, "Where's Chuck?"
Sarah stopped and looked down at Casey. Hadn't he heard her? "Casey, can you understand me?"
Casey reached up and felt for Sarah's hand. "Sarah? Is that you? I'm sorry, I don't know what happened to the kid."
"John, relax. They've done a real number on you."
"He was with me. Then they came in. I tried to protect him when they plugged me. That damn kid."
That did not sound good. "John! What happened to Chuck?"
Her question seemed to bring Casey's mind back into focus, "Where's Chuck?"
Sarah leaned her head down against John's forehead. "I don't know. I'm scared."
He felt her tears falling on his face. "Sarah?"
Her breath hitched and she wiped her eyes, "Yeah, John. I'm here."
He whispered, "He compromised you too, didn't he?"
Her eyes went wide. Too? Too! "He did. I don't know what I'll do if something happens to him."
He coughed and cleared his throat, "You're in love with the guy, huh?"
What difference does it make? We're probably done, but I have to let someone know.
Casey sat in his lounger, about to take a sip of the Johnny Walker he'd poured, when he was interrupted by the General on his TV monitor. God, does that woman ever sleep?
"Ma'am." He put the drink down and was about to pull the seat-back up.
"As you were, John."
"Yes, Ma'am." He waited.
"I'm sorry to interrupt your personal time, but I needed to talk to you privately."
He simply nodded.
"And I did say, as you were."
Casey blinked and turned to the drink he'd poured. He picked it up and held it with a gesture towards the image of the General.
"How would you characterize the relationship between Agent Walker and the asset?"
Casey choked down the sip he had just taken. "Ma'am?"
The General shook her head, "Come off it, John. Do you think I am such a fool that I don't know that she has compromised herself?"
"Ma'am, everything is under control with the team. She handles herself and the asset well."
She smirked, shook her head and responded sarcastically, "Yes, I'm sure she does. But that isn't what I asked. We both know she has been compromised. Has been for quite some time."
His face fell. It's over. I tried to hide it for them. She'll be gone and he goes in the hole. "Yes, ma'am." He felt traitorous to his team, but at some point, things go too far.
"Ah, good. Then we're in agreement. The only question that remains, is what do we do about it?"
One last shot. "I'll keep my eyes on them and get them back on the professional path." God, I didn't even buy that.
"NO! Major, you will do nothing of the sort. We need to get them together. Not drive them apart!"
Casey's eyes bulged, did she just suggest that they, well, it would wind up being him, play matchmaker to the moron and Miss 'Lovesick'?
"Snap out of it, man! I am not suggesting this for romantic reasons." She leaned into the monitor. "Have you thought about how much energy she spends keeping herself apart from him? And Psych tells me she's going to crack." She shook her head and sat back. "The asset is a grown man with needs. We saw what happened when he tried to date that sandwich girl."
"You mean Lou?"
"Yes, of course. And then he practically hand delivers the Intersect to Fulcrum chasing after his old girl friend." She took a deep breath, "This team has been too effective to allow it to fall apart."
Casey dragged his palm across his face. "She'll never buy any of this. She'll just suspect that it's trap."
"Well, we'll just have to break her then."
Act 7 cont.
Her throat was dry and cracked when she tried to answer. She worked the lump out of her throat, "Yeah, John. I do. I always have. I just couldn't…"
John smiled up at her, "No, you couldn't, could you. They thought you might last a few months…" He brought his arms down to the floor and pushed himself up to sit.
Sarah stared at John, confused. She didn't think he had the strength to move. Wait. They who? What?
He stood up and offered her his hand. With his other hand, he pulled at the latex 'bruising' from around his eye.
Her mouth fell open. She took his hand and pulled herself up.
He held on to her hand, gave her a broad smile and reassured her, "Don't worry, it's okay." He gave a look towards the door. "I think there's someone that's going to be very happy to see you again." With a look to the ceiling, he said, "Pineapple."