A/N: Yeah, I know. Yet another story that I started. But this is different, I swear! I'm actually building a buffer and having a beta for this one. She'll probably hound me up to make sure I write this stuff in a timely manner. Don't worry about IP, it WILL get finished, if it's the last thing I do. It's just kind of hard to find the motivation to start on it at the moment and all these new ideas are popping into my head.
I want to thank my beta ShinyJayne19 for being generally awesome and helping me a whole lot with almost every story that I've got going on at the moment. I don't have a lot of experience with beta's, but I can tell she's awesome at it anyway.
DISCLAIMER: If things do not make sense with regards to where I placed them in D.C., that's because I've never actually been there and most of my research is done through the wonderful help of Google Maps along with Wolfram Alpha. Don't own Chuck.
The Good Samaritan, Chapter 1
Sarah's apartment, Washington D.C.
Tuesday, December 14th, 2004
Another boring day doing nothing but twiddling thumbs. It seemed to be a common occurrence for Sarah as of late. She had returned from a satisfying mission in the Czech Republic. Nothing fancy, just a simple snatch and grab. She didn't even have to seduce anyone, so that was always a plus. She inwardly shuddered as she remembered how degrading her last seduction mission was. Oh, the creep didn't get far at all. A nifty tranquilizer dart saw to that, as it had done every time so far, but the fact remained that he had kissed her. Sarah's love for the greater good went far. She would've probably gone farther than making out with some random creep if it truly was the last option available. But that didn't mean it was any less disgusting.
Sarah crossed the boulevard from her apartment. She knew she could occupy her boredom by lounging on the couch, but who watched TV at almost four in the afternoon? That was crazy. And if she was honest with herself, she could do without all the ridiculous Christmas adverts that she was already seeing advertised. Christmas at her home meant a bottle of wine and a frozen dinner. When she was still with her dad it usually meant a con job. The Salvation Army was the easy target that naturally became an annual occurrence.
She shook her head and smiled at her father's crazy antics. It wasn't so much a smile as it was a grimace. She didn't know how she could've ever gone along with what he did. Still, it did lead to a promising career with the CIA, so all in all maybe it wasn't too bad. She was serving the greater good now and that was all that mattered to her. Everything else went on the backburner, including her social life. And boy was that biting her in the ass right now.
She tightened her coat. It was damn near freezing. She checked a thermometer: 30.2° F. That was just great. She crossed the street, walking along with the masses, looking somewhere to go. She had her duffel bag with sports gear slung over her shoulder, but she didn't know if she would actually work out. She had been doing it nonstop since her return home. It seemed to be the only thing that would keep her mind off the dull life that was hers between missions. She figured she could spend some time at the shooting range, trying to improve her already near perfect score by the tiniest of margins. If anything, she was a perfectionist. And she had always been taught that the details mattered. She had to be able to accurately pinpoint exactly how much money her mark was holding when she did her girl-scout con, she had to make sure that the latex was applied correctly and the wig was on just right when she did the CIA's cons.
Sarah scanned the crowd. Years of being an agent had made it an autonomous action on her part. Each face was scanned for details and remembered. Oh, the bliss of having an eidetic memory. Most were businessmen or women, rushing to get back to work after a late lunch.
Lucky bastards, at least they get to go somewhere.
One face within the momentous crowd caught her attention a split second longer than it usually did. It was a nice face, soft brown eyes, smile on his lips and he was tall. At least a couple of inches taller than Sarah and she wasn't short by any stretch of the imagination. He had cute curls on his head that seemed to bounce wildly as he trotted along with the masses busy with their daily grind. He was wearing a messenger bag with the emblem of a stickman in a running motion, the words Nerd Herd etched below, as well as a silly pocket protector, something that she hadn't seen in ages. She shook her head and tried to erase the pleasant face from her memory as best as she could. Of course, that wasn't going to work very well. Oh, the bliss of having an eidetic memory.
Her feet went on auto pilot and she found herself walking the old route to her local gym. Guess that answers that question then.
She walked inside and was enveloped by the pleasant warmth that the radiators in the gym provided. She was greeted by Paul. She had always liked Paul. He had sandy blonde hair that was trimmed neatly and vibrant green eyes. He was fit, was good looking and amazingly friendly. He was a true catch. "Hey Paul," she called out.
The best part was that he was gay. She wasn't lying when she said he was a catch. She just wasn't interested in him and neither was he in her, but from the way that he had always acted towards her she could easily see him making his boyfriend very happy. He'd always been courteous to her and had even helped her chase away some of the other men around the gym who thought that they could bag the hot blonde on the treadmill.
"Sarah, great to see you… again," he said, adding a wink.
"What can I say?" she said adding a shrug for emphasis. "Creature of habit."
"I'll say. So what will it be today?"
"Oh, just the usual. Calisthenics to start followed by some time on the treadmill. Got to keep fit somehow."
"You got to keep fit? Girl, if you'd get any more fit you'd look like me."
"We can't have that, now can we?" she said, chuckling.
"Well, I'll leave you to it. Let me know if there's any trouble. I've seen a few potentials today."
That was their thing. Paul was a master in finding men who were so in love with themselves that they would inadvertently end up trying something with her. But instead of not being in the mood, she was hoping it would happen today. She couldn't wait to see what Paul would pull out of the bag this time. But whatever he had thought up, she was sure to be amused.
"Thanks for the warning, I'll be sure to keep an eye out for them. Are we still using the same sign as before?"
"Yup, two whistles and I'll come save you from the big bad men. Maybe you should show them your routine on the heavy bag. That ought to scare them off."
"But where would that leave you? You need your fun as well," she said, her eyes sparkling with mirth.
"Oh, what would I do without you, Sarah?"
"Hit on men who are gay instead of straight?"
"Touché. Very well, miss Walker. The floor…" he said, with a flourish of his arm, "is yours."
Grinning she walked to the changing room. The yoga pants and sports bra still fit her perfectly. The only problem was that it… well, it was very exposing. She had contemplated working out in a burqa but that would have seriously limited her movement capabilities. She sighed. The eternal catch-22. Either don't work out or have a serious risk of getting hit on. She once again thanked the Gods that Paul was gay.
She walked out and saw a couple of the machines already being utilized. She walked to mirrors at the end of the room and picked up a mat. She rolled it out and positioned herself on it, meanwhile focusing her attention on the rhythm of the music that was blaring from the speakers. It was some top 40 song that she'd never heard before. Being in other parts of the world didn't leave a lot of time to expand her musical knowledge, but she could easily discern a beat. She focused on it as she put her hands behind her hands and started her sit ups. Inhale, sit up, slowly exhale and fall back down. Rinse and repeat.
She closed her eyes and the music served as the catalyst that spurred her on. Her set was executed with speed, precision and crispness. She fell back on the mat and released the grip on her neck. She opened her eyes and scanned the room. Two sets of eyes immediately flicked back. Oh, Paul you are good. She rolled up the mat and moved to the treadmill, giving her hips slightly more of a sway than was strictly necessary. She grinned as she could literally feel the stares burning through her. A loud whistle called her attention to Paul. He stood with crossed arms, tapping his feet while his head was slightly cocked to the left. She walked over.
"Is there a problem, Paul?"
"I thought you didn't want people hitting on you?"
"I don't," she said with an impish grin.
"Really? Because that hip movement just now almost made me change my preference."
"Well, let's just say that I'm in the mood to see what sort of crazy scheme you've concocted in that insane mind of yours today."
"I reckon you will be pleased," he said while returning her impish grin.
"And you're sure that it won't come back to haunt you?"
"Nope, the 'targets' aren't regulars and don't even have a subscription. Besides, have you seen Martha?"
Martha was the manager of the gym. She had light brown hair cut in a short bob style. Her physique while slightly less than Sarah's was still impressive. "Yeah, I've seen her. What about her?"
"If she found out why I'm doing this, she'd probably give me a raise. She had the same problem as you do."
Sarah shrugged. "Alright, well as long as it doesn't get you in trouble…" She strutted back to the treadmill, her hips swaying a lot more regular than two minutes ago. She started jogging at a comfortable pace as she kept her entire focus dedicated to her breathing. After half an hour, she felt her breath becoming shallower and coming at a more rapid pace. She felt the start of perspiration in her hair and soon her skin was coated in a film of light sweat. Still, she kept up with her regime. According to the pedometer she had only done eight miles. Two more before her routine was closed to her satisfaction.
She kept pushing on and almost exactly seven minutes and thirty seconds later, her workout was done for the day. It was time to find some food and go back to her apartment to watch some crappy television. Tuesday's were never good on TV. Most of the interesting stuff aired on Monday anyway. She stepped off the treadmill and turned when she almost ran in a slab of beef. Fantastic.
"Hey there, I saw you working out and I couldn't help but notice that you got a little sweaty over there. How's about we go take a shower and help you get clean, huh?" He trailed a finger over her arm. She wanted to knock him out, but as she peered past the guy who must've had one of the worst pick up lines in the history of mankind, she noticed that Paul was already sauntering over. This'll be good.
Paul reached over and trailed his finger in the same pattern that the man had just done to Sarah. He spun around and looked him in the eye. "Dude, what the hell are you doing?"
"Well," Paul began, batting his eyelids. "I couldn't help but notice your strong biceps and how…" he inhaled deeply, "great you smell. What do you say that we go back to the shower and get you nice and clean, huh?"
The look on the man's face was priceless. "Dude, get the hell away from me, freak! What the fuck!" He turned and ran for the locker rooms. Sarah's façade fell and she burst out laughing. Paul quickly joined her.
"That was brilliant, Paul. Thank you very much."
"Any time, Sarah. You know you can talk to me about anything, right?"
Sarah nodded. It was true; Paul was one of the few people she could talk to. He had picked up on her self-reservation and had learned not to ask uncomfortable questions. But when she just needed someone to talk to, she could always come to him. He didn't ask about her job, didn't ask about her, he simply listened and offered his own view on things. He was one of the few people she was happy to call her friend. And he was the only friend who wasn't a spy. She could talk with him about mundane things and not feel like she didn't belong. Carina was great and all, but Sarah would love to talk about something other than screwing a mark, a mission or going out to a club. Sometimes she just wanted the freedom to talk about the weather and not be looked upon like a freak. And Paul offered exactly that. It was refreshing.
"I'm going to go get changed," she said. Paul nodded and she walked towards the dressing rooms. She took a quick shower managing to get the sweat off of her without the need for an extra companion in the showers. She grimaced. What was it with people and their innate desire to have sex all the time? She'd had sex, of course she did. But she didn't get the appeal that people saw in it. Maybe she had different standards, but it would've been nice if men at least tried to make an effort in giving her a good time instead of trying to talk her between the sheets. Maybe they'd get a lot farther than they had.
She once again tightened her trench coat and pulled the Smith and Wesson out of the pocket before placing it in the small of her back, where it belonged. She slung the duffel bag back over her shoulder and left the gym after a polite wave to Paul.
Outside of 24 Hour Fitness, Washington D.C.
Tuesday, December 14th, 2004
Sarah's stomach growled. Loudly. She always felt somewhat famished after an intense workout but apparently the hunger had intensified. She'd probably end up getting a pizza again: vegetarian, no olives. Just the way she liked it. She moved along the crowds as the day of work had ended and everyone was flocking back to their respective homes.
She trudged on; she'd go back to her house, turn on the heater and relax in her chair before deciding what she would do. The yellow pages were within reach and as such, a plethora of worldly delicacies lay at her fingertips.
A burst of random commotion disturbed her from her musings as to what she would have for dinner. She heard shocked gasps and people started moving away. Sarah tried to peer over the sea of people to see what was going on, but she couldn't get a clear view. That was until a young man burst through the crowd, clinging to people asking for them to help him. His hair was disheveled and his eyes were frantic, but she remembered him all the same. How could she not? It was the same man that she had seen earlier that day. The one who made her almost do a double take.
"Please, please help me," he croaked. But all Sarah saw were the disgusted looks that people gave him. Another bout of commotion burst loose when two burly men and a lanky one ran through the crowd, one of them clutching the Nerd Herd bag that she had seen the man carry earlier. The curly haired man collapsed to the pavement as the group of three caught up to him.
"Don't worry, people. We'll help him," the lanky man with surprisingly long hair shouted. People nodded and moved along, obviously too absorbed with their lives to spare a glance at the young man. But Sarah's keenly trained eye noticed two things. One, the man was bleeding. His hand was covering his chest where the wound bloomed crimson. Blood was seeping through his fingers and it seemed like it was deep, definitely not superficial by any means. Second, the lanky man who had said that he'd care of it didn't tend to the wounded man that was in desperate need for help, but rather on the crowd around him to see if anyone would come to his aid. Sarah knew that the man with the friendly eyes in front of her would die if she didn't intervene.
She stepped forward. "Don't worry about it," she said sweetly. "I'll help him. I'm actually a nurse and my house is only a block away from here. I've got supplies there to help this man with whatever he needs."
The two burly men looked at each other before both directing their gaze to their leader. He shrugged. "Thank you for the offer, but this guy is actually a relative. I think it's best if we help him out, don't you think?"
"Actually, I think that's a horrible idea," Sarah said, preparing herself for the possibility of having to engage them in a fight. Three on one wasn't the best odds that Sarah had ever faced, but the burly men looked like street brawlers and didn't have the luxury of being a black belt in Tae-Kwan Do, Jujitsu and Krav Maga. The lanky man looked more like the commander of their little group rather than a real fighter. If need be she could always whip out her trusty S&W and get things done faster. But she also accounted for the possibility of a knife fight. Gaping wounds didn't appear out of nowhere after all.
"Listen missy," one of the burly men said as he approached her in a threatening fashion. "I think it would be best if you just move on and act as if you didn't see any of this, okay?"
Sarah dropped her hands and nodded. "Okay… fine. Just do one thing for me, okay?" The man nodded. "Please act as if you aren't about to get your ass kicked by me."
The man had ample time to react in a confused manner before her kick connected to the side of his knee, bending it at an awkward angle. The man twisted his knee and grabbed for it, trying to get the pain to go away, but exposing the right side of his head. Sarah's right leg flew up and preformed a swift snap kick to his temple, knocking the burly man out.
"You bitch!" the other man screamed, before grabbing a knife caked in blood and lunging at her. Sarah sidestepped the attack before grabbing the man's wrist and twisting it. A violent crack caused the man to drop the knife, the weapon clattering to the pavement. The man screamed in agony as Sarah directed a knee into his groin. He fell to his knees but Sarah wasn't done yet. She had sworn to protect the United States and its inhabitants and she would be damned if she would give up on that now. She kneeled before him and yanked his face up to meet her blazing blue eyes.
"You made a very serious mistake," she said, before slamming her elbow in his nose. Blood squirted out and the man fell backwards, his head connecting with the pavement at a rate that would give him a serious headache, if the broken nose alone wasn't enough. She stood up and spun around trying to find the lanky man. He was gone, as was the messenger bag. She eyed the scene around her and noticed that most of the people were frozen, staring in either awe or fear. Sarah didn't particularly care at that point in time. "Is someone going to call 9-1-1?" she shouted. Instantly, three onlookers grabbed their cell phones and dialed. Sarah nodded and picked up the knife before crouching down at the stabbed man's chest area. She looked for the pocket protector she had seen him wearing earlier but couldn't find it.
"Hey, how are you feeling? Are you awake?" she asked the man with the curly hairs. She heard a soft moan escape his lips. "Try and stay awake. All you need to do is stay awake and we can help you." She shrugged off her trench coat and sliced a strip from its fabric. She put it in the wound that was still bleeding profusely.
She heard the man hiss and his eyes fluttered open looking directly in Sarah's. "Am I in heaven?" he asked.
"No, you're not. And if it's up to me, you're not going there for a long time."
"Huh," she heard him whisper. "Could've sworn I'm seeing an angel…"
She laughed at the compliment, even though the man wasn't very lucid at that point in time. Still, she had to keep him talking. "Do you know what happened?"
"I… I don't know… I think I got… Did I get stabbed?"
"Yes… yes you have."
She heard the man sigh. "Ellie is going to kill me. She'd just pressed this shirt."
"Who is Ellie?"
"Ellie is my… my sister… back in Los Angeles."
"Tell me about her," she commanded as she increased the pressure against the wound. His eyes flared open in pain again, only for them to immediately droop back.
"Can I not take a little nap first? I'm really… tired…" he said, his pauses increasing between words.
"No!" she shouted. "You can sleep later; right now all I need you to do is tell me about your sister!"
The man started coughing and some blood came up. That was a bad sign. A perforated lung would almost certainly be deadly. Sarah found herself hoping that it was simply nicked. "Okay… okay…" he croaked out. "Jeez, you sound exactly like my sister… she's always bossing me around as well."
Sarah smiled at the remark. At least he hadn't lost his apparent sense of humor.
"Well, Ellie… Ellie is amazing. She's a doctor and she… she… she's seeing this guy named uh… Devon… but we call him Cap… Captain Awesome…"
"Why Captain Awesome?" Where is that goddamn ambulance?
"Because he does all kinds of awesome stuff… like… rock climbing… and… dental plan… chopsticks…"
"Whoa there, you're not making a lot of sense."
"But I'm so… tired…"
She heard the whine from the ambulance as it raced around the corner and once again she found herself hoping that it wasn't too late.
"Look… what do I call you?"
"Chuck…" he managed to whisper.
"Look Chuck, you're going to make it. You held out and now you're going to be fine."
"Will… will you be there when I… when I wake up?"
"Yes. Yes, I'll be there when you wake up."
"Thank… you… Just… if I don't…"
"No, Chuck, you're going to make it! You stayed awake the entire time and you were funny and you talked to me! You're going to be fine."
Chuck's eyes flew open and for a moment in time that almost couldn't be counted, his eyes displayed a clarity that she had never seen before. His gaze was so intense that she couldn't help but be drawn into his eyes. Just as fast, the clarity evaporated and he returned to his hovering state of lucidity. "Just… tell… Ellie Bartowski… that I love her… and always will… tell Morgan that he can have whatever he… wants… and tell Devon that… I hope it… works out… for the two of them."
His eyes closed and Sarah tried to shake him awake. She heard the doors of the ambulance open up and the paramedics rush out. The onlookers split apart to let the paramedics through as Sarah was frantically trying to get Chuck to open his eyes again. But they stayed close. His chest was still rising and falling, but only in short bursts. He was definitely having trouble breathing. His skin had gone ashen gray and the curls on his head were sticking to his skin. The paramedics hoisted him on the gurney and only then did Sarah realize that she was covered in blood. His blood.
She shook herself out of her stupor and stood up, running to the ambulance. The paramedics had just loaded him in the ambulance and were closing the door. She walked up to one of them. "I'm riding in this one as well."
"Are you a relative of some kind?"
"No. I'm the woman that just tried her hardest to save that man's life and he specifically asked for me to be there when he wakes up. I promised him I would and I'll be damned if I'm not there when he wakes up."
The paramedic gazed on the intense expression on Sarah's face and swallowed nervously. "Fine… but, things are looking very bleak. The way I see it, he has a possible punctured lung and a severed artery. It'll be a miracle if he survives."
She grabbed the man by his collar. "For your sake, he'd better survive," she growled in a deathly voice. The paramedic was positively terrified and ran in the ambulance, immediately hooking things up and getting an IV flowing. Sarah climbed in the ambulance and sat down, holding on to Chuck's hand as the ambulance sped off towards Washington Hospital Center.
En-route to Washington Hospital Center
Tuesday, December 14th, 2004
Sarah was still clutching Chuck's hand tightly as the paramedic did his best to stem the bleeding. He dove to the front and relayed his orders to the driver who grabbed his radio set. After some words that Sarah couldn't understand, they got an answer and the driver stuck his thumbs up. The paramedic looked back at Sarah.
"Miss Walker. We have a severed artery and a nicked lung on our hands. While the lung's damage isn't too great, the artery's is. I had to clamp it off but he has already lost a lot of blood. We hooked him up to a blood pack through the IV but at this point in time, I'm afraid that I can't give you a percentage of survival. Things are still looking very bleak, but we have the best trauma surgery team waiting for his arrival."
She found herself to be squeezing Chuck's hand even harder at the news that he might not make it. Why the hell am I so worried about this man? Still, her personal turmoil over this entire situation would have to wait. She made him a promise and as she had told the paramedic, she was going to keep it. "Can you inform his family?"
"As soon as we're in the hospital we will try and get in touch with them," he promised her. It didn't put Sarah's anxiety to rest.
If she was honest with herself, she was in awe at the fact that this civilian had managed to still make jokes despite the situation at hand. After what seemed like an hour but was in fact closer to seven minutes, Sarah could feel the ambulance slowly decreasing in speed. Oh thank God.
It took an excruciating minute, but finally the doors flew open and Chuck was wheeled out of the ambulance. With amazing speed his vitals were called out and orders were given. Sarah's hand hung motionlessly in the air where, moments before, Chuck's hand was safely snuggled in her palm.
She got up and walked through the doors in front of her, arriving in a trauma center. She saw Chuck's gurney being wheeled through the doors to the OR and stopped walking. Disoriented, she looked around her, not knowing what to do. She felt a hand on her shoulder and tensed for a millisecond before relaxing. She turned around and a woman of roughly forty years old looked at her with compassion. Sarah followed her gaze and noticed she was looking at the copious amounts of blood that her coat and shirt had accumulated.
"Let's get you cleaned up," she softly spoke. Sarah barely heard her over the beeping of the ECG's and the vents on which some patients were hooked up. Still, Sarah nodded and let the nurse lead her to the doctor's lounge. She got given a pair of scrubs and was led to the showers where she took a shower to wash the dirt, blood and sweat off of her. She managed to scrub it all off. The anxiety remained.
Waiting room of Washington Hospital Center
Tuesday, December 14th, 2004
He had been in surgery for two and a half hours now. Surely, that's a good sign, right? Sarah was sitting down after having frantically paced the waiting room for over one and a half hours. She finally calmed down somewhat with the promise that if there was news, she would hear it. She had been updated twice so far, but they were both in the "We're doing the best we can," category.
She forced herself to think about the reasons behind her erratic behavior. She knew that she wasn't acting like a spy. Hell, she wasn't even acting like someone who had possibly saved his life. No, she knew exactly how she was acting and she didn't like the conclusions that she was drawing. She was acting like a worried girlfriend.
No, she wasn't! She was going to act like the spy that she was trained to be. She slipped on her Agent mask, the mask that hid all emotions from the general view of mankind. She would be the stoic Agent Walker, known to be able to pull the trigger without remorse and known to never need help from anyone. She was the lone wolf and she would be damned if she would let that mask falter due to the fact that someone who was on the verge of dying was still making jokes, complimenting her and smiling at her.
The mask stayed on for roughly five seconds. After that, her leg started furiously bouncing up and down again. Sarah sighed. She desperately wanted to do something to take her mind off of things, but she knew it was hopeless. All she could do was sit and wait for the news to come. He'd either be dead or he'd be alive. Whatever the outcome, Sarah knew she was going to have to request some time off. If he was alive, she would be there for him. At least until his sister arrives, she told herself. After that, I'll leave. She almost believed it as well. And if he died, she would be here for his sister, to help her with the emotional grief that was sure to overcome her. Sarah would do what she did best; she would compartmentalize her emotions and continue on with her life.
She sighed again. Who was she kidding? A glance at him when he walked past her and a few comments exchanged. That was all it took for her to know that he was special. She let her head lull backwards. How did this day go to hell so fast? Only now did she realize how perfectly content she was with sitting at home and eating a pizza while watching crappy TV. Instead, she was sitting in a hospital's waiting room, praying to a higher power that a man that she didn't even know would survive so that she could… do what exactly? She had no idea. She just knew that he had to survive.
She groaned and at the same moment the doors flew open. A man in bloodied scrubs walked out with a chart in his hands. "Miss Walker?"
Sarah flew up. "That's me."
"We have some news. Please follow me."
Sarah swallowed once before walking after the surgeon.
Please let him be okay.
A/N 2: Hope you enjoyed it. Please let me know in a review what you think. All reviews add up to make my day just a little bit brighter and the chapters flow just a bit easier. Plus, I'm more motivated and stuff. So don't be shy, let me know. Otherwise, I might have to take matters into my own hands. *MUAHAHAHAHA*