A/N The First: Happy birthday, Maria Von Trapp! Also, for your sanity, you shouldn't take this fic seriously. No, really. You'll see what I mean.
EXT. A DARK FIELD – NIGHT
The field is empty and cold, fringed with trees. Not a single star is to be seen in the cloudy sky. In the distance, a small doorway much like a hobbit's burrow can be seen, mostly hidden by piles of snow. A snowmobile engine REVS. Seconds later, light cuts across the plain, illuminating crusty permafrost. The scene is one of despair even as a NARRATOR on a snowmobile rides up, skids to a stop, and cuts the engine.
Oh, you must be the audience. Hello.
I'm your narrator.
He blows on his hands to warm them up.
Pretty freaking miserable, right?
Wasn't my idea.
Music starts up in the background, soft and oddly Arabian despite the fact that this landscape is obviously Russian. The narrator SIGHS and pulls sheet music out of his pocket.
(to the tune of Arabian Nights):
Oh, Chuck lives in a land, in a faraway place,
Where the Tundra's covered in snow,
Where it's flat and it's bleak,
And you only can speak
In Russian, but hey, it's home
When the sun never sets
And the cold never leaves,
And the bunker's all cold and damp,
Take a jog,
Get past the sensor and come
To another government bunker
Are depressing and bare
More often than not
Chuck's all there alone
And nobody cares
Are a secret to keep
A fool off her guard
Could fall and fall hard
For a nerd there in her sleep
The narrator stuffs the sheet music back in his pocket. A teleprompter promptly appears in front of him.
(obviously reading slowly)
Welcome, ladies and gentlemen.
We have a very special occasion today.
It's the birthday of one quistie64,
and even though I think singing in the
snow is lame, I only get paid if I do the
whole gig, so welcome to the—
GIANT RED WORDS fall out of the sky, crushing him. Viewers are greeted by the words "QUISTIE64'S AWESOME ALADDIN BIRTHDAY SURPRISE"...and a dead narrator.
Damn it, Frea! I thought we had a
better special effects budget than this.
Whoops. Somebody call a lawyer?
Like that's really going to help.
Fade to black.
quistie64's Awesome Aladdin Birthday Surprise
by Frea O'Scanlin
with lyrics by mxpw
and Graceless O'Scanlin
Sarah Walker came to very slowly, but the minute cognizance returned, she knew, without a single doubt, that she was strapped to a chair. For the fiftieth time that month.
She didn't bother to sigh. Instead, she cracked one blue eye open and surveyed her surroundings, wondering if somebody had taken her clothing, her memory, or worse, her knives. But the short-skirted business suit was still in place, if a bit askew, and she definitely remembered how Chuck had woken her up that morning, and—damn it, they'd taken her knives.
"Ah, you're awake." The bad guy, whom Sarah decided to call Nameless Bad Guy since she'd spent more time reading a magazine than listening to Casey give the briefing earlier, rose from where he'd been sitting across from her. It smelled like gym socks, Sarah realized, and scowled. Why did bad guys never appreciate a nice bit of potpourri or hell, five star hotels? She could really do with a full body massage, and it was obvious she wasn't going to get one in this dirty old warehouse.
She didn't bother to ask where she was. It was dirty. It was a warehouse. She was tied to a chair. It was, as Casey would put it, the same old shit.
"Yes," she said instead, and cracked her neck. They hadn't beaten her too badly this time, thankfully. That would come later. "What is it you wanted again?"
"What else, Miss Walker—"
"Whatever. I want the Intersect. Your husband has less than twelve minutes left to bring it to me if he likes having a wife with two ears."
Sarah stared up at Nameless Bad Guy. "Really? The Intersect? Again?"
Nameless Bad Guy faltered. He clearly had not been expecting that reaction. "I—what?"
"Can't you guys just want money or something? Why does it always have to be the Intersect? Money's way less of a pain in the ass, I promise you."
Nameless Bad Guy looked for a second like he really didn't know what to say to that—but as it happened, something spared him from ever having to come up with an answer. The nameless thugs in the room with them, Nameless Bad Guy, and Sarah all looked over at the same time at the vent.
Singing drifted through. No, Sarah realized. Not just singing: singing in her husband's voice.
She'd had no idea he could sing. At all.
(through the vent, to the tune of One Jump Ahead):
One flash to break into the vault room
One tranq to knock out the guard
I fight only when I have to
(That's all the time!)
"What the..." Nameless Bad Guy gestured at his minions. "Find out who's singing! And kill him!"
But before they could race for the door, it burst open, revealing Chuck in jeans, a tac vest, and his trusty footwear. He was also singing, even as the minions pulled out their semiautomatics.
One flash ahead of the bagmen
Any more and my brain might go up in smoke
The bad guys think I'm such a joke
He dove behind a desk to avoid a hail of bullets that made Sarah wince. "Uh, honey?"
"Yes?" He popped up for a second, but only to tranq one of the minions before he ducked out of sight.
"What's...with the singing?"
"Oh, it's no big deal. After what felt like two years of flip-flopping, I just figured out how to control the Intersect, that's all." Chuck flip-kicked the second minion, who'd been creeping behind the desk, and the minion flopped to the ground. Sarah winced sympathetically when the thug's body hit the ground. Chuck used the opportunity to dive behind a second desk, which apparently tripped some kind of trap like the ones Sarah had seen on those silly Indiana Jones movies Chuck had forced her to sit through.
Of course there were lasers. And a pit even opened to reveal sharks swimming in the dark water, with only a few pillars sticking out. The only way to get to her was to jump across them, of course. Sarah nearly rolled her eyes.
"Get him!" Nameless Bad Guy shouted.
One flash to fry a robot
One flip over the lasers
Next time I'll hope for some phasers
One flash to kung fu the hitmen
One trick to capture a bad guy
I think this proves I'm a super spy
Chuck jumped onto the first pillar, the one remaining minion following him, and immediately dispatched the man with a kick to the head. He flinched as the man screamed and fell into the shark-infested waters. Quickly, Chuck darted across the rest of the pillars, making the final leap and stopping Sarah's heart for a second. But Chuck caught the edge with both hands and hauled himself up. "Sorry I'm so late, sweetie," he said, panting as he immediately loosened her bonds. "Feel up to running?"
"Oh, always." But first, Sarah grabbed the front of Chuck's tac vest and kissed him, making sure to use a lot of tongue. Damn, she was always happy to see him. She'd show him just how happy later in the chopper, but right now they needed to run. So she took off across the pillars. Nameless Bad Guy sprayed his Uzi at them, but Sarah and Chuck ran faster.
One flash to dodge the bullets
Nameless Bad Guy:
A minion popped up. Chuck round-housed him into unconsciousness.
One kick to save my teammates
Nameless Bad Guy:
(He's getting away!)
One Intersect to prevent disaster
Nameless Bad Guy:
They're smart, but I'm much smarter
Nameless Bad Guy:
(You can't win!)
Here I go, give me those sunglasses
Just watch, I'll kick all their asses
All I gotta do is flash
Nameless Bad Guy made a desperate grab for Sarah. Without missing a beat, she turned and hit him with her right hook, which was beaten only by her uppercut. He dropped like a rock.
"That works, too," Chuck said.
"C'mon. Let's go find Casey and Morgan. The sooner we get out of here, the sooner I get you naked."
John Casey scowled at the inside of his employee locker. This whole Intersect was a damned mess. Of course the nerd had re-uploaded it. Of course they'd all ignored the warnings and now the nerd didn't remember a damned thing but Sarah Walker. So it was of course up to John Casey to teach him a lesson or two.
There were Beastmasters to be sold, and instead Casey was forced to teach the nerd his spy ABCs. Some things were just unfair.
"Look here," Casey said, turning to where Chuck sat at the break room table with that annoyingly affable look on his face. "I'm going to tutor you, but I'm not going to repeat myself ever. You learn everything once, and you remember it this time, got it?"
"Tutor me?" Chuck took a big bite of his sandwich. "In what?"
"In the most important lesson a spy should know, gorram it. Shut the door. I don't want Moron—the other moron, not you—and Idiot listening in."
"Okay." Chuck got up and closed the door.
Once he'd swept the room for bugs and was positive they wouldn't be interrupted, Casey crossed over to the whiteboard and wrote a list of ten rules on it. Some were pretty handy—"DUCK, MORON" came in handy more often than it should have—and some were just common sense—"The Blonde can kill you. Treat her with respect."—but they were all important.
At number one, though, he stopped.
Maybe the nerd would understand it better if he sang.
(to the tune of You Ain't Never Had A Friend Like Me):
Alexi Volkoff had the intersect
And it went ahead and drove him mad
Then Orion dropped off the grid
Which really sucks 'cause he's your dad
Don't worry, you have Casey now
I've got a rocket launcher in the trunk
And when we're hunting Gertrude Verbanski
If you need me, I'll be in my bunk
And I say
Damn it, Bartowski
Stay in the gorram car
Let me shoot the bad guys
With my gun
You don't ever cross the NSA
I trained with a great platoon
Semper Fi, a good marine
Was Alex Colburn, but now I'm not
You don't ever cross the NSA
Yes, you've got the Intersect, yeah,
You can flash,
And punch, and kick,
But you don't know
if you can go,
And make any of that badass stick
Chuck gave him a puzzled look. Casey sighed and erased the rules off of the board—save rule number one, of course—and began drawing stick figures of people fighting. Immediately, Chuck's face cleared of all confusion. The Intersect let him remember that much, evidently.
Sit down and shut up, nerd
And open up your ears,
I'll keep you safe cos that's my place,
But you never cross the NSA
Can Morgan shut up?
Can Jeffster just die?
Can I stuff Skip into a Fedex Box?
Can you nerds go poof?
Well, that's all right,
Can I blow up the Buy More one more time,
And go get into a big gunfight?
"Uh, Casey?" Chuck's voice broke into his song before he could launch the next verse.
Casey glared at the nerd. "What is it? We've talked about interrupting me when I'm teaching."
"Oh, I know. It's just, I don't know, I feel like Jeffster have kind of taken a turn toward the better lately, you know?"
"You forgot Orion, but you remember Jeffster?"
"Yeah, weird, I know. But like I was saying, I really feel like Jeffster have turned themselves around."
"So isn't advocating violence against them kind of...awful?"
Casey glared. "That little rodent of a Hin-Jew has made me eat one of the most awful substances known to mankind, Bartowski. Violence is not only the right answer, it's the right answer in at least four different ways."
"Uh, what's the most awful substance known on the planet?"
"A five-dollar footlong. Now will you shut up so I can finish singing?"
Well, don't you just sit there slack-jawed, empty-eyed
Get out there and flash on plans
I've gotta own some fools all Casey-like,
Snipe 'em down and save hu-mans.
I got a powerful urge for a good grenade,
So get that brain of yours and let's just go,
We'll get Walker's knives to give us aid,
And some C-4 for a good bomb to blow - and oh
Team Bartowski, yeah, we're the bad guy's worst nightmare,
I've got a gun, you'd better run,
You don't ever cross the N, ever cross the N,
You don't ever cross the N, ever cross the N,
You don't ever cross the NSA!
Casey threw the marker against the linoleum as he punctuated the last verse, throwing an arm out in his fervor. But instead of looking at him with shining adoration, Chuck was actually giving the board a quizzical look.
Casey felt his spirits deflate. "What the hell is it, Bartowski?"
"I feel like I should have brought this up sooner, and that's a great song and all...but what does NSA stand for?"
The sound of Casey's palm hitting his own forehead would have made Picard proud.
"I have no idea what Casey's problem is," Morgan said just before he bit into one of Subway's 160-calorie Sunrise Subway Melt breakfast sandwiches. The rest of his sentence had to be interpreted around a mouthful of sandwich: "I find Subway delicious!"
"There's something almost life-saving about it," Chuck agreed as he admired his Black Forest Ham, Egg, and Cheese flatbread melt. "I feel like it's really renewing me, you know?"
"Yeah. Weird." They enjoyed their sandwiches in silence for a minute. Morgan snapped his fingers, as though he'd remembered something. "Oh, right, I meant to tell you something."
"I was down in Castle last night trying to see if I could find Amelia Earhart's wreck with the satellite, and I found these sunglasses just sitting on your desk—"
Chuck groaned. "Morgan, please tell me you didn't download the Intersect. You saw what it did to me! My memory is now holier than Swiss cheese and not nearly as tasty, Sarah aside."
"You downloaded the Intersect."
"Yeah. I downloaded the Intersect. Or, as I like to call it, the Morgansect."
Morgan and Chuck looked over in alarm at the Subway Service Counter, where a loud BANG had just gone off. But it was only the trio of teen workers. They came out from behind the counter, bearing trays and twirling like the professional dancers.
Chuck squinted. "What the..."
(to the tune of Prince Ali):
Let's just subject
Fans to this nonsense,
Fedak's brain is such a pain
We try our best to be calm,
But Morgan's kind of a douche,
And then we're stuck with this guy,
What? What is it?
Is something the matter, Maximus?
Both Chuck and Morgan looked over in a alarm at the Subway service counter, where a loud BANG had just gone off. But it wasn't a gunshot: one of the teen workers had dropped a bucket of meatballs.
Morgan laughed, a little uneasily. "Wow. I thought that was a gunshot or something."
"Me too. You know what? These sandwiches are delicious."
Chuck slowly opened his eyes. For a brief moment of panic, he thought he was chained down, possibly to a chair or a crossbeam or something, but reality asserted itself quickly, letting him know that was just Sarah's iron-like grip across his midsection. She was nestled up against him, breathing even, deeply asleep. As ever, her hair was completely perfect, even though the alarm clock said it was past three in the morning.
Chuck looked at the alarm clock again and frowned. That couldn't possibly be the date.
He must have tensed or something, for Sarah began to stir next to him. "Chuck?" Her voice was a sleepy mumble.
He had to clear his throat to think straight. "Uh, yeah."
"Why're you awake? Go back to sleep." Sarah snuggled closer.
He desperately wanted to, but..."Is it really the twenty-sixth?"
"I guess." Sarah's eyes blinked open and she shifted so that her chin rested on his shoulder so that she could look down at him. "Why do you ask?"
"Because the last thing I remember, it was the fifteenth."
Sarah's eyes shot open for real now. She sat up. "Wait a second. You remember?"
"Well, everything except the past two weeks, apparently." Chuck frowned.
"What's the last thing you remember?" Sarah grabbed at his hands, her excitement plain as day even in the darkness.
It was a little fuzzy, but if Chuck squinted and really thought about it... "We took out Kowalski—"
"I think your name for him was...Nameless Bad Guy? Anyway, we took out Nameless Bad Guy, and I had to keep flashing to get past the sharks with the laser beams, and then we got stuck on the roof and I had to flash and...we were going to have sex in the helicopter, but..."
"You broke. You flashed, and when you came to, you barely remembered anything."
Chuck looked at Sarah, horrified. "I forgot you?"
"No." She smiled. "You forgot everything but me and the Buy More."
"That sounds like the worst thing ever. Well, the Buy More thing. Not you. You're wonderful."
"It could have been worse. You could have forgotten me, too."
"Uh, this is maybe a bad time to ask, but why does it feel like there's a huge knot on my forehead?"
"Oh." Sarah winced. "You, um, you asked Casey what the NSA stood for."
Chuck stared at her. "Okay, better question. Why isn't the knot on my head worse?"
"Because he's a sugar bear on the inside. You know this."
"Oh, good point." Chuck fell silent.
After a moment, Sarah cleared her throat. "What are you thinking?"
"Just...thinking about how terrible it would be to lose all of that, you know? I feel like I should just spend a day exploring all of the important things in my life."
Sarah's eyes lit up. "Sounds like a great plan. You can start with me." And she tackled him.
Later on, finally dressed for the day, they headed to all of the important places in the course of their relationship. There was of course the beach where Chuck had struggled to accept that he was the Intersect—where Sarah had first told him to trust her—and they ate lunch at the (renovated) dim sum place for their first official date. A quick trip to the docks to relive their first kiss—and quite a bit more—they headed to the Buy More together.
The minute they stepped through the double doors, the wind machine started up and Chuck was filled with a sense of dread.
(to the tune of I Can Show You the World):
I can show you the Buy More
Gleaming, scheming, soul crushing
Tell me, ninja goddess, did you ever think
You'd ever find yourself at a place like this?
Please don't open your eyes
You'll see them all blunder
To them you're such a wonder
I just wish I could hide
I dream of a whole new Buy More
An awesome new commercial venue
No one to ogle my girl
Or say they'll give her a whirl
Just don't tell me I'm dreaming
Sarah, however, dragged him back to the DVD section—where he'd given her the charm bracelet she now wore—and kissed him.
A whole new Buy More
A dream we thought we'd never know
But when the wind blows my hair
And I'm slow-moing too
I'll know that fantasies do come true
Now I'm in a whole new Buy More with you
He looked around. It really did look like a whole new Buy More. Sometimes it was hard to remember the first Buy More, the one Morgan had blown to smithereens. Now they owned this Buy More and there was a spy base beneath it and...
Jeffster out of sight
Smiling, laughing, cart-wheeling
There's nothing we can't do
A whole new Buy More
A whole new Buy More
That's where I want to be
That's where I want to be
A brand new base
A marvelous place
For you and me
And when she smiled at him, Chuck, for the first time in his life, came to feel like the Buy More was truly his home, as long as he was in that Buy More with Sarah Walker.
A/N the Second: So, when I said happy birthday to Maria Von Trapp, what I really meant was happy birthday, quistie64. I haven't known you for very long, but the time I have has been wonderful. You've been an inspiration and just somebody great to get to know—seriously, I hope I'm at least half as fabulous as you when I'm 64 (that's what the number after your name stands for, right? *ducks*), because then I'll be pretty damned fabulous. I hope your birthday is awesome. The fact that you inspired something like this story probably says lots more about you than I can. ;)