This is not an original story. In fact it is one of my first. It was written between seasons 1 and 2. The story was inspired by a BrickRoad story called February Air. It's brilliant like all of her stuff but very sad. I pleaded, begged, and basically groveled to get her to write a sequel based on this storyline. Since I can talk her into almost anything… oh wait, yeah that didn't go so well. She did generously offer to read my story and poke fun at all of my mistakes. So we went with that. Come on, BR, I'm just kidding, well mostly, lol.
Anyway, I really liked the storyline, but I was a new author. That meant that technically, I stunk. Thanks to people like Poa, Lucky47, and yes BrickRoad, hopefully I've improved. So I thought I would digitally re-master and re-release this… much like an aging rock group would their one hit.
So if you ever read the original, most of this will be really familiar. There will be some new content and a lot more details but the story is basically going to be the same. Since this was written before season 2, we didn't know about Sarah's dad. And since his story is central to this and differs dramatically from the show, I'm not going to try and fix that. So this story will remain very much AU. If this is well received well, I'll probably do the same to Fake Relationship.
If you didn't read the original, first off, what the hell? It was the first of my stories that wasn't pure fluff. In fact this starts off a little on the angsty side. But never fear. I only write happy endings.
I don't own Chuck, Sarah, or any of the characters portrayed here
Sarah uncomfortably looked around the room that she found herself in. Everything about the room spoke of class and affluence. She was sitting on a finely apportioned leather couch. The carpet was so thick that you wanted to take your shoes off and run your toes through it. One entire wall was occupied by a built-in bookcase. It was filled with exquisitely bound books with impressive sounding titles that looked as if they had never been opened. Sarah was sitting directly in front of a large mahogany desk. On the other side in a large high back leather chair was a distinguished looking man in a business suit. Based purely on the graying around his temples, Sarah figured him to be about in his mid fifties.
For the longest time, neither one would say a word. Each just sat staring at the other, daring them to be the first to break the silence. The only sound in the room came from the grandfather clock in the corner. Finally the man caved.
"Sarah, can we get started?"
Sarah knew that she was not in control of this situation. And that was not a comfortable position. Agent Walker definitely liked to be in control. That's why winning the battle over who would speak first was so important. Maybe she could wrest some control here by pure moxie. "Dr. Brown," she said after a long pause. "Why am I here?"
The man was clearly making an attempt to appear friendly so maybe this control thing was working. "Come on, Sarah," he said. "Please call me Frank."
Maybe he could be pushed a little farther. "Okay, Frank," replied Sarah in an annoyed tone with an emphasis on his name. "Again, why am I here?"
If Sarah was hoping that she could intimidate this Frank, there was no sign of that. His smile remained relaxed and friendly. "Don't you remember?" he asked.
Disappointed with her apparent failure, Sarah sat wordlessly staring at him for a moment. Finally she responded sullenly. "Aren't we making far too big of a deal out of this?" she asked. "Everybody freaks out a little on a mission at some point in their career. I don't know of a single agent that this hasn't happened to at least once."
Frank's response was still friendly but firm. "Well, Sarah," he said. "I think this went a little beyond that. Wouldn't you agree?"
Sarah wasn't in a mood to give an inch. That would give up all control. "Maybe," she said dismissively after pausing to look at her fingernails. "I don't think you realize what it's like out in the field. This is a very comfortable office. Try having someone shooting bullets at your head once. That changes things." Then she tried to change the subject. "I need to check in with Chuck."
Frank didn't respond to her implied request. "Why don't you tell me about the incident?" he asked.
Here was another battle for control, one that Sarah knew she couldn't lose. "Maybe after I talk to Chuck," she said firmly with a scowl. "I need my cell phone."
"Tell me, Sarah. Why is it so important that you talk to Chuck?"
Sarah considered how honest she should be. The real reason? Or the professional one? "I'm worried about him," she said. "He's my asset, my responsibility. My mission is vitally important. I've already been away from him far too long. Let me talk to him for a few minutes and then maybe we'll talk."
"I don't think that's a good idea right now," Frank said. "Let's see how this goes."
Sarah was tired of pretending to be nice to this guy. "I want to talk to Chuck," she said insistently. "Now! Am I being held against my will?"
"Well," Frank said with his smile growing a bit. "That's an interesting question. I wouldn't put it that way exactly but it's true that you can't leave."
Sarah gave him one of those if-looks-could-kill looks. "You know," she said. "I can get out of here on my own. I could kill you in something like fifty different ways within thirty seconds."
"Of course you could," Frank said soothingly. "But you'd never make it outside. You could easily kill me. I don't dispute that. But there are fifty agents outside who would quickly catch you. And the next doctor who took my place would be talking to you strapped down and sedated. Is that what you want?"
Sarah paused to consider the truth in his words. They were in the middle of a CIA compound. To escape, she would have to fight her way through several guarded and fortified checkpoints. Frank said fifty agents would be in pursuit. Sarah figured about double that. Her odds approached zero. And even if she could get out of the facility, then what? So maybe a shift in tactics would be appropriate. Sarah forced the flirty smile on her face. "Come on, Frank," she said with a sigh as she played with her hair. "Don't be like that. Let's be friends."
Frank seemed to accept that at face value. "Okay, Sarah," he said. "I'd like that. Please tell me about the incident."
Sarah stretched her arms forcing her chest to strain against her shirt. "What do you want to know?" she asked.
"I want to know what happened."
"But that's so boring." Sarah replied with a sexy pout. "I'm sure you've already read the mission report. Can't we talk about something else?"
"We can talk about anything you'd like," Frank said. "What do you want to talk about?"
Sarah leaned forward to allow Frank an excellent view down her shirt. She also followed his eyes and knew where he was looking. It's where any man would be looking. "I want to talk about how much I want to talk to Chuck," she said. "If you would make that happen for me I'd be most appreciative. In fact I'd owe you a big favor."
"What kind of favor?"
Sarah leaned forward even more. "Anything you want," she said. "If I get what I want, you'll get anything you want. Try me."
"Sarah," Frank said. "Just to be sure, are you offering me sex if I'll let you call Chuck?"
Sarah knew what that smile, that look, that offer did to men. It was infallible. It almost wasn't even fair. She had just won. And the best part is that she wouldn't even have to pay off. What could this doctor do to her? Complain that his patient wouldn't put out for him like she'd promised? He'd get laughed out of the Doctor fraternity. So she continued to play with her hair and pressed her advantage. "If I get to talk to Chuck first," she said softly. "I'm not sure I would call it sex. I'm thinking more somewhere in the fantasy realm."
Frank laughed softly… and Sarah's vision of victory vanished like a puff of smoke. "My goodness," he said as he gently shook his head. "The CIA does an excellent job of teaching you ladies seduction skills, I have to admit that. I'd be less than honest if I didn't say that your offer was tempting at some level. Any man would be tempted. You're incredibly beautiful. Fortunately for my professional integrity, this room is being monitored. You see Sarah, you're not the first agent to think of seducing her therapist. My wife is on the staff here and regularly reviews these tapes. She's a tad on the jealous side. It's hard to fault her for that. I work with a lot of beautiful agents. In fact I already have some explaining to do. So in the interest of me staying happily married, I think I'll pass on your more than generous offer."
Frank tried his best to suppress the laugh at the surprised look on her face. "You know, Sarah," he said. "I'm actually trying to help you here. I know that you're angry. I know that you don't want to be here. If you would simply stop fighting and work with me a little, this will go a lot faster. You've tried intimidating me. You've tried seducing me. Why don't you try just cooperating for a few minutes. Give me a chance. That's the fastest way you're going to get to talk to him."
Like someone had turned a light switch, Sarah's demeanor went from sexy to sullen. She just stared at Frank defiantly with her arms folded over her chest.
"Okay, Sarah, if you don't want to talk about the incident, let's talk about this Mr. Bartowski for a minute. You seem to be very interested in him."
Sarah was no longer going to pretend to be civil. "His name is Chuck." she snapped.
"Okay," Frank said. "Let's talk about Chuck. Why is it so important to you that you talk to him?"
Sarah looked at him as if he was stupid. "I've already told you," she said sharply. "It's my responsibility to make sure that he is safe. I'm worried about him. I'm sure that he is worried about me."
"Ah," Frank said with a sudden understanding. "Now we're getting somewhere. You're worried about each other. Don't worry about that. Let me assure you Chuck is perfectly safe. I just talked to Agent Casey an hour ago. Chuck knows where you are and what you're doing. And while I won't pretend that he isn't concerned, he's comfortable that you're in the right place for now."
Sarah had no choice. So she gave in. "Please let me talk to him," she said softly. "Please. I'm asking you. I'm not going to be able to concentrate on what you want to talk about until I can talk to him."
Frank sat and observed her for a moment. "This is outside of procedure," he said just as softly. "But I'll make a deal with you. If you will cooperate with me for the rest of our morning session, I'll see about letting you talk to him for a few minutes. Is that a deal?"
"Do I have a choice?" Sarah asked sullenly after a long pause.
"We always have a choice," Frank said. "Do we have a deal?"
"Okay," Sarah said with a huge sigh. "I guess it's the best I'm going to get. We have a deal."
"Tell me about your relationship with Chuck," Frank said. "You're not acting like a handler would act. This is something else. What is he to you that you're so concerned for him?"
Now Sarah could finally see what he was getting at. "Come on Frank," she said sarcastically. "Do you really think I'm stupid? Are you trying to trap me here?"
"I'm a doctor," Frank said quickly. "I'll assure you - whatever you say in here is in the strictest confidence."
"Give me a break," Sarah quickly replied derisively. "I've been with the CIA for ten years. Are you really expecting me to believe that they would respect patient doctor privilege?"
"Okay," said Frank with his own laugh. "I guess I can see your point. I can assure you until I'm blue in the face that whatever you say in here is privileged. It absolutely is. You're not going to believe it. So let's say this another way, one that I had hoped to avoid. Unless you can convince me that you're telling me the truth this morning, you're not talking to Chuck today."
Sarah stared at Frank again for a full minute without either saying a word. But this time it was Sarah's turn to break first.
"Okay. You win. I'm in love with him. I know it's against the rules, but I am."
"That's fascinating," Frank said. "Sarah, be assured. I don't care at all about those kinds of rules. In fact I think they're counter-productive. Tell me; is he in love with you?"
"Yes. Well, I hope so. No, he is."
"And for how long would you say you've been in love?"
"Probably about three months," Sarah said cautiously. "Maybe four."
"That must have been difficult given your professional relationship," Frank said. "Tell me about the first time that you told him that you loved him."
Sarah paused for a long moment looking around the room uncomfortably. "I never have told him," she finally admitted sadly.
"Really?" Frank asked. "Why not?"
"I'm not sure." said Sarah "I just never got around to it."
"And your other boyfriend, Bryce, was it?"
"Did you love him?"
Sarah paused for a moment to consider the question. "I guess," she said. "In a way. But nothing like I feel for Chuck."
Frank nodded. "Help me to understand," he said. "Did you ever tell Bryce that you loved him?"
"Sure," Sarah said casually. "A few times."
"So," Frank said thoughtfully. "Would it be fair to say that you love Chuck more than you did Bryce?"
There was no hesitation to that question. "Absolutely," Sarah replied quickly. "There is no comparison. It's not even close."
Frank paused to consider her response. "Maybe it's a physical thing," he said. "Which one did you have the most passion for in bed?"
"Why does everything always have to be about sex?"
That got a genuine laugh. "Come on, Sarah," he said still laughing. "I'm a therapist. With us it's always about sex. You should know that." Then he got more serious. "Seriously, it's important. Which one do you think is better in bed?"
Again Sarah looked around the room uncomfortably. "I don't know," she said. "I've never been in bed with Chuck. Well, that's not literally true. We've slept in the same bed. But we've never…"
"Come on, Sarah," Frank said softly. "Why not? I mean, you're certainly not shy sexually. You just offered to have sex with me twenty minutes ago. Yet this man who you claim to be deeply in love with for three months? You've never told him that you love him and you've never had sex with him. But Bryce, who you say you didn't care nearly as much for, the opposite is true. I don't understand."
Sarah was clearly blinking away some tears. "You don't understand," she said. "I don't think I can explain it."
Frank could tell that this was something that simply had to be resolved. But she needed a break. "Okay, Sarah," he said. "I think that's probably enough for this morning. Why don't you go to your room and rest for a while. We'll talk again after lunch."
"Can I talk to Chuck?" Sarah asked expectantly. "You promised."
"Yes," Frank said with a smile as he rose from his chair. "We made a deal. You can talk to him for a couple of minutes. Then I want to talk to you about your incident. Is that a deal?"
"Yes," Sarah said as she stood up from the couch. "And for the record, I wasn't really going to have sex with you this morning. I was just going to tell you that to get my way."
"I know," Frank said as his smile turned into a grin. "Like I said, you're not the first agent to think of it. And Sarah, I understand that you feel like a prisoner here. I'm sorry about that. But please don't try anything drastic. If you try and escape, things would be out of my control. Unfortunately that would cause your situation here to get more unpleasant. We're genuinely trying to help you. If you will honestly work with me for a few days, I promise you'll feel better. Maybe you'll be able to have the kind of relationship with Chuck that you both want. That would be a good thing, don't you think?"
Sarah nodded as she left the room.
As soon as Sarah closed the door behind her, Frank picked up his phone. "Hi, Janice," he said. "Could you please get me in touch with Chuck Bartowski? His information is in the file."
"Mr. Bartowski," Frank said. "I'm so sorry to have to call you so early. My name is Dr. Frank Brown. I'm taking care of Sarah. Would you please call me Frank?"
"Of course," Chuck said. "As long as you'll call me Chuck. Please tell me about Sarah. How is she doing? I'm very worried about her. Is she going to be okay?"
Frank knew that Chuck was anxious. "I think that she is," he said soothingly. "That's actually why I wanted to talk to you. I need your help to help Sarah get better. I'm sure that you want that, right?"
"Of course," Chuck said. "I'll do anything to help her get better."
"I just want to caution you," Frank said. "I need you to be totally candid with me here. I need to know the total truth if I'm to help Sarah effectively. I understand that there are things you have been hiding from Sarah's superiors. I want to assure you, I couldn't care less about CIA fraternization rules. I need the truth. Are you in love with Sarah?"
Chuck's response was just as quick as Sarah's had been. "I'm completely in love with her," he said softly.
"I'm afraid I'm going to need you to be a little more specific," Frank said with a smile in his voice. "In love is a broad term. It means different things to different people. Could you please describe your feelings for Sarah?"
"I'm completely, head over heels, spending the rest of my life, can't imagine my life without her, married with three kids in love, Frank," Chuck said. "Does that help?"
"It does," said Frank with a laugh. "You said that very well. Could you tell me why you are in love with Sarah?"
Chuck paused for a moment to consider the question. "Well," he finally began. "Sarah is something of an enigma. She is the nicest person I know and yet I've seen her kill countless men with her bare hands. She makes me laugh when she smiles and makes me sad when she frowns. I think about her every minute of every day. I can look in her eyes and forget all of my troubles. She's been gone for a little over a day and I miss her like crazy. Is that what you wanted to hear?"
"Yes, Chuck," Frank said. "I'm not sure if you realize this, but that was simply perfect. It's plainly obvious that you love her. She's very lucky."
"You don't believe that she loves me," Chuck said sadly. "Do you?"
"You're insecure about that aren't you?" Frank asked with a soothing laugh. "Don't worry. That's completely normal when she won't reinforce your feelings." Frank stopped the laugh and got more serious. "On the contrary, Chuck, I think that she is desperately in love with you, maybe more so than you with her. But she also knows that she shouldn't be in love with you. It's becoming clear that's the main issue that she has to deal with. She's scared to death."
"How can I help her? I'll do anything."
"Well," Frank said. "I'm glad you asked that. I am going to let her call you in a couple of hours. It's very important that you be calm and supportive. She has quite a case of separation anxiety. I know that your instincts are going to be to press her to tell you that she loves you but that would be a serious mistake. Please try your best to not put any pressure on her. She needs to hear that you love her and want her to get better. She especially needs to hear that you'll be waiting for her when she does. I assume that's true?"
"Of course," Chuck quickly answered. "I'll do whatever it takes to help her. Can I tell her that I love her?"
"Of course," Frank said. "In fact tell her often. It's good for her to hear it. Just don't be disappointed when she doesn't say it back. She can't right now. If you realize it or not, you're far more important in helping Sarah get better than I am. She needs a reason to fight. Knowing that you're waiting for her is that reason. If she loses that, she's in big trouble. Are we clear?"
"Very clear," Chuck said softly. "Trust me. You're not asking me to do anything other than what I'm already desperate to do. How long is this going to take? I really want to see her."
"That's the first question everybody always asks," Frank said with a soft laugh. "I'm not laughing at you, Chuck. I'm sorry if it sounded like that. It's simply impossible to say, sometimes only a few days, sometimes a few months. That's totally up to Sarah. CIA Agents are under stresses that civilians can't even imagine. She has some serious issues to work through. But she also has some things going for her. The main thing is that she has a good man who loves her. Don't let her lose that. For right now anyway, I think it's best if she doesn't see you. There may be a time in the next few days when I would like to speak to you together. I'm assuming you would be okay with that."
"I'll do anything, Frank. I just want her back. Will she be ever get back to normal?"
Now it was Frank's turn to pause to consider the question. "I guess that depends on what you'd call normal," he finally answered with a distinct smile to his voice. "If this goes well, she'll be better than normal, at least from your perspective. Perhaps the CIA won't agree. We'll see about that."
"Chuck, are you there?"
"Hi, Sarah, how are you doing?"
"Oh my God, Chuck I miss you. I want to come home."
"I know. I miss you too."
"Are you okay?"
"Yes. Don't worry about me. Casey hasn't let me out of his sight. I've been holding off on going to the bathroom for the past three hours."
"That's funny. I can't tell you how much I needed that laugh."
"Will you promise me that you'll do what they ask you to?"
"I will. I'm not really sure why I'm here though."
"Just get better. Okay? I love you and I'll be waiting here when you get back. I need you. I can't imagine my life without you."
"I most definitely promise."
"Frank is motioning me to get off so I'll say goodbye."
"Goodbye, Sarah. I love you."
"Goodbye, Chuck. I'll talk to you again as soon as they'll let me."
As soon as Sarah hung up the phone, she turned to Frank. Her demeanor had completely changed. "Thank you for letting me talk to him," she said with her eyes shinning. "I really needed to hear his voice. When can I talk to him again?"
Frank took full measure at the change in her mood. "I was wrong earlier," he said. "He's actually very good for you. I'll tell you what. If you will honestly work with me, I'll make sure that you get to talk to him regularly. Is that fair?"
Sarah nodded in relief. "Thank you."
"Now," Frank said. "Let's get to work. Tell me about the incident. Let me assure you, I know all about the intersect. I have the very highest security clearance so you don't have to worry about that. Take your time. If at any point it gets too hard, we'll take a break and talk about something else for a while."
"Well," Sarah began. "It started off as a pretty typical mission. Chuck had flashed on a drug smuggler with ties to an international terrorist group. It happened all the time. We were ordered to stake out his warehouse to see if we could find out who the big shots were. As normal, Chuck came along to see if he could flash on anyone. He was supposed to stay in the car."
Casey and Sarah were crouched behind a large crate with guns drawn. Shots were flying all around them.
"How many?" Sarah asked, shouting to be heard over the noise of gunfire as she fired a round.
"I don't know," Casey answered. "At least ten, probably more."
"Where's Chuck?" Sarah asked.
"Still in the car, I hope."
"Can we make it back to the car and get him out of here?" Sarah asked.
"I don't see how," Casey responded. "I'll cover you and you get back to the car and call for backup. I'll hold them off while you get Bartowski out of here."
Sarah didn't wait for a signal. She sprinted for the door. Several shots followed her but Casey's cover fire gave her enough time to make it out the door. Unfortunately when she looked inside the car, it was empty. She frantically glanced around the immediate area but there was no sign of Chuck.
CIA Agents were trained to stay calm in crisis. But that was pretty much out the window. Sarah was close to panicked. She had to find Chuck. Why wouldn't he ever just stay in the damn car? Then she answered her own question. He would never stay where it was safe while she was in danger. Figuring that he was in the warehouse with the bad guys, she turned and sprinted back into the fray. Just as she was passing where Casey was hidden a shot hit her in the chest knocking her down. Although her vest took most of the impact, she pretty much lost consciousness for a moment. When she regained her bearings, Casey was kneeling over her.
"Are you all right?" he yelled.
"We have to find Chuck," Sarah screamed hysterically as she struggled to her feet.
Since bullets were still flying, Casey grabbed her by the waist and forced her to the ground. Sarah struggled against Casey trying to get loose so she could go find Chuck. She was hitting Casey with everything she had to get him to let go. All poor Casey could do was duck his head and hold on. As he held her, she screamed "I have to find Chuck."
Over and over.
That's the condition they were in when the backup arrived. Chuck had called for backup the instant the first shot was fired and went out into the street to wait for them and show them where to go. It was well longer than an hour after the incident before Sarah could speak. All she could do was hold on to Chuck crying. Chuck, not knowing what else to do, rubbed her back as she sobbed.
"Okay, Sarah," Frank said after she had finished the story. "You're the best agent in the CIA. Why would you foolishly charge back into that firefight?"
"I thought that Chuck was in there." Sarah said, her voice no more than a whisper.
"And why did you think that?" said Frank. "There was absolutely no evidence that he was in there, right? And even if he was, going charging in there like a bull wouldn't have done any good. You almost got yourself and your partner killed. Why?"
"Some partner," Sarah replied sarcastically. "Wait until I get my hands on my 'partner.'"
Frank smiled. "I understand that you're not too happy with Major Casey right now," he said. "We'll deal with that later. When you can look at this objectively you'll realize that he was protecting you by reporting this. He almost assuredly saved your life. In your current emotional state it was only a matter of time before something tragic happened. But for right now, I want to concentrate on why you would take such a reckless and foolish action."
"I don't know," Sarah said with tears starting to form. "I couldn't think. I was paralyzed. That's never happened to me before. All I could think of was that I had lost him. I'd rather die than lose him."
"Is that how you were feeling this morning when you offered to have sex with me if I would let you talk to him?" Frank asked softly.
Frank tried to lighten the mood a little. "It's called acute separation anxiety," he said with a smile. "It's perfectly normal. Almost everybody experiences it at some point in their life, except for deep cover CIA agents. For them it's often fatal. Tell me something. I noticed that you didn't tell Chuck that you loved him on the phone. It seemed like the thing to say in that situation. Why didn't you?"
"I don't know," Sarah said hesitantly.
"But you do love him," Frank insisted. "Don't you?"
"This isn't a case of denial," Frank said, more to himself than Sarah. "You openly admit it. You'll tell me that you love him, right?"
"Help me out here," Frank said. "Why won't you tell him?"
"I don't know." said Sarah softly. "You're the therapist. Why don't you tell me?"
Frank actually smiled at her mild shot. "I think that you do know," he said. "You really need to say it."
"Okay, Frank. I guess you're right. I probably do know."
"It's okay, Sarah," Frank said. "Please just trust me this once. It would be very therapeutic for you to just admit this to yourself once out loud."
"I don't want to."
"Sarah," Frank insisted softly. "Do you want to get better? You need to face this."
Sarah paused for a long moment. "I'm afraid, Frank," she said.
"I know," Frank replied. "But the real question is what specifically are you afraid of?"
Sarah paused for an even longer moment. Finally she answered.
"Once I tell him, there's no going back."