A/N: Please read as this isn't all a rambling bit of self indulgence…This is not an entirely new idea…many writers have used Season2, episode 1 as a jump point so as far as original ideas go, this one most definitely isn't mine. Now, I hope that I can claim the idea of Chuck using an online, multi-player game to help plan and execute his escape because that's the basis for this story. 'Run For Your Life' is my idea for a huge online game and if it already exists, I'll have to apologize to the creators…if it doesn't, I won't mind if somebody takes the idea and runs with it…just a small monetary 'thank you' would earn my gratitude (and signature on any documents that need to be signed)…this first chapter seemed to flow much faster than usual for me and I'm hoping that anyone who reads will please take the time and let me know if it's ok…look, there he goes again, begging for attention in the form of reviews…remember, I don't own the characters featured in the TV series Chuck and, so far, I remain penniless for the fruits of my labors. I'm still having fun so once again, I offer a profound thank you to APR, the man who got me started with all this scribbling stuff…Thanks Jim. JT
Run For Your Life, Chuck Bartowski - Chapter 1
The last two days had been a roller coaster of a ride and, if the powers that be were to be believed, he was now poised on the brink of getting his life back. All it had taken to get the news was a series of close brushes with his own mortality that included recovering the cypher, a part needed to make the new intersect computer function…twice. He hadn't even taken the opportunity to tease Casey about the second recovery being necessitated by the NSA agent losing the part in the first place. He'd also found himself being dangled off the side of a building, much higher than he thought would have been survivable if 'Mr. Colt' had followed through on his threat and dropped him…twice. He'd also used Morgan's 'Call of Duty' plan to bluff his way out a showdown with a group of mercenaries and hated the fact that something so cool was just another thing on a long list of 'cool stuff' that he was forbidden to ever tell his best friend.
The highlight of the past forty-eight hours had been the real date with Sarah Walker. As usual, she'd looked beautiful and, unlike all of their cover dates, there'd been a sparkle in the blonde's eyes that left him feeling that she was actually happy that they were on a 'real' date, as they'd both referred to the evening. Despite his profound lack of experience in reading a woman's intents when on a date with him, he had a feeling that dinner companion might be thinking about doing 'stuff' after their meal. Before he had the chance to see if his impression of the CIA' agent's intentions were correct, he'd flashed on several of the people sitting around them and then, before Mr. Colt could make good on his threat, Casey had turned the small 'walk-in, sit down' restaurant into a drive through, the big man's Crown Vic ruining their date but saving their lives.
Casey had taken a shot from the larger man's fist before finally managing to make a getaway, leaving Chuck conflicted. He felt bad that his handler had been sucker punched but he hated that his date with Sarah had been interrupted by more than a ton of classic Detroit iron, even though it wasn't really the Major's fault.
He was about to unlock the door to Casa Bartowski, his key held between his thumb and forefinger, when he heard raised voices coming from inside the apartment. He knew that Ellie and Devon were both at work so he paused at the door, wondering just who was in his sister's place. He refused to let the happy feeling that being done with the government had given him be driven completely from his mind by the mystery voices that were arguing behind the door.
Leaning closer, he heard Sarah ordering Casey to put his gun away because the new Intersect had exploded and the sanction had been canceled. Not wanting to hear anything else, he turned and quietly made his way across the courtyard, stopping at the entrance arch and then, after taking a deep breath and then a second, turned back to retrace his steps. Putting a little extra 'oomph' into his steps, he jiggled his keys and whistled tunelessly, hoping his 'announced presence would alert his handlers to his imminent arrival.
After taking a few seconds more than usual to open the door, he stepped into the apartment and wasn't surprised to find nobody standing in the front room. Casey and Sarah were the best and he made enough noise to alert them to his impending entrance. Making his way to the kitchen, he imagined his handlers hurrying to make their exit through the 'Morgan door' and then moving noiselessly towards the Major's apartment where they'd no doubt be spending the next few hours trying to figure out what they'd do now that the potential for their babysitting job to be extended, indefinitely.
After pulling his tie loose, he was working at the buttons on his shirt with one hand while grabbing a beer from the refrigerator. Pushing the door closed, he turned and resumed his march to his bedroom, sure he'd be up most of the night, worrying and fretting about his continued 'forced' servitude to the US government. Maybe he would have to man up and ask about being put on the payroll he mused, his feet seemingly following an ingrained memory, guiding him to his room despite the lack of light in the apartment.
Stepping through his doorway, his empty hand instinctively reached out and flipped the light switch after he'd closed his eyes against the flare of light that he knew to be coming. Opening and blinking his eyes several times, he was about to take another step when he realized that someone was in his bed. Well, not just someone was sitting in his bed…no, it was Sarah Walker sitting there, the comforter pooled around her lap and…holy hell, she was wearing a bra that must have been designed to produce blindness and stupidity in men who saw it because…"holy hell" he mumbled to himself, stunned beyond belief.
Chuck finally remembered to breath at the same moment he realized that the beer he'd been holding had slipped from his nerveless fingers and fallen to shatter between his feet. He could feel the blush that he was sure covered him from the waist up and he wanted to turn away, sure that his open mouthed stare was anything but respectful.
"Sarah, uh, what are you doing here?" he finally managed to gasp out while struggling to turn away from the vision of drop dead sexiness that was staring at him with a small smile on her face.
Sarah Walker wanted to smile at Chuck's reaction to seeing her in his bed. She'd been planning to seduce him before she'd gotten the panicked call from the new acting-head of the CIA, ordering her to secure the asset and to make sure that Casey was aware that General Beckman's sanction order had been rescinded. Her choice of underwear had been the result of a special trip to Victoria's Secret that had lasted almost an hour as she struggled to find just the right outfit. She was sure that the salesclerk had been getting annoyed with her but she'd refused to leave until she'd found the perfect outfit, spending more time choosing this bra and panty combo than she'd ever spent selecting 'seduction gear' before.
If she was honest with herself , she'd spent the time because she'd never before wanted a night to be perfect. She'd never before wanted to dress to please a man the way she wanted to please Chuck and his reaction was definitely worth every penny she'd spent and he hadn't seen the bottoms yet.
She watched his eyes as he struggled to look away from her chest, secretly thrilled and, since she was being honest with herself, aroused by his reaction to her planning. The material was so sheer that she was sure Chuck must have seen her nipples harden when her own arousal, caused by the flash of intense desire in Chuck's eyes, washed over her, leaving her glad to be sitting down because if she'd been standing, she would have surely fallen when her knees buckled.
She set new personal records after receiving the call from her new boss, making the trip from her hotel room to Casa Bartowski faster than she ever imagined possible, pushing her beloved Porsche harder that she'd ever pushed it before, fighting against the tears that had been threatening to fall since she'd learned of the termination order that General Diane Beckman had issued to Casey. She hadn't bothered trying to call her partner, knowing the big man would have gone dark as soon as he received his orders, praying that she'd get to him before he could kill their asset.
She'd used the 'Morgan door' and had found Casey lying in wait, his silenced pistol gripped firmly in his hand while he stood within sight of the front door. She'd allowed one of her feet to scuff against the floor and Casey had whirled around, his gun pointing at her forehead and his finger already beginning to squeeze against the trigger.
"Walker, what the fuck?" he'd hissed at her, not letting his gun waver.
"The new Intersect exploded, taking Graham and five agents with it" she said, struggling to keep her voice from sounding panicked. "The sanction has been canceled."
"Really?" Casey had asked and she was sure she'd seen a flash of relief in his eyes.
"Call Beckman if you don't believe me" she replied, her hand hovering near her own weapon, ready to pull it if needed.
"Nah, figure you wouldn't lie, not unless you're hopelessly compromised" he added, reaching behind his back to tuck his gun into the waistband of his jeans while offering a knowing smirk. "guess you want to tell your boy toy the good news yourself?" he asked without expecting an answer, already heading towards Chuck's room and the unconventional entrance/exit she'd left open behind her.
Before she could say a word, Casey had disappeared and moments later she heard the sounds of her nerd making his way towards the front door. Moving as quickly as possible, she'd rushed into his room, pulling her blouse over her head while throwing the comforter back on his bed. Sliding in as quickly as possible, she'd just rearranged the comforter when Chuck had walked into the room.
When the bottle had slipped from Chuck's hand, she fought the urge to giggle at the comical sight of a stunned nerd, standing just a couple of feet away, his eyes still locked on her tits and the flimsy material that did very little to conceal them while his now empty hand twitched and grasped at a bottle of beer that was already shattered against the floor.
"Chuck?" she called to him, making no move to cover herself and even toying with the idea of simply throwing back the comforter so he'd see that her panties were made of the same diaphanous material that wasn't doing a thing to conceal her breasts.
"Wh…what?" Chuck finally managed to answer, he eyes dropping to stare at the mess around his feet. "Uh, why, um, why are you here, Sarah?" he managed to get out, keeping his head tilted downwards.
"I thought it was time for another 'sleepover', you know, keeping the cover working and all that" she replied, smiling as she watched Chuck struggle with the desire to let his eyes drift back upwards.
"But, I, uh, I thought that Project Intersect was finished?" he said, his eyes popping back up and after a brief stop, locking onto hers.
"The new Intersect Blew up, killing Graham and five agents. It looks like you get to keep your job…and us, for a little while longer" she told him, hoping that the joy and arousal she was feeling wasn't evident in her voice or in her eyes.
"Oh, you don't say" Chuck replied, allowing his eyes to drift back down to the soggy mess at his feet. "I guess I better get something to clean up this mess" Chuck announced, turning and leaving before she could say a word.
'What the hell?' she asked herself, completely unprepared for Chuck's response. She'd expected him to get angry, or happy or even, stare at her chest a little more but the cold indifference he'd used after learning that he would be remaining the Intersect caught her off guard. She was still wondering what he was thinking when he walked back into the room, a mop and bucket in one hand and Ellie's tray of cleaning supplies in the other. Without a word or, more disappointingly, a glance at her chest, he dropped to his knees and started to gather up shards of broken glass.
'Time for step two' she told herself, pulling the comforter aside and climbing from the bed to stand in front of the young man who had a handful of broken glass. She set her feet about a foot apart and waited, looking forward to seeing Chuck's reaction when he got a good look at the almost transparent panties that would be barely concealing the results of the hour she'd spent in her tub, carefully trimming and shaving…everything.
"Chuck?" she asked, her patience, what little there had been, gone. She needed him to see what she had on display. She needed to see the look in his eyes when he realized that her 'sleep over' offer involved a lot more than the two of them spending a restless night as the struggled to keep from touching one another.
"Yes?" Chuck asked, his eyes never leaving the hand that cradled the broken pieces of the beer bottle that his other hand had been picking up off of the floor.
"Please look at me, Chuck" she pleaded huskily, waiting to see his eyes. She watched him start to lift his head and she knew the exact moment that he realized that the panties she was wearing were a match to her bra…not by a sudden intake of breath but by the blood curdling scream that escaped his lips right afterwards, which was most definitely, one of the last reactions she had been expecting.
Looking down, she immediately found the cause of the scream and fought against the huge wave of guilt that slammed against her. Without bothering to check the floor for glass, she dropped to her knees and reached out her hands, gently taking Chuck's hand in hers and slowly beginning to peel his fingers back, ignoring the blood that seemed to be pouring to the floor.
Looking up, she found herself staring into the dark brown eyes that had haunted her dreams for months, now filled with the strangest mixture of lust and pain, the second the obvious result of him clutching his hand into a fist when he'd caught sight of her barely concealed vagina that had been mere inches from his face when he'd looked up, the sight of which was probably the cause of the look of lust that was beginning to fade as the pain from his hand over-rode his desire.
"I'm so sorry, Chuck" she said as she allowed her eyes to drop back to his hand and she began to work to gently remove the shards of glass that had left his hand a sliced and bloody mess. "Oh, god, I'm so sorry" she said again as she fought against the tears that were suddenly threatening to make it hard for her to see. 'That's the last thing you need' she told herself, 'to not be able to see the glass that you need to get out of his hand.'
"Let's get you into the bathroom so I can get this cleaned up" she said, moving to get back to her feet and hoping her grip on his hand would cause him anymore pain as she helped him get to this feet.
"Don't move Sarah, you might cut your feet" Chuck said as he got up from the floor.
"Chuck, your hand" Sarah pointed out in a panicked voice, her concern for him over riding her concern for her own flesh.
"Sarah!" Chuck said with more force, finally getting her attention. "Put something on your feet" he demanded, using his undamaged hand to pry her fingers from around his other hand. "Put something on and then meet me in the bathroom" he added. "Now!" he almost yelled when she didn't move.
Once she began moving towards the pile of her clothes in the corner, Chuck left without another word. Turning back around, Sarah choked back a sob when she caught sight of the pool of blood on the floor, the size of it re-igniting the massive pit of worry her stomach had become. "Way to go, Sam' she said to herself, using her real name to launch into a new campaign of self-chastisement. "Show the man that you're ready, that you want his hands all over you and what happens? He cuts himself so he doesn't have to touch you' she tells herself, knowing full well that he didn't cut himself on purpose but not resisting the urge for a little self-flagellation.
Rushing out of the room and down the hall, she found Chuck standing over the sink in the small bathroom, his good hand gripping the edge of the counter in an obvious effort to keep himself on his feet. She'd forgotten how queasy he got at the sight of blood and found herself amazed that he'd been able to not only make sure she didn't cut her feet but he also managed to make it to the bathroom and, by the look of it, remove most of the larger pieces of glass that she'd missed in her initial inspection.
Moving quickly, she guided him the short distance to the toilet, urging him to take a seat while maneuvering him around so his still dripping hand remained over the sink. Taking his hand in hers, she bent over to study the bloody mess, pausing to turn on the warm water, planning to make sure most of the glass was removed before wrapping his hand and then facing the loin when she took Chuck to the Emergency room at Westside Medical.
Ellie Bartowski was going to go into 'big-sister' mode when she saw Chuck's hand and there was absolutely no way she was going to tell Chuck's sister just exactly what had led to the 'accident'. She knew that he hated lying to his sister but she was fairly confident that he would be about as eager as she was to tell the older Bartowski just what had been going on when the 'incident', as she would have to refer to the accident from now on, had happened.
Gently picking at the few remaining pieces of glass she could see, she pulled Chuck's hand under the steady stream of warm water and waited until most of the blood had been washed away before pulling out the last few pieces she could see. Grabbing a clean towel from the edge of the counter, she gently wrapped it around his hand and then started to move towards the bathroom door.
"Let's go Chuck. We're going to the emergency room" she announced, tugging gently at his wrist.
"Yes we are!" she snapped back.
"No, we can't…"
"Yes we can, and we are!" Sarah said forcefully, pulling on his wrist. "I don't care if you don't like hospitals, we have to go and have your hand taken care of."
"Sarah, we can't go to the hospital…"
"Yes we can and we are!" Sarah barked out, hoping the steel in her voice would put an end to Chuck's silly rebellion.
"Sarah, look at the way you're dressed" Chuck responded, his eyes wandering from her neck down to her feet and then back up before turning his head in an attempt to hide the blush was darkening his entire upper body.
Looking down, she felt herself begin to blush when she realized that, except for the slippers she'd found in the corner, none of her other clothing would be considered acceptable in public.
"Don't get me wrong, I happen to like it but maybe…"
"Yeah, I'll grab a t-shirt and a pair of your sweats and then we're going to the emergency room."
"Yes ma'am" Chuck answered with a smile.
Chuck watched, out of the corner of his eye, as the surgeon tied off the last of the twenty three stitches he'd had to use to repair the damage caused by a nearly naked Sarah Walker.
"Look Sarah, Frankenhand" he announced, once the doctor had finished his needle work, lifting the hand and aiming it towards the beautiful blonde who'd refused to leave his side once she'd covered herself back at Casa De Bartowski.
"Quit kidding around Chuck" she admonished him in a shaky voice. "Let him get you wrapped up so I can take you home" she commanded,
"Yes ma'am" he replied in a much lower voice than he'd ever used before. "What ever the mistress commands" he added, keeping his voice low and adding a silly European accent to it. "Grrrrrrr" he moaned out, flexing his hand into a claw shape and pawing at the air in front of Sarah's face. "Frankenhand Lives!" he moaned, about to get up from his seat when his sister appeared in the open doorway.
"Sit down, Chuck. Let my friend finish his work so you can go home and sleep off that Vicodin I gave you earlier" he sister commanded in a voice that left no doubt that her instruction was to be followed to the letter.
"You told me they were Tylenol 3's " he whined, suddenly understanding why he'd been feeling so strange for the last twenty minutes. The drugs must have been kicking in. That would explain the 'happy' feeling but wouldn't explain the odd sense of loss he'd been feeling ever since he'd found Sarah in his room earlier that night.
He'd expected to find Casey gone and Sarah sitting in his room, waiting to tell him the 'great' news that his life of servitude wasn't over after all. He certainly never expected to find Sarah in his bed and wearing underwear that left absolutely nothing to the imagination. The shattered beer bottle had been a testament to her bra's bewitching power and her panties, when they had finally been revealed, had robbed him of his ability to breath and lead, in a round about way, to his current predicament. He couldn't actually blame Sarah for the damage to his hand although he could certainly blame her for the dreams that he was sure would be troubling him for quite a while to come.
"Will you make sure my brother gets home?" his sister asked Sarah, the sound of her voice dragging him back from thoughts of a certain blonde and her clothes that almost weren't there.
"Of course I will" Sarah answered, giving the older Bartowski a smile that seemed to say, 'you don't even have to ask'. Watching the eye contact between the two women, Chuck found himself wondering why the blonde Agent had been in his room, dressed the way she had been. If he hadn't overheard the muffled conversation right before, he might have allowed himself to believe that she had finally given in to the obvious chemistry that they seemed to have going but now, he found himself wondering if she was simply ramping up her efforts to control him.
Promising himself to keep a closer watch on her, he found himself drifting back to thoughts of the lingerie she'd been wearing but before he could lose himself to the memories, the doctor finished wrapping his hand and told him to 'go home'.
"Are you ready to go home?" Sarah asked with a hesitant smile.
"Yeah, Frankenhand and I are ready to go. Thanks for everything, Ellie" he said to his sister after giving the surgeon who'd repaired his hand a clumsy, left-handed shake.
"I'll check on you when I get home" she called after him as he allowed Sarah to latch onto his left hand and begin pulling him towards the front entrance.
"Ok. Love you, sis" he called back over his shoulder. I'm in your hands" he informed Sarah, silently reminding himself just how real that statement was and then promising himself to start looking into taking some of that responsibility out of her hands and putting it back into his own…where it really belonged.
A/N:2 Next time, I hope to show how Chuck finds the 'Run For Your Life' game and begins to use it to plan his own escape.