A/N This is an AU story, more of a concept really, following what I believe are more logical lines than those the original season 3 followed. While there are no doubt many stories that can be told in this vein, as ninjaVanish proved with the excellent Chuck and Sarah vs. Themselves, I have no intention of trying to write any of them at this time. If I should get an idea I will write it (I actually already have a couple). If any other author on this board gets an idea in this AU I hope they will write it too.
Chuck woke before the alarm, too excited and nervous to go back to sleep. For a little while he just lay there, enjoying the feeling of Sarah's warmth against his side and her even breathing as she slept, trying to let it lull him back into a doze. Instead he felt her hand move, fingers pressing 1-2-3-4 against his skin under the covers. Status?
He pressed 1-2-1-2 against her back. Green.
"So why is your heart pounding so hard? You went from zero to tense in a moment, Mr. Bartowski, and almost threw me out of our bed."
Chuck smiled. He'd been called Mr. Bartowski all of his life, usually by people who were annoyed with him, but he didn't smile those times. When Sarah called him Mr. Bartowski, though, she meant something totally different. "Just first day jitters, Mrs. Bartowski."
Sarah twisted her head up to look at him, still snuggled close. "Chuck, you've spent the last year and a half with a computer's worth of image-encrypted government secrets in your head, autocratic generals and devious spies running your life, lying to your friends while jumping off of buildings, dodging air strikes, and getting out of the car to run to the rescue of beautiful damsels in distress far more often than I like to admit—"
Chuck gave her a quick hug. Sometimes she had been the damsel, sometimes it was some usually-brunette female person that he'd foolishly let come between him and the woman of his dreams. In either case apology was called for.
She hugged him back. "But you're getting first day jitters now?"
He shrugged. "I've never met General Beckman in person before."
She laughed, propping herself up on one elbow to stare down at him. "Those would be 'going-to-meet-the-intimidating-NSA-General' jitters, Chuck. I can understand that. All this time you've only seen her over a monitor, and believe me those things make everyone look larger than life, but she's really rather short." Sarah's eyes got a faraway look in them. "On the other hand, you being so tall and all might make it worse…"
"This is you being reassuring? 'Cause you sort of suck at it. Can we maybe go back to you yelling at me for my foolish heroics and then making it up to me in the broom closet afterward? That'd calm me right down."
"I think we can do a bit better than a broom closet now." She leaned down to kiss him.
Chuck got out of his shower to find his lovely bride of not nearly long enough setting a plate of eggs and toast and other good stuff on the table for him. It was all very 'Leave It to Beaver' except for the filmy nightgown under the frilly apron, and under that... "I just got an idea for a great new Reality TV show," he announced.
She looked down at herself, then back at him with a grin. "Uh-huh." She knew exactly what gutters his mind ran in. She sauntered over to him, saying, "It'd fail miserably. I'll only ever have one viewer." She kissed him lightly. "Who'd better get started. Casey called, he's on his way over."
Chuck groaned. He liked living on cloud nine but Casey was a very down-to-Earth sort of guy. He sat down and started eating.
"Hey!" She threatened him with her spatula. "Enjoy that!"
"Have a nice morning, sweetie." She pressed a kiss against his lips with two fingers. "I'll pick you up at lunch. Front desk." She looked past him, at the driver. "Casey. Drive safe." She stood up and walked away, over to their own car and her trip to Langley.
Casey made a noise as Chuck rolled his window up. Not one of his usual grunts, and when Chuck looked over he saw his handler actually smile. A little. "What?"
Casey put the car into gear and pulled out into the street. "All that devotion to duty and love of country, boiled down to you. I don't know whether to smile, puke, or pray for your soul."
Chuck smiled. "Try grunting."
Casey grunted. The geek-loser-moron he'd had to endure for so long had vanished, replaced by someone far more respectable. Walker had been good for him, not that he'd ever say so. "Okay, listen up, Bartowski. You may not be under oath or under arms, but your boss is a General and you will display a proper amount of decorum in her presence, is that clear?"
"Uh…sure. Define decorum."
Casey sighed. "You will address her as 'Ma'am'. You will not interrupt. You will sit still and shut up, however hard that may be for you. You will answer her succinctly when and only when she asks you a direct question. She's even less interested than I am in your usual rambling explanations, and she won't care about your lady-feelings, sandwiches on desert islands or the latest video game characters."
"That…doesn't leave much."
Casey smiled. "Try grunting."
Casey saluted, at attention. "Colonel John Casey, reporting as ordered, General."
Beckman saluted back. "At ease, Colonel. Gentlemen, please sit." She waited until they had complied. "Mr. Bartowski—"
Chuck opened his mouth, but a grunt from Casey closed it again.
"—Are you certain you won't reconsider the original opportunity offered to you? I had intended to send you to our training facility in Eastern Europe to learn how to use the skills of the new Intersect properly."
Chuck shifted. He and Sarah had gone over this in detail on their honeymoon. "Yes, ma'am, I'm sure. I know that I've gotten myself into more than a bit of trouble over these last two years, but that was always because I had to. I never went looking for it and I don't want to start."
"Begging the General's pardon," said Casey, "But I agree with Chuck's self-assessment. He'll never be able to commit to the job one hundred percent. He might destroy himself trying."
Generals don't sigh, but Beckman came close. All those skills, wasted on a civilian. An extremely important civilian. "We agree, Colonel. Skills without the right attitude mean nothing. I was simply indulging a hope that the changes Sarah wrought included his attitude, but I can see that that is not the case. If anything he's affected hers. So we have devised a role which will make good and proper use of the skills and attitude he does have in abundance."
Chuck began to smell a rat. He was supposed to be an analyst. This was supposed to be a courtesy call. "What skills would those be, General?"
Beckman stared at him calmly. "Mr. Bartowski, do you think that if we removed the Intersect that it would remove all your problems? That you could simply disappear among a sea of analysts, to be known primarily as the husband of Sarah Walker?"
"Isn't that why you had Casey and Sarah guarding me all this time? All the secrets in my head? You have my father's program, just take them out."
"Chuck, your father's program has changed the game," said Casey at a glance from his commanding officer. "It's true you're no longer stuck with having those 'secrets in your head'…"
"But it's also true that you're the only one who can survive having them there," said Beckman. "We would have to guard you anyway, for that alone, so we may as well get some use out of the deal."
"What deal?" No way he'd accept another handler. "Sarah and I are married now."
"And you'll stay that way, Chuck. In fact we couldn't have hoped for a better arrangement."
Chuck stared at him, betrayed and suspicious. "And why is that, Casey?"
Beckman answered. "As your wife, she'll be there to guard you without us having to carry the assignment in our books. Any agent trying to find you would not know where to look for that information. Nor would any agent be so openly involved with an asset. She's obviously an agent…"
"Therefore I'm clearly not an asset."
Casey chuckled. "Nope."
"So what am I? Still just an analyst? That's what I was supposed to be."
The General and the Colonel shared a look. "Unfortunately the CIA's bureaucracy moved somewhat faster than our own in this matter, Mr. Bartowski. They assigned an analyst to your wife's team before we could secure that slot for you. The analyst pool is a possibility but we think we have an assignment that's even better as a cover."
Chuck frowned. "A cover for what?"
Beckman seemed surprised at the question. "Your work as the Intersect."
"But you just said I wasn't going to be the Intersect anymore!"
Casey glared at him. "No, we didn't, Chuck. We just said that as far as you and the missus are concerned you're not going to be an asset. And you're not. You won't have the Intersect outside the building."
"We'll use your father's program to remove it before you leave each day…"
"And put it back in the next day?"
General Beckman nodded. "Correct. At home and elsewhere, you would still be guarded as a necessary piece of a critical tool, but we have lots of those. Without the secrets actually present in your head the threat level would be much reduced. Your wife and her team will guard you when they're local, we'll assign a backup when they're not. Once in the building you will download the Intersect, and at that point the level of security will increase, but since you'll be physically in the CIA's most guarded building no one will notice."
"What about my Intersect skills?"
"Keep those to yourself, Chuck. In case an enemy manages to get past us and the little woman, those skills may be all that keeps you out of their hands, so don't let anyone know you have them."
"Does Sarah know?"
"The DDO will be reading Agent Wal—Agent Bartowski in this morning."
"Good, I need to talk it over with her."
"Do you honestly think she'll refuse?"
"Do you honestly think she'll calmly accept me making a unilateral decision of this magnitude?"
Casey chuckled again. Even Beckman's lip twitched. "So, contingent upon Sarah's formal acceptance of our strategy, and any codicils she may suggest, Colonel Casey will now administer the necessary oaths."
One administration of necessary oaths later…
"Excellent, Mr. Bartowski, glad to have you voluntarily on the team at last. I understand Sarah will be here to get you shortly. She will take you to Langley and the Data portion of the Intersect will be removed. Colonel Casey will meet you there tomorrow, to introduce you to your cover position in Interiors Maintenance."
"My cover where?"
"You're making me a janitor?"
"Oh, not just any janitor, Chuck. You're going to be the laziest, sloppiest, most incompetent janitor in United States history."
"You're making me Janitor Jeff?"
Casey smirked. "Welcome to government service."
A/N As I said above, I hope some of you will try this AU on for size, there are a number of elements to it that I've never seen used before, especially the idea of a removable Intersect. There are lots of story lines around the medical complications of that alone, not to mention the exact nature and duties of Interiors Maintenance, the Analyst's Pool, etc. Go wild!