A/N Very Ellie, very silly, the last part of the first part.
"Which do you think is better, 'plunged heroically' or 'swooped down'?"
Sarah lifted the clipboard. "I'll settle for 'lowered yourself by 2 inches.'"
"Two inches? It was more like thirty feet."
"I'm talking about that 'make yourself shorter' trick you pulled earlier, Chuck. It's not on the list of skills they want me to test, but since you've displayed it let's see if you still have it."
"Oh. You mean this." Suddenly he seemed a bit shorter.
"Very good. I see your knees, though."
"Yeah, like I said, I need looser pants for it to really work." He stood up again. "So, plunging or swooping?"
"How about screaming and leaping?" She tossed him a set of beanbags.
He snatched them out of the air and started juggling. "I did not scream. Prayed, maybe. You heroic warrior types, maybe you scream and leap but us completely unheroic nerdy types, we wonder what we're doing there in the first place. And if there was any screaming after I leapt, well, you know, I'm not aware of it because I was really kinda sorta more interested in hitting the right beautiful woman when I finally got to the rescue."
There were just so many things wrong with that statement, but she focused on the most important one. "You thought Sasha Banacek was beautiful?" She threw a knife his way, pointy end first.
Her completely unheroic nerd flinched, dropping two of the bags as he knocked the knife out of the air with the third. "Uh, no, not at all, but she had a sort of assassin-y bad girl quality about her…and remember I was thirty feet up, with the wind in my eyes!"
She looked enlightened. "Ah, I see, like beer goggles. With falling." She tossed him three more knives, hilt first. "In the target."
Bullseye. "I wasn't falling." Bullseye. "I was swooping dramatically!" Bullseye.
"Well, there, you see. You answered your own question." She walked over and kissed him tenderly on the lips.
He closed his eyes and fell, completely unheroically. "What question?"
"Swooping or plunging to the rescue." She grabbed his hand and tugged. "This way."
His eyes popped open in surprise. "Ahh!" He followed. "You're welcome."
She stopped at a small table, with a miniature door mounted on it, with a full sized lock. and slapped him lightly on the cheek. "The kiss was for my husband. For you the asset, not so much. Do you have any idea of the abuse I took having to get rescued by my protectee?"
"I must have missed that meeting."
"You bet your ass you missed that meeting! Casey and Roan were there too, but I was the one who had her own gun turned on her. Now pick the lock."
There were no tools provided. "Um…sorry?" He reached up to her hair and stole one of her pins, snapped it in half, and started to work.
She frowned. "Don't be. As long as my husband does the dramatic swooping and the asset stays in the car like he should, we're good."
He winced. "Well, obviously that whole asset-to-the-rescue thing was a clever ploy of your husband's, trying to stay out of the limelight." He pulled out his impromptu lockpicks, and opened the door. "He knocked me down, stole my shirt. I even had the scrapes on my hands to prove it."
"That's so like him," said Sarah, making a notation on the chart. "But he'd better stop, it might backfire someday. I'm very protective of my assets." He gave her a So am I leer, and she smacked him again. "And you owe me a bobbypin."
"Don't be petty, just because I did it faster than you." He rubbed the spot where her hand landed on his face. "I think he'll be doing his own dirty work from now on."
Ellie caught the remark as she walked into the room. "Who'll be doing what dirty work?"
"My husband," said Sarah. "He tried to make it look like my asset here performed some heroic feats on my behalf, but it seems the rumor mill caught him out. Hard to fool trained CIA analysts."
Ellie put a hand dramatically to her throat. "Oh thank goodness those stories aren't true. I'd hate to think of my poor brother here ever putting himself in harm's way." She impaled him with a laser-intense gaze. "Isn't that right, Chuck?"
He raised his hands in a show of fear, up in front of his face. "Mercy!"
"Better. So. What are you calling this rumor of yours?"
He dropped the pose. "Chuck versus the Heroic Rescue."
"Chuck versus the Daring Swoop?"
"How about 'Chuck versus the three story fall and almost breaking his neck like the idiot Casey always said he was'?" said Sarah.
Ellie nodded. "Fine, but leave out the 'Chuck' part." She looked around, at the beans and the impaled bag. "You want to tell me what you were just doing in here?"
Sarah gestured at the open door. "Lock picking."
"I was seeing some spikes on the chart. How do you feel, Chuck? I saw you rubbing your face."
"She slapped me."
Ellie turned to Sarah. "Don't do that."
Sarah squelched a sudden impulse to salute. "Yes ma'am."
"Yeah, Sarah, stick to the script. Ahh-ah!"
Ellie grabbed Chuck's chin and pulled his head around, so she could look carefully at his eyes. "Anything else?"
"'Omeone's 'inching by chaw!" Ellie let go. "And I have a bit of a headache."
"Since the door." Sarah made a note.
"Let me know if it gets worse."
"Sure." Chuck rubbed his jaw as his sister left. "I've gotta get some male authority figures in my life."
"What was that, Chuck?"asked Sarah from behind him.
He turned. "Nothing, sweetie."
"Good. Come here." She tossed him a staff to match the one she held.
"Didn't Ellie just tell you not to hit me?"
"Unscripted, Chuck. Which this isn't."
He held his weapon away from his body. "I don't want to hurt you, Sarah."
She spun her staff casually. "Now you're insulting me, Chuck."
He smiled weakly. "I'm not gonna win this one, am I?"
She gave him 'the Eye', and gestured with her fingers, inviting.
He calmed himself. He could be either Neo or Agent Smith in this scenario, and Neo got the crap kicked out of him. Taking a deep breath, he found his calm center and fla—
"On my way!"
He heard the thump, felt the light get brighter and then dimmer again through his closed eyelids. The bed shook and he knew this house had a doctor in it.
"Chuck, look at me."
He obeyed, as he'd obeyed his sister all his life, and always would. "Oo, look. Stars!" he croaked. "Ready when you are, Raoul!"
"Oh, no," said Sarah.
"Don't worry yet," responded Ellie. "Name the movie, Chuck."
"Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, of course." Did she think he didn't know his movies?
Ellie smiled. "That's my little brother."
"No. Don't try to talk. You tried to flash on the weapon skills and set off every alarm we have. I'm not sure why but I'm thinking some of your skill sets are linked to the data sets in the Intersect. We'll have to figure out a way to stop you from flashing until I can figure out if that's true, and which ones."
Sarah came closer. "Those are reflexes, Chuck. Muscle memory, no thinking required. But no cake baking, bricklaying, or playing doctor except for the old-fashioned way, okay?"
She whacked—patted him on the shoulder. "You know what I mean! And that includes the kung fu stuff. We'll have to defend you."
Ellie nodded. "I was just writing a letter to your General, Chuck, telling her she's going to have to rethink your protective detail." She looked up at Sarah. "You take him home, keep him occupied with things that won't make him flash. No news, no Rachel Ray, nothing like that." She went back to her desk.
"We'll have to go out to dinner, Chuck. Give Casey a chance to be subtle. Then we can go home and watch Wheel of Fortune."
"Shoot me now."
"Don't be silly, sweetie," said Sarah. "Except for all the angst and celibacy, it'll be just like old times."
"Surveillance all set up?"
She took off his shoes, helped him get undressed. "Mm-hmm. Casey had it done while we were out. Mostly external, a few on the inside covering entrances and exits." She tipped him into bed still in his underwear and tucked him up nicely. Then she went to her dresser and started unbuttoning her blouse.
"And you believed them?"
One sweeping of the bedroom for bugs later…
She pulled the covers all the way up. "Believe me I will have a talk with Casey's little boys tomorrow."
"You know I never used the Intersect in here, right? No flashes of any kind."
"Really?" She rolled right. "Ellie did say…"
He rolled left. "Oh, yeah."
The next morning
"Hey Casey," said Chuck as he got into the car, none the worse for the wear after his experiences yesterday, "You're looking all Grim and Reaper this morning. Didn't you enjoy your talk with Sarah? I know I did."
"Stow it, Bartowski." Casey glared at him like a snake that spent all night listening to crickets it couldn't eat. "Thanks to your little stunt yesterday I just got assigned to your protective detail. It's not bad enough I had to clean up after you for two years, now I have to clean up after the whole damned CIA."
Oh yeah, just like old times. "Look at the bright side, Casey."
Casey put the car in gear, watched his mirror. "What bright side? The only bright side this job has will be the muzzle flash as someone puts me out of my misery."
"At least you won't be tending bar anymore. Until the office Christmas party, anyway."
Casey growled louder than the Crown Vic's engine.
Chuck smirked. "Welcome to government service."
A/N The whole story isn't complete, just this part of it. I'm still hoping other people will want to share in this AU, and I have other story ideas that have a different tone to them, so they'll be done as separate stories. If it's a nine2five story, it'll say so.