A/N I did lots of research before starting this, but then I met this guy named Quinn, and now I don't remember any of it. Sorry.
"I'm with the NSA."
"I feel sorry for the both of you."
"Mr. Grimes is wanted here in Washington."
The first night was the hardest. Even though they'd only been married a few months, Chuck had gotten completely used to the experience of Sarah, his Sarah, in his bed. The heat of her body, as he spooned up against her. The weight of her, as she lay her head on his chest and used him as her pillow on the good nights, and her comforter on the bad ones. The smell of her hair in either circumstance.
He was at rest when she was.
She was his bed partner in every sense of the word, but not tonight. As he lay sleepless, she was in Hawaii, the bad guys after her, his best friend in tow, no backup except two cannons, named Loose and Looser. Did she pack enough bullets? He tightened his grip on her pillow. How do the real agents stand this?
"I was just gonna do an hour on the bike, maybe some crunches with a protein shake chaser, especially if El's not gonna be home."
Is that why Devon did it? To drive the fact of his aloneness at that moment as far away as he could get it? Chuck sighed. Probably not, the guy was awesome. He had his awesomeness to keep him company. Chuck was Captain Kryptonite. Totally not awesome.
In the comic books the hero didn't sleep either, but superheroes don't need to sleep, do they? That's why they're super. They had secret identities when they needed some downtime. Where was his secret identity? They'd taken Charles Carmichael away from him, sent it flittering around the world like a ghost to lead the spookhunters a merry chase. In return, they'd given him what, 'Tough Guy'?
Then he realized he had it backward. This was his secret identity. Crap.
Chuck flung his blankets aside and went into his kitchen. Four eggs and a glass of orange juice tasted better at this hour of night, or maybe his senses were still asleep. Cup in hand, he cruised by the window, showing himself to his detail outside to ease their concerns at this change in his routine. He turned on the TV, some news channel. No reports of volcanic eruptions in Hawaii so far. He hoped Morgan and Carina were all right, and turned the sound down.
Time to be…well, super, if not awesome. Time to clean.
The first night was the hardest. In the heat of battle, the thrill of the chase, Sarah Bartowski had been perfectly willing to hang back at the hotel and think evil thoughts while Agent Bartowski got the job done. Now there was no battle, no chase, and the softer side of Sarah was making her presence felt in a very firm way.
It wasn't late in Hawaii, but it was late in DC and that's where she belonged. I wonder if Chuck's sleeping. He'd better be, he had work tomorrow. Somehow she knew he wasn't though. The same subtle ache in her own bones that was keeping her up in spite of jet lag had to have its echo in him, didn't it?
Maybe it didn't. He'd had no trouble sleeping before he'd met her. He hadn't done things that forced him to relive them in his dreams, the way she had.
She could call, but it was stupid o'clock in the morning back home and she didn't want to wake him, not on a work day. He was getting few enough hours of sleep tonight as it was, but hopefully he took that nap like he said he would before she left.
The front door opened, and Anna stepped out onto the porch where Sarah waited for the extraction team, tucking in her shirt. "Thanks for taking first watch."
"No problem. Couldn't sleep anyway. At least two of us got some good use out of this downtime. Well, three if the sounds Carina made are any indication."
"Carina? She's asleep on the couch."
"So? Thin walls. Light sleeper. Pleasant dreams."
"Which is why you're out here on the porch."
"Pretty much. The noise wasn't too bad, but she…embellishes, and I didn't need to see the visuals. It's bad enough –"
Anna threw up her hands. "TMI."
"That's what I thought."
"I meant you."
"Oh. Sorry." She sighed. "I miss my husband."
Anna sat on another chair and looked out into the gloom for a while. "You know, I never really saw you and Chuck making a thing of it. No offense. Morgan was pulling for you from the beginning, of course."
"Not you? Why not?"
Anna shrugged. "You were too…flighty. Sure you got Chuck over Jill in a hurry, and thank you for that, by the way, but anybody could tell Chuck was destined for great things once that happened, and you just …I don't know…weren't. I mean, look at you: beautiful, blonde, in LA of all places, and you're working in a yogurt shop? What, did you think some producer was going to drive through Burbank one day and suddenly get thirsty?"
"Because really, who does that? You need initiative to succeed in this world, Sarah, and you were one of the most anti-initiative girls I've ever met. And as long as you were around, Chuck was going to keep getting sucked into your evil orbit of loser-dom, no matter how many times I saw him try to climb out."
Sarah frowned. "This is your idea of 'no offense'?"
"Hey, I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt here, Blondie. Everybody else thinks you're a hooker. So I just want to tell you, Sarah Walker Bartowski, that you'd better make yourself into something worthy of that man or so help me, I will come back from wherever they post me and kick your ass!"
Sarah nodded her head. "Message received."
Anna suddenly crumpled in her chair. "God, I hope that extraction team gets here soon, so I can get some drive-thru. I am starving and there's, like, no food in this place, unless you count Hot Pockets."
Better than MRIs. "They're okay in a pinch."
"Not for this girl," said Anna. "Real fighting trim requires real food."
Sarah stood up. "Sounds like I'll have to get my own Hot Pocket, then."
The first night was the hardest. Sure, she'd been to Hawaii before, but not this part of it, so she had no contacts, no one to call to keep a girl company in the middle of the night. Locked down in a safe house just meant the second night would be like the first, so hopefully this was the only night they'd be stuck in this tropical hellhole.
Blondie volunteered for first watch, so she claimed the couch for herself as the two lovebirds claimed the bedroom. Lovebirds? Love-elephants, more like it. How could two such small people make so much noise?
Sarah started fidgeting again, and Carina decided to have a bit of fun with her. She rolled, she stretched, she twisted, all the while moaning and whimpering softly, until finally her victim got up and fled to the porch. Satisfied with her ploy, she rolled over one last time and drifted off. Soldiers on the battlefield could sleep through artillery barrages, and this was no different.
The absence of noise woke her, in time to hear the soft closing of the door as someone left the bedroom and crossed over to the front door. Anna, probably. Martin wasn't that light on his feet. Plus she could hear his snoring, cut off by the closing door.
The front door opened and closed, and she could hear their voices outside. Since she was a spy, as well as being incredibly nosy when she heard her own name mentioned, she rolled out of the couch and crept up to the window.
Hmm. She wasn't sure 'embellishment' was quite the right word for what she was doing, unless she was doing it wrong, but at least it got the job done. And now Sarah was going on about the husband and the missing again, and Carina was feeling all embarrassed, again.
It's all that damn Chuck's fault. First Sarah, then her. It's like he had some evil superpower.
And now Anna's defending him! Against…Sarah? Oh my God. Ohmigodohmigodohmigod! She clapped her hands over her mouth, but sounds were coming out her nose and she couldn't stop that too. She crept back to the couch, stole a cushion and crept into the kitchen where she could laugh into it without being heard.
The door opened again and she stopped, trapped in the kitchen, hoping that whoever it was would just go to the bathroom.
No such luck. Sarah looked down at her friend, sitting on the floor with a cushion against her face. "I'm told there's Hot Pockets in the freezer."
Carina's eyes dropped from looking at her friend's face to looking at the cushion. She moved it away from her face, mouth working in disgust. "Y'know, that's good, cause these things taste terrible."
"Like you would know good taste."
Carina let that one slide. "What the hell was that?" she said, pointing towards the door.
"Exactly what it sounded like. I'm either a prostitute or a failed actress, it seems."
"You couldn't tell her about your rich father, and how you're trying to establish yourself out of his controlling and overbearing shadow?"
"I was going to use the spy story."
"Come on, Sarah, she is an undercover spy, and even she wouldn't believe it."
"It would explain the Porsche."
"The hooker story explains the Porsche."
Sarah sighed. "True. All it takes is enough money and no judgment whatsoever. Why don't you own a Porsche?"
The door popped open and Anna rushed through the room. "Our ride's here, ladies. Time to blow this pineapple stand."
Carina looked at Sarah and mouthed, "Pineapple?"
Sarah shrugged. "It is Hawaii."
Anna came out of the bedroom with some cloth folded over her arm. "Here you go, ladies, a couple of robes for the trip, not sexy but they are warm. Don't need things any nippier outside than they already are, if you catch my drift." Stuck in confined spaces for an indefinite time. With Morgan.
Sarah took the blue one, to no one's surprise. "What about our stuff at the hotel?" Because a real girl would ask that. The cover clothes had never been worn and the relay would self-destruct if not retrieved in time. With the Ring in town and their own mission blown, no one would bother.
"Buy new when we get there. I'll see if I can get it expensed. Oh, and by the way, definitely go with the rich dad story. I'd totally buy that."
"Thanks. I'm trying to achieve success on my own, independent of my rich and domineering father. I just want someone who loves me for me, you know?"
Anna adopted an expression of surprise. "Well, why didn't you say so?"
Sarah gave her a shy smile. "A girl's got to have some secrets, doesn't she?"
A/N2 I know Morgan didn't appear in this. Charlie never did either.