A.N. This drabble is indirectly Nick's fault. During our collaboration on Lockdown, I needed to do some research (which lead to my watching pretty much all of season two). During the course of my "research," I found the deleted scenes on the first disc, and as a matter of due diligence (i.e. I was bored), I watched them. This one scene would have changed the whole season, shortened the war by years, and saved millions of lives. This is my take on that scene. Someone else has probably already done a better version of this.
I don't own Chuck et al.
EAST WITTERING (n.) – The same as West Wittering (q.v.), only it's you they're trying to get away from.
Douglas Adams & John Lloyd – The Deeper Meaning Of Liff. Pan Books and Faber & Faber, 1990.
The couple froze just inside the door to Casa Bartowski. The scent hit her hind brain as soon as they walked in. It took a moment to filter through to her conscious mind, as she was somewhat preoccupied with the vision before her. There were petals, rose petals she realized, covering every available surface.
Suddenly, she was aware of what she was actually smelling. Above the rose petals, just tickling the back of her memory, there was ….. there was something delicious in the oven. "Is that pecan pie?" Ellie asked excitedly. She leapt into Devon's arms telling him he was, "the sweetest man in the whole world."'
Not by design, Devon recovered just in time, and so Ellie didn't see the blonde moment cross his face. "No biggie, babe."
'Chuck,' Devon thought, 'it must have been Chuck that organized this. But how?'
"Well, be sure and think the CIA for me."
Sarah briefly glanced sidelong at Chuck, "Our pleasure," she said after a moment, accepting his gratitude on behalf of the squad of crack ninja decorators that the CIA kept on stand-by in every city of the world. The pair had watched his sister's reaction from the central courtyard. They walked side by side and she continued, "I suppose I should thank you for saving my life."
"You've done it for me, a time or two. I'm probably still in debt-"
"I have to admit, that was pretty impressive," she interrupted him, turning around to face him.
"I know, right?" he said, excitedly. When he belittled himself, describing himself as 'just an asset,' a flash of pain hit her. Those were her words, coming back to bite her. Maybe he'd over-heard her when the coms fritzed….. In order to distract herself, and stop his self deprecation, she said, "I think it's safe to say Chuck, that I've never seen anyone quite like you." And as soon as the words left her mouth, she wondered how she meant them.
Their shared smile was interrupted by Montgomery's departure from Casey's apartment, as Roan thanked Casey. After a moment, Roan joined Chuck and Sarah.
He placed his case on the courtyard floor, and addressed Sarah, "Adieu, Agent Walker," as he kissed the back of her hand, so lightly, it was practically just an inhalation of her scent. Out of pure reflex, he kept his eyes in contact with hers, judging her expression.
With Montgomery there, Sarah felt suddenly exposed. And even though he'd been three sheets to the wind at the time, his 'cavorting' comment, earlier, had struck a little too close to home. With her former teacher present, she felt the urge to flee for freedom, else she betray herself and her feelings. "Well, I'll – ah – I'll see you later," she said. And then her mouth did betray her, by adding a, "Chuck."
"Let her go," was Agent Montgomery's advice as Chuck instinctively started following her. "A great man once said, it will give her the illusion of being pursued."
Chuck smiled at the older agent, not quite placing the quote, but recognizing the advice as potentially correct. "You trust me?" asked Roan.
Chuck judged the now sober legend. He and Sarah were alive because of him. And technically, that is a pretty good basis for trust. "Yeah," admitted Chuck.
"Good," Roan came back quickly, as if he'd been expecting that reply. "Do you own a white dinner jacket?" asked he, expecting the answer 'no.'
"No," admitted Chuck, a little confused. He couldn't see where this was going.
"Rent one," was Roan's advice, given with the same lack of hesitation. "Tonight, you will show up with: a bottle of Château Margaux, the dinner jacket, and a single red rose. Known in several countries as," he paused, somewhat not quite self effacingly, "the Montgomery."
The cell rang from his pocket. Roan fished it out and checked the display, before holding out his hand and saying, "Good bye, Charles."
"Good bye, Roan," replied Chuck, shaking Roan's hand.
Roan flipped the cell open, and still shaking Chuck's hand, answered it, "Hello, Diane."
He felt ridiculous, wearing what was essentially a prom jacket, as he headed along the corridor from the elevator to her door. And then it hit him, she was a student of Montgomery's. Very probably his star pupil, so she had to know about the jacket, wine and rose combo. He was being set up with an 'in' joke. And yet, he knew Sarah better by know. When she'd sat beside him at the beach, on that first horrible, terrifying morning, he didn't have a clue. He sure as shit didn't trust her at that stage, although, her shoulder nudge was a big factor in his falling for her.
But he'd seen some shit since then, and while he tried to be the same kid from Encino he'd always been, he'd matured some. Seeing and helping drag the odd dead body into the back of an NSA issued blacked out Suburban will do that to you.
But she'd been beside him every step of the way. Doing her level best to make sure he was okay, or at least as okay as you can be, considering you're holding onto one end of an occupied body bag.
So, he knew her by now. Roan was correct in his assessment of her; she was a gorgeous, sophisticated woman. And yet, Chuck knew that Sarah, 'his' Sarah, would see the funny side of this. While he had no idea how this night would end, and if he was honest with himself, he wasn't even sure how he wanted the night to end. Just having Sarah see the funny side was somehow enough. Chuck sometimes thought she didn't smile enough.
At just the thought of her smile at his ridiculous get up, he did a little not quite dance of anticipation, just before he took a clearing breath and knocked 'shave-an-a-hair-cut' on her door.
She smiled, like always at seeing him. And she said his name, the way she always did….
And then, her face looked worried, and then her eyes flicked to the side for a moment, and she added an uncertain "Hi! – um…." and then the door was opened wider.
In a white hot moment of pain, Chuck's world contracted to a pin point.
The man who'd given Chuck the worst possible day of his life stood inside her room, looking as if he was at home, and asked him, "Miss me?"
Chuck stood there, blushing furiously at how his life was seemingly reduced to a sequence of moments that seem to have been engineered just to make Bryce look good. All he wanted to do was throw the wine and the rose away, and run and hide.
And then he felt Sarah thread her arm through his, and say "Sorry Bryce, I was just about to tell you, Chuck… Chuck and I….. we," she glanced at Chuck, tightening her grip momentarily to attract his attention, "have a date organized. To cover our…. To protect our cover. Order some room service. I should be back by…. elevennnnn…" she dragged out the last syllable as she glanced back up at Chuck, as if for confirmation.
"…ish," said Chuck, desperately trying to not sound more than a skootch confuddled.
"…ish," confirmed Sarah. She leaned back into her room, past Bryce and grabbed her handbag off the hall way bench, leaving Bryce standing at the open door. She guided Chuck back around the corner to the elevator, as soon as they were around the corner, she looked up at him, grinned and made the 'shhh' movement, index finger to her pursed lips. He nodded back, wondering what the hell just happened.
The patio furniture sat in the courtyard near the fountain. A bottle of hideously expensive, for those of us on a Buy More income, Chateau Margaux stood on the table, partly emptied, next to a large, family sized Sbarro pizza box. The pizza had pepperoni, but no olives.
"Well," admitted Chuck, as he separated the first slice of pizza for her, "not exactly the evening I had in mind…." He placed the slice onto a plate and handed it over to her, "….but Bryce popping in meant calling an audible." Chuck wasn't exactly a hundred percent certain what 'an audible' was. It was evidently some football something that Devon had said a couple of times, and Chuck felt it made sense at this particular juncture.
She leant over to open the garlic bread, "Well, a good spy knows how to think on his feet," she said to him in a manner that he took as if she was proud.
"Well, I'd take credit, but Sbarro really did all the work."
She smiled for him at his usual self deprecation, simultaneously loving that he did that, that he didn't have the ego of… and also wishing she was in a position to change that about him, that he had the confidence in himself.
His face turned serious, "So, Bryce in town for business or…. pleasure." He desperately hoped she didn't pick up his little hesitation.
"I don't know why he's in town, Chuck," she told her pizza slice. "I came home, and he," she looked up at him, "just showed up." She gave him a schooled face, "We were barely past 'hello,' when you knocked," she said in a flat tone, trying to get him to change subjects.
"Of course, yeah, that's… fine." Chuck was starting to regret having started this conversation. He wanted the evening to be just them, and he certainly didn't want to force Sarah to lie. "I mean, you guys are, you know, professional spies, and a team-"
Something in her tone made him look at her. She was looking at him, openly, and said, "What Bryce and I had is in the past." Chuck distinctly felt his heart skip a beat, and he exhaled the knot his stomach had been holding. This genuinely felt like one of the few times he was sure she was telling him something about herself that was true.
He smiled, and she smiled in return. "A toast," he said, holding the glass of Margaux aloft. She held hers up next to his, the backs of their fingers just grazing the others, "To a quiet evening," he said, "no mission, no Fulcrum agents trying to kill us."
She smiled in amusement and appreciation.
"Just you and me," he concluded.
And just before they could clink their glasses together, sealing the pact, their quiet evening, just them, died a whimpering death. Morgan announced, "Oh, thank God, dude."
Chuck and Sarah, looked at each other silently and then simultaneously drained their glasses in a manner that should never be done to a semi reasonable red such as the Margaux.
Blithely ignorant, Morgan continued, "This night is a disaster, man," Chuck kind of agreed with this assessment, even though Morgan was almost certainly talking about something completely different. Which Morgan would now no doubt proceed to tell them all about, in excruciating detail. Morgan stood at the archway entry to the courtyard, hands in pockets, "Anna had some emergency Wiccan thing she had to go to." He sighed and started to walk around the table, saying, as he expressed with his hands, "I had Morgan Night planned. Her friends don't understand Morgan Night."
Sarah felt the urge to top her glass up, all the way to the top, and the hell with letting it 'breath.'
"You know what I'm talking ab-" Morgan continued as he sat at the table and paused. "Sbarro," he realized with a grimace. "Red wine," Morgan continued to show them that his powers of observation were indeed powerful. He exhaled an amused laugh, and asked Sarah, "You know goes with this?" he looked at both of them in turn, "Me."
Chuck had already split the rest of the bottle between himself and Sarah. He looked at Sarah, and saw her smirk, seeing that she saw the funny side of it as well, and stage whispered to her, "We're doomed, aren't we?"
This toast, the doomed couple drank to. Morgan then wanted to know of Sarah, "How come you haven't accepted my friends request on MySpace?" as he looked around to see if there was an extra wine glass to go with this pizza. It was okay, as pizzas go, but Morgan judged that it needed….. olives, maybe?
Chuck wondered if he could escape on the pretext of finding more wine. But then realized that Morgan would take that as an invitation to join them.
Oh, right. Yeah. Too late.
Once the pizza vanished, so did Morgan. With no olive free pizza to munch on, Morgan came to a sudden decision to see if Anna had finished her Wiccan thing. Sarah's expression may have helped that decision, but Chuck had his doubts. Morgan had a bit of a blind spot when it came to women's expression.
The wine hit her harder than she expected. When she stood up, Chuck, being Chuck, picked it straight away. "Sarah? Sweetie, you okay?" Chuck added the endearment, since technically, Morgan was still within earshot, and Chuck wasn't one to waste an opportunity to utter an endearment aloud.
"Chuck, I'm fine, I just….." she said, trailing off as she stood stock still, as she judged the local gravity on this planet.
"Okay, that would be my fault. And you," he said as he slipped his hand into hers, their fingers intertwining automatically, to both help her measure the local gravity, and ….. well, to touch her, "need to sober up before you drive. You, Sarah Walker are going nowhere for an hour or two."
"But…." she enunciated as she focused up at him.
"Sarah, you are the second fittest person I know," she opened her mouth to protest at coming in at number two, but he'd anticipated her, and whispered to her, "Sorry, but until I see you naked to the waist. I mean from the waist up, Captain Awesome is going to keep that honor."
He loved how she tried, and managed after a false start, to look puzzled, indignant, shocked, proud and frustrated all at the same time. "And as those words came out of my mouth," he said, mostly to himself, "I realized how that probably sounded. Annnnd so, because you are so fit, you only ate the one slice, and yes, I was counting, but that's not stalker creepy. Okay, so it maybe a little stalker creepy, but not Jeff stalker creepy."
"Says the man who talks aloud about wanting to see me naked to the waist," she interjected with an amused expression.
"Excuse me! I have a Y chromosome," declared Chuck in a display of exaggerated indignation, and then after a moment's deliberation, he added, "And a pulse. Sue me. So in order to save yourself from four hours on the treadmill, you only ate the one slice. But an amended Morgan Night led to us both drinking a tad faster than normal, right?"
She tilted her head to one side, still unconvinced, and she focused on him, as he said, "Sarah, I ate more than you, and I wouldn't feel safe driving. Legally, we'd both probably pass, but I don't feel safe. So…."
"So, this is part of your evil plan to get me alone?"
He grinned broadly, "Well, as alone as I can get with fifteen hidden cameras tracking me." He corrected himself, and had a further excuse to touch her, "Us." Chuck waived cheerily at an aspidistra in the plant boxes, stage whispering, "Hi John!"
He loved that little snort laugh she did.
He opened the door to the apartment and guided her in. Ellie and Devon were on the couch, zoned out, still in their scrubs, or in Devon's case, scrub pants, as they watched TV. There were famous British actors on screen, in period costume. No-one seemed to be able to do a period drama quite like the BBC. Ellie and Devon acknowledged the pair, but as per Chuck's earlier request, didn't make a fuss. Chuck turned to Sarah, "Look, if you definitely want to go, as I said, legally, you'd probably be fine. But I'd feel happier if you stayed, and at least had a coffee. One hour, tops." He felt her resolve weaken, so he added the icing on the cake, "Please?"
He felt her relax a little. Ten minutes later, she sat, snuggled up against Chuck on the couch, sipping her coffee, watching the woman who played M in the last few James Bond films, and the day to day adventures of a village that the show was named after.
WEST WITTERING (ptcpl. vb.) – The uncontrollable twitching which breaks out when you're trying to get away from the most boring person at a party.