Jo looked in the mirror at herself as the stylist finished her hair and make-up. The NSA had thrown her into a course on doing her hair and make-up on her own when she'd first started, but the truth was that her mother had taught her long before the government had gotten their hands on her.
This, however, was on a whole other level.
Her hair was naturally just a little wavy, and the stylist, Margaret, had played on that, transforming the waves into chunky, side-swept curls, loosely pinned on the side. Jo's make-up was light and airy, her lips a muted but pretty shade of pink, her eyelids dusted with a slightly sparkly pale blue eyeshadow.
"Okay," Dean said jokingly from behind her. "So. She's a girl."
"Funny," Sarah said sardonically.
"Aw, come on," Dean said. "I'm just teasing. She looks good. For a sister."
Jo huffed out a laugh. "I may look pretty, but I can still beat you up."
"No fighting before the wedding," Emily ordered as she rushed around, inspecting Sarah in her dresses. "Jo, do you have your something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue?"
Jo frowned. "Uh..."
"The eyeshadow is a little bit blue," Margaret the stylist pointed out.
"The dress is new," Jo said.
Dean tugged up his dress shirt sleeve a little, revealing a bracelet of skulls in different shades of wood. "Something old." He took it off and handed it over to Jo.
"Good god," Emily said, disgusted. "What is that?"
"Tibetan skull bracelet," Dean said. "Got it from a Buddhist in Alabama when I was twelve. Good for contemplating life and death."
"It's hideous," Emily complained.
Jo put it on, wrapping it around her wrist twice. "Thanks, Dean."
Sarah grinned at them and then hiked up her skirt, causing Dean to wrinkle his nose.
"What the hell, Sare?"
Sarah unhooked the holster that held her knives and then handed it to Jo. "Something borrowed. I want that back."
Jo smirked and shifted her leg up to put it on. "Thanks, Sis."
Emily shook her head as she watched them. "This wedding is going to be a disaster."
Bryce paced back and forth, as Chuck watched him carefully.
"You okay there, buddy?"
"Yep," Bryce nodded. "Yeah. I'm good."
"You're lookin' a little green," Chuck told him worriedly.
"Like pea soup," Morgan commented from the first row of the gathered, mostly empty chairs.
Chuck gave Morgan a pained look. "Really? Pea soup? You're trying to make him throw up."
"A little," Morgan admitted. "I would love to see that man projectile vomit, I feel like it would be good for my heart."
"But not your karma," Chuck frowned. He turned back to Bryce. "This'll be over in less than an hour, and then…"
"And then what?" Bryce asked, looking stressed. "Everything goes back to normal? I go back to…to how things were?"
Chuck gazed at him sadly. "Not if you don't want them to."
"Ugh," Morgan groaned. "Now I'm gonna puke. Chuck, why are you consoling this douche?"
Chuck rolled his eyes. "Morgan, can you please just give us a minute?"
Morgan rolled his eyes and got to his feet. "Fine."
Chuck watched the shorter man leave and then turned back to Bryce. "Look, the last week or so, hanging out with you, seeing you be you, instead of the know-it-all die-hard spy has been so awesome."
Bryce felt himself go a little red and he scratched the back of his head. "It has been kinda great."
"Kinda?" Chuck grinned widely. "I missed you. The real you. And I don't know what it is about Jo, but she somehow pulled that guy out of Spy!Bryce, and I'm really grateful to her for it. Because I get my friend back, and you…you get your life back."
Bryce nodded slowly, thinking that over. "It's been a long time since I've been me, you know. I don't know if I'm good at it anymore."
Chuck laughed softly and hugged him briefly. "After this is all over, we'll pop Mario Kart into the Wii and we'll find out."
Bryce laughed a little and hugged him back.
"Hey," Casey snapped as he poked his head into the room. "Scram, you two. We're gonna start filling the room."
Chuck nodded and patted Bryce's shoulder. "Come on. Let's go let Morgan abuse you a little more."
Jo paced back and forth, the train of her fluffy white dress trailing behind her.
"Oh, I wouldn't bite your fingernails if I were you," Casey told her gently. "Larkin's mother's got a radar for that kinda thing."
Jo sighed and threw up her hands, still pacing.
Casey just watched.
"I know this ain't real," Jo said. "I know. So why am I so nervous?"
"Cause you fell for Larkin when I told you not to," Casey answered. "And as not-real as all this is, it looks and feels pretty real."
Jo stopped pacing and stared at him, opening her mouth to answer.
"I'm not mad, if that's what you're gonna ask," Casey said. "Just proven right. Hell, if the pretty boy spook makes you happy, and you're willing to take the risk, who am I to judge?"
Jo grinned a little and fidgeted with her hands.
"Although," Casey went on. "If Larkin hurts you, I'll put another bullet in him."
"You'd have to get in line behind me, Bobby, Sare and Dean."
Casey grunted. "I can be patient."
Jo laughed a little and took a deep breath as the music in the next room over started up. "Okay. Let's get this done."
Casey nodded and stepped up next to her, offering her his arm. "You look good, by the way. For a woman wearing a giant comforter."
"Keep talkin," Jo muttered. "I'll walk down the aisle with just your severed hand to
give me away."
Casey just chuckled.
"You don't think he's gonna burst out into the Princess Bride version of a wedding ceremony, do you?" Bryce whispered quietly as he stood next to Jo, holding her hand tightly.
His hand was clammy and moist, while hers was dry and very, very cold.
"If he does, I may shoot him," Jo muttered, squeezing his hand.
"…Today, to join Bryce Richard and Joanna Beth in the bonds of holy matrimony. If there is anyone present who has reason that these two should not wed today, speak now, or forever hold your peace."
Silence fell over the ceremony, and Jo glanced behind her at gathered crowd. It was small, mostly filled with agents, all dressed up. In the front row were Emily,
Richard, Casey and Bobby, and behind them were Dean and Miranda, and Morgan and Carina. Jo glanced to her side at Sarah, whose eyes were mostly on the rest of the room instead of Jo and Bryce.
"The rings, please," the justice said, turning to Chuck, who, in typical Chuck fashion, fumbled the rings before stepping forward with them.
Bryce grinned a little at him, and Chuck grinned back sheepishly.
He found himself repeating after the Justice of the Peace; things about sickness and health and only death parting them, which should have scared Bryce more than it actually did.
Jo repeated the same words, and was surprisingly careful with putting the ring on his finger.
"By the power vested in my by the District of Columbia, I now pronounce you-"
A gunshot rang out in the hall before the Justice could finish the sentence, and shouts followed. Jo's instincts kicked in immediately and she shoved Bryce out of the way, while grabbing the gun that was settled into the back of his trousers.
The bullet from Quinn's gun clipped her in the shoulder as she whirled back around, and she stumbled back into the Justice as she let off her own shot. She could tell from the loud yelp from the other end of the hall that she'd made contact, but she couldn't tell where she'd hit him.
"Jo!" Bryce cried, getting to his feet as Jo went down. "Jo?"
"I'm good," Jo told him, handing him the gun back.
He nodded and looked out over the dispersed agents. Some were herding the civilians out of the hall, while others were securing the building.
"We've covered every exit," Chuck said hurriedly. "But this place is so big, it's gonna take time to find him."
Bryce swallowed before turning to Chuck and Sarah. "Cover the south end of the building. Quinn wants me, so chances are he's gonna try and lure me in. Make sure my parents and my sister are safe."
"Dean and Carina have that covered," Sarah said. "They won't let anything happen to the civilians."
Bryce nodded and glanced back down at Jo.
"Go get him, Honey," she said, grinning a little as blood dripped down from the shoulder wound and onto her dress. "I'm fine."
He leaned in and kissed her quickly before dashing off back up the aisle, and out of the hall, looking around the main entrance. "Come on out, Quinn! There's nowhere to go!"
A bullet ricocheted off the marble column closest to him, and Bryce hid behind it, before peaking out, gun at the ready. He spotted Quinn on the stairs above him, gun aimed steadily.
"This can only end badly, Quinn," Bryce called. "Surrender, and maybe I'll go easy on you."
Quinn laughed then. It was an eerie, empty laugh that echoed through the building. "You think I give a damn how this ends for me, Larkin?"
Bryce stayed silent for a moment, thinking about that. "No. You don't. You don't care at all what happens to you, do you? You just want me dead, and if you wind up going with me, well, at least you've gotten your revenge."
"I might be a little guilty of that, yes," Quinn called out. "But be honest, Larkin. You didn't really think I wouldn't catch up to you, did you? That I wouldn't come after you?"
"No, I knew," Bryce said. He peaked out from behind the column and spotted Sarah coming up from behind Quinn. "I just thought you were smarter than all this."
"Smarter than what?" Quin asked. "Smarter than to let Agent Walker get the drop on me?" He hurled his elbow back, catching Sarah in the nose.
She grunted and stumbled back, firing her gun and catching Quinn in the foot.
Bryce dashed out from behind the column and up the stairs quickly, chasing after Quinn as he hobbled away. Bryce started to slow as he got to Sarah.
"What are you doing?!" She snapped, holding her nose. "I'm fine! Get him!"
He sped up again, following Quinn into the reception space.
Chuck dashed in behind him and looked around. "What is it with you and me and weddings? I swear, if someone tries to kill me at my wedding, I'm gonna lose my mind."
Bryce shushed him gently and readied his gun, stepping carefully. "Jo's okay?"
"She says she's had worse," Chuck replied quietly, pulling out his tranq gun. "And then she muttered something about needing some dental floss and a pen knife."
"I have strange taste in women," Bryce muttered.
"If it makes you feel better, she's the one dating the man addicted to Red Vines and the Secret of Mana."
"That game is quality," Bryce hissed.
"You two act like children," Quinn snapped from somewhere across the room. "Little boys playing spy."
"Better immature than insane," Bryce called. "It's two against one, Quinn. You're done for."
"You keep saying that," Quinn told him. "That I'm done for. That I should give in. You know I won't. You boys will have to kill me, and we both know how Agent Bartowski feels about that."
"The man elbowed my fiancé in the face," Chuck muttered. "If you accidentally, maybe killed him, I'm not sure how much I'd mind."
Bryce gave him a look before creeping slowly out into the open. "Cover me."
Chuck nodded and stayed behind him, tranq gun at the ready.
"There's no version of this where you come out on top," Bryce called out, scanning the room. The trees that served as the centerpiece for each table made it hard to spot Quinn, but Bryce could hear him shuffling around. The man had been shot twice, and moving was probably getting more difficult by the minute.
"Dead or alive, I'm taking you in," Bryce said, moving through the tables.
Silence filled the room for a long moment before Quinn's gun fired past Bryce, and Chuck yelped.
Bryce turned quickly. "Chuck?!"
"J-just a graze!" Chuck replied. He was on the floor, against one of the marble columns, a shaky hand to the side of his head. "I'm…I'm okay!"
Bryce turned back around when he heard Quinn's revolver click over. He glared and kept moving.
"This is cowardly even for you," Bryce called. "Show yourself."
"If you insist," Quinn chuckled, and his hand reached out from under one of the tables and grabbed Bryce' ankle. He hit the floor hard and fast with a grunt, and in no time was being held down by Quinn, a beefy hand clenching around his throat.
"There's no way I can win?" Quinn grated out. "I always win, Larkin. I will always win."
"Bryce!" Chuck cried, struggling to his feet. "Bryce!"
Bryce, for his part, squirmed for a few moments under Quinn's weight, before his eyes rolled back, and he went limp.
"No!" Chuck yelled, finally dashing over, a hand still pressing down on his grazed temple.
Quinn chuckled as he got to his feet, smiling maniacally at Chuck. "It's time to truly end this," He raised his gun. "Say your prayers, Bartowski."
Chuck glowered, and flashed, and was about to strike, but he stopped, eyes wide.
"What? Why aren't you moving?" Quinn asked. "Have you accepted your fate?"
Chuck tilted his head from one side to the other. "Not...not really. Y'know, no. But uh...I think maybe you should turn around."
"You honestly think I'm going to fall for that?" Quinn laughed. "You must think me mad."
Chuck shrugged. "Well, you are pretty crazy. But there is a very proficient spy standing behind you, ready to beat you in the head with a centerpiece. Just...FYI."
Quinn laughed again and turned around, just in time for Bryce to kick the gun from his hand and smack him in the face with the trunk end of one of the trees from the centerpieces.
Quinn grunted and stumbled, but didn't have enough time to recover before Bryce hit him three more times.
He went down hard, and Bryce sighed, dropping the tree and kicking the man in the face.
"What?" Bryce asked, "I was just making sure."
"I was only partially talking about that," Chuck said. "I was more commenting on the fact that you died and came back for like the billionth time."
"I was faking," Bryce told him, as he cuffed Quinn. "It was the only way to get him off me."
"You're like a zombie," Chuck complained. He pulled out his phone, still shaking his head. "Hi, General. We've got Quinn in the reception space. He's down, and everybody lived. Mostly."
Bryce rolled his eyes. "Shut up."
"Good work, agents," Beckman said.
Everyone had moved to the reception space, and agents had taken Quinn away. Medical staff were treating Chuck's and Jo's wounds, while Sarah held some ice from the bar up to her face, and Bryce batted away a medic who was trying to check him for injuries.
"Nicholas Quinn is in custody, ready to be moved to a secure facility."
"Forever, I hope," Chuck said, flinching a little and holding Sarah's free hand as he was stitched up.
"That's the plan," Beckman said. "The five of you showed tremendous skill pulling this off. I think you've all earned a little leave."
"That's very generous," Casey nodded. "Thank you, General."
"Please, you wouldn't last a day on leave," Bryce said.
Casey grunted menacingly.
"Ah, knock it off," Jo told them. "I been shot, I don't wanna listen to the two of you fight."
Sarah grinned a little. "Well, this gives Chuck and I a chance to start planning our real wedding."
Chuck smiled at her. "Sounds good to me."
"Speaking of," Beckman said. She took a clipboard from one of her agents and held it out to Bryce and Jo. "Your annulment paperwork. All you have to do is sign."
Neither spoke for a long moment. They both frowned a little, Bryce taking the clipboard and Jo reading over his shoulder.
"Y'know..." Bryce pondered.
Jo bit her lip. "Maybe..."
Beckman quirked an eyebrow at them. "Agents."
"I'm not really in a hurry to get divorced," Bryce said, turning to Jo. "I mean I know we just sorta started this...thing. But what do you say?"
"You're just tryin'a stay married for my fried chicken," Jo teased him.
He grinned. "Among other things."
She sighed. "Why the hell not? Horse before the carriage."
"I am not a horse," Bryce told her. "I don't even look like a horse."
Beckman rolled her eyes and took the paperwork back. "I'll keep this handy, just in case."
"You'll have to give those rings back," Casey told them. "Those things were payed for with taxpayer dollars."
"They're kinda ugly anyways," Bryce replied, slipping his off and handing it over to Casey as Jo did the same.
"When do we gotta be outta the rowhouse?" she asked Beckman.
"Considering, we're putting you all on leave, I'm sure we can work something out for you to stay there," Beckman told her. "For now."
"Or we could get a hotel room for our wedding night," Bryce grinned at her.
"Ugh," Casey and Sarah both said, obviously disgusted.
Jo laughed and shoved at Bryce's face playfully.
"I cannot believe you're just going to stay married," Emily groused as Richard watched the driver load their bags into the trunk of the town car they'd hired to take them to the train station. "We didn't even get to have the reception!"
"No, but the ceremony was very nice," Bryce said.
"The bride was shot," Richard pointed out.
Bryce nodded. "Up to that point, the ceremony was very nice."
"At least let me throw you a party or some sort of shower," Emily said.
"Nah, we're good," Bryce grinned. He kissed her cheek. "Call me when you get in, okay? Thanks for everything."
Emily sighed heavily. "Yes, well…it was nice to see you."
Lorelai wrapped an arm around him then and kissed his cheek. "Take care newlywed."
Bryce laughed a little. "I can't believe I'm doing this."
"I can," Lorelai said. "It's something I would do."
He rolled his eyes and wrapped his arms around her. "Take care, okay?"
"You too, Kiddo," Lorelai said, hugging him back. "Don't be too much of a stranger, huh? Call. Write. Send pastry."
A little ways down the street, Sarah, Chuck and Jo were watching Dean and Miranda load up the Impala, while Bobby threw his bag into the bed of his pick-up.
"Drive safe," Sarah told them, as she hugged Dean. "Are you guys going straight home?"
"We may stop off somewhere on the way," Miranda said, grinning shyly at Dean as she hugged Chuck goodbye.
He patted her back. "Have a good roadtrip."
Jo waved at them with her good arm, the arm of the shoulder she'd been shot in would be in a sling for a while.
Dean walked over and kissed her forehead. "I think you're nuts for stayin married to the pretty boy, by the way."
"Well, I never claimed sanity," Jo told him with a grin. "Take care, okay?"
He nodded. "You, too. Don't get shot again, huh?"
"Yeah, yeah," Jo smirked.
Bobby hugged Sarah tightly. "Lemme know when the wedding is, huh?"
Sarah nodded as she hugged him back. "Promise." She grinned at him. "Think you'll ever make it to New York for a visit?"
"Never know," Bobby told her. "Better'n California, that's for sure." He turned to Jo and hugged her carefully. "I'm with Dean. No more getting' shot."
"Okay," Jo said, hugging him with her good arm. "I'll do my best."
"Uh-huh," Bobby replied sardonically. "And keep an eye on that boy of yours."
"You mean my new husband?" Jo asked, quirking an eyebrow. "Got it covered."
"I bet you do," Dean teased.
"And on that note," Miranda said, tugging on Dean's arm gently. "We should hit the road, yeah?"
"Later, sisters!" Dean said as he hopped into the driver's seat. "And Chuck and Bobby."
Miranda waved and grinned. "Bye."
Bobby waved back, and watched Miranda get into the Impala before Dean turned the engine and they drove off. He turned to Chuck, Sarah and Jo. "My turn to get goin. Take care, huh?"
Jo and Sarah both nodded and Chuck waved to him.
"Safe travels, Bobby."
They watched him climb into his truck and drive off, before Sarah turned to Jo.
"We're gonna head back to the hotel," she said, rubbing Jo's good arm. "We're due back in New York tomorrow morning."
Jo nodded. "It was real good seein' you, Sare," Jo said. "We should make this a regular thing."
Sarah smirked. "Well, I am getting married sometime within the next year and a half."
"Sooner," Chuck stage-whispered, earning him quirked eyebrow from his fiance.
Sarah huffed and shook her head before taking his hand. "I'll call you when we're back in New York."
Jo nodded and waved to them as they walked down the street together. She glanced behind her as Bryce stepped up.
"Looks like it's just us now," he said.
She nodded and wrapped her fingers around his as they walked back toward the rowhouse. "What do you wanna do today?"
Bryce shrugged. "You like video games?"
"Ain't ever played."
"What?!" he cried, stopping and staring at her.
Jo blinked at him.
"I want a divorce," Bryce told her earnestly.
They stared at each other for a long moment, before she snorted and laughed.
"Okay," Bryce said. "Okay, okay. Here's the deal. I'm gonna hit the CVS on the circle, grab Red Vines and a metric ton of Mountain Dew, and then I'll be back and I'll set you up with a new game of Arkham City."
He grinned and pecked her lips. "You'll see."
"Don't you bring back that much Mountain Dew," she told him as she watched him head down the street. "You'll never get any sleep."
"Which wouldn't be such a bad thing, all things considered," he grinned. "I intend to keep you up all night anyways."
Jo rolled her eyes and shook her head. "Get your damn candy, Larkin."
"Sure thing, Mrs. Larkin," he teased her. "Favorite candy?"
"I don't like candy," she told him. "I like rainbow sherbet."
Bryce smiled. "You got it."
He dashed off and Jo had to smile to herself before heading back into the rowhouse.