The Trapped Assassin
Author's Note: Thanks for the reviews and support, everyone. Hope you're all well and doing okay.
Disclaimer: I don't own CHUCK. I don't make money writing CHUCK fan fiction.
The beach she'd found wasn't nearly as crowded as she'd expected it to be in the late afternoon, but she decided to just not look a gift horse in the mouth and enjoy the solitude, the sun setting off to her right.
Anyway, it was best that there were less people around her for this, considering how sure she was that someone had followed her for at least the last half mile of her slow stroll to search for the perfect spot to get some late sun on the beach.
All she had to do was wait for them to make their move.
She wasn't out of the woods by any means, and she was frustrated with herself that she had to keep reminding herself of the fact. But she took her knives with her this time, one of them slipped inside of her bikini bottoms, another in her bag, and yet another tucked into the heel of her straw pump sandals she'd kicked off and set at her left hip, within reach.
The former Agent Sarah Walker, ex-CIA assassin, was prepared to use any of the three throwing knives she had to protect herself from whoever had been following her. Sure, she was a mess of confusion right now, unsure of what her future would look like, but she still wanted there to be a future.
She could hear the soft footfalls in the sand behind her and her fingers inched closer to the sandal with the knife.
"You don't need to use any of the 15 or so knives you've got hidden in that bikini of yours, sweetheart, I'm on your side." Sarah froze, staring straight ahead. "Yep! That means the one you stashed in that cute sandal, too."
Sarah didn't move as two feminine feet stepped up next to her towel. "What do you want? I'm out of the game now. Why can't you people just leave me alone?"
There was silence for a moment. And then: "Mind if I sit?"
"Yeah, I do."
"Well, I'm gonna sit anyway." The other woman plopped down in the sand next to Sarah and squinted out at the water. Sarah scoped her out of the corner of her eye. The woman had dark hair, was maybe in her early 30s, and was very pretty. "Out of the game, you said."
Sarah stayed silent. And then she said, "I have nothing to say to you, or anybody else."
"Not a big deal, Ice Queen, I just asked a simple question. Doesn't matter anyway. I was sent here to tell you there's a target on your back."
"Sent here by whom?" Sarah asked, disguising a shiver by shifting her feet in the sand she'd buried them in as she sat watching the waves and waiting.
"And he couldn't just call me on my encrypted phone?" She realized belatedly that no, he couldn't. She'd destroyed that phone, hadn't she? Woops.
"Nope. This is a lot bigger than just a phone call. He sent me to tell you, and also to watch your back."
Sarah eyed her dubiously and took her in, head to toe. She was pretty, with brown hair that had natural honey-colored streaks in it, tan skin, hazel eyes, and even sitting down with her legs bent in front of her, knees sticking up, Sarah could tell she was probably right around her height. The CIA really had a type.
"Okay, so what's this target?" Sarah asked.
"The one on you?"
"Yeah. That one." She was getting impatient with this whole act pretty quickly. "Can we just cut the crap? What's going on?"
The woman widened her eyes, looking amused, and Sarah wanted to smack the look off of her face. "Okay, okay. Yeesh. There's a terrorist organization that's starting to get a foothold in the U.S. and they've got arms in Europe, too. Interpol and the CIA have been working hand in hand to take 'em out, but so far no dice. Seems you pissed these guys off quite a bit when you killed one of their pets 6 months ago, some guy by the name of Laurent in Copenhagen. We think there's a mole in the CIA who found out it was you and told them."
Sarah remembered Laurent. She remembered the look in his eyes when he realized she hadn't come up to his suite for sex after all. And she remembered the sting of his knife slicing across her upper arm. That had needed stitches. And she still had a very light mark on her arm, a scar, from that wound.
"They have an assassin too."
She swallowed hard and shook her head. "Lemme guess. They put a hit on me. And you're here to warn me."
"Ever hear of the Scarlet Eye?"
Sarah shook her head. "No."
"The Ring's version of the Ice Queen. Nobody knows who he is or where he came from, if he's an operative from some intelligence agency gone rogue or has never been inside the system. But he's good. And he's trying to kill you." A corner of the woman's mouth went up. "Graham sent me to tell you this. And also to tell you I'm here, in Nice, prepared to do what I have to do to protect Director Langston Graham's little pet." She sniffed sarcastically then. "Had no idea you were trying to get out of the game, though. That's ironic. Just as you're trying to rid yourself of the stain of this profession of yours, you have one of the best assassins in the world after your head."
"You don't know shit about me or what I aim to do. And I don't need your protection."
"You're gonna. Trust me. I've read the Scarlet Eye's dossier. I've been after him for a few years now. That's why they sent me in particular, Ice Queen. I know the Scarlet Eye front to back, top to bottom. You're gonna need me. Trust me."
"I slipped a burner into your bag earlier when I was tailing you." Shit. Had she? SHIT. "My number is the only one in there. Name's Shaw. Agent Evelyn Shaw. I guess I'll just call you Ice Queen, huh?"
She'd never heard the name Shaw.
"Sarah. For now."
"Well, Sarah For Now. You need me, you know what to do."
The woman was gone just as quickly as she'd come. And Sarah was stuck with a sense of dread in her chest. She couldn't escape this ever, could she? She'd done too much. She had too many loose ends. And even if this Scarlet Eye had no idea who the Ice Queen was or what she looked like, he'd find out eventually if he was as good as Agent Shaw had just told her he was.
She knew he would. Because she had her own ways of finding people who existed in the shadows. She'd killed enough of them.
Sarah reached into her bag and searched for the burner, feeling the bulky phone in her fingers and pulling it out. She turned it on and went into the contacts. There was only one. An ES.
Having half a mind to contact Graham herself to chew him out, she decided not to do that. She didn't want to give him her new phone number, reopening that line of communication. If she had to call him for an emergency, she could. She had that number to his phone memorized by now.
Instead, she just pulled that phone out and turned it off.
Right now, she didn't want anyone contacting her. Not a single soul.
Someone was after her. Someone extremely dangerous. Someone dangerous enough that Graham was prompted by fear for his wildcard enforcer's safety, even after she'd quit the CIA, and had sent someone to warn her and have her back.
Director Langston Graham didn't do things like that.
The fact that he had in this case frightened her more than anything.
It was hours later, after she'd buried herself in her bed and just waited—for what, she didn't quite know—that there was a knock on her suite door. She pushed the sheets off from where she'd draped them over her head and slipped her hand under her pillow, grabbing the gun she'd put there just in case.
The knock sounded again and she calmed her heart rate, taking a deep breath, preparing herself. No matter what happened, she was still a trained agent, an assassin. She would keep a level head and she would do whatever she had to if it meant staying alive.
Sarah crept silently through the dark main room of the suite and flattened herself against the wall beside the door.
She heard feet shuffle against the floor in the hallway, and then one more knock sounded.
She shut her eyes and melted back against the wall. Relief and comfort spilled through her all at once, realizing it was Chuck standing out in the hallway. Not Agent Shaw, not the Scarlet Eye, or anyone else. Chuck Bartowski, a man who owned a video game company. A man who made her feel things she'd never even imagined she would feel ever in her life. A man who touched her like she'd never let anyone touch her before.
But she resisted the intense urge to rip open the door and let him in, tangle herself in his embrace, and forget the conversation on the beach, just for a little bit.
Because she was a marked woman. Officially. Someone was literally looking for her to kill her.
He was a good man, an innocent man, and she wasn't letting him anywhere near this. She couldn't.
It wasn't fair to him. If anything happened to Chuck because of all of this… God, she didn't even know what.
She couldn't let it happen.
So she stayed there with her eyes shut tight, her heart racing, fingers and toes tingling. She just wanted him so bad. But she had to listen to him finally walk away. When his footsteps faded, she rushed to her phone and turned it back on.
There was a text from him there: "Hi! Just wondering if you want to hang out tonight at all. Maybe share drinks on one of our balconies? E/D are out on the town, the crazy kids."
She wasn't sure she'd ever wanted anything so bad as she wanted to show up at his door, order those drinks, and cuddle on one of the lounge chairs on his balcony to stare at the moon and the stars.
But she didn't respond. And he didn't text again.
She just went back into her bed and tried unsuccessfully to find a full night's sleep.
When she got out of bed again twelve hours later, there was another message on her phone from him.
"I have an amazing story I need to tell you! I was walking down the beach in the moonlight and heard a strange sound coming from behind some rocks. And I was worried it was a beached animal or something but when I checked it was just people having sex!" Sarah laughed outright when she read it, shaking her head. She could only imagine Chuck had freaked out and been so awkward about it, backing away, shielding his eyes. Like a character from a cartoon.
Her fingers were poised over the buttons to respond, but she didn't, frowning hard. God, she'd been a spy for over a decade. She had more willpower than this. She knew it. So why was it so hard? Couldn't she at least respond to him? So he knew she was okay? That she wasn't gone?
If she could just figure out what the deal was with this Scarlet Eye character… And maybe if she could find out who these Ring terrorists were…
Then she could go back to things with Chuck, just like normal. Well, normalish. Nothing about her relationship with Chuck was normal.
She had to get rid of the Scarlet Eye. And once the target was off her back, she would show up at his door again. She could make something up about a last minute trip she'd had to take for work. And if he asked why she hadn't told him, she'd say something about bad reception. Or her new phone was faulty.
He was a tech genius though. He would see through that the second he got his hands on her phone for himself.
That was something she could tackle later anyway.
For now, she put her phone down and sighed hard. This was hurting. She didn't want to avoid Chuck.
She didn't want him to think she was avoiding him either.
But more than that, she didn't want him to be killed because someone who was going after her saw how much time she was spending with him and realized he was the perfect way to get to her.
And all because he'd met and connected with a woman he thought was an interpreter while he was on a much-needed vacation in Nice.
She had decisions to make, here.
One thing she knew for sure was that she wasn't running. Fuck that. She wouldn't be going on the run anytime soon. Not even because a professional assassin was looking for her. She had the name Sarah Walker and she was going to cling to it with her life. And not just because it was the name connected to Chuck. If she severed her connection to the name, she'd sever her connection to him, too, she knew. And she wasn't doing that. But there was a person here now. A real live person. She was a human being as Sarah Walker, someone who existed on this earth, out in the sunlight and not just in the shadows.
Sarah Walker was the most real she'd ever felt in her life.
She wasn't letting anything take this name and this existence away from her. It had grown to be so much more than a name. It was her tether to the world and the people on it, this community of humans who also lived on this planet.
She'd take the assassin down first.
It was a Saturday, almost 40 hours after the last time she'd been with Chuck, seen his face, and the texts had started to taper off from him. The more time there was between texts, the more stressed she got that he'd be pushed enough by this that he'd stop caring to try, and the relationship would end.
But her training had kept her in check. All she'd done was peek at each text, trying to get past the agony of not responding, wondering what was going through his mind.
There'd been the text last night where he'd asked if she'd like to eat dinner with him. The text earlier that day: "I accidentally bought too many strawberries from this sweet old lady at the market because we connected spiritually. Want some?"
And finally, just about an hour ago, he'd texted something that had made her want to just crawl under the bed and curl up to die. "Hey, are you okay? Is everything okay? Did I do anything? Just text me so I know you're okay that's all."
But she'd also gotten a text from "ES" on her burner yesterday. She'd said that the orders were to lie low until further notice. She wondered when in the hell she'd get some freaking notice.
Sarah was tired of laying low. She was tired of huddling in bed, staring at the ceiling, just barely keeping herself from slipping into a depression over needing to avoid the man she'd seen nearly every day now for the last 19 days.
And as she sat on her balcony, watching the waves and the surfers riding them in the distance, Sarah made a decision.
Because she had been Agent Sarah Walker, assassin with the CIA, Graham's wildcard enforcer, the Ice Queen. She didn't wait around for anyone or anything. She took a mission by the horns.
If that fucker was looking for her, she'd look for him too, and then when she found him, she'd kill him first.
Standing up, she went back into her suite and slid the door shut, locking it. She still had her arsenal of weapons she'd brought to Nice. And she had Agent Shaw, too. The woman hadn't exactly proven herself to be trustworthy, but how would she have been able to find her if she wasn't a CIA agent, if Graham hadn't specifically sent her to the "Ice Queen's" location?
She needed to make use of the tools she had at her disposal.
Grabbing the burner, she called the number the other agent had put into it and waiting as it rang.
"Well, well, well… she's acknowledged my existence."
Sarah ignored the sarcasm. "Is there any update on the situation? I haven't heard anything from Director Graham."
"Nothing on my end."
"Good. Then I'm doing this myself."
There was a long pause. "You're doing it yourself?"
"Yes. I'm doing it myself. I wasn't made for this sitting around and waiting for someone to bump me off shit. I'm going to find the Scarlet Eye and I'm going to remove him off of this planet." She took a deep breath.
"Whoa. Well. Okay then. I like the way you think."
"I'm going to need your help, Agent Shaw."
There was a long pause yet again, and then she said, "I thought you'd never ask."
She spent an hour at a small café with Agent Evelyn Shaw, going over the plan. She decided it'd be smart to drive there, but Shaw convinced her to put the brakes on leaving today, or even tonight, because they had to at least try to figure out where in Saint-Raphaël this Scarlet Eye might be. They couldn't just burst into the coastal town blindly and then feel around for him.
That was the easiest way to allow for him to get the jump on them.
He'd have the upper hand.
Sarah agreed, and didn't make plans to book a room, either.
Shaw agreed to do some of her own research, and as she was still an agent where Sarah technically was not, she'd take the brunt of contacting informants to ask around. She told her she'd keep her informed and they split up in different directions.
Where the other woman was staying, Sarah didn't know. And she supposed it didn't matter either.
It was almost a half hour later when she finally stepped out of the hotel elevator, having snuck through the back, past the bar, and slipped in unnoticed, doing her best not to see any Bartowskis or "Captain Awesome".
She rushed her steps as she walked down the hallway, and then she turned into the hallway where her room was and stopped dead in her tracks.
Chuck was walking towards her, having obviously just knocked on her door again. And the confused, furrowed brow she saw on his face wrecked her insides, as quickly as it had been swept away by a look of surprise and relief when he saw her.
God, this was exactly what she didn't want happening. Because now that he was standing here in front of her, in person, she wasn't sure she could push him away. In fact, she knew she couldn't.
She didn't want to.
If she did, that could be the end of this. And that was the last thing she wanted.
"Hi," she said, not sure if she should pretend everything was okay or what. How did she even explain the silent treatment?
"I haven't seen you for a couple of days," he said, closing the distance. "I wasn't sure if…I don't know, if something happened. Are you okay?"
"Yeah! Yeah, I'm fine."
He bit his lip and frowned a little. "Good. I just, uh, I tried to call and text and, um, I knocked on your door, and I guess I didn't get anything back from you so I sort of started to worry about you."
Sarah took in a long breath. "Yeah, I'm…really sorry." She couldn't use the phone excuse. Or any other excuse for that matter. So she just stepped around him and took his hand, pulling him back down the hallway towards her room.
"What's going on, Sarah? I mean, I've only known you for a couple of weeks, but not even a text…? I don't need you to respond to everything, you know, and I get it if I maybe have been suffocating you a bit. I'm sorry if I—"
"No." She turned to face him when they reached her door, taking him by his arms and looking up into his eyes. "That's not what this is. You aren't suffocating me, Chuck. I like being around you. Look, things are rough with…work." She guessed she'd try this again.
She unlocked her door and walked in, holding the door for him to come in with her.
"Oh. I get that. But…"
"Chuck, I know. I should've responded to you. It was shitty that I didn't. And I apologize. I'm just not really…" Sane? Normal? Able to exist in regular society?
"What? It's okay. Whatever it is, just say it."
Sarah wondered what was going through his head. "You didn't do anything wrong. That's the first thing. I was thoughtless and unfair, not at least texting you back. I'm sorry. I kind of just went off the radar a bit because my…boss has this thing I need to do and I was trying to decide if I should do it or not and I was worried about other things maybe influencing that. You were one of them. I'm bad at this. And I know, I know, I can't keep using that excuse. But it's true."
He was frowning. He pursed his lips and nodded, leaning back against her door. "I guess I get that. I mean, as long as you weren't avoiding me because I…did something to scare you or… Maybe I said something. Did I say something?"
"No, you didn't. And maybe I am a little scared, if I'm being honest, but I haven't been scared away." She sighed and shook her head. "I was avoiding you. I would've told you before I left, but then you were here already so I guess I'm telling you now." She had no other choice now that he'd found her in the hallway.
"Left? What do you mean? Are…you leaving?"
"Yeah." She nodded. "Yeah, I'm leaving Nice." When he looked stricken, she realized what he assumed and she didn't blame him. She rushed to explain. "Just for a few days. Through the beginning of the week. My, um, job. They're sending me to another coastal town about an hour's drive from here. They need an interpretor who knows Greek." Why was she getting so detailed with the lie?
God, she felt like a horrific human being ten times over.
"Oh." He let out a breath. "Shit. I thought you meant you were, like, leaving leaving and I'm…Um… Maybe it'd be best if I not…say that." She raised an eyebrow at him. "Instead I'll say this. And I hope that you aren't offended. If you want me to shut my trap because it's not my business, just say so." She raised her eyebrow even more. "It's just that I remember talking to you about your job, and how you feel like they take advantage of you. They expect the world of you and you don't get much in return…"
Sarah blinked at him, unable to come up with a response.
"And now they're interrupting a much-needed vacation you're trying to enjoy to make you work some more. It just feels like they're taking advantage of you again."
She looked down at her feet, not sure how to feel, except that he'd just called her out. Or at least, he'd called out her superiors. "Chuck, it…" She shrugged.
"I'm just telling you how it looks to me. I'm not telling you not to go. Even if I'll be kinda bummed…shuffling around Nice without you here for another couple of days." Her insides melted. "But you deserve a vacation without interruption. I mean, don't they have someone else they can send?"
"No, Chuck. That's the point. They don't."
"So you're the only person in the South of France who knows Greek? Come on."
"They can't just pull someone in off the street who knows Greek, Chuck, this isn't a movie. There's a…process." She had no idea if that was even true. "This is a professional situation that requires a professional translation."
"Well, come on. What's the worst that's gonna happen? Is it gonna start World War III if the translation isn't perfect?" She gave him a look and he winced. "Sorry, I'm not trying to trivialize your work. I take that back. I just don't like seeing you taken advantage of, used, like they just expect you to jump up when they snap their fingers."
"I can take care of myself, Chuck. I'm a big girl. I've been doing this job for years now. And I think I can judge whether or not I should take a job."
"Of course you can take care of yourself! That isn't what I'm saying!"
"I just care about you and I hate—" He let out a huff, pushing his hand through his curls. "Sarah, you're-you're being hurt by these people. I know you are. I might not know you super well, but I felt it and I saw it. You were hurting, especially the other day when that old coworker of yours called you. It affects you. The way you're treated by them affects you. And I know you can take care of yourself. Of course you can. I'm just…" He held up his hands, not seeming to know how to continue.
"If you know I can take care of myself, what is this? Look, it's my job. This is my job. I don't have any other job, Chuck. And I don't know what the future is gonna look like as far as my career, but I need to go. I need to be there." She needed to take out Scarlet Eye so that she could live in peace. Away from the CIA.
"All right, fine. That's your decision. I'm just telling you how I see it, that's all."
"Great! You told me! Can we drop it so that I can pack now?"
"Yeah, sure! Jesus! Excuse me for caring, I guess."
She felt something snap in her then, the nerves and frustration of the last few days bubbling up, and she raised her voice. "Why does it even matter that much to you?"
"Because I care about you! I care about whether or not you're happy! I care about how people treat you! It bothers me that you're being treated badly by your employers, and it bothers me that it hurts you! And yeah, I'm protective, even if I know that you can and do take care of yourself! Sarah, I'm protective because I'm crazy about you!"
The air between them crackled with tension, electricity. Her fingers tingled. There was a buzzing in her belly.
They stepped in together and she grabbed his face, kissing him hotly.
Somehow, they made it to the bedroom, but not before slamming into the end table and knocking a few things to the floor. She also knew she'd have a few bruises later.
She didn't care.
She bit his lip at least once on the way to the bed, but she also managed to get his pants undone and a hand buried down the front.
Feeling him under her hand, she pushed her tongue into his mouth and whimpered, swallowing his own whimper as she dug under his boxers and wrapped her fingers around his length.
He cursed. "You—"
Something flashed in his eyes and just like that, she was on her back on the bed, and Chuck was laying on top of her, his hands pushing her dress up and out of his way. She bit his lip again, pulling it away before letting it snap back and he groaned, thrusting himself down into her.
She gasped, throwing her head back.
Somehow, in the midst of the desperate clawing, the heated kisses, Sarah managed to get his jeans and boxers out of the way, and she held him in her hand, pumping him in her fist as his body tensed over hers and he whimpered her name.
They worked together to get her panties off. She threw them somewhere and then pulled him down, directing him into her center.
Pulling her left leg up around his waist, he held onto her thigh and buried himself inside of her.
They both cried out, and Sarah melted into the mattress beneath her, her mouth opened wide, shivering. It had been days since she'd felt this and she wondered how that somehow made it feel all the better to have him in her again.
Neither of them paused for a moment, the need and desperation taking over. She felt it from him, just as she felt it raging in her. And as he began to thrust inside of her, his hips powerful, his strokes hard and slow, Sarah reached up to brace her hand on the headboard and started to grind herself up into him, digging the heel that wasn't around his waist into the bed.
She realized distantly that she hadn't unstrapped the actual heels she had on and there was a chance she might tear the bedspread, but she didn't care. Let it tear. She'd pay for it later.
Sarah Walker drowned in the man on top of her, dragging her lips down his jaw and moaning in his ear, feeling him shiver above her. She slipped her free hand down from where her fingers were digging into his hip and cupped his ass, squeezing hard. She shifted her hand just enough to make her mark with her nails and his body shook above hers as he gasped out her name.
He cursed and sped up his thrusts, making her cry out and arch her back.
But then she felt the warm pads of his fingers stroke down under her dress that had fallen to cover her hips again, grappling to find her skin, and then he found more than that, both fingers sliding over her clitoris and immediately churning it in circles.
"Oh!" she exclaimed, breathless as she craned her neck to look down her body. Oh, this was going to go fast. She could feel it building rapidly. She was almost there. She let him know, her voice high-pitched and dripping with lust.
And then she came, her body shaking beneath his, and he slowed his thrusts, slowed what his fingers were doing to her.
Sarah took a few rough breaths, wrapping her arms around him and just clinging.
But she wasn't done yet.
So when she got her bearings, the heady sensation of desire and need coursing through her like a drug, she grabbed his shirt and yanked at it, losing control as she tried to paw it off of him.
She was distantly aware of a quiet ripping sound as she finally got it up and over his head, Chuck lifting his arms to allow for her to pull it off.
It was gone, leaving his torso bare for her to devour. And she did devour it, licking and sucking on his collarbone, letting her nails graze over his nipples. She felt the goosebumps on him and she did it again, making him whimper. "Keep going," she breathed. "Please…"
He buried his face in her neck and kept going, just as she asked, breathing her name against her jaw. Something inside of her had snapped, adrenaline, desperation, and outright lust battling deep in her belly.
She didn't know why the snap happened, what triggered this wildness in her, but she couldn't get enough of Chuck. Maybe it was the heat in his handsome face, in his voice, his eyes when he'd raised his voice at her. The way he'd nearly yelled that he was crazy about her.
Or maybe it was this feeling that even though she could and did take care of herself, there was someone who wanted to take care of her, who gave enough of a crap about her that he'd challenged her on doing yet another favor for an employer that, for all he knew, continued to take advantage of her and hurt her.
Maybe it was something a lot more simplistic and primal.
This man had just shown a heady combination of both strength and protectiveness, and it was over her. Just her. And there was nothing macho or toxic about it. But it was the hottest thing ever.
Their bodies rocked together on the bed and she wanted more still, needing him to feel more, wanting Chuck Bartowski more than she'd ever wanted anyone or anything ever in her life.
The look on his face when he said he was crazy about her, the way he'd said it through a clenched jaw, had set her on fire. And she could still feel the fire raging from the spot where he'd entered her.
Sarah gasped out a curse into his ear, and then she unconsciously grabbed onto his curls and tugged his head back.
She took advantage of his distraction, the way his hips stilled, frozen for just long enough for her to shove her weight to the side.
Chuck grunted as he ended up on his back, and she saw the look in his eyes, like he was going to take the control back. She grabbed him by both wrists and pinned them to the mattress instead, rendering him vulnerable and trapped beneath her.
Sarah began to ride him hard, throwing her head back, letting the sensations spill through her, the fire spreading.
"Hnnng! Yes!" she yelped, slamming her hips down, her body tense with effort.
Her dress had since fallen down around them, getting caught between their bodies, but she didn't pause to fix it or pull it out of the way, instead letting the material add to the sensations as she ground herself down against it.
Chuck cried out her name, complete awe in his face as he gaped up at her. And then he hit her with a bit of a dose of her own medicine, giving a hard thrust up into her. It surprised her, threw her off her game, and he was able to break her hold on his wrists. But instead of flipping her onto her back like she'd expected, he grabbed her dress and tugged it up her body. She raised her arms over her head and let him pull it off completely. She didn't see or care where it ended up as slid his hands over her thighs and squeezed.
He held on tight, and then he bounced himself up into her, bracing his feet and bending his knees. Sarah moaned, holding onto him by his elbows and just letting him pleasure her, the ecstasy getting the best of her as she cursed again.
"Oh, Sarah!" he breathed. "Sarah!"
Sarah hunched forward as he kept going, and as he sped up, his hips thumping up against her even harder, she felt herself spill over the edge again. "Chuck!"
He sat up quickly and wrapped her up in his embrace, burying his face in her neck, and then he slid one hand down to cup her ass cheek.
Even as her climax coursed through her, Sarah started to bounce herself, bracing her knees on the mattress. Their bodies gyrating, bouncing, Sarah wondered how it was possible that the more she gave him, the more he gave her back, the more desperate she became to just feel…more.
She reached back and twisted her fist in his pants that were still bunched at his thighs, and with her other hand, she held onto his shoulder. Their eyes met as she tilted her torso back, holding on and jerking her hips fast.
Chuck groaned as yet another orgasm spilled through her, and she swung her hips this time, her thighs aching with the effort. "Oh God yeah!" she whimpered.
And then he grabbed onto her by her sides, just under her breasts, his eyebrows furrowed in pleasure, and he tugged her in against him, giving her an open-mouthed kiss against her jaw.
She had to let go of his pants and she slapped her hands down against his biceps, before sliding her arms around his shoulders and hugging him tight. She opened her mouth against his curls and cried out his name, and she let him take control again.
He rocked himself up into her, and then his lips were at her ear, panting, "I'm almost there, baby…I'm almost there…"
She met his powerful strokes as best she could, just clinging, and then pressed her own lips to his ear.
The desperation, the lust, the delicious warmth at her center, and the events of the last few days crashed over her all at once, the tingle of nerves knowing someone was after her, knowing she had a target on her back, and the entirely unfamiliar need to feel safe and protected…
"Hold me," she whimpered desperately. "Please, hold me…"
He held onto her tighter. "I've got you…" he panted back.
"Oh God! I'm-I'm crazy about you!"
She felt him release inside of her, and she finished with him, crying out his name, her body shaking against his.
Chuck shivered in her embrace, breathing hard, his rough breaths against her hair coming out in whimpers.
And then he fell back, taking her with him as she squealed and giggled breathlessly, just hugging him like her life depended on it. They were all twisted up, almost a little uncomfortably, her muscles in her legs aching. But she didn't budge. She stayed there with him inside of her still.
Because she knew what she'd just said. In no way did it reflect the unfathomable depths of the feelings she'd developed for Chuck Bartowski, but she'd still said she was crazy about him, which was a tamer version, wasn't it?
She panted, turning her face into his shoulder, tightening her arms around him, burying herself in him.
The following moments were less intense, but more awkward, as they finally untangled themselves and ended up sitting side by side on the end of her bed, their clothes fixed back in place again, looking like they'd both been through a storm, their hair and clothing a mess, skin flushed.
Sarah took a deep breath, and then another, before she turned to give him a bit of a shy side look. "I—Um, that…happened."
"Yeah." Chuck nodded vigorously. He cleared his throat, running his hand down his shirt as if to straighten it. Somehow it made the shirt even more crooked on his torso. "I'm sorry," he rushed then, filling the tense silence. "I'm really sorry. I totally pushed myself in where I don't belong. It's not my business. I seriously overstepped, Sarah, and I'm sorry."
She was still kind of caught up in the fact that they'd just had…what was it? It wasn't exactly anger sex, was it? Disagreement sex? They'd clashed, tempers had flared, and then they'd slammed together like somebody had told them the world would end in an hour.
She'd never had sex like that before. And frankly, this guy wasn't exactly the type of guy she'd ever expect to have that kind of sex with.
Sarah shook herself a little. "S—Oh. Um… no, I mean…you're right. Everything you said is right. Whether it was your place to say it or not, you're right. But…I still have to go. I just… I can't not do this."
Her life depended on it. But he couldn't know that.
Chuck turned to look at her closely, and then he pressed his mouth into a thin hard line and nodded. "I get you. I get that you have to go. How many days will you be gone?"
"It should only take the weekend, probably. Into Monday. Won't be back any later than Tuesday, hopefully."
She just needed to get this freaking done. And then she could figure out this mess. This "I'm crazy about you" mess.
"Where you going?" he asked then. When she gave him a look, he held his hands up. "Sorry," he said with a wince. "Stop asking questions. I'm butting in where it's not my business again. Sorry."
Sarah sighed and shook her head. "No, it's okay." She reached up and tried to fix an errant curl. "I've never had anyone care enough to ask…questions. So… I-I'm sorry I snapped at you."
"I kinda deserved it."
"Yeah, I did. This is your job. You take it seriously. I shouldn't be telling you what to do, not to go and do your job, trivializing how important it is. What you do is crazy important. I deserved to get dressed down for crossing a line. Who even am I? We barely just met, like, 2 weeks ago. I had no right to say that stuff."
She sighed. He had no idea what the truth was and he was beating himself up over something that wasn't even real. She felt like such an asshole.
"Nothin' special…" he muttered.
"What?" She turned to face him.
"I mean that I'm not…like, family or a close friend or anything. I'm not special to your life, or…"
Sarah couldn't help it. She leaned in to cup his face and kissed him softly. Warmly.
When she pulled back, she smiled at him, the warmth lingering. "If you don't think you're special to me, to my life, you've definitely missed a few things."
The dreamy smile that crossed his face made her giggle.
She laid back against the bed and pushed her hands through her hair, looking up at the ceiling. "When I get back from Saint-Raphaël, I'll let you know."
"Is that where your job is? In Saint-Raphaël?"
"Uh…yeah, it, um…it is." She lay there frozen, not sure what was coming next.
If the last 20 minutes alone had proven anything, it was that Chuck was really good at surprising her. And she couldn't help being a little smug. Just a little. Until she realized the current situation.
"I've always wanted to go there," he said, his voice sounding a little distant, almost reminiscent. "I had this professor in college, it was Renaissance History or something like that." She angled her head to watch him, taking him in from below and behind as he turned his face a little to talk back over his shoulder at her. "I'll always remember this because it was the best fucking story I've ever heard in my life. He was in France studying abroad. And there was another student from another American college who went to the same program. After a few weeks of spending all this time together, they were in Saint-Raphaël for a day trip or something like that. There's some sort of mountain peak there, it's like steeped in history or something. They went up to the top. And he like really liked this girl a lot. He'd been learning French. He got to the top of the mountain peak with her and basically professed his love to her in French. I'm probably gonna totally just ruin this part of the story. The gist of it is that the program ended and they split up to go back to their colleges. But he thought about her, like, every day."
Sarah smiled a bit wistfully at that. "That's beautiful. A little sad though."
"Right, but…See, and this is why I say I ruined the story by not telling it well." He pulled one leg up onto the bed so that he could swivel and face her a little better, looking down at her. "Because years later, she found him and contacted him. And they met up in Saint-Raphaël again. When they were in their 30s or something. And they ended up getting married."
"No way," she said. "That didn't really happen…"
"It did! She was his wife when he was my professor. He had pictures and everything. There was a picture of them when they were, what, like 21 or whatever age? And then pictures of them in their 30s when they met on that peak again. It's super romantic. It's put Saint-Raphaël in my head, and I just always thought maybe I'd go there someday. His pictures made it seem magical, you know?"
Sarah giggled quietly. He was adorable. She couldn't stand it, and yet at the same time, she didn't want to be away from it…even for a few days. It had been hard enough the last 50 or so hours since she had seen him. She felt terrible for avoiding him, but she'd just been scared, and she still was. She couldn't even think about what she'd do if he got hurt because the Scarlet Eye took him out to get to her.
The fact that he was here right now… It was a mistake.
But she couldn't kick him out now. It would be so cruel. Having sex with him, especially the way she'd had sex with him, and then telling him to go, avoiding him again for the rest of the weekend while she disappeared in Saint-Raphaël for her job.
Sarah wasn't doing that to Chuck. It wasn't right.
"Hey, um… What if I come with you to Saint-Raphaël?"
She blinked at the ceiling. And then she shot straight up, sitting next to him, eyes wide. "What?"
"Yeah. I mean, if I'm not intruding. I can come with. I can do some sight-seeing around town while you're working." He shrugged. And then he winced. "That's probably a bit much, isn't it? I'm overstepping again. It-It's one thing we're here in the same spot, in the same hotel even, while on vacation. But going somewhere together for a few days when we just met, what 20 days ago? I'm sorry. I really am. I just keep shoving myself in where I don't belong." He sighed. "I just…Saint-Raphaël, ya know? And also, there's the fact that I'd get to be there with you. Sure, you'd be working, but then we could see the sights and it might be, I dunno, kinda fun. Just us." He shook his head. "I'm all over the place. I think you broke my brain or something with what we just did. It was just such a whiplash. I didn't hear from you for a couple of days and I thought maybe you'd just…cut me off and left or something. And suddenly there you are in the hallway and you tell me you're going away for a few days for a job I thought you were done getting pushed around at, and then I got all stupid and intrusive with you, we got mad at each other, had really intense and fantastic sex, and I think my brain just broke so…ignore me, I guess. Um, and also, please, can I go with you to Saint-Raphaël?"
Sarah stared at him, her jaw falling open. She really must have broken him. Or at least his brain.
"I'll pay half the bill, both travel and hotel accommodations. Or, um," he winced. "I could just get my own room in a hotel and not just make a bunch of assumptions about…erm…sleeping…arrangements. Oh my God, I'm being so embarrassing." He dragged his hands down his face miserably.
She shook her head, pinching the bridge of her nose. "Chuck, it's…it's a work thing. It's not going to be… I mean, I'm not sure if I can even…"
But then she looked at him, all of him. And she thought about his professor's story, the way he told it, a bit haltingly, as if trying to remember the pieces of it and where each piece went, his frustration with not telling it very well… She thought about the way he'd confronted her, stood up for her against what he thought to be her employer that was taking her for granted, using her.
If she told him no, if she sent him away from here now with that rejection, she'd be pushing him away. And she knew that if she did push him away, it would have to be hard. Because he was who he was. He didn't scare easy, this one. She'd have to push hard, hard enough that it would hurt him, hurt him enough that he stopped asking altogether.
Sarah didn't want to hurt Chuck. She didn't want to hurt him after all of this. She couldn't shove him away for good, and if she hurt him bad enough, she might do that. She just couldn't do it. She didn't want to. They'd been through too much. She'd gotten him stuck under her skin. Deep.
The best case scenario for Chuck, for his safety and health, was to end up far, far away from her. She knew. He could go back to LA, find some normal girl, get his awards for his incredible video games, and he'd be safe. Safe from the shit that followed her around. Safe from her.
But what if she let him come? What if she didn't say no? Could she pull it off? Could she both spend this time with Chuck in Saint-Raphaël, sight-see, enjoy him … and kill the Scarlet Eye? She knew she could protect herself, but could she protect Chuck at the same time?
And how would she explain it to Agent Shaw?
God, she had a lot to figure out. But first, she needed to take the morose look off of the video game developer's handsome face.
She smiled a little, feeling nervous and excited all at once, and knowing she was absolutely insane for even trying this.
"Okay, Chuck. I suppose I'll have to upgrade my room to a two-room suite, huh?"
The beaming grin he fixed her with felt like all of this might be worth it.
She hoped so.
Good or bad, Sarah makes decisions. Oops. We'll see how this pans out.
Please review. Thanks everybody.