A/N: Back after an eternity, and this time I've got my first long-term AU story ever. I love the show, but I always wondered what it would be like if Charah never beat around the bush, so I started thinking about the earliest moment for their being a couple and I landed at Wookie. How did I get there? Well, the honest answer is the very last scene. Sarah says almost nothing except for the beginning and end. Her silence screams "I need you, but I can't admit it" and is so palpable (credit to Yvonne Strahovski for the performance; best nonverbal acting ability of anyone) that I played the what if card and wrote a one-shot (Chuck Versus the After-Wookie Delight) where one thing leads to another and they sleep together. That is M-rated in every possible way but serves as the prelude to this story so if you wish you can check it out!

Back to this story, there will be no angst between Charah here. Much of the drama is centered around taking a crucial piece of her backstory and using it as the catalyst for Sarah as I present her here. Chuck will get a better deal than he did in canon because Sarah is not fighting her feelings and is unquestionably working on his behalf where the operation is concerned and does so in a very strategic way, especially with those in charge of things. My hope is that fans will find this altered take enjoyable and smarter than how Chuck gets railroaded in canon. This story at its core is a rework of the first two years.

Almost done I just wanted to mention a few things concerning my absence and lack of content and pace of updates. First, I am back in college, so I know with fair certainty that updates will be uneven at best. I wish otherwise but it cannot be helped.

Second, anyone wondering what happened to the sequel to the first story I published, I confess I bit off more than I can chew there. It still exists on my computer, but lack of interest combined with the fact that I largely did not know where it was going led me to remove it.

I am much more confident about this AU story, reviews are always appreciated.

Now that I am through, Chuck is about to experience his own morning after😊

Don't own CHUCK!


Chuck Versus the Real Undercover Relationship

Chapter 1: A Person and A Plan

The sun was shining brightly outside, and several beams of light pierced the windows bathing the bed Chuck Bartowski was occupying. He felt his eyes trying to adjust to his surroundings; it was only when Chuck looked around that he remembered he was not alone. His life had changed drastically again. Sarah Walker was sound asleep against his body. She was aglow in sunlight; her face was its only direct recipient because her body remained wrapped in the quilt with him. She looked even more beautiful somehow. The disbelief of sleeping with the woman of his dreams after only a month of knowing Sarah, was still fresh in his mind…he could not believe it, and probably would never believe it. Somehow an after-mission olive branch-featuring a drug lord that Chuck personally thought was a real-life Wookiee-turned into the consummation of their relationship, which to that point was fake because he had a computer full of government secrets in his brain and her, assigned as his protection with the label of girlfriend. The blur of yesterday evening changed that. Chuck thought it crazy, mostly because he was a nerd and she was a spy; a Valkyrie, she seemed mythical, and yet human. It may have been crazy, but they fell in love; ending the night with that very confession. She even uttered the words first, four times in quick succession before he could say it back. Crazy and yet real.

She stirred slightly against him, and his arm found its way into her hair. Sarah's eyes blinked open, and she responded with complacency, 'Good morning Chuck." Sarah wore a calm smile.

Chuck responded shyly, "Did you sleep well?"

She breathed slowly letting the fact that she was waking up with Chuck, wash over her. She was a girl, not an agent, for so long she thought it was the other way around; that the agent was her whole self but that was false. but he reminded her last night. Sarah was in love, his kiss last night showed her that much. Going to bed with him was recognizing that she fell for him fast and hard. Now that she succumbed to her feelings it seemed laughable that she fought them at all. Every time Chuck looked at her she felt an urge to let him in: to her life, to her heart, to her body. She tried to fight it, but when she uttered her middle name out of earshot last night, she knew that she could not fight the first anymore and with self-permission of letting him into her life the other two quickly followed suit, and since they had, Sarah knew that she would let him completely into her life with time.

Sarah's smile grew as she nodded emphatically, "I have not slept that well, ever…"

Chuck raised his eyebrows curiously, "Not even when you were a kid?"

Sarah gave a chuckle shrugging her shoulders, "No my childhood was, complicated, con man father was the tip of the iceberg. I have not been as happy as I am right now." Her face split into a rosy grin, as she went after his ear in a whisper. "Unless we are counting last night that is, I loved it, and I am so in love with you Chuck Bartowski. By the way, my middle name is Lisa." She kissed him fervently.

Chuck squeezed Sarah lightly. "Lisa, huh. Well, Sarah Lisa Walker, I can't wait to learn more about you! Of course, I know what's important. You are a real person under all that spy fluff which I admit is both awesome, and a little disturbing, but I gladly accept it all."

Sarah smiled happily flattered, and her words were reflective, "Lucky for me, it has been a long time since anyone was willing to see me as more than a body or a serial number. The humanity in how you look at and treat me, there is no one like you in my world Chuck, no trust. Chances are a real relationship will not be easy for me, and at times I will put wall's back up, but this is something that I know I want, so I guess I am asking you to officially be my baggage handler and boyfriend, of course?" There was a loving emphasis behind the end of Sarah's speech that Chuck seemed to invoke just by smiling at her with his toothy grin.

Chuck answered her kindly, "I already accepted both roles when I said that a month ago." He kissed her in a deep and meaningful way as she placed her hands on his chest and they rested their heads on the pillows again.

The alarm clock went off moments later. Sarah eyed her alarm anxiously with a frustrated sigh, "nine o'clock, operations debriefing in an hour. They mentioned it after you left yesterday, the bosses want things cleaner after Carina's stunt with the diamond, and the other mishaps; and you have got work. We should arrive separately, I've got to get in the shower…you should join me." She sat up and turned back to Chuck with a nod that said this was not a suggestion.

They made sure to restrain themselves with somewhere to be since Chuck was already late. He was uncertain and worrisome as the two of them emerged from the bathroom a short time later. "Sarah, you do not think they know do you?" He tilted his head as he waited for her answer.

Sarah hastily gathered her previously worn clothes from around the bed throwing them in the hamper, grabbing a fresh set of clothes: notably her brown leather jacket and dark blue top and jeans over a set of light blue lingerie. Her response was hasty as she put her clothes on and she caught Chuck watching her dress with an absentminded stare and could not help smiling from his captivation. A moment later he was looking for his previously worn clothes, he wasn't going home for lack of time.

Sarah was adamant as she threw her shirt over herself, "No, this is my private residence Chuck I shield everywhere I stay no matter what, otherwise we would be in big trouble. The government may have taken me in, but I make sure they do not pry into my personal life any more than they already have." Her expression was full of inner contempt.

Chuck sounded playfully shocked, "I thought they coveted you?"

Sarah shook her head with a sad look as she sat back on the bed, "I was the wildcard enforcer, but after my last assignment I am not the same, and I don't trust them. they planted those seeds, and this assignment…you sprouted and grew them."

Chuck was curious, "what changed for you?"

Sarah was profound with her response, her expression seemed like she was momentarily far away. "my perspective, I realized they use people, mold them how they see fit. What they don't know is I've shed their mold and plan to use it against them. They don't see anything more than what they molded me into."

Chuck surmised quietly, "So, the Wildcard Enforcer's become a mask you wear, a shell, and you can use it when necessary; they think it's alive but it's been stripped away; that is lyrically poetic, an elegy of emptiness."

Sarah dropped her head on his shoulder, "I suppose it is a dead shell, even though I still need it."

Chuck surveyed her, "You have a plan?"

Sarah smiled confidently standing again, "They will want an explanation for why the mission did not go according to plan. Carina took matters into her own hands, and she did so it is not a lie if they request you in the operational debriefing stick with that. I have experience protecting people. I spent a year in secret service detail, and my last assignment…well, that I will tell you about someday just know I was protecting someone who was in a much worse position than you. As for us, I am going to spin a little thread so I can be with you." She smiled shyly.

Sarah put her hands around Chuck's neck, and they sunk back on the bed kissing for a minute before Sarah retreated reluctantly. Her eyes cast a halo over Chuck as she locked her blue eyes in his brown, they seemed charged with a fusion of fire and electricity. Protecting Chuck may have been her job, but now love was her motivating factor. Since she met Chuck, Sarah felt like she sprouted a separate consciousness tied to him and it took over for the effigy that was her wildcard enforcer persona, yes that was a shell now and because Sarah let Chuck in, she knew she could use it at will and pull the wool over the eyes of the government that she would no longer bend to.

The passion and devotion in her voice matched the charged look in her eyes. "I have a plan Chuck, in the meantime do not freak out."

Chuck smiled, halfheartedly dismissive, "Freak out; I am not freaking out. Of course, government secrets locked in my brain is a good reason. The constant threats are too, but if you have a plan I know it's good."

Sarah smiled determinedly as she turned back to Chuck, opening the door in the process. Her expression and tone were calm as she met his gaze with an increase in the fire and electricity behind her eyes. "I am going to make it clear to my bosses that being with me is the best thing for your safety, given you have been freaking out that is not much of a stretch. I can insist moving into Echo Park. There are two free apartments left, and I could sell it to Graham and Beckman as increasing my proximity to you for the sake of the operation, you do not respond well to Casey, so I have legit evidence to support that move if anyone has a gripe. Honesty, I do not think either of them would object to that because from their point of view it keeps you in line and that is what they want." The disgust at her superiors, inability to see anything other than the Intersect when it came to Chuck was noticeable at the last of her words.

Chuck sounded dull, "I should just brand property of the U.S government into my forehead. He dropped his head aimlessly.

Sarah raised Chuck's head sympathetically with one hand. His sadness was enough to make the flaring electricity in Sarah's eyes blaze with a level of devotion that could make anyone who got in her way a causality. The orphaned child she hid from the clutches of the CIA was the only other catalyst for such a thing, and that was the start of what turned everything they molded her into a weapon she could use now. She thought herself a double agent with no other intention except justice and liberation, she could no longer tow the company line…Hungary changed everything.

Sarah met his eyes fiercely, "This will work Chuck I know how they think, it will not be perfect but like I said last night as long as I am around you will be safe!" Sarah took a moment to run her fingers through Chuck's hair, much of his curls were matted and tangled.

Chuck was passive and apologetic, "Don't be surprised if I stay with you so much you get tired of me. I have only been an asset for a month, and I feel like a sitting duck. I quit kung-fu in the third grade, and I am no fighter. Not even for self-defense." He looked around aimlessly again.

Sarah was fine with carrying Chuck's dimmed torch until it was ablaze again. She guessed his confidence buried under years of desk work and unfair circumstances. It struck her that they were both hard on themselves. She was determined to handle his at times clear discouragement with positive reinforcement. She batted her eyelashes in a playful way. "You have got the build for it; besides I have seen enough over four weeks to know that expecting you to function as a real-time intelligence asset without combat training was shortsighted and dangerous."

Chuck looked at Sarah with a grin, "I am glad somebody noticed my girlish screams are not useful here."

Sarah gave a small laugh and sighed apologetically, "I wanted to protest right away but…you were untested. Beckman and Graham do not like being challenged without hard evidence, which stops now, I do not know what the hell they were thinking putting you into the deep end with your head barely above water They are shortsighted at best. You mentioned last night about building up stamina; some basic combat training will do that."

Chuck gave an agreeing smile and responded in a self-mocking way. "I guess you are right, but like I said I am pretty pathetic."

Sarah shook her head insistently. "Brave is more like it, but I think you get a pass Chuck, most nerds do not have to dodge bullets because government secrets turn them into a target, my plans should make this easier for you Chuck and nothing is unreasonable given I know how they think. I just need to spin things, but it is the truth, so I am just going to dress it up with some agency speak, and it should land in their heads." Sarah had grabbed her keys.

Chuck nodded, "I love you, you know; only I get to see the real you, they have no idea who you are. I knew that you had a lot of secrets, but I knew there was more to you."

She went back in for a quick kiss, taking a mental picture of his body as she smiled with satisfaction," I love you too, and think I like that you saw past my walls, telling you everything about me will take time but I will. Now, give it fifteen minutes before you leave that should be plenty. I will say you overslept from stress, perfectly believable in your situation. I probably won't see you for a while, I need to spend some time playing agent Walker, but this mess will be more bearable soon; just man the nerd herd in the meantime and I will handle the spy stuff!' She didn't sound spy like but simply a determined girlfriend.

Sarah was beaming reassuringly as she closed the door behind her which made Chuck feel better as he set to finish getting dressed and left for the Buy More, knowing that everyone would notice his late arrival somehow, he could care less.

II

Diane Beckman and Langston Graham were on the monitor inside the home theater room of the Buy More. Sarah and Casey stood at attention waiting for the second debriefing in less than 12 hours to start. The expression of their superiors was a mixture of irritation and indifference.

Beckman started things, looking tense. She was blunt and concise, "We called this meeting because this operation, as things currently stand is chaotic at best. Major Casey's reports reflect that conclusion."

Graham chimed in his deep voice had a rather forceful edge as he spoke. That is an understatement, they all have a MacGyver factor that is disturbing and at times ridiculous; or there is evidence of dysfunction between all parties that leads to trouble. Glaringly obvious with yesterday's mission and the Zarnow fiasco two weeks ago."

Casey chimed in pointedly biting the bullet for his part in the mess that was the last month. I take responsibility for the Zarnow mishap. Not used to joint agency operations and I jumped to conclusions about agent Walker. He glanced sideways at Sarah apologetically.

Graham continued still more bluntly, "That was tolerable given this operation started as a competition for the stolen intelligence. Now that we know, the nature of its whereabouts." Graham said this with a nauseated pause and continued. "I suggest the both of you prioritize cooperation." They both nodded.

Beckman spoke again addressing Sarah questioningly, "Agent Walker, yesterday did not go according to plan. Casey's report mentioned the asset leveraged the diamond to rescue you, commendable. You were supposed to recon and steal the diamond on a separate day. How did things go so wrong?"

Sarah worked to keep her tone professional. She was still angry with Carina. "Carina took matters into her own hands." She shifted her gaze to Graham and continued calmly. She questioned Chuck about the vault's security under the guise of recon and then used his knowledge to steal the stone on the spot."

Casey raised his eyebrows, "If she outright stole it then why were you arguing with Bartowski when I got on the beach with the van? He narrowed his eyes waiting for a response. Beckman and Graham fixed her with a stare.

Sarah's tone remained professional, "Carina comprised my cover as Chuck's girlfriend by telling Chuck I was with Bryce. It seems that Chuck's ex-girlfriend dumped him after his expulsion from Stanford and Bryce swooped in and stole her. I think given that history it caught him by surprise." Graham did not expect this news his forehead tensed.

Casey was insultingly sympathetic to this revelation about Chuck, "I could see that Larkin has put a lot on that moron's plate. He looked sideways at Sarah again, suppressing the urge to laugh at the irony.

Graham sighed, "Agent Walker is this going to be a problem where your cover is concerned?"

She addressed him in a detached but professional tone, "No sir he has gotten past it so that will not be an issue."

Beckman cut in again, "Good since we have moved on to the subject, where is the asset?"

Sarah continued in her professional but rehearsed way because she played this out in her head so much before now, "He overslept, the operation seems to be taking a toll on him. He tries to mask the fear and stress, but he is worried and afraid."

Graham agreed albeit reluctantly, that may be true, but it cannot be helped."

Sarah made sure to continue with the correlation between Chuck and the Intersect; there was no shift in her voice that would suggest her words were more than a report, "Sir the asset's life is no longer his own and has gone from quiet and uneventful to chaotic and life-threatening. Since the intelligence is in his head his continued stability is the most important thing to the success of this operation, I remind you that I observed him in his typical environment before…" She glanced lingeringly at Beckman as she finished. "Things got out of hand."

Graham considered this, "What do you suggest?"

Sarah continued in the same perfectly detached manner, "For whatever reason, he responds to me, which is the only reason I am certain his fear and anxiety are real. I think it would be best for me to move to his complex in Echo Park, increasing my proximity to him and the nature of our cover could keep him in a proper state of mind."

Casey could not disagree with Walker's observations, Bartowski was a social person that could no longer be social and in Casey's view that made the kid whiney and annoying. If Walker's presence gave him an ear and helped him cope so be it. He did not have the temperament to be Chuck's handler and did not see himself as such. He was her reluctant partner in the field and a fly on the wall. She was not lying he could sense a tell, and if it meant Bartowski stopped bothering him with complaints and feelings, he was all for it. He would pay attention the next time they were free of the higher-ups though, he read something recently involving Walker that smelled of redacted details.

Casey spoke up indifferent, "I agree with Walker, at least about how Chuck operates. He needs a sounding board. He cannot talk to his sister, or his best friend and Walker already has his trust. She kept him calm the night this all started and talked him into flying that helicopter seems like the right move to me, and I am not going to be his emotional babysitter."

The last word Casey said struck Sarah, for a moment her thoughts drifted not to Chuck but her prior mission. It occurred to her that those experiences may have primed her to open her heart to Chuck.

Beckman turned to Graham with indifference and then looked at Sarah, her expression was calculating, "Agent Walker, you say the asset is receptive to you?" Sarah nodded her head with a bored expression. The Chuck part of her brain was privately smirking.

Beckman deferred to Graham, "Langston, I leave this decision in your hands. She is not mine, and I have no right to make it…but for the record, a nerd with a glorified desk job flew a helicopter, that says quite a bit about her ability as a handler. I do not think I am needed any longer, plus I must oversee a public security briefing at the NSA. Casey, keep me posted on anything else pertinent. Casey nodded."

Graham addressed Casey bluntly, "I will discuss this with agent Walker privately. Make sure Chuck has arrived on the premises, and return to your cover post with him. I do not think he is needed." Casey gave another nod and left without a word.

Once alone Graham addressed Sarah calmly, "Sarah this operation is likely to be long-term, the computer in Chuck's head is new technology, and we do not know how to remove it."

Sarah crossed her arms, "What do you need from me, sir?"

He sighed, "I have been mulling over placing Chuck underground, given the chaos after only a month." The statement came as a question.

Sarah looked directly at him, still no change in demeanor. "Sir I have gotten a good read on him from the start of the operation. The morning after we defused the bomb meant for General Stanfield he was extremely shaken, that has not changed, the only reason he has not fled is because of a willingness to trust me. You found me in a similar position when you recruited me. I ask that you repay the trust that I granted you years ago and not condemn Chuck's life when I spent over a year on secret service detail and am the best at what I do. Forgive me sir, but that would be a complete disregard of my abilities and the fact that a civilian has done nothing except open an unlucky email. Forced isolation will cause him to crack wide open, that is my honest assessment, and I told Casey that much at the outset."

Graham was silent for several minutes as he listened. He could not deny the danger of making Chuck emotionally unstable through forced isolation. It could compromise the most important piece of government technology in existence. Walker's report made it candidly clear that they were walking that line already. Her ability to handle him was all that averted his premature death in a helicopter crash, and she kept him cooperative when he had every reason not to do so. It was fair that he owed her a certain level of trust. Still, Ryker and Bryce had done a number on her; he was worried she was desperate to prove herself, putting all her chips into this operation to fix her missteps recently. Her arguments were valid, Bartowski's life had been a crapshoot before this mess. Now it was downright pitiable. Graham initially thought him in league with Bryce which is why he gave a suggestive kill order if Chuck ran. Good thing she ignored it or the secrets lost forever. Her year on secret service detail made it downright foolish to be stubborn in this situation. There was too much evidence to ignore that her staying attached to this kid was the best way to keep him in line and protect the intelligence in his head.

When Graham finally spoke aloud he was indifferent, "I may have initially thought Chuck a threat, but this has been your assignment since I showed you his file ahead of dispatching you here. I will convince Diane to remove the bugs from his apartment, but his watch must remain worn, and you will move into his complex. Off mission, he is free to do as he pleases within Burbank, but he is your responsibility, which means your cover is more important than ever. If you lose control of Chuck, I will place him underground, but I am willing to make that scenario the last resort so long as you do your job as his handler and protect him. The computer in his head is vital to national security, and we are only in early stages of replacing it, and even so, I have an uneasy feeling about this mess."

Sarah nodded, "You can count on me, sir."

Graham continued. This assignment is the one situation where I would advise you to find a way to routinely embrace your cover. Normally I would not condone such a thing, but we are dealing with a live government asset and might not have access to the info if he checks out emotionally. Which was not something I considered until you reported it, but as you said it could be the most important part of his protective detail."

The Chuck part of Sarah's brain smirked again. She was on auto-pilot now. Everything was predictable. "Forgive me again sir, but I thought field agents were not supposed to compromise themselves?" She said the question void of emotion, matching her expression.

Graham had a blunt response, "These circumstances warrant an exception to that rule, and the term compromised applies more to dangerous marks and assets or traitors. Chuck did not fall into such a category and given the probable long-term nature of this operation and the mess its caused; I would be prepared to make yourself available to him when necessary." The inflection in his closing was final permission to cross that line.

The Chuck part of her brain was thankful she crossed that line of her own free will. Absent of an implied order. Sarah stayed flat and blunt in response, "Understood sir. However, that may not be necessary. With permission to groom his potential, which is small but evident, some combat training could slowly turn his fear into determination. I think being stuck in a mundane job gives me reason enough to think he wants more out of life. He has unfulfilled ambition thanks to his expulsion from Stanford that I am confident I can draw out, and I think you can agree the sitting duck element of these missions needs to change where Chuck is concerned. Just between you and me if the NSA had any tact at all things would be less chaotic." The end of her response accompanied by just enough shift in demeanor to reinforce that Beckman and Casey's brash attitude was the root of Chuck's trouble to cope. That mimicked her expression which she shifted to say; they keep making my job much harder.

Graham agreed with an irritated expression." Fair enough, if he cooperates and remains protected I grant you the latitude to handle him on or off mission given that they made things worse from the start. This assignment will test your ability to remain emotionally separated, especially given recent history. Remember what we have discussed you will be contacted as needed and we expect communication anytime Chuck flashes, your dismissed agent Walker." Sarah gave a nod as the screen went dark.

Alone she had a defiant expression and the flared electricity present in her eyes again. She muttered bluntly under her breath barely audible, "I have not bothered separating my emotions since I returned from Budapest Graham. She was the catalyst, and it is predictable that you would think I care about my reputation after you intended to treat a baby like property the way you treat Chuck. I will protect him, just like I protected that baby, and I don't give a damn the rules about asset handler relations, I just threw that back in your face and you had no clue. she sighed anxiously thinking of what she left behind in a whisper, "I hope mom is doing okay with her. " and then headed out of the home theater room.

III

Casey was losing his patience with an indecisive customer looking at stereo equipment. They made up their mind six different times before settling on their original choice of Bose, which meant Casey kept removing and restocking them from the shelves. Sarah entered his line of sight just as the sale finally stuck.

Casey looked at Sarah extremely annoyed, "Retail is officially the worst job ever. If soldiers were as indecisive as people looking for electronics this country would not be free." His face contorted as if chewing bad food.

Sarah was amused, "How ironic is it that you have a job that requires patience you do not have." She was grateful to turn her auto-pilot off.

Casey grunted impatiently, "Sounds like your implying something Walker?"

Sarah ignored the question, "Where is Chuck?"

Casey's expression turned blunt, "Storage Cage, been here for 20 minutes. When he came in the oaf that is nobodies boss was panicking about more broken computers."

Sarah nodded and dropped her voice and looked at Casey seriously. "do you think he could handle a tranq gun?"

Casey was blunt, "Moron cannot stay in the car why the hell would we give him a weapon even one for his type?"

Sarah's tone was rhetorical matching her expression. "to defend himself."

Casey scoffed, "requires aiming ability. That was the kind of the stuff Graham wanted to discuss?" he turned incredulous.

Sarah mirrored him, "Among other things; I told him my observations he agreed."

Casey turned indifferent, "Nobody needs any more info on Bartowski then what we have seen on the surface. Two words, pathetic loser." He thought his words were factual rather than insulting.

Sarah did not let Casey's words rise her. She whispered sharply, "You and the entire NSA seem to not have even studied his file, well I did and you we need to do things differently."

Casey narrowed his eyes matching her volume, "Why do I get the feeling you have things to say?"

Sarah nodded without many expressions. "Don't want the hot dogs to burn." She turned around and headed across the street to the Wienerlicious. Casey purposely waited several minutes and then followed.

IV

Not officially open for an hour the two of them could talk freely. Sarah was in her uniform when Casey walked in and sat down. He seemed to want to mock her but resisted. She finished prepping the counter and sat down too; it was her turn to be annoyed, irritation all over her face.

Cased turned serious looking at her pointedly, "Spit it out Walker what was that crack about?" He wore a matching grunt of irritation.

Sarah was blunt, "It means that your all lacking in tact, like going A-team on Chuck initially, or yelling at Chuck when he is trying to land a helicopter!

Casey looked angry, "I specifically remember you yelling at him afterward."

She ignored this her voice had factual professionalism. "Not the point! Does anyone over there even realize I was trying to bring him in calmly, you create a chaotic mess chasing us and then blatantly ignore my warning that he could crack wide open by poking at his fear and weaknesses since this was set up. Do you think I said that casually? I had seen him in a natural environment, Casey. Between your pestering and Beckman's bugging his apartment this kid may as well be walking around inside a box already." Casey grunted with indifference.

Sarah continued, not quite as robotically as she was with Graham but still in agent mode. "What do you think happens if he becomes mentally fried Casey. The secrets are in his head now, that is why I said Chuck is the computer I meant it. If he checks out it is a safe bet our secrets, go with him." She crossed her arms for extra believability.

Casey considered this with a subdued grunt, "So that is what you were discussing with Graham?"

Sarah nodded stiffly, "Yes…that and how dumb it was to throw him into the fire without training though I did not say it like that. That is why I am going to train him in combat a bit and why I asked you about tranq guns. I would have you do it, but he does not respond to you."

Casey reluctantly agreed but was impatient in response, "the NSA does not hand hold, and I meant what I said in there I do not babysit; that is your job."

Sarah continued flatly, "I was doing that perfectly well before Beckman decided to play Fast and Furious."

Casey was bored, I was following orders, and beating around the bush is not her style."

Sarah stood up, "Clearly, good thing Graham is less stubborn. We are going to try things in a less obtrusive way. The watch will stay on, but the bugs in his apartment come out, and I will move into his complex; you will not need to worry about him off mission anymore. Graham seems to think this is a long-term operation that requires more patience."

Casey looked at her incredulously, "that is what it has called now?"

Sarah wore a dug—in expression, "I am better at what this assignment calls for, the first day should have made that obvious. Don't worry Casey I still need you when he flashes on a mission, but most of this assignment requires a handler and not a stalker. Unfortunately, you are too much of the latter. Chuck's mentioned quite a bit how creepy it is, and I do not disagree."

Casey was extremely irritated now, "I heard you destroyed his computer trying to steal it before we knew the Intersect was in his head sounds more like a stalker than anything I have done, not to mention how forced you are in your cover."

Sarah was sharp and annoyed. Her face was full of professional irritation, "First, I was in disguise, second you failed seduction, so that is a bad argument. The NSA'S tactics are making this job way harder than it needs to be, I think even Beckman realizes that. Besides, he is a down in the dumps nerd Casey; willing girlfriend is the smartest approach here, that is why I am moving into Echo Park. Plus, I spent a year on secret service detail, so any other cover is stupid when this one lets me stay close. Even Graham had to admit that a normal approach is better in this situation. Now, we are going to open soon so unless you are going to order an early lunch, I have hot dogs to serve!" She turned around disappearing into the back room.

Casey watched her go, and when he was alone, he smiled amusingly. "Credit's due Walker. You may have been good enough to steer the higher-ups with this professional pride act, but I did my homework on you kid. You stopped trusting the higher ups since that mission in Budapest, I do not know the whole truth but that report sure as hell is not it, and I know Graham sent here when you returned. The one thing I cannot put my finger on is if your determined to protect Chuck because you think he is getting screwed as you did, or because you have been compromised...I bet the latter or both, somehow you turned things around so you can have your cake and eat it too. I am not in the business of snitch which is why I have kept my mouth shut, but you better hope you can handle this. Either way, this assignment just got interesting."

Casey left ready to admit that regardless of the reason if Walker's act was an act, it was damn good, and he was not going to get in her way unless he had to get in her way; though he was surprised to find that he hoped things did not come to that.


A/N: I considered the title for a long time and I am still not sold but I wanted to get chapter one out there to test the water. As I said I will try to update this regularly, but it will have to be on my college schedule. Other characters are coming but I wanted to focus mostly on this version of Sarah in the first chapter and the fact that she uses her Wildcard Enforcer as a persona to subtlety control the operation on Chuck's behalf. This will obviously alter typical season 1 and 2 threads, but I hope people see my overall idea, I have serious plans for it, possibly stanching across multiple stories. Time will tell but the details churning in my head are very promising, if it weren't for the necessity of real life I would write until I was through. Between you and me I wish I could go back to the days when I had nothing but time…