I love this show so far, and this week's episode got me wondering about what Charlie was thinking. So this is what I imagine she would be thinking as she walks up the beach in the morning when she has a hang over. This is set after the end of the episode though…I'm not sure that explanation makes sense, but if you read the story it will…I hope you like it…

Disclaimer: Not Mine…

Spoilers: Guadalajara Dog

Charlie walked along the beach feeling the sand between her toes. She loved that feeling. She always had. She walked on the part of the beach where the edge of the wave just barely reached so each time a wave came in it would wet her toes, but it never rose above her ankles. At a different point in her life she would have stopped and taken time to watch the sun come up. She would have seen the beauty in how the beams of early morning sunlight bounced off the water causing it to sparkle with the radiance of a thousand gemstones.

She walked at a leisurely pace, in no particular hurry to get anywhere, but she did not stop to look out over the waves. The pounding in her head, a result of too many drinks the night before, told her that looking at the light, even with sunglasses on would be a mistake. Still she could feel the warmth of the sun on her shoulders and legs and could take pleasure in that.

The boys at Graceland called it the walk of shame: coming home in the early morning, hungover, shoes in hand, hair mussed up, and clothing slightly askew. Her mother probably would too, but then her mother would never understand the things she had done for her job. Briggs was right. The rulebook was not written for Graceland. Outsiders could never truly understand the things they did in the name of keeping their cover. However there were some things that even other insiders did not understand.

When she told the guys that it was not a walk of shame but the price paid for cultivating an important asset she meant it, and that they understood. What they would never understand, what they could never understand, was that those early morning walks down the beach were victories.

She knew Paige understood, and Lauren probably did too. They understood that being able to walk home in the morning, no matter how hungover, was a victory because they knew what the alternatives were. Working undercover was a slippery slope especially for female agents. There were so many things that could go wrong, and when something did go wrong you were often all alone.

When pretending to be someone's girlfriend, these risks were even higher because of the social expectations Mike had asked Paige about. Men expected sex. It was that simple. Charlie had grown skilled had distracting them or drugging them until they forgot, fell asleep or moved on, but there was always that voice in the back of her head reminding her that one day those tricks were not going to work.

Beyond that there was the risk that hung over every agents head, more real to some than to others, but especially real to those undercover. There was always the risk that if you closed your eyes, you might never open them again.

Other people might wonder why Charlie, or why anyone for that matter, would choose this life, which was one of lies, deception, and near constant peril. The truth was that she loved it. It made her feel alive in away nothing else ever had, and in a strange way knowing that she crafted the story and made her mark believed it gave her a feeling of control she had lacked in her personal life.

She suspected on some level that was true of everyone in Graceland. Nobody talked about their past, but no one who lived the lives they did came from a happy background. The people who thrived in Graceland were the ones who had grown accustomed to lying long ago. They were the ones who either had no family or had no real desire to see their family. They were the ones whom the world had already toughened up.

Vaguely Charlie wondered about her mother. She had not seen the woman in over a decade, not since running away from home at the age of fifteen. It did not bother her. The woman had never been around when Charlie was growing up, too busy going to meetings and rubbing elbows with high society. So Charlie had grown up learning the ways of the world as she went.

People could judge her for her choices and her lifestyle, but she did not care. Her job with the FBI gave her life purpose, and Graceland gave her a home. The other agents in their land of misfit toys were the best friends she had ever known. Of course it was complicated for them to all be friends. They had to trust each other with their lives, but know that no one trusted anyone completely. It was a strange arrangement, but somehow it worked.

"Hey Charlie," Mike called as he passed her on his morning run.

She wince at the loudness of his voice but waved back anyways. She liked Mike. He seemed like a nice guy and a good agent, and professionally she trusted him. However ever personally she did not quite trust him yet. He was hiding something. She was sure of it. She just did not know what it was yet.

She was almost back to Graceland, and the stray dog that liked to hang around the area had joined her at the water's edge. She reached down and scratched his ears. She liked the dog; everybody at Graceland did perhaps because he was like them: a stray and a misfit who seemed to fit in perfectly at Graceland. He followed her until she reached the stairs up to Graceland then he turned and set of for the dock.

Charlie brushed the sand off her feet and began to climb the stairs. The guys would joke with her about another "walk of shame," but she did not care as long as they gave her a cup of coffee first. The way this operation was going, she would probably make another early morning walk home with her head pounding within the week.

As long as she could still get up in the morning and walk away, there was no shame in that.

Thanks for reading…This is my first Graceland fic (obviously)…please leave a review…