Disclaimer: Chuck and Jake 2.0 are property of their respective owners. The only thing I can lay claim to is the insanity that is my mind.
Notes: A little one-shot I wrote back in July crossing Chuck with Jake 2.0 and forgot about. With Chuck's third season about to begin I finally remembered to post it. If you think Jake is a little off you're probably right, but I figured after six more years as an agent he would change a little bit (but not too much). Originally I was going to have Jake go and talk with Sarah after he's done with cheering up Chuck, but decided against it in the end. I have a Sarah and Diane chat idea in my head for a follow-up.
The first thing Chuck noticed was the smell. Oh how he hated that sterile smell. Since he seriously doubted that Ellie or Awesome would start pilfering cleaning supplies he must be in a hospital.
Chuck opened his eyes, groaned and quickly squeezed them back shut.
“Hang on,” he heard a male voice say, then the sounds of footsteps crossing the room. “There, that should be better.”
Slowly Chuck opened his eyes again, blinking rapidly as his eyes adjusted. It was still a little bright, but at least it was bearable. He started to sit up, barely getting a few inches before pain shot through his body and he fell back down. That’s right, he sucks, Chuck had nearly forgotten.
To say the mission hadn’t gone well would have been an understatement. Sarah and Casey had been captured early on. Chuck had seen at least twice as many gunmen than there were supposed to be lead them out of the office building from the back of the Nerd Herder. Now before the mission had begun Chuck had been given very specific instructions on whom to call for backup if something went wrong. They had even programmed the numbers onto his speed dial. So of course Chuck ignored them and followed the bad guys’ vans to a warehouse outside the city.
With his new Intersect-Fu Chuck figured it would be a piece of cake to sneak in, take out the bad guys, and save Sarah, and Casey too if there was time. It wasn’t the first time he had let the upgraded Intersect put his body on autopilot. He’d been taking a more active part in missions lately, though not too active a part. It was all instinct and no skill, as Casey had put it. Chuck knew he couldn’t consciously call on the Intersect’s skills, but they were always there when he needed them.
Case in point, he had managed to sneak into the warehouse and take down a half dozen bad guys before he had been discovered. Then the free for all began. These guys had known he was the Intersect from the get-go and wanted him alive. Broken and battered was fine, but they still wanted him alive.
Chuck held his own well for a while. His fighting style changed randomly as the Intersect sent new information to his limbs, adapting to best defend against whatever his attackers threw his way. Still, everyone and everything had limits. He took hits, he slowed down. Through it all the Intersect kept sending signals to his body, telling it to do things his muscles were never trained to do. The human body could only take that kind of abuse for so long and eventually Chuck’s simply gave out. Then the real beat down began.
He didn’t remember much after than. He couldn’t count the number of blows that rained down on a body that didn’t even have the strength to curl up into a ball. The last thing Chuck did remember before unconsciousness claimed him was a blinding light and a deafening roar the barest moment before armed men exploded through the windows and doors.
Even as all this ran through his mind, a pleasant numbness flowed through his body. Chuck could really see why people could get attached to painkillers. He thought about trying to open his eyes again but that just seemed like a lot of work. He was sure Ellie was around somewhere anyway. She always took care of him. And Sarah was-
“Sarah!” Chuck exclaimed as he sat bolt upright. He never found her.
Pain lanced through his body and a hand on his chest gently pushed him back to a laying position.
“Easy there,” the man who had lowered the lights said. “The pain meds aren’t that
good. You’ll feel a lot better the less you move around.”
“Sarah,” Chuck repeated weakly. He looked up at the man with bleary eyes, but it didn’t matter. His eyelids felt strangely heavy and it was becoming a fight just to keep them open.
“She’s fine. Her and Agent Casey. They’re alright,” the man assured and there was something soothing and honest in his voice that Chuck’s pain and med-fogged mind trusted. As sleep claimed him again Chuck held onto one single thought: Sarah was alright.
He didn’t know how long he had been out when he woke back up, but Chuck could see through the window on the wall next to his bed that it was dark outside. The lights in the room were dim, nevertheless Chuck still blinked his eyes rapidly as they adjusted. His mind felt clearer than before even though his limbs were still painkiller numb and seemed like leaden weights. This time he didn’t make the mistake of trying to move. Never let it be said that Chuck didn’t learn from his mistakes. He avoided pain whenever he could.
A dark haired man in an even darker suit, the kind that Chuck figured the government bought in bulk, sat facing the door in a chair next to his bed reading a magazine. Chuck had expected it to be something along the lines of the gun magazines he had seen lying around Casey’s place. He was more than a little surprised when he saw it was a computer science magazine.
Without looking over at Chuck, or even taking his eyes off the page, the man spoke. “Morning Mr. Bartowski,” then the man did look at him and grinned. “Or maybe evening would be more appropriate?”
It was then that Chuck got his first good look at the man. The flash hit him like dozens of others over the last two years. There was the same jumble of images flashing through his mind until they decoded into a file. The man’s picture was there but virtually everything else was blacked out. The only thing that was actually legible was a heading: Project: Free Target. That was new.
“Who-” Chuck started only to stop abruptly. He hadn’t realized how much like the Sahara his throat had felt until he tried to speak.
“Easy,” the man told him even as he filled a glass of water from a pitcher and held a straw up to his lips. “Easy. Slowly. Just a little bit at a time.”
He took the glass away, far too soon in Chuck’s opinion even though living with two doctors he knew better.
“Who am I?” the man finished for him and Chuck nodded. “Agent Jake Foley. We’re going to be roomies for a few days.”
“Sarah?” There we go Chuck, simple and too the point, that’s not so bad.
“She’s fine. Her and Agent Casey were a little banged up but they’ll heal up fine. They’re actually in the rooms on either side of this one. I’m only here until one of them is cleared for active duty again. Once the doctor clears it we’ll do a round of visits. Sound good?”
Chuck nodded absently. He had been overjoyed when he heard Sarah was going to be okay, but then reality set in. She had been hurt, she could have even died and it would have been his fault.
The man, Jake, seemed to notice the change and leaned in closer. “Hey, what’s wrong? The rogue agents were all caught and everyone made it through with nothing that won’t heal eventually. That’s a pretty good day.”
“It’s my fault,” Chuck managed to croak out roughly and Jake gave him some more water. He didn’t know why he admitted that to this stranger. Maybe it was just that the man seemed so friendly and open, a marked contrast to how closed off the agents he was used to could be. Or maybe he just thought he would feel better.
Jake looked at him, confusion in his eyes. “What, Walked and Casey getting caught? It’s there job Chuck. To protect the Intersect.” Chuck’s eyes widened but Jake waved it off. “Yes, I’ve been briefed on that and let me tell you, no intel, not even the Intersect, is going to be right one hundred percent of the time.
“It was a trap, Chuck. They wanted you to flash so you would come to them. They just didn’t count on you staying in the car. If you had gone with them those guys would have gotten exactly what they wanted and been gone before our team arrived.”
Chuck wasn’t going to be placated that easy. “I should have called for backup.”
“All right,” Jake acknowledge. “I’ll give you that one. Fortunately Casey had a panic button of sorts in his watch and a tracer in his left boot. The thing is, Chuck, even season agents make the mistake you did,” he shrugged and gave a slight chuckle, as if remember something with the benefit of hindsight. “I know I’ve done it. The important thing is to learn from it and do better next time.”
Jake gave his shoulder a light pat that felt more like a stinging slap to Chuck. “Let me guess, you figured the Intersect could get you in, take out the bad guys, and save the day?”
He didn’t wait for Chuck to confirm it, moving on without even giving him a chance to object. Not that he would. “The thing is, these guys had training on their side and you didn’t. And let me tell you from experience: training makes all the difference. It doesn’t matter how much stronger or faster you are, or how much you know, the guy with the training and experience has the advantage. In your case the mind could only tell the body to do so much before the body says ‘hey man! Enough is enough!’”
Jake leaned back in his chair but stared Chuck straight in the eyes. “You did as well as anyone could have done in your shoes. Any agent
could have done.”
“A real agent would have saved them,” Chuck said and was surprised at the bitterness in his own voice. He could hardly recognize it.
The other man, though, just shook his head and laughed. He actually laughed! Chuck narrowed his eyes. Maybe this man wasn’t so nice after all. “What’s so funny?”
“Chuck,” he started, wiping a tear from the corner of his eye. “Do you know why you haven’t been recruited as an agent yet?”
“They think I’m useless and expendable?”
Jake shook his head. “They’re arguing over who gets you. Both the NSA and CIA want you but don’t want the other one to have you either.”
“Riiiight,” Chuck drawled out.
The agent got a thoughtful look on his face before shaking his head, seemingly coming to a decision. “Tell you what Chuck? I got a story to tell you, just to pass the time.”
Jake leaned forward and rested his arms on his knees. Then he began his tale. “Six years ago there was this computer tech working in Fort Meade…”