Characters: Devon (Captain Awesome), Buy More gang, Chuck
Word Count: 2,184 words
Spoilers: Set after 2.22 "Chuck vs. The Ring"
Betas: ndnickerson, saavikam77, without_wings
Disclaimer: I don't own any of this. Josh Schwartz does. And apparently Subway now, too. ;)
Summary: The more Devon learns about Chuck, the more, well, awesome he seems. Devon/Ellie, Chuck/Sarah.
Previously: Part 1
As Devon pulled into the Buy More parking lot, he put his cell phone away. He'd left at least three voicemails for Chuck, and one for Sarah just for good measure. He didn't have John Casey's number, but after the way John had pulled out that gun and silencer, face cold as stone... Devon would never ask.
In the past, if Chuck was working -- at least at the Buy More -- he would pick up. Devon had no idea if Chuck would answer in the middle of a mission. But he really needed Chuck's help with his laptop and this was the only place he knew to go. Chuck had told him the Buy More was ‘real’ -- Devon wasn’t completely sure whether Chuck actually fixed computers or not. He guessed he was about to find out.
Devon walked toward the Nerd Herd service desk with his laptop under his arm. But there was no one sitting behind the counter. Reaching the desk and setting his laptop down on the counter, he scanned the store for a glimpse of a white shirt, for Chuck's curly mop of hair... No sign of anything but customers. Where the heck were all the green shirts? "Not cool," he murmured, before picking his laptop up again. It was time to hunt someone down.
He saw more than a few disgruntled customers -- some waiting in line at the returns counter and some hoping a clerk would show up at the checkout registers. Unlike these people, Devon knew how to get into the employee break room, and it wasn't like anyone was around to stop him. As soon as he opened the swinging doors to the back he could hear the sound of chanting. It sounded almost primitive, as if he were about to step into another world.
The door to the break room had a large window, but the other side of the glass was blocked by green shirts pressed against it, writhing and undulating. He couldn't see what was going on in there. Did he dare enter? Devon set his face and plucked up his courage. He was, after all, awesome. He pulled open the door, and a few Buy More employees tumbled into the doorway before turning back to the center of attention. Devon peered over the shoulders of the closest green shirt.
What he saw was not what he expected. Big Mike sat in a chair in the center of the room. Jeff and Lester stood on either side of Big Mike, arms folded. On the floor in front of them was a man on his hands and knees, groveling like a penitent before a king. Emmett. None of them seemed to notice Devon in the doorway.
"Emmett, do you agree to abide by all of my decrees, no matter how degrading?" Big Mike intoned.
"No matter how degrading," the crowd of employees chanted around the circle.
There was no answer from the groveling manager. Big Mike shot a look at Jeff, who nodded and then delivered a swift kick to Emmett's backside.
Emmett face-planted on the cold tile. "Yes, yes! I agree..." he moaned as he picked himself back up.
"Hey!" Devon called over the din. "What's going on here!?"
The chanting went on unabated, but Lester finally noticed his presence. "Oh, hey, Awesome." He gave Devon a cheery wave and then immediately became serious again, intent on this... ritual, or whatever this was.
Devon backed away slowly and closed the break room door behind him. It didn't look like anyone was getting hurt, and besides, Chuck wasn't there, or John for that matter. None of the green shirts could help him even if they weren't 'busy'... and there was no way he would let Jeff or Lester near his computer. He would stay out of it this time.
He couldn't get out into the open air of the parking lot fast enough. "Whew. I'm so glad I never worked retail."
If the Buy More was real -- weird, but real -- then maybe the Subway was, too. The new franchise occupied the same space as the previous two establishments: that hot dog place, and the yogurt place. Somehow Sarah worked here, too.
As soon as he walked through the doors, Devon could see it was different. Every time he and Ellie had come in to visit, the place was totally empty (which was probably why both places had folded after only a year), but not the new Subway. There was a healthy line at the counter, and most of the in-store tables were filled. Was it because the place was a recognizable name? Or because of that footlong promotion they were advertising on the windows?
A turkey on wheat suddenly sounded awesome...
But he couldn't satisfy his hunger right now. He needed to find Sarah. Maybe she would know where Chuck was. She wasn't behind the counter, and he didn't see her through the door to the back, either. He walked up to the cashier, a young man who looked like he'd rather be skateboarding than working. "Hey, excuse me, dude. Is Sarah Walker here?"
He looked up into Devon's face and seemed to work at focusing on him. "I dunno... haven't seen her."
"Do you mind looking in the back?"
Before he could reply, a manager type interrupted with a cool, "May I help you?"
Devon turned his attention on the new person. He seemed a bit out of place compared to the kid. His polo looked almost like it had been pressed that morning, and his crew cut was plain below his visor... almost military. Still, Devon didn't let that throw him. "Yeah, I'm looking for Sarah Walker. Is she here?"
The manager's eyes narrowed. "This is her day off. Why do you want to see her?"
Devon frowned. "I just wanted to talk to her about..."
He trailed off as the manager put a finger up to his ear, and then nodded, his expression relaxing. "I'm sorry, sir, she will be here tomorrow if you would like to come back then."
"Uh... sure. Thanks."
He walked out slowly. It had seemed like the manager was using some sort of communications device just then. Realization dawned. Of course he was! This place was probably a CIA front! It made sense that if the Buy More was ‘real,’ then Chuck would need a place to meet Sarah with easy access to his cover job. Devon wondered if Chuck and Sarah, and maybe even Casey, were meeting right now, in some secret back room.
He laughed at that silly thought. They were probably off doing spy stuff right now. And a secret room? That place looked too small to be any sort of base of operations, anyway.
Devon walked back to his car, disappointed that he hadn't found Chuck, but pleased that he'd put together another piece of the puzzle that was Chuck Bartowski, super spy. He switched the laptop to his other arm and fished his car keys out to unlock the driver's side door.
"Devon!" called a voice from behind him. He turned to see Chuck walking toward him. "I heard you were looking for me and Sarah?"
Devon was relieved to finally find Chuck. "Hey, little bro. Just you, actually. You didn't get my messages?"
Chuck looked embarrassed, fumbling out his iPhone to check the display. "I guess not. Sorry. Been sorta busy."
"With..." Devon looked around the lot. Were there hidden cameras recording this conversation? He didn't want to get Chuck in trouble. "...your other job?"
"Yeah. A meeting."
"Hey. I'm sorry I took you away from that. It can wait. I thought you were, you know, doing the Nerd Herd thing today." Devon started to get into his car. "I'll see you later."
"No, wait." Chuck stopped the door with his hand. "Meeting's over now. You need help with that?" He pointed at the laptop under Devon's arm.
"Yeah, I think it's got some kind of virus.” He cocked his head, and lowered his voice. “So, do you really fix computers, then?”
Chuck laughed. “Yeah, I really do. When they don’t need me, if you know what I mean.”
“Oh, man, I’m so glad. I wanted to take care of it today -- Ellie was going to Skype your dad tonight." Their weekly webcam chats were the highlight of Ellie's week. "She was looking forward to it so much..."
Chuck's expression went from interested, if guarded, to wistful. Ellie would get the same look any time the subject of their dad came up. Devon was glad that the old man was keeping in contact with them again. Papa Bartowski was off working on one of his projects in D.C. or something, but he made sure to call or Skype his daughter at least once a week. Devon assumed he was doing the same for Chuck.
"We can't disappoint her, then." Chuck held out his hands for the computer. "Let me take a look at it."
"Thanks, dude, you're the best."
Chuck walked around to the other side of the car and got in the passenger side. "When did you first notice the problem?"
"This morning. I tried to get into my email first thing after Ellie went in to the hospital. But it wouldn't connect. And then I tried getting on to some websites but it brought up some weird message -- something in another language -- every place I tried..."
"Did you take a screenshot of it?"
"A... what?" Devon shrugged helplessly. He was a doctor, not a technician.
"Never mind. I'll just see if I can duplicate what caused the error." Chuck opened the lid of the laptop and started it up.
"Don't we need to go someplace with wifi?" Devon looked out into the parking lot. "Is there a signal from the store?" He tried not to glance at the Subway. "Or from somewhere else...?"
"No, but I got it covered." Chuck pulled a device out of his pocket and plugged it into the side of the computer. "This thing connects to the Agency's satellite system."
"Whoa..." He couldn't stop an impressed grin from coming over his face. Then he got a worried look. "This isn't for Agency business, though. Won't you get in trouble?"
Chuck laughed again, this time humorlessly. "Probably. But that's nothing new..." He logged Devon's laptop into the network and got down to business.
Devon walked him through the steps he'd followed that morning, all the time watching Chuck work. His fingers flew across the keys, his face set in serious concentration. Had Chuck always been like this? Or had Devon completely missed this side of him because he assumed Chuck was just another 20-something slacker?
Chuck opened the browser on Devon's machine and just like this morning, the page came up with the odd message. "That's the one," he said, looking back at Chuck.
But Chuck's eyes were rolling back into his head, and he seemed to zone out, spasming in his seat.
"Chuck!" Oh, no! Chuck was having a seizure! Devon's doctor instincts kicked in. Remaining calm, he noted Chuck’s reactions, and loosened Chuck’s thin black tie, making sure that he didn’t move his brother-in-law unnecessarily.
But before he could do any more, Chuck blinked several times and came to. “The Ring...” he rasped.
“Chuck, are you okay? Can you hear me?”
“Yeah, Devon... I’m o-okay. I need to-to make a call...”
“You just had a seizure, bro! You need to lie down!” He placed a hand on Chuck’s forearm.
Chuck gently shook him off. “No, I’m fine, I promise. Excuse me.” He tapped the touch screen of his iPhone a couple of times. Sarah’s name and picture came up on the display. “Sarah? I just flashed...” Chuck started and looked at Devon worriedly, then turned away, lowering his voice.
Devon could only catch a few words after that, mostly, “Devon... virus... Ring... targeted or widespread...”
Finally, Chuck disconnected the call and turned back to Devon. “I’m gonna have to take this to the Cas-- I mean, to headquarters. I promise Ellie will get Dad’s call, okay?”
“Sure, I believe you. He’s gonna call at 8pm, is that enough time?”
“I think so. I’ll have something for you to use by then.”
“Thanks, dude. Hey...” Devon gestured toward the screen and its strange message. He never would have guessed his little virus would be important to the CIA. “Is everything okay with, you know, them?”
“Better than okay.” Chuck closed the lid and opened the side door to get out. “Honestly, Devon, by bringing this to me, you’ve probably saved us an incredible amount of time and research.” He patted Devon on the shoulder and then hurried off toward the Subway, laptop under his arm.
Devon watched him walk away, that goofy smile plastered on again. “Awesome.”
Next: Part 3