Characters: Devon (Captain Awesome), Chuck/Sarah, Casey
Word Count: Pt. 5: 2,229 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 // Part 2 // Part 3 // Part 4
“So, whaddya think, John? You in? A day of rock-climbing, followed by a few beers, some darts, pool...” Devon sealed the deal by putting a friendly arm around Casey’s shoulder. “It’ll be a chance for us guys to catch up, to bond.” He squeezed extra hard to punctuate his point.
Devon could feel Casey twitch under his arm, glancing at Ellie, who was cooking pasta sauce over the stove, before responding in his faux-cheerful voice, “As... great... as that sounds... I think I have to work that day.”
Chuck got into the act next. “Aw, are you sure, buddy?” He lightly punched Casey’s upper arm with his fist. “You look like you could use some guy time.”
The touch earned Chuck a quickly-hidden flash of annoyance before Casey answered, “Naw, you fellas just have fun. Maybe I’ll join you,” a gruff tone mixed in for a moment, “next time.” He shrugged out from under Devon’s arm like he was escaping. “I gotta go... water my azaleas.” He smiled brightly and practically fled the apartment.
Devon and Chuck waited long enough for Casey to make it back to his own apartment before speaking again. “Too bad Casey isn’t coming,” Chuck opined for the benefit of the surveillance devices. “I’m going to miss him.” While he talked, he casually scribbled on a piece of notepaper: “Think it worked?”
“Me too. I’d really like to get to know him better. You guys seem so close.” Devon added his note: “He couldn’t get out of here fast enough.”
“Oh, we are. We’re tight like this.” Chuck crossed his fingers and held them up, presumably toward one of the hidden cameras. Then he wrote back, “Phase One complete.”
Ellie turned from the stove, and Chuck slid the paper out of her view. She smiled at her two boys. “Well, at least you guys are going to have fun while Sarah and I have our girls’ day out. Wouldn’t want you to be bored...”
“It’s a day with Awesome!” Chuck and Devon bumped fists. “How could anyone be bored?”
They kept the talk light on the way out to the rock-climbing place. Chuck wasn’t sure whether Devon’s car was bugged, but he had said he didn’t want to take any chances.
It wasn’t until they got to the parking lot and got out into the fresh air that they felt safe. Silently, Devon held out his palm. Chuck solemnly removed the watch from his wrist and his iPhone from his pocket. Devon carefully placed them in his own pocket. If Casey was keeping tabs on Chuck’s location, he would think Chuck and Devon were still together.
That done, Devon handed Chuck a small manila envelope. “Phase Two, dude. Enjoy.”
Chuck’s forehead creased in confusion after he opened it. “What’s this?” he asked, pulling out a key card.
“It’s this new-fangled thing they give out for hotel rooms these days,” Devon joked. “Or are you too used to retinal scanners and voice activation to remember?”
“A hotel room? I thought you were just helping me and Sarah with a getaway car, so we could get some alone time...”
Devon’s eyebrows rose, and he looked pointedly at the key card. “Bro, that’s what I’m doing.”
“Oh... oh!” The beginnings of a happy grin started on Chuck’s face. “Does Sarah know where to go?”
“Ellie’s taking her there as we speak. She thinks that you’re surprising Sarah with a romantic night away.” Devon nodded to a rental car parked on the other side of the lot. “The car key’s in that envelope, too.”
Chuck looked nervous. “I hope Sarah will go for this...”
“Hey.” Devon put a hand on Chuck’s shoulder. “I just got you the room. What you do with it is up to you.” He couldn’t help but add a wink.
Chuck’s nervousness turned into a slow grin. He gave Devon a mock-serious salute, turned on his heel and headed for the rental car.
Chuck stopped mid-stride.
“Do me proud, bro.” Devon saluted Chuck this time, but there was nothing mock-serious about it.
Chuck’s eyes sparkled with gratitude. He nodded and continued toward the car.
Devon watched him drive away, until the car wasn’t visible anymore. Then he took a deep, bracing breath and headed into the center. Rock-climbing was awesome whether you did it with a friend or alone.
Thirty minutes or so later, his muscles just starting to give him a pleasant burn, he heard a shout from beneath him. “Honey? Devon? I’m here!”
He grabbed one of the fake rocks and let the safety rope swing him slightly out so that he could look below. “Ellie!” He pushed off and zipped downward to land a few yards away from his wife. He detached the safety line and walked over to give her a kiss. “You got here fast.”
“My brother must have broken every speed law on the way over. You should have seen how out of breath he was when he arrived.” Ellie let out an impish giggle.
“She was pretty surprised when we left the spa to go upstairs. It was so hard to keep quiet! But as soon as Chuck arrived, it was like I wasn’t even there...”
Devon held up his hand for a high five. “Awesome.”
“Yeah, it was.” Ellie slapped his hand with vigor.
“So, when are you going to get suited up?”
Her mouth dropped open in disbelief.
“C’mon. Just one climb...” he pleaded with his most-charismatic smile. “Then we can go get those beers.”
“Three in the side pocket,” Ellie called just before tapping the ball straight in. An appreciative hum came from the people watching. Ellie’s skills had attracted a crowd about halfway through their second game.
“Nice shot, hon.”
She flashed him a smile, and flipped her glossy brown hair over her shoulder as she leaned down to take the next shot. With the last one, she had set up a perfect opportunity to drop the five in the corner pocket. At this rate, she was going to clear the whole table before he even got a turn.
Just then, his phone vibrated in his pocket. He moved away from the table to answer it... and then realized it was Chuck’s phone. An angry-looking picture of Casey confronted him on the screen, startling Devon for a moment.
This had always been a possibility, that Casey would call to check up on Chuck. Time to put their plan into action. “Hey, John. How ya doing?”
“Devon?” He grunted in annoyance. “Put Bartowski on.”
“Uh, Chuck’s in the bathroom. Do you want me to take a message?” He was prepared to tell the Colonel that Chuck was violently ill in the bathroom, a little too much whiskey, and was in no shape to talk. But it turned out to be unnecessary.
“Mm. Just tell Bartowski that I’m coming to get him. Play date’s over.”
“Something going down?” he asked, trying to stall.
“Nothing you need to worry about. Hey, I need you to call your wife and give Walker a message. She’s not answering her phone for some reason.”
“Have her tell Walker that she’s scheduled to close tonight. She’ll know what that means. You got that?”
“Yeah, got it.”
Casey hung up without so much as a goodbye.
Devon gestured to Ellie to keep playing without him and walked as quickly as he could (without seeming to hurry) over to the payphone on the other side of the bar. Time to abort the mission, but Devon couldn’t risk using his own cell phone to call -- what if the NSA had it tracked, too? He pulled the hotel’s business card out of his pocket and dialed.
He felt a tap on his shoulder, and he nearly jerked around. Ellie stood there, a cocky grin on her face, twirling her cue in a cube of blue chalk. “Already giving up?”
“No, babe, just gotta give Chuck a heads’ up.”
Ellie frowned, but didn’t ask why.
“Hilton Glendale. How may I direct your call?”
“Room 221, please.” He covered the receiver and explained to Ellie. “Sarah’s got a work emergency.”
“No, not tonight... that sucks!” She stamped the butt of the cue on the floor. “But why did they call you?”
He held up Chuck’s iPhone in his other hand. “Actually, they called Chu--”
Before he could finish answering, Chuck picked up the line. “Hello?” He sounded very distracted.
“Sarah has to ‘close tonight.’” He lowered his voice and added their pre-arranged code, “And The Eagle is coming in for a landing.”
Chuck sighed heavily. “All right. On our way.” He hung up.
Ellie regarded Devon with one raised eyebrow. “The ‘Eagle’? And what are you doing with Chuck’s phone anyway?”
Devon eyes started to twitch nervously. Somehow they’d forgotten to figure the Ellie factor into this plan. His wife was just as smart and twice as curious as her brother. And he hated to lie to her, but he had promised Chuck, and he wouldn’t fail him now. Think fast. Don’t lose it like the night of the rehearsal dinner...
“Um... yeah. He wanted me to keep it for him -- less distractions that way. Morgan likes to text him at all hours. I was only supposed to call in case of an emergency.” He smiled nervously. “And ‘The Eagle’ is just Sarah’s nickname for her boss. You know what a hard ass she can be.”
The corner of Ellie’s mouth turned up in a disbelieving smirk. “I don’t think I’ve ever heard Sarah talk about her work... ever.”
“Chuck told me, I guess.” Devon put an arm around Ellie’s shoulder as he talked, guiding her back toward the pool tables. “Sometimes he gets frustrated with the hours Sarah has to keep.” There, that was true, at least -- the best kind of evasion.
“You and Chuck are really getting close, aren’t you?”
He looked down into her sparkling eyes. “Yeah... I guess we are. Your bro’s pretty awesome, Ellie.”
“He is. But it’s nice that someone else is finally noticing it.” She squeezed him around the waist. “I mean, other than Sarah... or Morgan.”
He was perfectly honest when he answered, “I’m sorry it took me this long to notice.”
She reached up to lay a hand on his cheek. “Better late than never.” She pulled him down to kiss him tenderly before giving his face an affectionate pat. “You ready for me to kick your ass again?”
“Best three out of five?” he asked, grabbing his cue.
She leaned over the table again to line up her next shot, and winked. “Sure -- but you gotta actually win one first.”
Ellie proceeded to wipe the table with him in the next game, but Devon managed to hold his own in the next one. He was glad for the distraction of some friendly competition -- it kept his mind off his worry for Chuck. Would he get back to the bar in time?
When Ellie was focused on the ball, Devon kept checking the entrance for Chuck or Sarah. Every time the door opened, his stomach clenched. So far, no sign of either of them...
And then Casey walked in, dressed all in black, a cloud of doom seeming to follow him. He immediately picked out Devon at the pool table, and noted Ellie’s presence with a tilt of his head. Devon nodded pleasantly to him, but didn’t wave. He wasn’t sure whether Casey wanted his presence known or not.
Casey lifted his eyebrows in a silent question, Where’s the moron?
Devon gestured back, Around here somewhere, dude. At least he’d better be soon, or they were all in for it.
Casey’s thunderous face darkened even further, and he stalked toward the bathroom. Devon yelped and took off after him, calling back toward Ellie, “Gotta run to the little boys’ room!”
Once he was away from Ellie but in earshot of Casey, he cupped his hands around his mouth and shouted, “Hey, John, I think I saw--”
Casey turned back toward him, hand on the bathroom door, but at that moment, Chuck opened the door himself. As soon as he saw Casey there in front of him, he placed a hand on his stomach and groaned.
“Oh, man, I don’t think those fried pickles agreed with me...”
Casey’s face crinkled up in disgust. “Bartowski, are you fit for duty?”
“I think so.” Chuck licked his lips a couple of times like he was trying to get rid of a foul taste in his mouth. “Maybe a glass of water first...”
“Suck it up, Bartowski -- the General expected us twenty minutes ago. I assume Walker’s here, too?”
Chuck pointed toward the entrance. “She’s already at the door.”
Sarah, who was now standing beside the entrance as if she'd been here for hours instead of moments, nodded back. She slipped out the door to the parking lot.
Casey jerked his head that direction. “Let’s go.”
“See ya, Devon. Thanks for a fun time.” Chuck gave him a pat on the back as he passed, but didn’t say anything else. He couldn’t with Casey around.
“Any time, dude.” Devon watched the two of them thread their way through the crowd and exit.
Suddenly he realized that he still had Chuck’s iPhone! He dug in his pocket for where he had placed it, but found nothing... except a tiny handwritten note: “Mission accomplished.”
Author’s Note: I probably should have called the fic “Four Times Awesome Saw Chuck’s Awesomeness... and One Time Awesome Proved His Own Awesomeness” -- but that would be too much Awesome for one title. Plus, way too long. :D
Thanks for all the lovely feedback. You’re all awesome.