Beta: the fabulous justforspite, thanks so much!!
Word count: 1,743
Rating: PG13, mild language
Summary: Who ever said Chuck was no hero? Casey, probably :-D A little one shot with hurt and some comfort, incl. Chuck, Sarah, Casey and Ellie.
Discl.: I don't own anything.
An annoying, burning sensation was the first thing he felt.
And there was this smell. Fading smoke and burning flesh lingering in the air.
Instinctively, his hand reached out and touched wetness. Black spots danced in his view, but still he saw the ground move closer when he tumbled.
“System Failure,” he breathed, as he slid onto the dusty concrete floor.
“Oh my God, Chuck!”
Sarah’s voice resounded from far away. Shrill and panicky, he remarked.
Strangely enough, his mind was clear. No racing thoughts, no rising panic, but stillness and calm settled into his system. Nothing like his usual self, actually.
But then he had been 100% certain about his decision mere seconds ago. Well, maybe 97% certain.
“Holy..!” All senses rushed back to the actual moment when an intense pain pushed him to the verge of unconsciousness.
Searching for the reason of the sudden agony he lifted his head and spotted Casey by his side. The agent pressed hard onto Chuck’s abdomen with a piece of fabric he had ripped off from his own shirt, sending new waves of pain through Chuck’s system.
“Lay still, Chuck.”
“Good… luck… covering… that… up” Chuck groaned, letting his head fall back onto the ground.
“Shut up, idiot. What ever happened to the concept of ducking when being aimed at?”
The all prominent cynicism in Casey’s voice was not as sharp as usual.
“This is agent Sarah Walker speaking, I request urgent medical support at Corner West Clark Avenue and North Niagara Street, first floor.”
The CIA agent spoke fast into her cell while approaching her partners.
“You… forgot… asset… down…” Chuck was breathing heavily now.
“Take it easy, Chuck, don’t talk but try to breathe normally.”
Somehow Sarah’s instructions made him nervous. Until now he hadn’t even thought about the fact that the bullet wound could be serious. It had all been a stupid sequence of unfortunate events, a mission gone slightly off plan, as it happened most of the time when he didn’t stay in the car as ordered.
But this time they had wanted him to come along. It had looked like an easy mission. Just some warehouse where they should check out a few boxes from overseas. The General hoped Chuck would flash on the inscriptions or maybe the papers of the ware, they weren’t even authorised to open the boxes.
However, they had not expected armed guards patrolling the floors.
The bad guys were nowhere to be seen now, though. Probably scared shitless and ran off after three of them were hit by the agents’ guns.
Chuck closed his eyes and licked his lips. Ellie would fix this. He hadn’t quite made up the story he would have to tell her, but she’d take care of him. He longed for her sympathetic glances, her soft spoken words, like the times when he was a kid, lying at home with the flu when she would take care of him.
“Sarah, I need to check if there’s an exit wound.”
Chuck saw Sarah nod and biting her lip. She searched his eyes and smiled quickly.
“Chuck. This is gonna hurt a little, I need you to stay with us, ok?”
“Define… a little,” he inquired. Sweat pearls were building on his forehead, even though shivers shook his body.
“You’ll be fine…” Sarah answered softly.
“That’s… not…what I hoped….to…hear.”
Still, he braced himself, eyes focussing on Sarah. She looked beautiful, even with worry spread all over her face. She was a little pale, but still all business like. She probably had been in a similar situation with Bryce before, Chuck guessed. It still hurt a little, when he thought about them as a couple.
Another wave of pain rushed through his body when Sarah took over from Casey, now pressing down hard onto his side. He could feel his blood pumping under her fingers and nausea rose from his insides.
Casey gave Sarah a questioning look. When she nodded, he reached under Chuck’s tense form and lifted him up, turning him to the side.
“Chuck, are you still with us?”
“Barely” he grunted. Heat waves were now alternating with shivers and the bells of freaking Big Ben were ringing in his ears.
“Found it,” Casey reported. Interestingly enough, for the first time ever, Chuck detected slight worry in Casey’s voice.
“This is gonna….,” was the last thing he heard before all went black.
“This is gonna hurt,” Casey warned Chuck before covering the exit wound with another piece of fabric and pushing down hard.
When there was no reply, Sarah bent over and checked Chuck’s eyes by prying open his lids.
She suppressed a sigh of relief when she heard sirens in the distance.
Neither of them spoke until the paramedics arrived, both hoping that they hadn’t screwed up too bad and Chuck would recover fine from this mess. Once Chuck was stable on the stretcher and there was nothing left for them to do, Sarah spoke.
“What are we gonna tell Ellie?”
“Burbank’s not what it used to be…” Sarah answered nodding. “You report back to the General and I’ll go with Chuck.”
Ellie was on call when an incoming mugging victim with a serious bullet wound was reported over the radio.She quickly slipped into her emergency scrubs and hurried down the stairs to the ambulance entrance.
What she hadn’t expected was the state of shock she slipped into at the sight of Sarah climbing out of the ambulance.
“Sarah, oh my God, are you ok?”
“I am, but… it’s Chuck.”
Sometimes during medial school, Ellie had imagined what it would feel like to treat a patient she knew personally. Not some colleague with a minor cut in the finger, but a serious injury of a person close to her.
She involuntarily sucked in air when the stretcher was unloaded from the ambulance. Forcing her mind to stop thinking of the patient as her baby brother, she switched to a professional tone and started giving out orders to the staff around her.
Chuck had to get through this; she would make sure he did.
Finally alone, Sarah let herself fall into a nearby chair, her mouth quivering and her hands shaking.
Her emotions were all over the place and her mind was racing. How could he? Why… why would he do it? Nobody had ever done anything like this for her before. Of course, she’s had many partners at the CIA before and she had trusted most of them with her life. But would they have done the same Chuck did today, unhesitatingly?
She let the events of the shooting pass by in her mind’s eye. They had been surprised by the number of guards at the store – armed guards, for that matter. According to the General, no hazardous goods were known to be stored at the warehouse.
Immediately, they had taken cover behind the boxes. Casey a few feet away on her left, Chuck right beside her. She couldn’t see Casey when he shot the first and the second of the bad guys in front of them, but she heard them moan and fall.
In the following silence she noticed the low noise of the 6 foot tall guy at her back. She spun on her heels and locked eyes with him the exact same moment he pulled the trigger. Sarah would never forget the dirty smirk on his face.
It all happened so quickly and at the same time it felt like everything stopped. From the corner of her eye she saw a shadow move and suddenly Chuck’s tall body shifted into her view. The shot broke the silence and resounded in her ears. Helplessly, she watched Chuck tumble and fall to the ground.
Reflexively she lifted her arm and took a well aimed shot at the still grinning guy. He wouldn’t bother them again.
Now here she was. Alive. Unharmed. And all because of a civilian computer technician, with a heart way too kind for his own good. Again she wondered, who else she had met throughout her career would’ve done the same.
Maybe she didn’t want an answer.
The first few hours after waking up from the anaesthesia had been awful. He had felt nauseous and his entire side hurt like hell. But there was Ellie. She was sitting beside the bed when he woke up, held his head when he had to vomit and she put cold, wet washcloths on his forehead.
In whispering tones she spoke to him, told him that the surgery went fine, that he should relax and rest. And he knew things would be alright.
Today, he felt a lot better, but his nerves were killing him. Where was Sarah?
Ellie told him that Sarah was with him in the ambulance. She told him, that she had sent Sarah home after his surgery to get some rest.
Casey had been here in the morning, grumbling some cynical get-well wishes. He even brought some flowers, from the General, he explained quickly.
Now it was afternoon and Sarah had still not shown up. Was she mad at him?
He jumped a little when the door to his room opened and immediately grimaced at the pain that followed.
“How are you?” She asked as she moved closer and sat down on the bed.
“I’ve been better. A headache like after a monster flash, but they have pretty good drugs here.” When she didn’t react he rambled on, trying to hide his nervousness behind a flood of words. “Unfortunately, the drugs come in needles and you know how much I hate them. Lucky for me the infusion was already there when I woke up, otherwise I would’ve probably fainted. Ellie is looking after me, but you know how she is, overprotective, much. So far she fended Morgan off successfully, no idea how Casey made his way into here, probably had to tranquilize some…”
Sarah ended the tirade with a kiss.
One breathtaking minute later they moved apart and looked each other in the eyes.
“Thank you, Chuck.”
“Anytime,” Chuck smiled.
“For saving my life…”
Suddenly, Sarah seemed nervous herself. But when Chuck looked into her eyes, he saw honest and real gratefulness. Like a little glimpse of the real Sarah. Or whatever her name was.
And he knew he would do it again anytime.