For Chuck's 16th birthday his dad decided to pack up their lives and move them to the middle of nowhere Wyoming. Ellie had just left for Maryland to go to John Hopkins, it was her dream school so Chuck couldn't be too upset, but with their mom gone and their dad always disappearing for days at a time he felt like his life was falling apart. His dad didn't even know it was his birthday.
“Dude I’m so glad you get internet all the way out in the middle of nowhere” Morgan’s face popped up on his laptop
“Well dad is still doing mystery stuff that needs internet but now instead of hiding away in the basement he has a building out on the land”
“Is it horrible?”
“It takes almost forty minutes just to get to a grocery store, but there is a gas station about ten minutes away that sells some stuff so that’s nice. And dad wants me to go help him pick out farm animals, farm animals Morgan” Chuck sighed “I don’t want to be a farmer”
“You already have the pickup, all you need is a hat and boots”
“Maybe I can drive back and live in your room until I turn 18”
“Dude you really don't want to live here, my mom is still doing gross things with Mr. Tucker, he told me to call him Big Mike at dinner the other night and I almost threw up”
“You’re right, I’d rather be out here in the quiet”
“Maybe you can find yourself a cowgirl or cowboy and forget all about Jill”
“I probably won’t see someone my age ever, dad has me set up with online classes because the closest school is almost an hour away and he said he is going to need me here to help with stuff”
“Stuff as in cleaning up animal poop and collecting eggs from chickens while trying not to get your eyes pecked out”
“Only eight months until summer break and you can come help me”
Morgan laughed. “No chance in hell”
“Oh my god did you hear that? Dad is calling me, with a cowbell, a cowbell Morgan”
Morgan was laughing so hard his eyes were watering, Chuck flipped him off before hanging up on him.
Chuck waited until the house was empty of all eatable things before he drove into town for the first time, he stopped at a diner for lunch before hitting up the grocery store, where he met the prettiest girl he had ever seen. He put in an application and got the job on the spot since he could work at any hour since he could do his school work whenever he wanted.
He and Sarah became good friends, he helped her with her homework when they weren’t busy, and the Chef, Diane would teach him how to cook so he wouldn't be eating so much cereal and cheese puffs when he was at home. It was a nice to finally have people he could talk to and he didn’t feel as lonely.
It took two months of flirting and horrible pick up lines before Sarah agreed to go on a date with him, she couldn’t make up her mind and kept leading Chuck on but he didn’t care because her smile always pulled him back in. Morgan came to visit for one week in the summer and the spent most of it in Chuck’s room playing video games. He saw his dad maybe once a month, he had no idea what his dad was doing but he was always gone or in his ‘office’ that has a red light above the door that meant do not disturb.
He video chatted with Ellie a few times a week, but with the time difference, her workload of becoming a doctor and her new boyfriend Devon, it was hard to find time to talk. He missed her so much, and he can’t believe he would ever admit that he missed going to school.
Then Chuck’s seventeenth birthday came along and everything started to fall apart again, Ellie canceled her visit because her and Devon were on vacation with his parents, Then when he got to work he expected to walk into a birthday surprise, not walk in on Sarah and Bryce (the new guy who started working at the movie theater down the street) having sex in the breakroom. He quit on the spot, it’s not like he needed the job, he only did it so he could have people to talk to since his dad always put more than enough money into his account each month, so it’s not like he needed it, he can find something else later if he gets bored.
He came home ready to blow off some steam with hours of video games with Morgan until he turned down their dirt road and saw that his dad finally got all those farm animals he was always talking about getting. Chuck parked his truck and decided to walk around to see what the hell his dad decided on. There was over a dozen chickens, six cows, a herd of sheep and a fluffy sheepdog names Archie according to his collar, four horses, and the biggest pig Chuck had ever seen and her eight babies.
He made a listing online looking for a workers to help because Chuck had no idea how to take care of animals and he knew his dad wasn't going to do anything so he sent his dad the listing and the email log in that he set up for the farm where the people were to apply and told his dad he had 24-hours to hire people or Chuck would sell all the animals. and to remind him that once again he forgot his birthday.
Chuck made himself a batch of brownies that Diane taught him and ate way too much ice cream while taking a bath.
He really hated his birthday.
He didn’t get much sleep so he decided to grab a cup of coffee and walk around the farm and maybe attempt to feed the animals. But first he went over to the pigs to take a picture of them for Morgan or as he said a ‘pigture’ Chuck rolled his eyes but did it anyway.
He made his way into the horse barn and saw a man, he froze “Um Hi”
“Hey sport, you lost?” The mystery man looked at Chuck’s Star Wars shirt then down his chucks
“No, are you?”
“I live here, you do not”
“I’m Chuck Bartowski, this is my dad’s farm, who are you?”
“Casey isn't a cowboy name”
Casey raised a brow “What’s a cowboy name?”
“I don’t know? Hunter, Wayne, Ryder, Weston, Hank, Beau, Tucker, Earl”
“Kid, shut up, your name is Chuck”
“Well I’m not a farmer”
Casey rolled his eyes “Your father hired me, he offered me the room here”
“In the barn?”
“It’s right off the barn” He pointed to a door. “I’m not living in a stall with the horses”
“I’m glad he hired someone, I was up all night researching how to raise farm animals and then was too stressed to sleep, I have no idea why he would get all these animals when he never even leaves his office”
“Well there is two of us, I’ll be here all day every day, the other guy Shaw works a few days a week”
“Shaw, that’s a cowboy name”
“Why are you here you two here if you aren’t farm people?”
“I have come to the conclusion that my dad is insane”
“Why do you stay?”
“Well I just turned 17 yesterday, so hopefully exactly one year from now I’ll be off to somewhere far far away”
“Thanks, you’re the only person to tell me besides the text I got from my sister and you don’t even know me, that’s how sad my life is”
“What about school?”
“I did online classes, and I am so bored out here that I did it all summer and I graduated early”
“Why not get a job then?”
“I worked at the diner in town, until yesterday when I walked in on my girlfriend having sex with someone else”
“Sounds like a shitty birthday”
“Most of them have been, but you probably don’t care, I’ll leave you to it. Come up to the house around noon and I’ll have lunch ready”
“If you ever want to learn about farm stuff, let me know”
Chuck shook his head, “Thanks, but no thanks”
Right at noon, there was a knock on the door that leads from the kitchen to the back porch.
“Come in, well unless you are here to kill me” Chuck yelled.
Casey laughed “Pretty sure a killer isn't going to knock”
“I forgot to ask if you had any allergies, I made some waffle fries and cheeseburgers”
“None that I know of” Casey looked at the piled of potato peels on the cutting board “You made them from scratch?”
“Yeah Diane from the diner taught me everything so I could help her when we got busy, but also because I told her I mostly lived on cereal” Chuck handed an empty plate to Casey “Eat however much you want, it’s just us, and the fridge is full of drinks”
Chuck waited till Casey filled up his plate with two burgers and a huge pile of fries before he got himself food and joined him at the table.
“Your dad isn't joining us?”
Chuck laughed, “I haven't seen him in over a month, we communicate through email, I have no idea what he eats or when or if he is even actually in the ‘office’”
“What’s your story?”
“I’m not one for talking”
“Oh, okay, sorry for asking”
Casey sighed, he couldn't help it, he felt bad for the kid. “Parents died in a car accident when I was ten, lived with my grandmother until eighteen when I went to the Marines, left last year, now I’m here”
“How old are you?”
“Are you from here?”
“Yup, if you went to the High School you would see my picture on the wall, go, Wranglers”
“Football, Wrestling, Baseball”
“I was on the debate team and in the chess club at my old school”
“I’m not shocked”
“I’m proud to be a nerd okay”
“I didn't say it was a bad thing, I don’t mind a game of chess”
"We should play sometime"
“Is there a kitchen in your room?”
“No, it’s just a mini fridge and a toaster oven”
”Maybe my new job can be cooking you guys lunch and maybe make enough so you can have leftovers for dinner”
“I have every other weekend off, and Shaw works those weekends then every Tuesday Thursday, but he doesn't start until this weekend”
“I have some more patties in the fridge, we can have a salad and something else with them tonight for dinner if you want”
“How about I fire up the grill, I can cook the patties and some corn on the cob or potatoes”
“We have both those, I got them at the farmers market over the weekend”
“You know you guys can grow your own?”
“I thought about it, but I ended up deciding to just support the other farmers around here by buying theirs”
They kept up the small talk for a little bit longer before Casey had to head back to work.
Chuck tripped over his feet and almost fell on his face when he caught sight of Casey wearing a white tank top that was soaked in sweat and clinging to his muscular chest, and his huge arms swinging a hammer down on one of the fence posts.
“You okay kid?”
“You okay kid?”
“I’m fine, but I don’t like when you call me that, I know I’m younger than you but it’s weird”
“I’ll keep that in mind”
“I went into town and got some charcoal and grill tools, luckily they had some at the gas station so I didn’t have to drive so far, I don’t know how long that stupid old truck is going to last”
“You drive that thing?”
“Yeah, it was a here you’re sixteen now and we live in the middle of nowhere so you need a truck gift but I know nothing about them and the mechanic in town creeped me out”
“I would offer to fix it but it would probably be a waste of money, I could help you sell it and get a new one”
“Really? That would be awesome”
“Let me clean up and I’ll be over for dinner”
“Oh my god Morgan we have a problem”
“Hey Buddy, talk to Dr. Morgan”
“So my dad took my advice and hired two farm hands, and I met one today”
“Okay, that sounds like the opposite of a problem”
“The problem is he is super freaking hot”
“You have been single for a day and already found someone else and I’m still a single virgin, not fair”
“I’m also a single virgin, and the problem is he is 24”
“Oh yeah, that’s illegal and kinda creepy for him to wait until you are 18”
“He is waiting for anything, the feelings are one-sided”
“So you’re creepin on an old cowboy”
“He used to be in the Marines, and he is so muscular, and has the prettiest blue eyes I’ve ever seen. He was in a tank top and super sweaty and I tripped and almost fell on my face”
“Did he make you completely forget about seeing that douche Bryce’s ass as he humped your girlfriend”
“You’re a jerk, we are never talking about those two again”
“What if the other cowboy is hot too”
“Then I’ll be in trouble, the hot one is named Casey and the other one is Shaw”
“What weird names”
“They are their last names, my dad sent me their applications, apparently it's popular around here to go by your last name, Casey called me Bartowski when we were having dinner and it was so hot”
“You are crazy, you have been out in the middle of nowhere for too long”
“I have one year, then I’m out, I think I’m going to take some online college classes then apply to Stanford to start in the winter since I’ll be 18 in September and it starts in October I’ll be able to get an apartment”
“Stanford is so much closer to me, and when I graduate I can come live with you, I’m totally not going to college but we can be roomies”
“That is an excellent plan”
“Unless you are living with your super old boyfriend”
“Oh my god Morgan stop, and 24 is not super old”
“So what’s the plan? Ignore his hotness and resist the urge to hump him until you turn 18 but then leave for college?”
“I don’t know, maybe, maybe we can become good friends then when I turn 18 I’ll just be like hey can you please sleep with me so I’m not a virgin in college and then he will fall in love with me and ask me to stay on the farm and we will get married and have kids”
“You sound insane”
“He is just sooooo hot and he is funny without even trying and he is a badass and did I mention his jaw, oh man”
“I’m going to hand up before you stick your hand down your pants”
“Gross Morgan, I wouldn't do that with you on the phone"
"So you're not denying that you're going to do it?"
The first weekend rolled around after Casey and Shaw started and it was Casey’s weekend off so Chuck went out to introduce himself.
“Hi, I’m Chuck”
“Hey there, I’m Daniel, you can call me Shaw though”
Chuck thought he was way too good looking to be out on a farm, he looked like a model that should be living in a big city somewhere. “Not sure if Casey told you, but I have lunch up at the house every day at noon, I was wondering if you had any allergies”
“I packed my own lunch, but I can join you at the house and we can get to know each other a little bit”
“Oh okay, well I’ll let you get back to it, and can you make me a list of anything we need for the farm, I have to run into town later so I can pick it up”
“See you in a few hours Chuck”
Since Chuck didn’t have to make enough food for two he just made himself a sandwich and a small salad, he was done with his salad by the time Shaw finally showed up.
“Hey sorry I’m late”
“It’s fine, it’s not like it’s mandatory”
“Here is a list of things"
“I was thinking of setting up a laptop in the barn by where Casey stays and making a spreadsheet with all the supplies and that way we can keep a running inventory count so I can have the stuff delivered in bulk and we can get a better deal on it. I don’t know much about farming but I’ve been doing some research and I think I can handle the inventory and ordering if you two could just help me keep up on it”
“That’s a great idea Chuck” He took his Tupperware out of his lunch box and stuck it in the microwave. “So your only job around here is lunch lady?”
“Well I’m a guy so no, and it’s just something I do because I enjoy cooking and I have not much else going on right now”
“Do you have a girlfriend?”
“Do you ever see your dad?”
“No” Chuck really didn’t like this guy
“Where is your mom?”
“If you find her, let me know”
“So what brings you out to a farm”
“My dad is crazy”
“Yeah the only thing in our contract was to stay away from his work building and absolutely never go in and only knock if the light is off”
“Well the light is never off so good luck with that”
“What is his job?”
“I have no idea”
“That’s weird, so what do you do when you arent cooking?”
“I’m taking college classes online, and I just started doing computer repairs for people in town”
“You’re fascinating Chuck”
“Uh thanks, I guess” Chuck quickly finished his sandwich and looked at his watch “Well I actually have to go. If I don’t see you before you leave tonight, see you tomorrow”
Chuck was so glad to see Casey on Monday he just wanted to hug him, but he knew that would be stupid. He told Casey the idea about the spreadsheet and he thought it was a great idea so Chuck spent the day following Casey around learning stuff and making lists, and learning about the farm.
They had a quick lunch of sandwiches and chips so Chuck decided to make them a nice dinner.
“Thanks for today, it was nice to see it all”
“Feel free to join me anytime”
“Only times when Shaw isn’t here, he made me uncomfortable”
“What did he do?”
“He just asked a ridiculous amount of questions but never answered any of mine, and he seemed to get upset if I didn’t give a detailed answer”
“You ask a lot of questions and I don’t give detailed answers”
“It’s different, I get a weird vibe from him, and the nasty smelling soup he brought for lunch both days, anyway, I think I’d like to help feed the animals in the morning, give me a reason to wake up and start the day and not waste the day sleeping, I seem to do better on my school work when I wake up earlier”
“What a concept” Casey joked. “Do you know what you want to study?”
“Probably computer science”
“Only because you don’t like technology, I, however, love it”
“This meatloaf is really good”
“Thanks, I called Diane and asked for a recipe because there was like ten I found online that said the best ever but they were all different”
“Are the green beans from the market?”
“Yeah, I also picked up some peaches, they are so juicy, you should take a few and some apples and you can eat them with your breakfast”
Chuck was still super uncomfortable around Shaw but he decided to continue to feed the animals every morning, he has been doing it for seven months now and he really enjoys it and has been writing a blog about it, he doesn't know how many people read it, he started going it out of boredom but he really enjoys writing so he keeps doing it.
It was a Thursday so he mentally prepared himself to deal with Shaw while he put his boots on, and shocker Shaw was waiting by the food storage shed.
“Good Morning Chuck”
“What are you up to?”
“The same thing I have been doing for like seven months”
“Oh, I thought you only did that when Casey was here?”
“Why isn't he here?”
“You do realize this I do this every day, even on the weekends when it’s just you”
“Is there a no dating rule between you and employees?”
“No, but there is a law against it, seeing as I’m only 17”
“Seriously? I thought you were in college? And I think you can still date, just no sexual stuff until 18"
“I graduated from high school early so I’m taking online classes until I’m 18 and can move into my own place and go away for college”
“But even if I was 18, you are not my type”
“I thought you said you were bi”
“What’s your point?”
“Just one kiss, just to see”
Shaw pressed his body into Chuck’s pressing him into the wall,
“Seriously, what the hell is wrong with you, get off of me” Chuck was trying not to panic
“Just one kiss Chuck” He pressed his body hard into Chuck's, Chuck yelled even though he knew no one could hear him.
Archie must have heard Chuck yell though, because he ran into the shed and started barking and pulling on Shaw’s pant leg, Shaw tried to shake him off and kicked him, Chuck took the oportunity to knee him in the groin and took off running towards the house, he got inside and locked the door, then ran up to his room to grab his phone, his hands were shaking as he called Casey.
“Hey Chuck, sorry I’m late”
“How are away are you?”
“Hurry, Shaw cornered me, I kicked him in the nuts and I’ve locked myself in my room, but I don’t know if he can get in or if he has a gun. I’m scared John”
“Just stay on the phone with me”
“Shouldn’t I call the cops?”
“I’m closer and I don't want you to hang up, I'll call when I get there"
“He wanted to kiss me”
“Once I get a hold of him you will never see him again”
Chuck sent his dad an email letting him know what was going on, not that he would even care, but he thought he should know just in case anything were to happen to him.
“I’m here, I’m going to hang up, stay in your room no matter what you hear, if I knock and call you Chuck don’t open the door, only open if I call you Bartowski okay”
“OKay, be safe please”
Chuck heard a gunshot and hid under his desk, he had no idea how much time had passed when there was a knock at the door.
“It’s me Bartowski”
“I can’t seem to move”
“Is there anything blocking the door?”
“No” he jumped when his door was kicked open
Casey sat down on the floor next to him “I’ll fix that tomorrow”
“Did you kill him?”
“No, I’m not stupid, I threatened him, then shot out his back window as he drove away and called the police and told them to look for his car with the back window shot out, we will probably have to fill out a police report” Casey grabbed his shoulder pulling him closer “What the hell did he do to you?”
Chuck looked over and saw the shoulder and sleeve of his shirt had blood on them. “Oh no” he squeezed his eyes shut as he started to feel dizzy. “I can’t handle blood”
“Keep your eyes closed, I’m going to help you out from under the desk and we are going to walk into the bathroom okay”
Casey lead him into the bathroom and sat him on the closed toilet lid. “Is it okay if I take your shirt off to get a look at it?”
“I trust you” Chuck winced when he lifted his arm “I didn’t even know I was bleeding, I have no idea what happened”
Casey wet a rag and started wiping off the blood so he could get a better look at what was causing all the blood.
The door flew open and Chuck’s dad was standing there with a gun pointed at Casey
“Get away from my son”
“He is underage you pervert”
“Dad this is not Shaw, this is Casey, the one who saved me, so how about you go back to your office and continue to act like you don't have a kid”
“Just stop dad, I’m fine, Shaw is gone, the police are looking for him”
“Leave me alone” Chuck yelled.
“Just remember he is underage”
“Wrong person” Casey growled. “And if you point that gun at me again, you’ll regret it”
"Chuck come out to my office, we need to talk"
"Maybe later, right now I'm trying to not bleed to death"
His stared at him for a moment before he walked away.
"It's not that bad" Casey went back to cleaning off Chuck’s shoulder, “We will have to go out to the barn and look around, there is a long cut across your shoulder blade, it doesn’t look deep. But I’m going to clean it with alcohol and put some medicine and a bandage on it”
“Oh no, did you see Archie?”
“He tried to save me and Shaw kicked him, I tried to get him to follow me into the house but he didn't follow me”
“I’m sure he is fine, but that explains why Shaw was limping, we should give him a big treat”
They went out to the shed and found a nail sticking out of the wall with blood on it “Hope you have your tetanus shot”
“I do, my sister is in school to be a doctor so she made sure I got it before we came out to a farm” He didn't know why he just started crying.
Casey pulled him into a hug, Chuck buried his face into his shirt and lost it, he was embarrassed but he couldn't control it. "It's okay Chuck" Casey patted his back.
“Hey look who it is”
Chuck turned to see Archie wagging his tail, he kneeled down to pet him, “Thanks buddy” He pulled a handful of treats from his pocket. “You’re a good boy”
Chuck spend the day learning more about more things are the farm so they didn’t have to hire anyone else and Casey would still be able to have his weekends off, also to keep his mind busy to try not and think about what had happened.
That night Casey stayed in the other bedroom because Chuck was too scared to sleep in the house alone. In the middle of the night, Chuck dragged his blanket and pillows into the room and slept on the floor. It took a few weeks until he was able to sleep through the night again.
“Morning” Casey handed him a bucket of horse feed “Any big plans for tomorrow?”
“Nope, it’s just another day”
“You’ll finally be 18, you can leave and never look back”
“I never thought I’d say this, but I don’t want to leave anymore, at least not right now”
“You have so much potential kid, escape while you can”
“I thought we talked about this, you can call me Chuck or Bartowski, not kid or sport”
“I’ve been getting better”
“Wait, I just realized we have known each other a year and we never celebrate your birthday”
“It was in February, like you, it’s just another day. But I think you should think about, apply for college or something”
“I’ll think about it”
“And tomorrow, I’ll cook you dinner, okay”
“Casey you don’t have to”
“Well I’m going to”
“And you’re taking the day off tomorrow”
Dinner time came around and there was no sign of Casey, so he ate his dinner and made a bowl for Casey he went out to the barn and saw that Casey’s truck was still gone so he went decided to put the food in the fridge, he had never actually seen the inside of the room so he was kind of curious, he just hoped Casey didn’t kill him.
The room had a small bed, that he would have to email his dad about upgrading, Casey worked too hard to be sleeping on a tiny cot, next to it was a small dresser with a little lamp, at the foot of the bed there was a desk stacked with books, and on the other side of the room is a sink, a mini-fridge, a coffee maker and a toaster oven, and in the back corner was a door that was slightly open and Chuck could see it was the bathroom. He put the food in the fridge then looked around for paper and a pen to leave him a note, he opened the drawer on the desk, he found a fancy looking notebook with a pen hooked to it. He felt wrong opening it, but he told himself he wouldn't read it. He opened it and a few pictures fell out, the first one looked like a young Casey with what he assumed where his parents, the next one was Casey, he looked pretty young and he was holding a baby, the rest where him with a little girl at different ages.
“What the hell are you doing Chuck?”
Chuck jumped. “Shit, sorry, you didn’t come for dinner so I brought you some and I was looking for a piece of paper to leave you a note, sorry I swear I wasn't snooping, they fell out of the notebook” Chuck quickly put the pictures back in the notebook and put them exactly where he found them. “Who is the little girl? She is adorable, and you look so happy in the picture, I’ve never seen you smile like that, it’s nice”
“I need you to leave”
“Oh um sorry, the spaghetti is in the fridge, there are a few breadsticks and a baggie of parmesan cheese hope you like it, goodnight”
Casey felt bad for getting upset with Chuck the night before, so he decided to wake up early and go get him coffee and donuts for his birthday.
When he got back, he rang the doorbell a few times but there was no answer, he decided to go ahead and go inside and up to Chuck’s room, but the bed was empty, he took out his phone and called Chuck, he heard his phone ring, he followed the sound and it was under his bed. Casey frantically looked around the room, and that’s when he saw the laptop sitting on Chuck’s desk with a post-it that said ‘play me’
Casey sat the donuts and coffee on the nightstand before he sat at the desk, he was preparing himself for a goodbye video from Chuck, maybe Chuck actually took his advice, he was wrong, so very wrong.
Casey pressed the spacebar and the screen lit up.
“Hello Stephan, or should I call you Orion?” Then it cut to an image of Chuck on his bed, hands, and feet tied up with rope and a piece of duct tape over his mouth, there was blood dripping down the side of his head and he had a black eye. Casey’s heart sank, he paused the video, he grabbed the laptop and ran out to his truck to get a gun then he ran over to the ‘office’ he completely ignored the red light above the door, he slammed his fist into it a half a dozen times, and when there was no answer he emptied his gun into the handle.
“Excuse me, who the hell are you”
“Really? You forgot already?”
“Did you forget about the contract you sign has strict rules about my office”
Casey resisted the urge to punch him in the face. “Did you even know it was Chuck’s 18th birthday today? And because you hired some fucking creep to work here it may be his last”
“What the hell are you talking about?”
He pushed passed Stephan and sat the laptop on the desk and pressed the spacebar”
After the image of Chuck tied and beaten, Shaw’s face appeared.
“Wait you know him?”
“You are a fucking moron”
“So Orian, do you even recognize your own son? How long has it been since you have actually seen his face? For someone with your smarts, you sure are stupid, there is no security around this place, no background checks on the two men you have hired. An ex-assassin who has been getting super close to Chuck, and me, a spy sent undercover to get all the information I can on the Intersect project. I know that you don’t care much for Chuck, but he was the only leverage I had since you know, you killed my wife” a picture of his wife showed up on the screen. “If you don’t meet me at 8 pm on the night after Chuck’s 18th birthday at the spot you gunned her down, he will be dead, and if you get this in a month or two when you remember that you actually have a kid, you will find his body buried in that spot. Good luck Orian”
“You’re going to tell me where that spot is, and I’m going to save him, you can stay here for all I care, but by 8 pm tomorrow Chuck will be safe and Shaw will be dead”
“I’m coming with you”
“Fine, here is the plan, you make a replica of this intersect thing, we meet Shaw, you hand it over, get Chuck’s location and I’ll be nearby with my gun pointed at his head”
“We need to get to Washington state, it was at a little farm where she grew up, Shaw’s wife was my high school sweetheart’s daughter. Back then his name was Brandon Kent, We both worked for the CIA, I still do freelance work, she got compromised, I went to warn her and she was killed by a sniper, Shaw showed up and saw me holding her dead body, he blamed me”
“You have until tomorrow morning to get that fake to intersect made, I’m calling in a favor”
It was close to four hours after they arrived at the hospital before Chuck woke up screaming.
Casey quickly grabbed his hand. “You’re fine, you’re safe, I promise”
“Oh my god Casey, what happened? Where is my dad? What happened to Shaw?”
“Your dad is in recovery, he will be fine, he was shot in the stomach and in the shoulder, Shaw is dead, and if anyone asks I’m your uncle”
“You saved me”
“Someone from the CIA will be here to interview you about anything you know, I’ll let you get some sleep, I’m glad you’re okay”
“Casey listen to me, please” Chuck was so overwhelmed with emotion he felt like he was about to cry “I have no one else”
“Can we talk?”
“Chuck you have had a hard day, we can talk later”
“My birthday is seriously the worst day of my life and at this rate, I’ll be dead by 20”
“Well if we were still at the farm it would technically still be your birthday, we missed it by three minutes Washington time, is there anything I can do to make your day better?”
Chuck blushed at the first thing that came to his mind. “Can we still have that dinner, when we get back?”
“That made you blush?”
“Um, what? No, just forget about it”
“I just shot someone to save your life”
“Kiss me” Chuck blurted out
Casey just stared at him.
“I’m sorry, oh my god” Chuck pulled the sheet over his head “Please leave before I explode with embarrassment”
“Chuck” Casey pulled the sheet down
“Let me guess, I’m too young?”
“That’s one of the reasons”
“Are you straight?”
“Okay, does it have to do with the pictures I found?”
“In a way”
“What I want for my birthday is for you to talk to me”
“It’s not that easy Chuck”
Casey took a deep breath “You just turned 18, so it makes me sound like a creep that was just waiting until you turned 18, but I wasn’t. So IF anything were to happen to us, I would want to take it very very slow. I think you should go off to college, live your life how you want, don’t let anyone control your life, and don’t live a life you don’t want, and if you still like me when all that is done, we can talk about it. And as for the pictures you found, that’s my daughter Alex” Casey took out his phone and showed Chuck a picture, “This was last night, we had dinner, that’s why I take some weekends off or go into town at random times, she was born when me and her mother were 18, I didn’t know about her until she was born, I saw her once before I was shipped off to boot camp, so now I make sure to see her as much as possible"
“She has your eyes” Chuck smiled. “Thank you for sharing that with me” Chuck sat up “I have a secret of my own to share”
“Is it that you have had a crush on me since the day we met? Cuz Morgan told me that when I called to tell him what happened”
“I'm going to kill him, but no that’s not it” Chuck nervously chewed at his bottom lip “Can you promise me that if I leave you will be there when I come back?”
“I don’t plan on leaving Wyoming, Alex’s mom, her family, and new husband and his family all live there, and I spent most of her life away in the Marines and I promised I would always be there when she calls so I don’t plan on going anywhere”
“I got a full ride scholarship to Stanford”
“Chuck that’s amazing, that is your dream school”
“I start at the end of October and since I did all my basics online I'll graduate in three years”
“I’m so happy for you Chuck”
“It’s about a sixteen-hour drive so I won’t be able to come home much, but I’ll do my best”
“Guess it’s time you finally teach me to use a computer, maybe we can do a video chat dinner a few times a week”
“I was thinking about when I graduate I can open up a place in town, seems like I’m the only person around that knows anything about computers so it may work out”
“Sounds like you have it all planned out” Casey couldn’t help but smile.
“Someone kept giving me all this great advice, and telling me to go, so I did”
"Trust me, you won't regret it"
"My face hurts, how bad does it look?"
"Absolutely horrible" Casey laughed "I'm kidding, it's not that bad, just a black eye, and the gash on your head didn't need stitches.
"Why did he take me? Just because I refused to kiss him a few months ago?"
"I'm leaving that conversation to you and your dad"
Chuck laughed, "If he didn't get hurt, he wouldn't even be here"
"That may be true, but it's a lot and I don't know all the details, but he was at the farm as revenge for something your dad did a long times ago, so it's not really my place to say"
"Thanks for saving my life"
"Are you going to get in trouble for killing someone?"
"No, let's just leave it at that"
“Wake up Chuck”
“I really don’t want to” He buried his face into his pillow
Chuck sat up so quickly it made his head hurt
“Wow you’re right, that was easy” Morgan laughed handing Casey a twenty
“You’re a pervert Bartowski” Casey smirked
“I hate both of you, go away”
“It’s your last few hours until you leave, we wanted to have breakfast with you”
“Is dad here”
“He put a ridiculous amount of money into my account last night so I just thought since he knew I was leaving, you know what nevermind.”
“Come on, let’s get you fed, then we can take one last walk around the farm”
Chuck followed them downstairs to a table full of food “Wow you guys went a bit overboard, there is only three of us”
“Well we are going to have two other guests, they should be here any minute, I’ll get you a coffee, you two sit down”
Chuck had just poured syrup on his giant stack of pancakes when the doorbell rang. When Casey opened it a little girl ran in wrapping her arms around Casey’s waist, she was followed by a very pregnant woman that Chuck assumed was her mom.
“Hey, thanks for this”
“No problem” she smiled
Casey picked up the little girl and walked into kitchen sitting her into one of the chairs.
“This is my daughter Alex, Alex these are dad’s two friends Chuck and Morgan”
“I go to school with a girl named Morgan, Morgan is a girl name”
"You're a girl named Alex"
"It's Alexandra you turd"
Casey tried not to laugh "Hey I thought we talked about not saying that"
“Yeah be nice sweety, there is no boy names and no girl names” She held out her hand to Chuck “Hi, I’m Kathleen, and this” she pointed to her stomach “is Garrison”
“I had plans to be with them today, but I wanted to see you off so she agreed to come over and have breakfast with us before our day of activities”
“That was really nice of you, thanks”
“I know how much you and this farm mean to him, I knew today would be hard for him, so we wanted to be here”
“About that” Chuck got up and walked out of the room, he came back a few seconds later with a folder, he sat it in front of Casey “The farm is yours if you want it”
Casey opened the folder but couldn't make sense of all the papers
“I already had a lawyer look over it when my dad sent it to me, there is no catch, he wants you to have it all, it’s fully paid off and your salary will stay the same as long as you live here and take care of it, but you can do whatever you like and keep all the profits from anything you decide to do” He handed Casey a pen “I put a green post-it in all the places you need to sign”
“You can't be serious?”
“My dad only bought this place to hide out and obviously that didn’t work, so I asked him to give it to you instead of selling it. I figure you can turn one of the room into Alex’s and you won’t have to live in the barn anymore so she can spend the night here instead of you having to stay there”
“Do you guys mind if me and Chuck take a quick walk?” Casey looked around
“No, go ahead, but I can’t promise your daughter will leave you any pancakes” She smiled.
“Back in the horse barn where it all began”
“Chuck this is too much”
“It’s really not, you have taken care of it for over a year, plus I’ll need a place to stay over Christmas break”
“I don’t know what to say”
“Say yes then kiss me”
Casey laughed “You’re ridiculous Bartowski”
“Promise me that when we get married you’ll keep calling me that”
Casey shook his head, he cupped Chuck’s face “If I do this will you stop asking?”
“Probably not” Chuck smiled
Casey quickly kissed Chuck.
“That was cruel”
“Let’s go have breakfast”
Saying goodbye to the farm and to Casey was way harder than Chuck thought it would be, luckily he had Morgan to take the first driving shift so he could be a cliche and cry while looking out the window. He probably would have been fine but then Casey hugged him, which meant so much because Casey never hugged anyone except Alex so Chuck knew it meant a lot to Casey too. He wasn’t sure when he would be able to come back to the farm with all the extra classes he signed up for and he wasn’t planning on taking a summer break.
Casey kept his promise of having video call dinners with Chuck whenever Chuck had the time, but he made sure to always be available to call him on Saturdays because Alex insisted and Chuck could not say no to her to pouty lips and big blue eyes.
He got to spend Christmas break in Colorado at a ski resort with Ellie and Devon, but then he filled his summer with classes and working at a bookstore so he wasn't able to make it to the farm until a week before his 19th birthday when he had a few weeks off before the new school year started.