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Chuck vs the Lost Memories

By Caprice Hokstad

Adventure / Action

Thoughts from Dresden

John Casey loved Dresden: old East Germany, with its Cold War charm to match its cold climate. Well, colder than Los Angeles and South Beach anyway. Oktoberfest was a lot more to his liking than bathing suits and pool lounging.

His job at Verbanski Corp wasn't bad either, when Gertrude actually let him do it. She was more protective of him than he liked, but she was the boss. Casey didn't have a problem with women in authority. He'd worked quite well under the command of General Beckman, both before and after Operation Bartowski, but he'd never tried to have a personal relationship with her.

Gertrude was great in bed. Frequent and intense; he certainly couldn't complain about that. But matters outside of the bedroom were starting to gnaw at him. She didn't force him to wear fuzzy sweaters or pretend to be his damsel in distress, but every time they talked, it was either work-related or it was sexual innuendo. She even did it in public and in front of clients, which he especially hated, because he always tried to show respect when others were around. But patiently explaining to her how it looked unprofessional hadn't helped. She did it even more, like it amused her to defy and embarrass him.

Then there was the moral ambiguity thing. More than once, he'd balked to Chuck and Sarah about accepting clients who had questionable motives or business practices. From what he was seeing of Verbanski Corp, she was ten times the offender they ever were. She didn't care if her clients were scum of the earth as long as they paid and as long as she wouldn't get caught doing anything illegal. Everything was always about money. Gertrude was loaded. She didn't need more money. She could be as discerning as she wanted. He told himself he had no right to judge her business, but it bugged him.

Chuck and Sarah had always treated Casey like a partner, not only by having his back and trusting him to have theirs, but they listened to him and gave him a say in Carmichael Industries. Yes, he got outvoted a couple of times, but no matter how much he chided them about being too touchy-feely, they always listened and acted like his opinion really mattered. He hadn't put up any of the capital, but they still treated him like a business partner.

Furthermore, there was no use denying he thought of them as more than just partners. He'd been a groomsman at their wedding. He'd risked his life and his career for both of them on separate occasions. They were damn good spies, but they were also his friends. So what did he do? At Sarah's time of greatest need, he'd handed her a DVD and told her to have a good life. He knew his friends were both suffering terribly over the aftermath of Quinn, but he didn't stick around to show support or even to help with that new cyberterrorism business after he'd been the one to insist they sell the Buy More.

He'd heard through Alex that Sarah had rejoined the CIA. He knew about her rejecting Chuck as a partner. He knew what kind of emotional tailspin that would inflict on Chuck. But was he there, distracting his hyper-emotional friend by helping him get the new business direction started and off the ground? No. He'd run off after a girl.

Casey could forgive himself if it had been Kathleen. He'd been engaged to her and he'd conceived a child with her. Kathleen had been true love. Could he really say that about Gertrude?

Casey also missed Alex more than he had imagined possible. She had started out texting him five and six times a day, but she'd quickly lost interest and now he was lucky if he heard from her once a day. He had spent most of her life not even knowing she existed, but he couldn't use that excuse anymore. He knew he had a daughter and he loved spending time with her. He even loved that silly period drama she introduced him to, and he never watched PBS. He could watch Downton Abbey on BBC here in Dresden, but it just wasn't any good without Alex.

And then there was Morgan. How in hell had he ever got so attached to that little bearded troll? The kid didn't have much in the brains department, but what he lacked in intelligence, he made up for in raw guts. He'd never been in the military (he would never pass the physical) or gone to spy training like Chuck had, yet Morgan broke his own thumbs on command, played bait for a Bengal tiger, and electrocuted himself to save his friends. Although Casey would never, ever admit it, somewhere in the depths of his private thoughts, he was finding himself comparing his present roommate to his former one, and the bearded troll was coming out ahead. Morgan had decent cooking skills and he helped keep their apartment clean. Morgan talked to him like he was a human being and not an object, and Morgan called him 'sir' when there was no agency or relationship standard that required it. He understood respect.

As if all those major concerns weren't enough, when he was having a bad day or starting to lose it because of itchy trigger finger, he would obsess over how much he missed his Crown Vic or his bonsai trees. Trivial stuff. He knew that. How could he even let those silly inanimate objects enter his mind when there were so many people to consider, people he truly cared about?

He should give Gertrude more time to get this relationship thing off the ground. She had been KGB. By her own admission, she hadn't had much practice with anything but seducing men in order to get their secrets or picking up one-night-stands to provide amusement. He wasn't exactly a Casanova either. Failed "seduction school" twice. Chose a fake death over marrying the woman he'd proposed to. Really, he couldn't expect things to fall magically into place just because the sex was so incredible.

Yes, time would be the answer. He should give it more time.

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