Chuck vs The Game


Bartowski family home, Encino, three days after the phone call

Chuck was frantic while he was walking to the old family home. He didn't know what to think.

As arranged, today he was going to meet his father for the first time since Ellie's wedding. He knew it was going to be about him downloading the new version of the Intersect. But he had to. He couldn't just walk away just like that. If he hadn't downloaded it, he couldn't have lived with himself. If there was one thing he learnt from working with Sarah and Casey, it was the service of something greater than himself.

These thoughts pre-occupied him as he walked up to the front door. He took a quick look around, saw no one and entered the house. After two years of being accompanied by Sarah and/or Casey everywhere, he was nervous. But his father insisted that he come alone. They couldnt know where he was, so he just faked a computer emergency and left the Buymore. He had taken off his watch and left it in the Nerd Herder, which was parked 3 blocks away, well away from any cameras.

The house looked more or less as he remembered it, but there was a lot of dust everywhere. The walls had lost their original shade of pink. He felt his eyes moisten. The house had a lot of memories, good and bad.

Chuck slowly walked around the house, remembering when the whole family lived there. He slowly opened his old bedroom door and saw his bed, table and wardrobe. The room was in the same neglected condition as downstairs and there was a pale patch on the wall where his Tron poster used to be. Looking around the room, he noticed something under the bed. He smiled to himself when he realised it was a carriage from his old train set; it had been a Christmas gift from his mother.

He had lost some pieces over time, but he remembered how happy he was when his mother gave it to him. All his friends had one and he had pestered his parents for the same set. He was ecstatic that whole week, because not only did he get the set, his mother and he had played together with it as well. His mother was usually away a lot because of her work and he usually didn't get to spend a lot of time with her, so he was happy with whatever time he got with her. When he looked at the bed again, he remembered his mother reading him stories about the Frost Queen. He loved those times with his mother and he was devastated when she left for no apparent reason.

He still had Ellie and his father, but they couldn't replace his mother. When she left them, their father was always in his office and rarely seemed to leave it. The one day he was gone as well. Ellie had been a mess too when their mother left for a while at least, as their father was never really there for them. As the eldest, she was forced to grow up too fast for her age. She looked after Chuck and took care of him as best as she could. Times were hard after their father left them to their own devices. Somehow they managed.

He picked up the train, put it carefully in his jacket pocket, and left the room. Next, he slowly walked past Ellie's room. He saw her bed, her makeup table and wardrobe. Her posters were still on the wall; movie posters, music posters and his painting defacing one of the them. He laughed at the memory. Ellie was angry when she saw her poster with blue paint. She shouted at him about how he could paint her poster with that .He just shrugged his shoulder and laughed at her. But when he saw tears on her cheeks, he immediately felt sorry and apologized. Ellie had saved any money she could spare for that poster, but she apologized too for shouting at him. But she still didn't allow him to come into her room again for weeks. After that incident he never damaged anything belonging to Ellie.

He slowly closed the door and walked to their kitchen. The family always had breakfast together; their father would make them pancakes while their mother looked after the rest. Sometimes he just would tease Ellie by stealing her pancakes while she wasn't looking. When she realized that her pancakes were gone, she'd slowly turn her head and ask Chuck did he know where they were. He'd reply with as innocent an air as he could manage that he didn't know. Everyone would laugh at that. He smiled at all the memories.

But then he also he remembered why he was here and realised that his father wasn't there. As he was about to call him, he received a message.

Go to the living room. Turn the lamp on and off three times.

He did what he was told. Suddenly, the floor opened and stairs leading to a basement level appeared. Chuck was shocked. How long had that been there?

Anxious, yet also excited, he descended the stairs cautiously.

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