Title: and he cried.
Major Characters: Casey, Chuck
Background Characters: Sarah
Rating: PG- 13
Warnings: character death, blood
Notes: Written for this prompt here.
I want to see the first mission where Chuck is actually badly injured. I can't decide if it would be more fun for it to be pre-everybody-knowing and to see him, Casey and Sarah trying to deal with it while simultaneously trying to keep it from everyone, or post-everybody-knowing and having the whole group doing the protective-concerned-caring-for process together so I'll leave it up to you.
I really just want Chuck being his whimpery blind-sided self while everyone (Casey and Sarah in particular) are all protective and comforty and whatnot.
It was not supposed to go down this way. They were here to protect him, keep him safe.
Now Casey was crouched in the blood of his asset, the liquid climbing up the fibers of his pants, staining them a dark red as he knelt over Chuck.
Chuck was prone beneath his hands, limp and half aware. The red pooled out from the center of the gaping hole in Chuck’s chest. Casey knew that the bullet had just barely missed Chuck’s heart but not the important arteries and veins.
Chuck could only blink blearily up at him, the blood loss making him sluggish and unresponsive to most going on around him. He had tried talking to Casey at first, but in the end it Chuck couldn’t manage the strength to say much without drowning in the blood that was slowly leaking out his mouth. Instead, he had settled for weakly gripping one of Casey’s hands, his long loose fingers limply hanging onto Casey’s thick calloused ones.
Casey squeezed them, silent support to the man on the ground, and Chuck’s face lifted in a weak grin, before once more growing slack and wrinkled in a haze of pain.
Sarah was getting the medics, or an airlift, some kind of support.
She wanted to be with Chuck, had that lady-crush on him, but Casey had beaten her to the metaphysical punch. He’d been the first one to put pressure on the wound, keeping Chuck stable. He’d been the one to get Chuck to open his eyes, to squeeze his hand, to talk, to stay alive a few seconds longer. Casey had been the one to keep Chuck’s blood inside of Chuck’s body, not because he’d been closer, but because he’d reacted faster. He was not compromised like Sarah.
She understood that because of her hesitance, because of those few extra seconds lost, because of those few extra seconds it took for Casey to run past her and slam his beefy hands down on the fountain of blood staining Chuck’s shirt and the ground he was laying on, those few extra seconds may have cost Chuck his life.
So Sarah, in her guilt and love for the man on ground, left Chuck to call the ambulance. It was the least she could do. She would only get in Casey’s way.
“…s-sorry…” Chuck sputtered blood, almost choking until Casey managed to turn Chuck over on his side so the red frothy liquid could dribble from his mouth. Casey placed one of his hands across the span of Chuck’s back and pressed down, massaging down along the length of his spine. He know it would provide some measure of comfort.
When Casey was sure Chuck had expelled most of the blood from his lungs, he gently rolled Chuck back towards Casey, laying him on his back and leaning against one of Casey’s legs. Chuck’s eyes rolled in their sockets, eventually managing to rest somewhere in the vicinity of Casey so he could look at the NSA agent. He was so pale.
Casey released a growl that reverberated deep within his chest, “Shut it, Bartowski.” He clamped down hard on the gaping hole in the asset’s chest. “You’re an idiot.” Casey didn’t acknowledge the tight sharp twist in his own chest or how shallow Chuck’s breaths were.
Chuck, half-lidded, lifted his head and tilted it up. It bared his neck and hindered his breathing, but the position also allowed him to look John Casey in the eyes without so much strain on his own, “I’m glad you’re ok.” Chuck spoke with a breath and so softly that Casey almost didn’t hear him.
Casey clenched his eyes shut for just a moment, remembering the pounding of feet on the pavement. He was facing his death, the moment when someone had finally got the best of Major John Casey. He saw the barrel of the gun raised. The glint in the other’s eyes. He saw the tendons in the index finger twitch, the pull of a trigger. He heard the bullet explode from the chamber and Chuck’s face as he stepped in front of the gun. An obstacle in the path of a bullet.
Casey had his own gun locked, loaded, and fired before Chuck had hit the ground. The man that would have killed him not a second ago fell to the ground a corpse.
Chuck wasn’t so lucky.
Casey raced past Walker to Chuck, dropping to the ground so hard his knees cracked against the pavement.
“Kid, you with me?”
He brushed back Chuck’s curly hair on his forehead, hoping for some kind of life. The wet rattling cough wasn’t what he was hoping for.
“It’s my job to protect you, numb-nuts.” Casey petted Chuck’s hair back from his sweat-coated skin, reminiscent of earlier that evening.
“…He…. woulda killed…. you…” Chuck choked on the words as his own bodily fluids tried to drown him on dry land. Casey closed his eyes, his hands clenching in frustration. He didn’t know what to say. There was nothing he could do to make it better.
Chuck smiled then, looking so fondly up at Casey that John’s chest ached with something so agonizing, so raw, that he knew he was compromised too.
“I’m… glad we’re…. friends.”
Casey dropped his hand down to latch onto Chuck’s own, squeezing those long blood-soaked fingers with all the strength he had.
Nothing was worth the blood soaked into the knees of his jeans or the skin of his hands. It bleached his skin, burned him, clung to him. It felt like sharp razors clawing up his arms.
Chuck relaxed, eventually. Dull eyes staring up at Casey.
and he cried.