The floor creaked under Casey's foot; he ducked around a corner and bitched himself out mentally. He was a pro, what kind of mistake was that?
In the kitchen, Bartowski started rehearsing his speech, asking Walker to travel around the world with him, or some bull like that. As if a trained agent would consider giving up everything for some kid with a brain stuffed full of last year's intel. Sure, even without the Intersect, Bartowski was a good kid--a good man. He was braver than he let on, and not nearly as stupid as Casey liked to pretend. And he--
Casey's gun slipped slightly in his grasp. He tightened both hands on it. The mission was simple, and it was his job to complete it. There were no other options.
The doorbell rang. Casey slid farther into the shadows.
"Chuck?" Walker's voice. "I just got word--the Intersect has been activated."
"That's it, then," Bartowski said. "That's it, I'm free."
"Not exactly," Casey said. He came around the corner into the kitchen, gun still tight in his hands but pointed at the floor.
"Casey!" Bartowski let go of Walker and almost tripped backwards. "Why are you in my apartment?"
"What's going on?" Walker asked. Casey just looked at her; she went pale. "No."
"No, what? What isn't going on? Or is? And why is Casey in my--oh God you're here to kill me."
See, not as dumb as he looked.
"No one said anything about this to me," Walker said. She inched her way forward until she was slightly in front of Bartowski. "They said he would be--
"A danger to national security," Casey said flatly. "The General signed off on it."
"No," Walker said again.
Bartowski stared at Casey with wide eyes, shoulders braced. "Don't hurt Sarah," he said.
Walker turned to him. "Chuck--
Bartowski stepped in front of her. "Please."
Casey started to raise his gun. "I'm under orders."
Bartowski raised his hands in a gesture of surrender. "Please," he said, and nothing else.
Casey stared at him for a long minute, then turned and fired one clean shot through the dining room chandelier.
Bartowski screamed and ducked; Walker moved forward, then stopped. "The surveillance camera?" she asked.
Casey nodded. "I give us ten minutes' head start at the most; the cleanup crew will already be on its way."
Bartowski was still stopped over. "Head start to what?" he asked, his voice still high.
"To save you," Walker said. She held out her hand, and Casey slid his backup gun out of its holster and tossed it to her. She turned to the door and opened it a crack, peering out.
"So...you're not gonna shoot me?" Bartowski asked.
"Not at the moment," Casey said.
Bartowski blinked. "Okay. Thank you. I mean--He looked around the apartment, then back at Casey. "Oh, God. But thank you."
"We're clear," Walker said, and Casey pushed Bartowski to the door.
"Thank me later," he said. "Now run."