A/N: So I wrote this in honor of the two year anniversary of the finale, then put it up on my tumblr, but not here. And I thought maybe other people besides just my tumblr followers might like a little bit of Charah in their lives as well.
So here it is...
It's canon. Somewhere in the beginning of season 4, I would say. After Versus the Anniversary.
"Hour two has commenced."
Sarah smirked a little from her place behind the wheel, her eyes staying glued to the locked gate at the entrance of the warehouse compound. "You've been doing stakeouts for how long now, Chuck? And yet you still haven't learned that announcing every hour that another hour has passed isn't exactly helpful."
"The hour is one and all is weeelll," he said in a sing-songy voice, and she couldn't help but giggle, shaking her head.
A small-time arms dealer allegedly contracted to Volkoff Industries was supposedly using the compound for his illegal business. And if they could figure out his dealings, they might be able to bring him in. That meant there would be a chance he could tell them more about the illusive Alexei Volkoff.
Back at Castle earlier on in the night, she, Chuck and Casey had drawn straws to determine who would go on the stakeout. They were all tired after the night before had proven to be long and trying. And nobody wanted the short straw.
Because it was just the way things worked, Sarah had drawn the short straw. Casey didn't even seem to have the energy to send her a satisfied smirk. Instead he just looked relieved, wished her luck, and trudged out of the room.
And so she'd bid Chuck goodnight with a kiss, telling him not to wait up for her like he usually did, watched him reluctantly drag himself up the stairs and out of Castle, packed all of her gear in a duffel, changed her clothes, and moved out to the surveillance van. It took quite a while to go through the checklist in the back of the van before she could leave for the compound.
By that time it was nearing on half past ten and she had no way of knowing if she would be outside of the warehouse for an hour, two, three…until morning—it pained her just to think about it—Sarah had climbed into the driver's seat of the van and shut the door.
And she'd promptly yelped and made a grab for her gun at feeling more than seeing the man sitting in the passenger seat. Needless to say, Chuck was exceedingly apologetic. But she hadn't been able to glare for much longer than a few seconds, because he was there.
It really was that simple, too. He hadn't had to say why he was there. No explanation was needed. He was there, sitting in the passenger seat, with an Igloo cooler on his lap, along with a blanket and an extra sweatshirt—the smallish one that he always let her borrow because it fit her better than it did him. Or so he claimed.
Sarah finally looked away from the gate and peered at Chuck's profile. He was staring straight ahead very intently, almost as though he was in a daze. She knew he was tired. Even after everything that had happened the night before, as evidenced by the large bruise over his ribcage that was probably aching even now as he sat here beside her, Chuck had worked a full shift at the Buy More the very next morning.
And he was here now. In the middle of the night.
"Chuck, you should get some sleep. Take the blanket and use the sweatshirt as a pillow. There's plenty of room in the back for you," she said softly, reaching over to rub his shoulder soothingly.
The corner of his mouth tilted up slowly. "Yeah, I'll go back there…" She knew exactly what was coming after the pause, not just because of the Bartowski eyebrow dance she saw him prepping, but because she knew that tone he was using. She knew him better than she had ever known anyone else in her life. "…if you come with me." And there it was. And there were the eyebrows.
"You know I can't," she admonished, even as she sent him a flirtatious look through her eyelashes. "And don't think I don't know that's what the blanket was for."
"Um!" He held up a finger, seemingly offended. "Well—Miss Smarty Pants—apparently you don't know everything because the blanket was for the cold. I checked the weather. It's liable to get into the low forties tonight. An LA-style cold snap, as it were," he informed her, crossing his arms.
"And sex," she added simply.
"And sex," he confirmed. "But I was eighty percent certain that would be off the table. I just like to be prepared, is all."
"Uh, yeah, I know. I remember the boxes of condoms you brought onto the train with us in Paris—"
"Squeeze me? Uh, no. That was all you. I bought one in light of the events that occurred in Barstow—or didn't occur, as it were—You, Agent Walker, are the one who literally dumped a purse full of condom boxes onto our bed the second we got into the compartment."
"Maybe…but—It wasn't a purse-full!" She spun on him, disgruntled. "It was, like, two boxes, okay?"
"Fine," he chuckled, twisting his body a little so that he was leaning his head against the window. "Two boxes then." His smile was soft and warm and everything she needed—everything she'd always needed.
And not for the first time, she felt grateful. Grateful to whatever power it was that put this man in her path, and that kept him there even when she was foolish and damaged enough to resist.
"You know, discussing condoms isn't exactly professional during a mission."
"Yeah, but this is a friggin' stakeout. Stakeouts don't count. Stakeouts are when you stuff your face full of snack foods, drink lots of coffee, and have deep, personal, and sometimes even life-altering conversations with your partner. And the occasional make out." His tired smile turned a little cheeky. "That too."
God, he was such a goofball and so attractively scruffy at the moment because he couldn't be bothered to shave that morning. A good, long make out would be really nice, she decided. But instead, she shook her head and looked away from the handsome sight of her boyfriend all lazily splayed out against the seat, smiling at her in that way that made her want to jump his bones.
"That isn't what stakeouts are for, as a matter of fact. They're for surveillance, to root out criminals, provide evidence of crimes committed, I could go on and on. And that has nothing to do with junk food." She calmly slapped his hand away as a bag of Skittles hovered near her face while she spoke.
"That makes no sense to me, though. Because here we're on a stakeout, and I have junk food," he wiggled the Skittles in the air, "we've got coffee," he nodded to the cup holders where two now-empty thermoses sat (yet another bonus of having Chuck as a boyfriend), "we're having a deep conversation, and—Well, the only thing that's missing is the making out and the door is still open on that. Just sayin'."
She squinted at him in confusion. "We're not having a deep conversation."
"Oh, really?" He blinked.
Sarah shook her head, beginning to smirk.
"I can make it deep." He sat up straighter, set aside the Skittles, and leaned close. She could feel the warmth of his body even as he sat inches away and it really wasn't fair at all. "Michaelangelo? Leonardo? Or Donatello?"
She gaped at him for a second, laughter bubbling out of her soon thereafter. "How the hell is that even remotely deep?"
"Just answer the question, Agent Walker."
"Fine," she groused. "Are we talking the actual painters? Or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?"
His eyes crossed a little. "Girl, you know I love it when you talk nerdy."
"Ha! That one was definitely prompted by you, though," she shot back, trying to ignore just how close he was. And the fact that it had been three whole days since they'd touched even remotely amorously. Falling on top of each other into bed out of pure exhaustion didn't count. But the only response he gave her was a quick bounce of his eyebrows and a sneaky smirk. He knew just what he was doing.
Sarah gaped, half in amusement and half in shock, then slapped his shoulder. "You're such a stinker."
Chuck just laughed and didn't miss the opportunity to dart in and kiss her cheek gently. "Yeeaah, I know, but I'm your stinker."
There was no stopping her grin at that. She peered down at her lap a bit shyly. And she felt ridiculous for it. But the way he wore his love for her on his face so plainly for all the world to see—plainly for her to see, most importantly—it sometimes overwhelmed her. And she wouldn't trade the feeling for anything.
"Chuck?" she finally muttered, looking out at the entrance gate again.
"I'm glad you're here." She turned her head and snuggled her cheek against the seat.
He just smiled that smile of his that she wanted to be just for her. And it was just for her, wasn't it? Maybe it always had been. Stop being a sap, Walker.
"I wouldn't have made you come out here alone. It's the epitome of Boring McBoringville. Wouldn't wish a stakeout like this on my worst enemy, let alone the girl that I love." It was cheesy, and he said it with a teasing glint in his eye, but it still sent tingles through every last nook and cranny of her body to hear him call her the girl that he loved.
"That's not what I mean, but…I'm glad you're here here, too." She paused to reach over and take his hand. "As much as I know it hurts you to lie to Ellie, having you back on the team again, having you there with me on missions, even something as trivial as this…it makes me feel better. Safer. Not that Casey isn't a great partner…I mean, he makes me feel safe, too."
"Unless he's hungry. He gets mean when he's hungry. I wouldn't trust him with a gun when he's—I'm sorry. I'm stopping. You're trying to have a serious conversation. Right." He pressed his lips together and winced, but Sarah didn't admonish him. She didn't have the heart for it. So instead she squeezed his hand and smiled.
"I just like knowing you're there. Not just because you're my boyfriend, but because you're a good partner. A good agent. You're good at this, Chuck. A little unconventional at times, but that's how I like it." She bounced one shoulder.
His thumb stroked slowly over the back of her hand and she raised her eyes up to look at him. There was something in the way he was looking at her. Something…heated…in his gaze.
"I know exactly how you like it," he said quietly, his tone leaving no room for misunderstanding. He wasn't teasing, or even flirting. It was just a statement of fact. Something they both knew was very true. That more than the actual words even set fire to her insides. She could tell he knew how much that had affected her, because he somehow slid even closer to her.
Instead of acting on that fire, she just reached up and gently stroked the backs of her fingers over his jawline. "Yeah. You do." His grin blossomed at her admission.
Minutes passed, then another hour slipped by. And as they sat in comfortable silence, their hands linked together over the console, night slipping further into morning, Sarah remained awake. Chuck did not.
And when the stakeout ended with no further leads, she drove them back to Castle, smiling to herself as he stayed asleep even as the engine roared to life and the van began moving.
Agent Walker four years ago would have been frustrated and miffed at this development. And she would have deemed it a failed mission, a waste of time and CIA resources.
But as she pulled the van to a stop at its final destination and glanced over at Chuck, she was filled with the warm satisfaction that the night wasn't wasted at all. Not even in the slightest.
Because instead of going home and taking advantage of the incredibly comfortable mattress in their bedroom, re-energizing and getting proper sleep for the first time in a couple of days, Chuck Bartowski snuck into the passenger seat of the surveillance van, equipped with snacks and coffee and even his smallish sweatshirt, prepared to face another sleepless night with her.
And they hadn't had any deep conversations, nor did they even make out, but they were together. And it felt amazing having him back on the team. No more jet setting all the way to Russia and spending a month at a time away from home, away from Chuck.
She leaned over and gently kissed his cheek.
The panic in his face as he awoke, apologizing for falling asleep and assuring her that he had meant to stay up with her, and did anything happen?…It was probably the sweetest thing in the world, so she wordlessly leaned in again and kissed him on the lips this time.
It lasted for quite awhile, and she found herself drowning in him a little. Maybe it was because she was tired. Or maybe it was because he was so warm and the four am air was a little cold.
Either way, she snuggled into him.
And an hour later, when they crawled into bed together, the sun beginning to come up outside of the blinds they'd shut tightly, she resumed her snuggling position against him, intending to sleep well into the afternoon.
A/N: Hope you enjoyed this!
Thanks to everyone who read, and a special thanks to anyone leaving a review!
Have an awesome Thursday!