Chapter 9

Emergency Blanket

"Sooo …" Chuck began somewhat awkwardly. "I… guess you're not mad at me anymore?"

"Hmm. I'm not sure I'd go that far." Sarah said quietly, gently shoving her elbow behind her and into Chuck's chest, dissuading him from being overly affectionate in his caresses.

Chuck and Sarah lay on the floor of the dojo, quite naked, and Chuck's shirt- which had never come off during their recent romp- was now off of him and balled up to serve as a substandard pillow.

Fortunately the cabinet by which they'd collapsed together housed Castle's first aid/ medical kits. By raiding one, Chuck found a shiny aluminum coated emergency blanket, and before Sarah could give an opinion on it one way or another, opened it up and covered the two of them, making a mental note to replace it as soon as he could.

They were spooning … and that wasn't a great thing. Oh it felt great, no doubt. The scent of Sarah's hair and feel of the skin of her back along his chest … the curve of her hips and buttocks along his own hip .. the nape of her neck in convenient kissing range– before Paris, Chuck had daydreamed many a time of holding Sarah Walker just like this.

But Paris had been a year ago, and Chuck had learned through experience that Sarah Walker the Reality was a different creature than Sarah Walker the Fantasy. When all was right with the world, Sarah liked nothing better than to face Chuck, and hold herself close to his body. She'd rest her head on his chest, listening to his heart, and her free hand would play with the hairs on his chest, or reach up to control his head for another kiss, or unabashedly slide southwards to initiate more fun and games.

But now …. Sarah had straddled him for a few moments as they lay down and caught their breaths … resting directly atop him, as if he were a six foot three surfboard, and she was getting ready to paddle him past the breakers. Then, her breath caught, she dismounted him wordlessly as he got the emergency blanket from the medical kit, and turned away from him, offering him her admittedly lovely back, but signaling to him that she was still troubled.

It was her way of running away, but staying close, wanting to be comforted by him, and letting him talk to her, but unsure if she herself wanted to say anything. Clearly the time was now for some comforting pillow talk… or "crumpled up shirt" talk, if one would.

Affectionately, he drew his arm around her and stroked Sarah's stomach. "Sarah I've figured it out. You're not mad at me about tonight. You're mad at me about Gstaad. "

At the mention of the Swiss village that had almost been the scene of Chuck's foolish final mission, he could feel her body stiffen. Still Sarah kept her back to him. "No." was all she said.

Chuck sighed a little. As De Smet had taken him captive in that gondola over the Alps, the body of Jim Rye an unsightly mess on the rocks below, he'd never felt as terrified or as exposed or as guilty. He'd let everyone down. Sarah had been right. Rye, Beckman and he had been wrong. He had no business being there. He should have been far away, locked up and safe. Now he was captured and likely to die … and that would hurt Ellie, Devon Casey, Morgan and Sarah so badly.

He knew he deserved to be screamed at. He had earned the grandmother of all "I-told-you-sos". He had come so close to letting Sarah down. She should have been so mad… but for some reason for the last two weeks… she hadn't been. She had never berated him. She had never chastised him over his bad decision in going along with Rye. Instead she had behaved almost as Ellie had while they had been growing up when a point of hers had been clearly and obviously proven. Sarah had seemed to let it go. Perhaps she was simply so relieved that she forgot to be angry.

But clearly it wasn't so. She hadn't forgotten to be angry … she'd simply decided to ignore her anger, or subjugate it or something. Now, after a mission that was only slightly scary, all that resentment was now coming back.

He tried again. "Sarah… you should be mad at me over Gstaad. I did something wrong, and I almost got myself killed. I was stupid. And it's only because I have you in my life that I'm alive. "

Chuck wasn't sure what response he wanted, but the shudder that Sarah gave beneath his arm, was encouraging that he was on his way to the bottom of her anger.

Sarah rolled towards him, and sat up, casually gathering the emergency blanket to cover herself. Tears were rolling down her face, and she sniffed. Her face was a mask of torment. Her mouth opened as if to form words, but nothing came out right away. She tried once more to no avail. Chuck sat up himself to put his arm around her as Sarah used her hand to wipe tears from her face, and tried again. This time her voice obeyed her.

"Two days after you disappeared, Casey and I went to Europe looking for you. Or DeSmet. Or anyone who knew him. Anything to find you." Sarah stared off to a remote corner of the dojo, not looking Chuck in the eye. "We went to Belgium, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Lichtenstein and Austria all in three days. That's a lot of flying. And it didn't feel like we were getting anywhere. Between The Netherlands and Austria Casey and I shared a flight with a couple of nuns. Casey was napping. I couldn't sleep. I didn't sleep much the entire time. I think I started crying. One of the nuns noticed. She asked me what was wrong. I told her that someone I loved was missing, and that I was trying to find him… and that I was scared. Scared that I'd never see him again."

Engrossed by the story, Chuck placed his hand on Sarah's back and stroked her gently.

"She bought out a rosary. That's those bead strings things that kind of look like a necklace. And she taught me how to use it to pray. I didn't know that on different beads you're supposed to say different prayers. Now I've never really been all that religious. I'm still not. But I decided that it couldn't hurt. So I prayed with her. I had nothing else to do on that plane anyway. And then I …" Sarah's voice began to crack a little.

"I guess I… made a little deal with God. I wanted you back so badly that nothing else mattered. So I promised Him that if I could just find you … If I could just have you back safe and sound, I wouldn't spend the next month berating you or screaming at you for scaring me so badly. I wouldn't say I told you so, and I wouldn't get angry with you over it. I could just let it go as long as I had you back. So when I had you back in our apartment where you belonged, I decided to hold up my end of the deal. No complaining, no shouting, no telling you how stupid you were. And then I saw that man tonight with a machine pistol pointed right at you. I thought I was going to watch you die right in front of me. I know, it's a little silly. I know you've faced worse people then him before… done more dangerous things. Hell, I'm only alive to be with you because you went after Daniel Shaw to come rescue me. But tonight, just after Thanksgiving with Alexi Volkoff … and Thailand and Gstaad… it was just…" Sarah's hand went again to her face to wipe away a tear. "It was too soon. I wasn't ready to be afraid I was going to lose you all over again. I needed more time."

"I'm sorry, Sarah." Chuck admitted. "I didn't think about it like that. I was so busy patting myself on the back that the Intersect was up and working again, that I didn't think about any of that. I was just so glad to have it back."

If Chuck had thought a simple apology and realization was going to lighten Sarah's mood, he was sorely disappointed by Sarah's stare. Her eyes seemed to bore right though him. They didn't display any anger, just helpless sadness, as if she were looking at a boulder that was in the road, in her way, one she didn't know how to move.

"Chuck… why did you think I'd be so happy that you had the Intersect back? Tell me. Because I'd really like to know. When you were gloating about it tonight, you talked as if you just won the lottery. It didn't even occur to you – didn't even cross your mind that you just scared the shit out of me for the umpteenth time in two weeks. You thought I'd be just thrilled to death for you."

Now Chuck looked genuinely confused. "Aren't you? Sarah, right before Rye showed up, you were totally on board with me wanting to get the Intersect back. I was stuck being used as a lab rat by a bunch of scientists, Casey was going stir crazy babysitting me, and you were doing missions by yourself. Of course I wanted the Intersect back. It never occurred to me that you wouldn't want me to get it back."

"Yes, Chuck I wanted you to get it back … that was before Rye showed up. Then I started changing my mind, once I saw the lengths to which you were going! It was insane. First he attacks you with ninjas, then he starts you on a pain and fear based program, and then he practically feeds you the Belgian. And you put up with all of it … why? What made you feel you weren't good enough without it? The day you got captured, you figured out exactly what the Belgian was selling, and you did it without using the Intersect. Don't you see that you're a good enough spy without it? Okay, fine – maybe you can't take on five to one odds without it – but Chuck… hardly anyone can! Nobody needs you to do that!"

"Sarah it didn't occur to me that I'd still be useful without the Intersect. The pressure was on from everyone, Beckman, Casey … Sarah, do you know how it felt to watch you lock and load to go on missions without me and know that my loss of the Intersect is the only thing that's keeping me from going with you? Going out there and doing great things together? Sarah, I'm really sorry that I scared you … but I really do like to feel useful. I've felt useful to you and Casey for almost four years now because of the Intersect, and I wanted it back" Chuck responded.

"And me? You said the pressure was on. Does that include from me?"

Chuck opened his mouth instinctively to deny it, but no sound came out, and Sarah felt her insides crumble a little when she saw Chuck's eyes dart to the left – a classic tell of someone who had something they didn't want to say.

Sarah huffed and slumped. She buried her face in her hands and shook her head. "You lied to me. I made you promise that you weren't putting yourself through this for me. And you were the whole time."

"No!" Chuck protested. "What I said was all true. I liked being useful on missions! I still like it. I'd gotten used to it. I was happy to not have to run away from a fight or stay in the car. I was happy to have you and even Casey … Casey! see me as an co-worker. I didn't lie."

"No, you didn't lie, you just denied that you were feeling any pressure from me. Chuck, that was a lie! If you felt pressured by me you should have told me to back off!"

A sigh from Chuck as he slumped and put his arm around Sarah. Sarah stiffened and glared at him, tolerating the touch … but only tolerating it.

"Sarah you didn't put any pressure on me. It wasn't you. It was me."

Sarah's voice began cracking again, as her emotions again threatened to take front and center. "I found your proposal plan and Morgan explained it to me. I asked him when you planned on doing it, and he said that he didn't know… but that your plan got put on hold when you lost the Intersect. You didn't think that you could propose to me without it. Somehow I made you feel like you weren't good enough for me without it."

Sarah could feel Chuck's arm stiffen a little, and the body language told her that she was on the right track. A long drawn out sigh of defeat from Chuck confirmed it, and she knew a revelation was forthcoming. Gathering up the emergency blanket around her she turned to regard Chuck intently.

Chuck began "When they had me on that chair in Thailand… they began to mess with my memories. They gave me nightmares on purpose. Now don't laugh, because the way I'm probably going to describe it is going to make you want to say that 'it was just a bad dream' …. And yeah, that's what it was. But Sarah, people wake up from bad dreams, and then they laugh at them. But you have to wake up first. They had me under some sort of sedative, and I couldn't wake up. At all. Even when I wanted to and I knew it was a dream, I still didn't wake up."

Sarah wiped her eyes, tearful at the memory of her Chuck being tormented and abused so.

"They spoke to me through people in my dream. Ellie…. Morgan… Awesome … Big Mike …Casey… Beckman…"

"Me." Sarah concluded.

Chuck winced. "Yeah. It was bad. It was a scene right out of a cheap porno – and they gave me the part to play of the useless boyfriend who couldn't get it up for his wonderful girlfriend. The only little twist was that you wanted me to flash … right in the middle of things. I couldn't … and you got mad and left."

Sarah tried to lighten things a little "well you should have known it was a dream as soon as you saw me upset in bed" she smiled through her slight tears. "The only time you've ever left me unhappy in the bedroom was Barstow. Never since."

But Chuck wasn't amused. "That's what I'm saying Sarah. I did know it was a dream. I knew you'd never do that. But when I didn't wake up, things seemed so scary and so real. I couldn't get back to the Real World, where I'd find the real you … all I had was Bizarro World and Bizarro Sarah."

Sarah didn't know the reference by heart, but didn't really need to. Her blood however began to run cold as a deduction dawned on her. "Chuck … I know I haven't been the perfect girlfriend…"

Chuck immediately opened his mouth to protest. "Sarah nobody's perfect. I'm a million miles away from the perfect boyfriend."

Sarah held up a hand for silence. "I know I've screwed up some things. I didn't jump at the idea of moving in with you right away … I took a long while to unpack … I practically ran away screaming at the sight of you holding Morgan's ring… I know that in some ways… I might have made you feel insecure … but… God help me, Chuck I know I might sound like the class bimbo here, but I honestly thought that at the rate we hit the sheets, you wouldn't really have any doubt that I want you and that I'm not going anywhere. I mean I do know you well enough to know that you love it when I jump your bones."

Chuck grinned softly. "I still blush when we walk by the supply closet."

"I know you do" Sarah allowed her own grin to part her lips, but her face soon became serious again. "Chuck… I know that it's not right to blame you for what you dream about … but I really want to know your opinion on this… why is there even a small part of you that's afraid of me not wanting you without the Intersect? I can't tell you how low I felt when Morgan pointed out that because I suck at telling you things like that you might have forgotten it. I mean … Chuck I'm in love with you. Not the Intersect. I don't know how many times I have to say it, but clearly I haven't said it enough. Why can't you believe it? What else do I need to do to prove that you're the love of my life?"

Chuck's far away gaze revealed that he was giving the matter some thought. Sarah was encouraged by that, as he was no longer simply feebly protesting that she was imagining his insecurities. "Sarah when we first got together…"

"When we first got together, Chuck" Sarah couldn't help interrupting. "I told you that I fell for you within a day and a half of meeting you. Before I even knew that the files I was after were even called called 'The Intersect'. I was scared when it looked like the Intersect was hurting your mental health. I was totally okay with you quitting the CIA to keep your word to Ellie. And I know we promised never to mention Prague again, but I wanted to run away with you and let you forget that you even had the Intersect. I. Love. Normal. Chuck. Bartowski! Why do you all of a sudden not believe that?"

"Sarah. I believe you. When you told me that you fell in love with a normal guy … I believed you 100%."

Sarah was now sitting with his knees up to her chest, under the aluminum colored blanket, and her arms draped over them. She turned slightly, bringing the blanket with her, to confront Chuck.

She stiffened at his use of the past tense. Her face fell in concern, and she asked "and now?"

"Sarah…" he began hesitantly.

"What?" She demanded.

"Sarah … I think we both know that you like me better with the Intersect than without it. At least a little." Chuck said, slightly glumly.

Her eyes widened in shock. "Chuck! No! No no no! I can't believe you just said that!" Chuck opened his mouth again but again, Sarah stopped him by holding up both of her hands. "Chuck, I have watched that thing in your head come close to getting you killed more times than I can count! When we were going after Shaw and it was overloading your brain, I wanted nothing more than for a way to deactivate it! Your mother suppressing the Intersect would have been a dream come true than. Chuck… I can't believe that you actually think like this!"

"Sarah, the Intersect is what makes it possible for me to come along on missions, and not be dead weight when I do. You saw how helpless I was over Thanksgiving without it."

Sarah cut him off with a slashing motion with her hand. "Chuck, I like having you with me in the field. Yes, I missed you being there when it was just me and Casey going after Marko and Volkoff. But I did like knowing that you were safe. I didn't miss constantly worrying about you."

Chuck looked unconvinced. "Yeah, and the times you aren't worried about me, we're having some of the best sex ever right after missions."

Sarah's mouth dropped, but now it was her turn to be somewhat speechless. With the wind much taken out of her sails, she asked "what do you mean?" … although she could fully guess what he meant.

"Oh, come on Sarah. I first noticed it when the Turners helped us take down Otto, although I wasn't sure what I was dealing with at the time. You agreed to move in, I went back home with you to move you out of Masion 23, and you practically jumped my bones as soon as the door was shut."

"That had nothing to do with the mission, Chuck – I just thought we should say good-bye to that hotel room properly. I wanted to have you at least once in there. It's not like I hadn't caught you staring at me a more than a few times in that room." Sarah defended.

"Okay, fair enough.. and that's kind of what I thought at the time. But then the Intersect started bugging me, and with all the headaches I was having we kind of hit a dry spell. I knew you were a little disappointed, but you let me sleep in for a few weeks, bless your heart. Then you and Casey were gone for a few months chasing down Marko, and after Morgan and I came and got you, that's when I noticed it again. After we got back you were … incredible. Wild. You were just on the good side of 'insatiable'. At first I thought it was just because we hadn't seen each other for six months … so I kind of chalked it up as an anomaly. It wasn't until Milan that I started adding it together."

Sarah heaved a long sigh, and held her head in her hand. "Milan?" she asked in an unsuccessful attempt at ignorance.

Chuck scoffed and gave her an incredulous look. "Yes Milan!"

"I… thought you might like being jumped. That's all. Besides, you had just had a naked supermodel holding you at gunpoint, and I needed to re-mark my territory." Sarah, in spite of herself grinned.

"Uh, yeah … I'd say so. It took me all of a minute after we opened the hotel room door for me to open up the safe, and put the SmartBullet magazine in there. By the time I shut the door you were only wearing a necklace and your bracelet, and grinding into me."

"Well, you were halfway down on the floor already so I figured …" Sarah was still grinning a little.

"Yes! Exactly!" Chuck agreed. "No foreplay. It wasn't even making love. It was just us going at it as a way to unwind after a mission. Not long after, we got stuck babysitting Hugo Panzer and Heather Chandler. She asked 'Isn't spy sex great?' … and to be honest, Sarah… I really couldn't say 'no'!" And then there was the supply closet sex in between our two trips to Milan, the way we took advantage of the fact that Morgan was out of the house after Hugo and Heather went back to jail. We had post-Costa Gravas sex, Post-Iran sex ... And Sarah, that's on top of how we usually are together when we just have a Saturday we can sleep in!"

Sarah's stare was ever so slightly accusatory. "So you're saying that I have …"

Chuck held up his hands in innocence. "All I'm saying is that you like having your boyfriend there and available for sex when you're on a mission. It's not a bad thing. I freaking love it! I think Milan might have been our hottest sex ever! I'm not saying it's weird or anything like that. I'm just saying that you like a roll in the hay after a victory … and well …Sarah I like being there for that."

Sarah's stare now practically bore through him. "So you think that if for some reason- any reason- you can't go with me and satisfy my post-mission sex fetish … I'll what? Leave you? Find another man to be my tackling dummy?"

Chuck tilted his head seriously "No, Sarah c'mon. Give me a little credit. I'm not that insecure. I just think you'd miss it. That's all."

Sarah sighed. "Chuck, the whole post mission sex thing doesn't just happen. It happens when I finish a mission with you. It's not like when I'm on a mission without you, I get all hot and bothered and then wish you were there to take care of me. I hit the spa. I hit the hot tub. I hit the gym. I can do a mission without thinking of sex. It's just when I do a mission with you … I think about sex after."

Chuck shook his head. "Sarah this isn't about me being paranoid about what you're doing when I'm not around. I'm not. It's about me really wanting to satisfy you with something that I've discovered you like, and that I know you like, you shouldn't have to deny that you like, and me wanting to give it to you … so to speak. Hero and heroine sex. We're a great team together when we're on missions, and we're great when we celebrate after. I didn't really want to lose that, and go back to being on the sidelines, patiently waiting for you to come home, and worrying about you every bit as much as you worry about me." Thinking of another example, he continued. "It's like if I was a really good painter, and I found out that you loved it anytime I made you a painting … and then one day I was struck blind. Of course I'd try to do whatever I could to get my eyesight back – even if my painting were only one of the things you loved about me."

"Oh, so you're not worried about me leaving you and finding someone else, you're just worried about never seeing the post-mission sex again. You poor thing. All you'd be left with is me coming home and hours upon hours of sweet, gentle lovemaking marathons. I guess that would really suck" Sarah challenged.

"Now when you say it like that it just sounds bad. Sarah you're amazing. You'd be amazing even if I wasn't crazy in love with you. I spent a lot of time in Paris and after Paris wondering if I'd been dreaming the entire time and that I was going to wake up alone, and fourteen years old. When we were on the train from Paris, I spent a lot of time thinking that you couldn't possibly be more exciting or more sexy or treat me better then you were … and then we went on missions together, and it got even better!"

Sarah furrowed her brow in confusion, and began working a few things in her head. She felt as if she were on the verge of a breakthrough, but needed a little more time to figure a few details here and there. "Better, huh?" she prompted unconvinced.

"Well …"Chuck said cautiously, slightly worried that he might have said something insulting. Satisfied that he still good, he continued. "Yeah … In a way, at least. Sarah, when we're done a mission, you make me feel like nobody ever has before. The hero & heroine sex makes me feel like the homecoming king and a rock star all rolled into one. I mean … the way you look at me right before you pounce on me it's like … I mean most of the time when we're together it feels like I'm someone that you want to have in your life. But after a mission … it's like for a few minutes, I'm not someone you just want … I'm someone you need. I've never …"

"… felt like that before." Sarah finished, comprehendingly … yet still coolly. Some uncomfortable things needed to be said now, she decided. "Chuck," she began "You're ridiculous. On so many levels."

Chuck leaned back against a rack of sheathed katana, gathering up his half of the emergency blanket. Sarah, instead of drawing near him to stay under the blanket, shamelessly got up and stood up. Chuck gazed up at her with tempered adoration. Sarah Walker had a body that an ancient Athenian sculptor would have begged to use as a model, and the sight was amazing indeed. It was also slightly intimidating now when she towered over him, and was still clearly annoyed with him.

"Stay there. Hold that thought" she commanded. She padded across the dojo floor to the locker room, and returned less than a half minute later holding her gym bag. Setting it down, and unzipping it, she pulled out a fresh t-shirt and pulled if over her shoulders. "Little chilly in here" she justified. "anyway, on to why you're ridiculous. First of all, when you say 'hottest', please tell me you don't mean 'best'. Because Milan was pretty hot, but it wasn't our best sex by a long shot."

"Well, not… not really our best. It was definitely hot though. I mean I don't think I'd like to have sex like that all the time, …"

Sarah's look brightened and she interrupted "And why not?" she demanded.

"Well," Chuck admitted "It's a little bit…"

"Dehumanizing? Animalistic? Sleazy? Selfish? Objectifying?" Sarah pressed.

"Well yeah… sorry." Chuck confessed.

"No apologies" Sarah insisted. "It's okay. It is all that. And every now and then, that's okay. You don't have apologize for what I bring out of you during adrenaline-sex. You bring something like that out of me, too. Yeah, for a few minutes I want to see you treat me like your own personal blow up doll… because for those same few minutes have every intention of treating you like a dildo with a heartbeat. One that talks an awful lot afterwards."

Chuck laughed and blushed as he did.

"Chuck" Sarah continued. "You said that no woman's ever treated you like that before. Obviously you like it in small doses when I do treat you like that. That's nice. That's good to know. I guess a part of me likes that I can encourage you into some mindless fucking in addition to the long -weekend style lovemaking that you're so good at. It's fun being your whore for a few minutes every now and then."

Chuck blinked in horror at her use of that word. On instinct, he opened up his mouth to protest, but Sarah smiled sweetly and brought her fingers up to his lips to silence him "Shhhhhh. I know that you know full well what I mean when I say that. So don't fight me on it. But back to you being ridiculous." Sarah smiled, confident that she now had control of the conversation. "First of all, the mindless, insane adrenaline sex… Chuck I'm thrilled that you like it, and that it maybe pushes a few boundaries for you … but it doesn't open any new territory for me, Chuck. Before I met you … before Paris … that was pretty much my standard way of having sex. Hardly any "I love you" s, little to no foreplay, no cuddling after, sometimes not even sleeping in the same beds afterwards. Never even thinking of a future together. None of that soul mate stuff. Just me and someone else using each other to scratch an itch we happened to have at the same time. You're ridiculous if you think that the hot, crazed post mission sex is our best sex ever. It used to be the only way I knew how to have sex … now it's big high point for me is that I someone I love so much available to me for a post-action quickie."

Sarah couldn't completely read Chuck's expression, but she sensed that he wanted elaboration. "Chuck, the way you made love to me in Paris, and what you do to me at home blows pretty much anything else away that I've ever had in my life. You honestly have no idea what it's like for me to have you take my clothes off and know for sure that you're going to work me over until I come at least once or twice. I love waking up next to you and going at it again before breakfast. And that eye contact thing that you taught me when we do the straddling thing – oh, my God! All that means so much more to me than any post mission relaxation sex."

Chuck's mouth was slightly agape. "Wow. I didn't think about that."

"The second reason why you're ridiculous is this, Chuck. You seem to think that I get turned on by you after a mission because of the danger. That I have some sort of combat fetish, like I throw a few punches, watch you throw a few punches, and then I need a good screwing. That's not true. That's not true at all, Chuck. Fighting isn't my aphrodisiac. Pride is. I love watching you do things. Seeing you excel. Seeing you use your gifts in ways that surprise even you…Oh, Chuck. That's what gets me hot and bothered. Don't you know that?" Sarah now turned to Chuck and looked deliberately at him. "Did you seriously imagine that the gunfire, the fighting and stabbings and kung fu is what turns me into your own personal sex kitten? It's watching you Chuck. Whether you're fighting or not. Whether you're on a mission or not. I do not need you on missions to feel that way. I don't even need you as a spy to feel like that. In fact I'm looking forward to learning about what real world, real person activities I can watch you do that will make me feel the same way. Maybe I'll get hot and wet watching you mow the lawn if we buy a house… especially if I can talk you into doing it without your shirt. Maybe if you perfect that pepperoni chicken recipe. Or we'll run 5Ks together. I can't wait to see you hold Ellie's baby when she's born. Chuck do you seriously think I'm going to be able to watch you play with a baby without going into heat?" Sarah smiled at him lewdly. "Don't you know anything about what a sexy man with a baby does to a woman? If you think I ever aggressively jumped your bones before, have you given any thought about what I'm going to do to you then?"

Chuck simply sat and blushed. "I really didn't think about that."

For the first time, Sarah's gave a soft smile. "Chuck, could you please think about it the next time before you make a decision that could get you killed? Nothing has to change between you and me if you decided to be home and safe, or if you decide to keep on being a spy or not, or if you have the Intersect or not. I love you. I'm in love with you. We'll have sex a lot. And most of the time it'll be that sweet, gentle lovemaking that lasts half the night. I love that. I've never had it before you, and I want a lot of it. But yes, even having said that, every now and then I'll still want you to bang me like a screen door in a hurricane."

Chuck laughed. "I'll see what I can do."

"Oh, I know what you can do." Sarah smiled..,. then sucked in her breath as her still-naked Chuck caressed her face.

"I love you Sarah Walker" Chuck whispered.

Sarah shut her eyes and froze with her lips slightly open, wordlessly begging for one of Chuck's passionate kisses. When it came, she pulled herself close to him, wrapping her arms around his neck. Briefly breaking the kiss, she brought her lips to Chuck's ear and whispered "I love you too Chuck. So much. And forever."

The kiss promised to last for awhile, if neither of them did anything to stop it; Sarah did just that as a thought came to her. "Chuck?" she breathily whispered into his ear.

"How does this work?" She asked, pulling back, studying his face, and caressing his cheek with her fingers. "I mean … are we engaged? Or are we like pre-engaged? Or is it something like that? What do you call it when we both know we want to marry each other?"

Chuck's face registered his concern. "Oh, Sarah. I don't know. But I don't want to go around saying we're engaged until I officially ask and you say yes."

"But … you can do that now, can't you? I'm going to say 'yes'."

Chuck froze, and a look of horror crossed his face. "Uh, no. Sarah, that's not going to work."

"But why?"

"Sarah" Chuck stammered. "I have to do it right. A) I need a ring, B) I need the right place to do it, and C) the timing needs to be better. A lot better. I don't want to do it when I'm naked and you're half naked and we've just had sex. "

"Okay" Sarah said, and immediately peeled off her t-shirt balling it up and putting it behind her. Now, completely naked, she queried "Better?"

Chuck gasped "Sarah no! That's worse! I don't want to do it like this."

"Why not?" she asked, dumbfounded.

"Because I want it to be a good story!" Chuck blurted out. "One we can actually tell people! One we can tell our kids!" Off of Sarah's confused look he continued. "Twenty five years from now if our son finds the girl of his dreams and he asks me how I proposed to his mother, I don't want to have say 'Well, son, we were fighting over something top secret, then fighting turned into a quickie against the wall of the dojo, then afterwards we talked about how we like to have sex, and then your mom asked me to propose.' And long before that happens, Ellie and Awesome are going to want to hear the story. It's gotta be something good."

Sarah huffed. "I thought tonight was kind of romantic. Maybe more couples should get engaged right after sex. Maybe there'd be fewer divorces if there were."

"Actually I'm convinced that there'd be more." Chuck said stubbornly.

"Wait a minute! Chuck, answer me this…. What do you think the two of us will be doing anyway an hour after you propose and I say 'yes'? Hmm? Is that going to part of the story? Because if you think that I … we're taking a vow of celibacy for later that night just out of consideration for our unborn son or daughter, you're out of your mind." Sarah insisted.

"No. Because nobody cares what a happy couple does after the proposal. They only want to hear about the lead up and before. The story always and with 'and then she said yes.'"

"Okayyy" Sarah said, with a slightly exaggerated groan. "I guess I can count on you to do something romantic.

"You know it. Like I said, I've got magic coming your way." Chuck leaned in to kiss his bride-to-be.

Sarah opened her lips in reception, and softly kissed him back, gently sweeping his lip with her tongue. Sarah pulled back from her naked husband-to-be and beamed one of her gorgeous, trademarked smiles at him, one where her eyes shone and sparkled. "I'm going to be your wife, Chuck. And you're going to be my husband."

"That", Chuck said pushing forward "is my driving plan".

Sarah leaned back into him for another kiss. "Let's get dressed. Let's go home" But rather than let him go to slide out from under the emergency blanket to seek out his clothes, she purred into his ear. "I want to get you back into bed."

"mmmm..sex again, Mrs Bartowski-To-Be? There's that insatiable side I've been noticing." Chuck teased.

"No, Mr. Walker-To-Be" Sarah responded, gathering up her clothes. "We already had sex." Stroking Chuck's handsome face once more, Sarah said "I want to go home and make love."

The End