A/N: No idea if I'll 'print' this or not, just a thought that came in and needed to get out of my head in order to get to the three other stories. Set around eighteen months after a successful 49B, successful is ironic here. Sarah and Chuck try to see if the spark is still there and if they can finally act on it. No ownership of Chuck or of coffee, I do have a set of South Park shot glasses.
Chuck vs. the Cup of Coffee
Chuck, please meet me at our spot 0630 tomorrow Love S
PS bring coffee it is early! ; )-
The first contact between them in almost eighteen months is a text and she gives him the one thing to make sure he shows up, an emoticon. Well that word at the end of the first line was just as convincing. Regardless without either there was no way he was not going to show up there. The hope she felt the same after the reunion was not as strong.
Sarah sat looking towards the ocean waiting both for the sun and Chuck to show up; preferring the latter, however the former had its perks as well. She couldn't remember the last time that she was nervous. While she was positive Chuck would accept her there was always the huge possibility that he was able to find somebody who could give him the life that he desired. Looking over the water slowly brought the nerves down and she found herself slightly swaying to the rhythm of the waves reaching the shore.
Chuck had stood just looking at her for about ten minutes holding onto a tray with their two coffees along with assorted extras including the one he knew he had to bring. Even in the pre-dawn he could still make out her profile and it hadn't changed from his dreams except she had gotten a haircut. He was stuck, content to just be able to view her, but fervently needing to feel, touch, and taste her; his fear of rejection keeping him out of her radar.
"Chuck, I hope you're not letting my coffee get cold. If you're not Chuck my second favorite knife is looking for some exercise."
Chuck's laughter allowed Sarah to sheath her knife, but also forced some emotions out as she hadn't been certain that she would ever get to hear that particular sound again. She wiped her eyes as Chuck made it to the large beach towel almost immediately noticing one leg wrapped in another towel.
"Chuck, do you want to sit down?" Sarah asked shyly.
"Sure," Chuck set the coffees behind them and sat down on the edge furthest from Sarah, until he saw her slightly struggle to move towards him. He immediately closed the difference and without a word kissed her. Rarely does a kiss have more than one meaning, but this one for both offered multiple ones: 'Hello', 'I missed you', 'I'm sorry', 'Forgive me', 'There's nothing to forgive you for'. Mostly though this kiss was the answer to the prayers of two people who deserved to have it finally fulfilled; the fact it answered up to five other peoples as well gave some idea of the magnitude. When Ellie would tell this story she would happily point out the sunrise was delayed for over two minutes from its projected time mainly because the sun did not want to disrupt their moment.
During the kiss Sarah felt the strong desire to pull on Chuck's hair, but it was thinner than she recalled and feeling slight bumps along his scalp she instead just caressed his head. The breath control both displayed was impressive; the only reason they stopped was the exclamation of pain from Sarah as she attempted to adjust herself. She returned to the position she was in when Chuck first showed up; except now she had her head tilted back taking deep breaths. Chuck choosing not to disturb her began to prepare her coffee; breathing a sigh of relief that it was still hot enough to melt the Hershey's kiss he stirred her coffee with.
"You remembered?" Sarah stated while watching Chuck.
"Come on, who do you think you're dealing with here?" Chuck said as he finished and handed the cup to Sarah.
"I never doubted you… Chuck what happened?" Chuck instinctively put his head down, "Chuck?" The cracking in her voice caused Chuck to look up and he could clearly see she was blaming herself for whatever happened. Her eyes shifted to care and concern as he moved closer and she felt along the lines of the skin grafts, when she finished all he could see was love and regret there, "I'm so sorry… I let you down and you got hurt."
"No, it wasn't your fault." Chuck moved so he was straddling Sarah from behind paying attention to not touch her covered leg and embraced her, "I don't suppose you're going to talk about your leg."
"After I hear what happened to you, I'll tell you about the last eighteen months… I am hoping though that this is the injury Bryce mentioned and there wasn't another one."
"This would have been it. Were you partnered …"
"We were on a five person mission about ten months ago. He told me you were injured but had recovered; I still couldn't help but cry a little as he wouldn't say what happened. He did try something stupid and ended up with a few broken ribs. How bad was it?"
Chuck let out a small laugh, "All this does is make us a little more like Beauty and the Beast."
Without even a second passing Sarah responds, "As long as I can be with you I don't have to be the beast anymore."
Chuck holds her a little tighter and kisses the top of her head because he knows that she actually believes she is the beast in their pairing. "Why haven't you contacted me since the note you left on my bed?"
"Probably the same reason you haven't… any communication lines were sabotaged. When I left a note on your pillow and saw your phone I panicked. They had already locked me out at Castle and Forrest wouldn't let me in. After showing them your phone, one left the intercom open and I could hear them arguing over where you were and that the tracker stopped working. I yelled to check underground bank vaults, but then another door opened and I was tranqued. When I awoke I was strapped to a chair in the Deputy Director's office."
"You were right. I was in a bank vault with the terrorist and his Doctor who found the tracker and was coming after Awesome. I put on his lab coat and they took me instead dropping my watch in the fountain. Once there it was almost immediate for him to discover I am not a surgeon. The game Operation used to give me the willies." Sarah gave a sad laugh at that. "The doctor came at me with his scalpel and cut open a tube containing Nitrous Oxide. He got a huge whiff and soon he was laughing, but the vault was filling up with the gas. Eventually we were both on the ground and couldn't help but to share things: I told him a little about you and he told me where Bin Laden was hiding. Casey and Forrest had arrived there trying to get me to open the vault; I told them I wouldn't unless you were brought back. Forrest decided the only way to open it was by blowing the door off. The fireball seemed to happen in slow motion. I tried to pull the doctor away from it, but he ended up on top of me; my right arm and the right side of my face weren't covered by him. The patient was dead instantly, the doctor died within a day or two, and I was out for over a week from the initial trauma, the debridement, and eventually the grafts. Forrest wanted me shipped directly from the bank to DC, but Casey overruled her and took me to the nearest burn unit."
"Westside Medical," Sarah croaked out.
"That's right, how… never mind. Beckman had Forrest write a note saying that you and I were going away for a week in Mexico, but somebody in the burn unit recognized me and told Ellie. Casey let her in and told Ellie I was working on the computers in the bank that was on the news. When it blew Chuck was brought here and he was notified at the Buy More. He was going to wait for my status before finding Devon and her, knowing both would drop everything to be here and he didn't want to jeapordize anybody. Casey stayed outside the door giving Ellie privacy. Ellie called Awesome who had just made it home and was taking a shower. He found the Mexico note on the dining table and read it. He then saw Ellie called and in returning it both became confused over the situation. Ellie asked Awesome to see if I had packed my suitcase, but found your note instead. Reading that only added to the confusion and he raced over. When he got there Casey had gone to get some coffee and Devon walked in with the notes. Both were trying to piece it together when Forrest walked in. Ellie went berserk wondering why the whore was there and rushed over to Forrest. Forrest said she reacted on instinct seeing a snarling Ellie sprint towards her so she decked her. Awesome went to Ellie laying on the floor and Casey came rushing back hearing the commotion. At Casey's entrance and subsequent grunt Forrest had her arms raised saying Ellie had come after her and she was protecting herself." Chuck stopped as he heard Sarah mumble something, "I wish I could see your face."
"Me too, but why did you stop?"
"You murmured something and I thought I should stop because it's probably important."
"Not really… I mean… You know I would never hit Ellie, right? But given the circumstances I can understand Forrest's reaction… a little. Ellie can be kind of intimidating."
"Well… I can't really disagree with that and I know you would never hurt Ellie. While I was out, there was quite the discussion between Casey and Beckman. I heard it was nip and tuck for the three of us ending up in a bunker. The thing that kept us out was Awesome's uncle happens to be on the Senate committee for Homeland Security and Government Affairs. Casey denies it; but I think he told Devon and Ellie to write the note describing the situation as they understood it. The government used me to try and gather important intel and then after blowing me up say they will put us in a secure location for our safety, but that just appears to be code for burying us someplace in a Nevada desert. Obviously since I am here and not in a bunker it worked. Devon and Ellie were read in fully as they had the medical skill to take care of me and their integrity couldn't be questioned." Through most of it Chuck could feel Sarah nod her head, but hearing Ellie was fully immersed he sensed her holding her breath.
"Was mad at first, and even after having the 49B explained to her numerous times all she could think was you leading me on and deserting me when I needed you the most." Chuck stopped as the first bit of moisture hit his arm, "Sarah, I said at first. Ellie heard what Casey and Devon were telling her, but it took Forrest showing the video of you trying to get back into Castle. You were a little more emotional than you thought and then you still had enough to knock out the agent that tranqued you. You repeatedly cried out that you were going to save me; the drugs soon knocked you off your feet so you crawled; making it partially out the door when the tranqs finally knocked you out." Chuck stopped this time as the emotions overtook him. Sarah sought out his right hand and arm and trailed soft kisses along the graft lines.
"Just to let you know I was told Ellie locked herself in the bathroom for over an hour after watching it. They all agreed to not have me see the video, but with the operational changes I spent more time in Castle then before and came across it easily. I only watched it once, but saved it just in case you were..."
"Why would Forrest do that? I ran into her at Langley about two months ago. The first two days that I'd been back in North America since the day after being tranqued. Now I'm beginning to feel bad."
"Sarah, let me just go through what I learned about her quickly because you shouldn't feel bad. She does have a sense of honor, but I don't understand what makes it kick in. The other thing is after the setup there's little else to tell." Sensing Sarah's fidgeting he rubbed his left cheek against her right, "Ok; it had been decided Forrest would be Casey's cover girlfriend. That smart decision was confirmed after I came out of the medical coma I was in. Coming to your name was the first thing out of my mouth, but then I was able to focus somewhat and went around the room seeing Ellie and Awesome and Casey and then I apparently called Forrest the C-word before falling back asleep. You have the same reaction Ellie had: shocked that word was even in my vocabulary, Devon gave a 'whoa' and Casey just laughed. As my bouts of consciousness began to last longer I was brought up to speed on some things with her notably absent. Finally I was doing some dexterity rehab with a Wii and she came in. I apologized, but she said she had earned it, but still had her job to do. You had already been released back to the CIA and the new Director wasn't willing to part with you so she had come up with some guidelines. She said she would be a professional and would never bring you up. Unless it was completely unavoidable I would be in Castle for all missions. Once given the all clear to attempt flashing again. When she asked if I had any questions I asked about your story for leaving. Forrest said it was decided that after my accident you had a complete breakdown and your father was notified and had you sent to a facility in the Northeast. It allowed you the chance to come back and people wouldn't dig in much further after the explanation." Chuck paused for a moment to decide how to continue.
"Are you ok, Chuck?"
"Yes, just looking for memorable things that have happened because after the missions have been pretty straightforward. I did my rehab, and after returning home was officially cleared the next week. For the missions I stayed at Castle while the two of them had cameras to allow me to flash on anything visual or audible. That was pretty much it. I think I was in the car twice and stayed in it as they told me to. It's funny, they ran the missions the way they wanted to, but we weren't quite as successful. They seemed to take longer to resolve and even a few got away; about a year in Casey made the suggestion for me to go on some missions, but was heavily rebuked by both Ellie and Forrest."
"What did Devon think?"
"He was conflicted. He didn't want me in danger, but thought I needed to go outside for any reason."
"Any reason? What about Morgan and the Buy More?"
"After my rehab I did go back to the Buy More and Big Mike said I could work wherever I felt comfortable, but I did have to spend at least one day at the Herd desk and one day on calls every week. That lasted two weeks as Emmitt came up with a number of complaints about my appearance. Big Mike boomed out 'As long as he was in charge there would always be a prominent place for me at the Buy More'. Apparently it carried through the store when we left his office because the Herders and Green shirts, including Casey, were there and they gave me a… round of applause as I walked to the back. I don't know why they did that or why it still affects me."
Sarah could feel the moisture on her head and chose to hold off on the explanation that they were merely showing respect to their leader and despite this change he still was. The main reason she held off was the lump in her throat. Both took a few moments to calm; Sarah because she had a feeling the story would turn for the worse and Chuck because the beast that Sarah no longer wanted to be was going to rear its ironically gorgeous head.
"Two days later I was at the desk. The morning was uneventful, but in the afternoon I got a demented déjà vu: a man walked in with his daughter in a ballerina outfit wondering why the concert he recorded wasn't playing back. We set up the wall and when the girl had a look of concern her response to my asking what was wrong got a different response. The girl asked me why I looked like a monster. I hurried to the break room, but I could hear the girl crying."
Sarah gasped, but iterated in her strongest voice, "You could never be a monster Chuck."
"Thank you, but you know the reaction was more than just the girl. There's another detail that is going to anger you, I will do my best to hold you down because of your leg, unless that would be the wrong thing."
"I'll try to be calm, but you're right; I need to restrict any leg movements." She took a deep breath and closed her eyes, "What else happened?"
"First Morgan followed me in to try and cheer me up, but then I could tell he remembered that it was the day we met when he insisted that you would be coming back. After fifteen minutes or so, Morgan gave the all clear, but I just went to the cage. When Morgan initially went after me, Lester and Jeff followed Emmitt who had taken the man and child out of the store and filmed Emmitt paying the man $200 while the girl was still upset saying 'you said it was a joke'."
Chuck stopped as the literal calm before a storm was happening; the waves on the ocean flattened, common beach noise dissipated. It was so surreal his arms naturally loosened just a little bit. He was shocked Sarah didn't take advantage of his slip even more so as he felt her take a deep breath and with a barely audible whisper counted to ten.
"Chuck, given the opportunity there's nothing I would like more then to filet him and allow maggots to digest him. Neither one of us could forgive me though if I did do anything to that unrepentant prick. At least he was caught… Chuck?"
"After filming it the two came back to the cage and the three of us along with Morgan and Anna decided the best way to handle it was to show the tape to the person during our usually not-so-secret biannual inspection that was due in two days. Casey saw the events from Castle and agreed the plan was the safest way to get rid of Emmitt without endangering the cover. The problem was Emmitt moved the inspection up a day while Big Mike was getting fitted for his new inspection suit and did not show up until the afternoon; just in time to pack his office. Emmitt had footage and recordings of Big Mike that made him look grossly incompetent. Emmitt did have the patience to spring this right after I accused him of staging the disruption the previous day. Unfortunately the video file was no longer on Lester's phone, checking on Jeff's was fruitless as well. So Big Mike was demoted on the spot to a Green shirt while I was given the option of working out of the cage or coming in during off business hours to avoid people. I quit, walked out, and came here looking over the water and hoping that at least you were safe."
"What did Casey do?"
"I had thought he would have followed me out, but the look he gave along with the knuckle cracking told me he was going to find out what happened to the video. After the inspection he confronted Lester and Jeff in the break room as they feigned any knowledge of foul play until Emmitt handed Lester the Assistant Manager jacket. Lester decided this was the right time to open his mouth and said that this gave me the chance to go and find you. Of course if you wanted to be found." Sarah gave an audible gasp and lightly shook while Chuck kissed her cheek, "It's ok. Casey's reaction was physical enough. He gut punched Lester that he couldn't straighten out for four days and Jeff decided to take a swing that put him in position for Casey's right cross that knocked him out and broke his jaw. He left Jeff in the break room after making sure he was breathing. He picked up Lester and placed him in a Beastmaster telling him the gas was on. If he lifted the hood it would ignite and subsequently turn up the heat each time he tried. Casey added he could not open the hood enough for even a snake like him to squeeze out. As long as he remained quiet he would let him out. He confirmed with Forrest, who had followed me, where I was and told her to call an ambulance for Jeff and to maintain the perimeter as he needed to pick up a few things before heading out there."
"While I know you don't like to hear that you were better than that job. I also know that you really liked helping people with their problems. What did Casey have to pick up?"
"Luckily Morgan and Anna were heading in for the afternoon shift and Casey caught them before they stepped in. He explained the double cross and Chuck's decision and that they were going to find him at the beach after he picks up some Johnnie Walker Red."
"Wait, he drinks Black."
"He has his reasons; I asked him that after the group talk finished. He said Black was for regrets, and there was no way I should have any regrets for what happened today. The group talk drifted through a number of topics, it finished up as Casey asked if anybody had any post Buy More plans. Morgan brought up his Benihana hopes and after some confidence building he was about to ask Anna to join him when he looked at me and said he couldn't leave me here without Sarah while he was living out his dream. Casey stopped him and said he would help me find you. Morgan felt a little reassured and asked Anna; within a few days they were headed to Hawaii."
"Did you look for another job?"
"No. With Casey's subsequent firing; they found Lester the next day in the exact same spot. While Casey avoided trouble with the police as there wasn't any video evidence and Casey's counter that Lester was on something and just crawled into the Beastmaster couldn't be denied as Lester's refusal to submit to a blood test and hair sample brought enough doubt so no charges were filed. Although that fact didn't stop Emmitt from firing Casey; we both fully concentrated on the collection of bad guys and I agreed to regular updates which were about every six weeks."
"Why would you agree to that?" When the words left Sarah's mouth she knew she was the answer, "Chuck, you know I care about you, not the Intersect, right?"
"Yes, despite the threat of Devon's uncle and upon your return the subsequent destruction you would bring forth if I was placed in a bunker wasn't enough to quell my doubts as that option seemed likely if I didn't undergo the updates."
"While I wish you hadn't; it does make sense to have done it. Plus it gave the potential option to help me or at least see that I was ok." Sarah's voice quivered before asking with some trepidation, "Did you look at my missions?"
"How did you know I wanted to help you… No, I did not look at your missions and I was told you were entered in as another name so I couldn't search for you. As I said before we just did missions after this. Well, Casey and Forrest did each other for almost a year and believe me as 'complicated' was the word to describe our relationship, theirs was 'hypocrisy' they at least stopped flaunting it in front of me after I asked why it was bad for an agent to be distracted by an asset, but it was ok if the agents were distracted by each other. I cannot argue that I didn't withdraw from the world, other than playing online games with Morgan there wasn't much outside interaction. Though one interesting thing happened; with Jeff being knocked out he detoxed and shockingly is a decent guy. He came to the apartment to apologize and then even thanked Casey for helping the real him come back. He joins in on the online play and we go to the arcade on the pier every other week and take on a vintage game; last week was Frogger. He quit the Buy More; in fact they had to replace the entire staff within a month and the Buy More ended up closing three months later."
"All you did was spy work and video games?"
"No, with the time in between I also was working on helping make the Intersect more pliable so that others can use it. Also trying to find some other ways to help give me a more complete view of the mission site so I can flash on things that aren't stared at directly by either of the spies. We tried a VR… virtual reality which was more proficient in getting flashes, but it led to strong headaches. Ellie tried to reconfigure and my dad… Oh my gosh … Thank you so much for finding my father."
"I should have done it earlier."
"Sarah, no you don't understand, there's a lot more to him. Anyway Ellie and Awesome kept your note from Casey because they didn't know who to trust. Devon had suggested the place may be a spot where you and I were to meet and run off together, but Ellie was still mad at this point and didn't trust you. After the video it completely changed and they went and found my dad. Initially reuniting was awkward as it degraded into an Abbott and Costello routine as Ellie could only say the word 'pancakes' leaving Awesome and my dad to try and interpret what she was saying. Long story that I'll tell later, eventually she regained her vocabulary and they brought him back to Burbank and he stayed while I recovered."
"What about the wedding?"
"It was delayed for a month and because their original venue was booked for the next six months, they had it… see that rock formation over there, just on the other side of it. The wedding is where Bryce came back to find out the status of the Intersect 2.0."
"Why would he come to you for that?"
"Not me, my dad; he invented the Intersect. Well he only takes credit for the cool parts. Anyhow when he first arrived Casey questioned Devon and Ellie on what they had told my father. Ellie said nothing because they weren't sure of his stability, so he was to be kept out of the loop. Until my third day back at the apartment; Ellie was on call and Devon was out on a jog, my dad came into the room and pulled out a garage door opener and pressed a button. He claimed it was a random white noise generator and asked if I had flashed since waking up. I shook my head both to answer his question and in disbelief. He then said a word and I had like a mini-flash and I just stared at him. He told me there was more than information in the Intersect and that was a test he put in to check after head trauma like a concussion. He said he had been both working on a suppression device and a second version which also contained some skills. He asked if I trusted my handlers and I told him I trusted Casey, but not Forrest. I told him about you and he asked if there was anyplace other than the bathroom for privacy. I told him possibly Ellie's bedroom, but with her now in the know they had an excuse to plant one there if one wasn't there already. He agreed and said for me to ask Casey if it was ok if I go car shopping with my dad tomorrow, if not alone he was welcome to tag along. Casey said it was ok and chose to tail us instead of coming along. My dad picked up a jeep and then drove to our old house which was completely empty, but looked like it had been kept up. We went into the basement that I didn't even know we had and it was unbelievable. The amount of items and the sheer size was… Anyways he pressed a button and said my watch tracker was still active, but no bugs would work. That was when he told me what I was beginning to suspect; that he was Orion."
"I know; somewhere in the interim of getting the computer he sent me, he managed to escape before the drone strike. We talked for about an hour before Casey got antsy and left his watch to find us. We made it to the living room when he entered the home and soon left after finding out what the place was and that my eyes were misty… did I ever tell you about my reviews for my portrayal of Perchik in Fiddler on the Roof? Sorry, anyways my dad said we could use the place one more time to talk before it would be bugged and he wanted to tell Ellie the truth, but to keep it from the CIA and NSA. One of the first things he brought up in the basement was that he was pissed at Bryce because he said I would be protected and that wasn't the case. I argued that I was with you here. He said he wanted to check that out and would stay there to discover the truth for himself and to let Ellie know he hadn't left. It had been difficult for me to sleep soundly after waking up from the vault incident, so I heard him come in at around three am. He came into my room, frowned when he saw I was somewhat awake and simply patted my head and surreptitiously left a note. In the morning I went into the bathroom to read it and it said 'I trust Sarah'. Sarah, what's wrong?"
"Chuck, what I was going to tell you is that your dad saved my life."
A/N: Trying to be more considerate to the readers and breaking up their stories should make it easier to digest. A few of the questions like how can Sarah say their communication is sabotaged when their meeting is from a direct text will be answered in the next chapter. I also created a profile on 'my' page so feel free to peruse that. Thank you for reading and potentially reviewing. I believe I caught the first person slips. Sarah will tell her story in the next chapter and depending on how verbose she chooses to be the story could be wrapped up then or may make a third chapter necessary.
I did just go through and change a few words, hopefully it is a little clearer.