Chapter 1 - The Beach
Hi my name is Chuck and here are a few things you might have forgotten or need to know. Five years ago I was a nerd herder at the Burbank Buy More whose life was going nowhere fast. I was expelled from Stanford when my college roommate, Bryce Larkin, framed me for cheating and then stole my girlfriend Jill. On my birthday, Bryce sent me an email filled with government secrets. Turns out my friend was a spy not an accountant. I opened the email and uploaded an experimental database to my brain and become the only human Intersect. Just before sending the email Bryce destroyed the computer database, and then was shot, everyone thought he was evil and dead. Turns out both ideas were wrong. The NSA sent their top agent to take me out, John Casey, and the CIA sent their top agent to bring me in, Sarah Walker. Their missions became one when they discovered I uploaded the Intersect to my brain, and they became my "handlers." As a cover John was my co-worker at the Buy More, and Sarah was my girlfriend. Over the next four years we went on many missions, John became my friend, and Sarah became my wife. We had our share of relationship issues along the way, but in the end we both admitted our love for each other. In fact, it was the events leading to our marriage that caused me to lose the Intersect and our entire team to become burned by an agent who turned out to be evil. So we started our own spy company, exposed the bad guys, and cleared our names. Then we went on one last mission, and that is when things went wrong. I was captured and Sarah uploaded a faulty Intersect program to save me, but she got captured while freeing me. Quinn, the villain some how erased her memories of the last 5-6 years and convinced her I was the villain an ordered to kill me. Just before she was going to pull the trigger in our dream house, she saw a carving and remembered we were a real couple, but she cannot remember anything else. We eventually took down Quinn, and I reloaded the Intersect, but Sarah saved the day. Now she has left me, wanting time to discover who she is and what she lost. My friend Morgan has convinced me to follow my heart and to find her and convince her of our love.
Morgan was right. Well, at least he was right in that Chuck had an idea where she might have gone and he was still in love. Of course, Chuck was right too, she could have been anywhere, but he dared to hope that their spot on the beach would be where she was located. Sure enough, there she was, sitting there looking out on the ocean, in the only place he knew a person could find enough peace to be alone, clear their head, and think. With firm resolve he decided to approach her, to talk to her, and to assure her of his love, his devotion, and his desire for her happiness, even if it meant he himself would live a life of sad loneliness. As he approached he saw her take a deep breath and sigh to herself, lost in thought. What was she thinking?
She has so many questions, and zero answers. The last thing she really remembers, besides the last few days, is realizing Bryce was gone off grid, and the accusation that he joined Fulcrum. Graham had cleared her of any accusation, but she had a meeting scheduled with him to receive her next assignment and a "handler" to prove she could still be trusted. Of course, she knew the end of Bryce's story, Quinn had lied when he told her one version, but Chuck had told her the truth. In fact, everything Chuck had told her was true. Chuck, his friends, his family, her rival (now partner evidently), her partner's boss, and even her video logs told her Chuck was the only one she ever really trusted, even loved, but how could she start over with a man she only knew in stories, with only a few fleeting emotional flashes. She had felt her desire to listen to him, to trust him, and had found herself surprised by his contradictions while they were hunting for Quinn. He had been willing to stop Quinn, but not kill him, he had wanted to talk about them, but had consistently set their issue aside when absolutely required. She had seen his fear of losing her and his sacrificial bravery when he uploaded the Intersect, and had seen the hurt in his eyes when he walked away the last time in Castle. In short he acted like a spy physically, but like a normal man emotionally. It was easy to see how she had fallen in love with him, but at that the time she knew and felt the pain of being betrayed by someone close to her, but this time it was her own memories that were betraying her, she could not recall the things that made her love him, though she was sure she could love Chuck. Yes, she was sure of those two things, she could trust him, and she could love him, but could he give her the time she needed to find the information she needed? She took a deep breath a let out a sigh, she would have to contact him or even go see him soon, she could not just walk away without saying goodbye, not even two weeks ago. Just then she saw someone standing beside her.
Chuck began to sit and talk, "I was hoping you would be here."
"This place is important isn't it?" She said as she wrapped her sweater tight over body, like it was some kind of emotional body armor.
"Yeah, yeah very much." He turns his head to look at her. "This is actually where you told me it was going to be ok. That I could trust you, and that is exactly what I am doing now, I am asking you to trust me. Sarah, I don't want anything from you, I… I just need you to know that wherever you go I will always be there to help you. Someone you can call, whenever. Trust me, Sarah. I am here for you always."
She can see the raw emotion in face, his eyes, and hear it in his voice. She is trying to hold back her tears, spies don't cry in front of people, but this Chuck, and she feels that she can trust him. So now that Quinn is dead, there is no mission, maybe now is the time. "Chuck, tell me our story."
She is smiling a small smile. Oh how he loves her, and all of her little facial expressions. Finally, she is willing to listen. "Yeah, yeah, where to begin?" He is staring straight ahead. "Well, it started with a guy who worked at Buy More."
She smiles a real smile. A Sarah Walker, the wife kind of smile, a Sarah Bartowski kind of smile that has not been seen for weeks.
"Then one day, an old college friend of his sent him an email that was filled with secrets. Then the next day, his life really changed when he met a spy named Sarah, and he fell in love."
She starts to tear up. She feels so sorry for him, and so sorry for herself. Why did this happen to them? How could Quinn, or anyone else, be so evil?
He tells her about their Vicky Vale meeting, their first date where he pledge to be her personal baggage handler, her dressing as Princess Lea for Halloween, her first sleep over and his reaction to the whole "it's just for the cover" bit. She finds that funny.
He continues to tell her about the kiss in front of Roan, giving her his mother's bracelet for Christmas, where he let her know he considered her a real girlfriend, though she pretended all their interactions was "just for the cover" or "just doing her job."
She is surprised by the story of going rogue for Chuck and his dad in Barstow, and the morning that could have been, had Morgan not raided his wallet.
In fact, he gives snap shots of the way he fell for her during the cover kisses, and impromptu make out session at the Wienerlicious. The ruining of Ellie's wedding when they finally defeated Fulcrum and Ted Roark.
He makes a point to tell her about how well they worked together once they were officially a couple on the train to Zurich. About the time they each tried to seduce the other (he as a slick Roan type, and her has a belly dancer) to get their choice for the wedding ceremony. Mission highlights, like sky diving together, and dancing.
Personal times cuddling in bed, and the Valentine's Day where she dressed up like a Victoria Secret's angel. He told her about their practice vows, and the Buy More conference where she became upset because she did not have "normal" friends.
He told her about the near proposal on the balcony, and the actual proposal in the hospital after Clara was born. Their wedding could not be excluded from the story, which brought her to full out crying. She had to ask him to stop, but could not find the words, so she just lightly slapped him on the arm with the back of her hand as she tried to dry her eyes.
"You know Morgan has this crazy idea."
With a look of trepidation, "What is it?"
"He thinks with one kiss you will remember everything."
With a small laugh Sarah asks, "One magical kiss?" She turns her back to the ocean.
They both chuckle because it is silly, but deep down they want it to work. She wants her memories.
"I know it's…"
They stare into each other's eyes, and study the other person's reaction. Then slowly, leaning in they kiss. It is a tender kiss, which lasts and deepens as they kiss. While she does not move her hands to touch him, she does not resist his tender touch on her face or his arm around her holding her close. She no longer wonders, she no longer thinks, she knows that she can trust him, and that she can love him. Yet, she must find herself. As they break the kiss, she wonders can he trust her enough to let her leave and return.
He cannot believe his fortune. His hope soars, and while he does not believe the kiss will work, she asked for him to kiss her. He sees a hint of his Sarah, and he wonders if this will be the point where they resume their love story.
As he looks her in the eyes he can't contain his joy and relief. "Wow. Sarah, I have missed you and I love you so much." However, his joy gives place to the realization that her memories did not return and he stares at the sand between his feet.
Watching him and wishing to comfort him she decides to speak from her heart. Something that is not easy for her, it never has been. "Chuck, we both knew that there is no such thing as a magical kiss, but I did feel something. A few weeks ago, I told you that I believed you, but that I did not feel it."
She notices the pain created by the memory as soon as it appears on his face. In fact she is struggling to hold her tears back and to keep her voice steady. Swallowing back her emotions, she continues, "I had a mission to complete, a mission to bring to justice the man who tore our lives, our love apart. I completed that mission, and I know that I can trust you, and I feel that in time I can truly love you again, but I have another mission that I must complete, and I must do it alone. So did you mean what you said 'that wherever I go, I can count on you and you would be there to support me' and talk to me?"
He quickly jerks his head up to look her in the eyes, "Yes, I meant every word, but if you feel that you can love me, why do you have to leave?"
She smiles her smile that says she is surprised by his innocence, the straightforward feelings he always displays toward her. "Chuck, I know that I can trust you, but I do not know if I can trust me enough to not allow someone else to sway me or trick me into doubting us."
He looks a little confused. She pushes forward, "The last thing I remember was Bryce disappearing and everyone assuming he was rogue. I was being reassigned to a new team and placed under a handler."
Clearly he can see from her expressions that she does not remember her mission as a member of Ryker's team, or Molly. He sits quietly and listens to her. "Then the next thing I remember, I woke up in a strange hotel room with Quinn sitting at the table claiming to be my handler. He told me you lured Bryce into trap to kill him, by using your college connection, and then I was assigned to get the Intersect back from you. He told me you and your team killed Graham, and that to gain your trust I was forced to marry you."
She looks away to keep her composure, she looks to the horizon and continues, "And then, just as we were getting close to recovering the Intersect, you discovered my secret and erased my memories. He ordered me to get the glasses and to kill you."
He looks like he wants to interject, but she holds up her hand to signal him to wait and listen. "I never want anyone to be able to use me that way again. We know that he lied by twisting of some real things that happened."
Chuck looks relieved, so he drops his head and inclines his ear towards her. "Chuck, I have heard the stories from you, seen my video logs, but I need to see for myself, not be told, what happened these past five years."
Again, he looks confused for a moment and then it looks as if a thought has occurred to him. Yet, he remains silent and she continues before she loses her nerve. Here comes the part she dreaded, even before he took his seat on the beach. "Therefore, I decided, before you arrived, that I needed to see if I can gain access to the mission reports, the surveillance video files, and anything else that might be on file to help me remember, or at least know "first hand" what took place. Please, trust me when I say, I want to remember, and I want to find out what we were, and what we can become…"
His smile is overwhelming to her, and she momentarily considers forgetting everything and just learning to live again. "…But I cannot have doubts, and I do not want any possibility for someone else to make me doubt us or use me against you. So can you let me go? …"
Again that look of fear on his face, how many times did she push him away? What lengths had he gone to in pursuing her? She must help him understand, so she makes sure her facial expression is soft as she says, "…Can you let me go for now?"
He smiles a thin, half smile, and says in a weak, almost silent, voice, "It will not be easy, but I can try. How long will you be gone?"
"I do not know. I don't know if anyone will let me see the information I need, but I must try." She continues to think on the probability of success as her brows furrow and she looks deep in thought.
"Promise me a few things." He does not even look up, but continues to stare at the ground.
He looks at her, like he can see right through her, as if he knows her better than she knows herself. "Do not break in or make this into a spy mission that could cost you your freedom. If you feel that is what will take, call me and let me help."
She is startled by the intensity of his eyes. "I could live with us both in super max, but I couldn't live with myself if you went down alone." She wants to cry, she wants to just hold him, but she puts her Agent Walker mask on as she thinks what else could he want from her.
"And?" She asks with raised eyebrows.
"Promise me that when you find your answers, you will come see me, and let me talk to you before you make any final decisions about your future." Again, his request is made with his head down, almost as if he is afraid to see her reaction, and in so doing he misses her huge smile.
"Ok, Chuck. I promise both of those things. Is there anything else?"
Leaning slightly towards her bumping into her shoulder, Chucks makes one more request. "Call me when you can? At least call me to let me know that you arrived at your destination safely, and to give me updates when you can."
Again, he misses her smile because he ducked his head too soon, but he can hear the softness in her tone and the honesty when she says, "I will call you when I arrive, and before I return. I will call you when I need questions answered, but otherwise, I need time to focus on what I learn, and time to think about what it means. If you give me this, you will be fulfilling your promise to be there for me always."
For the first time Chuck shifts his entire body to a position that is no longer beside her, but angled to her. Taking her hands, hands that have until this point mostly held her sweater tightly wrapped in front of her. "Sarah, I love you. Please be safe and trust that I will honor your request, and I will be there to talk to you whenever you want answers, or just to talk, or just to have me tell you something funny to make you laugh, or…"
She notices he is nervous and is about to continue listing reasons why she could call him daily. Did he always ramble when he was nervous? He did it on the Quinn mission as well.
"Right, I tend to ramble." He gives her a goofy I am guilty look.
She stands. "Goodbye, Chuck."
Quickly getting to his feet and wiping the sand off he asks, "May I kiss you goodbye and for luck?"
"I would like that." They kiss a short but meaningful kiss as he wraps his arms around her shoulders. She enjoys his warmth, he makes her feel safe, but true to her nature, she pulls back. What she does not realize is he felt her pull away and it plays with his mind. If she could see his face, she would see the desperation he feels.
Quickly smiling a confident smile, with only a hint sadness Chuck says, "Goodbye, Sarah."
Go now she tells herself or you will never leave. She quickly turns and walks away.
He watched her leave. She turned around, waved, wiped her eyes, and then got in her Lotus and drove away.
Slowly, he returns to the only nerd herder he did not include in the Buy More sale. He turns on the radio and starts surfing the presets. Jeff and Lester must have set some of the stations because one of the buttons is set to an 80's station and the song that is playing sums up how he feels: Phil Collins has just reached the chorus and Chuck knows the odds are not in his favor, but he must face those odds, he has no choice.
Chuck thinks to himself. Maybe Casey was right all along. I have too many "lady feelings." I need my own mission, and I need to put this Intersect in my head to work. I need to distract myself with work because I will never let Sarah find me drowning in alcohol again. I should have told her that story, but then again she does not need to hear about Shaw from me, especially when I still can't keep the pain and hate out of my voice. Where is Casey when I need a good "Stop with the lady feelings Bartowski"?