A/N: Although I intended this story to be a one-shot, doing a follow-up chapter has been nagging me. So, I allowed my demented brain out of the cage, and this is the result! Uh, you might want to pour yourself a glass of Jack Daniel's for this one... Don't worry, I'm still working on my current story. Just decided to take a break and give this one an ending.
This scene will take place half way through The Three Words, after Chuck is gassed during the Stromberg mission. It will follow the path set in the previous chapter. I ended the chapter with a flash-forward to the future, to tie the story off in a nice, big bow. I wasn't as rough with the language in this chapter, but there are suggestive themes. I did keep things tame.
This time, Beckman gets buzzed...and has a loose tongue...MWHAHAHA!
Disclaimer: I don't own Chuck, but I do own half a bottle of Jack Daniel's at the moment! No, I'm not a regular at AA meetings…..
Drink responsibly! If you drink like a fish, then swim! Don't drive!
Carina grabbed the gold case from the table, giving Sarah a knowing look.
"Let me know if you change your mind about my offer."
Sarah smiled. "Thanks…but I'm staying right here."
Carina winked. "Thought so. Considering what you two did last night."
Sarah smiled at Carina's departing form, then turned to monitor Chuck. Her heart ached for all that happened to him the last two and a half years. At the same time, she beamed at his heartfelt declaration of his love for her, before collapsing in her arms.
Sarah blushed as her mind drifted to the events of the previous evening, and how two and a half years of pent-up tension exploded into the most magical, and passionate night of her life.
Sarah rose from her chair, and walked briskly to Chuck's cot. He was still unconscious. Sarah ran her fingers through his hair, and smiled at his sleeping form.
Sarah took a seat on the bed, and glanced away in deep thought. Her eyes filled with tears. Things had gone so wrong lately. She thought Chuck chose to be a spy over being with her.
Sarah took a steady breath to settle her growing rage. She couldn't believe she had been so careless to ask Chuck to run away with her right in front of a surveillance camera.
Sarah closed her eyes, and bit her bottom lip to keep the whimper from escaping her lips. She knew Chuck would do anything to protect her. He had done it once before by breaking up with her, believing he was protecting her.
At Prague, Chuck chose to protect her once again. Sarah realized, she would never allow Chuck to sacrifice his heart, or his life, for her. She would maul anyone who tried to put him in that position. Enough was enough.
Sarah cast her gaze once again on Chuck's sleeping form. She smiled sadly. No one had ever truly loved her the way Chuck did.
Sarah didn't know where the will, or the words came from, but she spoke straight from her heart for the first time since she could remember.
"Chuck…I love you. I've always loved you."
Sarah smiled through happy tears. "I finally said it."
Sarah kissed Chuck softly on the lips. "I've felt it for so long…I just didn't know how to say it."
With newfound determination, Sarah took a steady breath. "I won't let Beckman, or anyone else stand in our way. From this point on, I will fight for you...for us."
Sarah walked to the monitor, and pushed a button. Beckman appeared, and removed her glasses.
"Agent Walker. What can I do for you?"
Sarah spoke calmly, yet direct. "General, we need to talk."
Beckman sighed. "If this is about your transfer request…"
Sarah cut Beckman to the quick. "General, disregard that request. I'm staying. This is about Chuck."
Beckman rolled her eyes. "I'm listening. What did he do this time?"
Sarah took a steady breath. "Tonight, Chuck almost killed himself to ensure his place back on this team. I understand he was dismissed from training for not being able to flash. Do you not understand that the Intersect is tied directly to his emotional state?"
Beckman replied calmly. "Sarah, we are still learning how the 2.0 functions. Chuck did well during his first few weeks, but, his performance declined after he was granted his first leave."
Sarah crossed her arms. "Would you like to know why? Wait, don't answer that. You already know why."
Beckman narrowed her eyes. "Agent Walker, I would watch your tone."
Sarah exploded. "Or you'll do what exactly!? Burn me!? Go ahead! It will be the last decision you ever make!"
Beckman grew angry. "Agent Walker!"
Sarah seethed. "Why don't you shut the hell up for five minutes and listen! You have done all the talking for the last two years, and you won't listen to a damn thing Casey and I tell you about Chuck! Would it hurt you to open your eyes, and your ears, and listen to the people that are with him, day in and day out!?"
Beckman sighed. "Alright. Let's calm down. I take it Mr. Bartowski told you about Prague."
Sarah blinked. "Yes. It devastated him. Did you not pick up on that?"
Beckman replied in a direct tone. "Agent Walker, did it ever occur to you that I too have to answer for the success, or failure of this project? If you're looking for an apology from me for what happened, you'll be waiting a long time. The CIA and NSA only cares about results. We wanted Larkin to host the 2.0, but, as fate would have it, it ended up in the head of Bartowski. We played the hand we were dealt."
Sarah crossed her arms. "General, you're preaching to the choir. I know what the stakes are. I have to live with the stakes."
Beckman clasped her hands together. "Alright. Let's be honest. I overlooked the fact that the two of you got close. I'm not blind, Sarah."
Sarah cast her gaze downward, then back to Beckman. "I'm grateful for that. But General, why threaten to burn me in exchange for Chuck completing his training? It destroyed him! That's why he couldn't flash!"
Sarah paused to calm down. "After all this time, it amazes me how blind you are to the fact that Chuck wears his heart on his sleeve."
Beckman huffed in frustration. She took a moment to gather her thoughts before proceeding.
Beckman threw up her hands angrily. "To hell with it. Fine. I fucked up. Is that what you wanted to hear?"
Sarah didn't blink. "It's a start. General, let me be clear, so we can put this behind us and move forward. I'm willing to help you. I know what the stakes are. In return, I need your help. Can we negotiate on those terms?"
Beckman sighed. "Okay. I'll hear you out. I owe you that much."
Sarah smiled. "Thank you, General. For starters, Casey and I need to train Chuck. He's not ready to be a field agent just yet. Furthermore, we need to waive the Red Test. I firmly believe he would refuse anyway. Besides, I'm not putting him in that position. He would never pull the trigger, and would probably get killed. I won't lose him, that's simply not an option. Last, but certainly not least, I am asking that you please listen to what Casey and I tell you about Chuck."
Beckman nodded. "Okay. We'll try it your way."
Beckman took a breath. "For the record, I was going to deny your request for transfer. Sarah, things have changed. When Chuck hosted the Intersect 1.0, we had to save Chuck from the world. Now, we have to protect the world from Chuck. That's where you come in."
Sarah replied passionately. "General, that doesn't make any sense. Chuck is not a threat. If anything, we should be thankful the 2.0 ended up in the mind of someone we can trust. Can you honestly say you trusted Bryce? The Intersect has not changed him. He's still Chuck."
Sarah lowered her head, and spoke barely above a whisper. "He's still my Chuck."
Beckman sighed heavily. "You have a valid point. That's why I offered Chuck a job. Having him close by was my reassurance we could handle any problems with Larkin. But, things changed."
Sarah huffed. "Thank you."
Beckman grinned. "I'm sure you have another request, Agent Walker. I'm listening."
Sarah took a steady breath. "You know my file, General. My specialty is wet work, quick in, quick out. On this assignment…I've changed. Chuck changed me. I'm not the same agent...or person I was before meeting him. In fact, I'm better. Truth is, I was compromised on the first day of this operation. I fell in love with my asset. Now that Chuck is not an asset anymore, I am asking for permission for Chuck and I to date. If my request is denied…I will be happy to submit my resignation. Either way, I won't let anything else, including the government, stand in the way of Chuck and I being together."
Beckman's eyes widened. She turned, grabbed a bottle of bourbon from her credenza, and turned the bottle up.
Sarah shook her head and grinned. "Wow. That shocking, huh?"
Beckman winced. "The resigning part…yes."
Beckman coughed slightly. "I know you're in love with him, Sarah. I'm not a fool."
Sarah nodded. "There is no turning back for me, General. I am willing to help you, by ensuring you have a functioning, working Intersect. In exchange, what I do with the host of the Intersect, is my business. Is that agreeable?"
Beckman took another long swig, and let out a hiccup. "Agreed."
Beckman sat the bottle on her desk. "I suppose we had better have Colonel Casey remove the surveillance from Chuck's apartment, or he will be the one threatening to resign."
Beckman held up her hands. "What?"
Sarah turned coy. "This conversation is one of the few times I've heard you call him Chuck."
Beckman rested her face in her hands. "He is an annoying pain in the ass."
Beckman made eye contact with Sarah. "But, he is loyal, brave, and smart. And, he's kind of cute. Hell, if I were 30 years younger, I would date him. He's quite a catch, Sarah. Cute, charming, smart, funny, and that chest hair…"
Chuck woke up about half-way through the exchange. Chuck muttered silently, "Ewww!"
Sarah's eyes widened. "General, do I need to watch my back?"
Beckman scoffed. "I'm not a cougar. Besides, there's someone else…" Beckman trailed, and her eyes widened.
Beckman tried to turn professional. "Uh, well, we've all had personal attachments…"
Sarah bit her lip. "General, I hate to break it to you, but the entire intelligence community knows about you and Roan Montgomery."
Beckman shook her head angrily. "Roan likes the young ones, you know? Attractive, airhead, big-breasted bimbos. Jesus, I would rock his world if he gave me half a chance."
Chuck's mouth widened. He mouthed. "Oh. My. God!"
Beckman had a faraway look. "We were stationed in Berlin together. He could do this amazing thing with his..."
Sarah could have caught flies in her mouth. Chuck slapped a hand to his face to keep from gagging.
Beckman shrugged. "I could get freaky back in the day."
Beckman slapped a hand to her mouth. "Oh shit!"
Sarah heaved with silent laughter.
Beckman turned professional. "Right. Moving along. Uh, yes, permission granted. You may date Chuck."
Beckman smiled. "Sarah, off the record, it's about damn time!"
Beckman shook her head in glee. "Geez. When the two of you spent the night in that sleazy hotel in Barstow, I thought for sure you had sealed the deal."
Beckman pointed a pen at Sarah, almost scowling. "When I heard nothing happened, I almost…almost ordered Colonel Casey to lock you both in a cell, and pump you both full of enough aphrodisiacs to put a frat party to shame. Good grief, watching the two of you pine over each other for two year's was agonizing, and just plain cruel. Hell, even Casey begged me to order the two of you to go at it. The tension was unbearable. The next time you two go off grid, ride that boy until neither of you can walk straight, for crying out loud! That is an order!"
Sarah grinned devilishly. "Trust me, General. I accomplished that mission last night. I intend to make up for lost time in the near future. Just get ready for a permanent, happy grin on my boyfriend's face from here on out."
Beckman smirked. "So, that explains Bartowski's shit-eating grin, and your unusual happy glow this morning. Good for you, Sarah."
Beckman leaned forward. "Woman to woman...how was it?"
Sarah sighed in content. "Incredible. Let's just say, Chuck's got skills, General."
Beckman's eyes widened. "Wow...I knew that boy was a freaking rock star."
Beckman took a gulp from her bottle, belched, and slammed the bottle down on her desk. "This assignment is turning me into a damn alcoholic!"
Beckman disconnected the feed. Sarah leaned over and laughed hysterically. Chuck moved to a sitting position on the cot, holding his stomach.
"I think I'm gonna be sick. I knew Beckman was a freak, but I never envisioned her as that kind of freak. I am never listening to Rick James again. Ever. Super Freak is no longer on the Chuck Bartowski playlist."
Sarah power-walked to Chuck, and knelt in front of him with a concerned look. "Are you alright?"
Chuck smiled. "Never better."
Sarah's eyes flashed briefly with anger. Sarah socked Chuck in the arm. Hard.
Chuck yelped. "Ow! What was that for?"
Sarah crammed her finger in Chuck's face. "For scaring the ever-living shit out of me! Chuck, don't you ever…EVER…do that again! You could have been killed!"
Chuck lowered his head. "I'm sorry."
Sarah grabbed Chuck's face, and planted a passionate kiss on his lips.
Sarah broke the kiss, and stared Chuck in the eyes. "I'm not losing you…not again. Do we understand each another?"
Chuck nodded sadly. Sarah smiled softly, and caressed Chuck's cheek. "Go brush your teeth. Your breath is hideous."
Chuck's eyes widened in horror. He blew into his hand, and smelled.
Sarah laughed when Chuck's eyes crossed in disgust. "Blah!"
Chuck got to his feet, swaying slightly. "Woah…"
Sarah wrapped her arms around Chuck's waist. "Take it easy. It will take a while for the toxin to wear off."
Chuck smacked his lips. "That stuff tasted like laughing gas."
Sarah grinned. "Well, there was nothing funny about what happened."
Chuck furrowed his brow in humor. "Actually, I thought it was hilarious. I've never seen you look so surprised when I was negotiating those lasers."
Sarah blushed. "I thought it was…kinda sexy."
Chuck's eyes widened. "Really?"
Sarah grinned. "Mmmhmm. That's one reason why I'm so pissed at you. The car ride back could have been...interesting. But nooooo. You had to trigger that knock-out gas."
Sarah spun Chuck around, and spoke breathlessly. "Rule Number 2. Never turn me on, unless you can do something about it at the first available opportunity. Got it?"
Chuck replied with a quick, wide-eyed nod.
Chuck grinned. "Now that I know Rule Number 2, what, pray tell, is Rule Number 1?"
Sarah smiled sweetly. "I am always right."
Chuck smirked. "What if you're wrong?"
Sarah gave Chuck a playful glare.
Chuck smiled. "I suppose Rule Number 3 is, when in doubt, see Rules 1 and 2?"
Sarah kissed Chuck on the cheek. "You catch on quick."
Sarah led Chuck to the bathroom. "Now, go freshen up, and change into your work-out gear. The best way to get the rest of that crap out of your system, is a good work-out. We'll work on your combat flashes, and start with the bow."
Chuck grinned. "The bow, huh?"
Chuck did a Bruce Lee pose. "Whaaaahhhh!"
Sarah rolled her eyes playfully. "I'll be in the gym…grasshopper."
Chuck snorted. "Yes, Sensei!"
Sarah walked away, swaying her hips while singing over her shoulder. "That girl is pretty wild now; That girl's a super freak; The kind of girl you read about; In the new wave magazines."
Chuck stared at Sarah in shock, then burst out laughing.
30 Minutes Later….
Chuck successfully flashed on the bow, but was amazed at how Sarah had a hard time keeping up with the Intersect. Chuck wouldn't admit it, but he was enjoying watching Sarah become more and more frustrated.
Chuck paused. "Sarah, does everything have to be a competition with you?"
Sarah gasped to catch her breath. "It's in my DNA. Get used to it. By the way, stop holding back."
Chuck lowered his head. "Sarah, I don't want to hurt you."
Sarah stared at Chuck through her eyelashes, with a devilish grin. Sarah arched her body, making an attempt to highlight her "assets." Sarah swayed slightly from side to side, running her hands sensually up her body, and along her breasts. Sarah gave Chuck a seductive look, and winked.
Chuck's eyes and mouth widened. In a quick motion, Sarah swept Chuck's feet out from under him. Chuck landed hard.
Sarah smiled, and rested on her bow. "Don't worry Chuck. You can't."
Chuck winced. "That was cheating…"
Sarah knelt. "A good spy doesn't get distracted. Remember that."
Chuck moaned in pain. "I'll try to remember that."
Sarah grew concerned. "Chuck, are you hurt?"
Chuck pressed a hand into his back, and howled in pain. Sarah clasped her hands to her mouth. "Oh my God…I'm so sorry, Chuck!"
Sarah leaned down, and Chuck grabbed Sarah, rolling her to her back.
Chuck hovered over Sarah and winked. "Riiiiight. What were saying about getting distracted?"
Sarah furrowed her brow playfully. "Oh, it is so on!"
Casey wondered into Castle dismissively, and was surprised when he didn't find Chuck still asleep, or Sarah monitoring his vital signs. Concerned, Casey decided to search for the pair.
Casey heard a commotion in the gym, and decided to investigate. "What the hell...sounds like a dying cat in there."
Casey barged into the gym, and stopped dead in his tracks.
Casey's eyes widened. "Oh, dear God strike me dead where I stand."
Sarah, who was on top of Chuck, covered her chest with her arms, and screamed. "AAAAAAHHHHH!"
Chuck rolled Sarah over, and used his body to shield her nude form.
Chuck bore daggers at Casey. "Dammit, Casey! Will you ever learn how to knock!?"
Casey swayed from side to side. "Curse my eyes…Bartowski's bare ass…"
Casey covered his eyes. "Aw hell! I'm blind!"
Casey collapsed. Chuck furrowed his brow. "He fainted."
Sarah peeped over the top of Chuck, and covered her mouth with her hand.
Chuck and Sarah stared at one another, then laughed hysterically.
Sarah shrugged. "Poor Casey. All I can say is, he'd better get used to this."
9 Years Later….
Sarah enjoyed anniversaries. After five years of marriage, Sarah took a moment to reflect…and remember.
Remember. A simple term Sarah once took for granted, until losing her memories from a corrupted Intersect. In the wake of that tragedy, she kidnapped her sister-in-law, threatened to kill her husband, and blew up a DARPA lab.
A tear trickled down Sarah's cheeks with a smile. Her husband…her dear, amazing husband, stepped up to the plate in a big way during her recovery.
Despite her instinct to flee, Sarah stayed. Sarah remembered Chuck's heartfelt plea that day on the beach. She decided in that moment, if she couldn't trust herself, she would trust Chuck. And, he was a helluva kisser.
Sarah spent two nights in the guest room of their apartment, before sleeplessness, and an instinct she didn't know existed, prompted her to her own bed…her husband's bed...their bed.
Two nights later, Sarah found herself staring longingly at a man she barely knew, while her heart screamed with a passion she thought both terrifying, and exciting.
The next day, Chuck forgot to lock the bathroom door, so Sarah barged right in. Sarah froze in the doorway. Chuck didn't hear her enter. He was curled up on the floor, leaning against the bathtub, with his face buried in his knees. Chuck's soft whimpers and heaves looked familiar to her.
Sarah narrowed her eyes, and a memory of a moment…the moment…their moment returned.
Sarah put a hand to her mouth, and felt her own tears streaking down her face. Her heart ached, as it did so long ago, seeing Chuck so broken.
Sarah remembered her actions. She comforted him, and made it all better.
After Sarah lost her memories, Chuck put on his best, brave face. He never showed his anguish around Sarah. And now, thinking he was alone, Chuck was trying yet again to protect Sarah, by suffering alone.
Sarah remembered Prague in that instant. She also remembered her vow to never let Chuck sacrifice himself for her ever again.
Sarah knew what she had to do for this man curled up on the floor. His long frame pressed into a tight ball. He looked so small, so fragile.
Sarah approached, and knelt in front of Chuck, resting a comforting hand on Chuck's arm, as she did so long ago.
Sarah spoke softly. "Chuck, you have done so much to protect my heart…it's my turn to protect yours."
Chuck's reddened and sad eyes met Sarah's. Sarah's mouth quivered. "I'm not going anywhere. I promise. I...I love you, Chuck. I don't need a memory to know that about us."
And, Sarah did make it all better. In fact, she made things better for herself during the process. What began with a kiss after a tearful talk, turned to laughter two hours later. Sarah caved to her desires, resulting in a moment of passion between husband and wife...and another memory restored. The memory of their first night together as a couple.
Sarah smiled at that excitement from those early days after losing her memories. Sarah fell in love with Chuck all over again.
Today, the couple was fiercly committed to each other. In Sarah's case, scary committed. Several women over the years found out the hard way, it wasn't a good idea to flirt with Sarah Bartowski's hubby. Several men who flirted with Sarah found themselves puzzled over mysterious unpaid parking fines. One offender had to face his boss's wrath for 500 condoms that "accidently" arrived at a retirement home, rather than 500 bottles of Ensure. A married offender had to face his wife's wrath for 1-900 numbers on the couple's phone bill, and credit card transactions at a gentleman's club.
Flirting with the spouse of a trained CIA assassin and a computer hacker is not a good idea.
Thanks to her loving husband, Sarah's memories gradually returned. As it turned out, Sarah learned that the past wasn't as important as the future.
Making new memories, as fate would have it, was that much sweeter.
Sarah's mind drifted back to the present. Their spy life now over, the couple was more than happy to settle for a 9 to 5 routine…as consultants to the government.
A mischievous thought entered Sarah's mind on this anniversary. She stopped at a package store, and purchased a bottle of Jack Daniel's. The clerk gave Sarah a wary look, considering her condition.
Sarah parked her Porsche in the driveway, and walked casually to the red door of her white two-story home. Sarah paused, and sniffed the gardenias blooming in her flower bed.
Sarah opened the door, and quietly entered the house. Sarah scanned her living room, picking up subtle clues as to the whereabouts of her husband. Once a spy, always a spy.
Sarah tip-toed upstairs, and found Chuck in the nursery, with their two-year-old son, Liam, snuggled in his father's chest. The toddler was sound asleep, thanks to Chuck's soft tone, and a good story. "The Frost Queen." As a child, Chuck's mom read the same story to him. Now, Chuck shared that tradition with his own child.
Sarah paused in the doorway, and smiled, rubbing the small bump on her stomach. Six months from now, another Bartowski would join the growing family.
Chuck lifted the sleeping child, and tucked him in, placing a soft kiss on his son's forehead.
Sarah joined Chuck, looping her arm in his. Chuck smiled at his wife. Sarah led him downstairs.
Chuck paused at the base of the stairs, and removed a box from his pocket. "Happy Anniversary, Sarah."
Sarah smiled, and opened the small box. Inside were two charms for her charm bracelet. One wood, one silver. Sarah gave Chuck a smile, and a quizzical look.
Chuck shrugged. "Wood is the traditional gift for a 5th anniversary, while silverware is the modern gift. I decided to compromise."
Sarah chuckled, and kissed Chuck softly on the lips. "They're beautiful. Thank you, sweetheart."
Chuck's smile melted Sarah's heart. "Not nearly as beautiful as you."
Sarah blushed, resting her hands on Chuck's chest. "Your gift is on the coffee table. Come on."
Sarah led Chuck to the sofa, and picked up the bottle of Jack Daniel's. "Happy anniversary."
Chuck furrowed his brow, and spoke playfully. "You know, you don't have to get me drunk to seduce me."
Sarah laughed, resting her head on Chuck's shoulder, interlacing her hand with his. "Chuck, I told you this a long time ago. I can seduce you anytime, anyplace, anywhere."
Chuck grinned. "You're proven that point a time or two. Not that I'm complaining."
Chuck stared at the bottle, as realization hit him. Chuck stared in Sarah's eyes, and smiled. "I get it."
Sarah glanced away thoughtfully. "That bottle of whiskey saved us. If you hadn't gotten drunk that night, it would have delayed you and I finally being together."
Sarah frowned. "I'm glad things worked out, considering how Shaw tried to break up our team. It scares me to imagine what could have happened if we were still on the outs."
Chuck nodded in understanding. "A lot could have gone wrong, Sarah…but it didn't. We made it."
Sarah rested her hand on Chuck's cheek. "Chuck, I'm glad you got drunk that night, and admitted what Beckman did. Now, in reference to Shaw, it was funny watching you kick his ass after he hit on me during the mission with that stupid mask."
Sarah's eyes widened, and rubbed her stomach. "Sorry, little one."
Chuck grinned. "Shaw had it coming. It wasn't enough he had to tamper with the mask, noooo. He had to go and hit on you. What an idiot. Duh, we had a containment room. You don't expose the woman I love to a deadly toxin, then hit on her while I'm out finding the antidote. That was the last straw. Anyway, that's one time I don't feel guilty about beating someone to a pulp. He was such a douche."
Sarah smiled. "You were so brave getting that antidote."
Sarah's eyes grew primal. "Shaw was a traitorous sonofa…" Sarah paused, and rubbed her stomach.
Chuck sighed. "Well, he'll be enjoying the rest of his natural life in sunny Fort Leavenworth. It's the perfect vacation spot for criminals and traitors."
Sarah frowned. "I can't believe you wouldn't let me shoot him in Paris."
Chuck kissed Sarah on the cheek. "Honey, you did shoot him. Well, you blew out his kneecaps. I know that hurt."
Sarah sighed. "It's not the same, sweetie. You were right. It was time to cut back on my body count anyway. Besides, he'd better be glad I confined him to a wheelchair rather than to a coffin."
Chuck grinned like a fool. "You're still a bad-ass."
Sarah swatted Chuck on the arm. "Chuuuuuck! The baby can hear you!"
Chuck's eyes widened. "Sorry. Please don't make me sleep on the couch."
Sarah gave a playful, stern look. Chuck snorted, eliciting a giggle from Sarah. The couple hugged each other close.
Chuck kissed Sarah softy on the lips, then held up the bottle. "The beginning of us as a couple hinged on a night of binge-drinking with Casey. By the way, did I ever tell you how stunning you looked that night?"
Sarah blushed furiously. "Plenty. But, I never get tired of hearing it."
Chuck kissed Sarah's reddened cheek. "Casey had a ball that night."
Chuck sat the bottle down, and glanced ahead in deep thought. "He knew I was hurting."
Sarah rubbed the back of Chuck's neck. "Oh, Chuck."
Chuck smiled solemnly. "I'm glad he found someone who appreciates him for who he is. Gertrude has been good with him. I felt bad for the big guy after losing Ilsa."
Sarah nodded. "I know, right? I was shocked when Gertrude talked him into having a baby. I never pictured Casey with an infant. I know Alex loves being a big sister. I think Alex is trying to talk Morgan into having kids."
Chuck grinned like a fool. "Come on, Sarah. Casey is the ultimate Sugar Bear. He is going to spoil that kid."
Sarah chuckled. "It's actually kind of sweet watching him with the kids at reunions. Remember the summer, when he let Clara, Liam, and Wilson bury him up to his neck during our outing at the beach?"
Chuck laughed heartily. "His face looked like a lobster! He was burned to a crisp!"
Sarah heaved with laughter, then turned serious.
Sarah stared at Chuck longingly. "Thank you."
Chuck studied Sarah's eyes. "For what?"
Sarah ran her fingers through Chuck's hair. "For this…for us."
Sarah glanced down, then back in Chuck's eyes. "For always being there for me. I love you, Chuck."
Chuck cupped Sarah's face, and kissed her softly on the lips. "I love you too, Sarah. I'll always be there for you."
Sarah smiled, tracing her fingers along Chuck's jaw. The way Chuck looked at her always made her heart flutter.
Sarah snaked her arms around Chuck's neck, and hugged him close, smiling through happy tears.
THE END...for real this time.
A/N: Why couldn't the series have ended this way? Seriously. How hard is it to devote two minutes, and flash-forward to the future?
The first half of S3 was gut-wrenching. That whole "love trapezoid" route with Sarah/Shaw/Chuck/Hannah was just...dumb, and pointless at that stage in the series. Especially with things starting to take shape at the end of S2. Grrrrr!
Chuck and Sarah are smarter than how they were portrayed in early S3. Prague, and the fallout that followed, never should have happened.
Thank goodness it all worked out.