A/N: The curtain closes. I had a blast. My thanks to all of you who read the story.
Responses to reviews at the bottom.
"Why are you happy, sweetheart?"
"Because…you are going to be a father."
19 Years Later…
It was a clear and sunny Friday morning. Chuck and Sarah Bartowski walked hand-in-hand through Forest Lawn Cemetery. Clutched in Sarah's hands was a bouquet of gardenias, tied in a pink bow.
The couple stopped at a grave. Chuck smiled sadly at the picture of his baby daughter printed on top of the headstone.
Victoria Leigh Bartowski
May 8, 2016-May 13, 2016
Beloved Daughter and Sister,
Always in Our Hearts
Sarah let go of Chuck's hand and knelt at the headstone, removing week-old flowers and replenishing the vase with a fresh bouquet. Sarah adjusted the flowers to ensure the arrangement was perfect. Chuck placed a comforting hand on his wife's shoulder, using his free hand to wipe the tears from his eyes.
"She would have been 15 this year."
Chuck replied in a broken voice. "I know."
Sarah wiped her own tears, rising to place her hands on her husband's face.
"Remember, we have three beautiful children, Chuck."
Chuck smiled sadly. "And I love all of them, Sarah. I just miss Victoria."
Sarah closed her eyes and buried her head in the crook of Chuck's neck. Chuck gently embraced her. Sarah clutched her heart-shaped locket necklace. Inside the locket was a picture of Victoria.
"I know, sweetie. I miss her too…so much."
Chuck rubbed his wife's back lovingly as the couple took this moment to comfort one another.
Off in the distance, Casey walked slowly towards the grave site. In his free hand, Casey held a small arrangement of red, white, and blue flowers. He stopped a few feet away until Chuck and Sarah composed themselves.
Sarah turned and smiled at Casey.
"Hey, Casey. Thanks for coming."
Casey approached the grave and knelt slowly, leaning the flowers against the headstone.
Casey whispered. "Alright, Marine. You keep all those angels flying around up there in-line. Tell 'em to side-step through the chow line. Semper Fi, little one."
Casey rose and grunted solemnly. "I need to have a word with the grounds keeper. There's too many weeds around Victoria's grave for my liking."
Chuck glanced around the grave, noticing only one small weed, barely visible. He decided to remain silent. Chuck knew this was Casey's way of coping.
Chuck glanced at the grave next to Victoria's. "I see Ellie brought fresh flowers for Dad's grave."
Stephen James Bartowski
October 9, 1954-November 5, 2029
Sarah inhaled a deep breath and took Chuck by the hand, giving him a soft smile. "Well, we have a daughter graduating tomorrow. We should be getting back. I'm sure Charlie and Faye are giving Emily a hard time."
Chuck nodded. "You're right. We should head back."
As they walked back to their cars, Chuck turned his attention to Casey. "Casey, are you and Gertrude joining us for dinner tonight?"
Casey turned. "Wouldn't miss it for the world. Need me to man the Beast Master?"
Sarah smiled. "If you would be so kind, General Casey."
Casey grunted amused. "What, afraid your idiot husband might set the back yard on fire…again?"
Sarah chuckled softly. "Casey, you know as well as I do if I don't let you operate the grill, you'll drive yourself crazy."
Casey grunted amused. "You're right…and Chef Boyar-numb nuts set the back yard on fire."
Chuck rolled his eyes. "That was one time, Casey. Geez. It was the first time I ever used a grill, and I got distracted."
Casey shook his head. "Yeah, one would think you could handle your wife in a bikini, but noooo. Not Mr. Brain Fart. Now, in terms of operating a grill, you're supposed to be a genius…idiot. It's called instructions. You know, that printed booklet included with every grill that says, 'Please read before using?' That's for people like you who set their back yard on fire."
Sarah tried to stifle her laughter. Chuck rolled his eyes and shook his head, muttering, "That was 18 years ago...and Sarah still looks great in a bikini."
Sarah kissed Chuck on the cheek, wrapping herself in his arm. "Don't worry, sweetie. The grass grew back…eventually."
"Ha! You two are a couple of comedians."
Casey snarled. "Just call me Bozo the Damn Clown, dumbass. I'm using the grill tonight. There is no way in hell I'm letting you screw up your daughter's graduation dinner. Emily worked her ass off to get into Harvard."
Sarah smiled happily. "My alma mater."
Chuck slapped his hand to his head. "I just can't win with you two."
Later that evening, the family gathered in the back yard of the Bartowski's home to celebrate Emily's graduation. Morgan and his wife, Alex, also known as Casey's daughter, prepared dessert. Casey and Devon manned the grill. Emma, Ellie, and Gertrude busied themselves setting places for dinner. Emily, Faye, and Charlie all chipped in, while Molly and her husband Mark poured ice and beverages into everyone's glasses. Clara and her brothers James and William, along with Morgan and Alex's children, Harrison and Carrie, carried food to the table.
Chuck noticed Sarah was missing and went upstairs to find her. He found Sarah sitting on the bed in Emily's room, tears streaking down her cheeks.
Chuck gently opened the door. "Sarah, are you alright?"
Sarah turned her head and quickly wiped her face. "I'm fine…just thinking."
Chuck entered the room and sat next to his wife, taking Sarah's hand. "About what, sweetheart?"
Sarah snapped her head around. "Our baby is leaving home, Chuck!"
Chuck lowered his head and sighed. "Honey, we've been over this. I don't want Emily to leave either. But Sarah, Emily is starting college soon. It's time for her to start pursuing her own dreams."
Sarah flung herself in Chuck's arms, sobbing quietly. After a few minutes, Sarah raised her tear-soaked face and kissed her husband.
"I'm sorry I snapped at you. You're right. I'm just…emotional right now. You know, I never in a million years imagined watching your child leave home could be so hard. At one time, I was the toughest assassin in the CIA, and now…I'm a sappy mom who cries because her oldest child is going off to college. What is wrong with me?"
Chuck chuckled softly. "You're a parent, that's what's wrong with you. Sarah, I'm saddened that Emily is leaving too, but we have to be there for her. This is an exciting and uncertain time for her as well."
Sarah placed her hands on Chuck's chest. "You're right. You're always right, Chuck."
Chuck shook his head. "No, I'm not always right. Sarah, being a parent doesn't come with an instruction manual. All we can do is trust our instincts once we gather all the facts. And now, we have to learn to trust Emily's instincts as well. We raised her to use her head and her heart to make her own decisions. It's time we let her live her own life."
Sarah smiled. "I know. It's just hard, Chuck. I remember how happy we were when Emily was born. And then, it all seemed to crumble down on top of us when we lost Victoria. But, we didn't give up. After Charlie and Faye were born…I felt whole again. Now, it feels like our world is falling apart."
Chuck kissed the top of Sarah's head while she clenched his shirt. "Honey, our world is not falling apart. This is all part of life. We have had good times and bad times, but we never stopped loving one another or our family. We were there for each other when we lost Victoria, and we will be there for each through this. We'll always be a family."
Sarah sighed heavily. "How did you get to be so smart?"
Chuck grinned. "Well, I had a little help from a very talented, and might I add, very beautiful lady who agreed to be my wife."
Sarah chuckled. "Uh, actually you agreed to be my husband if I remember correctly."
Chuck smiled bright. "Yep. Talk about a dream come true."
Sarah raised her face and kissed her husband tenderly, then whispered. "Chuck, I want to have another baby."
Chuck did a double take. "Sarah, I'm 50 and you're 48. A very beautiful 48 year old I might add, but are you sure?"
"Yes, Chuck. Lots of women have children when they're in their 40s and 50s, why shouldn't I?"
Chuck had a faraway look on his face. "Hmm. I'll probably be in a wheelchair and bald when we move that child off to college, and you'll be pushing me along."
Sarah raised a brow. "What makes you think I won't be in a wheelchair?"
Chuck had an incredulous look on his face. "Please. You're the Great Sarah Bartowski. Kick Ass Super-Mom. You're indestructible."
Sarah laughed. "Trust me. I'm sitting here crying because my daughter is leaving for college. I'm very destructible, I assure you."
Chuck kissed his wife softly on the lips. "That's why we will always have each other, Sarah. To carry the each other when times get tough."
Emily knocked on the door and entered. "Hey, are you guys coming? Aunt Ellie and Grandma said it was time to eat."
Sarah stood and walked over to her daughter, taking her gently in her arms. "Yes, we're coming. I'm just having another 'I'm going to miss Emily' moment."
Emily hugged her mom close. "Mom, you and Uncle Casey ran background checks on every single person who lives in my dorm. Dad even hacked all the personnel files on the faculty and staff at Harvard. Not to mention you, Aunt Carina, and Aunt Zondra taught me, Charlie, and Faye every martial art known to man. I think I'll be fine."
Sarah smiled at her daughter. "You can never be too careful."
Charlie and Faye suddenly appeared in the hallway. Charlie rolled his eyes.
"Come on, guys. I'm starving."
Faye smacked her brother on the arm. "You're always hungry, you dweeb."
"Nerd, Faye. The official title is nerd, not dweeb."
Sarah stared at her son and daughter. "You two knock it off and go wash up. Charlie, tell Aunt Ellie we'll be right down."
Charlie turned. "Yes, Mom."
Sarah stopped him. "Charles Irving Bartowski, Junior. Did you forget something?"
Charlie turned and stepped into his mother's embrace. "Sorry. I love you, Mom."
"I love you too, son. Faye? Are you forgetting something?"
Charlie stepped aside as Faye stepped into her mother's arms. "I love you, Mom."
"I love you too, baby girl. Now the three of you. Go wash up for dinner."
The three children said in unison, "Yes, Mom."
Chuck stepped forward and cleared his throat. "Seriously? No love for your old man? I see how it is."
All three children "group hugged" their father and said in unison, "We love you, Dad."
"I love you monsters too. Now shoo. Mind your beautiful mom. Go wash your filthy hands. Who knows what you kids have been playing in?"
The three kids chuckled and left the bedroom. Sarah turned and hugged her husband.
"Chuck, is there anything you wish was different about our life?"
"I only wish we had been able to save my mom."
"I know, Chuck. But your mom was undercover for a very long time. You know how dangerous that is. I can't believe Alexie Volkoff was a MI6 scientist who worked with your dad, and the first host for the Intersect. The CIA spent decades trying to take down Volkoff. And to think, it was all a cover-up."
A look of determination formed on Chuck's face. "I'm glad Decker and Quinn were finally brought to justice for their role in the cover-up. It was a real pleasure helping Beckman with that operation. And to think, Sarah. If the Intersect had remained in my head, who knows what would have happened to us? I'm glad Dad destroyed it for good. No one would have stopped trying to possess it. Too many lives were lost because of the Intersect."
Sarah snuggled with her husband. "I don't want to even think about what would have happened if you still had the Intersect. As for the CIA cover-up, I am glad Jane Bentley was made CIA Director after all that happened. I remember her. She's arrogant, but she always did the right thing. The CIA needed cleaning up, and she was the person to do it."
Chuck sighed. "Come to think of it, are all short women in government service such hard asses? I mean, Bentley was slightly taller than Beckman. They were both so...intense."
Sarah giggled. "Didn't you call Beckman an oompa-loompa once?"
Chuck grinned. "Yeah, that was when she pulled that ridiculous 49B. Casey even cracked a smile at that little jab. I was really pissed at Beckman. Forrest was just...mean. Actually, I thought Forrest and Casey would hit it off."
Sarah growled. "I should have re-arranged that slut's face! She was going to blow that bank vault you were locked in! She would have killed you!"
Chuck kissed his wife on the head. "I had my guardian angel there to protect me."
Sarah raised her eyes to meet Chuck's. "I told you once, I will never let anything happen to you."
Chuck smiled. "And you kept your promise. Thank you."
Sarah kissed Chuck softly on the lips. "My pleasure. Now, let's get downstairs. You know how Ellie gets, and I'm sure Gertrude is having to keep Casey on a leash. You know how grumpy he gets if meals are late."
"Yeah, but at least Casey isn't threatening to shoot anyone or blow up anything. Gertrude has been good for him. And, she reminds me of Trinity from The Matrix. I loved that movie."
Sarah slapped Chuck's arm playfully. "You would. You just liked the catsuits Trinity wore."
Chuck shook his head. "Nah. I only have eyes for you, Sarah. Now, YOU in a catsuit is something I would LOVE to see."
Sarah giggled and gave Chuck a coy look, then whispered in his ear. "If you treat me right, I might turn into a genie and grant your wish." Sarah nibbled on Chuck's ear, causing his mouth to open wide and his face turn red.
Chuck took Sarah in his arms and crashed his lips into her's.
"Tell you what, dinner can wait. Didn't you mention something about another baby?"
A/N: And there you have it. Chuck and Sarah get their happily ever after. They are not immune to some of the tragedies people face every day, such as the loss of a parent or a child. Despite some setbacks, it only made their commitment to each other and their family that much stronger.
My responses to your reviews. No, I'm not mentally disturbed, I just wanted to make you all laugh a little. No lab animals were harmed during the typing of my responses.
sevenrez: You are awesome! Thank you very much for your support and kind words! I am glad you enjoyed the ending. I often wonder if the writers of the show got lazy at the end of the series, or borrowed the writers from Pee Wee's Playhouse to close out the show.
michaelfmx: First of all, thanks for acting as my personal rubber ball to bounce Epilogue ideas off of! You are a gentleman, Sir. I appreciate your kind reviews and your help during this project. Thanks, man!
wilf21: I appreciate your kind words, support, and for sticking around from the beginning! I am glad you enjoyed the story! You are awesome!
wassupchuck: Wasssuuuuuuuup! Sorry, I could not resist. LOL. I do hope those allergies get better! I know my writing makes people sick, but I assumed more in the regurgitating their lunch-type sick. This is the first I've heard of my writing inducing allergic reactions. Maybe I need to post a warning label, or offer some antihistamines. I promise next time I'll test my writing on lab animals first. I am glad you enjoyed it!
atcDave: I'm glad you enjoyed my little roller-coaster! I couldn't leave the CAT Squad out of the story. Carina threatened me with handcuffs, and Zondra with a curling iron! How could I say to no? Glad you enjoyed the story!
Marc Vun Kannon: Bambi VS Godzilla...I think you just gave me the title for a potential story! I appreciate your words of wisdom in helping me improve my story-telling skills. I am glad you found the story enjoyable!
tut1971: Well, you didn't hear sleigh bells before I posted the Epilogue, so it wasn't too long in the lab. I hope you enjoy the story!
Jbear1974: Cheers! I'm glad you enjoyed the story!