Welcome to the last part of STAY IN THE CAR! Before I continue, I have to say that I am really happy that you guys liked that last chapter. It was definitely the one I've been most nervous about, since it deals with a few things that you absolutely have to get right, like telling Ellie about the CIA, and Chuck and Sarah kissing. I re-read it over a dozen times. You have no idea.
Despite any and all copious amounts of nervousness, I've had a lot of fun writing this. I hope you all have had fun reading it. Like I said in the very beginning, I try to make it as enjoyable as possible. That includes grammar, spelling, and plot line. I don't know about you, but I hate it when people write like this:
"hey i want to talk to you" he said
"really about what" i asked curiosly
"i just really like hangin out with you" he said nervusly
"what do you mean" i asked "are you saying that you like me"
"i dont know i was just thinking that we should go out some time" he said
and then we went on a date and we kissed and it was great the end
Am I the only one? It has no punctuation, spelling, or story. How does "I like hanging out with you" get interpreted as "I like you" anyway? I don't know. That's why I don't like it. It's ridiculous. (Unless one of you write like that, in which case, I love reading it. I read it all the time. It's great. Yeahhhhh…) Anyway, that doesn't matter. What matters is that Chuck is still in the hospital. Enjoy.
(Disclaimer: For the last time, nothing that I own is even near Burbank. Sadly, Chuck and his cohorts are too far away for me to own.)
A few days later, his doctor (Ellie) finally decided that Chuck could leave the hospital. As soon as she said so, Chuck threw off his sheets and sat up. He stretched his arms out and yawned hugely. He stood shakily, ignoring the lingering ache in his chest.
"Wait one second," Ellie said. She put her hand on his chest and gently pushed him back down. "Do you want to walk around with that bandage on your face?"
"Oh, right." Chuck leaned back. "I forgot about it."
"Sure," Ellie said, not completely believing him. She pulled on some latex gloves and sat next to her brother. "Ready?"
"Yeah, totally ready." Chuck tried to hide the nervousness in his voice, but he anxiously made fists in the sheets behind him on the bed as he spoke. Ellie knew him too well to miss it.
"You can face the mafia and terrorists, but you're scared of me taking off your bandage?" Ellie asked incredulously. Chuck was silent. "You know what, don't answer that." Ellie turned toward him and braced on hand on his head. "I'm going to try to do this as painlessly as possible, okay?"
"Sounds good," Chuck smiled restlessly. His eyes followed Ellie's hand as she pinched the top of the bandage. She looked him in the eye and smiled and encouragingly, then started to peel it off. Chuck immediately screeched in pain and jerked back. Ellie cried out in surprise and her hand recoiled. Both of these actions culminated in the bandage getting ripped off loudly, causing more pain than there needed to be.
"Ow!" Chuck screamed. He brought his hand up and covered his cheek. "Ellie!"
"What?" Ellie asked defensively. "That wasn't my fault!"
"You're the doctor!" Chuck scowled and rubbed his cheek tenderly. "Come on, Ellie."
Ellie rolled her eyes heavenward. "Just let me take a good look at it before you go running off chasing men with guns, okay?"
"Fine," Chuck mumbled reluctantly. He let Ellie move his hand away and didn't miss her stifled gasp. Ellie tried to be purely professional as she studied her brother's face, but he couldn't miss the look in her eyes. "That bad, huh?"
"What?" Ellie looked slightly guilty. "No, no, it's not nearly as bad… as…"
Chuck smiled sadly at her. "As…?"
Ellie changed the subject. "That's not important. The important thing is that it's healed now, so that's good." Her face fell when Chuck asked for a mirror. She hesitantly stood and grabbed a small handheld mirror off a table a few feet away. Chuck took it from her hand and lifted it in front of his face.
He swallowed and he tightened his grip, his knuckles turning white. "Well," he said, chuckling unconvincingly. "That's not nearly as bad as I feared it was. You had me worried there, Ellie."
A small laugh burst out of her and she sat next to him again, wrapping her arms around his shoulders. He put the mirror down and hugged her waist. They stayed that way for a minute or two, then Ellie leaned back and looked Chuck in the eyes.
"My shift isn't over yet," she said apologetically.
"Nah, you're fine," Chuck reassured her. "I don't need a babysitter. I do, however, need my clothes. Do you have any here?"
Ellie nodded, her eyes lighting up. "Yeah, Sarah brought some in yesterday."
"Sarah? She did?" Chuck said in disbelief. "Oh. I guess I should go thank her."
Ellie chuckled and moved to the door. "I'll go get them. I'll be right back."
"Okay," Chuck called through the closing door. He glanced back at the mirror and felt an irresistible urge to look at his face in it again. He wrapped his fingers around it and set in his lap, angling it up to his face. From such a low angle, he couldn't see the long, narrow scar as well, but he knew it was there. At least three or four inches of pale skin slightly raised from the rest of his face. At least it will make for a good story, Chuck said.
Actually, I can't tell anyone how I really got it, so forget that.
Ellie burst back in through the door, causing Chuck to drop the mirror. She tried to ignore it and held out a pair of jeans, and t-shirt, and his a new pair of shoes.
"Aw, you got me new shoes?" Chuck stood to take the pile. "You shouldn't have."
"That's why I didn't." She giggled at Chuck's obvious look of confusion. "Sarah, remember?"
"She knows my shoe size?"
"Well, she had your old ones still."
"Oh. Okay." Chuck looked at the clothes in his hands. "You don't mind if I…" He gestured to the bathroom behind Ellie.
"No, go ahead." Ellie stepped back and let him pass by her to the bathroom. He changed quickly and brought the hospital robe back out. Ellie told him to leave it on the bed, and he did so, tossing it in a pile on top of the mirror. She asked if he wanted her to drive him home, but Chuck gently refused. "Nah, I'm good. You go back to saving lives, okay? I'll head back home. There is a car I can take back home, right?"
Ellie nodded. "You can take Devon's." She quickly ran off again to grab her fiance's keys and tossed them to her brother. She studied him again, her gaze sliding to his cheek, then back to his eyes. "I'm glad you're okay," she eventually said. Chuck shrugged.
"Sure, if this is what you call fine. Although, I'm sure you've seen much worse, huh?" Chuck suddenly swayed a little, but regained his balance in time to refuse Ellie's immediate attempt to hold him up. He did take her hand in his, and they walked to the doors of the hospital, talking and teasing like any good siblings do. Ellie had to occasionally restrain herself from good-naturedly punching him in the shoulder, but otherwise, they looked like they used to, before the Intersect and the CIA happened.
Ellie stopped a few feet in front of the doors. "I guess I'll see you tonight?"
Chuck rubbed the back of his neck. "I don't really have anywhere else to go, do I?"
"Then, yep, see you then." Chuck waved to her and pushed through the doors. Ellie waved back to him and waited for a few moments, watching her brother leave the hospital. She had always imagined Chuck as her younger brother, the sibling she had to protect. As much as she kept telling him to grow up, she was sad to see that that was exactly what was happening. The carefree, goofy guy that he had been was a comforting reminder of when they were younger.
And now, he was a spy for the CIA. She couldn't protect him anymore. She was still wrapping her mind around the fact that he wouldn't need her now that he had Sarah and Casey and the entire freaking government. Of course, knowing him, he wouldn't be physically going anywhere, except for the occasional out of town mission, but it still made Ellie sad.
She wouldn't have time to dwell on it, however. She had plenty of people to take care of in that hospital already, and she was more than up to the task. "Doctor Bartowski!" Someone behind her yelled, breathing heavily. "There's been an accident! We need you immediately!"
Ellie watched Chuck pull out of the parking lot, then turned to the flustered nurse and nodded determinedly. "Alright, let's go." And she ran back into the hospital.
Chuck pulled into the parking lot in front of his apartment building and turned off the engine. He got out and stood for a moment, taking in a sight he hadn't been sure he would ever see again. He never thought he would miss the old place, but the simplest things have a sudden charm to them after you face certain death.
He stuffed Devon's keys in his pocket and walked through the large gate into the courtyard. The fountain gurgled cheerfully, and a slight breeze rustled Chuck's clothes. He walked to his front door and was about to unlock it when he heard another door opening. "Bartowski!"
Casey. Chuck turned to see the gruff NSA agent standing in the doorway to his apartment. When he saw Chuck's now-scarred face, he grunted. "Impressive, Bartowski. Now you look the part of a spy."
Chuck smiled sarcastically. "Thanks, Casey. That really means a lot."
Casey gave his own sarcastic smile. "No problem." The smile gave way to a more serious look. "Seriously. I'm glad you're not dead."
Chuck was surprised. He stammered a bit, trying to find the right response. Casey watched him for a few seconds, then glanced outside the gate. He huffed and stepped back inside. "See you later, Bartowski." And he shut the door loudly.
Chuck couldn't think of a reason for his abrupt departure until he saw the blonde walking into the courtyard. Sarah saw him and smiled happily. She was on her phone, but she returned his smile and gestured for him to wait.
"Yes, General?" she asked. She dropped the smile and her face became more tense. She glanced at Chuck as the General talked to her. "Right, that was all of them," she said. A pause. "Yes. … And? …" The General said something, and Sarah visibly relaxed, tension going out of her shoulders. She looked back at Chuck, and the smile was back. "Really? Well, I- oh. Thank you, General, I-" Sarah blinked. "Right." She stuffed the phone in her back pocket and looked up.
"What was that about?" Chuck asked.
Sarah shrugged. "Nothing. Just something the General and I had to clear up."
"It seemed pretty important. You were all tense at the beginning."
"Yeah, well, it was 'pretty important', I guess. There were some things we had to wrap up, some loose ends we needed to take care of. The important thing is, that you're safe, and you'll be able to stay here."
"Was that ever in doubt?" Chuck asked, slightly curious.
Sarah ignored the question and said, "So Ellie finally let… you…" She trailed off. She walked the rest of the way to the fountain, where Chuck met her. Her eyes were drawn to his cheek.
Chuck looked down self consciously. He tried to think of something clever to say about the new scar, but he came up empty and just made it awkward. Sarah put a hand on his chin and lifted it so she could see his eyes. She frowned a little, then traced the scar with her finger.
"I'm sorry, Chuck."
Chuck was immediately confused. "Sorry? Sorry for what? Sarah, you have no reason-"
"I should have been there, Chuck." Her face crumpled a little, and she sat heavily on the side of the fountain. Chuck knelt beside her to get to her eye level. "I lost you, and you got injured, and- I should have been there. If I had been there, you wouldn't have gotten hurt-"
"And you would have," Chuck finished for her. "Which would have been worse. Honestly, I probably would have gotten hurt somehow anyway. I mean, I sprained my ankle my coming in through a window."
His attempt at humor did nothing to cheer her up. She looked away and blinked back tears angrily. "Damn it, Chuck, can't you let me apologize without you trying to take the blame? Not everything is your fault."
"But this was," Chuck persisted. "I was the one who got out of the car when you told me to stay in it. Sarah, it wasn't your fault." Sarah bit her lip. Her gaze went back to his scar, and her shoulders slumped. It was barely perceptible, but Chuck saw it. He sat on the fountain next to her. "It was all my fault. Aren't you used to this my now?"
"What? You messing everything up?"
Chuck paused. "Well, that's a blunt way of putting it, but yeah."
Sarah chuckled and wiped her eyes. Chuck watched her with a look of absolute confusion on his face, which made her laugh harder. "Chuck," she said between breaths. "I am used to it. God knows I am." Chuck frowned, and Sarah quickly continued. "But I think I'm beginning to enjoy it."
"Enjoy it?" Chuck asked, his eyebrows furrowed.
"Who else can kill multiple people with the Morgan, a move so defensive it couldn't wound a fly? Who else can juggle a life of spy work with an overprotective sister, a crazy best friend, an awesome soon-to-be brother-in-law, and work at the Buy More without blowing it? Who else can save two government agents by falling through a window and dropping a gun? Who else can defuse a bomb by looking up porn?" Sarah leaned in and said in a low voice, "The answer to that is no one."
Chuck shrugged. "I don't know. That all sounds pretty unheroic."
Sarah shook her head in good-natured frustration. "Chuck, if it weren't for you, we probably wouldn't have caught most of these bad guys. Brute force and firepower can only get you so far, which is a lesson that Casey could afford to learn. Seriously." she said, subtly sending a glance over her shoulder at Casey's apartment. "Think of all the good you've done in only two years. Ever since Bryce sent you that email, you've saved everyone in this city several times over. Hell, you've saved the country repeatedly. That is something only a few people can boast."
Chuck laughed nervously. "It is kind of weird how many criminals stop in Burbank, isn't it?"
Sarah waved a hand. "That's beside the point. You aren't getting it, Chuck." She shifted closer to him and looked him in the eyes. "You are a spy," she said slowly, emphasizing each word. "You are a damn good one, no matter what you may think about it, and you just don't see yet how much good you've done. Not only for everyone else, but for me too." She hesitated here, thinking of the right words. She had never really done this before, all this opening up to people. She felt really awkward, but she forced herself to keep talking.
"Chuck, before I got here, I had only my job. I didn't have any friends outside the CIA, and those I had were spotty at best. I didn't really have a concept of family other than my father, who you know wasn't a great role model. I threw myself into my work and tried to ignore anyone else. If I ever forgot to do that, I got burned, more times than I care to count. Before I was even assigned here, I had promised myself that it would never happen again.
"But then we heard that Bryce sent a top secret email to someone in Burbank, and I walked into a Buy More, and I met a cute nerd who could fix my phone." Chuck was motionless, watching her with almost disconcerting concentration. She couldn't keep eye contact and looked away. "I met his family and his weird friends, and I couldn't help feeling kind of like I had missed out on something. Sure, they had their problems, but that made them more perfect. I had dinner with his sister and her boyfriend, and I listened to his stupid conversations with his best friend-"
"You listen to those?" Chuck interrupted.
Sarah pushed on. "The point is, there are a lot of good things about you, Chuck. You're a naturally kind person. You try to see the good in people, and that makes you special. It makes you so different from everyone else I know, and I didn't realize how much I appreciate it until you disappeared from that car a week ago. I almost wish I had never met you, because you make everything so much more confusing and complicated. You try to talk about your feelings on missions and you're annoying and dorky-"
"But you're brilliant and thoughtful and you genuinely care about others." Sarah ignored the blaring alarms in her head telling her to shut up. "And I-"
Chuck rested his hand on her arm. Sarah stumbled to a stop and gritted her teeth. "I'm sorry. I started to ramble."
Chuck laughed softly. "I guess that's one more thing that's rubbed off on you, huh?" He took her smaller hands in his own. "Listen, I think I understand what you're saying. And I know that you don't like talking about yourself, so I won't make you talk anymore." He ducked a bit lower to try to catch her eye. She glanced at him, and he grinned happily. "But, I think I will have you know that that was the single most beautiful thing I have ever heard anyone say to me." He moved a little bit closer.
Sarah's eyes rose to meet his as he spoke. She straightened a little bit, and tried not to stare at the new scar that kept reminding her of how she had almost lost him. Chuck tried to catch her gaze again. "And I think that you should stop thinking of this scar as a sign of your failure," he said. Sarah was impressed at how he seemed to know exactly what she was thinking. "Try to think of it as a sign that I'm actually dumb enough to start a conversation with a known madman with guns." Sarah couldn't hold back the reluctant smile that spread across her face at his blunt interpretation of events.
"Not one of your finer moments, true," she conceded. "But I-"
She was interrupted by a banshee-like shriek coming from the gate. Sarah spun to see where the unearthly noise had come from. Chuck jumped up as well and almost fell over.
"Oh no," Chuck muttered under his breath. "Hey, buddy," he called. "You don't have to-"
He didn't have a chance to finish his sentence before Morgan vaulted the fountain and tackled him to the ground. "Chuck!" he shouted again. "You're back!"
Chuck felt like he had been hit by a small truck. "Hey, Morgan," he grunted. "Can you -ow."
Sarah chuckled. "Morgan, I don't think he can breathe." Morgan glanced up at his best friend and noticed how red his face was.
"Oh!" He scrambled off of him and got to his knees. "Sorry, Chuck," he said, a little embarrassed. "I just haven't been able to see you since you were in that wreck and oh my GOD that is awesome!"
Chuck and Sarah both frowned at him. "What?" Chuck asked.
"Your scar!" Morgan exclaimed excitedly. "That is wicked, dude! Now you can tell everyone that you got in a knife fight and saved someone's life, or something! That is so cool!"
"Oh, right. The scar." Chuck tried to sound as enthusiastic as Morgan was, but he couldn't muster up the energy to do so. "Thanks. I'm glad you like it, I guess." He lilted the end of his words like he was asking a question.
Morgan cackled in delight. "Now you can come back and talk some sense into Emmet. Oh man, now that he's the manager of the store, everything is going crazy!" He gestured excitedly and almost whacked Sarah in the face, but he didn't seem to notice. "I think Big Mike is on the verge of strangling me on the spot. And everyone else hates me because stupid Emmet-"
"Okay, okay," Chuck grunted. "Enough information. I think I understood all that- Emmet replacing Big Mike, which I already knew about, everyone hating you, which is nothing new- just wait a second, okay Morgan?"
"Oh." Morgan backed up a little. "Right. Sorry, man, I'm just really excited that you're out of the hospital." The ridiculous grin slowly returned. "I'm really glad to see you, man." He stepped forward again to try to hug Chuck or something, but Sarah stopped him.
She put out her hand and helped Chuck to his feet. "Careful, Morgan. He only just got out of the hospital. I don't think Ellie will be happy if you send him back."
Morgan saw the sense in what she said and chuckled nervously. "Yeah, I guess so." He noticed Chuck slumping a little and stood awkwardly. "Well, you look all tuckered out, so I'll just head on back to the Buy More and tell everyone you'll be back tomorrow." He turned to leave, then stopped. "Oh, and what do you want me to tell everyone?"
"Tell everyone about what?" Chuck asked, confused.
"The scar," Morgan said, like it was obvious. "How you got the scar."
"Oh." Chuck shrugged. "I don't know, maybe just tell them I was in a car wreck and a piece of glass hit my face, since that's what actually happened."
Morgan rolled his eyes. "Fine. If you want to be boring, I won't stop you." He finally noticed the subtle looks Sarah and Chuck were giving each other, and he picked up on the tension between them. He took a step back. "Right, well, I'm just going to go now. You kids have fun, I'll go back to work." He waved awkwardly and continued backing out of the courtyard until he passed the gate, where he turned and ran to his car.
Sarah shook her head. Chuck noticed and couldn't help his instinctive urge to protect him. "He's a good guy, if a little… weird at times," he said.
"I know," Sarah said. She began to say something, but Casey chose this moment to poke his head out his door.
"Walker! Bartowski!" he shouted. "General Beckman has a mission! Let's go!" He glared at them for a few seconds. They didn't move, and he slammed the door shut again after muttering something unintelligible and most likely insulting under his breath.
Chuck sighed. "Well, that was quick."
Sarah hit his arm lightly. "You didn't think she would give you a break just because you were in the hospital, did you?"
Chuck shrugged. "I can always dream, can't I?" Sarah laughed and took his hand.
"Let's go, you nerd."
"Nerd? Are you trying to insult me?" Chuck asked in mock surprise and hurt. "Sarah, I am genuinely hurt. How could you- oh wait. I am officially known as a Nerd Herd manager." He made a big show of thinking about something. "I guess I'll let it slide. This time."
Sarah raised her chin and smirked. "How kind of you." She noticed Casey watching them through the blinds of one of his windows. He scowled at her and disappeared. "Come on." She tugged on his arm. "Casey might hurt you again if we're any later."
"Just one more thing." Sarah turned to him and opened her mouth to ask what, but Chuck swooped in and kissed her. Her question died in her throat and she relaxed into him, responding slowly and enthusiastically. She put her hands on his chest, and he placed his larger hands on her hips. They stayed that way for a few seconds, then he pulled back, grinning stupidly.
"I am never going to get used to that," he said, his breathing somewhat erratic. His eyes were lit up happily. Sarah loved seeing him like that.
"Me either," she replied quietly. She placed a one last soft kiss on his lips and tugged on his hand again. "Come on, 'Agent Carmichael'. Casey has probably exploded by now." Chuck laughed and let her lead him into Casey's house, and soon, what had happened in the courtyard was pushed from his mind by the thoughts of preventing the untimely deaths of several government officials.
But he promised himself that they would continue that courtyard conversation later, perhaps with more food, more wine, and less Casey. That would be nice. It would be like a date that any regular person would go on. Almost normal, but he knew that, somehow, it would be ruined by either mad men wielding guns, Casey wielding guns, or some mix of the two. Honestly, there would probably be a bomb or two mixed in, maybe a hostage situation tossed in just for the fun of it, and a couple near death experiences. Add in a random smuggling ring somehow connected with the case, an unrepentant baddie in jail, and an install for the Nerd Herd, and you would have a somewhat normal day for Chuck Bartowski. Then he could lean back and wait for the next round of "Try To Be Normal But Fail Because You're Actually An Undercover CIA Agent". It would probably make a good tv show. Maybe with a shorter, easier name, it could catch on.
Chuck glanced over at Sarah as they neared Casey, who was watching General Beckman talking on her usual screen. Sarah caught him looking and raised an eyebrow. Her blue eyes sparkled as she stifled a grin, and she turned to look back at the General, shaking her head slightly in amusement.
As they came down the stairs and stood by the table, General Beckman noticed Chuck and said, "Ah, thank you for joining us, Mr. Bartowski." She then immediately dropped the polite facade and delivered a sound scolding for leaving the car and causing such a ruckus, although she did compliment him on his scar. Chuck smiled awkwardly at that last part, but remained, for the most part, apologetic.
After she regained her composure, the General congratulated Casey and Sarah one final time for taking care of the situation, then she brought up a picture of a European man in fancy jeans and a silk button-down, leaning on an incredibly expensive Cadillac. General Beckman revealed him as a member of a rival spy agency who was coming through Burbank in a few days. Chuck flashed on him instantly and recognized him as a well-renowned sniper from Lithuania known simply as Velnias in his native country. After he relayed this information, the General began to briefly inform them of the nefarious plots the Lithuanian was suspected of, and what they were expected to do. When she signed off, Casey took control and began walking them through a detailed plan of infiltrating Velnias's hotel, which included a very loud emphasis on Chuck staying in the car. Without the extremely explicit curse words, he basically told Chuck to keep his sorry butt in the goddamn car or Casey would have no choice but to tie him to one of his targets and fill him with lead.
Sarah never let go of Chuck's hand throughout the entire ordeal and walked him back out to his house afterward, where they said goodbye. Well, they did a bit more than that, but there's no need for specifics. Spies do get some privacy sometimes.
Suffice it to say, Chuck would never be normal, but at least he could get the girl.
Okay. How was that? Was the ending horribly anticlimactic? I didn't know if I should send them off to his room or off on another mission. I figured the second choice would be the less messy of the two, so that's what I went with. Please, tell me if you enjoyed it and if there are grammar/spelling mistakes that I overlooked. Or plotholes. Yeesh, that would be bad. Actually, I don't know if I want you to warn me of those. That would mean that I would have to go back and fix stuff. I'm too lazy, dang it! Let a barbarian have his rest!
Thank you for any and all support you may have given over the past few weeks. I know this was kind of short, but it's my first story. I didn't really want it to be a massive story of a hundred chapters and fifty thousand words each. If I started one of those, I would probably never end up finishing it. There's nothing wrong with writing entire books on Fanfiction, of course, but I don't do it. I talk too much, don't I? Crud.
If you enjoyed it, I'm glad you did. If you didn't, I would love to know why. And if you want me to write another story, tell me so, and I might just do so. Who knows? But thanks for finishing this story with me. I've had a great time (hopefully you did too), and I hope to do it again. Thanks for all your support, and I hope to see you the next time Chuck gets himself in trouble (which should be soon).