Chuck VS The Unknown
Note: Welcome to my new story! This starts on the beach at the end of VS The Good-Bye and could be read as the follow up to VS The Love Scenes, but you definitely do not need to have read that monstrosity to start this.
As Chuck pulled back he could tell by the look on Sarah's face that the kiss, while sweet and tender, was not at all magical.
"It was worth a shot," he laughed mirthlessly.
Sarah surprised him by capturing his lips for one more quick peck.
"It's the nicest kiss I've ever had," she smiled at her lap.
"Then it definitely didn't bring your memories back," Chuck faux bragged.
"What do we do now? Do you want to come back to the apartment? We have a second room, we could call Ellie and look into treatments. You could stay at the hotel if that makes you feel better, safer," Chuck choked on the word, the idea of Sarah being nervous around him made him cringe.
Before Sarah could respond he continued.
"We could call Casey back, he might have some friends in the depths of the NSA that would know of unsanctioned methods, if we got to that point. Or we could just sell everything and run away and start over…."
Sarah finally held up her hand to staunch the flood of ideas.
"Chuck, I've, um, already decided what I'm doing."
"Oh," he said, obviously disappointed he had not been consulted.
"I'm leaving tonight, red eye to DC," she continued to look at her hands folded in her lap.
"Sarah, please…" he started and stopped remembering his own promise not to push her.
"OK," he finished lamely.
Sarah looked up then, disappointment on her own features at his easy acceptance.
"Why DC?" he said after a lengthy awkward silence.
"Beckman asked me to come out and have the CIA and NSA neurologists look at me. I think she is worried I am a risk to national security," Sarah snorted.
"Oh," Chuck nodded lamely.
"I know she was just here, but she called me after she left and convinced me it would be for the best to step away from here for a bit, eliminate the emotional factor," Sarah shrugged.
"That would be me. For what it's worth, I have always been the 'emotional factor'," he used air quotes and a wry grin.
"Chuck, I don't remember you or us, but I know how I feel and it is definitely complicated. I owe it to myself, to you and even to the US Government to try and get my memories back in a safe way. I can't risk having them all come rushing back while I am driving or in a public space and I just start spewing state secrets like that chick in the Exorcist," she grinned.
Chuck perked up, she watched The Exorcist with him and Morgan on one of their first 'dates' back in their cover relationship and she had admitted to having never seen it before, so while she may not realize it she had remembered something already. Granted it was something random and kind of gross, but still Chuck smiled at her.
"Beckman is talking with Ellie further about the Key, it might be the …well, the key, to all of this, but it needs some time and some testing," Sarah continued.
"How much time?" Chuck pressed his lips together mad at himself for pushing her before she even left.
"I don't know."
"I wasn't just going to leave. I actually wrote you a note, then I chickened out and didn't bring it over, I came here instead," her eyes were trained on the fading light of the horizon.
"Did you think I would find you?"
"I hoped you would."
"I have something for you," Chuck remembered and reached into his back pocket pulling out a phone, "this is your phone. We have a really good plan, tons of data, unlimited talk & text," he sounded like a commercial, "so um, feel free to use it. Um, if you wanted to check in now and then…." He trailed off.
"Thanks," she took the phone and hit the button, a picture of her looking at the photographer and Chuck kissing her cheek filled the screen.
"That was…" Chuck started and then stopped.
Sarah looked up with tears in her eyes.
"Sorry, I'll back off," Chuck held up his hands.
"I barely recognize myself," Sarah admitted.
"Maybe I should keep that, there's probably a lot on there that will be too much," he held out his hand and smiled when she clutched the phone to her chest.
"OK," he laughed.
Sarah turned back to the darkening water in front of them. Chuck sat by her side, not leaving until he was asked to or she did.
"Yeah," his voice was rusty from disuse after a long silence.
"Would you take me to the airport?" he realized she had stood up as her voice came from above him suddenly.
"Um, sure, yeah," he hopped up and wipe the sand from his pants.
"Could you keep the car for me, while I'm gone, store it or use it or whatever," she shrugged as they moved up the sand towards the small parking area where her Lotus sat next to the Herder he had kept as part of the sale of the Buy More, he couldn't part with it.
"Yeah, sure. All your stuff, at the apartment, if you want or need any of it just let me know. I can send it or whatever," he didn't want to part with any of it, but he would if she wanted something.
"I have enough clothes to get me by for a bit, but I might need some things. I'll text you," she waved the phone at him and he nodded.
In a very un-Sarah move she handed him the keys and approached the passenger side. Chuck didn't comment, just opened the door for her before jogging around the front and getting in on the driver's side.
Chuck focused on the road, trying to keep his emotions in check despite the fact that he was driving his wife to the airport so she could leave him. Sarah looked out the window as the lights blurred, she thought Chuck was driving fast, but then she realized it was because she had tears in her eyes. She couldn't remember a time in her life when she had cried as much as she had these past few days. Even when her father left her over and over.
"I've never gotten here so fast," Chuck lamented the lack of LA traffic when he really needed it.
Sarah got out of the car and took her small suitcase from the tiny trunk.
"What do we say?" Chuck sighed and swung his long arms.
"Here," Sarah took the note she had intended to drop off from her pocket.
"Thanks," he took it and held her hand a little longer than necessary.
"I'm not sure if it will sound like the Sarah you love, but it is the Sarah I am at the moment, as honest as I could be, all things considered. I want you to know….well, just read it," she shrugged lamely.
"OK," he nodded his eyes filling no matter how hard he tried to prevent it.
"Seems to be contagious," she indicated her own damp eyes.
"Can I? I just… I want," Chuck kept starting and stopping until Sarah leaned up on her tiptoes and kissed him softly.
"I love you," he whispered, barely audible, but he saw her nod her understanding.
Chuck stood and watched her go through the automatic door at the American Airlines terminal, her blonde hair fading into a sea of travelers.
He got back into the Lotus and let the tears fall freely. His hands on the steering wheel, his shoulders heaving with the sobs that wracked his tall frame. He was close to hyperventilating when a cab blasted its horn behind him, shocking him in to action. He maneuvered the sports car out of LAX with one hand as he swiped at his eyes to clear them.
Chuck parked the Lotus at the apartment complex and was startled to find Morgan sitting by the fountain.
"Have you been here since I left?" Chuck asked.
"I went out and had some tacos and then I checked your place and you weren't there and I wasn't sure if that was a good sign or a bad sign," Morgan babbled.
Chuck nodded and swung the keys on his finger.
"Those are Sarah's keys," Morgan pointed.
"Wow, you are becoming a good spy, just in time for us to go out of business," Chuck laughed.
"Where is she?" Morgan had given up on the idea of a magical kiss, Chuck would be beaming if it had actually worked.
"On a plane," Chuck frowned.
"She left? Did you kiss her? Like really kiss her," Morgan questioned with concern.
"And she still left? What the hell, dude," Morgan was getting angry.
"She went to DC to work with the CIA to try and restore her memories," Chuck explained.
"Oh," Morgan mellowed.
"There's a lot of unknown ahead, buddy."
"I'm here for you, man," Morgan nodded.
"You always have been, thank you. I'm gonna go to bed," Chuck hooked his thumb towards his apartment door.
Sarah meanwhile had boarded her flight and settled in to her aisle seat. Luckily there was no one in the middle and the guy at the window had a sleep mask on and was softly snoring before they even taxied to the runway.
Once the plane leveled off and Sarah had a bottle of sparkling water and some pretzels she remembered the phone and reached for her purse at her feet. She turned the phone on, set it to airplane mode and began to spy into her own life. She may not remember her recent past, but she knew how much information one could learn from a smart phone.
She started with the obvious and flipped through her photos. Not surprisingly most of them were of Chuck: candid shots and a couple of posed pics of the two of them dressed up for things. There were pics of Ellie and Devon and Clara and some of Morgan and Casey grilling with Chuck animatedly talking in the background.
Sarah wished Chuck was there to explain some of the pics. There was one of them soaking wet in their clothes with silk leis around their necks and another of Sarah laughing hysterically in a belly dancing outfit. If Sarah were looking at these pics as a spy she would think she was looking at the photos of a couple clearly in love.
She switched from the photos to the text history. There was an ongoing thread with Chuck, one with Ellie, one with Casey and one with Morgan, Sarah clearly didn't have a large circle of friends, but that was not surprising she was a spy after all. She started with an exchange with Chuck from last month:
Chuck: Hey, babe. Can we have tacos for dinner pleeeeeeeaaaaaasssssseeeee?
Me: We had tacos 2 days ago.
Chuck: And they were so good, I want them again. *taco emoji*
Chuck: I will make it worth your while.
Me: I already said OK.
Chuck: I will still make it worth your while.
Chuck: Yes. With sex, just to be clear I am talking about sex.
Me: I figured that part out.
Chuck: You're so smart, babe.
Sarah found herself smiling at the words on the screen. She jumped ahead a few weeks later:
Me: Hey, my mom wants us to come to dinner on Saturday night, is that OK? I know we have that job to wrap up.
Sarah froze, her mom? Her actual mom? Now she really wished Chuck was there to explain that, she had left her mom with the baby and no one was supposed to know about that.
Chuck: Sure thing, Molly promised me a Mario Cart rematch. I think she cheated last time.
Me: She's five.
Chuck: And sneaky. *devil emoji*
Molly? Was that the baby's name, she's five now, of course she is Sarah laughed.
Me: You were just off your game that day.
Chuck: True, I had seen all those adorable baby pictures of you.
Me: *embarrassed face emoji*
Chuck: You were sooooooo cute. And all I could think was …. Someday….
Me: *baby rattle emoji*
Babies? We were talking about babies? Sarah sat stunned in her seat, no wonder Chuck was so devastated. We weren't just in love, we were a family, we were becoming a family.
Chuck: You are turning me on.
Me: That's weird.
Chuck: To be fair, you always turn me on.
Me: I do appreciate that the idea of babies doesn't make you run and hide.
Chuck: Ha, I feel the same way. Remember the first time we watched Clara?
Chuck: You held her like that nuclear bomb I diffused.
Me: Which one? *winky face emoji*
I use emojis? Sarah just realized. And how many nuclear bombs had Chuck diffused and how exactly?
Sarah exited the text messages and went to the calendar. She flipped through various Carmichael Industries meetings and saw something that gave her pause. A full day blocked off for an appointment with Dr. Meadows. She didn't remember anyone with that name, so she went to her contacts list and saw that Dr. Meadows was her gynecologist. Flipping to her email she found the email confirming her appointment for that day, but it just said "In Patient Procedure". Sarah made a note to ask about that when she was on the ground.
Chuck took a shower, his body sagging under the warm spray. He wrapped a towel around his waist and padded to the bedroom, his bed neatly made and some clean laundry folded on a chair. Everything looked fine, but the room was empty without her. It didn't even smell like her any more. Chuck went to the dresser and found her perfume, spritzed a little in the air, but it was a false note without her underlying scent mingled with the jasmine.
His phone rang, he knew it wasn't Sarah as she was still on the plane, but he reached for it anyway. A sneering John Casey looked back at him.
"Hey, Casey," Chuck answered on the 3rd ring.
"Hey, Bartowski. How you holding up?"
"OK, where are you?"
"London for a couple days before Germany."
"I can come back, you know, if you need me."
"Thanks Casey, honestly that means so much to me, but I'm OK."
"I know Walker is headed to DC, Beckman called me."
"It's for the best," Chuck said unconvincingly.
"They do have a lot of resources, Beckman will watch her back Chuck. I just wanted to make sure you weren't spiraling," Casey grunted and Chuck smiled on his end.
"You know me pretty well," Chuck admitted.
"You have this way of getting under people's skin. Like lice."
"Aw, Casey, don't go getting all sentimental on me."
"Take care of yourself."
"You too," Chuck hung up and tried to focus on not spiraling.
He curled in to Sarah's pillow and there he found it, the faintest trace of her scent.