Sarah walker stood on the expansive beach with her toes in the warm sand, the Pacific Ocean lazily flowing around her ankles as she absorbed the breathtaking view. Behind her, the members of the CIA prep team finished placing the last few chairs and laying a thick blanket of assorted flower petals throughout the seating area. If the team was disgruntled at their current assigned task, they hid it well – although to be fair, Sarah and Casey had neglected to tell them that this setting was for personal reasons rather than a mission.
"We're all set here Walker, we're bugging out." Her ear-piece crackled as the Colonel killed his link.
"Casey – John – wait. Why don't you stay? You don't have to acknowledge it, but you care about them just as much as I do."
"Nice try. Unlike you I'm not hopelessly compromised. You have a nice life, Walker. Take care of yourself…and the moron."
Casey killed the comm unit before Sarah could correct him.
Who am I kidding? She wondered. Casey was completely correct. He knew it, she knew it…hell everyone knew it. Except, so it would seem, Chuck. Her thoughts turned to her curly-haired nerd as they so often did lately. She thought back to when she first met him in the Buy More, how nervous he was – how cute he was. And then the little girl and her dad interrupted them and she witnessed for the first time just how genuinely sweet and amazing he was. Sarah had been unable to get him out of her head the entire night. Chalking this down to an abnormality based on obsession with the mission – and concern for Bryce – she brushed it aside.
And then they became partners – and the jerk had the nerve to worm his way into her heart and seize it to the point where she was never able to stop thinking of him. She had never experienced this before…she had never had someone that caused her simultaneous blissful happiness and ferocious anger when thinking about him. But the more time that passed, the more time she spent in his company she realized that Casey was wrong – she was not compromised. She was hopelessly, relentlessly in love with Chuck Bartowski. When she first realized that a few weeks ago, she was terrified. She had no idea what to do. But these last few days had crystalized it all. For God's sake, she had committed treason for the man! The fact that they got away with it was beside the point. A soft shuffling of sand announced the arrival of the object of her thoughts.
"Sarah, this is incredible! I know the CIA has pulled off some awesome stuff here lately, but this is great, Ellie is going to love it!"
He put his arm around her shoulders and pulled her close.
"Thank-you, Sarah. I know you didn't have to do this. I know tomorrow you'll probably be on some crazy mission in Brazil, but you really saved me here, as usual."
Even though Sarah could not see Chuck's face, she could practically feel his face fall.
"It's a good thing I told Ellie I was the reason for messing up her wedding. It gives you an opportunity to get mad at me and stage a fight…good way to end the cover." His voice was even but for all the pain it caused Sarah to hear those words he should have been shouting.
"Chuck, I didn't do this for the cover – I didn't even do this for Ellie, as great as she is. I did this for y -"
"There you two are!" Devon called to them as he walked across the beach. "Chuck, this is amazing, you really are a hero. I don't know why you stalled the wedding, but you pulled it off anyway…I've got your back, bro. Come on, everyone's getting settled at the beach house, let's go get ready."
They looked at each other but knew they couldn't continue talking without holding up the wedding. Sarah slipped her hand into Chuck's and walked with him to the beach house, each lost in their own thoughts – Chuck on how he'd survive without her and Sarah on that morning in Barstow and the cozy one bed one bath cell – apartment – she'd like to share with him.
Sarah stood at the front of a small crowd of people – all smiling, and some crying. The sun was just beginning to set over the gently rolling waves. She had been to countless countries all over the world but she had never seen anything as beautiful as this wedding, surrounded by genuine, kind people…by her friends – her family. She turned her head as everyone stood and caught sight of Ellie, looking radiant in the dying sunlight. Sarah smiled widely at her friend as she was walked up the aisle with her father and Chuck on each arm. Her heart stopped briefly as she watched Chuck and azure eyes met chocolate. She saw the familiar cessation of breathing followed by a heartbreaking sadness that clouded the otherwise happy face of the man she loved – but only because she knew where to look.
They made it to the top of the aisle and pulled each other close as the officiant began to speak.
"We are gathered here to join together Eleanor Faye Bartowski and Devon Christian Woodcomb in matrimony. Who gives this woman in marriage to this man?"
Sarah watched as Chuck caught his father's eye, took a deep breath and nodded.
"We do," They said together. She watched the family exchange kisses and words of love and with a pang briefly envisioned herself in a white dress, looking up at Chuck next to the officiant as her father gave her away – before taking the place of the officiant as some sort of elaborate con. She laughed inwardly at the not-so-absurd notion before turning her thoughts back to the ceremony.
Chuck moved back into the line of groomsmen and caught her eye. She smiled softly, still concerned and seeing the hidden look of sadness that marred his sister's day. Sarah tried to send as much reassurance as she could through her gaze and she could see him ease slightly. She looked down at his tux to avoid rushing across the aisle and grabbing him – she would never forgive herself is she ruined Ellie's day again just because she finally knew what to do about being in love with Chuck Bartowski.
"A partnership should not be entered into lightly, but with much consideration. If any person who can show just cause why they should not be joined let them speak now or forever hold their peace."
As Sarah reflected on what she would do to anyone who objected and interfered with her future family, her earpiece which she had not had the chance to remove crackled to life.
"Sarah?" Bryce's voice filled the small device. She turned her head slightly and easily found him squatting on a distant hill, within easy range of her transmitter. Growling inwardly at his intentionally ironing and not remotely subtle timing, Sarah hid the automatic movement of her hand to her ear by brushing her hair back.
"You're not coming with me, are you?"
"Do you have the rings?" The officiant asked. Sarah turned her head as Chuck adorably fumbled with the rings and carried them to his sister and almost-brother-in-law. She again imagined the two of them holding similar rings in a beautiful church…maybe just around the corner from a small white house with a red door and a white picket fence. She turned back to Bryce and waited until she saw him raise the binoculars before shaking her head softly but firmly once in the negative.
The gravity of her decision finally set in. She was not sure how it would work or what she would do, but it was time. She had to make a choice between Chuck and the CIA and it was not even remotely a competition. As she looked back up at the man she loved, she felt full to bursting with this final, momentous decision made and she could feel the weight of the world leave her shoulders. She felt a content smile grace her lips, and no matter how much she tried to focus on their vows, she did not hear a word of Ellie or Devon's speech, but instead pictured holding Chuck and exchanging their own vows.
Only when Devon and Ellie kissed and Chuck exploded into a loud cheer and applause did her internal smile finally burst forth. She clapped along with everyone else and caught Chuck's eye as man and wife walked down the aisle. She took a deep, shuddering breath and smiled once more, finally, for the first time since she was eight years old, home.
Chuck Bartowski looked out at the courtyard of his apartment complex from the doorway of his home. Everything was beautiful, and completely perfect. He was so relieved that he was able to fix everything for his sister. He would never have forgiven himself if he let his spy life ruin the best day of the life of the woman who had given him so much. He smiled and sipped his champagne, looking for Sarah in the crowd but before he could find her the wedding videographer stepped in front of him.
"A few words for the bride and groom?"
Chuck took a breath before raising his glass.
"Awesome and Ellie…Devon and Ellie, I love you guys, and congratulations and uh…"
He wanted to tell them to have a great honeymoon, and always be there for each other…the way that Sarah had been for him every step of the way since she came into his life but the thought of her telling him she was leaving burst into his mind like an explosion.
"Don't make me move out." He finished, loathing himself for saying that but all he could picture was a vast emptiness that would be all that was left when Sarah was gone.
The cameraman moved on and was soon replaced by Ellie, thankfully, before he could finish spiraling.
"Hi," She said with a huge Bartowski smile. "Thank-you."
"For what?" Chuck asked, surprised. He could think of a whole list of things his sister should be saying to him after the day's events and thank-you was on a completely different piece of paper.
"For what? For all of this! For my wedding gift. This is…I don't know how you did all this."
"Well I can't exactly take all the credit." Chuck said lamely.
"Well first the beach and now this…I don't know. You're pretty amazing little brother. Sometime I think you have super powers."
Chuck sniggered. "Man, I wish."
"I know!" Ellie said with emphasis and a laugh.
"Chuck!" Devon said, handing Ellie a flute of champagne. "Man, you saved the day. Looks like you're the big hero. Thanks bro." Devon smiled warmly.
"Well, now I really am your bro." Chuck said as Devon laughed.
"Yes, you are." They walked away as Chuck resumed his search for the comforting yet heart-break inducing locks of blonde hair that belonged to Sarah Walker. He spotted Morgan first and smiled, walking over to his best friend.
"I can't believe you're actually leaving me." He said, clapping an arm around his shoulders. Chuck desperately wanted to beg him to stay, knowing he'd need him to get through the misery of Sarah leaving, but he could never ask Morgan to do that.
"Alright, Don't, Chuck, I'll cry."
"Well we don't want that, do we? I'm happy for you, buddy. I think that you're going to be the greatest hibachi chef in the whole world."
"I don't know man, I mean this whole make your dreams come true thing is hard. And the bigger the dream, the harder it gets. On one side a girl you love and on the other…life as you know it. It's just, you know, friends, family…a job you can't stand…I should just go with Anna, right? But then, uh…I'm overthinking this, aren't I?"
"Yeah," Chuck said confidently. "Yeah, you are. Go with your heart, buddy. Our brains only screw things up. He patted him on the shoulder as he walked past him, finally having spotted Sarah leaning up against the archway at the entrance of the complex. She looked deep in thought and slightly troubled.
He walked up to her from the side and she turned slowly towards him.
"Where's Bryce?" He asked.
"Gone." She answered swiftly. "They're uploading him with the new computer tonight." She looked down to the side, clearly still lost in thought.
"Off to save the world? I guess both of you are. Sarah turned and looked up into his eyes.
"Do you want to dance?" She asked sadly.
He smiled. "You know I do."
They walked to the middle of the courtyard and held each other close, Chuck moving his hand to her waist and she to his shoulder, grasping their other hands and interlacing their fingers. Sarah laid her chin to rest on Chuck's shoulder, nuzzling his neck as he turned into her hair, inhaling her scent. The revolved slowly to the tune, enjoying each other's company. Chuck soon spoke, as he always did.
"You belong out there…saving the world. I'm just…I'm just not that guy."
Sarah resisted rolling her eyes with difficulty.
"How many times do you have to be a hero to realize that you are that guy?" She said with a hint of pride.
"But I want more, Sarah. I want a life. I want a…real life."
"Chuck I don't want to save the world." She said shaking her head. They separated as Sarah looked into his eyes. She could not lie to him any longer, the words burst from her lips before she was conscious of making the decision to say them.
"I want to have a normal life, to be a normal girl…again. It's been so long since I've been anything but a spy. You are the only one who has ever made me feel like a real person, like anything other than a con artist or a spy. I want a real life, Chuck. I want…you."
Sarah paused as she took a deep, shuddering breath, more nervous than she had been in years. Chuck looked utterly bemused.
"Sarah, what are you saying?" He asked hesitantly.
"Chuck, I want to be with you, today, tomorrow, fifty years from now. I don't ever want to be anything except for yours. When I told you last night that it was real, I meant it. Everything we've felt for each other, our…thing, under the undercover thing. You're right, it's always been real. I've known it for a long time now, Chuck, known that I've been in love with you and for the longest time I've had no idea what to do about it. But I know now, Chuck. I fell for you a long, long time ago. After you fixed my phone and before you started defusing bombs with computer viruses. I love you, Chuck Bartowski."
Sarah moved closer and put her hands on either side of Chuck's face, pulling him to her. She kissed him desperately, needing to feel him, to know that it was real. Chuck was still in a state of shock and returned the kiss gently, on reflex.
"But wait, what about the CIA, the Intersect? What about Bryce?"
"Chuck the only Intersect I care about is you, and if you don't have it anymore then all the better for us. Now you're you again, you're Chuck. You're my Chuck."
Chuck smiled dazedly, but pulled her back to him and they kissed. Strongly, deeply, fall of the love that had been denied to them for so long. When they finally surfaced, they were both slightly out of breath and Sarah had a pink tinge to her cheeks.
"I don't know what I'm going to do about the CIA, Chuck. We'll have to take that one day at a time and make a decision together, but what I do know is in the short-term I have a very large amount of vacation time stored up…and I would love to take a vacation with you."
Chuck laughed and smiled again, planting another soft kiss on her lips as he pulled her tight, never wanting to let go, afraid it would turn out to be a dream.
"I love you," he said gently. "One more time just because that feels really good to say, I love you. God I feel like I've been bottling this up forever. I love you. Tomorrow we'll go to Mexico then after that anywhere you want. I would, however, like to go and see the Eiffel Tower sometime if that's at all possible. I love you, Sarah Walker. I always have."
Their lips crashed together again but before they could deepen the kiss, Chuck's dad hurried over, clearly out of breath and concerned.
"Chuck…Chuck! The agent…that came…for Bryce. He isn't a CIA agent…he's supposed to be dead!"