Warning: There is some adult content in this. Nothing major but please use discretion. A special thanks to Natty for the beta, not only on this chapter, but the whole series. I'm getting sort of tired of saying that I still don't own Chuck. But I still don't.
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This is the end of the AU that began with Chuck vs. The Real Relationship, continued with Chuck vs. Fulcrum's Revenge and Chuck vs. The Gentleman's Club, and concluded with Chuck vs. The Missing Link. I hope you enjoyed reading half as much as I did writing. Hopefully the second season will spark some new inspiration.
- - - -
"Oh, please God, no." Sarah whispered.
Angel had to catch Sarah to keep her from collapsing to the floor. Tears were flooding down her face. Her mouth was open and it looked as if she was wailing but no sound was coming out. Sarah's body was so limp that Angel was having a hard time keeping her from falling. Finally Angel saw a nearby chair. She was able to navigate Sarah to it and set her down gently. Angel had to put her arms around Sarah as she sobbed to keep her from falling over. Angel could barely see from the tears filling her own eyes. Finally she composed herself enough to speak.
"Excuse me," Angel said through her sobs. "Can we see his body?"
"See what?" said the doctor in surprise. "I told you. He's gone."
For the first time the doctor looked up at Angel and Sarah. Her eyes widened in horror as she saw the scene and realized what they were thinking.
"Oh my God," she said quickly. "I'm so sorry. Mrs. Bartowski, Chuck is fine. When I said gone, I meant he was treated and released. The gunshot only caused a flesh wound. We gave him eleven stitches. He had a mild concussion from loosing consciousness when his head hit the ground. We normally would have kept him overnight for observation, but we're swamped. His sister came and picked him up. She's an ER attending physician at another hospital, isn't she?"
Angel just nodded. She fished out Sarah's phone from her purse and searched for Ellie's number. Ellie answered the call on the first ring.
"Sarah, oh my God. Thank goodness. Are you ok?"
"Um, Dr. Bartowski," Angel said shakily. "This is Angel. We met yesterday."
"Hi, Angel," Ellie said, the concern evident in her voice. "Where is Sarah?"
"She's right here." Angel replied. "She's sort of having a hard time right now. We're at the hospital and they kind of told us that Chuck was dead. Sarah is still in shock."
"Don't move." Ellie said firmly. "I'm sending Devon to get you right now. He'll be there in ten minutes."
"Thanks," said Angel, her voice starting to break. "How is Chuck?"
"He's going to be fine, Angel." Ellie said reassuringly. "He's right here."
"Hi, Angel," said Chuck in a cheery tone as soon as Ellie handed him the phone. "Where is Sarah?"
"She's right here." Angel said with a sob. "You need to say something to her. She's really messed up. They told her you were dead."
"Hi, babe," Chuck said softly as Angel held the phone up to Sarah's ear. "Are you ok? Don't worry everyone's fine."
"Chuck," Sarah whispered as she sobbed after a long pause. "I thought you were dead."
"Babe," said Chuck soothingly. "I'm fine. I have a bit of a headache. I'll see you in a few minutes."
Soon after Sarah ended the call, Devon came bursting through the door. He scanned the room and when he spotted Sarah, came rushing over.
"Hi," Devon said with a smile as he extended his hand. "You must be Angel. I'm Devon."
"Hi Devon," said Angel softly as she took his hand. "I can't tell you how good it is to see you. Sarah is really messed up."
"I can see." Devon said with a smile. "Please help me get her into the car."
With Angel and Devon on either side of Sarah they were able to slowly walk her to the car. Devon gently helped her into the passenger's seat and buckled her seat belt. Angel climbed into the back seat. Sarah continued to sob as Devon drove.
- - - -
Casey and Carina were about finished with the cleanup. The Hazmat team had finished securing the Sarin. They had already determined that the lab was being used to produce it. Casey had just gotten off the phone with Beckman. She asked that they video conference in an hour to debrief. All of the escorts and businessmen that were at the party were taken downtown for questioning, except for the few that were injured in the battle and were at the hospital. Finally Carina walked up to Casey.
"Are we about done here?" she asked with a slight smile.
"I think so." Casey replied with a sigh.
"Good," said Carina as she launched herself into Casey's arms.
"Wow," said Casey softly as he held her tightly. "I think this is the first time I've ever seen you cry."
"Don't get used to it." Carina said as she released her pent up emotion and sobbed into Casey's chest. "I didn't think I was ever going to see you again."
"It's been a long two days for me too." Casey said with a sigh. "What do you say we go rent a convertible?"
"I have a better idea." Carina said as she looked up and smiled through her tears. "Why don't we just drive home real fast and spend some time in our own bed?"
"Sounds good," Casey said with a laugh.
- - - -
As soon as Devon stopped the car, Sarah jumped out and ran into the house. Chuck was standing in the living room waiting for her. She quickly ran over to him and threw her arms around his neck.
"I thought you were dead." Sarah sobbed as she tightened her grip.
"About three more minutes of this and I will be." Chuck said with a giggle.
Sarah ignored her hurt lip and she crushed her mouth against Chuck's.
"Wow," teased Chuck with a grin when she finally let him up for air. "I'm feeling a lot better. Did you ever think of going into the medical field? Men would be lining up for treatment."
Just then Devon and Angel entered the house.
"Sarah," said Devon. "Let me look at your face. I don't like the looks of that swelling."
"I feel great now." said Sarah as she snuggled contentedly in Chuck's chest.
"Really," said Devon. "Let me look at it."
"It's the first time I've ever heard anyone say that they don't like the looks of your face." Chuck teased her.
Reluctantly Sarah pulled herself away from Chuck to allow Devon to examine her.
"Just how were you at a party with a bunch of terrorists anyway?" Ellie asked.
"Bad luck," Chuck sighed.
"Anyway," said Ellie as she pulled a bottle from the cabinet. "I have the cure for all of our troubles."
Three minutes later, Ellie was pouring glasses of margaritas for everyone except Chuck. Ellie wouldn't let him have one due to his concussion.
"That's fine with me." Chuck laughed. "I'll take a concussion over a tequila hangover anytime."
"You really need to get some ice on that lip." Devon told Sarah softly.
"And I have just the ice." Ellie said with a laugh as she handed Sarah a frozen drink.
Sarah noticed that Angel was sitting in a chair staring at the floor. Ellie had handed her a drink but she just held it with a blank expression. So Sarah went over and sat on the arm of the chair that she was sitting in and put her hand on Angel's shoulder.
"Thank you for saving my life." Sarah whispered as she leaned in close to Angel.
Angel didn't look up. "Can we talk?" she asked softly. "In private?"
"Sure," Sarah said as she took Angel by the hand and led her to Chuck's old room.
Just as Sarah and Angel closed the bedroom door, Carina and Casey came bursting in.
"Carina, John," Ellie called loudly. "Come in and have a drink."
As soon as Carina had her drink she walked up to where Chuck was standing.
"Are you sure you're ok?" she asked softly with smile.
"I'm great." Chuck replied with an equal smile.
"Then come with me, will you?" Carina whispered as she extended her hand. "I would like to talk to you for a second."
- - - -
Carina took Chuck by the hand and led him to the opposite side of the room. Calmly she grabbed Chuck's finger and twisted in awkwardly.
"Ahh," Chuck cried as his eyes widened in pain. "Carina, you're hurting me."
"I know." said Carina sweetly with a smile. "Don't worry. I'm not going to do any permanent damage. It really hurts like hell, doesn't it?"
"Yes," Chuck quickly agreed. "Please let go."
"In a minute," Carina said softly, the smile never leaving her face. "But first I want to tell you something. And I want to make sure that I have your undivided attention. Do I have your undivided attention, Chuck?"
Chuck quickly nodded.
"You know that I love you," Carina started, her smile turning into more of a grin. "But it's also my job to protect you. I've dedicated my life to that job. I think that you understand how seriously I take it. So when you do stupid things and put yourself in danger, like you did today, it pisses me off. You scared the crap out of us. So the next time that happens, Sarah is going to be helping you put on your shoes and socks for a couple of weeks. Do we understand each other?"
"Yes," Chuck quickly said as he nodded.
"Good," said Carina as she released Chuck's finger. "Now give me a hug. I was so afraid for you."
- - - -
As soon as Sarah closed the bedroom door, Angel started silently sobbing.
"I'm so sorry." Angel whispered with tears flowing. "I need to tell you something. I seriously thought for a minute about letting them kill you today so I could be with Chuck. I'm so ashamed of myself. I don't blame you for hating me. I think it's just better if we forgot that we ever met."
"Well," said Sarah softly. "It may be better, but it's not going to happen."
"You saved my life today." Sarah continued as she embraced Angel. "No matter what you thought about today, the fact of the matter is that you did the right thing. And by saving my life you saved Chuck's life. So I'll always be grateful. Always. Chuck loves you. I'm not going to stop trying until I love you too."
"Really?" Angel asked as she looked up into Sarah's eyes.
"Really," said Sarah with a smile. "Don't forget. Technically, you're still in my custody. So here's what's going to happen. We're going to go back out there and we're going to get sloppy drunk celebrating the fact that we're alive with our friends, and family. Next week we're going to take you to the rehab center. And when you get out Carina and I are going to be all over your ass to stay clean. Then we're going to start looking for your Chuck. We're not going to leave any stone unturned looking for him. We're not going to stop looking until we find him. And when we do find him, I expect to be your maiden of honor. Any questions?"
"No," Angel said with a smile through her tears. "That seems like a pretty complete plan."
"But as long as you're feeling guilty," Sarah said with a sly smile. "There is one favor you could do for me."
"I'll do anything." said Angel with her own smile.
Sarah grinned as she said "Let me tell you my second plan."
- - - -
When Sarah and Angel came back out of the bedroom, the impromptu party was well under way. The gang was on their third pitcher of margaritas. Casey had gone back to his place and retrieved his bottle of scotch. Ellie even let Chuck have a drink as long as he promised to take it easy. The group of friends sat and drank. They talked and drank. Then they munched on some snacks… and drank. Soon they were all in a very relaxed mood. Suddenly Angel spoke up.
"Oh my God," she said animatedly. "I just thought of something. Do you know what football game is at the Rose Bowl on Saturday? UCLA and Stanford."
"I know," Ellie sighed. "Devon and I are going."
"You and Devon are going to be in the Rose Bowl on Saturday?" Sarah asked incredulously.
"Sure," said Devon. "We go to most of the home games. Why?"
"No reason," Sarah replied with a sly smile. "I hope you enjoy the game."
After a couple more hours of drinking, talking and the occasional card game, some of the folks started to yawn.
"I hope you know," Ellie said forcefully. "That no one is driving tonight. Chuck and Sarah can take Chuck's room. Angel umm…."
"Angel can take our guest room." Carina finished Ellie's sentence with a laugh. "Come on, Angel. If you hear any moaning tonight, you must be having a bad dream."
- - - -
Chuck and Sarah quickly stripped down to their underwear. Chuck found a t-shirt for Sarah and they slipped into bed.
"Can I talk to you about something?" Sarah said softly as they lay in the spoon position.
"Of course," said Chuck. "You know that you can always talk to me."
"It's important." Sarah said softly but firmly.
"I want to resign my position in the CIA."
"Are you sure that's what you want?"
"I've never been more sure." said Sarah as she rolled over to face Chuck. "There was two different times today when I thought I'd never see you again. I'm tired of that. I'm tired of having some terrorist stick his hand up my shirt. I want to start that family we've talked about. It's time. I'm ready."
"But I'll still be the intersect, right?"
"Sure," said Sarah. "Of course. But I'm thinking that your flashes will start to diminish soon as the data in your head gets older. They'll probably keep Casey and Carina around as your handlers indefinitely. We'll still report any intelligence that you come up with. We'll just leave the active missions to someone else."
"And you're not going to miss this?" Chuck whispered skeptically.
"Chuck," said Sarah with tears starting to form in her eyes. "Today when I thought I had lost you, I took stock of my life. I thought of all the things that I regretted. And none of those things were about the job. They were all about you. They were all about how I hurt you or made you take second place to the job. How I made you watch me flirting with another man. It made me ashamed. I never want you to feel that way again. So, no, I'm not going to miss it at all. I'm going to be too busy taking care of you. I couldn't possibly ever begin to tell you how much I love you."
"Fortunately," whispered Chuck as he kissed Sarah tenderly to avoid hurting her lip. "You don't have to tell me. I already know. Just like I think that you already know how much I love you."
As Sarah returned Chuck's kiss she could feel his hand under her t-shirt.
"Are you sure that you're up for this?" Sarah whispered with a grin.
"We'll find out in a second." Chuck said with a smile as he lifted the t-shirt over Sarah's head. "Yup, it appears that I am."
"It's show time."
- - - -
The terrorist teams were caught when their plane landed in Atlanta. The warehouse was raided and all of the Sarin was found and destroyed. Since the new administration wanted to brag about their success in fighting terrorism, the story was well publicized. Casey actually became rather famous for a few weeks providing terrorism analysis for cable news networks with the understanding that they would hide his face and disguise his voice.
Sarah resigned from the CIA the next day. Director Graham was disappointed but she really didn't give him any choice. Sarah made sure that she told him that she was tired of being 'expendable'. Graham got the point and wouldn't meet her eye. Sarah never missed being an agent but she did keep in practice at throwing knifes. It was a skill that made everyone around her sure not to piss her off.
Chuck and Angel joined Ellie and Devon at the football game. Angel was able to take a great deal of pride as she looked around the stadium that she had played a big part in keeping all those people safe. UCLA beat Stanford by a late touchdown. It was a fact that Angel used for her amusement all year. They made it a yearly tradition to attend the UCLA / Stanford game together.
Angel kept her promise to Sarah by helping her play a practical joke on Casey and Carina. They set it up to look like they had caught Chuck and Angel cheating on Sarah. Naturally it was all an act. Carina fell for it hook, line and sinker. It took a lot of convincing for her to believe that it was a joke. Chuck avoided her for several days after that to protect his fingers. Chuck had never seen Sarah laugh so hard. Naturally, Carina vowed vengeance. She tried several times and pulled many small pranks but could never top Sarah.
Chuck kept his promise and went with Sarah to Washington. They stayed in Sarah's apartment for two weeks before the CIA stopped providing it. And, although Sarah had a great time showing Chuck the sights, it no longer felt like home to her and she was very happy to get back. It goes without saying that Chuck did everything in his power to help Sarah get pregnant. It didn't take very long at all. The next spring, she delivered Kate to the world. Casey and Carina became the godparents. Chuck decided against going back to Stanford and Sarah never got to meet Jill. That was one thing that she always regretted. Chuck continued to have flashes occasionally but they were almost always old and outdated. Casey was permanently assigned to be Chuck's protector until he finally retired but they never went on active missions. Although Casey and Carina were never married, they stayed together for the rest of their lives.
Angel graduated from rehab. She was one of only twenty percent who stayed clean after their first visit. Not that she had much choice. Sarah, Ellie, or Carina was with her pretty much every minute for the first month. Carina was able to pull some strings with the DEA and got Angel a job. At first it was administrative but after a few months she was accepted into field training. She was an absolute natural. Her knowledge of the drug culture along with her athleticism, high intelligence and natural beauty helped her rise up the ranks until she was quickly considered one of the top field agents in the DEA. She was offered the opportunity to take over for Carina when she retired. She seriously thought about it. It would have been fun to work with Chuck and Casey again but she felt called to be involved with drug enforcement. So, after spending a year as an agent in the L.A. branch, she was promoted to Deputy Director of the San Diego office. That's where she met Jim Fedderly. He was a special agent that was frequently assigned to cases in San Diego. After a whirlwind romance, Jim quickly proposed. Angel asked Sarah to be her maiden of honor but Chuck put his foot down. Since Sarah was due to give birth to their second child three weeks from the wedding, Chuck felt it would be better for Carina to fill in. Naturally, Chuck walked Angel down the aisle and gave her away.
At the reception, in between throwing the garter and cutting the cake, Angel and Sarah found themselves alone for a moment. Sarah hugged Angel, reminded her how much she loved her, and wished her luck. Finally she thanked her once again for saving her life those many years ago. Angel replied that "It was actually you who saved my life that day."
They were both right.
Eventually Chuck and Sarah were alone at their table. Since Sarah was due to give birth in eighteen days, she was at the point where she was pretty much always uncomfortable. Sarah looked around at all the beautiful ladies in the room in their lovely dresses and sighed that she no longer looked like that. Chuck smiled as he kissed her. "I know," he whispered. "Seriously, how does it feel to be the most beautiful woman in the room?" Sarah smiled to herself as she remembered all of the times that different men had said that to her over the years trying to pick her up. She looked into Chuck's eyes and knew in her heart that he truly meant it. It was today's reminder of what she already knew but never tired of hearing. That she was the most loved person in the world. "Actually," Sarah whispered as she smiled and gently kissed the love of her life.
"It feels great."
- - - -