A big thanks to my beta Sharpasamarble. He's too busy to do much writing these days, but he's written a great deal of awesome fanfiction on this site. My personal favorite of his is Chuck vs Five Men, One with a Knife. You should check it out.
Act III: I do love nothing in the world so well as you. Is that not strange?
Chuck was discovering that sometimes being a CIA agent had its privileges. An express order for DNA testing was one of those. They stopped by the Castle where Sarah took basic cheek swabs with a testing kit. At Labcorp Sarah put the kit on the counter of the small reception area, flashed her badge, filled out some paperwork for a John and Jane Doe, told them it was a rush job and left a cell phone number. That was that. Now all there was to do was to wait.
Sarah had dropped Chuck back to his apartment after lunch with the excuse that she had some paperwork to catch up on. Chuck suspected that she just wanted to get away from the awkwardness for awhile. He couldn't blame her. The uncomfortable feeling between them had been almost painful. He spent the afternoon playing Call of Duty World at War with Morgan in Hawaii. That helped him take his mind of things – almost.
After getting slaughtered over and over he called it quits to start getting ready for the family anniversary dinner. As he buttoned up a fresh shirt, he could hear Ellie in the kitchen making the final preparations. He glanced at his clock; Sarah should be arriving soon.
A few minutes later he heard a knock at the front door; he rushed out of his room to answer it only to find that Ellie had gotten there first. Sarah stood in the doorway, looking stunning as ever in a red top and slacks.
Sarah and Ellie hugged. Chuck had never really paid attention before but they were about the same height. Sarah handed Ellie a bottle of wine and Ellie thanked her, exclaiming it was one of her favorites. Chuck nodded knowingly; tastes are usually similar in families.
Sarah approached Chuck with a controlled smile on her face. She leaned in, for what appeared to be, a kiss on the lips. But luckily Chuck was able to reposition his face just in time for a cheek kiss. Sarah looked at him with a glimmer of irritation in her eyes, before smiling again and turning to greet Devon.
Dinner went as well as could be expected. Conversation stayed in safe areas, like work at the hospital, Chuck's phony job search, and Sarah's new job managing the Subway on North Hollywood. Chuck heard little of it. All through dinner Chuck couldn't help but go back and forth between Ellie and Sarah comparing their features.
He noticed that their hands were very similar, as was the way they held their fork. Ellie brushed her hair behind her hear the same way Sarah did and Sarah crossed her legs in the same manner as Ellie.
Chuck never could hide anything from Sarah and she shot him a few dirty looks inconspicuously. But despite her non-verbal protests, Chuck saw Sarah do a double take when Ellie rolled the olive out of her pasta salad and to the side of her plate. And then when Sarah and Ellie both passed on seconds of the Cordon Bleu but took extra helpings of the asparagus, Chuck saw Sarah top off her wine.
Devon was the first one to steer the conversation into dangerous waters, just as they were finishing desert.
"When I got married some of my frat brothers told me that I'd be miserable." Ellie got a disapproving look on her face as Devon mentioned 'the brothers'. "But they couldn't have been more wrong. This last month has been the happiest of my life."
Ellie leaned and wrapped her hand around Devon's arm. "That's sweet, honey." They shared a kiss and a look that made Chuck feel a little uncomfortable.
Then Devon turned to him. "So when are you two going to make it official?"
"Oh, I don't know," Chuck answered uncomfortably.
"I know we guys talk about the old ball and chain, Chuck, but it's not like that at all. To know that you're going to share your life with the woman you love." He turned to look at Ellie again. "Well that's just awesome." The couple shared a loving smile.
Chuck and Sarah looked at each other uncomfortably.
Sarah cleared her throat. "It's kind of hard to put a label on our relationship right now," she answered.
Breaking her gaze from her husband, Ellie reached out and put her hand on Sarah's. "You've felt like family from the first time I met you. It'll be so nice when you two decide to get married so we can be real sisters."
"That's not necessary," Chuck said, and then immediately regretted his words. Sarah looked at him with large eyes. "I mean, that it's not necessary for us to get married, you know, for Sarah to be like part of the family because she already is. Right honey?" He didn't look at Sarah, but became very interested in the last few bites of desert on his plate.
"It feels that way more and more with every passing day," Sarah answered as she put her napkin on her plate. "That was delicious Ellie. Thank you."
Chuck was glad for the change of subject. "Yes, yes it was," Chuck agree. "Thanks, El."
Ellie waved the compliment away and began to gather the dishes on the table.
Sarah stood and picked up her plate. "No Ellie, you cooked the dinner, Chuck and I will do the dishes."
"Are you sure?" Ellie asked.
"Sure we're sure," Chuck answered, standing as well. "You and Devon go relax. We'll be done with these dishes in no time."
While Ellie and Devon made their way to the living room. Sarah headed to the kitchen and Chuck gathered dishes on the table. When he reached the kitchen, his hands fully loaded, Sarah was waiting for him. It was clear from the look in her face that she had something she wanted to talk about.
Chuck put the dishes in a stack beside the sink and girded himself with an apron. "I'll wash and you dry?" he asked.
"Sounds great." Sarah set her half full wine glass she had saved from dinner on the counter and picked up a dish towel.
Chuck turned on the water, added the soap, and the bubbles began to rise. Sarah went for the last few dishes on the table. As she did Chuck saw her casually glance to the living room, no doubt making sure Ellie and Devon were out of ear-shot.
"So, I've been thinking about...our situation," she said.
"Me too," Chuck answered.
"I think we're worrying over nothing." Her statement had the overtone of a challenge to it.
"Sarah, we've talked about this. My flashes aren't wrong."
"I'm not saying it's wrong. I'm just saying we've just jumped to the wrong conclusion."
Chuck plunged some dishes into the full sink, waiting for Sarah to elaborate.
"You met my dad. You know what kind of man he is. That lifestyle…it required a lot of flexibility."
"What kind of 'flexibility'?"
Sarah didn't answer right away but took the first clean dish out of the drying rack and started wiping it down. "Because of my dad's work, we had to move around a lot." She seemed to be choosing her words carefully. "Let's just say that the CIA wasn't the first time I had to take on a new identity."
"I figured that out when the name I saw on your birth certificate wasn't Jenny Burton."
Sarah nodded. "A new city, a new name," she said, as if she was repeating something she had heard a thousand times. "Jenny was just one of many."
"But your real name is the one I saw on the certificate?"
Sarah nodded. "I thought so, but now…I'm not so sure." She opened the cupboard and started to put away the dry plates. "I thought that was my real birth certificate, but what if it was just another of my dad's cons?"
Chuck put the cooking pan in the sink; water sloshed out onto the counter. "That might be it," Chuck exclaimed. "I saw on TV about people using the identities of dead people to get credit cards. After what I saw your dad pull with that sheik, a little birth certificate forgery with be easy for him."
Sarah took a sip from her glass. "Exactly. My dad probably needed a birth certificate to enroll me in school or something, but he couldn't use one with his real name on it."
"Makes sense," Chuck agreed.
Sarah smiled. "Yes, I'm sure that must be it." She picked up the casserole dish and began wiping it dry with renewed energy.
Chuck scrubbed the last pot, but all the while he was turning over Sarah's idea in his mind. It seemed right when you looked at it up close, but when you stepped back, and looked at the big picture, it just seemed too easy.
"But that's still quite a coincidence; isn't it?" he finally said.
Sarah's countenance fell.
Chuck continued. "I mean, you and I are connected because of the Intersect, but we also are connected by the fact that your dad used my dead twin sister's birth certificate…but the ways we are connected aren't…connected? It doesn't make sense. You know what I mean?"
He turned to Sarah but she didn't answer.
"It just seems to me too much of a stretch. I used to think those kind of things could be just twists of fate. But now, knowing what I know - it has the smell of government conspiracy all over it."
Sarah stiffened a little and turned her attention back drying the last of the pans without saying more.
Once the dishes were done, Chuck and Sarah joined Ellie and Devon, who were already snuggling on the couch in the living room.
As they were getting settled, Devon got up and grabbed some fresh glasses and passed them to Ellie and Chuck. Sarah was still holding her wine glass from dinner. Chuck wondered how many times he had seen her fill her glass tonight. He wasn't sure.
After pouring for everyone Devon cleared his throat and said, "I'd like to make a toast. I know I speak for Ellie when I say that we can't thank you enough Chuck, for all you did to save our wedding and making it the best day of our lives."
"I still don't know how you pulled that off," Ellie exclaimed.
Sarah looked over to Chuck with a knowing smile.
"So…to the Chuckster." Devon began tipping his glass but then at the last minute he added, "I wish everyone could have a brother as great as him!"
Sarah, who had already began to drink, choked and sent a small spray down her chin. Chuck quickly grabbed a tissue and passed it to her. He then reached over and patted her back.
"Oh Sarah, are you okay?" Ellie asked.
Sarah wiped her lips. "Yes, fine," she said, gasping a little, "just went down the wrong pipe, that's all."
Chuck continued patting her back when Devon said, "Watch out there Sarah, Chuck may have to give you some mouth to mouth."
Chuck smiled weakly at Devon and Ellie and laughed along with the joke while out of the corner of his eye he saw Sarah down the rest of her wine in one gulp.
After some polite conversation, Sarah offered an early morning at the new Subway as an excuse to leave. But as she stood to go, she proved to be a little unsteady on her feet.
When Ellie insisted she stay the night, Chuck could do little besides agree.
Once in the room, Sarah immediately slipped off her slacks and blouse and crawled into bed.
As he watched her snuggle under the covers, thoughts and images of their time together filled his mind. Chuck was sure this was going to be the longest night of his life.
* * *
Sarah knew she had had a little too much to drink. She shouldn't have, it was unprofessional, but she was so distracted by the events of the day, she had lost track. Now all she wanted to do is close her eyes and hope it all went away. The darkness felt soothing to Sarah, like an old friend wrapping her in safety. She wriggled deeper into the pillow.
Chuck just stood by the door for a minute. Finally, he unbuttoned his dress shirt, pulled off his pants, and after a quick trip to the bathroom, clicked off the light and settled into the bed next to her.
After a few moments she heard Chuck sigh. She knew that sigh. That sigh meant he wanted to talk.
"That wasn't so bad," he began.
Sarah stifled a groan. "Which part? The part where you were staring at me and Ellie all through dinner or the part where Devon and Ellie nagged us about getting married?"
"It could have been worse. The Ring could have burst in and tortured us or…we could have gotten the DNA results."
"We aren't brother and sister, Chuck," Sarah insisted.
"I know it would be pretty awful if we were, like our lives were some Shakespearian tragedy, but it wouldn't be the end of the world."
"It might as well be," she said and then a little softer she added, "It would be the end of us."
"I just can't see it being the end of us," Chuck replied. "It wouldn't end, it would just be a different us. We could be a family, Ellie, and you and me. We could get together on holidays and always be there for each other. We could be the family you never had."
"Well it doesn't matter, because we aren't related," Sarah answered.
"But if we were," Chuck insisted.
Sarah paused a moment. Memories of all her empty childhood holidays filled her mind, replaced by memories of the last two years, surrounded by people who loved each other. "I've thought of that," she said quietly, "of what it would mean to have a brother and sister – a real family for the first time in my life." She turned to face Chuck. "But as nice as that would be, having someone by my side that I trust, I've never had that either."
"Hey, you'd find someone else. You could have your pick of guys."
"I don't want other guys. That's what I was tried to tell you last night. I was trying…" she paused a moment to gather her courage. "I was trying to tell you…something important," she said more softly. "That is, before you ran away."
She felt him flinch a little bit. "I'm sorry," he said, "I shouldn't have dealt with it that way. I should have talked to you about it. But please Sarah, will you tell me now?"
"Oh, forget it. Everything is all screwed up now." She rolled away from him and punched her pillow to fluff it up. Once she was settled she felt his hand on her bare shoulder.
"No, tell me, I'd… I'd really like to know."
"What does it matter? If we find out we're…you know…like you think we are…none of this will make any difference."
"It makes a difference to me."
Sarah looked off into the darkness. The nighttime light and shadow of Chuck's room, was so familiar and comfortable to her now. "You know I'm not good at relationships," she began. "But I've never met anyone like you."
She wasn't sure if it was the darkness or the alcohol, but she felt enough courage to roll over and face him. "That's why I was planning on leaving the CIA right after the wedding." She remembered standing in the sand and watching Ellie and Devon take their vows and wishing for just a moment that that could be her, standing there with someone she loved and who loved her in return. And then she saw Chuck, grinning from ear to ear as he gave them their rings and she realized that what she wanted was within her grasp. She just needed to reach out and grab onto it with both hands.
"You were going to leave the CIA? For me?"
Sarah nodded. The light spilling under the door from the hallway softly lit Chuck's face; his expression was open and grinning, childlike. Her whole chest filled to overflowing.
"What does that mean, Sarah? What would you do?"
"I hadn't thought that far through," she admitted.
"But you wanted a life – with me?" he asked, tentative.
Sarah smiled and nodded again.
"You don't know… Sarah," he put his arm over her shoulder and pulled her into him. "You don't know what that means to me. All this time we've been together - don't get me wrong, it's been wonderful - but every day I wonder how long it's going to last. But now…you…wow."
Sarah sighed deeply. He looked so happy. Why hasn't she told him weeks ago, when they could have truly enjoyed it? But now, with so many things looming over their heads, it was bitter sweet.
Chuck looked at her and his face fell. "But all that's changed hasn't it?"
"The way I feel hasn't changed, but if you're my brother…"
"That's not what I meant. I have the new Intersect…"
She reached up and pushed his curls over his ear. He closed his eyes at her touch. "It hasn't stopped me so far has it?" she said.
"No, I guess not," he answered, still a bit of uncertainty in his voice.
"It just means that I'll be in the CIA a little longer, that's all."
"So you still want…"
Chuck looked so handsome, propped up on one elbow, a huge grin on his face. It was that smile that attracted her in the first place. It was so genuine, so real. She leaned forward and kissed him softly on the lips. She couldn't help herself; at that moment he was irresistible.
Chuck didn't return her kiss at first, but seemed to warm up to the idea quickly. It was a matter of a few seconds before their kiss had turned passionate.
Chuck was the one to pull back first. His expression was apologetic. "I'm having feelings for you that aren't the sort of thoughts a brother should have for a sister," he confessed.
"I know what you mean," Sarah answered breathlessly.
Chuck ran his fingers through his hair. "This sucks!" he declared.
Sarah laughed. "You can say that again."
"This sucks!" he repeated. "I finally have everything I ever wanted and it might all be taken away! This damned Intersect! I wish I'd never flashed. I wish I didn't know."
"Chuck, we don't know anything yet. Just wait for the DNA results."
"I must have done something bad in a former life. There is no way one guy can have this much bad luck."
Sarah didn't say anything but silently she agreed. It seemed incredible that two people could go through all that they had gone through. They both lay back on their pillows and an uncomfortable silence fell between them.
Sarah wanted to make him understand the source of her confidence but it was hard for her. She was so used to working in facts and tangible things, how could she explain what she knew, when she didn't understand how she knew it herself? After a long while Sarah decided to give voice to her thoughts. "Have you ever been attracted to Ellie?" Sarah asked into the darkness.
"What?" Chuck's voice sounded both surprised and appalled.
"She's a beautiful woman."
"Well yes…but I've never seen her that way."
"She's my sister."
"And are you attracted to me?"
"Of course I am. But I didn't know you might be my sister until yesterday."
"But it's something to consider. You know now. Am I not attractive to you now?"
Chuck groaned. "I wouldn't say that."
"Don't you think that should tell us something? I know that I'm feeling things for you a sister could never feel for a brother."
"Are you saying that you know that we aren't siblings because we like to have sex?"
Sarah snorted. "I guess on the basest level you could take it that way. But I was thinking more of the way we feel about each other. What our hearts are telling us."
She rolled so that her body was pressing against him. She slid one leg up across his and laid her head in the crook of his shoulder. She began tracing lazy circles across his chest with her fingertips.
"Sarah, I don't think…"
"Shh," she placed a finger on his lips, "don't think. Just feel. Remember what your heart is telling you. Is it telling you that this is wrong?"
Chuck sighed. "No."
"That we shouldn't be together?"
He wrapped his hand around her back, "It's telling me that I was meant to be with you. Nothing has ever felt so right."
"Then what's stopping us?"
He looked into her face, his eyes searching hers. "Nothing," he answered. "Nothing at all."
Chuck reached his hand under Sarah's shirt and she allowed him to pull it over her head. As they began to kiss, she began to be lost in the hazy pleasure of the moment. For all she knew, it may be their last.
* * *
The early morning sun streamed in through the blinds and Chuck was watching Sarah sleep. He loved the way her hair laid across the pillow, and the way her expression was relaxed, without the usual tightness she carried during the day when she worked. It made her look younger somehow, innocent even. "I know you're awake," he finally whispered.
She opened one eye. "How did you know?"
"You're breathing changed."
"Watching me sleep?" she asked.
"You've got a problem with that?"
She screwed her eyes in the morning light and stretched. "It's a bit creepy."
"Are you saying you don't watch me sleep?"
"Thought so." He smiled smugly. "I was just savoring the moment. I love waking up next to a beautiful woman."
Her lips curled into a content smile. "I wouldn't know."
"That's a relief. One more thing to cross of my list of questions about you," he quipped.
Sarah grabbed the pillow out from under her head a smacked Chuck in the face with it.
"Hey!" he protested. He pushed the pillow away and kissed her. "Good morning."
Before Sarah could say anything in return, they heard the vibrating buzz of a cell phone.
Chuck looked over to the nightstand where his own phone sat silent. "It's yours," he said.
They exchanged anxious looks. Sarah spoke first. "This might be it."
She started to sit up to reach for the phone but was met with resistance. The phone vibrated again. Chuck gently held her down.
"I need to get that," Sarah protested.
"No you don't," Chuck said. The phone buzzed again. "Let's not answer it."
"What?" Sarah furrowed her brow. "It could be Labcorp - the DNA results."
"I'm sure it is." Chuck still did not move.
"So I have to get it."
"I don't want you to get it because I don't want to know."
"You don't want...?! You're the one that's been so convinced that it's true."
"I don't need to know. I mean, I already know."
"Did you flash on something else?"
"No, but I've been thinking all morning about what you said to me last night. About what my heart is telling me. My heart tells me that the way I feel for you isn't the way a brother feels for his sister."
"But if we are, then…"
"We aren't!" he insisted. "You've known it all along. I'm sorry I was so stupid that it took me so long to see the light." He brushed back the hair from her forehead. "I know you have a hard time saying what you feel, but your heart knows you belong with me. I can see it in your eyes." He paused, his eyes searching. "See, I can see it even now in the way you're looking at me."
Sarah didn't answer but only nodded slightly.
"And so I don't care Sarah. I don't care that you're an agent and I'm an asset, I don't care that you've killed people, I don't care if you've had to…do other things for your job." Sarah gasped but he continued, "I don't even care that I just learned your real name yesterday and it may not even be your real name. What I care about is that I love you, Sarah Walker. And nothing, I mean nothing, is going to change that."
He could see a large smile spread across Sarah's face and knew that his own smile matched hers. She reached up to him and pulled him down beside her. The phone vibrated one last time and was silent.
* * *
Thirty five minutes later, Sarah was running her fingers through the hair on Chuck's chest. "Chuck," she ventured.
"Hum?" he said, his voice rich with contentment.
She didn't know how to say what she wanted to say without presuming too much. "In the future…if we are…you know…we can't…and I've always dreamed that we would…"
"I thought you were sure that we weren't," Chuck said, searching her face.
"I am, but I was also sure that I would never find someone like you; someone who I'd want to live that life with."
They looked at each other for a moment trying to read each other's thoughts then Chuck smiled. "We'll adopt," he said simply.
Sarah smiled in return. "I love you, Chuck Bartowski."
Sigh no more, [readers], sigh nor more;
[fanfiction writers] were deceivers ever;
One foot in sea and one on shore,
To one thing constant never;
Then sigh not so,
But let them go,
And be you blithe and bonny;
Converting all your sounds of woe
Into. Hey nonny, nonny.