I've always been infatuated with Chuck's guitar. I guess that's just me being a music nerd.
For the sake of the story let's just suspend our disbelief that they would not have a briefing immediately following Chuck getting Intersect 2.0 in his brain. And also let's pretend Chuck's Les Paul is acoustic. I know. It's not. But this is fiction, right? The song is "Constant Knot" by City and Colour, but - once again - let's pretend that it's an original.
If you review, I'd describe you in the only way Devon Woodcomb knows how… outstanding ;o)
Today marked the first day Sarah Walker had ever seen Chuck Bartowski pick up the guitar in his room. It had been there since she'd known him and not once had she even noticed him give it a second glance. It did on several occasions tug at her brain wondering just how skilled he was with the instrument. She knew firsthand how nimble his fingers could be, and while she preferred they moved across her body, she could imagine them strumming against strings just as competently. Nothing had ever become of her own curiosity, though. Sarah eventually played it off that he probably just got a discount from the Buy More and figured what the hell. She knew the store carried those classic Les Pauls. It did seem a bit odd for someone who loved music so much to neglect practicing the art form, but who was she to judge anyone on the ways they express themselves? God knows she sucked just as much as anyone else. Probably more, even, much to the dismay of the guitar's curly-headed owner.
Today was also the day after Chuck and his father unwittingly endangered Ellie's life at her own wedding. Like a cockroach, Ted Roark somehow survived that vicious air strike at the drive-in theater aka Fulcrum's operation base for the new Intersect. Needless to say, he was feeling vengeful when he made his return at the wedding.
Sarah's eyes turned red at the memory of walking into Chuck's bedroom after the cancellation and seeing the despair in his own chocolate colored eyes. Chuck did not deserve what had happened and no way in hell did Ellie deserve her wedding ending in such a destructive manner. But in the end, Chuck came through once again and used his "superpowers" to save the day for everyone.
Everyone except Bryce, who didn't live to see this day. Everyone except Casey, who lost his team that day, not to mention some of his best friends. Everyone except himself, Chuck, who had given up his finally-once-again normal life. Chuck, who had lost his friend and protector, Bryce Larkin. Chuck, who had downloaded the new Intersect in hope of living up to that hero persona others seem to think he was made for, neglecting the fact he himself would suffer for that decision. Hitting closest to home, Chuck had saved the day for everyone except her. Despite the fact Chuck protected both her and Casey's lives from The Ring, Sarah could not get past that in such a short time, everything her and Chuck had overcome to finally be together was washed away like footprints in the sand. No more early mornings spent exploring each other's bodies. No more wishing -- and believing -- someday it would be her and Chuck standing where Ellie and Devon had stood on the beach saying their vows. No more almost telling Chuck she in fact did not want to save the world, and that all she wanted from life was to stay with him.
Sarah caught herself before she released a tear from her watery cobalt eyes. Chuck had once referred to them as her very own permanent mood rings. He told her he could know everything there was to know about her mood just by looking into them. While this is extremely vulnerable for an agent such as herself, Sarah knew Chuck was the only one close enough to her that could read her like that. Not even her father could see her true emotions through her eyes. He used a different strategy to read people that was a dash more ignorant. Sarah remembered taking Chuck out to dinner to meet him. Her father couldn't see the pain brought on by the reminder of her past and yet Chuck had the frame of mind to change the subject for her.
Sarah snapped out of her reverie when she saw through the monitors in Castle that Chuck was writing something down on a piece of paper and holding it up to the camera.
'GOING TO PARK. WEARING MY WATCH.'
Sarah squinted her eyes and tilted her head to the side in both confusion and curiosity. Chuck never went to the park. Chuck never touched his guitar. Chuck never left a "BBL" note. That was a lot of "never"s for five minutes. She continued watching as she saw Chuck pack the guitar into a case and climb through the window deemed the "Morgan Door."
Sarah battled in her mind about whether or not to follow him. She can't say she's too surprised. After such a life-altering occurrence it's understandable for him to want to get away and clear his head. She wouldn't mind doing the same. She figured that after sacrificing so much for the greater good, Chuck deserved to be able to have some alone time.
The next day Sarah was in her hotel room working out the punching bag that conveniently hung there. Sarah hadn't really had any sort of release since the "incident" which she now referred to it as. She still hadn't talked to Chuck, figuring he needed some space and she had no idea what she could possibly say to him. 'Hey, Chuck, sorry about that whole turning yourself into a super agent controlled by a computer stuck in your brain thing. Hope everything works out for the best.' Somehow she didn't see that as being very helpful. Right after she unleashed a kick that was sure to have knocked off her target's head if ever applied to them, Sarah's phone started ringing. Taking off her gloves, Sarah blew her bangs out of her face and picked it up, only to see the object of her affection's older sister smiling up at her.
"Hi, Ellie," Sarah said in as innocent as voice as she could. It was hard remembering that in Ellie's eyes, Sarah was simply her little brother's sweet, frozen yogurt-serving girlfriend.
"Sarah! I'm so glad I caught you. You wouldn't happen to be with Chuck at the moment, would you?"
"Um… no. Why, did he say that he was with me?" Sarah silently cursed herself for possibly blowing Chuck's cover story.
"Oh no, nothing like that. I was just wondering where he was. His shift ended about an hour and a half ago and Morgan came by looking for him."
"Morgan isn't with him?" Sarah suddenly got a sinking feeling in her gut. This had never happened before.
"No, so I was just a little worried and thought you might know where he is…?"
"I've got a place in mind. I'll call you… when I find him," Sarah said, not wanting to acknowledge that the first thing in her mind was "if."
Saying goodbye, she grabbed her keys and left the hotel. Sarah didn't pay attention to anyone she passed as she moved towards her beloved Porsche and turned on the engine. Gunning it out of the lot, she headed straight for the park.
Jogging from place to place searching for her asset, Sarah finally spotted Chuck from across the track leaning against a tree. The cold breeze, which had significantly picked up caused loose leaves to fall all around him as he played his guitar. Sarah sighed of relief and decided to walk over to him, not wanting to startle him by coming out of nowhere. As she got closer she heard the distinct sound of fingers strumming strings. She rubbed her arms to warm them from the breeze and walked up to him. He still hadn't looked up at her.
"Hey there, stranger," she said, breaking him from his playing. He looked up and smiled at her. Not the bright smile she had come to dream about at night, but one that seemed to be tinged with sadness.
"Hey." It wasn't exactly the greeting she was hoping for, but she'd take whatever she could get. The thought crossed her mind that he must be thinking the same old surveillance deal. He goes somewhere and the CIA tracks him down.
"Ellie called me." She saw the slightest hint of surprise in his features and knew she had assumed correctly. "She and Morgan were worried about you."
Chuck looked straight through her and said, "You sure it isn't just some government power play. You can run but you can't hide? That kind of thing?"
Sarah smiled at him and sat down next to where he was sitting. She fought about what she should say, opening and closing her mouth on several tries to say something useful. "You know, Chuck… Just because you know kung fu doesn't mean people stop caring about you." Chuck laughed at her attempt at humor and nodded at her logic. "And I hope just because you know kung fu you won't stop caring, either."
"I know," he said softly. Sarah eyed the guitar he had just placed on the ground.
"You never told me you could play." Chuck looked up at her for the first time before looking back down at the guitar.
"I guess I just assumed it was in my file." Lighting up his attitude he said, "I mean if Casey knows about the birthmark on my ass I figured my guitar playing would be common knowledge."
Sarah smiled brightly, her eyes filled with amusement. "You have a birthmark on your ass?" Chuck nodded embarrassingly. "And how does Casey know about this?"
"Looks like Agent Walker stopped reading at 'brown curly hair, brown eyes, and 6'2,'" he teased. "He said it was in my file and then went on for about fifteen minutes trying out various quips. It was great fun at my expense."
"Huh," Sarah said now having some kind of idea what goes on when she's not there. "I'm sorry I missed that."
Chuck's attention went back on the guitar. "Anyways, I've been doing it since high school. I guess my enthusiasm died for playing once I found out I was going to be the government's guinea pig."
"I was wondering why I hadn't seen you play before," she admitted.
"I usually only go back to it when I need to get out my thoughts somehow. I think the new Intersect takes up too much space in my head. It's getting cluttered up there." Sarah laughed and leaned into his shoulder, lightly nudging him to the side.
Before Sarah could delve further into what exactly he needed to get out, a few frat boys ran by the track and whistled at her. A nonplussed Sarah suddenly lost her friendly demeanor.
"You can't blame them," Chuck said. "You're practically baiting the entire world right now by wearing what you're wearing."
Sarah looked down and finally realized why she was so cold. 'Fucking A,' she thought as she now saw that in her haste to make sure he was okay, she had completely neglected changing out of her workout clothes. A sports bra and rolled up short shorts certainly did not protect her from the wind. Or the attention gained by the fellow pigs in this area. She now also knew why Chuck had refused to look at her. He was trying to be respectful of the fact that her boobs were practically screaming to the world that she was, in fact, cold.
Chuck was wearing a dark green thin v-neck sweater with only an undershirt underneath but that didn't stop him from taking off the sweater and offering it to Sarah. She looked at him incredulously and the corners of her mouth slowly rose up to form a grateful smile. Slipping easily into the oversized sweater she relished in the fact that she was now surrounded by his smell, warmth and… arms?
"Come on," Chuck said, wrapping his arms around her and hoisting her up to her feet. "It's cold and Ellie's probably going to kill me. Let's get out of here before a frat boy loses his two front teeth." Chuck kneeled down to pack the guitar into the case before lifting the strap over his head to rest diagonally across his chest. Sarah couldn't help but notice it highlighted his toned pecs. He put his arm around her shoulder and rubbed her upper arm as they walked over to her car. Once under the hood of her sports car, Sarah sent a quick text to Ellie saying she had found Chuck and he was fine.
During the ride back Sarah never once realized he swayed her away from continuing their conversation.
Once again, the next day found Sarah in Castle.
"What's up with your boyfriend?" Casey asked gruffly.
Casey looked up from cleaning his gun. "Moron hasn't left his room all day. I think I even heard him talking to himself." He then went right back to cleaning his gun and Sarah heard him mumble, "About time the idiot went nuts."
Sarah walked over and switched on the camera to Chuck's room. Casey was right. Chuck was just sitting on his bed propped up against the headboard. He had a pen in his hand, and a notebook on his lap. His lips were moving and so she turned on the audio. There was no doubt he was saying something and would only write down something every few minutes.
Sarah turned off the feed and walked up the stairs. "Keep the surveillance off, Casey. I don't need a snide remark, I just need you to do it. It's for the benefit of the mental health of the asset. You have a problem with that you take it up with the General." Sarah got it all out before he could say anything and left with no room for interpretation. The only thing Sarah got in reply was a grunt. She didn't know what number it was and frankly didn't care.
This time she was the one climbing through the Morgan Door as she entered his room. Sure enough Chuck was still sitting there, cap in his mouth and his hand scribbling in the notebook.
Sarah knocked on the window even though she was already in there. "Penny for your thoughts?"
"Hmm?" Chuck said, throwing down the notebook and placing the cap back on the pen.
Sarah walked over and crawled onto the bed. She sat cross-legged diagonally across from him at the far end of the bed. "What's with the notebook?"
"What—oh uh, just, you know… doodling," he said nonchalantly as he put the book into a drawer next to the bed. "So uh… what brings you here?"
Sarah was skeptical that he had been "just doodling" and it hurt that he was so blatantly keeping something from her. Not wanting to force him into anything, though, she took the bait. "I wanted to see if you were ready to talk. You know, about the whole… Intersect thing. If you're not… If you don't want to…" This time Sarah was the bumbling idiot of the two. She felt like they were making Valentine's Day plans all over again.
"No," Chuck said hastily. "Um, what… where do you want to start off?"
Sarah didn't like the low level of intimacy in her seating arrangement, so to make things more comfortable she again crawled up next to him. She propped her head up on her arm and placed the other hand onto his surprisingly hard abs, lazily dragging her fingertips back and forth creating wrinkles in his thin t-shirt. Chuck couldn't deny that just that action alone felt amazing. He also couldn't deny being reminded of their night in the motel by the position they were in. 'One mission at a time,' he thought.
"How are you feeling?" Sarah's voice had become somewhat raspy at the close contact.
'It's not what a normal guy would do.' Her voice was similar as to when she had told him that. Told him that, after he chose to give up his only reward for two years of hell to fix the mistake of the same force screwing him over in the first place.
"I'm fine. It's fine. Everything... I'm fine," Chuck stammered unconvincingly. Sarah gave him a knowing, but understanding, look. He sighed dejectedly and admitted what they both already knew. "I'm sorry. I'm just not…"
Sarah lifted her fingers to his lips and shushed him. "You don't have anything to explain to me, Chuck." She had moved her hand back to his stomach and Chuck covered hers with his. "You know something? You are by far the strongest man I know. Being thrown into a world so different from what you're used to."
"Even stronger than Casey?"
Sarah smiled her smile that was reserved for only him. She hoped Casey had listened to her and not turned the surveillance on. "Definitely stronger than Casey. Think about it. You got thrown into Casey's world and you've accomplished more things than most agents can dream of. Casey's now in your world, too. He's not doing so great, is he? You don't complain about your situation. Have you ever talked to Casey once without him complaining?" Chuck grinned and shook his head. "So if you aren't ready to talk about yet another major setback, then I'm not about to force you to."
"Thank you," Chuck whispered as he stroked his thumb over her knuckles.
Sarah removed her hand from his and motioned towards the window. "So, do you want me to leave, or…?"
Chuck placed his hand onto the groove between her hip and her ribcage. Looking solidly into her questioning eyes he said, "I want you to stay." Sarah's face softened and she saw something flash in his eyes. Uncapping the pen and opening the drawer, Chuck pulled out the notebook and flipped to his previous page. Writing something down, he paused for a second to think, and then picked up writing. After about four lines and thirty seconds, Chuck closed it and placed it back into the drawer.
"Doodling?" Sarah asked him.
"Doodling," he confirmed, smiling up at her knowing neither of them believed it.
"So," she dragged out, "do I get to see any of these 'doodles'?"
Chuck turned onto his side to face her and got a serious look in his eyes. Leaning in closer and closer, Sarah's breathing started getting heavier and her heart beating faster. She closed her eyes and as she could feel his warm breath on her lips, he smiled smugly and whispered, "Don't push your luck, Walker." Sarah's eyes shot open and then narrowed.
"I'm sorry, Chuck, did you forget just who it is you're talking to?" Chuck gulped hard and blinked. Quicker than a hiccup Sarah was straddling Chuck and had his hands clenched down above his head. She leaned down and her silky blonde hair caressed his face. "Remember who you're dealing with, buster." Leaning in to whisper in his ear, she continued, "Your life depends on it."
Sarah then switched from pinning his wrists down with both of her hands to only using one. The other was used to slowly open the mischievous drawer. Chuck saw this and his eyes became increasingly bigger. She grabbed the book and Chuck became very serious. "Sarah. Please." The tone in his voice caused her to pause and look at him, losing her playful demeanor. "Please," he whispered again. She undid her previous actions and rested her forehead heavily on his.
"Just…" She sighed. "Just promise me it's not another rogue mission."
"It's not another rogue mission," he replied.
Sarah nodded against his head and then positioned herself so she was lying atop him, arms wrapped around his neck and her head adjacent to his. Chuck rubbed her lower back with his thumb, causing her shirt to ride up, exposing a sliver of skin.
"I'm so sorry, Chuck," she whispered. She was sorry he had to give up so much of his life because people just seemed to keep hurting him. Chuck just held her, enjoying the feeling of being comforted. He thought maybe he wasn't the only one in need.
"Hey, as long as you're here, I know I'll be okay," he calmly said, moving a hand to stroke the back of her head.
"I'm never leaving you."
The words were so faint he had to replay them in his mind to make sure he heard correctly. Feeling his heart get lighter, he now knew he was ready.
"Okay," he said, sitting up. Sarah lifted her head to look at him. "You want to know what I've been doing the past few days?" Sarah nodded and he swung his and her legs over the edge of the bed. Standing up, he picked her up with him and then turned to place her down on the bed. It wasn't often she experienced his strength but when she did it always took her a few seconds to regain her composure. He walked over to the guitar sitting on the chair and picked it up. He then sat on the edge of the bed and took a long breath. Leaning over to grab the notebook, he placed it next to him and flipped to the page he was using. Sarah looked down to see what looked like a poem.
'Lyrics,' she thought, wondering how stupid she really was. He looked to be skimming it before he turned his attention to his fingers. Almost effortlessly he started to play. It was a little over twenty seconds before she heard his voice. She had no idea he could sing like that.
"How much would you bet
That if I tried hard enough
I would spontaneously combust"
'Well that would explain the releasing his thoughts bit," she thought to herself. Chuck didn't look at her and simply kept going.
"I wish I could disappear
And run away from all of my fears
I think I'm coming undone"
Sarah thought she could actually hear her heart breaking at the last line. He sung it so softly that she almost didn't register it but she now understood. Chuck was trying to be the superhero for her and Ellie and everyone in his life. Only now did she see what it had done to him.
"So stay the night
I promise that I won't bite
'Cause without you there
I don't think I can close my eyes"
Now she knew why he was ready. She told him she's never leaving and all he needed was for her to stay. He still hadn't looked at her once yet. Sarah didn't know if that was due to nerves or vulnerability. Sitting up, she tucked her knees underneath her and continued to watch him intently.
"How do I end up this way
A constant knot in my gut
Tied with uncertainty and with love"
She could've sworn Chuck's voice cracked. At the last word Sarah crawled over on her knees and wrapped her arms around his chest from behind, resting her cheek on his shoulder.
"A classic case I suppose
A haunted man who can't outrun his ghosts
They're in my skin and my bones"
The Intersect. It seemed like he was destined to become the Intersect starting all the way back at his father. And sure enough, right when he gets close to being done he gets sucked back in just as quickly.
"So stay the night
I promise that I won't bite
'Cause without you there
I don't think I can close my eyes"
And just like that it was over. His fingers left the strings and he sat contemplating what he had just done. He put the guitar on the floor, resting it against the bed.
"Chuck…" Sarah whispered, not having anything to follow his name with. His head was hanging exposing his neck, which she finally gave in to kissing. At the contact Chuck turned around and rested his hands on her hips. They looked longingly into each other's eyes as the gap between their lips closed at an agonizingly slow pace. Moving her hair back behind her ear, Chuck stole a glance at her awaiting pink lips before focusing back on her. He eventually closed his eyes and Sarah got rid of the distance. Chuck instinctively wrapped his arms around her petite figure and leaned her backwards onto the mattress as Sarah held her death grip on his shirt, all the while exploring the other one's mouth with their own. She was content with one hand with a fistful of fabric and the other with a fistful of hair. Chuck moved his hands back to her waistline, the only parts venturing under her shirt his thumbs and index fingers. Sarah's right leg coiled around his left one as she released the hold on his shirt in order to have both hands gripping at the back of his neck. Feeling her leg around his, Chuck's hand moved to run along the length of her thigh. Their tongues were in a battle where there was no loser. Sarah could feel herself getting dizzy from the sweetness and passion behind his kisses. Pulling their lips away from each other, he ventured down to her neck, causing her breath to hitch. Just as Chuck's hand became more adventurous under her shirt, a knock at the door startled them both. Sarah's flushed face turned to see Ellie open the door a crack.
"Oh my God, I'm so sorry!" She said, holding her hands out in surrender. "I didn't mean to interrupt I was just coming in to see if you were staying for dinner, Sarah. I saw your car outside so I figured you were here." As she said this, Chuck rolled himself off of the panting blonde onto the sheets next to her, all the while his face twisted in embarrassment and anger towards the interrupted moment. Sarah looked over at Chuck and then back at Ellie.
"Yeah, Ellie, I think I'll stay." Ellie smiled and Sarah turned and looked into Chuck's brown eyes as she said, "I was actually planning on staying the night." Chuck's grin grew wide and Ellie could tell her presence was not needed, so without a word she left the room, shutting the door behind her. Chuck sighed at the fact that they were finally alone again and looked back at Sarah who seemed to have a predatory look in her eyes.
"Now, Mr. Bartowski," Sarah said seductively as she moved to straddle his waist for the second time that day, but certainly not the last, "time to see that birthmark."
BBL = Be Back Later (for the abbreviationally challenged. I don't discriminate.)
Original lyric was "lust" but I changed it to "love" simply because I'm a sucker for Charah love.
Review please! I enjoyed writing it. Hopefully you enjoyed reading it.