CHUCK VS. THE BAD & ABNORMAL & HORRIBLE LIFE

SUMMARY: Once again, Chuck wakes up into that normal life he craves so much and it includes a loving wife and daughter and a home. But that life is anything but normal. Sequel to "Chuck Vs. The Good & Normal & Wonderful Life."

DISCLAIMER: I don't own "Chuck."

NOTE: A big "THANK YOU!" to Agent Chuck for giving me an idea for one of the scenes in this chapter.

-

CHAPTER 6 – Recovery

Sarah walked into the holding cell where Jill waited, seated in one of two chairs in the empty room. Upon seeing the CIA agent, Jill's expression first turned to loathing and then to curiosity. Did you think that Chuck would be visiting? Sarah thought. Dream on bitch!

She walked over to the chair that faced Jill and sat down and eyed the brunette. She didn't look good. Dressed in the orange prison overalls and handcuffed, her face showed weariness and stress. The years in prison had obviously not been kind to Jill. Sarah might have felt sorry for her. But she didn't. Not at all. Jill had done too much to Chuck and her to deserve any pity, sorrow, or sympathy.

"So why are you here Agent Walker? Did you come to gloat?" Jill asked.

Sarah smiled. "No, I didn't come here to gloat. I came here to thank you."

"Thank me?" Jill said with a puzzled look on her face.

"Absolutely. I owe you a lot."

Jill looked even more puzzled. She eyed Sarah skeptically and even looked inquiringly, as if waiting for a punch line to a joke or the solution to a puzzle.

Sarah smiled again. "You don't know what today is, do you Jill?"

The brunette looked puzzled again. Sarah continued. "Three years Jill, three years ago today."

Jill looked thoughtful for a moment. Then a look of understanding appeared on her face. "Oh," she said softly.

Sarah nodded. "Yes, three years ago today, you dropped that bombshell when we captured and arrested you. Three years ago today, you revealed that you were pregnant with Chuck's child."

"And you came here to thank me for that?" Jill said incredulously.

"Actually, yes I did. My life is good Jill. In fact, my life is great. And as I said, I owe it to you." She paused, waiting those words to sink in.

Jill frowned. She started to say something but stopped. She hadn't a clue as to what Sarah was talking about.

Sarah then continued. "I will admit that three years ago, I was horrified and scared when you said that you were pregnant with Chuck's child. And it was mainly because I knew that Chuck wouldn't abandon you or that child. He, being Chuck, would do everything in his power to help you and help that child. That's what scared me -- you, having that hold over Chuck. But Chuck surprised me. He definitely surprised me."

And he had. After Jill had the baby, a beautiful baby girl, he sued for sole and total custody, wanting to raise the baby himself, wanting to get the baby totally and completely away from Jill. And it was no problem convincing a judge that a stable, employed, fine man like Chuck could and should raise a daughter instead of an unbalanced, convicted and imprisoned felon – a felon with a long list of crimes including kidnapping and drugging an adult and child.

Chuck got sole custody, along with court orders against Jill from ever having any contact with the child. And he had been a wonderful father, Sarah thought. He had also left his job at the BuyMore and gone to work for a software company. He was still the intersect and still made time for the missions. And he had also made time for Sarah. Much to her delight, they had gotten even closer and, if possible, fell even more in love. And much to Sarah's surprise, she had developed parenting skills that she never knew she had. They were raising his daughter, Wendy, together.

She could still remember holding Wendy for the first time and easily seeing Chuck's eyes in the young girl. The dark hair on her head appeared, at first, to be from Jill. But as it grew longer, Sarah saw those familiar Bartowski curls that she loved running her hands through. And soon, Wendy, who had her second birthday a few months ago, would officially and legally be her daughter. Yes, life was good, life was indeed good.

Jill looked a little sad. But once again, Sarah felt no pity for her. "So, that's why I am here Jill, to say thank you." Sarah rose from her chair and looked Jill in the eye. "Thank you Jill! Thank you from the bottom of my heart." She turned and walked away.

"Agent Walker!" Jill called.

Sarah turned back to Jill and held up her left hand to display the engagement ring and wedding band. "That's Bartowski, Agent Bartowski," Sarah said with a smile. And then she left.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Sarah shook her head to clear her mind. She had zoned out while sitting here in the CIA medical facility with Chuck and Cindy while they waited for the procedure to cure the brainwashing. Where did that fantasy come from? she thought. She knew the answer. Sitting here, watching Chuck and Cindy play while they waited, she had seen Chuck as a father. And it had been so easy to imagine…to imagine what might be.

She glanced up at the clock on the wall, wondering how much longer the doctors would wait. The key to this whole thing was Chuck getting his memories back, Sarah thought for the hundredth time. The CIA doctors claimed they could easily do it and everyone involved was eager to have Chuck back to normal.

But after examining Chuck and the little girl, the doctors decided to wait. It was their assessment that Chuck had been drugged by Jill, just as Sarah and Casey had suspected, and they wanted to wait until the latest round of drugs in him had worn off. They were concerned as to what effect the drugs in his system would have on the preparatory medications that treating the brainwashing required. And all they could do on that, they decided, was to wait until blood tests confirmed that Chuck's system was clear. Then, and only then, would they proceed.

So, Sarah was forced to wait.

To wait on finding out what happened while Jill had Chuck.

To wait on finding out if Chuck would remember her.

To wait on what Sarah hoped would be a nice reunion, a chance to be alone with Chuck.

To wait on Chuck being reunited with his sister and friends.

And to wait on finding out if Chuck knew anything about Jill's pregnancy claim.

Pregnant? Pregnant by Chuck? If Jill was pregnant – and Sarah had serious doubts that she was – then it wasn't Chuck's fault. Chuck wasn't himself, he had been brainwashed into believing that he was Jill's husband. It wasn't his fault, Sarah kept telling herself.

She was convinced that Jill was lying and said so right after Casey told her what Jill claimed.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

"Jill said that she is pregnant and that Bartowski is the father."

No, no, no, NO…this can't be happening. It wasn't his fault. He wasn't himself. It can't be. They were only together a little more than week. How could Jill have possibly gotten pregnant in so short a time? And how could she know? No, no, no, NO, Sarah thought. She can't possibly be pregnant. It's a trick. It has to be a trick.

"She lying! Chuck has only been with her for a week! How could she be pregnant and how could she know so soon?" Sarah spat.

After a few seconds, Casey nodded. "What you said makes sense, perfect sense. She hasn't been with Bartowski for that long. So how could she possibly know?"

"Let me talk to her. I'll straighten her – this -- out!"

Casey stared warily at her. "I don't think that would be a good idea…especially right now," he said.

"Jill is trying to play us, manipulate us. That's just what she'd do…especially to Chuck," Sarah raged. She was furious and having trouble keeping her voice down. She didn't want Chuck to hear any of this, especially if it turned out to be untrue, which Sarah strongly suspected it was. No telling what Chuck would do or want to do, she thought. Well, she knew what he would do – the right thing. But she didn't trust Jill. She especially didn't trust Jill around or anywhere near Chuck.

"I think you're right Walker. Jill is probably playing us. I'll get some doctors to check her out right away. And not a word of this to anyone until I do," Casey said.

"Agreed. And keep an eye on her. She may be hoping that she'll be transferred to some less secure location for an examination and try to escape."

"I'm on it," Casey said. He started to walk away but Sarah stopped him.

"You did say that she's gone right. They've already taken her away?" she asked.

"Yeah, she's gone, she's on her way to lockup."

"Make sure that they take her to another medical facility. Do not bring her to where we're taking Chuck," Sarah ordered.

"Fine. But why not?"

"I do not want her anywhere near Chuck!" Sarah said and turned away to walk back down the hallway where Chuck and Cindy waited.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Sarah's iPhone buzzed and interrupted her thoughts. She glanced at the screen. Casey was calling. This is it, Sarah thought. She answered the phone.

"Jill is not, repeat, NOT pregnant," Casey immediately said. "You called it Walker. She was lying, trying to pull a fast one or manipulate us or Chuck."

Sarah let out a sigh of relief. Fantasies aside, she had been scared of the possibility of Jill being pregnant with Chuck's child. If it had been true, she knew that Chuck would have done anything to help Jill and his child. And the thought that Chuck would never be rid of Jill truly frightened Sarah. But thankfully Jill was not pregnant. She would not have that hold over Chuck.

"How's Bartowski doing?" Casey asked.

"The doctors don't want to erase the conversion process until they get all of the drugs out of his system. So we're waiting on that," Sarah replied. "I think we're a couple of hours away from that."

"And the girl?"

"They don't want to perform anything on her until Chuck is taken care of and can help with her. So she'll be done after Chuck."

"OK Walker. Beckman will want to know as soon as it's done. So check in after."

"Will do Casey." She hung up the phone.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

Sarah gazed at Chuck and Cindy on the floor playing with a game. Their playing stopped as Chuck picked up the little girl and carried her over to the nearby couch. Cindy looked tired. He set her on the couch, sat by her for a moment, watching her as she slowly dozed off. Sarah couldn't help watching him and thinking once again of Chuck as a father. Once Cindy was asleep, Chuck stood up from the couch and noticed Sarah staring at him.

"Is something wrong?" he asked.

Sarah smiled. "No. I was just…just day dreaming," she said.

He walked over to her and sat down on the floor in front of the chair she sat in. He looked up at her, as if studying her.

"Now I guess it's my turn. Is something wrong?" Sarah asked.

"Do we know each other really well? I mean…are we friends? Or are we…well, I mean, are we…." He stopped talking and shook his head. "I'm sorry, I'm babbling and not making any sense. It's just…."

Sarah leaned forward a little so that she could look directly into his eyes and emphasize what she had to say next. "You can tell me anything. When we first met, I asked you to trust me. You can always trust me."

"Well, I'm just wondering if we're friends or…." He didn't finish the sentence.

"Chuck, you and I are boy friend and girl friend," she said with a bright smile.

Chuck snorted. "You're my girlfriend? No way! I don't believe it!" he said with skeptical look on his face.

"Believe it," Sarah immediately replied.

He shook his head while staring at her, still with that skeptical look on his face. "No way," he repeated. "This just doesn't happen. Me with someone who looks as fantastic and beautiful as you? I don't think so."

Sarah beamed. It always amazed her how a compliment from him could just make her heart soar and make her feel like the most cherished possession. "Have some faith in yourself Chuck," she said. "I feel very lucky and fortunate to have you."

"I don't think so. And besides, if it was true, there's no way I'd forget someone like you."

"You didn't. Not completely. You talked about me with Cindy, uhhh, Victoria, didn't you?" Sarah pointed out.

Chuck started to say something then stopped. He smiled and looked away.

"Didn't you?" Sarah repeated.

He nodded. "I…I had some…." He stopped and then blushed.

"It's OK. Tell me. Please," Sarah urged.

"I…I had some dreams…uhhh…about you."

Sarah leaned down closer to him. "Tell me about them," she asked.

"Uhhhh…maybe…maybe we should talk about something else," he suggested.

She kissed his cheek and smiled at him. "Suit yourself."

Chuck looked a little shocked. Then he shook his head as if to clear it. "OK then…why don't we talk about…well, what should we talk about…maybe we should watch some TV or…." Sarah put a finger to his lips to shush him. "I will find out eventually, you know," she said with a smile. Then she trailed her finger down his chin, neck, chest and stomach and finally stopped at the top of his pants. She tapped her finger there a few times and then arched her eyebrows.

Chuck suddenly found it very difficult to speak.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

A few hours later, the doctors pronounced Chuck ready and took him for the procedure. Sarah went with him. There was no way she was letting him out of her sight. The procedure was the same as last time and when it ended, Chuck looked at her from the table he lay on

And just with that one look, Sarah could see Chuck, her Chuck. She reached forward with one hand and stroked his face and his hair. He reached up and grasped that hand and held it. "Not again?" he asked.

"Hey," she said softly as she continued staring at him, keeping her eyes rooted on him. "Welcome back. I've missed you."

Missed? She thought. It had been more like a vital, important part of her body had been ripped out of her. She absolutely could not wait to get him back to the apartment or hotel and just be with him.

"Well, now that I've got my memories back, I know that I missed you," he replied.

The doctors then cured Cindy of the brainwashing and then some agents took her so that she could be returned to her mother. Sarah called Beckman and informed her that Chuck was back to normal. Beckman immediately ordered him to be tested and checked thoroughly. And for the rest of the day, Chuck underwent test after test after test.

Finally, the testing finished late in the evening and they were back in his room. He was exhausted and near to falling asleep as he lay on the bed.

Sarah yawned. Sleep sure seemed like a good idea. Especially sleep with Chuck, she thought as she glanced at him now dozing. She was looking forward to that but first she needed to make a phone call. Truthfully, she didn't want to make this call. Who knew where it might lead or what might result from it in the long run. The man was a master at taking advantage of situations and things. But still, she did owe him.

Sarah pulled out her iPhone, called up the number that he had recently used to call her. The phone rang several times before he answered.

"Hi sweetheart," Jack Burton greeted.

"Hi dad."

Neither one spoke. Both waited for the other to speak first. Finally Burton broke the silence.

"Is the schnook OK?"

"Dad, he is not a schnook. He has a name. Use it," Sarah commanded.

"Sure. Sorry about that. Old habit. He paused for a few seconds and then inquired about "Charlie."

"He's fine dad, he's fine." Sarah started to say something more but hesitated. But she finally decided that she had to say it. After all, the man had saved Chuck's life and helped get him back to her. "He's fine…thanks to you," she finally added.

"No problem. I did owe Charlie you know. He did save my life that time."

"And you remember that the next time you think about calling him a schnook."

"Point taken," Burton replied. "And say…what was going on? What was he doing with that girl? I couldn't believe it when I saw her. I can't, for the life of me, imagine him cheating on you. He wasn't was he?"

"No dad, he wasn't. It's a long complicated story. And honestly, you're better off not knowing," Sarah explained.

"Say no more. I get it."

"Thank you again."

"You take care sweetheart."

"You too dad."

"Oh…one other thing," Burton said.

Here it comes, Sarah thought. He's already going to call in the marker, going to need the return on the favor. She braced herself for what he would request.

"Let me know when the wedding is," he said.

"What?" Sarah asked in shock. She could feel her eyes getting big.

"When you and Charlie get married. Let me know."

"Dad…you're…you're kind of jumping the gun…don't you think?" Sarah sputtered. But images of a wedding between her and Chuck suddenly flooded her mind.

Burton chuckled. "I've seen how he looks at you and how you look at him. So let me know. Bye sweetheart." And then he hung up.

Sarah put her phone down as she gazed at the sleeping Chuck. The images of the wedding wouldn't leave her mind. She yawned as she lay down beside him. She curled up against him and fell asleep in seconds. Her thoughts, as she fell asleep, were still on a wedding between her and Chuck.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Three days later, with things back to normal and Chuck back at work in the BuyMore, Sarah walked into the store for a visit. As was her custom, her habit, her inclination, her obsession, her pleasure – Sarah's eyes immediately went to the Nerd Herd Station in search of Chuck the second she walked through the door. It happened every time she walked in the BuyMore. Sarah admitted to herself that she couldn't help it and that she didn't mind it. She also had to admit to herself that she felt disappointed if she didn't see Chuck there at the station when she immediately looked after walking into the BuyMore. And unfortunately, this was one of the times that she was disappointed.

The station was empty, there wasn't anyone there. Which meant Chuck had probably wandered off to some other part of the store. Sarah's eyes scanned all around and then she spotted him. He and Casey were off to one side, by themselves and they were deep in discussion. Deep, Sarah thought, they appeared to arguing. Both men looked angry and both appeared to be emotionally expressing their side. And Casey kept shaking his head. What is going on? she thought as she headed toward the pair.

The argument continued and then Casey grabbed Chuck by the neck. Sarah's blood boiled and she increased her pace. But Casey quickly let go and Chuck stalked away from the man. He headed toward the Nerd Herd Station. Sarah turned in that direction and he had just gotten behind the counter when she arrived.

Chuck saw her, smiled and greeted her with a "Hey there!" She ignored his greeting and looked him over for signs of injury.

"Are you all right?" she asked.

"What?"

"Are you all right?" she repeated.

"And why wouldn't I be?" he asked.

She pointed over to where Casey was. "I saw him grab you and it did not look friendly. What's going on?"

"Oh…that," he replied with a shake of his head and a grin. "That wasn't anything. It probably looked a lot more serious than it was. He and I were just talking and we started trading insults and I just went too far when I called him sugar bear. It was nothing. Don't kill him, OK?"

Sarah looked at Chuck closely. He didn't appear to be lying. But her instincts told her that something was going on, that something just didn't seem right in what he said. But she decided to drop it for now.

"Well…good…I was a little worried there."

"Nothing to worry about, no biggie," he insisted.

"Good." Then she smiled. "I just came over to check on our plans for tonight."

"Tonight?" he said with a blank look.

"Dinner with Ellie and Devon. You didn't forget, did you?"

"Oh crap," he said as he did a head and eye roll. Then he shook his head with disgust and sighed. "I did forget. I'm sorry but I'm going to have to skip out on that tonight. Something came up and I need to tend to it."

Sarah was shocked. It was not like Chuck to forget about a dinner with his sister. Even more unlikely for him to forget about a dinner with me, she thought. Something was up.

"What's going on? What do you have to do?" she asked.

"It's something that I need to take care of and I can't put it off. It has to be done and…look, I need to take care of this and I'll explain it all later, OK?"

"Chuck, it is my job to protect you and keep you safe and alive," she said firmly. "You cannot just sneak off to anywhere at any time. And besides…." She leaned forward and whispered what she had to say next. "….I want to be with you."

"I'm not sneaking off. And besides, Casey is going with me," he said with a nod towards the man. Sarah turned her head and saw Casey a few rows over. He was looking at them and no doubt had been looking at them the whole time.

"It will be OK. Please…just let me do this and I promise you that I'll explain it all later. OK?" He was almost pleading, she realized. What is going on? She looked at him for a few moments. He kept looking at her with that pleading look. "OK," she agreed softly. "But I'm keeping you to that promise to explain it all soon – NOT later, soon!"

"Easy," he said. Then he smiled. She leaned forward and kissed him. And he responded back. And just for a moment, Sarah forgot her concerns about what had just transpired. Their lips parted and she stroked his cheek. Chuck smiled and then she gripped his cheek tightly.

"Full. Disclosure. Soon. Right?" she emphasized.

"Uh, huh," Chuck managed to squeak out.

"I'll be waiting," she said and then turned and walked away. But she didn't leave the BuyMore. Instead, she walked toward Casey. His face remained expressionless as she approached. And he said nothing when she arrived.

"What was that all about?" she asked.

"What?"

"The argument that you and Chuck had and your attempt to strangle him."

"It wasn't an argument, just a…discussion that got a little heated. And the geek made the mistake of calling me something I told him never to call me," Casey replied pointedly.

Well, their stories matched on that, she thought, now to find out about the other part.

"So where are the two of you going tonight?" she demanded.

Casey said nothing and glared at her for a moment. "Bartowski needs to take care of something and I said I'd go along with him," he finally admitted.

"How kind of you. Where are the two of you going tonight?"

"It's…just something that he needs to take care of and…it's something that has to be done and we'll explain later, OK?" Casey said.

Sarah looked at him critically. Interesting, she thought, their explanations of what they needed to do matched almost exactly. As if they coordinated on that. What is going on?

"You realize I can tail the two of you and you'd never know it," she said with a determined look on her face. And for just the briefest of moments, alarm or panic appeared on Casey's face. But as quickly as it appeared, it disappeared. Then his expression relaxed a little.

"Walker, you need to leave this alone, OK? It will be explained afterwards. I need you to back off on this, just this once. OK?"

He was almost pleading, Sarah realized. What is going on here? She wondered. The two of them stayed silent for a moment glaring at each other.

"Fine," Sarah said bitterly. "But I expect everything to be explained and explained soon."

"Deal," Casey replied.

Sarah turned and walked away. She took two steps, stopped, and turned back to Casey.

"I don't know what you two are up to but if Chuck gets hurt in any way from this…." She didn't need to finish for Casey to know what would happen to him if Chuck got injured.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Sarah didn't like the situation as she drove away from the BuyMore. She didn't like being kept in the dark. She especially didn't like being kept in the dark about Chuck. Casey was her partner in this work and at times he did things like this. That was just Casey, she had learned. But Chuck – Chuck did not do things like this.

Her phone rang. She glanced at the screen. Ellie was calling. Sarah answered.

"Sarah, did Chuck say anything to you about not making our dinner tonight?" Ellie asked.

"I just found out a little while ago Ellie," Sarah replied.

"Did he explain why?"

"Just that something came up and that he couldn't make it. He said that he'd have to explain everything later."

Ellie sighed. "That's what he told me too. He was really evasive and I'm not sure what to think. Are the two of you having problems? Did something happen between you two?"

"No, no Ellie. We're fine," Sarah insisted.

"Well, I'm a little worried because Chuck knows that I was doing a lot of cooking and planning for this dinner. And for him to cancel on this and not to really explain why to either one of us…."

Time for some damage control, Sarah thought. "I'm in the dark on this too Ellie. But I know Chuck and so do you. He would rather do anything than intentionally hurt either one of us. He told me that he would have to explain it all later. He wouldn't do something like that unless it was necessary or important. So I think we should cut him some slack."

Ellie was quiet for a moment. "You're right Sarah, you're right." She sighed again. "Well, I hope you are still coming over. I have all of this good food just waiting to be eaten."

Sarah thought for a moment. Dinner with Ellie and Devon would certainly be better than sitting at her hotel alone and thinking about and waiting for Chuck. "I'm on the way Ellie."

"Great! See you in a few!"

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Ellie's food was fabulous. It was one of the best meals Sarah had ever had and she said so to Ellie who beamed and thanked her. The only thing marring the dinner, making it less than perfect, was Chuck's absence. It was silly of her to act this way, Sarah told herself. He had been gone for only a couple of hours and she acted like it had been weeks.

"You're thinking about Chuck, aren't you?"

Ellie's statement startled Sarah out of her thoughts. She turned toward the older Bartowski and found Ellie smiling.

"What?" Sarah asked.

"I can always tell when you're thinking about Chuck. You get this look on your face along with this certain smile. And I just saw you doing both just now. You're thinking about him," Ellie teased.

Sarah was about to say something, she wasn't sure what, but the sounds of the front door being unlocked and then opened startled everyone. Sarah's head immediately turned toward the entrance looking for Chuck.

And Chuck did walk in. Sarah studied him. He looked upset or concerned. What's wrong? she thought.

He shut and locked the door, looked up and instantly stopped at seeing all three of them at the dining room table. "Sarah?" he said. "Oh…I didn't think you'd be here. I—"

"Chuck! We had a dinner planned and Sarah was invited. Remember?" Ellie scolded.

"I know, I was just surprised, that's all. I—"

"Where have you been? What was so important that you skipped this dinner, this dinner that I have been planning for a while," Ellie demanded.

Chuck didn't say anything. He looked down at his shoes as if trying to think of something to say. Sarah realized that she had seen Chuck behave this way before. He did this when – when he was trying to avoid saying something unpleasant or actually thinking of lying, she thought.

"I…I had…had an errand to run," he finally stammered.

"And it couldn't wait? You had to skip our dinner just to run an errand?" Ellie asked.

"Uhh…well…it had to be done…it couldn't wait." Sarah noticed that he still stammered and still avoiding looking directly at her and Ellie. He was with Casey, Sarah thought, maybe he can't say anything. She stood up from the table.

"Ellie, I'd like to talk to Chuck alone for a moment," she said.

Ellie looked at Sarah and started to say something. But then she stopped. "Of course," she said.

Sarah walked over to Chuck, took his hand and walked him back to his room. He came willingly but still avoided looking at her. After entering his room, Sarah shut the door and then turned to him.

"How about you tell me what's going on and then we deal with Ellie together," she suggested.

Chuck still avoided looking at her, suddenly finding his shoes fascinating. He stayed silent for a few moments. Then he sighed.

"I…I went to see Jill today," he said.

"WHAT?"

She glared at him, furious at this revelation. How could he? How could he do this? How could he do this to me? After all Jill has done to him? After all Jill has done to me? How could he do this? How? she thought furiously.

He finally looked directly at her. "Sarah, please, just let me explain," he said softly.

"Save it!" she spat.

She turned away from him, opened the door and stalked out. She heard him cry out her name, but she slammed the door and raced down the hallway and into the living area of the apartment.

Both Ellie and Devon were standing up at the dining room table with looks of concern on their faces. One look at Sarah and Ellie immediately spoke.

"Sarah? Sarah what's wrong? What happened?"

"I'm sorry Ellie, I have to leave!" Sarah said and rushed out of the apartment.

She had made it halfway to her car when she heard her name called. Thinking it was Chuck, her first inclination was to ignore it. But when she realized that it was Casey calling her, she turned.

Casey stood in his doorway and waved her over. "Get in here. We're needed," he said.

Great, Sarah fumed, Beckman just has to have a conference right now. Sarah walked to Casey's apartment. Upon entering the place, she saw that the monitor was off. She glared at him.

"I thought we were needed for a conference with Beckman," she said.

"You need to know what's going on, why Bartowski did what he did. And making you think that Beckman wanted us was the easiest way to get you in here," he replied.

"And just what is going on?" she said with a malevolent glare at the NSA agent.

Casey frowned and crossed his arms. "Look, Bartowski didn't want to visit Jill. That was the last thing in the world that he wanted to do. But he didn't have any choice. Beckman ordered him to and ordered me to make sure he did."

Sarah gasped. "Casey, what is going on?"

"Remember our talking about how there was a possibility of there being a portable version of the brainwashing machine? Well, as we suspected, Jill had it and she used it on Bartowski and that kid. Both the NSA and the CIA wanted that technology bad. So bad that they were willing to make a deal with Jill. And part of the deal was that she wanted to see Bartowski."

Casey paused to let the words sink in. Then he continued.

"Bartowski absolutely, positively did not want to see Jill. He told Beckman that. And he was pretty adamant about it. But Beckman read him the riot act and ordered him to do it. The geek didn't have any choice. He had to go see the bitch."

"Chuck could have told me that," Sarah said.

"That was my doing," Casey replied. "He wanted to tell you but I persuaded him not to. Remember seeing the geek and me argue this afternoon in the BuyMore? That's what we were arguing about. I didn't want you knowing that he had to go see Jill."

"Why?" Sarah snapped.

"He needed his head in the game for this. You know what Jill is like, you know how she can manipulate him. He needed to be fully focused for this and he wouldn't be able to do that if you were there fuming and fussing at him on the sidelines and overreacting with your panties all in a knot about your boy toy seeing his ex," Casey said.

"I would not have overreacted. I would have helped," Sarah argued.

"Just like you're not overreacting now? Just like you're helping now?" Casey pointed out.

Sarah stood there silently as Casey's words sank in and made their point.

"Cut Bartowski some slack, OK? He didn't have any choice in the matter," Casey added.

Sarah stayed silent. Then she turned to go. When she got to the door and grasped the door knob, she stopped and turned back to Casey. "Thank you," she said softly.

"You're welcome." He started intently at her and then added, "I still think you could do a lot worse than Bartowski."

Sarah smiled, turned back to the door and turned the knob.

"Walker," Casey said. Sarah looked back at the NSA agent.

"I'm having trouble with the surveillance equipment in their apartment. It's not working. So maybe you should spend the night there and keep an eye on him," he said.

"Thank you," Sarah said softly again. She opened the door and left. Once outside, she headed directly for the Morgan door. And as she walked over there, she wondered what had happened when Chuck had visited Jill.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Chuck walked into the holding facility. There wasn't much to it. The room was empty for the most part. Empty except for two chairs. And in one of those chairs sat Jill. Chuck stared at her. She hung her head down, not bothering to glance up. Her hands were handcuffed in front of her and each ankle was chained to a chair leg.

"Quit gawking and get moving Bartowski! You have a job to do!" Casey's voice yelled in the ear wig that Chuck had on.

He walked forward, moving toward the empty chair in front of Jill. Jill looked up.

"Chuck!" she exclaimed. And she smiled. She motioned to the empty chair in front of her with her head. "Sit down and let's talk. We really need to talk."

"Bartowski, you don't do anything until she gives us the location of that portable brainwashing unit. That was the deal. You know the drill, I went over it with you. Get that location first," Casey yelled in the ear wig.

Chuck looked at Jill. "Ummm…I need some info from you first…you're supposed to tell me—" Chuck stammered.

"Oh, of course Chuck," Jill replied with a smile. And then she gave him an address.

"OK Bartowski, leave now!" Casey ordered.

Chuck turned to go.

"Chuck!" Jill cried. "Where are you going? We're supposed to talk."

"And we will. As soon as they give me confirmation that they have that portable unit. They're sending a team out there right now. And they'll check in and let me know when they have it. Then we can talk."

He turned away but Jill called him to wait. He looked back at her. She returned his look for a few moments. "OK then. You better call them up and tell them to go to this address instead," she said. Then she gave Chuck another, different address.

"I knew it. I knew she'd try something like that. I'll get this new address to the team. Walk away now Bartowksi," Casey said into the earwig.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXX

It took about 30 minutes for the team to check in with Casey and confirm that they had the portable brainwashing machine. Once that was done, Casey sent Chuck back into the holding cell to talk with Jill per the deal she had made. But not before the NSA agent cautioned him to not make any more deals with the girl. "You just talk and nothing more," he ordered.

Chuck walked back in. The second he stepped through the door, Jill looked up at him. She smiled as she waited for him to sit down in the chair in front of her.

"Took them long enough. You shouldn't keep a girl waiting Chuck," Jill said.

"Well, they needed to make sure they had the right unit and that it wasn't a fake and that it worked and—"

"Chuck!" Jill cried. "You're rambling! Just relax. It's not like I can do anything to you, you know." She held up her hands to show that she was handcuffed and jerked forward her legs to emphasize the chains that held her feet to the chair and immobilized her. He winced. This was certainly different from their Stanford days. She definitely wasn't the same girl that he knew then.

She studied his face for a moment. And then she spoke.

"What is it Chuck? What's wrong? Why won't you talk to me?"

"Jill, you do realize where we're at, don't you? It's not like we're at a restaurant or at home having this conversation," Chuck replied.

"Yes, I know that. I know that all too well," she said.

"Jill, why did you want to see me? What do you want?" Chuck blurted out.

"Maybe I wanted to see if we still had a chance, to see if you'd wait for me."

"Jill, you know that we didn't have any chance. Any chance we had was long gone, way long gone before you kidnapped and brainwashed me."

She looked sadly at him. For a moment, Chuck thought she was going to burst into tears. "You're wrong Chuck. I did that for you, for me, for us. I—"

"There wasn't an 'us' Jill. There wasn't an 'us' when we got back together that last time. You were just using me to help Fulcrum. There wasn't an 'us' on that island. And there wasn't an 'us' this past time. And I'm beginning to wonder if there was even an 'us' when we were at Stanford," Chuck said.

"Chuck, I have always loved you. It's just that Sarah came between us. She—"

"Sarah had nothing to do with us Jill," Chuck said.

"That's not true Chuck, and you know it." Once again she looked as if she was going to cry as she stared at him. For several moments, she just gazed at him. Chuck didn't know what to say or do. When Jill finally spoke, it was almost in a whisper.

"You love her, don't you Chuck?"

He did love Sarah but he didn't dare say that with Casey listening in. "As I said, Sarah is not the issue as far as you and I are concerned," he replied.

"That's not true and you know it Chuck," Jill said as a tear ran down the front of her face. "If it hadn't been for her, we'd be together, we'd be happy. You don't need her Chuck. She's not good for you. I'm better, you should be with me, I'm much better—"

"Don't, don't even think about comparing yourself to Sarah. You can't even begin to compare to her," he said firmly. "And you think Sarah was the problem between us? You were the one who broke up with me at Stanford, remember? Exactly how did Sarah come between us then Jill? You were the one who used me to help Fulcrum when I got back together with you, remember? Did Sarah cause you to do that? You got what you wanted both of those times, remember? And what you wanted wasn't me."

"I made a mistake Chuck and I wanted to change that. I wanted you back. That's why I took you. So that we could be together, just you and me and no Sarah to come between us," Jill sobbed.

Chuck looked at the crying woman. Once this may have had a greater effect on him. He had no doubts of how she could have once manipulated him with an act like this. But now it all seemed to him to be just that – an act.

"If it was about me and getting back with me, then why did you kidnap that young girl to pose as our daughter? Why did you kidnap her?" Chuck demanded.

Jill made no response. She just looked sadly at him.

"What if she had some allergies or some sort of special needs? What if she was allergic to penicillin and she had gotten injured and we took her to a hospital and the doctors gave her a penicillin shot? What if she was allergic to peanut butter or mustard and we had fed her those things? We could have killed her! We could have killed a little girl! Were you thinking of me then Jill?"

Jill still stayed silent.

"If you truly wanted an us, you would have never broken up with me back at Stanford. You would have stayed with me."

Chuck watched as more tears flowed from her eyes and she bowed her head. Chuck waited for a few moments, waited for anything else she had to say. But she said nothing. He stood up to go.

Jill's head snapped up and she looked at him, pleading. "Chuck?"

He stared back directly into her eyes. "I'm sorry Jill. It's over. It was over between us a long time ago. I know that now," he said.

Then, without hesitation or regret, Chuck turned and walked out of the room without looking back.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

As Sarah strolled up to the Morgan Door, she could hear Ellie raging at Chuck in his bedroom. She was furious and yelling full blast and full speed at Chuck.

Sarah opened the Morgan Door and stepped in. Her entrance surprised both Chuck and Ellie and even silenced Ellie. And before she could start up again, Sarah spoke.

"Ellie, it wasn't Chuck's fault."

"Sarah, don't defend him. He told me where he was today. He was—"

"Ellie, please listen. It wasn't Chuck's fault. He was trying to help," Sarah interjected.

That silenced the older Bartowski and Sarah quickly explained.

"Remember that police officer friend of mine? The one I sent the photo to?" Ellie nodded.

"Well, I talked to him. He told me that Jill was holding out information and other things and wouldn't tell them. So they asked Chuck to see her and try to get her to come clean. Chuck did and was a big help, my friend told me. That's why he went to see Jill, to help the police in wrapping up this case. The police are really grateful," Sarah said.

Ellie's angry expression had calmed considerably. She stood there, turning her head back and forth from Chuck to Sarah, to Sarah to Chuck.

"Ellie, I think we owe Chuck an apology," Sarah suggested.

Ellie looked slightly embarrassed as she turned back to Chuck, who had stayed silent the whole time. She gazed at her brother. "You're right," she said. "Chuck, I'm sorry. I…I should have given you a chance to explain. I'm sorry."

Chuck didn't say anything. He just put his arms around his sister and hugged her. They embraced each other for a few seconds and then parted. Ellie patted his head and then with one hand on his shoulder, directed him toward Sarah. "I'll leave you two alone. I think you two have some talking to do," she said. Then she left the room.

Sarah moved forward and hugged him. "I'm sorry," she whispered into his ear. Chuck pulled his head back and stared intently at her. "I don't blame you for reacting the way you did. I wanted to tell you but—"

She put a finger to his lips and shushed him. "Casey explained to me what happened and what went on," she said.

"Well I'm still sorry," he said.

He started to say something more but Sarah shushed him again with a finger to his lips. Then she tightly wrapped both arms around his neck and pulled him in and kissed him hungrily. He eagerly responded. As the kiss deepened, she could feel his hands clutch the bottom part of her blouse, pull up slightly and then his hands slid inside and stroked her bare back. His touch was wonderful. She kissed him back with more passion and quickly moved her hands to the front of his shirt and undid buttons. Things just seemed to be moving too slowly. She couldn't take it any more. She broke the kiss, grasped him by the shoulders and shoved him onto the bed, on his back.

As he lay there, looking inquiringly at her, she rushed to the door and locked it and turned off the light. Then she went to the Morgan Door and shut it, locked it and lowered and closed the blinds. Then she was on the bed and straddling him. She pulled her blouse up and over her head and leaned down and captured his lips with hers again. They kissed for a long time and then she kissed his cheeks. "Too many clothes," she moaned. And as she started again on his shirt buttons, she felt his hands reach around her back and grasp the clasp of her bra.

"Too many clothes," she moaned again.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Chuck opened his eyes and looked to his side. It was morning and he was alone in bed. Disappointing as he hoped to wake up with Sarah next to him. He glanced at the clock. 8:03 AM. Had Sarah left? he wondered.

He got out of the bed, pulled on some jeans and then a T-shirt. He opened his bedroom door and went out into apartment hallway. After a few steps, he could hear voices from the kitchen. He looked and saw Sarah and Ellie. They were both smiling and engaged in conversation. Chuck stayed back, studying the scene of the two people he loved most in the world.

Ellie was at the counter, mixing or stirring something. Sarah was at the coffee pot, pouring two mugs of coffee. She handed one to Ellie and took one for herself while they talked. Chuck couldn't help smiling.

"Beautiful site. Isn't it just totally awesome bro'?" Devon's voice said from behind him.

"Yes," Chuck agreed as he turned back to look at Devon. "And normal, wonderfully normal."

Devon looked puzzled. "Oookkaaayyy," he replied. He shook his head. "Well, whatever makes you happy Chuckmeister." He headed toward the kitchen to join the ladies. "Are you coming?" he asked.

"No. I'm going to hit the showers first," Chuck said and headed to the bathroom.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Warm water sprayed onto him as Chuck poured some shampoo into his hand and he applied it into his hair. The shampoo foamed as he massaged his scalp. He was just about to rinse out the shampoo when arms wrapped around him and a naked body pressed against his back.

He might have fallen in surprise had not those arms maintained a firm grip on him. As soon as he steadied himself, lips pressed against his ear. "Good morning!" Sarah greeted as her hands rubbed the front of his chest. Her lips kissed his ear, his face and his neck. Sarah's lips continued their assault as her hands traveled all over his chest. Chuck could hear her panting a little and then her hands moved downward. "Glad that you're finally up this morning," she moaned.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

"I see that you finally managed to get up," Ellie said to Chuck as he and Sarah sat down at the dining room table for breakfast.

Sarah stifled a smirk as Chuck blushed. Under the table, Sarah's hand crept over to his thigh and squeezed. "Yes, I managed to get him up," she said. Chuck blushed again as he gave Sarah a look. She smiled at him.

"Well Chuck I was beginning to wonder if you were ever going to get up," Ellie said. Chuck's hand, holding a spoon full of cereal which was on its way to his mouth, came to a halt. He quickly turned toward Sarah with a look of warning on his face. Sarah simply smiled back. With her hand still on his thigh under the table, she squeezed and calmly replied to Elle, "I didn't have any trouble getting him up. In fact, I'd love to get him up every morning."

"That's a wonderful idea!" Ellie enthused.

Chuck dropped both his jaw and his spoon. "Ellie! Sarah!" he exclaimed.

Sarah looked innocently at Chuck. "What sweetie? What would be wrong with me getting you up every morning?" Her hand, still under the table and still on his thigh, stroked.

"Yes Chuck, what would be wrong with that? I think that would be wonderful?"

ELLIE!"

"Well, what would be so terrible about you guys moving in together? You obviously love each other. What would be so wrong with making the arrangement a permanent thing?" Ellie asked.

"Oh…that's what you were…." Chuck muttered.

Ellie looked puzzled. "What did you think I was talking about?"

By now, the area of Chuck's body under the table that Sarah stroked had expanded and Chuck was having a difficult time concentrating, much less talking. Sarah continued her stroking as she looked directly at him still with that innocent expression on her face. "Yes sweetie, what did you think Ellie was talking about?"

Chuck groaned and stared down at his bowl of cereal.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXX

They had finished breakfast and were now in his room. He wanted to check his email and Sarah lay on the bed watching him and waiting. "No briefing, no mission today. We have the day off and we're going to spend it together," she said with a smile.

Chuck looked skeptically at her. "We have the day off Chuck," Sarah confirmed. "And we're going to spend it together and do normal. Would you like to do normal with me?"

He grinned. Then he shut off the computer, stood up and walked over to her. Sarah sat up, spread her arms and pulled him onto the bed beside her and kissed him. She had really missed him while he was gone. She had missed being able to see him, to talk to him, to touch, to hold him – everything, she had missed everything. And now that she had him back and they had a day to themselves, she wanted to spend it with him and only him.

But before they did that, she needed to do something. She feared that it might ruin the moment but they needed to slay this Jill monster for good. Reluctantly, slowly, she pulled back from him, breaking the kiss.

One look and Chuck knew something bothered her.

"Something wrong?" he asked.

"No…well…yes…well…."

His expression turned serious. He pulled her closer against him. "What is it? Tell me"

Well…it's…." It was hard for to open up, to express her feelings. Having been an agent for so long and having been trained and taught to suppress feelings, she had always found it difficult to talk from the heart, to express her feelings, to say what was really and truly on her mind. Yet, she wanted to do that with Chuck.

She looked up at him. "There's something that has been bothering me for a while. I found out about it while you were gone. Part of me thinks it's silly for it to bother me but…."

"What is it?" Chuck asked.

Sarah got up, walked over to his desk and opened the bottom drawer. She reached in and pulled out the framed photograph of Chuck and Jill.

"Oh," Chuck said when he saw the photo. "You found that?"

"I wasn't snooping. It was right after you were taken. I was here, recovering in your room and…well, without going into a lot of details, I needed a photo of Jill. I asked Ellie and she pulled out this…this photo."

Sarah looked at the photo again of Chuck in a tuxedo and Jill in an elegant green dress, looking happy. Then she looked at Chuck. "Chuck, after all that Jill has done to you and to me, how could you keep this?" Sarah could feel the hatred and bitterness that she had for Jill welling up inside her.

Chuck looked down at the photo for a moment. Then he looked back at Sarah. "Well, honestly, I forgot that I had it. But it means nothing, you know. I don't love her. You know that, don't you?"

"If it means nothing and you don't love her, why are you keeping this?" Sarah asked.

He didn't answer immediately. He seemed to think carefully over what he had to say.

"Sarah, I met and knew Jill and was in love with her – emphasis on 'was' there – back in college, way back before I met you. That was the past and that photo is a keepsake of that past."

"I know that Chuck. But still, this is…."

He stopped her. "And you don't keep any photos or souvenirs of your past relationships? You don't have any photos of Bryce?" he asked. He pointed at her iPhone. "What if I took a look at the photos on that? I wouldn't find any photos of Bryce?"

Sarah said nothing. She did have photos of Bryce from some trips the two of them took together, when they were a couple, before she met Chuck. But dammit, that was different, she thought. And she said so out loud.

"Are you still with Bryce? Are you still in love with Bryce?"

"NO! Absolutely not! I'm in love with you," Sarah immediately replied.

"Then why do you have photos of him?"

"Chuck, that is different. Bryce didn't try to kill you like Jill tried to kill me."

"While I agree that it is different, we both have our pasts. I have former girl friends and I'm sure you have former boy friends. But they are the past. Whatever relationships I had, whatever relationships you had are in the past. And we both have our keepsakes and memories of the better days of those pasts. But they are still the past. But you're here now and I love you now. So you shouldn't be concerned about any of my former girl friends," he said.

Sarah got quiet. He did have a point, she thought. We shouldn't—wait a minute, what did he say?

"Chuck, how many ex girl friends do you have?" she asked with a glare.

He rolled his eyes, shook his head, and chuckled. "You know, it's kind of interesting to be on the other end of the jealously problem for a change," he said as he moved toward her, wrapped his arms around her, drew her in close and started kissing her neck.

"Chuck, I asked you a question," Sarah said. She tried to sound firm and commanding but it was getting hard to concentrate as his lips traveled up and down her neck. They felt so good and she had to clamp down hard with her teeth to prevent him from hearing the moan that almost escaped from her mouth. Then his hands started stroking her hair and her back. She tried to command her own hands to grab them and get them to stop. But somehow, as if they had a will of their own, they ended up on his back and his hair. She started to lean back, to give him more access to her neck, get him to kiss her there more.

But when she realized that he still hadn't answered her question, she tried to stop herself and him.

"Chuck…answer my…my…my…Chuck…you haven't told…told me…Chuck…." She had to shut her mouth. It was getting hard to do anything more than pant and moan. And she didn't want him to hear that. She wanted him to answer, to answer….Now it was getting too hard to even concentrate on what she originally wanted to do.

"What do you say that we just let the past be the past?" he asked as he continued kissing her.

With the last bit of will power she possessed, Sarah shoved him back to stop him for the moment – but just for the moment.

"Agreed! But on one condition," she said with a smile.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Sarah reached over to Chuck's head and straightened a few errant curls.

"Sarah, how many times are you going to do that?" Chuck asked. "We haven't even gotten inside for the session yet."

"I just want things to be perfect for this. It's our first time for this and I want things to be perfect," she replied with a smile. After getting those curls straightened, she studied the rest of him. He looked good, really good in his suit. He looked back at her and grinned.

"By the way, have I told you how gorgeous you look?" he asked.

Sarah beamed. "Only about a dozen times so far today. But I wouldn't mind hearing it again."

"You look gorgeous," he said as he admired her in her blue dress.

"You both look great," Ellie interrupted. Chuck and Sarah turned away from each other and looked at Ellie and Devon seated across from them in the waiting room.

"Thank you! And you and Devon look great too," Chuck replied.

"Sarah, this was such a good idea! I'm so glad that you suggested all of us doing it. Chuck and I haven't had any formal portraits done in years. So it was about time we did this. And to get formal photographs done of each of us, and in pairs and then get the whole family all together – well, that was a great idea!" Ellie enthused.

Sarah smiled. Ellie had said "family." She considered her family. Sarah couldn't remember any time in her life when the word "family" conjured up pleasant thoughts – until now. She looked at Chuck. She was a part of his family. She was family and he was family.

"I can't wait to get these all done and then see how they turn out. I'll bet a photograph of you and Chuck will be fabulous!" Ellie gushed, interrupting Sarah's thoughts.

"Well, I wanted to get some photos of the two of us. I thought it was about time that Chuck had some new ones – and better ones – to put in his desk drawer," Sarah said. Then she and Ellie shared a conspiratorial smile.

Two adults, three kids filed out of the photographer's studio and past them. A few seconds later, the photographer called out.

"Bartowksi! Is the Bartowski family ready?"

Ellie, Devon and Chuck rose and walked to the studio. Chuck stopped and let Ellie and Devon go ahead as he spotted Sarah still seated. "Something wrong?" he asked looking at Sarah.

Sarah lifted up her head and smiled. "No, nothing wrong at all," she said. In fact, everything was great and right, wonderfully right. Jill was locked away and hopefully out of his life for good. Sarah now had Chuck to herself. She and Chuck were about to move in together into their own place. And she now had a family. It all felt so right and so wonderful. She reached up and grabbed the hand that Chuck offered to help her up. She stood, tucked her arm in his as they walked into the studio for their first formal photograph together. That too felt right and wonderful.

She truly felt like she was part of a family. She felt…loved.

THE END

-

NOTE: OK, that does it for this story. I hope you enjoyed it and I hope you will review as I love to read your comments. In case you're interested, I am currently working on two more Chuck stories. The next one is titled "Chuck vs. the Super Spy." It will be mostly Chuck/Sarah fluff and what action/adventure in it will be to generate fluff. I hope to start posting it in a few weeks. But we'll see. I have a strict rule about posting chapters to my stories – I do not start posting until I have at least a first draft of the entire story done. That way, you readers will get the complete story with an ending. Don't you just hate it when people post chapters and then never finish their story? And while on that subject – come on all of you writers that haven't finished your stories! FINISH THEM! Don't leave us hanging there!