Give Love

Author's note: This story is a sequel to the one-shot "Anything". The events of the Season 2 finale, "Chuck vs. the Ring", are assumed to have happened in full since the end of "Anything." Like that story, this one is based on the lyrics to a song by Third Day, specifically "Give Love."

Chuck's eyes slowly cracked open, weighted down by what felt like the sands of a thousand deserts. He lifted his head to check the clock –

Wow, it's already after noon?

- and then, slowly and carefully returned his head to his pillow. His head was pounding, and it felt like every muscle in his body was throbbing. Taking on six bad guys the night before, using a martial arts style he had never even considered, had taken its toll on his body.

Damn Intersect, he thought with a grimace. It will be the death of me.

Whisper softly to me, share with me your heart, and just ignore the world and what it does…

There were many, many people at Corona del Mar Beach on that Sunday afternoon – much of Newport Beach tended to flock to the warm sand in the springtime if they had nothing else to do.

Lost in the shuffle was the solitary woman, sitting on a towel, staring out at the ocean. She hadn't moved for hours, and large sunglasses covered her bloodshot eyes and tear-stained cheeks.

Sarah had left her gun and her phone in the Dodge. She didn't want anybody to be able to get in touch with her – not even Chuck – and she didn't care if anybody tried to mess with her. After last night, she didn't understand how she could ever care about anything again.

It wasn't fair. She had tried so hard for the last eighteen months to find a way to rid Chuck of the damn Intersect, and what happens?

Chuck had to go and develop a goddamn sense of nobility and duty, Sarah thought bitterly. And just as I'm about to tell my country they can take their job and shove it. Oh, the irony.

I know that you've been hurting, you've been torn apart, and I pull you close and hold you in my arms…

The apartment was empty, save for Chuck – Ellie and Devon had spent the night before at the Four Seasons by the airport, and their flight to Bermuda had left VERY early this morning. The truth was, that was probably for the best, given Chuck's condition both the night before and this morning – it would've prompted more questions than Chuck could've covered up, even with Devon's help.

Chuck gingerly lowered himself into Devon's recliner and turned on the TV – "Meet the Press" was on. I miss Tim Russert, Chuck thought, and then snorted with laughter at the irrelevance. David Gregory was doing his best to interview Doris Kearns Goodwin, but there was just something that Russert had that Gregory didn't.

"That right there is a smart woman," came the voice of John Casey from behind Chuck. Chuck nearly jumped out of the recliner, his head jerking around to see the NSA agent standing in the kitchen, making… something.

"Ow," Chuck grumbled, raising a hand to his neck. "What the hell are you doing here?"

"Motion sensors told me you were up about twenty minutes ago," Casey replied. "Figured I'd come over, make you some breakfast – you need nutrition after last night."

Chuck nodded. "Thanks."

If you give love, I'll return the love and you will see, so much more than you gave away, if you give love, give it to me.

Sarah had left her spot on Corona del Mar Beach, and was now walking aimlessly down the beach. If I walk long enough, I'll eventually get to Santa Monica Beach, she thought. Our beach.

That night in Santa Monica, the night that Chuck found out he had the Intersect in his head – it seemed so long ago. They were both so different back then – Chuck the innocent, tactically incompetent nerd, Sarah the battle-hardened, duty-guided agent. Now, Chuck's innocence was in tatters, and much as Sarah hated to admit it, he knew a thing or two about tactics these days, whereas Sarah found herself desiring more and more every day the house, the station wagon, the white picket fence, the two point five kids, and the dog – all with Chuck.

And now, the likelihood of that is practically nil, she thought, a tear rolling down her cheek. You selfish bastard.

Sarah immediately reprimanded herself for thinking about Chuck like that. No possible way would he have ever done something like this to serve self – no, she was quite certain that the bulk of his reasoning was to honor Bryce's sacrifice. After all, despite all that had been to Chuck at Bryce's hands, Chuck was STILL Chuck – he didn't stop caring about people.

Sarah sighed. Perhaps it was time to actually go talk to Chuck. Avoiding him wasn't going to do her any good at all.

Listen very closely as I sing this song, and please believe that I mean every word…

"Sarah, it's Chuck."

He had gotten her voicemail again, but decided he ought to finally leave a message. "Listen, I can imagine that you probably aren't too happy with me. I wouldn't be, if I were you – I know how hard you worked to get… well… you know what out of my life, just for me to put it back in."

Chuck took a breath. "I think we need to talk. About the future. My future. Your future. Our future, if that's even still a possibility."

He fell silent for a moment, unable to think of anything. "By the way," he finally said, "nice move with disabling the GPS on the Challenger. That's a very… me… thing to do."

Chuck shook his head. "Call me, Sarah. Please." And he pulled the phone away from his face, and hit the "End" button.

"She'll talk to you when she's ready," Casey said from the couch. "And if it takes her awhile, you have to understand. You think your world got turned upside down when you got Intersected? Think about how Walker feels. She was all ready to leave the CIA, make Los Angeles her home permanently, and shack up with you – and here you have to go and be a goddamn patriot."

Chuck narrowed his eyes at Casey as he limped back to the couch. "Okay, that's two people that have said Sarah was gonna stay here with me – you, and Bryce. What the hell are you guys talking about? Did she say something to you?"

Casey shook his head. "Not to me," he replied. "I think she said something to Larkin, though." He paused. "Look, Bartowski… Chuck… I could tell, just by watching her. I'm a trained spy, I know how to see these things. She was ready to throw away everything she's known for the last twelve years for you."

He stared at Casey for a moment, then picked up his phone again, and hit the redial button. "Sarah, it's Chuck," he said when the voicemail picked up. "Please call me… I… love you."

When I say I love you, I mean it with all my heart… let it be the best thing that you've ever heard.

Sarah finally made her way back to the Challenger. The sun was beginning to dip down over the Pacific Ocean, and it would get cooler rapidly.

When she picked up her phone, it informed her that she had thirteen missed calls, and three voicemails. Skipping over the missed calls for the moment – she had a pretty good idea who they were from – she dialed her voicemail.

"We need to talk," Chuck's voice said. "About the future… my future, your future, our future… if that's even still a possibility."

The horrible part was, as much as Sarah wanted the "our future" part of that, she wasn't sure if it WAS a possibility. She hoped it was. She really, desperately hoped it was, but it was going to be very difficult to work out.

The second voicemail was from John Casey. "Walker, call Bartowski. If you care about him, you need to talk to him. I've never seen him quite this depressed before."

And then, Chuck's voice came again. "Sarah, it's Chuck. Please call me… I love you."

It had only been two nights since Chuck had last said that to her, but so much had changed since then… the three simple words were enough to make Sarah's heart leap in her chest. She reached up, pulled the seatbelt across her chest, and started the car. 47.7 miles, the Tom-Tom on the dashboard informed her. Approximately 55 minutes.

"I'll make it in thirty," Sarah muttered.

If you give love, I'll return the love and you will see, so much more than you gave away, if you give love, give it to me.

Santa Monica Boulevard was always fairly empty at this time on Sunday afternoons. Businesses were mostly closed by now, and church services were long since done with. And so, as Chuck cruised toward Santa Monica Beach in Ellie's Pontiac, there was very little to distract him.

He wasn't quite sure why he was going to the beach – it just seemed like it made sense. That was where it had started. That was where he and Sarah had promised to trust one another.

By the time he reached the beach, the sun had almost sunk completely below the waves. With a bare sliver of the moon in phase right now, the night would rapidly become very dark – the lights of L.A. notwithstanding.

Chuck reached his spot on the beach just in time to watch the sun completely disappear, with a final flare of light signifying its departure for the day. With a sigh, he sank down to sit on the beach, staring out at the waves and the occasional flash of phosphorescence that appeared in the surf as it crashed against the beach.

By the time he heard the footsteps, it was as dark as the night was going to get. He didn't turn around, just let her approach.

She didn't say a word as she sank down next to him, didn't reach out to him, just sat there. Nearly half an hour passed before he turned his head ever so slightly, reaching out a tentative hand to her shoulder.

That was all the invitation Sarah needed to move herself nearly on top of Chuck. Cuddling up against him as close as she could get, she rested her head on his shoulder as his arm curled around her, holding her close.

"I'm sorry I was gone all day," she whispered.

Chuck nodded. "It's okay," he replied. "You needed some time to think."

Sarah fell quiet for several minutes, and then spoke. "I love you too," she said softly.

She looked up at Chuck, and even though it was dark, she could see the smile form on his face. "I was hoping that was still the case," he teased her gently.

"Hey," she said, "any man who buys me a 1969 Dodge Challenger will pretty much win my affection forever."

Chuck laughed. "Is that all it takes?" he asked. "I would've done that back in October of 2007 if I had known."

Sarah shrugged. "I said my affection," she replied. "As far as me as a person goes, though… there's only one man who I can think of who even merits consideration."

"And even he's in the doghouse because he put a computer back in his head, right?"

She laughed softly. "Hey, the doghouse can be comfortable under the right circumstances."

Chuck turned his head to look down at Sarah. "I'm sorry too," he said. "I should've thought before I leapt. It's just…"

He was cut off by Sarah putting a finger to his lips. "It doesn't matter, Chuck," she stopped him. "What's done is done. All that matters right now is that we're here, and neither of us is going anywhere."

Chuck looked at her for a minute, and then nodded. "Okay," he said.

He turned his face back toward the ocean and fell silent again. Sarah was starting to feel a little sleepy as she rested against him, his warmth making her feel comfortable and secure.

She was just about to doze off when she heard him say it again. "I love you, Sarah."

"Mmmm," she sighed, a contented smile on her face. "I love you too, Chuck."

Whisper softly to me, share with me your heart… if you give love, I'll return the love and you will see, so much more than you gave away, if you give love, give it to me.