memories by asesina

disclaimer: I don't own Chuck.

a/n: yes, another livejournal-ish "four times when bryce remembered chuck/one time when chuck remembered bryce" fic, and it features Bryce and Chuck again. It's becoming a trend with me. I just love me some nostalgic Chuck & Bryce friendship fics. This time, Bryce remembers Chuck and expresses a little remorse. Chuck remembers Bryce and wishes that things could have been different. No slash, just friendship.

Bryce : I - IV

I. It's the week after college graduation and Bryce is speeding down Interstate Highway 405.

He flies past palm trees and street signs and notices the way that the blue outline of the Pacific shimmers in the periphery of his vision.

The CIA needs him for a mission in Los Angeles, which is actually good because he wants to get the hell away from Palo Alto and all the shit that happened there in his senior year at Stanford.

When he zooms by exit 64, Burbank Boulevard, Bryce can't help but wince as he remembers Chuck's pained expression as he left the dorm room behind, crushed and betrayed.

Bryce justifies his actions by repeatedly telling himself that at least Chuck is still alive.

II. Three years have passed since Stanford, and Bryce is undercover on a mission in New York. He is posing as a young internet entrepreneur and part of him can't help but grin at the irony.

This is exactly what Chuck always wanted to do.

Bryce buries the thought and completes yet another successful mission before falling into bed with the breath-taking Mrs. Anderson.

Sarah's eyes sparkle as she lets down her guard a little, showing Bryce a rare bit of vulnerability as she beckons him with a slender finger.

Bryce almost forgets about Chuck again, but he gives himself a moment to believe that Chuck is doing well for himself somewhere, preferably in Silicon Valley.

Kicking him out of Stanford was logical. A genius like Chuck could find work anywhere.

Right?

III.

Even more years have passed since Stanford, and Bryce is seriously considering proposing to Sarah. He spends the entire morning looking for a ring at the local shops in Guadalajara, but he can't find anything suitable for the occasion.

Sarah initially believes that he is out for a walk the entire time.

When Bryce comes back to the hotel, he is wearing a loose-fitting white shirt and an apologetic smile.

Sarah now knows that he definitely wasn't out for a jog. She raises an eyebrow and stares expectantly at Bryce, lips pursed with unasked questions.

"You knew what I was looking for, right?" Bryce asked with an embarrassed grin.

"Yes," Sarah replies shortly.

"Well, then it's not a surprise. I'll find the right ring when we get back to the states," Bryce offers with a shrug.

Sarah suppresses a smile and disappears into the bedroom.

"I swear, Sarah, you're some kind of mind reader. Are you sure your name isn't Deanna Troi?" Bryce jokes, and Sarah pokes her head around the corner.

"Who?"

"No one," Bryce exhales.

He can't help but think that Chuck would have caught his Star Trek reference in an instant.

IV.

It's early spring 2009, and Bryce has been deep undercover for several months now. He is getting closer to stopping Fulcrum and interrupting the new Intersect project, but he knows that there is still work to be done.

When he sees commercials for the new Star Trek movie, he compares it to the old series.

The Enterprise looks a little different in CGI, but it'll do. Uhura is hot, and Spock looks strangely like that guy from Heroes.

He knows that he'll most likely never see the movie, even on DVD. He's never in one place long enough to watch a feature length film, but part of him wishes that he could take a long weekend and go see the movie with Chuck.

Bryce quickly tells himself that he's a different person now, that those college days are long behind him. However, he allows himself to reminisce for a moment, returning to a time when life was uncomplicated and the only thing that really did matter was a large screen adaption of a classic TV show.

He hears Chuck's voice in his head, faded and distant now from years of separation.

Chuck is in full-on exuberant, anticipatory, Star Trek nerd mode as he herds Bryce into the theater to watch the movie.

Bryce is excited for the movie too, and he is less weary, less cynical, more relaxed.

They sit down together like no time has passed at all and make passing comments about the inaccurate portrayal of Spock's childhood and the illogical way that he acts at the end of the movie.

Bryce can see himself from a distance, and part of him envies his movie-going alter-ego, nerdy as he may be.

He shakes off the scenario and reminds himself that too much has changed for that to really happen. He is in the middle of his own movie, and the life and death threat is far more real than any sci-fi adventure.

This is his life, for better or for worse, and he wouldn't trade it for the world.

Chuck

I.

It's about two months after Bryce died, and Chuck is sitting in a Burbank movie theater with Morgan. The curtains open slowly and the room is tense with excitement, hushed with the feverish hum of muted conversations.

The movie opens with a shot of space, the final frontier.

Morgan jabs Chuck in the ribs and points at the screen, eyes wide as Kirk slides off a motorcycle near the edge of a cliff.

Chuck grins back at Morgan and allows himself a moment to reflect as a sad smile tugs at the corners of his mouth.

Even though he didn't get a chance to talk to Bryce about the Star Trek movie, Chuck has a feeling that Bryce would have wanted to see it.

And, despite all of their complex history and romantic rivalry, Chuck can't stop a few nostalgic tears from springing to his eyes as he realizes that Bryce will never get to see this film.

He knows that Bryce sacrificed his life and that they now have more ammo to take down the Ring, but part of him wishes that this could have happened differently.

In the end, Chuck decides that he wouldn't trade his spy life or his relationship with Sarah for anything, but he kind of wishes that Bryce would pop up once in a while.

He'd rather keep Sarah as his girlfriend, but there are times when she just doesn't understand why the Romulans keep attacking the Enterprise or care about the subtleties of Klingon pronunciation.

Chuck likes to think that Bryce is there in spirit, watching the movie from somewhere in a different plane of existence, a different time.

He allows himself to believe it for a moment, and the thought comforts him.

End.