As of 30 Jan 12, I don't own Chuck et al. Which means I started writing this thing over a year ago. One year? Jeez. Don't you hate lazy bastards who can't finish a simple story, one chapter a week?
Regarding my last chapter, evilredknight made a very valid point. erk pointed out that going off mission is not treason (must be right, otherwise most Chuck episodes would have Beckman have them all charged). In my defence, I needed a threat strong enough to have agents like Sarah, Carina and Bryce take the implant over the alternative. In my 3:00 am reasoning (before my wife clobbered me with a pillow and telling me to 'stop mumbling and go back to sleep'), treason and a death penalty fit the bill nicely. So, I apologise for distracting from the fiction itself, and am honoured that (again) people are paying attention to this, again, more than I do.
I cannot claim responsibility for 'The Horrendous Space Kablooie Theory.' That would be Calvin and Hobbes's creator Bill Waterson. The name of the Indian character I used is liberated from Billy "The Twelfth Man" Birmingham's sketch about name pronunciation of a certain sub-continental cricket team. The hypothetical TV show 'Sam,' is the product of our very own Wepdiggy's wonderfully deranged mind – 'The Adorable Psycho vs The Doppelganger.' And Sarah's wonderful blind eternal optimism is a tip 'o the hat to Fatesbot and its discovery of a TV show called 'Chuck.' I hope we don't have to put the Bot down before it finds Season 5, Episode 13...
Sarah Walker comes home.
Westside Medical and Echo Park, Los Angeles CA, USA.
March 19th 2011.
She was smiling before she opened her eyes. She'd be going home today.
Home, to a place she'd ... well, she couldn't say she never been to before. Because she had been there, but it had been under unusual circumstances, so it really didn't count.
But still, Chuck was taking her home today.
One of the 'suits' that Chuck called Goon Number Three (honestly, he couldn't tell them apart, and so four agents had ended up being referred to as that at various times) opened the door, and a nurse brought in her breakfast.
"Dr Woodcomb says you'll be going home today," announced the nurse.
Sarah said nothing, but she nodded slightly and smiled at the news.
"Ah," said the nurse at Sarah's smile, "is that because of getting out of here, or Dr Woodcomb's brother?"
Sarah smile faltered for a half second, and she stared at the nurse, judging her for the first time. She was suddenly aware of a threat/risk she'd never considered previously. Suddenly, the potential existed for an entire planet to loom with women intent on removing Chuck from her life. Obviously, she'd need to make sure Chuck wore a wedding band. Or a tattoo...
The dark haired nurse backed up a tad, not quite knowing why, "Well, that Chu...brother of Ellie's, he seems very taken with you," the nurse said, wiping her palms on the front of her uniform. Her eyes flicked at the door, as if gauging the distance.
The door opened and the nurse took the opportunity to flee. She'd let someone else collect the breakfast tray. There was a tall, blonde good looking, in a surfer/underwear model kind of way, man there. He gave her the kind of toothy smile that would make advertising executives embarrass themselves on the whole and in public.
"Hi! You must be Sarah! I'm Devon, the other Dr Woodcomb," there was something open about him, there was absolutely no guile at all. He was a straight arrow kind of guy, and that led Sarah to trust him, something that wasn't a common occurrence. "Ellie's home sleeping, finally. She asked me to check in on you. And the Chuckster will be here any moment now," his smile, if possible, widened.
For something as simple as getting out of bed, going out a door, and into a car, it took a lot of paperwork, and more time than was likely. 'Hurry up and wait' was the expression they'd used on The Farm to describe this kind of government expedient efficiency.
But eventually, the last piece of paper was signed, witnessed, stapled and filed, then the man she loved pushed her wheelchair – honestly she thought this was something that TV and movies made up, but no, she actually had to sit in a wheelchair – out to the mini-van waiting in the driveway.
"A mini-van?" Sarah asked. Not what she expected.
"Yeah," whispered Chuck conspiratively, "my sister thought so too. Her hot husband drives a mini-van..." his smile inches from hers. "Come on. Lets get you home."
Chuck thumbed the remote buzzer, and the garage door rose up. He paused to look at her and say, "Welcome home, love," before driving in and parking the van in the underground garage for the apartment complex.
She needed his arm in climbing the stairs from the garage to the courtyard for the apartments. The place looked nice, and the feature fountain was calling to her to rest on its ledge.
Chuck steered her to a doorway near the street entrance, "You OK?" he asked, concern clear in his voice.
"Just tired. More tired than thought, I guess," she answered.
As he was jiggling Devon's keys on approach, the door flew open, and Ellie squealed as she flew into the pair of them.
"Ooof! Hi sis," Chuck managed to calm Ellie down, never easy and he was a few years out of practice, as he guided Sarah into the building.
"You OK?" he asked Sarah, worry showing all over his face. "Do you want to lie down?"
"Just... just let me park my ass on the couch for a bit, I'll be fine."
He was worried, she was pale. He glanced at Ellie, and relaxed marginally, his awesome sister doctor had noticed too. Together, they guided Sarah to the couch. Sarah was asleep three minutes later.
"It's fairly normal, Chuck," said Ellie as they sipped coffee in the kitchen. Chuck opened his mouth and Ellie forestalled him, "she's had pretty major surgery. On of my lecturers once told me, when they were in residency, post op recovery was weeks. Now they like to get the patient out and home as soon as possible. She's tired. Let her sleep, let her heal."
Sarah had been hurt in the past as an agent. As both types of agent. Always, being hurt left you vulnerable, and as an agent, even when in an agency hospital, she'd been aware, even paranoid, of the potential of further harm.
Not this time, she floated in an easy, half sleep, Chuck and his sisters voices washing over her, comforting her. The smell of fresh coffee (and something delicious that smelled like cookies) had suddenly become home.
She woke to someone who loved her running his fingers over the stubble on her head. It reminded her she'd lost her hair, and she feared she'd lost her looks, but it also felt nice.
"Hi," he smiled down to her.
Her hand moved of its own accord, and found his, "Hi," she whispered back to him, as she moved his hand to her cheek, so she could nuzzle it. Who knew Sarah Walker knew how to nuzzle?
"We... we're gonna have some lunch, I thought you might..."
She was suddenly aware of her hunger, and she could smell...
"Home made lasagne, I hope you like..." came Ellie's voice from the kitchen.
"Lucky your sisters married, Chuck. Otherwise..." she said as Chuck helped her up. From his expression, she was worried for a moment that she'd broken him.
It didn't last, though. He found his voice as he helped Sarah to the table, "Apparently, Sarah likes Italian," he told Ellie.
After lunch, stupor hit her again. This time, Chuck suggested a one hour nap, and offered a proper bed. He led her to the spare bedroom that used to be his. The bed was rumpled from where he'd slept last night, and there were pictures and posters leaning against the wall. After checking one of the larger framed posters, and making a mental not to find out what a 'Tron' was, she started stripping her clothes off.
"You can't sleep in clothes Chuck," she told him with unassailable logic as she climbed under the sheet.
She wouldn't let him join her until he was properly naked too. She was a little pleased he didn't need a lot of convincing. She settled comfortably into the pillow that smelled a little like him, and wiggled her butt into his lap as he spooned her. His hand automatically found a comfortable bump to cup. Again she sighed contentedly, and thought about wiggling even more into his lap...
And then a few minutes, she said, "Chuck... it's very hard to sleep with that pulsing into my back. Roll over."
And a little over ten minutes later, she was spooning him as they slept, both smiling.
Chuck's idea of a 'one hour nap' actually lasted about two hours. Well, it wasn't like they had to be anywhere.
In the afternoon, they migrated to the living room, and suffered through Saturday afternoon TV, channel surfing. She wasn't up for a video game, and so Chuck began pawing through Ellie and Devon's video collection. Chuck suspected Sarah wasn't quite up to a full length movie at this stage, so he found a couple of TV series to offer. The one with the nerdy scientists living across the hall from a pretty girl, The Horrendous Space Kablooie Theory was a bit of a favourite, but they (Ellie and Devon) didn't have the season where Ranamad Rootah slept with the girl by accident. That left Chuck with the other option, Sam, about a guy who worked in retail who accidentally gets sucked into the spy world and falls in love with his handler, Claire. He hadn't seen it for a few years so he put the first disc in the machine.
"What's this about?" she wanted to know as he sat back on the couch.
Chuck opened his mouth, closed it and smiled. It was honestly unintentional, but the similarity hit him, "It's about a normal guy who falls in love with a beautiful spy," he smiled at her.
She nestled under his arm, as she curled up beside him, "Better be good, buster."
He seemed to be unnecessarily smug...
By the time the joke about 'Not an accountant' flashed on the screen, she was hooked. It was obvious that the pair on screen would get together forever in just an episode or two. Five, tops.
Devon made it home in time for dinner. Chuck looked at Ellie askance for offering Sarah a glass of wine, but his big sister just rolled her eyes, as big sisters are wont to do.
Sarah had her first glass of non-mission wine in more years than she cared to think about. She liked it, but it was the company that made it special.
After dinner, they assembled on the couch to watch TV. The first show, the myth the younger half were busting involved slamming what looked like a former F100, now attached to a rocket powered sled, into the rear of a mid sized Ford sedan. The slow-mo of the pick-up trying to wear the smaller car like a glove was one of the most hilarious things any of them had seen. After they sobered up, Chuck noted that Ellie and Devon approved of a full fledged 'Sarah belly laugh.' The next show they watched involved some Australian actor reprising a famous cop role set in Hawaii. At least he wore his shirt more in this season.
As they were going to bed, Sarah asked the question that had been hovering in the back of her mind.
"What's a 'Tron?'"
Chuck was frozen on the spot. His life, all his life, he'd been waiting for this moment... a beautiful girl had finally asked him...
And naturally, his sister ruined it for him.
"It's crap, but Chuck likes it," supplied Ellie with an evil smile.
Echo Park, CA, USA.
March 20th 2011
Sunday was pretty much a repeat of Saturday. She napped a few times, Chuck shared her post lunch snooze, only this time they didn't make love. And that was probably only because she fell asleep as soon as she hit the bed.
She was mildly obsessive compulsive, Chuck decided, as they finished off the first season of her new favourite TV show, Sam.
They settled into a 'home' routine very quickly. No real surprise there, in some ways, they'd been doing this for a while now. Except, she was Sarah, not Sam.
That hit him pretty hard, to his surprise. He knew Sam was Sarah, but...
And then she'd snuggled into his lap, just like Sam used to...
During the afternoon, Ellie noticed that someone was moving into the apartment across the courtyard.
"Mmm?" asked Chuck.
"New neighbour," said Ellie.
"Why is that odd?" asked Chuck.
"Sunday, idiot. Almost never see a moving van on Sundays."
Chuck didn't think much about it, but he did notice Sarah's expression. Maybe his sister was right...
Sarah rolled her eyes at the speed and subtlety that the family employed to watch the goings on across the way.
There was a large man wearing jeans and a tee in a manner that made him look uncomfortable directing where the boxes went. Sarah grunted in surprise. Chuck tried to quirk an eyebrow at her, and failed miserably as always, but he didn't know that.
"Casey," Sarah said. At Chuck's further scrunching of his entire face, she explained further, "He's going to be our baby sitter, I guess."
"Casey?" Chuck tasted the name, like a child trying to stare down a broccoli casserole.
"Never met him," explained Sarah, "but I've heard of him, you know... before... He was supposed to be a burn out, even then."
Chuck gave her a quick squeeze, and said, "Well, if he's going to be around, I guess I should go introduce myself."
Chuck discovered for the first, and definitely not the last, time that for a big man, Casey moved quietly.
"What do you want?" was menaced into his ear from behind, when Chuck could have sworn there was no-one there.
"Casey?" Chuck confirmed after a minor girlish squeal, an incredibly nimble pirouette and a frantic flailage of limbs. The man just grunted. Chuck took that as confirmation. "Hi, I'm Chuck. Chuck Barto-"
There was another grunt.
"-wski... I guess you're our new neighbour."
And that would be grunt number three. After a long moment of judgement from the older man, he actually allowed a recognisable articulation to pass his lips, and said, "So, you're the one, huh?"
Chuck blinked. Not what he expected, "The one what?" asked Chuck, seeking clarification.
"Walker," Casey tilted his head at the window full of Woodcombs peering out of the apartment, "the agency's wild card enforcer. She picked you."
Something about the way he said 'you' made Chuck want to check his sneaks to see if he'd trodden in something. "Uh... well we worked together for..."
"Yeah, I've been read in. Some crypto pinko rainforest whale hugger wrote that crap. Love for you saved her," Casey added either a snort, or choked on his own vomit. Chuck couldn't tell.
"Listen, this is my last assignment. You screw this up for me, you infest me with lady feelings and crap like that, I'll shoot you, the pair of you," again he tilted his head at Casa Woodcomb to include Sarah, "like I did Larkin once, and go have pancakes to celebrate."
"So why are you here?" Chuck asked, thinking how to also include a question about Bryce, but not sure if this was the right time.
"Someone thought I looked pasty," Casey sneered before entering his apartment, slamming the door at Chuck.
Chuck walked back home, "He's a happy man..." he told the questioning faces.
August 6th, 2011.
The wedding was simple and small. Because of Sarah's lack of available family, they kept things simple. Their wedding photos would show a beaming couple with the endless Pacific, mirroring a cloudless blue sky, surrounded by a small group, all happy for the pair in the centre. Sarah's hair had grown back to the point where she no longer looked as if she'd had brain surgery. She radiated happiness.
Afterwards, they drove back home for drinks which turned naturally into a party. Even the grumpy Casey was seen to chat amiably, nursing a longneck beer for a long time.
Chuck found out when he overheard Ellie talking to his wife.
Wife... it hadn't really hit him yet. Chuck Bartowski had a wife. So he wandered the group, grinning like an idiot at the thought. As he approached the two women in his life, he heard his sister say:
"...hate you, you know. You're going to be one of those horribly perfect women who don't show until your eight month..." only Ellie and Sarah were sharing a happy...
Chuck stopped dead in his tracks.
"...Eight month of what?" he croaked, suddenly having a fairly good idea about what the 'what' was.
Both women smiled a somewhat predatory smile at him. Chuck exposed his teeth in what he hoped was a smile, before both Ellie and Sarah burst out laughing at him. Ellie sobered up, patted him on the arm and went to join her husband.
Chuck tried catching flies by leaving his mouth open and not moving before Sarah gave him a depreciating smile and half whispered, "Surprise!"
Chuck wasn't sure how, but the next thing he knew was he held his wife in his arms and was grinning with her. Morgan, using a digital SLR he was 'product knowledging' from work, took the photo of that moment, which ended up being the mantle piece photo, and was agreed by all to be the defining shot of the wedding.
February 15th, 2012
Sam Stephen Bartowski was born healthy and pink and squishy. Chuck thought that Sarah was exhausted and beautiful.
April 26th, 2014
Lisa Emma Bartowski came into the world around two in the morning. Chuck was thinking he was used to the squishy look after the first one. He was wrong.
June 10th, 2015
Carina 'Kitty' Sarah Bartowski completed the trifecta of scaring the crap out of her father on her emergence into the world.
Screen shot from the obituary section of the Los Angeles Times, 28th October 2073
'Sarah Lisa Bartowski, the famous author, who wrote under the nom-deplume Samantha Walker, and senior patron of several animal shelters across the nation, was laid to rest today beside Charles, her late husband of 61 years, who had passed away from a heart attack only 12 days previously.
'Gathered for the ceremony, were fellow authors, delegates from her shelters alongside her friends and family. A guard of honour was provided by serving members of all of the armed forces in full dress uniform, hinting that perhaps some of the details of her well known espionage novels had a basis of personal experience.
'Mrs Bartowski is survived by her son, Sam and his family, and surviving daughter, Kitty and her children. The tragedy of her middle child, Lisa's 2062 death in a car crash at age 48, was well known to be the inspiration of the book (and box office smash) "The 405." Mrs Bartowski is also survived by six grand children and two great-grand children. All were present at the funeral.
'Mrs Bartowski's fame as an author began when her husband, whom she lovingly called Chuck, introduced her to a television show called 'Sam,' a short lived program that combined comedy and espionage. During her first pregnancy, Mrs Bartowski began posting amateur fiction online based on the characters of the show 'Sam.' Within a year, and despite the show having by then run its course, Mrs Bartowski had gain some prominence within the online 'fanfiction' community.
'Following the birth of their second child, and the success of her husband's electronics engineering company, Mrs Bartowski published her first novel, 'Wintermute' which mirrored her success from fan fiction, by combining elements of romance, sci-fi, spies and comedy. A formula she followed for the rest of her career.
'Little is known of Mrs Bartowski prior to her marriage, fuelling speculation that the accurate nature of the espionage elements of her work was based on some level of personal...'
What the obituary did not mention was that Chuck's business was building electronic widgets and software for use by the intelligence community. Like most things in life, it began almost by accident. While Sarah was pregnant with their second – Chuck loved to say that, he thought it made him sound... experienced – Chuck had taken young Sam over to 'Uncle' Casey's (they tried 'Uncka John,' but it didn't sit well with the nominal uncle).
Chuck had had to go visit Uncle Casey. If he hadn't, he suspected his hormonal wife might kill him. See, normally that is just a figure of speech. The chef's knife in the door frame – probably still going 'jong-ong-ong' – led Chuck to believe otherwise.
While they were over there, cooling their heels and watching Sam drink his juice, Chuck noticed that Casey was fiddling with the same internet tap he'd created the year previously.
"Hey, is that... yeah, I made that," Chuck said as he inspected the blue widget.
Casey gave Chuck a doubtful expression, but didn't say anything. He wasn't sure how much the small child beside the moron understood.
Chuck grinned, "It's true! This'll tap into a computer, and you get a parrot feed as well as cloning the computer, any server and other computer the same passwords are used on."
Casey studied the nerd on his couch for long enough for the nerd to start fidgeting. "Got anything else?" he asked.
Sam looked up at his daddy when he smiled, and his daddy said, "Well, I've got a couple of ideas that I never got around to..."
Eventually this would lead to a cover job for both Chuck and Casey. Chuck would design and build the gee-gaws and Casey as the Bartowski family handler, 'sold' them to the government. Within a year, they were doing quite well for themselves.
On that afternoon, after thrashing around the idea, young Sam got restless, and Chuck hoped that enough time had passed for his wife to have lost the urge to de-spleen him. He made sure Sam went through the door first, hoping the likelihood of bloodshed would be mitigated by the sight of their first born. And at the age of two, Sam was too short to be a human shield, so it wasn't really cowardice.
The kitchen was a mess. Sarah was enthusiastic, but otherwise hopeless in the kitchen. When she saw him come in, she gave a little sad smile. He grinned annoyingly as he approached her, and wiped the flour off her sad little face, and found her beaming underneath the mess. Three seconds later, he had flour on his face too. And his hair. Afterwards, they found some inside his clothes too.
'Uncle' Casey was the kids' favourite as they grew up. He taught them how to 'ghost walk' and otherwise sneak up behind their daddy. Mommy always thought that was a good game, and often joined in, daddy played along too. Often he needed a little sit down afterwards.
At the 2036 marriage of Lisa to her young man John, Uncle Casey gave a speech where he informed the assembled friends and relatives that Lisa's parents were 'the most disgustingly in love pair he'd ever had the misfortune to encounter.' He then wished the same disgustingness on Lisa and John, and hoped they would be as good a friend to their friends as Chuck and Sarah were to him.
Brig. Gen. John Casey (USMC, Ret.) died in 2040 aged seventy eight after a short illness. He was buried with full military honours. Chuck Bartowski accepted the folded flag with tears streaming down his face. The Bartowski and Woodcomb clans, their children and (at that stage) three grand children wept openly for their favourite adopted uncle.
Sunday March 20, 2011 (reprise)
On that first Sunday that Chuck and Sarah began the rest of their lives together, Ellie and Devon had gone to bed early, both having surgery the next morning. Chuck realised that his currently short stubbled blonde goddess had fallen asleep probably about an hour ago.
He would have loved to have done the romantic carry-her-to-bed routine, but he was a lanky nerd, and frankly didn't want to drop her. He woke her with a kiss to the forehead.
"Hey," he said when she opened her eyes.
She held him captivated in her gaze, and he forgot what he was going to say. And then a random thought lodged itself in his brain, and found his mouth without any effort, or filter, on his behalf.
So, as his mouth opened to ask, she beat him to it, by a whisker.
"Chuck, will you marry me?"
"Sarah, do you want to mar..."
Silence, followed by a dawning realization as defined by a pair of spreading stupid grins.
As the kiss continued, Chuck discovered he could safely carry his fiancée to bed in his arms.
Thank you, this strange story of mine has generated the most traffic, reviews (my first 100+ and a shout out to Katsumara for being my chronologically first 100th reviewer), alerts and favourites. I humbly thank you all for reading something that I keep just making up as I went along.
(I did personally enjoy writing the chapter with Sarah breaking into the office, and a little bit of Charah on the rooftop. So, certain not-so-subtle Twitter fans (you know who you are), I'm not ruling out returning to this 'verse with an occasional one-shot. Nor am I promising anything either...)