Author's Note: Well, here we are: the end of Chuck: Recalled to Life. This started out as a simple one-shot at a time when I was blocked with another story and the idea for chapter 1 popped into my head; that original chapter took me about half an hour to write and post, it had absolutely no story beyond it. Now, here we are, twenty chapters later. It was hard at times, because of the whole having no idea where it was going thing, but this has become my favorite story to write and I'm going to miss it. I'm actually really happy with where and how I'm ending it. I do wish I had developed it more from the start but, then, I think it would have turned into a different story and I wouldn't want that. So, for the last time, here's chapter 20:
Recalled to Life
January 6, 2017
"Congrats, man," Devon offered happily.
"Yeah, Chuck," Ellie agreed, albeit more subdued, "that's great for you guys." Her smile, though small, was genuine when she looked over to Sarah.
They had managed to avoid Ellie and Devon for almost a week, but they finally realized it was a losing proposition trying to avoid them any longer. There just weren't any excuses left: it was time. So they had accepted the invitation to Friday night dinner and agreed to tell the Woodcombs about the engagement.
Chuck and Sarah had hoped to wait until after dinner to drop the news, but Ellie's ever-sharp eye had caught the shine of the diamond on Sarah's hand as soon as she'd answered the door.
So, there they stood, on Ellie's door, being congratulated on their impending nuptials.
"Thank you, guys," Sarah responded for both of them. "We're really excited," she said with a wide smile.
Well, at least that was over with, thought Chuck.
"We have to celebrate this properly," Devon said enthusiastically. "Be right back. I'm grabbing us a bottle of wine."
Chuck and Sarah exchanged a quick, uneasy glance between them; it wasn't quick enough.
Ellie caught it and stared at them inquiringly. "What was that?" She asked. "Is something wrong?" Devon turned back and waited for a response alongside his wife.
They hadn't planned on telling them this part of the news just yet. How the hell had they overlooked something as simple as alcohol consumption in front of other people? Of course Devon would want to celebrate; he was practically a walking high-five. And, when did his sister get so observant? Chuck and Sarah looked at each other, wordlessly debating their options.
Devon looked on expectantly while Ellie raised an eyebrow. "Well?"
Finally, Sarah gave in and nodded. They'd had a couple of weeks and this was always going to come out sooner or later. Now was as good a time as any to break the news to her future in-laws. Chuck dipped his head, acquiescing to Sarah's decision. They both turned to face Ellie and Devon. "Okay, guys," Sarah had a small, bashful smile on her face as Chuck started, "Sarah—"
Before he could finish, Ellie's eyes went wide and she gasped, immediately clasping a hand over her mouth.
Chuck and Sarah's faces contorted in confusion as they looked at each other. He shrugged slightly at the question he guessed would be on Sarah's mind. They shifted their attention back to Ellie. "What?" He asked his sister.
"She's pregnant!" Ellie exclaimed unable to control herself.
"How did you...?"
That was all the confirmation Devon needed from Chuck. "Dude, that's awesome!" He boisterously voiced his opinion as he went in for a congratulatory hug.
It had been a long time since Chuck or Sarah had heard that particular phrase.
Before she could do anything to stop herself, Ellie threw her arms around Sarah and engulfed her in the mother of all hugs. "Oh my god, Sarah!"
For her part, Sarah went rigid in place at the unexpected physical contact from the elder Bartowski. This was one reaction she did not expect from Ellie. Granted their relationship had improved over the last few weeks, but she had no idea they were at the "hugging" stage yet. Apparently, someone forgot to tell that to Ellie. After the initial shock wore off, Sarah tentatively hugged Ellie back.
Ellie felt Sarah's reaction and awkwardly let go and backed off, remembering they weren't exactly best friends. "Sorry," she said after clearing her throat. "I don't know what came over me," she offered lamely.
Chuck smirked knowingly at Sarah. "Told you," he simply stated. Sarah mockingly mimicked his facial expression.
Westside Medical Center
August 21, 2017
"Agh!" She cried out for what seemed like the millionth time. The time had come... hours before... and, for some god-forsaken reason, it kept lingering, stagnantly mocking her. If Sarah could get her hands on evolution, she would kick its ass into the next millennium for making her go through the pain of labor. She knew pain well, after all, she'd been an agent for years; she'd been tortured, shot, stabbed, blown up, but this... this was a whole new kind of hell. This is what natural childbirth was? Why had she ever refused the epidural! She should have listened to Ellie. But nobody messed with Sarah Walker, not even biology. She was going to get through this on her own, and she was going to make childbirth her bitch...
"Honey!" Chuck managed to groan out. "Honey... you're kind of crushing my hand here," he said pleadingly.
She growled in response and held on tighter. "You did this to me," she spat menacingly.
Chuck was sure her vice-like grip had already crushed his precious little bones but there was no way he was complaining anymore. Sarah had a crazed look in her eyes and, even with the Intersect, he was not at all confident he could take her in a fight right then.
"Okay, Sarah," the doctor raised his head to look at her, "I can see her head."
"Really?" She asked between pained breaths.
"Yes," he nodded. "You've done great. A couple more pushes and you'll finally get to meet your daughter," he assured.
Sarah found a renewed vigor and pushed as hard as she could. "Agh!"
"That's it, Sarah. Just one... more... push," the doctor urged. "That's it!" He said excitedly as the small infant came into the world. He raised her so that Sarah could see her daughter. She didn't cry but she squirmed in the doctor's hands.
"Oh my god..." After she caught a glimpse, Sarah fell back onto the bed from exhaustion.
The nurse came over with scissors and cloths to clean up the newborn. The doctor looked to Chuck, who was gently tending to his throbbing hand. "Would you like to do the honors?" He asked as he offered Chuck the scissors.
Chuck reached out with a smile and took a step, before promptly passing out. The doctor's brow rose in surprise. The nurse shrieked in concern.
"Oh... Chuck," Sarah remarked, shaking her head in disbelief.
By the time he came to, he was in a chair; his daughter had been cleaned up; her umbilical cord had been severed; and she was being wrapped in the standard hospital-issue baby blanket. "There," the nurse said. "All done." She walked around the bed and gently handed the infant to Sarah. "I'm sure you want some time with your daughter before we take her for her tests," she said with a smile.
"Thank you," Sarah replied but she wasn't looking at the nurse. She had been mesmerized by the delicate creature she now held in her arms. The love she immediately felt for her daughter was indescribable. She was a bald little thing, for the most part, with only a thin layer of brown hair adorning her head, contrasting the pinkish complexion visible everywhere else. Sarah couldn't wait for her to open her eyes so she could discover what awaited behind those closed lids.
"She's beautiful," Chuck breathed in awe as he came to stand next to the bed, peering down at his daughter.
"Yes... she is," Sarah said, even as the tears formed in her eyes and the knot formed in her throat. A short strangled laugh escaped her as she softly brushed her daughter's hair. She'd never been happier.
September 30, 2017
It was a small ceremony. Neither of them had all that many people they wanted there for the occasion anyway. Carina had flown in the week after Sarah gave birth and hadn't gotten around to leaving. She insisted that she was only sticking around because it was too much fun watching Sarah deal with being a mom, but Sarah could tell there was a longing there, a longing she had once felt. She wasn't going to deny her friend what little normalcy she could get. Maybe she was finally ready to leave her job.
So there Carina stood, along with Devon, Ellie, Morgan, his wife, Casey, Ilsa, Mary, and Stephen. The church was small but that just made it intimate. They didn't need big and flashy.
Chuck and Sarah stood, holding hands, before the Justice of the Peace, their friends and family surrounding them. No one saw the need to sit.
"We are gathered here today to join—"
The official was cut off by Sarah. "Sorry to interrupt but can we speed things up?" She was eager to get back to her little girl who was sleeping comfortably in the arms of Carina. For all intents and purposes, they were already married at this point anyway; this was now just a technicality they had to rectify.
"Uh...sure," he replied. "Do either of you have anything you want to say?"
"One day, right, Chuck?" Sarah asked with a sparkle in her eye.
"Absolutely," he replied with conviction, as he remembered their once conversation at a certain fountain long ago. It was all they needed to say. They looked at each other with smiles on their faces.
The Justice waited for them to speak again, but nothing came. "Okay, well," he started as he looked between them. "Charles Irving Bartowski, do—"
"I do," Chuck cut him off.
He just went with it at that point; he was getting paid either way. "The ring?" Clara made her way forward and offered up the platinum band to Chuck.
Chuck took it and placed it on Sarah's finger at the Justice's nod.
"Now," he turned to Sarah, "Sarah—"
Not to be outdone, she cut him off even sooner than Chuck had when she replied, "I do."
He didn't even bother to speak; he just motioned for the other band with his hand. Sarah took it from Clara and placed it on Chuck's finger.
"Okay, that's that then," the man remarked flatly. "Husband, wife," he said with a flick of his hand to each, respectively. Chuck and Sarah stood there waiting. Then it hit him. "Oh, now you want me to do my job? Fine." he huffed. "You may now kiss the bride."
Sarah grinned wide as Chuck came in for their first kiss as husband and wife, officially.
October 31, 2017
They pulled up to Ellie's; Chuck immediately noticed his father's car parked in front of them. He sighed wearily.
"What's the matter?" Sarah, having taken note of his change in mood, asked as she removed her seatbelt.
He pointed with his finger. "My parents are here," he said.
"So I told my dad we were coming over tonight; I didn't say they should, too," he replied with a hint of annoyance.
"It's okay, Chuck," Sarah soothed.
"No, it isn't. Ellie's probably going to go passive-aggressive on me as soon as we get in there," he argued.
"I don't see why," Sarah commented. "I mean, she's the one that invited your mom over."
Chuck nearly got whiplash from the speed at which he turned his head towards Sarah. "Wait, what?" The shock written clearly all throughout his face.
"Ellie invited your parents over so they could see their grand-kids all dressed up," Sarah repeated. She scrunched her brow in confusion, "She didn't tell you?"
Chuck shrugged. "We don't exactly talk about mom and dad." He thought for a second. "She told you?"
"Yeah, we were talking the other day," Sarah began, "she noticed how much time they're spending with their newest grand-kid and she felt she should let Clara spend time with them too, you know, so she wouldn't feel left out."
"Wow, that's big," Chuck noted.
"Yeah, she's even working on forgiving your mom and dad," Chuck's eyebrows shot up as far as they could go. "She did warn them if they ever pulled a disappearing act on Clara, they had better stay gone but they're slowly working on things."
"I didn't know any of this," Chuck said sadly. "We don't talk about these kinds of things anymore."
"I'm sure Ellie or your parents would have told you," Sarah stated.
He shook his head. "It's not just that," he said. "All I talk about with people are superficial things. I'm not who I used to be, I can't open up like I used to," he mourned.
"Chuck, you can't expect to be your old self this soon," she assuaged his worry. "Give it time."
"I'm not sure I can ever get back to who I was. I'm not sure I can ever be the man you fell in love with again."
"Then this is just who you are now," Sarah said nonchalantly. "There's nothing wrong with that. Yes, the old Sarah did fall in love with the old Chuck," she continued, "but those two made a mess of things and they hurt each other and I don't miss them at all," she argued. "The new Sarah loves the new Chuck," she put a hand on his cheek, "I love you; you have given me a beautiful daughter, a family, and that's all that matters to me," she affirmed. Chuck smiled gratefully. "Now come on, they're expecting us," Sarah noted as she saw the front door open. Clara stood at the door in her Wookie costume, looking on expectantly.
Chuck watched as his wife removed their daughter, in her tiny Ewok costume, from her car seat: A sight he wouldn't trade for the world. Maybe Sarah was right, maybe he no longer needed to be who he had been; maybe he just needed to figure out who he was now.
He wasn't a twenty-five year old retired millionaire and he didn't own a boat; he wasn't a cheater; he wasn't a loser; he wasn't an asset; nor was he a traitor. For the first time in his life, he was exactly who he wanted to be: Chuck Bartowski, family man, and he couldn't be happier...
Author's Note: So, I have now officially been on this site for a year. I've come a long way from that initial visit when I had no idea what I would find here. This has been a unique experience for me. I'm happy to say I have found some really great stories and countless hours of entertainment, along with some good, friendly people. The show's just coming to an end now but, for me, seasons 1 and 2 of Chuck were something really special, something that I will probably never experience again with a TV show, and they're what have kept me writing this long. The cast and the heart the show had were great, refreshing, and captivating. Not even Stargate, my favorite show for the decade before Chuck, ever came close to the love I had for this show, and I basically grew up with SG-1. I hate that this is the way they chose to go out, I really do. "Love letter to the fans?" Fuck. You. For ever uttering those words. But I am grateful for those first two seasons, when the show was full of possibilities, and I'll always look back on them fondly.