All dialogue (save one little word at the end) and situations are taken from Chuck vs. the Goodbye (one of the best episodes ever made!), written by Chris Fedak. No copyright infringement is intended—I just want to show how much I admire this genius story and these endearing, enduring characters.


January, 2012

"You know, Morgan has this crazy idea."

Hope. Astonishing hope, so powerful she'd never have known it was her own, flared up within her, mimicking the water crashing and retreating on the sand before them, urging her closer and closer to the man sitting beside her, separated from her by mere inches and five years of history. Hope...and reluctant wariness, like its own form of dampening sand.

Hope because all the words he'd been spilling before her like dreams, like every unconscious wish she'd never allowed herself to have but had anyway, like treasures that he could give out to her so easily only because he was rich with them…they'd filled her up to the brim so that she was willing to snatch at anything—everything, even the name of a porn star—anything that could make her, too, rich with those beautiful, coveted treasures.

But wary because he wanted it—wanted her so badly, so desperately, and she didn't know what to do when confronted with so much open, pure emotion.

So she looked at him cautiously because to do otherwise would be to reveal how much she wanted too, how much she wished he had a quick fix for this terrible situation, and she asked, "What is it?" because she couldn't not ask.

His story—their story—still echoed in her ears, embodied by the emotions he had showed so clearly through it that she had laughed and cried more than she had in her entire life, colored by the smell of the sea air and the feel of cool, shifting sand beneath her and the warmth of the rising sun and the feel of his…his loving eyes on her, longing, yearning, yet content just to look at her, just to be the one she could rely on, to be the person she could call, to be the one person she could count on.

She'd never had anyone who could be that for her. Ever. Not her dad, not the CIA, not Bryce. No one.

Except, apparently, she has had that person. For the past five years. Sleeping beside her, eating dinner with her, laughing with her, working beside her, dreaming dreams of the future—a future that extended so much further than the end of their next mission—with her, talking to her with the soothing voice and comforting cadence she knew she could easily listen to for hours without end.

He shifted a bit but looked at her anyway. He was curled up on himself, clasping his wrist in his opposite hand, elbows propped up on his knees. A calming, placating position as if he wanted to gentle her, to lure her in from the wild, to convince her he meant her no harm. It was a self-defensive position, as if he were afraid of being hurt, afraid to give away how much he was feeling, afraid to let her know how vulnerable he really was, afraid to reveal just how completely he wanted her, the whole her, back.

"He thinks that with one kiss, you'll remember everything."

The idea was absurd. It was like one of those animated movies about princesses locked in towers or cursed to eternal sleep or trapped in palaces with beasts, movies her dad had always sneered at. It was so ridiculous it didn't even deserve a response. It was a solution that had no place in the real world bounded about by logic and agencies and mission plans and acceptable casualties.

But this man—Chuck, her Chuck, he'd called himself, she remembered with a pang she couldn't explain, as deep and biting as if it had touched on something buried within her, and surely it must have because why else would she have let him get so close to her in the Intersect room?—this Chuck was looking at her, and strong as he was trying to be, as calm as he wanted to portray himself, she remembered how lost he had looked in the courtyard when she had told him she believed him but didn't love him. And she knew…one word from her could shatter him, could tear him up and destroy everything about him and suck all the life from him, could transform his smile into a look of hurt anguish.

And just as she had known that the Wienerlicious counter in Berlin had been set up wrong, she knew that that look from him could very well break her. She had, in the past few days of this pseudo-glance into what was, to her, the future, grown accustomed to seeing pained disappointment and ineptly concealed hurt on his face. She had also, within instants of seeing it the first time, grown to hate that look on his face as passionately as she had ever hated anything in her life.

So she didn't dismiss his suggestion out of hand. Instead, she looked away to regain her composure, and she laughed, and she said, "One magical kiss?"

But her look away wasn't disdainful, her laugh wasn't scornful, and her question wasn't disbelieving.

Because she had seen her recorded self admitting to feelings and relaying accounts of their days together and sporting expressions on her face that she'd never have believed if she hadn't seen for herself, like looking into a mirror unfettered by the rules of time.

Because she didn't feel anything whenever she reminded herself that Bryce was dead, yet she felt skydivers dance in the pit of her stomach whenever Chuck smiled at her, had felt flames burn enticingly through her veins when he held her close on that dance floor, had hardly been able to take her eyes off him since she'd started believing him—or even before if she were honest—had felt the world threaten to implode when he had taken that bullet for her, had gasped with the pain that struck so unexpectedly deep when he'd looked at her with wide eyes and blurted, "You're escaping without me?"

Because something inside of her, some half-felt, half-imagined silhouette within her, resounded at the sound of this Chuck—her Chuck, she found herself thinking possessively—telling her the story of the past—future—five years, revealing gorgeous, breathtaking details like pizzas without olives and Lisa's your middle name and your dad finally came through for you and unpacking because you said I was your home and I proposed and you didn't even have to say your answer aloud and your mom and your sister and our dream home has a white picket fence. Details that made that inward silhouette strengthen and take on color. Details that made her heart stutter whenever she met his enthralling, enspelling, enamored green-brown eyes.

And if all these things could be true, if this story about her falling in love with a man too good and pure and innocent and selfless to be real could be true…then couldn't a magical kiss be true?

He laughed too, but there wasn't a smile on his face, and she knew—without knowing how she knew—that he always concealed hurt or disappointment with humor. "Yeah, it's..." He looked away, nervous and shy and awkward, but trying to cover it up. Afraid and lost and desperate and grieving but pretending he wasn't…for her sake. His tone, when he spoke, was utterly wistful and she couldn't bear to let him be sad anymore. Couldn't keep frustrating herself by trying to grab hold of that elusive silhouette that was and had everything she wanted and needed.

"Chuck," she interrupted firmly, surprised herself by the decisiveness imbuing her tone.

"Yeah?" he asked, and she hesitated. Because this was big. This was momentous. This was the difference between the life of dutiful aloneness she remembered and a life loving and being loved by Chuck Bartowski and what if this magical kiss didn't work? What if he was disappointed yet again and she was forced to go back to this in-between life she'd been trapped in for two interminable weeks? What if this all turned out to be a mirage that vanished once she reached for it?

But that was a fear that didn't fit in with the her Chuck had told her about, the her that wore a wedding ring and cooked dinner and hugged people freely and had a husband who welcomed her perennially cold feet and sacrificed his greatest desire for others. It was a fear that didn't feel as strong as it should have if her best memories had been more than transiently erased.

So it was easy, then, to look into his tentative, sad, concerned, hopeful eyes. Easy to give him her response. Easy to make the request that felt so familiar to her heart and fell from her lips with the ease of long practice.

"Kiss me."

Plea or command, she couldn't tell, but it didn't matter because he would have done the same thing for either one.

She could have sworn she'd seen his tiny smile a million times before. Would have been happy to wake up to the sight of it every day for the rest of the life. Thought it would be heaven she'd never thought could be hers if she could be the cause of it.

"You'd remember that a nerdy guy like me who works at the Buy More could make you happy," he'd told her so earnestly when all his walls and facades—meager as they were—had been tossed aside as if he didn't need them with her, didn't mind being vulnerable before her, couldn't imagine being anything else with her.

She knew, though, with unwavering certainty, that the question wasn't whether he could make her happy—that was as obvious as his goodness—but whether she—hurt and broken and locked away behind self-imposed walls and now so obviously, tragically damaged—could she make someone as perfect and sincere as him happy? Could she make his eyes light up and his lips curve into a smile and his heart beat faster, just by being her? Could she ever be good enough for him?

One kiss.

One magical kiss to restore five years of a magical life with a magical man who had a magical family that had once, magically, been hers.

They had kissed before, Chuck and Sarah Bartowski.

But she, Sarah Walker…she didn't remember ever kissing him. Part of her—the part still entranced by how close he had been to her and how electric his touch had felt on that dance floor in Berlin—raged at the thought of losing such precious, beautiful memories, but most of her was locked onto the fact that now she would get to experience a first kiss with him again, this time without fear of death tapping impatiently on their shoulders. Ironic, really, considering that they had had to have a second first date as well.

She spared a thought to wonder if he had told her that or if she had remembered it on her own, and then his hand, warm and long and firm, settled on her back and all thought fled.

He tilted his head toward her slowly, so slowly, as if afraid to startle her or maybe he wanted to savor this just as much as she did. After all, she had lost memories, but he…he had lost his wife. Worse, he had been attacked by the woman who looked and sounded and smelled and felt exactly like his wife, had been asked to lead her to her death, had been expected to let her go after everything he'd done to win her, had been faced at every turn with her agonizing ignorance of him and her apparent lack of feeling for him.

His touch was so light, his breaths against her face ticklish and light as air…yet she was awed by his strength. His eyes were gentle, tender, soft…yet she was amazed at how much power he held over her.

She didn't know if this kiss would bring her memories back to her. But she did know that she didn't need memories to fall in love with this man. She thought that maybe she was already in love with him, had fallen in love with him sometime after he'd given her a massage in their bedroom and before he'd taken her to their dream home and offered up his life to prove his love.

Her eyes fluttered closed as she inhaled the scent of his breath, flavored with so-familiar peppermint and too-tragic tears, and the instant before his lips touched hers, she was filled with a plethora of emotions, all of them different and new and striking resonating chords with that growing, strengthening, ever-more-familiar shape within her.

Then his lips touched hers, melded effortlessly with hers, and she was flying free, unhindered by any of the handicaps and flaws of the her-that-had-been. She was grounded, made whole and safe and completely at home and comfortable in her own skin.

She drank from him as if she'd been thirsty but hadn't realized it, savoring each touch of his soft lips, lingering over every instant of it, contemplating the kiss in all its facets and realizing that it was exactly, precisely, completely…perfect.

Then his hand rose to caress the line of her cheek and thread through her hair, and her breath was sucked out of her, but that was okay because he had breath enough for both of them, cradling her, shutting out the rest of the world, making a paradise for them both. His arms, though not overly muscular, were strong enough to protect her from anything, even herself. His lips, though nothing like Bryce's or any other man's she had kissed, were enough to banish all evils, even her own lack of memories. His warmth, though blunted a bit by the brisk air about them, was enough to counter any chill, no matter how deep. His gentleness, so unique and new and awe-inspiring, was enough to smooth out all the sharp edges her life had bestowed on her. His heart, unearthing and reviving and meeting hers, was enough, more than enough, to bring that shadowed silhouette within her into the forefront, fierce and strong and passionate and whole and so, so real.

He kissed her, and she knew—she knew she loved him. She knew he was her everything.

He kissed her, and she never wanted him to stop, never wanted to leave his embrace, never wanted to move from this moment. But this moment would inevitably end, she knew, and that was okay after all because with him…with him, she had a future.

When she finally pulled away to look into his eyes, she brought up a hand to his face, marveling at the feel of his skin, the captivating contradictions of smooth skin and hints of rough stubble, the hope and love in his beautiful eyes that spoke so eloquently though no words passed his lips.

The sunrise behind them was lighter and freer and clearer than the one they had first shared together on the morning this beach had become so important to them, when the obstacles they had yet to face then had loomed before them with such a thin sliver of hope to be found. Now, this more pastel, freer dawn, mingled with a hundred closely linked shades, colored his features with a lighting that suited him impeccably, highlighting all his good qualities—and there were so many of those.

He didn't speak, but he didn't have to. His face spoke for him. His touch spoke for him. His heart spoke for him.

And she smiled, then, because she didn't have to disappoint him anymore. She smiled because from now on, she would make him smile. She smiled because she was real and alive and safe and whole and nothing would ever change that. She smiled because she knew he would smile back at her.

"Chuck," she whispered, and it was enough. Enough to make him shine brighter than the cresting sun. Enough to make him happy enough to tighten his hold on her and lean forward without any hint of concern and kiss her again, a kiss that tasted of joy and beauty and a past and a present and a future and a love large enough to encompass them all.

One kiss.

One magical kiss.

But now that everything was clear, she knew the truth. It wasn't the kiss that was magical…it was him.

And like one of those princesses, she basked in his magic and gave her nerd in shining armor a healing kiss of his own.

And she was, finally and wholly, happy. Because she, Sarah Walker, was enough for Chuck Bartowski. And if that wasn't magic, then nothing was.

The End

A/N: Thanks for reading-I hope you all enjoyed this look back at the seasons of this amazing show! I'd love to hear what you thought of the story!