"Chuck...Chuck...Hey Chuck."

He blinks and shakes his head out, looking up at Morgan from his spot underneath the bedroom window in his and Sarah's apartment.

"Oh. Sorry, buddy. I was miles away."

Morgan grins. "I could tell. It's too bad this place isn't on the first floor."

"It's New York," Chuck says. "I don't think there are any first floor apartments."

"Still. I miss our traditional game of Escape Chuck's Birthday Party."

Chuck laughs softly and rests his head on his knee.

Morgan smiles triumphantly. "Ready to come out? Some of your new S.H.I.E.L.D buddies are here and let me tell ya, they do not get along with your old UNIT crew. Something about acronyms."

Chuck nods and grins. "I'll be out in a minute."

"Okay but hurry up!" Morgan calls as she dashes away from the doorway.

Chuck closes his eyes and breathes in; breathes in the changes and the freedom of feeling almost like a whole person again.

He feels more than hears Sarah standing in the doorway.

"You're missing your own birthday."

"It happens."

He hears her smile. "The natives are getting restless."

"They'll live."

"They might not if they tear apart my nice new apartment."

Sarah's voice is teasing and gentle and when he hears her footsteps coming closer, Chuck opens his eyes and gazes up at her.

It hadn't been exactly easy to dive back into their relationship. They did a lot of fighting between leaving the hospital and moving into Chuck's London flat together and then moving out of London in favor of New York. But it had all been worth it to get to this place and this time; to be these people and to have this life together.

And working together again, though their new jobs are a little nuts, is also worth it.

She reaches down and takes his hands, pulling him to his feet, and he purposefully stumbles forward and slumps against her.

Sarah gives a short, soft laugh, and he gives something akin to a purr, which surprises him, and he stops, feeling a little confused.

"What was that?" Sarah asks with another laugh.

"I don't know. The sound of happy I guess."

She smiles and kisses him softly. "Come on, birthday boy."

When she turns to leave he pulls her back in and kisses her again; soft and slow and when she pulls away, she's a little flushed and clinging to the sleeve of his shirt.

Chuck takes a deep breath and grins.

"Okay," he says. "Now I'm ready."


Thank you so much to everyone who has read and reviewed. I hope you enjoyed the ride as much as I did.

The Title and Chapter Title are taken from Regina Spektor's "Machine"

Thank you again!