Hi everyone! I feel like I haven't published anything in months, and this is pretty different than what I normally do, so I'm a little nervous about this one. It's basically my finale therapy in fanfiction form. A big thanks to my friend Amy for her feedback, and please keep in mind that these little snapshots were not written in this order, so sorry if the transitions are a little shaky.
I hope you all enjoy it, and please review!
She's lost her wedding ring. Or she thinks she has, anyway.
She's already crying because she can't believe what she's done to her husband – to her family – in the past few weeks, and the crying seems to intensify times ten when she realizes she doesn't know where she left the beautiful rings he's given her. She took them off when she was too scared to think about their importance. Now all she wants is their weight back on her finger.
He tries to calm her as she begins tearing apart the green hotel room. She's apologizing over and over for so carelessly tossing something so significant aside. His words to her – It's okay. Slow down. We'll find them. I promise. Baby, please stop crying. – go in one ear and out the other.
"What if we can't find them, Chuck?" she sobs as she gives up and dumps the whole damn suitcase onto the floor. She throws herself to the carpet and starts rooting through the spilled contents.
"We will," Chuck promises, calmly checking the drawers. "If we can't, I'll buy you a new one."
"I don't want a new one, and I don't want another twist-tie. I want mine," she cries.
"Then we'll find them." It takes everything he has in him not to kiss her when she brings up the twist-tie rings they got married with.
After nearly 40 minutes of searching, he finds her rings in a little jewelry box, tucked with care in the back corner of a bathroom cabinet. He walks out with the rings in his palm, and she slumps against the side of the torn-apart bed in exhaustion, tears of relief spilling down her cheeks. He gets down on one knee next to her.
"Sarah Lisa Walker Bartowski," he says softly. "Will you be my wife?"
She smiles and lets out a strangled sigh. She only remembers little pieces of their life together, but her feelings… oh, she has all of her feelings, and the details don't matter tonight because she feels like his wife and she wants to be his Sarah for the rest of her life. He sits on the floor and slides the rings, together, onto her finger before pulling her onto his lap for a sweet kiss.
"You and I never made love in here, did we?" she asks him as he pulls away and dries her tears.
"No," he answers.
"Do you, um…do you maybe…want to change that?" she asks.
He gives her a wicked grin, tinged with hints of disbelief (he didn't think they would be doing this again so soon) and pulls her in for another kiss.
She climbs into the wrong side of bed.
It's their first night back at home since the beach, and walking into his room to find her body on his side throws him off, but it's the side she slept on before they became a real couple, and he knows she probably just sunk into bed without thinking about it, so he doesn't say anything. He just walks around the mattress and crawls into the side she used to claim as hers. Sarah moves towards him, and he holds out his arm. They meet in the middle, and she curls into his side. He wraps his arm gently around her body and kisses her forehead as he feels her relax into his embrace.
"We do this a lot, don't we?" she asks after a little while.
He smiles. "We can cuddle with the best of them. Are you remembering?"
Her face changes. She looks like she's about to disappoint him. "Not…anything specific. Just more feelings…I don't know how this is possible, but you feel like home. I feel safe here."
"Well, it's a start," he smiles.
"And I've had this song in my head all night," she says. She pauses for a moment before singing the first few lines of "Feeling Good." Chuck smiles down at her. Her voice is beautiful. She looks at him when she's finished singing and says, "That's my favorite song. That's our song."
She doesn't ask him. She tells him. She knows.
"That right," Chuck says. "We listened to that song the first time we spent the night together in this room…our first night together as a real couple, that is."
"I remember that," she says as her face lights up.
"You do?" Chuck asked, his face matching hers.
"I stole your boxers because we didn't go to my hotel after we got back to the states, and you kissed me all night."
"Yeah, I did," Chuck grinned. "And you looked sexy in my clothes."
He hugs her a little bit closer, and they're still for a couple moments, reveling in the shared memory. Sarah finally wiggles herself out of his arms. His face looks concerned, but she quickly assuages his fears. He worries she's decided this is too much, too fast, and she'd be better off in what's soon-to-be Morgan's old room, but she simply crawls over his body, pausing for a sweet kiss as she climbs atop him, and falls over, settling onto 'her' side of the bed. They share her pillow, and her feet rest warmly cocooned in his.
General Beckman sets them up with a team of CIA specialists dedicated to the inner-workings of the Intersect and its effects on the human brain. The general won't admit it, but she's as devastated as the rest of them by what's happened to Sarah, and she tells Chuck that despite the many headaches they've caused her over the years, she wants to help them get their happiness back.
Sarah Walker is many things, but a good patient is not one of them. It's a week of medical inquiries for her and therapy sessions for both of them and living in a CIA medical facility in Washington, DC, and Chuck dodging deadly looks from his wife when he tells her they want to run yet another test.
"Chuck, this is getting ridiculous!" she cries after the fourth consecutive day of seemingly dead-end assessments. "I want to go home. This isn't working."
"Baby, we don't know what's going to help," Chuck says. "You've already come so far, Sarah. First, you didn't believe anything. Then you believed it but you didn't feel it, and then after the beach, you felt it but you didn't remember all of it, and I know you're remembering more and more every day, and that's great, but if there might be a way to get it all back faster, don't you want to try?"
His voice had grown shaky by the end of his plea, and it's the first time she really realizes that what's happened to her isn't just hard for her…that it might actually be harder for him. His sad face breaks her and she nods, sinking down onto the couch next to him. At the end of the week, they sit down with the lead on Sarah's case. Chuck grips Sarah's hand and asks for the prognosis.
"This is a unique case, obviously," the doctor says. "Certainly something we've never seen before. If I had to put it in medical terms, I'd say she's somewhere between dissociative amnesia, which is the confusion over personal identity due to an inability to recall one's past, and source amnesia, the inability to recall contextual information surrounding facts."
"So what does all of that mean?" Chuck asked. "Can she remember it all? Or is some of it…gone?"
"There is good news," he said. "Her memory is coming back. I haven't seen anything to indicate that she won't be able to make a full recovery. We just can't put a timeline to it."
"So what can we do to help me recover?" Sarah asks.
"Not much, I'm afraid," he says. "It's important that the memories come back on their own."
"So that's it?" Chuck asks, his voice heavy. He looks at his wife and whispers, "I wanted a miracle."
"I know," Sarah whispers sadly. "I did, too."
Sarah holds out her hand as the plane back to California takes off. They spend the flight in a silent disappointment, hands gripped together in a comforting embrace.
Sarah wants – no, Sarah needs – to get out of Burbank.
Things are slowly coming back to her, but it's becoming too much. Chuck or Morgan or even Alex make a reference to someone or something and expect her to remember instantly and on the spot, and she doesn't, and it doesn't work that way, and she's tired, and she needs to get away. Chuck catches her, locked in the bathroom, begging General Beckman for a mission. Chuck suggests they go see the family in Chicago instead.
He'd had better ideas.
Devon is…well…awesome, but holding her niece makes her remember a baby yoga class in the courtyard of her home, and her eyes well up with tears. It only takes seconds for both men to be at her side.
"Do you still do yoga with her?" Sarah says to Devon.
"Yes, ma'am," Devon says with pride. "Every Tuesday and Thursday…best daddy/daughter time I get."
Ellie's distant and a little less-than-welcoming towards her sister-in-law. Sarah picks up on the icy response to her presence, and Chuck tells Ellie to snap out of it, but having a gun held to you for extended periods of time can color perceptions. Sarah tiptoes out of her room in the middle of the night to get a drink of water, and she pauses outside of Ellie's bedroom as soon as she hears her name.
"I'm happy they're here," Devon says. "Sarah needs us, babe. They both do."
"She held a gun to me, Devon. She wanted to kill my brother!" Ellie protests. "She tricked us all!"
"That wasn't Sarah," Devon says. "You know that wasn't Sarah."
"But it was! It's who she was before she knew us. Probably even after she met us. Chuck was just her job for a long time," Ellie reminds him. "Maybe he still is. Maybe he always was."
"You don't really believe that," Devon says.
"Don't I? She's a spy, Devon. I don't know what to believe. She said this was always a mission for her! Do you really think she wouldn't have pulled that trigger?"
"Look, babe, the spy life has ruined a lot of relationships in the Bartowski history," Devon reminds her. "Don't let your relationship with Sarah be one of them…for everyone's sake."
Sarah goes back to the guest room, snuggles into Chuck's side, and cries – for the relationships she's lost, the baby that was almost hers, and the family members that refuse to give up on her.
She leaves for a mission the next morning. He doesn't stop her.
His favorite thing about Sarah losing her memories, Chuck thinks, is that they get a second honeymoon period. He immediately feels guilty for thinking it, but he does not feel guilty about the weekend they spend tumbling between their sheets as if nothing else in the world exists.
Her mind may not completely remember him yet, but her body does, and though it's not the first time they've made love since their sweet and secret quickie on the bullet train, there comes a weekend when she just can't get enough of their intimacy and his warm hands running against her smooth skin.
Their first time after the beach was tender but turned awkward as soon as she closed her eyes, leaned her head back in ecstasy, and moaned that sex had never felt like this before. He had faltered, and she had realized what she said, and they never quite got their rhythm back, but this weekend – this glorious weekend – is like nothing had happened at all.
They kiss – passionately, desperately, as if it's the only chance they'll ever have to kiss like this again – and she whispers something about Barstow. They lie in bed, stomachs growling but too tired to move, and she wishes they could just order room service from the dining cart at the end of the train like they did the first time they spent their days in bed. He licks at her nipple and rolls his hips into her, and she holds onto the headboard and moans that this is better than that time on the plane as she falls apart in his arms.
Sarah whispers she loves him against his lips as he enters her, and he freezes because it's the greatest thing he's ever heard. His eyes widen in surprise (he didn't think she'd say it again so soon) and she smiles up at him and uses the heels of her feet to push him deeper inside of her. He shoots her the biggest grin she's ever seen and captures her lips in a kiss. His tongue tenderly strokes hers as he mimics the motion down below. He whispers words of love in her ear until he falls apart in her arms.
Sarah's about to succumb to sleep when Chuck begins to feel guilty about enjoying this second honeymoon period when he knows there's still so much she hasn't yet remembered again. She senses his distress and runs a hand against his cheek.
"What's wrong?" she asks.
"Nothing," he promises. "Nothing's wrong."
"You're lying," she says. "I can tell."
"You're perfect," he mumbles with a kiss to her lips. "Go to sleep."
"Fine, don't tell me," she says with an air of defiance. "I'll just seduce it out of you later."
He chuckles, smiles, and holds her tighter. At least she hadn't forgotten about that.
It's Valentine's Day, and Sarah's not there.
They don't have a great track record for this holiday (something he knows and she doesn't yet remember,) and she has an even worse track record for waking up before him (something that won't change no matter how much of their past she remembers,) and he had made plans. Plans that involved pampering his girl and pancakes in bed and a mid-morning bubble bath for two, but he wakes up, and she's not there.
What he finds in her place is a card and, even though it's Valentine's Day, his stomach drops. Deep inside, he knows she hasn't left like he fears she will; she's his Sarah, full memories or not, but his fingers tremble as he picks up the envelope.
The card isn't a card, but a hand-drawn picture of them on a postcard of a beach she picked up at the local market. She's not much of an artist, but he smiles.
To the nerdy guy from the Buy More who makes me happy…love, your Sarah
Chuck quickly scrambles out of bed and searches for her. He finds her in the kitchen, in a little black nightie, the hair that she's determined to grow back out already straightened for the day, making breakfast to surprise him with. Great minds think alike, he muses.
He walks up behind her and wraps his arms around her, settling his chin on her shoulder. She stills and leans her head back against his.
"Good morning," she says. "You ruined my surprise."
"Are you really happy here with me?" he whispers, afraid to know the answer.
It hasn't been that long, and the little voice inside of his head, the voice that sounds a lot like the Chuck he was when he first met her, worries that she may still believe what she said in the house about it being her job to make people believe she feels things.
Sarah turns around in his arms and looks into his chocolate brown eyes. She looks almost hurt that he even asked her that question.
"Chuck, I love you," she whispers as if she's worried he won't ever believe her when she says that again.
Chuck reaches around her to turn off the stove, and breakfast in bed turns into lunch.
She feels calm around him. She thinks that might be her favorite thing about her "new" life in Burbank with Chuck Bartowski. She never thought of herself as the type to be content with watching television and just doing nothing, but she is. He has that effect on her. He calms her, and he gives her normal, and she loves him for it.
They're lying in a big recliner chair in Morgan and Alex's new apartment. The newly cohabitating couple has gone to pick up Chinese food for their double date movie night, and Chuck has his arm wrapped affectionately around his wife. He's in pajamas, and she's in jeans and one of his tees and fuzzy socks, and they're snuggled under a blanket that they don't really need. Sarah's fingers are laced with his, and she plays with them against her stomach. As his fingers lazily slip between hers, she stares away from the television and lets her mind wander.
"Do you ever wish I was your Sarah?" she finally asks.
"You are my Sarah," he says immediately.
"No, I mean…the Sarah that you knew. The one you loved, you know…before," she clarifies.
She feels like that Sarah, and she thinks he seems happy with her, but she worries that even though her memories are coming back to her, she can never really be his Sarah again. She worries that he'll give up on her and leave as much as he worries the same for her.
"Sarah," he says softly. Her head turns to look at him against his chest and in the most sincere voice she's ever heard, he says, "You are my Sarah."
She wants a wedding.
She remembers most of the first one, and she's watched the DVD so many times, she's lost count, but when he has to tell her that their first anniversary is about to arrive, she wants another ceremony. One that they'll both remember all of forever, though she still hopes the blanks from their first wedding will eventually be filled in.
The idea comes up during a dinner at El Compadre, and Chuck's face lights up like it does every time she remembers something about their past. It's this dinner that reminds Sarah what she used to mean when she accused him of spiraling. He starts talking a mile a minute about a ceremony and getting Morgan to officiate again and flowers and cake and flying in the family and the CAT Squad and maybe her mom can walk her down the aisle this time, unless she wants Casey to do it again.
"Chuck, stop…" she says. "Slow down."
"Maybe we can even track down your dad," he says. "I know he wouldn't come to the first one, but maybe…if he hears what happened…"
"Chuck," Sarah tries again.
"Oh, and your sister! Molly can be the flower girl! She'd love that, and she'd look adorable, too…" Chuck rambles.
"Chuck, stop," Sarah says. "I had something a little different in mind."
Sarah wants to elope. Chuck laughs. Some things never change…
They fly to Paris the day before their first anniversary and exchange vows again on top of the Eiffel Tower, just the two of them, with little white twist-ties wrapped around their fingers underneath their real wedding rings. She wears a red dress (not the bellydancer outfit, as much as he insisted,) and their second wedding is as perfect as their first.
Her dad pops in to town one day, unexpectedly, as he is apt to do. Under normal circumstances, the visit would've been a welcome surprise for Chuck and Sarah, but Jack Burton has no idea what's happened to his daughter since the last time he bid her adieu. She's remembered his first visit and most of his second, so she doesn't question when Jack calls her husband "schnook" and welcomes are normal and warm as she envelopes her dad in a hug, but it only takes Jack about 3.2 minutes before he's asking to see photos from the wedding he paid for.
Sarah laughs. "Why in the world would I let you pay for my wedding?" she asks. She notices Chuck disappearing out of the corner of her eye, but she pays no attention to it.
"Well, I wouldn't have had to, darling, if you hadn't let that woman con you out of everything you saved for it," Jack says. "Couldn't let my only daughter get married at a courthouse, now, could I?"
She laughs again. "Me? Conned? Oh no, I don't think so. You didn't raise a sucker!"
Chuck returns from their bedroom holding the faded pink piggy bank and the letter that went with it that he'd fished out of the top of their closet. He hands them to Sarah. Her eyes widen and her face softens as she carefully takes the treasure she had bestowed upon her father so many years ago.
"Maybe this will jog your memory…" Chuck says.
Jack watches with narrowed eyes as Sarah examines the piggy bank before turning to his son-in-law. "What the hell's wrong with my daughter?"
Chuck lets out a nervous chuckle and pulls him aside. "Let's go talk over here for a minute," he says. "You see, there's this thing called the Intersect…"
"You downloaded a computer program into your brain knowing it could wipe your memory?" Jack calls, moving back into the living room where Sarah's still reading his letter. Chuck follows, face resting in his hand after his failed attempt to stop him. "Darling, I've done a lot of stupid things in my day, but why would you do that?"
"I…" Sarah stutters. She looks like a kid who's just been sent to the principal's office. "I think I did it to save Chuck…and to keep the program from getting into the wrong hands. There was no other way…but I'm okay, Dad! I mean, I don't remember everything yet, but I'm okay."
"You're still happy here with this schnook?" Jack asks. Sarah nods. "Are you sure?" Sarah nods again. Jack turns to Chuck. "You're taking care of her?"
"Nothing's changed, Mr. Burton," Chuck said honestly. "I still love her like crazy."
Jack shrugs and takes a seat next to his daughter on the couch. "Good enough for me."
She comes home bruised and battered and looking like she's lucky she still has all of her limbs, and he doesn't ask, and she doesn't tell (even though they both know that he knows she's been tortured) because they're both just glad she's home. She doesn't leave often, but she does run off on missions from time to time and works for the government as a freelance contractor when the mood strikes her. Beckman always gives her short assignments, and Sarah always comes home, but she never comes home looking quite like this.
"God, baby, why didn't you call me?" Chuck asks. She's sitting on the kitchen counter in front of him, and he's cleaning her wounds and washing the dried blood off her face.
"You don't want to be a spy," she says simply. "I'm not sure I want to be a spy anymore, either."
"Your decision or a new memory?" he asks.
"Both," she admits.
She comes home from every mission with more memories, more blanks filled in. Casey jokes that the missions trigger her memories because they were never good at keeping their lady feelings out of the business, and Chuck simultaneously loves it because he wants her to remember everything and hates it because it encourages her to do more dangerous things that may keep his wife from coming home.
"I'm okay if you still need to save the world every once in a while," he tells her.
"No, you're not," she says softly, wincing as peroxide sweeps over the scrape on her cheek.
"No, I'm…I'm not. I'm scared you're going to die or lose your memory all over again or just go missing before we get back to where we were, but it took five years for us to both be ready to quit, so until you remember everything, I understand if you're not there yet," he admits. "And I am here for you always, so if you're on a mission and you need help, for god's sake, call me, Sarah."
"I will," she whispers.
They're quiet for the next few minutes as he tends to her injuries and she cradles her sprained wrist against her chest.
"Do you really want to not be a spy anymore?" he finally asks.
"Parents can't be shooting the paper boy, right?" she replies with a tiny smile and a shrug.
Her lip is too swollen and split to kiss, so he pecks the edge of her mouth instead.
"It's blue," she groans in disgust.
"But the inside…the inside is perfect, right?" he asks.
"And it's…boxy," she says, her lip curling.
They're standing outside of what Chuck has dubbed their new dream house. It's white with a navy blue door, white picket fence in the luscious front yard, and a little walkway down to the beach in the back. He thinks it's the perfect combination of their old dream home and the original search to have their toes in the sand when they wake up in the morning. It's a little pricier than the other house, but Chuck's willing to spring for it.
"And the porch in the back," Chuck says, sliding an arm around her shoulders. "We could curl up on the swing and watch the sunset every night, Sarah!"
"But…it's blue," she repeats, arms staying firmly crossed against her chest.
"Doors can be painted, baby," he reminds her.
"It's not our house," she sighs. "I'm sorry, Chuck. I know you're excited about this one, but I still want the house where we had candlelight picnics on the floor and carved our names into the wall."
"You really want to live in that house after…well…after everything?" he asks.
They've never explicitly talked about it, and neither of them wants to, and despite that house still being available to purchase, and despite the money they've already sunk into it to replace the broken staircase and repair the physical mess they made that night, he started searching for new houses once they decided it might be time to move.
"Yes," she says simply.
"But…that night…" Chuck mutters.
"Was bad," Sarah admits. "Really bad, but we're getting through it, and we're okay, and there are going to be other bad moments, but we'll get through those together, too, and that is why I still want the little white house with the red door and the picket fence and the perfect little nursery at the end of the hall. This house is great, but it's not our home."
Later that night, Chuck calls the realtor and puts in an offer for the little white house with the red door.
The waves crash gently against the shore, and the sky fills with brilliant colors as the sun sets for the day. It's a warm, calm summer night, though the little family halfway up the beach is the sand's only occupants.
Chuck and Sarah lie on their beach, ignoring the beautiful sunset in front of them. They're on their sides, facing one another on a big beach blanket, a large umbrella placed behind them to shield their faces from the former afternoon sun. Their little baby boy sleeps peacefully between them, and they can't take their eyes off of him. He stirs a bit in his sleep, and Sarah smiles.
"You look happy," Chuck says softly.
"I can't believe we did this," Sarah says. "I know we're the couple that's defused bombs and brought down terrorist organizations and literally saved the world, but the fact that you and I made him is just…surreal."
"I know," Chuck agrees. "I still can't quite wrap my head around the fact that I'm someone's daddy…and you, you're someone's mommy!"
The smile returns to Sarah's face, and she gently caresses her son's back. She finally tears her eyes away from her baby and looks at her husband.
"Thank you," she says.
"I think you did all the work here," he laughs.
"No, Chuck, thank you for not giving up on me," she says. "You didn't have to come find me here on the beach that day…you could've let me go."
"Baby, thank you for trusting me," he says. "I can't even imagine how scary that was, and you could've so easily walked away…"
Her gaze shifts from her husband to her son and back again, and she knows he's right. It would've been easier for her to walk away and god knows, part of her, in that moment, wanted to. The idea that they were meant to be here and questions of how she would feel if she had never gotten to meet the little boy between them flicker across her mind, and tears threaten to fill her eyes. She shoots Chuck a poignant grin.
"And missed all of this?" she asks.
He smiles at her, his eyes glimmering with love, and leans over their little baby to meet her lips, and Sarah knows she's exactly where she's supposed to be.
Thanks for reading! Don't forget to review :)