And the finale fanfiction therapy continues...I thought I was done, but several people commented that they really liked the stories in "Little Moments" that touched on Sarah's father and some of the relationships outside of the Chuck & Sarah romance that also would've been affected by what happened to Sarah, so I decided to do some more with that. I would recommend reading the other story first or else you're probably going to be confused when reading a few of these, as I tried to fit them in to the same timeline. Once again, not written in this order, so transitions might be a little shaky.
Don't forget to review!
Sarah wanders down the hallway late one Saturday afternoon. She's looking for Chuck but instead, she finds Mary Bartowski watching an old movie on her couch. Sarah cautiously takes a seat on the chair next to her and looks at her nervously. It's only been a few days since the beach, and though she feels a connection to this life she can't remember, she still doesn't feel completely comfortable around anyone other than her husband.
"Good morning, Sarah," Mary smiles.
"Where's Chuck?" Sarah asks.
"He went for a walk. He'll be back soon," Mary said.
Mary speaks in a tranquil tone, just as unsure of how to act around her daughter-in-law as Sarah is with her. Chuck had called that morning and asked her to hang around his place while he took half an hour to clear his head. He didn't want his hurting to be a burden on Sarah or her recovery, but he also didn't want her to wake up to an empty home.
"Oh," Sarah sighs, pulling her robe closer to her body.
Mary notices the charm bracelet dangling from Sarah's wrist, and she smiles. That bracelet had been important to her once, and she's glad to see it on Sarah. She points to the bracelet and asks Sarah if she knows what that is.
Sarah smiles. "Chuck gave it to me for Christmas," she says. "Twice. Though I don't know why he had to give it to me twice…it's pretty, isn't it?"
"It's beautiful. It was mine," Mary says with a smile. Sarah sits up and acts as if she's about to take it off and return it to her mother-in-law, but Mary gently grabs her hand and stops her. "Oh, no, no…it belongs on your wrist. You keep it."
"What's the story behind it?" Sarah asks.
"My husband gave that to me when Ellie was born. Chuck always liked it, so I left it for him, with a note to give it to the woman he loves more than anything else in the world when his first child is born," Mary told her. "I guess he loved you too much to wait that long."
"But…Chuck gave this to me before we were really together," Sarah says, her mind swimming with the new meaning behind the piece of jewelry on her wrist. She had put it on after waking that morning because something about wearing it, like her wedding rings, just felt right.
Chuck, of course, chooses that moment to return home. He sees the two women in his life seemingly engaged in conversation and thinks that's a good sign. He greets them both and asks what's going on as he sits on the arm rest beside Sarah.
Sarah touches his hand "Thank you for my bracelet," she says.
Chuck holds her gaze for a minute, not expecting such a heartfelt moment, before dropping a delicate kiss on her lips. "You're welcome, baby."
Sarah leans into Chuck's body, and Chuck and Mary share a smile.
Her mother calls her and basically informs her they're going out to lunch. Chuck had finally told Emma what had happened shortly after they returned home from the medical center in DC, and even though she knows her baby is okay and will be okay as long as Chuck's around, she's Sarah's mother, and she needs to see it for herself. Sarah meets her mother and her little sister at a kid-friendly place, and Emma scoots closer to her daughter in the circular booth when Molly leaves her shoes on the bench and runs off to the play place to wait for their pizza to arrive.
"Okay, sweetheart, be honest with me," Emma says, grasping Sarah's hand. "How are you?"
Sarah sighs. "I'm okay," she says. She laughs and adds, "Right now, I just can't believe how big Molly is. I know I saw her not too long ago, but she was a baby, last I remember."
A ripple of fear streaks through her stomach at her daughter's words, but Emma smiles as she watches her little daughter go down a slide. "You did a really good thing with her."
Sarah nods. "So did you."
"You can come home if you want to," Emma offers. "I know Chuck said that you guys are happy and doing well, but if it gets overwhelming or if you need to be around someone a little more familiar, you can always come home."
Sarah nods again. "I appreciate that, but he's right. I'm comfortable with him," she says. "I just don't want to disappoint him."
"Oh, honey, why do you think you're going to disappoint him?" Emma asks.
Sarah glances around to make sure Molly isn't on her way back to the table and unloads everything she's been keeping to herself. She talks about their evening on the beach and Morgan's magical kiss and how their lives have been since then. She admits that a part of her is missing spying, and part of her doesn't know who she is anymore, and for the first time, she lets herself vocalize all of the fears she has about never being able to be the woman Chuck was in love with again, all because some man stole her memories.
Emma's heart breaks for her daughter, but she's quiet and listens, gently rubbing her hand in comfort. Sarah finally remarks how ridiculous it is that she's about to cry in the middle of a children's pizzeria and looks to her mom with pleading little girl eyes.
"There are memories that I wouldn't trade for the world, and I can only imagine how you've been feeling, but we are more than our memories, and yours are coming back to you. That's the first thing Chuck told me. He said you remember more every day," Emma said. "And you'll make new ones…with Chuck, with all of us."
"That's what everyone keeps saying, but knowing that doesn't help much," Sarah admits.
"Do you love him?" Emma finally asks.
"Yes," Sarah breathes. "I haven't told him yet, but I know I love him, and he feels like my husband, and I want to be in his arms at night and kiss him when he comes home, and my hand feels naked without these rings on my finger, but I don't completely remember why I feel these things, and that scares me. That makes the thought of disappointing him even scarier."
"You're forgetting one more thing, beautiful," Emma says. Sarah shoots her a quizzical look. "I'm your mother. I knew you long before you landed in Burbank, and I saw you in your life there just a few months ago, and you, my girl, are not as different as you think you are."
"I'm not?" Sarah asks.
"That sweet, caring woman you think Chuck is waiting for…she's always been there," Emma said. "Chuck and that little family you found for yourself brought that side of you to the surface, but they didn't create it. If you need proof, look at your little sister over there. Do you really think someone who's nothing more than a cold, calculating spy would've done what you did for her? You worked with those people, Sarah. You're not one of them."
"I can be," she admitted. "I tried to kill him, Mom."
Emma takes a deep breath. She's not naïve enough to think that her daughter hasn't ever hurt anyone or ended anyone's life. She even considered moving after Sarah killed someone right in her own house, but even knowing all of this, she doesn't really want to hear details about the event her daughter's currently referencing. She simply asks if Sarah had the opportunity to do it, and reassures her that she's not like her coworkers when Sarah tells her that she did get the opportunity, several times, but never took it. Deep down, Sarah knows her mother is right.
"I know you better than anyone right now," Emma says. "I know you need to figure out who you are and your spy career and your new life on your own again, but trust that."
Sarah takes a deep breath of her own (she knows her mother is right again) and nods.
Chuck wanders downstairs to the smell of eggs and bacon, even though he doesn't want to do anything but crawl all the way under his bed covers and disappear. He knows he can't expect Sarah to just pick up where they left off when she doesn't remember where they left off, but watching her leave, albeit with a kiss and a promise to be careful, felt like watching all the progress they've made fly out the window. He reaches the kitchen and finds his family. Ellie's making breakfast, little Clara's snacking on Cheerios, and Captain Awesome is drinking something green that Chuck hopes doesn't also make its way into his glass later. He plops down in a chair beside his niece and bids them all a half-hearted good morning.
Ellie smiles at him and tells him that she's taken the day off, so she's his for the day. Chuck mumbles something about that being great, not putting any effort or feelings behind his words. The empty response goes right over Ellie's head.
"Is Sarah still asleep?" Ellie asks. "Breakfast's almost done."
"Sarah? Yeah, Sarah's gone," Chuck tells her.
Awesome and Ellie share concerned looks and almost immediately start rapid-firing questions at Chuck. What do you mean she's gone? Is she coming back? Are you guys okay? Did you know she was leaving? Where did she go?
"Russia…Zimbabwe…Switzerland…who knows, really?" Chuck says. He pauses and, with a sigh, adds, "I really hope she comes home."
"She's on a mission?" Ellie asks. Chuck nods. "Why did she leave?"
"Because you're kind of a jerk," Chuck tells her.
Ellie's completely taken aback by the way her brother's speaking to her. It's not like Chuck to speak to her that way, that's something both of them knew, but his wife is gone and he's upset, and he blames his sister, even though he knows Sarah needs to make the decision to leave the spy life behind for herself all over again.
"I don't know exactly what you said or what she overheard, but I do know that despite yesterday being kind of a hard day here, we were having a pretty good night together…watching TV and cuddling and kissing a little bit, and then Sarah goes to get a drink of water, and she comes back in tears, and a government car's picking her up four hours later," Chuck said, standing from his place at the table.
"Oh, crap," Ellie sighs, knowing Sarah had overheard her late-night conversation with Awesome.
"I'm not a mission anymore, El. I would even argue that I wasn't a mission for her for very long at all, but now she's really my wife, and I plan on her being my real wife for a very long time, so whatever your problem is, I need you to just get over it."
He wanders back up the stairs. He immediately feels guilty for taking out his frustrations on his sister, but he doesn't turn around. Things are different and relationships have been changed, and everything can't be fixed right away. Awesome shoots his wife a look back downstairs, and Ellie calls out to Chuck about breakfast. Chuck calls that he's not hungry and he's going back to bed as he continues up the stairs. Ellie looks to her husband again.
"What do I do?" Ellie asks. "I didn't mean to push her back into the CIA."
"I'm sure that was already brewing," Awesome says. "But like I said last night, babe, if it comes down to it…he'll choose Sarah."
Ellie sighs. She knows he's right.
She's not sure what she's gotten herself into.
Chuck and Morgan are on a mission to see Star Wars Episode I in 3D, and they bring their girls with them. Morgan declares it to be Sarah's second first official night-of-Morgan, and so far, the evening has been…well…bizarre.
Their sizzling shrimp dinner had consisted almost entirely of a debate (more like a rant, if she was being honest) about the order in which the films were being re-released in 3D. Morgan had said something about the film being a must-see, despite the "tragic" order in which these cinematic events were happening. Alex had made the mistake of saying she didn't see what the big deal was, and Chuck and Morgan hadn't shut up since. The rant leaves the restaurant and carries over into the streets as they walk to the movie theater. Sarah walks besides Chuck, her hand softly held in his, quietly taking it all in as Chuck and Morgan continue to rant about how this great series is being ruined by the release dates.
"Aren't we on our way to see Episode One?" Sarah finally asks. Chuck nods. She shoots him a look of confusion. "So if we're starting at one, how can that be the wrong order?"
Chuck gives her a look almost as awful as the one Alex had received when she inadvertently started this whole thing. Morgan groans.
"Oh, Sarah…Sarah…" Morgan says and launches into an explanation of the Star Wars series.
She doesn't know how it happens, but suddenly, Chuck is dropping her hand, and Morgan is dropping Alex's, and the two grown men are in the middle of a pretend lightsaber fight in the streets of Los Angeles. Sarah looks startled before dissolving into giggles, and Alex wanders over to her
"Wondering what you married?" she asks.
"A little," Sarah admits. "But it's also kind of sweet."
"Well, get used to it," Alex says. "There are a lot of nights like this one in our lives. I hate to break it to you, but we both fell in love with a pretty big nerd."
Sarah laughs. "I know. We even have Star Wars collectors' toys in the apartment," she says. She looks confused for a moment before adding. "Or…we did."
Chuck runs back over, arms in the air in apparent victory. He grabs Sarah's hand again and swings it back and forth a few times before asking, "Whatcha talking about?"
"How cute you are," Sarah says with a smile.
He smiles, kisses the back of her hand, and starts off towards the theater again.
Carina breezes into town, as she is apt to do, wanting Sarah's help with some crazy scheme. She's gotten herself in too deep, and Zondra is unreachable, and she waltzes into their apartment as if she owns the place. Never one to miss a dig at Chuck, she makes a joke about his impotence because she expected Sarah to be knocked up by now and then mutters something about how Walker's not her first choice for this mission, but the boring, married, retired spy will just have to do. Chuck tries to butt in and tell Carina what's happened to his wife, but Sarah beats him to her, telling her that she's not so retired after all.
Carina smiles. "Alright, I knew you didn't have it in you to quit. You're too good. Let's go."
"Oh no," Sarah laughs. "No. Every time you ask for my help, I get burned."
The former CATs dance their familiar routine. Carina asks for help. Sarah protests, telling her friend that she's risky, that she can't be trusted, that she's just going to have to get out of this one without her. Carina cocks her hip and bats her eyes and asks if Sarah's done. Sarah retreats to her room to change and get her mission gear. As soon as she's gone, Chuck pulls Carina aside and tells her what's going on.
"Oh yeah, I heard through the CIA grapevine that something bad happened with Walker and the Intersect," Carina says. She shrugs. "She seems fine to me."
"Carina…" Chuck warns.
"I won't break her, Chuckie," Carina promises. She heads down the hallway to meet Sarah and tauntingly calls. "Don't wait up!"
They're in the middle of a gun fight against five guys three times their size in South America when Carina finally brings it up. They run behind a shipping crate on the docks to check their guns, catch their breaths, and see how much ammo they have left. After Sarah screams about how she can't believe she let Carina talk her into something like this again, Carina tells Sarah to come along with her on her next mission.
"I'm due to pair up with Zondra in Portugal soon. Come with us! We'll get the gang back together again!" Carina suggests with a smile and a little dance. "Minus that traitor, of course. You've got the perfect chance for a fresh start here. Don't waste it, Walker!"
"Look," Sarah says, her breaths heavy. "I know you probably think my life is like…if a yawn could yawn or something ridiculous like that…"
"I told Chuckie you were fine," Carina says, recalling the words she had used to describe Burbank so many years earlier.
"But I'm good there," Sarah finishes.
Carina grins. "That's what you said last time."
"It was true then, and it's true now," she says.
"You really love that nerd, don't you?" Carina asks. "For the record, you've now broken the cardinal rule for him twice."
Sarah grins and cocks her gun, ready to end this disastrous mission and get home to her husband. She tilts her head at her friend and says, "Rules were meant to be broken. Now let's end this."
She just can't figure out Morgan Grimes. And it's driving her crazy.
Out of everyone in her life, Morgan is the only one who doesn't seem to care that she's lost her memories. Sure, he'll ask her if she remembers this or that, but after spending quite a bit of time with him and Alex, Sarah has noticed that Morgan's never overly cautious with her. He's never nervous around her. He's never anything but himself. She remembers enough to know that, and she appreciates this more than she'll ever admit to anyone, but the motives behind his behavior are a mystery, and Sarah Walker doesn't like unsolved mysteries.
Sarah walks into the Buy More manager's office behind Morgan one day when the thinking just gets to be too much for her. She slams the door shut behind them, and he nearly jumps out of his skin when she makes her presence known. She doesn't flinch when he screams, nor does she try to help him pick up the shipping reports that are now scattered across his floor.
"Sarah!" Morgan cries. He mutters to himself, "God, some things never change…"
"Sit," she says. She punctuates her word with a firm point to his chair and leans over the manager's desk towards him.
"What can I do for you, Mrs. B?" Morgan asks, taking a seat, deciding the papers can wait.
"You're the only one who doesn't walk on eggshells around me," she says.
"Excuse me?" Morgan asks. That didn't really sound like a problem to him.
"Even Chuck still does sometimes, and don't try to say he doesn't because I remember enough by now to know that he does, but you don't and you never did. You pretty much act like nothing happened. I'd like to know why."
"Sarah," he says with a laugh. "Don't take this the wrong way, but I don't care what you remember. You're still Sarah, and you're still my best friend's wife, and you're still my friend, so, I mean, of course, I want you to recover your memories and remember all the great times we've had together over the past five years because…because it's been pretty great, but I know that, deep down, your heart never forgot us, and I know the feelings are there, so if you don't ever remember everything…well, that doesn't change anything for me. You're my family."
Sarah's face softens. She doesn't know what to say. "Morgan, I…"
"I told you I was always really glad to pass off the title of Chuck's best friend to you," Morgan says. "Truth is, I was always really glad to be able to count you as one of my friends, too. I know I'm not the easiest person to accept, and you…always have. Don't tell Chuck, and I don't know if you even know who this is, but I was never very fond of Jill. You're so much hotter than she is, by the way. He totally traded up."
Sarah laughs. She remembers enough to know this, too. "I know," she smiles, forgoing all sense of modesty. Morgan smiles as he realizes she's drawing on a memory. Sarah winks and adds, "And your secret is safe with me."
Morgan leans over and opens the mini-fridge by his desk. He pulls out two cans of grape soda and passes one to Sarah. She spends the next hour in his office, chatting with her old friend.
Chuck insists that they stop by Chicago on their way home from Paris. Sarah is feeling like a new wife all over again and still gleefully riding the high that her second wedding and the subsequent stolen days in France with Chuck have given her, but it's been a long time since Chuck has seen his sister. She agrees, despite her reservations, and Chuck hopes that seeing Sarah so happy about being remarried to him will make all of Ellie's still-lingering doubts about her and their relationship disappear.
Awesome cooks the family a healthy but delicious dinner, and Ellie breezes home after the meal has begun. She had called earlier to say she was a little held up at work and it'd be okay to start without them, but the meal basically comes to a halt as she pulls her brother out of his chair and into a hug.
Chuck can almost feel Sarah's demeanor change as Ellie walks in, and Chuck sits down from the hug with a silent sigh. He was always so glad that Ellie liked Sarah, so thankful that he would never have to be caught between his wife and his sister, but life had other ideas. They've been in each other's lives, but relationships are strained. Ellie and Sarah have only talked in passing, and Chuck's reluctant to talk about anything concerning Sarah with his sister out of fear of making things worse.
"So…what's new?" Ellie asks as she kisses Clara and takes a seat at the table. "You guys went to France or something for your anniversary? Do anything really fun?"
"Yeah," Chuck says, smiling at Sarah. "We got married. Again. In France, on top of the Eiffel Tower, just the two of us…and the officiant, of course. It was beautiful."
"I wanted to renew our vows," Sarah interrupts, looking over at her husband with a small smile. "I know it's strange to do that after only a year, but it seemed right after the year we've had."
Chuck notices that her smile is filled with hints of sadness, so he squeezes her hand and leans over for a short kiss. Ellie watches in silent contemplation.
They all go into the city the following day. There's a free concert that night in Millennium Park, and Chuck and Sarah have never really seen the city. Chuck impulsively pulls Sarah into a passionate kiss when they're standing underneath The Bean sculpture, and Sarah breaks away from the kiss with a laugh, stumbling a bit as she fits herself into his embrace and leans into another kiss. Chuck holds his camera out and points it up, taking a shot of the dozens of reflections of their kiss in the sculpture, and Awesome leans over to his wife again.
"And he's just her mission, huh?" he asks.
Ellie watches as her brother grabs his wife's hand, holds it high above her head, and tells her to twirl. Sarah spins around once, a huge smile on her face, and pulls Chuck down for another kiss. This looks like the Sarah she remembers and the relationship that she was always so happy her brother found, and she promises herself that she'll apologize to both of them later that night.
"I was wrong," Ellie admits to her husband. "I was really wrong."
She's walking down a street in Germany when she sees it. She's got a little down time on her mission, so she's called her husband to let him know everything's going alright so far, something she's done during down time on missions since her first one post-memory loss, which surprises him almost as much as it surprises her. He's telling her something silly about Morgan and the new Subway in the Buy More when she sees it and freezes.
"Oh my god," she mutters.
"What? Baby, what's wrong?" he asks hurriedly at the change in her voice.
"You'll never believe what I'm looking at right now," she tells him.
There, not ten feet in front of her, is a giant advertisement on the side of a bus stop with Jeff and Lester's faces plastered all over it. Their first album had apparently dropped in Germany the week before, and, judging from the group of teenage girls taking pictures in front of the sign, they are, apparently, a success. Sarah relays the scene she's witnessing to her husband, who simply laughs in disbelief and asks for a text with a picture of the sign. Sarah hangs up, snaps the picture, and sends it to him. He calls back a minute later.
"Is it bad that this, in some weird, semi-concerning way, gives me a lot of hope?" Chuck asks.
"Hope?" Sarah laughs. "For what?"
"Us. Life. Everything," Chuck says. "I mean, come on, Jeffster has made it big. Jeffster…the idiot band from the Buy More! If that can happen, anything can."
She finds the men themselves in an upscale restaurant later that evening. They're dressed in ridiculous, clichéd rock star garb, looking like they stepped right off that poster on the street. She doesn't notice them, but they definitely notice her as she walks by their table on her way to the bar. They briefly discuss why Sarah Walker has just walked into a restaurant in Germany alone before Lester decides he's going to try his luck with her once more. Jeff attempts to talk him out of it.
"We like Chuck," Jeff reminds his friend.
"Eh," Lester replies.
"She's wearing his ring, Lester," Jeff says, noticing the sparkling diamond on Sarah's left hand. "They're happy. They deserve to be happy."
"We'll see about that," Lester says.
"We don't want his wife to cheat on him," Jeff says. "She won't do it anyway."
"You can't cheat on what you don't remember," Lester says.
He saunters over to the bar and takes a seat next to the familiar blonde. Her eyes widen when she realizes who has joined her. Her mark is supposed to arrive in approximately twenty minutes, and she is not going to let Lester Patel screw up another mission. Her eyes widen further when she realizes Lester has come over not to say hi and see how she's doing, but to hit on her. She glances around the restaurant. She meets Jeff's eyes across the room, and Jeff shoots her a friendly wave and an apologetic look. She turns back to Lester and narrows her eyes.
"Are you serious right now?" she asks him.
"Listen…Sarah…I'm not the Lester you knew back in Burbank. I am a very famous man now. I could have any woman I wanted," he says. He leans in closer and runs a finger along the ends of her hair. He lowers his voice to a whisper and adds, "But I'm choosing you."
Sarah sighs, places her elbows on the bar, and leans her head into her hands, seductively looking up at him with hooded eyes. "You're right," she says in a breathy sigh. "You've always been a man who knows what he wants, and with Chuck all the way on the other side of the world, there's nothing to stop us. My hotel's not too far from here. I've got all night, and I will be expecting all night, so what do you say? Think you can ravish me, rock star?"
He can feel her hot breath against his face, and her bare leg has found its way between his open ones on the bar stool as she creeps closer towards him, her knee nearly pressing against the crotch of his black jeans. Lester begins stuttering and stammering at her proposal, swinging his leg over hers to escape her. He pulls his phone out of his pocket and turns to her as he stands.
"Oh…oh, would you look at that, my manager is calling," Lester laughs as he quickly backs away from her. "He always has the worst timing. Unfortunately, I have to take this. Say hi to Chuck for me!"
He pretends to answer his phone as he reaches his table. Sarah watches as he pulls Jeff's shoulder and scurries out of the restaurant. Jeff stands, tossing some money onto their table.
"Good seeing you!" he calls at Sarah before following Lester out into the night.
It's a while before they see Casey again, but he returns to Burbank, and he brings Gertrude Verbanski with him. He drops the news that he and Verbanski married spontaneously after a mission where they were nearly killed, and his homecoming visit turns into something of a mini-reception. Alex and Chuck get to work in the kitchen, whipping up dinner and a celebratory cake, and Casey makes his way out to the courtyard.
Sarah's sitting on the edge of the fountain, taking a breather from the family reunion, and she smiles when Casey sits beside her and offers her a drink. He's called a lot – to check on his daughter, to check on Sarah – and though he'll never come right out and admit it, he's glad to be home. The spies sit in a comfortable silence, the fountain trickling softly behind them.
"So I hear you're out of the spy game again?" Casey finally asks.
Sarah nods. "Thinking about it."
"Memories back?" he wonders.
Sarah nods. "Getting there," she replies. "I'm glad you're here."
"That ridiculous kiss idea work?" he grunts.
Sarah laughs. "Not quite in the way Morgan was expecting, but more than it should've," she admits. "He'll never let us forget it. I'm sure that'll be the topic of conversation at dinner tonight. He always pulls out that story when people visit."
"What made you stay, Walker?" Casey asks.
She's silent for a long time as she thinks about his question. Part of her still isn't sure what drew her to that beach, though she now remembers watching the sunrise after their first date. After Quinn, she had been ready to leave Burbank and never look back, but she couldn't. Something in the universe knew that she still loved and would eventually remember Chuck Bartowski.
"Love," she finally sighs. "I barely knew who he was, but I knew I loved him. That mission diary DVD you gave me really messed with my head, Casey."
"It did?" Casey asks, pretending to be surprised.
"In a good way…you gave me something to connect with when I didn't know up from down. Something…to long for," she says. "Pretty sentimental for a guy who gave me an awful lot of crap about my feelings for the asset over the years."
"You two morons are the most unprofessional spies I've ever seen," he taunts. He looks through the window to see Gertrude standing in the kitchen with his daughter, and a serene smile crosses his face. "But your husband might've had a point about spies being people, too."
The inside of the car is completely silent as Ellie pulls into their driveway early one summer morning. The other two adults in the car are asleep, so she turns off the ignition, turns to the brother sitting in the front seat beside her, and shakes him awake. It takes him a moment to realize where he is, but he wakes quickly. Ellie shushes him as he begins to speak and gestures to his sleeping wife in the backseat. He smiles, unlocks the doors, and pulls hers open to gently wake her, too. They'd hit morning rush-hour traffic on the way home from the hospital, and they'd both been too exhausted to make it home. The little baby beside her, however, watches them with alert eyes.
She blinks a few times, eyes adjusting to the bright light outside of the tinted car windows, and Chuck smiles at her, brushing her hair out of her face. He gently tells her that they're home, and she gingerly climbs out of the car, her body sore, apologizing for falling asleep. He laughs and tells her he fell asleep, too.
"I guess we should get used to being tired, huh?" she asks.
He grins and replies, "Probably, but you have an excuse this week. Ellie's going to take a picture or two, and then we'll get you into bed."
Her face falls and she groans, asking him if they really have to take pictures. She only had her baby a day and a half ago, and her face is still swollen, and her body still looks a lot more pregnant than she'd like it to, and aside from the shots they took in the hospital, she doesn't feel the need to be in any more. He asks why she doesn't want pictures, and she laughs and tells him to look at her.
"I am," Chuck says immediately. "You're beautiful!"
Ellie walks around the car to join them, touching Sarah's arm to get her attention. She had flown in a few days before Sarah's due date, wanting to be there when the baby arrived, just as Sarah had been there for her baby's birth. Their friendship had begun recovering after their second wedding, and it had strengthened after Sarah had gotten pregnant six months later. Now, Sarah's just glad she's here. Ellie gently pushes her brother to the side, and he pretends to be offended as his sister steps in.
"Sarah, I know you're not thrilled with how you look right now, and I know whatever Chuck says isn't going to help much," Ellie says. Chuck begins to protest. "Sorry, Chuck, but it's true. Believe me, I remember this, but Sarah, also believe me when I say that when your son's a little bit older and not so perfectly tiny anymore, which will happen sooner than you think, and when you're a little bit happier with your body, you'll wish you had a picture from the morning you brought your baby home."
Sarah thinks about it for a minute and nods, knowing Ellie's right. She walks around the car and pulls her little boy out of his car seat, softly cooing that's he's okay and he's home when he gets a little fussy about being moved. She travels up the walkway to their house and joins Chuck in front of the red door. Sarah holds the baby in her arms, and Chuck lovingly places his arms around her, and they smile as Ellie snaps photos, close-ups of the little family and shots with their first home behind them.
Though she still doesn't like how she looks and though the photo displayed beside it is in less-than-pristine condition, Sarah smiles when she wakes up later that day and finds a double frame sitting on a shelf in her bedroom next to a note from "Aunt Ellie." Ellie had framed one of that morning's coming home photos next to the little drawing Chuck had made on a magazine page after making love on the bullet train. He doesn't know where she got the drawing (he distinctly remembers throwing it away in a fit of grief after Sarah lost her memories) but Chuck pulls his sister into a hug when he sees the gift as tears spring to Sarah's eyes. They'll later get the silver frame engraved with a single word – Someday – because that day is the day that their someday finally begins.
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