This is not an original story. In fact it is one of my first. It was written at the beginning of season 2. The story was inspired by a series of discussions between BrickRoad and me talking through different storyline ideas.

Warning: There is some adult content in this. Nothing major but please use discretion. I still don't own Chuck.

If you enjoyed this or any of the stories on this site, please take a second and send the author a review. It only takes a second – and it really, really makes a difference. That's probably more important than ever now that the series has ended. If you want to keep the Chuck fandom alive and continue to read about these characters, you really need to think about rewarding the people whose hard work make that possible.

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Chuck and Sarah were driving back to Sarah's place in Ellie's car. They were still a little embarrassed from the send off they received at the hospital. Although Chuck was aware that their romance had caused a buzz with the staff, Sarah had no idea. But even Chuck was stunned when they were greeted by a throng of smiling well wishers with a huge banner that read "Congratulations – Chuck and Sarah." He was surprised at how red Sarah's face was.

"I'm sorry that I didn't tell you," Chuck said rather defensively to Sarah who was looking out the passenger window. "I know that you hate surprises."

"Tell me about what?" Sarah asked softly while continuing to look out the window.

"About the hospital staff," Chuck said. "Ellie told me that our story has really captured their imagination. I should have told you. We were just kind of busy. I'm really sorry."

"It's okay," Sarah responded. "It was kind of cute."

"So," Chuck asked hesitantly. "You're not mad?"

"Why would you think I'm mad?" Sarah asked, turning to look at Chuck for the first time. "Not about that anyway."

"Well," Chuck said with a soft smile. "You're being awfully quiet for someone who just got engaged an hour ago. Are you okay? What are you mad about?"

"I'm not mad," Sarah insisted. "But who was that woman who was hugging you?"

Chuck really didn't know what to say. His initial inclination was to tease her. But by some instinct he thought better of it. Better to simply answer her question. "Her name is Joy," he said.

"How long have you known her?"

Now there could be no doubt. She was definitely jealous. Chuck maybe hadn't been Sarah's fiancé for very long, only a few short hours, but he definitely knew that they were headed for some rather thin ice. He also knew that the worst thing would be to be defensive. "Years," he said as calmly as he could with a smile. "She is the receptionist in the ER. She's a friend of Ellie's. She's been to the apartment a few times. Sarah, are you jealous?"

"I'm not jealous," Sarah scoffed. "That's ridiculous. Have you ever dated her?"

"Not only have I never dated her," Chuck said. "Today is the first time that she has ever treated me as anything but invisible."

"That's good," Sarah said with the beginnings of a sly smile. "I'm just thinking."

"Care to share your thoughts with your future husband?" Chuck asked softly.

"No thanks," Sarah said, passing a surreptitious glance his way. His eyes were wide with affront. Her shoulders dropped as she reached over to take his hand. "Come on, Chuck," she said as as a faint smile came to her lips. She slipped her fingers between his, squeezing once. "You know I'm only teasing." Then she paused for a beat for effect. "Although, it might be a good thing if you would let your new friend Joy know that if she ever, ever touches you again, it's not going to go so well for her."

There was something in her tone that told Chuck that she was only half teasing. "She's not my friend," he protesting meekly. "I barely know her. I seriously doubt that you are ever going to see her again. Please don't beat her up. I'm sure that she didn't mean anything." Then he paused for his own beat for effect. "I really don't know how to say this," he said. "But I'd really appreciate it if you didn't make me find this out the hard way. Just how jealous are you going to be?"

"Very, I'm afraid," Sarah said with a smile that was again, clearly only half teasing. "I'm really not interested in seeing another woman hug you." Then she paused for a moment. "Or touch you, or even smile at you when it really comes down to it," she finally continued. "I trust that you're willing to be sensitive to that."

"Okay," Chuck said, trying to keep the mood light. "I trust that I can expect the same sensitivity."

"Of course," Sarah said. "Even when our relationship was only a cover, I was sensitive to that."

Chuck did a double take. Suddenly he forgot all about the thin ice thing… or keeping the mood light. "Huh?" he asked incredulously. "Hello? Lon Kirk? He had his hands all over you. You were about ready to lose your bikini."

Fortunately Sarah was not mad, in fact just the opposite. She reached over and grabbed his hand. "I know," she said sadly. "Technically that doesn't count. It was a mission. But I'm not very proud of myself for that. It's just one more thing that I have to make up to you. I knew you and Casey were watching us on that boat… and at the time I was pretty angry with you. So I let him go a lot further than I normally would."

"Angry? What did I do?"

Sarah smiled sadly at him. "You made me fall in love with you," she said. "Doesn't seem very fair, does it? It may seem silly now. But at the time, it was probably the worst thing you could have possibly done to me. An Agent falling for her asset is the most unprofessional thing that could possibly happen. If it were discovered I'd have gotten myself reassigned and made a laughingstock to the entire agency. I'm afraid that mattered to me a lot then, more than it should have. So I'm sorry."

Chuck just nodded his understanding.

"But things are different now," Sarah said. "I wouldn't accept that assignment today." Sarah paused for a moment, like she was considering how much to say. "As long as we're having this discussion, let's get this on the table," she finally continued. "Going forward I might have to flirt with someone someday. That's simply a fact of life in our business. But you deserve to be sure that I'll never go farther than that. And even flirting, I would only go that far if it was to keep you safe somehow. If it does ever happen, I'll make doubly sure to do something to make it up to you and make sure you're okay after. I would accept that same level of flirting from you as long as it was for that same reason. That's one reason why I'm thinking that our relationship just got a lot more complex."

"I don't know," Chuck said with a smile. "I think it just got simpler. It was always complex. Why do you think it is more complex now?"

"Because," Sarah said so softly that Chuck had to strain to hear her. "We have to balance being in love with staying safe and doing our duty. I'm going to be your loving wife. And I fully intend on being a good one. But I'm also your bodyguard. And I also fully intend on being good at that. I have no intention of becoming a widow. You are still in a ton of danger. Sometimes those wife and bodyguard roles might conflict. I hope that we'll be able to deal with that."

"What's changed?" Chuck asked with a laugh as he pulled the car into the parking lot of Sarah's building. "I've been in love with you for months and you've been telling me to stay in the car."

"But you don't stay in the car," Sarah laughed.

"And you yell at me," Chuck said as he shared Sarah's laugh. "Again, what's changed?"

"Well for one thing," Sarah said as her mood suddenly shifted to being serious. "I now have a new weapon. From now on, when you don't stay in the car you'll find the other side of the bed suddenly became very cold and uncomfortable. Is that what you want?"

"Of course not," said Chuck as he visibly winced.

"Good answer," Sarah said with a smile.

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"I can carry you," Chuck insisted for the third time as they struggled trying to get Sarah into her apartment.

"Damn it Chuck," Sarah snapped. "For the last time, you're not carrying me. That would look ridiculous. I'm fine. Agents are trained to ignore pain. Just let me do this."

Chuck knew that she wasn't really angry with him. She was just in a lot of pain. He kicked himself for not getting some crutches from Ellie. He had forgotten how far away you had to park at Sarah's place. "Sarah," he said softly. "You know that you're not supposed to put any weight on that foot for a couple of days. At least let me support your bad side."

Chuck went to Sarah's side and she attempted to put her arm around Chuck's neck. The problem was that Chuck was too tall for her and Sarah kept loosing her grip. As Sarah's arm slipped off Chuck's neck her foot came down hard on the pavement. Chuck could very clearly see the grimace as Sarah fought to keep her composure. Chuck held her close while he waited for the wave of pain to subside.

Chuck had watched her in agony for far too long now. "Enough," he said firmly as he scooped Sarah up in his arms and carried her into the building.

"You're embarrassing me," Sarah said in a low growl as they entered the building. "Put me down. I can walk."

"Sorry," Chuck said softly. "I'd rather have you embarrassed than see you hurt your ankle any more."

"Chuck, put me down right now," Sarah said in a harsh whisper as they entered the elevator. "I mean it."

Chuck just shook his head firmly. His meaning was clear. "If you want to help," he said. "Push the button for the fifth floor."

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As soon as Chuck carried Sarah into the apartment, he sat her down as gently as he could on the couch. "Sit there," he said firmly. "I'm going to get some ice for your ankle."

Sarah gave Chuck an icy stare when he dragged over a stool to elevate Sarah's foot. As he gently wrapped the ice around her ankle he tried to catch her eye. But she wasn't buying it at all.

"I'm going to the store," Chuck finally said. "I need to pick up some supplies and something to eat. Is there anything that you need me to pick up for you?"

Sarah just shook her head as her eyes still flashed with anger.

Chuck knew Sarah pretty well, well enough to know that she would calm down quickly if he just gave her the space to think about it. "I'm going to let you cool off for a little while," he said as he walked to the door. "I just want to leave you with something to think about. Loving someone means that when they hurt you hurt. Please don't expect me to watch you hurt when I can stop it. That's not fair. It hurts me too. I know that you wouldn't want to have to watch me hurting. Now I'm going to go to the store. I'll pick up something for dinner. I'm also going to run home and pick up some clothes."

"Hopefully, I won't be sleeping on the couch tonight," Chuck said softly as his face broke into a smile. "But if I do, it was worth it. I love you."

As Chuck closed the door behind him, Sarah's face broke into a smile of her own. "I love you too," she said to the now empty room. "I'm not sure how much sleeping is going to happen tonight. But it sure isn't going to happen on the couch."

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Inside of a typical looking business office a man in a grey suit sat behind his desk going over intelligence reports. It was by far the worst part of his day. As he read the rather boring reports about Iraqi resistance estimates he heard a sharp knock at the door.

"Come in," he said sharply.

"Agent Roberts," he said as the man entered the room. "Please sit down. Do you want some coffee?"

"No, thank you, sir," Roberts said stiffly as he sat in the chair across from the desk. "You wanted to see me, sir?"

"Yes, Agent Roberts," said the man. "How long have you been with the organization?"

"About three years, sir," replied Roberts.

"What do you know about Bryce Larkin?"

"I know that he was one of our agents," Roberts said. "He stole all of the intelligence for the intersect computer and destroyed it, sir."

"We've been searching all over the world for this man for the past year," the man said harshly. "There is no higher priority than finding Bryce Larkin."

"Yes sir," Roberts said.

"You're probably wondering what this has to do with you."

"Yes, sir," Roberts said with a smile.

"This is one of our agents," the man said as he handed Roberts a picture. "Her code name is Lizzy. She was staking out a Buy Moore in Burbank. We had some intelligence that indicated that Bryce Larkin might have some connection to that particular Buy More."

"Yes, sir," Roberts said in a confused voice. "Buy More, the appliance store?"

"About three months ago, she suddenly stopped reporting in. We would like you to find out why. If there is some connection to Bryce Larkin, we need to know what it is."

"Yes, sir," Roberts said stiffly.

"I don't need to tell you how badly we want that intersect. We'll settle for Bryce Larkin. The agent who delivers either one of them to us would find himself in a very powerful position. Do you understand me?"

"Yes, sir," said Roberts. "Thank you for this opportunity, sir. I'll find out what's going on there."

"Good luck, Agent Roberts. You're dismissed."

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Chuck was pretty confident that Sarah was no longer angry. "Is it safe to come in?" he called playfully as he poked his head in the door. "Or should I go shopping for a while longer?"

"It depends," Sarah said softly. "What did you bring to eat? I'm starving."

"What do you think I brought?" Chuck asked with a smile. "What would I bring as a peace offering to make up with you when I know that you're pissed at me?"

"Thai Curry Noodles?" Sarah asked hopefully.

"With extra curry," Chuck said with a grin as he held up the takeout box by its wire handle. "Hey, who do you think that you're dealing with here?"

Chuck set the food on the table. He then quickly set out two plates and silverware. "Can I show you to your table, Miss?" he said playfully as he walked over to where Sarah was sitting on the couch.

"It depends," said Sarah in a sultry voice. "Would you please carry me? I hear that you're very good at it."

"Yes, ma'am," said Chuck as he scooped Sarah up in his arms and took her to her seat at the table.

When Chuck sat Sarah down in her chair, Sarah didn't let go of Chuck's neck.

"I'm so sorry that I'm such a hothead," she said softly as she gently touched her lips to his. "You're right. I need to be more willing to let you help me. I'm just not used to trusting people. Chuck, I'm not used to any of this real couple stuff. I understand that you deserve better. I'm trying my best. I hope that you're willing to be patient with me."

"I am," said Chuck with his trademark grin. "Patience is actually one of my strengths. I've waited for this moment for a year. But maybe you should stop worrying about it. You are amazing. Here's the honest truth. The worst times of being with you are far better than the best times of being without you."

"Wow," Sarah said as she matched Chuck's grin. "Where did that come from? And you think that you're not smooth? Now you're making me want to skip dinner and start ripping your clothes off."

"I think we'd better eat first," Chuck said with a laugh. "From the way you were describing it in the hospital, I'm going to need all of my strength."

"That's true," Sarah reluctantly agreed. "But as soon as we've finished eating, prepare for me to make up for the past week in a more physical manner."

"I don't think so," Chuck said skeptically.

"Not after you've eaten extra curry," Chuck said with a laugh as he responded to Sarah's look.

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As it turned out the extra curry wasn't all that big of a factor after all. Sarah, as promised, was in take-charge seductress mode right from the start. She had him help her to the bed and plopped down on his lap. At first Chuck was more concerned that Sarah might not be up to this physically. After all, she had been unconscious in a hospital bed just a few hours ago. Not to mention the sprained ankle.

But Sarah was having absolutely none of that nonsense. "You promised me," she teased between kisses. "At the hospital you said that you would work on seeing me naked without blushing. You promised to practice. You wouldn't welsh on a promise to your fiancé on the very day we got engaged, would you?"

Even though he knew full well she was teasing and that the question was rhetorical, what could Chuck possibly say to that? In fact he tried his best to not say anything at all and just allow Sarah to do her magic. It seemed like an easy strategy since his mouth was almost always occupied anyway. There must have been some magic involved because he suddenly realized that neither one of their shirts were buttoned. But he couldn't really remember that happening.

The heavy necking went on for some time, how long was anybody's guess. Time seemed to be standing still. Finally Sarah broke the silence and moved off his lap to sit beside him on the bed. "Explain something to me," she said in faux frustration. "According to Agent Ivan's report, which I was forced to stand there and listen to in disgustingly vivid detail, she got you to second base… on your first real date. Now I'm feeling a little inadequate. We're engaged. Is there something wrong with my second base?"

This could be bad on multiple levels. She had already established that she was going to be the jealous type. Fortunately Chuck was pretty sure she was teasing. But he wasn't absolutely sure enough to take any chances. "Umm, it wasn't like that," he quickly said nervously. "She grabbed my hand and put it there."

Sarah's eyes narrowed. "Do I really have to do that?" she asked skeptically.

"It's not like that," Chuck said so softly that she had to strain to hear him. "It's just that… look, you're so beautiful. I've never seen anything so beautiful. I'm honestly a little intimidated sitting here looking at you without your shirt, like it's all a little surreal somehow. I'm afraid that if I touch you, you'll disappear."

Sarah clearly took a moment to gather herself. "You really are the sweet talker tonight, aren't you?" she asked. "But here's the deal. If you're not going to touch me, this might be the shortest first time of making love in history."

That got the smile she was looking for. Chuck eased them on the bed so that they were lying on their backs next to each other. "Okay," he said with a grin as he rolled on to his side to face her and slid his hand up her stomach. "We'll try it your way. But I think there might be something you haven't considered. If I do touch you, it might not last that long either."

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It was a mission gone bad. And like so many before it, Chuck just wouldn't stay in the damn car. Sarah was looking all over the empty warehouse franticly searching for him. She could see the bad guy holding the gun. He hadn't spotted her yet but he had Chuck in his sights. There was just nothing she could do. She tried to run to get to him but the faster she tried to run the farther away he got. She could see his face as the shot hit him in the chest. It was contorted in shock and pain. Suddenly, before she could even get to Chuck, Casey was standing over him. "No pulse," Casey said flatly. "I'm sorry Walker."

"No," cried Sarah. "No. No. Noooo…"

Sarah sat up in her bed with a start. Sweat had soaked the sheets on her bed. As tears ran down her face, she knew that it would be hours before she would be able to get back to sleep.

"Sarah?"

"Sarah," Chuck said again as he lay beside her in bed. "Hello. Earth to Sarah." Chuck was lying on his back and Sarah was on her side with her head on Chuck's chest.

"Where did you go?" Chuck said with a smile as he kissed her. "I know that it was great but I hope it didn't put you in shock."

"Pretty sure of yourself," Sarah said with a laugh as she slapped Chuck playfully. "It was way better than great. I'm not the kind of person who says 'I told you so', but that touching thing really worked out. It was the best thing that's ever happened to me in my whole life. But I have to be honest. It wasn't quite shock inducing. Sorry. Maybe we can keep trying."

"Give me ten minutes," Chuck said with a laugh of his own. "And I'll see what I can do. After all, I think that the extra curry is wearing off."

"Ten minutes?" Sarah asked with a fake pout. "You need a ten minute break? We're going to have to work on that. Are you fading on me already?"

"What were you just thinking about?" Chuck asked softly while ignoring Sarah's teasing.

"Nothing really," Sarah said.

"Tell me," Chuck insisted gently. "Please. We still have nine minutes."

"Okay," Sarah said with a sigh. "I just want to warn you. I've been having nightmares."

"Nightmares?" Chuck questioned as he tightened his grip on Sarah's shoulder. "What about?"

"It comes with the territory," Sarah said as she tried to ease Chuck's concern. "They told us over and over in training. Most agents have them."

"Do you want to talk about it?" Chuck asked softly.

"Lately, it has been the same dream," Sarah said with a sigh. "I can't find you and when I finally do you get shot. There's nothing I can do. Then I wake up screaming."

Chuck rubbed her back in soft circles to let her know that he understood.

"It's okay," Sarah said after a long pause. "Really. You just have to learn to deal with it. It's simply part of the price of being an agent. So if I wake up screaming, don't get freaked out, okay?"

"I'm sorry," Chuck said softly. "I guess that's one of those sacrifices that nobody knows about. You know that I'll be right here beside you. I love you."

"I know," Sarah said with a smile. "In seven minutes I expect a more practical expression of your love."

"My sense of timing must be off," Chuck said with a sly smile as he kissed Sarah more urgently. "Maybe I really didn't need all ten minutes. Now let's see if I can make you scream in a more fun way."

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It was a mission gone bad. And like so many before it, Chuck just wouldn't stay in the damn car. Sarah was looking all over the empty warehouse franticly searching for him. Sarah could see the bad guy holding the gun. Just at the point where the bad guy would shoot, Sarah fired her own shot. "You got him," Chuck said with a smile as the bad guy collapsed to the ground. "Nice shot."

"Sarah," Chuck whispered. "Are you okay?"

Sarah woke up just enough to realize that Chuck had never really gone to sleep. He had stayed awake to make sure to be there for her. How sweet was that? He was lying on his back next to her. The hand that was wrapped around her gently rubbed her back. Sarah considered his question and how to answer. Was she okay? Certainly she wasn't okay, that wouldn't be close to accurate. Then it hit her. She wasn't okay, she was happy. For maybe the first time in her life, Sarah Walker was truly happy… at peace… content. Her life had just changed in a basic, fundamental way. She was different now, and would never go back to the way it was before. But that was far too much explanation for this hour. It could wait until she could tell him and talk to him about what it meant. So she snuggled her head back into Chuck's chest in her most comfortable spot and whispered contentedly just before she fell back to sleep.

"I am now."

The End

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A/N: I hope that you enjoyed this retelling. I've always appreciated the support that the original received. I'm glad that I was able to perhaps make it an easier read. I'm happy that Sarah's relationship with Ellie and Beckman were perhaps better explained. I'm also very happy with the two new scenes. Pastor Bob made that church scene flow a lot better. And Sarah kicking (literally) Becky Ivan around the parking lot was simply a required part of the story. I can't believe I didn't add something like that in the original.

It wouldn't be right to let this go without thanking my friend, Lucky47. The poor kid had to beta sixteen chapters in like two weeks. And she never complained once, well, at least not where I could hear, lol. It was above and beyond anything that could be reasonably expected. So thanks seems woefully inadequate, but it's all I have.

I haven't decided if I'm going to do the same thing with The Cost of Love. I really could never figure out why it was popular. Frankly, it's probably my least favorite of all my stories. So if I do Re-Master it, it would change far more in the retelling than Therapy or Fake Relationship did.

It is really the story of Chuck and Sarah coming to know each other well enough to become husband and wife. A major part of that is reconciling their different views on sex.

Sarah, or more accurately Agent Walker, has the agent view. Sex is basically a commodity to her. She can easily separate sex from love. She's been taught to use it as a spy weapon. Even in her life with Chuck she uses it to get him to do the things that she wants, as a reward, or as an apology for things she's done wrong. We've seen that in the show several times.

Chuck has the more traditional view. Sex to him is an expression of love. Any other reason for sex would make him (and judging by the reviews of other stories I've received, I'm guessing a lot of you, lol) uncomfortable.

So I could see Pastor Bob making a reappearance early in the story and pointing that out to them in a bit of pre-marriage counseling. And while Chuck and Sarah are really trying to be supportive of each other, neither truly understands what the other might be going through.

I always planned on a sequel called The Art of Seduction where the tables are turned and Chuck has to become the seducer. I held off on the wedding to have it be in the sequel. That story isn't going to happen. But I could perhaps add a couple of chapters or so to the end where they both come to understand the other a bit better and actually get married.

The story had something of an odd dynamic. The situations were very adult. But this was before Poa corrupted me and I was very reluctant to get very explicit. I'm not really an M kinda guy. My wife says that I don't know enough about sex myself to actually write about it (I think she's just teasing) but if I was ever going to go there, this story has several opportunities.

So I'd be interested in any feedback. Should I do this at all? Should it be rated M? Should I add the chapters to the end that would have been The Art of Seduction? I'll listen to whatever you say, promise.

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