A/N 5/28/13 – If you're still reading this, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for sticking with me, and with Chuck and Sarah, as we took this story off that fateful beach. I've NEVER been involved in a television fandom like I have with CHUCK, and I sometimes wonder if I ever will again - it's a double-edged blade.
In fact, I'm really not a big television kind of guy. That's how compelling this story has been to me. Chuck has inspired me to reach into myself and put my ideas on the page in a startling way, and finishing this tale has been truly cathartic. This story would fill a 375 page paperback book. Wow. I never thought I would do something like this...but I've always wanted to. :)
And now it has me working on original fiction! Thank you, Chuck Bartowski! You're Ace's!
This epilogue and the last four acts were largely unbeta'd except some proof reading and approval by Mrs. MacNab which I appreciate very much. Thank you, sweetie. So, any errors or shortcomings in delivery are mine alone since I wasn't patient enough to wait for my usual beta readers.
I don't own Chuck. But's a terrific show, and I'm glad I could be a part of it this way.
Chuck Versus the Lost Years
Epilogue - So Many More Kisses
Sarah finished the after action report she'd been neglecting all these weeks for their assistance with the terrorists in Berlin, and pushed her chair back from her desk. Report writing had been low on her list of priorities while she and Chuck were touring Europe, at the very bottom. Her eyes traveled around her spacious Carmichael Industries office, taking in the new pictures on the walls and atop the credenza beside her, stopping to linger on several framed photos of their time in Europe, arranged along with several wedding pictures.
One of them was a picture of Chuck standing in front of a small bus stop billboard, gesturing at it with a big grin. It was a concert poster for Jeffster. And their concert was hysterically entertaining. She smiled, and sighed dreamily at the sight of them, taken away momentarily to other times and places.
Her own personal touches now showed everywhere in this space, but she'd left Chuck's original decor largely the same because of the way it reminded her of the fact they were in this together. The timeless design he'd chosen - with contemporary touches that felt very much like something she would have done anyway - made their two connecting offices match as well as they did.
It was quiet here today. Being that it was the fourth of July, almost all of the staff were gone, some of them at their house helping to set things up for the big Independence Day party they were throwing. Casey was, of course, grilling several stuffed beef tenderloins for dinner; and Morgan, well, he'd already gotten himself into trouble with Sarah earlier, when he'd come traipsing through the offices carrying several large bags filled with illegal Chinese fireworks.
Now only Sally Williams remained behind, to mind the Agency intelligence feeds from her workstation in the cyberwar room and to help Sarah with some last minute details for the party. But she too would be leaving here in a little while to celebrate the fourth with Chuck and Sarah, along with the large group of family and friends soon to be congregating at that house with the red door. They'd soon be locking the offices doors and leaving the skeleton staff in the first floor CIA substation to mind the store.
The party today would be for more than just the U.S.'s independence. They were also celebrating their own; their new independence and retirement from the life of field operatives. She and Chuck were setting that life behind them, and they'd decided the party today would be for those reasons as well. Sarah had no illusions that they were out completely. She knew they'd still be traveling the world doing espionage work, but they were now leaving the grittier tasks to a new team of Intersect operatives that had volunteered to be put on the tip of the spear.
They would be leading this team, spearheaded by Nikki and Cole, so she had no doubts that sometimes she and Chuck would be along on some assignments in a leadership and support role, and to complete a Bridge rubber, since Cole had recently gotten them all addicted to the card game. But the Bartowskis were done putting their own butts on the line, they had bigger responsibilities now.
She felt her stomach do a little flip causing a slightly irritated smirk to appear on her face, and rose to walk over to her wet bar, where she dropped some ice cubes into a tumbler and poured something the color of amber into it. Sarah took a sip and stared into her drink for a moment with a satisfied smile, watching the bubbles teaming around the ice cubes from the bottom of the glass. Then she walked through the arched portal into Chuck's office and quietly approached him from behind.
He was sitting at his desk, transfixed by several small black and white images spread across his monitor. Chuck jumped when she placed her hand on his shoulder, and ran her fingertips through the hair on the back of his head. He twisted quickly in his chair and looked up at her attempting to conceal his surprise, "Oh, hey, my sneaky ninja wife. Still sharp as ever, I see." He looked at the glass in her hand, and a corner of his mouth turned down a little in a sympathetic frown. "Is the Ginger Ale helping any?"
Sarah took another sip and set the glass on his desk before spinning her nerd's chair around and sitting in his lap. She wound her arms around his neck and tilted her head into her raised shoulder. "It's helping some," she said, laying a gentle kiss on his lips. "I really don't have it that bad, and it seems to be going away. Whatcha doin'?" she asked, looking at him inquisitively.
"Sending an email to Mom and Dad, since they couldn't," he rolled his eyes, "or wouldn't, come to the states for the party. Dad can be so damn paranoid sometimes."
Sarah patted his cheek, "C'mon, can you blame him that much after what he and your mom have been through? Besides, you know the players involved in this game. You sent them the sonograms?"
Chuck's lips turned up into that lopsided smile Sarah adored so much, "Yeah. We got a message back titled, 'Ace's Charles & Sarah'," he chuckled, "They say congrats. And, yeah, we know all the players entirely too well. Speaking of which, is Auntie Beckman still coming?"
"Uh huh. With the usual security detail. I told her to make sure they all dressed for a barbecue. No black suits."
"Well, that should be interesting, hulking NSA bodyguards in flip-flops and Hawaiian shirts."
"Haha, yeah, there's an image. She's bringing Roan."
"Hiyo. Yes, this is definitely going to be very interesting," he grinned, "The seduction-meister and the General, together, at our backyard barbecue. Can you imagine the look on their faces when we make the announcement?"
"MmmHmmm." Sarah smiled mischievously at him. "Speaking of seduction... you do remember I was at the top of my class..." Sarah tilted her head to the other side and, dropping her chin a bit, showed him that clearly unmistakable look through her eyelashes before she locked her lips on his for a deep, lingering, and passionate kiss.
"Hiyo," Chuck intoned again, this time dragging the word out, adding a creaking whimper when their lips parted. "Did you get a sheepskin for that?"
Sarah responded with a short giggle and stroked his cheek with her fingertips, running them down from his jaw to his chest. When her eyes fell on the ultrasound images displayed on Chuck's monitor, she blissfully sighed. "You do know how much I love you, right? I know I don't say it enough."
Smiling at her with an adoration that made her heart do a flip, Chuck spread his hand across her belly and made slow soothing circles with it that elicited a sound from Sarah that sounded almost like a purr as she closed her eyes. "You say it plenty," he said with affection, "But if you think you need to say it more, I'm always willing to listen."
Her eyes shot back open, and she grinned at him. "I love you, Chuck Bartowski... always have. I don't know why it's so hard for me to say."
"Because you're a woman of action, Sarah Bartowski; and baby, you have a way of showing it to me that speaks so much louder than words, and the proof is right here," he said, poking her playfully in her belly button with his finger while giving her the eyebrow dance.
"Awww, Chuck," she said, running her hand through his hair, "You know your way into my heart so well. Can I show you just how much I love you, again?"
Sarah's smile grew when he looked at her almost trepidatiously, like he was afraid she might eat him like a carnivore. "That depends on what you have in mind," he said a little nervously, "We're the hosts today, we have obligations, and we need to get home in just a little while, there are a lot of guests coming over, you know, very important guests, and family, and frie-"
"Chuck?" she pointedly interrupted, stopping his rambling in its tracks.
"Shut up and kiss me."
Chuck grinned at his wife, more of a borderline smirk, knowing he was playing with fire again in her hormonally challenged state, and leaned forward, kissing her through a smile. She responded in kind for a few seconds, and then, taking firm control of him by his hair, turned it into a toe-curling open mouthed kiss that set him off like a fourth of July skyrocket.
Then the love of his life, his wife, super-agent, and the bearer of his child, Sarah Walker, trailed her lips from his ear, and slowly down his neck, in a wandering line of softly sucking kisses, where her fingertips had played only a moment before. "Chuck?" she asked again, between nips, knowing she had him right where she wanted him.
"Yeah?" he rasped, with a ragged breath.
"I think it's time we finally broke-in this desk," Sarah said impishly with a wicked grin.
"Oh?" He ran his finger around the inside of the collar of his Stanford t-shirt and gulped, "I think I may be up for that."
"Oh, you're up for it alright," she whispered in his ear, and then stood, running her hand over the bulge in his pants. "Don't move," she said, wagging her finger at him before she sauntered to his office door with a pronounced sway of her hips.
Sarah stood in the doorway with her hands on each door handle and, catching Sally William's eye as the young woman sat at her workstation, gave her a very exaggerated wink and a nod while a beaming smile appeared on her face.
Sallie's eyes went wide, and she grinned back, clearing her throat loudly while looking dramatically at her watch. "Oh, my goodness, will you look at the time! If it's okay with you Mrs. Bartowski, I think I'll go get ready for the party. I'm running late," she said, stifling a snicker as she reached for her purse.
"That's fine Sally, we'll see you there... and don't be surprised if we're stylishly late," Sarah sang with a twinkle in her eye, closing the big double doors.
...or is it?
*Roll credits with the Chuck theme music...*
A/N – 10/30/15 - It's been two and a half years since I finished this story and everything below still applies. Always will. I've lost touch with many of you, and though I know that much of the fault for that is mine, I miss you.
Thanks, Chris and Josh, for creating Chuck and inspiring me to write something that takes Chuck and Sarah well beyond the beach.
I also want to thank you, all of my readers, some of you new friends, who have followed along on this journey that I took with Mrs. Chuck Bartowski and Mr. Sarah Walker. I do hope very much that this story helped heal any wounds that may have been inflicted on your shipper's heart by the last few episodes and the series finale of Chuck; and if you liked the finale just fine, I hope you still had fun with where I took them from the beach. It was a lot of fun to write...a lot of work, but a good time, nonetheless. ;) This was my first fiction story in a long, long time. And it probably shows, lol. I'll keep trying to get better at this, so they won't hurt quite as much to read in the future.
Now for some things that simply must be said.
somedeepmystery, what can I say? You've become a dear friend and a confidant in this rediscovered world of fiction writing I've been away from for so long. You've been an amazing force for me. I can feel you standing behind me when I sit down in front of a keyboard, urging me along. I know that sounds incredibly schmaltzy, but it's true! Thank you for helping me grow as a writer and for being my friend. I cherish every word we share when we discuss the craft, kick around in the Chuck 'verse, and other fandoms, and almost everywhere else in our lives. Don't worry, I'm not letting it any of this go to my head, I know I still have a very long way to go on this journey. And though we haven't 'seen' much of each other lately, I hope we can still continue to share the journey together.
uplink2 - You stuck your neck out and became my first beta reader. I'm indebted to you, and I appreciate all the discussions we've had along the way about these characters we both adore (especially that dangerous blond woman), and what it takes to stay true to their individual characters and their story. I know we'll continue to play with this as we go forward. Thanks.
SteampunkChuckster and BDaddyDl – Thank you so much for letting me step into your kitchens every now and then, to throw the spaghetti against the wall, and to see if it will stick. And thank you, also, for putting up with my constant ramblings about these fun characters we love to play with in our spare time. It's one of my fondest desires that we can continue to collaborate on our story telling going forward. You've both become good friends across the ether, and I value that friendship very highly.
resaw, Sudden Radiance, grandetiopaco, Hotski, Marc Vun Kannon, tw200, esardi, CaptMediocre1, MRG101, justhear4thestories, and Dan Schultz - and I suspect a host of others, but sometimes the names are different across platforms, and I don't ask when I should – I've had a lot of fun chumming around with all of you on PM's, Twitter, and Tumblr. Thank you for all the reviews and notes that helped to stoke the fire necessary to keep something like this going. You've all been so important to me, simple words don't seem to cut it.
phnxgrl – Wow. Someone needs to say something. You post a review for everyone on this fandom...almost every story and chapter. You are such a dedicated Chuck fan, and I LOVE you. :D Big, big hat tip to you, girl. Keep going. You are so great.
Lastly, something for the all the folks who do the Chuck This! blog, and everyone who stops by there to pitch their pennies up against the wall on a daily basis, even after well over a year beyond the end of the Chuck series. Your opinions and analysis have been very valuable when it comes to researching and understanding this story, and every character within it. I know I don't post many comments, and I feel out of my depth when I try (I'll primarily stick to the story telling), but I lurk a lot, and read almost everything. I sincerely hope this story doesn't end soon, and we can continue to talk about it, and keep it alive for a very long time. It's simply that good...and we need a movie!
And, as usual, you can find news about what's going on in my little corner of the fanfic world by visiting my profile page. Also, a reminder that you can also find links for the eBook versions of this story there.
Thank you for reading Chuck Versus the Lost Years,