Chuck was in the hospital for another month. His physical injuries were healing nicely allowing the doctors to gradually reduce the size of his casts and remove most of the bandages. The wound from the chest tube used to reinflate his lung was the most painful now but the stitches would be out soon and that would allow complete healing there.
When it came to healing, Sarah also had a long way to go. It was amazing to have all the family together with everyone helping each other. But the feelings of caution and distrust, bred into her as a spy, continued to ebb and flow. She doubted they would ever go away completely. She still didn't remember all her time with Chuck and the family so feelings of love or contentment were alien and kept her on guard much of the time.
One morning, after cleaning Chuck's wounds and applying new dressings, Sarah, in a tiny, little girl voice, asked, "Chuck, why did you fall in love with me?"
"Sarah ... baby ... what do you mean?" Chuck took her hands and she sat on the edge of the bed so they could look into each others eyes.
"Come on, Chuck. I know who I was when I came into your life. I also know, thanks to your stories, how hard I was on you, physically, mentally and emotionally. So why did you fall in love with this cold, cold heart."
"Well, to paraphrase ... 'Let me count the ways!' First, my love, have you looked in a mirror? How could I not to be smitten by the most beautiful girl in the world? You walked into the Buy More and unleashed those baby blues and that smile and I was completely mesmerized. But that was just superficial. Two, you agreed to go on a date with me and it was the most glorious day of my pitiful existence. Three, you laughed at my jokes and made me, a humble, bumbling nerd, feel completely ... well, not completely ... but at ease anyway. Four, when we were suddenly running for our lives I was freaking out, and you were so cool and calm. It would have been easy for you to have given me up and saved yourself a lot of trouble. Five, 'Trust me,' you said. Six, when I was going to be extracted you fought for me. Seven, you yelled at me when I did stupid stuff but you also accepted me for who I was ... am... Eight, you always had confidence I would be okay. Need I go on, sweetheart? There's lots and lots more and I could go on all day. You simply made it impossible not to fall deeply, madly in love with you and to fight for that love every day!"
They looked deeply into each others' eyes for several moments. Then: "Sarah? Why did you fall in love with me?"
"Oh, Chuck," Sarah said with a little chuckle and shaking her head, "how can I answer that? According to your stories, and my sketchy memories, we've had four 'first' kisses and I've fallen in love with you twice. You professed your love for me even when I was trying to kill you and you took the bullet meant for me. You just kept fighting for us even when I was ready to ... did ... walk away. But I also know some of what happened when I first came into your life. Both then and now I tried so hard to deny it. I was a spy; spies don't fall in love. But I did fall in love ... because ... you never stayed in the car! No matter how much danger it placed you in, you always jumped in to save me, or Casey, or your family and friends. Now, even after threatening you and Ellie, you and your family have drawn me in and given me ... hope ... contentment ... home. I didn't know ... still don't know exactly ... what that means but I felt it almost immediately. You simply made it impossible not to fall deeply, madly in love with you and to fight for that love every day!"
There was nothing more either could say. They stared into each others' eyes for a long time, and finally, gently, kissed ... the kiss of two kindred spirits who never want to part.
As Chuck's condition continued to improve the family began to return to their lives as well. First Jack took off. "Dad, thank you so much for being here for Chuck and me."
"Hey, darlin'. I had to make sure the schno ... er, Chuck ... would be able to take care of my baby girl."
Smiling, Sarah hugged him tightly. "Please keep in touch. I know it's hard for you but we do need each other." Sarah paused and then continued with a smile, "And I need to know you have returned the money in Dallas."
"Man, I thought maybe you had forgotten that. Forget your husband, no big deal. But forget that money, no way." They both laughed and Sarah kissed him on the cheek.
Emma and Molly had come into the room during this conversation. There was still a strained awkwardness between Jack and Emma but at least they had spent a little time together. As he left the room he stopped briefly and looked at his former wife. They each smiled ever so briefly and Jack tousled Molly's hair, "Bye pumpkin'. You take of your Mom." Was there no person or couple that the magic of Chuck could not make better?
Morgan was back to work at Carmichael Industries but spent most evenings at the hospital. He kept Chuck and Sarah up-to-date regarding the company and they would give him ideas, advice and encouragement to continue the work. Alex went back to work once Emma and Molly left but she really missed the little ones. She and Sarah began building a new friendship over a glass of wine in the evenings or by going shopping together. They talking a lot about Chuck and Morgan. This new bond was going to prove to be a challenge for the guys. The two girls were already gleefully plotting Alex's proposal to Morgan.
Ellie and Mary returned to Chicago after a week. Once he was out of the coma Ellie ran extensive tests on Chuck's brain and the Intersect. All seemed to be pretty normal. He did not remember the accident itself but everything else was intact. "Okay, little brother, I know it will be awhile but once you can travel I want you to come to Chicago so we can do a complete workup on you and make sure there's no residual effects."
"Okay, sis. It's a date."
Sarah was still not entirely comfortable around Ellie. "Once again I want to apologize for all the trouble I've caused. To have put you through..."
Waving her hands and taking Sarah by the arms Ellie stopped her. "We've been all through this Sarah ... there is nothing to apologize for. I knew it wasn't really you doing those things and..."
"But, Ellie, I could have killed you. Or Chuck."
"But you didn't. And I truly believe you never would have. We are family and we are back together now. You have to focus on healing ... both Chuck and yourself. You are my sister-in-law, my friend and all the Woodcomb's love you. That will never change."
"Thank you so much for allowing me into your life."
Both Mary and Ellie called every day and Mary flew back out every weekend. It was truly overwhelming for Sarah to have so many people in her life ... a real, caring family.
Casey and Sarah were also able to spend a good deal of time together. They both hoped he could fill in more gaps in Sarah's memories. What started out very uptight soon began to relax between the two spies. They had so much in common in their spy lives. It was nice to be able to share the stories they could never tell anyone else.
It didn't take long for Casey and Gertrude to receive another mission. They promised to return afterwards and Chuck and Sarah wished them well. Sarah walked them to the elevator and said, "Listen ... uh ... if you two ever need any ... uh ... assistance, please call me. I don't really want to leave Chuck ... but I am getting a bit 'itchy', if you know what I mean."
"Oh we both know exactly how you feel. But for now, you just take care of that man of yours." Gertrude gave her a big hug and Casey grunted in his most affectionate way along with a smile. "See you Walker!"
I wonder if he will ever call me anything but Walker? Sarah thought happily as she walked back to Chuck's room with a smile.
After a lot of pleading from both Sarah and Chuck, and with Ellie's support, Dr. Monchak finally agreed to allow him to move back to the apartment. "It's probably a good idea anyway. Being home is always a boost to one's healing process."
Chuck would still have to go to a clinic each day for therapy but they quickly agreed to that. There had to be some changes made to the apartment to accommodate his lack of mobility and he still needed a hospital bed but those were minor inconveniences. (Well, the hospital bed was a big inconvenience but there was always the guest bed!)
Intimacy was still an issue, both because of Chuck's injuries and Sarah's mental state. She knew she was deeply in love with Chuck, but he was, in many ways, still a stranger. Chuck reassured her that when she was comfortable with the idea they would work on crossing that bridge together. In the meantime, it was a lot easier to cuddle on the sofa watching TV than in a hospital with people constantly walking by or into their room.
October 9, 10:00 am
Six weeks had now passed since Chuck was released from the hospital. They were renting a minivan equipped to transport someone in a wheelchair. He was beginning to get his left leg back under control but it still couldn't take much more strain than what he did in therapy each day. He had tried to use a cane but the injuries to his left arm made that difficult at best. Hobbling around the apartment was one thing but out in public he was still too weak. He was getting stronger every day but there was a long way to go.
Sarah was still hobbling around mentally as well. Memories were still incomplete but the gaps were becoming smaller all the time. Although she was more confident each day, she would still get caught off guard periodically. Fortunately, she always had Chuck at her side and he could quickly put her at ease with a simple touch or a word of love whispered into her ear.
They were in a good routine now. Chuck could bathe himself (although he certainly had enjoyed having that done by Sarah!) and dress himself (ditto). After breakfast they would load up and drive to the clinic for therapy. Lunch came next followed by another therapy session. He would need a nap once they were home but was always up for supper and a movie or video game in the evening. This cuddle time was therapeutic for both and they looked forward to it throughout the day.
Today, however, Sarah didn't take the turn off for the clinic. "Uh, Sarah. I don't want to be a back seat dri..."
"Then don't," she snapped.
What? What was that? Sarah hadn't snapped at him like that since the days before they became a real couple.
"I was just wondering where..."
"Don't worry about it." Again with the snippy attitude.
He sat there stewing. This was really unlike Sarah. Had she suffered a relapse? Lost her memories again? Trying to kill him again? She certainly wouldn't have a problem doing it with him strapped in a wheelchair. Or have I done something? Or not done something? Damn!
Looking away from him Sarah was trying so hard to suppress the smile curving the corners of her mouth up slightly. That should give him something to stew about, she thought.
They drove for some time before Chuck realized where they were going. What's going on here? Why are we coming here?
Sarah parked and got out of the van without a word. She came around to the right side and opened the door and ramp for Chuck who rolled his wheelchair down to the pavement.
She rolled him to the edge of the beach. They couldn't go out onto the sand with the wheelchair.
He looked up at her expectantly. She knelt down facing him and took his hands in hers.
"Chuck ... a long time ago, on a spot on this beach not so far away, I asked you to trust me."
He loved the paraphrase from Star Wars and smiled at her. "I remember."
"And I remember, too." Now he looked on in astonishment. "It was the first of many times I asked that of you. And it was the beginning of a time I had to learn to trust you as well. I'm sure it was a bigger step for me than for you.
"And then less than a year ago we sat on this same beach. We had just gone through a time of horror and pain. On this beach you asked me to trust you. I wanted to ... I did in my heart, even though I didn't realize it ... but my brain, my spy brain, wouldn't let me."
"I remember that too Sarah," he replied sadly, looking down at their hands and twisting her rings. Where is she going with this?
"We are here today so I can ask you once again to trust me. And to love me. And to stay with me forever and ever. Because I want to do all those things with you every day, week, month and year. And I know I can not go on if you aren't here with me." These last words rushed out of her as if she was afraid they would get stuck if she didn't say them quickly.
Tears were forming in her eyes causing Chuck's eyes to mist over as well.
"Sarah ... oh my lovely, wonderful Sarah. I do trust you and I do love you and I will stay with you forever and ever." After a pause he added, "And I'll prove it to you every day for the rest of our lives."
"Sarah" ... he looked deeply into those cobalt blue eyes, sparkling now with tears, that had so enchanted him from the very moment they met ... "kiss me."
The kiss started gently, Sarah leaning in and slowly bringing her left hand up to Chuck's cheek. Her right hand continued holding his left, twisting his wedding ring. His right arm came up her back and pulled her to him. The kiss deepened and the passion moving freely from one to the other was ... magical.
This time ...
... One Magical Kiss ...
A/N: Well, there you go. Hope you liked what I did with it. I'm just too big a romantic to have done anything different. Sorry if that's a letdown for you. I do have some ideas to go on from here ... my own personal Season Six, if you will. We'll see what happens with that. Thanks for reading and reviewing/commenting. Thank you to all the other writers out there who inspired me give this a try.