I seriously don't know where these come from anymore...
As always, Chuck isn't mine, and please review!
Silence reverberated throughout the room as darkness turned to morning and the Bartowskis settled in for a peaceful weekend day at home. Sarah's increasingly restless sleeping had woken them both up early, and Chuck had pulled himself out of bed instead of trying to soothe her back to sleep. Having just finished the scrumptious breakfast that Chuck had lovingly prepared, Sarah wandered throughout the living room, pulling her sweater tighter around her body as she slowly looked at the photos displayed throughout the room. Chuck sat on the red couch, as he always did when she chose to spend her time in tranquil observation, waiting to see how today's contemplation would end.
He never knew what the outcome of explorations like this would be, so he always sat on the couch and pretended to be more interested in his book/magazine/video game than he was in watching her. He never pushed her, wanting her to remember on her own time, in her own way. The pictures helped some days, but sometimes, she'd look at all of the evidence of their life together and come to him with a vacant look on her face, asking him to tell her stories and fill in some very big blanks. Those days were the hardest on Chuck, as her seemingly disconnected stare made him secretly worry his wife would never really be able connect with some of the beautiful memories they've shared.
Sometimes the odds would be in Chuck's (and Sarah's) favor, and a little bit of cheerful reminiscing would end with laughter, cuddled embraces, hot and heavy make out sessions on the couch, or tiny remembrances. Sometimes it would end in heartbreak for both of them, and Chuck would hold her as she cried over her stolen life and her frustrating desire to remember everything. Sarah glanced at him as she reached the pictures on the fireplace, and he immediately forced his head down, acting as if he had been reading and not looking at her. A small smile graced her face, and she turned back to the photographs.
"Chuck," she said after a while.
"Yes, baby?" he asked.
"Tell me about our first kiss," she requested.
Chuck's stomach dropped as soon as the words slipped out of her lips. He'd told her that story before; it was one of those special, important, relationship-defining moments that they'd talked about more than once since she lost her own memory of the occurrence. Chuck took a deep breath to steady himself and try to calm his fears. He wasn't sure how he'd handle it if she started having present memory problems, too.
He gently said, "Sarah, we've talked about that a couple times now. Do you remember what I…"
Her eyes widened as she realized he had taken her question the wrong way.
"Oh, god, Chuck! No, that's not what I meant. I remember the story. There was what we thought was a bomb, and we were arguing, and I grabbed you, and then we didn't talk about it. I remember that," she promised. He let out a sigh of relief.
"Then why'd you ask me for that story?" he asked.
She put on a playful grin and said, "Well, maybe I'm just going to make you tell me all my favorite stories again and again and again."
"Like a four-year-old?" Chuck deadpanned.
"Exactly," Sarah laughed. She grinned, got serious again, and said, "Seriously, Chuck, I know how the kiss happened, but I want you to tell me about our kiss. Our actual kiss…I guess it was good, right?"
"Oh," Chuck smiled. He stood and walked over to her, leaning against the wall in the space between the fireplace and the bookcase. "Well, it was the best first kiss of my life. Not that I've actually had that many first kisses, really, but…yeah, you definitely win that title by a landslide, and I'm not just saying that because you're my wife, so to answer your question – very."
Sarah let out a little laugh as she shyly glanced towards the ground. She let herself fall to the side until her shoulder hit the mantle of the fireplace, her eyes drawn back to Chuck as he continued.
"That was also probably the most surprised I've ever been in my life," he said.
"Really?" she asked.
"You were the dream girl, you know? The beautiful, amazing woman that every nerd wants but doesn't have a shot in hell of actually getting. Plus, at that point, I really didn't think you had any sort of feelings for me at all. You were everything I wanted and completely unattainable," Chuck said honestly. He added a hint of teasing to his tone and said, "Or so I thought. Until you kissed me."
He punctuated his words with a light tapping on her nose. She playfully shoved his hand away and gave an exaggerated roll of her eyes.
"Yeah, yeah, I said I know the story, remember?" she replied. "The kiss, Chuck."
He pushed himself off the wall and moved to face her, stopping just a few feet away from her, not sure exactly what to say. "I…you know, I'm not even sure how to describe it, Sarah. We thought we were going to die, and for some reason, you chose to spend your last minutes on Earth kissing me."
"Chuck…" she sighed.
"I mean, I can only describe it through my perspective, but I closed my eyes, thinking about how ironic it was that I was about to die in an explosion when I chose to spend my days blowing virtual people up, and, well, let's be honest, I was also hoping it wouldn't hurt too bad because my pain tolerance is next to nothing, and the next thing I know, your lips are on mine, and your hands were grabbing my face, and…it was…I mean, it was hot, and um…"
Sarah let him fumble over his words for a few more seconds before she took one step forward, grabbed his face in her hands, and pulled his mouth to hers. If he couldn't figure out how to tell her, he'd just have to show her. She felt him hesitate for just a moment, no doubt out of complete surprise, before he pulled her up on her toes and returned her fervent kiss.
He almost laughed when he felt her lips on his and realized she had caught him completely off-guard again. Then, he understood what she was trying to accomplish, so he pulled her as close to his body as he could, just as he had done that day on the docks, and tried to kiss her with as much passion and desperation as he had done the first time. He released her lips and immediately dove right back in for more, knowing he would spend a lifetime recreating these moments with her if that's what she needed to remember.
Her hands were caught between their bodies, and she instinctively gripped his shirt in her hands for a little stability – had she done that before? She had done that before… – as they kissed. She couldn't help but moan as he relaxed his hold on her, slipped his tongue into her mouth, and softly clutched her face, the kiss becoming less frenzied and more romantic. One of her hands curled around his neck, the other around his chest, and she slowed their kiss, savoring the moment and the taste of him on her lips. Chuck stilled, sucking on her lip for just a moment, before pulling back. Their mouths finally separated with a gentle sound, and Sarah's eyes slowly fluttered open as she lowered her feet flat against the ground.
"Wow," Sarah breathed, her eyes fixated on Chuck's swollen lips. "It was kinda like that."
"Yeah, it was…it was kind of like that," Chuck said, not realizing that she had responded to their kiss with a statement and not a question. His forehead fell against hers as Sarah reached up and gently touched his bottom lip with her finger. "That was…do you remember?"
Her brow furrowed as she tried to ascertain which thoughts and feelings in her body were her own real memories and which were from the stories he told or the amazing kiss they had just shared. She finally looked into his eyes and said, "Maybe. I think…maybe."
He rubbed up and down her back once before letting her go with a smile. "Well, that's something."
Chuck had just returned to his seat on the couch when she called his name. He immediately turned to her again.
"I think I chose to spend my last minutes on Earth kissing you because I didn't want to die without knowing what it felt like to kiss someone I loved," Sarah said.
"You remembered that?" he asked.
She shrugged. "It's why I chose to stay…more or less."
Chuck sighed, a slight smile teasing the corners of his mouth, and he leaned back against the couch, opening his arm in invitation. She accepted and sat down next to him, her head on his shoulder, her arm draped across his lap. He gently kissed her forehead, knowing she hadn't been talking about their long-ago first kiss anymore. Sarah, as if on cue, pulled back and tilted her head up to look at him. He reached for her chin, smoothly turning her head towards him. He pulled her close to him again, and she laced her fingers with the hand slung against her shoulder. Their lips met over and over in soft, lazy kisses, and Chuck knew there would be no vacant looks or discouraged sobs today. Sarah pulled back, smiled, and snuggled into his neck again.
"Chuck," she said softly.
"Yeah?" he asked, matching her tone.
"Tell me a story," she requested. "A new one."
"A new one…let's see…" he said, mulling it over. He maneuvered them around the couch until his back was against the red cushion with Sarah curled comfortably on top of him. She let out a contented sigh as his arms tightened around her. "Well…do you want to hear about the first time I told you I loved you?"
"In Castle?" she asked.
"That was the sober, to-your-face 'I love you' speech," he said. "The first time I ever said it was when I was high on some sort of toxic fumes and was done mostly through a vault wall."
"What?" she asked with a laugh.
"We were on this mission with Carina," he started.
"Oh no," Sarah sighed. "That already explains a lot."
Chuck laughed. "We were at her fake engagement party, pretending to be a couple, and we weren't in a very good place…"
She closed her eyes as Chuck caressed her back and told her about the mission – using his new Intersect skills to get through security, getting trapped in the vault, yelling a heartfelt speech at her while she fought someone outside, and finally collapsing into her arms after, he later discovered, she had heard nothing more than "Sarah, I love you."
"I don't think you heard anything else I said, so, I mean, I'm sure you thought I was nuts. The last thing I remember is your eyes getting really wide, but…" he said, wrapping up the story.
"You weren't nuts. You chose to be a spy because you loved me," she said instinctively.
"What?" Chuck asked, sitting up a little to look at her.
She groaned at being jostled from her comfortable position against him, keeping her eyes tightly shut. "What?" she asked.
"Sarah, that's exactly what I said. How do you know that?"
She was silent for a moment, her face scrunched up in another soundless consideration. She finally said, "I think there was a flash drive. I don't know where I got it from."
"You – you saw it? And you remember that?" he asked, sitting up a little to look at her.
"If that counts as remembering," she said. She finally leaned up, opened her eyes and rested her chin on the arm strewn across his chest. "Wait…do I still have it? Could I watch it again?"
"I have no idea. I didn't know this recording existed!" Chuck said.
"You didn't give it to me?" she asked.
"I'm assuming that was Carina," Chuck said. "She likes to taunt you about being a sucker who fell in love on the job."
She snickered and said, "Right…you blew Carina's cover. I'm sure she loved that."
"So you remember the video and the contents of the video but not anything about the circumstances surrounding the video?" Chuck asked. Sarah looked at him with a desperate look on her face and simply shrugged. Chuck sighed. "Don't take this the wrong way, but your screwed up, Intersected memory is kind of fascinating."
Sarah chuckled and settled back against his chest. "At least it's something."
Yes, Chuck thought as she slowly drifted off to sleep for a mid-morning nap in his arms. At least it's something. The odds were definitely in their favor today.
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