Sarah could feel her eyes were beginning to glaze over when a knock on the door snatched her attention away from the list of 'Top 10 Ugliest Evil Henchman.' She fought aside her initial impulse to retrieve her favorite knife, but still cautiously kept one eye on the foyer. A moment later, Chuck's head popped inside.
"Hey guys, you haven't seen Sarah around, have you? I was just…" He paused when he saw his wife seated there. He went over to her, his eyebrows rising briefly when he saw the giant book on the table, casting its shadow on the room.
"What's going on, Chuck?" Morgan asked. "We were just trying to help Sarah…"
"And I appreciate it, Buddy. But we'll probably have to cut it short." Chuck turned to Sarah. "General Beckman called. She has something she needs us to meet with her about."
"General Becks called?" Morgan jumped out of his seat. "Awesome! I've been meaning to catch up with her."
"Uh, sorry. She only wanted to talk to Sarah."
Morgan sighed with brief disappointment, then turned to Sarah. "We can pick this up tomorrow. I have a few more pages that I want to add, anyway."
Sarah had to bite her lip to stop the groan working its way up her throat.
"So what does the General want?" Sarah asked once they'd returned to Chuck's…their house.
"Actually, she just had a few forms you need to sign. But I figured you could use some rescuing," Chuck replied, nodding to the magnum opus currently in her arms. "Sorry about that."
"Well, parts of it reminded me of a very long night of surveillance sitting in a cold truck in Helsinki," Sarah replied as she dropped the book onto Chuck's…their kitchen table. Sitting down, she added, "But Morgan has a…strange charm about him, so I guess it wasn't too bad. And some of the subject material was rather interesting."
Sarah thought she saw Chuck flush slightly. "He just wants to help, and he tends to get a bit eager." He picked up the book and leafed through for a minute. "But I'd take his words of wisdom with a grain of salt."
"Yeah, for one thing, 'The Dark Knight' did not win Best Picture. And his description of the 'Lost' finale is way off."
"Part of his own memory loss?"
"Wishful thinking, probably."
"Well, it's not like I didn't do my own research once I realized what had happened to me," Sarah pointed out. "It's kind of tough not knowing who the President is."
"Well, Morgan put that in here at least," Chuck commented, "though he didn't spell the name right." He looked up. "I guess I should have been more helpful. Clearly, losing your memory affected more than just our relationship."
"Yeah, about that," Sarah said, "Morgan certainly kept working us into his history lessons, but you haven't been quite as aggressive with your memory jogs lately."
"Jogging's never been my thing," Chuck said, flashing a goofy smile that didn't bother Sarah as much as she felt it should. "But you know, I've been thinking a lot about it, and I realized that it's not my place."
Sarah was surprised. Based on everything she'd learned about him from her recent experience and the earlier experiences she'd recorded in her mission logs, Chuck always seemed to go out of his way to help people – whether it was asked for or not. "Not your place? Isn't that kind of what married people do?" It seemed like it would be, though she had to admit her own knowledge of marriage was mainly limited to her parents' failed one.
"In part, it is. But I can't force you to be who I want you to be. It's not fair, and it won't work. I don't believe that one person can change another."
Sarah was surprised again. "Then are you saying that I didn't change who you were when I was your handler?"
Chuck considered the question. "Would it make you mad if I said no?" When Sarah merely shrugged, he said, "I'm not saying you weren't part of it. You were a huge part of it. But I think that I've always been who I am, even if I didn't know who that person was when we first met. Actually, you used to tell me all the time. You'd say I always had it in me to be the hero. And eventually I got to the point where I know that you were right. And let's face it, I've also always had it in me to be the bumbling fool. Still do. Hey, you could at least have the courtesy to disagree!"
"Sorry," Sarah apologized. "Politeness isn't my thing."
"Yeah it is, actually. Sarah, you are very loving and caring, and as my still-breathing best friend can attest, you are very patient and kind. And you are also a very bad-ass spy who can kill a man 16 different ways with a drinking straw and a stalk of cauliflower."
"Is that using them both together, or separately?" Sarah smiled.
"Ok then, it's actually 27 with the cauliflower, and 19 with the straw. 24 if it's the kind that bends."
Chuck paled slightly, much to Sarah's amusement. "My point is, while you may not be exactly the same person as you were a month ago, it's not because of me. The last five years have been your own journey. And well, you can take it again, if you want to. Along the way, we can make new memories. Maybe even better ones. And skip over a few of the roadblocks from before."
"But it's my decision."
"Yup, it is."
And there was the crux of it. Did she want to stay, to find this person she had apparently become, or go on a completely different journey? One direction that seemingly led to what she had always assumed she didn't want, and another that led to what she had always thought was inevitable. It was still an option, even if the CIA didn't seem to want her. She could join Carina in Greece (though, according to page 79 of Morgan's book, that might not be the best place to go these days). Or she could always latch on with Casey, who clearly seemed to respect her as an agent. It would be fun. All of the action and danger she'd always craved, fighting to protect the world, even if she didn't entirely recognize it right now.
But that would mean leaving her husband. Granted, she didn't remember him becoming her husband, but clearly there was something there. There were the voluminous recordings of her stating how she felt for him. Not to mention the not infrequent times that she'd found herself thinking about him during the last few days.
And it wasn't just Chuck. There were the family and friends she'd seemed to have made. A loving if occasionally meddlesome sister-in-law. The older partner, who'd be there for her, whether she followed him across the globe or not. Even the slightly annoying friend who was willing to take the time to write a 500-page tome to help her out.
"And then where do you fit in?" Sarah asked.
"Well, I'm always here to help. Like I said, it's your journey, but I can always be your tour guide."
An old phrase nudged its way into her head. "Not my baggage handler?"
Chuck looked at her for a moment, his mouth agape. "Why did you say that?"
Sarah shrugged. "I don't know," she admitted. "It kind of just popped in there. Something from an old movie, I think."
Chuck didn't say anything for a few moments. Finally, he smiled. "Yeah, I think I saw that movie too. It was a good one." They sat there quietly for a moment, before Chuck finally added, "So, I guess it's you're decision, Sarah."
In the end, Sarah was surprised at how easy the decision was.
"Ok, I'm in."
"Great!" Chuck stood up. "I think I'll start making dinner. You know, there are some good things about having amnesia."
"Well, you're going to get the chance to taste my chicken pepperoni for the first time again."
Sarah smiled. "Ok. I think I'll stay in the living room while you cook. Do a little light reading." Impulsively, she stood up and hugged Chuck.
She sat down on the living room couch, lugging Morgan's book with her. She turned over to a page she skimmed earlier. At the top, in big black letters, it said, "Top Reasons Why Sarah Walker Loves Chuck Bartowski." She studied the page with interest, thinking that pretty soon, she might even be ready to write in a new one.
So I suppose you could call this, "An Excess of Exes," and "Workplace Interruptions on a Monday" my 'Morgan as Unreliable Narrator' trilogy. It probably means I turn to the same bag of tricks too much, but the unreliable narrator thing is a lot of fun to write. I highly recommend it.
Please let me know what you thought. I always appreciate reviews!