hurtsville (i know i'm on a sinking ship). chuck. chuck/sarah. she's not ashamed of the two of them being together in that way, but it's different to face whatever they have in broad daylight. loving each other in the darkness of a bedroom is so much simpler. an angsty look at chuck/sarah post season 2 finale. and you know, if chuck was on paid cable television instead of being a family show.

The first time they share a bed, it's a total fiasco.

The second time feels just as strange as the first, if not more. They're pretending like everything's fine, but it shouldn't be. He broke things up twice with her for Lou, and then Jill; they keep going back together for the sole purpose of her protecting him.

The third time's a charm, they say. And it was, for a moment.

But then, he uploads the Intersect 2.0.

This, changes everything.

The fourth time happens shortly after Bryce's death and Chuck's started his spy training, and this shouldn't be any different than the first and second time (she tries not to think about the third time). Except no one is pressuring them into anything this time; they're not pretending to get his sister and Devon off their backs, they're not on the run and spending the night in a crappy motel only to wake up wrapped around each other.

It's none of that; he's at her door one rainy night, his face a shadow in the half-lit corridor as he leans against the doorframe. She mirrors him, her hand curling around the green door. In that moment, she knows something has irremediably changed between them.

The silence is heavy with all the things they do not say; she lets him in and cuddles into his side like she means it.

(of course she means it; but if someone asks her, she's just doing her job. )

He's too emotionally unstable, they tell her. It's up to her to keep his head in the game by any means necessary. It's no wonder that Graham also wanted her for that assignment at first; she's always been good at getting where others couldn't.

Do whatever it takes, Agent Walker, Beckman says before the screen in Castle goes dark.

But it's different this time.

She brings him to her hotel room and lets him sleep in her bed for the second time since that night, not because he's her mission and General Beckman basically ordered her to have sex with him so she can later manipulate him more easily, but because she actually wants to have him in her bed.

She wants to lie on her side with him pressed against her back, his face in her hair and his arms heavy on her hip. She wants to wake up to the feel of his lips against her neck.

She knows this is the wrong thing to do, that she's getting emotionally attached to him and that there are hundreds of reasons why this shouldn't happen but she lies on her side facing him and watches him sleep.

He tosses and turns, nightmares troubling him. She pushes his unruly sweaty hair from his forehead to try and calm him, but it doesn't work.

She says his name and kisses his brow and climbs on top of him and he finally opens his eyes.

He looks confused, even freaked out, for a moment but when he realizes she's not moving, his hands settle on the top of her thighs and she finds that she really likes them there.

Forget about the 49B. Forget about everything.

She takes off the pale blue tank top she's wearing and watches his pupils widen to the point that she can't really tell the color of his eyes anymore.

She brings his warm hands to her breasts because this is what she wants, not what she needs to do; it's okay, we can do this, she whispers against his lips and it almost sounds like the truth.

Sometimes, he leaves his bed in the middle of the night, sneaks out by his window and drives all the way across town.

Sometimes, his fingers leave bruises on her thighs.

Sometimes, she rakes her nails so hard against his back that it draws blood.

They're marking each other the only way they can.

You are mine. I am yours.

She eventually stops counting the times they share a bed.

She starts counting when they're not.

To the world, they are together in every way possible.

To the CIA and NSA, it's just a cover. Part of the mission. A means to an end.

To them, they're only true behind the closed doors of her hotel room.

Ellie invites her to dinner so it's only natural that she spends the night.

They lie in silence for exactly 17 minutes before they can't take it anymore and they're kissing and their hands are underneath each other's underwear stroking and touching and oh god just like that.

She tries not to moan, mindful of Awesome and Ellie just one bedroom away, and the bugs in Chuck's bedroom, but fails miserably at his first thrust, and she says his name like she's in pain (her heart breaks knowing that the two of them will probably never be real; that it will always be in the darkness of a bedroom and nowhere else).

She clings to his shoulders and spreads her legs farther apart, taking him deeper, and he groans, his trembling hands on either side of her head as if afraid of touching her.

He's being a little bit too rough tonight, and that's exactly how she likes it. Their lips brush but they do not kiss, their noses bumping; when they should try to be quiet, they listen to the sounds the other makes instead, reveling in them.

She's not ashamed of the two of them being together in that way, but she's not exactly cheerful the next morning. Awesome keeps making sex jokes at Chuck while Ellie rolls her eyes and tells him to stop badgering her little brother.

Sarah plays the embarrassed girlfriend all too well. It's different to face whatever they have in broad daylight.

I'm moving out, he tells Ellie the same morning. He lies about finding a job as a computer analyst and that it's time that he left his sister and her husband finally have the apartment to themselves.

Ellie hugs him tight, telling him how proud she is of him.

Sarah plasters the brightest smile she can muster.

They agree to move in together, and Sarah feels like Beckman manipulated her into doing everything she was supposed to do.

A part of her actually hates herself.

The other part is grateful.

"Gonna have the moron all to yourself, huh?" Casey smirks, cleaning his dismantled gun at the conference table down in Castle. "Try to keep it in your pants and not wear him out too much, Walker, we actually need him in the field now."

She hears her knuckles crack on his jaw; it'll hurt like hell for a few days but the sight of John Casey stunned on the floor is more than satisfying.

Carina enrolls them into one of her missions. She stops by Sarah and Chuck's apartment to get ready, can't help but notice the toothbrushes standing next to each other in the small bathroom, the pictures scattered all over the living room, Chuck's nerdy paraphernalia and the gun compartment hidden in the couch.

"You're really cozy in there, don't you think?"

Spies don't fall in love, Walker. Feelings get you killed.

"It's just cover," she replies so flatly even it sounds false to her ears.

There's how they are when they're alone, and then there's the Chuck and Sarah for the outside world.

Chuck actually looks nervous when they're late meeting Ellie and Awesome at the restaurant on a Friday night because it'll look like they were having sex instead of defusing a bomb, and it's so endearing to see him blush because actually that's the whole point.

He blushes even harder, and she laughs. This is the Chuck she met three years ago.

(his virginal bride side made her wonder a lot in the first few weeks of being assigned to Project Bartowski. But she quickly learned how much self-restraint Chuck is capable of when it comes to her.)

She kisses him by the door he's holding open, indulging herself in that small moment of truth.

Ellie keeps calling them a cute couple, and that's how they choose to look to them, because this was how it was supposed to be before, and how it needs to still be now.

(and then, there's the Chuck and Sarah who are anything but cute.)

Like she used to do with Bryce, they attract attention being a horny couple who can't keep their hands to themselves so that, when they later slip away, everyone will assume that they're having sex somewhere.

Chuck is really getting good at that, she notices and wonders how much of this is him and not the Intersect.

But now they're seconds away to be discovered in the arms dealer's office, and even though they just sent the copy of the hard drive to Casey, there's no way they can get out without being caught.

They look at each other, and decide they're going to be caught, just in a different way.

So she hops on the desk and grabs him by his tie. He settles between her open legs and kisses her hungrily.

That's how they find them: Chuck's hand fondling her breast and her hands down his pants.

And then they're fighting back to back and in sync, and it's nice to see their training sessions down at Castle pay back. For a man, he's graceful when he fights; uses his lack of brawns to his advantage and compensates with agility and swift movements to hit the target.

They're still slightly panting and a little bit disheveled when they come back to the party downstairs. Some people throw them a knowing look before going back to whatever conversation they had, and Chuck and Sarah finally manage to slip away unnoticed.

"Good job, you two," Casey greets as they settle in the back of the van.

"Well, that was fun," Chuck says in a breath.

She looks at his excited smile with a pang in her chest. So much for wanting the Intersect out of his head.

But there are also times when they're alone in their apartment, when he's still her Chuck.

The Chuck who is a spy but does not kill and always finds a way around it, the Chuck who will host Halo nights in their living room with his pal Morgan when he comes back from Hawaii to visit, the Chuck who tries to convince her to watch Star Wars with him just one more time, the Chuck who brings her breakfast in bed on Sunday mornings and apologizes because they're out of grapefruit juice.

Ultimately there's the Chuck she knows from the dark confines of a bedroom. The spy and the nerd. The man he is and doesn't show other people.

His face is almost a shadow over her, framed by the fluorescent orange streetlight outside their window. The covers are tangled around his feet, and there's a chill in the air that raises goosebumps on their sweaty skins.

His hands framing her head, he kisses the underside of her jaw as she arches beneath him, her nipples brushing the skin of his chest as he moves. She gasps at the sensation and wriggles her hips under him, deepening the angle of his strokes.

He's particularly tender tonight, his thrusts slow and long and oh so good that she curls her hand around his nape, brings his forehead to hers and whispers, I love you.

I love you too, he says, knowing as well as she does that one day, all of this will stop; that they'll ask something of him he won't be ready for and realize that she's failed at her mission because this stopped being a mission the moment she said I like you, Chuck.

For now though, whatever they're entitled to have, she realizes, is enough.