Chuck vs. the Little Things

Disclaimer: Nope. Not mine.

AN: Set somewhere in Season 3… I think. Just a little Chuck introspective that was sitting on my harddrive.

Summary: He knows everything but the things that are most important. One-shot Charah set in S3.

Because he knows everything but the things that are most important.

He's met her dad but still doesn't know her name. He doesn't know her birthday though he's arbitrarily picked a date because not having one is just too cruel (his words, not hers). He doesn't know where she grew up or how many siblings she had or who her first kiss was.

He feels a stab of pain every time Ellie or anyone else asks a mundane question about Sarah and he just can't answer.

Chuck feels like a failure of a boyfriend.

There is this enormous list of things he should know. That normal people learn within a month or so of knowing each other. He has been on and off cover and real dating Sarah for a few years now and he still doesn't know them.

He doesn't know where she grew up and it's impossible to guess because she knows more accents than he cares to name and knows how to blend in wherever she goes.

He knows her first name, but not because she gave it to him.

He doesn't know who her celebrity crush is. Though there's a distinct probability she doesn't have one now, he figures she must have had one in the past. Ellie had at least one new one every other month in high school.

He doesn't know if she has cousins and how many if she did. He likes to pretend that she has a dozen cousins all modelesque and running around doing impossible things. Occasionally if he sees a model in a magazine with just the right hair color or eyes just the right shade of blue that it might be one of her relatives. He knows it's absurd, but it's the closest he's got.

But he does know a few things.

He knows her favorite band, her favorite song, her favorite movie—and yes she didn't have those things before she met him. Or at least she'd forgotten that it mattered. But he knows them anyway.

He knows she loves gardenias because she lingers over them just a second longer when she thinks nobody is watching. Her smile when he brings them is worth every second of sort of creepy stalking he is doing.

He knows she likes blue because she wears it often. She used to wear red a lot too, but he thinks she hasn't as much since that comment he made while trying to throw Bryce off his trail. He still winces at the memory. Now even when he assures her she looks stunning every time she steps out in something red, she still hesitates. Not like when she's wearing blue.

He knows that as much as she likes to occasionally dress up and see and be seen it's not really her scene. She won't admit it, but she likes their quiet movie nights where he's picked out some romance she hasn't seen (occasionally) or some sci-fi classic that boggles his mind she hasn't even heard of (more often than not). But she never complains at his geeky choices, just smiles at him and seems to enjoy them.

She likes understated over flashy like those neutral tones she favors in her eye makeup that make her look just a little more girl-next-door even though she has those stunning supermodel looks that make Chuck wonder how much more money she could have made in a far less dangerous profession. He thinks for the umpteenth time how lucky the world is that she decided on the CIA instead.

He knows that it's only when they're alone (more and more often because Devon and Ellie work late nights), when they get to be just simple, unassuming Chuck and Sarah that she unwinds. He called her out on it just once before they were dating because he was curious that she'd spend so much non-cover time with him, but she'd given him that semi-glare and pointed out that Devon and Ellie coming home to find them curled up on the couch together was good for their cover. And after she'd pinned him with her glare enough that he squirmed, she let up a little and breathed up in his ear from where she'd been laying that she didn't mind spending time with him either and he was flabbergasted because honestly, didn't she have something better to do with her time? But she'd already turned away from him and back to the movie. It's only when they're wrapped up in whatever movie or show he's picked for them that she relaxes and it's only when it's just the two of them and she can lean against him. All the tension in her body lets out and she becomes a little softer—a little more Sarah and a little less Agent Walker. It's the only time he gets to see her quite so relaxed.

Except for sleeping next to him. Some part of her is drawn to being wrapped up in his arms; he knows this for a fact. She occasionally wakes up with nightmares in the middle of the night, one of the hazards of being a spy. It wakes him sometimes though he knows it happens far more than she lets on. She's trained well enough that it's always quiet. She never wakes with much more than a quiet gasp and a few ragged breaths. But it only ever happens when they're lying apart on the bed. She's never once had a nightmare wrapped securely in his arms. She's not needy enough to insist on it, in fact seems far more comfortable to assert her independence and refuse to be in his arms. But. But on those really bad missions or occasionally when she really needs him, even though she won't tell him why, she won't just climb into her side of bed. She climbs in and snuggles right up against him, gripping his shirt. And he opens his arms to her every time.

He knows how to make her smile, how to make her laugh. He knows how to read when she's having a bad day and the best way to comfort her when she is. He knows a few things she loves (him, her job) and hopes someday she'll let him learn the rest.

Because he knows everything but the things that are least important.

A/N: How do you love someone you don't really know? This has always seemed to me a vitally important question in the Chuck fandom, especially early on. But then there was that brilliant scene where Chuck remarks to Sarah, "I know who you are. A girl I'd like to share a cheeseburger with." It doesn't really matter because the rest are just details. And this fic was born. I think I'm doing a companion from Sarah's POV. Probably more angsty. I have no idea.