A/N: Never thought I'd do this again. I was fully convinced I was done writing and then dettiot announced her fic challenge and I couldn't refuse. So I decided to join in and bam, I couldn't think up a plot. Sufficed to say, this has been one of the hardest things I've ever had to write. But I'm happy with the final product and I hope you readers are too.
So major, MAJOR kudos go out to Steampunk Chuckster (aka Karen) and Natalie, who are the Ellie and Sarah to my Chuck. They both chipped in with very helpful advice and made sure that this fic wasn't riddled with typos or inaccuracies. So once again, a very heartfelt thank you to the both of these ladies. If this were a Broadway play, or a game show, I'd probably ask for a round of applause. Since it isn't, I just hope the both of them know how grateful I am.
Thanks also to dettiot for issuing the challenge to make sure that the Chuck fandom remains alive. I may not like the show all that much anymore, but I still enjoy a lot of the fandom. Enjoy reading.
P.S: The title is terrible but I just couldn't think up a proper one, so there it is.
P.P.S: Word trolled me and copied the deleted sections as well, so that's why I'm reposting. It should actually be READABLE now _
Disclaimer: Don't own Chuck or the Inbetween challenge. The first is courtesy of Warner Bros. and the second one is courtesy of dettiot. Also, as a reference/in honor of Steampunk Chuckster and her amazing ConVerse brand, I used her story breaks. Sorry, but I'm not sorry.
Of Rooks, Knights and Bad Dreams
There were only a couple of times that Chuck was this terrified. When he was six years old and a giant snake had slithered over his short frame while they were at the zoo was one of those times. And again when he realized that his mom wasn't going to come home, after he'd broken her favorite bracelet. He wasn't going to say that it blanched in comparison to this moment, but well, this was pretty much one of the most terrifying things he had ever done.
Sarah rolled off him, her body slick with sweat, and he swallowed. He knew she loved him, she had told him so herself. Well, okay… she may not have used those exact words but… focus Bartowski! He wondered how he should play this. After all, he had just made love to an international woman of mystery. She had seen the world, probably been with greater lovers than him. How could he possibly measure up to those things?
She said she loved you. Sorta.
Sarah sighed. "That was…"
"Please don't say that it was a mistake!" he said, a little too quickly. He took a deep breath to calm himself. "Look, I—I've been hoping for this day for a long time… well not just the part where we made love though that was certainly nice, but also the day that we could be together you know, just you and me against the world and now it's here and if—if this is a mistake just don't drag it out any longer because I don't think it was a mistake and…"
Well, he thought, being shut up by Sarah Walker applying her lips to his was certainly much better than Ellie's method. At least this didn't hurt. Okay, it did hurt, just a little. She seemed a little rough, possessive even. But it was a good kind of pain. The pain he wouldn't mind feeling a bit more of.
When she pulled back, he willed his brain to keep his gaze steady and on her, not lingering on the lower parts of her anatomy that wasn't covered in blankets. 'Eyes up front, soldier!' Her smile was bright and her eyelids crinkled in amusement. "I wasn't going to say that it was a mistake, Chuck. This was…" She fell back on the bed and put a hand on her head. "God, this was amazing."
He couldn't stop the goofy grin from spreading. Not that he tried very hard. All the heartbreak had been worth it because it had led to this moment. He could die a happy man now. Well, that was partially true. He'd appreciate it a lot if he could spend some more time basking in her glow, in her ethereal-like being. When he told her he loved her, back in Castle, he felt like he wasn't thorough enough. How could he explain how deeply he cared for her? How much he worshipped the ground she walked on? No, Castle didn't do that justice. She deserved a better spot. Somewhere romantic, that was up to the highest of standards.
"Chuck?" Her voice broke his thoughts.
"Hmm?" he mumbled, his voice thick with sleep. He'd been up the entire time, making sure that Sarah would be okay. Shaw wasn't going to take her away from him, damn it. Combined with the extracurricular activities, it was no wonder that he was tired.
He got the message when she leapt on top of him.
It was awkward, Chuck decided. He hadn't been able to name the tension that he was feeling between them, but he figured that 'awkward' would suffice. Sarah hadn't acted any different since their love making, but he sure felt different. Maybe this was what being in love felt like. Of course he'd fallen in love with Sarah Walker since the moment he laid eyes on her three years ago. But it had been impossible to freely express his love due to the less than ideal circumstances surrounding them. So he reluctantly tried to squash those feelings in his own denial, and that didn't work out quite as expected considering where he was now… Now he was willing and able to convey exactly how he felt. Which was raw, unbridled love; the kind he hadn't experienced since Jill.
Still, Chuck worried. He wasn't sure what Sarah liked. She was a spy, and being such meant her true likes and dislikes were veiled in mystery. But they had sex, and to him, coupled with an almost "I love you," that basically meant they were exclusively dating now.
But according to the powers that be, this was forbidden. They didn't belong together and nor was it allowed. 'Technically,' he thought. 'God bless the CIA.'
Sarah handed him a piece of toast, already buttered. The irony wasn't lost on Chuck, and he could only imagine what Cole Barker must think of him right then. Buttered muffin, buttered toast, something ended up getting buttered and he did the MI5 agent proud. Yet his triumph of bedding Sarah Walker was only half of the ordeal, and thus, short-lived. He still had no clue how to act around her. Did she want to be touched a lot? Did she want to just hold hands? What would she want him to call her? Were pet names a good idea? Did she even think of him as her boyfriend? He shook his head to clear out the incessant jumble of thoughts and focused on her.
He felt like he was scrutinizing his every move, making sure that he was perfect; making sure that Sarah wasn't lacking in anything. He'd buy her the moon if she asked him to. Though, how he was going to afford it from his Buy More salary, he had no clue.
"So," he said, his mouth full of bread, "what do you want to do now?"
"It's Paris, Chuck. The better question is, what do you want to do?"
He lit up. "The Eiffel tower," he said, without the slightest moment of hesitation. Sarah laughed.
"I should've known."
"Yes, you should. You are a spy, after all."
Her shoulders drooped almost immediately and her eyebrows knit together. "Hmm," she said. "If I was that good of a spy, I should've known that I was walking into a trap."
"Oh c'mon, you couldn't have known that, Sarah! The guy was a psychopath. Jesus, he played all of us, not just you." She shrugged, and gave a feeble smile. "Hey… hey, hey." He dropped his toast and walked across the table and hugged her. "Why are you beating yourself up over this?"
"I'm not," she said when he stepped back.
"You're really going to lie to me? I thought we were partners. In more ways than one." Okay, so it was kind of unfair, pulling in his own insecurities, but it was a good opening.
"That's because we are." Debilitating insecurities, meet Sarah Walker. He blew out a sigh of relief, though he kept it as quiet as he could, so as to not draw attention to himself.
"So then why can't you tell me that there's something bothering you?"
"I'm fine, Chuck," she said, and her eyes flicked away from his, focusing on her breakfast.
"Sarah," he sighed, "I'm your boyfriend. It's kind of my job to help you deal with your issues." He shot her his mega watt grin, and hoped that it had the desired effect.
She smiled back at him, but her eyes looked sad. "I could've lost you—this," she finally said, gesturing to the room and him, "all because of the fact that I went along with him. I should've known. I should've seen through his plans." She hugged her knees to her chest, her food forgotten. She turned her head and stared out the window, while Chuck still crouched in front of her. He kept quiet; both confused by why she would possibly blame herself—Shaw was a trained spy after all—and figuring that she needed her space.
"Do you want to go outside?" he asked. "I think some fresh air will work wonders."
When she looked back and nodded, he didn't see his amazing Sarah, stoic, unflinching and always strong. Instead, he saw the vulnerable Sarah, looking at him for comfort that only he could provide.
He loved her even more.
Sarah inhaled deeply when they got on the street. Her breath came out in little puffs of air and he saw her visibly relax. They started walking without a definite destination in mind. Chuck put his hands in his pocket, not knowing what to do with them otherwise. He figured she wouldn't appreciate his almost OCD-like need to be in physical contact with her.
But instead, she held out her hand to his. When he linked his hand with hers, he felt the same electrical charge he always did when he touched her. He wasn't sure if he would ever get used to the feeling.
He wasn't sure if he ever wanted to get used to it.
They zigzagged through the milling crowd and before they knew it, they were looking at the entrance of a park. When Sarah looked at him, the question poised in her eyes, he nodded immediately. They entered the park and their ears were assaulted by the sounds of laughing children and artists playing their music. The leaves on the trees were of a golden brown color and Chuck was once again struck by the beauty of Europe, Paris in particular. Of course Burbank had parks, but it was still different when he realized that he was pretty much on the other side of the world. Then again, not even the park had anything on Sarah.
Speaking of Sarah, she appeared to have spotted something. Her brows were knit and her eyes were squinting. "What's up?" he asked.
"Is it me, or is that…"
Chuck started looking as well and it didn't take him long to see what had her so confused. "Isn't Casey supposed to be back in Burbank?"
"I don't know," she said, and started dragging him along, "but he's still here, and I don't want to find out why."
"Are we really going to play hide and seek with Casey?"
She laughed, though it was muffled. Ever the stealthy spy. "I guess so. Let's go."
They spotted a small cluster of people and weaved through them, hiding behind trees and peering from behind them. Sarah's eyes were bright and she was shaking with laughter while they were running. A laughing Sarah was certainly something he could get used to. He had seen her laugh far too little.
"I think we got away," Chuck said when they had gotten a couple hundred yards distance, hiding behind a tree. "Well done, baby." He stole a quick kiss, figuring that if she minded, she'd let him know in no uncertain terms.
The way she pulled him closer and almost knocked him out with the force of her return kiss told him that such a possibility was decidedly not the case.
When they finally released each other, he was sure that his grin would split his face in two. Part of him wanted to blush like an embarrassed school girl about that. The other part was reveling in the fact that Sarah had the same grin.
But when he looked behind her at one of the performers, a mime actor, his eyes rolled back into his head. He wanted to curse the universe, were it not for the images flashing in front of his eyes. When he snapped out of it, Sarah was looking at him with a mix of concern and disgust. "Seriously? In France?"
"I know," he said, the same frustration seeping into his voice. "But that mime guy over there? Yeah, apparently he's part of a terrorist organization. They want to throw the country in disarray and then take over with a coup."
"How original," Sarah said while she rolled her eyes. "So what is his specialty?"
Chuck swallowed. "Controlled demolitions."
"So what do we do?" he asked.
"I guess we follow him and see what he's up to," she said and sighed. "You'd think that we would get a break from spying, but nooooo."
He really didn't want to point out to her how adorable she was when she was frustrated like that. She'd probably get so annoyed that she'd take him out with one vicious back-heel kick, looking glamorous while doing it.
They settled on a bench, overlooking the performer slash terrorist, but also kept an eye out for Casey. After all, if Casey was here, it was probably time to go home. Sarah appeared to have no intention of doing that. Chuck was just fine with that.
She was cuddled into his side, her head resting on his shoulder while he drew patterns on her hand. She had her long legs resting on the bench, effectively taking away all the space. They looked like a couple in love, simply enjoying the sights.
Though that probably had something to do with the fact that they were a couple in love, simply enjoying the sights.
And terrorists. They were definitely keeping an eye out for the terrorist as well.
After what felt like an hour had passed, the guy, whose name was Fillemon Rocher, as the Intersect had so helpfully supplied—along with a lot of pictures of the man smoking cigarettes, though Chuck figured that it had to be something French given the cigarette butts littering the park—finally started moving. Chuck got up with a yawn and held his hand out to help Sarah up. The cold morning had slowly turned into a pleasant afternoon and Sarah looked drowsy, though that could very well be a ruse. She was the best spy he knew, after all. Well, joint first place. Casey deserved an honorable mention too. But he wasn't in love with Casey, so Sarah won by default.
And indeed, when she was up, her eyes were low-lidded, but they were darting all over the place. How she could always be so alert, he would never know. Probably something she was taught at the Farm.
He never really got to that stage in his training.
Their pace was a leisure one, but of enough speed that they could easily keep up with Rocher. He either didn't realize he was being followed, or maybe he just didn't care. Whatever it was, he strolled through the park, did a couple of impressions for people who asked him, and slowly made his way to the exit. It gave Sarah ample time to turn up the PDA.
"For the cover," she said when he gave her a questioning look and laughed when she saw his face turn grim. "Relax, Chuck. I'm joking," she said and frowned, "or at least trying to."
He shook his head. "Those words will haunt me forever." His smile betrayed his seriousness.
They reached the edge of the park, but instead of going out, Rocher veered off and started walking deeper into the park. He started scrubbing his make-up off too.
Sarah let go of Chuck's hand. "Time to go into spy mode," she said and he nodded. Her steps became less pronounced and soon all he could hear was the soft thud of her heels hitting the grass.
"Why do you always wear heels?" he asked as he was tiptoeing behind her. "Isn't that kind of illogical when you're trying to be stealthy?"
"Yeah," she admitted, "but I like being able to look you in the eyes. Plus, you can seriously do a number on someone with heels like these," she added with a smirk. Besides, you can seriously hurt someone with heels like these."
The trees gave way to an open field where Rocher stopped moving, reached into his coat and took out a cigarette. He lit it and waited. Chuck and Sarah hid along the tree line. "I wonder why he's doing this in the open," Sarah mumbled.
"Because no one knows him," Chuck said. "The Intersect had very little on him, so I'm guessing that the average Joe or even police officer won't recognize him. I doubt that French intelligence has anything on him. Most of the information seemed to have originated from Spain."
"Have I ever mentioned how handy it is that you're the Intersect?" she asked with a grin. She didn't see the confusion—and very real fear—settle on his face. What if that was the reason she was with him? Just because he was the Intersect. It would make sense after all. She was a gorgeous spy. He was an underachieving nerd who freelanced as a failed spy on Mondays.
"No," he said and he laughed in a way that he hoped she would buy. "But I'm glad you think so." A woman approached Rocher and Chuck focused on the task at hand. There would be plenty of time to freak out about a potential relationship disaster, later.
"Can you see what they're saying?" she asked Chuck. He looked closer and the flash hit him square in the face. Lip-reading. Cool. He started relaying the information to Sarah who translated as fast as she could.
"The… explosives… have been purchased… Good job… Eiffel tower… Chuck! They're planning on…"
"Blowing up the Eiffel tower," Chuck added. "Sarah we can't let them do that!"
She gave him a droll look. "You think?" She smiled to take the sting out of her words. "Let's go save the French government."
"Why would they want to blow up the Eiffel tower?" Chuck asked as they were planning on how to best take down the two terrorists, and any of their potential allies.
Sarah shrugged. "It's a national symbol. People attach a lot of value to those. I'm thinking that they want to destroy it to demoralize the nation. Then, when they're at a low point, with no faith in their government to keep them safe anymore, the terrorists stage a coup to take over. At least, that's how I did it."
Chuck goggled. "You've done this before?"
"Well sure. How did you think we got an established democracy in some of those countries in Asia? Of course most of them were a dictatorship, so there wasn't much faith to begin with. But sometimes, all that's needed to start a revolution is a little spark. And I'm…"
"Smoking hot," Chuck finished for her.
"I was going to say 'the lighter', but your version works too." She smiled and patted him on the cheek. "Okay, play time is done until after the mission," she said and straightened. "The plan is to follow them. We know their end game, now all we need to know is whether they are the only ones executing it, or if there are more and if so, where their hive is. Once we find that out, we go in, subdue them and leave them for the cops. No one will know we were here."
"What if they split up?"
"Then we each follow one and see where they lead. Look, they're on the move."
Luckily, Rocher and the woman—her face had triggered a flash and informed him that she was Marie Deschamps, another ultranationalist—both seemed to be moving in the same direction. Sarah took charge and Chuck moved behind her. Whenever she would check on her left side, he would check their right. They were in sync like they had so often been. They were more in sync than Casey and Sarah, which filled him with pride. Proud of the fact that he could keep up with Sarah Walker, spy extraordinaire.
When they had left the park, Chuck hailed a cab as Rocher and Deschamps ducked into a silver Peugeot. The cabbie gave them a weird look when Sarah ordered him to follow the car, but the wad of cash that Chuck put into the man's greedy fingers seemed to do the trick.
The apartments slowly turned into houses as they moved through the city of light, and Chuck couldn't help but stare at the city he had loved for so long. He knew he had to focus on the mission, but this was a golden opportunity to indulge himself. Besides, Sarah would manage to keep track of where they were, so it's not like they needed…
"I have no idea where we are," Sarah whispered.
The twists and turns that they had been making throughout the city slowly came to a halt and they had been driving in a relatively straight line for a while. Suddenly, the Peugeot turned left into an alley and Sarah ordered the cabdriver to stop.
The man whined at Sarah, complaining that he had a job to do and Sarah waved him off with an irritated gesture. When the cab sped away, Sarah went into what Chuck had lovingly dubbed 'Agent Walker' mode. The woman he fell in love with disappeared and was replaced by someone who he also loved, but if he was honest with himself, scared him a little too.
But the fact that she could kick his ass three ways from Sunday was extremely hot. He was very aware that he was weird like that.
She started stalking through an alley, motioning Chuck to follow her. The alley was abandoned—of course. It would've been too easy if the terrorists had rolled out a welcome mat and a neat sign that said 'NUTJOB HIDEOUT'—but Sarah maneuvered through it like she was a regular visitor of this particular dingy alley.
She seemed to be looking for something, though he couldn't tell exactly what it was. When she did a tiny fist pump, he walked up to her. "What did you find?"
She pointed to the ground where a still smoldering cigarette was lying. "They must've gone in there." The cigarette was lying in front of a metal door, which was locked. Sarah reached into the back pocket of her jeans and pulled out her lock-picking set. "Keep a look out," she said as she pulled out the tools of her trade and went to work.
She was mumbling under her breath, either cursing the lock or singing one of the most vulgar songs that Chuck had ever hear her sing—completely off key. He figured it was the former. Her little 'yes' when the tumblers finally clicked into place, told him everything he needed to know. Chuck stopped her before she could enter.
"Sarah, not to be a buzz-kill or anything, but we don't have any guns, or tranq guns, or anything for that matter. Everything we could possibly use is back at the hotel." He didn't tell her that even the thought of handling a gun at this point in time made him physically sick to his stomach.
"Please," Sarah said, "we've got you. Besides, I know my way around a couple of fighting styles. We'll be fine."
"What do you mean: me? Me as in me, or me as in the Intersect?"
She gave him an unimpressed look. "You know what I meant."
The problem was that he really didn't. Of course he couldn't tell Sarah this. She was on edge and he didn't want to bring her off her game. So he just nodded. He kept telling himself to calm down and that the mission was more important than whatever Sarah may or may not feel towards him.
If only he could believe everything his brain told him.
The door swung open and the hallway into which it led was abandoned. A single light swung from the ceiling, illuminating the confines of the dark passage. It also illuminated the mold that was all over the place. There were doors on either side, but all of them looked undisturbed. Chuck barely held in a groan. How were they supposed to find a hideout when everything looked the same? He gave her a questioning look and she shrugged, before pressing her ear against the door.
"Sarah," he whispered; his voice shrill, "you don't know where that door's been. It could be full of germs. Look at this place."
She actually bothered turning around and rolling her eyes at him which he appreciated. She could've just as easily ignored him. When she shook her head and moved to the next door, he went to the other side and did the same as her. The doors all felt somewhat moist, and Chuck shuddered when he imagined the different kinds of germs that were no doubt having a party on the surface of what had to be close to rotting wood. But the other side was surprisingly empty. It was that, or the inhabitants were really quiet.
As he was nearing the final door of the row, he felt a hand close around his mouth and his fight or flight instinct kicked in. He screamed like a little girl. Luckily for him, it was muffled by the hand, which he had come to realize, was soft, feminine and smelled very familiar. When he turned around, Sarah's shoulders were shaking with contained laughter. "Figured you would react like this," she whispered. "You're still Chuck, after all… my Chuck." His heart soared and he grinned at her, which she rewarded with a quick peck and a nod of her head towards one of the last doors on the end of the hallway. "Ready?" He nodded.
With a flourish, she produced her black lock-picking set once more, and set to work. The lock proved much simpler this time and within seconds, she was putting back her kit. Chuck concentrated hard and before he knew it, images of various martial arts flashed through his mind. He nodded to Sarah and she slowly opened the door. The noise inside wasn't overly loud, but loud enough that Chuck was certain that they couldn't have heard Sarah picking the lock.
The flashbang that landed in front of him came as a surprise to everyone.
Everything hurt. His eyes hurt, his face hurt, his ears were ringing, and he was pretty sure that he had sprained his wrist. He also came to realize that, apart from his boxers, he was naked. Just great.
He blinked and he recognized the hotel room that Sarah and he had consummated their relationship in for the first time. Sarah was sitting at the coffee table, looking at the laptop he had brought and he laughed. It came out in a raspy chuckle, and Sarah looked over.
"You're awake," she said and her shoulders sagged. She smiled in what he assumed was relief. Classic Agent Walker, caring for her asset. "How you feeling?"
"I've been better," he said and gave a weak grin in return. "I feel like I just got omnislashed though." Sarah gave him a blank look. "Never mind," he said and shook his head, "it's from Final Fantasy—a video game," he clarified when her face kept registering confusion.
"Ah," she said and her smile bloomed. She moved from the table and crawled on the bed, settling in next to him. She laid her head on his shoulder and he hissed. He could add sore shoulders to the already painfully long list of ailments. "Sorry," she said as she scooted away from him.
"Mind filling me in on what happened after I went to la-la land? Like: what happened? Also, why did I get hit by what appears to be Thor's wrath, right in the face?"
"First things first, it was a flashbang, not an angry Norwegian god," Sarah said, completely deadpan. "Second, well… it was Ilsa."
"Oh yeah… it still sounds weird when you say he has a girlfriend."
"I know, right? Though technically, it's had."
"So what about her?"
The door burst open and Ilsa stormed in. They often said that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. Chuck had no idea who 'they' were, but he always assumed they had based that saying on his sister. Then he met Sarah, and well, he still had nightmares of her version of the Joker's pencil trick. Ilsa wasn't quite Ellie or Sarah, but she tried her best. And when she was pulsing with rage, like she was now, well she came close.
"What the hell, Bartowski?"
"You screwed up a three month op. Why did you do that?"
"What do you mean?" Chuck asked again and he looked at Sarah for clarification. He wasn't equipped to deal with this, not when there was a techno rave going on in his head. But she had moved off to the side and had her hands clasped in front of her. It was like she was standing at attention during a briefing, though why she would do that, he had no clue. Ilsa wasn't Sarah's superior.
"We were going to apprehend Rocher and Deschamps. Until you two showed up, of course."
"Wait, you knew?" Chuck asked.
"Of course," Ilsa said. "Who do you take us for? The Canadians?"
Chuck snorted. "You and Casey were made for each other." Her face lit up at the mention of the grumpy Colonel, though to the untrained eye, her face mostly stayed the same. There was just an extra twinkle in her eyes that wasn't there before. Years of scrutinizing Sarah had made him somewhat of an expression-connoisseur. "But how did we ruin your op, exactly?"
"Our team got confused when, instead of two people on the ground, there were suddenly four. In the confusion of who to arrest, Deschamps and Rocher escaped."
"Oh," Chuck said after a long silence. "I'm… sorry?"
Ilsa pinched the bridge of her nose in frustration. "Putain… c'est un imbecile."
"Oui, mais il est mon imbecile," Sarah said with a beaming smile. Chuck gave her a helpless look and she shook her head. He felt this was unfair. He never liked it when people were talking in a different language. He always felt left out.
Ilsa raised her eyebrow, asking a silent question that only Sarah seemed to understand, because she nodded immediately. "Anything I should know?" he asked Sarah.
"Girl talk," both replied immediately.
"Okay then…" Chuck said. "Uh, Ilsa, I'd like to get dressed. Would you mind?" She shrugged and left the room, but not before shooting a withering glare at him. It didn't frighten him as much as Casey's, but it was impressive nonetheless. "Sarah?" he said when the door closed.
"What is it?"
"Uh… I'd like to get dressed. Could you at least, y'know, turn around?"
"Good one, Chuck," she said and laughed. It trailed off when he kept looking at her. "You're actually serious?"
"Well… yeah. Don't you like privacy when dressing?"
She crossed her arms. "Have you seen what I've been wearing these past three years? Every time I get dressed, it feels like there's an entire camera crew watching my every move. So I'm not too bothered by it, no."
"I've seen you naked!" she said. "What could you possibly be ashamed of?!"
"Sarah," he whined. She huffed and turned around.
"Better?" she asked. Then, quieter: "I can't believe I'm doing this."
He got dressed as fast as he could, all the while keeping an eye out to see if Sarah would break her promise. He was pretty happy to see that she kept her promise. Mildly disappointed too.
"Why were you standing like that?" Chuck asked as he picked up his shirt and slipped it on.
"Like we were being reprimanded by General Beckman."
"Well, we did screw up her mission," Sarah said.
"How were we supposed to know? It's not like there's some sort of database that is going to tell us when an intelligence service does or doesn't know something. That's the whole idea behind being a clandestine agency."
"Be that as it may," she said, "we did screw up. I don't know, it just felt like the right thing to do—to let her rant without me interrupting. How are you feeling, by the way?"
"I'm okay," he said as he stuck his first foot through one of his pant legs. "Wrist hurts a little, but all in all, it could've been worse." He paused. "It could've been worse, right?"
"I wouldn't know. I've never been hit in the face by an exploding flashbang."
"All done," he said as he fastened the button on his jeans and bit back a wince from his wrist. She turned and gave him the once over.
"Good enough," she said and turned to the door. "Chop chop, there's an ass chewing we have to sit through."
Chuck's palms were sweating when Ilsa opened the door of the room she had rented. Sarah pushed him in, before closing the door behind them. The room was packed with people in tactical gear hanging around. Most shot him disapproving looks which only served to make him feel more self conscious. It wasn't like he ruined their mission on purpose. He just thought they were doing a good deed—saving the world, as it were.
"Like it or not, there are at least two highly valuable targets on the loose right now," Ilsa said, without any sort of greeting. "We have to find them, at any cost. And because you two decided to play citizen police, you got yourselves drafted to help us hunt them down."
"Question," Chuck said and raised his hand. "Technically we're not even supposed to be here. How are we going to pull this off?"
"You should've thought of that before you tried to be a superhero," Ilsa said.
"So helpful," Chuck mumbled and Sarah snickered. When he looked at her, the only thing she did however, was shrug. "Aren't you going to say anything about this?"
"Not really," Sarah said. "I mean, we were hunting these two anyway. This makes it easier, plus, we're technically sort of encroaching on DCRI jurisdiction. Ilsa's a good spy. She'll be of good help to us."
"Hear that?" Ilsa said. "A ringing endorsement from the CIA. Now let's get this show on the road. Captain Thoreaux, please explain to our guests what we know of these two."
One of the decked out police members stepped forward and motioned them towards a coffee table that was similar to the one in Chuck and Sarah's room. A map of the city was spread out over it, with various locations circled.
"We know," the man said with a thick French accent, "that the targets are only part of a… uh," he leaned to his left and asked something to a colleague, who whispered back the word 'extensive', before turning back, "an extensive network. They've been tasked with blowing up the Tower of Eiffel, so that the group can take over France."
He pointed to a few places on the map that had circles around them. "As you can see, we've found several common places the targets visit. But the problem is, they are, as you would say, like chameleons. We only found out where they were through a mole we have… had in the organization."
Chuck swallowed. "Had?"
"They found out he was a mole," the captain said. "He is dead."
Chuck's face fell. Someone died and the one lead he had given couldn't be followed up on. He felt Sarah rub his arm, but it didn't provide any sort of comfort. Yet another death on his conscience. The grand total was rising fast. If this was what it was like to be a full-fledged spy, killing at the drop of a hat, he wasn't going to enjoy his stint. The only reason he still bothered was, and always would be, Sarah.
"So what do we do now?" Sarah asked. Her hand had left his arm and despite not providing comfort, he found he missed her touch already. She had crossed her arms and seemed perfectly at ease. He desperately wanted to know how she did it, but she seemed intent on avoiding anything that had anything to do with emotions.
"The best plan we have," Ilsa said as she shooed off the captain, "is stake out the Eiffel tower and hope they tip their hand. That way, we grab them before they do any real damage."
"Sounds dangerous," Sarah said.
"Well, it's not like we have a whole lot of other options."
"I didn't say that it wasn't your last option. All I'm saying is that it's risky."
"And how many people are you planning on putting on this job?" Chuck asked
"I'll be supervising the operation. I want you two there as backup. Our team should be able to keep a lookout for these two so it's highly unlikely that you will be needed. But you never know."
"Please," Chuck scoffed. "With our luck, I'll be held at gunpoint by one of those maniacs while Sarah has to save me."
Sarah nodded. "That has happened a lot."
"I'm just sad for Casey that he's going to miss out on this. The potential for violence is pretty high. Seems like his sort of gig."
"Casey? Like… Sugar Bear Casey?" Ilsa asked.
"Uh… yeah, that's the one."
"Mademoiselle Trinchina, are we really supposed to be hearing this?" Thoreaux asked. "Surely we could be doing better things right now."
"You're right," Ilsa said and she circled her finger in the air. "We will start monitoring things tomorrow. Everyone out." Slowly the group of agents trickled out of the room, leaving just Chuck, Sarah and Ilsa. "So… tell me about Casey. How is he? It's been far too long since I've last seen him." The tiny smirk on her lips drew Chuck's attention. He wouldn't consider Casey one of his bestest friends, but the man had saved his life on quite a few occasions, and he owed it to him to stand up for him.
"Look, Ilsa, Casey… Casey was really disappointed when you left."
"That's the life of a spy. Always on the move. There's no time for a relationship. Casey knows this," she said. Chuck's eyes flicked to Sarah's almost instinctively, but she didn't meet his eyes. She seemed to be staring at a hole in the wall.
"You say that, but you weren't there. He was heartbroken. Take it from someone who's been there, it's not fun."
Ilsa walked to the window and leaned against the sill. "So what you're saying is that I need to relocate if I want to be with him? Is that it?"
"I'm saying that you need to stick around if you want to give yourselves a fighting chance. And if you can't commit to that, then you shouldn't reappear in his life. You'd be stringing him along."
She pondered about what he said for a moment, before nodding. "I'll think about it," she said. "For now, you two should rest up. We've got quite a few hectic days coming up."
"You're right," Sarah said, the first thing she'd said in a while. "We'll see you tomorrow, Ilsa." She opened the door and motioned for Chuck to follow after he said his own goodbye.
"Why didn't you speak up?" Chuck asked when they were walking back to their room. "Casey's your partner too."
"I don't like talking," Sarah said. "Talking makes things complicated. Taking action solves things. But you did good." When Chuck unlocked the door, she bumped his shoulder. "If there's one thing I can count on, it's you having other people's backs." She walked past him into the room and the scent of grapefruit that wafted past him made him forget about anything but her.
Chuck opened his eyes and shivered. He knew where he was. If the bridge wasn't a tip off, Sarah's limp body in Shaw's arms would've clued him in. He aimed his pistol at Chuck.
"Well, this is obviously a dream," Chuck said. "Nothing to be afraid of." He swallowed heavily. "Nothing to be afraid of…"
"This isn't a dream, Chuck," Shaw said and he applied a bit more pressure. The hitch in Sarah's breathing made Chuck's toes clench. He stepped forward, but Shaw immediately stepped backwards. "That's not exactly how this works, Bartowski."
Chuck lifted his hands and found a pistol in them. "Let her go, Shaw."
"You're not going to try and talk me out of this, like you did the first time? You're lucky that I humored you. You could've lost her, you know."
He wanted to talk him out of it. Of course he did. But Chuck felt his fingers tightening even though his mind was screaming at him, begging him not to pull the trigger.
The shot pierced the silence and Shaw's head flew back. When it was in somewhat of a normal position again, he could see that the bullet had struck his former mentor square in the forehead. As blood seeped down his face, he grinned. "It's fun, isn't it Bartowski? Killing people? Because that's all that you are, right now. Nothing more than a killer. Sarah knows that it's all you are. So no, Chuck. This isn't a dream. This is a nightmare."
Shaw turned the pistol to Sarah and pulled the trigger. Her already limp body dropped like a sack of potatoes and Chuck screamed. Shaw picked her up and threw her over the bridge, while Chuck was rooted to the spot. The moment he heard the splash, his pistol clattered to the ground and he ran forward. Shaw was caught off guard and his face turned into a snarl. Chuck's hands locked around Shaw's throat and he felt the blood flowing over his hands, his arms, everywhere. He pushed him towards the edge of the water and with a scream of primal rage, he launched them both over it, chasing after Sarah.
His scream rippled through his body and the cobblestone bridge was replaced with a hotel room. The warmth he was feeling over his body wasn't blood, but rather Sarah's body, snug against him. She sat up with a start when he did. "Are you okay?"
"I… I don't know," Chuck said as he inspected his body. It was a dream, he kept telling himself. Just a horrible nightmare. "I killed someone, Sarah."
She looked at him and bit her lip. She hesitated, but slowly held out her arms. Her confusion was etched on her face; together with what he figured was sadness. Pity, perhaps?
"This is why I never wanted you to become a spy," she said and he was pretty sure it was pity. Pity mixed with condescension. Why couldn't he be more like Bryce, damn it? He wouldn't have these issues.
But Bryce was dead and all she had left was him. A broken shell. Everything he had done, he had done for her and at the end of the day he just wasn't strong enough to cope. The dam broke and the first sniffle turned into a sob. "How do I do it, Sarah? How do I get these fucking images out of my head?"
He allowed himself to be taken into her arms as his tears fell on the covers. She held him close to her, rocking, like she was handling a child. He didn't have the strength to care about it. "You can't," she said. "This is why I warned you. My first time... I…" She trailed off and started making shushing noises instead. "You did what you had to do," she whispered, her fingers gliding through his hair.
He wanted to scream and tell her to finish her story. He wanted her to tell him how he could banish Shaw's face, contorted in a mixture of rage and pain, from his mind. But all he got were a pair of safe arms and whispered apologies.
He had to blink a couple of times. The sun was shining, right in his eyes. The sun sucked. Or well, it did, right at that point in time. He looked next to him and saw Sarah, her arm draped over him. She was snoring softly and he watched enraptured, as strands of her hair floated on the air expelled from her even breaths.
"You're being creepy again, Chuck," she mumbled.
"Uh, wha?" he said and she peeked at him with one eye.
"It's kind of creepy when you watch me sleep."
"I wasn't trying to be creepy," he said, and wanted to correct her that it was supposed to be quite the opposite in fact, like endearing. He was not Jeff and Lester. And he wasn't going to begin to take over their strange tendencies anytime soon, not if he could help it. "Hey, wait a minute, how did you know I was watching you sleep?"
"Because…" Sarah said, "uh… because I—I kinda woke up before you and watched you sle… CHUCK!" He had started tickling her as he laughed.
"I see how it is," he said, even as his fingers continued their assault, "you can be creepy, but I can't. That's unfair, missy."
"Stop," she giggled and started batting his hands away. "Please, don't make me hurt you."
"I'd like to see you—WAAK!" She had elbowed him in the ribs, not overly hard, but hard enough that he immediately stopped tickling. "You fight dirty."
Sarah blew the bangs out of her face. "I did warn you," she said. Her face was red from exertion and laughter. Her eyes shone with unshed tears. "Well, that's a different way to wake up, I suppose."
"Did you like it? And just think, you didn't even have to horribly maim an alarm clock or anything."
"Well, aren't you just great for my wallet?"
"That's why I work in retail," Chuck said proudly. "'We make sure, that you save,' is the company motto." He tapped her nose with a finger.
"I thought the company motto was, 'If the customer leaves satisfied, we've done something wrong.'"
Chuck laughed. "And you said you weren't funny. I'm going to have to watch out. I may wake up one day and find you gnawing on my flesh."
"I think your body is safe from me and my teeth… unless that's some weird fantasy you haven't told me about." She snuggled into his embrace and sighed. "I don't want to get up."
"I know," Chuck sighed. "But there are terrorists to catch."
She turned around and looked at him. "Why us, though? Why can't we just let other people take care of it? Ilsa said that they'd take care of it. We can just sit back and relax."
"Sarah, we're talking about terrorists, not who has to take care of the dishes!"
She gave him an unimpressed look. "Kinda the same thing."
"For you, maybe. To me? Still very new. So yeah… terrorists, they go before relaxation time."
"You're no fun," Sarah said and sighed. "Fine." She stood up and dodged Chuck's swipe.
"Where are you going?"
"Gonna catch some terrorists, like you said."
"I didn't mean we had to do that now!"
"Eh," Sarah said and shrugged. "I can't be held responsible for what happens when you and I are in a bed together. Better to take precautions and just leave the bed—or any flat surface—altogether."
Chuck pouted. "You fight dirty."
"Please," Sarah laughed and opened the door. She looked over her shoulder just as she stepped into the hallway, "you love it."
Chuck stood up and started looking for his pants. "God help me, I do," he mumbled.
He grabbed the bag that he had put next to the door the night before, and slung it across his shoulder, before making his way downstairs to the foyer. He was struck by the beauty and elegancy of the hotel. A large chandelier hung over the room, plated in gold. The furniture was—if he had to guess—based on the eighteenth century fashion style of the French royalty. Portraits were framed by golden frames, and the couches and seats were decorated with floral patterns on their golden bodies. Sarah was seated on one of the sofas, together with Ilsa.
"Good morning, ladies," Chuck said as he plopped down next to Sarah. The women were studying a map of the city. Ilsa was circling several spots with a marker.
"We've got surveillance here, and here. We're not quite sure how exactly they're planning on approaching the Eiffel tower, but we'll play it by ear."
"Any idea on when they'll strike?" Sarah asked. Chuck felt a bit peeved. They hadn't even taken the time to say hello. Oh well.
"Chatter suggested that they'd strike today, although I'm sure they'll reevaluate their decision in light of our recent bust." Ilsa glared at Chuck. "Or at least, what was supposed to be a bust. Either way, we'll keep surveillance posted around the monument at all times."
Chuck raised his hand. "I got something that can help." He started rooting around in the bag he had brought and produced a weird looking device. "I built a frequency jammer. I—uh, it's calibrated for the most common frequency, so it takes care of almost all mobile devices. I thought that it'd be a good idea to have this." He put the device on the table and Ilsa snatched it up.
"How did you even build this?" Ilsa asked as she looked at the gizmo in front of her.
Chuck smiled. "Years of watching MacGyver."
"It's a televi… you know what, never mind. No, I just really like electronics. And yes, I know how incredibly nerdy that is. Don't judge me."
"Oh, I don't know. I think it's kinda cute," Sarah said. He shot her a grateful smile.
Ilsa put down the device and nodded. "This is very useful. Thank you."
"You're welcome," Chuck said and he beamed. Finally some appreciation from Ilsa. He was beginning to think she was incapable of it.
"Alright," Ilsa said and she slapped her knees before getting up. "It's time to move out. I'll see you two soon."
Their first spot of surveillance was from a café close to the tower. Sarah was lounging in one of the metal chairs—it looked mightily uncomfortable—while Chuck was trying his best to eat his body weight in pastries. "This coffee is amazing," he said as he took another sip.
"Glad you like it," Sarah said. She keyed the microphone in her radio set. "Anything so far?"
"All clear," Chuck heard Ilsa say in his ear.
The day went by slowly. After their stay at the café, they moved to the local tourist shops, all the while keeping an eye out on what seemed like an endless line in front of the monument.
Around the late afternoon—too early for dinner, Chuck had noted with a sad face—they were standing in line for the Eiffel tower. Chuck had to physically restrain himself from not bouncing around like an eight year old. Sarah didn't say anything. She just gave him an amused look as he rattled off numerous facts about the giant metal structure.
As they slowly made their way to the top, their earpieces sprang to life. "We have a confirmed visual on Rocher and Deschamps."
"Guess we weren't needed after all," Chuck said. He relaxed. That meant he could just enjoy the views of the city and share it with the one person he had truly wanted to share it with.
"We're not done yet, Chuck. Keep sharp."
"Hmm, I like it when you're bossy."
"Seriously, Chuck," she said, though she smiled. "Keep focused."
He was about to comment, when he saw a face he recognized, and really didn't want to see at that point in time.
"Sarah," he said and he nudged her as she peered over the railing of the monument, to down below. "Isn't that Rocher?"
She turned around and her eyes widened. "Son of a bitch." She keyed her mic. "Trinchina, what happened? How did Rocher get past you?"
"They split up and we lost him," Ilsa said. "Where are you now?"
"Eiffel tower. We're going to stop him," she said and she grabbed her pistol, which she hid under her coat. They started moving towards where Sarah had last seen Rocher, who had disappeared into the crowd. Chuck scanned the faces, trying to find the one that matched to the dangerous madman.
"Excuse me," he said when he bumped into a group of people. When he turned around, he was looking straight in the eyes of Rocher. "Sarah!" he yelped. Rocher jolted, and Chuck saw the man beginning to raise his hand. On pure instinct, Chuck's hand shot down, trying to bat the weapon that he figured Rocher would have, away. His wrist connected with the pistol and Chuck screamed out in pain. A stab of gut-wrenching pain shot through his arm.
He screamed in agony, at the same time as a passerby, who shouted: "Gun!" The chaos that followed physically separated Sarah from Chuck. He felt someone grab him by the scruff of his neck, as the upper deck of the Eiffel tower drained of people, running for their lives. Finally he saw the blonde hair that he had come to recognize so easily.
"See, I told you this was going to happen," Chuck said as he felt Rocher's arm close around his windpipe. The man started backing up, and Chuck started seeing Paris in a whole new light. Being close to the edge of the monument you adored, and not knowing whether you would be pushed off it, tended to do that to people.
"Chuck!" Sarah shouted. She aimed her gun at Rocher, and the sight of it made Chuck sick. It was the same pistol that had killed Shaw, only days earlier. He also saw the feint tremor that passed through Sarah's hand as she aimed it at Rocher.
"Uh, Sarah, honey, darling, are you sure that you can take this shot?"
"I'm sure, Chuck," she said and cocked her weapon. The shot that followed however could in no way have come from her. Chuck yelped and Rocher turned around towards the sound, which cleared Sarah's line of sight. She didn't hesitate and the second shot that pierced the night came from her. It hit Rocher in his knee and he fell down to the grated floor, screaming. The one brain cell in his mind that wasn't screaming in fear, noted how it sounded kind of similar to a Wilhelm scream.
Sarah moved then, becoming a blonde blur of rage. She kicked Rocher's pistol away and followed up with a savage kick to the head. His head snapped back and then lulled forward. Chuck winced. He was definitely knocked out. When she looked up, he expected to see a fire burning in her eyes, and he mostly expected her to shout at him, dress him down like she usually did. Instead, she grabbed him, and smashed her mouth against his.
Her hands started roaming over him, touching him just about everywhere that he could possibly be touched with their mouths fused together. Some of it wasn't quite up to PG-13 standards, but he didn't mind very much. He almost didn't react when Ilsa cleared her throat.
He disconnected himself from Sarah's lips—a damn shame—and knew he was blushing. Well, at least Ilsa's appearance solved the question of who had made the first shot.
"Are you okay?" Sarah asked as she kept touching his face.
"Yeah… yeah I'm fine. Truth be told, though, if that's what I can look forward to every time you save me, I should probably get kidnapped more oft—OW!" He rubbed the spot where Sarah had just viciously punched him. "I was kidding!"
"Don't joke about stuff like that," she said. Her shoulders sagged and she blew out a breath. "This city is seriously starting to lose appeal."
"Sarah , look," Chuck said and his voice was deadly serious. "I could've died today. And even though I didn't, it did show me that I should use the opportunities that I have, to tell you the things that I should've done a long time ago.
Just saying 'I love you' doesn't fit the bill. It hasn't for a long time. Actually, words can never come close to explaining how I feel about you. Every day that I get to see you automatically makes it the best day ever. And I'd like to think that all of this stuff with Jill and Bryce… it was all part of some higher power's master plan. Because Sarah, I can't find any other reason for you to be in my life. It was like divine intervention that we had the chance to meet. And when I look at you, I see heaven.
Oh god that was really laying it on thick, wasn't it? Chuck inwardly cringed. How cheesy could he get? As he mentally berated himself, he tried to keep a straight face. His eyes riveted onto Sarah for any possible reaction.
Sarah blinked a couple of times and opened, then closed her mouth a few times. Eventually his heart sank and he knew he had overdone it… until she grabbed him by his curls, yanked him forward, and kissed him. Hard. She didn't bother with niceties, immediately seeking out his tongue with hers. His hands shifted to grip her by the waist, as one of her hands slung around his neck, with the other one still trawling through his hair.
She broke the kiss off for a second, sucked in a huge gulp of air, and dove back in. One of his hands trailed up, to toy with her hair, as his other hand slid downwards. When he reached her butt, he squeezed, and Sarah gasped. He ground his hips against her, and she moaned into his mouth. The sound of her moan caused a fire to shoot straight through his body, and he felt hot to the touch, the only thing that could cool him, was her. He was about to hoist her up—PDA be damned—when Ilsa cleared her throat.
"Hate to interrupt, but we're not done yet," she said.
Sarah cleared her throat and took a step back, while Chuck's hands fell limp to his side. Her face was as red as Chuck's, and her eyes had a roving, hungry intensity to them. She licked her lips, and looked him over, the lust clear in her too blue eyes, before meeting his eyes and pouting when she realized they did in fact have to break up their activities for the time being. "To be continued?" she asked.
"Definitely," he said.
Ilsa rolled her eyes and started the journey down to the base of the tower, while Chuck and Sarah followed, both trying their hardest not to give in to what they would definitely be finishing in the hotel room, later on.
They never once mentioned how pretty Paris was when you were sprinting past it at top speed. But then, it probably wasn't very normal, Chuck figured. Sarah and Chuck were running after Ilsa, who was relaying directions that were spoken in rapid French.
They turned left and entered an alley that was a lot narrower than the one where they had initially found Rocher and Deschamps. It was empty, but it didn't deter Ilsa, who kept running through it like a mad woman. Up ahead there was a collection of trash containers. It seemed like the worst place in the world to hide. Ilsa stormed past it without sparing it a second glance, which prompted Chuck to slow down. If she didn't bother looking there, then maybe Deschamps was clever enough to realize the spot was such a horrible place to hide, that she might hide there. It was kind of like chess. Try and expect your opponent's moves and counter them. Chuck loved chess.
When he saw Deschamps hiding behind it, he didn't think twice. "Rook takes queen. Check!"
He hadn't expected her to lunge at him, so when she did just that, he was swept to the side. She sprinted past him, to the end of the alley. Sarah had already turned around, as had Ilsa, but both women were quite the distance away. Chuck shrugged and started sprinting.
He caught up to her a lot easier than he expected, her short legs not carrying her as far as his much longer ones did. He reached his arm out, to grab her by her sleeve, when she dodged to the right and knocked down a trashcan. He narrowly jumped over it and then leapt towards her. He caught her legs and Deschamps tripped, falling on the ground, her chin hitting the concrete painfully. Still, she turned around and started hitting him. He blocked his face and tried to pin her down as much as possible. The hitting stopped when he heard a gun cock. He looked up into the face of Sarah and he grinned.
"This better not be what it looks like," she said.
He let out a wet laugh as he stood up. "You know you're the only one for me," he said. Ilsa walked up and took over from Sarah, who keyed her mic and—he assumed—informed the people on the team that Deschamps was detained.
"Good job you two," Ilsa said.
"Does this make up for the ginormous screw up?" Chuck asked and Ilsa nodded.
"Barely, but yes."
"Let's get out of here," Sarah said as she tucked her gun away, putting it near the small of her back. "Ilsa can take care of the rest."
"Yeah," she said and waved them away. "Go enjoy Paris."
"Just one thing," Chuck said as Sarah started tugging on his hand. "Can you tell Deschamps I said: 'Checkmate'?"
Walking around Paris was one of the best experiences of his life. Having Sarah's hand in his was what made it the crowning achievement. The constant noise around them had receded to the back of his mind and it was like he was moving in a bubble.
"Oh my God," Sarah gasped suddenly. "Daniel!"
Her hand slipped out of his and it was then that he saw the bloodied body of Daniel Shaw standing in front of him, soaking wet. Sarah was fussing over him and he put his arms around her. Chuck blinked. What was happening?
"Are you alright?" she asked him and he felt sick to his stomach.
"Sarah!" he shouted. "What are you doing?"
She turned around and the panic that was over her face had disappeared without a trace. She slung an arm around Shaw, who possessively pressed her into his side. "What does it look like?" she asked.
"It's Shaw! He's a traitor!"
"I'd rather love a traitor than a killer," she said. "You changed, Chuck. You're not the same guy that I fell for. I'm beginning to think that I never loved you."
"That's all you are, Bartowski," Shaw said. "A killer. Who could love a killer?"
"You're a killer," he said. "You've killed a lot of people. Sarah, how can you tell me that he's so different from me?"
"Because he never changed," she said and their bodies receded into the darkness. Before they disappeared, Shaw winked. Chuck started running after them, but he only found darkness. He cried out Sarah's name.
"Don't leave me!" He woke up again, the image of Shaw's face clear in his mind once more. His face was wet and scrunched up. He hated this, hated being so afraid. He hated thinking that Sarah thought he was weak.
"Bad dream again?" Sarah asked; her voice thick with sleep. He didn't blame her. After they had captured Rocher and Deschamps, they had spent the remaining time just walking around the city, completely without a care. It had been great—everything he wanted it to be—but tiring in the process.
"Yeah," he said and his voice broke. "Why can't I get rid of this, Sarah?"
He felt her hand as it located his hair and she started stroking it. He felt her fingers massage his scalp and as much as it made him feel like a child, it did soothe him.
"You can't do anything," she said. "All you can do is wait."
"I'm a killer, Sarah. Nothing more than a killer. How can you love a killer?! You should've stayed with Shaw and I should've left you two alone."
"I… I wasn't with Shaw because I thought I could build a future with him," she softly said. "I was with him because I thought that I couldn't build one with you." She looked away from him and the fact that she felt so uncomfortable, so vulnerable, made him feel even worse.
"Did you go through this as well?" he asked, to change the subject more than anything. She kept silent, which made him all the more desperate. "Please Sarah… God, please just tell me how you got rid of it. Did you talk to someone?"
"No…" she eventually said. "I—I had no one."
He stopped her hand and he turned around to look at her. She looked so vulnerable, with the moonlight illuminating her face. She looked so young, so crestfallen. He completely forgot about his own pain and pulled her closer. He mirrored her movements, softly caressing her hair. She looked away, her gaze finding the sky outside. "They offer you the opportunity to speak to a psychiatrist, but I refused." she said after a long while.
He didn't say anything. He let her dictate the pace at which they dug up her memories, and dealt with his. She turned around and looked at him. She smiled and it was frail, but cheeky too. "It'll get better… eventually. But in the mean time, I think we both deserve to have a little fun. We are in Paris after all."
"How are we going to do that now? It's three A.M."
"Hmm, I have my ways," she said and kissed him. When she started clawing at his t-shirt, and obediently raised her arms when he in turn was trying to rid her of hers, he knew that he would be able to forget about everything… at least for a little while.
They were roused by an insistent knocking on the door. Chuck's world was yellow. But, he came to realize, it wasn't the sun this time, but Sarah's hair that was in his face. He didn't mind it very much.
"What the fuck is wrong with people?" she muttered under her breath. Chuck glanced at the clock. It was 6:30 in the morning. Evidently, she was not a morning person at all. She was already walking to the door when Chuck realized that he could see a lot of Sarah. And by a lot, he meant everything.
"Not that I'm complaining, but would you please put some clothes on before you answer the door?"
Sarah glanced down and sighed. "God, I hate mornings."
She threw on a robe and Chuck sat up in bed. When Sarah opened the door, Ilsa barged in.
"You've got to go," she said.
"And a good morning to you too, Ilsa," Chuck said.
"And thanks for almost clocking me in the face with the door," Sarah added.
"No time for that," Ilsa said, as she sat down at the coffee table. "French police is wondering just how exactly two terrorists ended up on their doorstep. They're going to start asking questions soon. And sooner or later, they'll end up at you two. You try and explain how two US residents had anything to do with this." She dropped two tickets on the coffee table and stood up. "Two train tickets that'll get you to Zurich. Enjoy the honeymoon."
"We're not married," Sarah said. Ilsa just gave her a look. She got up and left, leaving Sarah to close the door. "I thought the French were supposed to be courteous."
"Well, she did look to be in a rush," Chuck said and threw off the covers. He started picking up clothes while Sarah eyed him appreciatively.
"Well look who got up and over his fear of being seen in the nude."
He blushed but didn't cover himself up. "If you don't have any issues with it, why should I?"
Sarah glanced at him one last time before she shrugged her robe off and got dressed herself. Within minutes, they had packed everything they needed—they only had a small suitcase each—and had checked out of the hotel.
When they had hailed a cab, which was transporting them to the train station, Chuck sighed. He would miss Paris, even though so many bad things had happened. He still wasn't sure where Sarah and he were standing in terms of their young relationship, or the fact that he had taken another man's life. But Sarah knew how to keep him occupied, so most of the time he wouldn't even think about it.
They made a quick stop at a pharmacy to pick up Chuck's eczema cream, which prompted Sarah promising him to make sure that it was applied properly. The way she said it made his heart beat just a little faster. He had to admit, even if she wasn't great at the relationship talks, she killed it in the salacious department.
They arrived at the train station (which prompted a lot of Oohs and Aahs from Chuck, and amused headshakes by Sarah) when Chuck happened to spot a newsstand. But what caught his eye was…
"Oh my God, they have the latest Justice League." He dashed over and picked it up, leafing through it, and made a face. "It's all in French."
Sarah walked over and peered over his shoulder. "Buy it anyway. I'll translate it for you."
"You'd… you'd do that for me?"
Sarah shrugged. "Sure. I gotta see what all the big fuss is about, right?"
He surprised her with a hug. "You're the best," he beamed and kissed her.
She pushed him away, panting a bit. "Remind me in the train," she said and she shuddered. "Please don't forget to remind me in the train."
They made their way to the platform and he was assaulted by images from earlier. Prague. That horrible moment where he had to choose between the woman he'd loved for so long, and the chance to be her equal. But there shouldn't have been a choice. Not really.
Chuck was holding his copy of Justice League in his hands, as he glanced at Sarah from the side of his eyes. This is what he should've done from the get go. He could've explained to her later—on the train—that he didn't think it was the best idea in the world, instead of leaving her heartbroken in the middle of a foreign city.
But that was then. Now, he knew. He wanted this. He wanted to get on the train with her. He wanted to explore their new status as lovers to the fullest, without any interference from the spy life.
"They'll expect us back in Burbank soon," Sarah said as she alternated looking at Chuck and the train. "Are you sure about this?"
He looked at her and smiled. "Definitely. Let future Chuck and Sarah deal with the consequences. For now, let's just do it."
"Hmm," she said as she linked hands with him and got on board. "Future Chuck and Sarah. I like the sound of that."
The doors closed with a hiss.