A/N: I've gone and done it again. A massive, sprawling, monster of a story-thanks to my good friend dettiot and her brilliant Chuck Versus the In-Between challenge for the one year Chuckiversary of the series finale this past weekend. I decided I wanted to give Chuck and Sarah everything I think they deserved. After everything they'd been through together all the way up until the end of Versus the Other Guy, I figured they deserved a massive dose of Parisian PDA and a distinct absence of longing-instead there's lots of grabbing and kissing.
CANON, set between Versus the Other Guy and Versus the Honeymooners, an epic amount of Charah and...nothing else, really.
Disclaimer: I do not own Chuck. Or Sarah Walker. Or Paris. My bedroom is decked out in classic Parisian fashion though. So that's cool.
I've never even been to Paris. Actually, that's important, you guys. Remember I've gotten this all from internet research, so if I've made some mistakes, I apologize profusely! ALSO, there are some questions about the timetable, whether Sarah woke up in the late afternoon/evening or if it was in the morning. I took some liberties there and made a judgement call.
And so...with the CIA and NSA out-of-sight/out-of-mind, the Ring on its way to destruction, and the romance of Paris waiting outside of their hotel room, I give you Chuck Bartowski and Sarah Walker...a real couple...
Sarah Walker, CIA agent and protector of the Intersect, had never clung so tightly to another person. Not even the time she was almost pushed out of a helicopter without a parachute and had to grasp onto Bryce's hand, dangling hundreds of feet above certain death until he was clear to pull her up to safety. Her life had depended on the tightness of her grip then.
But she wasn't falling out of a helicopter now. She wouldn't lose her life if she let go. That being said, there wasn't a force in the universe that could pry her arms from around Chuck Bartowski's shoulders, or untangle her legs from his.
Chuck's shirt that she'd woken up in almost three hours ago was falling off the end of the bed, mingling with the sheets they'd kicked off in the midst of a particularly physical encounter. Who knew where the rest of their clothing had ended up? Neither Chuck nor Sarah cared a lick about anything, really, except that they were here, tangled in this large majestic bed. And they were together.
They were finally together.
Chuck turned his face into Sarah's hair, sliding his arms between the bare skin of her back and the mattress beneath her. Then his eyes opened slowly and he swiveled around a bit so that he could press his forehead to hers. "Hi."
Sarah's misty eyes slid open and she snuggled against him. "Mmm, hi," she replied with an incredibly satisfied smirk. It widened significantly into something that could only be described as ecstatic when he grinned down at her.
"This is good," he breathed softly.
"Yes, it is. Very good." She giggled heartily when he pushed his face into her neck and his curly hair tickled her cheek. He mumbled something against her neck and she moved her head away a bit to look down at him. "What was that?"
"Nothin'." His lips found the spot he'd just discovered was one of her weaknesses, just below her jaw, and she let out a contented sigh, a smile slipping onto her lips and her eyes drifting shut.
Sarah craned her neck to peer at the wall clock over the chaise lounge on the other side of the room. The grandiose piece of furniture looked like it belonged in Versaille. "It's after nine," she muttered and his lips stopped moving against her skin. She almost groaned in protest but luckily bit it back in time. That could have potentially been slightly embarrassing. She didn't particularly relish the thought of herself as a needy lover.
"Have we an appointment, Agent Walker?" he asked in a teasingly business-like tone.
"No, we don't," she replied in the same tone. Then she paused. "Actually, we might. Depending."
Chuck made a face, pursing his lips and propping himself up to look into her eyes again. He'd discovered quite recently that in the early morning her eyes were his favorite color. They were a bright grayish blue with flecks of brown around the pupils—unlike anything he'd ever seen. It wasn't as though he'd had a chance to see them this close before. He couldn't fight the awe from his features as one side of his mouth turned up. "Depending on what?"
Sarah smiled a bit shyly, finally unclenching her hand from where it held onto his shoulder and brushing it through the dark curls on his head. "If you want to get to the top of that tower over there." Her eyes flicked to the window.
Chuck refused to look away from her. "What tower?"
His eyes sparkled and she knew he was teasing. "The Eiffel Tower, you nerd." She ruffled his hair playfully and grinned with her tongue between her teeth when he scrunched up his face.
"Ah, that one. Mm, let's just stay here."
She sighed, lifting an eyebrow when he began kissing down her jawline to her neck again. "I thought you wanted to see the Eiffel Tower. At least, that's what you told me a few days ago."
He gaped up at her in slight surprise. "I did say that, didn't I?"
He turned his head and used his toes to push against the mattress and shift his body higher up against hers. The contact of their still damp skin sent a thrill through Sarah's body and she bit her lip, wondering just what he was up to exactly. She watched the muscles in his arms flex and reveled in the fact that she was allowed to stare blatantly, allowed to admire him up close. So she quietly wrapped a hand around his bicep and gave it a gentle squeeze.
Not seeming to mind or even notice really, Chuck craned his neck so that he could see the monument through the window. "I can see the Eiffel Tower from here. See? There it is. It looks great. Fantastic even. Majestic. Wondrous. And a million other positive words." He looked back down at her and ran his hands over her sides slowly. "But I don't really wanna move."
"Why?" she chuckled.
"Mmm I'm tired," he mumbled. "And…" Chuck stopped, licking his lips and swinging himself off of her and gently laying his back against the mattress.
"And what?" She turned her head to peer at him.
"And…" He reached over with the hand that wasn't still pinned under Sarah's body and tenderly swept a strand of her soft hair behind her ear. "It's taken us so long to get here. I'm afraid if we move it'll all disappear."
The soft smile on her lips dimmed as she rolled onto her side and pressed the entire length of her body against him again. She set a hand on his chest and lightly stroked his skin with her fingers. "I know what you mean." Her hand slid up to his cheek and she lightly nudged his face towards hers, kissing his lips softly. "This isn't one of your scifi shows, Chuck. This is real life. This? You and me?" She gestured between them. "It's happening. Finally."
His giant grin was infectious, as always, and he reached over to tug her on top of him. "What do you say to it happening some more?" he said, his voice low in his throat as he nuzzled her nose.
"Eh." She shrugged noncommittally, then propped her chin on her hand, her elbow leaning on his chest, giving him an adorably and misleadingly innocent look.
Chuck laughed and rolled them over, pinning her against the mattress and growling teasingly into her neck as she beamed gloriously and wrapped her long limbs around him.
"Here." Sarah led Chuck beneath the bus stop overhang and peered at the slightly convoluted bus line map. She tracked their route in her mind and reached into her jean pockets to feel for the ticket she'd purchased at the front desk of their hotel. "Have your ticket somewhere handy. It'll be crowded today."
He pulled his ticket out of his back pocket and waved it at her, grinning so hard that she couldn't resist sneaking a quick peck on his cheek. They waited for another two minutes in silence, holding hands and peering out at the Parisian street and the people wandering it. A crowd quickly began to form around them on the sidewalk as the bus pulled to a stop at the curb.
Tourists jostled them so hard that they were separated once they climbed up into the vehicle. A chubby middle aged woman clutching a well-worn French romance novel was wedged between Chuck and a thin, hard-faced businessman, who was pressed against a blonde young woman, who was then pressed against Sarah. The seats were taken, leaving the two lovers standing in the aisle about five feet apart.
Chuck shrugged helplessly at her, stuck where he was. He only hoped the trip wouldn't take long. Or better yet, everyone in the bus except he and Sarah would get off at the next stop. That'd be nice.
They swayed back and forth as the bus drove over the bumps, jostling along the road. Chuck clung to the metal pole nearby as he peered over to Sarah, trying to catch her eye. She clutched a leather loop that hung from the bar above, swaying to and fro with the movement of the train and the constant stops.
Finally, she leaned a little further into the aisle to peer around the people between her and Chuck. She met his gaze and her lips twitched in a small smile. Her blue eyes flirtatiously raked down his body all the way to his sneakered toes, then swept slowly back up to his face again. Chuck gaped for a moment, then caught onto her game. He felt adrenaline rocket through him, excitement and happiness threatening to bowl him over in front of dozens of strangers.
Chuck pursed his lips and gave her a sidelong glance over the shoulder of the woman reading the trashy romance rag. He winked and smirked a little.
Sarah raised her eyebrows and squeezed herself as small as she could to let another passenger through as he hustled toward the back of the bus. When he passed, she turned her attention back to Chuck and narrowed her eyes with a sultry little shrug.
The bus pulled to the side of the street again and a slew of passengers flooded out of the bus. Relief swept through them both and they began slowly making their way closer, but it was like salmon swimming against the current, for a horde of Parisians clambered onto the bus immediately after the others had disembarked.
Chuck's heart hammered against his chest as she sent him a teasing pout. He forgot the game for a moment and grinned at her, then sobered quickly and pulled himself tighter against the pole as the bus drove over a vicious bump. He bit his lip and smiled. She pressed her cheek against the hand that was holding onto the strap, smiling softly at him and miming a kiss at him.
His eyebrows shot up to his hair line and he looked at the people around him, peering over his right shoulder, then his left. "Me?" he mouthed, poking himself in the chest.
She sent him a coy nod and a slow smile grew on his face. He thought about sending a kiss back, but changed his mind, instead sliding his fingers down to grab ahold of the hem of his shirt. He subtly lifted until a small patch of smooth skin above his belt was revealed.
Coupled with the Bartowski eyebrow dance, it got Sarah to let out a blast of air through her lips, something of a snort. It was accompanied by a quick giggle, which she disguised with a cough into her fist.
Keeping her eyes on him, she couldn't help but grin back and shake her head at his antics. Good thing the woman reading the beat up romance novel hadn't turned when he flashed his belly. Admittedly, the sight of his bare skin there brought memories of the morning rushing back to her and she bit her lip, looking out the window as though the passing sights were all of a sudden more interesting than her lover standing a few feet away.
She saw a bit of frantic movement in her peripheral and glanced back at Chuck. He was wiggling his fingers to get her attention and stopped when he got it. He winked again and pulled the sleeve of his jacket to reveal his wrist. He pursed his lips in a sexy (but incredibly nerdy) smolder, then leaned against the pole suavely.
Sarah bit back the laugh that threatened and grabbed at the front of her jacket, tugging it back to reveal the shoulder of her blouse beneath. Batting her eyelashes, she swept the jacket back in place before slipping her free hand into her back pocket.
The next two stops were spent with Chuck pointedly taking a peak over the woman's shoulder, dramatically (and silently) pretending to be absolutely affronted by the words on the page. Sarah had to really bite down hard on her lips to keep from laughing like she wanted to, careful to keep from alerting the poor woman that she was being teased mercilessly.
"Terrible," he mouthed, shaking his head with a goofy look of distaste on his face.
She narrowed her eyes. "You don't even read French," she mouthed back and he looked flabbergasted, putting a hand against his heart.
"How dare you?" Chuck tapped his temple meaningfully, then faked a flash, causing Sarah to smirk widely.
His eyes flicked down to the words again and they widened comically. Then he looked back up at her through his eyelashes and bounced his eyebrows once. "Ooo, we should try this one."
Sarah's face crumbled and she looked away, covering her mouth to smother the bark of laughter that threatened to escape. Chuck would be the death of her if he continued. The bus cleared then, at least enough for her to feel him step up close to her front and wrap his arm around the nearby pole. She turned from the window and looked up into his eyes.
They ignored the people pouring in around them, forcing their fronts to be pressed together as the bus continued along its route again.
"Hi," Chuck said softly, a powerful look of absolute contentment in his face that left Sarah reeling. Sometimes all Chuck had to do was give her one of his many looks that made her feel like she was the only person in the world, and nothing else mattered. This was one of those times.
"Hi," she breathed back.
He squeezed a hand between them. "I'm Chuck."
She squeezed hers likewise and their fingers threaded together in an intimate handshake. "Sarah."
With a loving smile, she let go of the strap and slid her arms beneath his jacket, rounding his torso and hugging herself to him tightly, her cheek against his chest. While he kept them both secure with one arm wrapped around the pole, his other arm hugged her close, a little possessive, she thought—but then, Chuck was the only person in the world who was allowed a little possessiveness where she was concerned. Especially when she felt his lips press against her hair.
More than that, as they bounced along toward the Eiffel Tower, Sarah felt protected…safe. For the first time since she could remember, she was without a single care in the world.
Chuck looked at the quaint storefronts they strolled passed and marveled at the beautiful details in the architecture. Then he turned to peer at Sarah beside him, and not for the first time since Sarah woke up from her tranq-induced sleep, felt his emotions threaten to bubble over.
Sarah gave him a sidelong glance and nudged him with her shoulder. "What?"
"Nothin'," he said in a sing-songy voice.
"Mm, not buyin' it. You were staring at me."
He chuckled. "Why do you think?"
Sarah blushed a little and bit her lip, looking away. Her eyes suddenly lit up and her lips twitched a little nervously.
"Come with me," she breathed, tugging him along by their joined hands.
"Absolutely," he said a bit dreamily.
Sarah took Chuck through a small crowd watching a man do a magic trick with rings, then navigated around the small congregation of cars, finally stopping at a small stand at the side of the road.
A teenage couple, each with steaming morsels of thin bread wrapped in paper clutched in their hands, left the stand and passed Chuck and Sarah. The super spy spun to regard Chuck and shrugged with a slightly cautious smile. "You like crepes for breakfast?"
"It's not exactly breakfast anymore, Sarah."
She reached out and tangled her fingers in the lapels of his light jacket, jerking him close to her and reveling in the goofy look that immediately overcame his handsome face.
"And whose fault is that, Mr. Bartowski? You distracted me on the bus and we went three stops too far," she said coyly. She looked up at him through her eyelashes.
The goofy smile widened so that it wrinkled his nose and the corners of his eyes. "Yeah, I'm a stinker, aren't I?"
"Buy me a crepe, Stinker. I'm hungry." She let go of him and patted his chest, turning to the stand. As she stepped up to the counter and spoke in French to the pretty brunette making the crepes, Chuck looked at the pictures on the menu and felt his stomach rumble. It was well past ten o'clock and he hadn't eaten since he fished an old bag of plane pretzels out of his pocket in the middle of the night to keep himself awake while he kept watch over Sarah. Before that, he'd been too worried to eat anything but a roll on the plane. Suffice to say, he was famished. Especially after the morning's vigorous activities.
Not that he felt like complaining.
He didn't feel the smirk or the way his whole body kind of melted when he thought of the things Sarah had done to—He shook himself out of his stupor.
Sarah was looking at him, her face expectant. But underneath the raised eyebrows and questioning look, there was a devilish sparkle in her eye. She knew exactly what he was thinking about.
With a blush, he cleared his throat. "Uh, h-hm? Sorry, there are just so many things to choose from. I'm a little overwhelmed."
"Uh huh," she replied smartly. She turned and spoke in French to the woman in the crepe stand and the woman's green eyes flicked up and down over Chuck's physique. Then she let out a soft snort and winked at Sarah.
Chuck frowned and decided to ignore the exchange. "Uh, what—What's this?" He pointed at one of the choices on the menu.
"Do you trust me, Chuck?"
"'Course I do."
His answer was so immediate and sincere that she was unable to keep the smile from her face. She leaned forward and held up a finger pointing to the menu over the crepe-seller's shoulder, muttering their order. Then she fished in her purse to pay for their breakfast but Chuck's hand clamped down on hers.
"Ah-ah. This Stinker's buying you a crepe, remember?"
She grinned and pulled her hand back out of her purse.
They took their breakfast a few minutes later and walked alongside a planter, Chuck's eyes wider than saucers as he feasted them on the plate he carried, piled high with cream and warm, steaming apple slices, cinnamon and sugar.
"There were chairs back there," Chuck offered, but she merely shook her head and pulled him along. He'd gladly follow Sarah Walker anywhere, as long as they didn't have to walk much farther while he could smell his food but not eat it.
Finally they stopped in a small clearing where a few heavy brass tables and chairs were arranged on the brick ground. A canopy of vines and pretty white flowers arched over the seating area, leaving the tables pleasantly shaded from the April sun.
They were surprisingly alone as they walked into the sanctuary.
Sarah set her plate down on one of the tables and made to sit, but Chuck dropped his plate beside hers and hastened to her chair, pulling it out for her. They were heavier chairs than he'd thought, but he managed.
They dug into their food silently. Well, not so silently, because every few bites, Chuck made soft moaning sounds that were seriously messing with Sarah's psyche. She inched her leg forward and eased her foot out of her heel, running her toes along Chuck's ankle.
He made a soft choking noise, his eyes bugging out, and then he swallowed thickly. "You…" He pointed a finger at her and narrowed his eyes. Then he pursed his lips, smiled, and began eating in earnest again. "So how'd you find this place?"
She lightly ran her toes under the cuff of his pants and shrugged silently.
"You just magically knew it'd be here? Come on. Tell me."
Sarah reached across the table and folded her fingers into his, loving the warmth of his hand around hers. She pushed a strawberry around in the whipped cream and shrugged shyly. "This is my place."
He leaned forward a bit. "Your place?"
"Yeah." She shrugged again, popping the strawberry into her mouth. "I kinda found it on my first mission in Paris. It's peaceful and beautiful and…mine."
He smiled a little and squeezed her hand. "It is all of those things."
His heart sped up as she beamed at him, then ducked her head a bit. "Every time I had an assignment in Paris, if I had time for myself, I'd come here. And I would stay as long as I could. Reading a book, drinking my coffee, or just sitting and watching people…I dunno."
Chuck saw the way her eyes darted out to the street beyond her little sanctuary. She was still playing with her food with her compostable fork and biting her lip. "Hey, why you so bashful all of a sudden?" he chuckled, nudging her foot with his converse under the table. She'd still been absently stroking his leg with her toes. He accepted and enjoyed it as a natural thing that occurred between two people who, for all intents and purposes, couldn't and didn't want to keep their hands off each other.
She smiled and raised her eyebrows, blushing and looking down at her plate. "I'm not being bashful," she tried, but she obviously knew he didn't buy it. "It's just that this is my place where I can escape, you know? Work doesn't follow me here. And I can get away from…I dunno…people." She bounced her right shoulder adorably.
Chuck cleared his throat and scooted a bit closer in his chair, finishing off the last of his crepe and moving his plate aside. "Uh, Sarah…I realize I've got this giant computer in my brain, but I'm pretty sure I still qualify as a person."
Sarah laughed. "No, you are. But you're Chuck Bartowski and you're special. It's just that…I didn't pause, not even for a second, about bringing you here. I wanted you to see it. Chuck, this place is really important to me. I've never brought anyone here. Except you."
"Yeah?" As corny as it sounded, he felt like he'd sprouted wings and was preparing to take off and fly into the sun like some delirious, nerdy version of Icarus.
"Yeah. I feel like a regular girl here. Normal. Not a…" She lowered her voice. "…spy. Or a CIA agent. Just a girl lost in the romance of the most beautiful city in the world." She immediately reined herself in. "Does that sound stupid?"
"No! No, no. Sarah, not at all." He lifted her hand from the table and kissed it. "It makes sense we're here, I guess. Since we're…" He swallowed and fiddled with the prongs of his fork.
"We're a regular couple now."
She giggled. "Sort of."
"Right. Sort of."
She watched him try to mask the melancholy in his eyes and felt a little guilty, so she pulled on his hand and tilted her head. "Come on, Stinker, let's go see your tower."
She tugged him out of their place, as she promised herself she would think of it from that point on, and Chuck groaned. "That's not gonna be a permanent nickname for me now, is it?"
She laughed loudly, throwing a wide grin over her shoulder and running across the street.
Sarah had tried to warn Chuck about the stairs of the Eiffel Tower, but the man wouldn't listen. He'd insisted on the stairs because of the view, and because he was sure he was in the best shape of his life, thanks to his spy training.
She'd laughed when he told her how many miles he ran sometimes in the morning, and that a few steps would be a piece of cake.
The first level ascent was easy, and they'd paused numerous times to look at the view. Chuck even attempted to start a tickle war at the first flight of stairs that led to the second level. As Sarah raced up the steps to allude him, he followed on her heels and caught her by her arm, spinning her towards him and pulling her in for a passionate kiss. She threaded her fingers in his hair and kissed him back, glad neither of them were particularly afraid of heights.
Sarah teased his mouth open and their tongues met, in no uncertain terms making out on the steps of the Eiffel Tower, their hands exploring each other's bodies in a way that might have been less than appropriate if anyone was watching.
He pulled away gently awhile later, keeping their foreheads pressed together.
"French kissing on the Eiffel Tower, huh?" Sarah panted.
"Oh, hey! That's funny," he said, pointing at her with a big smile on his face. She tilted her face and kissed him again, sliding her hand around him to slip her fingers into the waistband at the back of his jeans.
Chuck jolted a bit. "Hiyo, can't do that in the elevator."
"On the contrary, we could." She kissed his neck slowly, earning a low growl that sent shivers down her spine. "But if there are children around, their parents might have a lot of explaining to do later."
Chuck snorted and kissed her again.
Once they hit the second level, quite a long while later on account of multiple amorous encounters much like the first, Chuck assented to the elevator as there really was no other choice to get to the topmost level. And in spite of the two children with their parents who'd joined them inside of the yellow compartment, Sarah had no shame when she wrapped her arms around Chuck and stood hugging him tightly for most of the ride to the top.
When they finally exited the elevator, the deck had only about ten people.
Chuck rushed to the railing, looking more excited than the children who alighted in front of them. "Oh, Sarah!" He spun to her, his grin seemingly lighting up the entire observation deck. "Have you ever seen anything like this? This is amazing!" Then his grin died a little and he smacked his forehead. "Oh right. Duh. 'Course you have."
Sarah shook her head quickly and tucked herself into his side again. His arm wrapped protectively around her shoulder and she shivered pleasantly. "No. Well, I mean, yes I've been up here. But I never really got the chance to look. The two times I came up here, I was meeting a mark. More people watching, less sightseeing."
"You're not a spy right now, Sarah." He turned his head and let his lips lightly graze her temple. "Remember? Today you're just a regular girl. I mean, you'll never really be a regular girl. You'll always be pretty extraordinary to me, but that's beside the point."
She smiled softly at his rambling compliment and turned to tug him against her for another slow and exciting kiss. The wind was pretty powerful all the way at the top of the Eiffel Tower, and it was biting through her jacket, but at the moment, she couldn't feel it.
Chuck's warmth surrounded her, flooded through her veins.
They ignored the stares and laughter around them from the other sightseers. Until finally a teenager whistled to impress his friends and Chuck pulled away, blushing wildly. Sarah sent a playful glare over her nerd's shoulder and made the teens laugh harder before they sauntered off to the elevator.
"Woops," she heard Chuck mumble into her hair.
Pulling back, she furrowed her brow. "Oh, come on. Who cares?"
"I'm uh…not much of a PDA'er. As it were."
"What? First of all, we rounded second base on the way up here more times than I can count on one hand. And secondly…Chuck, we're in the City of PDA."
"Oh? Because I thought it was called the City of Light."
"That too," she shrugged.
He laughed again and leaned close, forgetting that there was an entire side of the observation deck he hadn't seen yet. His hand swept aside her hair, leaving a bit of her neck open for him to brush his lips against.
Sarah's heart raced as she clutched at his biceps. "Chuck, you'd better be careful."
"Mmm, or what?" he mumbled, kissing up her neck a little, his voice rumbling against her skin making her feel overly excited.
"There are laws about public indecency."
"Am I being indecent?" he asked.
He was going to drive her mad before this day was through. And she wanted to show him the Musée d'Orsay, damn it. At this rate, they'd be cabbing back to the hotel room for round…Well, she'd lost count.
"Not yet, you aren't. But you do that one more time, and I might."
He chuckled softly and pulled back.
"Come on, let's go to the other side," she said, holding his hand and leading him around to the side where the view of the river Seine was.
"You know, Chuck, this is why they invented bridges."
Chuck rolled his eyes and tugged her to the railing of the Batobus boat. "But why am I gonna walk over a bridge when I can get on a boat and be floated directly to my destination? Traveling in style, right?"
"Because the bridge is free?"
"Mm, valid point. But the view is much better from here."
She smirked and looked out at the water, brushing some of the hair that escaped her ponytail out of her face as it was whipped about by the wind. She was glad she'd had the sense to bring a hair tie on her wrist. "Alright, fine. I'll give you that one. It is gorgeous."
"And I can't be in Paris without getting on the river. That's utter sacrilege."
As the boat moved away from the small dock and began rolling down the river, Chuck's arms wound around Sarah's torso and he pulled her back to his front. They were silent for a few short minutes, watching the activity on the other side of the river. People lounged on the benches overlooking the water or jogged along the sidewalk. Dogs were being walked along the paths.
Chuck's hand was sneaking under her jacket. She felt warmth flood through her as he spread his palm over the material of her cotton blouse. When he pushed under the blouse and his fingers met the soft skin of her belly, she let out a soft gasp and bit her lip. It felt as though he'd shot a lightning bolt from his hand into her body, the electricity surging down her arms and legs, frying her brain.
Like…some sort of superhero. Was it one of the X-Men who could control lightning? Or some other comic book character?
She wondered for a moment what Chuck would think if he knew about the particularly nerdy thoughts she'd just had. He would probably row them ashore himself and drag her back to the hotel.
At the moment, as his fingers drew lazy circles against her skin and her heart pounded against her ribcage, and the way his breath was fanning her cheek as he cuddled close, she wasn't sure that was the worst idea.
God, there wasn't another person in the entire world that made her feel this way. It was an uncharacteristically schmaltzy thing for her to think, she knew. But ever since Chuck Bartowski forfeited a conversation with an interested and beautiful woman at the Nerd Herd counter to instead give a little girl the confidence to dance in front of a store full of people and keep her dad out of the doghouse, Sarah had lost the battle. Schmaltzy thoughts were more often than not swirling through her brain when she was with him…and when she wasn't with him, really.
For years following that first meeting, she had looked at it as a curse. Bryce had never made her feel saccharine about anything. She didn't have sappy thoughts about his habits, because she hadn't really paid much attention to them. He hadn't paid attention to hers, either. Their relationship hadn't stripped her of her control. She'd never been compromised with him.
She'd been wrong in thinking that what she'd had with Bryce made her safer than what she had with Chuck. Keeping her emotions trapped in a tiny impenetrable box inside of her heart wasn't as safe as she'd thought. Chuck had opened the box quickly and easily. But instead of taking advantage of what he'd found there, he had cherished it and protected it with every fibre of his being.
Sarah was truly safe the moment she relinquished her whole self to him that night on the floor of his apartment, when she confessed her true feelings. After that he'd tracked her across the globe, somehow uncovering Shaw's plot and finding her before the double agent could get his revenge. Chuck had gone against everything he believed, his vehement disinclination for killing a human being, and he'd shot and killed Daniel Shaw. He'd done it to save her life.
Sarah bit her lip hard to keep the mistiness in her eyes from escaping down her cheeks.
Chuck's fingers suddenly halted for a moment and slid down to tuck under the waistband of her jeans, pulling her out of her revelation.
She reached down and folded her hand over his, sending him a coy look over her shoulder. "Just what do you think you're doing?"
"Warming my hand."
"Just the one?"
The other hand slipped under the other side of her blouse and she gasped again. She walked right into that one.
They quite nearly jumped apart, Chuck pulling his hands from beneath her shirt and tucking them into his jean pockets and Sarah wrapping her jacket tighter about her torso. "Oui?" Sarah squeaked.
A middle-aged man with red hair, carrying a French to English translation book in one hand and a pencil in the other, timidly moved next to them. "Uh…er…" He thumbed through the book.
"We speak English," Chuck said helpfully.
"Oh thank God." The man's shoulders sagged and he wiped his face with the back of his sleeve. "I've been trying to get around this place speaking French and I think they all hate me."
Chuck and Sarah both gave good-natured chuckles at his self-disparaging remark.
"You are tourists, then. Like me?"
"More or less," Sarah said.
Chuck watched as the man asked Sarah for directions, refusing to fully relinquish her to the lost tourist as he took her hand and held it tightly. She tossed him a quick smile, then pointed at the man's map. The man thanked her, nodded at Chuck, and sauntered off again.
"I wonder if he saw what we were doing," Chuck mused quietly.
Sarah peered up at him, raising an eyebrow and fighting the urge to run her fingers through his curls as they whipped about in the wind. "What we were doing? You were the one doing all the doing."
"I'm sorry. Repeat that sentence again?"
Chuck gasped in amused shock, setting his fingers to her sides and beginning to tickle her. She fought off a squeal and tried to grab his hands but he pulled out of it. He knew she could stop him if she'd really wanted to.
Her hands finally clamped hard on his wrists and pressed them to his side, a dangerous glare in her flashing blue eyes. He swallowed hard, and tried to ignore how incredibly hot she looked when she was playing angry.
As if she knew where his thoughts had strayed, a small smirk stretched her lips. "You know I could kick your ass if I wanted to, right?"
"Yeeeah," he breathed dreamily, a grin plastered on his face.
She giggled, all too aware of the effect he had on her when he smiled that way.
She'd spent so many years in the semi-misogynistic intelligence game, surrounded by copious amounts of testosterone and overblown egos, men who underestimated her no matter how many times she kicked their asses, or mistook her good looks for a lack of intelligence. And while that tended to work in her favor during missions, it left her constantly feeling like she'd always be one step behind agents who lacked her talent and skill but earned promotions because they were men. Men like Bryce, who had been one of the best spies she'd ever known, but still never quite treated her as an equal. That much had been obvious when he decided not to trust her all those years ago, abandoning her and going rogue instead of enlisting her help.
And then there was Chuck. He was fully aware that she knew about one hundred ways to get him on his back, and he'd never even know it was coming. But Chuck wasn't intimidated by her abilities. He'd joked about it, his eyes bugging out when she flipped up her pants leg to reveal her trusty knives attached to her calf.
He didn't run in fear like Lester had when she'd quite nearly climbed the stringy-haired Nerd Herder like a tree in the Weinerlicious. Granted, she'd been trying to terrorize the living daylights out of him, and she'd succeeded completely.
In fact, she had a feeling her athleticism and spy skills excited Chuck. Her assumption was confirmed when he leaned forward and kissed her slowly. She smiled against his lips and framed his face with her hands. There was an incredible confidence in the way he accepted she could take care of herself and him, while still coming through for her in such a crucial way like he had last night. She felt silly for thinking it, but she found this particular attribute to be refreshing…and sexy.
With that in mind, she stepped even closer and deepened the kiss, unaware that they'd reached the other dock until it bumped against the wood and nearly sent them sprawling over the side.
She'd been completely distracted but luckily Chuck had been able to get his bearings enough to reach out and steady them both against the railing, one arm protectively wrapped around her waist.
"Woops. We're here."
"Yeah, I guess so," Sarah giggled, blushing a bit. She didn't let much keep her from being aware of her surroundings, but apparently Chuck (particularly Chuck's lips) ended up being one of those things.
They disembarked and strolled to the Louvre. It was massive, majestic and awe-inspiring. And Chuck, for one, wouldn't go inside until he'd looked at everything outside. His exuberance and exclamations were enough to pull Sarah into a similar mood, until finally they got inside and the hush of the occupants overcame them both.
"Ever see any Jean-Luc Godard films?" he asked in a soft voice, his lips brushing against her ear. She shivered a bit and smiled up at him, shaking her head. "Really?"
"Shh," she warned when his voice echoed a bit in the first room.
"Sorry," he whispered. "But you haven't seen any Godard? French new wave. Nineteen-sixties. Existentialism at its best. All the kids who wanna be cool 'like' his movies," Chuck said, throwing up the bunny ears. "But I mean, you take that away, and they're really just great films. You'd like 'em."
"Mhm." They stopped at a drawing of a woman playing a lute sitting on what looked like a giant crocodile. "That's one way to travel," he mused, causing her to giggle and send him a look. "What?"
"You're one of those people, huh? I should've known."
"One of what people?"
"The ones who make jokes about all of the artwork?"
"What? Come on. She's riding a crocodile while playing a lute. That's actually awesome, Sarah."
She rolled her eyes and grinned, walking away from him, but grabbing his hand. At the moment, it seemed that even a few feet of distance between her and Chuck just wouldn't do.
"So why'd you bring up Jean…Uh, this French new wave filmmaker guy, anyway?" she whispered.
He shrugged. "There's this scene in one of his films that takes place in the Louvre."
"Hm. Existentialism. Let me guess. They have in-depth conversations about how the paintings reflect the emptiness of the human soul?" She pursed her lips and raised her eyebrows at him. Chuck squeezed her hand with a chuckle.
"No. They run through the museum trying to break the record for the fastest time getting through all of the rooms."
This time it was Chuck's turn to shush her and she made a face at him when he stuck his tongue through his teeth and grinned.
"What's the record?" she asked curiously.
"I don't know. Don't remember. Somewhere in the nine minute range? I just remember it looked kinda fun." He narrowed his eyes at the next drawing from the Rothschild collection.
Sarah tugged on him then and began running down the hall. He had no choice but to follow. "Sarah! What are you doing?" he rasped, but her only answer was to toss him a smoldering grin over her shoulder.
Abandoning all sense of decency and embarrassment, he sped up until he was running beside her, their jackets flapping behind them. Sarah pulled him through room after room, earning them incensed looks and flabbergasted stares. Still, they kept running, passing bronze statues, ancient Egyptian artifacts, portraits, landscapes, 17th century furniture, 16thcentury furniture, guards yelling at them in French to stop running…
Sarah swung him around a corner and they halted. A giant tour was taking place, clogging the room with about thirty to forty people.
The couple looked at each other breathlessly, then back at the tour. A few of them looked away from the French-accented guide and stared at the intrusive pair at the entrance to the room.
Sarah and Chuck looked at each other again, then with a subtle shake of Sarah's head which he understood implicitly, they barked laughter and burst out of the room, into the hallway, running away from the stunned tourists.
"I think we're already behind," Chuck laughed, panting.
"We've got this!"
"What makes you so sure?"
She rushed into a room with pantings that towered over twenty feet in height and spanned about thirty feet in length. "I'm pretty sure the people in your New Wave movie weren't spies." She winked over her shoulder and he wondered if there was even one person in the entire universe as exciting as Sarah Walker.
"Ten minutes isn't bad." Sarah tugged the hair tie out of her hair, fluffed the long, blonde mane, and pulled it back up again.
"Not bad?" Chuck panted, leaning against the nearest wall outside of the museum and leaning his hands on his knees. "Jesus! That museum is freakin' giant."
"I'm sure they cut a few scenes from the movie," she reasoned teasingly, out of breath but not suffering nearly as much as her companion.
"Apparently!" he huffed, easing himself back up to his full height again. "Was the sun out before? Is that the sun?" he whined pitifully, rapidly blinking his eyes.
Laughing, she helped him shrug his jacket off, leaving him in his olive green long-sleeved shirt. He pushed the sleeves up past his elbows and coughed a bit. "I see spots. Are you getting spots in your vision? It didn't hurt this bad when we were running. Oh-hooo."
She continued to laugh, rolling her eyes good-naturedly. "You'll be fine. But apparently the only thing keeping you upright that whole time was adrenaline."
"God, that was so fun, though. But maybe we should get outta here before the guards catch up to us."
"Pfft. They don't care. We're not even in the museum anymore. We didn't touch any of the artwork. That's all they really care about," she said, taking his hand and leaning up on her tiptoes to kiss him.
His fingertips slipped up the sleeve of her jacket and stroked her wrist. It was a small thing, she knew, but the intimacy of it left her heart feeling fuller than it had ever felt in her life. And as she pulled back, looking up at her nerd, his breaths coming out in intermittent coughs, she realized how hopelessly in love she was.
And instead of speaking the words, she swept him up in her arms and hugged him tightly, tucking her face into his shoulder, his jacket still clutched in her hand. He hugged her back immediately, and they stayed that way for awhile.
"Come on," she said, pulling away and grabbing his hand again, directing them along the south pathway towards the river.
"Where we goin'?" he asked, liking that she was carrying his jacket, and the way she was half-snuggling it against her body. He smiled widely and allowed her to pull him along. She shot him a quick look then peered back and forth before they trotted together across the street.
"Wait, wait, wait. As much as I love blindly allowing a beautiful woman to pull me around gay Paris," he said in a flamboyant French accent, "I'd like at least a hint."
"We're going to the Musée d'Orsay."
He groaned. "We were just at a museum," he quite nearly whined as they walked along the railing towards the bridge they'd need to use to cross the Seine where the museum awaited them.
"We didn't even look at anything, though! We ran through it!"
"Which was fun!"
"It was fun. But I actually wanna look at these paintings."
Recognizing the sincerity in her plea, he gave her a slightly crooked smile. "Sarah Walker, an art appreciator."
"Surprised?" she asked, draping his coat over her shoulder with a bit of a flourish and walking backwards, pulling him along the sidewalk.
"Not so much. You're a pretty classy lady." He reveled in her throaty chuckle. "So why this museum?"
"Impressionism is my favorite."
"You mean like Monet and Manet? Degas and Renoir?" He gave her his special Chuck smolder that he'd perfected early that morning during one of their resting periods. It had resulted in the resting periods being not all that restful.
She flashed her bright blue eyes and pursed her lips. "Impressive, Bartowski."
"You mean…impressionisive, of course."
Sarah laughed heartily and tried to think of the last time she'd felt so free to enjoy the moment. This morning, her subconscious reminded her. She gave him a strong tug and leaned against the railing of the bridge, curling her fists into his shirt and bringing his lips to hers.
There was a chance she might be in the mood to skip the museum and take a cab back to their hotel, but she was suddenly struck with the fear that being in that grandiose room might make time move faster. She knew that tonight they'd have to contact Beckman. And soon after that they'd have to leave this paradise.
Shoving that thought out of her mind, she rounded his neck with one arm and pulled him even closer, blocking everything around her except for the feel of him. When their lips parted, Chuck let out a ragged breath and she smirked in satisfaction that she could have that effect on him. She wasn't exactly steady on her feet either after that, so she clung a bit tighter as her knees attempted to solidify once more.
"And now you wanna go look at paintings?" he asked quietly.
"Mm," she giggled. "I dunno. Impressionism is pretty sexy."
"Never struck me as particularly—HEY!"
In a flash, Sarah had Chuck's jacket draped over his head and she was running away from him, laughing like a ninny and amusing the other people walking along the bridge sidewalk.
Chuck tugged the jacket off of his head and grinned so hard his face almost split, his hair mussed even further. He sped off after her, able to catch up rather quickly because of the heels she wore. But she wasn't exactly trying very hard to get away from him.
With one last burst of speed, Chuck lunged forward and grabbed her around her waist from behind. She squealed softly and clung to his arms as he lifted her up in a surprising bout of strength. "Give?" he called out, still laughing.
"Put me down!"
"Not 'til you give!"
"Give!" she threw over her shoulder and he lowered her slowly, keeping his arms around her waist. He kissed her temple tenderly and she took advantage of his distraction, easily spinning out of his arms, twisting rapidly to force him to bend over, and tugging him against her in a headlock.
He made a choking sound as he found his face pressed against her side.
"Give?" she asked with no small amount of snark.
"Gah-Gah…ack…" was all he managed.
"Not until you give," she replied in a sing-songy voice.
"G-Give. I give," he choked out.
She leaned down and kissed his temple, letting him out of the headlock and smirking, her arms crossed. He pressed his lips together and puffed out his cheeks, putting his hands on his hips and staring at her.
"That wasn't very nice."
She shrugged, looking up at the sky innocently.
God, she's cute, Chuck mused to himself. "I'm never going to win at that game unless you let me, am I?"
"No." She shrugged again. "Is that okay?" She grinned, folding her hands together behind her back.
"I can handle it. As long as…"
"As long as what?"
"This." He sauntered up to her and took her hand, taking the time to stroke her wrist with his fingers first. Then he set his other hand to her cheek and gently kissed her forehead. He kissed her nose then, and finally her lips.
"It's a deal," she answered quickly, pointing a finger at him. "Now put that jacket on."
"I'm still a bit warm."
"They usually have the air on in there and it can get chilly."
"Oh, come on. I can't handle a little air conditioning? Please."
A/N: That's it! No, that's not it. I had to split it into two chapters. It was too long. And strange that this was where I meant to split it and without consulting with me at all, dettiot posted it on tumblr splitting it IN THIS SAME EXACT PLACE! Weird, right? We had an awesome brain link. Or maybe she's telepathic.
Oh, and I have to say. This story was so much hard work. And there was some stress involved, as well as a little random hilarity. Like the time I was in Paris on Google Street-view and got stuck under the bridge next to the Louvre. How I got under that bridge, I'll never know. But no matter how many times I clicked on the stairs, I couldn't get back up.
Hope you enjoyed part one! Stay tuned for part two! Oh, and leave one of those review thingies. I like those.