Disclaimer: Don't own it.
Timeline: Post season 5.
AN: I've been writing fanfiction for years now but this is my first Chuck fic and I'm strangely nervous about it so all the comments are more than welcome. Enjoy and happy holidays everyone!
The moment they parted and he looked into her eyes he knew - it was her first kiss with him and the last for him.
It was his last everything.
His last day at the beach with her, last conversation…last attempt at getting the love of his life back.
And so they went their separate ways like two adults that they were. There were no tearful goodbyes or silly, ridiculous, dreamed-up pleas on his part. There was no pitiful look in her eyes as she walked away from him for the last time.
He did not remain on that beach alone until the sun set thinking of another very different sunset, the golden locks falling in her eyes and the effort it took not to reach out and tuck it behind her ear.
And he certainly did not spend the next month eating junk food and avoiding everyone (except for Ellie because that was impossible to do).
Except that he did all of those things. But then he got off his couch and went back to work, remembered there were still Morgan and Casey and Captain Awesome. His sweet little niece. And mom.
And there was Sarah. Out there somewhere. Fighting, saving the world as always. Quelling the revolution with a fork. While he was here, in their apartment, surrounded by all these things, pictures everywhere and so he called Casey and asked, "Is there still room for one more on the team?"
"Thought you'd never ask." Casey said, and then added "Good to have you back kid."
And so he went.
Outside the lovely summer day was ending, remind him of a day Jill left him.
It didn't even compare.
She would be lying if she said she didn't imagine what it would be like if she remembered. Where she would be…where he would be...how would she react? But every time she tried it was like grasping at thin air, reaching for nothing.
Still on those cold afternoons when she lay on her bed alone in another unknown city, another hotel room, with nothing to entertain her but an old romance novel Carina accidentally left in her bag she thought how easy it would be if could happen like it did in the books. You know, she would walk down a street they used to stroll through or pass by the restaurant they had their first date at and it would all come back to her or she'd maybe run into him and he'd say something, tell her a joke she already knew and she would point it out and they would know – she would be his again. Yes Sarah Walker has allowed herself to hope for something like that, getting sentimental in her old days.
Because in the end it doesn't happen like that at all, she's not in Burbank or even USA, and he is nowhere near her. It happens in Paris, years later. She finishes her latest mission early and on an afternoon off she decides she has enough time to take a walk over the bridge and take in the sights by the Seine. As she stands there, leaning over the stone wall, mesmerized by the way the sunrays dance over the river she thinks how different it was the last time she was here on a mission with Chuck. Dark and cold and how he has come and saved her.
That's when it hits her and it just doesn't stop.
She spends the entire flight from Paris to L.A in tears; a complete mess not caring about the weird looks the passengers keep giving her or the worried questions from the stewardess. She remembers everything, every single thing and she can't take a single more moment without seeing him. The tears come again then when she thinks how he knew all this, remembered it all too and yet he couldn't come to her, couldn't hold her, couldn't do anything but stay away because he was just a stranger to her. She couldn't imagine what it took, how he could do it.
Then again, he always was stronger than her.
When she lands she thinks about calling him but she doesn't have his number. The old one she recalls by heart but he's changed it and so she grabs a cab and as the driver turns expectantly towards her and murmurs "Where to, miss?" she realizes she doesn't really know.
It's ironic really, she remembers everything, their apartment, Buy More, the house with red doors, the beach…Oh God, the beach…and still she feels lost.
The cab driver knocks on the plastic compartment impatiently and the 1838 Franklin Street rolls of her tongue before she has a chance to think about it (and maybe change her mind). About half an hour and thirty miles later she's there, the fountain that was a witness to countless conversations with Chuck right in front of her, the familiar door only a few feet away.
With a key she still held onto Sarah walks into the empty apartment letting out a breath she wasn't aware she was holding. Not much has changed but by the layers of dust that has settled on the shelves she can tell no one has been there in a while.
From the table she picks up a piece of paper with an address and some notes that don't mean much to her – assignment details probably. The note was written by her former partner, the chicken handwriting was unmistakable and she knew the two kept in contact.
An idea occurs to her and she reaches for the phone.
Calling Casey after all this time seems almost as daunting as facing Chuck but in the end he surprises her more than she does him. Turns out grandpa Casey is much more pleasant than the soldier, or at least he doesn't grunt as much. Yes, Morgan and Alex actually have a baby daughter named Ally. It makes her smile but it also adds to the weight in her chest, as she can't help but wonder what else she's missed.
The pause that follows when she tells him she remembers everything is hard enough that she gets weary of having this conversation with Chuck but before she has a chance to add anything Casey tells her that Chuck is actually in London for an assignment.
Two days before Christmas.
And that tells her more about how Chuck is doing then she wishes it did.
Chuck wrapped his coat a little tighter as he walked down a busy London street in the cold, lost in thoughts of his next assignment. Morgan has commented how much he's changed, as if he forgot who he was. Chuck only laughed at the irony of it but it was true. He had to simply because so much of who he was today was because of her, because of what she brought into his life. Now that he was alone it was hard to find a reason to smile, even at Morgan's ridiculous jokes.
Honestly, he kept waiting for Ellie to stage an intervention but she never did. Not this time.
Speaking of which…
His phone rang with a familiar melody and without even looking he picked up.
"How is the holiday preparation going?"
"Nothing has burned yet. And Clara's helping me so yeah I'm good." she sid in a voice that suggested she was anything but good, before adding "I'm assuming you're not coming."
A brief silence was all the confirmation she needed.
"Listen…I need a favor." she said, changing the topic.
"Okay." Chuck said unsurely, a little surprised she gave up that easily. They always spent holidays together, no matter what, but this year…
"There's a friend of mine that needs to be picked up from the airport." she said.
"Are you setting me up?"
"Noo, I've learned my lesson about that a long time ago. Never again." Ellie said and for some reason he believed her. "She just wants to spend Christmas with her family but she wants it to be a surprise so…"
Just as he was about to refuse she said, "Please Chuck."
Five minutes later he was in his rental heading for the Heathrow airport.
"Morgan can't keep a secret even if his life depended on it, which it did since Casey threatened him with death if he says anything but I still got to him." Ellie told her at the beginning of a long phone conversation that started with a lot of joyful squalling and a few happy tears and ended with both women reminiscing of the past times until they ended up with one common denominator – Chuck.
"I called him-"
"I didn't tell him anything. Just that a small surprise may be waiting for him at Heathrow." she said with a soft smile.
"Thank you. For everything." Sarah said.
"Just get him home for Christmas." Ellie said before hanging up.
"To quell a revolution with a fork…" she says to herself waiting for her bags to arrive, playing with her bracelet absentmindedly as she looks at the small silver object glimmering on her wrist, bringing back a memory of another Christmas she thought was ruined but he saved it with this and an easy smile even in the direst of situations.
Looking up, bags in hand she sees him standing by the gate, dressed in a black coat, hair slicked back, reminding her of Carmichael until she sees him nervously playing with a sign in his hand and the familiar black converse on his feet.
The moment their eyes meet across the sea of people and she sees recognition settle in his eyes her steps become brisker, eyes never leaving his that are filling with tears even as he remains stoic, too afraid to hope.
Without a word she closes those last few steps of space between them in a hurry and wraps her arms around him, burying her head in his shoulder.
"It's you." he says into her hair, not letting go.
To everyone else around them they look like any other couple reuniting for the holidays, and in a way they are.
"Yes." she says through the tears with a smile pulling back to face him, taking it all in. Every line, every wrinkle that wasn't there the last time she saw him. "Are you still my Chuck?"
He picks up her bag and wraps his arm around her, pulling her close and it's all the confirmation she needs.
"My very own personal baggage handler." she says with a wink and he smiles, leans in for a kiss casually, as if this kiss was only one of many, many more which would follow.