“Morgan has this crazy idea…”
“What is it?” Sarah asks.
“He thinks that with one kiss you’ll remember everything.” Chuck laughed nervously.
“One magical kiss?” Sarah smiled.
“Yeah.” Chuck looked back out over the ocean with a shake of his head. It was ridiculous. “I don’t know…”
“Kiss me.” And so Chuck does just that, leaning forward and pressing his lips to his wife’s, pouring every single moment of love into the kiss.
As he pulls away, he knows something has changed, things just feel different. Chuck’s eyes slowly open, but instead of seeing the beach and his wife like he expected, he sees John Casey clutching his hand, eyes searching his face, and he’s in a bed in the hospital.
“Chuck?” The colonel said hesitantly. His voice is hoarse, husky, like he’d been upset. But that had to be wrong. John Casey didn’t get emotional…at least not over Chuck.
“What’s…what’s going on Casey? What happened?” Chuck glanced around the room stupidly.
“What’s the last thing you remember, Chuck?” He hears Casey’s gruff voice ask, although his finger seems to be stroking the inside of Chuck’s wrist.
“Sarah and I were on the beach, talking.” Suddenly, Chuck’s heart clenched. If Casey is next to him… “Where’s Sarah?”
“Sarah?” Casey blinked stupidly at Chuck as if the man shouldn’t be asking about his wife. “I assume she’s just about to Larkin’s new lair.”
“Considering Bryce has been dead for three years, I don’t find that particularly funny, Casey.” Chuck yanked his hand away from the larger man. “Now, will you please tell me where my wife is? Or my sister? There’s no way Ellie’d be gone to Chicago yet…” Chuck looked toward the door expectantly. Casey’s face took on a flabbergasted look.
“Wife? Since when are you and Walker…” Casey abruptly stood and stalked out the door. A few minutes later, Ellie came in.
“Chuck? Everything okay?” His sister’s worried glance was much more familiar to Chuck than Casey’s gentle concern and so Chuck was able to relax for a moment.
“I think so, Sis.” The young man struggled to sit up.
“Not so fast, Mister.” Ellie smiled before lightly pushing him down. “You’ve been in a coma for three days.”
Chuck eyes widened. “Three days…what happened?”
“We think it was the Intersect. It started to alter your brain last week…don’t you remember any of this?”
Chuck shook his head. “No, up until yesterday I hadn’t had the Intersect in my mind for over a year.”
Now it was Ellie’s turn to frown, “Remember, you reuploaded it to save-“
“The concert, I remember. But that would’ve only been a few days ago, even with my coma.” Chuck’s brows furrowed as he tried to remember.
“What’s the last clear memory you have, Chuck?”
“Sitting with Sarah on the beach. I had just kissed her when I woke up here.” Chuck said.
A growl was heard from the door.
“Casey?” Ellie glanced down at her brother. “Maybe you should give us a few more minutes.” The man nodded and backed out of the room. Chuck couldn’t help but notice the betrayed expression on his face.
“What’s going on with him?” Chuck turned back to his sister. “Why do I feel like I’m missing some important information, sis?”
Ellie sighed, “Maybe we should start at the beginning. Why were you kissing Sarah?” Ellie turned a tape recorder on as Chuck launched into the tale of Nicolas Quinn and Sarah’s lost memory. Ellie continued to ask prompting questions and Chuck continued to unravel the last five years of his life all the way back to when he had gotten the email from Bryce containing the first Intersect.
Dr. Ellie Woodcomb exited her brother’s room as he fell back to sleep. She glanced down the hall to see an irate and nervous John Casey pacing the waiting area.
“Well?” he asked. Ellie frowned and shook her head.
“I don’t know, John. The Intersect did more than just erase his memories…it began to rewrite them. Starting with the most recent stuff and going backwards. Most of the first two years he had the Intersect seem to be correct, but I didn’t know most of what was going on back then.” She offered the man her recording. “This is what he believes happened. I…he remembers marrying Sarah, John. He…I’m not sure what else his brain may have done. I’m sending him for some more CAT scans, but I think that his brain filled in details that it could and sort of began to make stuff up. His spy life and his civilian one seem to become twisted together. He thinks Mom was a spy within Volkoff Industries and he saved her.”
Casey looked up quickly. It was true that there had been a spy within Volkoff, but it certainly hadn’t been Chuck’s mother. “I should probably call Sarah back then.” John’s forehead furrowed as he spoke. “Chuck’s more likely to take this better if all of us are there to help him.”
Ellie nodded. “I agree, but…first John, you really should listen to that tape. Everything in his personal life is different. He truly believes this all to be true. It’s likely going to take time to convince him otherwise.”
John nodded. His life with Chuck had always been full of complications; this was just another one to add to the pile. Casey pulled out his phone and began calling in the cavalry. After all if Chuck wanted to see his wife, who was Casey to stop him.
The next morning, Chuck found himself being poked and prodded before finally being returned to his room where Casey was waiting.
“Casey,” Chuck smiled at seeing a familiar face, even if it wasn’t the one he really wanted to see.
“Hey, Chuck,” Casey said, gently.
“Uh-oh, now I know I must be dying. Colonel Casey being nice to me.” Chuck smiled widely and Casey unconsciously smiled back.
“Just trying to be kind to the hospital patient. I think that’s some sort of rule, isn’t it?” Casey asked, glad to see a smile on Chuck’s face.
“Only for us mere mortals. Not spi—special people like you.” Chuck glanced around him as the orderlies who’d brought him back to the room left. “So what brings you by this morning?”
“Well, there are some people who want to see you, but…well, you’ve probably guessed your memory’s not quite right.”
Chuck nodded. It seemed obvious to him that he’d clearly forgotten something fairly important.
“Okay, good. You’ve always been a smart one, Chuck.” Casey grinned and Chuck was struck for a moment by how nice the man looked with a smile on his face. He rarely got to see them when it wasn’t something Alex related. “There’s a lot of things that…uh, you just don’t remember quite right and some fairly big things that you don’t seem to remember correctly at all. Ellie’s warning them not to expect much, but Chuck, you need to know two big things. Ellie…she wasn’t sure I should tell you, but, I just, I don’t want to see you get hurt or shocked. First of all, Bryce Larkin is alive and secondly, you are not married to Sarah Walker.” Chuck glanced down at the ring on his right hand.
“Then, what’s this?”
“I didn’t say you weren’t married at all, just not to Walker. Anyway, I’m sure Morgan and Alex are dying to see you.” Casey made a hasty exit before Chuck could ask any more questions that the colonel could not answer completely. He met his daughter and Morgan at the door and Morgan barreled into his best friend’s room.
“First things first Chuck, Ellie says you have some memory problems. Well, quiz time.” Morgan launched into the comic book/scifi quiz he’d been planning all morning.
Casey couldn’t help but smile at the nerdy duo.
Alex paused at the door to talk to her dad.
“How you holding up, Dad?” She asked softly.
“Not gonna lie, I’ve been better, kid,” Casey allowed his daughter to clutch his hand for a moment before he gently pushed her toward the door. “Get in there and keep your boyfriend from overloading his best friend.”
Alex pulled her father down and placed a gentle kiss on his cheek. “Fine, but this isn’t over.” She walked into the room and shut the door as John sank down into a chair in the waiting room, dropping his hands over his face.
He closed his eyes for what felt like a moment before he heard the familiar tones of his blonde former partner enter the room.
“Casey!” She rushed over to him and pulled him into a hug. “We got here as fast as we could.”
“How’s he doing?” Bryce asked from his place on the other side of the waiting room.
“He’s okay. Physically, he’s completely healthy. Sarah, he keeps talking about being married to you.” Casey shook his head. “I just don’t understand it. The two of you never had a wedding as part of a cover did you?”
Sarah thought for a moment before shaking her head. “No, we played husband and wife, but we never had to do an actual wedding.”
“That’s what I thought.” Casey said, shaking his head. “I’m…I’m just not sure what to do. Ellie thinks we should keep him in the dark. Tell him things only if we have to, but if we get him home in the next few days, he’ll know at least part of it.” John looked at his friend and former partner, “He looks at me as if he barely knows me, Sarah. You and Ellie are the only people he’s asked for by name.”
“Well, now I’m hurt.” Bryce said, trying to lighten the mood. “He didn’t want to see me.”
“Considering the fact he thinks you’re dead, no he doesn’t.”
Bryce’s eyes went wide. “He doesn’t remember helping me fake my death so he could get the new Intersect.”
John shook his head. “He only remembers you dying and he put on the glasses as his only option.”
“That part is sort of true.” Sarah point out. “He was just going to destroy them so he could be normal again.”
“What?” Bryce raised his voice slightly and a nurse shushed him. “I thought the plan was always for Chuck to take the new Intersect.”
“Take and destroy.” John said. “We had talked it out and he wanted to go back to being normal, which meant no Intersect. But ultimately, he was never going to be normal. He has some of our missions melding with his personal life as well. He thinks that Frost was his mother.”
Sarah raised an eyebrow. “He what?”
“Yeah, there’s a lot of confusion in that brain of his.”
“Well, then, why don’t we go see if seeing the dead guy can straighten some of it out?” Bryce said with a wide smile.
“Let him see Sarah first. I told him you weren’t married, but I think he should probably hear it from you.” John said ushering the woman down the hall. Alex pulled Morgan from the room as Sarah entered, leaving the couple alone as John stood outside the window, watching Chuck look at Sarah.
“Sarah baby, oh thank god, you’re okay.” Chuck grabbed the woman’s hand and pulled her close to him.
“Hey Chuck,” The spy quickly withdrew her hand and pulled up a chair next to Chuck’s bed. “Ellie says your memory’s a bit spotty?”
“Apparently, unless by some crazy chance you remember us getting married and my mom spying for Volkoff and Volkoff actually being created by my dad and-”
Sarah cut Chuck off mid-ramble. “I don’t remember any of that, Chuck. What I remember is Volkoff’s daughter turning on him and giving you and---that is giving you a vast majority of her holdings.”
Chuck stared at the woman for a minute.
“So, no big reunion with Mom then? “ Chuck said quietly.
“Um, I don’t think I’m the best person to tell you this stuff, Chuck.” Sarah said, clearly uncomfortable with the turn the conversation was taking.
“So we really weren’t ever together? No kiss in the warehouse when we thought there was a bomb, but it turned out to be Bryce.”
The blonde shifted in her seat, “There was a kiss, but…you didn’t return it. You told me you were sorry, but there was someone else.”
“Oh,” Chuck’s face took on a surprised expression. “That’s…I’m really sorry, Sarah.”
She shrugged. “It was a long time ago, Chuck. I’ve gotten over it.”
“And I’m,” Chuck glanced down at the ring on his left hand, “I’m apparently married to someone else.”
“That part is new. You had to wait for everything to line up, but you two have been together for…quite awhile.”
“Well, that’s good. Where is she, then?” Chuck asked, “I would assume my wife would care where I am.”
Sarah’s eyes widened as she glanced around the room. “I’m sure that…well, you should ask someone else. Ellie said that we should try to let you remember most stuff. I…I really shouldn’t have even told you about your mom. I was only supposed to reassure you that we are not now, nor have we ever been married.” Sarah stood. “And I brought someone else who wanted to assure you he wasn’t dead.” The woman opened the door and waved the man waiting outside in.
“Bryce!” Chuck’s gaze locked onto his friend and suddenly, image after image flashed in front of him. He and Bryce at Stanford, Bryce and Chuck making peace, faking Bryce’s death to destroy the Intersect 2.0, Bryce and Sarah rekindling their romance, Sarah leaving to be with him and then the images stopped. Chuck blinked rapidly as this correct information began to replace the false memories. He shook his head to clear the buzzing in his ears.
“Bryce…I…I’m so glad you’re alive, man.” Chuck beckoned and Bryce crossed the room to tentatively shake Chuck’s hand. Chuck raised an eyebrow at him. “Really, Bryce? I’ve seen you cry at the end of Serenity. I think we’re past the hand shaking.”
Bryce chuckled and leaned down to give his friend a hug. “Gotta admit, you’ve had us all worried, Chuck.”
“ Yeah, sorry about that.” Chuck grinned up at the man.
“Wait, Serenity?” Sarah’s voice said. “You didn’t watch that until after we’d faked Bryce’s death.”
“Yeah, I uh, I sort of flashed when Bryce walked into the room.” Chuck’s voice took on an excited tremor. “I remember faking his death and you leaving to be with him.” The nerd smiled at Sarah. “I’m really happy for you two.”
Bryce smiled down at his friend. “Remember anything else, Chuck?”
“Not really, but remembering you is helping some stuff slot into place for me,” Chuck smiled.
“I can’t believe you forgot I was alive,” Bryce feigned being hurt. “I mean one of your best friends? Who else would you call to discuss the newest Fringe episode?”
The two friends chuckled for a moment before Chuck turned serious, “Hey, I’m really sorry about dragging you guys back here. I mean you and Sarah finally got to be together after all this time.”
“Its fine, Chuck,” Sarah assured. “There’s nowhere else we’d want to be.”
Chuck chatted to the couple for a few more minutes before Elle stuck her head in.
“Okay, I think that’s long enough for now. We still gotta get my brother his memories back.”
“Sis, I remembered Bryce and some of him and Sarah together.”
Elle hurried into the room, checking her brother’s vitals. “Are feeling any dizziness or a headache?”
Chuck shook his head, “No, sis, but I am still a bit confused.” The nerd yawned and Elle quickly ushered the spies out of the room. “Ellie wait,” the doctor turned back to her brother, “where’s my wife?” He held up his hand and pointed at his wedding ring.
Ellie hesitated for a moment. As a sister, all she wanted to do was tell Chuck exactly what his life was like and fill in all the blanks so she could have her brother back. On the other hand, as a doctor, she knew that it would be better for the memory recovery to occur naturally. The woman chewed on her lip for a moment in thought. It wouldn’t hurt to prepare him in case he didn’t regain his memory.
“What would you say if I told you, you weren’t married to a woman, Chuck?”
“I’d say with my newly recovered memories of Bryce, that wouldn’t be a stretch to believe,” Chuck grinned at his sister before he began to struggle to sit up. “Is that why he hasn’t been here? I hurt him didn’t I? Crap, I wanna see him, Elle.”
“I’ll see what I can do, but you, little brother, should get some sleep.” She placed a kiss on the man’s forehead.
Chuck’s eyes drifted closed. “Hey Ellie, can you at least tell me if I have good taste?”
Elle’s laughter filled the room, “Yes, Chuck. I like your husband.” She smoothed his curls down until he fell asleep.
The next time Chuck awoke, the clock read three-thirty A.M. and there was a hand sleepily clutching his. Chuck stared at the connected hands for a moment before noticing the matching rings on each one. They were plain silver bands, Chuck could never do ostentatious. There was something familiar about that hand. Chuck continued to stare at the rings when suddenly, he was assaulted by images.
A pair of blue-grey eyes, a familiar haircut, a rock hard body, stubble scrapping Chuck’s cheek as he was being thrown onto a bed, cracked lips being pressed desperately into Chuck’s own, hands clutching and slipping in various situations and positions and finally, those same hands sliding a wedding ring onto Chuck’s fingers and Casey’s smile as he said I do. The memories continued assaulting him, but Chuck was numb to them. Only one fact seemed to stand out, he, Charles Irving Bartowski , was married to all-American John Casey.
“Breathe, Chuck, c’mon.” Casey’s desperate voice began pulling Chuck out of the flash. “No leaving me now, Bartowski.” One of the man’s big hands was rubbing the nape of Chuck’s neck while the other was being clutched by Chuck’s own hand.
Chuck had never felt more like an idiot. How could he not have recognized John? Now that he had some of his memories back, he couldn’t understand not remembering this. Imagining himself married to Sarah? What has his mind been thinking?
“Are you…Does this mean you remember-?” John asked, hope evident in his voice.
“That I’m married to the biggest badass spy on the planet?” Chuck brushed a small kiss across his husband’s lips. “Yeah,” Chuck watched tears slip down John’s cheeks.
“Thank God.” The larger man wrapped his arms around the scrawny frame he’d been missing for weeks. “You are never to put on a pair of sunglasses again, Chuck, you hear me?”
Chuck nodded, accepting the love that was being poured over him. “Hey, buddy, I-this may sound odd, but I’m still a bit fuzzy on the details of us? I remember snatches, but I can’t…” Chuck huffed, “It’s like everything is just out of reach. Like I can remember being in bed with you and living with you, but my brain has skipped all the beginning stuff.”
John placed a small kiss behind Chuck’s ear. “I’ll spend the rest of our lives’ helping you remember as long as you still want this?” John’s voice rang with uncertainty as he ran his hands down Chuck’s back.
Chuck placed his hand on John’s cheek. “Always, Mr. John Casey Bartowski. Although I do have trouble believing you actually agreed to take my name.”
“As long as I’m yours, I don’t care what my last name is,” John said sappily.
“This is going to take some getting used to. We aren’t usually this mushy are we?” Chuck’s mind shuffled through several memories, all of Agent Casey being just as taciturn as ever.
Casey laughed at his lover’s perplexed look. “No, not in public, babe. It’s amazing what almost losing the nerd you love will make you say.”
“I must not have made it any easier, what with my insistence on being married to Sarah, huh?”
John shuddered at the memory, “I really thought I’d lost you for good when you woke up and didn’t understand why I was next to you.”
“I’m so sorry, John.” Chuck clutched the man to him.
“You should get back to sleep,” John said pulling back. “Ellie will kill us both if she comes in tomorrow and you haven’t rested.”
“Just one question, she and Awesome are—“
“Together, fine, and moving next week. They postponed it when you got collapsed.”
“Are living in your old apartment. Alex and Morgan are living in my old one.”
“At least my noggin remembered that all right.”
“Yeah, although where you got the idea for Morgan to have the Intersect I have no idea,” Casey pretended to be horrified. “Now that was way more than one question.” He pushed the man back onto the mattress.
“Night, love you, Casey,” Chuck muttered as his eyes closed.
Casey placed a gentle kiss onto his husband’s lips. “Night, love.” The big man moved back to his chair and retook his post, watching his lover sleep.
The next few days were full of memory flashes and soon Chuck had remembered most of the details of his spy life, although some of the finer details of his and John’s relationship still eluded him.
That is until John finally got to take Chuck home. The moment they entered their bedroom, everything fell into place. Chuck collapsed back onto the bed and allowed John to fuss over him for a few moments before yanking the former spy onto the bed with him.
“It’s all back,” Chuck said excitedly, planting his lips on Casey’s. He remembered Sarah asking him out and him turning her down in favor of the built guy who had just entered the store.
“Hey, I’m Chuck,” the nerd said, “anything I can help you find?”
The man shook his head, but not before Chuck noticed the man check him out, “I’m fine, kid.”
“I’m not a kid,” Chuck spoke, stepping a bit farther into the hulking man’s space. Chuck watched the man’s eyes dilate. “If you ever want me to prove it, just ask.” Chuck had rushed back to the Nerd Herd desk praying that he hadn’t misread the situation and was about to die. Surprisingly, the man sidled up to the counter after the flirty blonde woman had left and asked him out.
A few weeks later, Casey had taught Chuck to tango for his first mission. Ever since Casey had been ordered to be Chuck’s fake boyfriend, there’s been an undercurrent of heat between the two, so when Casey had shown Chuck how to dip a partner, it had been the most natural thing in the world for Chuck to take the passion of the dance and press it into his partner’s lips. Before either of them realized what was happening, they were naked on the floor, catching their breath.
Neither of them had realized how serious things were until Casey had been ordered to kill Chuck. Chuck had overheard the conversation with the General and ran. Once the Intersect had been removed, Casey had been redeployed only to return and save Ellie and Awesome’s wedding. Before they went after Bryce to fake his death, Casey had finally uttered three words that he hadn’t said in years.
“I love you,” he had whispered, just before they had entered the facility.
“Really, you guys are going to do this now?” Sarah had squawked.
“Shut up, Walker,” Casey had spoken roughly before feeling Chuck’s hand give his own a quick squeeze.
“Love you too, Casey.” And they had burst through the bunker doors.
Nothing else had been said, until the team was back together in Castle. After that, Chuck and Casey had moved in together and Chuck had become a full fledged agent.
Chuck had finally proposed to Casey when Ellie had been in labor.
“I know you are just getting to know your daughter and I know that Beckman will frown on it, but I love you, John Casey. I want you to be part of my family officially. Will you marry me?”
“I don’t mean tomorrow or, even next year, maybe longer. I just know that I want you in my life. I want you to be mine forever, John.”
Before Chuck could utter another word, John’s lips were pressed tightly to his.
Chuck pulled out his reverie at the feel of his husband’s lips moving on his.
“Wait, did Morgan suggest you kiss me to wake me up?”
Casey blushed slightly, “Maybe, why are you asking this now?” The former colonel’s lips began to suck lightly on Chuck’s neck.
“Did you tell me that when I was in the hospital?”
Casey growled as he pulled away from Chuck. “Yeah, then I kissed you and you woke up.”
Chuck began laughing insanely. “That’s what happened with Sarah, in the dream memory thing.” He wrapped his arms around his husband. “Even when I thought I loved her, she was you. Practically every intimate memory of her was actually you.” He pressed his lips to Casey’s cheek, “It’s always you. It will always be you.”
And with those words, Casey welcomed his husband home properly.