A/N: This is a chuckquinn production...my alter ego. Still don't know how to log into that account. Republishing the first 5 chapters...and if I should get an idea for chapter 6...well...I do enjoy this story.

a/n 2: This fic begins at the end of Imported Hard Salami. It starts off camera between the kiss and Chuck breaking up with Lou.

I don't own Chuck.


Chuck was sitting on the edge of the fountain thinking about what had happened tonight. He was utterly confused. She kept saying no, but all of her actions were saying yes, and that sounded so creepy he just wanted to crawl in the fountain and drown himself. He'd let out a sigh, when he heard footsteps. He didn't think Casey would be back that soon, and he knew Awesome and Ellie were at the hospital. He prepared himself for another verbal assault by Casey.

"Chuckster," Awesome said. Chuck smiled. Regardless of the situation, Awesome found everything… well… awesome. He looked at the doctor and realized something: Despite growing up without a mom or dad basically, he now had a true older brother… an older brother… and a thought hit him. A bad thought. A REALLY bad thought. One Sarah and Casey really wouldn't like, but… he sighed. He shouldn't.

"Everything okay?" Chuck looked up at him. He shook his head slightly. Devon studied him for a minute.

"I'll be alright, Devon," Chuck said, knowing he really, really shouldn't tell him. Devon continued to study him.

"You know, I plan on marrying your sister, and that makes us soon to be brothers. But even if something happened, because it won't, because she's the best, and I'm not screwing this up… I'm always gonna be here for you," Devon explained.

Chuck studied him, and made a decision.

"Ellie coming home tonight?" Chuck asked.

"Nah," Devon replied. "I've already worked too many hours and they sent me home, so I'm all alone. I kind'a wanna wait up for my lady, if you know what I mean."

"First, that is my sister so, eww," Chuck said, shuddering a little. "Second, I'd like to go somewhere and talk, but I need if a minute, if that's alright?" Devon shrugged and nodded. Chuck ran to the Morgan door, took his watch off, and tossed it on the dresser. He came back, the two got in the car, and took off. Sometime later, they found themselves on a beach, sitting, watching the waves.

"Uh, Chuckster, not that I don't appreciate the view," Devon began. "But, this feels kind of romantic, and you're not exactly the Bartowski I'm interested in." Chuck barked a laugh.

"Trying to figure out how to tell you all of this," Chuck said.

"I'm a surgeon, bro. Rip that band aid off," Devon replied, in his booming voice. Chuck nodded.

"I work for the CIA," Chuck began. "Well, work is a little strong, you see…" and Chuck told him how he got the Intersect, Sarah, Casey, and the cover. He told him all the parts about him and Sarah, because that's what he needed right now… an older brother, that had some advice. Someone he could trust, and frankly, had some real-life experience with women.

Devon stared at Chuck for a minute, processing everything he had been told. He had many reactions, but one he kept coming back to: Chuck had finally moved on. He had moved on from the dual travesties that were Stanford and Jill, and now, now he had to have his brother's back. Devon was thrilled about what all this probably meant, but for Chuck to come to him meant everything. Devon wasn't about to let Chuck down. Too many others already had. He made his decision right then.

"Wow," Devon said, looking at him. He checked his watch. "Nope, not April 1st."

"Devon, it's all true," Chuck replied. Devon studied him. "And you can't tell Ellie, any of it. And you can't let Sarah and Casey know." Devon nodded.

"Okay, several things here. First, proud of you, Chuckster," Devon said sincerely.

It nearly brought tears to Chuck's eyes to hear that. Chuck didn't need accolades, he didn't need glory, but after all that he'd been through, it felt so good. He was human, and everyone needs praise, and from Devon… it wasn't like Devon ever held back, but with Devon it was absolute sincerity. There was a reason Chuck always called Devon Awesome, because he was.

"Second, this can't be easy. On either of you. Third, you do know that it is possible to lie under that serum, right?"

"Why would she lie?" Chuck asked.

"Bro," Devon replied, looking a little disappointed. "Use that brain of yours. Not the computer, but the brain."

"She can't admit her feelings?" Chuck asked. "Because of the job?"

"Chuck we both know you, and you're an emotional guy. Some people aren't," Devon began.

"Yeah, but to be that closed off, something would have had to happen in her past and… Oh my God I'm an idiot!" Chuck said, the truth dawning on him. "It couldn't seriously be that simple?"

"How much do you really know about her?" Devon asked. "Things that are real?"

"What I've seen with my own two eyes, and even then…" he shrugged. Devon grinned at him.

"Dude, no one is that good an actress, and when you aren't paying attention, the looks she gives you…" Devon's grin grew. "Bro, she cares for you, she likes you, and maybe she doesn't know what to do about it. And then, when you almost died…" Devon shrugged.

"Okay, so it is really complicated, the job and her," Chuck said.

"Nah, the job we can fix," Devon said.

"How?" Chuck asked.

"Casey," Devon said, grinning. "Think about it, that guy is about one thing; results. Let me worry about Casey."

"Devon," Chuck began.

"Bro, don't take this the wrong way, but you have changed since she's come in your life. If I tell Casey about how focused you are when you feel loved and supported, and it's obvious he's become the adult male figure in your life that you need…" Devon said trailing off and winking.

"You are evil!" Chuck said, laughing.

"Now, here comes the hard part," Devon said. "Sarah."

"Right. I need to talk to her," Chuck said. Devon had a flat look on his face and shook his head.

"Chuck, I love you, bro, but no. Just no," Devon said. "Again, doctor ripping off the band aid. You need to play it cool for the first time in your life. Don't push her."

"But," Chuck began.

"Jill," Devon said. Chuck dropped his head. "Dude, if she doesn't know how to handle things, either personally or with work, what will pushing do?"

"Push her away," Chuck replied.

"I'm not saying don't recognize the moment for what it was, but don't nag her to death about it. Don't talk to her about it until she's blue in the face. She cared enough about you that when she thought she was going to die, she kissed you," Devon explained. "That was a lot for her, and what did you say she said?

"An uncomfortable moment right now," Chuck said, those words playing over in his head.

"Not one she regrets, not a mistake, but uncomfortable," Devon said, giving him that Devon look when he was about to suggest something completely inappropriate. "Dude, she is into you, so get that out of your head. Make it comfortable for her. She has to do things in her job. It's not a shot at you, it's her job, and she's trying to save the world. And here's an idea: If she does something you don't like, like having to seduce someone, tell her you don't like it. Not that you're mad at her, but that you don't like what she's having to do. She'll respect that." Chuck nodded. "Bro, last thing: You deserve her."

"Devon," Chuck began. Devon held his hand up.

"Chuck, you are the best guy I know," he said sincerely. "You treat people the way you want to be treated, and that's something I don't suspect she's used to. You know I love my frat brothers, but some of them are… jerks, when it comes to women. They think they're God's gift to women, and don't treat them right. You, Chuck, you DO treat them right.

"Chuck, the one thing that you do, is you always want to fix things because you know how you'd feel," Devon said. "You have to put yourself in Sarah's shoes, in Sarah's situation. Bro, be what she needs, what she can handle, and one day, she'll figure out she wants more. And if she doesn't, and isn't going to fight for you, then she's not worth it." He grinned. "But she will."

"I need to break up with Lou," Chuck said, sighing.

"Yes, you do," Awesome said. "You can't lead her on." Chuck nodded. "Let's get back, you've got to make things right with her.

-oooo-

That morning found Chuck back on the beach. He had talked to Lou, and told Big Mike he wasn't coming in. Mike wasn't thrilled, but Chuck told him he needed a day, and he relented. He sat there for a few hours before he felt her behind him.

"I don't know why you bother putting a tracker on me," he said. "You always know where to find me." He looked up at her, and he could easily tell she was upset. He started to say something and remembered the talk with Devon. "Did I do something?" he asked. She studied him a minute and shook her head. She sat down beside him.

"That bomb got me thinking," Chuck said, and felt her tense beside him. He grinned. He knew what she thought he was gonna say, and he knew exactly what to say to get her to ease her defenses. "You put your life on the line for this country, constantly. You do things that no one else knows you do. You protect people, and some of them don't always listen," he said, grinning. She returned the grin, and shoulder bumped him.

"Thank you, Sarah," he said, earnestly. She looked at him. "It's got to be a lonely life. Who can you tell your secrets to? Who can you trust? Who are you allowed to trust? I said a long time ago I could be your baggage handler, and that hasn't changed. I'm aware some of it is in a titanium box locked in a vault and you can't, but what you can, what you need to unload, I can be here, like you've been for me."

"Thank you, Chuck," she said softly, expecting anything but this.

"Also, I think we need to address something," he said. She tensed up again. "Thank you." She looked at him. "Last night, you were pretty sure you were going to die, and in your final moments, you accepted that you cared about me enough that if you were leaving this earth, you were spending your final moments with me. So, thank you. I understand what you did, and I'm glad I mean that much to you." He reached over, took her hand, and gently squeezed it. She just stared at him.

Chuck wanted to say three million things, ask questions, prod, just talk, but he now knew better. He just smiled at her. She had his hand in hers now, her brow furrowed. It was obvious he had gotten to her, and while he wanted to press, he knew better. So, he just sat there, quietly.

"Chuck," she said after a minute. "I need to talk to you about Bryce." He waited, and she didn't say anything. He turned and looked back at the water, and chuckled.

"You know I've been thinking about him, a lot, since last night," he began. He turned to look at her. She didn't stop him, so he went on. "I know he thought he was doing what was best for me, and now I kind'a see why. Not just being a spy, but my emotions." Sarah fought the smile that played at the corners of her mouth. "Let's be honest, I'm all over the place."

Chuck swore he heard a giggle. Did Sarah Walker giggle?

"It also made me realize some things. Bryce was never like that. I mean, he could do what had to be done, like when he got rid of me at Stanford. But you, you seem to always struggle with something, and part of me wonders is that pre-CIA." He felt her tense, again. "I'm saying all this to say, sometimes I forget not everyone wants to share everything like I do, or sees things like I do. Different perspectives affect how people see the same circumstance. I think that's why we work so well together."

He turned, and looked her straight in the eye. A single tear was trailing down her face, but she didn't look away.

"Inside of Sarah Walker is a heart of gold, and there is nothing you can do to make me think otherwise. So, it's what we've been through that makes us see things the way we do. I'm going to do my absolute best to do everything you ask me to do." Sarah smiled. "Except when it comes to your and Casey's life."

"Chuuuck," she began.

"Sarah, wait," Chuck quickly jumped in. "We both know if it had been me and Casey at that bomb, the same thing would have happened. Well, not the same, and if it did…never mind." Her eyes narrowed. "I don't think he would use as much tongue." Sarah blushed and looked away.

Chuck threw his hands in the air, triumphantly. "I made Sarah Walker blush! I made Sarah Walker blush!" She turned back and shoved him over, while he continued to chant. She eventually helped pull him back up to a sitting position. "What I'm saying is, this thing in my head means nothing to me; your life means everything to me. When you accept that, I can accept many of the things you have me do," he said, sticking his hand out to shake. She studied it for a second and then him.

"I go from a kiss to a handshake?" she said, grinning. Chuck grinned at her.

"Hug?" he asked. She nodded, and wrapped into him tightly. "Thank you, Sarah, you've been there for me, and I know I haven't always made it the easiest." She pulled back and gave him a smile.

"So, what are we?" he asked. Momentary panic hit her face. "The cover, Sarah, good grief," he said grinning. She tried to look angry, or even irritated, but the smile broke through.

"Cover-wise, being together is best," she said. Chuck swore there was a look of hope on her face. "I know that complicates things with Lou."

"We broke up this morning," Chuck said. "I like her, a lot, but she's not the one."

"You'll find her one day, Chuck," Sarah said. Chuck grinned.

"Oh, I have no doubt about that," he said. She didn't panic, and the look in her eye said she knew what he was saying. The smile she gave him showed how much she appreciated what he had said.

"Chuck, about Bryce," Sarah began. Chuck nodded. "He's alive." Chuck blinked a few times.

"Well, that complicates everything," Chuck said. Sarah nodded. They rose, and headed back to Echo Park.

-ooooo-

Chuck and Sarah walked through the courtyard of the apartments. "Are you okay," Chuck asked Sarah. She stopped, did a double take and stared at him. "Sarah, this guy you thought was dead, is back. A guy you obviously cared for, and that's gotta mean something to you. It's got to hurt, or cause you shock, or just make you want to scream."

"It does," Sarah said. "What it doesn't do, is complicate things." Chuck looked at Sarah. "This," she said pointing between them. "THIS is what is most important to me right now." She paused, and started to speak. "Chuck-"

"Sarah, hey!" Ellie said, coming into the courtyard. "You are coming to Thanksgiving, right?" Sarah smiled at her.

"I wouldn't miss it for the world," she said, with a sincere smile.

-ooooo-

The party was in full swing, when Devon sided up to Casey.

"Casey, listen… we both know Chuck hasn't lived up to his potential," Devon said. Casey grunted. "He was destroyed when Jill left him, but it started before that, you know." Casey gave him a look.

"Look, Sarah is in his life, and she doesn't seem to be as far along as Jill. But you can see him being more of who he is. Ellie can't see it, because she's just looking at the job, but things are changing." Casey nodded, not sure where this was heading. "But there's something else new; you." Casey's eyebrow raised.

"Their father abandoned them, his best friend stabbed him in the back. He doesn't have positive male role models in his life. I'm his sister's boyfriend, so I can only do so much. But you… I know just by looking at you, there's history with the armed forces." Casey grunted and nodded. "Thank you," Devon said simply.

"With you in his life, to be the role model he needs, and Sarah being the emotional support he needs, we may finally see the Chuck Bartowski that was given a full ride to Stanford." Devon clapped him on the back and walked off. Casey stood there, thinking.

"You okay, Casey?" Sarah asked, slipping up beside him.

"Thinking about the kid," Casey said. Sarah gave him a look. "If it wasn't for your former boy-toy, he'd be CIA," he said, jerking his chin in Chuck's direction.

"Yeah," she said.

"He's brilliant," Casey said. "Ever tell him that, I'll kick your ass." Sarah raised an eyebrow. "He'd be an analyst."

"Not an asset?" She asked. Casey nodded. "Joint CIA-NSA?" Casey nodded again. "Why the change of heart?"

"I looked at his scores on things, after the Stanford mission," Casey began. "Kid was killing it, and then, Bryce." Sarah nodded. "Dad left, girlfriend left, best friend left. Give him that back…" Casey shrugged. Sarah snorted.

"I know you're not the girlfriend or friend, does that make you the dad?" Sarah asked, laughing.

"Male role model," Casey said.

"I can honestly say, I don't hate that idea," Sarah replied. Casey nodded, and grinned. "Come on Casey, I know you want to say it."

"He already has Morgan," Casey said grinning, and walking off. She grabbed his arm and he looked at her.

"Did you just tell me to have a relationship with Chuck?" she asked. Casey shrugged. Sarah shook her head.

Devon and Chuck were standing on the other side of the room trying not to act like they were watching the two. "You don't think it worked, do you?" Chuck asked.

"I think the seed was planted," Devon said, grinning. "Remember, play it cool." Chuck covered his mouth as he whispered into Devon's ear.

"Bryce is alive and came back today," Chuck said, sotto voce. Devon looked at him. Then, in a normal voice, Chuck said "Hey, why don't you help me find the marshmallows I left in the herder?" The two went outside, and Chuck grabbed the marshmallows.

"How's Sarah handling it?" Devon asked.

"I asked her, and told her it was natural to have feelings for someone that was such a part of her life," Chuck said. Devon put his fist out for a bump.

"Bro, listen, you have to be super cool with this," Devon said. "It's okay if something bothers you, but talk to her about it, and don't be stupid. Be cool."

"I'm trying, Devon, but kissing her the other night, I just…" Chuck trailed off, his eyes glazed off in his happy place. Devon clapped his shoulder, took the marshmallows and headed inside, leaving Chuck wearing a stupid grin, and staring off into space.

-ooooo-

Bryce had seen Chuck outside, and talked to him. He was waiting in Chuck's room for Sarah. Chuck managed to tell her, through veiled references, that Bryce was in there. Unable to resist, he said Devon needed some brochures from there, and excused himself from the table again. As he approached the door, he saw Bryce kissing her. It killed him a little, but he did as Devon told him, and played it cool. Well, he was still new at playing it cool, and he stood there for a second when he saw her push Bryce away.

"You still got it," Sarah said a look of disgust on her face. Chuck grinned… if there was ever a cue, that was it. He pushed open the door, quickly.

"Look, I get there's a lot to work out, but may I remind you the guy that once tried to kill you is out there at my table, and this probably isn't the best place for this," Chuck said, trying to be cool.

"It's not like that, Chuck," Sarah said.

"Sarah, whatever it is, it's not my business. But we don't need Bryce getting killed," Chuck replied.

"Trust me man, a kiss from her is worth dying for," Bryce said, grinning at him. He turned to head out the window.

"I know," Chuck mouthed to Sarah. A smile crossed her face. "You got this?" he asked. She nodded.

"Get Casey over to his place, ASAP," she said, and paused at the window. "Thank you." Chuck nodded.

-ooooo-

Bryce was gone, and there was a good chance Sarah was gone as well. Chuck was a little stunned that Casey told him what the code had meant without asking. It was like he was in another dimension. In fact, if Chuck was honest, the big man's insults didn't seem to be as… insult-ey, lately. Chuck told Devon what was up, and Awesome told him to go, and what to say. He stood in front of her hotel room door, took a deep breath, and knocked. The door opened, and Sarah looked a little flustered.

"Hey," he said. She gave him a tight smile. "Look, I'm not sure what CIA or NSA protocol is here, but what I do know is that you might could use a friend right now. And that's what I'm here for." She stared at him a minute.

"We have a lot of turkey if you want a sandwich," he offered. She quickly shook her head. "There's a beach I like to go sit at and think my cares away. I hear it's pretty awesome to go with a friend and just talk, or just sit there and look at the ocean." She nodded.

He took a deep breath. "Look, I'm not a spy, but what Bryce said to you before he left… I don't know if that was what I thought it was. But if you got an offer to go, and stayed here for me, thank you, again. You keep sacrificing your life, for me, and it's really humbling." Tears were in her eyes. "I'm gonna shut up now, but only after I offer to let you drive because, well, you have a cool car, and the herder isn't the best for getting over things like driving with the top down on your Porsche would be."

She gave him a smile, grabbed her purse, and shut the door. She took his hand, and he looked down at it, then up to her. "Thank you, Sarah."

"Thank you, Chuck," she said, as they headed out into the night.


a/n: Thanks for reading.