Chuck versus Choices

A/N:

Hello readers. This is my first multi-chapter novella. It is with some trepidation I am putting this out there for the Chuck folk to read. I have chosen to feature one of the minor characters Zondra Rizzo in a feature role. This is of course is an AU story and the departure point is around the end of Season 1 and the beginning of Season 2. There is no termination order and our hero Chuck gets to have the intersect removed and live a normal life. Both Chuck and Sarah have some hard decisions to make. The course of love never ever runs smoothly. I am hoping this will be about three chapters in length. The second and third chapters will be added as soon as I master the publishing bits of the web site. Reviews and comments are welcome. If you take your valuable time to read this then I will give due consideration to your comments positive and not so positive. I have not used a beta reader and hence errors, grammar and syntax wrongs are all mine.

Also for those who love Sarah, do not despair.

Burbank February 2008

Chuck was pressing her for an answer. Sarah didn't like to be pushed into a corner but he was unrelenting and as serious as she had ever seen him.

"Sarah, tomorrow the intersect will be taken out of my head and the new intersect will go live. Thanks to you and Casey there is no termination order. Do you realize what this means. It means I can be normal again, thank God. I will be free of all the stuff in my head and believe me some of it is truly horrifying. But listen, what's really important to me is we can be normal. No more fake cover relationship, we can be a normal couple. I mean I can take you out on a real date. We can sleep in my room and not have Casey recording the sounds and the sights in HD, even though there wasn't much going on in here anyways." Chuck took a big breath and tried to calm himself. This wasn't going exactly the way he had planned when he had practiced this in the mirror. Sarah was tensed up and she wasn't looking at him.

"Sarah, if ever there was a time for you not to be quiet this is it, tell me what you're thinking, and please tell me what you're feeling."

Sarah couldn't look Chuck in the eye. She hated when he did this to her, he was the only person in the universe who got her stomach churning and her thoughts mixed up. She was usually a clear, decisive person. Her reputation was you knew where you stood with Sarah Walker. But Chuck wanted her to commit, that's what the bottom line was here. Make a choice. She could analyze it and make it really complex but it boiled down to two choices. Resign from the CIA at the apex of her career and be with Chuck or get on with her next assignment as the top field agent the CIA had.

She knew what Chuck wanted her to say. She hadn't slept very well last night. Even now she was torn. Yes she loved him, but she was so new to being in love. Comparing what she felt for Bryce and Chuck was the only benchmark she had. On that basis Chuck won hands down and she hadn't even made love to Chuck. She couldn't believe she felt the way she did based on only kissing and hugging him and being around him and his family. This was crazy.

"Chuck I really like you." When Sarah said this Chuck made a grimace and was about to speak but Sarah jumped back into the conversation. "Wait Chuck, let me finish, you know I'm not great at putting my feelings into words. Chuck I love you but I am at the height of my career. Working and being with you has been fantastic for me personally and professionally. Casey and I now have the pick of any assignments we want. We have both been promoted a grade and that's just the beginning. Do you realize that in another five years I could become a Station Chief or a Regional Director? That rarely happens to someone my age."

Chuck was desperate to make her understand something he knew at the bottom of his very being. He didn't want to hurt her but he needed to say this to her. It was now or never.

"Sarah, I don't want you to go back to your spy life, I am afraid for you. When we first met two things were blazingly obvious to me early on. One is your beauty and I'm not talking about what every normal man sees, the stunning woman, no I mean something inside of you. When I first saw your face and then your eyes, I glimpsed something. It was a flash and then it was gone. It was only later after we had spent time together, that I knew what it was. It was joy and warmth and love all caught up inside of you waiting to get out. I want that for me. I want to get to know the inner Sarah Walker because I think she is more beautiful than anything on the outside."

Sarah lifted her head as Chuck was talking and was transfixed by his words and the emotion and she couldn't stop the tears welling up in her eyes. She took the back of her hand and wiped the tears away.

Chuck then knelt down in front of her and said. "The second thing I also saw was someone who was too good at her job. Sarah to be the best field agent in the CIA comes at an awful price. Mission after mission when we were in danger I have seen what you can do and every time I did I thanked God you were protecting me and not after me. You must have to push down and lock up some terrible memories and feelings to cope with your job. I am terrified that your job will kill something precious to me...that inner Sarah. That's why I'm begging you, please stay with me and let's start our life together."

Sarah at the moment was so torn about what to do it was painful. She wanted both, why couldn't she have both. "Chuck, we can have it both ways. When I'm not on a mission we can be together."

Wearily Chuck said. "Sarah, I can't live on seeing you for a handful of days each year. I would grow to hate your job and be angry at you. What we had together would eventually and inevitably melt away."

Sarah's phone rang and she saw it was Graham. "Chuck I'll be out in the courtyard I have to take this, it's Graham."

"Walker, secure."

"Graham, secure. Sarah congratulations on a very successful mission on Operation Bartowski. I have some very exciting news for you on your next assignment. Listen, the senior special agent who was going to run Operation Snow in Amsterdam has bowed out due to illness. I pushed hard for you to replace him. You will be running one of our biggest operations in five years and in charge of 10 experienced agents. You will be reporting directly to me and the Station Chief in Europe. Sarah, if this operation goes well you will be in line for some important jobs at the end of it. I need you on a plane back to Langley in 4 hours. Graham out."

Sarah couldn't believe it, everything she had done over the last seven years, all the sacrifices all the pain had led her to this moment. How could she say no? She wanted this job and she knew Graham by backing her so hard had put his own reputation on the line.

Chuck saw Sarah come through the door and he looked into her eyes and somehow he just knew he had lost her, he had lost them as a couple, he felt the lump in his throat and he wanted to cry. He couldn't speak and so waited for the body blow that was coming.

Sarah was still elated from the phone call and it was only as she got to Chuck's bedroom door that the full realization of the choice she was about to make hit her and her body didn't like it, her stomach was tied up in knots and she felt a headache coming on.

"Chuck, I can't quit the CIA, not now. I have been given a once in a lifetime opportunity. I do love you but how can you ask me to make this choice? If you really love me you would want me to take this job. Please say you will wait for me. I promise I will get back to be with you as much as I can. I might be able to fly you over to Europe once in a while, we can meet in Berlin or Paris. Why can't I have you and the job I've always wanted?"

Chuck fought back the tears and said. "Sarah, your job, the CIA is a possessive lover. It will leave no space for me or anyone else; it will absorb every bit of you and ask for more. Please promise me you will do all you can to protect the inner Sarah, keep her alive, and keep her safe so she may one day can remerge."

Chuck then crossed the room and gave her a huge hug and kissed her on the cheek and because he was now crying he couldn't say a word and left her standing there in his room.

Sarah watched him go and tears filled her eyes.