This is an idea that I got while arguing with BrickRoad and GoChuckGo on the boards the other night. Imagine what would happen if they actually tried to give me ideas. If you want to see the crazy discussions that generate even crazier ideas, join us in the Chuck forum on this site. It's fun (mostly). Thanks to Natty for the beta. I'm getting sort of tired of saying that I still don't own Chuck. But I still don't.

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Chuck vs. the Balance Sheet

- - - -

"Ok," said Carina with a smirk as she plopped down on Sarah's couch. "I'm here. What's so important that I had to come rushing over?"

"I have to make a decision." Sarah said with a sigh. "I don't know what to do."

"Well," replied Carina with a derisive laugh. "I could give a better opinion if I actually knew the choices."

After staring at the floor for a long moment, Sarah finally responded.

"Graham called last night." she said sadly. "They want me to consider leaving Chuck and joining Bryce to help him hunt down Fulcrum."

"Come on," said Carina with a grin. "I'm talking to Sarah Walker, right? Graham gives you an order and you follow it. That's the way it works. What's to decide?"

"He didn't order me." Sarah said sadly. "He gave me a choice. He said that he realized how important my current assignment was but that Bryce was running into a lot of situations where a couple would work a lot better."

"When does he want your decision?" Carina asked.

"He gave me twenty four hours." Sarah said softly. "That will be up at nine tomorrow morning."

"So, what's to decide?" asked Carina. "This sounds like your dream assignment. Going deep undercover with Bryce Larkin. The days would be fun and the nights even funner."

Sarah again stared at the floor for a long moment. Finally she spoke.

"I don't want to leave Chuck." she said softly.

"What," exclaimed Carina. "Don't tell me you're falling for the geek. Sarah Walker, falling for a mark? I never thought I would say that."

Sarah spent a long moment looking at the floor.

"He's driving me crazy, Carina." she finally blurted out. "I've given him everything that I can. I'm on the edge of being unprofessional now. And it's just not enough for him. It'll never be enough for him. He's … he's …"

"He's wearing you down." Carina finished Sarah's sentence.

"He's wearing me down." Sarah admitted with a sigh. "I just don't know what to do."

"Well," said Carina with a smile. "Your choices are obvious. Either leave right now or plan on giving Chuck what he wants. You may be able to stall him for a few months but it's inevitable. If you stay, you'd better start making a list of people to invite to the wedding."

Sarah's head shot up to look at Carina in surprise.

"Oh," continued Carina, her smile growing into a smirk. "And the baby shower shortly thereafter."

"I don't know what to do." Sarah said shaking her head as tears filled her eyes.

"Remember that Business class we took at school?" Carina asked.

Sarah nodded without looking up.

"What we need is a balance sheet." Carina said as she grabbed a notepad and pen. "We'll list all of the factors and see which decision makes the most sense. Maybe that will help."

"I guess it couldn't hurt." Sarah said with a sigh. "What are the factors?

"Well the first one is obvious.' Carina said firmly. "Who are you in love with? That would have to be Bryce, right?"

"I'm not in love with Bryce." Sarah said firmly. "That's for sure."

"Really?" asked Carina in shock. "Does that mean that you're …?"

"I'm not sure about Chuck yet." Sarah said as a slight smile began to form. "If that's what you're asking."

"Ok," said Carina flatly. "We'll call it a slight advantage for Chuck. Fair?"

Sarah nodded.

"Next factor," said Carina in a businesslike tone. "Which job is more important? Now this is a huge advantage for Bryce."

"I don't know." Sarah said hesitantly. "Chuck is more important than you realize."

"Come on Sarah." Carina said sarcastically. "You and I both know that anyone of a hundred agents could baby sit a computer repairman. What could possibly be more important than going deep undercover to flush out Fulcrum?"

"Ok," Sarah admitted. "Let's call it an advantage for Bryce."

"Good," said Carina with a laugh as she wrote on the paper. "The next factor is which assignment is best suited to your skills. If you're going to say Chuck, then I'll see you at the wedding."

"No," Sarah said with a smile. "You'd have to say that's a huge advantage for Bryce."

"Great," said Carina with a sigh. "Now we're getting somewhere. Now the personal factors. Which one is better in bed? Obviously that's Bryce."

"That's not really fair.' Sarah said slowly. "I've never been in bed with Chuck."

"What is wrong with you?" Carina replied while sadly shaking her head. "You're going to sit there and tell me that you're thinking that you may be in love with this guy and you haven't slept with him?"

"Its complicated." said Sarah sadly. "I'm trying to stay professional here. He's in love with me now. How am I going to maintain a professional relationship once I sleep with him?"

"I'll tell you what." Carina said a grin. "I've slept with Bryce. I'll go right now and sleep with Chuck and give you my opinion."

"You tried that once." Sarah replied with a grin. "Remember? He shot you down."

"I remember." Carina said tersely. "We'll call that even. Ok, which one is hotter? You have to say Bryce."

"I don't know." Sarah said softly. "Chuck is pretty cute."

"I'll try and make it to the wedding." Carina said as she stood up and tossed the notepad on the couch. "Just don't ask me to be a bridesmaid."

"Wait," Sarah said with a sigh. "Ok, I'll admit if you asked a hundred random women, they would pick Bryce."

"This is pretty easy." Carina said as she held up the notepad for Sarah to see. "Bryce wins almost every category. Can I help you pack?"

"No thanks," said Sarah sadly. "That just told me what I already knew. I'm already packed."

"How are you going to tell him?" Carina asked softly, noticing for the first time the suitcases sitting by the bed. "Do you want me to take him a note?"

"No," said Sarah with a huge sigh. "He's coming over after work. I'll tell him then."

"That's a mistake." Carina said softly. "It's better to just disappear. Casey can tell him what happened."

"I know," said Sarah looking down at the floor. "I just can't do that to him. He deserves to be able to say goodbye."

- - - -

As usual Sarah's hotel room door opened just as he was about to knock.

"Hi, Chuck," Sarah said softly without looking at him. "Come in."

As Chuck looked around the room, he could see Sarah's packed bags. When he looked at Sarah's face, he could tell she had been crying.

"What's up?" he asked tentatively as he sat on the couch.

Sarah stared at the floor without speaking.

"Come on, Sarah," Chuck said more firmly. "Why are your bags packed?"

"I'm sorry, Chuck," Sarah said softly without looking up. "I've been reassigned. I wanted to tell you goodbye."

"Can you tell me where you're going?" Chuck asked sadly.

"I'm sorry." Sarah said as she shook her head. "I'm not at liberty to say."

"You're going with Bryce," Chuck asked in a whisper. "Aren't you?"

By Sarah refusing to look up she told Chuck that he was right.

"Is this what you want?" Chuck asked as tears started to form in his eyes.

"I think that it's best for everyone." Sarah whispered.

"But that's not what I asked…" said Chuck.

He stopped speaking as he saw the notebook that Carina had left on the couch. Sarah tried to grab it from him but he was too quick for her.

"Is this the criteria that you used?" Chuck asked incredulously.

"I'm sorry that you saw that." Sarah said softly. "It was Carina's idea."

"Well," said Chuck angrily. "I think I'm being cheated."

Pure surprise caused Sarah's head to snap up to look at Chuck."

How?" she asked.

"Let's leave the first question until last." Chuck said firmly. "The next question is which job is more important. Are you going to tell me that Bryce and you have ever had a year where you made the accomplishments that we have in the last year?"

"Of course not." said Sarah. "But those were your accomplishments, not mine. They were because of the intersect."

"I don't see how you can possibly say that." Chuck said in surprise. "You don't see that I wouldn't be nearly as effective if I didn't have you? Someone who I trust and care about. Can you imagine Casey and me being as effective on our own? No freaking way."

"The next one is which assignment is best suited to you skills." Chuck said with a smile. "I see that Bryce got a huge advantage there."

Sarah nodded.

"I guess that depends on what skills we're going to consider." Chuck said calmly. "I'll admit that as far as the super spy skills you're right. But do you think that anyone else could have gotten the production out of the intersect that you did? There has to be some skill involved there."

"My mind is made up." Sarah said firmly. "This is best for both of us. Can't you see that? You need someone who can give you what you deserve."

"Then why have you been crying?" Chuck asked softly.

Sarah just continued to stare at the floor.

"Do you love me?" Chuck asked.

"What does that have to do with anything?" Sarah asked in a stunned tone.

"Do you love me?" Chuck repeated his question with more insistence.

"I can't do my job and love you." said Sarah looking at Chuck for the first time. "Please understand that."

"Damn it, Sarah," demanded Chuck with a raised voice. "Answer my question. It's not that hard. Either you love me or you don't. Now, do you love me?"

"Yes," Sarah shouted back as tears started to flow freely. "I love you. Ok? Does that make you happy?"

"Actually, yes," said Chuck in a firm tone but with the beginnings of a smile. "I hoped that the first time I heard that would be a little tenderer, but I'll take what I can get."

"It doesn't change anything, you know." Sarah said sadly. "I can't do my job and be in love with you."

"You know what?" Chuck said softly. "I live with two doctors. And even having said that, you're the smartest person that I know."

Sarah just looked at him with a questioning stare.

"So I just sit here wondering," Chuck said with a smile. "How such a smart person could come to the most stupid conclusions."

Sarah's eyes narrowed but she remained silent.

"Let me ask you," Chuck said calmly. "Who would you rather have protecting you; someone who saw it as a job or someone who loved you?"

Sarah's eyes softened as Chuck continued.

"If a bad guy was after you and you were in trouble," Chuck asked. "Would you rather have someone who was a ten minute drive away at night or someone who was sleeping next to you?"

A smile started to form on Sarah's face.

"If you leave," continued Chuck softly. "Where am I going to find that person who loves me? You say it's your duty to leave so that someone else can take your place. I say it's your duty to stay. Protect the intersect because it's your job and because you love him. Who could ask for more than that?"

"Would you let me do my job?" Sarah asked as she finally looked at him.

"Why would you think I would have a problem with you doing you job?" Chuck asked with a grin. "Your job is protecting me. Don't you think I want to be protected? I'm smart enough to know that you have to do things sometimes that a boyfriend wouldn't like. I'd be fine with that as long as I knew that you loved me. That's what has been missing."

"I see that I'm tied with Bryce for being good in bed." Chuck said with mock seriousness. "I don't think that's very fair. Do you?"

"I guess not." Sarah replied.

"Here is my proposal." Chuck said as he grabbed Sarah's hands. "Give me tonight. If I'm not ahead on the scorecard after tonight, you can leave. I won't complain. I'll carry your bags out to the car. Does that sound fair?"

Sarah nodded through the tears that were forming in her eyes.

"I have to warn you." Chuck said as he pulled Sarah to him. "I have an unfair advantage."

The question in Sarah's eyes told Chuck to continue.

"I love you."

- - - -

"Walker, secure,"

"Yes, sir, I have decided."

"Yes, sir, I'm going to stay."

"Thank you, sir. While we're on the subject, I'd like to talk to you about some enhanced security measures for the intersect."

"Yes, sir, I really think it would be best if we moved in together."

"Thank you, sir,"

- - - -