"Is this really happening?"

"What's wrong Chuck? I thought you'd be excited."

He looked at her sitting next to him, faintly aware of the gun peeking out of her waistband. "I am excited, it's just . . . part of me never thought I'd actually make it out of here alive. I didn't think the CIA and NSA would let me be free once the new intersect was up and running. I thought they'd have you or Casey kill me or at least lock me up somewhere."

Sarah looked away from Chuck and scanned the yard outside his apartment. Other than a few of Casey's moving boxes the courtyard looked as it always did, yet somehow it felt different to her now. "Chuck I know this may not be what you want to hear, but just because you are no longer working for us doesn't mean that you are rid of the CIA and NSA for good. There will always be an operative watching you. Casey and I fought for you to be able to have a normal life from here on out."

"I guess it's a small price to pay," he said with a sigh. After a moment his face lit up and his eyes filled with hope. "Does this mean you get to stay? Will you be the one protecting me?"

She knew this way coming, but it didn't make the look in his eyes any less painful. "No. I leave for DC in the morning. I'll be debriefed then I'll be assigned a new mission. Most likely as far away from here as possible."

Chuck took that in. In less than twenty four hours Sarah would be out of his life and he knew he'd never see her again. He wanted to beg her to stay. Part of him believed that she wanted to stay with him and the other part knew that she couldn't. Sarah wasn't built for the white picket fence future. She'd confessed to him once that she thought about the possibility of it, but she didn't think she could tear herself away from the CIA.

"So what's our story? You've got a job offer in Boston? A sick relative in Toronto?"

"It has to be more definitive than that. Something that won't make Ellie, Awesome, or Morgan think that I may come back. It's best if it's something that makes them forget about me, or at least want to forget about me."

"They all wanted to forget about Bryce, but that didn't work out too well."

Sarah noticed that Chuck's tone was softer when he talked about Bryce now. Gone was the hint of venom that used to accompany his name. She hoped when this was all over he'd talk about her in that soft tone. "Yeah well what Bryce did was drastic. We don't have to go as far as making them hate me. Unless . . . unless you want them too."

"I don't want them to hate you Sarah," he laughed softly and gave her a small smile. "They all love you."

That's what was making this more difficult for her. Not only did she have to leave Chuck, she had to leave her makeshift family. The only one she'd ever really known. It scared her to think that she could make a life here. She knew she would be happy with Chuck. He was the best man that she could ever hope to find. But the real question: was she the best he could ever hope for? An emotionally stunted secret agent who would most likely run at the first sign of trouble. That didn't sound like enough for him to bank on a great future with her. Maybe one day she would be ready. Unfortunately for both of them, she wasn't sure if she ever would be.

"I guess you can just tell them that I needed to get away from LA and that I didn't tell you where I was going. When they asked why you didn't come with me say that I told you not to and that I was not ready for where our relationship was headed."

"So more or less the truth without the spy part thrown in?"

"Yeah, except that I'd want you to come with me if you could. If I wasn't out hunting terrorists and getting into knife fights. I'd want you there if it was safe."

The thought of Sarah getting into knife fights and hunting terrorists did not bode well with Chuck, but he brushed it off. She wanted him to go with her. It meant so much to him to know that in some way his feelings were reciprocated. A silence fell over them. Chuck racked his brain for a way to make her stay, but he came up empty. After a few minutes he spoke again.

"Do you have time to have dinner with us? Ellie would love to have you there and at least you'll get one last good memory of this place."

"I'd love to."

"I'm really going to miss Ellie's cooking," Sarah said as Chuck walked her out to her car.

"Are you sure you can't stay longer? Maybe crash here for the night?"

She wanted to say yes so badly, but she knew she couldn't. She had to go now or else she'd never be able to. "I have to take care of some last minutes things at my apartment." Lie. "But I promise to be here first thing in the morning so you can drive me to the airport." Another lie. She wished it wasn't so easy to lie to him. She hated it.

His face fell but he nodded. Sarah searched for the words that would make everything ok, but none came. All the words the thought of sounded like goodbye.

"I'll see you in the morning," was all she could come up with. Chuck just nodded again and watched as she got into her car and drove off.

Chuck should have known something was wrong when Sarah didn't show up on time. Sarah always showed up on time. He waited until it was half an hour past the time she said she would show up to call. When he heard the operator's voice instead of the dial tone he knew she was gone. Still, he got into his car and drove to her apartment. He parked in Sarah's old parking spot and ran to her apartment. The door was unlocked and he pushed his way through. It was empty just like he thought.

All he wanted was to be able to properly say goodbye to her. He didn't know what to do. After a minute he went and sat on the edge of her bed. He knew that once he left the room it would be real and he would have to officially start his new life. This was surreal. Part of him was convinced this wasn't happening. Then he saw the letter. It was sitting on her pillow with his name written delicately on the top. Chuck unfolded the paper and held his breath as he read.


I shouldn't be writing this, but I had to tell you that I am sorry for leaving the way I did. I just couldn't say goodbye to you. I thought this way would be easier. I wish it didn't have to end this way. I wish we there was some way for us to be together. And I wish I had the courage to say all of this to you in person. But now Sarah Walker is dead and she can never come back. You have to start living your life and forget about the CIA. Forget about me.

He read the letter five times before her words sank in. She didn't even sign her name. Sarah Walker was gone forever. The finality of her words killed him. She was never coming back.