Anything More by AndromedaMarine

She closed the door and it finally hit her – they would never be more than that cover. Honestly – who was she kidding? John Casey was sarcastic enough about their "relationship" that she wouldn't risk being truthful with her NSA partner. Sarah Walker turned her back on the quaint California suburb house, slipping the lie of a ring off her finger. She did it with regret, wishing that she and Chuck could be more than a stupid cover.

"Not reminiscing about your 'honeymoon,' Agent Walker, are you?" Casey asked as he put the car into drive. Sarah seemed out of focus, letting her eyes slip from the road to the passing mailboxes and driveways. Casey made some sort of animalistic grunt that reminded Sarah of the gorillas at the zoo.

She shook her head too quickly, putting that cover smile on her features that went with that cover relationship. "Just mulling over that paperwork we have to do later..." she trailed off.

Casey snorted, and Sarah wondered if the man had ever been in a situation like hers. "If you say so, Walker," Casey muttered, turning his full attention to the road.

Sarah felt surprised that Casey left his musings so quickly and easily, but she brushed it off. She let her mind drift (something quite unheard of for an always-alert CIA agent protecting the Intersect, now twice as valuable) until Casey slowed and pulled to a stop in front of the yogurt shop.

"After you, Walker." He killed the engine, looking expectantly at her to exit the car.

"Trying to get rid of me, John? Going to go spy on Ellie and Devon?" she asked with no remorse. Plainly, she was angry. Angry at the CIA and the NSA, angry at Casey, angry at Chuck – but mostly, she felt angry with herself. She opened the door more forcefully than usual and stepped brusquely into the California sun.

Casey drove away shaking his head. She'd get over it. Eventually.

Sarah didn't pay attention to her path, and she found herself in the CIA stronghold, the Castle, inside the shop. She's a CIA agent. She should be able to control this! A sweetly familiar voice broke through the haze caused by this stupid cover – stupid mission.

"Sarah."

She froze, her eyes still closed and her head still in her hands. She felt him place his hand on her shoulder, and tighten when she didn't respond.

"Sarah?" He sat down next to her, still keeping the contact. "Sarah, are you okay?"

The CIA agent almost laughed. She hadn't been 'okay' in over ten years. Sarah had no choice but to shake her head. "No, Chuck. I'm not okay. Because this whole thing – this whole lie – I would very much like for it to end..." Her eyes blinked open and she glanced over at her cover-boyfriend. "Don't tell me to quit, Chuck. I want more than anything to keep you safe – you're twice as valuable, now, Chuck...and I shouldn't let it get to me..." Despite how horrible she felt Sarah Walker was glad she could be a little – if not totally – honest with Chuck.

"I get it." The analyst-slash-CIA agent replied calmly. Sarah stared at him, her lips bent in a crooked frown. Chuck seemed to sense her skepticism. "Seriously. I get it. And..." he paused, thinking it over, "and we're in this together."

Sarah wanted to kill herself as she pushed him away. "We're more than 'together' in this." She stood and circled the table, standing with her back to her partner. "You saved my life back there – something that I won't forget, ever. I have to protect you, Chuck – it's not supposed to be the other way around. I'm the CIA-trained agent, and you're...you're a computer analyst, whose former friend forced you to become the Intersect."

Chuck leaned back in the chair, uncomfortable with the situation. "We can't be anything more."

Sarah turned around. "What?"

Sadness and regret filled his chocolate eyes. "We can't be anything more. It's as simple...and as complicated...as that. And you...you know how shy I am with girls, Sarah, out of everyone, you know. As much as I want – hope – it could be...it just can't."

To Sarah, Chuck looked deflated. But she knew he was right, even if neither of them wanted it to be.

"Look, I want you to know that even if – if this whole thing stays the same, and we have to continue living this so called "lie," I'm fine with it. At this point, I'm fine with us staying right here, at this place in our cover." He gave a humourless laugh. "Ellie said our 'house-sitting' would be like a sort of dry run for us – if we ever did...take the next step." His grin faded. "And it didn't work, despite it being a mission cover." Chuck's eyes unfocused, looking past Sarah deeper into the complex.

"Chuck."

He snapped his eyes back to her. "Hmm?"

Sarah gave a small smile. Making sure her face wasn't in the direct line of any camera Casey could see them through, she relaxed. "And I want you to know that if this wasn't for the CIA...if this wasn't just a stupid cover...if this was a real thing – if I wasn't an agent and you weren't the Intersect, I would gladly take the next step. But right now...as long as the Intersect is my mission, I'll use this cover to our advantage. And I want you to know I wish we didn't have to pretend."

Chuck smiled a genuine smile at his partner, agreeing in every way, shape, and form. Even if it couldn't be anything more now, it maybe could be – in the future.