Chuck vs the Second Chance

Synopsis: AU from mid-season 2 onwards. Sarah and Chuck part ways, only to be reunited years later. Some things have changed but some others remain. Will they get their second chance?

Disclaimer: I don't own Chuck.

A/N: Thank you for all the support I've received with this story. I'm currently in the process of reuploading chapters so the pesky page-breaks will show and make the transition between scenes easier to read.

Thanks for reading. And now I bid you good night.

Chapter 1:

They say time heals all wounds. Funny saying, that.

If anyone were to know, it would be her. Just as Humpty Dumpty had, she's been smashed to pieces and put back together too many times to count.

A stitch here, a pill there and good as new.

But there really is something to being broken beyond repair and the wounds never feel quite as deep as they do when she reads his name in the paper. Then all proverbs fail her, and it feels as if every gash she's ever had splits wide open, wounds weeping because she's simply too proud to.

He keeps himself busy these days. Press conferences, promotions, interviews...

And she still keeps tabs on him; what can she say? Old habits die hard.

She knows she's falling down a familiar spiral when she takes in the blurry black and white photograph on the front page. If she knew what was good for her, she'd close the paper now and get on with her day; the rest of her days.

She's self-destructive though so she drinks in the sight of him like a lost wanderer under the merciless sun.

It's been too long.

He stands alone, and she's not sure if the sight fills her with guilt or relief. He has a smile, but it's not the kind of smile she's always remembered best. The days of beaming grins and easy laughter are long gone. The age of innocence long past.

What could have been...well that's simply it. Could have, should have, would have.

She's so lost in her own thoughts she doesn't realize she's not alone until it's too late.

"Hey, Sarah?"

Sarah throws the paper into a corner of her table and whips around, all trace of nostalgia gone from her features. "What?" she snarls. She instantly regrets what she's done when the assistant flinches back.

"Sorry, didn't mean to startle you there."

Sarah growls quietly under her breath. People like her were never supposed to be startled. She's falling back into bad habits again. Habits that got people killed.

The grim realization was that she wasn't too concerned one way or another.

"What is it?"

"The director wants to see you."

Of course he does.

"Fine." Sarah turns back to her desk.

"He wants to see you now," the girl prompts.

"Fine," Sarah says, though she does nothing to indicate she'd make good on her word.

"Hey, is that who I think it is?"

Sarah finds it hard to begrudge the girl. She's young, and tries so very hard to please. And even though Sarah doesn't trust anyone here, she knows the girl's harmless.

The assistant points to the newspaper page she'd thrown to the side in her haste. The article she'd been staring at was still open.

"Oh, is the release today?" she chirrups. "Oh that's so exciting, I'll have to go and pick up a copy. I didn't know you played "

"I don't." Sarah cuts her off, and rises from her seat.

"Oh..." The girl's voice becomes quiet and thoughtful. "I just were staring...I "

"The director wants to see me now?" Sarah reminded. For once in her life, she was looking forwards to the meeting.