A/N I actually first devised the idea for this story the end of 2012. I bounced dozens of ideas against the wonderful Esardi who is sadly no longer with us. Those ideas quickly developed into a story about hurt and comfort but most importantly, it was going to be a story about love. We ended up deciding to co write the story together and we only managed to get around five chapters deep when the issues of life took their toll on both of us and we decided to put the story on the back burner. I always swore that I would pick up this story again, in honour of easily the biggest sweetheart I have ever met on fanfiction.

I hope you guys will enjoy this story, because I certainly enjoyed co writing it with him. The length of the story will probably be fifteen to twenty chapters long. It was originally intended to be just ten, but as I have a tendency to think up Charah fluff scenes in an instant, it could easily become twenty. Since looking back at my notes for this story early yesterday, I've already penned down at least a dozen new Charah scenes that were previously not intended to be in the story.

Disclaimer: Nothing is owned here, except a golden retriever that I myself have, lol.

Chapter One

Sarah was laying alone in her bed with her eighteen month old golden retriever Charlie. "How did this happen again." She said as she wept into his fur as she hugged into him as the dog whined as his owner poured her heart out.

Sarah had grown up in an abusive household since she was ten. Her father Jack Burton was an alcoholic gambler with a desire to win. Unfortunately, for Sarah and her mother and sister he didn't win that often. And he had a tendency to take out his anger on the family whenever he lost money. Yes, the females in the Burton household suffered and were punished for Jack Burton's own misgivings. Sarah's mother Emma took all of the abuse to protect her children. However, what Sarah had witnessed with her own eyes had scarred her for life. The screams of her mother, the arrival of police at their door time after time. The tears that followed, these are things that will live with Sarah for the rest of her life.

Many a nights in the Burton household finished with Emma ending up in the hospital. Emma never once filed charges against this monster that was her husband. She was dependent on him and could not give her two daughters the life she desperately wanted for them without him. She had hoped he would change back to the man she loved when she first married him, but he never did... Emma wanted her two daughters to have as much of a normal life as possible. Therefore, she put up with the abuse from him despite what few friends that she had left telling her to do something about it. Jack Burton made sure that Emma didn't have many allies. He had turned everybody against her. There had been times when Emma thought about ending her own miserable life but she would never have done that because Sarah and Molly needed her love more than anything. There was no way she would ever allow her children to be taken away from her and into foster care. So she did the only thing she could think of, she quietly suffered the abuse of this animal for their children's sake.

However, one day Jack Burton returned home after another unsuccessful stint at a casino and was very drunk from the large amount of whiskey he had consumed. He severely beat up Emma and Sarah and Molly could hear the screams in their room. Sarah couldn't take no more and ran to her mothers aide. When she got to her, her mother was laying on the floor in tears after the attack of her husband. Jack raised his hand to his daughter and Sarah cowered in fear. However, he didn't have a chance to hurt her as Emma picked up a poker from their fireplace and hit him over the head with it. Jack fell to the floor unconscious and that is when Emma had finally had enough of the sickening abuse. She had suffered for six whole years. And it was time to end this suffering once and for all so she dialed 911. When the police arrived they relocated Emma, Sarah and Molly far away from Jack. Jack was a very rich man and had connections. While at the police station agents from the FBI had came and they spoke to Emma about the connections her husband had. They had been keeping them under surveillance and they knew they were not good people so the only way to keep Emma and her two daughters from Jack Burton's reach was to give them new identities and a new life in San Diego.

Moving to San Diego had been like a breath of fresh air. Emma got her degree in business and she opened a small consulting firm and became a natural. Sarah and Molly flourished, no longer under the tyrannical thumb of their father, they slowly started to open up. Sarah even made friends. Two of Sarah's better friends were Carina and Zondra. It allowed her to heal and become stronger. More independent.

Three years later Sarah decided to move away from her mother and sister. Sarah wanted to be free from the scars of everything that had happened and the only way for her to do that was for her to freely live her life. Her mother was very disappointed, she always thought that her girls would be with her through think and thin. However, Sarah still suffered from nightmares of those horrible nights. She still heard the screams of her mother's agony and it was simply too much. She had been seeing a therapist who suggested a trial separation from her mother as a form of healing those deep wounds. Therefore, she began her new life in Burbank. Sarah quickly found a job working at the Orange, Orange and she found a nice apartment and she finally began to enjoy life more.

The first year had gone great for Sarah, she had several friends and one of her friends had even introduced her to a guy, Daniel Shaw. He was charming, he did and said things that her father never did so Sarah decided to begin a relationship with him. Their relationship moved forward and they eventually started living together.

Sarah had promised herself never to let any of what happened to her mother happen to her, so how had this occurred? How in the world had she ended up with such an abusive bastard? When Daniel Shaw had entered her life, he had romanced her. She thought that she had finally met a decent man. Sarah was by no means shallow and she knew all of the sweet talking Shaw did was that so she would drop her panties but he was there for her when she needed him and she began to heal. But that was before she had met the most wonderful man in the world...

It was not her fault that every time she saw Chuck Bartowski her heart fluttered. The way that he looked at her... His kind sweet nature... His handsome features... It was all Sarah could think about. Whenever he was around her she yearned to touch him, to hold him. Daniel Shaw was just the same rotten bastard that her dad was. Chuck Bartowski was her prince charming, and she had loved him from afar for many months...

Sarah had just arrived at Echo Park and was walking her one year old golden retriever Charlie before heading to work at her job in the Orange, Orange which she loves. Charlie is extremely well trained so she could safely let him off the lead without fear of him running away or anything happening to him. She also had his favorite ball with her and was throwing it for him to run and catch.

"Go fetch Charlie!" Sarah says enthusiastically as she threw the ball off into a distance inside the park as she watched Charlie sprint to catch the ball but was beaten to it by another dog. Sarah made it out to be a German Shepherd and it ran off with the ball back to its owner as Charlie gave chase as Sarah began to quickly head in the direction of Charlie and his new companion and its owner.

Sarah had now arrived at the location of the two dogs and the other dog owner who was now telling his dog to drop the ball and give it back "Drop it Lucy, that's not nice, that's naughty, I have told you this before." She hears him say, in an extremely soothing tone. Sarah had butterflies just by hearing him speak.

The German Shepherd had dropped the ball now and had given it to the owner who picked it up and turned to face Sarah and as soon as they made eye contact, Sarah quickly becomes lost in his beautiful chocolate brown eyes as he glances right back at her. Chuck hadn't even noticed that this beautiful blonde haired woman was even near him as he was busy trying to get his two year old German Shepherd Lucy to drop the ball that didn't belong to her so that he could give it back. And as he stood up from where he was crouched and turned, he was gazing right into a beautiful set of oceanic orbs. He was so lost in them, he had never seen any thing or any one as beautiful as this woman standing right by him.

"I'm so sorry. Is this yours?" He says apologetically as he trips over his words while stretching his arm out holding the ball to return it to its rightful owner.

"Oh there's really no need to apologize. No harm done." Sarah says sweetly while managing to fit in a few laughs into the sentence.

Their hands briefly touch as he passes over the ball as they look into each others eyes and it was like being shocked by electricity. Sarah had never felt anything like that before in her life. 'What the hell was that.' She thinks to herself as she's feeling things she's never once felt before in her whole life.

The two strangers continue to gaze at each other, at a loss for words as it becomes more and more uncomfortable before Sarah hears him speak once more in that same soothing tone that pulls all of her heart strings.

"That is one beautiful dog you have there." He says sincerely.

Sarah beams a very warm smile at the strange man for his compliment. Charlie was Sarah's pride and joy she loves this dog more than she has ever loved anything in her life.

"Thanks, you too." Sarah says, nodding in the direction of the German Shepherd being chased around the park by Charlie as they played with each other.

"She's a character, hehe. Always gets me in trouble. Not all dog owners are as forgiving as you. Heh." The stranger jokes, which causes Sarah to laugh harder than she probably ever has, there was just something warming and open about this guy that made you feel comfortable even though she didn't even know the first thing about him.

"I'm Chuck by the way." He says, as he extends his hand out to greet Sarah, which is met by that exact same electric shock feeling once more as their hands touch together.

"Sarah." She replies as she grins amusedly as she watches the two dogs still chasing and playing around with each other.

"It's nice to meet you Sarah." Chuck says sincerely.

"You too Chuck." Sarah replies in the same tone as the two dog owners continue to walk inside the park for several minutes as they share a few jokes and laughter between themselves.

"Well, it was lovely to meet you Sarah. And you Mr." Chuck says, as he strokes Charlie who licks away at his face causing Sarah to giggle like a love struck teenager.

"You too Chuck."

"I should probably get going." Chuck says a bit dejectedly.

"Yeah, me too." Sarah replies in the same tone as they share a sad smile with each other.

"Well I really hope that you enjoy your day, I'll see you around." Chuck says, as he gives Sarah one last glance.

"Thanks and the same to you. Bye Chuck." Sarah replies as they share a smile and a final glance before they part ways. Sarah can't help but look back a final time in the direction of Chuck who was putting Lucy back onto her lead so she couldn't run away from him as she wasn't ready to leave the park. Chuck also glanced back in the direction of Sarah a final time before the two young adults and their companions vanished from sight of one another...


The dog scene is something completely new from the last time this story was attempted, as I really love dogs and with the story being all about the power of love, I couldn't think of anything more fitting than including two lovely dogs as well :P

Also, Esardi and me originally intended Bryce Larkin to be the abusive boyfriend... But looking back on the story a few years later, it just doesn't really suit his character, and Daniel Shaw is much more suited to the role. It might be harder to imagine Chuck and Shaw as college friends, but it's probably easier than imagining Bryce as an abusive boyfriend.