To distract myself even further, I have decided to add another naley story to my current one, always and forever and in-between (check it out if you haven't), as a couple of people, not many...but a couple, wanted me to write one that didn't follow the actual scenes, so I decided to write an AU one. Your opinion means a lot so please, go on and write it in the reviews, and I sincerely hope you enjoy this story

Prologue:

Nathan and Haley couldn't remember a moment in their lives where they weren't in love, and everyone in tree hill was aware of that. They had gone through every life stage together, starting with waddles in the sandpit at three years of age, until seventeen as he put a ring on her finger when she happily accepted to be his wife. But it was indeed an off match, for all their love, they couldn't be more different. Nathan was star athlete of tree hill high school, leading the basketball ravens to victory in the state championship. On the other hand, Haley James Scott was the school valedictorian, who tutored students for the joy of it.

In this sense they balanced each other out, and they evened the others' extremities. Haley has gotten into cheerleading; realizing it was actually quite the strenuous activity rather than mindless girls waving around pompoms, and Nathan would occasionally pay more attention in class, not that he didn't have his own private tutor whenever he needed.

Standing right below the hoop in the school gym; his own grounds, it was a win-or-lose moment; if he scored that basket they win the championship. And then there she was, Haley with a proud smile that beat the taunting of his opponent Damien West

"You got nothing, Scott, nothing!"

Nathan looked at Damien with a cocky smile, drawing strength from Haley, he threw the ball, without looking; his faith that the world will make it worth it, for him and his girl, was prominent. The cheers were deafening, and Nathan didn't need to look, to know that he had made the shot, when Haley crashed right into him.

He lifted her off the ground, into his strong arms, her breath tickled his ear as she screamed over the crowd "you did it, babe!"

"We did it!" he rejoiced, repeatedly kissing her shoulder, before he was hauled away by his teammates. Haley patted his back playfully as he was lifted on their shoulders, the whole gym cheering his name, and she joined right along.

The celebration lasted long enough, with Nathan high-fiving everyone in sight, receiving the trophy and stealing Haley's hugs and kisses; those were his favorite. Then it was time to go home. Their little apartment was warm and cozy, not very luxurious, but it brought them together at night and that was what mattered.

It might have not been like that, Nathan was rich, coming from an incredibly wealthy family of three… actually technically four, before his sister had passed, he had cried in Haley's arms night after night when it happened; the chauffer was taking the fourteen year old to ballet practice, then the next thing they knew, the car had exploded, the monstrosity of the accident was investigated for a long time before declared a cold case, ,many people ruled it to be payback for Dan Scott's antics, their father, for many people had beef with him. Still, the fact that the kids paid for it, made Haley's blood boil. Dan was remorseful for a month or so, but then he managed to bounce back as if nothing had ever happened,

Nathan on the other hand, was never the same; they used to play together all the time, along with Haley of course. As a matter of fact, it was her who had blandly declared that he and Haley had a crush on each other.

Of course almost hitting puberty and going through the awkward phases of; acne and hormonal urges for him, braces and frizzy hair for her, reluctance to see each other again, and a desire to kill his sister were there. Nathan and Haley have been best friends since they were three years old, and the notion of their relationship not working out would mean the friendship over. But why wouldn't it work? They loved each other, more than life itself, always have ever since they met, a deep understanding ran through them and even their friends thought it hard to believe that someone would find their soul mate at such a young age.

So, one summer night as raindrops hit the road, he timidly whispered those three words "I love you" and Haley's entire face lit up, she jumped in his arms and crashed her lips to his. Overcome with relief and joy, he had entrapped her arms under his, wrapping both arms around her and lifted her up, spinning in circles as the rain poured over their heads. It was then that they knew, forever was together.

When he had told his dad of his plans to marry Haley, Dan was appalled, for she didn't come from money or status. Hurtful words were thrown around and as soon as his father had said "gold-digging whore", Nathan stormed out of there, after he threw a punch to the old man's face. Haley's parents had welcomed him for the two and a half weeks it took to find a place of his own, also a small job in food service and a night shift at his uncle's garage made emancipation easy, especially when drug addicted mother was added to the list, Nathan felt bad about it, he loves his mom, but she had fallen through a downward spiral ever since her daughter had died, especially when Nathan needed her most.

Their wedding was simple and special, Haley didn't even have a wedding dress, and her mother's wouldn't fit, so she wore a little white sundress with slippers, and Nathan got dressed in one of the suits he wore for the fancy events his dad threw. Being poor may not be easy, but being with the person you love was worth it all, even those nights when electricity would shut off after they don't pay the bills; and they would sit up all night playing checkers by candlelight, and the nights when he worked until he couldn't even move, Haley would come back from her shift as a waitress and remove his shoes and overalls when she finds him collapsed on the couch from exhaustion.

As soon as they entered through the front door, Nathan grabbed her arms, spinning her around, so she would land in his arms; Haley sighed, content, as she nestled into his warm strong body. His hand snuck under her cheerleading top, calloused fingers running across bare stomach. Haley bit her lips, eyes fluttering and body tingling, she leaned the back of her head against his chest, pulling his other hand to her lips and planting soft butterfly kisses where his pulse is.

"Oh, Nathan!" she moaned, as he leaned down and brushed his lips against her jaw line; over a beauty mark, finally reaching her ear and nibbling on the lobe "I love you"

"I love you too, Haley James Scott" he whispered huskily, his kisses moving to the nape of her neck and then down her back, all the way till he was kneeling, planting a lingering kiss on the "23" tattoo she had gotten for him; his jersey number.

Weak in the knees, Haley shakily turned around, Nathan's kissing never stopping, planting them all around her waist, she scratched his back and head, folding in half over his shoulder. Smoothly, she took off the basketball jersey, as he stood up once more, pulling her with him, her feet lifted off the ground, Haley wrapped her legs and arms around him, so tight, that you would think they were conjoined. Nathan moved them both to the shower.

Haley's breath hitched, watching the steady stream of water run down Nathan's sculpted chest and chiseled abs, he poured some shampoo in his hand, massaging her scalp as she kissed his chest, right by his heart, once and again. He moved his shampoo covered hands down her face, leaving a trail of bubbles on her cheeks, making her look up into his sky blue eyes.

"My man played so well tonight" she said.

"Yeah, he did, didn't he?" Nathan winked at her and she playfully smacked him.

"Babe, be serious. The scouts couldn't keep their eyes off you. I saw one talking to Whitey"

He shrugged "That could mean a lot of thi…"

"And I might have eavesdropped and heard them say you were a shoo-in for a full scholarship ride to Duke" she interjected, eyes wide innocently.

"Are you serious?"

Haley nodded, squealing with joy, as he hugged her tight, lifting her off her feet.

"What would you do without me?" she teased.

"Die!" he said, kissing her passionately "never leave me"

"I am not going anywhere" she whispered sincerely "always and forever"

"Always and forever"

They spent the next few minutes scrubbing loofahs over each other's bodies, on every curve, their heart warm and content. In his arms, Nathan held a woman who loved him in spite of all his flaws, who loved the worst in him before the best. He reached out and wrapped a towel around her body, after doing the same for himself, Nathan picked her up, one arm below her knees and the other right under her shoulder blades, and headed to their tiny room.

He dropped her gently on the bed, allowing her towel clad body to bounce on the mattress, and then positioned himself on top of her. Nathan rested his head down her chest, when he felt her tense up.

"Nathan" whispered Haley "did you hear that?"

"What? I didn't hear anything"

Then sounds of shuffling came from outside once again, and Nathan sat up.

"Do you hear it now?" she asked.

"Mmhmm"

"Should I call 911?" she fearfully whispered to Nathan who was hastily putting on a pair of shorts.

"No, just wait here"

"Nathan!" she warned; her heart in her throat, making to grab his hand "Please! Just don't!"

"It is okay" he whispered, giving her hand a reassuring squeeze before letting go.

The sounds from outside were coming closer, and Nathan hoped with his heart that it was the neighbor's cat, it had broken into their house many times before, still, he took one look at Haley behind him and felt his heart hammering against his ribcage, cautiously, he made to grab the baseball bat in the closet. His hands were just twisting the doorknob, when a force sent him sprawling to the ground. Haley screamed at the top of her voice, pulling the towel closer to her body, their bedroom door had flown off its hinges, and in its place stood three masked men armed in machine guns.

"Shut up!" one of them growled, pointing his gun at her.

"Wait! Wait!" panicked Nathan, his eyes fixed on Haley "we don't have money but take whatever you want, okay, just don't touch h…"

Sharp pain exploded across his face, as the back of the gun collided with his nose, sending blood splattering in its wake, and Nathan saw stars; his hands went to cover the injury which momentarily hazed his vision.

Haley's cry of agony was stopped dead in her throat half-way when their guns were once again raised in their faces "Please" she whimpered.

Her plea fell on deaf ears as another one said "get the girl"

Fear gripped Nathan's heart like a vice, but it was drowned by fury surging through his bloodstream and he growled "No!"

Gone was all the horror of getting shot, Haley being taken away was all he could see. Nathan jumped up and tackled the man coming closer to Haley in great speed, not even shielded with his bat, which was thrown aside upon impact. Nathan had gotten in three punches to the man's face, when the other two men ganged up on him, their kicks and punches echoed around the small room, all Nathan could do was curl up in a ball and accept the agonizing onslaught, grunting with every blow.

"Stop it" Haley cried in rage, jumping off the bed and on one of the men's back, he yelped in pain when she caught his ear between her teeth, biting hard, the man threw her off like a weightless doll. Haley's head rammed into the nightstand and she fell unconscious, crimson blood seeping from her fanned out hair, on her contorted in pain face.

"Haley" his voice barely came out in an agonized raspy whisper, choking on blood, as his vision began darkening. Before he completely submitted into the abyss, one of the men made a grab for Haley's limp form, disregarding her dignity and lifted her over his shoulder.

One thing Nathan knew for sure, he has failed at protecting his wife.