Title - Home

Rating - G for this part.

Disclaimer - Unfortunately, the OC does not belong to me. However if it did, it wouldn't be the OC

Summary - Completely AU. Seth and Summer make their individual ways back to Newport after 8 years only to find that some things never change.

Genre - Romance/Angst

Author's Note - My first ever attempt at fanfic of any kind. Pls. review but be gentle. Also, I haven't lived in North America for very long and I've never lived in the States though I've visited. Some of the details may be a bit off though I have tried to cover my tracks.

Prologue - Thoughts

Seth Cohen looked at the familiar expanse of beach and took in a deep breath. It smelled of sun, sand, surf, hot dogs and money. It smelt like home. As the sun began it's daily, spectacular orange dip, he took off his shoes and experimentally twisted his toes in the sand. Satisfied with the results, he began his solitary walk. Soon he had left behind the young and the beautiful for quieter, less-populated shores.

This was fun. He had forgotten how much fun it could be. This summer that would all change. For three long months, he would forget Harvard, Boston, his thesis, everything. He would focus on life's little things. The beach, food, his family. He deserved it and his family deserved to have him here. For too long, trips back home had consisted of hurried holiday happiness and the occasional weekends. This was supposed to be his big comeback tour. True, the groupies weren't exactly ripping their t-shirts off in anticipation but Seth didn't care. He was just soaking it all in. He was also honing his master plan.

Seth Cohen's recipe for a perfect summer: 1. Lounge around at beach doing nothing. 2. Lounge around in the pool doing nothing. 3. Lounge around the house doing nothing. A fine plan it was too! He nodded his head agreeably. The most strenuous thing he was going to do all summer was not eat his mother's cooking. The not eating was not strenuous but the sheer amount of words that went into the pre and post-cooking melodrama by way of threats and pleas made it exhausting. Never worked though, rarely did. But he kept at it anyway. He would always attempt to rid the world of Kirsten Cohen's cooking or he would die trying. It was his heritage; it was his legacy; it was his birthright. He was a Cohen male!

Seth looked around him bemused. Apparently four years of economics at Stanford and another two at Harvard had still not rid him of inane verbal flourishes. He shrugged his shoulders and ambled on. He had missed this. He stopped short again to ponder over the unwritten subtext in that thought. When had he begun missing Newport? When had this paradise on earth to everybody but him become home? It wasn't exactly a bad home to have. Two winters in Boston had taught him that. He had never thought he would yearn for it though. But he had. He wondered if Summer yearned for it. Whoa! Where the hell had that come from? Seth paused, physically and mentally. He was not sure if he wanted to continue this walk if it meant continuing that particular strain of thought. After a second he gave up. He had stopped trying to reason with his brain many moons ago.

Did she though? Miss the home she had so mysteriously left 8 years ago. The familiar whys and hows of Summer's great escape came back to haunt Seth. She had just gone. One moment, she had been kissing him in the pool house. Next, he had trampled all over her newly discovered feelings for him. And then she was gone. Without a word to anyone. Not even Marissa. Long forgotten guilt began to worm it's way into his heart. It couldn't all be his fault, but his thoughtless actions hadn't helped. He mentally kicked himself for the 23029437549th time.

He also began to remember very valid reasons for staying away for so long. Lounging around doing nothing was a masterstroke, lounging around doing nothing in Summer's backyard - not so smart. Not that he needed to be here to think of her. He thought of her at the oddest times. Flashes of long- suppressed memories came back to him when he least expected it. When his guard was down. When he was debating the merits of one salsa over the other at the supermarket, when he saw squirrels especially skinny ones, when he passed by Disney stores that prominently displayed redheaded mermaids. Except to him the mermaids always had swinging black hair and flashing onyx eyes. Not just mermaids. All the women that seemed to catch his eye shared the same physical attributes. Apparently the population of petite brunettes in the United States had inexplicably exploded. First, they had taken over Newport exactly around the time Summer had left. Then, they had been everywhere on Stanford's vast campus and now, it seemed like they single- handedly made up the female population of all his classes.

He always looked. He always searched. He was always disappointed. Some had her eyes but not quite. Others had her hair but not really. None of them were ever her. Sometimes it didn't matter. He would lose himself in them anyway. Temporary balms to ease adolescent wounds. Again, one of those plans of his that never worked. Maybe he needed to rethink his visions of genius. He certainly needed to rethink this walking on the beach thing. Especially when his feet seemed to be moving towards yet another petite brunette.

His heart stopped as it always did at the first distant glimpse. Then it went into overdrive, his palms became sweaty and his mind did things only his mind was capable of doing. Somewhere deep in the recesses of his mysterious brain, warning signals began to flash. Another dose of cold hard reality was coming up. This one was a fine replica though, he grimaced. She had most of it down pat even the once familiar hands on her hips. He challenged her to turn, to brutally destroy yet another day dream. Pulled by some unknown force, the girl whipped around and Seth's world came crashing down. Finally, after years spent in his dreams and nightmares, Summer Roberts was home. Seth Cohen gulped.