Hey everybody! This time I decided I was going to try a different type of story, that veers completely off course from the show because… well, because its summer and we all need doses of our favorite characters! Lol. So here's my AU story!

(( Note: I should mention that think of it this way: the characters are the same, but the relationships are completely different. The story will kind of unfold in itself, but I just want to make it clear that Brooke and Lucas never dated; Leyton never happened; Felix and Anna have lived in the town the whole time; Brooke and Felix are dating (eww, I know. Plot purposes lol); Peyton and Brooke aren't friends; Haley and Nathan aren't even dating yet…and you'll kind of figure out the rest. ))

Disclaimer: I own NOTHING, but if I did own One Tree Hill… let's just say that there'd be some big changes! Lol

At The Heart Of It All

Chapter One

Saddest Girl Story

The embers slowly faded away as the fire dwindled in the hearth. Quiet sobs hung in the air as the whimpering silhouette of a teenage girl shook in time with the sounds.

"You okay?" he asked hesitantly. Silence greeted his question, and he slid an arm around the quivering figure, hoping he wouldn't be rejected. Her body tensed, then relaxed into the hug, and he relaxed along with her. All was quiet for a minute…

"I thought he was… different. How could he use me? How could he use me?" she whispered brokenly, her tears soaking the sleeve of his t-shirt.

"Because he's an idiot, Brooke. He would have to be, not to see how great you are," he whispered back, the moment too delicate for average volume.

He stroked her hair, a move that she found comforting from him and only him. Comfort… that was what Brooke needed that night, and she could only find it from two things: Lucas Scott and ice cream. Tonight, she opted for the one that wouldn't make her fat. Ben & Jerry's would come around tomorrow.

"He said he loved me… he… he…"

"Shhh… its okay sweetie, it'll all be fine."

"Luke, he cheated on me."

Dead silence filled the room, both struggling to keep their emotions in check. Brooke founds herself on the edge of another wave of tears, and tried to keep the flood gates closed. Lucas found himself fighting to be in two places at once. Eventually the beautiful crying girl in his arms one out over his desire to beat the crap out of her ex-boyfriend… for now… but tomorrow was a different story.

"Is it me? Is there something wrong with me?" she asked, a rare showing of insecurity in the bold and brazen girl, a look of vulnerability in her hazel eyes that broke his heart.

"God no! It's not your fault that he's a fool. It's his loss, because you, Brooke Penelope Davis, are the most amazing woman that is not my mother that I've ever had the privilege of meeting, and it's his fault that he can't see that."

For the first time that night, he saw a smile that reached her eyes as she leaned her forehead against his in a gesture common of their friendship.

"You know you're the best, right Lucas?"

"And so I've been told."

"You just had to ruin the little moment thingy there, didn't you?" she said with a giggle.

"Of course I did. That's like my job. Now come on Miss Davis, let's get you to bed… because, no, don't even bother asking, I know you want to stay."

"What a mind reader of a best friend you are!" Brooke said, attempting her customary perk, but Lucas knew from the abnormal look of sadness in her eyes that it was an act… even more so than usual. "And so valiant!" she laughed as he scooped her into his arms and carried her into his room.

"You know what valiant means?" Luke asked, feigning shock and unceremoniously dropping her onto the bed.

"Very funny Mr. Big Shot Basketball Star. So tell me, once the season starts up again, will you be ditching your good friends Steinbeck and Maugham to party it up with the rest of us?" she teased, holding up two of the many, many books laying beside her on the bed. Sometimes his room looked more like a library than a bedroom, and now was one of those times.

"I'm thinking we both know that that's never going to happen." He said, heading towards the door.

"Where are you going!" she called out to him, snuggling further under the covers. Lucas looked at her over his shoulder, and he was struck by the fact that she had never looked more helpless than at that moment, lying under the covers of his bed with her makeup joining her tears in a river down her face.

He wiped away a tear with his calloused thumb and said to her, "Don't worry about it. I've just got some stuff to clean up out there. I'll be back in a little while."

"Please don't leave me," whispered Brooke, her eyes glistening.

"Of course I won't leave you," Lucas relented, clearing away the books and sliding in behind her. He wrapped his arms around her small body and laid a kiss to the crown of her head, and she slept, peaceful for the first time that day.

So, what do you guys think? Did that totally suck?I've already got the next two chapters written, so I guess I'll wait for a review, just to see what you guys think, and whether I should continue just for myself, or post it for you guys. Thanks for reading! 3