This story is being revived in honor of Amanda's birthday. She's all old now, but I love her dearly, and this chapter is the only thing I knew she wanted.

Happy Birthday Girlie!


Winds of Change

Nine

Everyone has their fears, even Tree Hill High's Elites.

Brooke's fear was clowns. It was simple enough, almost too cliché for the complex cheerleader. Even so, everything about them gave her the "heebie-jeebies", in her words, right from their brightly painted faces, to their neon wings, to their unnaturally big shoes. At first, it was a secret fear, and Haley had felt honored that she'd been privy to the knowledge. Little girls were all about secrets. Big ones too, come to think of it. But that secret became very public knowledge when the little Davis shouted at the entertainment at the fair they went to for their third grade field trip, "Don't you come any closer, you creepy asshole!" She'd gotten a time out for that, but Haley and Peyton snuck in to play with her anyway.

Peyton's fear was silence. It was peculiar to try and explain, but she needed noise around her at all times. If it wasn't chatter, it was music, or the roar of an engine, the tapping of a heel, the gritting of teeth, or the clicking of nails against a solid surface. She needed anything, any sound, regardless of how annoying, to ensure that she wasn't alone. In the silence, you can hear too much.

Still, regardless of how silly their own fears were, Brooke and Peyton never missed an opportunity to tease their best friend about her own fear—cemeteries. For as long as she could remember, Haley James had been desperately afraid of graveyards. She wasn't sure why, either. Realistically, she knew she was being ridiculous; it wasn't like the bodies were going to jump up at her. Even if they did, they were only bones, it's not like they could do anything to her. Haley still couldn't shake her fear though, and got chills each time she passed one.

On this particular morning, Haley had been going about her usual routine. Each morning, on weekends, she would sleep in. Then she'd take her typical half-hour showers, emerging in a cloud of sweet-smelling mist after she'd been shampooed, conditioned, shaved and moisturized to her satisfaction. Haley would then sip her tea as she read the newspaper, and get ready to go out whenever the urge struck her. She was three-fourths through when a headline caught her eye, and in her shock, spat her warm drink all over the table. That part didn't really matter, because the James family had a live-in staff that made their livelihood off cleaning up things like that. The newspaper was far more important.

DEADLY ANNIVERSARY LOOMS FOR A PRESTIGIOUS FAMILY

Tree Hill, North Carolina- In a few days, it will be two years to the day that a local family suffered an immense loss. However, this was not just any ordinary family. The Davis clan is known worldwide for the fortune they've amassed in the hotel business. Roscoe Davis upped the family's celebrity factor with his marriage to Lydia DeWitt, the international supermodel. The couple's marriage is still going strong as they approach their twentieth anniversary. However, the happy occasion will be darkened by the memory of their great loss.

On December 26th, a day held notorious in the fashion world, fourteen year old Lynne Davis was found dead on the floor of her hotel suite. The teen had followed her mother's footsteps into the modeling business, and it was clear early on that she was poised for superstardom. The skinny blonde had inked a contract with French fashion house Bleu, and had recently been considering acting. While an autopsy was performed, the family has kept mum on the cause of the starlet's untimely demise.

Since then, life has gone on for the Davis family. Brooke, the elder daughter of Roscoe and Lydia, has recently turned seventeen, and is currently attending Tree Hill High School. While the brunette has matured into quite the beauty, she has expressed no interest in the entertainment industry. When approached for comment, she neglected to say anything about her deceased younger sister. Brooke is reportedly a close friend of Peyton Sawyer, the daughter of music mogul Larry Sawyer, and Haley James, heir to the oil fortune.

At that point, Haley threw down the paper. That was enough of that. She knew it was hypocritical to love reading celebrity gossip, but hate stories about her loved ones, but she really didn't care. As she whirled around her bedroom, getting dressed as fast as possible, all she could think of was how deeply Brooke would be hurt if (more like when…) she saw that article. Who she'd hooked up with the weekend before, what she'd worn to the latest premiere… all that was okay to write about. But her family was her private pain.

That's how Haley found herself facing her worst fear. She shivered, not just from the cold of December, but from fear as well. The petite blonde snuggled deeper inside her warm coat, but it still couldn't seem to remove the chill from her bones. Still, she moved forward, the heels of her new boots sinking softly into the semi-frozen ground as she swept past the gleaming tombstones. The cold seeped away from her as tears filled her wide honey eyes, and she took in the image before her. There was a thin brunette without a coat, just jeans and a sweater, kneeling on the ground before her. Her dark hair whipped around her face, but she didn't care. Haley's heart broke just a little bit more for her best friend, before she got down on the ground next to her, designer clothes be damned.

"I had a feeling I'd find you here," Haley tried softly, tentatively bridging the gap.

"You always did know," Brooke responded with a watery smile, her eyes barely leaving the grave before them.

"Where's your coat, Brookie Cookie?" she nudged her softly, relying on old childhood nicknames.

"I forgot it. My parents were home, and I sort of wigged out, and I just ran," the brunette shrugged helplessly, and Haley nodded in understanding. "I'm not cold though."

"No?"

"Not yet, no. I'm sure it's coming though," she attempted the wide smile she was so famous for, but only its shadow swept across her face.

"Not exactly the most wonderful time of the year, I know," Haley whispered, her voice soothing, as she scooted in closer to her friend. Brooke dropped her head heavily onto Haley's shoulder.

"Never really has been for girls like us. I mean, when are our parents actually home? We don't get Christmas, we get "Here, buy yourself something nice, and get ready for Mr. and Mrs. Money Bag's party." I think next year, me, you and Peyt should just run away for December. See what our parents would do without their prettiest trophies."

"Sounds like a plan. Where do you want to go?" the blonde asked, stroking Brooke's chocolate locks softly. She knew that it comforted her, just as it did for all the girls. In the absence of real family, they had to become both sister and mother for each other.

"Somewhere warm. Its way too fucking cold here," her teeth chattered lightly.

"This is our official peace treaty, by the way," Haley laughed slightly, but she was anxious for Brooke's response.

"Definitely olive branched," Brooke nodded decisively. Brooke Davis had a very well defined chin, an almost exact replica of her mothers. It helped make whatever expression she was trying to convey seem that much stronger. Occasionally it reminded Haley of someone else though, someone Brooke had loved dearly. Someone whose memorial they were perched in front of.

"I know you miss her, Brookie. But you don't have to go through it alone," Haley said over the lump in her throat.

"I know that. I've never been alone," Brooke shook her head, tears seeping out of the corners of her bright green eyes. "Remember how L used to follow us around all the time? She would beg to come along wherever we were going, and sometimes we'd let her, and we'd all have fun. But sometimes I would tell her no, just because you guys were my friends, and I didn't see why I had to share you with my little sister."

"Oh Brookie, you know she got over that. Nobody ever wants to hang out with their siblings."

"I just, I don't get it, I still don't get it. She did too much one time, and it was all over for her, and I do it all the time and nothing ever happens to me, besides a hangover and some loser in my bed."

Haley frowned, thought lines marring her forehead, trying to determine what her best friend was talking about. Brooke had a tendency to babble, and sometimes it seemed like she was just speaking in code, but Haley could usually decode it fairly easily. That's what best friends did. It came to her suddenly, with a sickening drop of her stomach.

"Brookie… at that party… nobody slipped you anything, did they?" Haley tried to catch Brooke's eye, but the brunette kept her gaze firmly trained on the headstone before them. That gave her all the answer she needed, and she clutched her tighter to her, the tears starting to pour from her own eyes. "Why, Brooke?"

"I took the pills, and I laid on the bathroom floor for half an hour, just to see what she felt like. I want to understand her, and I know I never will, and I'll never have the chance to."

"Why did you get up?"

"Because Tim started banging on the door. He had to piss, in his oh-so-eloquent terms," Brooke snorted out a laugh. Haley could feel a little laugh inside her at the image she'd provided, but it just couldn't make its way to the surface.

"So, what? You were planning on just dying in the bathroom at some beach house?" Haley could feel herself getting a little bit angry now, and willed herself not to lash out.

"No! I mean, I guess. I don't know, Hales, I don't know what I was doing. I just miss her! She was fourteen! I don't know anything about my sister except that she was anorexic and overdosed at fourteen! People who write her biographies know more about her than I do. She's some little legend in everybody's mind, and all I can see is that tiny blonde girl who used to climb into my bed when it was raining."

"I know you miss her sweetie, and I'm so sorry," Haley said in response, knowing that nothing she said would ever be enough.

"I do miss her. I miss our little L, not Lynne Davis, supermodel. I hate that she never got to be her own person, because she was always my mother's Frankenstein. I wish she could've found that boy that would change everything for her, or that I got to drive her to school, or that we would've skipped and gotten donuts and just watched chick flicks all day. I wish that my mom wasn't so hard on her, and that my dad cared. I wish that we all remembered her, but there's just nothing there."

"Brooke, I know that you two drifted apart, but she still loved you more than anything. She always wanted to be just like you? Remember how she used to take your clothes for dress up, and she always tagged along, just to hang out with her big sister for a little while longer. She loved you, Brooke, and you loved her, and that's what counts. It doesn't matter if you knew what her favorite color was, all that matters is love."

"You know, she was spoiled, and she was whiny, and she was such a brat sometimes. But she needed help, why did they leave her alone? She had all these so-called friends. Why did she have to die alone?" Brooke sobbed into Haley's shoulder, drenching her coat, but she didn't notice, and Haley didn't care.

They sat their, huddled together, for an hour or more. They both lost track of the time as the sun slowly set on them. Light was always harsher in the winter for some reason. It seemed like the world was so much less eager to protect you. Summer sun rose lazily, warming you inside and out. Winter light just blinded your eyes.

"Hey Hales, why do you think we fight so much?" Brooke wiped at the mascara smudges below her eyes as she looked up at her best friend.

"It's easier to lash out at people who you know will always be there for you. And since we're bonded together for all of eternity, I think we're a damn safe bet," Haley quipped, but she was telling the truth. They bickered a lot, but it never really made a difference, because at the end of the day, they were like sisters should be.

"I love you, Hales."

"Love you too, Brookie. But no more pills, okay? We don't know how many more tricks Super Nathan's got up his sleeve, and I sure as hell can't carry anyone," Haley made a face at the thought. "Plus, Peyt and I kind of need you."

"Yeah, I kind of need y'all too. Speaking of, let's go see what P. Sawyer's skinny ass is up to anyway. Maybe we'll even catch Ellie with the pool boy." They exchanged grins at the thought. Slowly, they picked themselves up off the cold ground, dusting themselves off, and re-linking their arms as they walked away, only looking back once.

"Bye, baby sis."