Summary: AU. But since we're being honest, here, his real reasoning is that one moment when she was his. Oneshot based on a challenge issued by Hider.

Challenge: Heaven's not a place that you go when you die; it's that moment in life when you actually feel alive

Disclaimer: We've had this conversation. Do I really need to explain to you that I don't own anything? I mean, really.

A/N: Totally, totally Hider's fault. She gave me the challenge and told me that I had to write Brooke/Mouth fic in order to complete said challenge. Therefore, if you are against anything that involves Brooke, Mouth, or sex: close the window.


She greets him with hugs nearly every time she sees him. And he notices the gentle, subtle squeeze she gives his shoulders as she pulls away and tries to pretend that her scent doesn't intoxicate him; tries to pretend that it doesn't bring back vivid memories of champagne-colored sheets and cement. She winks at him when she's cheering on her boyfriend from the sidelines and he has to swallow back the lump in his throat every time. She calls him just to talk, and they end up on the phone for hours before she yawns and sleepily promises to see him the next day.

She never breaks that promise.

But, unfortunately for him, that promise is accompanied by the genuine smile of his childhood friend, her boyfriend, the object of his unhindered jealousy; her fingers are still twined with his when she hugs him in the hall before rushing off to her homeroom.

He's not really sure why he's okay with that.

Truthfully, he isn't. Seeing the two of them: together, laughing, kissing, and touching at every given moment kills him. But … he's only her friend (nothing more and nothing less). And she smiles more than she used to, before they got back together. Her laugh is bright and mirthful, bubbling up from her throat while her eyes shine with delight.

Maybe that's why he keeps pretending. Maybe that's why he waits for her call every night, why he holds her just a little tighter every time she hugs him.

But since we're being honest, here, his real reasoning is that one moment when she was his. Because the memories are so fucking brilliant that he wants nothing more than to hear her laugh if it means revisiting them.

"Why, Mr. McFadden, I do declare!" she laughed brightly, smiling at him as a blush crept up his cheeks.

"It's not that big of a deal," he rolled his eyes in embarrassment and her smiled widened.

"Fine, fine. I'll let you off the hook … just this once, mind you," she giggled and he smiled, falling back on the cement and tracing the stars with his eyes.

"It's quiet out here," she said softly. Mouth turned his eyes toward the girl next to him and nodded a little.

"Everybody pretty much clears out around ten. After that it's just stars and cold cement," he laughed lightly and Brooke smiled at him, hair framing her face as she tilted her head down to see him more easily.

"I think I need to indulge in your secrets a little more often," she whispered. He bit his lip gently and she tilted her head to the side, eyes tracing his face. "Willing to share?"

He exhaled shallowly and nodded, "Yeah, I think I can do that."

The smile he got in return was enough to make him want to take her to every one of his hiding spots.

He still hasn't. Not since that night, not since he can't pry himself away from the familiar scenery and the images that now accompany it. When she accompanies Lucas to the river court she plants herself beside him and smiles brightly, making small talk while her boyfriend makes shot after shot just a few feet away.

And now, she hugs him in goodbye as well as hello.

He thinks that might mean something, but he's not completely sure.

"Do you realize how crazy everything has gotten? I mean…Haley and Nathan, Peyton and Jake…it's insane to think how abnormal we all are now."

He couldn't help but laugh at the comment, grinning despite himself.

"I wish I could just escape from it all, you know?" She turned her head to the side to look at him and he nodded, keeping his eyes on the sky.

Suddenly, he was looking into deep brown eyes and then everything went a little fuzzy when her lips crashed down onto his.

He shudders and closes his eyes tightly, forehead pressing against the cool metal of the pole in front of him. He inhales and exhales for several moments, attempting to calm his spastic heart. Why it happened here, in this particular place, he doesn't know. To an extent, it makes sense. Nearly every event that has ever been of importance in his life has happened in this spot, ever since he was a little kid.

Well, not every important event.

He can think of one other location in which something of importance has happened.

And that? Is the impossibly soft bed of one Brooke Davis.

"Brooke," he protested. She ignored him and trailed her lips along his jaw, biting down on his earlobe while she dragged him over to her bed. He groaned softly when they fell onto the mattress and kissed her again. "Brooke," he said more firmly, earning a glance from the brunette hovering over him. She frowned playfully and sat up so that she was straddling him.

"What are we doing?"

She bit her lip and traced patterns on his chest for a moment before meeting his questioning eyes.

"Are you really that sheltered?" she teased, earning a raised eyebrow and a glare from the boy underneath her. Brooke sighed overdramatically and pressed a gentle kiss to the corner of his mouth. "Just trust me," she whispered against his throat. Mouth shivered a little and nodded, sinking further into the sheets while she worked on the buttons of his shirt.

He catches her eye as he makes his way across the court to the bench and she smiles brightly, hugging him before he sits down. He inhales deeply and takes in her scent, fingers tracing her lower back idly as he pulls away.

He smiles a little when she shivers under the pressure.

"I don't exactly know what I'm doing, here," he fumbled, hovering above her. She traced a finger down his cheek and smiled.

"Trust your instincts," she whispered. He nodded and moved his mouth to her collarbone.

She kisses her boyfriend goodbye and promises to see him the next day as he tosses her a smile and leaves the river court. She doesn't move from her position but runs a hand through her hair and sighs shakily, adamantly refusing to look at him. He groans and stands up, shaking his head as he starts walking away from her.

"Mouth, wait."

He clenches his fists and closes his eyes for a moment, stopping his retreat but refusing to turn toward her. He feels her hand on his shoulder a moment later and he closes his eyes tighter, willing away the sharp tingling sensations from her touch.

"You knew it couldn't be that simple," she whispers quietly. She sounds almost … regretful. The thought sends him spinning, knocking her hand away in the process.

"So, what, Brooke? Was I just a replacement while you waited for him?"

She inhales sharply and her eyes blaze a little, fingers clenching into fists. "You know I wouldn't do that, not to you," she bites back. Mouth sighs and runs his fingers through his hair.

"I don't know anything anymore," he returns. He watches her tongue dart out between her lips and forces his eyes away before he can analyze it.

"Don't act like this is all on me. You were the one that walked away from this."

"Walked away from what?" he shouts, breathing labored as he fights to keep tears out of his eyes. "There is no 'this' to walk away from!"

Brooke shakes her head and pushes her hair behind her ears, stepping closer to him. "I'm sorry that I hurt you," she whispers as she cups his face in her hands, a sigh of relief escaping her mouth when he doesn't pull away. "That was never my intention."

"You still are hurting me, Brooke," he says softly, voice like gravel. "That's what sucks."

She kisses him gently and rests her forehead against his, closing her eyes.

She gasped and dug her nails into his back, shutting her eyes tightly when he finally entered her. He swallowed thickly and buried his head in the crook of her neck, taking deep breaths to steady himself.

"You okay?" she whispered in his ear, kissing his temple softly. He nodded against her skin and pulled back to kiss her..

He breaks the spell and pushes her away gently, hands on her shoulders.

"But you're happy, and that's all that matters," he reasons. She nods a little and sighs, backing away from him.

"Give me time," she smiles weakly and he nods, teeth sinking into his bottom lip when she pulls her cell phone out of her pocket and walks away.

The room became brilliantly white when she cried out his name and he could feel himself reaching something that he never knew existed. He murmured her name against her shoulder and collapsed on top of her, a feeling of life pounding through him that made him wonder if heaven was as beautiful as that moment.

He collapses onto his bed that night with a tired sigh, eyes drifting out the window to trace the stars. The tinny sound of his cell phone resonates throughout the room and he answers it without bothering to consider the consequences. She asked him for time, and time he shall give. No matter how much it hurts to not be able to touch her.

"Hey," she whispers nervously, "I'm outside."