A/N- Wow, has it been a while or what? I have no idea if anyone who used to read this still will, but I hope you do. And if there are any new readers, Hi! I'm sorry for such a long wait for me to get my crap together, I really suck at this. I'll try to update more frequently (it'd be hard to do it less frequently, wouldn't it?) Enjoy this new chapter, be sure to let me know if its good or bad and what I can improve on.

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As he switched off the headlights to his car and turned off the ignition Dan let out a long sigh. It had been a long night (week, month) and he desired nothing more than to cry, but if he cried there was no one there to make him feel better. He drove Deb and Nathan away by being himself, Keith was dead because of him, Karen had killed herself because of Keith, and Lucas was heading down the same road. He had left nary a bridge left unburned, which in some ways was his intention.

If he was honest with himself, though, Dan didn't truly know why he was crying. Was it because he was so clearly failing his eldest son? Or was it because he had failed the boys mother? Or was simply that he himself had failed? God knows he was never going to be reelected mayor after this fiasco.

Perhaps a few years ago he would've been appalled at this callous thought in the midst of such an all-consuming tragedy, but currently he was just numb.

After a few moments of steadying himself Dan got out of his expensive har and walked inside. The mayor of Tree Hill didn't need to indulge in such reflective thoughts; he had more important things to deal with. Like how to keep the news about Lucas from getting out. He would have to find a way to deal with that pesky girlfriend of his…

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When Lucas awoke the next morning he experienced a moment of complete confusion. He wasn't in his new bed at Dan's house, nor was he in his old, warm bed in his mother's. Light was pouring in the way he never let it anymore, almost blinding him.

And oh yeah, his arms hurt like hell.

Looking around to find some semblence of an explanation, the events of the previous night came flooding back to him. The knife, the pain, the blood, and finally everything going black and a small reprieve from the hell that had become his life.

He recalled waking up for the first time in the hospital to see Dan and Brooke in his room, one a far more welcome visitor than the other. He remembered Brooke's tears compared with Dan's cruel apathy. And he remembered them leaving and him feeling alone once again, in the dark.

But Brooke came back; Brooke always came back for him. If their was any positive memory in the previous night it was the feeling of security that overcame him when she cuddled next to him. A feeling he hadn't experienced since his mother's suicide.

"Hey, Broody, you're awake," came a familiar voice. He jerked out of his daydream to see a slightly mussed and messy looking Brooke smiling down at him, accompanied by an elderly nurse who began checking his chart.

"You're still here? Don't you have to get to school?" he asked as she leaned down for a kiss. She laughed, a beautiful sound, one he couldn't remember hearing much recently. Things had gotten pretty heavy, and he knew he was to blame for that.

"Its Saturday, doofus. Plus, where else am I going to go?"

"Yeah, I'm great company lately, aren't I?" he said, voice dripping of sarcasm.

"Aww, Broody, you're always subpar company. I just love you in spite of it." The nurse, finished checking on her patient, rolled her eyes and left, but neither of them notived.

"Yeah, you make up in the conversational department for both of us, don't you?" he said cheerily, not even minding the smack on the shoulder he received for his comment. It occurred to him that since she had noticed him his arms had hardly hurt at all.

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Haley woke up to an empty space beside her that morning and immediately feared the worst. Sure, she wasn't exactly sure what the worst was, but the horrors of recent months had taught her to be wary.

She walked slowly out of the bedroom, looking for any sign of her husband. "Nathan? Honey, you here?" she called hopefully as she approached the living room.

"Over here! Come on, I gotta show you something!" Haley breathed a sigh of relief when she heard Nathan's voice and rolled her eyes at his boyish enthusiasm.

"What is it? I thought I made it clear I wasn't interested in your dumb video…" her voice trailed off as she saw what Nathan was hovering over proudly.

A small crib stood next to the doorway with a mobile hanging over it. It was painted white, chipped at the corners, and with no blankets or pillows inside. Despite this, it was perfect.

Haley stared at her husband in wonder, which he misinterpreted. "I know its small, I found it at a yardsale, so it was pretty cheap but I thought it would tide us over for a while, at least until," but he was silenced when Haley leaned in and kissed him passionately.

"So, you like it then?" he asked, grinning ear to ear.

Haley laughed and pulled her husband back into their bedroom.

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Brooke ignored another call from Peyton as she sat in Lucas' hospital room, debating the merits of the Gossip Girl books vs. The Lord of the Rings.

"But you can't relate to Frodo. I don't know about you but I've never had to return a cursed ring to a fiery pit. I have had to find the perfect dress for a party though," Brooke whined during what seemed like the fifth time they'd had the same argument.

"Yeah, somehow I can't quite relate to that though. Please you know I'm right. These books are so frivolous, its like they have no meaning. I mean, check out just the back cover." To punctuate his point Lucas leaned over and and reached for one of the books lying on the table. In doing so Brooke caught sight of his arm, where cuts in various stages of healing littered his forearm.

Brooke stared, transfixed even as Lucas began mockingly reading, until he noticed.

"Brooke? You still with me?"

She finally pulled her glance away and looked at her boyfriend. Your arm…it's just.." she trailed off.

Lucas glanced down and tried to cover the scars with his flimsy hospital gown. "Yeah, but I'm fine, really. We don't have to talk about this."

"Yes we do though. We tried not talking about it, remember? That's how you ended up in here to begin with."

"Yeah, but what happened was just an accident. You know I didn't mean to kill myself, and it won't happen again. Scouts honor." He tried to give her a smile to reassure her, but Brooke just glared back at him.

"Don't do that. Don't try to pretend you're fine when we both know you're not. Sure, it's all fine and dandy to joke, and smile and cuddle, and talk about books, but what happens when I leave? When you go back to Dan's?" Lucas shifted uncomfortably, but Brooke was just getting started. "How do I know you won't just do this again? And what if next time Dan doesn't catch you in time? Well?" she asked desperately.

Brooke stared expectantly at Lucas, who was staring just as intently at his sheets. A long silence followed, until finally Lucas spoke.

"You're right. And I don't know."

Brooke looked down and tried to fight back tears. She really thought that he might have an answer, or some form of reassurance. It was starting to dawn on her that real life wasn't quite so simple. Lucas reached up and cupped her face with his large hand.

"But I do know that I love you. And I know you love me too. Things aren't perfect, or even okay, but for now, that's enough for me. We can work on the rest, I promise we can. One day it'll be okay."

It wasn't really an answer, or reassuring, but somehow it did the job. Brooke smiled a little through the tears that had made it down her cheeks and whispered, "It's enough for me too. Always will be."

Things might never be perfect, but as long as they were to together they would figure it out. Somehow.

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A/N- As always, reviews are hugely appreciated, I like to know what I'm doing right/wrong, especially after all this time. Have a great day!