A/N: Ok, so this story came out of the blue. My cousin and I were on the way home from the movies when she gave me this totally cool idea for a story about Keith and Dan. So I tweaked the idea and sorta added some stuff on. I hope you like it! Make sure you review!
Disclaimer: I don't own One Tree Hill...or Dr. Phil.
A black BMW came barreling down the roads of some Applachia town at ninety miles per hour. The driver refused to stop. Red light after red light he sped through, not caring what or who might be in his way. He finally hit the open highway and slammed down on the gas. 100. 110. 120. The car was reaching it's breaking point.
"Slow down, Dan. You're going to kill us!"
"You're already dead!" Dan yelled, glancing over at his brother. The same brother who had died not more than three months ago. But here was Keith sitting in his BMW. Talking to him as if he was still alive and kicking.
"Dan, I'm not dead," Keith said calmly.
"I watched you die, Keith. I shot you! I did it!" Dan swerved the car to the left, avoiding a truck that hit its brakes.
"That you did, but I'm not dead. I'm still here."
"We buried you."
"My body maybe, but my soul...well that's another story." Dan didn't say anything, just kept mashing on the gas. The car couldn't go any faster. Moments went by filled with nothing but the sound of screeching tires and loud horns.
"Why do you keep running?" Keith asked suddenly.
"I think if I go fast enough you'll disappear. Or maybe I'll wake up from this God awful dream."
"I didn't mean that," Keith said, "I meant why do you keep running from everybody."
"This is no time to get philosophical, big brother. You can go test that crap out on Lucas or Karen."
"You're the one who needs my help, Dan. Why do you think I'm still here?"
"Because I killed you and now you're getting even with me," Dan said, "You're haunting me."
"Life isn't about settling scores. Neither is death. I'm here to help you."
"How's that? Give me a heart attack?"
"Dan, why do you keep running?"
"I'm not running," Dan said frustratedly, "I don't get what you're talking about."
"Whenever anyone reaches out to you, you run. You pull back and you get vindictive. Why is that?"
"People can't be trusted. One day they want to be your best friend, the next they're sneaking behind your back, trying to burn you alive or sleeping with your wife." He gave a pointed look to Keith. Keith shrugged.
"Or they shoot you," he responded with a smirk.
"I thought you tried to kill me."
"How could you think that, Dan?" Keith asked, hurt evident in his voice, "I know I've gotten angry before, but why on earth would I want to kill you?"
"I don't know," Dan said, "I just-" He trailed off looking ahead. "Sometimes I forget that not everyone thinks like I do. Some people can forgive and forget."
"Not you though, huh?" Dan didn't respond. More moments passed in silence. The car had now reached a clear open space. No cars on the road. Just highway.
"Are you ever going to leave?" Dan snapped suddenly.
"What do I have to say to get you to go away?" Dan hissed, "I'm sorry I shot you? I'm sorry that I hired Emily to break your heart? I'm sorry I left you to raise my son? Because, damn it Keith! I'm sorry for all of that! I wish I could take it back!"
"Do you really?"
"Yes!" Dan yelled, "I regret almost every decision I ever made in my life! Every day I have to live with the man I've become! And people look and they judge, but they don't have any idea how hard it is to be a terrible, rotten person! They don't know what it's like to wake-up wondering who you're going to hurt today! Watch your sons become better men and know in your heart that it's not because of you, rather in spite of it! Watch the women you loved grow cold and bitter because you ruined their lives! Live with the fact that you killed your damn brother for something he didn't do!" Dan stopped speaking to catch his breath, his heart rate slowly calming. He finished his rant in a whisper. "I want it to stop, but it won't. Every relationship I build turns to shit."
"Why don't you change?" Keith asked, proud that his brother was finally tearing down some of his walls.
"I can't," Dan said, "I've tried so many times, but it's a viscious cycle."
"You're strong enough Dan," Keith said, "You could change if you wanted to."
"What are you trying to say?"
"It's easier to build up walls. If you push people away and hurt them, then they can't hurt you. All the people you cared about-Karen, Deb, Nathan, Lucas, myself, hell even Whitey, though it pains you to admit it. You push us away and hurt us because you're afraid we're going to hurt you."
"Whatever you say, Dr. Phil," Dan muttered. Keith grinned at him.
"Why'd you kill me, Dan?"
"I told you," Dan sighed, "I thought you tried to kill me. I thought you started the dealership fire."
"That's a lie," Keith said, "You know the real reason."
"Enlighten me, oh wise spirit from beyond," Dan said sarcastically.
"I hurt you." The words were the last thing Dan was expecting. He quickly looked over at his brother as if he were crazy.
"You hurt me? How in the hell can you say that? I've done nothing but make your life a living hell since I was born and you sat and took it with a smile! You sleeping with Deb didn't affect me as much as you would think!"
"I hurt you," Keith repeated, "Not by sleeping with Deb, but by sleeping with Karen."
"The fact that I was stepping up and marrying the woman who still has your heart. The fact that Karen, Lucas and I were going to be a family. That was the reason you killed me. I hurt you by taking away the family you wanted. The one you wanted from the very beginning. You
love Deb and Nathan, but Karen and Lucas is where your heart has always wanted to be, and I was living that life. You felt betrayed."
"That's not it," Dan said unconvincingly, refusing to take his eyes off the road.
"Yes it is," Keith responded, "You never thought you could be hurt like I hurt you. The pain you felt when you saw the three of us together, when I basically told you to leave my family alone, that pain pushed you over the edge. It's the reason you picked up that gun."
"Keith," Dan pleaded, "It's not like that. I'm sorry." And for the first time ever, Keith could tell without a doubt that Dan meant it.
"I forgive you. I forgive you for all of it. Unfortunately, my forgiveness doesn't mean much. My pain really doesn't compare to the suffering that you put Karen and your son through."
"Will they ever forgive me?" Dan asked, stealing a glance at Keith.
"I don't know the answer to that, but something tells me that they will."
"Where do I start?"
"See about twenty miles up ahead," Keith pointed. Dan nodded. "There's a cliff. It's called King's Falling. Run off it."
"Will I wake up then?"
"No," Keith said shaking his head, "But you'll finally be at peace."
"You want me to run myself off a cliff? So this really was all about revenge?" Dan hissed. Keith sighed.
"If you don't end this now, you'll continue the cycle. You'll continue hurting everyone. If you drive off that cliff, it ends."
"What happens then? Where do I go?"
"You mean hell or heaven?"
"We'll see. I think at this moment right now, you're conscience is the cleanest it's ever going to be," Keith joked.
"I thought if you committed suicide you go to hell automatically?" Dan frowned.
"You'd think if you murdered somebody, that would happen to, but it's not how it works."
"So, you want me to drive this car over a cliff and kill myself?"
"But what about Lucas and Karen? How am I going to get them to forgive me if I'm dead?"
"This is ridiculous."
"And having a conversation with your dead brother isn't?" Keith said. He took a deep breath and looked over and Dan. "I need you to trust me, Danny."
"It's been eight months," Deb said quietly as she approached the brunette woman standing by her ex-husband's grave.
"I know," Karen replied, "I never thought I'd be here."
"You thought he was indestructable?" Deb joked.
"No," Karen said somberly, "I never thought I'd be visiting him. When he drove off that cliff, I thought I'd feel relieved, but all I feel is...regret."
"How's Eva?" Deb said quickly changing the subject. Karen had given birth to Keith's daughter, Eva Daniella, two months ago.
"Fussy," Karen said smiling, "She's already starting to teeth. I left her with Lucas and Peyton for the day."
"Are you sure that's safe?"
"Well, I know Peyton can handle it. As for Lucas...that's another story."
"What's the deal with them?" Deb asked.
"Just friends," Karen said. A strained silence ensued.
"Is it true?" Deb asked nervously. The subject on Deb's mind felt almost taboo. No one ever mentioned the circumstances of Dan's death to Lucas or Karen. The two rarely talked about it to anyone.
"Is what true?" Karen asked.
"The letter? Did Dan really leave Lucas a letter?"
"Yes," Karen said.
"How did Dan find the time to write a suicide note while driving off a cliff?"
"I don't think that's an issue."
"What do you mean?"
"I'm pretty sure you'll think I'm crazy," Karen said rubbing the back of her neck.
"I promise I won't."
"The thing is," Karen said quietly, "That note was written in Keith's handwriting."
I'm writing you this letter not as a way to clear my guilty conscience, but to prevent you from going down the same path I did. I'm writing you this letter to tell you the things I could never bring myself to say while I was living.
Don't take the path I took. The path that tells you to build up walls and keep people from getting too close. The path that tells you to brood. I've watched you grow. You may not think so, but I have. Secretely, I gathered as much information as I could. And I've learned that you're like me. Nathan has no walls. He wears his heart on his sleeve. You and I hide our pain. We let it stew until it boils over. We think of ways to seek revenge. What you did during the end of your junior year, gathering dirt on me, it was exactly what I would have done. And that scares me because you're a better man than that. Karen didn't raise you that way.
You may never believe the words I'm about to convey to you, but I feel the need to say them. I love you, Lucas. From the moment I heard you were born, I have loved you. You are my son, and I need you to know that if I could change anything in my life, it would be the fact that I wasn't there. Don't think I regret the fact that you were born. You were no mistake. You were, in fact, conceived in love. Your mother was the love of my life. The woman I gave my heart to. I let her get away and I regret that too. Another word of wisdom, don't let the girl you love get away.
As worried as I am for what you may become, I'm proud of most of the things I see. While you have those moments where my genes rise up and take control, I also have beared witness to the goodness your heart contains. You are the most selfless person I've ever met. Always wanting to see the good in others. Always wanting to make everything work so that everyone's happy. You believe in the idea that love can be enough. And the world needs more people like you Lucas.
I wish I didn't constantly hurt people. I really would have loved to have watched you grow up first hand. Pictures and word of mouth couldn't fill that empty void in my heart. Do you ever wonder why I didn't want you on the team? It was because I couldn't handle the idea that you picked up basketball all on your own. It killed me. I forced Nathan to love the game, but with you, it was natural. And that, to this moment, still makes me smile. I was afraid of having you so close. I was afraid of you hating me not because of what I didn't do, but because of what I did. And in the end, that's exactly what happened.
I want to end this letter with a few requests. Take care of your brother, Nathan. He's become a good man, but he'll need guidance and I know you can help. Don't ever go to bed angry at your mother. It may seem like a strange request, but she won't always be there. Don't waste the time you have with her. Fight for the one you love and when you get her, never let a moment pass where you don't appreciate it. Finally, when the time comes, enjoy the task of fatherhood. Give your kids everything they deserve (and I'm not talking material goods). I wish I had given you more than a heart condition and a painful childhood. Make me proud, son. You already are well on your way.