Title: Headlights on Dark Roads Chapter: 4- Red Turns to Black
Show: One Tree Hilll
Characters: Nathan, Haley, Lucas, Marcus, Jimmy, Peyton and Brooke are the main ones. But you will eventually see a bit of Dan, Karen, Deb, maybe Mouth...etc.
Pairings: Nathan&Haley (some LP)
Genre: Angst/Romance/Suspense/Drama
Summary: Haley's innocent tutoring of a friend, Marcus (who's disturbed ...by the ghost of Jimmy) , leads to Nathan&Haley fighting for their lives..which leaves their friends Lucas & Peyton and Brooke... to find out what happened to them.
Rating: M - for some sexual talk/scenerios... but mostly for mature language
Disclamer: No, I don't own them... I just like to play with them a bit, lol.
A/N: Sorry for the delay folks. But with school and everything, it's been a challenge to get a update in. And plus.. I was having a bit of a writer's block. But It's all back on track now and I present you with the next chapter of this story. Now things are starting to get fun, and I hope you enjoy the ride. Also, I wanted to thank everyone for all the lovely reviews and comments to keep this story going! Your simply the best! And food for a writer's soul! Hehehe. Hopefully you remember where this story is going.. and if your a bit hazy.. you might want to skim through the last three chapters so you can refresh yourself. But basically the point were at now.. were flashing back 24 hours prior to Marcus attacking Haley at the turtoring center and how it all led up to that. Anyway, I hope you like how this chapter turned out ..b/c I sure do. It's full of romance, tears, angst..and much darkness. All the extremes. It was actually really really challenging trying to get into someone's mind who's as disurbed/dark as Marcus's is. It felt really strange..and was quite an experience... But anyway, it's only going to get more exciting from here, trust me. Enjoy:D

And I'm leaving college for Thanksgiving vacation tomorrow..(where I have limited internet access) so I wanted to get this chapter up before I left.. and I don't have time to edit it..so please pardon the grammatical mistakes.. I'll fix them later. ;)

So.. that being said...after you give this a read, don't be afraid to press that little review button at the end and tell me what you think. I'l give you a cupcake!!!

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24 hours earlier...

Chapter 4- Red Fades to Black

5:03 pm. - Outside Marcus's house.

Lucas was about to leave, when he heard the door open. He turned his body around and saw Marcus standing ..clinging behind the door. He looked.. well, let's just say, he's looked better.

"Hey man", Lucas said, throwing him a quick smile.

Marcus just stood there staring at him blankly, half hiding behind the door. "Luke.. uh- what are you doing here?"

"The article? Rememeber yesterday you said I could drop by and-

Marcus blinked. "Oh yeah. I'm totally spacing out here", he said with a nervous chuckle. "I completely forgot about that, sorry Luke", he added...giving him an apologetic smile.

"Don't sweat it", Lucas told him. There was a few second of silence. Marcus look distracted...bothered. Like he couldn't wait to get him leave or something. Lucas shifted his feet. "Look, Is this a good time? Or?.."

"Uh, do you think we, uh... could do this later?"Marcus than said, his voice weak, tired.. almost horse, his hand on the door stil.. almost as if he was trying to block Lucas's view of seeing into his house.

Lucas looked past the doorway for the first time and saw his Dad sitting on a recliner, bottle in hand, slurring words at Marcus."Of course man. I-I understand",Lucas told him with a sympathetic smile. He was about to walk back to his car, but something in him told him to stay. Plus, he wanted to solve this thing now. Based on what he just saw past the doorway, he was pretty sure that the source of his problems were his father. But still, he needed to be sure that he wouldn't be taking out his problems on anyone else.

"Look, if you ever need to talk? You know.. about anything. Give me a call, anytime", he told him looking at him in the eye. Lucas couldn't get over how tired he looked. Like he hadn't slept for weeks. A walking zombie. God. Maybe what the poor guy needs is a friend...a little support.

Marcus threw him his best attempt at a half smile. Lucas could see him wincing at the sound of his father's drunken voice throwing profanity at him. "Sure. Of course. I-I appreciate that Luke".

Lucas nodded. "Alright", he started, "I'll...catch you later". Lucas lingered. He had to do this now. He couldn't leave until he had to the chance to talk to Marcus .. really talk to him. To see what he was capable of. Hopefully nothing. Maybe all he really needed was a friend. "Unless.. do you want to take a drive? I mean.. not about the article. Just to hang out", Lucas looked past the door way, and then back at Marcus. "It wouldn't hurt to get out of the house, would it?"

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8:34 p.m. - Inside a nice resturant somewhere in Tree Hill.

"Hales, what are you doing?" Nathan chuckled, looking up at his wife. God, she was beautiful. He loved the way the candlelight made her face glow. Her delicate features, made his heart beat just a little bit faster. From day one.

"Why, what does it look like? I'm trying to seduce you Mr. Scott", she said softly with a giggle, while she slowly reached her hand under the table, and placed it gently but sensually on Nathan's lap. He could instantly feel the buldge start to rise up in his pants. And shivers of pleasure, as she started to stroke her hand against his manhood.

Nathan couldn't hide the big grin from spreading across his entire face. "What's gotten into you tonight, Hales?"

"Nathan, we're not some old married couple. We're seventeen. And married. I'd dare say it's time we start acting like it, don't you say?" She winked at him.

Nathan lightly massaged her hand under the table. "Yes mam", he whispered as he leaned in and brushed his lips against hers. Their tonuges collided and as their kiss deepened, he knew he could never get tired of the way she tasted. Like strawberries. Sweet. Perfection. But something wasn't quite right. He took his free hand and carefully tucked a few strands of her hair behind her ear that had fallen, covering a part of her face. There. Now that was utter perefection. The face of an angel.

Their hands remained clasped tightly together under the table. Haley began to brush her leg against his, causing shivers errupting all over his lower body.

There was a moment of silence. And Nathan.. they... were enjoying every minute of that silence. Just being in each other's company. They were free to just be.. together. After all they had been through, he couldn't remember ever feeling happier... just sitting here with is wife. Loved. Content. Well, damn. That wasn't entirely true. Nathan could've fucking killed himself for his thoughts. Marcus. He had almost forgotten about the constant fears that plagued him: That Marcus was going to hurt Haley in some way. No. In his nightmares, Marcus killed her. Sucked the life out of her, and he couldn't do anything to stop it. It was like reality just came crashing down, crushing him, in the middle of this resaturant. He felt his whole body stiffen. He freed his hand from Haley's soft grip and rubbed his face.

"Nathan, what's wrong?" Haley asked him, touching his shoulder. Yeah, Nathan knew that Haley could sense his change in mood. Fuck. He was not going to let Marcus ruin their evening. His wife deserved some happiness. Nathan took a deep breath and tried to rationalize. Lucas probably already talked to Marcus by now. Everything was going to be fine. If something is up.. he'll let him know tomorrow at school. And if Marcus even looks at Haley the wrong way from now on, he would be there protecting her.

"Nathan?"

He snapped out of his thoughts. And saw his beautiful wife's eyes staring at him in concern. "Nothing. Everything's perfect", Nathan threw her a smile, while grabbing her hand to kiss it. Haley giggled. He loved her laugh. The cutest sound he's ever heard.

Their waitress approached their table a second later. "So, some dessert for you two?" She asked nicely, while clearing off some empty glasses that were sitting on their table.

"No, thanks, we're- Haley started.

"Strawberries", Nathan heard himself say.

"I'm sorry?" The waitress asked.

"Do you have chocolate covered strawberries?" Nathan blurted.

Their waitress smiled. "We do. Coming right up", she told him as she walked away and faded into the large restaurant's atmosphere.

"Mmm. Strawberries. That sounds good. Haven't had any in a while", Haley told him.

Really? How could that be possible? Since your whole body tastes like them.

"Since when are you such a fan of strawberries mister?" Haley smiled at him, interlacing her fingers with his.

"I don't' know. I guess they remind me of .. you", Nathan said, slightly blushing.

Haley beamed. "I remind you of strawberries?"

Nathan moved closer to her. He looked into her eyes so deep, almost as if he were looking straight into her soul. "No...you taste like them", he slowly whispered into her ear.

Haley looked at him, with this look of .. love on her face. He couldn't describe it any other way. She put a hand to his face. "Do you know how precious you are to me? If I had lost you that day on that bridge..."

"Haley, don't even go there-

"I'm sorry. I just", she started, tears forming in the corners of her eyes. "I just think about how sad it is that it takes these kinds of things to happen to make you realize what you have. I mean ..how often do we get all decked out and go out to a fancy dinner on a school night..just the two of us? We should have done these sorts of things.. before. Why didn't we?" Haley looked down, avoiding eye contact with him. Her voice was shaky. "And to think if something had acutally happenend to you that day. I-I know I haven't been the wife you thought I would be when you told me that rainy day you could love me forever and-

"Haley, what are you talking about?"

She just sat there ...silent. Tears rolling down her cheeks.

"Don't you ever think for a second that your not everything I thought you would be the day I asked you to marry me. Your more I'm not sitting here as some innocent party. We both made mistakes, Haley", Nathan told her firmly, gently starting to wipe her tears away from her cheeks.

Haley shook her head. "I know. And I know all that's behind us now. But ever since the day on the bridge. I can't help but think. Why we were there in the first place? Why were we there that day, getting married again? If it wasn't for me..we wouldn't have had to do that. I-I started the whole thing. Foolishy. Selfishly. If It hadn't of been for my music and C-

"Hales, don't you dare carry around that kind of blame. Ever", Nathan cupped her face. "Look...we're young and that's the chance we took when we decided to be together. Everyone screws up. Haley. Everyone. At some point in their life. More often than once. Of course, I'm living proof of that. But the point is ...we all deserve to be forgiven. You taught me that much. The easiest thing I've ever done in my life..was forgiving you, being your husband again. It just took me a little while to get there. Mostly out of fear. Selfishness. I was hurt, and I wanted you to feel a part of that hurt..which only ended up hurting you more in the end. That sounds stupid now, but what hurt the most was living without you. Impossible. And I'm glad that we went through, what we went through. We're different now. But we're better. And it only made me fall in love with you more. You're the strongest person that I know Haley. So, whatever happened in our past. It really dosen't matter anymore, does it? Now, we only have the future to look foward to."

Haley's tears stopped. At least her ones of saddness and doubt. Instead of a look of awe filled her entire face. "What did I ever to to deserve you?" Haley whispered into the air, running her hands through his hair.

She was kidding right? He asked himself that same question every day. Just looking at her face now.. he knew he has to be the luckiest guy in the planet. How a person like him, ended up with someone as precious as her was beyond his reason of understanding.

Nathan grabbed her hand again. He wanted to make something clear. "Haley, I love you. More than anything in this life".

Haley squeezed his hand like she was holding on for dear life. "I couldn't love you more if I tried."

Nathan stopped for a moment. "And I would die to protect you. You need to know that."

Haley looked at him with nothing but loving eyes. "And I would do the same in a hearbeat".

"And, I know we only touched on this before.. But.. since everything thats happened lately", Nathan started. This was one of the hardest things he's ever had to say. But it had to be said. He could feel his voice shaking. "I-I just want you to know if something ever did happen to me...all I want for you to be is happy. Promise me that you would find happiness without me. Promise me Haley.".

"Nathan-

"Haley, you have to promise me this, okay?"

Haley nodded. "I promise. And now you have to do the same for me."

Nathan shook his head. "It's not even an option. Your not leaving this world before me Hales".

"Honey, I'm not invinsbile. I think you that know that. This isn't easy for me talk about, so promise me, just like I promised you."

Nathan gave her the warmest smile. "Okay. I promise".

"That's my boy", Haley gave him a small laugh. She held his hand even tighter.

Their waitress then appeared with a plate of chocolate covered strawberries. "Here we are. Enjoy", she said with a grin, placing the plate gently on the table in front of them.

"You two need anything else?" She asked before she turned to walk away.

"No, we're prefect. Thanks", Nathan told her.

Their waitress walked off as Nathan started to study Haley's face. Just then, she raised a strawberrry up to his lips. "Remind you of something?" She said with a smirk.

"Cute Hales. Very cute", Nathan joked as he bit into it. Ahh..the sweet familaritrity. Though he preffered the real taste in the form of his wife. He then let her finish off the rest of it, and just continuned to stare at her eat it in complete amazement.

Giggiling, Haley then picked up another strawberry to feed to Nathan, but out of the corner of his eye, he saw this look of complete horror fill up his wife's eyes. The strawberry dropped out of her hand and rolled onto the ground.

"Oh my god", Haley said under her breath.

"Haley, what is it? What's wrong?" Nathan said in a panic. Haley was staring straight ahead of her. She seemed to be frozen in fear. He looked in the direction she was facing..but he didn't see anything the matter or out of the ordinary.

Haley then faced him and shook her head. "It's..nothing. I'm fine", She mumbled giving him a light smile.

"Hales.. don't give me that. You look like you saw a ghost. Are you sure everything's okay?"Nathan asked, concerned. His number one job was keeping her safe.

Haley kissed his cheek. "Yes, I'm fine, okay? I feel silly really", she laughed a bit. "It's just I-I thought I saw-

"Saw what?"

Haley swallowed.. looking around the resaturant for a quick second.

"Hales?"

She turned back to face him. "Nothing. I-I told you I'm fine. I-I just had some... strange moment or something. Uh, It must be everything that's been going on lately I'm just not myself", she told him with her best smile.

She cleary wasn't okay, Nathan could read her face better than anyone. She was lying. Something was wrong. But for now.. he didn't want to press it. Didn't want to make her more upset. "Well, as long as your okay-

"I'm perfect. I just had one of the most wonderful evenings with my husband in a long time, how could I not be?" She said quickly..still peering around the resturant. "And, uh, I think we should get the rest of these strawberries to go. We can have more fun eating them at home, if you know what I mean", She said with one of her famous winks, obviously trying to change the subject as quickly as possible.

"Well, hehe, of course, but uh, your ready to leave so soon?" Nathan asked, still wondering what was bothering her.

"I'm sorry. I really didn't mean to spoil our night..but I'm, um... just... a bit tired all of a sudden."

There was more to it that than. He was sure of it. "That's okay.. Hales. I'll get our check. And you certaintly didn't spoil anything. Spending any time with you alone is the best way I can think of to spend an evening."

Haley locked eyes with him. "You always know what to say," she said gently with love.

As Nathan called the waitress over to get their check, he could see that same look of horror begin to fill Haley's eyes. Haley was of course unaware that he was noticing anything. Something was not right here. What could change her in a split second like that? Oh, he would find out what. For now, he would go home with his wife and make love to her. And then pray that when he drifted off to sleep, holding her in his arms. that he wasn't plauged by the same vivid nightmares where he looses her forever without the power to stop it.

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9:31 pm. - A parking lot somwhere

Marcus got into his car and slammed the door shut. He felt like pounding his fist through the windshield until his hand was oozing with blood. Bright red blood. He liked pain. He was used to it. It was... familiar. Comfortable. The one thing he could rely on anymore. And the only thing he could control.

"You idiot!!" Jimmy shouted, suddenly apprearing in the seat next to him, his hands buried deep inside the front pocket of his red hoodie.

You gotta be kidding me. This was hell. And he was was living in it... permanatly. Unless he- "Just shut up! Just shut the fuck up!" Marcus started to car, trying to ignore him, hoping he would just disappear as fast he appeared.

Jimmy frowned. "Now, now Marcus, that's not very nice language is it?"

Marcus faced him with a look of utter viciousness. "W-Why don't you just go fucking harass someone else casper!", Marcus spewed threw clenched teeth, his whole body pulsating with rage.

Jimmy only smiled at him. He was mocking him. Taunting him. For eterninty.

Marcus stopped and took a few breaths. He blinked his eyes rapidly. He was out of control. Something wasn't.. It ...was like some dark black piece of hell had burrowed himself into his soul.

. "I thought you said earlier that you wanted to make things right. I thought were were done with this game Marcus", He heard Jimmy say into the air. "I thought you cared about me."

"Care?"Marcus could hear his own insane laugher escape his lips. "Your not really here. I'm not... stupid. I must be absolutely fucking nuts though!", Marcus shot back at him. All he could do now is laugh. And then laugh some more. He layed in head down on the steering wheel.

Jimmy laughed along with him. He stopped abrubtly. "Oh really? Is this blood not real then?"

"What?" Marcus peered back at Jimmy. And his eyes nearly popped out of his head. There was blood gushing onto the seat.. his red sweatshirt was soaked in it.. from the where the bullet had entered his body that fateful day at school. Before he could stop himself, Marcus slowly reached out his hand to see if it was real. "Oh... my.. god". He could barely get the words out of his mouth. He stood in his seat, shivering out of cold stone fear. He only could stare at his hand and the red, shiny, blood that was now covering it. The lights from the parking light were reflecting in it, as he looked up at Jimmy, who gave him an "I-told-you-so-smile".

"I knew that would get your attention. Now about tonight-

Marcus nodded, his rage simmering down, and instead, this weird sense of compassion took it's place. It had to be the blood. It was so real. So red. So bright. "I know. I'm sorry. I want to help you. I didn't know what I was-

"Well you better fix it! You probably ruined everything Marcus! And there goes me ever getting the rest I deserve."

"No!"

"Yes.. she saw you watching her! I told you to walk away. To control your impulses. But you couldn't help your little prying eyes. Did you see how freaked out she was? Did you? Huh? She's probably crying in Scott's arms about it now! You can count on that." "You don't know that! H-Haley has no reason to be afraid of me. We're friends. Good friends. She trusts me." And he truly believed that. Flashbacks of Haley's hand reaching under the table to put on N-.. NO. He stopped himself from going there. But it was too late. He was already there. Nathan was all over her. Touching her face, holding her hand, her hair, tasting her lips, feeding her strawberries. He had her.. every part of her that he wanted. He willed all these thoughts away..but it was easier said than done. She deserved so much more than that utter bastard could ever give her. He felt another dark cloud penentrate his heart.

"I told you that your infatuation with her was only distraction. A distraction that would cost you... me...dearly. Don't say I didn't warn you Marcus."

Marcus felt himself nodding. "Your right. She is a distraction. But it's not some little infatutation... Jimmy. I-I love her. I ...love Haley." That was the first time he ever said those words aloud to anyone. It felt good. Damn good. The best he's felt in months.

Marcus then heard Jimmy's ridiculous laugher fill the air.

"Love? Is that what your feeling? Heh. Too bad she'll never love you back."

"Y-You don't ..know that", Marcus mumbled, not even looking in Jimmy's direction. He could still see the blood on his hand. It was brighter and redder than ever. Almost ..like it was...smiling at him...tempting him. He then looked straight ahead of him and closed his eyes. He could see Haley's face looking back at him during one of their tutoring sessions. Her smile. Her perfect lips. How he wanted to... As long as he had their tutoring sessions, he knew.. that one day he could get her to see... that they were meant to be together. That thought ..and that thought alone..was the only thing keeping him from completeley breaking loose of reality.

Marcus glanced at Jimmy, and smiled. He felt better. Better than he had in weeks. "Everything's gonna be fine, Jimmy. You're going to get to rest. And I'm going to help you...just like I-I promised."

"Gee, you're awfully confidant for someone who royally screwed up. Friends or no friends, you're never going to be able to explain to Haley why you were watching her! The look on her face.. she's probably freaking out to Scott about it now..as we speak".

"No!.. Look, she's my friend. Haley-

"Must be TAKEN out of the equation", Jimmy cut in. No more joking. His eyes were filled with dead seriousness.

Marus shook his head in desperation. "No. No. No!.. you said.. it wouldn't come to that!"

"And I didn't want it to come to that! You only have yourself to blame Marcus. Just like everything else that goes wrong in your poor, pitiful excuse for a life. Your fault. You can't do anything right. No wonder your father drinks his life away. Even his own son dosen't give him enough reason to live after his wife is rotting in the ground", Jimmy told him. His eyes were dark. Black. A chill crept through Marcus's back. Somewhere deep inside of him, a voice spoke. This ...couldn't be him. This can'tJimmy. It's me.. I'm - But then Jimmy touched him his bloody hands.

Right, Marcus gulped. It was his fault that Jimmy was forced to do what he did in the first place. Maybe if he had given him the time of day when he was alive.. he wouldn't have had to... He couldn't save his own mother. She's in the ground. Because of him. And he sure as hell can't save his father from the bottle. Forget about Jimmy resting...he would never be able to rest. He had to do help him for himself. Because for once in his life, he had to do something right.

11:00 pm. - Nathan&Haley's bedroom.

That had put the rest of the strawberries to good use. And now Haley was blissfully numb, lying next to her husband Content. Safe. Loved. She giggled at the sound of his light snoring. But something wasn't right. In fact something was downright wrong. On the inside, she was dying. Dying of fear. It was a type of fear that she had never experienced. It was dark. Black. And made her feel like every part of her body had been violated. She didn't want to believe it. Maybe she's imagined it. No. She couldn't just ingore this...rationalize this. He was there. At the restaurant. Watching her. Marcus.

Haley then leaned over and slowly brushed her lips across Nathan's cheek. She heard him lightly moan in his sleep. She couldn't help but giggle again. She continued to stare at him, just watching him sleep...taking in her husband's beautiful form. No, she told herself. As much as she wanted to, she couldn't tell him. They were finally at peace. Finally where they should have been after all this time. To take that away again.. would just be downright cruel. Besides, it's not like Marcus would ever hurt her. She didn't know why he was watching her tonight, but she never believed him to be a voilent person. Cleary, there was something wrong ..but then again..mayhbe he just came into the restaurant to talk to her. But then why didn't he just come over to the table? Maybe...He didn't want to interrupt or date. But the way he was watching her... How did he even knew where she was? They were friends, sure, but the most she seen of him was at their tutoring sessions... and she never mentioned anything about-

Their tutoring sessions-...

Nathan never needed to know. She wouldn't let that happen. Tomorrow was her last tutoring session with Marcus she decided. Just to be on the safe side. She probably was overreacting. It was probably all some funny misunderstanding...but she wasn't willing to take that chance. No more drama. No more pain. No more. They were going to be happy after all this time. She made it her dying vow right then lying in her bed.

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Alrighty.. it's that time now to click that button and tell me what you think. Want another cupcake? LOL. But all I ask? PLEASE be gentle. Flames are just mean.