A/N: This is a oneshot about Lucas reflecting back on what happened during All Tomorrow's Parties. Of course, I added a little twist to it. (sighs That's the beauty of fanfiction) Hope you enjoy! And please review if you get the chance!

Disclaimer: I don't own One Tree Hill...unfortunately...


She talked in her sleep.

Nothing really big. A few rambled words in between light snores. Most of the words made no sense. Her mother's name. Some art terms, he thought. And of course lyrics to a song he had heard once or twice before when she played it during the summer. She was obsessed with that song. She played it so often he was sure the CD would have skipped by now. It's why he wasn't surprised that she mumbled the words.

Nothing she did anymore surprised him. Nothing at all. He could predict her every move. Every mood that she had. Every smarmy or sarcastic comment tumbling out of her mouth. She was predictable and at the same time, he never knew what to expect. If that made any sense. He didn't know what brewed inside that little blond head of hers. Her thoughts and feelings were but a mystery to him. He could predict her actions on the outside, but he still knew as much as he did about the inside as the day he first talked to her.

She was a fortress built up to keep him out. And it hurt him even more now then it did when they were nothing but fresh people trying to form a relationship. She was his friend now. Maybe even his best friend though he'd never admit it to Haley. He could tell her anything. He could talk to her about Brooke and Nathan and Dan and his mom. She could talk to him about Ellie and that was it. If he mentioned Jake, the walls flew up so fast it was amazing. Somehow they'd be talking about Brooke again. And he'd look back and realize what she had done.

He wasn't a fool. He knew why she didn't want to talk about Jake (or at least he thought so). She didn't trust him when it came to relationships. He had screwed up so many times with so many girls. He wasn't the person you talked to about love. He knew how to break hearts, not how to get over broken ones. He had never been hurt like that before. Or at least, he had never stopped to feel the hurt. He just rushed off to another girl before the hurting caught up. Brooke. Nikki. Anna. Suddenly he noticed a pattern. Peyton broke his heart. He ran off to another girl. And in turn, he probably hurt her. Then again, everything he and Peyton had done had been a mistake. It had just been lust. She probably never felt that strongly about him anyways…right?

He had loved her. That was for sure. He had loved her since the first moment he had laid eyes on her. They were only kids then. Young minds and souls getting ready to brave the world. Some were weaker than others. Peyton Sawyer was one of those weak ones. Only she had covered up her weakness with a tough exterior and a best friend who liked to bite back at the world. Brooke's feistiness made up for Peyton's lack of interest. It wasn't exactly lack of interest. More like…trying to ignore the pain others caused. Lucas loved all of that. He loved the deepness of her character. The fact that she was a hypocrite. A strange sort of hypocrite who played the part of everything she really wasn't. She proved the adage "Don't judge a book by its cover." Peyton Sawyer was many pages. Each one adding on to the previous. Shaping, changing and shifting the focus of the book. And if there was one thing Lucas enjoyed, it was a good book.

He stared at her. Thoughts clouding his mind. He remembered the last time they had shared a bed. Nothing had really changed. He had a trusting girlfriend named Brooke off in a different city. Peyton had been grieving. He felt obliged to comfort her. Only this time he was sure that there'd be no making out and half naked moments. He was a better man this time around. Or so he liked to tell himself. The thing is once you lose your innocence you can't get it back. You can't become the man you once were. That's why it was so difficult for him to look at her and those soft pink lips and not reach over and steal a kiss.

You lie to yourself Lucas, he thought to himself, Peyton was no mistake. You just like to tell yourself that to ease your conscience. She was the best thing that ever happened to you. And you let her slip through your fingers. What was wrong with him? These cruel tempting thoughts were trying to make him slip again. Yeah Lucas blame the thoughts. He groaned in frustration and ran his hands through his shaggy blonde hair. He was never going to get to sleep.

She talked in her sleep. (Did he note that already?) She was mumbling something again. Something he couldn't quite make out. But her voice sounded so painful when she said it. He looked over at her fragile form and thought back to earlier that night. Everything's going to be alright? Right? Weakness. Pain. Things she didn't like to show. Things that only the alcohol Rachel had vicariously poured down her throat would allow to escape out. He said it would be alright, but did he really know that? He stole another glance at her as she mumbled something again. Tears were rolling down her cheeks and she began to toss and turn viscously.

What was she fighting in her sleep, he wondered. What kind of terrible nightmare was haunting her? He had never seen anyone this shaken in their sleep. He turned on his side so that he could wrap an arm around her. He was desperate to give her comfort. As he slung his arm around her waist, she threw herself into him, her forehead bumping his, arm thrown around him and long legs tangled in between his.

"It'll be ok, Peyton," he lied. He had no idea what it would really be.

"I love you," she cried in her mumbled voice, as more tears barreled down her cheek. She whimpered slightly after saying the words. It all made sense now. The painful dreams were about Jake. A stab of jealousy ran through his veins. It should be you she dreams about. She should be pining for you. He immediately cursed himself for being so selfish when the girl in his arms was suffering from heartbreak.

"It's ok, Peyton," he said soothingly. Peyton whimpered again.

"I'm sorry," she mumbled in her sleep. He quirked an eyebrow. "I love you Lucas." His eyes darted down to her lips. Had those words just passed over them? No! He must have imagined the whole thing.

"I love you Lucas," she mumbled again, "I always have." She cuddled closer to him.

It all made sense now. He was the one causing her all this pain. All of this depression and hurt. That's why she didn't talk to him about Jake. That's why she built up walls. She loved him. He loved Brooke. But he loved Peyton too. After all, Brooke was great, but she wasn't her. Yeah, Lucas, but how many lies have you told her? And if not her, how many lies have you told Brooke? You have to be lying to someone. It was times like that he hated his conscience. It made him want to figure things out. It made him want to sort out his feelings and get to the bottom of things.

Maybe it was just a dream. Maybe Peyton didn't really feel that way. Maybe he didn't have to figure anything out. Yeah that sounded good. Tomorrow morning he'd go back to being Brooke's boyfriend and Peyton's good friend. He'd forget that any of this happened. Those words were just words mumbled in the dark. They didn't mean anything. Then why did it hurt so much to hear them. Why was there a longing, a distant aching that appeared when he heard it? Doesn't matter Lucas. We all know what will happen tomorrow morning. You'll take the coward's way out. Peyton takes too much energy to fight for.

Your conscience is always right. It knows you. It knows what you're like. That's why he let a deep breath, signaling he admitted defeat. He wouldn't be fighting for Peyton any time soon. He wouldn't be breaking Brooke's heart to save his own. Nope. He'd let this chance at love slide by. Yet again.

But…What happens in the dark stays in the dark.

Lucas seized the opportunity to steal a kiss from her. It was a quick peck on the lips. Nothing fancy. Just something to remind him of what he was giving up. No one would ever know he did it. Not even Peyton. Like he said before, men can't go back to what they were. So why deny the cheater in him? Why not embrace it when no one could catch him? A small kiss never hurt anyone. As he drew back from the embrace, she moaned slightly.

"I love you, Lucas," she whispered again. This time there were no tears. No anguish. Just complacency. It was as if she had accepted it.

"I love you too," he sighed, placing a soft kiss on her forehead.


"How drunk was I last night?" Peyton mutters.

"Drunk enough to puke six times." Lucas says. The truth is she only puked once, but it was the only thing he could come up with off the top of his head. He wants to say drunk enough to profess your love to me in the middle of your sleep. But he doesn't. Because he's a coward.

"Let me guess. Rachel?" Lucas is caught off guard a bit by her question but he doesn't show it. He knew Rachel had been the one drinking with her. For some reason he was expecting her to ask something else.

"Yeah, Rachel's probably not the best person to use the buddy system with." He tries to play it off as a joke to keep her guilt at bay. Once again, she had trusted someone and that person had let her down. And once again, he was the one picking up the pieces. Though he doubted she felt that way.

"I feel like you're always rescuing me," she said softly. Ok, maybe she did notice, "Also like there's a giant elephant standing on my head." So much for being serious.

"Well, I can't rescue you from the routine you have to do in an hour." They both just play it off as a joke. The fact that he's always there when she needs him. He's the one who never leaves. Even if he disappoints her, he's still there. "I'll wake you up in a half hour." And that was the end of that. It all stays buried in the dark.


"You're always saving me," she whispers, fear etched in her voice. This sounded familiar. A case of déjà vu.

"Somebody's got to," he said, trying to play it off as if it was a necessity. He didn't do it because he wanted to. He did it because it had to be done. But when the words came out of his mouth, he sounded proud. As if, being the one to save her was an honor. And he knew that in this painful moment, only the truth existed between them.

"If I said…I loved you right now…would you hold it against me?" No. Never, Peyton. He'd heard it before. "Because I've lost a lot of blood."

Always a joke thrown in to remind him maybe that they were just friends, and it was all they'd ever be. Even when she might be bleeding to death, she had to keep them plutonic. He must admit hearing it out loud made it all the more better. He didn't respond verbally. That was the coward in him. Afraid that saying I love you too would wreak havoc on his comfortable life. But his smile and deep gaze reassured her. Maybe even told her what he was thinking. She was good at reading him.

"Come here," she said after a slight pause. He leaned in, wondering what other secrets she might have for him and worrying that her voice might be giving out. She captured his lips swiftly and purposely. Unlike his timid kiss when she was drunk and passed out next to him, hers was forceful, leaving a mark. She wasn't afraid to feel the way she did. Maybe it was the fact that she was near death that did it. He didn't pull away. She did. He wanted to stay in that moment forever.

"Just in case you can't keep your promise." His eyebrows furrowed and he wondered which of the many promises she was referring to. Or maybe she meant all of them. Whatever it was, Lucas knew one thing. What had once been buried in the dark had now seen the light. Nothing would ever be the same.