Story: Holding Hands.

Author: Ani

Rating : T , for language.

Summary: Post Derek . They were almost mirror images, lying side by side, hands interwined and damaged , ever so damaged,


He was looking at her now; she could feel his eyes on her and her confusion grew. She shifted, her gaze trained on the ceiling seeing both Derek and the off white tiles in the same glance. She shuddered involuntarily; he squeezed her hand in reassurance. "I'm here for you" each gesture seemed to say, and he was here, every night for the past week a hand to hold as she attempted to get some sleep.

She turned to face him, he appeared to be in a trance; thinking always thinking.

They were almost mirror images she noticed; hands intertwined, lying on their backs and damaged, ever so damaged.

Tugging a stray curl out of her face she sighed, it seemed to snap him out of his thoughts and he looked at her once again, offering whatever comfort he could give. If only he knew, if only he knew how his presence made her feel uncomfortable and at home all at once.

She sighed again, lifting their joined hands and letting them flop down to the bed.

"Why is it like this, Luke?"

"Like what?"

His gaze was sympathetic, she frowned inwardly; she didn't want his sympathy - she wanted something else, something he couldn't give.

"Like this."

She gestured wildly with her free hand.

"This horrible pattern that I seem to fall into over and over again, fuck, every time I let someone in it just falls to pieces. I'm just so sick of it Luke …you know how hard it is for me to trust people and then… "

A defeated laugh escaped her, a look of pain flashed through his eyes unnoticed by her. She continued her voice hurt and cynical.

"And then I decide that maybe it's time to lighten up a bit. You know? Stop acting so jaded, give family another chance and then it falls through in true Sawyer fashion"

She shook her head; he tried to say something, something to help. The words wouldn't come, so he squeezed her hand instead, looking at her intently. Then he sighed in defeat, losing himself in her mane of curls which glistened gold in the little light that was let in by the nearby window.

"Fuck" she swore again, she wanted to sleep, she wanted to feel safe again, and she wanted to get the remainder of this year over with relatively intact. She felt him squeeze her hand, she squeezed back as if to tell him she would be fine. It was an unspoken lie; she knew it, he knew it.

Minutes passed by with the ticking of the clock on the opposing wall, it felt like déjà vu. Was it Monday or Friday? Each day ended the same, in silence as they held hands, staring at the ceiling as the night drew on.

"Peyton"

The words were barely above a whisper, but she heard them and studied him out of the corner of her eye. He looked so caring, so open; it almost made her hopeful again. She shook herself mentally. What good was hope; her world seemed to crash on a daily basis. Her family situation was broken beyond repair, the new Derek was trying to help but to her violence was not her medium of working through things.

She closed her eyes, what was worse though is that she didn't have Brooke and she didn't have Lucas, not in the way she wanted anyway. What good was hope when her best friend wouldn't acknowledge her and her other best friend was trying too hard to replace Brooke, when all she needed was his love.

Maybe she was a coward; for not fighting like Derek, for not calling her dad and for not telling Lucas. But how could she when every step she took seemed to spiral downward.

"Peyton"

He unlatched his hand and swept it around her waist; pulling her towards him, pulling her to face him. She complied, wrapping her arms around his neck, and looking up at him. Her face was hard, and her mouth tight as she held back another round of tears. Crying had never helped her, and she willed each tear duct to dry. Heedless of her wishes a single tear escaped. On instinct he caught the tear with his finger, brushing it off and caressing her cheek in the same motion.

He amazed her, always there to save her; from running red lights, to the shooting, to Derek, to simply catching her tears before they fell too hard. She had asked him many times why he kept saving her; his answers had varied from serious to flirtatious depending on the situation. She couldn't help but ask again.

"Why are you always saving me?"

He looked at her, an enigmatic smile on his face. He loosened on of her arms from his neck and brought it down with his own, reattaching their fingers; reestablishing their connection.

"Cause I can't bare to watch you fall"

"Do you think I'm a coward?"

It was a new question, uncharted ground; he took his time answering, wanting to get it perfect for once. She waited, it was something she was good at, and she would wait forever if she had to.

"God Peyton, I don't think you realize just how strong you are. You are the last person I would ever consider to be a coward. Look at yourself Peyton; look at what you've been through. You're a hell of a lot stronger then you think you are"

He offered a smile after this; she returned it reluctantly a blush staining her pale cheeks.

He drew circles on her palm; it made her feel dizzy and distracted but warm; almost comfortable. She was tired of being jaded.

She looked up at him with what she hoped was a grin; it had been a while since she had truly smiled.

"Tell me again why you're always saving me?"

He unclasped their hands and pulled her into a hug, one which she willingly returned. His mouth was sitting on her golden curls; her face was resting heavily against his chest.

Silence engulfed them for a while; time didn't exist when they were together like this. Was it minutes, hours? For once it didn't matter, it was just stillness and body heat. Stillness in comfort.

Finally he spoke, his voice low and somewhat hoarse.

"Because I can't stand to watch you fall. If you fall then I fall harder Peyton. I wont ever left you fall".

He kissed the top of her head and pulled her closer still.

"We should get some sleep".

She nodded into his chest, closing her eyes. She was willing to risk dreaming of Derek, if only for tonight, for she had his arms around her to save her. For she content, almost loved. A hero and his damsel in distress.

If only for tonight.


Cliche ...Yes but I think it works for Leyton.

Comments ? Critisism ( contstructive please)

Please drop a short review, this is my first fic in the One Tree Hill area of things so it's new ground for me.

-Ani