Summary: AU S1. He started leaving his key under the mat and she got used to locking the door behind her when she left at night. Brooke and Jake. Oneshot.

Disclaimer: Yeah, not so much.

A/N: Just because I'm obsessed with these two characters and I would absolutely love it if they got together. I'm sure there are some people out there who share my feelings, even if they're not willing to admit it. ;). Feedback is my crack. Enjoy.

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She walked into the house without really being invited, and he stood there staring at the empty porch for a solid thirty seconds before realizing who had just stormed into his parent's house. Turning on his heel, he watched as she took off her jacket and draped it over the edge of the couch, adjusting her hair and letting her brown eyes survey the room.

"Make yourself at home," he deadpanned. Brooke jumped slightly, startled by the comment. She narrowed her eyes and folded her arms across her chest, smirking and tilting her head slyly to the side.

"Thanks; I think I will," she winked and sat on the couch, crossing her legs daintily. Jake stared at her curiously and her smirk widened into a full-on grin, dimples firmly in place and eyes scintillating convincingly.

No need to inform him that she felt like she was breaking inside.

He hovered by the door after he closed it and she watched him just as carefully as he was watching her, observing him somewhat indifferently. It unnerved him, her sitting in his house like it was something she did every day. They hadn't hung out for any reason other than school functions since middle school.

And even then, things had never reached a truly comfortable status. They both knew that despite how long they had known each other, despite the teasing and the chasing and the arguing over whether Barbie dolls or plastic guitars were better, they had never been as close as their parents claimed they were. Little kids didn't know how to trust.

"Something I can help you with, Brooke?" he sighed and crossed in front of her, sitting down on the opposite end of the couch. She looked at him and he returned her gaze steadily.

"Straight to the chase," she responded, nervous now. "Guess you don't have time to mess around, huh?" she turned her gaze to the crib sitting near the stairs and he laughed.

"Messing around is what gave me Jenny," he countered. Brooke snapped her eyes back to his and he shrugged, folding his hands and resting his chin on his interlocked fingers. "What's up?" She took a deep breath and shifted so that she was facing him.

Silence permeated the room and he watched her expectantly, causing her to flush lightly and look away. Daintily tucking her hair behind her ear, she curled her feet up underneath her on the couch and folded her arms around her knees protectively.

"Did Lucas tell you?"

Jake blinked, feeling unexplainably caught by the question. Like she was genuinely upset with him for knowing what she wanted him to. He assumed she was talking about the baby, and the lie, and the fact that he was the only person that she could talk to about what was going on in her life. Little kids didn't know how to trust; neither did teenagers, really.

"About…"

"About the most vicious liar to ever live," she laughed self-deprecatingly and pinched her tongue between her front teeth. He locked eyes with her and she resisted the urge to curl further into herself. She was not a weak person, and Jake was not one to exploit people who were. So it wouldn't have mattered. But it did.

"Quite a title," he murmured. "Who are you referring to?"

"Me, of course," she grinned and sat up fully, leaning toward him and lowering her voice conspiratorially. "Haven't you heard?" A pause, "I'm the bitch that destroys everything she touches," she whispered.

"I find that hard to believe," he argued. Brooke laughed bitterly and shook her head, letting her hair fall in her face without bothering to push it back again.

"You never did take me seriously," she sighed heavily and ducked her head slightly, pressing her tongue between her teeth again. Jake considered her and then smiled softly. He held out his arm and she swallowed thickly, blinking rapidly to avoid the tears that were quickly forming into small pools of salt in her chocolate eyes. "Don't, Jake."

"You want me to take you seriously? Prove your hypothesis," he wiggled his fingers at her and waited until she looked up to stop. He held his hand completely still until she let her knees fall so that they were crossed. She stared at him and dropped her hands into her lap, swallowing thickly under his scrutiny. Jake offered her another smile and then moved his hand to hover over her left knee, palm facing the ceiling.

Brooke took a deep breath and offered him a brave, albeit weak smile, mouth closed and dimples barely even registering on her face. Keeping her eyes on his, she raised her hand and rested it in his, laughing quietly when he closed his fingers around hers and winked.

"See? No spontaneous combustion; no screams of agony."

"Not yet."

"Brooke, it was a mistake. Lucas will get over it and so will you," he promised. She furrowed her brow and pulled her hand from his, crawling across the couch to rest her head against his shoulder like she did when she was ten and her parents were fighting over one thing or another. Back when she didn't know the concept of trust, because she was too little to even really believe in love.

He didn't move away and she closed her eyes with a tight sigh.

Shifting Jenny on his hip, he dropped his keys for the second time and groaned, dropping his head back in annoyance. His daughter continued to sniffle quietly on his shoulder and he bounced her gently, trying to figure out a way to pick up the key ring without making her cry again. She was finally starting to calm down.

"Aren't basketball players supposed to be coordinated?" Jake blinked and turned slowly as a giggle fell from her lips. He smirked softly once he was facing her and she cocked her head to the side, smiling brightly. "Want some help?"

"Ah, she's fussy," he explained. "Grab my keys for me?"

Brooke nodded and tucked her hair behind her ear, bending over and pulling the key ring onto her index finger. She dangled them in front of him and he snapped them away from her playfully, tightening his grip on his daughter as he unlocked the front door.

Turning toward the brunette that was now by his side, he raised an eyebrow. "What are you doing here, anyway?" She looked up at him, wide-eyed, and clenched her hand in the back pocket of her jeans. He didn't look angry; just confused. Brooke mentally kicked herself for assuming it would be okay to just drop by.

"Well, you didn't give me your number, so I couldn't call and hang up a million times," she teased. A crooked smile colored his lips and he nodded in the direction of the house as he opened the door. She sighed and followed him inside, immediately discarding her purse and jacket by the door.

Jenny let out a protesting wail when Jake tried to place her in her crib and he sighed, pulling her back up onto his chest and bouncing her gently. Brooke watched him for a moment, slightly entranced by how the boy who used to pull her hair in the sandbox in elementary school was so gentle and caring with his little girl. She smiled softly and crossed the short distance to them, tucking her hair behind her ear.

"Can I try?" she asked, nodding toward the baby and holding out her arms. He looked at her skeptically and she rolled her eyes, taking the infant from his arms and cradling her against her chest. "Daddy just doesn't know, does he?" she whispered, laughing quietly when Jenny's wail lessened in its intensity. "You think we should show him how it's done?" Brooke wondered, locking eyes with her friend.

"If you give her my keys, she'll quiet down," he offered. The brunette shook her head and he raised his eyebrows, surprised. He wouldn't have pegged Brooke Davis as the type of girl to want to put a baby to sleep with whispers and rocking. Apparently she had changed in the past few years.

"This is better," she murmured, lowering her eyes to Jenny once again. Her crying slowly began to cease and Brooke grinned when the tiny girl was asleep, curled up in her arms and looking completely content. She felt trusted, and that was a feeling that she wanted to cherish. Little kids didn't know what such a deep and treacherous thing was, really, but Brooke had a feeling that Jake would teach his daughter well. Had taught her well already.

Jake didn't bother to intervene when Brooke carried the infant over to her crib and deposited her on the thin mattress gently, draping a blanket over her small frame and backing away from the wooden bars of the bed silently. She backed right into him and jumped, squeaking slightly.

"Make a noise!" she complained. He smiled and shook his head, holding a finger to his lips as he led her into the living room. Keeping his finger there when she protested the Shins album he put in the CD player, he accepted the smack she delivered to his arm with minimal argument.

"I promise it won't make your ears bleed," he chuckled and sat on the couch, watching her as she stood next to the speaker to hear the song more easily. After a moment she smiled and locked her eyes onto his.

"You stole this from Peyton, didn't you?" she accused. He shrugged and she laughed, then frowned suddenly at the mention of her ex-best friend. Letting her finger hover over the stop button, she looked at him again and swallowed heavily. "Does she mention me?"

A sharp intake of breath was her first clue that the blonde had said her name at least once while in Jake's presence and Brooke stepped back, folding her arms across her chest and watching him expectantly. "Jagielski."

"Davis," he countered, grinning. There was a brief silence in which she glared at him in what he hoped was a playful way, and finally he sighed. "She misses you."

"Are the two of you together?"

"Hello, random question of the day."

"Jake, just tell me," she sighed in exasperation and crossed the room, sitting down next to him. Keeping her arms locked around her body, she turned her head to the side to appraise him and found that the curtain of her hair hindered her view of his face. He reached out to tuck the chunk behind her ear and she idly thought of how he was the first boy she believed to have been cured of the cooties as a kid.

Meeting her eyes, he sighed heavily and let his hand linger in her hair a moment longer than was probably necessary. Extracting his fingers from the silky locks, he dropped his hands in his lap and shook his head slowly. "No, we're not together. Why?"

"Just curious," she murmured. Neither of them bothered to linger on the implications of the inquiry.

"That doesn't make any sense!" she threw down her pencil and slammed her head on the coffee table in a similar fashion, groaning in irritation. Jake looked up from his guitar and frowned, noticing the scribbles on her trig homework and the pained expression on her face when she finally raised her head.

"Take a break," he offered. She fixed him with a glare that could've melted the icecaps and he smiled softly, setting his guitar down and standing. Holding out his hand, he wiggled his fingers invitingly. "Let's party."

"Right; a party with a baby in the house," she snorted, but smiled at the offer. After a moment's contemplation, she grabbed his hand and allowed him to pull her up from the floor. The movement gave her back and legs a much-needed stretch and she sighed, satisfied with the relaxed feeling her muscles now had.

"Then let's go for a walk."

"Jake, I need to figure out how to find the … roots," she frowned and looked over her shoulder at the textbook that was sitting on the table. "Roots? Anyway, I have to figure out how to do this so that I don't fail!"

He watched as her cheeks flushed from her exasperation and smiled crookedly. "Well, we can sit around here and I can listen to you killing yourself or we can leave and go for a walk in the park."

"I hate the park," she whined pitifully, sticking out her bottom lip in a way that reminded him of too many games of monkey in the middle. "Can't we go see a movie or something? I need mindless entertainment from a whole bunch of hot guys."

"I have Jenny for the whole day," he reminded her. The brunette sighed but nodded her understanding, shrugging as she sat on the edge of the coffee table.

"Math hell it is," she sighed and laid back on her homework, throwing her arm over her eyes dramatically. Jake rolled his eyes and spotted the phone lying on the entertainment center. Glancing once more at the girl that was sprawled out on his furniture, he grabbed the cordless piece of plastic and dialed a familiar number.

Brooke dropped her arm back to her side and sat up slowly, cocking her head curiously as he spoke on the phone. It took her a moment to figure out that he was talking to her new worst enemy, and she suddenly felt a thousand stabs of guilt in her stomach for forcing the girl into giving up her evening to babysit so that she could go see a movie.

"Jake, don't do that," she said suddenly. He held up a hand and laughed once more, saying goodbye and hanging up the phone. Brooke bounced once, guilt filling her facial features to match her insides. "I can go home so that you don't have to listen to me whine."

"She was going to come over when I went to work anyway," he retorted. Truth be told, Peyton was more than willing to spend time with his daughter whenever he needed her to.

"Yeah, in like seven hours! Not half of one!"

"Brooke," he laughed and crouched down in front of her so that they were eye-level. She stared at him seriously, noticing for the first time that his eyes crinkled when he was trying to reassure someone. She made a mental note that it was cute. "It's not that big of a deal."

A heavy sigh and a reluctant smile of agreement were the only responses she gave him.

He promised her that his key was under the mat when she called him and she smiled when she flipped up the rug to find it there, shining in the glow from the porch light. Bending down to retrieve it, she unlocked the front door and stepped inside without bothering to announce that she was there. Brooke slipped the key into her pocket, making a mental note to give it to him or return it to its home under the mat before she left. She sighed and took off her jacket, draping it over her arm as she headed in the direction of the living room.

The noise from the television drew her attention first, and she scrunched up her nose at the music video that was playing on the screen. "You have nothing better to watch than Fuse?" she teased, turning to face the person that was sitting on the couch.

Peyton blinked and Brooke widened her eyes, an embarrassed smile covering her face as she realized her mistake. "Hi, Peyton." She laughed, somewhat falsely, and started pulling her jacket back on as she headed for the door.

"Brooke, wait," Peyton protested, catapulting off the couch and grabbing her friend's arm. Despite what she had done, and the consequential fight that had followed, she still considered the girl in front of her to be the best friend she'd ever had. "Don't go, please."

"Jake's at work?"

"Brooke."

"Oh, duh. It's Thursday; of course he is," Brooke nodded to herself when her question wasn't answered and jerked out of the blonde's grip, heading for the door with more speed than she had in her original retreat. Peyton didn't try to interfere with her exit a second time and she inhaled deeply once she was outside.

The drive to Karen's was short, and she fingered the house key in her pocket as she pulled the glass door open and walked inside the homey café. Jake looked up from his task of wiping down the counter and smiled.

"I thought you were being a productive, responsible student tonight?"

"You didn't tell me Peyton was babysitting Jenny tonight," she ignored his teasing and pulled his key out of her pocket, slamming it down on the counter with a resonant clang.

"I didn't know you were coming over," he replied, somewhat confused by her outrage. Brooke scoffed and slid the piece of metal closer to him, tapping it and narrowing her eyes as she leaned closer to him.

"Normally when I call you to make sure that your key is somewhere that I can find it, it means I'm coming over," she told him seriously. He laid his rag out on the counter and placed his somewhat-damp hand over hers, ducking down to catch her eye.

When their gazes locked, hers was flaming, and he had a feeling that it was more of a depressed fire than a pissed one. "Was there any bloodshed I need to be aware of? I don't really want Jenny seeing real-life interpretations of the Matrix before she's at least ten," he said softly.

She resisted the urge to smile and sighed heavily, dropping her head so that the other patrons couldn't hear the conversation. "I think she was asleep, but that's not the point," she murmured.

"I'm sorry I didn't say anything," he offered. "Next time you decide to show up randomly, I'll use my telekinesis to make sure that I'm home in time for your arrival."

"And make sure Peyton's gone, too," she smiled briefly.

Jake nodded and wrapped his fingers around hers, realizing with a start that she hadn't moved away when he placed his palm over the back of hers. Warmth flooded through him when she backed away slightly and squeezed his hand in her own.

"Coffee? I'm off in twenty minutes, and I think Jenny misses you," he smiled softly. She bit her bottom lip lightly and pulled her hand out of his, embarrassed by the blush that filled her cheeks with his comment.

"Coffee sounds nice," she nodded and sat on a stool at the counter.

His lips brushed hers in the dark and it caught her by surprise. She inhaled sharply and tangled her fingers in his jacket, tugging him closer so that she was pressed between him and the door. For some reason, she trusted him to keep her upright when she slumped against the wood, the pressure of his mouth absorbing into hers almost too much to take. Jake breathed her in, wrapping his arms around her tightly, and she laughed sleepily into his mouth when he pulled away.

"This isn't appropriate for your daughter to see," Brooke giggled when he kissed her again, shrugging as he laughed against her tongue. She slid her hands up the sides of his jacket, his collar, and finally tangled her fingers in the hair at the base of his neck.

"She's asleep," he whispered, almost with no sound to the statement at all. If she hadn't been so close to him, she was certain she wouldn't have heard it. Kissing him again, she groaned in protest when he suddenly pulled away from her and the bleary glow of the television surrounded the room as she opened her eyes.

"You are the deepest sleeper I've ever met," Jake murmured. Brooke shot up so that she was sitting on the couch and looked at him with wide eyes. He smiled a little and turned to look at her, watching as she frantically fixed her messy hair. Her feet remained in his lap and he rested his temple against his fist, appraising her carefully.

"What time is it?"

"Eleven," he returned. She scrunched up her face, confused as to why she fell asleep so early, and pulled her feet back off of his lap. Swinging her legs over the side of the couch, she dropped her head into her hands and ran her fingers through her hair slowly, trying to calm her racing heart. "So do you always talk in your sleep like that?"

Her fingers stilled and she swallowed slowly, clenching her eyes shut tightly. The last time anyone had asked her that question, she was eleven and staying the night at her cousin's house while her parents were out of town. Raising her head so that their eyes met, she cocked an eyebrow and smiled softly. "What did I say?"

"I think you moaned my name a few times," he returned, and her jaw dropped open. He snickered and she scoffed as she reached over and smacked him in the chest. Jake recoiled and laughed at her indignant expression. "No, seriously, you were mumbling."

"About what?"

"I couldn't even understand you, let alone repeat it. It's a shame, too, I was hoping for some more blackmail information."

"Jagielski," she groaned and flopped back on the couch, rolling her eyes. He kept his gaze locked on the television screen and she narrowed her eyes at him, sighing as she stood up and slipped on her sandals. "You should really develop a life outside of the Wonder Years," she told him.

Looking up at her as she dug through her purse to retrieve her keys, he grinned and lay back on the couch. Swinging his legs up onto the furniture so that he was completely horizontal on the cushions, he smiled at her when she sent him another glare. "Lock the door on your way out!" he called as she turned and left the room.

Brooke's hand was already wrapped around the lock on the doorknob when he shouted the reminder. At this point, the words weren't necessary.

Placing his hands on her shoulders, he leaned in to whisper on her ear and sighed when she didn't respond. "Go talk to her," he repeated. She tensed under his touch after a second and turned abruptly, shoving him like she used to when he would tease her about wearing her mother's red lipstick.

"Stop getting involved!" Jake raised his hands in surrender and Brooke took a deep breath, glancing over her shoulder at the curly-haired blonde that was crossing the quad to get to class. Turning back to him, she narrowed her eyes accusingly. "If I don't talk to her, are you going to lock us up somewhere until we kiss and make up?"

"I actually wasn't expecting a kiss, but I guess that would be a bonus…"

Smacking him solidly in the chest, she tried to resist the laugh that was bubbling up in her throat. He smiled charmingly and she rolled her eyes, letting her dimples show. "Don't act like the rest of the boys at this school, Jake. You're not like them."

He swallowed thickly at the inadvertent compliment and she smiled at him again, leaning in and kissing him gently on the cheek. Then she turned on her heel and stalked away from him, in search of her ex-best friend. Jake grinned and turned in the opposite direction.

As soon as Brooke spotted the girl she was in search of, she rushed up behind her and then slowed her footsteps so that they matched Peyton's perfectly. "So I hear there's this bitchin' party this weekend," she offered. It felt strange, to be talking to this person after so long on the outs with her. But somehow it worked all the same.

"I hear you're going out with Jake this weekend, so you won't be able to attend," Peyton retorted. Brooke furrowed her brow and stopped, grabbing the other girl's arm and forcing her to stop as well.

"Peyton, I'm trying."

"Yeah, I know you are," she sighed heavily and jerked her arm out of Brooke's grasp, folding her arms across her chest defensively. "But if it weren't for Jake, you wouldn't bother with it, am I right?"

"And to think I believed him when he said you miss me," Brooke shook her head and bit the inside of her cheek, brushing past Peyton and speeding up her gait so that she could escape to class without another confrontation.

Wrapping an arm around her shoulders, he ran his hand up and down her arm and she sighed into his shoulder, sniffling as her tears finally began to subside. Brooke laughed quietly and looked up at him, offering a weak smile.

"Thank you," she whispered. Jake furrowed his brow and pulled her closer when someone walked by, insistently protecting her from prying eyes.

"For?"

"Being the same Jake you were when we were kids," she smiled. After a moment, she furrowed her brow. "Well, with the addition of a daughter… and a stalker… and a job and actual guitar-playing talent, but for the most part you're exactly the same guy as when we were—"

He pressed his mouth to hers and her breath caught in her throat. Pushing up against him, she cupped his face in her palm and returned the pressure of the kiss with equal, then rising intensity. Eventually, she pulled away for air and flushed brightly as he stared at her.

"Did we ever do that when we were fifth graders?" he wondered.

She giggled and kissed him again, wrapping her arms tightly around his neck. "No," she kissed him once more, "But we didn't trust each other back then, either." Brooke met his eyes and Jake ran his hand through her hair lightly, nodding gently in agreement. Brushing his nose with hers, she laughed against his lips. "This is better," she whispered.

For once, he didn't see the point in arguing.