A/N: Firstly, I must apologize from the depths of my soul. It's been nearly a year since this story has been updated. It was never my intention to leave you all for so long! Life has a way of interfering, you know? I have dealt with some issues, but now am hopefully back in commission!

This chapter has a few warnings: there is one small part that is much more...risque than previous chapters. And there is also a great deal of swearing.

After this chapter, I believe there are only two more. There will not, unfortunately, be a full sequel. There WILL be a lengthy one-shot that will deal with post-Veracity life, and that will tie up a bunch of loose ends!

For this chapter I will revert back to my old ways and beg for reviews, for two reasons. It's been so long since I've updated, I want to see how many of my loyal readers I have retained. I hope I didn't lose too many of you along the way! And secondly, this chapter takes the story in a very different direction, and I'm very apprehensive. Your feed back could very well determine what happens next, so I plead that you share your thoughts! (What you liked, didn't like, thoughts, corrections, anything is welcome!)

So, welcome back, read, review, enjoy!

"No, of course you can't," Haley exclaimed. She did nothing to hide her anger and frustration. Lucas frowned at her, not having expected this reaction. "God forbid you spend two minutes with your best friend." Lucas just stood shocked. Said best friend promptly stormed off the River Court, leaving a slightly stunned Luke staring after her.

Ever since Nathan assured Lucas that he really must accept the trip to Spain, the two had been spending more time together than ever. The prospect of being separated for six weeks was saddening, and they had been trying to compensate for their upcoming loss. Luke hadn't really realized that in doing so, he had almost pushed Haley out of his life. Before Nate, it had really been the two of them against the world. Lucas and Haley, Guardians of the Rooftop, best of friends, virtual siblings. Lucas' relationship with Nathan did not of course change that, but it could not be denied that Luke had spent noticeably less time with his "sister."

She had asked him if he would engage in a movie marathon that night. Ever since they were children, the two of them found endless enjoyment on a sleep-deprived spree of cinematic adventures. They had very little time left before Lucas left for Spain, and then the two ultimately went their separate ways for college. Luke had been planning on something similar with Nathan that night and turned down the offer, claiming to have some "things" to do. Realizing his mistake, he called to his friend.

"Haley, wait!" Lucas called. Haley spun around. In place of the angry face he expected to see, Luke found a rather tired one, one that seemed to be accepting something difficult. He couldn't help but feel a pang of guilt. "Screw it. What kind of best friend would I be if I couldn't make time for you, Hales?" Haley smiled rushed back over to where he was standing, gibbering on about the when, the where, and the what of their movie-night. Once Haley left, this time with a smile on her face, Lucas sat on the bleachers, contemplating.

He hated keeping secrets from Haley. She was supposed to be his number one confidant. But the whole thing with Nathan was such foreign ground that he hesitated. It wasn't anything personal in regards to Haley; he had not told anybody (save Skills, with his knack for turning up at the wrong times). Hales was his best friend though. He had no doubts about her accepting the fact that he was possibly gay (possibly in that he still was not sure himself). Something had held him back. Faced with their first long-term separation since childhood though, Luke decided he had to act.

Luke let himself into Nate's apartment. The prospect of telling Nathan he couldn't make it that night was not going to be a happy one. The brunette had been rather excited, and insisted on having the sole duty of secretly selecting the movies. It had to be done though; Lucas just couldn't keep pushing Haley away.

Nathan, apparently, was not home from work. Wandering into the bedroom, Luke decided that he would make up his cancellation to the other man. He searched through the dresser drawers and found a somewhat skimpy pair of briefs that he kept there. It was a pair of very tight, very low rise, and very pink briefs that Nathan, for whatever reason, just couldn't get enough of. Changing into the underwear (and nothing else), he lounged himself out on the couch and awaited the return of his other half.

Luke had arrived just a few minutes early, it seemed, as it was not long before he heard the blasting radio of Nathan's car in the parking lot. However, he heard not one, but two doors slam. Quickly rushing to the window, Lucas saw Nate ascending the stairs with Mouth. Mumbling "FUCK!" under his breath, he ran into the bedroom and shut the door. He searched frantically around Nathan's room for his clothing. The room, however, resembled the wreckage of a textile factory explosion. Clothes and garbage were everywhere, and his pants and shirt, which were only deposited a few minutes before, seem to have gotten lost in the sea of garments. A door opening and laughter signaled Nate and Mouth's entry. Forgetting his own clothing, Lucas grabbed a random pair of pants off the floor and tried to quickly pull them on. When the bedroom door suddenly opened and Nate appeared before him, Luke lost his balance, and with one foot in the pants, crashed audibly on the floor. Nathan stared at him in utter shock for a moment.

"What was that Nate, you ok in there?" Mouth called from the kitchen. He thankfully had not born witness to this mortally embarrassing and seemingly inexplicable scene (or, at least inexplicable to those who know nothing of their relationship--everybody).

"Nothing! Just knocked some shit over!" Nate called, quickly closing the door. "What the hell are you doing?" Nathan hissed. He couldn't even maintain a pretense of anger though, and had to stifle his laughter. Here was Lucas, blushing like a bride, fallen over on his bedroom floor with one leg in a pair of far-too-big pants, and totally exposed in a skanky hot pink pair of underwear.

"Just lose Mouth," Lucas hissed back. He punched Nate's arm pretty hard, once he had managed to stand up, silencing the chuckles.

"He's only here to pick up a game," Nathan whispered, trying to control his emotions. Once he managed to straighten his face out, he turned around and left the room. Lucas heard some chatter and then a door closing. Nate entered the bedroom once more, and made no attempt to stop the laughter. Luke, who had now managed to get into the pair of pants, marched out of the room, pretending to be deeply hurt and angry. He still had no shirt though, and while he stormed into the kitchen, Nate's pants fell right down to his ankles (Lucas had a considerably slimmer body, though no less toned). Nathan had to grip the wall to keep himself standing. Few incidents in his life could compare to this.

"Fine!" Lucas cried, exasperated. "I'll go put my own clothes on then and be gone. If this underwear is so hilarious, there won't be need to see me in it again." That silenced Nate pretty quickly. Still smiling, he approached Luke and wrapped his arms around the horribly embarrassed mostly-nude man before him.

Kissing Lucas on the head, Nate asked, "What exactly were you doing?"

"Well I came over to surprise you, but, well…"

Nate chuckled softly, and then kissed Lucas firmly, letting his hands slide down the other teen's back, gripping his butt tightly. "Believe me, there very much is need for me seeing you wearing that."

"That sentence didn't really make a whole lot of sense, grammatically," Lucas said. Before he could launch into a rant about how rearranging various words could greatly clear up the confusion, Nate silenced him with another kiss.

"To what do I owe this surprise?" Nate asked.

"Well, I'm really, really sorry but I can't come over tonight." A slightly disappointed look crossed Nathan's face.

"What's wrong?"

"Nothing, nothing, it's just that Haley wanted to do something tonight. She's my best friend and I've hardly seen her at all over the last few weeks." Nate couldn't stay upset at Luke, especially when that puppy-dog and guilty look played across his face. Besides, he couldn't deny that he had been monopolizing Lucas' time an awful lot lately.

"So how does that explain a nearly-naked you in my bedroom just now?"

"I said I wanted to surprise you, to, you know, make up for tonight."

Nate laughed. "You don't have to make it up to me."

"I know, but I felt bad."

"Don't," Nate smiled. "But, you're already dressed for the occasion, so we better not waste the moment, right?" He swept Lucas off his feet and carried him into the bedroom. The blond was dumped unceremoniously on the bed, and the pants around his ankles were savagely pulled away. Starting at those ankles, Nate began kissing his way up Lucas' body. His lips traced the inner thigh, and he paused to place several kisses on the now extremely obvious bulge on the front of the pink briefs. He continued his way up Luke's body, leaving kisses as he went. When he reached Lucas' lips, his body was now laying fully on top of the blonde's. The feel of the prominent bulge below pressed up against his own drove Nathan wild, and he kissed Luke fiercely. "Maybe it's a good thing," he said in a hoarse voice, finally pulling away from the kiss.

"Yes. Good. Very good," Lucas mumbled, trying to pull Nate down for more.

"No," said Nathan, resisting. "I mean tonight. Us not hanging out." Lucas gave him a confused look. "Well," he began, "we've been spending a ton of time together lately. And it's been great, really great." Luke wondered why he had to have this conversation right now, and not after what promised to be steamy sex. "I want to spend all my time with you, but it's kind of suspicious sometimes, you know? Haley's very smart; she could pick up on it."

Luke wrapped his arms around the man still laying on him. "I was going to talk to you about that."

"What?" Nate asked, concern suddenly plastered across his face. "Does she suspect something?"

"No, no," Luke assured him. "But, I was thinking…maybe I would tell her." Nathan froze, not a muscle moving. Lucas tried to read the emotions on his face. Mostly he found shock and pained confusion. It unsettled Luke a bit.

"Why? Why?" Nate asked, his eyes widening a little bit. Luke was rather taken back by his reaction. He didn't expect Nathan to jump with joy and scream "Hell yeah!" He did expect, however, at least some receptivity to the idea.

"She's my best friend Nathan. She deserves to know."

"Why does she 'deserve' to know?" Nate asked, moving off Lucas to sit up on the bed.

"Why are you getting so tweaked about this? What if I just want to tell her?" Luke was starting to get irritated.

"Why does anybody have to know? They'd just fuck everything up! And telling her means deciding for me. So I get no say in who knows about my private affairs anymore?" Nate's anger was readily apparent.

"Of course not! Why are you overreacting? If you don't want her to know about you, I could just say I'm in a relationship with a guy. She needn't necessarily know who!"

"No! No fucking way! She would totally figure it out! You absolutely cannot tell her!" Nate was nearly shouting.

" 'Absolutely cannot tell her'? Are you kidding me? What I tell my own best friend about myself is my own god dammed business! You can't tell me not to tell her!" Lucas had no idea how the situation could have deteriorated so fast. In a matter of minutes they went from passionate kissing to all-out yelling. He was trying to keep the situation calm, but Nathan was totally overreacting and treating him like some insubordinate.

"Luke, if you tell her, I'll…"

"You'll what? Break up with me?" There was a hint of dare in his voice. Nate's expression changed immediately.

"No, no. I'll…"

"What, Nathan, what?"

"Why does she have to know, why does anyone have to know? We're happy how we are!"

"Speak for yourself, Nate!" Lucas cried. Nathan looked deeply hurt.

"You're not happy?" he asked in a quiet voice.

"I'm happy with you…but I'm not happy lying to and deceiving my best friend! For seventeen years there were no secrets between us! How can I hold this from her?"

"Because this is different, Luke!" Nathan was standing now, desperate. "This is totally different than anything before! Why do people have to know?"

"When did you plan on telling people?" Lucas asked, now standing as well. The bed between them looked like the sole entity keeping them from preparing to toss a punch or two. Not that they ever would. Well, at least not before this conversation.

"Why do people have to know at all?" Nate asked. Luke was extremely taken back at that statement.

"You mean to say that you thought we would be a secret forever?" Lucas asked incredulously.

"Maybe! People only complicate things!" Nathan was trying to summon a counter argument but little was coming to mind.

"So you're saying that you could only care about me behind closed doors? That this whole thing is just a fun little dirty secret?" Lucas was absolutely irate by this point.

"Don't! You know that I love you. Don't try and pull that shit on me."

"Oh, you love me, but as long as nobody else knows? Haley wouldn't care at all for Christ's sake!"

"It doesn't matter! One person knows, then many people know, then everyone starts talking."

"What the fuck are you talking about Nathan?" Lucas was trembling. "Haley wouldn't tell a fucking soul! And we're about to fucking graduate! Who gives a shit what these people think?"

"I don't want people rattling off their bull shit about me, er, us! I don't want to deal with that!" Nathan shouted.

"Oh, so that's what this all fucking comes down to, huh?" Lucas spat. "You still give a fuck about what everybody else thinks of the big time jock, huh? You haven't changed a bit, have you?" Luke's words hit Nathan hard.

"Fuck you!" Nate cried vehemently.

"Only so long as nobody knows, right Nate? Right? God imagine what would happen if Tim and the gang found out that you associated yourself with a faggot, let alone if you were one!" They both knew that there was no going back from this point. Things were not ok. They couldn't be ok.

"Fuck off!" Nathan shouted, picking Luke's clothing up off the floor.

"Don't worry Nate," Lucas hissed, catching the pants and shirt that were flung at him, "you don't have to see me around here anymore."

Nate froze. "Are you saying that we're…we're…" His voice had become quiet and fearful, and he couldn't finish the sentence. Luke's, however, retained its stony demeanor.

"I'm not going to fuck around with my life. If you don't fucking care enough about me enough to actually tell anybody, then I'm not going to waste my time. It was nice while it lasted." With that, he got dressed and stormed out of the apartment, leaving Nate behind, staring silently after him.