The Story That Changed Them All
By: Ren (Laura369)
Summary: A book, it's just simply words on a page right? Apparently not to Brooke Davis while reading "An Unkindness of Ravens" the story that changed them all.

It was her 22nd birthday, she and all her friends gathered at her favorite little café in the heart of Los Angeles. Everything since her graduation had led her there. Ever since her graduation from Tree Hill High School, she had been working to become the person she was now. That person was someone whose fashion line had become successful worldwide and she was surrounding by both people who both loved her and used her. But she could distinguish between the kinds, so she did not care. A long time ago she had separated from those she grew with. Peyton and Brooke's summer in LA had been all-time but it ended there. Peyton returned to Tree Hill immediately after her internship had ended. They exchanged the occasional email and text message until they became coming less and less until they did not come at all. But Brooke had moved on. She was a new person. The person she always thought she could be. Brooke tried to stay in closer touch with Haley, so she could be the godmother she said she would be. But it did not work with them being across the country from each other. Brooke still sent little James Scott and present on his birthday and Christmas, but rarely saw them. Chase Adams, the boyfriend she left at home. As she found with all her boyfriends, she was independent and she did not need them. And she just withdrew until there was no relationship left between them. And things just ended on good terms.

Brooke looked around her. She was surrounded by people that were now her "gang". There were six of them including herself, Reagan, Michelle, Jason, Ian and Jordyn. They were all as close as they could be, whether they were hitting the LA party scene or just sitting in a café on a quiet Sunday. They were always together and laughing. After Peyton left Brooke in LA alone she was forced to meet some people, at work she met, Reagan, who like herself, was from a small town and had never really been on her own and from there she met Michelle who had grown up in LA and was already friends with the other three. They had grown up together, Reagan and Brooke instantly bonded with everyone and the crew began a supposed life-ling friendship. But she was a skeptic about it all, as she had been told she was the one for guys and they had left her and friends that were supposed to be there for life and now they were gone. But that did not mean that Brooke did not love her new friends. All it meant was she was not completely trusting. Anyone that knew Brooke Davis already knew that.

"Brooke," said a petite blonde, "Open my present now."

Brooke reached forward and grasped the small pink bag in her hands, and gently untied the ribbon holding the bag closed. She reached inside and her hand felt some silky material, she brought the cloth out and revealed a green silk top. "Oh my gosh, Reagan, it's gorgeous," Brooke said, her eyes sparkling. She stood up and walked around the table and hugged her friend.

Everyone else's gifts were as equally as gorgeous, she had opened everyone's with the exception of Jason's. Jason and Brooke had grown extremely close over the past four years, when the pair had met, the hit it off almost immediately. There was never anything romantic between them, it had always been friendship, but they were as close as they came. "Here is mine," Jason said passing Brooke an elegantly wrapped box.

Brooke took the gift in her hands. It was heavy, it felt like a book. Using her manicured pinkie finger peeled back the tape of the wrapping. Once all the paper was removed, her prediction was proven correct; it was a book. The backside was facing her and she flipped it over. She gasped slightly when she read the title, "An Unkindness of Ravens" by Lucas Scott. Her eyes shot up at Jason. He knew exactly what he bought her. Within months of knowing Jason, Brooke had revealed her whole entire history and all her growth. And the words that had always stuck in her mind, the words Lucas had told her read on her last night in Tree Hill. Brooke's gently rubbed her thumb along the soft leather of the book.

"What is it?" asked Michelle, who was craning her neck to read the title of the book.

"A book," she replied absent-mindedly. She remembered the day that Haley had called her to tell her that Lucas' book was finally getting published; it was only less than a year ago. Brooke flipped the cover open and flipped through the first few pages, her eyes eventually landed on the dedication, "To all those who made me who I am today and made this book possible." At the bottom of the page there were nine sets of initials, "KK, KS, HJS, MM, AT, JE, NS, PS, and BD"

"Do you like it?" Jason asked cautiously. He knew the gift could be risky, knowing that Brooke had a tendency to ignore her past.

"Yes, thank you," Brooke said politely. She was all that sure if she liked her gift or not. She would have to read it. The book would likely being quite troublesome to read, the memories would likely flood back into the mind and it would emotional and likely quite amazing.

"Honey, what's the book about?" asked Jordyn.

"I'm not too sure, something about best friends going through their trials and tribulations during their late high school years, it's written in first person and it reminds me a lot of someone I used to know," Brooke said as she looked up at Jason, the only one who truly knew what the book meant to her. As close as Brooke was to everyone, the words that the book had inside of them were so deeply personal and Jason was the only one of her friends to gain that much of Brooke's trust.

"That sounds kind of juvenile," Ian commented.

"It is, but it isn't all at the same time," Brooke said, defending the book. Ian just nodded, realizing that Brooke has some personal connection to it.

The group continued their lunch, complete with delicious food and witty banter. The group began to disband off to do their errands that day and all promised to meet up later to go out for Brooke's birthday. Brooke gathered together her presents, purposely setting the book on the top of the pile of presents. Her eyes lingered on the title and author for a few seconds. She let her mind wander back to the days when she was the girl in that book. The girl who helped shape the people around her, and when she was friends with the people who shaped her to become who she was. She was the same person now, but different all that the same time.

"Brooke?" Jason said, lightly tapping her shoulder, "you okay?"

She nodded, "I'm just thinking."

"Do you actually like it?" Jason asked sincerely.

"Yes, I think I do," Brooke said smiling. She was nervous to read the book but at the same time she was excited, and intrigued to see inside the inner-workings of Lucas Scott's mind.

"Good," Jason said, giving Brooke a half hug. "I'm off, I'll see you tonight."

Brooke waved goodbye and gathered her things and took them to her car. She sat her presents on the roof of her car as she reached into her red leather bag and dug around and found her keys. With a quick push of the bottom on her automatic locks, she opened the passenger side door of her car and placed the gifts on the seat. With her keys in her hand, Brooke walked around the front her car and quickly jumped into the front seat. With a quick turn of the keys in the ignition, Brooke was on her way home.

After nearly a hour in the LA traffic, Brooke finally arrived at her apartment building. She pulled her car into the underground parking space and turned off her car. After grabbing her presents, Brooke headed towards the elevator. As she pressed the 7 button, a man came into the elevator; she exchanged a quick shy smile with the man. Once on the seventh floor she made her way towards her apartment. She turned the key in the lock and she walked in. Brooke kicked off her silver ballet flats and collapsed on her couch, with her presents at her side. Tucking her legs under her body she grabbed the remote sitting on the table next to her, she flipped through the channels a few times before turning the television off. Letting a sigh out, Brooke picked up "An Unkindness of Ravens" and flipped to the beginning of the first chapter.

Nearly two hours later, Brooke was about half way through the book. As she had thought, through the words of the novel she was reliving many of the many moments of her high school life. The book had changed since she had last seen it. The names were no longer the actual names of the real people, it had become completely fictional, but the names were similar. The main characters names were Halle Jackson, Parker Stanton, Logan Schultz, Brooklyn Daniels and Nick Schultz. All recognizable as her high school friends without reading the storyline's that went along with the characters. Parts of the story made Brooke tear up and others made her laugh and remember the good times together. Some things that Lucas wrote gave her insight, insight which would have been more useful at the time. Insight into the ridiculous mind of Lucas Scott and his madness with Peyton and Brooke. She grabbed a loose piece of paper from the counter and tucked it inside the page she was on and headed to her room to get ready for her night out.

Once in her room, she walked into her spacious closet and looked at all the clothes surrounding her. Fingering the different textures of fabrics, many of the clothes were her own designs she finally settled on purple dress. She changed into the outfit and went into her bathroom and with a few movements of her makeup brushes her makeup was changed from a casual afternoon day makeup to out on the town makeup. And she headed back into her living room and the comfort of her couch to read some more of the book that had been keeping her intrigued all afternoon. Brooke was nearing the part of the book that she had been dreading since beginning it, when she heard a knock on her door.

Marking her page, Brooke got up and went towards the door, she looked through the peephole to discover it was Reagan, she opened the door. "Hey."

"Hey, we were supposed to meet downstairs like twenty minutes ago," Reagan said as she walked in.

"Sorry, I guess I lost track of time," Brooke apologized.

"Doing what?" asked Reagan, Brooke was never late.

Brooke looked guiltily at the book sitting on the counter, "reading."

"Wow, girl, you're read a lot today," Reagan said as she picked up the book and saw the placement of the bookmark. She flipped the book open, reading some random pages.

Brooke looked away from Reagan; it was not long until she realized what that book was.

"Brooklyn Daniels, with raven colored hair with eyes filled with more wisdom than she would ever know. She was more than everyone else thought she was, she was more than that party girl that she let everyone believe. But most of all she was the first girl I ever feel in love with." Reagan read directly from the book.

Brooke looked down at the ground. The first time she read those words, it made her cry. How she had changed from then to now. To her it was nearly a lifetime ago.

"I knew I recognized the name Lucas Scott," Reagan said. Reagan remembered when she had initially met Brooke, it was the beginning of the summer, and she had come into work with her best friend of the time, Peyton Sawyer. The pair joked about the boy waiting at home for Peyton. Lucas Scott, a boy who had once been Brooke's.

"Yeah, Luke wrote it. And it's basically everything that happened to me and my friends during high school," Brooke said, casually.

"So everything that Lucas knows about you in high school is documented in this book for everyone to read?" Reagan asked, raising her thin blonde eyebrow.

Brooked laughed. "Yeah, pretty much."

"Lovely, now I know that if I want to know all your dirty secrets from before I knew you, all I have to do is read about Brooklyn Daniels, the first love of Logan Schultz," Reagan said jokingly, "let us leave, and get some party on."

Brooke nodded and grabbed her coat and bag and made her way out the door.

Once inside the club, Brooke began her usual thing, dance around and get drinks. But today she was more subdued, she sat in the corner on a couch, taking small sips from her drink and thinking. Where was everyone, Peyton, Lucas, Haley, Nathan, Mouth, Rachel, Bevin and everyone, where are they? Are they living their lives the way they had thought they would too? Why did she get so easily wrapped up in the whole of Tree Hill? Why the slightest thing reminded her of it, how at times she let it control her life? And why did she still ache when she thought of Lucas Scott? So many questions; that were not going to be answered anytime soon.

"Brooke, where's your head at?" Jordyn said as she collapsed next to Brooke on the couch.

"Not here," Brooke replied, stating the absolute obvious. Jordyn looked a little hurt that Brooke was not revealing what was really bothering her. "Sorry," Brooke said, "It's just the book, that Jason gave me, it's written by a high school friend and it's about everything that happened while I was in high school and I'm just kind of reliving it, and just thinking about things I haven't though about in forever, it's just kind of difficult."

"Aw, Brookie, don't even worry about it right now," Jordyn said attempting to cheer her up. Brooke just shrugged her shoulders. That was easy for Jordyn to say, she was still friends with all of high school friends. She had not lost touch with anyone. She did not feel the loss, Brooke felt at times. Deciding it was not the night for her to be out, Brooke gathered her things, said goodbye to her friends and caught a cab home.

As soon as Brooke walked through the door, she picked up the book and headed to the bathroom and began to run a tub of water. As the tub filled, Brooke scrubbed the makeup off her face and looked into the young face in the mirror. A normally happy person, who let something as simple as a book make so unhappy. She looked into her own eyes, eyes that apparently held more wisdom than she would ever know. All the kind words written all throughout the book about her were brilliant and depressing all at the same time. She was lying if she did not say she felt a little spark ignite within her, when she read the words written by the boy who in a great part made her the person she was. Help mould her into the Brooke Davis people see on the street, in magazines and at fashion shows. The water in the bathtub had run full by this time.

Brooke tentatively touched the water with her toe, hoping it was not too hot. It was not. There was a perfect amount of bubble bath. Once inside the tub, she opened the book to the page she was on. The book was finally entering some of the toughest times in her life, senior year. It was the year when she had changed so much and found the balance between responsible Brooke and party Brooke. That year was an emotional rollercoaster. Lucas wrote even more beautiful things about her in this part of the book, they were together, and actually happy, not a common occurrence in Tree Hill or Oak Hill as it was called in the book. And then the book's tone took a drastic turn. The shooting, the day everything changed, everything people thought they knew, changed that day. The day that Jimmy Edwards entered the school with that gun and everything, absolutely everything changed. While reading the words on the page, Brooke got some different perspective on what happened in that library that day, the day that would eventually lead to the demise of Brooke and Lucas' relationship. Reading about that day took too much out of her, and she sat the book aside and just soaked up the water.

After a nearly hour long bath, Brooke was finally ready to get out. As she stepped out of the bath, she reached towards her soft black robe hanging on a nearby hanger. She pulled it on; closing her eyes for a second with the warm and comfort it brought her. She grabbed the book from the counter and went to her room; she was going to finish the book tonight, no matter than pain it may bring. After getting situated in her bed, with the perfect amount of pillows, she cracked the book open again.

She finally reached the lines that she had read from the book years earlier. It was after they had broken up, he wrote, "Today my brother and best friend got remarried, and I lost Brooklyn. She was fiercely independent; Brooklyn Daniels. Brilliant and beautiful and brave. In two years she'd grown more than anyone I had ever known. Brooklyn Daniels is going to change the world someday and I'm not sure she even knows it. Her fire, her independence has led her away from me, but one day I am going to prove to her finally, I am the guy for her."

Brooke smiled to herself. What they had was special, but her own insecurities and his constant Peyton-sitting at had been too much of an issue for her to handle. The book continued the way through the second half of senior year; Brooke was mentioned more often that she would have thought, seen as how her Lucas spent not that much time together. He had noticed things that she would have never thought he would have. But that was the guy he was, someone who was there for you, even if you did not know it. The way Lucas described the State Championship was unbelievable, it just put Brooke in her cheerleading uniform, cheering on the boys right on again. But State was also the night that after two years of yearning Peyton and Lucas finally started dating, with what Lucas described as her blessing. It was also the night that both Haley and Lucas nearly died. And while reading the book, it was the first time Brooke heard about the Keith dream, she had heard vague murmurs of it before, but in Lucas' own words. She was in the dream also, a very surprising fact. But also, it sealed the deal that Peyton and Lucas were meant to be. A deal, Brooke was not all too sure, she wanted to been sealed.

Peyton and Lucas, an epic romance, everyone had always thoughts so. It was an epic romance, which often hurt Brooke. Sure, she had her other loves, her major rebound of Chase. Chase was great. He was totally different to anything she had ever experienced, but still it did not last. And since being in LA, she had dated but never had a long-term relationship. There were the constant comparisons and no one ever stood up to them. But she knew she was being ridiculous, as Lucas wrote himself, he and Peyton were meant to be. And she was not going to be that girl. Embarrassed by her thoughts, she concentrated on the words on the page.

After reading the final pages, Brooke shut the book and took a deep sigh. The story ended the same day, Brooke's life in Tree Hill had ended. Her and Peyton's last night in Tree Hill before leaving to LA. Two weeks after they had graduated. The night they all got deleted from Tree Hill data base. That night. The words that Lucas had written still playing through her head, "With all of our names scribbled on the court where it all began, we made a pact, and in four years we'd meet back here, no matter where life had taken us. And with a ball on the court, we faced off, similarly to the way in which this all began. This trip, a journey full of heartache, destruction, laughter, and most of all love was seemingly over. They all knew that's where they belong, and we all knew that is where our hearts would truly lie. This was the way it was meant to be."

"The way it was meant to be, my ass," Brooke mumbled to herself. Was she the only one that no longer believed in their dream to be together for always? Things had changed too much. There was never going to be them all together again. It was just simply inconceivable.

Six months later

She did not for sure what brought her there. The nights of Tree Hill were as beautiful as she remembered them, the lights sparkling around her. All the little stores, closing up for the night. The stores that were not like that ones she saw everyday in Los Angeles, these stores had more personality than anything she had ever known. Brooke had arrived in Tree Hill earlier that day; it had been exactly four years since she left. Dressed in simple jeans and a delicately designed black top, she began walking around Tree Hill. Each sight and sound brought out a different memory. Some not so enjoyable, but most memories almost made her tear up. She walked by Karen's Café and looked in; she saw the back of an older woman than her, even after four years, Brook easily could tell it was Karen. Looking down, Brooke continued to walk. Angrily swearing at herself for not wearing more comfortable shoes, she walked on.

Finally she got there. It was nearing midnight and no one was out there. The Rivercourt had not changed one bit. The look out to the river and across was still equally as enchanting, the table bench was still there. She had spent many nights sitting on that table, just watching them play. She walked onto center court, her name was still faintly written on the smooth surface. Brooke Davis. After looking at the signature for a few moments, she pulled up her familiar position sitting on the table top with her feet on the bench. She sat there for a few minutes, before laughing at herself for being so foolish to believe that they would actually go to the Rivercourt, all those years later. She got up and started walking towards the way she had come and to the airport and head right on back to LA.

"Brooke," a voice called, "is it really you?"

Brooke whipped around to face, Lucas. Brooke faltered slightly, before regaining her composure. "Hello," she said. As she stepped forward giving Lucas a polite hug.

"I can't believe you are here. I thought it was all wishful thinking that anyone would show up, let alone you," Lucas said, looking into Brooke's eyes. She just shrugged and gave Lucas one of her half smiles. "Did you come all this way, just for this?"

"What can you say, I was feeling sentimental, a friend bought me your book for my birthday, and I haven't stopped thinking about you all since," Brooke said. She was not quite sure why she was being so honest and blunt.

"You read my book?" Lucas said, a smile playing on his lips. "Did you like it?"

"My friend, Jason is a little interfering brat and he knew that the book was about my friends and written by a good friend from high school, so he bought it for me. I read it in one night. It made me cry and laugh and every emotion in between," Brooke confided.

"You don't even know how much that means to me," Lucas replied. "I have always planned to write a second book, but I don't have any personal experience to lean on this time, since apparently we were wrong and we didn't stay together forever."

"But we have," Brooke replied, quietly. "As much as we try not to be apart of each other's lives, it's not possible, because we all have shaped each other into the people we are today and it's impossible to forget someone who has that sort on influence on the person you are. And the person you are going to be, because face it, we'll never forget each other. Not even if we tried to."

"Brooke, you know what," Lucas asked rhetorically, "I really do miss you."

"Right back at you, mister," Brooke replied, giving Lucas a playful punch in the arm. "So is anyone else coming?"

"Haley and Nate should be, they are still in town with James. Great godmothering skills, by the way." Lucas said, giving her a mocking glare. "So is Mouth still in town. He's married. And has baby on the way."

"So you all are still close?" Brooke asked, feeling left out ever so slightly.

"Pretty much, I don't talk to Mouth as much as I do Haley and Nathan, but yeah," Lucas said.

"What about everyone else?" Brooke asked.

"Last time I talked to Peyton, she was in Charleston, Skills and I still email now and then and he Bevin are married. Fergie and Junk are still in town too, I don't talk to them often, Mouth does though," Lucas explained. "I couldn't tell you about Chase and Rachel, they were always were your friends."

"I don't talk to anyone," Brooke said, simply. "So, if you don't mind me asking, what happened with you and Peyton?"

"She ended it. We lasted just into the next spring. I was really busy with my book and she was with her art, and things were not working out. She stopped needing me, and I stopped needing to save her and it was the end of it. But we still talk every once in awhile," Lucas told her, in a matter of fact voice. He showed very little emotion.

"Brooke Penelope Davis," screamed a voice from across the court. Brooke looked at the unmistakably bouncy blonde curls and jumped up.

"Peyton Elizabeth Sawyer," Brooke exclaimed as she engulfed the old friend in a hug.

The pair pulled apart. "It's been far too long," Peyton said, shaking Brooke's shoulders slightly.

"Yes, it surely has," Brooke said, not being able to wipe a smile off her face. Even after four years apart the girl who had been her best friend since practically birth still made her smile like the best of them.

The two girls exchanged stories as they sat next to Lucas on the wooden table, each of them making eye contact with him at random moments, exchanging glances, like it had always been. And then everyone started to arrive, Haley, Nathan, Mouth, Bevin, Skills, Fergie, Junk, and even Chase and Rachel. No one had forgotten because it was not possible. Even the people, who had been their friend for a short amount of time, were special, because their impact was special. They were all there. Just like the way it was meant to be.

The group sat there catching up for hours, the sun was beginning to come up as they parted. All onto their own paths they had carved over the past four years, the four different paths that were surely to converge again in the near future. It was fate. They lives where intricately weaved together and those bonds would never break. No matter how hard they tried. Giving each person a parting hug they took off in separate directions, all believing that they would stay in touch, naively believing it was all possible. And maybe this time it would work.

Lucas followed Brooke in the direction she was heading. Hearing the breathing behind her she turned. She looked into his eyes, which as always were searching for an answer in hers. "I just wanted to tell you don't be a stranger," he said awkwardly.

"I wasn't planning on it," Brooke replied goofily. "What's going on? As much as you like to deny it, I do know you and I can tell that's not what you wanted to say."

"You know what, Brooke," Lucas said, "I just wanted you to know that I love you, and I don't want you to ever forget that." She just looked into his eyes, questioning. With that look, Lucas took a chance. He kissed her lightly on the lips. And then disappeared around the corner, and yelling on his way, "Don't be a stranger."

A smile spread across Brooke's face as she continued towards her hotel. It was a familiar smile; it was the smile that only Lucas Scott could put on her face.

Maybe everything Lucas had written in his book was true, maybe he was the guy for her, maybe they all did belong together because it was meant to be. Maybe.

Once she got back into her room at the hotel she pulled out her well worn copy of "An Unkindness of Ravens" and opened the front cover and began to read to book that told the story that changed them all.