Author's Note: First one-shot I've written in a while, and it's pretty inspired by some recent friendship troubles I've been having. Like a week ago, after starting and finishing Harry Potter, I sort of went into a writing frenzy and came up with this. Uhh, I'm also posting this again because I accidentally deleted the last one while trying to do something. So enjoy, again?
Spoilers: Up until the end of season three, pretty much.
Warning: If you're a big Peyton fan, you might hate me for this. (I'll admit that I like Peyton, and I'm sorry she had to suffer the brunt of my writing, but ah, whatever)

--

Polar Opposites
And I know I should go, but I will probably stay

Since they had known each other, Brooke had always treasured her friendship with Peyton among all other things. For about the same amount of time, Peyton had treated the relationship between them carelessly, as if it meant nothing. And when Brooke would mull it over years later, she would always come to the same conclusion.

--

They are six years old, at the local playground by the old elementary school that neither of them will end up attending because it will burn down later that summer, before they are in first grade.

The taller of the two, with short golden curls that make her look like a descendant to Shirley Temple, strives hard to build a sandcastle, using the shovel and bucket her mother has provided for her.

The smaller brunette with the deep dimples imprinted in her cheeks works equally as vigorously to build something similar, although hers is more of a sand-city than a sand castle. Also having been handed down her own mother's skill for building and sculpting, her city is much more, well, functioning than Peyton's measly castle. She notices this but keeps it to herself, throwing out a complement every so often at her companion.

When Peyton finally looks up and notices Brooke's city made of sand, the smile that had previously adorned her face drops, and she is quick to say, "You're supposed to be making castles."

Brooke scoffs, seemingly making herself seem more creative already. "As if it's a rule." She defends sharply.

When she notices that her friend's face appears crestfallen, she shrugs her shoulders, and her imagination begins to run wild. "Hey, maybe this city can belong to your castle! This can be your kingdom!"

Peyton feverishly shakes her head. "No! That's a stupid kingdom. Not good enough for my castle.."

Brooke looks over at the city she has spent over an hour working on. Her eyes drift slowly over to her young nanny, Elsa, who is discussing something amusing with Peyton's own mother, Anna Sawyer, who's hair is light but unlike her daughter's, and who has a radiant smile that warms Brooke's heart whenever she sees it. As her gaze returns to sweep over her work, she suddenly pounds her fists into it, smashing it to rubble.

Her friend appears horrified, but Brooke can see the look of satisfaction in her eyes.

It is not the last time Brooke Davis will allow Peyton Sawyer to let her down.

--

It is the second grade, and Ms. Elliott's class is the best yet. They do arts and crafts this year more than they have any year before, and the math is easy (although Tim certainly seems to disagree.)

They sit in long desks that can sit seven to a table - an early rendition of a study group - and Brooke is seated at the side of Peyton, with Tim on her other side, Nathan across from her, Bevin alongside him, Jake next to her, and Theresa beside him.

They are making Mother's Day cards, which is Brooke's favorite task, although she usually ends up saving her first card for Anna, and making an extra for her own mother, who she sees rarely.

She has chosen pink and red for her colors of sheeted paper, and his currently using her fanciest handwriting to write 'Happy Mother's Day, Anna!' when Peyton clears her throat from beside her.

"You're making a card for my mom?" She asks, seeming suddenly possessive and annoyed at the same time.

"Well, yeah. I do every year." says Brooke, and she continues her work, ignoring the hurt that she feels building slightly inside her.

"It's just - why don't you make a card for your own mom?" This last comment has drawn the attention from both Nathan and Jake, who are sitting across from the two of them coloring. Both boys drop their markers and crayons, respectively.

Nathan frowns at Peyton and then offers Brooke a soft smile, toothless and adorable all at once. "It's a really pretty card, Brooke." Jake is quick to agree, and then Tim from next to her.

"Well," Peyton is struggling for words, "well, my mom doesn't like those two colors together."

"Oh.."

"And your hearts and stars look stupid! You should really make it nicer if you want to give it to my mom. Especially because of the card I'm making her." She holds up a card that is red and yellow, reminding Brooke faintly of a hot dog's condiments, but she says nothing. The designs her friend has drawn are clearly better than hers.

Theresa smiles at Peyton's card, eyes widening at how lovely it is.

Brooke shifts uncomfortably. "I guess I'll.. start over?"

"Maybe you should just make one for your own mom, because I don't think you have time to make two." It seems she's plotted this out from the start when she says it, and it takes everything in Brooke's power not to cry.

She never does get the chance to give Anna Sawyer another Mother's Day card, thanking her for being the true mother she never had.

--

When Brooke hears the news of Peyton's mother's death, she instantly runs towards the panty of her large kitchen, stealing cookie dough mix and a box of macaroni and cheese, stuffing it into an old knapsack of hers. Her next stop is her garage where, after briefly looking over her father's virtually unscathed Porsche, she hops onto her bike and zooms off towards the one neighborhood she's always felt welcome.

Larry Sawyer is a mess, sobbing at the kitchen table, his head in his hands. Brooke approaches him cautiously, and then wraps her arms around him tightly. The older man stiffens, and then tugs her onto his lap, sobbing into her shoulder.

"Oh Brooke," He cries. "What will we do? What will we do without her?"

She sighs, allowing the first tears of the day to fall from her hazel eyes. "So it's really true?"

His reply is another sob, and when she slides out of his lap, the almost nine-year old pulls from her backpack the box of macaroni and cheese. "We can make dinner. Peyton loves macaroni and cheese."

Larry smiles in what is probably the first time since that morning, when he last kissed his wife good-bye as she left for work. "I've uh, I've got a pizza in the oven. Frozen."

"So we'll have both," Her eyes are large and deep, and he sees them as an old soul trapped in a young person's body. "And then we'll make cookies for Peyton."

"I'll do it," He offers. "Why don't you go talk to Peyton? She's in her room."

So Brooke does. She gathers up all the strength she's built inside her, and she wills herself not to cry as she opens the door of Peyton's bedroom, not anything as girly as hers, but more comfortable, she thinks.

Her best friend is sprawled across the bed, sobs bellowing from her tiny frame, taller than Brooke's still, and lankier too. Brooke throws herself down beside Peyton, wrapping an arm around her.

"It's okay, it's going to be okay. I promise." As she says this, Peyton turns slowly to look at her, eyes red rimmed and a tear-stained face. Brooke's cheeks are chubby in that sweet way that young children's usually are, but Peyton's have already begun to lose baby-fat, her cheekbones beginning to show.

"It'll never be okay." comes the dark reply.

"I know it hurts," She tries to be compassionate, because she doesn't know how else she can be without collapsing herself. "But you have to be strong."

"No!" Peyton yells forcefully, sitting up.

"I miss her too, Peyton. But we're going to be okay-"

"You're going to be fine," The blonde rages. "I won't! She was my mother! Don't you understand that?"

All she can understand is that Peyton is upset. So when she reaches forward for another hug, she tries to hide her surprise when her friend shoves her. Hard. She falls of the bed, barely managing to land on her feet.

She'll never again feel as much of a distance from Peyton Sawyer as she feels now. She knows her friend is hurting, but she doesn't deserve to be treated like this. She's just trying to help. This is killing her too. She has long since learned how to hide her scars however, and this will simply join the pile.

"Peyton.." She tries, but then doesn't know how to finish her sentence.

Peyton says, "It's my fault, it's all my fault!"

And tears cascade down her little face, and this time when Brooke leans in to hug her, she hurls herself into the girl's arms, and though Brooke is sure to comfort her, she still feels the sting from where Peyton pushed her, and she will for many years to come.

--

They are at a senior's party. Brooke can hardly believe her luck as she repeats this over and over to herself in her head. She and Peyton are freshmen and yet they got invited to a senior's party!

She thinks she has dressed well for the occasion, in tight jeans and a red shirt that stoops just below her cleavage and just above her bellybutton. Peyton is dressed similarly, only she tugs at her shirt a little more self-consciously than Brooke.

Brooke sees Nathan and Tim, and she throws them a wave, which they shyly return, clearly not used to what she's wearing. It is then that she spots Peter White, a senior who she has been crushing on since she stepped into Tree Hill High.

She sips her drink with a nervous excitement, making a face as the cool liquid burns her throat. She is already feeling more dizzy and light-hearted, and she knows this feeling because she and Peyton have snuck alcohol into her room on a couple occasions and experimented.

Brooke sways slightly and warns Peyton sternly, "Don't let me drink too much, okay? Watch me."

Peyton nods, her eyes lingering on Nathan as he waits in line by the keg, cup ready in hand.

"Peyton," Brooke says, frustrated, "promise."

Her best friend looks over at her. "I promise."

It is with this new wave of assurance that Brooke takes another sip of her drink, and then another, and another.

In just a couple of hours, she thinks she's refilled her drink twice - or wait, was it three times? - or so, and she feels considerably lighter. Her movements are a step behind her, as she walks towards a group of girls on the cheerleading squad she has just joined.

Before she can reach them however, she nearly trips, and she feels a hand on her waist steadying her, moving slowly up the small of her back. It is Peter White, tall and beautiful with the bluest eyes she's ever seen.

"Hey," he says, a grin on his perfect face.

Brooke nods, suddenly at a loss for words. And it seems words aren't necessary because soon he has leaned down to kiss her. She hasn't done this too many times before, so her tongue fumbles awkwardly with his, taking a moment to get the hang of things. He runs his hands over her body like an expert, and she feels heat in places she never knew could feel like this.

She giggles and pulls away, breathless and in awe at the fact that he would actually want her.

"Let's go upstairs." He tells her. She looks around for a moment, as the world appears to be spinning. Maybe she should ask Peyton for her opinion, after all, Peyton is her best friend.

She thinks she's had too much to drink, and she wants to tell him this, but instead she quietly says, "Peyton."

He pretends he doesn't hear her - or maybe he actually doesn't. She'll never really know - and takes her hand, leading her slowly up the stairs.

Everything is moving really fast now, and before she knows it she is laying on the bed with him removing her jeans, and ripping open a condom packet. She kisses back forcefully, only wanting him to need her like she needs to be needed, and cries out when the pain of him inside her becomes unbearable.

She is not fooled into thinking that Peter White will want her after tonight, but at least he wants her for now.

Oh, she wishes Peyton had kept her promise.

Another high school party.

Only this one is three years after that other one, and the novelty has worn off on Brooke, though she appears to act as if it has not. She is laying across the couch in Tim's house, and she is really, really pissed off.

Peyton was her ride here, and now Goldilocks decides to drop off the face of Planet Earth.

Brooke is tired and still kind of hungover from last night, and she and Peyton had already decided that they would make a quick appearance at the party and then head back over to Peyton's for some take-out and movies. She loves doing this with Peyton even more than she loves going to parties or cheerleading, and sometimes she wishes they would do it every night.

Someone offers her a joint and she declines. She can still feel the buzz from those beers, but she wants to be sober when she and Peyton go home. She wants to be a kid again.

It is nearly an hour later when Peyton decides to grace the room with her lovely presence.

Brooke jumps up, telling herself to forget her anger if only so they can enjoy what's left of the evening. "Thank God, let's go!"

They had planned to leave at nine, after all. Already it is eleven. She doesn't mind pulling an all-nighter, because she knows it'll be worth it.

Peyton looks uncomfortable, and she bites her lip. "Actually, I was going to go back to Nathan's."

"Peyton!" Brooke shouts, anger pulsing its way back through her veins.

"I know, I know. It's just that his parents are out of town, so we're going to have the house to ourselves." Peyton's brown-green eyes are pleading with hers, and she crosses her arms stubbornly.

"So? You said tonight was going to be about us."

Peyton snorts. "Come on. It's not like we're a couple and I'm breaking our date."

Well, it certainly feels that way.

"Fine," but she's clearly not happy as she takes a seat, suddenly remembering she'll now have no ride home.

"I'm sorry." Her best friend tells her, and she can tell she means it, so she tells herself that it's a one-time thing.

However, this is not the first time Peyton will throw their friendship aside for a boy.

--

The next time, it is Brooke's boy in Peyton's arms, and as Brooke sees them kissing on Peyton's terrible web cam, her heart drops so deep into her she's not sure she'll ever be able to find a pulse again.

She probably shouldn't be all that surprised, but she is. She wants to lay down, but if she did the knife would probably just go deeper into her back so instead she stands stiff as a board until Lucas' mom calls from the kitchen saying that Lucas is in the hospital.

She loves him, she knows it.

Maybe Peyton doesn't think it's possible because of who Brooke is and her reputation, but this is Brooke's first relationship ever that's meant something. She's told Peyton this numerous times! She has shared with Peyton all the most intimate details of their relationship, has explained how much he means to her. How can Peyton even kiss him without Brooke entering her mind?

Though she tries her hardest to defend her friend to herself on the ride to the hospital, the thought of them together and kissing makes her wish she'd never met Lucas Scott or Peyton Sawyer ever.

--

Peyton tells her she will not act on her feelings this time. Swears it. Says her friendship with Brooke is more important.

Brooke doesn't buy it.

She doesn't feel guilty about the slap either. Straight across Peyton's face, and she'll be damned if it doesn't leave a mark.

How can Peyton put her in this position? She knows Brooke! She knows that Brooke is a better friend than her. There's no way she'll be able to continue her relationship with Lucas knowing Peyton has all these feelings.

She's being conniving, really.

She's making Brooke smash down her own sand city, only this time it's more metaphorical and about a million times more significant.

She should have ended their friendship that day when they were in the playground. Should have then realized the pain her supposed BFF would cause her.

But Brooke Davis had always needed to be needed.

And Peyton had been the only person that had ever seemed to truly need her. Even if she had a sick way of showing it.

--

Brooke can try to make sense of it if she wants.

As she leaves Peyton's house, she can tell herself that it was she who has made the mistake. After all, Peyton did say she wouldn't do anything if Brooke didn't want her to.

Peyton has never really been that great of a friend to her. Sure, there have been times where she has dragged Brooke home, drunk and passed out. But what about the times when she didn't? When Brooke was taken advantage of.

This web is tangled, and when she thinks about it now, her ties are better off severed with Peyton Sawyer.

However, Brooke is nothing if not a true, loyal friend. She should run now and never come back, but she knows that soon enough, she'll return to Peyton. She'll sit and wait to be hurt again.

This will not be the last time Brooke Davis will allow Peyton Sawyer to let her down.