A/N: This was a oneshot I wrote for the fanfiction challenge on Tube.alicious911. It's Leyton. Pretty much AU from after episode 1.11, maybe 1.09. Let's just say, Crash Course in Polite Conversation did not happen. A big thanks to Ellie for beta'ing. And for all the people who voted for it. It tied for second place.
Disclaimer: I don't own One Tree Hill, Peyton Sawyer, Lucas Scott or Brooke Davis.
No Angel, No Sin
"Love is truly the most haunting force on this great Earth. Both terrible and wonderful when in action."
Peyton Sawyer sits at the counter of her large kitchen, stirring her coffee idly and staring out over the view of her backyard. There are two huge willows growing at either end of the property. In between, there is a swing set made of metal which creeks incessantly no matter how many times they oil it. There's also a slide and a set of monkey bars and a see saw hidden to the right behind some of the rose bushes in front of her window. There's a bench nestled under the willow closest to the fence. It has her and her husband's initials carved in it.
Their dog, Kipper, a giant black Labrador, bounds around the property. He's being chased by a little girl, Peyton's little girl. Her blonde curls are whipping around her face and her pink flowered sundress pulls at her tiny frame. Her flimsy sandals can't carry her fast enough to catch the dog or to escape her daddy who's looming behind her, intentionally keeping a few steps behind her. The little girl's laughter echoes all the way into Peyton's kitchen, giggles mixed with sharp shrieks of mirth. Peyton can hear her husband's deep chuckle as well, as his tall frame darts into view.
Peyton brings her cup to her lips only to notice it's empty. Slowly but surely she rises, taking one last look at the scene of total bliss in front of her, and walks to the sink. Out of her right eye she can still she flashes of blonde hair, and the voices still carry through the thin walls. She ponders for a moment whether she should join them, but she feels a sudden fluttering in her stomach, and she decides against it, quickly refocusing on washing her cup.
For five years, Peyton Sawyer has been living in what could only be described as a dream, because only dreams could be both exquisitely beautiful and terribly frightening at the same time. She could have never imagined how far her life would come in such a small amount of time. Five years ago, Peyton would have never imagined she'd be married with a child and somewhat steady career at such a young age. She would have told you she would be in college, getting stoned and listening to old Zepplin albums while she slowly but surely flunked out. Peyton never did set high goals though and judging by her starting point five years prior, she shouldn't have. In all honesty, this journey started as a nightmare.
She was sixteen and on her way home from an art exhibition when it happened. Her dad called her, his voice weary and filled with unshed emotion. Peyton's aunt Lynn had died. Peyton had never been close with her. In fact, the most she knew about the woman was that she had a keen taste for old literature. She had spent most of her life traveling the globe to find rare first edition copies of classic novels, and Larry informed Peyton that Lynn had died in a car crash in Rome, the last stop for her literary perusal. She was going to be buried in Europe, but her house in Vermont had been left to Larry and her books to Peyton, in the hopes that she'd find something inspiring from them.
If Peyton was being honest, she thought the old woman was off her rocker for leaving such a big part of her life to an apathetic teenager, but Peyton kept silent as her father informed of all the other items that were being left to other family members. Soon though, Peyton's patience wore thin and she snapped at her father wondering why he bothered to call her on her cell phone to tell her all this when he was wasting precious minutes he would later scold her about. Finally after a hearty chuckle (which seemed somewhat inappropriate with the news that was being shared), he informed her that there would be an open house that Sunday to sell Lynn's house and that he wanted her to go up there before and pack up all the old literature. He feared for its safety during the open house.
Peyton had complained heatedly about having cheerleading practice all weekend, but finally Larry convinced her to go, promising her he'd take her to The Metropolitan Museum of Art when he got back. She huffed and muttered as she hung up the phone, immediately calling Brooke to drag her along with.
There was a murmur of giggles and hushing that greeted the line when Brooke answered, and Peyton rolled her eyes. Lucas was at Brooke's house and Peyton immediately quashed the frustration bubbling in her stomach. She was getting more and more used to Brooke and Lucas being together, but it still hurt.
As soon as the words "packing," "books" and "Vermont" were out of Peyton's mouth, Brooke started listing off a thousand reasons she couldn't make it. None of them sticking, until she mentioned she was captain of the cheerleading squad and that meant she had to be at practice even if Peyton skipped. Peyton pouted, earning a good chuckle from Brooke who suddenly had a genius idea.
"Take Broody. He loves books." Brooke Davis would regret those five words.
Peyton agreed it was a great idea. Lucas loved literature, and if she took him with, he would split driving time with her. Plus, she could count on him as much as she could Brooke. She trusted him, more than most. So she smiled at the thought and listened to Lucas's voice in the background as he expressed an earnest interest in the idea that there was a first edition "Common Sense" by Thomas Paine waiting in Vermont.
They left on a Thursday after school. Brooke gave her boyfriend of two months a quick kiss and her best friend of 11 years a large hug and watched as they rode off literally into the sunset, the bright orange haze causing Peyton to squint as she fiddled with the radio. Their conversation had been awkward at first, both not used to being around each other without the presence of the bubbly brunette. It had been weeks since they enjoyed just each other's company. Soon, though, they fell into an easy rapport, their bantering and wit slowly reforming and perfecting.
They both smiled more earnestly than they had since they had broken each other's hearts. Peyton tried not to notice the beauty of his smile, the light in his eyes when he spoke with passion, or even the tone of his muscles as his arm clenched the steering wheel of her car. Most of all, she tried not to notice that he was spending more time staring at her than at the road. Reading into Lucas was always a stupid move. He tended to surprise her more than most.
The house in Vermont was larger than Peyton imagined. Three stories and all brick. The books were kept in a large library on the third floor. Peyton and Lucas soon realized it was going to take a lot longer than they thought to pack it all. They spent two days packing every book into water proof boxes and taping them up. It could have taken less time if Lucas didn't stop to analyze every other work.
Brooke was right. Lucas loved books. The whole experience had amazed him and he soon declared that he wished he could have met Peyton's aunt because they shared a common love of the written word. He admitted to Peyton, as they munched on order in pizza in one of the spare bedrooms they had used for sleep, that one day he hoped people would be searching down first editions of his own works. Peyton didn't know how to respond to that. She was so awed by his passion for his work that she couldn't speak, her own words caught in her throat. He immediately colored and changed the subject, and Peyton recovered though the words echoed in her mind.
On Saturday evening as they packed the car full of the remaining boxes (a van had already come to take as many as they could down to Tree Hill), Peyton stopped Lucas for a minute and pulled him upstairs into the room she had been sleeping in. She showed him the box she had been keeping to the side. In it were all the works Lucas had expressed the most interest in among them, four original Steinbeck's. Lucas's eyebrows furrowed at the sight and he remained speechless.
"I just thought, well…you came all this way with me when you really didn't have to and…umm, you love this stuff. It's your passion and you helped me with my art so I don't know…maybe this will help you somehow."
The words were a jumbled mess, barely making any sense and Peyton tried to think of something to express what she was trying to say.
"I believe in you, Lucas. I think…no I know, I always have."
There. That had been it.
Before she even had a chance to analyze her own words, Lucas had swooped down and captured her lips with his own. Just like that. She knew she should pull away. But he was putting so much intensity and passion into that kiss that she couldn't stop. When he finally pulled back, Peyton nearly sighed in relief. That spur of the moment kiss could be forgotten, glossed over. It was a thank you kiss, right?
"I believe in you too Peyton."
Just like that, her resolve melted and she launched herself into his arms, his lips immediately meeting hers. Each kiss grew stronger and stronger and kisses led to touches and touches led to the removal of clothing and before anything could penetrate the foggy haze of desire and admiration that was clogging both their brains, they were naked, moving as one.
A very misfortunate mistake.
They didn't speak the whole car ride home. Every time Peyton tried to think of something to say, her mouth shut on its own accord. She kept picturing Brooke and her smiling face and trusting eyes. Brooke Davis had been her best friend since she was five years old. She had been the guiding light in her whole childhood. She was the only one who could suppress the brooder in her, make her laugh when she just didn't feel like it. She didn't understand it, but it didn't stop her from making it better.
"Bury it," Peyton said when she dropped Lucas off with his box of books. Nothing more, nothing less. And life went on, like nothing happen.
The shattering of ceramic brings Peyton back from her musings and she looks into the sink to realize she's dropped her mug. Her hand still clutches tightly at the handle causing her palm to slice open and blood to trickle from the small wound. She curses under her breath, watching her handle tremble from the pain as the last piece of the mug slides from her grasp joining it's brethren in the sink. She shuts the water off, deciding she'll clean the mess up later and goes to the counter so she can clean up her wound.
"Luke, do you have a second?"
"Sorry, Peyton, all out of time. Brooke and I have to catch a movie and-"
"This is really important."
"It will have to wait."
"Lucas," A whisper, barely audible.
A groan followed by a snappy retort, "What Peyton?"
"Ugh. Screw it. Never mind!"
There's a shard of ceramic the size of a toothpick sticking out of her hand. She opens the cabinet to her right looking for the first aid kit. Finally she finds it. A small blue basket filled with band-aids, rubbing alcohol and calamine lotion. In the midst of it all, a lone pare of tweezers catches Peyton's eye. She quickly grabs them and settles them over the wound. She tries hard to focus.
"Sure. Walk away, Peyt. It's what you're good at, right? Walking away."
"Shut up, Lucas! Just shut up!"
"Why? It's the truth!"
"Now's not the time for me to hear a lecture, okay? I don't need it."
"Then what do you need?"
"No. You've been hunting me down for three weeks. I've noticed. You spot me, you get within five feet of me and then you freak out and run away. So can I just ask why-"
"I'm pregnant, Lucas."
Her eyes are squinted in concentration as the tweezers settle over the protruding ceramic. She pinches it hard and pulls in a swift motion. Another curse escapes her lips and she realizes the shard was at least a half inch deep in her skin. Blood trickles from the cut and she closes her eyes trying to will away the sudden tendrils of pain.
"I'm pregnant with your child."
"But I…we…you….you can't, Peyt."
"Lucas, I'm sorry, okay? I didn't plan this, nor do I want this but it happened. And it's not something we can take back."
"What are you going to do?"
"I'm keeping it. My dad, well he already knows and he's figuring out a way that I'll be able to finish school."
"What about me? What about Brooke?"
She opens her eyes and reaches for a damp cloth behind her. She wipes away the blood, fresh on her palm and applies pressure while her eyes scan the First Aid box. Quickly, she spots a small Band-Aid and in quick, fluid movement she swipes the cloth for the bandage and now the wound is covered.
"It's up to you what you want to do, Lucas. I'm perfectly fine raising this baby on my own. Besides, Brooke will never know. My dad wants us to move to Vermont so-"
"No, you can't move to Vermont. You and I, well, we're going to raise this baby together. We're going to tell Brooke what happened. I'm going to be there for you, I promise."
"Lucas, you don't have to do this. You have-"
"Peyton, do you remember what you said to me that night we slept together? You said 'I believe in you.' Now if you really believe in me…you'll realize that I'm not going anywhere, okay?"
It still hurts. The bandage can only cover up the cut, shield it from infection and stop it from getting worse, but it cannot make it better. The pain will dull, she knows that, but there are times she wonders if everyone else feels it as much as she does. Because every blister, burn, paper cut and splinter seems to ache more than it ever did when she was sixteen.
"This has to be a dream." A nervous chuckle. "No way am I hearing this. You mean to tell me that you're pregnant with my boyfriend's child."
"Shut up, Peyton! I don't want to hear it. Not another word out of your mouth, okay? Can you at least do that?"
"Same goes for you, broody!" A glare. "Why her, Lucas? Out of all the girls you could have cheated with, why her? Why, my best friend?"
Guilt. Maybe it's guilt? She sometimes hopes for pain like this. When she feels too happy or too excited, her mind starts turning, cursing her for feeling that way. The conversation between her and Brooke when they broke the news plays in her mind. She can picture the anger and the hurt. The pain that Brooke felt…Peyton has never felt that and she doesn't think she ever will. But she wishes for a taste of it…so maybe the guilt won't eat away at her during quiet times like today.
Brown meets green. "Why him, Peyton? He's my boyfriend! You said you were over him. God damn it! We've been through so much! All of it…did it mean nothing to you! You knew I loved him, you knew how much he meant to me and yet you still had the nerve to sleep with him. You could have anyone Peyton! Anyone! Why him?"
"I don't know, Brooke…I really don't know why I couldn't stop it."
"You're sick! Both of you are! You're going to burn in hell for this. And that child you're carrying will rot along side you when it's time comes."
"I told you to shut up Lucas."
A fist pounds on the table. "If you ever insult my child again, it will be the last words out of your mouth."
"Don't worry. Those are the last words you'll ever hear from me."
She hasn't talked to Brooke in five years. Five whole years. She thinks back to the time when she couldn't go three days without talking to the bubbly brunette. As soon as the news of the pregnancy had leaked, Brooke turned a complete cold shoulder to her and to Lucas. Peyton quit the cheer squad and started hanging around with Lucas's friends. Most nights it was Haley, Nathan, her and Lucas. How much had changed? How much has changed?
"What are you thinking about, blondie?"
Peyton snaps around to see her husband of three years smirking at her. She returns the smile before sticking out her hand in an almost childlike matter.
"I cut myself."
"Ouch. How'd that happen?"
"Mug broke. I wasn't paying attention when I was washing it."
"Daydreaming about me again?" he teases, placing his hands on her shoulders. She looks up at him from her seat at the counter.
"Honestly? I was thinking about Brooke."
"No, Shields," Peyton says, rolling her eyes, "Of course Davis."
"You think about her a lot, huh?" he says seriously.
She tips her head to the side as if in thought. Does she think of Brooke a lot? No. Once a week maybe. Sometimes more if it's close to her birthday or there's a sale at the mall. Honestly, her life is too hectic to dwell on the past. It's just quiet times like these, where she's all alone with her thoughts, that she's taken back to her time with the brunette.
"Not really. What about you, Luke?"
"Only when you mention her," Lucas shrugs, kissing Peyton on the forehead, "And when there's a big sale at the mall."
Peyton chuckles, placing her hands over her protruding stomach. Lucas follows her hands' movement and smiles softly, placing his own hands over hers.
"How's little Joshua doing today?"
"If you mean Rose, then perfect."
"Peyt, you're carrying a boy. I know it."
"You don't know it! You just want that."
"Either way, I'd be fine," he smiles warmly, his face still looking hauntingly like it did when he was sixteen. "Just as long as it's healthy." He leans in and brushes his lips against hers, "But I still think it's a boy."
"Come here," Peyton smiles, and she brings her lips to his in a sweet, tender kiss.
"Eww!" a voice from the kitchen entrance breaks there embrace. There stand five year old Anna Scott, big blonde curls and bright green-blue eyes. Her face is dusted with mud and freckles and her smile is hidden beneath the scrunching on her nose.
"Not eww," Lucas says with a soft laugh, as he picks her up from the floor, "Daddy loves mommy."
"Good for daddy," Anna says sharply and Peyton suppresses the urge to chuckle at her bluntness. She's the spitting image of her mother. She's even picked up on the sharp tongue and the bitterness.
"Hey watch it, Annie," Lucas warns, placing her on the stool across the counter from her mother.
"Sorry," she gives a bashful smile, "I love you." She looks at him with those big innocent eyes and Lucas melts.
"I know, baby," he says softly, ruffling her hair before he turns to Peyton, "I'm gonna go take a shower before dinner. I'm taking my lovely ladies out tonight."
"Yay daddy!" Anna says throwing her hands in the air.
"You are up for it, right?"
"I think Joshua-slash-Rose has a taste for Italian," Peyton responds patting her stomach.
"Good," he leans down and places a soft kiss on her forehead and then her stomach. Peyton and Anna watch as he jogs up the stairs. When he's out of sight, Anna taps her mother's hand.
"Mommy! Can we bake cookies while daddy's in the shower and that way they'll be cool when we get home?"
Her smile is intoxicating. She's such a wonderful little girl that Peyton wonders what she's done to deserve such a gift. She's polite, well mannered, shy around others. She does well in kindergarten, has more artistic talent than most fifteen year olds let alone five year olds. She's gorgeous and witty and so mature for her age. She's innocent and pure and in her eyes, all Peyton can see is possibilities. The sky's the limit.
"Go get the sugar," Peyton smiles.
"Awesome," Anna shouts as she jumps off the stool and heads to the pantry.
Peyton Sawyer knows she is no angel, but looking in her daughter's eyes, she knows Anna Brooklyn Scott is no sin either.