Okay, I should be just doing a one-shot or doing more for All We Ever Needed, but I'm having a hard time with it. So, I'm bringing to you another long fic. I'm crazy, yes… but I've already got other chapters planned out. I know… I'm ridiculous.

Okay, it's another AU. Brooke goes with Peyton to see if her father is okay, instead of Lucas. So, Lucas and Peyton never admit their feelings for one another. Brooke and Lucas continue dating on and off for the rest of their junior year. This starts the summer after that, and Brooke has left for California, much like season 2, and the two have decided to take a break while they're apart. Forgive me if I don't follow the storylines from season 2 completely… it's been so long since I've watched that season, because it is completely heartbreaking and not easy to watch.

I don't own OTH; all belongs to Mark Schwahn and Tollins/Robbins productions. The title of the fic belongs to Dashboard Confessional, and the title of this chapter belongs to Fall Out Boy.

I used to obsess over living,
Now I only obsess over you

"Looks like it's just you and me this summer."

The two blonde teenagers sat together in the darkness of night. The waves were glittering right before them and the temperature had dropped quite a bit, making this summer night a surprisingly cold one.

As soon as the words had left the boy's mouth, the curly haired girl jumped into his arms, wrapping herself around him. Surprised, but not showing it, he cupped the back of her neck and closed his eyes; no matter how many times they hugged, he always ended up using this signature move on her and only her.

Pulling away, she nodded sadly and wiped her eyes with the end of her sleeve miserably.

He noticed this and kept one hand on her back. "Peyton…" he started sadly, "no word from Jake yet?"

She shook her head violently. "Nope. He's gone for good this time, and I'm not expecting any kind of contact whatsoever," she spat out bitterly. Then she softened. "I know he has to do this for him and Jenny, and I can't be angry about that."

"But you are," he pointed out.

"No, I'm not… just sad."

"I'm sorry, Peyt." He noticed she was shivering and rubbed her arm. "Let's get you home."

Once again she shook her head. "No, I can't be there alone. Will you stay with me?"

Lucas knew she was hiding something, but he nodded hesitantly and stood up to lead her home.


Peyton walked into her bedroom nervously, her arms crossed in front of her chest, and glancing around suspiciously.

Lucas watched her with concern. He would always be worried about her, no matter what happened in their lives. "Peyton, you've got to tell me what's going on. I'm really worried."

"I've been getting these really creepy e-mails lately, and then today this woman shows up on my doorstep, and she knew all of these things about me. Lucas, she told me she was my mother! That's crazy, my mom is dead, Luke. I was there at the hospital, I watched her die!"

Lucas raised his eyebrow in surprise and was about to speak when they both heard the siren of a fire truck pass by. Lucas gulped and started shaking a little. "I did something tonight, Peyton that I can't take back."

Suddenly all of her worries were gone and she was concerned about Lucas.

He walked over to her bed and sat down, her following. "I was walking and I saw… the dealership, Dan's dealership… it was on fire. And his car was sitting outside, and I just somehow knew he was still in there. So, I ran in there and saved him. I don't know why I did it, Peyt… after all the shit he's put everyone through, but I just couldn't let him burn to death."

Peyton's eyes were wide and she was unconsciously stroking his arm for comfort. "Wow a second mother and an almost dead dad. What the hell is happening in Tree Hill?"

Despite the heavy moment Lucas and Peyton both managed to laugh at her joke. "Same thing as always; another day, another dramatic event to deal with. It's one huge never ending cycle."

"Mm, I suppose you're right."

Lucas stood up and stretched. "Okay, I'm going to go lock all the doors, make sure your windows are secure. Everything will be okay, Blondie. You have nothing to be scared of. I'm here." He ruffled her blonde curls and walked out of her room.

"Great," Peyton murmured to the empty room.


An hour later found Peyton lying on her bed staring at the ceiling, and Lucas sitting in her computer chair, nearly falling asleep.

Suddenly Peyton shot up and gasped. "Did you hear that?"

Lucas rolled his eyes. "Peyton I told you I secured your house – no one's here, and no one's going to get in. I didn't hear anything, you're fine okay?"

Peyton breathed in deeply. "So, Brooke told me that you two are officially broken up. How are you feeling?"

Lucas rubbed the back of his neck and shrugged. "Actually, I told her I wanted to break up with her right before she left for California."

Peyton laughed loudly and sat up. "Great timing, really."

"I'm a real piece of work, huh?" He tipped his head back and chuckled. "It's just, the two of us have always been so on and off, and when we are on, all we do is fight and make each other miserable. It was fun at first, but now – the fighting and her jealousy has pretty much taken over. And, really what I said was that we should take this summer apart to figure out what we really wanted. I think she thinks it's another break, but I think this time it's really over."

Though this was her best friend they were talking about, Peyton couldn't help the butterflies in her stomach when he admitted it was over between them. Peyton couldn't deny it – her feelings for Lucas had never dissipated. If anything, they had intensified.

"I'm sorry, Peyt – I know she's your best friend,"

Peyton cut him off. "You're one of my best friends too, Luke – if you need to talk, do it. Besides, I'm going to get an earful this summer from her; you might as well be able to talk to me too."

"Thanks Peyton, I really appreciate you being here for me."

"I'm really glad you're here too, Luke. We kind of lost each other for a while, but hopefully that's over now, right?"

Lucas looked directly into her sparkling emerald eyes. "It's always gonna be there isn't it… you and me?"

Peyton felt a lump forming in her throat, and her heart thumped a little faster, so she nodded shyly and a small grin formed on her face.

Lucas looked on at the girl in front of him. He knew it was horrible, but in that moment every feeling he'd ever had toward her bubbled up inside of him. Actually, he knew they'd never disappeared. He'd always loved her, and even this past year spent with Brooke hadn't made that disappear. Lucas knew that he was a horrible person for these thoughts, but he couldn't stop them – and he knew, he had tried that whole year to forget about her, to no avail. It was hopeless – Lucas could never forget or move on from his first love. No matter how hard he tried to fit Brooke into that mold.

"Lucas, do you ever wonder…" She started and then hesitated. "Never mind, it's stupid."

"No what, Peyton? Do I ever wonder what? I'm sure it's not stupid."

Peyton tapped her fingers against her chin nervously. "Do you ever wonder what could've been? I mean, what we could've been?"

He knew he should've been surprised by her question, but for some reason, he wasn't. "Almost every day, Peyt. I'm sorry if that makes me sound like an awful person, because… of Brooke. But, I think about it all the time."

The butterflies in Peyton's stomach had multiplied. "I'm the one who asked you – if anything we're both awful people. Because I wonder every day about what would've happened if I hadn't walked away from you at Dan's party. Or, if you would've not chosen Brooke after I came to you that night in your room."

Lucas exhaled noisily and put his head in his hands. Yeah, that was a night he thought about frequently. The night he stood between Peyton and Brooke and had to make a choice. Really, Peyton had made the choice – she told Brooke she was there about a CD, and never brought it up again. Until now, that is.

"I know, Peyton – I think about those nights all the time. And… sometimes I wish I could change what happened. But here we are. I was with Brooke – and hey, you fell in love with Jake. So, not all was lost."

Peyton laughed bitterly. Of course he was trying to get away from the subject now. In a move that was so not the girl Peyton Sawyer knew herself to be, she took a bold chance. "I guess you're right, I did have Jake. But there's one thing about Jake and I – he's not you."

Lucas knew that this kind of talk wasn't good for his heart condition. He'd wanted to hear these things from her all along. Even if it was scary, it was what he wanted.

Peyton stood up and walked to her bathroom. "I'm getting ready for bed. You can sleep downstairs… or here." She gave him a pointed look and walked into the room. If she was going to be bold, she was going to be bold all the way.

"What just happened?" Lucas whispered. Hours ago, they were just friends, and he was connected to her best friend. Now, the air between them had shifted and something was bound to happen. He was nervous and excited. It's going to be one interesting summer, he thought to himself.

Peyton stepped out of the bathroom and was in a fitted tank top and red pajama shorts that showed off her tanned, long legs. She raised an eyebrow, as if asking for an answer.

Lucas stood up and smiled shyly. "I'm definitely staying here tonight."

From day one I talked about getting out
But not forgetting about
How my worst fears are letting out
He said why put a new address
On the same old loneliness

Okay, let me know what you think! I hope it wasn't bad – I can't help but feel that this resembles some of the cliché crap I've read in the past. I don't think it will after this, because it is an AU fic, but with elements of the same timeline of season 2 and 3. Let me know your thoughts!