A/N: I realize that I have two fics out there that are unfinished, but this fic was too good to pass up. To ensure that I update at reasonable intervals, I've outlined the entire fic and waited until I'd written six chapters before I posted this first one.

This story came to me when someone sent me a spoiler picture that killed my little LP spirit. I have faith, always will, in Leyton. This is how I feel the season should have played out. It's AU in the sense that it will stray from the path that Mr. Schwann has set out. Enough of the plot did come from him though where I can say it's not entirely AU.

For the record, I don't read spoilers. The pic was sent to me on accident. So when leaving reviews try to keep the spoilers out of them or I'll get distracted and that is never a good thing lol.

And I think that's enough chattering from me. This will be an eight year journey with plenty of twists and turns just like real life. So please stay around for the ride. The next chapter will be up on Sunday. And that's a promise :) Plenty of thanks to Ellie, my beta, who is the best beta a girl can have. And thanks to all of you for putting up with my spazzy muse.

Fuck, that was like an Oscar speech there lol. Okay enough out of me! Go enjoy the fic! And leave me a review if you're feeling charitable.

Disclaimer: I don't own OTH. I don't own Hilarie. And I only wish I owned Chad -sigh-

Chapter One: Home

Home is where the heart is. A cliché statement, but ultimately a true one. There is, without a doubt, a pull that exists within humans, like a magnet, that drags them towards a destination where they feel they will be most content. There isn't much in denying that we are at our happiest when we are surrounded by loved ones. We are social beings, drawn to one another.

In fact, there's an old Greek myth about creation, which states that at the beginning of time our souls were cleaved into two halves, Man-Man, Woman-Woman and Man-Woman. The halves were scattered about the earth and only one half was placed within us, thus making us incomplete and in constant yearning for it's missing half. It is only fair then, that our metaphorical hearts are always in search of another half to make us a whole soul. Without it, we are doomed to spend our time as a wandering nomad, always restless.

Always searching.

Peyton Sawyer dropped her bags unceremoniously in the middle of her hotel room. It was dingy and it smelt like clothing that had been left in the washing machine for too long. It was musky and nauseating, but Peyton barely noticed the smell. She was just happy to be back.

Los Angeles had been a cruel wake up call for the small town girl, and after four years of soul searching, she had realized that her home was here in Tree Hill. There was pain, so much pain left in Tree Hill. Two dead mothers. A stalker. Broken friendships and broken trust. But above all there was Lucas who had managed to cause her as much pain as he did love.

It scared her more than anything. With Lucas, anything could happen. It was the type of relationship that was constantly up in the air. It floated in slow motion, weightless, suspended above them, waiting for a crack of lightening in the form of a look or a few words and then it all fell apart. Either they were lost in a blizzard of kisses or turning their backs on each other. They were magnets with ever changing polarity.

She must have known he was going to be there. Subconsciously, she hoped he was. She was too chicken to go knocking at his door at one in the morning, but she knew the one place he'd be this late at night if he wasn't at home was at Rivercourt.

She forgot how much she loved this place. Staring down at the fading signatures, she remembered a promise that she'd be seeing him and guarded words between two people from two different worlds, and most recently, quiet nights spent cuddled on the edge of the court.

When she saw him there, at the same corner of the court, her breath caught in her throat. He looked just as wonderful as ever and his bright blue eyes still sent shivers down her spine when they locked with hers. She wanted to throw herself into his arms, kiss him until she couldn't breath. She had once wanted everything she left in Tree Hill to fade as the signatures on the pavement had. But someone had told her true love never faded, and when she saw him she knew, deep down in her soul, that it was true. Her love for Lucas hadn't faded.

"I'm with someone now." He broke her heart with those four words. Her eyes were paralyzed in fear and heartbreak.

And instead of waiting around for him to explain, she nodded and ran. Even when she heard him calling her name, she kept moving. She wasn't going to let herself get attached. This wasn't high school and she refused to be the other woman, the one Lucas pined for while he was promised to someone else. No, she was a different woman now even if Lucas was still the same old Lucas, too impatient to wait for her, too quick to claim to be in love.

As she ran towards her car, she realized maybe she hadn't changed as much as she thought. After all, she was still running from him, wasn't she? Or maybe it was just that Tree Hill brought out the worst in her.

Whatever it was she should have never come home.