HJS-NS-23 Authors Note- Here's just a little one-shot that came to me as I read one of my favorite poems How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Ways…by Elizabeth Barrett Browning. I want to thank Hayley and Steph for believing in me to write this since this is only the second story I have ever written by myself. I hope you enjoy and don't forget to review.

Disclaimer: I do not own OTH unfortunately or the poem How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Ways…

She sobbed as he lay on the hospital bed monitors beeping all around him. Reaching over to the bedside table cautiously Nathan picked up an old, leather book and handed it to Haley.

Looking at him perplexedly Haley stood up from the chair at the table and took the book before sitting on the side of his bed patiently waiting to hear what he wanted her to do with it.

"Page 223" he whispered hoarsely.

Flipping open the book Haley's breath hitched as she saw the poem. Taking a deep, calming breath she slowly started reading it out loud as Nathan closed his eyes letting her voice lull him into oblivion.

"How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Ways… by Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, --- I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! --- and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death."

"Oh Nathan" Haley said the tears falling fast and hard down her cheeks knowing the life she imagined for them was now being snatched away from her. Throwing herself on his chest Haley held onto him as she cried for the child inside of her who would never know his father.

Nathan just wrapped his arms around her, once strong and muscular now weak and frail, the cancer having taken its toll on his body and gently let his hand twirl her hair around his fingers breathing in her intoxicating smell of vanilla.

--------------------------------------Flashback 6 months ago----------------------------------------

Haley shakily walked into the bathroom and with trembling hands picked up the test sitting on the bathroom sink as she bit her bottom lip, her nerves getting the best of her. She closed her eyes before taking a deep breath and looking down seeing a plus sign.

Oh my god she thought a huge smile on her face. They had been trying for a while to start a family since they were done with college and both had stable jobs; it was time for them to start their family. Just then she heard the door slam close and the shuffling footsteps of her husband walk into their house. Quickly she wiped the tears of happiness off her cheeks and took a deep breath before going out to greet Nathan.

"Hey" She said walking up to him and wrapping him into a hug before giving him a quick peck on the lips.

Not wanting just a quick little kiss he brought her lips back to his and deepened the kiss pressing her closer to him.

"Hi" He said resting his forehead on hers before staring into her chocolate eyes that were sparkling with happiness.

"How was shooting hoops with Lucas?" She asked moving away from him so he could put his gym bag in the hall closet.

"It was ok, I won of course," he told her with a smirk planted on his face.

"Your so cocky" Haley told him shaking her head before walking to the kitchen to check on supper and passing him. He quickly pulled her back to him and wrapped his arms around her waist holding her hostage.

"You like my…" Nathan started to whisper huskily in her ear when she turned around and put her finger to his lips. "Don't you dare finish that sentence Nathan Scott!" She told him a pink tinge coloring her cheeks.

"Are you sure you're not too tired?" She asked worriedly. For the past couple weeks he seemed to always be tired and she was getting a little worried, but Nathan being Nathan was too manly to go to the doctors. If he's still getting tired easily in a few more weeks I'm making him go she thought stubbornly.

"So tell me about your day" He told her holding her hand and leading her into the kitchen.

"Hmm well there's this one kid in my class and he reminds me so much of you in high school the wanna be bad boy who on the inside is a big softie" Haley told him chuckling at the look of surprise on his face.

"I am not a big softie," he said pouting as he let go of her hand so she could check on dinner and he could get a Gatorade.

"Anyways" he said walking behind the island and leaning on it staring at his wife bending down to check the food in the stove, "anything else?" he asked. He knew she wanted to tell him something, he just didn't know what. She was very happy with her eyes sparkling, but nervous as he noticed the way she kept playing with her wedding band or the way she was chewing on her bottom lip.

Turning around she locked gazes with him and knew now would be the right time to tell him about their newest addition. Walking out of the kitchen she made her way to the bathroom as he watched her retreat down the hall he decided to follow her. Grabbing the test she walked out of the bathroom again and held it behind her. Standing at the end of the hallway he looked at her confused until she held up the test. "I'm pregnant, we're pregnant," she told him happily walking to him.

His eyes lit up and he smiled before he felt the room start to spin and his eyes roll back into his head as he crashed on the floor. Haley's eyes widened at she ran to wake him up but he wouldn't respond to her. Running into the kitchen she grabbed a washcloth and hurriedly ran back to Nathan placing the cool washcloth on his forehead.

"Hales?" Nathan asked weakly trying to sit up but the room started spinning again and he laid his head in his wife's lap closing his eyes. Haley soothingly ran her hands on his forehead brushing the hair off his face when she felt how hot he was and saw the little sweat beads forming on his body.

"Okay you are going to the doctors no arguing" she told him standing up and laying his head on the floor gently before going into their bedroom and getting a pillow to rest under it. She then went and called her brother in law Lucas to have him help her bring Nathan to the doctors.

As soon as Lucas arrived he walked in and saw Nathan lying limply in Haley's lap as silent tears ran down her cheeks and she was brushing her hand on his cheek soothing mumbling, "everything's going to be ok."

"Hey Hales you ready?" Lucas asked when he was behind her.

"Yea" she whispered before Lucas helped get his brother stand up and held onto him as he swayed and waited for Haley to stand up. As soon as they took the first step Nathan felt everything go black as he let the darkness overtake him once again. Lucas caught him before he hit the floor and gently laid him on the floor again. "Call 9-1-1 Haley," he ordered as she grabbed the phone on the floor and dialed.

"Hello 9-1-1 what's your emergency?" a calm and friendly voice asked.

"Its my husband…he…he ummm keeps passing out and he's burning up and I don't know what to do" Haley said trying to keep the sobs in.

"Okay what's your address?" the lady asked knowing she had to stay calm and send an ambulance there right away.

"Oh its 2547 Madison Lane Please hurry" Haley begged.

"A ambulance is on its way. Now if you could please stay on the line until the ambulance has reached you." The woman told her.

What seemed like hours but was in fact only seconds passed until the sirens of the ambulance could be heard as Haley sat on the floor next to Nathan holding his hand and crying while on the phone.

The paramedics ran into the house and Lucas grabbed Haley and pulled her out of the way holding onto her as the men moved next to Nathan's body and started to work on it. They put Nathan's body on a stretcher and started walking to the ambulance Haley and Lucas following.

"Okay whose coming with?" A paramedic asked looking at the two in front of him. "I'm his wife" Haley said before walking over and stepping into the Ambulance.

Lucas ran to his car and quickly drove to the hospital calling Brooke, Jake, Peyton, Karen and Deb to meet them at the hospital. He ran into the waiting room and saw Haley sitting in the stiff chair her eyes staring off into the distance.

Soon everyone was in the waiting room as Haley stayed in a trace staring off into her own world and the clock ticking painfully slow as they all wondered what was wrong with Nathan and why he passed out.

"Mrs. Scott?" A doctor said coming out into the waiting room and looking around before looking at the sheet in front of him.

Lucas nudged Haley as she looked at him confused before he pointed to the doctor. She hurriedly got out of her chair and walked to the doctor.

"I'm Mrs. Scott what's wrong with my husband?" She asked playing with her wedding band while looking at the doctor expectantly.

"Well Mrs. Scott, Mr. Scott hasacute myeloid leukemia," the doctor told her. "It mainly affects the myeloid cells known as granulocytes. It creates too many young myeloid cells and not enough mature myeloid cells. The young myeloid cells can block blood vessels." The doctor continued.

"What?" Haley asked confused. "No my husbands healthy we're having a baby he can't have leukemia" she told him raising her voice as she shook her head negatively.

"I'm sorry Mrs. Scott, now your husband's case is acute, which means it developed suddenly and it's in a very late stage. I'm sorry, I can only give him a few months to live we caught it too late to try doing any chemo. You may see him now though he's in room 232," The doctor told the young woman standing in front of him before walking away. I hate this part of my job he thought sadly telling a patient's loved one the patient was going to die.

Haley stood frozen to the spot as Lucas who had overheard everything walked up and wrapped his arms around her giving her a hug. No the doctors lying this is just some sick joke Nathan got the doctor to play along with she thought before breaking out of his arms and running to Nathan's hospital room. She broke through the door and looked at him with worried eyes. He was hooked up to a machine and his eyes were closed. "No Nathan wake up" she told him in a stern voice walking over to his bed.

"Hales" Nathan mumbled weakly.

"I'm here," she said sitting on the bed and holding his hand.

"What's wrong with me?" He asked his eyes fluttering open and seeing hers filled with grief.

"You have Leukemia," she told him squeezing his hand as the tears burned her eyes and threatened to spill.

"What no, I'm healthy. Our families going to ok" he told her wiping away a stray tear on her cheek and looking at her lovingly.

"No Nathan" she said finally coming to terms that this wasn't a big joke and that she was really going to lose him. Who would have thought the happiest day of their lives was now one of their saddest.

-----------------------------------------End Flashback-------------------------------------------------

Haley thought about the past few months and how she watched one life grow weaker as the one inside of her grew stronger. She was so lost in her thoughts she didn't hear the rap on the door and the hushed voices walking into Nathan's hospital room.

"Hey hot shot how you feeling?" Brooke asked walking up to the hospital bed.

"I'm okay a little tired," he told them his voice soft and vulnerable. Haley got off his chest and wiped the tears off her face before walking to give Lucas and Brooke a hug.

"How you doing buddy?" Lucas whispered into her ear.

"My husbands dying and there's nothing I can do" Haley told him in a small voice trying not to break down crying.

"Shhh its okay" Lucas said rubbing her back as Brooke tried to get Nathan to smile. Haley broke the embrace and walked over to the hospital sitting on the side of Nathan's bed as his hand moved to rest on her visible baby bump.

"So do you guys know what you're going to name him yet?" Brooke asked wanting to change the subject of Nathan dying and onto something that always made him smile. His family.

"Yea we do James Nathan Scott." Haley told them with a faint smile showing on her face. James after my last name and Nathan while obviously after his father although he kept kicking last night."

"Who Nathan or the baby?" Lucas asked with a cheeky grin.

"Shut up" Nathan told him smiling before rolling his eyes. "Hey Luke can I talk to you alone for a minute?" Nathan asked as Haley looked at him confused.

"Uh sure" Lucas replied.

"Come on Hales lets go get some coffee," Brooke said walking to the door.

"I'll be right back okay?" Haley asked before planting a kiss on his forehead. "I love you," she whispered.

"I love you too," he told her before she left with Brooke.

"I know I asked you before to take care of Hales, but I need you to be a father figure to my son. He needs a mans influence in his life and someone to talk to. You had Uncle Keith and now my son will have you. Promise me Luke my son will always have you."

"Nathan I'm honored that you want me to be a part of your sons life and don't worry he will know all about his father. I promise with my life your son will always have me little brother," Lucas told him starting to choke up. He still couldn't believe his baby brother was dying.

The girls walked in and Haley soon made her way to Nathan's side, giving him a quick peck on the lips as she stared into the dull eyes that only lit up a little seeing her. Knowing the two needed there space Brooke and Lucas looked at each other knowing they should give them some alone time.

"Okay well Broody promised me we would go shopping so we'll come check on you later Nate. Bye. Love you" Brooke said bending down and giving him a hug goodbye.

"Bye little brother. Take care" Lucas told him before giving him a manly hug and taking Brookes hand and walking away.

"Why did you have to talk to Lucas?" Haley asked curiously laying her head on his chest so she could hear the rhythmic beating of his heart and not the monitors.

"I just wanted him to promise me he would be there for Jamie" Nathan told her stroking her hair.

"Oh" Haley said.

"I will always watch over you two. You're my life and I have never for a second regretted marrying you so young. Even with all the troubles we've had to go through I wouldn't give them back because it made our love so strong and created a life that's growing inside of you. I love you Hales, always and forever, but promise me you will live your life after I'm gone. I already know you're going to be a great mom to our son but I want you to be happy and when you see the rain think of me, but please just don't ever forget me," he begged weakly.

Haley looked up at him as tears fell down her cheeks. "I will never forget you. You're the love of my life, my soul mate, my always and forever. I will never be truly happy without you. God I love you," she told him kissing him deeply.

The kiss was passionate and salty as their tears mixed into it, each knowing it was harder and harder for him to keep fighting to stay alive and knowing that any day now it could be his last.

Nathan scooted over on the side of the bed as Haley looked at him before understanding he wanted her to lie next to him. She buried her head in his chest as he arms circled her waist and pressed their bodies together just feeling the comfort of being together. They were still that way a few hours when Haley awoke to Nathan brushing a kiss on her cheek. "Hi" she said sleepily.

"Hi" he whispered back hoarsely. "I love you Hales. Always and forever remember that."

"I love you too. Always and forever" she whispered kissing him before the slight beeping noise that was hooked to his heart started decreasing before flat lining.

"Nathan," she said panicking. "Baby you have to stay with me" She told him pressing the call button and holding onto him the tears fall fast and hard down her face.

The doctors and nurses rushed into the room and tried to resuscitate him but it wasn't working. "Time of death?" The doctor asked looking at the nurse.

"9:23 pm" the nurse replied looking at the clock in the room.

"No baby you can't leave me please" Haley called out as huge sobs wracked her tiny body and gasped for air. The doctor left the room while a nurse tried to pry Haley's body off Nathan's.

"No leave me the hell alone just get out" She screamed at the nurse the tears running their course down her face.

The nurse left to go and call the mans brother, which the man had told her to do when his brother died.

Haley laid in his arms sobbing and praying that he would come back to her. 10 minutes later when Lucas got to his brothers room his heart broke as he saw his best friend with tear tracks down her face grasping onto Nathan's lifeless body.

"Come on buddy, get up" Lucas told her soothingly.

"No" Haley said shaking her head before Lucas grasped her arm and pulled her off the body. She turned around and smacked Lucas in the face before running over to Nathan and flung herself on top of him clinging to his waist.

"Haley we need to go. Come on" He told her sternly.

"No he's my husband I'm not leaving him. I wont leave him." Haley said her eyes pleading him that this was just a dream.

"Please Hales," he told her dropping his voice.

She looked into his eyes and knew she had to leave for the sake of their child she had to leave her soul mate. She brushed her lips against his that were now cold and stood up walked to Lucas before breaking down in his arms as he patted her back and tried to soothe her while not trying to break down.

3 Days later Lucas, Peyton, Brooke, Jake, Karen and Deb knocked on Haley's door to see if she was ready for the funeral. She had refused to plan her husband's service so Deb and Lucas planned it knowing what Nathan wanted as he had talked about it after he was diagnosed.

Haley answered the door in a pair of shorts and one of Nathan's t-shirts, her eyes blood shot and wet with unshed tears. She looked at the 6 before turning around and walking into her bedroom and lying on her side of the bed, Nathan's pillow hugged closely to her chest as she inhaled his smell.

"Who should go talk to her?" Brooke asked looking at the group.

"I will…I have more experience with this kind of thing" Karen told the group knowing how she felt with Keith died, before walking into Haley's room and seeing her on the bed.

"Hey" Karen spoke softly sitting on the bed.

"Hi" Haley whispered meekly.

"How are you dealing with everything?" Karen asked the young woman in front of her who was like a second daughter.

"Horrible. I just miss him so much Karen. How were you able to handle this when Keith died? I just don't want to wake up knowing he's gone." Haley cried into the pillow.

"I missed Keith because I loved him so much, but I knew he would want me to get on with my life. Now Nathan told you he wants you to continue living and you have a reminder of him with you everyday, that's something some woman aren't lucky enough to have. He died so young but your love was something that was so powerful and everlasting that it will never fade" Karen told her using her pointer finger to tip up Haley's chin and look her in the eyes. "Now come on let's get you ready so you don't regret not going to your husbands funeral," Karen told her standing up and holding a hand out for Haley to grab. Placing her hand in Karen's Haley looked at her lost.

Karen called the other woman in the room and got Haley dressed in a black dress and put light make up on her knowing that's how Nathan loved her make-up done, naturally. The 6 made their way to the living room where Lucas was waiting. The 7 then made their way to the funeral, as the day seemed to fly by with everyone coming up to Haley and giving their condolences. Soon it was time to lower the casket into the ground. As everyone gave their speeches Haley couldn't hear anything until all of a sudden a crack of lightning hit the sky and rain poured down drenching everyone.

Haley looked up into the sky and for the first time felt everything was going to be okay. They quickly lowered the casket and everyone left not wanting to be rained on as Haley stood in the middle of the cemetery the rain creating peacefulness inside her and James kicking. She knew it was going to be hard but the rain was their thing and she knew this was Nathan's way of saying he would always be there for them.

-----------------------------------------------------3 Months Later------------------------------------

After 10 excruciating pains of labor she was finally able to hold her young son in her arms. He looked exactly like Nathan, jet-black hair and piercing blue eyes, but with her nose. She couldn't believe she would be a single mom now with Nathan watching over them. "Daddy's always going to be with us, he loves us always and forever I promise." Haley said holding her young son in her arms. She grabbed the worn out book on the table next to a picture of their little family with James in her stomach and Nathan's arms wrapped around her taken a few days before he died. She turned to page 223 as Nathan looked down from Heaven and watched his little family as Haley read.

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, --- I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! --- and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death."