I still don't own it, just like I don't own "Apologies" by Grace Potter & the Nocturnals. I don't own "Hands Down" by Dashboard Confessional either.

This is five years after 5x12. What if Lindsey had said 'I do'? What if Peyton had left as a result? A little off base, but I'm trying something different. I've got two other one-shots in my mind; one that I really want to get done because I love the song, but I'm having a hard time forming my thoughts with it.


Yesterday he said my eyes
Were fading fast away
I said well what do you expect
You asked me not to stay and if it had all been for the best
I wouldn't feel this way
And he said

"So, it has two bedrooms and another small . . ."

Peyton follows the elderly woman around the decent size apartment. It's not that she doesn't appreciate the private tour; she just doesn't think it's needed. She wants the apartment. She needs a place to live.

She's spent the past five years traveling. Going from state to state and city to city. She's seen nobody's become somebody's. For the past five years she's watched other people's dreams come true.

For the past five years she's waited for her own dreams to come true.

"Now, I should let you know that there's another person who has their eye on this", she says with a wobbly voice; one that some older people have.

"Well, worse come to worse I wouldn't mind a roommate."

She's been in Tree Hill for the past four days. Coming home again was the most petrifying and exhilarating experience of her life. It had been five years since she left and although she knows things have changed; it all looked the same.

"Well, the roommate would be a male", she says with worried eyes.

Peyton chuckles that the innocence Ms. Alden exudes. She's a sweet and considerate woman; she's also unmarried. She wonders if this if what her life will become in twenty years. Will she be the woman who sits in her apartment and feeds her cats more times than they need it?

"Umm, that's fine. I've lived with guys before", she says softly as she shakes those future thoughts from her head.

Ms. Alden nods her head and Peyton feels the need to elaborate; something about older people judging her is unsettling. She tells her that she's been on tour buses and in cramped hotel rooms. She's dealt with men before and that this shouldn't be a problem.

Ms. Alden looks a bit frightened and she opens her mouth; "Music? Loud music?" she asks.

Peyton shakes her head. "I leave the loud stuff at the office. Besides, I'm trying to focus on my other hobby", the two woman walk around the apartment; stopping at the closed door.

"Well, you might have a little competition with that, this man has a hobby of his own", she says with a warning glance. She turns the knob and the door opens with a gentle creek. Peyton steps inside and is immediately taken back.

"This room is amazing", she whispers. It's white and a little bland, but the windows are huge and the light pouring causes Peyton to squint her eyes. She needs this room.

She needs this room to draw.

"This would be the perfect room for you to practice your hobby in", Ms. Alden says. Peyton nods. "Just as long as you beat him out of it", she smiles.

"Don't worry, I plan on it", Peyton says with determination. They take another moment and after she takes one last mental image of how all her supplies will look in this room she tells Ms. Alden they can move on.

"So, this roommate of yours . . . he's divorced. Has been for a few years", the woman says with a sad shake of her head. "Said he figured it was about time he moved out of his mother's house."

Peyton rolls her eyes. "It's a wonder he's alone", she mumbles.

"He's quite sweet actually."

They all are, Peyton wants to say, but she simply nods her head. At this point all she wants to do it sign the papers, shake Ms. Alden's hand, and start moving in.

"Handsome too", the older woman says with a smile. "Light hair, light eyes. Are you single?"

She has to resist the urge to roll her eyes. Leave it to a grandmother figure to try to set something up.

"Yes, I'm single, but I don't really see anything happening", she says quietly.

The truth is she hasn't had a serious relationship in close to eight years. As she thinks about that realization she groans; she's pathetic. But it's not her fault really, when someone ruins your belief in love and guys what are you supposed to do?

"You never know, this could be fate", she says with a warm smile. Peyton snorts.

She stopped believing in fate the day Lucas Scott got married.

Oh he said its crazy
How love stays with me
You know it hurts me
Cause I don't wanna fight this war
It's amazing to see me reading through this scene
Of love and fear and apologies

Lucas grumbles as he put the key into the lock. The lock to an apartment he's living in, with someone else as he learned the other day. It opens with ease and he kicks it shut behind him. The music automatically fills his ears.

"Great", he mutters. "A loud, crazy, rocker; just the kind of roommate a writer needs."

Divorce is an ugly word and it's an even uglier action. He and Lindsey had done their best to make it work; they lasted for an entire year before she couldn't handle anymore. Apparently he was emotionally distant. He scoffed at the time, but he can honestly say that he was never more distant than after the wedding.

It was because Peyton left.

The answer was plain and simple. It may have taken him a while to find it, but once he did there was no letting that go. The last six months of his marriage with Lindsey had been filled with him falling asleep with Peyton on his mind and waking up with her name at the tip of his tongue.

He walks down the hall with his luggage on his arms; ironically enough it's the luggage he got for his wedding. The music becomes familiar as he get closer and not familiar in the 'I've heard this before' sense, but in the 'I've lived this before' sense. Like a moment in time was coming back to him. This song and this beat made his head spin and he couldn't for the life of him remember why.

My hopes are so high,
that your kiss might kill me.
So won't you kill me,
so I die happy.

He turns the corner to his roommate's room and his bags fall to the floor. He's suddenly brought back to that day and that feeling and that look.

He can feel his heart jump into his throat and fly out of his mouth. She's painting her room a scarlet red and he can feel his pulse quicken. It's been five years, five long years and the fact that they're now sharing an apartment . . .

It has to be fate. Right?

She's in her own world. Completely unfazed by the fact that he's stepped into the room and is slowly walking in the direction of the stereo. He turns it off with a click and Peyton's about to snap her head around with a glare, but she remembers that she needs the other room.

"Sorry about that, sometimes I turn it up a little", she says politely; it's a tone that Lucas has never heard leave her lips and it causes him to roll his eyes.

"It's okay", he mutters with a gruff voice. He scared that if she knows it's him before they see each other she'll force him from the room and leave immediately.

She furrows her brows. The voice isn't familiar, but the tone it. It's gentle and smooth despite its scratchy quality. She shakes her head and puts down her brush. She wipes her hands on her canvas overalls and speaks as she turns;

"I'm Peyton S—"

Her last name dies on her lips as she looks the face she never wanted to see again. The blue eyes that haunt her dreams. The smile that still has the ability to make her want to smile.

The man she will forever be in love with.

"Sawyer", he finishes for her. "I know."

Goddamn fate.

My love is like a blanket
That gets a little bit too warm sometimes
I wanna wrap somebody in it
Who can hold me in his arms
Cause when it got a little too hot in there
He was always stepping out for air and he froze
Oh he froze

Peyton sits on her bed with her legs up against the wall. She's on the phone with her best friend. She's lived at the apartment for a few weeks now and it's Christmas Eve. She rolls her eyes as Brooke's raspy voice tells her to come over for the night.

"Brooke, you and Owen should spend your first Christmas Eve as a married couple alone", she stresses.

Brooke sighs and begrudgingly agrees, but she warns that she had better be over the house tomorrow. And then she asks how Lucas is doing.

Peyton sighs this time. Since they moved into the apartment and they've developed a typical roommate relationship. Casual pleasantries, polite notes scribbled in a rush to the other person; basically it was as if they had just met.

But in a way they had.

They didn't know each other anymore and Peyton's not too sure she knew him at all. The Lucas Scott she knew in high school never would have broken her heart without so much as batting an eyelash.

The Peyton he's been living with was a cut out version of the one he knew five years ago. She's more independent. She's free spirited. She's fine. Just like he knew she would be.

"You tell him you love him yet?"

Brooke asks the question so casually that it would seem as if she asked about the weather. Peyton chuckles at the bluntness her best friend exudes. She may be Brooke Harper, but she's still Brooke Davis at heart.

"Whatever ship Lucas and I had sailed a long time ago", Peyton says defiantly. She hears Lucas's loud laugh and it makes her smile. She stands from the bed and walks to her closed door.

"Besides, he's newly divorced—"

"He's been divorced for three and a half years", Brooke counters.

Peyton groans and knows there isn't a way around this argument. She steps into the hallway and is just shy of the living room. The only thing she can hear is Brooke's raspy lecturing.

"Hales, you and Nathan and Jamie and Becca should enjoy your Christmas Eve together. I'll be over tomorrow", he promises. Haley sighs and before she hangs up she asks him one last thing.

"You tell her you love her yet?"

Lucas sighs and pinches the bridge of his nose. His best friend has never been one for subtly. It's Christmas Eve and this isn't the conversation he envisioned them having.

"Peyton and I were a long time ago", he says simply. Haley laughs and it's a kind of 'yeah sure' laugh. He can hear Peyton chuckle and his lips curve upward.

"Besides I'm newly divorced . . ."

"Luke, it's been three and a half years", Haley says with a stretched out tone.

The opening credits role and he rushes Haley off the phone. His favorite movie is on and even though he's watched it every year, he never gets tired of it. Haley hangs up with a sigh and Lucas happily puts the phone on vibrate.

Peyton hangs up on Brooke simply because her nagging had become too much. She walks into the living room and locks eyes with Lucas. They stay like that for a moment and they both let their minds wander. This is their Christmas together as a couple. They'll cuddle on the couch now and make love into the early Christmas morning. Peyton blinks and the moment is gone.

"It's A Wonderful Life?" she asks as she sits beside him. In reality it's the opposite end of the couch, but to Peyton it's pretty damn close.

Lucas raises a brow at her distance, but at the same time he's not surprised. It's not like she's going to curl up in his lap and watch the movie together in that way . . . even if it was what he's hoping for.

"It's a classic", he argues. She smirks and rolls her eyes. "Hey! It's my—"

"Favorite movie, I know", she finishes without a second thought.

He's silent for a long time and simply stares at her. She looks older than she did the last time he saw her and he doesn't mean that literally; she's matured in her looks. Her curls are back and they have that dark hint to them that made his heart pound when he first saw her that night at the Rivercourt. Her body has filled out and she's no longer the twig she used to be; her curves are glorious.

She still seems completely unfazed by what she's said because her eyes are fixed on the television and not in a purposeful way. Words are leaving his mouth before he can comprehend them.

"You remember?" he asks in awe. Her head snaps to his and she feels herself blush.

"I, well . . . we were friends – it's a great movie; when we . . ."

She stops her nervous ramblings and can feel her breath catch at the look Lucas is giving her. She's seen that look before. She licks her lips before inching closer to him. Their breath is mingled and Peyton closes her eyes in anticipation. She brushes her nose against his and Lucas's eyes snap open.

He backs away and retreats to his room.

He said its crazy
How love stays with me
You know it hurts me
Cause I don't wanna fight this war
It's amazing to see me reading through this scene
Of love and fear and apologies

It's been months since that near kiss and things have been tensed around the Sawyer/Scott apartment. He knows he shouldn't have pulled away before they kissed, but he figured it was for the best. Them kissing usually ended in some type of disaster and considering they need to live together, that was the last thing he wanted.

He's done everything he can to make up for it and she always smiles politely and thanks him. None of it's genuine and he knows that. She feels embarrassed and she's angry and he can't really blame her.

But he's hoping to alleviate this tension tonight.

He hears the front door shut and he jumps from his bed. It's her birthday and she's just getting in from Brooke's house. He was there too, but left early; saying he wasn't feeling too great.

She kicks her heels off by the door and pulls her curls into a loose pony. She had a few drinks at Brooke and Owens house, but not enough to be drunk. She wasn't even really drinking to celebrate. They were more of congratulations on being 27 and alone round of shots.

"Hey", the voice makes her groan inwardly. Ever since the near kiss he's been over nice to her and although she gets that he feels guilty it's incredibly annoying. He could have simply kissed her that night and they wouldn't have this problem now.

"Hey", she replies less than enthusiastically. He sighs and follows after her figure. They pass the door that had been the selling point for each of them and Peyton stops in her tracks.

That red bow is new.

She looks over at Lucas who has his hands stuffed into his pockets. Bravely she opens the door and is stunned at what she sees: a drawing desk, an easel, new paints and oils and charcoal and markers.

It's her art room.

"Happy birthday", Lucas says shyly.

He turns to leave the room and she watches his back. Before she can stop them, words are spilling from her mouth. "Hey Lucas!" she calls out.

He stops and faces her with a tender smile. She can feel her heart burst, but her face remains stoic. "How come you didn't put up a fight for this room?" she asks with a raised brow.

He looks around at the stark white walls and can imagine all the amazing things she'll place on them. The pictures and paintings. The things that make Peyton who she is. The things that inspire him.

"Because your art matters."

He says it simply and before Peyton can thank him, he's gone.

Yesterday he looked at me
With a tear in his eye and said
I'll always tell you you're my friend
I hope I don't have to lie
Cause it's clear you love another man
I said you're damn right
And he said

"You have a date?" he asks.

They've been living together for a year at this point and consider each other friends. Friends that talk to each other. Friends that talk over issues with work. Friends that sit up and watch late night infomercials with each other.

Friends with an extreme amount of underlying sexual tension.

"Yeah", she says with hesitation. She pushes her hoop earring through the hole in her ear and lets out a breath.

"Oh", he says before moving from her doorframe. She sighs and rubs her temples. This was exactly why she was hoping to leave the house without him noticing. She tucks her curls behind her ears and stands to follow him.

They've lived together for a year and he's never shown an interest; other than almost kissing her, but that was months ago. She needs to move on and that realization wasn't easy for her, but it needs to be done.

"Lucas", she says softly as she raps at his closed door. She waits patiently for him to call out to her, but when nothing is done she sighs and turns the knob. "Alright, this is ridiculous", she says as she walks into the room she's seen a handful of times.

He's sitting on the bed with his head in his hands and his elbows on his knees. Before she can think twice, she's at his side and gently places a hand on his back.

"What's wrong?"

He rolls his eyes and shakes his head. What's wrong is that he's lost her. He's never going to have her again and it's his entire fault. What's wrong is that he loves her and he's too damn scared to admit it to her. He raises his head and meets her wide eyes. That's when it hit him.

He's said all that out loud.

Peyton stands and shakes her head. This isn't happening. This can't be happening. They've gone an entire year without talking about why he divorced or why she left so suddenly and he wants to do that now?

"Because it's you, Peyton. Yesterday, today, and tomorrow. It's always you."

She opens her mouth and closes it quickly. The words she wants to tell him are banging against her closed lips. She loves him too. She wants nothing more than to be with him. She wants it all and more with him.

But she doesn't dare utter a sound.

"I know that this might seem sudden, but trust me when I say it isn't", he's rambling and he knows it. "Have you read my second book?" he asks.

She has.

She knows all about the scientist and the comet. She knows all about the little boy who longed for his belief in God and love and art to be restored. She knows all about the book that was written for her.

When she doesn't answer him he continues to talk. "This isn't a random thing", he promises. "This isn't because you're going on a date – I mean it is, but its not that you're going out with someone else, it's that you're going out with someone else", he hears the sentence leave his mouth and he wants to smack himself. There's no way she knows what he means.

But she does.

If he was going out tonight she doesn't know how she would handle it. She doubts she would have told him the things he's telling her now, but that's where they're different. When faced with the prospect of losing the person they love, he stands up and says something – she sits back and lets him be happy.

"I'm sorry for everything that's happened the last few years. I'm sorry that I married Lindsey when I knew I shouldn't have. I'm sorry that I let you think I didn't care about you. I'm sorry that we lost contact", he apologizes for everything he can think of and when he still gets no response he says the last three things he can think of;

"I love you."

Those words are like fire in her ears and it snaps her from the daze she's in. The walls are closing in around her and she can't breathe. She shakes her head and thanks whoever's watching down on her when the doorbell rings.

"That's Mark; I have to go", are the only words she speaks to him before she leaves him standing alone in his room.

He said its crazy
How love stays with me
You know it hurts me
Cause I don't wanna fight this war
It's amazing to see me reading through this scene
Of love and fear and apologies

She's sitting in the fancy restaurant pushing her food around her plate. Mark is talking about something that she supposes she should find interesting, but she doesn't have it in her to care.

The only thing she can think about is how prissy this place is. The small, hole in the wall diner across the street looks perfect right now. The movie they went to earlier was boring; who can enjoy a movie while they try to read the subtitles? The new comedy that was out sounded hilarious. The car they drove around Tree Hill was loud and obnoxious. It was nice enough to walk.

She knows that Lucas would think all the same things.

"So then he says 'why don't you do it yourself?' and I said I'm your boss, do it or you're fired", he laughs menacingly and Peyton cringes.

How the hell did she find this tool attractive?

"I'm sorry", she mumbles. "I have to go", she says while standing from her chair.

Marks face falls and he stands with her. "So then this doesn't mean you wanna come back to my place?" She laughs in his face and grabs her shawl before leaving the restaurant.

The walk home isn't a long one and part of her wishes it was because when she walks through the front door and sees him sitting on the couch with a bottle of whiskey her heart breaks into a million pieces.

"Lucas", she whispers.

His head snaps to her and his eyes are cold. "Early night?" he says bitterly.

She ignores his comment and speaks with a shaky voice;

"Even in his darkest hours he knew in his heart that someday it would return to him and his world would be whole again and his belief in God, and love, and art would be reawakened in his heart", by the time she's done silent tears are streaming down her face and he's on his feet in seconds.

"I knew it was about me, but I was too scared to say anything to you. You're the only person who knows how to make me happy and completely crush me at the same time", she whispers as a sob breaks free.

"Peyt", he says affectionately as he reaches a hand up and wipes at her tears.

"I read it the second it was put out, Lucas and I'm so proud of everything you've accomplished. I'm sorry that we lost touch all those years and I'm sorry that I was too scared to tell you not to marry Lindsey – to make sure that you didn't marry her. I'm sorry I've been so bratty lately and I'm sorry that I went out on a date tonight."

He cups her face in his large hands and lets out a steady breath. Before he can ease her concerns and tell her that he doesn't blame her for feeling that way, that it doesn't matter what the past was like because this is the present and it's all about them, she speaks again;

"I love you too."

This time when she goes to kiss him he doesn't dare to move. Their lips meet and Peyton sighs contently.

It's taken six years, but her dreams are finally coming true.

He said it's crazy
How love stays with me
You know it hurts me
That I didn't figure it out before
And now it's too late for a soliloquy
It's way too late for dignity
It's time for apologies


I've been going one-shot crazy lately. Let me know what you think!