I don't own it, nor do I own "Like a Knife" by Secondhand Serenade.

Great song. Lucas and Peyton are written all over it. Set the day after 5x17.

Work has been crazy stressful and my inspiration factor has been low. Hopefully I'll have updates available soon.

I dream a lot, I know you say
I've got to get away.
"The world is not yours for the taking"
Is all you ever say.
I know I'm not the best for you,
But promise that you'll stay.
Cause if I watch you go,
You'll see me wasting, you'll see me wasting away

"Lucas Eugene Scott!" Haley yells as she marches through his bedroom door. He groans and hugs his pillow closer to his body.

"Not now", he mutters. She scowls and pulls the blinds open. If he thinks she's leaving here without talking he's got another thing coming.

"Get up, Scott", she orders in her motherly tone. He groans once more and turns onto his back. He cracks his eyes open and tries to focus on his best friend.

"Stop moving", he says with a sleep filled voice. She rolls her eyes and sits beside him on the bed. He shakes the remaining bits of sleep off and sits up so that their shoulders are even.

"What's going on?" he asks as he rubs his eyes. Haley scoffs and thinks about where to start.

"What the hell did you say to Peyton last night?" she gets straight to the point. He furrows his brows and shakes his head.

"What are you talking about? I wasn't even with – oh crap", he says under his breath. She raises her eyebrows impatiently. He stays silent and she speaks;

"You hate her?" Haley asks with a mixture of disgust and disbelief.

As the words leave his best friends mouth, images of last night flash before his eyes. Drinking at TRIC, Peyton taking him home and putting him to bed, he vaguely remembers her whispering something to him and then kissing his temple delicately. Then the flood gates open and the next set of images tear his heart into pieces.

"I didn't mean it", he whispers. Haley bites her lip and grabs his hand sympathetically.

"You need to apologize to her. She's acting completely indifferent about it, but that killed her", Haley says sadly.

"I didn't . . . I – Lindsey's seeing someone else", he changes the topic. Haley sighs and nods her head.

"Nathan told me about the game", she admits. "You're lucky that Mouth was there and not some other reporter", she tells him seriously. He nods and Haley clears her throat before speaking again;

"I know you love Lindsey, but—"

"No", he says firmly as he shakes his head. "Don't tell me how I feel, Hales", he begs.

She figures that she should accept his pleads, but being his best friend she knows she doesn't have to. "Lucas, you need to figure out what you want. We're not sixteen anymore, you can't keep girls hanging in the air with the hope that they'll be it. You need to listen to your heart and stop being scared. Embrace that little voice in your head that's been telling you who you want for years", she says with a short smile as she bumps his shoulder.

He knows what she's getting at, but he doesn't want to acknowledge it. That voice hasn't always led him to the land of rainbows and sunshine. That voice can lean to pain and devastation. That voice can also lead to him admitting the truth.

"That voice is a scary thing to listen to", he mutters. She nods and throws her arm across his back.

"I know, but . . . missing out on that kind of love is even scarier", she whispers.

Cause today, you walked out of my life
Cause today, your words felt like a knife
I'm not living this life.

She sits at her desk and doodles random things on the paper in front of her. Her mind is all over the place. Last night, high school, three years ago. Everything is flashing before her green eyes and no matter how hard she tries she cannot escape the ghosts. Their voices haunt her.

What if? What could have been? What would have been?

She shakes her head and clamps her eyes shut in a desperate attempt to stop the tears. She's shed more than enough tears over Lucas Scott and she doesn't think she has it in her to cry anymore. When her eyes open her heart stops beating.

"Hey", he says sheepishly. She focuses her eyes back on the papers below her and hears him sigh.

He's completely expecting the silent treatment she's giving him. But he's not willing to back down. It took everything he had in him to come up to her office and there's no way he's leaving without talking to her.

He stuffs his hands into his pockets and shuffles his feet in her direction. "Peyton, I'm sorry about last night . . . I was drunk and upset—"

"Lucas", she sighs out. The last thing she wants to do is have this conversation. Honestly, all she wants to do is put on some of her loudest rock music and draw.

"No", he says as he shakes his head. "It's just that . . . I talked to Lindsey last night and she's seeing someone else."

His voice is at a whisper and Peyton raises her head to look at the broken man in front of her. "I'm sorry", she says sincerely and she hates herself for it. After everything that's happened he can still make her feel compassionate for him. She still wants to wrap him in her arms and hug away his pain.

"Thanks", he says with a gentle smile. "So, that's why I got so drunk and talked out of my ass—"

"Lucas, stop", she says demandingly.

"I didn't know what I was talking about and it wasn't even directed to you . . ." he continues to babble without recognition of her words.

"DAMNIT LUCAS!" she yells as she slams her hands flat on her desk and stands so fast her chair flies back.

He flinches at her sudden outburst and she's taken back also. She knows she was angry, but never in a million years did she expect to actually voice it. Her hands are trembling and it scares the hell out of him. He's never seen Peyton this angry before.

But he's also never told her he hates her before.

"God almighty", she shouts. "Do you ever listen when someone tells you they don't wanna hear your empty words and meaningless apologies?"

"Meaningless? Peyton, I'm trying to do the right thing here, but you won't let me!"

"The right thing?" she mimics in disgust. "You shouldn't be doing this because it's the right thing or to clear your fucking conscious! You should be doing it because you feel terrible for ever saying those words to me!"

They both let a silence fill the air and their ragged breaths are a betrayal of the stillness that lingers. They know that the feelings that are running through them would end in passion as opposed to the fury they're letting out. She swallows hard and drops a bomb.

"I'm leaving", she whispers.

He lets out a noise and shakes his head. This conversation went nowhere and he shouldn't be angry, but right now all that's filling his veins is fire and he couldn't care less about the fact that he needs to make her forgive him.

"Run like always", he mutters before leaving her alone in her office to shed the tears she desperately held on to.

Goodbyes are meant for lonely people standing in the rain
And no matter where I go it's always pouring all the same.
These streets are filled with memories
Both perfect and in pain
And all I wanna do is love you
But I'm the only one to blame.

The Rivercourt is a place that's always given him comfort and he hopes that still stands true. With his signature sweatshirt and an orange ball in his hands he jogs along the pathway that leads down to the blacktop.

He needs to clear his head for a while. He needs to be alone and not focus on the things he's said to Peyton. He needs to watch the ball go through the hoop and have that one minute be simple. Shoot the ball and it goes through the net. Nothing more and nothing less.

He looks up from the pavement and stops in his tracks.

So much for being alone.

She spins around at the sound of the bouncing ball and holds her arms tighter to her body. She's holding something in her hands, but he can't quite make it out. He notices her body language and shakes his head at the state of mind he's put her in. He takes a step forward and speaks; "Peyton, I'm sorry about earlier. I'm sorry about the other night too. I don't hate you."

"Really", she mumbles in disbelief. "Cause that's not what you said the other night."

He takes a step closer to her and can smell the paint in the air. "I was drunk; I didn't mean any of what I said."

"Drunk actions are sober thoughts", she murmurs as she shakes her head.

"Not in this case", he counters. "Peyton—"

She can't listen to his words anymore. She can't stand here and have him tell her things she's heard before and then act the exact opposite of them. She opens her mouth and cuts him off;

"I could never tell you I hated you. Even after everything we've been through, those words would never leave my mouth. I couldn't even fathom saying that to you. And you haven't ruined my life Lucas, you've made it so much better, you even made my favorite foods taste yummier", she whispers as a sob breaks through her throat.

His heart breaks and as he takes a closer step he finally sees what's in her hands. A can of spray paint. He frantically looks around the ground and the fresh blotch of black paint takes precedence of where her name once was.

"What is this?" he asks as he crouches down and runs his finger along the wet mark.

"I told you, I'm leaving", she says hoarsely. She wipes at her eyes and works out the cry that's in her throat. She needs to be stronger then this. She is stronger then this.

"I didn't think you were serious", he says honestly.

"Well, I am. I'm going to LA. John wants to set up an office for me. If all goes well I might stay there."

The civil conversation they're having might seem off base for most people, but for them it's common. Have a blowout, act like normal, make-out and fight again. But this time, they wouldn't reach the make-out point.

"Why would you paint over your name?"

"I figured you didn't want another reminder of what ruined your life. You should be glad that I'm erasing myself from this place", she says bitterly.

"Peyton, don't do this. Don't go", he says before he can stop himself.

She shakes her head. Leave it to Lucas Scott to confuse her even more. He hates her, but doesn't want her to leave. She ruined his life, but shouldn't have painted over her name. This is why she's leaving. She cannot allow him to keep building her up only to knock her down again.

"I leave in a week. I'll leave an advance on the rent with Brooke; you can pick it up after I'm gone."

He can hear her walking away, but he can't bear to look at her.

She's slowly working her way out of his life.

And it's his entire fault.

Cause today, you walked out of my life
Cause today, your words felt like a knife
I'm not living this life.

He walks into his best friend and brother's house and slams the door behind him. It's been days since the incident at the Rivercourt and Peyton refuses to take any of his calls.

Haley pokes her head around the corner and smiles faintly at Lucas. She looks over at her husband and quickly sends a prayer to whoever is listening; she doesn't want this to result in a fight.

"Hey Luke", she says brightly as he enters the kitchen.

"She's leaving!" he yells.

There's no questioning who the 'she' is. They are all more than aware of the impending departure of their favorite curly blonde. They're less then thrilled, but they also know that they can't keep her where she doesn't want to be.

"You knew that", Haley says with a confused voice. Nathan keeps his eyes glued on the newspaper because he knows that if he speaks it will only get him into trouble.

"No, but – yeah I knew, but I apologized and I asked her not to and she's still doing it!" he says incredulously.

Nathan drops the paper and opens his mouth; screw getting into trouble.

"Can you blame her?" he asks heatedly. Haley sends him a pleading look and he scoffs. "Why is everyone so worried about hurting his feelings when he constantly toys with her?"

"Nathan", Haley warns.

"No, let him talk, Hales", Lucas says in anger. He folds his arms over his chest and waits for his younger brother to enlighten him on the current situation he's in.

Nathan smirks and takes a step forward. His older brother seems to think he'll cut him some slack; is he forgetting that Nathan went sixteen years without cutting him any slack?

"You repeatedly stomp on her heart and throw it back in her face and you're shocked that she doesn't wanna jump into your arms and get carried off into the sunset?" he asks rhetorically.

"That's not what this is about", the older Scott says with defiance.

"Alright, if you say so, but we both know what's going on in the back of your head."

"Why don't you tell me what's going on with me, Dr. Nathan", he says with a smirk.

"You want Peyton, but you're scared. You're secretly hoping that Lindsey is lying about having someone else because then you can pick her and be safe. You can live a life in contentment because you can never have your heart broken again."

His words touch a nerve and Lucas shakes his head. "Why is that?"

"Lindsey doesn't have your heart, Lucas", his younger brother says simply.

"I'm not doing this", Lucas mutters and turns to leave the house.

"She's strong, Lucas. Probably one of the strongest women I know, but you cannot keep up this hot and cold attitude. If she's what you want, great! If she's not then leave her alone", Nathan begs softly.

But what do I know; if you're leaving
All you did was stop the bleeding.
But these scars will stay forever,
These scars will stay forever
And these words they have no meaning
If we cannot find the feeling
That we held on to together
Try your hardest to remember

She walks past the bar in TRIC. A cardboard box is in her hands and she's dressed in a simple pair of sweats. She's leaving tomorrow and needs a few things from her office to bring to LA. She steps into her office without turning a light on when a voice surprises her.


He's sitting in her chair at her desk and his eyes are firmly planted on the computer screen in front of him. She doesn't answer him, mostly because she doesn't feel the need to, but also because she doesn't know what the hell he's talking about.

"How can you still love me?" he asks quietly. She raises her eyebrows and lets out a puff of air. Figuring that he's been drinking again she sits at her desk and folds her hands atop it.

"What are you talking about?" she diverts the question completely and fiddles with a random pen.

"After everything I've said to you . . . after everything I've done . . . you still love me?" the last four words come out as a question because although a few weeks ago she was very much in love with him, at this moment he has no idea where they stand on that issue.

She stares at him the whole time he speaks, but he doesn't once lift his head from her computer screen. She wants to lie to him and watch his face crumble; at least she hopes it would. She wants to tell him he means nothing to her, but that would bring her down to his level and she's better then that.

She smiles sadly and speaks; "Because, when I was eighteen and had the world at my feet . . . I told you I was going to love you forever. The end of forever hasn't come yet", she says dryly. His eyes quickly dart to hers and she sighs – he obviously wasn't appreciative of her sarcasm.

"Lucas, my love for you can't waver. I may want it to, but even in your darkest hours its still there", she says without really thinking of her words. She plays with the pen between her pointer finger and her thumb and can feel his eyes on her, but doesn't dare to meet the blue ones that haunt her dreams.

He doesn't know how she knows the phrase from his book, but he doesn't care. Even in his darkest hours he knew in his heart that someday it would return to him. The words play over in his head and he cannot keep his eyes off of her. Someday. That word was so simple and yet so complex. It basically ended their relationship when it could have prolonged it. Someday was a word that would follow him around till the day he died. He didn't understand it when she uttered the words to him, but in writing it seemed so clear. Someday it would return to him.

"I'm sorry", he whispers with the sudden tightening of his heart. It's like a slap in the face. She hadn't said no. She wouldn't say no. She simply needed time.

His eyes gloss over and Peyton takes in a deep breath. The non-existent smell of alcohol makes this situation much more involved. He knows what he's saying and he'll remember it all tomorrow. She could leave it alone, but a part of her is curious as to what exactly he's thinking.

"Sorry for what?" she asks as she stands and moves to his side of the desk. He looks at her one last time and then quickly glances at her computer. He stands before she can reach him and is practically at the door before he speaks again;

"All sorts of things", he says as he shrugs his shoulders.

She opens her mouth, but he's gone before she can respond. She shakes her head and desperately tries to steady her rapidly beating heart, but soon her eyes catch what he was staring at and she can feel the tears welling in her eyes.

Her screensaver is old photo montage of them.

Stay with me,
Or watch me bleed,
I need you just to breathe.

He's sitting in an incredibly uncomfortable plastic chair in the Tree Hill airport. He's been here for hours and at this point the only flight left is the red-eye. He should have figured she'd try to make a quiet getaway. His eyes glance up to the clock and he sighs. The plane leaves in an hour. In an hour she'll be out of his life.

He isn't sure he's strong enough to watch her walk away.

The automatic doors open and he turns his head. Peyton Sawyer strolls in with a bag over her shoulder and a wheeling suitcase trailing behind her. She spots him and he can see her eyes change.

"What are you doing here?" she asks as she approaches his chair. He thinks she's going to stop, but as she keeps walking he knows that her question was something she was speaking aloud as opposed to speaking it to him. He stands and quickly walks in front of her.

"Peyton, you can't leave", he says firmly. She furrows her brows and purses her lips.

"Why not?"

"Because . . . you just can't", he offers lamely.

She rolls her eyes, clearly not impressed with his reasoning. "Luke, I don't have time for this", she mumbles as she starts to walk past him.

"Peyton, you're doing great things here", he says in a panic as he steps in front of her once more.

"I can do greater things in LA", she says as she goes to walk past him once more.

Again he moves in front of her. "Brooke, Haley, Nathan, and Jamie all want you to stay. I want you to stay."

His last sentence lights a fire under her and she can feel her heart rate increasing. It's always about him and what he wants and when he wants it.

"Today. You want me to stay today", she sneers. "You want me around when Lindsey isn't an option anymore", he sees the hurt flash through her green eyes, but her posture remains strong.

"Peyton, that's not true", he argues.

"Yes it is", she says despondently. She's had this conversation with too many people for the argument to actually mean anything to her anymore. She shuffles her feet and soon enough her heels are clicking against the tiles of the airport.

"I just – I just want you", he says quietly. She stops mid-stride and turns to face him. He swallows hard. He doesn't know if him saying those things will have her yelling or crying and he honestly doesn't know which he would prefer.

"How do I know that?" she asks him. He raises a brow and she continues. "You never know . . . Lindsey might call again and tell you that she isn't seeing someone else. Hell, you've been hanging out with Brooke a lot lately."

"Brooke and I are just friends", he cuts her off. She leaves her bags on the floor and walks towards him. Because it's so late there aren't many people in the airport and she's grateful because that would make this a lot more uncomfortable.

"You wanted me in junior year and when I couldn't do that, you wanted Brooke. Then you decided you wanted me again, but you can't let go of Brooke. After we both don't want you, you want the bar slut. After Nikki it still kinda seems like you want me, but you leave and come back – wanting Brooke. Most of senior year was filled with you wanting her. Jump forward, past high school and you want Lindsey. I come back and everyone is convinced otherwise. Now, she's gone and you want me again."

He's completely speechless because even though he wants to disagree, he can't. She's summed up their entire relationship in less then five minutes. She's right about everything, except one important point.

The feelings he's had for the other girls faded, but his love for her has always been a constant.

He opens his mouth to tell her that, but before he can the voice over a loudspeaker announces the last flight to Los Angeles for the night. They both glance at the metal announcer before their eyes lock with each other. She walks over and picks up her bags.

"Please don't leave", he whispers. She eyes him for a moment and considers dropping her back where they are and jumping into his arms, but she doesn't know that it's what he'll want two years from now and she can't handle him leaving her again. She opens her mouth and when she speaks her voice matches his tone;

"Figure out what you want."

He watches her walk away from him and suddenly the world seems emptier. The life he once knew doesn't make sense. Whatever direction he was heading in is lost. His belief in God is diminished and art has no meaning.

His comet's gone.

It may never return.

And he's realized all of this far too late.

Cause today, you walked out of my life
(Stay with me, or watch me bleed)
Cause today, your words felt like a knife
(I need you just to breathe.)
I'm not living this life

Don't know how I feel about it. Let me know what you think!