Title: Philosophy

Rating: PG-13

Summary: "It tells him a lot that she assumes his great heartbreak was Peyton, not Lindsay… not her."

Author's Note: What? I still like One Tree Hill? How did that happen? Anyway, here's a new story that takes off when Lucas asks Brooke to stay. If you're a BLer, you know when I mean. Expect this story to be more based upon dialogue than action. If you've read my work before, you know that already, though. Chapter fic. Enjoy.

Disclaimer: I don't own anything related to OTH or Brand New, to whom the lyrics belong.

this story's old but it goes on and on until we disappear...

He decides it's not because of the baby about thirty minutes in. He's always loved kids, and this dark eyed little doll is no exception, but it's something else.

It's something about the way she keeps tucking her hair behind her ear when she bends over her designs that makes him ask her to say. He remembers her telling him once that he had so much grace in the moment that he forgave her for breaking his trust. That's how he feels now. He feels like he can forgive her again, for things that he didn't even know he'd been holding onto; for things that she probably never even thinks about. He can forgive her for giving up on them back in high school, and for not calling him, and for forgetting his birthday four out of the five last years. He can even forgive her for pushing him towards Peyton when Peyton was the last thing he wanted.

He can let go of all those things now, just because she's here. He's glad, so he tells her so.

"Me too," she says, not looking up. Then she pauses, and sets down her drawings.

"You know, even though I've been back for awhile now... there's something different about being here right now. It's like... before, I wasn't really here, you know? Like even though I came back, I never really came back."

"I know what you mean," says Lucas, and he does. The difference between living and existing is a familiar one for him.

"I thought you would," she smiles at him.

"Brooke, can I ask you a question?" he says after a moment.

"Sure," she yawns, stretching her hands above her head.

"How do you tell the difference between something that actually exists and something that you think exists only because you want it so much?"

"Wow, that's a pretty philosophical question for such a late hour," she says with a smirk. He thinks she looks uncomfortable.

"That's a pretty big word for Brooke Davis," he jabs lightly.

She chuckles, looking relieved at his lighthearted speech.

"I don't know if I love Lindsay," he blurts out, and then quickly looks down at the baby sleeping in his arms. He brushes a thin lock of dark hair off her forehead.

"Um… wow, Luke," she says, crossing her arms over her chest. "I don't quite know what to say. I mean, I think that's something that only you can really know, so…"

"But how do I know?" he persists. "That's what I need you to tell me. How can I know if I really love her or if I just want somebody?"

"I don't know if I'm really the best person to ask," she says after a long moment.

"You're always so sure of yourself, Brooke," says Lucas. He thinks he may be pushing too hard, but he can't stop himself. "You are who you are, right? No apologies? I want to know how you do that. I want to know how you can be so sure of who you are and who you love."

"I'm not," she says, staring down at her hands. "I mean, usually, I'm just as clueless as you. I think the difference between us is that I don't question myself the way you do. I get a feeling, and I just go with it. I don't hold myself back. I don't ask myself if it's the right thing to do; I just do it."

"That's what I love about you," Lucas muses a second later. "And that's also why I'm jealous of you. I wish I was more like that."

"Why?" she asks dryly, leaning back from her place on the floor to stare at the ceiling. "Where has it gotten me? Every relationship I've ever had has ended poorly and not on my terms. You're the one who should be giving me advice. You're always so in control of everything in your life. You've never gotten your heart broken."

"I did once," he says softly.

"God, I'm sorry, Luke," she says quickly, sitting up to look at him. "That was really insensitive of me. I remember how crushed you were when Peyton turned down your proposal."

He looks back into her eyes for a moment before mumbling a short response she seems to understand as affirmative. It tells him a lot that she assumes his great heartbreak was Peyton, not Lindsay… not her.

"I don't know," she says after a moment. "I don't think I have things figured out anymore than you do."

"You're incredibly successful, Brooke, and everyone loves you…"

"And I'm also incredibly alone, and no one is in love with me."

They are both silent.

"I guess we're kind of in the same boat after all," says Lucas finally.

"So maybe it doesn't really matter whether you wear your heart on your sleeve or keep it locked up in a box, because it all ends just the same" she says, smiling a bit sardonically at him. "And on that depressing note, I'm just going to assume you've had enough of my advice and take this little one home."

"No, stay," he repeats himself, almost too quickly.

She looks a bit taken aback.

"I just… I need a friend right now," says Lucas, choosing his words carefully. "And I think you do too."

She bites her lip and nods slowly.

"So stay," he says again, patting the seat beside him on the couch. Angie doesn't stir as he shifts positions to let Brooke curl up against him.

She's silent as she cuddles up next to him, and lets him ease the three of them into a horizontal position.

"I'm happy, Luke," she whispers later, just as he is about to doze off. "And so are you, I think. We just forget it sometimes."

He nods against her head.

But when her breathing gets deeper, and she relaxes fully against his chest, he's still wide-awake.