Until The Sun Wakes Up

Disclaimer: Don't own anything.

Rating: T

Spoiler: Based on 6.3 promo.

Song: "Have you ever seen the rain" by Creedence Clearwater Revival


Someone told me long ago there's a calm before the storm,
I know; its been coming for some time

She's experienced death before. She's experienced loss before and the pain that comes with it. This pain, she notes, is the kind that doesn't fade away with time, doesn't get replaced by closure, or even by happier memories. Instead, this particular pain lurks within the crevices of your mind, until it bubbles to the surface and explodes when you least expect it.

Peyton's had those moments of reliving the nightmare of losing her mom at eight years old periodically throughout her 22 years. Likewise, whenever she picked up a new Cure record, she'd catch herself thinking about Ellie, and the familiar stab of loss penetrated her heart.

Those moments were the worst.

Yet, she would suffer through lifetimes of those moments gladly just to take the look of pure anguish from her fiancé's face.

Pressing her palms deeper into the heated ceramic mug, she ponders how quickly everything changed.

They'd gone to bed exhausted but happy. It was their first night together as a live-in couple; however, instead of being awoken by the alarm clock or a bursting ray of sunlight, Lucas's cell phone rang at 2am.

At first she couldn't understand what transpired. One second, Lucas seemed irritated with the sleep interruption and the next his face was as white as the comforter. It was the next phrase that he spoke that changed it all.

"Quentin Fields was shot tonight. He is dead."

Her throat instantly ran dry and her body was suddenly too sluggish to move. She wanted to offer him support, something as simple as a hand on his shoulder, but when she blinked, he was out of the bed, and leaning against the dresser.

The night lamp bathed his figure in dim light and she watched helplessly as Lucas tried to make sense of what Nathan had just told him.

She'd watched in silence as the muscles on his back tensed as he tried with difficulty to reorganize his thoughts, to fit the news of Quentin's passing into his life.

When its over, so they say, it'll rain a sunny day,
I know; shining down like water.

It was then, as she watched him while struggling with her own words of comfort that Peyton remembered what Brooke had said to her just the night before, about being a good person and getting nothing in return.

Peyton now realized it was more difficult than ever to believe in karma, considering that the man she loved, an amazing man at that, was suffering unjustly, because yet again Tree Hill had lost a raven…

Now, an indefinable amount of time later, they sit at the kitchen table, bare arms and thighs touching as they nurse identical cups of cocoa.

It was her idea, because she remembers that when she found out about her mother's death, her dad made her some cocoa to help her calm down and even though she was pretty sure he'd done it as a last resort to relax her after having spent the day crying, she did hope it might have a calming effect on Lucas.

Except he has not touched the liquid and sits with a blank expression, presumably studying the grainy patterns on the table, but Peyton knows better.

She's seen that look before.

She's seen it in the mirror several times.

They haven't said much to each other since the telephone call and Peyton can't help but feel guilty.

All the times he managed to save her through the years and the first tragedy that hits him while he is with her and she can't do anything but pour him a cup of instant cocoa.

She feels like a failure, but then gets hit with another wave of guilt when she realizes how badly everyone else is hurting.

How somewhere a mother has lost her son, a boy has lost his older brother, a pack of ravens have lost one of their own, Haley has lost a student, and the Scott boys have suffered another loss in relation to basketball.

Mostly she thinks about how Brooke is probably right. What's the use in karma when innocent kids get shot for no reason?

She thinks she might lose herself inside her head when the silence is broken and Lucas speaks,

"I feel like I'm out of practice." He smirks and Peyton shivers, not because his voice is cold, but because he's trying so hard to stay strong, to find a median on which to talk about this, when she knows his mind is pulling him in a completely different direction.

She doesn't say anything, but reaches out and places her warm palm on his shoulder.

The coldness of his skin alarms her and she realizes he's sitting in just a pair of boxers and the AC is on full blast.

"Jesus you're cold. Let me get you a t-shirt." She doesn't wait for him to answer and tries to stand, but his hand is suddenly pulling her back.

It's the first sudden move he's made all night and she obeys instantly.

"No." He says, his eyes meeting hers in the dimness of the kitchen, "Stay." He pleads and she stays.

Because she realizes that this is his first admission of his need for her presence during this time. She lets a small sigh of relief pass her lips when she realizes that she has the privilege of having this man open up to her.

Yesterday, and days before, sun is cold and rain is hard,
I know; been that way for all my time.

It'd been so long that she's been given the opportunity to be his rock that she grabs onto it, dives into the moment, almost forgetting why this is all so necessary.

Yet the second she lets herself go, that familiar feeling of pain surges through her unexpectedly and she remembers that Lucas is the one that needs saving, because a seventeen year old boy's life was taken tonight.

When she sits down, she wraps her arms around his shoulders. He doesn't resist as she leans her head on his shoulder and drapes herself on him.

"What are you out of practice with?" She asks gently, tracing patterns on his forearm.

He tenses immediately, but then relaxes as he responds,

"Grief." He explains and her hold on him tightens, "I'm out of practice with grief. I haven't…I haven't lost anyone since…" His voice trails off but she knows he's talking about Keith and it's unnecessary for him to reiterate his pain to her.

She knows all too well.

She shuts her eyes and takes a deep breath, "You don't have to say anything Luke. I know."

He turns to her then, his blue eyes searching for hers and she touches his cheek just so he knows she's there, not just next to him, but there for him.

It seems to relax him even more and she's not sure how it happens but suddenly he's talking. His train of thought is leading him to places she doubts he's been able to visit in the last four years.

He talks about Keith, about Dan, about Karen's latest postcard, about hiding from his feelings for so long, about watching Jaime grow up, but most importantly he talks about Quentin.

Peyton met the boy briefly at Tric some months before, but she barely remembers, simply, because that night is forever burned in her memory as the night Lucas proposed to another woman.

As she listens to Lucas describe Quentin's achievements, his initial bad attitude, and his boyish confidence, Peyton wonders how quickly everything has really changed. She hadn't realized it quite as much before, but now she understands.

She understands that if things had turned out slightly differently, it would be Lindsay sitting here by Lucas's side, comforting him. So Peyton hugs him tighter and hopes to god that she could make him feel something other than that bone crushing pain for even a little while…

Till forever, on it goes through the circle, fast and slow,
I know; it cant stop, I wonder.

Hours later they've made it onto the couch in the living room and lay intertwined on the narrow space.

For some reason, Lucas refused to go back into the bedroom, as if he doesn't want to return to the scene of the crime, but Peyton doesn't mind.

The sun should be coming up any minute now and she knows she will be extending her self-scheduled break from work, but it doesn't mean Lucas and she will be sleeping much.

She'll be surprised if he sleeps for an hour.

He shifts slightly and she realizes that he in fact has dozed off.

I want to know, have you ever seen the rain?
I want to know, have you ever seen the rain
Coming down on a sunny day?

She looks at the clock on the wall and wonders if its too early to call Haley and check in, see how Nathan is doing, see how Haley herself is doing.

She decides against it and makes a mental note to call Brooke as soon as possible, because all of the sudden she has this horrible feeling that something is wrong with her best friend and she needs to make sure she is all right.

But first, she decides, she needs to take care of her boy, and instinctively she pulls him closer to her.

This causes him to open his eyes and shift his head so he's looking up at her.

"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to wake you up." She says and her voice comes out sleepy, though she's wide-awake and has been for hours.

"It's okay." He murmurs, "I shouldn't be sleeping anyway."

He tries to rise but it's her turn to pull him back down. She knows Lucas well enough to know that as soon as he gets up, he's going to shut himself off; he's going to try to take charge and be everyone's rock.

And she recognizes that there is very little that she can do in the way of stopping him, because he is Lucas Scott and he is the eternal savior for everyone. But for now, until at least the sun wakes up, she can hug him a little tighter and let him rest on her shoulder, because sometimes even the strongest of defenders needs a little saving…