I don't own it, nor do I own "Everything" by Lifehouse.

I'm completely in love with this song!

So, I'm not going to make empty promises about an update for Keep Holding On, there is something written, but it's like a page and its all about Leyton. A chapter will come . . . eventually. This takes place right after the shooting, episode 3x17. For the sake of the story, Larry Sawyer won't be back.

Rated M for a reason!

Find me here
And speak to me
I want to feel you
I need to hear you

She stands in the hallway, her eyes slowly searching for the one person she wants to see right now. It's nearing the end of the day and she hasn't had a chance to talk to him since the scene he caused earlier. She closes her locker and turns slowly to walk in the other direction. When her crutch falls she curses silently and carefully bends down to retrieve it.

She's close, close enough to grab it, but her damn leg gives out on her and she can feel her body getting closer to the floor. She shuts her eyes and prepares for the pain that's sure to follow, but she never feels it. A strong pair of arms wraps around her waist; she doesn't have to open her eyes to know who it is.

He's saved her yet again.

He stands her up and makes sure she's leaning against the row of lockers before he bends and hands the metal object to her. She smiles softly, almost afraid to show him any other emotion. When a ghost of a smirk graces his lips she feels her heart leap.

"Be careful."

They're the only two words that pass between either of them before Brooke calls out to him delicately. She's been on pins and needles around the blonde and Peyton doesn't blame her. They don't know what's going on in his head. They don't know how he'll react to different things.

But she knows how he is, she's the same way.

She watches as he walks in the direction of his girlfriend and Peyton feels her heart ache. She quickly pushes that feeling away and turns around to face her classroom. Even though she's confident that she knows how he feels, she doesn't always know what he's thinking.

A million of her own questions for him run through her mind. Does he miss Keith? Does he want to talk about it? Does he really think Jimmy did it? Does he wish it were Dan instead? And there's one question that haunts her daily;

Would he still come into the school if he knew Keith would die?

You are the light
That's leading me
To the place
Where I find peace again

A party in the school.

Leave it to Brooke Davis to throw a party after the death of two people. Peyton knows it was done with the best intentions, but this just isn't something that should be happening. Two people died in their hallway and she was shot. As she sits on the floor, the stain is a constant reminder of the fact that she almost died too.

Her eyes burn as she thinks about that day and she rests her head against the book shelf behind her. She's been in here for a while and nobody's come to look for her, not that she expects anyone to. Nathan and Haley are mending their last remaining issues. Brooke's been so consumed with Lucas that she hasn't even talked to Peyton. She's not really friends with Rachel. And Lucas has a million things going on in his life that the last thing she wants to do is bother him with hers.

The library doors open and she can feel her heart race. That day may have ended, but everyone involved will truly carry that around with them. The footsteps are hesitant and she instantly knows who it is. She can feel her pulse slow down and she takes a few calming breaths.

"We've got to stop meeting like this", he says softly.

She smiles and lets a small chuckle escape her mouth. He sits beside her and they both savor the silence. With the way their lives have been going over the last few days, talking to counselors, and friends, and beady eyed reporters, it's nice to have a moment that can be peaceful.

She takes a deep breath and lets it out slowly. "I never did thank you for—"

Her voice breaks off and Lucas places his hand on her knee. He squeezes it gently. "Hey", he admonishes, "you'll never have to thank me."

His voice is so sincere and genuine that she wants nothing more then to kiss this boy. To have this boy in her arms. To be able to call this boy her boy. But, she can't.

Because this boy is her best friends boy.

"God, I'm such a girl", she says with a laugh as she wipes her eyes. He tilts his head to look over at her and without thinking he raises his hand to wipe at a stray tear. Peyton stops breathing and for a minute this library doesn't hold the memory of the day she almost died.

She's brought back to junior year.

The secret moments they shared in these aisles. The hidden words that lie between these shelves. Everything about this room used to represent peace and protection.

She's pretty sure they can never look at a library the same way again.

"You looove me", he teases and whatever moment they have is gone. Peyton's not surprised though. It's for the best. Them getting too close or too connected never ends well for anyone involved. Lucas and Peyton included.

"Okay, that's not fair", she argues.

"You probably just wanna kiss me again", he cuts her off. It's good to be able to joke about anything. At this point everyone wants him to talk about how he feels or what he's thinking and he just doesn't want to. It feels good to forget, even for a minute. Their eyes meet in the darkness and her mouth drops indignantly. She almost can't believe they're joking about this.

But, she's glad to see him smile again, so she'll make fun of herself all night if she has to.

"Dude!" she yells and slaps his shoulder. "Alright, so I kissed you, but I – I thought I was gonna die", at those words she watches as he swallows hard. "And you took care of me so . . ."

She trails off instead of finishing her sentence merely because she doesn't know if she should say what she's thinking. His eyes are still on hers, almost begging her to continue.

"And plus, you're you", she says simply and Lucas nods his head.

"Yeah, I know", he whispers back. And he does know.

You are the strength
That keeps me walking
You are the hope
That keeps me trusting

If things had been different he isn't sure there's anyone else he'd have wanted in the library with him. She's Peyton and she knows him, almost better then he knows himself. They have so much history between them and so much unfinished business that it wouldn't have seemed right to have someone else beside him that day – or now.

He raises a hand and tucks a piece of her blonde hair behind her ear. She shivers at the contact and he smiles briefly. Apparently the darkness does nothing to hide her emotions. He stares at her for what feels like a lifetime before he finally speaks;

"If I told you I loved you, would you hold it against me?"

Her eyes automatically burn and her throat tightens. She knows she silently vowed to keep him laughing, but this is pushing it. "When I said that", she begins to speak with a hoarse voice, but he cuts her off.

"Because I do, Peyton. I love you."

He says it with such conviction that she almost believes he's saying it the way she wants him to. That he's telling her he loves her for real. That he's in love with her. That he wants to be with her. And then the library door opens again and they can hear Brooke's raspy voice calling out to them, well to Lucas.

Timing never really seemed to be on their side.

The brunette finds them after a minute or so and she takes Lucas's hand in her own. Peyton notices the jealous eyes she tries to hide. She notices the protective stance she has when she's with Lucas. Peyton knows her best friend doesn't mean to do it, but at the same time she knows Brooke has every reason to be doing it.

She tells them both that they're missing the party and while Lucas definitely doesn't wanna be there, he will. Because this is his girlfriends way of trying to heal him.

Brooke starts talking about the drunken fools in the hall and starts to walk back to the doors. Before either of them leave Lucas extends a hand to Peyton and she takes it thankfully. The spark that she feels makes her let out a breath of air. He leans forward and grabs her crutches, but still keeps one of her hands in his.

"I think I'm gonna hang out in here", she whispers and watches as his face falls a little. He nods and makes sure she's stable enough before he leans in her direction and places his lips near her ear.

"Try not to kiss anyone else", he says and even though she can't see it, she knows he's smirking.

He pulls back and they share a small smile. "You suck", she says seriously, but the laugh in her throat gives her away. He chuckles once more and calls out to Brooke. With one last look in Peyton's direction he smiles and turns the other way.

You are the life
To my soul
You are my purpose
You're everything

He climbs the stairs quietly. Having frequented this house the previous summer, he knows every creak and squeak these wooden steps make. Lucas stands in front of her bedroom door and thanks the fact that her father isn't able to get home yet, but that thought also infuriates him.

The door pushes open with ease and he stops to stare at the restless blonde in bed. He doesn't know why he felt the need to come here tonight, but he thinks it has something to do with what Nathan said.

"You went back in there to save a life. Otherwise, we would have been at Peyton's funeral."

Peyton's funeral.

Peyton could have died.

She's tossing and turning and he finally can't take anymore when she whimpers. Within the second of the noise he's sitting beside her and gently nudging her shoulder.

She's alone in the library. Blood is pouring from her leg and she can feel herself growing tired. She knows she's on the brink of death and at this point all she wants is for Jimmy to come in here and finish what he inadvertently started. She can feel a pressure at her side and this all feels too real. Her dream is becoming a reality. Her eyes shoot open and she springs up from her sleep.

She instantly sees a figure next to her and can somewhat recognize the outline. "Lucas?!" she half yells, half asks. She places her hand over her heart and takes a few breaths to steady her nerves. Her eyes adjust to the blackness and she takes in his appearance. He's still dressed in the black button down and slacks from earlier. His face is tired and his eyes are puffy.

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry", he repeats over and over again. And just like her she's put at ease. He hadn't meant to scare her. He just didn't like to see her in pain. She mumbles that it's alright and they both sit there in the darkness of her room.

"I didn't know where else to go", he breaks the comfortable silence that's built. She stares at him and wonders if that true. Even if it isn't true, the fact that he's here right now, to her, is mind numbing.

It's not a total lie. He couldn't go home with Nathan and Haley. He couldn't even step through his own door. The Rivercourt didn't seem like a place of solace right now. His girlfriend wasn't on the top of his list considering the fight they got into before, but he saw her car parked near his house on the way over here.

So, the truth is that being here, with her, made the most sense.

Her heart is thumping so loudly she's sure he can hear it. She waits a minute and thinks over the question she wants to ask him. She opens her mouth only to close it again. This happens a few more times before she finally speaks;

"What's going on, Lucas?" she asks tenderly.

He focuses his eyes on her comforter almost in shame. What's going on is that he needed to see her. He needed to know that she was alright. He needs to hold her in his arms and cling to her for dear life.

Because he almost lost her.

And he can't imagine a world without Peyton Sawyer in it.

"Can I stay the night?" he asks instead of telling her anything else.

Her breath gets caught in her throat and she has to shake her head to make sure she understood him. He wants to stay here? Part of her heart is screaming at her to stop thinking and just let this happen. The other part, her sensible part, is telling her that this shouldn't happen. Doesn't he have a girlfriend he can sleep next to?

His girlfriend. Her best friend.

"Luke, that doesn't really seem—"

Her sentence is cut short when he places his hand over hers. He can't really take no for an answer. It's either this or he sleeps in his car in his driveway. He can't go home and listen to his mother's muffled sobs. He can't go home and see the pictures of him and Keith. He can't go home and console his insecure girlfriend.

"Please, Peyton", he whispers the request.

Her eyes water and she has to blink back the tears. His voice is so broken and tired that the she can only give him one answer;

"Okay", she says with a strained voice.

And so he lies beside her and she tells herself that this really is okay. They shared a bed at least once a week in the summer. They could certainly share a bed now, considering everything that's happened. They're two friends that shared a terrifying experience. They're two friends that hold a sacred bond over a traumatic encounter. They're two friends who have a history.

It's okay because they're two friends.

And this will never happen again.

And how can I stand here with you
And not be moved by you
Would you tell me how could it be
Any better than this

He wakes up in the morning and instinctively reaches to pull her warm body closer to him. When he grabs at nothing, he frowns and slowly opens his eyes. Her spot is empty and cold; she's been gone for a while. He sighs lightly and shakes the last bits of sleep off; he shouldn't be surprised that she left. It makes perfect sense actually.

He leans up slightly and rests his weight on his elbows. He takes the time to look around her room; he smiles instantly. He'll be the first to admit that he hasn't been the best friend to her lately. He was so wrapped up in Brooke and himself that he kind of left her in the dust and that isn't fair to her. But, his smile remains because he can look at all the little things in her room and know that he was a part of them.

He was a part of her life for an entire summer.

Just the two of them.

He stands from the bed and flattens out his wrinkled clothes. For a second he feels his body tense at the thought of his frantic mother looking for him. But, just as quickly as that thought enters it leaves. He doubts she knows he never went home.

Peyton's desk is littered with papers and pictures and other random items and he feels himself drawn to it. He can see a few sketches and stops in his tracks. There was a time when she screamed at him for looking at those, and then she embraced his feelings on them.

Now, he isn't sure what she would do.

He starts walking again and he goes straight to the drawings. They're mostly old. Ones he's seen before.

A crowd of men all wearing the same shirts, with one, faceless exception. They are not you.

Three familiar looking people all aiming at the same heart with the number 3 displayed perfectly. Almost saying fight for my heart.

Four separate sections; all displaying a streetlight at its various colors. People Always Leave.

Two people he knows, or used to know, standing face to face with their hands interlocked at their chests. And now we can have it.

She limps into her room and runs a hand through her blonde hair. She slept in the guestroom last night, well, for the last few hours. She had watched him in his sleep. The way his face calmed and seemed to hide every fear he had. But, then his face would contort and his hands would clutch the pillow and that gave him away. She knew what he was dreaming – maybe, having a nightmare would be a better term. She has them once a night. It had gotten to be too much for her to watch so she had to leave the room.

Her bed is empty and she panics for minute until she hears his breathing from the other side of the room. Peyton turns her head and she smiles ever so slightly. His hair is disheveled. One side of his collar is popped. His black slacks hang low on his waist. And everything about him screams messy.

But all she can think of is how she would love to see this every morning.

He hears her, but he doesn't tense. He honestly couldn't care less if she was mad at him for this. Before she can speak, he opens his mouth and asks a question;

"Do you ever wonder 'what if'?"

You calm the storms
And you give me rest
You hold me in your hands
You won't let me fall

Without hesitation she nods, her short hair bobbing with her actions. She doesn't know what brought on this query, but the fact that he's talking to her when he shuts out the rest of the world makes her feel like she's flying. She hobbles closer to him and her eyes widen at what's in his hands. She pushes the past from her mind and focuses on the present.

This broken boy that she still wants to have it with.

"What if my mom had waited at that red light?" she whispers. She can feel his reaction more so then see it – mostly because he hasn't turned to face her.

His heart aches at her question and he almost regrets bringing this up at all, but then he remembers his main point. He needs time to get there though, so he waits for a moment and decides that since she's being honest, he should too;

"What if Dan stayed with my mom?"

She raises her brows and shakes her head. Dan staying with Karen would have affected Peyton's life as well. There would be no Deb and without Deb there would be no Nathan and if there was no Nathan there wouldn't have been a chance for her to meet the broody blonde before her.

"What if Ellie never gave me up for adoption?"

By now they're both lost in their own worlds. She's staring past him and he's completely unfocused on her art. Her words register with him and this time he shakes his head. If Ellie had kept Peyton, Lucas never would have met her.

A world without Peyton Sawyer doesn't seem like a world he wants a part of.

He takes a breath and exhales slowly. He finally puts down the drawing and tilts his head in her direction. "Do you ever think about . . ." he wants to say our past, but he knows that would be inappropriate so he settles for, "about . . . high school?"

It comes out a lot lamer then he wanted it too and he feels like a tool. His face heats up and he has to turn away from her to hide the blush that's rising to his cheeks. She chuckles inaudibly. She knows exactly what he means, but right now she can't handle a conversation of that intensity.

"Like, what if my car had never broken down", she offers as a thought. He nods and thinks that that's a good one, but then he says;

"What if I never won that game against Nathan" and it honestly makes her take a deep breath. If he had never won that game . . . she truly doesn't want to think about that outcome. He wouldn't be in her life at all, and at this point, she can't picture her life without him.

"What if I never broke up with Nathan?" she says with a laugh, but Lucas physically winces. The thought of his former lover and his younger brother still makes him nauseas. He has his next one on the tip of his tongue.

"What if . . ."

His sentence trails off and his mouth goes dry. Peyton's heart races and she knows this has to be a serious one. He mind goes into overdrive and all she can think of is a way to get out of this situation.

"What if I had ran you over?"

She quips casually and he has to blink to register what just happened. She completely cut him off. Lucas shakes his head and opens his mouth once again.

"You should get home", she says as she bows her head. "I'm sure Brooke's worried about you", she whispers and tucks a strand of hair behind her ear. He swallows hard and nods his head dejectedly. He faces her fully and takes a step back before he takes a step forward.

He hadn't seen her sleep attire last night because she was under the blankets, but he's thrilled that she's free of them now. Her top is snug and defines her best features. The skin of her flat stomach is slightly exposed and he stares at the flesh before working his way down. Peyton self consciously hugs her arms around her body. His eyes linger on her shorts. They're old and torn, but they're so perfect for her. It doesn't hurt that they're short as hell.

His blue eyes stop on the gauze wrapped section of her lower calf.

You steal my heart
And you take my breath away
Would you take me in?
Would you take me deeper, now?

His hands start to shake and his pulse races. She watches as his attitude changes and it's somewhat scary. His brows furrow and he shakes his head in what she can only assume to be hatred. She's more then positive that if Jimmy hadn't killed himself in the school that day; he'd be a man with a personal death wish.

Lucas Scott would have killed him.

"Hey", she calls out softly. Her tone makes his eyes flick to hers and the green that stares back at him is soothing.

He can feel his heart slow.

"Are you hungry?" she asks with a scrunched nose. It's something that she does from time to time that he finds endearing.

He can feel hands stop shaking.

"I'm not exactly a chef, but I know a great café that delivers", she jokes. She's clearly talking about his mother's café and he's thankful that she knows he can't venture there just yet.

He relaxes his brows.

"I'll go call. You can get refreshed", she mutters. "There's an extra toothbrush in my cabinet", she says pointedly before leaving the room.

He can feel himself smile.

Lucas turns to head into the bathroom and his eyes catch sight of that infamous sketch. He heaves a great sigh and squints his eyes. For a minute he forgot his last question and he knows that was her point. But, in the silence of the world, even your lowest thoughts are intensified. He opens his mouth and whispers into the empty room;

"What if I had waited for you?"

And how can I stand here with you
And not be moved by you
Would you tell me how could it be
Any better than this

She sits at the lunch table and aimlessly doodles. Well, to her it's doodling, but to anyone else it's sketching. She doesn't know where her burst of inspiration came from – okay, that's a lie. Given the subjects of her latest artwork, she knows exactly where her inspiration came from.

Its split into half and one side is a replica of that night from junior year. The other side is of those same two people in her bedroom standing feet apart. What if?

She's so lost in her own world that she doesn't feel the presence behind her. She doesn't feel their eyes lingering on her art. She doesn't know that they're sighing internally at the one thing they never doubted. Her love for him.

"Hey Sawyer", Nathan's voice snaps her to reality and she quickly places her notebook over the loose piece of paper. She smiles politely and wrings her hands together in her lap. She still has her crutches so a fast exit is out of the question. "You're stuck with me", he grins. He may have seemed uncaring when they dated, but he knew her better then he ever let on.

"What's up, Scott?" she asks with a quirked brow. If you can't beat'em, join'em. His grin widens and she knows he appreciates the fact that she's trying. He shrugs nonchalantly and places his hands behind his head.

"Taking things as they come", he chooses his words carefully. He wants to talk to Peyton, not only because Haley cornered him about her, but because he was honestly worried. She was sort of missing from their group as of late and after everything she went through, he doesn't want her to be alone.

But, he kind of knows that she hasn't been alone.

"I know the feeling", she mumbles. Taking one day at a time. Living in the minutes that pass. That's her life now. Being in the present. Her fingers play with the tattered edge of her notebook and she places her chin in the palm of her other one.

He watches her movements carefully. He's glad she hasn't shut him out yet, but he's looking for the signs. He has another question, but he's almost afraid to ask it. Silence lingers between them and he finally can't take it.

"How's Luke?"

She tenses immediately, just like he thought she would. Her green eyes snap to his blue ones and a million thoughts race through her head. Had he seen Lucas leave her house the other morning? Was he trying to insinuate something? Was he asking because Brooke wanted to know something? Her internal questioning is cut off when he speaks again;

"I'm only asking because I know how you two are. You don't like the rest of the world to carry your emotions, but you'll tell each other them in a heartbeat."

She smiles in spite of herself and Nathan smiles too. She nods her head and clears her throat. "He's okay, I guess", she finishes with a shrug. "It's hard for him."

Nathan nods this time and he lets the silence consume them once again. This quiet isn't good for Peyton though. It makes her think and thinking leads to feelings and she can't show Nathan those emotions, but she can't show Lucas those emotions either. Brooke had come to her house the night of the party. Even though she put it to the back of her mind, Nathan's words have pushed them forward.

"The boy I love protected the girl I love. And it's the girl that he loves too."

She clamps her eyes shut and lets out a shaky sigh. She had wanted to believe the insecurity that Brooke had felt, but it simply wasn't there. Nathan purses his lips. He thinks back to the picture and what he had just asked about and he wants to smack himself for it. He leans forward in his seat and places his hand over hers. Confusion is present in her green eyes and when Nathan speaks again his voice is gentle;

"How are you?"

It's a pointed and heavy question and for some reason Peyton feels her eyes begin to water. She clears her throat and ever so slightly squeezes his hand. "Thank you for caring Nathan, but really I'm—"

"Don't you dare say you're fine, Peyton Elizabeth", he orders with a smirk. "I know you and I know you're dealing with things on your own."

She smiles fondly and bites her bottom lip. She wants to talk to Nathan, because she can't talk to her own best friend and because Nathan's really the only other constant in her life. She opens her mouth to speak, but a flash of red catches her eyes. He's in line for food with Brooke at his side. She watches as he nods distractedly and places an apple on his tray. He turns to walk further down the line and their eyes lock. It's for a fraction of a second, but he lets a small smile tug at his lips. Peyton lets out a puff of air. As long as he's okay, she'll be okay.

"I'm getting there", she whispers.

And how can I stand here with you
And not be moved by you
Would you tell me how could it be
Any better than this

"Who would have thought we'd all be spending a weekend at Rachel's cabin?"

His voice is like music to her ears. They've been disconnected this weekend and it's their own fault. They both have other people here that they need to devote their attention to, but the other blonde is always lurking in the back of their minds. She sighs in contentment and leans back on her elbows to look up at him.

"Brooke especially", she says and they both laugh. He crouches down and sits beside her. Both sets of legs dangling above the water, knees practically touching. He rests the palms of his hands on the wooden dock and keeps his shoulders straight.

"You were never her biggest fan either", he seems to remind her. Her mouth drops indignantly and she scoffs lightly.

"That's because she was hitting on my best friends boyfriend", the words wound her mildly, but she had to defend her former actions. Her healing leg itches and she leans down to scratch it, but Lucas beats her to it. It's an intimate action, but he doesn't seem to notice – or he chooses to ignore it. He tenderly wraps one hand around her ankle and the tips of his fingers from his other hand delicately graze her skin. Seeing her without her crutches makes his heart soar. If she's on her way to healing, maybe they can all get there eventually.

She closes her eyes and basks in the feeling; he does too. The moment passes all too quickly and soon enough he's slowly dropping her leg and putting his hands back on the wood beneath him. He takes a minute to think about what they were talking about and he nods his head once he remembers.

"I wasn't her boyfriend at the time", he argues. Peyton opens her mouth to say something in response, but nothing comes to mind. He's right, back then Brooke was playing the whole he-has-to-prove-he-wants-me game; Rachel was going after a free man; which is probably why she didn't like the redhead.

Free man or not it was still Lucas Scott she was trying to seduce. There were days she wanted to lunge at the bitch, but it was her job as a best friend to hold Brooke back. He turns his head to look at her and smirks when he realizes that she's trying to come up with an answer.

"We didn't really hit it off", she somewhat mumbles. It's his turn to scoff and right after he faces her with a knowing smirk.

"Please! After her cheerleading tryouts she quoted John Lennon."

"How did you –"

"Brooke was annoyed that you praised her musical senses", he answers before she finishes asking her question. She nods in understanding. "So, it clearly wasn't her musical taste and it wasn't that she was hitting on your best friends boyfriend – because I wasn't dating Brooke – what was it?"

She stares at him and hopes he can hear the names she's calling him in her head. He laughs heartily and she's sure he knows how she's feeling right now. It wasn't Rachel's taste in music and it wasn't that she was a threat to Brooke . . . she was a threat to Peyton. The redhead was one of the only other girls to ever stand between herself and Lucas and she didn't know how to handle it.

"You really do suck", she mutters. He throws an arm around her and she leans her head on his shoulder.

"Don't pout", he says with a smile. "It's not my fault you let me tease you."

Yes it is, she wants to scream, but she holds it back. "I guess its not", she says instead. A silence passes between them and she breathes in his scent. That all too familiar smell that keeps her on cloud nine. They stare ahead of them as the sun sets and it seems almost too romantic to be sharing this with someone who's simply a friend. Pete and Brooke flash through their minds, but neither of them makes the move to leave.

He places his lips near her ear and the giggle that follows is a result of an incredibly corny joke he tells. Something about two muffins in an oven and one saying it was hot, but the other one is shocked to find that it's a talking muffin. He's always been a dork when it comes to that and she's glad his sense of humor hasn't changed.

"There it is", he says with a fond look in his eyes. She continues to smile, but raises a brow.

"What?" she asks.

"That smile", he says seriously. "I've missed that", he whispers. Her smile turns into a frown and she shakes her head.

"I smile", she argues while a steady blush rises to her cheeks. She looks so adorable in this moment that all Lucas wants to do it kiss her senseless. He's also proud that he can still get that type of reaction out of her.

"Not like that. Not recently."

"Well, that's cause I don't always have you around to tell me stupid jokes", she quips. The intensity of this is weighing down on her and she might burst into tears at any second. His eyes turn pensive and she's suddenly nervous because she's seen that look before.

"Maybe I should around more often", he says seriously. She's at a complete loss for words and all she can do is nod her head.

Cause you're all I want
You're all I need
You're everything, everything

"What if you could have one night?"

His voice scares her, but she doesn't jump. She stays flat on her back and keeps her eyes focused on her ceiling. They've only just gotten back from the cabin and she's beyond exhausted. She blinks once before clearing her throat and speaking;

"What if you could take one thing back?"

This dance they've been doing for the past week – year really – is getting frustrating. They both feel the things they feel and they think the things they think. They're at the point of no return with these questions.

"I asked you first", he whispers. The opposite side of the bed dips down from his weight. Peyton's lying on top of her comforter and she can feel the warmth radiating from his body. All she wants to curl up against him.

"That's mature", she mumbles.

He ignores her jab and continues. "If you had the chance, a chance at a do-over, what night would it be?"

She bites her lip. There are many nights that she would take back. She thinks for a while; images flash through her mind. Stolen times and heated moments. "Do you want my answer or the answer I should say?" she asks bravely.

He's taken back for a minute before he shakes his head and leans closer to her flat form. "Your answer."

She closes her eyes and takes in a deep breath. She was afraid he was going to say that. She can feel her eyes burning and she thinks that maybe telling him the safe answer is the better way out. So, she opens her mouth, fully prepared to lie to him and then they lock eyes and she feels like a complete fool for thinking she was that daring.

He's Lucas Scott.

He's her confidante. He's her friend. He's her love. He's her protector. He's her savior. He's her desire. He's her passion. He's her strength. He's her weakness. He's her inspiration. He's her rock. He's her joy. He's her sorrow. He's her laughter. He's her happiness. He's her sadness. He's her guilt. He's her anger. He's her destiny. He's her fate. He's her soul mate. He's her lifeline.

He's her everything.

"The night I broke it off with you . . . I almost turned around and said screw it, but my love for Brooke won out. If I could have one night back it would be that one because I never would have walked away from you."

He can feel his entire body shiver at the breathy words that leave her mouth. Of all the things she could have wanted back he never would have thought of that night. Dan's annual money burn and even though it was daytime, the motel incident are at the top of his list.

She feels more vulnerable right now then she ever has. She's just admitted that she never should have ended their . . . affair and all he's doing is staring at her. Mouth gaping like a fish out of water. Her mind goes into overdrive and she thinks that everything she's felt between them over the last few weeks has only been in her mind. The glances, the banter, the touches, and the flirting; none of it was real.

And then he rests his hand on her hip.

"I don't know what to say", he whispers because he truly doesn't. If she had turned around that night, things would be so different right now. He thinks of where they are and where they could be and he has to shake his head to stop the feelings that overwhelm him.

"Don't say anything", she pleads. "I just guess I wanted you to know." She runs her hand through her blonde hair before whispering once more; "you should go."

His hand unconsciously travels up from her hip. She shivers at his featherlike touch; it's exactly as she remembers it. "I never answered your question", he points out softly. She nods her head and grabs his hand with her own. The journey it was taking was a dangerous one and considering he's dating her best friend; they better not cross that line.

"What if you could take one thing back?" she repeats herself and clamps her eyes shut.

He's silent for a long time and she's mentally preparing herself. She's waiting for him to say he wouldn't have gone back into the school. She knows the words are on the tip of his tongue. So, when he speaks and says;

"I never would have started dating Brooke."

You're all I want
You're all I need
You're everything, everything

She's completely shocked.

"What?" her voice is strained when she speaks and the tears trail down her cheeks when she finally opens her eyes.

He raises his free hand and wipes it away gently. "If I had never started to date Brooke, it would have left an open opportunity for us", he whispers.

Peyton shakes her head and gently pushes his hovering form away from her. She stands and faces Lucas's confused eyes. "You don't mean that", she whispers. "You love Brooke."

"I loved the idea of Brooke", he counters. "What teenage guy doesn't want to be with someone like her? She's fun and cute and loving and—"

"And a good lay?" she asks defensively. Brooke's her best friend regardless of what Peyton feels for her boyfriend. She wants about to stand here and let someone insult the brunette like that.

"Don't", he says forcefully yet gently. "Don't act like I don't care for her."

She scoffs lightly and looks around her room. Is he really trying to tell her that he loves his girlfriend, but wonders what his life would be like without her? She places her hand over her mouth and lets out a small sigh. Of course he loves Brooke; he's simply trying to spare her the pain of what he really wants to say.

"I'm sorry – just don't lie to me, Luke. What would you really take back?"

He stands now and walks in her direction. He's shaking his head, more confused then before. He stops a foot away from her and runs a hand through his short blonde hair.

"What are you talking about?"

"Tell me the truth", she orders. "Tell me that you never would have come back into the school if you knew Keith was going to die", her voice is shaking so badly he can hardly hear her words, but he does. He seems to hear them perfectly.

"You can't be serious", he says with a shocked expression. She crosses her arms over her midsection and shakes her head.

"It's understandable, Lucas. If you hadn't run back in that day, Keith would still be here –"

"But I would have lost you!"

"I guess I can't hold it against him can I?"

Her heart is pounding out of her chest. "Don't try to appease me", she whispers.

"I'm not. Losing Keith sucks, but losing you would have been too hard to deal with", he stops and takes a deep breath. "In a perfect world I would have been able to save you and Keith would still be here, but it's not perfect . . . it's life. I know this is going to sound selfish, but I wouldn't change anything about that day. You're alive. You're breathing and talking and walking and that's all that matters, Peyton."

The tears a streaming down her cheeks and she stifles the sobs that beg to escape her mouth. His words are sincere and powerful and they shouldn't be having this moment. She opens her mouth to say something, anything, but all that comes out is a strangled sob.

"Nothing else matters as long as you're here . . . on this earth", he whispers and immediately shoves his hands into the pockets of his jeans.

Her breath hitches in her throat and the room is spinning. She doesn't really know what to say to him nor does she want to hear him say any more. So she goes to her old standby;

"Brooke might be looking for you."

He smiles softly and meets her green eyes in the darkness of her room. When he speaks his voice is at a whisper, but it's strong and determined;

"We broke up."

You're all I want
You're all I need
You're everything, everything

Anger suddenly replaces all her other emotions. He's just broken up with his girlfriend and he's standing here telling her how he needs to have her in the world. It's so Lucas-like to do this. She chuckles humorously and gestures to her bedroom door.

"You should leave", her request is soft-spoken, but he can hear the underlying command to it.

"Let me explain—"

"Explain what?! That you just broke up with Brooke, but are standing here telling me these things that you shouldn't be saying. I've learned by now that I'm just the test run with these speeches. She'll swoon, go get her back", her last sentence come out as a dejected sigh and she makes a move for her bed. Lucas grabs her arm in the process and spins her around to look at him.

"I've never used words with you. My actions are my words", he says pointedly. "Brooke saw it, why cant you?"

"No, we both know it's true."

"What are you feeling? Right now, Peyt", he whispers her nickname as he pulls her closer, "What are you feeling?"

Their breaths are ragged and he has a look in his eyes that she's seen before. It's a mix of lust and hunger . . . and love. And that's what scares her the most. She's spent so much of her life convincing herself that he would never be hers that he could never be hers that she started to believe it.

But, here he is, defying the odds.

"Lucas, I don't think that—"

"Stop thinking!" he demands. Their breaths even out and they stare at each other for what feels like hours. "What are you feeling?" he asks softly.

"But there was something else that made you feel better in that library . . . my boyfriend."

She searches his eyes for an answer that he hopes they can supply. She's scared and he doesn't blame her. She lets out a shuddered breath and he's discouraged. This isn't going to happen tonight. This may not ever happen. He drops her arm and shakes his head. He's about to apologize for all sorts of things, but he doesn't ever get that far . . .

Because she stands on the tips of her feet and kisses him.

You're all I want
You're all I need
Everything, everything...

It's slow and sensual. It's a simple press of lips to lips, but to them it means so much more. She raises her hands and they finger his blonde locks while his hands rest atop her hips. They stand there for a while the soft noises of their lips meeting or hands caressing are the only sounds that pass through her room.

Until she moves closer to him.

He groans at the friction her movement creates and it's as if that noise opens the floodgates. She instantly pulls him closer and her tongue begs for entrance that he quickly grants. In an instant he's picking her up and her legs are wrapped around his waist. He blindly walks in the direction of her bed and when his knees hit the side he gently places her atop the comforter.

She raises her body and rests her weight on her elbows. She lifts her foot and teasingly nudges the back of his knee. He smirks that classic Scott smirk and pulls his t-shirt over his head. She takes the time to admire his body; for a teenage boy, he's beyond sculpted. Unconsciously, she licks her lips and he grins.

He hovers above her and they playfully nip at each others lips. He finally captures her lips with his own and they both know the teasing and playfulness is done for. Her soft fingers dance across his back; relishing the contours she feels as he kisses different parts of her face and neck.

He stops at one spot; a spot he knows she loves. The moan that leaves her lips makes him smile and she can feel it against her skin. He kisses his way down her body. He places kisses through the material of her old t-shirt. She arches into him; silently begging for the garment to be removed. He glances upward and his blue orbs let her know that patience is a virtue.

He lifts the red colored fabric slightly and places hot, open mouthed kisses all over her creamy stomach. She moans again, louder then before. He passes her belly button and continues and upward journey with his lips leaving wet marks in his path. His hands push the shirt up at his pace and he steals a quick look at Peyton. Her eyes are closed and she's biting her lip. He resumes his task and kisses the valley of her breasts. She lifts herself up and the shirt is finally rid of her body. Her bra is next and Lucas drinks in the sight before him.

"God, you're gorgeous", he whispers huskily.

She blushes and bows her head. He tucks the loose strands behind her ears and kisses her passionately. "Will you ever be able to take a compliment?" he teases. She rolls her eyes and smiles coyly.

He growls at her gestures and kisses her once more. Their tongues dance slowly, savoring the feeling. His hand trails along her side; following the curve of her body. They break apart at the need for air and Peyton skims her hands down his chiseled torso and she slips her fingers through his belt loops. She pulls his hips to meet hers; needing to feel some type of relief. Lucas grunts and drops his head to her neck.

And how can I stand here with you
And not be moved by you
Would you tell me how could it be
Any better than this

She works his jeans like an expert. The button unsnaps and the zipper is pulled down. She pushes his jeans down with her feet while he drops sweet kisses along her neck and shoulder. His boxers are his last article of clothing and she hesitates before pushing them down as well. He feels her tense and he lifts his head to look into her eyes. He raises one hand and with the pad of his thumb he caresses her cheek. She closes her eyes and lets the emotion wash over her. Without another thought she pushes down the plaid material and Lucas kicks them off.

She places her fingers around him and he faintly shivers. She strokes him with an unhurried motion. This isn't about getting it done or out of the way. It's about passion and emotions.

It's Lucas and Peyton coming full circle on what they always could have been.

He snaps his eyes shut and groans at the pressure he feels building within him. Her fingers are cool; something he's always known about her and it makes her actions all the more spine tingling. She raises her head softly hums into his ear. He turns his head and kisses her jaw, her cheek, and her temple. His simple kisses elicit a moan and at that noise he has to pull her hand away.

"I need you", he whispers when he meets her confused eyes.

He kneels on the bed and tugs at the sleep shorts she's wearing. He recognizes them as an old pair of his that he must have left here over the summer. He grins widely and pulls them down, taking her panties in the process. He's gentle as he passes her scared calf; it may have healed, but he isn't taking any chances.

Once the garments are gone he lifts on of her legs; her injured leg, and beings to leave another trail of kisses, starting with her ankle. She raises her head and watches his delicate motions. He kisses her ankle and trails his tongue up to the iridescent scar; his soft lips press against it and she shuts her eyes. His tongue trails up to her knee, where he places another kiss. This continues until he reaches her hip. He stops there and sucks on the flesh. Her fingers weave into his hair and she pulls him up to her face.

She kisses him hard on the lips, determined to release some of the pent up passion she's feeling. He reciprocates and tangles his hand in her short, straight locks. They stay light that, passionately making out, for what could be hours – although they know its only minutes. They break apart and he rests his forehead against hers. With one final Eskimo kiss he enters her.

And that's when it happens.

His world that's fallen apart over the last few weeks is being pieced back together. His long lost belief in God and even love is coming to life before his very eyes. His life has meaning again. He has a direction.

And it's all because of her.

Oh and how can I stand here with you
And not be moved by you
Would you tell me how could it be
Any better any better than this

They begin a gentle rhythm. He holds one of her hands above their heads and rests his other on her hip. She leaves her free hand on his back. Occasionally rubbing from his shoulders to his lower back. Always delighting in the feel of his muscles at work. He slowly pumps in and out of her and she can feel the pressure gradually building. This isn't something she's experienced before. It's like he knows her better then she knows herself. It's nothing she ever had with Nathan. It's rushed or frantic. It's not rough or animal-like.

It's lovemaking.

It's perfect and it's wonderful.

It's everything she always knew it would be.

He kisses her lips and begins to pick up his pace. He unlaces their fingers and holds onto her hips with both hands. She bites her lip and meets his thrusts with her own. Their bodies are slick with sweat and their stomachs are filling with pressure. She moans out his name and he continues his pumps.

He reaches up and cups her face with his hand. She tilts her head and kisses his palm sweetly. He smiles and shakes his head. It's never been this way with Brooke. It's always controlling and quick. It's about her dominating and taking what she needs.

Peyton's different, but he shouldn't be surprised.

He always knew it would be like this.

Their nearing their climaxes and Lucas groans before pumping faster. She continues to meet his movements time and time again and before either of them can slow down their screaming the other's name in pure ecstasy.

His arms shake as he tries to keep himself above her. Their foreheads rest against each other and their breaths slowly even out. He's about to lay beside her when she puts both her hands on his shoulders and presses him up against her body.

"Just wait", she pants.

And how can I stand here with you
And not be moved by you
Would you tell me how could it be
Any better than this

He rolls beside her after a few minutes and takes her into his arms. She draws an invisible circle over his heart and he smiles at her gesture. He takes her hand in his and kisses her knuckles caringly. They lay together in the silence and let their minds wander.

They've taken quite a journey to end up back in each other's arms.

"Peyt", he whispers.

She closes her eyes and sighs inaudibly.

"I know, Lucas, I know. For right now can we just lay here?", she seems to beg. He nods his head and kisses the top of her head.

They know they need to talk about things and they know things won't be easy after this, but for right now that doesn't matter. Their tangled up in each other's arms. They'll fall asleep together. Maybe they'll even make love some more. The point is that they have each other. That's enough for them.

That's all that matters.

Would you tell me how could it be
Any better than this

So, my LP smut writing has gone into overload. I blame the lack of it on the show. Let me know what you think!