Basically, this is my rewrite of the biggest WTF episode in OTH history - 210. We all know Nathan was talking about Peyton, Marky-boy said it himself. Season 2 literally breaks me in half, I've only ever seen each episode once, so if I have some things wrong - I apologize, it just hurts too much to watch or think about, lol. This is for Missa - her idea, and I hope it makes you feel better, love.

Okay, I've been writing this for a week now, I swear - I didn't even know that leyton-is-lovee was doing the same thing, I literally got the alert from her 20 minutes before I posted this. So Sarah, I promise I did not intend to copy off of you. I had no idea you were doing the same thing! I feel bad.


How does circumstance
Seem to cost us every chance
At living out the truth in our hearts

Standing in the doorway, he watches as this broken girl nearly curls into herself with sorrow. Realizing how distant they've become, his heart breaks a little. He misses her. Every damn thing about her.

Peyton's head snaps up as she's on the verge of sobbing, her stomach flipping when she sees the only boy she's ever loved standing in her doorway.

"Hey," he offers.

"Hey."

Lucas proceeds into the room and for a minute almost smiles. The red walls and angry art and music from every imaginable genre are so Peyton. "So uh… I saw you cut out of lunch today. Just… wanted to know how you were doing."

Peyton feels her façade crumbling; not that there was much of one to begin with. With Lucas, she can never hide from reality.

Ever since she was a little girl, Brooke Davis had been the one person to understand her and get her completely - and then Lucas Scott made his way into her life, and turned everything she'd ever known upside down. It sounded like a cheesy romance flick to her, but when he looks into her eyes, she knows he's seeing everything she can't speak to the world. So she looks down, hiding herself from him once more, and simply shrugs.

"Been better."

But then the tears gather.

Lucas hears the inflection of tears in her voice and focuses in on her crinkling face. She's about to cry. "Hey, come here."

His voice is gently demanding, and she can't help herself - she steps forward into his welcoming arms. And for a second it feels like home.

Like stolen kisses in motels and libraries.

Like holding hands when no one's watching.

Like writing silly love notes.

And then he pulls away. The moment disappears.

"Sit down," he motions over to her bed, and they sit on the edge, knees slightly knocking together in the process.

"So do you know who wrote it? On your locker?"

Taking a glance at her estranged… friend? She shakes her head and whispers, "No. I don't even wanna know. I just want it to all… go away. Just, all of it."

Lucas sighs. He wants that for her too. Seeing such hateful language splayed across anyone's locker was enough to anger him, but across someone he cares about - Peyton's - locker, made him more than furious. His fists shake and he clenches them tight. And then his eyes land on a drawing of Jake and Jenny. Feeling the tightening in his chest, he's bewildered - why won't this ever just go away? This longing for something he never really had; that's always just out of his grasp.

"You miss Jake huh?"

Peyton shoots up from the bed, her eyes turning cold. "You should go."

Furrowing his brows, he follows suit. "Peyton!"

"No," she struggles to find the perfect way to explain this to him. But all she sees is anger, frustration, and hurt. "You - ok… you can't just walk in here and ask me something like that," she pauses to gain her breath. Emotionally and physically exhausted, "When is the last time we even had a conversation about something real?"

His defenses raise straight away. "I thought you could use a friend!"

Peyton nods rapidly. "Yeah, you know I could use a friend. But you," she points angrily at his chest, "don't qualify as that anymore, Lucas, because a real friend would know about all the crap I've been dealing with lately."

Not wanting to - ever- give up, he tries once more. "Like what?"

Her eyes lose that last been of light, and her shoulders sink. He'll never get it. Besides everything that's happened to her in the past few months - he'll never get that this - between them - will never disappear. "Just go. Please."

"Okay, I'll go." Once he gets to the door, he pauses to compose himself, and turns back to her. "Whatever you think… I really do care about you Peyton."

It seems the best laid plans
Fall just outside our hands
And leave us broken down and far apart

Lucas walks through the door to his best friend and brother's apartment. It's not enough that Peyton has been on his mind all day, and that everyone has been down his back about this damn HCM test, now he has to make sure that he and his brother aren't taking two steps backward.

"Is this my apology?" He wants things to be okay; he does, but he's still angry for all of the guys teaming up against him on the court today.

It feels like nobody understands where he's coming from anymore.

Nathan completely disregards him, still facing the table. "No, this is Haley's apology. I don't owe you one. You know why?" He turns around to face his older brother, "Because nobody wants to lose you Luke; not your mom, not Keith, not Haley… not me."

Rolling his eyes, the blonde boy takes a seat at the counter. "There's nothing wrong with my heart, Nate."

"Yeah? That's what you said after your accident. You said you didn't want to be afraid to live your life."

Lucas contemplates this statement. It's true… it always has been. But for some reason, ever since he's come back to Tree Hill, he's been living completely against that motto. "That's right."

"Well I don't buy it, Luke. I think there's something in your heart you're running from."

Smirking, Lucas looks up at his brother. Of course - he has a possible heart condition. Jackass. "Okay, what are you, psychic?"

Completely disregarding the joke, Nathan propels forward: "You can make jokes all you want, but you know there is a girl you have feelings for."

Is it that obvious?

Lucas wracks his brain - how is it that his brother, someone he's only recently connected with, can see through his façade and into the girl that's in his heart?

So he does what he does best lately.

Lives in denial.

"Nathan…"

"Look me in the eye. Tell me I'm wrong."

Nathan waits for his brother to tell him… say anything. But instead Lucas stares at him, a vacant glaze present. "See?"

Nodding slowly, Lucas's heart starts to pound.

"Now you can be mad at me all you want; you can say your heart's fine, but until you tell this girl how you feel…" Nathan shrugs, "your heart's gonna be flawed. You need to talk to her Luke."

Walking away, Nathan leaves his blonde brother to sit and contemplate his heavy words.

He prays to God that Lucas knows he's talking about Peyton.

But if faith plays a role
I know someday I'll hold you in my arms forevermore

Wandering aimlessly about town, Lucas is still stuck on the words of his brother.

A girl in his heart?

His mind spins around all the women in his life: Anna, Brooke, Peyton. Each one holds a specific place in his life; each girl is amazing in their own way.

After the disaster that was the beginning of junior year; the screw up with Brooke and Peyton, Anna coming into his life had been like a breath of fresh air. She was sweet and nice, and seems to care a lot about him.

But she's not a part of his past.

That one vital piece that he doesn't think he'll ever be able to let go of.

Turning the corner onto another darkened street, Lucas sees the all too familiar Comet flying down the road. He knows where she's going and shakes his head.

Standing at the corner of the streets that house his mother's café, he's never felt more at a crossroads.

So let's love like it's ours to keep
Love like we've always dreamed
And maybe this time
The fates will be kind to us
So let's love like it's ours to keep

Karen's counting on her at Tric… no band has been found.

Someone painted the worst hate speech on her locker, and now she's suspended.

She had a bout with cocaine. She's sure her mother was looking down on her, frowning.

Brooke and her barely know what's going on in each other's lives anymore.

She lost the only boy she ever really loved.

If this isn't the worst year of her life yet… Peyton's not sure if she really wants to see what lies ahead.

To top it all off, she needs her mother more than ever, and her father is never around.

These things have all added up one by one, which is why she finds herself stepping out of her car into the dark - almost vacant - alley.

Waiting nervously, she hears the voice of a man that sends chills down her spine - and not in the good way.

Rick advances toward her; the conversation that follows feels like a whirlwind. She doesn't want to be the girl that puts herself into this stupid, vulnerable position - the girl that turns to drugs to conceal every flaw.

But right now… there's no other choice. She's lost herself and doesn't know how to get that back.

Glancing awkwardly at her surroundings, wanting to escape now that he's asking for money - her spirits begin to lift when she recognizes the stature and walk of the man that's coming toward them.

"You know this guy?" Grumbles Rick.

Peyton opens her mouth, a slight smile twitching at the corners and breathes out his name, "Lucas."

Without hesitance, Lucas steps forward, bringing her into his arms. With a quiet sob, she rests her head on his shoulder.

Finally, she can breathe again.

I wish there was a way
That we could somehow stay
In this perfect moment in time

I'd give up everything
'Cause this is all I dream about
Whenever I'm alone inside my mind

They've been in her room for the better part of an hour, no words had been spoken. Lucas is sitting against the headboard with Peyton curled into his side, hands stroking through her tangled mess of curls.

"You know… I left to better myself."

His sudden need to talk shocks her momentarily but she nods; he'd told her as much before he left for Charleston. When he continues, his next words both shock her and send a shiver up her spine. The good kind.

"I left because I wanted to be the man you deserved. You deserved so much better than what I could give to you. Knowing how badly I disappointed you… I couldn't live with myself."

Feeling her throat tighten with unwanted tears, Peyton clears it, and shakes her head. She needs to stand because being so close to him - feeling his skin against hers, and his scent invading her senses - she can't say what she needs to say. "And it looks like to me, you came back for Brooke."

Lucas fights internally to keep the groan he so desperately wants to release in check. He's not sure what that means, but thinking that this could every go smoothly had obviously been a mistake.

But damn if he wasn't going to try. It was now or never.

And never wasn't an option.

"Peyton…"

Peyton comes back to stand in front of him. She could yell, scream, or sob - but none of that was as effective as the tears pooling in her eyes, and the soft, broken tone her words come out in: "You let me walk away."

He leans back on the bed as if she's physically struck him.

"You didn't even try and stop me, Luke. You just let me walk away from you that night - you let me go like it was so simple. I wanted you to tell me that it was all going to be okay, and that we'd find a way to make things work. I thought you wanted to be with me. But you just let me leave without even trying to stop me - like I meant… nothing."

By the time she's seated next to him, face in hands, he's not faring much better - his eyes are rimmed red, throat is tightened, and he's balling his shirt tails in his fists.

He wants to speak, defend his actions - but she's not finished. She turns fully towards him; the tears have made her always beautiful green eyes, a deep sparkling emerald, full of emotion.

"You…" she brings her fists up to rest on his chest, "you jump into a relationship with Brooke, and when that's not working for you - you turn to me." A large sob escapes, and she pounds her fists into his chest. "And when I wasn't enough for you, it was onto Nikki. I shouldn't have been surprised, Luke."

The pounding of her tiny fists don't hurt nearly as bad as the verbal assault. He takes them into his hands, stopping the heavy emotion.

"No! Peyton, that is not how it was…"

"Then tell me Lucas!" Jumping up from the bed, Peyton spreads her arms, as if searching for the answer. "Tell me exactly how it was, because somewhere between you telling me you have to be with me and now - I've lost the message in transit."

Lucas stands to face her. They're both breathing heavy with tear stained faces.

He has to say something - anything - to make her believe in the depth of his love.

He may have hid from it before, but he was done. He couldn't do that to himself anymore. Or her.

Anna opens the door after his frantic knocking. The warm smile on her face almost breaks him down - she's such a sweet girl, he doesn't deserve her in his life.

"Lucas what's wrong?" Her soft voice questions.

"You know how much I care about you Anna? Because I do. But there's somebody else." Her smile quickly fades. "And she's a part of my history that came before you, and I've been lying to myself about the way I feel about her. I need to see her tonight. Cause I feel like she's slipping away. I'm sorry Anna."

Blinking, he reaches over to Peyton, pulling her so that their knees are touching, and their fingers are intertwined. "I went to see Anna tonight."

Peyton pulls back and widens her eyes. What the hell does that have to do with anything?

"Before I followed you… I went to go see her, because I couldn't keep leading her on. I told her that I had to see you tonight, because you've been slipping away from me. I told her that there's someone else that's always been in my heart - and that's you, Peyton. I lost sight of that for a while… but I'm done with that. I'm done hiding my heart from you."

Taking a deep breath, Peyton feels unable to release it until he speaks the words she's always dreamt of him saying, "I'm in love with you Peyton."

She could do one of two things - she could cry and argue more, bring up every point of their sordid past that's broken her heart. Or she could forgive him. And start anew.

Pausing for only a moment, Peyton looks at her hands - before reaching over, cupping his face in her hands, and planting a chaste kiss on his lips. They part to look into each other's eyes before their lips crash together again.

As their mouths move together he thinks that he's finally found someone that understands.

She's finally found the one person who's going to help make it all okay.

This is their new beginning.

So let's love like it's ours to keep
Love like we've always dreamed
And maybe this time
The fates will be kind to us
So let's love like it's ours to keep


Let me know what you think!