This story is set in a time when everything is still all about the brothers, about Brooke and Lucas, Nathan and Haley; back in the day...
[Slightly edited in 2012, though there's still tons of editing left to do...]
"Oh, for heaven's sake, I'll bring him home, alright. Gosh…" Lucas said and gave Haley a look that told her he was only doing it for her.
Thanks, she mouthed and turned away from him and Nathan, going back to the beach, where all the others were probably still celebrating. Great, thought Lucas and stared hard at Nathan, his not so beloved jackass half-brother, who had gotten so wasted that he could no longer stand or walk alone.
"Crap, Nate. Where are all your great friends now, huh? I really don't think I should be the one to get you home in one piece…" Lucas was pissed off; Nathan would probably never have done the same for him, driving him home. But then: Lucas wouldn't be such a mess, ever…Plus, he really was only doing it for Haley, because no matter what she had previously said, she cared for the guy, no matter if he deserved it or not.
Sighing in resignation, Lucas tightened his grip on his brother once again as he manhandled him into the passenger seat of his car. After shutting the door unnecessarily forcefully, he took his time rounding the car, not at all eager to have to drive his wasted brother the one and a half hours back home to Tree Hill.
Halfway there, Lucas had to stop the car to get Nathan out, who then seemed to puke out his soul. Lucas had to hold him up to prevent him from falling headfirst into the mess. Gross. Really great! He'd have done that for his friends, in fact had actually done it once or twice, but for Nathan? Lucas was only doing it reluctantly, and only because it was better this way then having to put Nathan back into the car with stinking puke all over his clothes.
"You know what? You better leave Haley alone from now on, alright? She deserves better—" Lucas was just saying when suddenly he saw another car getting closer way too fast. Its headlights flashed across the street in a mad meandering line. Before Luke could do anything about it he felt himself crash into the other car full force.
And then: blank.
When he came to, he was hanging from his seat, staring down at the car's roof. Apparently, his car was lying upside down on the street, Lucas could see shards of glass out there, and the lights of the other car were still glowing eerily, illuminating the asphalt and his car's interior. Lucas tried to free himself from the safety belt but found he couldn't do it.
Okay, he thought, let's recapitulate what happened: he was hanging upside down—which in itself was quite an uncomfortable position—but what with the frigging seatbelt he couldn't change that. Next thing to check off of the list: had he suffered any injuries? His arms seemed alright, his head felt okay, no bruises or blood there. Good. He checked further down, his chest hurt, he might have broken a few ribs; but broken ribs were not too bad, right? Alright, what else? No internal bleeding as far as he could tell, because it didn't hurt when he pressed his hands into his abdomen, feeling for injuries. He probably shouldn't force it, though…
Then he saw it: his leg was stuck in place underneath the steering wheel, in fact held in place by the strangely distorted construction. He felt the stickiness of something, blood, oozing from it. But there was no pain. Not yet, anyway. It would surely set in sooner or later. Great.
Only then did he remember his passenger and turned his head toward the other front seat, trying to suppress a rising feeling of panic. Nathan was lying on his side, underneath him Lucas could make out the side window's outline. So the car was not upside down, but actually lying on one side… Lucas jerked his head violently, trying to locate his own position. Why hadn't he noticed this? Why hadn't he realized it before? What had made him think—Lucas stopped himself there. He had to concentrate, had to pull himself together, had to check on Nathan. He called out to the younger one, said his name over and over again. He tried to reach him with his hand.
It took Nathan forever to gain consciousness, or so it seemed to Lucas, who had to wait it out because he couldn't do anything other than that, forced into passivity by his awkward position. He did try to free his leg a few times, but it was hopeless. Apart from hurting himself even further and nearly passing out once, it didn't help things much. So it was up to someone passing them by to get help. Or to Nathan.
When finally Nathan did stir, Lucas was so grateful that he nearly started crying. He choked it back with an effort and called out to his brother again. The younger one managed to turn his head slowly and Lucas could make out some blood where Nathan's head had rested on the window. "Hey…" said Lucas, "Are you all right? ... Nate?" The kid just stared at him, seemingly attempting to focus on his face. "Nathan?"
Nathan passed out again without having said anything. And this time Lucas really did start crying. He didn't know whether someone was going to find them there, whether Nathan would make it, whether he himself would… His leg had eventually started to hurt quite badly by then, and although he had managed to tie it with his own belt, it still seemed to bleed. Or was he imagining things? He felt so weak. Too weak, actually, to still try freeing himself.
"Lucas?" He heard it from a distance. He had closed his eyes, only for a minute, only so as to rebuild his strength a little… And now he heard his name being called. "Luke…please…" He opened his eyes, which was harder than he would have thought and frightened him because it meant that next time he closed his eyes he might not be able to open them again… He saw his brother leaning against the passenger seat, holding his right arm in his lap and Lucas felt his left hand on his own neck. "Thank goodness!" Nathan exclaimed, "I thought…" He didn't finish his sentence, but the older brother knew what he had thought. "I'm okay", he therefore simply said before explaining about his leg.
"Maybe if I-" Nathan started.
"No!" Lucas shouted more vehemently than he had meant to, eyes wide with panic at the thought of Nathan so much as touching his trapt leg. When he had composed himself again he added, "Please… I tried, it won't come loose…it just hurts worse every time I try…" He didn't mention the amount of blood he must have lost already. "What about you?"
Nathan didn't answer that one. Not with words. He just shrugged. He seemed okay to Lucas, for the moment. His having been unconscious for so long worried him a bit, but now he looked alright, apart from the blood on his right temple and his arm… "Do you think you could get out and get help?"
"Yeah. Don't you have a cell here somewhere, though?"
"Somewhere, yes." Lucas said, smirking. "Go find it if you can…"
Nathan actually did try to find it but gave up soon. "No chance", he said, "Your car's one great mess. Even if I find it, it'll probably be broken."
"You could check on that other car…see in what shape the driver is, and ask them for a cell phone…" Lucas suggested, suddenly remembering how they had gotten into this darn situation in the first place. There was at least one more person involved in this accident, and eventually Lucas had the time to think about them, and their health.
"Okay", Nathan said. Then he kicked in the remains of the windshield and made his way out. Lucas felt strangely lonely while he was gone, and even a bit scared, though he didn't want to admit it to himself.
It took the younger one a while. Lucas had to wonder who his brother had encountered in that other car, what took him so long.
He started to get terribly worried, when Nathan appeared again. His face looked ashen. "What…" Lucas started. He grabbed his brother by the shoulders, which must have looked strange, considering his hanging position. But there was no one there to look at them… "Nate."
"Um… I…" Nathan fell silent before he had really said much of anything. He had difficulties looking his brother in the eyes, and Lucas got suddenly aware of the shiver running through his brother's body.
"Nate, for goodness's sake! Are you okay?"
Nathan tried to focus on Lucas, but didn't quite manage it.
"Okay, just sit down for a sec. Sit down…"
"Crap, Luke, they're all dead in there, I…"
All? How many were in that other car? Lucas didn't dare ask. Nathan really looked a mess.
"I can't go in there. I can't look for a cell, they're... I just - I can't…"
"Alright. That's okay… It's okay. Nate. You don't have to, we'll just—we'll just wait here, okay? Someone will have to pass by eventually, right? And…"
Oh no, thought Lucas, this is getting worse. I'll die here. He felt something tug at his consciousness, a scary tiredness, a coldness.
It must have shown on his face, for all of a sudden Nathan said: "You stay awake, okay? You stay awake, Luke!" He sounded afraid, which would have amused Lucas in any other situation, seeing Nathan—the tough ball player and full-time jerk—seeing that guy afraid. Right now, though, he merely nodded in an effort to reassure the kid, and said, "Don't worry, I will.—But I don't think we'll actually be able to just wait it out. I mean—" He didn't want to tell Nathan, he so didn't want to worry him any more. But what if Lucas just died on his brother here? What if no one ever came and they both…
"You'll have to go and get help, Nate."
"And leave you here to die? Dammit, Luke! You can't—"
"I won't make it much longer if you don't go and get help! Nathan." Lucas suddenly blurted out, surprising even himself. He regretted it almost instantly when he saw the look on the other's face. But it worked. Without another word Nathan turned and left. Just vanished from view and left the older one hanging in his seat waiting for help or death to get to him. Whichtever came first.
Lucas had never been so lonely or so scared in his entire life. He had never cared so much for his brother, had never considered him that before: a brother—without the "half"… Lucas would have given anything to know Nathan to be safe now. He couldn't remember when that terrible panic had started: that Nathan might just pass out somewhere on his way and be left to die in a ditch, all alone. Just like Lucas himself, dying in this frigging car in the middle of a road that no one else ever seemed to drive on.
Except those folks in the other car… Oh god, he was such a baby. But he couldn't care less now, he was afraid to die, afraid of being all alone, afraid of the darkness around him now that the lights of the other car had eventually died down to a flicker, then gone out entirely. He was afraid of the stillness all around him. No sound, except for his own breathing and his heartbeat.
And then he heard something else, a car. Someone was coming. He just had to hold on a little longer, not give in to the tiredness. Not yet.
It meant that Nathan was safe. That he had found help. They were coming for him now, for Lucas. He heard the car stopping close by, heard voices. And then he saw Haley's shocked face, saw Peyton kneeling next to her, frantically speaking into her cell phone. "Oh god, Luke.—It's gonna be okay, I'm here, I'm here. Peyton is calling an ambulance right now, okay? Just stay awake, okay? Please, Lucas, just look at me now, it's okay…" he heard Haley say. Haley. And Peyton. Why Peyton? Those two never did anything together, they…
Peyton must have been driving her home. Slowly, the truth of this assumption sank in. Peyton had eventually offered to drive Haley home because Lucas hadn't showed up again to come and get her as he had promised. She hadn't wanted to go home that early, and not with Nathan in the same car…She had waited for Lucas in vain. And Peyton had surely taken pity on her. Haley must have felt so humiliated.
But they were only calling the ambulance now. They hadn't known… Lucas pushed Haley's hand away in a sudden impulse, and stared hard at her, all alert again.
"Nathan didn't meet you?" he asked, nearly tonelessly. The expression on Haley's face said it all. "Oh my god." Lucas grabbed her arm. "Oh my god! Where is he? Oh god!"
"Oh crap, Haley! I sent him to go for help. I thought he stumbled into you on his way! But… Oh no, oh god, you've gotta go and find him! You've—"
The world went black then. Quite suddenly, as if someone had robbed him of his sight and his senses. Only a split second for him to wonder about it, and then nothing.
"Whoa, dude! What happened to you? You look like shit…" Greg looked from the kid in the street back to his friends that were sitting with him in his grandpa's pickup truck, before he opened the door and got out. The kid just stood there, staring. He was covered in soot and blood and whatnot. The others got out, too, Paul walked up to the kid, softly touching his shoulder. "Did you have an accident somewhere?—You alright?"
Greg thought he recognized the guy from somewhere. "Dude, you been at the party back on the beach?" he suddenly asked, coming closer. "Paul, I think I saw him there earlier; remember those guys fighting?"
Before he could elaborate on the scene he had witnessed earlier that night, the kid eventually spoke.
"Please, we need to get help for my brother, he…"
Paul and Greg exchanged alarmed glances. "What happened, dude? Where is your brother?" Greg was just asking when the girl he was giving a ride (and maybe more, as she had invited him to only a few minutes ago), Brooke, jumped out of the car and ran to the kid, shouting "Oh my god, Nathan! What the hell happened to you? What—"
She took him by the shoulders, letting go instantly, though, when he flinched at the contact.
"Brooke?" he asked, and it came out as an uncertain whisper.
"Yes, Nathan. It's me. It's Brooke. What happened to you, Nate? Nathan…"
"Please. Brooke, it's Luke, he's hurt—do any of you guys have a cell?"
Greg saw the look on the girl's face at that. Shock. She knew the brother, too. There went his fun night, but he wasn't really thinking about getting laid any longer anyway.
"Sure," he said, all business again, all focused on the task at hand: rescuing that brother. "I'll call an ambulance, okay?" He was already dialing the number, or rather punching the three digits in. While he was waiting for the connection to be established he motioned for the others to get back into the car.
"Paul, you ask him where we'll find this Luke. And put him in the passenger seat, alright, so he'll be able to show me where to drive.—Hello? Hi, this is Greg Anders. Listen, we just came across a kid that's been in some sort of accident and I think we'll need an ambulance here… Um, he's alright I think, well, considering… But he mentioned another one who seemingly needs help… It's somewhere on Costello Road probably, or that area…—yeah, up at the beach… I don't know where that other one is, he's gotta be close by, though. I don't think the kid could have walked a long way in the state he's in… Ma'am, can't you just send an ambulance and the cops to meet us here? Costello is pretty easy to find. If there's been an accident on this road somewhere we're bound to find the site soon, okay? … I'll hand him the phone, alright, hold on.—Dude, it's the woman from the 911-hotline. Can you try and explain to her what happened?"
Nathan stared absently at the cell phone in Greg's hand for a moment, before taking it from him. While the lady from the hotline was talking to him he tried to keep the approaching unconsciousness at bay by concentrating on Lucas, who was still out there in the car, dependant on Nathan to get him out of there.
"Please", he whispered, "His car crashed, it's—a few miles from here… I don't know, I… It's not far, we have to—please, he'll die if we don't get him out of there, his leg got stuck under the… under…" Nathan had difficulties concentrating on what had happened. He was lost for words and there was this fog enveloping his thoughts. He barely felt Brooke's hand on his arm, and yet it was reassuring to know she was there. He felt so darn tired. But he mustn't sleep, they had to go back to Lucas first…
"Nathan! No. Nathan!"
"Hey, kid, hey! Stay with us here, okay? Come on. Look at me, look at me!"
"Get that fucking car to drive, Greg! For god's sake! Go!" Paul said. "We gotta get him to the A and E ASAP!" He slapped the kid's cheeks, but he remained unconscious. "Shit!"