A/N: I'm still on my happy-LP-baby high, but apparently my muse is over that. This is oh-so-slightly inspired by Jodi Picoult's The Pact, which I read a couple weeks ago. I recommend it, along with all of her work – it's not epic and challenging, but her stories are well-researched and interwoven, and the ending always gets me.

It's a little dark and I guess a little cryptic. Mentions a couple touchy subjects and is not in any way intended to offend. This is what you get when you combine my melancholy mood, the quotation we discussed in my philosophy class, and my inability to pay attention to calculus – this wrote itself on some graph paper in the back of my binder. It's Lucas and Peyton if both of their characters had been a little deeper, a little darker, and things in season one had gone a very different way.

It's a oneshot. Reviews are love.

Broken Record

oh, God, Lucas, baby just…please

Her funeral is even more solemn than the average service. It's buzzing and hushed at the same time. The air is summery and thick with humidity: it fills his lungs against his will, hot and heavy, choking, stifling. The wind blusters up rarely, toying with the leaves on the graveyard trees and hissing the poisonous word on the mind of every person there.


This was never how he pictured things, four years ago, when he was nothing more than an innocent kid with a hopeless infatuation and dreams bigger than his circumstances allowed. He'd wished, that one day, he might know her well enough to warrant the expectation that he'd show up on this day, if fate was so cruel that it forced him to outlive her. He thought he'd be the guy hidden near the back in an anonymous black suit, brooding and mysterious in his palpable grief.

Instead, he is the most infamous, noticeable person there, standing off to the side. He wears that anonymous black suit, and it's accessorized not my tear tracks on his cheeks and the love letter he never sent, but by shiny metal handcuffs bruising his wrists and two strapping, scowling police officers.

And even the wind gossips about him.

oh, God, Lucas, baby just…please

Those whose memories of and love for her have endured the test of time are the only ones who've shown up with sincerity. They're easily recognizable, the only ones who actually appear broken. All of the other attendees have been driven their by curiosity – some are blushing shamefully while others wear their blatant intrigue like a badge of honour. This is the biggest scandal ever to rock Tree Hill, bigger than the high school basketball player who impregnated two girls in the space of three months and lost his future anyway.

This is shades of red. Startling, horrifying. Blood and lust. Fear and fire and several degrees of hell.


oh, God, Lucas, baby just…please

He recognizes her father easily. Obviously grief-stricken: dark circles under his empty eyes, trembling hands clasped together. Their eyes meet, just once, and he sees unadulterated pain and hatred staring back at him. No words are necessarily to know what he in thinking, demanding, Why? Why my little girl? Why the only important thing I had left? And how dare you, how dare you show up here? How dare they grant you permission to come?

He aches to talk to that man so badly that it physically hurts. He just wants to tell him. I loved her every bit as much as you did. You would do anything for her…so would I. And I did.

He has already learned, however, that no one is willing to believe whatever words he has to offer up. They want to call him crazy, dismiss his actions as insanity, but he is still so calm, so sure of what has happened, that he's in trouble, they say. Actions speak louder has become an oft-repeated phrase in his general vicinity. Crime of passion is what the kinder, more sympathetic voices suggest with a shrug.

A sea of mourning eyes stares back at him. Every single orbs asks the same questions, carries the same emotion. Hatred and disbelief messily mixed with pity and pleading, begging for answers.

They long to understand. They don't believe him. Ergo, they're left with no solution. Defeated, they say that she got the best end of the bargain in this mess, sad as it may be: an escape from it all. This is the one thing they can agree on.

Brooke is there, beautiful even amidst her breakdown. Her black dress and brown locks look perfect even on this day, a testament to the few things he does remember about the bubbly brunette. He never really knew her, and they never really talked much about what they missed about home.

She keeps glancing at him, whenever her tears quiet and she has a chance to breathe again, setting her jaw and clenching her teeth. She looks mystified. By his existence, by his presence there, by what he's done. She believes that he has stolen something precious from her, he can tell.

Haley is there as well, clutching Brooke's hand securely. It doesn't surprise him that they're friends, bonded together by a mutual and sudden loss of best friends those four long years ago. He almost expected to show up here today and find them clinging to one another, searching for support as they face another set of losses. Of life and what they thought they knew.

The girl he grew up with looks at him only once, her expression the picture of devastated, and after that she avoids his eyes. He expected that, too. It's not like he needs to look her in the eyes to know what she's thinking. Oh, Luke, what have you done? Lucas Scott, what have you become?

Her other hand, one that he used to hold onto as they tripped across the small town streets, is tucked into that of his half brother. He's heard about it, their marriage at an extraordinarily young age, read about it in some paper that didn't have anything better to report. Still, it's strange to see. It's strange to be here, to be the bad guy, while Nathan stands tall and strong and confused, holding Haley up.

His initial reaction to their marriage was one of spluttering fury, outright anger, the same emotions he sees in Nathan's eyes. But just as Haley's hand squeezing his instantly calms him down; her laugh did the same for Lucas.

Baby, she'd said fondly in that winning southern accent, pushing him backward on the motel bed, with its cheap springs creaking under their combined weight. We skipped down in the middle of the night without a word. Fair is fair. Don't begrudge them what we have.

And then it was lips and legs and love and he was gone, gone, gone, falling further and feeling more than a sixteen-year-old kid should ever be allowed.

oh, God, Lucas, baby just…please


She was his drug and her words were no exception.

He'd tell her, teasingly but really seriously, that her legs were his kryptonite. And she'd whisper right back, voice sultry and sweet, that his mouth was hers.

When they fell for each other, it was hard and fast and furious. They were just kids; two kids facing too much pain and loneliness and abandonment, kids longing for an escape and aching to feel whole.

Two kids who found all that they were searching for in each other. It was so intense, early on, with her, that sometimes he couldn't catch his breath. It was so wrong that it was right, so right that it sometimes felt wrong.

He never knew how or when they made the decision to leave, but on the night she pulled into his driveway at midnight, he was already halfway out the door.

He lightened her spirit and she darkened his. They absorbed one another's pain until it no longer existed and all that was left was the two of them. They were meant to be.

It was a kind of purity, him and her, he and she. Her bare feet on the dashboard and his partially tanned hands on the steering wheel of the car that had first brought them together. Bodies that were a perfect fit and minds that worked separately but also as one. Honesty and humour, sadness and subtleties. He counted every bit of her body and soul as his own.

They were on the run constantly, from everything but each other. They found work and money when they needed it, lived in a crummy apartment for three months when they were in desperate need, lied about their ages, charmed their way into what they were looking for. Most of the time, though, the road served as their home.

Her laughter made him feel like he could fly, and he gave her all her could, living as they did. They raided used CD stores instead of buying lunch and when she'd breathe listen, oh just listen to that, don't you just feel like it could save you? his empty stomach was worth it as he tasted the salt of happy tears on her lips.

Nothing is better than you are. She was the one who put the feeling into words, one quiet night when they were hidden in the stacks of some small town's public library, tucked away together in a big, comfy chair.

She knew and understood the magic words had for him. They would lie together at night, fingers intimately intertwined in the darkness and the pale moonlight, whispering about the very best and worst moments in their history until they knew each other inside and out. He'd whisper random lines of poetry or recite Tennyson or Shakespeare until her glittering green eyes fluttered closed. Sometimes she'd murmur back, words that she'd memorized from hearing him speak them, or those brought out from her own precious bank of sentences from stories and songs that she'd tucked away safely in her mind.

Lyrics could reach down and touch her soul; poetry spoke volumes to him. But the very best moments that existed between the two of them required no words at all, like that heart-racing split second in which they realized that they were leaving Tree Hill behind.

It was a similar moment that another life-altering decision was made and he found himself holding the gun.

Unfair, he thought it was, that the last words in their relationship had left her lips. He was left alone with those words ringing in his ears they way her laugh used to; his own personal, melodic, unending lullaby.

oh, God, Lucas, baby just…please

He repeats her words in his mind unwillingly as her coffin is lowered into the ground, safely next to her mother's resting place. The words set themselves apart from one another, individual segments that he analyses internally to keep himself from falling apart.

Oh. An exclamation of surprise, a gasp of pleasure, a chuckle of embarrassed realization, the sound of discovery, a teasing squeal. He'd heard her mutter that single syllable an infinite number of ways. The last time, it was a plea: help me.

God. The Lucas, the word tended to be a moan of disappointment or an expression of surprise. He'd never really considered religion. She had. What else could she do, alone in her grief after losing her mother so young? After a tough sixteen years of life and a lot of thought, she'd told him early on that she was a sworn atheist. But she might believe in fate, she'd said once or twice, green orbs shooting off a spark of electricity as they met his blue eyes. Maybe.

Lucas. His name, her lips. The perfect, sweetest combination. He yearned to have it back, longed to hear the thousands of ways she was capable of saying those two syllables, each one better than the next.

Baby. It was her favourite affectionate term for him, always said with the southern-belle twang. He loved it when she called him that; now it serves as a bittersweet reminder of the dream he told her about only when she was sleeping, that one day they'd settle down and have that fairytale wedding, and that she would have his children.

Just. She hadn't needed to say anything more. Then, it had seemed so simple. She wanted something she was scared to do; he had to help her. Now, it reminded him of justice, what is seen as fairness, the sentence he was doomed to face in exchange for the past four years of bliss, of her.

Please. And there it was, the words that had ended it all. He loved her. He was powerless. Saying no had never really been an option.

oh, God, Lucas, baby just…please

She tried to talk him out of it at the last minute. Suicide was her choice, her burden to bear. He had kept her so happy. But life was catching up with them, reality was closing in, and she didn't want to go back. She'd always known that she wanted to be buried in Tree Hill, near her mom, but she was not walking or driving or flying back to that town, not going back breathing. She wouldn't, she couldn't, she didn't want to. She wasn't that girl, not anymore, and she probably never really had been.

But she loved him. He didn't have to be there, with her, when she did it.


He'd touched her pale, cold cheeks and run his hands down her bare arms and asked her if she wanted him there. Her nod took a long time, and was as hesitant as could be…but it happened, and the heartbreak in her eyes made sure that he knew how much she meant it.

Barely breathing out of apprehension, she gasped out words like you, me, hurt, love, illegal…trailing off and waiting for him to change his mind.

He shook his head and told her that he'd only ever have one crime. And if that was how loving her would be labeled, then so be it. He blinked back his tears. So be it.

She'd curled into his chest, clutching at the lapels of his shirt like she always had, whispered that she was scared, begged him for one last favour, pressed something deathly cool and vaguely L-shaped into his hands.

oh, God, Lucas, baby just…please

His blue eyes cloud over with stinging tears as those words echo one last time in his mind, coinciding with a harsh reminder of the gun's trigger going off as her coffin makes contact with the ground with a soft thud.

The wind picks up again and the stirring of the trees taunts him once more, quoting Peyton Sawyer, kicked out in the backseat of her comet in a vibrant red bikini top and cut-offs that showcased those kryptonite legs, picking her favourite words of wisdom out of his book on Greek philosophy, life and laughter in her quiet voice as she mused over the words.

What man has ever been content with one crime?

That's Juvenal, right? he'd asked, and laughed when she nodded. Too deep a discussion for a sunny Sunday afternoon, he'd insisted, and pulled her out of the car, toward the beach.

On days like that the thought of any funeral, never mind hers, didn't cross his mind. Depressing and philosophical thoughts couldn't penetrate his happiness, not when he was with her.

And now, here he stands; as dirt falls from Larry Sawyer's fingertips and they both say goodbye to a girl they loved. He's there as living proof, an answer to the one question she'd ever asked him that he didn't ever get the chance to respond to. It's yes, you can be content with one crime; I am, I always will be, I did it for you. As it always was with her, the answer is yes.

oh, God, Lucas, baby just…please