A/N – Final chapter! I didn't think I'd ever see this happen!

Like a Laceration to the Soul

Chapter 25 –

12 years later

Today was a day that had been marked on all the calendars in the Scott household for a few months now.

It was a day that had left Brooke up countless nights prior, thinking and reminiscing on the past. She couldn't believe how much time had passed. It seemed like just yesterday she was visiting newborn baby Sawyer in the hospital, and her Lucas's romance was just beginning to bud.

Now, many years and memories later, she was happily married, with three beautiful children, one of whom was heading off to college.

Today was the day Sawyer Keith Scott, recently turned 18, was ready to start a new chapter in his life over at The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Lucas and Brooke couldn't believe that their baby was already all grown up and independent. They would have to get used to having one less child in the house, though their two youngest proved to be a handful at times, always butting heads.

Brooke was currently in Sawyer's room helping him pack any last minute things.

"Mom!" Twelve-year-old Zoey shrieked from her room down the hall. "Tell Aidan to get out of my room! I'm on the phone!"

The preteen was already turning into a drama queen, and Lucas saw so much of a younger Brooke in her, it scared him sometimes. And, if there was one thing that enraged her to no end, it was her seven-year-old brother, Aidan, sneaking around in her own room and tormenting her.

With Brooke's hands full with Sawyer, Lucas rushed into the room, scooping his young son up in his arms.

"Come here, you monkey." He swung him over his shoulders so he was upside down.

"Daddy, let me go!" The boy giggled.

"I'll take care of him, Zo." Lucas assured his annoyed daughter as his exited with his laughing son.

Brooke, who was down the hall from the ruckus, just shook her head with a smirk and turned to Sawyer.

"Now how can you tell me you're not going to miss that?"

"I guess I'll have to get used to the quiet." Sawyer smiled.

He adored his siblings and was so glad that they looked up to him as much as they did. He'd taught Zoey how to ride a two-wheeler and taught Aidan how to make a jump shot at the river court. Both the younger ones knew that Sawyer had been born from a different mother, and they had asked him about it frequently when they first found out a few years ago. Aidan was especially curious since he was so young. But it never made them love him less, and it never weakened their sibling bond.

"Plus, I'm only two hours away if anything."

Brooke nodded at this information and sighed, taking a seat on his messy bed.

Two hours away…it was one of the reasons she was so thankful he'd chosen UNC over the other schools he'd been accepted into. He was far away enough to get the true college experience, but close enough to home to return for a weekend if need be.

Even with this, however, the adjustment would still be hard.

Sawyer continued to look through his drawers, seeing if he missed anything during his packing.

He came to the bottom of his sock drawer when he gasped a little, pulling out a folded piece of notepad drawing paper.

"Now that is old." Brooke commented as her son unfolded the paper.

It was the picture that Peyton had given Sawyer when he went to meet her all those years ago.

"Yeah…" The blonde trailed off, letting his eyes wander the drawing.

It all seemed like a lifetime ago.

"Well, I don't need this anymore." He decided, folding it back up and throwing it in the large black garbage bag that was filled with other old things and junk that had been found around his room.

"Sawyer…" Brooke looked up at him, her eyes teary.

He looked at her and frowned, knowing that she was seconds away from crying.

She didn't know what did it, whether it was the drawing itself, the memory and pain that was brought on by the drawing, or just the simple fact that her son was going to college and moving out, but tears were surely about to come.

"Mom…" Sawyer went and sat beside her, wrapping an arm around her shoulders. "I just want to say…thank you."

Brooke looked into his deep blue orbs, confused at his sentiment. "For what, baby?"

Sawyer took a deep breath. He'd never really done this…Sure, he and Brooke were extremely close, and they always had been, but he never really thanked her for all she had done. For loving him the way she had since the moment he was born, making sure he would turn out to be the best possible person he could be.

"For everything. You've looked out for me since the moment I was born. You've looked out for dad too. You showed us hope and you gave me something to live for before I could even breathe on my own. You never gave up on me; on us. Where would we be without you? Me, and Zoey and Aidan…we're so lucky to have you as our mom…and I know I'm gonna be just fine at college, because you've raised me to be independent and strong and you've taught me to make all the right decisions in life. I love you, mom."

Sawyer leaned in for a tight embrace and Brooke held on to him tightly, like she once did when he was a little boy.

She didn't know how she got so lucky to have such an amazing boy like this. Knowing that by volunteering all those years ago, she helped shape him into the incredible man who stood before her today was enough to complete her. He was right, she never gave up. And she never would.

"I love you so much." She was crying now, soaking his cotton t-shirt, but he didn't mind one bit. "You'll always be my baby boy."

"So I was thinking…" Zoey smiled slyly. "You know…since you've got yourself your own dorm and all, maybe mom and dad will let me turn your room into my very own walk-in-closet?"

Sawyer laughed at his little sister. "You do know I'm coming back home for holidays and stuff, right?"

Zoey pretended to be sad at this, but Sawyer knew she was just kidding around.

"I'm gonna miss you, Sawy. Who else is gonna help me gang up against Aid?"

As if on cue, the seven-year-old boy stormed up to his older siblings. "Sawyer! Do you have to go?" He whined. "I don't wanna stay with Zoey. She'll lock me outta the house again!"

Zoey giggled as she thought back to that incident. She had her phone taken away for a week because of her little prank.

"You two better behave for mom and dad."

"Promise me when you come back we can play at the river court?" Aidan questioned, holding out his pinky for his big brother to latch on to.

"Promise." Sawyer affirmed.

"Alright you two." Lucas walked up from behind. "Why don't you guys go wash up for dinner while your mom and I say bye to your brother?"

Zoey and Aidan said their last goodbyes as they made their way back into the house.

"Are you sure you don't want one of us to come up with you? For the drive…to help you unpack?"

"Mom." Sawyer laughed. "There's no room." The car was completely packed with his stuff. "I told you, I'll be fine."

"Remember, if you have any problems…" Lucas started.
"...call…" Sawyer finished off with a smirk. "You guys gave me the rundown a hundred times. I've got it covered."

Lucas smiled and handed his son the car keys. "Car's gassed up, you got everything set."

"Yup. So I guess…this is it."

Lucas pulled his son in for a hug. His son, who had been born sick and weak and who fought all odds, turned into this unbelievably amazing man, and he was so proud.

"I love you, son. Be safe."

Lucas tried to contain himself, because he knew his wife surely wouldn't be able to. She started crying since the minute Sawyer opened his acceptance letter to UNC months earlier.

Now it was Brooke's turn, and after their conversation from a few hours before, she really didn't know what was left to be said.

"I love you." She kissed his cheek and held him in her arms. "Call us when you get there."

With one final wave, he got into the loaded car and pulled out of the driveway, leaving Lucas and Brooke to bask in the silence.

Lucas wrapped an arm around his wife's waist and kissed her hair.

"You okay, pretty girl?"

She watched until the car could no longer be seen and gave a stiff nod. "I'll be okay."

He felt her body shake with her sobs, and all he could do was hold her tighter.

"We did good. And he's gonna do great."

Lucas owed his life to Brooke. She was the woman who believed in he and Sawyer when it felt like all had been lost.

She had saved them.

And for that, he owed her everything.

"I know." She gave a small smile. "I know he will."

Sawyer was off to do great things in his life. This was certain.

And it was all thanks to Brooke.


A/N – So, that's it. After a little over two years, it's over.

I truly loved writing this story, from start to finish. I'd say it was an emotional rollercoaster…but an enjoyable one, and I hope everyone feels the same way.

Thank you to everyone who has ever reviewed this story and/or put it on alert/favorites. I'd love to hear your final thoughts. THANK YOU!