I don't own it and I don't own "Winter Song" by Sara Bareilles ft. Ingrid Michaelson.

This is an absolutely beautiful song! I honestly love it and often find myself humming the bum, bum, bum part LOL.

So, this'll all be explained in the story, but it's the Christmas after Peyton says someday. I'm not too good with timelines and things like that, but figure its 9 months since they've interacted. I guess that's all you need to know for now.

This has been bouncing around in my head for a while and I finally decided to put it out there. It feels a little different then some other one-shots I've written, but I'll let you judge that. I needed a break from my other stories LOL.


Bum bum bum bum bum bum bum bum
Bum bum bum bum bum bum
Bum bum bum bum bum bum

This is my winter song to you
The storm is coming soon
It rolls in from the sea

She hasn't been home in almost a year. Home. It feels weird to call Tree Hill home. Can she call it home? She doesn't permanently reside there and she doesn't have any family left there. Sure, her friends are there and they're close to a family for her, but it lacks the thing she craves most.

That feeling of happiness.

She taps her foot as she waits for her one, red suitcase to make its way on the carousel that holds all the other bags that contain belongings. She runs a hand through her hair and clicks her tongue against the roof of her mouth. She really hates waiting. Finally, her bag makes its way towards her and she lifts it from the conveyer.

The wheels form a soft rapping noise as she drags it behind her and she lets that rhythm fill her mind – soothe her. She needs the distraction. God, she doesn't even know what she's doing.

Brooke's begged her to come back to Tree Hill for months now, but she's always found a way around it. Her brunette best friend comes back quite a few times when she's got a break and while Peyton is envious, it's not enough to move to her a different emotion. At least, not until this winter break.

Brooke usually calls everyday – every other day at least – and they chat about the basic things; class, work, interning . . . then the conversations get serious and they discuss Lucas. Lucas. Just thinking about him causes her heart to race and her mind to blank.

She shakes her head and sighs as she glances around the airport. People hug and kiss and welcome their loved ones with open arms. She wishes she hadn't caught such a late flight, but work was killing her. Plus, this was pretty much a last minute decision.

I'm gonna be in Tree Hill for Christmas. Brooke Davis will always be her best friend, but the girl never knew when to stop. Peyton had laughed her off when Brooke called her two days ago and said those words. She wasn't going back.

I'd really love to see you. We all miss you. Haley James Scott always plays the neutral party. Peyton didn't think she'd be able to do it after everything that happened months ago, but the phone calls didn't stop and neither did the pointless e-mails. When Haley called 3 hours after Brooke, Peyton laughed again. Her friends we're relentless, but she wasn't going back.

Come home, Sawyer. You should be around your family. Nathan Scott has become her best guy friend. They talk as often as possible, but it's hard with everything he's got going on; training is intense. She figured he understood the most; that need to not be near the one place that reminds you of everything – he left for High Flyers that summer before senior year. But, he called the day after Brooke and his wife had – a strategic plan no doubt – and she nearly caved. But she quickly shook those thoughts out, she wasn't going back.

Peyton dear, I'm going to be home, in Tree Hill, for Christmas. I'd love to see you; Andy and Lily would also. Karen Roe has been like another mother to Peyton since she was 16 years old. That's why when she saw the older woman's name on her caller ID she let her answering machine pick up. She wasn't going back and she didn't have the heart to tell Karen that.

Peyton. Home. Christmas. James Lucas Scott is two years old and already holds a huge piece of her heart. She wasn't going home. She had told countless people that she wasn't stepping foot into Tree Hill, but those people hadn't been little Jamie Scott. Those 3 words made her cave.

She maneuvers her way through the crowd of people. Her time in LA has fully prepared her for large amount of people, stuck in a small amount of space. She flips her hair so that the blonde locks free her vision and she gasps. Standing on the other side of the airport is a man that looks similar – breathtakingly similar – to Lucas. He can't be home though; she was told he wouldn't be here. She can't handle being here if he's here.

9 months ago, Lucas Scott proposed to her and she told him she wasn't ready. Peyton Sawyer doesn't like to live with regrets, but that moment in time is definitely something she'll take to her grave. Who knows where she'd be right now? Actually, she knows where she'd be.

Tree Hill, North Carolina.

And as she reads the sign that welcomes her to her hometown, she grumbles. Oh, the irony. She sees a boy and a girl – teenagers – standing near the gate for a departing flight and they embrace tightly before kissing fiercely. The scene it all too familiar and she grumbles again.

Home sweet home.

My voice; a beacon in the night
My words will be your light
To carry you to me

He hasn't been home in almost three months. Home. It's good to be able to call Tree Hill that. His mother doesn't exactly live there anymore and she's taken his baby sister with her. His friends are there and his godson and it's good. But it still lacks something.

That feeling of happiness.

He scrolls through his Blackberry as he waits for the forest green suitcase to make its appearance. He sighs and opens a new e-mail; quickly he types a response and sends it. He's gotten 10 new ones in the five hour flight and he still isn't use to having so many things going on. He spots his bag from the corner of his eye and quickly grabs it.

As he rolls his luggage behind him the rhythmic sound the wheels make is cut off by the sound his phone makes; another message for his inbox. His work never seems to stop, but he supposes it's understandable. 3 months ago he published a novel.

Since then his life has been filled with traveling and interviews and speeches at schools. It's weird and exhilarating and crazy and he's loved pretty much every moment of it. It's hectic and time consuming. So much so that he hasn't been home since he boarded a plane to New York in September.

Haley's been begging him to come home for weeks now. He hasn't had time off to get back to Tree Hill, he's wanted it, and it just wasn't possible. If he's being honest, he hasn't tried too hard. He's mentioned it to Lindsey once, but it was more of a mumble while they were sitting in a taxi in Chicago. He's always had an excuse, but not this time.

He and Haley talk often. She's busy with a baby and school and he's busy with the tour, but they always set aside at least an hour a day. They talk about everything; school, work, Jamie, the tour . . . and then the conversation veers to Peyton. Peyton. Just her name causes his to stop and take a breath.

He shakes his head and starts walking once again. All the people around him are greeted by their friends, and families, and loved ones. He wishes he could have gotten an earlier flight, but this was such a last minute choice that there was no option. Plus, it's Christmas Eve.

Lucas, please come home for Christmas. Haley James Scott is his best friend and she always will be. Lucas had chuckled at her constant attempts to get him home, but that's all they were; attempts. He wasn't going back.

Bro, try and get home. Christmas won't be the same without you. Nathan Scott has become everything he ever thought a brother would be. He never would have guessed that they'd get to the point of regular phone calls and e-mails, but they have. That's why when he called a few hours after Haley he wasn't surprised. But nothing had changed; he wasn't going home.

Broody, I'm gonna be in Tree Hill for Christmas. Brooke Davis is still his friend. That may seem like an odd thing to characterize a person as, but it suits their situation. He's glad he can still call her a friend after everything that happened many months ago. It just goes to show how good of a person she is. When he got her phone call he nearly gave in, but he stayed strong in his decision of not going back.

My boy, I'm coming home for Christmas and I don't know when I'll be back again. I miss you and so do Andy and Lily; we'd all love to see you. His mother is his heroine. She's strong and sincere and the kindest woman on the planet. That's why he couldn't answer when he saw her name flash on the caller ID. He didn't have the heart to tell her he wouldn't be back.

Uncle Lucas. Home. Christmas. James Lucas Scott is his godson. He's smart and slick and definitely a Scott. He's also got Lucas wrapped around his fingers. He had told everyone else to forget it, but he could never say no to the 2 year old. Those words were all it took for him to cave.

He grumbles as he weaves through the crowd. He may have spent a lot of time in big cities, but he's still a southern gentleman at heart. He politely nudges them and smiles softly at the women he bumps into. Someone knocks into his suitcase and it falls to the floor. He bends down to reach the handle and his eyes widen. Across the airport is a woman that looks similar – painfully similar – to Peyton. She wouldn't be here though; nobody said anything. He can't handle being here if she's here.

9 months ago, he proposed to Peyton Sawyer and she turned him down. He's dealt with the pain of rejection, but he never thought he'd have to receive it from her. He never should have told her to go to LA their senior year.

He sees a boy and a girl – teenagers – standing near the gate for a departing flight and they embrace tightly before kissing fiercely. The scene it all too familiar and he grumbles.

Home sweet home.

Is love alive?
Is love alive?
Is love

Peyton takes a deep breath as she smoothes out her pea-coat. She brought an apple pie and she has a toy for Lily and Jamie; it's all she had time to shop for. She rings the bell because she doesn't know if she should just walk in and blindly fixes her hair while she waits for someone to answer. She hears heavy footsteps and knows its Nathan.

"Sawyer!" he yells with a grin and pulls her in for a bone crushing hug; she loves it. Any lingering nerves or doubts of being welcomed vanish as he kisses her temple and ruffles her curls.

"Hey! Watch the hair", she teases. He grins, shakes his head, and pulls her in for another hug. He whispers that he's missed her and she does her best not to tear up. It's far too early and she still has to greet way too many people for that.

He pulls her into the house and proudly yells; "Look what the cat dragged in!" Haley comes out of the kitchen with a frown on her face and her brows furrowed.

"Nathan, that's not a very good –"

Haley stops in her tracks and it has Peyton nerves on high alert once more. What if she ends up screaming because Peyton's here? Its one thing to write and e-mail and make a phone call, but it's a whole other story when you see them in person.

"Peyton Sawyer", she whispers with a smile before speed walking up to the blonde and pulling her into a hug. "When's the last time you ate?" she asks playfully. "You're getting too thin."

Nathan manages to take the gifts from her arms and the pie. Haley links their arms and they slowly walk to the dining room. "Dinner will be ready soon, everyone's in there", she says as she nods to the open room at the end of the hall. Peyton opens her mouth to ask if Haley wants help, but the petite brunette cuts her off;

"It's really good to see you."

Peyton smiles softly and Haley nods towards the room once more. Peyton's green eyes flicker over the pictures that line the hallway. The Scott family seems to have it all. She grimaces, that even sounded bitter in her head. She smoothes out her gray sweater and takes a deep breath.

The moment of truth.

Karen gasps loudly as Peyton's heels clack against the hardwood floors. In an instant the older woman is on her feet and has her arms wrapped around Peyton's torso. The blonde hugs back with the same feeling; she's missed Karen so damn much.

"I'm so glad you're here", she whispers into the blonde's ear. Peyton only nods because she can't trust her voice. They pull apart and Lily calls out for her from her place in her booster seat. The room laughs and while Peyton greets Andy, Karen places Lily in her arms.

The little girl already looks so much like Keith; Peyton can feel her heart clench. She makes a face and Lily laughs before nuzzling her nose against Peyton's. When Jamie makes an appearance he smiles and runs – as best he can – to Peyton. Nathan chuckles and lifts his son into the air while Haley and Karen discuss how long the ham has been in the oven; Brooke and Andy talk softly about her business while sipping wine. Peyton takes the time to look around.

Despite everything she told herself in the hours before coming here, it's really good to be home.

They say that things just cannot grow
Beneath the winter snow
Or so I have been told

It starts snowing by the time Lucas walks up the porch to his best friend and brother's house. He shakes the powder from his blonde hair and walks right into the house. One arm has a present for Jamie and Lily and the other carries a plate of cookies.

He places the presents under the tree and looks around the empty living room. He's surprised nobody's come to greet him. When he hears laughter from the kitchen a smile forms on his lips. It's good to be home.

He shrugs off his jacket and hangs it on a hook before walking into the warm, delicious smelling room. When he meets everyone's eyes he feels a little self conscious.

Their faces are blank.

"Lucas!" Haley says giddily. He relaxes and puts the tray of cookies on the counter in time for his best friend to run into his arms. They embrace tightly and Haley whispers that she's missed him so much. He nearly tears up, but he holds it together. When they break apart he ruffles her hair and tells her she looks good.

"Good to see you, bro", Nathan says as they shake hands and share a manly hug. When Brooke locks eyes with him he smiles unsurely and she rolls her eyes before walking over and pulling him in for a hug.

"You look good, Lucas Scott", she rasps into his ear. He chuckles and pulls her back to arms length. She looks different from the last time he saw her, but he was a bit drunk back then.

"You look good too, Brooke Davis", she nods and tells him she knows before winking and strolling over to her wine glass. Lucas simply shakes his head. Some things never change.

He shakes Andy's hand and they make some conversation before his mother walks into the room. She stops for a second before smiling widely and marching over to him.

"My boy", she whispers as she wraps her arms around him. He hugs her back and closes his eyes tightly. He's missed his mother. "I'm so glad you're here", she whispers before they break apart.

He squeezes her hand and for the millionth time thus far, is glad to be home. This is where he belongs and while he's got a lot of work going on, he makes a silent promise to come back more often.

"Where's my sister?" he asks and as if on cue, Peyton strides into the room with Lily in her arms. Karen swoops in and removes her daughter from the possible crossfire.

Their eyes lock and Lucas can feel his mind go into overdrive. She's here. The woman that's consumed every free thought and a majority of his dreams is standing in front of him. It takes him a moment, but he does the most logical thing he can think of.

He pulls her into his arms and she molds herself against his body.

They say we're buried far
Just like a distant star
I simply cannot hold

Peyton stands in front of the large bay window and watches as the snow blankets the yard and trees. Snow in Tree Hill is pretty rare, but when it happens it truly forms a winter wonderland. She sighs and glances back at the pile of coats that rest on the bed. She's been in here for at least 10 minutes debating if she should grab her coat and run.

It wouldn't exactly be fair and she knows she should suck it up. She wishes she could, but it's too damn hard. Lucas is here. And he looks good. Really good.

His face is a little scruffy and it gives him a more masculine look; she's always loved that small amount of stubble. His hair is messy, but in a way that lets her know he spent a few minutes making it look like that. He's wearing black slacks and a gray button down that accents his eyes.

He looks really, really, good.

And that makes this all so much harder.

"Hey", Peyton turns and stares her best friend in the eyes. Without a word, she faces the window once more. Brooke sighs and walks over to stand beside her. She figured this would happen.

"This wasn't some set up", Brooke rasps and Peyton scoffs in response. "It wasn't Peyton, he lives here too", she mumbles as she stares at her best friend. Peyton tilts her head and looks at her.

"So, the fact that I got a phone call from pretty much everyone to come home has no connection to Lucas being here?" she asks doubtfully.

"Correct", Brooke says as she nods her head. Peyton laughs, but it's without humor, and shakes her head. She doesn't get why she isn't being honest. "I'm not kidding . . . look, we called you because we all missed you", she says truthfully. "And because we know how hard things –"

"Brooke", Peyton warns; the last thing she needs to talk about is that botched proposal from 9 months ago. The brunette nods her head and tucks a strand of hair behind her ear. "In light of everything that's gone on, please do not bring that up."

"Okay, okay", she whispers. "But, that's a closed chapter now right?" Brooke pries and takes her gaze off of her friend to stare out the window once more. Peyton folds her arms over her midsection and watches as a few snowflakes hit the window; they melt instantly and she remembers her life last Christmas.

She and Lucas had spent it in Tree Hill. It was a few days before the actual holiday and they were on their way to Skills' apartment for a typical Friday night. The exception was the blizzard that had come out of nowhere. They were driving in his mustang and he battled the white flakes that fell upon his windshield.

"It's only a little snow", Peyton teased from the passenger seat. Lucas glared, but the corner of his lip twitched into a smirk.

"I know that, but it's difficult to drive in."

"But it melts as soon as it hits something", she said incredulously. It was funny to get him so worked up.

Sure enough, Lucas blew a gasket; "Not when it's coming at you at 40 miles an hour", he barked. She bit her lip to stop the smile and Lucas huffed in annoyance as he maneuvered down the roads. Skills would have a place on the other side of town.

After coming to another road with orange flashing lights indicating a closure, Lucas sighed. He pulled over; making sure to keep his lights on and the heat at a good temperature. "We might have to wait it out", he said solemnly as he turned to look at Peyton. His breath caught in his throat.

Her head was resting against the seat and she had her eyes half opened. He smiled and raised his hand to cup her cheek. "I love you", he whispered passionately. Peyton giggled and leaned forward; resting her forehead against his.

"I love you too", she whispered before kissing him tenderly. "I think I'm okay with missing out on a few games of beer pong", she teased as she kissed him again.

"There may be some keg stands", he said playfully. Peyton pulled back and made a face of shock.

"Keg stands! What are we doing still pulled over", she asked and she slapped his shoulder while pointing to the road. Lucas laughed heartily and pulled her face back to his.

They never made it to the party.

Now Peyton watches as the snowflakes hit the large window and melt away. There's no blizzard and there's no pulled over car while the whiteout blankets the town. There's none of that.

"That book is long gone", she whispers with a hoarse voice.

Is love alive?
Is love alive?
Is love alive?

Lucas sits on the bench swing on the front porch. He watches as the snow falls to the ground and covers the town he knows so well. It manages to turn even the ugliest looking things into a perfect picture. He's been sitting out here for the last 10 minutes debating how mad everyone would be if he ran to his house and never came back.

It's childish and not really fair, but it's hard being here. He knows he should suck it up and plaster a smile on his face, but that's even harder. Peyton's here and she looks gorgeous. Really gorgeous.

Her makeup is as usual; minimal, but accents her eyes and lips perfectly. Her hair is longer and not as curly, but the ends of her hair curl wonderfully. She's wearing a gray sweater dress and a pair of black stockings and black heels keep his eyes focused on her legs.

She looks really fucking gorgeous.

And that makes this all so much harder.

"Hey", he turns his head and meets his best friends' worried eyes. He looks back out at the street and doesn't bother to respond. Haley groans and moves to sit beside him. She wraps her sweater close to her body.

"This wasn't a set up", she promises and Lucas scoffs. "I'm serious Luke, this is her hometown too", Haley points out obviously. Lucas nods and finally looks at her.

"So, she didn't get a phone call from everyone in the group asking for her to come home?" the tone in his voice lets her know that he has a very good idea as to the exact way it all went down.

"She may have", Haley begins, and Lucas tries to cut her off, but it's useless. "But, that's because we missed her. She's our friend too and with everything that happened –"

"Hales", he begs. He runs a hand through his hair and lets out a sigh. He definitely doesn't need to chat about the proposal gone wrong from 9 months ago. "Let's not go there right now, okay?"

"Okay, okay", she whispers. Haley takes a breath and asks. "Besides, you aren't the same people anymore, right?" she looks away from Lucas and stares at the street that has kept him so mesmerized. Lucas places his elbows on his knees and watches as a couple plays around in the snow in a yard across the street. It reminds him of how he spent last Christmas.

It was Christmas Eve and the teens were waiting for dinner to be put on the table. His mother, Deb, and Larry hadn't allowed them to stay in and help so the five of them were out on the lawn in the snow.

"We should totally have a snow fight", Peyton mused as she and Lucas walked around the front lawn. They were both clad in warm coats and gloves. Peyton's nose was red and Lucas's cheeks were a matching color; they both loved the look on the other person.

"Yeah", he scoffed. "Hales would love that with Jamie around", he teased. They both turned to watch as Haley and Nathan doted on an 18 month old Jamie while Brooke helped Lily join the group.

"I guess you're right", she whispered. Her eyes turned mischievous and she pulled her hand away from his. "Besides, you'd never get me."

"Oh really?" he challenged with a smug smirk as he picked up some snow and packed it into a round ball. Peyton narrowed her eyes and placed her hands on her hips.

"Really", she mocked. She took a few steps back, but kept her eyes locked on his. Lucas threw the mound of snow and it knocked her on the head. In an instant her hand covered her curls and she bowed down in pain.

"Ow! Luke, I think there was a rock in that!" she yelled. "You threw it too hard", she wined some more. The jogged over to her, frantic that he had actually hurt her; he didn't think he threw it that hard.

"Baby I'm sorry", he cooed as he started to pull her hand away. Her hand has a pile of that snowball in it and when it met his face he yelped.

"Ha ha, sucker!" Peyton yelled excitedly. Lucas's mouth dropped and he shook his head before throwing her over his shoulder and spinning them around. She squealed and mocked fear until he dropped them both to the snow.

"You're a wily one", he said breathlessly. She giggled and their warm breaths created a fog that mingled in the cold, December air. He was pretty sure he could live in that moment forever. "I love you", he whispered.

It had been the perfect few days and it just seemed to keep getting better. "I love you too", she whispered before leaning up to kiss him deeply.

They were interrupted by a dog pile of their friends and toddlers.

Now Lucas watches as the couple yells and laughs from across the street. There's no snowball fight and there's no kissing in the snow. There's none of that.

"Yeah, those people are long gone", he whispers with a hoarse voice.

This is my winter song
December never felt so wrong
Cause you're not where you belong;
Inside my arms

They both watch as Jamie and Lily excitedly tear through presents. Karen and Haley laugh and snap pictures while Brooke claps in glee when her gifts are unveiled. Nathan snorts and shakes his head at the look Andy wears; it's been a while since he was around this group.

Peyton smiles, but feels a twinge of sadness. This isn't how she thought she'd be spending her Christmas. It just doesn't feel right to be so close to Lucas, but to be so very far away. She raises her eyes and catches Lucas staring at her.

She stands and leaves the room; sometimes it really is too much. Brooke raises her brows and the others simply shrug. When Lily yells in exhilaration about a gift, their attention is diverted.

That's when Lucas stands.

He walks down the hallway and stops when he sees her leaning against the wall near the bathroom. Her head rests against the pale yellow paint and her closed eyes let him know she's deep in thought. Carefully, he approaches her.

"Hey", he whispers.

She jumps and places a hand over her thumping heart. "Sorry, sorry", he mumbles. She shakes her head and smiles softly. After that they stand in silence. They aren't sure if it's uncomfortable or awkward; they know it should be both. But, they never have played by the rules.

"How are you?" she asks politely. He shrugs and tells her that things are pretty well. The book is skyrocketing and so are his appearances. He bows his head and rubs the back of his neck; all in all it's been a productive few months. "I'm so proud of you", she whispers. Lucas looks up and meets her tear filled eyes.

"Really?" he asks softly. He isn't trying to challenge her; he just didn't entertain the idea of her thinking about him; let alone being proud of his accomplishments. She nods her head and takes a step forward.

"Of course", she says adamantly. "Lucas, you're doing great things", she says and he can hear the pride in her tone. A blush fills his cheeks and that makes her smile. "You know we match?"

He nods his head and smoothes out the front of his shirt. "I swear it's not on purpose", he jokes. She laughs and Lucas still thinks it's the most wonderful sound he's ever heard. He's overwhelmed with what could have been and opens his mouth to say something.

"I should go", Peyton cuts him off. He nods a bit dejectedly and she goes to move past him. They do that awkward I-go-one-way-you-go-the-same-way dance until Peyton finally stops and hugs Lucas. She just hooks her arms under his shoulders and rests her chin on his shoulder. She just needs to feel him one last time.

And for this one moment it feels like Christmas.

Bum bum bum bum bum bum bum bum
Bum bum bum bum bum bum
Bum bum bum bum bum bum

I still believe in summer days
The seasons always change
And life will find a way

At Christmas brunch the next morning Peyton pours her-self a cup of coffee and drops in a spoonful of sugar. Lucas watches from the archway as she hums a tune and shakes a bit to the beat. He can only smirk.

"You still do that, huh?" he playfully asks as he stays rooted in his spot. Peyton flinches and nearly drops her mug, but thankfully she holds on. When she turns to glare at him she can feel her breath catch. He looks so good in a simple black sweater and jeans.

She opts to ignore his sarcasm and teasing and tries to maintain the silent peace keeping they have in honor of Christmas; "Do you want some coffee?"

"I'd love some", he says sincerely. She moves around the kitchen, finding all the necessary things and he watches the little things her body does. Her jeans fit perfectly on her hips and the white tank top she wears rides up a little when she reaches for a mug. The chunky, green sweater she wears falls from one shoulder and exposes her skin.

She's so beautiful.

"So, how's LA?" he asks as he finally walks into the kitchen. She hands him his mug and he smiles internally; she didn't have to ask how he wanted it. They both sit at the table and while Peyton cradles the mug in her hands she contemplates her answer.

"It's not terrible", she says with a laugh. "I sat in on a meeting last week", she says nonchalantly, but Lucas won't let her.

"That's great", he says with a grin. She blushes and shakes her head; her curls shake with the gesture. "Stop being modest", he chides. "You've wanted that for so long."

With those 6 words she's brought to a different time and place. Two teenagers barging into an empty room. The frantic touches and sloppy kisses. It's a part of their past. A part of who they were.

It's a piece of history that makes Lucas and Peyton, Lucas and Peyton.

He realizes his slip of tongue and looks away. It's hard not to reference the past they had when pretty much every single thing he sees or says or thinks can be related to them. He knows his mother, Andy, and Lily won't be around later tonight; Andy's yacht is docked in a marina not too far from town.

"You should come by later."

He says it casually as he sips his coffee, but Peyton freezes. He's asking her over? Maybe it's so that they can talk in private. Maybe it's so they can get past the weird stage of broken up people who try to be friends so that they can actually be friends. But then he says;

"Some of your stuff is in the house."

And she wants to kill him.

I'll be your harvester of light
And send it out tonight
So we can start again

They sit at the large table and listen as Jamie and Lily rattle on about the things they got for the holiday and they both stop to thank Peyton for her gifts to them. She smiles and shakes her head; she would do anything for those two. Lucas watches her interact with two of the most important people in his life and he feels his heart ache.

If only.

He quickly shakes his head and leaves the table. They all watch with confused expressions, but Nathan is the one to follow after him. Haley sends him a look and he sends one back; he won't be causing unnecessary drama.

He finds Lucas near the bar in the basement. The blonde pours himself a glass of scotch and sips it once, pausing to make a face and let the liquid warm his senses. Nathan stuffs his hands into his pockets and approaches his older, but not always wiser, brother.

"Liquid courage?" he quips. Lucas faces him and takes another sip of the amber liquor. It goes down smoother then the first, but the burn is still there.

"What are you talking about?" he asks in confusion. It's not total confusion; he's got an idea that his brother knows the issue at hand. Nathan gets a glass for himself and pours some of the same liquid into it.

"You invited Peyton back to your place", he says simply. He takes a long sip without so much as flinching and it reminds Lucas of how different they used to be. The jock and the bookworm. The insider and the outcast. The one who used to break Peyton's heart and the one that vowed to keep it safe.

They've really changed in the years.

"I invited her to pick up a box, Nate", the blonde clarifies with a tight expression. Nathan's brow rises.

"Your Peyton box?" the casual tone he uses makes Lucas blink before he can truly answer. He opens his mouth, but closes it quickly. No. Not his Peyton box. He'd never give that up. He doesn't think he would ever be able to live with himself.

"No?" Nathan guesses with a smirk that runs in the family. Lucas simply stares at his drink; watching as the ice cubes float and hit against each other. "Maybe you should think about that", he offers philosophically before turning and walking from the room.

It's enough to send Lucas's mind into overdrive.

"Nate!" he calls out. The dark haired Scott turns quickly and Lucas swallows the rest of his liquid. "Do you think it'll be okay?"

Nathan waits a minute before answering. He doesn't like to get too involved, that's really more of his wife and Brooke specialty, but he's seen the lingering gazes and unsure body language.

"I think that even if it's not, you need to go for it."

Is love alive?
Is love alive?
Is love alive?

He pulls the door open and smiles softly at the blonde that will forever carry his heart around with her. She steps in cautiously and he closes the door behind her. If she's being honest her heart is pounding in her ears, but she's still incredibly pissed. All she wants to do is grab her box of things and get the Hell out.

"Thanks for coming over", he says softly and walks ahead of her, down the hall. She folds her arms around herself and her green eyes scan the festive house. She furrows her brows; he hasn't even lived here for the past few months (a tidbit she learned from Brooke).

"You decorated?"

Lucas lets out a noise. "No. That would be my mom", he mocks annoyance. "She said that just because she didn't live here anymore it didn't mean she wanted the house to go to crap", Peyton chuckled because she could very clearly see Karen speaking those words.

"So, where's my stuff?" she asks suddenly and it causes Lucas to freeze. He knew that statement would come back to bite him in the ass. He sighs and sits at his kitchen table.

"Peyton, when I said that –"

"Luke, it really doesn't matter", she whispers. The shortened version of his name escaping her mouth causes a shiver to flow up his spine. She runs her hand through her curls and leans against the molding as she faces the kitchen she once frequented.

"It does, Peyton", he counters. "It matters a lot because I hadn't meant for it to come out the way it did."

She makes a disbelieving face. "There's only so many ways you can mean, come get your stuff", she mocks. "We're done, you're over it. I get that", she assures him. Her posture is strong and her face is blank, but her heart cracks with every word.

"You think I'm over this?" he asks in shock. When she doesn't answer he stands and moves in front of her. "Peyton, I may have been busy and forced myself not to dwell on it, but that doesn't mean I don't carry that day around with me", he barks unintentionally.

Peyton flinches, but Lucas continues to speak. "I keep replaying that night over and over and it always sucks."

"I know!" she yells. Lucas is on a roll at this point and he doesn't seem to feel any compassion for the girl who's near tears.

"It's probably one of the hardest days of my life and I can't escape it! All I keep hearing is you saying no."

Her eyes turn cold. "I never said no", she whispers with a menacing tone. "Lucas, we hadn't seen each other in 3 months and you were flying to LA and proposing marriage!" she says as she moves her arms around.

"That shouldn't have mattered! You should have wanted me enough –"

"I wanted you so bad!" she yells back. "God, Lucas", she whispers as tears fill her eyes and burn her throat.

"You have a funny way of showing it", he mumbles. She meets his eyes and shakes her head in disappointment.

"If you loved me so much, why'd you leave me in that hotel room?" she asks softly. Lucas opens his mouth, but he doesn't really have an answer. He can hear her sigh and he watches her walk away. He can't let her go; he can't have this end here.

"I remember the first time I ever saw you", against her better judgment she stops at his voice. "All skinny arms and a tangled mess of hair", a small smile falls onto his lips and he follows her footsteps. "It was hard letting you go, Peyton. It was hard losing you. It was hard seeing you again", he whispers with emotion in his voice.

He stands in front of her and looks into her wounded green eyes; he cups her cheeks hesitantly, "It's still really hard", he says through a breath. She nods and leans into the feel of his rough hands. He looks up and silently thanks his Christmas crazy mother.

"We're standing under mistletoe", he whispers huskily.

This is my winter song
December never felt so wrong
Cause you're not where you belong;
Inside my arms

She knows it's purely coincidental that they're both standing here. And she knows that she doesn't have to give in to the moment. But she knows the custom that goes along with this small plant. Still, she knows she doesn't have to go along with it.

But Lucas's eyes are boring into hers and she gets lost in the smoldering orbs.

She pushes off to the tips of her feet and places her lips against his. For the moment they stay there and keep their lips pressed together. When Lucas drags his hand down her body to her waist she tilts her head and opens her mouth.

His tongue meets hers and they both moan at the contact. He grips her hips tightly; never wanting to let go and she holds on to the collar of his shirt. Their bodies are close and they both stumble back a step; her back meets the wall.

That's what brings her into reality.

She pulls away and gasps for a breath that her lungs desperately need. Her lips are red and his face is flushed and they both want to continue this, but she won't let it happen. Gently, she pushes on his chest and he backs away from her. She doesn't say a word as she walks to the door and turns the knob. She doesn't even look at him until she's halfway out the door, and that's when she speaks.

"While I'm asleep I have this dream where", she pauses to a breath and gather her nerves. "We're back in that hotel room in LA and you propose to me", she whispers as tears fall down her face.

"Peyton", he whispers. He heart is thumping out of his chest and it feels like he's waited a lifetime for something like this. 9 months can certainly be a lifetime.

Her green eyes meet his blue ones and she makes sure to keep the locked while she speaks the nest few words. They're the most important thing she'll tell him; maybe ever; "Every single time I say yes."

Before he can respond she's gone.

This is my winter song to you
The storm is coming soon
It rolls in from the sea

Nathan puts her bag in the cab and slams the trunk. He walks over to the driver and tells him where exactly the blonde is going and he smiles politely. Brooke and Peyton embrace and when they break apart the brunette smiles softly.

"I'm glad you came back for Christmas", she whispers. Peyton nods. Part of her is glad too, but the other part never wants to step foot into Tree Hill again. Nobody knows about the kiss she and Lucas shared and she wants to keep it that way. It's bad enough that they're all so involved. Brooke shivers and Peyton rolls her eyes.

"Go inside", she chides. "You'll be a useless fashion designer if you can't get out of bed to sketch or go to class", she teases. Brooke smiles – her dimples protruding – and hugs Peyton once more before prancing into Nathan and Haley's house. Nathan walks up to her and wraps his arm around her shoulder.

"You ready to head back?" he asks as they stand in the cold air. Peyton nods and lets out s sigh. Nathan squints his eyes. "You know, when I heard about everything that happened I wasn't sure what to think", he begins.

"I know I don't really have a right to think anything, but Lucas is my brother and you're my best friend . . . I just want you to be happy, Peyton. If it's here or in LA, with Lucas or someone else . . . just be happy, okay?" he says softly.

Peyton nods again and opens her mouth. "We were just so young", she whispers. "Teenagers", she says, still in disbelief. They both ignore the fact that Nathan was merely 17 when he and Haley got married.

"Now you're 20", he says playfully, but they both know the seriousness that lingers in those words. Peyton smirks and shakes her head. "Look, I know you went over to Luke's and I don't know what happened, but you've been spacey all day and checked the street like 50 times since we've been standing out here."

"Nate", she sighs. He holds up his hands in surrender and kisses her temple. When he pulls her into his arms he holds he whispers into her ear;

"Just be happy."

My love a beacon in the night
My words will be your light
To carry you to me

Lucas runs through the airport. His previous southern gentleman charm completely forgotten; he needs to get to her. He pushes past teenagers and squeezes between elderly people. He knows he's being dense, but he doesn't think he's ever seen the airport so damn full.

He missed her at Naley's house; by only 10 minutes and now he's even more determined to see her. He got the flight and boarding number from Nathan and took off again. The words she spoke a day before echo in his head and they're the push he's running on. Every single time I say yes.

He spots her on the other end of the large terminal and he can feel his heart flutter. His legs propel him forward and people can clearly tell he's on a mission; nobody gets in his way. He gets closer and yells her name;


She pauses and looks to her side; it must have been her imagination. She hears her name again, but she still sees nothing. She hears the hushed whispers of other people complaining about some crazy blonde running through the terminal and her heart beats erratically. It can't be.

"Peyton! Peyton Sawyer!"

She stops her movements and looks out at the sea of people. Sure enough, that crazy blonde is running towards her. He's running for her. She walks ahead of herself and attempts to meet him.

He has little time to stop as she approaches and he ends up knocking into her, but he holds on so that she doesn't hit the ground. His breath is rapid and he doesn't even have the words to say. So, instead of speaking he pulls out a small black box from his jacket pocket.

It's not a grand gesture and he isn't even down on one knee, but it's the most personal experience of either of their lives. Their bodies are close and that black box is between them.

"Lucas . . ." she whispers with a shaky voice. Nathan's words fill her ears. Just be happy.

"It doesn't mean that we're getting married tomorrow or a month from now. It means that someday", he stops to take a breath and for the first time feels the tears in his eyes. He licks his lips and gathers more air;

"It means that someday we will be married."

Peyton lets the tears fall freely and a release of air lets a smile form on her lips. She leans forward and presses her lips to his for a chaste, but tender kiss. He manages to steady his hand for long enough to slip that perfect ring onto her perfect finger and Peyton can hear the soft sigh he doesn't even know he's let out. This is ring is where it belongs.

And they both know that it'll be there forever.

Is love alive? Is love alive?
Is love alive? Is love alive?
Is love alive? Is love alive?
Is love alive? Is love alive?
Is love alive? Is love alive?
Is love alive? Is love alive?

Is love alive? Is love alive?
Is love alive? Is love alive?
Is love alive?

Let me know what you think!