I don't own it, just like I don't own "Never Say Never" by The Fray.

Another one-shot!

I guess in some ways it AU, it'll just go through the first few seasons in different ways. Okay, a few things . . . my season 1 timeline is a little cloudy (couldn't remember if Jake left before or after Lucas visited Peyton). I wrote that it was before Lucas visited her. And Nathan doesn't get into his accident.

Sorry it's so long LOL.


Some things we don't talk about
Rather do without and just hold the smile
Falling in and out of love
Ashamed and proud of, together all the while

She lies atop her bed and continues to play with the small threads that stick up. She shouldn't have been so mean to Lucas just now, granted he deserves some rudeness, but that wasn't directed at him and it was unfair of her.

Plus, he's leaving.

She rests her weight on her elbows and looks back at her doorway, where he stood just minutes before. Looking all good in his red t-shirt, brown jacket, and jeans. And that smile he gave, so timid, but sincere. And she's being a total girl right now.

Peyton groans and throws herself; face first, against her comforter. She's going crazy, she must be. The past few days have just been crazy and she knows they're only going to get crazier.

But she still can't stop thinking of Lucas.

She rolls onto her back and stares at her ceiling before sitting up and getting out of bed. She might as well apologize for being suck a total bitch to him and he's leaving so you know . . . it'll just be better if she can clear a bit of her conscience.

She grabs her jacket on her way out and heads down the stairs. She's thinking of what exactly she's going to say to him when she opens her door and steps onto her porch. She stops in her tracks, because she almost runs into him.

Lucas is still here with a letter in his hands.

"Hey", she says and when his eyes meet hers she feels a flutter in her stomach that she wants to kill. He shouldn't be able to still do that. He's done too much to her.

"Hey", he mumbles while he stuffs the letter into his back pocket. They stand a few feet apart; she by her door and him right near her steps. Lucas won't meet her eyes mostly because he doesn't know what to expect. He used to be able to read Peyton like a book just by looking into her eyes.

After the last few days, he's scared of what they'll reveal.

"So, I'm sorry about before", Peyton says finally. "I've got a lot going on and I just – it wasn't fair of me to take it out on you", she whispers as she fidgets with her hands.

Lucas smiles softly. It's so obvious that she doesn't want to apologize to him, but she's doing it anyway. He contemplates giving her the goodbye letter now and letting that speak for him, but it would be too awkward.

He doesn't say anything for a long while and it makes Peyton feel like a little insecure. Here she is apologizing for snapping at him and he's standing there like a mute; meanwhile he should be apologizing for everything. She lets out a sigh and opens her mouth.

"So, I'm gonna –"

"You wanna go for a walk?" he asks suddenly, cutting her off completely. Peyton looks at him. She doesn't think that's the best idea. She and Brooke have just barley begun to regain each others friendship and she knows for sure that being seen around town with Lucas Scott will damage that completely.

He can sense her apprehension, so he sticks his hands in his pockets. "Just a walk. There's no ulterior motive, Peyt", he says with that smirk.

Nathan used to call her Peyt when he was pissed at her and because he knew she hated it. But Lucas makes it sound so sweet and honest and pure that she could honestly just cry right now. And that infamous smirk, it makes her feel weak in the knees.

"Okay", she finds herself saying. Lucas grins unabashedly and Peyton smiles softly. They both walk down her steps and once they reach the sidewalk, Peyton follows him. She's pretty sure she'd follow him anyway.

They walk in silence for a while, but it's not uncomfortable in the least. It's always been how they were. Quiet moments and soft speaking. Peyton crosses her arms over her chest and Lucas digs his hands even further into his pockets.

"So, you're leaving, huh?" she says as she turns her head to look at him. Lucas nods, simply because the words can't come out of his mouth. "When?"

"Probably in a few days", he says vaguely. "Keith has some stuff to tie up and we've got the last game of the season", he says softly. Peyton nods her head and they fall into silence once again.

Lucas sneaks a glance at her from the corner of his eye. She's dressed simply and her hair is a bit frazzled, but she still looks beautiful. He rolls his eyes at himself, she's Peyton Sawyer.

She could wear a burlap sack and she'd still be beautiful.

"I heard Jake left town", he says softly. Peyton whips her head around to stare at him and he coughs a little unsurely. Maybe he shouldn't have said anything?

"I talked to Haley, who talked to Nathan, who talked to Brooke", he explains meekly. Peyton lets out a laugh and Lucas relaxes. At least she isn't attacking him. "Is that everything that you've got going on?" he inquires.

It's incredibly strange that he went from never speaking with her to kissing her to not speaking to her in a matter of months. The glimpses he got into Peyton's life, he knows he'll always carry around with him and it's too hard for him to not know what's going on. He needs to know what's going on.

He also can't shake the jealousy he feels.

"Not all of it", she says unclearly. "I don't know", she mumbles. "Everything's just so weird now and different", she exhales loudly and Lucas rubs the back of his neck.

"I know I've said it before and you probably don't wanna hear it, but I am really sorry", he says honestly. "I don't know why I slept with Nikki and if I could change it I would and . . . I'm just really sorry", he finishes with a grimace.

That was lame of him.

Peyton laughs and it's the sweetest sound he's heard in a while. He's also thrilled that he's making her laugh. "I know, Lucas and I guess I get it, I mean we had just ended whatever we were and you were still recovering from breaking up with Brooke –"

"Brooke wasn't an issue in any of what I did. I'm sorry that this hurt her too, but I went out drinking because we had ended whatever we were", he repeats her words. Peyton bites her lip and looks straight ahead.

That's also why I'm leaving, he wants to say. I want to be a better guy; I wanna be the guy that deserves you, the guy you want to be with. All those things are on the tip of his tongue and they're begging to escape, but Peyton cuts him off.

"I guess you need to pack and stuff", she says while jutting her chin in the direction of his house. Lucas looks between his bedroom door and Peyton; he sighs.

"I guess so", he mumbles. He hadn't even realized that they were walking in the direction of his house. "Well, I guess I'll be seeing you", he says and stares at her for an extra minute before turning away from her.

"Lucas!" she calls out. She doesn't know what comes over her, but the second she says his name her feet propel her in his direction and her arms are around him. Lucas holds on for dear life.

"I hope you find whatever is it you're looking for", she whispers into his ear. The chill that flows down his spine is unexplainable and he wraps his arms around her a little tighter.

"You too", he whispers meaningfully. They break apart and their eyes meet. If this was any different she'd kiss him. She'd wrap her hand around the nape of his neck and pull his lips down to hers and they'd have the most perfect goodbye kiss.

But this isn't a different circumstance.

"I'll see you, Lucas Scott", she says and when she winks at him, he nearly pulls her into his arms again. He mumbles a form of a goodbye and when she turns on her heels her curls sway; he's graced with a whiff of her familiar smell.

He watches her turn the corner before he moves from where he stands.

You can never say never
While we don't know when
But time and time again
Younger now than we were before

He doesn't know why he's here. She kicked him out a few days prior and told him he was a terrible friend and the more he thought about it, the more he realized she was right. He hasn't been there for her at all since he came back and it's incredibly stupid of him since she was reason for him leaving in the first place.

He walks up the steps and rubs his hand over his face tiredly. So far tonight, he's dumped Anna and he's been told that he's still in love with someone from his past. He doesn't know how his younger brother knew he was thinking about trying again with Brooke, but he took his advice and went to see her. Instead of finding her alone, she was with Felix and they seemed to be partaking in some type of activities and when they kissed he felt nothing.

It didn't hurt him like he knew it should.

It actually made him think of Peyton. If Brooke was with a guy then that meant Peyton was alone and she'd been having a really rough few days and he knew she definitely didn't want to be alone.

And when he hovers in her doorway he knows he's right.

She's lying on her bed with her eyes fixed on the ceiling and the rain makes shadows on her face from the moonlight through her window. He contemplates just walking into her bedroom and lying beside her, but he's soaked from his walk over here and he doesn't think he's got any business acting like nothing's different between them.

Wordlessly, she stands from her bed and shuffles through her drawers. When she pulls out a gray t-shirt and a pair of sweat pants and tosses them to him, to remains frozen in the doorway. It isn't until she lies back down and he can see the distinct trial of tears on her cheeks that he moves to the bathroom.

Once he changes and hangs his stuff over the shower he walks back into her room. She's in the same spot as she was when he left the room and he's really starting to worry. Granted, he hasn't known Peyton for a while, but he does know that she doesn't do this.

Peyton takes in a breath as the other side of her bed dips down. She hates that she's being this girl right now, but she can't stop it. Lately, she's felt like her life is spinning out of control and there's nothing to stop her and no one to catch her.

And every time she gets that feeling, Lucas shows up.

She doesn't know how or why it happens, but it does and she won't question it. She may have given him Hell the other day, but she really does miss their friendship. And she misses having someone that she knows she can always count on.

"What's going on?" he asks softly.

Peyton closes her eyes as the sound of the rain taps against the windows and her roof. She's got a vile of cocaine in the pocket of her leather jacket, that's what's going on. She knows it'll take away any of the pain and distress she's feeling right now, but she also knows it's only a temporary release.

So she just starts talking.

"Everything's just so hard", she says with a shaky voice. "These last few weeks have been terrible and, I don't know", by the time she's finished her throat is sore and the tears haven't stopped.

Lucas is almost positive that she's talking about missing Jake. After seeing that picture in a room a few days ago and how defensive she got over it, she has to be so crazy because Jake's gone and he still hasn't come back

Maybe he should have tracked him down and called him.

"I just . . . sometimes I think I'll never feel as happy as I did when . . ." her sentence stops and it leaves Lucas wanting more. He hasn't been in her life in so long and he sucks for it, he knows he does, he just doesn't want to come halfway while they're breaking new ground.

"When?" he pries softly. Peyton lets out a noise that's mixed between a sob and a puff of air and it breaks his heart. She closes her eyes and when more tears escape he reaches up and wipes them away.

"When we were . . . whatever we were", she mumbles and raises her hand to bite on her thumb nail. Lucas simply lays there and cranes his neck to look at her. Her eyes are closed again and he can tell that she feels foolish for speaking those words.

He lets out a breath and his fingers – seemingly on their own accord – manage to find the exposed strip of flesh between her sweatpants and tank top. Peyton sucks in a breath and Lucas does his best to calm her frantic state. He caringly rubs back and forth along that creamy flesh.

"I know what you mean", he whispers after a minute. Peyton's eyes widen and she looks over at him. He's still staring at her, but it's like he's staring past her, like he's looking at another time and place.

"I mean . . . it was wrong because we hurt Brooke, but we were pretty happy", a small, almost private smile graces those perfect lips of his and it's infectious. Peyton's smile is bright and he can see all her teeth.

She laughs softly and runs her hand over her face. "I'm sorry", she mutters. "I shouldn't have said that", she says from behind her hand. Lucas turns on his side and rests his weight on his elbow.

"Don't apologize", he admonishes. He's solemn for a minute and then he says, "I know I haven't been the greatest friend to you and I'm sorry for that. I don't want it to happen again", he says seriously.

Peyton examines the moment that's passing between them and she can feel her heart pounding in her chest. He's hovering over her and his hand is still on her hip. All she has to do is lean up and their lips will connect. She thinks about it, she really does, but ultimately she decides not to.

Like he said, they're not even friends and a kiss would ruin the friendship he wants to regain and she wants that friendship too. And like they both know, a kiss always means something.

Plus, he's totally pining over Brooke.

She squirms under his touch and it snaps Lucas from his daze. His hand leaves her flesh and she stands from her bed all in one instant. She puts her hands on her hips and takes in a deep breath.

"How about some pizza?" she asks with the tiniest of smiles. Lucas sits up and smirks.

"With pineapples, bologna, and olives?" he asks with a scrunched up face. Peyton lets out a laugh that stops his heart and makes him laugh too.

"You know you love it", she insists with another smile. He rolls his eyes and she walks to her doorway. "Hey Luke, what were you doing out in the rain?" she asks suddenly.

He opens his mouth to tell her all about his night; his brother's insightful words about his heart, breaking it off with Anna and the obscene names she called him before slamming the door in his face, walking to Brooke's house, only to find her in a lip lock with Felix, but he stops himself and he doesn't really know why.

Maybe he doesn't wanna see that smile fade.

Don't let me go
Don't let me go
Don't let me go

Peyton winces as she attempts to move her leg. It itches like crazy and hurts like Hell and she's starting to lose her mind over the entire situation. She still can't get over the fact that not too long ago, a classmate brought a gun to school and everyone's life changed. She got shot; Keith was killed, and said classmate committed suicide.

Most days she longs for the drama of love triangles and teen marriage.

She closes her eyes and lets out an enormous groan. According to Brooke a love triangle isn't too far away. Peyton's been replaying their conversation over and over in her head and it doesn't matter how many times she tries to convince herself, Brooke's back to doubting everything.

Like Lucas's love and Peyton's loyalty.

Brooke doesn't know about the kiss and she doesn't know about the 'I love you' that was whispered from Peyton's lips. And the blonde couldn't be more thankful. She doesn't want to hurt her best friend. It's the last thing she ever wants to do, but she was on the brink of death and she couldn't leave this earth without letting Lucas know how she felt.

Even if it later became a joke.

Peyton shivers a little and goosebumps form along her flesh. Even though it's March there's a chill in the air. Of course that doesn't stop her from wearing a t-shirt and shorts – if they could even be called that – to bed. Sweatpants cause her stitches to itch even more then they already do.

From her spot in bed she can hear footsteps ascending the stairs and she thinks that her father is finally going to bed. He's spent too much time recently trying to put off another job. They need the money now, more then ever, since Peyton's medical bills are piling up.

What she doesn't realize is that the steps are slow and hesitant. She also doesn't realize that the blonde boy that saved her life is lingering in the doorway with his hands in his pockets. That same blonde boy has tears in his eyes and a trembling chin. He shifts his weight from one foot to another and when the wooden floorboard creaks, Peyton looks in his direction.

"Lucas?" she asks with a sleepy voice. She hasn't closed her eyes since she got home and she hasn't slept well in days, but her voice would never give that away. The hallway light hits his features in a way that makes his watery eyes and broken posture stand out.

"Come here", she says urgently and without any hesitation Lucas flies into the room and crawls into bed beside her. From the corner of her eye, she sees her father tiptoe into his bedroom.

She also thinks she sees a smile.

He rests his head on her shoulder and his arm wraps around her waist. Peyton's heart races and she swears it echoes in the quiet of her room. If Lucas notices, he doesn't let on about it. He simply curls his fingers around her hip and buries his head against her shoulder.

He has a feeling that he shouldn't be here. He has a girlfriend and a best friend and a brother that he could to go, his girlfriend especially. She's always trying to help him and he loves her, he really does. And he doesn't know if Peyton can sympathize with him – well she can – because it's a different kind of loss and he's older then was. But she doesn't make him talk. If he wants to speak he can, but she's perfectly content in silence.

And that's what makes him stay.

"Do you remember the road trip we took this summer?" he asks with a scratchy voice. Peyton lets out a soft laugh and nods her head.

"How could I forget?" she asks rhetorically. "You surprised me with Brand New tickets, but the concert was in Charlotte."

"We drove for hours", Lucas says, more of his usual tone returns. "Then we got a flat tire", he grumbles. Peyton laughs loudly.

"It was pouring rain and –"

"You didn't wanna get your hair wet", Lucas snickers. Peyton mouth drops and she moves her shoulder so that his head wobbles.

"Whatever! You were pretty eager to change that tire", she teases. Lucas chuckles and Peyton's stomach flutters with a thousand butterflies.

"When I got back into the car, I was soaked", Lucas says as he drifts back to that night and that moment. Peyton sighs.

"I put the roof down and we drove in the rain. I don't think I've ever felt more . . ." she trails off because she doesn't think she can truly explain that feeling.

"Alive", Lucas whispers softly. Peyton stops breathing for a second and when she starts again, her breaths are shallow and it causes Lucas to lift his head and look at her.

"Thank you", she whispers and Lucas can see the tears in her eyes. "For coming back into the school –"

"I told you, you don't need to apologize", his voice is firm, but soft and Peyton loves when his tone takes on that quality. He's strong yet still so gentle.

"But still, Luke you lost so much", a puff of air comes out as a sob and his hand drifts up from her hip to her cheek and he cups her flesh caringly.

"Yeah", he says with a hoarse voice. "But what's the world without Peyton Sawyer?" a small smirk forms on his lips and it only creates more tears.

She's so in love with him, it's pathetic.

"You're too damn charming", she says playfully. She wipes at her eyes and when he laughs, she does too. He rolls away from her to lie on his back and she instantly misses the warmth and comfort his body provided.

"Peyton", he says softly. She turns her head to look at him and his eyes are trained on the ceiling above them. "Don't ever leave me", his voice is soft and scared, much like a child's.

She sort of wonders why he's here. In her bedroom, on her bed, touching her skin. He's got a girlfriend, who happens to be her best friend, who also happens to be insecure about the friendship between the two blondes. But she doesn't dare to ruin the moment by questioning it aloud.

Instead her hand finds his in the darkness and she squeezes it gently.

"I don't ever plan on it."

Don't let me go
Don't let me go
Don't let me go

There isn't much time left when Lucas takes to the court. It's up to him and Nathan and Skills to pull this whole thing off and he's just glad he gets to be a part of it. It's his last game forever because most schools don't accept kids with a heart condition onto their team.

He glances over to the cheerleaders and when he and Peyton lock eyes, she smiles timidly. Skills' words have been playing in his head for most of the day and so have Peyton's words from last night. She loves him; she's in love with him.

They haven't spoken since he mumbled something about them being friends and scurried out of her room and he's kicking himself for it. Peyton doesn't put herself out there like that for anyone and he's the tool that messed it all up.

The clock starts and it's a flurry of movement on the court. Nathan and Skills pass to each other and dribble most of the way. He can barely make out Mouth as he announces the play by play action and when Lucas is passed the ball he takes his stance and shoots.

The entire stadium watches with baited breath as the orange ball sails through the air. It seems to take a lifetime and most of the Ravens are brought back to their junior year. The last shot was up to Lucas and he missed it.

Would history repeat?

Peyton holds her breath till she's purple and when that ball swishes through the net everyone screams. Its pandemonium and she doesn't think she's ever seen so much happiness. Pontiac leaves the court and the Ravens and their supporters take over. She hugs Brooke and Haley and some other players and the confetti rains down on them all.

She hugs Karen and winks at Whitey and when she sees Lucas and Brooke talking, she's sure they're getting back together. Brooke says something that has Lucas throwing his head back in laughter and even though Peyton smiles, she looks away.

But she can't help herself. She loves seeing him smile and be so carefree, especially after the year they've all had. She turns around and to her shock, Lucas is walking towards her.

"Hey, nice shot!" she calls out with her hands on her hips and a smile on her lips. Lucas walks over to her and without missing a beat says;

"Nice legs . . . a little chickeny", he teases. He remembers the blush that had filled Peyton's cheeks when he told her about those summers when he watched her.

Peyton laughs and shakes her head before throwing her arms around his neck. She holds him close and when his large hand cups the back of her neck she closes her eyes. This boy means so much to her, but she'd rather have his friendship then not have him at all.

So if she has to pretend she didn't bare her soul the night before, she will.

They break apart and she takes a deep breath; almost stalling so maybe something will happen. She knows she's being foolish so she looks at his blue eyes and paints a smile on her lips.

"Well, I'll be seeing you", she says and then taps his chest before walking off.

The moment's there. Begging and pleading with him to take it and use it to his advantage. It's the perfect timing and he knows this, he really does. But then he's lifted into the air by the exhilarated crowd and Peyton's on the other side of the gym with some cheerleaders.

And then the moment's gone.

Picture you're the queen of everything
Far as the eye can see under your command
I will be your guardian when all is crumbling
I'll steady your hand

She's leaving.

It's got an internship at Sire Records in Los Angeles and she's leaving. She's packing her bags and spending the summer away from Tree Hill. It's only for eight weeks, but that's a lifetime when you live in Tree Hill. And Lucas doesn't know what he's going to do without her.

It's the end of their senior year and after the tumultuous two years they had together, it seemed like this time would never happen or couldn't happen soon enough. He makes the last basket of the night and Nathan throws his head back in defeat.

"You're luck I'm sleep deprived", the brunette Scott mumbles. Haley laughs and sends him a wink. "Jamie loves to cry every two hours", he adds for emphasis.

"Whatever you need to tell yourself, little brother", Lucas teases. Nathan laughs and tosses the ball in his direction.

"Alright everyone, I have an early flight to catch", Brooke announces as she and Chase link arms. "Right, P. Sawyer?" she says with a grin.

Peyton smiles and nods her head. She hugs everyone tightly and tells Nathan and Haley she'll see them tomorrow. The married couple is seeing them off at the airport along with Chase and Lucas. She doesn't know how she'll make it through the goodbyes, but she's sure she'll manage.

"See ya, Broody!" Brooke says and she walks off the court. But not before sending Peyton a wink. The curly blonde rolls her eyes and silently mutters something that causes Brooke to grimace.

It's been months since her confession and she and Lucas have fallen back into their close friendship. Things aren't as awkward as they should be and Peyton attributes that to the low key love affair they had in junior year.

They went from being sort of friends to lovers to nothing to actual friends. It always seems to be an extreme with them. It's either all or nothing and Peyton's okay with nothing.

Because she still gets Lucas.

"And then there were two", the blonde boy mumbles as he takes a seat beside her. Peyton smiles as she remembers Nathan and Haley's second wedding. Things were tense between her and Brooke for a bit, but it melted away and after Haley's car accident and Lucas' heart attack, they were inseparable.

"Are you excited for LA?" Lucas asks with a forced smile. Peyton chuckles at his attempt to be supportive, but she knows how much he hates change. This is a huge change.

"I am, but I'm nervous as Hell", she admits weakly. Lucas throws his arm around her shoulder and pulls her a little closer to him.

"You'll be great. I'm sure you know more about music than any of those tools", he says confidently. Peyton smiles up at him and shakes her head.

"You don't even know who I'll be working with", she says incredulously.

"Doesn't matter", he says without hesitation. "I'm sure none of those people started an all ages night and I seriously doubt any of them put together a CD that benefited breast cancer", he points out. Peyton blushes and Lucas scoffs.

"You're gonna need to learn how to take a compliment. I'm sure people will be hitting on you left and right", he mumbles. Peyton's hand makes contact with his body and he winces.

"Stop it", she reprimands. "They will not and besides, I'm not going there for anything other then work", she says firmly and nods her head for good measure. Lucas feels some relief in her words and he lets out a breath.

"I'm gonna miss you", he says sincerely after a minute of silence. Peyton smiles at him sweetly.

"I'll only be gone for a few weeks", she says without a problem. Lucas shrugs.

"I feel like everyone says that and then they never come back", he says solemnly. Peyton makes a noise and she grabs his hand. Lucas watches as she interlaces their fingers and her thumb rubs across the skin between his pointer finger and thumb.

"I'll be back", she promises. "I'm gonna go to UNC and baby-sit Jamie for Haley and go to all of Nathan's games –"

"Oh really?" he mocks offense. Peyton nods.

"I need to heckle the rookie assistant coach", she says cheekily and Lucas throws his head back in laughter. He knew telling Haley would be a bad idea.

"Remind me to thank Haley", he says deadpanned.

"Dude, you know she can't keep a secret", Peyton says with mirth in her eyes. Lucas shakes his head and laughs some more. He does know that, but he kind of wanted to tell Peyton himself. He wanted to see the look on her face for himself.

"I'm proud of you, you know", she whispers quietly. Lucas makes a shocked face before letting a smile form on his lips. "Keith would be too."

And with that phrase he's never wanted to kiss her more in his entire life. But they're friends now, after admiration from afar, love affairs, and non-reciprocated feelings, they're friends. And he doesn't want to ruin that.

He settles his lips on her forehead and when Peyton closes her eyes she drinks in the moment. Its little things that this that make her love him even more.

He always knows what to say and how to react, all without ever begin told what to do. He's caring and compassionate and when he kisses her forehead or temple or her blonde curls, it leaves an imprint on her skin.

"Oh Peyton Sawyer, what am I going to do without you for two whole months?" he sighs out. Peyton giggles and continues to rub his hand with her thumb.

"You'll have to pick up a hobby", she says seriously. "Or maybe you could try and get that book published", she says in passing.

Lucas groans. "Between you and my mom I don't know who's worse", he says seriously. Peyton shrugs.

"Be lucky we haven't ganged up on you, yet", she warns. "Seriously, it's been two weeks since she gave you a hard copy and I know you still have the manuscript around . . . send it out. What's the worst that could happen?"

"I could be rejected", he says obviously. Peyton scoffs. "Not everyone thinks it's as good as you do", he grumbles playfully.

Peyton's eyes turn pensive and her posture is serious. She turns her body so that they're facing each other completely and she places her free hand over their intertwined ones. Lucas watches as she smiles softly and he wonders if she still loves him, if she's still in love with him.

"Sometimes all you need is one", she whispers. She meets his blue eyes and for a moment she stops breathing. The air is warm around them and when Peyton licks her lips – not entirely on purpose – Lucas rests his forehead against hers.

It's an intimate gesture that has Peyton sucking in a breath and letting it out slowly. Her minty breath fills Lucas' senses and he closes his eyes. He considers kissing her again. All he'd have to do is lean forward and their lips would connect and they would be kissing.

But Peyton's skittish when it comes to things like that and they've come too far for him to mess it all up again. He still leans forward, but his head moves upward and he kisses her forehead again. It's the moment Peyton decides to stay in Los Angeles.

There's nothing left for her in Tree Hill.

You can never say never
While we don't know when
But time, time and time again
Younger now then we were before

It's been two years since that night on the Rivercourt and it's been just that long since Lucas has seen her. Between her hectic schedule and his practices, things have just been too hard for them to be able to find a common time and place to come together.

Until today.

He's in LA for a book signing. His book signing, yes, Lucas Scott is an author. It took some time and it wasn't easy, but he found and editor in New York that was willing to give him a chance and together they released, An Unkindness of Ravens.

He called Peyton a week ago and told her he was coming to town. She was thrilled and it made him even gladder that he called her. She told him that she'd been following his book tour and she was hoping he'd call. He told her when he was going to be around and she said that she already knew what store he'd be in. They hung with the excitement of seeing each other flowing in their veins.

But here he is, almost done for the day, and she's nowhere to be seen. He's writing in someone's book when Lindsey comes up to him and whispers something about grabbing dinner when this is all over. He nods and mumbles that it sounds good. All around him the volume increases.

It's not exactly a library so there's no strict policy on speaking, but it's still a book store. The murmurs continue and it's hard for him to concentrate on what he's writing. He lets out a sigh as he signs his name and when Lindsey lets out a gasp, he finally lifts his head.

He knows whom they're whispering about.

She's standing at the end of the line with a headband pushing back her curls and a sundress covering her body. His book is clutched in her hand and a timid smile is on her lips. The next dozen people fly by because Lucas barely pays attention to everything that's going on around him.

All he sees is the girl he's missed for the last 2 years.

"Mr. Scott", she says politely once she finally reaches his table. He smirks and she swears her heart stops. "I'm a huge fan", she says with wide eyes.

He plays along, simply because there are two more people in line behind her and even though everyone's whispering that she's Peyton Sawyer, he doesn't want to confirm anything.

He scribbles something that she can't see and when he hands the book back to her he gives her a look that lets her know she cannot, under any circumstances, read this until later.

"Well, if you're such a big fan, you should stick around. I'm sure my editor has some promotional things she could give you", Lucas shrugs his shoulders. Peyton nods her head and does her best to look absolutely enthralled.

"You're too kind, Mr. Scott", she says and when she winks at him, Lucas throws his head back. She's still too much for him to handle.

Peyton walks over to Lindsey and she stretches her hand out to introduce herself. It's not necessary. Lindsey knew, much like everyone else did, from the second the blonde walked into the store that she was Peyton Sawyer.

Lindsey's spent the better part of a year working with Lucas as he meticulously chose words to describe Peyton. No romance had taken place between the two, except for the love triangle, but that didn't stop people from rooting for them; herself included. To see her in person is intimidating and it makes her frown.

She's more gorgeous then the pictures prove.

Peyton introduces herself and attempts to start a conversation, but she's cut off. Lucas wraps his arms around her from behind and lifts her off the ground, as they spin around Peyton's squeals and Lucas's laughter fills the bookstore.

He puts her down, only to wrap his arms around her again. He holds her tightly and lifts her up so that the tips of her feet barely touch the ground. He cups the back of her neck and the other curls around her waist.

"It is so good to see you", he whispers. Peyton smiles into his shoulder and breathes in his perfect scent. It's a smell that's so distinctly Lucas, she knows she'll never find it anywhere else.

"It's good to see you!" she gushes once they break apart. Their eyes lock and she feels that familiar flutter in her stomach that she's missed over the years. Her palms begin to sweat and she has to laugh at herself.

It's like being a teenager all over again.

"Come to dinner with us", he says suddenly. Peyton looks between him and the brunette editor that stands behind them. She's wearing a smile, but Peyton's a girl and she knows the annoyance that rests behind her eyes.

"Oh, I don't want to intrude", she says with a smile. Lucas scoffs and rolls his eyes.

"You're not intruding! We're just gonna grab something at the burger place a few buildings over", he says breezily. He really doesn't want her to leave; all he wants to do is pull her into his arms again.

"Really Peyton, you should join us", Lindsey says with a kind smile. Peyton tucks a strand of hair behind her ear and when she agrees to the dinner, Lucas cheers. They walk out of the book store with Lucas chatting about all the cities he's been to in the past month.

They all fall into an easy conversation once they're seated. They all get burgers and fries and while Lindsey orders a diet coke, Peyton gets an extra thick chocolate milkshake. Lucas grins and orders the same. He's always loved that she has a never ending stomach.

They laugh and joke and Lindsey snorts so loud that they laugh some more. The bill comes and Lucas insists on paying, even though Peyton throws a fit over it. They leave the burger joint with full stomachs and giant smiles and then Lucas comments on how early it still is.

Don't let me go
Don't let me go
Don't let me go

"Well, I have more work to do, so this is it for me", Lindsey says with a yawn. Lucas rolls his eyes and makes fun of her, but he secretly loves it. He gets more time with Peyton and it's all to himself.

"It was nice meeting you, Lindsey", Peyton says politely.

Lindsey smiles and nods her head. "It was nice finally meeting you, Peyton", the blonde blushes and curses the book for an infinite time. It's seemed to haunt her ever since it came out.

"See you later, Linds", Lucas says and then focuses all his attention onto Peyton. "So, where are we heading?"

Peyton thinks for a minute and then smiles. "There's a dingy bar not too far from here that I love", Lucas makes a horrified expression.

"I don't like the thought of you alone in a dingy bar", he mumbles seriously. Peyton shrugs and smiles and then she says;

"I guess it's a good thing I've got you with me."

Lucas smiles and whispers, "It definitely is."

They walk along the streets with a warm breeze passing between them. She talks about school and work and that she hates working in the mailroom. He talks about school and the book and the tour and that he hates being away from his family.

They get to the bar and the second they sit down, Peyton orders two tequila shots. He knows how tequila works with her body and when he raises his brows, she shrugs.

"It's been a long day", she offers simply. Lucas nods, he can't disagree with that. They down the tequila and Peyton orders an apple martini while Lucas gets a beer. They talk about everything and nothing and it's easy.

He has three more beers and she sips another martini. They both down two more tequila shots each and then Lucas gets recognized by some girl's boyfriend and the bartender offers them a free round. They can't say no to that.

By the time they stumble out of the smoke filled bar its dark. Peyton's laughing at everything and Lucas is laughing because he loves her laugh. She lives about ten blocks from the bar and as they begin to walk Lucas thinks about how much he's really missed her.

He loves that there's no talk about not staying in constant contact and it's not awkward to just be quiet around each other. It's simple and perfect and simply perfect. And he doesn't think he's making any sense.

"I just need a minute", Peyton mumbles and she rests her back against the brick wall of her apartment complex. Lucas doesn't know when they arrived here, but he does know that Peyton looks gorgeous.

It was warm in the bar and she took off her headband in favor of pulling her hair into a ponytail. Her bangs are in her eyes and her face is flushed from both the heat and the alcohol. Her breathing is erratic and he knows she's trying to steady the way the world is moving around her.

All he notices is the rise and fall of her chest.

"What are you looking at, creepy", she teases. Lucas laughs and because of it, his balance is thrown off. He stumbles forward and in order to avoid crushing her he braces both his arms on either side of her body.

Peyton's breath catches and Lucas' eyes darken. He dips his head lower and licks his lips. And then he kisses her. It's the release of three years of pent up emotions poured into a perfect press of lips to lips.

But it quickly becomes so much more.

His tongue enters her mouth and her moan vibrates throughout his body. Lucas growls from deep in his throat and he pushes himself against her forcefully. She gasps before tangling her fingers in his hair.

She hooks one leg around his waist and Lucas had never been more thankful for the dress she wears. His hands are still rough against her soft skin. He moves his hand from her knee to her thigh and then it skims beneath the cotton of her dress to cup her bottom.

Peyton tugs on the lapels of his button up and pulls him as close as he can get. When Lucas arches into her, her eyes widen and she breaks the kiss. She's standing outside her apartment making out with Lucas. Lucas is feeling her up, outside her apartment.

They're pretty damn close to having sex, outside her apartment.

He peppers kisses along her neck and she curses the fact that he knows all her secret spots. When he hits the one just below and to the right of her ear she closes her eyes and contemplates forgetting everything, but she can't.

"Wait", she pants out. He doesn't listen and when he arches into her again, she knows he's seeking some sort of release. "Lucas stop", she says a bit more forcefully.

Her firm words cause his eyes to snap open and his head to pull away from her reddened skin. His eyes fill with confusion and wonder and Peyton laughs without any humor.

"We can't –"

"Don't do this", he begs. "Don't freak out!"

"Lucas, we haven't seen each other in two years. Now we're just gonna make out and possibly have sex?!" she questions loudly.

"We didn't have to have sex", he hisses. She would laugh if she wasn't so enraged.

"Lucas, I think I'm gonna head inside", she whispers. He pushes away from her completely and he rests his hands on his hips.

"Do whatever you think you need to", he says snidely. Peyton's eyes fill with tears that she won't dare shed and she nods her head. She pushes off the wall and brushes past him to walk inside. Lucas waits until the large door clicks behind her before he leaves.

Peyton pushes open her apartment door and slams it shut behind her. She throws her keys and her purse onto a nearby table and when she does, Lucas's book spills out. With tears still in her eyes and trembling fingers, she lifts the paper back book and turns to the first page. There's his writing, clear as day;

Sometimes all you need is one.

And that's when the tears fall.

Don't let me go
Don't let me go
Don't let me go

"So, how does it feel to be back in Tree Hill?" Nathan asks as they barbeque in his backyard one afternoon. Peyton shrugs and takes a sip of her water.

"It's nice to finally be back, but it kind of sucks", she says softly.

"What? Why?" Nathan asks as he furrows his brows.

"I'm only back for two reasons, Nate. I couldn't cut it in LA and . . ." she trails off as her eyes scan the backyard. Nathan can see how they darken once she sees the happy couple.

She blew back into Tree Hill two months ago. She was sick and tired of being the person everyone pissed on in LA and she was too lonely being on her own. After a phone call to Brooke, the two of them were set on their plans.

Since they came back, Brooke's remodeled Karen's Café and turned it into a boutique and Peyton's started a record label; with the help of Lucas Scott. Peyton was also introduced to the editor she once laughed with over burgers as Lucas's girlfriend. And since then, said blonde boy and said editor have gotten engaged.

"Okay, but you didn't know that they were gonna get married when you got here, so that makes it suck less, right?" he asks with a cheeky smile. Peyton groans and reaches forward to grab his beer. She takes a long pull and places the empty glass bottle onto the table.

"Guess not", the raven haired Scott mumbles. Peyton lets out a sigh. "Look, Peyton –"

"I'm kind of tired of talking about it", she says softly. "He's getting married", she says with a shrug. "We haven't even been a couple for 6 years and I don't even know if that classifies as us being a couple. We were sneaking around", she grumbles.

"That doesn't mean you stopped loving him", he says softly. Peyton's eyes narrow, sometimes she really hates that he married Haley.

"Alright, this conversation is over", she mumbles and slides off the stool. "Nathan, I really don't wanna talk about it anymore", she snaps when he opens his mouth.

Nathan lets out a sigh as she walks away and when Haley approaches him with a scolding look, he simply shrugs. Haley smiles when she sees Jamie run up to Peyton. In the short time since she's been home, her young son has really taken to the blonde.

There's something to be said about the Scott boys and Peyton Sawyer.

"Baby James!" Peyton says with a smile – and slight groan – as she lifts the boy into the air. She rests him on her hip and taps his nose playfully. "How's it going, buddy?" she asks in interest.

Across the yard, sitting on the patio furniture between his ex-girlfriend and his fiancée, Lucas watches the interaction with a smile. He always knew she'd be a great mother, even when she wasn't too sure.

Their situation is so messed up that sometimes it takes him a minute to remember that they aren't really friends anymore. After that horrendous night two years ago he stopped talking to her and started dating Lindsey. The last he heard, Peyton was dating some Indie movie producer and while he wanted to know every detail, he held back.

Now he stares at her with his godson on her hip and he feels his heart swell. In all reality, Jamie looks like the perfect mix of the two of them. Blonde hair and blue eyes, too smart for his own good.

"Did you hear that, babe?" Lindsey snaps him from his trance. "Brooke's making my dress!" she says in excitement. Lucas' eyes widen and he looks to his ex-girlfriend.

She's wearing a fake smile and her eyes let him know she wants to kick his ass. He doesn't really blame her. Brooke's being forced to play the devil's advocate. She's best friends with Peyton, but everyone else is so accepting of Lindsey that she needs to be also.

"Someone wanted to see their Uncle Luke", Peyton's voice fills his ears and before he turns around, he closes his eyes. Brooke watches with a satisfied smirk as he lets Peyton's voice wash over him until it's something he can store inside of him and play back whenever he wants.

"Jimmy Jam!" he says with a grin. Jamie smiles and in the trade off between the two blondes, their hands touch and a spark flies between them. It makes Peyton blush and mumble something about Haley calling her.

Haley clearly isn't calling her.

Lindsey watches as Lucas stares at Peyton as she walks away. It isn't lost on her that in the last eight weeks her fiancé has started typing like a madman at all hours of the night. She feels a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach, but she ignores it.

The ring on her finger is all the confirmation she needs that Lucas wants her.

We're pulling apart and coming together again and again
We're growing apart but we pull it together
Pull it together, together again

"Hey", she says softly. She isn't too surprised when she doesn't receive a response. "I used my key, I hope that's not totally inappropriate", she mumbles while holding the small silver object.

Lucas takes the key from her – roughly – and throws it onto his dresser. Peyton stands there and pretends not to be hurt by that action. She folds her arms over herself in a protective stance and rests all her weight on her hip.

"Look, I know that this is hard for you", she whispers. "And I'm sorry for that, but Lucas . . ." she trails off and searches his eyes for a glimmer of the person she used to know.

Last week was Lucas Scott's wedding day. The Church was booked and the people were there. The priest stood on the altar and Nathan and Haley had their spots as well. The music played and when Lindsey walked down the aisle, Brooke had to keep Peyton standing.

And then something happened.

Lindsey stopped everything and pulled Lucas to the side. They heard mutterings about Peyton and their first meeting and then something about the car she drives. Haley's eyes widened with recognition, but everyone was confused. They were even more confused when Lindsey took off down the aisle and left the Church.

"This is exactly what you've wanted since you've known about Lindsey!" he shouts at her. Peyton's mouth drops and she places her hands on her hips.

"Lucas, I've only known about Lindsey since I came back to Tree Hill!" she yells incredulously. Lucas nods, stressing his point.

"And in that time you've hated her!"

He's spent the past week locked up in his house. He drinks and watches TV. and drinks some more. Sometimes he branches out and goes to TRIC, but since Peyton's office is there, he doesn't frequent that too often. He's become a shell of the person he used to be, but he thinks it's warranted.

They've all tried their best to reach out to him. Haley's sat on his bed while he slept and then pretended to sleep – just so he didn't have to talk to her. Nathan's tried the tough love approach of telling him he was acting like a little bitch. Jamie tried to softly talk to him about the time his turtle ran away and that he knew how hard it was to lose something you loved. Brooke was blunter, she told Lucas to get over it because he didn't really love Lindsey anyway.

He can only imagine what Peyton's here for.

"No, I've been trying to convince Brooke that she wasn't a total bitch and I've been promising Jamie that she'd be a fun Aunt!" she counters loudly. They're both silent after that and Lucas knows he shouldn't be taking his anger out on her, but he can't help it.

Peyton's always been his preverbal punching bag and he just can't seem to stop. Everything was fine a few months ago. He and Lindsey were happy and they were together and sure they had their little fights, but what couple didn't?

"I hate you", he spits out.

She's stunned for a second because not once, in the years of them knowing each other, have either of them uttered that phrase. They've been to the point of yelling and screaming and cursing, but still, those words have never left either person's mouth.

"Don't you dare", she whispers at a dangerously low tone. "Don't you dare blame me for this! I'm not the one who wrote the book, Lucas!" she yells.

"If you never came back it wouldn't have been written!" he yells some more. "You've ruined my life!" he shouts at her.

The strong façade she's put forward starts to crumble. Her eyes water and her chin trembles, but she doesn't want him to see that. She takes in a deep breath and straightens her posture. She looks him dead in the eyes and says;

"I'm sorry you feel that way", and then she walks to his door.

The second she's gone, he wants her to come back.

Don't let me go
Don't let me go
Don't let me go

"Brooke, I'm home!" Peyton yells as she closes the door behind her.

She's been on tour with Mia for the past few weeks. After Lucas's gut punching I hate you, you ruined my life revelation, she just needed some time to herself. And it's been helpful. She got to see Mia in her element and she met a ton of other unsigned, local bands.

She's placing her large duffle bag on the couch when she hears Brooke's muffled voice, "Okay, don't freak out!"

Peyton shakes her head and laughs. "Why?"

She turns around and there's her best friend with purple bruises all of her porcelain skin. Panic fills her veins and she's already itching to call Lucas. She hates that he's always the first person she wants in a crisis, but she can't help it.

He's always been there.

"Oh my God", she whispers. "Brooke, what happened?"

"Lindsey came by and said Peyton's a bitch and I said Peyton is not a bitch and she said yes she is, and I said well maybe you're the bitch, bitch . . . and", her best friend motions to her bruised face.

"Brooke", Peyton whispers with a scared voice.

"But you should see her face", Brooke says with a smirk.

"Brooke", the scared tone is gone and an angry one takes its place.

"I was doing laundry and I got all tangled up in the sheets and I fell face first, down the stairs", she says easily. She even has hand gestures just for the story. Peyton's face hardens and she shakes her head.

"You're lying", she says firmly. "Why are you lying?"

Brooke shakes her head and tries to move past the blonde. Peyton doesn't let her. She grabs Brooke's wrist and when her friend winces, she pushes up the material of her sweater. The bruises she sees scare her even more.

"It's not a big deal, Peyton", Brooke whispers with a voice that's begging Peyton to leave this all alone, but her friend won't.

"This is a very big deal", Peyton says seriously. "Your face is bruised and so is your arm . . . you've got a handprint on your neck and you're trying to lie to me about it all!" the tears are clouding her eyes and she's blinking furiously, but it's not helping.

"Peyton –"

"Brooke, tell me the truth!" she demands.

"I was attacked!" Brooke yells. "I was closing the store late the other night and some guy came in and", before she can finish she's sobbing and Peyton's pulling her into her arms.

She guides them both to the couch and she rocks back and forth while Brooke sobs in her arms. The brunette holds onto Peyton for dear life and Peyton's heart is racing. Does anyone else know? Did the guy who attacked her rape her? Did Brooke report this? Is the guy still out there?

"I think Victoria had something to do with this", Brooke says with a hoarse voice after a full five minutes of crying and silence. Peyton's eyes widen and her mouth drops.

"Really? Brooke, I know your mom's a bitch, but –"

"He took the sketches", Brooke cuts her off. "There was a register full of money and my purse was still on the floor. All he took were the sketches", she says with a hollow voice.

Peyton shakes her head and holds Brooke closer. She smoothes her hair out and does her best to comfort her. This is so the last thing Brooke deserves.

"I'm sorry I wasn't here", Peyton says with a shaky voice. Brooke squeezes her knee comfortingly.

"You're here now", she whispers with a grateful smile. The girls sit in their spots and at one point, Peyton get's up to light the fire and grab some ice cream. They retreat to Brooke's room and soon the brunette is fast asleep. She spreads a blanket over her and leaves the door open just a little as she enters the living room.

She's sitting on the couch when the front door opens. She doesn't turn around and when the cushion next to her dips down she bows her head. This was the last person she really wanted to call.

"Thanks for coming", she whispers softly.

Lucas shakes his head. "It's no problem", he assures her, but Peyton doesn't hear him.

"I just didn't know how else to call and I know that you're pretty good in a crisis, I also know it's late –"

"Peyton, it's fine", Lucas cuts her off and flashes her a smile that has her heart stopping all over again. So much for the time she spent forgetting Lucas and finding herself. "I am a little freaked out though, so can you tell me what's going on?"

Peyton takes a deep breath and tells him everything. Brooke's bruises – which he's seen – and the fact that she lied – which he thought were the case – and her attack and the fact that Victoria might have something to do with it. Peyton's frantic and he can hear the tears that she refuses to let spill over.

When she's done Lucas grabs her hand and rubs the flesh between her thumb and pointer finger. Peyton remembers that night on the Rivercourt five years ago and she doesn't know if Lucas remembers or if it's simply a gesture to soothe her.

When he smiles a private smile she's pretty sure it's the first one.

He asks a ton of questions about Brooke. Does she need to go to the hospital? Did she report it? Does Peyton think she'll need a therapist? Peyton answers accordingly, no, no, and most likely. They both let out a breath and then Lucas asks a question that throws her for a loop.

"How are you?"

It's not asked in the typical 'you've had a long trip and how are you?' context. It's deeper and more meaningful and makes Peyton shrug.

"I'm okay", she says with little assurance and Lucas lets out a small laugh.

"Peyton, this had to have brought up memories of Psycho Derek", he insists softly. Her eyes close and in an instant she's brought back to senior year and the blonde boy that pretended to be her long lost brother.

"It did", she admits weakly. "Before I left Brooke's room, I closed and locked all her windows. Then I came out here and locked all these windows and the sliding glass door upstairs and down here", she whispers.

Lucas can hear the fear in her voice and it rips at his heart. He's spent the last few weeks trying to rebuild himself as a person. He shaved his head and stopped drinking. He's spent a lot of time with Jamie and apologized to his family. He also thought about Peyton.

What she was doing and who she was with. He always wanted to know, even on just a friendly basis. But he was a little jealous, though he'd never admit that. He just doesn't like the idea of some musician hitting on her.

They talk all night long. Well into the night and early morning. When Peyton let's out a yawn, she glances at the clock.

"Oh my God", she grumbles. "It's so late", the laugh that she lets out causes Lucas to smile. "Gosh, I'm sorry; you probably have practice or something, right?"

Lucas looks at the clock and groans when he realizes that she's right. Peyton thinks he groans because they've stayed up so late talking, but Lucas doesn't want to have to leave her. He misses just talking to her.

She stands and Lucas mimics her. Peyton pulls the door open and she leans her body against it while Lucas lingers in the doorway. He wants to reach up and tuck a strand of hair behind her ear, but he refrains himself.

"I'm sorry about . . . everything", he says with a timid smile. Peyton smiles and shakes her head.

"Don't worry about it", she says softly. "I'm sorry I drive a Comet", she says sincerely.

Lucas smiles and shakes his head. "Don't worry about it."

Peyton waits until Lucas reaches the sidewalk before closing the door.

Don't let me go
Don't let me go
Don't let me go

Nathan and Haley have another barbeque. The weeks have passed quickly in Tree Hill and with them they've brought a flurry of activity. Brooke learned that her mother wasn't behind the attack; it was a few misunderstood teens and an angry brother. The teen girl, Samantha, now lives with them and while it was hard at first, that girl has a heart of gold.

Haley started singing again. Nothing big and she's only got two songs recorded, but some people are interested in having Haley write for them. It would be a way for her to be involved in music without having to leave her family.

Nathan's been doing better then ever on the Bobcat's. He's the lead scorer and whenever Peyton attends a game she watches Haley's face light up when Nathan takes to court. It's hard because he has practices and away games, but they make it work. They're Nathan and Haley, how couldn't they?

She and Lucas have been slowly rebuilding their friendship. They go to art shows together and Peyton's asked for his advice on a few demos. When Lucas' book got picked up for its movie deal he went to Peyton for advice on what to do.

That movie also brought Peyton's one time Indie movie producer boyfriend to town. That was difficult because he was really coming to town to sweep Peyton off her feet and get her back in his life. But Brooke was the road block.

At first it was because she didn't want anyone to get in the way of a Leyton – her words – reunion. Slowly, it became the fact that she hadn't gotten any in a while and Julian was hot. After that, they fell in love.

"Peyton, watch me jump!" Jamie yells and does a cannonball into the shallow end of the pool. When he comes up for air Peyton's eyes are wide and her mouth is gaping.

"That was amazing, Baby James!" she gushes with a grin. Sam plays with Jamie in the pool so that the adults can have some time to themselves. Brooke and Julian are canoodling in the corner chair and Nathan and Lucas are manning the grill.

"This is pretty great, huh?" Haley asks as she slides up to Peyton. The blonde smiles and looks down at Haley's protruding stomach. She smiles even wider.

"Everything's really great", Peyton says with a head nod. "How's my godbaby?" she asks playfully. Haley rolls her eyes and tells Peyton about her morning sickness, which is really all the time sickness.

Peyton grimaces and shakes her head. "I'm never having kids", she says with a laugh. Haley looks at her and then her blonde best friend and scoffs.

"Oh you will, probably more then this town can handle", she says with a wink and heads in the direction of her husband. At the same time, Lucas walks over to her and without fail, those butterflies swarm in her stomach.

"Haley make a comment about repopulating Tree Hill?" Lucas asks knowingly. Peyton nods. "Yeah, she said the same thing to me", he mumbles.

"I guess one of us will have to move", she teases. Lucas laughs and nods, but then he rubs the back of his neck.

"Or we could just get married", he keeps her eyes contact. Peyton's heart races and those butterflies feel like they've turned into bats. She opens her mouth to say something, but the moment is interrupted by their favorite little boy.

"Uncle Lucas!" he yells and jumps into the blonde mans arms. He's still wet from the pool and it causes Lucas' shirt to dampen and cling to his body. Jamie shakes his head so that all the water flies through the air and lands on Peyton.

His mouth drops and he chuckles like a child would. Peyton lunges forward and tickles him until he screams with laughter. Jamie squirms beneath her touch and tries to push her away while Lucas holds him tight so that he doesn't fall out of his arms. The other four adults look on with smiles.

"St – stop! Stop", Jamie begs breathlessly. Peyton tickles his neck one last time before she drops her hands. Jamie pants for air to fill his lungs and when he's got enough breath he looks at Lucas seriously.

"You should've proposed to Aunt Peyton. She's way more fun", Peyton eyes the boy incredulously. And then she turns to look at Lucas. To her surprise, he's wearing a smile.

"She is a lot of fun", Lucas makes it sound as if he's weighing the options. "Maybe you're right", he whispers, but Peyton hears it perfectly. She shakes her head and smiles in confusion.

When Lucas smiles back, those bats in her stomach turn into birds.

Don't let me go
Don't let me go
Don't let me go

Lucas' team makes it to the State Championship.

They've played hard and long and it's the best satisfaction they could ever receive. Peyton sits in the bleachers with Haley and Brooke and the three of them watch as Lucas and Skills give the boys encouraging words. Nathan promises to TIVO it and watch the game later when he has some free time.

Peyton's bitten off most of her nails since the game started and Haley and Brooke have looked on with smirks. It's been a few months since the barbeque at the Scott's and since then Lucas and Peyton have returned to normal ground.

Complete with all that sexual tension.

"How much time is left?" Jamie asks in interest from his seat next to Peyton. Haley glances at the clock, but before she can answer, Peyton's spitting it out.

"Two minutes and nineteen seconds", she says quickly. The buzzer sounds and the ball is passed. Ravens have control and Peyton swears she holds her breath.

She feels like she's back in high school. She watches as the boys pour their hearts out onto that polished floor and she feels for them. They lost one of their best players a few weeks ago in a tragic random shooting. The player, Quentin, just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

It affected the Scott's the most and Peyton did everything she could to be there for Lucas. She was his rock and his shoulder to cry on and she took it all in stride. Death and grief are two heart wrenching emotions and Peyton knows them well.

The ball leaves the hands of a Raven's player and everyone watches with wide eyes. The orange ball flies through the air and at the buzzer . . . it swishes through the net. The stadium is stunned into a frozen state before it all kicks in.

The Ravens have won the State Championship.

Everyone rushes the gym floor and the confetti rains down on them all. Peyton pushes her way past people and when she sees the delirious look on a certain blondes face, she feels her heart soar. She rushes over to him without a second thought.

"Luke!" she yells. He spins around in just enough time to catch her. She locks her legs around his waist and he spins them around under the rainbow of falling paper. "You were amazing!" she says when she pulls her head back from his shoulder.

"It was all the boys", he says in his typical attempt to brush off a compliment. Peyton rolls her eyes.

"Well whatever", she says and roll her eyes. "Nice coaching", she gushes some more.

"Nice legs . . . they're still a little chickeny though", he says playfully.

Lucas smirks and Peyton scrunches her nose in a way that he still finds absolutely adorable. Without really meaning to, her fingers play with the hair at the nape of his neck and his caress the exposed flesh where her shirt and jeans meet.

Peyton looks down and clears her throat. She unhooks her legs from Lucas' waist and he blushes as he puts her on her feet. She leans up and hugs him one last time before pulling away and taking a breath.

Déjà vu.

"Peyton –"

The moment is interrupted by a chorus of Coach Scott from all the boys and they're approaching him with grins the size of Texas. Peyton winks at him and squeezes his forearm.

"I'll be seeing you", she says easily and turns to walk away. Lucas watches and feels his heart crumble. This is the third time he's been under a confetti shower and the third time he's only wanted Peyton with him. She gets all of seven steps before Lucas is calling out to her.

"It's you!" he yells loudly. Peyton makes a face of confusion and smiles because of it.


"When all my dreams come true, the one I want next to me. It's you", he says with the most profound look on his face. Like he's finally found his peace or his center in the universe.

Or his Comet.

"It's you, Peyton", he says when he finally reaches her. He cups her cheek tenderly and Peyton smiles widely. He pulls her close and with the slightest bit of hesitation their lips meet.

She throws her arms around his neck and even though it's been eight years in the making; the wait was totally worth it. She stands on the tips of her feet and presses herself against him. When they break apart, they're both breathless and giddy.

Haley and Brooke look on with grins.

"Hey Luke", Peyton whispers softly. His eyes meet hers and she gives him a coy smile. They're saying everything that doesn't need to be spoken. It's all official after this, that's for certain. "Don't ever leave me", she says seriously.

He smiles as he remembers that night in her bedroom, when he quietly spoke those words to her and said she wouldn't and she hasn't. She's always been with him in one way or another; he kisses her passionately. When they break apart, he tucks a strand of hair behind her ear and cups her cheek.

"I don't ever plan on it."

Don't let me go
Don't let me go
Don't let me go

Let me know what you think!