A/N: This did not turn out anything like I expected it to. I kind of love it, though. It's different, it's angsty, and it's a weird style. It was a lot of fun to write; I hope you have fun reading.

----

She comes back into town in a whirlwind of smiles and mansions bought at the beach and claiming she missed everyone so much and diamonds on her finger and happiness he's almost certain is fake. She hugs him and he breathes her in a little bit and she breathes him in a little bit, and no one else notices because they've got this part down pat, the subtlety of their relationship. She says it's good to see him, and he says it too, but he's lying and she doesn't pick up on it and he hates her for that.

It's funny, he thinks, because it's so different from how she left. It was just the two of them at the airport, tears in her eyes and him desperately trying to keep tears out of his. She said she'd be back, promised it and kissed him right after. They used words like always and love and forever and marriage and babies and a whole lot of other things he took to heart, but she never did. Or at least that's what he says now, because it's easier to believe that than it is to believe that she could ever love him and hurt him that way. He says she never loved him at all, and it hurts at least a little less.

He watches her more than he listens to her, because he doesn't care about what she says. Sure, maybe he should thank her. After all, she's the one who convinced her husband to make that novel into a movie. She's the one who brought that man to town and made Lucas $400,000 richer, all for just signing on a dotted line and typing his life story onto a computer screen.

He doesn't care about the money. He cares about the heartbreak that he probably shouldn't be feeling.

His wife laughs at all Peyton's anecdotes, sinfully oblivious that her husband is watching his ex-girlfriend's legs every time she crosses them, or looking down her dress every time she leans over to set her drink on the table. It's always a little warm at Tric, but tonight it's fucking unbearable. He feels suffocated and turned on and mad as hell. It's not lost on him that he doesn't feel much of anything for the woman whose hand holds the ring he almost gave to Peyton. The ring he tried to give to Peyton. The ring Peyton didn't accept, never even saw.

He excuses himself when Julian comes back from the bar and hands her another drink. Lucas can't sit there and watch her with someone who isn't him, and it's stupid really, because he's with someone who isn't her. It's been seven and a half years. 2,800 days, or something like that, and he should be over it and over her, but he's bitter, and he doesn't know how she isn't. Oh. Right. Because she broke his heart, not the other way around. And no matter how many times someone, anyone, tries to tell him that he broke her heart too, he doesn't believe it. Doesn't want to and won't. They'd be married by now if she hadn't been stubborn and stupid, and that's all there is to it.

He drinks his beer at the bar, and he drinks it fast, and when his brother comes to sit down next to him, they talk about basketball, and when Nathan says that Peyton looks good, Lucas shrugs his shoulder and says yeah she does because he can't lie and say he doesn't care, but he can't tell the truth, either. (The truth being that he's absolutely going crazy having to sit so close to her and hear her laugh and not be able to grab her and kiss her senseless).

She hardly says two words to him all night, and he thinks that's probably a good thing, but he's still annoyed that she won't just talk to him. He runs into Julian in the bathroom, who says something crude and distasteful about how Peyton's always a little more fun after a couple gin and tonics, and Lucas tries to bar a memory from his mind. It's futile. He can vividly picture them at a party senior year, her a little tipsy and pushing him into the back seat of her car. Her breath on his skin and her lap grinding into his as she sat straddling him.

This is fucking torture.

He honestly doesn't think he's ever loved his wife more than when she suggests they should be going home. It's only 11:30, but she has work to do the next day or something, and she wants to sleep. Fine, he thinks. She can sleep. He fully intends to write, and all the words in his head are angry.

They say goodbye to everyone, and Peyton's eyes are sad when he purses his lips and nods at her in farewell. He wonders if she's been thinking things like he's been thinking all night. He decides it's easier to not care than it is to wonder if she's ever missed him even once in all these years.

Lindsey drives home, since he's had too much to drink (he hadn't intended to, but it was necessary), and by the time they step through the door, he's so angry and horny and confused that he grabs his wife and kisses her and pushes at her shirt roughly, and just like always, she goes along with whatever he wants and doesn't question a thing. She doesn't complain when he kneads her thighs a little too harshly (he's mad; they don't feel as good as someone else's always did brushing up against his hips). She says his name breathlessly when he buries his hands in her hair and pulls a little bit (it's straight, not curly, and he hates it), but he can tell she likes it so he doesn't stop. She curses, and she never, ever does that. She says fuck when he arches into her aggressively, and for the first time all night, he smiles at her. (Peyton was always a bit of a potty mouth.)

And not for the first time, he's thinking of someone else entirely when he buries himself deep inside her, trying to pretend she feels as good as that other girl.

(She never has. Never will.)

----

He's sitting at the kitchen table in her new home, drinking coffee with the man she said yes to and talking about the movie, and she walks in, frustrated and yelling about work and life and this stupid town and something else, and she stops in her tracks when she sees Lucas there.

Lucas asks what she's doing calling their hometown stupid. He's smirking, but not the way he knows she likes. The way she always told him pissed her off.

Julian laughs and reminds her that she's the one who wanted to move. He calls her babe and no one notices how hard Lucas is clutching his coffee cup. He can't fucking stand listening to this asshole call her that name and laugh and say that the Peyton in the book is way different from the Peyton he's married to.

Lucas is wondering why the hell he ever agreed to this.

She starts in, ranting about there being no good office space and no good coffee places. She says anymore, and she looks at Lucas when she says it, and he lets himself genuinely smile at her for the first time since she came back to town. She lies (Lucas can tell, and Julian can't) and tells Julian that she's fine and she's not that worried about finding a place.

Julian's cell rings, and Lucas sets his jaw when he sees the man kiss Peyton's temple as she pours herself a cup of tea. He walks from the room, and Lucas and Peyton are alone for the first time in 2,800 days or something like that. She nervously says hi, waves a little bit, and he hates her for being nervous, because she shouldn't be. She's the one who fucked everything up, and he's mad at her, and he doesn't want to pretend this is weird. Weird requires feelings of remorse, and he doesn't have any of those. (He does. He ignores them.)

He knows he could offer up the back room at Tric. It'd be perfect and she'd love it, and it'd be nice for him to be nice.

She spins her rings on her finger in what he assumes is a nervous habit, and he laughs bitterly. She asks him what's wrong, and he doesn't say anything. He stands and walks out of the kitchen, and it feels like a victory. She's the one pleading, and he's the one leaving.

It's not until he's outside that he realizes that now she's alone with that guy, and though he has absolutely no right, he thinks he might be jealous.

The next day, he returns with a key and a letter tucked into an envelope with her name written on the front. He tucks it into the seam of the door, and he leaves before anyone sees him. She can have the office.

It'll get her out of the house with that guy.

It's selfish and territorial, and he has absolutely no reason to have that ulterior motive, but he doesn't care.

Because Peyton has always been his, and it doesn't matter that she's married and he's married and they aren't married to one another.

----

She bursts though his bedroom door with that envelope in her hands and an angry look on her face. He's trying to write. He's trying, and failing, to write anything that isn't about her. It's become such a habit, even when no one else understands the metaphors he uses, that he just can't stop. He wants to.

He could write a million words on the way she looks when she's angry. It's sexy as hell and infuriating to him at the same time. She yells at him, asking what the hell he's doing just giving her something, and he makes a crack (he's not joking, but he makes it sound like he is) about her having a hard time accepting the things he has to offer. They both know it's at least a little true. Always was.

He tells her to just take the office, and that this time, he's not taking no for an answer, and she calls him an asshole, but she tucks that key back into her pocket. She bitingly asks where is your wife, and he says I don't know, because he really doesn't know. She was gone when he woke up. She mumbles something sarcastic about him being husband of the year, and he looks at her pointedly and asks if Julian knows that she's standing in her ex-boyfriend's bedroom.

She says fuck you, and he (just a little bolder and more bitter since they broke up years ago) says that he already has, and she glares at him but he sees her smile, though she probably doesn't realize she's doing it.

He asks her why she came back, why she moved, and she tells him she missed home, and Julian travels so much that he can work from anywhere and she just wants her friends back. He tells her not to expect him to come around any time soon, and she scowls at him and says that's just fine with her.

Before she leaves his room in a haze of anger and emotion, she turns to him and whispers a phrase that he didn't need her to say.

I never said no.

Yeah? Well, she never said yes either.

----

It's late one night, and Lindsey's in New York for a while, and he's driving because if he sits at home, all he'll do is write this stupid book he's writing about a comet that he won't even deny is about Peyton. He's pissed off about it, because it might be the best thing he's ever written, and he hates that she's got her hands in his work again. She always has. He wouldn't be a writer if she hadn't given him a story to write in the first place, and he wouldn't be making money at it if she hadn't sent his work out. There are so many reasons he blames her for his ever getting married...

He sees her car at 'her' office, and the light is on, and he has no idea why, but he's pulling into the parking lot and walking up the stairs before he even realizes it.

She's sitting on top of a pool table, her sundress covering her and flowing over her thighs, and she's listening to The Cure, and he cringes. He hates The Cure. Always has. He only pretended to like them because she loved them so much. It may be the only lie he ever told her.

She's surprised to see him, he can tell, and when he perches himself at the edge of the pool table, she asks him what are you doing here. He reminds her that he owns the building. She didn't know that, though. But there's a lot she doesn't know about him, and he doesn't want her to. She used to know everything about him, and look where that got him?

Absolutely fucking nowhere.

She makes small talk about the movie and her label, and they're almost comfortable talking to one another. She laughs nervously when he says something about finding a really good looking kid to play him, and he smiles when she says that she still thinks they have to have a rockin' body P. Sawyer. They're both a little nervous after that, because it just reminds them of a bunch of good moments.

That, and Lucas is checking her out, his eyes fixed on her legs, then moving up her body again. She tucks her hair behind her ear, but she doesn't tell him to stop, and he wonders if her husband ever looks at her with such appreciation. He knows he's never looked at anyone else this way. That seems really, really important.

He wants to kiss her. He wants to throw both their rings out the window (literally) and kiss her and tell her that it was always you and it still is. He wants to tell her that he hates her as much as he loves her, and most days he doesn't love her at all. He knows none of that will make any sense to her at all. It doesn't really make any sense to him.

He stands and tells her I have to go, and he tells her to get home safe, then he's out the door and feeling like he always does when he isn't around her.

Like a piece of him is dead and gone and probably never coming back, not if he doesn't have her.

He walks back into her office and she's standing behind her desk now. He has a question he needs an answer to, though he's not sure it'll make him feel any different either way.

He asks her if she's happy, and she says yes because she knows he's the only person in the world who'll know she's lying through her teeth.

----

Their next encounter, any kindness or favourable emotion is long forgotten. It's like they didn't have a late-night conversation during which they were actually honest and nice to one another.

She shows up at one of his games, and he doesn't want her there. She's a distraction. A hot, tight-jeans-wearing distraction. She's talking to Haley and Brooke, and Julian is nowhere around, and Lindsey stayed home because she wasn't feeling well, and for a split second that he knows is wrong, he lets himself think that she's his and she's there to support him.

Life was so much easier when she was out of sight. (But she was never out of mind.)

She's waiting in the gym after the game, and Haley is there with Jamie, too, but they leave after congratulating Lucas on the win, and then it's just he and Peyton standing alone, just like they used to do. She'd stand there, and they'd talk, and their voices would echo off the hardwood no matter how softly they spoke.

She says hi, and he can't find it in him to be polite, so he just juts his chin forward as his greeting. She notices right away that something's wrong, and she calls him on it. He scoffs and tells her she shouldn't be surprised, that he hasn't exactly welcomed her back like everyone else.

She asks why.

His answer puts tears in her eyes and he watches her walk away, but he doesn't regret it. Because telling her that he hates her is probably the most honest thing he's said in weeks.

----

You're an asshole, she says a few days later. He's doing paperwork at Tric and there are people around, but she doesn't care, and he likes it because it reminds him of how she used to be. She used to yell and make scenes because she didn't care if anyone knew how bitchy she could be. He falls in love with her a little bit, then she's telling him he's got some fucking nerve, and he pushes her into her office, because he thinks it might be best if they have this conversation alone.

He wants to know what the hell she's got going though her mind, and why she's deciding to yell at him, but he probably already knows the answer, and when she runs her hands through her hair, he finds himself feeling a little warmer and hating every second. But he kind of loves it, too, because he's missed his feeling (though not really, because he's been feeling it since the first day he saw her upon her return). No one makes his hands tremble like this, or his mouth go dry like this. No one makes him react in such ways that he has absolutely no control over whatsoever.

And all she's done is call him names and run her hands through her hair.

She asks what do you want from me, and if he were a more confident man, and if his wedding ring hadn't just gotten caught on the pocket of his jeans when he slipped his hand in there, he'd tell her exactly what he wants, and the terms would be pretty blunt.

But instead, he says he wants nothing, and it's a lie, and she gets even angrier. She tells him to cut the shit and tell her the truth, and he asks her to do the same. She doesn't appreciate that either. But he's the angry one. He's the one who hates her. He's hated her all along, and that's not changing, and it's not fair to him if she starts hating him now. She's not the one with the broken heart (maybe she is, but he tells himself he doesn't care).

You hate me, Lucas? she asks, and her voice breaks, but she sets her jaw because he knows her, and he'll know she's determined not to cry. He says something about her being out of touch for so many years, so she must not have too many favourable feelings about him either, and the tear falls down her cheek. She brushes it away with her left hand, and he almost feels like he'll keel over when he sees that gaudy diamond on her hand (it doesn't look like her, and he knows he knows her well enough to know that she probably doesn't even really like it).

He doesn't know what she's doing when she walks towards him, but then she places her hands on his cheeks and kisses the breath from his lungs. It's not the way she kisses him, it's that she's kissing him. It's soft and delicate and everything that their first ever kiss wasn't. It's like she's pleading with him, just desperate to remind him that he doesn't hate her. Like maybe she knows it (she has to) and she wants to prove it to him because she can't stand even the thought of him believing that he hates her.

He kisses her back because he was never, ever, not once, able to not kiss her back, and when she tries to pull away, he grabs her arms and brings her back to him, and he kisses her because he needs to, and he's missed this so goddamn much and she kissed him first. She moans and she's crying, and he thinks she might be crying because this, if nothing else, is proof that he can't hate her. (It's more than that, but neither will admit it).

She says his name, and he holds her tighter, and this is all so damn wrong that it goes full circle and it's right. He says her name, and she mewls, and he wants to run away with her; leave this town and never look back and be together like they were always supposed to be. She says I could never even think of hating you, and he asks her what about her husband. She shrugs her shoulder, an air of indifference about her that he's noticed when she's around that other man. She's got no passion for him, not like she does for Lucas, and he's convinced that she hasn't kissed anyone the way she just kissed him since the last time she kissed him. His words are tripping over themselves and getting tangled together, and all he can think to say is that he loves her, and he can't say it. It's wrong (not quite full circle yet) and he's still so fucking confused that his mind is a haze of lust and anger.

He doesn't say anything. He lets go of her arms, brushing his thumbs gently over the marks his fingers left there, and he turns to walk away.

He didn't say that he doesn't hate her. He hears her sob follow him out the door, and if he had a heart left to break...

----

Lindsey asks him where he's been, and he lies. He'd feel bad about it, but he's gotten used to it over the years. Every time, since the first time, that he tells her he loves her, there's a voice in his head that follows immediately after that says, no you don't.

----

He sees her once with her best friend and his best friend, and her cheeks go a little pink, and he smiles a little wider when no one else is looking, because he knows it's for him; he's making her uncomfortable or nervous. The last time he saw here was only a few days ago, and they kissed, and he wants to kiss her again, so bad, and when she takes a sip of soda through her straw, he takes a deep breath. Every single thing she does makes his heart race. She laughs at something Brooke says, and he smiles only because it's like they're connected and he can't help but mimic her emotion. It's always been that way, he thinks.

As he's walking away, he wonders how she isn't miserable (because he is). Or if maybe she is and she's just better at hiding it than he is.

After all, it was always him putting it all on the line and waiting for her to respond.

----

He shows up at her house one morning because Julian left something for him to pick up, and she answers the door with the phone pressed to her ear.

And wearing nothing more than a satin robe. Maybe she has something underneath, but he can't tell. He really wants to find out. God, he's an ass. He's married. He shouldn't be thinking about Peyton's skin and her legs (so. damn. perfect.) and the way she used to arch her back if he lightly kissed her collarbone.

I just woke up and you weren't here, he hears her say, and his heart drops, because she's having this conversation she never had with him. She never called him after that day, and he wants to know why. He's actually surprised he hasn't asked. He sees the revised script on the counter in the kitchen, and Peyton needlessly points to it as she continues talking on the phone, but all Lucas can really think is that he's alone with her in her house, because it's very clear (her tone is harsh as she argues with her husband) that the man is nowhere around.

Asshole, she whispers as she slams the phone down on the counter. Lucas wryly says that she seems to enjoy calling people that name, and she comes back at him with only people who leave me without saying goodbye, and he hates that she's comparing him to Julian. She doesn't have any right to do it. She starts telling him that Julian had to go to L.A. to meet with the head of the studio (Lucas knows it's Julian's father, and he doesn't know why she doesn't just say that), and start looking at directors. She asks him if he has everything he needs.

He can't stop himself from laughing. Because no, he really doesn't.

She sighs and closes her eyes and says don't. He reminds her that she's the one stepping back into his life and expecting everything to just be all perfect without any effort, and she asks if they'll ever get back to normal. He says normal is me loving you, and she doesn't know if that means that it'll never be normal again, or if it has always been normal.

He turns to leave, and he knows she's not going to follow him, and when he looks back at her, he tells her that she looks sexy as hell, and she smiles (he can tell she doesn't want to) and he thinks that maybe she really, really likes this stupid game they're playing.

----

She marches into his house, not through the bedroom door, he notices (she always used to), and she plants her hands on her hips. Julian is still away, and Lucas is working on something, typing furiously (a million words about the way she looks when she's angry...). He's about to ask what she's doing there, but she beats him to it. She asks are you still in love with me, as though it's the most insignificant question she's ever spoken, and he chokes on his words and Lindsey walks out from the bedroom just in time to see him hesitating.

Can you call it hesitating if he has no intention of answering? No matter...

(Peyton would hear his answer in the silence anyway.)

The women stare one another down, and Lucas is speechless, and Lindsey says harsh words, and it's not until she calls Peyton a bitch that Lucas steps in, but it's not to calm her down, it's to defend Peyton. (And that kind of answers the question, doesn't it?) Lindsey slaps Peyton, and it surprises Lucas, and he pushes her back into the bedroom and closes the door, and it's not lost on any of them that it's Peyton he's apologizing to.

She says I'm so sorry over and over, like it's her fault that his wife is a bitch (he's not mincing words, not in his mind anyway) and he caresses her reddening cheek, and it pisses him off that it's his fault she's hurting. He might be hell bent on hating her, but his hero complex kicks in when she's around and it always has.

She leaves looking confused, and a half hour later, Lindsey leaves looking angry, and Lucas sits there by himself, feeling like he's either losing something or gaining something, and he honestly has no idea which it is.

----

He lasts exactly 6 hours and 26 minutes, and when he leaves the house with one woman on his mind, it's not his wife, and he doesn't even bat an eye over that anymore. When he gets to Tric, he walks straight towards that sliding door, and she looks surprised to see him, and it makes him mad, because of course he was going to seek her out.

He doesn't say anything, and neither does she, and he's not sure who walks towards who first, but he kisses her hard, and she reaches for his belt as he pushes up the fabric of her skirt.

He fucks her in her office, and it's not making love because he hates her and she's in love with someone else.

Oh, and he's in love with someone else. He always forgets that part.

She comes hard, and she doesn't say his name, and he hates her for that too. He debates marking her skin with his teeth or his lips, making it known that she's not as perfect as she wants everyone to believe, but there's something that stops him and he ignores the voice in his head telling him that it's love. He curses it out loud and she doesn't question it, because he's still pressing himself into her, and he can call it a cover.

It's so, so wrong, and he knows it, but he doesn't care, because she finally says that word he's been waiting for (Luke, and it's a whisper) and she's running her hands through his hair, and nothing has ever felt as good as her and this and them and he won't apologize for a second of it.

She tips her head back after, and he's holding her as tightly to him as he can, and the smile on her lips makes him arch against her just once, just because she looks so goddamn hot. Her chest is heaving, and her leg is hooked around his hip, holding him as close as possible, and when she shoves at him gently, he can tell she doesn't really want him to move at all.

He leaves without either of them saying a word, and he's glad she hasn't apologized or said anything about this being wrong. He knows she knows it is, but he thinks it means something that neither of them mentioned it.

He gets home, and Lindsey's there, and he doesn't even care that he probably smells like sex and Peyton's perfume (vanilla and a little bit of coconut; Lindsey wears that pretentious Chanel No. 5 shit that he hates). He pulls off his shirt and heads for the shower before he even says hello, and he's finally outwardly acting the way he's felt for a really long time.

He just doesn't care.

----

Lindsey asks for a divorce (he didn't admit to anything, she just told him it was over), and Lucas isn't really surprised, but he's pissed about it because now there's nothing to hide behind. He's got nothing to show for hiding his heart for so long, and he hates both girls far more than either of them deserves. Except he loves them both in his own way. Maybe more than they deserve, but after his sixth glass of scotch at Tric, he's in no state of mind to question it. Lindsey is packing her things, already moving back to New York, and he knows that her rings will be sitting on their dresser (his dresser now?) when he walks back into the house, because that's where she put them when she took them off and yelled at him.

He takes his ring off his finger and spins it on top of the bar and Owen, who he hates (he won't lie, he hates a lot of people these days) looks at him with some sort of sympathy or other emotion that Lucas doesn't care about. He tells the guy to fuck off, barks it like an order, and Owen just shakes his head and goes back to the other patrons. Lucas tips back the last of his seventh (eighth? he's lost count) drink and leaves his ring right there on the bar. He doesn't need it anymore anyway, and he's glad to not have it weighing him down. He is an asshole. He's trapped Lindsey for so many years, though he knows she won't see it that way, and he thinks it's funny (yes, funny; again, lots of scotch) that she's the one who's let him go and not the other way around. She's the strong one, and he's the coward, and now that he's alone, he's got to figure it all out without her help. He thinks he can do it, though, because he never really valued her opinion as much as he was supposed to anyway.

He doesn't know why (yes he does) he walks into Peyton's office. She's there, of course, working or something, and her form is a little blurry (but she still looks amazing, he knows that much) and she walks towards him with a worried tone as she asks him what's wrong.

He says I hate you again, and she laughs and actually smiles, and she says she's heard that somewhere before, and he lets himself laugh, because she's funny, and he's missed her. She asks him how much he's had to drink, and he says a bit like he knows she won't believe him. She seems to notice immediately that he isn't wearing a ring, and he wonders how much time she's spent looking at his left hand since she came back to town.

He shrugs his shoulders and she apologizes, and it makes him mad, because it's all her fault, all of it, and she's only just apologizing now for the one thing that probably has the least to do with her. Or something. Is it hot in here? His cheeks are flushed (he can feel it, fire beneath his skin) and when she places her palm on his face, he takes her hand in his and pulls those rings off her finger. She gasps some form of his name, and he tells her you shouldn't be wearing them anyway, and she doesn't argue.

He asks her if she loves Julian, and she says maybe, and they both know that if her answer isn't a yes, it's a no, and really, that's what got them here in the first place. She didn't say yes to his proposal, and everything got fucked up from there. She's wearing (well, usually wears) someone else's rings, and he's apparently getting divorced, and they made love (yeah, he's finally in a state of mind - maybe it's the scotch - to admit that it's always making love with them).

He asks what am I going to do, and she shakes her head because that's not her question to answer, and she slips her hand into his, and he's honestly never loved her more. He probably has, but he's not thinking about it, because he doesn't want to believe that any moment has ever felt as good as this one.

I don't hate you.

He says it quietly, and she laughs again and they both know that's his way of saying those words she all but begged him to say days ago at his house.

(I still love you.)

----

Julian never comes back from L.A. No one knows exactly why, and Peyton won't tell anyone. She just says that he's not coming back until filming starts, and even then he won't be living with her. She doesn't wear her rings anymore, and she looks sad and confused, and she cries sometimes, and everyone's worried about her. Everyone but Lucas, and no one really understands why.

Well, they know that it has something (maybe everything) to do with the fact that Lucas and Peyton have always shared some weird, eerie connection. They speak their own language, even when they aren't speaking at all.

When she goes to see him, it's late and he's asleep and she knocks on the door frantically, and she curses that he's even locked it. (Doesn't he know that she'd come see him eventually?) He opens the door wearing only his boxer shorts, and he sleepily says hello, and it's almost like he was expecting this rude awakening. (It's not all that rude, since she's in thin pajama pants and a little tank top.)

He asks her what she's doing there, and before she says a word (he's not so sure she's going to say anything at all) she lays down on her side of the bed (always hers, no matter what, since the first time she lay down there). He says her name, Peyton, sighing like he's begging her to answer him, and she says shut up, you know I love you, and pulls the covers up to her chin like it hasn't been years since they last shared a bed; like this is how it's been all along. (It should have been like this all along.)

He doesn't really know what to say, so he just locks the door again and lays down and switches off the light. He doesn't know what's happening, or what happens next, or what they're going to do in the morning. She curls up next to him, slinging her leg over his and resting her hand on his chest, and it's all so familiar that it makes his heart race, and she drums her fingers over his heart when he notices.

I'm sorry she says, like she has something to apologize for (she doesn't, not really).

Shut up, you know I love you.

It's the first time he's said those words. The first time he's admitted to it, and she laughs and he laughs and he has no idea why it's so funny, but it really, really is. It's all so stupid and messed up, and they have no business laying here like this in one anothers' arms, but it's happening, and he's spent so many years questioning why they weren't laying like this, that he's not going to question why they are laying like this.

He could question why she's even giving him the time of day after all the stupid (and untrue) things he's said to her since she came back to town, but he knows as well as she does that every single time he said that one word (hate), he really wanted to say that other one (love).

-Fin-