I own nothing; neither do I own "You're All I Have" by Snow Patrol.

Okay everyone, this is the third and final part for the Snow Patrol song saga (didn't know what else to call it LOL); a follow-up to INAIIWTFSHFY. Also, there's a bit of a time jump; I didn't feel like defining it too deeply so use your imagination.


Strain this chaos turn it into light
I've got to see you one last night
Before the lions take their share
Leave us in pieces, scattered everywhere

They talk every day.

Literally. Even if it's only for five minutes in length, they make sure that they make time to hear the other person's voice. They text and e-mail and he sends her flowers on mother's day. She finds herself missing him in the quiet hours that she has to be alone. She doesn't know if it's romantically or not, but she most definitely misses being around him.

"Lucas", she whines into her cell phone. She's walking through her door and kicking it closed behind her. "You know I hate surprises", she grumbles.

He laughs that wonderful laugh on the other end and Peyton rolls her eyes. She smiles at Julian (he picked Allison up from school) and kisses her daughter on the top of her head. The little girl immediately asks to speak to the man that she once spent so much time with.

Whatever Lucas was going to tell her is forgotten and she hands over the cell. She never could deny her daughter and she knows Lucas won't hate her for it. She sits next to Julian at the kitchen table and he gives her a look before returning to the script in front of him.

Peyton narrows her eyes and thanks the fact that Ally ran from the room to talk to Lucas. "What Julian?" she asks knowingly.

The father of her daughter puts down his highlighter and holds up his hands in a surrendering manner. She hates when he does this, he acts like he isn't thinking something. She raises her brow and gives him that look; the one that he should be petrified of, but isn't.

"Peyton, it's getting ridiculous", he says simply. She scoffs and rolls her eyes like she doesn't know exactly what he's going to say. "At least go back for the week."

"Julian, can we please not analyze my life right now. I had a long day and I'm a little too tired to have an emotional breakdown", she says as she puts her head in her hands.

"So you admit it would be emotional?" he gives her a grin; the grin. The one that often makes women swoon and a little weak in the knees, it was once solely meant for her. Sometimes she thinks it still is.

"What's the newest movie you're working on?" she asks while throwing him a look. The dark haired man lets out a breath and takes a sip of his water.

"Oh the usual . . . boy meets girl, boy gets girl, boy loses girl . . ."

Their eyes lock for a minute and Peyton sees the soft blush that fills Julian's cheeks. He and Jessica split up a while ago and while they've messed around a bit since then Julian remains single. And Peyton's still single (not surprisingly). Maybe it's some cosmic way of telling her that she and Julian need another chance.

Maybe she's supposed to be with the father of her child.

"Julian", she whispers. He shakes his head and quickly stands from her kitchen table. He doesn't know what made him say those things, but it's just that she's Peyton Sawyer and he learned a while ago that she's not someone you just get over.

She's not someone you just fall out of love with either.

"So like I said, go home", he whispers. "If you don't, I'm buying you a ticket and taking Ally for the week", he threatens playfully as he sits down again. Peyton cracks a smile and her eyes soften as she looks at him. She opens her mouth to say something, but gets cut off.

"Mommy, Lukey wants to talk to you", Allison says as she runs back into the room. Peyton's heart races and she smiles brightly as she takes the phone from the five year old. Allison jumps into her father's lap and Julian places a kiss to the top of her head.

Julian watches as she walks into the other room and he lets out a breath. He doesn't really know when he decided that he was going to acknowledge his feelings for his one time girlfriend, but he's not too sure this is the prime opportunity. It's' so painfully obvious (even if she ignores it) that there's something still there between the two blondes.

Allison continues her homework, simple letter writing and spelling, while Julian alternates between checking over her shoulder and reading over the script. Peyton walks back into the room wearing a white tee shirt and a pair of worn in jeans and Julian smiles; not many people see Peyton Sawyer so dressed down.

"Als, go finish your homework in your room, please?" her daughter juts out her bottom lip. "Allison", she busts out the motherly tone and Julian raises his eyebrows at Allison.

"But mom", she whines. "Whenever you say that it means that you and dad need to talk about something", Peyton glances at Julian and he meets her eyes; both of them try to hide their amusement.

Peyton walks over and places her hand under her daughter's chin. "Well then you should be used to it by now, no?" Allison huffs dramatically and hops off of her father's lap. She grabs her workbook and grumbles all the way down the hall to her room.

Julian chuckles heartily and looks at the blonde. "She is just like you", he leans back in the chair and rests his arm across the wooden bars. Peyton's mouth drops and she slaps his chest as she passes him.

"Please, she's like your twin", the blonde says as she takes a box of pasta out of the cabinet. He smiles and shakes his head. She puts a saucepan on the stove and gets a jar of vodka sauce. He watches her move with appreciation. She's such a mom.

"I guess we were just two of the worst people to have a child together", he's teasing of course; he loves Allison more then anything. She turns to face him with the sweetest smile he's ever seen.

"That's not true", she whispers. He rolls his eyes and starts to tell her that he was only kidding, but then she's sitting across from him and her hand is on his face. "We made the best kid ever", she says softly.

"Well she is practically my twin", he murmurs. Peyton snorts and pats his cheek delicately. "We did good", he says as she stands to finish dinner. "You're doing good."

"We're doing great", she clarifies. It's odd that she spent a better part of Allison's life living with Lucas and having him basically fill the father role. Julian's always been amazing when it comes to the child, but there are times when she wonders if Lucas would do things differently.

She shakes her head and tries to put thoughts of Lucas behind her; she knows they'll talk again when he calls to say goodnight to Allison. "Are you staying for dinner?"

"Mom! Can I please come out now?" Allison questions, her little voice sounding desperate. Peyton sends Julian a look and he shakes his head.

"She's your kid", he mutters playfully. "Come on out, Als!" her father yells. They can hear the door open and her footsteps running down the hall. Julian pushes away from the table in just enough time to catch her as she flies at him.

"Hi daddy", she says with a smile. Peyton's heart melts as she watches Julian tap Allison's nose and pepper her face with kisses. She laughs uncontrollably and begs him to stop. "Are you staying for dinner?" she asks breathlessly.

"I would sweetie, but I've got a lot of work to finish and with you two around I get nothing done", he teases. Allison rolls her eyes the same as Peyton does and it makes Julian laugh loudly.

"I'll walk you out", Peyton says with a laugh. Allison kisses his cheek and tells him she loves him before jumping down and voluntarily running to her room to play.

The former couple stands in the doorway and Julian scratches his ear anxiously. "Listen, before I don't know what I was talking about. I think I just miss Jess or something", Peyton gives him a doubtful look at the words he's just mumbled and he shrugs, "I said or something!"

"Julian, I know our situation isn't exactly typical, but I don't want you to feel like you have to censor yourself", she leans against the molding in her archway while Julian folds his arms over himself.

"I tend not to in case you haven't noticed. I just think that you should go and see Lucas", he says sincerely. "I want you to be happy."

Peyton smiles and tilts her head, "I am happy", she promises. Julian nods his head and moves to stand right in front of her.

"Not as happy as you should be", he whispers. "You deserve the world Peyton Sawyer", he kisses her forehead and Peyton pulls him into a hug before he can back away.

"I love you Julian", she whispers. It's not romantic or extremely personal, but it's enough for the two of them.

"I love you too, Peyton", he whispers and kisses her forehead one last time before sending her a wink and walking down the stairs. She watches him leave and wonders if maybe she could find herself falling in love with him again.

But then the phone rings and she's convinced its Lucas and whatever she was thinking is forgotten.

Just give me a chance to hold on
Just give me something to hold onto

Two weeks later she and Ally are back in Tree Hill.

The "surprise" that Lucas was teasing her about was the fact that Skill and Bevin were moving up their wedding date. They weren't supposed to get married for another few months, but there was a cancellation and Bevin decided she didn't want to wait anymore.

The bridesmaids (which include Peyton) wear deep brown dresses with a lighter brown sash at the waist. Allison is the flower girl and Jack is the ring bearer and Jamie is going to be standing right up there between Lucas and Nathan.

The women are leaving the ceremony with their perspective men; Brooke with Owen, Haley with Nathan and Jamie, Bevin's sister is with her husband, and Peyton's got Lucas. She's sure this is all some grand plan to force them together, but for right now she'll take it for what it's worth.

She meets Lucas outside the closed doors and has to admit that he looks good. His suit is tailored perfectly and the thin black tie makes him look like a secret agent. He's clean shaven which brings out that baby face that she's missed.

"Hey you", he says with a smile. That dress is perfect on her compared to her sun kissed skin. Her hair is in an elegant up-do with some curls hanging freely. "You look nice."

She blushes and thanks him bashfully. Lucas laughs at her inability to take a compliment and rests his hands on her bare shoulders. Her breath catches in her throat and she's forced to look into his blue eyes.

"I mean it", he whispers. "And you need to learn how to take a compliment", he teases. She pushes at his chest and tilts her head to the ceiling. He makes it hard to not love him. But they're Lucas and Peyton and it may always be there, but right now they need to work on being friends.

"I love a wedding", Brooke squeals. Owen chuckles and cups her elbow in order to pull her closer to him. Brooke makes a face until he places his lips against hers; then it's all smiles. Ever since Brooke had the baby a few weeks ago; a girl that they named Sophia, she and Owen have been like two teenagers.

It kind of makes Peyton's heart ache.

All the men walk to take their places at the altar and Lucas sends her a smile before he leaves. Brooke and Haley casually walk over, but before either of them can say anything Peyton warns them not to. And then the music starts and they need to take their places in line.

The wedding is beautiful and the girls cry while the guys tease Skills for tearing up. They all walk down the aisle and when Peyton hooks her arms through Lucas's he feels his heart stop so abruptly that it slams against his chest. He wants this. God does he want this.

They're at the reception a little while later laughing over something when Peyton looks over at Allison. Her long hair is in delicate curls that are tied back with a brown silk ribbon. She's dancing (carefully) with Jack and they're both laughing loudly over something neither of them understands. She's lucky to have the life she does.

"She's gotten so big", Lucas whispers from beside her. Peyton turns her head to smile at him softly.

"It's only been a few months", she says softly. Lucas gives her a look that lets her know it feel longer then she's making it seem. "Whatever", she mumbles playfully.

"So where's Julian?"

"Right now he's in LA, but he's heading to New York tomorrow to talk to a few writers", Lucas nods and takes a sip of his beer. "He wanted to come, but he has a lot of work."

"And how are you guys?"

Peyton frowns and shakes her head. "Don't make us sound like a couple", she requests softly. She doesn't know if Lucas can still manage to be in her mind like he used to be, but it's odd considering her thoughts a few weeks ago.

"You're right, I'm sorry", he whispers. "I've missed you", he says just as softly.

Peyton looks down coyly and tries to hide the smile they both know is there. Lucas chuckles at the way they're acting; it's almost like they're teens again. He opens his mouth to say something, but he's pulled away by the five year old that has his heart.

"Lukey, come and dance!" she demands and pulls on his hand before he can answer. He looks at Peyton with a smile and she waves him off. She doesn't mind at all that Ally comes first in his life sometimes. It's endearing and honestly a little sexy.

"So, when are you two getting together?" Brooke asks as she cradles her daughter in her arms. Peyton shakes her head and lets out a breath. "All I'm saying is that you're not exactly getting any younger P. Sawyer."

"Thanks Brooke", she mumbles, the small smirk she wears proves she isn't really angry. "It's . . . it's all complicated", she says while looking down at her plate and playing with the piece of cake.

"Oh please", the brunette rolls her eyes. "Complications aren't a good enough answer. You guys talk every day. You sent him a card on Father's Day; he sent you flowers on Mother's Day. You guys are like the unofficial family we're all waiting to become official.

Peyton sighs and places her elbow on the table; her head in her palm. She wishes she had told Brooke the truth from the start. That she and Lucas were dating or had dated and that she lost a baby. It's all too tangled and complicated and she doesn't think Brooke will appreciate the late notice.

"Is this about Julian?" Brooke asks softly. Peyton scoffs and shakes her head negatively. She watches as Owen takes Sophia from Brooke and the married couple kisses quickly on the lips. The curly blonde smiles. She wants that life. She really, really does.

"No, please; he tries to force me to come here. It'd be easier if he was jealous or overbearing or crazy that Lucas and I talk."

"Because then you'd have a real reason to not be with him?" her best friend questions knowingly. Peyton opens her mouth, but has to close it immediately. She's got zero argument there.

"I just . . . it's hard, Brooke. I don't want Julian to feel alone or abandoned. If Lucas and I were to ever get together, I'd move back here and that would leave Julian alone in LA and I don't want to do that to him."

"Now I know you ain't passing all this off on your baby daddy", Skills says playfully. He's taken his conversation away from Nathan and now both men are staring at her in interest. "P. Sawyer, really?"

"Okay guys, can we not examine my life . . . please? It's your wedding day Skills!" she half yells in excitement and throws her hands in the air. Everyone looks at her and shakes their heads.

"Fine, we can let this go for now, but only because you'll be in Tree Hill for another day", Brooke's dimples pop out as she smiles in accomplishment. It's been too many years since her friend has smiled the way she has tonight and all those times have been for one reason.

Lucas Scott.

Well, maybe two reasons. Lucas Scott and Allison Baker.

The mother of that small blonde is called to the dance floor and Peyton pretends to roll her eyes before shuffling out to the wooden floor. She picks Ally up and cradles her in her arms while they dance around in laughter. Lucas watches with a smirk until he's called over to join in.

Brooke watches the whole thing with a grin.

It's so clear now that you are all that I have
I have no fear 'cause you are all that I have
It's so clear now that you are all that I have
I have no fear 'cause you are all that I have

She's in Tree Hill again a few months later. It's nearing the end of Allison's Christmas vacation and Peyton wants to make sure the little girl gets to spend plenty of time with the people that love her before things get hectic again.

She's walking around Brooke's store talking business on her cell phone when she hears Ally cheer and her little feet propel her to the front door. Peyton pokes her head from behind a curtain in the back and sure enough it's Lucas. Brooke walks out to talk to him while Peyton finishes her argument.

"Hey Broody", Brooke says with a smile. Lucas grins as he holds Allison on his hip and tips his head at the brunette.

"Hey Brooke, how're the kids?" he asks playfully. Brooke sighs and shakes her head. She's grateful for everything she has especially since when she came home all she wanted was a family. Now she's got an adoring husband and two fantastic children that she thanks God for.

But Sophia has some set of lungs on her.

"Loud", she says simply, but with a smile. The curly blonde walks from the back room and tosses her phone anyway; not caring if it falls to the floor. The two adults and the five year old watch as she paces back and forth and mutters words to herself. It's actually a little amusing.

"I am so tired of these egotistical, self-centered, wannabe stars thinking that they know what's best for their careers!" she rants. "They don't know shit!"

Allison gasps and puts her hands over her mouth dramatically. Lucas puts her on her feet and she walks over to her mother; she holds her hand out once she's in front of her. Peyton closes her eyes and groans. She walks over and digs through her purse before fishing out a five dollar bill.

"I'm sorry, Ally-cat", Peyton says softly. She and Julian have a strict no cussing rule. They do their best to abide by it otherwise they owe Allison money. "I shouldn't have said that", she cups her daughters' cheek softly and lets out a breath.

Her cell phone rings and she nearly screams.

"Hey Ally Penn", Brooke calls her. "Let's go down the block for some hot chocolate, okay?" Peyton sends her a thankful look and Allison runs over to her godmother with a grin. "Way to make a profit", she mumbles with a smile on the way out; both girls share a high five.

"Most days I don't know why I do this."

Lucas laughs at her and she glares at him before collapsing onto the purple couch. Lucas follows suit and rests his arms on his elbows. He tries to act like the length of her legs doesn't draw the attention of his eyes and drive him crazy.

"You do it because you love it and because you wanted to make a difference", he needlessly reminds her. Peyton looks at him in appreciation and smiles softly.

"Thanks", they're both quiet for a moment they both bask in the silence. They've never needed words or drawn out explanations for things. They're just simple and they're them and Peyton thinks that maybe she's willing to put everything behind her.

"Nice method, by the way. Giving Ally money", he clarifies once he sees the confusion on her face. Peyton laughs and runs her hand through her hair.

"Julian's mother told me about it. When I told him I was going to implement it, he laughed and said that wouldn't be a problem. Well it got the point where one day even before Julian picked up a phone call from a particularly aggravating director, he handed Ally his debit card", she says with a laugh. Lucas chuckles and shakes his head.

When her cell phone rings again she whines, but Lucas reaches for it. "Let it go to voicemail again", she begs. "It's probably John calling to yell at me for yelling at that stupid teen wannabe", she grumbles.

He shakes his head and hands it off anyway. Peyton looks down at the name and furrows her brows. "It's Paul", they're both confused, but Lucas is confused (and maybe a little jealous) as to who Paul is and Peyton's confused as to why he's calling her.

"Hey gramps", she greets solely because he hates to be called grandpa. Lucas nods to himself, now it makes sense.

Peyton's face turns into one of uncertainty and then tears are welling in her green orbs. She doesn't register anything that happens next. She doesn't hear the bell chime over to the door. She doesn't hear Allison's joyfulness over being able to get Peyton a cup too. She doesn't hear Brooke ask her what's wrong and she doesn't feel Lucas wrap his arms around her and guide them both gently to the floor. All she can think of are Paul's words;

Drunk driver. Head on collision. Gone on impact. And . . .


The body is shipped or flown or whatever it is they do, to Tree Hill. It wasn't a scramble to make arrangements. From the minute Julian realized Peyton wanted to be in Tree Hill when she was pregnant, he decided he was going to find a way to settle himself there for Allison's sake. He has a plot in the cemetery with all the other people that Peyton loves and it's just a few feet away from where her parents are buried. Julian's family (the few members that he has) is flying down to North Carolina for the day.

She's stand near the priest as he talks about love and loss and the man Julian was and all she can think is that this isn't fair. It's isn't fair that he got taken away from everyone and it's not fair that he was taken away from Allison. At the thought of her daughter she quickly looks to her left and sees her small hand tucked into Lucas'.

Peyton would smile, if her heart wasn't breaking.

She starts to daydream about all the things that she'll never see him do again and tears well up in her eyes. She may not have been in love with him since she was twenty-two, but he is or was or always will be the father of her child and that's not a role that's easily replaced. They just spent Christmas together a week ago and now she'll never see him again. She doesn't know how long she's in another world for, but by the time she's back in the moment everyone is waiting for her to toss a handful of dirt onto the casket.

She takes a shaky step forward and has to use one hand to stop the shaking of the other. She slowly lets the soil fall from her hands and quietly (brokenly) says goodbye to a chapter of her life. Allison clings to her legs as everyone leaves and Peyton takes her fingers through her hair, it's them against the world now. And she knows they can do it, it's just going to take some time.

The priest leaves and Peyton stays rooted where she is. Julian's parents take Allison back to Nathan and Haley's for the funeral reception (Peyton doesn't have a house here) and everyone else follows them. Everyone except Peyton.

"Lucas, just leave her here", Brooke whispers as they stand outside the gate. "She's not ready yet." He shakes his head; he can't leave her here alone. It's not in his nature.

"I'll bring her to the house when she's ready to leave", he whispers. "She's going to need someone."

Brooke sighs and turns to get in the car. She can't exactly argue with him on his point. She will need someone and they all know she'd rather have Lucas beside her. Brooke gets into the car and smiles softly at Owen, her wonderful husband for whom she's incredibly grateful for. He gives her a confused look to which she shakes her head and leans over to kiss his cheek. She wouldn't be able to explain her gratitude well enough with words.

Lucas hovers at the entrance of the cemetery while he tries to gather the five million thoughts that are running through his mind. He knows Peyton needs someone, needs him. He just – this is all so unbelievable and hard and uncomfortable. He and Peyton have been talking for a while and they both (even if she tries to deny it) flirt shamelessly, but this is death. It's not light or fun. It's a heavy topic and Lucas and Peyton haven't even begun to breach their own heavy topics. But she needs him whether she knows it or not.

He slowly walks over to where he was standing just minutes ago and Peyton doesn't pay him the least bit attention. He isn't offended or at least he tries not to be. She's got a lot going on. He doesn't know what to say or do and he knows Peyton wouldn't appreciate a mindless ramble about love and loss. So he does the only thing he can really think of.

He grabs her hand and gives it a squeeze.

She looks up at him and manages a smile before squeezing back.

You're cinematic razor sharp
A welcome arrow through the heart
Under your skin feels like home
Electric shocks on aching bones

Peyton and Ally do their best over the next few days. They stay with Brooke and Owen at both of their insistences. Ally doesn't speak much and Peyton never cracks a smile. She hates that her daughter is going through the things that she went through, but Ally is even younger. She knows that they need to return to LA and deal with things like paparazzi and co-workers and everyone that was involved in Julian's life. It just seems daunting.

She's sitting at the kitchen table nursing a cup of coffee when she hears the front door open and footsteps that she knows belong to her daughter. They stop suddenly and she knows it's because the blonde has been lifted into the air. Brooke and Owen are at work and Haley's watching Jack and Sophia.

And so far everyday at this time Lucas has shown up.

She smiles at him when he walks into the kitchen and he has Allison cradled in his arms. He has been a rock in all of this. He whispers something into the little girl's ear and kisses her head before setting her on her feet; they both watch her scamper off.

"How you doing?" he asks like he has every day for the past week. Peyton shrugs her shoulders and rests her head against her arm. "That good, huh?"

One of the only smiles she ever gives off breaks through and Lucas feels a surge of accomplishment. He's been told by everyone else (of course they talk about the blonde girls) that Peyton doesn't smile and Ally barely speaks. He finds a way to make both happen.

"Some days are easier", she whispers. But Lucas can see the dried tear tracks and he can hear the hoarseness in her voice. She's strong and brave and doesn't like people to see her in any other way. It's why he loves her (it's no big secret) it's also why he gets so easily frustrated with her (that's no secret either).

"Peyt", he whispers. "It's me . . . Don't – just don't."

"What do you want me to say? That it doesn't hurt every day? That I don't miss him all the time? That I don't hate that Allison is going through everything I went through!?!" she raises her voice with every word and before Lucas knows what's going on she's shaking and crying and he hasn't seen her cry since this whole thing happened.

"It's okay", he whispers. She shakes her head and when he pulls her into his arms she tries to fight him off, but he doesn't loosen his grip.

His hand strokes her hair and her tears soak his tee shirt. Before long she stops trying to fight him and she starts to cling to him. Her hand grabs a fistful of his shirt on his shoulder and he would smile if not for the setting – some things never change. He thanks the fact that Allison's favorite movie is on because Peyton would hate for her to see her this way.

He feels her breathing start to calm and she nestles her face against his shoulder before pulling away to look at him bashfully. She wipes at her cheeks and opens her mouth, but he cuts her off.

"Don't you dare apologize", he whispers seriously. She lets out a breath that sounds like a laugh and Lucas cups her cheek lovingly.

"It's not fair", she says sadly. "He wasn't even thirty."

"I know, Peyton. But you and ally have so many people who are here for you and to help you. Owen and Brooke and Nathan and Haley." He takes a long pause and gathers his breath and courage. He cups her face between his large hands so he has her absolute attention.

"And me. You and Allison will always have me."

He heart flutters at the words he says and she kind of hates it. She just lost the father of her child; she shouldn't have these feelings this soon. But really, she's had these feelings all along.

And it's Lucas.

Before Allison starts school they move back to Tree Hill. It wasn't too hard to transfer Allison out of her school in LA and into the one in Tree Hill – it was actually far easier then she would have expected. Being in Tree Hill is the obvious option for the both of them. Allison flourishes when she's here and being close to everyone she considers family is helping them deal with things a little better.

She sells her townhouse to her assistant in LA so that's not even a problem. Finding a house in Tree Hill is also much easier then she would have assumed. After she told every one of her plans to move back they all started looking for houses and writing down prices.

She gets to Tree Hill a few days after her things arrive and when Brooke texts her and tells her to come to the address that she knows is the one for her new house, she feels a nervous flutter. She doesn't know what she's doing, but she has a feeling this is going to be interesting.

She and Allison pull up to the house and before Peyton looks up from her purse she hears a little gasp and then;

"Wow, mommy look!" the curly blonde does as she's told and it's her turn to gasp. She's only seen pictures of the house on the realtor's website or heard descriptions from Brooke and Haley. She didn't really know what to expect, but she should have expected the best.

Lucas is the one who told her about it.

Peyton pays the cab driver and then she and Allison step out of the cab. The older blonde takes the younger blondes hand and Peyton wheels her suitcase behind her while Allison holds on to be strap of her pink and purple backpack.

When they step inside the house is already perfectly decorated. Her living room and dining room are immaculate and the kitchen has brand new appliances. She sees little scraps of the life she used to have and this time her heart doesn't break. She can smile and remember those good times without feeling like she's betraying Julian.

"There are my favorite blondes!" Brooke exclaims as she walks in though the sliding glass door. Allison drops her backpack and runs over to Brooke who dutifully catches her.

"Brooke, this is amazing", Peyton says with an awe filled face as she walks over to hug her best friend. Brooke holds her goddaughter and her best friend in her arms and sighs loudly before muttering into Peyton's hair;

"I can't really take all the credit", as if on cue all of her closest friends (her family) step out from the sliding glass door that leads to the back porch.

They all take turns hugging and laughing and then Jamie takes Ally out back to show her the cool basketball court she has. Owen laughs and brings Jack out to play while Brooke holds the young brunette in her arms. Peyton smiles when Nathan throws his arm around her.

"Welcome home, Sawyer", he mumbles before kissing her temple. She rests her head against him and breathes out a sigh of content. It feels good to call this place home again. Her green eyes look up to meet his blue ones before she runs out onto the court to help Ally with an assist. Nathan chuckles and runs after her.

Later that night, after everyone's gone and Ally's sleeping, Peyton's sitting on the steps of her back porch. Her knees are curled up to her chest and she's looking up at the starry night sky; she's missed these stars. You don't get stars like this in LA. But maybe she's biased.

"So what do you think?" Lucas asks as he joins her. Okay so maybe everyone didn't leave. The curly haired blonde smiles at him coyly and he feels his heart thump against his chest. The things she does to him.

"It's perfect, Luke", she whispers. "It's right on the beach and everything."

"Yeah well, the beach has always kind of been your sanctuary", he says softly. They both know he wants to say it's been theirs. She doesn't respond and Lucas takes a seat beside her on the wooden steps.

He takes a minute to look at her and he grins to himself. She's already got color in her cheeks and her eyes are full of life. Allison seems happier too, she laughed all evening. And it's a beautiful noise to hear.

"I'm pretty sure being home is exactly what Ally and I will need", she says while still looking at the horizon and the dark ocean.

"Pretty sure?" Lucas questions. At the tone of his voice Peyton turns to look at him. He's wearing that trademark smirk and his eyes are sparkling with mischief and it's taking everything in her not to lean over and kiss him. It helps that he's being a smartass.

She remembers that night in their junior year. When she was sixteen and had a stone wall around her heart. It was this boy that broke through that wall and taught her how to love. He inadvertently gave her everything she has today.

"Thank you", she whispers and it's so out of left field that Lucas furrows his brows. "For everything you've done . . . recently and over the past six years –"

"Peyton, I told you that you never had to thank me for that", his gentle voice is sincere. "And I would do it all again in a heartbeat,"

If there was any lingering doubt before this, it's erased now.

She's in love with him.

Give me a chance to hold on
Give me a chance to hold on
Give me a chance to hold on
Just give me something to hold onto

The transition is easy for Allison. She's maintained the friendships she made when she was even younger and whenever she and Peyton visited the curly blonde made she sure spent time with them. Haley was quick to hand the recording studio back over to her blonde friend even though Peyton insisted that she meant it when she signed it over to Haley; Peyton was reminded that she still owned five percent.

They came to a mutual decision. Peyton would take back Red Bedroom Records, but only if Haley promised to put out a CD under her company.

While their months back in Tree Hill haven't been unbearable, they haven't been without their hard times. Some nights Allison still wakes up in tears and Peyton still finds herself picking up the phone to call Julian. There was also the week Peyton spent having semi-breakdown (it was a year after her miscarriage). She's been through this before so she knows that eventually this will fade away, but it's hard having to watch Ally deal with all of this for the first time.

To help her deal, she does what any mother would do. They go to the cemetery every Sunday and they take turns talking with Julian and the other loved ones. They watch home movies and Peyton reads letters that Julian wrote to Allison (a little tradition that both parents knew she would one day appreciate). On days when her daughter is particularly upset Peyton does something that would cheer up almost any little girl.

When Lucas walks into the house he knows that's exactly what he's walked in on. They've all become accustomed to Peyton and Ally's special days and they reap the benefits. Today, its cookie making.

He stands in the archway of the kitchen and watches the two girls flitter around the room. The table is covered in baking sheets and glass bowls and cookie dough. Peyton hair is pulled up into a messy bun and Ally keeps pushing at her loose hair with her messy hands. And the radio is on, loud, and it's playing a familiar song.

"I don't care if Monday's black! Tuesday, Wednesday – heart attack", Allison's little voice belts out the lyrics to that old song by The Cure and it's painfully obvious that she's Peyton's daughter.

The smaller blonde points to the taller one and Peyton dutifully takes over; "Thursday, never looking back . . ."

She looks at Allison and then they sing together; "It's Friday, I'm in love!"

The little dance Allison does has her moving around on the chair she's using as a stepstool. As she spins around she faces Lucas and immediately stops. He places a finger to his lips and nods in Peyton's direction. Allison stifles her giggles and nods her head in agreement.

"Saturday wait and Sunday always comes too late", Peyton continues to sing. She quickly glances at her now quiet daughter, "Come on Ally-cat . . . But Friday never hesitate . . ."

She spins around and drops the spoon she was using as a microphone. Lucas immediately starts to clap and Peyton bows her head in hopes of hiding her blush. Allison scrambles down from the wooden chair and rushes over to Lucas.

"You girls are phenomenal", he says with a smile as he looks at Allison and then at Peyton. She rolls her eyes and shakes her head and wants to crawl into a hole somewhere far away from here.

"Is there an encore coming?" he poses this question strictly to Peyton and she scowls at him playfully. She picks the spoon up off the floor and tosses it in the sink as she walks over to him.

"Is there a reason you're here?" she places her hands on her hips and quirks her brow. Lucas knows this look should terrify him, but it totally doesn't. He actually thinks she looks kind of hot.

"Well, I was hoping I could take Miss Allison to dinner tonight", he looks at the little girl in his arms and her eyes widen, so do Peyton's. "In honor of her birthday."

"My birthdays not for a week", she explains simply. Peyton feels her heart break and piece itself back together in an instant. She knows what Lucas is doing and she thinks her daughter does too.

"I know that", Lucas says dramatically which causes her to giggle. "But I thought this would be something that we could do together. Leave mom at home", he whispers, but it's loud enough for Peyton to hear.

Allison looks over at her mother and Peyton nods her head in agreement without having to think twice. The little blonde scrambles out of Lucas' arms and runs down the hall. It became a bit of tradition over the years that Julian would take Allison out to dinner a week before her actual birthday. Peyton had her for that week in March and even though Julian always came to Tree Hill for a party the time he spent with Allison the week before was sacred.

This is her first birthday without him.

But it's okay, because she has Lucas.

"Lucas", Peyton whispers once they're left alone. He shakes his head and walks further into the kitchen. "Thank you', she says before he can tell her not to.

He smiles and Peyton does her best not to cry, mostly because she doesn't want to ruin the day. Lucas can see the tears that are welling in her green eyes and he opens his mouth to say something, but before he can the song changes into another Cure song.

"Is this an entire Cure album?" he asks with those squinted eyes. Peyton lets out a chuckle and nods her head. Lucas shivers as if he's just gotten creeped out by something and the curly blonde places her hands on her hips.

"You like The Cure", she insists. He looks around the room and rubs the back of his neck. "Were you lying?" she asks with wide eyes. He makes a guilty face and his former girlfriend drops her mouth in shock.

"To be fair, I never said I loved The Cure", he argues. "I said I loved kissing you to The Cure", he holds up his pointer finger to complete his argument and Peyton looks down at her sock covered feet.

"Sorry", Lucas mumbles. Peyton doesn't respond, instead she walks over to him until she's standing at less than an arm length. "Peyt . . ."

His voice is gruff and she shivers a little bit. She knows she should say something, but all she can hear are Julian's words from months before. Be happy . . .

"Just . . ." she whispers. Their eyes lock and she stands on the tips of her feet while he wraps his arm around her waist, bringing her impossibly close. And then their lips meet and it's perfect.

She still tastes the same, Lucas notes. Like hope and peach lip balm and the love of his life.

And just enough cookie dough to help him remember their senior year.

They get lost in each other. She runs her hands through his hair and he lifts her off of the ground just a little bit. Peyton lets out a little noise that Lucas has missed so much in the last few years and he smiles against her lips.

"I'm ready!!!" Allison's voice carries from her room as she runs down the hallway. The two blondes break apart and Lucas rubs at his swollen lips while Peyton fixes her hair. The five year old appears in the doorway and stares at the two adults.

"Ready Lukey", she says with a smile as she tugs at the pleats of her dress (a Brooke Davis-Morello original). He smiles and glances at Peyton before walking out of the room. What else was he supposed to do?

She can't even begin to explain what happened between her and Lucas, but she does know that if Ally wasn't home they would have continued that make out session. Now she doesn't know where they stand or what this will mean. But she finds herself excited for it.

"Give me a kiss goodbye", Peyton demands with a smile as any mother does. Allison runs over with her arms outstretched and Peyton showers her face with kisses. "Have fun, baby."

"I will mama . . . you too!"

Peyton would have fun . . . if she wasn't in a big house, all alone.

It's so clear now that you are all that I have
I have no fear 'cause you are all that I have
It's so clear now that you are all that I have
I have no fear 'cause you are all that I have

A week after Allison's birthday party Peyton is told she needs to go down to Atlanta to convince an artist to renew their contract with her label. She doesn't want to go, mostly because it'll mean leaving Allison and it's such a last minute thing that she doesn't know if she'll be able to find someone to babysit.

Actually there is an entire group of people that would be willing to babysit.

It's just that Brooke's got two of her own and Nathan and Haley are both busy with Jamie and their own careers. But there's always Lucas. And he shows up five minutes after she calls him.

"Thank you so much for this", she gushes as she gathers her overnight bag. He waves her off and assures her that it's not a big deal. "Seriously Luke, you're a lifesaver."

"It's not like I had any other plans", he teases.

Peyton quirks an eyebrow. "No big things for a Saturday night?"

"Shocking right?" they laugh together and Peyton wonders if he wants to kiss her as badly as she wants to kiss him. Honestly she doesn't know how he's so nonchalant. It probably has something to do with the fact that they spent months kissing in secrecy and then acting like it never happened.

"Okay, Allison's napping. She was up half the night with something bothering her, but she wouldn't tell me", Peyton frowns and runs her hand through her hair. "Which is weird because she usually tells me everything", she mumbles.

"It's probably nothing", he tries to soothe her concern. She nods and smiles appreciatively. He's always doing his best to calm her down.

She fiddles with her fingers and bites her bottom lip while meeting his blue eyes. "Luke, about that day in my kitchen . . ."

He holds up his hands and shakes his head. He can't really listen to her say that it was no big deal and she didn't mean for it to happen. Truthfully he's been thinking about how this conversation would go and it's always Peyton who's toning it down and making less than it was.

So he's beating her to the punch.

"Don't worry about it. I made a stupid comment and The Cure was playing . . . I know it didn't mean anything", he says softly. Peyton's frozen in place and all she can do is nod her head.

Is that how he really feels?

"Alright", she says with a stiff head nod. "Uhh, I'll be back early tomorrow and thanks again for this Lucas."

"I told you a long time ago that you'd never have to thank me for anything that involved Ally; I love that little girl", Peyton smiles and feels her heart flutter just like it always does when he speaks so adoringly of her daughter.

"I know . . . I'll see you tomorrow", she says with a smile and then heads out the door.

Lucas stands in the hallway with his hands in his pockets. He's only been in Peyton's house a handful of times and all those times Peyton has been here too. He wanders down the long hallway and looks at the pictures that hang on the walls. Most of them are Ally and Peyton doing little things. Others include all the people Ally grew up around. And then there's an entire section that contains the two blondes and Julian.

He smiles at the pictures that show Allison smiling and laughing and running around a large backyard. There's a picture of Allison and her parents and Lucas can feel the jealousy in him start to bubble. It's one of the only pictures that even contain Julian and the man is now deceased; he shouldn't feel jealous.

He walks a little further and comes to various frames that all contain him and Allison. His heart swells with adoration and something like pride at the fact that he's on this wall and that he's such a huge part of it. He spots a picture that's obviously a candid. It's him with Allison on his shoulders and Peyton gently pushing at his chest over some dorky joke he told.

His breath escapes him at how much they look like a family.

"Lukey?" a small, familiar voice draws his attention. He turns to find Allison standing on the last wooden step with her hand formed into a fist as she rubs the sleep out of her eyes. He walks over to her with a smile and she jumps up into his arms. He huffs as she surprises him with her action and she giggles.

"Your mom had some stuff to take care of in Georgia so you're stuck with me kiddo", she laughs again and pats his cheek. "What do you want to do today, Als?"

She pretends to think (even taps her finger to her chin), "How about we get some ice cream and then watch a movie and then you could read me a story and then you could make me dinner and then we could have more ice cream and –"

"And then", Lucas mocks. "You could take a bath and get to bed" he raises his brows and Allison scrunches her nose.

"We'll see. Now let's go!" she hollers and wiggles so Lucas puts her down. He laughs as she runs to the door and before she runs ahead of him she stops and grabs his hand so they can walk together.

Lucas is walking out of the bathroom later that evening and he notices the six year old sitting on her bed with her head in her hands. He immediately furrows his brows and steps inside. When Allison looks up at him she musters her best smile, but he can tell it's fake.

He's a little worried because he doesn't know what the problem could be. He thinks they've had a great day. They got ice cream and stopped by the park, Allison even fed the ducks by the pond, and they came home and watched her favorite movie (Sleeping Beauty). And then he asked her to pick out a book that he would read to her.

"What are you doing in here, Ally-cat?" he takes a seat beside her in the insanely small bed and waits for her response. When he doesn't get one he bends his head down until he can see her sad eyes.

"I miss daddy", she says so softly that it actually breaks his heart. He lets out a breath and pulls her against the side of his body. He can hear her sniffle and hold back the sobs that want to break free and he simply kisses the top of her head.

"I know sweetie and you will for a while, but it doesn't mean –"

"No! I – I miss daddy, but it's not all the time", Lucas shakes his head in confusion. "Whenever you hang out with me and mommy or just me I don't miss him as much", she finishes in a whisper.

"Allison, I'm not trying to take your dad's place", he says softly. She shakes her head and rubs her eye with a small fist.

"I know that . . . but if you ever did I would be okay with it", Lucas' heart stops beating and he runs his hand through her blonde hair.

"Well that's good to know, but I still wouldn't replace him, okay? You only get one dad, Als", he whispers.

"I'm extra lucky", she says, in better spirits then just a minute ago. "I'm the only one with a Lukey", she smiles widely and stands on the bed to kiss his cheek.

She jumps off her bed before he can respond and he hears her bound down the hallway and the staircase before jumping off the last step and onto the hardwood floors. Lucas smiles and shakes his head. She is the perfect combination of her parents.

He reads to her and only stops so they can have dinner (homemade pizzas). Then Allison brushes her teeth and puts on her pajamas and Lucas finishes the story. He tucks her in and kisses her forehead and leans against the doorway until she's fast asleep.

He's sitting on the couch going through random photos when he comes across some of the ones from Ally's first birthday. He smiles at the pictures of Nathan and Haley and Brooke and Owen. He sees one of Lindsey and her fiancé; now they're married and live in Charlotte with three children and two dogs.

And then he comes to one of him and Peyton. Just the two of them when they clearly didn't think anyone was paying them any mind. He's whispering something into her ear and she's got her head thrown back in laughter. His hand is cupping her elbow, keeping her close while she teasing turns away from him.

And he thinks they've loved each other since before either of them knew it.

When Peyton walks into the house early the next morning she makes sure not to slam the door behind her and she gently places her bag on the floor. She ties her hair up into a messy bun and tiptoes into the living room where she finds Lucas sleeping soundly on the large couch.

She smiles softly at the pictures that are scattered around him and picks them up in order to put them back into the old hatbox they came from. There's a photo in his hands that she makes sure to take away gently. Her green eyes skim the picture from long ago and she smiles at the memory.

The fact that Lucas was looking at this picture has to mean something.

"What are you doing home so early?" his voice is rough with sleep and Peyton lets out a surprised gasp. "You're surprised?"

"Shut up", she says with a laugh. Lucas shakes his head and blinks his eyes to get rid of that last bit of sleep. "I couldn't stay there any longer. I missed being home", she admits with a smile.

Lucas grins and sits up. "You want some breakfast?" she asks as she starts to walk away. He nods his head and stands with every intention of helping her.

She sends him a smile over her shoulder and if that's not the sexiest thing ever, her clothing is. The Carolina spring can be a tricky time of year, which would explain her attire. She's wearing an old pair of Raven's cotton cheer shorts and a sweatshirt that he gave her nearly a year ago. It makes him think of happier times, better times.

And she always did look good in his clothes.

There is a darkness deep in you
A frightening magic I cling to

"Okay I need to tell you something", Peyton says as she breezes into Brooke's house. The brunette is sitting at the table with her daughter in her arms and a knit in her eyebrows.

"Okayy", she drawls out. She watches as her best friend paces the kitchen and runs her hand through her hair.

"And I wouldn't even be telling you think unless it was urgent and I really feel like it's urgent . . ." she stops and looks at her friend with worry on her features. "Give me the baby", she says and then takes the young one from Brooke's arms.

"Peyton, what is going on?"

"If I'm holding Sophia then you can't kill me for what I'm about to tell you and for not telling you sooner", she takes a deep breath and cradles the infant in her arms. "A little less than two years ago Lucas and I had a relationship."

Brooke's eyes narrow and she stands from the chair. "You mean like messily slept together once and decided to never talk about it again?" the tone of her voice lets Peyton know that her answer should be exactly what Brooke is supplying.

Peyton cradles Sophia closer and bites her bottom lip. "Ummm, I mean like we started dating on Father's Day and lasted till about February?"

Brooke's mouth drops and she charges over to her blonde friend. "Peyton! That's like eight months!" she yells. "You hid a relationship for practically a year?!"

The curly blonde shrugs her shoulders. "It's complicated Brooke", she whispers.

"How is it complicated? Peyton, you're always saying that it's complicated, but you never supply a reason as to why and you know I love you –"

"I had a miscarriage!" she says loudly, but not loud enough to scare the baby. "I got pregnant and Lucas freaked out and, and we broke up and then I lost the baby", she whispers.

"Is that why you were in the hospital?" the blonde nods mutely and Brooke's heart breaks into a million pieces. She takes her daughter from her arms and goes to rest her in the playpen that's in the living room.

The second she walks into the kitchen she envelops her friend in a tight hug.

"I'm mad at you for not telling me", she whispers as her eyes water. Peyton sniffles and holds her closer. "I'm really, really mad actually", she clarifies.

Peyton laughs through her tears and nods her head. "I know, but I just didn't know what to say", she mumbles as a few silent tears stream down her cheeks. "Hey, you never knew I was dating Lucas, but I just lost our baby?"

"It would have been a start", Brooke says once they break apart. Peyton smiles softly and shakes her head. Brooke ushers her over to the table and once they sit she grabs her hand.

"Nobody knows about this?"

"Well Mia because she was there when I collapsed and Julian knew", she whispers. "but I only told him after I was living in LA and it was a onetime conversation."

Brooke shakes her head and rests her chin in the palm of her hand. "God and after I fell at the store you came to the hospital . . . Peyton that must have been so hard", she whispers.

"It was, but you needed me and plus Lucas was there and so it didn't feel so tragic", she whispers with a soft smile.

"You're strong Peyton. Sometimes you're too damn strong for your own good", she mumbles with a dimpled smirk. "No more secrets, okay?"

"We may have kissed a couple of weeks ago", she rushes out. Brooke's eyes widen and she shakes her head. Peyton grabs her hand and squeezes gently. "Okay, no more secrets. That being said, I came here for a reason . . ."

". . . And . . . ?" Brooke inquires.

"Well I mean, I probably shouldn't even bother talking about this because who knows if anything will ever happen, but I don't know I guess –"

"P. Sawyer!" her brunette friend says with a smile. "What are you trying to say?"

The curly blonde takes a deep breath and runs her finger along the aged markings of her wooden table. "You always told me to get a move on my life or that I wasn't getting any younger."

"Oh Peyton honey, I didn't mean that –"

"I know, I know that Brooke. I just . . . you're right. I'm practically thirty and I'm not married. I haven't had an intimate relationship in over a year and before then my love life was non-existent. Since I was twenty-two my life has been devoted to Allison and I would never change the way she came into my world for anything, but I need to do something for myself."

"And this is where Lucas comes in?" Brooke asks knowingly with her eyebrow kinked. Peyton nods her head and mutters that she hopes he does which causes Brooke to scoff. "Peyton, he's been in love with you since you showed up on his doorstep and told him you were pregnant. Probably even before then."

"Okay, but a lot of time has passed and who knows if he still even wants me!" she cries out in worry. Brooke furrows her brows and pinches the bridge of her nose.

"Peyton Sawyer that boy still looks at you and has to take a deep breath; I've noticed. He spends pretty much any free time he has with you and Allison and while you were away there wasn't anyone . . . okay there was that one girl, Madison or Matilda, but he dumped her for a reason."

"Brooke", she says as she shakes her head. Her best friend moves her chair closer and forces Peyton to meet her eyes.

"Stop looking for reasons to miss out on your happy ending", she seems to beg. "It's Lucas and you and it's you and Lucas."

"I'm scared", she whispers and then lets out a small laugh. Brooke smiles and rubs her arm comfortingly.

"Go, talk to Lucas. Where's Ally? I'll have Owen pick her up before he gets home."

"I umm, I dropped her off with Haley on my way over here", she bites her bottom lip and takes a deep breath.

"Peyton I promise you he isn't going to turn you away", she whispers with a smile. Peyton smiles too.

She just wishes she was as sure as her best friend.

Lucas is sitting on his porch swing looking out at the street when he sees Peyton's car pull up. He smiles in surprise and stands to greet her as she walks up his pathway. He can't help but to think that she looks a little nervous. Maybe that's just in his mind.

"Well, well . . . what brings Peyton Sawyer to my house?" he teases. Peyton's instantly calmed and she shrugs her shoulders.

"Missed my old room", she says simply. He chuckles heartily and places a hand over his heart. When he tells her that her sarcasm gets to him she shakes her head and gives him a little smile. And then he's grasping at his chest for real; she takes his breath away.

He invites her in and they head into the kitchen to make some coffee. Lucas busies himself around the room and Peyton takes a seat at the table. She smiles as she remembers all the moments they've shared at this very table.

Before she knows it, she's taking a deep breath and staring at his back. "I think I blamed you", she says softly. He spins around and furrows his brows in confusion, even though he has a pretty good idea.

"I felt like you didn't want the baby and that you didn't want to be with me anymore . . ." her voice starts to shake and she hates it. She's not even five minutes into her conversation and she's already near tears.

"Peyton, that wasn't how I felt at all", he promises as he moves to sit beside her. "I was thrilled, all I've wanted since I was nineteen was to have children with you and then you were sitting there and telling me that and all I could think was that you didn't even want to tell our friends that we were dating –"

"Lucas that's not true –"

"Peyt", he whispers. He clears his throat and looks at the floor before looking up at her. "All of this was a long time ago. What does it matter?" he asks delicately.

Peyton lets out a breath and gives him a look before saying; "I just does, Luke. Lucas, we're . . . you and I . . ."

She starts to trail off and Lucas sits there in shock. He never really thought that after everything they've been through, Peyton would be the one confessing to feelings and demanding answers. But he doesn't know if this is transferred from other places. He thinks he might be a fool for thinking that.

He stands from the kitchen chair and starts to pace the room. "Peyton, I don't know . . . you just lost Julian", he stops and stares at her.

"Months ago, yes", she doesn't know where he's going with this, but she doesn't like that he's gotten up and away from her. "Lucas, what –"

"This is just kind of out of left field, Peyton. I mean, you're still grieving and there's Allison to think about", he mumbles. She shakes her head and argues that yes, she's grieving, but not for a lost love of her life.

"Lucas I'm tired of being alone and I'm tired of being sad", she stands and follows him as he moves around the room.

"Peyton that's not really a great –"

"I'm tired of being without you!!" she yells loudly. He stops in his tracks and looks into her green eyes. He can feel his heart thump wildly and he doesn't know why he's been fighting this. "I'm tired of acting like I don't miss you or think about you."

His hand cups her cheek and she leans into his touch. "I'm tired of acting like I don't love you", she whispers as tears cloud her eyes. Lucas lets out a breath and closes his eyes before smiling softly and stepping closer to her.

"Was that a love confession, Miss Sawyer?" he asks softly. His infamous smirk is planted on his lips and she wants to kiss it off. So she does, because she can and she wants to. He lets out a noise of surprise and his eyebrows rise before he leans into her and kisses back.

He pushes her against the counter and she grabs a fistful of his shirt to pull him closer. This kiss is different than any of their others. It feels real and final and permanent.

They break apart and both pant for air to fill their deflated lungs. Peyton looks into his blue eyes (now a few shades darker) and smiles softly. "I'm waiting for your love confession, Mister Scott", she teases.

Lucas laughs and rests his forehead against hers. Their noses nuzzle and he kisses her once more;

"I love you Peyton Sawyer. I always have and I always will."

Give me a chance to hold on
Give me a chance to hold on
Give me a chance to hold on
Just give me something to hold onto

Lucas rolls onto his side and inhales the sweet aroma coming from the kitchen. His eyes open and he smiles slowly. The curtains are still drawn and he knows both girls are doing their best to keep quiet, but he can hear the giggles and the music from downstairs.

He throws the blankets off and stands from the bed. The smile he was wearing when he first woke up doesn't leave his face. He walks down the stairs just in time to hear Peyton turn off the radio and ask Allison if she's doing okay.

"Yeah" the little girl says with a sigh. "I mean, I miss daddy, but Luke's here so it's okay", she says with a nod of her head. Peyton smiles and nods her head as she cups her daughter's cheek.

"Okay than, I think it's time for Lucas to wake up", she says while looking at the younger blonde. Neither of them has noticed Lucas lingering in the archway. Allison squeals and hops off the chair she was standing on.

When she sees Lucas standing there she runs into his arms.

Peyton turns around and smiles at him. She also wonders if he heard their little conversation, when he winks at her she knows he did. He carries Allison into the kitchen and the six year old hugs him fiercely before kissing his cheek and squeezing him once more.

"Happy Father's Day", she whispers. Lucas smiles and kisses her cheek loudly and obnoxiously which causes her to giggle.

"Thank you Ally-cat", he says softly and with sincerity. He sets her on her feet and she jumps onto her chair and rushes to finish her drawing. Lucas looks at her one last time before walking over to Peyton.

She's standing at the counter putting pieces of French toast on a platter. His arms box her in and when she turns to face, she's smiling. He smiles down at her and they both look at Allison once more. When they know they're in the clear Lucas presses his lips to Peyton's frantically.

"Happy Father's Day", she whispers. He cups her face with his large hands and kisses her passionately, not really caring that Allison's in the room (she's lost in her art). They break apart and open their eyes and she can see the unshed tears at fill his.

"Thank you", he whispers. And he means so much more than just today.

It's been months since that kitchen love confession (and heavy make-out session) and everything's really fallen into place. They went public immediately, but not before talking to Allison privately. She grinned and looked at the both of them. She asked if this meant that Lucas was moving in and he turned to Peyton for an answer.

She asked if Allison would mind and the little girl shook her head with a smile. Then she told them both that she was happy that they had their person. Lucas furrowed his brows while Peyton rolled her eyes. Brooke had to be an influence on that.

A few days later Lucas moved in Peyton's house, but they both had the quiet understanding that someday they'd buy a house together. Their friends were surprised, but in the same context of course they weren't. It's Lucas and Peyton. It's really kind of an obvious thing.

"I love you", she whispers simply. Lucas grins because he'll never tire of hearing that.

"I love you", and he'll definitely never tire of saying it. Peyton blushes for no real reason and kisses him quickly, but tenderly before turning her attention back to the food.

They've talked about everything they've needed to talk about. Their hidden relationship that crashed and burned. The baby that they lost and both truly loved. The fact that they never stopped thinking of the other person . . . even when they really wanted to. Peyton told him that Julian was the father of her child and that will always hold a spot in her heart.

But he wasn't the love of her life. And Lucas had her whole heart and her mind and everything else she could ever want, she wanted with him. How could he feel insecure after that?

"What about me?" Allison question's loudly. She's got a sly grin on her face that has Peyton taking in a deep breath. Lucas looks at her and presses a kiss to her forehead before charging over to where Ally is sitting.

He picks her up and places raspberries to her cheeks and neck while she squeals and giggles and begs him to stop. He doesn't and then she begs her mother for help. The curly blonde rushes over and tickles the little girls' stomach and back and neck and basically anything that she knows is ticklish.

"No fair!!" she yells through her laughter. Her arms are wailing and her legs are kicking, but Lucas is holding on tightly. There's no way he'd let her fall. "I'm gonna pee myself!" she shrieks with a laugh.

Only then do both older blondes stop and the younger one is completely breathless as Lucas cradles her in his strong arms. Peyton pushes her hair from her face and taps her nose.

"We love you more than you can ever imagine, sweets", she says with a smile and a wink. Lucas is honored that he was included in that sentiment, though he doesn't know if it should surprise him.

Allison kisses the both of them and then runs down the hall to the bathroom. They eat as soon as she gets back and then Peyton mentions them heading to the cemetery so that they can all talk to the men who are no longer living, but should still be honored on this day.

Lucas joins Peyton on the bench that oversees the plot where Julian is buried. He's just finished talking to Keith and she had talked to her father (and of course stopped to speak with her mother) and now they're both waiting for Allison.

"Do you think we should go over there?" Peyton asks with a hoarse voice. Lucas grabs her hand and squeezes gently. He knows how much she misses her father.

"No, she's like you, Peyt. She needs this alone time", he whispers. Peyton rests her head on his shoulder and closes her eyes as the warm breeze of a new summer passes over them. In a way she'd like to think its Julian letting her know this is all okay.

"All he wanted was for me to be happy", she whispers randomly. "He used to practically force me to come back here just so I would see you", she laughs softly and Lucas looks down at her. "He told me I deserved the world."

"You do", Lucas agrees and kisses the top of her head. "Are you?" he asks softly.

Peyton tilts her head to look up at him, "Happy?" she asks to which Lucas nods. "Deliriously."

He leans down and their lips meet for a sweet minute until they hear Allison's footsteps approaching. Lucas and Peyton stand and meet her halfway and Peyton crouches down to her eye level.

"How are you, sweetie?" she asks gently. Allison shrugs and Peyton pulls her in for a hug, Lucas places his hand on her little back and rubs soothing circles.

"Can we go to the Rivercourt now?" she asks in a small voice.

"Of course we can", Lucas whispers. Allison grabs his hand and then Peyton's and she looks so small between the two adults; two people who would fight the world for her if they had to. They step out of the cemetery gates and head down the block.

Lucas looks at the little girl and smiles before counting down from three. Peyton joins in and then they reach one, they swing Allison through the air. She giggles loudly and begs them to do it again. So they do, for the entire way to the Rivercourt. When they get there Allison runs head of them and Peyton looks at Lucas before leaning into his side. He kisses her temple and she sighs in content.

They aren't technically a family and they do have a good amount of baggage between them all. She knows that things won't always be easy and blissful. She knows that some days will be downright hard and painful, but they'll get through it. She doesn't doubt that Lucas is thinking about marriage or adoption or babies of their own (she is too) and she also knows they can both agree they aren't ready for that yet.

But she knows that someday they'll get there.

And she's certainly going to enjoy the journey.

It's so clear now that you are all that I have
I have no fear now you are all that I have
It's so clear now that you are all that I have
I have no fear now you are all that I have

Let me know what you think!