The Search for Something More

Summary: After a devastating injury, NBA star Nathan Scott came back stronger than ever, but his life gets flipped upside down when a woman claims to be pregnant with his child. Naley, AU.

Chapter 1 – Suddenly Everything Has Changed

Note: So here is my new story, I don't want to give too much away but this is AU. For the most part, the back story is season 1, I did of course change certain things around and those changes will be apparent once you start reading. I was also inspired from season 7 and season 5 among other things but I did add my own spin to things. I'm really excited for it, this is actually my first new story in a while. I hope I haven't lost my touch and I hope you guys enjoy it and let me know what you think. My car got keyed today and I am so pissed, so sharing your thoughts can help :). Italics are in flashback. Special thanks to Bindy417 and Kelly for their help.

On a side note, we still have no word on season 8 for OTH so please do what you can to let the CW that we want season 8 !!

Enjoy and please review!

. . . .

"Let's go." Nathan stated as he brushed past Clay and headed straight for the door. Clay looked at him perplexed and a little annoyed. He just ordered his drink.

"Dude, we just got here." Clay complained.

Nathan glanced at a sign nearby the indicating a private party at the back room of the bar, reserved for Straus Publishing. "Fine, then you stay." Nathan kept walking.

Clay sighed and took a big gulp of his drink before placing it back on the bar and running after Nathan.

"Wait, Nate.. where you going?"

"Anywhere but there." Nathan stated and kept walking.

Clay was about to say something else but knew Nathan couldn't be reached when he was in one of his moods. He liked to think he knew Nathan Scott pretty well, that he was more than just his agent but his friend as well. But then there were times like this when Nathan was closed off and had this far away expression in his eyes that made Clay wonder if he even knew him at all.

"Fine, so where to?" Clay asked as he caught up with him.

Nathan walked quickly for another two blocks before stopping in front of another bar.

"This'll do." Nathan smirked as he entered the place.

An hour and 3 bars later . . .

"Another round!" Clay yelled over to the bartender. The bartender nodded and started lining the shot glasses and pouring the whiskey. Clay turned around and found Nathan still at his spot on the corner, girls surrounding him.

"Don't I know you from somewhere?" A young blond woman in a British accent trailed her fingers down Nathan's chest.

"I don't know, do you?" Nathan raised his eyebrow.

"You're some sports star aren't you?"

"Close Carla." Nathan took a sip of his beer.

"Kylie." She corrected.

Nathan shrugged, like it mattered anyway to him.

"You play for the Sonics!" Kylie suddenly exclaimed.

"I didn't know you guys had basketball in the UK?" Nathan replied back, his cover now blown.

"Of course we know basketball, silly." Kylie's equally drunk friend stated, sitting next to Nathan.

"Here's our shots!!" Clay announced as he came in with a tray and handed them out to everyone.

"Kylie… Nathan.." Clay stated as he passed it out. "Marianne."

"Marcy." She clarified.

"My bad." Clay said innocently and Nathan had to suppress his laughter. They had already forgotten the girls they met at the last bar but they were pretty sure they had their numbers or hotel room keys, somewhere. Clay had to admit the night started out a little rough but it was turning out to be okay.

A second later, the group took the shots and continued to hang out.

"What do we have here?" A rather large man with a British accent asked.

Everyone looked up to find three grown men, arms crossed looking at them. Marcy and Kylie immediately tried to put some distance between themselves and the guys.

"You guys are early." Kylie gulped.

"It seems we came just in time." One of the guys spoke up.

"I think it's time for your friends to leave." Another one added.

"Look guys, you want your own table, you gotta get it yourself.. we're a little busy." Nathan stated and turned back to the Kylie.

"Listen, you yank."

"Listen punk!" Nathan stood up. Clay got up as well and immediately held Nathan back. Clay knew that Nathan can hold his own but that wasn't good for his image or career, especially during his contract year. With Nathan's temper on the fritz lately plus the drinking, Clay knew that the situation could quickly escalate and he didn't want anything happening to his best client.

"Whoa.. buddy, relax, there. Come on, it's time to go."

"Go?" Nathan turned to Clay confused.

"Yeah, come on. We gotta hit that other place up remember." Clay added and then whispered in his ear. "Besides, I'm getting tired of these chicks."

Nathan smirked. "Yeah let's go."

Nathan Scott was a flirt, Clay would know a thing or two about that. He himself was one. He also knew that Nathan was only playing with these girls and though he have had the girls fooled, Clay could tell, he was never really interested in either of them.

"That's right go!" One of the guys called out.

"Excuse me!" Nathan turned around but Clay held him back.

"Nate, let it go. Come on. We're supposed to meet those guys from Nike, remember the shoe guys developing your line."

Nathan sighed as he remembered that even on his night off, he truly wasn't off.

"You're lucky!" Nathan pointed his finger at them and stormed out with Clay.

Once outside, both of them were relieved to feel the cool air hit their face. It was a little stuffy inside.

"Aite, I'm gonna get us a cab. Stay put." Clay stepped out onto the curb and stuck his hand out.

Nathan checked his pockets and forgot the bar still had his credit card. Without telling Clay, Nathan went back in. Nathan raced back inside and went to the bar and tried to get the bartender's attention.

"I thought we told you to leave."

Nathan turned around to find one of the punks standing there.

"Taxi! Taxi!" Clay yelled out and one stopped in front of him.

Rolling down the window, "Where to?" The cab driver asked.

"Lower East Side." Clay replied and opened the door and turned around but found that he was all alone.

"Nate!" Clay called out and he looked around.

The next thing he knew, there was the sound of glass shattering and Nathan's body flying through the window.

"Nathan! Nathan!" Clay yelled as he ran up to Nathan.

"Ahhh!" Nathan groaned in pain.

"You okay?" Clay raced to his side, reaching into his pocket to grab his phone.

"My legs.. I can't feel my legs!"

6 months later

Nathan grabbed the shopping bag from the passenger seat and got out of the car. He looked around his surroundings, the place reminded him of home, with the trees and the water. It was warm and balmy out, a perfect day for an outdoor party. He stretched for a little bit, something his doctors told him to do in moderation. He wasn't used to the rental he was driving and his back was a little sore but nothing to too bad. Looking out across the expansive yard, he could already see the party in full swing. He made his way to the house, taking his time as he strolled through the grounds.

"There you are!" Clay greeted him and the two pumped fists. "How'd the shoot go?"

"Okay I guess." Nathan replied. "You sure it's cool that we're crashing here?"

"You kidding me, Q's got more rooms than he knows what to do with." Clay replied. "Don't worry, your stuff's already upstairs. Come on, Andre's gonna flip when he sees you."

Nathan followed Clay to the back where he could already smell the barbeque on the grill and the sound of kids running around and people chatting.

"There he is!" Quentin came up to Nathan and the two shared a typical man hug.

"Q, it's been too long." Nathan smiled and padded his back.

"I know man.. and look at you.. still sexy as ever… but not as sexy as me." Quentin quickly replied.

"Don't mind him, retirement is making him senile." Quentin's wife Faith replied, coming up to kiss Nathan on the cheek. "Nathan, it's so good to see you again."

"You too. Thanks for having us." Nathan replied. "So where's that boy of your's?" Nathan turned back to Quentin.

Quentin smiled and looked out over the kids. "Andre!" He yelled and a miniature version of Q came running up to him. Q swept him up in his arms and went over to Nathan.

The little boy's jaw dropped. "You're Nathan Scott!!" Quentin put Andre down.

Nathan smiled and bent down. "And you must be the infamous Andre Fields." Nathan reached into the bag he brought. "This is for you." Nathan pulled out a small jersey with his number and autograph on it. "Happy 5th Birthday little man."

"WOW!!" Andre's eyes lit up. "This is so cool!" He said as he held the jersey up. "Thank you mom.. dad!"

"And?" Faith pointed to Nathan.

"Oh, thank you too Mr. Scott."

"Please.. call me Nathan."

"Thanks Uncle Nathan!"

Nathan chuckled. "That'll do too."

"Can Uncle Nathan play with us?" Andre turned to his dad, who in turn looked at Nathan.

"What do you say Nate?" Q asked.

For the next hour, Nathan was mobbed by kids vying for his attention and for the most part he placated them, even going for a game or two on the basketball court. Quentin and Clay stood on the sidelines as they watched Nathan play with the kids.

"He looks happy." Q commented as he sipped on his beer.

"Today, he is. I know the accident must've taken it's toll on him, add to that his contract year. I know he's been stressed about it." Clay said softly. Q silently agreed.

"He killed it in the last game." Clay added.

"I caught the highlights on Sports Center, 32 points, 8 assists."

"Sometimes, I don't even know how he does it." Clay took a swig of his beer. "Especially for a guy who couldn't walk a couple of months ago."

"I watched the news, the physical therapy, the training.. no one thought he'd back to his old form so soon, let alone play his first game after only three months." Quentin was amazed and impressed. He'd heard horror stories of guys getting injured but none of them were able to bounce back like Nathan had.

"Me either." Clay nodded his head.

. . . . .

"Can I get a picture?"

"Umm.. yeah.. sure" Nathan replied and he bent down a bit. She held the camera in her hand and maneuvered it around so that way they would both be in the picture. Nathan had been here for a few hours now and was enjoying himself. It was a definitely a nice change of pace.

"Umm.. do I know you?" Nathan asked as he surveyed her. She was wearing a blue dress, her hair was brown with blond steaks and she looked like she smoked one too many cigarettes. He would be the first to admit that he's bad with names but he definitely had a feeling like he saw her before.

"Renee," She smiled.

"Yo Nathan!"

Nathan whipped his head to find Quentin approaching him.

"Hey Q." Nathan took the beer from Quentin and turned around but found Renee gone.

"Looking for someone?" Quentin asked.

Nathan shook it off. He was used to the fans by now. "Nah, just thought I saw someone." Nathan took a sip.

"So thanks again for coming down here.. Andre had a blast."

"Thanks for having me." Nathan nodded. "He's a great kid man."

Quentin smiled. "Yeah, he is. He and Faith make it all worth it." Q leaned against the pillar and looked down the patio where his wife was entertaining guests.

"Clay told me about the contract." Q added.

"So he told you the Sonics haven't offered a contract yet?"

"I was wondering why you seemed a little off." Q gave him a small smile. "Don't worry about it man, they'd be fools not to sign you again. I mean I remember how it was like during my contract years, some times it was quick and painless, other times, you're on pins and needles. It's nothing new man. You'll get through it."

"I'm.. I'm hoping you're right. I've worked really hard to get back into form I can't.. I can't lose it now. It's all I got." Nathan looked down.

"Not all." Q pointed out. "But what else is new man, how's that hot girl of yours? Still trotting the globe."

Nathan chuckled. "Her manager Miranda keeps her pretty busy, but she's in Phoenix right now." Nathan said carefully.

"Phoenix?"

"She's gonna see a Chris Keller concert."

"Skinny white dude with the spikey hair and rhinestone shirts?"

"That'd be him." Nathan couldn't help but roll his eyes. "You know I met him before, totally arrogant, talks to himself in the third person.. I .. I don't know what she sees in him, she claims he's a talented artist.. or whatever bs that means."

"Seriously?" Q laughed and Nathan chuckled with him. "You know my wife picked up the latest issue of the Informer.."

"Don't believe everything you read in that crap." Nathan was quick to cut him off. He knew all too well. The media could be your best friend or your worst enemy and living in the spot light for a while now, Nathan knew the importance of treading those waters carefully.

"Don't I know it." Q agreed. "I remember a while back they said that I was shot while at a gas station, my wife nearly had a heart attack.."

"Yeah.. I don't know where they come up with that crap." Nathan threw his hands up and the two looked on at the people around them. Kids running around, the adults eating and chatting. It was a stark different from the fast pace lifestyle he'd become accustomed to.

"You miss it?" Nathan asked a moment of silence later.

"The game?"

Nathan nodded.

"I mean yeah, sometimes. Hard to believe it's been, what 3 years now."

"We lit up my rookie year." Nathan added.

"Almost took it all the way." Q added.

"You should've stayed on for one more season." Nathan smirked, reminding Q that one year after his retirement that the Sonics took it all the way and won the championship. Three years ago, Nathan went into the NBA, surprising everyone since he was only done with his second year in college. A lot of the other guys were intimidating, especially Quentin Fields. But the two bonded quickly and Quentin took Nathan under his wing and during Q's last season. Nathan was like a little brother to him.

"I could've but then that would've meant I would've missed out on all this." Q motioned to his surroundings. "Faith was down here in San Fran while I kept going back and forth between here and Seattle. It was hard man to be away from here, they're everything to me.. the reason I get up every morning .. so yeah, it would've been nice to get another championship ring but I got to watch my son grow up.. walk him to his first day of school, be there for dinner. It's no NBA but it's a good life… a happy one." Quentin said without an ounce of regret.

Nathan was somber then smiled genuinely at Quentin, "Yeah it seems like it." Nathan agreed.

"How about you man? I couldn't even imagine how hard therapy must've been."

"I'm not going to lie, it was hard as hell. Everything hurt and if it wasn't hurting, it was sore. I tell you, there were days I felt like giving up and just staying in bed."

"Why didn't you?"

Nathan paused as he thought about it. "Let's just say I found my reason to get up."

Quentin looked at Nathan curiously and was about to say something else but Andre came running up to him.

"Daddy!"

"Hey little man, what's up?" Q asked as he saw a couple of Andre's friends behind him.

"Can I open my presents now?!" The little boy gave a bright smile.

"Hmm, well we gotta find your mom."

"I'll let her know." Nathan spoke up. "Besides, I need a refill." Nathan held up his empty bottle and started to walk away.

. . . .

"Dude this better be good." Nathan rubbed his eyes as he stepped onto the docks outside Q's house. Andre's birthday party was long over and Nathan was looking for to a decent night's sleep. That was until he got a cryptic message from Clay, telling him to meet him outside.

"This is important." Clay replied.

"Then tell me inside, it's freezing out here." Nathan put his hands back in his pocket. Annoyed, he started to walk back to the house.

"Nate, wait!" Clay stopped Nathan. "I couldn't risk anyone over hearing."

"Over hear what?"

"Look, you remember after the Memphis game, we went to Charlotte?"

Nathan paused, trying to remember "My first game back after my injury?"

"You surprised everyone that night, including me."

Nathan looked at Clay curiously, he had no idea what this had to do with them standing outside in the middle of the night. That game he scored 20 points, 3 assists and managed 6 steals. It was below Nathan's usual game average but no one expected him to perform so well after nearly losing his ability to walk.

"We had that big party after the game… we got pretty wasted."

"Yeah so?"

"That was three months ago." Clay reached out for his cell phone. "Some woman is claiming she slept with you." Clay showed Nathan the image on his phone. Nathan was left speechless as he dropped the phone on the ground.

"She says you know her and that she has pictures of you and her to prove it but she only sent the sonogram." Clay reached down and picked up his phone. "She's..she's three months pregnant, Nate."

. . . . .

The following morning, Nathan and Clay headed out in Nathan's rental car. "Hey, you know I'm not judging you right?" Clay turned to Nathan. Nathan quickly sent Clay an icy glare.

"Clay, you've known me for a long time now, I don't care what that woman says, I did not sleep with her! Alright?" Nathan clenched the steering wheel.

"Alright." Clay threw his hands up in mock surrender.

"It's unbelievable to me that she could just show up and spout a bunch of lies and the next thing I know I know I'm in the headlines!"

Nathan shook his head as he put the car in park.

"Look, I told you I'd handle it. I mean these things happen all the time."

"Clay, this is my contract year." Nathan gritted through his teeth. "The Sonics already think I'm broken goods after my accident."

"They don't think that. Your record since you came back has been phenomenal. The team knows that."

"Then, why haven't they given me a contract yet?" Nathan countered. "I don't need this especially after everything I went through. I went along with your stupid plan Clay I didn't like it but I stuck to it cuz you told me it was going to get me my contract." Nathan gritted through his teeth.

"I know." Clay tried to be sympathetic. "And you've been doing great on and off the court, the plan is working. I told you from the start that these contract negotiations are tricky but we've taken all the necessary steps." Clay replied carefully. Yes, Nathan was doing great back on the court but that didn't mean he was out of the woods. The team had to look at longevity and a hard blow to Nathan's back or a bad fall and that could be it for Nathan. The team needed more than just Nathan's skills to keep him on the roster.

"But this?" Nathan said frustrated, "God, what the hell does she want?"

"Money, Nate." Clay answered quickly. "Like I told you last night, I know how these things go. You got the money, the girl, you're in your contract year coming off an injury and she knows that. She knows very well that this is the last you need right now and she's trying to milk you for it and give you bad publicity."

"Yeah, well, she's doing a good job."

"Look no one knows about this and that's because she's trying to make quick buck."

"Clay, this looks bad no matter what."

"I know that man, but like I said, I'll take care of this lying bitch. I'll find out what she wants, see what we're dealing with and then I'll bring her down."

"You sure?" Nathan said impatiently.

"Yeah, Nate, don't worry I got this. I know you didn't do it and once we expose this gold digger for who she is, this might actually help you, you know get the sympathy vote." Clay reasoned. "Look, just wait here." Clay opened the door and headed inside the restaurant.

Clay strolled through the restaurant, his game face on.

"So, you wanna talk. Talk." Clay took a seat. The woman in front of him was wearing oversized dark sunglasses with a brim hat on. She looked nervous, which made Clay's smirk even wider. It wouldn't take long to expose this money hungry whore.

"What? No hello? No introductions." She bit back. "Where's Nathan?"

"I know you're lying." Clay cut to the chase. "I don't know what your angle is or why you're targeting Nathan Scott but we both know he didn't do it."

"Look, where is he?"

"You're not going near him and you're not getting a red cent out of him. I mean, you can't even tell me your name." Clay was about to laugh.

She was about to open her mouth.

"What do you want from me?" Nathan's voiced boomed from behind her.

Clay's head shot up. "Walk away Nate." Clay tried to say as discretely as he could.

"Huh?" Nathan walked closer.

Clay got up from his seat and positioned himself between the two of him. Clay's eyes urging Nathan to turn around and head out of here.

Taking a deep breath, she took off her glasses and hat. She turned from her seat to faced Nathan.

"Hi Nathan." She said calmly.

Nathan's jaw dropped and stopped dead in his tracks. He felt as if his heart literally stopped, much like how he felt after he was thrown out a window and out of nowhere, she showed up to his hospital room.

Entering the white drab room, she could hardly believe the sight. She hated hospitals but she pushed passed that and took a step closer. He always towered over her, a pillar of strength and stamina. Now to see Nathan so frail, it was unnerving to say the least. She'd seen him on TV and in magazines but this was the first time she was actually up close to him in so long. It broke her heart to see him this way but it was his fault they weren't together. 'He broke you're heart' she kept reminding herself but as soon as she found out about the accident two days ago, she couldn't stay away.

She gently reached for his hand and grazed her thumb over his fingers. Just then his started to move and his eyes fluttered open. The sight of her left him breathless. This was surely a dream or a side affect from the medication. She was too stunned to move, let alone breath. She wasn't expecting him to wake up so soon after his surgery. When his hand squeezed hers, it brought her back to reality and she suddenly stood up and pulled her hand away as if it were on fire.

"I.. I should go." She mumbled and then turned on her heels and bolted for the door.

"No! Don't go!" He pleaded, his voice still hoarse. Nathan shouted her name and tried to move to get out of bed but it was no use. Despite what the doctors told him, he still didn't have any feelings to his legs and he lay there, powerless to chase after her. More determined than ever, Nathan Scott was going to change that.

Clay looked at Nathan curiously and the woman behind him and then back to Nathan.

"You .. you know her?" Clay asked softly.

"H.. Haley?" Nathan muttered in disbelief.

To Be Continued.