Today It Is Quiet

Summary: It was time to give Peyton what she wanted. For her pain to dissipate; for his to begin. He stopped trying to fight her on this. The fight was over. And nobody had won. "Baby, please." Then, a single shot erupts into the dark night. Dark LP. AU. Set in S4. Loosely based off the novel, "The Pact" by Jodi Picoult and the song "Quiet in my Town" by Civil Twilight

A/N: Lucas and Peyton have been dating for two years. Now after her attack she's feeling suicidal and Lucas watches in desperation as she spirals further and further down. That's all the background you really need. Oh, and BL never was. Lucas and Peyton got together after the incident at Duke, not Brooke and Lucas (Season 1). Besides that everything is pretty much the same. This is also rated T for a reason! Mostly for language and then of course just for the subject matter(s) at hand.

Disclaimer: You know I own nothing. Because if I did, I would have been on my hands and knees begging CMM and HB to renew their contracts for Season Seven. Pshhhh we all know that didn't happen. :/

*Depression and PTSD are very serious conditions; they are not used here lightly. *

I worked on this piece for MONTHS! I think the idea was conceived back in late December. Anyway I would write about 500 words when I got inspired and sort of fizzle out. So this definitely took out a huge chuck of time. It's definitely an emotionally exhausting piece to write but I hope you all enjoy it. :) IT'S ALSO VERY LONG! My longest piece yet! Super, Super Proud.

Lyrics centered

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Today I heard that someone left this earth

Everyone fails. He knows that with every inch of him, he knows that every time he looks at his mother's face. He failed Keith. Or at least this is what he tells himself. There had to have been something he could have done to save him. He's supposed to save people. That's his job. There's really only one person he's good at saving, Peyton.

He saved her from that guy that drugged her at Duke. He saved her the day of the shooting. He saved her from Psycho Derek. If only he could save her from herself. If only….

She's not the same girl he fell in love with. She's broken and afraid. She's shattered. Peyton was violated by this crazy person, her trust broken. She was in the same place as Lucas. Two ravens with broken wings. They were both an unkindness.

He learned to protect her, to hold her every night, to lock the doors and windows at her house and to double check and triple check. He's learned to not get to close but be close enough so she can reach out to him when the darkness crept in at night. He's learned that when she's had a nightmare and began to scream that he must whisper many 'I love yous' to calm her down. What he mostly learned is that is love for her is immeasurable. He loves her too damn much to loose her.

Which is why she's scaring him so fucking much.

That someone disappeared left no mark here

When she can't sleep she paints. In the beginning she painted red all over the canvas. Later black. And now she paints herself surrounded by both. She's been thinking a lot lately, her mind seems to spin, and it leads to the same conclusion every time. Why does breathing hurt so much? Why am I here?

Peyton's life has fallen short. Two dead moms, one absentee father, a bullet wound, a stalker. The bad has always outweighed the good. He blood has become toxic. She can feel the poison setting in, I don't want this, I don't want this, I don't…

It gets her no where. She wishes this would all just go away. She wishes it was all just would be a bad dream.

"Hey best friend!" Peyton peers up from her canvas to see Brooke.

"You've been MIA lately,"

Peyton sets her brush down and plants a weak smile on her face. "I know."

"Do ya? You didn't even come to school last week. Are you okay P. Sawyer?" Brooke's eyes light up with concern.

But the sound of her voice makes Peyton want to be sick. Brooke was too cheery, she had too much optimism.

"Oh course," Peyton lied.

"When the last time you left this room?"

"I DON'T see why that matters!" Peyton snapped.

"I'm sorry." Brooke says backtracking, creeping out of Peyton's room.

"Why don't you clean yourself up and we'll talk later," Brooke halts in the doorway. "We'll talk later," Brooke repeats like a broken record, one that Peyton would never buy.

And she's gone.

But instead of getting in the shower, Peyton continues to paint.

Stroke after stroke, she feels nothing. Not even relief.

Today I heard that someone just got up and left themselves

Lucas arrives that night at seven-thirty like always. He brings dinner from the café, he's sure Peyton hasn't eaten all day. He in fact knows it. She sits in her room all day, painting, or sleeping. She wants to escape her world, she wants to leave.

"Peyt," He says quietly as he enters her room.

She doesn't look up; she is facing her easel with a blank expression. It almost crushes him, that look on her face.

"Peyt!" He calls a little louder.

She jumps out of her stool at least 10 feet in the air, fear writes itself all over her face. At least she feels something.

"Luke?"

"Yeah baby, it's me." He walks over to her slowly; each step is a cautious movement, not to frighten her. Just like walking on eggshells.

She grasps his hand as soon as he's close enough. "Shhh," he says pulling her into his chest. "I'm right here, babe."

And she begins to sob, for really no reason at all. She's just afraid. She's so afraid she doesn't even know what she's afraid of anymore. But it consumes her, eating off of her insides, turning them coal black.

What happened to her? Where'd the fighter in her go? Where did that mystery wrapped up into a bitch decide to hide? Peyton can't find any pieces of herself anymore. And she's too weak to look.

"Luke?" Peyton says chocking down tears.

"Yeah babe?"

"I…I… just wanted you to know…" The air is full of a twisted anticipation. He clasps his eyes shut, begging god, for her not to mention it again.

"What?" He says waiting, still praying to himself.

"That I'm sorry." She says finally. Like this apology was a long time coming. Like it was really the wedge that had dug itself in between them.

"You have nothing to be sorry for,"

But she thinks she does. She feels like she has so much to be sorry for.

Peyton hangs her arms around his neck and sighs. "How's your mom?" She asks for the first time in ages. This her doesn't recognize the world, Lucas has noticed. She notices nothing, feels nothing, not even his love for her.

"She's pregnant and; sad she misses Keith."

Peyton nods understanding. The imprint of that day coming back to her. The pain from the bullet that entered her body. A single bullet.

"Why don't we get you in the shower and then we can have dinner and watch a movie." Lucas says pulling her off the stool and holding her thin frame in his arms.

"Okay," She says quietly.

Lucas puts Peyton down softly and strokes her cheek. "You know I love you, don't you?"

"I love you too," She plants a kiss on his cheek and heads toward the bathroom.

Lucas sits down in the empty stool in front of the easel and runs his fingers through his blonde locks. She's always been a 'tortured artist'. But now Peyton really is tortured. Her demons seem to expand as the years roll by. How much more of that can she really take?

Lucas turns himself to look at the canvas. Peyton has painted a girl, a blonde girl, with curly hair and big green eyes. And in this painting the girl is all alone, surrounded by darkness and a pool of blood at her feet.

Lucas turns away disgusted, remembering what she asked of him. He doesn't know what to do anymore. Now he's loosing hope.

Lying on the ground…

Peyton decides to shave her legs and put on some makeup for the first time in about a month. After the attack she caked her face with makeup, anything to cover the bruises, anything so that everyone would think she was just fine. To let her be, to let her move on with her life. She never liked hovering. So she told everyone she was fine. Peyton gave up on that façade a while ago. She doesn't care what anyone thinks or assumes about how she feels. She just doesn't give a damn.

Lucas notices Peyton when she walks out of the bathroom. He really notices her. Her hair is styled in soft waves instead of tied into a sloppy knot. She's wearing a pair of jeans, instead of old sweats, and a t-shirt that is actually not two sizes too big.

Dinner is set up on the bed, the movie already in the DVD player. It's their routine, any everyday occurrence, and she realizes that everything he does is all for her. That has to give her a little bit of hope. But she's so use to feeling nothing, that she does, feel nothing.

"50 First Dates," he says holding up the DVD case. Peyton furrows her brow.

"C'mon you love egged-shaped heads!"

"Lucas Scott, you don't have an egg shaped head." She said dryly.

"True," he says softly.

"But you, you look beautiful Peyton Elizabeth Sawyer." Peyton spins around to humor Lucas.

He whistles and she laughs a laugh far too high pitched to be her own.

Peyton sits on the corner of her bed and picks at the chicken cutlet on the plate in front of her.

"Chicken again?"

"You love chicken."

"So?" She says

Lucas laughs.

"Shall we?" he asks scooting in to the bed beside her.

Peyton nods her head up and down slowly, her curls bouncing, and leans into Luke.

Lucas intertwines his fingers with her and plants a kiss on the crown of her head.

"It's going to be okay, Peyt."

"How do you know?" She asks her voice childlike.

"Because you're the strongest girl I know."

"I'm not."

"You are," He says his voice rising.

When they argue their fights are always internal, he's always afraid to say what's on his mind, she's afraid of hurting him with her thoughts. She wants to tell him that she's not strong, that she's not sure if she can do this. She wants him to understand that more than anything. She wants him to understand that she can't stand to be in her own skin anymore. She wants him to understand, she isn't the same girl anymore.

The room becomes still and Lucas presses play on the remote. The movie begins.

An oxymoron, romantic comedy. There's nothing romantic about anything anymore. They love each other, they do. But romance is gone. Over shadowed by pain. Comedy; nothing can make her laugh. Nothing. Lucas is naïve to think that this stupid movie is going to change anything.

They lay beside each other watching an unrealistic piece of shit. Happiness doesn't happen like it does in Romantic Comedy. Yeah, sometimes the boy does get the girl of his dreams. But sometimes that isn't enough.

Later after the end credits, Peyton takes the dishes down stairs, while Lucas sleeps.

She runs the hot water in the sink and holds her hands underneath the spout until they are blood red. She tidies up the kitchen and looks around. She can't stand this house since the attack. Knowing he's locked away, Ian that is, doesn't change shit. She's scared out of her mind.

Peyton trudges upstairs and lays down in bed, Lucas sprawled out beside her. She looks up at the ceiling and stares. And sleep evades her tired body, soul, and mind.

Today is

Today is

Today is quiet in my town

She isn't always showing Lucas her darkness. She isn't always showing how bad it is. Sometimes she remembers how to fake happiness and it even feel genuine. Sometimes she knows that the quietness in her mind can be evaded, that some days it hides from her instead of her hiding from it. Peyton's become a different person depending on the day of the week. And no one besides Lucas has really noticed.

Some days she smiles and laughs and goes shopping with Brooke and Haley.

Some days she locks herself away in her room painting.

Some days she sulks and bitches at everyone.

Some days she's so friendly it's scary.

Some days she doesn't show up to important things.

Some days she does.

It's a viscous cycle, one with out any prediction as to what day it's going to be. Only the fact that it'll be that way again.

Peyton hates going to school, she hates walking in the entrance that she got shot in, she hates going to the library to study or check out a book, she hate's going to the part of the school where Keith was shot. She hates the building. Because she remembers the pain. She remembers clinging to Lucas's body as blood poured out of her body.

"I love you Lucas. Just incase we don't make it out of here. Know that." And she kissed him and felt herself drift.

She remembers how death tastes in your mouth, bitter and acidic, yet satisfying and sweet. Because then the pain is gone, the discomfort and horrifying fears are gone. Trapped somewhere else besides that black abyss you find yourself pulled into. It all goes away then.

Lucas squeezes Peyton's hand. "Babe?"

"I'm sorry," she says pausing looking around the hall. "It's just this place. It's not right."

Lucas nods and feels chills go down his spine. His uncle was killed here. He doesn't like it that much himself.

"I love you," He whispers in her ear, like it'll make a difference.

"I love you more," she says a tad playful.

And Lucas has a feeling that it might just be a good day.

Today is

Today is

Today is quiet in my town

She wakes up in the middle of the night covered in sweat and a scream lodged in her throat.

She struggles for air, gulping and gulping, like a fish out of water. It is then that she begins to reach out for Lucas.

"Lu….Luk…La…La!" Her scream is muffled.

A lamp flicks on and Lucas's strong arms embrace her shaking body.

"Shhh." He soothes. "I'm right here, right here."

Peyton continues to choke, to choke on words, to choke fears, to choke on the horrifying images that just got conjured up from her mind.

Lucas runs his fingers through her hair and kisses her temple. "I love you Peyton." He whispers. "I love you so much."

Peyton's breathing begins to become less frantic. Lucas clings to her body tighter. "I love you, I love you, I love you."

She exhales loudly and blinks rapidly. And tears began to stream from her eyes. Because even though Lucas is here all she can see is his face. Ian's presence surrounds her.

"I love you," Lucas says again.

Peyton shakes her head into his chest and lets the tears pour from her eyes. "Lucas," She sighs.

He pulls her into his arms tighter. She wraps herself all the way around him.

She stops shaking and soon falls back to sleep on his chest.

Lucas stares up at the ceiling and strokes Peyton's check.

He realizes that she didn't tell him she loved him back.

Today two boys disappeared without noise
And I wish that I was them flying somewhere overhead

Peyton sat at the kitchen table the next morning before school eating a bowl of cereal and watching the news on a small TV that her dad had kept in the kitchen. Lucas had left early that morning to help his mom open that café, so she ate alone.

"It's now being reported that the two local missing brothers' bodies have been found in a wooded area outside of Tree Hill. Gavin and Garret Haynes. Ages 7 and 11 have been found dead, I repeat, in a wooded area outside of town after a huge search effort by local police and towns people." The news anchor says as they show aerial coverage of the dump site on the TV screen.

Everyone in town had heard about the kidnapping and now murders. They had in fact gotten national coverage. Just two little boys home alone while there mother went to pick up dry cleaning, kidnapped and now dead. Peyton shook her head in disgust. Who the heck does these kinds of things?

She didn't have to think hard about that. She knew for a fact that there were very sick people everywhere. And even a small town, a wonderful best friend, and a boy who loves you could save you from that.

"Garret and Gavin have gone to be with the angels now," The boys' mother sobbed on the television screen.

And Peyton couldn't help but wonder what it would be like to be away from this hell hole that people call life, just like Garret and Gavin.

Tonight in silence, two lovers hate and find

He banged his fist up against the doorframe as tears spring to his blue eyes.

She stares at him, eyes wide, deer in the headlights.

"You're killing me," he says.

And the pun of what has just come out of his mouth really does kill him.

"I need this," She whispers.

"No Peyton, you don't." And he shakes his head and begins to pace around his bedroom.

Peyton sits on the Lucas's bed stoically, her eyes in her lap. "Please understand," She whispers.

"UNDERSTAND?! Don't you think I've understood plenty?! I've been here beside you all of this time. I've done everything…." He trails off and they lock eyes.

Lucas sits besides her on the bed and entangles their hands.

Why doesn't she understand how much he needs her? Why?

He places his hands on her chest and feels her heart beat beneath their entangled hands.

Thump-thump-thump-thump

And he clasps his eyes shut, unsure. So damn unsure.

One is bored , One is angry
But neither one of them is right, oh

The first time she told him she wanted to die he laughed. The second time he told her not to talk like that. The third time he told her he loved her. The fourth it would be okay, everything would get better soon. The fifth time he asked her why.

And her answer surprised him.

"Because," She said softly. "Everything is wrong. Everything hurts. No matter how many times I tell myself it'll get better, I know in my heart that what I'm feeling now is never going to go away."

And he watched as her mouth said these words, watched as her eyes seemed to gleam with something he'd never seen before.

"I want to die, Lucas."

And it was relief, pure pleasure, joy all rolled into one.

"And I need you to do something for me…"

His eyes softened at her plea. Lucas had never denied Peyton of anything she had ever wanted. What could she expect him to do?

"I need a gun."

And he remembered. He could physically picture it, the handgun that Keith had put in the nightstand on his now empty side of the bed. "Just in case…"

And then he remembered another gun, one pointed at him by his friend, one pointed at Peyton, that horrible horrible day.

"Why a gun?" He asked surprised, knowing she never liked them.

"Because that's it, one bullet, and that's it…" She said clasping her eyes shut. One bullet, and that's it…

And he can smell blood. Red and dripping out of her body all over his hands.

"I've been thinking about it for awhile Lucas, and I think this is what's best…"

"But I love you Peyton…" He said feeling tears coming up his throat, about to spill out of his eyes.

"I love you too,"

"I need you!" He pleaded.

"I need this…"

And then it dawned on him, she didn't want this, she didn't want life. She was exhausted and hurting and just done.

"If you really loved me you do this…you'd let me be happy."

And her words diced through him, she knew, this would get him to do exactly what she wanted him to do.

"You know I love you. But does this have to be it?"

"Yes."

"But I don't want it to be this way…"

She exhaled, he remembers. And then brushed a curl from her eyes. "But don't you see Luke. This is what I want…"

He couldn't accept it, even as the words came from his mouth.

"Okay,"

Now he is lying beside her. She is asleep, sprawled out across him, their feet touching. Her chest rises and falls with each breath.

Who had he ever been to deny her? She was Peyton. He couldn't say no.

So now the deal is done. The date is set. The place chosen.

He's going to loose her.

He is loosing her.

He has already lost her.

And as angry as he is at himself he knows, she's been halfway out the door for so long now, nothing he says is going to make a difference.

This is what she wants. And it's always been about what she wants from day one.

Today is
Today is
Today is quiet in my town

She knows she's selfish. She knows she's going to hurt him. Fuck, she's going to hurt everyone. But she feels entitled almost. Pain is difficult. Pain is painful. This pain is no longer manageable. And she's tried. Oh god, has she tried. She's talked to all the counselors, she's taken the medications, and she's tried to move on. But nothing is working.

Nothing at all.

She let Lucas in. And she figured it would help.

He could fix anything. He loved her so much. He always saved her. But this time, he was going to help end her.

How could she let him do that? How could she let him hand her a gun? How she make him live with that? Live with the fact he'd be the one to help her end her own life.

But then again, how could she live? How could she continue to live like this? She was desperate. Out of options and choices. She just wanted it to be over. And no matter how guilty she was, no matter how she wanted to live for him, she couldn't anymore.

He had been her hope. The reason she kept going. The reason she woke up. He had been everything. He still was everything.

But if she's learned anything from this whole experience, losing Keith, getting shot, having Ian attack her, it's that whatever she's feeling in this moment is taking away everything. Fuck, it's even taking away Lucas.

Because she's ready to take away herself.

It's taken away her dreams.

For the future. For today. For forever.

It's taken her to this place of no return.

It's haunting her.

She presses her phone up against her ear and bites down on the inside of her lip.

Ring

Ring

Ring…

"Hello?"

"Hey Brooke. It's me Peyton."

And she prepares herself to say goodbye.

Today is
Oh, Today is
Today is too quiet in my town

Haley, Peyton, and Brooke have their first sleepover since Peyton's attack. At Peyton's.

This especially surprises Brooke and Haley. They know she hates it here. And the fact that Lucas has promised not to even drop in seems like progress. Brooke thinks that it means everything is getting her better. She's getting her best friend back. And she's excited.

"So P. Sawyer, we've got mani-pedis, mud masks, or my personal favorite cool-aid highlights!"

Haley smiles at the enthusiasm in Brooke's voice.

"Peyton's a little rusty, Brooke. Don't bombard her!"

Peyton sighs, with what seems like relief.

"You're right tutor girl!" Brooke grins.

"How about a girl-scout cookie binge with some pizza bagels and Pretty Woman?" Haley suggests.

And she can't help but to watch Peyton's eyes. They seem to calm down a bit. Go from that wild panic to a straight up emptiness.

"Well how about it Peyton?" Brooke asks.

And Peyton puts a smile on her face and moves towards the couch.

"Sounds perfect."

And the rest of the night seems to be perfect. Just like Peyton seemed to promise them. They laugh and eat too much junk and play ridiculous childhood games. And for Brooke and Haley it's like the perfect hello to the old Peyton they use to know. And to Peyton it's the perfect good-bye.

She gave them exactly what they needed, something to hold on to.

Before Haley fell asleep she noticed Peyton sitting at the kitchen table drinking coffee.

"You okay, Peyton?"

Peyton let a small smile peer up from her lips.

"Yeah, of course."

Haley yawned. "You going to sleep anytime soon?"

"I don't really sleep anymore."

And Haley's face lights up in concern. She's trying to so hard to pretend that everything is going to be okay. That Peyton is just fine. Tonight was the proof, Peyton was getting better. Peyton was healing.

"You don't?"

Peyton takes another sip. "Well actually I can once the sun comes up or if Lucas is here. I don't want…I don't want you and Brooke to see how I um get."

"Oh," Haley says biting down on her lip.

"It's not a big deal, Haley."

"Are you sure?"

Peyton nods. "I'm sure."

"Well goodnight,"

Peyton smiles and grips the handle on her mug.

"Goodnight Haley," The words were whispered into the night as Haley turned around to leave.

If only Haley knew what was in between the lines.

That a not big deal was a big deal. A really huge deal.

And that goodnight was a goodbye.

A final goodbye.

Goodnight Peyton. Goodbye.

Today I heard the sound of birds and I wish that I was anywhere but here

"You can't let this beat you…you can't let him win."

Peyton finished organizing her closet, putting things in boxes, and setting up outfits for the rest of the week. She was trying to make thing easier for her father. It would be bad enough. Coming home after three months at sea, to burry your daughter. She didn't want him to have to go through her things and stumble through things he shouldn't ever have to see, learn things he was never suppose to know.

I'm going to help you Daddy.

I don't want this to hurt anymore than it has too.

Her bedroom window was open, letting the cool spring breeze settle on to her skin. She could hear children outside playing, laughing, and calling out to each other.

"Emma! Over here!"

"Liv! Liv!"

"Em. Liv. That's not fair!" A little boy's voice wined.

"Oh C'mon Brady!"

"YEAH BRADY! C'mon."

And the laughter echoed everywhere. Peyton could practically taste it. If only she could go back to the days when it was just her, Brooke, and Nathan laughing and playing, and being six. If she could just be innocent. Again.

But she couldn't.

She couldn't take what happened back.

"You can't let this beat you…you can't let him win."

Peyton heard Lucas's voice, clasping her eyes shut.

Ian won, Lucas.

Too late to change it now.

Too late too go back.

Too late to be who I could have been.

She was who she was. She became who she became.

And then she swore she could hear her own childhood laughter, echo inside the constraints of the room. Suffocating and nauseating. She could feel the sun dancing on her skin. She could smell sunscreen, pollen, fresh cut grass. She sat down in her desk chair and stared down at the envelopes in front of her. The final letters, ones she wrote to the two men she couldn't face. Even now.

One read, Dad. The other, Nathan.

She felt the urge to run; her mind and legs seemed to hum with the idea. Just ready to be sprung into action.

She placed her head in her hands and sobbed.

Isn't that what she was already doing?

Run away little girl.

Run…

It's too quiet, too quiet

Lucas pulled his mustang into Peyton's drive way at 7:00 as they agreed. His hands shook as he tried to settle them on the steering wheel.

He thought he was going to throw up. He could feel the bile rising in his throat. And then she walked out the door.

Today was the day. Today was the end…

And god was she was beautiful. Her curls were softly sprung around her face. She was wearing her favorite pair of jeans, the old dark wash pair that was all worn away at the knee, her favorite blue and purple flannel tunic, and black ballet flats, a gift from Brooke.

He wondered if she though about it, the blood, all the blood that would destroy all that beauty. He shook his head, trying so hard not to think about it.

He couldn't. He wouldn't. He won't.

She opened the door and sat in the passenger seat, pulling her sunglasses from the crown of her head down over her eyes.

"Ready?" She asked, settling her hands in her lap, so relaxed.

He squinted at her. "Seatbelt?" Like it mattered. Really?

"Right. Sorry." She stated. She secured the safety belt and leaned over and planted a kiss on his cheek.

Lucas closed his eyes, glanced in his rear view mirror, and reversed out of the driveway.

He watched as Peyton said a silent goodbye to her childhood home. The one where her and Brooke had spent so much time, playing barbies, baking brookies, gossiping about boys, listening to new releases on Tuesdays, the reception after her Mother's funeral, the attack.

Goodbye.

There was no turning back now.

It's too quite, too quiet

She needs to see her mom. Even though that was apart of the plan all a long, it's now a need. With an urgency. Like a full bladder that needs to be relieved.

Peyton sits in the grass, crossed legged, tracing the words with her fingers along the granite stone.

Anna Rebecca Sawyer

Beloved Wife and Mother

"Hi Mom," Peyton whispers.

She can already feel the tears coming to her eyes.

"I hope I'm doing the right thing here, I hope you're not too mad…"

And she looks behind her, at Lucas, leaning against his car.

She bites down on her lip.

"I love you Mom."

The wind picks up, throwing her hair in every which way.

Peyton stands and places her hand up against the tombstone.

"Maybe…Maybe I'll be seeing you…"

And she walks away, toward Lucas.

Still sure. Still ready.

It's too quiet

The water on the lake seems to gleam. It shines, brighter than anything either of them has ever seen. It's so beautiful it sends shivers down his spine.

Just like she does.

Just like she did.

Lucas looks over at her and sighs.

"I know." She says finally. And they sit in that parked car, near the lake, trying so hard.

Lucas reaches over and touches her hand.

"I want you to be happy," She says to him.

"I don't think that's possible," He whispers. "Not without you."

"Oh Luke." And the southern drawl of hers clenches his heart.

"Please," He says firmly. "Let me show you. Let me love you."

She clasps her eyes shut as tears began to form.

This place, the lake, this spot. It makes her remember.

Remember the first time they ever spoke.

"It's me inside your head....NOFX?"

"I know the band."

"I know you love me." She says finally. "I've never doubted it."

He nods his head and presses to a kiss to her cheek.

She turns to him so their lips meet and they enlock in a passionate kiss.

He tangles his hands into those curls he loves so much and presses his hands against her chest.

"God, Baby." She says when they pull apart.

Lucas fingers a button on a shirt and looks at her seriously.

"Can I show you now?" He asks.

"I've wanted this for so long…I want everything with you."

Peyton nods her head and begins to shake as he unbuttons her shirt.

She pulls his t-shirt over his head and runs her hand along his abdomen.

"It's you. Peyton, it's you."

He reclines the front seat so they both spill over onto the back seat, lips to lips, skin on skin. He unclasps her bra and she sighs.

"Luke,"

"Oh Peyt." He nuzzles her neck, her secret spot.

He tries to savor this moment as he slides her jeans off her legs. Those legs. Those chickney legs.

"Nice hands."

"Nice legs."

She quivers underneath him but kisses him with reassurance. Even though she's scared she pushes his socks off with her feet.

He needs a proper goodbye.

"Peyton," He knows she can feel him against her. "We don't…we don't have to do this."

Lucas always the gentlemen. Always wanting to protect her. Always, Always, hers.

"I want to."

"You're always saving me."

"Somebody's got to."

The final pieces of clothing are removed and they are bound.

Together. In love. In pain. In forever.

It's going to be imprinted in time from this day onward.

They reach it together, panting, and exuberated.

Peyton can practically feel the serotonin rush to her brain.

It's just like alcohol. She knows the afterwards. She knows the dark.

"I love you Peyton." He says kissing her chest.

She runs her hands through his hair and kisses his forehead.

"I love you too. So much."

"You're an angel." He says looking at her. Really looking at her.

"I'm your angel."

His kisses her deeply.

His eyes are closed and so are hers.

He wishes this could be a dream.

He doesn't want her to go.

It's too quiet

They gingerly dress each other. He doesn't want to ever forget one inch of her.

He presses a kiss to her shoulder blade and buttons her tunic slowly.

There's nothing left to say now. They both know that.

"Can I…Can I?" She sounds like an addict. He can hear he voice breaking and aching and begging.

He nods firmly and reaches into the glove box and pulls out the gun.

He hates to admit he know nothing about it.

Except there's two bullets inside.

And he knows why; just in case.

She holds out her hands and he places the gun inside of the safety of her hands.

"Is it loaded?"

He nods. "Just liked you asked."

Her eyes gleam, his face twists.

She's right, she's not the same.

"Thank you," She whispers and they both get out of the car.

She walks to his side of the car and wraps her arms around him.

"I love you."

He kisses her temple and breathes her in. Her hair brushing against his face.

"I love you too."

They press their lips together.

No matter how many times he tells her he loves her it won't change a thing.

She walks away from him. Toward the river away from the woods.

"Bye baby,"

He bites down on his lip as she walks away.

As soon as she's out of sight his knees give out and he begin to sob.

It's just too quiet

For thirty minutes, he waits.

He waits for the sound of the end. But it never comes.

He sits on the top of the Mustang drinking a beer.

It's his third.

And nothing.

And then he sees her, coming out of the clearing, sobbing.

Her make-up is running down her face, dark black streaks, and the gun is in her hand.

"I can't…I can't…" She sobs.

And he feels relief. Maybe she changed her mind. Maybe they'll get their happily ever after. They'll get to get married and have 2.5 kids and live in his childhood home. Because she's his forever. Because before all this mess, this was exactly how it was supposed to be.

"Peyton." He sighs and tries his hardest not to smile.

"Please..." she begs and reaches for his hand. "Just come." And their fingers and intertwined and she's pulling him towards the lake.

"I need you."

And that's all he needs to hear, he's by her side.

Always by her side.

It's too quiet

She can hear dead branches crunching under her feet as she leads them farther and farther into the woods.

She squeezes his hand as hard as possible.

Because she's scared.

She never told Lucas how scared she was on the dark.

But that's not all she's afraid of.

Silly, silly girl.

"Peyton," Lucas whispers out into the cool spring night.

But she keeps her mouth closed. Hearing her heart hum in her chest, her breathing heavy, her pulse dancing it her wrist.

She should have known better.

Silly, silly girl.

She was naïve to think she could do this all on her own.

The gun still heavy in her hand.

It's too quiet

The night is quiet. She lets go of his hand and holds the gun at her side.

The lake seems to catch the light of the moon and all those stars in the sky.

She didn't want to be alone. That she knew for sure. She always needed him.

Their breathing seemed to fill the space. She found herself shivering.

Peyton was shaking like a leaf and Lucas stepped toward her his arms open.

She instead shakes her head and plops on the ground.

She purses her lips. "Baby, come sit with me."

It's too quiet

"Baby, come sit with me."

And he can do nothing else. He sits her between his legs so she can lean into his chest.

He doesn't know what to say now. He wants to go home and lay her in his bed and put all this behind them.

Lucas wants that more than anything.

She leans back into his chest and looks into his eyes.

"I'm a coward." She bites out.

"Oh Peyt."

"I'm too much of a coward to pull the trigger, yet I'm too much of a coward to live."

He looks down at her left hand where Peyton is holding the gun.

The hand closest to her heart. The hand he always wanted to put a ring on.

He rubs his index finger along her knuckles.

And their eyes lock.

It's too quiet

"Help me," And her voice breaks.

And he realizes she still wants to do this.

She picks up the gun and holds it up against her temple.

"Please,"

It's too quiet

"Please baby, please." And he honestly can't breathe.

The gun up against her head is so unnatural.

They are both shaking and Peyton's eyes are closed.

"Please," He says his voice also breaking. "Don't make me do this."

She opens her eyes and peers over at him.

Her eyes are soft, liquidy, empty.

"Don't make me beg Luke."

He shakily puts his hand on her wrist.

"Are you sure?"

"Yes,"

It's too quiet

The gun is cool up against her temple. She is shaking and trying her best not to.

She feels light. Better. She's waiting for it to be over. She's taken the medicine; the relief is on its way.

She tries her best to stay in the moment. But she's not sure if she wants to be in this moment.

And she could practically feel Ian's grasp. Tight around her throat, squeezing and squeezing.

"I love you," She says close to tears.

He kisses her on the lips softly.

"I love you too,"

And his hand moves to join hers on the trigger.

It's too quiet

"I can't live without you," He says sincerely. Both their fingers on the trigger.

The gun cocked.

The safety off.

"Maybe. Maybe when…you could too." And she gulps.

He can hear the saliva run down her throat.

Lucas nods the tears already flowing.

"How do..you?" He was going to ask her how she knew they'd still be together when their lives were over.

But she interrupts him before he finishes.

"We will." She says. "We're star-crossed. We're forever baby. We're fate."

He laughs bitterly through the tears. How could this be fate?

It was cruel. He could either live without her or die with her.

Neither seemed right, either option. This was no fate.

But maybe it was.

"Just tell me when you're ready," Lucas whispers. "We'll do it together."

In this town, in here, in here, in here

She closes her eyes and bites down on her lip, anticipating.

Peyton takes a deep breath and remembers.

Her life plays like a movie reel in her mind.

Lucas and her. He made her life all the better.

Her time with him was so beautiful.

She puts her right hand on his left wrist and holds it there.

The moon highlights her face and he stares at her, she is so beautiful.

"I love you," She says for a final time.

And she savors her memories of him. She will hold on to this and only this.

"I love you too,"

She grips tighter on his wrist slightly pulling his hands at the gun.

She remembers a day they spent here at this lake in the backseat on the Comet making promises to each other, loving each other.

"Now, we can have it."

"Now, Lucas. NOW." The urgency full in her voice.

And he hesitates, making sure that her attempt to squeeze the trigger is unsuccessful. He hates this.

"Baby, please." Her voice is soft and pleading but different then all the times before. This was it. There is nothing left to say, nothing left to do. Her fingers pressing against his, grazing the trigger.

Her pain was always unbearable. He could never ever stand it. His pain was irrelevant. He could push forward. Somehow he knew he could survive. His load had somehow been less heavy then hers. He in all this crazy mess had been the lucky one. But she couldn't. He knew that. She was exhausted.

Somehow someway he seemed to understand. If you love someone, if you really love them, they always come first. Always.

"Baby, please."

It was time to give Peyton what she wanted. For her pain to dissipate; for his to begin. He stopped trying to fight her on this. The fight was over. And nobody had won.

"Baby, please."

A single shot erupts into the dark night.

And Lucas finds himself fading into it.

It's too quite in my town

He opens his blue eyes and blinks trying to readjust to the blinding light and the loud voices above his head.

"BP's falling." said a deep voice.

"Patient is unresponsive." A woman added. "Lucas? Lucas Scott can you hear me?"

He looked over to the left where a loud scurry of noise was coming. There was a cubical filled with doctors struggling to keep someone alive.

"No pulse!"

"She's hemorrhaging!"

"Charge to five hundred"

"CLEAR"

And a machine beeped loudly, a flat line. "Call it."

"Time of death 1312."

It was then that a bracelet caught his eye.

Peyton's bracelet.

And he was pushed away from the cubical to his own.

She had gotten exactly what she wanted.

With that comfort, he was able to close his eyes.

Today is

Today is

Today is quiet in my town

The funeral takes place two weeks later.

He gets out of the hospital just in time.

The psychiatric ward to be exact.

"We were supposed to do it together." He swore, like a wedding vow he never got to say.

And so here he was. In his charcoal suit and tie, a green one, the color of her eyes. Ready to say goodbye.

His mother tells him, with her swollen belly, that she loves him. That Peyton is in a better place now.

But Lucas is no fool. He can catch in his mother's voice the question everyone wondered, "How did I miss all of this?"

And he's afraid to tell them the truth.

That they missed what was right in front of them the whole time.

Clear as day.

Today is

Today is

Today is too quiet in my town

Her casket in lowered into the ground with a soft thud and a loud volume of tears.

On everyone's part.

Well not everyone.

Some people came for the intrigue, they never knew Peyton.

Not like he did. They just wondered how this had happened. How two people could go out to the river one night and one end up dead.

Haley, Nathan, and Brooke surround him.

They tell him that they love him, that he'll get through this, and that they know he loved Peyton.

But he can feel the doubt.

In Haley's hand that is intertwined with his. (It is nothing like hers.)

In Nathan's hand that rests on his shoulder.

In Brooke's distance. Just those few little inches say a lot to him.

How could you do this? How could you let this happen?

And he can say nothing, but watch as the tears roll down their eyes.

He throws a white lily into the ground.

You're. My. Angel.

Larry Sawyer looks over at him with clouded eyes.

I've lost them both. My girls. I just asked you to protect her.

As everyone files away, he looks back.

It's always going to be there.

Isn't it?

Today is

Today is

Graduation looms.

He thinks about her constantly.

He can hear her voice in his eardrums.

He can taste her in his mouth.

He can see her when he closes his eyes.

He can feel her in the air, surrounding him.

He can smell her blood all over his hands.

Like iron and rust.

His mother has her baby. A girl.

Lily Elizabeth Scott.

"I loved Peyton too, Lucas." His mother tells him.

And it's not his only reminder of the girl he loves. Loved.

They give a eulogy to her on graduation day.

Which is painful and wonderful all at the same time.

The same day Haley goes into labor.

It's a boy.

James Sawyer Scott.

He visits her grave and tells her about the happenings of Tree Hill.

Of the investigation into her death.

And he's the number one suspect.

Of the graduation.

And of the babies.

Both named in her honor.

Peyton Elizabeth Sawyer

July 1, 1988- May 23 2006

Loved.

And she was loved. The words carved into the granite, like the ten comments into stone.

Truth.

She was loved by so many.

Especially by him.

Today is quiet in my town

It's been a year since she died.

A long year.

He had tried to move on with his life. Like everyone else. He packed up and went away to school.

But he knew in his heart of hearts that stuff like that never went away.

He went on to UNC and wrote and wrote until his fingers bleed.

He wanted to be a writer. And he only wanted to write of her.

And she was all I had ever wanted. She was the hope and the light and the sky. She was everything.

And then he was arrested.

Thrown in an orange jumpsuit.

Property of Tree Hill County.

And charged.

With first degree murder.

The thing with suspicion he learned, was it loomed.

It grew and it grew and it grew until it was big. Heavy, heavy weight upon his shoulders.

Upon his heart.

Like an elephant sitting on top of his chest.

Crushing him.

People take sides.

Nathan and Haley and Brooke turn against him.

"I knew it was you!" Their eyes say accusingly as he is ushered into court. In handcuffs.

His mother nearly dies of a broken heart.

She hires an attorney and washes her hands clean of him.

Clean of all that blood.

It looks bad. He knows. His attorney tells him.

"Take the plea,"

When all along it was a plea that got him here.

"Please baby,"

So he ties the shoelaces around his neck.

He's heard rumors about prison. It's no where he wants to be.

He wants to go back. Back to her.

Back in time before any of this happened.

When she smiled and laughed and said, "I love you."

He closes his eyes and bites down on his lip.

Lucas has seen this before. He knows the look of anticipated pain.

Of the loosing battle to be drawn. Over. Done.

The chair is kicked out from underneath him.

And he's done.

"I've missed you," He says looking into those pools of green eyes.

And she frowns.

"Baby, please."

And neither breathes.

-FIN-