Brothers and Sisters (OTH,XO,CC,TEEN)AN p. 23-Oct20

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Kath7
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Post by Kath7 » Tue Mar 08, 2005 11:38 pm

Author's Note: Finally, an update. Sorry it's taken so long!

Kath

Part 11

Lucas was passing through the lobby of the hotel, on his way to the pool, when the voice he had dreaded hearing stopped him in his tracks.

"Lucas."

Lucas closed his eyes briefly, praying for composure, before he turned to meet Dan Scott’s gaze. "Yeah?"

Dan was eyeing him, a slight smirk on his face. "I’m looking for my son."

Lucas, as usual, felt as though he had been punched in the stomach. Every encounter with Dan somehow ended up like this. Dan said something that sounded innocuous, but which always had some double meaning meant to rub Lucas’ face in the fact that Dan didn’t consider him his son.

"I don’t know where he is," Lucas replied dully, deliberately not meeting Dan’s eyes. He clenched his teeth. He would not let Dan get to him. He refused. Not again.

"I hope you’re planning an early night," Dan said. "I won’t let anyone ruin Nate’s chances at MVP. He needs you all fresh out there."

Lucas raised his eyes, scowling slightly. "It’s none of your business when I go to bed," he snapped.

"It is if you come in late and disturb my son, and then don’t support him on the court tomorrow," Dan replied firmly.

"Whatever," Lucas said, turning away.

"I’m a chaperone, Lucas," Dan called after him. "I call the shots tonight."

By the time Lucas made it to the pool area, he was furious. Deep down, he knew the only reason he was mad was because it prevented him from feeling hurt that Dan couldn’t care less about how he performed tomorrow. But he would be damned if he ever let the man know it. He would be as contemptuous of Dan as his father was of him.

Lucas scanned the crowd. He noticed Nathan immediately. His brother was on the far side of the pool, alone, his eyes fixed firmly on something across the room. When Lucas followed his gaze, he could see that it was the strange girl from this afternoon - Liz - and her boyfriend. They were talking intently under one of the fake palms, seemingly oblivious to Nathan’s regard.

Lucas rolled his eyes. Nathan was still convinced that Liz had tried to do something to him, in order to prevent him from playing his best. Luke was sure his brother was insane, but he wouldn’t put it past Nathan to make some kind of scene before the night was out. He’d have to keep his eyes open in order to prevent it.

He looked around again, his gaze coming to rest on Peyton, who was sipping a drink at the bar. He felt his heart start to thump as she visibly lit up at the sight of him. And, yet, even seeing Peyton wasn’t enough to curb his anger. What he really wanted to do right now was hit something. Actually, he wanted to hit someone. Preferably Dan.

But, again, it wasn’t going to happen. Even though his father treated him like a pariah, Lucas refused to lower himself to become what Dan was sure he would, which was a troublemaker.

So, instead, he took a deep breath and went to join Peyton.

"What’s wrong?" she asked immediately.

Lucas sighed. So much for trying to hide how upset his was. "Nothing," he replied, his jaw tight. He could tell that Peyton didn’t believe him, but he didn’t want to talk about it.

"Lucas, I can tell there is," Peyton argued. She moved closer, not touching him, because they were in public, but he could tell she wanted to. And, abruptly, because it was Peyton, all he wanted was for it to be allowed.

But it wasn’t. Not yet anyway.

"Come with me," he said quietly, guiding her away from the bar with a light touch on the small of her back.

Once they were out in the lobby, safely out of the view of the party, Lucas grabbed Peyton by the hand, pulling her towards the elevators.

"Where are we going?" she asked, sounding breathless.

"If everyone’s down here, we can be alone," Lucas said over his shoulder. "I just really can’t deal with a party right now."

"Luke, I don’t know if this is a good idea," Peyton said, pulling away from him. "What about Brooke? She’s going to wonder where we are."

Lucas stopped walking. He sighed again, shoving his hands into his pockets. He could feel his frustration almost at the boiling point. He turned his head, taking in Peyton, who was watching him, her dark eyes wide with worry.

"Tell me," she whispered.

"I’m just so tired," he said quietly. "I’m so tired of all of this. Why can’t it ever just be easy?" Much to his horror, he felt tears stinging his eyes. "It’s just never easy. With Dan, with you…"

"Oh, Luke…" The next thing Lucas knew, Peyton was hugging him. He buried his face in her hair, desperate to stop himself from sobbing like a little kid. He was not going to let Dan Scott get to him like this. It could not be allowed to happen.

"You’re not even trying to hide it anymore, are you?"

Lucas wrenched away from Peyton. He stared at Brooke, uncomprehending. Where had she come from? He looked around, abruptly aware that he was still standing in the middle of the lobby, where anyone could see him and Peyton wrapped in each other’s arms.

He watched tears fill Brooke’s brown eyes, and the guilt that clenched his heart made him want to throw up.

Somehow things had just gotten worse. And it was all his fault.

***

"He’s still watching us," Max muttered under his breath.

Liz looked over at Nathan, who as indeed staring at her openly.

"This is crazy," Liz whispered back. "I’m going to just call him over."

Liz raised her hand, waving at her brother. When she met his gaze, Nathan frowned slightly, but he didn’t turn away. Liz’s heart started to pound unevenly as her brother started towards them.

Before Nathan had a chance to reach them though, Kyle had abruptly thrown himself down on the pool lounge chair next to the one upon which Liz was sitting. Liz watched Nathan stop walking, then scowl thoughtfully. Eventually, he turned, disappearing into the crowd of partying teenagers.

Liz tried to hide her disappointment, turning her attention to Kyle.

"I screwed up," her ex-boyfriend said without preamble. He buried his face in his hands.

Liz glanced at Max, who shrugged, looking uncomfortable. While he and Kyle were no longer enemies by any stretch of the imagination, they certainly weren’t friends either. Not to mention, since Kyle was likely about to ask Liz to start acting like his "pretend" girlfriend, which she had agreed to do during a hurried phone call before the party, having Max hanging around was only going to complicate matters.

"Max, do you want to get me a drink?" Liz asked.

Max raised his eyebrows, as though asking her if she was sure. When Liz nodded, her boyfriend heaved a noticeable sigh of relief. While Max seemed okay with her helping Kyle out, she knew that the last thing he wanted to do was witness it. "Sure. I’ll be back in a while."

Liz touched Kyle’s back. "What’s wrong, Kyle?"

"Everything," Kyle admitted, looking up. "Liz, I messed up big time." Kyle looked so guilty, Liz felt her heart go out to him.

"Why don’t you just tell her the truth?" Liz suggested. She remembered how trapped she had felt in the lies she and Maria had told Max and Michael about having dates with college men before the father’s camping trip. It was had been so humiliating when Max found out the truth by accident. It really was better if Kyle just owned up to his stretching of the truth and dealt with the consequences on his own terms.

"That’s the problem," Kyle said, raising his eyes. He looked tortured. Liz frowned. This couldn’t just be about the white lie he’d told Brooke, could it? If so, Kyle seemed to be going a bit over the top, considering, logically, the odds that he would see the Tree Hill cheerleader again after this weekend were slim to none.

"What do you mean?" Liz asked, abruptly nervous. Her skin was tingling, a feeling that seemed somehow familiar…

"After I talked to you, something happened that made me decide to tell Brooke the real story," Kyle said.

"I guess she was mad," Liz said, feeling sympathetic, although Kyle was the one who had created his own mess. "It really was a stupid idea, Kyle."

"She was upset," Kyle replied. "Just not at me."

Liz stared at him. "What do you mean?" Her skin was tingling even more, right down to her fingertips. She shook them lightly, trying to wake them up, because that’s what it felt like. The pin-pricks of joints that had been asleep.

"I thought she was lying to me too - about dating Lucas," Kyle explained. "So I called her on it, accidentally telling her that he’s screwing around on her with her best friend."

"What?" Liz exclaimed. "Why the heck did you do that?"

"Because I saw him with Peyton," Kyle almost wailed. "I thought they were dating, and that Lucas was helping Brooke out like you were helping me. I basically just told her that he’s cheating on her."

"Oh my God," Liz murmured. She felt slightly dizzy. Tension was building within her. She got to her feet quickly.

"Liz? Are you okay?" Kyle asked. He sounded bewildered.

"I have to find him," Liz said quickly. "Kyle, I’m sorry. I have to go!"

With that, Liz took off through the crowd, her eyes frantically searching for Lucas. She understood what her body was telling her. She had refrained from touching Kyle to make sure of it, knowing that she was about to have a flash. The last thing she needed was to have one in front of the sheriff’s son. But the stress of not touching him - of not finding out what she was supposed to know - was becoming too much.

She needed to find Lucas - now. This she knew, with every fibre of her being.

"There you are."

Liz abruptly found herself staring at a broad chest. Looking up, she met the eyes of the brother she was not presently desperate to find. Nathan was staring down at her, his expression determined.

"We need to talk," he said firmly.

Liz grimaced. She hated to blow Nathan off, but she didn’t have time to deal with his suspicions at the moment. She and Max still hadn’t decided exactly how much she should tell the Scott brothers about their connection to her, but it was pretty obvious that any conversation she had with Nathan wasn’t going to end until he had some answers.

Right now, she just didn’t have time to figure out what to say to him.

"I agree," she said quickly. "I just can’t now."

"Sure you can," Nathan replied. He reached out, wrapping an arm around Liz’s shoulders so that she couldn’t move away from him. "You’re not going anywhere until you tell me what happened this afternoon."

"I can’t," Liz insisted, wrenching out of his grasp. She wasn’t afraid exactly, but Nathan’s determination was somewhat upsetting. She looked around, wishing for Max to appear out of the crowd.

"I’m sorry," Nathan said suddenly. "I’m not trying to scare you or anything. It’s just that, no one believes me. I know something weird happened. I need to know what it was."

Liz stopped searching the faces around her, and looked back at her brother. His sincerity was obvious. Abruptly, she realized that she needed his help. Rather than trying to get away from him, she should be recruiting him to help her find Lucas.

"I want to talk to you, too," Liz said. She reached out, taking his hand, and staring right into his eyes. "But right now, I can’t. Lucas is in trouble."

Nathan blinked, then scowled. "What do you mean?"

"I’m telling you, Nathan. If we don’t find him right away, something horrible is going to happen to him."

Nathan’s narrowed eyes stared at her for what felt like an eternity. She could almost see the wheels turning in his head, as he decided whether he should believe her or not. She could feel him weighing his desire to interrogate her with his concern about his brother. Finally, when she knew that she couldn’t wait a moment longer, he nodded his dark head.

"Okay. We’ll find him. Then, we talk."

With that, he turned on his heel, motioning for her to follow him.

***

"It’s not what it looks like," Peyton said calmly.

Brooke stared at her in disbelief. She really could not believe that Peyton had the gall to deny it. Not only did Kyle Valenti have absolutely no reason to lie to her about what he had seen, she had just caught them red-handed!

"Lucas was upset," Peyton continued, so guileless, Brooke wanted to punch her. Brooke glanced at Lucas. Even he seemed surprised by what Peyton was saying.

"Bull!" Brooke exclaimed. "Someone saw you," she added, her voice dripping with anger. She was struggling frantically to keep the tears in her eyes from falling.

Neither of them deserved her tears. The upset she had shown Kyle had swiftly downgraded into red hot fury. She was never going to forgive either of them for this! Never!

"We were just hugging," Peyton replied. "Brooke, it was nothing."

"Maybe right now," Brooke snapped. "But two hours ago you were making out, obviously so wrapped up in each other, you didn’t even notice that Kyle Valenti saw you!"

There was a long pause as Peyton and Lucas registered this. Brooke saw Lucas glance at Peyton, obviously for guidance, which enraged her more.

"You told me it was over between you," Brooke exclaimed. "How could you do this to me?"

"Brooke, we didn’t do anything!" Peyton insisted. "I swear!"

Brooke shook her head in frustration. She turned to Lucas, who was watching Peyton, his expression dull. "Well? What do you have to say for yourself? I know it’s true, Lucas. Are you going to be a man and just admit it?"

Lucas shifted his gaze to her, his dark eyes pained. "I’m sorry, Brooke. We didn’t want to hurt you."

It wasn’t until that instant, when one of them finally flat out admitted that it was true, that Brooke really allowed herself to believe it. Until then, somewhere inside, she had hoped that it was all a mistake. That Kyle was lying for some unknown reason. That it all could be explained away.

Brooke felt like she was watching herself from outside her body. She looked back at Peyton, who had gone white. The other girl was breathing quickly, as though she was about to have a panic attack. Brooke watched this without emotion, remembering that it was how Peyton reacted when she was truly upset. The last time Brooke had witnessed the panicked expression on Peyton’s face was after her mother had died. Then, Brooke had spent every waking moment with Peyton, her concern for her so great, she didn’t dare leave her alone for a minute.

And, yet, in spite of all Brooke had done for her, in spite of the fact that she had never once not been there for her, Peyton had betrayed her anyway.

She watched Peyton crumple to her knees, her guilt too much for her to bear on her slender shoulders. She did not feel an ounce of sympathy. In fact, the sight of her former best friend so upset, unleashed her rage. How dare Peyton pretend that she cared? How dare she make believe that she had any concern about Brooke’s feelings?

"I hate you," Brooke screamed, meeting Peyton’s eyes dead-square. "Don’t ever speak to me again."

And, then, she ran.

She needed air. She could hear Lucas calling her name, but she ignored him. She made a bee-line for the front doors of the hotel. If she didn’t get fresh air immediately, she was going to throw up….

It was her last coherent thought before chaos erupted.

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Post by Kath7 » Tue Mar 29, 2005 6:19 pm

AN - Ask and you shall receive. :wink:

Part 12

Liz and Nathan arrived in the lobby just in time to hear Brooke yell, "I hate you!" at Peyton, who was crumpled on the floor, and at Lucas, who made a grab for Brooke as she took off running.

"Oh, this can’t be good," Liz heard Nathan mutter. He hurried to Peyton’s side, then helped her to her feet.

Liz, however, was preoccupied by the sight of Lucas, who missed Brooke as she flew past him, but went after her, obviously determined to stop her.

"Brooke!" Liz’s brother was yelling. "Brooke, stop!"

It was in that instant, as she watched what unfolded in front of her, that Liz finally understood exactly what her visions had been trying to prevent.

She made it out the front door of the hotel just in time to hear the screech of tires, Brooke’s scream, and a loud noise as the car passing through the driveway struck Lucas. He had somehow managed to push Brooke out of the way, and it meant that he took the full brunt of the impact himself. Liz watched in horror as his tall frame bounced off the hood of the car, and then landed with a painful thud on the pavement.

"Oh my God," Liz murmured, running to her brother’s side. She became aware of Nathan, who had obviously followed her, and was now dropping to his knees beside her.

"Luke!" Nathan cried, sounding panicked. "Lucas!" He reached out, ready to move his brother.

"Don’t touch him!" Liz exclaimed, grabbing Nathan by the arm. "He might have a spinal injury." She shook him, forcing him to look at her. Nathan’s dark eyes met her, his shock obvious. "Go call an ambulance," she ordered. "Hurry!"

Nathan stared at her for a long moment, uncomprehending, but then he stumbled to his feet and disappeared back into the hotel.

Lucas was moaning, only half-conscious. Liz grimaced. She reached down, gently stroking his blood-stained blond hair off his forehead. "It’s okay," she whispered, tears in her eyes. "It’s okay. You’re going to be okay."

As her brother’s eyes rolled up into his head, and he lost awareness, Liz’s guilt clenched her stomach. Her visions had been meant to save him this, and she had failed him.

She took his hand in hers, gently stroking it, crooning soothing words, aware that Lucas couldn’t hear her, but unable to leave him. She was vaguely aware of activity around her, of people tending to Brooke nearby. She could hear the sound of a siren in the distance and knew that help was on the way. But all of this was on the periphery of her consciousness, because, just as she had known it would, touching her brother sent her hurtling into another vision.

***

"So what are you going to do about it?"

It took Liz a moment to get her bearings. She realized that she was staring at Dan Scott, who was staring back at her, a blank expression on his face.

"What do you mean?" she asked.

"I mean, I don’t have any money, Karen. If you’re going to take care of it, I can’t help you."

Liz stared at him, her eyes wide. "I don’t want your help," she finally said, although she was beginning to realize that it wasn’t actually her having this conversation. Karen Roe was, and it was her body that Liz seemed to have taken over. "I just thought you should know."

Liz could feel Karen’s fear, and her disappointment, but also her certainty. "I thought you should know I’m keeping the baby," she added.

"Are you crazy?" Dan demanded. "Why the hell would you do that? This isn’t the fifties, Karen. One little mistake doesn’t need to ruin your whole life."

"Because it’s my child," Liz snapped, in the role of Karen. "Our child. We created a life, Dan."

There was a long pause as Dan absorbed this. He was scowling, and somehow Liz knew that whatever he was going to say next was going to be quite possibly the worst thing Karen Roe had ever heard in her entire life. "How do I even know it’s mine?"

"What?" Liz demanded, Karen’s shock at the accusation reflected in her voice. "Are you kidding me?"

"You’ve been spending an awful lot of time with my brother lately," Dan snapped. "It could be his. It could be anyone’s. You could be just trying to trap me here, because you don’t want me to go away to school. We only slept together one time, Karen."

"You’re insane," Liz replied. "Keith and I are just friends. You know that. This baby is yours, Dan. You are the only person I’ve ever been with."

There was another long silence. Liz felt herself shift uncomfortably under the weight of Dan’s glare. "You’re more than just friends, Karen. My brother is in love with you. And I think you know it, and I think you took advantage of that fact to trap me."

"My God," Liz whispered, staring at Dan in horror. "How could I have ever wasted a moment of my life on you? What was I thinking?"

"You were thinking that I could get you out of this one horse town, sweetheart," Dan replied. He was now grinning, but there was nothing pleasant in it. Instead, it was purely malicious. "Because we both know I’m going places. But your little plot failed, Karen. I’m onto you."

"I don’t understand any of this, Dan," Liz finally said, as Karen. Liz could feel Karen’s confusion, mixed with devastation, and anger. "How can you say these things to me? You know me!"

"I know that I don’t know you as well as I thought I did," Dan replied firmly. "Do what you want about the baby. But I recommend getting rid of it. Because I have no plans to help you. If you’re doing this, you’re doing it alone. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a basketball championship to win."

With that, he turned on his heel and stalked away.


***

"Liz! Liz, snap out of it!"

Liz blinked, returning to the chaos of the accident scene. It was Max who had shaken her out of her vision, and it was her boyfriend who was now pulling her to her feet and away from Lucas.

"No!" she exclaimed, struggling against Max’s grip. "I need to stay with him! I can’t desert him! He’s my baby!"

"Liz, you need to let the paramedics help him," Max told her firmly. "C’mon, Liz." He lowered his head, speaking directly into her ear. "Liz, please. Snap out of it! People are looking!"

Liz shook her head, hard, finally focusing on Max. She felt her face redden as she realized what she had yelled. Her emotions were in turmoil, Karen’s feelings of protectiveness for the baby Dan had rejected still running through her. And, now, that baby - Lucas - was lying bleeding to death on the pavement in front of her.

She watched in horror as the paramedics worked on him frantically. She felt Max bring his arms around her, obviously aware that it was only his strength holding her up.

She did not move until, after long minutes, her brother was placed on a stretcher, and was then loaded into an ambulance.

"He’s all by himself," she whispered, the sight of Lucas alone in the back of the vehicle almost enough to send her into tears. She barely knew him, but already she wished that she had the right to announce that she was his sister, and that she should go with him.

She looked around, wondering where Nathan had disappeared to. Nathan should be with Lucas. She knew from flashes from Nathan that her two brothers had a complicated relationship, but that Nathan did care about Luke. Lucas wouldn’t be alone if Nathan went with him.

"Let me through! That’s my son! Let me through!"

Liz turned her head, eyes wide, and took in the sight of a dark-haired man, who was pushing his way through the crowd that had gathered.

The paramedic paused in the process of closing the doors to the emergency vehicle. "You’re this kid’s father?"

"Yes," the man said firmly. "He’s my son. Let me ride with him."

The paramedic moved aside so that the man could climb into the back beside Lucas. Liz felt Max’s arms tighten around her, as he obviously became aware of the same thing she already had.

She had just had her first glimpse of Dan Scott. Her real father.

***

After calling for the ambulance, Nathan called Coach Whitey’s room to tell him what had happened. When the coach hurried off the elevator minutes later, Nathan’s father was with him.

It had not even crossed Nathan’s mind to call his dad. But the look on his father’s face told him that maybe he should have.

"Where is he?" Dan demanded, grabbing Nathan by the arm.

"Out front," Nathan replied, staring at his father in astonishment.

With that, Dan took off out the front doors. Nathan pushed his way through the crowd in time to see his father climb into the back of the ambulance carrying Lucas to the hospital. He stared after it, not entirely sure what to do.

"Do you need a lift to the hospital, son?"

Nathan turned his head and took in Whitey. He blinked. "Yeah," he finally said. "I guess so."

"I’ll go get my rental car," the coach said. "Wait here."

After Whitey left, Nathan looked around, feeling completely out of it. Everything had happened so quickly. One minute he had been stalking the strange girl from Roswell, the next his brother - his feelings for whom he had still not completely sorted out - was on the verge of death.

The girl. Nathan frowned. That girl knew that this was going to happen. He looked around again, this time suspiciously. His heart was pounding hard in his chest. The girl - Liz - hadn’t come right out and said so that there was going to be a car accident, but she had known that Lucas’ life was in danger. How?

His eyes fell on her almost immediately. She was standing just a few feet away, staring after the ambulance. Her boyfriend was with her, his head lowered, and he was talking to her quietly. Nathan could tell that the boyfriend - Nathan remembered that his name was Max - was trying to comfort Liz, but she seemed as out of it as Nathan felt.

Why? What was it about this girl? Why did she keep popping up, and how had she known that something was going to happen to Lucas?

Nathan stalked across the driveway until he was right next to them.

"I want to know what the hell is going on," he growled.

Liz’s head snapped up, so that both she and Max were staring at him.

"You knew that this was going to happen," Nathan accused. "How?"

She sighed. "It’s a long story," she said wearily.

"Don’t give me that," Nathan snapped. "I want the truth."

Liz glanced up at Max, who was frowning, his concern obvious. "I don’t know what to say…"

"Say something," Nathan replied. "I want an explanation! My brother almost died. He might still die! I need to know how you knew it was going to happen."

Just then, a horn tooted. Nathan glanced over, and saw that Whitey had pulled up. He sighed. Apparently he wasn’t going to get any answers. At least not right now.

"Are you going to the hospital?" Liz asked abruptly.

Nathan turned his head and stared at her. "Of course I am. My brother was just hit by a car."

Liz bit her lip. "Can we come?"

"What?" Nathan demanded. "Why?"

"I promise I’ll explain everything," Liz said quietly. "I just really need to go. Please."

Nathan glanced at Max. "I don’t get any of this."

"She said it’s a long story," the other guy replied, sighing. "It is. And it’ll keep until we get to the hospital. Until we all know that Lucas is going to be okay."

Nathan looked back at Liz. She was staring at him, her large, dark eyes pleading. He felt his anger melt away. He wasn’t sure why, but a strange feeling of protectiveness washed over him. He didn’t like seeing this girl upset.

"Fine," he finally said, shaking his head. "I guess I need to know he’s all right first, too." He turned to climb into the car, but paused briefly to add, "But once we get there, I want the whole truth."

"Agreed," Liz said. "I promise."

Nathan frowned again, but then nodded. For now, her word had to be good enough.

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Post by Kath7 » Wed Jul 27, 2005 4:05 pm

AN - YES! It's true! Finally a new part of Brothers and Sisters! Thank you to everyone for their patience while I sorted out my Tree Hill issues. :D

Just an aside - for those of you who wonder whether Dan would really have gotten into the ambulance with Lucas at this point in canon...I choose to believe he would have. His concern for Lucas in the car accident that happens later in the series is just being bumped up a little bit here.

Oh, and thank you again for the wonderful awards in Round 7 for Best Crossover and Best Crossover Portrayal for Brooke. It made me want to get my ass in gear and get this one going again. :D

Part 13

Liz sighed heavily, leaning back into Max. He brought his arms up around her and kissed the top of her head. It hardly made her feel better, of course, but she was just glad that she wasn’t alone.

They were standing in a hallway of the hospital to which Lucas and Brooke had been brought by ambulance. Nathan had gone in search of his father upon their arrival, his coach, Mr. Durham, going with him. Before he’d disappeared though, he’d raised his finger warningly at Liz.

"Don’t you go anywhere. I still intend to talk to you."

Before Liz could respond, Max interrupted warningly, "Don’t speak to her like that! We told you we’d stay. If we planned to run away, why would we have even come here?"

"Max, it’s okay," Liz said quietly. "He’s just worried. We’re all worried." She met Nathan’s gaze. He was frowning, but he appeared to be a little sorry for his tone. Liz was beginning to recognize that her brother often spoke first, and thought about the consequences later. In fact, he was a lot like Michael Guerin in that way. And, so, it meant that she and Max should be able to handle him.

"Just go make sure they’re okay," Liz insisted. "We’ll be in the visitor’s area."

And, so, they had been waiting ever since. It felt like it had been forever, but Liz knew that it had only been about half an hour or so.

"It must be really bad," Liz said to Max now. "It shouldn’t be taking this long, should it?"

"I don’t know," he admitted. There was a long pause, then Max continued, "Liz, if you need me to…I can try to get in there…to help."

Liz felt her heart contract with love. But she knew that Max healing either Lucas or Brooke was an impossibility.

"You can’t, Max. It would be crazy," Liz said. She turned, looking up into his eyes. "The sheriff is here, in Memphis. If you had to do something to either of them, it would leave a mark. We can’t risk it." She leaned up, kissing him gently on the lips. "But thank you for offering."

"The sheriff doesn’t know I’m here," Max reminded her.

"But Kyle does," Liz said. "And he saw the handprint when you healed me. It just can’t be." She leaned into his chest, placing her cheek against his chest. "We just have to hope that they’re both going to be okay without any otherworldly interference."

They remained waiting quietly for several more minutes. Finally, Liz saw Nathan at the far end of the hallway. She moved away from Max, intending to hail him.

Before she did though, she realized that Nathan was talking to Peyton. Liz hadn’t seen the other girl arrive. She seemed to be practically hysterical, and was almost yelling at Nathan, to the point that her words drifted down the white hall to where Liz and Max stood.

"….my fault! I need to see them!"

Nathan reached down, placing his hands on Peyton’s shoulders. This seemed to calm her down slightly, as she listened. Liz hoped this meant that her brother was relating good news to Lucas’…well, Liz supposed that it was really Brooke who was still officially Lucas’ girlfriend. Liz still wasn’t clear on exactly what was going on there, but it all seemed pretty insignificant right now.

Peyton stumbled into a chair when Nathan was done talking to her, and stared at the floor, not giving Liz any other indication about how Lucas and Brooke might be doing. But, from Peyton’s slumped form, it didn’t look good.

"Kyle’s here," Max muttered under his breath. Liz started with surprise, following Max’s gaze. Kyle was indeed standing near the entrance to the emergency. And he wasn’t alone. His father, Sheriff Valenti, was standing a few feet behind him.

"That’s weird," Liz said, because it was. Liz knew that Kyle had a thing for Brooke, but this seemed a little strange, even for Kyle.

He’s probably blaming himself, too, Liz realized. After all, it was he who had told Brooke about Lucas and Peyton in the first place, which had resulted in the tragedy.

"We’re going to be in big trouble if he sees us," Max reminded her. "He’ll call our parents, for sure."

"Maybe he’ll think we have permission to be here?" Liz suggested, knowing that she was clutching at straws.

"He’ll check though," Max said, sounding resigned. "He’s like a dog with a bone."

"Well, at this point, grounding until the end of time is the least of our worries. It’s too late for him to not know we’re here," Liz sighed. "I guess we might as well just deal with it." She looked up at Max, taking his hand.

He sighed heavily, but followed her down the hallway towards the others.

"Is everything okay?" Liz asked Nathan, when they reached the small group gathered there. She didn’t look at the sheriff, but she could feel his eyes on her. If there was one thing she would never get used to, it was the constancy of Sheriff Valenti’s suspicious gaze whenever she had seen him since the shooting.

"I don’t really know about Brooke, but I think she’s mostly okay," Nathan said, sounding tired. "Luke…" He frowned, and shrugged. Liz could tell that he was trying not to show how concerned he really was. "He has internal bleeding. It doesn’t…They don’t know." He paused, then added, "My dad’s calling his mom."

"I’m so sorry, Nathan," Liz said, tears filling her eyes. Max squeezed her hand, but it didn’t help. This couldn’t be happening! She couldn’t be about to lose one of her brothers before even getting to know him. For one moment, she considered looking at Max pleadingly, considered taking him up on his offer. He wouldn’t even have to do much…just something, anything would help. Max didn’t always leave handprints. After all, he had been just as surprised by the one on Liz’s abdomen when he’d healed her as she had.

"Mr. Evans, Ms. Parker."

Liz grimaced. That voice reminded Liz absolutely about why Max could do nothing. If he did anything for Lucas, he’d be saving Liz’s brother, but putting his own life in even more jeopardy.

She looked at the sheriff. "Hi, Mr. Valenti."

"I’m surprised to see you two here," he said. His blue eyes were narrowed. Liz could feel Max’s tension, through where their hands were still joined. "Do your parents know about this?"

There was a long pause. Liz nearly jumped out of her skin when Nathan of all people said, "Of course they do. My parents know Max’s parents. He’s my pen-pal."

Everyone turned to stare at him. "Really?" Kyle asked.

"Um, yeah," Max fumbled. His astonishment was barely hidden, but he managed to sound mostly normal eventually. "Since we were kids."

"I told Kyle I was coming, and so I did," Liz added. "Max came with me, to meet Nathan."

"That’s nice," Valenti said mildly.

Liz wasn’t fooled for a minute. It was quite apparent he didn’t believe a word of it, and she absolutely knew that she and Max were going to be under his surveillance for the rest of the time they were in Memphis. Like they needed that stress on top of everything else.

"What are you doing here, anyway?" Liz asked Kyle. It came out more rudely than she intended, but the frustration of everything that had gone on was beginning to get to her.

"He brought me," Peyton remarked dully, from where she was seated nearby. "I had no way to get here." Liz looked at her. The other girl seemed on the verge of shock. She wondered if maybe Peyton might need some medical attention as well.

Kyle seemed to notice this too, because he moved forward. "Hey, Peyton, do you want to go the nurse’s station with me? We’ll see about Brooke."

Peyton stared up at him. "Okay," she finally said. Kyle helped her to her feet and led her off.

"Let’s go find my dad," Nathan suggested to Liz and Max. Without looking at the sheriff again, he walked back in the direction from which Liz and Max had just come.

Liz exchanged a glance with Max, but followed after her brother. She bid the sheriff a perfunctory good-bye, and had the feeling that he was going to calling their parents in Roswell as soon as they were out of sight.

"What’s that dude’s problem with you?" Nathan demanded, several minutes later. He had led them to the cafeteria, and was in the process of dumping several bags of sugar into the coffee he had purchased.

"The sheriff’s?" Max asked. He sighed. "It’s a long story."

"Apparently you two have a lot of long stories," Nathan remarked.

"Why did you lie to him?" Liz asked. "I mean, you didn’t have to do that."

"I could tell he was going to give you grief, and I just didn’t have the patience to deal with it," Nathan replied. He looked directly at Liz. "There’s nothing more we can do for Lucas right now, so I want to know the truth. I want to know exactly how you knew that the car accident was going to happen. Because I know you knew."

Liz glanced at Max. He nodded. She knew that he trusted her to tell Nathan as much as she could without exposing him. She felt her heart contract with love for him again, and reached under the table to take his hand in hers.

"Here’s the thing…" Liz trailed off, her heart pounding nervously. It took her a moment to realize that the physical reaction was about more than being afraid of telling Nathan the truth, though. She could feel every nerve ending, and realized that she was about to have another flash.

She reached out, grabbing Nathan by the hand. What better way to prove what she was going to say, then by showing him?

She looked her brother directly in the eyes and said, "I’m psychic."

He stared at her, his mouth open for a second, then he scowled. "Bullsh…" He didn’t get a chance to finish though, because the next thing Liz knew she was plummeted into another reality.

Liz looked around, trying to get her bearings. She could see that she was in a large house. Bright beams of sunlight, pouring through huge windows at the end of the hallway, dazzled her for a moment, but she eventually focused on the scene playing out in front of her.

She was standing on a staircase, she realized, and was looking up at Nathan and his father. They were having a conversation in an upper hallway, and Liz strained to hear it.

"…up, Dad," Nathan said. He wasn’t wearing a shirt, had a towel around his waist, and had obviously just gotten out of the shower. Liz reddened slightly, but forced herself to forget about it. This was her brother. And it wasn’t like he was completely naked.

Dan Scott reached out, touching something on Nathan’s chest. "If I wanted a daughter, I’d adopt one," he said, looking disapproving. Liz could see that Nathan had a ring attached to his nipple.

Nathan snorted, "Why? So you could abandon her, too?" Liz felt her eyes widen. She glanced at Dan, who was scowling far more than was warranted, because Nathan had obviously been joking. "Just a joke, Dad!"

Dan shook his head, seemed to get a hold of himself, then changed the subject, "Yeah. And this bet tonight - is that a joke, too?"

Liz didn’t get a chance to hear anymore though, because she felt present day Nathan wrench his hand out of hers. And, just like that, the flash ended.


"What the hell was that?" Nathan’s voice helped Liz to re-establish herself after the flash. She kept her eyes closed for a moment longer though, to clear her head fully.

"Liz, are you okay?" Max demanded, sounding worried.

"I’m fine," she replied, opening her eyes and meeting Nathan’s shocked gaze. He had jumped to his feet, and was backing away from her. "Please don’t be scared," she said in a small voice. "I’m telling you the truth. I’m psychic."

"You’re insane!" Nathan said, shaking his head, practically bug-eyed. He pointed at her. "Stay away from me! And stay away from my brother!" With that, he turned on his heel and stormed out.

"Nathan!" Liz called after him. "Nathan, please!" She sighed heavily when he didn’t turn around, eventually sinking back on the bench next to Max.

"I take it he saw something," Max said, his concern obvious.

"I guess so," Liz said, dropping her face into her hands.

She felt Max’s hand run up and down her back in reassurance. "It’s okay, Liz. I’m sure it will be okay. He was just surprised. I mean, if he saw a flash, he’ll be back. He doesn’t seem like the kind of guy to just forget about it."

"I wonder what he saw," Liz whispered. She remembered what she had seen. She was almost positive that the flash had been trying to tell her that Dan knew of her existence. His reaction to Nathan’s joke had been too obvious. It had hit home.

He knew that he had a daughter that he had abandoned.

It was for that reason that Liz knew absolutely that she had no desire to meet that horrid man anymore. It would have been one thing if Liz’s mom had kept her pregnancy a secret from Dan - if he had been just as in the dark as everyone else. But the fact that he knew…

She hated him. She wanted nothing to do with him.

But that didn’t mean she didn’t want to know her brothers. They weren’t to blame for the bastard their father was. Anyway, it was fairly apparent by now that Dan had done exactly the same thing to Lucas. She felt even closer to him knowing this. If he didn’t make it…

She pushed the thought from her mind. He would. He had to.

"What do you want to do now?" Max asked quietly.

"I want to go see my brother," Liz said firmly. "And I want to tell him everything."

Liz knew that this was easier said than done, of course. But she was determined. Lucas would wake up. He had to.

But it seemed that the fates were conspiring against Liz’s resolve that her brother would make it. As she and Max returned to the visitor’s hallway in Emergency, they were confronted by sheer chaos. She didn’t even have time to locate Nathan, before the intercom squawked to life.

"Code Blue! Code Blue! Room 181!"

Liz’s eyes widened as several nurses and doctors went flying past her.

"Oh my God! Max!" Liz exclaimed. She looked around frantically, absolutely knowing that it had to be Lucas. She wouldn’t be feeling this panic if it wasn’t.

Eventually her gaze fell on Nathan. He was sitting in a chair next to Peyton, his arm around her. She had obviously returned from Brooke’s room, and actually seemed to be dozing in Nathan’s arms, although how she could do so with all the activity in the vicinity, Liz had no idea. Kyle was nowhere to be seen, nor was the sheriff.

Liz didn’t have time to wonder about them though, because her eyes abruptly met Nathan’s. He was staring at her, frowning slightly.

"It’s him," he acknowledged. And, then, to Liz’s absolute shock and dismay, he continued meaningfully, "Our brother is dying."

To be continued…

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Kath7
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Post by Kath7 » Sun Sep 18, 2005 11:58 pm

AN - Sorry it took so long, guys! I'm still sick, but I managed to get this finished, and I think it makes a modicum of sense. Enjoy!

Kath

Part 14

When Brooke opened her eyes, she stared up at the white ceiling overhead, confused. She had no idea where she was or why she had such a splitting headache. Her last memory was of walking through the Roswell team’s party at the hotel’s pool with Kyle Valenti. She didn’t remember drinking so much that she should have ended up flat on her back, eyeing a strange ceiling, with her head about to explode. Where was she, and how had she gotten here?

It wasn’t until she turned her head and saw Kyle sleeping in a chair next to her that she realized that she was in a hospital bed.

Brooke felt her heartbeat speed up. What the heck had happened? Had she had too much to drink or something? Was it alcohol poisoning? And, if so, where were Peyton and Lucas? She couldn’t believe that her best friend and boyfriend wouldn’t be here, at her bedside, if that was the case!

"Kyle?" she said. Her throat was dry, so it came out as more of a croak. She swallowed, then licked her lips and tried again. "Kyle?"

He jerked awake, then stared at her. "Wha…Brooke! You’re awake!"

"Apparently," she replied, somewhat wryly. She struggled to sit up, then fell back against her pillow with a gasp. It felt like every bone in her body had been broken and then put back together. If not that, then at least bruised. "I guess it wasn’t alcohol after all?" she muttered to herself.

"Are you okay?" Kyle asked anxiously. He had jumped to his feet at the vocalization of her pain, and now helped her to ease back on the bed.

"I guess," Brooke replied, gritting her teeth as she settled herself into a more comfortable position. "What happened?"

"You don’t remember?" Kyle seemed surprised. He glanced away, a strange look crossing his face.

"What?" Brooke reached out, grasping Kyle’s arm. "What happened?" Panic suddenly gripped her. "Was I the only one hurt?" The fact that neither Lucas or Peyton was here made her jump to an instantly horrifying conclusion. She didn’t know what she would do if anything had happened to either of them!

"No," Kyle admitted after a pause. "Lucas…"

"Oh my God!" Brooke exclaimed, trying to sit up again. "Where is he? What happened?" She attempted to climb out of bed, but was so stiff, when Kyle pushed her back gently, she could do nothing but comply. She felt tears spring to her eyes. "Please, Kyle. Tell me!"

"Okay," Kyle said quietly. His tone was flat. Brooke didn’t have time to analyze it though. The thought that Lucas was somewhere else in the hospital, injured, or maybe even…no, she couldn’t even think it! "I’ll tell you," Kyle continued, "But you have to promise me you won’t try to get up again. You’re lucky to be alive, Brooke. You need your rest."

Brooke frowned, not wanting to agree, but when the expression on Kyle’s face brooked no opposition, she relented. She could wait for someone else to come tell her who wouldn’t make her commit to such a ridiculous promise, but she knew that she couldn’t wait. She needed to know now.

"Okay," she mumbled reluctantly. "I promise."

"You were almost hit by a car," Kyle told her. "Lucas pushed you out of the way, and he was hit."

Brooke stared at him in horror. "Is he…is he…" She couldn’t finish the question, but Kyle seemed to understand, because he hurriedly reassured her.

"No, he’s alive. But he’s pretty badly hurt."

Brooke brought her hands up, covering her mouth. "Oh, God. Lucas…" She knew that she was about to melt down. She could feel herself starting to shake and, with all the bruises she had, it hurt. She very deliberately took deep breaths. "I don’t understand any of this!" she told Kyle, forcing herself to calm down. She needed more information. "How did this happen? We were at the party. I don’t even know how it’s possible that we could have been hit by a car!"

There was another long pause. Brooke looked at Kyle, wondering what he was keeping from her. She could tell by the expression on his face that he was hiding something. "I’m not sure exactly what happened," he finally said. "I wasn’t there."

"You said you’re not exactly sure," Brooke said suspiciously. "That means that you think you know."

"I don’t know if I should tell you," Kyle confessed, sounding upset. "I mean, Brooke, maybe there’s a reason you don’t remember any of it." He looked at her for a long, charged moment. "I think I need to go find your doctor."

"Kyle!" Brooke exclaimed in frustration.

But he was already backing out of the room. "I’ll be back," he said. "I swear. And I’ll go see how Lucas is doing. He was having some issues an hour or so ago, but they stabilized him again. I don’t want to say anything until I know for sure."

And, with that, he disappeared.

If Brooke wasn’t sure that she’d end up falling to the floor, she would have followed him. As it was, all she could do was fall back against her pillows, sighing heavily. Why wouldn’t he tell her? What had happened? And why couldn’t she remember?

Brooke searched her memory, trying to figure out what Kyle wouldn’t say. But all she drew was a huge blank. The last memory she had continued to be of laughing with Kyle beside the pool. How had she gone from that, to the hospital? And how had Lucas been involved?

Brooke scowled. It was a mystery that she was determined to solve. But she knew that she was in no shape to do it now. Kyle was right that she needed to rest. What he had told her was upsetting enough that she felt exhausted, even though she’d only been awake for a few minutes.

She closed her eyes, taking deep breaths. She was worried about Lucas, but Kyle had told her he’d return with news. For now, she had to believe him.

For some odd reason, she knew that Kyle Valenti was the one person she could trust to do as he promised. She wasn’t sure why she felt that perhaps he was the only person, but, for now, knowing that she could count on him was enough.

***

Nathan was brooding on the couch in the waiting room. Peyton was curled up on the other end, sound asleep. He found his eyes wandering to her, wondering what he could do to help her. He knew that she felt terrible about what had happened to Brooke, and particularly to Lucas, but he knew that it was something she was going to have to deal with. Particularly if Lucas didn’t make it, which it seemed more and more likely the longer they couldn’t stabilize him.

When Nathan’s dad had come out of Lucas’s room after the Code Blue, he’d told Nathan and the others that they were going to take Lucas into surgery to try to stop the internal bleeding. It didn’t look good, though. That had been three hours ago. There had been no word since.

"Can I talk to you?"

Nathan looked up and stared at Liz. He had noticed her and Max huddled together across the room earlier, but he was ignoring them. He didn’t have the energy to deal with her at the moment. He didn’t even know how to deal with her. Because, really, how was he supposed to deal with the fact that he absolutely knew that this dark-haired girl was his sister. Not only was that weird enough, he had absolutely no idea how he knew it, but he did. It was completely creepy. He didn’t care what she said about being psychic. Whatever she was, she wasn’t normal, and he wanted nothing to do with her.

"I don’t know anything," he muttered now, because she apparently wasn’t going anywhere, in spite of him ignoring her. "My dad’s going to see him when he comes out of surgery."

Nathan flinched slightly. He wondered if he should have said our dad. But, no, that was just too weird. He was just getting used to dealing with one of his father’s extraneous children. It was really too much to be expected to accept another one. As far as Nathan was concerned, his dad was not this girl’s dad. Dan might have fathered her, but she quite obviously meant nothing to him. Nathan wondered if his father even knew she existed. Knowing Dan Scott, it was entirely possible he didn’t.

The other thing that made Nathan not want to deal with Liz again was the fact that the more he’d thought about the situation - which he had, in spite of his concern about Lucas, which was another strange phenomenon in and of itself that he refused to examine - the more angry he got. Because Liz was quite obviously younger than Nathan. Which meant that his father had cheated on Nathan’s mother when she was conceived. And that pissed him off on a level he couldn’t express. If Nathan’s mom found out about Liz’s existence…Unacceptable. He refused to allow his mom to be hurt in that way.

Which was why he found himself glaring at Liz now, who certainly noticed. He saw her start to tremble. But she stood her ground, and Nathan felt himself want to listen to her in spite of himself. So he raised his eyebrows, indicating that if she wanted something more, he was ready to hear it.

"Oh, okay," she said. "I…Max and I have been talking. We want to help."

"Where is your bodyguard?" Nathan asked sarcastically. He couldn’t help it. The longer he looked at her, the madder he got, thinking about his jackass of a father.

"He went to do something," Liz replied. She glanced at Peyton. "Listen, Nathan, I really need to talk to you in private. You have to believe me that we really can help Lucas."

Nathan stared at her for several long minutes. He felt his respect inch up another inch when she met his gaze squarely, not cowering under his scowl. It was the rare person who could deal with him at his most belligerent, and Nathan knew it. It was a reputation he cultivated. The only people who had ever seen past it before were Haley, and sometimes Peyton, back when things were good between them. That this girl wasn’t really scared of him…He couldn’t help it. It made him interested in listening to her.

He stood up, following her across the room. He sat down stiffly beside her on two of the less comfortable waiting room chairs.

"So?" he prompted.

"I know you’re confused, Nathan," Liz said softly. "I’m sorry about that." He glanced sideways at her. She was twisting her hands in her lap. "You can’t possibly be more confused than I am. I mean, to find out that the person you thought was your dad isn’t…" She paused, then swallowed. "It’s hard."

"How did you find out?" Nathan asked, really curious now. He was still pissed off about this girl’s very existence, but he was beginning to realize that it really wasn’t her fault, just like Lucas’s existence wasn’t his. At the very core of things, Nathan knew exactly whose fault it was. And he was only now becoming willing to accept that his dad was a complete jerk.

"Kind of the same way you did," Liz replied, shaking her head. "I told you. I’m…well, I’m different. I can see things when I touch people, and sometimes when I touch items."

"You realize that this sounds completely ludicrous?" Nathan demanded.

"I know," Liz told him. "Trust me, I know. I want to be a scientist. I believe in facts. And the fact is, I can do this." She met his eyes squarely. "And, quite obviously you know it, because you know that I’m your sister."

"I know that my dad is a complete ass," Nathan replied. "That doesn’t make you my sister."

Liz looked disappointed. Nathan wondered why he felt bad. He didn’t owe this girl anything. But he knew he regretted having said it. "Sorry," he muttered.

"I know it’s weird," Liz said. "As I said, I’ve only known for a few days myself. I was messing around with some of my mom’s stuff from high school, and I got some flashes. Like what you obviously got." She paused, seemed curious. "What did you see by the way? I mean, how did you know?"

Nathan shrugged. "I can’t really explain it. Just, when you touched me, I knew. I didn’t really see anything. It was like you transferred what you knew to me, I guess."

Liz frowned, obviously thinking. "I wonder if it’s because we have some of the same genes? That you can do that?"

"How should I know?" Nathan demanded. "I feel like I’m going completely crazy that we’re even talking about this as though it’s anything like normal."

Liz met his eyes, and to Nathan’s surprise, she smiled. "If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past year, Nathan, it’s that abnormal is kind of great. And if you care at all about Lucas, then, after today, you’re going to think so too."

Nathan scowled at her. "What is that supposed to mean?" He felt his annoyance ratcheting up again.

"I can’t tell you everything," Liz told him, "But I need you to help me." She reached out, touching Nathan’s hand. He considered pulling away - the last thing he wanted was more flashes, as she termed them - but, oddly, he didn’t.

Instead, for some reason he could never explain later, he found himself saying, "What do you need me to do?"

"I need you to find a way to keep Sheriff Valenti busy."

***

Three more hours later, Liz found herself standing outside the door to Lucas’s room, her heart pounding a mile a minute. Lucas had been returned from surgery a few minutes before, and she knew that Max was in position inside. They had decided that it was better for Max to be in there waiting when they brought Lucas back, rather than trying to sneak him in. Liz just hoped that her boyfriend had found a good hiding place.

It was Max who had insisted that he was going to heal Lucas. After the Code Blue, he had taken one look at Liz’s face and had pulled her down the hall and outside into the fresh air.

"I’m doing something, Liz. This is ridiculous. We’re not letting your brother die, when we both know that I can save him!"

Liz couldn’t help it. She burst into tears of relief. She was so scared for Max, but she didn’t know what she would do if she never got a chance to know her brother. Although he had already offered, and she had refused, now things were different. She couldn’t let Max do anything when there was still a chance that Lucas would recover on his own. But, now, when it seemed so hopeless, she knew that she couldn’t say no again.

Was it any wonder that she loved Max Evans so much?

And, it was for that reason - that she loved him more than anyone else in the world - that she had to try to convince him otherwise once more. "Max, it’s too dangerous. The sheriff…"

"He can’t stick around forever," Max reminded her.

"I don’t know," Liz replied doubtfully. "Kyle doesn’t seem in any rush to leave. He’s really worried about Brooke. And Valenti won’t leave without him."

"We can think of a way to deal with Valenti," Max argued. "I’ll just heal Lucas enough so that we know he’s not going to die. I’ll figure out a way to make sure there’s no handprint."

"How, Max? You don’t even know why the handprint was there. How can you stop it?"

"I don’t know," Max replied firmly. "But I’ll think of something. I mean, at the very least, I can change the colour of it so that it matches Lucas’s skin."

"But it doesn’t appear right away," Liz reminded him. "If you’re going to do this, we need to leave. Right after. We need to be on the next plane out of Memphis. We don’t have time for the handprint to pop up."

"There’s got to be a way!" Max exclaimed, his frustration obvious. "Liz, I just can’t let him die. Not when I know how much he means to you. And not when I know that I can fix this." He met her eyes, his expression grim. "We’re just going to have to chance it."

There was a long pause. Finally, Liz threw her arms around Max, hugging him tightly. "I love you so much."

"I love you too," he said quietly, stroking her hair. "And I can’t stand to see you upset. I have this gift for a reason, Liz. And you had your flashes when you did for a reason. I have to believe that. I have to believe that we came here to do this. We were fated to do this."

Liz pulled back, smiling up at him. "Okay. Let’s do it then." She narrowed her eyes, already thinking. "But we’re going to need help," she added. "And I know just the person to ask."

She had gone to Nathan. He was prickly, and obviously thought she was insane, but Liz had a feeling about him, and it wasn’t just from what she’d seen in the flashes. He quite obviously cared about Lucas, in spite of himself, and if she could make him believe that they could save him…She had been determined to make him believe it, and, in the end, she had succeeded.

Which was why he walked by her now, on his way to Brooke’s room, about to make a huge scene. Liz was aware, even after only briefly knowing him, that Nathan had something of a flair for the dramatic, and she was banking on him to be able to cause enough trouble to convince the sheriff to make Kyle leave. If he didn’t…well, then, there seemed little chance that the sheriff would leave without knowledge of a mysterious handprint appearing on Lucas’ body, even if he didn’t actually see Max leave Lucas’ room.

They needed the sheriff gone. And they needed him gone now.

Nathan glanced briefly in her direction as he passed, his lips twitching slightly, as though he wanted to say something, but he didn’t. Instead, he winked, making Liz smile despite herself.

She knew she had been right to trust him. She just hoped that saving Lucas wouldn’t end up being the final nail in the coffin Valenti was trying to pound together for Max.

At the thought of it, her smile faded, and her attention returned anxiously to the thought of what was happening in Lucas’ room. Which was why she was caught completely off guard when she was grabbed roughly by the upper arm.

Turning her head, she stared, with shock, into Dan Scott’s dark eyes.

"Who the hell are you, and what are you doing to my son?" Dan demanded.

But Liz could not reply. Because from the instant her biological father touched her, she was thrown so instantly into a flash, she did not even have time to prepare for it.

And what she saw there told her that she was glad that she had already made the decision that Dan Scott should never know the truth about who she really was.

***

"What the hell are you doing in here?"

Brooke, who had been sound asleep, jerked awake. It took her a moment to get her bearings again, but eventually she remembered that she was in a hospital bed. And, for some strange reason, Nathan Scott was yelling at the top of his lungs in her room.

Not only was that strange, in and of itself. What was even stranger was that he was yelling at Kyle Valenti.

"What?" Kyle was replying. He sounded surprised. "I’m just sitting here."

Brooke looked at Kyle, filled with wonder. Had he been sitting here the entire time she’d been asleep? Just because he’d told her he’d come back? And, if so, what did that even mean? He was apparently not trying to hide his feelings for her any longer. She wondered why that made her feel so good.

It shouldn’t. She knew it. And the reason why was vocalized by Nathan moments later.

"In my brother’s girlfriend’s room?" Nathan demanded. "When he’s in another hospital bed down the hall, dying?"

Kyle stared at him, his mouth gaping. He apparently didn’t have a reply for that.

"Get out!" Nathan exclaimed venomously.

"Nathan," Brooke said. "Stop it. It’s okay. Kyle knows that Luke and I are…"

"What?" Nathan rounded on her. "Let me guess. You’ve been playing both of them, Brooke? That would be just like you, wouldn’t it?"

"Hey!" Kyle exclaimed, stepping forward. "You can’t talk to her like that!"

"I can talk to her however I want to," Nathan snapped. "She’s the reason my brother is dying!" He turned his head, glaring at her. "If she hadn’t been flirting with you, none of this would have happened."

Brooke felt as though she’d been slapped. She cringed back against the pillows. "What?" she whispered, frantically searching her mind for the corresponding details to what Nathan was saying. She drew a blank. She had absolutely no idea what he was talking about.

"That is not true!" Kyle exclaimed. "Brooke, it’s not," he said, looking at her.

"It is," Nathan said firmly. "I just feel sorry for you, Valenti. That she caught you in her web too. She’s a slut. Always has been, always will …" But he never had time to finish his thought.

Brooke screamed as Kyle tackled Nathan, sending him flying into the wall of her room. Medical supplies stacked on a shelf nearby tumbled to the floor, creating a huge clatter.

A nurse poked her head through the door. "What’s going on in here?" But, she fled in dismay, as Nathan grabbed Kyle by the shirt, and threw him bodily after her.

Brooke struggled to her feet, holding her hospital gown closed tightly with a hand behind her back. She inched her way to the door of her room, grimacing with each step, as her bruises whined their disapproval. She made it to the door just in time to see Kyle’s father grab him before he could take another swing at Nathan.

"Outside," Sheriff Valenti ordered firmly. "Now, Kyle."

Kyle’s fury was obvious, however, as he struggled against his father’s grip. It took all of the sheriff’s strength to wrestle his son down the hallway. "I’m sorry," the sheriff called over his shoulder. "I’ll take him back to the hotel."

Brooke stared after the two departing Roswellians, until they were no longer visible, having exited out the far door. She felt her heart fall, at the thought that she might actually not see Kyle again.

"…no idea what that was about," Nathan was saying to the nurse. "I’m so sorry. I just needed to get him out of there. He was raving. He has a thing for her. I had to protect my brother’s girlfriend. Especially after Lucas risked his life for her."

Brooke’s gaze was drawn to Lucas’ brother, her confusion complete. The innocent expression on his face set her blood boiling. "Nathan Scott, you are the biggest liar…"

She was interrupted, however, because the nurse jumped to attention as a buzzer sounded on her desk. "It’s your brother’s room," she said, sounding surprised. "He’s calling for a nurse."

Brooke met Nathan’s gaze. "Then that means…" Nathan trailed off, apparently not daring to voice the words, in case it was untrue.

"He’s awake," the nurse confirmed. "Unless there’s someone else in there with him."

Brooke watched Nathan glance down the empty hallway towards Lucas’ room, to which the nurse was already headed. A satisfied expression crossed his face, then he said, "I’m sure there’s not. I have a good feeling that Lucas is going to be okay."

"How do you know that?" Brooke demanded.

Nathan met her gaze, then smirked. "I’m psychic," he replied cryptically, then loped after the nurse.

To be continued…

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Post by Kath7 » Thu Dec 14, 2006 12:07 am

Author's Note - Hi guys! Glad you're excited to see this one again. :D This is a fairly short part - sort of a catch up, transitional one, but I'll be back later this week with more. This story is entirely outlined, so I should be able to get it done pretty quickly, now that the must is cooperating again (although, I must admit that writing seems really, REALLY hard these days :( ) Hope it's okay!

Just a head's up - we are jumping ahead a few months here. Nothing that happened in late Season 1 of OTH, post Lucas and Peyton sneaking around behind Brooke's back, happened in this world. In the Rosworld, Liz and Max ran back to Roswell after healing Lucas and the events of Crazy through Destiny took place when they got back. We are now in a post-Destiny summer. :wink: Hope that helps!

Part 15

Outskirts of Roswell, New Mexico - June 2004

"Are we there yet?"

Lucas grinned into the rearview mirror at his best friend, Haley. "You are trying my patience, young lady!"

The pretty blonde reached forward and tugged on Lucas’s earlobe. "C’mon, Luke! Admit it. You’re sick of being in this car too."

"I sure am. I was tired of this before we even got into the car." This was from Brooke, whose tone was flat. Lucas glanced at his girlfriend, who was sitting next to him in the passenger seat. He sighed slightly at the scowl on her face.

"No one asked you to come, Brooke," Nathan snapped from his seat next to Haley in the back.

"Nathan," Haley said warningly.

"What? I’m sick of her attitude. If she didn’t want to come, she didn’t have to!" Nathan said, quite obviously irritated.

Lucas didn’t blame him. He was pretty tired of Brooke’s behavior too. She had been crabby ever since they left Tree Hill early three days before. After all, she was the one who had invited herself along. Nathan and Lucas had been planning to go by themselves. But when Haley decided to accompany them, since she was the only one who knew the real reason they were going - to find their sister -, Brooke had seemed to think that it was her duty to do the same. And, so, here she was, making them all uncomfortable by making it perfectly clear that she wished she was anywhere but where she was.

Lucas sighed heavily, turning his attention fully back to Route 70. But then Brooke had been acting as though she wanted to be anywhere but in his company for months. It wasn’t like it was anything new.

He still wasn’t even sure why they were still together.

Well, that wasn’t entirely true. He grimaced slightly, remembering exactly how brutal Peyton had been about it. She hadn’t even waited until he was out of the hospital. To think that he had at first felt better when she’d come in to see him.

"Hey," Lucas said softly, reaching out to take Peyton’s hand in his when she came up next to the bed.

"Hey," she replied softly, gently disentangling herself.

Lucas frowned slightly, but didn’t comment. "How’s Brooke?" he asked instead.

"Okay," Peyton replied. She lowered her eyes, not meeting his.

"Peyton?" It was then that he knew, absolutely, that something was wrong, beyond the fact that he was lying in a hospital bed.

"She doesn’t remember, Lucas," Peyton whispered. "She doesn’t remember what happened."

"What do you mean?" Lucas asked, afraid. Her voice…she sounded like a wounded animal.

"I can’t." She finally looked up, meeting his gaze. Tears glittered in her beautiful eyes. "Lucas, I just can’t do it to her. She’s my best friend." She raised her hands, waving them around to indicate him, her,
them. "I can’t do this, Lucas. She’s always been there for me. I can’t do this to her. I thought I could. But I can’t. And now we’ve been given a second chance to do the right thing. She doesn’t remember."

He felt a lump enter his throat. Because she didn’t need to say another word. He knew what she was going to say. "Please. Don’t," he said harshly. He turned his head away from her. Only for a moment. To collect his thoughts. To convince her to change her mind.

He had to convince her. If he had thought it was hard when she had rejected him in the fall, before Brooke, this was a million times worse. Because, this time, he had actually believed that it was going to happen. That he was going to be with her.

The pain in his heart was worse then the pain he felt from the accident. And that was saying a lot.

It had all been a lie. And it was all his own fault. Because he had been with her best friend, they couldn’t be together.

"I love you, Lucas." It came out as a sob. "I’m so sorry."

When he turned back, she was gone.


He had not spoken to her since. Oh, he had tried - at her house, at school, everywhere. But she would just turn away.

And, so, when if finally became too much, when his pride finally got the better of his heart, he stopped trying.

He had stayed with Brooke. They had recuperated from the accident together. It really did seem that she remembered nothing of what had led up to their injuries, and Lucas decided that he wouldn’t tell her. That he would respect Peyton’s wishes and keep their brief interlude a secret.

Lucas knew he should have broken up with Brooke anyway. That even if he couldn’t be with Peyton, it was wrong to be with Brooke when he loved someone else. But, it was just easier to go on as before. He was too tired to do anything else. Even if Brooke seemed almost more ambivalent about it then he was.

Because, the truth was, Brooke had been different since Memphis. Not because she knew about him and Peyton, but because of something else. Lucas had no idea what it was, but she seemed sad, and somehow not herself. It was another reason he didn’t want to hurt her. If she was going through something - a depression maybe? - from the accident, he wasn’t a big enough jerk to hurt her even more.

And, so, their relationship continued. It didn’t advance, it didn’t end, it just was. And when Haley said she was coming with them to Roswell to find Liz, Brooke said she was coming too. Which was how they all found themselves in a car, almost there.

The road trip to New Mexico had been in the works for months - in fact, since the day that the mysterious Liz from Roswell had disappeared from the Memphis hospital to which Lucas had been taken after the car accident.

It had been Nathan’s idea, of course. He had been determined to track down the girl he claimed was their sister. Lucas wasn’t sure he entirely believed Nathan. But he couldn’t deny that something very strange had gone down at that basketball tournament, and that wasn’t even taking into account the fact that he never should have survived the accident in the first place.

It was again Nathan who had told Lucas that Liz had somehow been responsible for that too. He couldn’t explain how, but he knew it was true. That she had asked Nathan to create a diversion, and that after he did, Lucas woke up.

"You know this all sounds crazy," Lucas had said to Nathan, when his brother had shown up at his house the day after they had returned to Tree Hill from Memphis.

"Of course I do," Nathan snapped. "But that doesn’t mean it isn’t true. I can’t explain it, Lucas, but I know it’s true. That girl is our sister. And we need to find her."

Lucas could not disagree, if only to prove to Nathan that he was completely losing it. Lucas had never seen his brother like this. He was like a man possessed, and had been since he had first met Liz. At first, Lucas had tried suggesting that they get in touch with Liz another way. It didn’t seem entirely necessary to make the trip to New Mexico. After all, this was 2004 and they knew people who knew Liz. Lucas tried to get in touch with Kyle Valenti, to ask him to connect them with her, but had no luck. Brooke did have his email address, but Kyle had never responded to Lucas’s message.

Lucas had hoped that this would be enough to convince Nathan to let the whole thing go, but he had not. Eventually, Lucas decided to humour him, by agreeing to make the trip, although he did insist that they wait until school let out for the year. It would be easier to explain to their parents, and he had missed enough during the weeks it had taken him to get back on his feet after the accident.

It wasn’t like it wasn’t entirely possible that Dan Scott could have fathered another child out of wedlock, and then abandoned it, Lucas reflected again now. Their father’s track record made Nathan’s claims completely believable. Even if Dan had been nicer since the accident, he was still, at heart, a jerk. If Nathan didn’t keep insisting on throwing in the whole "she’s a psychic stuff," Lucas might be totally on board. As it was, though, he merely hoped that the trip would wrap things up once and for all.

In the end, even if the whole thing turned out to be completely ridiculous, at least it had given him and Nathan something to bond over. They hadn’t had a single argument since Memphis, because now they had a topic of conversation in which they were both interested. Liz Parker.

Lucas was snapped out of his thoughts by Brooke’s voice. "I’m sorry," she said softly. "I know I’m being a total bitch. I’m just tired."

"It’s okay," Haley said firmly. Lucas watched in the rearview mirror as she shot Nathan a stern look. He rolled his eyes and looked away. "We’re almost there." She leaned forward slightly, changing the subject more fully. "I’m starving! We need to eat first, even before we find a hotel."

"Sure," Lucas said. His own stomach growled at the thought of food. "Brooke?" He spoke to his girlfriend, to make sure that she knew he wasn’t mad at her. Although she didn’t seem particularly concerned if he was.

"Okay," she said simply, staring out the window at the passing desert.

Lucas sighed again, frowning slightly. The car lapsed into silence until he turned onto the main drag of the small town.

"Oh, we are so eating there!" Haley exclaimed, sounding amused.

Lucas stared out the windshield at the giant UFO crashing into the side of the building to their right. "How can we resist?" He knew that Roswell had some kind of history surrounding aliens, but he had to admit he didn’t know much.

He pulled their car into an empty space in front of the restaurant, then shut off the engine, before looking over his shoulder at Nathan.

"You have half an hour," his brother said. "We’re finding her today."

"Have you thought about what you’re going to say?" Lucas asked, his heart beating a bit more quickly. Although he still wasn’t entirely sure he bought Nathan’s story about Liz, he had to admit that he was excited to see her again.

The idea of a sister…it wasn’t entirely repulsive. Not since having a brother had turned out to be okay after all.

" ‘Hi’ seems appropriate," Nathan replied, opening his door and climbing out. He strode purposefully towards the flashing Crashdown sign. Haley ran to catch up with him, sliding her hand into his. Lucas watched his brother glance down at his girlfriend and smile slightly.

He sighed again, feeling a pang of jealousy, before looking over at Brooke, who was staring at him across the hood of the car.

"What’s wrong?" he asked, concerned. She looked as though she had seen a ghost. It took him a moment to realize that she wasn’t looking at him at all, but, rather, past him.

"Um, nothing," Brooke said quickly, her gaze now focused on him. "Listen, Luke, I need to stretch. Do you mind if I just wander down the street? I’ll meet you guys in the restaurant in a few minutes."

"Okay," Lucas said, bemused. He shrugged, following Nathan and Haley into the restaurant. And almost ran right into his brother’s back. Nathan was still standing in the doorway, not moving.

Lucas glanced around the almost empty restaurant, unsure as to why his brother and best friend weren’t yet seated.

"Can’t find a table?" he joked.

"We found her," Nathan said. He nodded in the direction of a door at the back of the room, which was swinging back in their direction, a waitress with a heavy tray backing out through it.

Even from the back, Lucas recognized the small form and long dark hair. He hadn’t seen a lot of Liz in Memphis, but, thanks to Nathan, he sure hadn’t forgotten what he had.

Apparently she hadn’t forgotten them either. Because when she turned around, balancing the tray expertly, she took one look at them standing staring at her, and the entire thing tilted, sending its contents spilling on the floor.

Liz barely even noticed. Her mouth was hanging open as she stared at first Nathan, and then at Lucas in disbelief.

And that was when the most amazing thing of all happened. She burst into tears, and rushed across the room, throwing her arms around Nathan.

"I’m so glad you’re here!"

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Post by Kath7 » Sat Oct 20, 2007 4:36 pm

Hi all!

Apparently I am alive.

What can I say about this, or any fic I've left hanging, that just won't sound like a big 'ol excuse? Not much. All I can say is that I thank you all for your patience and I am hoping that, at some point, the muse will revisit me and allow me to make some headway on some of these. I'm not sure what's wrong with me - whether I've finally moved on from Rosfic, or whether I just don't have time to write anymore (which really isn't an excuse, because if you want to be a writer, you really should WRITE).

The point of this is, please don't give up hope. I haven't left the board, as you all know, and I know that I owe my readers (and myself) the endings to some of these stories). I'm not promising anything, but I do promise to try more then I have lately. If that means just one part a week on at least one story, then that's what I'll try to do. In some ways, I think I've dug myself a hole that I'm not sure how to get out of. I have too many stories started, and not enough energy (or, truly, time) to get them updated. They're all finished in my head - so a lot of it is sheer laziness, and I'll admit that.

I'll also admit to a healthy dose of fear. It's been so long since I've actually sat down to write in this world, I don't know if I can even do it anymore. Again, not an excuse. Just an admission.

Whatever the real reason, please know that I haven't given up on myself, so I hope that you won't either.

Kath

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