Disclaimer: One Tree Hill, Nathan, Haley, and the others belong to Mark Schwahn, Warner Bros, The CW, etc..

Note: Well, this is it. The last chapter. More comments at the end. Thank you so much, everyone!


"You're not gonna tell me what happened?" Nathan looked over at his son as they drove through the streets of Tree Hill. The school day was over and thirteen year-old Sam James had gotten sent to Principal Sloane's office for fighting. He refused to tell Nathan what had happened. Sam had never been in a fight before in his life. He and Haley had always taught him that there were better ways to solve problems. He'd been such a well behaved boy that they hadn't had any trouble. Until now.

The family had moved to Tree Hill three years after Alice had been born. It all started when Lucas decided that he wanted to move back to Tree Hill. Keith offered him part ownership of the garage and Lucas claimed that he always did his best writing in the quiet, idyllic setting of Tree Hill. Because he and Peyton were married, she would be coming with him. He had made concessions for her career. He had always been understanding about her career and her business that she couldn't say no to his request to move to Tree Hill.

Well, Brooke Davis Baker was not happy about that. She, Haley, and Peyton hadn't been separated by geography in their entire friendship. Brooke had immediately run over to Nathan and Haley's house and insisted that everyone move to Tree Hill. She suggested that not only they move, but that they move the company. As Brooke pointed out, she could design clothes anywhere. She also suggested that it might benefit Red Bedroom Records to be away from the bustle of Los Angeles. Artists might enjoy being in a peaceful place without the stress of paparazzi and tabloid reporters.

The truth was, Nathan and Haley had discussed buying property in Tree Hill before that. Their family had grown and they wanted their kids to be around their family. Tree Hill was where Nathan's family was and it was close enough to Haley's family. Even though Sam had friends who he would miss, they realized it would be better to make the move when they're children were young than when they were older and more attached to Los Angeles. As Haley had told Nathan before, Los Angeles had never been home. It was just where they had settled.

So, the family of six decided to pack everything up and move to Tree Hill. There were six of them now. Two years after Alice was born, Haley gave birth to the twins. Grace Eleanor Scott and James Lucas Scott had been a surprise, just as Sam and Alice had been. Haley and Nathan had joked about giving up on birth control, but they did just that. They figured they shouldn't bother. They wanted more children and if biology had more planned for them, then so be it. Sam and Alice were great older siblings and though Nathan and Haley were often exhausted in those first few years, it was all worth it.

They bought a house right on the banks of the Cape Fear River. It was large enough, but not too large. They had a big backyard for the kids to run around and play in. When they moved, Nathan had stepped down from his position at ESPN. He enjoyed the job, but since taking classes and looking into coaching, he found that he enjoyed that more. After first arriving in Tree Hill, Whitey offered him the position of assistant coach of the Ravens. After Whitey's retirement, Nathan had been promoted to head coach. He was also teaching boys physical education for two periods each day.

It was now early spring in Tree Hill. Sam was now thirteen, Alice was nearly seven. The twins were four, going on five. Nathan couldn't imagine what would have provoked Sam to get into a fight, but his son was now sporting a large bruise on his cheek.

"You know you're grounded," Nathan stated. He hated doing it. They didn't have to do it often because Sam was so well behaved. "We'll be talking to your mother when we get home."

Sam still remained quiet. When Nathan had first asked about the fight, Sam had shrugged it off and said it was nothing. It was the same thing he'd told Principal Sloane. Nathan had been done with his classes for the day and was called over to the middle school. He had been shocked to find Sam sitting there. He looked so ashamed and Nathan thought he almost looked like he was sad. Another boy was sitting across from him with a scowl on his face and a cut on his lip.

When they walked in the house, they found Haley in the kitchen and Alice, Jamie, and Grace playing in the living room. On the floor, in front of the sofa, an assortment of toys were strewn about. The twins were busying themselves with a pirate playset while Alice was working on a coloring book.

Haley smiled when she saw them walk in, but her smile faltered when she saw Sam's face.

"What happened?" She walked from behind the kitchen counter and took her boy's face in her hands, gently touching the bruise on his face. He was now almost as tall as she was and they were sure he'd end up being over six feet tall.

"He got into a fight," Nathan explained, setting his keys and whistle on the hook near the door. "Principal Sloane called just as I was finishing up classes. He won't say what it was about. Other than saying it was nothing, he hasn't said anything." Nathan kept his voice low so that the younger kids couldn't hear them.

Haley looked at her oldest sternly. She took her hands from his face and pointed in the direction of the stairs. "Your room. Now. When we come up there, you're going to tell us what happened. Am I understood, Samuel Nathan Scott?"

Sam didn't answer. He just turned around and went upstairs. Haley stood there, shocked. She wasn't used to this kind of behavior from Sam.

"Nathan, something had to have happened for him to do this. This isn't like him."

Nathan nodded. "I know. He wouldn't say anything, but when I went to get him, he looked embarrassed and like he was hurt. Not just from the fight. Like the sad kind of hurt."

"Do you know the other boy he fought with?"

"It was that Jeremy Thompson kid. That one who likes to mouth off to everyone."

Haley bit her lip. She remembered that kid. She had seen him at various school events and he was on Sam's Little League team. He was definitely a trouble maker, but Sam had always laughed it off and tried to be nice to the kid.

She was about to go upstairs when Nathan stopped her. "Hales, I know he wouldn't talk to me in the car, but maybe I should go up there. I don't know, fighting's kind of a guy thing."

She bit her lip again and nodded.

"I'll head up there in a minute." Nathan kissed the top of her head before turning to the living room where his other children were. Nathan greeted them each and they all scrambled to get onto his lap. Haley was smiling as she watched. Nathan was such a great father and their children adored him.

Nathan found Sam lying flat on his back on his bed, staring at the ceiling. He had his hands clasped behind his head and didn't even move when he heard his father come in. Nathan shoved Sam's legs over and sat down.

"You have to talk to me. You know you can tell me and your mom anything, Sam. We both understand that you would only get into a fight if you had a good reason. We just want to know what happened so we can help you."

Sam sighed. He still didn't look at his father. "He just said some stuff and I got mad."

"What did he say?" Nathan was relieved that Sam was at least speaking now.

"It's nothing."

"Sam, it's not nothing. We both know it had to be something pretty bad for you to resort to fighting. You also know that if you don't tell us, it's gonna be that much worse for you. Talk to me, buddy."

Sam bit his lip. It was a habit he learned from his mother.

"Sam."

"He called mom a slut."

Nathan had no idea how to respond to that. Why would a thirteen year-old boy be calling his wife a slut? Now Nathan wanted to hit the kid.

"He said I didn't know who my real dad was. Then he called mom a slut and said she probably doesn't know either."

Nathan could feel the anger boiling in his veins. He knew he needed to calm down, though. Honestly, if someone had said that to him about Haley, he would have beaten the guy senseless. He wouldn't have been able to show any restraint.

"The thing is, I don't know, do I?" Sam had also inherited his mother's habit of talking. Once he got started, he couldn't stop. "I mean, I know you're my dad, but before you guys, it was just me and my mom and she doesn't talk about, well, you know. She doesn't and I don't know."

"You know, Jeremy Thompson is wrong. You know that because you know you're mother."

Sam nodded. Nathan was relieved. Sam would never believe anything like that. Nathan knew that this day was going to come. Sam was going to eventually have questions. It looked like it was now that day.

"Why won't she tell me, dad?"

Nathan knew the answer to that, but he couldn't tell Sam. It wasn't his place. He needed to talk to Haley right away.

"You need to stay up here until we say so. I've got to go talk to your mother." Nathan didn't wait for Sam to answer. He stood up and walked out of the room. He left the door slightly ajar.


Nathan found Haley cutting up a tomato to prepare for dinner. She looked when she heard him come in. Before approaching her, he looked over at the kids. They were still happily playing. Nathan took Haley's hand in his and leaned in to kiss her.

They were teased a lot. Nearly eight years of marriage and they still couldn't keep their hands off of each other. Every day they woke up, thanking their lucky stars that they'd found each other and created this beautiful family.

"Did he talk to you?"

Nathan nodded.

Haley could see how conflicted and worried he was, which only worried her. "Nathan, what happened?"

He urged her back a few steps, making sure they were definitely out of ear shot from the other kids.

"That Thompson kid, he said that Sam didn't know who his real dad was."

Haley's hand covered her mouth and she looked down at the floor. Nathan was still holding onto her hand.

"Hales, he seemed a little frustrated that he didn't know."

Haley could feel her heart beating wildly. She knew this was going to happen. She felt like it was too soon. He was still so young. He was a teenager. He'd be fourteen that coming fall and would be starting high school. He was growing up, but he was still her little boy.

"Hales, you don't have to do this today." Nathan rubbed his hands down Haley's arms.

"Nathan. He's getting into fights. It's not going to be easy." Her voice was quiet. She tried to hold it together. She had to. "I, um, I'm going to call Brooke and see if she'll watch the kids for a little bit."

"Are you sure? I can stay down here with them."

Haley grabbed onto one of Nathan's hands with both of hers. "I need you with me, Nathan."

He nodded. That was all he needed to hear. He would be there for Haley for whatever she needed. He knew that his son was also going to need him.

"Brooke," Haley had dialed her cell phone without letting go of Nathan's hand. "Can you come pick up Alice, Jamie, and Grace? Nathan and I need to talk to Sam and it would be best to do that without the kids here."

Brooke understood immediately what was happening and quickly, she and Peyton arrived to get the kids.

"I hope you know we're taking them for ice cream and getting them hyped up on sugar," Brooke told her.

Haley laughed softly. "Thanks for doing this, guys."

"You let us know if you need anything, Tutor Wife Mom. Anything." The three women hugged before Brooke and Peyton left with the kids.

Haley turned around and gripped the counter and breathed in. "Just give me a minute, Nathan."

"Take all the time you need, Hales."


When Haley felt like she had collected herself as well as she could have, she and Nathan walked upstairs, hand in hand. They found Sam on his bed, in the same position that Nathan had left him in. They each took a seat on the edge of his bed, one on one side and the other on the other side. Sam actually sat up this time to talk to them

"I'm sorry, mom. I didn't want to hit him. Even when he said I didn't know who my real dad was. But then he called you a slut and said you probably didn't even know."

Haley looked at her husband. He had left out that piece of information. She looked back at her son and could see how guilty he felt. She now understood why Nathan had said he looked hurt when he picked him up.

"Sam, sweetie, I love you for sticking up for me. But you know that you can't fight."

Sam nodded and looked down at his hands.

Haley sucked in a breath and looked at her boy. "Sam, what Jeremy Thompson said, have you been thinking about that?"

Sam didn't say anything; he stayed quiet and kept his eyes on his hands. He didn't want to ask about it. He didn't want his parents to feel like he felt like he had missed out on anything.

"Sam. It's okay if you have. I expect it."

Nathan watched his wife and their son. He didn't say anything because he felt it wasn't his place. His place was to be there to support them, but this was a conversation that the two of them needed to have on their own.

"I guess…," Sam stammered, "I guess I'm curious. I know dad adopted me. I remember that. I remember that before you two started going out it was just you and me."

"You asked me once before. You were three years-old."

"What did you say?"

"I said that sometimes, kids don't have daddies. But, their mom's loved them so much that it was okay. I do love you, Sam. So much."

"I know. And I know I have a dad. I just don't know about before."

"Sam, do you want to know the truth? I will tell you if you want. No one has a right to know more than you do. It's your choice."

Before Sam could answer, Nathan stood from his spot and went and sat behind Haley on the side of the bed she was on. She had one hand on Sam's bed and another in her lap. Nathan wrapped his arm around her and took the hand in her lap in his.

"What? Did he leave you?" Sam couldn't figure out why his father had taken such a protective position with his mother. He recognized it immediately. Nathan had gone to Haley so that she could hold onto him and lean on him. Sam could also see the conflict in his mother's features. This almost looked painful for her. What could have happened?

"Do you want to know, Sam?" Haley tried to keep her voice strong.

Sam debated whether or not to ask for the truth. It was hurting his mother; he could see that. But now that he knew it was something that caused this strong of a reaction for her, he had to know. Slowly, he looked up at her and nodded. "Yes."

"Okay," Haley nodded. She tightened her grip on her husband's hand and brought the other hand to her stomach. She looked up at Nathan and saw concern and love in his eyes. It was always love. He leaned in and pressed a kiss to her temple.

"Mom?" Sam couldn't control the worry in his voice.

Haley had seen Damien Smith every day in court. She tried not to look at him, but sometimes it was difficult not to. She had to look at him as she testified. She had to tell the jury that he was the man who had raped her. She had to look into his cold, dead eyes and see his lips turning into a smile that looked more like a sneer. His thin frame was covered in an orange jumpsuit and he sat at the defense table with handcuffs on his wrists. It was s stark contrast to how he'd looked the night he had raped her. That night, he still wore that sneer. He had thought he was being romantic, it seemed. He had been drunk and the smell still caused Haley's stomach to churn sometimes.

"I think about what happened the night you were conceived less and less, Sam. You were the only good thing to come from what happened. You gave me hope and life after that night. You are the reason I am here. I love you so much and I've just wanted you to know nothing but love because I knew eventually I would have to tell you this.

"I, um," tears were beginning to form in Haley's eyes, "I was at Stanford and it was my junior year. My friend Crissy borrowed some notes and we met up that night so she could give them back to me. I was walking home when it happened."

"Mom?" Sam was getting a sick feeling deep in the pit of his stomach.

"I met your father that night and when I heard that voice, at first I thought he'd come back. It wasn't him, though. It was someone by the name of Damien Smith." Haley looked at Sam and knew that he was putting the pieces together, especially since Haley was now crying, tears falling down her cheeks gradually. "He raped me, Sam."

Haley had tried to imagine how her son would react to hearing this the first time, but nothing could have prepared her for the look of horror on his face after hearing those words.

Haley wiped the tears from her cheeks, but kept her other hand in her husband's. "I've always said you didn't have a father before your father because you didn't. That person wasn't your father, Sam. He got me pregnant, but he wasn't a father. He didn't deserve to be a father to someone as great as you."

Haley let go of Nathan's hand and quickly moved forward, taking Sam's head in her hands and forcing him to look at her. "You listen to me, Sam. I don't regret you. I regret nothing about you. You were something beautiful and innocent that came out of something ugly. You have never once reminded me of what happened to me. Not once. I don't know why. I thought for a while you would. But you have been such a perfect, wonderful son that I never think about that. Not when I look at you and not when I think about you. Never. I love you, Sam. You, for me, are hope."

"You kept me," Sam said quietly. "You kept me. Why did you keep me? Why didn't you have an abortion or something or give me to someone else?"

"I never considered an abortion. I wasn't going to deprive you of life because of something you had no control over. And I did keep you. I wasn't sure if I would, but I just, I fell in love with you, Sam. I can't explain it any better than that. I love you. You are my son."

Sam removed his mother's hands from his face. "Do you think I could be alone for a while?"

Haley again wiped the tears from her cheeks and nodded. "If you have any questions, Sam, go ahead and ask. Like I said, no one has more of a right to know than you. I just need to ask you for a favor. Keep this between us. Your brother and your sisters, they aren't old enough to understand this."

When Haley and Nathan had left the room, she turned to him and clutched him. She held him close, as if he was a buoy and she was stuck in open water. He was keeping her afloat. She let more tears fall and they made his black Ravens polo damp. He held her close, rubbing her back and kissing the top of her head. They weren't sure how long they stood like that. He would have held her as long as she needed it.

What she seemed to want was some normalcy. She wanted some normalcy and she wanted him. They texted Brooke and Peyton to bring the kids back home and cooked dinner together silently while they waited for them. When Brooke and Peyton got there, they asked how Haley was and how Sam was. She gave them a short answer, but said she would explain later. They understood and after hugs for everyone, they left the family to themselves.

Dinner that night was quiet. Haley figured she would take a plate up to Sam when they were all done. After they ate, Nathan offered to clean up while she put the kids to bed. She took great comfort in putting her youngest children into pajamas and reading them a bedtime story.

Nathan had taken comfort in seeing Haley make her way up the stairs with their children. Alice led the way with Jamie behind her. Grace was walking next to her mother, holding her hand.

Nathan was in the middle of washing dishes when he saw Sam walking downstairs. Sam took a seat on the bar stool at the counter.

"Your mom's putting them to bed."

"I know. I heard her reading "Goodnight Moon.""

"How are you?"

Sam hesitated before answering. "I can't figure out why she kept me."

"Stop wondering that." Nathan didn't want to hear that. He'd never seen anything like the love Haley had for Sam. "She loves you and until a couple of hours ago, you never once had a reason to question that, right?"

Sam nodded. Nathan placed a plate of food in front of him.

"When did you find out?"

"About two months after we started dating."

"Were you okay with it?"

"Of course not. It didn't change how I felt about her. But I wasn't okay with it. I was already in love with her, Sam. And knowing that it happened and that she loved you the way she did made me love her even more. But I wasn't okay with it and if the sick bastard wasn't already dead, I would have killed him myself. I hate that someone hurt her so much."

Sam looked at his father, shocked. "He's dead?"

Nathan winced. Maybe he shouldn't have said that. Maybe that should have been up to Haley. It was too late now. "He died in jail the day he was supposed to be sentenced."

Sam nodded and pushed the food around on his plate with his fork. "You never treat me any different."

"No. I love you, Sam. The boy I met that day at the Hollywood Bowl wasn't someone who was conceived because his mother was raped. He was a little boy who was loved by his mother. I had never seen that kind of love before. Never. I was blown away by it. You were, you are, such a great kid that I have never looked at you and thought of you as a reminder of what happened to your mom."

"But I exist because someone hurt her."

"No, you don't," Nathan answered. He was drying a plate and was thinking, wanting to use just the right words. "You were conceived because of that. You exist because your mother had the compassion and love in her to make sure that you would be born and that you would be healthy and loved. You're here because of her. You're here because of how much she loves you.

"I know you're going through a lot right now, but try to remember that, son. We both love you. Have you ever felt like we loved you any different than your sisters and your brother?"

Sam shook his head. It was the truth. Ever since Alice had been born, Nathan and Haley had made sure that Sam never felt like he was any less special because he just wasn't. All four of their children were loved equally.

"Do you mind if I just go up to bed, dad?"

"Not at all. But, Sam, no video games for two weeks. I know you've had a lot to deal with today and if someone had said something like that about your mom to me, I probably would have hit 'em too. But, you know better than to fight. And Sam, if you have more questions, we'll answer them. Your Aunt Brooke and Aunt Peyton will too."

"They know?"

"They were with your mom. They were there after… after the attack and everything after it. Including the day you were born."

Sam just nodded his head and went back upstairs.


The night, Haley laid wrapped in Nathan's arms. They had made love. It was slow and quiet, but it was what she needed after the day they had had.

"Thanks for being with me today," she said, tracing patterns on his chest.

"Where else would I be, Hales?"

"I know. I know that, I do. Nowhere else but with your family."

"You guys are everything to me, Hales. You always have been." He brought her left hand to his and kissed her ring finger, where her wedding band was. It was always there. The only time she had removed it was to see the inscription he had put on the inside. He had told her after their wedding that he had done it. His was the same. Engraved on the inside was, "Always & Forever." The wedding bands were now like a second skin to them. They belonged there.

"He talked to me," Nathan told her. They hadn't had the chance to talk. When Nathan came into their bedroom that night, Haley had immediately kissed him, pulled him to their bed, and began undressing him. It was what she needed and he understood that.

"He did?" Haley stayed reclined against him, but looked up at him.

"I accidentally told him that he was dead. I don't know if you wanted to do that or not. He had a few questions about how I handled it when you told me. He'll be okay, Hales. He knows we all love him. He just needs some time to think about it all. I think… I think he just doesn't really understand why you kept him."

"I love him," Haley protested.

"I know. And he knows that. Like I said, I think he just needs time to process it. It'll take some time, but he's got a great family around him. He'll get there. It helps he's got the world's greatest mom."

"You're a great father, you know that?" Haley put her hand under Nathan's chin, feeling the ever so slight stubble underneath her fingertips.

"Everything I know about parenting, I learned from you."

"Our children are so lucky to have you, Nathan. All five of them."

"Four," he corrected her. "We have four kids, Hales. Sam, Alice, Grace, and Jamie."

"Five," she repeated. She pulled his large, capable hand and put it on her stomach. The feel of his calloused fingers brushed against her smooth abdomen. "Five."

Nathan's eyes went wide. After the day they'd had, he had never expected this. He didn't expect this any of the times it had happened.

"You're… you're pregnant?"

She nodded and bit her lip. "We're pregnant. Again. I was going to tell you earlier, but we got sidetracked."

Nathan leaned in and kissed his wife. He put one hand on the side of her face. Their smiles pressed against each other as they kissed and Nathan maneuvered so that he was on top of her. He looked down at her stomach. It was still flat, but soon it would have the tell tale signs of their pregnancy. Haley was always beautiful to Nathan, but she was so beautiful when she was pregnant. He also loved knowing that he contributed to getting her into that condition.

"Sam will be fine. He's going to be a great big brother to his new sister or brother and he knows how much you and I love him. He's a strong boy. He gets it from his strong mom. You are the strongest, bravest, sexiest, and most beautiful woman in the world. I love you even more every day. I love you now more than I ever thought I could and when we're eighty, I'm gonna love you even more. Always and forever."

That was everything that Haley needed to hear after the day they'd had. He had that effect on her. He knew what to say to soothe her and to let her believe that everything was going to be all right. "I love you. Always and forever."

They kissed. They kissed and they knew that everything was going to be fine. Always and forever.


Note: Phew. It's done. As a word document, it's about 680 pages and over 270,000 words. I can't believe I wrote so much.

A lot of your comments have been asking if there will be a sequel. No. I just don't think it needs one. I would be carrying it on simply for the sake of carrying it on and I don't want to do that. I think the story is done, it's been told, and it needs to stay as it is. I love your enthusiasm for it, though.

For those of you who read the entire story, thank you. I know from the prologue that this could be a touchy subject. Some of you could have easily given up after that since Haley was raped. It's a tricky subject to write. I just hope I handled it with the appropriate amount of respect. For all of your reviews, thank you. You've all been so, so kind. Some of you made sure to review every single chapter and I'm so grateful for that. So, thank you for giving your time to this story.

The next story will be called And We Lean In. I'm going to take a few weeks off from writing, though. I need some time to focus on some other stuff and I want to make sure that story is good and ready to go before I post it.