Disclaimer: One Tree Hill, Nathan, Haley, and the rest of the characters belong to Warner Bros., The CW, Mark Schwahn, and the rest of the producers. They are not mine.

Notes: Well, this happened sooner than I planned. For those of you who read Your Hand in Mine, thank you! I'm glad you're checking out this new story. will only allow fifteen uploads for a period of sixty days. Because I was updated Your Hand in Mine so frequently as it ended, it's going to be a while before I can add a lot of chapters of this. So, it could possibly be two weeks before I get another chapter up. I'm going to try and update when time allows me.

This story begins in 1939 and will carry into the 1940's. I'm going to try to throw in pop culture references from that time period, as well as some of the slang from that period, so just go with me on that. Part of this will be a mystery, but the overall subject is the Nathan and Haley romance. So, enjoy!

In the 1930's and 40's, baseball was more popular than basketball. So, Nathan's game is now baseball.

This story is named after a song by Trespassers William.

Spring 1939

CRACK! A light breeze came through the park, rustling the leaves and spreading the scent of flowers among the crowd. Spring in Tree Hill, North Carolina was always beautiful. The flowers were in bloom, the grass and the trees were green, the weather was warm – but not too warm, and baseball season had begun. A crowd of students and adults were gathered on the baseball field of Tree Hill High as they played their rivals, Bear Creek. It was the semi-finals. The team that won would be advancing to the championships. Everything was on the line and all of Tree Hill came out to see it. All but one.

Nathan had looked for him in the crowd, but couldn't see him. He could tell he wasn't there because he couldn't hear him. Dan Scott could be heard at every game. Even when Nathan was playing well, even when he was at his best, Dan Scott had some criticism for his son. He was always in the front, just behind the dugout. He was often standing. He was almost always shouting. If he felt Nathan could have struck out a certain player, or if Nathan didn't hit the ball on a pitch Dan felt he could have easily hit, Dan could be heard. He wasn't the silent type.

The fact that Dan wasn't there had Nathan concerned. His dad never missed a game. Dan Scott was a baseball legend on Tree Hill. Had he not injured his arm, he could have certainly gone to the major leagues. There were rumors that several teams had been interested in him, especially the Brooklyn Dodgers. Now he was a prominent businessman in Tree Hill. He started with his own car dealership, financed by his in-laws. After the success of that, he opened a nightclub. Dan's was the only nightclub in town. When Nathan was old enough to understand the concept of a nightclub, he had laughed at the fact that his dad had named the club after himself.

Things changed drastically when Dan got the idea to run for mayor. He won in a landslide victory. Now, nothing happened in Tree Hill without Dan Scott's knowledge. He wasn't just the mayor; he was king. As his son, Nathan had everything he wanted. Anything and everything was at his fingertips.

Nathan had inherited both his father's love for baseball and his talent for it. Like Dan, Nathan was a pitcher. The minute Nathan could walk, his father had him out practicing his pitching and his hitting. Nathan had been training for this his entire life. He loved this game and he felt that it loved him. He was fully expected to lead the Ravens to victory in this game and in the next.

CRACK! That first one the umpire called a ball. This time, the ball went sailing past left field. Members of the other team ran for it, but they wouldn't get to it in time. With a smirk, Nathan made his way to first base, then second, third, and finally home. The sound of cheers rang in his ears. The entire town was there cheering him on.

As Nathan made it to home and made his way back to the dugout, he looked to the stands. People were still cheering loudly for him. He noticed Rachel Gatina wink in his direction. Everyone was cheering except for one. She was politely clapping, but she didn't look that happy about it. He had noticed her before because she was always with him. He often wondered if they were seeing each other. Lucas told him that they weren't.

His brother, Lucas. They were just beginning to talk to each other. They had made the decision about two months earlier. Nathan remembered exactly what brought it on as he watched Lucas step up to home plate. Lucas was good. He wasn't quite as good as Nathan, but he was good. He played second base. Nathan glanced at the bold, blue number three printed on the back of Lucas's white and navy blue striped uniform. Months earlier, he would have had an expression of absolute hatred as his brother stepped up the plate. Nathan hated it when Lucas merely stepped onto the field.

The entire town knew what happened, but it wasn't spoken of. Dan Scott had gotten Karen Roe pregnant. She had left town after high school and when she returned months later, she had Lucas with her. No one had to wonder very much what had happened. Dan had left to play minor league baseball and was well on his way to the big leagues. He stopped playing after his injury and a few months after Karen returned to Tree Hill with Lucas, Dan had returned with a wife and a son.

Lucas was three months older than Nathan. From the moment they were old enough to realize that they were brothers, Dan had made sure that Nathan knew that Lucas wasn't to be treated that way. Lucas was, in Dan's words, a cancer on their family. In Dan's mind, the boy shouldn't even exist. Nathan had been raised to believe that he had gotten the better deal in this. Dan made sure to let Nathan know that he had a father who loved him and wanted to give him a secure future. Lucas didn't. What Dan didn't point out is that the reason that Lucas didn't have that was because Dan chose not to be there.

Nathan and Dan had both been furious when Lucas decided to join the baseball team. Keith Scott was the one who encouraged it. Keith was Dan's older brother. When Dan left Karen pregnant, Keith was the one there to help her. Years later, the two had married. They were happy. Keith treated Lucas as if he was his own son. While Keith saw his brother and his family on holidays, they didn't have much contact. Keith ran a garage. Dan sold cars and Keith fixed them. Dan never had anything nice to say about Keith.

About two months back, the Ravens had suffered a pretty bad loss. Their coach had yelled. He had yelled a lot. Dan had yelled even more. Nathan was used to it, but that didn't make it any easier. Dan never missed an opportunity to tell Nathan that he'd never be as good as he had been, no matter how hard he tried. That didn't stop Dan from forcing Nathan to try harder.

In an act of desperation, Nathan had cornered Lucas in the locker room one afternoon. He began by pointing out the obvious. They didn't like each other. They had to acknowledge that, even though both were well aware of the fact. Nathan then proposed that for the sake of the team, they ignore each other. Instead of being at each other's throats and instead of making snide comments throughout practice, during games, and during the school day, they ignore each other. Their sole focus would be on baseball and on winning. They hadn't lost a game since.

Nathan was well aware that it wasn't Lucas who made the comments and started the arguments; it was all him. Dan had encouraged it. For Nathan, if ignoring Lucas meant getting Dan off his back because they were winning meant not getting the little high he got from pushing Lucas's buttons, then it was worth it. Dan would still be on Nathan's back. He would never be happy. But at least they wouldn't be losing. Nathan loved baseball and he was competitive. He wanted to win and Lucas was a means to that end.

Nathan offered Lucas a nod as Lucas took his place at home plate, got into position, and waited for the pitch. If Nathan was being honest, Lucas wasn't so bad. He was a lot smarter than Nathan was. He had his mom and Keith and they were always there offering support for Lucas. Nathan looked in the stands and saw them there, smiling. They had their baby with them. Her name was Lily and she was about a year old. Nathan hadn't officially met her. He had never actually officially met Karen. Despite being family, Dan kept them separated. A few times, Karen and Keith each offered him a friendly smile and Nathan was never sure how to take it. He was always worried that maybe Dan had seen it. That wouldn't go over well.

Nathan could sense that Dan was always more on edge when Karen and Keith were at games. Dan's constant yelling got worse when Lucas joined the team and Nathan had noticed more than once that Dan was looking to Keith and Karen. He was sure his father was focusing more on Karen than on Keith. Nathan couldn't figure it out. He couldn't read the look on his father's face.

Keith and Karen were sitting with her. Her brown hair was curled and she was smiling at Lucas. Her enthusiasm had definitely increased now that it was Lucas's turn at bat. Lucas and Nathan were slowly beginning to talk. Once, Nathan casually referred to her as Lucas's girlfriend. His brother had chuckled, shook his head, and denied the connection. He told Nathan that they were best friends; she was like a little sister to him. That had Nathan even more confused. She was a pretty girl and he didn't understand how a guy could be friends with a pretty girl without more happening.

Nathan had never been friends with a girl like that. He had never really had a girlfriend until Peyton Sawyer and that ended almost as quickly as it began when she caught him with Erica Marsh. They were always fighting anyway, but Nathan still felt bad about it. Girls liked him. He liked that he had the power to make them do almost anything. He had a certain status at school and Dan expected him to act like it. For Nathan, the attention was flattering. Dan had warned him against getting attached to one girl. It was after a game when Nathan had only scored one run that Dan's tirade caused Nathan to lash out. Sadly, for Peyton, Nathan's behavior led him straight to Erica Marsh. Peyton had since become friends with Lucas and her.

He had found out that her name was Haley. She was even smarter than Lucas; he knew that. She was at the top of their class and was always helping other students with their school work. Lucas also mentioned that she worked as a waitress in his mother's café. She had never spoken to him, not really. When he used to walk by Lucas and make a rude comment, she would sometimes say something under her breath. Usually, she was calling him a name. She was definitely loyal.

Ever since Nathan and Lucas had worked to get along, she was leery of him. Nathan could tell and it made him uneasy. It also made him a little angry. He was trying. He was getting to know Lucas and, because of baseball, they were getting along better. Dan didn't know about it and, for the most part, Nathan and Lucas didn't advertise it. Dan asked him about it once and Nathan had simply said that it was just a way to win.

Nathan was beginning to like Lucas. He wasn't like Nathan's usual friends. Tim Smith, Damien West, and the others followed Nathan around. They did whatever Nathan said. Wherever Nathan went, they wanted to go with them. Tim especially. Damien followed, but he also had his own mind. He didn't follow blindly. He also had a bit of a temper. Nathan had realized during their second year of high school that Damien also had it in for him. He hid it well, but Nathan could tell that Damien thought he was a better ball player and that he deserved all of the attention Nathan was getting.

Haley cheered loudly as Lucas swung the bat and hit the ball. Nathan watched her the entire time. He couldn't figure her out. Lucas had told him that she was the most giving, kindest person in the world. Yet, she wouldn't give Nathan a chance. She was the only girl in Tree Hill who didn't glance his way in hopes of gaining his attention. When she glanced his way, it was with judgment.

By the time the game ended, the Ravens had won. Nathan managed to score three runs and Lucas one. Nathan looked over at Damien. He was glaring at Lucas dangerously. He saw Lucas as a threat rather than an asset. Damien had struck out once during the game and when he did hit the ball, he hadn't made it further than second base. It just hadn't been his day, but Nathan knew that he would blame it on Lucas.

Nathan was gathering his things after cleaning up in the locker room. As he was walking out, he spotted Lucas talking to Haley and Peyton. Lucas noticed him and Nathan nodded.

"Hey, Nate," Lucas called out, beckoning his brother to their small group.

Reluctantly, Nathan approached. He didn't make eye contact with Peyton. She didn't look at him either. Haley wasn't looking at him. She had her arms crossed over her chest and she turned her body slightly away from him.

"Listen, the three of us, we're headed to the café to celebrate. You should come along," Lucas invited him.

Nathan noticed Haley's head jerk toward them. He thought he could see a flash of anger in her eyes, but before he could fully understand her expression, she looked away.

"I, uh, I don't think that's such a good idea. Thanks, though." Nathan looked at the two girls. They were both ignoring them.

"You sure? You should celebrate too. That was a great game you played."

"I can't. You played good too."

"It's 'played well,'" Haley muttered.

Nathan looked down at her. She was short. He was easily a foot taller than she was. Had she just corrected him? He chose to not respond. He actually wanted to go to the café. He knew that neither Peyton nor Haley wanted him there, but he thought it would be nice to hang out somewhere new and without his usual friends. He needed to go home. He couldn't imagine what would keep Dan from that game. He didn't miss his dad being there, but he still felt he should know.

"Hey, watch out for Damien. He isn't happy with how you played and how he played," Nathan warned.

"Will do. Thanks for the warning. See you at practice," Lucas said, watching Nathan walk off.

When Nathan was gone, Lucas turned back to his friends. "You could be nicer to him."

"I don't trust him," Haley said. "He is the same one who left you in a ditch, Lucas. Have you forgotten that?"

"No. I haven't. But, he's the one who came to me to make an effort. He's trying. You're the nicest person I know, Hales. You could be a little nicer to him."

"I just don't trust him, Lucas. Look at what he did to Peyton and those other girls. Sorry, Peyton."

"I don't know what he's up to, but I don't trust him either," Peyton said.

"Fine," Lucas relented, "but if he ever does hang out with us, will you promise to at least be polite? He's my brother. I'm just trying to get to know him."

Peyton glared at him.

"Okay, I know what he did to you was wrong. You know I'd never want to see you hurt, Peyton. But I think he's really trying."

By the time they reached the café, the conversation had switched gears. They were now talking about a movie they had gone to see a few days before. It was some Bette Davis movie that Peyton and Haley had enjoyed, but Lucas was less enthusiastic about.

Nathan walked into his house. He nodded at their housekeeper as he walked to the stairs. He stopped when he heard voices coming from his dad's study. He stopped and tried to listen. Everything was muffled, but he thought it sounded like they were arguing. Nathan backed away when he heard the door open.

"… that whore sister of yours," Dan spewed.

"One of these days you're gonna hurt the wrong person and they're gonna make you pay, Dan Scott. One of these days, someone is gonna kill you. I just hope I'm around to see it," the other man said.

"Coop?" Nathan was surprised to see his uncle standing there, his expression angered. When Cooper saw Nathan, he smiled, trying to let go of the anger he felt after his conversation with Dan.

"Nathan. How is my favorite nephew?"

"I'm your only nephew."

"Still my favorite. Good game?"

Nathan shrugged. "We won."

"That'd good to hear. Keep it up. Listen, I've got to run, but I'll see you around."

When Cooper walked away Nathan turned to Dan's study. He looked in and saw his father at his desk, a drink in his hand. When Dan saw Nathan, he scowled.

"I wasn't at the game."

"I know."


"I scored three runs. We won."

"Three runs," Dan said with disgust. "Get out of here. I'm busy."

Nathan was tempted to ask his dad why he wasn't at the game. If he wasn't at the game, he should have been at City Hall. He didn't ask, though. Judging from Dan's current state, it wasn't a good idea. Nathan was also annoyed. Any sane person would consider three runs to be good. Better than good, it was great. Not Dan Scott. Dan Scott pushed and pushed. When he couldn't push anymore, he pushed more.

Nathan went upstairs to his room and took out some of his books. He didn't think he should have to study anymore. He was graduating next week and he had already been accepted to Duke. He thought maybe it was Lucas's influence. His brother was still working hard even though he had been accepted at both Duke and UNC. Lucas was still working hard for school. So was Haley. Nathan would see them studying together often.

A while later, Nathan heard the front door slam and knew that his father had left. Nathan got up off of his bed and went downstairs. His stomach had been growling for some time, but he didn't want to go downstairs while Dan was still there. He got to the kitchen to find that the housekeeper, Ida, had left him a plate of food before she left. Ida was usually doing things like that since Dan was off working and his mother was doing God knows what. Nathan picked at the food while standing at the counter.

He was back in his room, on his bed, and staring at the ceiling when he heard the front door again. He stayed in his room. He wanted to hide. He always wanted to hide when he was at home. His mother was often drunk, his father was often angry. When the two were together, it was like war. Nathan didn't want to deal with it. It was making him miserable.

His eyes were closing and he was beginning to fall asleep when he heard the front door again. This time, it slammed shut and he heard his father yelling from downstairs.


That couldn't be good. As much as it upset Nathan that his mother drank, he didn't like that his father was constantly bullying her. Her drinking was just a way to drown Dan out. Nathan understood that. He wished that she would be there for him more, but he knew what it was like to live under the thumb of Dan Scott. When he was mid-way down the stairs, he heard another voice.

"Danny, calm down. Just back away and calm down."

Nathan recognized the voice. It was his Uncle Keith.

"Not a chance, Keith," Dan countered.

Nathan tried to quietly walk down the steps. He stopped and kneeled so he could just barely see the three of them in the living room. Deb was by the fire place and Keith was approaching Dan. Nathan could only see Dan's back.

"You've been sneaking around behind my back for months," Dan accused. "You not only betray me, but Karen too. Wasn't it enough, Keith? You took Karen from me, but now my wife? I don't even want her, but for you to betray me like that. My own brother!"

"Dan, you're out of your mind. You're the one who left Karen. You're the one who chose Deb."

"Mistake of my life."

"You were the mistake of my life," Deb said through tears. Her fists were clenched tightly and her head was held high. "I'm getting out of here, Dan. And I'm never looking back."

"You'll leave when I say you leave," Dan shouted. He pulled something from his pocket. Nathan couldn't tell what it was until he heard the shot. Two shots and Deb was on the ground in front of the fire place.

Nathan tried to shout. He tried to make any noise, but he couldn't find his voice. He just stared, his mouth open. He watched as Keith approached Dan quickly, but another shot rang out. Nathan watched as Keith stumbled backward and fell to his knees.

"You shot me," Keith said, disbelief clouding his voice. "You… I'm your brother…" Keith landed on the floor with a thud, face down. Nathan stayed silent. He didn't know what would happen if he spoke. He felt like he was paralyzed. He didn't move until minutes after Dan walked out the door, this time shutting the door quietly.

When Nathan was finally able to move, he slowly went to the living room. His mother and his uncle were lying on the floor. Nathan felt his stomach lurch and he quickly went to the potted plant in the corner of the room. The contents of his dinner spilled into the pot, mixing with the soil. Nathan gripped the pot and steadied himself. With one more glance at the two on the floor, he ran out of the house.

He wasn't sure where he was going, but he had to get out of there. He had to go somewhere. He wasn't thinking and he didn't stop until he was in front of a house. He knew who lived there, but he had never been there before. He stumbled up the steps onto the porch and banged his fist on the door. His breath was heavy and he tried to steady his breathing, but he couldn't. He was gripping onto the wall when the door opened.

Lucas looked like he was about to yell at whoever was at the door, but paused when he saw Nathan there. His face was covered in sweat; he looked like hell, his face contorted in anguish.

"Nathan, what's wrong?"

"He… he shot them, Luke. He killed them."

"What are you talking about?" Lucas looked back in the house, not seeing anyone there, he turned back to Nathan, who was now on his knees on the wooden porch. "Nathan, what's going on?"

"Dan. Dan shot my mom. And Keith. I watched it happen, Luke," Nathan cried.

Lucas grabbed Nathan and hoisted him to his feet. He dragged him into the house and pulled him to the couch. Nathan sank into the couch, his shoulders slouched. His head hung low.

"You're sure?" Lucas couldn't believe what he had heard. This couldn't have happened. Dan Scott was a bad guy, but was he a murderer? Nathan looked up at him and that was all the confirmation that Lucas needed.

"Nathan, listen to me and listen carefully. Haley is upstairs with Lily. Do not tell her what happened. Do not tell her what you saw. Do not say anything until I get back, do you understand?"

Nathan didn't know why Lucas was telling him this, but he knew that right now Lucas was the person he trusted most in the world. He wouldn't say a word. He nodded his head and looked down at the rug on the floor. He felt like vomiting again, but there was nothing to come up. He didn't notice that Lucas had left the room.

Upstairs, Lucas found Haley by Lily's crib. "Haley," he whispered.

She turned around and smiled. They had been watching Lily while Karen was closing up the café. They were just tucking her in for the night when Nathan had come in. "Who was at the door?"

"Listen, Haley, something happened. I don't know what it is, but I have to go. Nathan is downstairs and I know you don't like him, but I need you to keep an eye on him. Please, just watch out for him, Haley. I'm asking you to do this for me."

Hearing the grave tone in her best friend's voice and seeing the seriousness in his blue eyes, Haley nodded. Whatever was going on, Lucas needed her now.

He gently squeezed her arm before he left and walked out of the house. With a feeling of dread and fear, Lucas drove to the Scott house to see for himself what had happened.

Lucas left the door to the car open when he got there. He found that the front door had been left open. He figured that must have happened when Nathan ran out. He stepped carefully into the house. Nathan hadn't said where this had happened, so Lucas walked slowly. He first looked in the foyer and didn't see anything. He had never been in this house before and he hadn't thought he ever would. This wasn't the time to look around and take it all in. He was there for a reason. When he reached the living room he could smell the vomit coming from the potted plant, but he didn't take the time to investigate.

He saw them immediately. Deb was flat on her back and her blood was staining the rug. Lucas looked over at Keith. He didn't see any blood coming from him, but he was on his stomach and his eyes were closed. Lucas went to Deb and felt for a pulse. He didn't feel anything, so he went to Keith. He turned his uncle, who was more of a father to him. Keith's hand was clutching his wound and his hands were covered in his own blood. Lucas stumbled when he heard a cough coming from Keith. Some blood came from his mouth, dribbling onto his lips.


Keith struggled to open his eyes and then focus them. "Lucas… Dan…"

"I know." Lucas also knew that if Keith was still alive that he needed to get him help quickly. Using every ounce of strength he had, Lucas hoisted Keith over his shoulders and carried him to the car. He tried to put him in the back seat as gently as he could, but it was difficult.

He was sure he'd broken every speed limit as he made his way to Doc Durham's. He did everything he could to get Keith there as quickly as possible. When they did get there, Lucas didn't have the strength to lift his uncle again. Keith was in and out of consciousness, mumbling here and there.

"Hang on, Keith," Lucas said, dragging the older man to the doctor's front door. "Doc! I need your help," he shouted.

Doctor Brian "Whitey" Durham came outside, his shirtsleeves rolled up and his suspenders straining against his round belly. "Lucas Scott, is that you?"

"I need your help. He's been shot!"

The doctor looked down at Keith and saw the blood soaking his shirt. "Let's get him in the house."

Haley took one last look at Lily after Lucas had left before going down to the living room. She didn't know what to expect when she saw Nathan, but this wasn't it. This was a shell of the arrogant young man she saw in school and around down. He was a mess. It looked like there was some vomit on his shirt and there was a light sheen of sweat on his face. One sleeve was rolled up, the other was down. He had his head in his hands and his legs were shaking as he looked down at the rug. Now she understood why Lucas had wanted her to keep an eye on him.

He didn't even hear her approach. This was the person who had tormented her best friend for months. He had gone out of his way to make Lucas's life hell. Now he was sitting there in Lucas's living room looking completely and utterly broken. She looked at him and didn't see the person who had been so cruel. She saw someone who needed comforting. He was someone who had feelings and right now, he needed someone. She gently placed her hand on his shoulder. He flinched and looked up at her, disoriented.

He had been crying. She could see it in his eyes. They were damp with tears. He looked at her like he wasn't really seeing her. He looked so confused and lost.

"Do you need anything?" It was the only thing she could think of to say. She didn't know him. She didn't know what he would need. She realized her hand was still on his shoulder and she could feel him shaking beneath her fingers.

"I'll get you some water," she said, turning around.

"My mom," he spoke. He wasn't supposed to say anything. He was supposed to keep quiet. That's what Lucas had said.

"What about her?" Haley turned back to him and sat next to him. When she saw his hands shaking, she took them in her own, trying to calm him.

It worked. Nathan looked down at their hands. Her hands were warm and soft and he immediately felt a wave of calmness sweep over him. It didn't take away what he had seen, but his shaking was stopping. It was getting better. He looked at her. With everything going on, he couldn't help but notice that she had beautiful, kind eyes. She was looking at him like she didn't hate him. How could she after everything he had done?

Haley wasn't sure how long they sat like that. She kept Nathan's hands in her own. He hadn't calmed down completely, but he was no longer shaking. He was still a wreck and every few moments he would shudder, move his mouth as if he was about to speak, and then continue looking at the floor. He looked at her twice, maybe three times. They didn't know each other, but she was comforting him. She didn't know what had happened, but she was here for him. She wanted to help him.

"What's going on?" Karen walked in the front door and looked at Haley and Nathan sitting on her sofa.

Haley let go of Nathan and his hands began shaking again. He kept them clasped together, his elbows resting on his knees.

"Nathan?" Karen took in his appearance. She had never seen him like this.

Nathan looked up at her and thought about what he had seen. He thought about Keith trying to help his mother. It seemed like he was helping her leave Dan. He was sure that his father was wrong. Keith and Deb couldn't be seeing each other. From what Nathan could see, Keith was completely devoted to Karen. Nathan thought about Keith lying face down on the floor after being shot. He thought about the tone in Keith's voice when Dan shot him. It had been tinged with disbelief.

"Lily…," Karen was about to go upstairs.

"She's fine, Karen. She's sound asleep. Lucas and I were putting her down when Nathan got here." Haley stood up.

"What's going on, Haley?" Karen tried to keep her voice steady. Her nephew, her son's brother, had never been in her house before. Karen wasn't even sure he had known where it was. Yet, here he sat, a wreck. A shell. He wasn't even speaking.

"I don't know, Karen. We were upstairs with Lily when we heard banging on the door. Lucas went to check. He came upstairs, told me to keep an eye on Nathan, and that he'd be back. He didn't give me any other details. I came down here and found Nathan. All he said was something about his mom." Haley looked back down at Nathan. He was still looking at Karen and she couldn't figure out the look on his face. She noticed his hands. They were still shaking and she sat back down and took them in hers.

Nathan looked at her. He was surprised. She comforted him once and now she was doing it again. No one had ever looked at him with the compassion that she was looking at him with now. Something about her, something about her presence, was helping him. This was easily becoming the worst day of his life, but she was here by his side. She had no reason to be.

"I'm sorry if I was mean to you," he told her, his voice barely above a whisper. He was sure he had been mean to her. He had to have made some comment about her before he got to know his brother. Goodness knows, she had made comments about him. She had good reason to. He was not a good person; he knew that. But now, she was there for him and if he had ever said anything mean to her, he was genuinely sorry. He couldn't be mean to someone this good. It wasn't right. She didn't deserve his cruelty, the cruelty he had inherited from his father.

"What are you talking about, Nathan?"

It was the first time she'd said his name. He noticed that. They hadn't spoken during the time she sat with him before Karen got there. When referring to him as he walked by and she made comments, she never said his name. She said his name and despite everything, something about it felt good.

"I'm sorry," he repeated. "I… if I was ever mean… I'm sorry. I don't, I don't want to be him."

"Nathan," Karen kneeled in front of him. "Nathan, what's going on?"

Before he could answer, they all heard the front door open. Lucas stepped inside the house. There was blood on his shirt. It was becoming brown now, drying into the fabric.

"Oh my God, Lucas," Karen left Nathan and stood in front of her son. She saw the anguish on his face, the tears he was trying to keep from falling. Karen put her hands on his shoulders. There was dried blood on his left shoulder from when he carried Keith out of Dan's house.


"What is it, Lucas?"

Lucas looked at his brother and his best friend sitting on the sofa. Just hours ago he would have never imagined that they would be sitting together on his sofa holding hands. It looked like Haley was trying to keep Nathan afloat.

"Mom, it's Keith. And Deb," Lucas said, turning his attention back to his mother. He took a step closer to her and put his hands on her shoulders. "Mom, they were shot. Someone killed them. I'm sorry, mom. I tried to help him. I tried, but it was too late."

He watched Karen's face fall and saw the tears fall down her cheeks. He pulled her into a tight hug. From over her shoulder, he saw how shocked Haley looked. Nathan didn't react. He sat there, his hands still in Haley's. Haley began to cry silently. Lucas knew that she and Keith had been close. She spent so much time at their house growing up and he had always been so kind to her.

"Keith," Karen said. "No."

"I'm sorry, mom. I'm sorry. Nathan found them and ran here. He found them and came to get me. Keith was alive when I got there, so I took him to the Doc. Doc couldn't do anything. I'm sorry, mom. I'm sorry."

Karen was sobbing loudly and clinging to her son. Her knees gave out and she began to fall to the ground. Lucas held her up. He held her close, not letting go of her. He could still see Nathan over his shoulder. Nathan still hadn't said anything. Haley was still holding his hands, but she moved one hand to his shoulder, trying to sooth him in any way that she could.

Haley looked at Nathan. No wonder he was in such bad shape. He found his mother and his uncle shot. No wonder he hadn't been able to say anything until he apologized to her. He didn't want to be him. That's what he had said to her. He didn't want to be him. What did he mean? Who was he talking about? It didn't matter now. What mattered was what was going on now. The people in this living room mattered. They had all lost people important to them. Karen lost the love of her life. Lucas lost the only father he had ever known. Nathan lost his mother.

Haley continued to move her hand soothingly over Nathan's shoulder, but he was nearly catatonic. He hadn't reacted since Lucas came in and announced what had happened. It was like he had shut down completely. He showed no signs of life. His eyes were empty. He had begun to shake a little, though. When Lucas said that they were dead, Nathan began to shake again.

Nathan stayed as still as his body would allow. He heard what Lucas had said. Someone had shot them. Someone. Nathan knew who it was. He had told Lucas. Did Lucas not believe him? Had Keith really been alive when Lucas got there? If he had, why hadn't Nathan checked? Nathan internally berated himself for not checking. He should have checked. Maybe in the time it took him to run here and Lucas to drive there, maybe he could have saved his Uncle Keith and then Karen wouldn't be hanging onto Lucas for dear life. Why hadn't he checked? Why was his brother lying?

Note: Well, that's it. The first chapter. I hope you enjoyed it! Thank you for reading and reviewing. if you guys review like you did on Your Hand in Mine, I'll be very lucky!