Rating: PG-13 for language
Genre: Romance, drama
Characters/Pairings: Dean/Haley, Sam/Peyton
Spoilers/Warnings: Nothing really. It’s really AU, and read the first part of the AN to find out why. BUT there are some things that have happened on both shows that you could either read as just being AU or as something that has happened.
Type/Word Count: LONG One-Shot (5,278 words)
Author’s Note: Kind of a one-shot sequel to a multi-chaptered story I’m working on. Not completely spoilery if you wish to read that when it’s over, but it gives hints to what I’m planning and the gist of what starts the fic off.
It was a tragic accident. That was the only explanation for it. Haley James had been standing in the middle of the road, arguing with her ex-boyfriend Nathan Scott about getting back together, when a car came up the street at fifty miles an hour, and ran Haley right over. It didn’t slow down, if anything, it sped up according to Nathan. They had no idea who’d done it, or why. And Nathan had been little help with any sort of color, make, or license plate number of the car. For once, Peyton Sawyer had to commend Nathan for his obliviousness and his excessive attention to Haley and immediately checking to see if she was okay.
Peyton sat vigil at Haley’s bedside for three days. They’d become so close after Jake had left her, and Haley had caught Nathan and Brooke making a sex tape in the apartment Nathan and Haley shared. They’d become like sisters after their journey with the Winchester boys that had resulted in so much emotional and physical damage, not to mention the loss and gruesome sights they witnessed. The worse had to have been when Haley and Peyton had to leave Dean and Sam to come back to Tree Hill for college. A knot twisted in the blonde’s stomach as she realized that she’d spent four hours tracking down Haley’s parents, but she hadn’t even called Sam. Or more appropriately, Dean. So she stood, slowly removing her hand from Haley’s as if the latter would break at the sudden movement, and used both her hands to wipe her tears away, sniffling loudly as she did so.
She cast one look over her shoulder at her lifeless friend, and felt more tears prickling behind her eyes as she couldn’t help but think that Haley should be bouncing around campus at school organizing some sort of study group or mic night or something. Not laying in a hospital bed with her vibrant aura now a dull shine as if she weren’t even residing in her own body. Peyton turned and left the room in a rush, taking a deep breath when she made it into the waiting room where Nathan, Lucas Scott, and Rachel Gattina awaited any sort of news.
Rachel noticed her first and stood quickly, fear overwhelming her face as she noticed Peyton’s grief, “Oh God… Peyton?”
Peyton shook her head and walked up to Rachel, looking for solace in her friend, “She’s fine. It’s just hard.” She said, her voice wavering as her throat restricted from emotional pain. She wrapped her arms tightly around Rachel, receiving the same from the redhead, and unlikely friend. Rachel had become good friends to both Peyton and Haley, and it’d come out of no where. No one really knew what happened. One minute to the town, Haley and Peyton loathed Rachel and vice versa. Then they were all suddenly great friends. No one could explain it but as time waned on, curiosity went with it.
“Why aren’t you in there? You’ve been attached to her ever since she came out of surgery. You physically threatened security when they tried to remove you from the room when visiting hours were over.” Nathan asked bitterly, crossing his arms over his chest as he did so. While Peyton had been in the room, he hadn’t been allowed to visit Haley. Only one visitor at a time was allowed in Tree Hill Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit.
“I need to call someone for her. Rach, can you go sit with her please?” Peyton asked the girl whose hand held hers in a firm grip that was meant to be reassuring.
Before Rachel could respond, Nathan cut in, “I will.” He began walking towards the hall that would lead to Haley’s room.
“No way in hell.” Peyton said, stepping in front of Nathan and placing her hand squarely on his chest to stop him from going any further, “Nathan. I haven’t slept, ate, or showered in two days. I’m extremely angry right now over what happened to Haley. Do you really want to test me by going within ten feet of her room? Just because you called the ambulance for her, doesn’t mean she’d want you in there with her, so shut your mouth and don’t even suggest that or I’ll rip your tongue out and put it on a donor list. She stopped wanting you around the moment you screwed her best friend in her bed. I’d let your father in to see her before I let you in. Now. Rachel, can you please go sit with her?” Peyton asked tightly as she stared (more like glared) Nathan down.
“Of course.” The redhead responded before casting a look between a bewildered Lucas, intimidated Nathan, and fuming Peyton, and briskly walked off to go claim Peyton’s seat next to Haley.
“I’m going to go make that phone call. If I get back here and you’re not still sitting here whining like a puppy dog, it better be because you went home, and didn’t even look in Haley’s window.” Peyton shoved Nathan backwards, and walked off. She had to admit, she felt a little less stressed after chewing out Nathan. Now she fully understood why Haley sometimes said that she missed Nathan sometimes. She rounded a few corners until she found a quiet place where there was no doctors to tell her to turn off her cell phone, and no patients roaming the halls, and no feelings that death was looming, and flipped open her cell phone. Her thumb hit speed-dial three; Sam’s cell. She lifted the phone to her ear and waited impatiently until the fourth ring when Sam’s voice filtered through into her ear. She could tell her was surprised to hear from her, and she took a deep breath, finally releasing the one she’d be holding. “Hi Sam. Is this a bad time?” Of course it was, he was in the middle of a mission. Nothing dangerous at that moment, just recon. She sorta missed it in that moment, “Sorry. I just needed to talk to Dean.” She knew that was sound weird, as he immediately asked if anything was wrong, “I just need to find him.” She said, desperation evident in her voice. She could practically hear it click mentally with Sam before he told her that Dean was at the motel and gave her his cell phone number. “Thank you.” She said quietly, slowly, not wanting to hang up. It was the first time in three months that they’d spoken. Her heart jolted when he uttered that he missed her. She sighed deeply, leaning back against the wall for support, her head dropping soundly against it, “I miss you too.” She omitted, fresh tears slipping from her eyes.
She quickly hung up the phone when she heard another woman’s drunken calling for ‘Sammy-kins’, and took a moment to recuperate. The ninety second phone call had wrecked havoc on her already fragile nerves. Her heart ached so bad to be with Sam. They’d tried text messages, emails, phone calls, all of it, for the first few months. But it just wasn’t enough. It made her physically ache when she wanted comforting sometimes and she couldn’t turn to him and have him be there. It terrified her not knowing what he was doing, or whether he was alive. It was unnatural how many nights she spent awake, twirling a short strand of hair around her finger so tightly she nearly pulled it out of her head, trying to envision what he was doing at that moment. Trying to feel him, and make sure he was okay. She shook her head, ridding the painful thoughts, and quickly dialed Dean’s cell phone. He was easier to talk to. He immediately knew something was wrong from her number, and barked out a demand to tell him what happened, “It’s Haley, Dean. She’s in the hospital… it’s bad. She was run over by a car. She’s in the ICU. It’s been three days… she hasn’t woken up.” He told her that ‘they’d’ be there noon. That meant not only that he was dropping their case just to come to Haley, but he was bringing Sam. Not that that should surprise her; Sam and Dean went everywhere together. But suddenly she wanted to run and hide somewhere dark and never come out. She wasn’t ready to see Sam after six months.
Dean hadn’t lied when he said they’d be there by noon. Peyton was roused from her nap by the man’s gruff voice demanding, loudly, where to find Haley James’ room. She stood groggily from Haley’s bedside, brushing her fingers over Haley’s cheek before she left the room and followed Dean Winchester’s voice. She saw his worn leather jacket back standing tensely at the desk, the bossy nurse that always gave Peyton the evil-eye had turned it on Dean for disrupting her floor. Sam was standing next to him, trying to rationalize with his brother, and asking him to shut up, presumably so that he could do damage control. That was so like Sam. Always keeping his brother’s temper in check so that he could put on that heart-melting smile and his puppy-dog eyes and sweetly ask for what information they needed when Dean’s charm, or lack thereof depending on his caffeine levels, failed. “Sam? Dean?”
They whirled around simultaneously at Peyton’s nervous voice. The moment Sam’s eyes fell on her, it took a beat before he was walking towards her, scooping her into his arms in a tight, comforting hug, whispering how sorry he was into her ear. Sorry for everything; Haley, leaving, losing contact, all of it. He pulled away from the hug, noting the tears immediately. He felt his stomach clench, as he wasn’t sure if they were tears of relief, sorrow, or both. “No, don’t cry, Peyton. Please don’t cry.” He pleaded, his hands coming up to frame her face, his thumbs stroking her wet cheeks to brush away her tears.
A whirlwind of emotions raged inside Peyton the moment Sam’s eyes connected with hers, and continued to fight against the other as he tenderly wiped away her tears. Her hands encircled the back of his neck, hands stroking his hair as she leant into him, his lips finding her forehead. She repressed a shudder as the simple action sent electricity through her, awakening what had lain dormant for six months since she last saw him.
“Really, as touching as this is,” Dean began with lack of patience and sarcasm lining his voice, “Can you please tell me where the hell Haley is?” His voice took on a growl, hands clenching tightly. He’d go looking behind every damn door in about two seconds if someone didn’t tell him where Haley was. Since his phone had rang, and the Tree Hill area code popped up without it coming up as ‘Hales’, he knew immediately that something was wrong. Only other person that he knew in Tree Hill was Peyton, and the only reason she’d call him is if something was wrong. They weren’t exactly pals. They had a mutual toleration deal seeing as his brother loved Peyton, while Dean… well… Dean had feelings for her best friend. After that call had finished, he immediately packed up their things, called Sammy’s cell, and told him to screw the case. Nobody was dead from whatever it was they were hunting. Just slightly… frightened. That wasn’t so bad. It was a freakin’ walk in the park compared to what Peyton had told him about Haley’s accident. He’d pretty much broken his record for ‘highest speed over the speed limit’ trying to get from Saint Augustine to Tree Hill.
“Who the hell are you and why would you want to know?”
Peyton actually groaned out loud. She wondered why in the hell Nathan had to show up now of all times. “Go away, Nathan! I thought I made it clear last night that Haley wouldn’t want you here if she were awake.”
Dean felt an unfamiliar emotion roll through him as he turned from the new member to Haley’s entourage, to Peyton, “She’s still not awake?” He asked quietly, swallowing the lump that formed in his throat. Dean watched Peyton shake her head sadly, and unconsciously leant back against Sam, who wrapped his arm completely around her shoulders, pinning her back to his chest as he dropped his chin onto her head. He felt that feeling again and quickly realized it was fear. Not the excited, adrenaline kind that he felt on cases. Real, unadulterated fear. It took another minute, before it clicked in his head, that Peyton had referred to this new guy with hair that should only belong in a 80’s/90’s transition boy band, as Nathan. Haley had told him about this guy. She walked in on him screwing her, then, best friend, in the bed that they shared. Rage quickly replaced the fear as Dean did the only rational thing that came to mind; he punched Nathan square in the face, sending the teen reeling backwards into the wall. The impact made his head bounce off the wall, before he sank down it, crying out about a broken nose.
“Oh for crying out loud! This ain’t no Dawson’s Creek!” The nurse shouted, rounding the nurses’ station and information desk to stand in the space between Dean and where Nathan was being assisted by two male nurses. She placed her hands on her hips, Dean and Sam both being reminded of an angrier Missouri as the woman took this stance, “You,” she pointed at Peyton and Sam, “Fornicate in a broom-closet like the hospital staff and just about every other damn person in this hospital.” She turned to Dean next, “And you. As long as you don’t punch anymore people on the way, your Haley James is at the end of that hall, take the right, and she’s the third room on the left.” She said, pointing to the hall in which Peyton had came from. “Now, get outta here before I change my mind and call security on you lot!” She said, waving her hands in the air as she turned around and went to help a weeping Nathan. “And you, quit your bitching. You’ve been annoying me since the moment you walked into this hospital. You ain’t gonna get any sympathy from me!” She told Nathan as she, rather roughly, pushed his wheelchair towards the elevator to take him to the proper place to get his nose checked.
Peyton bit back a smile, “You’re so my hero.” She said to Dean, before his adrenaline from punching Nathan wore off, and he grew worried again. “Go.” She simply told him, before turning to Sam, “You and I are gonna go find that broom closet.” She told Sam, grabbing his hand and pulling him off in a random direction, leaving Dean behind to stare after them briefly, before turning to look at the hallway that led to Haley.
Dean slowly walked into the hallway, taking each step as slowly as possible. On the trip, all he could think about was getting to Haley’s bedside, and now, he wanted to prolong it as long as possible. Because he knew the sort of sight that awaited him. She’d be hurt. Physically. Not to mention, she’d be unconscious. He couldn’t even handle seeing her emotionally hurting. Sure, he wasn’t good around any sort of crying woman, unless it was crying out in pleasure. This wasn’t like him. This wasn’t Dean. To be taking slow, unsure steps towards a hospital room where a girl was lying. She was alive. That was the positive thing. He needed to stop being such a pansy. It’s not like she was dead. It wasn’t like he loved her. With that thought, he stopped, reaching her door. How in the hell was he supposed to go in and talk to a girl he hadn’t seen in six months, let alone while she was unconscious? Why the hell was he, Dean Winchester, wondering that? He shook his head, rolling his eyes at himself, and walked right into the room.
He stopped almost immediately. He wasn’t sure if it was the poor, bland lighting, or just his mind playing tricks on him, but seeing Haley’s prone figure made his heart stop in fear. She looked dead. He’d seen a lot of death in his life, but only his father’s body twisted on a hospital floor had caused this tidal wave of nausea to rip through his stomach like it was as soon as his eyes befell Haley. Walking slowly towards her bed, he tried desperately to recall the last time he’d seen her smile. Heard her laugh… anything. Something to replace this image of her in a hospital bed. She wasn’t Haley. He knew it was her body. Knew she was in there somewhere. But it was just a shell of who she was… is. He had to remind himself that she just looks dead and isn’t actually dead. He hovered at the side of her bed, fingers itching to reach out and curl around hers… but he was afraid that she’d die the second he touched her. Everything around him seemed to die; their light would fade gradually and pass on. And Haley had so much light. So much life. He couldn’t bear to see that fade.
So instead of taking her hand in his, he grabbed the chair by the window, and pulled it closer to the bed, wincing at the loud scraping sound it made in the otherwise nearly silent room. The only real sound there was that refused to go away was the steady beeps indicating that Haley was in fact alive, despite her pale skin. He noted that her skin was black, blue, and purple in several areas as well, that he could see. On her neck, her forehead, her arms. He was pretty sure her back and legs would be the same color, if not darker, from the impact. One of her legs was propped up, a fresh cast encasing it. Her head was wrapped in gauze, but the flimsy material didn’t mask the severity of the large gash that disappeared into her hairline. It didn’t even make it to the scrapes along her cheek and chin from where he imagined she hit the cement. He saw it all play out in his head. She was standing in the middle of the road, gorgeous smile on her face, and then nothing. Just twisted limbs flying through the air as bones broke and skin split, blood staining pavement as tires scorched the cement in an effort to flee, leaving Haley broken and battered as if she were nothing. It made Dean’s blood boil and a need for revenge surge through him.
Dean looked at Haley’s face, willing her eyes to open and her lips to spread in a smile, or even in a frown asking him why the hell he was within a mile of her. He reached out, his hand hovering over her face, curving from the crown of her head to her jaw, never touching her, just ghosting along her features as he tried to remember the last time he’d touched her warm skin. It’d been awhile. Six long months. Six long months of secretly pining while maintaining his womanizer ways to keep up appearances. Thinking about her all the times he touched another woman’s flesh, or kissed another woman’s lips. Haley James, sassy yet good girl from Tree Hill, North Carolina, had unintentionally and irrevocably gotten under Dean Winchester’s, the bad-ass hunter who sleeps with anything in a skirt from Lawrence, Kansas, skin.
He pulled his lower lip through his teeth painfully (he didn’t bite, only girls bite), feeling blood rush to it and cause it to swell, reveling in the physical pain rather than the emotional pain that warred inside of him, trying to kick his rough exterior’s ass and show some weakness, some general emotion on the outside. His eyes were transfixed to Haley’s limp hand, that stupid clamp was attached around her index finger. Dean’s hand moved of its own accord to hover over her hand, hesitating briefly before laying gingerly over her own. When her heart monitor didn’t indicate a singular beat as soon as he touched her, he released a breath he didn’t know he’d been holding. He brought his other hand up to slip underneath hers, grasping her cool hand tightly between both of his.
“Hales…” He said softly, his voice choked on the word. He cleared his throat, leaning forward and propping his elbows up on the bed by her hip, hoping that she was on enough morphine that the dip in the bed didn’t hurt her while she was unconscious. “You know… I remember the first time I saw you. I didn’t think much of it. I didn’t know who you were, or that you were the one I was looking for. Naturally, I tried to hit on you, and you laughed at me. That was a first. You know, you can give a guy a complex.” He chuckled softly, recalling that day in Karen’s Café where she’d been standing behind the counter in a simple orange t-shirt and jeans. “You were just this innocent, small town girl. But you had this fire about you that demanded attention. I always thought you were more of Sam’s kinda girl, but who woulda figured him and Sawyer are kinda perfect for each other. They clicked immediately and I hated my brother for that. He’s had these girls just fall in love with him, Jessica, Sarah, Peyton. All I could do was get girls into bed. I never had time for love. Not even with Cassie… I told you about her, remember? Told you that I thought I knew what love was, after you’d told me about Nathan. We both helped each other out that night. You showed me what a future could be like after we find this demon. But that future doesn’t mean squat unless you’re in it. You can’t die on me, Hales. I need you, and I’ve never said words like this to another girl before and meant them… please. Just… wake up and make fun of me. Tell me that I’m such a girl for crying at your bedside while you were just catching up on your beauty rest. Tell me that you want me to go to hell and leave you alone. Don’t leave me pleading here. Don’t leave me alone again. Just… please, wake up.” Dean felt tears sliding across his cheeks as he clamped her hand tighter between his, praying to whatever listened that she could hear him and it was enough to wake her up. “Please…” He whispered, removing his hand from on top of hers and bringing her hand to his lips. Then he leant his head forward and held it to his forehead, whispering please repeatedly.
The only time Dean left her side for the next two days was when he had to go to the bathroom. Peyton and Sam would bring him food, and the nurse that had yelled at them all had relented and told them that Haley was in enough of a stable condition that more visitors could be in her room at a time even though they hadn’t moved her from the ICU yet, so Peyton and Sam sat with him on the couch across from Haley’s bed. He knew they would whisper about his stoic exterior and try to figure out what was going on in the interior, but he barely acknowledged it. All he did was sit there and hold Haley’s hand. Around midnight on the fifth day that she’d been unconscious, Dean finally fell asleep. He’d managed to stay awake solidly until that moment. He had short, interchanging dreams of Haley. Some were of her living and they were together, happy. But then he’d come home one night and find her pinned to the ceiling before flames erupted around her. In other dreams, she died and became of vengeful spirit, and he’d have to get rid of her. In the last one, he was exactly how he was in reality. Asleep next to her unconscious figure, head resting on her hip… but he was watching from outside his body. He noticed that in the dream, her fingers twitched, her head moving so slightly that he wondered if he was just imagining it in the dream.
But then something invaded his dream. He felt something running across his head. Something warm. Instincts set in, and he jumped awake, grabbing whatever had touched him. His eyes took a minute to register he had a wrist in a death grip. It took him another moment to realize it was a woman’s. He followed the wrist’s arm, hoping his mind wasn’t deceiving him as he found himself looking at Haley’s face. Her eyes open, a groggy smirk on her face.
“You know… even with the morphine, I’m sure that probably hurts.” She said, looking to her wrist, her voice raspy, like she’d smoked a pack of cigarettes a day for her whole life. She blinked lazily, staring at Dean’s blank face, watching his eyes suddenly become alert and she felt her wrist slip through his fingers. Her limbs all felt heavy, kind of like they were numb or asleep and she couldn’t really move them. It’d taken all her strength to run her hand over Dean’s head, making sure he was real and not a figment of her drugged-out imagination. She’d missed him so much. She’d wanted to call him, email him, anything, but she wasn’t sure if she still had that right after how they’d departed. On less than pleasant terms. Things had been tense between them after everything that had happened, personally and “professionally”.
He couldn’t believe it. She was awake. She was joking. She wasn’t throwing him out of the room. She was alive. “Haley…” He started, his voice choking as emotion overwhelmed him at seeing her awake, seeing her smile, looking into her eyes. He stood up, moving to sit next to her on the bed, their hips touching as he leant down, laying himself across her as he tried to wind his arms around her back. “You’re okay.” He said, trying to convince himself of the truth, praying that this wasn’t his dream still.
“I’m okay.” Haley whispered weakly in reassurance, arching her back with much difficultly to allow him to pull her closer, thankful all the while that the morphine was still working. She curled her hand around his neck, thumb brushing along his hairline in an attempt to comfort him. “I’m okay.” She said again as she felt moisture seep through her thin hospital gown and onto her stomach. She bit her lip as tears prickled her eyes, glad that he was here. Glad to know that he still cared. Most of all, glad she was alive, and so was he. She knew how dangerous his line of “work” is; she’d seen it first hand. She constantly worried about him, whether or not they were speaking or on good terms. “How’d you know?”
Dean pulled away, keeping his head ducked as he tried inconspicuously to roughly wipe away the tears from his face before straightening up to look at her. Her hand was still around his neck, and he reached up so that his hand encircled her wrist gently, thumb making lazy circles along her pulse point, relieved as it steadily grew stronger beneath his ministrations. “Peyton called. She told me and I grabbed Sammy and got here as fast as my girl would take us.” His infamous smirk lit up his face as he cocked his head at the mention of his precious Impala.
A small laugh rumbled deep in her chest, not quiet making it out as coughs overtook her. She rolled her eyes in impatience as she had a cough fit. It was as if she was being put out by it. She took a deep breath when it past, her hand covering Dean’s knee to reassure him that she was fine once more, and looked into his eyes. She felt her heart skip a bit, her monitor reflecting that. She blushed while Dean smirked assuming he was to blame for that. She swatted his knee before sobering, “I’m glad you’re here Dean. I’ve missed you.” She said softly, “Hell, if I’d have known it’d take getting run over by a car for you to come see me, I’d have thrown myself in front of traffic six months ago.” She tried to joke away the situation, but noticed the fire that flashed through Dean’s eyes and recognized it. She desperately looked around for a subject change, and her eyes fell on Dean’s hand. More specifically, his knuckles. “What happened?” She asked, grabbing his hand and pulling it closer to examine the bruises, “This happen during a hunt?”
“No. I punched Nathan.” Dean said as if it were nothing, shrugging his shoulders carelessly as he looked at their hands, noticing how much smaller hers were compared to his. He couldn’t help but fold their hands together, twining their fingers. “He hurt you… so I hurt him.” He added absentmindedly. He looked up when she didn’t reprimand him, and saw her smirking, her eyes dancing with mirth as the last traces of exhaustion faded from her face. “I missed you too.” He said softly, his free hand moving to her face, his thumb brushing along her jaw, fingers slipping into the hair that spilled out from underneath the gauze around her head.
They stared at each other intently for a moment, both knowing that the simple ‘I missed you too’ was as close as Dean could get to admitting how deep his feelings went for Haley at this point in time. Haley rolled her eyes after a minute, pulling her hand from Dean’s and both reached to grab fistfuls of his shirt, “What’re you waiting for? An invitation?” She asked, before she managed enough strength to pull Dean towards her.
Dean managed to catch himself when Haley pulled him towards her, hands braced on either side of her so that he didn’t hurt her anymore that she already was. The second his lips brushed against hers, he remembered what it was like to feel alive. For the longest time he just went through his usual routine of sleeping, flirting, eating, driving, and hunting. He slept with girls to try and fill a hollow that had been left in place of all the times he’d narrowly avoided death only to see the death of people he knew, people he cared about. But this, just a simple ghost of touch made him feel real. A sudden urge came over him. The craving for this life. His left arm slid around her, bringing her closer and pressing his lips firmly against hers. He knew he’d never be able to forget her. He’d tried, but in truth, he never wanted to. She was his salvation. She was the one that he wanted waiting for him after the demon was gone. She was the one.
Their kissing grew heated, lips parting to slide their tongues against the other’s, tasting what they’d missed out on for months. Hands traveled to places they really shouldn’t go while in the middle of a hospital when anyone could walk in on them. And that’s exactly what happened, when the angry nurse came in yelling about inappropriate actions for a hospital and to at least close the blinds next time.