Fandom: One Tree Hill
Rating: Teen Rated
Disclaimer: I don't own a thing!
Spoilers/Warnings: This is an AU-ish story set sometime during Season 1.
Word Count: 1,617
Summary: For the second time that night, Nathan felt the sting of tears and he squeezed his eyes shut as his hold on Haley tightened. He rested his forehead against the side of her head as he willed himself not to cry. Affection had been scarce in his life over the course of the past few years. His mother used work as a way of staying away from home and his dad... well, Dan had made it crystal clear that basketball came first with him.
Author's Notes: This has been written for octoberwriting.
The sound of tapping at her window woke Haley up and so, pushing back the covers, she got out of bed and padded over to it. Despite the darkness, she easily recognized her boyfriend's familiar silhouette through the glass and, sliding the window open, she let him in.
“Thanks,” Nathan said as he climbed into the room. “I'm sorry for coming over so late and waking you up.”
Having crossed back over to switch on the lamp on her nightstand, she gasped when she turned and saw the swollen, cut lip he was sporting. “God, Nathan... What happened?”
He looked down at the floor as he spoke. “I, uh... got into a fight.”
“With who? It wasn't Lucas, was it?”
“No. It was with my dad.”
Since getting closer to Nathan she had soon realized just how volatile his relationship with Dan was and, not for the first time, she was grateful that her best friend hadn't grown up with him in his life. “He hit you?”
“Did you at least get to hit him back?” she asked.
An unexpected bubble of laughter escaped when her question registered and he couldn't help smiling. “I thought you were against violence.”
A faint blush infused her cheeks. “Usually I am but when it involves your dad... well, I'm prepared to make an exception since he's such an ass.”
“Thanks,” he replied, a smile tugging at the corner of his mouth.
“Are you okay?” Walking over to him, Haley reached up and gently ran the pad of her thumb along his bottom lip being careful to avoid the cut.
“I'm better now.”
Her blush deepened. Curling her hand around the back of his neck, she directed his face towards hers as she pushed up onto her toes to meet him halfway. She kissed the uninjured side of his mouth before wrapping her arms around him and hugging him tightly.
Banding his arms around her waist, Nathan buried his face in the crook of her neck as he felt an unfamiliar burning sensation prickling his eyes. “Thank you,” he whispered.
“For what?” She felt him shrug. “Nathan...”
“For everything. You're always here for me and I... I don't know what I'd do without you,” he told her.
Drawing back from him so she could look into his eyes, she said, “I'll always be here for you.”
Pressing his mouth against hers, he winced slightly at the pressure it put on his cut. “I'm here for you, too, Hales. You know that, right?”
“I know,” Haley said, softly caressing his cheek. “That looks painful... let me go and get you some ice to put on it.”
“You don't ha—”
“I want to,” she interrupted. Reaching for her robe which was lying across the bottom of her bed, she realized for the first time that she was standing there in just a pair of purple sleep shorts and a lavender colored tank top.
Having a pretty good idea of what she was probably thinking right now, he couldn't resist saying, “If I told you it'd help make me feel even better would you reconsider putting your robe on?”
He laughed when she ignored him and pulled on her robe, tightly tying the belt around her waist.
“I'll get the ice and some antiseptic cream,” she told him before hurrying out of the room.
“Wait,” he called after her. “What about your parents?”
Coming back into the room, Haley bit her lip as her gaze locked with his. “Uh... they're away for the weekend.”
While she went downstairs, Nathan looked around and took in the smiling faces in her family photographs which spanned a large area of one of the walls. Seeing a small stuffed brown bear on her dresser, he went over and picked it up.
“That's Mr Waffles,” Haley told him when she re-entered her bedroom a few minutes later. “I've had him since I was a baby.”
“I was just, uh... looking around.”
“It's fine, Nathan.” Taking his hand in his, she led him over to her bed and gently pushed him down onto the end of it. “This will sting a little.”
He hissed as the towel-wrapped ice pack came into contact with his lip. “That hurts more than the actual punch,” he mumbled.
“I'm sorry. It'll help with the swelling.”
He nodded. “I know.” Placing his hands on her hips, he turned her slightly and eased her down onto his lap. “I probably sound like a broken record but... thanks for taking care of me. I... um, I didn't know where else to go.”
She swallowed the lump that had suddenly formed in her throat. “You are always welcome here.”
For the second time that night, Nathan felt the sting of tears and he squeezed his eyes shut as his hold on Haley tightened. He rested his forehead against the side of her head as he willed himself not to cry. Affection had been scarce in his life over the course of the past few years. His mother used work as a way of staying away from home and his dad... well, Dan had made it crystal clear that basketball came first with him.
“Stay here tonight,” Haley said, running her fingers through his hair.
“You wouldn't mind? I mean, since your parents aren't here.”
“Why would I mind? Anyway, you've stayed here before when they've been out of town.”
“Yeah, I know.” He didn't know what was wrong with him tonight. For some reason he felt off-kilter. There was no contest when it came to the choice of either staying here with Haley or returning to the war zone that existed at home.
As she tended to his wound, she said, “Why did Dan hit you?”
“Why does he do half the things he does?” he replied, averting his gaze. The last thing Nathan wanted to do was tell her that Dan had started laying into his relationship with her and blaming her for him not spending enough time on perfecting his game. He'd smelled the alcohol on his father's breath and knowing that he was better off out of there he'd started to leave only for Dan to grab him and land an unexpected punch on him. The temptation to strike him back was strong but he forced himself not to do it, especially after he'd seen the guilt etched all over the older man's face.
“Yeah.” Watching him, she sensed there was a lot he wasn't telling her but she didn't want to push him.
After she had applied some antiseptic cream to his lip, he pouted. “I'm not going to be able to kiss you now.”
Haley mimicked his pout which made him laugh and then instantly wince with pain.
Popping a kiss onto his cheek, she said, “You may not be able to kiss me for a little while but I can kiss you?”
“Uh huh...” Giggling, she pressed her lips against the tip of his nose. “See?”
He shook his head at he antics while trying his best to not laugh.
“C'mon, let's try and get some sleep. I have a shift at the café in the morning so I need to be up early.”
“Don't apologize,” she quickly interjected. “I'm glad you came here and, for future reference, my window will always be open to you.”
His heart swelled in his chest. “Kiss me,” he commanded.
She was only too happy to oblige. Leaning into him, Haley suckled his top lip between hers and kissed him as best as she could whilst trying to avoid the antiseptic she'd applied onto his bottom one.
Nathan desperately wanted to deepen the kiss and he cursed his father for being the reason that he couldn't. Yet another thing to add to the list of faults against the old man.
When she slid off of his lap he voiced his disappointment. “Hales!”
Untying her robe, she let the pale blue fabric slip off her shoulders and down her arms. “Wouldn't you rather get into bed?” she asked, raising an eyebrow.
If possible, his heart started beating even faster and it was all he could do to nod.
Pulling back the covers, Haley climbed into her bed and made herself comfortable. She watched him hesitate before his fingers went to the top button of his jeans. “It's okay to take them off,” she reassured him. “Unless you're going to tell me you've gone commando,” she quipped.
“Don't worry, that was yesterday,” he teased. Kicking off his sneakers and removing his socks, he then pushed his jeans down his hips before removing them completely along with his sweatshirt which left him in just his T-shirt and boxers.
Getting into bed beside Haley, he instantly relaxed as she snuggled up next to him. Haley's head rested on his shoulder, stray strands of her auburn hair tickling his chin, while her right hand lay in the middle of his chest. Reaching over to her nightstand, he switched off the lamp before settling his palm over her wrist; his fingers lightly rubbing along her soft skin.
He knew by the change in her breathing that she had already succumbed to the pull of sleep and, as he slowly drifted off, his last conscious thought was of feeling completely safe... and loved.