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Apologies for spamming your friends lists if I am; I'm posting the chapters of this one on here since I'm going to be using LJ prompts to write the later chapters. OTH is my guilty pleasure and this couple is my OTP of all time.

ILTY is a look at those four months before Season 5, when Nathan was just getting out of the hospital after the accident. I'm aiming to show the deterioration of Nathan and Haley's relationship to the point it's at when we get Haley's blowup in 5x02. It's going to end at around 5x03 or 5x04, but I haven't figured out a chapter count yet (I will once I actually draft!). I've been hideously excited about this project since I started it, and I'm hoping LJers will like it just as much as my ff.net loves have.

With all that said, Chapters 1 through 4 will be posted now, and Chapter 5 is going up later tonight. Again, MANY APOLOGIES for the multiple posts.


I’m Looking Through You

I.

Blame

It had been a struggle just getting him into the car. She’d never labored under the delusion it would be easy—hell no. She’d known this was going to kill him inside. She’d known since the very first phone call.

But pretending made it easier. Sometimes she didn’t even do it consciously. She’d fall asleep in one of the hospital chairs dreaming of the better days—the early days of their relationship, or the first year or two they’d had at college in Maryland. Waking up was the hardest part. She would wake up expecting things to be different, and the part that sucked the most was that they never were.

Blaming herself was something she tried not to do, but it all came back to what she knew had set him off. Lucas had told her about how it had started. He hadn’t wanted to, but she’d made him, had demanded the details that night, that god-awful night.

She’d been too keyed up to sleep herself. She’d only just put Jamie down, and she was waiting up for Nathan. He always told her she didn’t have to, but Haley always responded that she wanted to. She trusted him not to drink too much, and she knew Lucas looked out for him and played designated driver, but they’d both been drinking tonight. He’d promised to take the limo if they got too trashed, but she just wanted to wait up for him.

Her resolve on that one was weakening, though. She had relieved the sitter, who hadn’t been able to get Jamie to sleep, and she’d had to read him two and half different stories—with all the voices—before he had. It was a little exhausting. She was nodding off in front of one of those late night infomercials when her phone vibrating snapped her out of it.

As the TV presenter told her that these were the only knives she’d ever need, Haley picked up the phone and answered drowsily. “Hello?”

She didn’t take in the background noise. It was chaotic, loud, the sirens blaring and nearly drowning Lucas out. To her sleep-deprived mind, it just sounded like normal background noise, like loud music at a bar like the one they’d been at earlier.

“Hales? Hales, you have to meet us at Tree Hill General. There’s… been an accident.”

That made her sit upright, tossing the blanket to the floor as she fumbled to find her shoes and keys. “What happened?! You or Nate?”

“It’s—you—you should just get down here, Hales—”

“Lucas, tell me right now! You or Nate?!”

But she knew. She knew because he was the one making the call; she knew because he hadn’t said it. They always told each other everything, so whatever he couldn’t tell her had to be bad.

“He went through a window. He got in a fight and they threw him into a window. He can’t… walk, Hales. The paramedics really think you should get down here…”

“I’m coming. I’m—I’m coming.”

Haley James Scott had a crisis autopilot. It was just how she dealt with these things sometimes. It came from growing up in such a large family. Accidents were bound to happen—people were bound to get hurt. She’d seen enough cuts and broken bones as a kid that she didn’t freak out seeing them in her adult life. Moms at the playground marveled at her grace under pressure. It was those instincts that had gotten her through life, like on the day of the shooting, when she’d made the 911 call and managed to tell the dispatcher Jimmy’s name, their location, the number of hostages. Grace under pressure.

But she most certainly hadn’t been graceful that night. That night had been hell. She’d sprinted to one of the next door neighbors, asking if they could please go over and watch Jamie. Maybe it was the tears thick in her voice, maybe it was her desperation, but they’d agreed. She had promised to come back in the morning and explain to Jamie why Momma wasn’t there, and then she’d bolted. Gotten into the car, fumbled with the seatbelt, driven like a madwoman to the Tree Hill General E.R., where she found Lucas waiting. She pushed back the thoughts of the last time they’d been here, the day of her and Nathan’s vow renewal. She pushed them back, or tried to. Her fears now were the same as they had been then—that he wouldn’t be okay, that he wouldn’t make it through this.

“What happened?” she’d asked, demanding tearfully to hear it even as Lucas pulled her into his arms, even as she beat her fists ineffectually into his chest. She wanted to say something, to scream—why hadn’t he stopped him? What hadn’t he done?—but she knew very well that nothing stopped Nathan when he got like that. His temper was one of the very few things that had never changed about him. “How bad is it? Did they say?”

“There were some guys at the bar trying to get a rise out of him. He was doing fine, I mean, he was walking away, we were gonna get home until one of them said…”

He trailed off, and she pulled away from the embrace, looking up at him and wiping fiercely at the tears running down her cheeks. She couldn’t do this. She had to be calm. “One of them said what?”

“You’re not gonna like it…”

“Lucas, just tell me what they said! Nothing is gonna make this worse, all right? Nothing you can say is going to make this worse, so just tell me!”

“One of them told Nathan he should’ve… left with his fatass wife, and he punched him. It got bad and they went through a window. There was glass in his spine; he couldn’t feel his legs…”

She couldn’t feel hers, now. She sank down into one of the waiting room chairs, remembering just a few years ago, lying here in her dirtied wedding dress, waiting. She’d felt guilty then, too. If only she’d stopped him from jumping into the water. Now, tonight, all that was going through her head was that she wished she wasn’t his weak spot. He would always defend her, would always try and protect her. It was what had driven him into the school the day of the shooting. It was the one thing she’d always told him he never had to do.

But here they were, and here they’d been before.

She blamed herself for that, though she knew it was pointless. She blamed herself for being the cause of the remark that had made him snap. She blamed herself for leaving that night. She blamed herself for not doing more to curb his temper, to stop him from reacting to every insult leveled against her. Too little, too late.

Haley looked over to the passenger seat, where he was sitting. They’d gone through the whole process earlier, the process they’d be doing for at least the next few months, from what the doctor had told them. She’d gotten him out of the wheelchair, helping him into the car, though he’d tried his damnedest to struggle against it. He didn’t want to be the weak one. He didn’t want to be helped, and it was killing her to see it. He’d fought her, never hitting out, never hurting her physically, but insisting he could do it, ignoring her when she told him he couldn’t really try. He’d resigned himself when he’d finally realized it was useless to fight.

He’d dozed off now, lulled by the rain against the windshield and the rhythm of the wipers, dazed from the pain medication. That was one thing that worried her—medication. Deb’s struggles with prescription pill abuse were never far from her mind. She had an addictive personality, and those things were genetic. She worried about Nathan and these pills. She worried about a lot of things.

Haley pulled into their driveway and shut off the car, needing to give herself a few minutes before it all started up again. She knew what she’d see in the house. Lucas was there with Jamie, had been keeping him occupied all day, trying to explain to a four year old what it would be like to have Daddy so hurt. There would be visitors throughout the next couple days. Deb was coming by tomorrow, and Mouth, Junk, and Fergie had promised to help out with Jamie. She’d called Brooke and Peyton and told them what had happened, but both of them had their own lives and jobs now—they couldn’t drop everything to come out, and she knew that. They’d both promised to try and come if they could, but she didn’t expect much.

She reached over, shaking Nathan’s shoulder as gently as she could. “Nathan. Nathan, we’re home…”

He opened his eyes, went to open the car door and get out, before he stopped himself. He couldn’t get out on his own. It was one of the adjustments they were going to have to learn to make over the next few months.

He didn’t say anything as she helped him out of the car and into the wheelchair, didn’t fight her this time. As she wheeled him up the drive and into the house, she breathed a shuddery sigh, turning her face to the sky for a moment, feeling the rain run down her face.

“What are you thinking?”

“Nothing. Just praying for rain.”

They’d come back from that time, she told herself. They’d been struggling, they’d been hurting, they’d worked through it.

She took the rain as a good omen, as a sign things would be okay. With that in mind, she wheeled him into the house.

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