Notes and disclaimers: for kuteki, Yuletide 2005. One Tree Hill and the characters herein are someone else's, not mine. No profit ever. Thanks to circusgirl, e and SA. Title from Badly Drawn Boy. Goes AU after Locked Hearts And Hand Grenades.



BEEN PUT BACK THE RIGHT WAY AROUND



Naturally, she told Peyton first, when they met in the parking lot at school. "I've decided, P. Sawyer. No boy is good enough for me. At least for a while, anyway. I'm washing my hands of it. I'm hot, I'm great, I'm Brooke, I'm right about this. I may be right about everything."

Peyton smiled. She was all blonde sunshine and light, because Brooke always got the best friend smile that was real. "Okay. And when Lucas says hi to you or wants to go out, you'll say no."

"Watch me. I'm too good for him, anyway."

Peyton, of course, had no answer for that, though she was totally smirking. Brooke said, "You should join me in this boy break. Someone asks you out, you say no. We focus on us."

"You're taking a boy break to date me?"

"Tempting," Brooke said. "No, silly. We should be strong independent women."

"Aren't we already?"

"That was totally convincing, Peyton. Could you look a little more pouty sad when you say it next time, though? Because that totally sells it." Brooke took Peyton's arm and tugged her closer. "Look, you're amazing. I'm amazing. We don't need the pain and suffering. We need to step back and harness our strength so we can come back stronger and --"

"Harnessed, which is pretty kinky, even for you, Brooke." Peyton said, laughing. "Look, you last a week, and I'll join you."

"I could last forever," Brooke said, staring at Lucas as he walked by.

*

Brooke had a great time at three parties in a row, even if Lucas did nearly laugh at her about the boy break thing. It strengthened her resolve, stupid boy. Except he wasn't stupid at all. He was great.

He was great but he broke her heart over and over and she did insanely stupid things because of him or Felix or some other guy and she was ending it. If she didn't nip that bud right now, she'd be doing it for the rest of her life and then she might turn into Nathan's mom. Great rack, totally unhappy. Not for Brooke.

At party four, Lucas looked more understanding and she remembered why she liked him so much. Being all tempting and sweet and "You're smart, Brooke, don't let anyone tell you otherwise," which she knew, of course.

But she was going to make it. At least for six weeks. This was going to be great for her. She straightened her back and put her best assets forward. It was already great.

"Great, huh?" Peyton said the next morning. Her shirt was droopy and sad, not Peyton's usual tight little t-shirts. A very bad sign.

"You should try it."

"I feel like I am already," Peyton said.

"Then make it so, girl. We join together in our kick-assedness."

"Does it count if I'm not seeing anyone or pretending to see anyone or not in love?"

Brooke closed her locker and set off for class. She knew Peyton was walking right behind her. "Peyton, it counts. For you, the boy break means letting go of Jake. Not forever, and it's totally called off if he comes back, duh, but seriously, you boy break, I boy break and then we come back at our fighting strength."

Peyton laughed and said, "It's a deal."

It was totally helpful. They were a great support system for each other. As always. "Unbreakable team," Brooke wrote on a note she passed Peyton. She'd poked Peyton when she got that moony look on her face that meant Jake thinking. Peyton poked Brooke when she saw Brooke staring at Lucas. They wouldn't fall with each other.

*

Peyton decided their boy break had to be reflected in their music. "We're not listening to any love songs. We're listening to songs about everything else. Life, politics, integrity --"

"Getting drunk and stupid and having fun," Brooke said from her bed. She would have done a little cheer but she was touching up her pedicure and it required concentration. Right at that moment she needed to wait thirty more seconds for the polish to dry.

"Yeah. Okay," Peyton said. "Though you are right about the fun part."

"So we're pretty much listening to lots of chick music with screaming," Brooke said, frowning.

Peyton turned up the stereo. "This is not chick music. This is Bright Eyes. A guy, Brooke. A brilliant guy." She paused. "Though not this song. God, everyone writes about love."

"Because it's important, duh." Brooke sat up and didn't move her feet. "It makes everything better, having that someone who makes you feel, like, complete. Of course, it also rips you apart and shreds your entire being and makes you so stupid you don't deserve to live. But we keep going back because of the good stuff. So, this is a break, we're not becoming nuns."

"You would be a horrible nun, Brooke."

"Oh, yeah." Brooke jumped off the bed and got her best heels out. "But, see, we're going to this party and we're going to laugh and get wasted and not worry about, like, who sees us or what anyone else is doing." Brooke grinned. "And you are wearing this lipstick."

Haley came in doing her red eyed sniffling thing and said, "I'm not going to the party, Brooke."

Peyton rolled her eyes. She said, "Haley, you need a boy break."

"Right," Haley said. She smiled at Brooke. "But, Brooke, what if you finish this and things don't work out like you want with Lucas?"

Brooke tugged at her skirt. Not like she hadn't thought about it. She had, over and over again. "It would suck, but it would totally be his loss. Maybe we weren't meant to be. I mean, we're in high school. We didn't get married, Tutor Wife. He can do what he wants and so can I. Not that it wouldn't hurt like hell. But been there, done that. Plus, I'm totally focusing on my cheerleading and designing and school president-ing."

"Cheerleading is over pretty soon," Haley said.

Peyton said, "Brooke, when did you get so, um."

"Smart? Ages ago. Well, a few weeks ago." Stupid crazy bitch Rachel driving Brooke so crazy she had to do something. Stupid life. But it was all working out okay so far.

Haley said, "Well. I can do one night."

Peyton flipped her the lipstick. "You can at least look pretty, then."

*

It was so much easier doing the boy break with Peyton. And Haley, but Peyton was the one Brooke had her eyes on all the time. Peyton was a hottie. Brooke had always known that and been pretty happy they were different kinds of hotties. Except for Lucas, they got eyed by different guys. And Brooke found herself thinking she would probably be one of the guys eyeing Peyton.

Maybe she should stop watching so much Ellen while empowering herself.

"I am drunk," Brooke said. Then she fell on the bed. "That was fun."

"That was total fun. When did parties actually get fun?" Peyton sat down next to her, crazy nearly sober girl.

"They got fun with the boy break since I'm brilliant." Brooke shifted and moved and got her bra off. It was such a great bra.

Peyton slipped under the covers next to her. "I'm staying tonight, okay?"

"You and me both, P. Sawyer."

"You live here, B. Davis." Peyton laughed and tugged the blankets over to her. "We don't do this enough."

"We should totally sleep together more often," Brooke said, laughing. Peyton was always so warm and comfy. No poky elbows.

Maybe she shouldn't stop watching so much Ellen while empowering herself.

*

The boy break ended on the same day for all three girls. It was six weeks for Brooke, four weeks for Peyton and two weeks for Haley. There was Lucas, there were guys and guys for Peyton and Nathan for Haley. But it was better to have a break.

Because things ended. Like they always did. It was high school, after all. She'd never really convinced herself to expect anything else. At least it hurt a little less.

By the time summer officially started she was over Lucas. In a good way where she could think about fall and sending him emails and keeping in touch. Because he was important to her. But not the one for her. End of that story, issue settled.

She woke up with Peyton and it was Tuesday and she didn't have to work. "This is pretty much bliss," Brooke said.

"The sun is in my eyes," Peyton said.

"Whatever, sleepy girl. We have the whole summer ahead of us and this one? Is going to be the best one."

"Your words have power." Peyton's mascara was smudged, her eyeshadow was caked and she still looked beautiful. It wasn't surprising to Brooke. Peyton said, "So no biological mothers showing up out of the blue, no you going away, no, God, do you remember that first summer when I was dating Nathan? Wow. I haven't thought about that in years."

"You were so funny. You were dating the golden boy and we were both on the cheerleading squad and kicking ass and you were so bitter and depress-o girl. You must have done 500 of your freaky drawings. Those were so not the days. Also, how many times did I walk in on you guys making out?" Brooke sat up a little. "Thank god you had me."

"Thank god I had you. And, hey, how many times did you say 'can I join you?' when you walked in on us?"

Brooke laughed. "Hey, Scott brothers are hot. But we're done with both, right?"

"Totally." Peyton took a deep breath and kissed Brooke. It was that quick, like Brooke blinked and Peyton was touching her neck and they were pressed against each other. In a good way, Brooke thought, as she opened her mouth. She didn't even care about the yucky morning breath.

Peyton moved on top of her and Brooke still managed to get her hand in Peyton's little boy shorts. It was really hot in the best way and wet and it felt like forever before they stopped. A good kind of forever, Brooke thought. She said, "That was good." She laughed. "And you know, the only girl I really know how to get off is me so I'm impressed with you."

Peyton was looking down and blushing. "You did good. I wasn't sure you'd even kiss back."

"So you were just testing me? Checking out how gay I am?" Brooke sat up.

"No. No. I just wasn't sure. About you. Though you do spend a lot of time checking me out."

"You're hot."

Peyton smiled. "You, too."

*

After the mall and hamburgers and fries, they did it again, for longer and better. This time they woke up in Brooke's bed. Peyton said, "Aren't you wondering?"

"Wondering about?"

"I jumped you, Brooke. Out of the blue." Peyton laughed and got out of bed. Brooke frowned until Peyton got back under the covers.

"Okay, what was that, girlfriend?"

"Because I've been thinking about it. Since the boy break. And since Anna kissed me. When I thought, this is not for me. Except maybe if it was Brooke. Though now I kinda wish I'd made out with her a little. Because it is for me."

"We're getting a headstart on our lesbian phase for college time," Brooke said, smiling.

"You think it's a phase?"

"Peyton, you and I are never a phase," Brooke said.

*

With Haley back with Nathan, they pretty much had free run of Brooke's apartment. And Mr. Sawyer was used to seeing Brooke with Peyton all the time.

"I told Haley," Peyton said over breakfast. "She asked something, I couldn't think of anything."

"So? Did Tutor Wife wig or something? Pull a Felix on your ass?"

Peyton smiled. "No, she was pretty unwigged. It was weird. But I didn't know if we were telling. People."

"I don't care. I know, that's weird. But high school's over and I don't even live here anymore. Thank god my parents were happy enough to get rid of me this summer. Once I'm eighteen, I'll just declare citizenship in, like, Vermont and no one there cares if I'm doing it with my best girlfriend. Unless you care."

"How are you like that?" Peyton grinned. "How are you so okay with this? You're not even freaking out."

Brooke shrugged. "I have faith in us. We did our hard time not being friends in junior year, now that's over. We can do anything. Clearly."

"Okay," Peyton said. "Okay." She laughed again. "I guess you have a good point. In your world."

"And my world is the world. I'm convinced, you know?"

"You're convinced." Peyton took Brooke's hand and patted it.

"We've been friends forever. Now we're something else and it's still good." Brooke didn't have any doubts. And so far, she'd been right about everything.

THE END.

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