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26 July 2007 @ 11:12 am
Promises To Keep by Hana, Teen  
Title: Promises to Keep
Author: Hana (thedreamygirl)
Rating: Teen
Word Count: 1,194 words
Pairing: Nathan/Haley
Spoilers: Up to most of 3x03 “First Day On A Brand New Planet”, except the final hallway scene.
Summary: After their talk near the end of episode 3x03, Haley thinks about her relationship with Nathan.
Author’s Note: The coda song I chose was “Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You” by Led Zeppelin. I’d only listened to a few on the list when I came to it and this idea sort of popped out at me. Also, just a few warnings: this story is angsty, probably confusing and, since I finished it so late, unebta’d so you’ll have to bear with me.

She had promised to never leave him. She had promised a lot of things. To honour and obey. In sickness and in health. For better or worse.

Her wedding vows flew through her head over and over again, the order all confused. Some phrases she couldn’t remember. Others she couldn’t seem to forget. But they were still all jumbled up. Nothing was in order. It hadn’t been since she left for the tour.

She hadn’t kept her promises. Haley James had been taught that she should always keep her promises, so she had. Until, it turned out, she had become not just Haley James, but Haley James Scott. That was why she was sitting where she was right now. On the floor in the apartment she had once shared with her husband, the apartment that her new roommate had completely transformed.

It looked like a girl’s apartment. Maybe Brooke had thought it would be better for her without the memories. Or maybe she just didn’t care. Either way, all traces of Nathan were gone…except for her picture on the wall and the object she had just discovered on the floor.

She had been picking up a cushion that had fallen in the back corner behind the couch when she had felt a small but sharp, jagged object on the carpet. Once she held it in her hands Haley had realised it was just a piece of wood, but for some reason she hadn’t thrown it away with the other rubbish immediately…instead, she had looked at it for a few moments wondering what it had broken off of. And then she turned it over in her hands.

This side of the wood had been painted dark blue and Haley caught sight of a silver marking on it, which was when she had become conscious of what it had been a part of. It was a piece of her and Nathan’s wedding wall…the one their friends had made at their reception.

Haley had wondered before what had happened to it. The first time she had returned to the apartment after the tour she had been stopped in her tracks by the sight of her picture – another gift from the reception – having been painted over, in a really yucky shade of pink no less. She had known instantly that Nathan had done it and had been too preoccupied in her thoughts to take any notice of the rest of the apartment before she left. But later, she had wondered.

Brooke had said that it hadn’t been there when she moved in and somehow Haley had held on to the idea that, as angry and upset as he was, Nathan had taken the wedding wall with him when he had moved out to his parents house. That he had wanted it with him.

For better or worse.

But that was stupid. Just another example of how Tutorgirl had lost all her smarts the day she got on that tour bus instead of staying in her apartment. If she had stayed in her apartment she wouldn’t be sitting here on the verge of tears because of a tiny piece of wood. And the apartment would still be their apartment and warm and safe and not full of too many too bright colours where she had to sleep on a tiny bed, a bed where Nathan wasn’t sleeping next to her.

But Nathan was at his parents’ house now. She didn’t like it that he was there. Not just because he wasn’t with her, but because it meant he was in Dan and Deb’s clutches and she hated all the things they had put him through. She knew she was being a hypocrite thinking that when what she had put him through was just as bad, but it was how she felt. When they had been together and happy Nathan had told her he would always protect her. But she had wanted to protect him as well. Only she hadn’t been able to. He had gotten in that car accident when she hadn't been there. And he wouldn’t even let her go to see him in the hospital…he hardly even let her come near him now.

In sickness and in health.

Except for sometimes…like tonight. But tonight he had talked about getting a divorce. Divorce! She had been trying so hard to get him to talk to her, smile at her, anything to somehow get their relationship back on track – and he had been trying to get a divorce. Haley allowed a tear to run down her cheek at that memory. She had pleaded with him, tried so hard to sound confident and sure, the way she had tried to feel when she had packed her bags and walked out that same door only two feet away from her, but she had been there and she wasn’t now. It felt like nothing was certain anymore. The only thing she was sure of was that she loved Nathan.

Haley almost laughed when she remembered making a mental pro-con list the night she left for the tour and how back then she had also realised that the only thing she had been confident of was that she loved Nathan. Certainly not as much as she had loved music. But she hadn’t been able to stand it when he had tried to tell her what to do. To order her around like that. It was the ultimatum that had pushed her away and at first she had told herself she was justified in that. But, there again, she hadn’t kept her promise.

To honour and obey.

It hadn’t been like she’d thought. She hadn’t made the right choice and now she was fighting to keep her marriage from being dissolved. No list could help her now.

That thought reminded her of the list she was supposed to be writing, so Haley reached forward to get her notepad from the coffee table where she had absently left it when she had gotten distracted. After wiping away her unshed tears on the back of her palm she moved to sit on the couch, adjusting the pillow on her lap, the one that had fallen and led to her discovery, and delicately placed the small piece of wood on the table before returning her attention to the list.

The page was blank except for the title at the top. She had to get started on it since she was supposed to meet Lucas later that night to put their lists together, but her mind resembled the page in front of her. Only one line was echoing in her head now, but it wasn’t a prediction. Her wedding vows were still playing in her mind, and the more she tried to clear her head, the louder they sounded.

It was then that she heard it, louder than the rest, the vow she had uttered a few mere months ago with complete sincerity and not a doubt in her mind that she wouldn’t keep it. As she reached for her glasses, Haley uncapped her pen, finally ready to put it to paper.

‘Til death do us part.
autumnleaves23: Ross and Rachelautumnleaves23 on July 26th, 2007 06:04 am (UTC)

First off, thank you for entering our Song Challenge! It was a pleasure reading your entry.

I always enjoy reading stories that are based on a character's thoughts. Sometimes dialogue isn't needed in a one-shot and this entry is a great example of that. I really like how you incorporated Nathan and Haley's wedding vows, too. It is certainly believable and realistic to think that Haley would have constantly been thinking about their wedding vows during that time when they were struggling.

The ending was fantastic. 'Til death do us part' was the perfect way to end your one-shot. Although it is a simple sentence, it signifies what Nathan and Haley had promised when they first got married. Wonderful!

Thank you for sharing this one-shot with us, Hana! You did a magnificent job. I look forward to reading more of your writing.