DISCLAIMER: These characters belong to Ryan Murphy and the WB. No infringement is intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Wow. This really was coming full circle for me. Ironically it was eight months to the day that I posted this fic originally before writing the 'Special Edition'. I had written a small fic called 'The Fairtytale' that established that Sam and Brooke got married in their junior year at college. Well, later I thought: 'who gets married in their junior year of college? That's stupid'. So this was an attempt to answer that question. While I was writing the last line, in my mind's eye there was a knock at the door. It was Mike and Jane come to visit. I knew that this would be the moment when they told the McParents about their relationship. But...in order to do that right, I needed to know how they got together. So I went back and with 'How Lily Found Out (Part I) began to tell the story of their relationship (in my Bram!verse, at least). So it's took eight months to get back to come full circle. It's been neat, because the overall arc was always in my head. When writing 'P is for Pillow' I had to be careful to walk a fine line. I wanted Jane to have suspicions, but she couldn't find out about them-because she found out about them here. The universe was like a paint by numbers set. It was all there-I just had to fill it in.
CONTINUITY: This is in my Bram!verse and is next after 'Prelude to a Fic'. They are in their freshman year of college at USC.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Self Fulfilling Prophecy
"What's wrong?" Sam asked. One look had stopped the brunette in her tracks.
Brooke was sitting at the tiny kitchen table-their tiny kitchen table-with her backpack slumped unceremoniously onto the chair beside her. She had flopped down there after she got home from the registrar's office, and hadn't made it much further.
"We're eighteen," Brooke replied.
Forlorn. The word popped into her mind from one of Sammy's endless thesaurus diatribes. The brunette would lean back on her chair and say: 'Brooke, what's another word for...?'-although the question was completely rhetorical-and then spout off a litany of synonyms until she found the one she liked.
That's where she remembered 'forlorn' from.
I bet I look forlorn, Brooke mused.
"Yeaaaah?" Sam agreed, stretching the single syllable out over three or four seconds.
"And I love you," Brooke added.
The reporter seemed pleased. "I love you too. That worked out pretty well, don't you think?"
"You don't get it," Brooke informed her normally bright but apparently slow-on-the-uptake girlfriend. "We're eighteen. And we're in love." she stressed.
"Which...until about a minute ago I thought was the best thing in the world. It is to me. I've never been happier, Brooke." And she flashed that dazzling smile-the one that on any normal occasion would have made her forget all about her worries.
"But that's my whole point, Sammy. I'm happy too," she explained. How did she make her understand?
"But the person you're in love with when you're eighteen isn't the person you end up with. Everyone knows that. That person becomes your 'first love'-the one that you talk about nostalgically when you're old and thinking back on your life. And--" Her voice broke a little as she spiraled. "And you don't even remember where it went wrong with your first love. You just know that you grew apart and it ended."
"It scares me, Sam. I don't want you to become my 'first love'. I want you to be my only love. But no one marries their high school sweetheart!"
"Says who?" Sam shrugged.
"They...do," Brooke frowned-and for the second time that day her words sounded incredibly stupid and naïve to her as they rolled past her lips.
Predictably, Sammy replied: "Who are 'they' anyway?"
Brooke pondered that for a moment. "Maybe 'they' are the collective expectations of our culture based upon societal norms and a shared history of past experiences?"
She could tell by the look on Sam's face that the reporter didn't really expect her to have an answer.
"Well, the hell with 'them'," Sam rallied with a grin.
Brooke looked away, unconvinced.
"Sweetheart, where's all this coming from?" Sam asked.
Her lip quivered as she repressed a smile. She loved it when Sammy called her sweetheart. But this wasn't the time.
How could she explain to the brunette how it felt today in class-how foolish she felt believing in something as fragile as love when it was apparent that everyone else thought that the future of their relationship was a foregone conclusion?
And then to come home-and hear that insipid voice on the answering machine?
Brooke nodded toward the offending device sitting beside the phone. "There was a message for you," she informed her girlfriend. "From Tabitha." She didn't attempt to mask the disdain in her voice.
"Ah," Sam acknowledged, a look of understanding in her eyes.
Sam had looked into the two of them joining a campus LGBT group. They had a newsletter, and Sam volunteered to write a few articles. It was perfect, because it gave Sam exposure on campus, and also gave her some additional writing samples to submit to the journalism program when she applied next year.
Tabitha was the editor of the newsletter, and a bit on the flirtatious side. And Brooke could tell from her voice that she had a thing for Sam.
Of course dear Sammy-dear Gaydar-impaired Sammy-had no idea. She just thought everyone wanted to be 'friends'.
"She's not exactly subtle," Brooke said. "She likes you."
"She doesn't hold a candle to you," the brunette professed.
"She called you 'Sammy'," Brooke explained.
Thankfully Sam understood the significance. She didn't have to come out and say: 'no one calls you Sammy but me'.
"They hear you call me that at the meetings," Sam explained. "That's all.
"I'll tell her to knock it off. I don't want her to upset you."
"It's not just her, Sam. I saw her and the others sizing you up at the meeting. They were checking you out while I was standing right there-like I was an afterthought, like it didn't even matter that you were with someone.
"I think it was like a challenge to some of them: to see if they could seduce you into cheating on your girlfriend. I swear I just wanted to-to..." she searched for just the right words, "claw their fucking eyes out!"
Sam's eyebrows hiked into her hairline. She used the f-bomb only sparingly.
"We don't have to join," Sam assured her. "I just thought it would be nice to have a little sense of community. You know: people experiencing the same things we are."
"It is," Brooke nodded. "And I don't want to quit the group. We met some nice people there. It's just that...Sam, every one of them was drooling over you."
"I do seem to be popular with the ladies," the brunette admitted, sounding a little perplexed. "I can't quite figure out why."
"Are you kidding me?" Brooke replied. "Sam, you've got those gorgeous brown eyes..."
"That I 'bat like a stripper looking for tips', if I recall," she smirked.
Brooke grinned, but continued unabated: "And you've got that sexy little grin and the thing you do with your eyebrow."
Her girlfriend demonstrating the potent combination.
"Just like that," Brooke smirked. "It makes me go weak in the knees. It's no wonder they froth over you."
"Well, what about you? You epitomize the female standard for beauty. Compared to you, I'm ugly." Sam considered further: "I'm fugly compared to you," she quipped.
"You are not," Brooke protested, amused nonetheless. "You're beautiful. You insult my taste when you call yourself ugly."
Sam chuckled. "All I'm saying is that I think the girls at the club were just as enamored with you as they were to me. That Kelsey girl just stared at you in awe. But it's like high school: you're this goddess who walks the Earth among us. I think-compared to you-I seem a little more attainable."
"So suddenly you're attainable?" Brooke challenged.
"I walked into that one," Sam mused. "Who gave you permission to treat the witness as hostile?"
"And what about you: how many guys have hit on you since we came to school?"
"I turned them all down, Sammy. I'm with you."
"I know. But sometimes," she confessed, "I see these guys hitting on you that I know you would have gone gaga over a couple of years ago..."
She shrugged. "Dr. Halley helped me realize that I have some issues about you being with me. I guess I still worry that you're going to get curious about what you gave up."
"I haven't given up anything, Sam," Brooke assured her. "I'm gay. Besides, with the way you make me feel it doesn't matter if I'm gay or bisexual-or even straight."
"How do you figure?"
"Because I'm Sammysexual."
Sam burst out laughing. Brooke smiled: she knew Sam would get a kick out of that.
Deep down she knew she was being neurotic. But acknowledging that didn't make it go away. Now that she and Sam had finally found each other, the thought of their relationship falling apart was nearly unbearable.
She could vividly imagine bumping into Sam with some new girlfriend on campus, strangers now, exchanging awkward pleasantries only because their past relationship and family ties demanded at least that. Brooke could tangibly feel the pang of regret and the hollow ache inside her as-in her mind's eye-she watched Sam walk away.
Brooke's sniffle abated the brunette's laughter immediately. "Hey," she called out to her.
Brooke wiped at her eyes and attempted a facsimile of a smile. "I'm sorry," she said. "I don't know where this is coming from. I-I'm just terrified that two years from now we're going to be looking back on our relationship in the past tense. Like it's not even up to us-like it's fate or something."
"Fate...?" the brunette digested that for a moment. "I don't know, Brooke. I think fate's on our side."
Brooke waited for her to elaborate.
"Think about it: Fate chose for Mike to go on that cruise with my Mom. I mean, what are the odds that they would run into each other in the first place? Or that they would do something so impulsive? I know that was out of character for Mom, and now that I know Mike it seems a little out of character for him too."
Brooke nodded. She and Sam had both been stunned by their parents' whirlwind romance.
"And if they hadn't moved in together," Sam deduced, "we would have just gone on loathing each other at school.
"Although, I think-deep down-I never really hated you," the brunette added. Sam paused, and Brooke waited for her to continue. "Um...this is the part where you say you never really hated me either," Sam informed her.
"Oh." Brooke thought about that for a moment. "I don't know, Sam. I think I pretty much despised you back then."
"Okaaay." Sam replied. Clearly this was not the answer she was looking for.
"But I don't now!" Brooke reminded her.
"Right!" Sam rebounded. "Which leads me back to the point I was trying to make: what if your father hadn't gone on that cruise with my mother-what if they'd just exchanged numbers or something like normal people? Or what if you had decided to move to San Francisco with your mother? Or if Mac's timely arrival hadn't gotten Mom and Mike back together...?"
Her expression darkened. "Not to mention surviving the accident."
Brooke put her hand on Sam's for support. Over the last few months they had both discovered just how deeply Sam had been affected by Nicole's drunken spree.
"I guess what I'm saying is that it seems like a lot of 'fateful' things had to happen to put us in the position where we could be together. And then it was up to us to have the guts to make the choice.
"I don't think Fate's out to get us all. Fate worked its ass off to bring us together. Fate'll be pissed if we don't make it," Sam declared.
Brooke smiled at that. It was sweet how Sam was going to such lengths to reassure her.
"Still not convinced, are you?" the brunette smirked, apparently reading her mind.
Brooke grinned sheepishly. "I appreciate what you're trying to do, Sammy. I guess we'll just have to work at it and--"
"No," Sam interrupted her. She looked as if she'd just had a revelation. "I think we should be more proactive."
"What do you mean?"
"We need to make plans," Sam decreed. "We need to make sure that we know exactly what we'll be doing in two years."
"Like: a date...?" Sam was confusing her, and then confused her even more when she got up and went into the bedroom. "Sam?"
She came back into the living room wearing a strange expression. "Are you okay?" Brooke asked.
Sam nodded tersely, and her tongue snaked out to lick suddenly dry lips. She looked nervous. Hell, she looked like she was going to pass out.
"I meant to give you this..." Sam cast out, thinking. "Um, when I went to see the wizard and got some courage." She cleared her throat, and continued: "I think that, maybe, if we knew what we were doing in two years-and had something to look forward to-then maybe you wouldn't worry as much.
"Just for the record: I'm not worried. I know where I want to be-and who I want to be with-two years from now, and twenty years from now, and fifty years from now."
Brooke smiled-a real smile this time. Sam's assurances, Sam's confidence in them made her feel more secure.
"So it's a date then," Brooke smiled. "Two years from today. Should we plan a romantic dinner or maybe a trip to a nice Bed & Breakfast?"
"I was thinking of something more substantial," Sam replied. Brooke could see the muscles in her throat move as she swallowed nervously.
And then she did something really strange: she kneeled down in front of the chair where Brooke was sitting. "Brooke McQueen, two years from today-be it a Saturday or a Wednesday or whatever day of the week it falls on..."
From seemingly out of nowhere, Sam had produced a small blue box. And the brunette was holding it out to her, upturned in her palm for--
Oh my God!
Brooke's breath caught in her chest and her vision blurred. Sam opened the little blue box with her other hand to show Brooke the ring that was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen-never mind the fact that she couldn't really see it right now.
"On that day, Brooke, will you marry me?"
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