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Title: Where I Belong
Author: Diane
Pairing: Nathan/Haley
Rating: Teen Rated
Disclaimer: I don’t own a thing!
Spoilers/Warnings: This takes place following 9.01 ‘Know This, We’ve Noticed’ so it would probably help to watch the episode first.
Summary: “Hey,” he said, his fingers moving to caress her cheek, “it’s okay. I’m not saying I approve of him staying here but… I understand why you let him. You wouldn’t be the Haley James I fell in love with all those years ago if you hadn’t.”
Author’s Notes: Thanks to the always amazing Kristen for all of her reassurances with this. You are an absolute star! *hugs*

Exiting the en suite bathroom dressed in a pair of black boxers and a plain white T-shirt following the fairly lengthy shower he’d just taken to try and clear his head, Nathan found Haley pacing their bedroom and as confused and angry as he’d been earlier when he’d walked into the nursery and discovered his father holding Lydia, his heart ached at the worry he could see etched upon his wife’s face. “Hales—”

“I’m sorry,” she cut in at the sound of his voice. She’d been so lost in thought that she hadn’t heard him come into the room. “I couldn’t get hold of you to tell you about Dan… but I made it clear to him that if you said he couldn’t stay he would have to go and he accepted that.”

Crossing the room, Nathan placed his hands on her shoulders. “I had to turn my phone off during the flight,” he explained.

“I shouldn’t have said he could stay,” Haley whispered, “not without talking to you about it first.”

“Hey,” he said, his fingers moving to caress her cheek, “it’s okay. I’m not saying I approve of him staying here but… I understand why you let him. You wouldn’t be the Haley James I fell in love with all those years ago if you hadn’t.”

Looking up at him, she gazed into those beautiful blue eyes of his. “Nathan…” Anything else she’d been about to say was cut off by his lips brushing against hers and she couldn’t stop herself from moaning at the contact. With the constant travelling Nathan had been doing over the past few months, it had felt like an eternity since they’d last kissed. Her arms automatically slid up his chest to wrap around his neck as she tilted her head to the side so he could deepen the kiss. “I’ve missed you so much,” she murmured long moments later when they finally drew back from one another, the need for air too strong to ignore.

“I missed you more,” he told her.

“Not possible.” Smiling, she shook her head gently which made her curls bounce. Stroking his cheek, she said, “We should talk about this.”

“I know,” he agreed. In an attempt to lighten the mood a little, he added, “I’ve got to say, Hales, talking about Dan wasn’t on the list of things I figured we’d be doing on my first night back home.”

“Yeah, me either.” Walking over to their bed, she sat down on the end of it and stared forlornly at the floor.

Sitting down beside her, Nathan reached into her lap and took one of her hands and laced their fingers together. “What happened exactly?” he asked.

Haley slowly expelled the breath she’d been holding before she turned to look at her husband and began explaining to him how Dan had approached her at the church. How, for probably the first time ever, she had seen genuine remorse in his eyes for the things he had done to those closest to him.

“I stared him straight in the eyes, Nathan, and… I can’t remember ever seeing him look that way.” She sighed. “I don’t know, maybe I was just seeing what I wanted to see.”

“I’ve seen him look that like,” he admitted, recalling the day he’d stopped off at the diner his father worked at to give him Jamie’s baseball and a picture of Lydia. “I was sure I was seeing remorse mixed in with the gratitude. Then again, this is Dan we’re talking about so it’s hard to know what’s genuine and what isn’t.”

Haley gave his fingers a gentle squeeze. “Do you want me to tell him to leave?”

He said nothing for several minutes before giving a small shake of his head. “No. I told him he could stay for a few days while he sorts himself out but then that’s it. I don’t want him thinking everything’s forgiven and forgotten just because we’re allowing him into our home.”

She gave a small nod, completely understanding where he was coming from.

Raising his arm, Nathan wrapped it around Haley’s shoulders and drew her into his side. “So, apart from Dan, how’s everything been in Tree Hill while I’ve been away?”

“Fine,” she replied, choosing against telling him right then about Chris Keller’s recent return to town. She figured she’d just tell him in the morning. After all, their reunion had already been somewhat tainted by her decision to let her father-in-law stay with them. “The kids missed you like crazy as did I.” Resting her head against him, Haley closed her eyes and savored the feel of his body pressed alongside hers.

“God, you don’t know how much I’ve missed the three of you.”

“I think I have a pretty good idea,” she told him, laughing softly.

Nathan laughed along with her, something which kind of surprised him given the events of earlier tonight and the knowledge that his father was right now residing in one of their guestrooms. Still, if anyone would get him to relax and loosen up it was his wife.

Getting up from the bed, Nathan took Haley’s hands in his and slowly pulled her up so she was standing in front of him. Ducking his head, he nuzzled his nose against hers before popping a kiss onto her tempting lips. “What do you say we try and get some sleep and deal with everything in the morning?”

“That sounds perfect,” Haley replied, her voice not much more than a whisper. While sleep definitely hadn’t been on the agenda for Nathan’s first night back home, she had to admit she felt bone tired from everything that had happened today and she couldn’t wait to just fall into bed and snuggle up with him.

Untying the thin belt of her soft jersey robe, she revealed the pale blue and white nightie she was wearing beneath it which, she was well aware, was a particular favorite of his. The low whistle she heard made her cheeks heat up and it never failed to amaze her how he still managed to have that effect on her even after all their years together. It was a dizzying feeling.

As Nathan climbed into his side of the bed nearest the door, she followed suit and got in on the other side; sighing in blissful pleasure when their bodies instantly came into contact. Moving in closer to him, her toes rubbed up and down his calf while her head came to rest upon his chest; the rhythmic beating of his heart lulling her to sleep.

“Sweet dream, Hales,” Nathan whispered, tipping his head forward to press a kiss onto the top of her head before resting back on his pillow.

As tumultuous as the days ahead were most likely to be, it felt so good to be back home with his family where he belonged.



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February 2012

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