DISCLAIMER: Popular is the intellectual property of Ryan Murphy. I simply dabble in his sandbox, make his characters gay for each other and enjoy the turn on that follows.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is for mysensitiveside, because well, she's kinda awesome. :) She wanted something angsty, as if I'd have to work hard for that, centered around the chorus from Sia's "Breathe Me." Now, we all know how I feel about using songs as a method to pull out a story, but, well, this is all her fault. *shrugs*
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Lost & Found
By carpesomediem


It'd been close to a year since Harrison's death, the Kennedy class he would've graduated with was in the midst of celebrating. Finals were behind them, it was the last week of school but Sam was nowhere to be found. It'd been an uneasy year, losing not one but two friends in the same accident. Of course, she didn't lose Brooke the same way she lost Harrison, but she often thought they both might as well have been struck by the same car that night and buried together the very next day.

It was senior prom night. Nobody expected Sam to go, nobody even asked her about it. Carmen and Lily avoiding the subject all together. Brooke made sure to make her preparations behind closed doors. Sam had lost so much that night. She'd walked away from so much; the thought of putting on that brave face for another prom night amongst her family, friends and schoolmates was unbearable.

So, Sam did was she did best. She locked herself in her room, listening to some music quietly and staring at the ceiling as she often did when she wanted to shut out the world. She willed those memories from the past year out of her mind the best she could, but she managed to catch Mike's voice in the hallway and knew Brooke would be on her way soon. She closed her eyes tight and relived the beginning of the end.

They cradled him, holding onto dear life. Neither one of them saw it coming; sure, they saw the headlights, the speeding car, a maniacal Nicole behind the steering wheel. But they didn't see Harrison pushing them out of the way until it was too late, they watched helplessly as his body collided with the hood of the car and fell limply to the asphalt. They did the only thing they could, Brooke and Sam let go of one another – they held onto Harrison – and as he died in Sam's arms she knew they'd never be able to go back to the way things were. They could no longer be friends, or enemies, they'd just be nothing to one another. That was just the way they both had to grieve. Alone.

Brooke was broken inside, too. How do you lose the one person that meant the most to you without losing them at all she often thought. She had thought she'd miss Harrison more than she did, that she'd have more regrets about how he died, but she didn't. Even the funeral proved futile; it only made her feel worst about what Harrison's death meant to Sam. It tore her up inside, even now as she played dress up in her powder blue prom dress. She'd lost Sam in that accident, too. Brooke knew after the last year, she'd never get her back.

The blonde looked herself over in the mirror one more time, satisfied that she was wearing her best fake smile for the night ahead. She couldn't lie; she was terrified. But not for the reasons you would think someone who was almost mowed down a year ago would be. She was scared, because tonight she was doing this alone.

Last year, Brooke left the house with Sam. They may have hardly spoken, they may have been competing for the affection of a boy that meant nothing to them romantically in the long run, but they were together. That's all that mattered, even if Brooke hadn't realized it until it was too late. Brooke closed her eyes, holding back the tears wanting to fall all day, and that's all it took for memories to come rushing to the surface.

They were holding one another, bruised and banged up. Brooke was told she had a semi-concussion and would need stitches above her eyebrow. Sam, on the other hand, was sporting a makeshift splint on her wrist. The paramedics were pretty sure it was broken, but the two shooed them away. They wanted to watch as other EMTs worked on Harrison; one doing CPR, the other trying to stabilize the wounds bleeding out onto the asphalt. Brooke and Sam held onto one another, somehow hoping beyond hope that tragedy would not follow.

When Brooke opened her eyes, she surged forward and headed for the door, ready to get out of the house and get the night over with. But when she opened the door, she hesitated just enough to slam it shut. She quickly locked it, turning and slinking against the door and falling to the floor. Her head cracked against the wood, but she didn't feel it. Instead, she began crying furiously.

Sam's eyes fluttered open; she bolted upright in her bed when she heard Brooke's bedroom door slam shut behind her. She, too, was holding back tears but refused to set them free. She was tired of crying, she'd done enough of it in the last year. She would not cry tonight. She would not breakdown. She would not give this night the satisfaction of destroying her world all over again.

But then Sam heard it, she heard sobbing. It was barely audible above the music floating through her room, but it was there. 'Brooke,' she thought. 'Why is Brooke crying?' Sam didn't think Brooke felt anything real after Harrison's death, especially after the face she put on for the funeral. She knew Brooke was a good actress but not that good, no way. She still remembered how brave Brooke was at the funeral, how she mingled with everyone and how her voice barely quavered when she spoke to those gathered to remember their friend.

Sam envied it, really. Brooke was able to move on as if the accident never happened, but Sam was trapped in a never ending cycle of tears, anger and loss. Sam hated Brooke for it, hated her with a passion, and it destroyed the friendship they had finally managed to have. Sam pulled away, hard. There was no going back. They barely spoke in the last year unless they had to, they barely even fought; it was as if they were thrown apart as violently as Harrison's life came to an end.

They pronounced Harrison dead on scene. It was futile, no matter what the paramedics did; there was too much internal damage. Nicole may have missed her target, but she still made her point loud and clear. When the paramedics gave up, Sam was the one who pulled away first. She stood, unsteady and Brooke reached out for her in shock. But Sam was done, she was over and finished. She turned to the blonde, shook her head and then rushed forward to cradle Harrison's lifeless body. Brooke new from the empty look in Sam's eyes, that she'd lost her, too, for good. For Brooke, it was as if Sam McPherson and Harrison John both died that night.

"Brooke?" Sam pushed open the bathroom door into the blonde's room and looked around. She didn't know what drew her to Brooke's room; she hadn't been in there in months. But the sound of the blonde sobbing somehow chilled Sam to the core, as if somehow the invisible barrier between both of them was broken in some way.

She found Brooke against the door, drowning in her owns tears. Brooke hadn't heard her enter. Brooke was wrapped up in her own grief finally setting itself free a year too late.

"Brooke." Sam's hand on her shoulder startled Brooke; she looked up to see a pair of sad brown eyes looking down into her own. Sam realized in that moment, looking into Brooke's eyes, how wrong she had been from day one. Brooke's heart was breaking, too. It'd been breaking all along, and Sam had been too selfish drowning in her own sorrow to realize it.

"I… Sam," Brooke said softly between sobs, "I… I need–" Brooke wanted to say friend, she wanted to say more. She wanted to say anything for Sam to stay right there with her.

"–I need, too, Brooke," Sam confessed as quietly, joining Brooke on the floor. She did the only thing she could think of. Sam wrapped an arm around Brooke, pulled her into a half-hug and just held the blonde. The blonde snaked an arm around Sam's waist, holding on for dear life. Brooke just rested her head against Sam's, both having finally found what they'd lost in the year behind them: A way to grieve together.

The End

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