DISCLAIMER: Ryan Murphy came up with these two, I just keep them messing with one another. Anyways, this is dedicated to redlance_ck, because she kept prodding me most of the day to come up with something Bram-ish, and well, this isn't what I was actually working on, but it's something. It's been awhile since I've written a stand alone one shot; I think I could get used to it. trixter21 beta'd this for me on a whim, because she's cool like that, and she brings the Cheez-Its to the fic writing party.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

And the Truth Shall Set Us Free
By carpesomediem


For a budding journalist, Sam was pretty oblivious to Brooke's intentions. It'd been close to a week since the realization had washed over her. Brooke was in love with her soon-to-be stepsister. She didn't quite know when it started, but once she felt herself falling, it was like being toppled by a ton of bricks. She could feel the love fluttering around inside whenever Sam was around, and when she wasn't, it felt like she was slowly dying on the inside.

"Sam," Brooke said suddenly. The brunette looked up from her bed, where she was splayed out on her stomach. It looked like she was reading Tolstoy. Brooke wanted to shake her head. 'Only Sam would willingly read Tolstoy,' she thought with a small smile forming at the nerdiness displayed before her.

"Brooke?" Sam replied, surprised to find her standing in the doorway. "What's up?"

"I have something I need to tell you," Brooke responded entirely too quickly. Sam knew something was up, so she folded a corner of her paperback and threw it to the floor before propping herself up into a seated position.

"What's going on? Is everything okay?" Sam asked, worry evident in her hurried response. Brooke really did shake her head this time, not sure where to go from here. Everything was so much easier as it played out in her mind earlier in the day when she went over what she would say, how she'd say it and even how she'd run away when Sam rejected her.

"I love you, Sam," Brooke just blurted out before covering her face, turning her back to Sam and taking a step forward before abruptly stopping in her tracks. She turned again – not noticing the shock on Sam's face – as she began her tirade, keeping her focus on the wall behind the brunette's bed. "I love you, Sam. I love you so much it hurts inside and I've been pretending for the last two weeks like I don't love you. But I can't stop thinking about you. I can't stop wanting you and when I can't see you, I hurt. I physically hurt. Because I love you. I love you, Sam. And it's killing me inside-"

"-Brooke-" Sam was standing now, a fact Brooke missed entirely during her proclamation. Adrenaline was running through both girls, hormones rising to the surface and pent up emotions long kept dormant were finally coming to life.

"-You don't have to say anything." She responded shakily, closing her eyes and turning her head to the side. She balled her fists at her sides; she didn't want Sam to see the tears that were sure to follow. "You really don't, Sam… I'll just go."

"Don't go, Brooke," Sam reached out tentatively, stopping short of touching Brooke on the shoulder. She felt disconnected, almost like she didn't know what she was doing but at the same time, Sam did.

"Don't go?" Brooke's head snapped forward, eyes opening instantly to find Sam a mere foot away reaching for her. Her eyes traveled from Sam's eyes – surprisingly warm and inviting – to her hand which was shaking before meeting the brunette's eyes once more. "I should go, Sam. Before I make even more of a mess of things."

"I said don't go, Brooke." Sam's voice was steadier, full of something Brooke couldn't quite put her finger on. Her mind was racing, her heart felt like it was going to explode out of her chest and she felt like she was going to throw up.

"I won't," Brooke managed to say, biting her lip and waiting for Sam to make the next move. When Sam didn't move, just stared, Brooke looked away momentarily because things were just too intense to keep their eyes locked. It was easier for a few seconds, her heart slowing just enough for her to catch her breath and feel the warmth of Sam's hand finally taken her own.

"Your palm is so sweaty." Sam chuckled, not realizing hers was in a similar state. "Are you nervous?"

"What do you think?" Brooke responded sarcastically, rolling her eyes and sighing. She met Sam's eyes again and smiled weakly. It'd always been this hot and cold between the two of them; it took Brooke entirely too long to realize this is what love is. "Why are you doing this?"

"Did you ever think that maybe, just maybe, I fell in love with you, too?" Sam began, pausing briefly to collect her own thoughts. She felt as though her brain was going to shut down. It was running on overload; there were all these thoughts, these feelings, things she'd been keeping at bay for so long. Now, with Brooke coming clean, Sam thought it was about time she, too, took the leap. "That maybe, just maybe, I could feel the same way you do."

Sam stopped again, catching her breath. "I know I'm not the most emotionally available, at least… At least when it comes to this sort of thing, but Brooke, I swear to God, I don't know how you did it, but you got inside of me-"

"-Sam…" Brooke was crying now. Sam's name barely escaped her lips and it was more of a mutter than an interjection.

"Just let me finish!" Sam tore away now. She ran a hand through her hair and turned away from the blonde. She couldn't continue looking at her; she couldn't bear to think that things could fall apart now. And they just might, and that fear's what had dove Sam to keep her feelings at bay in the first place.

Until now. Until this very moment when Brooke unleashed her build up and triggered Sam's own release.

"I love you, too, Brooke. I don't know how long or how it happened or why I'm telling you this now, but it's true. I love you. I really, really unbelievably love you." Sam finally managed to get out. She stood still. Perfectly still, and Brooke watched Sam hold her head up high as she waited for a response.

So, Brooke did the only thing she could think of doing. She took a few steps forward and wrapped her arms tightly around Sam's waist resting her chin on the shorter girl's shoulder. She closed her eyes, as did Sam, and they stood there together as their heart beats steadied, their breathing slowed down and the realization of what just occurred ran through them:

The truth really does set people free.

The End

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