Unrequited: A Nathan and Elizabeth FanFic

Author's note: This story has been rattling in my brain for the past 7 months and I guess the only way to excise it is to put it to paper. Like many on Team Nathan, I was so disappointed on May 9 that my hope of a Nathan/Elizabeth union did not come to fruition. So I have written a story to fix what I feel was broken. I know there is no hope for something like this to happen on the show but my writing it out may help me and others on Team Nathan with our disappointment a little. Needless to say, this story is not geared for Team Lucas and I politely request they find another story to read.

Oh, and I have to add: I occasionally write fanfic but I don't read much of it. I hope my story doesn't repeat any ideas already written but it's possible it might. I write pretty close to home, in other words, I stick to the characters already known, in the time period given, and in the location of Hope Valley, so there is probably a limited pool of ideas to get E/N back together from within those parameters. I don't think my ideas about Allie have been covered anywhere else, but I have no way of knowing for sure. Anyway, just know that any similarities to anything already written is purely coincidental.

My story picks up after season 8.

Chapter 1

"Maybe when Mrs. Thornton comes with us to get our Christmas tree I can show her my dress material!" Allie was excitedly saying inside their rowhouse as Nathan Grant, standing nearby, turned towards her and froze at her words, alarm widening his eyes. "I think the colour will look good on me, don't you think?" Allie asked, holding the material in front of her, and looking from it over to her uncle.

"Allie..." Nathan began, gently, trying to stop her, stop her stream of delight, of obvious happiness.

"Do you think we can get the tree soon?" Allie asked, undeterred, as she laid the material on the kitchen table. "You know it has to be a big tree, what with all the extra decorations I made plus the ones Mrs. Thornton always brings," Allie was grinning as she reminded her uncle of what now had been the ritual since their first Christmas since they'd arrived in Hope Valley.

"Allie..." Nathan began again, regaining some composure. "Allie, come sit down for a minute. I want to talk to you," he said. He'd been putting off this discussion with her for awhile but it was obvious now was the time.

"What is it?" Allie said, moving to join her uncle on the settee.

"Allie," Nathan began in a gentle tone as he sat beside her, twisting to face her. "Allie, Mrs. Thornton won't be helping with our tree this year," he informed her, watching her face carefully.

"Why not?" Allie was quick to ask. Mrs. Thornton had always helped them with their tree, ever since that first Christmas more than 3 years ago. Why, it was almost a Christmas tradition by now. "She's always helped with our tree before," Allie countered.

"I know Allie, that's true," Nathan conceded. "But Allie, you know Mrs. Thornton is courting Mr. Bouchard now, right?" Nathan gently reminded her. At Allie's solemn nod, Nathan continued, "Well, it wouldn't be proper if she came to help us with our tree now," he said. At Allie's confused look, Nathan added, "I'm a single man, Allie, and Mrs. Thornton is...is..." Nathan didn't know what word to use. Attached? Spoken for? Her affections were engaged elsewhere? Nathan didn't know what term to use, he just knew what was honourable and proprietous and that Mrs. Thornton could no longer socialize intimately with him outside of school. It was unfortunate that limitation would also affect Allie in many of those situations. "Allie, Mrs. Thornton is courting Mr. Bouchard now and it wouldn't be proper for her to spend time with me," he stated simply.

"Oh," Allie replied dejectedly, understanding a little. She knew Mrs. Thornton was seeing Lucas Bouchard, had known that for a long time, even as she'd hoped that Uncle Nathan might win her heart instead. But something had shifted recently, she knew that too. Something had changed and had cemented Mrs. Thornton's choice and here was Uncle Nathan basically telling her the same. She supposed that meant all hope was gone now. Allie exhaled her disappointment then brightened suddenly, remembering. "But she can help me with my dress, right? The dress for the Christmas choir? She can still do that, right?" she asked, her eyes hopeful and bright and Nathan winced inwardly, not liking what he was about to do. He reached out and squeezed Allie's arm.

"Allie, Mrs. Thornton hasn't had an easy time in her life," he began. "You know she lost her husband and that was very, very painful for her," he said, eyeing Allie intently. "We know about that, don't we? You and I. We know the pain of loss," Nathan was nodding, telegraphing acknowledgement of their shared losses, her mother, his sister. Allie nodded back. She knew too. "Well," Nathan continued on a deep breath, "Mrs. Thornton has found someone she wants to be with, someone that makes her happy. And that's what we want for someone we care about, right? For them to be happy." Nathan waited for Allie's nod of agreement. "So let's let her do that. Let's let her build her happiness," Nathan's voice was encouraging. "Let's give her the time and space to do that," he said pointedly.

Allie looked down a moment, absorbing her uncle's words. She swallowed hard once or twice as she distilled his words into meaning. When she looked up again there was wisdom in her eyes, but something else too. Pain maybe, not a new one, but a recincarnation of an old one.

"You mean...you mean..."Allie stammered, taking a breath to steady herself. "You mean I shouldn't bother Mrs. Thornton so much because she didn't pick us." It was a statement, not a question.

"Allie!" Nathan exclaimed, mildly shocked. "Not 'us' Allie, 'me'," Nathan was quick to clarify. Elizabeth hadn't picked him and this whole situation had nothing to do with Allie.

"But that's not true, Uncle Nathan," Allie retorted as if she'd read his thoughts. "Whoever picks you has to want me too. We're kind of a package deal," she informed him. "And maybe..." Allie trailed off, doubt in her voice.

"Maybe what?" Nathan prompted.

"Maybe it's my fault," Allie choked out, anguish in her voice. "Maybe it's me Mrs. Thornton doesn't want," she said, blinking tears now. And who could blame her, Allie thought. Allie knew she could be a handful, was troublesome even, the shenanigans she'd pulled at the adoption ceremony, conspiring to bring her uncle and Mrs. Thornton together. Was it any surprise Mrs. Thornton had run in the other direction. It was her Mrs. Thornton didn't want and all of this was her fault.

"Allie, no!" Nathan was emphatic. "None of this is your fault!" he said vehemently. For all he'd tried to keep Allie out of it, from even knowing how much he cared for Elizabeth, she'd been unwittingly pulled into all the mess anyway. "Allie, why would you say it's your fault? Why would you even think it?" Nathan asked sorrowfully that it had come to this.

"Because..." Allie stopped, not knowing if she should or could say it.

"Because why?" Nathan prompted.

"Because it's happened before," Allie stated simply. "My father didn't want me. Maybe it's the same for Mrs. Thornton."

Pain bit sharply into Nathan's heart. That his child, that any child, should feel rejection like Allie had just voiced grieved him in a way he didn't think possible. Nathan felt like burying his face in his hands and weeping. But he didn't. Instead he drew himself stiffer, his voice firmer. "Now you listen to me," he began with authority. "None of this is your fault. Not then and not now. Your father...well, he couldn't take care of you. He had his own demons and he couldn't take care of himself, never mind a child. It had nothing to do with you. And Mrs. Thornton...well, that is between the adults only, Allie. None of it has anything to do with you. Do you understand me?" Nathan's voice was firm, cutting even. He wanted there to be no doubting his message.

Allie remained silent but nodded her understanding. Nathan let out a sigh of relief, hopeful he'd gotten through to her. He delivered a final squeeze to her arm, then got up to finish the dishes he'd started before this all began.

Allie didn't move from her place on the settee for another moment or two. It was one thing to be told something wasn't your fault.

It was something else entirely to believe it.