Thank you to everybody who reviewed my first Gossip Girl story And You Had So Much Promise Then. Your kind words mean so much to me. This one isn't really like that, because it's a fic I'm writing on impulse. It's all about the show canon, and it's a direct reaction to the episode Seventeen Candles and the way the writers insist on stomping on my poor NB loving heart. I'm sure I'm not the only one who's heart went out to our beloved B on her birthday from hell.

Wish You the Worst

"Is it true?"

Nate Archibald froze, his hand halfway to the light switch. He had just escaped the wrath of his parents downstairs, and could still feel the weight of their disappointment. He had been looking forward to the sanctuary of his bedroom, knowing it would be at least another twelve hours before his parents began badgering him about new ways to whore him out for their own benefit.

In his bedroom, he had expected his soft king sized bed, state of the art entertainment system, and trusty iPod to be awaiting him. He had not expected Blair Waldorf.

"What are you doing here?" he asked, trying to sound unaffected. He turned the light on and casually swiveled. He took in her appearance and couldn't contain his shock at what he saw. Blair Waldorf, even first thing in the morning, was always the picture of perfection. Her black party dress was tight, accentuating her tiny waist—he'd always loved how tiny she was. Her hair was up in some elaborate style that looked beautiful but would probably feel sticky if he were to run his hand through it. Both of those were typical for the girl who had been his girlfriend for as long as he could remember. Her face took him by surprise. Smudges of black were evident beneath both of her bloodshot eyes. Her chest heaved slightly as she tried not to cry, it looked like.

He already felt guilty, and he wasn't even sure what she knew. God knows he had enough to feel guilty over.

"Wrong answer." Her lips twisted into a semblance of a smile, but her eyes were far from there. "By the way, my party was lovely. It was really great of you to show up after you called me saying you wanted to get back together."

"Happy birthday," he said weakly. Nate already knew he was being backed into a corner. He had known Blair Waldorf for as long as he'd had a memory, and for all that time, he'd known never to cross the brunette beauty. Despite how delicate and doll-like she seemed, Blair had many predatory qualities. At that very moment, he felt he must be walking into a trap she set. Then again… he had never seen that look in her eyes before.

Nate had seen Blair happy, angry, wistful, lustful, pouting… but he had never seen her look quite as devastated as she did right now. Even though just an hour—hell, even twenty minutes—before, he had been sure that he wanted to be apart from her, he couldn't help but want to wipe the tears brimming in her eyes.

"What's wrong?" he asked her, and her sudden glare had the force of a slap.

"What's wrong? What's wrong? What's wrong with you, Nate?"

"I'm sorry I missed your birthday party. I've just been really bummed about my parents, and I didn't feel like partying tonight. I just needed to be alone."

"Alone, huh? Well, I'm glad that trashy blonde helped you out with that one. I know how scary it is to be alone by yourself," Blair mocked, her dark eyes flashing.

"She's not tras—how do you know about that, anyway?" Nate asked, frowning. Blair barked out a laugh, mumbling something that sounded suspiciously like 'typical' as dug her perfectly manicured hand through the tiny black clutch she carried. Impatiently, she withdrew her sleek cell phone and clicked around.

"The same way that everybody else on the fucking island of Manhattan knows, Nathaniel," she thrust the screen at him. His eyes widened as he took in his own pixilated self, embracing the 'mystery blonde'. He felt guilt twitch at his gut, and hoped for Jenny's sake that Blair never found out whose hair that was.

"This is the creepiest site," Nate mumbled, wondering who could have possibly snapped that photo.

"That's fitting, considering what a creep you are." Blair's tears had all but vanished since he had snapped on the light. The sparkle in her eyes were gone, replaced with a fire that Nate knew was designed to make him burn.

"Blair…" he sighed, weary before the fight had even begun. They always did this—their entire relationship was a cycle. He always fucked up, she always screamed at him, he always uttered a half-assed apology, she always took him back, he was always turned off by commitment, she was always planning their wedding, he always fucked up, she always screamed at him, he always uttered a half-assed apology….

"Shut up, Nate," she cut him off, and he looked up in surprise. He had had his eyes trained out the window, taking in the night sky. The skyline was so beautiful, and he took that for granted, just like everything else. Just like her. She never cut him off when he was in the middle of pretending to be sorry.

"We're over."

"I know that," he said, frowning. "We broke up last night."

"No, Nate. Not like that. Not our 'okay, let's be apart for a week, get back together and I'll pretend I don't notice you eye fucking everyone around me while you do your 'I'm so angsty with my flippy blonde hair and my full trust fund and my effortless future' thing'. We're over."

"Okay," Nate said, feeling torn. This is what he had wanted for months now, but hearing it from her made it so final… so scary… so something he never wanted.

"But first you're going to listen to me," she continued, laying her handbag down on his desk.

"Excuse me?" Nate asked, his eyebrow quirked.

"You heard me. You're going to fucking listen to me, because you never do, and this isn't over until you hear what I have to say."

"Um, okay," Nate stuttered, more than a little alarmed by the hostile behavior his usually prim girl—ex-girlfriend was exhibiting.

"Sit down," Blair thrust her bony arm towards the bed. He silently dropped down, almost fearful to interrupt her. "First of all, I want you to know that I've always loved you."

"I lo—"

"Shut up, Nate. Stop lying! You're always lying, and that's why… that's why we're doing this. I'm going to talk and you're going to listen because you never do anything but lie anyway, so what's the point?"

"I'm sorry," he mumbled. They both knew it was for much more than interrupting her.

"I honestly don't care. You're not who I thought you were, so you're not the boy I've always loved. I guess I just imagined him."

Her voice grew thick and her eyes moistened, but she maintained steady eye contact with him. Nate couldn't speak even if he wanted to. A lump was forming in his own throat.

"I know I said that I forgave you for sleeping with Serena, but I didn't. I don't," a single tear slid down her porcelain cheek, leaving a river of black behind it. It was almost painful to look at, to see perfection marred in that way. "She's my best friend, Nate. My best friend. You were my boyfriend. We were supposed to lose our virginity together. We were supposed to be together, and she was supposed to be happy for us. What the fuck, Nate?"

"I'm sorry, Blair. I know that was the worst thing I could have possibly done to you, and I'm sorry that I hurt you in that way," he said, imploring her forgiveness. Her eyes were like ice peering back into his.

"But are you sorry that you did it?" His thoughtful silence told her all she needed to know. "Yeah, that's what I thought."

"I never wanted to hurt you," he reiterated. She laughed again, that cold, high, fake laugh that sounded far more painful than joyous.

"Then why do you?" she demanded, her composure wavering. Her entire frail body seemed to sway under the tidal wave of emotion she was just barely holding back. "It seems like you go out of your way to do as much damage as possible. You have sex with my best friend, you skip my birthday party to go for long romantic walks in the park with some blonde hussy so the entire world can see how little I mean to you—"

"It wasn't like that," Nate defended weakly, but even he knew he didn't have much ground to stand on.

"Then what was it like, Nate?"

"I just needed someone to talk to, and she was there. I didn't do it to humiliate you or to hurt you or because I like her. I just needed a friend," he said, and the way her lips trembled told him that it was exactly the wrong thing to say.

"Why couldn't you talk to me? What's so terrible about me? What's wrong with me that no matter what I do, you can't seem to want me? You don't want to be my boyfriend, and now you don't even want to be friends."

"There's nothing wrong with you, Blair. You're… you're amazing. But now just isn't our time. We're both really young and I think we should go out and experience the world a little more before we commit to anything."

She looked at him in wonder for a moment, digesting what he said. It was too wise to come from him, he knew. Blair was more accustomed to his stoner revelations about how soft her Persian rug was and how nice her hair smelled. Her eyes slid closed, and she seemed to summon strength.

"Then why were you asking me to reconsider yesterday? What changed?"

He froze. How could he tell a girl that he cared about, even if he didn't love her enough to be loyal and faithful and monogamous, that he was entirely willing to use her to help out his family?

"It really is about your dad?" she squeaked in amazement, and Nate wondered for one horror stricken moment if he had been saying his thoughts out loud. "I can't believe you would do that to me."

Her words were all deathly quiet, and he had to lean forward slightly to hear her. Blair seemed frozen in shock, her joints rigid as she rocked slightly back and forth. The next thing Nate knew, her tiny handbag was hurtling through the air towards him, and he didn't notice it until it clocked him on the forehead.

"Ow! What the fuck, Blair? That hurt!" he yelled, rubbing at his injury and wondering how it was possible that a bag so small could weigh so much. Blair whirled upon him, her hands planted firmly upon her hips.

"You know what hurts, Nate? Finding out your boyfriend doesn't love you! Finding out he cheated on you! Finding out that after everything you've been through, he's only with you so he can keep his father out of jail!" she howled. He would worry about his parents hearing everything if he didn't know for a fact that they would already be in bed. Even if they weren't, they would never ask about this loud encounter. Nate came and went as he pleased in the Archibald household. They only cared what he did when it affected them.

"I can't let him go to jail, Blair. If your mom could help, I was willing to do anything," he sighed.

"Guess what, Sherlock? My mom isn't a judge! She's a fashion designer! She can't keep your no good embezzling liar of a father out of jail any more than Kermit the Frog can!"

"I think it had more to do with their business deal…" he started, but trailed off with a frown. He suddenly realized that he had no idea what his parents were pimping him out for.

"I don't think it has anything to do with anything but your parents grasping at straws," Blair said, her voice shockingly quiet after all that screaming. "I just hoped that you cared about me even a little bit."

"I do."

"No, Nate, you don't. If you did, you never would have used me that way. You know what my birthday wish was?"

"Tell me."

"You were. My only wish was that you would come back to me… that you would care. And you couldn't even call me at midnight to say happy fucking birthday. A phone call was too much trouble for you. I guess if you can't benefit from it though, why bother, right? Like father, like son."

Blair turned towards his window, her aggression seeming to lose steam. She visibly deflated before him, slapping her mask of demureness back on. When she turned back to him, it was only to retrieve her purse. Within seconds of looking in her compact mirror, her face was back to its usual perfection. The fact that tonight had been one of the most emotionally tumultuous of her life was one that would escape anyone who hadn't seen it with their own eyes.

"Blair… do you think we can be friends? I know you don't believe me, but you do mean a lot to me. I don't want to lose you from my life completely," he asked hesitantly, preparing his arms to fend off flying objects.

"Maybe one day," she shrugged, smoothing her dress. "I'll give you a call when I stop hoping you'll step into an uncovered manhole."

"Happy birthday, Blair," he smiled genuinely—it was his instinctive response to her sass. He had always loved that about her. She just nodded at him as she walked to his door. She was halfway down the hall before she turned around, and as he heard her sky high heels clicking back in his direction, dread rose in him.

"Oh, by the way, Nate?" she called from the doorway. A triumphant look was in her eyes before the smirk ever reached her lips, and he knew that whatever she was going to say would change everything. He may not have wanted to be her boyfriend, but Nate Archibald would always be tangibly tied to Blair Waldorf. They would always be connected, their actions equal but opposite and wreaking havoc upon each other. It was their masochistic symbiosis, he supposed.

Blair taught him those words, but not really to be used together.

Her wicked smirk was back, and it took him a few minutes to let her words sink in. She was already down the hall by the time his face fell.

"I fucked Chuck Bass. Eye for an eye, right baby?"

Thanks for reading! Please review and let me know what you think.