Walking where you are

Thanks to Tatiana!

Disclaimer: I do not own Gossip Girl or any of its characters.

"You ready to go back in?" Chuck questioned, in his usual husky voice, his hands placed in his pockets.

"I don't think I'm going back in, man. Just, umm, tell Vanessa I-"

Vanessa appeared on the steps, interrupting the best friends' reunion. "Tell Vanessa what?"

"They're looking for you inside," she said to Chuck, whom she was now standing beside.

Nate looked up at Chuck and the two boys shared a look, ending with Chuck winking at his best friend before leaving Nate and Vanessa alone.

"It's a long story."

She reassured him warmly. "I have time."

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

They had walked for over an hour. Nate vented and Vanessa listened. His dad was fleeing the country to escape the law. It wasn't something you heard everyday.

"So that was a pretty long story. A little crazy too." She blinked and then moved her gaze to his face. "I'm surprised all you did was punch your dad."

Nate's lips cracked into a small smile at her remark. "I didn't have time for anything else."

She nodded, her mouth spreading into a cautious grin. "I see."

They had walked in a circle, and were now back at the wedding.

"Going back in with me or am I am going stag?" Vanessa propositioned.

He looked down at her and made up his mind, "After you?" he said, gesturing to the inside of the glamorous ballroom.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

They danced. Her head lay on his chest as they swayed to the music and she marveled at how easy this seemed: effortless.

They began laughing as the speed picked up. His mood had been so somber when she found him outside.

He had become the boy she was more familiar with again, in the course of a few dances and one long walk.

He twirled her and she stepped on his foot, giggling the whole time.

They arrived separately but left together.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Nate took a car to the café where Vanessa worked. They had planned to meet.

She was waiting outside for him, video camera in hand, filming the street walkers. When Vanessa saw him, a smile lit up her face, molding into concern upon perceiving Nate's expression.

"Wanna go for a walk again?" He asked.

"Sure," she tried to smile, but felt worried. What had happened this time?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Nate's eyes were blank. He spoke in haze, "I can't do this anymore."

His mother had yelled at him. Underlying tension at his lack of approval for his father's actions and the pressure it put on him.

"You can't do us?" Her eyes were wandering to meet his.

Finding a bench in the middle of the city, Nate and Vanessa sat down. He twisted his body to look at her. Seeing her looking back at him, just listening to what he had to say, he felt lighter, some how more clear-headed. "It's all too complicated."

"Well, then take the time to figure it out." Crooking her neck to get a better look at him, she spoke softly. "If it's what you need to do."

He was amazed that she seemed so okay with that. She was being so unselfish and he had to question if what he was doing was right, but he knew this was a necessary break.

What the two shared had never been complicated. It was fun and he could breathe easier in her presence. He was just at a point in his life when he needed to breathe on his own. For now.

"I think it is."

"Alright, then."

"Okay." He said with an awkward smile, leaning his head back, relaxing even more.

Vanessa, who was sitting Indian style, curled into the back of the bench as well. Letting a comfortable silence envelope them. Neither of them seemed in any hurry.

Vanessa's eyes, downcast, noticed her and Nate's hands entwined. He must have taken hold of hers at some point during their conversation, during their break up, and even now he wasn't letting go.

She ginned at this, not pulling away. Just breathing in fresh air and sitting on a random bench with Nate Archibald, seemingly the easiest thing in the world for her to do.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

"Finally gonna take the subway," Vanessa mused aloud.

The two had left their bench and were now wondering the city.

"Why not?" Nate said, a goofy smile forming on his lips, "I said I would. I owe you that."

Keeping the mood light she joked, "That's right, you do owe me."

There was pause, she looked into his piercing blue eyes for just a second and then said, "You took me to the wedding, so I guess we're even."

"And I got you to take the SATs." He said, his face pulling into a grin

"Yes, you did and it was sweet, but it no longer is when you bring it up all the time," she informed him.

"Well, then I'm sorry. That was never my intention, Miss Abrams."

"Apology accepted, but I'm not calling you Mr. Archibald."

"Never do." He laughed as he finished speaking.

"And, hey, if I ever decide to conform, giving up my dreams and all, the SATs will be useful, I guess."

"I don't see you doing that."

She shook her head from side to side, a small smile on her lips.

"It was just about keeping your options open." His expression and voice were sincere as he uttered, "so you have a choice."

A choice was all Nate wanted in his life.

"I know. Now that is sweet." Her voice was getting quieter now, they couldn't keep wandering around much longer. They had arrived at the entrance to the subway station.

They had to say good bye.

The time had come for them to go back to their respective worlds.

The two caught each other's glance for a moment, reminding Vanessa of the moment before their first kiss. The memory flashed through her mind.

"Vanessa?" he spoke, breaking her out of the trance.

She mumbled, "Hmm . . ."

His lips brushed against hers lightly, his hand around her waist, Vanessa's falling on his shoulder. It was a kiss filled with a potential that might never be fulfilled.

"Take care," he murmured against her mouth.

"Good bye, Nate." He walked down the stairs and Vanessa turned to leave, her brain cluttered.

Something popped into her muddled head and she bolted around and yelled, "Nate! Do you have change?"

He looked at her incredulously.

She explained, "For the subway?"

He threw his head back and she smirked at him, telling him to come back with her index finger.

Placing the money in his hands, their fingers touching a bit longer then necessary, she said, "Looks like you owe me again."

"If you say so," Nate chuckled as he waved and his figure disappeared under the ground.

Vanessa began to walk the long way home, pondering all the ways Nate might never get to even the playing field, and secretly hoping one day he would.

A/N: So I really loved Nate and Vanessa. I thought they had a lot of potential and wished we could have at least seen their breakup. This is my remedy to that situation, lol. Thanks for reading and I hope you liked it!