Disclaimer: I don't own anything. Seriously.

AN: A oneshot for NB before the show kills off any chance they might be together. I actually think that they're pretty sweet, so even though I know a lot of my CB readers are going to hate me for this, I had to do it

Her Smile

She was a strange girl with bows in her hair and large black eyes framed with absurdly long lashes. Her lips full in a perpetual pout and she dressed like a princess.

He recalled thinking that she reminded him of his mother. Fragile, soft, if not a bit neurotic. Both of them enjoyed tea parties, clothes, and incredibly girly things that he could never understand so while he went outside running around with Serena and Chuck, she would stay inside with his mom. He thought it was a bit weird, but it was nice being able to come home to her little hands holding out a batch a freshly baked cookies or a pitcher of lemonade. Even if he was sweating up a storm from New York's sweltering summer heat, her smile always kind of made him smile too.

Another weird thing was that she liked to watch them eat. She scrunched up her nose at the way Chuck devoured his food, leaving crumbs everywhere on and around him. She smiled politely at Serena's compliments and blushed when she caught his eye. He watched her carefully when he thought no one was paying attention. He was discreet, keeping his eyes far enough away to let others think that he was drifting off to space, and sometimes he would catch the sadness that overcame her in rare, quiet moments. It wouldn't be long before she caught him though, and give him one of her patented Nate smiles. Even if he were troubled for her, he liked that she always smiled for him.

In his memory, Blair Waldorf always smiled as a little girl.

The first time he truly fell in love with her, she'd been drunk. Well, she claimed she was tipsy because "no one ever got drunk after just a glass of pinot," but he knew better. At fourteen, she was so petite she was nearly elfen. She defied all the health classes that told him that girls had earlier growth spurts and, just as she always had and would, she fit perfectly into the crook of his arm.

The combination of her low alcohol tolerance inherited from her father and her doll like stature made her positively fueled by drunkeness. Her cheeks glowed red, full and pronounced with her lazy, dimple-showing, blinding white smile. Her eyelids rested from its usual vigilance and fell over her eyes halfway as she looked on in indulgence and appreciation at Serena's latest attempt at a career in popstardom from her karaoke set. In the four years they had been dating, nudged together by their parents, she had never looked more content and angelic.

Chuck had gone home early (with company, of course) and it was just the three of them, soon to be two at the rate Serena was going. She leaned against him completely, her body melding into his and his own body absorbed by the soft leather couch. He draped his hand around her lazily onto her waist, where the specific curve of her spine seemed to match perfectly with the length of his arm and leaned in close to smell her hair. She was using the freesia scented shampoo his mother had gifted her.

He kissed her cheek and she turned to him, her eyes lit up and her dimples deepening with her smile. She kissed him back on the chin and giggled into his neck when she nearly missed. As he felt her laugh vibrate against him, all he could think about was the way Chuck had told him to never repeat those three words she had said to him before. He told him it was the end of life, the end of freedom and that he should run for the hills if he valued being young and rich and so he did, for a while.

"I love you." She stopped her drunken giggles and looked up at him, her lips parted and her eyes wide with surprise. Her fingertips grazed his cheekbones and he nodded slowly, confirming his words. She smeared her lipstick over the lower half of his face in an innocently passionate kiss that only a girl like Blair could give and he felt the muscles of his face burn with his absurdly wide grin.

She made him honest and unafraid.

The first time they made love, he looked into her eyes, willing her to forgive him for not waiting for this perfect moment. His hands trembled, though, like it were his first time and he decided that it was. It was the first time he would vividly remember the details, the first time he cherished a girl and held her in his arms through it all.

The first time he woke up next to her was life-changing. Her face was relaxed from her usual state of alert and her hair fanned out around him, silken strands lying beneath his shoulders and entangling his fingers. He watched her eyes flutter open sleepily and her brows furrow at the light streaming in from behind the white curtains. He kissed away the frown line. "Good morning, beautiful," he murmured. He decided it wasn't a bad way to wake up.

He could kiss her anywhere, at any time because after everything they'd been through, her smile still made him feel at home. The other girls never looked at him like she did and perhaps that's why he would always come running back to her when she needed him. So yes, he could kiss her anywhere, in front of a church, a school, even in Chuck's room if she really truly insisted, but he couldn't help but think how beautiful she always looked in the park, in the snow and he chuckled fondly when Dorota told him about the mean queen's apparent and innocent affinity for ducks.

He liked to hold her face in his hands when they kissed. She said it was romantic, that it grounded her and made her feel safe and it was his way of knowing that she wasn't going anywhere. Her neck, too, because the skin there was soft and warm beneath his fingers and it was long and graceful like an old Hollywood movie star.

So when he finally decided that she was it for him, he showed up at her place and it was filled with candlelight, as usual. He heard her apologize to her kindly stepfather and it was like one of those moments where he could watch her without her knowing and he could see that little girl again. He wondered how he could have ever wanted anything different.

She glided towards him like a ballerina and he observed her nearly in slow motion, the strands of her hair that escaped her headband dancing elaborately around her face and her arms wound themselves around his neck like a lifesaver. She was sorry, truly, truly sorry, and he knew it. Now all he wanted was to see her smile again. So he kissed her bare, fragrant, beautiful shoulder and told her that he knew and watched her face before it leapt at him as though she needed him to breathe.

She felt small in his hands, the small of her back easily covered by a spread palm and he remembered how fragile she was despite her usual bravado. He recalled watching her slumped shoulders a few weeks ago and knew then why she did what she did. Or at least what she intended to do. His grandfather was really the one at fault, he supposed as he stared up at the ceiling of her bedroom and held the girl as she laid over his chest, her hair tickling his hands. His grandfather was the adult in the situation and everyone knew how confused she was about her future.

None of that mattered anymore, he decided. Now that they were both going to be in the city, he could see them celebrating all their important dates together, attending weddings together, stressing out over midterms and having her color coordinate his studying schedule before tackling her own work. He could see a future for them and in his vision, Blair Waldorf always smiled.