A/N: This story is a little different from how things are on the show. Nate and Blair never broke up in season 1, and therefore Blair and Chuck never hooked up.
Also, Chuck in this story is different than how I think he actually was on the show and before the show started, but this way worked better for this story. If you want to see what I really think Chuck was like, you can read my story "Only Him," it's not my best work, but it's a different perspective.
I think this is my favorite chapter of this story. It is definitely different from anything else I've written so far.
When he had left for college, Nate thought he needed space. They had been dating since kindergarten for Christ sake! And the fact that he was going to USC and she was staying in New York just seemed like a sign that they should take some time apart.
He had always looked at girls like Serena and wondered what it would be like to be with someone so carefree and fun, but he even when his heart wasn't completely in it, he had stayed with Blair. So when he left for college he was ready to start fresh; to play the field a bit.
And he had done just that during his four years in California. But all that it had taught him was that he had had the most amazing woman imaginable, and not only had he taken her for granted, but he had let her go.
Now that graduation was over and he was back in New York, Nate hoped that he could fix things with her. He didn't think Blair had just been sitting in her dorm room waiting for him for the past four years, but he hoped that maybe she still loved him and would be willing to give their relationship a second chance. He was ready to be with her now. He knew there wasn't anything better out there for him; he finally understood that.
Once he was settled in the city, the first thing Nate did was find out where she was living. When he discovered that she had an apartment in one of Chuck's buildings he really wasn't surprised. When Chuck inherited his father's company he had told Nate that there was always an apartment available for him, should he need one. While Blair and Chuck and never been extremely close, Nate figured that Blair was about the closest friend Chuck had besides himself, so it would only be natural that the same offer would be extended to her.
When Nate arrived at Blair's building and got in the elevator, he was a little surprised. He hadn't realized that she was living in the penthouse of the building. When he thought about it, he was actually quite shocked. He knew Chuck was generous with his friends, but Nate didn't think he would be that generous. But what did he know, maybe Eleanor and Harold had went ahead and bought the penthouse for her, as like a graduation present, or something.
As the elevator reached the top floor, Nate took a deep breath and stepped out of the elevator. He didn't know what to expect, but he hoped she still cared about him and that she would be willing to forgive him and take him back.
As he stood just outside the elevator, he heard her heels on the marble floor, alerting him to her approach.
"I'm coming, I'm coming!" She called out. Her voice sound carefree and happy. It was so different from how she had sounded when he had last spoken to her.
She rounded the corner, still adjusting her skirt and fixing her hair. She had an easy smile on her face that disappeared the second she saw him. She stiffened and stood just a bit straighter as she flipped her hair over her shoulder. "Nate, what are you doing here?" He noticed how her voice had changed back to the cold, business-like tone he remembered.
Now that he was in her presence, he was a little nervous. He had been so certain that she would take him back. She had to; they had always been so perfect together. He repeated that mantra in his head as he spoke with confidence, "I'm back in the city."
She looked slightly confused, "Well that's great, but why are you here, in my apartment?"
"I had to see you. Blair, I know when I broke up with you after high school you said it was a mistake, that we were the perfect couple and that I would realize that and regret my decision." He paused and shrugged his shoulders with the hint of a smile on his face. "Well, you were right. You were completely right. Being apart from you showed me what you always knew, that we belong together. You are all that I could ever want, even if it took leaving you for me to realize it. I love you Blair. I want another chance. I'm back now. We can make this work."
He was looking at her sincerely, but when he took a step towards her, she shook her head and moved a step back. She had her arms crossed over her chest and a look on her face that he couldn't quite place. It seemed to be some sort of mix of sadness, kindness, and a little bit of anger.
This was going to be more difficult then he had hoped. She was Blair Waldorf; of course she wouldn't take him back after one quick, simple apology. She would make him work for it.
"Look, Blair, I know I'm going to have to work to gain your trust back, I just-"
"No, you won't" She interrupted him.
He smiled at her in relief. "Blair, you'll see. I'm ready to be with you now. I know you're it for me. It's forever this time."
She shook her head at him sadly and he recognized the look on her face now. It wasn't sadness. It was pity. "That's not what I meant. Nate, I stayed with you for years while all you wanted was to be with other girls. I thought I was going to marry you, and when you ended things you really hurt me. But now things are different. The tables have turned. I don't want to be with you. You'll always have a place in my heart, but I don't love you anymore."
"So that's it? After the ten years we were together, we take a short break and you're done? You lose all the feelings you had for me? It was that easy?" He took a deep breath and searched her eyes as he pleaded, "Blair, I love you. I always have. I realize that now. I'm sorry it took me longer than you, but I'm here now."
She dropped her hands to her side in defeat and took a small step towards him. "I told you this would happen. I knew when the glow of the single life wore off you would come back to me, but it's too late. I'm sorry Nate. I've realized that we never would have made it. I gave too much to a relationship that wasn't working, and you never appreciated me like you should have."
"But I will! I-"
"No, you won't. Look, Nate, you broke my heart when you left, I'll admit that. But you won't do that again. You can't. My heart isn't yours to break anymore. I'm with someone." She said with pity as she looked at him with a kind expression. It was a look he had never seen on her face. There was no fakeness about it; no hidden agenda. She truly pitied him, nothing more.
"What?" He voice cracked with emotion.
"I'm sorry. But I love him and I know he will never hurt me. He's shown me that we were never meant to be, no matter how much I had wanted it in high school. We just didn't work. You need someone carefree and fun, which was never me" She smiled at him as he tried to avoid her gaze. "And I need someone who accepts me for me. I could never be what you wanted and you aren't what I want, not really. We worked back then because I was the Queen of Constance and you were the prince charming of St Jude's. We were supposed to be together. But now that we are adults, we don't work. We're not in high school anymore. You need a sweet, bubbly princess and I need a king. Someone who has a commanding presence and demands respect."
"And he has that?" Nate asked softly, finally daring to look at her.
"He does. I love him Nate. And he loves me. He treats me better than you ever did. He completes me. We work together perfectly in a way that I never dreamed could be possible" She was smiling and she seemed so genuine, Nate almost would have felt happy for her if his heart wasn't breaking.
Just then he heard the footsteps of someone else coming from within the apartment.
"Blair, who could possibly take this much time to send away?"
Nate's brow furrowed in thought. The voice sounded familiar to him, but he couldn't quite place it.
The voice was closer as it continued, "Just tell them to come back later, we're busy…"
Nate recognized the voice just as its owner rounded the corner.
Chuck slowed and his smirk faded as he saw Nate standing in the foyer. He came up beside Blair as he addressed Nate coolly, "Nathaniel, what a surprise. Why, may I ask, are you here?"
Nate glared at him, "I could ask you the same question."
Chuck's smirk returned, "You mean, why am I here, in my apartment?"
"What? I thought this was Blair's apartment." Nate was angry, and confused. What was Chuck doing here? He didn't like Blair being alone with him, even if she had a boyfriend. That had never stopped Chuck with other girls.
"It is, Archibald." Chuck took a step closer to Blair as he put his hand on her waist and pulled her close to him. He continued to smirk as he spoke condescendingly, "We've been living here for almost a year. I guess you didn't get all the facts when you did your research."
Nate saw how close Chuck was standing, how Blair seemed to mold herself into his embrace, and how she seemed to relax in his arms, and it all clicked together for him. "This is the guy you're seeing? Chuck? He's the one who treats you better than me? He's the one who you think won't hurt you? Blair, how could you think he won't break your heart? He's Chuck Bass! You know what he's like!"
Chuck's smirk disappeared and was replaced with a scowl. He took one menacing step towards Nate before Blair put a hand on his arm to stop him. He had always been defensive when it came to their relationship. He knew his past caused people to doubt his feelings for Blair, but he had broken away from his reputation and had changed for her and he didn't like it when people questioned his heart.
Blair knew all this and decided to step in before Chuck did anything too rash. She didn't feel like having any broken furniture or blood stains in her foyer. When she put her hand on his arm, Chuck stopped moving forward, but he was still glaring angrily at Nate. Once she saw that he wasn't going to advance any further, Blair turned her own livid eyes on Nate. "You have absolutely no right to judge our relationship. You have been gone for four years. You don't know anything about what has changed since you've been gone or what we feel for each other. You could never understand what our relationship is like."
"You never understood even when you were here" Chuck said bitterly from behind Blair.
"And what the hell is that supposed to mean?" Nate asked angrily.
Blair turned towards Chuck and put her hand on his chest to calm him. She took a step towards him as she grabbed his hand. She put her other hand on his cheek to force him to look into her eyes and calm down. When she was sure he had cooled down she turned back towards a still fuming Nate as she spoke, "Chuck has always been there for me, Nate. When you were here, when you left; he was there for me."
"So you two were fucking behind my back even when we were together?"
"No! Nate, you know we would never do something like that to you. But when you were too caught up in your drugs, or Serena, or whatever it was that had your attention when you ignored me, Chuck was there to make sure I didn't spiral too much. He was there when I went through my eating disorder; he was there when my dad left, when Serena left, when I didn't get into Yale. All those times when you were too caught up in yourself and I needed someone, Chuck was there. When I thought the reason you were always so distracted was because of me, because I wasn't good enough, he always tried to make me see how ridiculous that was. He was always giving me tips on how to keep your attention and he was always pushing you towards me because he just wanted me to be happy, even if that meant I was with you. And when you left, he was there for me. He made me realize that it wasn't my fault you left. He makes me feel like I don't have to try so hard, or be different. He makes me feel like I'm perfect just how I am."
"You are perfect" Chuck said softly from behind her as he lifted their joined hands to kiss the back of her hand.
Blair blushed as she looked at him before she turned back to Nate, "Chuck treats me like I deserve to be treated, and I have never doubted his feelings for me or our relationship. He's always been there for me when I needed him. I love him, Nate. I'm sorry. You missed your chance"
Nate gave her an incredulous look, "We were together for ten years, and yet you think what you have with him is love? It's just a rebound. He was there to comfort you and now you think you're in love."
Blair's face went from pity to anger at his words, "No, Nate, it is not just a rebound. Like I said, you have no idea what our relationship is like. Even when I was with you, when Chuck and I were just friends, there were things that I didn't notice, or I chose to ignore, like how I could feel it when he entered a room, even if I didn't see him, or how my skin would burn when it made contact with his, or how when he wasn't at a party or event I missed him. I never had that with you, Nate. It was always comfortable, but there was no passion, no spark. And when you were missing from an event I either felt relief that I didn't have to spend the whole night trying to keep your attention, or worry over where you were and who you were with." She paused and looked down as she shook her head. When she looked back up a Nate her face had softened, "Look, Nate, I'm sorry things happened this way, but we never would have worked out. I've moved on, and I think you should too. Now, I think it would be best if you just leave."
With that, Blair turned and moved to walk back into the apartment. She was still holding hands with Chuck, and when she began to move, he stayed put. She turned to him questioningly, as he placed his hands on her face and gave her a quick kiss. "You go ahead. I'll be right there, just give me a minute."
Blair looked slightly confused, but she nodded her head as he gave her another quick kiss, and she turned and walked out of the foyer. She hadn't looked back at Nate once after she finished talking to him.
Chuck watched Blair until she was out of sight and then he turned to Nate with a scowl. "While I always appreciate it when people interrupt my time alone with Blair," Chuck began darkly with his voice dripping sarcasm, "I'll have to agree with my girlfriend and say that it is about time you headed home."
Seeing Blair with Chuck and seeing her leave without even a second glance had left Nate looking down, stunned. "She loves you." He said quietly.
Chuck's face softened just a bit, "Yes, she does. And I love her, more than you'll ever know."
Nate's head snapped up to look at Chuck, "If you hurt her, I swear to God-"
Chuck's scowl returned instantly "You'll what? You have no right to make threats, Nathaniel. I stood by and watched you mistreat her for nearly a decade. I loved her, but I let you treat her like shit because you were my best friend. She was the only girl I actually really wanted, but she was the only girl I couldn't have. You had ten years to realize what an amazing woman you had, and you couldn't even do that. You hurt her and broke her over and over again, and when you left, her heart was shattered. Do you know how much it hurt to see her like that? To see the only person I have ever cared about totally and completely broken? I wanted to kill you, Archibald. I even booked a flight to California, but she found the ticket and stopped me." Chuck took a deep breath and ran his hand over his face. When he continued, he spoke slowly and darkly "You have no right to threaten me. I would never hurt her. Not after watching what you did to her. Not after having to pick up the pieces of her heart again and again. I won't let you break her ever again."
Nate shook his head sadly, "I can't. She told me I can't." Seeing Chuck's confused face, he continued, "Before you came in, she told me that I can't break her heart again because it's not mine to break anymore; it's yours."
Chuck snorted. "Be that as it may, I still don't want you hanging around her, bringing up bad memories."
Nate sighed, "Look man, when I came here I didn't know she was seeing someone, that she was seeing you. I won't try to interfere with your relationship. I just want her to be happy."
Chuck gave him a small smirk as he spoke sincerely, "I do to, which is why as soon as you get in that elevator I'm going to call the front desk and let them know that under no circumstance are you ever allowed on this property again."
Nate nodded his head in resignation. "Of course, Chuck. I understand. Just promise me, promise me you'll take care of her."
Chuck looked at him for a moment before he answered. "I've been taking care of her our entire lives. Why would I stop now? After waiting for almost two decades, I finally have my chance with her. I don't plan on letting her go."
Nate nodded again as he turned towards the elevator. As the doors opened, he took one last look at Chuck, "You're the right guy for her. You deserve it."
Chuck smirked and gave Nate a small nod as the doors of the elevator closed. Once it started moving down, Nate buried his face in his hands. He had finally realized he was in love with Blair only to find out she didn't love him. Maybe he deserved it, considering how he treated her all those years they were together, but it still hurt. He pictured how she had looked when she was looking at Chuck, how she had unconsciously moved closer to him when he was next to her, how they had been able to communicate with each other through a simple look, and Nate realized that he and Blair had never been like that. She had never looked at him or touched him like she did Chuck. Maybe they hadn't been in love, maybe they wouldn't have worked out, but that didn't stop his heart from breaking into a million pieces as he exited the building, and her life, for the final time.