A/N: I haven't been writing for GG a lot lately, but if anything is going to get me writing, it's these two. This is just a small piece of shameless fluff; hopefully they'll show the scene when Serena awakes to find her Prince. This hiatus! It's dragging people. I want my blonde pretties back. Reviews are like rainbows.

Leave me with some kind of proof it's not a dream

He's contemplated so many times, thought about getting right in that hospital bed beside her. Maybe, if this was two years ago, it might have been the closest he ever got again, being in that close presence of warmth, twisting those familiar golden strands, foreign, because she had been detached from him for so long. But Nate doesn't. He opts to wait patiently. It's not a trait he ever thought himself to possess, in a decadent world of getting what you want right here, right now, but Serena's the only girl who has ever made Nate aware of hidden aspects of himself. After all, you don't punch the golden boy of the family just for pure, thoughtless satisfaction. It wasn't the first time she had compelled him to take a direct course of action; he remembers the masquerade ball, being in such desperation that he'd mistaken Brooklyn for one of his best friends, and had been lost there ever since. Vanessa and Jenny provided distractions, but he's home again. Serena's symbolises all of that, and he couldn't be happier following the path right in front of him.

Letting his eyes linger over her, in all her vulnerability, he's certain – this is their chance. It is something to be handled delicately. There will be no other girls because this is her, and he can't even face the prospect of there being other guys for her, although he knows all too well that the allurement affects guys everywhere. He hasn't really ever been the possessive type, but she scares him with another aspect of him that's willing to appear for her. He punched out Tripp. He'll punch Carter (again, he chuckles softly) upon his return if he has to.

But he holds himself back from thinking too far ahead. It's hard, the sight of her retrieves memories of the past and inspires hopes for the future, but all that matters in this moment is that she wakes up. He couldn't live again, not if she slipped away from him. He knows fine and rightly, the lull he was in after she declared, however sad and distressed her tone was, I didn't come back for you, but he hopes to God she comes back for him now.

Monitors beep and hum and he feels his head sink between his shoulders and yawns. Chuck calls and Nate teases him for being such a brother. Eric comes in and sits for an hour and actually talks openly with Nate about how she was always there for him, and they reminisce about last summer, bowling, playing mini-golf and being care free before the rest of their lives happened. He doesn't really think about that summer much. It's another missed chance on the list inside his head.

She rolls over the other side before letting her eyelids flutter open – the princess indeed.

"Would you lie with me and just forget the world?" She recites. "Don't think I don't remember you playing your cheesy love song playlist to me." She smiles wickedly. "Musically attacking me in my slumber?" She mocks.

He almost flushes, laughing and sighing.

She sits up, looking around, expecting Eric, maybe Blair, but there's no one else. Just her Natie. The strange part is, she's not disappointed that he's the only one there waiting for her.

"You stayed." She states with a small smile, but he can practically feel the gratitude radiating from her.

"I had to. Serena...you had me worried." He admits, rising from his seat, still not shaken off all his fear, helping her up. It always intrigued him how – strong and seductive or broken, Serena was either all together or all apart. It was something he'd become accustomed to, the running and the returning, from the night she ran away for a year (he'd always known she'd be back) and drifting out of his life when they should have been making more of an effort to be there for each other. She was blinded by her Brooklyn boyfriend and for a while, he'd be blinded by Blair again. But when he's with this girl right beside him, he can see with clarity."Do you need anything?" He asks, letting his fingers run along her arm.

You, she thinks. But she's going to be slow with this one. They didn't need to dive in when they had time.

She gives him a look, and he shoots her one back. "Come on, anything you want."

She pats the space beside her and demands playfully, "Just to thank you. Would you just get in here Archibald?" He wriggles eyebrows and climbs in with her. And now, he knows he's home.

Serena never did slow anyway.

So they just lie there, alone, together. Before Chuck walks in with coffee, officially anointing their coupled state, Took you long enough, Nathaniel. Before Blair walks into their room in all her majesty, requesting alone time with Serena to bestow upon her the formal Waldorf blessing, Told you to make a move that summer, but you were too busy playing with Cabbage patch to see clearly. Before Eric and Lily embrace her, so glad to have captured back the daughter and sister that always runs away, but always comes home again. Before Dan smiles warmly, it's good to have you back Serena and Vanessa will look at him sadder than she should and nod and smile in agreement.

She knows it's wrong, too much too soon, but that never stopped her before. "I love you," slips out between her lips as she relishes the feel of his arms around her waist. His realization dawned upon him at the age of seventeen. She might be a bit late, but then, this was his Serena, dazzling, so open to possibility, finally vivifying him with her realization. It just didn't matter. He would have waited another two years if he had to. He softly kisses the back of her neck, playing with blond strands. It says so much more than I love you too.

Chuck and Blair walk in, Manolo Blahnik heels clicking, Chuck with his hand on the small of her back. Chuck's facial expression speaks volumes, with a superior, knowing smile on his face and Blair smirking, tempted to roll her eyes, but then, it's just not that ridiculous.

"Nathaniel," Chuck begins, gesturing fake surprise, "It only took you three years."

Blair stares directly at Serena with the same smirk, "I told you to make a move that summer," she begins haughtily, "but you were too busy playing with your Cabbage Patch doll to see clearly."

They see clearly now, Serena says. Right now, that's all that really matters.

--

Spotted: S in N's arms, with their brunette besties, C and B. I feel like we're in a better episode of the OC, people. I know I prefer this fab four. XOXO, Gossip Girl.