We're under the sheets and you're killing me
In our house made of paper, and you're words all over me
We're under the sheets and you're killing me
(I've seen you in a fight you lost)
Like all the boys before, like all the boys before
We're under the sheets and you're killing me
Our house full of paper and you're words all over me
We're under the sheets and you're killing me

-Ellie Goulding, Under the Sheets

It's pena ajena.

It's Spanish for that feeling, that sick feeling you get when you see another's humiliation.

And it's embarrassing and sick.

Because everything's falling apart and what happened to them?

What happened to the smiles, laughter and happily ever fucking after?

They're just alone and they talk and laugh and for a moment, everything's not so bad.

Her lips taste like champagne.

And she giggles against his lips as his hands wander.

He needs this.

She needs this.

And shit, this is wrong and sick.

But they both need it, the warmth, distraction, affection...

And she's crying.

It was a mistake, a fucking mistake.

God, what has he done?

He's fucked it all up.

And it's gone.

She's gone.

Serena's gone.

Everything's gone.

And he keeps thinking: what has he done?

It's forelsket.

That feeling the Norwegian calls it – the rush, experience, moment.

The cancerous emotion that is love for the first time, fast beating hearts, sweating palms and heartfelt confessions.

And it's ridiculous really.

Because it feels like forever since he was that boy with the silly mask and the lovesick eyes.

He's not anymore, he's not.

He's different now. He grew up.

But he's in a crowd of people again with the silly mask and the lovesick eyes.

For the same girl, the same beautiful, selfish, wonderful, terrible girl.

With the blonde hair and those blue eyes, the perfect angel in that dress.

Then she kisses him and he's surprised and happy.

Even when the second her lips touch his, he knows it's not her.

It couldn't be her, because it's pure electric shock and running away and what are the odds really?

Perhaps it is their thing?

Masquerades, hidden identities, fake veneers?

Yes, that is their game.

Maybe it's that all along.

It's l'esprit de escalier.

A word his French nanny thought him when he was five: spirit of the staircase.

It's that feeling you get when you leave a conversation and in your head all those things you want to say haunt, mock, echo.

It's nothing but surprising really.

And hasn't Jenny always loved to shock him?

He's walking down the streets of lower Manhattan, on the phone with Dan when he spies her.

She's walking down the streets with one of those flimsy summer dresses, her face devoid of make-up and her blue eyes sparkling with warmth.

And she's walking hand in hand with a little girl, no more than four.

It knocks the air out of his lungs and it's electric shock all over again.

Because the little girl's got Jenny's blonde hair and his blue eyes and wow, goddamn, why?

The smile drops from Jenny's face and she's nervous and panicking and what was going on?

He thinks he says her name, he doesn't know.

His mind just stops and his tongue's swollen in his mouth.

Like that time when he was seven and he was stung by a wasp and the skin was red and swollen and...and…

And then she's gone and the little girl's gone.

And he feels his heart stop beating.

For a moment, for second.

Then the words come out but they're too late.

It's pochemuchka.

He remembers that word in passing during one of his classes.

Russian, was it? He's not sure.

He's never been the smart one.

The handsome one, the sweet one, the naïve one, the deceitful one.

But never the smart one.

That's Blair, Chuck, and even Dan.

He isn't smart.

But he isn't stupid.

He has a daughter.

A four year old daughter with blonde hair and his eyes, his mother's eyes.

And really what would she think?

The thought gives him dread.

And he's running to see Dan but he has no answers.

Not even Rufus, Lily, Dan, Eric, Chuck…

And who has answers?

Of course he has to remember, the fates hate him.

And it's Vanessa with her bored eyes and raised eyebrows who tells him the truth.

He has a daughter.

One he helped create that night in the penthouse with their sighs, smiles and alcohol taste kisses.

He has a daughter.

Well, what do you know, Archibald?

Absolutely nothing.

It's waldeinsamkeit.

It's what the Germans call for that feeling.

That weird and twisted feeling when you're alone in the woods and it's dark and cold and you don't know what to do.

He's banging on the door of Jenny's apartment at God only knew what time and he's waiting and waiting.

The door opens and it's her surprised blue eyes and electric shock again.

He wants to see her. His daughter, his little girl.

And he pleads, asks, accuses.

But still it's no, no, no.

He's angry.

She's angry.

All he wants is to see her, meet her, please?

No, no, no.

It's like a mantra.

And he sighs and pleads.

But still no.

The door closes quietly, apologetically and he walks away, defeated, forlorn, disappointed.

Walking down the streets of Manhattan, he stares into the dark endless road of streetlamps, dimming stars and the memory of his blue eyes mirrored in a little girl's.

It's a dark and cold night.

And he doesn't know what to do anymore.

It's cualacino.

The Italian call it that mark left on the table by a cold glass, that ring, that blotch on the perfect surface.

He gets that feeling every time he thinks of the little girl.

Because he's missed so much.

And he knows so little.

But he wants more.

To know her name and her birthday and if she was more like him or more like Jenny.

He needs to know.

And he's become obsessed, crazy really with the thought of seeing her.

Chuck offers the best lawyer money could buy.

But he didn't want a legal battle.

He just wants to be near her.

To talk to her, get to know the child that was half his.

Jenny still doesn't what him anywhere near her.

And all the phone calls, letters and pleading in the world can't change her mind.

But Vanessa, the Godsend, takes pity on him.

Her heart still soft under all the snarky quips and hard exterior.

He comes to Vanessa's apartment on days she babysits.

And its wow, magic, fireworks when the little girl smiles and says his name.

He' happier than he's ever been, he's calm, happy, content.

But then he has to leave and again he's sad, hollow, incomplete.

And there are water color stains on his suit.

It's gheegle.

Vanessa explains to him that Filipino word for that feeling he gets when he sees Natalia.

She's just the most adorable thing there is and other parents would vouch the same thing for their kid but…

He likes to think she's special.

Because wow, she has fireworks in her blue eyes and electric twist smiles.

And he's in love and God, he can't believe she was his.

Natalia's full name was Natalia Allison Humphrey.

She was born on Valentine's Day and weighed six and a half pounds.

She loves to paint and color and dress up in her mother's clothes.

But she loves chocolate chip cookies just like him.

He couldn't be more in love with her if he tried.

He comes to see her twice a week at Vanessa's while Jenny works.

He has to sneak, lie, and make excuses.

But it's worth it, being around his daughter.

Completely worth it.

It's ilunga.

That was the Congo word for someone like Jenny.

He's hurt her.

She's hurt him.

And they've lied, deceived and made the worst mistakes.

Because the thing was they couldn't function otherwise.

They aren't Chuck and Blair.

They aren't good together and meant to be.

They aren't Dan and Serena.

They can't do well apart and come back to each other eventually.

He's Nate.

She's Jenny.

It's never been Nate and Jenny.

They are just two people who laughed and kissed and fucked.

And once upon a time, they could've been.

But the world, them, everything went for not.

And the first time, the second time, the third time – those faults are just more to add to the list of heartbreak and sorrow.

And she's forgiven, tolerated but now no more.

She can't handle anymore.

She's too broken.

He's too far gone.

And what a pair they made right?

Yes? No?

They ended before they began.

It's meraki.

The Greeks are romantics, aren't they?

They have words for doing something with soul, creativity, love.

And he does try.

Because he lied.

Cause, come on, not-to-be and cycles of hurt were all too dramatic, weren't they?

Yes, they're true.

But the thing is he can't seem to care anymore.

Because he's never been the smart one and she's always been cleverer than him.

And she's electric shock, like that one that makes your skin tingle and everything's crazy but wow, he can't care.

He loves it.

He loves her.

And damn, can he be more cliché?

Chuck would laugh, Blair would scoff, Serena would smile and Dan would roll his eyes.

Christ, Archibald, what are you doing?

Flowers, chocolates, and apologies.

She says yes because she's tired, too tired to fight.

And just because she loves him too.

Life's crazy like that you know.

And he's happy now.

Like really happy.

And he has Jenny, Natalia and a bunch of other people that don't matter as much.

Give him a break. He's not the poetic one either.

Dedicated to etgoddess who writes amazing Nate/Jenny fics.