Chapter One

Fandom: Gossip Girl

Pairing: Nate/Jenny

Rating: M

Warnings: smut (pretty tame in this chapter, though I'm sure it'll get worse)

Archive: Ask

Author: Lily Zen

Notes: This story takes place during Jenny and Eric's sophomore year of college after all of the crazy events in S3 and S4. Since we're still in S5, and this story would take place mid-S6, please consider this an AU beginning from S5's mid-season break.

Disclaimer: Not mine.

There's a hand tangled in her hair, the grip tight and desperate. She gasps, and the sound is swallowed by his hungry mouth. Between her thighs is a heavy bass throb as her pulse and her desire are ratcheted higher and higher. Like he knows—he must know because her wanton moaning surely is a dead giveaway—his other hand slides from her waist, over the bunched fabric of her dress, slipping underneath the high hem and onto her feverish skin, seeking out that raging need. Deft fingertips find their way beneath her skimpy underwear and to the slippery channel it had hidden. She shudders, feeling her body tense embarrassingly…

…and came with a cry, flinging herself back into the cold reality of another morning in London, the early light pale and weak on her still-white bedroom walls.

She was wet, and her limbs were still a little tingly, body forced into ecstasy by the intensity of her dream. Jenny hoped her subconscious mind would have given up the thoughts of him as her conscious mind had long ago. She hadn't liked herself in New York, hadn't liked the person that chasing after him, chasing after her dreams had turned her into. She'd done horrible things; mostly to the people she cared about, all in an effort to…what? Be someone popular, someone people respected, feared, loved? She had failed on all counts. Her machinations had left her with nothing but a broken heart, a twisted spirit, and the surety that if she was ever going to heal either she had to get away from the Upper East Side. However, her subconscious mind was stubborn and no matter how hard she told herself to let go, a part of it remained firmly tethered to NYC and the world she'd left behind.

With a sigh, the young woman glanced down at herself, body still lost underneath the covers, and glared. "Get yourself under control, ladybits."

"Jen?" Eric's voice echoed through their shared flat.

She jumped, eyes darting toward the closed bedroom door guiltily, wondering if Eric had heard…well, anything. Weren't wet dreams supposed to be the sole territory of the opposite sex, and not something a nineteen year old girl should have to deal with? It was all that stupid movie's fault. Eric had just broken up with his latest boyfriend—he was burning through the male portion of the student body at Saint Martin's pretty quickly—and was feeling a little down in the dumps, so he'd suggested an evening of chick flicks and junk food. It was just her luck that the male lead in one of the movies had reminded her so strongly of…

Jenny stopped her thoughts right there. She may not have been able to control herself in R.E.M. sleep, but it was certainly within her power to do so now. She would not think about him. It had been years; he'd forgotten about her, everyone had, and it was time to move on.

"Jen? You up? Come on, you asked me to make sure you were up early today. Something about a super important meeting?"

"Oh, bloody balls!" Jenny shouted as she exploded out of bed in a tangle of blankets and limbs. Living in London, she hadn't picked up a faux-Brit accent like Madonna, but she had picked up a few quaint phrases, mostly curse words, from her new friends.

She stumbled out of her bedroom; platinum hair in disarray, pajamas twisted around uncomfortably, and barked at her step-brother, "What time is it?"

Standing in the kitchen with his palms flat on the breakfast counter, leaning over the morning paper, Eric glanced at the microwave clock. "Six-thirty," he replied in his I'm-slightly-amused-at-your-situation voice before he turned the page. It was a tone he'd learned from living with Chuck, though when Chuck used it, it always seemed more sinister; Eric was only sinister as a last resort.

She practically ran across the living room into the bathroom, slamming the door behind her, and began stripping in a hurry. There was something warm and weak inside of her that begged her to slow down as she stepped under the punishingly hot spray, to take her time and maybe let her soapy hands glide a little lower. Surely she could afford a few extra minutes to…to ease the loneliness from her limbs, to try and capture just a little bit of that golden, hazy feeling.

No, Jenny told herself, and to keep focused on the task at hand she scrubbed even harder, scrubbed the traitorous thoughts away.

The meeting with her advisor went okay, Jenny thought as she made her way to her classes, though some of what she'd said had disturbed her rather than reassured.

"I'm concerned that maybe Saint Martin's isn't offering you enough of a challenge."

"But…my grades are great. I don't understand where this is coming from."

"That's the point, Jennifer. You're coasting through your classes. What if you get bored?"

She was already bored, which she hated to admit. London was fun. She had friends, friends who had no idea that in high school she'd terrorized the Upper East Side, that she'd allowed her step-sister to be drugged by a crazy person, that her own family barely wanted anything to do with her anymore. Eric was the only person she had really who'd stuck by her side through the good times and the bad. He forgave her and loved her despite all of the asinine things she'd said, and the terrible things she'd perpetrated. Even her own father handled her with wary eyes. Jenny was still trying to rebuild that bridge, though it was harder with an ocean between them.

The point was that in London nobody knew her, knew just how badly she'd messed up. She was free to be judged on the mistakes she'd made in the short time on that island. Nobody called her Little J or the Queen, or whispered under their breath about her past misdeeds. Nobody knew that she'd fucked Chuck Bass, or even who Chuck Bass was, and nobody fucking cared either! She had the clean slate she'd craved, finally.

The only problem was that her advisor was right, she was coasting. It wasn't really her fault. She'd interned at Eleanor Waldorf Designs for a long time, and tried to start her own line before. Sometimes taking classes on the subject seemed a little redundant. She still did all the work and got high marks, but she admitted that most of it was passionless, pyrite when compared to her real designs. Her inspiration was lacking. No, no, it wasn't that exactly. Her life was lacking, and because she spent her days wandering in a half-asleep daze, the only creations she produced seemed drab and lifeless.

10:55 A.M. Wanna go out tonight? –E

10:57 A.M. If it involves another gay bar, fuck off. –J

10:58 A.M. *sigh* Fine, we can go to a regular bar. *grumble* -E

10:59 A.M. Don't put yourself out on my account. There's a rebound guy out there somewhere with your name written right above his asshole. It's rude to keep him waiting. ;) –J

11:02 A.M. Idk whether I love you or hate you for that comment. How about we go to a party on campus then? I can find Rebound Guy, and you can get the bats out of your belfry. Lol! –E

11:05 A.M. Hate you. :P Ok, party on campus. And I do not have bats! :\-J

11:06 A.M. Do so. Walls aren't that thick, J. –E

Jenny hit the lock button on her phone before she typed out an angry response, and deliberately dropped it into the bowels of her book bag. How utterly mortifying that her step-brother and best freaking friend knew that she was…um. There wasn't even a word for what she was!

She floated through the rest of her classes, and went back to the flat alone. Eric started his classes later than she did, and because of that she usually beat him home. The apartment was empty, silent. Without him there it seemed more like a tomb than a home. She dropped her keys into the kitschy ceramic bowl that Eric had made in his pottery class last semester. The asymmetrical sides bent and folded oddly, reminding her of the way flowers looked when you peered straight into their centers, thin petals protecting the delicate core. It was glazed in pale, peachy-pink, the uppermost edge done in bone, the color deliberately left to drip messily down the sides. He'd given it to her as a gift. Jenny had always thought it a strange gesture, a strange piece for a gay man to make, but then again, she thought as she looked down at it, maybe Eric just couldn't see it the way she did. To him it was just a bowl.

It was then, staring down at a piece of pottery and thinking inappropriate thoughts, that Jenny decided maybe Eric was right, maybe it was time to get back on the horse, so to speak. Her last boyfriend had broken up with her months ago. He'd claimed she was distant, never really there. She'd suggested coolly that maybe if he was more interesting she wouldn't be so goddamn bored, a hint of the old Queen J rising up to remind her that she would never really be gone, she would never really die. Those bad habits and negative facets were a part of her, the less attractive parts to be sure, but parts none the less.

She dressed with care and deliberation, wearing a sinfully short red dress, the kind that made her legs look like they went on forever and dipped just low enough in the front to show a hint of barely-there cleavage. Even at nineteen Jenny was still tall and thin. She'd grown out of her high school gawkiness, grown into her limbs and her features, and thank god, gotten a little curvier though she still wished every day for a miracle that would result in breasts just one cup size bigger. She still preferred more of a rock and roll look, but she'd toned it down. No more white face-powder and dark, creepy lips. Jenny was still pale, would always be pale, but it was her natural skin tone again, neutral lip stain, and dramatic eyes for the party that night. The red dress was paired with black riding boots and a leather jacket, and she felt very Project Alice from the first Resident Evil flick. It looked stunning with her platinum waves, and she forced herself to smile in the mirror, to put some sparkle in her deep blue eyes.

Eric came home while she was heating up leftovers to scarf down, smiling at her as he tossed his keys unthinkingly in the vagina bowl. "Hey," he greeted her cheerfully, "Make anything for me?"

"Nope," she shot back with a grin, "You're on your own."



They shared a fond smile after the exchange, and for a moment Jenny felt almost normal, almost anchored, almost real. Then Eric turned away as he walked toward the fridge, and she felt that sense of connectedness fade away, a sea of ennui rushing in to replace it. She waited for Eric to heat up his leftover pizza, and join her at the kitchen counter. They preferred to eat there, using their kitchen table as a place to do homework and projects instead of its intended purpose.

"How was class?" she asked more out of habit and a need to appease his expectation than an actual desire to know.

"Pretty good. I'm really into the architecture class I took this semester."

"Yeah? Well, that's good," she smiled, "Maybe you'll even settle on a major this year."

Eric grinned back at her.

She knew the real reason why he'd never settled on a major, and it wasn't for lack of trying. Eric was a great friend, and an even better brother. He knew her better than anyone, and he knew how much she'd struggled through her year of exile in Hudson, how depressed she'd been, how lonely. He hadn't come to London out of any great desire to attend Saint Martin's, he'd come for her, to keep her company and be the rock she so desperately needed. No one had ever been able to see that for all her bravado, she was really quite sensitive. She'd been poised on the edge of doing something drastic, and Eric had been the only one who saw, the only one who cared enough to pull her back from the precipice. He'd reached out to her when no one else would dare to try anymore, and she had let him sacrifice for her, giving up his family, his friends, his life in New York for her, to rescue her. Jenny wasn't sure if she'd ever be worthy of such a thing.

They talked more, but it was like the threads of the conversation were little eels, and they kept slipping out of her grasp. Finally, Eric looked at her with an expression of fond exasperation in his dark eyes, and wondered, "Where's your head at?"

Jenny just smiled, her eyes crinkling.

Eric laughed and hugged her briefly with one arm as he got up, snagging their plates and depositing them in the sink. "Always daydreaming," he murmured fondly, and nudged her. "Come on, let's go party."

"It's kind of early," she frowned, "Don't you think?"

Shrugging, her dark-haired friend replied, "It'll take me ten minutes to get all hotted up, then we're leaving. I have it on good authority that there's going to be a jam session in the student union before the party, and my latest crush is going to be there."

"Ooh," Jenny teased, "Convert or openly gay?"

Eric laughed as he walked into his bedroom. "You'll see!" he called over his shoulder.

Sure enough, ten minutes later, five of which were spent in the bathroom, Eric came back out to find Jenny paging idly through a magazine. She looked up, grinning at him. He looked good, she decided. If he was straight, and she was…well, he'd have had a shot. Eric was a little more petite than she liked her guys, but he looked good in her designs, in the hunter green skinny jeans he was wearing, the graphic t-shirt she'd made him four months ago, and a cardigan that she was pretty sure he'd borrowed from her. Eric never would have worn any of those things in New York. No, he'd always been a khakis-and-a-button-up kind of guy, probably in some misguided effort to keep his gayness more low-key on the Upper East Side, not that everybody didn't already know thanks to Gossip Girl. His short, dark hair was a little spiked on top, adding some lightness to his very thick hair, and his jeans were tucked into his combat boots. Her eyebrow went up.

"Trying to impress someone?" she wondered with a little smirk.

He grinned unrepentantly. "You think it'll work."

"If your goal was to look as 'art school-chic' as possible, then yes."


"Penile implant."

"Ooh, ouch," Eric rubbed his hand over his heart mournfully, though there was still a hint of a smirk on his lips. "Well, shall we?" he offered her a hand off of the couch.

"We shall," Jenny agreed with a lightness she didn't feel.

Eric's latest crush was a cute, blond haired guitar player. He smiled at Eric in the group of students clustered around listening to the musicians play, and from the way that Eric smiled back at him Jenny knew she was getting ditched at some point that night. It seemed Eric was already over his mourning period for the last what's-his-face. Not that he wasn't entitled to having some fun; Eric had pretty much been a grown-up his whole life, and college was finally the place where he could loosen up a little. She didn't mind all that much if he ducked out on a lame college party to go hang with a guy he liked. Hell, if she liked anybody, she'd be ducking out too.

The party was on the fourth floor of the co-ed dormitory, which was a pretty short walk from the union. She and Eric walked with the blond guitarist, his soft case looped over his shoulders, and she let Eric carry the conversation, dragging her feet so that she walked a few paces behind. When they made it up there, Jenny found a stereotypical red plastic cup pushed into her hand full of mediocre beer, and a group of her friends from class caught sight of her down the hallway.

"Jen! Jenn-ay! Get over here, girl!" One of her female friends jumped up and down wildly, trying to catch Jenny's attention.

With a smile and a shrug, Jenny dismissed herself from Eric's company, leaving him to his new conquest, and moved around the overwhelming press of bodies in the hallway toward the open door that Frankie was hovering in.

"Hey!" Frankie cried, wrapping arms around her. She was a small, spunky thing with multi-colored hair kept short and pixie-like. Her real name was Francine, but she hated it and made everybody call her Frankie instead. They'd met last year during Jenny's first semester there, and become fast friends. "I didn't know you were coming tonight! You should have called. I'd have met you outside. Come on," Frankie tugged her by the hand inside the dorm room, still talking a mile a minute.

Jenny made all the right sounds and movements, her expression was perfectly animated, but underneath the thin veneer of normalcy she still felt as though something was missing.

She was half a bottle of vodka into the night. Thank god the rich kids had shown up, bringing with them the quality stuff. Jenny was still good at getting what she wanted, and it was fairly easy to sidle up to a tall boy with dark blond hair and deep blue eyes. He was wearing a Lacoste sweater and had come in with the wealthier kids.

Her smile was resplendent.

"Hi, I'm Jen."

He smiled back at her, dimples flashing in his tan skin, and leaned in close to tell her his name. "Brad."

"You're cute," she told him point-blank, and the grin she got in return held exactly what she needed it to—surprise, a little embarrassment, gratitude, interest. He was hooked, and he didn't even have a clue. They drank together, Grey Goose sliding down their throats, thin and harsh, its burn singing through her seductively. Supposedly it's the best vodka or one of the best, the smoothest. Vodka is vodka though, and when it goes down it's bitter and falls into her gut like a little drop of lava no matter how much it costs, no matter how many awards it wins. That's okay though, she liked the burn. It spread through her, warming up her limbs, and the icy darkness within her.

Brad's hands took care of the rest.

She didn't even bother to take him home. Truth be told, she didn't want to. That was her space, her sanctuary, and she couldn't bear to take him in the same bed where she slept, where she dreamt, where she thought about him.

Instead they went down the hall to the floor's bathroom and locked themselves inside a stall. They fucked with her hands locked over the metal edge of the wall, her slender legs wrapped around his hips; he fucked her into a bright, hot oblivion. Jenny's teeth sank into her bottom lip as her body clenched and shook, inner muscles milking the anonymous boy of his desire. She came silently, but for a gasping breath as her orgasm ceased, not wanting to risk words or noise lest something undesirable escape her.

She left him in the bathroom alone, a wad of toilet paper crammed into her purse to wipe away the evidence of her misdeeds as she walked back to the flat. She hadn't even wanted to stay that long.

1:52 A.M. Leaving. –J