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ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Wouldn't it have been cooler if...
By the ghost


Dan's phone buzzed just as he'd decided that Serena wasn't actually sitting alone at the Palace bar. Jenny, of course, texting a homework question.

Help! Essay due tomorrow!

Which is it? "These factor's affected or effected Vonnegut's characterizations..."

Dan sighed as he began to text a reply. She could have pulled out a dictionary, though it wouldn't have caught the apostrophe abuse. A year ago he would have sent back an older brother's scathing reply. But home weirdness has somehow morphed their relationship so that he was filling their mother's role. Dan Humphrey, rent-a-mom. Maybe I can start a business...

He'd just hit send, and was staring at the phone waiting for the 'message sent' confirmation, before he closed the phone. Thus, he didn't see the blonde hurtling out of the service entrance until she'd impacted against his side at mach three. "Ooph," they both commented, as bodies and personal items scattered across the shadow-concealed floor of the bar.

"I'm so sorry," he apologized automatically. "Are you ok?" As he caught sight of the distraught blonde Serena, the question developed more meaning.

She didn't answer, just finished filling her purse and left the bar in a rush. Somehow, he wasn't offended. Disappointed, yes. He'd come down with express idea that he might be able to work up the courage to start a conversation with her. But she was clearly departing some upsetting scene that had nothing to do with some strange boy she didn't even know in a bar.

He recovered his phone from the floor, idly noting that it had a couple of new scratches from the fall. Shrugging, he tucked it into his jacket pocket and left. With no Serena, this definitely wasn't his scene. Another glamorous and fun filled Humphrey friday night.

The next evening, Serena looked up from a book with a sigh when she heard her mother enter the suite. 5...4...3...2...1...

"Serena? Didn't you see the dress I left for you? You'd better get moving if you want to get to the party," her mother's voice got louder as she made her way to Serena's door.

"Yeah, uh...I'm going to bring a movie over to the center and hang out with Eric tonight." She tried for an upbeat voice. "No fancy dress required, and the company's much better."

Her mother frowned repressively. "What do you mean? It's Blair's party...and you love them."

"Loved them," Serena muttered.

"Serena," the 'be-what-I-expect' tone grew in volume. "You need to get back into the swing of life here."

"Oh, because it went so well before?" She challenged.

"At least when you're with Blair I know something about who you're with and what you're doing. God knows what was happening up there in Connecticut."

Serena felt the anger build inside. She'd told her mother this, that she'd tried to turn her life around away from the upper east side lifestyle. Maybe her mother couldn't hear it because she was offended at the implied criticism. Or perhaps she thought it was a lie that Serena had carefully crafted to justify leaving her family behind. For whatever reason, the injustice was devastating to the part of her that was still a child screaming 'it's not fair.'

"Jesus," Serena spat out. "What fucking buy in do you have for keeping me a drunk? Does it make you feel better about yourself? Should I become a groupie slut next?" She grabbed her coat and jacket, and ran from the suite, unwilling to give her mother time to respond to her attack.

Which was how she found herself at a coffee shop at ten in the evening, unwilling even to go to the center to talk to the one person who might understand. She'd be far too easy to find there, if her mother was in the mood for a second round...which she would be. It was actually a miracle that she hadn't called yet. Or maybe, she just put it out of her mind and is busy hitting on whoever husband number three is going to be. Actually, that's far more likely, a cynicism borne of experience postulated.

An odd digital sound emerged from her purse, and frowning she dug through it, coming out with her phone. Why'd my ring change? She wondered, pulling it out and reading the text that had popped up.





J? Who was J? She shifted her glance to the header. Jenny?

Frowning, she hit the menu key. The screen wasn't her graphic. This isn't my phone, she realized, though it was the same model, same color. She began to key in her own number. Well, maybe whoever's it is has mine...

A second text came through as she was dialing.




It all clicked. Little Jenny Humphrey, at the kiss on the lips party. Probably texting that guy Serena'd steamrollered last night. He'd looked vaguely familiar, could be a guy from school. And she was having trouble with Chuck...

Chuck, who just last night tried to rape Serena, and could oh-so-easily intimidate the insecure freshman into a situation she couldn't control. Wouldn't even know how to control. Serena grabbed her purse and ran from the coffee shop.


Cell phones sounded the call of a gossip frenzy, not more than two minutes after Serena van der Woodsen crashed the kiss on the lips party. She could hardly be missed, in casual jeans and a worn leather jacket, surrounded by the glitzy partygoers in formal club attire. Besides, no matter what she was wearing, Serena was always hard to miss. She ignored the murmurs though, and desperately cut a swathe through the crowd in a lap around the bar.

No Jenny, no Chuck. Damn.

She craned her neck around, looking for the logical place for a date-rapist to seek some privacy. Then sighing, seeing the look on Blair's face as she made her way determinedly to the party crasher. This is not going to earn me brownie points for our fragile new friendship. Made more fragile, in Serena's mind, by Blair leaving all of thirty seconds after they declared peace, to go screw her boyfriend. And, though Blair doesn't know it yet, by what she doesn't know about that boyfriend. Whatever, she shook her head. Now was not the time.

"I thought you understood, S," Blair spoke even more coldly than the situation warranted. "This party is for my friends."

Serena ignored her surprised hurt at the comment. "Where's Jenny?" She asked instead of taking umbrage.

Blair snorted. "Bonding with the lil' freshies, now? Guess they're about your speed. Can't help you, I've been involved with the important people all night, not the staff."

"Blair," Serena grabbed her arm. "Jenny's in trouble...with Chuck. Help me find them, please."

A flash of doubt sped over Blair's face. "He doesn't do that, anymore. Not since his father had to buy off Christina Harrington's lawyers."

"He tried to rape me last night, B." Serena didn't like admitting it, but there was no time. "At the Palace..."

Blair's entire attitude rapidly changed. At the palace, where Blair had left Serena. Deliberately left her in a vulnerable state, wanting the blonde who had abandoned her to feel the same insecurities she'd been feeling throughout an entire year. She'd known, that if she'd made a small peace offering, and then pulled a one eighty and left the girl for someone 'more valuable,' exactly what would happen next. I left her to get drunk alone, damnit. I wanted her to feel small. She hadn't thought about Chuck finding the blonde...

"Upstairs," she replied quickly. "Most likely place."

Serena followed her as she hurried upstairs, their steps increasing to a run when they found the signature Bass scarf. They burst onto the roof just in time to hear Jenny cry out. "Get off, stop..."

"Quiet," he had both her wrists captured, as he used his larger body to hold her captured against a skylight.

The girls ran, Serena grabbing his collar and elbow, Blair capturing a double handful of jacket. A simultaneous heave and he was thrown off Jenny, skidding across the gravel-topped roof.

"What the hell is your problem?" He protested, struggling upright not a foot away from Blair. Serena pushed Jenny gently behind her, maneuvering herself to give Jenny access to the door.

Blair didn't stop to analyze the uncharacteristic surge of fury that his protest roused in her. As if they were wrong, keeping him from his pleasures. She didn't know who was more surprised when she balled up a fist and punched him in the eye, Chuck or herself. It was sweet, seeing him fall back onto his ass, looking up at her with the first flickering of fear.

"Get Jenny out of here," Blair said coldly to Serena, still looking down at Chuck.


"I'll be fine," Blair smiled sweetly at Chuck. "He wouldn't dare pull that stunt with a Waldorf, especially not this Waldorf."

"What the fuck's wrong with you? You don't really give a crap about that little brat." Chuck said more quietly, speaking only to her.

"Maybe I'm reacting as a woman to sexual violence, Chuckie."

"Bullshit," he replied. "I know you, Waldorf...that would get you as far as stopping the action. And maybe a little social engineering next week, if you wanted to make me miserable." He pulled his hand away from his eye, checking for blood. "The punch was personal."

She squatted next to him, forcing his gaze to meet her own uncompromising stare. Her tone was tempered steel when she finally replied. "What'd you do last night, Chuck?"

His eyes widened, in fearful comprehension.

"Try it again," she continued calmly. "And I'll castrate you."

The End

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