DISCLAIMER: Gossip Girl and its characters are the property of Cecily von Ziegesar and Warner Bros. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is set in a rather AU and Iíve taken some liberties. Blair has a doorman so go just go with it, lol. Lines of a poem used by Serena are from Pablo Nerudaís XVII: I do not love you. Other than that I think thatís about it.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

The Dirtiest Kind of Clean
By skyz


Prologue –

Gossip Girl here and I have a request. I want your secrets. Your dirty little lies. The things you keep closest for fear of anyone finding out. I want those dark and twisted pieces. Give me your lies, your lust, your lost loves. Show me the true meaning of your life. Show me the monster hidden beneath and I'll show you that you aren't alone. Show me the pieces inside.



Serena's back ached from sleeping so awkwardly in that chair at Eric's bedside. All she wanted was a hot shower and something to eat. But first she had to do a little damage control, Serena thought as she settled into the back seat of a cab and gave the address to the Palace.

Serena pulled out her cell phone and dialed Blair's number. She knew it by heart but had deleted the number months ago. It had been better for her to just act as if the Nate thing hadn't happened and being in Connecticut had nothing to do with betraying Blair.

"This is Blair and I'm busy at the moment. If you're important enough I'll try and call you back."

She listened to the message feeling a vague sense of relief fill her. She hadn't really wanted Blair to answer. She took a deep breath and launched into her message.

"Blair it's me. Do you want to do something tomorrow? Go shopping? Have lunch? I'm free so give me a call back at the Palace. Bye."

Serena closed her phone and frowned wondering why she hadn't given Blair her new cell phone number. If she wanted things to get back to normal then she had to start acting like the best friend she'd been before she left. Opening herself up to Blair again and having Blair do the same wasn't going to be an easy process. She was carrying the same secret and guilt she'd had all of last year and being around Blair wasn't going to ease her mind.

She wasn't sure she could walk the line of being a friend while knowing that she'd probably ruined one of the best things in her life. If only Blair weren't so in love with Nate. Not that it would be any better, but it would help if Blair only thought she was in love, maybe Serena could try and explain it away or something.

Not that Blair would bother to hear an explanation and Serena wasn't sure she even had a valid one. It was cliché and stupid but it had just happened. She could blame the alcohol and the intimate atmosphere but that didn't excuse what they'd done.

If she couldn't live with this then she was sure it was going to slip out in some way and Blair would find out. Blair would never forgive her, Serena knew. Blair would forgive Nate because he was Nate but not her. She'd see it as another way in which Serena had screwed her over just because she could. Serena wasn't sure that wouldn't be a correct assumption. It seemed everything she did seemed to cause Blair some kind of pain.

She sighed while opening her cell phone.

"Blair give me a call at this number," Serena rattled off her cell phone number and abruptly closed the phone.

There. One small step.

She was sure that she could convince Blair into thinking things were okay and this way Blair wouldn't have to be hurt with what she didn't know. All she had to do was avoid Nate as much as possible and explain to him again that Blair was her best friend and no one was going to screw that up.

She wouldn't have to spend too much time with Blair and her excuse could be that she was seeing if something was going to happen between her and Dan. Blair would have Nate like she'd always wanted and Serena could forget about all the wrong things she'd done over the years.

Her phone rang rousing her from her thoughts.

"Hello?" she answered.

"Are we playing phone tag?" Blair asked and Serena could almost see the smirk on Blair's face.

"That would imply that you've been trying to call me," Serena retorted. She couldn't imagine Blair had been trying to get a hold of her. Blair was still too angry with her.

"You wouldn't know would you? Since your old number belongs to some pervy old man up in Westchester. What's up, S?"

Said in such a pleasant and polite tone to the untrained ear it would seem as if Blair hadn't a care in the world. Serena knew better and from that tone alone she knew that Blair was pissed. She thought for a moment that she should just let Blair walk all over her because she deserved it, but if she did that then Blair might suspect something.

"Well you know how it is, B. Get a new phone every two months and all the numbers blur together don't they? Do you want to do lunch?" Serena didn't hold out much hope.

"I'm busy actually," Blair murmured. "And if I recall correctly calling and doing lunch was something I did with my best friend. As far as I'm concerned I don't have one. You enjoy your night," Blair replied coolly and hung up.

Serena smiled grimly.

Nate, she thought viciously, couldn't keep his fucking mouth shut.

Serena ran a hand through her hair and slipped her cell back into her purse. She was going to grovel and plead and apologize until she was blue in the face and she could only hope that Blair had it in her to pretend to forgive her.

To say that Blair was pissed would be a complete understatement. Not only was she being out played by Serena she had to have the girl show up to her Kiss on the Lips party and crash it. Thanks to that no good Jenny Humphrey and then to make matters worse Nate had acted like a kicked puppy, hiding and licking his Serena shaped wounds for most of the night.

The whole damn night had been a bust and when she went home to her empty penthouse she made sure to grab a bottle of Vodka from their bar and headed for the kitchen. She found an appropriate glass and poured a good amount of Vodka into the glass before heading for her fridge and grabbing a carton of Lemonade. She mixed her drink and silently bemoaned the fact that it was a low-grade drink but she didn't have the energy to make anything better.

She added ice cubes and took a seat on a stool at the kitchen island and quietly sipped her drink. Why had Serena come back? Why now after all this time? How Serena could expect for her to welcome her with open arms baffled her. Had Serena felt that when she'd left she had left everyone somehow frozen in time? Waiting for their darling golden girl to return to bring them back to life? It had certainly seemed to work that way for Nate, she mused bitterly.

The life had fully returned to him the minute he heard Serena was back in town.


Blair's shoulders hunched and she lowered her head at the sound of Serena's voice. Maybe if she ignored her long enough Serena would leave.

"Can't you look at me?" Serena asked quietly as Blair heard Serena step fully into the kitchen.

Why did you have to leave me? Blair wanted to shout. How could you have let that happen? How could you run away like that?

Blair turned on her stool and offered Serena a wan smile as she took another sip from her drink. It sure hadn't taken long for Serena to get her ass over here. One little phone call and she came running. Calling to do lunch like it was 2005 all over again.

"I'm surprised to see you here," Blair muttered, glaring. "You made sure to get out of here as fast as you could a few days ago."

Serena stood looking almost awkward in the middle of the kitchen with her hands shoved deep into the pockets of her brown leather jacket. Blair watched as Serena ducked her head to avoid her eyes and felt like applauding.

All the signs of a guilty conscious. Or something. Blair wasn't sure if Serena ever felt guilty for anything she did, good or bad.

"I had a thing," Serena said. "Family stuff," she added with a shrug.

"Okay," Blair nodded completely uninterested in Serena's excuses. "And I assume it was family stuff that sent you running for over a year? Couldn't call? Couldn't write? How sad, S. I feel bad for you. To be completely cut off from your friends and family-- Oh wait that's right. Not your family. Lily told me she talked to you all of the time. So I guess it was just your friends you didn't want any more. Or was it just me?"

Serena sighed and finally looked up to meet Blair's eyes.

"I had a lot of stuff going on. I'm sorry that I hurt you, Blair. I don't want you to think that it was because of you that I couldn't...um... It's late," Serena blurted out not even able to continue with her apology. "I'm going to go."

"No," Blair ordered and got to her feet, setting her glass aside. Serena couldn't come here and start her half-assed apology and then run away again.

Serena watched Blair warily as she approached her.

"S, I haven't seen you in forever and now you're acting like I've got the plague. Your escape from Blair will have to wait a moment longer. Okay?"

Blair waited for Serena to nod.

"Don't you want to tell me about boarding school? Did you have any wild parties? Fuck anyone? That was an all girls' school wasn't it? Did you talk to Nate yet?"

Blair wasn't sure what the hell she was doing. She kept her eyes on Serena's trying to see the girl she used to know. Trying to get the image of her boyfriend and best friend writhing around on the ground like rutting animals out of her mind.

It wasn't working.

"What? No. Well—yeah. Briefly. Real quick to say hi and stuff," Serena said in a rush with a grimace.

Blair smirked.

"You sound upset. Something to tell me?" Blair drawled out as she stepped closer to Serena. Her hands lifted and she captured the lapels of Serena's jacket and tugged her closer.

Serena smiled and Blair hated that it was a smile steeped in sadness and that its affect wasn't limited to boys or stupid idiots who thought Serena walked on water.

As Serena's best friend she felt a traitorous urge to offer some kind of comfort.

"What could I tell you Blair? Would you even listen?"

"Oh, fuck you Serena," Blair sighed, her words lacking any real rancor. "Stop looking at me like that. With those sad wounded eyes. I haven't done a fucking thing to you."

Serena let out a small laugh.

"You want to though," Serena replied with a certainty that made Blair glare at her. "You want to do something."

"Right," Blair nodded. "You would know, right?" she asked wryly.

Blair's eyes skimmed Serena's face. Over finely arched brows, down covetable cheekbones, that lush mouth with lips that looked made for only one thing. Gorgeous, wild, and so fucking effervescent. Serena van der Woodsen in all her glory.

Abruptly Blair's hands tightened on the lapels of Serena's jacket and she pulled sharply even as she rose up on her tiptoes and almost as if by accident her lips met Serena's.

It wasn't the first time they'd kissed and not even the first time that Blair felt a roiling within her that seemed to have only grown since the last time she'd kissed Serena.

Serena kissed back harder and firmer wrapping an arm around Blair's waist and pulling her closer. Serena slid her fingers through Blair's hair keeping her still so that she could take control of the kiss. Sucking on Blair's bottom lip before sliding her tongue past Blair's lips she moaned as Blair's tongue met hers.

Abruptly Blair broke the kiss feeling slightly dazed as she took two large steps backwards.

"Goodnight," she muttered and without another glance at Serena strode out of the kitchen.

"Blair!" Serena called after her.

"Not now," Blair growled as she headed for the staircase. "Go home, Serena."

She made it to the relative safety of her bedroom before she allowed herself to cover her face with her hands. Groaning she fell back onto her bed.

She felt weak with her heart pounding and stomach twisted. Blair felt slightly panicked at what she'd just done downstairs. There was no excuse really. She hadn't been drunk—tipsy maybe—but not so far gone that she didn't know what she was doing. She couldn't blame her spontaneous actions on anyone but herself. She'd kissed Serena because she'd wanted to and she didn't know why.

Serena had kissed her back.

Slowly Blair's hands lowered from her upturned face.

Blair wasn't sure why this made her feel so uneasy. Things were shifting, changing, and she feared the end results wouldn't be in her favor. Nothing ever was when Serena was involved.

"You look down," Eric noted as he sat across from her on his bed.

"It's nothing," Serena said and glanced down at her hand of cards. She stared at them and couldn't think of anything she'd be able to do with them.

Blair hadn't tried to do anything to her…yet. It was nerve wracking waiting for whatever she had planned to happen. And there was something planned. Blair hadn't mentioned it and Serena couldn't bring herself to either, but that night with Nate wasn't a secret.

Nate was so dense. What he expected to happen once he told Blair she had no idea. Probably for Blair to break up with him no doubt. But if he wanted that then he'd definitely gone about it the wrong way. Blair would only hold on tighter now that she knew Serena had been with Nate.

Blair would want to make sure that she knew Nate was off limits and that he meant more to her than Serena ever did.

So why had Blair kissed her? Better yet why had she kissed her back? She had never once thought about Blair like that. Sure she'd missed her like hell while away but it hadn't been in a romantic sense. Right?

They'd kissed before but it hadn't been anything like that. She'd never thought and agonized over any other kisses before. Maybe it was because she knew Blair was bent on some sort of revenge and maybe this was her way of making Serena lose her mind.

Wondering about a kiss that didn't mean a damn thing.

"You're spacing out on me. What's wrong, Serena? How did it go with that guy last night?"

"Dan," Serena said and shrugged tossing down her cards. "It's just weird being back here, Eric. I knew when I came back things would be different. But I guess not as different as they are."

Which was the truth. She'd expected for things to remain the same to an extent and the only one changed would be her, but that wasn't the case and she didn't know where she fit in anymore.

"Hope you're not talking about me, because this whole thing isn't your fault, it's all on me."

Eric grinned at her and Serena couldn't return it.

"I'm such a bad sister. I should have called more or something. Mom's always busy with something and you were here all alone. I'm really sorry I bailed on you like that, Eric. Do you want to talk about it?"

Eric shrugged.

"You had stuff going on. I get it. As far as talking about it? I talk about it too much as it is. All they want me to do is talk about it. I'd much rather hear all about Connecticut and you have to tell me how you didn't get expelled from a place like that. Gossip Girl was going crazy trying to get some dirt on you up there."

Serena grinned back at him and shrugged.

"I led a boring life I'm afraid."

"My sister the nun," Eric gasped.

"Oh," Serena shook her head in denial. "It wasn't that bad. I did things…"

As Serena launched into her stay at boarding school she tried hard to forget all about that other shoe dropping.

"Nate said you were in a mood," Chuck said as she met him in the lobby of the Palace. He eyed the box at her feet curiously before he turned his full attention to her.

"Nate can go to hell," Blair said and glared at the smirk that formed on Chuck's face. "And don't you say he's sorry about all of this."

"That would be a lie since I haven't seen anything remotely apologetic coming from him. In fact when I caught him waiting outside this morning he was with that Humphrey kid. Waiting on Serena."

Blair looked at Chuck and smiled slightly as she eyed his black eye. She leaned forward on her stool and touched his face gently with her fingertips.

Chuck smiled back at her.

"Did you try and fight him?" Blair asked laughing at the image of it. "Did you want a matching pair?"

"I'm a lover not a fighter," Chuck murmured and captured Blair's fingers bringing them up to kiss. "You should know that."

Blair shrugged and let him keep her fingers trapped as she glanced idly around the hotel bar.

"He's not sorry at all. Why does that even surprise me?" she asked and then shook her head. Nate's feelings were clearer now than they'd ever been. But there was no way that Serena would win this.

Chuck leaned over letting go of her fingers and settling his hand against her waist.

"Because you're hopelessly romantic, Blair. You want him to love you above all else and Nate's just not equipped to do that."

"You make it sound like it's a bad thing to want a love like that. Just because you've given up on finding anything to make you happy besides sex, doesn't mean I have. I can work with Nate."

She wanted to believe what she was saying but a part of her couldn't get behind what she'd said. Nate wasn't sorry and would never be sorry because he felt as if there was nothing to be sorry for. It happened and there was nothing he could do to erase it.

She knew that sex wasn't the complete solution to this problem but it should have been a lot more appealing to Nate than it was.

The problem wasn't with her.

Nate was the problem.

"He doesn't even want you Blair. He was going to meet Serena, alone. Probably to have a quick fuck against the wall, and it would have been right under your nose. He might want sex but he doesn't want it with you."

It was blunt and the words stung but she couldn't deny that Chuck was wrong.

"I can make him want me."

"Should you have to try so hard? Either he does or he doesn't. I know what you really want."

Chuck was practically crawling into her lap he was that close. She leaned back slightly to meet his eyes.

She ran her eyes over his face searching for a sign of duplicity. Chuck only had his own best interest at heart. He and Nate might be friends but in the end it all came down to Chuck being out for himself.

He looked sincere and for now that was enough to make up her mind.

"It's not going to be easy," Blair noted.

"Nothing worth having is. Terms?" Chuck asked leaning even closer to whisper in her ear.

"You know mine," Blair shivered slightly as his warm breath slid across her skin.

"And you know mine. Agreed?" Chuck asked holding out his hand.

"Agreed," Blair said as she placed her hand in his.

Blair made one of the bellhop's carry up the box, which was full of stuff Serena had left at her house over the years. Stupid shit that Blair didn't want anywhere in her house now or ever. The fewer things she had to remind her of her traitorous ex-best friend the better.

Why had she even bothered to come here? Blair wondered as she rapped loudly on the penthouse door. Serena hadn't made any sort of effort in regards to their relationship in months. Hadn't even bothered with a goodbye text or a hello text when she'd returned to the city.

"My goodness why are you making such a racket, Blair?" Lily van der Woodsen asked as she swung open the door. She glared at Blair through narrowed blue eyes and waited for a response.

Blair smiled thinly.

"Is Serena in?" Blair asked kicking the box at her feet. "I have some things for her."

"Should I even bother to ask what's going on between the two of you?" Lily asked with a look down at the box.

"You can ask," Blair replied as she bent down and picked up the box. "But you'd have to ask Serena. Can I put this somewhere or am I not invited in?" She wasn't in the mood to put up with Lily and her disapproving gaze.

Her daughter was a whore and Lily should have raised Serena better, but then again there was that whole like mother like daughter thing the two had going on.

"I don't appreciate your tone," Lily began pleasantly steely as she stepped aside. "I'm not as oblivious as you two assume. I really do hope you two work it out. From what I gather Serena was rather lonely at boarding school. Serena's bedroom is down the hall the second door on the left."

Blair barely managed a nod as she started walking towards the hallway. She could care less about how lonely and miserable Serena had been away at a school she'd voluntarily gone off to with her tail tucked between her legs.

Serena deserved everything Blair had to give and she didn't intend for an inch to be given.

"Serena's not here by the way," Lily called after her and Blair's step faltered.

She'd wanted to see Serena if only to explain once again why she didn't need nor want Serena in her life. If she could fuck her boyfriend what else would Serena do even if she didn't mean to do it?

Serena's door was half open and as Blair pushed open the door she saw the floor was covered in unopened boxes. Blair dropped her box to the ground heedless of the things that fell out upon thudding to the ground.

She glanced around spotting all sorts of things she'd given to Serena over the years. She wanted to take it all and burn it because it meant nothing now and the fact that Serena had everything on display only made Blair angrier.

They weren't best friends and Serena needed to stop acting like they were.

Blair turned to go but then turned back kicking at the box she'd dropped. She kicked it again sending it skidding across the room . She then turned to another box and kicked it too.

Stupid bitch. Stupid perfect, lovable, fuckable Serena!

"You know that box hasn't done anything to you. Wouldn't you rather do that to my face?"

Blair turned slowly to glare at Serena who stood watching her curiously from the doorway.

"I dropped some of your things off," Blair said with a false smile. "I want my things back too. So when you unpack or whatever it is you're going to do, I want my things."

Blair resisted the urge to smooth her skirt and pull out her mirror to check her hair. She wasn't going to act like she'd just been having a kicking match against an inanimate object.

"So is this the break up?" Serena asked. Sounding so calm and unaffected Blair found herself taking a step towards Serena. For what purpose she didn't know but she reeled herself in and retreated.

"I don't see how we'd be able to go on, Serena," she bit out. "I can't trust you."

She hoped Serena didn't go on about how wrong it was for her to tell her precious Dan about what a whore she was. It was only the truth. And even though the boy was unfortunate in every sense of the word he deserved fair warning.

"And you can trust Nate? I knew you'd be like this."

Blair wondered why Serena had to be so fucking calm about this. Like it wasn't her fault that Blair was feeling the world she'd carefully crafted this past year tilt and collapse under the strain of Serena's return.

How self-absorbed was Serena?

"Knew I'd be like this?" Blair repeated slowly.

So Serena had thought about this and anticipated her reactions. Well no fucking wonder she was so calm. Serena thought she could read Blair like a book and maybe for the most part she could, Blair acknowledged, but it worked both ways.

"And you thought you'd come back and pick up where you'd left off. I suppose you think that I'm only upset about you fucking Nate. Like that weren't bad enough you had to run away afterwards. Not one word said to me at all. No apology, no how've you been, not a single word. I had to find out you were gone from that stupid Gossip Girl website. Kati and Iz called me as soon as they heard. I guess I should thank you because the year you were gone I didn't miss you."

Blair smiled and Serena returned it.

"What about Nate?" Serena asked. The smile remained firmly in place. "Did he miss me Blair? While you were fine and cultivating your legion of sycophants, what was Nate doing?"

Blair kept her own smile and shrugged.




"He was here with me. Where he belongs."

"He called me all the time you know. He told me he was thinking of getting his parents to let him transfer to Harrington which was a few miles from my school," Serena's smile turned smug.

Shock was too mild a term for what held her in place as she stared into Serena's eyes and saw the truth. Heart pounding as anger slowly rolled its way through her body Blair let her hands curl into fists and felt her mouth thin.

"We won't be sitting together at school. Or meeting on the steps of the Met for lunch. If I'm throwing a party don't expect to be invited," Blair said as calmly as she could. She couldn't do anything about the slight tremble that accompanied her words.

Serena cocked her head to the side and stepped fully into the room before she closed the door firmly behind her and leaned back against it.

"How would that look?" Serena asked with an arched brow.

Blair felt her control begin to slip.

"What do you mean?" she asked though she knew exactly what Serena meant.

The endless speculation would run rampant if she and Serena weren't seen together like the best friends they used to be. Rumors would spread and God forbid if it ever came out that Serena and Nate had cheated together.

The humiliation alone would be devastating to her reputation and no doubt everyone with half a brain would accept it thinking that Blair deserved it and Serena should have anything she wanted. They would ridicule Blair and mock her pain. With a beautiful girl like Serena as her best friend who wouldn't be attracted to her? When you compared the two of them Serena would always win in every category.

"You won't want the problems that will bring," Serena said with a careless shrug. "The things it will do to your reputation. Not to mention your sense of self. I think that you'll have to give this forgiveness thing a chance to work out."

Oh, Serena well played, she thought angrily.

Blair shook her head suddenly tired of the conversation and the sight of Serena.

She stalked towards the door.


Serena stepped out of the way and Blair opened the door.

"I hope you enjoy my sloppy seconds."

Serena was better than anyone at pushing her patience and all the right buttons to make her lose control. She didn't think physical violence was the solution for much of anything and had never felt the urge to hit another person.

This conversation was testing her restraint.

It wasn't violence that made her turn back though and stare at Serena. She could tell from the look on Serena's face half defiant and half apologetic that she wanted to take back what she'd said.

That she couldn't stand to be ignored by Blair anymore than Blair could stand to be over looked because of Serena.

They really did know how to push each other, she mused. Serena wanted something from her, a reaction of some kind. Maybe another kiss or hell even a quick fuck against the wall like Chuck had said. Since that was all Serena was good for.

"And I hope you enjoy the fact that Nate's as close as you'll get to me," Blair murmured lowly as she walked away.

Serena could take that anyway she wanted to because as far as she was concerned they were through being true friends.

Dinner with her mother was a rare occurrence even before the divorce and Serena tried very hard to avoid it if she could. Having been away at school and away from her mother had spoiled her to an extent and she'd forgotten just how her mother could be.

Lily van der Woodsen could have almost anyone wrapped around her little finger with the right look and a few well-placed words.

If Serena had been in a better frame of mind she would have been able to avoid the dinner. But her mind had been filled with thoughts of Blair and too many other things to think straight.

Blair didn't think they could be real friends but she knew that if she kept pushing things that it could happen.

She'd stupidly made the mistake of assuming things were fine after that kiss and had gone to see Blair last Sunday with croissants and a stupid Audrey Hepburn movie.

The only thing that had gotten her was a box full of her things returned and she'd managed to say some pretty hurtful things to Blair fueled out of something that went beyond anger.

There was no way she was letting Blair give up on them that easily.

Currently she found herself seated at the Telepan Restaurant at a table just off the center of the room with her mother staring rather appraisingly back at her.

"I wanted to make something clear," Lily began sipping delicately from her water.

Serena waited for her mother to continue but nothing else came and she glanced away and around the restaurant. Her mother wanted something and she had no idea what it could be.

"What did you want to make clear?" she asked turning her gaze back to Lily. She fiddled nervously with the napkin in her lap and when Lily glared at her she brought her hands to rest on the table. "I'm all ears, mom."

"You've been away for quite a bit of time and while it was your decision and I agreed because you seemed to want it so bad, things are not going to be the same way they were before. Things change as they inevitably do and as you've seen Eric hasn't benefited from these changes. You went away and I don't really know what happened. He seemed fine to me…"

Lily trailed off her eyes taking on an unfocused quality before she shook her head sharply and began speaking again.

"I should have encouraged you to speak more frequently with your brother. Maybe I should have insisted that you stay here and deal with whatever was going on. I blame myself for this and I don't really need you to point out at every turn how incompetent a parent I am. But that's not the point I want to make. Eric is depressed. Perhaps even clinically depressed, Serena. Which is serious to say the least. As such I can't have you telling him that he'll be leaving the Ostroff Center anytime soon. He needs their help to get well since I'm not equipped to deal with him and his problems."

"That's all he is to you isn't he? A problem. Have you even bothered to talk to Eric about anything? I mean have you had a real honest to God conversation with him that wasn't about what he did and how you're going to fix him? He's not a problem, he's your son and he's scared. He's all alone at that place. You hardly visit him and when you do all you do is shoot down his hopes!"

"I'm being realistic," Lily snapped. "You weren't here. You didn't see what I saw. You can't possibly understand the depths of his unhappiness, Serena. He tried to kill himself. What happy child does that? There is a reason he's at the center and I might seem the enemy but I want him to get well and once he is he can leave the facility but not sooner. I do not want a repeat of finding my son bleeding to death in the bathtub from a slit wrist," Lily hissed in a hushed tone.

The image her mother's words painted was such a horrible one that Serena had to close her eyes and swallow back the bile that suddenly rose in the back of her throat.

"Maybe he should live with dad," Serena finally ventured and opened her eyes in time to see her mother recoil back as if she'd been slapped.

Serena swallowed hard but didn't back down. Their father lived in London now and was finally settled so that it was now a possible solution to send Eric off to live with their father. He might even be happier away from Manhattan and all the memories it held for him.

"I can't believe," Lily sputtered angrily as her cheeks began to flush. "Your father—Do you honestly believe that Eric would be better off in London? Your father is a workaholic and I doubt very much that he will devote much if any time to Eric's well being. That is a horrible idea, Serena."

"You're hiding him away like it's such a horrible thing. He'll have to keep this secret forever thanks to you and that's such a burden. If he goes to London he can start over if he wanted to. He can be away from everything that's made him feel so bad."

Lily's eyes narrowed at Serena and she knew that she was in trouble for having suggested such a ludicrous (sensible) idea.

"You're implying that I'm one of the things he needs to escape to feel less suicidal? Have you once thought that you play a part in this as well? You were his best friend. His confidant and one of the few people he's looked up to his whole life. Then you suddenly decide that you've had enough of the city and move away with only a hurried goodbye and a few phone calls and e-mails here and there. Your leaving devastated him and it left a huge hole in his life. For a while there I thought he might be fine. Blair started coming around again and they would go out and do things. They both missed you and I think that's why they gravitated towards each other."

Lily paused smiling slightly seemingly happy that Eric'd had at least some one to talk to while Serena was gone.

Serena didn't want to hear anymore of this. She didn't need another guilt trip added to the ones she gave herself daily. She knew that she'd been a coward and she should have stayed. She'd never felt more terrified and alone when she'd gotten the phone call from Lily informing her that Eric had tried to kill himself.

She had never even suspected that Eric had felt bad enough to end his life. She'd felt completely horrible because she had stopped calling and e-mailing as often because it only made her homesick and she hadn't felt secure enough to go back home.

"Then it all came to an abrupt end," Lily continued. "I made the mistake of informing Blair that you'd written an e-mail to Eric that day and you should have seen the look on her face, Serena. It was rather horrible. After that Blair didn't come around to see Eric anymore. I don't blame you for what Eric did but we're all very much accountable for certain things. You're not exempt. I think I'm going to have Roasted Trout, what are you having?"

Paralyzed for a long moment with guilt and self directed anger Serena could only manage a vague nod before she suddenly got to her feet. Mumbling something she hoped sounded plausible she made her way towards the rest rooms.

She fumbled in her pocket and extracted her cell phone. She dialed Blair's number with shaking fingers.

Please pick up, Serena thought fiercely. Please pick up.

"What do you want?" Blair finally answered angrily.

"I—I—" Serena cut herself off as tears unexpectedly clogged her throat and filled her eyes. She cleared her throat and leaned against the wall next to the restrooms.

"I'm not enjoying your heavy breathing, Serena."

"Thanks for being a friend to Eric," Serena finally managed to get past her tight throat. "You didn't have to do that and I—"

"I don't want to talk to you."

"I'm sorry," Serena whispered. "Sorry I'm such a shitty friend. I just don't know how it's all gone so wrong, Blair. I don't know—"

Serena paused to wipe at the tears falling from her eyes.

"You sound like you're crying. Are you drunk? You always get so emotional when you're drunk," Blair muttered trying for disgust but Serena could hear the grudging fondness.

Serena choked back a sob and closed her eyes.

"I'm such a bad person," she muttered. "How did I get this way? I never meant to hurt you."

"The problem is you never mean to do anything and yet it all still happens, Serena. If you don't want to be a shitty friend then don't be one. If you want to be a better person then fucking try it. You make it sound as if this all just happened to you and you were there by happenstance. That's bullshit and we both know it!"

"I'm sorry," It sounded so useless and lame but Serena couldn't think of anything else to say. She was just sorry all around and she meant every apology she uttered. "I'm sorry about what I said about Nate. I shouldn't have said it. I know you and Nate are—that you're still doing whatever it is you're doing."

She didn't understand Blair still wanting Nate. Couldn't understand a lot of things these days.

Like how could Blair have kissed her like that? When she said she was in love with Nate? It hadn't been a peck or even remotely chaste in any form.

"Whatever we're doing? Serena it's called dating."

She wasn't sure that's what she would have called it because how could you date someone who wasn't in love with you? Blair wasn't stupid. She had to know that Nate wasn't a guy she should want.

"Why did you kiss me?" Serena couldn't contain it any longer. The question had been circling around her mind for days.

She heard Blair sigh and waited impatiently.

Fearing Blair had hung up she cleared her throat.

"Blair?" she asked hesitantly, weakly.

"Why did you kiss me back?" Blair tossed back. "I'm not going to pick up the pieces this time, Serena."

This time when silence fell Serena knew that Blair had hung up. She took a shuddering breath and glanced around suddenly acutely aware that she'd been crying and having a very personal phone call where anyone could have eavesdropped.

The last thing she needed was to have this splashed across Gossip Girl.

Tucking her phone back into her purse she entered the ladies room.

Blair had answered the phone knowing full well that she'd be on the other line. After their fight in her bedroom she had been sure Blair meant to keep her word and cut off all ties.

The fact that they'd managed to have something of a conversation buoyed her hopes slightly. Blair was still angry and likely would be for a while but Blair had answered when she'd called and had initiated that kiss days ago.

It was progress as far as Serena was concerned.

"You can't let her off this easily," Chuck insisted as he trailed after Blair through Constance Billard. "You need to make her pay."

Little Eric van der Woodsen had tried to kill himself. God, Blair thought. What the fuck had gone so wrong in his life? Another thing to blame on Serena, right?

She quickly recalled that odd phone call she'd gotten from Serena a few days ago. Thanking her for being a friend to Eric.

This certainly wasn't her fault, she reminded herself. She'd tried with Eric but it had been too hard to be around him. Not after knowing Serena was in contact with everyone but her.

That singular exclusion had shown her exactly what she meant to Serena.

Which was absolutely nothing.

"Shut up," Blair snapped over her shoulder. "Don't tell me what to do."

"Blair," Chuck sounded exasperated as he finally grabbed Blair's arm and pulled her to a stop. "This is Serena we're talking about here. She's got a lesson to learn. Today was just the beginning, right?"

Blair shook loose her arm and faced Chuck with a scowl. She wanted to be alone to think about things and Chuck prattling on about revenge wasn't what she needed right now.

Maybe she should apologize to Eric again.

He'd tried to kill himself.

Was this the family stuff Serena had been referring to?

"Whatever," she muttered. "You need to do your homework or have someone do it for you. This was pathetic, Chuck. Now everyone thinks Serena's the bad girl gone good and is the spokesperson for sobriety among the wealthy teenage elite."

This deal with Chuck would have to yield better results than this debacle.

"I will next time. So you agree that this isn't over?" he asked staring intently at her.

"Chuck will you get out of my face?" she demanded glancing around for some kind of escape. Her cell vibrated in her coat pocket and she took it out staring at Nate's picture. Disgust filled her and she hurriedly shoved the phone back in her pocket. "You're right," she agreed. "Both of them need to learn a fucking lesson."

Chuck nodded slowly.

"Both? Natey's finally deserving of a little punishment? Well I am the man for the job, Blair. Shall we talk again?"

Blair managed a distracted smile.

"We shall."

Maybe Serena could pass along her apology. She wasn't sure Eric would be inclined to see her again today.

The mood between them was strained and Serena couldn't bring herself to try and ease it. She still couldn't get her head around what Blair had done. She was just glad that Eric hadn't had to go up on stage and explain to a bunch judgmental people how he'd tried to kill himself over the summer.

"You shouldn't have done that," Serena said giving Blair a sidelong glance as they entered the elevator to Blair's townhouse.

Blair shrugged, unconcerned.

"You shouldn't have had sex with my boyfriend. You say it was a mistake and I made the mistake of thinking you were a dope fiend. It happens."

Serena couldn't think of anything in response to that.

"What no apology?" Blair asked with a pointed look. "I think it's about time for another one. You know it has been ten minutes since the last apology."

"Maybe you should start recording me while I apologize so you can listen to it on a continuous loop," Serena snapped.

Blair turned to stare at her in surprise.

"Well," Blair pursed her lips. "Not feeling so apologetic today are we? Blair the frigid bitch deserved what she got, right? Can't hold out on a guy like Nate and think he won't cheat. Only myself to blame for it happening. Mustn't expect an apology from the girl who knew how much it meant to me that Nate and I had something special between us. I'm so goddamn fucking rude, excuse me Serena!"

The elevator doors slid open and Blair stomped off heels clicking loudly on the marble floor. She headed into the living room tossing her coat onto the couch angrily.

"You are rude," Serena gritted out following Blair. "And a bitch. You had no right to assume because I was at the Ostroff Center that I had some kind of problem. Never mind telling a room full of college representatives about my "assumed" addictions. That was a fucking disgusting thing to do, Blair."

"So was spreading your legs for my boyfriend but that didn't stop you. How many times did it happen, Serena? Nate said once but he's a fucking liar. He's obsessed with you and I want to know how many times you fucked him! How about when I went to London with my dad for two weeks? Or when you two went with Chuck to the Hampton's to shut down the Bass summer house? Maybe you all had a threesome; I know how fond Chuck is of those. Every time I turned my back and left you two alone I have to wonder what exactly you two were doing."

Serena took a deep breath and found she needed another one to finally speak without wanting to yell back at Blair.

"Maybe we shouldn't talk about Nate," she tried reasonably. Blair sent her a contemptuous look. "Okay. I won't talk about him. I'll take everything you have to dish out, okay? I deserve it. But can we try like you said and be civil to each other. Try at this friend thing again? Your terms, Blair. We'll do this any way you want to."

Blair just continued to glare at her and Serena shifted uncomfortably. Blair's eyes were filled with anger and something else. Serena had seen the same look when she'd come to Blair that first night to try and apologize.

Serena's eyes narrowed and she felt a small shiver of something trail down her spine. Blair really shouldn't be frowning like that, she thought. Frowning like that brought wrinkles and damaged the skin. Blair's skin was flawless.

Serena told herself she was only doing it to keep Blair from losing her mind if suddenly wrinkles formed and she looked eighteen instead of seventeen.

She stepped forward and cupped Blair's face in her hands and kissed her.

She was sad to admit that she was relieved when Blair kissed her back just as hard and passionately. She still found it hard to believe that she could kiss Blair like this. That she could experience the softness of Blair's lips, the silky texture of her hair against her fingers and actually like—no love it even.

"You need to leave," Blair murmured against Serena's lips as she eased back and out of Serena's embrace. "My mother will be back soon."

Blair turned away and Serena stared after Blair taken aback for a moment that she could just turn on a dime like that. Serena felt the affects of the kiss from her toes to her pounding heart.

"Okay...um... are you sure you want me to leave," Serena found herself asking as she smiled to herself. "We can catch up or something. I didn't think I'd see you at the park." She wasn't sure why she added the last part; there was no point in reminding Blair that she thought enough of herself to have Blair chase after her.

And hearing Blair read that letter hadn't made things any easier between them.

Blair glanced over her shoulder at her with a frown.

"You called me and were crying. Was that about Eric?" Blair asked suddenly, her frown deepening.

"You know what? I've got to go meet Eric we're supposed to be having dinner," Serena realized that it had completely slipped her mind.

Blair finally turned away and Serena headed for the elevator.

"Tell him I said hello," Blair called after her. "And I'm sorry once again."

"You can do it yourself," Serena said. "If you want to come with me? He wouldn't mind the extra company, even if it were you. Eric can't hold a grudge."

Blair looked doubtful and suspicious.

"He should learn how to," Blair snapped. "It's one of life's greatest blessings. The use of a grudge is extremely motivating."

Serena knew that statement was directed at her and took it with a small nod of acknowledgment.

"I was trying to figure out what to sneak in for dinner."

"I suppose I could come by for a quick visit. Nothing from Blockheads though. It's completely disgusting."

Blair joined her at the elevator.

"So what do you suggest?" Serena asked. Trying very hard not to think too much about what had just happened between them. Fighting, kissing, and acting like none of it had even happened.

The best thing she knew was to do exactly what Blair wanted.

Blair watched her mother pace in front of her and yearned for the warmth of her bed. She'd expected this but still it was rather annoying to be yelled at for stealing her mother's collection right from beneath her nose.

"You are lucky I didn't call the police on you and have you arrested."

Her mother had been home all of twenty minutes and hadn't stopped ranting since she'd stepped foot in the house. Never mind that it was past one in the morning and the clothes hung neatly from a rack in her mother's study.

Eleanor had stormed into her bedroom waking her from a rather nice dream and hadn't stopped yelling since.

"I already apologized," Blair sighed. Her mother didn't want to hear it and she was beginning to be sick of saying it. Was this how Serena felt? She wondered vaguely. It was rather rude not to accept an apology.

And she really needed to keep her hands to herself. This grabby thing she had going on with Serena had to stop. Maybe it was time to get it over with and let Nate have some fun.

But that would mean letting him touch her and at the moment she seemed to have an aversion to Nate.

"Are you listening to me?" Eleanor yelled and Blair straightened up and nodded.

"Of course. I'm sorry that I took the clothes but maybe you should look at the pictures Serena and I took. I think you'll like them."

Eleanor rolled her eyes and barked out a laugh.

"Yes I'll love blurry pictures from my spoiled daughter and her thankless friend. I don't need amateur photos, Blair! I wasted money on a renowned photographer and not to mention all the other things that lost me money today and that's all because of you and your spoiled hijinks. Do you think this is funny?"

Blair shrugged. It was sort of funny. If her mother hadn't lied to her and just told her she was using Serena she might have taken it a lot better. But hearing her mother talk about wasted money when they had loads of it was actually funny.

"If you lost money why don't you just ask father for some more?" she asked drolly. Her father held a stake in Waldorf Designs being successful and she knew he wouldn't mind giving her mother even more money if only to keep her out of his business.

Eleanor glared at her.

"Understand that I need you on your best behavior. This deal is precarious at best, Blair. You taking my collection and gallivanting across the city could have turned into an unimaginable disaster."

"So you're saying that my decorum has standing with your deal with Bendel's? Are you serious? The only reason you're mad is because I made you look like a fool and that's all that matters here. I could walk naked down Fifth Avenue and it wouldn't affect your deal."

"I swear Blair that you are nothing but trouble. Your father was right when he wanted to send you off to boarding school. I insisted you stay but I now see the error of my ways. I would have been much better off with you out of sight and out of mind."

Blair smiled sweetly.

"Well I don't need to go to boarding school for that to be true, mother. If you want me out of sight and out of mind all you had to do was ask."

Blair brushed past her mother and up the stairs to her bedroom. She quickly changed and grabbed her purse.

"Where do you think you're going?" Eleanor demanded as she met her daughter at the elevator.

"Away from here just like you wanted," Blair answered icily jabbing at the button to bring the lift.

Eleanor didn't say anything and Blair hadn't expected her to.

"Do you know what time it is?" Serena asked later on that night as she muffled a yawn.

"Why'd you answer then?" Blair asked.

"Because it was you," Serena told her and glanced again at her clock on her nightstand. It was three in the morning and they both had school at eight.

"That's almost sweet," Blair said softly.

That wasn't right.

Frowning slightly Serena sat up to lean back against her headboard.

"Are you okay?"

"I had fun today."

Something was off in Blair's tone and Serena wanted to push to find out what exactly was going on. She didn't want to cause Blair to hang up on her though so she told herself to hold off.

"So did I. And I'm sorry too because I don't know why I thought we could both do it. I guess I just thought that way you'd be able to enjoy it too. I think your mom will love the pictures we took. You're gorgeous in them."

"I can't remember when I had so much fun. I missed you Serena. Do you even realize that? You were like my own, mine. You were my best friend and I miss the fun we used to have. This thing between us—I need to stop it—it's crazy. It's got me all mixed up."

Serena wasn't sure what thing Blair was talking about. Was it the Nate issue or the issue of keeping their hands and lips off each other? Maybe she meant all of it.

Blair didn't sound like herself.

"Where are you?" Serena asked, carefully.

"Where are any of us? We're all just floating…"

It had been a long time since she'd heard Blair high and it took her a moment to actually get that Blair was stoned.

"Blair! Where are you?" Blair didn't get high almost as a rule. She hated the lack of control she felt when she did. And there was no way she'd get high at her house not when Eleanor was home and probably still mad at them for taking her clothes.

"Are you with Nate?"

It wasn't like Nate to get Blair high and she knew that he probably would have called her to get her help with Blair.

"She thinks I'm with Nate," Blair said and laughed as if it were the funniest thing she'd ever heard.

Serena heard a responding deep laugh and her frown deepened. She really didn't want that to be whom she thought it was.

"Nate's not here. Only me," Chuck's voice sounded in her ear.

"Chuck tell me you didn't get her high. Where are you? Are you at your suite here? Bring her to my room. I can't believe you."

"We're not at the Palace. We're at Blair's apartment," Chuck snapped. "And no I didn't make your precious girl get high. She asked and I happened to have something on me. We smoked a little. We drank a little. She's fine. Better than she was when I got here. Don't worry. I've got her back, Serena. I'll take good care of her."

"What the hell?" Serena said incredulously as she turned on her light and got out of bed. "You think I'll let you take care of her while she's stoned? When she's vulnerable and just the way you like your girls? You had better stay there and if I find out you—"

"Calm down. It's not like that. You ought to look in the mirror for the reason Blair's acting like this. I'm a true friend. I'm here for her. I'm not the one who fucked around with Nate. That's all you, Serena. So what if she wanted something to take it all away for a bit? I'm not going to touch her or anything like that. She's half asleep already. Don't come over here and ruin the peace with your presence," Chuck muttered angrily before he hung up.

Serena dropped down to sit on her bed the phone clenched tightly in her hand.

Chuck was right. Blair wouldn't want her coming over there and acting like what Blair was doing was so wrong. She didn't have a leg to stand on in judgment. If Blair wanted to do whatever she was doing with Chuck she didn't get a say.

This was Blair's choice.

But that didn't mean she couldn't find a way to make sure Blair remained okay in Chuck's presence.

"You need to go see your girlfriend," Serena said as soon as Nate picked up.

"What?" Nate asked through a yawn.

"You need to go to Blair's apartment and make sure she's okay," Serena said slowly.


"Yes. Go to her apartment. She's there with Chuck and they're getting drunk and high together."



"At her house? Hold on a sec."

She could hear rustling noises.

"She's alone with Chuck and who knows what might happen."

She shuddered at the thought of something happening between the two. Blair would be so mortified and disappointed with herself if she did anything with Chuck.

"Okay," Nate said slowly. "She's with Chuck. Where?"

"At her apartment. You know where it is?"

"Why's she not at home?" Nate's voice was muffled.

"I don't know," Serena muttered. "Just go and try and be a good boyfriend or something."

"I'm going. Do you want me to come pick you up? I'm sure that Blair will be happy to see you." He sounded eager and wide-awake now.

Serena sighed, just what she didn't need. If she showed up with Nate then Blair would freak out and their tentative friendship would be finished.

"No. Go ahead without me. Just make sure she's okay and call me when you get there."

Serena hung up and laid back down covering her eyes with her forearm.

This really had to stop, she told herself. This was so not like Blair and Serena hated it. Hated that Chuck had been whom Blair called when she was obviously upset.

She didn't know what to do to make this better. She just knew that she had to try. She couldn't imagine her life without Blair in it.

Serena knew that she wouldn't be able to get any sleep until Nate called back and told her that Blair was okay.

"Whoa," Nate stumbled as Blair suddenly went limp against his side.

"She alive?" Chuck asked from his spot off to the side just watching Nate maneuver Blair out of the car.

"Yeah. Right, Blair?" Nate shook Blair to get her wandering attention.

"Archibald Leach. I loved that man," Blair slurred.

"What'd you give her? And help me with her, Chuck."

"You're such a weakling," Chuck grumbled but came over and took Blair's other arm and together they walked her up the stairs to Nate's townhouse.

"Serena made it sound like you were going to try something with Blair. You weren't were you? I mean she's wasted."

"As if I'd want to defile the Ice Queen. That's your job Nate and you really should get to it. People are beginning to talk."

"Yeah right," Nate scoffed. "No one knows," he added.

"They will soon enough if you go over to the dark side. Serena's the type not afraid to show affection. And Blair won't take it nicely."

"I'm not leaving Blair for Serena."

"What if she left you for Serena? And before you say I'm speaking from the gutter I mean what if their friendship means more to her than you? You know how your father needs you and Blair locked down. I'm just saying if there were a choice Blair should have a reason for picking you. Does she?"

"I hate this nightgown. I hate all my nightgowns, and I hate all my underwear too," Blair suddenly burst out stumbling and falling against Chuck.

"I told you we should have left her in her apartment," Chuck laughed as they entered the foyer.

"Yeah so you could molest Blair in her sleep? Better here where I can watch her than alone. I gotta call Serena once we put her to bed."

"Oh," Chuck drawled. "Serena beckoned. I wondered why you were knocking so late on Ms. Waldorf's door. You're whipped by the only pussy you've ever had. Pathetic."

"Shut up," Nate snapped in a hushed tone. "She might hear you."

"Oh, I'm sorry. We don't want Blair to know that you're in love with her best friend," Chuck continued in a stage whisper. "I beg forgiveness."

"Just…man, just help me up the stairs," Nate mumbled shoulders slumping.

"As you wish."

Nate was in an affectionate mood and it was driving her crazy. He had hardly left her side all night. Cuddling up to her and being the perfect boyfriend. It was a little too late for it to matter to her. Though while it was annoying she did enjoy the little glances Serena kept giving them.

Blair knew that most if not all of Nate's affection was just a show for Serena. An effort to show her what she was missing by ignoring Nate's feelings for her. Nate wasn't nearly as smooth as he thought.

She'd arranged for a small gathering of friends to come over while her mother was out at some charity function. The party was not for fun or to have the pleasure of seeing people she saw every damn day.

It was a test of sorts.

Nate was failing quite spectacularly, but then that was to be expected, but Serena…

Blair wasn't sure how Serena was faring.

She wasn't her usual self for sure. Serena seemed almost diminished somehow and sitting calmly sipping water while watching the party was not something Serena had ever done.

Blair didn't like it or this new version of Serena either.

It seemed as if Serena was willing to just follow along and while that held some appeal it wasn't what Blair wanted. She wasn't even sure what exactly she wanted from Serena.

Most times she felt like she wanted to attack Serena but instead of doing that she somehow usually ended up kissing her or having Serena kiss her. Which could be considered another form of attack too.

Being attracted to Serena wasn't a new thing, everyone was attracted to Serena, but actually doing something about it was new. Something like this hadn't been on her mind a year ago, notwithstanding those other juvenile kisses they'd shared; this was something else all together.

Blair extracted herself from Nate sending him a cross look as she excused herself. She glanced at Chuck who was immersed in a dual make out session with Kati and Iz.

She made a note to talk to him sometime soon to see what progress he was making. He could be such an idiot, she thought. But when he was on there was no one better at what he did. But that didn't mean she could trust him.

She made her way upstairs to her bedroom needing the space. Once there she checked her appearance in the mirror and finding that she still looked fantastic she booted up her laptop.

She skimmed through her e-mail and finally gave into impulse and checked Gossip Girl. She skipped over the newest postings since that wasn't what she wanted. She searched the Spotted section.

She'd been out and about this week and wanted to see what had been posted. She didn't bother reading the comments because they were unimportant and filled with people who were envious of her life and her all around superiority.




Where were all the posts about her?

"Were you seen? Were you spotted?" Chuck's voice preceded his dive onto her bed. Blair bounced a little as the bed shook and rolled her eyes closing her laptop.

"You're such a stalker, Chuck," Blair complained. His stalker tendencies paired with his penchant for force just made him so unappealing. If he weren't so creepy he might be kind of hot but as it was he just seemed to exude a nasty sort of creepiness.

"And you love it," he said as he tossed a folder onto her lap. "Here look at that."

Blair arched a curious brow and opened the folder quickly flipping through the photos it held.

"What am I looking for?"

"Who's in the pictures? And where is he?"

Blair studied the pictures closer and finally recognized the building in the photos. She'd only seen the building up close and personal through the window of a limo.


"Indeed," Chuck grinned rolling onto his back. "Wanna cuddle?"

Blair laughed and tossed the closed folder onto his chest.

"Don't be a bitch and say anything," she warned him.

"Who me?" Chuck laughed and sat up and started to pull out a lighter followed by a joint. "Nate's brought this on himself."

"Not in here," Blair snapped. "Take it out on the balcony and take Nate with you. He's being clingy."

"He was trying to get Serena to talk to him. I have to say I almost admire her resolve. Nate can be charming."

Blair rolled her eyes.

"You're the only one who thinks so. Take him away."

He chuckled and rolled to his feet.

"As you wish," he bowed and grabbed the folder.

"Am I interrupting?"

They both turned to see Serena standing in the doorway an uncertain smile lingering around her mouth.

"I don't know. Are you?" Chuck asked glancing at Blair.

Blair waved him away.

"Go away," she told him. "You can come in if you want, Serena."

Serena waited until Chuck left before she spoke again.

"I just wanted to say goodnight before I left."

"Leaving so early?" Blair asked, amused. She wondered if Nate's attention had her running home at a quarter to eleven.

"It's been a not so nice evening," Serena said honestly and Blair frowned.

"How so?" she demanded.

"Do I really need to explain?"

"Ignore Nate," Blair didn't see what was so hard about that. She excelled in doing that very thing when she was of mind.

"It's not—I don't want to stay any longer. I need to call Eric before lights out at the center. I'm just kind of tired."

"Did you like the show Nate put on?" Blair couldn't stop the question from passing her lips.

"Excuse me?" Serena asked as if confused.

"You heard me."

"You seemed to be enjoying it," Serena muttered before sighing and shrugging. "It's none of my business really."

"Isn't it?"

"Do you want it to be?" Serena countered tightly.

She shrugged and got to her feet.

"Say hello to Eric for me," Blair said instead of answering.

Blair didn't have an answer she was willing to share with Serena. The answer that had immediately sprung to mind was that she did want Serena to make it her business. She didn't want to be the only one confused about what was happening between them.

"Did you want to go shopping sometime this week?" Serena asked and Blair ground her teeth together.

This passive Serena was more than annoying her. She wanted Serena to push this and demand answers even if she didn't have any to give. Careful and cautious were not words used to describe Serena.

"Sure. Whatever. You should get going."

She wondered if there was a way to infuse Serena with all the hurt and rage that was rolling around inside of her. It would be one way of perking Serena up and it would make Blair feel a whole lot better not to have that weighing her down.

"Are you sure?" Serena asked.

It was the last straw and Blair glared at Serena as she held out a hand.

"Come here," she ordered and glared even harder as Serena hesitated. "To me."

Serena came stopping a few inches from Blair.

"What?" Serena asked.

Blair was pleased to see that Serena's eyes weren't completely focused on her eyes. So maybe Serena felt a little bit of what she was feeling.

"What?" Blair repeated. "What do you think?"

"Are you going to attack me?"

Blair shrugged.

"Do you want me to?"

"Depends on your attack."

"What particular method are you hoping for?"

She watched Serena's eyes drop completely to her mouth.

"Surprise me."

"Were you jealous of Nate downstairs? Is that why you kept looking at us?"

"I don't want to talk about Nate, Blair."

"Then what do you want to talk about?"

"I'm kind of tired of talking."

Serena closed the gap between them and rested her hands on Blair's hips.

"I wasn't jealous of Nate," Serena told her and leaned forward brushing her lips across Blair's. "I was sad that you felt you have to put up with him just to spite me. I don't know what kind of game you're playing."

"A fabulous one."

Serena nodded.

"I imagine it is," Serena slid her hands up Blair's back and pressed a kiss to her cheek. "And when you want to stop playing it let me know. Because this doesn't have to be a game."

Blair hadn't expected something as chaste as that. From the look in Serena's eyes chaste was the farthest thing from her mind. Chuck was right you almost had to admire Serena's resolve.

"Better head out. You have to call Eric remember?"

Blair had resolve too. She would see this to the end.

"Shopping? Tuesday?" Serena asked her arms still wrapped around her.

"Wouldn't miss it."

Serena grinned abruptly and dropped her arms taking a step back.

"Enjoy the rest of your night," Serena said as she turned to leave the room.

"I'll try," Blair muttered watching Serena disappear down the hall. She turned back to her bed.

She took a seat on the edge and covered her face with her hands.

"So you're still hanging out with Blair? I still don't get why she tried to cut you down like she did. Is she still mad at you for leaving?"

Serena stretched out her legs as she leaned back in her chair. She propped her feet on the edge of Eric's bed.

"It's Blair and that's what she does," Serena shrugged. "She knows I wasn't happy about what she did. I mean she can say all she wants about me but if she ever tries to bring you into it then we'd have a problem."

"Into what, though? What's going on? Mom said that Blair was feeling high on power and feeling threatened by you coming back home."

"Maybe. I think we're just trying to find our balance again. It's an interesting path we're following." Interesting was one way of putting it. Horrifyingly unhealthy was another.

"I don't know but it seems like she might hate you, Serena. It seemed like when we were hanging out that she missed you, but then it was like she got over it or something."

Blair never really got over things. She said she did and pretended like nothing could ever bother her. But Serena knew that Blair hoarded all the hurt and the pain, every little thing that she perceived as a slight was stashed away. Blair would go over it all one little thing at a time. Just like her grudges.

"She's angry that's all. It'll go away soon enough. I ran into Jenny today and she wanted me to tell you hello," Serena said changing the subject.

"Really? Could you ask her if she wants to come visit me? You and mom are like my only visitors and I need to see more people."

"Absolutely. She was acting kind of weird though. Maybe it was because I put off Dan again. He wants to go out and I just can't do that right now. Hey, did you see that new YouTube video with that man and his cats?"

"What? No."

"I've got to show you this. His cats can talk! And you can like even understand them."

"No way!"


It was late in the afternoon and Blair was flat on her back staring idly up at her ceiling.

She'd been scrolling through Gossip Girl getting caught up on everything that didn't involve her. As usual Serena had filled up about three pages of sightings and even more comments. She'd been thinking that Serena needed to stop going to the Ostroff Center if she didn't want anyone to know about Eric and his troubles when Serena had barged in.

Immediately going on a spiel as if they'd previously been having a conversation about whatever she'd been talking about.

Almost like old times—only not so much.

"It was ridiculous," Blair was saying with a small smile. "I mean I guess my dad came home one day with his...friend. Alejandro I think was his name, they're not together anymore, but anyway he brought him home. And my mom was supposed to be in Paris for some last minute thing--I don't remember what. She comes home early and walks in."

"Oh my God," Serena whispered sounding surprisingly shocked. "Were they...you know?" she asked and Blair could feel Serena shudder against her side.

Yeah, almost like old times except that Serena was pressed as close as possible without sprawling herself on top of Blair. And at the moment she didn't mind it so much.

She found her current mood swings odd and unsettling. She didn't like the fact that they seemed to all be spurred on by Serena in some way.

Blair thought that maybe she was slowly losing her mind. Letting it be eaten away by her anger and her reckless greed to do whatever it was she needed to feel like her old self.

"Hmm. I don't know. I hope not. I always thought my dad had more sense than that, but who knows. Mother lost her mind. Started throwing anything she could at him--remember that God-awful Waterford vase? She threw it at dad and knocked him out. I'm serious. I don't know what Alejandro was doing but mom started throwing her shoes at him. That's what I saw when the elevator doors opened. She was chasing him through the hall and Gabriella had to call Dr. Barclay to check dad out. He had a concussion. It was complete chaos."

She remembered hearing her parents arguing long before then but when those elevator doors had opened she'd been shocked that it had gotten that bad. It hadn't been a shock to see her father's boyfriend, her mother had started calling her dad all sorts of gay slurs during their fights, so she'd been clued into the fact that her father was gay.

"Did your mom ask for your help?"

Blair chuckled and turned to glance at Serena. She rolled her eyes and grinned when she saw Serena's smirk.

"You know her well, but no she didn't, she didn't even notice me. No one did actually. So I just took the elevator back down and went to the Four Seasons. I was there for two days before my dad called and told me he'd moved to Paris and wanted to know if I'd join him."

Blair couldn't hide the surprise she still felt at the offer. It wasn't that she and her father hadn't gotten along, rather that he just seemed so busy with the law firm that he didn't have time to take notice of her. The offer had meant quite a bit to her.

"That was nice of him," Serena murmured skimming her hand along Blair's side.

"Yeah," Blair breathed. "I wanted to go. I didn't have anything keeping me here and I wanted to go so badly that I even packed my bags. It's so pathetic but cliché as hell. When Eleanor finally came out of her room, like three days later, she was drunk as hell. Stumbling around and yelling. Just so completely unlike her. I couldn't leave her like that. How could I? She needed me. I declined but have a standing invitation to come and stay forever if the need were to ever arise."

"Gabriella filled you in about everything you'd missed?"

"She was hiding in the kitchen until mom made her come out and try and translate what Alejandro was screaming, but Gabriella's Portuguese and didn't have a clue. She filled me in on what I missed when I finally came home. There really was no point in going. I can't imagine what I would have done there. I barely know my dad and seeing him all of the time would have been weird."

"Well--" Serena began and Blair cut her off quickly. She didn't want to hear Serena spin this in her Pollyanna way.

"Don't say it. Your parents wanted you and Eric and fought over you two. It's nice and all that he finally talked to me like a real person and not an appendage, but my parents are for shit. I'll be free at eighteen and that's all that matters."

She hadn't always thought like that but last year had shown her that there was only one person she could rely on. Herself.

"Remember how we wanted to backpack our way through Europe? Meeting uber-emo Europeans and getting drunk every night?" Serena asked with a lilting laugh as her hand rested across Blair's stomach.

She wondered what Serena was thinking about all this. She hadn't invited Serena over and hadn't made her leave when she'd shown up. She wasn't sure why but Serena's company wasn't as...aggravating as it usually was. Blair suspected that it must have shown because Serena was touching her and that was generally not something she wanted.

Blair did recall that they'd planned their trip when they were thirteen and before she'd seriously considered Nate to be the one. The way things were going it seemed unlikely that any sort of trip would happen and if it did then she was fairly certain it wouldn't contain any emo Europeans. Male or female.

"Just like we used to think we'd be the next Spice Girls," Blair muttered. "What was it you called yourself? Something like...Ena Nice--that's it. Girl power! It's the power of life. Too bad both our English accents suck, huh? Because I'm telling you we could have conquered the world."

"We still can," Serena said softly.

Serena actually sounded like she believed it and Blair couldn't bring herself to say anything to take that away from Serena. Let Serena have her delusions.

Being friends like they'd been seemed almost like a mirage to her. Sometimes she could picture it and other times it seemed so far away that they'd never reach that place.

There was a part of her that was happy Serena was back but it was overshadowed by the larger darker part that wanted everyone to hurt and feel her pain.

She just couldn't see a way to get over everything.

Blair grunted in surprise when Serena rolled over and straddled her.

"So, when am I going to see your apartment," Serena asked as she bent down placing a kiss against the side of Blair's mouth. She trailed kisses along her jaw and slowly pinned Blair's arms above her head.

"Well," Blair gasped as Serena bit down lightly on her neck before sucking the skin between her lips. "Soonish, maybe."

Maybe meant never and Blair knew that Serena knew that. Sharing decorating tips and interior designers was not something Blair wanted with Serena anymore.

She knew she couldn't want that. Trusting Serena again would take too much of a toll on her.

Serena's hands tightened against her trapped wrists.

"Soonish," Serena repeated pouting her bottom lip thrusting out.

But trusting and fucking were two different things.

Seeing no need to resist Blair rose up and Serena leaned down just far enough away to be out of her reach. With her arms pinned and Serena straddling her hips she didn't have much room to maneuver.

She glared at Serena indignantly.

"Come here," Blair whined.

"Can I touch?" Serena asked slowly grinding her pelvis against Blair.

Blair narrowed her eyes and bit back a gasp as Serena's hand released her wrist and slid down her chest to palm her breast.

Curious to see what Serena would do Blair let herself relax into the mattress.

"If you must."

Serena's hand began to knead the flesh beneath her fingers.

Blair shivered under the touch of her fingers and she lifted her face to meet the hard press of Serena's mouth, descending onto hers. The tip of Serena's tongue slipped between Blair's parted lips, explored her mouth.

Serena's free hand slid up Blair's neck to cup the back of Blair's head, while her other hand ran a maddening path up and down Blair's waist, skimming the underside of her breast, finally curling around her hip. Blair dragged her teeth over Serena's lower lip, moaning as Serena's thigh pressed down hard against her.

Blair's eyes closed and her head fell back as Serena's hands slid beneath her shirt and smoothed up her stomach.

Blair lifted her arms when Serena tugged her blouse up and over her head tossing it to the floor. Blair arched into the touch as Serena's tongue slid across Blair's collarbone. Serena ran her hands over Blair's lace covered breasts, her thumbs slowly trailing back and forth across the hardened flesh of her nipples.

"You're beautiful you know..."

Why did Serena have to say that? Blair wondered. She'd been right there with Serena. Willing to see what was going to happen. Even enjoying Serena's touch for once.

"No," Blair stated and grabbed Serena's wrists. She shook her head and closed her eyes. "No."

"Really! It's true, Blair. I think we--"

"Shut up Serena!"

"Listen to me!" Serena snapped wrapping her fingers around Blair's chin. "I think that--"

"That what? We're in love or something? Is that what you think? Because that's fucking ridiculous. Insane even," Blair spat out opening her eyes to glare up at Serena.

Serena groaned and rolled off Blair and onto her back.

Blair sat up as she heard Serena's laughter.

"You know what's insane? Telling me I can't touch you and letting you play with me. And I didn't say anything about love. Do you even realize how fucking bizarre this is? One minute we're fighting, the next we're all over each other, and then we're almost friends but not quite. Fucking figure out what you want and then fucking do it."

"I don't fucking want anything from you," Blair mumbled still wound up and irritated that Serena would bring up what they were doing yet again.

Why did they have to talk about it? It made her feel better when she could smash her lips against Serena's and get lost in her scent. To be able drown in the warmth of her body and not have to think about anything but getting what she wanted.

"I won't touch you, okay? I know the rules. It pisses you off when I step over the boundaries you've set up. I can play by the rules," Serena said mockingly as she watched Blair hunt for her shirt.

"I have plans. You have to leave," Blair announced as she gave up on looking for her shirt and grabbed another shirt from her closet.

"Sure. But Blair," Serena's voice softened and Blair glanced at her. "I'm not going to keep doing this. I told you this doesn't have to be a game. You don't have to force me to do this. And you don't have to pretend that you don't enjoy it."

"I'm going to take a shower," Blair muttered and walked towards her en suite bathroom. If Serena kept talking for one more minute she didn't know what she'd do.

What did Serena think was going on here? Like she actually wanted to be with her or something? Like be lesbians—together—with each other?

The scandal that would bring made her feel sick. She'd absolutely die if something like that came out.

"Blair I want you to be happy. If you have to do whatever you're doing with me for that to happen, then I get it."

Serena smiled at her and sudden fierce anger hit her. Serena the best friend was out in full force today. Trying to make things easier for her and letting her take her anger and frustration out on her.

"You don't want me happy," Blair snarled. "Because if I were there wouldn't be room for you in my life."

Blair slammed her bathroom door closed behind her.

Blair kissed Nate and tasted wintergreen mint and knew that he'd been smoking before he came over. His mouth felt hard and rough. Wrong. She pushed him off her and lay there a moment before she got to her feet.

"What?" Nate asked with that vague smile of his. He lay back on the bed and stared at her with such a blank look Blair had to look away.

"What?" Blair repeated angrily. "What did I tell you about coming to see me when you're fucking high, Nate? I said don't. Get out."

Why did Serena have to ruin what would have been a pleasant afternoon? She'd been okay with Serena touching her and had been intrigued to see how it would have turned out.

Maybe she would have gotten off and wouldn't have had to resort to calling Nate over.

Fucking Nate, she scowled down at him.

"Hold on a minute. You called me over here. I was busy but I came."

"You're such a loyal boyfriend," Blair mocked. "To come when I call."

"You know what? I am, Blair. I'm good to you."

"I want you to leave. Go find some other girl to fuck and get high with. It's all you know how to do."

Good to her? She thought in disgust. Good at following her directions when he fucking felt like it, maybe. But a good boyfriend? Nate didn't even know the meaning of it. She knew he probably pictured Serena when he touched her, when he kissed her and compared the two of them.

She shuddered at the thought. At least she knew out of the three of them that Nate was the only one who had to be worried about his technique.

Blair stormed out of her room and down the hall to the dining room. She needed something to drink, something to take the edge off. She heard Nate making enough noise and lingering around to make sure she knew he was still there.

"Get out of here, Nate," she yelled and heard him curse before the sound of the elevator arriving drifted to her.

Why had she acted like Serena had done something so awful that she'd had to start yelling at her? Serena had merely stated the obvious, she was beautiful, and it was nice to hear on occasion.

But Serena had never said it in that way. Had never looked at her like that and-- why had she brought up love with Serena?

It wasn't about love or like or anything remotely like that. Blair knew that and had assumed Serena did too. Blair wanted to be the one to take and take this time. She wanted to be the one to leave Serena.

Serena needed to know what it felt like.

She poured herself a glass of Vodka and contemplated mixing it or making a real drink, but if her mother came home, unlikely, but if she did it would be better to have a clear liquid to laugh off as water.

She wandered back to her bedroom with the glass and bottle.

She glared at the familiar surroundings. Noting the bedspread was more than three months old and the color hurt her eyes now. She needed to re-decorate. She needed to get rid of everything in the room and start over. New start in life, new bedroom to match the new life, she mused sipping her Vodka.

It tasted rather foul but it was working. She could feel its warmth seeping into her and she took a larger gulp as she contemplated whether to stay here or go somewhere else. They had a standing suite at the St. Regis. She had her own apartment at the Waldorf=Astoria, a sixteenth birthday present from her father. A good investment, he'd called it, so she'd learn what it was like to live on her own.

She'd been thrilled and the one person she'd wanted to show it off to hadn't wanted anything to do with her.

What had Serena meant that she didn't need to be forced to be with her? What the hell did that even mean? Why was Serena out to confuse her and make her life hell?

It all came back to Serena.

Which was why she found herself calling her. She already knew Serena probably had plans and wouldn't be able to do anything with her, but she wanted to hear her voice.

It had been so long and she'd almost forgotten the sound of it. That certain timbre that was only Serena's, the way that everything sounded better coming from that voice, like smooth silk.

Sometimes she hated that voice but right now she needed to hear it.

"Serena? Can you come over?" Blair blurted into the phone pacing frantically around her bedroom. She felt antsy and needed to see Serena.

"What's wrong?" Serena asked immediately.

Blair couldn't bring herself to say it. Couldn't force the words out of her mouth. She didn't want to need Serena and there was no way she could let Serena know that need was driving almost everything she did these days.

She finished her second glass of Vodka and carelessly let the glass drop from her hand to the floor.

She needed to get her control back.

"Nothing. Never mind," Blair muttered and wondered why she thought seeing Serena might clear her head. Serena was the cause of her chaotic thoughts.

"Hold on. Do you really need me to--" Serena began her voice drifting almost drowned out in a sudden rising of voices where ever Serena was.

Serena was out and here she was stuck at home on a Friday night, too depressed to get out of the house, couldn't even have a nice night with her boyfriend without Serena ruining that too. Had Nate gone to see Serena? To get some relief?

"I don't need anything, okay? I can take care of myself! I don't know why I-- Look have a good night, okay. Goodbye."

She hung up and tossed her cell phone onto her bed.

She felt like her skin was crawling and her mind was just too full of everything. Nate hadn't helped and she didn't want to need Serena. Serena and Nate. The two people she'd trusted most in the world.

She didn't need either of them.

She made a dive for her phone.

"Yes?" Chuck answered on the fourth ring.

"I want them to hurt. To know what this feels like," Blair murmured into the phone.

"As they should."

"They don't understand. It's like they think it's okay to do what they did. I can't stand for him to touch me. I can't look at him, Chuck."

And Serena...

Why did she want to touch her or kiss her now that Serena was back to pick up the pieces she'd left behind? Serena took too much. Serena cared too much. Serena was making this all too hard.

It was so easy to just hate her, but the hate was mixed now, with something she couldn't even begin to describe. She only knew that she'd never felt as awful as she did now.

"I'm here for you. Whatever you need."

"I need this to stop," Blair mumbled. "All of it. Just to stop," she hung up and dropped face first onto her bed.

She needed everything to stop for just a moment so she could put herself together piece by broken piece. She'd come apart without even realizing it and now she just felt broken.

It hadn't really hit Serena until she was gone at boarding school and away from Blair, how much she relied on her. Once there with no contact with Blair and having left so abruptly she'd finally understood why she and Blair were friends. They complimented each other, they were better together than apart, and she'd realized that she kind of needed Blair.

Thinking about it now while having come back to the city everything had taken on a whole other meaning. She'd never pictured what she and Blair had as romantic, at least not at first. They were best friends and hung out all the time and had a relationship where the word personal space had never been uttered.

Coming back had changed things on every level between them. For the first time there was a guarded and wary look lurking in Blair's eyes.

She felt awkward and uncomfortable around Blair like she was wearing the wrong skin or something. She had attributed this to the secret she carried and had been relieved when it had come out.

Knowing Blair as she did she'd expected more than what she'd dished out. She'd done such a crappy thing and it made her feel like a horrible person because she knew how much Blair needed and wanted Nate.

If she'd wanted to hurt Blair in the worst way possible she'd found it.

That guilty awkwardness hadn't faded but that had been before the stares and kisses. The guilty awkwardness eased into stilted weird can't-look-you-in-the-eyes-I-want-to-fucking-kiss-you-right-now-awkwardness.

It was like whenever she was around Blair her hands itched to touch her. Even the few friendly moments they'd managed ended up with them in some kind of grope-sex fest.

There was no better example than a few days ago after they'd run all around town with Eleanor's clothes and Serena had called her mother's driver to pick them up from Central Park.

Happy giggling had led to one of them, Serena wasn't sure who started it, kissing the other and before long they'd been making out in the back seat of the Towne car and if the car hadn't come to a stop Blair would have had her dress bunched up and her hand down her underwear.

There was nothing guilty about what she felt and she didn't think that was a good thing. Serena knew that Blair still wanted Nate so whatever they were doing couldn't be more than what it was. Which was Blair asserting herself over her. It was about power and how Blair wanted to wield it over Serena.

Things weren't going to go back to the way they'd been and she didn't think Blair knew that or if she did then she was deliberately ignoring the ramifications of what they were doing. The things they were doing with each other could maybe be explained away once, maybe even twice, but they'd done it more than two times and it didn't seem like they'd be stopping anytime soon.

Serena didn't mind she just wished that it could expand into something more than what they were doing. She was finding that she was wildly attracted to Blair. While being on the receiving end of Blair's surprising prowess for a sexual novice, was nice, she really wanted to return the favor.

In order for that to happen something had to give.


Torn from her thoughts Serena looked up to see Jenny hurrying over.

"Hi," Jenny said enthusiastically.

"Hey," Serena responded forcing a little cheerfulness into her voice. "What's up?"

"Blair wants to see you," Jenny said without preamble.

Serena frowned.

"What? Why didn't she just come over here?" Serena asked glancing around the courtyard for any sign of Blair.

"Oh, she's not out here. She's in the library. Waiting. For you."


Serena didn't make any move to get up from her spot on the bench as she sat back re-crossing her legs.

"So, how are things going with you and Dan?" Jenny asked with a smile.

Serena shrugged.

Things were going and that was about it. They hadn't had their date yet. She liked him and if it weren't for this thing with Blair she was sure he would have more than charmed her. She'd needed some kind of change and Dan had seemed to fit the bill at the time but now there was Blair.

She was beginning to think that it had always been Blair. That was surprising but reassuring too because she knew if she found the right time she could convince Blair that they ought to try this out. After Blair figured out why exactly she was so angry with her beyond the whole Nate part.

"It's fine," Serena finally muttered and rose to her feet abruptly.

"He likes you a lot," Jenny added and Serena noticed a peculiar look on Jenny's face. She kept staring at her like she wanted to say something and couldn't bring herself to.

"I know," Serena said and shrugged again. "We'll see how it goes. You said Blair's in the library? Which one?"

"In Ptolemy. She wanted you to hurry."

Serena trashed her yogurt and slung her messenger bag onto her shoulder.

"Thanks," Serena said her cheerfulness gone as she turned back to enter the school.

"Serena!" Jenny called after her.

She glanced over her shoulder at Jenny with raised brows.

"Um...just—never mind. Have a good day."

Weird, Serena thought as she nodded and entered the school.

The library Blair was in was located on the other side of the school and it took her a few minutes to reach it. It happened to be the larger library that both schools used and more often than not Blair would sneak away with Nate to the third floor where all the rare books were housed to make out during their lunch hour.

She really couldn't imagine what Blair wanted with her. She hoped Blair wasn't playing some game where she'd find Blair and Nate locked in one of their serious make out modes. She didn't need to see anything like that. If she saw it she wasn't sure what she'd do, but she figured it wouldn't be pleasant for anyone.

She pushed through the heavy double doors and entered the library. She scanned the lightly crowded first floor going past rows and rows of books and not finding Blair. She took the stairs to the second floor silently hoping that Blair had gone and that if she took to the third floor she wouldn't find Blair.

She waved and nodded to other students who waved and called out to her. She didn't stop to chat with anyone though. She finally spotted Blair in the back by the windows head bent over a textbook busily taking notes in her notebook.

"Blair, hi," Serena greeted her as she reached the table.

Blair's head jerked up and for a moment a welcoming smile warmed Blair's face before it slid off as if she suddenly realized she didn't want to be happy to see Serena.

Serena barely resisted sighing.

She really fucking hoped it wouldn't be like this forever.

"What are you doing here?" Blair asked rudely as she turned back to her textbook.

Serena sat down opposite Blair.

"You rang, my queen," Serena said slightly mocking. She smirked a little as she watched Blair try to ignore her. Blair's finger kept skimming over the same paragraph again and again.

"I did not," Blair snapped.

"Jenny told me you wanted to see me."

"And of course you came," Blair glanced up a scornful expression on her face.

Serena shrugged.

"Why wouldn't I?" Serena asked honestly. When Blair called more often than not Serena came. That sounded really dirty and accurate, she mused.

She'd been trained well.

Blair rolled her eyes and abruptly closed the book and flipped her notebook shut.

"I didn't want to see you. Jenny must have been mistaken. Or she flat out lied. She's got a manipulator's soul you know," Blair stated nonchalantly.

Serena didn't even bother to reply as she just smiled.

Blair looked away looking more uncomfortable by the second as she began to gather her things.

"Um..." Blair began a little nervously.

"Have you eaten?" Serena asked digging in her bag for her extra yogurt. She slid it across the table to Blair.

Blair stared at it in distaste.

"Am I to use my fingers like some kind of animal?" she asked as she picked up the yogurt to inspect, checking the expiration date carefully.

Serena snorted and rolled her eyes.

"Of course, Blair. I want you to eat the yogurt with your fingers or better yet lick it up like a dog. God, here's your spoon, princess prissy."

Blair jerked the spoon out of Serena's hand and opened the yogurt.

"Prissy?" Blair asked with a raised eyebrow.

"Yes," Serena nodded.

"That's not what you were saying when my hand was down your pants. I don't believe that fits the description of prissy, Serena."

Serena's brows rose in surprise as she realized what Blair was actually talking about. Maybe this was her chance to actually talk some sense into Blair.

"So we're going to talk about this?" she asked then shook her head. "Well let me just say that that Blair isn't the real Blair. She's the one who wants whatever she wants from me, maybe you don't even know what it is, but once it's out of your system I'm sure I won't be seeing that Blair again."

"How do you know that's not who I am?"

"Are you implying that I don't know you?" Serena asked starting to get irritated.

"I've changed," Blair insisted.

"So you keep saying," Serena muttered and didn't attempt to hide her sarcasm. "But it seems like the same old Blair to me."

"You wouldn't recognize it because you weren't here. Actually I have you to thank for it really. I learned a lot about myself last year."

"Like what?" Serena demanded leaning forward.

Blair suddenly got to her feet the chair she'd been seated in screeched backwards against the hardwood floor. She grabbed her books a cold look crossing her face.

"Like I don't need you, Serena," she smiled coldly down at Serena.

Serena rose as well and nodded as if she agreed with Blair.

"Well it's nice that you believe that, Blair. I'm sure that's what kept you going while I was away. That mantra of yours of not needing me must have worked wonders. So well in fact its led you straight back to me. And as a bonus you can't seem to keep your hands to yourself. You've changed. I've changed. We've both changed. Oddly enough we've both changed in ways that seem to only be bringing us closer, despite what you may think. Don't forget to eat your lunch," Serena said with a tight smile as she left the table.

She really shouldn't have said any of that. It was unnecessarily cruel to remind Blair of her insecurities like that. To use them against her like that had been wrong, but damned if it hadn't felt good. Blair just pushed every button she had until she felt like she needed to get rid of every emotion until there was nothing but blissful numbness.

"You think that you can talk to me like that?" Blair whispered furiously as she grabbed Serena's arm and stopped her half way through the library.

"What way is that?" Serena asked taking in Blair's angry gaze and smiling because she knew it would drive Blair crazy.

"You don't get to say those things to me and expect me to take it. You're the one who left and the one who fucked my boyfriend. You actually expect me to take you back into my confidence and into my life so easily! This isn't all about you. Can't you for one fucking minute realize that I don't want to hear you apologizing every second, that I don't want to see your little hurt expression every time I turn away. I want some peace. I want to be able to breathe and not feel as if my world is ten seconds away from falling apart. You're the cause of all this. Everything going wrong in my life, these crazy things I'm doing, Nate acting like a pod person, all of this is your fault!"

Serena's face flushed in anger as she took a slow breath and reached out for Blair's hand and began to tug her along behind her. People were already looking and whispering and she knew that Blair wouldn't make a bigger scene. Even though their exchange had been hushed it was rather easy to see that they'd been having an argument.

"I wouldn't apologize every time I see you if you stopped looking at me like you do! Every time I see you it's the same damn look and it's in every line of your body, Blair! You want me to apologize until you say it's been enough. If I stopped you'd say I didn't care about you. I get that this isn't a pleasant situation here, but don't talk to me like your life is the only one with problems. I have problems too. I'm trying to be your friend and to make up for all my wrongs. I don't expect much give from you but I think after all these years I deserve something," Serena exploded as soon as she slammed the door closed to an empty class room, shoving in Blair and sealing them off.

"Poor little lost girl, Serena. She wants respect. I don't give a fuck about what you're feeling. I don't want to offer you pity and I don't want to forgive you. I want you out of my life. I did fine while you were away, Serena. Things were perfect. I want my life back. It was so much better without you in it."

Serena stepped forward and Blair met her halfway.

Their mouths met in a wet bruising kiss, teeth clacking with the force of it. Their tongues slid against each other; thrusting in and out of each other's mouths. They stumbled backwards together and Blair grunted with the force of her back hitting the wall as Serena's hands skimmed over bare arms and over thinly covered breasts.

Blair roughly pushed her away panting for breath.

"Don't touch me," Blair rasped out wiping at her lips with the back of her hand. "I told you that you don't get to touch me."

Serena had never wanted to slap Blair more than in that moment. She felt the urge to grab Blair and shake her until she listened to reason. Until Blair realized that whatever it was they were doing meant more than either of them were willing to admit.

Serena didn't understand it and didn't think she could articulate it but it was there, lurking just beneath the surface.

"I don't think you know what you want," Serena finally said as her breath evened out. "Well, that's not exactly true. I think there is something you want. And I think we both know what that is."

Blair's laughter was rough.

"Revenge," she snapped.

"Don't," Serena warned her lifting a hand. "Don't deny it. I think you want me more than you've wanted anything, including Nate, and I know it scares you. It scares me too. I just don't think it's going to go away like you think it will. We've thrown this door wide open. We really need to talk about this, Blair."

"There is no thing. Nate means everything to me and just having you around is jeopardizing that. Don't think I don't know what you're doing here, Serena. You want to push me away from Nate so that you can have him all to yourself. You're like this huge black hole that sucks in everything in your path. You take and take and take. It's all you're fucking good for."

Serena knew rationally that the words shouldn't hurt because she knew Blair didn't mean them but she still found herself blinking back angry tears.

She wanted to say something--anything--but what she knew would come out would only make the situation worse. She could lash back just as angrily but it wouldn't solve anything. Serena settled on a pleasant smile as she turned away.

"You can play this off as much as you want, Blair, but this stopped being a game a long time ago," she said before she opened the door and stepped out of the classroom.

"You seem better? How are things with Blair? Is she still mad at you?" Eric asked as he ate a spoonful of the ice cream she'd brought him.

"Better? Do I look it?" Serena asked in surprise. She didn't feel better at all. She'd never felt so tense and stressed out in her life. Blair was doing absolutely everything she could to make her question every action, every kiss, just about everything Blair did.

"Well...your boots are nice. I was trying to be polite," Eric shrugged apologetically.

Serena chuckled. She was stressed and the signs were showing well enough for anyone who knew her to plainly see.

"They are nice aren't they? Blair got them for me when we went shopping the other day. Things are going decently between us at the moment."

Blair was acting like they'd never had that argument in the classroom and she was just...following along.

Truthfully she was sick of following along. Sick of letting Blair play this game with her. She enjoyed certain things about what they were doing but being submissive wasn't something she was going to continue being.

Because it obviously wasn't working. Blair hadn't changed her mind about being angry and they kept going in circles. Every argument was the same and Serena wasn't sure how many times she could continue to say sorry.

"Spacing out again. Are you ever going to tell me the truth?" Eric asked seriously.

"That was the truth. She bought them for me."

Eric nodded and finished his ice cream. He stretched out on his bed staring at her thoughtfully.

"Why are you so depressed? Why's Blair so angry? It can't just be because you left."

His curious gaze made Serena look away and she ran her fingers through her hair.

"I did something to her. She didn't like it and I deserve whatever she gives me. And that's all I'm going to say about that. Just because I'm down doesn't mean you have to be too. We don't want to be known as the dopey, weepy, van der Woodsens'. Someone has to be cheerful."

"Are we the twelve dwarves? Sleepy? Grumpy? Suicidal? Waspy?"

Serena laughed reaching forward to slap her palm against his leg.

Her cell phone rang and she hesitated a moment knowing by the ring tone that it was Blair.

She answered reluctantly.

"Question," Blair said quickly.

"Answer," Serena responded automatically.

"Chanel or Fendi?"








"You're right."

"I can be sometimes."

"Is that some sort of hint?"

"An observation."

"What are you right about? Specifically? Sleeping with my boyfriend?"

"I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said anything. I'm sorry."

"You're right. You shouldn't have. I don't know why I called you."

Serena closed the phone knowing Blair had already hung up on her.

Serena found Eric staring at her with a frown.

"See? We're totally fine. BFF's!"

"Yeah... That sounded like you really believed it."

"I can't believe you," Serena muttered almost a week later as she pulled Blair down a dimly lit hallway marked for employees only.

"What?" Blair asked, innocently. Serena couldn't tell if Blair was drunk or not. She had to have been drinking to kiss that guy.

"You made out with that old guy! He was like forty, Blair," Serena couldn't help but grimace at the thought of Blair anywhere near that guy. He'd been so unattractive.

Blair laughed and wrapped her scarf around Serena's neck as she stepped closer to Serena.

"So? Are you jealous? How's your date with what's his name?"

"His name is Dan and it was fine. Is fine."

"You came running to Eric's rescue and you could have just called. Admit it. You missed me. Come over tonight."

Serena shook her head.


She wasn't going over to Blair's tonight not when she had a comfortable bed at the Palace. She didn't want to be surrounded by all those lame girls falling on every word from Blair's mouth.

Besides she was sure what Blair had in mind wouldn't be possible thanks to the full house and almost every girl in the sleepover being nosy bitches who couldn't mind their own business.

Serena gasped in surprise as Blair jerked her into her body and her hair was grasped tightly in Blair's hand. Blair trailed her tongue over Serena's upper lip before catching it between her teeth and sucking it into her mouth. She did the same to the bottom lip. She brushed her lips against Serena's leaning back as Serena tried for more contact.

Keeping Serena's head still she returned to her mouth covering it with her own sliding her tongue into her mouth. She titled Serena's head further back and began to move them backwards.

Serena bit down on Blair's bottom lip hard and felt Blair press closer, felt her hands on her breasts, kneading them, even as her tongue slipped past Blair's parted lips and into the warmth of her mouth and sliding against Blair's tongue.

"You're not wearing a bra," Blair muttered against her lips as she dragged her mouth from Serena's and down her throat nipping and biting. "I knew it."

Serena moaned as Blair rolled a nipple between her fingers and thrust a thigh between her legs.

With an abrupt jerk Blair backed way from her.

"I'll text you," Blair whispered with a crooked grin and turned to go.

Serena grabbed Blair's arm still trying to catch her breath.

"That lady could still be here. Let's go together."

"So chivalrous…" Blair's grin grew wider.

"Shut up," Serena snapped but couldn't help grinning back.

The night had been a major adrenaline rush, at least while she hadn't been scared completely out of her mind, like when she'd been locked in Eleanor Waldorf's shop and the police had shown up.

Blair had been a complete bitch to do that. She'd almost forgotten whom she was dealing with. It was easy to read about B and all the shitty things she did but to be directly affected by it all, to be the center of her scheme, well she learned quickly.

Maybe a little too quickly because by the time she'd been dropped off by the police she'd been more than mad and wondering what she was going to say.

She'd thought long and hard on the ride up on the elevator. Taking the jacket and demanding a lunch date on the steps at school had all come tumbling out of her mouth and she'd been amazed that her voice hadn't shaken.

Blair hadn't exploded like she'd expected and she'd made that awesome exit, tossing her hair and getting into the elevator before she realized she'd forgotten her things.

That was a bit of a problem. She'd made the exit of all exits and going back up to get her stuff would ruin it. She'd been standing hesitantly by the bank of elevators for awhile, the doorman staring at her curiously when Serena van der Woodsen came into the lobby busy texting on her cell phone.

"Hey, Serena," she called out with an admittedly lame wave.

Serena glanced up in surprise and smiled back at her.

"Hi," Serena said. "Going up, Jenny?"

"Um...no. I'm leaving."

"Really? Does Blair know?" Serena asked with a chuckle as she punched the button for the lift. "Hey Jerry," Serena turned to smile at the doorman who was blatantly staring now.

The doorman grinned back and gave a wave.

"She knows."

"Well hold on a sec," Serena muttered while punching in a number on her cell phone. "Tony? Hey you're not too far away are you? Good. I've got a friend here who needs a ride. Jenny Humphrey. Thanks." Serena hung up turning back to Jenny. "Tony'll take you home. He's just up the block about six buildings up. There's no use getting on the subway this late."

Jenny felt elated to see Serena looking out for her like that. She had wondered how she was going to get home. Thinking that maybe the doorman could call her a cab and she'd be able to get her father to pay the fare or maybe charge it to Blair somehow since it was her fault she was leaving.

"Thanks," she gushed because she couldn't help it. Serena was like so nice. Way better than Blair. Except that Serena had used to be worse than Blair, or so she'd read on GG.

"No worries. Well this is me," Serena gestured to the newly arrived elevator and when the doors opened she stepped in. "Call me when you get in, okay? Just so I know you're okay. Wouldn't want your brother thinking I wasn't looking out for you."

With that the doors closed and Jenny felt completely deflated. She'd thought Serena had been doing it for her and not her brother. She'd thought Serena liked her.

Sighing Jenny turned around only to turn right back to the elevators. She had to get her stuff before Blair did something like burn her Hello Kitty sleeping bag. Jenny clapped a hand over her mouth at the thought. She loved that comforter; her mother had bought it for her.

Determinedly she pushed the button for the elevator.

"I've forgotten something upstairs. I will be back down in a minute," Jenny used her snottiest voice as she said this. She didn't look at the doorman either. She was sure Blair wouldn't if it were her.

The elevator arrived as the doorman called out, "All right miss."

She couldn't tell if he was being sarcastic or sincere but either way she didn't much care as she got onto the elevator. She tried really hard to think about what she was going to say if she saw Blair. Hopefully she wouldn't be there too long. How hard would it be to find a sleeping bag?

Very hard, she found out five minutes later as she'd picked her way through trundle beds looking for her things. She didn't see it anywhere and she was thankful that Blair was nowhere to be found. She went creeping through the halls stumbling along the dimly lit hallway.

She heard something that sounded like a gasp from a little ways up ahead and froze. Intensely curious she crept forward and edged along the wall towards the doorway. She peeked around the corner and almost fell over at what she saw.

Blair had Serena pinned against the kitchen sink with her whole body pressed against Serena talking quietly, but not quietly enough that Jenny couldn't hear her.

"...didn't seem too upset. Why is that? Didn't want to spend time with me? Hmm?"

It was wrong, she thought. What she was seeing wasn't what it looked like, right? Because it looked like maybe some sort of sexual thing.

"No," Serena denied. "No. I always want to spend time with you. You knew I had plans. You shouldn't have even been at that bar. You could have gotten hurt. That woman wanted to rip your face off, Blair."

"My defender. Coming to my rescue even when I don't need it. I don't understand you," Blair murmured before leaning forward and pressing her lips against Serena's.

Jenny smothered a gasp and jerked back.

Frozen for a moment she couldn't believe it. But curiosity overcame her and she peeked around the corner again almost scared at what she'd see.

"...don't. No you don't get to touch me," Blair was saying as she trailed kisses down Serena's jaw and neck, her hands holding Serena's to keep Serena from touching her.

"Blair..." Serena moaned lightly as Blair's tongue slid down Serena's neck before coming back to Serena's lips at last.

Jenny couldn't look away as Blair seemed to devour and conquer Serena as she kept the blonde immobile with the press of her body and lips.

"Blair let me... Please," Serena rasped out as she jerked her mouth away taking in gulps of air, her hips bucking forward driving into Blair. "Let me..."

Blair stepped back her hands trailing down Serena's hips before she separated completely from Serena.

"You can have the trundle next to mine," Blair said, obnoxiously polite. "I'm sure I can scrounge around something for you to wear."

Jenny hesitated wanting to see what else was going to happen but knowing she didn't want to be caught. She turned away.

"No thanks, you know how I like to sleep. I think I'll take your bed upstairs. Feel free to find me when you're thinking straight," was the last thing Jenny heard Serena say as she made a mad dash back to the elevator.

The elevator came almost immediately and she stepped into it eagerly with her heart pounding. The doors closed and Jenny slumped back against the wall.

What the fuck? She thought shaking her head in disbelief. Just because she was blonde, blue eyed and young didn't mean she was stupid. Nope, in fact she was smarter than the average person. Smarter in fact than everyone at Constance Billard and St. Jude's. Because she'd suspected. Now she could see it so clearly, like it had been written across the sky in bold red paint with neon blinking lights surrounding the letters.

At first she'd assumed she was making too much of their touchy ways, because really someone would have mentioned it, right? She'd been watching them because it was so awesome to see S and B in person and to see their friendship up close. But this? She hadn't even imagined that what she was thinking was true.

Gossip Girl would have written about it all night and day, everyday forever and ever because it was NEWS! The juiciest gossip in years and if GG or anyone else knew about it then hell yeah she'd expect to read about it. The thing was though that not one word, not one hint, nothing was out there about this.

She'd been there when Serena told Blair she couldn't come to her sleepover because she had a date with her brother. Blair had seemed put out and distracted about finding a replacement. Even a little disgusted that Serena was dating that boy--lonely boy at that. She hadn't thought anything of it, why would she?

"Wow," Jenny breathed out still in shock.

Forget about eating on the steps with Blair, she thought. With this she was going to own Blair!

Blair and Serena were totally doing it and she couldn't wait to see the look on Blair's face when she told her what she'd seen.

She smiled happily forgetting all about her Hello Kitty sleeping bag.

She would take this as far as she could and Blair wouldn't be able to stop her.

"So you're saying he's a functioning addict? Or is that not so? He's supposed to be taking my mother's company public, Chuck. If he's a druggie then God only knows what he'll do," Blair said into her cell phone as she stepped out of her chauffeured Mercedes.

"True. But isn't this what you wanted?" Chuck asked.

"I want a lot of things, Chuck. This isn't really one of them. This knowledge isn't going to help me. I don't see how it can."

"Don't you? His daddy's a cokehead and his mother is an enabler. Once it's out there and everyone knows they will all expect Nate to follow after his father. His every move will be scrutinized."

Blair stepped into the elevator giving a slight nod and smile to her doorman as the doors closed.

"Yes but that's his family," it made Blair a tad uneasy about using Nate's unfortunate parentage against him. He couldn't help his father's addictions.

"Hmm," Chuck murmured and she rolled her eyes.

Then again…

When her father had come out to the world Nate hadn't been very comforting or supportive. He'd even mentioned at one point how he'd always gotten a weird vibe from her father. That he thought that her father had checked him out a few times, giving him the eye.

It had been a rather disgusting thing to say and Blair hadn't spoken to Nate for two weeks. It obviously hadn't occurred to Nate that her father simply did not like him and had probably seen how unworthy he was of his daughter.

"No," Blair finally said. "I'll take care of this, Chuck. When do you think you'll be finished?"

"Soon. A week I think."

He said a week but she knew he would probably be finished in a day or two. It was just like him to hold out on her just because he could.

"Good. I think this has all been dragging on too long. It's hard pretending like this."

Chuck snickered.

"Right. Coming to my party tonight?"


"Bring Serena with you."

Blair sighed and abruptly ended the phone call.

God! Serena this and Serena that!

She carefully began to dial.

"Daddy? I have some dreadful news! It's about the Captain and I just found out about this. I think you're the only one who can take care of it…"

Chuck considered himself to be astute and he had a nose for sniffing out secrets. He was just too good and too curious not to find out things about everyone else. That was really just his way.

So seeing little Jenny Humphrey walking around like the cat that swallowed the canary made him extremely curious. She had a secret and he wanted to know it. He knew their little tiff at the Kiss on the Lips party was still a sore spot for her but he was Chuck Bass and she was still little Jenny Humphrey.

He cornered her in the courtyard with enough students milling around so that she wouldn't make too much of a scene.

"So... What do you know?" he asked as he stood in front of her with a slight smirk.

Jenny's eyes grew wide and she gave a nervous laugh.

"Nothing," she squeaked out.

"Liar, liar," he murmured while lifting a hand to her cheek. "You know you want to tell me."

Jenny swallowed and then her eyes flickered over Chuck's shoulder.

He turned slightly following her gaze to Blair seated on a bench with Serena standing over her with her hands on Blair's shoulders. They looked to be having a normal conversation.

"Jealous?" Chucked asked. "Now that Serena's back Blair won't have a use for you, right?"

"Hardly," Jenny scoffed. "And their relationship isn't something I want with Blair."

The way in which Jenny said this made Chuck narrow his eyes and stare at the duo harder.

"What does that mean?"

"You don't see?" Jenny asked smugly before she brushed past him.

He stared after her for a second before he turned back to Blair and Serena. He started walking towards them with his hands in his pockets and a smile on his face.

"Remember I'm having a party tonight, ladies, and you're invited," Chuck said as he slung an arm around Serena's shoulders and grinned down at Blair. Serena's hands fell from Blair's shoulders as she shrugged Chuck's arm off her.

"Don't touch me," Serena snapped giving him a disgusted look.

Blair gave him a flinty little smile and got to her feet.

She was standing extremely close to Serena and Chuck watched as Blair leaned forward and for a minute thought he might be in for some fun. Maybe a slap to the face or a kiss.

"Will there be champagne?" Blair asked leaning into Serena but looking at Chuck even as her hand found Serena's hip.

"Always," he eyed the hand on Serena's hip and then glanced back to meet Blair's cool gaze. "Anything goes, girls. Anything."

He gave a two-fingered salute and wandered away to search for Nate.

He didn't know what Jenny had been on about. Serena and Blair were acting as they'd always acted.

"There you are. Archibald I'm having a party tonight. Your ass better be there," Chuck announced as he found Nate hidden in a corner smoking half-heartedly on a joint.

"Huh?" Nate asked staring vaguely at Chuck.

"And your girls are going so maybe you might get lucky and have your first threesome, my man. And threesomes? They are made of heaven," Chuck licked his lips as his thoughts drifted towards his various couplings with two or more gorgeous women.

"Serena?" Nate asked some emotion finally flickering through his eyes.

"Blair too," Chuck added with a smug smile. "Have to keep her in mind. Serena and Blair are attached at the hip right now."

"Serena's going to be there?"

Chuck rolled his eyes and nodded.

"Yeah. Yeah she'll be there, Nate."


Blair turned slightly at the sound of her name and spotted Jenny jogging up to her.

"Yes?" Blair asked glancing at her watch. She had to get to her next class and she wanted to see if she could find Serena before she did.

"Um...I had fun at your sleepover," Jenny said with a smile and a little happy bounce.

Blair couldn't help but smile in bemusement.

"Well you did good, little J. Glad you had fun. I have to go."



"How are things with you and Serena? You guys are still like best friends?"

Blair frowned slightly. How was that Jenny's business? Why was she even asking?

"Fine," she answered curtly. "Why?"

"Right. Right. Of course you're best friends."

Blair nodded watching Jenny carefully.

The girl obviously had something to say but she didn't feel inclined to help her.

"I think we've covered that. As weird as this has been I do have things to do, Jenny. So I will try and not run into you later."

Blair smiled and turned on her heel.

She just caught the glare Jenny sent her and hesitated.

She turned back and smiled brightly.

"Do me a favor won't you? If you see my bestie let her know I'm looking for her. I'll be around and tell her to put some speed into it, okay? Thank you."

"I know," Jenny said and Blair hesitated.

There were only two things that came to mind at those words. The first being that Jenny had somehow found out about Nate and Serena. That wasn't possible however so that left the other thing. That being her and Serena.

The sleepover, Blair mused.

"Am I supposed to know what you're talking about?" Blair asked crossing her arms over her chest.

"You and Serena. I know. And I'm going to tell everyone if you don—"

"Are you trying to blackmail me?" Blair laughed a little. Little J had some nerve trying to do this. "Because sweetie I'd love to see your proof. But you don't have any. So right now I don't know what you're talking about. Give my message to Serena will you?"

Too bad, she thought. Jenny had promise. She really should have kept that little piece of info to herself.

If push came to shove there was no way Jenny could win. But Blair was sure it wouldn't come to that.

It was little Jenny Humphrey after all.

That night Chuck almost didn't get a chance to see Blair or Serena, as he was too busy taking a ride on a busty redhead from Dalton.

It took him nearly ten minutes to recover and promising the girl more champagne he left the bedroom he'd stumbled into.

He glanced back giving the naked girl on the bed a lazy once over. He felt in the mood for a blonde. He made a note to find one amenable to threesomes.

That made him remember Nate and he wondered if Nate had finally gotten the balls to take what he wanted. He couldn't understand Nate's way of thinking.

They were at an age where everything and anything was literally theirs for the taking and all Nate wanted to do was brood and mope and pine away for that bitch Serena van der Woodsen. Serena was a whore and the fact that she'd fucked Nate didn't make him special and Nate just didn't get that.

He strolled down the empty hall heading back downstairs to the party that hadn't spread up to the third floor yet, luckily. He paused when he passed a partially open door and heard voices.

"...anything! I can't keep doing this. I just--"

"Going to give up already? Your resolve isn't so staunch after all. You and Nate will be so happy together."

Serena and Blair.

Interesting. What the hell were they talking about?

"Blair, please. I've apologized again and again. What more can I do?" Serena asked and Chuck could hear the desperation coloring her tone.

He pursed his lips and wished he knew where they were standing so he could push the door open wider.

He wanted to see the both of them. He'd been around for their fights before but they paled in comparison to now, considering what they were fighting about was Nate, and Blair didn't kid around where Nate was concerned.

Blair was out of her mind pissed at Serena. Over Nate no less and the things she could think up were amazing, he smirked in delight.

"A hell of a lot more, Serena! You can't just come back here and expect things to be the same because they aren't. It's been a year and things are different. I don't think there's a place for you in my life. Not with the way things are going."

Chuck's brows rose incredulously.

"You don't mean that," Serena sounded just as incredulous as Chuck felt. It had always been Serena-Blair-Nate as almost a single unit. Always doing things together with Blair being the center of things, at least from Chuck's point of view.

He was sure others would think it was Serena that the other two gravitated towards. But without Blair there was no doubt Nate and Serena would be worse off.

Blair was pissed but she wasn't that mad to cut Serena out of her life for good. She just wanted Serena to experience a little pain. If Nate was still there then he didn't see why Serena couldn't be either.

"I do," Blair sounded so certain that Chuck had to push the door open a little wider to try and get a better view. He caught Blair's profile and saw her arms were crossed. She looked like she meant it.


"Why? This isn't all about Nate--"

"It has everything to do with Nate," Blair exploded. "Don't stand there and act like it doesn't! You ran away leaving your mess behind and Nate was a pathetic mess, Serena. I didn't understand what had gone wrong. I thought maybe he missed you like I missed you. I didn't know he was in fucking love with you. But you knew right? That's why you left isn't it?" Contempt dripped from every word and Chuck smirked impressed despite himself.

"Nate was only part of it. I made a mistake. A horrible mistake and I felt sick about it. I couldn't see you and not tell you. Blair you've wanted Nate your whole life and-- I want to know why you're not upset with him! Why is this all on me? It was the both of us."

He could picture the look on Blair's face. Full of cold disdain with her eyes narrowed and lips curled up in a sneer. That look was one he liked to observe but never liked to receive.

"I can't believe you," Blair muttered. "You were my best friend, Serena."

"And he was your boyfriend. What's the difference?" Serena was being stubborn and digging in her heels, Chuck noted. It was a mistake.

"The difference? The difference is that you let him touch you! Let him kiss you. You let him fuck you. His hands were all over you and you let him. That makes me sick. It disgusts me, Serena. That you would-- how could you? How--why?"

He'd never heard that exact tone in Blair's voice before. If he didn't know better he would think that she was crying. There was a wealth of disgust in her voice but what intrigued him was the hint of something else. Something deeper and darker.

Maybe even a hint of dirtiness.

"This isn't even about Nate," Serena said sounding shocked. "It's never been about him, has it? Does it bother you that I touched him too? That I was right there with him? I--I don't think it does. I think it's me. This is about us, Blair. The two of us."

"Where are you getting this us from? I thought in complete stupidity that I could be your friend, but that's just not going to happen. I don't know why I expected to be able to fall back into the way we used to be. I'm not the same. I'm not. I'm not!"

He wanted to shove the door wide open and see exactly what was going on. To see their expressions and their body language so that he could understand because he didn't quite get it.

"You kissed me," Serena said at last and Chuck's face split into a maniacal grin.

If they were kissing then they were absolutely fucking each other, he thought in elation. There was no point in kissing if it didn't lead to fucking. How had he missed this? How could he have not seen this? Why had Nate never shared this with him? Had Nate already had the both of them? Together?

Just what the fuck was Blair playing at?

"Oh, little Jenny is this what you're hiding?" he whispered.

"And you didn't say anything. It was like it never happened but it did and I remembered," Serena went on to say.

Someone sighed.

"We were drunk," Blair said at last, seeming resigned.

"Not that drunk and you know it. It happened and we never mentioned it."

"Are you telling me that you had sex with Nate because I didn't mention a kiss that was a drunken mistake? Are you that spiteful? That fucking vicious?"

Chuck held his breath for a moment as their words drifted from louder to softer. Sounded like someone was pacing. It was probably Serena, as he knew Blair was content to be the picture of calmness just to be spiteful.

"That's not what I said. It happened and I'm not going to keep apologizing for it. If you can forgive Nate then you can forgive me."

"Another drunken mistake, right? And I haven't forgiven him, by the way. He has a long way to go to make this up to me. As do you."

"Is that why you kissed me again? Is that why we keep doing whatever it is we're doing? Is this some kind of...test? What's going on, Blair? I don't want to play games with you and I've told you that. I just want things to be okay between us. Can that happen?"

"No. Things are never going to be okay between us," there was a very clear taunt in Blair's voice and Chuck knew Serena hated when Blair used that tone with her.

"Never going to be okay between us? " Serena repeated softly. "Don't say things you can't back up, Blair."

"I mean that more than anything I've ever said," Blair spat out.

There was silence for a moment and Chuck strained to hear. Were they whispering? What were they doing?

Just then he heard a muffled thump and he wondered giddily if Serena had punched Blair.

Were they fighting?


What were they doing?

He couldn't resist pushing the door open wider and edging along it to see around the door.

Chuck had to bite his lips to keep from saying something that would surely get him hurt as he saw Serena pinning Blair against the farthest wall with one hand holding her chin and the other clenched along Blair's hip.

Her mouth was currently attached to Blair's in a kiss that looked almost painful to him. It was hot as hell and he rubbed a hand along his jaw as Blair's hands slid down Serena's back down to cup her ass and pull Serena tighter against her.

With a shaky breath Chuck pulled the door back to the way it had been when he found it and turned away. He really wanted to turn back around and step into the room to offer his services. If Nate couldn't man up then he would be more than happy to be his replacement.

But to do that would be stupid. It would let Blair know that he knew and never mind Serena. He couldn't tip his hand like that. This information was more valuable the longer he held it secret. He just had to figure how to use it to his advantage.

Fuck the champagne, he thought abruptly and turned on his heel heading back to the room he'd recently vacated. He was horny as hell now and needed to get off.

"Ready for round two, sweetheart?" he asked as he entered the room with a leer.

Her response was to lay back with her arms opened wide.

Chuck made sure to leave the door slightly open so that anyone who wanted a peek could have his or her fill.

It was the polite thing to do after all.

Blair didn't even make it all the way home from Chuck's. She took a car to her apartment wanting nothing but to be alone. It was like she was walking around in circles, around and around. Every conversation with Serena seemed to be on the repeat cycle. There was nothing new to be said.

She paced the length of her living room trying to understand why everything felt so strange and foreign to her these days. Nate, Serena, even how she felt was different from years past.

She had no idea what Serena had been going on about. Suggesting that all her anger and hurt came from the fact that Serena let Nate touch her. As if she cared either way. They'd touched each other and she was equally mad at the both of them.

It wasn't like she had Serena up on a pedestal or anything stupid like that. She knew exactly what Serena was capable of. So what if Nate had touched Serena?

Tasted her skin, kissed her lips and—

She wasn't going to think about that.

It was the pain and the humiliation that was driving her onward, she told herself. The both of them had done something so cruel to her that they both had to pay for it.

Serena could go on and on about how she thought this was all about her and had nothing to do with Nate. That didn't mean it was true.

Or maybe it was true. Maybe it was all about Serena. About how she wanted to erase Serena's imprint from everything that belonged to her. Maybe she wanted something of hers to remain with Serena. Something besides her boyfriend.

What if she wanted to erase Nate from Serena's mind and fill it with herself instead? To make Serena want her and need her as if she were something vital.

To have that want and need well up inside of Serena and have no place to go.

Maybe it was all about Serena and Nate had just gotten in the way.

Either way she wanted Serena to never forget what she'd done to her.

That was why this all had to end soon.

"Are you all right?" Lily asked as she spotted her daughter slumped on the couch in the living room.

Serena grunted. Her constant fights with Blair were depressing. That fight at Chuck's party last week had convinced her that Nate had nothing to do with anything Blair was doing. She might say it did and probably had herself convinced, but the lengths she was going couldn't be because of him.

She'd wanted to go see Blair but knew in the mood Blair was in that it wouldn't be a good idea.

Besides Blair had Chuck now. The two of them were as close as ever and if it weren't for the fact that Blair couldn't keep her hands off her, she would have suspected something was going on between them.

Lily gazed at her a moment before she ventured closer.

"Shouldn't you be getting ready for the ball?" Lily asked as she sipped her morning coffee.

"I'm sick. Can't you see?" Serena mumbled.

"You look perfectly fine to me. What's wrong? Did you and Blair have another fight?"

Serena remained quiet. She couldn't tell her mother anything that would make any sense. It was only just starting to make sense to her and what she was figuring out wasn't very pretty.

There had always been a level of competitiveness between them, mostly from Blair, but Serena couldn't deny that she'd done her share of competing too. They'd always been there for each other. And their possessiveness of one another had always been there too. Blair was her best friend. Blair was hers period. She'd been fine with sharing Blair with Nate because he'd never know Blair like she did. Never be able to get to Blair like she did.

All the proof she needed was the way Blair had reacted so completely unlike herself when she'd found out about that night with Nate. Nate was Blair's and so was Serena. The mixing of the two had shattered Blair's world. Thinking about them had driven Blair to act in ways she normally would never have. To do things that she might never have done.

The only good thing to come out of the mess with Nate was that every suppressed emotion Blair had ever felt seemed to be exploding out.

"It wasn't a fight," Serena finally managed. It had been a bloody revelation. If Blair were ever in love with Nate she wasn't anymore. Her anger and her feelings were so extreme it was as if Serena had cheated on Blair with some random guy.

"I'm sure you two will get over it. You always do," Lily gave her smile as she wandered away.

Blair was just tumbling downwards regardless of how much Serena made herself available to her. She'd thought that if she followed Blair that they'd end up where Blair wanted them. Now it seemed like Blair had no idea what she was doing and she was leading them headlong into a very large and harmful brick wall.

She couldn't let Blair do that.

Serena weaved her way through the crowded ballroom feeling constrained and hot in her ball gown and mask. It seemed like she'd been here for hours and her feet were beginning to hurt.

She hadn't spoken to or seen Blair in days except for the terse phone call she'd received today.

"Have you seen Blair?" Serena found Kati and Iz standing whispering together while watching the dancing. She'd seen Blair earlier waiting for Nate she suspected but hadn't seen her since.

"Didn't she give you the last clue yet?" Kati asked with a frown.

Serena nodded.

"Yeah. Is she up there already?" Serena couldn't believe that Blair was actually going to go through with this.

This morning on the phone Blair had insisted she give Nate the last clue to her scavenger hunt ending with Blair sprawled on a bed wearing absolutely nothing.

She'd thought that maybe Blair was playing with her but the clue had been delivered along with a dress and a note insisting she come and that Blair had a date all set up for Serena.

So fucking presumptuous of her.

Just to spite Blair she'd invited Dan. She knew Blair hated him just on principle and she'd never say it but she was jealous too. She'd made that perfectly clear the night Serena had gone on a date with Dan.

And she was jealous of Nate and that made them fucking even.

This was all so wrong, she thought. Letting Blair use her as an outlet for her pain and enjoying every minute of it.

Blair saw it as a game but it wasn't. Not when all these emotions were involved and there was no way to tell what was real and what was a product of all the anger.

She knew that Blair was flailing. That she probably had something up her sleeve and that whatever happened Blair wouldn't be able to come out of it unscathed.

She hoped that she could show Blair that what was going on with them could be even better without all the bitterness and anger. Without all the insults and the talking in circles thing they had going on.

She knew that she couldn't let Blair go through with her plan tonight.

She realized abruptly that both girls were staring at her like she was some kind of freak.

Had they still been talking to her?

"So, I'm going to go find her," Serena mumbled and wandered away.

She pushed her way through the crowd scanning the crowd.

She was surprised to see Blair shoving through the crowd in front of her towards the stairs.

"Blair!" Serena called out as she followed after Blair.

Chuck kept giving him weird little looks and it was making Nate extremely uncomfortable. They weren't his usual looks that held a hint of flirtation and amusement.

No, these looks held something he couldn't decipher and wasn't sure he wanted to. He had problems of his own and having Chuck acting weird didn't rate very high on his list of worries.

Blair was acting weird too.

It seemed like she was avoiding him but he wasn't sure because he was avoiding her as well. Usually though Blair managed to track him down and drag him around town. He'd wanted to talk to her earlier about the drugs he'd found in his father's study, but hadn't been able to get a hold of her or Serena.

Maybe they were together, he thought. Which was good and meant that things were going back to the way they used to be.

He'd seen Serena around here he was sure of it. Chuck had hinted that Serena was wearing a gold dress and he'd been keeping alert. He probably could go find Blair and ask her what Serena was wearing, but then Blair would get mad and get that look on her face like she wanted to beat him senseless.

He sipped the punch that was surprisingly free of alcohol and regarded the crowd. He spotted Blair off to the side in her black dress staring intently at something across the room. Feeling slightly curious he turned to follow her gaze but couldn't see anything through the crowd of bodies.

Maybe she'd found something else to occupy her time, he thought and almost grinned at the relief he felt at the thought. If she was busy then he was free to search for Serena.

He kept watching Blair and when she started making her way through the crowd to where she'd been looking he put his glass down by the punch bowl.

Once she was out of his sight he turned and went to search for Serena in earnest.

He was lucky enough to spot Serena hurrying through the doorway into the other ballroom and grabbing her arm he tugged her to him.

"Serena," he began and soon found himself saying everything he'd wanted to say for so long. He waited for her response but when she didn't do anything he turned her and kissed her.

She wrapped her arms around Nate and leaned into the kiss.

Feeling euphoric he wrapped his arms tighter around her.

"Serena," he muttered against her neck as he trailed kisses along her jaw.

He was startled when he was pushed back and stared at Serena in bewilderment.

"Is this about Blair?" he asked, confused.

She took off her mask with a flourish while shaking out her hair.

Nate blanched at the face revealed. Her name was Jenna or something--no-- Jenny! He knew this because she'd been helping Blair out lately and Blair didn't particularly like the way Jenny was behaving towards her.

Great, just fucking great, he thought with a drawn out sigh as he ran his fingers through his hair. He glared at her.

"I'm not Serena, sorry. I'm sure she's with Blair though. You should go find her and declare your love all over again. I know she'll just be thrilled. I would be," Jenny said with a bubbly laugh.

Nate's stomach dropped in dread as she flounced off. She was probably off to find Blair and he needed to be the one to get to her first. He couldn't have Blair find out about this second hand. She wouldn't understand and he needed her too.

He swept off his mask and went in search of Iz or Kati to get those damned clues to Blair's scavenger hunt.

"Hey, man have you seen Serena?" Someone asked him while grabbing his arm.

He turned and frowned when he realized it was Dan Humphrey.

"No," he snapped and jerked his arm out of Dan's grasp. "Have you seen Serena?"

Dan gave him a look.

"I'm asking you aren't I? Which implies that no I have not seen Serena. She went to get drinks and never came back."

"Maybe she realized she was slumming," Nate snickered and walked off.

"At least she gives me the time of day. That's more than I can say for you," Dan called after him.

"Well Dan you better go find your nympho sister before Chuck does because it's not going to be pretty," Nate snapped back as he shoved his way through the crowd.

She didn't understand Serena's attraction to Dan. Sure he was poor and that could hold an appeal for a while but beneath the surface he was just as snobby and stuck up as everyone else at Constance and St. Jude's. He just hid it behind jokes and words he'd probably read in the dictionary and used to make himself feel smarter.

She didn't like him.

So that was why once she heard from Kati that Serena wasn't coming that she got both her girls on it to get Serena a date.

Blair couldn't be completely into the night if Serena didn't come. She needed Serena to be there so she could show off just how much she and Nate were committed to each other.

So she'd had the dress she picked out for Serena sent to the Palace penthouse and told Iz and Kati to guard the clues to her scavenger hunt with their lives.

The last one was reserved for Serena to give to Nate.

She'd been avoiding Nate for the week just so she could get into the mind frame she needed to pull this all off. She couldn't be worried about Nate seeking out Serena or Serena apologizing once again. Never mind the kisses or all the sex she'd been having with Serena.

She didn't want to think about that or why she felt so much with Serena and so little with Nate. It had always been that way but she hadn't questioned it. Now every emotion seemed to be magnified and she couldn't seem to find a way to bottle them back up.

She'd assumed the way she felt would fade or that Nate would somehow surpass Serena in her affections. She had a boyfriend and she had—did-- love him and Serena shouldn't come first. Serena came first for everyone and she really had thought she'd been over that.

This night was going to put everything right. She could pretend that Serena had never been in her life. It wasn't like she couldn't survive without her. She'd gone the whole year alone and done just fine, better even.

If only she had control of her eyes. She could say that her constant staring at Serena was only to confirm the simmering anger that seemed to be slowly consuming her. She could say it was about a lot of things and all of them would be lies.

It was about watching the way Serena rolled her hips to the slow beat of the music. The way her lips parted and her pink tongue darted out to lick her lips. It was about the way Serena threw back her head and exposed the smooth line of her throat and how Blair wanted to take a bite. Wanted to mark her. Wanted to hurt.

It was about lust. It was about hate. It was about disgust. It was about obsession and taking it to the very edge and beyond.

Blair began to make her way through the crowd towards the stairs.


She ignored the call and hurried up the stairs. She opened the door to the second floor and took the elevator up to the fifteenth floor.

Striding quickly she reached the suite she'd booked for the night. Unlocking the door she shoved it open harder than she intended and stalked into the room coming to an abrupt halt at the sight of Chuck Bass coming out of the bathroom.

"What hell are you doing in here?" she demanded her eyes scanning the room suspiciously. "Tell me you didn't bring one of your whores up here?"

Chuck grinned and spread his hands in a calming gesture.

"Just putting in some more alcohol, Blair. You know how Nate is. He'll need the liquid courage," Chuck gave her a wink as he strode deliberately towards the window to stare out it. "Secrets are bad for the soul."

"Is that why you don't have one? Get out of here. I don't need to see you right now. Just go do whatever it is you do."

"You ought to relax. Loosen up so Nate'll have something to look forward to. And I'll do what I do best, Blair. Have fun," Chuck said as he turned from the window and brushed past her.

Blair stared at the bed covered in silk sheets with the pillows artfully arranged. The bucket of ice and the bottle of Clos du Mesnil with the two flutes waiting to be used. The flowers on almost every available surface and music ready to play once Nate arrived.

It was as perfect as it could be when she had a cheating boyfriend who wasn't in love with her and she just happened to be having some kind of emotional/sexual awakening and it was all geared towards her best friend.

Looking at it now made her nauseous and she turned away startled to see Serena standing in the doorway.

She turned away immediately and sighed as she grabbed a bowl of rose petals off the dresser.

Would this night never end?

"I saw you with that boy. Looked like you were having fun," Blair said as she finally acknowledged Serena standing in the doorway.

She glanced at Serena a moment before she turned away again to begin sprinkling rose petals on the ground in a trail leading to the bed.

"Well I was trying to have fun. Didn't really work though," Serena stepped around the rose petals and took Blair's elbow.

"Well making cow eyes at that boy is beneath you, really," Blair paused long enough to give a pointed look to Serena's hand on her arm.

Serena took the hint and backed off releasing Blair's arm.

"Who said I was looking at him?" Serena asked with an amused smile.

"You two are dating right? You actually made out with him in the middle of the street, S! That's disgusting." Irrational anger held Blair in its grip and she angrily tossed the down the rest of the petals and stalked towards the dresser to put down the empty bowl.

She looked over at Serena to see her staring hard at the ground a look of growing anger on her face.

"I know how you loathe PDA's, Blair. But really what was I supposed to do? First you and I are friends, and then we aren't, then friends again-- maybe. You make out with me every chance you get. You act jealous. You get me a date for this thing and I'm just going with the flow here. You say you want Nate and I totally get that, but you aren't acting like it. Dan's a nice guy and he likes me."

Serena gave a helpless shrug as she fiddled with the edges of her mask.

"Right," Blair sneered. "He likes the you he reads about on Gossip Girl," she snapped. "He doesn't know the real you."

"You mean the whore?" Serena asked with a twisted little smile.

Blair barely flinched.

"I wasn't going to say that. He just doesn't know you. But you go ahead and do what you want. I have plans tonight."

Serena nodded.

"With Nate. You've forgiven him, then? Decided he's worthy of everything now? The whole Blair Waldorf? Are you two going to get married and have babies and live happily ever after?" Anger slowly seeped into Serena's voice as she went on.

Blair glared at Serena not liking the mocking smile she was getting or how dismissive Serena sounded about her life.

"Get out."

"Make me."

Blair inhaled sharply at that and stared at Serena for one long moment before she relaxed and turned her back to Serena.

"I didn't know you were into voyeurism, Serena. Stay as long as you like. I'm sure Nate will appreciate it and try even harder to impress you." That sounded so bitter coming out of her mouth that Blair had to close her eyes to try and get control of her emotions.

"He could have come up here at any time, Blair," Serena pointed out carefully as she regarded Blair's back.

Blair fussed with the sheets on the bed and tried to ignore Serena's stare searing her back.

"He's been busy," she muttered almost defiantly.

"Right. That wasn't him standing by the punch bowl all night was it? In that Phantom of the Opera mask? Because it looked like him and guess what? He had Chuck by his side. He didn't want to find you. And you know it. Sex isn't going to help the two of you."

"Well who's to thank for that?" Blair snarled as she turned around slowly and swept her gaze over Serena. "You have him completely out of his mind over you. He loves me. He does and he's confused right now about what happened between you two last year," Blair hated how defensive she sounded and knew her excuses were more than lame. Hell, she didn't even believe them.

Nate had been by the punch bowl most of the night and she'd been within sight of him so that he could easily have found her even without the stupid clues. He hadn't cared to make an effort with her and if she were honest she knew he hadn't made the effort in a long time.

"That was a long time ago. More than a year and it was one time, Blair. One drunken night that I regretted instantly. If I was going to pursue something with him then I would have stayed and done it. If I wanted him there's no way he wouldn't know that. All of this? It's on him not me. I'm not in lust or in love with him. You should know since you're the only person I've been with since Nate."

Blair blew out a breath and lowered her head. She didn't want to hear that. She'd thought for sure stuck away at boarding school Serena would have pursued those boys from Harrington.

What did it mean that Serena kept letting her do this to her?

"Just get out, okay? I need to do this for myself and having you around to spoil this even further is no--" Blair couldn't focus on Serena. She had a plan for tonight.

"What do you want?" Serena cut in sharply. "Do you want him to come here tonight or do you want something else? I know you and I know you want some sort of revenge. Some kind of punishment for what I did. You blame me and I deserve it. So..."

Blair stared blankly at Serena barely registering the words. Her eyes slid over Serena's earnest expression and she felt disgusted with herself for a moment. She wanted to turn away but Serena was speaking again and she couldn't do it.

"I think that you want something else," Serena continued conversationally. She shrugged out of her black jacket and tossed it to the ground. "I think you want to be able to do anything you want to me and have me take it."

Blair arched a curious brow and waited for Serena's next move. Wasn't that what they'd been doing already?

Serena met her challenging look with a small smile as she kicked off her high heels and reached for the side zipper of her dress.

"What if I gave you one night?" Serena continued as she tugged the zipper down. "To do anything you wanted. Anything, Blair. To get it all out of your system so that we can move on. Will that be enough? Will that do?"

A part of Blair couldn't believe what she was hearing and really she couldn't understand why she was even considering this. These past few weeks had been completely and thoroughly fucked up in every single way.

The only thing that made any sense was Serena and she resented the hell out of that. That even with a year away she still felt most comfortable with the girl who'd screwed her boyfriend because she was horny and drunk.

It wasn't fair and she really, really, wanted to hate Serena but that was nearly an impossible task. It was as if no part of her could hate Serena for long, inevitably something brought back all the disgustingly complex emotions she often felt when around her best friend.

That didn't stop Blair from thinking of many ways to get back at the blonde.

She remained silent for a moment longer as Serena hesitated holding her dress up with one hand.

"We'll see," Blair finally murmured and cocked her head to the side waiting to see what Serena would do.

Serena dropped the dress.

"You were watching me all night," Serena said her voice going low as she stepped out of the dress and stood before Blair in only her golden Damaris thong and bra.

Blair's eyes roamed freely over Serena's tanned limbs, down long bronzed legs and over the low cut bra that barely covered Serena's nipples.

She didn't bother to deny it because she had been watching Serena all night.

"What do you want? Do you want to tie me up? Make me hurt?"

Blair wasn't sure if Serena was being serious or not. There was a look in her eyes that she'd never seen before. It wasn't quite mischievous nor was it completely sincere at least not to Blair. She wasn't sure if she could trust this side of Serena. This Serena who was willing take whatever she had to dish out and take it with a smile.

"I want..." Blair couldn't complete the sentence as almost involuntarily her eyes lingered on Serena's flat stomach and down further to the golden scrap of cloth covering her sex. She wasn't sure what she wanted.

"You want the mask on or off?" Serena asked when it appeared Blair wasn't going to say anything else.

"Off," Blair croaked out as her mouth suddenly went dry and she cleared her throat.

Serena untied her mask and tossed it down beside her dress.

"Get on the bed," Blair found herself rasping out. "I want you on the bed."

They didn't make it to the bed.

"What are you doing here?" Chuck asked Nate as they nearly ran into each other leaving the ball.

"I'm leaving. Can I bum a ride?" Nate asked trailing his fingers through his hair. "It's been one of those nights."

Chuck frowned.

"Where's Blair? Did you finish that fast? I'm ashamed to know you, Nate."

"What are you talking about? I haven't seen Blair. I was looking for her but—"

"But what? Didn't you get the clues from Kati and Iz? Blair was waiting for you. The scavenger hunt? Does that ring any bells?"

"I know Blair mentioned something about clues and I guess finding them. I wasn't paying attention. I have a lot of stuff on my mind. I mean you know, Chuck."

Chuck gave a distracted nod.

"I've got to go," he muttered and whirled around trotting down the line of waiting limos to his own.

"Wait up Chuck," Nate called after him.

"No can do! This is a private party," Chuck yelled and jumped into his limo.

If Nate wasn't with Blair and he hadn't seen Serena anywhere…

"So… Willing to share your secret now, Jenny?" Chuck asked as he settled into the back seat.

"If you tell me yours," Jenny retorted.

Sneaky girl.

"Why don't we negotiate," he suggested as he stretched out his legs getting comfortable for a nice long talk.

Her hands were rough as they palmed Serena's breasts and slid down her taut stomach and lower still. Slipped beneath the wisp of cloth covering Serena and smooth slick warmth met her seeking fingers. Serena whimpered and arched into Blair's hand.

Blair felt light headed and her breathing picked up as her fingers were surrounded by warmth.

Wrapping an arm around Serena's waist Blair broke the kiss and spun her around forcing Serena to face the wall.

Surprised Serena braced herself with her arms raised and her palms pressed flat against the wall.

"This has to come off," Blair said as she slid her hands along Serena's back and let her fingers rest against the clasp of Serena's bra.

"Then take it off," Serena hissed.

"Lower your arms."

"Make me."

Blair pressed against Serena sweeping aside her hair and placing a kiss on the back of Serena's neck. Blair's hands slid over her ass reaching around to splay her fingers against Serena's stomach.

Mouthing her neck, sucking on an ear lobe, she tugged the thong down Serena's hips. She slid down her nails scraping against the small of Serena's back as she knelt behind her.

Her fingers slid down the backs of Serena thighs and her lips trailed light kisses down her lower back. Lingered at the swell of her ass and then down a cheek her tongue sneaking out tracing patterns down Serena's thigh.

Serena let out a raspy breath and Blair could feel her slightly trembling.

Easing back she lifted one of Serena's leg and let the thong slip down. She did the same with her other leg until she could toss the underwear aside.

"I love those shoes. Where did you get them," Blair asked as she trailed her fingers up the backs of Serena's thighs.

"Bergdorf's," Serena whispered tightly.

This close and smelling Serena was too much and Blair couldn't help herself as she slid her fingers between Serena's legs and swirled her fingers through her wetness. She slipped a finger inside of Serena and bit down on one of Serena's ass cheeks.

A guttural groan came from Serena as she thrust back as Blair tongued the slightly red mark she'd left and rose to her feet. She added another finger shuddering lightly at the feel of how tight and wet Serena was.

"Would you like me to make you come?" Blair asked as she switched hands using her free hand to skim against Serena's clit.

Serena's breathing was harsh as she tried to thrust back against Blair's fingers. She bit down hard on her lip to keep from moaning any more.

"Are you not talking to me?" Blair asked kissing up Serena's spine. All the warm skin just waiting for her had Blair's head spinning

"Ask me a question I might want to answer," was Serena's hoarse reply.

With her knee Blair nudged Serena's legs further apart and abruptly closed her fingers around Serena's clit and tugged.

Serena's knees almost buckled and Blair's laugh was dark and rich as she rolled the little nub between her fingers.

"I know you want to come so we'll just start with that..."

Serena whimpered slightly as she tried to get friction against Blair's suddenly still fingers.

Serena remained stubbornly silent.

Blair tugged again on her clit and thrust her fingers forward as deep as they would go.

Serena cried out her orgasm hitting her unprepared. Her arms slid down abruptly as she slumped against the wall. Blair wrapped an arm around Serena's waist to keep her upright and tongued Serena's ear.

"It's better if you don't talk," Blair whispered hotly as she slowly eased her fingers out of Serena and tugged the bra down Serena's boneless arms. She didn't want to hear Serena's voice. Didn't want to be reminded that this was her best friend, someone she had loved.

All she wanted to do was get lost in the depths of Serena's body.

She loosened her arm enough to let the bra fall to the floor.

Blair turned Serena around and her eyes landed on Serena's breasts. She bent down licking one nipple then the other. She roughly kneaded one breast while she took a nipple between her lips and began to suck lightly.

And then harder as she felt Serena's hand thread through her hair clenching tightly when Blair bit down. She switched to the other breast her fingers toying with the moist nipple she'd just released.

She licked down Serena's stomach, her tongue darting in and out of her navel.

Serena moaned loudly her head thumping back against the wall her hips thrusting for contact. Anything. She just needed...something.

Nuzzling her face against Serena's wet curls and nudging her nose against Serena's stiff clit Blair inhaled deeply. The scent going straight to her own sex and making her tighten almost unbearably.

With a broad swipe of her tongue Blair tasted her from bottom to top. Flicking her tongue against Serena's clit she felt Serena's hands back in her hair trying to hold her there against her.

She sucked Serena's clit into her mouth as she hooked Serena's leg over her shoulder sucked even harder as Serena ground forward.

Three fingers pressed up and into Serena as Blair's tongue pressed flat against her clit.

Blair felt Serena clench and convulse around her fingers with a thrill. She wasn't sure if Serena even knew what was coming out her mouth.

Serena's hips matched the rhythm of Blair's fingers and tongue.

Serena's ass smacked against the wall with the force of Blair's thrusts.

Hearing the faltering gasps, Blair glanced up watching as Serena's hands fondle her own breasts. Squeezing them tightly, her neck arched and sweat coating her face.

Her fingers curled searching for the spot that would bring Serena to her knees even as she went back to sucking on Serena's clit.

Serena's whole body stiffened as she found her g-spot and lightly bit down on the tiny nub. Then Serena was moving. Her hips bucking wildly and the heel of her foot digging hard into Blair's shoulder.

Furiously flicking her tongue back and forth Blair didn't slow the movement of her fingers and she could feel Serena coming again. She wasn't going to stop any of her movements not until she had everything Serena had to give.

Serena wasn't sure how she'd gotten there but she was on her stomach heaving for breath and shuddering under the touch of Blair's fingers. Her fingers clenched tightly around the fitted sheet trying to ignore the wet heat of Blair pressed against her ass as she straddled Serena.

Blair's tongue slid along Serena's shoulder biting down as Serena bucked a little beneath her. Trailing kisses across her back she licked a path down Serena's spine.

She kept her descent deliberately slow while pressing her hips into Serena, rocking against her, biting her lip at the pleasure the friction caused.

Blair slid her body lower letting her breasts slide against Serena, feeling the heat and the slick sweat as she nipped at the small of Serena's back.

Serena moaned at the soft press of Blair's breasts against her back.


Blair bypassed Serena's ass knowing how much the she enjoyed having it fondled.

She licked down the back of a thigh and down to the back of Blair's knee. Lightly blowing onto the sensitive skin before she placed a kiss against the soft sweaty skin.

Serena's whole body jerked and Blair reached out to grab Serena's hips and keep her still.

She repeated the same action on Serena's other leg causing the same reaction as she tongued the back of Serena's knee.

Blair moved back up nudging Serena's legs further apart, wishing that she had tied Serena's ankles to the bed and had her completely at her mercy.

Next time, Blair promised herself.

Breathing in the scent of Serena's arousal Blair kept her hands locked on her slick hips and slid her tongue inside Serena.

Serena whimpered at the invasion feeling tender, wound so tight, that she felt a small orgasm ripple through her.

Blair rode it out keeping the pace of her tongue fast and hard. She explored every inch, loving Serena's taste, how her walls clung to her, trying to pull her even deeper.

She released a hip and slid her hand beneath Serena over her stomach and–

Serena reared up causing Blair ease back abruptly.

Rolling onto her back Serena reached for Blair panting as their mouths met and Serena pulled Blair down onto her body.

Rolling so that Blair was on her back and she was above her Serena thrust her thigh between Blair's legs, thrusting against heated flesh.

Blair attacked Serena's mouth sucking her tongue into her mouth and grinding her thigh against Serena.

Blair's nails scraped down Serena's slick back as she tilted her hips to meet the thrust of Serena's thigh.

Serena slid her own thigh against Blair, anchoring her hands above Blair's head as the pressure against her clit increased with every movement.

The bed shook with every thrust.

Blair's breath was ragged in Serena's ear as her thrusts became more forceful. Serena licked across Blair's collarbone clutching Blair closer as she felt her whole body begin to clench. Blair's back arched and she bit down hard on Serena's shoulder as she careened over the edge.

Finding a nipple and capturing it between her thumb and forefinger. She played with Blair's nipple with one hand and the other hand sneaked up Blair's bare thigh. Her fingernails scraped against the sodden scrap of fabric covering Blair heated core. Of course Blair hadn't taken it off. Serena wasn't meant to touch after all. But they'd crossed that line already as far as she was concerned.

She wanted to tease, to prolong it. She wanted to hear Blair beg. But what was driving her wouldn't wait. She just didn't have the patience. Blair tore her mouth away from Serena's inhaling gasps of air as Serena's hand shoved aside the thong and her fingers skimmed over hot wet flesh.

"Open your eyes," Serena ground out, her fingers circling around and around Blair's outer lips making her moan and thrust her hips forward.

Blair's eyes slid partially open. Dark and fathomless they held Serena still, stopped her hand and made her hitch in her own breath.

What was she doing? Was she going to just fuck Blair like this didn't mean anything? Was Blair going to let her? Just to prove a point?

"Shit," Serena groaned and rolled onto her back covering her face with her hands.

This was fucking crazy. She rolled her head to the side to glance at Blair.

Blair's eyes narrowed almost closing and a breath hissed out in what could have been exasperation.

"Blair," the name fell from Serena's lips in a strangled whisper. "Say something."

"Why did you stop?"

Serena swallowed hard and clenched her fingers against the sheet. She was sweaty and sticky, and so fucking turned on all she wanted was to touch Blair, and here Blair was asking her why she stopped.

"So you can add another item to the list of things you blame me for? You keep forgetting that I know you. You'd hate yourself if your first time happened like this. And then you'd hate me for making you forget about everything you had planned and wanting it to be special."

Blair shrugged shivering slightly.

"Look around you. It can't get any more romantic than this," Blair murmured, dully.

"Well," Serena drew out the word as she reached over the side of the bed and retrieved the loose sheet they'd tossed aside at some point. She spread it over the both of them and told her body to calm down. "There could be candles."

She smiled wanting Blair to respond in some way. She seemed flat and deflated and Serena couldn't stand to see her like that.

"Why are you here? Why are you letting me treat you like this? I want to hate you Serena. Do you get it? I want to hurt you."

"And I want to love you. That's why I'm here. I know there's the other shoe that's going to drop, Blair."

"Don't say that. Don't say you love me."

"Because you think I don't mean it?"

"Because you left," some life filled Blair's voice. Anger as usual. But maybe a hint of the hurt she was trying to hide.

"Maybe I left because I love you," Serena muttered. "I had to leave the state to hide from you. Because I couldn't bear having hurt you. That doesn't seem like a normal reaction does it? It made sense at the time and so did cutting off contact. Then I came home and for a second you looked so damn happy to see me and I felt like I wanted to die. And then you kissed me and everything that hadn't made sense didn't matter. I was sorry and you wanted something from me that I could give you."

"You're not a whore, Serena. No one should be treated the way I've treated you."

Blair covered her eyes with a hand and seemed to curl into herself as she rolled away from Serena.

"Don't act like you forced me to do anything I didn't want. You know I always wondered how you could fall in love with someone and not even know it. I mean how can you not know that you're in love? Maybe I've always been a little bit in love with you and it took Nate and coming back home to face that. And maybe you needed all of this to happen to face that you're in love with me too."

Serena held her breath waiting for an explosion of anger and getting nothing but silence in response.

"It can't be," finally came Blair's faint reply.

Not an outright denial, Serena had to smile as she edged closer and pressed a kiss to Blair's bare shoulder.

"It is. Why else would we put up with each other?"

"Love shouldn't feel like this," Blair whispered and rolled onto her side to face Serena. "I feel… It shouldn't feel like this."

"Maybe because we've started out wrong. And maybe if we try it won't hurt."

"It doesn't hurt. I just…want everything. I want to own you like you're this thing that I can keep forever and ever."

To anyone else that might have sounded disturbing and might have been a put off, but Serena felt the exact same way.

Blair was hers and she'd take her with every flaw and insecurity.

"I love you," she whispered bringing her hand to cup Blair's cheek. Her hand trailed a path down the curve of her jaw, down the smooth pale column of Blair's throat. She bent to Blair's lips and kissed her until Blair's breathing was ragged and her need was as fierce as Serena's.

Blair's eyes were wide and uncertain but she reached for Serena anyway.

" 'I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride; so I love you because I know no other way than this,' " Serena quoted softly as she lay in Blair's arms.

"Touch me," Blair as she kissed the edge of Serena's jaw. "Anywhere. Please…Serena. Show me."

And Serena did.

Blair's whole body ached. Like she'd been run over by a semi and left for dead on the side of the road. She was utterly exhausted and the pounding of her skull almost drowned out the fluttering beat of her pulse as she realized where she was.

Her head lifted fractionally from the mattress and she glanced down at her partially covered body with a frown. She groaned and let her head fall back onto the mattress with a dull thud.

She needed a shower. No, she needed a bath and a shower. And some new underwear. But what she really needed was to get out this room as soon as possible.

She made herself sit up and glanced at the empty space beside her. She refused to feel any kind of emotion about that. It was best that Serena was gone. Blair wasn't sure what she would have said if anything to her. What could she say?

Was she going to say I love you too? Would she even mean it if she did? This feeling she had didn't feel anything like love to her.

She'd had sex last night.

With Serena.

It hadn't been her intent to let Serena touch her in anyway but her resolve had vanished as soon as the words I love you came out of Serena's mouth. How pathetic was she? Even if Serena had meant it she shouldn't have given in so easily. She'd practically begged Serena.

The sound of a door opening had Blair tugging up the sheet to her chin. Her mind raced and she hoped like hell that it wasn't Chuck. How he'd gotten a key to her suite she didn't know but she wasn't in any state to see him.

"You're up," Serena said as she turned the corner from the living room and came into the bedroom. Serena slowly smiled at her as her eyes trailed lazily over her exposed legs.

Blair felt herself begin to blush from her chest to her face.

"I haven't seen you blush since you were seven. I like it," Serena declared as she leaned back against the wall.

"You're here," Blair muttered. She wasn't relieved she told herself, even if it was nice to see that Serena hadn't abandoned her.

"I am," Serena nodded. "After last night I thought you might want something to eat and I'm sick of room service so I went out. And let me just say before you start to think about it and worry and shut down that I don't regret last night. Or the past month for that matter," Serena finished in a complete rush.

Serena didn't think it had been a mistake. God, she hoped Serena didn't start crying. She hated it when Serena cried because she didn't do it very often, which meant she had to be feeling completely emotional.

"I'm not hungry."

Blair almost winced since that wasn't what she'd wanted to say. Serena was here and that was...something. She wasn't even sure that this was a mistake but she just needed time to think.

"That's all you're going to say?"

Blair could tell that Serena was trying to stay patient and calm.

Why did Serena have to wear those Hudson jeans and those Chanel boots? Why did she always have to look so good? And why did she have to keep picturing Serena naked?

"We had sex and it was nice. But that's it." Also not what she'd wanted to say. Serena was being so damn nice about this. Why couldn't Serena just leave?

"Okay," Serena's smile dimmed a little but then abruptly brightened. "I sense that you want to be alone. So that you can start planning on how to kick me out of your life. That's really not going to happen. It could have when I first came back but then you kissed me and that changed everything. Now when you've had your time to think and come to terms with this, come find me and let me know if it's been enough yet."

Serena didn't seem to expect anything from her as she made her retreat with a lingering glance over her shoulder.

This wasn't going to work at all. She'd barely been awake for more than five minutes and she wanted to drag Serena back to bed. Apparently last night hadn't helped ease the turmoil inside her and she still wanted Serena.

Maybe it hadn't been a mistake but it hadn't solved anything either. She still felt off balance and angry. And Serena's words about love and need last night weren't making this easier.

How Serena could think she was in love with her was beyond her. She'd treated Serena like her personal plaything. There only to be at her beck and call. She had been so rude and insulting. She could be a bitch but this had gone beyond mere bitchiness and Serena had to know that.

She was sure love wasn't anything like she was feeling. It couldn't be. It shouldn't be. She felt fucking horrible most days.

This couldn't be love.

Blair stepped out of the shower and closed the stall door putting everything that had happened over the weekend to the back of her mind. She slid on her robe and stepped out of her bathroom and into her bedroom.

"How did you get in here?" Blair asked mildly upset to see Chuck propped against the headboard of her bed. She hadn't seen Chuck since the masked ball three days ago.

"Doesn't matter."

"I didn't invite you over. What do you want?" Blair asked tightening the belt of her robe. "Our business is finished."

"Serena called. I told her you were indisposed. Seeing as how you were recovering from the night you two spent together."

She sent him a hard look.

"And you're here why, again?" Everything that she'd wanted had been done and she had no more need of Chuck.

Blair didn't particularly like the smirk he was giving her.

"To see if you were okay. I ran into Nate Friday night and I assumed that he'd been rather...quick. Only he said that he hadn't seen you. I have to ask though was this part of your plan? To fuck Nate right out of Serena's system?"

There it was. The reason he had come.

She wasn't surprised he knew. Admittedly she hadn't been as cautious or discrete as she normally was. Chuck being the stalker he was it wasn't surprising that he'd figured out that things between her and Serena weren't platonic.

"That had nothing to do with Nate," Blair muttered and realized she was speaking the truth. Everything she had done up to and including sleeping with Serena had very little to do with Nate. He had been nothing but the catalyst to bringing everything to light.

"If you believe that then you're fooling yourself. It had everything to do with him. Wasn't that what you said? How it disgusts you and that it makes you sick to think about him touching Serena?"

Blair stiffened as he threw back words she'd used herself a week ago. In a private conversation with Serena. And of course Chuck had waited to use it against her.

"What do you want?" she asked crossing her arms over her chest. She watched him carefully as he shrugged.

"We had a deal."

She nodded.

"We did."

"You lied to me," Chuck murmured. "I gave you the opportunity to tell me and you lied to my face."

"Oh, don't act so surprised. Why would I tell you anything about Serena? It doesn't matter anyway. It's not what you think."

He probably thought it was all about the sex and while that had been incredible, that wasn't what had pushed her down this path. It was the power and the need to have Serena bend to her will. The desire and the need she felt she had wanted Serena to echo. So that she could twist it and use it anyway she wanted.

"So it's not part of your plan? You're not using Serena? Because that's what I was thinking."

"No—yes." It sounded better like that. Like she'd actually planned this thing with Serena. Like she'd planned this chaotic destructive spiral downwards.

As a means to an end.

"Liar," Chuck sighed. "You disappoint me."

"And you disgust me."

"That seems to be going around for you. You reneged and--"

"I did not. We still had a deal, Chuck."

"Did we? It's sort of moot now, isn't it?"

"Chuck...nothing has changed. Nothing."

"Everything has changed. And you have only yourself to thank."

Blair arched a brow and regarded him coolly.

"Is that a threat? Are you telling me you've already sent everything?"

"It's already been sent."

Of course it had been. Chuck wouldn't be here if things weren't already in motion. He'd come to gloat and mock. What he expected from her she didn't know. Did he want her to get mad? Lash out at him?

"Then get out of my room," Blair said evenly.

"It's not my fault you're in love with Serena and now you're having second thoughts. You should have thought about our deal."

"I'm not in love with her," Blair denied instantly. "You don't know what you're talking about. And I'm not anywhere close to having second thoughts."

He got off the bed and sauntered towards her.

"Defensive are we? It's what you wanted, sweetheart. You wanted them humiliated. Taken down. Now everyone will know Nate and Serena betrayed you. And you're not as saintly as you appear."

"We had an agreement to use this when I said to," Blair snapped. "You told me things would be ready in a week."

"And you also said I'd get a little sex but since I don't have a pussy I think that's out of the picture, Blair-Bear. Or...am I mistaken? Care to spread your pale little thighs for me? If you'd wanted women all you had to do was ask. Though it is Serena and she is a whore and who knows what kind of social diseases she's carrying around."

Blair slapped him so hard his head flopped to the side and Chuck grunted from the force of it.

"Jesus," he exclaimed as he touched his fingers to his bleeding mouth. "I'm bleeding, Blair!"

"Don't ever say anything like that to me again," Blair coldly gritted out. "If I hear one word of this vile filth I'll know it came from you. You don't want to test me, Chuck."

"Or what?" he demanded as he dug out a handkerchief and dabbed at his bloody lip.

"Just who do you think you're dealing with?" Blair asked softly dangerous. "I am a Waldorf and I will fucking break you Chuck. I will make you bleed. I will make you regret everything you've ever done in your sorry pathetic life. I know every dirty, disgusting, and perverted thing about you."

"You wouldn't do that to me," Chuck shook his head. "We planned this together and now you want to get uptight about it? Now you want to ruin me too."

"If I'm going to go down then there's no way you're not coming right along with me. I knew I couldn't trust you. That you'd inevitably do something to screw me over and I made per-cautions. Enjoy your notoriety. Now get out of my sight."

She'd been on her way to school when she'd gotten a text from Eric. Running late she hadn't had time to read it. Serena had hoped that Blair would call but hadn't heard from her since she'd left the hotel the day after the ball.

She knew that Blair was having trouble even contemplating that she could possibly be in love with her.

Serena had already gotten rather used to the idea. It made a fascinating kind of sense to her and explained why she was willing to put up with all the shit Blair dished out.

It explained why she'd run off rather than facing what had happened, and why the both of them seemed to be behaving the complete opposite of how they normally behaved.

Love made you do crazy and stupid things.

Like try and ruin the ones you loved.

She'd checked Eric's text as soon as she'd rushed into school and hadn't really understood the importance of it. Even without the text telling her that she was on Gossip Girl she would have known something was up.

People were staring more than usual and whispering presumably about her. She didn't know why though because she'd been rather dull this past month. Hadn't gone club hopping, hadn't gotten falling down drunk, and hadn't had sex with any inappropriate people.

She deemed sex with Blair absolutely appropriate and essential even. She just had to convince Blair of that and she was more than sure that she could. There was no way that anyone would know about that though so whatever had everyone atwitter eluded her.

And she wasn't going to succumb to curiosity and take a look at the site either. She could care less what was written about her. She just hoped that Blair didn't believe any of it.

That is until Nate cornered her in the hallway and people really started to lose their shit.

"Did you hear?" Nate whispered as he ushered her to a corner.

"Hear? I've seen the looks and the whispers. What's going on?"

Nate swallowed hard and nervously looked around at the crowd that was gathering.

"There's stuff, all kinds of stuff, it's all over Gossip Girl. Everyone's been saying things to me... Looking at me weird all morning and I don't get those stupid updates like Blair does."

"You didn't check your laptop or your phone?" Serena asked, surprised.

"Why didn't you?" Nate demanded.

Serena shrugged.

"I didn't bring my laptop with me and I don't care about people whispering about me. What could they possibly have to say that--"

"Get a room," someone called out with a wolf whistle.

"See," Nate said. "They've been doing that all morning."

"Let's go somewhere private," Serena muttered. "And we'll need your laptop."

The closest and most private place happened to be the third floor girl's bathroom and the door had a lock on it.

Thank God for Wi-Fi because they were online as soon as the door was closed and locked.

Standing next to each other they stared at the Gossip Girl homepage.

"Well," Serena cleared her throat and glanced at Nate. "I guess we know what they're talking about." But that wasn't the only thing linked and as she scanned down the page she felt it.

That other shoe she'd been waiting for? Well the shoe was more like a building and it was falling in around her.

"I'm not going anywhere. Not until you get to see the full effect of this."

"Oh, I'm quite aware of the effect this will have."

Chuck nodded and pointed to Blair's idling laptop on her bed. He walked towards the bed and took a seat.

"Let's check the site. See what we've accomplished," he brought up the Gossip Girl site and Blair walked over the bed.

"Give it to me." Chuck handed it over with a smile.

She scanned the welcome page.

"There's nothing more that Gossip Girl loves than secrets. I requested your deep and darkest secrets. Your dirty lies. Your broken hearts. You've more than come through. Did you always wonder if those rumors were true? If S and N had the hots for each other? I know I did. Color me surprised when a little birdie dropped me something in my e-mail this morning. The link's below and let me tell you...it's scorching," Blair read it aloud.

"You should enjoy the imagery again," Chuck suggested.

"Which dope daddy goes by the name of Captain and has an eight hundred dollar a day coke habit? Which lost little boy felt so alone he tried to do himself in? Did B's father really go gay--if so--how gay? Which designer mother likes them young and younger? What aging socialite is being strung along by one of our scandalous cad's hotelier father? Hmm. This is interesting, Chuck. Seems your father's having his way with Lily van der Woodsen. Only she seems to be torn between him and--well, well, little J's father, his unfortunate name being Rufus. Are you wondering if dope daddy is the only one with addictions? N's been known to gamble. He cost C over a hundred thousand dollars three weeks ago. Sounds like a bad habit to Gossip Girl. Whose father likes to dress up like a Tranny from the Village? Shall I refresh the page and see what else pops up?"

Blair watched the refreshed page appear and had to smile.

"I knew it," she murmured to herself before she continued to read. "Did you imagine S and B together? More than friendly? More than enemies? Some one tells me theirs is a friendship built on mutual lust. Take B's annual sleepover. Sources say S and B were getting hot and heavy in the kitchen while everyone slept down the hall, or so they thought. Just so you don't think S discriminates between genders here's something that had my jaw to the floor. Seems those titillating rumors are true. S and N and S and B. Not to be confused with S & M my dear readers. And no as far as I know there was no threesome. Separately of course. The link below will open your mind to the wondrous joy that is true friendship...enjoy. I know I did."

Blair paused to glance at Chuck a tight smile pulling her lips upwards.

Wily little bastard.

"Didn't think those rumors about C and the midnight romp in Central Park with the group of Tranny prostitutes were true? Or how about C posing with a bunch of Las Vegas hookers brought in for some weekend fun? Remember that time you had sex with a doll, Chuck?" She watched as Chuck's face paled and his eyes widened. "Remember the Worthington's Great Dane? Or your chauffeur Gerald a few years ago? What about that girl you thought you got pregnant or the girl you did get pregnant. What about how your mother hates you?"

Blair closed the laptop with a sharp snap.

She placed the laptop back on her desk where it belonged and turned to a stone faced Chuck.

"Check the site. Enjoy the imagery. I had sex with my best friend. You've done so much worse than that. And the wonderful thing is, Chuck, that you were arrogant enough to record a lot of it. Who did you give some of those DVD's to? Oh, that's right, Nate. The hookers, the doll, the Great Dane. I've got them all. And now there it is for everyone to enjoy."

She slid her eyes over him in disgust.

"I suppose I deserved this. Rolling around in filth one can't help but get dirty too." She turned away.

"I applaud your duplicity," Chuck issued hoarsely.

"And I thank you. Now seriously? Get the fuck out."

The posts had seemed to be endless. They were mostly blind items but there had been a lot of links as well. No one was completely unknown and it was easy to tell who was doing what with whom.

And the video quality was as clear as a summer sky.

"Don't click on that link," she'd warned Nate and of course he did. She'd had to turn away knowing whatever he'd see would be explicit.

"Jesus," Nate had slammed shut the laptop. "That was-- what-- I didn't know you liked girls--Blair-- Serena! And that was only the first minute--it went on for like nine more. How--I--I don't understand. My dad. Your brother. Your mom. Chuck. Blair. How did this happen?"

"How do you think?" she'd demanded. The answer was obvious. "Ask your girlfriend and your boyfriend."

That had been over two weeks ago and she'd left school to go check up on her brother to try and explain. Hoping that her mother didn't find out because Lily would kill Blair for spreading their family business like that.

It had been an awkward conversation with Eric to say the least. They'd both been glad to decide to never talk about it again. And she'd made sure that Eric understood that what Blair had done wasn't something she was okay with.

Eric was too nice for his own good. Sometimes she couldn't believe he was a van der Woodsen. If it weren't for the blond hair she'd have to wonder about him.

Maybe she was a masochist because she'd gone back to Gossip Girl and looked at the posts. Trying to see if there were more of her. But there had only been the two videos and of course the one on her brother. And her mother, unfortunately. Rufus Humphrey? She was so glad she wasn't dating Dan now. What if they'd ended up stepsiblings? That would have been kind of incestuous.

Chuck was such a skeevy perv. Of course he'd have that night with Nate recorded. And she was lucky that the title to the link with Blair hadn't read The van der Woodsen Deflowers the Waldorf Virgin!

The videos were gone now but that didn't mean people weren't still talking about it. She'd gotten used to it and it was embarrassing to know almost everyone who read that stupid website had seen her having sex. With her two sort of best friends.

People had been coming up to her the past two weeks offering their own perverted comments. Offering advice about whom she should choose. Everyone seemed to be under the impression that she was torn between Blair and Nate.

She hadn't watched either video and had no idea what everyone had seen. Comparing those nights just wasn't even worth it. The difference was blatant.

She could live with the taunts and the snickers and the whispered insults, because this was Blair's chosen method of punishment.

That didn't make her any less angry. It didn't make her not want to slap the hell out of Blair for involving her brother.

Two weeks later and no one talked to Blair the way they talked to her. She'd seen them whisper and stare but no one had approached Blair. She was giving off her best ice queen performance. Her facade was flawless and Serena marveled at it.

She wasn't sure what Blair had intended to happen. Humiliation of course but after that faded what else? Did she want her to cower and hide? The only thing she was embarrassed about was the fact that she'd slept with Nate and now everyone knew it.

Nate had been hiding out at the Archibald cabin in Aspen. Too mindful of everyone's opinions and unable to stand the scrutiny. She'd heard that he'd gotten into a huge fight with Chuck and security had to be called to escort Nate out of Chuck's suite.

She couldn't fathom what Chuck had gotten out of this, because besides talking about her, everyone was talking about Chuck and his...escapades.

It was funny because she knew that those DVD's had been with Nate and the only one who would have access to them was Blair. She'd probably charmed them from Nate as soon as he'd told her about them.

Maybe it had been Blair's way of keeping Chuck in line. Either way both Chuck and Blair had their share to be embarrassed about too.

Serena had tried to think about why Blair might have wanted to record her first time with Nate and had come to the conclusion that Blair just wouldn't do that. She'd briefly wondered if Blair had planned it all, manipulating her straight into that bedroom, just waiting to strike.

Blair might have planned everything up to that point but not that.

"I don't know why you insist on calling me. Yes, yes. I know. I'm an evil diabolical bitch. You're repeating yourself, Nate. What I am is thoroughly vindictive. Hurts doesn't it?"

Serena glanced up automatically at the sound of Blair's voice intruding on her solitude. She eyed Blair a moment as she strode towards her bench, before she looked away.

This was a surprise.

Serena closed her book but didn't look over at Blair as the girl settled down beside her on the bench.

She let the silence between them stretch for a long moment before turning to face Blair fully.

"Is it enough?" she asked evenly.

She caught the slight flinch that crossed Blair's face and felt the tiniest bit gratified. Blair had pushed and played her way to this very moment. Used everything she could to keep Serena from feeling steady.

"It…is," Blair stiltedly replied, almost sounding sure.

Serena searched Blair's face. The tenseness that had pinched her mouth for the past month was gone. The angry bitterness wasn't nearly as palpable. She looked more at ease than Serena could ever remember.

"I didn't know there was a video camera in the suite," Serena noted staring down at her hands. She wanted to get that out of the way now. If Blair had planned that night with her then she needed to know that. And she'd deal with it.

"Neither did I," Blair said hollowly.

"Chuck?" Just like she'd thought.

"Chuck," Blair agreed. "Apparently it was his way of creating a way for he and Nate to bond. In ways perverted and disgusting knowing Chuck."

"You didn't know he had it?"

"Not at first…" Blair sighed again. "I saw it when it was uploaded on the site."

She sounded completely truthful. Blair really wasn't any good at lying to her anyway.

"What did he want?" Serena didn't even have to ask if he'd wanted something, Chuck always wanted something.

Blair glanced at her with a wry smile.

"What does Chuck always want?" Blair asked sarcastically.

"You didn't—Blair tell me—"

"My virtue is safe as it were," Blair inserted with a shrug. "He didn't want me. I wanted revenge and he wanted something else."


"He's fascinated with Nate," was all Blair said.

"Oh," Serena breathed and grimaced. "So that night you and he weren't--"

"I planned too. I mean why not? I waited a long time and you know it was always Nate I'd pictured."

Serena nodded. She did know that and that's why she hadn't worried herself these two weeks about how Blair felt about her. Blair didn't do anything in half measures. She threw herself fully into everything she did. Revenge was no different.

She didn't think Blair falling in love would be any different. Except Blair had fought it every step of the way.

"You should have kept Eric out of it. I hate that you used him like that. You know how I feel about that. I told you--"

"That was unfortunate," Blair interrupted. "There were certain things that were going to be...left out. There's a lot of stuff Chuck didn't use. He used only the things he thought might hurt me, you, and Nate."

"What about Nate's dad? Is he really addicted to cocaine?"

"You know where Chuck gets his stuff? That apartment building across town? Chuck was there one day and saw the Captain leaving. He decided to investigate and at first we thought he was just seeing his mistress, but nope, it was drugs."

"Doesn't this hurt things for your mother? Did you want to mess with her too?"

Blair sighed.

"As much as she aggravates me I wouldn't do that to her. I called daddy and he told me that he would take care of it. Chuck just decided to add that to make it just a little bit worse."

"Should I thank you for not using the time I got so drunk I couldn't stop throwing up and had to go get my stomach pumped? Or when I woke up in Boston in the back seat of Sebastian Quarry's Bentley and didn't remember how I got there? And you two were making out in the front seat? Well that would have embarrassed you too. Or how about when I cried for two days because the Spice Girl's concert at the Garden was sold out and we couldn't go until you begged your father to get us tickets. How about when I tried to seduce Gemma Goldstein's brother and his boyfriend found us in his bedroom? So many tales. I have to admit I admire your restraint, Blair. You could have told so many, many, things about me."

"I only used the pertinent things," Blair replied stiffly. "A fine pair we are."

"A perfect match," Serena muttered.

Blair regarded her silently for a moment.

"I thought you'd be angrier."

Serena shook her head.

"I know you," she said knowing it was all that needed to be said. "That other shoe had to drop sometime."

Blair's smile was rueful.

"We're even?" Serena asked needing to be sure that their war was over.

Blair nodded.

"You're such a bitch," Serena sighed with a shake of her head.

"You know I've always thought love was this gentle, romantic, soothing thing. Like I had with Nate," Blair began suddenly and Serena looked at her quizzically. "Maybe it is like that and maybe that's enough for some people. It would have been enough for me. Until you came back and every emotion I've ever felt just kept bursting free. It wasn't so nice then, hardly gentle, and it wasn't fucking romantic. But I've never felt better or more conflicted or more in love. And I don't really appreciate it, Serena," Blair complained with a glare. "You get everything all of the time. How can I let you have me too? You left and didn't even care enough to say goodbye."

"I left because I cared too much. I couldn't understand how I could hurt you like I did. I needed to get to know myself again. I needed that whole year and I regret leaving you like that, alone and confused. I hate that you had to deal with everything by yourself. But I had to do it and I can't regret it because when I came back I knew I wasn't going to be able to leave you behind again. It's just not possible. You--I mean really--Blair you're just…everything."

Serena wasn't naïve enough to believe that they'd live happily ever after because they'd declared their love. She knew Blair and herself and they would clash and push each other because it was what they did.

Serena loved every flaw filled part of Blair and knew Blair felt the same way about her.

When she'd come home she hadn't expected anything like this happening to them. She'd always loved Blair but could hardly pinpoint when love had turned into in love, but it was there all the same.

It was scary and exciting and it could end up a complete disaster but Serena knew that if she didn't give it a chance she'd regret it for the rest of her life.

She felt Blair place one of her hands over her own. Serena smiled as she intertwined their fingers together.

"I think..." Blair cleared her throat. She sounded so adorably nervous that Serena had to cough to cover a giggle of giddiness.

"I think that we've done this wrong. All of it. I was out to hurt you and I used you because I could. I didn't expect this with you. I was wrong and I think we need to start fresh," Blair finished off sounding more confident as she went on.

"What are you suggesting?" Serena felt like doing something ridiculous like bouncing on the bench like an unruly child. She didn't know when she'd ever felt this happy or carefree.

"Maybe a date?" Blair voiced it as a question looking pensive.

"You and Nate?" Serena queried.

Blair shrugged.

"He went postal on Chuck. They ended up rolling around on the ground making out," Blair flashed a quick grin.

Serena bit her bottom lip to suppress an answering grin.

"So naturally you had to dump him?"

"Naturally," Blair agreed.

"Are you serious?" Serena couldn't help but ask.

Blair laughed.

"No. They were fighting when I left. I'm sure Chuck would love to make out with Nate. It's what fuels his daydreams, sadly."

They shared a laugh and Serena was again amazed at the ease in which it came. There was no strained uncomfortable silence or angry hurt filled looks. The mention of Nate hadn't dampened their conversation as it had in the past.

Was this what moving on felt like? Feeling a sense of lightness and freedom? Whatever it was she loved it and didn't want it to ever go away.

"I'm not a cheap date you know," Serena began finally letting go and relaxing.

"Oh, I know. There will be no dates at the Golden Arches where I snack on ice cubes and you eat a salad from their value menu. It's Arby's for you, all the way, baby."

"Absolutely," Serena laughed again just because she felt like it and took Blair's other hand. "Let's get out of here."

Blair nodded.

They got up and leisurely began to walk down the path out of the park.

"Hey, Blair?"

Blair glanced over at Serena curiously. "Yeah?"

"Thanks," Serena replied with a tremulous smile.

"For what?" Blair asked in confusion.

"For coming after me. I know you didn't have to and how much it cost you."

" 'People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone'. And you know you're just not anyone, Serena." Blair quoted her favorite actress with a playful smile as she nudged her shoulder against Serena.

"You want to go out with me Saturday?" Serena asked, excitedly.

"If I don't have plans."

"You know I think you're booked solid for the foreseeable future, Blair. Hope you don't mind," Serena grinned slipping an arm around Blair's waist as they threaded their way through the crowded park.

Blair looked at Serena with thoughtful look.

"Here's to me not minding," as she pulled Serena to a stop and rose up to kiss her.

"I love you," Serena whispered against Blair's lips.

"This pleases me," Blair said pulling away an imperious expression flashing across her face.

Serena laughed and shook her head.

"Then I'll say it as often as you wish, your highness!"

For Serena it had always been Blair. Even when she hadn't understood it. The picture of the future in her mind had always been the two of them together, forever. She'd never wondered why she hadn't included a boyfriend or a husband as Blair always had. Now she knew the reason why.

And she couldn't wait to see where they'd end up but knew wherever it was they'd be together in one way or another.

The End

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