DISCLAIMER: Gossip Girl and its characters are the property of Cecily von Ziegesar and Warner Bros. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Inspired by "Seventeen Candles", episode 1x08, because Serena playing Guitar Hero was totally the sex, and she and Vanessa were totally flirting.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

This Isn't Cheating … It's Just A Thing
By Janine


The Present

It all started with Guitar Hero. Vanessa was sure of that. Where it would end however … of that she had no idea.  And as Serena's tongue played against her neck, her teeth nipping at the soft, sensitive skin there before she began to suck on the skin in a way that Vanessa knew would leave a mark, she couldn't find it in herself to care.

Two Weeks Ago … The Party

"Oh really?" Serena asked smiling, reaching out to playfully poke Vanessa in the shoulder. "Because I think the only thing getting smoked is your pale imitation of a guitar player."

"Hey," Vanessa said smiling. "I am a golden god," she continued drawing out the last word teasingly.

Serena smiled back at her,  her smile only growing as Vanessa grinned back at her.  Serena's lips parted to Balestra back in the verbal fencing match they had begun a minute before when ...

"Am I interrupting?" Dan asked popping up behind the blonde causing Serena to blink at what she was surprised to realize was an interruption instead of a save.

"Um, actually you are," Serena said though she was smiling. She had actually been enjoying that conversation and Dan's arrival had rather rudely jerked her out of the flow of it.

"Um, I'll give you guys a moment," Vanessa said drawing Serena and Dan's gaze back over to her, the awkwardness that had been gone moments before returning.

Serena watched her as she turned to walk away. They still had some progress to make, but Vanessa was alright, and she thought that it might actually be possible for them to bond.

Ten minutes later…

Serena jerked to a stop as a figure stepped in front of her blocking her exit as she tried to flee from the scene she had just witnessed in the bedroom of the suite.

"Hey, are you alright?" Vanessa asked, genuinely concerned as Serena looked up at her blearily, watery eyes blinking rapidly as if she was having trouble placing who was talking to her or where she was.

"Vanessa," Serena muttered, staring at her for a second longer before turning her head to look behind her, shivering slightly and shaking her head minutely as she did before turning back to face the ebony beauty in front of her.

"Seriously," Vanessa said, starting to get worried, wondering if she should go get Dan … or if he was reason she was distraught.

She'd just come back in to get her jacket, but decorum and her own moral code demanded that she at least find out if the blonde was okay.

"Is everything okay?" Vanessa continued, resting her hand lightly on Serena's shoulder, her green eyes tracking Serena's blue ones as the blonde looked over at her hand and then at her face.

"It's just … Blair," Serena said softly, her eyes drifting back in the direction of the bedroom of the suite. "And … Chuck," she added a second later, her nose crinkling and her lips twisting as the name "Chuck" fell from her lips. "Ugh," she said shuddering a second later, her eyes fluttering shut.

When they opened again, her gaze was clearer and her eyes were focused when they landed on Vanessa.

"I just …" Serena said her lips quirking slightly. Vanessa could literally see her pulling herself back together again. It was quite mesmerizing. By the time the blonde managed a full smile and teasingly said, "I totally wasn't expecting to see that. It seems there was a good reason knocking was invented," Vanessa wouldn't have been able to tell she had ever been upset in life if she hadn't been standing there a few minutes before to see it with her own eyes.

"I recently learned that lesson as well," Vanessa responded smiling, winking when Serena looked over at her. "You fall off of beds very gracefully," she added earning an amused and bashful smile from the blonde.

A few hours before her comment probably would have led to awkward silence. She couldn't believe Dan was right, but it seemed as if they were bonding.

"So," Vanessa continued a moment later, "other than your brain being assaulted with an image that all of Neptune's oceans would not be able to wash away, you're okay?"

"Yeah, I'm fine," Serena responded smiling, though Vanessa was certain she saw the smile waver uncertainly for a second. "Thanks," she continued a second later as Vanessa pulled her jacket on. "For letting me vent my disgust."

"No problem, there are things in this world too horrible to keep inside. I'm glad I was able to help out," Vanessa replied grinning.

"Drive safe," Serena said her eyes brows scrunching as the words came out of her mouth, painfully aware of how awkward they were but unable to call them back.

Vanessa scooped her arm and pouted before smiling and saying "If you insist."

Vanessa then continued on her way to the door, while Serena branched off in the direction of the coat check.

If asked later, she wouldn't be able to say why she did it, but just before the elevator arrived, Vanessa turned back around to see if she could spot the blonde. When her eyes found Serena she was staring back in the direction of the bedroom intently, her bottom lip pinned down by teeth as she gnawed on her bottom lip.

Her expression certainly wasn't happy, but it didn't look like disgust to Vanessa either.

It seemed almost more like regret … or longing.

One Week, Four Days Ago … The Palace

"Serena!" Eric bellowed.

"What??" Serena bellowed back from the bowels of the Penthouse.

"There's …" Eric paused realizing that he didn't recognize the girl standing in front of him, and that he had failed to ask her name. "There's a pretty girl at the door for you!" he finally decided on yelling back.

There was silence for a few moments, and then Serena emerged from behind a closed door and began to move towards where Vanessa and Eric were standing.

"Hey," Serena said slowly, an uncertain smile touching her lips.

"Hey," Vanessa responded. "I figured I didn't make you uncomfortable enough at the restaurant a couple days ago so I thought that I would show up at your door unannounced and try to make up for it."

Serena laughed at that and then tilted her head towards the inside of the penthouse. "Sorry, my manners are as bad as my brother's," Serena said glaring at Eric for a second. "Come on in."

"I like your brother," Vanessa responded smiling over at Eric. "He called me pretty," she sighed. "Are you seeing anyone?" she asked directing the question to Eric.

Eric smiled broadly. "Actually …"

"He was just going to his room," Serena interjected her eyes narrowing as she looked over her shoulder at him.

Eric held up his hands and began to back away slowly, before smiling at Vanessa one last time and then heading for his room in earnest.

"So," Serena began clapping her hands together when they were alone.

"What brings me here?" Vanessa supplied smiling. "Female bonding," Vanessa continued nodding seriously as she gazed at Serena.

"Female bonding?" Serena questioned though a little smile touched her lips.

"If you don't have plans," Vanessa responded, "I thought we could hang out. And bond … while being female."

Serena smiled at that and shook her head. "Female bonding," she muttered. "Right," she continued sitting lightly on the arm of the couch. "So, what are we going to do?"

"I don't know, I thought like maybe miscellaneous stuff or something," Vanessa responded shrugging.

Serena watched her for a second as if trying to determine if Vanessa was fucking with her or not, and then smirking a little she asked, "Care to be more specific?"

"Not really," Vanessa responded shaking her head before smiling a little bashfully. "I don't really know what you like, so I don't want to paint myself into any corners. Pretty much, I was actually just planning on following you outside and seeing which direction you turned in and taking it from there."

"Sounds … completely unstructured and potentially chaotic," Serena responded staring at Vanessa before a huge grin broke out across her face. "I love it! Random city adventures are the best." Serena paused there her eyes lightly up as they focused on Vanessa with a hawk-like intensity. "Did you bring your Vespa?"

Vanessa simply smiled in response.

Serena smiled snapping her fingers before pointing in Vanessa's direction and nodding in approval.

"Let me change into something more comfortable," Serena said a second later pushing off of the couch.

"Oh, you are fun," Vanessa murmured, smirking as she was forced to dodge a pillow the blonde threw in her direction a second later.

"Threatened or relieved?" Serena asked finally, turning away from the change room mirror to face the girl standing behind her.

When she had looked over her shoulder at Vanessa she had caught the green-eyed girl staring at her ass again, and was unnerved enough by the constant scrutiny to finally bring it up.

"Impressed," Vanessa responded her gaze drifting off to the side, looking genuinely embarrassed for perhaps the first time since Serena had met her. "Sorry, I didn't realize I was being so obvious. It's just …" Vanessa paused and looked up, her eyes meeting Serena's, "feminist concerns about the objectification of women aside … you have a fabulous ass," she went on drawing out the second last word slowly and appreciatively. "Especially for a white girl," she added smiling a second later.

Serena grinned at the last part despite herself and twisted a little looking in the mirror so that she could look at the ass in question. She'd always thought she had a nice ass, and she'd been told so a few times, but compliments like that from teenage boys didn't really mean much to her.

"And you're a connoisseur?" Serena asked finally, arching her eyebrow at Vanessa though she couldn't deny she was flattered by the compliment.

"Yeah," Vanessa responded looking away again, her response surprising Serena. "I totally wish there was a better way to phrase this, but since I can't think of one … I'm definitely an ass girl," she went on smirking a little bit though she continued to avert her gaze. "And yours is … very nice," Vanessa finished after a slight pause her eyes drifting back to Serena's ass before she forced them back up to look at the blonde.

"You're … not joking, are you?" Serena asked a second later, leaning against the wall of the large change room.

Vanessa simply shook her head and then openly let her eyes roam over Serena's body.

The blonde didn't flinch, or shift, or even blush at the appraisal.

"You're not … shy, are you?" Vanessa asked a few seconds later. Confidence was a big turn on for her, and Serena just got infinitely sexier.

Serena smiled. "Not really, no."

"Are you going to react to my little revelation?" Vanessa asked shifting a little on the seat she was resting on.

"You mean like dash for my clothes and clutch them in front of me protectively with a scandalized look on my face so that you can't sully my body with your lustful lesbionic looks anymore?" Serena asked smirking as she continued to look at Vanessa without making a move to cover up.

"As amusing as that description was, that's not really what I was thinking," Vanessa responded shifting again, this time relaxing into a more comfortable position. "I didn't think you'd be scandalized," she continued in the tone that made Serena tilt her head slightly to the side and consider her more intensely.

"What does that mean?" Serena asked getting the distinct impression that there was more to that comment then met the eye.

"I've seen the way you look at her," Vanessa responded watching Serena very carefully, feeling a little vindicated when she saw the blonde tense a little.

"At who?" Serena asked forcing a curious but amused note into her voice as if she had no idea what Vanessa was talking about but was a good enough sport to see what crazy answer she would come up with.

"Blair," Vanessa responded not missing the way Serena began to blink more rapidly at the name though the rest of her didn't move at all. "Were you two …" Vanessa continued.

"I don't want to talk about Blair," Serena said interrupting, her eyes holding Vanessa's. Her lips were set and her gaze was staid. Vanessa thought that she was seeing Serena serious for the first time, and it was as hot as confident Serena was.

"Okay," Vanessa said agreeing to let the subject drop. "So, on with the show?" she asked smiling a little.

"I don't want you to be bored," Serena said visibly relaxing.

"Oh, I think we both know I won't be bored," Vanessa replied. "You don't happen to need any new lingerie do you? Because I'm a connoisseur in that area as well."

Serena considered Vanessa for a second. "I think you're going to get me into trouble."

"I don't think you need me for that," Vanessa responded without missing a beat.

Serena smirked and went to try on the next piece of clothing she had picked out.

It was going to be an interesting afternoon that was for sure.

One Week Ago … Vanessa's Apartment

Vanessa lowered the book she was reading just enough so that she could see through the peephole, the book in her hands and the chapter that had been fascinating forgotten as she saw who was standing outside of her door.

"Serena," she said smiling as she opened the door. "You're soaked," she added a second later as she realized it was true.

"It started snowing," Serena said stepping into the apartment the reason she had shown up on Vanessa's doorstep momentarily disappearing from memory as she found herself in a new place with new things to look at and touch.

"Did it?" Vanessa asked. She hadn't noticed. She'd been tucked away reading.

Serena simply nodded as she wandered further into the apartment, a little smile playing at the corner of her lips as her eyes scanned everything around her.

"I like your place," Serena said a few seconds later turning around to face Vanessa. "It's … so warm," she said softly.

Vanessa nodded accepting the compliment for what it was. The apartment was modest, but it was lived in, and she understood coming from someone who lived in a hotel suite, that warm and homey was probably a nice change of pace.

"I'm gonna go grab you a hoodie or something," Vanessa said tossing her book on a nearby table. "Just looking at you is making me cold. Make yourself at home," she finished waving around the apartment, before disappearing down a hallway.

Vanessa rested her head against the back of the couch, tilting it in Serena's direction, watching as the blonde took a long sip from the bottle of Bacardi Pina Colada she had handed her a few minutes before.

"So?" Vanessa asked finally knowing there had to be a reason that Serena had shown up on her proverbial doorstep out of all of the proverbial doorsteps in the world.

"We're fighting again," Serena sighed resting her head wearily against the back of the couch staring up at the ceiling. "I told her I thought that hooking up with Chuck was … ill-advised and … it didn't go well," Serena said sighing again.

"Why did you come to me?" Vanessa asked her voice soft and curious as she continued at look at Serena.

"Because you're the only one that would get it," Serena responded finally lifting her head and looking over at Vanessa. "Why it bothers me so much when we fight," she continued. "Why I probably said some things I shouldn't have about her decision to sleep with Chuck … why she said that I was just jealous."

Vanessa nodded slowly before taking a sip of her own drink.

"How do you feel about her exactly?" Vanessa asked finally. "I mean, I know you're attracted to her and that the two of you have probably done … something in the past, but are you in love with her? Because I have to tell you, you're putting me in a kind of delicate, nay highly uncomfortable situation if that's what you're telling me."

"Dan," Serena breathed out softly, tipping her head back to look at the ceiling again.

"Yeah, Dan. My best friend who's head over heels for you. And if you are hung up on Blair …" she continued letting the sentence die. She knew that Serena knew what she was getting at.

"I don't know," Serena said finally lifting the bottle to her lips again, nearly finishing it off that time. Despite herself Vanessa was almost impressed by how well Serena could take her alcohol. "It was just fun in the past … something we did after too many glasses of champagne in the early hours of the morning when everything can be denied the next day, you know," Serena began softly, still staring up at the ceiling. "But since I've been back, I don't know … things have been more intense, which is weird since we haven't even made out," she continued shaking her head. "It's just when I saw her with Chuck, it was just like someone had punched me in the gut. I don't even get it, I was happy for it when she was planning her 'big night' with Nate, but seeing her with Chuck …"

"Made you wish you'd gotten to the bedroom first?" Vanessa asked careful to keep her tone neutral.

Serena nodded. More than any other thought, the thought that it should have been her in there with Blair was plaguing her. She was Blair's best friend, she was the one that was supposed to comfort Blair, she was the one who wanted to protect her, and loved her more than anything.

"How does she feel about your thing, that you do?" Vanessa asked her brows furrowing as she realized how vague that question was.

"I don't know," Serena responded sighing and covering her face with her hands. "Before I left, she was really into it whenever we kissed, but since I've gotten back there's been this I don't know wall or something between us when we're alone together and I've just known not to try anything. But sometimes she'll look at me a certain way or touch me and I'll think that maybe … but then the moment disappears and … I don't know," she said shaking her head. "And then there's Dan …"

Vanessa simply nodded encouraging Serena to continue.

"I'm not trying to fuck with him," Serena said seriously to begin off with. Vanessa smirked a little and Serena added, "You know what I mean," before continuing. "I like him, he's so different from anyone I've known before and that's a total compliment," she went on. "I think there's something there, something that could be really good … it's just this thing with Blair, and everything else in my life is so complicated that I feel like he's only getting a fraction of me at any given time."

Serena shook her head and lifted the bottle to her lips only to realize it was empty.

In a very smooth, very 'Abrams, Vanessa Abrams' sort of way, Vanessa held out her bottle for Serena which the blonde very gratefully acceptable and took a long drink from.

"I don't know, maybe this thing with Blair is just a … a fever or something," Serena said sighing tilting her head to face Vanessa.

"A fever?" Vanessa asked curiously.

"Yeah, you know like something I just have to get out of my system or something," Serena said. "I think maybe because she's withholding I'm thinking about it way more than I did before or something."

"From what you've said I don't think Blair is going to be willing to let you work off some steam with her," Vanessa responded. "In fact, she's probably enjoying the hold over you the sexual tension gives her."

Serena took another sip. She had thought the same thing. It was like Blair knew that she could come back for more so she took out her frustrations on her instead of the person it really should have been directed at, which was universally Nate.

"Yeah, you're probably right," Serena said slowly resting the now empty bottle on the table and turning to face Vanessa. "But maybe it's just … the softness I miss," she continued holding Vanessa's eyes. "Maybe it's just a … Sapphic interlude that I need."

Vanessa swallowed but didn't look away from the blonde.

Suddenly she understood why Serena had really come to see her and shivered slightly.

On their afternoon out she had been made aware of just how alluring Serena could be and she had acknowledged the danger of it that day. She was not immune to the blonde, in fact she was highly susceptible to her – she suspected that fascination/lust was why she had proposed the outing in the first place – but she knew that it was a bad idea and had decided that being around Serena alone was a dangerous thing.

But she had found herself alone with the blonde again and she was feeling very, very susceptible.

Serena leaned forward slowly until her lips were pressed against Vanessa's, her hand moving to rest of the ebony beauty's thigh as she licked at Vanessa's bottom lip.

Vanessa breathed in deeply, her body tensing for a moment before she relaxed and opened her mouth to Serena, allowing the blonde's tongue to slip inside.

She was totally susceptible, she was susceptible like a mofo and nothing good could come of it.

She arched forward, kissing Serena back eagerly.

She was pretty sure she was inviting a shit storm upon the both of them, but damn if the blonde didn't know how to kiss, and …

Vanessa moaned as Serena moved to straddle her, her lips never leaving Vanessa's for a moment as her hands began to play against the dark-skinned girl's torso.

"This is a bad idea," Vanessa murmured before she arched up to capture Serena's lips again, cursing herself as she did but unable to stop herself.

"Yeah," Serena agreed, pressing down against Vanessa's pelvis, her hands slipping under the raven-haired girl's shirt.

Vanessa moaned and lifted her hands allowing Serena to pull off her shirt.

Well, as long as they both realized that it was a really bad idea …

The Present

"We can't keep doing this," Vanessa said sitting on the edge of Serena's bed looking around on the floor for her shirt.

"I know," Serena said, stretched out naked on the bed, shifting on the mattress until she was lying behind Vanessa, snaking her arms around the brunette's waist a few seconds later and placing a kiss on the small of her back.

"I have to go," Vanessa said, those her posture relaxed as Serena's hands played against her stomach and her lips moved up her spine.

"You don't have to," Serena responded. Her mother and Eric were out at a show and wouldn't be back for another couple hours.

Vanessa laughed darkly and shook her head before standing up. "You forgot didn't you?" she asked.

"Forgot what?" Serena asked falling back against the mattress, a saucy smile spreading across her lips when Vanessa bent over to pick up her underwear.

"Dan's going to be here in like twenty minutes," Vanessa responded turning to glare at the blonde though she really had no right to. She was screwing Dan over as much as Serena was, and in a way what she was doing was even worse because Serena and Dan had just met.

Serena's eyes widened.

"Shit!" she exclaimed sitting up. She definitely had to take a shower and … it was going to be a tight fit to get ready in time for his arrival. "I'll call you?" Serena said standing up as well, moving over to where Vanessa was standing having just pulled her shirt over her head.

"Yeah," Vanessa said turning around to face the blonde, accepting a brief kiss.

"Hey," Serena said catching Vanessa's wrist as the girl began to make her way towards the door. "This," she continued gesturing towards them. "It's not cheating," she said allowing her hand to drop until she was holding Vanessa's hand. "It's just a … thing."

"Yeah," Vanessa said again, smiling wanly.

Serena was right in a way. It was just a thing. They liked each other well enough, and they certainly had sexual chemistry but they weren't in love with each other. Serena was in love with Blair, and she was in love with Dan, but Serena couldn't have Blair at the moment, and she had been weak and given into Serena which meant that she could have Dan and so they had this thing which worked out well enough but which neither of them truly wanted.

In a way Vanessa thought it might have been better if they were cheating.

At least that would have been real.

All they were doing was passing time.

The End

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