DISCLAIMER: Gossip Girl and its characters are the property of Cecily von Ziegesar and Warner Bros. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

By Dane


"Serena, you're going to exhaust yourself pacing."

"I can't help it. I need to see him."

Blair reached out and snagged Serena's hand and pulled her to a stop. She wrapped her arms around Serena's waist and pressed her body against Serena's back. "They'll bring him back down as soon as they finish the tests. He's going to be okay, S."

Serena soaked up the strength in Blair's embrace as she voiced her fears, "He hasn't woken up yet. What if he's bleeding in his brain? That's what this test is for, right?"

"Shhh. The MRI is just a precaution." Blair had forced herself to focus when the doctor explained the extent of Eric's injuries, knowing Serena couldn't absorb them in her concerned state of mind.

"I know, but," she was cut off by the curtain being pulled back.

A frantic Lily's eyes were drawn to the empty bed, then Serena's tear-streaked face. "Where's Eric? Where is he, Serena?" she asked frantically.

Blair could feel Serena's heartbeat pick up as Lily's anxious energy rolled off her in waves. She put a little physical distance between their bodies, choosing instead to hold Serena's hand in Lily's presence.

"They're running some tests." Serena forced the words out around the lump in her throat.

When she didn't elaborate, Blair filled in the details. "He has a concussion, a broken wrist and a separated shoulder."

Lily sucked in a pained breath. "I don't understand. How did this happen?"

"Dr. Ndoran said the EMTs reported that he was hurt playing lacrosse." Serena absently stroked Blair's hand with her thumb.

"There's no lacrosse field at the Ostroff Center. Did he sneak out?"

Blair shook her head. "We don't know. Randall Conrad called to let Serena know Eric had been hurt, but we didn't get any details."

Lily turned frustrated eyes to her daughter. "Did you even think to ask? I know how you get when you're upset, Serena, you don't think."

Serena looked at the floor, hurt and humiliated that her mother would speak to like that, especially in front of Blair.

"She asked, Lily." Blair's voice was cold. "The bastard wouldn't tell her anything. He was too worried about you suing the Center."

Lily watched as Blair unconsciously wrapped her hand around Serena's arm in a gesture of protection. She took a deep breath and turned her attention to her daughter. "I'm sorry. I'm..."

"Worried about Eric," she completed her mother's sentence. "I know. So am I."

Lily wrestled a neutral expression onto her face. "Blair, thank you for having Dorota call me and for waiting here with Serena until I could arrive."

Years of practicing social niceties allowed Blair to present a gracious demeanor, when she really wanted to throttle Lily for lashing out and hurting Serena. "You're welcome. Serena would have done the same for Eleanor."

Lily turned so she wasn't blocking the path out of the ER. "Again, I appreciate you coming down. I'm sure you'd like to get back to your day."

They spoke at the same time. One voice firm, the other pained.

"I'm not leaving until Serena asks me to."

"Blair's staying unless she wants to go."

Lily knew she could assert her parental authority against the united front and have Blair removed, but the fierce hold Serena had on Blair's hand convinced her that her best friend's presence might be the only thing keeping her daughter together emotionally.

Blair let tired eyes roam over the tableau that was van ser Woodsen family. Both Lily and Serena had surrendered to the inevitable crash after the heightened emotions of the day, but neither had strayed very far from Eric's bedside over the last eight hours. Lily was sitting in a chair by the bed and had dozed off loosely holding the uninjured fingers on Eric's left hand. Serena had perched on the bed by his uninjured right shoulder, curled loosely around him and closed her eyes.

"Ow." He tried to raise the arm already encased in cast, confusion clouding his eyes. "What happened?"

Blair made a mental tic mark in her mind. It was the twentieth time he had complained of the pain, looked at his injured arm and asked what had happened. She was too shaken by the reoccurring pattern to feel impatient as she answered.

"You've got a broken wrist. Do you remember what happened?"

The puzzled expression etched on his features made him look much younger than his fourteen years. "No." He hissed in pain when he turned his head. "I feel like my head's gonna explode."

She felt like a broken record but the doctor had encouraged them to answer his questions with consistency. She spoke to him quietly, "There's a nasty bump on the side of your head. The doctor says you have a moderate concussion. It's why you're having trouble remembering things."

"How come you're here?"

She patted Serena's calf. "I was with your sister when she got the call and I wanted to see for myself that you were okay."

He closed his eyes briefly and when he opened them Blair knew the question that was coming. "You guys had a date last night, right?"

The first time he had asked she couldn't contain the gasp of surprise that he knew about their evening. "Yes."

"She was nervous before she picked you up."

Blair glanced up to see a blush color Serena's skin. "I was nervous, too."

His eyes slid shut for a few seconds as he tried to focus on a single thought. "She's crazy about you, Blair."

"It's mutual, E."

"Where'd you go?"

"To meet Dorota downstairs. It's been a long day and will be a longer night, so…" Blair held up laden hands with re-used bags from designer clothing stores.

Lily appeared in the doorway of Eric's private room. She looked from Blair to her daughter. "What's going on?"

"S, a little help." Blair foisted half her load onto her best friend and stepped past Lily into Eric's room. She sat the bags down and glanced toward the sleeping young man.

"I thought he was supposed to stay awake with the concussion."

Serena dumped the bags on the floor. "Dr. Ndoran said we could let him sleep a couple of minutes at a time." She started digging in the bags at her feet. "What is all of this, Blair? Blankets. Oh, and comfy clothes." She smiled as the scent of roasted vegetables filled the air. "You got dinner?" Serena pressed a quick kiss against the side of Blair's head and took the hot container from her. "You're the best."

The praise was unexpectedly embarrassing to the brunette. "I just wanted to make the night a little easier for all of us." She picked up the bag closest to the foot of the bed and held it out to Lily. "This might be more comfortable for you to wear."

She took the bag and glanced inside. "Thank you, Blair. This is all really very thoughtful."

"Grtmisfh," At her mother's pointed glare, Serena swallowed before continuing, "Sorry. This is really good. Mom, you should have some of this."

Lily stood looking down on her son, her fingers absently playing with the strand of pearls around her neck. "I don't think I could keep it down."

"There's some broth if you'd like that instead."

"No, thank you." Blair stood silently, watching as Lily pushed Eric's hair off his forehead. He blinked as his eyes adjusted to the low light in the room.

"Ow." Eric tried to raise the casted arm and asked in confusion, "What happened?" Blair noted with a sense of relief that although the sequence was still repeating, it was happening at longer intervals.

"Something smells good. Am I allowed to eat anything?"

Lily opened her mouth to say no and was cut off by Serena. "Your doctor said ice chips and broth would be okay if you think you can stomach it."

Blair set the container and the spoon on the tray and slid it in front of Eric.

"Wait, Eric, it may be too rich for you right now."

Serena looked up at her mother, exasperation coloring her face. "You can't eat it for him, Mom. Let him try."

Blair turned away from the sight of Lily trying to help her son and focused on Serena. "How are you?"

Serena stood up and pulled a startled Blair into a hug. "Thank you for being here with me." She turned and rested her lips against Blair's ear. "I love you, B."

Blair felt the emotion in the whispered words deep in her heart. The warmth of Serena's body was a balm for a long day of worrying about the woman in her arms and the young man she knew Serena adored. When she opened her eyes and saw that Lily's back was turned to them, Blair took advantage of the opportunity and pressed her lips against Serena's for a long moment. "I love you, too."

With Eric being allowed to sleep for fifteen minutes at a time, Lily decided to stretch her legs. She stood and stretched until her back popped. A lone lamp provided the low light she needed to step carefully around the bed of blankets Blair stretched out on. Serena's head was cushioned against Blair's thigh; one hand curving around Blair's calf.

She could tell from her daughter's even breathing that she had finally succumbed to sleep in the early morning hours. The steady motion of Blair's fingers drifting through blonde hair was the only indication that the younger of the two was still awake.

The closeness Serena and Blair shared still worried Lily. It was obvious that Serena, and even Eric, had forgiven Blair for the stunt she pulled at Ivy Week. But Lily was a mother and mothers didn't forgive or forget easily when someone caused her children pain.

She felt Blair's eyes on her before she saw the tired brown eyes staring back at her. "I'll keep an eye on them."

She glanced over her shoulder at her son and slipped quietly into the hall.

Serena flung her purse across her bedroom. "I can't believe you sided with my mother, Blair."

Blair leaned against the desk and kicked off her shoes. "S, you're exhausted. You need some sleep." They had been having this argument for the past fifteen minutes and Blair felt like they were both nearing the end of their patience with one another.

"I should be with Eric." Serena insisted. She started stripping off her clothing and walked past Blair into the bathroom.

Blair was tired to the bone. All she wanted was a hot shower, to curl into a ball and sleep by Serena's side for the next three days. She struggled to keep her eyes open and avoided sitting on the bed knowing she'd be asleep before her head hit the pillow.

A keening cry from the bathroom pulled her focus from her own fatigue. She knocked on the door before pushing it open. What she saw broke her heart. Serena leaned against the inner shower wall crying.

Over twenty-four hours of holding it together had taken a toll and with the emotional dam breached, the hours of worry and stress poured out in hard, body wracking sobs.

"S, it's okay." Blair stepped into the shower fully clothed. The cold water was like pin pricks on her skin. She cranked up the hot water and pulled a shivering Serena into her arms and under the warm water. "I've got you. Let it go, just let it go."

She held Serena until the hot tears stopped falling and she felt the water start to cool again. Blair stepped from the shower first and grabbed a couple of towels. She wrapped one around Serena's middle and draped the other over the blonde's shoulders. She quickly stripped the soaked clothing from her body and slipped on an oversize Plaza Hotel robe.

"Blair?" Serena's eyes were closed and she swayed on her feet.


"Thank you. For everything."

Blair gave the blonde head another pass with the towel, before wringing the excess moisture from her own hair. Serena's hand was warm in hers as she led her to the bed. "Let's get some sleep."

The End

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