Pairing/Characters: Dan/Blair and some Chuck/Blair ugh, cameos from Rufus, Jenny and Serena.
Summary: Dan, it's not your job to save Blair Waldorf. Post-5x24 fix-it, kind of. If you squint. IDK guys some things are just beyond saving and I think this episode might be one of them.
A/N: I've been working on this on/off since the finale and I finally decided I needed to just finish and post this thing because I'm already far away from canon and I don't want S6 to give me more things to fix. NOT THAT I WILL BE WATCHING but I'm just saying.
A/N 2: I hate myself. And this show. Don't talk to me.
Excerpt: "Dan, this is Blair Waldorf we're talking about here - remember, the woman who bullied half the student population of our high school? Who spent years trying to sabotage your relationship with Serena? Who used Vanessa in her twisted sex games with Chuck? Who - oh, yeah, banished me from the City? Frankly, you should be grateful that she cut you out when she did. People like Blair and Chuck deserve each other."
The call comes at 3am.
Dan groans and rolls over, groping for his phone with his fingertips
He presses the phone to his ear. "Whoever this is, it better be an emergency," he mumbles, words muffled against his pillow.
For a second, he can scarcely believe it. Then he's sitting up, fumbling to turn on a light switch.
What the hell?
"It's Blair," continues the voice, as if it isn't obvious. "Dan? Are you still there?"
"Yeah," he says. He finally manages to get a lamp on and bites back a curse as bright light streams into his eyes. "What.... what are you..."
It's way too early in the morning for this conversation. Actually, he's pretty sure that he never wants to have this conversation.
"I was hoping we could talk," Blair says, calmly, and what the hell, how could she call him up after everything and be so goddamn calm?
"Talk?" he repeats. Is she serious? "You called me to... talk?"
"Yes, Humphrey. Talk. As I recall, you used to be quite adept at it."
His voice hardens. "Blair, I am two seconds away from hanging up. You expect me to believe that you called me out of the blue after four months... to talk?"
"I grant you that my timing could have been better, but--”
"No, no way," Dan interrupts. "I am done with this. With you."
He moves to hang up, but Blair says, "No, Dan--please don't." She pauses. "I just... I could really use a friend right now."
He's momentarily speechless. "Friends?" he manages. "Really. Is that why you dumped me by email? Because we're such great friends?"
Blair draws in a shaky breath. "I suppose... I may have made a few decisions that I regret."
"We're not friends, Blair," he continues, his grogginess now forgotten. "As far as I'm concerned, this is the last time we'll ever speak to each other."
"Fine," she replies coolly, but he knows (knew?) her well enough to detect a waver in her voice.
He shuts his phone off more forcefully than he needs to before throwing it on the bed, breathing heavily. What gave her the right? How dare she call him like nothing had changed; like he'd just slip back in the role of being her friend, no questions asked? She's the one who walked out on him.
He glances at his phone. Still, she had seemed upset about something--he had heard it in her voice. He hesitates. He meant what he said--he never wants to speak to her again.
But that waver in her voice....
He groans and picks up the phone. He hates himself. This isn't the way to move on. He got the last word in, it's time to move forward and leave the Waldorf-Basses to their power plays.
He calls her back.
"Dan?" she sounds relieved, but her voice is scratchy like she'd been crying.
He sighs. "I'm sorry I hung up on you."
"No you're not."
"No I'm not, " he admits. "Things aren't okay, Blair. I meant what I said. But I shouldn't have yelled at you."
"No," Blair agrees, a little primly. "You were right, though. About everything. I guess I just hoped enough time had passed to..."
"What? Get over being dumped for Chuck Bass via email? Be friends again?"
"Something like that," is Blair's soft reply. There's a pause, and he can picture her tentative smile when she says, "You once told me that you'd always be there for me."
"I need you, Dan."
Christ. He closes his eyes and scrubs a hand over his face. He wonders if she realizes how manipulative she's being.
Still, he can't help softening, some of the anger leaving him. She knows exactly which buttons to push.
"Blair, what's wrong?"
She sniffles and her voice sounds distant when she says, "I'm just... I feel so lonely. Between with what happened with you, and then Serena... I lost both my best friends at the same time."
Dan fights the urge to yell at her again--it was her own fault, after all. But then he remembers his own actions that night--of drinking too much, reaching for Serena because she was there, her ensuing betrayal and the words he'd said to her in response.
What he says is, "You're with Chuck, aren't you? Everything you ever wanted."
She's quiet and then says, "I didn't think it would be like this."
He softens even more. "Blair--"
"I feel like he's trying to punish me--for Louis, for you. Maybe even for loving me at all."
Despite his anger, her words unnerve him. "Blair, has he... done anything? Hurt you?"
She laughs, but it's a low and bitter noise. "Not like you mean, but it doesn't always take fists to hurt someone, does it?" She pauses. "Chuck only ever seems to want me when I'm with someone else."
Dan takes a slow and measured breath. Just what had Chuck done in a past life to deserve Blair's undying love and loyalty? (And what was wrong with her that she still couldn't see, after all this time, that no matter how much she loved him, Chuck would never change for her?)
"Blair, come home. You don't have to stay with him.”
"No," she says. "No. I need it to mean something, Dan. All these years--everything Chuck and I went through for each other--how can that mean nothing?"
"Blair, just come home. We'll figure it out. Please."
"I gave everything up to be with him. You. Serena. God, I even lost Louis because of Chuck. How can that mean nothing, Dan? It has to mean something."
"Come home," he tries again, feebly.
He can almost see her shaking her head. "Thank you for the talk, Humphrey. I think I'll be fine on my own now."
There's a 'click' and then the line goes dead.
He doesn't call her back again.
Since Lily and Rufus's divorce, his dad had moved back into the loft again. Dan has quietly taken over paying most of the bills while Rufus putters around, occasionally rousing himself enough to string out a few notes on his guitar. (Thankfully Lily left Dan's trust fun alone--which Dan is grateful for since best-selling author or not, he doesn't quite have the income to support two adults full time on the profits from Inside alone). The fact that he is essentially supporting Rufus for the near future bothers Dan less, however, than his total lack of privacy.
It's extremely difficult, for instance, to book tickets for transatlantic flights without his father noticing that something is off.
"Paris?" Rufus exclaims, from behind where Dan is hunched over his computer, coffee in one hand, his other hand searching the Internet for last minute flights to France.
Dan takes a sip of coffee and slowly turns around, trying not to look embarrassed under Rufus's inquisitive stare.
"Look, dad," Dan finds himself saying, "this isn't what you--”
"Didn't Blair end up in France?"
"Okay," Dan says, "so... it's exactly what you think."
Rufus sighs heavily. "Son."
They stare at each other, Dan silently challenging his father to say something. Finally Rufus says, "Dan, don't you think Blair has moved on? Maybe you should too."
"You don't understand," Dan finds himself saying, uncomfortably aware that he's making excuses for her - still. "She called me last night. I think she might be in trouble."
Rufus frowns. "I'm not sure it's right for Blair to pull you into her life again."
Dan looks away, back to the computer screen. He knows Rufus is right--Blair doesn't want him, maybe she had never wanted him. He's supposed to be moving on; not planning to stalk her halfway around the globe.
Still, he can't quite make himself believe that everything they had together was a lie.
"She needs me," Dan finds himself saying quietly.
Rufus suddenly looks much older than Dan has ever remembered him looking before. He rests one hand on Dan's shoulder, squeezes lightly and says, "Dan, it's not your job to save Blair Waldorf."
Then he removes his hand and leaves the room.
Jenny thinks he's insane.
"Dad called me," she explains without a 'hello' when Dan picks up the phone. "He's really worried about you, Dan."
"He doesn't need to be worried," Dan says, with an edge in his voice.
"Dan. Come on."
Dan rolls his eyes. "Jenny, I know the two of you are just trying to look out for me, but I know what I'm doing."
"Dan, this is Blair Waldorf we're talking about here - remember, the woman who bullied half the student population of our high school? Who spent years trying to sabotage your relationship with Serena? Who used Vanessa in her twisted sex games with Chuck? Who - oh, yeah, banished me from the City? Frankly, you should be grateful that she cut you out when she did. People like Blair and Chuck deserve each other."
"She's not like that," Dan finds himself saying. "Not deep down."
"Are you even hearing yourself right now?!" Jenny shrieks in his ear. "This is the woman who used you for months in her own selfish attempts to get over Chuck. Is that really someone you want to go chasing after?"
There's a sharp burning feeling in Dan's throat and he scrubs a hand over his forehead. He imagines showing up in France and pushing his way into Chuck and Blair's suite. And then what would he do? Demand Blair leave with him? Blame Chuck for the way their relationship ended?
It's not your job to save Blair Waldorf.
But if not him, who else? Serena, Nate, Blair's parents... they all knew what Chuck had put her through and not one of them ever tried to stand in their way.
"Blair made her choice," Jenny continues. "God, can't you... I don't know, just eat ice cream out of the container for a week like a normal person and then move on?"
Dan thinks of his book - the thousands of words he typed out in a foggy haze with Georgina in Rome (until she got bored, told him he was too much of a goodie-goodie to actually publish it, and disappeared off to find someone who would help her).
"You're right," he finally says. He feels like someone has knocked the wind out of him. "Of course you're right."
"Of course I'm right," Jenny says, but she suddenly sounds sympathetic. "Dan, I'm sorry. I know how much you cared about her." She pauses. "But it doesn't matter how much you love her - or think you love her - she's not going to change for you, Dan. People never do. You know that, right?"
"I thought..." and he sounds tired, "I don't know what I thought."
He'd had front row seats to the Chuck and Blair show, after all. What else had he been expecting, really? If he showed up in Paris, he'd only push them closer together.
"Just don't do anything stupid," says Jenny. There's a pause and then she adds, "I can be on the first train out tomorrow, Dan. If you need me."
"I'm okay," Dan finds himself saying automatically even if deep down, he wouldn't exactly mind having his sister's company. His phone starts beeping, signalling an incoming call.
Dan hesitates for a second - it could be Blair - but then again, it could be Blair. He hates the part of himself that jumps at the thought.
"Jenny, I've got a call coming in. I've got to go - "
"Fine," she says. "But nothing stupid, right?"
"Nothing stupid. Bye."
He hangs up with his sister and looks at the caller ID. It's a local number. He's not sure he's disappointed or relieved when he says, "Hello?"
It's Serena. Dan immediately jumps to his feet, running a hand through his hair. "Serena - oh my god, we've been worried sick. Where are you?"
There's a pause and then, "I'm in the hospital."
Dan squeezes his eyes shut. "The hospital?"
"I overdosed," she whispers and begins crying softly. "Will you come? Please?"
"Yeah," Dan says, swallowing heavily. "Of course I will."
"Dan, I'm so sorry," Serena says. Her hand is in his. Her touch is light and paper-thin, her lips colourless.
He nods mechanically.
"Don't worry about that now," he says. "I just want you to get better."
He smiles tightly, hoping to break some of the tension in the air. Serena smiles back, tentatively.
"Listen, Serena," he starts, "those things I said..."
Serena starts to pull her hand back, but he tightens his grip.
"We don't have to talk about--”
"I didn't mean it," Dan says firmly. "I was angry. At you... at Blair... at myself."
Serena pulls her hand back, seeming to retreat into herself. "It was my fault," she whispers. "I'm the one who lied to you about Blair."
He manages a self-deprecating laugh. "As it happens, you ended up being more of a psychic than a liar."
A corner of Serena's mouth turns up. She doesn't contradict him. "I'm sorry, Dan," she settles on. "I know how much you care about her."
"I care about you too," Dan says and is surprised to find how much he means it. Truth be told, he hadn't spent much time thinking about Serena the last few months--he'd been too consumed by his bitterness over Blair and his new book to give much thought to what happened to his ex-girlfriend-turned-ex-stepsister after she left the loft. Looking at her now, though, how can he stay angry? He isn't the only one who has paid for that night.
"Do you mean that?" Serena says.
Her eyes are wide and trained on his and for a second he contemplates just how easy it would be to press his lips to hers, to promise they could come back from what happened and that he would be with her every step of the way. And they would make it work - he knows that. It doesn't seem to matter how much time and distance they put between each other, the old spark they had never seems to fade completely.
Still, if he's honest, he knows ultimately he would only be using her to forget Blair--and he thinks they've both done enough of that.
"I mean it," he says. "Our parents might not be married anymore, but that doesn't we're not still family."
Serena's eyes light up and he can see a spark of the old Serena in the mischievous quirk of her lips. "Dan Humphrey, how very Hallmark greeting card of you."
"Hey, don't knock a best-selling novelist."
"I'm not knocking anything," Serena says. "I could really go for a good old Humphrey family waffle brunch now."
He laughs and then leans forward to press a kiss to her forehead. "You know what," he says, "you're going to be okay."
When he arrives back at the loft, he heads straight for his computer and pulls up the document he and Georgina wrote in Rome. The sum total of the book is 95 pages of secrets and slander - without the satirical, fictional quality he brought to Inside.
It's not his finest work, he knows this. It had been written in a haze of loathing and rage - making him, ultimately, no better than the very characters he wrote about. Parts of those pages he's ashamed to say had been cathartic but after talking to Blair, after staring into Serena's eyes after a recent overdose, he knows publishing what he's written would make him the worst of all of them.
In two quick movements, he highlights the document and then hits 'delete.' He watches his most recent work disappear without a twinge of regret.
As for Blair.... he pulls up his flight options from earlier in the morning. As much as a part of him wants to fly over there and be the one to save her, a large part of him knows it would do no good. He knows Blair Waldorf, he knows that she hates being backed into a corner. If she leaves Chuck, it has to be because she thinks it's a good idea.
Confronting her would only push them closer together.
Sighing, he pulls up her email. After hesitating he simply writes: It's Serena. She overdosed. I know she could use her best friend right now.
He sends the email without signing his name. He gives her two days, tops.
He never receives a reply but 36 hours later he gets the update from Gossip Girl.
Spotted: Chuck Bass and Blair Waldorf back in New York. Has the golden couple come to regain their crown?