A/N: Reviews and critiques are welcome. I hope you enjoy. And I don't love the title so any suggestions are appreciated. I plan to be done with this by the time the new episodes air. This begins about 8 to 10 days after the end of the final episode. TV based.

For Mary: who always encourages me to write.

Chapter 1

She knew the absolute moment when the planets aligned and everything fell into place. That moment of clarity when all the things that seemed so confusing and obtuse suddenly become so obvious that you feel a little stupid for being so slow. She wondered how it happened for other people, a bright white light, a light bulb going on like an old cartoon. Although hers had the feel of a silly cartoon or a really bad late night comedy skit, full of falling and slow motion.

The reason it registered so clearly was that in the absolute lack of feeling the smallest spark radiates like a lightening storm. It had been over a week since her world had ceased to exist, since the entire life she had known had suddenly evaporated in front of her. The darkness had descended on her so swiftly it threatened to rob her of the ability to breathe.

Why she allowed Serena to convince her to stay was a mystery. Maybe she actually believed what Serena was telling her, that she could fight back, win even. That she was Blair Waldorf and she could survive this. But she knew better now, knew that the weakness that crept into her brain and forced her finger down her throat all those months ago would win in the end. The depth of her despair frightened her at first but then she stopped feeling afraid, she stopped feeling altogether. Stopped being happy or sad, angry or hurt, even hungry or tired. Blair was dead her body just hadn't figured it out yet. She was never really sure what broke her, until now.

She was putting a book in her locker, not even sure which book went with which class, or where she should be next. None of it mattered anyway. Then as she turned to her left, something caught her book bag and spun her further into the hall. A freshman was horsing around and knocked someone who hit someone else until it was a ridiculous scene. She was falling forward until she came into contact with something steady, felt hands at her waist and shoulder.

Her right hand clutched at a lapel her left sliding under a jacket and grabbing a fist of cotton. She lifted her head and let out a squeak more than a scream, it was probably the most noise she had made all day. Then she felt it. Her eyes connected with his, and the air came rushing out of her lungs as her entire chest tightened up. Her fingers tingled and itched to touch the skin beneath the Egyptian cloth. Her knees scraped khaki pants as they tried to stand instead of fall. Suddenly her body was on fire, waves of heat were crashing off her neck and face, her lips stung and her head spun.

His eyes were gentle, kind, the way they had looked at her on her birthday, full of promise and understanding. She mirrored the half smile on his face, and he murmured, "Trouble walking today Waldorf?"

The easy voice and smooth delivery was all him. Sweet and sass. Then it all changed, as if he realized who she was, or who she had been. Then his eyes turned cold, just like the night the world ended. He righted her, and then moved away as her fingers lost their grip and grazed down the fabric till it was gone. Until he was gone, down the hallway with her left standing still. Perfectly still as if she could hold the moment in place and live in it for a while. Time seemed to catch up to her and the familiar numbness descended and took hold to the bone, and she thought for a second she had imagined it all. Imagined the feel of it, that it was still possible to feel anything but nothing. And then he turned, just slightly over his left shoulder. It was too quick and she couldn't tell what he was thinking but he had looked all the same.