AN: Here's the last chapter of Charlie and Gracie. The whole fic is in Dan's POV, as you may have noticed by now. Thus, I believe this is the best way to wrap it up. Thank you for your support. I hope this doesn't disappoint.

Part 7

Before Dan Humphrey soared into new heights in his writing career, he reluctantly clawed through the much that shrouded his young adulthood. From being the one in the sidelines, he had, with a brief and passionate affair with a golden princess, risen to the top where every move was observed, every victory lauded and every stumble ridiculed. It had been a life he had detested if only for the how it ended. Once the golden princess had left him, he had once more been delegated to the sidelines from where he discovered his Dulcinea.

The basic truth that everyone who started out in the writing world found out, that juicy secret that told of writers that were devastated creatures, torn and shredded inside, unkempt and blasé outside, seemed silly now. For years, Dan struggled to find a place for his voice in the New York Times, the New England Journal or even Reader's Digest. It was not until Dan remembered that one last portion of his story that he realized his voice did not need the stamp of approval by literary critics. His voice was meant to be consumed by the popular masses. And he had the voice and the experience for it. And so he started writing for tv.

He grabbed his computer and settled back in the expensive leather sofa. With the notebook computer on his lap, Dan surfed to the one memorable website where it all began and ended.

"Honey," he called out after hearing the low pleasant noises coming from the kitchen. "Guests are almost here."

It had been a struggle to overcome the small voice in his head that cautioned him against becoming involved with her. She was part of it all—the pomp, the money, the privilege. And it was at the tailend of his first tell-all of the lives and loves of two of Manhattan's elite that he had become immersed in her life. Still, despite the obvious disparity of their lives, he shared her passions and he understood her motivations more than the thousands who mistakenly thought, after reading her so for long, they knew her.

They were characters in a novel, all of them. He was the boy told the story. And as the boy, he would latch on to an anchor. Luckily enough, it was easy to set his eyes on a heroine.

Dan went to the archives and clicked the link to the last part of Charlie and Gracie, his wildly successful anonymous fiction.

'He was drowning in her eyes for most of the story, and Dave allowed himself that small death. Right that moment, in front of him, she was all his to watch, to memorize, to imbibe. Tomorrow, if all went well, he would likely not see Gracie so much, and he wished to heaven that this was not a mistake.

This was bound to physically hurt, he realized. He had shared with Gracie the one secret he had sworn not to tell.

Like the villains in many fairy tales, Charlie had snuck up to them inconspicuously. Dave realized this when her eyes left his and he was left cold and wanting. He turned his head and saw Charlie standing on the other side of the fountain, watching them. Idly he realized that he had been holding Gracie's hand. Thought reluctantly, he loosened his fingers and placed her hand on her lap.

Charlie was always slow to move, as if each slow stride was meant to emphasize something intangible. And despite the ridiculousness of the concept, the slow walk unsettled Dave. Charlie stopped in front of Gracie and told her, "I'd like a word with you."

Dave moved to stand, but Gracie quickly reached out a hand to stop him. "Tell me," she said.

Charlie's eyes flit to where Dave sat. And then, as if dismissing his presence there, Charlie turned his gaze back on Gracie. "This isn't easy."

"I never said it was," was her breathless reply.

"I can't say it, but I can always show you."

"That's not enough anymore." She shook her head, to Dave's surprise. "I deserve better."

Charlie tried to control his reaction. Dave could see it clearly in the way the other young man's nostrils flared, and the way that he seemed to fold in. Gracie stood up and started to walk away.

"I'll say it," Charlie blurted out. Gracie stopped in her tracks, but did not turn around. Dave felt like an unwelcome audience all of a sudden. "If that's all you want," he capitulated.

Dave saw her shoulders slump, and it came together in his head, how it seemed so obvious to everyone who bothered to look. He was certain it was obvious to them too. Gracie had always looked forlorn, and Charlie had always seemed to be right there, always seemed to be on guard, always seemed to need to tell her something that she never heard. Dave watched her visibly pull herself together and walk away.

He murmured an excuse and ran after her. "Gracie!" he called to her. "Gracie!" he repeated.

"Not now, Dave," she had snapped at him.

He caught up to her just outside the gates. Dave reached for her elbow to stop her. She did, but kept her eyes cast away. "The fairy tale wasn't just a story."

"You said it wasn't a fairy tale," she returned stubbornly.

Dave sighed, then laid an arm across her shoulders. "Well it's obviously not. It didn't have a happy ending."

Gracie continued walking, and he picked up his pace to keep up with her. She stopped, and he almost stumbled. Gracie turned to Dave and he caught his breath at the look in her eyes. "I wanted it to be a love story," she confessed.

He stared deep into her liquid brown eyes. Dave cleared his throat. "Question," he said. "What he was trying to say, what you wanted him to say… have you said them?" Her eyes fluttered closed. "You haven't." She nodded. "He's too scared to say them without knowing if you will."

"This isn't a game," she finally said when she opened her eyes.

Dave took a deep breath, gathered his courage, because this might end up being his only chance. "What if I told you I'm brave enough to say them, even without getting the same in return?"

"Dave—" she started.

"I love you," he finished.'

The doorbell jingled a merry, feminine tune. Dan rolled his eyes, because he had asked his girlfriend repeatedly to let him change the music of the doorbell. Instead, she had been stubborn and playful in thinking of ways to keep the bell. By now, Dan did not mind the familiar sound, but it had become a habit to complain and he enjoyed making her think of ways to change his mind.

She had adorable persuasive skills.

He smiled at the nine hundred comments that the story received on Gossip Girl. Everyone rooted for him—Dave, he meant. It seemed to be such a celebration to have the best friend, the admirer, the one who had always been there for the heroine, win her in the end. Dan smiled at the memory of Blair's face when she finally read through the website while they were writing their application essays. She had stared at him awestruck, and it had been the first time that she had tried and failed to choke out a response.

Dan placed the laptop down and walked towards the door. He pulled it open to find the man standing outside.

Chuck Bass stepped into the apartment, unbuttoned his coat and handed it to Dan. Dan's eyebrows rose, but he received the coat anyway and hung it up on the coat rack. "So the rack is right here," Dan managed. "Just an FYI. Sorry I never told you the first dozen times you've been over."

Chuck turned an amused gaze at Dan. When Dan's girlfriend stepped out of the kitchen, Chuck's face broke into a genuine smile, which still surprised Dan even now. There had been a time when Chuck hated her with a fervor unmatched by any legendary hatred.

"Dan," admonished the woman who stepped out of the kitchen with a plate of what appeared like tomato-baked chicken, "be nice. Without Chuck, you would have never had a chance with me."

"The wife will be in a couple of minutes."

"Making a call?"

"Of course," Chuck drawled. "If she calls more than she already does, I swear that the babysitter is going to quit."

Right that moment, the door opened and in walked Blair clutching a phone to her ear. Dan walked over quickly and helped her out of her coat. Blair waved at Dan's girlfriend. She said a quick goodbye to the person on the other line and hung up.

"Gracie," Dan greeted her, causing Blair to giggle and Chuck's gaze to darken.

Blair walked over to Dan's girlfriend and kissed her cheek. "Belle," she greeted the blonde.

"Hello Upper Eastsider," the other woman returned.

Chuck walked over to his wife and pulled a chair out for her. He rested his hand on her shoulder, and she closed her hand over it and squeezed. "She's already asleep," Blair told him. Chuck nodded and placed a kiss on her temple.

When they had all settled around the dinner table, Belle raised her glass of wine and said, "Here's to good friends, and a hundred love stories."

Blair smiled and raised her glass as well. "And to classmates who make up ridiculous fiction that sends stubborn children running back to me in fear." Dan cleared his throat. "It was very sweet and very lovely, Dan. Thank you."

Dan blushed at the easy and kind reference to his high school crush. "And to angry guys who tried their hardest not to punch me out after the end of my story." He nodded towards Chuck. "He succeeded for three hours before he finally had to find me and punch me out on Blair's bedroom floor."

Chuck smirked and raised his glass as well. "And to sneaky little bastards who tried to steal my girl through something as absurd as a love story on Gossip Girl's website." Chuck raised his brows at Dan. "You should've known better, man."

Belle pushed her blonde hair back behind her ear. "One last!" She looked across the table at Dan, who nodded. "And here's to Charlie and Gracie, who made it possible for the writer and the publisher to get together and fall in love long enough for serious commitment, and who we're asking to be maid of honor and usher," she finished excitedly.


Belle made a face. "You didn't really think he'd make you best man, did you?"

Blair squealed and jumped out of her seat, then gave Belle a hug. She turned to Dan and hugged him as well. "Happy?"

Dan grinned. "Very. But she's a handful."

Blair laughed. "I can't believe you'd end up marrying Gossip Girl!"

Dan laughed and shook his head. His gaze moved to Chuck, who was now congratulating his fiancé. "You happy now?"

"What do you think?" she parried, smiling back at him.

And for all the long sublime moments that he had reached while waxing poetic about drowning in Blair Waldorf's lonely eyes, he had to admit—happiness becomes her.

"Really, Dan, I'm so happy for you. You were the one who freaked both of us out with your online love confession, so I want you to have what I have."

Dan chuckled. "Great. There's nothing better than knowing that my humbling admission got the two of you together."

"It all worked out in the end." She took his hand and squeezed. "Chuck and I found out this afternoon," she shared. "We're going to have another baby."

"Sasha just turned one!" he blurted out.

Blair swatted him on the chest. "We're young, active people."

"I don't want to hear it!" Dan exclaimed.

"Wait," Blair laughed. "There's something else." Chuck and Belle walked towards them to find out what the commotion was. "If it's a boy, I want to name him Dave, in honor of our Cupid."

"Hell no," was the cool, quiet response she received from her husband. Blair smiled at him and held onto his arm. "No, Waldorf!"

Chuck's reaction satisfied Dan, and he hopped on board. The four settled back down at the dinner table, sharing stories broken by moments of Chuck exclaiming, "I said no, Blair…"

"David Bass has a good ring to it," Dan piled on.

Chuck exerted his best effort to turn Blair's attention somewhere else than to naming their unborn, newly conceived baby after the boy who had, in high school, suckerpunched him, wrote a story about kissing his wife, and saying I love you before Chuck found the guts to.

"Belle," Chuck started, "you never told us how Humphrey moved from being an anonymous contributor to dating the mysterious and powerful Gossip Girl."

Belle smiled, turned a teasing look at Dan, and replied, "That's another story, for another writer, for another day."