Summary: After ruining Chuck and Blair's meeting on the roof, Dan feels guilty and approaches Blair, upon which they're both unwillingly dragged into each other's emotional world. However, they see the people around them develop new relationships, they decide to explore the one between them.
Burning on the Edge
1. The Nature of My Game
Stepping into the school hallway, Dan immediately began to scan the place for Serena, knowing Blair would be attached to her, as she was 99 per cent of the time. Why? Well, it was not that he loved being around Blair and wanted to have a nice conversation with her; he simply wanted to apologize for last night. For the mess he had made of her love life: he had screwed up whatever she was going to have with Chuck and knowing –yet not understanding- Blair sincerely loved him, he felt guilty.
However, his want to apologize was nothing short of selfish because it wasn't as much about Blair as it was about him. In all honesty, he had to admit Blair and her life could resemble an atom-bombed city and he wouldn't care one bit. In fact he'd probably say it was karma and that she deserved everything that came to her for being such an underhand bitch. However, it was the fact that he had made it a ruin that bothered him so much. He had done something wrong and as a result, his conscience –not Blair's pain- was weighing on him. Like a ton of bricks, a burden he desperately needed to lighten.
He had been looking for hardly ten seconds when he spotted his ex-girlfriend. Quickly he walked up to her and saw there was no Blair hanging around Serena yet. However, it was still only ten past eight so she'd probably be here any minute to demand her friend's complete attention.
"Hey," Dan greeted
Serena looked up, a small smile curling her perfectly painted lips as she looked at him. "Good morning."
Not knowing what to say immediately, Dan bowed his head, fixating his eyes on his feet.
Serena raised her arm and lightly touched his hand. "Is there something the matter?" she asked in a soft, caring tone.
"No…Well… Yes… I…."
She rolled her eyes yet smiled. "Dan," she then said his name. Firmly, to urge him to spit out whatever was on his mind.
"I'd like to apologize to Blair," he then pushed out in one breath.
"Oh…" Serena let out seemingly hesitant. "I don't know if that's such a good idea. You know Blair and you know how vengeful she is. And you… Well you maimed the most important thing in her life right now."
"Well, 'maimed' is a very strong word, I wouldn't say-"
"Dan, please," she cut him off. "Insecure girl, finding it hard to love and having even more of a problem with feeling good enough for…anything. She has so many issues with herself and you took away the one person she feels perfect with."
"You're making her sound more pitiful than she is, Serena."
"I'm just trying to even out all the bad thoughts you have of her."
"Fair enough," he nodded in an admitting manner. "Any idea when she'll be here?"
"Who?" sounded a voice from behind him. Dan turned around to see the displeased face of the '95-pounds of girly evil' as he had so sweetly described Blair a while ago. "And what are you doing here again?" she continued without waiting for an answer. "Serena," she then addressed her friend. "is it going to be like this all the time now? I understand you want to still be friends with him –well, I don't" she changed her mind "but anyway, we've been friends longer, and I don't like him, or this situation. Something has to be done about it right now. I need your help, and no Humphrey. I'm in a crisis."
"You don't say," Dan let out.
She slightly cocked her head at him, rolling her brown eyes. "You know, Humphrey, I'd like to leave you with one thought, but I wouldn't be sure where to put it."
"Ouch, Blair…You're hurting my feelings," he exclaimed grabbing his chest.
"Serena," Blair shrilly let out her friend's name.
"Blair, what do you want me to do?"
"Send him away."
"But I'm here for you," Dan quickly jumped in.
"No…. Oh, God; not in that way. I need to talk to you about something. In private." He avoided looking at Serena's face, upon which you could read she thought this was a bad, horrendous idea.
"I… Really don't want to say it now-"
"Why not? It can't be that bad." Serena bowed her head, which was immediately noticed by Blair. "What... is going on here?" she asked in a slightly panicky tone. "Serena?"
"Oh no," the blonde said. "I'm staying out of this one."
She looked at Dan from top to toe with contempt in her eyes. "I can't now; and quite frankly, I don't feel comfortable being seen talking to you in public."
"Why?" she asked confused. "Are you wanted?"
"Certainly not by me."
"Not now," he sighed. "Later, to… talk."
"Oh… Well alright. Meet me here at lunch."
"Huh… I can't then," Dan protested. "I have to finish an assignment for English."
"Then when?" She didn't want to admit it, but him and Serena had evoked her curiosity. No way she'd go to bed tonight without knowing what they were keeping from her.
"Where would we hide?"
Dan grimaced annoyed. "I don't know, Blair, maybe we can just walk?"
"In the Upper East Side?" she questioned. "No. Are you aware of how many acquaintances I have that would be more than surprised –and not in a good way- to see me with you? It'd be like Charlize Theron hanging out with Spencer Pratt."
"OK…" he began, ignoring the fact she compared him with that slime ball from the Hills. "How about Brooklyn then? I know a coffee shop where even… Brad and Angelina could go to without being recognized."
Blair reflected. The fact that they'd meet in Brooklyn was a big con but quite frankly, the fact that she wouldn't be seen with Dan –poor- Humphrey thumped the location. "Alright."
"OK… See you then. Bye, Serena." With that, Dan turned around and began to walk away.
"Wait!" Blair suddenly exclaimed. "How will we get there? It'll be rush hour; traffic will be huge."
"The subway, Blair."
"Subway…" she echoed in disgust before turning to Serena with a scrunched up nose.
Her friend just shrugged. "Not all guys travel by limo."
"Blair, what are you doing?" Dan asked.
Her head popped back up from under their table. "Checking for blood specks and/or revolvers pasted to the bottom of the table, as this place looks like mob exchanges take place here."
A mob exchange is nothing compared to this, Dan thought. "I suggested sitting on the terrace, you know," he reminded. "Next to the pond, nice view."
"Where everyone can see us!
"I'm only here anyway so that you'd tell me the thing Serena didn't want to tell me because it was so bad," she cut him off. "Just say what you have to say now and preferably in less than five minutes. I have better things to do than to sit here in a stinky… whatever-it-is, talking to you."
"I want to talk to you about yesterday."
She turned her head to the side at once as a flash of hurt came over her face. "What about it?"
"I …messed with your head," he said, realizing he could've worded this better.
She looked back at him non-understanding. "What do you mean?"
He took a deep breath. "Right before you went to the rooftop to meet with Chuck, Vanessa kind of told me something. About you playing games with her, humiliating her?"
"Well, yeah, did she tell you she tried to blackmail me?"
He bowed his head quickly. "No, she didn't." Damn. The burden of his conscience had doubled in just a second.
"Well, she did," Blair said frustrated. "But I don't get what that has to do with me and Chuck?"
"I wanted you to learn a lesson so right before you were going up, I warned you about his intentions," Dan confessed. "I knew that'd make you insecure and would probably ruin your meeting with Chuck." He scanned her face. "I'm sorry, Blair."
Blair looked at him shocked. She didn't know his mind could twist this way. This was her kind of thing to do: get into people's minds, confuse them, shake them up. Apart from Dan Humphrey not being who she thought he was, she also felt almost embarrassed over the fact that she had confided in Dan about her feelings for Chuck. He had been meant to help her, but had taken the opportunity to take her down.
Confused and angered, she grabbed her purse off the table and ran outside. Dan also got up from the table and followed her on the terrace. When he caught up with her, he grabbed her arm. Blair stilled her tread and tried to pull loose, while Dan did everything he could to keep his hold of her.
What happened next, seemed like it did in slow motion: Blair slipped and began falling back into the pond, which caused Dan to let her go. However, as she was going down, she grabbed Dan's sleeve frantically; the message in her eyes clear: you're going down with me, pathetic son of a bitch.
Moments later they were gasping for air and shivering because of the coldness of the water. "My Chloé, gold-studded headband!" Blair shrieked appalled while Dan was still rubbing the water from his eyes.
A kind-looking, graying man walked up to them and first pulled Blair out. Her beautiful brown locks, now looking like seaweed, sadly hung down her face. Standing back on firm ground, she looked down at her soaked designer clothes and curled her bottom lip in a sincerely shattered pout. "My Cavalli boots… ruined!"
When the man reached for Dan, her face deformed from disgust into fury. "Let him in there!"
"No, sir, help me out," Dan pleaded.
"You deserve to stay there!" Blair yelled at him. "You even belong there, you and your duck lips."
"I do not have duck lips!"
"Do not," Dan screamed louder. "Help me out. Please," he again asked and the man now firmly grabbed his arm and pulled him out. "Thanks sir."
When he tore his eyes away from the man, he noticed Blair was already sprinting away again. He again followed her, carefully avoiding coming to close to the pond. "Wait up, Blair!"
"I don't want to wait up; I don't even want to hear your pathetic voice." She let out a frustrated yell. "You ruined my life yesterday and now you ruined my outfit too! I must say this is an EXCELLENT time for you to become a missing person. How do you expect me to travel home like this? Huh?"
"You can change at my place."
She let out a mirth laugh. "Did I miss something? Is hell freezing over already?"
"Blair, my apartment is five minutes from here," he said having finally caught up with her. "If you want to go to the Upper East Side right now it'll take you an hour." He scanned her body and face. "And I have to say you do not look much like an Upper East Side princess right now. Who knows what people might say?"
She looked down, acknowledging the less than appealing way she looked at the moment. The cold, poor weasel had a point.
"Please, it's the least I can do," he offered. "And after that, you don't ever have to speak to me again. Promise."
She gave him a stab with her eyes. "Fine." She marched forward again with her nose pointed to the sky. Dan was a little perplexed at how she could still ask so haughtily looking like… Well like she had just fallen into a pond. "Blair," he quickly cut her off. "It's actually the other way."
She stopped walking and turned around with the same superior look on her face. "Then lead me the way. Dork."
With a towel wrapped around her body, Blair exited the bathroom. Dan looked up and was briefly speechless. She was beautiful, even with her hair just washed and without make-up.
"What?" she snapped noticing him stare.. "If you even think of telling this somebody, you're dead, understand?"
"I won't tell a soul."
"Well, yes. You already ruined my love life and my Chloé headband so that's enough, right? No need to ruin my social status too, you're already satisfied."
"Dan, do me a favor and don't talk. Just give me some clothes"
"Um, yeah," he replied. "Jenny must have something."
"She's the size of a cue stick; her clothes won't fit me."
"Well, there's still some of my mom's clothes here," he said before looking up at her, waiting for her to say something.
"Don't just stand there, go get them!" Blair urged him.
A couple of minutes later he came back with a simple jeans and white shirt. "This is all that's left."
"She has no taste." She said snatching the clothes out of his hand. "Like mother, like son." With that, she disappeared in the bathroom and changed.
"I called you a cab," Dan said as she came back into the living room. "He'll be here in ten."
Without saying a word, she sat herself down on the small seat opposite the couch.
"So what'll be my punishment?" Dan asked breaking the silence. He expected to get one, especially after this afternoon.
"No punishment," Blair responded coldly. "I'm so sick and tired of you; I don't want you in my life in any way. Not even to 'learn you a lesson'."
Dan leaned back rolling his eyes. All day he had beard her insults and put-downs but now he had enough. "You know what, Blair? What I did was wrong, but you are no angel either so step pretending like you are," he told her. "But who knows… You probably actually believe you are."
"I know who I am! I'm Blair Waldorf!"
"Yes, and you're one HELL of a person. Even your best friend cheats on you and lies to you, and that's the best friend you can get." He knew he probably took it too far with this, but at the moment he didn't really care.
Blair rose from the seat at once and stormed to the door.
"It hurts, doesn't it?" Dan simply asked. "To have someone speak to you in that way?"
"The way I treat you and the way you treat me is NOTHING alike!" she screamed, turning around again. She walked up to him, pointing her finger to his face. "I call you poor, I call you dirty, I say I don't enjoy your company-"
"What's the point here?"
"You know why you don't like me? You think I'm vicious, bitchy, manipulative, hypocritical and you judge me for that. Not because I'm rich or because I'm… clean or any of those shallow things that make me talk to you the way I do. You, Humphrey, disapprove of me in a fundamental way, and so you hurt me in the same way too," she yelled.
Dan furrowed his brows, shocked and confused. Maybe Blair wasn't a bad person but simply one who takes everything, including herself, too seriously.
"And that's why you and I differ!" she continued. "Until today, I honestly believed you were a good person, but you always saw me as bad." She paused shortly. "You probably don't even care about how I feel right now, after last night. You probably did this, APOLOGIZED, to make yourself feel better. Or did you not, you hypocritical bastard?"
"Oh, oh and you wanted to talk about punishments? Why don't you think of one yourself? You're quite the expert. Take for example me! You successfully dissected me and then skillfully struck me where you knew it'd hurt worst." She turned around again. "CONGRATULATIONS and good luck ruining more lives," she said opening the door. "Just stay the hell away from mine."
All Dan could do after her rant, was look perplexed at his door which closed with a big bang. Surely, a scenario like this could've only taken place with him, Dan Humphrey. He had tried to be honest today and fix his karma, but instead he had made everything ten times worse. He couldn't believe what a mess he always made of things.
He felt the need to apologize to Blair again, for his judgmental nature. He wanted her to know he didn't disapprove of her in a fundamental way. But this time, it wasn't because he wanted to feel better about himself. This time, he cared about her feelings. This time, he cared about Blair.
Tell me what you think!