Disclaimer: 'Gossip Girl' belongs to Cecily von Ziegesar, Josh Schwartz, and the CW. No copyright infringement intended.
Spoilers: Through 2x16
Author's Note: Just a one-shot. Immediately after 2x16. Long live vdB. *cries*

Eric walked into the apartment and was greeted with silence. As he started to move inside, he spotted movement on the stairs.

"Hey, Eric, just coming home?" his sister gave him a small smile.

"Yeah. How was the opera?"

Her face fell. "A mess. They were going at it on the stairs before it even began."

"Ew," he cringed. "Seems like she had a good time. You and Dan?" he asked while discarding his coat and shoes.

"I don't know. Mom and Rufus. College. It's complicating things. Just when you think things are looking up, life knocks you down," Serena sighed.

Eric moved closer to his sister and pulled her into a hug. "Come on. Let's get some ice cream and watch a movie for lunch," he smiled.


The duo walked silently toward the kitchen, but stopped once they entered. The sight made them look between themselves and the oblivious occupants.

Lily and Chuck were laughing together with ingredients scattering the counter. Sandwiches lay in front of them as they stood with their backs facing the entrance.

A cough echoed the room, causing the laughter to cease. Both turned around.

Lily's bright smile scared her children, especially since Rufus was nowhere in sight.

"Hello! Where have the both of you been?"

Chuck picked up his food and leaned back against the counter.

"Just got back from Jenny's," came Eric's reply.

"Upstairs?" it came out as a question as Serena eyed her … well, eyed Chuck.

"What are you doing here?" she blurted out.

Lily's smile evaporated and Eric turned to glare at his sister. He turned back to Chuck. "Ignore her. I'm glad you're here, Chuck," he smiled.

Chuck nodded and turned to Lily.

"Well, we have some good news," Lily exclaimed.

The van der Woodsen kids remained silent as they waited for their mother to continue.

"Jack is gone. We have the company back."

"What does that mean?" Eric questioned.

"Lily owns 71 percent of Bass Industries," Chuck finally spoke.

"What?" Serena gawked at her mother.

"How?" Eric asked in shock.

Lily and Chuck glanced at each other.

"Jack was unfit to run the company and unfortunately, as Charles' legal guardian, neither the Board nor I could do anything."

"Go on," Serena prompted.

"At the opera, I ran into the family lawyer," Lily paused for suspense.

"Mom!" Eric exclaimed in impatience.

Lily smiled. "I've adopted Chuck."

Two jaws dropped.

"Before the accident, Bart and I were in the process of really making us all family. The documents were signed last night. Since I am Charles' legal guardian, I have his shares, on top of my own."

Suddenly, Eric was hugging him. Not a second passed before Serena joined. Chuck's sandwich fell to the kitchen floor.

Chuck grimaced, "Erm, okay?"

"You're back, right?" Eric pulled away.

"Yeah, bro, I'm back," he winked at the younger boy.

"That's good." Serena straightened up and tried to sound casual, but it came out choked.

Chuck turned to his sister and raised an eyebrow at the tears she was trying (and failing) to hold back. "Are you crying?"

"No!" she scoffed.

Chuck laughed. "I always knew you wanted that bath."

Serena glared and hit his chest, "Pig!"

Lily gave Eric a confused look. Her son just shrugged and smiled.

And Lily's smile returned to grace her lips as she watched all three of her children.