A/N: Okay, keep an open, OPEN mind okay?
Disclaimer: I don't own ANYONE from ANY of these shows.
When I Get Where I'm Going
"What was that?"
She looks up at him from the bed (probably the most inappropriate bed in the world to be having this conversation) and she wonders why she ever thought this would be possible. "I don't- I don't know."
"You know Vanessa and I just broke up."
"You told me to break up with her."
"We're friends, right? You know I broke up with Vanessa because I didn't feel anything for her anymore, not because-"
"I know. The Chevalier kiss kind of gave it away."
"I like having you as a friend. You're smart and funny and you bring breakfast and you know me and apparently everyone in my family. You practically are my family but...but we didn't work back then for a reason." He is gentle in his let-down, even when he doesn't have to be. She doesn't feel anything anyway.
She smiles softly at him to let him know it's okay. That their history is more than enough. That their friendship, one of maybe two or three genuine ones that she's ever had, means the world to her. He smiles back and she knows he's got the message. So he sits down next to her, knowing that this time, there won't be mixed messages. No manipulation or schemes, like that night at his grandfather's a week ago.
When they're not clouded by the expectation of progress, they can have conversations with their eyes and it's amazing, she thinks.
"You should tell him." It's something that he knows needs convincing so he says it outloud.
"Why? So he can rub it in my face... again?" He's surprised that she relented so quickly before, but then again, Blair's always been known to pull out all the stops when she wanted something. He goes to say something encouraging like "you never know" or "people might surprise you" but he doesn't know that she does know and that people do surprise her in the worst possible way. "I can't really talk about this right now. My hair hurts." She puts her head on his shoulder and feels his shoulders shake when he chuckles.
"No. Dorota pinned my hair too tight." He reaches up to take out the bobby pins and her hair falls in her face and across her shoulders and if they weren't friends, he would want to kiss her. But they are so... "Thanks."
"Yeah, no problem."
"You know, it's a shame I didn't get to talk to Grandfather last time at the reunion. It's been a while."
"He probably would die happy if he thought we're back together. You should have seen his face when I told him I was going to make sure you got home okay."
"I thought he likes Vanessa?"
"Yea, but you're Blair Waldorf." She smiles sheepishly at him and he kisses her forehead. This time, she likes it.
They sit in silence before it gets awkward and she starts fidgeting with her fingers. "You think I should really talk to him?"
"I think you should start making your own decisions about your life."
She leaves the party with a calm (and this time sober enough that she could talk Nate out of seeing her home) and goes to bed without a thought. She will talk to Chuck, she decides as she takes off her sleeping mask the next day. She will talk to him and see whether or not there can really be something stable and healthy between them and she will look fabulous doing so in a little purple number from Eleanor's latest collection. She texts Nate for encouragement and he texts her back in a way that makes her smile and mocks her for her old movie tastes.
You go get him, sugar.
She's in the car when she gets the blast. The Walk of Shame never looked so smug and judging by the smirk on both of their faces, it doesn't seem like a drunken mistake like they were the first time they...
She tells the driver to go to Headmistress Queller's house instead. Here's to throwing the whole book in the fire.
Chuck knows he's in trouble with Nate, probably for a variety of things but he can't really feel sorry when he can speculate what he's doing in the dark with Blair. He waves off the security guards that trails Nate when he storms into his office.
"If this is about Vanessa-"
"You don't get to talk, you fucking idiot."
Chuck's sure his nose is broken and now he starts to see red too. Everyone seems determined to push him off the ledge lately. So he shoves him back and in a few minutes, one has the other in a headlock while the other pulls at a leg. "Who the fuck do you think you are, Archibald? You took Blair first-"
"I never took Blair and you'd know that if you weren't too busy planning your next scheme!"
He freezes. What? "But last night, at the party... you guys were in that room."
"Talking, Chuck." Nate gets up and gets ready to put in another punch. "Sometimes people do that. And you want to know what we talked about?" He's too good to hit someone when they're already on the floor, so he waits for his best friend to get up off the ground. "I was telling her to tell you how she feels and she was going to do just that this morning until your dirty laundry hit Gossip Girl."
Chuck doesn't see this coming. Then again, he never could see anything when it's about Blair. "Well, where is she? I have to- I have to go tell her. Vanessa didn't mean any-" He stumbles to his desk for his phone. He has to tell her. He has the chance now. She can forgive him. She always does. This is just another girl...
He hears her ringtone coming from Nate's hand. The red eNvy rang four times before it goes to voicemail at his ear. "She's gone, Chuck. I found this on her bed thirty minutes ago. And a note telling us not to go looking for her. I wonder where she picked that one up from."
"You're bluffing. She wouldn't just up and leave when school is still-"
"She has enough credits and took enough extra classes to graduate without finishing the semester. I checked with Headmistress Queller before I came here."
"Nathaniel, did she look for me while I was gone? While I was in Thailand?"
"Well, I have no responsibility to respect her wishes then."
She's not stupid, she is careful to pay with cash and not leave a paper trail, but she is disgusted. She holds onto her new phone, part of her new self. It was easy to reactivate one of the pink phones from Operation Rachel Carr. Her Louis Vuitton is gathering stains as it rolls around in the luggage department below her. But this is new Blair. Well, new new Blair and she can take it. She's tougher than she looks.
New Jersey looks especially bleak through a bus window, probably because Blair Waldorf has never taken a bus in her life. Imagine her uncle's surprise when she shows up at the hospital where he works with a rolling luggage, jeans and her hair a mess. "I need a place to stay."
"I have a couch." If he knows anything about his niece (not that they're the most close knit family in the world), he knows that this would scare away any Waldorf.
"I'll take what I can get."
He almost stumbles on his cane and when he looks into her eyes, he recognizes something in them, something he sees when he looks in the mirror and despite their lack of physical resemblance, he feels the familial bond between them. "Wilson's slept there. You might get lice."
"I can take it."
"Take a left. No, your left." Cyrus had sent her a four-door the week before and her uncle sends one of his medical croonies to teach her how to use the damn thing. At least it's the cute one. "Not too much. Just turn it as you need to."
They get on a straight road and he takes a break from fearing for his life and looks at her. "You know, I never knew House had a family. It's hard to imagine him as an uncle."
"He wasn't much of one. He and mother don't exactly get along."
"No." She supposes it's impolite to say that they're both just unpleasant people who had a difficult time thinking for others. It's probably the reason why the two of them gets along at all.
"Well, we're glad you're here. Well, Cameron is at least. Now she doesn't have to answer his mail anymore." It's the first job Blair ever gets and the first time she's part of something where people actually like her. She's not Queen B but they listen because she knows how to play her uncle's games. It's easy and she gets to wear her nice clothes and flirt with surgeons.
She hands in her two weeks after she earns enough for a plane ticket.
She leaves her car at her uncle's house and makes Wilson drive her to the airport. The guilt eased after she sends a photocopy of her driver's license to Serena to let her know she's alive. In the picture, she's wearing her headband and a turtleneck and she looks slightly tired. Let them think what they will.
Melbourne welcomes her as she stretches her bones from the cramped economy seat and he is waiting there in his suit. She shouldn't have called him, but when she did he tells her he'll take care of her and it sounds nice. Jack doesn't have anything to gain or lose anymore, and he's more careful about his indiscretions. With his nephew in charge, he wouldn't dare do anything to her, but he would enjoy the one-up he would have on him knowing where she is. In the car, she doesn't listen when he rambles about the sights and the company.
She insists that her room in the hotel be under the name "George Saun" and he finds the humor in it so he concedes. She goes to aquariums and music halls, sometimes accompanied by Jack, but mostly by herself. She's never been to Australia - never saw a reason to but she watches the movie there and spends two days in the library reading about this part of the world she never thought about.
On a Wednesday, she goes back to the room and finds a scarf, a silver watch and a world map on the side table. No note, but she can guess who it's from and she knows that he has known where she was this whole time. They speak to her just like she knows it would.
"I'll be here when you decide it's time to come home."
Before she boards the plane, she makes a last stop at some sort of animal reserve. Jack makes arrangements for her to hold the koala bears and takes a pictures. He finds her cute and takes a pictures (which she is sure will end up on Chuck's desk for the right price).
She sends a picture over the phone of a koala bear wearing a stretch headband to Serena. In the one she sends to Chuck, it's sitting next to another one with his scarf around its neck.
She finds herself reunited with her car in Texas because why not, it's far enough from New York and close enough to Mexico for it to count as a new frontier for her. She's been to Europe enough anyway. At a diner (she knows now that she's not allergic to them), she finds a boy staring out the window and stares at him until he looks back. He smiles. She won't take it sitting down so she walks over and sits across from her.
"What are you smiling at?"
"You look just like someone I-"
"That's not a line, is it?" He pulls out his wallet and in it is a picture of a girl in a cheerleading uniform. Apparently, she's not the only Blair Waldorf in the world. There's at least one other girl who comes close. "I'm Blair." The waitress brings over her coffee and silverware from the table she occupied before.
"Tim." He shovels his scrambled egg into his mouth unapologetically. She smiles because she finds it endearing and different. "And this is Lyla."
"Lyla your girlfriend?"
"Lyla my whatever. We're kind of confused right now." He tells her while she finishes her fruit salad about how she used to date his best friend, how they slept together and how she's his whole world. But then he's from the wrong side of the tracks and she's a Christian youth group leader and there are a million things standing in their way. She spends the first five minutes wondering why he's telling her all this. It takes her a second to decide, who cares.
"Well, it sounds like you and this Lyla really care about each other."
"You should tell her." She gets the check and leaves a decent tip.
"Words won't change anything."
She shakes her head because he doesn't know it yet. "They change everything." She puts on her jacket and her scarf and straightens herself out. It'll be a long drive before she gets to Cali. "Bye Tim."
"Bye Blair. Nice meeting you."
"You too. I hope you and Lyla work things out."
"Yea, me too."
She sprains her wrist and she's surprised to run into Dr. Addison Shepherd in a hospital in Seattle of all places, and she seems just as surprised to see her. They exchange the customary hug and cheek kiss that's ingrained in them and ask how the other's doing and all that. She does a double take when she sees Mark Sloan walk down the hall towards them. "Blair Waldorf?"
"Okay, did the entire Upper East Side move up here and nobody told me?"
The two of them look at each other. "It's complicated."
"The whole sleeping with the boyfriend's best friend thing? Don't worry, doc, I totally get it. By the way, Mark. My mother misses your botox treatments. The new derm she's seeing is just not the same, apparently."
"...Blair Waldorf? Here?"
The three of them have lunch and Mark can't get over the fact that Blair Waldorf, a girl he's known since she's a little girl, is sitting in front of him in jeans and can drive. She makes Mark, because she knows he has always had a sense of humor, put on her headband and she snaps a picture and sends it to S after he threatens her not to show it to anyone.
"So what are you doing out here? Shouldn't you be in school?" Addison asks because she's always the practical one. The funny, loveable, practical one who ages as gracefully as the next Upper East Side wife but has the brains to have an actual respectable career. The best in her field. Addison was what she aspired to be.
"Well, some things got in the way. People and just... It's complicated."
The two of them nod and I wonder if they've always been like this. And that if they were, how could Derek not know what would happen? "Sometimes it's good to get away. See new things, meet new people. Put things in perspective without everyone watching."
"You're not talking about here, Seattle Grace, are you Addy? Because here, everyone's watching... and gossiping."
She waves him off. "The point is, it's good to find your place in the world. It's also important to not forget where you come from and where you're going."
Blair thinks she sounds like a fortune cookie and Mark says it. "What she's trying to say is, you can't change who you are. Deal with it."
They tell her to make sure to check out the space needle before waving their fellow wayward New Yorker goodbye. As she walks away, she swears she could hear Derek's voice behind her, "Is that Blair Waldorf? Here?"
She's rolls right by Beverly Hills and is stuck right outside Palo Alto. Really? The sun's ridiculous and Chase never taught her anything about this. She'll have to thank Cyrus for giving her a crappy car. No one's around but then she hears music. It gets louder and in the horizon, she a black dot getting closer.
"Car trouble?" She can hardly hear him through his radio. Is that a cassette deck?
"I said, are you having car trouble?"
"No, I just like to chill out in the middle of nowhere and panic. I do it once a week."
"All righty then, he puts his car back in gear and she grips her hand on his open window.
"Yes, I'm having car trouble."
"Now was that so hard, sweetheart?"
Turns out the guy's dad used to own a garage and a few jumpstart cables later, she's good to go. They lean against the hood of his car and feels extra trashy as she brings the root beer to her lips. She thanks him begrudgingly (she's Blair Waldorf) and asks the usual questions. Where's he going? Where is he from? She hopes he can give her some answers for herself.
"Lawrence, Kansas. Just visiting my brother at Stanford. He's the brains of the family."
"And what is a little girl like you doing here? Shouldn't you be out tanning somewhere, preferably naked?" She's used to dirty jokes and she smiles because it reminds him of Chuck before... before everything. Before he changed his stupid hair and before he left her on the helipad.
She figures she owes this guy some honesty. "I don't know." She stares down the road that goes nowhere. Everywhere she looks there's sand. A shit ton of sand.
"Well come on." He moves to his car door as a way of kicking her out, she supposes. "Let's go."
"You've got nowhere to go anyway, right?" She nods. "Then you get to come meet my brother."
Sam's nice but she hates him right now. Dean can just straight up go to hell with his "go get us some coffee while we talk family stuff." And Stanford's student union needs to have regular maintenance checks.
She puts aside her mean face for a second because the old guy next to him looks like he's about to have a heart attack. "Hey, are you all right? You're not gonna... throw up or something are you?"
"I-I'm claustrophobic." Great. Probably not the best person to be stuck in an elevator with. "I'll feel better if we talk. Get my mind off of everything. Tell me about yourself."
She really wishes she managed to get the coffee before being stuck in an elevator with Mr. Panic-Attack. She sighs, but starts. "Well, my mother is..."
It takes an hour before they finally get out (apparently 'I'm Blair Waldorf' doesn't work quite as well for her as it does for Chuck) and she's got through most of it, even the hard parts like when Chuck sleeps with Vanessa. She already got the part where she is a manipulative bitch with no future out of the way and she's just about to tell her about the boy in the diner in Texas. Dean and Sam are waiting on the other side with puppy dog faces when Sam greets her fellow passenger. "President Higgins. We didn't know you were stuck in there too."
"President...?" Of course, she would spell out her entire sexual history along with her take-out schemes with the president of Stanford University. Fantastic.
"Ah yes. I was in a bit of a state but lucky for me, I had Miss Waldorf to keep me company." She learns early that Dean (the Winchester one) has more trouble separating reality from porn than Chuck does and elbows him when he snickers. He turns back to Blair. "I never got to properly introduce myself and I apologize for my erratic behavior in there. John Higgins."
He is perhaps the most unpretentious president of anything she's ever met.
And he knows everything there is to know about her.
"Please follow me to my office."
She's literally going to the principal's(president) office. She doesn't even go to this school! No good could possibly come of this. As she walks away, she hears Dean and Sam do the elementary school "oooooooo" and she glares at them. For the first time in her life, because no one is looking, she gives them the finger from behind her back.
"If you can just fill this out, I will make the calls to Constance tomorrow. It's past school hours on the East Coast now." Does being a mean bitch really warrant anything that requires paperwork? Really, she'll bury herself in her own grave, but don't take away her high school diploma. She's already lost Yale.
She looks down at the paper in her hand and looks at the familiar fields. "First name, last name..." It's a college application. "What-"
"You're an interesting girl, Miss Waldorf. And I believe you need to see yourself in ways other than a villain."
"We're not an Ivy League, but I will say that there are just as many opportunities for you here. And like Harvard and Yale and all of them, we do value tradition and academic excellence. But we also value humanity and forgiveness. Second chances."
He reminds her of Cyrus and she wants to hug him and say "not enough" but she's already kissed one dean, she doesn't need to hug another. "But I-"
"From what I have heard, your grades are more than enough and your extra curricular activities are impressive. I expect you have learned your lesson from your incident with Miss Carr?" She nods. She's learned, if not from that, then from everything else. At the very least, she'll be more careful about covering her tracks in the future. "We'll get your transcript tomorrow and I will get the admissions committee together to look over your application. I don't foresee a problem and I certainly hope to see you around in the fall."
"It's way past the admissions process and... I mean, I'm grateful, but-but how-"
"If I may borrow a phrase from one of your colorful friends - I'm John Higgins."
Sarah Lawrence can suck it.
Dean checks everything for her - the oil and whatever-else-about-cars-that-she-doesn't-really-care-about - and she's off again. She's become a rolling stone somehow but now she can go home. She found what she's looking for and no, she didn't set out for Stanford, but it helped. She found out that she's not as bad as she seems and that people - normal people like Cuddy and Cameron, Chase and Wilson, Tim and Sam and Dean can get along with her and she's okay. And maybe, just maybe, there's someone waiting for her when she gets back. But even if there isn't, she knows now, that she's okay.
When she gets home, her mother hugs her for the first time in God-knows-how-long and she thanks Cyrus for the car. Serena sleeps over for a week to make sure she doesn't disappear again ("Don't worry B. Your driver's license pic looks totally fierce.") and they sit together at graduation, which happens two days after she comes home. Van der Woodsen and Waldorf are close together enough in the alphabet so they didn't need to buy anyone off to change seats.
When she gets home, she tells Nate about where she's been and she learns that apparently Tim's a pretty big deal in high school ball. And that apparently Nate follows that stuff. She deletes all the blasts from Gossip Girl without reading them and unsubscribes because that anonymous bitch has dictated enough of her life.
When she gets home, there's a letter and an e-mail waiting for her from California. An acceptance letter and a little homemade video from the boys. Sam telling her how he can't wait to see her when she gets there and Dean lip-syncing to "Eye of the Tiger" next to his car. She saves it and downloads a smaller version of it onto her phone for a rainy day.
When she gets home, Chuck is waiting outside her building with peonies in one hand and roses in another because he's not sure which she prefers anymore. He's not sure if his Blair is still there anymore. He stumbles through how he's been tracking her and how she looked happy in her pictures and how he's not sure if she's going to pull a Serena and come back a different person. She hugs him, thanks him for the map and kisses him on the cheek and he's definitely not sure.
"Well, why don't you come up, meet my parents and you can figure it out over dinner."
"But I know your parents-"
"I want to do things right, Chuck. I'm over this kind of game." She looks at him in the eye and he sees how she's different, but the same.
"Okay. Let's meet the parents."
A/N: Cracktastic, right? I told you so. Let me know what you thought!