Disclaimer: I do not own anything from Gossip Girl. It belongs to The CW and author Cecily von Ziegesar.
Pairing: Serena/Dan, Lily/Rufus, Chuck/Blair, Nate/Jenny, Eric/Jonathan, Vanessa/Aaron
Summary: We find out Jenny and Eric's feelings about Lily and Rufus' engagement, but how do Dan and Serena, who are still a couple in my little alternate universe, feel about it?
SPOILERS: "The Goodbye Gossip Girl"
**Author's Note: Dan is going to Yale not NYU, and Serena is going to Brown just like in the show. Aaron Rose is more like the one in the book not the T.V. series, with dreadlocks, a chill personality, and his own personal supply of herbal cigarettes, and not into dating more than one person at a time.
"That's great, Dad," Dan Humphrey congratulated his father, trying not to sound overwhelmed, while lying in his girlfriend, Serena's, bed. "Congratulations."
Serena raised her head up off her pillow at the strange tone in Dan's voice. Their legs were tangled together and their upper bodies were close, but not as close as they had been before Dan's cell phone had rung. He'd extricated his hand from her waist to check the caller-ID and answered rather than ignoring it like she had wanted him to.
"What's up?" Serena demanded, disengaging her legs from her boyfriend's, and sat up, tucking her knees under her chin.
"You are not going to believe this," Dan said sketchily, not bothering to hide his sense of overwhelming.
"Now you're starting to scare me," Serena quailed, shaking her perfect blonde hair out in an effort to get rid of the bed head she'd spied in the mirror across from the bed and then focusing her attention on Dan.
"You know our on-again, off-again parents?" Dan pretended to ask. He knew perfectly well that she did and she nodded in proof of it. "Well, they're on-again . . . and engaged."
"Please tell me you're kidding," Serena begged, pouting.
"Definitely not kidding," Dan answered, squeamishly. "They're going ring shopping today . . . Jenny's already packing up all her stuff to move in here."
"Are we sure they're really serious this time?" Serena questioned, trying to wrap her head around the concept that was Lily Bass and Rufus Humphrey, engaged to be married.
"My dad wouldn't be talking diamonds if he wasn't serious . . . he also wouldn't have put our loft up for sale first thing this morning," Dan told her, unsure as to how to proceed.
"I'm not going to believe it until I talk to my mom," Serena said, tremulously. "I know her. If this is the real deal, I'll be able to tell."
She reached for her cell phone on the night stand and dialed her mother's number. She waited for three rings before Lily finally answered, her voice sickeningly pleasant, the voice only her happiness with one Rufus Humphrey brought out, "Good morning, Serena."
Serena didn't even have to ask if it was true, but she did anyway, "Is it true, Mom? Are you and Rufus really engaged?"
"Yes, honey, it is true, and this time it's for real and forever," Lily told her mortified daughter. "I assume Dan passed along the news?"
"Yeah," Serena squeaked, it was the only response she could come up with.
"Oh, darling, don't sound so dramatic," Lily reprimanded Serena, her voice still sickeningly happy. "Just because Rufus and I are getting married doesn't mean you and Dan have to break up. It just means that you inherited my wonderful taste in men."
"Gross, Mom," Serena squealed, remembering all the men her mother had dated and married, though she had to admit that Rufus was pretty great and treated her mother that way to boot, which was more than any of the others had given her.
"You can pretend it's like Twilight or something," Lily told her, proud at her recent pop culture reference. When Bart had been away on business and Rufus had told her that she should focus on being Mrs. Bass, she'd gone into Serena's room to look through her closet to try on absurdly chic couture dresses just to see if she still had the body and attitude to pull it off, and found the book on her night stand. She was lonely and dying for something to do, hence the raid on her daughter's closet, so she'd read the book on a whim and loved it, immediately going to Barnes & Noble to purchase her own copies of the four-installment series and going to Manhattan's premiere of the film. "All the brothers and sisters in them are together, and it's not like you and Dan will be related by blood."
"But you had a kid together," Serena pointed out, not trying to be hurtful but succeeding nonetheless.
"And that child is dead," Lily reminded her, her voice quiet.
Serena was immediately repentant, "Sorry, Mom, I shouldn't have brought that up."
"Just don't bring it up again, okay?" Lily requested. "I'm really truly happy, honey. I have always been in love with Rufus no matter who I was married to, and now we're finally getting our chance. Please, please be happy for us."
"Okay," Serena surrendered, "I'm happy for you."
"Thanks, sweetie," Lily appreciated her daughter's effort. "I'll see you later for dinner?"
"Yeah, I suppose so," Serena guesstured. "Bye, Mom."
"Bye, sweetheart," Lily gushed, hanging up.
"You're right, it's real," Serena grumbled, pouting again.
Dan took her lovely face between his hands, "That doesn't change anything for me. I'm still madly in love with you and I refuse to let our relationship be dictated by our parents'. You're the only girl for me Serena van der Woodsen, step-sister or no."
"I feel the same way," Serena whispered softly, turning her head so she could kiss Dan's palm. "Screw our parents! Come away with me to Europe this summer . . . we can pretend that they aren't getting married for a little while and spend some quality alone time together before you head to Yale and I head to Brown."
"I like that idea," Dan smiled as Serena kissed his other palm. "Screw our parents! Besides, when we're away at college we can pretend we're not step-brother and step-sister and just be a plain old long distance relationship couple."
"That sounds good to me," Serena conceded, kissing Dan on the lips this time. "We'll still have to deal with awkward holiday vacations, though."
"I guess we'll have to cross that bridge when we come to it," Dan sighed. "It'll still be worth it. I'm not going anywhere."
"Neither am I," she notified him. Her beautiful mouth turned down into a frown, "I hate to play devil's advocate, but what if we're wrong? What if we do break up?" Serena looked at him seriously, her navy blue eyes concerned.
"First of all, we're not wrong," Dan advised her, vehemently. "And on the off-chance that we are, we always manage to find our way back to each other, whether it's as friends or lovers," Dan pointed out. "But to me, what we have feels like forever. I can feel it in my gut, in my bones."
"I've always felt that way about us. I always knew I love you, even when we were new, I could feel it in my gut, in my bones. I even asked my mom not to be with your dad because of it, and she respected my wishes then, but I can't ask her to do it again. She really is truly happy with your dad," Serena revealed, biting her lip. "I've never seen her so happy as when she's with him or talking about him or how miserable she is when she's missing him."
"Same with my dad," Dan agreed, nudging her lip out of the confines of her teeth. "So, we're not breaking up."
"Nope," she responded, her tone fervent, "not breaking up and not breaking up our parents," Serena said, oddly happy.
"Not breaking up our parents," Dan repeated, as if to solidify some sort of pact, oddly happy as well. All of a sudden his face turned sour, "If you and I are going to be step-brother and step-sister that means I'll be Chuck's step-brother too, doesn't it?"
"Sadly, yes," Serena told him, kissing him again to try and make him feel better about being related to his nemesis. "Just do what I do and ignore him. He's in Europe right now anyway and I made sure before he left that we weren't going to ever be visiting the same place at the same time, so it shouldn't be too hard."
"God, I hope you're right," Dan exclaimed, pinching the place between his nose and forehead as if trying to relieve the tension involved in being related to Chuck Bass.
"Come on," Serena pulled him off the bed, excitedly, "let's get you packed for Europe!"
"You haven't even packed yet," Dan complained, he liked the idea of going to Europe alone with Serena, but he hated packing.
"Blair's helping me pack tomorrow," Serena informed him, as if that were the most obvious thing in the world.
"You realize that packing up my stuff for Europe means paying a visit to our for-sale loft and our annoyingly happy engaged parents, don't you?" Dan alerted her. "I know we have to deal with it sometime, but do you really want it to be now?"
"You're right," Serena agreed, she was happy for their parents but she wasn't ready to see a diamond from Rufus on her mother's finger yet. "Let's go shopping instead!"
"Shopping?" Dan questioned, not happy about going shopping with Serena, but more happy about it than seeing their parents being all lovey-dovey around each other.
"Yeah, my money is now your money, Dan," she bounced into his arms, hugging him tight. "Let's buy you a whole new Dan-approved wardrobe! It'll be fun, I promise!"
"And you can promise this how?" Dan inquired, raising an eyebrow at her. She was notorious for going overboard when she shopped.
"Well," Serena said, pretending to think hard and placing her index finger to her inviting mouth, "we don't have to shop just for you. We could hit up a couple of lingerie stores to make sure I'm totally stocked up on pajamas for the whole trip . . . a different outfit every night . . . and loungewear in case we decide to take a break from sight-seeing . . . and of course plain old underwear."
She hopped out of Dan's arms and made her way to her lingerie drawer, pretending to go through her underwear, "Nope, absolutely none of this will do. We simply have to do something about it . . . and if you're a really good boy, I might even sneak you into the dressing room for some one on one criticism."
Dan grinned and chuckled, "Well if we simply have to, I suppose I don't mind."
Serena jumped up and down and clapped her hands in delight, looking absolutely adorable and irresistible to Dan. Without thinking twice, he scooped Serena up off the floor and carried her to bed, kissing her passionately along the way, "Think shopping can wait for an hour or so?"
Serena's navy blue eyes darkened with desire. She loved it when Dan took control, and she whispered in her sexiest voice, "Barney's and Bendel's aren't going anywhere."
After hours shopping among other things, Serena and Dan were exhausted. It was then that Serena remembered the part of her earlier conversation with her mother about seeing her at dinner. She dialed the number to the penthouse and got the answering machine.
"It looks like we're going to your place for dinner," she notified Dan. "I promised my mom we'd eat dinner together tonight, but there's no answer at the penthouse."
"I'll call my Dad," Dan offered, fishing his cell phone out of his pocket, which was actually pretty hard to do since his arms were laden with shopping bags. He'd offered to carry them at the beginning of their shopping trip, but as the day had worn on eventually there were so many bags that Serena's arms were laden with them too.
"Hey Dad," Dan greeted, his tone chipper.
"Dan, hi," Rufus returned, unsure how to take his son's tone of voice.
"I was just calling to see if we're having dinner at the loft," Dan explained, his tone the same.
"Yeah," Rufus confirmed, not attempting to hide the excitement in his voice. "Lily and I are making dinner together. We invited Nate, Vanessa and Jonathan. It's sort of our "Happy Engagement" party."
"Okay," Dan said, "we'll be there in a little while."
Serena stared at Dan the entire phone conversation, waiting to hear Rufus' part of the conversation.
"They're having a "Happy Engagement" party at the loft," Dan informed her. "They invited Nate, Vanessa and Jonathan over. Your mom and my dad are making the dinner, but it's not ready yet so I figured we could shop for some sort of engagement present or something."
"Yay, I love buying presents!" Serena squealed, bouncing on the balls of her feet instead of jumping up and down and clapping like she normally would have because of all the shopping bags.
"I know the perfect thing," Dan said, excitedly, dragging Serena behind him.
"Wait," Serena pleaded, "I want to call my mom and ask if I can invite Blair."
"Just invite her anyway," Dan encouraged, totally un-Dan-like, impatient to show Serena their perfect gift.
Dan, Serena, and Blair walked through the open loft door, smelling incredible food inside the four bedroom apartment. Serena was in the middle, a tiny gift bag hanging from each wrist, holding Dan's hand on one side and Blair's on the other. Dan was clutching an enormous gift-wrapped box underneath his free arm. He set it down near the counter, happy to relieve himself of the heavy load.
Lily and Rufus were busy setting the table for dinner while Jenny was sandwiched in between Eric and Nate, smiling as she held Nate's hand, and entranced by a bridal magazine that was propped between her and Eric's laps. Vanessa was on Nate's other side, crammed next to him on the three-cushioned couch, talking about the backpacking trip they were going on in Europe that summer. Jonathan was perched on the arm rest next to Eric, and the two were also holding hands.
"Dan!" Jenny screeched, animatedly. "Lily wants me to make her wedding dress! Isn't that amazing?!"
"Definitely," Dan agreed, overhearing Nate and Vanessa's conversation, and directing his voice toward Nate, "So you're going backpacking in Europe after all?"
"Yeah," Nate confirmed, squeezing Jenny's hand, "but don't worry, I have my girlfriend's blessing."
"You're only going because I trust you," Jenny imparted to Nate, slightly less animated, "and I trust you," she said, aiming the words at Vanessa. "If you don't bring my boyfriend back intact, I'm afraid I'll have to pull out the retractable claws."
Jenny was only partly kidding. She and Vanessa were friends again, but she still wasn't sure if she trusted the other girl with Nate. "It's a good thing my summer won't totally blow since the four of us," she indicated herself, Eric, Lily, and Rufus, "are spending it in the Hamptons. At least I can get a decent tan while I'm going crazy missing you," she told Nate, who smiled and kissed her on the cheek.
"You don't have to worry about me, Jenny," Vanessa assured her. "I've recently taken an interest in an artist that had a brilliant opening at the gallery a few months back."
"Aaron Rose?" Serena and Blair queried together.
Vanessa gave them a funny look, "Yeah, how'd you know?"
"He's my step-brother," Blair answered.
"Oh!" Vanessa cried in shock.
"Don't worry," Blair assured her, "we don't get along."
"Good," Vanessa released a relieved breath. Blair rolled her eyes
"In other news," Serena interceded before the two girls had a chance to say anything more, "Dan's coming with me to Europe for the summer as well."
"That's great!" Rufus and Lily bellowed in unison.
"We're planning an end of summer, early fall wedding so the two of you will be back just in time," Lily announced gaily. She bounced toward Serena and Blair, wiggling her left ring finger at them, and showing off the platinum, one carat total weight, D-F, I1 , brilliant cut diamond engagement ring Rufus had bought for her. She wore it over the neon yellow Lincoln Hawk club bracelet band Rufus had made and initially given her the night before when he'd proposed.
"It's beautiful, Mom," Serena gushed, feeling her mother's giddiness radiating off of her like her favorite perfume. And seriously, what girl could resist gushing over diamonds, even if she was unhappy that her mother was remarrying for the fifth time.
"It's nice to see you're not selling out, Dad," Dan complimented, eyeing the neon club band.
"So everything's alright, then?" Lily asked, while Rufus paused to hear what Serena and Dan had decided about their own relationship.
Dan and Serena entwined their fingers, and held up their interlocked hands for the whole room to see.
"We're not breaking up," they declared in unison. "And we're happy for you."
"And I'm so happy for you," Lily affirmed, a bright smile on her face at her daughter's cheerful news.
"In fact, we're so happy for you," Dan interrupted, and Serena continued, "we got you all "Happy Engagement" presents."
"Oh, darlings, you didn't have to do that!" Lily cried, hugging Serena first and then Dan.
"We so did," Serena argued, Dan taking over, "trust us."
"But first, I have something for Jenny," Serena announced, joyfully.
Jenny stood up quickly, sending the bridal magazine flying, and went to hug Serena.
"Welcome to the family, Jenny," and she handed over the tiny blue gift bag.
"Oh my God, is that a Tiffany blue bag?!" Jenny shrieked, jumping up and down as she took the bag from Serena.
"Open it and see," Serena demanded, excitedly.
Jenny pulled out the signature Tiffany box, removed the top, and squealed with delight. She removed Tiffany's signature heart charm bracelet and the heart was engraved, "I already love you like a little sister. Welcome to the family J! Love, S."
"Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!" Jenny slipped the bracelet on and the two blondes threw their arms around each other and hugged like they were bears, "I love you like a sister too!!"
"And I have something for Eric," Dan broadcasted to the room.
Eric didn't move from his seat but was blushing a deep scarlet, so Dan went to him.
"Welcome to the family, Eric," Dan repeated Serena's little ceremony to Jenny, also handing over a blue Tiffany gift bag.
Upon removing the lid, Eric pulled out a white gold pocket watch that was also engraved, "I always wanted a little brother. Welcome to the family E! Love, D."
"This is awesome, Dan," Eric said enthusiastically. "I've always wanted my own pocket watch."
"I'm glad you like it," Dan said, holding his hand out for Eric to shake. Eric shook it as soon as it was offered.
Dan approached the spot he'd left the enormous box that was for his father and Lily and picked it up again. Serena motioned for everyone to get off the couch so Lily and Rufus could sit, and the newly engaged pair occupied the middle. Dan laid the wrapped package across their laps. Lily and Rufus exchanged a quick, loving glance before they tore into the paper at opposite sides of the gift. Once the gift wrap had been removed, it revealed a large white box with a lid. Lily and Rufus pulled the lid off together and gaped at the gift inside. It was a vintage guitar, Rufus' vintage guitar, and it was signed.
"To Lily Rhodes, Our #1 fan and most loyal "Rhodie!" Lincoln Hawk loves you babe, and so do I! You rock, gorgeous! Love, Rufus."
"Where on earth did you find this? It's perfect!" Lily and Rufus asked, awe-struck. When he and Lily had broken up way back when she'd left the signed guitar with him, and, recently, he'd given it up to a charity auction, having been sure that he and Lily were done for good.
"If we told you we'd have to kill you," Serena laughed musically and Dan joined her.
"Congratulations on your engagement!" They said together.
"Now let's eat! I'm starving!" Serena groaned, rubbing her stomach in a theatrical sort of way.
Everyone took their places at the table, Jenny by Nate, Eric by Jonathan, Serena by Dan, who secretly held each other's hands under the table, and Blair by Vanessa. Lily and Rufus took their seats at the heads of the table. Each place setting had a glass of champagne already waiting for each person.
"To our first dinner as a family!" Rufus exploded with enthusiasm, tipping his glass in commemoration of the event. Everyone else did the same, and they settled in, filling their plates with food and conversing like a genuine family.
Dan and Serena knew through the simple touching of their hands underneath the table that everything was going to be alright.