Dan Humphrey stares at the invitation on his dresser as he tightens the windsor knot on his dark red tie. Its another one of those parties, the classic Blair Waldorf masked ball. He shoves the half crumpled paper into his pocket, exiting his room. Its the middle of his second year at NYU and he's back in the loft, joining his family for Christmas, but tonight, he's out for a Christmas Eve Masquerade.

After a long taxi ride, he finally arrives at the Palace. He steps into the ballroom, immediately swarmed by the memories that he has put in the back of his mind. He sighs, readjusting his mask and walks into the throng of people. He's not sure why he came, but a nagging voice in the back of his head says its because he knows a certain blonde will be there.

He turns and spots her almost immediately. She's talking to a brunette (possibly Blair) near the garden and holding a glass of champagne in one hand. She hides behind her dark blue mask, but he knows its her. He hears the four year old in her voice from across the room, and he doubts that in his entire life, he could ever forget the lips that had sent him to such pleasure over and over again.

His smile grows larger when Blair leaves her side, giving him a perfect opening. He reaches into his inner jacket pocket, plucking out the rose he had stashed there out. "Hello beautiful," he says, handing her the flower. "Can I buy you a drink?"

Her lips curl into a smirk as she examines the dark red rose. "If you tell me how many times you've pulled this trick tonight."

"I only brought one rose and from the beginning, it was destined to be yours." He murmurs, the words falling smoothly from his lips. He grins inwardly, knowing that she has no clue who he is.

"Really?" She sounds a touch surprised, as if the sincerity had touched her.

"Do I look like a liar?" He says, eyebrows raised though she can't possibly see behind his mask.

"I don't know, guess we'll find out, won't we?" She reaches behind her, pulling out another flute of champagne.

"I thought I was supposed to buy you drinks." He takes it from her, clinking the glass with hers. "To you."

"To me." She echoes, an amused edge to her voice. She sips from her glass, dark blue eyes traveling up and down his body. "You look..familiar."

"I should, you know me very well Ms. Van der Woodsen." The words tumble from his lips, and he watches in pleasure as her body stiffens.

"How'd you guess?"

"How could I not?" He counters, staring into her eyes. "Did you think that just because you went to Brown that I would forget you?"

She pulls him outside, the cool air refreshing both of them. Her arms tremble as she reaches up, pulling his mask away. "Dan."

"Welcome back to New York." He says softly, a smile gracing his lips.

"What are you doing?" She steps back, voice shaking.

He frowns at her, genuinely disappointed. "I thought you'd be happy to see me."

"What made you think that?" She says sharply, the fear that had been instilled in her heart flowing once more. Ever since they broke up, she had been afraid to let her heart go, she almost didn't get it back. "We broke up."

"And that means that I can't welcome you back?" He shoots back, eyebrows raised.

"It was the manner in which you did that bothers me and the fact that you're lying."

"Fine, you want the truth?" His mouth is crooked in a sort of wry grin as he reaches for her mask. He slips it from her face, and tucks it in his pocket. "I miss you, alright? New York just isn't the same without you."

She stares at him, navy eyes wide. "I miss you too." She whispers, her voice bordering between steady and shaking. "But you could have just told me that."

He shakes his head at her, his smile disappearing. "I don't want to be your friend, Serena. I have never wanted to just be your friend."

"Then what do you want?" She asks, exasperated. She's tired of the games they're both playing and she wants to hear him say it.

"I want you." He murmurs as he leans towards her. "I've had two years to think about this. Two years without seeing you. Every time I saw someone blonde, I would turn and hope that it was you. I need you."

She sighs as she stares up at him. "Dan, I can't keep running back to you and you to me."

He nods, bowing his dark head. "I understand that this isn't easy. We've both hurt each other, but I haven't moved on. I don't want to. I can't. You're the most important person to me, but tell me. Do you want me too? And if you say no, I promise that you will never see me again."

"We can be friends." She says, for nothing else springs to mind.

"You know that's not possible, Serena." He stares into her eyes as he lifts her hand to his lips. He kisses her gloved knuckles, caressing them almost. "Its a yes or no question. Take your time, I'll always be waiting."

"Why are you doing this?" She replies, rattled by his sincerity.

"Because I want to." He slides his hands up and down her arms, bringing her closer. "Because I love you."

She blinks twice, not sure if she heard him clearly or not. She wasn't expecting him to say those words, but now..now they're out and they can't be taken back. "You love me?"

He nods once more, his patience never wearing. "I will love you for as long as I will live. You mean the world to me."

A clock chimes behind them and in the crowded ballroom, masks are being flung everywhere. It's midnight. The party's over, but for some, it was just the beginning.

"Tell me Serena," he pleads, whispering into her ear. "Yes or no."

Before she knows it, she's leaning towards him and their noses are brushing. His lips are just a mere two inches away and she finds herself wanting Dan back. Her Dan. Her hands travel up his back, something that used to tickle him. Her fingers entangle themselves in his hair so its hard for her to let him go. Serena van der Woodsen was never one to know exactly what she wants, but right now, she knows exactly what she wants: Dan. Somehow she draws up the strength and whispers a faint, "Yes" before she brings her lips to his.

"Merry Christmas," he murmurs as his hold on her tightens greatly. Like every other Christmas Eve they shared together, it's definitely one for the books.

And what brought them together? Some would say it was Dan's plan, others would say it was Serena's presence. But they knew; they knew that it was imprint they had left on each other. The lingering thought in their minds that sent them reeling in the other direction if they became even mildly interested in someone else. They're destined to be, and nothing would ever prevent them from being together.