Disclaimer: I do not own "Gossip Girl."
Author's Note: This is a supernatural/future fic and it's meant to be a little on the cracky side. I hope you enjoy. (P.S. I know I have a lot WiP's going on, but this is the last one for a while, nothing new multi-chaptered till everything get's finished, ;)) Thank you for reading!
"This is not my fault."
"Of course it's your fault!"
"It is completely his fault Serena!" The brunette spits and Serena can't see in the darkness of the closet, but she knows her best friend's eyes are shining angrily.
Serena sighs. "Not completely, B," She admits quietly.
They're locked in a room. A closet. All four of them. Locked inside one little room.
"It was my idea." Serena confesses a beat later.
"And I helped too," Nate says softly.
Her shriek makes them all wince. "You ALL plotted against me!?" She shouted.
"We weren't plotting against you, B," Serena explains sweetly, "We just thought that maybe…"
"You were being an unreasonable bitch," Chuck offers balefully, "And could use a moment to make it up to me."
"Chuck!" Serena snaps.
"If anyone is being a bitch in this relationship, it isn't me, mister!" She yells in his direction.
The power had gone out; they were all hazy outlines of shadows to one another, voice coming from different parts of the room.
"Okay, let's just calm down," Nate offers, reaches out his hand to find the doorknob.
"It's locked, Nathaniel," Chuck states, his voice coming from the far side of the room— and low on the ground, "That was kind of the point."
"Did you sit down?"
"Blair, lay off him." Serena snaps as she lowers herself to the ground too.
The room is silent. This is where they are; all home. August, 2009. And everything is so outwardly-perfect it burns.
Serena can't find her father; even with Carter, who helps her because she's beautiful and Serena Van der Woodsen (and having her indebted to him opens up all sorts of worlds) because her father doesn't want her to find him. He doesn't want to face her. It breaks her heart and hardens it.
Nate hated backpacking through eastern Europe the way he hated sitting through Breakfast at Tiffany's for the five-hundred-and-seventy-fifth time—a low simmer in a pool of resentment as he grinned through and bore it. Vanessa's already planning another South American adventure for December.
Blair knows in the way she knows that she and Serena will never shine in the same way that if she and Chuck do not strike a balance this summer, they will never strike it at all. She pushes and pulls and demands and concedes in an elaborate, summer-long pattern designed to prepare them for the Fall (forever); it's only now she is seeing that maybe she should have left things as they were.
Chuck feels like a performer for the Cirque du Soleil; a world watching him with rapt attention, no safety net in sight, and one wrong move could bring certain death. Blair is ice and flame and for once he doesn't have the time to pick up the intent, the gambit, only knows that he is falling behind in the game.
Serena had come home with a brittle smile and tales of sunbathing with Carter Baizon on his yacht.
Nate and Vanessa held hands and avoided eye contact as they rode a taxicab from JFK airport to Williamsburg.
Chuck and Blair fought and made-up and made-out and fought and told one another they loved each a dozen times a week. It's who they are, what they do— and both pretended they didn't see the fraying edges of their relationship, didn't wonder how long they could keep this up.
He leaves her on a helipad again.
And his reason is almost as unforgivable as it was the first time.
Forgot that they'd planned another trip, that he was supposed to meet her there, forgot his phone in his desk during the meeting, forgot that he was eighteen and not twenty-eight…
She hadn't spoken to him in a week. And Chuck was getting tired of being behind in the game… was beginning to wonder why she couldn't slow down.
Blair was afraid of what she'd find if she did.
I'll help you make it up to her.
Serena had offered to the brother she barely saw. And when she and Nate had shown up at his office one blisteringly hot day early this week— he'd listened and agreed.
I love you.
It was simple. If only, she'd see him, which she wouldn't. So they said they'd help him. Get Blair somewhere with him, alone, keep her there; all he had to do was show up with the words and the gift.
Something special, Serena had told him.
"You didn't like it?" He asks her in the still room. His voice sounding oddly loud in the quiet room.
There's beads of sweat dripping from his hair down the side of his face. He imagines they're all suffering from the same affliction.
Blair huffs, she's still standing on the other side of the room. "If you think one measly little pendant necklace is going to make up for you forgetting me on that helipad than you—"
"It was my mother's."
That shut her up.
Blair winces, glad for the darkness suddenly that would hide the flush of her cheeks.
"You can give it back if you don't want it."
"She's not going to give it back," Serena snaps.
"What is your problem," Blair hisses in her direction.
"You've been like this since you got back! You're biting my head off for every little thing!"
"It's not a little thing."
"I wasn't going to give it back!"
"Would you two stop," Nate growled, "It's hot enough in here as it is without having you two yelling." He jiggles the knob again, pounds on the door, calls out hello and anybody out there and Eric! Until Chuck tells him to shut-up.
"There's no one out there," Serena reminds Nate, "That was the point, remember? They'll be back in the morning and then we'll hear them come in."
"So the plan was what?" Blair asks carefully. "To what? Lock me in here with Chuck? And what then?"
"And then I'd say I'm sorry, give you the measly pendant, tell you I love you, and we could make-out."
"I didn't mean to forget. I'm busy."
"Maybe you could get an assistant," Nate suggests.
"I have two."
"A personal one."
"Blair said no to a personal assistant."
"Only because you wanted to pick one out from Playboy."
"What's wrong with that? A lot of those girls are working their way through school."
Nate laughs a little and the room slips into silence again, less stifling this time. A good thing, since the heat was stifling enough, "I don't really think it's measly, you know." Blair says softly.
"Oh god," Serena groans, the sound followed by the rustling of clothes as she took off the vest she'd been wearing, "You two give me a headache." She mutters.
"I just didn't get a good look at it," Blair continues as if her best friend hadn't spoken, "Before the power went out and the wind blew…" Blair paused, then turns her head in Serena's direction, "Hey, S… where did the wind come from?" She wonders suddenly.
They blink at each other in the darkness. Blair had latched onto Serena's arm when Serena had propelled her into the closet and Nate hadn't wanted to leave the blonde there, with them. So Chuck had given Blair the gift box and she'd opened it immediately, while yelling at Chuck, even as Serena had tried to disentangle herself from Blair's arm and Nate had tried to tug her out of the room.
A wind had slammed the door shut behind them though, followed closely by the flickering of the overhead light, and then its disappearance.
"I don't… know?" Serena's voice is soft, a little confused, like she'd just gone over it all again, and it wasn't adding up. "Did you either of see a window open?"
"No," Chuck answers immediately and he's standing then, "I didn't actually."
"And it's not been that hot," Blair says carefully, "It's hot in here, now, but it's not been that hot… not like last year's power outage…"
"Are you sure you didn't see an open widow," Serena asks.
"All I saw was the spark," Nate adds.
"The spark?" Serena's standing now too. They're coming closer together in a circle now, their eyes accustomed enough to the dark that they make out one another faces. "What spark?"
"The… spark…" Nate says again as if he's clarifying, "You know, before the outage…"
"I didn't see a spark," Serena says, shaking her head.
"From the light fixture?" Chuck asks.
"Um… no… not…" Nate trails off, starts over, "While you two were yelling… when Blair picked up the necklace… and you were shouting and Serena was trying to calm you down… and there was—"
"A spark, yes, Nate, we get that," Blair snaps, "From where? The light fixture? The light switch? Where?"
They couldn't see him clearly, but they all knew he was frowning in consternation.
"It didn't… come from either…" he says slowly, "It looked like it came from…"
Again he trails off and they could see his shadow run a hand through his hair.
"From where?" Serena prods.
"From the box, Blair's hand…"
There was silence for a moment and then Blair shoves the gift box she was still holding at Chuck's chest, "You booby trapped me!" She snarls at him.
"Oh my god." Serena breathes on a sigh.
"No!" Chuck shouts, "It's just a box," he hisses, then turns to Nate, "You saw wrong."
"I didn't!" Nate defends and then adds less heatedly, "I think… I mean it doesn't… make sense, does it…?"
"Not unless he's trying to kill me!"
Serena sighs, touches Blair's arm. "He's not trying to kill you, Blair."
"Why are you always taking his side!" She jerks back.
"I'm not! I just—"
But Serena never finishes her sentence, never will.
Because the door swings open just then, flooding the room with bright sunlight. And a child pokes her head inside, scans her gaze over the space they're occupying and then shouts over her shoulder, "Not in here either!"
And then she retreats as abruptly as she'd appeared.
For a hairsbreadth the room is completely still and then Blair speaks, voice hushed, "Wha—what was that?"
"A kid." Nate answers carefully.
"YES. Nate. That I saw," she growls back.
"Sis? Lily hasn't adopted anyone else and say, forgotten to mention it? Has she?"
"N—no." Serena says, shaking her head, moving towards the door the girl had left open.
"Wait!" Blair shouts, grabs her friend's hand. "That girl… she didn't even…"
"See us," Chuck finishes when Blair trails off.
They all think about that for a moment, about what that might mean, and then Nate says carefully, "It was dark in here…"
"The point is why is she even here?" Serena demands suddenly and pulls free.
The girl had left the door slightly ajar and she pushed it open, stepped through it and then screamed.
The other three tumble out after her, hearts pounding in their chests. Had there been a robbery? Were there dead bodies? Were Lily and Rufus kissing?
But they stumbled to a frozen stop.
They were not in the Van der Woodsen apartment where Serena had lured Blair with the promise of croissants and Roman Holiday while Chuck laid in wait.
They were in a living room, bright, airy, large; furnished with mahogany and shades of crème and lavender. Immense bay windows dominated one side of the room, wide open to reveal a bright blue, cloudless sky at odds with the evening sky they had all traveled under.
"Oh my fucking god," Blair spits, eyes wide in her face.
"Was there any… like did we…" Nate stammers.
Chuck is silent for a beat, then takes a step forward, "This is bad."
"We're hallucinating," Serena offers quietly, voice hoarse; turning around to take it all in.
The closet door was behind them, to the right the room opened into a wide hallway, to the left more open space and furnishings, in front of them an entire living quarter big enough for them to know they weren't in an apartment in the city.
"All of us?" Nate asks of Serena's assertion— and then nods, answering his own questioning. "Ye—yeah…"
"The heat," the blonde continues, stepping closer to him, "The heat is… and we're…"
"We died." Blair gasps.
"We're not dead." Chuck retorts instantly.
"Not dead!?" Blair shouts as if it's the most inconceivable thing she's ever heard, "Of course we! That girl looked right through us! And we're shouting!"
"You're shouting," Nate points out quietly.
"And no one's coming!" She shouts even more loudly, "Because they can't hear us! Because we're dead!"
Chuck takes three steps towards Blair, wraps an arm around her waist, and pulls her to him for a kiss so full throttle, Nate and Serena look away in embarrassment.
When Chuck pulls back, Blair is still in his hold, eyes blinking open dazedly.
"Does that feel like we're dead to you?" He asks her lazily, a smirk in his eyes.
She's still for another heartbeat and then she shoves him, hard, in the shoulder, away from her, "Get off me! Don't you kiss— don't you touch me, you gigantic Basshole! I haven't forgiven you! You forgot me!"
Chuck huffs, frustration washing over his face, "For fuckssake, Blair, I didn't forget you!"
"Just that you were supposed to be with me!"
"I refuse to be an afterthought, Chuck Bass!"
"Would you two SHUT-UP!" Serena shouts, "Don't you think we have bigger things to worry about!?"
"She's right, guys… I mean… are we dead?"
Chuck rolled his eyes, "We're not dead. We didn't all die."
"We could have. You don't know everything there is to know about everything, Bass."
"I know we didn't die because of a power outage!"
"Maybe it had to do with the spark I saw," Nate offers, "Maybe there was an explosion…!"
Chuck takes a deep breath. "We are not dead. We are just…"
"Hallucinating," Serena says.
Blair arch's an eyebrow at them both, "All of us? Together? The same thing?"
"Well if we were dead we wouldn't all be together either," Serena snaps.
Blair scowls at her, "You're right— for once. I wouldn't be lumped in with you…" her eyes skim to Chuck, "Or him."
"What is wrong with you two?" Nate wonders as Serena's mouth opens to reply.
"If we don't find him, we're dead."
Any reply the blonde had been about to give was cut off as the young girl they'd seen earlier turns into the room from the hallway.
She's about seven, maybe eight years old; bright auburn hair pulled up into a messy chignon, strands falling around her face; wearing pale green shorts and a bright yellow tang top that displays long, skinny arms tanned golden. She's with a boy of a similar age this time, sandy-blonde hair cut short and sticking up in tufts, white shorts and a pale green polo shirt that matches the color of the girl's shorts exactly; his face is set in determined lines, eyes narrowed.
"We'll find him," he's saying to her.
"Yeah, but when? We're running out of time!?" The girl hisses and then together they start to cross the room, right to the four of them— and right through the four of them.
Serena shrieks again and this time Blair joins her, Nate says holy shit just as Chuck's hissing fuck, but it's all over in less than half a second…
The children already nearing a staircase the four friends hadn't noticed before, running up it as they snipe at each other heatedly.
"I think I'm going to faint," Blair says a moment later when they've been left in utter silence.
No one else speaks for a long time and then Chuck moves to the sofa and lays his hand on it. On it. His hand doesn't go through it.
"I can feel this."
Nate nods, understanding what Chuck means, "And I tried to open the door."
"And we leaned against the wall in the closet," Serena continues.
Blair releases a slow breath, "They just walked through us."
Serena moves to the sofa, touches it hesitantly, and then perches on the arm of it slowly, blows out a breath, "I need to sit."
"This is… implausible," Chuck mutters very lowly.
"Maybe we're all high?" Nate offers, "Maybe there's like… something in the closet like…"
"Mold?" Blair asks, eyes brightening, "Maybe we're all passed out! And… and…"
"Hallucinating? The same thing?" Serena says, voice tinged with bite.
Blair shrugs, meets her best friend's gaze, "Not all your conclusions are terrible."
Serena rolls her eyes, "Fine. So we're passed out and hallucinating in one of the downstairs hall closets. Great."
They all ignored the obvious holes in that conclusion.
"You couldn't even have tried to lock me up with him in your closet," Blair huffs.
"No," Serena huffs back, "Nate and I were going to watch movies in there."
"Are you joking! You lock me up with him and then you—"
"Would it really have been the worst thing in the world?" Chuck's soft question cuts her off and she whirls to face him.
"Yes!" She shouts, "It completely would have! Because I don't want to forgive you, Chuck! Even if I do, I still don't want to! And being stuck like I probably would have and—"
"Jeez, Blair," it's Nate who cuts in now, frowning at her, "It's not that big a deal, he made a mistake; it's not like—"
"Stay out of this Nate! You're a relationship fruit-fly! And he forgot me."
Chuck releases growl-like breath, "I didn't for—"
The shouted admission gives it all away.
Chuck stares at her, takes a step towards her, "Blair…"
She shakes her head, says, "Don't," in a too quiet, too hurt voice as she steps back.
"You can bring Candice if you'd like to."
All four of them stiffen; heads turning in the direction of the hallway again.
There's no doubt about it. Her hair is shorter, highlighted, styled very straight; she's wearing fitted tan slacks that end just at her knee, high-heeled sandals, and a form, fitting lacy top in a creamy shade of rose pink.
And she's older. Her face matured in a way the Blair's they're standing with hasn't yet; the profile the same, the beauty still there, but the contours different somehow.
She's with a boy, an early teen, fourteen or fifteen years old; short, blonde hair styled into spikes and a perfectly pressed light blue, collared shirt tucked into long, dark gray pants.
He's shaking his head, a twinkle in his blue eyes, "Wouldn't want her to get any ideas."
Blair laughs, rolls her eyes upwards, "That's girl's had ideas since the day you met her."
He laughed, "Of course. But I didn't give them to her," he says.
Blair shakes her head, "Have you seen the others? Dorota tells me Gail sent them to get dressed an hour ago, but I haven't seen them…"
They're walking across the room too; like the younger children had— and this time all four of them jump out of the way. Being walked through once was enough, thank you very much.
But all four of them keep their eyes glued to the forms casually walking towards the staircase.
"Cash isn't coming."
"Oh. Isn't he?" There's a threatening tone in her voice as they start up.
And the boy's laughter drifts around them as the two disappear into the second floor.
Blair actually sways when her doppelganger is out of sight. The world spinning around her and no breath in her lungs because what she just saw wasn't possible.
Chuck's hands are on her arms and she turns into him, presses her face into his shoulder, and closes her eyes as she whispers, "Jesus."
"What…" Serena's question trails off, voice bewildered, because this was stranger than them all hallucinating the same thing.
"Maybe we are dead," Nate whispers, "Maybe the spark was an explosion."
"Would stop with the goddamn spark, Nathaniel!" Chuck snaps, arms wrapped around Blair, who has yet to lift her head.
"There was nothing in that box but the pendant and that thing wasn't booby trapped! It's a fuckin' antique."
"I know what I saw!"
"Stop it!" Serena yells eyes wide, "From this second forward no more arguing, we need to figure out what's going and how to—to… stop it or reverse it or fix it… or wake-up… or whatever… but we can't do it if we're all at each other's throats. So not one more argued word, understood!?"
The boys stare at her for a moment and then Blair's head lifts.
"That was me…" Her voice shakes and Serena's shouting demeanor melts away.
She's nodding at her best friend and taking a step towards her when the children stampede down the steps again. The girl in front, the boy two steps behind, frazzled expressions more visible.
"We can't hide from Mom," the boy is saying, "She'll have us found and then we'll be in even more trouble, let's just—"
"Don't be logical at me, Harmon!" The girl snits shooting him a look over his shoulder.
"Maybe we should ask Liam to—"
"No! I'm not asking Liam anything." She snaps stopping at the foot of the stairs to glare at him.
He shrugs at her, "Maybe we could just confess, he'll come out if Mom calls him."
"Are you kidding!? Do you want me to be shipped to Sweeden!?"
"Maybe you could stop being so bitchy then!"
She freezes, "I'm not!"
"You are! And I'm not the one who lost him, so don't take it out on me!" The boy accuses.
"I didn't lose him, I just…"
"Yelled at him, you know he hates to be yelled at."
She blew out a breath, ran the back of her hand across her perfectly trimmed bangs, "Look—"
"There you two are."
Blair's perfectly modulated voice fills the room again, she's standing at the top of the staircase, looking down at them.
Horror and guilt flashes across their faces for an instant and then both expressions clear.
"Yep! Here we are!"
Blair descends slowly and they can all see the amusement glimmering in her eyes. There's no doubt she's aware that they're hiding something.
"I need you both to dress, they should be here in less than hour," she says when she reaches them.
"Oh yeah, of course," the boy says shooting her a smile. Blair smiles back, reaches out to touch his hair.
"And you?" She says of the girl.
"You most certainly are," Blair agrees, "I ought to have clarified, dress appropriately."
The child huffs, eyes rolling up the ceiling.
"I selected a lovely sundress for you— pale yellow, you'll look beautiful," Blair tells her sweetly, reaches out and tucks a strand of the girl's hair behind her ear.
The girl bristles, shrugs her off.
Blair smiles even wider, "Have either of you seen…"
Both children tense.
There's a pause and then, "Oh," the boy says on a breath, relief all over his face, "Um… he's out by the pool-house."
Blair nods, turns towards the far side of the room, "I'll have Gail get him then, you two back upstairs."
They're relaxing when she stops, turns to look over her shoulder, "You'll both make sure Sunny's dressed as well, yes?" When you find him, was implicit.
Blair nods, a smirk playing around her lips as she runs gaze over the children one last time, and then she's walking away.
The children watch her in silence and then turn to each other.
"She knows," the boy says quietly.
"You don't know that… she could just have…"
"She knows." He says again, firmly this time. "Let's just—"
"I'm not doing it."
And the four blink, because there was a shift in subject there, abrupt and a little too hard for a girl that young. The boy picks it up as smoothly as the girl had dropped it randomly.
"She's gonna get here whether you change or not."
"Don't psycho-analyze me, Harm! That's Doc Greg's job!"
"I'm not! I'm just saying—"
"Well, stop saying and help me look!"
"My Mom said to get dressed."
The girl rolls her eyes, "Fine. Listen to Mommy and you go get dressed." She says on a huff and then storms off towards where they're standing. They move back, to let her pass on her way out of the room.
The boy stands still; and for a moment, he looks positively heartbroken— and then he scowls darkly in her direction before turning around stomping up the steps.
Blair blows out a long breath; Serena does the same. Chuck and Nate stare into the empty room… this was insane, surreal, impossible.
"Okay," Blair says firmly, "Serena, follow the girl, I'll trail myself, you two go after that boy. We can't stand around here and just wait for—"
"No," Chuck's voice is hard as he cuts into her explanation.
Blair draws up short and then sends him a scathing look, "Excuse me."
"We don't split up," Chuck adds.
"He's right, B."
"Oh would you stop!" Blair hisses, "Enough with the taking his side!"
"I'm not! I'm just be logical about—"
"Guys, this is arguing," Nate points out.
"How helpful of you to draw attention to it, Nathaniel."
"We can't just stand here!" Blair shouts, "We have to do something… this can't be happening, but it is, so we have to…"
"Fix it," Serena finishes for her, nodding.
"Exactly," Chuck adds, "Together. Or are you in a rush to get back to… where we're supposed to be, without the three of us?"
She scowls at him, "It would certainly be more peaceful!"
"Blair!" Nate cries, sounding aghast, "You don't mean that."
"Of course I don't." She snaps instantly.
"Right, so let's go after other-Blair then," Serena announces and offers her Blair a smile.
Blair's expression eases and she lets Serena slip her arm into the crook of her elbow. They set off together in the direction the older Blair had walked off in, the boys a pace behind them.
It's a smaller living room they step into; lined with bookshelves and filled with plush looking furniture; cozy, warm even. The sort of room you could envision spending a rainy afternoon in.
Chuck walks through it to peer around the doorway and then informs them all that, "She's not there," quietly.
"What is?" Blair asks quietly as she looks around the small room. There was an entire shelf of fairy tales. And an entire shelf of Dr. Seuss. And an entire shelf of sci-fi thrillers. And an entire shelf of romance novels.
It was as baffling as everything else she'd seen.
"Dining room," Chuck answers, "I think it goes around to the kitchen, which goes around back to that living room."
The others nod, "So what do we do?" Nate wonders when the silence stretches.
"Maybe go upstairs?" Serena suggests slowly, giving a small shrug to go with her words.
"This is ridiculous," Blair hisses, turning away from the books and waving her hands in a frustrated gesture, "Everyone just… close your eyes, take a deep breath, and wake-up."
"Oh and that's not ridiculous." Chuck snaps.
"Why would it be?"
"Because we didn't close our eyes and take a deep breath to get here, Blair, so why—"
"No your pendant brought us here!"
"According to Nathaniel!"
"Hey! That's not what I sai—"
They all freeze.
Because that hadn't come from any of them; they exchange glances none of them will ever admit were frightened.
And then it's Blair who takes a deep breath and says, "Hello?"
There's silence. They look around the room; exchange another round of glances and they're all sure they didn't imagine it.
"Is anyone…" Blair trails off, feels silly and frightened, and is standing next to Chuck before she really means to be.
"Shhh!" Comes again and the bottom cupboard of one the shelves opens and a small, golden-blonde head peeks out, bright blue eyes gone round, and a finger to his lips, "Shh," he repeats, "They'll hear you."
"You can see us!?" Blair squeaks.
He frowns at her, finger away from his lips, bottom one puckered out a little, "You look like—"
It's Blair's voice again, the other Blair, coming up behind them and they jump out of her way to avoid being walked through. "There you are! What are you— oh get out of there!"
The child sighs dramatically, but he's grinning when he pushes the cupboard all the way open and slips out.
Blair's kneeling down, reaching for him, to help him out and then leaves her hands on his little arms. He's wearing a pale blue t-shirt with a darker blue sail boat printed on it. His shorts are white and the dark, blue sail boat is replicated in miniature version at the right corner of them. His sneakers have an incongruous orange cartoon character on the front that none of them have ever seen before—and they're dirty.
"You need to change, baby, you're mommy's almost here."
He nods and then looks directly at Serena, extending a finger to point right at her, "She looks like Mommy!"
Blair looks over her shoulder, gaze unfocused, because there's nothing there for her to see. "Who does, baby?"
"Her!" He says excitedly, "And she looks like you, Auntie B!"
Blair's gaze follows the boy's gesture, but still there's nothing there. So she takes the little hand in hers, lowering it, and standing up. "Let's go upstairs and see what Gail's laid out for you, shall we?"
He shrugs at her, smiling, "Sure!"
"And on the way, you can tell me what you were doing inside the bookcase."
"Oh, hiding from Gracie," he says simply, as they turn to leave the room. He turns back towards them, "Do you want to see my room?" He asks them.
They were statues; had been since the kid had pointed at Serena and said mommy but now Chuck steps forward and nods, "Yes."
"Oh good, come on then…"
"Sunny, baby" the older Blair says, her voice very quiet, careful, "Who are you talking to?"
The boy giggles, tugs on her hand, "Them!" He says with emphasis, pointing behind himself and her, "Right there…"
"Baby, there's nothing there," she tells him softly, smoothing his silky blonde hair with her other hand.
He looks up at her with impossibly wide, guileless eyes, "Yes, there is."
She looks very worried for about another breath and then it's gone from her face and she smiles at him, "And why were you hiding from Gracie?" She redirects.
They're climbing the stairs now, the four of them behind this little boy who sees them and this older Blair who doesn't.
"Oh, she was being a bitc—"
"Simon!" Blair says sharply, cutting off the word.
He stops speaking and looks up at her again, "Yes?"
"Do not call her— that."
"Liam said it."
"Well, Liam will be hearing from me about that," Blair says firmly.
They're walking down a wide hallway now, painted in a creamy beige color, decorated with pictures of… them.
Nate stops walking to stare at a picture of himself holding a little girl with brown curls and bright blue eyes in his arms. She's upside down in his hold and they're grinning widely at the camera. He can't tear his eyes away from it, until Serena takes his hand and pulls him.
Chuck and Blair are holding hands too; standing in a big room, painted in varying shades of blue and yellow, toys littering the floor, trucks and building blocks and something that looks like a laser gun.
There was a galaxy mural painted across an entire two walls and up the ceiling of the room, it was amazing.
So was this older Blair who had already stripped the little boy of shirt and shorts and sneakers. He was standing on top of the bed chattering at her, "… and then she told me to run before she got her hands on me so I did and then she slammed the door shut, really hard, Auntie B, and then I got mad and went and kicked it and then she opened it again and had the crazy look so I ran'ned away and then I hid because she was supposed to be watchin' me and I wanted you to yell at her."
"How old do you think he is?" Serena asks Nate quietly as they move to stand just behind Chuck and Blair.
"I'm four!" He says brightly, turning to look at them, "Almost five!"
"I know you are, baby," Blair says as she moves towards a panel on the wall, "Dorota, would you please send Gail up here. And remind her of what her job is, please. These children have been running amok for two hours at least."
"Oh, yes, Miss Blair."
"Thank you," Blair says sweetly and turns back to Sunny, "And you, please don't hide from the adults; find other ways to express yourself, okay, baby. It's dangerous," she ruffles his hair gently and he giggles. She pulls him towards her and leans in to press a kiss to his forehead, "You don't want me to be sad, do you?"
He shakes his head, "Oh no."
"Good. So no more hiding…"
He nods, very simply, and says, "Okay…" A beat passes and then he adds, "Are you going to yell at her?"
And Blair laughs a little, "I'm going to have a talk with her."
A dark-haired, woman rushes into the room then, "Ma'am, I'm so sorry, I had to—"
Blair's smile goes icy, but it didn't so much as twitch as she eyes the woman. "Gail, how wonderful to see you; please bring me Sunny's outfit, I will dress him. You, please find Cash and ensure both he and Gracie are dressed appropriately within the half hour."
The woman nods vigorously as she moves to the closet, "Of course," she says and then pulls out a hanger with a neatly pressed ensemble on it. "Here it is."
"Yes, I do apologize for—"
"It's no problem," Blair's voice is smooth as silk and then her gaze goes back to Sunny, her eyes and smile going warm, "Sunny knows he's not to hide and worry us anymore."
"I do!" The little boy agrees, "I gotta think of other ways to get Gracie in trouble." He proclaims a moment later.
Serena laughs a little at that and the boy's attention goes to her, he grins at her, "I can do it!"
Gail blinks, follows his gaze to the blank wall; but jumps when Blair says steadily, her meaning clear, "Thank you, Gail."
"Yes, Ma'am. Of course," she says quickly.
And the four of them turn towards her as she rushes from the room; the young boy calls out, "Bye-bye!" And then returns his gaze to Serena, "You look like Mommy!" He tells her again.
Serena stares at him with wide eyes, mute. It's the older Blair who speaks, voice gentle as she takes the little boy's chin in one of her hands and turns him towards her, "Baby, there's no one there," she says calmly.
He pouts at her a little, "Yes, there is. She looks like Mommy and then she looks like you and then—"
"Sunny, just because your Mommy's not here, doesn't mean you have to make her up okay?" She says to him, "She's coming today and I'm right here, you don't have to pretend."
He nods at her, wisps of blonde hair shifting at the moving, "Oh I know. I'm not."
Blair studies him for another moment and then smiles a little, presses another kiss to his forehead, "Okay then."
They watch as she dresses him in a blue, button down shirt and khaki slacks, slips little white socks on his tiny feet and then small, brown loafers over them. She ties one shoe for him and then leaves the other when he says, "I can do it!"
She nods at him, "Alright, and I can trust you to stay in your room until someone comes to get you?"
He shrugs, "Maybe."
She laughs at him, ruffles his hair, "You need a haircut."
"Uncle Chuck said that this a'morning!" He replies happily, "I get to go with him, he said!"
"Well that's a special treat!" She enthuses and the boy fairly glows as he nods again.
Blair's smile dims a moment later, "Baby… the girl who looks like your Mommy… is she doing anything?"
Sunny's gaze flies to Serena and then back to his Aunt, "No, just watching." He tells her happily.
Blair nods slowly, "Okay… you tell me, if she… does anything."
He smiles, "Okay."
And then the older Blair leaves the room.
The very first thing Sunny does, is jump off his bed and run to the door. They watch him as he peers outside and then he closes it, all the way, until it clicks.
Then he turns to them and looks them over, all four of them, before tilting his head to one side and wondering curiously, "Are you pretend?"