A/N: Short drabble just came to me while I was writing something else. I had to write it down. I hope you guys enjoy!
Dan Humphrey constantly finds himself making apologies for his wife. Whether it's because she made her distaste for the general decor apparent or whether she critiqued his sister's designs, his lips are used to the words "I'm sorry about that. She didn't mean it."
And he's happy to. Really. Because most of the time, she doesn't mean it. Or at least, she doesn't mean to be hurtful (like the time she criticized his tie at their wedding rehearsal dinner), she is just sure of herself. Confident Blair is someone he likes to see as much as possible, because self-loathing, self-destructive Blair is catalyst to guilt-ridden, worrying, flustered Dan. Confident Blair is someone their daughter looks up to and her shadow is a fragile stranger to his little girl.
He sees her (his little Emily - Dickenson for him, Bronte for her) learning her mother's sharp tongue and he's not sure whether he should smile or sigh. She certainly has her mother's classic looks and pixie height, but to also acquire her mind... well, he's not sure if Manhattan is ready for another Blair Waldorf. He's sat in the principal's office of their alma mater, with Headmistress Queller shaking her head and making him feel like a teenager all over again instead of the professor that he's become, and defended her. "You know how kids are..." And when Blair adds insult to injury ("Well, she's right, that girl's shoes do look like they came from the Salvation Army."), he apologizes again.
He doesn't mind. Even when Nate lets out a low, sympathetic whistle and his stepsisterexgirlfriend pats him on the back, he just returns his crooked, slightly gap-toothed smile.
For as much as he apologizes for their brutal honesty, their sharp jabs, he embraces their love the minute they close the front door to their apartment. His harsh, headstrong wife sheds her shell, her stiff shoulder becoming soft and around as she drops her brief case and purse to the floor, and steps out of her painful heels. She curls up next to him in her softest oversized cashmere sweater while he's grading term papers and makes them hot tea. She makes him go to bed when he's obsessed about making a deadline and lures him with sinfully sexy lingerie on his birthday, their anniversary, and when she just feels like torturing him while he has to finish his latest novel. She complains about work and her mother and Serena and makes him feel like a man when he knows they're all problems he can fix just by telling her the honest truth about how wonderful she is and how much he loves her.
And then there's Emily. Sweet little Emily who has been painting since Dorota got her her first non-toxic paint set. The little girl he could lift onto his shoulder and listen while she squeals and her mother worries. The girl he gives him a heart attack when she brings home her first boyfriend (a Baizen, no less) and who is growing up before his very eyes.
"So that went well." Blair let down her hair in a luscious tumble of waves down her back and he walks over to unzip her and kiss her on the shoulder. "Nothing nearly as dramatic as ours, thank God."
He chuckles at the memory. He was still with his golden, ethereal muse whom he could never quite grasp then and she was struggling between a boy who loved her from the shadows and one who didn't love her very much at all. "Did you miss the part where you nearly started a fight with Georgina? Again?"
"It's not my fault the coked-up cougar doesn't know how to keep her hands off of underaged boys. I wasn't going to stand there and let her fawn all over our daughter's cotillion date. Besides, I apologized about the carpet stain."
"Correction: I apologized about the carpet stain. You stuck the maid a hundred dollar bill."
"Yea, what I said."
He laughs and watches her change into her nightdress, recording the fluidity of her movement for his latest heroine. The click at the front door makes them poke their heads out and spy their offspring leaning against the front door and, shoulders relaxed and kicking off her shoes. "I'm pooped," she pouted at him. This coming from the head debutante in her floor sweeping cream colored gown and French chignon.
"I'll warm you up a glass of milk and you can head off to bed." He kisses her on her forehead, their earlier fight forgotten (No, she could not spend the night of her cotillion with her boyfriend in a hotel room. Not even if her mother did it).
She hugs him and he thinks she needs to eat more. "I love you, daddy."
"Emily Angelique Humphrey! Did you lose one of my pearl earrings?" Blair knows their daughter well enough to know there's a bigger story behind it.
She looks at him for help and he gives her a slight nudge toward her bedroom. She makes a run for it and leaves him alone with his barefooted wife. He shrugs. "She's sorry! She didn't mean it."