Title: Four Words
Character(s): Blair Waldorf, Dan Humphrey, Chuck Bass, Nate Archibald, Harold Waldorf, Jenny Humphrey
Rating: PG-13
Spoilers/Warning: basic GG spoilers, more specific season 2 spoilers
Summary: 'Four words, four simple words, and they had the power to change everything. She was starting to hate the number four.' A series of moments in Blair's life that lead her home.

A/N: This is a completely AU look at the future of the series, based loosely on what has happened up to the beginning of season two.

Four words were always enough for Blair Waldorf to get answers from the men in her life. Four words were all it took to have her world shift, and her walls to crumble. But she would not be Blair Waldorf, Queen B of the Upper East Side if she did not put herself back together. But those four words would always haunt her.

Her words were always met with silence. She hated that silence. It stifled her, made her want to scream and cry, and break down. But she was Blair Waldorf, and she would do none of those things.

'Are you leaving us?'

The first time, those words had cracked at the sight of her father holding his bags. His eyes had been apologetic, and the kiss on his forehead had been heartbreaking. She shed tears after the door had shut behind him.

'Do you love me?'

She had been broken the second time, already knowing the answer. Nate's silence had been louder than any answer he could have given her. The blue eyes she loved held only sorrow for her. She left before he could.

'Three words, eight letters.'

The third time, she had not been broken. A little hurt, but never broken. Her mask firmly in place, she had challenged Chuck. His silence had strengthened her hate for the silence. She walked away from it, and him, before she could shatter.

The four words had always changed everything, every damn thing about her life. She had come out a little more broken, a little more cynical, and a lot more scared. Scared to let anyone in, to love anyone so completely that their silence could kill her inside.

The last times she had let her dad, Nate and Chuck back into her life, though she could never forget the silence that had suffocated her in those few seconds after her four words.

This time it was different. The four words changed her life completely. She knew the answer to these four words would change everything. There would be no turning back, no reconciliation.

This time, the four words were not uttered by her.

It started innocently enough. No one expected Blair Waldorf and Dan Humphrey to get along beyond occasional plotting and snide remarks.

Somewhere along the line that changed. Blair could not quite pinpoint the moment he went from Cabbage Patch, Serena's scruffy tagalong and Jenny's loser brother, to Humphrey, occasional partner-in-crime and the only person to have an intelligent debate with, to Dan, her best friend and confidante.

Blair Waldorf and Dan Humphrey did not just become friends, they became best friends. There was nothing they did not know about the other. Dan became a constant fixture at the parties of the Upper East Side while Blair all but moved into the Humphreys' loft.

Their friendship had their ups and downs. It was by no means perfect. Both Dan and Blair were hot-headed individuals, who were quick to judge and passionate about their beliefs. There was more than one flare up over the social scene and the company they kept.

But nothing tore apart their friendship.

Until four words.

'Will you marry me?'

If Blair were to look back at the events leading to those four words, she would not know where to start. While majority of her time was spent with Dan, and a surprisingly strong friendship with Jenny, the Non-Judging Breakfast Club had begun piecing together slowly.

Her friendships with Serena, Nate and Chuck were different from the steady presence of Dan and Jenny, but she could not throw away lifelong friendships, no matter how dysfunctional they could be. A part of her did, and always would love her Non-Judging Breakfast Club.

Chuck's question came after long hours and days fixing their friendship, and trying to make Blair&Chuck work. Marriage was never discussed.

But the four words were in the air, and they were sincere.

Blair could not let these four words be answered with silence.

Still, her heart seemed to rebel against her positive answer.

What followed was a month of flurried activity as the Upper East Side prepared for the grand wedding of Chuck Bass and Blair Waldorf. Dan was seen less and less around Blair as she went from dress fittings to food tastings, but Blair always found a way to call him before the night was over.

He knew her insecurities before she did. He voiced them when she could not find the courage to do so. And he tried to help her as much as he could.

Their friendship would suffer with Chuck in her life; the man had never liked Dan. Blair was prepared to fight for her friendship, but Dan was realistic about the situation. Blair could not be in a constant battle with the man she was planning on spending the rest of her life with.

It was only when Dan began to pull away to keep Blair from having to choose between her friendship with him and her relationship with Chuck that it struck Blair.

She was getting married to a man that could not stand her best friend.

The awkwardness between Blair and Dan after that was not evident to most, but those who had seen their friendship grow were left wondering whether either would survive unscathed when the blow-up happened. And the explosion would happen; neither were the type to really let things go without a word.

To be fair, there had been a lot of drinking involved when things did blow up. The night began well enough, Dan arriving at Blair's engagement party with Jenny, planning an early escape. Then he had seen her with Chuck.

She looked stunning in the one-of-a-kind -by-Eleanor-Waldorf dress that she wore. Not a hair was out of place and her smile was picture perfect.

Her smile was also fake.

It was too wide, too happy to be genuine. Her eyes did not shine like they did when she cracked up at one of his father's jokes. There was no glow about her that Vanessa had had before (and after) her wedding to Aaron.

He could not fathom why she was marrying Chuck if she was not completely and utterly happy with it. His confusion turned into annoyance by his third glass of champagne. That annoyance evolved into anger as she mingled with her guests, that fake smile on her face, her fifth – or was it sixth? – glass of alcohol in her hand.

As soon as she excused herself, he stalked after her and into her bedroom. It was convenient that it was far from the party.

Harsh words and bitter truths were exchanged that night. Dan accused Blair of settling, and Blair shot back venomously on the status difference between them. Blair screamed at Dan for not minding his own business, and Dan yelled back at Blair for not taking care of herself.

They went back and forth for a long time, Dan shooting out everything Chuck did not know about Blair Waldorf, and Blair finding herself unable to fight back because everything Dan was saying was true.

'You don't love him.'

The four words had Blair's breath catching in her throat. She could not find a way to respond to that. Dan repeated that statement, not expecting a reply, and furious that Blair would let herself enter such a relationship.

Blair's defence was weak when it fell from her lips. Chuck may have loved her, in his own way, but Blair could not trust Chuck with her whole heart. Not when his silence so long ago had cut her so deeply.

Dan fought with her for her happiness. And Blair fought back. She did not know why she did, only that he was exposing her vulnerabilities and insecurities. It was nothing he had never seen before, but something in Blair was scared of just how well Dan Humphrey knew her. That knowledge could be used to hurt her, as had happened before.

Frustrated, Dan resorted to what in his drunken haze felt like the only way to win this argument. He kissed her.

If they had been a little less drunk, and a little less heartbroken, the pair might have seen that sleeping together three days before Blair's wedding had bad idea written all over it. As it was, they were drunk, and angry, and neither could quite let the other win.

Waking up next to her best friend the morning after caused a rush of panic and unknown feelings to course through Blair. So naturally, she fled.

'I can't do this.'

That was what Dan heard when he woke up to Blair's empty apartment. The words were unspoken, but implied. But the revelation Dan's hangover had given him had him ready to fight for Blair. His best friend was scared, and so was he, but he was not letting her go so easily.

One note was left on her dresser. On that small scrap of paper were the four words that would turn Blair Waldorf's life upside down the day before her wedding when she found it under her copy of Wuthering Heights.

'Run away with me.'

Blair stood in front of the mirror, letting her mother fuss over getting the dress to fall just right. Dan's four words ran through her head, as they had been since she had found the slip of paper with his familiar handwriting. The paper was clenched tightly in her hand, crumpled from the many times she had taken it out to read it.

She smoothed it out again when the door closed behind her mother. Four words, four simple words, and they had the power to change everything. She was starting to hate the number four.

The door opening behind her startled Blair, and Dan's words fluttered to the floor. Her wide brown eyes stared into Jenny's knowing ones and Blair stood still, letting Jenny's speech wash over her. She had lost one best friend with her silence – and God, she hated that silence – and her other one would not, could not bring herself to attend Blair's wedding.

Jenny's words and Dan's words meshed as they played around in her head. Her heart thumped wildly. Blair slowly bent down and picked up the piece of paper that had been the cause of much tumult.

Four words flashed in her mind, words that had been there three days ago, but she had not recognised what they meant.

When Eleanor and Serena returned to the room to bring out the bride, all they found was a slip of paper and four words.

'I can't do this.'

Dan opened the door, already prepared to snap at Jenny for disturbing him as he moped. His best friend had made her choice, and it was not him. He was definitely not expecting to see Blair Waldorf at his door, in her wedding dress, hair perfectly coiled, head band in place.

While her presence was unexpected, the four words she said next made the world tilt back onto its axis.

'Run away with me.'


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