Falling Again

Disclaimer: I don't own Gossip Girl.

NOTE: Set post Season 3 and is unrelated from Season 4. I hope you enjoy the first chapter, please leave me reviews to let me know what you think!

WARNING: Spoilers Season 1, 2, 3. Dark themes, self harm, language.

oOo

Chapter One

The first thing Erik van der Woodsen did when he was discharged from the Ostroff Centre, was pay a visit to a local supermarket, to make a purchase he knew he would regret—a pen knife. He paid with cash and discarded the receipt in a public trash can. The knife sat safely in his blazer pocket and ironically, this sharp blade gave him the familiar sense of security he had been craving to regain.

At Ostroff, Erik had been 'robbed' of all potentially harmful objects; razors, cords, phones, even his fingernails were clipped on a regular basis. At the morning and evening round of meds, someone would stand in front of him and stay there, until they witnessed the anti-depressants clearly pass down his throat. He had sat in countless family therapy sessions in which he kept his mouth closed, only opening it to say what the councilor or his mother wanted to hear. Now that he was out, he no longer had anyone taking away his belongings or checking if he had taken his pills or not. The outpatient program involved a series of family therapy sessions, however Lily van der Woodsen had cancelled last minute on all of them because of her 'tight schedule'. Erik couldn't be more grateful for his mother and sister's drama-filled lives which kept them so busy that he was only a shadow in their lives.

Erik once again sat on the tiled floor of his bathroom. Lily was out with Rufus, Serena was still in Paris with Blair and Jenny was in Hudson. Erik opened a cupboard under the sink and reached behind his hair gels to retrieve his hidden pen knife.

Erik pulled one arm out of his shirt, leaning his back against the cool bathroom wall. Pushing the blade out, Erik began to carve into his arm. Droplets of blood surfaced then slid down his pale skin. With each incision, bitter memories invaded his mind.

'Erik has put a strain onto our family…'

'Get this faggot out of here!'

'The problem isn't Jenny, it's what you've become…'

'Erik's lying…'

'You aren't my brother.'

'Not by choice.'

Erik bit his lip and shakily put his blade down. Crimson blood covered his arm and some of it had splattered onto the pristine tiles. He reached for some tissues and carelessly wiped the blood from his arm then took a towel to wipe the tiles clean. He cleaned his knife and replaced it back in it's allocated spot in the cupboard. As he closed the cupboard door, he heard some movement from the living room.

"Erik! We're home!"

Erik hastily shoved his arm back into his shirt. The cuts hadn't stopped bleeding quite yet and he prayed it wouldn't stain his sleeve. If it did, he would get rid of it—he had more than enough shirts anyway.

"Erik? Are you here?"

Erik sighed, buttoning his shirt as he made his way out of his room and down the stairs.

"Hi Mum, hi Rufus," Erik greeted with a casual smile, stepping into the living room.

"There you are," Lily said. "Well, Rufus and I had a delightful dinner."

"That's great."

"You should've joined us Erik," Rufus stated, dumping a dozen shopping bags onto the table.

"Sorry, I had some stuff to do," Erik said halfheartedly.

Lily walked over to the table and lifted a shopping bag out from the pile. "Erik, we dropped by Ralph Lauren and got you a polo. Try it on, you'll love it."

"Oh, thanks," Erik said. He watched Lily unwrap the polo and hold it out for him to see. Indeed, it was something he would like, only if it weren't short sleeved.

"Now E, change into this," Lily told Erik, passing the polo to her son. "It's definitely more summer-like than what you've got on now. Put that away until autumn."

"Actually, I feel kind of cold right now so I might wear this some other time," Erik replied, taking the piece of clothing that was being offered to him.

"Have you caught a cold or something?" Rufus asked, arching his brow.

"No no, I'm fine."

"Shall we call someone to see you?" Lily asked rather unenthusiastically.

"I'm not sick," Erik assured.

"But—"

"I'm fine, okay?" Erik said, a bit too forcefully. "I-I probably just set the air conditioning in my room too low, or something…"

Lily and Rufus stared at him wordlessly.

"Sorry, I'm tired and school starts again tomorrow. I'll be going back to my room if that's okay," Erik mumbled, turning to leave before Lily or Rufus could respond.

oOo

Just like there are the 'Mean Girls' there are also the 'Mean Boys'. And just like there is a Queen Bee, there is also a King whom also takes pleasure in picking and choosing the yearly victims. This year, there was a particular target he had in mind; one that he had wanted to destroy for years. Finally, the greatest opportunity had arisen for just that.

"We're really gonna go for van der Woodsen?"

"You bet. He's always done his best to stay out of trouble, but we'll show him he can be a part of all the fun. His sister left a legend at Constants, maybe he will too at St. Judes."

"But Asher, do you have a plan?"

"Was that a mildly amusing joke? Of course I have a plan. I'm sure our little friend, Jonathan Whitney might just want to have a chat with us…"

oOo

Erik threw his bedroom door shut and sunk down onto his bed. He covered his face with his hands, cursing his inability of self-control. He was finding that his days were becoming increasingly harder to deal with. He was sick of lies, betrayal, guilt, responsibility, existence. In the past few years, things had been bearable, even enjoyable, but he was spiraling again; like that time four years ago when he'd committed the irreversible act.

The urge to cut again almost prevailed when Erik's cell phone began to vibrate, a wan glow emanating from the screen in the dark room. Erik picked up his cell and looked at the name blinking back at him.

~~Elliot~~

Hurriedly, Erik answered the call with a nervous 'hello?'.

"Hey, it's Elliot."

"Hey," Erik replied, trying to calm himself.

"You alright?" Elliot's voice said. "You sound off."

"Really? Maybe the reception's bad?"

"Oh." There was a short silence before Elliot's voice returned. "So, I was wondering if we can have breakfast tomorrow before school."

"Yeah sure," Erik replied, a small smile appearing on his lips.

"Cool, thought a good start to our final year at school might be just what we need," Elliot laughed. "And I wanted to make it up to you for being away all summer."

"Don't worry bout it," Erik insisted. "But what you do have to do is tell me all about your family vacation at breakfast tomorrow."

"Will do," Elliot agreed. "Pick you up at seven?"

"Okay, see you at seven."

"Night Erik."

"Night."

After hanging up, Erik fell backward onto his pillows, throwing his arms out lazily and closing his eyes. Apparently, tonight Erik van der Woodsen might be getting some sleep in a warm bed rather than spending the night with a pen knife in his cold bathroom.

oOo

The following day, fresh, warm morning sun shone pleasantly against the backs of Erik and Elliot who were dining al fresco.

"—and this is the beach I told you about over the phone," Elliot was saying, pushing a button on his digital camera to flick to the next photograph.

Erik leant over to peer at the photo, a broad smile on his face. Elliot wrapped an arm over Erik's shoulder as Erik looked into the camera. Spending time with Elliot had an amazing effect on him; being with Elliot meant he could be himself. But there was one thing he still hadn't told Elliot—about his suicide attempt and his self harm. Erik sighed, he would have to say it soon but there had to be the right time to say it.

"You okay?" Elliot asked.

"Yeah," Erik replied, giving Elliot a reassuring smile. He sat back and took a gulp of his café au lait. "Why?"

"Oh, I just thought you looked like you wanted to say something," Elliot explained.

"It's nothing really," Erik said with a small laugh.

It was then that Erik saw someone coming toward their table out of the corner of his eye. He turned to take a better look and instantly wished that he hadn't. Erik jolted as he recognized the person, almost spilling his coffee from the surprise.

The person rapidly approached the table and in no time was standing before Erik. "Well, look who we have here."

"Asher, what are you doing here?" Erik said in a low voice, putting his cup gently back on the table.

Without warning, Asher grabbed the front of Erik's shirt, pulling him forward.

"Trying to be tough uh? Do you remember the stunt you and Blair Waldorf pulled on me back then?" Asher hissed into Erik's face.

"Hey, let go of him!" Elliot intervened, getting to his feet.

"You ruined my life and you are going to fucking pay for it," Asher continued. "Just thought I might warn you."

Erik pulled away, knocking his chair over as he stumbled backwards. Elliot was ready to throw a fist into Asher's face but Asher whipped around and stalked out of the café onto the crowded street.

Erik frowned as he picked up the fallen chair while Elliot dealt with an anxious waitress who had rushed to see what was happening.

"—yes, I apologize for the commotion…Yes, no—nobody was injured. Can we get the bill? We'd like to leave now."

"Elliot, sorry," Erik murmured.

Elliot shook his head, grabbing his bag and slinging it over his shoulder. "Hey, it's okay."

The two then paid for the meal and began walking to St. Judes.

"That was Asher Hornsby right?" Elliot asked.

Erik gave him a subdued nod in confirmation.

"I'm guessing he's not a friend?" Elliot delved.

Again, Erik gave his boyfriend a nod accompanied this time with a deep sigh. "Not exactly a friend, no. Elliot, h-he's my ex, from years ago. I don't know what he wants and what all that was about at the café."

"Oh, okay. Well, from what I could tell, that Asher guy was pretty angry," Elliot said thoughtfully. "Well, let me know if he causes anymore trouble for you."

"Thanks."

The two boys came to a halt at the foot of the stairs at St. Judes. Erik was about to say bye to Elliot and enter the school when he was caught with yet another ugly surprise. His eyes grew wide and his stomach twisted as his eyes fell upon Jonathan at the top of the steps, kissing Ben, the swim team captain.

"Elliot, I should go in," Erik whispered hurriedly, casting his eyes to the ground.

"Erik, wait—" As Erik turned to climb the steps, Elliot grasped his shoulder, leaning down to give him a kiss. "Love you. Call you later okay?"

"Okay, see ya."