Author's Note: Written for the Porn Battle XI on LiveJournal, prompt: Dan/Serena, nostalgia.

She isn't sure how it happened, how she ended up in Dan's crushing embrace. He's her anchor; he's the one person who can look at her and, despite all that's happened between them, see the good inside her - believe in her, even. All she knows is that he's holding her, and they're standing there in his room, and she's not going anywhere, not until she has to.

She wants to be better, for him; she longs for the days when they were together, when they were in love - and some part of her would always love him, come what may.

His hand slides between her legs, as feather-light as it ever was. His fingers trace out a familiar pattern on her inner thigh - in and out and easy - and she squeezes her eyes shut. She can't look at him; the emotions coursing her through at this moment are too intense. Even if she tried, she couldn't find the words to fit the situation, and the silence is fitting.

He guides her backward onto the bed, and she feels the bedspring squeak beneath her as her backside hits the duvet. Her hands run up his back, under his shirt; he lets out a low sigh as he dips his head to nip at her neck. She could spend an eternity touching him; it would be the radiation of emotion that circulated in the air when they were within proximity of each other that would drive her away.

She blindly gropes at his shirt, and he breaks from her long enough to pull it off, and she hears a faint thump - probably from it landing on top of something, although she doesn't open her eyes to see where it landed - and then she feels his hands on her hips, and he unbuttons her pants, and she obligingly wiggles them down her legs.

It's all a haze - a blissful, confusing haze - but before she realizes it, he's sliding into her, as he has done so many times before, and he's still slightly awkward, but he's clearly gained some experience since their last time, no longer as fumbling as he once was. His hands skim her sides, caress her face, before he buries his fingers in her hair, twisting ringlets of gold around his fingers, grasping to her for dear life.

He whispers something to her, something she can barely hear, but she doesn't ask him to repeat. She knows the words that pass between them in moments like these; she's said them to him before and meant them every time. For her to say them in return now would only complicate things further.

"Oh, Serena."

The sound of his voice saying - no, moaning - her name shatters something inside her, and she chokes back a sob. She opens her eyes, at long last, and looks up at him. They're suspended in a moment; one false step would shatter it all, bring them crashing back to reality.

She finds herself smiling a thin, delicate, genuine smile. Not because she necessarily feels like she should be smiling, although she knows he loves her smile, but this is Dan and this is what they do best, finding ways to reconnect with each other even when every connection of theirs seems severed.

She digs her fingernails into his back and holds onto the moment for just that much longer.