AN: Takes place after The Kiss (yes, it deserves to be capitalized, lol). Ignores pretty much all spoilers, maybe a tiny one in there, though. Also, I've yet to post the last chapter of WHMW. I haven't liked anything I've written for that last installment, but I'm working on it. Hope you guys enjoy this!
Blair scowled with disdain, pink flecks flying as she furiously erased the graph that was utterly, desperately incorrect.
See, Blair Waldorf was good at a lot of things - French, referencing pop culture, plotting and manipulation. Calculus on the other hand? Not her thing. In fact, the only thing worse than calculus in Blair's mind was the Freshman Fifteen.
Squinting her eyes, Blair read the problem one last time. The words on the page still read like a foreign language, jumbled and nonsensical (what the hell was parametric plotting anyways?).
"That's it!" Blair announced to no one in particular, tossing the textbook to the floor carelessly.
She crawled across the bed towards her laptop, flopping with finality onto her stomach as she lifted the screen and keyed in the password.
No one cares that you lost two pounds, Penelope, Blair frowned, rolling her eyes as she scrolled down her Facebook's news feed.
Really, Blair didn't understand the Facebook phenomenon. It was good for networking, maybe, but surely minute-to-minute status updates about the Knicks scoring were unnecessary. Continuing to scroll down, she caught a piece of news about one of her old minions. Blair's brow raised in amusement.
"Izzie's Facebook official with Steve Rockwell? Get out!"
The sound of Dan's pleasantly sarcastic voice startled Blair. She slammed down the screen of her laptop, jolting upwards. "How long have you been standing there, Humphrey? You almost gave me a heart attack!"
Dan shoved his hands in his pockets with a sheepish grin. "I might've caught your little hissy fit with the calc book. You should audition for the next Anne Fletcher chick flick."
"Step Up is hardly reflective of my life as a burgeoning woman of power," Blair remarked, drawing her legs up demurely.
The bed dipped as Dan sat beside Blair, who couldn't help but stare as he reached for her scribbled notebook. There was something about Dan that was different. Perhaps he'd grown even more handsome since that night they dared to kiss (which, consequently, led to many other kisses, followed by an abrupt interruption by certain slimy eel). His muscles, taut and defined, were sheathed by a gray Henley that accentuated the warm hazel of his eyes. The notebook now rested upon dark denim jeans, and Dan's roughened hands were thumbing through pages of notes slowly. Blair's eyes moved back up to his face, chiseled and clean-shaven. Dark, curls wisped lightly at the back of his neck, inviting her to reach out with yearning fingertips.
Yep, Dan Humphrey was looking at her failure of a math assignment and looking damn good doing it.
Blair swallowed tightly before commanding composure. She asked sternly, "What are you doing?"
Dan turned his head, a quirked smile creeping across his face. "I've been known to ace a math class in my day and, well, it looks like you need a little help."
Blair's eyes flashed indignantly, defenses raised at four-letter curse word. "I do not need help. In fact, math is – it's my best subject!" A haughty upturn of the chin emphasized her point (read: lie).
Laughing, Dan shook his head. "Yeah, I don't think so, Blair. Get your book and we'll look at your homework together."
"You came all the way over here to help me with calculus?" Blair asked sarcastically, though she retrieved her textbook from the floor as requested by Dan.
"No," Dan admitted, drawing closer to Blair while she flipped through the pages to the right one. "I wanted to talk to you about – well, not math, but first things first, right?"
Blair pursed her lips, hands gripping the textbook as Dan reached for it. Freezing as warm skin rubbed against warm skin, Blair released the book with lightning speed and buried her hands in her lap.
Dan blushed and rubbed the back of his neck. "So, uh… which one are we workin' on? I can draw a mean parabola, you know."
"Number two," Blair huffed reluctantly. She craned her neck to see over Dan's shoulder while he read the problem.
"Hmm…" he trailed off, rubbing his chin in thought. "This one's tough."
Blair slapped his shoulder triumphantly. "I knew it! Calculus is modern-day quackery! Now that we've got that settled, I say it's high time we replace math courses with mandatory fashion seminars."
"I'm thinking calculus is a little older than Christian Louboutin. Besides, if you're taking it as a gen ed, you need to pass." Dan reached for the notebook again and held his hand out expectantly. "Pencil."
Scrunching her nose, Blair huffed and dropped a pink mechanical pencil into Dan's palm. A loud, purposeful sigh made her displeasure known. After all, she was Blair Waldorf! She didn't need he… hel… well, that.
Dan grunted in response as he scribbled furiously. Again, he extended a hand. "Calculator."
"You're going a little Dr. House on me, Humphrey, and it's freaking me out," Blair commented, giving Dan her TI83.
As Dan went silent again, Blair found herself curious. She leaned forward, looked down at Dan's strong shoulder, and hesitantly lowered her chin. Dan's cheek connected with Blair's as he turned a bit, surprised at the physical contact.
Not wanting to make a big deal out of it, Blair flicked the back of Dan's neck with her fingertips. "Get a move on, Humphrey! I don't have all day."
"Right," Dan chuckled, pounding numbers into the calculator before moving back to good old pencil and paper. After a couple of minutes, he held up the notebook so that Blair could see a little better. A neat, perfectly-drawn graph was displayed on the left-hand side, along with some random numbers.
"You solved world hunger?" Blair questioned playfully.
"Ha-ha," Dan laughed dryly. "No, look. I solved for the derivative. See this line here?"
Blair rolled her eyes, but went along anyways. "Yes, Humphrey, I see. It's a miracle!"
"You know, if you don't want me to help…" Dan trailed off nonchalantly, lowering the notebook.
"No!" Blair shouted, a little more desperately than she had intended. "I mean, I do want your… help."
Dan smirked. "That's all you had to say. Let's learn some calculus."
Blair was finally getting the hang of this calculus thing after a good two hours. As she finished the last problem herself, Dan nodded in approval each step of the way. He was an indispensable ally, that was for sure.
Slamming the textbook shut with a proud smile, Blair exclaimed, "Done!"
A smile ghosted across Dan's face. "I told you, you could do it."
"I know," Blair acknowledged, cheeks blushing a little at Dan's encouragement. Sliding her back against the headboard of her bed, she sunk into the pillows. "But I much prefer Goethe to Leibniz."
"Me too," he replied faintly.
Blair didn't miss the serious change in Dan's tone, and suddenly, she remembered that he had come here initially for an entirely different reason. "Humphrey, what's wrong?"
Dan turned his head away from her, instead focusing on his hands as he fumbled with them between his knees. "Ah, I don't know. Maybe I should go. An afternoon full of math problems tends to take the zest out of anyone."
Lurching forward to grab his arm, Blair stopped him from getting up. "Seriously? Spit it out before I clunk you over the head with four hundred pages of numbers."
Dan faced Blair once again, expression unreadable. "You really want me to spit it out?"
Blair nodded, lips pulled into a tight line as butterflies beat their wings against her belly.
"Alright then," he started, sucking in a deep breath. "Listen, I know you're probably gonna laugh in my face, but here it goes. I was writing last night. And every word I wrote reminded me of you, because I can't get you off of mind. I want us, Blair."
"What are you – "
"I just - I do, okay?" Dan cut her off. "I want to watch old films with you and cook us dinner and help you with calculus. I want to walk down Fifth Avenue without hiding what we are, who we are. Most of all, I just want you. And honestly, Blair, I don't care what people will think. I just – "
"You're rambling, Humphrey," Blair interrupted, the scent of Dan's favorite cologne intoxicatingly overwhelming.
"I –" Dan stopped in the middle of his diatribe, bewildered. "What?"
The closeness between them was suddenly very apparent to Blair. Reaching a tentative hand to his face, she traced Dan's jawline with her fingertips. Her french tips coasted behind his ear, to the nape of his neck, cupping Dan's warm skin fully. Dan was deathly silent as Blair met his unwavering gaze. Her heart was pounding so fast, Blair thought it was going to burst out of her chest, but... "It's you," she admitted softly. "It's always been you, even when I didn't know it. I just - no more hiding, okay?"
"No more hiding," Dan echoed, mesmerized.
He fell easily towards Blair as she pulled him close, a moth, by its nature, attracted to the flame.
"Kiss me?" Blair murmured against Dan's ear.
And he did.
Pulling back, Dan wove his hands through Blair's hair, let his lips linger just before hers. "We should study like this more often," he breathed with smile.
Mischief played in Blair's eyes as she looked up at a shirtless Dan. "I couldn't agree more."