a.n; These two are like my new OTP. They're the only couple the writers haven't angst-ridden and ruined, apart from Nate and Serena, who also have a small part in this story. So, this story is basically about the progressing relationship of Dan and Blair, and how they would work. It consists of outtakes of Dan and Blair's relationship, and it's also the longest oneshot I've written, so I hope you enjoy it. :D

. . .

light years away from a shooting star

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i.

It's raining when they meet.

Their meeting each other is entirely coincidental and she is without an umbrella and completely drenched. Her flawlessly curled brown locks fall down in a tangled, wet mess, her mascara tracks down her cheek, her black coat slicks onto her skin and her shoes are ruined. He stares at her in utter astonishment as she glances at him, her face slicked with rainwater, her hair completely drenched and tangled, her mascara tracking down her cheek, and her glittery mouth opening.

"I know this looks strange," she begins slowly, taking in the scene in front of her with disbelieving eyes as the sound of the heavy rain muffles her voice. "It should be the other way around. I should be the smug and umbrella-owning one and you should be the pathetically wet and desperate one." He smiles, waving his umbrella tauntingly, and she growls.

"We could share..." he suggests, causing her eyes to flicker at him and stare at him incredulously, eyebrows raising in astonishment as she gaps at him, her expression which appears to be something in between horror and amusement. He feels the corners of his mouth twitching into a smile; he missed the overly dramatic Blair Waldorf over the summer.

"Share?" she asks, shaking her head frequently. "I don't share." She frames the word with distaste, scrunching her nose in disgust and crossing her arms as she says it

"Okay, I hope you enjoy standing in the rain," he says nonchalantly, shrugging as he turns around, slowly taking steps forward and pretending to leave. He can hear her frustrated growl from behind him and he smiles knowingly, waits, and then hears her voice.

"Fine," she says reluctantly, and he can feel the scowl on her face and a smile steals his lips as he turns around to find her glaring him down, biting on her lower lip and swallowing. She begins tapping her foot impatiently as she struggles under the little oak tree. He opens his umbrella and she ducks under it, shielding herself from the freezing rain as he guides her to her house.

ii

Serena comes back from California after a week.

And yeah, Dan should be filled with happiness, because Serena's Serena, and she's practically his best friend. So when he opens the door in his loft and sees her newly tanned, glowing face, he offers her his widest, toothiest grin. He fully expected this to be one of those it's so good to see you again, how was your summer moment with hugs and laughs and kooky stories about their summer along with an endless dose of coffee and smiles, but instead, she stares at him accusingly and crosses her arms.

"What is up with you and Blair?" asks Serena as she comfortably leans against his door, arms crossed and eyes narrowed suspiciously. She looks angry, furious, even. "I know you two became friends and all, but she's at your house more than she is at her own now. And also, she very strangely told me that she's thinking about breaking up with Louis. Care to explain?"

"Missed you too," says Dan, by way of reply. When Serena's expression doesn't change, he sighs, steps aside and gestures for her to come in. She steps forward, her heels clanking on the floorboard, feeling a sense of familiarity as she steps into his empty loft for what seems like the millionth time. He closes the door behind her and leads her to the couch. "Plus anyways, Blair is contemplating calling off her engagement because she realized she didn't love Louis. I just helped her realize that. That's all."

"Really?" questions Serena suspiciously as she pulls out a chair and sits down, slightly pouting as her golden hair dances around her bright blue eyes. Normally, he would have thought she looked adorable, and maybe he would have the urge to lean over and kiss her, but he doesn't feel it anymore.

"Yes," says Dan, dragging the word exasperatedly and staring at his stunning blonde best friend in anticipation.

Serena always somehow seems to get blonder and prettier each time he sees her. Her pale skin is now tanned, her blue eyes are sparkling excitedly, her lips are pinkish and cherry-stained, her flaming locks of golden hair falls into a tangled mess, which still looks good on her, and her mouth is brilliantly glossed. She raises an eyebrow, still unconvinced, and then sighs, a half-smile stealing her glittery pink lips.

"It is really good to see you again, though," she suddenly says. "And I did miss you." Her half-smile turns into a full, genuine one, and then she excitedly holds her arms out. He embraces her in her hug, smiling under the masses of blonde curls and Dior, suddenly realizing how much he wishes the smell of strawberries is on her curls and wishing that the scent of Chanel No. 5 on lingers her clothes.

He realizes there and then how much he wishes he was hugging Blair instead.

iii

The following week, when its night and no longer as hot and uncomfortably sticky as it was in the day, Dan walks towards Blair with a cup of coffee in his loft after adding little pieces of chocolate-soaked marshmallows in her drink. She turns to him, stares at him with her sleepy eyes and takes a sip of the drink, feeling it burning her tongue and sliding down her throat warmly.

"I can't believe you know that I love marshmallows dipped in chocolate in my coffee," she says, pleasantly surprised as he sits beside her on her bed. She sighs into her coffee cup, blows bubbles and rubs her lips together. He shrugs, watches her shift under the blanket as he speaks. "I noticed."

"How was Monaco?" he asks, in an attempt to distinguish the achingly long and somewhat uncomfortable silence. She looks up, almost startled by the question, and then she snorts, shaking her head. She sticks her hands into the pockets of her coat and speaks, the rain muffling her voice. "I had to smile like a Barbie doll every time I left the castle and I waved so many times my arm was literally unbelievably sore the next day. You finish the rest of the puzzle."

"This princess thing sounds like a lot of work," he says, and she nods in agreement, sighing tiredly as she takes another long sip of her steaming coffee. "Are you sure you want to do this?"

She looks uncertain, but shakes her head nevertheless and straightens her shoulders. "Of course I do," she says uncertainly. She clears her throat and proceeds to stare at him with a blank expression, concealing her real emotions with an eyebrow raise. It's the first time he's seen her not entirely confident in making a decision.

He stares hard at her, furrows his eyebrows together and makes her chew on her lower lip in somewhat nervousness. Dan lets out a heavy breath and Blair looks up from her coffee cup, eyes flickering with curiosity. "You know what you want, Blair," he says finally, sighing. "I don't think you really want Louis."

"Maybe you're right," she admits, hugging her knees and putting her cup down on the tabletop beside her. "But there's also a possibility that Louis is just what I need. Maybe we'll have that happy ending I've always wanted, or maybe we'll crash, burn and incinerate and break each other. I don't know." She frames the word with such a harshness he cringes, and realizes that her hatred of uncertainty was stronger than he had imagined it was.

"Do you love him?" he asks, and she looks startled by the question. Her voice is high as she says she does, but his stare intensifies, and she sighs in defeat, shaking her head and confirming his earlier suspicion. He sighs. "Then don't marry him. Loveless marriages end in absolute destruction. You deserve to be with someone who makes you happy."

"Louis makes me happy," she argues; suddenly back to her stubborn and insistent self. "Just... not in the way that Nate or Chuck did." He stares at her, waits for her to continue the sentence playing over and over in his head, he doesn't make me happy the same way you do, but she doesn't, and she won't.

He feels his heart plummet. He shakes the feeling off and just watches as she begins to cry, quietly. She's not full-on clinging onto his shoulder and sobbing hysterically. Instead, her brown eyes brim with tears and she turns around so he won't see. Dan reaches over and tentatively intertwines their fingers comfortingly, and Blair turns to look at him, her eyebrows scrunching together slightly, and she looks lost. Now, all he sees is this lost and misguided girl who lost her direction and is unsure of where to go.

He doesn't say anything, just watches as a tear streaks down her cheek, her hair falling into a tangled mess, and as she lies down on her bed, right beside him, he holds on to her hand gently. She falls asleep, and mascara dries on her cheeks and stains around her eyes, but he still thinks she looks beautiful as ever.

Dan stands up, let's go of Blair's hand, and leans over to gently press his lips on her forehead. She cringes noticeably, and he realizes that she's not used to gentleness. She's used to Chuck and all of his complications; she's used to aroused feelings and self-consciousness.

Her world is tainted with uncertainty now, she has so many issues he can't even begin to count, she's guarded and scarred and broken, but she doesn't want to (swears that she doesn't even need to) be saved, perfectly contented with just running. He leans over to kiss her wrist, and pulls back the moment his lips linger on her skin. Her expressions are dream-swept, and he sighs to himself, relieved that he didn't wake her up. She looks like she's having a nightmare.

But maybe he'd be the one to save her.

iv

Serena gets drunk—the kind where she's throwing up into sinks, crying hysterically and pouring out all of her secrets. And, as her best friends, Dan and Blair are there to help her stop and sober up. All three of them are at the Waldorf Penthouse, sitting in Blair's bedroom and trying in vain to offer comfort to their disheartened friend, who's sobbing continuously.

It happens the night she and Nate break up for the sixth time that month, and she's crying and crying and slumped over the sink, slurred and broken and lost. "I don't know what to do," says Serena, eyes red and tired and containing emotions he's never seen before. "This was so unexpected."

"Why did you guys break up?" inquires Blair gently, touching Serena's pale shoulder tentatively, like she's a piece of glass that's about to break in moments. Dan listens attentively, swallowing the lump in his throat and placing a comforting hand on Serena's other shoulder.

"I don't know what got into us, B," begins Serena. "None of you have any idea how strange it was."

"How was it strange?" asked Dan, slowly placing his hand over Serena's. She sighs heavily.

"I was busy, he was busy, I don't know," murmured Serena, shrugging sadly. "The scariest thing was that we didn't even realize we were distancing ourselves from each other. It was entirely subconscious. And Nate said that he needed time to 'think things through' and I know that means it's over between us."

"Not necessarily true," interjects Blair, her voice soft and gentle as she sits beside Serena. "I mean, I know he still loves you, he always was. I don't think you should be jumping to conclusions, S."

"I'm not jumping to conclusions, B," snaps Serena. "I know what I'm talking about. I've been in situations like these before and they always end in break-ups."

"Serena, the situations you're talking about were all loveless and completely unlike your relationship with Nate," states Dan, and Blair nods in concurrence. Serena sighs heavily, closes her red eyes, blinks tiredly and replies that she wants to go to bed. Blair helps her up and secretly hides away all of the alcohol within Serena's reach and leaves the room, presumably to get more blankets.

She looks up at him, drunken eyes shiny with emotion. "You probably think I'm pathetic," she begins. "Crying and getting drunk like this. I know you expect more from me."

"I don't," he protests, staring at her in astonishment. "Believe it or not, I understand. Love is the best and worst feeling in the world. I don't expect you to have it together every single moment of every single day, especially in a situation like this. You're only human, Serena, and a terrific one at that."

This time, her smile is actually genuine. "Well, what do you think is going to happen?"

He sighs, shrugs helplessly, and stares at her, realizing how little he knows about Nate and Serena's relationship. But he does know that it consists of one thing; love. "Nate loves you. You have to know that regardless of what happens, despite how many times you two fight, you two will always come back to each other, because there's no one better for you than he is." He smiles, and she smiles back, gazing at him with appreciation and security.

Serena leans over, places a lingering kiss on his lips for exactly three seconds before pulling away and smiling a little sadly. "Thanks, Dan," she sniffs. "I hope you're right." Her mouth curves into a smile and her eyelashes grow heavy as she slowly drifts to sleep, and Dan holds her tentatively in his arms, as she rests her head tiredly on his shoulder. He remembers when they were in high school, how this used to feel so perfectly natural, and now it just feels wistful and familiar.

To be there for Serena van der Woodsen, even if she was completely in love with someone else, because a kiss on the cheek would have made him beyond buoyant. But now, all he can think about is how much he wishes it was from someone else, with brown eyes and a glittering smile.

Later that night, Dan and Blair lounge on the couch, watching Almost Famous with a bowl of popcorn and not really speaking. She's unusually quiet, fidgeting with her hands as she watches the movie, and she doesn't even bother to make a snide remark about his unhealthy addiction to plaid. She breathes in heavily.

"You know, this movie strangely yet totally understandably reminds me a lot about your dad's relationship with Lily," says Blair casually, blatantly glancing at Dan, which causes him to shudder in realization. Now, all he can see in the two leading characters are his father and Lily, which makes him cringe and makes the entire movie uncomfortable. Blair smiles in triumph, tapping her nails on the tabletop and crossing her long legs elegantly.

"If it makes you that uncomfortable," she suddenly chimes in, perking up. "We could always watch something else. Like Breakfast at Tiffany's, for example."

"No, Blair. I'm the one who gets to choose what we watch tonight," he reminds her, and she sighs, folding her arms and kicking the hem of the chair lightly. He presses his lips together, leans against the chair and watches her shift from above him and place her hand on her glowing cheek.

"It's so weird, though," continues Blair insistently, stealing a quick glance at him. "You and Serena used to have some sort of forever fantasy going on, and now you're practically her brother." Dan turns around to face her, and she tilts her head to the left, almost innocently, and bats her mascara-coated eyelashes. He realizes what happened.

"You saw Serena kiss me," he states slowly, and she crosses her arms, shrugging like it's no big deal.

"Yeah, I did," says Blair, chin high, poised and confident. But he's seen her break down too many times to not know that this is just a moment of false superiority. "This is why I'm trying to get the image of Rufus and Lily together to make you realize that it's never going to happen again. She loves Nate, and vice versa. That kiss on the cheek was just some sisterly thing."

"I know that," he argues. She raises an eyebrow sceptically, leans over, and stops the movie.

"Of course you did," she mutters, a mirthless laugh escaping her perfectly glossed mouth. He stiffens. It soon turns into a fight—not a screaming, yelling, all-up-in-your-face fight, a quiet one, with furrowed eyebrows and harsh words and you two are over being used.

"I'm tired of fighting, Dan," she says sleepily. "Let's just go back to the movie."

And they do, except, there's no calmness any more, the casualty in the air has been replaced by aching silence and words hanging in the air. It's a long silence and she shifts uncomfortably, and he suddenly realizes the distance that had formed between them. He wonders if this is what Serena was talking about earlier in her drunken haze; slipping apart from each other subconsciously, with no realization for it whatsoever. After the movie ends, they watch reruns of old sitcom shows and even a few episodes of Full House and Modern Family until she can't take it anymore and leaves in the middle of the night.

He hears her slam the door on her way out.

v

Their third kiss is on a late Friday night, in the mixture of aroused feelings and endless I hate you.

Dan doesn't even remember what they were fighting about, all he remembers is being face-to-face with Blair, staring into her burning eyes, and suddenly, leaning forward to connect their lips. He feels a burning passion inside of him, something that only occurs whenever he's with Blair and when she's being her usual stubborn, irritating self. He feels the butterflies he once used to feel with Serena when his lips meets her glittery ones, and wonders how he managed to fall for Blair Waldorf somewhere along the way.

She tastes like champagne and strawberries, a delicious combination that makes his mouth burn pleasantly. She's reluctant at first, refusing to kiss him back and staying completely still. He caresses her shoulder blade repeatedly until she finally kisses him back. Her eyes are closed and he can feel her slipping her arms around his neck, forcing him closer, and her tongue slips into his open mouth. He feels her grin against her lips, and all he can think is, finally. He mirrors her movements, caresses her bare shoulder blades and then moves onto her knuckles, and feels the goose bumps that formulate on her skin and his.

His brain cells scramble as she begins reciprocates roughly. He closes his eyes, delighting in the taste and feel of her, and she grips the collar of his shirt so tightly it's almost as if she's suddenly afraid he'll let go. A jolt of delicious, cherry-tasting energy swarms through him, and she deepens the kiss, wrapping her arms around his neck and pulling him closer to her lips as she leans against the door.

She runs her hands through his tangled black locks and breaks apart, face inches from his, and she stares at him, expression unreadable and she looks as if she's about to cry. She sucks in her breath and says, "I don't hate you," her voice no louder than a whisper. He feels the corners of his mouth form into a smile.

"Yeah," he replies, breathlessly. "Neither do I."

They end up on his bed, but they don't come any closer than holding hands for the rest of the night. She falls asleep on his chest, and he feels her breathing heavily, feels her gulping nervously, and he brushes a strand of her hair behind her ear tentatively, his mouth still burning with her taste.

She stops fretting, her expression softens, and then, she hesitantly smiles.

vi

"Where are we?" Blair scans the land in disdain as they descend from the steps of Dan's car and head out the door.

Dan shrugs innocently as he walks through a dark alley and as she follows warily behind him, glancing over her shoulder constantly as if she thinks that they're going to some sort of Witness Protection Program meeting or whatever. She crosses her arms and stumbles through the arches of green grass and flashes of city lights. He sees her scanning around the place a little nervously, but irritation is the main expression on her face.

Either she's cautious about being spotted with Dan Humphrey, or she simply hates not knowing where he's taking her, or maybe both.

As they get closer and closer to their destination, Blair's expression intensifies. She scans the place and feels the need to twist her fingers, a sign that she's uncomfortable with not knowing where she is. He's not surprised; Blair Waldorf is obsessed with certainty and he knows it. If she's uncertain or unsure, she could very well go mad.

They finally arrive, standing in front of the gray building. He smiles, turns to see her reaction, but she looks incredulous and even horrified. She stares at the sign, her mouth opened slightly, and she blinks, as if she's daydreaming and is trying to get herself to wake up.

"Tell me you're kidding," she says dryly, eyes scanning the sight in front of her with absolute disdain as she begins shaking her head and folding her arms, chewing the corners of her glossed mouth as she stares. He smiles up at her, eyes glistening as they stare at the gigantic sign in front of the building. She shakes her head, her curled brown locks glittering under the lights as they stand in front of the large, gray building.

"Humphrey," she says, sticking her hands in her dark coat and turning to face him with wide, reluctant eyes. "Commoners go here. Don't you know me at all?" She arches a perfectly plucked eyebrow and he chuckles.

He wants to reply with a of course I do, but he realizes that there's still so much he doesn't know, so much behind the surface that he hasn't seen before and his heart plummets.

"There's no way I'm doing this," she shakes her head once more, her words spinning him out of his internal monologue and he turns to face her as she turns on her heel. She begins to walk away, but he grabs her arm gently, pulls her closer and shocks both of them with his unexpected boldness.

"I know indoor skydiving is not your thing. Especially when the jumpsuits are so... unflattering," he says, and she snorts, as if to agree with him in a duh sort of way. He continues. "But you need to try something new. Come on, no one will see you here."

"Dan," she muses, turning around to face him, her eyes burning. "I won't go in there." He just stares at her, eyes lighting up with a suspicious glint, and she cringes. "I hate it when you get that look..." she trails off, and he stares at her. She mutters something incomprehensible under her breath and sighs heavily, folding her arms and tightening the black gloves around her hands as she shakes her head in refusal.

"Just try it. If you hate it, you won't have to do it ever again. But you could eventually learn to love it," he says. Sighing, she bites the insides of her mouth and chews on her tongue. He smiles because he knows that she always does this before she succumbs to someone's request. The silence drags on for minutes—although they seem like years—and then she opens her mouth to reluctantly oblige.

They go into the building, and after multiple tutorial sessions and jumpsuit changes, they both go in, and they're both subconsciously hand-in-hand. She bites her lips as the instructor steps aside and lets Dan tries first, and when he lets go of her hand, she feels a surge of emptiness plunge throughout her.

He jumps forward, spirals into the air, floats above the surface, and he's estranged laugh echoes throughout the room. When he lands, he's buoyant and smiling giddily. He gestures for her to come over, and she bites her lower lip, refusing to meet his gaze, almost like she's scared. Finally, she steps forward, reluctantly, keeping her facade up and glaring at him fiercely as he steps aside to let her through.

She tentatively steps forward, listens to the instructor, nods and shakes her head when she's supposed to, trying to make it seem like she's paying more attention than she actually is, and when he finally steps aside and instructs her to jump, she squeezes her eyes shut and bites her glittery pinkish peach lip as she glances down.

With a deep breath, she closes her eyes and jumps.

.

Dan looks from below as she jumps down.

At first, it looks like she's filled with treading fear, and then, her expression changes to absolute joy. She's floating, flying, feeling completely weightless and soaring through the air. Her eyes light up, her laughter rings throughout the room. And then, she goes down, gracefully, and she laughs and laughs giddily, both feet landing on the ground. He smiles, and when she approaches him, she says she feels completely weightless, and then randomly tells him about the time when she wished she could fly and now she did.

Or, at least, knows how it would feel if she was actually up in the air soaring through the skies.

He's grinning at her, smugly, and I told you so is practically written on his forehead. She catches it, rolls her eyes, and when he opens his mouth, she holds her hand up.

"Tell me you told me so and you'll wish we never met," she states, and he merely laughs. They take turns jumping and soaring, both feeling immortal, feeling like the world is at their fingertips, feeling like they can soar throughout the skies for the rest of eternity and when they both jump at the same time, holding hands, he wishes he could stop time.

As they leave the room, they're both giddy and giggly, laughing and laughing and feeling on top of the world. He feels his head, and struggles to steady himself.

"I shouldn't have drank so much coffee..." he muses, and she laughs, shaking her head.

"You're not going to be able to walk straight for days," she says, and he ruffles her hair, causing her to gap at him, eyes burning. He presses his lips together, steps backwards cautiously, and turns around to head towards the glittery door.

"Now Blair..." he trails off, but it's too late; she's already charging towards him, not exactly what she's going to do if she ever topples him, but still filled with rage and fury. He laughs as he runs, and suddenly, the weightless feeling occurs.

She makes him feel like he's floating on air.

vii

He loves her smiles.

The genuine ones; because even though they usually have underlying mystery underneath them, he likes the way her brown eyes lighten whenever a grin steals her lips or whenever laughter lingers in her voice, forever making him smile back. He adores the way her mouth curves into a grin and her laughter is heard and whenever she says his name, her voice soft like rain.

He loves seeing her happy, which is why he does little things to keep her that way. If mini-marshmallows damped in chocolate will do the trick, then, he'll do it and she stares at him, she raised an eyebrow but a smile threatened to play on her glossed lips.

"Now I'm addicted to your coffee," she says, crosses her arms, and shakes her head light-heartedly. "Damn." He smiles.

viii

Dan's surprised when Blair becomes accustomed to his Brooklyn ways over the months.

She comes over his house so often it's almost like her second home, she invades his coffee maker and DVD player and most of the songs on his iPod are hers, her CDs are there, her movies are there, her clothes are there, her nail polish is there, and her perfectly manicured nails tap against the frosty tabletop so often now that there are marks of her claw-like nails.

She's so constant in his life; he doesn't think he'd remember how to live without her if she ever decides to go away. She stays and insults his clothes, laughs at his obliviousness, uses his phone, wears his sweaters, makes jokes about his black curls, lounges on his couch and watches movies with him late at night every single night without fail.

One night, she's lounging on his couch with him, sleepy and worn-out after travelling the city with him all day, the coffee no longer able to cure her insomnia. Their legs are tangled and she's swathed in his blanket and he looks at her.

"I'm tired," she says, stretching her arms and blinking her sleep-deprived eyes. He shrugs, leaning forward to rub small circles on her knuckles gently, and she shifts against him, laying her head on his chest and breathing in. Her hand has somehow become intertwined with his, and he doesn't even know how it happened. Dan and Blair holding hands is a new occurrence and it feels so incredibly right and natural.

She yawns into her pillow, and falls asleep holding his hand, murmuring in her sleep and shifting uncomfortably, her breathing unsteady and her dream-swept expressions unstable. He leans over and breathes out, the scent of her Chanel No. 5 mixed with a hint of champagne lingering on his sheets.

Their fingers are intertwined throughout the night.

ix

"Of all the crazy, Brooklyn-related things you've made me do, Humphrey, this is the most ridiculous," declares Blair.

She glares as Dan steps forward, grinning at her. It's around four thirty in the afternoon, and, for once, she's not holding a cup of coffee in her Chanel No. 5 sprinted hands. Instead, it's a cup of apple juice, and she scrunches her nose in disdain as he reaches forward and picks up the karaoke set and hands her the glittery microphone.

"Here," he says, still grinning. "It was Jenny's. She did it herself with some be-dazzler she had lying around in her room."

"Fascinating," she murmurs, her voice dripping with sarcasm as she plops on the couch, looking at the microphone in disdain. He stares at her, scans through the copies of old songs and runs through all of them. She raises a sceptical eyebrow as he begins to play an old 90s song, as if to say, are you serious? It's like they have their own telepathic language, him and her, able to read each others' thoughts with just simple gestures and movements. He picks up the microphone and taps the floor, singing along in a deliberately high and terribly off-tune voice.

She winces, covers both her ears with her hands as she shakes her head, and she giggles a little when he does funny voices during most of the songs and never relents when he offers for her to sing next. "No way," she says. "I'm not singing any of your cheesy, sitcom theme songs."

"Blair," he says, stretching out her name exasperatedly, and her name on his lips brings a smile to her face. "Just one song won't hurt. Come on, you hated the idea of indoor skydiving and you ended up loving it." She grunts exaggeratedly, and he smiles as she picks up the microphone and chooses an Adele song.

It's strange, considering it was the song Jenny had sung when she had decided to go melodramatic after the Snowflake Ball after her screwed up friendship with Vanessa and ruined potential relationship with Nate. Blair's voice is lovely, gorgeous, even, and her voice reverberates in the house (who wants to be right as rain) and her eyes flash with an unrecognizable emotion as she sings.

As she continues to belt out the lyrics, her eyes close and she moves according to the beat, subconsciously taps her manicured fingernails against the armrest of the chair, and there's a bit of laughter ringing in her voice. She puts down the microphone when the song ends and he smiles at her.

"See, that wasn't so bad, was it?" he teases, only to get an eye-roll from her. He continues. "You're actually really good, you know," he compliments, a little breathlessly, and she smirks confidently, her dark curls falling into her brown eyes. "You also look strangely identical to Adele, especially in the music video for Rolling in the Deep. Are you sure you're not her long lost daughter or something?"

"Oh, please," she rolls her eyes and scoffs, thrusting the glittery microphone back to him without warning. They end up singing songs from when they were little, and one time they even try a Jackson 5 song, but they both end up laughing halfway through because of his horribly inaccurate impressions of the members.

They try singing his father's old hits from back in the eighties, and they manage to stay on tune for most of them, despite the laughter ringing in their melodic voices, and when they're both too tired and grow too restless from the singing, they plug out the karaoke set and Blair vows to never sing karaoke ever again.

"Oh come on," says Dan. "You know you secretly love the Brooklyn lifestyle. It turns you on."

She scrunches her eyebrows together incredulously. "Oh please," she says, scrunching her perfect little nose. "That is probably most ridiculous thing I've heard all day, which is saying a lot, since most of your impressions take ridiculousness to a whole new level, Humphrey."

She reaches over and tousles his black curls. They spend the rest of the day in the warm embrace of his loft, the house completely pitch-black, leaving the TV as the only light source as they yawn from under the blanket swathed over their shivering bodies. Her hand is intertwined with his, and he sees the scratch on her palm from when she got from their latest fights. He could barely contain his astonishment when she pushed him backwards and when he landed on the coffee table.

Their fights were always verbal; consisting of brutal, excruciatingly harsh words leaving their mouths, narrowed eyes and aroused feelings dunked in coffee, and they always fight about the stupidest things, but the almost-physical fights are reserved specially for serious fights. She never really gets physical with him, because she's still too prim to even cuss further than "bitch" and "damn", and he's still a gentleman, never forcing her or disrespecting her, and he would never go as far as physically harming her.

She made a big show of storming out of his house dramatically and slamming the door. As usual, she came over this morning with a cup of coffee from the Starbucks right around the corner of the Upper East Side and hands it to him gently as an apology. She doesn't need to say I'm sorry because while she needed to in the past, she no longer has to in the present. He can read her like the book, knows her like the back of his hand.

If she kisses his cheek for exactly a second and hands him a Starbucks coffee cup in the morning, she's sorry for what she did last night. If she scrunches her nose and furrows her eyebrows, she's revolted and would absolutely not do whatever he's asking her, or, at the very least, has absolutely no intention of doing it. If she bites the insides of her mouth and chews on her lower lip, she'll eventually succumb to his request. And if she tilts her head to the left and smiles innocently; she's guilty for whatever he is accusing her of.

He realizes that he knows more about Blair Waldorf that he ever thought he would.

x

Its midnight and both of them are drinking coffee like its twelve o'clock in the afternoon. He doesn't put little marshmallows in her coffee cup, instead, he swirls it with whipped cream and adds little iridescent sprinkles and a cherry on top.

On Thanksgiving, she spends most of the day at her house but sneaks in at night. On Christmas, it's his turn to come over and hang out, and usually, they end up circling the city and going to places they never wanted to go in the first place. They make their own traditions. He likes them, loves them, even, and the best part is that even though Serena is involved in at least half of them, it's mostly just them. Dan and Blair, only them, making traditions and growing and evolving together. It's moments like these where he knows they're something, anything, more than what they initially believed they were.

She messes around with her tangled locks, tries to get it out of the way of her brown eyes, and she grows increasingly exasperated with it. "You know," she begins, shifting uncomfortably. "I sometimes wish I could just go bald."

"Maybe you should just wear a bald cap," he humours her, and when she looks like she's actually considering it, he stops to look at her seriously. "I like it when you let it fall in your face like that. It looks... pretty."

She looks like she doesn't believe him, but she lets it down anyway.

xi

"Why did you bring me here?" asks Blair as she steps onto the ends of the land, her Loboutins digging into the grass below her and she surveys the area uncomfortably, her nose scrunching in disdain. Dan steps beside her and sighs, running his hands through his locks as he tries to wrap the paralyzing thought around his mind.

It's been three years.

Dan Humphrey survived three long, exasperating and dramatic years of dating Blair Waldorf. It was the unthinkable. They've fought; broken up, and got back together so many times Dan can't even begin to count. She literally drives him crazy, makes him say and does the craziest things.

Various rays of sunlight fly throughout the sky, the mixture of gold and orange blend together so spectacularly Dan has to blink several times to remind himself that it's real. Such perfection cannot possibly exist in such an imperfect, sin-drenched place, he thinks sometimes.

"Humphrey," she snaps, spirals him back to reality. "I'm talking to you. Why did you bring me here?" She narrows her brown eyes and crosses her arms for effect. He turns to look at her, shrugging, and feeling a smile steal his lips.

"Aren't you Miss Patient?" he teases, shaking his head light-heartedly. "Just wait a while, Waldorf. I don't have to always have a straightforward reason for bringing you someplace, do I?" She raises an eyebrow, as if to say, well, duh. He continues walking.

She sighs tiredly, dragging her feet behind him and following his lead. It feels weird, he thinks, because usually, she's the one up to mischief and he's the one who reluctantly goes with the flow until he realizes what she's doing. It feels strange to be the one in charge now.

When they finally reach their destination, he smiles exasperatedly, and she just walks forward and admires the scenery peacefully. He watches as she scans the place, the disdain from her earlier expressions being replaced by admiration.

She finally manages to get words out of her mouth, "It's beautiful." He smiles, remembering that one time she told him she wants to be blown away seconds before she drifted to sleep. It doesn't exactly match the diamonds Nate gave her or the places Chuck took her, but he hopes that she finds this to be more special and meaningful.

"I brought you here to celebrate our three-year anniversary," he says, shrugging, and turns to face her growing half-smile, which begins to look more smug by the minute.

"You counted the number of days we've spent together?" she asks, and she doesn't sound condescending or judgmental at all; just curious, impressed, even. He shrugs sheepishly, by way of reply, and she settles down on the mat he lays out.

They don't talk much, mostly just sit down to admire the scenery in front of them and they both listen to the sound of each others' breathing, their legs tangled up and limbs attached, fingers intertwined. He likes moments like this; moments where they don't have to talk, likes comfortable silences and closeness.

Being close to Blair Waldorf isn't nearly as terrorizing as he once thought it would be; he used to think that she'd dig her perfectly manicured claws into his skin and rip him alive, bury him cruelly, and proceed to have an evil laugh marathon with her cronies. But she surprisingly has a sweet side, gentle side, but still holds on to that deviousness he's grown to love.

"Thanks for bringing me here," she murmurs so quietly he has to strain to hear it. He rubs small circles on her wrist, kisses it, and feels his heart soar as she breathes against his chest.

"Welcome," he whispers into her hair, and looks into her shiny brown eyes. He doesn't even mind the fact that all of the bitterness, aroused feelings and the amount of times they say I hate you to each other that come along with her, it's moments like this where they can be themselves—their real selves, the soft sides with the feelings and gentleness and I love you and honesty.

"I love you," he whispers into her open mouth, and her eyes flicker up to him with a certain tentativeness like she doesn't believe him. "I swear," he says, breaking apart and staring into her eyes, and she looks down, and then up, eyes sparkling.

"You're such a sap, Humphrey," she says, but leans over to kiss him again.

xii

The next six years contain of endless fights and endless make-ups, and uncountable I hate you and I love you, and complications.

He's Dan and she's Blair and they're not supposed to work, but they somehow actually do. They complete each other in ways they never thought they could, they mix together to form an uncontrollable tornado that spirals out of control and drive everyone else crazy.

Dan Humphrey proposes to Blair Waldorf on a late Friday night, months after they've graduated and when they're twenty-two, once lost but now complete, and every part of her has now moulded into him, making them one. It takes a lot of convincing to assure her that he loves her more than anything in the world, and when she slips the ring on her finger, he's beyond buoyant.

"I love you, I love you, I love you," he whispers like a mantra the night before the wedding, when it's cold and snowing out and when they're both lounging on the couch like always, fingers intertwined and eyes locked and breathing matched.

For the first time, she looks at him like she believes him, leans over and mutters, "I love you, too." They get married in December, among the arches of snow and drizzles, and everyone surrounds them happily. Chuck is there, at the sidelines, and he surprises everyone by being quiet and not making a scene.

The event is filled with champagne, speeches, laughter, and old pictures with memories and jokes and he feels a surge of nostalgia plunge through him. He thinks of his high school and college days, how they were filled with Blair and all her insanity, thinks of his long lasting friendships with Serena and Nate and jealousy of Jenny's passion and ambition.

Dan suddenly realizes that his relationship with Blair is the most real thing he's ever had. It is many things; unstable, gradual, unexpected, but, most importantly, honest. His relationship with Serena was built on fantasy, his relationship with Vanessa was short and wasn't meant to last and the feelings were nothing compared to those of Blair and Serena.

He watches as everything plays out; as Blair laughs during Lily's toast, as Nate and Serena proceed to list out long, excruciating (for him) pictures and moments which makes him wonder if all of his friends are in a secret and intricate conspiracy to embarrass him in front of the rest of his friends and family.

The clouds are bright and white, puffy and floating around the blue sky. It's around nine in the morning, and the ground is covered by little blankets of crisp, white snow that brightens the scenery beautifully. She's glowing and smiling as she walks out with him, her fingers intertwined with his, and he begins to rub circles on her knuckles as she squeezes the gorgeous white roses in her hands.

Her mother begins to give a loud, wholehearted speech about life and love, and Blair seems a little fidgety as Eleanor steps in the middle of the field with Cyrus attached to her left arm. Rufus and Lily stand beside her and wait patiently for it to be their turn, and words are being exchanged and jokes are told and he smiles.

Just when the clock strikes twelve, all of the girls gather around as Blair turns around throws the banquet behind her back. A loud, way too familiar scream is heard and when Dan turns around, he sees Serena smiling giddily with the flowers in her bangles-covered hands. He shoots Nate a smug smile and nudges him playfully, and he rolls his eyes and scoffs, smiling.

It feels like everything he ever wanted, and more.

xiii

Later that night, she crawls into bed next to him, tightening her slim bathrobe and tying her still curled hair into a messy ponytail, with absolutely no makeup at all. He remembers how self-conscious she was before about appearing makeup-less in front of him, before he assured her she looked beautiful both way around.

He furrows his eyebrows together, gets a look on his face like he's solving a difficult mathematics question or trying to figure out how to change the world as she slides beside him. She intertwines their fingers together, leans against him, and breathes out heavily, eyelids sleepily closing, and his expression softens.

"Dan, we did it," whispers Blair, brown hair falling into messy curls and into her face, brown eyes glimmering. "After six long years, fights here and there, screams being thrown all over the place, we got married. I never thought we'd make it." She presses her lips together and stares.

"I did," he replies, without missing a beat. She raises an eyebrow, a smile somehow finding its way to her lips as she buries herself under the white sheets, leaving a scent of Chanel No. 5 in them.

"Really?" she asks sceptically, folding her arms. "You never had any misgivings, any second thoughts?"

He smiles sheepishly in defeat, eyes lightening up, and she blinks, swathing herself under the sheets and yawning loudly. It's only the millionth and one time she's stayed beside him during this hour, eyes familiarly brown and sleepy, and arms crossed impatiently as she waits for his answer.

"I'll admit, I did have my doubts," he replies, "but I always somehow knew that we'd end up together."

She falls silent for a moment. There and then, he waits for it. He waits for her to roll her eyes, snicker, make a snide remark, call him a sap, kiss him briefly on the lips and then turn off the lights and go to bed. Instead, she smiles, eyes lighting up.

She looks up at him. "I love you; I always will."

He doesn't even have to say I love you, too because as he leans over and kisses her, gently and softly, feels her hands wrap around his neck for a short period of time and as he relishes the taste of champagne and slightly sugared strawberries, he knows she knows. And then, he smiles.