Disclaimer: The characters are not mine.

Summary: (Now it's only ashes what's left of me.) / Dan writes another book, but he realizes that he can't tear Blair apart. "I am too drunk to care," he says. She laughs, "You care too much." / Blair realizes that she's afraid of being just a mistake in Dan's life. — Post 5x24.

Notes: I don't know what I'm doing with my life. At first this was going to be a oneshot, but suddenly I changed the ending and then I was writing more of this story. It's probably going to be a two-shot, maybe a three-shot. But that's it. I'm really sorry if you read this before I updated it. I uploaded the first draft and I didn't notice at first. Kisses!


I was fire with you.

Now it's only ashes what's left of me.


I.

She's looking at the book, but she's not really reading it. She feels hollow, but she doesn't know the reason (or maybe she does, but she's always denying her feelings).

"Blair, are you ready? We have to go," says a voice behind her. She turns around and sees Chuck standing at the door.

"Yes, I'm ready," she answers. He offers his hand and she takes it; they seldom hold hands, it feels weird, it feels soft and not quite right. It's like they are pretending to be a better couple, but they are still Chuck and Blair. They can try, but they won't succeed. They are extraordinary, not simple and pure; maybe they are epic in their story, but Blair doesn't think their love is epic. He holds her hand and she feels like she's the main character of a tragic book, like the sadness is around the corner, and she wonders when she started to feel that way.

"You seem a little distracted," he notes.

She shakes her head, "Sorry, I am a little tired," she mutters, "but I am all in," she adds, but she doesn't mean it. Chuck doesn't notice, though; he never does.

"And my bet's on us."

He kisses her forehead and she realizes that the fire that used to burn so bright, it's now dark and cold, it's not really there. They always have the same conversation, about chemistry and destiny, and it's turning a little boring.

She feels empty. But it's alright, she thinks, Chuck is my destiny, we are inevitable.


II.

He's drunk and his throat is in flames, his mouth tastes like bitter disappointment. Inevitable is such a funny word to use in comparison to a relationship, Dan thinks, because the only thing that is inevitable is death.

It's not really a sequel to Inside, but people will notice that it is. Brooke Wright is a petite brunette with blue eyes (he doesn't want to think about her brown doe eyes that used to shine for him in the mornings), witty and aristocratic, but insecure and deceitful. He doesn't see her as Blair Waldorf, because Blair is more than Brooke, but she represents the character that shattered Duncan Hendricks' heart. Duncan is not an angel, he is a judgmental cheating asshole, but Brooke was the one to push him over the edge; he loved Brooke more than all the girls before her. Stella Vizner, the golden girl, goddess-like with long legs and grey eyes, is Brooke's best friend and the girl Duncan cheats with.

In the book, it was Brooke from the start, when they meet at the age of 21. There's not a love story about Duncan and Stella, he realizes, because he doesn't want to be involved with Serena Van der Woodsen in any way. Andrew Northfield, with blonde hair, blue eyes and white smile, is Brooke's ex fiancée; in the book they had a good relationship until the day Andrew slept with Stella, cheating on the nineteen year old Brooke.

There is Hugh Aster, her ex, the one Brooke seems to think as the love of her life. He tells the story of Hugh trading her for a hotel and he narrates all the pain he causes, and he paints Brooke as the broken character she is. And it's not until he finishes the book that he notices that Brooke is a victim too, of herself and her own mistakes. It breaks his heart all over again.

Alessandra is ecstatic because Wires is going to be another best-seller, she says. "It's the perfect alternative narration to Inside, and it ends the story of the characters. I liked that Stella and Andrew have a second chance, even if I don't remember Andrew being in Inside. People are going to throw a hissy fit when they realize that Clair and Dylan don't end up together, though."

"This is not Inside, Alessandra; the plot is not the same," he argues and she rolls her eyes.

"Inside is your life, Dan, you're not fooling anyone."

"I'm not in the mood for this; I'm going to the bar."

He feels vacant, like he's not really there.


III.

Four months later, after all has been said between him and Blair, Wires is finally published. This time Blair reads it the second she knows it's on the bookstores and it kills her because she can't help but feel sorry for that poor lost Brooke girl who didn't choose Duncan and decided to try again with Hugh. It's not until she finishes the book that she realizes that she feeling sorry for herself. And she doesn't want that, she wants to be proud of herself; she ends her relationship with Chuck the next day, he's not happy but she thinks that he might understand.

("I read the book," he said, "I am sorry for everything."

"Yes, I am sorry too," she replied. "Goodbye."

"Goodbye, Blair. Please, try to be happy."

"I will," she affirmed, before walking away. It was just a fast and simple goodbye, but she feels like it's definitive.)

The book is a success. Even if it's not a sequel to Inside, people think it is, because Brooke and Duncan are the same story about the broken girl and the boy who falls in love with her, trying to fix her after all the suffering by the hands of another past love.

"It's really tragic that Daniel Humphrey decided to end the story with Brooke and Hugh together, because I really enjoyed her interactions with Duncan. I never considered Hugh an option after the incident with the hotel. I really liked his work, even more than his previous one; this one felt more real and passionate, with a hint of disappointment in the core of the story." —E. Jenkins, The New Yorker.

"You should write a sequel, you know, with Brooke and Duncan ending up together," says Alessandra.

"Well, Brooke wants to be with Hugh, so let her be with fucking Hugh," he answers, drunk, "or fucking Hugh against the stupid wall in some overpriced hotel in Tuscany while they are in their Honeymoon. I'm too drunk to care."

She laughs, somehow bitterly, "You care too much," and then she leaves.


IV.

"You shouldn't have," she says suddenly, after ten minutes of silence. He doesn't know why she's there, haunting him.

"You shouldn't be here, Waldorf," he retorts.

"You should have written Brooke as the manipulative misleading bitch she really is," she accuses, "You are always too kind, ignoring her flaws."

"Brooke is not perfect, but she's not as bad as you think she is," he snaps, "She's an amazing woman, strong and full of light, even when she decides to be in the darkness. Yes, she's manipulative; yes, she's a bitch; and yes, she can be misleading, but she's human and nobody's perfect."

"She wants to be, though," she argues shakily.

"She shouldn't, because she's imperfectly perfect the way she is. Everybody makes mistakes."

"Like Brooke, leaving Duncan."

"Duncan makes mistakes too."

She's silent for the next twenty minutes.

"Am I a mistake, Dan?" she mutters with her voice trembling.

"No."

She nods and he hugs her while she's crying on his shoulder; it's familiar and she feels like she's home. It's scary, but she doesn't want to run away, even if she has to.

"You never were a mistake," he says softly, "My love for you made me want to live again."

"I felt the same way," she cries, holding him tighter, "But I'm always scared of your love."

He holds in their sleep and when he wakes up in the morning she's not there, but she left a note in his hand.

I wish I was brave, because you deserve to be loved. But I'm weak and a coward, Dan; I am sorry. I'm not ready.

Yours,

Blair.

.

They will find their way back to each other. But that won't happen until they are twenty-six,

(That's kind of another story).