A/N: This song might be better suited for Derena, but I just can't write any sort of story with a sympathetic view of Dan. I just can't. Plus, I love Carterna too much.
He had a little place off the coast of Spain. She had known for months. Chuck's PI had found him, at her request, because she just needed to know. She didn't intend to do anything with the information; she just wanted to know where he was.
Or, at least, that was the lie she told herself.
Because when things seemed hopeless, when everyone else had it together while she was still falling apart, adrift in a world where everyone else had their place, he would understand. She knew he would.
Blair had Chuck and Henry, Nate had the Spectator, and she had Dan. Or, everyone thought she had Dan. But she didn't. Not really. Dan had Brooklyn. Just like when they were in high school, he would always have his world and she would have hers, and they would never be able to fully mesh. So while Dan still had his burrow, she was left alone, with nothing. And that was exactly why she left.
She didn't even know how, but as soon as she had left she ended up outside his door, just like she always did. For her, no matter how confused or uncertain she was, every road always led right to him. She prayed he was home (not necessarily waiting for her. No matter how much she hoped, she never imagined he would just be waiting for her after all these years), because she knew that as soon as her eyes met his everything would suddenly be right in the world.
She finally got the courage to knock on the door, and when he was standing before her, she couldn't stop herself from falling apart. There was no reason for it really, except for the fact that he was there, in front of her, after so long.
When he saw her on the other side of the door there was a small part of him that wasn't surprised at all. She always seemed like the picture of perfection, but she never really had it all together. There were flaws, he knew. He had seen them. They were what he loved most about her. And when those things overwhelmed her, she always ended up back with him, all apologetic about the last time. It was the same routine every time. He would let her back in, help her solve her problems, or at least make them seem better, and once she was satisfied she would just disappear and leave him broken in the blink of an eye, just as he was finally starting to feeling happy.
He knew what it was like, but with her there in front of him, there was nowhere for him to hide, and he couldn't just turn his back on her; at least, not without an explanation.
"Carter." She says, breathless, with a slight break in her voice.
His lips quirked in a heartbroken smirk, "I guess it was only a time before this happened again, wasn't it, Beautiful?"
"It's not like before. It's not like that this time." He lifted a single doubtful brow and she shook her head, "I was stupid before. It's always been you, all along."
He stared at her for what felt like hours before stepping back and letting her into the house. Once they were inside she turned to him expectantly, ready to explain everything, but he spoke before she could open her mouth, "This is the last time I'm letting you in my door."
Her face fell and she shook her head, "Carter, please. I won't hurt you again."
He held up his hand for her to stop talking and took a step towards her, "This is the last time, Serena. I've been begging you for years and this is the last time I'm going to ask you to just put me at the top of your list. I can't be your back-up guy anymore. I can't."
She closed the distance between them and took his hand in both of hers so she could guide it to her cheek, "You're not. You never were. I-, I was scared, because you understand me like no one else does. You're the only one who can make things better. With you is the only place that feels like home to me."
He finally took her into his arms and he whispered into her ear, "Stay with me, please. This is the last time I'm asking you this, Serena. I can't watch you leave again."
"I won't. I promise."
"Right before your eyes I'm breaking; And fast, no reasons why; Just you and me"