the poison is in the sugar
gossip girl, dan/blair (mentions of dan/serena and nate/blair) rating r, 2908 words, if there aren’t any promises between them- then why there aren’t any lies either.
notes: for everything_inme
If he could count every word that he wrote for Serena, he’d reach a million by midnight.
(the words she ever read would measure the fingers on one hand)
He scolds himself for his melancholy, ink stained fingers wound tight around his cup of coffee, free hand reaching inside his pocket for the ever elusive keys to his home.
The locks click and the house smells like Serena- (violets, lilies- oh, he’s no botanist but she smells like a flower garden) and he can smell her in the foyer as he steps in.
Serena flies down the stairs. There is a suitcase following her footsteps, her long arms wound around its handle as she tugs it down the stairs.
Serena doesn’t make excuses when she leaves- not this time. There are no fights, no tender good byes. Her eyes- bright and blue are determined. Determined and dry and there is so little remorse there and so much focus that he almost shakes her hand when she says “No regrets.”
He hears the snap when she shuts the door and wonders if this is another one of those times- if she’ll be back in a week, head hung low, lips parted as she says she’s sorry. He can almost feel her fingers slipping through his, her cheek pressed against his neck and its forever, again.
His room smells like burnt roses. It’s mid November. It’s mid November and he knows its cold outside but he cracks open a window to let out the heady scent.
His head spins and he tells himself it’s the smell- he’s always hated this smell, heady and harsh and light.
The empty cup of coffee falls to the floor.
Dan can’t say he’s surprised that things ended (that ship sailed senior year) but he likes to think of himself as a gentleman- and a gentleman mourns his lady love however fickle or inconstant her heart may be.
He grows a beard, switches to black coffee and listens to all the music she hated. The apartment fills with paper bags from Starbucks, cigarettes tossed onto the balcony. He hasn’t written a word in weeks (or at least what feels like weeks) and his head is wrapped around thoughts of long nights for lovers and caroling with his parents.
Its two weeks in the dark before he’s found and his handsome prince just happens to be Nate Archibald.
“You really don’t have to do this,” protests Dan, when a striped shirt from Jenny’s spring collection is tossed in his face. He wonders if Vanessa’s put him up to this, or Jenny. Starving Brooklyn writer. Needs life. Regular ad in the papers.
Nate doesn’t say much. Just tosses Dan a jacket and stops at the door- “you might want to shave.”
Dan’s eyes narrow.
“People, Dan,” he says, a trace of impatience lacing his quiet voice, “People will be there. Go clean up.”
He’s more than slightly suspicious as he leans over the counter of his bathroom sink, eyes dark and unfamiliar in the mirror. Nate’s outside, Serena’s in his head and shit- the razor slips slicing the line of his jaw like a warning.
(Wake up, Humphrey.)
And the room is empty, the couch is empty and he just wants to pick up a beer and sit back down.
He reaches for the jacket all the same, one hand pressed to the cut on his now smooth chin and follows Nate Archibald like a child after the Piper.
They walk into Starbucks, an empty table tucked behind the crowds. Nate pays and no, this isn’t a date because they’ve been talking for approximately two minutes before he catches a glimpse of dark blue in the corner of his eye, moving rapidly towards Nate.
She takes a chair, whispers “Sorry, I’m late,” at Mr. Archibald before turning to see him.
“Humphrey.” It’s said with venom and her tiny fingers ball into fists. She turns the sweet smile to Nate and “you never mentioned he was going to be here” and Dan thinks he should say something. Or leave.
Nate is cradling Blair’s hands, head bent towards and yeah- he should really leave.
Clears his throat, reaches for his cup and stands.
A pair of dark eyes fix to his face.
“What happened to your chin?”
Dan sits back down.
It’s small talk about Columbia with Nate and Blair ignores his questions about her classes, choosing instead to take inventory of his outfit, insulting it piece by piece in a manner that would be insulting if it weren’t so familiar and he can practically see the laurel branch being inched grudgingly across the table.
She gets up to use the ladies room, draping her dark coat across the back of Nate’s chair and pressing her Chloé purse firmly under one arm.
“So you and Blair?” Dan’s not sure where the edge in his voice comes from, “Does Vanessa know?”
Nate doesn’t flinch, just passes a hand over his brow. “We’re just friends.” He sounds tired.
Dan’s mouth twists in something bordering on disbelief- “Vanessa left me.”
He’s never heard Nate sound this bitter and they sit in silence till Blair returns and it’s sorrows into coffees again, a three person lonely hearts club.
This, he thinks, is fodder for the insane.
It becomes semi regular. Sundays, and she always curls her lips to one side like she doesn’t want to be here but Nate throws an arm around the back of her chair and he can practically see her biting back her misgivings.
He runs a thumb along the rim of his cup, staring into the lull of silence and he’s thinking of an excuse to leave when Nate’s phone rings.
The boy lifts a finger at his company, ever the gentleman and “excuse me” as he walks away from the table.
Blair bites her lower lip, eyes flicking off to the side and he thinks about asking her something, anything but the coffee is warm and her eyes are still cold.
So they sit in the table at the corner and they wait for Nate.
He decides he hates Nate Archibald.
It seemed innocent enough- “could you walk Blair home?” and the girl in question wrinkles her nose.
The silence (and her demeanor) is colder than the air around them, which is pretty impressive considering it’s nearly Christmas.
She seems troubled, fingers tugging at the sleeves of her coat.
“Penny for your thoughts?”
Her lips curve.
“Worth so much more than you can afford, Cabbage Patch.” But she peeks up at him through her lashes as she says it and he misses a step, coat covered arm brushing against hers on the sidewalk.
He asks her what she’s doing for Christmas and she mentions one of Eleanor’s torturous bashes and trails off when she realizes that she helped Dorota with the seating charts and Rufus and Lily and their family were most definitely on the guest list.
“Got a date, Waldorf?” he grins, so clearly Rufus hasn’t informed him of their holiday plans.
She just purses her lips and waves goodnight, picking out a dress in her head.
It’s not really as bad as he’d imagined
(but then truth be told, he’d imagined the worst, complete with awkward silences, incestuous connotations and too much or too little public displays of affection)
-Serena isn’t there, for one thing and for another- well, there isn’t another, except that for the most part, people seem to be ignoring him and Eleanor hasn’t asked him to fetch her a Sidecar yet, so he’s content to mope in the corner, staring at the cuffs of his sleeves.
Nate isn’t here yet and Blair is busy trying to pretend that she doesn’t complain about her philosophy class to him over chocolate muffins and caramel lattes every week so he settles for a corner, brooding quietly till he catches a glimpse of Archibald heir.
It’s nearing midnight before she approaches him.
He looks uncomfortable- awkward, familiar. His fingers are wrapped tightly around a flute of champagne still filled to the brim and he keeps adjusting his tie every few minutes with a free hand.
She slinks up to him, her eyes too bright and her smile hinting at too many empty cocktail glasses. “Daniel”- she stretches out his name, one finger pressing into the middle of chest and tells him Nate isn’t going to make it. He’s picking up Serena from some bar downtown and he needs to take her home.
Her five inch heels shake just a little as she speaks and falling gracelessly against his chest, nails digging into his forearm.
The room is still full and he tugs her into an alcove, trying not to smile as she willing follows the path of his body, leaning into the bend of his arm when his back meets the wall.
There is silk bunched at her waist, sliding against his fingers when she kisses him. Her tongue slips past his lips, tasting vaguely like honey. It lasts about a minute and he can feel his knees knock against hers when she pulls away.
She smiles prettily, lashes fluttering open and draws her index finger away from his cheek to point upward and ah- Mistletoe.
They don’t talk about Christmas the next time they meet and if his greeting to Nate is cold, than it’s easy for the boy to not notice. He keeps his head down. Lies low.
Blair talks about Eleanor’s spring collection and he watches her crimson lips form words like taffeta and crinoline till she presses her foot to his calf under the table, kicking sharply to stop him from staring.
He can’t help but grin, the corners of his eyes curling up in that old way- back when he was used to being amused. Nate shoots a confused look at him and Dan thinks its odd-
It takes a kiss from Blair Waldorf to spin the world back into place.
Georgina’s out for the evening, she informs him, breathing shortly against his mouth and he sends a prayer of thanks to whoever’s listening as his hands slide under her sweater, cold fingers skimming over the hot skin over her belly.
She bats his hands away, reaching for the hem of the cashmere pull over to tug it off. Her hair is tumbling around her face, her shoulders, the ordered curls more messy than he’s ever seen them before and he has the oddest urge to crush them beyond recognition.
She kisses him then, mouth pressed against his, soft and warm and he really can’t remember all hundred and one reasons that this is a bad idea. His lips slide along her jaw, checking the lock behind them with one hand and the other is placed lightly against small of her back, pulling her to him.
Her legs are locked around his hips, loosening only when he tumbles them to the bed, mattress sinking under their weight.
She feels like she’s drowning, her hair spread out in dark points across the snow white duvet and he gasps, neck bending down to press his nose to her locks.
He can feel her mouth curve against the crook of his neck, turning again as she shudders beneath him and her breath fans over his skin in short, rapid takes. There is no calculation to his touch, no tenderness and when Dan moves within her it’s all instinct.
She doesn’t think she’s ever tasted that before.
He sees the smooth curve of her back when he wakes up. She’s perched at the edge of her bed, shivering in her La Perlas.
Her name is low and hoarse on his lips. He clears his throat but she’s still as a painting so he reaches to the floor for his jeans.
Her neck twists back and he catches a glimpse of her damp lashes before she’s straddling him, pushing him back on to the quilt.
She seals it off with a kiss that tastes more like the grey hours of morning than the memories of last night.
Dan doesn’t ask questions.
All right, maybe that isn’t correct. He does ask questions and a lot of them. He wants to know why she prefers Fitzgerald to Hemmingway, why she’s never the Godfather and what does she think of his Marlon Brando impression?
He doesn’t ask about Chuck, though. Or Nate or Serena or anyone else in their tangled web of friendships and paramours.
He presses his palms to her face when he kisses her, shutting out the rest of the world. Tells her he knows all her deepest and darkest secrets.
She laughs at him, swearing it’s the only reason she’s ever kept him around.
And if there are no promises between them- then, why there aren’t any lies either.
He doesn’t ask her any questions that he knows she won’t answer and she extends the same courtesy.
Sundays roll into Tuesdays.
He decides it might be a good idea to study together and tempts her into the bargain with the promise of cupcakes and an Audrey marathon after.
She spends all day sifting through her wardrobe because she has no idea what to wear to a study date with Dan Humphrey. The black dress is too slutty, that old skirt is too formal-
She reaches for a package Serena left her, before whizzing of to Providence, spilling it’s contents on to the bed.
Jeans, she muses, pulling them up against her body.
Serena almost certainly meant this as a joke.
She’s tugging at the hem of her blouse when he opens the door. There’s a smile on her face because she can hear Sabrina’s letter to her father already playing inside the room.
“Blair,” he breathes and the girl before him laughs because his voice whooshes up at the end like it’s a question.
They sit amongst the pillows,
Her hands reach for her knees but there is no skirt for her to fold her fingers into.
“I figured you’d like the jeans.” Soft. Slow. She’s never hesitant around him- hell, she’s Blair.
She’s never hesitant. Period.
His fingers draw circles on her back, sliding up the back of her shirt- “How come?”
“Serena picked it out.”
His hand falls away from her skin and she leaps off the bed. The door- she knows his room better than her own at this point because Greg spends even fewer nights in his own bed than Georgina does and she’s picking up her purse when his fingers curl around her wrist.
Her knees hit the back of the bed and he holds himself over her, carefully reaching up to brush the hair out of her eyes.
“I prefer your skirts,” he admits, mouth close to her ear and his hand is running up one denim clad leg searching for skin.
Humphrey Bogart is twirling Audrey around the tennis court, it’s all in the family and Dan’s hands are sliding across her bare skin and there will be cupcakes after this.
It feels a lot more real than it ought to.
It takes Nate awhile but he figures it out.
Blair’s foot encounters one too many table legs and Dan’s hand lingers a little too long on the round of her hip as he helps her into her seat.
Nate pushes back his chair.
(Dan half expects him to roll up his sleeves.)
“When were you going to tell me?” he asks with a half smile.
Dan reaches for Blair’s fingers under the table, encouraged.
“We weren’t,” she cuts in, “There’s nothing to tell.”
His hand falls to the side.
He locks the door behind him and leans against it.
“What was that about?”
Blair puts down the lipstick.
“I thought we agreed-“
“We haven’t agreed on anything yet,” he points out, “In order to do that we need to talk about it.”
Her shoulders slope to one side, hips resting against the marble counter. She folds her arms and he can already tell she doesn’t want to do this. Not here-
(she doesn’t like scenes and he won’t lose her over this.)
He crosses the few steps of tile between them and slants his mouth over hers, sipping at her gasps and cradling her shoulders and she’s gripping at his shirt at this point when he pulls away.
“Talk about it later?”
She nods, biting down on her lip and he’s half tempted to not let go but Nate’s outside. The world and the Archibald’s wait for no man.
He gives a moment to catch her breath, pressing his palm against her own and lacing their fingers as they walk back to the table.
She doesn’t say much, for once- just sips at her drink and tries to be cold.
Later, he is almost certain there will be yelling.
She isn’t Serena. She won’t talk softly and she won’t leave quietly and he’s known this for a while. Maybe this is why he isn’t scared anymore.
There will be shoes thrown at his head and he’ll probably yell back but her fingers are still locked with his, at the moment and she isn’t crying into Nate’s shirt or calling a cab so he figures he’ll take what he can get.
He runs a thumb of her knuckles and relishes the small victory of her warmth because no one’s ever written songs about the ones that come easy and he imagines they aren’t about to start now.