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Blair didn't know who or what to get mad at first. Not only wasn't Humphrey Gossip Girl, he had taken on the infamous identity to save her? Why would he do that? She had so many questions and she still didn't understand it all. And Eric hadn't even given her time to grasp the truth, which seemed like an elaborate backstory in a spy novel, before he dropped another big bomb on her.

Nate was being blackmailed by Gossip Girl? How? Why hadn't anyone said anything to her? Before she could explode and leave Dan and Eric as part of the debris, her phone rang.

The moment she saw the caller id, she sprang from her seat and headed away from the Brooklyn duo. The conversation she had for the next two minutes was one of the most difficult ones she had had in her life. She came back inside with troubled eyes and shaking hands. She took her bag and hurried to leave. She didn't register anything around her until someone grasped both her hands and halted her.

"Humphrey! What are you doing? I have to go."

"Hey! Is everything ok? Blair you look like you just saw a ghost."

She looked up and focused on Dan's face, his eyes. They were narrowed with crinkles of worry around them. He looked angry, no he looked attuned, ready to pounce into action the moment she revealed the source of her distress. Her heart beat came down to a normal and she swallowed trying to gain her balance.

"I have to go to Henry's school. He was found inside his locker unconscious. The headmistress said he's fine now, the school nurse assured me he's fine and resting. He's fine."

"Blair.. Blair.. "

"He's fine."

"Yes. I'm sure he's fine Blair. Look at me. Hey! You'll be fine too. I promise. Let's go."

"What?"

"I'm driving you. Let's go."

She didn't even try to protest. Dan caught hold of her hand and held it the whole way to his car and she hung on to it like it was her anchor.

 

--x--

 

Blair sat in the corridor of St Judes holding Henry's sleeping body in her lap. She kept soothing his hair, kissing his face and running her hands down her legs and arms.

The moment she and Dan had walked into the Headmistress cabin, she had seen Henry coloring and she had almost collapsed at the door if Dan hadn't caught her. Henry had rushed to her and she only calmed down when his tiny body clung to her legs.

He had looked tired and troubled, but he was coloring and hugging, so that was good. Blair had left Henry under Dan's supervision as she'd spoken to the headmistress. Some kids from the class above Henry's had bullied him and locked him in the locker. The headmistress promised Blair that the teacher noticed Henry's absence only few minutes after the recess and had found him before anything could happen. Of course, the school would take strict actions against the boys responsible. They had already launched an investigation.

Blair listened to it all in a numb way that shocked the headmistress. It would be hard to deny that the conversation held a tinge of fear on the headmistress' part who was very well aware of Blair's reputation. She had expected a fire-breathing mama dragon, but the Blair Waldorf who sat opposite to her was silent and meek as a candle.

Blair hadn't said a word from the time she left Dan's loft. She felt someone sit next to her and she looked to find Dan holding a cup of what looked like cheap vending machine coffee towards her. She scrunched her nose and Dan smiled with brows raised. He thrust the coffee cup and gave her a look that said he wouldn't budge. She adjusted Henry in her arms and took the cup that was offered.

"Uh.. Is he ok?" Dan asked nodding at Henry

Blair shot her first glare in the last two hours which made Dan suppress another smile.

"You're right. Wrong question." he said sipping his coffee. "What about you? How are you holding up?"

The hot coffee singed her hand, but she held on tight. Blair looked ahead unfocused hearing Dan's question over and over in her head.

"I failed him Dan. I failed my son." she said and bit her tongue. The words seemed like they escaped before her thought could stop them. She looked at Dan expecting judgement but found him staring at her with his head tilted and eyes soft. He looked like he wanted to kiss her. The thought startled her but she didn't look away.

"You could never fail anyone you love Blair." he said with a sincerity that moved her.

"I cannot stop thinking about the time he spent in that locker. What must have gone through his head? Did he yell? Ask for help?"

"Blair." Dan said taking the coffee cup out of her hand. He seemed to be wiping the spilled coffee on her hand and she hadn't even noticed. "Listen. He is safe in your arms and hopefully he fill forget about it all one day."

"He told me he didn't want to go to school today."

"Blair you cannot predict the future, although if there was anyone who might ever succeed, it would be you."

"What if..."

Dan cut her off before she spoke further.

"Right now let's get him home and you can obsess over all the what ifs you want in leisure later ok?"

Blair nodded because she didn't know what else to do.

"Can you help him?" she said unprecedented and an immediate fear rose in her, anticipating Dan's rejection.

Dan had been about to get up but at her plea he froze and turned to her with sharp eyes. She wanted to say so much. The reason why she had turned to him, why she felt an inexplicable rush to not let him go just yet and so much she herself hadn't been able to understand. But all she could do was stare at him holding her breath in trepidation.

 

--x--

 

Blair laid Henry down gently on his bed and pulled the duvet up till his chin. He hadn't woken up once since he had dozed off in the chair outside headmistress' office. He kissed him softly and sighed. She always like running a losing marathon with Henry. No matter how much she tried, she was being left behind in this role as a mother.

She walked out of the room expecting Dan to be outside, but when she didn't find him anywhere on the floor, she rushed down the stairs wondering whether he had just driven off. She almost ran into him in the vestibule.

"Woah." he exclaimed as he caught her just in time. "Were you running?" he asked amazed.

His eyes held this alluring teasing light that made her want to smile and share in the joke.

"No, I was rushing to see if Dorota was back home."

"Hmm." he said looking at her face hair to lips in a unbelieving stance.

"What?"

"Nothing. I was about to leave."

"Oh."

Somewhere between rushing to Henry's school and placing his sleeping body onto his bed, Blair had lost her gusto and she was assaulted by a terrible case of nerves like never before. She felt unsure and conflicted about what words to say and what not to. This had so rarely happened in her life, that she could count them on a single hand.

"Well ok then I guess..."

"I'll help him." Dan said rushed and closed his eyes for a brief moment of reproach.

"What?"

"I wasn't able to answer because... well because you shocked me. But of course I will help. I would be very happy to help Henry Blair. Any way you want."

Blair felt like she'd just been declared the Best Dressed Women by Vanity Fair. When Dan hadn't answered her back at the school, she had been dejected. She hadn't spoken a word on the whole way home because no matter how badly she wanted to deny it, she had been hurt by Dan's silence.

"You will?" she asked with a excited smile.

Dan looked at that smile with a beat longer and nodded.

Her smile became so huge yet she couldn't contain her joy in just them. She jumped a step and squeaked.

"Thank you Humphrey!"

Dan was smiling too and the foyer seemed brighter and cheerful than it had ever been.

"You're welcome Waldorf."

They stood like they were suspended in time and she felt years younger as though so many burdens of the present and the sins of the past had been taken away from her in a surprising moment of solidarity with the one person she had always relied on.

She took a step towards him and felt him get nearer and she laid her head on his shoulder. Not much of a hug but an embrace of thanks. She could hear his heartbeat, or maybe she just thought she did. Blair closed her eyes and took a deep breath in. Everything about Dan felt familiar and right. His sandalwood scent, the rough fabric of his jacket, the texture of his beard as he rested his head on hers and the warmth of his hand and he hugged her back.

She felt content to stay like this stationary and in a pleasant limbo. A minute or ten later they strayed apart and Blair was amazed that her smile had remained intact. Seeing her smile Dan's eyes narrowed as though confused.

"I.. I have to go." he said in a sudden burst of awkwardness.

She nodded and watched him walk out of the door. He was almost at the foot of the stairs when she remembered the conversation in his loft and rushed to catch up.

"Wait! Humphrey! I still have so many questions about Gossip Girl and what you and Eric are planning and about Nate..."

"Blair!" he cut her tirade off and looked up at her from the steps below. "We have it in hand."

"What?"

"You don't have to worry, we'll take care of it."

"How could that be possible? You and Eric planned one scheme in your life and that blew up in your face on my birthday. Admit it Humphrey, you need my help."

"No!" he exclaimed but when she looked like she would protest, he added "Look, you have hands full with Henry. I don't want to worry you. We'll figure out a way."

"But..."

"We've got this. Trust me" he said and before she could change his mind got into his car as though the hounds of hell was after him.

"Like hell you've got this." she whispered. If Humphrey thought she would forget about the whole thing, he was giantly mistaken.

She rolled her eyes at his naivety and climbed back. She felt like a different person altogether. In a turn of events, she felt like she could ace being Henry's mother after all. She will take Dan's help and fix Henry's problem and all would be right in her world.

Somewhere in the night after their dinner and when Henry snuck into bed with her and asked where papa was, she realized that she hadn't once thought about Chuck the whole day. She had sought help from someone else and her heart said it was for the best.

---x---