She was just learning it, the limits and the rules and the beauty of it, when things got bad that night. So she locked it up, tight. She didn't want the fire getting out. She didn't want to be a fever ever again, because she saw what it could do if you weren't careful, and she knew she wasn't interested in being careful yet. Dan wasn't the problem, he was a symptom: she knew she needed to keep the secret, and she used him to do so. His words, his hate, his judgment, his annihilation of everything she was, the way he snuffs the fire: it helped. It brought the fever down. All he had to do was make her feel better. It was always better to feel stupid than to burn, until now; tears will dry on their own, but you can turn them to steam any time you want. Just want it.
Serena nods to herself. Not worth it. Never worth it. Especially now, now that she knows she was never a killer after all: This time, it'll be okay. This time she can burn. "You're right. You and Amanda should probably go." The challenge in her eyes is bright and hard. "Are you ... ordering me to leave?" That fake smile returns, flirts along her lips: "Consider it a suggestion. Why should I go, Dan? These are my friends here, and it's not exactly your kind of place." She pushes past him; she takes up more space than ever before. Dan asks the bartender for the check, completely unaware of what he just did or how easy it would have been to go the other way, and Chuck appears -- suspiciously conveniently, for like the tenth time this week -- and Dan tells him to start wearing a bell. "Kinky. I'll think about it. I hope you're not leaving. You're about to see the real Serena!" She drinks at the other side of the bar, getting blearier and sexier, chatting with the bartender. "I've seen enough," Dan says, completely oblivious, and tries to leave. Chuck smiles, in his purple suit. "...Not by half."