As I continue my angst kick, I decide to slightly torture Chuck Bass with this fic, but it does have a happy ending, so there. It's inspired by this continuing fascination I have with CBN (without Nate really standing a chance against CB's love, but being there only because of this twisted idea of fate). Also because I find the Blair we saw 2x19 really fascinating, and the Chuck we saw fighting for adorable. So this fic was loosely based off that Blair and Chuck and their history together on the show, and it'll probably make more sense after you read it.

i.

In the beginning, she's the perfect wife.

(Even he, as godless as he is, can admit that. She is perfect.)

She wears all the right dresses, sits on all the prestigious committees, sits on a select few museum boards, holds weekly teas for all the society women, decorates their house tastefully, and smiles perfectly all the time.

It's more than that though, because she supports him. She gives up her dream of going to Yale (it's actually ripped from her, but she pretends that she sacrifices it, nonetheless, because it's more romantic than tragic that way). She moves in with him as he goes to Columbia. Stands by him as he risks it all on his own, and then fails miserably, only for his grandfather to ride in at the last moment to save them from epic failure.

(It had been him to make the call, him to sign the check, him saving them from the sidelines, as he always had.)

She does everything right, and yet it's still not enough.

ii.

She saunters into his seventh club opening.

By then, club openings have lost their appeal. And he sprawls out on a couch in front of the burlesque stage, looking, searching, for something to occupy his eyes for more than a second, until she walks in, like a breath of fresh air.

He doesn't expect her, not someplace like this. She's respectable, he's devious, it's a fine line between them, and now, she's crossing into his territory.

She sits down beside him and talks first. "I found him fucking her in his office."

He looks at her for a moment. He knows, of course he knows. Nate is his best friend, Serena is her best friend, and he always knows.

"I know you don't want to talk about it," he begins. He knows her better than she knows herself, but he needs to hear it from her.

"Relief," she says quickly. "I feel relief."

He knows why she's here. She's cunning and manipulative. She wants revenge. He fucked her best friend, now, she was going to fuck his.

(He wonders if he should let her. He supposes that he should try to be better than this. But he's Chuck Bass, and he's always been innately selfish.)

"You know," she muses, looking up at the girls on stage, "I've got moves."

It's an opening, and it's his turn to turn her down, or push her away, or remind her that she's still married to his best friend.

It's a challenge, and Chuck Bass has never backed down from a challenge. "Really," he perks up, "then why don't you get up there."

She looks at him, blowing him off, before catching something in his eyes. "You really don't think I would go up there."

"I know you won't," he drawls.

She stiffens, "Guard my drink."

iii.

She slides into his limo at the end of the night still wearing her white slip, her hair slightly tousled, and she looks like she's seventeen again.

"Thanks for the lift," she says softly looking over at him.

"You were amazing up there," he admits, because he can't help it. Sometimes he wonders if he's always loved her, just a little bit. He knows he does now.

She inches towards him, so close their noses almost graze, and then kisses him.

He pulls away. "You're sure?" He needs her to know what she's about to do, give up.

She kisses him in response.

iv.

He drops her off at her mother's old penthouse.

He can't take her to her other house. And she won't spend the night with him.

She's sprawled over him, her slip bunched up to her waist, his fingers deep inside her, her head tossed back in ecstasy, when he realizes the limo has slowed to a stop. When she finishes, she slides off him, straightening herself, eyeing him critically, "I'll return the favor later, Bass."

And for the first time, he feels dirty as she slips out of the limo into the cool night air.

v.

He avoids her for a week and buries himself in work.

He's never been a workaholic, preferring to enjoy his work with a side of pleasure. But even his dad looks at him strangely when he starts opting for late nights in the office rather then lavish parties thrown in his penthouse at the Empire.

She doesn't avoid him, but she doesn't go out of her way to see him either.

(They run in different social circles, so she doesn't see him ever, unless she seeks him out.)

At the end of a week, his assistant pages her in with a simple, "Mrs. Archibald here to see you, Mr. Bass," that doesn't prepare him in any way for her arrival.

She pushes her way through the double doors to his office, just as he manages to compose himself a bit.

"I found him with her again," she explains, standing a few feet away from his desk. She's wearing a thick bright pink coat, and he can see her stockings peeking out underneath, and he remembers ripping them off that night. He hardens almost immediately.

He doesn't want to be her revenge piece, but he doesn't think he has any choice in the matter when she drops her coat and stands in the middle of her office in nothing more than her La Perlas and stockings.

She saunters towards him, straddling him in his chair. "Fuck me, Chuck Bass." She murmurs throatily in his ear.

And just like that, he's gone.

vi.

He never imagined himself as the Other Man.

He sometimes entertained the thought of settling down with a woman. A woman soft and dumb, who would play well on his arm, and ignore any of his other activities.

Yet it was him that watched Blair let Nate hold her during the day, and him that held in the night.

Some days he's horribly jealous.

He hates jealous because it's an undignified emotion. It's for those who need to want. Chuck Bass doesn't want. He gets. He has enough money to buy half the world and not even glance at the bank account balance. He's never felt a reason to feel jealous before.

At least before Blair.

He had never envied Nate, either.

The tortured blond who seemed to agonize over the idea that his whole life was planned out for him. Yale, then a political career that would hopefully end at the front lawn of the White House.

Yes, he never wanted to be Nate, he still doesn't.

But that horrible feeling jealousy over takes him every time he sees his best friend curl an arm around Blair.

vii.

They have to be creative where they meet up because she refuses to bring him around her place (the place she shares with Nate) and refuses to be seen at his Palace suite (it's too associated to him). So they stay in the penthouse apartment of the Empire (The staff is trained well to not even bat an eyelash in her direction).

One day, he's feeling particularly romantic and he asks his valet and housekeeping to drag the mattress onto the rooftop.

He lays with her on the mattress, sheets bunched around the naked bodies, staring up at the sky, watching as the sun sets and the stars (only a few) begin to shine through the night sky.

She pulls out a pack of cigarettes from her bag, and lights one up. She offers one to him, and he shakes his head. She's drug enough for him.

He bites back the urge to tell her off, she's better than that, better than him. "Where did you pick up the habit?"

She eyes him carefully for a moment, trying to figure him out. "Paris, my honeymoon, when my husband was sleeping my best friend instead of me."

He stays silent for a moment, eyeing her. She's different, and it's like he's noticing who she is for the first time. She was Blair, but free and loose with none of the hang ups and stress that she used to carry around. She was self destructive, since that night at Victrola, and he hadn't noticed it because that she had chosen him for the first time.

She had lost everything, her dreams of the future, Nate. And now she was carrying an extra-marital affair with him because she just didn't care anymore.

And he let her because he loved her.

"Stay the night," he pleas pulling her close to his body.

It's fruitless, she always leaves, she has to go home to her husband.

"I can't," she murmurs, pulling away from him.

viii.

It falls apart, of course, like all good things do.

Vanessa Abrams, in a fit of self-righteousness and vengeance, reveals to a stunned crowd at the Blair's charity Gala for the Met that Nate Archibald is sleeping with Serena Van der Woodsen since he screwed her at the Shepards' wedding.

And Serena, proving that she's not entirely oblivious and in attempt to save a scrap of her reputation, announces that it doesn't even matter because Blair Archibald is screwing Chuck Bass anyway.

And then there's stunned silence.

ix.

Blair flees first.

Then he follows.

He doesn't need to hire a PI to know where she runs off to.

(She runs, of course, she runs. He thought it would him that ran first.)

Paris. It was always Paris with her.

He's tempted to follow her, but he charters the Bass jet to Prague instead.

He needs to escape too.

x.

He bought a ring, before it all went to hell.

She had the Van der Bilt ring on her finger. A gaudy old thing that didn't suit her. And on a whim he walked into Harry Winston and picked out a ring, classic, elegant and so her. He walked around with it in his pocket as if he even had the opportunity to propose.

Wandering the streets of Prague, drunk out of his mind, he's almost begging to be mugged. And when the men accost him in the alley of the red light district, he's so willing to give up his wallet and passport.

"Take it all," he mumbles as the larger man tightens his hold.

But they want more, and it's only a matter of time before they stumble upon the ring in his pocket.

He fights back.

(He fights for her, even when she's not around to see it, especially then.)

They shoot him.

xi.

He wakes up in a hospital in Prague, and she's curled up in a chair staring at him with wide bloodshot eyes.

"Blair," he whispers hoarsely.

"You bastard," she growls back. "You would get yourself shot, just to reel me back in."

He opens his mouth of defend himself, because really he wouldn't get shot for her, there were less messy ways of grabbing her attention. But he catches sight of the unshed tears in her eyes and he knows she's just lashing out.

"I'm sorry," he mumbles.

"You should be," she looks away from him.

xii.

She stays, nursing him back to health. And when he's ready to leave the hospital, she packs up her bags and leaves for the airport, because "I'm still not ready, Bass."

And he lets her leave, again. Because he's not sure he's ready for her either.

xiii.

They meet again in Paris.

He's using a cane, and she's wearing a red gown.

"I'm supposed to be on a date with a Prince," she admits as she walks towards him.

"Why aren't you?" He's resigned in that moment to lose to the faceless Prince. He can't compete with that.

"Because I love you, you enormous pain in the ass," she smiles softly at him. "And because I know you love me too."

He flinches at her confidence.

"I found the ring," she admits, holding the black box towards him. "It's beautiful."

"It's for you," he admits.

"I know," she looks down at the box longingly, "But you're not ready to give it to me."

He looks away this time.

"It's okay," she straightens, "I can wait."

xiv.

She goes back to New York, and he follows shortly after.

He buries himself in work again, while she tries to figure out who Blair Waldorf is without Nate Archibald or Chuck Bass. He builds up an Empire of his own, while she goes to Columbia to try and figure out her own Empire.

And when the ink on her divorce papers is finally dry, he seeks her out.

He sends her a note to meet him on the top of the Empire State Building if she still loves him at 7:00 or he's closing his heart to her.

She shows up exactly at 7:00 even though he's been standing there since 6:30, because she's nothing if not dramatic. "You cannot Affair to Remember me, Bass," she screeches as she comes into view.

He smiles at her brightly, holding out a bouquet of pink peonies, "You love it, Waldorf." He relishes the sound of her last name.

"I love you," she counters seriously.

He pauses for a moment, "I love you too."

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