A/N: It's been a while. Hopefully you guys will enjoy this little diddie that I came up with during my afternoon commute on the subway.

Before Midnight

"I bet I can stay up later than you."

"Nu uh!" Ther was something in the way that prim and proper Waldorf said that. Whatever that something was, it made Chuck's face turn pink enough to match his pajama top. "I'm a big girl and I'm older so I can stay up later!"

"Okay, if you fall asleep first, um..." He paused and scratched his head of freshly cut brown hair. ".. then you can't talk to Nate for a week." Chuc knew how to make deals. He'd watched his father enough to learn.

He watched the girl chew on her plump lower lip, the cherry flesh disappearing only to reappear, her forehead scrunched upward in a frown. "Fine! But if you fall asleep then you can't wear bow ties for a month!" That'd teach him.

They shook on it like they'd seen people do in movies and settled back in bed. Dorota had protested the impropriety of it all when Bart Bass dropped off his seven year old while he jetted off to Los Angeles to close up a deal in time for New Years. Eleanor merely waved the boy off to her own daughter before getting back to planning out the very important details of her upscale soiree. It would all turned out to be a success, of course. In true Bass and Waldorf style, Bart got his deal and Eleanor's soiree was the talk of the town.

From his friend's large princess bed full of lace and frills that Chuck could just choke on, the children listened to the clinking of champagne glasses and the murmurs of insignificant conversation. This was what they would become one day, but for now they were tucked in above it all in the second floor of the Waldorf penthouse, her goose-down comforter covering their legs as they sat against the headboard.

"So... what do we do now?" It wasn't that Chuck was uncomfortable with silence. On the contrary, with Bart always away, he had adjusted to being perfectly content with the stilness in the room and the raging noises in his mind. But here he was, sitting next to Blair Waldorf. Alone! The thought of it made his palms sweaty again and he wiped his hand onto her comforter and prayed it wouldn't stain.

"Well, we're supposed to be asleep. Mother says I need my beauty rest."

He turned his face to her and observed her profile, from her big brown eyes topped with long black lashes to her petite, pointed nose, to her soft peach-colored pout. He turned back to face forward and muttered. "No, you don't." She couldn't be anymore beautiful, he decided. It just wasn't possible. He was Chuck Bass and he had seen plenty of models walk through the doors of his father's bedroom so he knew beautiful when he saw it.

And Blair Waldorf was the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen. So much so that he couldn't tell anyone, especially not Nathaniel. It was a business thing really. If no one else knew about it, he could keep it all to himself. If good old Nate knew, he might look at Blair too and really see what he had yet to open his eyes to. No, this was just a way of eliminating competition. No hard feelings.

"We can watch TV. We can watch the ball drop or something." He'd heard from Serena that there was a huge party in Times Square every year and that her mom was taking her this year as an apology for leaving for Germany two months ago. Maybe they'll see her on television.

"It sounds so noisy and crowded." He turned on the television anyway with the remote but before the noise could blow out her delicate eardrums (even with her claws, everything about her was delicate to Chuck), he pressed the mute button. Blair turned down the lights with the switch beside the bed.

Like every true New Yorker, Chuck hated Times Square. It was noisy and busy and there really wasn't much to do. But there, on the screen, the city was lit up like multi-colored stars, flashing and shifting before their faces. He looked over at Blair to see the colored lights projected onto her pale skin and he couldn't believe she was real.

There, above the covers, he reached out and took hold of her hand, warm and smooth between his fingers. His head snapped back to the screen when she began to turn to him. When they showed a helicopter shot of the insane party, he felt her turn her own hand and entwine his fingers in hers. They fit perfectly. Chuck and Blair were born to hold hands.

And so they sat for two hours, watching as various hosts and performers came on and mouthed a few lines. The two of them provided their own commentary. "Hi, I'm _____ and I'm a pop star who never went to college and don't know how to dress myself." Blair would start.

"Yea, and I bought these ugly jeans from the Gap... on clearance." Chuck made her laugh. At least he tried and most of the time he succeeded.

Twenty seconds before the clock struck the magical twelve, Chuck turned to Blair to tease her about midnight kisses. Instead of finding her red faced and indignant, he realized that she'd fallen asleep. Her breath was even and her head was burrowed deep into her pillow. "I win," he said softly to himself.

He turned the volume up to a bare minimum and listened to the crowd count down. He slid down the bed hismelf until he was at face level with her.


He tucked the shoots in around her.

Nine Eight Seven

A hair fell in her face and he brushed it away.

Six Five Four

He scooted in closer, his upper body curved toward hers.


He bit his lip, nervous.


He looked at hers, still soft and perfect.


"Happy New Years," he whispered and he followed the example of the herd of people in that party and the one below them. To the sound of cheers and champagne flutes, he kissed her.

She cheated the next day, telling him that she "most certainly did not fall asleep first" before calling Nate to wish him a happy new year. He stayed in bed and listened, his eyelids drooping even as he watched her flit around the room in her flowing nightgown.

So she saw Nate sooner than she should have, but Chuck still had the memory of their kiss burning in his mind and beneath the skin on his lips. That was enough.

For now, at least.