A/N - So this literally snuck up on me. I was conversing with my girls, posting on Fan Forum, and jumping between writing the next TTE update and hashing out my newest fic when this ambushed me. Make of it what you will. :). Thoughts?

She's sitting before me with that look on her face that tells me she's waiting. That she's BEEN waiting. And I know if I can't bring myself to finally say the words, finally put a name to the feeling that has been my tether to life since before sultry dances, leather seats, and birthdays, I'll doom myself to a life...well, without life.

And she's till waiting, with that little crinkle in her brow that says we've been here before, Bass. She doesn't expect me to say it this time either.

But this time is different. I can see her eyes clearly, I'm not numbed by narcotics, pharmaceuticals, alcohol or anything else - I want to remember this moment.

This time, I'm not looking to wound her, or wallow in my grief in solitude.

This time, I'm standing center stage with my hands pressed against the shanty table the prop department means to resemble a twelve century antique and my back turned on all of New York, it seems.

This time, her eyes aren't searching mine, pleading for the response I should have given her when she broke before me in all her white glory.

This time, it's not a game, or a pare. Or even a challenge.

This time, this time it's Chuck Bass standing before Blair Waldorf with his heart on his sleeve, his stomach in his throat, and his life on the line.

This time it's love.

And I'm not scared, or shattered. She's not trailing after me with broken dreams. She's found herself, and I me, and in turn I've found my way back to her.

Because I do love her. I will love her. And she will never take another breath without knowing it.

And neither will the audience, as they seem to be collectively holding theirs waiting for me to say something. To say anything.

She's gotten to her feet now, and is standing with me between our collective families and friends and the table that looks more like a podium the more it creeps into my peripheral vision.

So I do what I should have done that night when the future had seemed so far away from my perch on bended knee.

I tell her I love her. Without hesitation. In front of our family and friends and anyone who matters

The lace of her white bonnet obscures her eyes and I can't tell if she's humiliated or over joyed. So I gingerly lift from her face and find tears that match my own glistening down her cheeks. I repeat the words and they flow from my lips easier then I'd ever imagined. Not because she'd demanded them. Not because I'd been backed into a corner. And not because she'd been about to kiss Humphrey - and me goodbye - in front of her public.

But because they are true.

And the thought strikes me, as her cream coloured gown melds into the fabric of my black tux and the podium behind us edges toward alter, that the man who first equated the term 'wife' with 'ball and chain' had never met Blair Waldorf.

Or Chuck Bass.

A/N I'll hopefully be updating Maho/TTE/dark!fic within a couple of days. :)