Title: Is it a Wonderful Life?
Summary: Starts a few days after Gone With The Will, before You've Got Yale. Chuck gets a visit from his Mom to show him what would have happened if he had gone off the ledge in Realm of the Basses. But will it change how things go for Chuck… and Blair.
Opening his eyes, Chuck found himself standing in his suite, with his mother. Something he knew was impossible, since his mother was dead. Perhaps it was his mother's ghost, come back to haunt him and tell him what a disappoint he was. That Bart was with her now and sorry for leaving him Bass Industries. "Mom?"
"Yes, Charles. It's me," she said, hugging him close, the way he'd always dreamed she would.
For a moment he just let himself savor the feeling, but then he pulled back. "What is going on, Mom?"
"You're dreaming, basically. It's more complicated than that, but for now let's just say you're dreaming. I missed being with you as you grew up, but I've been watching over you. I'm being given a chance to try and help you fix things. Do you remember what you were thinking about right before you fell asleep?"
A sad, haunted, look came into Chuck's eyes; though he didn't know it. "I was thinking about the rooftop. When I was standing on the ledge. I came off that ledge for Blair. Only for Blair. But I've lost her, and now Dad's dead because of me. Just like you died because of me. I should have gone off that ledge. The only down side is that if I had, Jack would have the company."
"Charles, I didn't die because of you, and neither did your father. You need to learn to believe that. My death was sad, but not your fault. And your father… He made his won choices. As for Jack and the company… That isn't the only down side. You've seen the movie 'It's a Wonderful Life.'?"
"Of course. Blair made me watch it. Don't tell me..." Chuck said, disbelieving and almost amused.
"Yes, Charles. This is your version of the movie. We're going to see what would happen if you had gone off that roof. Let's start off easy."
Suddenly Chuck and Misty stood in Central Park. He saw Nate with a small boy. "Dear Nathaniel. I suppose he and Blair ended up together."
Misty smiled. Chuck got his answer when the little boy shouted "Mama," and headed toward...Vanessa, Chuck saw with some surprise.
"Hi, Chuck," Vanessa said as she scooped her son into her arms.
"Chuck?" Chuck asked, turning to Misty.
"Yes. They named him after you."
"So, they're happy. My leaving didn't hurt them at all."
"Nate misses you every day. And young Charles greatest wish is that he could have known you. Otherwise, you're right. You're death didn't seriously damage their lives. But that's for the moment. Once young Charles Archibald grows up, it's a different story. He's a very talented artist. With you alive, he'd also be a very successful one. You commission paintings and show them in your homes, and Bass Industries offices and holdings. The Palace ends up with a few magnificent pieces. It gets him discovered. Without you, there's no Bass Industries. Jack manages to all but run it into the ground. And even if he didn't, he'd never show any of Charles' paintings. Charles is still good, just not successful... not without you."
Chuck gave a small nod, still staring at his namesake.
"Now let's see someone else. Eric, perhaps."
Chuck looked around to see they stood in a grave yard. "I thought we were going to see Eric?"
"We are. Look," Misty directed, pointing at the gravestone in front of them.
Eric van der WoodsonLoving son, brother and friend
"What happened to Eric?" Chuck demanded in a voice hoarse with barely suppressed emotion.
"Losing Bart and you both so quickly sent him into a depression he never really came out of. Less than a year after you go off that ledge, he downs a lethal dose of pills and scotch."
"Scotch..." Chuck whispered. He knew Eric never drank scotch before meeting him.
"Yes. Ironic, isn't it."
"Not the word I'd use," Chuck muttered.
"Tragic," Misty suggested. "And speaking of tragic, let's go see Serena."
Suddenly they were in a bar, and a very drunk Serena was making out with a guy Chuck didn't recognize. Another woman approached the table.
"Whoregina?" Chuck asked in disbelief.
Misty smirked at the nickname. She'd never liked Georgina, or her parents. Having watched Chuck she'd also seen the people he'd interacted with, including her. "Yes. Without you or Blair around, Serena falls apart. A couple years after you die, Georgina comes back. Serena is very vulnerable. With Georgina's encouragement, goes back to her old ways. This is how the rest of her life is going to go. Random encounters with different men. If you and Blair were around, she'd never have fallen back in with Georgina and her old ways."
"What about Blair, why isn't she here?"
"See for yourself," Bart said.
The next thing Chuck saw was the interior of a lavish bedroom. Blair walked in, and Chuck couldn't help but gasp. She was dangerously thin. Worse yet, a few bruises showed in stark contrast to her, too pale, skin. "What the Hell happened to her?" Chuck demanded in a harsh, angry, whisper. Rage poured though him. He wanted to kill whoever had hurt Blair so badly.
"When you died she became bulimic again. She moved to France with her father, and Roman - and never returned to the States. She ended up marrying a man who, at first, loved her. But he quickly realized she didn't love him. Not really. He assumed she was having an affair. The more she denied it, the more he refused to believe her. Jealousy can be strange that way. She wasn't having an affair, but she didn't love him. She's still in love with you. Eventually, he began beating her."
"She'd never allow that. She'd leave him."
"Yes, she does leave him. A few months from now, actually. She lives a long, and very lonely, life. After losing you, and this failed marriage, she never opens her heart up again," Misty explained.
"So what happens now?" Chuck asked.
"Now, you wake up and move past having lost your father. Focus on fixing your relationship with Blair. It's going to take some work. But if you ever think it's not worth it... remember what you just saw. She may not admit it, but she needs you. And you need her… "
"I don't even know where to start."
Misty gave a gentle smile. "Three words. Eight letters. Also, Blair told you herself that she can't stand to watch you self destruct. Prove to her that you aren't going to self destruct. Don't make the mistakes your father did."
"I'll still always miss you… and Dad" Chuck quietly admitted.
"I know. I never got to say this, and your father never said this enough, but… I love you, Son. And even if he couldn't admit it, so did your father."
Chuck opened his eyes to find himself in his own bedroom. He didn't know if he'd really seen his mother or not. And maybe it didn't matter. He needed to go talk to Blair. Whether it was his own subconscious or his mother's spirit telling him to do it, he needed to make things right with Blair. He couldn't let her have that future he'd seen. May it really was what might happen to her. Maybe it was just his own ego saying she needed him. He couldn't take that chance, that risk, not with Blair's life, her happiness.
Nor could he take the chance with Eric's life. At the thought he gave a shutter. He was definitely going to keep Eric away from the scotch. He remembered telling Eric he wasn't' his brother. That was a good thing. Eric didn't' have the hard, ruthless edge that seemed to define the Bass men. He deserved a better big brother than Chuck could ever be. Chuck decided the least he could do was make a real effort to be a good big brother.
He also had warning that Whoregina was returning. He could warn the others and take steps to keep on eye on her. They definitely had to keep Serena away from her.
The next morning Blair had just finished a late breakfast, since it was a Saturday and she didn't have school, when Chuck showed up.
"Blair, please just hear me out. 5 minutes."
"5 minutes," she agreed.
"I'm sorry. You were trying to do something nice for me, and I threw it in your face. I was angry at Jack and lashed out at you. You didn't deserve it. And I didn't deserve to have you be so… supportive after I'd cancelled our dinner the night before to… go out and party." He was careful with his wording, not wanting to throw the fact that he'd been with other women in her face.
"Apology accepted. I know Jack set you up. But it doesn't fix things, Chuck."
"I know. All I'm asking for is another chance. I'm done with Jack, and with the stupid self-destructive stunts I've been pulling. But, Blair… I can't do it alone. I'm not that strong. I… need you," he admitted softly.
"You have me, Chuck. As a friend. Not anything more. Not right now, at least. And only as long as there's no more stupid, self destructive behavior. I was serious about that. I can't keep watching you do these things to yourself. It hurts me too much. But I promised I would be here for you, and I will."
"Thank you, Blair."
Blair looked down and took a deep breathe before continuing. "There's something you need to know. New Year's Eve… I was drunk, hurting and… vulnerable. I ended up with Jack. We…"
Not ready to hear the actual words, he cut her off. "You don't owe me any explanations. You saw me in the office, and can guess what I did while I was gone."
Blair looked up at him, surprised. "You aren't mad?"
"Furious. At Jack, not you," he quickly added, not wanting her to misunderstand. Of all the things Jack had done taking advantage of a drunk and vulnerable Blair was by far the worst in Chuck's mind. He also thought perhaps it was best that they simply be friends for a while. He wasn't angry at Blair, but he was hurt, and needed time to deal with that before they started any serious relationship.
"I say our first scheme should be how to bring that Basstard down," Blair noted, her voice deadly soft.
"I couldn't agree more," Chuck smirked.