Cancer.

And with that one word, Chuck pulled out his cell phone and walked out of the room, intent on securing the best doctors. Only the very top of their fields could be counted on to treat Blair Bass.

After Chuck ran out, Blair remained, calmly talking to the doctor about possible treatments and her options. It didn't look good, but she knew Chuck would never accept any sort of negative outlook, especially without consulting top specialists from around the world. So she let him work his magic and get her appointments with doctors in different cities, countries and continents. She went through treatment after treatment, new experiments and constant medication changes. Despite the work of all the doctors, Blair continued to get weaker and weaker, until the doctors agreed, there was nothing left to do. Her time was running out.

Chuck refused to accept it. He held out for a miracle healing. But once Blair knew things were coming to an end she refused to sit back and let her husband live in denial.

She started showing him the little things that she always did. Making the grocery and chore lists for the maid, keeping an eye their stocks and funds, letting the cook know the meal plan for the week, and most importantly, she told him all about what he would need to know to raise their 3-year old daughter, Audrina, all on his own. She taught him about doing hair and picking out outfits, how to work pull-up diapers and stockings, how to give a bath and put her down for a nap. She also talked to him about when she was older. About hormones and dating. About college and marriage. Any issue he might encounter with their daughter she tried to address.

Chuck wasn't the most receptive audience, insisting Blair would be around to deal with all these issues, but she still talked about it regardless. He needed to be ready.

In Blair's last few days, Chuck finally began to accept that she was truly leaving him and she talked to him about all that she wanted for him and for Audrina. Chuck was too distraught to disagree with anything she said.

Blair was lying in bed, with machines hooked up to her, determined to remain at home, no matter how bad it got. Chuck was lying beside her one night, with his head rested on her shoulder.

"I can't do this without you" he whispered into her shoulder.

"Chuck..."

"You're the only thing that keeps me human. I'm nothing but a devil without you" He half-cried against her.

"C'mon Bass. If I didn't know better I would think you were sounding needy right now" Blair tried to lighten the mood.

"I do need you" It was a simple statement but the pain laced through the words caused Blair's heart to break even more.

"Chuck, you CAN do this. I've seen you with Audrina. You are a great father. And she adores you! I know you'll be fine"

"How can you know that??" he responded angrily. "What if I become like Bart? What if Audrina ends up having the same loveless childhood I did?" He questioned sadly.

"Charles Bass. Look at me." He lifted his head at her commanding tone. Hearing it made it easy for him to forget how sick she was. "I swear to God, if you begin to act anything like your father I will make you life a living hell."

"How could you possibly do that? My life will be hell if you're dead. What are you going to do? Haunt me?" Chuck sneered.

"No. The opposite."

"So you won't haunt me? Wow, that's quite the punishment Waldorf."

"Are you saying you wouldn't like it if you could still see my ghost and feel my spirit in this house after I die? Come on Bass, I know you better than you know yourself and I know you would enjoy every second of me haunting you. Which is exactly why I wouldn't haunt you if you turned into Bart. Our daughter will not grow up like we did! She will be loved and secure and happy. She will not be raised by the help. I don't even want you to hire a nanny. Period. You will not be bringing a parade of whores through this house giving our daughter a skewed image of what a real relationship is like. You won't be jetting off around the world, leaving her here on her own to raise herself. You will support her with whatever she wants to do and make sure she can do whatever she wants to do. And you won't cut her off from Lily and Serena and Eric. They are the loving family you and I never had. Let her enjoy it, as much as you might hate it. Don't isolate yourself or Audrina from your family and from the world."

"Blair..."

"Chuck. You can do it. I'll help you. I promise. And I want you to be happy. If that means finding someone else..." at this he scowled and grunted, "or going back to your womanizing ways, then do it. I won't be upset. Just don't do it in front of Audrey. Please. Just be happy" she pleaded with him.

He sighed and pressed a kiss to her hair. "Well I can guarantee there will be no whores. Who would have guessed that at the ripe old age of 28 notorious playboy Chuck Bass would become a celibate single father."

"Chuck, please. Don't cut yourself off for my sake. I'll be dead. I want you to move on...even if it's with sluts and whores; outside of this house of course. You do not need to give up sex because you can't have it with me. Come Chuck, really. How long have you ever gone without sex? A few weeks? Don't torture yourself! And if you find someone that you care about..."

"Not going to happen" He interrupted.

Blair gave him a look. "Remember what I just said? Don't isolate yourself. If you meet someone else, I want you to be happy"

"I could never be happy with anyone but you" He whispered against her ear. "Once you are...gone..." It was still hard for him to say it out loud, "My life will consist of Audrey most importantly, and then Bass industries. Got to keep the little Queenie's trust fund stocked up."

Blair rolled her eyes. "Like it would ever run out. She's gonna be one of the wealthiest children ever."

"And I plan on keeping it that way"

Sensing his resolve, Blair decided to let the topic drop. "Fine Chuck. If you want to refrain from sex for the rest of your life that is your choice. I'm too tired to argue with you anymore."

And seeing the truth behind her words, Chuck decided to let her rest. He pulled her towards him until she was lying down with her head on his chest and her eyes beginning to close.

As she drifted off to sleep, Blair heard her husband whisper, "I promise to take care of her. She'll be happier than either of us ever was before we had each other. Even if it kills me, she'll never know anything but support and happiness..."

-----------------

3 days later Blair was gone. She died with Chuck and Audrina by her side, quietly in the bed she and Chuck shared.

Throughout the wake, the funeral, and the 2 weeks that followed Chuck kept to himself. He didn't really talk to anyone. When forced to speak to answer questions from the caterer, or funeral director, or Serena, or Nate, he answered in short, simple sentences, preferably consisting of one word, never dropping the steely expression from his face.

Despite his promise to Blair, in those 2 weeks he could not bring himself to even look at Audrina. She was just too much like Blair. From her wavy dark hair to her big eyes, she was the spitting image of her mother. And the way she carried herself, even at the age of 3, was too much like Blair for Chuck to bear.

Finally, Serena couldn't stand it anymore. She knew that the only way for Chuck to pull himself together was to get him to focus on his daughter. So she came over to Chuck and Blair's apartment with Audrina, whom she had been taking care of with Dan, and marched right into the bedroom where she found Chuck lying on the bed in a wrinkled suit, that was obviously from a night or 2 before.

As she slammed the door Chuck snapped to attention and Audrina cried out "Daddy!" as she began to struggle against Serena's hold to go to the father she hadn't seen since the funeral. Serena set the girl down and instantly Audrina was in her father's arms.

"Hey Audrey" Chuck whispered slowly.

Audrina lifted her head and looked into Chuck's eyes and said "Daddy, I love you" At those 4 simple words both Chuck and Serena began to tear up. Serena quietly left the room.

Hearing his daughter say those 3 words that had been so difficult for both him and Blair to say made him remember how much he loved this little girl and brought to mind the promise he had made to Blair. He realized that this little girl was his last remaining, living piece of Blair. The fact that Audrina was so much like her was a blessing, not a curse. And from that day on Chuck lived up to the promise he made to Blair to make their daughter's happiness by far the most important part of his life.