A/N: This is set before Chuck and Blair get together properly. Please review if you like it :P

Cold tears run down her face as she brushes through her hair over and over again. It gives her something to do. Something to concentrate on. She needs to be strong and hold herself together. But how do you hold yourself together when your whole world is falling apart around you and there's nothing you can do to stop it? She looks up at the mirror in front of her and sees the person who is now entering her bedroom. She catches his eye for a moment and another tear falls down her face, into her lap and she resumes her brushing with shaky hands. Her eyes close when he wraps his large warm hand around her small cold one and pries the brush from her numb fingers. His arms then encircle her from behind and there's so much she wants to say but she can barely think let alone talk so only one word escapes from Blair's frozen lips.

"Chuck"

***************

She looks beautiful and part of him wants to tell her that but of course he doesn't. You don't tell someone they look beautiful while they are getting ready to attend a funeral. It's just not something you do. But what exactly do you do? What the hell are you supposed to say? For Chuck, the answer is obvious. Blair knew exactly what to say to him when his father died, and now as he watches her prepare herself for Eleanor Waldorf's funeral those three words eight letters are spinning around in his head so fast that he feels dizzy. But he won't say them. Not yet. Instead he takes her hand and leads her gently out of the room and down the stairs and into the limo where she buries her head in his coat and he strokes her hair. His heart breaks as he feels her tears soak through the material clinging to his skin.

***************

He watches her carefully throughout the service, not taking his eyes off of her. Despite the many people who have come to pay their respects to the great Eleanor Waldorf, Blair looks small and alone sitting beside him. The priest continues to talk and hymns are sung and people are crying. Blair stares straight ahead at the coffin covered in flowers, her eyes tearless for the first time in days. Chuck stands besides her protectively as people come up to Blair, the same pitiful look on their faces the same words leaving their lips.

"I'm so sorry for your loss"

Their words mean nothing.

****************

Chuck takes her hand as they lower the coffin into the ground. As the guests join in silently with the prayers being said for Eleanor by the priest, Chuck says a prayer for Blair rather than her mother. For a moment he wonders what has come over him. He was never a religious person, but he'd try anything if it held the slightest chance of taking Blair's pain away. Serena is holding Blair's other hand and Chuck hopes she'll find comfort in the amount of support she has. He knows she won't though. He had all the support he could have asked for but his grief overshadowed everything. He hopes it won't be the same for her. He lets go of her hand as she places a rose on the casket, a final goodbye before it is covered up. She returns to her place in between Chuck and Serena who immediately take one of her hands once again. All three of them flinch when the soil hits the wood.

*****************

In the limo on the way home Chuck leans down as he places a soft kiss on her shoulder before whispering that he's sorry. He doesn't quite know what he's apologising for. There's so much that he's done wrong. It reminds him of her seventeenth birthday and he wonders how they ended up like this. Cold and broken and just so so sorry. Seeing her tears, he kisses her shoulder once more and she takes his hand.

"I really am sorry" And now it's just like what happened at her birthday all those years ago. This time he's apologising on her mother's behalf, he's apologising for her leaving Blair. He's saying sorry for things that are out of his control. But unlike the last time, she says something in return.

"I know"

***************

"I can't stay there tonight Chuck. I can't go back there" Blair whispers as they near her home.

He nods and tells the driver to take them to his suite. He's relieved she doesn't want to be by herself because he doesn't want to leave her alone. When they arrive, he takes her into his room where he slowly undresses her, her black clothing falling to the floor with a dull thud. She makes no move to help him and although he notices how amazing she looks as she stands there in her underwear he doesn't comment. He's scared to leave her, but she's cold and needs something to wear. He quickly moves towards his drawers and after grabbing one of his larger shirts he returns to her, carefully placing the shirt over her head. She shivers slightly and moves closer to him. Her hands go up to her head and he knows that she must have a pounding headache from the sleepless nights and the endless crying.

"Blair... Stay here. I'm going to get you some water" his voice sounds loud in the quiet apartment. She doesn't respond and after giving her hand a gentle squeeze he goes to the kitchen quickly, his heart hammering in his chest. When he returns, she's still standing in the same position, the same lost look on her face. He offers her the glass of water but she makes no move to take it. He frowns before placing it on the bedside table. Their eyes meet and for a moment he is terrified because her eyes look the same as his did all that time ago and he doesn't want her to feel that pain. She sways slightly and concern and fear wash over him in waves.

"Blair!"

"Chuck... I don't....feel well" her voice is weak and broken. Alarmed Chuck carries her to the bed and helps her to take sips from the glass he had brought her. When she is finished she leans her head on his shoulder. Chuck knows she must be exhausted. He gently moves them so they are lying on the bed, facing each other, hands clutching at clothing.

"Blair, promise me you'll be here when I wake up... Don't leave" he whispers. She looks at him for a long moment before nodding.

"I can't leave" she whispers back, clutching him tighter. He knows she needs to sleep but there's one last thing he has to say.

"I love you" their lips meet and it's almost as if he can taste her pain. He tells her it again because she needs to know.

"I love you Blair, I'm here and I love you" he repeats it over and over again like a mantra until she falls asleep. Somewhere in between the kisses and his whisperings she tells him that she loves him too.