Ever since Blair had left him, Chuck's days had become a long, slow living hell. He spent his days at Bass Industries and his nights getting completely trashed and hooking up with a different girl (or girls) every night. He still lived in suite 1812 at the Palace, even though he had enough money to have the nicest apartment in the whole city. No matter how much pain it caused him, he couldn't leave the place. He and Blair had spent four wonderful, perfect years together there. It still had the pictures of the two of them that Blair had insisted on putting up. He couldn't bear to take them down.

When he went on his daily alcohol binge and dragged his latest whore up to his suite he couldn't help but think about her. She had called him three days ago. Apparently she had heard about the bad habits he had formed and she was concerned. He hadn't called her back. She was the one who said they needed a break; she needed a break, until he could grow up and let go of his old ways completely. Now that she was gone, he wasn't sure if he would ever be able to change. The three days after her phone call had been the worst he had since she first left him. He felt like he was walking in a heavy fog. For all he knew, the sun hadn't shined since her call.

He thought maybe Blair missed him, but it seemed too good to be true. Why would she miss him? She was too good for him and he hadn't done anything to change or to deserve to get her back. But he wished she missed him. He wished harder than he ever wished for anything in his life.

Even though he kept the pictures of Blair and him in the suite, he couldn't keep any of them by his bed. When he was with the sluts that he brought home at night he couldn't have them in sight. He couldn't look at her while he fucked some other girl. It would hurt too much. It would make him feel worse than he already did. Most nights, after the slut left and after the effects of the alcohol wore off, he would take his favorite picture of her out of his bedside table. He would look at the picture of her smiling happily into the camera, for once completely not self-conscious of being photographed, and he would let out a few silent tears. He wished he could be better, that he could change his ways, so that she would come back; so that he could finally escape the hell he had been living in.

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She had finally given in and called him. She hadn't talked to him in ages, but she had heard about his exploits from a lot of people. Actually only from Serena, but she knew he wasn't doing too well by the way everyone was whispering his name and the way conversations would cut off when she got too close. She could see it in the worried faces of their mutual acquaintances and the fake smiles they gave her when she entered a room that everyone knew he was destroying himself. So she called, just to make sure he was still alive. To make him see that someone still cared; that she still cared.

But it had been three nights and he still hadn't called her back. Three nights and no response. No call, no text, no email, nothing. Not that she was really surprised. She knew she had hurt him when she left. But she had needed to leave. He hadn't changed, and if she stayed he would destroy them both. She had waited the four years they were together, and every day since, for him to grow up. For him to be better. For him to change. But he hadn't done it yet. And as much as it hurt her to be away from him, to sit back and watch him self-destruct, she couldn't go back to him, she just couldn't. At least, that's what she kept telling herself. But that didn't stop her from opening a bottle of wine every night when she got home from work and looking at her favorite picture of the two of them. In the picture she had her face tilted up to his and their foreheads were touching. She had her hand on his chest and he had his arms wrapped around her waist. But the best part, and the reason the picture was her favorite above all others, was the fact that he was smiling brightly into her eyes. Smiling. Not smirking. He was really, truly smiling. It was the only picture she had of him with a genuine smile. She had checked; multiple times.

She would study the picture and reminisce on better times. When they were happy; when life didn't get in the way; before she realized that they had no future if he couldn't change. She would remember and smile and wish for the day when they could be together and happy again.

Of course, she always had to put the picture back in the drawer when her boyfriend came home from work. Yes, she was seeing someone else. She had been waiting for Chuck for a very long time, and even though she knew she could never find the kind of love she had with Chuck, she needed to at least try to move on. When her boyfriend was with her she had to put all thoughts of Chuck out of her mind, at least as much as possible. So the picture had to be hidden. She couldn't think about him, let alone look at him, while she was with her boyfriend. It would only make it harder for her. Although, despite her best efforts to hide her thoughts of him along with the picture, for a brief moment as she put it away her mind always wandered to thoughts of where Chuck was and how he was doing. She still cared about him; she probably always would.

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Chuck needed to get drunk. Very, very drunk. He had just listened to the voicemail that Blair had left for about the hundredth time. At this point he was reading things into it that were obviously not there. She didn't care about his well-being. She didn't want to get together. She wasn't worried about him. He needed to forget about her. He could never be good enough for her and she deserved better. It was no use for him to sit and replay her voice over and over and dream about her still caring about him.

He was wandering aimlessly, looking for a bar, when he realized he was outside of Blair's building. He stopped and took a moment to look up at the building and remembered when he had first found out she was leaving him and moving in there. Lost in thought, his gaze drifted down from the building and fell right to the eyes of none other than Blair herself. She had just exited the building with Serena and she was staring at him with a sad, shocked expression.

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Blair and Serena were leaving her building to go grab some lunch. They were talking and laughing and excited for the day ahead of them. But when they stepped out of the doors of the building Blair froze like a deer in the headlights. Serena turned to her to ask what was wrong only to see her staring in complete shock at something over Serena's shoulder. She followed the other girl's gaze to see Chuck Bass standing on the sidewalk looking right back at Blair. Serena placed a hand on Blair's arm to get her attention and distract her from Chuck, but Blair shook her off.

"Can you give me a minute, S?"

Serena had a concerned expression on her face. "Sure, B." She took a few steps over towards the limo that was waiting for the two girls as Blair made her way over towards Chuck.

When she was in front of him Blair mustered up all the strength she had as she spoke, "Chuck. What a surprise to see you here."

Chuck couldn't even look at her. "Blair-"

"How have you been?" She asked politely, trying to act like they were old acquaintances catching up.

Chuck finally looked at her with just a hint of a smirk on his face, "Oh you know, same old same old." Chuck took a moment to look at her before continuing with the polite, but awkward, conversation. "Where are you and Serena off too?"

"Oh, we were just going to lunch before we have to go to this charity thing tonight. You know; same old, same old. How about you? What brings you to this part of town?" She asked with a slight teasing tone in her voice. She was trying her hardest to act as normal as possible, but she couldn't help but hope he was here for her. As much as she hated herself for it, her first thought when she saw him was that maybe he was finally coming home to her. Maybe he was finally ready to be with her. Maybe he was here to stay.

Chuck looked at her seriously as he spoke, "Just looking for a bar."

She gave him a worried look. "Chuck-,"

"I have some things-," He gestured towards her, "-I need to forget."

Blair frowned in concern, "Chuck what are you talking about? And it is barely noon. You shouldn't be drinking"

"Desperate times, Waldorf. It's the only way I can get your pretty little face out of my head"

She realized he wasn't looking for a bar to start drinking, he was already slightly inebriated. "Chuck, stop doing this."

He ignored her. "So how's that fiancé of yours?"

She sighed. "He was never my fiancé."

"Oh please, Waldorf. Everyone and their mother knows that the sap would have married you in a heartbeat if you wanted to." He said bitterly.

She scowled and raised her voice just a little bit, "But that's just it, I never wanted to! I could never have married him. That's why I broke up with him."

"You what?"

"I ended it. Sure, he was a handsome, and a gentleman and he treated me well, but there was no passion, no desire. I thought if I tried to move on; if I tried to be with someone who treated me right, I would be able to realize that you were never going to change; that we would never work. But since you've been gone, for as long as I was with him, my whole world was dark and gray. It's like nothing has any life or color anymore, and I can't do anything to fix it." Blair had tears in her eyes as she sighed again and looked into his eyes, "I just can't forget you, Bass. It doesn't matter what I do."

At that point Serena came over. "Blair," she spoke softly, "we should really get going if we want to make our reservation."

Blair wiped at the tears threatening to spill onto her face, "Right, well it was good to see you, Chuck." She smiled faintly, but her face still looked sad.

As Blair and Serena turned to leave, Chuck reached out and grabbed Blair's arm. "Wait. Blair, I-, uh-," He stopped and took a deep breath as he looked down at his feet.

Blair spoke, trying to sound bitchy, but having it come out more pleadingly, "What, Chuck? What do you want?"

Still looking down he spoke with more confidence, "It's like walking through the fog. I don't even remember what brightness looks like. When I think about when I was with you, when I remember those days, all I see is color and light. I know what it's like." He paused and looked up at her. "I can change. I will change. I promise."

Blair just looked at him in shock. She was speechless. But before she could gather her wits, Chuck dropped her arm and backed away as Serena led her to the waiting limo.

She didn't know what to think. It was obvious he still cared about her, but that had never been the issue. She had always known he cared about her, but the real question was had he really changed? From his current destination and his current state of inebriation, it didn't seem like it. Even so, she couldn't help but hope…

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In the days following their encounter, she couldn't get him off her mind. His disheveled appearance, his sad but still devilish handsome face, his words; she couldn't stop thinking about him. Her deep thinking led her to question a lot of things. Like why were they apart? Why were they making each other suffer? Why were they living in pain when they both obviously wanted to be together? She realized that Chuck really had changed. He was never going to be considered a gentleman. He was never going to be a white knight. He was never going to be 'perfect.' But he was all she wanted. And he was better than when she left. He cared about her, and he showed it more readily. He proved to her, in just a short, chance meeting, that he would always love her, that he would change for her, and that he already had begun to change.

Blair opened her dresser drawer and took out the picture of her and Chuck. She looked at it as she traced the edge of his face in the picture. They were so happy in the snapshot. Something that made someone that happy couldn't be wrong, could it? She didn't think so. At that moment she made a decision. She was sick of being apart. She was sick of being miserable. She wanted, no needed, to be with him.

Without a second thought, she picked up her phone and called him. His phone rang a few times and then went to voicemail. She took a deep breath at the beep, "Chuck. Hi. Look, ever since I ran into you the other day, I haven't been able to stop thinking about us. I was just looking at this old picture of us. God, Chuck, we were so happy. I know that since I left I have never been close to the happiness that I felt when I was with you. Us together can't be wrong if it makes us both so happy, right? Why are we making each other miserable? God, I'm so confused" She sighed into the phone in frustration. "I'm sorry, I'm rambling. I really just called to tell you I don't care anymore Chuck. I don't care what everyone else thinks, I don't care if you haven't completely changed. If you care about me, if you still love me, we can make it work. I know we can." Her voice softened to almost a whisper, "I just-, I just want to come home, Chuck. Please."

She hung up and let out the sobs that she had been holding in. She hoped he would call back. She needed him to call back. She couldn't turn back anymore. If he didn't want her she didn't know what she would do.

*****

After her phone call, Blair had cried herself to sleep. A few hours later she woke up to the sound of her phone beeping, signaling that she had a new message. She raced to grab her phone. She knew it was him. It had to be him.

She opened her phone and dialed her voicemail to listen to the message. It was short and to the point. There was no greeting or identification, but she would recognize his voice anywhere.

"I love you. Come back home."

He loved her. He wanted her back. She didn't even bother packing. She grabbed her purse and ran out the door, only to run smack into Chuck. She backed up a step and looked at him in surprise for a second before rushing into his arms with tears streaming down her cheeks. He kissed her all over her face and held her close. After a few moments of this he pulled back and put a hand on her cheek. "Come home, Blair. I want you to come home. I want you. I love you. Please, come home."

She looked at him and smiled. Then she wrapped her arms around his neck, threw her head back, and laughed. She hadn't been this happy since, well, since the last time she was with him. He took one look at her in her joyous state and smiled. He smiled that real, genuine smile that he had in the picture she loved. No matter what drama or fights or hardships they might face in the future, she was sure that only together could they be truly happy and they would be handle anything else that might come their way.

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A/N: I don't know what it is, but I just keep writing these angsty Chuck/Blair separating/reuniting stories. Oh wells. This one came about in one day, for reals. I heard the song "Picture" by Sheryl Crow and Kid Rock, thought of Chuck and Blair, came up with this story, wrote it, and published it. All in one day. So if it sucks, that's why. haha. Please review! Thanks!