A/N Written from Chuck's POV. His thoughts during 3x02, because the vdB love (well..) and the awesomeness of Chuck and Blair made me squeal :)

Thank you to Noirreigne for beta-ing this for me!

Disclaimer: I don't own Gossip Girl

You might have been somewhat occupied during the summer, but for the 'Serena European Tour of Drunken Debauchery' to have past you by, you would have had to be both deaf and blind. You've seen the Gossip Girl blasts and the pictures of your oldest, and only, female friend dancing on tables, hanging out at lavish pool parties and with her arms around him. Now she's back and you can tell that your female, brunette counterpart is immensely relieved to at least have her BFF back on home turf, even though said blonde is still acting like sobriety is so 2008.

When she shows up on your doorstep you almost find it a relief. At least then you or Blair (or the doorman) can keep an eye on her. You tell her that a college diploma isn't much more than an accessory and you believe it too. You even briefly consider telling her that she can always do some internship stuff at Bass Industries, but then she spots the designs on the table and diverts your attention. When you tell her about your plans for the old bank and the vault you can't keep from smiling because it might not be playing doctor (you haven't really been interested in a close-up of her anatomy since junior high anyway), but telling her means that the two of you are sharing a secret and that's even better.

Later that night you're not happy at all to have a fucking step-sister, or adoptive sister, or whatever she is. Not when she opens her big mouth and ruins your meeting. The messy state she's in becomes blatantly obvious and you've been concerned and a part of you still is, but now you're terrified too.

When the four of you were younger there was a period of time where you and Serena were actually quite close. Not in the 'I know all your secrets' kind of way, but more in a 'last night was epic, wasn't it?' kind of way. You share a special bond in the way that you've both been out and about, getting trashed, while Blair shot you both murderous, disapproving glares as she dragged Nathaniel out of whatever club or party that were your arena of choice for the night. When Serena danced on the tables, you were making out with some random girl in the seat next to it, looking up the blonde's skirt every now and then for good measure. The two of you have shared more than your fair share of drunken rides home and exhausted looks in class the day after a night out. Serena covered for you in Monday morning English (when she turned up to class herself) and you diverted attention from Serena with a sleazy remark whenever Blair was on her case about her latest fuck-up. Then Serena screwed up royally (hurt Blair) and left, only to become back a reformed woman the next year. You told her that you missed the 'old Serena', and a part of it was true. You missed the camaraderie you shared with the 'old Serena', but silently applauded her dedication to really turning things around.

Then came the infamous "van der Bass"union along with occupied bathrooms and smarmy comments about bathing together and dirty packages on tables. For the first time in your life, you actually dared believe that things like family and siblings might be in the book for you after all. That didn't last long however, everything changed beyond repair in a matter of seconds and it became your turn to screw up (hurt Blair) and leave town. You might not have come back a better man, but you like to think that you've been improving gradually since your return. You've tried hard to change. You're still trying so hard sometimes you have to grind your teeth together so hard it hurts to keep from slipping. But you do it anyway because the things you have in your life now are worth it.

Now Serena's slipping back into old habits and it terrifies you. It scares you out of your right mind because if Serena can slip, then so can you. If Serena, who turned her life around and never looked back, can change back into her old ways that easily – in a summer's time – and without a single trace of remorse, then you are just as likely to screw up again too. A year ago the idea of failing wouldn't have been as frightening but things are different now. Now you have so much more to lose.

So you're terrified – literally shaking in your suit – but you refuse to let it show. Instead you put on your best indifferent scowl, make sure your voice betrays none of the panic racing in your system and call her a "train wreck". You call her that because it takes one to know one, and you've been there. You've been the train speeding into the distance, away from everything and everyone, heading for the broken bridge. You've been the heap of scolding, twisted metal wrecked almost beyond repair.

The door slamming shut behind her feels like the attempt to blow up yet another bridge and it causes you to do something you could never picture yourself doing (and that's saying a lot); you voluntarily get in contact with Rufus Humphrey and tell him the truth about his darling new step-daughter hiding out in the Bass cave. Serena showing up as you're about to leave was definitely not part of the plan. You've barely managed to catch your breath before she shows up like the blonde, downward spiral that she is, this time with him following her trail, and manages to ruin yet another business meeting. You can barely believe it at first, but this time it's obviously done on purpose with that dangerous flicker in her eyes that you remember so well, and it scares you even more. You could've dealt with another business meeting gone askew, but seeing her there with that horrid, meddlesome lowlife is the last drop and being that openly vicious is too fucking much. Something inside of you snaps, and you tell her the truth. It's the last, desperate option; your version of a certain brunette's "I do. Don't you understand? I'll always be here" that saved your sorry ass not that long ago (even if it feels like three lifetimes have passed since then sometimes) You display the soul and conscious that your other half is so sure you possess, and tell Serena that the only reason you talked to Rufus was because you're actually concerned about her.

You're fidgeting in the limo on your way home, contemplating the idea of heading out instead but decide against it. Once inside your suite the cap of the scotch bottle is unscrewed within thirty seconds. It's not until you notice your own hand trembling slightly as you reach for the glass that you stop and think. It would be so easy. So very, horribly easy to get ridiculously drunk and screw things up before you do it anyway, or Serena does if for you. A part of you still believes that maybe you should screw up, because surely it must hurt less to lose something if you do it on purpose? The fact that a thought so sinister, so much like something the old Chuck Bass would think, has nestled its way back inside your head is devastating. Suddenly the aching wish for Blair to walk through the door right that second and fix things - fix Serena and fix you - is so overwhelming it makes your breath hitch.

Your fingers are literally itching to reach out and call her, knowing that one word would be enough to have her running in your direction, but something stops you. Maybe it's the comforting sight of a stray headband on top of the dresser in the corner, or the lingering scent of her perfume in the air, or maybe you're actually stronger than you give yourself credit for. Maybe it's because you love her and want to give her the opportunity of a real college experience (even if it really is nothing more than an accessory.) You don't know which and you don't care.

The next time you reach out to fill the glass, your hand's steady and you successfully fight the urge to have a swig straight from the bottle. You do down the drink in one go but then head for the shower; let the water cascade down your back until the skin is red from the abusive heat. So what if you have one or two drinks more after that, Rome wasn't built in one day. Of course you can't sleep that night. You won't ever tell anyone, but sleeping without Blair in your bed has become increasingly difficult over the last few months even at times when your mind is not a swirling mess because of train wreck sisters busy burning every bridge. The combination of the whole thing with Serena and no Blair is about as relaxing as an ecstasy trip, so instead of sleeping you lie awake for hours, staring blankly into thin air, and slowly but surely drive yourself crazy by thinking of 'what if's and 'could have's before you finally drift off.

You vaguely register the sound of the door opening and then closing followed by the unmistakable sound of her tip-toeing to the bed. You know it's her, even when you're barely awake and the feeling of safety and comfort is immediate. Not until you feel the familiar dip of the mattress, and a waft of perfume hit your nostrils do you really become conscious of what's going on and lean in to her touch as her hand squeezes your shoulder. She's telling you something about college and you barely respond, only moving closer, feeling her warm breath against your skin thaw away the last remaining, icy slivers of panic.

"Are you okay?" She murmurs against your neck, her fingers lacing together with yours. Chuck and Blair holding hands so very effortlessly.

"I am now." You reply, because with her there next to you and her hand in yours - pulling you away from the edge, there is no way you couldn't be. You're okay and Serena will be too. It might take one train wreck to know another, but Blair Cornelia Waldorf has always been an excellent engineer.


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