A/N: Sweeti over on GGI requested something Jair-ish, and I just got around to finishing it. I don't like it to much, but whatever. In honor of upcoming Jair (fuckyes).
He moves like Chuck. He walks like Chuck, he talks like Chuck; he might as well be Chuck, but older and tangible, not far off in Thailand doing whatever. In Blair's mind, he's Chuck. There are a few things missing (genetically) and he doesn't know Blair quite the same way Chuck does but he's there and Chuck isn't.
Jack Bass is not that different from Chuck. Jack has a penchant for rooftops and he wears ascots and Blair's even seen him in a bowtie once (it was generic and without color but still a bowtie all the same). Jack looks at her in the same way Chuck (used to) look at her, all curiosity and wonderment and lust and awe. He treasures her with his eyes, and it's not the way Chuck did it but it's close enough (it's almost close enough to be perfect).
The night Blair sees Jack, she's blinded by the way he seems to be Chuck in way that could not come from mere relation. It's almost as if Jack was the Original Bass, the one who taught Chuck everything he ever knew, all his mannerisms and quirks (they even have the same eyes and Jack smirks like him, too).
It's at a society event that Blair is forced to attend (she's been in mourning, locked up in the confines of her room for days) by her mother and Serena. Her best friend pouts when Blair shows up in black (like it's a funeral for the lost) but she doesn't argue, and she holds Blair's hand as if she was a small child ready to wander off.
"I don't need you to drag me around," Blair snaps heatedly, angry and disgusted and betrayed for being treated like a lost little girl. She's Blair Waldorf; she's never lost. Chuck is the one who's at loss without her. "It may surprise you, S, but I'm a big girl now, okay?"
Serena frowns. "I'm sorry." She seems genuine, but the last time someone looked as if they were telling the truth (he didn't have to say a word, he said it with his eyes that night) they left her. And so Blair refuses to acknowledge the apology. It doesn't exist.
"I'm going to get a drink," she says instead, whisking around to leave the blonde staring after her. Idle chatter rings in her ears. The new year is beginning, some say, all bright, painful smiles and botoxed cheek bones. Things are changing, others agree, bland suits and slicked hair. Everything is so perfunctory, so normal, that she wants to scream. She wonders what would happen if she opened her mouth and released the animal sound inside of her. Would anyone notice?
A waiter shuffles by her, proffering a tray of champagne. Blair grabs two and swallows them down, wanting to feel a buzz, anything that reminds her she's alive. She half-expects to look down and see her hands disappearing, to see that all she has ever been is an apparation. She isn't real. This isn't real. She should be home, in her room, screaming without sound.
"You can't be here."
For a moment, Blair believes the champagne is getting to her head (it can't be his voice, he's not here, he hasn't been here for weeks). She turns her head imperceptibly, and her eyes catch his (she wants to wail her distress that it's not Chuck).
"Jack Bass," Blair greets in a stiff manner, all cold eyes and cold voice and cold, cold blood, running through her veins. Her body betrays her and she stumbles, holding onto the bar for support. "I haven't seen you since..." She can't say when; her memory is fuzzy, and all she can remember is the two glasses of champagne and the painful smiles flashing across the room.
Jack looks at her like a cat who just caught the canary, triumph and surprise all at once. "You can't be here," he repeats, in a smooth tone that leaves out no arguments. She feels compelled to nod her head. She can't be here. "You're too beautiful to be alone," he continues.
"Smooth." Blair grimaces. A sudden (desperate) thought enters her mind, and she stares at him with increasing interest. "Have you had any recent contact with Chuck?" She wants to keep the hopefulness out of her voice, and not sound like a widow (she sounds like a widow, grieving for a man who isn't hers at all), but it's impossible; he sees the agony in her eyes, the anguish in her voice, and she can't help it (she misses him).
Jack smirks. "My dear nephew?" He pretends to ponder the thought, his fingers drumming on the table. "Oh, I know where he is. Presumably fucking the entire continent of Asia. He's going to come back with an STD."
"He probably has one already," Blair replies vaguely, but all she can imagine is Chuck in every continent on the world, South America and Europe and Asia (fucking other girls).
Jack cocks his head to the side (a predator sizing up his prey; Chuck did it as well). "Wouldn't that mean you'd have -"
"Where is he?" Blair ignores what he (almostmaybecouldhave) said, because that's in her past. Chuck's not here (he hasn't been here for a long, long time) and she hasn't fucked him since... (in a long, long time).
The alcohol is already humming in Blair's head, and the stress of the smiles and the chatter and the conversation makes her weak. Before Jack answers, her knees give out and her arms are numb and she (almost) crumples. Jack's arms catch hers before she can. Her blood thrums angrily, color rising to her cheeks. Where's the exit? She wants to leave. She can't (shouldn't) be here.
"Let's get you somewhere quiet." Jack's voice is silky and for a moment, Blair can pretend it's Chuck's. Chuck isn't as strong (never spent a day in the gym) and his voice is deeper, and she'd never be so weak in front of him (never), but it's easy to pretend it's him. It's close enough.
No one notices as Jack half-carries her through the room (no one cares, not even Serena), and the elevator is empty and silent. "Where's Chuck?" Blair asks again, and this time her head seems to make sense of the words (she feels lucid enough to think, and his hands ungraciously grabbing her ass aren't good thoughts). "You know where he is, don't you?"
Jack doesn't answer (does he care?) and the elevators chime. A cold wind greets them.
"We're on a roof," Blair states vaguely. "Why?"
"I like rooftops." Jack shrugs his shoulders. "Don't you?"
Blair feels like she's going to be sick. "Chuck does." It's all she can think to say; Jack's hands are everywhere at once. He must have at least a million hands. "Do you think I'm weak?" She blurts this. ("I'm never weak. I'm Blair Waldorf.")
Jack doesn't answer in so many words. "Chuck's in Thailand. I can get him back for you."
Hope surges through her veins, pathetic and pitiful hope. She's weak and she's never been so disgusting. Chuck's in Thailand (he's fucking the world right now, a big fuck you to Manhattan and his dead father) and she's not, she's on a rooftop with Jack Bass.
Jack is only a few letters away from Chuck.
"Bring him back for me," Blair answers in a voice that isn't her own. (She hasn't been herself for a long, long time.)
"I need a favor." Jack's hands grip her firmly and she's not sure she'd be standing if he wasn't holding her in so many ways.
Blair clutches at his tie. "A favor," she repeats. "What do you need?" She'll do anything.
Jack's teeth shine bright in the darkness, white and painful and innocently evil. He smiles like a wolf (ohgrannywhatbigteethyouhave). He smiles and Chuck doesn't (he's not Chuck, he'll never be Chuck, take his hands off your body right now).
"I need you to pretend I'm Chuck tonight."
She began pretending the moment his voice reached her ears (it's almost close enough to be perfect). It's hard to pretend (but she does it anyway). It'll never be the same again (not since Chuck left). Nothing will ever erase it (she doesn't care, he'll bring Chuck back). So she pretends he's Chuck and she pretends there isn't a difference between the two.
Blair kisses Jack Bass like she (used to) kiss Chuck. Down below, in the room of painful smiles and idle chatter, the countdown for New Years has begun.