Because I'm not Chuck Bass without you.

11:00 am at the Observation Deck of the Empire State Building. I'll be waiting.

She runs as fast as her four-inch heels can take her.

When she stops to catch her breath, Blair tries to reach Chuck's mobile for what feels like the 30th time, only to reach his voicemail (again). Her display reads 6:08.

She's gone to his room at The Empire (despite the threat of bile rising up her throat), 1812 at the Palace, the Van Der Woodsens, Bass Industries, and even The Gimlet Club and Victrola. When she's close to giving up, she calls Serena.

Over the phone, Serena stays quiet as Blair tells him of Chuck's latest stunt, and that she's getting desperate since no one can seem to tell her where he is. Serena waits a beat then asks Blair why she's even bothering to meet Chuck after everything that's happened.

"I thought you were happier now," she adds somewhat accusingly.

It dawns on Blair that she's been running blind all this time. After reading Chuck's note and seeing The Empire's title, she rushed out of the hospital not understanding the whys.

"I am," Blair says with conviction.

She needed to live through the fallout of her relationship with Chuck to realize she couldn't stand the person she had become, and not even the love of her life could save her from the rabbit hole she dug herself into. (If anything, his affinity for games and secrets pushed her down further.)

One full year ago, Gossip Girl labeled Blair weak, and she mistakenly thought she could fix herself by aligning with someone whom she thought carried strength in spades. When she lost Chuck it nearly killed her, but because of it she realized she was her own lifeline, and that strength meant knowing happiness was something only she can provide for herself.

"I just need to talk to him," she continues.

It's a lie of omission. Despite the strength Blair's built over the last few months, the compulsion to see Chuck is stronger.

Serena sees through her, but relents. She asks if Blair's gone to the Empire State Building.

"It's been seven hours. Do you really think he'd still be there?"

"Don't you think it's worth a shot?" Serena counters.

With a deep breath, Blair sets off again, to the city's famed building that has, so many times since its opening, seen lives and loves come and go. The minute Blair told Chuck she loved him she tied herself to him for the rest of her life, and ultimately that meant she'd always answer when he comes calling.


She finds him sitting by himself at the observation deck, one cab ride and 86 floors later.

"Have you been here the whole time?"

His head jerks abruptly at the sound of her voice in the unusually empty deck. He shuffles to his feet and walks toward her, relief apparent in his eyes.

She tells him she's literally been all around the city in search for him. She could kill him. She wants to.

"Waiting felt appropriate. Like penance." He stands in front of her, his hands in his pockets, mere feet separating them.

In the face of true love you don't give up,

"What if I didn't show?" she breathes.

"I'd try again and hope you'd be in a more forgiving mood next time," he says simply.

...even if the object of your affection is begging you to.

She reaches into her tote and hands Chuck the envelope she received from Arthur that morning. "I don't want your hotel, Chuck."

He takes the envelope and lets it fall to the floor. "Neither do I."

He's looking at her like he could see the world in her. She feels familiar flutterings in her stomach and she's terrified at how quickly she falls back into their pattern. When he tries to reach for her hand, she backs away.

"I know now that what I want is simple," she starts. "So it confounds me why I'm still drawn to you here when you're the glaring opposite of simple."

"Basic physics. We're magnetic. It's not just because the sex is amazing or because we regard each other as equals. We hurt each other and we bring the best and worst of each other, but at the end of the day, the way we love each other, we both know there's no going back."

It strikes her how he insists on referring to them in the present tense, like he never pawned her to Jack or disappeared for two months. At the back of Blair's head, she knows Chuck is right, but she can't pretend their inevitability doesn't scare her. As strong as she's gotten on her own, she can't trust herself with him just yet.

Chuck senses Blair's hesitation and sighs. "The hotel isn't some kind of bribe, Blair. It took me a lot to realize it, but you're important to me, above anything. If I need to get rid of the hotel for you to see that, so be it."

He's being wonderful, and she can't stand it.

"Say something," he pleads.

"What do you want from me?" Blair stammers in reply.

He doesn't want to take what she's not ready to give. He wants her, all of her, but he doesn't want to scare her away.

"I want you to keep me," he says.

Let's take it slow this time. Do it right.

"I need you to keep me around and not push me away, because I love you. And because I love you, I'll stand by you through anything."

He's throwing her own words back at her. For once he doesn't leave her reeling with a sharp pain in her chest.

"Isn't that what you said?" Chuck continues. "I'll stand by you through anything. And this…my screwing up, my losing you… this, Blair, is anything."

It dawns on her all of a sudden – why. She had finally grown tired of running from ChuckandBlair, from ignoring their history. Chuck would always be a part of her, just like she would be to him, and nothing would ever change that. Despite everything, in spite of everything, she still loves him. The truth is, she doesn't know how to stop.

She doesn't let him kiss her just yet, but Blair takes one of Chuck's hands and gives it a light squeeze. He had given up a multi-million dollar hotel and stalled meetings with investors to wait hours at the Empire State Building at the chance she'd show up, but with her small gesture – Chuck and Blair holding hands – she manages to trump him by giving him the world.

It was forgiveness, the gift of a second chance. It was a silent agreement to work on their issues together, instead of spending time apart trying to forget they ever happened.

"I'll need more time," Blair finally says. When Chuck lets out a breath, pulls her close and buries his head into her smooth shoulder, however long it takes goes without saying.

"Promise you won't go anywhere I can't follow?" Chuck mumbles against her skin.

"I promise."

86 floors below them the city bustles with life – cars speeding, braking; people off from one location to another – but at the deserted observation deck of the Empire State Building, there is only Chuck and Blair, and hearts quietly racing.

(There is also a ring nestled in his coat pocket, but that will have to wait.)

Author's Note: There you have it. Took me a while to wrap up this story because I didn't know how I wanted it to end. A white flag – sure, but for Chuck and Blair to get back together right away? Not just yet. ;) Hope you guys enjoyed the read! Will be working on a one-shot soon that will sort of be the sequel to this story and wrap everything up nicely. Stay tuned folks, and please do review. :-)