When he got his hotel back, he didn't use money... he used me.

Nate saw red as his sneakered feet pounded across the carpeted floor of The Empire. His nails dug crescent shaped ridges into his palm and the grating of his teeth echoed in his ears. Best friend. He shuddered with rage when the phrase echoed in his head. Nobody's perfect, sure, and Chuck's always been pretty far from it, but what kind of person-

"Chuck! I know you're in there! Open up, you son of a-"

The moment the door opened, Nate lunged blindly at the robed figure with a punch and a choke-hold. He swung with his lacrosse-trained biceps until he felt arms pulling at him, twisting his tendons with iron hard grips that remained firm under his struggling and grunts. He glared even as his so called best friend wiped at the bloody nose and slowly rose from the floor. "If I call them off, do you promise to behave yourself?"

Nate spat a "fuck you" even as he felt his arms pulled tighter around his back. All he could see were Blair's red rimmed eyes. "What the fuck is wrong with you?"

Chuck sighed and placed his espresso cup and saucer on the kitchen counter, a hand holding ice to his face and the other pinching the bridge of his nose. His age was showing double in the worry lines that seemingly appeared overnight. "This isn't getting anywhere," he breathed.

He waited until Nate's feral growls reduced to harsh breathing and his arms grew slack before walking toward the window. He waved the men away and listened to their footsteps disappear into the elevator. If his best friend was going to push him out the window well, it's best if he didn't see it coming. "I defended you, you know. Because I thought you loved her you wouldn't ever do anything to hurt her. Not like that." Nate reached into the icebox and dug into the cold. Chuck's men don't play around. "When I found out she broke up with your sorry ass, I tried to fucking defend you, man."

"And why would you do that? I'm my father's son, after all."

"Because she's Blair! She's-" Nate couldn't find the words and, instead, propped down on the couch, his head leaning against the plush seat cushion and the ice dripping onto his sweater.

"She's the girl you stole animal crackers from. She's the one who used to clean you up after you got drunk at my house so you'd make it home in time for dinner. If nothing else, she's our friend, Chuck. We have pictures of when we were all in diapers together. How could you do this to Blair?"

-Nate, Chuck threw my doll into the tree. Get it for me.

"I wish people would stop saying that. She's Blair Waldorf. I'm Chuck Bass. She's mad at me now, but we'll get through it." Nate could hear the tension in his voice, a string stretched taut against the man's throat that the only thing forcing those words out was the tiny, unwarranted ball of hope flitting around like a lone butterfly in his stomach. "She understands that I can't lose The Empire."

"The saddest thing about this is you don't even believe that, do you?" Chuck's figure looked lean and tall against the New York skyline. With his hair slicked back and his back stick straight, he never looked more like Bart Bass. "What she understands is that the man she would do anything for sold her for a concrete box. What she understands is exactly what you did."

Chuck clenched his jaw as he turned back to his best friend. "And what will you have me do now, Nathaniel? I would have lost everything, Jack would have made sure of it."

"He already did."

"Blair loves me, I know she does. She'll forgive me for this and it'll be just like everything else - Tuscany, Carter Baizen, Elle, Jack, you. We can get past this."

-Nate, Chuck said Santa doesn't exist! Go beat him up for me.

He let out a deep chuckle and sat up. His believed, for the first time, that perhaps his friend was beyond redemption. It wasn't the weed or the alcohol or the prostitutes talking now. This - this - was Chuck Bass at his best.

And his worst.

-He used me.

And Blair Waldorf, the girl whom he used to think was invincible and all powerful, fell victim to him. She got her pristine brown curls tangled in his web and he wrapped his silk around her like a neat little present until she suffocated.

Poor Blair.

-You scraped your knee, let me kiss it better.

"Even if she does, things will never go back to the way they were."

-Blair, what did he do?

-Don't make me say it.

The exhale, the deep breath that Chuck takes and shudders out, was the most profound noise he had ever heard from those same lips he used to share a blunt with. It was loss, the realization of loss, and fear of the hollowing feeling that ballooned within him, suffocating that little butterfly like he had done to her.

Nate gave him a pat on the back. There wasn't much else he could do to hurt Chuck more than he had already done to himself.