Okay now. This is my first foray into Gossip Girl fanfiction. This idea has been rattling around in my head for the last several days and since I go to school for writing, I've learned it's best to, well, write those ideas down.

This story takes place after 3X18 and is Chuck & Blair centric. It's rated 'T' for language and may contain spoilers for future episodes (basically, I don't know what's going to happen any more than anyone else does so if I happen to write something similar to what's going down on the show, it's coincidental more than anything.)

I've got 2 more chapters already written, so tell me if you'd like me to add more – the next chapter is from Blair's POV as I think it'll best tell the story if it's told from both perspectives.

21 days.

6 hours.

32 minutes.

It was a destructive ritual, really, keeping down to the minute track of how long it had been since he had spoken to Blair Waldorf. It only served to remind him that it had, in fact, been 21 days, 6 hours, and 32 minutes since he had heard her tell him they'd reached the end, her voice still sounding like the sweetest song he had ever heard despite the message it was delivering.

Though destructive, it was oddly calming. Numbers were solid. They were tangible. They didn't change. 2 always came after one. 12 times 4 was always 48. 64 divided by 8 was always 8. Numbers weren't like love. Love changed. Love ebbed and flowed. If you had enough numbers in the bank, you could buy whatever you desired. Even if you loved with everything you had, it wasn't always enough.

To the outside world, Chuck Bass was faring just fine following his split from the Upper East Side's queen. Gossip Girl had referred to it as a 'quiet' split and Chuck supposed that was right. Nate Archibald was the only person who knew the truth behind their break up – well, Nate and Jack Bass. There had been no screaming matches or public brawls. Just a stinging slap in the privacy of her building's lobby and a whispered "this is the end, Chuck" at Dorota's wedding. Quiet it had been.

What the outside world was unaware of, however, was that it was all an act. The steady stream of high priced whores, their comings and goings tracked with astounding precision and rapidity by Gossip Girl, were merely a front, a mask. They entered and exited The Empire as reported by the unidentified gossip mogul, but what happened when they were inside would surprise anyone who thought they knew Chuck Bass.

While those who read Gossip Girl's latest report of how many and sometimes, who, entered the building imagined acts of varying degrees of obscenity, the women were actually treated to their own suite where they were free to abuse hotel staff to do their bidding or enjoy spa treatments, all while being paid their hourly rate. Rarely did they ever set eyes on Chuck Bass and when they did, it was merely a glimpse as he floated through the hotel with the stealth of a phantom.

Chuck had his staff leak tips to Gossip Girl about the parties he threw or the alcohol he consumed, but while she (or he) happily posted his latest indiscretion, Chuck could be found holed up in his penthouse, usually with the lights off, sipping scotch and stealing glances at his watch to calculate how much more time had passed since he had been away from Blair.

The night of Dorota's wedding, he had been set on taking Vanya's too tall cousin back to his penthouse and having his way with her. They had made it to the limo. Her lips had tried to touch his and without knowing he had done it, he had thrown himself to the opposite side of the limo and demanded the driver pull over. He had exited the vehicle before it had stopped completely and directed the driver to take the Russian wherever she needed to go. Hands in his pockets and head hung low, he had sleuthed to The Empire, alternating between fretting over how close he had came to cheating on Blair and reminding himself that he would have to be her boyfriend for it to be considered cheating.

That was the night he had developed his plan to fake his reversion to the Chuck Bass he had been without Blair. He was too proud to allow anyone to know how much he was suffering, how much his chest hurt as he thought of his future without Blair in it. It was only when he'd lost her that he'd realized he had made all of his future plans with her in mind.

It seemed he had managed to accomplish what he had set out to do after his father's death: exist without a soul to care about him. Blair was unmistakably gone. Nate, knowing the truth, hadn't spoken to him since the wedding. Serena had likely learned from Nate that whatever had happened between their best friends was his fault and took her place at Blair's side. Though from what he had garnered from Gossip Girl, Serena's father had returned and family drama had ensued, just as her relationship with Nate went on the rocks. Lilly and Eric's attention was elsewhere as well, though, he reasoned, they wouldn't be thrilled with him either had they known what he'd done. The Humphrey duo and Vanessa weren't exactly on his radar.

The skeleton crew of staff he allowed to access his Penthouse to clean and bring food he rarely touched knew with certainty that the rumors floating around New York City of the return of Chuck Bass, womanizer extraordinaire, were false. It wasn't worth their jobs, however, to reveal that their boss no longer filled out his tailored suits or that the circles under his eyes were not hangover-related. Instead, they toed eggshells around the young man and traded theories as to why the fair Miss Waldorf had not been seen in weeks.

With the lights off and his signature scotch in hand, silk robe cinched tightly, Chuck sat in an armchair, starring out of the window at the city below. Blair loved this view, he found himself thinking. She had told him once that it felt as though the city were putting on a light show just for her. He hadn't replied, choosing to sit in this very chair and watch her eyes sparkle at the site and a small smile play across her face. Those were his favorite moments with her, when her guard was down and it was just the two of them. It was those times when he felt as though he were the only one who knew the real Blair Waldorf.

She hadn't slept with Jack. There weren't words to express his gratitude for that. He had been plagued by images of Jack touching her, kissing her, taking her. He had wondered where the deed had happened, prayed it had not been their – his – bed. The moments of relief following the revelation that she had not slept with him had been near euphoric and in his mind, everything was once more right in the world. Until she had said 'this is the end, Chuck,' and walked away, leaving the hand he had reached out to her hanging in midair.

The scotch was tasteless as it rolled down his throat. His thoughts were full and empty at the same time. His phone had buzzed earlier with a Gossip Girl blast that had left him sick to his stomach. It had been a long time since he had paid attention to the site, but it had become a means to an end – a way to keep up with Blair. Blair who was spending an awful lot of time with Dan Humphrey. Blair had been spied buying a substantial amount of baby gifts for Dorota. Blair who had, tonight, been spotted laughing over a table for two with a man who was not himself.

Until now, he had been cautiously hopeful that they would work things out. Her dresses still took up a substantial amount of the spacious walk-in closet after all. Her numerous beauty products still lined the bathroom sink, set in an order only she was privy to understanding. Her copy of Breakfast At Tiffany's was still in the DVD player, the case lying on the coffee table next to an issue of Vogue she had brought with her the last time she had been there. It hadn't occurred to him that all of those things were easily replaceable. She wouldn't just discard a portion of her wardrobe or her beloved movie, would she?

Yes, he decided, she would. She would because she had gone on a date and until it had actually happened, he didn't believe that was possible either.

It had been a long time since he had felt the urge to alter his mood. Even now, the urge wasn't entirely too strong. He had gone as far as raid his medicine cabinet for the sleeping pills he knew were there. They were prescribed to Blair, but she had maybe taken two from the bottle, nights before big tests when she would need help battling her anxiety to sleep.

They were just sleeping pills, he reasoned, shaking the two capsules in his hand as though they were dice. Sleeping pills would do just that – help him sleep. It was late, after all. And he needed sleep. Dreamless sleep. Sleep where Blair wasn't being taken away by men wearing suits, sometimes screaming for them to let her go, other times calling out for him to save her, him arriving too late. Always too late.

Before he could stop himself, he tossed the pills in his mouth and chased them with the rest of his scotch. He vaguely thought of the bottle's orange label, warning him not to mix the pills with alcohol, but wrote it off as irrelevant, especially if it helped him sleep.

It didn't take long for the pills to have an effect. Groggy, he used the chair's arms to push himself up. He held onto the chair back for a moment to steady himself before half stumbling to his bedroom. The last thought he had as he pulled the covers over him and reached for the pillow that had replaced Blair was a curiosity as to what Gossip Girl would say if she saw Chuck Bass now, depressed, drunk, drugged, and cuddling with a pillow that still smelled like Blair.