Hello! Many apologies for the delay in the writing and posting of the final chapter! Firstly, life has been busy. I moved in with some close friends who have amazing children, and that, naturally, had me wanting to spend more time playing and hanging out than writing. This is the part where I hear her voice telling me not to blame her, her wife, and her children. Since she's not here... It's TOTALLY their fault you had to wait for this. I was also working full-time and my part-time school started up again. Now I've moved again, into the lovely apartment I hope to stay in quite a while. Busy, but I haven't loved CB or my ITY CB children any less. I think that's also it. I knew this was going to be the last chapter, and I think because I'll miss it... I have put off writing it. However, I feel like this story deserves the ending I always intended for it, so here I am! Many, many apologies for the delay! Hope you enjoy it! Hope you've enjoyed all of it. Here we go...
Chuck grasped the bar as he stepped out of the shower and onto the mat. He'd had the bars installed for Blair, but it turned out to be a fairly good idea for both of them. He grabbed a towel and haphazardly dried himself with it, used to the the creaks of his body, as he padded over to the sink. After wrapping the towel around his waist, he wiped the steam from the mirror, and looked at himself for a moment. His hair had long since gone gray, and had even moved into white a few years ago, with the exception of shoots of silver at his temples, shoots that his wife loved to run her fingers through.
The man in the mirror was not the boy he'd first seen staring back at him so many decades ago. The lonely boy, in the perfect suit, wasn't there anymore. He still had the perfect suit, but he could barely remember what lonely felt like. What he did remember kept him appreciative of what he had now, and what he had was a family that was more than he could have ever imagined dreaming of.
He had a wife he'd greatly loved with the totality of his being for almost his entire long life. And he knew in his bones that he was loved by her equally back. In a few years they will have been officially married for 60 years, they still fought over whether the first one counted, but they'd been in love longer than that. Chuck looked down at his left hand, opening and closing it a few times as he looked at the ring that never left his finger. Time had loosened the band on his finger, and Blair had suggested, several times, that she could take it to the jeweler and have it resized for his thinner hands, but he shook his head every time. He knew the feel of this ring like he knew her. It was a part of him. She was a part of him.
Together they had made three beautiful, intelligent, and unique children. Harry, Bart, and Lenore. Part Chuck. Part Blair. All themselves. Each were married now with children of their own, seven in total. Even three great-grandchildren ran around his feet upon their many visits.
And they were all here, here to celebrate his 80th birthday.
Chuck smiled thinking about the spread of food downstairs. Over sixty years ago, at a party like the one she was throwing tonight, there would be one tray of eclairs clearly marked for only him. Now? There were thirteen individual dishes cordoned off from the guests. Each Bass' favourite food was reserved for only him or her by the matriarch of the family.
Thinking of her, Chuck hurried to dress and go find her.
Sarah sighed happily as she sat in the back of the limo, watching the city go by. She'd grown up in Chicago, and had loved it there. Her childhood had been happy, and she would always love that city and all the memories it held. Wonderful memories of the brother that was long gone from her, but never forgotten. She glanced across the car at her son, who held her brother's name. When he felt her gaze, he quickly looked at her in askance, ready to offer anything she needed. She just smiled, letting him know she was fine, and the went back to looking out the window.
So, yes, Chicago had raised her, but as she looked out the window, Sarah knew that New York was her home. And so was the man who held her hand in his. She squeezed it now, and turned to look at Harry as he returned the grasp.
"How are you feeling?" Her husband asked for the millionth time, but she was more than used to it at this point. He'd been asking it for more than a year, since her diagnosis.
"Fine." She assured him, and she wasn't lying. She'd finished the treatments months ago, and was feeling the strength returning to her embattled body. Sarah's free hand jerked slightly as she resisted the urge to touch her new hair. Tonight it was styled in a chic pixie cut that highlighted the health blooming back into her cheeks.
"Maybe we should stay home." Harry said and he meant it. He looked at her now, and could see her body coming back from the cancer and the treatments, but he was still shaken. He wasn't ready to lose her.
"Not a chance." She smiled, glancing at her phone. They'd picked up Noah, his girl friend, and while Harry had wanted them all to ride together, Bee, her husband, and her two children had told them they'd arrive on their own. Harry didn't say anything, and Sarah didn't ask, but they both knew something was going on in the young marriage.
"My parents will understand."
"Sure... and I'd never hear the end of it from Violet."
Over the years Violet and Sarah's mostly good natured rivalry had become close friendship. They both knew they loved each other, they were family. Sarah had had no idea how close they actually were until she's been diagnosed with breast cancer last year.
Violet hadn't coddled Sarah. She hadn't pitied her. She's showed up at her house when Sarah had told everyone to stay away. She'd been at every doctor's appointment, and had waited in the hall when they'd barred her from sitting in. She'd gotten Harry, Sarah and both their children, Bee and Noah into therapy.
On a particularly rough day, Sarah had bit out that if Violet really wanted to support her, she'd shave her head in solidarity. Near purple eyes had narrowed, and she'd stomped out of Harry and Sarah's penthouse. Two hours later Violet had marched back in with her husband, three sons, and baby grandson trailing in behind her. All five of them had freshly shaved heads.
"There!" Violet had waved her hand over her family. "That will have to do! So suck it."
Harry had nearly choked on a bite of apple when he saw his brother's skull. He looked over at his wife. "She must really love you, because she's going to be tortured over their hair for months."
"Bart has gorgeous hair." Violet snapped, and then corrected. "Had gorgeous hair... but it will grow back, and so will yours. Now let's go shopping."
Sarah had smiled. It was the best she'd felt in forever. Then she'd gone and thrown up.
But now. There was a full family gathering, and she was going to be there for it.
"How about now?'
"What about now?"
"I'm going to kill you, seal your body up in a wall, and then tell everyone you're off at boarding school." Violet muttered as she carefully checked her makeup in a hand mirror. Out of joking malice Violet and Bart had named their only daughter after his only sister, knowing how much Lenore had been against the idea. It had well and truly bitten Violet on the ass though, because the girl bore more than a small likeness to her namesake.
Nor smirked at her. "Yeah, right. And one day, when you're eighty, I'll lock you up in a Home... with bad lighting."
"What did I ever do to deserve you?" Violet teased with a smile, both she and her youngest child knowing she loved her completely.
"You're just lucky I guess." She smiled.
Just then Violet caught sight of Bart walking into living room popping M&Ms into his mouth, and a glass of coke in his other hand. She smiled warmly, her eyes lighting up. "You're right on that one."
While Violet and Bart had started out as business partners in Waldorf Designs, Bart had quickly grown bored of the job. What he had loved was being a father. As they'd had their four children, Charles, Harold, Jacob, and Lenore, he'd taken long stretches of time to be with them more than naught. As the children grew, he began to return to what many considered his only passion outside of his family. Food. Bart began opening restaurants around the world, many in Bass hotels. All of which quickly became wild successes... much to his siblings surprise given what they'd seen him eat.
"Dad's here. Can we go to the party now?"
Three months ago Blair had turned her ankle stepping off a curb. She's spent two days in the hospital, been put on a regimented physiotherapy routine, and was also resigned to the use of a cane, most likely on a permanent basis. The hospital she'd hated. The physio was literally a pain, and the cane, while she now owned several stylish varieties, she found to often cramp her style, but there was something she deemed far worse.
She'd come home to find that Chuck had gotten rid of every last one of her high heels.
"Some of those were vintage!" She screamed. He hadn't cared. What he did care about, more than anything else, was her, and her health.
Being the stubborn pain in the ass that he was, it hadn't ended there. When she'd tried to buy more, she'd found that no store of her class would sell anything but a flat to her. When she took to the internet she found out that he'd bought every reputable shoe site, thus blocking her there.
She'd been ready to wage a war the likes of which would have rocked Manhattan, but then the Basstard had used The Look. It was the one that melted her. The one that spoke of his love and his worry. Of not wanting a stupid shoe to be what took her from him. The look that made her want to soothe him. So she acquiesced.
She'd been waiting in one of her guest bedrooms for fifteen minutes when she finally heard the knock she'd been on edge for. Two raps. Three raps. Two raps. As quickly as she could Blair opened the door a crack to peer out suspiciously. She smiled when she saw her daughter standing there and waved her in quickly. Lenore frowned at her mother as she watched Blair close the door and snap the lock.
"I don't like this." Lenore scowled, clutching a shoe box to her chest. "You shouldn't keep secrets from Daddy."
"You're right. He should know everything. Let's go tell him about South Carolina, shall we?" Blair called Lenore out.
Lenore's jaw dropped. "You promised!"
"I did." Blair nodded and held out her hand. "And so did you. Hand them over."
Giving in her daughter passed over the shoe box, and Blair snatched it, taking it to a chair and sitting to open it. She sighed in utter content when she lifted the lid and saw the gorgeous pair of pumps inside. She reverently lifted one from the tissue paper and held it up to her eye. Tonight was a special occasion, and she'd be dammed if she was going to attend the night with her heels level with her toes.
"Perfect." She sighed happily, already slipping off her flats.
"Will it be perfect when Daddy sees you?"
"I am a grown woman-"
Blair ignored the tease at her age. "And as such, I alone will decide what I wear."
Lenore rolled her eyes. "Fine, but just make sure he doesn't know where you got them. The Wives have been itching to get at my share of the inheritance for years."
Blair stood up in her heels and smiled at her reflection. Then she took a step and wobbled, but her daughter was quickly there to steady her.
"Mommy..." Lenore whispered the name she only used when she was scared.
Blair held her daughter's shoulder and smiled at her. She lifted her hand and let one bent knuckle tap Lenore under her chin, just the way her mother used to do to her. "I'll be fine. I'll use my cane. And it's just one night."
Lenore didn't look fully convinced, even after Blair gently kissed her cheek. "You have to admit... they really do look better with my dress."
Lenore grunted in the way her father often did when he didn't agree, but was giving in. She handed her mother her cane and then made for the door.
"Where are you going?" Blair asked rather sharply.
"I promised my baby we could throw coins in the fountain before dinner. Ralph is meeting us there." Lenore looked pointedly at her mother. "Besides, I'd rather neither of us be here when Daddy catches a look at your feet."
"Chicken." Blair tossed.
"Buck. Buck." Lenore laughed as she left the room.
Chuck was walking through the penthouse, still on the hunt for Blair, when he passed his open home office door. The back of his chair was facing the door, so he couldn't see who was sitting in it, only that it was swinging slightly from side to side.
He cleared his throat and the chair spun around to face him, allowing him to see the person who dared to sit in Chuck Bass' seat.
"Gus." Chuck smiled at his youngest grandchild.
"Hi, Grandpa." The four year old smiled back at him as he rested his hands on his grandfather's desk, looking to all the world as if he was born to sit there.
"I believe you're in my seat."
A huge grin broke out on Gus' face. "For now." He said cockily. Chuck smiled widely back, remembering how Gus' mother had told him something very similar when she was his age.
"Me first." A voice corrected from behind him.
"Mommy!" Gus bellowed and jumped out of the chair, sending it spinning into the wall as he ran to his mother.
Chuck smiled as he watched Lenore stoop to lift her boy up, and then stand with him hugged tight in her arms. Ralph and Lenore had waited to have children, with her love of real estate and his degree in architecture, they'd spent years traveling around planning and building the Bass Empire all over the world. The couple hadn't started trying to have a baby until they were well into their 30s, and both had thought it would be easy. It wasn't. It had taken years of trying, planning, and medical procedures, until at 40, Lenore had given birth to a perfect baby boy.
She kissed Gus' cheek now, and rubbed his hair where it was shaved close to his head, just like his father's, and then both mother and son turned to look at him. Gus' strongest resemblance to Lenore came in the form of her hazel eyes, while the rest of his looks took after Ralph. Those Bass eyes looked at him now, and Chuck smiled seeing them in his daughter and grandson.
Lenore moved towards her father, and hugged him with her free arm. Chuck felt small arms grab hold too, as Gus got in on the hug.
"Happy Birthday, Daddy."
"Yeah." Gus echoed. "Happy Birthday... can I have cake now? And Grandpa's chair?"
Lenore stepped away from her father and pretended to drop her son. He squealed with laughter. "Nice try, baby, but not yet. We're going down to meet Daddy and then come back for the party."
"And for the cake."
"That too." She promised as she hugged her dad one more time. "We'll see you in a bit, Dad."
Chuck nodded, but then thought to call out. "Have you seen your mother? She makes so much less noise now that she's always in flats."
Lenore looked over her shoulder at her father. "In that case... You should find her in no time..."
He didn't have to wait long for that cryptic comment to make sense. He realized what she meant when he walked into the master bedroom, just as Blair came out of her closet. Her ever so brief hesitation was her tell.
"Get them off."
"Don't be silly, Chuck!" Blair began in the teasing voice she used to try to get around him. "I'm all dressed and our guest will be arriving any minute."
Blair turned around, offering him her back. "Can you get my zipper for me?" She said breathlessly, knowing, even after all these decades, her nape was still his kryptonite.
She rested both her hands on the pummel of her cane, and waited. She didn't have to wait long. She felt his hands slide up her arms to caress her shoulders. Shivers ran down her back as his fingers touched her bare skin. She felt his breath on her neck, and she held hers. He slid the zip up, placing a kiss just about it when it had reached its end. When Blair was about to turn around he caught her hips and pushed her back onto the bed behind them.
"Chuck! I'll wrinkle!" Blair gasped as she half heartedly tried to slap him away. Then she realized wrinkling her dress in the way she had hoped wasn't on his agenda... at the moment. He made for her feet. She kicked him. He grabbed her ankle. She pulled his hair. After several seconds, neither one of them was conceding.
"Stop it! You're going to give yourself a stroke!" Blair snapped as she slammed a pillow into the side of his head.
Chuck stopped to smirk down at her, his silver hair sexily mussed. "I could, but you know how much more enjoyable I find it when you do it for me..."
Blair's eyes warmed, and her chin dropped to smile seductively back at him. It was in her moment of distraction that he seized the opportunity. He had her shoes off in seconds and was up and moving across the room. Blair pushed herself up to sitting, but before she could put together what he planned to do, it was already done. Chuck had thrown her beautiful heels out the window.
"You controlling ass." She scowled.
"I love you." Was his only response.
"You're lucky it's your birthday, and that I'm in a forgiving mood."
"I love when you're in a giving mood..." Chuck husked as he looked her up and down.
Many pleasurable minutes later, Chuck held Blair's elbow as they made their way down the stairs to their foyer. They reached the bottom just as the elevator chimed and their first guest walked out.
"Funny question... but do these belong to you?" Nate asked as he held up a pair of very broken looking pumps.
"They couldn't possibly be!" His wife laughed, but looked knowingly at her best friend. "Blair doesn't wear high heels anymore, right B?"
"Shut up. All of you."
Happy hugs were exchanged between the two couples. Four people who had been friends longer than anyone cared to remember.
Twenty years ago Blair had dragged the two along on a couple's cruise on the Bass yacht around the Mediterranean. Well... it hadn't started out as a couple's cruise, but that's what it had been by the end. Nate and Serena had married in a centuries old chapel in Croatia, surrounded by all their friends, Chloe, and Nate's various children. Nate had loudly announced at the reception that Serena had been worth waiting for. Chuck had quietly commented to Blair that given the amount of children Nate had, he wasn't sure his best friend knew the definition of waiting. Blair had slapped his shoulder, and said none of that mattered, because everything was the way it was supposed to be now. Chuck had caught her hand, kissing her fingers and telling her she was right.
Lenore stood at the fountain in her parents' lobby, one hand tightly fisted in her son's jacket as he leaned over to toss coins into the water. After watching them land with plunks, he hopped down and started racing around the fountain. Lenore was watching when a pair of hands slipped over her eyes from behind her.
"Guess who?" A poorly disguised voice said from behind her.
"Bart." She guessed.
The hands over her eyes moved and she turned to see her quizzical brother.
"Your hands smell like M&Ms. It was not a hard guess." Lenore taunted.
She caught a hint of a smirk on his face... about a second before she felt arms wrap around her tightly from behind, hugging her so that her feet lifted off the ground and he swung her from side to side.
"Harry! Put me down!" Lenore demanded in an angry voice that only her family knew wasn't serious.
She was sure this torture was about to end. Then Bart started hugging her too. God, her brothers were jackasses, she thought to herself, but couldn't fully hide the smile that curved her lips. Six years ago, after another heart wrenchingly unsuccessful procedure, Lenore had sent Ralph to work, and then gone to her parents' house. She knew they weren't home, and she wasn't even sure she was disappointed by that. She walked up the stairs to her room, which her parents had kept the same for her, and crawled into her bed. Lenore lay still for a long time, until the sun moved and sent light pulsing into her eyes. She pulled the covers up over her head and wished Blue was there. Oddly it was the thought of her long dead cat that pushed her over the edge. And she curled into a ball to sob.
It was then that her brothers came in, probably having been alerted to her presence by the doorman, and crawled on into bed with her. For once, they didn't tease or joke, they just held her, their little sister who was always so strong, but who was so sad now.
Lenore's seemingly endless confidence had a source. It was the love of her family, and it was here for her now when her confidence was so shaken.
She knew she wouldn't have gotten through that time without them. And a year later, when she carried Augustus to term, she knew there was no one happier for her than her brothers and parents... even when she told them all that she'd built up Bass Industries and Gus was the rightful heir, so send their kids to good schools, because they were going to have to work for a living.
Now, the four year old heir to the CEO looked at them narrowed eyes, a second before he splashed them with water from the fountain. The brothers each raised a brow at their youngest nephew.
"My mommy only hugs me." Gus told them smugly.
"I don't know... given what Dad apparently walked in on when Lenore was 16... I'm thinking she hugs your dad too."
Lenore's hand slapped sharply on the back of her oldest brother's head.
"They're talking dirty in front of Gus again?"
Lenore spun around with a smile already on her face. Damn, she loved her husband. "It's ridiculous how much they behave like they're 14."
"I object." Harry broke in as he threw an arm over Bart's shoulder. "We're at least 16."
"We'll see you up there." Harry commented as he turned and walked towards the elevators, knowing instinctively that his little brother would follow him. Even though they were both in their 50s, somethings never changed. Harry and Bart were brothers, and best friends.
They stepped into the elevator, Harry stood straight, his feet slightly parted and turned out, while Bart slouched against the wall. The doors were closing as Harry asked. "So, what'd you get him?"
Bart sent a look at his brother that said that Harry knew exactly what he'd given their father for his birthday.
"Really? A framed picture of your kids at Niagara Falls again?"
Bart just shrugged.
"Please tell me they were at least not in matching sweaters this time?"
Harry rolled his eyes. "I can't believe they didn't let me get rid of you at birth."
"You know you love me." Bart said with a straight face.
As Chuck's birthday party was raging on, and his family and closest friends celebrated, he thought of that night in Croatia, and quietly slipped away and into his office.
Blair sat in a chair, one of her great-granddaughters falling asleep in her arms, when her head came up to scan the room. She saw Lenore and Ralph check on Gus, who was working his dimples on Serena and Nate in order to get a steady stream of candy, before not so subtly making a run for the stair. If Blair had to guess they were headed for Lenore's room. Well, at least now they were in their 40s and Blair didn't have to worry about Chuck heading up to their teenage daughter's room to check on them. Blair then spotted Harry and Bart standing by the fireplace, and she smiled. The brothers were still as close as ever, maybe even more so. Harry had leaned on his brother a lot during Sarah's illness, and Bart wouldn't have had it any other way.
Blair saw everyone, all her family, except for the centre of her world. Her Chuck. Signaling to Noah to take his niece, she got up with a little help from Bee, and then headed in search of her husband.
She found him on her first guess.
"The guest of honour should never be the first to leave his party..." Blair teasingly scolded as she walked into Chuck's office and shut the door behind her.
Chuck sat on the couch and he wordlessly held his hand out to her. When she was next to him, she set her cane aside, took his hand and settled in beside him. She curled into his body, and his arms came around to hold her tightly. She sighed with contentment as she felt his thumb trace circles on her arm.
"Sometimes... I can't believe how many of them there are..."
"Guests? I kept it small, like you wanted." Blair reminded him. "There's just family."
"That's what I mean..." He swallowed. "Sometimes I can't believe that I have these children... these grandchildren..." He looked down into her warm, dark eyes. "And sometimes, even after all these years, I can't believe I've gotten to live my whole life with you, Waldorf."
Blair's eyes filled with tears and her lip trembled. "I can. I can believe it, because you have made me happy my whole life... even when I wanted to kill you. I was happy because I knew, in my bones, that I loved you so much it consumed me... so much it completed a part of me I didn't know was missing."
He kissed her. Hard and with passion. Only pulling away to catch his breath, and even then he pressed his forehead into hers, breathing the same air.
"Grandma!? Grandpa?! Everybody thinks you're 'doin' it' in there... what's 'doin' it'?
"I'm disowning them all..." Chuck muttered under his breath.
Blair laughed and kissed him again. Then on impulse and with need, she caught his face between her hands and looked deeply into his eyes.
"I love you, Chuck Bass." She said for the millionth time, and with overwhelming feeling.
Chuck didn't smile, he felt too much to smile at the moment. "I love you, Blair Waldorf."
Eleven years later...
Chuck's eyes could barely stay open, and he realized he didn't want them to. He knew his children sat at his bedside. He'd heard them decide that they'd take turns, but in the end none of them could bear to leave him for more than a few moments this close to the end.
He felt them. He felt loved. He wasn't afraid. He was at peace. He shut his eyes.
It felt like mere seconds later that he felt consciousness surge within him, along with a physical strength he hadn't felt in years. Without opening his eyes he knew he was in his bed. In their bed. He hadn't slept in it once since the night Blair had no longer been there to share the bed with him. That had been five weeks ago, but now... something had him rolling and reaching for her.
A part of him tried to tell him he would feel nothing but empty sheet, and his heart hurt already. But then... his hand skimmed along her arm, he felt the surge of electricity he only felt when touching her. He pulled her closer, his arms wrapping around to hold her tight. To mold her to him. To feel every inch. Every breath. Every heartbeat.
He opened his eyes.
She was really there. It was Blair. His Blair. And she was smiling at him. She was beautiful. Well, she'd always been beautiful, but now she was like every moment of her life wrapped up into one. Chuck didn't know how it was possible, but he saw her as she'd look at five years old on the playground, pushing Serena off the swing. He saw her on their wedding day. He saw her heavy with his child. He saw her as the mother of his children. His wife. His lover. His soulmate. He saw her as everything, and he could see in her eyes that she saw in him the same thing.
Joy ripped through him.
"I've missed you." He managed to utter, still overwhelmed at having her in his arms again.
"I've been waiting for you." She whispered.
"I love you. We'll never be apart again."
She nodded because it was true. She kissed him. He kissed her. They loved and were loved. It was forever. It was eternal.
They were Blair and Chuck. Chuck and Blair.
TahDAH! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! So with this last ITY Author's Note I just really wanted to thank you all. Thank you for reading. Thank you for reviewing. Thank you for enjoying.
A special thank you to Ellen, Mary, Elizabeth, Liz, Marina, Maryam, and Maria (but only if she updates SOL and TUF faster) Again, thank you to all of you. You really have made this a wonderful experience.
And I just realized that I wanted to thank the creators of Gossip Girl. Thank you to Chuck and Blair for being so inspirational. Love CB! CHUCK AND BLAIR, OTP FOREVER! Woohooo!