AN: Thank you all for this lovely ride. MC was my very first Gossip Girl story and I can't tell you how amazing it was to be welcomed into this fandom with such open arms. I'm so appreciative.

Thanks to my beta, Josie, who is always willing to lend a hand, even when she feels noxious and ill.

This takes place on New Years Eve, about a week after the last chapter ended. The opening GG blasts open us up with a little scoop on what's been happening the last few days . . .

Merry Christmas, Upper East Siders! It wouldn't be the holidays without a few snippets of juicy gossip, and I have a special gift for you this Christmas morning. A minion has snapped a picture of the Bass limo leaving Manhattan, with not only Bart and Lily Bass inside, but the newly-engaged Eleanor Waldorf and Cyrus Rose. With their families by their side and their relationship as newly-minted as the Bass fortune, C and B have every reason to be singing joy to the world.

Hark, the herald angels are at it again—not singing, but gossiping. I hear Vanessa Abrams returned to Manhattan only to vacate Brooklyn for an extended vacation up north. Is it possible that Little J and the Queen B have finally taken out the Brooklyn trash for good?

Spotted: Chuck Bass's limo back in Manhattan, idling outside the Waldorf penthouse. Is this a sign of new times in a New Year? Upper East Siders, we're breathless to see what the new regime will look like. Miss Waldorf, Mr. Bass—don't keep us waiting too long.

Looks like Dan and Serena's New Year's resolution is to rekindle old friendships—and feelings. Their relationship is back on, in a big way. Apparently the Bass lodge isn't only a lovely vacation spot, but it also doubles as a love nest. If only Little J had managed to close the deal on N. Even with V gone, rumor has it he's not taking her phone calls. Cheer up, Little J, I'm sure the Queen B can order someone to kiss you at midnight.

Spotted: Vanessa Abrams' triumphant return to Manhattan. I guess old acquaintances aren't forgotten, after all. I can't help but wonder what the Queen B thinks of this new, and unexpected, development. I'm guessing that Miss Waldorf's New Year's resolutions will include a brush-up on her banishment skills.

My sources tell me that the Queen B and her brand-new King had themselves a very merry Christmas, but what they aren't telling me is when they'll make their official debut as a couple. The Vanderbilt New Years Eve soiree? The first day of spring term at Constance Billard and St. Jude's? I would have guessed the new Mrs. Bass's black tie charity ball, but a little bird told me she'd seen the guest list with no RSVP from Miss Waldorf. Information is power, Upper East Siders, and I'm feeling a little underneath the weather—and the news. I'll pop the champagne while you dish.

Blair snapped her phone shut with a decisive click after reading Gossip Girl's latest blast. She glanced up at Dorota, who was trying to pretend she wasn't glancing up at Blair inquisitively. "Dorota," Blair announced, "I've made my decision."

"Are you sure, Miss Blair? I know you say over and over again that appearances are most important. That you and Mr. Chuck must make perfect entrance to society."

"And we will," Blair said, relishing the moment.

"You are going to make Mr. Chuck jump through hoop again, aren't you?" Dorota looked concerned.

Blair smiled, as she sat up from her bed and stretched. "He already knows. I'm sure he's had a tuxedo selected since we returned to the city. I just like to keep he and Gossip Girl on their toes."

"So it will be charity ball then? Which dress, Miss Blair?"

Sliding off her bed, Blair tilted to her side, examining the different dresses hanging on the rack set up against one wall of her bedroom. "It's a difficult decision, Dorota," Blair counseled. "Not one that should be made in haste."

"You say that about event, too. It seems great number of things must be done slow as possible," Dorota said with exasperation.

Blair turned sharply and gave her long-suffering maid one of her patented glares. "You're just as bad as Chuck. But at least he knew how important it was we go to the right party."

"True. You and Mr. Chuck camp out in apartment for weeks now. Not that he mind exactly," Dorota said slyly, and Blair turned an unbecoming shade of red.

"It's called a honeymoon period," Blair retorted defensively. "It's the time in our relationship before everyone knows and everyone judges. Before it can all fall apart."

Dorota was silent for a moment before replying, and when she did her voice was kind and patient. "Miss Blair, I know you worry about Mr. Chuck. That maybe he leave you again. But I think this time he stay. He love you too much to walk away now."

"He better," Blair said, fidgeting with the tie on her robe. "If he knows what's good for him, he'll stay."

"He knows," Dorota said loyally-though at this point, it was debatable who she was most loyal to. Despite her initial misgivings, Chuck had won her over with his fierce love for her charge.

"Then I suppose we should let him know that it's the charity ball," Blair said, approaching the rack of dresses, fingering one then another, silk and crepe slipping through her fingers.

"As if I didn't already know. I can't believe you fooled Gossip Girl that easily," Chuck said from the doorway. Blair glanced up in surprise, and couldn't help the incandescent smile at his appearance. "And of course, you're going to wear the purple. The others were just decoys," he continued, striding into the room, looking dressed to kill in a flawlessly-tailored white tuxedo jacket and deep purple bowtie. He paused, the suave act flickering for a second, displaying the eager, lovesick boy underneath as he embraced her. "Hello, lover."

"It's been two hours; I've missed you," Blair said breathlessly, allowing him to kiss her, even though Dorota was in the room. After all, in the last few weeks, Dorota had been witness (if only accidentally) to much more than a chaste kiss. Eleanor and Cyrus had traveled to Paris almost directly after spending Christmas Day at the lodge, and Chuck had spent every night with Blair, either at his suite, or at the penthouse.

"Miss Blair," Dorota announced firmly, "you must dress. Party start soon, and you will want to make grand entrance, yes?"

"Yes," Blair said, reluctantly breaking away from Chuck. "Go downstairs. I'll be ready soon. And of course you were right," she continued, making a face, "the others were decoys."

"When Blair said she had a date for me, I didn't think you'd be it," Nate said hesitantly, glancing at the tall blonde next to him.

Serena simply shrugged. "Dan and Jenny went up to Hudson to see their mom before school started. Besides, Dan isn't the biggest fan of the black tie charity event."

"But he would have come, for you," Nate said casually, handing her a flute of champagne, hoping that Serena wouldn't bring up the fact that even though he was apparently the battlefield of choice for both Vanessa and Jenny, he'd needed Blair to find him a date.

"Probably," Serena said, turning on him with a mischievous smile as she sipped her champagne. "But what I'd most like to discuss-and what bringing up Dan will not save you from, I might add-is why you needed a date at all. What about Vanessa? Or Jenny?"

"Vanessa's not taking my calls," Nate sighed. "She came back to town, but then we fought for the millionth time over the kiss, and what I'd said to her on Christmas Eve. As for Jenny, you said it yourself. She's in Hudson, visiting her mom."

"You said it yourself," Serena said impudently, "just like Dan would have come for me, if I'd asked, you don't think Jenny would have jumped on the train if you'd asked her to be your date for New Years Eve?"

Nate sighed. "Serena, it's not an easy decision."

"But you've already made your decision," Serena said gently. "We all know you have. Which is why Vanessa left town to begin with and why you can't stop fighting with her now that she's back. You both know that you've already made your decision. The question isn't who you want, but why you're not telling Jenny that you've already picked her."

They were silent for a minute, the swarms of elegantly dressed Upper East Siders chattering loudly in the background-glasses clinking together, stiletto heels tapping delicately on the marble floor, a low roar of laughter rumbling through the ballroom.

"Sometimes it feels like she's just a younger, blonde version of Blair. And that worries me," Nate finally admitted.

"Nate," Serena started to say, then stopped abruptly at the sight in front of her.

Poised at the top of the staircase were Blair and Chuck, looking like Upper East Side royalty-or maybe just royalty period. Blair's dark hair was piled on top of her head in a complicated twist of curls, her neck, circled in the Erickson Beamon diamond necklace, rising swan-like from the deep bodice of her dark purple gown. Serena had never seen Blair look so stunningly beautiful or so radiantly happy, as she gazed at the man she loved. Chuck was channeling old school elegance in his white tuxedo jacket and matching purple bow tie, and together, they looked untouchable, powerful, and so in love that Serena couldn't help the tears that pricked the corners of her eyes.

"Wow," Nate said in an awed voice. "Just . . .wow." The ballroom in general seemed to be echoing his sentiment, because the chatter faded away, then rose in an approving swell, as Chuck and Blair descended the staircase.

"I know," Serena murmured, "I never knew Blair could look like that."

"She definitely never looked like that with me," Nate agreed. "And Chuck. I don't think whipped is the right term, because whipped isn't supposed to look that . . satisfied?"

"He's in love," Serena corrected in a soft, teary voice. "That's not whipped."

"Did you ever think we'd be standing here a year later?" Nate asked. "It was just last year that I almost killed him for touching her."

"Not exactly," Serena said bemused by the regal way that Chuck had just led Blair onto the dance floor. They moved together as if they were not two separate people, but one entity, and they didn't have eyes for anyone but each other.

"I never thought I'd say this, but maybe it was all meant to be. I mean, if Blair and Chuck can be that happy, then maybe there's hope for the rest of us."

"Oh, there's hope," Serena said, "just promise me you'll call Jenny tonight. She should know how you feel about her."

"I'll consider it," Nate said hesitantly, and Serena wanted to slap him for being so ridiculously male. "Now let's go show Chuck and Blair up. They're not the only ones who can do this. Dance with me." He extended his arm and Serena took it with a smile.

Blair felt like she was floating on air. Chuck's arms held her so close, so tightly, as if she was the most precious thing he had ever found, and coupled with the glances of awe that were directed their way, she didn't think that their first outing could have gone much better. Plus, Chuck had been right about the dress. It was perfect, and as she'd stared in the mirror earlier that night, as Dorota had fastened the Erickson Beamon necklace, she'd finally understood a little of what Chuck had meant when he said she was beautiful.

"You're lovely," Chuck murmured into her ear, as if he knew exactly what she had been thinking, which was entirely possible. "And I'm glad you chose the black tie ball. I love dancing with you."

"Why do you think I picked it?" Blair said coyly.

"Becuase Gossip Girl ruled it out," Chuck smirked. "I may be in love, but I'm not stupid, darling. You long to show her and her sources up."

Blair sighed happily, and felt the last bit of fear leak out of her. "I wanted it to be perfect," she admitted, "because I was worried if it wasn't, if anything went wrong . . ."

"Blair, it wouldn't have mattered if there was a catastrophe, I'm never leaving you. Not ever again," Chuck vowed before Blair could even finish her sentence.

"And I won't let you," Blair told him softly, surprising herself by discovering she meant it. She thought she'd had enough of being that needy, desperate girl when she'd been with Nate, but he'd never really loved her. Not the way that Chuck did-with his entire being, body and soul. After being loved like that, Blair thought it would be impossible to ever settle for anyone else. Or for anyone else.

They danced and danced, not wanting to let go of each other. Of all the perfect evenings that Blair had ever imagined and hoped and planned, this was the only one that had ever come close to matching her fantasises.

If Blair was being really honest, it had actually exceeded her fantasies.

As the clock struck midnight, Chuck leaned in and whispered in that dark, dangerous voice of his, sending a shiver down her spine, "Kiss me, lover."

And she did. Over and over again.

Spotted: The Queen B and her King, dancing cheek to cheek at the Basses' New Years Eve Charity Gala. I should have known better than to trust a minion-do you have any reliable handmaidens to spare, B? I hear Jenny's coming back to town, the heir apparent tiara firmly on her head. If only Nate Archibald hadn't been seen squiring another tall blond around the dance floor. Hold on tight, Upper East Siders, as wild as this Christmas has been, I think the year to come is going to be one dramatic ride.


AN: There will be a sequel to this, though it may not be up for awhile. Still has the tentative title. Also, I have succombed to SaturnineSunshine, comewhatmay and The Very Last Valkyrie's twitter bullying and am writing a historical Chuck/Blair epic romance. It takes place in 1850, in New Orleans. There's the demimonde, voodoo, duels, excessive money, excessive lust, and excessive love (of course). Stay tuned!