A/N: Sorry this chapter took so long. Major writer's block. But I made it a long chapter once my Muse cooperated again…
The next evening Eric settled back in his chair, once the others left.
"How are things with Elliot?" Chuck asked.
"Really good. I'm sorry things aren't good with you and Blair."
"Really? I know you and Jenny are close," Chuck noted.
"Yes, we are. That's why I know she's as much to blame for that night as you are. It isn't your fault she had regrets after. And you're both paying for that night. Jenny may be my best friend, but you're my brother. Jenny's doing better in Hudson. She'll never get back what she gave you, but it was her choice, and she has to live with it. After what she's done to me this year… I can't say it isn't good to see her having to face things she's done. You're still hurting, and still lost Blair. Nothing good about that night."
"Parts of that night were perfect," Chuck said. "Blair came back. She forgave me. It was…" Chuck's voice trailed off.
"Okay, I don't need details," Eric said. He could well imagine how they had spent the night.
"So do I get any more than 'really good' about how things are going with you and Elliot?" Chuck asked.
They talked about Elliot for a few minutes, then it became obvious that Chuck was tired. "Get some rest, big brother," Eric said.
A few minutes later chuck was asleep. It still amazed Eric how young, and almost innocent, Chuck looked asleep.
The next night Blair was there, alone.
"You're the only one I've ever made love with," Chuck told Blair. "I know that for you making love and sex are the same thing. But please understand that for me they aren't. When I'm with other women, it's just physical. No emotions involved. I use sex the same way I use alcohol and drugs. To forget. To avoid feeling emotions. You are the only exception to that. Always have been… since our first time in the limo. It wasn't love that night, but it was the first time I'd ever felt any emotion while I was with a woman."
"When… she showed up that night I was drinking. Told her I was trying to forget. To me, being with her and drinking were essentially the same. Just trying to forget that I'd lost you forever. Trying to close my heart to you, even knowing I'd never be able to. You have to believe that if I'd known you were coming - that there was any chance you'd forgive me - I'd have kicked her out the second she walked in the door. Do you at least believe that?"
Blair was silent for a moment, looking in his eyes. "Yes. I believe you wouldn't have slept with her if you'd known I was coming, and that we had a chance. Part of me wants to forgive you, and part of me wants to make you feel what I felt when I realized what you'd done. That romantic gesture of meeting at the Empire State Building… You telling me that you wanted everything to be perfect, when you were just trying to get rid of her so I wouldn't know what you'd done… It all just turned ugly and sordid when I learned what you'd done." She was surprised to realized that the ugliness was gone – at least from the grand romantic gesture of the Affair to Remember moment. That, Jenny hadn't been involved in. Chuck had arranged that for Blair, and Blair alone. She knew Chuck Bass wouldn't have done that for anyone else. He had honestly been trying to get her back.
"I did want things to be perfect, Blair. Perfect for you - us. And that meant getting rid of any trace of her. I wanted to show you how much I appreciated you forgiving me and giving us another chance. You want me to feel the pain you felt? I already did. On that roof when I accepted that you weren't coming. It broke my heart, Blair. It broke me."
Hearing the pain in his voice, and seeing it in his eyes, caused her defenses to crumble. "I still love you… But we can't keep doing this. We can't keep hurting and breaking each other."
"I know," he agreed. The last he wanted was to ever hurt Blair again. "So what do we do? I don't want to hurt you again, but it's not like being apart doesn't hurt – for both of us."
"Like you said, we're magnetic. We can't seem to stay apart," she admitted. "I guess for now, you get well, and we see what happens once we're back in New York."
"And you keep that ring."
She nodded. The police had returned it that morning, and it was now on a necklace. Her compromise, since she refused to wear it on her finger.
The next morning the doctor had joined Lily and Chuck, asking to speak to them privately. The others went for breakfast.
"So what is it, Doctor?" Lily asked.
"I think we can release Charles tomorrow, but I want him to rest a few more days before traveling back to New York. That's a very long plane trip over the Atlantic if there are any problems…"
"Of course, Doctor. We'll stay at the Hotel until you fell it's safe for Charles to travel," Lily reassured him.
Once he'd settled in his room at the hotel, Chuck was surprised to see Blair lead in a maid, who was carrying her things.
"I'm staying here with you. I don't want you alone all night. The bed is more than big enough for both of us. But I will only be 'sleeping with you' in the most literal sense – sleeping. Try anything, and I'm back in my old room."
"I can't believe I'm saying this… but right now I'm not up to 'trying anything', Blair. Except maybe a kiss?" he added hopefully.
"You're impossible," she scolded, her lips turned down, but her eyes were happy.
"I'm Chuck Bass," he replied, with his trade mark smirk. He'd long ago learned that when Blair's eyes and lips didn't match, the truth was in her eyes.
Blair was happy to see it. With Chuck out of the hospital, and seeming more back to his old self, she was feeling more confident of his full recovery.
The next day they were all lying out by the pool.
"Are you sure this is a good idea, B? I mean… you sleeping with Chuck?"
"I told you, S, all we're doing is sleeping." She paused, and then continued. "But no, I'm not sure it's a good idea. I'm just sure it's what I need right now. What Chuck needs. It felt really good to be back with him last night, even just sleeping. The pain I've felt since… It isn't just my heart that hurts. It's everywhere. Everything just hurts. But it was better last night."
"What do you mean it's what Chuck needs?" Serena asked.
"Nothing. Just that he's still healing and shouldn't be alone," Blair answered.
"No… Not the ring… Nooo…"
Chuck's mumbled words woke Blair. She could see Chuck moving a bit in his sleep, and realized he was having a nightmare. She worried he'd tear his stitches if he kept moving, and placed one hand on his shoulder, and the other on his cheek. "Chuck… Wake up. You need to wake up. Everything's okay. You're safe. Wake up for me, Chuck. It's just a nightmare. Come on, wake up," she spoke in a soft, reassuring tone.
Chuck's eyes flew open.
"Blair…" Chuck said, relief in his voice. Blair was with him. It was all a bad dream… Sleeping with Jenny, break up, the trip to Prague…
"Shhh. Shhh. You had a nightmare. Everything's okay."
"I thought I'd lost you. That I'd done something stupid…"
He moved to hold her, and pain shot through his side from the wound. He collapsed back on the pillow, and memory returned. "Fuck. It wasn't a dream…"
"Let me get you a pain killer, and one of those sleeping pills," Blair said, moving away.
"Just the pain killer," Chuck said.
"Chuck… You need to sleep."
"Not if I'm gonna have another nightmare."
Blair returned with the pain killer and a glass of water. "The sleeping pill may help with that. I mean, this is the first night you haven't had a sedative, and the first night you've had a nightmare…"
Chuck knew she was right. At the hospital he'd been given a sedative every night to ensure he'd rested. Maybe they had but him too deeply asleep to dream, he thought as he swallowed the pain killer.
"Tomorrow night, we'll see," he finally said.
Taking the glass back, Blair set it on the bedside table. She then got back into bed, this time much closer to Chuck, and resting her hand in his.
Chuck wanted to ask her to move even closer, but remembering her threat to move back to her room if he tried anything, he decided not to. He did however bring her hand to his lips and kiss it. "Thank you." He wasn't sure what he'd have done if he'd woken from the nightmare without Blair beside him.
"You're welcome," she whispered, and moved the slightest bit closer. It was a long time before either slept.
As he attention came back to the present, Blair smiled at Serena. There were moments such as this one, where she loved how oblivious Serena could be. She had no idea what Blair wasn't telling her.
Chuck was wise enough not to comment when every night the rest of the week Blair snuggled against his uninjured side. Both noticed that, despite not taking the sleeping pills, he didn't have any more nightmares, but neither mentioned it.
On the flight back Chuck sat beside Lily, with Eric across the isle from him. Serena sat with Nate in the row behind Chuck and Lily. Once Chuck had fallen asleep Lily rested her hand on his, happy to feel its warmth, and be bringing her son home. Eric dozed off, thinking how different, and how much better, this flight was from the flight to Prague. His brother was coming home, and going to be fine. Nate was also happy. His best friend was recovering, and so what his relationship with Serena.
Gossip Girl here,
Looks like everyone is coming home… except B. She's staying in France with her father, rather than coming home with C… They say absence makes the heart grow fonder… S and N seem dangerously close to reigniting their old flame. Hope no one gets burned this time… You know you love me.