It is at night that she allows herself to try and catch her breath.

When the weight of her wedding band is not upon her finger and her daughter fast asleep in her bed, Blair Carmichael allows herself to grasp the past and fall back into familiarity.

So Blair Carmichael closes her eyes and becomes Blair Waldorf again, reminiscing, wishing, hoping, yearning, and regretting.

She is Blair, and he is Chuck, and they fought and fought until all that hate turned into love. But secretly, in the deepest secret of their secrets, they were afraid of love. And when Chuck got scared he ran; and when Blair got scared, she ran. So they ran and ran and ran until they were out of breath and far enough from the other.

But Chuck doesn't know when to give up; he doesn't know when to move on. Maybe he doesn't want to move on.

Chuck has to move on because Blair likes everyone else to think she's moved on. Chuck doesn't complete his side of the bargain when he still hangs on to a thread. It's not right.

But the truth is Chuck's only catching his breath until he can go running back. Blair on the other hand, is too breathless to think, so she only does what feels right. And Preston Carmichael felt right, even if agreeing to marry him feels so wrong.

Although Chuck picks that opportune moment to regain his breath, and suddenly he is running, running, running back to her. Blair is engaged, Chuck is not. But she's still breathless, and as he places fiery kisses on her collarbone and she moans his name against his hair, it feels so very right.

"This is the last time"

"That's what you said last time Waldorf. And the time before that, and the time before that.."

"I mean it. I won't be a Waldorf tomorrow anyways."

"Marry me."

"What?"

"Marry me instead. Not him" He is begging.

"No." She hates beggars.

And Chuck is still running after her because she's always just out of his reach, a tantalizing prize, a forbidden fruit. And Blair's still breathless, living out her days coddling her daughter who looked nothing like Preston, but mostly like Blair. She dances and smiles, laughs gaily at things that aren't so funny, shops for miniature headbands and wrinkle cream, and still can't think because she's still trying to catch her breath.

"Marry me."

The words echo around the caverns of her mind, ingraining his eyes, his mouth, and his dark, thick hair into the very recesses of her skull.

In the light of the day, it is almost easy to forget, but once the sun wanes to a waxing moon, she recollects and laments.

"Marry me."

Blair has a thousand responses all thought up in her mind; they almost all start with yes. But she opts for the one that contains a single word and the clicking of heels as the door slams.

And eventually, Chuck will run out of breath chasing something always just out of his reach. This time, it takes a little longer for him to regain his breath, and it becomes a little more painful.

But Blair is patient. She can pretend the arm around her waist is his, the lips upon hers is his, and those too-blue eyes are not cerulean, but a deep caramel, dark and inviting. Slowly, but surely, Blair is catching her breath. And although she sleeps next to her husband, she thinks of him.

So she waits, biding her time hiding behind cold smiles and a rich husband. Because eventually, one day, Chuck will catch his breath, and if they're lucky-if they wish upon shooting stars and search out four leaf clovers- if they're lucky, Blair will finally catch her breath too. And when that day comes, they'll run and run and run, and maybe this time, they'll run into each other.

fin