AN: If you aren't a fan of spoilers, don't read ahead. It takes place in that final scene of the first S4 trailer, when Chuck and Blair meet in the Paris train station. I've cobbled together the rest with unconfirmed and speculative spoilers. As soon as I saw the trailer and Chuck's expression in that final scene, I knew I had to write this.
Chuck had always known that eventually—on some day far off in the future—he would come face to face with Blair Cornelia Waldorf again. Because he was essentially egotistical, self-absorbed and vain, he'd hoped that he would at least have ditched the cane and the limp by that point, but of course, fate was a bitch, and she had other plans.
He could see her eyes on the cane, and because he'd always been able to read her better than anyone else, he knew she was dying to ask why he was limping. Chuck—again, he was essentially an egotistical, self-absorbed and vain asshole, despite the character remodeling that he wasn't quite comfortable with yet—thought he could see worry and maybe even a bit of fear hidden in the dark depths of her eyes. But then she took another step forward, and all he could see was the lights of the train station reflected there.
He'd had a lot of time to think this summer—a lot of long nights in a hospital bed, alone, in pain, unable to sleep—and he'd spent a majority of it trying to decide what he would say to her if he ever saw her again.
When, Chuck reminded himself, when. Not if. Never if. Because when was now here, the moment of reckoning arrived, and he still found he couldn't speak. Couldn't literally get his vocal cords to form anything resembling words or even sound. She still looked exactly the same. As if she could ever look different to him. Still beautiful. Still enticing. Still something that he'd never been able to capture and hold in his hands.
All the things he'd said to her over the years—his insistence that they'd never be over; his determination to win her back even when she hadn't wanted to be won; his passive aggressive indecision; and most importantly, when he'd told her that if she didn't meet him, he was closing his heart to her forever—flashed through his mind.
He wondered when she was going to understand; he could never be done with her. It wouldn't have mattered if she hadn't met him that day on the Empire State Building. In fact, it wouldn't have made a single bit of difference if she'd never even spoken to him again. She had wrecked him that completely. No—he reminded himself—she'd wrecked Chuck Bass.
He wasn't Chuck Bass anymore.
But there was a part of him that would always want her, and that part was aching now, screaming with pain, and he had to slow his steps, pronouncing his limp even more.
And in the end, she was stronger—but then that fit the pattern of Chuck and Blair, Blair and Chuck. She'd always been the strong one. She'd spoken the words first; she'd been there for him when he was the kind of person who nobody could ever want. And now that he was finally the kind of person that someone could and did want to be with, he still wasn't as strong as she was.
"You're leaving." She said it quietly, and in her voice, he thought he could detect a tiny bit of the ache that was bringing him to his knees. The Chuck that he'd buried deep inside him, the Chuck that he'd reassured Eva had died with the bullet from the mugger's gun, did a savage fist pump of jubilation. She wasn't over him, she couldn't be over him. It was still there, they were still who they'd always been.
"I was going to go to London." So what if he could only deal in cold, hard facts right now? He had actually spoken. He was going to count this one as a win.
Nevermind that what lay between them had worked its way into the sentence without him even trying. He was going to London. Why hadn't he said that? Did he really want her to stop him? No, he didn't.
Did he? No, he didn't. He forced his thoughts to Eva, who was waiting for him, who depended on him.
"Oh." Her voice was small. "Serena told me. . ." She cleared her throat and continued. "Serena told me about the Empire. About everything."
"I told you once, I couldn't be Chuck Bass without you. I meant it. I'll never be Chuck Bass again." Even as he said it, he could hear the same old Chuck Bass confidence in his voice, but then, he'd always been a good liar.
You're Chuck Bass right now. You just don't want to be, because being Chuck Bass without Blair Waldorf is too painful of a proposition.
"I've come to tell you that you can't do this. Don't do this. Not over me." Blair added the last bit as if she hadn't meant to say it at all, but it slipped out accidentally. As if she hadn't meant to tell him quite the whole truth.
"When are you going to get it, Blair?" he asked bitterly—he couldn't help it. He was fucking bitter. Bitter in a way that Eva, for all her kindness and light, would never understand. Couldn't understand. Blair had been one of the few who had ever seen all the way to his core and had understood and had appreciated the darkness of Chuck Bass. "It's always about you. It's always been about you."
She was trying not to cry now, he could see the tears forming in the corners of her eyes, and the whole scene felt like a déjà vu, like it had been lifted right out of CeCe's garden the summer after Tuscany. But this time he was the one with the charade, and he suddenly understood how she'd felt then. Raw and vulnerable and desperate for a smoke screen so that he wouldn't know how desperately hurt she was.
"I'm asking you not to do this," she said. "It's not who you are—"
He interrupted her, rage at his inability to be the man she needed, rage at the situation they'd ended up in, swelling through him like a wave. "It's exactly who I am now. You don't know me anymore, Blair. I'm different . . .I'm . . .I'm not the same man you were with. That man died with the bullet."
He didn't realize he'd told her until a moment passed, and her hand flew to her mouth, shock and fear breaking through the mask she'd slipped over her features. "You were shot?" she gasped.
"Yes," he said simply, feeling the anger leak out of him like the plug had been pulled. Now she understood—it didn't change anything, but her knowing strangely helped to calm him down. "And don't even try to say getting shot wasn't about you. It was. I told you, it's always about you."
"I don't understand," she said hesitantly. As if she didn't want to know. And fuck, she probably didn't want to know. He'd understood, in a way that only Chuck Bass could, that the conflagration with Jenny had been the last straw for Blair. She'd barely been able to come to him before Jenny, ready to move past Jack and the hotel. But Little J—he'd burned his bridges with that final, heinous act, and that had been why he'd fought back so hard against the muggers. The ring had been everything he had left, the physical embodiment of what he'd given away.
"I can't explain it," he finally told her, because he couldn't. Not really. "Ask Serena, since she's apparently so well-informed."
But nobody knew about the ring; he'd told nobody about the reason he'd been shot. He'd even forced himself not to send any of his fleet of PIs to look for it. He told himself that he didn't need it back, that it was what Chuck Bass had wanted, and since he wasn't Chuck Bass any longer, it was unnecessary. Nevermind that his pocket felt empty and something inside of him was hollow without it. That sometimes he could feel the slippery satin of the platinum, the hard, brilliant edges of the diamond solitaire as his fingers had ghosted over it.
"I shouldn't have come," Blair said simply. "I'm sorry. Sorry for it all."
The last thing he'd ever expected was her apology, and as it detonated inside of him, the explosion knocked something free—something he'd kept locked away since he'd given up on being Chuck Bass.
He wanted to apologize, because that was what Charles did. Sweet, kind, considerate words. But while they came so easily with Eva, he couldn't force them out of his uncooperative throat now. Maybe, he thought with despair, Blair and him had just brought out the worst in each other.
"You don't need to say it," she continued. "I know."
And then she turned and walked away, the flounces of her red ballgown trailing on the train station floor. Chuck gripped his cane harder and seriously considered throwing himself off the balcony—finishing the job the muggers had started.
"That was her, wasn't it?" Eva said softly behind him, her heels clicking confidently and quietly on the marble. Eva would never make a scene, she would never resent him for speaking to Blair. She was too fucking good to do that.
"Yes," he said, though he knew it was unnecessary. It was written all over his face now. The internal ache had spread until he felt it might consume him.
I love you, Chuck Bass. I love you so much, it consumes me.
"Change of plans," he said, clearing his throat, and turning towards the ticket counter. "I have to go back to New York. Unfinished business."
Just a quick little ficlet to get us all excited for season 4! Enjoy!