A/N: A random one-shot I started last year that I decided to finish last night. I was inspired. I love bittersweet endings, don't you?
He heard the echo of his own footsteps assaulting his ears as he walked down the dim but illuminated hallway. It was quiet here. It always had been. He had paid for it to be this way. At first, the bumbling staff had promised him a secluded room, but he had requested for an entire wing of the hospital for his lover.
When said incompetent staff had insisted that that would not be possible, he had handed them a signed cheque. No one denied the language of money. He had hired his own staff and never once did he hesitate at firing all those who had failed him, that had dared to tell him that there was no solution to the problem before them.
There was always a solution. They were simply too inept to find it. He never stopped hoping that one of the remaining members of his medical staff would accomplish this juvenile task one day.
He quivered slightly as he reached down for the familiar brass door knob, but he was more than careful to maintain the eerie silence of the hallway as he stepped into the room. He found an unexplainable peace in the silence. She was still laying in the same position in which he had left her last night as was expected, not that he had wanted to leave her side.
Nathaniel had insisted that he attend his bachelor party because it would be his first and hopefully his last. He had ultimately caved in to his wishes, but it was not because he was weak. It was only so that his best friend would stop lecturing him on the way he chose to live his life, on the way he chose to waste his life.
Last night had been dreadful to say the very least. He had taken no interest in the exotic dancers nor the booze. No, he was a liar. He had been interested in the booze. It was the only thing at the party that had served to numb the logic of his mind and the pain of his heart.
He seated himself in the leather chair beside the bed and took her lifeless hand in his own. He waited for a sign that she knew he was there. He waited for her to acknowledge his presence, but deep down, he knew that she never would.
He closed his eyes as he concentrated on gaining control over his waning emotions. He had promised himself that he would never cry in front of her, not that she would be there to taunt him about it.
He opened his eyes to glance at her then. She was still as beautiful as ever and she had laid in the same bed in the same position for three years. It had been three long fucking years since the accident and after only two years of waiting, the rest of them had thrown in their towels, given up on her. He secretly hated them for their weakness. He hated Nate. He hated Serena. He hated Eric. He hated them all.
None of them had ever understood why he still refused to let her go. None of them would ever understand. He would never give up on Blair Waldorf because she had never given up on him.
He rubbed his forehead in frustration as numerous memories began to flood his clouded mind. He remembered when she had first been hospitalized. These hallways had been filled with so much love and care. Serena had come to chat with her on a regular basis though the brunette would never respond to her ramblings. Nate had made it a point to send her flowers as often as possible. Harold and Roman had permanently moved back to New York and even Eleanor had been an absolute mess over the situation her daughter was in.
These memories were all strangers to him now. He had been the sole occupant of the same hallowed hallways for a year except for the staff he had paid good money to hire. Of course there was still Dorota, but even her visits had become less and less frequent, had become few and far between.
He was all Blair had now or rather she was all he had. All they had was each other and that to him was more than enough.
He knew she would make it through this or at least he sincerely hoped she would. She was Blair Waldorf after all. She had an undeniable inner strength and he chose to believe that she would come back to him some day. It was the only remaining delusion he had created that was reason enough for him to live through another day, to live through another tomorrow. He hated those who had told him otherwise. He hated those who continued to tell him otherwise.
The sound of the surrounding machines interrupted his thoughts and he took a moment to absorb her pristine face. She looked so peaceful in her deep sleep. He had convinced himself long ago that she was merely in a deep slumber, waiting for her prince to bestow upon her the perfect kiss. He had kissed her multiple times but to no avail and he had even begged Nathaniel to do the same to be sure, but Serena had made a mockery of his theory that day.
"Chuck," Serena urged. "You need to let her go. Asking Nate to kiss Blair is absurd."
He shook his head in profound disagreement. He refused to listen to her nonsense. He turned to his best friend for support, but was greeted by a grim expression.
"Fuck you Nathaniel," he seethed. "Fuck you Serena. Fuck all of you."
"Damn it Chuck! She is not a princess waiting to be saved!" Serena shouted in return. "There is nothing we can do to help her! She will never come back to you Chuck! The machines are keeping her alive! She would be dead without them!"
Chuck threw one of the many flower vases against the wall then, wrestling a shocked cry from their lips. The vase itself had shattered almost instantly, sending its peonies to the floor, but the water chose to spread slowly across the surface of the room. He sank to the floor then with his back up against the wall at the irony of the situation. His heart had shattered in the same way when he had first heard of the accident. It had never stopped bleeding and the painful reminder the seeping water provided him with was almost too much to bear.
"Chuck," Serena started once more after she had cleaned up the mess.
"Get out," he whispered menacingly.
"Get the fuck out of here! Both of you!" he screamed.
Serena did not hesitate in conceding to his demands and swiftly left the room, careful to take Nate with her. He waited until he could no longer hear the sound of her high heels clicking against the marble floor or his continuous protests echoing through the dreaded hallway before crawling back towards the bed, towards his unmoving lover.
He took her lifeless hand in his own and whispered to her as he always did, "I love you Blair. Please come back to me."
No one had blamed him for what had happened to her, but he had blamed himself. He still did. He knew it had been his fault. Blair knew it had been his fault. She had told him she loved him and he had thrown her words back in her face. Being the selfish bastard that he was, he had driven off in his limo, leaving her to her misery and him to his own. He had gone back to his suite to wallow in the presence of his beverage of choice. He took no calls and ignored all those who arrived at his door. The first visitor he had received hours later had taken his much screwed up life for a spin.
"Nathaniel," Chuck greeted him as he swung the door wide open. "Would you stop shouting out here? Some of us need our rest."
Nate grabbed fistfuls of his shirt and shoved him up against the wall. Chuck laughed at this and made no effort to defend himself.
"Do it, Nathaniel," he slurred. "Physical pain is better than the emotional kind."
Chuck did not understand the implications of his words then, but Nate did not take that into account. His insensitive comment caused the blond to throw a punch at his best friend and he watched him as the brunette crumbled into a pile of nothing on the floor.
"Thanks," Chuck mumbled.
"Snap out of it Chuck!" Nate yelled. "We left you a billion messages! Blair was taken to the fucking hospital!"
"What?" he stuttered. "You liar! You are a liar Nathaniel!"
Nate wanted to throw another punch at his best friend, but he stopped himself. What was he doing? Chuck had done nothing wrong. He had just lost his father. The blond glanced apologetically at the brunette for losing his temper, but Chuck was already out cold from all of the alcohol in his system. He knew Chuck would not be able to absorb what he wanted to tell him, so he decided to tell him again in the morning. He would allow him to sober up at the very least.
After all, the doctors had informed them that Blair would wake up from her operation the next morning at the earliest. He helped the brunette onto his bed and then he fell on the nearby sofa in complete exhaustion. He hoped Blair would wake up in the morning as predicted because he had no idea how much heartbreak his best friend could take. Chuck was strong, but there was always a threshold, especially when Blair was involved.
Nate had told him about the accident again the next morning and that time, he had heard it loud and clear. He had run. He had been breathless upon reaching her bedside, but he had run.
"What do you mean she's in a coma?" Chuck shouted at the doctor, unable to control his fury. "You said she would have woken up by this morning!"
The doctor calmly readjusted his glasses on the bridge of his nose and answered, "I'm terribly sorry Mr. Bass, but I did think so at the time. I have done operations like this more times than I can count and assure you that I have never had a patient who has slept so to speak as long as Miss Waldorf has. No one could have predicted this."
"You're fired," Chuck whispered harshly to him. "I want another doctor looking after her. Do you hear me?"
The doctor remained calm and answered, "I can arrange for another doctor to look after Miss Waldorf as soon as possible, Mr. Bass, but I do not work for you. You cannot fire me. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to check up on Miss Waldorf's vitals to make sure that she's stable."
Chuck made a move to go after him, but a hand reached out to stop him.
"Charles, please let the doctor do his job," Lily instructed him calmly. "I know what you must be going through right now, but..."
"Please," Chuck scoffed, wrenching his arm from her grasp as he turned to walk away. "You are not my mother, so for the last time, stop pretending like you are."
He quickly blinked back the tears that threatened to fall from his eyes as old feelings returned, as old heartache returned. He refused to cry in front of her, but try as he might to stop them, they came anyway, one drop, then another.
"Charles, we understand how difficult this will be for you, but you need to let her go," Lily urged, her voice soothing, gentle.
"Blair would want you to," Eleanor added, placing a hand on his shoulder.
While she was the only one who could make the decision legally, she respected his wishes. She had made a lot of mistakes where her daughter was concerned, but one thing she had always been certain of was who Blair loved, and would only ever love.
She hated the idea of letting her daughter go too whether Chuck knew this or not, but she had to. Seeing her own flesh and blood hooked up to so many machines day in and day out, constantly having to hear about how hopeless her situation was, had begun to take a toll on her, on all of them.
Eventually, the visits dwindled until they became nonexistent. Chuck blamed them, hated them for it she knew, but the truth was, they had all simply accepted a truth that he still refused to. Blair would never wake up. She was as good as dead.
"I'll think about it," he answered, although this time, he truly meant it.
"That's all we ask," Lily assured him before she and Eleanor left the room, leaving him to his thoughts.
He kept his promise. He had thought about it. He was thinking about it now as he played with the pill bottle in his hands. He wanted to believe that she would come back to him someday, but he had no idea how much longer he could hold on to that tiny sliver of hope that she would.
He closed his eyes and let out a deep, tired sigh. Perhaps the only thing he would ever regret was her not having been able to hear his 'I love you too.' He had been telling her every day since the accident of course, but he would never know whether the message had actually gotten through to her or not.
He would never be able to see her smile at his words nor hear her infectious giggles afterward as he kissed her senseless. That would be his only regret.
Moments later, the clatter of an empty bottle was heard echoing down the hallowed hallways of the hospital, alerting one of the hospital staff on duty. Moments later, Blair was finally free in every sense of the word, and with her freedom, came his.
He closed the door behind him quietly, careful to preserve the silence of the hospital wing. He turned to find her standing before him, her chocolate curls hanging loose around her shoulders, just as he had always remembered them.
She smiled and said, "I've been waiting for you. I thought you'd never come."
He pulled her towards him, afraid that she was just a figment of his imagination. He breathed a sigh of relief when he felt her in his arms, burying his nose in the crook of her neck, taking her in, all of her.
"Chuck!" she swatted at him playfully. "I can't breathe!"
He stepped away from her, but held her at arm's length, still not willing to let her go, lest he lose her again.
"Blair, I never got to tell you that day, but I love you," he finally admitted.
It felt so good to hear himself say it. It felt so good to know for sure that she had heard it this time. Never in his life had he seen Blair smile so wide before.
"I love you too Chuck," she whispered, drawing him in.
And then they were kissing, the world around them melting away. When she finally pulled apart from him, he noticed an almost undetectable hint of mischief in her eyes.
"What now?" she teased, walking down the hall and away from him, beckoning him to follow her. "Your limo or mine?"
He returned her smirk and told her, "Mine, of course."
But in truth, he didn't care because now that they had managed to find each other again, the world was theirs for the taking. Chuck and Blair. Blair and Chuck. Always.
They that love beyond the world cannot be separated by it. Death cannot kill what never dies. - William Penn