dedication: to Eleni. thank you for being the Blair to my Serena, or maybe it's the other way around, i can never tell. bfffl.
notes: why hello, new fandom. :D
notes2: also, i've been watching the last five minutes of war at the roses since 3AM. the awful dialogue amuses me. i love it so.
title: picturebook girls
summary: A girl, a boy; a supernova in the making. Blair/Chuck
She's six and beautiful, picture-perfect, in a little-girl dress in cream and pale pink. Dark curls sit on her shoulders, arranged artfully around her face.
(This is before vodka and vicodin and adderall and a lot of other things, before the Victrola and a strip-tease. This is before overdoses and social wars, before the only thing that calms her is the feeling of a toothbrush hitting the back of her throat, and falling in love with the wrong boy. This is before Chuck.
This is before Blair forgot what she was trying to accomplish in the first place.)
It is late summer. The heat is intense—Blair wishes for the cold of snow against her tongue. The sun hangs low in the sky, bleeding into the horizon, golden light hazing across the grass, sifting silently, a breath of dead air, like the slide of golden sand over golden, crushed silk. It is the lazy, heady drip of exhaustion.
Blair, beautiful Blair, sits in the shade of a white-striped-green awning. She stretches her fingers out. Watches the play of the sun over her pale, pale skin, watches it dance over the freckle that hides in the creases between her thumb and her forefinger.
Blair wrinkles her nose.
The freckle is an imperfection.
She's not supposed to like imperfections. That's Serena's job.
Blair retracts her hand, and sits, perfectly poised, in the shade.
She does not see the small dark boy with his hands tucked into his miniature suit's pockets staring at her.
Even if she does, she ignores it.
He is not her golden, knight-in-shining-armour prince, and he is therefore irrelevant to six-year-old Blair's world.
This is how it goes.
This is Blair, at nine: She is winter; cold flawlessness, the dead of night, a silenced gun. She is the biting winter air, frostbite nipping at her fingers, the sundogs in the sky on those bright, icy days.
This is Blair, at thirteen: She is dark, with eyes that scream and hate; strategy incarnate. There is intelligence there, too; the twinkle of knowledge, how to use it, who to use it against. She is manipulative and intelligent, bitter, forbidden dark chocolate.
This is Blair, at eighteen: She is lust, creeping and slow, the kind that infects and poisons the mind, never allows a person to escape. She is fine champagne, expensive and high-class, budding and bubbling and about to explode.
Three from six to nine, four from nine to thirteen, five from thirteen to eighteen. What next?
Looking in a mirror, Blair doesn't know what she sees, what she's supposed to be.
Looking in a mirror, Blair sees a six-year-old girl, with perfect curls and a perfect smile, who is just not enough.
At fourteen-and-a-half years old, Blair Cornelia Waldorf knows she is a lot like night time, and she would like it, thankyouverymuch, if Charles Bass would please
"Get away from my window, Bass, you moronic gorilla."
It is 2AM, and Chuck Bass stands outside her window, in a rumpled shimmer-grey suit, looking like he hasn't a care in the world.
Blair glares at him.
He's drunk. When is he not drunk? "Waldorf."
"What are you doing here?"
"Waldorf," he says again, like it's going to change anything, like this is something rational, something Blair could understand. But it's not, because Chuck isn't Nate, and Blair knows that Nate—Nate is different than Chuck. Nate is golden like sunlight, like Serena's hair through her fingertips, golden.
Blair doesn't like Chuck. "I shouldn't have to be reiterating this, Bass. What are you doing here?"
"Am I not allowed to seek out my best friend's future wife?" he asks.
Blair thinks you are a fucking moron, Chuck.
Blair says "How is that even a question, Bass? No, you can't. Get away from my window."
He scoffs, and doesn't move.
Blair doesn't even have words for his kind of stupidity.
The night around them is silent. And Blair knows that she stands on a precipice, teetering—because there is Serena and there is Nate, the summer ones, the good ones. Because there is school and there is winning and there are society dinners with powerful people that she's not allowed to attend, yet. Because Blair is always indecisive.
Because this could be everything, you know. It could.
But it's not.
She should be better then this.
Blair tucks stray curls behind her ear. She is tired, but she'd rather not look it, not in front of Chuck. "Go away, Bass."
"Why should I, Waldorf?"
Blair stared at him, fierce. "Because you are a moron."
He laughs in that awful way of his, and Blair thinks of falling down rabbit holes and the empty sky, falling forever in the dark. Chuck is abstract thinking, and Blair doesn't like it, doesn't like the way sometimes the things he says make her want to push him into the photography department's darkroom and—
Chuck is a sinister thing, and Blair doesn't like him.
She glares at him, again.
His laughter hangs in the air.
Blair ignores it, closes the window, and then closes her eyes.
Physical violence is not in Blair's nature.
Blair is the kind of girl that can say two words, and watch someone's lifework crumble to dust—she is the kind of girl that will do that, in the name of revenge, or lust, or hatred, or even love. Blair is the kind of girl that feels everything, feels it too strongly and too much of it, regardless of what it is.
Blair, at sixteen, watches as her oldest friend kiss her boyfriend, and knows that no matter what she does, she is not Serena, and Nate will never love her the way he loves Serena.
But then she thinks why love me, when there is Serena? Golden Serena, special Serena, Serena, whose hair smells like summer sunshine even in the dead of winter.
That night, Blair throws a vase against the wall.
The crash is spectacularly satisfying.
Blair stares at the shattered pieces of delicate china on the ground, and wonders why she hasn't done something like this, before. She wants to scream and scream, destroy everything, because it hurts, it does.
She's lost her two best friends to each other, and there's nothing she can even do about it.
She sinks into the soft suede of the couch.
The crash of the china still rings in her ears, and she barely hears the ding of the doorbell.
Blair stares at her hands, and Charles Bass makes his way into her foyer. "Waldorf."
"How long have you been sitting there?"
Blair shrugs too-skinny shoulders, the planes of her body stretching painfully, her skin cracking to bits and pieces of nothing. "I don't know."
His hands are in his pockets, and Blair thinks of a little boy who looked just like Chuck, wearing a white suit and a pink shirt, when she was just a little girl. They had stood in the pre-school class, both tight-lipped and bored, while Serena and Nate had planned something that Blair couldn't even remember, something childish that she hadn't been interested in.
Even as a child, Blair had wanted to be queen.
She still wants to be queen. The difference is, it is achievable, now.
And Blair is nothing if not an overachiever.
"Nathaniel is a moron," he says.
Blair thinks no, that isn't right, because you're the moron, Chuck, not Nate. Nate is just… he's Nate.
Blair says "I suppose."
Chuck throws himself down on the couch, next to her. Blair would tense, but she doesn't have the energy to fight, right now, and she needs a friend.
Someone who is not golden and blond(e), that is.
Chuck's arm loops around her shoulder, and Blair, for a minute, forgets about her wars and her need to conquer. She forgets about his sluttishness and his alcoholism.
For a minute, they're just sixteen, and she's just a girl who's just had her heart broken, and he's just a guy who's there to stop her from shattering like china.
Blair never wanted to let him see her cry, because it would give him all sorts of ammunition.
"This isn't about you, Chuck." This could be anyone, it could. We could be anyone.
But, right then, right there, she covers her face with her hands, and almost sobs.
She doesn't cry.
Chuck never mentions it.
Blair is eighteen. Serena sneaks into Blair's bed—cold toes against Blair's legs; Blair shivers—and links their fingers. Blair doesn't say anything. She just looks into her best friends eyes, and presses their foreheads together. Chocolate curls meld with blond waves, and the two girls lay in silence.
"I'm sorry," Serena whispers, her dark blue eyes wide and dark and sad.
"I know you are. Chuck…" Blair nods, because Serena never means to hurt her—it just happens, sometimes.
The two girls lie quietly, and say no more.
It is almost enough.
Charles Bass is nothing if not unpredictable.
It takes them four years to get this thing right—takes them four years to stop sabotaging each other, four years of blood and war and hate sex, before either of them quietly acknowledge that maybe—maybe—this is not a bad thing.
Blair, twenty-two, sits by a window, a leather-bound book in her lap, a cup of tea—the kind that only Dorota could make right—sitting on the coffee table. She is Audrey Hepburn, dark and beautiful and cool and untouchable. It is late spring, and the window is open.
And Chuck is standing outside.
A memory filters to Blair, and she thinks of the innocence in most people, the kind where one knows they've never utterly destroyed another person, that she doesn't have to spare.
But he's Chuck, so that doesn't matter so much.
"What are you doing here, Bass?"
"Waldorf," he says.
He's not drunk.
It's a pleasant surprise.
"That's not a very good answer, Bass."
"Let me in, Blair," he says. His voice is low and strained.
Blair tilts her head.
"You know where the door is."
He's been through it enough times. He knows where the secret keys to the place are, knows where her little treasure troves hide.
Chuck just looks at her, all intense dark eyes and dishevelled, dark hair. It's almost unlike him.
Blair sighs, and pushes the window open enough to let him climb through. It's undignified, and completely not the paradigm that is Chuck Bass, but it is clearly what he wants, so she does it anyway.
He steps in through the window, sparks of something indefinable in his eyes.
"Chuck—" she says.
His mouth is hot against hers, explosions of massive proportions going off behind her eyelids, and she can't help but gasp.
He pulls away, his hands at the back of her head, and Blair doesn't even think about the fact that he's messing up her hair, because he's Chuck, and he's a moron.
"I love you," he says, jaw taught. "I know you don't want to hear it."
They stand together, and Blair can barely breathe. She shudders, softly, and Chuck presses his lips against the side of her mouth. It is almost a kiss. Almost gentle. Blair raises shaking fingers, and slides them into his hair. She stares at him, stares at the painful reflection of her own worst flaws in his eyes.
"I just came to tell you that," he says.
Chuck brushes the back of his knuckles against her cheek. The caress sends a burning path all the way through Blair's body, and she can feel her eyes closing. She can feel herself leaning into it, and suddenly, she is a few days shy of nineteen, again, and there was nothing but him and her.
Blair kisses him, and the world ends.
notes3: i should be working on NaNoWriMo, right now. please review! :D