A/N: I love Chair. I love hate sex Chair, I love Hamptons Chair, I love White Party Chair, I love invincible Chair, I love diabolical Chair, I love torn-apart Chair, I love...Chair. But I might just love morning-after-tender-kiss-and-probably-making-love Chair the most...enjoy! :)

P.S. Title from song by M83. Please don't favorite without reviewing!

What you couldn't do I will
I forgive you
I'll forgive you
I'll forgive you
I forgive you
- For Blue Skies (I Forgive You) by Strays Don't Sleep

When she awakes, the sun is just barely shining through her windows, the rays bathing her room in a surreal, warm light. She stretches her arms above her head like a cat reaching for a helpfully placed saucer of milk, and she smiles to herself.

She doesn't know if she's just fooling herself, but today already feels like it's going to be a good day.

She casts her eyes down at the man sleeping next to her, his fingers splayed across her bare stomach. He seems utterly at peace: his hair is mussed, falling over his face like it always does when he has thoroughly – and temporarily – sated his insatiable desire; his chest rises slightly as he breathes in and out, the slow exhales wreaking havoc on those beautiful eyelashes.

She watches the completely normal movement with an almost strange captivation. She has to physically resist the urge to drag her hand across the cheek that has only recently been shaved, and she admires the boyish curve of his lips even as she remembers all the deliciously sinful things those lips can do to her.

She puffs out her upper lip, and a heavy sigh escapes her mouth. She's not quite sure how she got into this mess, or how she's going to get herself out of it.

It's not an actually formed thought in her head, but somehow her fingers find his on her exposed skin. She closes her eyes and intertwines her hands with his, like she did in his limo almost three years ago. His coarse, familiar hand feels warm and welcome on her chilled flesh, and she realizes with a catch in her throat that she's not ready to let him go.

Her eyes flutter open as he curls closer into her side. Such demonstrative behavior is not exactly what she associates with the name Chuck Bass, but she supposes that's the point. This isn't them. Last night shouldn't have been tender, or sweet, or any of the shades of affectionate it was. It should have been raw, and passionate, and, above all else, it should have helped them get over each other.

And somehow, it achieved the exact opposite.

She sighs, wishing her life wasn't so cliché. But his eyelashes are tickling her hip, and there's a slight smile pulling up the corners of his lips. She remembers seeing him like this sometimes, when they were invincible, as Little J so helpfully put it. She remembers the gleam in his eyes and how helpless he was to avoid resisting smiling whenever they were together. But those moments feel so far away now.

He murmurs something, low and saccharine, and she frowns; it sounds suspiciously like I love you. Which she would reject, because she can't bear to hear those words from him ever again. Not when he's used them to break her.

He is still entranced and enthralled, lost in slumber, but he burrows his head deep into the curve of her waist and mumbles almost incomprehensibly, "God, you…"

He doesn't finish his thought, but then, he doesn't have to.

She musters the willpower, somehow, to close her eyes again, even as tears rise in her throat. Vulnerability has never been her strong point. Especially not with him.

He squeezes her hand, unintentionally she assumes, and a wave of such longing, such grief floods her heart that she falls back against the pillows, her breath speeding up as she searches for answers, for a way out.

She knows neither exists, but she'll never stop trying to escape him.

Slowly, with the air of the betrayed lover she has been too many times, she disentangles herself from the only boy to have ever frustrated her so and slinks out of the bed, pushing her hair off her forehead. She sways on her feet, and the tenderness between her legs reminds her that she is not immune to his charms just yet.

Truthfully, last night was…she shakes her head and makes her way over to the windowsill. Few things are as precious to her as the happiness of those she loves, but that would only matter if she admits she loves him.

She wants to cave in on herself, wants to shake herself awake and remind herself that she is strong, that she can do this. She wants to shove him around, push him away until he walks out of her room, out of her life. She wants to fall for someone normal, someone well-adjusted, someone who doesn't have daddy issues and who knows what other kind of issues.

But she has never been normal, and her life is not normal.

They're not meant to be normal.

She slides carefully onto the window seat, drawing her knees up to her chest and staring bleakly at the street. It is busy as usual, cars teeming through the city, drivers honking incessantly, beautiful women hailing cabs. The gentle rain only makes her home seem more savage.

She rests her chin on her hand and wonders what comes next, wonders how she's managed to fall this far. She can't deny that she needs him like the air she breathes, but the sentiment is more than melodramatic and she prefers to be dramatic about other people's problems.

But for a moment, and only for a moment, she lets herself feel everything she's been holding in since she stood in front of her boyfriend's uncle in that achingly beautiful dress.

The tears fall silently, but she ignores them. Her concentration is focused on the rain now peltering the glass she so painstakingly picked out when she was eight. She realizes with a jolt that every drop delves deeper and deeper into her façade, until she's not sure where the pretending ends and she begins.

A drop for Serena having not one but two boys who would do anything for her. A drop for how difficult it is to win control of Colombia. A drop for Jenny Humphrey almost destroying everything she worked so hard for. A drop for the boy she gave her virginity to claiming she never succeeded in changing him. A drop for hurting him over and over again because she can't stand to see him happy without her.

A drop for how much she still cares.

She sits and watches the rain, breathing in the intoxicating smell of coffee and fire still lingering on her skin. And slowly, clarity invades her mind, confronting all her inherent insecurities and breathing for her as she remains suspended between this most acute of heartbreaks and the numbness of it all.

It is then, of course, that he finds her.

She doesn't hear him at first, doesn't hear the soft padding of his feet on the carpet. He walks towards her, and she thinks maybe she is purposely ignoring his proximity, his impending arrival. She wants to talk to him, if only to tell him that this, whatever they have become, this…it's over. But every nerve ending in her body thrums with anticipation, and she knows she's not quite ready for that, and maybe she will never be.

His hands reach gently for her shoulders, his fingers beginning to rub soothing circles on her skin. She sighs into him as she does much too often these days and closes her eyes. This is why she is so afraid of him, of what he represents. She is never more herself than when with him. She is never softer, never less calculated. It is terrifying to be that exposed. It is not something she enjoys.

But as he sweeps her hair off her back, as he cradles her tired head in his hands and stands there behind her absorbing her pain as best he can, all she feels is how much she has missed him.

He leans down and kisses the top of her head, his lips lingering for just a fraction longer than necessary. Her eyes water.

His hands still momentarily, and he moves so he is facing her, his eyes level with hers. He holds her gaze, his lips parted as if the words he wants to say are trembling for a release he can't quite grant them, and shakes his head slightly. She can't tell what he's feeling, but there is some sort of regret in those caramel eyes, and before she knows it, she is in his arms.

She is sobbing now, although she thinks neither one of them can quite pinpoint why. But she clings to him, her hands resting limply on his chest as she smothers him with the force of her confusion. He just holds her, and she remembers that, ultimately, this is why she has such trouble moving on: he can make love to her all night, long and powerful and brimming with an ache they never really dispel, and then he sits with her by the window and whispers soothing words in her ear.

She wonders when he became such a truly magnificent man.

She doesn't know what this means. She doesn't know what she will say to him when the tears cease and she has to explain why she can't seem to stop inhaling sharply, her throat constricting as his warm arms settle around her.

But she also doesn't know whether she cares. She can feel his heart beating at the base of his neck, and she wishes, just for a brief moment, that he would hold her like this forever.

She wishes that that were even possible.

At last, he pulls back slightly, that fiery honey less concerned than understanding. She realizes that he's not worried. And it's not because he doesn't care about her. It's because he is confident he will get her through it.

And somehow, she believes him.

They watch the rain a little while longer, their breaths commingling until it is difficult to distinguish the one from the other. She doesn't move from his warmth, instead nestling closer and letting him save her, from whatever, from whoever. All that matters is the sentiment.

And as the rain falls gently, tenderly, much like their night together was, he moves his mouth to her ear and breathes the words she was afraid she'd never hear again.

I love you.

She closes her eyes and pulls herself closer, closer still, until she is so entwined with him that it seems futile to attempt to extricate herself.

She stays there. With him.

Forever.

And sometime later, she whispers the words, too, whispers them and holds onto them.

I love you.

fin