"Stand by your man..."

Chuck tries very hard not to laugh as the sound of his girlfriend's off-key singing floods his ears; Blair never sings, save in the shower when she thinks no one can hear her - and he revels in every adorable wrong note she hits. He's fairly sure she actually has quite a sweet voice - and she was a determined member of the choir for a whole year, something else to add to her Yale application - but he may be biased, because, hell, everything Blair does turns him on. And it's hard not to think it's sweet, when it's coupled with those brown eyes and a pout like that.

But almost a whole bottle of champagne down - well, it's impressive it sounds even remotely tuneful.

He's torn between rescuing her and enjoying the show. He can't keep the grin off his face - even though he's far soberer than she is, so really has no excuse. She's smiling widely, gorgeously, microphone clutched in one hand, swaying a little, wavering voice drowning out the sound system.

He's aware that the techies are all watching her; he can see the guy at his side practically drooling at the sight of the little brunette in her bronze dress, singing aside. And her strap keeps slipping down her bare arm. He's also very much aware of the fact that she will be humiliated if she remembers this. She will definitely not see the funny side - because she can't see quite how adorable she is right now, and it's something she'll never be able to comprehend.

All she'll be thinking, he knows, is that drunken karaoke is not something Waldorfs do in public. Something he can sympathize with - because Chuck Bass would be equally embarrassed - but then, he could never let loose with such beautiful hilarity. Still, it is his duty to protect her. Particularly as there are cameras rolling.

So he moves towards her, controlling his smirk and firmly blocking her from the audience's view, before he takes the microphone from her hand.

"Blair."

It's coaxing, firm, as his other hand wraps around her arm, trying to pull her off stage.

"Hey!" she cries, eyes widening, reaching for the microphone that he tosses aside - she tries to wriggle away from him, and he hasn't got her tight enough because she succeeds. She almost falls over, but before he can catch her, she seizes the microphone from the floor and pops up again with a delighted cry of, "Just kidding!"

He can't help it; she's too amusing and far too determined. He gives in, shaking his head, and grants her her spotlight.

However, there's one thing he can do - he heads for the cameras, eye still on her.

"And show the world you love him..."

Oh, Waldorf.

He manages, somehow, to keep a straight face as he talks to the techie, ordering him as Chuck Bass to turn the machines off and hand him a copy of the tape.

He hears Robyn chuckle behind him, somewhat bemused, and Blair calls out cheerfully, "Hey Robyn - jealous?"

"Yeah, sure."

He continues to watch his girlfriend, smirking fondly - "Guess what? I'm coming on tour!"

Robyn shakes her head from next to him.

"I think someone's had a bit too much," the singer states drily.

But you can't help but not be amused.

Chuck purses his lips. "Can I trust you'll keep this to yourself?"

Robyn shrugs. "Sure."

Maybe she doesn't get it, because she doesn't get Blair Waldorf.

"Stand by your ma-a-an!"

The music crescendos to an end, along with Blair's voice, and Chuck briskly snatches the tape from the techie before making his way to his girlfriend.

"Beautiful, Waldorf," he murmurs as he wraps his arms around her waist, securing her this time, and places aside both champagne glass and microphone.

She giggles, her own arms twining around his neck; "Did you like it?"

He drops a kiss to the base of neck, just because, and promises; "I loved it."

Her eyes light up and she tries to reach for the microphone again - "How about an encore?"

This time he catches her properly, scooping her into his arms - she half yelps in surprise, but she's laughing, fingers gripping his collar as she nuzzles her head in his chest.

"Are you going to carry me home, Bass?" she mumbles into him; and then she dissolves into giggles, half buried in his shirt, little vibrations running through her body nestled against him - "And show the world you love me?"

He carries her down the stage steps, past the still ogling techies, and mutters against her ear, into her hair; "Well, you're not really standing by me right now, are you?"

She tries to sit up in his arms, in protest. "I would!"

He grins - "I know, Waldorf," - and shifts her so that her head is cradled against his shoulder again.

"I do like you carrying me, though," she sighs happily against his neck. "That could work too."

"Mmm."

"Are you leaving?" someone asks, and Chuck can tell he's disappointed.

"My man is carrying me home," Blair informs him haughtily.

Chuck tries hard not to smile too much.

"Sleep well," Robyn calls out from the side.

Chuck thanks again for the concert - "Almost as good as my performance," Blair interjects chirpily - and the after party - "And the Dom!" - and leaves the hall, girlfriend in his arms, to the limo waiting outside.

...

"Come on, Waldorf," Chuck sighs, catching her ankle to pull her down from the bed that she's currently standing on.

She falls with a bounce; "But Ch-uck," she whines, like she only does when drunk, "I haven't finished showing you my moves!" But she raises her arms obediently as he tugs the dress off her, letting him ease her night gown over her head and remove her stockings.

He can't resist stroking the smooth skin of her thighs, warm under his hands, and she smiles contentedly, rubbing against him. "Are you trying to seduce me, Bass?"

He chuckles; actually, in this state, it's more important that he gets some water into her, closely followed by bed. And actual sleep.

(He's definitely going to get blamed for this tomorrow).

Cranky hungover Blair really can be a bitch. In the best possible way, obviously.

He raises the glass to her lips. "Do I have to force this down you?" he enquires. He can't stop himself tucking a curl behind her ear, his fingers tangling in her hair for a moment.

She acquiesces and swallows the drink down.

"I'm going to wake you up," she informs him, "When I need the bathroom. And you better switch the light on. And have my slippers ready. I don't want cold feet."

He rolls his eyes amusedly. "Your wish is my command."

She misses - or chooses to ignore - the dryness in his voice. "Good boy."

She holds her hand out for him to kiss, and he does - but he doesn't stop there, trailing a path up her bare arm till he reaches her collar bone, arms curling round her as he does so, pulling her under him. She sighs into his kisses, falling back against the mattress, eyes fluttering closed in pleasure.

He tugs back the comforter, sliding her under it. He finally reaches her lips. "NIght night, Waldorf," he murmurs against her.

Her eyes fly open. "Don't go!"

He smirks. He had no intention of going, but he quite likes the way her hands have suddenly tightened on his shirt.

"And where would I be going?"

"Into bed," she answers firmly. "With me."

Her fingers, usually so nimble, slide to his tie; she struggles with the knot for a second, brow furrowed, before she frees it. Then she drags at his collar again, fingers linking around his neck; ""Come on."

He joins her under the covers, his body curving round hers; she turns, contented, into him, as his chin tucks over her shoulder and his arms encircle her.

"Better?" he murmurs.

She semi nods, already drifting. He breathes in the scent of her shampoo as her slender fingers curl on his hands, tracing them as her own breathing evens out. He can feel the beat of her heart against her ribcage, the familiar warmth of her body and the velvet of her skin; her cheek under his.

He thinks she might already be asleep, when she murmurs, drowsy, "Chuck?"

"Hmm?"

His thumb traces the plane of her stomach.

"Let's make a deal."

He smirks, gently, into her hair; "Why does everything have to be a deal?" he teases.

"Because we made it one," she sighs back. Even drunk and half asleep, he can't catch her out.

He drops a kiss to her cheek, feeling her eyelashes flutter closed. "What is it?"

"I'll never leave you if you promise to never leave me."

He glances down at her for a moment. "How could I ever leave you?"

"Just promise," she insists sleepily.

His arms have tightened, almost unconscious, around her. He drops his head down next to hers again; "I promise I'll never leave you," he whispers in her ear. "I couldn't if I tried."

...

"You said you'd stand by me through anything." He struggles to hold those brown eyes; to make her see.

I'll always be your family.

He can't lose her. His jaw clenches, determined.

"This, Blair, is anything."

It somehow comes out a threat, though; a reminder that she can't break her promise.

But he broke his.

Because the dark eyes and the tightened jaw staring her down now isn't Chuck Bass.

He promised he'd never leave her.

When I looked in his eyes, I couldn't see him anymore.

She can't see him now; can't see him because he didn't just sacrifice her - he sacrificed the part of him that only she could ever see anyway.

Maybe the raven-haired con artist took that part away with her when she left.

But Blair knows the truth - he pushed it away himself. He made himself unrecognizable; made that part of him leave, so that he could punish himself and punish her.

He did what he had to, to win.

And she can't see him now. The man standing in front of her - the man who would do this to her - despite what he keeps trying to convince himself; that's not Chuck Bass.

He left her.

...

A/N Obviously, I don't own Gossip Girl - dialogue is taken from 4x07 and 3x17. This was originally intended to be pure fluff - don't know what happened there! Apologies for bringing up the painful Indecent Proposal ...although I honestly didn't recognize the Chuck in that storyline either.

Reviews are always much appreciated :) I'm also suffering from a severe lack of inspiration at the moment, and I've missed writing CB so much (especially now that they're getting good again) - so if anyone has any ideas for fics, I would love to hear them.