A/N: So this is really long, haha. I'm sure you've figured that out. At first, it was just going to be this random thing, but then it took on a life of it's own. I started writing it, but then I saw that promo, and I new I had to do something. To be clear, this has nothing to do with Dan, Louis, or anything in that SL. This is something original (or sort of original, because I'm sure I'm not the first one to come up with it.) But if you've seen the promo as many times as I have, you'll see what I added.

Summary: A feeling so intense, it resurfaces, even though we try to keep it buried. Yes, of all emotions, passion is the one that gives us a reason to live. And an excuse to commit all sorts of crimes.

Disclaimer: This was inspired by this episode of Desperate Housewives I saw. The italics are a quote from that. And it just worked. Characters are GG, but I attempted to make it as original as possible. Thanks to comewhatmay.x who beta-ed this monster. She is awesome.


Passion. It's a force so potent we still remember it, long after it's faded away.

It was the first time it had ever occurred to her. Not the first time Chuck had broken her heart, but the first time that she realized how deep she truly was.

He had looked spectacular. And she knew he had been using the three months of separation to his advantage. Honing that thousand-mile stare and that alluring smirk. Getting off of that Jitney at the end of that summer was one of the most startling experiences she'd ever had. The first startling experience, not counting the shock that had followed the realization she had just given her virginity to the bastard.

There he stood with yellow roses and that smug look. And her heart broke just a little bit more. That was the moment she realized that nothing would ever matter. It wouldn't matter how sure she was that she was over him or how many boyfriends she brought to throw in his face. Despite the fact that she thought her passion for him had receded, she was wrong. Standing before that Jitney, witness to his hot smirk, she knew that her eternal suffering for him would remain.

Forever.

By the time she was nineteen, she was horribly aware of this fact. He had hurt her, and beaten her emotionally with his indifference, consorted with things that could be described worst than bestiality with Brooklyn trash, and yet, there he had been. Walking towards her, his cane clicking against the floor of the train station, and she knew her flaw. A flaw that she could never rid herself of.

Even proclaiming her eternal hatred didn't deter their path. Because it was still passionate, it was still fiery, and she was still hiking up her red dress around her waist at a birthday party. Even after everything, she knew. When it came to Chuck, nothing would fade away.

Blair's hand shook as she applied her lipgloss. She was always resorted to this state right before such events. But when she arrived, she was as poised and composed as ever. But not now. Not this way when staring at herself in the mirror.

She had always liked the duality of mirrors. The way certain skulking hedonists would stalk her and find her in them.

This time, it wasn't him. She saw movement in the reflection, but it wasn't him.

"Nathaniel," she said astutely before straightening her posture, capping her lipgloss carefully. "To what do I owe the pleasure?"

"You're going tonight."

Nate had lost the little subtlety he had in the way she had lost all patience for anything any longer. But it was on this night that she decided to humor him.

"Why shouldn't I?"

"I don't know why you do the things you do any more."

"Like you ever did."

This time, her antagonism didn't pry him away from her. This time, he sat on her bed, looking up at her.

"When are you going to stop this, Blair?"

"Stop what?" Blair asked, turning towards him.

"He's not coming back," Nate said softly. "He's just not."

"We're not talking about this," Blair said.

"We need to talk about this," Nate said with determination.

"Why?"

"Because Chuck wouldn't want this," Nate finally burst out.

"Well as you so aptly put it," Blair said, "Chuck isn't coming back. So he shouldn't give a damn about what I'm doing."

"It affects us too, you know," Nate replied.

"And who is this 'us' you are referring to?" Blair asked. "Because it seems to me that I'm the only one trying to save his legacy."

"You're destroying yourself, Blair," Nate said. "This isn't normal."

He watched her swallow, because they both knew it was true. The two of those sinners were just too corrupted to function normally ever again.

It worried him that Blair just didn't care.

And Nate knew that Chuck didn't either.

"Chuck would never forgive me if I let his company fail," Blair said.

"Chuck doesn't care about anything anymore."

"I wish I could say the same," Blair said. "Now if you don't mind, I have to finish getting ready."

Nate got up, sighing in defeat before pausing at the doorway.

"You're playing with fire," Nate said. "Everyone knows it."

"Even you?" Blair taunted nastily.

Without another word, Nate just shook his head, closing the door behind him. And finally alone again, Blair allowed her weakness to seep across her pores in salty distress. She pulled off her constricting heels as she slid to the floor, letting her hands wander to the familiar box still labeled Old Life. Because she could never go back there again. It was the only way she could get close to him. And it wasn't enough. The pictures of his self-assured smirk weren't enough, and as she drew her fingers longingly over his young features, she let herself cry just a little bit more.

A drive so alluring, it can push us into the arms of unexpected lovers.

"Hello, Gorgeous."

Blair used to have to hide it. When that reviling voice crooned in her ear, she used to have to hide the disgust that ran through her body with a shudder. She longed for those days. Now she was just too jaded, and too expectant of his arrival to do anything but stare at him dully in the mirror.

"You don't have a hello for me?"

Blair shouldered past him, fully intent on returning to the party.

"You know," he said, her. "Anyone would be thrilled to have a private audience with the CEO of Bass Industries."

"Don't treat me like one of your whores, Jack," Blair snapped. "Everyone knows you're running this company into the ground. You're not even deserving of the moniker. And the only CEO who has ever been was Charles Bass."

"I don't see my precious nephew anywhere," Jack said, pretending to look around. "All I see is you and me."

"The only reason that I deign to even be in your vile proximity is for the sake of the company," Blair said.

"And how long is that going to last?"

"I will try and save it, until I have finally pried it from your scaly fingers. Or you have finally resorted to destroying it completely."

"And then what do you plan on doing?" Jack asked with his disconcerting smile. "Or rather, who?"

He reached a hand out to stroke her hair, but she jerked back with disdain.

"You don't need to put up the facade for me," Jack said. "I do remember you accepting a gift or two from me on the past."

"I hate to resort that ego that you have to a pile of ash," Blair said. "But that was only to get close enough to you to destroy you."

"And yet I'm still standing."

"So am I," Blair said. "And as long as I have a breath left in my body, I promise I will take you down."

"You say that as though that's an actual threat," Jack leered.

"You want to possess me," Blair sneered. "You want to have me for the sole purpose of having me. But at least I still have a little self respect to deny you that."

"Why are you being so stubborn?" Jack asked. "For him? I hate to break it to you, Gorgeous, but he's not coming back."

"If I was doing this just because I was counting on his return, I would have given up a long time ago," Blair answered. "But this is his legacy. And I won't have you eviscerating it."

"So devoted," Jack said, in something like admiration—if he had any feeling at all in him. Bur she knew it was really condescension. "But if you keep rejecting me, you know I'll just keep coming back."

"You do realize that it isn't every little girl's dream to become a trophy," Blair replied.

"Funny you should mention that," Jack said, "because you seem to be wearing that necklace I bestowed upon you."

Incomprehensible self-loathing bit Blair to her core as she felt the jewels burn into her skin.

"You pretend to have a moral compass that you used to abstain from, as I recall," Jack said, "but you have your own dark side. What would your beloved do if you found you debasing yourself for me?"

"Like you said," Blair smiled. "He fortunately won't have to see the destruction of Blair Waldorf. The only reason you desire me is because I keep refusing you."

"So just accept," Jack said, "and I'll stop."

"Please," Blair laughed coldly. "You think I don't know the real reason you're so desperate? You think I don't know that you're completely helpless when it comes to everything you've ever wanted? I am the only one who has a chance at saving this company. And you can't afford to lose me."

Jack's face tightened with obvious anger and Blair laughed again mirthlessly. But as she tried to pass him, his hand grabbed her arm in a bone-crushing grip, pulling her back into him.

"You think you're safe from me?" Jack asked. "You've become enslaved to everything that has the Bass name, and that's worse than what I've become. You're pathetic. I already have you. You just refuse to admit it."

"The second I let you touch me is the second I've spiraled to depths that no one can return from."

"It wouldn't be the first time."

One last attempt and she shoved him away from her.

"The only person I'm more disgusted with than you," Blair said, "is me. You will die cold and alone. And I will relish every moment of it. You may have caused me to make a mistake before. But rest assured that it will never happen again."

But even as she left him behind with his cruel face and vile intentions, she couldn't feel the vindication she had been dying to feel for over a year. All she felt was the itching of the tainted clasp at the back of her neck, and she wished that she could wear something else. Perhaps something from Cartier, or something with sparkling Erikson Beamon diamonds. Because she remembered what it was like to feel that all-encompassing feeling of what could not be described merely as love consuming her entire being.

And the heartbreaking fact that she never would again.

You were...amazing up there.

She felt her short breaths crushing her lungs with a familiar feeling of panic. She pushed herself to the outside, forgetting the food she hadn't eaten that day, and the fact she shouldn't be feeling that rush. But before she could stop herself, her three and a half martinis came up as she vomited in a potted plant.

It didn't help. None of it did, because the simple days of falling inexplicably into his arms were over. How that first night she had just looked into his eyes and saw everything that she could never admit to herself she wanted. It was so innocent then, even when she was relinquishing her virginity to someone who could never be trusted with it.

And it had been worth it. She had been sure of it. She was even sure now as acid burned past her teeth.

But even as a starry-eyed nineteen year old, she had known. She had seen that box and even though she wasn't even close to graduating college, she would have said yes. Because nothing could ever compare to him.

And she would burn in hell before falling into the arms of his depraved uncle, no matter how much truth rang in his words.

Chuck Bass was not coming back.

But she still had the memory of his love, his desire, and his passion that still resorted her to tears.

A sensation so overwhelming, it can knock down walls we have built to protect our hearts.

It had happened before. But only once did Blair's defenses against Chuck get knocked down so hard and so explosively, that it was clear what they were. They were hot and they were destructive, and she had worked so hard to keep him out.

I hate you.

I've never hated anyone more.

She could never block him out completely. She had lived her entire life with Chuck Bass, and she didn't know what it was like for them to be apart.

Until now.

Every nerve ending in my body is electrified by hatred.

There is a fiery pit of hatred inside me ready to explode.

And even then, when she was so full of contempt and raw feeling, it didn't stop it. She had closed herself so much from him.

And yet...

So it's settled then.

We're settled.

That's the way it had always been.

His fingers had torn apart their treaty, but suddenly they were on her neck, and under her dress, and tearing away her garter like it was as fragile as the paper of their agreement.

And all those walls came tumbling down.

She hadn't expected it. She didn't know if he had come to her that night, fully anticipating every single little moan she would bestow upon him, but it happened. He had looked upon her with unrestrained desire, and she realized that she didn't disagree. She realized that she would do anything with him.

All he had to do was look at her like that again.

She was weak and she was shallow, but he was Chuck.

And now she was alone.

"So that was Jack."

The moment she walked back into the party, she felt suffocated. Nate's eyes were full of concern, but she couldn't take it anymore.

"I can't do this right now, Nate," Blair said. "I just can't."

"That wasn't what I was trying-"

But Blair just walked away from him. She needed a drink and she needed isolation—neither of which he would ever give to her.

"Wait," Nate attempted, following in her footsteps. "I need to tell you-"

"What?" Blair snapped.

But she had stepped into the lounge before Nate could even start again and her heart dropped into her stomach with disbelief.

And heartache.

Chuck Bass looked up from his glass of scotch. His smile was genuine and sweet, and he was just there.

"Hey."

And her walls fell down again.

A feeling so intense, it resurfaces, even though we try to keep it buried.

Nate wasn't there. Blair hadn't comprehended his departure, but at that moment, she knew there were only two of them in that room.

And Nate wasn't one of them.

Her back was to him. She heard Chuck behind her, closing the doors of the lounge. She was very aware of the lock clicking into place, but she was also highly aware that she was in danger. And now they were in danger. It was surreal and it was frightening and she didn't know what to do.

She felt his hand slide to her bare shoulder, and she couldn't help herself as she fell away from his touch, finally turning to see him. His eyes were imploring and begging her to understand.

And she hated him for it.

"Blair-" he said lowly, but before either of them knew what was happening, her hand cracked across his face in a loud slap.

He didn't look surprised. She remembered the one time she had done so before, and she could tell it wasn't the pain of his face, but the pain of her anger that shocked him.

He didn't look like that this time. He just looked back at her, his expression never changing, never waning.

He took a hesitant step towards her, but all she could do was go on the defensive. He was overwhelming her with his sudden presence and the way he was looking at her. And she just couldn't do it.

So she hit him again.

"Blair," he said again, not even in an attempt to stop her, but just to have her hear him.

She didn't stop.

Her slaps became wild fists beating at his chest until she heard the emotion cracking through her voice and desperate sobs.

"Please," he said as she tried to punch him. He wrapped his strong arms around her, restraining her fists, and she finally allowed her emotion to run down her face. "Listen to me."

"No," Blair finally snapped, pushing him away. "No."

"I missed you."

"Did you?" Blair snapped. She had fully intended on storming out and never looking upon him again. She had thought of the day when he would return. But her heart was so full of rage towards him, all of those scenarios she had concocted in her head were simple fantasies. Because she couldn't look at him without hating him so completely. "It's been a year since you disappeared and you've missed me? Could have fooled me."

"Believe me when I tell you, I never wanted-"

"I can't believe you," Blair said. "You left, Chuck. You just left. And you left your company in the hands of Jack. How can I even hear what you have to say?"

"Because it's me and you."

It was the first time she had heard that angst in his voice that she hated to admit she missed. But he was stalking towards her again, and there he was.

"It's us—"

"That doesn't mean a goddamned thing," Blair said. "Not anymore."

"You want to hit me again?" Chuck asked. "Do it. Do whatever you need to do. But I left for a reason."

"You must have left me for a reason," Blair said. "Because you couldn't have broken my heart just for kicks."

"I left for you," he said. "It was the only way."

"And what rationalization have you come up with this time?" Blair asked coolly.

"It's not rationalization," Chuck said. "It's the truth. And the truth is Jack has gained control of the company for a reason."

"Because you gave up," Blair accused.

"Because he had me at a disadvantage," Chuck said. "There's a reason you're still here and there's a reason I was gone. And you know that he is it."

"Then why are you here now?" Blair asked. "So Jack squeezed you out. What are you doing here?"

"I told you," Chuck said, finally able to advance on her without being attacked. "I couldn't do it anymore. I just couldn't."

He was so near and she could smell his familiar scent so strongly.

And she was so weak.

He pushed his fingers through her hair adoringly, feeling the texture of her silky strands. He ran his fingers through it before raising it to his mouth for a brief kiss.

"Don't," she said, failing to even attempt to push him from his grasp on her section of hair.

"I know you feel it," he said. "I know that as much as you want to hate me-"

"I hate you," Blair said with conviction.

"You hate me," Chuck agreed. "And I don't blame you. But it was always us. That's always the way we were. And as much as you want to push me away, it's us. The only thing that's ever been real is me and you."

And he was looking at her. It was in the way that she knew she was powerless to stop. It was the way he made her feel loved in only the way that he could.

And her necklace burned into her flesh.

"Tell me I'm wrong," Chuck said.

"You didn't come back for me."

"I did."

"You're telling me you're completely comfortable with allowing Jack to ruin everything that you've built?" Blair asked.

"Where did you get that necklace?"

And she knew, that despite that fact that she knew Chuck had been very genuine, he was also Chuck. He had been waiting for this moment; she had been a fool to be lulled into a false sense of security by his sweet words.

She took a step back.

"You think I don't know?" Chuck asked. "I may have been gone, but I'm not completely cut off. If you actually thought that I wouldn't keep tabs on you, you've underestimated me."

"That wasn't my intention," she said coldly.

"You really think I was naïve enough to think that Jack would try to keep his hands to himself?" Chuck asked hotly, his presence more of an overwhelming force than ever. "I know what he gives you. How he wants you."

"And if you really think I was naïve to think the same thing, then you've underestimated me," Blair retorted. "I don't need you keep tabs on me."

"You really do," Chuck spat. "Because you don't know what he's capable of."

"I don't?" Blair asked. "Because far be it for me and my naïve innocence to get the better of me. I know exactly what Jack is capable of. Because everything that he did, he did to me. To us. He did it to get the better of you."

"Then what are you doing?"

"I'm trying to save you," Blair bit out desperately. "How can you stand by and watch everything you ever loved die?"

"Because it's you," Chuck said, grabbing the back of her head, reminiscent of birthday parties and peace treaties. "If I had to save you at the stake of my company, I would do it. And I have."

Their bodies were pressed as close as they could, and with his fingers tangled in her hair, she was exactly aware the natural progression of things if she didn't do anything in her power to stop it.

"We can't do this."

"Because of him?" he asked.

"Because of you," Blair sneered. "You think you can just come back and everything will be so easy."

"You still haven't told me you don't love me anymore," Chuck taunted. "You still haven't admitted that you don't feel for me any longer."

They were too intimate for being apart for a year, and she knew it was about to explode.

"Take it off."

"What?" Blair asked, her mind immediately jumping to that conclusion.

But his hand found the chain around her neck, and she felt as he began to twist.

"Take it off."

"Chuck-"

But without even another second to spare, he ripped the necklace from her neck, sending gems and chains sprawling across the floor.

Their eyes met slowly, the deadly silence making the room heavy.

"Tell me that was actually important to you. Break my heart," he challenged.

The side of his face that was already stinging felt another assault. Her chest was heaving and her palm was red, but they were ripping at each other's clothes, tongues thrashing to make up for lost time, and the reality was clear.

He pushed her down onto a convenient couch, tearing at those garters he loved so much until they were all limbs and groans and nails.

Until they bled all over each other.

"If he finds out," Blair finally said, not even modest enough to cover herself from their new position on the floor, "he'll kill us both."

Chuck leaned over her, his body slick as it slid over her.

"Finds out about what?"

Blair sat up on her elbows in a vain attempt to escape him, but he brought his hand to her throat, caressing her jaw with his thumb.

"If he finds out about us?" he asked. Blair settled back down, knowing that he wasn't about to let her go, and this was just his play for power.

He had to know.

"About you and me?" Chuck asked.

"There is a you and me," Blair affirmed. "There was never a time where we weren't."

He didn't move from on top of her, but instead brought his face to the crook of her neck and she let her legs part to accommodate his weight.

"I wanted so badly to bury you," Blair said in his ear.

His kiss was sweet.

"We don't have control, Blair."

He was connected with her again, and she knew that she didn't care.

Yes, of all emotions, passion is the one that gives us a reason to live.

"It's worth it."

Blair's eyes fluttered open at the sound of his voice. She knew it was well into the night, and that gave it all a sense of fear. How she was sprawled across the floor in a hotel room with her secret lover.

They hadn't even made it to the bed when they had arrived.

Blair turned her head, her hair streaming behind her on the floor as he gazed at her. She ran her nails over his arm slung over her waist and she knew it wasn't going to last.

"All of this."

"All of what?" she asked, her voice still groggy from her deep sleep.

"You might think he just wants to possess you," Chuck said. "But you're under his skin."

At those words, Blair wanted to pull away. She knew Chuck's jealousy and his even deeper seeded resentment for his uncle.

Especially now.

She couldn't hear it. She couldn't hear him talk about it, because when they were alone like this, it was only them. She couldn't address everything else that was falling apart.

"He's not going to be able to let you go," Chuck said. "Trust me."

This time, Blair did sit up—away from him. His arm fell from her, but he still sat up with her.

"Jack doesn't see you as a conquest," Chuck said. "He sees you as a privilege. One that comes with the territory."

"And what did you see me as?" Blair asked. "When you were in control of a powerful company and could have anything you ever wanted."

"All I ever wanted was you," Chuck said. "And not just because I could. Because I had to. Being without you is... not an option."

"I don't know how it got to this place," Blair whispered. "You were gone and I was just trying to save what was left of you."

"And Jack manipulated you," Chuck said simply.

"Don't," Blair said and he sighed at their loss of contact. "Don't patronize me like I'm just some heiress who can be used as a pawn."

"What are you doing?" Chuck asked. "You don't have to let him control you like that anymore."

"Because you're back?" Blair laughed. "He may know that you're back, but he has made his terms perfectly clear."

"Just let it go," Chuck said. "Let the company go. I don't care about it if it means losing you."

"It's too late," Blair said. "You know that Jack isn't shy about getting physical."

"You used your feminine wiles to get close to him," Chuck smirked coldly. "For me. But it's a double-edged sword. Now he thinks he's entitled."

"What would you have me do?"

"Don't leave me," Chuck said. Her eyes narrowed but she sat down beside him again, letting his arm drift around her shoulders.

"You know I won't."

"Were you with him?" Chuck asked, having to ask the question.

That didn't mean that she liked it.

"Do you really have to ask me that?"

"Did you sleep with him?" Chuck asked succinctly.

"I didn't need to," Blair retorted. "Not even to get back at you."

"You don't have to lie to me."

"I didn't," Blair snapped. "Why do you want me to have?"

"I hate the way he is with you," Chuck admitted. She saw in his posture how defeated he was, and how his jealousy was tearing him apart inside. She held him closer, and she was relieved that he didn't shirk away. "I hate how you have to be near him so he won't get suspicious."

"You left," she said, "and I thought I had to do it on my own."

"I wish you didn't do it at all."

"So do I."

.

At first glance, it wouldn't have been apparent about the state that Chuck Bass was in. Still dressed to the nines in a suit and tie, Nate had assumed that glass in his hand was just for recreation.

Until he saw his face.

Nate had never been more frightened for his best friend. Shoulders hunched, smelling strongly of mixed drinks, he knew that Chuck hadn't shaved in days.

That was what scared him. Chuck Bass was clean cut. He was a debaucher and lecher, but when it came to appearance, Chuck was always impeccable. He always wore the right thing and looked the right way. And despite the fact that his clothing played the part, Nate suddenly knew he was far past drunk at this stage.

"Chuck."

Chuck turned slovenly in his chair and Nate started to feel nauseous. This wasn't right. This wasn't healthy. None of it was. And it was clear just by looking at him what the issue was. Everyone could see it. Even if they refused to admit it.

"Were you made aware," Chuck said, his voice raspy from the shots he was downing, "that Jack entered your humble abode two days ago?"

It was true he hadn't seen Chuck for many days. But it was made even more clear that Chuck hadn't seen Blair for longer. It was clear because Chuck wouldn't be this mess if she had. And Jack had everything to do with Blair Waldorf.

"You need to get some sleep," Nate advised, holding his shoulder reassuringly. He couldn't help but feel stung as Chuck shook him off.

"Sleep," Chuck said, downcast. "Being alone in a room with just my thoughts is not something I need. I don't need to obsess over this."

"Chuck-"

"She's seeing him," Chuck snapped.

"You need to let her go."

"Let her go?" Chuck asked in disbelief. "You don't understand."

"Look at what she's done to you," Nate said. "You just said so yourself that Jack said they were seeing each other."

"It isn't like that."

"Are you just trying to convince yourself?"

"She's not with him like that," Chuck exploded.

"She has been before," Nate reminded him. "Why are you putting yourself through this?"

"Because there's never been anyone else," Chuck said. "This is it."

"She's tearing you apart."

"No one understands what we have."

The liquor in Chuck's glass was sloshing over the carpet at his statement yelled furiously, but Nate couldn't let his best friend be destroyed like this.

"That's because it's not normal," Nate said clearly. All he wanted to do was save him. Like Chuck had done for him so many times before. But it had never been this bad. Chuck had never been this destroyed, this wrought with jealousy, this obsessed.

Nate wanted to hate Blair.

"Why would I want to be normal," Chuck asked, "when I can be with her?"

But the glass slid out of Chuck's hand, hitting the carpet, and Nate knew Blair was the only one who could handle it.

It didn't take long.

The moment she walked in, Nate hated her. He ignored her pale complexion and desperate eyes, because he was at the end of his rope. All it took was for Blair to get one look at the carpet.

"Where is he?"

Nate paused, his shoes cracking over broken glass.

It was her fault.

"Nate-"

"He knows, Blair," Nate said. "About your date with Jack."

"I was doing what he wanted me to," Blair said. "I broke ties with Jack because of Chuck."

"Forgive him if he doesn't see it that way."

"Where is he?"

"I don't know," Nate answered. But Blair's eyes were drawn to the stain on the carpet, and Nate didn't like the expression in them. He didn't like that sadness that turned to horror that he couldn't understand.

"Where did he go-"

"I don't know, Blair," Nate said. "He just left. He was drunk and beside himself and he just left."

"And you let him?" Blair asked.

"I'm not his hall monitor."

"What was he drinking?"

"What?"

"What was in his glass, Nate?" Blair asked, her condescension reaching vast proportions. Nate hadn't thought that simple detail was so vital, but when Blair looked at the bar, her face was aghast and it was only her running out did Nate realize that entire bottle of whiskey was drained.

Standing on the roof of Victrola, she wished she didn't know exactly where to go. She wished her legs didn't mount the staircase marked Roof Access instinctively. And she wished this scene wasn't playing before her. The same one where her eighteen-year-old self was in tears and wrought with insecurity as feet got precariously closer to the edge.

And yet it was happening again.

"Chuck."

She knew that you don't surprise someone standing on the edge of a building, but she would like to think that he knew she was coming.

Or maybe he was just too drunk.

He whipped around, his expression inscrutable in the darkness. Just the stench of whiskey and his heavy breathing. But she knew enough.

"Chuck," she said soothingly again, walking towards him slowly.

"Did you bring Jack this time?"

He was thinking of the same instance that she was, and the scorn in his voice cut her to the core.

"Please," Blair said.

"Please what?" he sneered, leaning dangerously over the edge. "Please don't react to you and Jack plotting behind my back?"

"I wasn't," Blair protested. "You know I wasn't."

"And how would I know that?" he asked.

"Because I wouldn't do that to you."

"Why did you see him?" he demanded.

"For you," Blair said.

"This is the time where I say that I didn't ask to trade you in for the company," he said harshly. "So don't even-"

"I told him that he wasn't going to use me anymore," Blair said. "And you know that nothing else happened."

"Stop talking like this solves anything."

"You wanted this," Blair said. "That's why I did it."

His breath was heaving in the darkness, but there was also the sound of him stumbling backwards in his insobriety and Blair had a vicious flashback.

"Don't you dare," Blair said, finally able to get to him. She grabbed onto his shirt, anchoring his in place. "Don't you dare leave."

"Why shouldn't I?" Chuck asked, and she knew that he had too much power over her. She knew he may not have even been aware of it, but he could get her to do anything, if only so that he wasn't going anywhere.

She wouldn't be able to bear it.

"Because I love you," Blair said, hating how her voice choked. "And I will never forgive you if you leave me again."

She felt his hesitation, and she wrapped her arms around his waist, pulling him towards her.

"Chuck."

She felt the entirety of his weight, and she fell backwards, his body slamming back onto the roof again. All her breath left her body as her back hit the wall. But he buried his face in her neck so she felt the scratching of his stubble.

And she felt at home again.

"Don't do that to me," he murmured into her neck. "Don't ever do that to me again."

She felt him pull away, but only to feel his eyes burning into her own in the darkness. His mouth covered hers, and even though it prickled, she pulled him closer.

"Don't do that again," he said and their hands were everywhere. She was ripping the shirt from his pants and he was hoisting her up against the wall, and all she felt was the fire.

"I will kill him, you know."

Blair had thought he was asleep. She was in his bed, his head resting in her lap, and she had been sure that he had drifted off after they returned. His voice was muffled by her skirt, but she heard him perfectly.

"If he tries anything, I will kill him."

She didn't doubt it.

And an excuse to commit all sorts of crimes.

"Waiting for me?"

At the sound of his uncle's voice, Chuck knew that pulling himself together boded well for him. Especially putting on a change of clothes and actually having some semblance of hygiene.

"Jack," Chuck said slowly, standing from his seat in the private area of The Empire.

"I heard that spot of trouble you got into a few days ago," Jack mused. "The rooftop again? Isn't that a little melodramatic?"

"You bring that out in me," Chuck replied. "It only seems to occur when you're around."

"As if you can give me the credit of almost offing yourself again," Jack said. "No, that one's on you."

"You can't cling to her any longer," Chuck says, standing up. "You're done."

"What are you going to do?" Jack sneered. "You left me the company. I have the rights to it."

"You never left me a choice."

"It's what makes you weak, Chuck," Jack says. "I may marvel at a collection of diamonds, but I wouldn't throw myself over a roof for them. If you were stronger, my threats wouldn't have held any weight."

"Everyone knows what you tried with Lily," Chuck said. "I couldn't take that chance of you harming Blair. Even for the sake of the company. I'm not afraid of Bart any more. Loving her doesn't make me weak."

"No," Jack agreed, "it just makes you a fool."

Before Chuck could even react, he was flat on his back, Jack leaning over him while pounding his knuckles into his nephew's face. Chuck was so taken by surprise, all he could do was curl in on himself, attempting to shield his head with his arms as he tasted blood at the back of his throat.

.

Opening the door to his bedroom, he hesitated for a moment. Blair was sitting on the edge of his bed, her eyes on the television noncommittally. He stepped into the room to hear the sound of some news program. And he waited for her to look back at him.

"Where have you been?"

But she wasn't looking so he walked cautiously towards her anyway. He knew he had been gone for too long and not having contacted her was wrong. But he also knew that if she had heard his voice on the phone, she would have known immediately that something was even more wrong.

And he couldn't take that chance.

"I had some things to take care of," he finally spoke.

When she finally turned her head towards him, her face dropped and she was on her feet in an instant.

"Oh my god," she said, placing her palms on either side of his face. Chuck winced at the pain burning beneath his eye and across his face. But he let her inspect him.

It was the first time in days that he felt he had done the right thing. Because she was looking at him and caring about him and this was right.

"What happened?"

"Can you forgive me?"

Blair's eyes narrowed suspiciously and he took the opportunity to lead her to the bed. He knelt at her feet and with a deep breath, sank his hand into his pocket.

"Chuck," Blair said warningly. But she saw that familiar gesture he was making and all of the fear just melted away. "If you're into something-"

"I'm not," Chuck said, and he was smiling for the first time, filling her with relief. "For the first time, I'm on top of everything."

She brought her hand to his face, brushing the pads of her fingers over his cuts and bruises.

He never faltered.

"I never wanted anything else," she said. It encouraged him enough, because he retrieved the velvet box out of his pocket and her heart just stopped.

"I'm sorry I left," Chuck said. "I wish I could articulate how horribly everything went. I wish I had done this sooner. But this is the only way that I could ever think that you could forgive me."

The box opened smoothly and the diamond glittered at her temptingly.

"...in a shocking turn of events, yet another new CEO of Bass Industries has been instated. Charles Bass has once again taken the helm while his uncle, previous CEO, Jack Bass, has been reported missing..."

The news anchor's voice broke through the atmosphere in the room as Blair stared at the man on his knees in front of her.

Chuck looked at her expectantly, sure that everything was going to come down. But as if nothing had even happened, she offered her left hand to him. He slid the diamond onto her hand, accepting her fervent kiss to his mouth.

"Blair..."

He knew she had heard it.

"I do," Blair said, without a care in the world. And Chuck kissed her again, feeling her nails bite beneath his clothes, knowing as he pushed her up the bed that it never could have done any other way.