You can guess what inspired this. It was requested by the powerhouse that is signaturescarf and prompted into being by the Archbishop of Bella Chivvying, MegamiTenchi, and is sort of based around Chuck's prom sabotage in 2x24 and international gifts in 2x25. I hope you can forgive him for what he's about to do.
"You think everyone should get a fairytale but me!"
The sound of her voice prompts Serena, on the other side of the door, to curl her hands into fists. A flawless French manicure digs into her palms.
"Do forgive me for not being a prince."
He is hard – too hard – and cold. She flinches from his gaze, turns her head away.
"You know that's not what this is about."
"I know that I was stupid for ever thinking that love would be enough for you."
The door slams open, pushing back even the air and Serena shudders away from it, lets it ricochet off the wall, frame bouncing. She waits until there's a staircase, an elevator, another door between him and her, and then she tries for damage control.
Blair sits with her back against her bed, her hands balled, her eyes red. On her lap is a dry cleaner's receipt, a letter of apology: ruined. It joins the long list of things ruined for Blair about this wedding, about her life – the floral arrangements arrived on time but were promptly drowned in too much water by the florist, the shoes were two sizes too big, the caterers were shut down by the health department. Now her dress has returned, streaked with crimson from an altercation with someone's something by Marchesa, and she no longer knows what to do. Serena sits down beside her, and Blair bites her lip. It splits with a sharp sting: ruined.
"He doesn't care," she says quietly. "He thinks it's a sign that we're just not supposed to get married, that we shouldn't try to fix anything." Her mouth curls mockingly. "'Isn't one ring enough for you? Isn't being together enough for you?' Of course it is. But he promised me more, S." Blair stretches out her fingers, and they both note the sparkle of the diamond solitaire which has cost them all so much. "I want more. I want forever."
"And if you don't get married, it isn't forever?"
"I want him bound." The diamond is shaded with one hand when she can no longer bear to look at it. "I want him bound to me in every way possible, so I can stop being afraid that I'm going to lose him. Every other second, S, I wonder: is he coming back from Shanghai? Will he stay in Istanbul? Is he hiding from me in Thailand?"
"Thailand was different. Paris was different. The other times..."
"Happened." Blair swallows. "They still happened."
Serena hurts – just a little, around her heart. She has done a bad thing, and even as she pulls Blair's head onto her shoulder, she begins to atone for it. Her left hand moves over a hidden screen.
Ur losing her.
The reply is almost instantaneous.
You can't wait?
No. NE longer & she won't forgive u.
There is a small sob from the body curved against hers, a ripple of pain running through her like an actual electrical current. Time is running out for them all, for them both, for the two most important people in the world today.
Bring her now.
It's a dear face that she holds between her hands, a dear, familiar face which she (sometimes) loves more than her own. It's drained of colour and purpose, but it's still beautiful.
It always will be.
"We need to go somewhere."
"Like this? Where? Where in the world would I possibly need to go like this?"
"You have to trust me."
"Serena, I can't!"
"Shhh. Shhh." Serena kisses her lightly on the forehead whereof tension radiates darkly, so obviously that she's surprised it doesn't make jags in the air. "You have to trust me, Blair. This is for your own good, I swear."
They travel by town car, and the spring is almost more beautiful than the summer. Pale light, unbroken light streams in through the tinted glass and makes a halo around Blair's hair; she looks younger than her twenty-one years, younger than anything in the world. Her lips pucker, slightly swollen, striped from the constant nipping as she winces at every corner, every sudden movement. It's as if she's bleeding from the inside, and nobody knows yet how to stem it.
"This is the Palace, Serena."
"Why are we at the Palace?"
Serena makes no answer but pulls her friend from the car, half carries her up the steps. Every face that sees Blair's is shocked, but none is silent: 'good afternoon, Ms Waldorf' comes from every mouth that knows her, knows the dark beauty who strolls through the building smoother than silk and only sometimes snaps, only sometimes breaks a feather. They know better than to smile or remark, but they exchange looks behind her back as she is escorted up in the elevator, up to a corridor she knows too well. She has run down here before, tumbled down here before, almost come undone here before – has anybody seen her? Do they know?
"1812," she breathes. "Why, S?"
"I have something to show you."
The room is in darkness, but the light switch is beneath her fingers.
Blair pushes too hard.
She knew this place better as a child than she does as a woman, but that doesn't stop it being irrevocably changed. The bed hosts an enormous floral tribute, opulently blousy peonies with lily of the valley standing starkly between the huge pink blooms; the long windows are blocked by wire frames, bent into recognisable shapes. There is one tall S-bend of a figure, carrying on its mesh a champagne coloured gown with a broad sash, spreading skirt, discreet embroidery; there is one figure which is smaller, more petite, more shy in the comfort of its alcove.
It wears white, cascading to the floor in the most perfect of trains.
And she is still, frozen still, an ice queen looking out on a land of loveliness.
"Happy wedding day, Blair."
"I don't understand." This is a dream, an odd one where she can't tell what is black and white and what isn't, and why there's Technicolor and why her face feels hot and her hands feel cold and why she's walking, stumbling towards the beautiful dress because she can't stop herself. A wide circle of organza layers stands out in a full ballroom skirt, and the sweetheart neckline is bare on one side, delicately accentuated with a light puff on the other, leading down to the fabric wrapping around the torso. It shimmers, and there is a card attached to the mannequin's neck, one word written in a long, low slung hand: Germany.
She opens it.
Dear Ms Waldorf,
Your Freida wedding gown is made from tissue organza and lightweight silk gazaar, and was hand painted with Chantilly lace patterns in Berlin, Germany.
Every part of her is trembling. "Why?"
"Because he knows he can't give you what Louis could give you, that kind of fairytale. He chose to give you this instead."
She moves to the bed, and the peonies are velvet soft beneath her touch. An engraved card just peeps from their centre: Italy.
To the bellissima Blair Waldorf,
Your flowers were hand selected from our hot houses last night and have been refrigerated to retain their beauty and freshness. We wish you every happiness.
Familia Vanozza, Roma
She has to know. "Where is France?"
"What makes you think there's France?"
"Where is France, Serena?"
And Serena rolls her eyes, because Blair's are bright and there is hope glowing quietly from her, and it makes Serena bite her own lip and look away. "Look under the bed."
The smoothest of dove grey leather, an oblong which is cool and sighs softly against the floor. She flips the catch, waits for something – anything, any sign that she shouldn't – and then she does.
This tiara was custom constructed from platinum, set with stones from the same larger diamond as your engagement band. They are of the same cut and clarity, as are the smaller diamond accents.
We look forward to welcoming your custom as Madame Bass.
Harry Winston, Paris
It delicately interweaves tiny blossoms and stars and fretwork and bliss, immortalised to take her breath away. Blair hardly dares to touch it, to stroke it, to blink back the moisture from her eyes which makes the rainbows it casts cloud her vision. She doesn't want to breathe and shatter the images of this room, these places pulled back together to mean something to her and to him once again. She feels Serena drawing back, away, knows what it means and still keeps her head bowed. It's no surprise when he kneels beside her and her heart twangs, pulling on its own strings, banging because she can feel his banging through the thin air.
"It had to be this way. I had to make you believe I didn't want this for you."
"You made me cry."
"You bought me a tiara from Harry Winston."
"I'm not sorry."
She looks at him, at the marvel that he is, at the person only she knows. "You're making me a princess, Chuck."
"I'm only sorry I can't be a prince for you."
And she laughs, and he – morning suit and all, elegantly pressed and all, Chuck Bass and all – raises an eyebrow. "I don't see what's so funny, Waldorf."
Blair lists a little, and then she's falling and he's fumbling and she's on top of him, catching his face between her hands and laying her heart on her lips and her lips against his, laughing still more, gripping his lapels when he pushes her sideways and they roll like fighting children across the floor. "Don't you understand?" She asks breathlessly when they end up back somewhere near the bed, narrowly missing the tiara, and he is slowly counting her fingers with his own just to check that she's still real. "Chuck Bass is who you are, but Henry Prince is who you'll always deny you've been. We're at the Palace. You own the Empire." She crushes another kiss against his mouth, demanding, always demanding as she does that he hear her, the way he heard her on a pavement and on a rooftop and on a bridge. "You were always royal, Chuck." Her voice becomes soft, almost a whisper at the forthcoming admission. "But I'd still want you even if you lived in Brooklyn and slept in flannel sheets."
He almost smiles. "No, you wouldn't."
"You were dressed poorly in Paris, and I wouldn't let you go."
"Am I forgiven, then?" He asks as her eyes flicker sideways, away from the deep black gold of his gaze, from the shock of all the darkness and light in the world when he looks at her. "For lying, for destroying everything you worked so hard on?"
There is something spreading across her lips, slow, inevitable...it could be called a smirk. "Charles."
"Close your eyes and get out of my room."
Because she is not that girl on the bridge anymore, in a dress and a necklace given to her by another prince.
"Because it's bad luck for the groom to see the bride on the day of the wedding."
"As long as you both shall –" The priest pauses, clears his throat. "Pardon me, there's an addendum: to love and to cherish as long as you both shall live, and then 'like a life sentence, Waldorf, only you don't get time off for good behaviour.'" His papery skin flushes, and a long gulp lengthens his Adam's. "There's also some comment about the punishment for bad behaviour which I won't repeat here."
Blair Cornelia Waldorf, exquisitely gowned with a fortune in diamonds on her head and radiance crowning her better, smiles oh so sweetly and crushes her companion's instep. "I do."
"And the additional, somewhat more unorthodox vow: and will you take the club named Victrola to be legally fifty percent yours, and do everything in your power to prevent those who are underage from drinking alcohol on its premises, try not to overreact when new dancers need auditioning and agree to only perform yourself on very special occasions?"
"And the bride is now passing me a note card, which says: 'and do you, Charles Bass, understand that the breaking of the monogamy vow will end in public humiliation, constant flagellation and terrible, terrible pain, as well as the possible application of Sharia law, under which the punishment for adultery is death by stoning?'"
"Then by the power vested in me by the state of New York, I now pronounce you husband and wife – and here the addendum says, 'and any person here present with the middle name Cornelia must now kiss any person here present with the middle name Bartholomew, or else the whole thing is declared null and void and she doesn't get to keep the tiara.'"
Blair wrapped her arms around Chuck's neck, and her eyes were dark and full. "Whoever said I didn't want to kiss you?"
"You might have claimed it was undignified."
"I want to keep the tiara."
So she stretched up on her toes, and he bent his head, and the boy who had loved no one kissed the girl whom someone else had loved so many years ago. They fit, like puzzle pieces, lips parting together, bodies flush together, both ignoring the whoops of the crowd and the catcalls from the front row. They were Chuck and Blair, Blair and Chuck, and what love had put together, no force on earth could ever put asunder.