A/N: Only thing I have to say is: sorry.

Summary: He had no doubt that she wouldn't be standing in the corner, like the coward that he was. She would have gone right up to Chuck and taken care of him. She would have staunched his bleeding and just taken care of him.

Disclaimer: Nothing is mine. Inspiration comes from Buffy. Characters, as always, are GG. Thanks so much to comewhatmay.x who convinced me to post this.


Inhale.

Smoke swept through his lungs with sweet death. It was the only thing he could see. The lines of his vision would forever be blurred. He just took another drag and breathed.

They were talking about him.

He could hear them in the corner of his penthouse, buzzing and chirping, constantly sending those looks towards him.

Looks like they actually cared.

He knew what he looked like but they didn't care. There had only ever been one person that truly cared. There had only ever been one person that could get him to put down the coke and the mindless fucks to get out of the house.

Not that it mattered anymore.

Twin pairs of blue eyes gazed at him and that familiar cruel smirk that was the only thing on his face nowadays, spread across his features.

"You need to stop this."

Another drag.

And another.

"Stop what?"

His grin was wolfish.

"He's high."

Nathaniel was one thing. Nate had been there his entire life.

Serena was another. With her judgment and the way she was still there, she made him ill. And he hated her.

"You have to get up," Nate said.

"Not so," he countered.

Another drag.

"Chuck," Serena said pleadingly. But her hand touched his shoulder and that was when he lost it.

"Don't touch me, whore."

.

He was high. But then again, he always was.

Chuck acted scalded by her touch, but all she could think of was Bart's funeral. Nate acted angry and pulled Serena away from Chuck's toxic emulation, but Serena wasn't there.

She heard Chuck's voice and she knew what this was. She knew that all he saw when he looked at her was Lily.

"It's okay," Serena said softly.

"It's not," Nate countered. "There's no excuse for-"

"It's worse than before," Serena said.

Serena wasn't a whore. Not the way Chuck had accused Lily of being so long ago. Chuck's words didn't even make sense.

He hated her. He resented her for being there.

He didn't even make it to the funeral this time.

The funeral of the one person that really mattered.

"It's worse."

Chuck sank back into oblivion.

.

Nate hated the place. And it was one of the only times he allowed himself to think of Blair.

He missed her. So painfully that it was the only thing he knew.

She would know what to do. She would strut right into that den of inequity without even an ounce of self-consciousness. She might even had a naivety that she could walk into some shady place, but when it came to Chuck, there had been nothing she wouldn't have done.

Nate should have known.

He should have been there for Chuck during the Dark Age of Bart. He let Blair do all the work. He just showed up when she told him, mostly to help her shoulder most of Chuck's dead weight due to his intoxication.

He knew he didn't see even half of it. He didn't see Blair pull Chuck out of his own vomit and deal with his raunchy and inebriated come-ons.

Blair always took care of Chuck. That was how it had always been.

But then again, Nate wasn't so sure that Blair had ever come across Chuck with a tourniquet belted around his arm and a needle sticking out of his veins.

Still, Nate wished she was there. He had no doubt that she wouldn't be standing in the corner, like the coward that he was. She would have gone right up to Chuck and taken care of him. She would have staunched his bleeding and just taken care of him.

But she wouldn't.

She couldn't.

"Nathaniel."

When it came down to it, Chuck never gave Nate much of a choice. Even when Chuck was sinking into the floorboards, his gaze glassy, he could still see clearer than anyone else.

"What are you doing here, man?" Nate was so tired.

He was so tired of having to pick Chuck up off of the floor and seeing him spiral, every day, deeper and deeper into despair. But he couldn't let it go. He couldn't let his oldest friend just waste away.

But it was happening.

And Chuck didn't even care.

"And the famed Archibald superiority makes yet another appearance."

"I'm not trying to judge you," Nate pleaded. "I'm just trying to help you."

"Help me?" Chuck asked laughingly, a little more manic than was in Nate's comfort zone. "I didn't ask for your help."

"That's what scares me."

"Because you care about me?" Chuck sneered.

"I do," Nate stressed. "And I'm not the only one."

"Who cares about me?" Chuck asked. "The only person who did is gone. That's a fact."

"Not the only person," Nate said, knowing that this was a delicate situation.

"You mean Serena?" he asked coldly and Nate knew this wasn't the conversation that they should be having. They had had this conversation before and Chuck was only getting more and more unstable.

"She does care," Nate said. "You're her brother."

"I don't care," Chuck said darkly.

That was the real problem. It was the apathy and everything that Chuck was before. Now it had overtaken him.

Now Chuck didn't care about anything.

"I don't want to be related to her, legally or otherwise."

"It wasn't her fault."

"She came out of that building," Chuck said. "Blair didn't."

"Serena went in there looking for her," Nate said.

It was the wrong thing.

"You're not blaming for her what happened," Chuck said. Chuck was always cruel, always cutting. But never defensive. He never talked about the girl that couldn't speak for herself anymore and Nate was never the one who brought it up. He could see it pushing Chuck farther and farther away and he knew there was nothing he could do about it.

Even in death, Blair Waldorf's hold on Chuck Bass was vehement.

.

She had been so beautiful. She was the most mesmerizing and breathtaking thing he had ever seen, and even in death, he was surprised at himself for thinking any different. He didn't know what he had been expecting. Maybe a carcass burned to a crumbling mess or a face so disfigured he wouldn't even be able to recognize her.

But he had.

Her porcelain skin was untouched and her hair was in perfect condition as always.

Smoke inhalation.

That was what he was told. If he was sober anymore, that would have meant something. But Blair Waldorf's funeral was the last day he was sober.

Chuck Bass was a dying species. He was just waiting for the day he would be extinct and finally find peace.

Serena was making it more difficult. His so-called sister. The one person that could have saved her but didn't have it in her to do so. Blair was strong. Blair was a Titan. If their roles were reversed, she would have come out supporting Serena the way she always did.

But their roles weren't reversed.

Every day Chuck wished they were.

He knew he was selfish and he knew it wasn't 'proper' or 'good.' But he never pretended to be anything other than what he was.

That was dying too.

The only thing he had left of her was the willowy blonde who cared about him so much.

And he hated her.

He had only experienced true feeling when he was with someone who could never feel anything again. And he hated it. He hated that all he had left of what really mattered was Serena van der Woodsen and his own anger. Anger was the only thing he felt anymore. Anger at himself for not doing more.

Anger at Serena.

With her sincere blue eyes and her stupidly good intentions.

"Where did you find him?"

"Where do you think?"

Chuck had never heard Nate so spiteful.

"I should have come."

"I had a hard enough time getting him out of there as it was."

The room was spinning, but it always was now. Now all Chuck could do was find a nice corner to lean against so he didn't go crashing to earth the way he always did.

"He looks..." Serena's voice was sad and it made him want to be more ill than he already was.

"Did you expect me to be a vision of good behavior?"

Chuck knew that Nate didn't expect him to speak at all. No one did.

"How long are you going to go one like this?" Serena asked. "Forever?"

"Until it kills me."

It hadn't even occurred to him until then, but that was the path he was headed on. It was never a conscious decision, but whenever the black abyss threatened to engulf him, his instinct was to turn to narcotics. But in that one moment of perfect clarity, he knew that this time, no one was going to pull him back from the ledge.

None of this was intentional. But no one was going to save him now.

"You're so much better than this," Serena said.

"Am I?" Chuck mused. "I don't think you really know me at all. I'm Chuck Bass."

"You're my brother."

"And you felt nothing for me but disdain," Chuck said. "Not until her."

Serena had felt such utter disgust with the person who was to be her stepbrother. It had never even occurred to her to look at him as a human being.

But Blair had. Blair would look at him with something that Serena couldn't even recognize. It was something that she had never looked at Nate with and would never look at anyone else with ever again.

She saw him as a person when no one else could see anything. That was the legacy she left behind.

"Chuck Bass was nothing," he spat. "He was a hedonistic, narcissistic, lecherous, sociopath. No one cared about him. No one gave a damn."

"That's not-"

"Until her." Chuck couldn't even hear anyone else's words any longer. "The only thing I was ever good at, the only thing that I was ever good for is gone. I loved her better than anyone else ever could. And she loved me. Blair would look at me and I was worth something. She made me into someone whose existence wasn't worthless. She made me feel alive. But now that's gone. Now that will never happen again."

"I tried, Chuck," Serena said softly.

"I should have been the one to go after her," Chuck snapped dangerously. "I would have saved her."

"I loved her too," Serena said.

"Sometimes," he said. "But I loved her unconditionally. And you can't have any claim to that. You let her go. You let that fire turn that building black around her. It took her light away from the world. Away from me. So now what am I? Don't pretend you could ever care about anything without Blair telling you to."

"Chuck," Nate said warningly.

"Chuck Bass was emotionless. And then he had a purpose. But guess what," Chuck laughed. "Now Chuck Bass is a junkie."

He had a sick desperation to his laugh and he slid to the floor.

And all Nate and Serena could do was watch.

All they ever did was watch Chuck Bass self-destruct.

And no one was there to put him back together again.