A.N. - Not much of a response for the first chapter... please let me know if you guys are interested in the story and if you want me to continue!
Chuck knows that it's not possible, the rational side of his brain tells him this, but he can't help thinking she feels so much lighter than she did just a few hours ago. The only difference between now and when he carried her in to his bedroom just a few hours ago, is a half a liter of blood saturating his bed sheets. But when he wraps her body frantically in a black silk robe and lifts her from the wet mess of his bed, he can't help thinking she feels lighter than air.
It must be the adrenaline, he thinks.
But the adrenaline coursing through his veins doesn't block out the sound of her screaming, interrupted only by guttural sobs as he feels the dig of her nails in to the skin of his neck, his arm, over his shoulder blades as he pulls her closer to his chest.
Somehow he had managed to find his shirt, pants and shoes scattered across his bedroom floor, he doesn't remember putting them on but it must have been somewhere between making a frantic call to the front desk to request an ambulance, and guiding Blair's shaky arms in to the sleeves of his robe.
He makes a failed attempt to soothe her with soft muttered sounds against her hair, and then against her cheek, fighting back his own tears as he presses a kiss against her bare shoulder before pulling the robe up tighter around her as he carries her down the stairs and towards the elevator.
Deep inside he knows that the baby is already gone, he can feel it, but for Blair's sake he rushes her through the lobby and towards the flashing lights of the ambulance, praying that he is wrong.
It's a selfish thought, but as they take her from his arms and lay her across a stretcher (he only hesitates for a second before letting her go) he swears to himself that this will not be the end for them, that they will come back from this.
Because they have to, they need to, they just… do.
Chuck can't help but a feel a little bit like an imposter as he holds Blair's hand in the ambulance, relaying the information about her pregnancy to the Paramedics, the details that he did know. He didn't even think to tell them that he wasn't the Father, not that it would change anything now, but it still felt like a lie. It wasn't his place to receive sympathetic looks from the hospital staff, but they gave them to him anyway.
It certainly wasn't his responsibility to co-sign Blair's consent for surgery, but she had been so hysterical in the ambulance that they had to sedate her, and now they had very little choice but to ask for a signature from the Man that had brought her in. They didn't ask if he was her Husband and he didn't say that he wasn't, he just signed the papers and pressed a kiss against her clammy forehead, feeling a small sense of relief that in this brief period of sedation she would at least have a few moments of peace.
It wasn't until he took a seat in the waiting room and pulled out his phone to start making calls, did he realize that he wasn't the one who was supposed to be doing this. Up until a few hours ago, Blair and her child weren't even a part of his life, and now suddenly they were the only part that mattered.
A shaky breath escaped his lips as he searched his contacts list for Blair's Mother, knowing that she would be his first call.
If Eleanor was surprised to hear his voice, she didn't show it, apparently when her Daughter disappeared on her Wedding Day she didn't question where or to whom Blair would run to.
His voice sounded weak and strained to his own ears, getting straight to the point as he told her in short, broken sentences that Blair had lost the baby.
"Is she ok?" was Eleanor's immediate response.
He wasn't sure if she was referring to Blair or to what would have been her first grandchild, but his response was the same either way.
"No. No, she's not."
After being reassured that Eleanor would relay the information to all three of Blair's Fathers, his next call was to Serena, whom he was hoping would take the initiative to inform Lily herself. He wasn't sure how many times he could have this conversation.
"She had a miscarriage?" Serena questioned in disbelief, he could almost picture the tears welling up in her cerulean eyes as she clutched the phone to her ear. "So, that's it? She's just… gone?"
He swallowed tightly, not wanting to get too emotional as he still had one more call to make.
"She's in surgery right now" he explained in a low voice, leaning his elbows against his knees as he hunched forward, taking slow breaths as he pressed a hand to his face. "It's a stillbirth, technically" he corrected her, trying to recall everything the Doctor had told him when they arrived at the hospital "Since she's 23 weeks along, it's called a stillbirth. They have to – put her to sleep, and… and give her some medicine to make her cervix dilate and then – then they take the baby out. But, she's already gone, Serena. She's dead."
He waited patiently on the phone as he listened to his Stepsister sob on the other end, displaying a tenderness he didn't even know he had as he allowed her to cry about the injustice of it all, as if he didn't already know.
Serena promised to call Lily and Eric next, and then she added Nate and Dan to the list before hanging up, he was grateful that he had a few less people he would have to share the news with. He could barely handle his own grief let alone someone else's, and he knew he would have to preserve most of his strength for when Blair woke up.
The next call he made was partially for practical reasons, he would need someone to get a hold of Housekeeping at The Empire to clean up the mess in their room, something he never wanted Blair to see. He also needed someone to get her a change of clothes, as he didn't plan on carrying her out of the hospital in the same blood soaked robe that had been cut off in the back of the ambulance.
Dorota was shocked when he told her the news, but she managed to pull herself together long enough to copy down Chuck's list of things they needed, he was reassured that anything he forgot, she would know to bring. She had been caring for Blair a lot longer than he had after all.
A short time later, the Doctor found him in the waiting room and led him to Blair's room, a sympathetic hand on his shoulder as he spoke "This happens sometimes, even when the Mother and the child are both healthy, it just happens. There's no explanation for it and there's no way it could have been prevented, it just… happens."
A horrifying thought crosses Chuck's mind and he blurts out the question before he can stop himself.
"Was it my fault?" a sense of dread fills his stomach as he stands outside her hospital room; suddenly it feels impossible to go a single step further. The Doctor looks at him curiously before he can elaborate. "I mean… earlier tonight, we – we had… sex" his cheeks flush uncharacteristically as a shudder races down his spine "I thought it was safe, but – but maybe, could that cause something like this?"
A look of understanding crosses the older man's face and his grasp on Chuck's shoulder tightens, giving it a reassuring squeeze "No, not at all Mr. Bass. It's perfectly safe to have intercourse at this point during pregnancy, like I said, sometimes these things just happen. There's nothing anyone can do but – grieve and move on."
Chuck nods his head silently, the Doctor's words have done little to reassure him but there's a Nurse opening the door to Blair's room and he pushes his thoughts aside for the time being.
"She's still asleep from the procedure, but she should wake within a half hour or so."
A thin white sheet is pulled up over her chest and he can see the edge of it moving up and down steadily as she breathes. It might just be his imagination but from this angle the curve of her stomach seems to have disappeared entirely, his fingers itch to move across the sheet and explore her waistline, to see if she feels as empty as she looks. Instead, he takes a seat at the edge of her bed, his fingers sliding down the smooth skin of her forearm before moving his fingers underneath her hand, giving it a gentle squeeze as tears burn in the corners of his eyes.
He tries to force them back, he can't allow himself to be weak right now, not when Blair needs him to be strong for her. It doesn't feel right to sit here and mourn a child that isn't even his, but he can't stop himself. Images of a mini-Blair that could've been were now gone, and all of the dreams of her were gone with it. It didn't matter that she wasn't his, she was Blair's and if Blair had lost her than so had he. The idea that the love of his life had to suffer something like this, had to lose a child in this way, it absolutely gutted him.
He wipes hastily at his eyes with his free hand, his vision blurring momentarily as he dries his face. His fingers move down to trace across Blair's velvet cheek, watching her lips purse gently in her sleep, her eyelids fluttering for just a moment before going still again. Chuck only hopes that the medications they had given her would also give her good dreams, even if it was just for a little bit longer.
The door opens softly behind him, causing him to jerk around in surprise, heart pounding in his chest as he spies a Nurse entering the room. The small bundle of blankets in her arms does nothing to calm his racing heart, his stomach sinking as the woman approaches him warily.
"Mr. Bass" she said his name tentatively, crossing in front of him as she glances to Blair for a moment, before coming back to him. "Would you like to hold your Daughter?"
The tears that he had managed to blink away were coming back in full force, his throat tightening painfully as he caught a glimpse of a tiny pink face amongst the blankets, the bundle she held was completely still.
The Nurse's question finally caught up with him and he looks up at her in shock "But, she's not - " he trails off, unable to say the word. Mine.
The woman gives him a sympathetic look before motioning towards Blair "Do you think your Wife will want to hold her?"
His heart stutters once more inside his chest at the implication. He wasn't the one they were supposed to be consoling, he wasn't the one who had just lost a child, he was a fraud.
"She's not - " he started again, but he was even less likely to finish this sentence. Blair wasn't his Wife, he knew this, but he just couldn't make himself say it out loud.
"I'll hold her" he finally decides, letting Blair's hand slip from his as he turns slightly towards the Nurse. It felt wrong to let a stranger stand there and hold Blair's child, he might not have been her Father but didn't he say just a few hours ago that he loved this little girl already? Didn't she at least deserve to be held by someone who loved her unconditionally just once?
A rush of air escapes his lungs as he finds the bundle set very carefully in his arms, her tiny body swaddled in a blanket not even the length of half of his forearm. A sick feeling fills his stomach as he realizes that he has dress shirts that weigh more than she did, she felt like… almost nothing. Like air.
"You can hold her for as long as you like" the Nurse states softly before turning to leave the room.
Chuck sat frozen on the edge of the hospital bed, not even daring to blink as he studies the tiny pink face inside the blanket. She was perfection, just the tiniest layer of soft, blonde hairs covering her skin, the slight upturn of her nose that was so Blair it almost made him look away. But he couldn't, not even if he wanted to.
With a morbid curiosity, he slides a finger underneath the corner of the blanket, feeling his heart thud dully inside his chest as he extracts one of her tiny arms. The bones feel unbelievably fragile and small, her fingers are perfectly formed and barely the width of a toothpick each.
His silent exploration of her continues, counting her fingers and toes – ten of each, rubbing his thumb across the front of her smooth chest where he knows her heart once beat as fast as butterfly wings, tracing the line of dark hair at the crown of her head with just the tip of his index finger.
The bed shifts slightly underneath him, his eyes jerking upwards to catch Blair's gaze. But she isn't looking at him, her dark brown eyes haven't even seemed to notice him, they are so diligently fixed on the baby in his arms.
He says her name cautiously and she nods her head slightly but doesn't look away from her Daughter.
He waits for her to reach for the baby, ready to relinquish her any moment now, but she simply devours the sight of her child with her eyes, her hands fixed firmly at her sides.
He wonders why she asks when she already knows, why she is forcing him to say it out loud. Doesn't she see that this is hurting him too? But if that's what she wants, what she needs to hear –
"Yes. She's gone, Blair."
Tears spill silently from her eyes, she nods slightly without blinking, her gaze still fixed on the child.
Suddenly he feels uncomfortable, sitting here holding her dead child as she just stares with empty arms.
"I'm sorry, I just – just thought someone should hold her" he explains in a rush of words, lines creasing his face "I didn't want her to be alone."
Her eyes meet his for just a second and he regrets ever opening his mouth, her lips part as if to say something but then she closes them and swallows heavily.
"Do you want to hold her?"
Her eyelids are heavy and exhausted but he can see the panic flicker across her face briefly, her body stiffening next to his. He can see the trepidation on her face, but he doesn't give her a chance to say no, knowing she would regret it if she did. No matter how scared she is, she needs to do this.
Before she can answer he scoots higher in the bed, reaching forward to rest the baby against her chest as she watches silently. He can feel her pull away slightly, pressing her body deeper in to the mattress as a pained look takes over her face.
He reaches for one of Blair's arms and gently moves it to wrap around the bundle of blankets, feeling her tremble underneath his hand as he helps her to cradle the baby. Her chin quivers uncontrollably but she doesn't sob the way he expects her to, silent tears making tracks down her cheeks as she tightens her grip around her Daughter.
"She's beautiful, Blair" he tells her softly, watching as her eyes study every inch of her child, as if trying to commit every detail to memory. "She's perfect," he adds in almost a whisper.
Blair curls slowly on to her side, keeping the small bundle of blankets tightly in her grasp as she presses her lips against the baby's face, her nose rubbing lightly along the crown of her head, before burying it in a tuft of dark hair.
He watches the exchange silently, his hand rubbing against her lower back as she turns away from him, wanting to give her some privacy but not wanting to leave her alone.
A Nurse comes in a little while later to take the baby and he expects Blair to put up a fight, to kick and scream and refuse to let go. But she doesn't. She lets out one horrible, heart wrenching sob as the baby is taken from her arms, her hands falling uselessly at her sides for just a second before Chuck pulls her in to his lap and moves her arms to rest around his neck so she at least has something else to hold on to.
"She's gone." It's the only thing she can say as she sobs against his neck, he rocks her carefully back and forth and his hands never stop moving along her back.
"I know" he murmurs against her ear, pressing kisses against her hair, hoping that she can't feel his own tears mixing in with the dark, silky curls "I'm sorry, Blair. I'm so sorry."
A short time later he's at the desk signing Blair's discharge papers when he sees Dorota in the waiting room, a small Louis Vuitton suitcase resting at her feet.
Before he can even say a word she's hugging him, her belly pressing uncomfortably against his side as she throws her arms around his shoulders and lets out a pained sigh.
"I'm sorry, Mr. Chuck. I bring bag but, but I think Miss Blair probably not want to see me right now."
Her forehead creases with concern as she rests a hand across her own burgeoning belly, understanding washes over him as he nods his head in understanding. The last thing Blair needs to see right now is a glowing, healthy pregnant woman, even if it was just Dorota.
"Thank you, Dorota," he says sincerely before picking up the small suitcase and giving her a grateful nod.
The woman wrings her hands nervously and doesn't turn to leave until Chuck promises to call her later with an update. He nods his head at the request and wonders when this suddenly became his role in Blair's life, wasn't it just yesterday that he was barely in her life at all? Just an old childhood friend, an ex-Boyfriend, a mistake?
He turns back towards Blair's room but pauses in the hallway when a Nurse approaches him, an apprehensive look on her face.
He looks at her expectantly, waiting for her to continue, he's anxious to get back to Blair. He wants to get her dressed and home as soon as possible.
"It's just… well, we need to know what to do with the fetus."
A sick feeling settles in the pit of his stomach and he raises his eyebrows at the woman questioningly.
"The baby" she corrects herself quickly, her eyes darting away in shame "If you want to have a burial, then we need the information of a funeral home. Otherwise… we can – dispose of it, I mean her, if you would like."
Chuck fumes silently as he considers the question. What would he like? He would like to be back at home, in bed with Blair, his hand stretched out over the curve of her growing stomach with the excitement of their future, of the possibilities it still held, lulling them to sleep.
"We can ask your Wife" the Nurse starts to say, stopping abruptly when Chuck holds up a hand to silence her.
He doesn't even try and correct her this time, the thought that Blair would have to make this decision is making it suddenly hard to breathe. He wouldn't do that to her.
Taking a pen from his pocket and a piece of paper from the nearest desk, he quickly jots down the name of the funeral home they had used for his Father. Lily had been the one to arrange everything but it wasn't the type of name a person ever forgot.
He hands the paper to the woman without saying another word, making his way back to Blair as he swallows back the emotion building in his throat, his expression impassive when he finally gets back to her room.
He watches in silence as she changes in to a pair of black and white pinstriped pajamas, offering a hand to steady her as she pulls the loose material over her body. The pajamas had once belonged to him, but he had left them at her dorm at NYU while they were dating and she had refused to give them back. They had quickly become her favorite pair and she insisted they looked better on her anyway, he had never disagreed.
He watches now as she turns her back to pull the shirt over her shoulders, buttoning it quickly as he watches from behind. A curiously twisted part of him wonders what her stomach looks like now, if it was empty and flat already, or if it still had some of the curve it had held earlier that evening. He knew it was a strange thought but he couldn't help it. After spending years memorizing every inch of her body, it felt strange not to be able to see what it looked like now, what it would feel like. She suddenly seemed like some foreign thing that he didn't recognize. When she turns back around he knows he should probably avert his eyes, but he can't, studying her with a longing gaze before picking up her suitcase and offering his hand.
He turns to her during the ride home, a thought crossing his mind.
"I called your Mother to let her know what happened, Serena too."
Silence passes for so long that he almost thinks she didn't hear him. Just as he starts to repeat the words, she answers in nearly a whisper."I don't want to see anyone."
"I know" he responds automatically, and it was the truth. He had made everyone promise they would give Blair her privacy tonight and not come to see her, but he had a feeling she would need more than one night alone to deal with this. He and Blair were the same in that way, they both grieved better when they were alone. He wonders if perhaps this time they could be alone together. Because the thought of being apart from her suddenly seems impossible at the moment.
The rest of the ride back to the Empire is silent, but he makes no effort to speak. There's really nothing to say, his hand wrapped tightly around hers is the only kind of comfort he can offer her right now.
He's immensely grateful to the Housekeeping staff that has cleaned up their room, the immaculate bedding with pristine, pale blue sheets is a welcome sight. The last thing he remembered before carrying Blair from the room earlier that night is that it had looked like some kind of crime scene, only perhaps with more blood.
Blair stares at the room silently for a moment before moving towards the bed, lifting the duvet back tentatively before settling herself beneath the sheets.
He knows that no matter how clean the bedding is, it's not fooling anyone, they both know what happened here just a few short hours ago.
"Do you need anything?" he asks gently as he pulls the covers up over her shoulders.
She shakes her head in silence.
"Do you want anything to eat?"
"Do you want to shower?"
"Do you need the bathroom? Have you checked to see how much you've been bleeding? Are you having any cramps?"
He had all the instructions written down from the Doctor, he knew that she should expect some cramps and bleeding, that she had to watch it to make sure it got better and not worse.
A moment of silence passes before she finally answers, "I checked before leaving the hospital. I'm fine."
He nods in reply, wishing he had something else to say, anything at all.
Pressing a kiss against her forehead, he finally gets up from the bed, thinking he needs a change of clothes. He pauses when a small hand grasps his suddenly, he turns around in surprise, meeting her tearfilled gaze.
She has been so quiet since she woke up, barely saying a word, he knows that she's in shock and sooner or later she's going to break down. He can almost feel it coming, like a storm on the horizon just waiting to break, she won't be able to hold herself together much longer. His hand squeezes hers reassuringly as she looks up at him, a pleading look in her eyes.
"Will you… will you call him, Chuck? Please?"
Dread fills his stomach but he nods in reply, not even needing to ask who as he lets go of her hand, heading towards the office.
The guilt he feels is nearly suffocating as he makes the call to Louis, knowing how terrible it must be for a Man to find out he just lost a child, and to hear it from the same Man his Fiancée just left him for only making it worse.
The phone is clenched tightly in his hand as he makes his way back to the bedroom, the soft-spoken and devastated Prince is still on the line as Chuck sits down on the edge of the bed, his hand pushing a few curls away from Blair's face.
He can tell that she isn't sleeping and her eyes blink open instantly, they are empty and sad, but they find his and she looks up at him questioningly.
"It's Louis," he explains in a gentle voice, shame twisting in his gut as he holds up the phone to her. The last thing he wants is for Louis to come back in to their lives, to provide something to Blair that he can't. But he knows deep down that this isn't his decision, he wasn't the one who lost a child today, no matter how horrible he feels inside about it. This was something between Blair and Louis, he would never be able to share this with her, he would never be able to quite understand the feelings she had right now. Louis was still this little girl's Father, not Chuck.
"He wants to know if… if he should come. If he should come back to New York to see you."
Silence stretches out as she stares at him unblinkingly, the question weighing heavily between them as he continues to hold the phone out for her to take. He knows that if it were him, if Blair had lost her child and he had been in another country, he wouldn't even ask before jumping on a plane. He wouldn't wait for permission or an invitation before barging in to whatever hospital she was at and forcing her to let him comfort her. He wouldn't be able to stop himself. Maybe that was the difference between Louis and himself, he knew when to stop, and Chuck… he didn't.
Finally, she turns away, rolling on to her other side as she buries her head against the pillow and sighs.
"If he even has to ask… then no. He doesn't need to come back."