A/N: For my beautiful Bella on this Christmas. She inspired this hesitant fic because I wasn't sure if it would really amount to anything. You can be the judge of that. Merry Christmas :)

Disclaimer: Nothing belongs to me. It may become clear which famous franchise this is "inspired" (stolen) from. And if it isn't, just be aware that it was. Most credit goes to my GG that inspires all.


It was the way they always were. He saves her and then walks away like nothing happened. He was never supposed to do that. She didn't mix with the common masses and that included him.

But he wasn't part of the common mass.

He was worse.

He wasn't born with his arrogance. He stole it. He didn't have the right to throw his body over hers when explosions shot debris at her. It wasn't in his blood. It ran red instead of blue but that didn't stop him. He took the power that he had and flaunted his ability before her.

"Is it hard being such an uptight, frigid bitch?"

Blair stormed away from him. She could still feel his presence. He wasn't behind her but he was following closely.

"Better than a scruffy looking lecher?" she snapped.

He stopped short. "You really think you're superior to me."

Blair found herself stopping too, finally turning to face Chuck. He was analyzing her quietly, outside of the townhouse. She knew how much in disarray she appeared to be. She tried wiping the mascara from her face. And she hated him. She hated him for looking so impeccable while she was in tatters.

"What gave you that impression?" she asked, raising her hand to hail a cab. "Centuries of breeding? Actual manners? Not dressing like an urban dandy?"

"I thought I was scruffy," he taunted. He finally walked to her side, forcing her hand down. She stilled at his touch, though continued to glare at him defiantly. "No need to thank me."

The moment vanished and she wrenched away from him, stalking away from him angrily down the sidewalk.

"For what?" She still couldn't resist snapping at him over her shoulder.

But he wasn't following her. She couldn't resist from stopping either, turning back towards him.

Indifference marred his expression and she hated him.

"Have a nice life, princess."

He always called her that. He always made everything she treasured sound like an insult.

She would die before she ever would ever admit what he did for her.

He didn't save her.

He didn't.

She walked all the way home that night.

She threw away her ripped dress.

.

"You're back."

The dress she was wearing now was newer and she could tell he was appraising her in it. She wished it were socially acceptable to slap such insolence of his face at a social gathering. He always tempted the odds.

"And where would I go without you?" he teased. He wasn't angry with her. She didn't understand why she thought she would have such an impression on him or even wanted one. But he was smirking and leering and she wished he would take her more seriously.

"Military school?" she asked hopefully. "I guess it was too much to hope for you were gone for good."

"I never leave for good," Chuck said.

Blair should have known he would make an appearance. It wasn't a matter of sooner or later. Especially at a charity at the Lincoln, she knew he was obligated to. He may have had that undesirable reputation, but he was still the brood of the richest man in New York. Everyone was enamored with the idea of Chuck Bass but no one knew him.

Blair knew him. And she was confident of that.

"I didn't need your help."

He had perfected that apathetic stare and she wished she were better at this.

"What help would you be referring to?"

Blair's eyes narrowed.

"You were so desperate for it before," she said stiffly.

"For what?"

"To hear me admit that you helped me," Blair said, resisting the urge to stomp her foot petulantly.

"I'm sure I have no idea what you're talking about."

That's the way they always were.

He saved her and then walked away like nothing happened.

"See you around, princess."

.

Chuck Bass crossed everyone's radar when he was thirteen. Bart Bass had just made Forbes and his son was already known among the club scenes. It wasn't clear where the son of a billionaire who couldn't even pass for a legal adult had come from and how his reputation had reached such proportions, but everyone knew Chuck Bass.

She hated him.

She hated him when he was deemed a necessary evil and she certainly hated the fact that she couldn't best him.

He smirked like he knew exactly what she was thinking. He wasn't in her circle. He didn't belong there. His father was tolerated and she would treat his son with the same respect—none.

"Get this walking carpet away from me."

Blair never saw Chuck Bass show compassion for anything. But in an instant, he whisked his dog away from her with a scowl.

"He has a name."

"I hadn't realized you cared about anything but yourself."

"No one but you, princess."

"Does torturing me give you some sort of unfulfilled satisfaction?"

"Only all the time," he winked.

"Don't you have groupies that do that for you?" Blair asked. "You pay them enough."

"Those are hookers, princess," he said.

"Which you also have access to."

"What can I say?" he asked. "They let me call them your name."

"My name isn't princess," she sneered.

"But you like it."

"I only put up with you, you know," Blair said.

"And why is that?"

"Because you're a born leader and not entirely useless," Blair said, "even if you are a scoundrel."

"Scoundrel," he smiled faintly.

He liked it.

"So I'm blessed enough to be handpicked by you because of my leadership skills?" he asked.

"You know how to get out of difficult situations."

"So you're using me?"

"More like forced into it," Blair said. "You weren't my decision."

"Is everything?"

"Yes."

"Sorry to disappoint you, princess," Chuck said. "You may lord over this town, but you can't do that to me."

"No you're not," Blair snapped. "You love disappointing me. All starting with that disappointing expulsion from that boarding school in Switzerland."

"You know about that?" He almost sounded like he found her admirable.

"Everyone heard about that," Blair said.

"Maybe I just wanted to meet you."

She always mistakenly let her guard down around him. She hated how she could smell him so much and how pleased with himself he looked.

She had suddenly forgotten what they were talking about.

"This is a first," he remarked. "Queen B is speechless."

"I hate you."

"You've made that very clear." But he was smiling at her. "Your bravado is very impressive."

"Meaning?"

"You don't really hate me because I'm some…"

"Scoundrel."

"What are you so afraid of?"

"I'm not afraid of anything."

She could feel his breath.

"You sure?" he asked. "You're not in the midst of... feeling something?"

"What would I be feeling?" Blair retorted.

He smiled. "I don't know."

But she couldn't help but feel that was the opposite of the truth.

"Do you?"

Blair recoiled from him.

"I'm like no one you've ever known, princess."

"Right," Blair said coolly. "You're a lecherous, gambling, fornicating—"

"Fornicating?" he laughed. "Is that it? You've always been so struck by my sexual magnetism that you fend me away with verbal barbs?"

"You wish," Blair said. "I like nice men."

"I can be nice," he smirked. "I can be very… nice."

When he kissed her, she didn't even slap him.

.

"What's his name?"

The mutt was rubbing against her legs.

She didn't mind.

She tried not to think of Chuck's lips.

"Monkey."

She raised her eyes to his.

She still hated him. He was smirking and she really tried not to remember.

"I guess my father thought giving me a dog would be better than actual affection."

"That explains a lot."

Chuck finally turned towards her and she regretted speaking immediately—like she always did when it came to him.

"You have truly perfected the art of denial."

She was sure he was about to bring up that thing she was determined to forget.

"Carter's an insect."

But he didn't.

"You never should have been at that party."

"You were," Blair accused.

"Lucky I was."

"Why, so you could save me?" Blair asked. "I don't need your protection. I'm—"

"A queen," Chuck said. "The most powerful person I know."

"I thought you were pretending that didn't happen."

"And I thought you were in denial."

"I was in a difficult position," Blair said with difficulty of her own.

"Difficult position?" Chuck laughed bitterly. "You could have been hurt. You have no idea what his friends from Singapore are capable of."

For the first time, it actually sounded like he cared.

"And you do?"

"I got you out of there."

"A princess doesn't need to be rescued."

"So that's it," Chuck laughed. "You don't want to deal with me because I remind you of being powerless."

"I am not—"

This time she did slap him when he kissed her.

But he was smiling. Really smiling.

"I know."

They sat there in silence for a while. And after that, it didn't even bother her when he slipped his hand into hers. He really did know. But not the conversation that covered the way they really felt. He knew why she slapped him.

"Chuck," she said. "I love you."

He smirked.