skin.

It happens when they're making love, Chuck's front to Blair's back, her belly five months swelled, and he moves so achingly slow that it drives them both to the point of madness - to the point where he sinks his teeth into the nape of her neck to release some pressure, pulls at the skin there until her vision floods with white.

Until the taste of cold iron taints his tongue.

He pulls out of her in the next second, leaves her with half a sob, at the edge of a cliff, and he panics, insists that she's bleeding because he bit her, and it's a stream of apologies and profanities after that.

"But it's happened before!"

"You weren't pregnant before." Chuck takes a breath, looks like a little boy when he sits at the edge of the bed, naked with his hair ruffled by his ears. "I promised you I'd take care of you. This isn't taking care of you."

"You're right," Blair pouts, slithers against sheets as seductively as she can manage. "You're not taking care of me." And Chuck cracks the way he always does, leans over and finishes his task, only satisfied when Blair parts her lips and bares her teeth - until her bite becomes a bruise.

An eye for an eye has never felt so good.

/

under.

It's always the silk boxers, sometimes navy, sometimes a more royal purple, clinging to his hips under Armani slacks, and it makes Blair think of Chocolates for Breakfast, of skinny-dipping in a pool filled with pink champagne when he rolls them down, one hand on himself, one hand on her. All over her.

In that way, Chuck Bass is more handsome than the classics.

"Probably briefs," Hazel Carmichael beams during lunch one day as Blair bites into a leaf of her salad, watches Chuck make eyes at her from across the courtyard. The other girl continues, "I mean…definitely briefs. Of course, I should know."

The minions swoon, and Blair allows it because she knows, and that's all that matters. In an hour, she'll be on her knees for the only boy who'll ever bring her there, silk in her fists, and at that thought, she begins to compose a text -

Bass, what color are they today?

/

tainted.

"Audrey never had hickeys, Bass," Blair spits out, fists curled, staring at herself, staring at him behind her own reflection. "Are you insane?"

"Is that a trick question?" Chuck speaks it against the nape of her neck, even as he nibbles on every accessible inch of her porcelain skin, pulling back only to admire his work now and then - flushed pinks and light purples. "Consider them…decorative. You wear them beautifully."

Blair flushes hard and elbows Chuck in the stomach, which only makes him laugh.

The next night, at dinner, she wears her hair up, and they both smirk like loved-up fools.

Because neither one believes in accidents.

/

all the tales.

She reads him stories.

It happened once when they were seventeen, and then it happened again, Chuck's suit in its nightly state of dishevelment, and his liquor count high. He'd show up at midnight, at one in the morning, parted lips and sleepy, haunted eyes set on her disgruntled features, her pretty nightgowns, her flushed cheeks.

"I'm not having sex with you like this."

He'd blink, smirk, then drop down onto her bed, his head curled into her stomach, the side of her thigh. "Fine, Waldorf."

The latest book was always waiting on her nightstand, his still heart was always waiting in his chest. She'd whisper stories to him into dawn, myths of strong-willed heroines drawn into Hades, fairytales with singed twists, boys who had mothers and knew love as if it were a close friend.

Years after hundreds of stories told between sporadic hurricanes, a baby is cradled into the crook of Blair's arm, her husband resting idly against the other with a glass of scotch in one hand.

"Once upon a time," Blair smiles at her boys, "inside of a broken chariot, a girl loved a boy."

/

dark.

"It's disconcerting."

Chuck adjusts his collar in the dark of the elevator, sure that Blair is one amused giggle away from making chicken noises behind him. He feels her hands slide up his back and tenses, reaches to capture her wrist.

"Disconcerting," Blair repeats, her breath hot on his jaw, and she smells like peonies, like desserts too pretty to eat. "The notorious Chuck Bass, scared of the dark." She nibbles his earlobe, barely a bite, and he hisses.

She's clearly been spending too much time under the influence of his smarm.

"I don't appreciate being suspended in the air without any electricity. We both saw that movie, Waldorf." Chuck smirks, straightens up. "The filthy rich, handsome one went first."

Blair slaps his chest, rolls her eyes so emphatically that he can almost imagine seeing it. And then he feels her small hands push him forward, almost against the wall. Blair presses a kiss to the back of his neck, shoves his jacket from one shoulder, and this is exactly what it's like to have one foot off the ground.

An hour later, when the doors open to a flushed operating staff, Blair's dress is too mangled to wear outside, and Chuck is sitting smugly against the wall of the elevator - a newfound appreciation for the nape of the neck stored handy for later use.

/

la tour eiffel.

She's nervous the first time.

It's a different sort of beginning: Blair and Chuck sit only a half-inch apart as they watch summer set upon Paris. Their luggage is stacked in the trunk of a limousine that is not his - not theirs - and Blair rolls one thumb over the other in anxiety.

She has this dream of hers that lies safely in Paris - a place where the chocolates are embedded with rose petals and Audrey sits at bay until she returns. She has this dream, and it's got nothing to do with the way she loves the boy beside her, the bitter ache she feels when she pretends not to. Paris won't be touched by their semi-tragedy. She won't be leaving her teardrops behind.

But Chuck Bass makes it a mission to surprise her, and she's caught breathless when he feeds her bits of croissant before smoothing his thumb over her bottom lip, before drawling one-liners in perfect French (perhaps he had always been paying attention, and it was her who hand't noticed), before letting her fall asleep against his shoulder until the sky turns pink, and he suggests partaking in particular festivities back at their hotel.

Her hand fits in his like neither name comes first in the credits.

"Tu m'as ruiné," he murmurs against her throat.

"Je sais," is all she whispers back.

The city's soundtrack plays Paris in July and nothing else.