skysamuelle (skysamuelle) wrote in het_reccers,

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Shipper Manifesto: Blair Waldorf/Chuck Bass, Gossip Girl

Fandom: Gossip Girl
Pairing: Blair Waldorf/Chuck Bass
Recced on LiveJournal By:skysamuelle
Spoilers: Reference to specific scenes of Season 1 and 2, vague on the rest
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Why to ship Chuck & Blair?
Many who watched the show certainly wondered often enough. Hell, even those who were hardcore shippers had moments of doubt where they wanted to strangle one or both characters over some twists the show reserved to this pairing.
Chuck and Blair weren’t always healthy together, just as they were, for the most of the series, not emotionally healthy and wholesome characters separately.

They started off like this:
Blair Waldorf – queen bitch of Upper West Side, raised into privilege by an adored and doting but absent father, and a mother that instilled into her the belief that she needed to be perfect, and at the same time that she was never perfect enough. Deeply loving and vulnerable to the few close to her heart, ruthless and exploitative to those who didn’t mean a thing to her, romantic to the point of self-destruction , vindictive, bossy, casually cruel when it suited her, ambitious, obsessed with realizing a life that is looks like an Audrey Hepburn movie or a classic fairy tale. Worried more over looking good than being fine.
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Chuck Bass- self-appointed manwhore that used an extreme cynic streak as just another weapon of self destruction, disillusioned and bored with everything before even hitting sixteen. Misogynic to the point of being a casual sex offender ( a notion that will take seasons for him to show any overt remorse over), convinced that everything and everyone is on for sale, hiding behind a best friend that is most often than not an open facilitator for all his bad habits even while he looks down on them. Scheming and manipulative, with a cruel streak wide a mile. Drowning in his self-loathing, alcoholism and promiscuity. No mother, and a father that seems to enjoy being emotionally unavailable and deliberately hurtful in the smallest things. Utterly unable to even conceive the idea that he might either like someone or being liked in turn.

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They were a piece of work, and I remember thinking of both, in the beginning of season 1, as two quite perfect, classic cut villains. Allies joined just by circumstances, necessity, the navigating of the same social circle, and a certain common propensity for plotting the destruction of others.

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And then…
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One unpredictable night of passion took the show in a new, exciting direction. Chuck comforts Blair with oddly innocent intentions (for once) at his burlesque club, the Victrola (a new business venture his father just disparaged) over her break up with his best friend and life-long prince charming, Nate Archibald. They discover whole a new side of her in the process. A side that wants to shed social expectative to be spontaneous and sexy. It’s an heady experience. You see the moment Chuck looks at her like she is a gift, with almost the clean, eye-twinkling wonder of a child, and you see Blair looking back and feeling good about herself, her body, and the man who is looking at her for once.

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So when they make out in limo later, and he asks if she is sure - *he*, the guy who couldn’t care the less about this sort of thing- and she – the girl who has always looked so inhibited where her body and her heart and sexuality were concerned- says she is, looking like she owns herself, that moment, and the man underneath her… you understand there’s potential for it to be something special you had not seen coming.

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Sure enough, the short affair that follows is an awakening of sorts for both characters. Blair, finally in the position of being wanted and desired for herself, blossoms into a woman that finally feels the power of her charisma and sex appeal. Chuck, that for the first time in his life sleeps with a woman he admires and sees as a person and an intellectual equal, gets ‘butterflies’ in his stomach, finds himself increasingly vulnerable to all those feelings he had never considered a possibility.
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Of course, that little heaven crashes fast, because Blair is still thinking of Chuck as a not-socially-acceptable partner, and beneath that she is still caught in her idea of what her relationship with Nate might be.
And Chuck, pretty much an emotional analphabet, is not able to express his interest by anything other that backhanded plots to keep Blair and Nate apart.
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He betrays her, and she betrays him, and it’s the beginning in one incredibly long, entertaining, vicious, intimate dance where they keep upping the stakes in their relationship just to never be really at the right place to make it work until the very end.

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They get closer, then one of them backtracks and attacks, the other hits back. They bruise each other, get closer and closer to the point where maybe you wonder if it was not too much to never come back from that particular extreme. But they also manage to be there for each other at all the pivotal moments of each other’s lives.

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I think the night of Bart’s funeral, when Chuck went to Blair and literally fell apart in her arms without a word was one of the most beautiful things I saw onscreen to this day. Marvelous acting where you did see a whole a world opening and collapsing between two people, a broken boy and a girl that felt his pain and wanted desperately to make him well again. The morning after, when she realizes he left her, it is just a moment as devastating as their embracing in the night had been tender and intimate.

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So, why Chuck and Blair?
This is the main reason, really:

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They did it for each other. Time after time. It wasn’t perfect. They messed up majorly along the way and they hurt each other deeply so many times. Some of those times their relationship resembled a real war more than a love affair. They did stupid mistakes, struggled to be open and vulnerable to each other and the idea of their relationship – at the same time .

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They both had put to rest their demons about self-worth, and their tendency to validate themselves through relationships with other people before they could build something truly stable.

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But when they were ready, they were ready and it was damn beautiful to watch. They nurtured each other growth as people in a way that was not pacific – they were both too alike and too different for that to happen, but they were unarguably each other’s fixed catalyst to becoming the man and the woman they always wanted to be. The man and the woman they always were deep down.

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They supported each other in climbing that uncomfortable ladder, and in the end they were family, friends and lovers long time before tying the knot.
In my book, that counts.
I ship them, and miss their verbal sparring to this day.

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Naturally, the fact they were so effortlessly and explicitly sexy on each other helped too. I think they were the most sexually liberated and comfortable couple on tv *ever*. Their relationship, while having deep roots in a precise understanding and acceptance of each other, also had always an implicitly sensual undercurrent.

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Rec #1: If Only
Rating/Warning(s): M
Word Count/WIP?: 116,392 /yes

Why This Must Be Read: ‘How would things have been different if Blair had spent the night in Chuck's suite instead of going home after their infamous limo ride? Season 1 slightly rewritten from "Seventeen Candles." CB, TV Universe. ‘ An AU that takes all what was so amazing about early seasons Chuck and Blair, and splendidly valorizes it, with great writing and great character development. This one is possibly one of the ‘great classics’ for CB fans – one of those stories that everyone who shipped it read and discussed and loved. It grew over the years to EPIC proportions and it still gets updated. It certainly brings the characters to places where you wish you saw them going, while paralleling canon.

Rec #2 Castaways
Rating/Warning(s): PG13
Word Count/WIP?: 45,243/no

Why This Must Be Read:Before they kissed, before the night at Victrola, they were going to meet Nate at St. Croix. That is, before their plane crashed, and they were left the only two survivors on an island with no other inhabitants.’ Isabelle excels at taking AU premises that you would have not ever imagined your Canon C&B in and turning it in a tale that intermixes drama and humour and CB-ness until you buy it all with no reserves whatsoever. Plus, she is one of those rare authors that write romantic in a way that cuts you deep instead to make your teeth ache with the excess sweetness. This story will take two privileged teenagers and turn them into survivors and lovers … and then it will return them to their families when everything is changed. A story that surprises you, moves you, and keeps you on your toes for all 11 chapters.

Rec #3: Try Honesty
Author: amomentintime3
Rating/Warning(s): PG13, references to domestic violence, drug abuse
Word Count/WIP?: no, 55,871

Why This Must Be Read: If you were ever to read one CB fanfiction in whole your life, it should be this one (and the ensuing trilogy, of course). Before of being a CB story is a Chuck –redemption story : it takes him right at that point of Season 2 where Bart threw him out, keeps his friendship with Eric intact and growing, confronts his Bart-issues head-on and sends him straight down the rabbit hole when instead of admitting the hot new teacher at school refused him, he insinuates he actually slept with her. One rumour, Blair’s retaliation to it and one woman’s life almost is ruined. Confronted with the gravity of the unintended consequences of their actions, Chuck and Blair have to take responsibility and work together to fix it all… except that, before that can happen, Chuck is going to have to take a detour into full self-destruction-mode, set aside his pride to find the courage to ‘try honesty’. Reasons to read? Eric’s dry wit, steady Eric-Chuck friendship, full Non-Judging-Breakfast club action, Chuck’s perfect portrayal as a narcissist who through Eric and Blair is just discovering a kinder side to himself. The way Chuck and Blair do find a path to admit their feelings. It’s a great story, shippiness aside. Well-rounded characters and excellent style. It has two sequels, just as long, plotty, and rec worthy:

You Can’t Forget Your First
deals with the return of a way darker Georgina Sparks to the UES, and explores in memory the messed up the relationship that existed between her and Chuck after his mother’s suicide, as even the way he lost himself and the kid he was before that. It explains Bart and Chuck as parent-child unit, coloring for both of them a pretty tragic but entirely credible backstory, and shows Chuck and Blair in a pretty happy place before Georgina’s sinister actions gradually tear that happiness to pieces. This is a dark story, very nuanced, it makes you feel so much for all the characters involved. Its pace is pitch perfect too, it keeps you wondering when it all fall apart, and what horrible secret exactly Georgina is using to drive Chuck so near to the edge. This Georgina is scary and fascinating at the same time, just as the games she plays. And … kudos for intensity woven around the figure of late Misty Bass and her struggling with bipolar disorder. Chuck and Blair are intense and complex even while they get through the emotional ringer and their relationship shines in all its depth.
Fumbling Toward Happily Even After ‘starts with a road trip, ends with a wedding and dabbles in dark topics in between’ but it closes the trilogy by accompanying our characters through their senior year – Chuck and Blair are inevitably endgame but there’s a bit of Nate/Blair and Dan/Blair in between as C&B have to struggle to rebuild something while Chuck works to actively fix himself … really long and really adult, multilayered story. I first read it years ago and I still occasionally come back to it as to an old friend. Loved to witness all those characters finding themselves and meeting adulthood heads-on, and even to see Chuck and Bart reconciled. Or aNate and Chuck addressing the less constructive aspects of their relationship.

When I think of C/B fic, after years of shipping this trilogy is what comes to my mind first and last, as it's the kind of writing and story that would make it as a worthwhile novel, and because it leads every ship and character involved to a fullfillment even the show did not, and because it took ships and characters to visit shadow zones the show would never have, but just to make them all better. And Eric gets actually the space he deserves, and a great relationship you can't avoid getting invested into, too.
Gossip Girl was a light-hearted tv series at heart. This trilogy might be more like ... the blockbuster movie series inspired by it.

Rec #4: Two Angry Marks
Author: amomentintime3
Rating/Warning(s): pg
Word Count/WIP?: 652, no

Why This Must Be Read: Short and sweet without being fluffy or losing that realism touch that is in all amomentintime3 ‘ writing. A post-series vignette about pregnant Blair facing her body-image issues along with her husband.

Rec #5: Chuck and Blair's to do list
Author: Cryzzel
Rating/Warning(s): pg
Word Count/WIP?:74596, no

Why This Must Be Read: ‘A list of To-do’s Chuck and Blair naturally go through while they’re getting together..… until the end. Set after 2.10.’ The world needs more C&B happy drabbles – this fic supplies us with plenty of them on a string, intermixing quite masterfully romance and humour. There’s something for every palate: C&B holding hands, C&B going shopping or to the movies or camping (how?!why?! is it even possible?! Read to discover!) or even cutting the framework of every holy day known to man. Small, preciously casual snapshots of an ongoing relationship in the which Chuck and Blair are quite absolutely managing to be unequivocally themselves… together and without any drama (of the serious kind at least).

Rec #6: Behind Closed Doors
Author: misaki
MA, NC17, Sexual situations ahead
Word Count/WIP?: 19,199, no

Why This Must Be Read: One month of Blair and Chuck, before it all fell apart. Set between Seventeen Candles and Hi, Society. Erotica with plot, full of good old verbal foreplay and a bit of fluff. A look into the affair that might-have-been. Hot!

Rec #7:Things We Always Had
Author: o-seastarved
Word Count/WIP?: 20,364, no

Why This Must Be Read: [A series of drabbles following Chuck and Blair's relationship from Kindergarten to the present day. Also contains the Non-Judging Breakfast Club and a little bit of NS and NB.] One thing that I always liked about C/B is that they grew into each other’s orbit. This fic documents that from their first meeting in kindergarten to 11th grade, and that’s interesting per se, but it’s also delightfully introspective, so each drabble tries to get to the little things that turned those children in the Chuck and Blair we know, and highlight the evolution of their friendship over time.

Rec #8: The Metamorphoses
Author: Tricia dSC
Word Count/WIP?: 31,982 (possibly? It’s a series of one-shots so I assume it is complete anyway)

Why This Must Be Read: [They all say change is inevitable, and so were they. A series of one-shots about Chuck and Blair's future, from the perspective of those around them] It all starts with prof. Rachel finding her way back to Constance Billard … and inadvertently giving the reader a rather terrifying look into the world of Evangeline and Tristan Bass, children of Chuck and Blair, ruling over their own posse. It continues with Eleanor’s perspective on how her daughter came to be married to Chuck, her first grandson birth, and the first marital crisis that followed, and then Roman’s perspective on Chuck rushing to mend his marriage. And so on, as I won’t spoil too much, but there’s the story of a marriage and a family developed around that marriage told through the eyes of ‘innocent bystanders’. It’s original, pretty AU by now, and intense. Evangeline and Tristan are actually the sort of offspring you like to read about and I found myself warming up to them pretty easily.

Rec #9: When Walls Come Crashing Down
Author: uncorazonquebrado
Word Count/WIP?: 39,063, no

Why This Must Be Read: [Originally based on spoilers for 2.13. Chuck has been missing since the funeral; Blair is determined to find him, and fix him. What will happen between the two of them when their protective walls come down and all games are off?.] Or … Blair stands by Chuck and Chuck actually learns to let her in: it’s a long, healing and truly emotional journey.

Rec #10: Carnal Apple, Woman Incarnate
Author: Catheryne
M, sexual situations
Word Count/WIP?: 24,239, no

Why This Must Be Read:Going off from ideas of 2.14 and promo for 2.15. They would all burn for their unhealthy obsessions. Jack, Blair, Chuck.’ Or… the Darkfic AU where Jack gets *really* obsessed with Blair (and quite sick at it, too) while Blair is worried about finding fixing Chuck, and Chuck is spiraling into self-destruction but trying to recover … and so, Jack gains a sort of morbid hold on Blair, that is trying to keep him at bay without disillusioning Chuck about his uncle. Of course that the situation implodes with disastrous results but still… the writing is fabulous, and the dark undertones and the crescendo of narrative tension keep you coming to the point you keep reading, even when you feel certain it is going to end very badly, very soon. Fortunately it doesn’t. ;) I’ve hated this Jack –and his treatment of Blair- quite viscerally while I read on, but within the framework of the fic he made for an excellent foe for both our protagonists – he managed to prey on both Chuck and Blair’s wounds with no remorse to manipulate his way into Blair’s bed and in the end they both managed to push past the destruction he wove into their lives.
There’s a sequel : that it is about C/B healing and working through their trust issues. Catheryne’s writing is quite elegant, always.

Rec #11: The Unforgettable Fire
Author: maribells
M, sexual situations
Word Count/WIP?: 135,798, no

Why This Must Be Read: ‘An alternate version of S2, AU from 1x12. What if Blair had gotten her wish and Nate never found out about her affair with Chuck?’ A particularly caustic Blair, a full-on-defensive-Chuck, vintage Chair ripe with determined denial and avoidance tactics before the two are actually forced to confront each other and what they lost in turning each other away… and the desire still flaring between them will make it impossible to forget. Thic fic is notable for excellent character voices, smoldering sexual tension, and nailing the dynamics within the Serena-Blair-Nate-Dan-Chuck group.

Rec #12: The Idea Of You
Author: maribells
M, sexual situations
Word Count/WIP?: 13,123, no

Why This Must Be Read: It’s a preseries look to Chuck and Blair, orbiting around each other and accidentally inflaming each other. It’s smoking hot sexy but at the same time UST is not what makes the fic so thoroughly enjoyable. It’s the sizzling chemistry and the unrealized potential, captured on three random moments.

Rec #13: The Fire Below
Author: The Very Last Valkyrie
M, sexual situations
Word Count/WIP?: 61,075, no

Why This Must Be Read: ‘The harsh words of a mother turned a young Blair Waldorf to ice and even as one of London's most famous beauties, she spurns the company of men and vows never to love. There's just one problem with playing with fire: you might just get burnt.’ Historical AU. A seduction. Chuck and Blair sparring and plotting in a whole another époque and place, and still mirroring our tv canon. Poetic descriptions framing beautiful scenes, great dialogues, and a bit of everything –aganst, tenderness,sex, games, scheming. A complete and sating read!

Rec #14: The Varying Shades Of Peony
Author: The Very Last Valkyrie
M, sexual situations
Word Count/WIP?: 81,177, no

Why This Must Be Read:Beautiful. Dirty. Rich. The year is 1899, and society belle Blair Waldorf rules the ballroom. Desired by many and envied by all, Blair seems above reproach...until the one person with the power to ruin it all returns with his heart set on her destruction.’ A very romantic story, written by an author that definitely knows how to deliver Historicals AU and making them credible with that hint of decadence that reminds you of UES even if you are not there anymore, and appropriately flowerly language.

Rec #15: The Red Tights
Author: justlikebrooke
M, sexual situations
Word Count/WIP?: 2,719, no

Why This Must Be Read: ‘He loves her red tights. He’s not sure how a piece of clothing can evoke a feeling he didn’t even think he was capable of having, and honestly he doesn’t care. what could have happened if the CB makeout session in 1x10 hadn’t been interrupted.’ Smut that succeeds in nailing cute-in-Bassesque-fashion. You need this in your life.

Rec #16: Pomp And Circumstance
Author: Dr. Holland
Word Count/WIP?: 139,269, no

Why This Must Be Read:One year after 5x24, Nate, Dan, and Blair are graduating from college. Serena and Chuck are planning a celebration to remember. Eric, Jenny, and Vanessa are back. Mayhem ensues. Chair centric, post-Dair fic. AU after 5x19, with a few late S5 spoilers.’ Chuck and Blair are married and expecting their first child- how would that mesh with an upcoming graduation and UES-brand of drama? Amazingly well, it turns. Reading this felt exactly like watching an episode. Same rhythm and flow, same humor, same seemingly random scandalous exploits – it made me all soft with nostalgia for the show in its best days. There’s two completed sequels up, just as amazing:
It’s a whole another take on the Not-Judging-Breakfast-Club coming to adulthood, together, through many twists of fortune.

Rec #17: Variations on a Theme: La Vie en Rose
Author: Dr. Holland
Word Count/WIP?: 7,775, no

Why This Must Be Read: ‘Four rose-tinted glimpses into the lives of Chuck Bass and Blair Waldorf, all set in or near one famous (or infamous) limo, from 2009 to 2032.’ Who would have thought that watching Chuck and Blair Bass growing old together through a limo window’s was so incredibly funny? Hilarious, sweet, and made appropriately saucy by their trademark innuendo. Also, the Bass family is lovely and I loved glimpsing the gang’s children and their exploits.
Tags: fandom: gossip girl, ship: blair waldorf/chuck bass, special: manifesto

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