CeCe does the talking, about wreaths and arrangements, before pointedly asking Lily if Rufus will be there, since his children are; it's what boyfriends do. "I followed you to the park today," she says without shame, and Lily sighs from a lifetime of surveillance. "Of course you did, Mother." CeCe excuses herself to kiss Dan sweetly, warmly; to remind him they have a bond. He wore her husband's suit, in the Hamptons; he showed her the face he barely ever remembers to stop hiding, his kindness and his loyalty and his inability to stop loving so wildly. "...Where is Charles?" Lily asks, voicing the question she's been asking for days.
Was my love not strong enough to
Bring you back from the dead?
Charles is gone. Chuck is gone, broken and shattered and shambling on Blair and Nate's tired arms. "We should have just driven him to the door and dropped him off on the steps," Blair grunts with the effort, while the love of her life stares through people and places and things. "No one should see him like this," Nate says, sounding like a long-ago Blair, back when they all covered for Serena. "He needs to walk it off." Blair helps him walk; he leans on her dreadfully, at a sickening, canted angle.
Don't you know that when you stand you stand up for the both of us
Remember that when the darkness looms
"Maybe we should have just left him at the Palace," Nate says quietly, concerned as always less about appearances and more about the meaning behind them. "It's his father's funeral," she replies, "He needs to be here. It shows respect." Chuck mumbles, almost laughing. "Respect? My father wasn't showing much of that in his final days."
Nate and Blair don't know what he means -- "When we found him his shoes were on the wrong feet!" -- but we do. That last day, the last words he ever said before the Ball, are ringing in his ears: that every time things moved forward, Chuck found a way to move them back again, to break it up and screw it up and turn what could be lovely, nasty. And the thing he said later, when he called his father to force their family back together, and summoned him to his death. And that night not so long ago, when Dan took them both in his hands and soldered them together again: if he hadn't done that, this wouldn't hurt so much. If Bart had died before that night, Chuck would have known his place: dishonorable black sheep, hated disappointment. But Dan taught him, as Blair taught Jenny, that his father loved him more than words can say. Their relationship came down out of the realm of myth, of fairytale long-gone mothers and the kingdom of disappointment, and into what matters. The mistakes he made after that night couldn't be blamed on anything but him, because he knew the truth: Bart loved his son so much it hurt him, and when he was disappointed it hurt twice as much. Dan dragged him off the burlesque stage and made him what we are seeing now: the boy who risked loving his father back. Chuck in real life.