Chapter 1: Hypothetically
Summary: In response to a challenge issued by CircleSky: I challenge someone to write a story where Rory and Jess destroy the snowman together. Your story will have to include: 1) An explanation/description of how they got from the conversation in the sleigh to the actual destruction of the snowman. To rephrase that, I mean a description of how Rory went from being slightly mad at Jess to wanting to "play" with him! 2) Description of the dastardly deed, of course! 3) Jess and/or Rory referring to their conversation in the sleigh, including Chuck Presby and/or Bjork. 4) Description of the thoughts that are going through their heads when they share that look at the very end of the show (either from both of their POVs or from one person's POV and speculating on the other person's thoughts). 5) Description of Rory's thoughts when Lorelai sees the non-snowman. 6) Literati undertones.
Disclaimer:I don't own GG, the characters, or anything associated with either. I just love the show, and I hope these humble li'l fics do it at least a li'l bit of justice.
Climbing into the sleigh, Rory glanced around for any sign of a riding companion.
"That it, miss?"
"I guess I'm alone," Rory answered the driver, a smile of contentment curling the corners of her lips. Even though she would've liked to share this experience with Dean, she was looking forward to being alone with her thoughts, enjoying the peacefulness of the wintry evening. The fur blanket now draped across her legs, she was just about to settle back and enjoy the ride when the sleigh lurched a little, and Jess appeared next to her, a smirk on his face.
"What are you doing?" Rory asked with more than a trace of annoyance.
"Well, I heard it was two to a sleigh – no more, no less," Jess explained. "You," he continued, pointing a finger at her, "were breaking the rules."
"You could've hurt yourself."
"I live on the edge. I can jump out if you want," he offered.
"Doesn't matter to me," Rory replied dismissively.
"Are you mad at me or something?"
"What do you think?"
"I can't read your mind."
"You got in a fight with Dean."
"My boyfriend," Rory explained in exasperation.
"Ah," Jess nodded in understanding. "He's still your boyfriend?"
"Okay, you can jump out now," Rory said angrily.
"I wasn't fighting him," Jess casually explained. "I was fighting someone else. He jumped in on his own."
"He was trying to help you."
"Oh," Jess said with mild sarcasm. "He should go into government service if he's so interested in helping people. But me… he can stop worrying about."
"Why were you fighting in the first place?"
"Cause Chuck Presby's a jerk," Jess explained.
"You were fighting Chuck Presby?" Rory asked, glancing at him.
"Oh, he is a jerk," Rory agreed, scrunching up her face in disgust.
Nodding, Jess continued, "This whole town is weird and full of jerks."
"Then why are you still here?" Rory asked, rolling her eyes in annoyance.
"What do you mean?"
Rory sensed from Jess's tone that she might have hit a nerve so she continued more gently, "I mean, school's out, and you don't like it here, so why don't you just go home?"
"My mom didn't want me to," Jess stated simply.
"I don't believe that."
"That's your right, I guess."
"Did Luke say she didn't want you to?" Rory pressed.
"Luke told me it was his idea that I should stay," Jess answered, then, after pausing slightly, he continued knowingly. "It wasn't his idea."
Rory couldn't help but feel sorry for Jess at that moment. She couldn't imagine not having her mother around, being without her best friend. After a brief silence, Jess changed the subject.
"That's good," he said, looking at the entries for the Snowman Building contest.
"Your snowman," Jess explained. "Snow-woman, actually."
"You know which one is ours?"
"It definitely has the most personality. Kind of looks like Bjork."
"That's what we were going for," Rory answered, a pleased smile on her face.
"Yeah?" Jess returned her smile.
"But everyone thinks the one on the end is gonna be the winner."
"Really? It's so overdone."
"You should win," Jess asserted.
"No argument," agreed Rory, smiling broadly.
Jess looked at her for a moment, enjoying her smile, before diving into what he knew would be dangerous waters.
"Hey, what do you and Dean talk about?"
"What?" Rory asked, surprised at the sudden topic change.
"I mean, does he know Bjork?"
"I've played him some stuff," Rory answered hesitantly.
"Hm…" Jess contemplated her answer for a second. "So you got a teacher-student thing going?" he teased.
"No, really," Jess continued. "I'm curious. What do you guys talk about?"
"Like?" Jess urged.
Unable to think of anything that she and Dean talked about, Rory gave as general an answer as possible. "Just everything, tons of stuff, whatever."
"It's just in the brief, non-pugilistic time I've spent with him in class, he just doesn't seem like your kind of guy," Jess explained.
"Well, he is my kind of guy. He's exactly my kind of guy!"
"Okay. I guess I don't know him that well," Jess conceded, glancing at her out of the corner of his eye and raising a skeptical eyebrow.
"You don't," Rory agreed. Then, noticing the look on his face, she said more forcefully, "You don't."
In response, Jess struggled to hide a smirk.
They rode in silence for a couple of minutes. Rory sat with her arms crossed over her chest and a sullen expression on her face, contemplating whether she should be more angry at Jess for being such a jerk or at herself for not doing a better job of defending Dean. She was still struggling to come up with things that she and Dean talk about when Jess interrupted her thoughts.
"Read any good books lately?" he inquired as though he hadn't angered her moments before.
She glared at him out of the corner of her eye and said nothing.
"C'mon, Rory. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to strike a nerve or anything."
"Strike a nerve?" she repeated angrily. "What do you mean 'strike a nerve'? Why do you think you struck a nerve? Just because I happen to-"
"Whoa, whoa," Jess interrupted, arms up in a pose of surrender. "Gosh, Rory, you're right," he said sarcastically. "I don't know how I could have thought such a thing. I must be crazy."
"Didn't you say you'd jump out of the sleigh if I wanted you to?" she inquired.
"Sure… if that's what you want," Jess answered. He looked into her eyes and lowered his voice. "Is that what you want, Rory?"
She boldly met his gaze, forcing herself to adopt a look of total indifference.
Jess shrugged. "Okay then."
Calling her bluff, he gave her one last chance to stop him and then made an exaggerated move to jump out of the sleigh.
"Jess!" Rory yelled, grabbing the arm of his jacket to stop him. "Don't."
"But, Rory," he said sweetly, a smirk playing on his lips, "if you want me to go, I'm not going to deny you."
"Just stay where you are!" she ordered, pulling him all the way back into the seat.
Again, he smirked in response.
"Don't be so smug. I didn't tell you to stay because I want you to stay. I don't enjoy your company in the least, just so you know," she rambled. "But if you jumped out because I told you to, you'd probably fall and hurt yourself, and then I'd feel guilty. And personally, I don't think you're worth feeling guilty over, so I'm just gonna save myself the trouble. Okay?"
"Okay," Jess said with a nod, successfully suppressing his amused smile this time.
"We'll just sit here, quietly, and try not to drive each other crazy. Agreed?"
"Sure," Jess said.
"I'm serious, Jess. By quiet, I mean that you'll be quiet. I don't think my mother would appreciate if one of the thoughtful sleigh rides she arranged turned into a bloodbath, and, at this point, if you don't sit quietly and refrain from—"
"Rory," Jess interrupted. "Do I seem like the Chatty Cathy type?"
"No," Rory mumbled reluctantly.
"Then I think I can manage to make it through the rest of the sleigh ride without turning you into Lizzie Borden."
"Well, good then," Rory weakly replied before turning her eyes to the scenery around her.
Deciding to give Rory exactly what she wanted, Jess settled back and looked at the decorated streets of Stars Hollow. As he took it all in, he couldn't help the strange, momentary feeling of contentment that the town produced in him. He immediately shoved the thought aside, however, and decided that the cold air must be wreaking havoc on his brain. Hearing Rory sigh, he glanced over and noticed that she seemed to be going through some sort of internal struggle. He was dying to know what she was thinking, but he remained perfectly quiet.
Rory attempted to enjoy the silence, now that Jess had finally stopped speaking, but she couldn't seem to get her mind to focus on anything but him. She just kept thinking about how nice it was to be sitting next to him, how good he smelled, how absolutely infuriating he could be sometimes. She could feel her cheeks growing red, so she tried to switch her mind to thoughts of Dean. "Dean," she said in her head. "Dean, Dean… Jess." She sighed audibly. She saw Jess glance at her and noticed a slight smile cross his lips before he turned his eyes forward again. She couldn't take it anymore. Sitting next to him and not talking to him was driving her crazy.
"Listen Up!" she said, her voice coming out much louder than she'd intended.
Jess didn't say anything. She could feel his eyes on her, and she waited for him to say something, anything. He didn't. Finally, she turned her head to look at him.
He was looking at her curiously, but, as promised, he was being completely quiet.
After a moment of complete silence, Jess's curiosity got the better of him.
"Well," he said, an eyebrow raised. "I'm listening."
"Oh… um… that's not. I wasn't—" Rory answered, blushing. "I didn't mean that you should listen up. That's the name of the book I've been reading."
"Ah," Jess remarked in understanding. He pondered the title for a minute. "I don't think I know it. What's it about?"
"Oh," Rory said, relaxing and silently thanking Jess for not pointing out that she'd broken the talking moratorium. Turning her mind to the book, she grew animated and completely forgot that she was supposed to be annoyed with him. "It's this collection of feminist essays by young women – in their teens, twenties, early thirties."
"How very Susan B. Anthony of you!" he replied.
Rory smiled. "Well, I don't necessarily agree with all of the essays. They talk about growing up nowadays, in an age when feminism appears more radical, and it's taboo to call oneself a feminist. The concept is good, but I think that sometimes they spend too much time placing blame on men. I mean, it's not fair to generalize. When you think about it, there are many women who are close-minded, and there are lots of men who are really open-minded and embracing of women's intelligence and ideas." Jess smiled knowingly at that, which didn't go unnoticed by Rory. "Anyway," she continued, starting to blush, "some of the essays are really interesting, and, even if I don't agree with them, they're all really thought-provoking."
"Sounds like you're enjoying it."
"I am," Rory responded, a satisfied smile on her face. "It's actually pretty empowering. It makes me want to do something radical."
"Stand up for women everywhere," Jess declared with a laugh.
"Something like that," Rory said softly, suddenly embarrassed. They both fell silent again.
By now, the sleigh had gone around a loop and was heading back to the Independence Inn. They were just reaching the snowmen again.
Eyeing them, Jess got an idea. "Huh," he pondered out loud.
"What?" Rory asked, curious.
Jess looked at her and grinned. "Do you really want to do something empowering, or was that all talk?"
"What do you mean?" she asked, not liking the mischievous tone of his voice.
"You know," he continued. "Stand up for women everywhere."
"Jess, what are you talking about?"
"There might be something we could do. Nothing huge. Just a little something to quench that thirst for risk-taking that you must have… somewhere." He pretended to be searching her for some sign of adventurousness.
"I take lots of risks!" Rory argued.
"I believe you," Jess teased. "But the real question is, will you take this one?"
"What?" Rory asked again.
"How much do you want Bjork to win the Snow-Person contest?" he asked devilishly.
"Oh no," Rory said, trying not to give into his elementary school hijinks.
"C'mon, Rory, you and I both know that Bjork is way more deserving of winning than that trite sculpture. Anyone with the right tools can do that. It didn't take any thought."
"It's cheating, Jess."
"Nah. It's your chance to stand up for the oppressed everywhere!"
"Maybe, but you like it!" Jess urged with a grin. "You want to do it."
"I do not!"
"Okay then," Jess said, shrugging his shoulders. They'd now arrived back at the Inn and were about to exit the sleigh. "But, if you should happen to change your mind, Bjork will be waiting."
He turned his back to her and started to walk towards the Inn.
"When?" Rory called after him. "Hypothetically."
Jess looked back at her and smirked. "Hypothetically," he emphasized, "around 2am." Then, he turned and walked into the Inn, leaving Rory grinning from ear to ear.
A/N: I've written fanfics, but this is my first GG. Hope you like it! I like reviews. Subtle, no? ~Becka