Disclaimer: I don't own gilmore girls.never have and probably never will. My leprechaun friends do. Pot of gold.pot of gold.pot of gold.

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Rory woke up to the inconsistent sound of Lorelai sleeping. Her eyes widening, she jump started out of bed and stared at her mum who was sprawled out on her carpet.

"What are you doing?"

Lorelai continued to sleep and twitched slightly in response. Rory walked slowly to the other side of the bed and gently nudged Lorelai with her foot. Lorelai, who to Rory was now obviously awake, feigned ignorance and grasped Rory's leg to continue sleeping.

Rory groaned. "Mom, give it up. I know you're awake."

Lorelai opened a bleary eye at her eyebrow-raising daughter and smiled.

"You're too smart spawn of mine." Lorelai let go of Rory's leg and moaned, hitting the hard ground with a thud. "Ow. Hey, what am I doing here?"

Rory narrowed her eyes and threw her hands up in the air, "I have no idea whatsoever."

"I think my back is permanently arched this way."

Finding her jeans and a blue T-shirt, Rory rolled her eyes in good humour.

"C'mon, let's go to Luke's."

Her mother brightened instantly, "Oh oh! Flannel man!"

"Ye-s." Rory said slowly, as if speaking to an infant, "Hi-s na-me.is.Lu-k- e."

Lorelai stuck her tongue out and jumped up from her uncomfortable position on the floor. She haughtily walked out and Rory followed her to shut the door to change, only to run back into Lorelai, who had caught a glimpse of her hair in the mirror and came back to steal a brush.

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"You just had a cup!" Luke grimaced.

"No silly, that wasn't a proper cup." Lorelai argued playfully.

"There's no such thing!"

"You only gave me two cups this morning!"

"Two cups is enough for anybody!"

"He-lllllllll-ooooooo" Lorelai mock yelled throughout the small diner. Luke gave her an irked look.

"I'm a Gilmore."

"It's a surname Lorelai."

Lorelai gave him a horrified look. "Uh-uh, take that back!"

"Fine, but no more coffee until this afternoon!"

"No!" She wagged her finger at him, her eyes impish, "Oh, you're devilish today..." Luke rolled his eyes. "Look at what you've done to Rory!" He said, pointing to Rory who was slowly trying to inhale her third cup, "She's addicted!"

Now it was Lorelai's turn to roll her eyes. "No. Really? When did you notice that, Luke? I mean-"

Her eyes flew to Rory, who paused mid-sip. "Where did you get that third cup?"

Rory raised an eyebrow. "You count?"

Ignoring her, Lorelai turned to Luke, who was hastily wiping the clean bench, trying to ignore the wrath of Lorelai without caffeine. "You gave her one but not me?"

Rory slowly backed out of the diner, giving Luke a thank-you smile before she left which Luke returned with a save-me frown from Lorelai's interrogation.

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Rory sat at a quiet Hartford park re-reading To kill A Mockingbird. She was so intent on the story that she didn't notice the blond staring at the back of her head with a smile. Trying to balance her coffee cup with one hand while taking a gulp and turning a page with the other, her blue eyes narrowed at the feeling of strange familiarity she felt all of a sudden. That was explained when there was a-

"Mary."

Rory groaned inwardly. Pretending to not have heard him, she peered closer at her book. Tristan frowned and tried again.

"Rory?"

Plastering a smile onto her face, Rory turned around.

"Hi, Tristan."

His insecure smile turned into his cocky grin in a millisecond. Then when he saw her, that was replaced by a longing expression. She looked utterly adorable to him. This time Tristan groaned inwardly.

"Wh-what," Tristan mentally cursed at his lack of words, "Are you doing here...I mean, at a Hartford park?"

Rory narrowed her eyes suspiciously, he seemed almost....well, nervous. He was up to something.

"Didn't want to spend the day in Star's hollow. This park's nice."

"Yeah," Tristan said, looking around at the willows looming around them, "It is."

"Terribly short of words today, aren't we Dugrey?" Rory bit her tongue when she realised she just rhymed.

Tristan noticed and smiled in amusement. "I know that's not what I'm known for, Miss Gilmore."

Rory smiled despite herself. "That was pretty impressive considering you had five seconds to think of a come-back-"

"-And we all know that anything longer than five seconds isn't really considered a come-back." Tristan finished seriously, imitating Jack Black.

Rory gave him a smirk. "You don't seem very surprised to see me, Mary...you know, I did just get out of military school." Tristan said with imaginary hurt.

Rory gave him a pointed look, and waved her arms exaggeratedly around. She had to hold in a laugh at the expression on his face. He looked like he was preparing to run. "What was that?" He demanded, slightly shocked.

She shrugged. "My 'Tristan, you're home. Yay.' Greeting," She deadpanned, "I would have gotten up to do my happy dance but I couldn't really be bothered."

"Your happy dance?"

She nodded seriously. "My mum's is better. She's got the whole 'I'm a chicken' thing down pat." Tristan was giving her a sides-long glance, shaking his head in amusement. "Gotta meet her one day." Rory muttered something inaudible.

"What was that?" Tristan said, cupping his ear and leaning towards her.

"You will at my funeral, Bible boy." Rory said, missing the glimmer of hurt in Tristan's eyes. He covered it up quickly, after all, he had learnt from the best. Instead, he put on that mask. His game face. The one he used when he couldn't think of anything to say or what to do, basically that facade he used mostly around her. It was childish, immature, stupid.all of the above. But that was just him. Plus, he didn't understand why she made him need to act like that. Her orange smelling shampoo certainly didn't help things.

There was that cocky voice again. "So, I'm invited to your funeral, huh Mary? Didn't know you cared." He winced when he heard the tone of his voice.

Rory winced almost directly at the same time, sighing as she picked up her book.

"Not in the mood Tristan..." She told him, throwing away her coffee cup.

"How are you and bagboy?" Tristan asked, somewhat bitterly.

"Dean and I broke up a while ago."

"Too bad."

"Please refer to my previous, previous statement."

"Okay. What are you in the mood for?" He raised an eyebrow suggestively and Rory nearly rolled her eyes. Tristan on the other hand, was panicking. So instead of apologising, he persisted...wishing to god he could shut his mouth but finding that the words just rolled off his tongue involuntarily.

"You know, my house isn't far..." He trailed off, biting his lip when she flushed red. She started walking away and he stared helpless at her back as she stomped towards the road.

"We'll talk again when you grow up, Tristan!" She called out angrily behind her.

Tristan sighed and smacked himself in the forehead. *Great going, Dugrey, what's the point? She hates you, remember?*

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Monday morning and another dreary day at school. Rory walked impatiently towards Chilton. She heard loud music from behind her and she glared as a sleek black Porsche sped past her and made a sharp right turn into the student parking lot. Sighing, she knew who that was. And she was right, as soon as he stepped out of his car, half the female population engulfed him, and from where Rory was standing, she could see he was enjoying it, too.

She scowled. *No wait, ugh, no need for scowling.what are you, jealous?*

She shook her head vigorously then stopped, feeling stupid. She continued to walk into Chilton, not even giving Tristan a glance before the front doors slammed behind her.

Tristan watched sadly as Rory didn't even look at him as she walked into Chilton. He was pretending to smile as Kristy? No, Krissy? Maybe Caroline- well, whatever the brunette's name was, gave him what he usually would have considered a gorgeous grin.

And a suggestive one at that.

But this time, he didn't even respond to her advances. And it was because for once in his life, he had fallen for someone. And he didn't know how to go about it, because the more he thought about it, the more it terrified him. If anyone were to hear those words aloud, they would have scoffed.

Tristan Dugrey? Afraid of asking a girl out?

...In love?

Nah. You must mean someone else. Tristan Dugrey doesn't fall in love. But he knew how he felt. And it definitely was bordering upon love. This girl was everything he ever needed, but she hated him. He sighed, picked up his school bag and heisted it on one shoulder, made his excuses to the hordes of girls and made a beeline for Rory's locker.

"What do you want, Dugrey?" Rory asked exasperated from her locker, without looking back at him as she shuffled through her books.

Tristan stopped in his tracks and stared at her back in wonderment. *She has some kind of radar for me.is that a good or a bad thing?*

The latter, his brain told him firmly.

Ignoring that, he sauntered over to her. Making sure he had that cocky bounce in his step. It was immature, and he knew it, but everything went on autopilot around her.

"Listen," He said, whispering in her ear, she didn't move away but she seemed to be getting flustered, "I'm sorry about what I said yesterday."

Taking a deep breath, she spun her lock shut and turned to him calmly. "No, you're not."

He gave her a look. "Yes, I am."

"Face it Tristan," She told him, walking slowly towards home group, with him trailing behind her, "That's just you. You can't help yourself." Tristan's brow furrowed. "I said I was sorry."

Rory stopped and turned around to give a look he couldn't quite interpret. "I know you're sorry. You always are. But I guess." She threw up her hands in exasperation, then smiled warmly at him, "-apology accepted. When did you get manners? You know, boot camp might have done you some good yet..."

Tristan smirked, pretending to lift up his shirt. "You wanna skip class and see how good?" He winked in her direction but noticed her giving him a disapproving look and mockingly hung his head, "Sorry."

To his surprise, she laughed and swatted him lightly on the shoulder. "You watch it, Bible Boy. You get two warnings and then I'll have to kick your ass."

He was in a mischievous mood now. "Have I had my second warning yet, Mary?"

She groaned in good humour. "That was just it."

They entered the class and Tristan was greeted by some of his friends, he gave an automatic response and instantly found a seat behind Rory's, eager to continue their bantering.

He straddled his chair and scooted closer to her. "So, you're going to kick my ass, huh?" He said, smirking as he gave her an once-over.

She blushed and pushed a strand of hair behind her ear. "Hey, watch it, don't offend me...I know karate." She said defensively.

He narrowed his eyes suspiciously. "You do not."

"How do you know?"

"...You don't seem the type."

"Well, I'll seem the type when you're lying in hospital, mister."

He raised his eyebrows and grinned. "You'll visit me, right?"

She patted his hand in fake sympathy. "Aw, but Tris, you'll have all the hot nurses to keep you company."

Tristan involuntarily shivered when she said his nickname. It was amazing how easily it just rolled off her tongue. He pouted.

"No. But I'll always need my Mary."

Rory hesitated, feeling that she should say she wasn't his Mary, but strangely, not really wanting to correct him. She shrugged off the comment.

"You would still want to talk to the person who put you in the hospital in the first place?"

"Of course," He stated reasonably, not noticing that class was starting. He lowered his voice and spoke next to her ear, pleased when he noticed her breathing become erratic, "Didn't you know people pray for a miracles in the hospital, Mary?" The teacher cleared his throat. "Mr. Dugrey, if you wouldn't mind detaching yourself from Miss Gilmore's desk, we'll get started."

Rory was flushed and Tristan smirked as she reluctantly moved his chair back to his desk. "In a few days time, all of you will be spending a long weekend at a specific location provided for you." Many people in the class gave excited whoops.

"Don't think that this will be an easy task." He warned, "You will be paired off, and live in houses of four.

You will receive faxes of tasks that you must attend and then afterwards, there will be report writing about how you interacted.etcetera, etcetera."

He cleared his throat again, willing silence as the class chatted as he picked up a piece of paper. "These are your partners and also your house members, I didn't pick them, they were random so here we go, Alice and Janice (high-five), with Ben and Christian (groans from the girls, grins from the guys, Landon and Lisa, with Tiffany and Greg, Eric and Dean, with Charlotte and Laura, Paris and Rory, with-"

Tristan closed his eyes and sent an ESP message to Mr. Medina. *Say Tristan, say Tristan*...

Mr. Medina noticed with amusement that Tristan had his fingers crossed, while silently mouthing his own name.

"-Wayne and Ben." Tristan let out a quiet breath of disappointment.

"The last group was a bit uneven, sorry about that...Tristan and Katie, with Rachel and Dana."

Tristan's eyes widened as he realised he was going to be in a house with three of his ex-girlfriends. He panicked as he noticed Katie give Rachel and Dana an evil smile. *Uh-oh, this isn't good*. He instantly put his hand up.

"Yes, Tristan?"

"Could I swap groups? Say, with Wayne?"

Wayne, a guy who worshipped the ground Tristan walked on, spoke up. "Sure, I can swap, Mr. Medina." Tristan wanted to roll his eyes, knowing that the fact that there were three gorgeous girls in that house didn't hurt either.

Mr. Medina looked amused. "I don't know Mr. Dugrey..."

Tristan gave him a discrete pleading look. "I just don't think my staying in my current house would be sensible... Because of personal reasons."

Dana gave him a glare as Tristan's friends laughed.

Tristan noticed Rory was looking a bit panicked too. Tristan, misinterpreting why she was acting panicky, felt a bit disappointed but tried not to let it show in his expression. She obviously didn't want him in her house.

Mr. Medina rolled his eyes and made a gesture. "Fine, if that's alright by everyone in those two houses. Go ahead, swap."

Paris was about to protest, but Tristan just nodded and without confirmation, said, "Great. Glad we could sort that out."

Mr. Medina was about to go sit back down to actually start class when he stopped short and remembered something. He turned around to sit on his desk, arms folded and looked silently between Rory and Tristan.who was now staring at the back of Rory's head. "Now boys and girls," He said, giving them all a mock glare, receiving a few laughs, "This may be a co-ed trip, but you'll be checked up on randomly. No, uh, smut. Alrighty?" He gave Tristan a pointed look and Tristan gave a guilty one in return, knowing he was practically speaking directly to him. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- -----------------------------

*Three days in a house with Tristan Dugrey*? How did she feel about that? Now that she thought about it, she didn't really know. He had changed a bit, but his ego still remained. From where she sat, Rory could tell Paris was fuming. And she was right, as soon as class had finished, Paris stomped up to Tristan, who was trying to talk to Rory.

"So, Mary, three days in a house, just you and me-" He said, waggling his eyebrows.

"-And Paris, and Ben-" Rory finished.

"-Mere technicalities." Tristan shrugged.

Cue Paris. "What do you think you are doing, Dugrey?" She said angrily.

Then.. Cue that smirk. "I don't know what you're talking about, Gellar." He said simply

"Why did you have to swap groups?"

"Katie and I had a bad break-up. I wasn't looking forward to waking up and finding myself tied to a chair."

"A chair? That's all?!"

Tristan looked offended. "What do you mean, that's all? It's what they'll do when I'm tied up, helpless, I might add, that worries me."

Paris gave a reasonable shake of her head. "I'm not worried."

Tristan pretended to think about that seriously. "No. I wouldn't think you would be. Though, now, I get to spend three days with you, Paris. Hmm the possibilities. I could tie you up and then-"

Her face turned red. "-You are impossible!" She spluttered.

"Impossibly, yes."

"This is going to be a weekend of hell." Paris muttered, more to herself than him.

"Oh, I can see the article now."

Paris rubbed her temple, gave him a dirty look, then spun on her heel and ran off.

"Pleasant, isn't she?"

"Very," Rory put on a terrible British accent on, "And when, exactly my dear Watson, did you pick first notice this?"

"Hey," He said, giving her a slight shove, "Why do you get to be Sherlock?"

"Since you're the one that was going to get tied up."

"You like bondage, huh?" He replied wickedly.

She decided to play along. She stopped in the corridor and leaned in towards him, and he backed up against a locker as she took steady strides towards him, with a gleaming twinkle in her eye.

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*Hey, what the* Rory was cornering Tristan back into a locker and he was thinking how ironic that was because it was usually the other way around. He put up and a hand as his back connected with a 'clang' into the locker behind me. She had a devilish look in her eyes and he was quite frankly put, astonished. He was expecting she would snap at him for his bondage comment, maybe even a wack on the head?

"Mmm-hmm," She purred, leaning in closer, his pulse was speeding up much to his dismay, and Tristan could smell that shampoo. "But the question is Bible Boy, do you?"

"Uh." He had lost all trail of thought.

She nearly laughed out loud at the expression on his face. It was classic. He looked like a cornered animal, something he wasn't used to she was sure, turning from predator to prey in a matter of seconds. She whispered seductively in his ear, throwing his earlier comment back at him. "Do you wanna cut class and see?"

He composed himself and she noticed that cocky demeanour was back.

"Sure, Mary. I'm game if you are." He lips brushed her cheek accidentally and she stiffened at the physical contact.

"Nope, got to get to class." She said simply, preparing to walk off. She gave a cheeky smile at the crestfallen look he had, though a split second later and she could have missed it.

He smirked as she slowly walked off. "That was cruel, Mary!" He yelled after her. A few students looked at him. And even though he couldn't see her face, he knew she was smiling.

"Maybe you're learning a thing or two from me!"

This time she turned around and answered. "In your dreams, Dugrey! It was there all along!"

With a final very-Tristan-like smirk, she disappeared into her classroom and Tristan allowed himself to smile like an idiot.