Author: Nat

Rating: PG13

Spoilers: I'm Australian and because we're so far behind I don't think it applies… besides, it's mostly AU anyways.

Pairing: Rory/Tristan

Standard disclaimer applies

A/N: First, thanks to Surya for betaing and the title (you rock babe). The title is all her. Thanks to all those who encouraged me to post, Sus, Janine, Lessa, James… Others who's names I can't remember (Sorry!). I'd really appreciate some feedback on my style here, it's so different to anything I've ever done before.


- The Life and Times of an Unwelcome Third Wheel -

He had never been a nice guy. For an older brother he down right sucked. But he got better. She made him get better. I liked her more than I liked him, she would invite me to go places with them, she would let me crash at her house on the weekend. She wouldn't let him ignore me. And he tried to ignore me all the time.

The first time I met her, the first day I attended Chilton, she was wearing my clothes. Doesn't seem weird now, but then, it was more than weird. This girl I'd never laid eyes on, wearing one of t-shirts and my favourite pair of old jeans that curled under her heal in a pair of blue flip flops. It was after school and they were about the get into his car when she noticed me watching them as I walked up the driveway. She smiled.

He had turned to see what she was looking at and rolled his eyes and said my name in that exasperated tone he had used with me my whole life, 'Jordan.'


Rory watched as Jordan came closer. So this was Tristan's little brother, and now that she could see him up close she recognised him from school. He was in seventh grade, had his orientation day today. And he looked like it too. His dark hair was half neat, half sticking up like Tristan's, his tie was cut in half and his shoelaces were missing.

'Hey, you were in Paris's group today, right?'

'Yeah. You're coffee girl.'

She grinned. 'Coffee girl huh? Better than Tristan's nickname for me, much more appropriate.'

'Not nearly.' Tristan smirked.

'I saw you a few times today. Didn't recognise you with out the uniform, but all three times you had coffee.' Jordan smirked and Rory raised a brow before looking at Tristan.

'What happened to your tie? Dad will flip if he sees it.'

Jordan ripped his cut in half tie off and threw it at Tristan. 'Your friends thought it would be funny. Pick on Tristan's little bother.'

Tristan laughed.

Rory picked up the tie and put it in her backpack. 'Who did this to your tie?'

'Michael Duffy. It wasn't so bad until I had to walk home." He gestured at himself.

'I told you this morning you'd have to get a lift home. This car only fits two people.'

'You walked home?' Rory asked giving Tristan a look.

'I got a lift to the Ashbury's and walked from there.'

'That's only down the block. What are you bitching about?' Tristan opened the passenger door and put Rory's bag on the floor.

'Well when you don't have any shoelaces it's not the easiest thing.' Rory was grinning, Jordan was starting to remind her more and more of Tristan. Turning from Tristan he addressed Rory again. 'So what's your real name?'

'We're going to be late if we don't leave now.' Tristan interrupted.

'If we're late we'll catch a later one. I'm Rory Gilmore.'

'Right, you're the one Paris was yelling at during the Library tour.'

'That's me. So we're going to see a movie, want to come with us?'

'Uh-' Both boys swung their heads towards the gate as a shiny new Mercedes drove through. Tristan straightened and swore under his breath while Jordan slumped.

'Go inside and get changed and we'll wait for you here.' Rory said as the car slowly advanced up the driveway.

'The car only seats two Mary, or did you miss that little fact.'

Rory gave Jordan a shove towards the house before turning to Tristan. 'We'll take your other car Tristan.'

Jordan had made it into the house just as the car pulled to a stop.

'Why do you have to be so nice all the time? We could have avoided this if you didn't feel the need to talk to Jordan.'

'Why do you have to be such a jerk all the time? Jordan coming to the movies with us isn't the end of the world you know?'

'I wouldn't bet on it. That kid is nothing but a pain in the ass. Also, talking to my Father might just be the end of the world.' Tristan slumped back against the car as his father approached them.

'Tristan, how was school?'

'Same old, same old, Dad.'

'I see, and who's your friend?'

Tristan sighed, 'Dad, this is Rory Gilmore, Rory, my father, David.'

'Rory Gilmore, Richard's grand daughter?'

'Yes sir,' Rory smiled offering her hand. 'Nice to meet you.'

'Likewise young lady, I hear that you were voted in as Junior Vice President this year with Paris Gellar.' She nodded as he shook her hand. 'Now what are you doing with this reprobate?'

Rory pulled her hand away and smiled at a frowning Tristan. 'We're just waiting for Jordan so we can catch a movie. No homework yet, and today was rather hectic, so we figured it would be a bit of a treat.'

'You managed to get Tristan to agree with Jordan going along?'

Rory laughed, 'I didn't even have to resort to bribery.'

David Dugrey laughed while Tristan's face got blacker. 'You should have been here last night when I told Tristan he had to drive Jordan to school this morning. Such a lot of fuss over a 5 minute drive.'

Jordan came running out the door sliding to a halt near Rory. 'Jordan, please son, you're not 10 anymore, a little more decorum is in order.'

'Yes sir.' His Father nodded and turned back to Rory.

'A pleasure to meet you dear, I hope to see you again soon. I'll let you kids go now, have fun.'

'Thanks Mr Dugrey, it was nice meeting you too.' Rory smiled as Tristan grabbed her school bag from his Mustang and opened the backdoor of his SUV to put it in there. Tristan and Rory climbed in the front of the SUV while Jordan climbed stealthily into the back still waiting for Tristan to tell him to get lost.

It wasn't until they were a block away from the house that he opened his mouth. 'Wow Rory, you actually sounded like you meant that.'

She turned to face him, 'Meant what?'

'That you enjoyed meeting the old man.'

She smiled. 'I did, not quite the ogre Tristan described him as being.'

Tristan snorted, 'Cause you're a guest, a lovely young girl and a Gilmore to boot. Just wait until you've been around for a while, he'll blow his gasket in front of you no hesitation. He's just waiting to ream me about last night.'

Rory reached over and placed her hand on Tristan thigh as his jaw clenched. He slowly relaxed. 'If it was going to get you in trouble I'd have never let you come.'

'You wouldn't have been able to stop me.'

'What happened last night?' Jordan leaned forwards, putting his elbows on the back of their seats.

'Sit back and put your seatbelt on.' Tristan snapped at him.

'It is on, what happened last night?'

'Get off my seat and sit back!'

Jordan sat back, 'What happened last night?'

'None of your business.'

'You were in a shittier mood than normal this morning. Was it because you had to drive me to school? Is that what Dad's pissed about? Did you have another fight last night?'

'No, and shut up. It's none of your business.'

'Tell me.'

Tristan pulled sharply over to the side of the road, just around the corner from the entrance to the parking lot of the cinema. 'Get out of the car Jordan.'

'And do what?'

'I don't know and I don't care! Just get out!' Tristan smacked the steering wheel.

'Go stand in line for tickets Jordan. We'll park the car and meet you in a few minutes.' Rory smiled at him as he slid out. He slammed the door and Tristan took off with a squeal of tyres.

I don't know what she said to him once I was out of the car, but by the time they had joined me in the cinema he was in a better mood. He was smiling.

I hadn't realised until then, that I hadn't seen my brother smile for years. I'd seen him smirk and grin and bullshit his way through by baring his teeth. But a smile that brought out his dimples and crinkled the corners of his eyes I hadn't seen that for such a long time that I'd forgotten what his smile looked like.

She argued with him about paying and he was smiling about that too. He was gentle with her. I didn't think he knew how to be gentle. He treated her like she might break, but he didn't stop touching her the whole time he was with her. If I were her I'd have gotten annoyed with him, but she didn't. She just seemed to take it in stride.

The cinema had those old seats where you could fold the arm rests up and I remember thinking 'oh, great, I'm going to get to listen to my brother make out' but they didn't even kiss. The arm rest went up, her leg hooked over his, his hand rested on her knee while both her hands were busy shoving candies in her mouth while her eyes were glued to the screen.

After the movie, Tristan dropped me off before he took Rory home. He got home about three hours later and he was right. I could hear dad yelling at him from upstairs.