The Joys of Family

WHAT IT IS: A sequel, to my other Trory, What Happens When. Now, I had no intentions at all to do a sequel. However, you're getting one, because of all the Jess/Dean/Rory angst currently on the show—it's stressing me out. So, since I had decided that fluff was probably all I'd get out of a sequel and fluff is what I need right now (it's either fluff or unbearable angst coming out of me right now)—here's a sequel.

WHAT I OWN: Nada.

RATING: PG-13, just to be safe. It is fluff after all.

December 2007

Rory and Tristan got out of the car. They hadn't been in the car that long, as Rory had insisted on stopping at every rest stop on the way. The lure of the 'Free Coffee' signs was too much for her. By the time the next rest stop hit, she needed to stop again anyway, to use the bathroom. It created a vicious cycle that he claimed he would never repeat again. But then again, that would involve learning to say no to her and that look she gave him that he swore she should have patented. He turned to the trunk to get their bags, and smiled when he saw not only was she not helping him, but she was flying up the stairs and into her mother's arms. 'That's my wife,' he thought as he lugged her bags out and up the small distance to the house.

"I'm SO glad you're here! I've been needing some extra estrogen around. I swear, two boys is too much for one house."

"What about me? Am I being transported over to the Inn alone while we're here?" Tristan inquired.

"That's a great idea. Will you take Luke and Will, too? I could use some Gilmore girl time."

"You want to be alone?" Tristan mocked.

"I still can't believe you changed your name," Lorelai said accusatorily to Rory.

"Well, Mom, not all of us are the feminist-revolutionaries that you are."

"Well, I'm not burning my bra or anything, but I kept Gilmore."

"You hyphenated."

"There's no hyphen! It's just adding another name to my existing name. It's like the rings on a tree."

"Wow, I've missed being home," Rory mused, opening the front door. The house had definitely become a different environment since Rory had left for college. Not only did all of her belongs get moved to her apartment with Tristan, but Luke's stuff moved in. That was strange enough, but since Will was born, the house was a constantly moving environment. From the time he could crawl, there was stuff everywhere and new 'art' covering sections of the wall from time to time. Luckily he had grown out of his crayon murals on the wall stage. Lorelai had convinced him that famous artists always used paper that got presented on walls, not walls that got presented on paper. This logic had seemed to work on the then two year old. Go figure.

"So, Tristan, how is married life treating you?" Lorelai asked as he dropped off the bags in the hall.

"No complaints here," he smiled and brought Rory in for a hug with one arm. He gave her a kiss, and proceeded to drop the bags completely as he took her with two arms now to dip her back.

"Wow, you guys are nauseating. Were Luke and I this bad when we were just married?"

"Well, you had Will. It was a different kind of nauseating. More like 'Ew, she has baby throw up on her shirt' nauseating," Rory informed her, as she recovered herself from Tristan's prior actions.

"Funny."

"So, where is the little terror?" Tristan followed.

"Oh, he's helping his daddy close the diner."

"Aren't there child labor laws for that kind of thing?"

"He likes to fill the ketchup containers," Lorelai giggled.

"He's definitely your child," Rory commented. She looked around the room and furrowed her brow for a moment obviously in thought.

"Mom? Why aren't we staying at the Inn?"

"What do you mean?"

"Well, usually we get Will's room and he stays with you, but he's three now. There's not enough room."

"Well, there's something I wanted to talk to you about. We should all sit."

"Okay," Rory eyed Tristan who gave her a questioning look. Rory shrugged and they sat down on the couch with Lorelai.

"So, here's the deal. Since it's Christmas, we're having some family come, in addition to the two of you."

"Like Grandma and Grandpa?"

"No, they live too close as it is. I swear, the dream of parents retiring to Florida is a pipedream," Lorelai began to tangent.

"So, who's coming?"

"Jess."

"Jess? But he—oh, God, he's family!" Rory slowly realized.

"Now, he's staying at the Inn, and Luke and I were going to volunteer to give you our room, so there wouldn't be any, weirdness for you. But it's up to you. You can stay where ever. I know you haven't had to see him. He wasn't able to get off work for our wedding, then he's been going to his mom's for the major holidays—he usually comes when you guys aren't here. But Liz and TJ are going to be out of town this year. I'm sorry."

"No, don't be silly. We'll go to the Inn."

"Rory, are you sure?"

"Are we talking about Jess, the Jess that you dated before we started going out?"

"Yeah, that's him. Luke's nephew."

"Well, it's up to you, babe. I don't even know the guy."

"Seriously, it won't be weird. I bet we barely see him there."

"Well, and he'll be here a lot. Just to warn you. I didn't know until yesterday, or I would have called you."

"I'm fine. It's so in the past, I'm sure we'll all get along fine," Rory assured her mom. She turned to Tristan and smiled.

"You want me to put the bags in the car, don't you?"

"Well, you were the one that took them out," she pointed out smiling.

"You're SO making it up to me later," he informed her, smirking.

"Oh, get a room! Wait, you have one. Use it!"

"Thanks mom. We'll see you for breakfast?"

"Yeah, yeah. Will and I will be at the diner bright and early."

"That sounds wrong, still, coming from you."

"Well, you try to sleep with a three year old that shares genes with 'up at the crack of dawn' Luke."

Rory laughed at her mom and hugged her, "See you tomorrow. Give Will a kiss for me."

Lorelai nodded and watched them leave for the Inn. She felt bad for springing Jess' staying for the holidays on her, but there wasn't anything she could do. Sighing, she went upstairs and got ready for bed so she'd be ready to put Will down and relax with Luke for a while when they got home.

Rory and Tristan pulled up outside the Inn and he turned off the car. He turned to her and noticed her far away look.

"Hey, you okay?"

"I'm good."

"You're okay with all of this? You had to figure we'd be at the Inn this time. Will's getting big."

"It's not staying at the Inn. I love the Inn."

"Is it the Jess thing?" Tristan hedged.

"No, I mean, yeah, it'll be awkward for a little bit seeing him again, but he's Luke's family. I don't still feel anything for him. I love you. Come on, husband, let's go in and I'll rub your sore muscles. Poor baby, carrying my bags all over the place," she leaned into Tristan and grazed his lips with hers. He breathed her in and suddenly she pushed her door open and she was gone. Shaking his head with laughter, he followed her into the Inn.

"Wow. I can't believe she gave us the honeymoon suite!" Rory flopped on the bed.

"Well, you know she just reserved it thinking she and Luke would be here."

"Let's not think about that, shall we?" Rory pulled him down on the bed with her, and soon all other thoughts were forgotten. They wrapped up in the other's arms and he started nuzzling the place on her neck that drove her crazy. She moved a little so he could have better access to her. They got lost in each other until they heard a loud knock at the door. Tristan jumped up off of his wife, and grabbed the robe off the hook on the door to the bathroom. He barely had closed it around himself as he opened the door that was still being knocked on.

"Can I help you?" Tristan didn't recognize the man standing before him, and he definitely didn't work at the Dragonfly.

"I was just wondering if you guys could keep it down. I've had a really long day, and I'm trying to sleep."

"Sorry, man, we'll be quieter," Tristan smiled and stepped back from the door to close it, but Rory was suddenly standing beside him, coming out from under his arm that was arched in the door frame.

"Jess?"

"Rory."

Tristan looked from his wife to the man in front of him. There was definitely a vibe, but he couldn't really read it. No one spoke for a moment, until he coughed slightly to clear his throat.

Rory snapped out of her thoughts and blushed, realizing the situation she was in. Here she stood with only a robe on, next to Tristan, also wearing just a robe, and Jess was right there asking them to be quieter while they made love. She wanted to crawl under a rock, but since that wasn't happening, she hesitantly began introductions.

"Oh, Jess, this is Tristan, my husband. Tristan, this is Jess, Luke's nephew."

Jess' expression cringed a bit when she said 'Luke's nephew', but stuck out his hand to Tristan. Tristan shook his hand, and nodded, noticing the grimace.

"Well, we'll be quieter, and let you get back to sleep. Nice to meet you," Tristan offered, starting to back out of the doorframe.

"So, I guess I'll see you guys tomorrow?" Jess asked Rory, still standing there staring at him.

"Yeah, we're meeting mom at the diner in the morning."

Jess nodded and walked off, leaving Rory still in the doorframe. She turned around slowly and shut the door behind her. Tristan looked at her, wondering what she was thinking, but she simply came and sat next to him on the bed.

"Well, that was embarrassing," she finally spoke.

"Why?"

"Why? Tristan, one of my old boyfriends had to come over and shush our sex."

"So?"

"Okay, I know to you this is a 'Yippee' kind of a moment, but it's embarrassing for me. God, he must have heard everything! He heard me—oh, God!" she turned and buried her face into Tristan's chest at the thoughts of what she had said just moments before.

"Keep that up, Rory, and he'll have to come back over here," Tristan teased.

"Seriously, you can't see how this is embarrassing?"

"Nope. Come on, we need to have some quiet sex." He moved closer to her and leaned down towards her mouth.

"We can't have sex now," she shook her head defiantly.

"I just said we would be quieter. I never said we'd stop."

"Tristan!" Rory squealed as he grabbed her around the waist and pulled her up and under him on the bed. They heard pounding on the adjacent wall, and both started laughing, trying to muffle the noise into the many pillows on the king sized bed.

The next morning, Rory and Tristan showed up at the diner to find Lorelai and Will sitting at the counter. Will was in Lorelai's lap and slid down to run and jump on Rory when he saw them.

"Rory!"

"Will! Man, you're getting big!" she commented as she picked him up and swung him around.

"You brought Tristan!" Will exclaimed, holding his arms out to Tristan. He took Will from Rory and laughed, mussing up the kid's hair.

"Well, he is my husband. And he gets mad when I come to see you and don't bring him," she assured her little brother.

Rory hugged her mom, who stood up and grabbed her coffee.

"Let's move to a table, I usually don't hog a whole one without you, but we're having a crowd today."

They sat down and ordered. Tristan took Will to the bathroom to wash his hands and Rory turned to her mom and began to whisper in a low tone.

"Mom, you didn't mention Jess would be in the next room."

Lorelai cringed, not realizing she'd forgotten to mention that.

"It was the last room we had," she whispered back, apologetically.

"Well, he showed up at our door to shush us."

"To shush you? What was your TV up too loud?"

"NO! We were, you know!"

"Eww! And he came to shush you?"

"It was embarrassing enough last night, I don't want to talk in detail about it now."

"I'm so sorry. Geez, how loud ARE you guys?"

"Mom! Stop."

"Alright, alright."

Luke brought out all the food and sat down to eat with the group, just as Tristan brought Will out of the bathroom. The door jingled again, and Jess stepped inside. Will rushed past the table and jumped on Jess.

"JESS!"

"Hey, Will," Jess hugged the child, carrying him over to the table.

"Whaddya' bring me?"

"Hey, do I have to bring you something every time I come?"

"No, but you always do," Will pointed out.

"True. It's in my bag. You can have it after you eat."

"If that's more loud punk rock, I swear to God, Jess," Luke commented.

"What, the kid has taste."

Rory watched on as Jess put Will down in his booster seat next to Lorelai. She couldn't believe that after all this time, of Luke and Lorelai being together, that she hadn't realized that Jess was a part of this picture. That he had bonded with her little brother. She shook herself out of the daze she was in and grabbed Tristan's hand, squeezing it a little. He squeezed it back, and the group began to eat their breakfast. Everyone got busy, in conversation, helping Will with his food, and Luke popping up every now and then to help Caesar when the rush got busier.

Later that evening, they were all sitting around the Gilmore living room, with Sookie, Jackson and their two kids. Sookie was pregnant with a third, and was getting tired really easily. Davey was four and Anna was two. They played well with Will, and the adults had barely seen them as they'd been off playing in Will's room all evening while the adults talked and drank eggnog. Various townspeople and neighbors had been by all evening, dropping off gifts, visiting with Rory as she rarely got home from New York as much as she'd like. By the end of the evening, Lorelai helped Sookie and Jackson to the car with all the left over food and children. She came back in and said goodnight to Rory, Tristan, Jess and turned to Will.

"Come on, big guy. Bed time."

"I want Tristan to put me to bed."

Lorelai looked at Tristan and shrugged. "Guess it's all you. Mom means nothing now that you guys are here. Jess brings presents, and you give him coffee—it's not my fault Luke won't let me give it to him!" She gave Will and Rory a kiss before heading upstairs to join Luke.

Tristan picked up Will in a fireman's carry and headed back towards Rory's old bedroom to get him ready for bed. Rory sat holding the last of her eggnog and seemed to be studying the cup. Jess sighed and started to stand up.

"I guess I'll be going now."

"Oh, you don't have to, I mean, you can hang out for a while, if you want."

Jess sat back down and stared at his hands. Rory finally looked up at him and noticed his discomfort.

"So, Jess, how've you been?"

"Good, really good. I'm working at a publishing house in New York. I'm graduating in May."

"Graduating from where?"

"NYU."

"Oh, wow. Congratulations," she offered, a little taken aback. She had no idea he was in school.

"Thanks."

"So, when did you come back to New York?"

"Four years ago. I stayed in California for a year and then came out for college."

"I heard your mom got married."

"Yeah. I'd just gotten back in town. I walked her down the aisle."

"That's nice."

"Yeah, I guess. We're getting along better now."

"I'm sorry this is weird."

"What?"

"This isn't weird for you?"

"Well, sort of. I guess I didn't expect you guys to be here, I know that sounds stupid. You never are when I'm here."

"Yeah, me too. I was surprised you and Will were so close."

"Does that bother you?"

"No, no it doesn't. I was just surprised."

Jess nodded. He looked at Rory and smiled.

"He's great, I mean, for a little kid. I take him sometimes, to let them have some alone time."

"You take him alone in New York?"

"Yeah, it gets the girls' attention," Jess joked.

"So, are you seeing anyone?"

Serious again, he shrugged. "A few people, nothing serious really."

Rory nodded. This was getting weirder by the minute for her and she wished Tristan would appear again so they could leave.

"So I hear you got married."

"Yep, six months ago." Rory held up her ring for him to see, then took it down into her lap quickly, remembering who she was talking to.

"Well, you look happy," Jess offered.

"Tristan's wonderful,"

"I'm glad you're happy, Rory. That's why I left."

Rory looked at him suddenly, full on into his eyes. He looked sad and happy all at the same time. She hadn't expected those words to come out of his mouth; she thought they were so ungracefully dancing around that topic. Just as she opened her mouth to say something, Tristan came into the living room.

"Will insisted I put the CD on that you brought him, and he wouldn't let me turn off the light until I did," Tristan laughed, coming into the now silent room. Rory looked up at Tristan, standing to join him.

"Sounds like you have him hooked on your music," Rory commented to Jess.

"I try."

"We should get going."

"Yeah. You coming, Jess?"

"Nah, I'm going to read here for a little while. I'll see you guys later."

"Night, Jess."

"Night."

With that, Tristan helped Rory on with her coat and they headed for the inn. She snuggled up against Tristan that night in bed, listening to his heart and breathing in his unique scent. She was far from sleep, just enjoying lying in her husband's arms.

"Hey, you asleep?" he whispered.

"Nope."

"Me either. Today was fun. I miss having Will around."

"Me too."

"Was it weird for you, seeing Jess close with him?"

"A little. Maybe I'm stupid, but honestly it never occurred to me that he hung out there."

"From what you told me, he didn't like the town or anyone in it much."

"He didn't."

"Well, everyone grows up."

"So, your mom and grandfather are coming to Friday night dinner this week, right?" Rory asked, changing the subject.

"Yeah. Watch out, last time I talked to mom, she was on the 'I want my grandchild, and soon' kick."

"We just got married!"

"We were engaged a long time. Waiting it out for school and all. She's baby crazy."

"Lorelai's fine."

"She's got Will."

"True enough. This is going to be a weird visit, all over, isn't it?"

"It's looking that way."

"We could just run back to New York."

"They all know where to find us."

Rory sighed and leaned up to kiss Tristan. He wrapped his arms around her tightly and they lay there, enjoying the quiet moments that they hadn't had any of since they left New York the day prior. 'Yes,' she thought to herself, 'This is going to be one strange holiday'.