Title:  Love Equals Sacrifice

Author: LadyCommish

Disclaimer: I don't own the characters or the first two and a half pages of dialogue.  Everything beyond that and the thoughts during the conversation is all mine.  Read and review.

Rory was shocked to see Jess come through the doors of her dorm room, especially on this particular night, the night of his mother's wedding.  But after two years, nothing that Jess did should have surprised her. 

"I need to talk to you," Jess announced ignoring Dean's presence all together. 

"Jess," Dean says as if he's about to explain something to him, something that is hard to understand.

"I need to talk to you," Jess repeated with more emphasis.

"What's going on here?" Dean asked Rory like she was supposed to know.

"What are you doing here?" Rory asked him, confused and angry that Jess was once again showing up in her life for the last two times he'd shown up he'd left her shattered.  This day had been bad enough.

"Rory, please," Jess says, he seems desperate to talk, but is trying to hide it behind a stern mask and calm voice.

"Rory?" Dean asks a question in his voice, as if he was asking Rory what she wanted to do, more precisely what she wanted him to do.

Rory ran a hand through he hair nervously, "Go," she says to Dean, "Go home."

"No," Dean said plainly.

"Yes," Rory countered, "Go, you should go."

Dean left as he was told to, angrily pushing the door to the dorms as he went.

"Why won't you leave me alone?  You won't go away," Rory complained once Dean was gone.

"Rory," Jess began, but she interrupted him, "What do you want?"

"I don't know," Jess replied, not able to hold her gaze steadily, "I just…wanted to see you, talk to you…" he looked away again, his voice was tight with the emotions in his throat, "I just…"

"What?" Rory pressed.

Jess took a deep breath, "Come with me," he said simply.

"What?" Rory asked not believing what she'd heard.

"Come with me," Jess repeated more forcefully this time, as if he was now convinced this was the right thing to say.

"I don't know," he replied, "away," he said, motioning with his hand, suddenly not so sure of his plan once again.

"Are you crazy?" Rory asked, that idea seemed logical to her.  This was by far the nuttiest thing Jess had ever come up with and there had been some nutty things.

"Probably," he answered, partially convinced of that himself, "Do it.  Come with me.  Don't think about it," he told her.  Rory thought about things too much.

"I can't do that," she answered as if it was the most ridiculous thing she'd ever heard of before she turned and retreated into her dorm room.  Jess followed her, still pleading his case.

"You don't think you can do it, but you can.  You can do whatever you want," Jess said in a rush, his heart pounding in his breast, waiting to be broken.  He should just leave now, but he couldn't without fighting a little harder.

"It's not what I want," Rory told him, she was certain that this was not it for her.

"It is," Jess insisted, "I know you," he declared.

"You don't know me," Rory protested trying to move away from him. 

Jess intercepted her path and reached out to touch her arm, "Look, we'll go to New York," he said, making a plan up out of his head, "We'll work, we'll be together, it's what I want, it's what you want too," he told her, hoping that if he made that existence attractive enough, he could make her want to be with him.

"No," Rory said flatly.

"I…I want to be with you, but not here," he gestured to her dorm room, "not Stars Hollow," Jess hated that town.  "We have to start knew," he told her, wanting desperately to convince her.

"There's nothing to start," Rory argued, not able to think of logical reasons why this was not a good idea. She knew there were about a hundred of them, but with Jess in her face, yelling at her like this.

Jess looked around the room, "But you're packed, you're stuff is all in boxes. It's perfect, you're ready," he told her, "And I'm ready.  I'm ready for this, you can count on me now.  I know you couldn't count on me before, but you can now, you can!" Jess voice was beginning to crack with the intense emotion he was showing Rory.  His heart was on his sleeve, he was letting her know, like the book said.  All he wanted was reciprocation. 

"No," Rory said again, trying not to have to look at him when she said it.

Jess was not rebuked, "Look, you know we're supposed to be together.  I knew it the first time I saw you, two years ago. And you know it too, I know you do," Jess tried to appeal to their history.  They had been happy once.

"No," Rory said again, blinking at tears forming, her voice cracking a little as she continued to deny him, "No, no, no, no, no, no…"

"Don't say no just to make me stop talking or make me go away," Jess almost begged, "Only say no if you really don't want to be with me." Jess said this aloud, but to himself he said, "If you say no, I'll leave and never burden you again."

"No," Rory said, only one time.  The word echoed in his head.  Jess backed away, swallowing hard.  He wouldn't cry in front of Rory; he'd lost enough of his pride all ready.

Jess couldn't see through the tears.  Rory's rejection had actually made him cry.  He knew before he even started that Rory wouldn't go for it, but he expected a list of rational objections rather than out and out refusal.  It was cruel, he tone was actually cruel, but what could he expect after what he'd done.  He'd bailed on her twice.  Twice.  Only a first rate jerk would do that twice.

Jess sighed heavily and got into his car.  If Rory couldn't reciprocate his feelings he didn't need her. He was Jess Mariano, he didn't need anyone.

Yale University – Dorms

Rory was blinded by tears that fell as Jess left. He couldn't have picked a worse time to come to Yale.  First semester in the middle of finals week would have been a better time to come to Yale.

Rory couldn't believe Jess.  He wanted her to go away with him.  Now, after all this time and on a day when Dean was there and with that lousy date.  It was just like Jess to do that, to show up out of the blue like that and declare not his only his love, but his new found ability to commit to her.  And she'd rejected him, and not easily, but blatantly.  She hurt him, and part of her regretted that.

Luke's Apartment

The ringing phone jolted Luke out of a sound sleep.  It wasn't often that he got into a deep sleep like this after seeing Lorelai, which pretty much meant that he never got into a deep sleep, but tonight, for once he had. It took him a few minutes to notice that the phone was in fact ringing.

"Hello," Luke said groggily, "Yes, this is Luke Danes," he paused and listened.  "What happened?  How bad is it?" he asked his heart in his throat.

"I'll be there as soon as I get some clothes on," Luke said hanging up the phone.  "As soon as I get some clothes on…"

Luke couldn't believe it.  Jess had been fine.  He was on his way back to New York, to his apartment, why was he in an accident a few miles away from Yale University.

It came back to him then, "You have to let the other person know you appreciate them so you don't create barriers…"  Jess was hoping for reciprocation, just not his.  He was hoping for reciprocation from Rory.

Without thinking Luke dialed the phone, Lorelai had to know.  If it was as bad as the nurse said, Rory had to know.

Gilmore Residence

The phone rang interrupting the orgasm scene from When Harry Met Sally.  Lorelai hesitated to answer it, she didn't want any interruptions.  She didn't want this wonderful post dancing with Luke mood to perish.  She checked the caller ID built into the phone.  It was Luke.

"Hello," Lorelai answered, as casually as she could.

"Lor," Luke sounded terrible.

"Hey," she said gently, "What's wrong?"

"Hospital called, Jess was in an accident.  Unconscious and…Oh God, Lor…" Luke's voice trailed off.

"You stay there, okay; I'll be right over to the diner.  I'm going to drive you," she told him.  "I'll be ten minutes."

Lorelai changed her clothes and was about to leave when Rory nearly charged into the living room, "I am free," she proclaimed, "Free."

"Rory," Lorelai said, in shock, she didn't expect her daughter to get home so early.

"Hey, Mom," she greeted, "You'll never believe who showed up at my dorm."

"Jess," Lorelai answered, all ready knowing in her heart why Jess' car was near Yale.

"How did you…"

"Rory, Sweetie, sit down okay?" Lorelai told her.

"Mom, what is it?  What's going on?" Rory asked, taking a seat.

"Luke called," Lorelai told her, "Jess was in a terrible accident.  I was just on my way to Luke's.   Honey, he may not make it."

Rory took a deep breath, then quickly rose from her seat on the couch, "Let's go."

End Chapter One