He kissed her lips softly, and as he pulled back for a moment it seemed as if they had adhered in mere seconds as his lips seemed to pull off of hers like a piece of Velcro that someone was trying to be pull apart slowly. She moved back towards him, putting her hands on his face and holding him gently in place; not wanting the moment to end. A single tear slipped down her cheek, in honor of the auspicious occasion; a true tear of joy.

She'd always thought that line was cheesy, 'You may now kiss the bride.' She hated to watch people kiss, it was really only tolerable for her once, and that was at her mother's wedding.

There were flowers woven all into her hair, put there by Ms. Patty and Rory. Her long flowing white dress was blowing in the light breeze on the warm autumn afternoon. Leaves of gold and orange rustled amongst the legs of the group gathered to watch the joyous event. Lorelai had never looked more beautiful, more in love than she did at this very instant, and Rory knew that Luke was the reason for her glow. She held her mother's bouquet of flowers along with her own small bunch, watching as Luke kissed her mother at the minister's blessing. She watched in awe as the union became truly sealed with their actions. She felt a twinge of jealously, knowing she'd never been able to hang on to that type of love.

She broke her gaze at her mother, moving her eyes quickly over the crowd just in case. She wondered if he might show up, not to be anything as obvious as a best man, but perhaps sneaking into the last row to support his uncle. But she'd had no such luck. He wasn't here, and she couldn't even look get a look at his hair that he'd neglected a little too long, and was now reaching his eyes in length. She wouldn't get to ignore him until the feelings bubbled up in her to the degree that it became necessary to grab him and pull him into the Inn, yelling at him for leaving all the times he had left her and packing a hasty bag to join him where ever it was he would have to get back to.

He wasn't giving her that chance. He stayed away, making it possible for her to smile at her mother, hand off the bouquet and follow their lead in the recessional down the aisle.

Today she understood. He was kissing his bride, claiming his girl as it were, and promising that come hell or high water, he wouldn't leave her. He deserved her now, though she had never doubted that at all.

When he pulled back from her at long last, he wiped the tear from her cheek and rejoined her hands in his as they turned to face the small crowd that had gathered to bear witness to their wedding. He looked immediately back at her, this radiant woman. She'd never looked happier—she had a glow that seemed to start from somewhere deep inside of her. In that dress, she looked like a vision from the past, though she was very much a symbol of times to come. Immediately he remembered of the day he'd seen her look the same, but with a much sadder look to her eyes. As if they were on some quest that they rest of her wasn't making.

He listened to the ceremony from beside the stables, feeding the horses sugar cubes first so they wouldn't give away his hiding place by their whinnying. He was truly happy for his uncle; at least one of them had finally pulled it together enough to go after what they wanted.

Not that he hadn't tried. He'd just done too much in the past to expect her to come away with him three years before. She would be a senior this year in college, preparing to go out into the real world and prosper. For the first time and without him. He'd been in the real world, for 19 of his 21 years. The two years he spent in Stars Hollow couldn't be counted as real world living; it was too sheltered, too full of hope. New York was raw, real and where he was faced daily with what his life was meant to be. A series of people, floating in and out of his life, working menial jobs and not giving a shit about anything or anyone.

Except the people that remained here, in this storybook land. His uncle that had done too much for him, he would always be there to support him. He'd called Luke, told him he would be there even if Luke didn't see him. A promise is a promise, and Luke hadn't fought him on it because of her. Neither of them wanted to upset these girls for whom the whole world turned.

So he leaned against the side of the stable, listening to ohh's and ahh's from the crowd after the minister told Luke to kiss Lorelai. He could imagine the look of pride and joy on Rory's face, and he couldn't help himself from sneaking a look, since he knew she would be focused on the happy couple.

What he hadn't gathered on was her look of desperation. No one else seemed to catch it; no one else was focused on her. Everyone was watching the bride be kissed. He saw it though. He saw her scan every face in the crowd twice, in just a matter of moments as if she knew exactly what she was seeking but couldn't find it. He let himself believe she was looking for him for about a half a heartbeat, but pushed the thought away as he slipped back into his hiding place, lest she look far enough back to see his form in the shadows. He struggled against leaving the safety of his spot, to go to her as she reached the end of the aisle created by rows and rows of chairs for the well-wishers. He wanted to show himself to her, offering himself up for her to dismiss one last time on the off-chance that look in her eyes, the wild need in them, was for him. He took a deep breath and watched as she disappeared back into the Inn. He closed his eyes just for a moment before turning and walking down the path that led to his car.

Today there was no sadness in those blue eyes. He wondered exactly what shade her eyes would be called, if that color had even been named. He once told her they should be named for her, as it was the only place he'd ever seen such brilliant shades of blue in his life. Today, as she looked into his eyes, they shone with unusual clarity. He realized then and there that they'd forgotten to bring a camera, to commemorate the event. He knew he'd always be able to see the look on her face in his memory, but he wanted to be able to capture it in more tangible means. So he couldn't forget a single aspect of her. He was just about to ask Luke to find one when he heard the sound of snapping going off in front of them. Lorelai was frantically snapping photos with a digital camera and it appeared that his mother was standing next to her, with a disposable camera, doing the same.

"Your mom came," Rory breathed, just loud enough for him to hear, just as taken aback with the sudden paparazzi action.

"Yeah," he said, unsure as to what it meant, but sounding pleased at the same time.

The group was herded out into the hallway on the other side of the judge's chambers, so he could get ready for the next couple. Rory and Jess were enveloped by their family, Jess' mom hugging both of them at the same time. Luke tried to pry her away from them a little, hugging her himself.

"You came," Jess blinked.

"Of course I came! I got your message a little late, and I had to stop by and get a camera. Jimmy called me just as I was leaving and told me to send pictures," she said, running her hand over his shoulder and down his arm. "You look very handsome," she added.

"Thanks," he muttered, surprised that she managed to show up, and wondering how she got past the Nazi nail-filing lady at the doors to the office. "Jimmy called you?"

"Well, we are still your parents. He just wanted to make sure one of us could be there. Said he was proud of you."

Jess blushed a little, a fact that didn't go unnoticed by Rory, even as she was hugging her grandparents goodbye. There were no plans made for after the wedding, and it was getting late. Chris had to get back to real life in Boston to sort out his life, Lane had to catch a plane back to California, and Liz had to get back down to New York for the late shift at work. Soon, Jess and Rory were left standing in the giant oak and marble hallway with Luke and Lorelai. There was a feeling of familiarity and slight awkwardness that moved through the air. Luke cleared his throat as he slipped his hand over Lorelai's.

"Anyone for pie?"

Rory smiled, slipping her hand into Jess. "Sounds good," she agreed, as they all moved towards the exit slowly.

They sat in the semi-lit diner, around one table, with an apple pie as a centerpiece. The aroma of cinnamon and the sweet fruit filled the air as they lifted glasses of champagne that Luke had pulled out from the back of the storeroom for the occasion.

"I'd like to say something," he announced to the small gathering. Jess raised an eyebrow, and Rory smiled warmly at him.

"I couldn't be prouder of either of you. I know this is a strange little family we've created here, but I want you both to know that it's what we are, a family. You're always welcome here."

"Luke," Jess stood up, setting him glass down. "Thank you. Lorelai, too. Thank you for not coming to get Rory the second she left. I know you had to have known that she was coming to me," he looked down at his shoes for a moment, "and I didn't deserve to have her. But if she hadn't come, we wouldn't be here, right now."

Lorelai couldn't hold tears in any longer. She stood, and grabbed Jess suddenly, a move that surprised everyone, including herself. She hugged him tightly, as strange as it felt to be so close to this man she'd never been closer than three feet to, and whispered five words in his ear.

"Take care of my baby," she pleaded, knowing for the first time in her heart that he would. She didn't have to worry about Rory anymore, and perhaps that's what she had been afraid of all this time.

By the time Jess and Rory were packed back up into the Jaguar, ready to head back home, night had long fallen on Stars Hollow. It started out clear and cold, but had warmed up slightly as clouds rolled overhead. Lorelai stood at Rory's side of the car, smiling, trying to capture this moment in her mind forever. Rory looking happier than words could describe, a newly married woman, about to head off on her honeymoon. She looked up as she saw Rory's gaze shift upward, and both shared a smile.

"Snow," Lorelai breathed joyously.

"The best things happen when it snows," she agreed with her mother's tone. She knew this conversation backwards and forwards.

"Promise to go walking in it when you get home," Lorelai asked.

"Promise."

"In about two hours?"

Rory nodded, blowing her mother a kiss as she rolled up the window. She looked over at Jess, who'd just gotten into the car after saying goodbye to his uncle, and sighed. He cocked his head at her and her hand went between his shoulder and his cheek, grazing the stubble that was beginning to form on his soft skin.

"Home?"

"Home," she agreed, settling in to watch the snow fall on the landscape as they drove home together.

AN: A happy little ending there for you all. Thanks to everyone who reviewed, you really embraced this fic, and for that, I'm grateful. It spurred me on, and kept me more than motivated. This is by far and away my favorite to write, and made me feel I could really do well Lit justice.