Disclaimer: Own stuff? Me? You've gotta be kidding. Own Gilmore Girls? Want a one-way ticket to an insane asylum?
Author's Note: Part 1, Wherein Cadenza Lets It Be Known That She Will Be Writing More: I'm giving up reading fanfiction for Lent. Eep. So much fic withdrawal. Of course, that means all the more time for my muse to work, so while you can't expect any more reviews from me, you can theoretically expect more work from me. Part 2, Wherein Cadenza Lets It Be Known She Is Considering Beta-Reading: Drop me a line in your review if you need a beta-reader. I'm not guaranteeing I'll read for you (one of the things I want to do is make sure I'm beta-ing things that get me excited about beta-ing, so that I do justice with my edits), but I'll think about it. Part 3, Wherein Cadenza Lets It Be Known She Needs a Beta-Reader: Yes, I need one. Please. Please please please please. Preferably someone who enjoys my writing and thinks they can connect to it. Drop me a line in review also, please. (If you don't want to beta for me forever, I could use it for...this story and another short I've recently written, plus an as-of-yet-unwritten Literati Fic Exchange Fic...and that could be the end of it? Hell, I'll even take a beta just for this fic.) Part 4, Wherein Cadenza Apologizes for Such a Long Author's Note And Gets On With The Fic: Sorry. Fic now.
The Word For This
Logan Huntzberger is good with his hands. He knows how to say "I care" (a hand on the shoulder that brushes lightly as he walks away), how to say "I'll take care of you" (with arm cradled around shoulder, fingers curved into the top of her arm), how to say "I respect you" (with a light hand, pressed into the small of her back, touching, releasing: guiding), how to say "I want you" (a myriad of ways that brook no description). He's never had to say "I love you," but he thinks he might be able to say that, too, when the time comes. He knows what he's doing, with hands.
Logan is not so good with words. He hides behind them, uses them to mock and to flirt and to curve into little pleasantries, but only when it's easy. Only when the words have a formula.
He wonders what his father, Mitchum Huntzberger, the newspaper magnate, the man who left his father's steel business at twenty-four to start the largest news empire in the western hemisphere, sees in words. For Logan, they can't seem to shape themselves into important things. They say too much, or too little. They get in the way.
Rory Gilmore, on the other hand, is good with words. She masticates words as if they are quitting haute couture. She knows the meaning of "osculate," and "frenetic," and "butt-faced miscreant." She doesn't have to look up any of the vocabulary for The Scarlet Letter.
Words are easy. Rory can make them mean what she wants to. She can twist them and use them and string them together for daisy chains.
It's why she likes newspapers. Rory has known media practically since birth, has known the importance of being involved in and understanding the world. She's been known to find C-SPAN addictive. She's been known to listen to NPR. But with newspapers, it's all words--truths and images and lies in a telepathic link from writer to reader. The words have a translucent quality to them--whoever said "Today's papers make tomorrow's fish wrappers" (and maybe it wasn't anybody at all, just her) was right--they only exist for today. Tomorrow everything changes.
Rory is afraid of that in real life, but she likes it in words. They're safe and dangerous at the same time, and they're powerful. She understand them.
But there are no words for this.
Rory drives back to Yale at ten o' clock on a Sunday night. The roads are icy; she's extra-careful. She's tired. Friday night, her non-relationship with her dad blew up in her face. After she came from visiting him, while her mom stayed at her dad's house, she crept into her little bed in her old room and cried herself to sleep. The next morning, she helped her mother lie to Luke. She pretended everything was okay. She stayed up late and watched movies with Lorelai.
Now, she just wants to sleep until everything is okay again, and she has no reason to feel guilty for anything. She curls up under the covers, sets her alarm clock for 6:30, and squeezes her eyes shut.
It's just her luck that the first person she sees the next morning, bleary from lack of sleep, pre-coffee, and on her way to a tedious eight AM lecture, is Logan Huntzberger.
"Well, my darling Ace," he says, smiling. Rory fights the failing eyesight that is giving her a double Logan--one is more than enough--and sighs.
"What do you want, Logan?"
"Why, Ace, nothing more than the pleasure of your scintillating company." He smirks at her.
"Been ruining your rep in a library again?" she returns. "They can't have taught you big words like that here; you don't show up in any class except mine."
For someone barely at truce with words, he hears her unspoken ones particularly well. (Perhaps he reads her body; he knows bodies.)
"All right. I get it. I'll leave you alone." He turns to leave.
She's suddenly feeling guilty again, damn it all. "It wasn't you. I just had...one of those weekends and it's Monday and barely seven AM and I don't have any coffee!"
"Ah," he says, and stops. Maybe he doesn't read her so well after all. He settles on the practical, the physical, what he can understand easily enough. "We can fix that, you know, Ace. You'll let me buy you coffee, my effervescent wit will distract you from your weekend, you'll hit up your eight o' clock class, and then you'll head back to your dorm and sleep it all off."
She is hit by another ping of...something. She can't define the tangle of emotions well enough to understand what she's thinking or how to act. Suddenly, she doesn't want to be alone; at least with Logan they'll be verbal. Words will mean certain things, and they won't shift out from under her at inopportune times.
She nods quickly and turns toward the nearest coffee kiosk. Logan is there beside her, then, and he lays a light hand on her near shoulder. "This way," he says and motions his head in the other direction.
They end up at the pub, comfortably nestled in the half-darkness. Rory sips her coffee idly and stares out across the seats. She thinks that all the time she's ever spent with Logan before has been spent drunk, insane, or arguing. It's almost awkward, sitting in silence. She would talk, but she doesn't know what to say.
Logan finally speaks. "So, Ace, what keeps you up on a Saturday night? Book-sniffing? Midnight rendezvous?"
"It was Friday, and my grandfather died," she answers automatically.
"What? Surely I would have...my parents...why didn't you say that before?"
"My dad's father. Straub Hayden."
Logan lets this roll through his brain for a second: the tangled relationships in his own family, the confusion of loss. His hand moves to cover hers, his fingertips resting against the top of her wrist. "That's..." he says, and finishes with the only thing he can think of. "Complicated." He turns her hand over and plays his fingertips against her palm.
"Yeah," Rory agrees. She meets his gaze and wonders what he is thinking, feeling the slip and catch of his fingertips at the base of her own. She looks down and takes another sip of her coffee.
Rory blinks back a few more tears, but her nonverbal thoughts are beginning to calm and her brain holds a pleasant thrumming that comes from the heat of Logan's skin. She thinks: nothing has changed, really. And she will not hurt her father that way again. She looks at the people ordering coffee, pancakes, morning food. She order doughnuts and more coffee, and Logan holds her hand silently while she eats.
When she's finished, he grins and says, "So school isn't really that important to you, huh? Or else you're just turning all Anne Blythe-y on me." She turns a questioning glance on him, wondering where in hell he picked up Anne of Green Gables.
"You're skipping class."
She jerks away from him and lifts her bag as if to go, but he snatches her purse from the base of her chair with a deft foot and rips the novel from where he knows it is located. "If you leave, I'm holding Dostoyevsky hostage!" he crows. "And I'm blasting Taking Back Sunday outside your room every morning for a month."
"No!" Rory cries, but she's smiling as she grabs for the book Logan is holding conveniently out of reach.
He shakes her purse and feels around for something else. "What's this? Kafka? Doing the Eastern European tour, are we?"
"Butt-faced miscreant?" he supplies, smirking, while she gasps and snatches alternately after The Brothers Karamazov and The Metamorphosis.
"You...lily-livered, knock-kneed, addlepated varlet!"
"Wait a second. Do you mean to say you just called me a wimpy, confused...knight's assistant?" He can only hold the straight face for a second before they both dissolve into laughter.
She's never seen him laugh, not really. It makes him helpless and beautiful, the way his eyes crinkle up and his head rolls. Her ill temper and confusion vanish with the laughter and the cafeeine, and she understands what she's feeling again. There's a word for this one: amusement, giddiness, joy, glee. Happiness.
She never does make it to her lecture; she doesn't go back to bed either.
She doesn't particularly mind.