Disclaimer: Not mine, don't sue. I don't have anything good anyway ;)
A/N: Got bored and watched the end of season 4/beginning of season 5 and started wondering what would have happened if Lorelai didn't just stay in Stars Hollow while Luke went off to the Renaissance Fair. This is what came of my wandering mind.
A/N 2: In my little world here Rory never slept with Dean at the test run and therefore did not run off to Europe with Emily.
And a big thanks to Kris for beta-ing for me!
Lorelai couldn't remember the last Saturday where she just sat at home because there was absolutely nothing to do. She was currently sitting on the couch picking at a stale chocolate Pop-Tart trying to watch some television, but, as usual, there was nothing on. 'Probably because no one puts good things on TV when people are supposed to be out having fun,' Lorelai thought as she passed a crumb through her lips. 'Dumb TV.' Her thoughts were interrupted when her stomach rumbled loudly, protesting the stale Pop-Tart and asking for anything more substantial. She sighed to herself and ran through all of the fast food places around in her head, but nothing seemed appetizing. It didn't help that the only thing she was craving right then was a burger and coffee from Luke's, but she knew he wouldn't be there even if she went. He had left the day before to go to Maine to help Liz and TJ with their Renaissance Fair booth because they had both been in a car accident. Bad for both them and Lorelai. She wasn't used to the loneliness she was feeling, especially since Rory wasn't around either. She had gone back up to school the same day Luke had left, taking the last hope of an entertaining weekend with her.
Frustrated and starving, Lorelai finally gave in and grabbed her purse, heading for the diner. She entered in a hurry, requesting an extra large coffee and an extra greasy burger from Lane as she sat down at her usual place at the counter. Glancing around her for any sight of a flannel clad man in a baseball cap, Lorelai started sipping from the mug that Lane slid in front of her. "Luke's still gone, huh?" she asked.
"Yeah, he said he'd probably be about a week or so," Lane confirmed.
Lorelai nodded, but inwardly groaned. He was going to be gone a whole week while she was bored out of her mind with no one to talk to. Sure she had the inn to tend to, but it wasn't as much fun if Luke wasn't there at the end of the day to complain to. And there was that whole business of them kissing. Were they dating now? Lorelai didn't know their official status, but she did know that she missed him already and she didn't want them going back to the way things had been before. The kissing and the flowers had been great, and she wasn't going to let other people's lives get in the way of whatever was going on between them. She took a big bite out of her burger as she thought about what Luke was doing at that moment. It was around lunchtime, so he was probably eating at the fair, by himself as well. What was the point of both of them being alone on their first weekend 'together'? There was no point, so Lorelai abruptly got up out of her chair and threw down a couple of dollars next to her half full plate.
"Bye Lorelai," Lane said to her retreating back. Lorelai didn't even hear her.
She made it back to her house in record time, grabbed a duffle bag out of her closet and started shoving shirts and jeans inside, not even caring if anything matched. Then she headed into the bathroom grabbing everything she could see; a brush, some makeup, her toothbrush, and headed down the steps only stopping to grab her car keys. The engine revved to life, and Lorelai was off heading north toward Maine, head bopping to the music and a huge grin plastered on her face. She wasn't going to sit around and be bored when she knew the perfect person to keep her company: Luke.
About five hours later Lorelai caught sight of a sign on the highway advertising the "Most Authentic Renaissance Fair Around!" and she followed it until the Fair parking lot came into view. She found a spot fairly close to the entrance and hopped out of the Jeep cringing when she felt the dusty dirt crunch beneath her brand new pink shoes. She half considered taking them off and walking barefoot, but the ground was really dirty and she didn't think she wanted any of that grime on her feet, even if it meant getting her precious shoes filthy. Maybe Luke would help her clean them later? She could always hope. Making her way to the gate, Lorelai noticed that more people were leaving the Fair than were coming in.
A man dressed in period clothing stopped her at the gate opening. "The Fair doth close in one hour milady."
"Oh, okay thank you. I won't be long." Lorelai took a step forward to walk through the gate when the man's hand on her arm stilled her.
"Three dollars is the fee of viewing the treasures within."
"The treasures within?" Lorelai giggled a little, and the man pulled her a little closer.
"I could forget about that if you could let me in on some of your treasures," he said very much out of character as his hand stroked Lorelai's upper arm.
She pulled her arm out of his grasp immediately, a look of disgust on her face. She thrust her hand inside her purse and pulled out three dollar bills and threw them in the direction of the man, who was looking a little bit pissed and a lot like a weird hairy stalker guy, and walked as quickly as she could into the small crowd of people coming out from the first cluster of booths. 'What was with that guy?' she wondered as she looked all around her for anything resembling a jewelry stand. As she passed more and more booths, realization dawned on her that about every booth was selling some sort of jewelry and she had no idea if she was going to even be able to find Liz's booth at all. Just as she was about to brave another fair worker to ask for directions she noticed a very out of place guy in a flannel shirt with his back to her. She would recognize that backwards baseball hat, flannel, and body anywhere. It was Luke, and Lorelai was a little surprised that she had put Luke's body up with the things she could easily identify with him. Had she really been paying that much attention to the way his hair flipped out of the bottom of his hat, or the way his broad chest sometimes stretched the flannel he was wearing too tight making Lorelai want to just unbutton it a few notches, or the way his jeans fell on his ass in just the right way? Apparently she had.
Walking up quietly behind him, Lorelai snaked her arms around his waist causing him to jump and drop the tiny box of earrings he was holding. "Lorelai!" he said a little too loudly, clearly shocked at the sudden physical contact. "What are you doing here?"
"Wow Luke, it's good to see you too." She leaned down and started picking up the earrings off the ground. He knelt down and joined her, making sure that each earring had a match.
"Sorry, you know I'm glad to see you. I was just surprised is all." He looked around the ground for any more dropped pieces of jewelry, avoiding Lorelai's gaze. He was unsure if he was supposed to hug her or kiss her or give her a friendly pat on the back. She had gone straight for the physical, but that was just Lorelai. She was always touchy feely, and he really wasn't sure on their status. So he finally looked up and just settled for a friendly smile, a real smile. This gesture seemed to do for Lorelai because she smiled back, looking a little bashful and stood with her share of the earrings in her hand. He held out the box he had been holding them in before, and she placed each one in gently, still holding eye contact with Luke.
"Yeah well you better be glad I'm here," Lorelai said, breaking the silence, "because the super creepy guy at the front gate was going to let me in for free if I let him 'see my treasures' so if you don't want me here, I think I might still be able to catch him!"
Luke's mouth had practically come unhinged as Lorelai told her little story. He was mostly trying to figure out if she was messing with him or not, but then he remembered what the guy at the front gate looked like and realized she was probably dead serious. Just as the anger started rising a very obnoxious voice carried over to them from behind the curtain of Liz's booth, "Luuuuuke."
"Ah jeez," Luke sighed.
"Luuuuke, are you done with the jewelry yet? We don't got all night here you know, and I'm starved."
"Yeah TJ, I'll be done in a minute."
"I thought TJ broke a leg and an arm?" Lorelai asked, wondering why Luke was needed if TJ could still run the booth.
"Yeah he did, but he wanted to make sure I didn't 'embarrass' him on my first day, so he made me push him here in a wheelchair so he could 'supervise'."
"How sweet," Lorelai rolled her eyes slightly. TJ sure was something else. "So are you just taking down all this jewelry?"
"Want some help?"
"Sure, just put them in this box," Luke motioned to the small box he was still holding. They got to working and it took about five minutes to clear the booth of all jewelry, leaving it bare and ready for closing up. "We just have to put these back here and we're done." He walked behind the booth and Lorelai hesitated. He motioned for her to follow, "Come on."
"I get to go behind the booth? Cool!" She skipped her way to where Luke was staring at her with a silly look on his face. "It's like getting to go behind the cash register at the grocery store, or like going behind your counter at the diner!"
"You are easily amused," he said with a smirk.
"You're just realizing this now?"
"No, I just felt the need to tell you."
"Okay then." She was still smiling and so was Luke. "You know, I missed you while you were gone," she said softly.
"I only left yesterday you know."
"I know, but I'm used to seeing you everyday, sometimes several different times, so when I don't see you I miss you." She took a tiny step closer to him, never looking away from his eyes. "Did you miss me?" came her voice, barely above a whisper.
Luke wasn't really one for words, so he decided to let his actions speak and let her figure out for herself if he had missed her. He leaned down, closing the space between their faces to only centimeters, and brushed his lips lightly against hers. She took a step forward then, completely closing the remaining space, and pressed her lips against his firmly, letting her eyes flutter shut as the butterflies in her stomach started fluttering wildly.
"Luuuke," came the obnoxious voice again, "kissing the customers is not fair approved behavior."
Luke pulled away from Lorelai with a growl that she felt rumble down her throat before they had completely disconnected. Lorelai put a hand up to her lips and stepped out from behind Luke. "It's just me TJ."
"Oh hey Lorelai, I didn't know you were here," he said while trying to push his wheelchair closer to them with his one good arm.
"She just got here."
"Are you staying long?"
"I was thinking about staying for the night and going back tomorrow afternoon."
"You got a place to stay?"
"I actually haven't thought that far ahead," she said with a nervous laugh.
"Well, we've got plenty of room at our house; you should stay with us tonight."
"Oh, I don't want to put you out."
"It's no big deal, Luke could use some help with his caretaking skills anyway."
Luke huffed and Lorelai smiled, "Alright then, sure I'll stay!"
"Great, now Luke could you help me out here? We don't want to keep Liz waiting."
Luke sighed and stepped behind TJ, grabbing the handles of his wheelchair. Pushing him roughly, Luke stepped in front of Lorelai and motioned for her to follow. She tagged along behind them watching Luke's stiff posture; smiling to herself at how silly Luke looked pushing a full grown man dressed in renaissance clothing in a wheelchair. She would definitely have to file this one away for when Rory came home. As the trio hit a rough patch of rocky dirt, TJ winced loudly, "Luke, could you be a little bit more careful not to hit the rocks? I don't want to get some kind of shaken brain syndrome or anything."
"TJ, there are rocks everywhere I can't not hit them. And there is no such thing as shaken brain syndrome."
TJ turned his head to the side slightly, "See what I mean about the caretaking skills Lorelai? A kind, beautiful woman like yourself should be a big help around the house."
Lorelai sniggered and Luke just rolled his eyes. "You want to push yourself TJ?" spat Luke. TJ just gave Lorelai a knowing look and shut his mouth.
They made it to the gate in a matter of minutes, and as they walked by the gate attendant, Luke pulled Lorelai into his side, wrapping his arm around her tightly. He stared the guy down, and Lorelai leaned up to give him a peck on the cheek as the man's face turned bright red. They walked like that, with Luke's left hand pushing the wheelchair, his right arm around Lorelai, and Lorelai's left arm around Luke and her right pushing the other side of the chair until they reached Luke's truck. They both helped TJ into the passenger seat, and then slammed the door, finally out of earshot.
"So you want to follow me to Liz's?"
"Yeah, I just parked over there," she motioned a little farther down the parking lot.
"Okay, I'll wait for you here, just pull up behind me and honk."
Lorelai nodded and walked quickly to her Jeep, pulling up behind Luke a few seconds later. The drive to Liz and TJ's small home only took about five minutes, and soon she was again helping Luke support TJ and walk him into the house. Liz was just inside the front door, sitting on the couch with one bandaged arm resting on a pillow and one leg elevated on the coffee table. Her face broke into a smile when she saw that Lorelai was with the boys. "Lorelai! I didn't know you were coming up!"
Lorelai helped Luke set TJ down on the couch, and she made her way over to give Liz a hug. "Yeah, it was kind of a last minute thing; spur of the moment, you know."
"Any particular reason?" Liz was smirking and looking in Luke's direction. He rolled his eyes and turned to prop TJ's wheelchair on the wall next to the door.
"I was bored and lonely so I figured what better way to take up some time then to drive to Maine to visit Luke!"
Liz laughed, "You're not going to drive all the way back to Stars Hollow tonight are you?"
"TJ actually invited me to stay here, if that's okay with you."
"Oh of course it is! It'll be good to have another female around here for once."
"Well, it's my pleasure. Just let me know if you need any help."
"Hey Lorelai," Luke called from the door, "did you bring any bags with you?"
"You have to ask me that?" she asked smiling.
"Yeah, I should have known. Is the stuff in the jeep?"
"In the back, but I can get it."
"It's okay, I've got it. I have to get the mail anyway."
"Thanks Luke." He turned and walked back out the door as Lorelai sat on the couch next to Liz. "You've got a great little place here."
"It's cozy and a bunch of our friends from the fair live on the block; we got really lucky finding it."
Lorelai's eyes scanned the room, taking in her surroundings. She had always wanted to know more about Luke's family, and Liz was the only one who really knew family things about Luke. On first glance she didn't see any pictures or anything that jumped out at her, but she decided she'd have to have a look around later. Luke walked in the door just then, carrying her one small duffle bag and a little pile of mail.
"Lorelai I think you may have dropped a few pieces of luggage on the drive here because this one tiny, not so heavy bag is the only on in your car."
"I didn't lose any luggage, that's all I brought!"
Luke's face broke out into a shocked expression. "This is all you brought? You carry around more crap than this to go to town meetings."
"Well, I didn't have that long to pack and I'm only staying one night." She stood up to retrieve her bag from Luke's arm.
"That's never stopped you from carrying around everything you own before."
"Shush you!" She swatted his chest lightly and grabbed the bag slinging it over her shoulder. "Where should I put this?"
"Follow me upstairs." He started walking up the steps.
"Upstairs huh? Why Luke…"
"Don't even go there right now." Lorelai laughed and followed him until they reached the room at the top of the stairs. "This is my room, but you can have it tonight, I'll take the couch."
"Luke, you don't have to sleep on the couch because of me."
"It's really not a problem." Luke was avoiding her gaze; he was very uncomfortable talking about sleeping arrangements with her. They were just getting going on their relationship and he personally didn't want to ruin it before it even began by moving too quickly. "I know how you like your beauty sleep."
He was being very firm about sleeping on the couch, so Lorelai just let it go. "I have no choice in the matter; the beauty sleep is a necessity I'm afraid. If I don't get it, I'm like coffee without the caffeine which is just not a pretty picture."
"I didn't realize you even knew about coffee without caffeine."
"Oh I know about it Luke, I just don't like to talk about it. It's against my religion or something. Oh hey, speaking of coffee…you don't happen to have any here do you?" she smiled at him, just realizing that she hadn't had any coffee for hours.
"I'll go down and make you some; I have to start dinner anyway."
"You're making dinner? How domestic of you."
"If you want coffee you'll stop there," he threatened.
She zipped her lips with her finger and pointed to the bathroom. She pretended to brush her hair, trying to convey to Luke that she was going to freshen up without unzipping her lips.
He held up his thumbs, letting her know he got it. "Just come down when you're done." She nodded, and he walked out, shutting the door behind him.
-A few hours later-
Lorelai and Luke sat at the kitchen table downstairs after just helping Liz and TJ get into bed. "It's kind of a lot of work taking care of two broken adults."
"Yeah, just a little. And it doesn't help that one of the 'adults' has a personality of a five year old."
"Yeah, TJ is kind of giving me flashbacks of when Rory was like two." Lorelai yawned and laid her head down on the table. She felt Luke's hand rub her head soothingly and she sighed, realizing for the first time how tired she was.
"You want to go to bed?"
She looked up at him, ready to spout out the first joke she could think of, but she stopped herself short. Joking about their sleeping arrangements probably wasn't really a smart thing to do. "Yeah, sorry I'm such a party pooper tonight."
Luke stood up, taking Lorelai's hand and leading her toward the stairs. "Hey, it's no problem. I have to get up early for fair duty anyway." They walked hand in hand up to Luke's room where he finally let her go. "Let me just grab an extra blanket and pillow from the closet."
Lorelai sat down on the bed and watched him stretch onto his tip toes to reach the blanket and pillow on the very top shelf. His shirt came up just enough for her to catch a glimpse of his flat stomach, and she gulped loudly. Running a hand through her hair, she leaned back on the bed letting out a deep breath.
"You okay?" Luke asked.
She rolled over onto her stomach so she was facing him, "Yup, just tired."
"Okay, well goodnight Lorelai." Luke stood looking awkward for a second, but then decided to kiss her goodnight. He leaned down, capturing her lips quickly and pulling away just as fast. He smiled at the look on her face. It was tilted up slightly as she balanced herself on her forearms at the edge of the bed. Her mouth hung open slightly, her cheeks were flushed, and she was apparently speechless. He walked out the door and made it halfway down the stairs when he realized that he had forgotten to grab his pajamas from his room. Deciding to let Lorelai compose herself for a second, he deposited his makeshift bed supplies on the couch before heading back up to knock on the door softly. "Hey Lorelai, it's me. Can I come in?"
He heard a slight rusting from behind the door, and then Lorelai's head popped out. "Back so soon?"
"Yeah," Luke shuffled his feet, "I forgot my pajamas."
"That makes two of us." She opened the door and he walked inside.
"What do you mean?"
"I forgot to put pajamas in my little bag."
"Maybe that's why it was so light, you forgot to pack things in it!"
She shot him a look, "I remembered some things! Just not my pajamas."
"Okay, you can wear some of mine if you want." Luke went over to the small dresser and found the smallest pair of flannel pants and the smallest t-shirt he had. He laid them out on the bed for her. "These okay?"
She picked them up, looking them over quickly. "Yeah, perfect. Thanks."
Luke pointed toward the bathroom, "You mind if I just change in there really quick?"
"Nah, go ahead."
Luke turned and shut the bathroom door behind him. Lorelai didn't want to think about Luke getting undressed in the bathroom, so she decided to change as well. The flannel pants went on first and felt as soft as they looked. She was starting to get why Luke wore it so much…it was like warm cozy heaven all neat and clothes sized. They were a little big on her, but they sure were comfortable. Lorelai took her shirt off quickly, turning her back to the bathroom door in case Luke came out before she got the other shirt on. Just as she was pulling his t-shirt over her head, admiring the way it smelt just like Luke's apartment, she heard the bathroom door open and a loud thump followed immediately after. Pulling the fabric down over her body quickly she turned around to find Luke, dressed almost identical to herself, standing on one foot holding his toe. "I just, uh, stubbed my toe."
Lorelai smiled, knowing that he had been surprised to see her half naked when he walked out from the bathroom.
"I think I'm just going to go to bed now, so goodnight Lorelai," he said choosing to completely ignore the reason he stubbed his toe.
"Night Luke. Thanks for the PJ's." Luke smiled at her and watched her climb into bed and under the covers. "Could you turn the light off for me?"
Luke flipped off the light, keeping eye contact with her until the closed door obstructed his view. Sighing to himself, he made his way back down the stairs. As he got comfortable on the couch, his head was swimming with thoughts of Lorelai, and just above him Lorelai's head was equally as full with thoughts of Luke. 'It's going to be a long night,' they both thought in unison as they rolled over slipping peacefully into sleep.