Title: You Never Said Goodbye

Chapter: 1 - Reminisce the Moonlight

Comments: Well, there's a sort of funny story behind this. I was really stressed, see, training for my competition (PC Repair, cause I'm a geek), and the idea for this fic just popped into my head. I think I finished this chapter in about an hour or so. So...Yeah. Review if you want more. Also, seems to hate my formatting, so it may seem a tad off. Try to ignore it!

Special Thanks: I just have to stress how awesome Christie is for betaing this for me. I came to her this morning disheveled and crazy, demanding that she beta, and she performed beautifully (and caught some mistakes that may have decided the good/bad factor of this fic).

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It wasn't long after she'd taken a seat on the bus. In fact, it had been only seconds. But there he was, clear as day, outside of her window. She saw his lips moving, but couldn't hear what he was saying. Shaking her head a bit, she opened the window and peeked her head out a bit, her eyes questioning.

"What?"

"I said, why did you come here?"

"Well…"

"I mean, you ditched school and everything. That's so not you. Why'd you do it?"

What do I say to that? she had thought.

"Because you didn't say goodbye," she heard herself say.

"Oh. Bye, Rory."

"Bye, Jess."

Night had befallen the sky many hours ago. A light drizzle was misting down from the clouds above, the stars all but blotted out. The grass on the lawns smelled fresh in the spring air, the scent enhanced only by the rain in the air. Every now and then, a cricket would chirp happily, contentedly, and a dog might bark in response, the sound faint from distance. Few cars passed by – after all, it was one in the morning – but still, every so often a car would make it's way down the road, the lights illuminating the many houses that stood tall in the dark night.

From the center of one of the many lawns came a rustling. Despite the late hour and the weather, a lone figure rested on the lawn, her back against the grass, her clothes wet from long exposure to the drizzle. The girl's hair gleamed whenever a light of any sort passed over it, droplets of cool water clinging to the brown locks that framed her pale face. With an expelled breath, one cream-white eyelid opened to reveal a deep blue eye, then quickly shut as the surface of the eye came into contact with the falling mist.

Sitting up, the girl opened her eyes. It hadn't been raining when she'd come out, no more than a few hours ago. She'd been so lost in thought that the sudden arrival of a calm spring sprinkle hadn't been enough to jar her from her memories.

With a loud, wide-mouthed yawn, she stretched. I really should get back inside, she thought, If mom wakes up and sees my bed empty, she'll definitely overreact and wake Luke. And despite the fact that said situation would be mildly to extremely hilarious, she knew that it wouldn't go over well. So, she stood, brushing herself off as she did so, trying to rid herself of the cut pieces of grass that clung to her pants.

It had been almost nine years since that day in New York, and why she was thinking about it now was a notion lost to her. She had so many more, so many happier, memories of Jess. Not that she wanted to think about him at all, but if she had to choose, she would have chosen to remembered the day he'd bought her picnic basket, or the day he'd looked up the distance from Stars Hollow to Yale. That was the day that she'd thought for sure he meant to stay, both with her and in Stars Hollow.

Oh, how wrong she'd been.

Sighing in a wistful way, she turned around and slowly walked along the grass, which flattened softly under her bare feet, and up the front porch of the Gilmore residence, her feet leaving wet footprints on the wood planks. Trying to be as quiet as she could, she opened the front door and slipped inside, then let it click shut behind her. She peeked up the stairs, listening intently, and when she heard the telltale sound of Luke snoring, she deemed it safe to continue and started toward her room.

"And just where were you, young lady?"

Rory jumped at the voice, which came from the general vicinity of the kitchen table. Turning around slowly, she flipped on a light, only to be met with the smirking face of Lorelai, her mother.

"I was just…outside." She fiddled with her sleeves nervously as she said this, as if loathing the coming question.

"And what were you doing outside?" Lorelai asked, her eyes taking in Rory's grass-covered pants and slightly wet hair. "Looks to me like you were using our lawn for impure purposes."

Rory flushed a bit, and she gave her mom a bit of a glare. "Okay," she said, "first off: dirty!" She stopped to allow her mother a small snicker before continuing. "Secondly, I'll have you know that my actions were completely pure and innocent. I...I needed some time to think, and I kinda fell asleep. And then it started to rain."

Lorelai's expression showed her disbelief, but she skillfully hid it behind an overlarge cup of coffee. She spluttered a bit into her cup when Rory decided to ask her question.

"And just what are you doing down here?"

Lorelai coughed a bit on her choked-up coffee and took a moment to gather her wits before replying.

"What do you mean? Can't you see I'm enjoying my ritualistic 1 AM cup of coffee? That I drink every night? At 1 AM?"

Rory snorted. "Mom," she said gently, "you haven't been up this late, or early depending on how you look at it, in a very, very long time. I'd say since you were 35 or so."

"Gah! Knife in the gut! Did you have to remind me how old I am?"

"Yep."

"Evil."

"I know."

They were silent for awhile after that, the quiet of the night filling the softly lit kitchen. Lorelai took to swirling her coffee around in her cup, biting her lip thoughtfully, while Rory attempted to find something interesting about the floor tiles. Not surprisingly, she found little success in that endeavor.

"So…," said Lorelai softly.

"Yeah…," came Rory's reply.

"California, eh?"

"Yeah…I can't believe I'm leaving tomorrow." Rory gave a small smile at this, hoping to reassure her mother yet again that she was ready for this. That this was what she wanted.

"I can't believe you're leaving at all," said Lorelai sadly. She kept her gaze leveled at the coffee cup as she mumbled, "I guess I kinda nurtured the thought that you would live here forever."

Rory frowned a bit at that and took a few steps toward the table. She pulled out one of the chairs and scooted it closer to her mother before sitting down and taking the older woman's hand.

"C'mon mom, you knew all along that I'd leave you someday."

"Yeah, I guess…I think I just kept mentally pushing it ahead until the concept just seemed invisible."

"It's not like I'll be gone forever, you know," Rory reassured her gently, "It's only temporary. You know, like…a few months or so. Maybe four or five."

"I know. I just…Well, I can't believe you're actually going through with it, for one. I mean, there are better things around here, closer to home." Lorelai looked to be on the verge of pouting, which was understandable. It was common Stars Hollow knowledge that Lorelai and Lorelai were two of a kind, and not just because of the naming situation. They were closer than best friends, they were each other's support, each other's shoulder, whatever you want to call it.

"Look, mom, we've been over this a million times," Rory said, a bit of her annoyance showing through, "and I've told you, I don't want what 'around here' has to offer."

Lorelai nodded. It was obvious that this was what Rory had her heart set on, and due to her oath to never be like her own mother, she wasn't going to do anything about it.

"Now," Rory continued, "I need to be up early tomorrow, so I'm going to head to bed." And with that, she kissed her mother's forehead and stood, making her way toward her door.

"Luke kicked me out," Lorelai said, a touch of humor on her voice.

Rory stopped in mid-step. "Wait, what? Did I miss something?"

"You wanted to know what I was doing down here. Luke kicked me out of the room. He complained that I snore too much."

Rory giggled openly at that thought. "Maybe you should plant a tape recorder in there tonight," she suggested between chuckles, "it'd be an eye opener for him, for sure."

Lorelai smiled weakly. "Maybe I will."

Rory nodded, still smiling, and started to open her door.

"Hey, Rory?" her mother said, her voice cautious.

"Yeah, mom?"

"Why are you going? Why do you want to find him so much?"

Rory smiled sadly.

"He never said goodbye."

Author's Note: I tried as hard as I could to be all vague and mysterious in this chapter concerning what's going on, though I made sure that some things were obvious, such as her reason for going to California. There'll be a bit more revealed next chapter, and some background will be laid out. Umm...That's all for now!