Part 13: The Protective Town

Rory started picking up the half-empty pizza boxes and put them in the fridge.

"Em, go start getting ready."

"Okay, but you've got to do my hair. Miss Patty wants it up in a bun." Rory gave a nod.

"Grandma can do it when we get there." Emma nodded and ran to her room. Tristan stood and helped her clean up.

"Thanks." He said. Rory stopped and looked at him.

"For what?"

"For this, for letting me into her life, back into yours." Rory nodded.

"I let you into hers, Tristan. Every father deserves to know his child. No matter how much they happened to screw up with the mother." She said as she threw the paper plates away. "I just..." She sighed and looked over at Tristan leaning against the counter and crossing her arms over her chest.

"I don't want Emma to grow up with a father in and out of her life like I did, Tristan. I don't want her to have that false hope of you staying and just dropping off the face of the earth like you did."

"I'm not."

"Cause if you do." She continued ignoring the interruption. "Then I don't want you coming back."

"I'm not leaving, Rory." She nodded and turned back around placing clean dishes in the cabinets above. He walked over to her and turned her around. "I'm not leaving, Rory." He brought a hand and caressed her cheek. "God, I missed you so much, Mar." She looked away at the sound of her nickname. He brought her face back up to look at him. "I still lo..."

"Don't." She said pushing him back. But he didn't get far. He was still close to her. In her personal space. She needed her personal space. "Do not say things you don't mean." She said trying to get away from him, but he put both of his hands on either side of her, gripping the counter, trapping her in.

"Dammit Rory! I mean it. I meant it the last time I said it and I mean it now."

"You can't do this to me, Tristan. You can't just pop back into my life and expect me to drop everything and run back into your arms. Dammit. You can't tell me that when I'm still trying to decide if I want to say it back or not. You can't just expect me..."

"I don't."

"MOMMY!" Rory looked towards the room.

"Yeah?" She asked unsteadily.

"Where's my tutu?"

"Tristan, I've got to..."

"Next time I have you this close I'm kissing you." He whispered.

"Empty promises." She whispered back and she pushed past him and left the kitchen. "Did you check the drawers?" She yelled. Tristan blew out a breath and ran a hand through his hair.


Rory buckled Emma up in the car seat as she complained.

"I'm five-years-old. Uncle Finn doesn't make me ride in the car seat."

"Yeah, well, uncle Finn is going to get an earful when I see him."

"Neither does uncle Logan, or aunt Steph, or uncle Colin or uncle Doyle!"

"What about aunt Paris, huh?" Emma stayed quiet as Rory leaned against the van's door. Em mumbled something. "I'm sorry, what? I don't think I heard you right."

"Aunt Paris makes me ride in the car seat."

"That's what I thought."

"But it's not fair! Lexi doesn't have to and neither does Liz or Mickey!"

"That's cause they're six and Mickey's seven!"

"I'm turning SIX!"

"Oh, shush. You have to ride in the car seat. Any more complaining and I'm strapping you to the roof." She said closing the door before she could complain anymore. Tristan smirked

"Good authority."

"Shut up, Tristan, and get in the car." Tristan shook his head. She was warming up to him. He could feel it as she walked around to her side. Tristan got in and heard Emma start up again as Rory closed her door.

"I still say I'm too old for a car seat."

"Says the girl in a tutu." Rory muttered as she started the car and left the complex.

"It's a costume!"

"It doesn't matter how much you complain, the fact still is that Paris, grandma and grandpa, and I will always put you in the car seat until you turn six."

"I bet dad wouldn't make me sit in the car seat, would you?"

"Nice try." Rory said. "Don't bring your dad into this. Get a car seat." She told him. Tristan smirked and gave Emma a wink through the mirror, which made her smile. Rory turned on the radio.

"Can you put this CD, mommy?" She said handing a CD case to Rory. Rory nodded and put in the CD without looking and pressed 'play'.

"What is it?"

"I don't know. Uncle Finn gave it to me." Rory groaned. She really needed to ask beforehand. Before she reached the 'stop' button, Black Eyed Peas' "My Hump" came on.

"I'm going to kill Finn." Rory said pressing the stop button. She put on the radio and started the long drive to Stars Hollow. Tristan turned in his seat to look at his daughter.

"So what do you do?" Emma looked at him.

"What do you mean?"

"In your free time, what do you do?"

"I dance and play soccer. I like to watch movies and read. Play with friends... draw..."

"You like to travel." Rory said. Emma nodded.

"I like going with uncle Finn the most."

"Finn's her idol. I swear, if she could have a statue made, it would be of Finn and it would be twenty feet high and go in the center of our apartment." Rory said

"Why Finn?" He asked Emma.

"Cause he's a kid. Uncle Logan only takes me when he goes on business and he's always busy."

"And he takes me, just in case he is." Rosy added.

"And aunt Steph and uncle Colin like lots and lots of alone time."

"And we wonder how they got twins." Rory muttered causing Tristan to smirk.

"And aunt Paris is really bossy and uncle Doyle is weird. Finn is funnier cause he takes me with him to work and stuff."

"Sounds cool."

"Very cool, he took me to the zoo the other day and we had lots of fun."

"She fails to mention that Finn is as fond of her as she is of him. But that's only because he uses her to get girls."

"Hey, uncle Finn is a very lonely man. It's not my fault I'm cute. It's yours." Emma said matter-of-factly causing Rory to roll her eyes. She pulled up in front of Luke's and parked. Emma immediately unbuckled herself form the car seat and shot out of the van before Rory could even turn off the ignition. They watched her run in and hug her grandmother.

"My mother knows you're coming, so does Luke. Not that they're going to ease up on the evil eye any. Word has probably spread so expect some talk when we pass." Rory said as she got out. Tristan sighed and got out after her. They walked into Luke's where Emma was sitting on the bar stool while Lorelai was putting her hair into a tight bun. Mickey was sitting next to her, drinking his milkshake, and Luke was coming out of the kitchen with a plate of food and sat it in front of his son.

"Fruit of my loins!" Lorelai said as she gave Rory a sideways hug.

"Hi mom. Hey dad. Mickey." Rory said ruffling his hair as she lifted him up and sat him on her lap. Mickey didn't say anything, just watched Tristan as he hung behind. As if he was sizing him up for his sister.

"How was your day?" Lorelai asked.

"Mine or Emma's?" Rory asked as Luke put a cup of coffee in front of her and also kept an eye on Tristan.

"Either or." Lorelai said.

"My daddy is here." Emma said not being able to keep it in much longer as she bounced in her seat. Lorelai stopped her hands for a minute as if stunned, then continued her work on the hair.

"Tristan." Lorelai greeted a bit coldly without turning. Mickey looked up at Rory.

"Is he Em's daddy?" He whispered.

"Yeah, he is." Mickey gave a nod and continued eating his food.

"Mrs. Danes." Tristan greeted back taking a seat behind Rory. Rory stiffened and tried her best to ignore the radiating heat coming from behind her. "How have you been?"

"These past five years? Good, and yourself?"

"Mom, cool it. Be nice." Rory said quietly. Lorelai patted Emma's head as she finished. Emma grinned and hopped off the chair and went to the window.

"Mommy! The Rally!" Rory smiled as she got off the chair and went to look out the window. Sure enough all the people were starting to gather around Stars Hollow High.

"Come on, let's get going." Rory said picking her up. She looked at Tristan and signaled for him to follow. "We're going to the rally." Rory said.

"Have fun. We're going to wait for Mickey to finish, then we'll see you at the fair." Rory nodded. They left the diner and she let Emma go as she ran off towards the school.

"They are pissed." Tristan said.

"What did you expect?" Rory asked crossing her arms over her chest as she watched Emma run towards the school saying hi to everyone she knew.

"I don't know." Tristan replied running a hand through his hair.

"It's going to take a long time for everyone to warm up to you, Tristan. Don't expect everyone to jump into you arms and welcome you home. Some were better off when you left."

"Were you one of them?" He asked. Rory turned to him and shook her head.

"Unfortunately no." She turned again and caught up with Emma. Tristan sighed and walked after her.


AN: I know, really short. I swear the next one is going to be longer. It's just it's been a while that I've posted to this story ( I HATE WRITER'S BLOCK!). But it's better to give you a short chappy than nothing at all! Hope you enjoyed it and I'll be back as soon a s I can with a new chapter!

Also, I'm going to be posting a couples' history on my blog. Go to my profile, click on homepage and it'll take you to my blog. I'll have a link up for you guys! It's going to have all the couple names as well as the children names and how old they are and when they got married and how they play into the story. So I'll put that up once I post this chapter.