Disclaimer: I don't own Gilmore Girls or the rights to the song 'I Will Remember You' by Sarah McLachlan.
Important authors note at the end!
Full of Grace
I Will Remember You
Rory had almost managed to calm down when their peaceful moment had been brought to its knees with the force of the hospital door slamming into the wall as it shook on its hinges. Rory had jerked away from Finn, her eyes snapping towards the door and watched in horror as the intimidating figure of a woman walked stiffly into the room.
"Well," the woman drawled, clicking the tongue against her teeth, "if it isn't my whore of a daughter," she greeted them and placed both her hands on her hips. "Aren't you supposed to be on some street corner or something, selling yourself?"
Rory felt her heart buckle slightly under the fierce anger those words were spoken with. She was about to respond when she felt Finn's arm slowly uncurl from around her waist and her eyes were brought back to his.
And it was the look in his eyes that broke her…
The confusion swirling around inside of them…the hurt…
I'm so tired but I can't sleep
Standing on the edge of something much too deep
It's funny how we feel so much but we cannot say a word
We are screaming inside, but we can't be heard
"Rory?" Finn questioned pulling away from her, his eyes narrowed in confusion.
Rory felt her bottom lip tremble, her eyes stinging with tears. This wasn't how he was supposed to find out. She was going to tell him herself, was going to make sure he understood. He wasn't supposed to find out this way.
"You never told anyone?" her mother, Reese Whitman, asked and Rory could hear the maliciousness in her voice but she didn't remove her gaze from Finn.
"Told me what?" Finn asked and Rory could see his whole body was tensed in waiting for what she would say.
"Finn…I…" Rory stammered, her breath was stuck in her throat and although she still felt like she was slowly dying, the pain in her heart was worse.
"You know, Rory, darling," Reese cut in again and walked over to the bed. She raised her hand and combed her fingers through Rory's hair, to which Rory jerked away. "You can't lie to people like this. You have to be honest and tell everyone what you do for a living…or who."
If Rory hadn't been watching Finn she swore she would have screamed bloody murder at her mother.
"Rory?" Finn asked and Rory could see the disbelief seeping into his deep brown eyes.
She tried to reach out towards him, her eyes pleading with him but he jumped away from her as if burned. "Finn!"
"I have to go," he muttered looking at her one last time and Rory felt her heart break at the utter hurt on his face.
She watched him walk towards the door and the entire room was silent until the heavy oak clicked into its frame. Rory didn't move her gaze fixed on the last place she'd seen Finn, tears streaming down her cheeks.
"What a nice boy," Reese said in a sweetly acidic voice.
Rory slowly turned to he mother, her blue eyes blazing. She could feel herself shaking and she wasn't sure if it was from her tears or her anger.
"How could you do that?" she asked her voice eerily calm.
"You weren't being truthful with the boy, Rory," her mother said and sat down on the edge of her hospital bed.
Rory frowned at her mothers complete 180 but didn't pay much attention to it, having lived with her for a couple years and being used to it.
"Please leave," Rory whispered suddenly feeling the affects of all the talking she'd been doing. Her throat felt like it was completely raw, her chest on fire and her lungs aching.
"I can see you're tired," Reese said and stood from the bed as Rory lay down. "I'll get a doctor to come in."
Rory turned her head away from the door, waiting until she heard the click before she finally buried her face in her hands.
Pain wracked her body. Regret for not telling Finn sooner ate away at her. Anger at herself and her mother sank deeper into her bones. She felt like she was breaking and was helpless to stop it.
- - -
"Well Rory, we preformed a couple x-rays of your lungs and…" the doctor tailed off as her arranged the x-rays so everyone could see. Rory had finally managed to control her tears and she'd let the doctor come in. Brooke had been hovering over her shoulder, worry in her eyes. Her father was by her other side and everyone else –sans Finn- was outside waiting in the hall.
"You've got a fairly serious case on pneumonia," the doctor said and Rory would have felt a slight relief had the doctors face changed from the grave expression he was wearing now. "Pneumonia by itself we can treat easily," he said and clasped his hands together. "But we've also found an infection in your right lung."
"What does that mean?" Chris asked.
"It means that Rory's lungs are weaker than a normal patient with pneumonia. The infection has also weakened her entire body because it's trying its hardest to cure itself."
"Rory's not strong enough to fight off both but we can only treat her for one of them."
"What will happen?" Brooke asked her voice shaking.
"Our biggest concern is that the infection will spread from your lungs to your throat. If that was to happen you wouldn't be able to east and so you would be forced onto intervenes. We might have to also help you breathe after because the infection could severely damage the function of your lung."
"Could you cure the infection first?" Chris asked.
"We could but there's a serious risk with that. The pneumonia is very dangerous and left untreated any longer it could become fatal."
Rory slowly lowered her head, her mind swimming with all the information she'd just been given. She heard the doctor excuse himself and leave the room.
"So…" Brooke said breaking the silence the room had been bathed in. She sat down on the bed beside Rory. "What do we do?"
Chris frowned. "We have to do the treatment for the pneumonia first; the risks if we leave it are too much."
Rory nodded, not meeting their eyes. She couldn't even think straight but her dad sounded sure and so it was enough for her.
"I guess," Brooke said and she grabbed Rory's hand in her own, squeezing and Rory finally turned towards her, smiling bravely.
- - -
"Oww…" Rory pouted, her eyes shut tight and her lips curled as the nurse inserted another IV into her arm.
"There you go sweetie, feel better now," the nurse said before she walked out of the room.
Rory opened her eyes and looked at her arm, feeling her stomach churn at the sight and she breathed out quietly, eyes closed for a second before she looked around at everyone in her room. Her father wasn't there but she'd asked him to go get rid of her mom…not having the strength to deal with her herself.
"How are you?" Brooke asked placing a hand on Rory's arm and squeezing in a comforting gesture.
"I'll be okay," she said, the first time she'd spoken to any of them in a while. They all just sat around and Rory could tell they were all itching to ask about Finn. The absence of the loud Australian was more than noticeable.
"He left," Rory finally stated her voice devoid of any emotion and her eyes averted.
"Why?" Brooke asked although she had a thought as to why.
"My mom, she told him," Rory told her and she heard Brooke gasp slightly and saw, out of the corner of her eye, Brooke raise a hand to cover her mouth.
"I should have known it would happen," Rory said her tone becoming bitter as she thought about her mother. "Things were going to well; something horrible was bound to happen."
"Umm…excuse me but," Steph started and everyone looked at her, "what did your mom tell him?"
Rory sighed and waved her hand around. "Oh you know, she just pulled some skeleton out of my closet," she told them vaguely.
"You don't have to tell us," Steph assured her and Logan and Colin nodded their agreement.
"No, you should know, I should stop hiding it…" she said making them exchange glances. "When I lived in LA I…" she trailed off and dipped her head to avoid all their eyes. "I was a prostitute."
She didn't know what she expected them to do but what she got was complete silence. She didn't look up, not wanting to see their expressions, see the shock, the disappointment she was so used to seeing. No one ever looked at her the same after they found out.
"Wow…" Steph let out and shifted uncomfortably, looking from Rory to the others.
"She's not anymore," Brooke told them trying to think of something she could say to make everything okay.
Logan came to stand next to Brooke, his face still showing surprise but no disgust like the other people had looked at her with when she'd told them. He placed his arm loosely around Brooke's waist, smiling reassuringly.
"I guess that explains some things," Colin murmured and everyone's attention snapped towards him. "I mean…just some things make more sense now."
Stephanie frowned and smacked his chest. "Don't listen to him, he's chronically insensitive."
Rory managed a smile. "Actually that's one of the best reactions I've ever gotten," she told them to which Colin smiled triumphantly and Steph rolled her eyes.
"You guys really are taking this well," Brooke said, looking at them suspiciously.
"Ace, when you live in a world like ours, it's really hard to find something you can't accept."
"So you're okay with it?" Rory asked incredulous.
"We all have a past," Logan told her and the three of them once again exchanged looks, making Rory really believe that statement was true. "But I guess Finn didn't…"
"No, not so good," Rory said, biting her lower lip.
"He's probably just in shock," Colin supplied. "Or denial."
The five kids stood around in Rory's room, no one knowing what to say and a tension filled silence fell around them…if only for a moment.
"Oh!" Stephanie suddenly exclaimed.
"I just remembered," she started and then started laughing slightly. "You said you worked in sales…"
Everyone just looked at the giggling blonde for a minute before they too dissolved into laughter.
And for once Rory thought she'd made real friends. And she liked that feeling, she liked it a lot.
- - -
It was almost two weeks later. Two weeks of good days separated by not-so-good ones.
They'd treated Rory for her pneumonia, a hard process that had her cringing through needles everyday. Rory had managed to maintain her ability to breathe on her own, shrinking away from even the idea of being hooked up to another machine.
The doctors said her body was slowly becoming stronger as the pneumonia dried up. Of course the only thing she'd been able to have was cold drinks and ice cream, although that really wasn't much of a bad thing.
She'd usually always had someone with her in her room. Everyone knew how much she hated hospitals and so they didn't want to leave her alone. Sure enough the only person she really wanted to see hadn't been by the whole time.
They told her he probably felt just like her, although not being in the hospital getting treated for pneumonia and a lung infection. Rory would frown at that, she hated that she put him through so much pain. She'd never wanted to hurt him; it was why she'd held back from telling him the truth about herself because she knew he would get hurt.
She'd always been one to always accept her feelings and with Finn it was exactly the same. She couldn't deny how she felt for him, it would be impossibly hard. Somewhere along the line, she had fallen for him and she couldn't help but think it was that first night he brought her out of the rain and into his room.
But today was her last day in the hospital, something she couldn't describe how happy she was about. They'd dried up all the pneumonia, saying she would make a full recovery from it. Her infection was still there, but it wasn't anywhere as serious as it had been.
Chris was down at the front desk signing her release papers. She wasn't sure where she stood with her dad at the moment. Rory was grateful for his presence by her side these past two weeks. He'd taken so much time off of work and away from his own life to be with her and she was sure if had create a stronger bond between them. She knew not everything had been made up for and there was still a long road ahead of them but she now knew, without a doubt, that if she ever needed him he would be there.
"Okay kiddo," Christopher exclaimed as he walked into her room. "You're out of here."
"Thank God," Rory muttered pushing herself to her feet, glad that for once the room didn't spin like it had been for a while.
"You all ready?" Chris asked taking one last look around the room, just to see if they'd forgotten anything.
Rory smiled. "I've been ready to leave since I got here," she told him dryly and pulled her coat over her shoulders.
"Okay then, lets go," he said and linked his arm through hers and they walked down the hall and towards the exit.
Rory stopped just outside the front doors, letting her gaze trail over the huge elm trees that lined the front of the hospital. There was snow sitting on the branches and snow crunching under the feet of the people who were walking by. Everything looked magical and Rory felt like she was seeing the outside for the first time.
"Thanks for coming daddy," she said, smiling up at him her blue eyes lighting up.
Chris smiled, "No problem kid," he said and they walked towards his car in a comfortable silence.
- - -
After Rory had been settled into Brookes dorm again and things had finally started to calm down she'd set out in determination. She hadn't seen hide or hair of Finn since that day in the hospital and she was starting to become desperate. She'd never missed someone this much before but her heart was practically aching for him.
Brooke had gone to class and so Rory shrugged on her coat, taking one of the pills she'd gotten from the doctor to treat the last of her infection. She walked through the campus, feeling the cold that still hung around them, which she expected since it was only February.
When she got to his dorm she stilled outside the door. She hadn't thought about what to do when she actually got there, she hadn't thought about what she would say or how she could convince him to let her explain.
But Rory knew there was no way she could just go home and let him slip away and so she gathered all the courage she had and knocked on his door. She was hoping that he would answer and not Colin or Logan because she didn't want to lose her nerve now that she had it.
It must have been at least five minutes later when she heard the lock on the door click and the door know turn. Rory felt her heart start to pound and her palms turn sweaty as she watched as the door was pulled open.
It was first time she'd seen him in almost three weeks and she almost didn't recognize him. His hair was a completely mess, his brown eyes were dull and had dark circles surrounding them. She felt her stomach lurch at the pain in his eyes and she wanted nothing more than to wrap her arms around him and cradle him against her.
She watched as he registered that it was her, his body tensing but concern filling his expression. He let his eyes trail over her, making sure she was okay or that she at least didn't appear hurt. When their eyes met again everything seemed to stop as they just stared at each other and both noticed the exhaustion in each other.
"Can I…?" Rory asked motioning behind him and Finn stood still for a minute before he walked into his dorm and left the door open for her.
Rory walked in behind him and quietly shut the door. She clasped her hands together, playing with them nervously as she tried to think of something she could start with.
"How are you?" Finn suddenly asked and Rory breathed out in relief.
"Better," she told him truthfully and unconsciously a hand came up to press against her chest, it still sore as a result from everything she'd been through.
"That's good," he said and ran a hand through his hair, not meeting her eyes and Rory bit her lip.
"Don't," he interrupted her and held a hand up to gesture for her to stop.
Rory didn't listen to him though and moved closer to him, desperately wanting him to hear her. "Finn I have a past, a really bad one, but so does everyone else," she said, tying to think of anything that would get through to him.
"You could have told me, Rory!" he burst out and fixed her with a glare.
"I should have," she agreed. "I was going to, I just…I didn't want everything to be different. I didn't want you to look at be like this."
Finn looked her in the eye for a second before she saw his face soften and he walked towards her. "Rory, of course I'd look at you differently. It's so…dangerous, you could have been killed or hurt or something!"
"Don't you think I know that!" Rory exclaimed, throwing her arm open wide. "What do think I was just some naïve little girl who wanted to 'have a good time'? I didn't have a choice."
"Yes you did, maybe not much of a choice, but you didn't have to do that. You didn't have to leave your mom."
"You don't get it. Even though your family has issues you don't know what it was like. My mother only saw one thing when she looked at me. A mistake. If she had her way, I never would have been born. And so yeah, when I had the chance I left. And never, not for a minute, have I regretted that decision. I have made a lot of mistakes in my life and I've learned from them but I live in that house for years and I was never at home."
"But to turn to…to lower yourself to that… You're so much better than that Rory, you deserve more. You deserve a noble man, or a prince or something."
Rory smiled a watery smile at his words. She combed her hand through her hair and swallowed before looking back up at him. "Coming here has done a lot for me Finn. I wanna say it's changed my life but it's more than that. Everything here –Brooke and you and everyone else- changed me. I used to look at the world a different way. When I was younger I was actually proud of it. I thought I was…tough, street smart, but I grew up quickly. I realized that I could only see the world in black and white. I never learned to look into the middle, or to try and find the grey area's in people and in life.
"But coming here taught me that not everything is black and white. Everyone here gave me the chance no one else was willing to do. For once I actually felt at home when I first got here."
Rory paused in her speech, she felt like she was heading towards this all powerful, pivotal moment in her life. The one moment she'd always been silently working towards and praying would happen. It was finally her choice, her decision to confront her fears and let someone in, all the way in.
Rory smiled bravely and walked over to him, looking into his eyes. "You helped me so much Finn. You let me lean on you; you gave the chance to let myself breathe. I've never been relaxed around someone so much but everything with you just seems so natural, so easy. I swear I was going to tell you about everything. I guess I just wanted to live in the now, I want nothing more than to forget about my past. I'm not proud of it, I hate myself for the fact that I actually did it but I got out. I left LA and I came here to start over and I want nothing more than to do it with you by my side."
She took a deep breath and watched as he reacted to her words. She couldn't believe she'd really done it, she'd let him step into the one area of her world that she'd kept out of everyone's reach.
She waited on baited breath, standing before him with her heart on her sleeve, just hoping he would catch her once again. She stared up at him, watching the conflicting emotions in his eyes as he watched her.
And then he shook his head and Rory felt her heart crack at the sign.
She could barely see through the tears in her eyes and her breathing felt laboured with his rejection. She went to run, falling back on that instinct to get as far away from his as she could. She turned from him and was going to make a break for the door but his hand wrapped around her wrist kept her in place.
"Rory," he said and something in his voice made her stop and turn towards him. "I'm sorry I left you before."
She blinked through her tears, eyes narrowed in confusion. She shook her head and licked her lips. "You were hurt, I get it," she assured him, really not blaming him for leaving, knowing how she would have reacted in that situation.
"I shouldn't have left," he continued his voice growing determined. "I shouldn't have avoided you. I just didn't want to believe it; I guess I was in denial or something. You're just so much better than that, kitten."
Rory felt her heart leap with that one word, thinking maybe not everything was lost. "Finn?" she questioned, hesitantly moving closer to him.
Finn smiled charmingly and raised his free hand to her cheek, wiping away her tears and then cradling his chin in his hand. He looked deep into her eyes, his own full of adoration.
"Wanna start over?" he asked finally and Rory stood still for a moment, frozen, but then her lips widened into a huge smile and her blue eyes lit up brilliantly.
She wasted no time in throwing her arms around his neck, her legs coming up to curl around his waist. Finn held her to him, lifting her easily and tightening his grasp around her to bring her closer.
She couldn't remember the last time she'd felt so protected, confident enough to let someone know her feelings and let someone into her heart. But she knew Finn wouldn't hurt her.
He would take care of her, protect her against everything. He knew her fears and everything she'd been through in the past, he knew he better than she knew herself.
He knew her past and her present and although she didn't know a lot about his past, she could see their futures.
And she felt it really was theirs, not hers or his, but theirs.
They were in this together, from the beginning to the end.
Once there was darkness, deep and endless night
You gave me everything you had, oh you gave me light
AN: Wow! I can't believe this is actually over! Yes this was the last chapter to this story. This is actually the first story I have finished so far, I'm very proud. I hope you guys like this and loved the story as much as I did. Thanks so much for all the support, you guys made this story what it is!