Part 28: Havoc in Stars Hollow

"Let me just grab my purse!" Rory said as she opened the door and ran back into the apartment. "Hit me with water and you're dead, Mariano!" Rory yelled.

"Hey," Jess said standing in the middle of the living room with a hand behind his back. He was wearing jeans and nothing else. His hair was wet and sticking to his face. "I would just step back a few feet," he told them.

"Jess, I mean it!" Rory said as she stood behind the wall so that Jess wouldn't hit her.

"I swear, Rory, I won't hit you."

"That's what you said last time. I mean it. I've changed four times! And I don't have time to dry my hair again."

"I promise I have nothing."

Finn and Robbie watched in confusion as Rory looked around that wall she was standing against as Jess smirked.

"See, I told you."

"I want to see both hands, Jess," Rory said.

"That's not possible," Jess smirked.

"Finn?" Rory said. "Does he have anything in his hands?"

He looked over at Jess's smirking face and then turned back to Rory. "Not that I can see, love."

Rory nodded and stepped out from against the wall, only to have Jess launch the water balloon he had in his hand at her, hitting her on the chest and getting her wet.

"JESS!"

"It was an accident!" Jess said. "It slipped!"

Rory looked at a laughing Finn and noticed the little boy who was clutching a shoebox to his chest. "I'm going to go change yet again, I'll be out in a minute." She turned and walked back to her room, closing the door.

"So how did all this start?" Finn asked with a laugh.

"Careful where you step," Jess warned. "We covered a lot of the apartment in water."

"We'll just stand here," Finn said.

"And to answer your question, I drank the rest of the coffee and Rory hit me with a plastic vase that had flowers and water. Then I poured my water on her, then we took it into the kitchen where I grabbed the sink nozzle, then we started with water balloons that she bought for Lexi a few weeks ago. And it turned into a war zone."

"I swear I'm normal," Rory said coming out of her room and pulling on her Yale sweatshirt, her hair now in a bun at the top of her head. She grabbed her bag and glared at Jess. "You started this, you clean up."

"Excuse me?" He asked with wide eyes.

"You drank my coffee, you started the water fight."

"You threw the vase."

"You drank my coffee," she accused. "I have the carpet cleaners' number on the pad next to the phone. They know me by name," Rory said grabbing her keys and cell phone. "They also know my mom, say both our names and we'll get it done for cheaper."

"I don't even want to know why," Jess said, just as he was about to sit on the couch.

"Do not even think about sitting down, Jess. I've had to replace my couch three times because of Doyle and Paris. I don't want to replace this one because your wet ass couldn't dry itself off."

"One, thanks for the visual and two, can you say anal?"

"Ten times fast," Rory said. "I'll be back later."

"Yeah, see ya."

She kissed his cheek and patted his shoulder. "Good game, soldier."

"Good game," Jess agreed as he went to his room and started blasting his music, which had become a ritual now. Rory shook her head and crossed the soaking wet carpet to get to Finn.

"Hey," she said kissing him softly.

"Hey," he said, then looked down at a smiling Robbie. "This is Robbie, my nephew."

Rory got down to his level and smiled. "I swear I'm somewhat normal, you just might not see it today. You see, we are visiting a town that's only an hour away, but really you're stepping into a whole new world of craziness you'll never believe. You will see things that you would have never thought possible. Are you ready for that?"

Robbie looked up at Finn who winked, then back at the blue eyed woman before nodding.

"Great. My name is Rory, what's yours?" She asked, even though she already knew it. She hoped she could coax a word out of him.

Robbie bit his lip looking at her before replying quietly. "Robbie."

"Well, Robbie, let's get going, the craziness usually ends at twelve," she teased standing up and leading them out of the apartment. She was about to close the door when she smiled and couldn't resist calling out to Jess.

"Hey Jess!" She yelled.

Jess walked out of his room. "Yeah?"

"I borrowed your razor. I like the way yours works on my legs," she said.

"Rory!" he groaned.

"I left it on the sink. I cleaned it and everything." She walked out and closed the door. "Wait for it..." she said.

"RORY!" Jess yelled.

Rory laughed and walked towards the elevators with Finn and Robbie. As the elevator opened, Jess ran out in to the hallway, even more wet than he was earlier.

"RORY!"

"Payback's a bitch, Jess. Deal with it." She walked in and closed the elevator's door, cutting off Jess's explicit response. She turned to Robbie and Finn who were both wearing amused grins.

"Really big water balloon," she explained, remembering how long it had taken her to place it just right, above the bathroom door. Yep, definitely worth it. When they got down to the lobby, they debated on which car to take, deciding on Rory's seeing as hers actually had a backseat.

Rory drove away from New Haven and started to Stars Hollow.

"The high school at my town brought in a small petting zoo," Rory told Robbie, eyeing him through the mirror. "My sister Lexi, she's about three, she's really excited about it."

Robbie just stared out the window. She noticed that his hand was over the shoebox he had been carrying.

"What's in the box?" Rory asked quietly, causing Finn to turn.

"Pictures I had of James. I gave them to Robbie, so he could look through them."

"That was sweet, Finn," Rory said, moving her hand to take his.

Finn shrugged and looked out the window, causing Rory to smile. Robbie and Finn were a lot a like, she only wondered how long it would take one or the other to open up to each other.

Most of the car ride was spent in silence, the radio quietly playing in the background. She parked in front of her childhood home and sighed.

"Home sweet home," she said getting out, Finn and Robbie followed. "You can leave the stuff in the car," she told Robbie as he started getting out the box of pictures. He looked at Finn for confirmation. Finn smiled.

"Here's what we'll do," Finn said taking the box. He bent down and put it under the seat. "That way no one will take it."

Robbie smiled, it was like his uncle just knew what he meant without any words. That was cool. Finn closed both doors and took Robbie's hand.

"Let me go check if anyone's at home. If not, they're probably at the inn," Rory said going up the porch and opening the unlocked door. Finn stood in front of the house, leaning against the car, with Robbie at his side.

This was the first time he had been to Rory's childhood home. When she had gotten divorced, they had gone to Luke's and to her apartment, then back to New Haven. There hadn't been much time to really get a tour.

"All right, off to the inn we go," Rory said stuffing a piece of paper in her jeans pocket. She smiled at both of them. Instinctively Finn grabbed her hand, causing her to smile and lead them off.

He liked seeing her happy, he realized. He liked seeing that smile on her face as she talked about her town and family. She acted like a child, he noticed, and he really liked that about her.

"Lexi is at the inn, helping Sookie with lunch," Rory explained . "So we can either have a wonderful lunch at the inn that was prepared by Sookie or an equally fabulous lunch at Luke's. Which do you prefer?"

Finn looked at Robbie who was looking around the town, not really paying attention. "The inn is fine, love," Finn said.

"All right. But I got to warn you, Sookie usually outdoes herself when I come home, so be prepared to eat."

They walked the dirt road that led to her mother's inn with Rory telling them how hard her mom had worked to get the inn exactly how it was. They walked up to the porch and into the inn, Rory walked up to the counter and smiled at the man behind it.

"Hey Michel," Rory said in a singsong voice. "Did you miss me?"

"No," he said simply.

"Come on, admit it, you missed me!"

"No, I did not. The counter is for guests and you are not a guest."

"I have reservations," Rory said. "See, it's right here, under F - 'Fruit of my Loins'."

Michel slapped her hand and glared. "Do not touch the reservation book."

"It's my mom's inn."

"And it's my reservation book."

"Rory, leave Michel alone, he's cranky today," Lorelai said walking over to them. "Aren't you, Michel?" She asked in a baby voice while pinching his cheeks.

"Leave. Me. Alone," Michel told them while glaring at Lorelai.

"Woke up on the wrong side of the bed?" Rory asked. "'Cause, you know, I've done that. I usually get out on the right side, but when I get out on the left side, my whole day is ruined, you know. It's like the whole order of my day just went down the drain, you know what I mean."

Michel glared at her before picking up his reservation book and stalking out from behind the counter, disappearing upstairs, muttering about annoying devil's children under his breath.

"That is too much fun," Rory said as her mother laughed.

"Oh, you only do it once a week, it's much more fun when you work with him." Lorelai looked behind Rory and saw Finn holding the hand of a small boy who was looking around. "Hey Finn."

"Hello Lorelai," Finn said with a smile.

"And who are you?" Lorelai asked, looking down at Robbie. He looked up at Lorelai and practically hid behind Finn's legs.

"This is my nephew Robbie," Finn introduced.

"I'm Lorelai, Robbie, it's nice to..." Lorelai was cut off by a loud crash and an explosion coming from the kitchen. "Oh, that's not good."

Rory watched amused as Lexi came running out of the dining room, in a chef's hat and mini apron and launched herself into Lorelai's arms, hugging her neck.

"I didn't do it," were the first words out of Lexi's mouth.

"Yeah, babe," Lorelai laughed, "I know." Lorelai stood up and detached herself from her daughter. "Stay here with your sister and I'll go check on Sookie. You guys take a seat in the dining room."

"Thanks, mom."

"No problem, kid." Lorelai kissed her cheek before rushing off to the kitchen to see what the damage was.

"Come on, guys," Rory laughed as she led them all to the dining room. They took the seats at one of the corner tables near the window that was able to seat four. "Lexi, you remember Finn, right?"

"Yep," she said smiling at him.

"Well, this is Finn's nephew Robbie," Rory said.

"Hi!" Lexi said happily. "My name's Lexi, Rory is my sister."

Robbie stared at the young girl with wide eyes.

"Yeah," he heard Rory say, causing him to look at her. "Her perkiness will take some time to get used to."

Robbie smiled and looked at the young girl who was bouncing in her seat. She was hyper.

"All right." Robbie looked up to see Rory's mom standing at the table. "Your lunch is ready, but half the kitchen is fried."

"Is Sookie okay?"

"She'll need a few stitches... maybe a cast. The usual," Lorelai shrugged. "Lunch will be out soon."

"Hey Mom, is the SHH fair still in town?" Rory asked.

"Yeah, but see, Lexi is on probation," Lorelai said, her hand going to her rounding belly.

"What do you mean?" Finn asked.

"She might have fed the monkey something that caused the monkey to go to the hospital. He's all right now. But Lexi has been put on Taylor Probation."

Rory looked at her sister who was smiling innocently. "We'll keep an eye on her."

Lorelai shrugged. "Whatever. As long as Luke doesn't blame me, we're good," she stuck her tongue out and weaddled back to the kitchen.

"So you almost killed the monkey again, didn't you?" Rory asked with a sigh.

"Again?" Finn asked.

"She tried to kill him last year by throwing her baseball that dad had given her at the monkey's head, but she's a Gilmore and her aim sucks. This is about her fourth attempt."

"What has the monkey ever done to you?" Finn asked.

"He's old," Lexi explained.

"So you want to put him out of his misery by assassinating him?" Finn asked.

"Assa… assassin?" Lexi asked confused.

"Kill him," Rory explained.

"Ohhh, yes," she smiled at Finn who laughed. The waiter brought out their lunch, and they ate while trying to get Lexi to explain her dislike for the old monkey, and Robbie to be a bit more active in the conversation.

"So how was it?" Lorelai asked as they got their dishes cleared.

"It was delicious, Lorelai," Finn said. "Best I've had."

"I taught him that," Rory laughed looking at her mother.

"You've taught him well," Lorelai nodded. "I'll go get you guys some more coffee."

"Thanks, mom," Rory said as she left. She turned back to the group only to be intercepted by a hand on her shoulder. She looked up and saw Kirk standing next to her. "Hey Kirk."

"Rory," Kirk nodded.

"Did you need something, Kirk?" Rory asked.

Kirk removed his hand and nodded. "Lulu works today and she told me to go entertain myself, and go to the petting zoo at the high school."

"All right," Rory nodded.

"And I heard from Luke that you and Lexi were going down there today too."

"Yeah, I'm going with Finn and his nephew Robbie," Rory corrected.

"Well, if you want, I can take Lexi and Robbie with me."

Rory bit her lip. "I don't know, Kirk..."

"Please Rory!" Lexi begged standing in her chair "PLEASE!"

"Yeah, please Rory!" Kirk begged.

Rory turned to Finn who shrugged with a smile. "Your call," he told her.

Rory sighed. "Fine."

"YES!" Kirk and Lexi both cheered.

"But Kirk, you have got to promise not to get Lexi anywhere near the monkey cage."

"I promise, cross my heart, hope to die. I won't stick a needle in my eye... seeing as I'm afraid of needles, they remind me of David Blaine, that guy freaks me out."

"Right," Rory nodded as Lexi jumped off her chair and went around the table to Robbie's end.

"Come on!" Lexi said grabbing his hand and pulling him out of the chair. Robbie looked over at his uncle who shrugged.

"Your choice, you either go with Lexi and the crazy man or you stay here while me and Rory talk about school."

Robbie grabbed on to Lexi's hand and let her pull him over to Kirk's side. He watched Rory talk to Kirk, then give Lexi a warning glance.

"You go anywhere near those monkey cages when Taylor is around, dad will be very, very mad."

"It's fun to see daddy mad," Lexi laughed.

"No, it's fun to see him irritated, not mad," Rory told her as she pulled out some cash and handed it to Kirk. "Get them what they want, Kirk."

"And if I run out of money?" Kirk asked.

Finn pulled out his wallet and gave him a fifty. "Go crazy."

"Meet us at the house at four," Rory said. Kirk nodded and looked at the kids.

"You got it, Rory," Kirk said putting the money in his pocket and grabbing Lexi's hand who was holding on to Robbie's. "Come on, guys, let's go see some pigs!"

"No! Monkeys first!" Lexi yelled as she pulled Robbie along.

"You sure they'll be okay?" Finn asked looking worriedly at Kirk as they left the inn.

"Kirk's harmless... to anybody except himself," Rory laughed as she sat back down.

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Robbie looked at the sheep in interest. Kirk and Lexi were behind him, getting cotton candy while he had stayed to feed the animals. He smiled when he felt the sheep's nose hit the palm of his hand while it ate the lettuce from his hand.

"See, isn't this better than Rory and Finn?" Kirk asked as he walked towards him. Robbie let go of the lettuce once the sheep had it firmly in its mouth and reached up for his cotton candy.

"Thank you," he said quietly as he followed them to another pen, his cotton candy in one hand and the bag of vegetables for the animals in the other.

"Kirk!" Lexi said pulling on his shirt. "I want a stuffed animal."

"All right, let's go to the booths and see what we can win," Kirk said as he took hold of her hand. She grabbed on to Robbie's wrist and pulled him along. Kirk stopped in front of the 'Test Your Strength" booth and let go of Lexi's hand to grab the large mallet.

Lexi and Robbie watched as he hit the pad, only to have the weight rise less than half. Lexi smiled at Robbie before she led him away from the booth and towards another place.

"Lexi, I think..." Robbie started, only to have the three-year-old cut him off.

"Kirk is busy! We go to monkeys now!"

"But Rory..."

"Rory said not to go to the monkey cages when Taylor was around." She stopped walking and looked around the crowded zoo, "Do you see Taylor?"

"I don't know what Taylor looks like," Robbie told her.

"There you go," she laughed as she pulled him toward the monkey cages, leaving Kirk behind to continue 'testing his strength'.

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"He's quiet," Rory said as they sat on the porch swing, her head resting on Finn's shoulder, the feet resting underneath her body as he pushed the swing with his feet.

"Angela says he has trouble trusting strangers. He's like Angela that way, the first time I talked to her took me by surprise, it was a year after she had met James."

"She seems really nice."

"That reminds me, what are you doing for dinner?"

Rory shrugged as she sat up to look at him. "Probably eat whatever Jess makes and watch some movies. I have to finish a paper too."

"Well, Angela was wondering if you'd have dinner with us tonight. She wants to meet you."

Rory smiled. "I'd love to, Finn."

"Great. You'll like her, Rory, and I know she'll love you."

Rory looked at him curiously. "You really want this to work, don't you?"

"What to work?" Finn asked confused.

"This, us, me meeting Angela and Angela liking me."

"Are we an 'us'?"

Rory shrugged. "I don't know. We never really talked about it."

Finn nodded. "Well, you know what I want, now it's up to you to decide on what you want. You don't have to give me an answer now, but just know it's up to you."

"That's a lot on my shoulders," Rory whispered.

"It's only a yes or a no, love. Only a yes or a no."

"Easy for you to say," she laughed.

"RORY!" Rory looked up and saw Taylor walking towards the house, holding the collar of Robbie's shirt in one hand and the collar of Lexi's shirt in the other.

"Oh..." Rory said standing up. "Hey Taylor," she greeted as she leaned against the railing of the porch. "What can I do for you today?"

"Would you like to know what your sister did today with that hoodlum boy?" Taylor asked letting them go. They ran up the porch and sat on the porch swing with Finn who was watching in amusement.

"No, not really, but I know you're going to tell me anyhow."

"Darn right I am, your sister killed the monkey!"

Rory sighed as she turned towards her sister. "What did I tell you about the monkeys?"

"You said not to go near the cage when Taylor was there... Taylor wasn't there till after the monkey ate the cotton candy."

"That monkey had been with the Stars Hollow petting zoo for forty years, Rory!" Taylor yelled.

"Yeah, the monkey scared me when I was a kid," Rory told him. "Taylor, they're kids, they didn't know what they were doing."

"Actually..." Robbie began before Finn covered his mouth.

"Now probably isn't the time to start talking," he whispered. Robbie nodded and kept his mouth shut.

"Come on, Taylor," Rory said with a roll of her eyes.

"Lexi is banned from the zoo, Rory. Now and forever," Taylor said walking away.

"Don't you think you're being a bit dramatic, Taylor!" Rory yelled after him, causing him to turn angrily.

"She killed the monkey, Rory!" Taylor yelled, his face turning a nice shade of red.

"She's tried to do it four times in a row, not that I'm applauding her for finally succeeding, but they were with Kirk..." Rory frowned and turned to the two children who were giggling on the swing. "You left Kirk, didn't you?"

"At the 'Test Your Strength' booth," Robbie answered while laughing.

Rory sighed and turned back to Taylor. "Kirk was supposed to be watching them, Taylor."

"Yes, well, Kirk's been kicked out as well... he hit the Test Your Strength man when he didn't win," Taylor muttered. "Just keep your sister and that hooligan out of the petting zoo, Rory, I mean it."

"I know you do, Taylor, I'll keep a close eye on her."

Taylor turned again and left while Rory turned back to her sister and the 'hooligan' sitting next to her.

"How is it that you've been here no more than two hours and you've been named a hooligan?" Rory asked Robbie who smiled.

"She used my cotton candy," Robbie laughed causing Lexi into a fit of giggles and Finn to chuckle lightly. Rory sat down on the swing and brought Lexi onto her lap and looked at her as she laughed.

"So you finally killed the monkey, huh?"

Lexi looked at Robbie and they both started laughing again.

"Looks like Robbie found a friend," Finn told her.

"Looks like," Rory smiled looking at the two kids.

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They walked up the porch, dressed for dinner. Finn knocked on the door while Rory got to Robbie's level and smiled at him.

"I was wondering if you could do me a favor."

"Sure," Robbie said looking at his uncle who smiled at him.

"I really want your mom to like me, so I was wondering if you wouldn't say anything about what you and Lexi did at the zoo after you ditched Kirk."

Robbie looked back up at his uncle who was looking rather amused before looking at Rory and nodded.

"Sure."

"Pinkie promise?" Rory asked sticking out her pinkie. Robbie nodded as he interlaced his pinkie with hers.

"Thanks," Rory said standing up just as the door opened.

"Hey guys," Angela greeted as she let them in. She smiled at her son and got down to his level.

"Hey little man, how was your day with your uncle?" She asked.

"We got kicked out of the zoo!" Robbie said before running towards the living room.

"What?" Angela asked in surprise while Rory responded with a groan.

Finn laughed as he took off his coat. "You should have checked for crossed fingers, love."

"Darn, I always forget about those!"

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AN: Next chapter will be the dinner between everyone. It's a chapter I've been wanting to write forever.

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Kassandra