Disclaimer: Rick is mine. Everyone else is ASP's…to their misfortune…
Rating: PG-13 for language
Summary: AU. Lorelai's brother shows up, and attempts to help the family straighten things out in his own, crazy sort of way.
Spoilers: Seasons 1-6
Author's Note: Picture Rick as being Nathan Fillion. nods

The Ties That Stab

Richard Gilmore Junior had never been to such a bizarre dinner.

Across from him, sat his twin sister, Lorelai; he'd never seen her look so glum. Her arms were folded politely into her lap, and her eyes were set to her plate. Next to Richard were Lorelai's daughter, and his niece, Rory. She, too, looked quite depressed, though she looked to be trying to hide it. His parents, Richard Senior, and Emily, looked oblivious to the whole thing.

They had all gathered because he was in town. His mother had made a huge deal about the entire family being there.

And the two people he had looked forward to seeing the most looked completely miserable.

"Rick, will you pass the gravy, please?" Lorelai asked.

"No," Rick replied.

Everyone looked up at him.

He gathered all of the food around him, so that no one else could reach. Even Rory had a hard time getting to the food, and she was right next to him. "I'm not passing anyone anything until someone tells my why everyone looks like they've just had their puppy kicked."

Emily rolled her eyes. "Richard…stop acting like you're eight."

"Don't wanna."

Lorelai had to grin at this.

Rory tried to reach for the potatoes, but Rick blocked her, and she tried not to laugh.

"Come on," he said. "Why is everyone so miserable?"

Lorelai looked at her plate sadly again. "Ask Rory."

Rory sighed and crossed her arms. "It's Mom."

"Lorelai, just talk to Rory," Richard Senior said. "This is ridiculous."

"She started this," Lorelai snapped. "You all started this."

"Started what?" Rick asked.

"You're the one who won't talk to me!" Rory cried. "You're the one who didn't show up for my court date! Or support me!"

Lorelai got up. "I have to go. I'm really sorry, Ricky. Call me later, okay?"

Rick got to his feet as his sister did. "Lore-"

"Eat," Lorelai told him, holding up a hand. "I'm the one who doesn't belong here." With that, she rushed out of the dining room, and out the front door.

Rick stared at the spot where Lorelai formerly sat, and then turned back to the rest of his family. "So. Somebody start talking."

00000000

An hour later Rick stood staring at his parents in shock. His father was sitting at his study desk, and his mother was standing next to him.

Rick blinked. "You did what!"

"We merely took Rory off of Lorelai's hands," Richard replied. "She's making a fuss over nothing."

"A Fuss over no-" Rick cut himself off and shook his head. "You led her to believe you were going to help her, and then you turned on her!"

"Your sister isn't always right," Emily said sternly.

"For maybe the first time ever, she trusted you," Rick said harshly. "And instead of figuring out how to get Rory to go back to school, you've been turning her into a socialite snob, who can't even make her own coffee!"

"She needed a place to stay, and a job," Richard said, getting to his feet. "We gave her those things."

"It isn't your place!" Rick yelled. "In fact, that girl is an adult! It's no one's place but her own to find herself a place to live and a job!"

"We are her family!" Emily cried. "Family helps each other! Or is that something you're so far-removed from that you don't even know what it means anymore!"

Rick stared at her harshly for a long moment. "I'm leaving."

"Good!" Emily replied. "Leave!"

"Fine!"

"Fine!" Richard cried. "I'll have the maid pack your things!"

"I can pack my own damn things!" Rick yelled again. "I'm not some prissy, in-bred idiot who can't figure out how to do things for myself!"

"You take that back," Richard snarled.

"Not on your life," Rick glared. With that, he stormed out. He ran right into Rory, who looked terrified. He gave another glare back at the door, and then looked back down at his niece. "I suggest you get your life together before you wind up as utterly worthless as they are."

She watched him leave, and then looked to the floor.

0000000

Lorelai blinked, absolutely dumbfounded by her brother. "You aren't the pizza delivery guy."

Rick shook his head, a dark look gracing his features. "Nope."

Lorelai frowned and leaned against the doorway. "You fought with Richard and Emily."

He nodded. "I fought with Richard and Emily."

"How bad was it?" she asked, walking out of the house. She took his arm and let him to sit on the porch swing.

Rick sighed. "I called them 'prissy, inbred idiots.'"

Lorelai looked shocked. "No!"

"I did," Rick nodded. "I was so mad…Couldn't help myself."

"Name-calling never solved anything," Lorelai told him.

"It made me feel better," he replied innocently. "At least I didn't call them doody-heads."

"That may have been better," she said. "You do realize they may never speak to you again."

"Promises, promises," Rick smirked.

Lorelai frowned again and leaned back, looking at her brother again. "Did get into a fight on my account?"

"Pretty much."

She sighed. "Rick…"

"What?" he asked. "They turned on you! All three of them!"

"You yelled at Rory, too?"

"No," Rick blurted out. "I told her if she didn't get her life together, she'd be worthless like Mom and Dad."

"You called them worthless, too!"

"Not to their faces!" Rick sighed. "Why are we fighting?"

"We're not. Look, I appreciate that you're on my side here, I really do…But you can't fix this. This is between me and Rory."

"And Mom and Dad," Rick nodded.

"And it's my own fault," she said. "I asked them to get involved."

"They would have anyways, because Rory would have still gone to them," Rick said.

"So any way you look at it, I lose my kid," Lorelai snapped. "Great."

Rick stared at her. "Who are you and what have you done with my sister?"

"What?"

"Lorelai Victoria Gilmore doesn't give up so easily," Rick replied. "She gets mad. She starts war. She yells, and kicks and screams until everyone knows she's right!"

She laughed bitterly. "I don't do that."

"Fourth grade," Rick snapped. "Mom took away your favorite nail polish because you made fun of her friend with the poofy hats."

Lorelai smirked. "What was her name?"

"No idea," Rick snickered. "But what did you do? You went into her closet, and stole her favorite pair of boots, and wore them in the rain."

"I was such a brat," she muttered.

"So what happened the next day," Rick asked.

"She grounded me," Lorelai smiled. "But she gave me back the nail polish."

"Exactly," Rick grinned.

Lorelai blinked. "Exactly, what? I should steal Mom's boots again and see if she'll give Rory back?"

Rick smiled and wrapped an arm around his sister. "You leave Rory to me."

She shoved him away. "Oh, no. I know that tone of voice."

"What?" he asked in innocent confusion.

"You're going to meddle."

"Maybe."

"That's a yes."

"You'd do the same."

"Which is why I know you're going to meddle," Lorelai replied. "Rick…Rory is my kid. You have to let me handle this."

"I don't see you handling anything, Lore," Rick said. "I see you hiding from her, and running every time things get too hot."

Lorelai said nothing.

"I know you two have this whole friends first, mother and daughter second thing going," Rick went on. "But it's not gonna work for this. This isn't something Rory's gonna snap out of on her own; Not if she's convinced she's doing the right thing."

"Every time I think about trying to say something I get mad, and say something completely different," Lorelai said. "She changed her cell phone number, and didn't tell me."

Rick nodded. "Let me have a shot."

She sighed. "Even if I say no, you're gonna try anyways?"

"Of course!" Rick grinned.

"I'm going to regret this."

"Nah," he replied. "Never."