A/N- This is a one-shot (probably) that just flowed out of me on a Monday night.
Dedicated to: My own Papa, who I miss like crazy. Hopefully he'll come up from Florida to visit by Thanksgiving.
Disclaimer- I don't own GG. I don't even own a tophat.
Luke watched the little girl sitting across the counter from him. Her straight brown hair bounced up and down as she looked from her plate to her grandfather, her blue eyes shining.
"Papa, I don't want oatmeal."
"No buts, young lady."
"Don't 'young lady' me, old man!" She joked. Luke grinned and leaned over to cut a banana on a plate in front of her,
"Papa, I hate oatmeal."
"You just hate it because your mother and grandmother hate it."
"Yes, Ella. You do. You loved it until you were talking to your mom and she started talking about how much she disliked oatmeal." The little girl looked down,
"Eat." The little girl, Ella, looked down and took a spoonful of oatmeal, shoving it into her mouth as she scrunched up her nose,
"This tastes different than usual."
"I put cinnamon in it." She nodded and fell silent for a moment and Luke watched her with interest. She was a fascinating little girl, at four, reminding him of his wife in her exuberance for life and relentless sense of humor.
"Tell me about the day I was born." Luke sighed,
"Please, Papa? For your Ella-bella?" He chuckled,
"You know how to work that nickname, don't you?" She nodded and he sat down on the stool next to her, pulling her onto his lap, "Well, it was a cold December day. Your mommy, grandma, Uncle Jack, Aunt Ava and I were sitting on the couch watching Willy Wonka. Your mommy, grandma, and Uncle Jack were eating Pillsbury cookies..."
"And you and Ava were eating apples..."
"Right. And Ava and I were eating apples. And then, at the part when Violet says..."
"I want an Oompa-Loompa now!"
"Right. Right then, your mommy realized that she had a bad stomachache. When the stomachache went away and came back, your grandma said, 'I think she's having the baby.' We all got really nervous and we called your daddy at work and we dropped Ava and Jack off at Sookie's house..."
"And Davy and Martha thought that you were gonna leave them forever."
"That's right. They did think that. So we left and we took your mommy to the hospital and walked up to the lady at the desk and your grandma says..."
"'My baby's having a baby.'"
"Why am I even telling you this story?"
"No, go on, Papa."
"But you know the whole thing."
"I'm sorry." She looked down and Luke noticed tears beginning to well up in his granddaughter's eyes,
"Don't be sorry, Ella-bella. I just feel like it's silly for me to tell you the story when you know it already." She shook her head,
"You tell it better." Luke rolled his eyes,
"So much like your grandma..."
"That's why you love me so much." Luke shook his head,
"And you milk it."
"And that's it... Ok, so the nurse told asked us how far apart the contractions were."
"What are contractions, Papa?"
"Stomachaches that tell you how long until a baby is born."
"So we told her and she told us to go back home and come back in three hours."
"And grandma didn't like that answer."
"No, she did not. She said 'Listen lady, my grandchild is not going to be born at home because checkout isn't until noon! Gimme a room or you'll deal with me on three cups of espresso during my daughter's labor. And you will not like that option, I promise you!'" Ella giggled and looked up into Luke's blue eyes as he continued, "So the lady got your mommy a room and mommy sat in there with a cup of ice chips..."
"A few cups of ice chips."
"Yeah, a few cups of ice chips. She threw them at the nurses and the doctors and your daddy..."
"But not you and grandma."
"But not grandma and me. No. So we stayed with her and when it was time for you to be born, your daddy and grandma went in with your mommy..."
"But you didn't because you wanted to check on Jack and Ava..." Luke blushed,
"Yeah, sweetheart, I had to make sure they were ok... So a little while later, your daddy came out and said, 'We have a baby girl...'"
"'A beautiful baby girl. Her grandma won't let go of her.'"
"That's right. And I went in to see your mommy and she and grandma told me that your name was Lorelai Hannah Mariano..."
"But then you called me Ella..."
"Right. I called you Ella and your mommy got all excited and went..."
"'That's it! That's her nickname!' And you got to hold me..."
"Well, that's not all. Your mommy said to me, 'Would you like to meet your granddaughter?' And I picked you up and you were the most beautiful granddaughter in the history of granddaughters."
"And ever since then..."
"You've been my Ella-bella."
"Right." She curled up against his chest and fell silent again. After a moment, she looked up at him again,
"Papa, why doesn't mommy call you 'daddy'?" Luke sighed; he'd discussed this with his own children before, but never with his granddaughter,
"That's kinda complicated, El."
"Papa, it's not compstilated."
"Complicated," Luke corrected.
"It's not complicated, Papa. Mommy loves you. You're her daddy, just like my daddy is mine."
"Well, that's kinda hard to understand, Ella." She shook her head,
"No it isn't. She always tells people that you're her daddy. And that you and grandma did a good job growing her."
"Raising her," he corrected again.
"Right. That. So why doesn't mommy call you 'daddy?'" Luke sighed,
"Because I wasn't the one who made her. She has another daddy, too."
"I met him a few times. I like you better." Luke laughed,
"You just say that cuz I give you cake."
"Nuh-uh!" He began to tickle her and she pleaded, "No! Papa! No, please, papa, stop!"
"Ok, ok. I'm done." As Ella regained her breath, she coughed out,
"You're mommy's daddy though, right?" Luke sighed, resigned,
"Yes, Ella. I'm mommy's daddy."
"Even though you didn't make her?"
"Even though I didn't make her."
"Cuz you love her, right?"
"Right. Cuz I love her just as much as I love Ava and Jack and you," he said honestly. Ella smiled, satisfied with the answer. She slid off his lap and turned to run up the stairs.
"Hey, where are you going?"
"I left my Colonel Clucker upstairs." Luke nodded and the little girl disappeared up the steps just as the front door jingled.
"Hi, Luke," Rory greeted.
"Upstairs getting her doll. She'll be right back." Rory nodded,
"Ok," she stepped up next to him at the counter, "Is this my daughter's?"
"I thought she hated oatmeal?" Luke laughed,
"Did she behave?"
"She was great. We had a few classic 'Luke-Ella' talks."
"Oh," said Rory, sitting down, "What about?"
"Everything, really. She made me tell her the story of the day she was born again."
"She loves that one."
"Did she say anything else?" Luke sighed and looked away,
"Well, she was curious... she asked why you call me 'Luke' instead of 'Dad'."
"Yeah." Rory sighed,
"She's been asking me that a lot lately, too."
"Look, Rory... I don't want you to feel pressured by her asking. She's four. She's gonna ask. Hell, when your sister was four, she asked why your mom got to wear skirts and why I had to wear pants every day."
"Ava has quite an imagination."
"Yeah. So... don't feel pressured. Kids are gonna ask." Rory grinned,
"She got me thinking... You know you are my dad, right?" Luke looked up into Rory's shining blue eyes,
"I've always had the idea."
"Good. Cuz you are."
"Good. Cuz you're as much my daughter as Ava."
"I always kinda knew," she grinned slyly. She turned her head as she heard Ella's light footsteps running towards her,
"Hi, angel! Did you have fun with Papa Luke today?"
"Yeah, mommy! Lots of fun!"
"Ok, well you're gonna spend the day with him in a few days too."
"Yeah," Rory said, a twinkle in her eye, "Ask Papa how to cook mashed potatoes next time you're here."
"Say bye, Ella."
"Bye papa," Ella said, hugging him around his waist. He hugged her back,
"Bye, bella." Rory took Ella by the hand and waved to Luke,
"Bye, dad. See you tomorrow."