Title: The Definition of a Break-Up

Summary: Post 6x10: It's a painful process, but it had to be done. Rory grows a backbone.

Disclaimer: I own nothing. I am receiving no profit. Etcetera, etcetera.

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The day after Thanksgiving, she carves a backbone out of an anger that formed over night, a combination of desperation and an ill-timed phone call. It started off as a prickling behind her eyes and unsteady hands; strained vocal cords and too many glasses of wine. But she will end it in person with a confident voice and the advantage of having been here before. There is little thought about salvaging the relationship; with this new development, she isn't sure what they have left.

The drive to his apartment is calm and silent; white knuckles against the steering wheel in cool determination. Small gasps of tears try to break through but she holds her breath and concentrates on the road until it passes. She will not break. She will not surrender to this.

Finn lets her in with a confused but nonetheless cheerful smile, welcoming her back to the apartment. "I haven't seen you in ages, love. You know you're welcome here anytime."

It's a weakness, she realizes, wishing she hadn't been so determined to stand up for herself. She could very well have been strong and independent thirty miles away on the phone. Back here in the familiarity of a six-month relationship, she wants to reconsider, give him a second chance, let him explain. She remembers why she has been so quick to forgive and ignore the constant partying: she loves him. She misses him.

"Is Logan here?" Her voice cracks and she recognizes the familiar sound of tears, the way they edge into her words, crowding her meaning.

"I don't know, I just got in myself."

"Partying all night?" She means to be light and flippant but it comes off like an accusation because she's sure it's true.

"I'm on my way out again, so you can stay and wait for him. He may even be in his room." He gives her a small bow before dashing out of the apartment, leaving her alone with a closed door to face.

She raises her hand to knock, but lays her palm on the door instead, the fight draining out of her. She begins to make excuses for his decision; his utter disregard for the way she would feel, hearing it secondhand from his sister. This can be fixed, she thinks, she hopes. She has to try.

She opens the door and it isn't even a surprise, Logan and a girl, entangled on the bed. She doesn't gasp or scream; god, she doesn't know why she thought this could be different.

He yells her name as she rips through the apartment, out the door, into the hallway. The sound catches her before she reaches the elevator, the heartfelt 'Rory' begging her to wait.

"What are you doing here?" he asks and she whips around, shocked at his question. Of all the things to open with, with all the hope to fix this; it's gone.

"How could you do this?" she demands. "You!" It's just the beginning of an accusation but words fail her. She wants to slap him, show him what she can't verbalize but she's just some heartbroken girl standing in the middle of a hallway.

"Rory, we… I'm sorry. We broke up."

"Broke up? When two people break up, the word break-up is usually used! There's a split, or the end, or a separation, or a parting of company!" She's almost yelling, but she can't help it. The past six months are finally spilling over. "Some variation of 'I never want to see you again' is used, Logan! You don't just walk away and assume it's over."

He runs a hand through his mussed hair. There is a hickey on his neck, nail marks across his stomach. "I thought we were over. We fought and then you didn't want to leave with me."

"God, Logan, we have our first major fight and two seconds later, you have another girl in your bed."

"Hey, I'm new at this, okay? I told you I wouldn't be perfect, but I'm trying, Rory. I'm really trying!"

"Trying?" she echoes. "You're trying? Where's your shirt, Logan? Where's your belt?" She spins around and jabs the button for the elevator.

"Hey, wait, Ace, come on." He grabs her arm but she shakes him off. "Don't walk away. We need to talk about this!"

"There's nothing to talk about. We're over now. You can't handle this relationship, and I – "

"No, Rory – " The elevator doors open but he pulls her away. "I love you."

"Liar."

"I do. I love you, okay? I can say it now, I'm sorry I couldn't before but – "

"You love me? If you loved me, you would have called me. If you loved me, you would have remembered that I said it first barely two weeks before we had that fight. You would have realized that that's all it was – a fight. Something that we could fix."

"Rory," he tries again. "Please."

"We can't fix this."

"Yes, we can. That girl in there, she means nothing. She's a distraction. I missed you!"

"That's not an excuse! That's – " She grabs for the elevator again, pressing the button over and over. "You ran away at the first sign of trouble. You look stressed out, Logan. Why don't you go have a drink."

"Hey, don't start on that again! Don't you dare – "

"No!" She throws out her hand, keeping the doors from closing. "I'm tired of this. You party too much. It's ridiculous. You're wasting your time. And mine."

"Rory…"

"I'm going back to Yale next semester. I'm going to be an overseas correspondent for CNN. I'm going to write. And neither you nor your father is going to stop me."

She backs into the elevator and the doors shut, closing him out for good. As the elevator carries her to the lobby, she lets out a breath, relieved to be returning to real life where she is more than a weak little rich girl, the one dimension of a movie screen.