"Stupid Kirk," Luke Danes mutters under his breath followed by several swear words as he goes about wiping down the final table in the diner that Kirk had occupied up until twenty minutes ago. "Lorelai's gonna kill me because of stupid, Kirk," quickly Luke swings the final chair up onto the table. He'd promised Lorelai he would be home for dinner an hour ago, she's called him several times since then telling him that she had a surprise that couldn't wait and that he needed to get home right away, "wife's orders".

The bell over the door jingles and Luke curses at himself for not remembering to lock it when Kirk left, "we're closed." Luke swings around to find that it was Rory standing at the doorway, wringing her hands a looking nervous. "Rory, is something wrong?" Luke asks quickly.

"No, no," Rory quickly shakes her head, "nothing's wrong. I promise." Despite her words she still wears an anxious expression. "I was just wondering if I could talk to you about something?"

"Ah, yeah sure," Luke nods, "just let me call your mom and know I'll be a little late..."

"She knows I'm here," Rory responds, "I'm the surprise she was trying to get you to come home for."

"Okay," Luke nods and lifts a chair off the closest table before repeating the process. He was puzzled, even after graduating from Yale and going to work for a big newspaper in Boston she was still in Stars Hollow all the time. So Luke honestly couldn't figure out what had Lorelai sounding ready to jump out of her skin on the phone. But he sits quietly, he's known this girl for most of her life and he knows that she's trying to get something seriously off her chest.

She fidgets in her seat, nervously tucking her hair behind her ear before making eye contact with Luke, "I just...well there's two things."

Luke nods, "okay."

"First, well Riley proposed to me today," Rory's eyes lock onto Luke's and he can see the question in her eyes, but he's not sure exactly what she's trying to ask him.

"That's great Rory, congratulations," Luke smiles warmly at her before giving her hand a gentle squeeze.

"So that's okay with you?" Rory asks quietly, awkwardly.

"Okay with me?" Luke questions.

"Mom gave us her blessing," Rory informs, "but I wanted...I wanted yours to."

"Well of course you have my blessing," Luke states quickly, "I think Riley is a great guy. And he'll take care of you. And he loves you. But, Rory, you don't need my blessing."

Rory nods vehemently, "maybe I don't need it, but I want it. Because on the wedding invitations at the part where it says my parents name I want you to be listed. And I want you to be the one to walk me down the aisle at the ceremony. I understand if you don't want to and if it makes you uncomfortable and you decide not to do it then I'll ask my dad...but you're the one I want to do it."

Luke stares at the woman in front of him and for a minute he can't help but see the little girl who, when she was nine, begged him to come into her class to talk about his job. If he remembered quickly it had been take your dad to school day and the words had almost been the same, she said she'd ask Christopher but she wanted him to come first. Of course he'd given in, but in the back of his mind he couldn't help but think she was only really asking him because Christopher wouldn't be able to make it.

"But your dad..." Luke offers.

"It's not my dad's wedding Luke," Rory responds, "it's my choice. And in every meaning of the word you've been a father to me Luke. You've fed me. Protected me. Helped me learn how to ride a bike when I was seven and too embarrassed to tell anyone, even my mom, that I didn't know how. You tried to beat Dean up when he broke up with me. And there's not a major event of my life that you weren't a part of when I was growing up. You were the one at my high school graduation. You're my father, all biological aspects aside. Because in the end they don't even matter."

As Rory lists off these memories a thousand more hit Luke like a flood. He could remember clearly teaching Rory how to ride a bike, she'd been scared. Scared of falling mostly and then she had. The funny thing about it? Luke had been the one to freak out at the sight of the blood on her scraped knees. Rory had calmly taken Luke's hand and lead him back to the inn where Lorelai had simply bandaged Rory's knees and then spent fifteen minutes explaining to Luke that he hadn't broken Rory. Luke could still remember watching helpless as Rory fell and hit the concrete walkway but in the same memory he could see Rory ridding completely on her own, she'd had the basics down but she really only needed the confidence to do it.

The next sequence of memories Luke can see Rory a little older, she must have been no more then twelve. She'd needed to take home economics, she didn't have a choice in that scheduling issue and she wasn't doing well. The first subject in school that she'd actually gotten a bad grade in. She'd been in tears when Lorelai had brought her to him. She needed to make a chocolate layer cake with chocolate ice cream and her first attempt had come out flatter then a pancake. Her teacher told her she could attempt it again at home and bring it in th next day. Luke could still see her cheeks streaked with cocoa powder after an incident with the mixer but despite the mishaps Rory had taken the cake to school and gotten an A on it. And when he showed her the slip of paper that proved it he couldn't help the pride that bubbled up in him, no matter how lame it sounded.

And now, staring at the grown woman...that he'd watched grow up...he can't help but relive the same feeling. Gone were the days of that little girl and for the first time he realizes that she really has grown up right in front him. She's staring at him nervously, her blue eyes shadowed with nervous questions but as she chews on the thumbnail of the hand that's now adorned with a shining diamond he can see the little girl who followed him around begging him to come to school and talk to her class. "This is what you want?" Luke asks at last.

Rory nods, "I wouldn't have asked you if it wasn't. And if you're worried about my dad, don't be, deep down he understands."

"Then okay, I'm in," Luke stands up, anticipating the reaction that occurs within seconds as Rory launches herself out of her chair hugging him tightly.

"Thank you, Luke, this means so much to me."

Luke wraps his arms around her, "it means a lot to me too."


A.N. That's it. Just a short little ficlet that came to me today and I thought I would take a brief break from the Lit vs Rogan debate happening in my other story and write something completely different. But as for a shameless plug, you guys should check out my newest fic, When the Bough Breaks. It's got the aforementioned Lit/Rogan debate...it's got a dead Luke and Lorelai...a Danes' daughter...a pregnant Rory...and lots of unanswered questions (which will be answered because there's like daily updates! Check it out!