Acceptance

by scarlet

A/N: The time line is a bit altered to fit the story. I've been looking for this basic plot everywhere and haven't found anything, so I'm forced to write it myself.

Prologue

It wasn't supposed to be the way it turned out. There were goals. A detailed layout in Rory Gilmore's day planner. But they were useless at this point. Destroyed by an act she could barely remember.

And that's what hurt the worst. That the fates hated her enough to exact vengeance upon that one night of stupidity. A harsh lesson there was no getting out of.

Of course there was that persistent voice in her head whispering it could be worse - it could be HIV.

God. Rory threw all three mocking pregnancy tests in the trash and covered them with almost the entire Kleenex box.

All her mother ever wanted was for this scenario to never play out. This exact scenario.

But here she was, sixteen and pregnant. Just like Lorelai.

"Heyyyy!" Lorelai grabbed her the second she was out of the bathroom. "I was thinking - quick fix at Luke's and on to last minute school shopping... you could get that cute little My Little Pony bag you've always wanted! What was that yellow one you begged for every day?"

"Posey," Rory smiled, "It was a younger, more innocent time."

"Ohhh, honey, if this is you jaded, you're in for some rude shocks," her mother pat her arm sympathetically.

"Yeah," Rory choked, sucker punched.

Lorelai's eyes narrowed, like the sixth mom sense kicked in and she'd honed in on that waver in Rory's voice or the pain in her eyes. "What's wrong, honey?"

It was a horrible moment. She wanted to shrug off the question and raise the issue again over a nice burger and calmly discuss her options like an adult, but she couldn't. She wasn't. Rory burst into tears and clung to Lorelai as she had all her life - as she wasn't ready to stop doing. "Oh, mom, I'm sorry."

"Oh, kiddo, what's wrong?" Lorelai rubbed her back soothingly and Rory just wanted to curl into her mother's strength and let her fix everything. Like when she'd skinned her knee or wanted to go to Chilton.

"I ruined everything," Rory snuffled into her, "I didn't know- I didn't...I just want it back."

"Sweetie, is it Dean? You could work it out-"

"Nooo," Rory practically wailed as yet another horrible part of this nightmare occurred to her – the fact that Dean would find out, he would know. There was no hiding from him, he lived in the same town! "We have to move," she muttered.

Lorelai chuckled, "Honey, what is it? I'm sure that whatever it is, we won't have to give up the house."

"You don't know what it is."

"There is nothing that you could have possibly done that is that terrible, Rory, just sit down." Lorelai led her to the couch and picked up the phone. "Now, we're going to have to re-arrange our day," she hit speed dial, "Hey! Jody, Lorelai, we want extra pepperoni and cheesy bread."

Rory wiped away her tears as her mother re-arranged their schedule for a nice day of wallow-age. "I love you mom."

"Back atcha kiddo," Lorelai smiled and Rory wanted to cry all over again. She loved her mother more than anything and here she was, about to take a wrecking ball to her heart.

As her mother settled into the couch to face her, to wait upon this horrible news that didn't really exist until she said the words, Rory prayed for a way out, something that didn't make her that girl, that statistic. A complete and total disappointment.

"You're scaring me, kiddo, what is it? Nothing could ever make me stop loving you, you know that..."

"Stop," Rory shook her head and wiped the tears burning her eyes, "You're just making me feel worse."

Lorelai fidgeted and Rory could tell she was trying to think of the perfect joke to lighten the mood, so she just had to get it out there.

"I had sex," she blurted quickly and braced herself for the reaction, closing her eyes tight.

Nothing.

She opened one eye slightly and Lorelai exhaled slowly.

"Honey, why would you apologize?"

"I just- I wasn't supposed to-" Rory tried to explain before she revealed the next bit of information.

"You were safe, right?" Lorelai said it like it was a foregone conclusion and Rory cringed.

"I can't really... remember," Rory lay her head in in hands as her mother groaned.

"You're not..."

"I am," she swallowed, "I'm pregnant."

And that was it. Her life was over.


Her baby was pregnant. All the pain in the world that Lorelai wanted to protect her from was going to be there – the future she'd tried to give her...

Just like that: It was over.

Like mother, like daughter.

"Tell me what happened, baby. Does Dean know yet?"

"No," Rory shook her head slowly, "Mom, he's...he's not the father."

The doorbell rang. Lorelai didn't move.

"Umm...mom...pizza?"

"Right!" Lorelai leaped to her feet as her mind spun. Who on earth could be the father?


Her mother hadn't spoken since Rory dropped the 'It's not Dean' bomb. She just sat there, chewing her cheesy bread until she was finished and reached down automatically to pick up a second piece.

"Mom-"

It was like she came out of a trance and blinked, "Oh, sorry, did you want it?"

"No...well, yeah," she picked up a piece for herself, "But I need you to talk to me, mom, please."

"Do I know him?"

"He's been...mentioned," Rory felt it was a good time to concentrate on the pizza.

"You haven't mentioned any boys," Lorelai frowned, "Not that you like anyway."

Rory saw the moment that it clicked for Lorelai, that there was only one other male she'd talked about besides Dean, and he'd been making her life hell for quite some time.

"Oh my God... What was his name again?"

"Tristan," Rory reminded her, "Tristan DuGrey."


The first day of school passed by in a blur of nothing. The teachers barely bothered to prepare a lesson because everyone was too busy talking about their spring vacation, so Rory could concentrate on what she really wanted to think about – the lack of solution to her current problem.

It was strange how she almost missed him. The way he walked down the halls like they were his and called her Mary like she should be flattered he'd given her a nickname.

Arrogant ass.

"Rory!" Madeline and Louise grabbed onto her arms and propelled her down the hallway with them, "How was your summer!"

"Umm, great," Rory nodded, "Sex, drugs and rock 'n roll."

Louise laughed, "Really – wonder if we have the same taste... In the music, of course," she winked.

"Never know."

"Did you hear that Tristan got shipped off to military school?" Madeline asked and Rory's heart thudded to her annoyance. It was a mistake with...lasting results, it didn't have to mean anything.

God damn pregnancy hormones.

"I heard," Rory pretended that it didn't matter. Her grandparents had been the ones to let it slip at one of their Friday night dinners. Apparently, the trouble he was giving his parents was a 'damn shame' and he'd seemed like 'such a nice young man.'

She hadn't let them in on the drunken night of debauchery during which she'd lost her virginity. It was something she didn't like to think about. That denial had worked out well for her until she missed a period.

"Soooo, are you still with that hot guy? Dean, right?" Louise giggled. "Tall? Shaggy?"

"Ummm...no, we're taking some time off."

"Wow, you make it sound so adult," Madeline seemed impressed.

Rory wished she felt half as adult as she apparently sounded.


It was another month before Lorelai flat out asked her what she was going to do.

Her intelligent answer was, "Oh. Ummm...I dunno."

"You know that one of your options slips away more and more as time passes," Lorelai said meaningfully.

"Yeah," Rory looked away. Being the illegitimate daughter born to a sixteen year old girl had a certain affect on one's perspective. It was difficult to put any real thought into abortion when one could have easily been the victim of it. And if her mother could manage to raise her – the only thing the abortion came off as was utterly and completely selfish.

"What do you want to do, Ror?"

"Grab a D'Lorian, go back in time and castrate Tristan?" she asked hopefully.

Lorelai grinned, "Points for color."

"I try."

"Kid, raising a child was the hardest thing I've ever done."

"But have you ever regretted it?"

Lorelai sighed, "Never."

"I wanted to be a foreign news correspondent," Rory sighed and looked at her mother curiously, "What did you want to be?"

"Free."


Rory went on a studying frenzy up until Christmas and Lorelai picked up extra shifts at the Inn. She came home demanding foot rubs, a request Rory obliged immediately.

"Mom, this is my problem," she'd tried to argue one day, "I should get a job, not you!"

"Honey, you're pregnant, even if you could deal with your coursework AND a job for a few months, that will change soon, believe me."

"You did it, mom..."

"Rory, I didn't have a choice. You do. You and me, kid – when I walked out of my parents house, that's what I promised and that's how it's gonna be."

"I love you, mom."

"Excellent," Lorelai smiled and wiggled her toes expectantly.


It wasn't until the day before Christmas that someone at Chilton finally put the pieces together. After Tristan left, it seemed as though barely anyone paid attention to her, something she'd been supremely grateful for when her clothing sizes started to grow up and up.

She was in the Cafeteria, huddled in the corner, working out, in her head, not for the first time, the huge challenge ahead of her if she still wanted to go to college. Any college. Harvard was pretty much out of the question at this point.

"Fight! Fight!" shouts broke out and food started flying everywhere.

As much as people would like to have you believe that something like that could not happen at a prep school such as Chilton, Rory had discovered that any place that held teenage boys would soon find itself home to a food fight.

Her only goal was to escape and she moved to do it quickly.

But she didn't do it before people starting throwing their drinks – drenching her large white shirt and gluing it to her no longer flat stomach.

"Oh my God," Rory heard Madeline's voice first as she unsuccessfully attempted to cover her abdomen. "Rory, are you pregnant?"

It was as though the food stopped mid-flight while everyone in the room turned to stare at her.

To Be Continued...