Disclaimer: Not mine, don't sue.
A/N: Post 6.18 fic, disregarding 6.19

Kettle Whistle

He lies awake nights, wondering what he could have said, or done to make her take it back. That's stupid, he knows. She won't take back something she feels is true. And even if she felt differently, it isn't as if she'd ever admit to being wrong.

So he tosses and turns and still, sleep evades him, because of three words.

"I love Logan."

She always knows just the right words to rip him to shreds.

But it's not as if he needs her, is it? He has friends, and a home, and family, and success. Validation, for all the years of bad choices and pain. He has a life that is all his own, and really, that's all he's ever wanted.

Well…besides her.

He turns over on his mattress in his small, cluttered room. The one lamp in the corner is turned off, and the shades are up. He has a Shaggs CD blaring, and his books and CD's and strewn about the room, along with typed pages he'll never look at again.

Close eyes. Open eyes. Ceiling. No ceiling. Ceiling. No ceiling.

He'll never understand why she can't just...

Just what? Want him? Love him? Be with him? It all sounds corny and lame. But then again, it's what he wants.

It scares him to death that he'll always be hers, but she'll never be his. He doesn't want to live life like that. He isn't Dante, and he's not Ophelia. He doesn't want to die for her.

Sometimes, it feels as if he already has.

He heavily drags himself from his bed, and trudges to out of his room, to the kitchen, being quiet so as Chris and Matt don't wake up. He wants to be alone, and it's hard to find a quiet, private moment at Truncheon. He starts up the tea kettle and pulls out a couple of decaf teabags for himself.

He scratches his messy hair and slumps down at the kitchen table, which is piled high with manuscripts.

The knock on the door makes his head turn. He slowly gets up and opens the door.

And there she is. Her hair is a mess, and her jeans are ripped. She looks as if she's been crying, and there is the start of a bruise forming on the upper part of her left cheek. She's hugging herself tightly.

She doesn't have to say anything. The tears; the bruise. They say it all. He's seen the look so many times on him mother, who wears it better, mostly due to practice.

Drunken people aren't very nice sometimes, and you always hurt the ones you love. Isn't that the saying?

He pulls her gently by the arm, into the apartment, toward the small couch. They sit and he inspects the bruise silently, wondering why she's here, of all places, when her mother and Luke would accept her with open arms, and Emily and Richard would get so livid they'd put a hit out on the blond bastard.

He doesn't ask. He knows better. If he asks, she'll lie, like always. She's as good a liar as he is, and that's really saying something.

When the tea kettle whistles, he pours himself a cup of tea, and then starts up the coffeemaker for her. When she goes to the bathroom, he calls Luke, who has the expected flip out reaction, declaring war on the drunken little punk. Jess lets him rant and rave, letting his uncle's worried and angry voice wash over him, feeling more grounded with the knowledge that he has backup.

She comes back out of the bathroom and curls up on the couch, huddled into his side. He puts her on the phone with her mother and she cries. He holds her gently, and thinks of starting a 101 ways to kill Logan Huntzberger list.

When she hangs up the phone, he glances down at her worriedly.

"Rory?"

"What?"

"Don't…" he bites his lip. "Don't go back to him. I know you said…you love him, but…"

She says nothing.

He sighs. "I'm not saying this because I hate him or because I…because…" He stops for a long moment. "You're better than to let him hurt you."

Still she says nothing.

"Next time it might not be just a bruise. It might be a black eye, or a broken bone. A sprained wrist."

She stares at him with those big eyes. They're blank for a solid minute, but after that, he sees them change to a resigned sadness.

"Can we get my stuff tomorrow?"

Jess nods. "Yeah."

End