Summary: Takes place after the season six finale, arguably AU. Rory is expected to fix everything, but it's just not that simple anymore. LoganRory, JessRory, LukeLorelai.
Disclaimer: I so do not own these characters. Wanna buy them for me?
A/N: I've wanted to write this since the season six finale aired, I just never got the inspiration. Then, finally, last night I had a burst of emo-ness and I just started typing. This is what the product of that random burst was – and I'm hoping that all of the plans I have for this fic are going to work out. Of course, if I don't get any reviews then I'm just not going to bother continuing this.
She spent the first few days after his departure in bed or wandering around the apartment, stuffing her face with ice cream and avoiding her mother's calls in favor of moping. Consequently, she missed the huge explosion in her mother's love life, and the action-reaction equation was lost on her. Her own life was affected by that one fucking mistake, and she was completely oblivious to the entire thing. When she finally checked her voicemail – in the middle of the night, three days after Logan left – she was blown away by the amount of tears in every message.
There were four total.
Three were from her mother, the other was a mumbled confession from her father and she dropped the phone in horror halfway through that last message. Christopher and Lorelai were always wrecking things for each other; that much Rory knew. When the two of them got together there were fireworks. The unfortunate side effect was that the flames always got caught in a tree, or a bush, or they landed on some poor unsuspecting spectator and everything started to smoke before it finally blew up in a mass of color and heat and pain.
One in the morning and she was in her car, driving to Stars Hollow to find out the rest of the details and see what could be salvaged from the storm. She had a feeling it wasn't much, if anything, but she had to try. Fixing it – that was what she was expected to do, and she never once forgot that responsibility.
The added bonus of forgetting her own heartache in favor of focusing on her mother's was something she was refusing to think about. She wasn't that selfish; she wouldn't use her best friend's pain to lessen her own.
Finding Lorelai Gilmore, the strongest person she had ever known, crumpled in a ball on the couch crying her eyes out over some random soap opera was not what she was prepared for, though. And after that all thoughts of Logan flew out the window.
The diner was open, and Rory wasn't sure whether she should be pissed or relieved. The bell above the door dinged quietly when she walked into the establishment and she inwardly cringed at the familiarity of the place. Luke was behind the counter, methodically wiping its surface, eyes unfocused and shirt slightly more rumpled than usual. Rory frowned and took a seat on a stool at the counter, waiting patiently for him to notice her.
He never did.
"Luke," she said quietly, waving her hand in front of his face. He jumped to attention and looked up at her frantically, deer-in-the-headlights face in full effect. Rory offered him a tiny smile and he sighed heavily, greeting her with a slightly desperate air.
"Coffee?" he wondered, turning and holding an empty pot up in the air. She raised an eyebrow and Luke furrowed his brow, glancing at the pot to see what the problem was. Rolling his eyes, he set it back on the counter and ran a hand through his hair, letting his baseball cap clench between his fingertips.
Her fingers tapped out an irregular rhythm on the counter and she nodded her head awkwardly. This was the part she wasn't looking forward to. "So did she tell you everything?"
When he froze, she wasn't surprised, and she continued speaking in earnest. "Because if she did then I can imagine the explosion that took place after the confession. I almost broke my cell phone when my dad called to tell me his side of the story," she nodded again and watched as her almost-step-father's eyes flamed at the mention of Christopher.
"Yeah, she told me everything," he agreed. Various customers had stopped their conversations to listen and Rory rolled her eyes, turning to snap at them at the same time Luke did. After they had all resumed normal diner activity she turned back to him and shrugged sheepishly.
"I wish there was something I could do…"
"No," he shook his head, "No, Rory, this isn't your fault," he promised. "Your mom and I … we'll work it out," he nodded decisively, though his tone made it sound like he was trying to convince himself more than her. She frowned but nodded her agreement, tucking her hair behind her ears as she looked down at the counter.
"Have you-" she took a deep breath "-have you called anyone?"
"I don't know," she shrugged and smiled a little. "Someone that you can talk to? I feel like you're dealing with this all by yourself." Luke shrugged and smirked softly, leaning down toward her.
"Don't worry about me," he said softly. "I'll be fine."
"Right," she nodded, "Right. Of course you will, you're," she gestured toward him, nodding absently, "Luke! You'll be fine," she laughed shakily around the lump in her throat, swallowing it back when he nodded his agreement and walked away to serve his customers.
She pulled her cell phone out of her pocket and left before he could yell at her for using it inside, flipping through her phone book until she reached her second most recently-added contact. Holding her phone open and staring at the number that was displayed on her screen for a solid five minutes, she finally took a deep breath and connected the call as she started walking back toward the Gilmore home.
"Marco!" Rory hollered, setting her purse down absently as she walked into the living room. Paul Anka whined and ran out of the room, skittering down the hallway into the kitchen. She frowned and shook her head, jogging up the stairs in pursuit of her mother.
Lorelai was asleep, immersed in a mess of blankets when Rory reached the bedroom, and she sighed quietly as she shut the door and went back downstairs. Flopping back onto the couch, she sighed heavily and closed her eyes, determined to forget the drama long enough to take a nap.
Apparently the universe had other plans for her, though. Her phone rang almost as soon as she started to drift off, and she all but lunged at the coffee table to retrieve the phone from her purse and answer it.
She smiled when she recognized the number and flipped the phone open, belting out a falsely-cheerful hello. Blurry noise returned her greeting and she frowned, pulling the phone back to check the service. The tiny little screen informed her that the call hadn't been dropped and that she had as many bars as possible, so she pressed the phone back to her ear and said hello again, hoping for an actual response this time.
"Ace?" Logan's voice crackled through the receiver and she smiled again, nodding her head redundantly as she replied in the affirmative. He laughed lightly and she curled up at the end of the couch, tucking her feet comfortably beneath her. "Hey, I tried calling the apartment earlier and you weren't there."
"Yeah, I'm in Stars Hollow," she said. "There's all this stuff going on with my mom and Luke and my dad, so…"
"Rory? You there?"
"Yes, can you hear me?"
"Yeah," he paused and she frowned when the background noise increased. She could make out various voices and the sound of some fast-paced techno song, and she furrowed her brow when he asked her – yet again – if she was there. He cut her off before she could reply, "Look, I'm gonna have to call you back, I can't really hear anything in here, but we'll talk soon, okay?"
"Sure," she agreed. "I love you," she bit her lip and sighed quietly.
"Love you too, Ace."
The call disconnected and she snapped her phone shut before dropping it on the floor. With one last glance toward the stairs to make sure Lorelai wasn't awake, she snuggled further into the couch and let her eyes fall shut.
Planes crashing, fire, explosions in a chemistry lab, and finally a random, faceless girl giving her boyfriend a lap dance. Rory woke with a start, breathing heavily and nearly choking on the tears she'd been shedding in her sleep, disoriented from her fall from the couch. Gasping to catch her breath, she pressed the heel of her palm to her forehead and closed her eyes tightly, shaking her head to clear the images of her nightmare.
"Sweets, you okay?" Lorelai questioned, concerned. Rory looked up to find her mother standing at the bottom of the stairs, chaotic and messy and still as beautiful as always. She nodded weakly and pushed herself to a standing position, working out the crick in her neck as she stretched. Lorelai nodded in turn and then smiled brightly, prompting her daughter to raise a curious and extremely confused eyebrow.
Rory stared blankly at the smile on Lorelai's face before shaking her head in amusement. "You finally came up with the cure to world hunger, didn't you?"
"Yes; eat all of the evil children," Lorelai agreed. "It will solve hunger and the population growth issue. Win-win," she nodded. Rory smiled softly and Lorelai sighed heavily, shaking her head and clearing the smirk from her face. "Have you talked to your dad?"
"No," Rory replied automatically. She followed as her mother wandered into the kitchen, and she sat down at the table dejectedly. "I did go see Luke, though."
The coffee pot crashed onto the counter and Rory jumped, startled. Turning her attention to Lorelai she found her mother with glazed eyes, tears pooling in the corners, hands on the counter as she tried to control her breathing. She figured it was probably a miracle that the coffee pot didn't shatter from the impact.
Luke didn't bother to look up as he continued to stack the chairs on the tables when he heard the bell above the door ring. He sighed and shook his head, robotically continuing his task. "We're-"
"-closed, I know," the person replied. Luke's eyes widened and he turned, stunned at who he saw standing in the entryway to the diner. He shook his head slowly and then laughed, nodding as he folded his arms across his chest.
"Lemme guess," he said, "You wanna come back."
Jess rolled his eyes and dropped his bag on the floor, shrugging his shoulders as he stuffed his hands in his pockets. "Well, what can I say, Uncle Luke, this town is just so dang charming."
"And the smartass lives," Luke sighed and threw his hands in the air, feigning exasperation as Jess smirked at him. Luke nodded and walked closer to his nephew, pulling him into a hug and patting his back affectionately. "Good to see you," he nodded and pulled back, turning around to continue cleaning.
"Yeah, you too," Jess agreed. He stood awkwardly near the door, unsure of what he should be doing. Finally he picked up a spare rag off the counter and started wiping down the tables Luke hadn't gotten to yet.
Neither said a word for the rest of the night.