AN: This is in multiple parts, please bear with me.

(a) Thank you so very much to my beta, B fulfilled /B , who has held my hand through this entire, about month long, process, as this kept growing and changing. Without her I know this wouldn't be nearly as good as it turned out, I'm pretty pleased. All mistakes are mine, and not her fault.
(b) This was however an interesting journey of writing. It has changed, tense & person, drastically from when I began. I hope it helped me grow as a writer. It did I'm sure cause, fulfilled, many more headaches since my brain started skipping over the wrong tense and person references after a while.
(c) The idea for this came out of some conversations and my observations that there are some deep parallels between Lorelai & Logan, exploring those has been an interesting experience. I do hope I don't idealize Rory & Logan's relationship too much, but the point is to provide juxtaposition, so some is necessary. Plus, they were in a wonderful place at the end of the season. I am, however, a Rory/Logan shipper, not a Lorelai/Luke one, so I come at this from a different angle than most I would think. I've not read any post- Partings , L/L fic, so I'm not sure, but I doubt this angle has been explored.
(d) This piece does change voices once. I, however, do not mark whose head you are in before or after the transition. I assume the audience is intelligent enough to figure it out. If you still want confirmation, I'll put it at the end>

Symmetry

"…what, six hours this session, and six next, right?" That would give her twelve credit hours for the summer and have her almost completely caught up from her semester off.

"Yeah, that's right," she confirms. "It's just a lot of work. Mostly due to the deadlines that seem to happen every single day."

"Well, hey, at least you're used to regular deadlines with the paper," you point out. "And since it's closed for the summer, that's one less thing to worry about."

"This is very true," she agrees. "But I still feel like I'm chasing my tail - I already have my mid-term in three days, and this is just the second week."

"Most likely you are. I mean, that's what I feel like everyday lately. I get up and have a new assignment, and then it has to be written and turned in by a deadline every single day."

"But you sound like you're loving it," she observes.

"I like the writing, the going out and finding a story, then crafting that into a coherent narrative," you admit. "I'm not so sure that I want to deal with the side of things that my father wants me tackle."

"What things?" she asks, though you know she knows.

"Management," you groan, just the thought making your stomach turn a little. "Bean counters that only see as far as the latest circulation drop statistics. I'm not sure I'm cut out for that part of this."

"But isn't that years down the road?" she poses. "You're supposed to be learning the business from the ground up."

"Yes," you agree; her logic is perfect as usual. "It's years away. But it looms," you groan, you've been talking for fifteen minutes and get the sense that she's not telling you something. "I need a Jetson phone," you mutter.

"You need a what?" she asks.

"A video phone like the Jetsons had," you state more clearly.

"Okay, so I did hear you correctly," she giggles. "Now the question is why?"

"First of all, so I can see your beautiful face while I'm talking to you," which brings a smile to your face at the thought. "But also so I can see your body language. I get the feeling you're keeping something from me."

"What do you mean?" she asks guardedly, and you can hear shutters going up just in the change in tone of her voice.

"One, I know you," you start. "Two, you're only talking about school, which is something you normally don't do. Usually you're full of stuff about your grandparents - even though they're gone for the summer you've told me every time Richard's emailed you thus far. Three, you spent the weekend in Stars Hollow with Lorelai and you haven't mentioned it once. I haven't talked to you in three days because you were supposed to be having a mommy-daughter weekend, and yet, crickets."

"I don't want to talk about it," she murmurs quickly, confirming what you already suspect - she's keeping something from you.

"That, Ace, is not the right answer," you sigh. "Now, I know I'm right. What's wrong?"

"It's not your problem," she tries to sidestep. "It has nothing to do with you."

"Still not the right answer," you're not letting this go. Something's bugging her and you're going to find out.

"It has nothing to do with us, either," she groans.

"Still not the right answer," you doggedly reply. "Something's bothering you. I could sense it even though you didn't bring it up, mostly because I should have already gotten a bubbly blow-by-blow of your weekend hijinx with Lorelai." She hadn't seen her since the end of school, having been busy with shutting down the paper for the semester and starting summer school, so you had expected lots of Lorelai wackiness. Rory loves telling you stories about her mother's over the top antics. Instead…nothing.

"The only real problems we've even had were when we weren't completely honest with each other. Stealing the boat happened because you didn't tell me what happened with my dad. We broke up because I was too scared of the future to talk to you about it like an adult," you tick off. "You were still angry with me over finding out what I had done while we weren't together and I went off and did something stupid. All avoidable had we actually been honest with one another from the start.

"We're in a relationship here," you continue. "I love you, Ace. I want to help, but I can't if you don't tell me what's going on. And don't tell me not to worry about it, because there's no way I won't now. I know something's wrong; just tell me what it is."

Silence stretches across the chasm that currently separates you, but she seems just as determined to keep this to herself as you are to find out what the hell is going on. All you can hear is the changing modulation in her breathing pattern, going from normal to very shallow as if she's forgetting that she needs to take in oxygen. You know the wheels are turning at lighting speed in her head, flashing through how she can avoid telling you whatever it is, how you might react to the news if she does tell you, how to maybe tell you part, but not all, or maybe even hanging up the phone to avoid the conversation all together.

"Rory," you prompt when she remains silent for several minutes.

Crickets, still.

"Ace," you drop your voice to gently encourage.

You hear her inhale a deep breath, then fast as she can, bursts, "Mymomanddadslepttogether."

"What?" you ask, confusion and disbelief obvious in your voice. You think you heard what she said, but if she said what you think she did then it makes no sense.

"Logan, please," she cries, voice slightly garbled.

"Rory," you say again, very softly. "Ace, I love you, please talk to me."

It takes a several more seconds before you hear her again inhale deeply, then whisper clearly, "My mom and my dad slept together."

You had heard right. The hell? How had that happened? Why had it happened? When? Luke? Oh God Rory, all flashed through your mind, settling on an overwhelming need to cradle her in your arms while she cries through her confusion. You know you have to say something, "How..."

"They're my parents; aren't they supposed to be the adults?" she cuts in, her voice quickly rising. "But no, she goes off and issues some crazy ultimatum to Luke, a man who took ten years to just ask her out, just to ask her out! He's not exactly the type to respond well to a now or never type ultimatum. I know that about him, why wouldn't she? She's the one who's supposed to be in love with him. The whole town knows that about him, so why wouldn't she? Oh and get this," she continues at a staccato pace. "She issues the ultimatum in the middle of the diner, so everyone knew from the moment it happened. Babette filled me in with a blow-by-blow of the entire thing while I was home. He won't even look at me, not that I can look at him either. Of course the entire town knows. If the NSA had half the ability of the Stars Hollow gossip mill, terrorism would be nipped in the bud. Yesterday! We can't even go to Weston's or Al's because we're now the town pariahs. Fortunately, she owns the inn so she can get food from Sookie; otherwise she would starve, or have to drive to Woodbridge or Litchfield or somewhere else nearby to get food. Well, she probably wouldn't go to Woodbridge, since the evil Anna lives there. Last time they broke up, at least people could take sides. This time there's only one side: Luke's. And I can't blame any of them; she slept with my father!"

"Rory," you interrupt her tirade, "try to calm down."

"Calm down?" she shrieks. "How can I calm down? You wanted to know what's wrong! If you didn't want to know, you shouldn't have asked!"

"Well if we don't try to talk about this a little more calmly, then how are we going to figure out how to make it better?" you try to reason, though you see her point; this really doesn't seem to have an obvious solution.

"How are we supposed to make it better?" she retorts sharply.

Before she can start off on her rant again you ask, "How did the whole town find out about what happened? That is what you said, right?"

"Babette of course," she laughs bitterly. "I love Babette, and she loves me and Mom too, but she loves nothing as much as she does gossip. She was in her kitchen with Miss Patty, watching Luke waiting on the porch steps, when Mom showed up. Who knows what she would have told him had Dad not shown up a few minutes later because he was worried about her and the way she had left his place. Apparently a very ugly scene ensued between the three of them."

"Oh," you respond, not really knowing what to say.

"Yeah, oh," she replies caustically. "See, there's nothing to make better unless you can give her a brain transplant - or a lobotomy might be better, actually. I have no idea why I didn't see this coming. It's not like she hasn't fucked up every relationship she's ever been in. I've always been more of an adult than her. I was more of an adult when I was two! She was supposed to marry Max, and instead she calls Dad and we run off to Harvard. Dad asks her to marry him after they have sex while we're at my grandparents for dinner, and she says no, telling him he's too immature. He's too immature? I'm sorry; I don't think he had sex with himself! Happens every single time she gets close to actually having to fully commit to a relationship - she figures out how to napalm the whole thing.

"But Luke was supposed to be different," she continues. You can hear some agitated movements, and you assume she's started pacing, like she has a tendency to do. "He was supposed to be the one she stayed around for, didn't screw up…"

You've never really talked about Lorelai's relationship history, though you have been curious how such a beautiful, funny, intelligent woman has never been married at thirty-eight. Apparently, the answer is a very large self-destructive streak. You know Rory really needs to get all of this out, and you're probably the only one who she can confide in, aside from maybe Paris or Lane. Her options are few, though, so you let her continue venting while your mind starts working through feasible scenarios.

"Logan," you hear her squeak, seeming to have finally talked herself into a stupor after a ten or more minute stream-of-consciousness tirade.

"I'm still here," you assure her.

"What am I supposed to do?" she asks, and you can hear her plop down on the couch. "I don't know what to say to her, at least not anything that would make it better. And when she's not working, she's practically comatose, sleeping constantly. I don't know how to I sympathize with her - I'm horrified by what she did. And I just want to go scream at Dad!"

"I have an idea," you suggest softly.

"What? Really" she asks. You hear her voice perk up thinking that you might be coming to her rescue. "Are you going to come bang all their heads together and make them act their ages?

"No," you reply, biting the inside of your lip to keep from laughing; you know it won't be appreciated right now. But you've had time to formulate a plan while she's been venting off her anger and frustration, "I think you should both come to London."

"Come to London?" she incredulously asks - you obviously haven't given her the magic solution she'd been hoping for. "How is that supposed to solve anything? Besides, I can't go to London. I have classes, or did you forget?"

"No, I didn't forget," you soothe. "You have classes for three more weeks, then your classes for the second session are by correspondence, right? That means you can do them anywhere, and correct me if I'm mistaken, but didn't you tell me a few weeks ago that you had six, not the usual four, weeks to complete the curriculum? Right"

"Yes," she responds, and you know she's starting to see the beginnings of your plan.

"What are your classes?"

"One is on the '56 uprising in Budapest; the other a survey of early British female authors. The Brontés, Jane Austen, Mary Shelley."

"What better place to study Jane and the Brontés than right here?" you ask. It's perfect, though you have no idea what you'll do with Lorelai when she gets here. But you can figure that out later - Rory will be here and that will make your life better. "You can get a research pass into the British Library to do whatever research you'll need. Then you can even spend a week in Budapest, since I still have to work. Get to know the city."

"Logan," she says, wonder in her voice, and you imagine her smile starting to creep across her beautiful face.

"Don't turn me down yet," you bulldoze through her interruption. "There are two bedrooms in the flat; Lorelai can stay in the other one. This would give her three weeks to get things in order at the Dragonfly. Sookie and Michel can run the place for a month or so, can't they? I know this isn't going to solve her problems, but at least it would get her away from Luke, Christopher, the disapproving gossips, and a town that wants to pin a scarlet A across her chest. It would let her get a bit of perspective."

"Okay," she mumbles.

"What?" you ask, not sure if you hear her correctly.

"Okay," she repeats, more firmly. "I can't guarantee anything, but I'll talk to her. You make some good points, and I think a change of scenery might do her some good. I know it would do me some, plus, I would get to see you. I miss you."

"Good, I miss you too," you smile - understatement of the century. "I'll look into getting you tickets."

"You don't have to do that," she protests, which you expected.

"I want to," you assure her - that way you know she'll be coming. "When you figure out the logistics of when you can actually come, I'll send them."

"Logan," she breathes, "thank you, so much."

"You're welcome," you accept. "Though you don't have to thank me - I love you, I want to help. This is obviously bothering you a great deal, so if only for that reason I want to try to help make it better," you pause for a moment to think about how to best word a reminder to her, before beginning softly. "Ace."

"Yes," she replies.

"Don't forget - she's your mom and you love her."

"I'll try not to," she replies wryly.

---

How is it that no city looks its best when viewed from a passing train car? Overcast and gloomy weather to match the dreary monotony of row houses and industry that pass before you, but at least it all matches your mood. Why you had agreed to do this you have no idea - more than likely to get away from all the eyes that follow your every step through Stars Hollow. To quit having to walk by Luke's and pretend that you don't want to go inside and scream at him that yes, you fucked up, but it's not all your fault. To escape Sookie's incessant muttering about how you're going to die alone, which has now become the constant voice in your head. To change the expression on Rory's face from angry disappointment. This last year has been the worst of your life, beginning with your rift with Rory, but the last month has been the cherry on top of it all.

Now unfortunately Rory's expression has changed, her face was now full of elated anticipation as the train pulls into Waterloo Station. She looks like she is about to jump out of her skin. Logan is meeting the you in the City, not getting enough time off during a work day to get out to the airport to pick the two of you up.

"Do you need help with your bags?" she asks, jumping up to retrieve hers from the compartment at the front of the car.

"No, I think I can handle things," you assure, following behind her.

"Mind the gap," says a canned disembodied voice. Maybe he's referring to the gaping chasm your life has become.

"This way, Mom," Rory says while pointing to the 'Way Out' sign. "Logan said he would meet us in the main part of the station."

"Gah!" you huff as you struggle with your bag, muttering under your breath, "People always go on about ugly Americans, but these people have to take the cake for rude. Do they not see a woman in distress here? Frankly, I think any nation which cannot make a decent cup of coffee amongst them should be treated with suspicion."

"Mom, would you quit messing around and come on," Rory grumbles. "Logan should be waiting on us; I don't want to keep him."

"Could you use some help?" a male voice questions.

"Finally, a gentleman," you accept gratefully from behind a curtain of hair.

"Logan!" Rory exclaims excitedly, dropping her luggage handle.

"Figures it would be him," you grumble to yourself, pulling your hair out of your face to see Rory yank him toward her in a strangling hug.

"Oomph, Ace," comes out of Logan in a laughing whoosh as his chest collides with Rory's. "I take it you're happy to see me?"

"Oh my God, so happy!" you hear her whisper, voice laced with elation. "I've never been so happy to see anyone. Well, maybe Mom last year after having not spoken for so long," at least she remembers you, "but other than that, never been so happy to see anyone in my life!" she beams, leaning back while bouncing on her toes.

"Right back at ya," he grins, before diving in for a short, hard kiss. This is not going to be enjoyable.

"Should I turn the other direction to give you two a bit of privacy?" you ask sardonically.

"No," he laughs sheepishly, "all done, for now. These are for you, before I forget," he says, untangling himself from Rory to hand you the large cups he has stacked in one hand.

"If that is coffee, you are my hero," you say, taking the cup he's holding out. Something's finally going right.

"It is, double shots in both, so they'd be strong enough. Yours is just the way you like it," he tells Rory, "yours is black, Lorelai. I don't know how you take it."

"Black is fine," you assure gratefully, taking a large swig. "Oh my God that's good, nectar of the gods. A nation of tea sippers can't be trusted."

"I wouldn't say that too loudly," Rory laughs before taking a drink from hers. "That's probably tea in Logan's cup."

"I can't believe you've lived with him for almost an entire semester and he dares drink anything that's not coffee," you gasp in mock outrage - appearances must be kept. They're obviously elated to see one another, and there's no need to bring them into your cesspool of depression. "Well, alcoholic beverages being the exception."

"I like tea," Logan chuckles. "Tea and scotch."

"How very unmanly of you," you retort. "The tea, not the scotch part. There's something wrong with this country, not being able to find a decent cup of coffee."

"Well I assure you I stocked up a few days ago at Harrods – I got some good beans, a grinder and a top notch drip coffee maker," he assures. "I'm nothing if not a gracious host. I was going to get an espresso machine but after what Ace did to the one in our apartment I had to think twice," he laughs, one brow raised, earning a thump to his stomach.

"Thank God," you laugh with relief. At least Logan is keeping his rep as an excellent host. "I'm not exaggerating when I say that the stuff they were trying to pass off as coffee on the plane was really just hot water with some food coloring. The stuff we tried to get at the airport wasn't much better, and then there was this woman with a teacart on the train. A teacart, what good is that?"

"A cup of tea?" he questions with a laugh, causing you to shoot him a scathing look. "Before my manhood gets questioned again, may I help you with your bags?"

"Yes you may, thank you," you accept gratefully.

Rory loops an arm through his while he picks up one suitcase and pulls the other behind him. "I'll protect your manhood," you hear her tell him.

"Thanks Ace," he smiles down at her. "God, I'm glad you're here."

"I am too - I missed you," she says, resting her head on his shoulder.

"I missed you, too," he agrees, turning to kiss the top of her head. They really are disgustingly cute.

"I'm so happy to see you without a cane or cast on your leg, and walking with no limp," she says. "I know you told me a couple of weeks ago you'd had it removed, but I'm still glad to see you all better."

"Yeah, the ankle was stiff for the first week, so I did some physical therapy," he returns. "But it's pretty much good as new now."

"Just no more jumping off cliffs when you're drunk," Rory replies with a stern look, he just smiles and nods in return.

"Let me flag down a taxi; there's no need for a car here so I don't have one," he says when you've exited the station. "It's just a ten minute or so ride to the flat. You two have been here before haven't you?" he asks once you're on your way.

"Yes," Rory confirms. "We came the year I graduated from Chilton - we backpacked and stayed in hostels, did the whole Europe on a shoestring thing. We went to the British Museum, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul's, all the highlights."

"Had you ever been to England or Europe before that, Lorelai?" Logan asks.

"No, Mom and Dad didn't think children would appreciate Europe," you explain. "By the time they would have taken me with them, I didn't want to go with adult supervision, and by the time they would have paid for me to go with friends, extenuating circumstances had intervened."

"I assume you mean Rory?" he questions.

"Yes," you confirm, nodding, "I mean Rory. Sixteen and pregnant doesn't exactly constitute a prime backpacking with friends scenario."

"I'm sure it's not something you would recommend duplicating, but things seem to have turned out alright - you have your inn, which is a success. And I personally wouldn't change what happened back then; after all, then there would be no Rory, and I can't imagine that," he smiles. "My life would be a sad place."

"You're too sweet," Rory smiles back at him.

"No, I've just missed you," he says, kissing her cheek.

He's right, you wouldn't change things - you got Rory. But you would pay to be anywhere but in the presence of a happy couple right now. Unfortunately your options are limited. It's not like you would have been able to get away at the height of the summer season if Sookie wasn't seriously worried about your mental health.

"Oh, look! The Eye!" Rory exclaims, pointing out the window. "I want to ride at some point while we're here. All of this has been redone in the last decade or so, right?" Rory asks, continuing to point out the window at the passing Embankment.

"Yeah, sometime during the Thatcher government they shut down most of the industrial aspect of Thames traffic in London, since it had become an environmental blight and apparently too expensive to maintain. I'm sure you've read about the breaking of the trade unions. At first there were a bunch of empty, rundown buildings that allowed crime to fester in the area. But about a decade or so ago someone came in and started redoing the entire area. The building where the flat is was an old dockland warehouse. Actually, here we are," he says as you pull up outside what looks like an old brick, industrial warehouse.

"Now, the lift can be a little cranky," Logan, explains, ushering both of you through the front of the building. "If the door won't close, just shove the gate back into the slot then yank; that usually does the trick. If it doesn't work the first time, rinse and repeat. Eventually that does work," he explains, yanking on the gate to demonstrate. "There's also a Pakistani man that lives on the first floor, that's the second floor but they call it the first, kinda confusing, but he lives right by the lift shaft and he cooks almost every night, filling the entire building up with the smell."

"Oh God," you groan, nose scrunching, "There's only one type of food I really don't like and that's Indian. I assume Pakistani is pretty similar."

"Yeah, it's about the same," he confirms. "I like the food, but it smells really bizarre. Here we are; fourth floor."

"Which is really the fifth."

"You're quick, Ace, nothing gets past you," he laughs, fiddling with the door lock, then pulling it open. "I've got keys for both this door, and the one downstairs for both of you. The maid comes twice a week and a laundry service picks up once a week - I just leave everything in a bag outside the door," he begins explaining after letting the both of you through the door.

"There's a library!" Rory exclaims, practically running over to the small alcove, which is lined with half-filled bookcases, with two overstuffed chairs and a rug in the center.

"Yeah," he returns, stating the obvious, moving to join her. "I've bought most of yours and my favorites, and since you're doing early British female authors I ordered a full set of Jane, the Brontés, Frankenstein, and the collected works of Elizabeth Barrett Browning - I figured it couldn't hurt. There are some great bookstalls in Covent Garden, which is just a few blocks away. Oh, and there's something for you here," he says picking up a small, wrapped parcel.

"For me?" she returns in a coy tone, as if it would be for anyone else. When the hell did you become jealous of your own daughter? Oh yes, when she seemed to figure out how to make a relationship work, when you can't.

"Logan," Rory gasps, "this is amazing. It's a first edition; it must have cost a fortune."

"Yeah, well, it did," he smiles, "but the look on your face made it worth every shilling I paid."

"Mom, it's a first edition of Mansfield Park," she says, running over to show you. "It's in amazing shape, too. Logan, thank you, thank you, thank you," she sings, going back over to give him a strangling hug.

"Like I said, it's always worth it to get that sort of smile on your face. Love you, Ace."

---

"One of the Kemps was on it at one point," you say, you're sitting on a stool at the kitchen counter while they're making dinner.

"Kemp - you lost me there," Logan replies.

"Kemp, Gary and Martin, from Spandau Ballet," Rory informs him. "You still have a long way to go in eighties bands knowledge to keep up with us."

"Well, seeing as how I was born in the eighties…" he returns smartly.

"So was I," Rory sasses back, waving the very large knife she has in her hand under his nose.

"Hey," he exclaims, pushing the knife away from himself. "Be careful with that thing."

"I'm not planning on using it on you," she teases. "My point, stands though. I was born in the eighties."

"Yes, to someone who was a teen in the eighties and is a pop culture junkie," he points out logically. "I don't think it's quite the same."

"Okay, maybe you're right."

They keep bickering about British pop culture in an easy banter. It amuses you how much bickering is the language of their relationship; they do it constantly, about anything. It had been very unsurprising when they revealed that they had gotten into a sparring match the first - 'No, the second time,' Rory had shot back - they met. Their disagreement over if they had really 'met' the first time they ran into one another had admittedly been funny. He claimed they hadn't 'officially' met at their first encounter, and she had retorted that just because he didn't remember her didn't mean they hadn't met.

You listen to them move to discussing the pros and cons of Nine and Ten, from the BBC's new Doctor Who, which has become their new obsession. He had been sending her episodes on their computers so they could watch them together on tv dates, the cheesy, silly humor being something they both love. They made you watch a marathon the first couple of nights you were here. You returned the favor by subjecting Logan to a Texas Chainsaw Massacre marathon, but he hadn't considered it an even trade. He's gotten tickets for a few shows, but just for the two of you - Rory tells you that he's not a theatre fan, which he had demonstrated by falling asleep during a production of The Tempest at the New Globe. He laughed afterward - he actually likes the play when he reads it; he just doesn't like sitting and watching productions.

They usually spend the other nights in the library - she works while he reads or helps her with her homework - while you watch the television or movies in the living area. You hadn't expected him to be as much of a homebody as he turns out to be, but he seems content just spending time with Rory.

It's been very obvious in the ten days you've been here that they both appreciate this time together a great deal and intend to use it well. You meet him at a pub around the corner from his office most afternoons for lunch, then either he brings something home for dinner, you all go out, or they make something together for all three of you, like tonight.

They make every effort to include you, but you know, or assume, they would rather be alone. It's easy to see they're both friends and lovers. She's learned to cook, with some help from him, and enjoys it, which strikes you as blasphemy to the name of Gilmore - neither you nor your mother would ever consider cooking. Her departures don't annoy you, but they're strange. For so long she was a nerdier version of you, and that was always okay—you've never been entirely comfortable with her departures from that template. They share a similar sense of humor, both love books, something you wouldn't have guessed about him before this trip, and he's one of the few conversationalists you've ever met who can keep up with the both of you as well. The weekend on the Vineyard had been your first look beyond the admittedly negative image you had formed of him, realizing he was a person you might like in time, and whom you probably understood more than he knew. The time you've been here has made you really understand what Rory sees in him, and how much they have in common, even while it's obvious they're quite different as well.

Watching them, though, has made you think about where things really had gone wrong, and it didn't start with Christopher. He was just the conclusion of a very long and twisted path. Neither you nor Luke had been really talking to each other for more than a year. You had shut him out of the major decisions about Rory; he had done the same with April. And if you ever got back together, you needed to find a hobby in common. Maybe you could really learn to fish. It wouldn't kill you.

"Mom, dinner's ready," Rory says sharply, probably not for the first time, pulling you out of your reverie.

"I'll be right there," you return. "Just let me wash my hands."

---

"I did tell you that Colin and Finn are coming for the weekend?" Logan asks one night while you're eating dinner two weeks after you arrive. "They'll be leaving about the same time you two are leaving for Budapest, but since you're here," he points a knuckle toward Rory, "they wanted to stop in at least for a couple of days."

Great, the idiots from the police station - just what this party needs.

"Where are they going to stay? We don't have any more beds," Rory points out, logic always reigning.

"Settee or the floor," he responds. "If it's too crowded I'll just kick them out, make them get a hotel."

"You said settee," Rory giggles. "You're such a girl!"

---

"Let me freshen your drink, love," an already deep into his cups Finn offers you. You hand him your glass, figuring why the hell not - it's not as if you can think of a reason to stay sober.

Hanging out with your daughter, her boyfriend, and his two best friends hadn't really been how you expected to spend your summer vacation, but it's not nearly as bad as you had thought it would be. Colin can be a condescending, elitist ass, but he dotes on Rory like she's his long lost little sister, making him unhateable. Annoying at times, but unhateable.

Finn, on the other hand, is a revelation. He's hilarious and he never misses an opportunity to hit on you, and even though you have no intention of taking him up on his never subtle offers to rock your world if you will just give him a chance, you find it feels good to be wanted, reminded that men, even those young enough to date your daughter, still find you attractive. Of course attracting men has never really been your problem, it was the keeping them, or figuring out how to overcome all your issues and find contentment with just one person, that has always been your problem.

"Okay so I have a question. Is the ass real or implants?" you ask.

"As an Australian, I'm offended!" Finn flails, dagger through his heart. "I will have you know that ass was there when she was on Neighbors, and I'm sure I can find copies to prove it, darling. It is a national treasure. Ranks right up there with Ian Thorpe, the entire Gibb family, and Waltzing Matilda."

"I've seen pictures of the before and after, and I'm nothing if not skeptical," you return. "Are you going to be my rock 'n' roll guide through Australia? I have to know, though - does it include death by asphyxiation?"

"You know this must be true love," Colin interjected. "Finn's never allowed any of us to step foot inside the homeland, much less suggest taking a girl there. He sabotaged the yacht, causing the infamous sinking in Fiji before we could get to Sydney. I think he's afraid that his entire method of attracting easy bed partners would go out the door if everyone had the same accent as him. He would have to actually make an effort, be charming, engage in actual conversation, or use Rory's suggestion of chocolates, slow jam and…"

"Colin, I'm hurt," Finn cuts him off. "When have you ever wanted to fly twenty-four hours to get to my beloved homeland?"

"I've offered before, so has Logan," Colin corrected him, "but you've always come up with an excuse to not go."

"Speaking of excuses not to go," Rory asks, "are we staying here all night watching how drunk Finn can get, which I'm sure will turn into an argument between Colin, Logan and myself that he was drunker at, name any event we've attended in the last five years. Okay, so I haven't been to all of them, but Finn's state of drunkenness is never unique. And we've seen him drunk at far more interesting locations than home on a Saturday night."

"You've become far too jaded during your time with us," Finn says, patting Rory on the cheek.

"Leave Ace alone, Finn," Logan replies, slipping his arms around her from behind.

"We're going to Chelsea House," Colin says coming back in the room, slipping on his jacket. "One of my former stepsiblings is a member, so I can get us all in."

"Didn't Jude and Sienna break up there once?" you ask.

"Probably," Finn says, buttoning a lime green shirt under a brilliant purple and gold brocade coat.

"Electric purple jacket - not the fashion statement I would have expected from you, are you channeling Elvis?" you laugh at Finn's fashion combination.

"Probably has to do with daddy's cross dressing," Colin deadpans.

"Your father cross-dresses?" you ask, flabbergasted.

"Yes," Finn laughs. "Explains a lot, doesn't it?"

So very much.

---

"Oh look, another bookseller," Rory points excitedly. The three of you are in Covent Garden shopping; this was the third bookstall you have come to, just today, each taking a minimum of two hours. They had already been here before by themselves, which had taken most of a day.

"Maybe we can come back," Logan suggests. "Just the two of us." He has obviously caught on that books aren't a passion of yours like they are with Rory.

"Logan, it's fine," you demur, though you admit the handmade jumper stalls were far more interesting to you than the booksellers. "Go ahead."

"Mom's used to my endless fascination with books," Rory assures him.

"I'm sure she is," he chuckles. "But I'll bet Stars Hollow has one bookstore, not one on every block," he reasons. "Lorelai, if I remember correctly there's a used vinyl store around the corner from here specializing in stuff from the seventies and eighties. You might find some stuff you're interested in."

"Actually, that sounds pretty perfect," you smile, and it does. "I'll meet the two of you there; it will probably take me just as long there as it will the two of you here," you say over your shoulder, beginning to walk away.

You'd shopped all through Knightsbridge, Honor giving you and Rory access to some private, members only shops, Harrods, and Portobello Road. Though Logan said it had become too commercial since Notting Hill was released and Robbie Williams had moved in.

He was right. The shop had early Clash and Sex Pistols, along with all sorts of eighties artists - Marilyn, Depeche Mode, OMD, Kraftwerk, New Order, Bananarama, even some you have never heard of, which allows you a couple of hours to turn off your brain and emotions and just enjoy yourself, something you hadn't been able to do in quite some time. When Rory and Logan finally join you, you almost tell them to go away. Rory is distracted by the bounty within the shop, urging you to get far more than you were planning, but Logan assures you he will ship everything back to the States for you, so you go ahead, only leaving when you can't argue with the suggestion of going to find something to eat. All of you are starving.

---

"So right there is where Colin stripped down and went swimming," you point.

"No, Mom," Rory returns. "Didn't you see the 'making of' thing on the dvd? That's the entire reason to get the dvd - lots of extras of Colin stripping down. It was done in a water tank in a studio."

"Well I would prefer to think of him jumping in right here," you reply. "Maybe he'll gallop over the moor here in a sec."

"Wouldn't it properly be referred to as a meadow or heath?" Rory asks. "Moor always conotates moodiness to me. Heathcliff walking across the moors at night - it's all about the brooding. Or, Brigadoon."

"Maybe you're right," you agree. "Plus, you can never go wrong with a sleeping burg, grand Highland fling association."

"So who's the more perfect man, Fitzwilliam Darcy or Mark Darcy?" she inquires, as if you're answering a great question of life. Maybe it is it would help if you knew whom she was talking about.

So you ask, "Who is Fitzwilliam Darcy?"

"Mr. Darcy, from Pride and Prejudice," she explains.

"How do you know that? He's never called anything but Mr. Darcy."

"No, not if you've only seen the mini or a movie, but if you've read the book, he signs his letter to Lizzy with his full name," she clarifies. "I think that's the only place his first name is ever referenced."

"Well, I think I prefer Mr. Brown myself," you return.

"Who?" she asks, clearly confused.

"Mr. Brown, from Nanny McPhee," you enlighten, not at all serious. "I think he's the most perfect man that Colin has ever played."

"I didn't ask who is the most perfect man that Colin has ever played," she laughs, "I asked who is the more perfect man. Mark or Fitzwilliam Darcy?"

"That's just not fair, how is anyone supposed to choose?" you ask. "I personally think Colin playing Mark Darcy was rather strange, since she totally obsessed over him in the books, Colin playing Mr. Darcy that is."

"I never read the Bridget Jones books," she says, giving you a confused look.

"Of course you haven't," you chuckle. "You don't have time for pointless chick lit like I do. Your idea of chick lit is the stuff you've been reading for class lately."

"True," she confirms, then turns toward a returning Logan. "What were you able to find out?"

"Yeah," he calls out. "You were right; they used it for some of the exteriors on the movie just like they had with the miniseries."

"What do I get for being right," Rory returns, obviously delighted at being correct.

"What did you have in mind?" Logan asks one brow cocked. "It's not like I was disputing your claim, I just went to find out for sure."

"I don't know, dinner made by you, a guarantee that you're going to come home for Labor Day…" Rory's voice drifts off as I tune them out.

This little trip has made you feel more like a third wheel than anything you've done thus far. Maybe it's because this is the first time you've all left London together. The two of you had gone to all the various sites in London, guard changing, Marble Arch, Piccadilly Circus and the Eros statue, the Tower, with its Beefeaters, crown jewels and ravens, Trafalgar Square, the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey, all done while Logan worked. He even managed to get you three of the hard-to-come-by passes to get into The Buck House. You and Rory have also taken two short day trips to Windsor and Hampton Court, along with your four-day trip to Budapest.

The two of them had spent days roaming over ever nook and corner of the British Museum and the British Library, while you had wandered aimlessly around the zoo in Regent's Park and endlessly ridden the Tube, with no real purpose, just a need for anonymity and a change of scenery. You had wanted them to take this trip up north by themselves, but they had insisted on not leaving you alone. Convincing them to explore Hyde Park by themselves so they could take a boat ride on The Serpentine together hadn't been hard, nor had not being included on their visits to the homes of Charles Dickens and Arthur Conan Doyle; but you'd been unable to convince them to leave you on your own in London. They hadn't wanted to leave you for four days while they took a trip through Derbyshire, Cheshire, and the Cotswolds.

They never act overly affectionate in public - just holding hands mostly - but you've never been around them enough to know if this is normal, or if it's an effort to not make you uncomfortable. They talk or bicker easily with one another about everything, which seems to just be how they are, making efforts to include you. But somehow their efforts just make all of this harder. Their easy chemistry makes the void at your side that much more pronounced.

Plus, you know that Rory watches you almost constantly, trying to gauge if you are 'getting better' or are still where you had been for weeks after issuing the ultimatum and then running to Christopher. You've become her summer project, along with her classes; as such, you've also become Logan's. He loves her; she's concerned about you, so he is too. At times you want to scream at them because of the oppression you feel. Especially when you feel one or both of their eyes lingering too long on you; trying to access your mood, or state of mind. Rory's genuine concern, and the fact that they will probably think you have finally lost it, keeps your temper in check. But it remains hard.

Mostly because they make this all look so easy. They're happy; they're in love with each other. Yes, this is going to end soon, with you and Rory heading back to the States and Logan staying here to work, but you have a feeling they're going to be fine. They seem to dealt with their first extended separation pretty well, which you know has made them both appreciate this unexpected time they've gotten to spend together, and they know this isn't going to get easier till they're both living the same place again, but they seem equally committed to making things work till then. Mostly they've gotten through the mire of their mistakes and managed to remain in love and learned to appreciate one another and what they have, instead of imploding; which you know could have happened.

All this makes you wonder if you should have just given Luke the space he needed? Did you speak up too soon? Should you have spoken up sooner and tried to make him understand that you wanted to be a part of what he was trying to form with April? Which decision had been the wrong one that started everything moving this direction? You had been silently screaming for so long, but he never seemed to notice. Laying everything on him at once was probably the wrong move, but you had felt powerless for so long you had to do something. Maybe it went back further; maybe it was rooted in your having insisted that yours was the only way when you and Rory had stopped speaking. Maybe old dogs really didn't learn new tricks.

Perhaps you should have gone cheese rolling, or whatever it was they were planning on doing, with Finn and Colin. They had invited you when they had come back through London briefly. That way you could have at least been guaranteed a laugh, and Finn would have made you feel wanted. Then again, maybe that wasn't a good thing; it reminds you of how you ended up in Christopher's bed in the first place. Finn does remind you of a young Christopher, in many ways. But being with them would have meant constant motion, booze, and questing for fun. Not a bad recipe right now.

There never would have been time to stop and think about how much you want you're your kid has, but you can't seem to find, or you find it but can't hold onto it. You wouldn't have had to stare a functioning relationship in the face twenty-four/seven, making you constantly wonder what the hell is wrong with you. Maybe you're just meant to be alone, or have relationships that pass in the night. Maybe you're not built for longevity. Home sounds really good right now; it won't be long till you're there, just a week after you get back to London. At least then you won't know most of the happy couples you'll see - they'll just be passing faces going in and out of the inn. You can imagine they're all as horrible at keeping a relationship together as you are. Happy for the moment, but waiting for the inevitable sword to fall. Unfortunately it also means having to face Luke, who wouldn't look at you, much less talk to you, in the five weeks after you issued the ultimatum and ran to Christopher.

"Mom," Rory calls, pulling you out of your brooding.

"Yeah," you reply brightly.

"Was there anything else specific you wanted to see here?" she asks. "If not, we're done."

"Nope," you return. "What's next on the agenda?"

---

Three days, just three days till you get to go home. Which for most of the time here sounded like a fabulous idea. But now it means you actually have to go back and face all of them, all the whispers, accusations, and the guilt. Sookie insists it's died down, but you know it's really just waiting for you to come back to begin all over again. Spending five weeks hiding in London hasn't been productive, but it's not been living in a fishbowl either. Rory's already promised to spend the rest of the summer in Stars Hollow, but you're not sure you want her there. You know she'll mostly be doing the same thing she's spent the last five weeks doing - watching you, and making sure that even if you've not really made it out of the initial stages of self pity, you've haven't headed completely around the bend.

"Lorelai," Logan calls out as he walks into the flat

"Right here," you call from the couch. "Rory's not back yet."

"I know, I talked to her an hour or so ago. She should be here in about half an hour, give or take," he says. You hear him set bags on the kitchen counter. "I have Moroccan food for dinner. Lamb skewers, vegetable couscous, chicken tajine, which is a sorta spicy, chicken stew with olives, chickpea salad and a tomato-cucumber salad. Plus, during my lunch hour I got copies of The Apartment, Barefoot in the Park, Vertigo, and Rear Window - Rory really likes the last one."

"I'm not really hungry," you mumble in return, though you have to appreciate his movie taste.

"Are you feeling okay?" he asks moving around the counter to where you are.

"I'm fine, I'm just not hungry," you say, but that probably isn't the right answer. He knows both of you well enough to know that turning down food is highly irregular.

"Lorelai?" he asks, coming around to the front of the couch to see you lying across it, staring blankly off into space. You know you should smile, get up, and make an effort to seem normal. But that seems impossible right now. You've played this part for a month now; your insides are being eaten alive, while you feel your soul shriveling up.

"Lorelai, are you all right?" he asks. You need to just get up, tell him you're fine, and smile. The person he cares about here is Rory, not you. Putting on a façade is so much easier than letting him see the black hole that you have been wallowing in.

"I'm fine, Logan," you assure him, sitting up and scrubbing your face. "I'm just a little tired, and I'm not hungry. I'll just go to my room, leave you and Rory to have some alone time when she gets back." There, you've let everyone off the hook. You can get away from them and he doesn't have to pretend to worry about you.

You can see he wants to just let you be. You know if he pushes too hard he'll get far more than he bargained for and you're not sure he wants that, your growing anxiety about heading home making your fuse very short. But you also know he loves Rory and she's been just as worried about you as she's been angry. You have no doubt that when they're talking in bed at night, you're one of their central topics of conversation. As if they could fix you. Rory should know better - she's never been able to fix what's broken inside you. Maybe you just came defective. Staring up at him you see his decision settle on his face. He's not backing off, "Lorelai, I can tell you're not fine. I know I'm not Rory, but if there's something wrong, you can tell me."

"Logan, I'm fine," you demur; this is going to take more determination on your part than you have strength for.

"No, you're clearly not," he persists.

"Just leave it alone," you say, getting up to go to your room.

"Lorelai," he tries a final time, reaching out to catch your arm.

"What, you think this is easy?" you shriek, whirling about to wrest your arm from his grasp, his preventing your exit pushing your buttons. He really doesn't want this, probably doesn't deserve it either, but he's about to get to know Lorelai Victoria Gilmore much better than he ever wished.

"Watching you and my daughter and your perfect little relationship, every single day. You think that's easy? The two of you are so in love, it makes me want to go shoot myself! You cook together, you read together, you proof her papers, she declares your stories brilliant, you coo at one another; you have passionate sex with each other, the walls here aren't that thick if you didn't know, you are absolutely adorable together. You even have a cute, not sappy, nickname for her, and I can't stand it!" you cry out, arms flailing about. "The two of you might as well be the only two people in the world most of the time. I sit here and I watch you, day after day after day, and it just makes me heartsick. Everything I never wanted to admit to myself I wanted, but in my heart of hearts really did, the two of you have. Why can't that be me with Luke? You're twenty-one and twenty-three. I'm thirty-eight, when will it be my turn? What is wrong with me? Do you even know how precious what you have is? Do you even appreciate it?" you finish, tears now streaming down your face.

"Let me get you a glass of water and some tissues," he says, steering you back to the couch. He hadn't deserved that. Rory would probably never speak to you again if you have freaked him out to the point where he doesn't want to have anything to do with either of you anymore. But you have always been a package deal, the girls Gilmore, and you've gone beyond your breaking point.

"Here you go," he prompts, handing you the glass he has gotten and a box of kleenex from the bathroom.

"Lorelai," he begins.

"Thank you," you accept, taking a sip of the water, blowing your nose. "I'm sorry, Logan, you didn't deserve that," you hiccup. "You've been wonderful since we got here, and all I can do to say thanks is turn into a shrieking, jealous harpy. How pathetic is that? I'm jealous of my own daughter."

"No it's not pathetic. If I weren't me, I would be jealous of my relationship with Rory," he chuckles nervously, sitting on the coffee table. You see him thinking about what he wants to say to you, but there have never been words of wisdom from anyone that have gotten through to you, so why should this be different? "You asked if I appreciate what we have, if I know how precious it is? The answer is an unequivocal yes. I do."

He takes a deep breath, scrubbing his face as he stalls, probably thinking, and then plunges ahead. "I'm not sure how much Rory has told you about me before we got together."

"You weren't the commitment type," you mumble, remembering her hurt face watching him across the street with another girl, and her bewildered crying on the bathroom floor.

"No, that's putting it mildly," he chuckles, obviously nervous. "I drank too much, had sex with far too many girls, studied just enough to keep my grades up so I wouldn't get kicked out of school. After all, what reason do you have to strive for the best grades possible if your path in life is already known? I wasn't entering the job market when I left school; I've known what I was going to do from the time I was old enough for my father and grandfather to be able to make me understand, 'Logan, you're a Huntzberger.' So I did enough to get by. The rest of the time was one long blur of partying, drinking, drugs - mostly pot, hash, acid, and such, not anything that would be considered addictive," he rushes to assure you quickly, as he ticks off his vices on his fingers. Rory had really found a prize in Logan. "Then Rory blew into my life, turning it upside down."

"Partying till you can't see straight, while not exactly what I would call a virtue, isn't really my problem," you interject with a dry smile. "And meeting Rory, or more precisely, the two of you getting together, seems to have changed your lifestyle."

"It did for a while, you're right," he agrees. "Till the path that has been set out for me from birth started calling to me, bringing out every ounce of rebellion and insecurity imaginable, causing me to start drinking too much again. I also stopped talking to Rory; actually I never started talking to her about this stuff. Instead I let a combination of my father's constant pressure, Richard's probing about 'future intentions,' and her finally realizing because her ex showed up what I had been trying to tell her for months, that she was pissing her life away in that pool house while every door in the world was open to her no matter what the great Mitchum Huntzberger said, piss me off. Then I let her ex provoke me into being an absolute dick…" he continues telling you how he had destroyed his relationship with your daughter. The only new, and really the most interesting, part is that he had tried to get Rory to go back to school. The ex you assume is Jess, since she had no relationship with Dean.

"I already know all this, or most of it," you say impatiently. Logan seems to think he has some sort of insight for her, thus far he has offered none.

"Yeah, I know," he answers. "The part you probably don't know, I can't imagine Rory giving you the gory details, is that when we broke up I went back to Logan version one-point-oh with a vengeance over Thanksgiving. The drinking, the partying, the meaningless sex, all the highlights, they all got revisited."

"Well, I knew, but wasn't ever allowed to know the full extent of what had happened. I think the final explanation was it was a 'misunderstanding'," you reply.

"Yeah, I pretty much royally screwed up," he confirms quietly. "By mid-December it was out of my system, and by then, I hated myself. I also finally admitted I was in love with Rory, just in time to realize I might have lost her for good. When I came to see you at the inn, that was my last ditch effort."

"Yeah," you nod, "you said you had run out of options."

"I had," he agrees. "And if she hadn't taken me back I would have deserved it, but she did. Thing is, even though I think she probably knew what I had done - I am me, and she knows me well - I hadn't told her. No instead, brilliant guy that I am, I let her walk into a room with two of them at my sister's wedding," he says, confirming what Rory had told you in the phone call the night of Honor's wedding. "Two were her bridesmaids. It didn't mean any more to either of them than it did to me, they're both just trust fund party girls. But I let Rory walk into that lion's den with no warning, just armed with the fact that I love her. Not the fact that yes, I love her, but I'm also a fuck up. Not that she didn't know that, she did, she just wasn't expecting to get blindsided. Had I attached my brain to my head, I wouldn't have put her in that situation to begin with. Partially to protect myself, I'll admit, but also to keep her from being hurt, the same reason I didn't tell her to begin with.

"She was livid, hurt, furious, you name it. She dumped me at my sister's wedding," he laughs harshly. "How perfect is that?"

"Is this when she called me to tell me she moved out?" you ask just to make sure.

"Probably," he nods. "But where the two of us diverge in the path of fucking up is that I wasn't going to let her go without a fight. I knew she was hurt, but I also knew she loves me. I held on tightly to that. Sometimes it was all I had, because even though she went home with me, it wasn't easy getting to where we are now. I know she loves me anyway, but I think my accident made her realize what she could lose too; she loves me just as much as I love her.

"You say we're perfect - we are, I'll agree. Or as close to perfect as I'm ever going to get. She's more, better, than I deserve, but she loves me for some reason. And I'm not about to point out all my shortcomings just so she'll realize I'm not good enough for her. Because I love her more than I ever thought it was possible to love another person," he says, taking your hands, which have been busy shredding tissues. "I've woken up with a smile on my face every morning since you've been here, just because she's there next to me. She makes me think about forever, something that never would have even entered my mind before meeting her.

"But it's also made me learn that the most important thing I can do every single day is talk to her, really talk. Tell her my hopes, but also tell her my fears. Amazingly, she usually understands, or at least offers a sympathetic ear for me to bitch to. She knows that my greatest fear is becoming my father, and the ironic thing is she's probably the best medicine against that ever happening."

"You're right, she is," you agree. Rory would never put up with the person you had met. "She'll never let you turn into him."

"No she won't," he smiles. "She's my secret weapon. My family just hasn't realized that yet. Or maybe they have, and that's why they treated her so shitty when they met her the first time. Though I doubt it, they're just all insane and narcissistic, except my sister.

"But if Luke is what you really want, then when you get home, tell him. Tell him you love him, tell him you want him in your life, tell him you're not going away without a fight, walk into his diner every morning and order coffee from him," he pulls a small smile, pulling on your hands. "Make him deal with you, even if that's having to tell you he won't sell you coffee. Don't be afraid of him. I was scared to go to Paris's that night, but if I hadn't I knew I might lose Rory for good, and that was scarier."

"What if that doesn't work? I don't think you get exactly what I did," you say, trying to pull back. "Christopher is the one thing that Luke fears when it comes to me. I think he really believes what Chris said in the hall just after I met you the first time. That it would always be him and me. And as much as I know he's wrong, my actions tell Luke the exact opposite. I did the one thing I'm not sure he can forgive," you tell him, sadness settling deep inside you. Pulling your hands out of his loose grasp, pushing your hair behind your ears, you try to think of what might equate what you did in his world.

Before you can come up with something, he speaks up, "May I ask you something?"

"I don't see why not, tonight seems to be a time for unpleasant truths," you reply.

"Why did you go to Christopher?" Ouch, he went for the jugular. "I get that you were hurt, I even get what you did. But why him? If you know that Luke is insecure about him - I know it doesn't discount what happened - but why not just go to a bar in Litchfield or Woodberry, or somewhere else nearby and pick up someone random? If all you were looking for was a warm body, why him?"

"I don't know," you try to sidestep.

"I don't believe you," he replies, catching your gaze and not letting go. "I think you know exactly why you went, that you went for a specific reason."

"Oh really," you say defensively. "Well please, if you think you have such great insight into my psyche, then do share."

He thinks about it a moment, sets his chin and plows ahead, "I think you were angry at Luke for turning you down and because you were feeling rejected and hurt by him, you wanted to do the one thing that would make him feel the same thing you were, so you went to the one person that could do that, Christopher. The person you know he feels insecure about."

"Ouch," you say with a visible flinch. "You don't think much of me."

"No, I don't mean it that way," he assures, hands on your knees. "I'm not saying I think it was deliberate - more of a subconscious thing."

"I'm not saying you're totally wrong - you might be right - but even if you are that's not the entire reason," you return after thinking for a few moments. "Mostly I just wanted to be wanted," you stop, think, then take a deep breath. "Christopher's always loved me, wanted me.

"Except for the initial time with Sherry - that's Gigi's mother, Rory's little sister. You know about her, right?" after he nods, you continue. "When he first was together with her, it seemed like our time had passed. He finally grew up, got a job, learned to be responsible, something he never did for us. And then things fell apart, and it seemed like I was going to be the beneficiary of what she had pushed for - I never pushed, don't believe in it. Then he found out Sherry was pregnant, and he had to be there for that, and again our time seemed to have passed. We'd always missed our chances. Which was okay - he needed to be there for that; he'd missed so much with Rory. By the time Sherry took off, I had gotten together with Luke and I think I had moved on, really moved on. I wanted Chris to be happy, and he was. So I finally think I let myself be happy too, with Luke. But he's always wanted me, I've always been his ideal, I have been since we were kids. After Luke rejected my proposal, I needed to be someone's ideal, not just someone's warm body to hold. But I someone's /I ideal, and that was Chris. No one else, except Luke, has ever looked at me the way Chris does. Luke wasn't an option; he was what I was running from."

"I get that," he says. "Are you sure he's not what you want? You just said the timing has never been right for you, which implies that at some point it might have been. Could after things settle down…"

"No," you shake your head. "Chris is my friend, and that's all anymore. And I might have screwed that up, and his relationship with Rory. But no, he's not what I want anymore. Luke is."

"Well then you have to find a way to make Luke understand."

"How? I know things weren't the best between us for a while, but I'm really afraid I've done the unforgivable," you say, and then try to think of something that you could relate to him. "What if while Rory was angry with you, she had sought out an ex - when you said you had acted like a jerk to one of her exes, I'm going to guess you're talking about Jess?" He nods, so you continue, "What if she had gone to Jess and done the same thing with him that you had done with your sister's friends?" You have a feeling she hasn't told him about the trip to Philadelphia.

He thinks about it for a moment, then a smile starts pulling at the corner of his mouth before he says, "She wouldn't be able to do it. Even if the opportunity presented itself, she wouldn't cross that line," he finishes, smile broadening.

"Lorelai, I'm the fuck-up in our relationship, not Rory," he says, head cocked. "That's not to say she's perfect, because she's not. She lacks self-confidence at times, doubts herself needlessly, tends to run from her problems, and needs external affirmation more than she should. But she's not the self destructive one. She's not the one who, when his girlfriend takes longer than he would like to forgive him for sleeping with half the eastern seaboard - okay so it wasn't quite that bad," he laughs tightly, "but you get the picture, it wasn't pretty - goes off, gets blasted and jumps off a cliff - that's me.

"Okay, so we agree," you say. "Rory wouldn't do what both of us are more than capable of doing, neither would Luke. But that doesn't get me any closer to what I want. It doesn't get me any closer to normalcy, to happy. What if Luke isn't Rory? What if he can't forgive me? I don't see me going and getting in a car accident, plane crash or jumping off a cliff to get his attention and make him realize he really does want to be with me, to forgive me."

He thinks about this for a couple of minutes, and then says, "Then you have to learn to be content with being alone. Not satisfied, not happy, just okay. That's what I went through after Thanksgiving. Learning to like just me, after realizing how I felt and knowing I might not end up where I wanted to. You have to be alright with losing, because then you have everything to gain."

"I don't know if I can do that," you whisper. Being alone is probably the only thing you fear more than doing the work to make a relationship work. You've never been alone; in the past you at least had Rory. Now Logan does.

"You think I liked being alone?" he laughed dryly. "Me of the omnipresent entourage, Colin and Finn, the zillions of instadates on speed dial. I hated the thought of being alone, truly alone. I think at heart I'm probably a pretty solitary person - I like to read, write, my favorite thing is just hanging out and doing nothing with Rory. But the thought of being alone, doing those sorts of things just for the hell of it before I met her, scared the crap out of me. I preferred constant motion, a cacophony of white noise - better to be able to ignore the clanging emptiness. Life's not empty anymore, so I can just be me."

"That sounds scary as hell," you say, realizing that now for him now, even when he's alone, he has Rory, who has been your best friend, companion, and catalyst for most of your life. You've known for some time, especially since being here, that you shared her with someone now, but you hadn't really realized till now how much she served a similar place in Logan's life as she did your own.

"It was," he agrees. "But I think it was some of the best time I've ever spent in my life. I knew what I wanted, and I wasn't settling for anything less."

"Well, hell," you laugh after a moment.

"What?" Logan asks, totally confused.

"My brainy, beautiful, fabulous daughter fell in love with a male version of me. How priceless is that?" you laugh at the irony, not knowing what else to do, and Logan joins in.

---

"Okay, so I paid the charges for both your luggage being over the limit," Logan says, coming back over to where you and Rory are standing. "Get a trolley when you get to JFK."

"We'll be fine," Rory assures him. "We're strong, capable women."

"I know," he agrees. "I just don't want Lorelai fighting with her luggage like she was when she got here."

"There will be no luggage fighting when we get to New York," you confirm with a smile.

"Ace, I want to talk to Lorelai for just a second, ok?" he tells you both.

"That's fine," she says, like his request isn't at all odd. "You probably have to have a passionate goodbye."

"Right," he replies, brow arched. They had a brief fight the night of your tête-à-tête with Logan - you're not sure what about, though you could hear their raised voices, but you guess she didn't initially like the idea of him butting into your love life. As the fight was very short-lived, and their make up quite quick and passionate, you suspect she was easily mollified and is fine with what had happened.

"Hey, I just wanted to tell you how glad I am that you came," he says, his hand on your arm. "I'll be thinking about you tomorrow – well, tonight as I go to bed, more than likely. Go straight into Luke's and order breakfast and coffee. Make him react to you; make him tell you to go away. I have a feeling he might try at first, but he won't be able to forever."

"Luke's really stubborn," you return, biting your lip from nervousness just thinking about what might happen. "This isn't going to be easy."

"Nothing worth having ever is," he replies with a smile and a look in Rory's direction. "If you need someone to talk to, I'm always available, even with the time difference. You have my number."

"I do," you confirm. "I'll use it if I need someone to talk to." You know you might need it, especially due to the fact that Logan refused to judge you or make you feel like were a screwed up failure, which Rory had done at first without even really realizing it, but her disappointment in you had been palpable.

"I know this is going to work out," he finishes with a warm hug for you. "I'm going to go say goodbye to Rory."

"Okay," you smile, watching him pull your daughter into a tight embrace. Things had worked out for them; maybe there really was hope for you.

FIN

Endnote: The first section of the piece is in Logan's head, the rest in Lorelai's.

Secondly, if you have problems with my characterization of Lorelai and have made it through the piece I would like to explain myself to a degree. To me Lorelai is a survivor, but she deals with the things she has to deal with, and seems rather incapable of dealing with the emotional things that matter. Running away from Max instead of facing him, blaming Luke for Jess crashing Rory's car and they don't speak for a couple of months at the end of S2 - S3, she melts down when Luke breaks up with her in S5, etc. What she needs to do is figure out how to deal with that stuff, which is part of what this is about.