She bumped into him five days before the phone call, at her favorite coffee stand.
On that particular day she'd been so late for her Philosophy class she had practically run him over in her haste to ingest proper amounts of coffee. Logan had remained upright for the most part, but his books littered the ground.
"Damn it." She had growled, failing to realize the owner of the books in time. "I'm so…"
She'd looked up into familiar, brown eyes and swallowed her words.
"Hi Logan." She'd said finally, shaky smile stretching her features.
Gracefully the boy had leant down and scooped up his dusty books, his own smile more sincere then her own. He'd chuckled softly.
"Hey Ace. How's Yale going for you?"
"Fine. Busy. You know how it is."
With jerky movements Rory had positioned herself at the stand and ordered her coffee, Logan indicated for the barista to double her order and the couple stared at each other for thirty long seconds with nothing to say. Six months ago to meet and talk with him outside a coffee stand, or even in her bed would have been a daily ritual to be enjoyed. Yet despite the fact they had reached a level of maturity that if Rory could do nothing to avoid him, she would make strained conversation on the seldom occurrences when they bumped into each other, seeing Logan standing in front of her larger then life, was just plain weird.
"So." Rory had said finally. "What is the esteemed Huntzberger up to these days?"
Logan's eyes lit up, and for a moment Rory's gut had twisted in pleasure at the boyish glee in that gaze.
"The Life and Death Brigade is making another daring chapter in the novel of life and hitting Costa Rica for a few days."
"Oh." Rory's lips had tilted up into a smile at the memory of the first and only full-blown gathering she had attended. 'What's the stunt?"
Excitement had wormed itself into Logan's body and when he spoke, he spoke so passionately Rory had smiled with him in nostalgia. Logan had always been so alive, so unexpected.
"The boys are going to don parachutes and jump from a two engine plane. Then there'll be base-jumping down a cliff, where finally we'll land on the banks of the San Juan River… Hopefully not actually in the river or on the Nicaraguan side of the river, or you know, in Panama."
Rory gaped at him, warmth that had thread its way through her heart begun to recoil as she had tried to imagine the reality of such a jump.
If Logan had noticed her discomfort it must have only paused him for a second, her shock aggravated by his urgent chuckles.
"And I haven't even told you about the white water rafting, or the massive blow up at the end."
"Please tell me you don't mean that literally. With the blowing up and the dynamite and the Finn…"
Despite the lightness of her voice, she failed to see in hindsight how Logan could have missed the severity of her words. Indeed tension did seem to worm itself into Logan's features.
"Nope. Just copious amounts of alcohol."
"But you've got people organizing it. Professional, sober, preferably adult people."
Logan's lips had disappeared into a straight line of indignation.
"We have Robert." He said defensively.
"Oh." Rory had replied with a roll of her eyes. "Well if you have Robert."
The two young adults paused in their conversation as the custodian of the coffee stand passed them two cups of coffee. Her hands had wrapped around the warm shell of the coffee cup.
"Well." She said coolly, indicating towards her cup. "I've got what I came for."
"Yeah." Logan had replied, voice no longer light. "That you have."
They had parted with out goodbyes, and Rory had watched Logan disappear while she had waited for her anger to disappear. Years later, she would never forgive herself for watching him leave. Days later she would want to die for letting him go so easily.
Five days later her phone was ringing at the worst possible time. It jittered restlessly in her pocket, singing loudly about being a teenaged dirt bag as she tried to slide it out of her pocket while keeping a steady hold on her intoxicated mother. It failed to occur to her in the moment that it was her ex boyfriend's ring tone ringing loudly through the house. She passed her mother into the waiting arms of her father, far less drunk then the woman whose arms wound around his shoulders, and moved it awkwardly to her ear.
Rory winced as Christopher dumped her mother unceremoniously onto the family couch, she indicated her departure with one hand as she moved into the dark kitchen.
"Speaking. Who's this?"
Colin? Do I Know a…
"There's been an accident. Logan had to be airlifted to hospital, I think you should be here."
Darkness prickled at the edges of her vision, Colin's voice faded over the roar of horror inside her head, her hands almost dropped the phone. Then clarity set in and Rory didn't question why she was racing to the side of a man who had dumped her over six months ago, or why her heart beat so hard and so painfully she was sure it would give out. She just scribbled down the address of the five star hospital and left. The tears that trickled down her cheeks drying unnoticed on her collar.
Logan's two best friends met her with solemn regard as the elevator doors slid open with a hiss. The aching numbness in her brain turned to anger as Rory noticed them standing there, barely a scratch between them, a living breathing reminder of Logan, of Logan who at this moment for all she knew not living or breathing.
"Idiots!" She reamed as soon as she stepped through the doors. The smattering of loitering patients, doctors and nurses started at her elevated voice, and she caught the glares of those closest. She didn't give a damn. Finn and Colin flinched at the sound of her anger.
"Morons! Imbeciles! Cavemen! Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!"
Finn opened his mouth to reply, but Rory rounded on him furiously, her blue eyes hardening into chips of ice as she yelled.
"What the hell where you thinking? Letting him do that-that stupid Life and Death Brigade stunt. What where you thinking doing it yourselves? Logan could be dying in there! He's in hospital, and for what?! Some stupid attention grabbing, moronic death glide and some Neanderthal party? He has a future! He had a future…"
She paused and felt tears returning, burning at her corneas. Finn seemed to be gaping at her in object horror; Colin at least had the grace to hang his head.
"Does he still have a future?" She asked desperately, hysteria creeping into her tone. "I mean… what's wrong with him? W-will he be ok? Is he…"
Her cry sounded to her own ears like an animal in pain, a howl of agony that didn't exist in the physical. She felt her knees buckle, and with a cry she felt herself fall, her legs giving out underneath her. For a second she let herself fall, through the blackness and the misery of her ignorance. Then two pairs of strong hands grabbed at her shoulders, pulling her own soft body against there strong able ones. Colin and Finn sandwiched Rory between them, each boy offering himself as a crutch. Rory hung to them; her soft sobs muffled further by Finn's suit jacket.
"I'm sorry, Love."
Rory had never heard Finn so serious, the remorse in the older boys tone extinguished her rage, clarified her grief. The sharp pains of fury left her heart, leaving her flat and cool. Numbness and disbelief set back in and gingerly she pulled away from the two young men and lowered herself into one of the hard hospital seats.
"Do You…" She paused, softly exhaling. "Do you guys know what's wrong?"
Colin slumped down into the seat on her left, Finn on her right. The former shook his head soberly.
"The doctors won't tell us with out us being family…"
"And you've told his family right?"
Colin nodded. Awkwardly her leant over and patted Rory on the shoulder, she glared at him and he withdrew nervously.
"When are his parents arriving?"
Finn rolled his eyes and made a face.
"Mrs Huntzberger is in communicado in Arizona. She checked herself into a relaxation tank as soon as she heard."
Rory made a sharp noise, which seemed to be a mix of a snort of disbelief and a bark and indignation.
"The Dark Lord? He got the memo, but we haven't heard anything back."
Rory sighed resignedly. She wasn't sure what was worse, that Logan would have to wake up without his family around him, or that the devil himself would actually pull through and she would have to be in his company.
Colin grinned reassuringly. "I would worry about it, Honor's the only one he'll care about. She was on her honeymoon by the way, she's trying to get a flight home as we speak."
"Probably not for at least twelve hours or so… she's doing her best."
Rory glanced distractedly towards the closed door that Finn and Colin where guarding, suddenly she itched to go and sit beside the broken blonde boy behind them, hold her ex-boyfriends hand and make sure he didn't wake up alone. Finn followed her gaze and gave her a significant look, Rory shifted uncomfortably as Finn leant to tap Colin on the shoulder.
"Let's let the girl go sit with the human avalanche. She'll probably want some time alone with him."
Colin looked at her with understanding and Rory felt herself hitch with self-loathing. How pathetic was she, running to the side of a man who had dumped her with out a single thought.
"I'm fine." She said, too quickly. Finn and Colin exchanged glances over her head. She gave them both dirty looks. "I am. I'm just confused; I don't even really know what I'm doing here. Logan and I broke up over six months ago. We're done, finito, adios. Bed standing and hospital visiting isn't in my relationship job description anymore."
Finn stood up suddenly, the boy began to pace the hospital corridor in agitation. Out of the corner of her eye Rory saw Colin roll his eyes at his friends dramatics.
"The man misses you, Sweetheart. Like a king misses his Queen, like a dog misses his bone, like a-"
"Finn" Colin hissed. "Do you think you could tone it down a little? We want Rory to stay. Not to run in the opposite direction."
"Hey" Finn raised his hands defensively. "You heard him, I heard him and it sure wasn't Ace Rimmer he was gabbling about, half high on morphine and blood loss."
"It could have been. He loves Red Dwarf."
Colin and Finn's words scattered around her mind, trying to place themselves in order and into meaning. Where they true? Did Finn know what he was talking about? Rory shook her head to clear it, dwelling on what could be with Logan was stupid, he had made him self perfectly clear when it came to their relationship, or lack there of.
Slowly she stood.
"I'll go in there, but afterwards I'm going to leave. It's not my place to be here."
Finn opened him mouth to argue, but Colin nodded and roughly pulled his friends onto the seat next to him.
"He's in there. The doctor's still in there too, if you can get any information out of the jerk."
Rory nodded her consent wordlessly and stepped towards the door.
She paused and looked at Colin expectantly. "Yes?"
"Be prepared. He's pretty messed up at the moment."
The brunette swallowed, an audible hitch in her gathered demeanor.
"Thanks for the warning."
The flimsy pine door opened with a light push of her fingertips, and Rory stepped forward to face her past. Or what was left of it anyway.
For a full horrible moment when she stepped into his sterile hospital room, Rory was sure Logan was dead. He lay still and pale, so seemingly fragile against the heaped pillows that supported his head and the stiff sheets that bound him to the bed. Only the steady beep of his heart machine announced that the man in the bed before it wasn't in fact a corpse. Rory crept into the room like her very existence in it would make the wonderful machine that told her he was alive stop beeping, her shoes scuffing against the floor as she edged towards the bed. She started with a soft cry as the doctor in his white coat came out of the bathroom, the elderly man flinching as he too started in shock.
Rory flushed, and extended a hand to the doctor.
"I'm Rory Gilmore. Logan's gi-friend."
The doctor glared at her suspiciously, limply accepting the handshake.
"Dr Schultz. Logan's doctor."
Rory glanced at Logan's broken body helplessly.
"C-could you tell me how he is? Is he ok? Is he going to be ok."
Dr Schultz frowned disapprovingly at her, and Rory felt herself shrink under his glare.
"I'm afraid I can't tell you that."
For the umpteenth time that day Rory felt tears gather in her eyes.
She felt the doctors glare soften a little, and the man looked at her pityingly.
"I'm sorry I really can't. Hospital policy."
Dr Schultz shifted in discomfort.
"You may stay with him for a while, if you want."
Rory nodded, wincing as her voice came out raw and scratchy as if she had been crying for hours instead of just yelling at Finn and Colin. "I do."
Rory nodded at the doctor in thanks as he quietly slipped out the door. For a few seconds she couldn't move, her eyes locked on the closed lids of a boy who had once been the salvation and the demolisher of her heart. Softly she slipped into the chair pulled close to his bed, she slipped her hand into his limp one, entwining her fingers around his. With her free hand she reached up and thumbed away one of the escaping locks of his usually impeccably kept hair, her hand softly tracing its way down along his jaw line and through the five o'clock shadow that had invaded his chin.
"You're an idiot." She told him softly, the hand entwined in his gently stroking the joint of his thumb. "You are just so stupid sometimes. Why did you have to jump out of a plane anyway? I mean, you go to Yale and any idiot can figure out plane plus alcohol plus gravity is a bad combination. But no, you jumped out of a plane and you brought me back here to look after you as per usual, and because I couldn't say no, and because you're you, now I'm…"
She sniffled and tilted her head back, stubbornly refusing to let her tears escape.
"I'm so lost. I'm over you Logan, I've got my control back, I was moving on and then you pull something like this and I'm hurtling backwards."
More then anything she wanted to kiss him. To smooth his lips under her own, to taste his breathe again, to be with him like she used to be with him, so complete, so whole. She wanted to kiss him, because loving Logan had been so incredibly simple, so completely black and white; and not being with him was a thousand shades of grey and messier then she could have ever anticipated. She leant against his shoulder, burying her face in his forearm. For a moment she allowed herself to get lost in the familiar sensation of her ex-boyfriend.
"I miss you too." She said so softly that if he had been awake Logan would have had trouble hearing it. "All the time. Sorry about that."
For thirty minutes she lay there, listening to the steady rhythm of Logan's heart beat. When finally she rose, she stared at him one last time, pulling her hand from his grasp. With resignation Rory looked at the blonde boy, propped up like a doll on a castle of pillows, and realized that she wouldn't be leaving. Not tonight, not for a long time.
"Shut up" She snapped as she fell into the seat next to Colin.
The older boy just smirked.