Disclaimer: Gilmore Girls was created by Amy Sherman-Palladino, who brought us five wonderful seasons and decided to go out with a 'screw you, fans'-finale before DR decided to continue running our favorite characters further into the mud. Had she turned the show over to me, or some other fanfic writer, who writes because they love the show and the characters, then the last season would've been a great one. But since I am here writing, I think it's proof enough that I do not own anything GG-related.
Title: 4 a.m.
Timeline: Towards the end of season 6, before Lane's wedding.
AN: I'm celebrating my 4000th post on FanForum, so I decided to write this one-shot for it. Now, it's written as a one-shot and since I have too many series to write at the moment, I plan to have it stay that way. But should I sometime far into the future have the time, it is possible for this story to continue. Just don't expect it, okay?
AN2: Thank you, Steph for the beta!
Something was off. It was in the middle of what so far seemed to be any other night. Except instead of sleeping through it in a seemingly comatose sleep, like she usually did, she'd woken up sweaty, her heart going a thousand miles a second, at least. Her body was acting as though she'd just woken up from a nightmare, but the tiny bit of realist in her pointed out to her that if that had been the case, she would've remembered the dream in question and what about it that had caused this physical reaction in her. Her mind wandered off to the subject of psychic visions. Granted she wasn't a psychic, cause if so one would've thought that in the almost 38 years she'd been alive she would've had one before now, but she'd heard the stories of average people just knowing for some reason if a loved one had passed on or was gravely hurt in any way.
Had something happened to Rory? Various scenarios of how her little girl could've been both injured and killed flowed through her head for several minutes before she remembered that Rory was sleeping right downstairs. However needing physical evidence that her daughter was just fine, Lorelai bolted out of bed and down the stairs, resisting the urge to just barge in and possibly wake her kid up like some crazy person, she carefully turned the knob and pushed the door open. Rory laid motionless on the bed and Lorelai didn't breathe out in relief before she heard the sound of her little girl breathing and noticed the gentle rising and falling of her chest. Feeling all manners of relief, Lorelai gently kissed Rory's forehead and tucked her in before leaving the room, closing the door behind her.
Feeling that something still was off, her mind wandered to Luke. Not many days had passed since Luke had left to go on that trip with April's class. What if this feeling she was having was about Luke? What if the bus he was traveling on had had an accident? Immediately (or at least almost immediately) she realized that she was just being silly, considering what the time was. According to the itinerary he'd given her, so she'd know where he was at what time to make it easier to know when she could get a hold of him, they hadn't scheduled any traveling to take place in the evening, let alone at night. She thought about the possibility of there being a fire, but then remembered how Luke had said they'd be sleeping on the floor at the gym at an elementary school. Smoke alarms would go off (and those types of alarms were always loud as hell) and wake them long before they stood a chance at being asphyxiated by it. Rule number one at any fire drill involving smoke; stay as close to the ground as possible. Plus, the good dad he was (from the little she'd heard and seen so far), Luke would stay awake and be on the look-out if he as much as suspected the place wasn't safe for his daughter to sleep at.
Also, it helped that her heart rate had slowed down to normal. Didn't these things last longer if something really had happened to a loved one? Granted, she didn't know anything about what that type of vision would entail, let alone the timeframe of it, but she at least thought that if it really was something grave, she'd still be frantic. Plus, possibly have a slight more clue on who and maybe even what this was all about.
The feeling that something was off, that something was different, that there was something she should know about? That didn't seem to be going away anytime soon. And she was going crazy from wondering what on earth it was. It was like that annoying voice in your head when you realized you'd forgotten something, only you didn't know what specifically it was that you'd forgotten. But at the same time it wasn't that voice. First of all, there was no voice and secondly; this feeling was different. She wondered, if it wasn't something she'd forgotten, could it be something she didn't know yet, but probably should?
Lorelai yawned. Her head felt jumbled and weird, like it always did when she wasn't fully awake, but not asleep, either. It was not a rarity that her thoughts on many occasions made no sense to the people around her, but at this state her thoughts rarely made sense to her. Although she was known to exaggerate most things, what she'd once told Luke about her not functioning like a human being without coffee in her system was not one of them. Deciphering her own thoughts when she was decaffeinated was like trying to take a walk through Miss Marple's mind without the mandatory map and compass. And as it was two o'clock and not even close to morning, the idea of getting up and making herself some was not appealing.
She laid her head back down on her pillow, trying to convince her body to let her go back to sleep. Her mind, no longer forming sentences, was now just spewing out random words. Some of them made sense, like 'sleep', 'pillow' and 'bed'. But the longer she laid there, the more random it got and the slimmer the associations between the individual words got. Bumble bee... stripes... flavor... smell... rose... nectar... hummingbird... stork... baby... pregnant...
As the word appeared in her very tired, very jumbled mind, a shiver went down her spine and Lorelai's eyes instantly snapped open. It made no sense at all. She was not feeling queasy. She hadn't munched on an apple since her pregnancy scare almost a year ago, which honestly didn't mean jack as that whole thing had been nothing more than a false alarm. Her boobs did not feel sore. Her appetite had never been better and the last coffee she'd had was just a couple of hours ago and it'd tasted heavenly (well, close to it, as it still lacked Luke's master touch). And while she didn't keep a day to day track on her period, it didn't feel that long since she'd last had one, though she couldn't specifically say when it'd been. All in all she had no reason in the world to believe she was pregnant except for this weird feeling she was having.
Could it be she'd had another dream, like the one with Luke, coffee and the twins? Maybe she'd woken right after it'd finished and that was why she couldn't remember it... She couldn't really be pregnant, right? It had to be just another weirdly conceived thought in her sleep deprived brain. There was no physical evidence of a baby... just this weird feeling of hers... shouldn't there be more? Something more traditional telling her if this was true?
- I tell myself it's just temporary, and there's still dinner, and breakfast, and that's good, and I can do a lot with that, and I try to calm myself down and that just seems to only make me crazier and all I want to do is cry, and scream, and... Oh my God, I'm pregnant!
Okay, she was willing to entertain the possibility that one could know without specific physical signs, but aside from her crazy spell from when she'd so abruptly woken up, there had been no other indications. None at all. And if it wasn't enough to even convince her, then how would she prevent Rory from sending her off with those nice men with the butterfly nets if she woke her up in the middle of the night to talk this possibility over with her?
- Ever since I got pregnant, I've become very nurturing toward all living things.
Lorelai remembered how she'd found her close friend on the floor, holding coffee filters to her ears, teaching a stray cat to drink milk from a bowl. Then there'd been the mouse that had been caught in one of their old mouse traps that they'd missed when they'd baby and animal proofed the entire house and Sookie had insisted on holding a funeral for the poor thing and of course the entire spread she served had been part of a cheese theme. And who could forget the infamous spider?
- Yesterday... it was awful. Jackson moved a table and just kind of nicked this spider. He didn't see the little thing, and just clipped one of its legs. And it was having trouble walking and we were so upset, but Jackson made a new leg for it out of a paper clip, but jamming the clip into the spider killed it instantly. Little Satchmo.
- You named the spider Satchmo?
- After Jackson's uncle.
Of course, Lorelai couldn't recall a burst in her nurturing nature... Wait a minute...
- Scoop him up gently. You do not want to break his little legs. Spiders are all about their legs.
There had been a spider and while normally she wouldn't care much about what happened to it once she got her man to deal with it, this time around she'd been incredibly specific for him not to kill or injure it in any way. For some reason it had been incredibly important to her that the little terrifying creature got to live.
- Don't hurt him!
All of a sudden, she couldn't just lie still wondering if this was just some insane thought or if there was something to it. She walked over to the closet and grabbed a random pair of pants and a random t-shirt. She wouldn't be able to go back to sleep in this state, so she grabbed her purse and keys and snuck out the door, trying to be discreet when starting her jeep. She hoped Rory slept more heavily enough that she wouldn't wake.
There was practically no traffic on the way to Hartford. She saw the odd car, most of them were delivery vans on their way in and out of the larger town. All in all it didn't take long before she'd found exactly what she was looking for and pulled up by one of those 24 hour pharmacies and a little over half an hour later she was back in Stars Hollow. The lack of lights in any windows in her neighborhood suggested that no one had noticed her going and she was relieved to say the least. Normally she could take the million and one questions from everyone around her, but right now she really appreciated getting some privacy on the matter.
The seconds ticked by slowly while she waited the required minutes the test said would pass before she'd know whether or not this weird suspicion of hers was right or wrong. When she picked the test up and looked at it, her heart stopped. One line. One measly line had appeared and the disappointment she felt was unbearable. Of course it had just been a silly idea. The more she had thought about the possibility, the more she'd tried to find evidence for why she should be pregnant. It was simply wishful thinking. She now felt like the biggest idiot for working herself up like she had.
She picked the test up, ready to throw it away in the garbage when something caught her eye. She took a closer look, and there it was, the second line. She blinked, wondering if she'd truly gone insane. She blinked several times, but each time she opened her eyes back up, she saw two lines, not one. And it wasn't a faint line that one could debate back and forth on whether or not it should count as a second line. It got stronger and stronger until it was almost as clear as the first one.
She looked over at the nightstand where her cellphone lay. Ever since the Independence Inn had burned down she'd made it a habit to have her phone lying on her nightstand, just in case. She looked at the test one more time before picking the phone up, dialing the familiar number. It rang five times before someone finally picked up.
- Geez, Lorelai. It's... uh... geez, it's four in the morning. What are you doing up?
- I, ah, I, Lorelai muttered in a shaky voice. - I just needed to talk to you.
- Are you okay, Luke asked, concerned. - Or is Rory...
- No, Rory's sleeping soundly downstairs, Lorelai assured him. - I just checked.
- Okay, good, Luke sighed. - For a minute there I thought that maybe something happened to her on the way back.
- Back from where?
This time it was Lorelai's turn to be confused.
- Oh, she didn't tell you?
- Tell me what?
- April and I kinda ran into her when we went to see Jess, earlier.
- Jess? She's seeing Jess now? I thought she was still with Logan.
- He was holding this open day at the publishing agency he's running together with some friends. He probably invited her. I wouldn't think too much of it.
Despite the uneasy feeling in her about Rory seeing Jess again, she decided to let it go.
- She and April seemed to get along well, Luke told her.
Lorelai couldn't help but smile at the thought of both their kids finding the tone, even if this meant that once again someone got to properly meet April before she, the fiancé did.
- Yeah, they were talking about a lot of things that were completely over my head, Luke continued. - I don't know if it's the girl thing or the brain thing.
- Well, then I guess you have to let me listen in sometime, Lorelai suggested, hopefully. - I'd definitely be able to tell you which of it it is.
- Probably, Luke agreed. - Hey, I have a suggestion I wanted to run by you.
- Go ahead.
- Well, April's birthday's coming up...
- And you could use some help finding a good present, Lorelai guessed.
- No... well yeah, that too, but I was asking her what she was gonna do, figuring Anna had a big thing all planned out. Turns out they only have plans for a dinner with her grandmother, but no time to put together a celebration with all of April's friends, so I was thinking, if it's okay with April and Anna, of course, that maybe we could throw her one, you know, together.
Lorelai visibly brightened up when Luke included her in that 'we'.
- Really, she asked, not sure if this was her delirium talking or if Luke had actually suggested including her in April's life.
- I was thinking maybe we could hold it at the inn, or at the house if Anna says it's okay. I haven't actually asked her yet, I was thinking I'd run it by her when I dropped April off, so I'm not actually sure she'll go for it.
Luke was positively adorable when he rambled and Lorelai's heart gave a little jump when she heard him not call the house 'her house', which had to mean he'd begun considering it his home, despite the fact that they hadn't officially moved him in, yet.
- Sure, she told him, grinning. - Both are great party locations. I think April would love it.
- Good, Luke sighed, nervously. - You know, I was first thinking of the diner.
- The diner?
- Yeah, to have the party. And of course my first thought was to run the whole thing by myself, but then sanity finally caught up with me. I mean, what do I know about throwing a thirteenth birthday party? I mean, her friends are tolerating me okay at the moment and they keep calling me some kind of weird name that April swears is a big compliment. I don't know if she really means that or if she's just saying it so I don't feel bad.
- Well, I haven't gotten to know April that well, yet, Lorelai shrugged. - But from what I understand, she's a pretty blunt kid. I can't picture her saying something if she didn't truly mean it.
- Yeah, I guess.
- What are they calling you?
- Hagrid. Do you know what that means?
- It's a compliment, Luke, she assured him. - Definitely a compliment.
- But what does it mean?
- He's a Harry Potter character, Lorelai explained. - He's the adult that's the closest friend with the kids, so trust me. The kids calling you Hagrid is a major compliment. It means they think you're an adult they can talk to.
- This is exactly why I need you there, Luke proclaimed. - I mean, you get what they're saying. You're on the same wavelength as them. Plus you're like the reigning queen of birthday parties.
- Well, yeah, Lorelai agreed. - Rory's birthday scavenger hunt of 1998 is still talked about in hushed, reverent tones.
- Please, do not have them steal food from Taylor's fridge again, or have the police break up the party.
- You do realize the police coming to Rory's eighth birthday party was entirely their own doing, right?
- Just, nothing that borders on being illegal, Luke pleaded. - We do want Anna to let me see April again, afterwards.
- Scout's honor, Lorelai told him. - Nothing illegal.
- You were never a Girl Scout, Luke reminded her.
- I promise, we're not gonna do anything that will jeopardize your rights as a father, Lorelai promised. - We can even do the whole planning in plenum, join forces, brainstorm. You can veto any too crazy suggestion I come up with and maybe come up with a couple of things yourself. I'm dead sure we can both contribute to make this the best possible thirteenth birthday party for her.
- You know, I'm so relieved you said yes. I can't even begin to imagine the disaster that would happen if I'd done this whole thing by myself.
- Luke, come on. April would love whatever you'd do, Lorelai insisted. - Besides, in what reality would I say no to an opportunity get to know your kid? And when have you ever seen me say no to a party?
- Well, I wasn't sure what your stand was on this whole April thing, Luke sighed. - I know I've kinda been shutting you out, 'cause I had this idea that I needed to get to know her for myself before I could let you be a part of it.
- Luke, Lorelai sighed, not sure how to respond to that.
- I've been a... what was it they kept calling that guy in that show you made me watch? The doctor that always stuck his foot in his mouth around that girl he liked?
- A boob, Lorelai supplied.
- Exactly, Luke agreed. - I've been a boob.
Lorelai snorted and shook her head at the whole thing.
- I convinced myself that once you and April met, she would like you better and it'd be the end for me. And I realize now how dumb that whole thing is. I mean, look at Rory. You did a great job at raising her by herself and most of the time she's fine without her dad, but no matter how much of an idiot he is, she still wants him around and be part of her life and she's one of the most independent girls I've ever met.
- That's true, Lorelai agreed.
She gave credit where credit was due and compared to his earlier attempts at being part of Rory's life, Chris was really giving a proper shot at it now and Rory did want him around, despite the many, many stupid things he'd done in the past. But remembering the fun events back when she'd babysat his kid for him, she couldn't disagree with Luke when he called Chris an idiot. He was an idiot, not as much as he'd been at other times, but an idiot nonetheless.
- So, if Rory can still want her dad around, then I shouldn't be worrying whether or not April will continue to want me around, Luke concluded.
- You really shouldn't.
- You know, I'm really relieved we got to talk, he admitted.
- I love you.
Even without a camera phone she could tell he was smiling at the other end.
- I know I said that I needed to hear you say that every once in a while, she continued. - But I just realized that I rarely say it myself, which is just stupid, cause I really do love you.
- I love you, too, he replied. - I guess neither one of us says it enough.
- We should do something about that, Lorelai said, determinedly.
- I agree.
- Maybe there's a class we can sign up for.
- How to say those three little words 101, Lorelai quipped.
There was a comfortable silence between them. The second to happen, ever since April had walked into both their lives.
- So, Luke said after a couple of minutes. - Not that I'm not happy you called, but why did you?
Lorelai took a deep breath. Her nervousness taking over her again.
- You know what we said when we got engaged? How kids would be good?
- Where do you stand on that, now? Was it kids as in general, or specifically our kids?
- You want to try for a baby when I get back, Luke asked, confused.
- Well, firstly I'd like some clarity on what you meant then and if it still applies. Cause I know you and the whole jam hand issue and with April you don't have to worry about that...
- I definitely meant our kids, Luke interrupted her. - If I'd been given a choice with April, I'd rather do the whole jam hands phase than miss out on knowing her all these years.
His reply put a smile on her face.
- I'm pregnant.
It wasn't the bad kind of shock. Luke sounded a lot like when she'd sprung the proposal on him, surprised, but definitely not against it.
- I just took a pregnancy test, she elaborated. - And first when I checked it, it only had the one line and I was so disappointed, because once the possibility presented itself, I really wanted to be and then I just looked at it one more time and it had a second line. So, unless I all of a sudden had a big rush of hormones for no particular reason, we're having a baby.
- Tell me about it, she sighed, shaking, but more out of excitement than nerves.
- It's four am, Luke pointed out, then paused slightly. - Wait, five. But it was four when you called me. What were you doing taking a pregnancy test at this time of night?
- I knew you were gonna ask that, Lorelai laughed. - And you're totally gonna consider calling the butterfly net guys when I tell you this.
- Try me.
- Well, I woke up, just knowing something was off, but I couldn't for the life of me figure out what and then I randomly wondered if the thing that I was supposed to know was that I was pregnant, so I drove to Hartford and found one of those 24 hour pharmacies, woke the on-call person up, who, by the way, looked at me like I was some crazy woman, because I absolutely needed to get a pregnancy test right away...
- You are a crazy woman, Luke pointed out in a chuckle.
- Be nice, Lorelai warned him. - It's thanks to that test that we even had this long, clarifying conversation of ours, so you should be happy I had to find out about this right away.
- I am, Luke told her. - And then you called me.
- Yeah, Lorelai nodded, not sure why she felt like crying now, but tears started streaming down her cheek, only that it was a good cry, not a bad one. - I had to tell you right away.
- Are you okay?
Obviously he'd noticed the hitch in her breath. Even though she knew he couldn't see it, Lorelai nodded.
- Yeah, she said. - I just think the hormones are catching up with me. Man, and I never thought I was gonna be the kind of woman who cried at weddings. Lane's never gonna let me hear the end of it.
- You want me to come home, Luke asked. - Hold your hand? Hand you tissues?
- No, Lorelai said, shaking her head, once again forgetting he couldn't see her. - Enjoy the rest of the trip with April and we'll talk more about the birthday party and, you know, go to a doctor to get this thing checked out. Do you want to come with me, or should I just make an appointment for right away and go by myself?
- I wanna go with you.
- Okay, Lorelai grinned. - I can see if I can get one for a week from now.
- Sounds good.
- Goodnight, Luke replied. - Tell Lane congratulations for me, or best wishes, or mazel tov or whatever it is you're supposed to say to the bride at weddings.
- I think the mazel tov is reserved for Jewish ceremonies, Lorelai laughed. - I'll pass on best wishes from you.
- Best wishes. That's what it was.
- So, I'll see you in a couple of days?
- Yeah, Luke said. - I love you.
- I love you, too.