Where He was loved
Disclaimer: I sincerely wish I had Dean Forester, because then I would lavish him with hugs, kisses and love every single day.
Summary: Dean hears them, the boys of Yale (Rory of Yale) and remembers.
Spoilers: Eh… first two seasons and the fifth season. Mostly "The Party's over."
Author's Note: Seasons one and two of Gilmore Girls are my favourites…obviously.
Quotes taken directly from "Kiss & Tell", "Sadie, Sadie", and "You Jump, I Jump, Jack."
It was around two A.M. when he first heard them. He had been walking around Stars Hollow for hours, tired, sore, lost, and weary and had finally just decided to just go to his home home, with his family, where at least there he was loved. Peach Street was one of the many ones that led to the town square, out of Stars Hollow, to Rory Gilmore's house and always seemed to be having traffic in and out in all hours of the day- if all hours of the day were between five in the morning and nine at night (on a good day).
It was when he got home, quietly entering the key-code into the alarm system and was rewarded with a soundless entrance into the house- only to make a loud, strangled noise somewhere between a laugh, yell and a sob after tripping awkwardly over the ficus his mother had put in shortly after his return home (he winced). When he stumbled into his old room, stripping off all of his clothes and huddled into his bed, smelling the familiarity of his old, worn sheets, the smell of comfort, and of home he heard them again: the screams, the raucous laughter, the boisterous singing and cheering, the single indulgent (drunk) squealing of a single girl.
Dean thought back to a day and age where that single girl had been his only thought and wish, when Yale hadn't yet succumbed to Harvard, when Dean hadn't yet faded into Jess, when Chicago wasn't in the yet distant past. He thought back to working hard on the metal medallion, window shopping for weeks to find the perfect one for her, carefully drilling small perfect holes into it so the leather string wouldn't interfere with the design and the beauty of the medallion itself, but rather enhance it. He thought back to a time when he still didn't completely fill his now worn and beloved leather jacket, about round cakes and heavy books and Willy Wonka and pop and cornstarch and "Alright, guess which is in each hand and you get the soda." He thought of the simple, stupid joy of watching her joy of reading, of browsing for books, of her shopping for books for hours on end while he waited on the steps, watched her, and never wanted it to end.
He thought about dancing at Chilton, sleeping in Miss Patty's dance studio, his arms wrapped around her small form in the ridiculous blue dress (he didn't think about the second time he slept with her there, a memory that brought too many other more painful ones to the surface). Dean remembered Romeo & Juliet, fixing the Gilmore's water bottle, washing their cars, mowing their lawn, reaching the too high things for Lorelai with a smile on his face because there, in the Gilmore household, he knew he was loved. He remembered breakfast, lunch and dinner at Luke's, of coffee and cakes and endless chatter, of the orders: "kiss!" that he would so easily give into, kisses that tasted like the bitterness of the coffee she drank and the sweetness of the girl he loved.
He remembered Neil Young in a tux, of leaning in for a kiss while her parents watched, while they smiled, of kissing her, tasting the egg roll, of saying "muwah!" as their lips brushed. He thought of dancing lessons, of fricking kid skinned gloves. He recalled instructing a fiancé of Lorelai's (Jason? Max? Max) on the "Gilmore-isms", of chocolate chip ice cream, of standing on the porch and watching him leave and knowing that "Max" wouldn't make it. He thought of Emily Gilmore drilling him, of Emily being trying to be nice to him as Richard relentlessly hammered him on how he wasn't good enough for Rory ("What? No! No, I don't want a beer! I don't drink beer. I'll have water or soda or anything. Or nothing. Not beer. Never beer. Beer is... beer's bad."), he thought of Richard conceding on her car that Dean built from the very ground up, loving meshing in parts of junk, countless hours on his back, screwing in parts, of welding and drilling, of creating something out of junk to give her something wonderful because he loved her, because he always had.
Dean winced as he remembered holding on too closely, of spending hours of his life trying desperately to remain in her life, washing her car, calling all the time. He remembered holding her close while she barely held on (barely stayed on her feet), of swaying and gripping and of her staring over her shoulder, staring at him. He remembered awkward conversations with Lane, of him and Lorelai not having to "break up", of fights with Jess, instructing Clara to be as annoying as frickin' possible, of custard cakes and once again sharing spoons, foods, napkins and friendship.
Dean remembered actually buying tickets for the Yale vs. Harvard game, how it had cost him a fortune, how his parents disapproved, how she had been so flippantly uncaring about it- how he told Lane about it one night, how she told him not to. He thought about working late nights and long shifts, about Rory coming to the Dragonfly, desperate, alone, looking for her mother. How she cried in his arms, overwhelmed, and he held her close, held her tight, kissed her hair and told her that everything was going to be all right.
He thought about- no, no he didn't think about that. He couldn't- the pain was too near, too close, still an open, festering wound that he couldn't just stick a band-aid over.
Mostly Dean tried to remember the last couple of months with Rory, how open they were with their relationship, how both of them tried so hard to actually make it work- he always trying harder, he realized, he always was trying harder to make it work with them. They had been close, very close, with their relationship, no matter how far apart they were, whether they met up at Stars Hollow or at Yale or even half way between ("Maybe we could meet half way between Yale & Stars Hollow, but that probably puts us on the interstate, meaning the six ninety-nine surf and turf special, but Hell, I'm a cheap date.") because all he really wanted was to be with her, sharing beds, sharing hearts. But it wasn't the same, he came to realize, the love that they had the years before didn't translate, didn't work between them again, leaving them scrambling for something that he never expected for them: jaded romance, lust years too late.
The noise came around again, and Dean crossed the room blindly to open the blinds and peer out the window. The limousine had stopped right outside his house and he stared, perplexed. Was Rory-? But only three spilled out of the long car's doors, one to puke on his door step, one to try and leap the fire hydrant, and one to re-enact the Passion of the Christ while… yodelling? He heard her silvery laughter driving into his ear drums, heard the sounds of clinking glasses and loud rap music, saw her shape tumbling around inside, the blonde's arm draped over her possessively, a smug smirk on his lips.
Dean jerked the blinds down and turned, disgusted a twinge of hurt panging in his chest. As soon as he curled into his blankets again, arms under his pillow and lying on his stomach, twisting around restlessly, the noise was gone, and they were driving off again. He closed his eyes and saw all the years go past in a flurry behind closed eyelids, saw her smile, saw her cry, saw her read, saw her eat, saw her drink, saw her sleep, saw her come, saw her breathe, saw her love him. And Dean cried.