Disclaimer: sadly, I do not own Gilmore Girls.

Summery: The sequel to Hollowed. Haven't read it? Go back and read that and come back here to finish this. If you have read it, then you will know what this story contains.

Rating: Teen.

A/N: Surprise! Yes, something new from me. Sorry I haven't updated or posted anything in a looong while. But life is pain and I've moved across states and a whole bunch of stuff that caused writing to be put on the back-burner. But here is the sequel to Hollowed. I hope you all enjoy because I worked my ass off on this story ;) But please remember, this is a one-shot and I will not continue beyond this. So don't waste your time "reviewing" with just an "update soon" or asking me to make this a multi-chapter story or that I need to make a sequel to this - because it won't happen :D

Reviews: Like it? Hate it? Need something explain? Compliments? Critiques? Let me know in a review! :)

Dedication: Many, many, many thanks to Kellie and Meg who all but begged me to continue (:P) and make a sequel because this is now my baby and I love this so much. And without you two, I don't think I would have ever wrote it, lol. Especially thanks my wonderful beta because she made this readable for all of you and isn't afraid to tell me something sucks and I need to change it, lol. Love you both!

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--xXJust Like YouXx--

..

.

I could be mean
I could be angry
You know I could be just like you

I could be cold
I could be ruthless
You know I could be just like you

I could be weak
I could be senseless
You know I could be just like you

You thought you were there to guide me
You were only in my way
You're wrong if you think that I'll be just like you

You're wrong if you think that I'll be just like you

- - -

Rory sighed, settling herself on the couch, trying to get comfortable. It was storming and the lights kept flickering, as if any minute they were about to go off. Lorelai had to run to the Inn due to leaking water and other issues she couldn't get out of a panic-stricken Michel. How great was her night?

She let out a startled yelp as a knock came from the front door. Who is God's name would be out in this mess, she thought as she walked toward the door. As she swung the door open, her breath caught in the back of her throat.

Tristan.

He looked like hell. His clothes were soaked from the down pour, with his hands shoved deep in his pockets and his head bowed as if he were ashamed to show up on her front door.

"Tristan..." she whispered, her breath sticking in her throat to say much else. It was this scene she remembers seeing all year long. A bad sense of deja vu washing over her, like all the other times before.

He scuffed his boot against the worn wood of the porch before he raised his eyes to hers. The oxygen she had in her body flooded out as the bruise around his eye and jaw came into her vision. Without a word, like all the times before, she opened her arms and pretended that the wetness that soaked the front of her shirt weren't his tears. While she cooed in his ear, wishing for anything to take the pain from him, she would rope in her emotions, desperately trying to regain control over them, knowing he needed her more than ever in these times.

She took his hands as he lifted his head from her shoulder and pulled him into her bedroom. Pushing him down into her desk chair before leaving to grab a couple of towels. By the time she came back, his shirt was already on the floor in a wet puddle.

She suppressed a sigh as she saw his old wounds almost completely healed and walked over to him offering him one of the towels. She walked around him, placing her towel over his shoulders as he bent over, taking off his shoes and socks. She rubbed her hands up down his back, ignoring her own soaked clothes for the moment. Just like all the other times she felt the familiar anger rising, bubbling under the surface at the man who was responsible for this.

Pushing her ire aside, she continued to rub hey hands up and down his arms as his pants and boxers hit the floor. Straightening up, he pulled the other towel around his hips loosely, stepping toward the drawer she cleared out in her dresser for him before taking his clothes into the bathroom. Rory let out a deep breath before peeling her own clothes off and grabbing a black tank and a pair of loose night pants from her bureau.

Picking up his drenched clothes and her own, she walked out to the laundry room, placing their items inside and starting the washing machine.

In a twisted way, this was their ritual. She'd walk into the room and find him cleaning the water up or he would be sitting on the edge of the bed, head in hands. Sometimes she would gently slide into his lap, cradling his head as he wrapped his arms around her. Or she would crawl onto her bed and tug him to her, holding him. Other times he would mummer to her and she would whisper back. But for the most part, they would stay in that position until she heard his breathing even out. Then there were times she would ease out from under his grasp and cover him up with a blanket, other times just laying there, hoping that her mere presence would chance the demons from his dreams like they did his waking state.

She walked back into her room to find him using the towels to clean the water from the floor. Knowing he had got most of the water out, she tugged him up off his knees and pulled him to the bed with her. She laid down, shifting so he could crawl in besides her, then reached down, pulling the blanket over them as the storm raged outside.

He laid his head on her chest, as she wrapped one arm around his back, rubbing up and down while the other went to his hair. Slowly, she ran her hands through the blond tuft, remembering him once telling her it was one of his favorite things she did when he wanted to relax. Nowadays, he wore it a little shorter so it wasn't as wild and uncontrollable as before.

Continuing to run her fingers through his hair, she thought back through the year and how much he had been through - how much they had been through.

It was hard, especially since she knew his biggest secret going into their relationship. She knew that when he called and canceled a date, his breathing wasn't ragged because he had been out running or playing any sports. Knew why he never wore anything on his torso that would betray him. She even understood why in the summer, he would only swim at his house where it would be just the two of them. And she learned those father son moments happened when his mother wasn't home. She knew it all while he had to struggle to understand her and learn her own secrets.

While she was willing to be there for him, she was still hesitant to let down her own guard and just let him in. At first, she didn't even know why she found it so hard. It wasn't like she didn't like being with him. In fact, she looked forward to being with him. She found she loved the way his eyes would shine when she did something simple for him. Or the way he would send her a smile out of no where when they were just laying around on lazy days and watching movies. She loved the way he would murmur to her when they would fall asleep, like all he wanted to do was talk to her but couldn't keep his eyes open long enough. Or even when he knew something was wrong without her having to tell him anything. She had all these things she loved about him, there was very little, she realized, she didn't like about him.

But for a while, it was constantly bugging her that she still held back from him.

It wasn't like she didn't want to let him in and tell him how much getting into Harvard meant to her or how it was a constant struggle to live up to Lorelai's expectations while trying to make herself happy as well. Or how much Chris had hurt her over the years.

There was this one night when they were eating at Luke's and Lorelai joined them, having had to cover someone's shift at the Inn. Lorelai had taken a dislike to him at first but the longer they dated, the more he was around the house and got to know him, he grew on her. They had been sitting around the table, joking around, like always, and just having a great time when something Lorelai said made her freeze.

It just came out of no where, really. When the conversation took a serious turn...

She remembers it well, she was in mid-motion of taking a bite of her burger, eyeing the low amount of chili cheese fries on her plate when she froze, as her mothers words hanging in her mind like a clothes line.

"She doesn't realize it but she has tendency to protect people she loves but she holds back, like what ever she could say would crush someone. I've never understood it, I mean, I would rather say something and have it out there instead of holding it in. Because if you hold it in, when you finally let it out, it's going to hurt worse..."

She hadn't heard whatever was said after that, as realization dawned on her. She was holding back because she was afraid that he wouldn't be able to handle her life while dealing with his own. And his was so much harder then hers.

But that didn't really matter in a relationship, now did it?

This is was defiantly different from her relationship with Dean. She equaled their time together as sweet and harmless as a butterfly. Tristan on the other hand... it was intense, passionate, fast and confusion all swept up into a beautiful mess.

Oh was it a mess.

With her fear that if he knew how hard her life could be, that he would bolt, since his life was harder than anyone should have to deal with.

Tristan, because he refused to let her in and just talk about it. Refusing she knew why he'd called to cancel dates with his voice sounding ragged and worn and scruffy. Or why he would wait until the lights were off before letting her pull his shirt off in those heavy make-outs and why he'd turn the lights back on after his shirt was in place. He acted as if she didn't really know what was going on and why he was the way he was.

It didn't mean she hadn't tried to get him to open up, to just talk and let her in, to help her understand.

She understood that it was a part of his life he didn't want to re-live by talking about it, living through it was hell on its own and talking about didn't make it hurt any less. Though she could never understand on the same level, she knew opening up was not an option for him at that moment in their relationship but it didn't change the fact that she desperately wanted to help and couldn't when he kept her in the dark.

But then there was that old saying: you can't help someone when they don't want it. Guess it's true after all. How they survived the relationship this long, honestly baffled her. But, everything happens for a reason, right?

Sighing, Rory edged herself onto the edge of her bed, staring at her sleeping boyfriend. Tracing her finger off the ridge of his cheek, the only thing she could feel was sorrow. How could someone put their own child through this?

What could make someone say the things Mr. Dugrey said, over and over again. What would push a father to punish his son in the most primal way?

It wasn't enough for him to belittle him but he actually had to... Pinching the bridge of her nose, Rory pushed the thoughts away, knowing it wouldn't do any good and only bring the impossible anger back. And right now, Tristan needed her to be there for him - like all the time before.

Oh how her heart broke for him. Now that she knew the truth, she wondered how she never noticed the signs beforehand. Anyone who wanted to see behind that flawless mask could see it all if they put the pieces together. But with the way Tristan was, understandably so, he never let anyone close enough so they could help or even read those warning signs the right way.

Sometimes, she wonders what their relationship would be like if she hadn't known right of the bat what really happened in the DuGray mansion. She didn't know and honestly, she was glad she didn't have to find out.

If it was hard with her knowing going into the relationship, it would have been so much harder being in it and finding out. And not knowing why he would suddenly cancel when they were supposed to go out together.

Yes, it was better that she knew. Because she knew what she was getting into.

Absently, her finger went to his hair, running her hand through the blond locks as he let out a sigh in his sleep. She hoped he was having a good dream. He once told her he slept better at her house.

Letting out a sigh, she stood up, briefly kissing his forehead before walking out of the room and closing the door behind. Resting her back against the door, Rory hunched over, pressing her hands to he knees and closed her eyes.

"Rough night?"

Rory leapt off the door, pressing a hand over her racing heart as he eyes focused on Lorelai. "Mom. I thought you said you would be gone until morning..."

Lorelai flashed a tight smile, eyeing the closed door her daughter was still leaning against. "Well, I figured 5 in the morning was early enough. I'd catch a few hours sleep before I had to return to the Inn."

Drawing her eyebrows together, Rory tried peering around her mother to look at the clock on the stove. There was no way it could be five already. She had just closed her eyes for one minute and opened them the next. "It's five?"

"That's what the clock says. Unless it's wrong but I've never known a digital clock to be wrong - but you never know these days."

Rory took a deep breath, knowing Lorelai wasn't in a good mood. "Oh well. You never know. How's the Inn?" she asked, for some reason not wanting to move away from the safety of her door.

Lorelai's hair was pulled back in a pony-tail, looking better then the sleep mused hair she had left the house with. Thankfully she was still in her night pants and black t-shirt. She didn't want to know what people would say if the manager of the Inn walked in with "Got Milk?" across her chest.

Dark purple shadows surrounded the eyes that were currently watching her almost like she wasn't really there. Her lips were pursed in a thin line that she had often seen Emily wear when dealing with her daughter. Rory fought to make sure she didn't cringe. She could hear controlled ire in Lorelai's words.

"Because unless I heard things wrong, the roads were too dangerous to drive on. So making a 40 minute drive when it's raining cats and dogs, is really stupid. He couldn't wait to see you until tomorrow?"

Rory shook her head slightly, biting the insides of her cheek. This was what almost always happened when Tristan would show up in the middle of the night. "No mom," and she never her told her anything other then, "he needed me."

She could see the anger radiating off of her mother. It was always like this. Lorelai didn't understand that she wasn't hiding anything from her, just that she couldn't tell her this. It wasn't her secret to tell and she wasn't going to go behind Tristan's back and betray him.

Unfortunately, that had put a strain on their relationship.

Though she suspected that when Tristan started showing up at all times in the middle of the night, her mother was more quizzical about him. Often voicing her opinion about what she really thought of his visits, after she started doubting her normal response that he was having problems at home and needed to get away. Which was, in itself, the truth. Just not the complete truth, which she had started holding back from her mother when it concerned Tristan.

Overall though, Lorelai liked Tristan. It was his showing up when Bryce was drunk or in one of his moods and the fact she knew Rory wasn't telling her everything about their relationship that kept her on edge and distrusting of him.

Then there was the fact that she had gone to Tristan in one of his moments instead of staying home and coaching her mother through another fight between her and Chris.

She didn't think Lorelai was ever going to forgive her for that but Tristan had been more important at that moment and she went to him. To "their" spot. It was a spot that they found by accident one day, when they were still fresh into the relationship. She had gotten into a fight with Lorelai over the fact that she was "jumping into a relationship with someone she barely knew". Tristan had been on his way to meet her and they both ended up driving around most of the night.

It was out of Hartford city limits, where they grew the crop and everything seemed untouched by the modern world around them. It was a grassy hill that seemed like it should only exist in a book with a willow atop, like it was guarding everything that fell in its shadows.

They often went there when they just needed to escape reality. It was easy to lay there with the stars and the moon hanging above them, sharing whatever thoughts and feelings were going through them at the moment, knowing they would always be there when they needed something to count on.

The night she left Lorelai aghast after her was one she wasn't going to likely ever to forget. She had gotten a call from Tristan and the moment she put the receiver to her ear, she knew something was wrong when she couldn't hear anything but his ragged breathing. He didn't have a chance to explain before she was promising to be right there, leaving Lorelai in a state of hurt and befuddlement that has never been straightened and worked out between the two.

That also happened to be the night that she finally gave into the sweet temptation that had been steadily growing strong between the two, until she couldn't help but want to simply tear the shirt off his back.

She did not mean for it to happen, it just did. Such a clich├ęd answer, she knew, but it was just.. she couldn't explain how her body reacted around Tristan, like it seemingly had a mind of its own and sought the feelings it was looking for.

Of course, all it took from Lorelai when she walked through the door that she realized what had happened. Her hair had been a mess, with a twig stuck in her tangled curls. Her lips still red and bruised and her clothes out of order. Thus causing a silent house while Lorelai mulled over the fact that she was serious about Tristan.

It took her a second to realize her mother was speaking and quickly shoved the thoughts aside.

"Of course, how could I forget... he needed you. He always needs you."

Rory took a deep intake of breath before counting to ten in her head. "Don't do this, please."

Looking at her daughter, Lorelai shook her head, not believing they were in this position, even if they had been many time before. "I thought you said you would talk to him about doing this..."

"And I told you, I cannot make that promise, mom."

Sighing, Lorelai pulled out a chair and sank into. "Okay. You can't make that promise, I get it. But why? You cannot tell me he "needs" you and to just expect me to be okay with it. Explaining might help..."

Biting her lip, Rory shuffled a few steps forward. Hating how desperate how mother looked. "Mom... I can't. It's not for me to tell. I'm not going to betray Tristan's trust like that. But trust me when I say that he has his reasons."

"Must be one hell of a reason." Lorelai scoffed. She had known Rory wasn't going to tell her, she never did, but she had to try. To hope that they still had that part of their friendship where her daughter would tell her everything, even if she wasn't supposed to.

Sighing, Rory shook her head. "Go get some sleep mom, you look beat." And turned around walked back into her room.

-- xXx --

Walking into the huge house, Rory couldn't help the panic butterflies swarming her stomach. Oh this wasn't going to go well. She could just feel it. It was almost like there was this force in the house that was oppressive.

She didn't like it.

Not this feeling, not this house. Nothing.

How Tristan lived here...

Shaking her head, Rory grasped his hand even tighter, knowing those thoughts would do nothing but add more hostility to the house.

She was already on edge.

Meeting the parents never went well.

Especially when they were Tristan's.

Specifically, when Bryce DuGrey was going to be sitting just feet away from her.

Knowing everything that happened here behind closed doors made it even harder for her to put on the society front and just ignore what this man did...

No. She wasn't going to think about this. It had no place in her mind tonight. It would do nothing and nothing would come from it except raising her ire level.

Sighing, she brought her free hand up to twist the sapphire tear drop around her neck, a nervous habit. Looking around, she realized the house was richly furnished, from marble floors to golden vases full of exotic looking flowers, to the silver lined mirrors and rugs that looked like you should step around them instead of walking on them.

But where was the comfort? It looked like everything was being displayed to "ooh" and "ah" over instead of soft, comfortable and livable place to be.

It was no wonder Tristan took any chance he could to get out of this stoic place.

Feeling his eyes on her, she looked up and met his cool gaze. He didn't look like the guy that had just been joking with her about being followed by a black cat but like someone who was suffocating. "Stop worrying." he said easily, as if this was a school test she was going to ace.

Shaking her head, she remembered him once saying he was different here, this house was like a prison to him. She smiled up at him, the best she could do. "I don't think that's going to happen." she laughed, hoping he didn't notice how forced her efforts were.

He winked at her before pulling her into the common -since it looked as far way as being lived in, as the rest of the house- room.

With a smile, she greeted his parents in the same manor she would greet someone from school.

Oh this was so not going to go well...

"So tell me Rory, where do you plan on going to collage?"

Her cheeks hurt from having to keep up the false enthusiasm as Bryce drilled her about everything he could think of.

They were in the dining room, in the middle of the main course and she already felt like kneeling over, the bunched nerves in her stomach leaving little room for food. "I'm hoping Harvard, if they'll have me." she replied, taking a sip of her soda.

Bryce nodded his head, shooting a quick glance toward his son. "Harvard, huh? Lofty ambition you have there."

"I heard this once and it always stuck with me: 'Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars'. I guess you can say it always stuck with me. Because if I don't end up in Harvard, there are a lot of other great schools out there." Why, oh why, she thought, was it tonight of all nights she had to ramble? It wasn't enough his parents were judging her over everything, she had to have diarrhea of the mouth too?

Though, his mother, Silva, had not been able to get a word in with Bryce was constantly questioning her, every time Tristan tried to intervene, he was sent a look that she knew meant nothing good.

"Ah. Wise saying, that is. True enough too. I just wish Tristan here had that kind of motivation."

Then there was those remarks he kept tossing out. The clever ones that were biting remarks made to look like simple comments. She would look at Tristan and he would carefully hide his face from her view. She knew it happened but the fact that Bryce was making some of those comments in front of her was horrible, but to even say those things in the first place, was despicable.

Taking a bite of her food to avoid having to say anything else, she looked across the table at Tristan and noticed his cheeks were tinted red. Shaking her head slightly, Rory nudged his foot under the table, mouthing an, "He's wrong." when he looked up.

Something clouded his eyes suddenly and before she could try to figure it out, his mother was talking. "Tristan, darling, are you all right? You're looking a bit flushed..."

Without removing his eyes from Rory's, he replied, "I'm fine. It's just a bit hot in here."

"He is right. It is a bit warm in here. I'll go turn it down..." Bryce excused himself from the table.

Drawing her eyebrows together, puzzled, Rory watched him walk out of the room until it was just the three of them.

"So, Lorelai, tell me, how is Emily doing? I haven't seen her in forever it seems. Last time I saw her was when she threw that D.A.R. ball a few months back. Time sure does fly..."

Fighting not to cringe at the use of her name, Rory looked at Silva DuGray. She was a small woman with Tristan's dazzling blue eyes. Her blond hair was curled and bounced when she shook her head. "Oh she's fine. She's been busy with some type of event... I forgot what she said it was for. But she's been good."

Silva laughed lightly. "Sounds like Emily. She's always busy planning something. I don't know how that woman does it. Tristan, are you feeling alright? You haven't said much during dinner and your food is barely touched..."

Rory notice his hand atop the table curl into a fist before he released it. "Yes mom, I feel fine. You two have been talking to Rory so I didn't have anything to say."

Surprise leapt up her spine at the anger that laced his words.

Silva rolled her eyes, ignoring the remark. "Your father and I have just been trying to get to know the girl since you rarely talk about her."

His hand curled into a fist again only it lasted longer than the last time. "You two are never home anyway to ask me about her."

Rory cleared her throat, aware of the rising tension around the table. The joyful air that Silva seemingly wrapped in dropped like a rock being tossed into the air. "Well if-"

The rest of her sentence was cut off as the maid rushed in with the deserts and swept the table of the dinner.

It took Mrs. DuGrey a second but her composer was back up and she was smiling again. "So Lorelai, how do you like chocolate? Maria makes the best truffles you'll ever taste."

-- xXx --

"No way. No way in hell am I wearing this. I'm changing my mind, I was stupid to even agree to this."

"Tristan, you promised! You cannot change your mind now. It's too late to go get new costumes." Rory pouted, looking at her boyfriend from her spot on the bed.

"Okay, fine. I'll stay here and you can go out trick-or-treating because there is no way I'm leaving the house like this." He said, looking over himself in the mirror once more, hoping by some chance his image would change him and he wouldn't have to see...

"You're no fun. I'm going to look just as stupid. Does that make you feel better?"

Turning around and looking at his backside in the glass, he glowered once more at his image. "No, you'll look sexy as hell while I look like a buffoon."

Rolling her eyes, she stood up and walked over to him, wrapping her arms around his neck. "What if I said you look sexy?"

If it was possible, his glare increased. "I would know you were lying. You laughed a full 5 minutes when you first saw me. Stopped to catch your breath and laughed another 5."

Chuckling, Rory stood on her tip-toes and kissed his cheek. "You look adorkable, don't worry. Besides, this is Stars Hollow, we'll be the most sane ones around here."

"Oh yeah?" he questioned.

"Yup. Last year, I hear Babbett and Ms. Patty were cheerleaders. The whole thing."

She giggled at the sight of his face cringing as he imagined the two woman in cheer leading uniforms, and was glad to wipe the pout off his lips, even if was by disgusting the poor boy.

"As long as they aren't dressed as anything like that this year, I'll be fine."

"You think so?" she raised an eyebrow. "Once they see you in that, they will definitely want to pinch that butt of yours."

"Yeah? Well, that settles it, I'm not going. You'll have to go alone. No way are either of those two getting near my ass, especially if they get drunk again." He stubbornly crossed his arms over his chest, making her take a few steps back.

Sticking her lower lip out, she batted her lashes at him. "Please?"

That did nothing but cause him to chuckle lightly. "You know that doesn't work on me. You want to try something else?"

"You're being mean." she pouted, flopping down on her bed.

"No, being mean is giving me a Superman costume and expecting me to wear it while we trick-or-treat. I mean he wears his underwear outside his pants for God sake!"

Rory couldn't help the giggle that bubbled past her lips as he glared at her. "Well, I'm going as Wonder Woman. We match and I'll look just as stupid. Now puh-lease?"

"Will it get you to stop begging?"

"Yes. Though I should warn you, if you do decide to stay here, Babbette and Ms. Patty will know you're here alone..." she trailed off, hoping he would get the point.

By the way his face faltered and an apprehensive look edged into his features, she knew she had won.

"Good Lord, you fight dirty. Fine, I'll go." he pouted, sinking into her desk chair.

"Yay!" she squealed, jumping off her bed and walking over to him. Kissing him full and long on the mouth before pulling back. "More later. I have to go get ready. This is going to be so much fun!"

Chucking to himself, he shook his head as his girlfriend ran from the room.

The things he did for that girl.

-- xXx --

That was normally what happened. He would wake up and they wouldn't talk about what happened, it was a mutual understanding. They would get up and continue on as normal but they would never forget. It wasn't something to talk about, he did that as he slipped into dreams, when he was too exhausted to try and pretend any longer. Though, he never pretended with her. Not anymore. They were beyond that now...

She could tell he was in one of those moods. It wasn't hard to tell. His jaw was set and twitched every few minutes. His eyes were dark and heavy. The music was quite, surprisingly, but full of bass and screams of anguish. The stuff Lane called Scream-o. How could people listen to that stuff? Shaking her head, she kept an eye on the speed, watching as the needle pointed at 75 MPH. Shoulders tense and hands gripping the steering wheel like it was his only saving grace... "Tristan. What's wrong?" she asked, hoping her voice wasn't filled with the fear that was beginning to build within her.

He didn't answer. Not that she honestly expected him to.

They were supposed to go to a movie and when it was 20 minutes past the time he was supposed to be there, she had been so furious but as she watched the clock tick the hour away, her anger slowly turned into worry. What if something had happened to him? What if he had a wreck? So many what ifs...

Finally, an hour and a half later he showed up. He honked his horn three times and she had been so grateful to know he was okay, she didn't even care he hadn't bothered to come to the door. It was the moment she closed the door and he was already peeling out of the drive-way, the gravel spitting out behind his tires, kicking up dust, did she notice something was wrong.

He hadn't said anything, given her any explanation as to why he was so late, nothing. But with a sinking feeling, she knew she didn't need him to say why he was late.

She already knew.

Which caused her anger from earlier to flare up once more, just at a different DuGrey.

She knew it happened, she would have to be blind not to notice the signs but she had never seen him after it recently... Just thinking about made her anger boil to new heights.

She had not been sure what he was like afterwards. She didn't figure him to be the weepy type but the range of his current fury was paralyzing by the simple force of which she could feel.

"Tristan." she tried to again, hoping he would answer or slow the car down, she wasn't sure which one she wanted more but as she watched the needle sink lower, she knew it was the latter.

Reaching over, she turned the radio off, thinking that touching him in a simple way would make him jump as he seemed lost to everything except the road in front of his eyes and beyond.

"Tristan." she repeated, her voice louder, the fear dancing around the edges as they approached a sharp turn and he had yet to slow the car.

As they drew nearer and nearer, Rory had abandoned the hope of getting his attention and nervously watched as the car continued it's fast pace. It was then, when the tree's reached the point they could cover the sun from her eyes that she realized they were by the bay. With a sudden frantic panic, she looked over at her crazed boyfriend and saw that his far away glance was still resident in his eyes.

Just as she was about the yell, he suddenly pressed the breaks, sliding around the curve almost effortlessly. As they fish-tailed out of the turn, she turned, staring out of the rear window and watched as the sun was starting to sink into the water.

Looking back at her blond passenger, she couldn't help but gape at him, her blood pounding through her veins from the accident that could have been.

Oh God, how horrible that was. Even as they sped away from the water, she could still feel the fear clogging her throat as she felt the tears swell up in her eyes. Her hands were still clutching the leather, turning her knuckles white.

"Rory." she faintly heard. Shaking her head, she looked out the window and realized they had stopped. They were parked on the edge of a beach, the trees shadowing over the beginning of the sand.

With shaky hands, she unbuckled and scrambled out of the car, wanting to be anywhere but in there. She had to get away. Needed to get away.

Reaching up, she pushed her hair out of her eyes as the wind blew it loose, discovering her cheeks are wet with tears. Stumbling, she walked on before reaching a tree and leaning against it, not caring if Tristan was following her or not. She couldn't even muster up the energy to care that she was getting sand, dirt and grass on her pants. She just need to feel the breeze blowing across her face and smell the air as it stirred around her.

Leaning forward, she resting her head again her knee's, breathing deeply and trying to rein control of her emotions.

1, 2, 3, she counted her breaths, pretending the crunch of the sand and twigs were just some animal passing through and not the footsteps...

"Are you okay?"

She snapped her head up, looking at him incredulously. Did he seriously just ask her that? After what had just happened he had the nerve to ask if she was okay...

The look must have been plastered to her face because in an instant, his look went from one of concern to his chipped mask.

Shaking her head, she stood up, her legs wobbly for some reason. "You just did not ask me that."

Cold, hard steel blue. That's how she was going to for ever remember his eyes in those moments. "I believe I just did. Do I need to repeat it?"

The first lash of hurt flashed through her before the second, anger, followed. "No." she gritted. "You can shove it up your ass for all I care."

His lips twitched as his hand came up and rubbed the back of his neck. "Well, next time I just wont ask you if you're okay and just continue on."

She glared at him, wondering how he had the nerve to stand there and act like he did nothing wrong... "Who said there's going to be a next time?" she didn't know how she managed it but her voice was as cold as ice and calm, not trembling like her insides were.

Something flashed through his eyes and his cocky demeanor dropped. He stood up straighter, his arms crossed over his broad chest. His eyes never leaving hers. "Oh really now?"

"Oh really. How could you even think I wouldn't freak out over that and just be-" why did her Harvard vocabulary have to be failing her now? When she desperately needed it. "okay with it?! You could have crashed and then what would have happened, Tristan? God!" Her hands were shaking with anger and she folded them into fist, trying to control the quivers of ire that were rolling down her spine.

Rolling his eyes, he replied, "Because I've done it before. A lot of times before. Besides, if I thought it was risky, I wouldn't have done it. Especially not with you in the car..."

She had to check the urge to deck him. She had been scared out of her mind and all he could say was he's done it before? Didn't he know something could have gone wrong... "Just forget it. I don't even know why I put up with this."

She didn't know if it had been possible before but his eyes turned darker, almost black. "Sorry, I didn't know I was such a nuisance to deal with." he said, his voice as hard as nails.

The words came out of her mouth before she could stop them. "Well, I'm apparently not the only one who thinks so."

It was a moment she would remember because of the look of absolute hurt that broke his face of indifference; haunted her as his blue eyes swirled with pain so strong she still wonders how she missed it before.

Shaking his head, he gave her a look that could break the heart of the coldest person before he turned around and walked away. Watching his retreating back, her stomach plummeted to the ground. Oh God. How could she have even said that to him? Yes, he had been an ass but he had just been in one of his moods because his father probably found out about him skipping school and...

Good Lord. The guilt was building higher as her heart shattered into shreds the farther his figure became. He didn't need someone to be a bitch to him, he just needed someone to be there for him. Someone who knew him, who knew what happened. Someone he could trust...

Squeezing her eyes shut, she ran after him, skirting out of the way of logs bogged into the sand. "Tristan!" she yelled as she came closer to him, her fingers faintly touching the back of his shirt before he moved out of her reach.

"You don't want to touch me right now. Or be anywhere around me for that matter." Tristan said, his voice sounding like... like, it did after Bryce had a moment with him.

"I didn't mean it." she blurted out, hoping it would make him turn around and face her.

"That's hard to believe, considering you said it. And you say it, you must have been thinking it." He took a step forward, as if he was about to walk off but spun around instead. Piercing her with a dead stare.

Panic and sorrow were beginning to wreck her nerves. "No! That's the thing, I've never thought it before! I didn't even mean it, it just came out..."

He scoffed. "Please, Princess Mary. I'm not stupid, you know."

Before she could even begin to formulate something to say, he was already carrying on. "I know you don't talk to me about everything because you think I can't handle it, like I'm something fragile and have to be handled with care. Because I have an abusive asshole for a father, I must not be able to handle the troubling life on Rory - Sorry, I mean Mary- Gilmore."

She refused to let the tears pass as they came rushing up, instead, picking her anger that came rushing back. "You have no idea what you're talking about. I may not have Bryce as a father, screw that. I don't even have a father. But my life is not easy and you're ignorant to even think otherwise."

Mockingly, he rolled her eyes, pretending to ponder something. "Let me see, should I choose sweet tarts or juicy fruit for this marathon?"

The blow went straight to her gut, hard and fast that it almost made her kneel over. "You want to know something? Try living up to the expectations of Lorelai. I have to be the best, no matter what. I can't screw up. I can't do this or that because she wants to play the perfect mother but the moment I show any signs of actually being like her, she freaks out and goes Emily Gilmore on me.

"Try having someone that wants to be a father but no matter how much he claims to love you, he just can't commit because the thought of staying in one place for long scares him. No matter if it's for his daughter and the love of his life and ends up leaving both of them heartbroken. More than once.

"Try having a whole town look at you like you're some perfect doll. Try doing all that and finding yourself at the same time and making yourself happy while not letting everyone around you down. Because you know the moment you do anything you might want to do, everyone will be judging you because of it." she wiped furiously at the tears that didn't want to stay in. "So screw you Tristan. I may not have your problems, but I have my own. And look at you, you won't even talk about yours. You just rather pretend they don't exist then actually talk about them."

Not being able to talk anymore, she walked past his stunned figure, wrapping her arms around herself. The silent tears making treks on her skin as the wind blew into her face. If he was going to be an ass, she didn't need him. Not after that. She wasn't even sure if it was worth it anymore...

She sat on a log, just barely out of reach of the rising tide to find the sun already half way sunk into the water. The orange setting on the blue water, causing shadows to ensue. The trees behind her catching some of the golden light and throwing them in different directions. The wind kissed her lightly, playing her hair, picking it up and dancing it around in the air that was beginning to chill.

Shaking her head, she looked down. They had arguments before, but nothing that harsh and cruel before. Nothing that made her sick to her stomach just wish she could rewind time to the moment things started going wrong to fix it...

The moment things turned sour was the moment she refused to divulge into things, afraid it would upset his world even more. She had known that it was going to come back and bite her, she just didn't know it would be this bad.

Even worse, she thought, was that she didn't think he would be none wiser that she was holding back from him. Mistake number 2.

How she wished she could just turn time and start this day over. It was a roller-coaster of emotions and she wasn't sure she could handle anymore.

She wasn't sure how long she sat there, watching as the sun sink lower and lower before a shadow eased onto the log beside her. Glancing over, she saw he too was watching the orange ball slip into the horizon. Looking back at the water, she realized she had nothing to say to him. She just wanted to go home...

When the golden ball finally slipped out of their view, she heard him sigh before he spoke up, "So I guess I should start with I'm sorry."

-- xXx --

Reflecting back to that day, she smiled. Actually smiled.

After his apology, they talked and did the best they could to talk openly about their problems. Sitting on that log long after the day turned into night, she had confessed that she had been holding back from him because she thought he couldn't handle dealing with her problems while having his own set of problems that were far worse then hers.

He told her that talking about his... issues with Bryce weren't easy because he had no one to go to before so it wasn't like flicking a switch and suddenly spilling his guts. Or that he even wanted to talk about it, just wanted to get away and try to be a normal teenager. Not bring up the pain that wrapped him like a cloak at his house.

It had taken her time to totally forgive the things he said but, just as she realized earlier that day, he had been hurting and saw it as he was being attacked and just reacted. He didn't buy her flowers or chocolate or anything like that to show he was sorry - she just knew he was and didn't need the things he could buy her.

Finishing the last touch of her red lipstick, she stepped out of the bathroom.

"Ah! So you are going through with it!" Lorelai all but yelled as her daughter finally walked out of the room she'd been locked up in for an hour. "I should tell you, I was starting to think you actually wouldn't go through with this." she announced, looking at Rory with a pout.

Rory rolled her eyes. She was glad her mother was in a better mood, though. "Yeah well... I'm thinking about changing. I look horrible."

"There will be no mind changing," Tristan spoke, coming around the corner, his cape fanning out behind him. "If I have to go through this torture, you're going through it with me."

Lorelai clicked her tongue, eyeing the two standing side-by-side. "Sadly, he's right, hon. But look at it this way, you two will be the hottest two in all the Hollow."

Rory rolled her eyes. "Yeah, because this town hasn't seen Wonder Woman and Superman before."

"But you two pull it off so well! Makes me wish I was going with you..." Lorelai pouted.

"I thought you were..."

"Change of plans. I'm gonna be passing out candy with Luke." she said, wiggling her eyebrows at the end.

"Urg. Gross mom. So did not need that information. Well, the sun has set and we must be on our way to get glorious candy. Oooh, by the way, do you know what Patty and Babbette dressed up as?" Rory asked, passing her trick-or-treat bag to Tristan as he glared at her.

Looking between her daughter and her boyfriend, she cringed. "You don't want to know."

Tristan's eyes bulged. "It cannot be that bad."

Lorelai nodded sadly. "I'm afraid it is."

"Just tell us already, I know you're dying too..." Rory prompted.

"Dominatrix twins!"

The color drained out of both of the teens face's and disgust crept its way onto their face.

Rory recovered first and started laughing. "Taylor is going to blow his top when he sees them." she hiccupped through her laughter.

Lorelai brightened at that. "I know. It was my idea. I just wish I could see it happen." she said sadly.

"It was your idea? Oh man." Slowly her laughter calmed down as she looked at Tristan who seemed rooted to his spot.

"Do I really have to go, Ror? I mean..." Tristan shuddered as ideas popped into his head.

Covering another fit of laughter at the sight of her boyfriend cowering, she patted his padded arm. "'Fraid you do."

Glowering, he turned around and marched toward the front door. "I'd rather be locked up in the basement." he mumbled.

"Uh, Tristan. I think they would like that!" Lorelai called out as the front door opened.

Snickering, Rory followed him out the door. "See you later!" she called out to Lorelai before dodging the little kids making their way up the steps.

"This way." Tristan grunted, pulling her around the side of the house. Before she could ask him what he was doing, his lips were on hers.

Pushing his shoulders, Rory stepped back. "Tristan," she hissed. "There are little kids out here!"

Laughing, he pulled her closer. "In case you forgot, no one can see us from this angle. Besides, that's the least I want to do... you look sexy as hell." he mumbled, his lips trailing across her neck.

Not being able to ignore how happy he seemed, she laughed before pulling his head up and ghosted her lips over his before deepening it.

When air became important to her, she pulled back, resting her forehead against his, eyes still closed. "You're happy, right?"

He trailed his tongue over her lips lightly before nipping at them. "Of course. I'm always happy when I'm with you..."

Opening her eyes, she looked him in the eye and had to hold in a gasp at how crystal clear and blue his eyes were. "Okay."

Smiling, he stepped back from her, offering his hand. "Well, lets get this show on the road and pray to God we don't run into Miss Patty and Babbette."

Ignoring his hand, she wrapped her arm around his waist. "We wouldn't want that, now would we?"

- -

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adorkable: adorable/dork