Disclaimer: I do not own Gilmore Girls

a/n: AN excerpt of Polly's "Fire and Ice"

Dean tiredly sighed as he finished stacking the boxes of instant rice. Taylor had insisted on doing an inventory check, the reason why his date with Rory was cancelled. Dean's muses drifted off as a siren in the background filled the air. The night was clear and the air was brittle and brisk. He probably wasn't going to get his essay on the matter of Imperialism and World Wars done tonight, he was hoping Rory could help him with it after their date. But now he'd probably be turning that paper in late. He planned on taking Rory for a small dinner and then the two were going to go for a walk seeing as how she always loved those, even in the winter air. They had taken the day her grandfather was in the hospital, when she had a bad day at school, when she got in a fight with her grandmother, and one night Jess's accident and as much as it pained Dean to admit he knew she was worried for him, and so was he a little, therefore the couple took a long walk, their footsteps slow and cautious. This thought brought him to think about the most annoying guy who kept flirting with his girlfriend. Sure the guy was jerk but Dean knew that he was Rory's "friend." He wouldn't want the guy to drown in a frozen lake. Jess was confusing. He lied and stole but then something good always came out of them. Jess was arrogant and sarcastic but for some reason Dean could have sworn that he heard Jess telling Alex at their school who was blind that the printer was on the left before leaving shortly and surprising Dean thought Jess was human. He'd never say something out right either. You could never tell if he was mocking you or complimenting you. He just was aggravating and therefore annoyed Dean. Dean was slightly jealous too that Jess understood Rory when she spoke about books and others things, but when she attempted to talk to him he had to have her dumb it down a bit. But Dean could understand why Rory was friends with him the same reason. He just wished she'd be more cautious with people she was nice to.

Shaking his head he went back to the original topic. The walks. To Rory walks allowed her to ramble out her problems to someone and Dean had seen Lorelai walking with Rory on several occasions after dinner or early in the morning, one or the other talking at super hero speed.

With Rory it was hard not to pick up the ability to listen for everything, her sentences coming out in jumbles as she spoke so fast, and Dean groaned as the siren continued, feeling a headache coming on.

Taylor frowned in annoyance as the shrill screech of sirens continued, increasing in volume instead of fading away. The young man understood they had a job to do but nobody was out at this time in Star Hollow. Couldn't they at least turn off the siren long enough that Dean would have to suffer the incredibly long lecture from Taylor who would give another at the town meeting most definitely?

Taylor placing his hands on his hips, Dean was certain that the old store owner was planning on stating his opinion about the siren on the inconsideration to the other townsfolk who were attempting to get a decent amount of work down in peace without sirens that could give a moose a headacheā€¦but as Taylor opened his mouth to say exactly that he stopped and raised a curious eyebrow.

Dean slowly walked up behind the older man and looked as red and blue lights reflected onto their faces, the noise ceasing. The ambulance had stopped in front of Luke's diner. For some reason Dean had the distinct feeling that Jess wouldn't be turning in his essay on time either.

Again, Dean knew Taylor would be making frantic scenarios in his head: The young undisciplined finally snapped and murdered Luke. The diner owner's heart had given out after finding out his innocent image of his nephew was a delusion. Luke had somehow "accidentally" fallen down the stairs. The delinquent had stolen all of Luke's possessions and had ran away to sell them to some dark black market dealer.

But Dean's eyebrows scrunched together in disbelief as Taylor's face was bewildered, neither of them expected to see Jess lying on a stretcher, shivering profusely with a pain expression, a worried Luke following on his own two feetā€¦holding the teenager's hand. One of the EMT's spoke something to Jess who nodded meekly before coughing violently. Sharply the stretcher was pulled up into the ambulance making Jess cringe neither Dean nor Taylor seeing the increase of pressure on Luke's hand, Luke jumping in afterwards placing a hand on the top of Jess's head in a soothing motion as an oxygen mask was put on the teen's face.

Dean and Taylor stood frozen as the ambulance drove away, Ms. Patty running back inside to most likely call someone else, Ms. Kim's blinds closing, her daughter Lane's as well. Kirk leaning outside of his camouflage in the tree watching as teh vehicle drove away. The sirens returning.

Dean looked at Taylor who kept a passive face with his lips pursed and eyebrow raised. Dean awkwardly went back to stacking packages of Ramon noodles on the shelves and thought whether or not to excuse himself to call Rory. He was certain they'd be taking another late night walk tonight.