Opening the Past (Rory and Tristan)

Wow what a bad title huh? Hmm I don't know what else to say.I own none of this, so don't sue and I never wrote a Gilmore fic before, so please review.

The yearbook from my sophomore year at Chilton lies on my bed. It's been buried in my closet for the past six years. I don't know why I ever got the damned thing, I mean it's not like I had all these great memories that I wanted to treasure forever from that school. No Chilton meant one thing to me and that was my chance to get into Harvard. So I paid fifty bucks for this thing, flipped through it once and tossed it into my closet and never thought of it again.

God that's a lie, I thought of it a dozen times. I thought of resurrecting it from it's burial spot hundreds of times, but I'd always stopped myself. I couldn't bear to see what I'd lost. I couldn't bear to be reminded how I chose my pride over my emotions, my head over my heart. Or maybe it had been my heart leading the whole time and I had simply been too afraid of loving someone so deeply I knew that losing them would destroy me.

Yet it seemed to do that anyway or something like that at least. The fun seemed to slip even further from my life. Hey I'm not saying I didn't put on a good show for everyone, I was still the daughter, the girlfriend, the best friend. No one seemed to notice that it was all an act though. I ended school having a perfect 4.0 for my senior year and a 3.95 from my junior year. I got a 1520 on my SATS and Harvard accepted me, just like I had always dreamed. It had stopped being my dream a long time ago though.

The moment he left a new one filled my heart and it was of him coming back. Every holiday, every break I anxiously awaited his arrival, but he never came. People in school talked of him for the year and a half that remained of my time there. Their king, who had left them without a word remained a deep source of mystery. I had been the only one he'd actually spoken to, the last person in Chilton to have seen him and talked to him and I would forever be the last.

I had been making dinner, okay I had been pouring milk into my Lucky Charms when I turned on the TV and saw the report. It was of a plane being shot down over Iraq. Never would I have thought someone I knew was in it, after all it was a government plane, just five people were assumed dead, I didn't know anyone in the military did I?

Turns out I did. Two weeks after it happened I got a call from my Grandma, asking me if I remembered a Tristan DuGrey. He had been in that plane.

Apparently military school led to Tristan's change, he became a top student, but decided to walk away from the life his family planned for him and he went to Annapolis. That was all anyone knew. The rest was a mystery, just as Tristan had always been.

I got off the phone with my Grandmother and was in shock for several minutes. I didn't move, I don't recall breathing or anything like that. There was just this coldness that overwhelmed me, followed by such and intense pain and sense of loss that I didn't think I'd live. The truth was I didn't want to live.

I fell to my kitchen floor crying. He was never coming back; I was never getting a second chance. God second chance that was a lie, I was looking for my fifteenth and I couldn't blame any of it on him. He'd tried the best he could, the best he knew how. I was the one that had always been surrounded by love, he was the one who appeared to have everything, but in fact had nothing.

I don't know how long I cried, my memories of the night are scarce, nothing seemed to be there except the pain. The pain that still tears into me constantly a week later. I still didn't look at the yearbook though; I couldn't bear to see his face, knowing that he was gone.

I got a package this morning, brought to me by a chipper young man, not much younger than myself who still seemed to believe that there was a reason for living. I hated him for that because mine was gone, my dream that kept me going left the moment I got that call. I barely looked at the address; I only saw that it was from someone in Dallas. I opened it and two letters fell out.

One was from him.

One was a letter from beyond that grave.

I almost died of shock then I looked at the other letter, it was not from him. It was from his lawyer, saying that he wished for me to have this when he died.

He had left me a letter; he had not forgotten me, as I had always feared.

So with trembling hands I opened it and began to read.


I'm dead. Nice opener huh? Just in case you hadn't heard, I wanted you to know. I also want you to know that because I'm dead I have no fears of rejection, of embarrassment, or of anything else that kept me from taking you in my arms and telling you I loved you more that I ever believed possible. The last time I saw you was the night we should have done Romeo and Juliet. I had equally been dreading and anticipating that night, the thought of kissing you again sent a thousand different emotions through my body. The worst one was the fear that a kiss from me would mean nothing and you'd go back to your perfect little life without a second thought of me. I had to beg and plead with my father for three hours before he'd let me come and explain to you. I couldn't leave without seeing you one last time. The thought of you not seeing you again did things to me I couldn't explain and I knew I was the only one to blame. I'm sure I could have convinced him to let me do the act, but I couldn't bear to kiss you and then walk away from you. When the truth was I would have died to be with you, just like the character I should have played.

I never came back to Hartford for that reason. I couldn't bear to see everything I'd never have. I read of you going to Harvard, I read of your marriage to that freaking stock boy when you were only 21. I read of you graduating and going onto Law School and dumping that loser of a husband. I wanted to run to you when that happened, but I can't well not yet. Obviously I didn't get there in time if you got this letter. My job sends me into places that don't guarantee that you'll live to see the next day. I only hope I can live till July 13, 2007, I'm hoping that you'll never read this letter and when I die I'll be old and in your arms. I curse myself for taking this job, but I had no real reason not to when I thought you were lost to me forever. I don't want to write anymore. I don't want to think about you getting this letter. I don't want you to be reading it, but I had to write it. I had to let you know that I loved you. That I loved you beyond all reason and that I did from day one. Good-bye Mary. Forever yours,


I knew what today was it was August 1st. He'd died just days before he was going to come to me. Once again I wept for hours, clutching his letter close to me. Finally I went to my room and dug through the box of things buried in my closet brought over from my old house when Mom and Luke had moved. I dug through it and found the yearbook. I've been staring at it for almost fifteen minutes. I'm scared to death of seeing what I lost.

I start to flip through it and am bombarded by memories; pictures of Tristan fill the pages even though he was only a sophomore. Tears are tickling down my cheeks and the pain grows more intense with each turn of the page. Finally I can't take it anymore and I throw it against the wall and curl into a ball on my bed. After twenty minutes or so I force myself to get up. This is not Romeo and Juliet; I will not die because he did. I'm walking out of the room, past the yearbook when I see something on the floor. I lean over and pick it up. It's a photograph of Tristan and I at the piano at that memorable party that changed my life and spoiled me for all others.

I had no idea there were any photographs that even existed of he and I. I sit on the edge of my bed and look at him looking at me as we talked. How had I missed all the emotions that were so clear on his face at that very moment? Something compels me to flip it over and once again I see his handwriting.


I got this photo off of Jason; I figured you'd want to destroy all evidence of us being human with each other. I know you'll never forget this night and neither will I. I don't want to lose you even though I already have. I can settle for being your friend, even if that's all I'll ever be. You love him and I respect that, I won't push anymore. The choice is yours call me or don't, but know that everything changes for me when you're in the picture, you change me and you see me not like they do, but the real me. I don't want to lose that, I don't know what I'd do if I lost that. Please give me a chance.

Tristan (355-6007)

He must have slipped this into my book on one of the last days of school. I had looked at it briefly when I was in school and then when I got home, I'd just chucked it on my desk and never opened it again until today. God, if only I'd known...


September 16th 2007

It's been two months since Tristan died and I still haven't recovered. How do you recover from that? From finding out that the person who's haunted your every fantasy and daydream loved you as much as you'd loved them after finding out that they were gone forever.

The answer is simple. You don't. You bury yourself in work. You start drinking when you'd always tried avoiding the stuff in the past; you lose all desire for life. You stop picking up your phone and calling people back only when you know they won't be there.

I hate knowing that this is my life and this is all I have to expect for its future. I pick up my remote and flop to my couch. I haven't watch TV in awhile, I haven't done anything but work and cry since I found out.

The sitcoms temporarily remove some of the pain. The news comes on and I think of Tristan once again. I'm barely listening because I am so lost in my thoughts.

"Two of the three survivors from the plane that was shot down over Iraq in July in which all had originally been presumed dead have been released from the hospital after a 8 day stay. The third is expected to be released by the end of the week."

Rory listened attentively waiting for names to be said, but none were. She flipped through all the stations looking for any information and then ran to the stack of newspapers on her kitchen table. Not a single one had any names. They had a hospital though, George Washington in DC. She knew what she had to do and the next thing she knew she was on a plane.


The Hospital~

Rory had no idea what she was going to do once she walked through the doors of the hospital. She went to the visitor's desk and tried to explain.

"I uh."

"Yes?" The woman said looking rather annoyed with her inability to speak.

"I had a friend on the plane"

"Sorry we're not giving out any information as I'm sure you've told a dozen times. Now I really don't have time for this."

"No please," She started to beg as the woman turned away "I'm not a reporter or anything. I know he was one the plane, his name is Tristan DuGrey."

"Yes, everyone knows who was on the plane, but no other information is being given out at this moment."

"No please, I have to know. I've been dying since I heard and now I might suddenly have a chance at actually being happy again and I have to know. Please. Just tell me is he alive."

"Oh please you'll have to do better than that. I've heard a lot of stories and they were all more convincing than that."

"I fell in love with him when I was 16 and because of my stupid pride and his we stayed apart even though we loved each other. I lost out on a dozen chances to be with him and I swear to god I will not let you stand in my way of being with him. You want proof? Here's proof, here's the picture and note I'd never known existed until he died, here's the letter he wrote me in case he died, here's the letter from his lawyers. Now I swear to god if you don't tell me"

Rory's threat was cut short by another voice "May I see that picture?"

She turned to see a man in full military garb, she handed him the picture. Stunned into silence.

He smiled as he looked at it. "DuGrey always carried this picture on him."

"Carried?" tears started to roll down her cheeks again "You mean he's? Oh my God"

"Oh no no, darling he's alive. The picture's the only thing that's been lost."

"He's alive? Oh my God, he's alive" Rory threw her arms around the stranger. "Where is he? Oh God I have to see him. What the hell am I supposed to say?"

"How about you're glad he's okay?" She heard the voice and she couldn't believe her ears, she turned and stared at him. He smiled "That he wasn't a complete moron for sending you that letter?" Her silence scared him and he went back to his old ways. With a smirk he said "Speechless Mary, that's a first?"

"It's Rory" she said running to him and he took her in his arms, well arm, one was in a cast in a sling.

"I thought you didn't care when you didn't come" He said gruffly, trying to keep back the tears.

"I didn't know, just like I didn't know about the picture, I never opened my yearbook when I got home, I never saw it. Oh god, why didn't you ever come home. I waited and waited and you never came back."

"I couldn't bear to see you so happy without me, worse happy with that bagboy."

"I wasn't, I was miserable, I've been miserable ever since I met you."

"God every man dreams of hearing those words." he said and kissed her forehead as she looked up at him

"Don't ever leave me again"

"I won't, I promise you. No more fears. I know you love me, I can face anything."

"Who said I loved you?" she asked, the look on his face was priceless, but she couldn't keep him suffering for long. "I'm just kidding, I love you and I am never letting you go." She wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him. Both were oblivious to the dozens of cameras going off and capturing their second their second kiss. All they knew was they were together and they'd never be lonely or scared again.