Title: Bus Stop
Summary: One last person wants to wish Rory Bon Voyage.
Disclaimer: I do not own Gilmore Girls or it's characters. No profits will be made from this work.
Author's Notes I haven't actually watched Gilmore Girls since Dean Forester left (early season five). But I wanted to see the finale, just in case they managed to sneak him in there, though I knew, with Supernatural's filming schedule, there was no way Jared could be in LA. But I was still disappointed not to see him. So, I wrote this. I know that on the one hand, Rory's solo walk to the bus stop seems contrived, but on the other hand, so did a lot of plot points in the series. *grin* References to the Pilot, Cinnamon's Wake, Star-Crossed Lovers And Other Strangers, Presenting Lorelai Gilmore and Bon Voyage.
Rory, for the fourth time, hugged her mother, said goodbye, and asked her to stay in the diner with Luke. She had made this plan the night before. She would take the bus to the airport. That way, she would know if she was taking too much stuff on the bus before she got on THE bus, Barack Obama's bus. And if she was, she'd rent a locker at the airport and leave any surplus, bulky or just plain heavy stuff there, then mail the key to Lorelai so she could retrieve it later. And then Rory wouldn't look like an idiot in front of the other reporters, trying to stuff her entire life under her seat or something. But for this plan to work she had to carry her own bags to the bus and stow them. Herself. So she just wanted to walk the fifty friggin' feet to the bus stop alone. Just like she had every day when she went to Chilton. Shouldn't be any problem with that, right? Hello, separation anxiety.
Finally, Rory did get out the door, with her baggage, physical and emotional, by herself.
And she knew once she'd walked twenty feet that all those extra bottles of shampoo were getting dumped. And she decided that, on second thought, she could rely on the internet, rather than bringing her complete unabridged dictionary. And she would have to learn to lug all this stuff with her head up once she was out of Stars Hollow, which she could navigate in her sleep. Maybe she was going to need that back support thingy from Miss Patty after all.
She had never been happier to see the park bench at the bus stop. But when she went to deposit her bags on the seat, there were shoes there. Big ones, attached to long, long legs, upon the knees of which were arms, at the ends of which was a nice big travel mug full of what smelled like delicious coffee. And above the coffee, there were dimples, and green-gold hazel eyes and chestnut brown hair that curled over his eyebrows.
"Hey, Rory," he said, his low voice washing over her, just like it had the first time she'd looked up and seen this amazingly beautiful boy, who'd gotten her obscure movie reference about a tannis root.
She put her bags on the ground.
"I just wanted to say goodbye, um, and give you this." He handed her the travel mug. It was warm in her hands.
"Thank you." She took a sip. "Wow, this is really good!"
"Well, it's not Luke's but-"
"No, it's better than Lukes!" she said, then looked guiltily toward the diner, as if Luke might hear her.
"Absolutely," she took a larger drink. "Where did you get this?"
"Well, I made it actually."
"No kidding? It's great! When did you become a coffee wizard?"
He laughed. "Well, I started experimenting a couple years ago, and I think I've got it down now."
"A couple years?" She climbed up onto the bench and sat on the back, next to him. "What set off the search for the perfect brew?"
Dean shrugged. "I couldn't get coffee there anymore," he tossed his head toward Luke's. "So I thought I'd better work on my self-sufficiency."
"Why couldn't you go to Luke's?"
"Is it okay if we don't go there?" He looked at his watch. "We only have about ten minutes before the bus comes."
"How did you know I'd be taking the bus?"
"The only way anybody ever gets 'birthed' out of this town is on that bus," Dean smiled.
"You were there?"
He looked away. "Uh, no, I didn't think it'd be . . . good. But I was, you know, around. It was nice. Well, except for Taylor's speech, but, it's Taylor."
"Around where? In the rain?"
"I stole some cake," he grinned, sidestepping her questions. "Anyway, you must be pretty excited, right?"
"Yeah, I am. Excited. And nervous."
"Don't worry about that, probably the whole bus will be nervous. All you need to do is write reports for a magazine, Obama has to go to red states and bad mouth republicans."
"True," Rory smiled, a real smile. That was so much better than, 'Don't worry Rory, you're always great'. Not that Lane didn't mean well, she did, but Dean understood more about diffusing her anxiety. 'You look like a cotton ball' came to mind.
"I'm really happy for you, Rory. And I bet someday you will have use of the CNN jet."
"Oh my God, guess what? I met Christiane Amanpour!"
"No way! When?"
"Two days ago! She was staying at the Inn, I met her in my pajamas!"
Dean laughed. "Okay, that sounds like a long story that I hope you'll e-mail me some day."
Rory drained her cup. "Dean, I can't believe you got up so early, and waited at the bus stop to bring me coffee. This is so nice."
"No problem. I didn't want you to start your professional career without being properly caffeinated."
"I'm sorry that we haven't really kept in touch."
"It's Stars Hollow, Rory, I've been kept apprised of your every move."
She looked down and fiddled with the travel mug. "You know that's not what I meant."
Dean reached over and stroked her hair, then tucked a lock behind her ear. He had always loved her hair. "We don't really have time to rehash the last three years, either, okay? Let's just focus on now. Right now, I want to make sure that you leave Stars Hollow and start your first assignment happy, not regretful, or depressed or inadequately caffeinated. Don't foil the plan, Gilmore."
She nodded and smiled at him, a nostalgically warm feeling came over her. This was comfortable. This was even fun. "All right, I am now fully behind the plan, and feeling very good about it, Forester."
"Excellent. Glad to hear it."
"And, I believe I am now, at least for the next thirty minutes or so, fully caffeinated." She held the travel mug out to him.
"Oh. No, that's yours." He turned the mug in her hand, "see?"
She read the wording off the side.
Care and Feeding of Rory Gilmore – Follow all instructions
Do not attempt contact without first administering coffee.
Do not approach until third cup of coffee.
Do not, under any circumstances, put yourself between subject and coffee.
Do not, for the love of God, allow coffee supply to be exhausted. Ever.
She raised her eyebrows at him.
"I felt it was my civic duty to provide a warning."
The bus turned onto the street.
"So, my work here is done." Dean slipped off the bench and grabbed one of Rory's bags. She considered trying to describe her plan about the bags to him, but suddenly it didn't seem all that important. She got down as well and put her hand on his arm.
"Dean, thank you. I really, really appreciate this."
He smiled down at her. "This is gonna be great for you, Rory. And it's just the beginning. You are going to have an amazing career."
The bus came to a stop in front of them. The doors opened and Rory picked up her bags, taking the one from Dean.
"You want some help?" he asked.
"I got it, thanks. Bye, Dean."
Rory walked up the steps and went to her seat to stow her bags. She glanced out the window and Dean waved. And it suddenly occurred to her that this could be it, this could be her last chance. Because even now, looking at him, she couldn't help but think of him as 'her Dean.' And every time she'd lost him, it had been because she'd let him go, or run away herself. Without saying what she wanted.
Before she could think to do it, she was jumping off the bus and into his arms. She pulled his head down and kissed him. He responded, and deepened the kiss. They didn't pull away until they were breathless. And when they did separate, they both had tears in their eyes.
"Dean, I know this is a bad time, the wrong time, the worst time, but I love you. I do and I just want you to know that. And that I always will. And I'm not asking you to wait for me, or come with me, because I know I don't have any right, and you have a life of your own, which I am not trying to screw up. I feel like I've done that enough. But I couldn't leave without telling you. I love you."
"Rory," he pressed his forehead to hers. "I love you too. I always have. I tried, but I could never stop loving you."
They kissed again.
The bus driver cleared his throat and said, apologetically, "sorry folks, but we gotta get going. On or off, Miss?"
"On," Dean said, pulling away and turning her toward the doors. "She's going on."
Rory climbed the first step then turned. "I'll call you. I promise."
He smiled, looking happier than she'd seen him in a long time. "I'll call you, too."
The bus doors closed and she walked quickly back to her seat as it started to move. She pushed open her window. "Get my e-mail from my Mom!"
"I will!" Dean called.
"And give her yours!"
"I thought I that might be good," he laughed.
"I love you!"
"I love you!"
The bus was almost up to speed now, she leaned out the window and blew him a kiss. "Bye, Dean!"
He blew a kiss back. And raised his voice to shout, "Goodbye, Lorelai Gilmore!" 'Cause once more he wanted to remind her, no matter how long the trip, buses make stops.