A/N: I'd originally intended to wait at least a week before posting this, but I couldn't hold out any longer. I had way too much fun writing this, and I hope you have as much fun reading it! The rating's been bumped to M, for obvious reasons, I think. And please, please review! I don't usually ask that, but for whatever reason, I really feel like I could use some of those right now. Enjoy! -Z

He doesn't say a word as he walks in and downs her last drink; grabs her meager belongings (cell phone, keys, clutch); and pays her tab. He doesn't tell her to get in the car; doesn't open her door for her; barely even looks in her direction to acknowledge that she is, in fact, following him.

He doesn't glance at her once on the drive back to his apartment. His eyes stare stonily ahead and his silence and the recklessness with which he's driving are enough to sober her up a small measure. The only sound that breaks the shared, intimate space of his dark car interior is that of Jess shifting gears, more violently that necessary.

She has trouble keeping up with him from the parking lot to the building entrance; the stairs pose a challenge of a slightly different nature; and she's out of breath and off-balance by the time they reach the front door. She suspects that has more to do with the obvious anger Jess is radiating than from anything related to her blood alcohol level. He's jabbing the appropriate key into the lock when Rory sways a little too far, and his eyes meet hers briefly as he reaches a hand out to steady her. She takes that as a small act of good faith, threadbare as it may be.

He crosses the threshold quickly, not bothering to ensure that she's following. Not like she has anywhere else to go at this point.

Her eyes are stinging at his silent treatment and she doesn't quite know whether she's angry, hurt, or just miserable with regret and guilt and sorrow.

Probably somewhere in between. That's usually where she lives these days, isn't it?

Still, she follows his dark wake into the kitchen where he's filling a glass with water at the sink, his back to her.

"Look… I'm-"

"Don't." His one word reply is the first thing he's uttered since he first collected her.

"Jess-" she tries again, pushing off of the counter she's been leaning on and taking a step toward him.

"Don't fucking start with me, Rory, I swear to god I'm not in the mood."

"Will you please just turn around?" she pleads, almost reaching a hand out to touch him.

He actually grants her request, whirling on her and facing her with the full force of his anger. "What do you want from me, Rory? You really want to get into this right now? It's three a.m., you're past drunk, I'm tired, I've had a shitty day, and honestly?" He's leaned aggressively toward her, his voice escalating as he lets his temper go unchecked, "You're the last thing I want to be dealing with right now. I have better things to do with my time than babysit you and make sure you don't choke on your own vomit when you black out for the night."

She slaps him. Once, hard across the face; she, suddenly sober, and he, frozen still. Their eyes lock and the abrupt silence after the roar of his tirade is truly deafening.

His eyes flash, and he opens his mouth to start again, but Rory's quicker this time. Her hands bring his head down to hers as she presses her body flush against his and slants her lips against his own. He stumbles back a step into the sink, and she follows his momentum, deepening the kiss and using his shock against him. His hands instinctively snake their way around her waist, pulling her hips further forward against his pelvis. He can't see straight through his anger and he's tired of thinking, of being rational, of always trying to be the responsible one.

He turns them around and lifts her hips so she's perched on the counter, never breaking contact between their lips. She wraps her legs around his waist and the blood pounding in his ears gets louder. Oxygen-deprived and lust-filled, his hands wander up toward her breasts. They break for air, both of them panting, as his fingernails scrape across her nipples through the fabric of her top. She cries out and the sudden sound is enough to bring him up short.

He pries her legs from around him and steps back, despite her protests. Fuck, how did things get so out of control?

"We can't," he manages, his voice husky and low. He clears his throat. "We can't do this."

To hell with can't, Rory thinks. She's been deprived too long, been lifeless even longer, and the feeling of Jess pressing hard against her jeans and the evidence of his clear arousal is the first thing that's made her feel even close to alive in a long time. She thinks she needs this, consequences be damned.

So she pulls her top over her head, revealing a red lace bra framing breasts he hasn't seen since they were seventeen. She hops off the counter and closes the distance between them once again, pushing him down into a kitchen chair.

He lets himself get caught up in another hurricane of a kiss, losing his mind in the sensation of being straddled by this broken siren of a woman.

But he knows better, and knows how much this will mess things up, and know that yes, she really is broken, and maybe he is a little bit, too. So he stops her again, this time with hands pressed firmly against her shoulders, creating a distance that she's been trying so badly to erase.

"Stop, Rory."

Brazen, undeterred eyes meet his. "Why?"

He gives a short laugh. This is so beyond fucked up; it feels like some surreal version of his life and he's having trouble keeping up. "I don't want to do this," is all he can coherently piece together.

"Really?" She grinds her hips against his crotch as she almost purrs, "Because it feels to me like you do."

If his arousal wasn't already completely out of control, it is now. Holy fuck.

He squeezes his eyes shut tight and it takes all he has not to move his own hips against hers and increase the friction as she continues to torture him; every ounce of self-control not to rip off the rest of her clothes and bury himself inside of her and fuck her, hard.

But she's unbuttoning his pants and he knows if her hand touches his dick it's over; he'll be too far gone to stop anything, and if he ever wants a chance to be with her in any semblance of a real relationship (and yeah, he admits to himself, he does still wish for that, even as off-base and broken as she is), then this cannot happen.

Which is why he shoves her off of him, using more force than he probably should have, and stands, snarling at her, "Godammit Rory, I am NOT gonna fuck you tonight!"

Her mouth falls open ever so slightly, and she's standing there shirtless, humiliated and confused. Tears prick her eyes and she forgets how to breathe.

What the fuck was she thinking? She clumsily replaces her shirt and tries not to hyperventilate or let her tears spill over, avoiding his eyes and grabbing her keys off the table as she brushes past him.

"I have to go."

She makes it down the hallway and to the elevator before he catches up with her, having needed a frustrated moment of his own to try and collect himself. Her hands are shaking as she punches the down arrow repeatedly, willing the elevator to hurry up, or for the hallway to just swallow her whole.

No such luck. He's beside her in an instant, but not bringing his eyes up to look directly at her, she notices.

"You can't drive home," he says quietly.

"Fuck you, Jess."

"Rory," he sighs. "I'm not going to let you drive home. You're drunk."

She laughs derisively. "Pretty sure that… spectacle… in there just sobered me up."

"Look, I know you're upset-"

"Upset? Upset?" She hurls the word back at him, dripping disbelief. "You have no idea how 'upset' I am," she pauses for breath, then throws every single one of the barricades she's built up around herself out the window. "I am tired, and I'm angry, and I'm ashamed. God, look at me. I'm pathetic, and falling apart, and so miserably unhappy. My life has fallen down around me and I haven't even tried to pick it up again." She stops to close her eyes against tears that refuse to be held in any longer, and her breath hitches as she goes on, "I can't get out of bed some mornings for fear of facing the daylight, and when night finally rolls around, I'm terrified that the nightmares will crush me whole."

Her whole body is shaking as she continues, "I'm a mess, and obviously completely undesirable, and apparently it's not enough for me to fuck up my own world anymore, I have to barge in and ransack yours, too. And I care about you, and I don't want you to get hurt, but I can't seem to help tainting everything I touch. I'm living a lie and when I'm not drowning out my sorrows with liquor, I'm drowning in guilt and regret and… I'm just so angry all the time, at everyone and everything… I can't remember what it feels like to live without this blind resentment."

She buries her face in her hands briefly before saying, strangled, "I miss her, Jess," and he doesn't know if she steps forward into him or if he's the one wrapping his arms around her but either way, she's sobbing against his chest and he's cradling her to him, his cheek against her hair and he strains to hear what she says next:

"I don't think I know how to do this alone."