All I Want For Christmas
Trory; one-shot. Set way past end of Season 7, in a happy land where Rory and Tristan found each other as adults. A look at them navigating how to spend their first Christmas as a couple.
His house had been programmed for music to play when lights were turned on in certain rooms. It was a subtle type of ambiance, one some people weren't even aware of at first. At least, Rory Gilmore hadn't noticed it until she found herself singing along with what she thought was a song stuck in her head. The experience was one she likened to being in a grocery store and having an overwhelming need to belt out Journey songs while carrying her little basket down the frozen foods aisle. It was a little less embarrassing, however, to amuse strangers at the market than it was to suddenly be serenading her boyfriend while he was reading law reviews next to her in his bed.
After that first and rather mortifying incident, she'd tried to keep the singing in her head only. It worked well, until the night they ended up with Christmas music floating through the air in his bedroom, and Winter Wonderland came on and provoked another incident.
He was smiling up at her, as she sat straddling his hips, watching as she managed to hit a few correct notes and an impressive number of lyrics. Her attempt to sink down and hide once she realized he was focused on her vocals and not their suddenly interrupted romp in his bed was thwarted as he held her in place over him, with his hands anchoring her by the hips. She covered her eyes with cupped hands, her only method of disappearing.
Even with eyes clamped shut and her hands shielding her face, she could feel him smiling at her in great amusement. "Why'd you stop?"
She lowered her hands to reveal a glare to go with her scowl. "Who has Christmas music playing in their bedroom?"
"It's a preset. This station plays Christmas music at Christmas."
"It's not Christmas yet," she argued weakly.
He fixed her with what she referred to, in a somewhat loving manner, as his lawyer face. "It's Christmas Eve in four hours. Most people consider that close enough."
"I'm surprised you're so into Christmas. You seem to ignore holidays," she rebuffed him.
He rolled his eyes at her exaggerated assumption. "My birthday is not a national holiday. Last I checked, the banks are still open and the courts were still in session."
"You could have at least mentioned it, other than an off-handed afterthought. Some of us might have wanted to celebrate the occasion."
"Christmas is much better. And apparently it makes you break into song," he teased, his blue eyes dancing with delight.
"Maybe you could turn off the music while we're doing stuff?" she asked pointedly.
"I was a little distracted. You came around the table at the restaurant and sat in my lap," he defended his behavior. "It's a cause and effect situation."
She blushed, but she had no shame associated with what she'd done. She stood by her effort to skip dessert and get him home as quickly as possible. "I'm just saying, Christmas music isn't exactly mood music."
He grinned at her. "It's working for me."
"If you want to celebrate Christmas, we could put clothes on and go skating in the park or build snowmen in the courtyard."
"You mean, like in a winter wonderland?"
She slapped him lightly in the chest and rolled off him to kneel next to him on the bed. She pulled the covers up over her, settling in for a chat. "So you do celebrate Christmas?"
His lips pursed in a feigned-hurt response. "Now I'm Scrooge?"
She hitched up one shoulder. "Who doesn't celebrate birthdays?"
He sighed dejectedly. "It's not that weird. Besides, we'd only been dating a few weeks by then. Wouldn't it have been forced to make a big deal out of it?"
She considered his argument. "It still deserved some announcement. I felt awful, knowing I'd seen you that day and I had no idea. I would have at least wished you a happy birthday."
He ran his hand up her leg, underneath the sheet. "You gave me the perfect present that night, if I recall."
This time her blush was far more apparent. "That had nothing to do with it being your birthday."
"I'm just saying, any occasion for which you need a gift for me, that will always be appreciated."
"That's what you want for Christmas?" she asked, visibly thrown. It was hardly something any sane person could ask for from Dear Old Saint Nick. It gave a whole new meaning to the old standard I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.
"I thought that's what your little stunt at the restaurant was about," he said, waggling his eyebrows appreciatively.
She hesitated, trying to gauge his potential reaction. "Actually, I did get you something."
"Are we about to do something dirty?" he asked in gleeful anticipation.
"No!" she chastised, as she leaned toward the nightstand for her purse.
"That won't go with my shoes," he commented, unable to sit quietly in the interim.
"Give me a second, will you?" she asked as she pulled a wrapped gift from the confines.
She placed the carefully covered present on the bed between them. He stared at it expectantly, as if waiting for it to unwrap itself. "I didn't realize we were giving each other gifts," he led.
She waved her hand at him. "It's okay, I didn't get you something because I expected something in return. I just wanted to."
He shook his head. "No, I mean, I have something for you, but I didn't think we were giving each other gifts tonight. It's not ready."
"Is that code for you like to shop last-minute?" she assessed.
He smiled at the generalization. "No."
She shrugged. "It's okay, you can give it to me whenever you see me next, after Christmas."
Realization dawned on him as her last two words resonated in his mind. "You haven't told your family about me yet, have you?"
She stiffened, having been caught out. "What? What brought that up?"
"You love holidays. Christmas has to be a pretty big deal given the way you honor birthdays, and usually when people are dating someone specific, they include their significant others in at least some of their holiday celebrations."
"And some people don't share when their birthdays are," she countered, still a little sore about his not having confided such information in a timely manner.
"We'd been dating a couple of weeks. It's now been months. I'm not complaining that you haven't brought me home to meet your mother yet, but aren't you really close with her?" he probed knowingly.
She blew out a breath of indignation. "You know, we have the average mother and daughter relationship."
He didn't buy it, given the fact that he'd obviously paid good enough attention thus far in their relationship. "Does she know you're dating someone?"
Rory pondered the question. "She most likely assumes that I do in fact go out on dates. It's not that unlikely a scenario."
"You think she won't like me, is that it?"
Rory sighed and stared down at the unopened present. It seemed to be mocking her. "It's not you, specifically. It's just that you're from Hartford and you're a lawyer and you drive a Porsche."
"And she'd rather you be dating someone who drives an American-made car?" he guessed, mocking her list of strikes against him.
Rory groaned. "This is why I didn't want to discuss this. I like you, and it doesn't matter what she thinks. And the things she'll get hung up on are completely crazy."
"Such as?" he prodded.
She tucked hair behind her ear and met his steady, if irritated, gaze. "She hates lawyers."
"Has she ever needed one?" he volleyed back.
"She thinks they're ambulance chasers who charge exorbitant costs while taking advantage of people in times of need."
"I'm not that kind of lawyer. Does she even know how many types of law there are?"
"It doesn't matter. You were born in Hartford and that's your biggest strike, right there."
"She hates Hartford? Aren't your grandparents living there?"
"She was born there, and raised there, and she equates it with the seventh circle of Hell."
"I don't live there now," he defended himself needlessly.
"But you grew up in the society life there; you were one of the guys that she hated, like the ones she grew up with."
"I was the guy you hated once, too," he said with a hint of nostalgia. "You got over that."
Rory considered him, sitting there all naked and arguing his worth with an unopened gift before him. "Just open my present now."
"But it's not Christmas," he said, bringing back her original argument.
She groaned and flopped forward into a pillow. When she looked back up at him, she put on her sternest expression. "Please?"
"Oh my God. You're going there tomorrow, aren't you?"
"What?" she asked.
"You're going home to your mom's tomorrow. Is that why you won't spend the night tonight?"
Her mouth dropped open at his correct guess, despite her having been completely tight-lipped on the matter. "I have to get up really early. We have a full day of traditions to get through. We have cookies to decorate and hot chocolate to drink and we're going to see the carolers in the town square, dressed up in their old timey costumes."
"And I don't enter into those, so you're fitting me in tonight and taking off without a word."
"I don't want to fight. It's Christmas," she said softly.
"Stay tonight," he said, his tone more demanding than either of them had expected.
"I can't," she answered, though the thought was more than appealing especially given their state of undress and the fact they were already firmly settled in his bed.
"You can. You're an adult, and you can make your own decisions."
"I'd have to get up really early. Traffic will be a nightmare," she said, her resolve weakening.
"Not in the car pool lane," he said, throwing her off-guard yet again.
"What?" she asked, dumbfounded.
"I have to go to Hartford anyhow, since my family is there as you've already pointed out. You're not that far out of the way. I guess your mom doesn't mind living Hell-adjacent."
"Tristan," she said firmly, wishing she had a better counter-argument. "Please don't read more into this than there is."
"Admit it. You're ashamed to bring me home."
"No! I just see no reason to bring you home for the first time on the biggest holiday of the year, with no prior notice."
"This is about you not wanting to be rude?" he asked skeptically.
She gazed at him hopefully. "I want her to give you the fairest chance."
"Is that possible, given she hates my hometown, my profession and my choice of car?" he asked sardonically.
"I told you, it's insane. And she knows it's insane, on some level. But she has a tendency to fixate on the negative aspects of my boyfriends, anything she can find. I need to ease her into it, and build you up first."
"So you're protecting me from your mother?"
It sounded crazier than she might have thought, coming out of his mouth. He didn't look like someone who was interested in anyone's protection, especially from someone's mother. If she hadn't seen what a formidable opponent her mother could be with her own eyes time and time again, she would drop the subject altogether.
"Can we just please revisit the subject after Christmas?"
"Sure. If you let me give you a ride home."
"This isn't a negotiation," she groaned.
"Life is a negotiation. Do we have a deal?"
"If you take me home and drop me off, my mom will ask who gave me a ride and why I didn't bring my car."
"Which means you'll have a decision to make. You can either tell her your car was acting up and a friend gave you a ride, or you can man up and tell her that it made more sense to ride up with me, your boyfriend, seeing as you spend most nights at my place anyhow and I was going the same way."
She swallowed and faced the crossroads moment he was presenting to her. She blinked, hoping to clear her mind's eye. "I didn't realize that we were doing this."
"Doing what? Celebrating Christmas? It falls on the same day each year," he informed her with a glib tone.
"No, meeting the parents, taking this to the next level," she said, using her hands to gesture between them.
She met his eyes meaningfully, and he softened. "Oh."
"Yeah. I mean, I know we spend a lot of time together, and I'm happy with that. I'm not looking to upset the apple cart."
He reached over the present and put his hand over hers. "You're not ready or you don't want to freak me out by suggesting things move forward?"
She stared down at their hands, the way his hand eclipsed hers and covered it in his warm palm. "Neither. Or maybe both. I've been trying to enjoy what's in front of me, and not worry too much about what's coming next. Things are really good right now, aren't they?"
"Yes," he said with a warm smile.
"Besides, can you tell me that I'm what your parents envisioned for you, and that they'll be happy to see you with me?"
He snorted as he laughed. "I could give a rat's ass about what my parents think of you. First of all, I'm a grown man, and secondly they've never been happy with a single decision I've ever made, I don't see why they'd start now."
"See, so why put each other through all that, and for what? To celebrate together on a certain day?"
"It's Christmas, not just any day. I'd much rather spend it with you than my family. It's okay if you don't feel the same. I'm just putting it out there," he said, being far braver than she.
The sentiment was not lost on her. "I want to spend it with you, too. I guess I could stay tonight, and we could ride up together. And, if you want, we could meet on Christmas and exchange gifts."
He picked up her present and handed it back. "I want."
She smiled and took the gift, dropping it right back into the depths of her purse. "I'll save that for later then."
"I still see something left for me to unwrap," he said, taking his hand and tugging at the corner of her sheet that she'd tucked under her arm.
She giggled. "I thought we were going to sleep."
He tsked. "We just had the talk. That warrants sex."
"Is that how it works?" she asked genially, already bending to his will as he tossed the sheet aside completely.
He eased himself over her slowly, ready to take his time since they now had all night. "I'll show you exactly how it works. Think of it as an early Christmas present."