This is an R/J future fic. It doesn't really contain any spoilers, but it refers, in very general terms, to the incidents that occurred up to and including episode 3.01 'Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days'.

I don't own the characters; I just adore them.

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LITTLE VISIT 1: FRIDAY AFTERNOON

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Rory slipped the key into the lock and entered into her New Haven apartment, balancing heavy books and a large paper cup of coffee in her other hand. She stumbled through the doorway and dropped her books on the nearby counter moments before she would lose her grasp of them.

"Whew," she sighed, running a hand through her hair to get it out of her eyes and letting the apartment door swing shut and lock behind her. Taking her coffee, she stepped further into the single room bachelor suite.

Across the room, she swung her folding bed into a couch and pulled her lightweight coffee table away from the back wall under the window to its rightful spot in front of the couch. That being done, she plunked into a seated position and propped up her feet, staring ahead of her at the shelving unit that housed her twelve-inch TV and her slough of books.

It was Friday afternoon, the sixth Friday of Rory's second year at Yale University. Her professors tended to pile on the work. Friday was her lightest day, but even on that day she felt like she'd been put through the ringer. What a long day it's been, she thought. What a long week. She took another gulp of her coffee and felt the stresses of the day slowly drain out of her.

Rory had originally planned on attending Harvard, but for a variety of reasons, not excluding the fact that her grandfather's alma mater was an hour closer to her hometown than Harvard was, she'd decided on Yale instead. The proximate location of Yale had allowed her to remain living at home during her first year at the prestigious college - and being close to her mother and friends had always been important to Rory.

Even still, the distance to Yale had proven too great. The long commutes had caused her social life, not to mention her grades, to falter even despite her best efforts. This year, she was living in her own place not far off campus, and going home for visits most weekends, usually bringing homework with her.

It was hard for Rory to meet anyone in her classes; first and second year classes were so big, the lecture halls so immense, that she never ended up sitting with the same person twice. What with the inherent difficulty in meeting new people, and with the heavy workload, it was no wonder Rory had next to no social life these days. Rory had yet to make a real friend in New Haven, and she hadn't had a serious date since she and her long-time boyfriend, Dean, had broken up amicably almost a year before.

The only guest she'd had so far to her tiny suite had been her mother, who'd helped her move in, and had come up for a visit the previous weekend. The visit had been great, as the two of them were closer than any two people could be, but it was kinda depressing to note that no one she knew lived closer than an hours drive away. Not to say that an hour was an insurmountable distance, after all, she herself had traveled it twice daily the previous year. It was just that there wasn't always enough time to make the trip now, what with the extracurricular activities she'd taken on and all the homework she received.

Which brought her back to the reality of homework. She decided to get a head start on her next reading assignment.

Rory finished off her coffee, turning the cup fully upside down to capture every delicious drop into her mouth. She got up and plodded the six or so steps back across her apartment floor to her tiny kitchenette. She tossed the paper cup in the garbage and filled her coffee maker with fresh grounds, flicking the switch on.

While her own batch of coffee percolated, Rory chose her Introduction to Cultural Anthropology textbook out of the pile that cluttered her three by one foot countertop, careful to keep the rest of the books from toppling off it's Formica surface. She also selected a notebook and, on her way back to the couch, snagged a pen and highlighter off her computer desk.

By the time she placed the books on her coffee table, there was enough coffee in the coffee pot for her to pour herself a good strong cup. Back in the kitchenette, Rory grabbed a bowl-like purple mug off her shelf.

She didn't wait until the machine's cycle finished. There wasn't a moment to spare; she craved coffee. In a fluid movement, she pulled the coffee pot away from the maker and replaced it with her mug so as not to waste a single percolating drip. She poured dark, rich liquid into the mug as it sat there on the coffee machine's base. When the cup's maximum capacity had been filled, she switched it again with the pot and headed back to her books.

Rory had only finished taking notes on 5 pages when the phone rang. She turned her book upside down on her lap to mark her page and leaned over to the phone that sat on her computer desk next to the couch. She picked up on the second ring.

"Hello?"

"Rory," came the calm male voice over the line.

"Jess?"

"Yeah."

"How are you?" Rory inquired, surprised to hear his voice. Despite being good friends, the two of them hadn't really talked since she'd moved to New Haven two months ago.

"Bored. You?"

She looked at her textbook in her lap. Contemporary societies and cultures were interesting to read and learn about, but, on the other hand, she hadn't done much besides study for the past six weeks. "I'm a little bored too," she admitted.

"What have you been up to?"

"Just studying really. You?"

"Still working at Luke's. Not a whole lot. As you can imagine, there's not a lot for a misfit like me to do in Stars Hollow."

"Oh you love it there. Otherwise you would have left about three seconds after your eighteenth birthday."

"I guess. But there was a little more to do around this place when you were here. I've missed seeing you around."

"Oh." Rory smiled. "Well I'm glad I've been able to contribute sometime of value to the little community of Stars Hollow."

"You contribute something of value to any community, I'm sure. Listen, the reason I called…"

"Yeah?"

"I was wondering if you'd mind, or if you'd like it, if I came down there for a visit sometime."

"I'd love it, Jess. I've missed you too."

"How about tonight for instance?"

"Tonight?" Rory faltered, surprise registering in her heart. She hadn't expected it to be so soon. But another glance at her textbook told her that her studying could wait. Having no social life had enabled her to not only keep up with her reading, but to forge ahead of the class. And she didn't really have to start on her looming term papers until the following week.

Jess echoed her. "'Tonight', you say? Well, Rory, it's kind of short notice, but if you insist…" Jess teased dryly, twisting the conversation to his advantage, as he was known to do.

Rory laughed. "All right, Jess. Come over tonight."

"Great, I'll be on the five-twenty bus. Will you pick me up at the station?"

"You already know when the next bus arrives?" she inquired, a puzzled expression colouring her features.

Jess spoke in a superior tone. "I already bought my ticket."

Rory laughed again. She'd just gotten duped. The phone call hadn't been about asking if he could visit; it had been about notifying her he was on his way. "All right, you shyster. See you at five-twenty then."

"See ya," Jess said warmly before hanging up.

Smiling, Rory checked her watch. Jess would be in New Haven in a little over an hour. Suddenly she sucked in her breath. Only an hour. And her place was a mess.

In such a small apartment, it was easy to make a mess. Basically, if she left one plate on the counter, or one shirt hanging from the bathroom doorknob, the place looked like a pigsty. Rory started with the dishes overflowing her sink. As she cleaned, she reflected on her relationship with Jess.

Rory and Jess had an interesting past. Certainly there had always been an element of attraction between them, from the day they'd first met. But Rory had been in a steady relationship with Dean at the time, and had initially denied to herself - and to anyone else who would listen - that she had any feelings for Jess at all.

Even still, Rory had constantly found herself doing crazy, impulsive, girlish things whenever Jess was near. When Jess had left Stars Hollow for his native New York City, Rory had ditched school, and her mother's graduation ceremony, just to spend a few hours with him. On a whim, she'd found herself wandering around an unfamiliar city, looking for him - and thankfully finding him before her naïveté invited a mugging. Rory's head still reeled when she thought about how foolish that had been.

As it turned out, though, that had been small potatoes. Everything had come to a head when Jess had returned to Stars Hollow. In a wild moment of intense compulsion, Rory, momentarily forgetting about Dean entirely, had grabbed Jess and planted a passionate kiss on his startled lips.

The impulse had come as a surprise to her as well. In confusion, she had fled to Washington, D.C., spending the summer there and trying to distance herself from, on the one hand, her wonderful, caring and gentle boyfriend and, on the other, the intelligent and mysterious subject of her fantasies.

By the time she'd come back from Washington some six weeks later, she still hadn't arrived at much of a decision. She'd discovered she loved them both. But, in the end, it hadn't mattered. By the time she'd returned, Jess already had a girlfriend and her decision had been made for her.

For the next couple of years, the two of them continued that way, at least one of them always being attached to someone else. Over time, although their friendship had become firmly cemented, the romantic aspect of their relationship had receded.

Rory continued tidying, hanging up the few articles of clothing strewn around the main room, and, in the en suite bathroom, organizing the toiletries and wiping specks of toothpaste off the mirror.

Finishing that, she checked her watch again. It was shortly after five o'clock. She had just enough time to head downtown and meet Jess's bus. Rory grabbed her car keys off the hook, turned off the lights and locked her door behind her, trying to ignore the butterflies dancing the hokey-pokey in her stomach.

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