...Mightier Than the Sword
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Crimes and Misdemeanors


by Mystic
Mysticxf@aol.com
Disclaimer: Gilmore Girls and its characters belong to Amy Shermin-Palladino, the people who portray said characters, the WB, the people who make the show... whoever else. I'm just doing this for fun... enjoy and PLEASE comment!
Well people, I'm pissed. I had this story halfway done and the computer at work deleted it on a glitch so I'm just mad. Ugh, you know what it is to be twenty pages or so into a story and then it's gone. Poof. Like it was never there. And it was good. Real good. And then, the second time I got through the first act, rewriting everything... the same computer did the SAME THING! It's unbelievable. So now I feel like I'm stuck in the same day or something with the same ideas pouring out with different words and ugh... Ok, before I spaz and go into hysterics...




Police Station
1:00AM


Rory played with her hands in her lap. It was about all she could do to keep herself from screaming out loud with fear. She stared down at the metal that circled her wrists and connected them to one another. It was cold. She'd never imagined it'd be this cold so many hours after being put on. Rory glanced at the clock and sighed, wondering what was taking her mother so long to come in. She left a message on the machine. Gulping hard, she looked up at the chubby man filling out paper work in front of her.

"You know, I've never really been in a police station before."

"Really," his eyes darted up at her quickly, but he continued writing.

Rory nodded, "Yeah, it's different than I expected. More quiet, I guess."

She could see very few people in the place. Turning, she smiled at Dean, who was at another desk being questioned. Other than them, she could see two other officers and a man who was obviously drunk, sleeping on a bench.

"Yeah. And these," she raised her wrists, "Are they really necessary?"

"Just procedure."

"Well, can't you make an exception? I'm an honor student, I've never gotten into trouble before."

"There's a first time for everything," The man looked up at her, staring until she looked down.

Rory swallowed again. "I'm not like other kids,"

"Look, don't worry so much, your mom'll come and you'll both be let into her custody."

"Yeah." Rory nodded.

The man slapped his pen down and she jumped. He laughed at her, "Rory, it isn't like you robbed a car or anything. Just calm down."

Rory bit her bottom lip. "Excuse me, sir, but it's a little difficult to calm down when you're in a police station at one in the morning awaiting the arrival of your mother, who is going to be mad."

"After I'm done talking with her, she'll just be happy you're here."

"You don't know my mom. I'm like this 'great kid' to her and just the fact that I was brought down here, that'll kill something for her about me..."

"You could always call your grandparents."

"NO," Rory interrupted quickly. "Grandma's worse."

"But you're a good kid, right? Won't they understand?"

She shook her head. Then she started to nod, then shook her head again. "It's complicated."

"Complicated?"

"Yeah, we had a dance not too long ago and me and Dean, um, that guy over there, we fell asleep and didn't get home until about five thirty in the morning and since then it's been a little awkward."

The man stood, waving at her, "Come on."

"Huh?" Rory stared up at him.

"We're done here."

"You're letting me go?" Rory looked confused.

"No, I'm putting you in a cell."

"WHAT?" Rory stood, "You can't put me in a cell. Putting me in a cell is like saying I did a really bad thing and mom'll know that and I'll really be in trouble."

"It's just procedure, you've been waiting for your mom to come for half an hour out here, I have to put you and your boyfriend in a cell. Just until your mom comes."

"But we're not gonna be put in with hardened criminals or anything, right? 'Cause you don't seem to understand that I'm good, I'm not a criminal, and I won't make it through the night in a cell with criminals. I'll become the buddy of some blonde hooker named Bazooka Jane."

The older man laughed heartily and gently took her arm, "Rory, you've seen one too many jail movies."

"Ok, so, the truth, what's this gonna be like?"

"Won't that ruin the surprise?"

Rory took a deep breath, "I don't like surprises, or at least I don't like them in a police station or in a hospital 'cause usually they're bad surprises and I really don't like bad surprises."

"Relax, kid, we're putting you and your boyfriend here in with another couple we picked up about an hour ago. They seem normal enough, then you can wait for your mom in there."

"Oh," she said softly, glad that Dean was being brought to stand next to her, "Ok."

"Hey," he said, touching her shoulder with his arm.

"Hi," Rory responded, trying to smile up at him.

The elder officer led them down a long hall filled with cells that held people Rory knew were hookers and vagrants. Some even had tattoos and bandannas on their heads and she tried not to look any of them directly in the eye. Put in a cell with another couple like them, she thought quickly, that can't be too bad. It'll be like a double date, only in a prison cell, waiting for her mother, who was going to be furious. Rory closed her eyes as they stood at the edge of that last cell. The officer removed their handcuffs and opened the large sliding door.

"How long before we can just leave?" Dean asked, taking Rory's hand in his own.

"That's not how it works kid, you're both minors. Now, are you sure you don't wanna make a phone call?"

"No, I'll wait for Rory's mom."

"Won't your mom worry about you?"

"It'll be fine," Dean said, looking down at Rory.

"You don't have to stay just 'cause of me," she told him, knowing that was the sole reason he wasn't calling his own mother.

The officer pointed into the cell and Rory stepped forward first, looking into the cell with reservation, until she saw the two sleeping against each other. "Mom?!" She shouted.

"What? God. I'm up. What?" Her mother jumped up, looking towards the entrance. "Oh good, Rory, you got my message. Hey Dean," she added, staring at the boy curiously, "it's like one in the morning."

"It is," he answered.

"Mom," Rory grabbed her mother's arm, "What are you doing in here? With Luke?"

"Long story, can we talk about it on the way home? Please?" She glanced at Luke a moment before turning to see Rory was still staring at her. "Please?"

"We can't go home," Rory said, staring at the floor.

"Why?" Lorelai laughed. "You've come to get me, you brought my credit card like I said, right? And now we go home."

Dean stepped into the cell with Rory and the officer slammed it shut behind them. Lorelai stared at the officer, "Hey, this is like harassing innocent people, or something. I'm sure you're breaking some law."

"I'll let you work it out," the officer said before walking away.

"I was afraid he was gonna say that," Rory raised her eyebrows at her mother. "Mom, we can't take you home because we were arrested."

Lorelai stared at her daughter a moment, then began laughing. "No, seriously."

"Dead serious right now."

"What?"

"We were arrested."

"For what, being the cutest couple in Hartford?"

"No."

"I still have my phone call," Dean started, "I can call your grandmother."

"No," both women shouted.

Luke jumped up, "What?"

"Go back to sleep," Lorelai said quickly.

"Huh?" Luke asked, standing.

Rory stared up at her mother, not knowing what else to do. They could get into an argument over how they ended up where they were, but she wasn't sure if doing it in a space where she couldn't run away was a good idea. Lorelai watched her face, knew she was thinking the same thing and then looked up at Dean. It was their only option. "Call Officer Friendly out there, tell him you need to make a phone call," she said, her voice as dead as it'd ever been. She knew the one person with enough money to get them out was Emily Gilmore.




The Day Before
7:19AM


Rory watched Dean stare at the screen in complete concentration. She loved to watch him while he seemed oblivious. He had this way of putting his hair behind his ear that was just sexy. Just like the way he narrowed his eyes when he wasn't sure about something. There was also the way his lips parted when he was thinking, which usually went along with the narrowing of the eyes. Rory smiled, thinking that she might have his face and all his actions memorized by now, which she thought was sort of sad since it took some of the mystery out of him.

He raised an eyebrow and sighed as she sat on her bed, pulling her yellow and black back pack between her feet. "Thanks again for letting me use your laptop."

"Hey, that's what girlfriends are for," Rory exclaimed with a smile.

"Yeah, but this is extremely last minute."

"And I'm more than glad to help, honest."

He turned and looked at her, "Not that I don't believe you, but I know this has to be some inconvenience, I mean, you have to get to school, right?"

"Yeah, so do you."

He nodded, turning back to the laptop. Rory watched him spell check one last time and she grabbed her English book, stuffing it into her back pack. "Done," Dean stated quickly, hitting the print button. "You know, this feels weird."

"Weird?" Rory asked, looking up at him again.

He glanced around, "Yeah, being in your house, without your mom here, don't you feel the slightest bit, I don't know, just odd. Like your doing something bad."

"But we're not doing anything bad."

"But in her mind, we could be doing something bad."

"Which is why she's not here. Her mind isn't going to be thinking about us doing bad things because she's not here and your done printing, so we have to go." She stood, pulling her back pack onto her back.

Dean smiled, taking his papers and finding a stapler on her desk to put the paper together. Rory watched him with envy. She wished she could just take her papers and staple them together like that. Not even thinking about it, just doing it and turning it in. At Chilton that wasn't acceptable. At Chilton papers could not be placed within two plastic sheets and held together by a blue binder. Chilton required cover sheets and back sheets and biography sheets and bibliography sheets and content sheets and all kinds of sheets that Rory had to look up before turning in her first paper.

But at Stars Hollow, just your report would suffice. Things were judged by content rather than their outside wrappings. Rory sometimes missed Stars Hollow, for those simple things. She knew that at Chilton the grade of her paper was partially determined by the exterior of the report, not on the basis of the writing and passion behind it.

"Hey, earth to Rory," Dean said, waving a hand in front of her face.

"Huh? Yeah." Rory looked up at him, wondering just how long she'd been staring out in front of herself at nothing.

"Sort of spaced out for a second there."

"Oh," Rory nodded, gripping her bag and going to get her keys from the desk.

Dean watched her, "You ok?"

She nodded again, "Yeah, fine, just longing for the good ol' days."

"Good ol' days."

She smiled, taking his paper a moment, "This screams for a bad grade."

"But I worked on the research all week, the report's good, you know, you read it. Said it yourself, this was a great paper."

She bit her lip, "I'm not contradicting myself, I'm just saying things are so different for me now."

He smiled, hugging her, "It's better, remember. Things are better 'cause you're gonna get the education you need to get into the school of your dreams."

Rory felt him kiss her forehead and she closed her eyes, moving past him, "We've really gotta get going."

"School, yeah, I know." Dean laughed, going to the front door with her.




Luke's
10:29AM


Lorelai sat on the counter staring up at Luke who was serving a very delayed breakfast omelet to a customer sitting next to her. She dropped her chin into her palm and continued watching him as he went around the counter and served a couple sitting in a booth. As he came back around the counter to put money into the register, he finally looked at her.

"What?" He asked angrily.

"What?" She replied innocently.

"You've been staring at me for ten minutes. Don't you have something better to do? Like, work?"

"Luke, have you ever noticed just how many people aren't working?"

"Like you?"

Lorelai ignored him and continued, "They sit around in places like this and talk to one another, but they're not working. Why aren't they working?"

He grunted, "Why don't you ask yourself?"

She sat straighter. "I mean, this many people can't all be on their lunch breaks this early. And I know there aren't that many unemployed people and most of these people aren't retired. So why are they here?"

"I don't know, maybe for the same reason as you; to annoy me."

"Am I annoying you, Luke?" Lorelai asked, smiling.

"Yes, now go away."

"No."

"Why not?"

"I don't wanna."

"Fine, then stay here and talk to yourself."

Lorelai sat up straighter, looking up at Luke again.

"Hey, if you're just gonna sit there and stare at me, please just leave."

Shrugging her shoulders, Lorelai grabbed her coffee and stared at him for another quick second before sliding out of her seat and starting towards the door. Luke watched her go, aware that his attitude wasn't going to help him score any points with her. She hopped into her jeep and drove off, leaving Luke to stare out the window.




Independence Inn
10:34AM


Lorelai approached the front desk cautiously. Michel was tending to two elder customers with a large smile and she could hear him talking happily to them as though he'd known them forever. She rounded the counter as he handed them their key and waved them off. He didn't stop smiling until they were gone up the stairs with a bag boy trailing behind them and Lorelai watched Michel sort through some papers on the desk.

"Ok, what gives?"

Michel grabbed a small pile of papers and began sifting through them, answering her as innocently as he could, "What, can I not be happy to serve the customers? It is what you're always pestering me to do."

Lorelai squinted her eyes at him, curiously. "Yeah, but when I walked in this morning, you were wishing showers of toads on all your customers, so it's a bit of a change for two hours time."

He ignored her, going back to his papers.

Lorelai watched him curiously. "Michel..."

He slammed the papers down, "Alright, they were rich."

"Rich?"

"Yes, rich customers."

She smiled, leaning back, "How much?"

"Twenty dollars, just for checking them in. Happy now?"

"More than, though you shouldn't smile so big, you'll get wrinkles."

"Smiling doesn't give me wrinkles. You give me wrinkles." He sighed and glanced at the phone when it rang.

"Hey, you're doing great with your happy routine, why don't you pretend those people calling are rich also."

"Go away."

"Seems the consensus this morning," Lorelai said as she watched him answer the phone.

"Independence Inn, this is Michel speaking, how can I help you?"

Lorelai looked up towards the kitchen door when he heard it open. Jackson stuck his head out and glanced around the lobby until his eyes landed on her. He looked panicked and she lowered her eyebrows with concern as he said, "Lorelai, you'd better come in here."

Turning once more to see Michel growling into the phone, she went into the kitchen. Sookie was sprawled on the floor with one hand trying to prop herself up while the other hand gripped the back of her head. Lorelai rushed forward, bending in front of her friend.

"Sweety, what happened?"

"Jackson was rolling peaches," Sookie answered quickly as Lorelai pulled her into a sitting position.

"Jackson, what have I told you about rolling anything around Sookie. There are rules in this kitchen and one of them is..."

"No rolling fruit around Sookie, I know," Jackson raised his hands in defense.

"No!" Lorelai corrected, "No rolling ANYTHING around Sookie."

Jackson grunted, turning away a moment, "Look, the last time I brought peaches, she was squeezing them and rolling them and I figured I'd save her the trouble. Besides, she looked very into what she was cooking..."

"The risotto," Sookie offered as Lorelai nodded.

Jackson rolled his eyes and continued, "How was I supposed to know she was gonna start trampling through this side of the kitchen."

Lorelai pulled Sookie off the floor and then yanked her away from the stove before her apron strings could catch fire. "Look, Sookie, are you alright?"

Sookie nodded.

"No harm; no foul."

"I wouldn't say that exactly, but yeah."

Lorelai turned to Jackson, "Ok, go."

"What?"

"Go, unless you want to remain in the same room with the woman you've just injured..."

Jackson pointed towards the two crates of peaches, "Wait, are you taking the peaches?"

"They had good roll," Sookie said quickly.

"Yeah, Jackson, we'll take the fruit." Lorelai waved him off and he threw his hands in the air, exiting the kitchen through the back door as Lorelai turned back to Sookie who was settling herself onto a stool, "You sure you're ok, hon?"

"I'm good, you know me." She smiled, knocking on her head.

"Yeah," Lorelai smiled, going to the coffee pot to pour herself another cup of coffee.

Sookie watched her, sensing something off, "Something's bothering you."

Lorelai looked at her, "Ding, ding!"

"Something about Rory."

Putting a finger on her nose, Lorelai shouted, "Right again! Tell her what she's won Bob. Well, she's won a fabulous trip down Lorelai Gilmore's mind! Full of doubts and fears and horrible sarcasm!"

Sookie smiled, "It can't be that bad."

"I caught Dean in Rory's room this morning."

"Oh God, it can be that bad!" Sookie's eyes widened.

Lorelai shook her head, "No, they were just writing a report."

"Oh," Sookie said quickly, then added, "So what's the problem?"

"That he would go to the house AFTER I left."

"Maybe it wasn't on purpose."

"Possibly," Lorelai said, seeming to think about it. "It just bothers 'cause what if he was avoiding me and what if Rory told him to avoid me. That would imply that they both think I'm still mad at them. I'm not mad at them Sookie."

"I know," Sookie nodded with her words.

"So why would they feel the need to sneak around?"

"Maybe they weren't sneaking around."

"Yeah, but what if they were?"

"Has Rory ever lied to you?"

Lorelai shook her head.

"And she has no reason to start. She's a good kid, isn't that what you always say?"

Nodding, Lorelai sighed, "It just bothers."

"Trust me, it'll be fine."

Standing, Lorelai nodded again, "I know." Lorelai started towards the door.

"Where are you going?" Sookie asked, confused. Lorelai generally spent a lot longer than that in the back with her talking. She wanted to discuss how cute Jackson's rear end had been from the ground and how this look of panic and concern spread on his face where people usually laughed at her when she fell.

Lorelai shrugged, "I'm going to work. For some reason I have this feeling, like I have to prove a point or something."

"Ah," Sookie said as her friend exited the kitchen. She licked her lips, then bit them and turned back to the two crates of peaches sitting on the counter. Giving them an evil smile, she plucked one from off the top and glanced at it. Sookie puckered her lips and gave the peach a squeeze before sending it rolling down the kitchen floor.




Bus Stop
4:29PM


Rory stood quickly as the bus came to a stop and she sighed, seeing the amount of people in front of her. Sometimes she wished the bus would only stop that one time in Hartford because most of the people got on at the edge of Stars Hollow and rode on the bus what would take them ten minutes to walk. People were lazy, Rory surmised, taking a step forward to swing her back pack over her shoulder again. It weighed a ton most days, unless she was going to Lane's and it was filled with candy and CD's to hide from Mrs. Kim.

She smiled as she glanced out the window, seeing Dean standing there examining everyone who stepped off the bus. He was waiting for her, she knew. She liked that feeling she got in the pit of her stomach at the thought of having someone waiting for her at the bus stop. It was like the falling part of a roller coaster. Now she understood why it was her mother's favorite part. After a whole day of English and science and history and French and all those other wonderfulChilton subjects, it was nice to have something that made you excited.

Hopping off the bus steps, she watched the way his eyes lit up as he smiled and she smiled back, saying, "What up, man?"

Dean's eyebrows fell, "What up man?" He paused, "Did we suddenly enter a post apocalyptic world where bad slang is acceptable?"

Rory laughed, "No, my brain just doesn't want to function anymore."

"Tough day at Chilton?" Dean asked, taking her hand in his as they began walking.

"When is it not a tough day at Chilton," Rory countered, looking up at him and rolling her eyes.

"What happened?" Dean tried not to sound upset. He was sure though that if he heard the name Tristan escape through her lips, he'd be on the first bus to Hartford to find the idiot.

Rory shook her head, "Nothing, it's just been a long day. I'm looking forward to tomorrow."

"Teacher's work day, they have those at Chilton?"

"Believe it or not," Rory started, "teachers at Chilton work too."

Dean ran a hand through his hair, restraining his laugher. "I'm sure they do, and twice as hard as regular teachers, for half the pay."

"That's what they all say." Rory looked around her, at the snow that was starting to melt and she frowned at it, wishing it would stay longer. While she didn't have the enthusiasm for snow that her mother held, she did like winter. Spring meant summer was coming and summer meant heat waves and Rory hated heat waves.

"Penny for your thoughts," Dean gave her hand a squeeze.

"Summer."

Dean raised his eyebrows. "One of the four wonderful seasons that make up these crazy things called years."

She gave his hand a tug, "I mean that it's gonna be summer soon."

"More free time,"

"I dunno, I'm guessing Chilton gives out assignments on the last day of class, like writing a dissertation on the relevance of Shakespeare to the Renaissance world and how his legacy lives ontoday."

"Deep," Dean said, pursing his lips.

Rory nodded, then looked up at him, "Have I mentioned how much I hate Shakespeare?" She waited for Dean to shake his head, "Before Chilton, I thought 'Ok, guy who wrote many great plays,' and now my thoughts range into 'weird guy who wrote too many redundant plays.'"

"You've really gotta switch it to Stars Hollow Rory, the one who didn't complain about Chilton all the time and loved all literature for it's good and bad.

"Oh, but this is me. I've just been given a new perspective."

"On Shakespeare?"

"On everything."

He nodded, opening the door to Luke's for her, and asked, "Like what?"

Rory went straight to an open table for two and sat. "Like the fact that I liked my free time to read what I wanted rather than spend it reading what's required so I don't fall behind in class. I also liked my totally free weekends to hang out with Lane."

"And now me."

She smiled, "And now you."

Dean watched Luke place two hot chocolates on the table and smile at Rory slightly, if what that man did could be considered a smile, and walked back to his kitchen. Dean looked at Rory, confused, "Why does that guy hate me?"

"Luke?" She glanced up at Dean, "Luke doesn't hate you."

"Yes, he does."

"My mom probably told him about the night of the dance."

"Why would your mom tell him about that?" Dean looked confused. "She's not going out with him, is she?"

Rory choked on her hot chocolate a moment, then looked up and half laughed, "No, mom's not dating Luke, they're just really good friends. Don't worry about him. Mom's working on grandma to forgive you, I'm sure she's working on Luke too."

Dean nodded, then smiled again, "So, you're free tomorrow."

"Yup, I managed to finish most of my reading on the bus."

He pulled a flier out of his pocket and handed it to Rory. "Wanna go to another dance. A non-Chilton kind of dance."

Rory stared down at the paper and it's wild colors, "This looks like a rave party."

"And it probably is."

She bit her bottom lip and glanced up at him.

"You don't wanna go," he said quickly, "It's alright, we can just hang out here around Stars Hollow."

"No, we can go to this," Rory replied.

"Seriously."

Dean looked happy and because he was happy, she was happy, but she couldn't help but get a frightened feeling in her stomach. This kind of party was to be feared, or so she'd been taught by her mother and other students who shared their stories with others while she was in earshot. Dean nodded his head at her, taking the paper gently and replacing it in his pocket as he sipped on his hot chocolate. Rory smiled wider, knowing she was gonna regret this one way or another.

Rory nodded, "Yeah, it'll be an experience. We all need experiences, right?"




Gilmore Residence
6:59PM


Lorelai sat on the couch eating Doritos as the television blared some entertainment news show's theme song. A minute early, she noted. It was beginning to tick her off, the amount of shows that started earlier than they were supposed to. What if she'd had a tape running, it would have lopped off the beginning of the episode and she knew she would have been pissed. Opening teasers are half the fun! She sighed, glancing towards Rory's room.

"So, exactly where are you going again?"

Rory peeked her head out, "I told you, I can't tell you."

"And why can't you tell me."

"Because if I tell you anything I have two options, neither of which I can live with. The first is telling you the truth and if I do, you'll freak out, and the second is if I lie to you and I can't lie to you because A, it's impossible for me to lie to you and B, you'd know."

"Awe, it can't be that bad," Lorelai said, sitting up on the couch. "Come on, tell me."

Rory went back into her room, "No."

"You know I'm gonna find out, at least tell me who you're going with."

"Dean."

"What?" Lorelai watched her exit the room and come towards her.

"See?"

"What, I'm not freaking out, just requesting a repetition of the response," Lorelai raised her eyebrows, staring at her child.

Rory rolled her eyes, "I'm going out with Dean."

"Where?"

"I told you I can't tell you."

"Can't you try?"

"Mom," Rory pleaded.

Lorelai almost laughed at the look of exasperation on her daughter's face. "What, no Mom, I have a right to know where you're going, don't I?"

"Yes, you do."

"Then, spit it out."

Rory took a breath, "We're going to a dance."

"I'm guessing this isn't of the Chilton variety."

"No, it's more of the underground variety."

"You're going to a kegger?"

"Mom, Dean's friends aren't old enough to get a 'keg'."

"Doesn't take being of age to get booze."

"Mom, they don't have fake ID's."

She smiled wickedly, "Doesn't take fake ID's to get beer."

Shaking her head, Rory went back into her room to get the small wallet she'd crammed all her information into. She didn't want to lug around a bag. Walking out of her room, she saw her mom staring at the window from where she stood in the living room. "Earth to mom."

"Just thinking."

"About."

Lorelai turned, "Well, I could tell you, but I can't because if I tell you anything, I have one of two options..." she started, repeating her daughter's words.

"Fine, don't tell me," Rory answered quickly, smiling evilly her mother.

"You're not even curious?"

"Nope."

"Not in the least." Lorelai folded her arms on her chest.

She turned to look at her mom, "Well, in the least, yeah, a little, yeah, but I'm not gonna rag on you until you tell me. I think that's just mean." She turned away before she could laugh.

"Ugh! Are you calling me mean," Lorelai said, faking shock.

"Nope, just saying that a woman's personal business should remain personal."

"Guess this means I shouldn't tell you about what I did in the eraser room on pr..."

"Mom, I don't need to know."

"Oh, come on, it's a good story."

"Dean's gonna be here any minute."

"Oh, ok." Lorelai said, defeated. "So, how long do you suppose the two of you will be out."

Rory looked at her again, "I dunno, couple hours."

"What time do you think you'll be home 'cause I don't wanna have to wait around for you. It'd be easier to just go to sleep and set an alarm to be awake when you get home so I can yell at you about not getting home on time."

Rory sighed, giving her mother a half smile, "We should be back before midnight and there's no school tomorrow, so it won't affect that and I finished my homework so it won't affect that." Shepaused, "You should go to sleep, don't worry about me."

"Yes, I trust you." Lorelai smiled.

"I'll be home before midnight."

Lorelai nodded her head. "Good, 'cause the five in the morning thing, was hoping it wasn't gonna be a recurring return time."

Rory smiled slightly, opening her mouth in a sort of fake-shock and started to say something when the doorbell rang. Lorelai looked up at the door and then back at Rory, "Emily trained him well."

She smiled at her mother, going to answer the door. "Hi," she said, seeing him.

"Hi," Dean said softly.

"Hi!" Lorelai added cheerfully, stepping up behind Rory.

Rory turned to stare at her a moment before starting out the door.

"Be home before five in the morning this time, 'eh?" Lorelai shouted after them. She watched the two turn and look at her and she frowned, knowing that it had been an unnecessary statement and they probably didn't find the same humor in the statement as she'd found. They found a reason to be fearful. A reminder. Lorelai shut the door behind her.




Hartford
7:23PM


Rory stood next to Dean on the edge of the sidewalk. In front of her stood two large balloon men, their white arms flapping wildly with the wind behind blown into their bodies by machines attached to their feet. She didn't know whether it was something that she should feel sorry for, or afraid of. Rory sighed softly, wondering for the millionth time if this was a good idea. She'd never really been a big party person, she actually stayed very far away from them, but she figured she owed it to Dean to at least try this out, he did go to her Chilton party.

Of course that didn't exactly go well, she knew, but this was something she wanted to do, she told herself. It was a new experience, isn't that what her mother is constantly trying to get her to do? To have a new experience and be able to say, later on in life, that she did that. That her life wasn't just reading books and doing homework. It was why her mother lied to her about fairies in the back yard, to get her to camp out four nights in a row and discover the wonderfulthings called constellations. It was why her mother had told her that the neighbor had a real gnome hiding in the house so that she'd go over and make friends with Babette and Maury.

But looking up, this was an experience she wasn't sure she wanted to have. It wasn't like kissing a boy or staying up late to watch an R rated movie, this was just scary. She knew the kinds of things that went on in these places, she knew the danger. Obviously Dean didn't think she knew, but she did and staring up at those horrible balloon men, she was aware of how much she was like them. Like pale rag dolls unaware of what was going on, but their bodies in turmoil over the torture that goes on inside them. Rory shook her head, trying not to think about it.

"Having second thoughts?" Dean asked, glancing down at her.

"Thirds and fourths too," Rory admitted.

"Hey, if you don't want to be here, we could leave. We could catch a movie and just go back to Stars Hollow and hang out."

"But you want to be here."

"And I'd love you no less if you didn't."

She smiled, "Thanks."

"For what?"

Rory reached out to catch his hand, "For that."

They remained on the sidewalk a moment before walking towards the giant warehouse type place. Rory took a sharp breath as they entered, seeing many more people than she could have imagined. More people than she knew she'd ever seen in one place. Her grip on Dean's hand tightened and he ushered her to the side, near the punch.

"What's wrong?" Dean shouted.

"This has to be a fire hazard or something."

He laughed. "The people?"

She nodded.

"Nah, this is normal. Don't worry, these people have been known to clear a building just like this in under half a minute."

"Why would they do that?"

Dean scratched at the side of his head and just licked his lips, not wanting to admit that maybe this could be a bit dangerous. He knew if he told Rory the things that might happen at the party, she'd be bolting towards the door and he didn't want her to. He wanted her to have fun and he was going to protect her against those bad things to make sure she did.

"Dean, wanna dance?"

He shook his head and Rory smiled at him.

"Good, I didn't want to either, but I had to ask, you know, courtesy."

Dean let out a small laugh, "Want some punch?"

Rory nodded, turning to the bowl beside her. As she filled her cup, Dean took it from her and drank it. "Hey, I thought the point was for me to get some punch?"

He shrugged, "I just wanna make sure you get home sober."

"And how would you know what spiked punch tastes like."

"Intuition."

"Intuition, huh?"

"My family's a bit, well, not like yours and we were accustomed to tasting alcoholic beverages. I never got drunk, but I know what things taste like."

Rory nodded and then pointed her chin at her cup in his hands, "So, what's the verdict."

Dean handed it to her, "Oh, it's fine."

"Good, you want some too?"

He nodded, watching her serve him.




Stars Hollow
8:49PM


Lorelai hopped off the sidewalk and began to make her way towards Luke's, surprised to see him standing outside, his keys in his hands. She lowered her eyebrows and walked up to him, standing in front of him as he stared at her, his eyes holding a confused look she didn't like.

"What are you doing here?" He asked.

"I could ask the same question of you."

"I work here," he answered with a shrug.

"I'm getting coffee," Lorelai responded in the same manor. "You closing early?"

"No, there's something else I need to take care of."

"Something?"

"As in a private something." He added quickly.

"Oooo, got a date?" Lorelai teased.

He turned away, "No, I just have something to do."

"Doesn't have anything to do with special plates, does it?" She narrowed her eyebrows at him and cocked her head.

He rubbed his hands together, trying to fight the cold off them, "No, Lorelai, nothing to do with... oh what the hell am I still doing here?"

"Talking to me." She touched his arm gently and smiled up at him.

Luke shivered slightly, wishing he hadn't because she laughed at him. "Something I'm not obligated to do outside of Luke's."

Lorelai nodded her head and responded, "Yes, but I'm still a paying customer."

He pointed, "In there."

"And out here, I've got money in my pocket and a longing for a tall one."

Luke bent forward slightly and said, right into her face, "Well, go inside and order one."

She pouted after he'd stood straight and taken a step aside. "You mean you're really leaving?"

"Yes, why else would I tell you I were leaving," he said quickly, thinking maybe he saw a glimmer of disappointment run across her face before he turned away again. "I've got something to do tonight in Hartford. I'm actually late for it, so I need to get going."

"So, what are you doing?"

"None of your business," Luke snapped.

Lorelai crossed her arms over her chest. "I'm not going to get a good cup of coffee because your people in there don't know how to make it like you, which means that my stomach is gonna get all screwed up and it'll be your fault, so I think I do have a right to know why I'm going to be put in the position of not being able to sleep correctly because your staff thinks it's funny to put Sweet & Low in my coffee."

He sighed, "Just something, now, go away."

"Why do people keep saying that," she muttered under her breath.

Luke cocked his head, "Gee, I don't know, maybe it's because you're annoying."

"I'm annoying you," she said with a smile.

"Yes, at this moment, yes, you 're annoying me." He grunted, knowing she was getting a kick out of this. Lorelai always got a kick out of bothering him.

She was about to say something, but saw a look in his eyes she wasn't sure she'd ever seen before. It was something along the lines of anger. Lorelai grew serious and asked, "You're not joking this time, are you?"

Luke smiled slightly. "I'm never joking, you just don't get it because you're always joking. You think life is just one big ol' joke and it's not. Now go away."

She remained quiet.

"Get your coffee, Lorelai."

She tried to smile, to get past that look she'd seen. Luke couldn't possibly be mad at her, Lorelai knew, Luke liked her. He put up with her stupidity because of that fact. "But see, you realize half the reason I come to Luke's is to argue with you. Without you it's just coffee and that's boring." She waved a hand at the place, as if it were a fly.

"So, Luke's is boring without me," he said.

"No, coffee is b... yeah, whatever." She glanced up at him, flustered.

"Lorelai, I need to go," he told her in a softer tone.

"Right now?" She pleaded.

"No, next week," he said sarcastically.

Lorelai smiled, knowing she was getting to him. Eventually, she knew, he would let her win, but until then it was just fun watching him squirm. "But then what you have to do will be done, or rather, not done and it would be pointless to go."

"Lorelai, go away."

"Luke," she stared at him, that was different. He even looked mad that time. Lorelai knew that was it, he wasn't gonna take any more of her joking today, or at least not at the moment. Whatever he was doing, it had to be important and he wasn't playing right. His responses weren't quite as snappy, which were killing her own and she knew it. "Luke," she tried again, this time to apologize.

"NO!" He walked away from her, towards his truck parked across the street.

Lorelai's shoulders dropped. "Fine! I was just gonna say I'm sorry and good luck on whatever it is you're going to do." She turned away from him and stared into Luke's, with it's customers all sitting and laughing and talking. Twiddling her hands together, she sighed, knowing it truly would be boring. She'd be alone. Lorelai didn't fear many things, but she feared being by herself. When Rory wasn't around, it was Sookie or Luke and Sookie hadn't been home when she called. Lorelai let her hands fall at her side and began walking slowly towards the door, not wanting to be there anymore, but not knowing what else to do.

Luke opened the door to his truck and turned to look at Lorelai. He hadn't meant to snap at her, but occasionally she just got annoying. Sometimes the bickering was fun, he knew, he enjoyed it no matter how serious he stared at her. It gave him the opportunity to talk to her, to watch her eyes light up in that special way she has and to hear her talk. Tonight was different. In their bickering, he crossed that line he always said he'd never cross, which was to upset her. He could tell by the way her shoulders fell and her head went forward that she was sad.

"Lorelai," he shouted, knowing he'd regret it, but he didn't want her to be mad at him, even if it was her own fault.

She turned, pouting her lips at him, "I'm going now, leaving you alone."

"Come here," he said quickly, glancing at the oddly colored flyer sitting in the car seat.

"What?" She asked, her eyebrows falling.

He waved an arm, "If you're not in the truck in five..."

"Coming!" He watched her eyes light up and he was tempted to smile.




Hartford
9:39PM


Dean shielded Rory from a man who blew marijuana smoke at the crowd. He turned his back, staring down at her as she looked past him, confused. Rory glanced around, knowing that this party was going to just get worse and worse as the night went on and she was already making mental calculations as to how long they could stay there and stay sane. Or at least not get high from second hand smoke.

"Are these parties always like this?" Rory asked.

Dean shrugged his shoulders, "Never really been to one."

"HEY MAN! It's DEAN!" Someone shouted over the crowd.

"Never been to one, eh?" Rory smiled.

"I didn't say I wasn't friends with the people who organize them."

A boy that looked to be Dean's age with chin length blonde hair that was slicked behind his ears with what Rory thought to be grease walked up to Dean and clasped his hand, shaking it quickly before looking at Rory, "Who's the hottie?"

Feeling her cheeks grow red, she retreated a step before Dean stopped her, smiling at her shyness.

"This is my girlfriend, Rory," he asserted, hugging her close to him.

"Ah, you're the infamous Rory," the boy, shaking her own hand gently, "My name's Rob, I'm Dean's friend."

"You're new here," Rory said turning to look at Dean.

"And I make friends quick."

"Yeah, guy comes down into Hartford every once in a while looking for good places to hang our, or get books." He smiled at Rory, "So, you a book worm too?"

"I wouldn't call it that, exactly." She felt offended.

Rob smiled, staring at her with his dark eyes, "So what, exactly, would you call it."

"Feeding the intellect."

The two boys laughed and Rory wasn't sure if it was a good thing that they were.

Rob was the first to point and say, "Never heard it put like that before, that's great. I gotta use that one when I get back to Rawley."

"You go to Rawley Academy?"

"Yup, unfortunately, unlike Chilton, it's not so co-ed. They tried coed classes last year and didn't think it worked well... too much flirtation and stuff."

Dean laughed, "So, who are all these people?"

Rob shrugged, "Don't really know. I was expecting all the guys from Rawley, but nothing like this. Some of these people I've never seen in my life."

Rory glanced around, somehow wishing they could have just thrown a party at the Rawley dorm rooms and just played chess or something. "This is ridiculous," she said out loud.

"Yeah, just watch out for the blue and red."

"Blue and red?" Rory asked.

Dean tapped her shoulders, "Cops."

"Cops are coming?" Rory's eyes went wide.

Rob laughed, "I like her, Dean, she's sweet. Got that innocent Bambi thing about her." He took a step back, pointing at Dean with the hand still clutching a soda, "Catcha later, man."

"Later," Dean reiterated.

Rory crossed her arms, "I would hope he was referring to me in a deer sort of way and not some bimbo terms."

"Rory, no one could EVER think you were a bimbo."

She gave a half smile and looked up at him, "Wanna dance now?"

"I think you've inhaled too much smoke."

She shook her head, "Nah, I'm just bored and the night's young yet."

"Ok, if you were in the Chilton outfit, I'd be scared right now."

Rory laughed, taking his hand to lead him out to the dance floor.




Just Outside Hartford
9:47PM


Lorelai turned to Luke when they passed the same sign for the forth time and she pursed her lips, waiting until he glanced at her quickly. She knew they were lost, and she knew he wasn't going to stop and ask for directions. He was just gonna keep driving. Why? She asked herself, but knew there wasn't an answer that would satisfy her. Oh well, she sighed, leaning back in the seat and continuing to look at him when they passed the farm house for the forth time.

"What?" He asked, wishing she'd stop staring.

"We're lost."

"We're not."

"Luke, I'm starting to recognize the cows."

"There aren't cows."

She pointed out the window, "Hey, Luke, Sesame Street lesson. Those things with the funny noses and giant utters; those are cows. And while we're out here, those big things with the flaps are windmills."

"We're not lost."

"So you say."

"So I know."

"If you know where we are, then where are we?"

He glanced around and slammed the wheel, "We're lost."

"At least you're man enough to admit it when pressed."

"Are you saying I'm not man enough to admit when I'm wrong."

"No, just when you're lost."

"Are you like this on all road trips?"

"No, just when I'm lost. But then, I stop and ask for directions."

"And where should we stop to ask?"

"I dunno, how about that weird little farm house we've passed four... five times." She looked out the window, "Oh, there it goes... bye little farm house with your little flamingo statues."

Luke sighed.

"And the dog that barks at us every single time we pass it." Lorelai laughed, "He reminds me of Michel. I think I should call him that the next time we pass the house. I'll go, 'Look, it's Michel!' It'll be fun 'cause it'll be easier to keep track of how many time..."

Luke swung a U-turn

"Crap, Luke, what the hell was that for!?" Lorelai gripped door handle tightly.

"You want me to ask for directions."

She nodded, "Don't you have a map in here?"

"Why would I have a map?"

"For times like this."

"Times like this?"

"When you're lost," she said, as if to say 'stupid' afterwards.

Luke grunted, putting the car in park when they pulled into the drive way. "No, I don't have a map in here. I don't get lost," he raised a finger as she started pointing out the front window to say something, "I'm going to ask for directions and you're not going to say a word about it."

She nodded, waiting until after he slammed the door to utter, "Except to Rory."

Luke turned quickly, yanking open the door, "Not a word to Rory, either."

"Damn," Lorelai said quickly, watching him go up the front steps, "He's good." It suddenly occurred to her that he knew her a little too well and that made her slightly uncomfortable as hecame walking down the walk way several minutes later with a paper in his hands.

Luke threw the paper in her hands. "What?"

"Tell me where I'm going."

"What do I look like, Mission Control?"

"Just," he said, shutting his eyes. Then he calmed slightly, "I asked for directions."

"And I'm proud of you," she said with a smile.

"Please, just tell me how to get where we're going." He pulled out of the drive way.

"Where ARE we going?"

"We're going to stop a rave party."

Lorelai nodded her head, looking at the map in her hands, then her head snapped up quickly and she shouted, "We're What?!"




Hartford
10:03PM


Dean pulled Rory off the dance floor when his feet started to hurt. "Who'd have thought you could learn this by imitation," he said as Rory bounced about next to him.

"It's fun."

"I can see that," he smiled, watching her. "You know, you look crazy."

"You look pretty," she said back and for a moment, he was afraid that the punch had been spiked and he hadn't noticed. Rory stopped dancing, "Kidding, Dean. I just thought you wanted me to have fun."

"I do, but I also want to get you home in one piece."

She looked down at herself, "I look fine to me."

"Ditto that," Dean said, pulling her close again.

Rory grinned idiotically. "What would I do without you?"

"You'd rent Willy Wonka and watch it until you're ready to puke."

She nodded, "Sounds about right." Rory turned and looked back out at the dance floor. "You know, I never thought, in a million years, that this stuff could be fun."

"What did you think it would be?"

"I don't know, just not fun." She looked back at him. "These are those things that they show on the news that they say are dangerous and bad and people like us should stay away from them. I mean, they had a Special Dawson's Creek where someone OD'ed at one of these things."

"Ah, Dawson, leading news show."

She hit him playfully, "You know what I'm saying."

"People get hurt at these, yes." He looked around, "Wanna sit down for a couple minutes, my feet are pounding and that's just not what my feet usually do."

"Yeah, my feet are killing me too, let's go." Rory followed him towards the back of the warehouse, shouting when someone opened a beer can next to them. "God!" she screamed.

"He don't live here, baby," someone shouted near her, but she ignored them, wiping at the beer on her outfit, watching Dean to the same.

"Let's go outside for a little, huh?" He prompted, pulling her towards a back exit.




Hartford
10:29PM


"See, instructions are good," Lorelai said as Luke pulled his car onto the edge of a small hill where below two large balloon men were still swaying about in the wind next to a large warehouse. Lorelai watched it a moment through the windshield. It looked like a rockin' party and if she weren't there to break it up, or at least help Luke break it up, she'd want to join it. From up on the hill she could hear the music blaring.

"Yeah, whatever, let's go."

Lorelai nodded, getting out of the car. "How do you expect to break this thing up, anyway?"

"Smoke bombs." Luke walked around to the back of his truck and pulled out a sack.

She grabbed his arm, "Are you insane?"

"Insane? Do you know what happens down there?"

After laughing quickly, Lorelai stopped and pulled the bag away from him, "Yeah, and I also know that a lot of those people are innocent kids looking for a good time."

"And what if Rory were down there?"

"I certainly wouldn't want her choking to death on a smoke bomb!" Lorelai cocked her head at him. "Besides, I trust Rory not to behave wildly."

"Just like you trusted her to be home that night."

Lorelai dropped the bag slightly, "So, let me get this straight, you don't trust any kid."

"I trust Rory," he nodded.

"Yeah, but those kids down there, the idea can't cross your mind that those kids are having a good time without the use of illegal substances?"

"No," he said quickly, reaching for his bag.

"You can't have this."

"It's my bag."

"And as your friend, I'm not letting you endanger those kids."

"It's smoke. They'll run out, they'll cry, they'll go home to mommy and daddy safely."

"And what if someone is allergic to smoke bombs."

Luke stood straight, "That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard."

"Humna bumm booba tog." She spat.

"What?"

"I don't know."

"Then why did you say it?"

"Because the idea that someone could be allergic to this stuff," she raised the bag for emphasis, "being ridiculous to you is as ridiculous as what I said!"

"Lorelai, I let you come, but I'm not gonna let you ruin what I came to do."

"Well, can't you just call the police?"

"They don't care about these things."

"Huh," Lorelai laughed. "The police have to care. These are their future law breakers, they wouldn't want them all ODing in one night. That would be bad business."

"Lorelai, give me the bag."

Tossing the bag at him, she shouted, "Fine! But I won't be a part of this." She started down the hill as he watched her a moment, confused.

Luke gripped the bag and grabbed her arm, "Where are you going?"

"I'm gonna at least warn them."

"They won't listen to you."

"Well, you can't say I didn't try."

"Lorelai, come back here."

"Not until you promise you won't throw any of those smoke bombs into that building."

"Can't I just throw one? They probably won't even notice."

"You had a bad childhood, didn't you?"

"Huh?" He shook his head, "No."

"Then why would you want to screw up this party?"

He pulled on the bag's strap, "Look, I had a friend in high school raped at one of these things up here in Hartford. Needless to say, it's left me with a bad impression of them."

"So you go to them all and throw smoke bombs on the kids."

"No, I don't make this a regular occurrence or anything." He shook his head, "I just, it's just thinking of Rory down in there. That's dangerous."

Lorelai smiled, "Luke, it's sweet that you're thinking of Rory and all, but this is psychotic, hon."

Luke scoffed, "Psychotic. This from a woman who ingests, daily, more caffeine than two human bodies were meant to hold."

She pushed him back up the hill, towards his truck, "Come on, Luke, let's go, I know a place that makes nice chocolate mousse up here, I'll buy you a big bowl of it."

Luke took a long breath, "With whip cream?"

"Whatever you'd like, just come on, let's go."

"Can we at least call the police on the way."

Lorelai smiled, "Cell phone's in my bag."

As they reached the top, they were blinded by a flashlight beam. Lorelai gripped Luke's arm in fear and he shielded his face with his hand. A loud voice asked, "Evening folks,"

Lorelai knew, just from the tone, that it was a police officer.




Down Below
11:02PM


Rory and Dean re-entered the party and Rory sighed, glancing around at the people. Somehow, after an hour of being outside, the inside didn't feel so good and right anymore. It looked like chaos and she wasn't liking it. She was actually wanting to leave very quickly.

"What's wrong?" Dean asked.

"I'm hearing my mom in my head."

"What's she saying?"

"Anywhere but here," Rory nodded towards the people stripping off their shirts in the center of the dance floor, "This thing looks like it's gonna erupt into an all our orgy."

"I'm thinking you don't wanna join them," Dean said with a laugh.

Rory turned and smiled at him, "No, not thinking that."

"Let's go," Dean took hold of her hand as he said the words and started walking slowly to the doorway at front which Rory thought was a mile away. She stopped dead in her tracks when she saw the police officers begin to enter.

For the next two minutes, Rory felt as though she were trapped in the world's worst MTV video and there wasn't really a way out. The music continued to blare into her ears as Dean yanked her towards the back door, screaming that they had to leave fast. She didn't understand, they weren't doing anything. Those people stripping and drinking and smoking.

"Is that pot?" Rory asked, sniffing the air. She'd never smelled pot, but there was a stench about her that was something like cigarette smoke, but just not. "People are smoking pot?" She asked again.

Dean ignored her, trying to hold onto her as the current of kids afraid of getting arrested were pushing and pulling them around. Then Rory felt his hand slip away. She took a sharp breath and her eyes went wide. She'd lost him. She'd lost Dean. And the cops were right behind her. Rory looked around, darted out of the grasp of a large officer as she shouted for her boyfriend. She could hear his name calling her back and she looked in the direction, but all she saw were half naked people running.

"Oh my God!" Rory shouted as she thought she saw someone without pants on and she spotted Dean, feeling her insides jump for joy, until a hand clasped the back of her jacket. Turning, she saw the officer standing there, staring down at her. He was saying something, but she didn't understand. She just knew that the screams were dying down and someone had switched off the music and it was getting quiet.

"Rory!" Dean shouted, and he jumped out of the last of the crowd towards her, his eyes flying up at the officer holding her. "Hi."

"Looks like you've been having a little too much fun tonight, kids," the officer said, sniffing at Rory's coat.

"It's not what it seems, I swear," Dean said as another officer walked behind him.

"That's what they all say," another bellowed. "Get 'em in the car, they can take a breathalyzer at the station while we call their parents."

Rory's head spun around at the man behind her and she gasped, "Parents?"




Police Station
1:39PM


Rory and Lorelai glanced up as Emily and Richard Gilmore came to a grinding halt in front of their cell, staring down at the two girls. Lorelai wanted to apologize, even though she'd done nothing wrong and she wanted to hide Rory, who also had done nothing wrong.

"It's not going on her permanent record," Lorelai sang.

"Oh Lorelai, this is no time for jokes, let's go," Emily said quickly, not wanting to discuss it any further until they were out of earshot of their two companions. Her gaze fell on Luke, "Youagain."

"Yes, me again."

"And you're not dating," Emily asked, pointing from him to Lorelai.

Luke shook his head, "No, Lorelai's actually the reason we're not in any more trouble than we actually are."

"I find that hard to believe."

"Really," Lorelai stood, "If I hadn't talked him out of it, Luke was gonna smoke bomb the party."

"You were gonna what?" Rory and Dean asked at the same time.

Luke looked at the ground.

"Luke, what happened to the whole environmentally friendly guy who's always telling me to eat apples and that I need to recycle."

"Oh, this wasn't him, I think he was taken over by Evil Luke," Lorelai smiled, tapping at his shoulder.

The four walked past Emily and Richard, who both looked befuddled.

"That's Luke, huh?" Richard asked.

"Can't you see it?" Emily responded.

Richard nodded, "Yes, he likes her."

Lorelai turned, "Ugh, hello, we're still here."

"I'm painfully aware of that," Emily snapped. "In a police station, the last place on earth my granddaughter should be."

"Hey, I didn't bring her here, she did that on all her own."

"Rory!" Richard gasped.

Rory turned away, "I didn't do anything, we're here for questioning, and then we were supposed to wait for our parents, but my parents happened to be in jail, or at least mom was, and Dean didn't just wanna leave me here."

Lorelai smiled, "Look, it's all over, we can go home, get some sleep and argue mercilessly about it over diner tomorrow."

"Are you sure you won't be planning to smoke bomb the American embassy tomorrow."

She snapped her fingers, "Shoot, no, that's on the agenda for next week, but I can move it up if you'd like," Lorelai smiled at Emily's serious face.

Dean and Rory walked past the adults and out to the front door, taking in some fresh air. Dean turned and looked at his girlfriend, "I'm really sorry I got you into this. I know your grandparents are gonna be pissed."

"Oh, don't worry, it's an interesting change, for them to be upset with me."

"But it's not good Rory, and you didn't do anything."

"I smell like beer," she tugged on her hair lightly. He laughed. "It'll be ok, let's go find Luke's truck, I'm sure they impounded it here."

Dean nodded, pointing towards an area where a man was unlocking a gate where Luke's truck was parked among several police cars. Rory giggled slightly, "Wow, wonder how mom got them to bring his truck here, don't they usually impound them elsewhere just to make you suffer?" Dean laughed, shaking his head.

"Your mom can do anything, can't she?"

"Yup," Rory said with a grin.




Lorelai watched her parents exit the building, bickering the whole way and she had the urge to catch them and yell at them for being so upset. She sighed, at least they paid the bail and didn'task questions, but she knew that tomorrow was gonna be a free for all at the diner. They'd want to know how Lorelai was with Luke in the first place. They'd want to know why Lorelai had allowed Rory to go to that party with Dean. They'd want to know how Lorelai could let this happen.

"That's what it's all about," she mumbled, walking up to where Luke was paying a storage fee for his truck.

"What?" He asked, turning.

"My parents, they think I screwed up again. I'm always screwing up."

"You're not totally screwed up."

"How do you figure?" She glanced up at him.

He shrugged, "Well, Rory's alive and well."

"Yeah, but they're gonna say that I should have known where she was going and I should have stopped her."

"Lorelai, do you trust Rory?"

She nodded, "Of course I do."

Luke signed a paper, waiting for his keys, "Then there's nothing to worry about. Their opinion means nothing if you know you're right."

She watched the woman at the counter hand him his keys, "I'm sorry about that."

"Why, it's my fault."

"I know, but maybe if I'd just let you bomb the place..." the woman at the counter looked up in confusion.

"Please don't say it like that," Luke said quickly.

Lorelai smiled, "If I had just let you throw your smoke bombs, we could have been gone before that cop found us."

"Lorelai, it would have been worse because I'd have done it."

"Then I'm sorry I came."

"Why?"

She shrugged, "If I hadn't been so willing to bother you, you would have gotten their earlier and been gone before that cop made his rounds."

Luke smiled, gripping his keys in his hand, "If you hadn't come, I'd still be circling the farms wondering where I was."

"Yeah, then I would have had to arrange a search party."

"Search party."

"Yeah, I don't think I would last without your coffee in the morning," she laughed.

Luke began walking towards the front door. "It didn't turn out so bad though."

"Nah, being in a jail cell with you for two hours, total fun."

"Better than sitting at home."

She looked up at him, "Yeah, it was."

"Hey, we're not fighting."

Lorelai grinned, "Would you feel more comfortable if I insulted you?"

He shook his head, "It's a nice change."

She nodded, "We oughta do this more often."

"Go out or not fight."

Lorelai pushed open the door, walking ahead of him, "Maybe a little bit of both."

"You asking me out?"

"Depends."

"Oh what?" Luke looked confused now.

She went towards the open gate and Luke jogged to catch up with her. "Depends on what?" He asked again watching Dean and Rory jump into the back of the truck. "You shouldn't sit out there."

Rory turned, "We don't fit inside."

"Fine, but lay down."

Lorelai turned, "Remember, I can see you."

Dean's eyes flashed wide for a moment until Rory laughed, pulling on his arm so he'd lay down next to her. "Is your mom serious?" Lorelai heard him say.

"Shut up and lay down," Rory laughed back.

Lorelai climbed into the passenger seat as Luke started the truck up. "Depends on your answer."

"Whether I'd go out with you or not?"

"No Luke, whether the Cardinals are capable of winning a World Series."

"No, and yes."

"No the Cardinals aren't capable of winning a World Series?"

He nodded.

"And yes you'd like to go out sometime."

"I've already asked you first, technically."

"Yeah, damn Mrs. Kim," Lorelai laughed.

Luke smiled. "Let's get home."

"Hey Luke," Lorelai said softly.

He looked at her and smiled, "What?"

"Go over that bump really really fast," she smirked, throwing a glance to the back of the truck.

"You're evil," Luke said, putting the car in drive.

"Don't I know it," Lorelai giggled.




Gilmore Residence
1:30AM


Lorelai shoved the front door open and heaved a sigh of relief, turning to watch her daughter slam the door shut, rubbing her eyes. "Oh hey, that's right, you don't have school tomorrow while I have to work. How is that fair?"

"I'm sixteen and you're thirty two and it's supposed to be like that?" Rory questioned, looking longingly towards her room.

"Tired, aren't you."

"Yeah, I didn't expect to be getting home this late."

"Neither did I, babe, trust me."

Rory watched her mother throw off her boots and strip off her coat, going into the kitchen to get some juice out of the fridge. She was curious, but afraid to ask the questions she wanted to ask. Her mother turned with the same look in her eye and Rory smiled.

"So," Lorelai started, "Party fun?"

"Until the cop landed a hand on my back, yeah."

"Ooo, was it rough 'cause we might be able to sue."

"Mom."

"No, seriously," Lorelai said with a straight face Rory almost believed, "I heard about a woman who got like fifteen million dollars just 'cause a cop bumped her head on the back of a squad car while arresting her. We could make big bucks here."

"Mom, I'm not suing a police station."

"Damn, we could have hit the big time."

Rory nodded, "Next time I get put into a cop car, I'll make sure to slam my head into the door."

"That's my girl."

"Future trouble maker of America."

Lorelai put an arm around her daughter, "Well, I wouldn't go that far."

"Well, neither would I," Rory said, imitating her mother's tone. "So, you guys were in that jail cell for about an hour before we got there. What did you do?"

"We talked."

"About..."

"None of your business." Lorelai started walking towards the stairs again.

"And, while we're on that subject, why were you with Luke? Were you on a date?" Rory teased.

Lorelai turned, giving her a smile, "No, we weren't on a date. I sort of wormed my way into his little mission."

Rory laughed, "Oh My God!" She laughed, "You're smiling."

"So," Lorelai said quickly, "So, I'm smiling, what's the big deal?"

"You like Luke," Rory sang, walking towards her room.

"Hey!" Lorelai stopped her, "I don't like Luke!" She paused, "Ok, so I like Luke."

Rory turned, "We had admission of 'like' ladies and gentlemen."

"Yeah, and if you tell him, I'll beat you up."

"Oh aren't we mature," Rory smiled.

"No one ever said I had to be mature about liking boys." Lorelai bit her bottom lip, then gave Rory a concerned look.

"What?"

"I'm just thinking about something."

"What?"

Lorelai leaned on the balcony, "Well, Luke dropped us off first."

"Yeah."

"He's still in the truck with Dean."

Rory gulped, "What do you think they're talking about?"

"I don't know, but for some reason I suddenly wish I could be Luke's flannel shirt."

Rory backed up again, towards her room, "And I have to wonder whether it's to hear the conversation..." she trailed, opening her door, "Or to cuddle up to Luke?" Rory watched her mother's mouth drop as her eyes went wide. The woman smiled and pushed off the railing, ready to run downstairs.

"Oh that deserves a TICKLE!!!" Lorelai screamed, "I have the key to that lock!"




Outside the Gilmore Residence
1:30AM


Dean climbed into the passenger seat next to Luke and kept his vision out the front windshield as Luke put the truck in drive again. The whole ride had been great. He'd hugged Rory to himself, feeling her warmth contrast the cold night air, but then they'd pulled up to her house. The Gilmore girls gone, it was just him and Luke and he was afraid to even look at the man. He didn't even understand why. Then he understood, he had that fear, that 'meeting the dad' fear and even though Luke wasn't Rory's dad, he sure acted like it sometimes.

"Hi," Luke said quickly.

"Hey," Dean responded, silently cursing when his body jerked in response to the man's deep voice. He kept telling himself to calm down, but it wasn't working.

"So Dean, we need to have a talk," Luke said, as calmly as he could, turning to look at the boy who was now shivering in his seat.

The End




Ya know, I'm still pissed. It's done and I'm pissed because now I'm not sure if it's good or bad, but I know the original version was great, so I'm pissed! Which means I need more than comments, I need good comments that make me smile and laugh and well, anything that'll make me feel better. :)

Mystic
mysticxf@aol.com
http://lorelaigilmore.tripod.com/


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