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do i dare or do i dare? [userpic]

GG Fic: Sometimes You Do 24/40

A/N: Rory has a bit of reflection in this chapter and then next chapter we'll find out more about what's going on with Dean. This chapter does reference some of the earlier fics in the series, so if you're not familiar with them, some of this may seem a bit out of left field. My continued thanks to my steady readers!  Earlier chapters here.



It seemed to take hours.

Looking at her watch told Rory that hours was a bit melodramatic. It had been exactly one hour and fifteen minutes, but there was no doubt that it did indeed feel like hours. Her backside had gone from sore to numb, and her back felt stiff in the chair.

Lorelai had taken to slouching, her eyes blinking somewhat drowsily on and off. She called Luke once, moving to the other side of the waiting room to talk to him in hushed tones.

Rory didn't even have the energy to speculate on the conversation. It didn’t matter. Nothing mattered. Not her mother and Luke, not her career, not her grandparents’ money, not the oddly clashing chairs in the waiting room. Nothing. Just Dean.

She remembered doing this. This worrying. This sense that there was something wrong and she had no control over it. This awful feeling of helplessness, of complete and total inability. Because Rory believed in doing things. She believed in making her way through life. She’d studied and worked and gotten ahead in Chilton, into Yale, into every opportunity in life. That wasn’t fate, it couldn’t be. Because fate was chance and there was very little in life that Rory truly left up to the universe to decide.

But maybe fate was all that other stuff. The stuff she had no say in.

That was the stuff she hated. The stuff of other people’s feelings, of worldwide actions. The stuff of waiting rooms and ambulances and the people she cared about being at the mercy of their own biology.

It was unsettling, to say the least.


When the doctor asked for the family of Dean Forester, her first impulse was to get up, to rush to him and ask what was wrong.

But May beat her to it, standing in front of the doctor, hands intertwined, chewing her bottom lip nervously.

That's when Rory realized that the doctor had asked for family.

Rory was nothing more than a friend.

She shrunk back into her seat, wishing she could disappear. Her mother didn't move next to her, a steady, unwavering presence, the only thing that seemed to be keeping her from slinking right off that chair into oblivion.

What was she doing here? The awful truth came to her with a sickening clarity. She needed to know what was wrong with Dean. Not just because she'd been there when he collapsed (which, okay, yeah, was an image she needed to rectify with seeing him okay), but because she wanted to be more. She wanted to be family with him.

That alone was nearly the most terrifying thought. Family. And she sure wasn't thinking about him being a brother.

In all her neurotic fantasies, the classic little girl dream of a wedding hadn't really been one she'd been prone to. No white organza, no gold-tipped white roses. She'd sometimes worn her pillowcase on her head, but usually that was just to pretend that she had even longer hair.

No, her fantasies were of her own success, her ambition, not her domestic livelihood. It wasn't like she had any examples of that to look up to. Her mother had raised her on her own. Her father was a bachelor. Even her married grandparents were rather cosmopolitan in a way. Why would she have dreams of being a happy little homemaker? She'd positively scoffed at Dean's Donna Reed fantasy and she'd had to bear the brunt of her mother jokes about it for weeks when she’d given in and humored him.

Not that she hadn't thought about it at all. Logan had asked after all, with a very pretty ring (too pretty, maybe--with a rock that big dangling off her finger she was bound to get caught on everything). And part of her had wanted to say yes.

But it wasn't the same. She'd wanted to say yes so she wouldn't lose Logan. But she hadn't wanted to say yes enough to give up her own thing.

And now here she was, back home, wanting to be family with Dean Forester.

Life was just too confusing.

Her thoughts were interrupted by Clara, who was suddenly standing in front of her. For a second, Rory wondered if she’d somehow zoned out, but then she realized that Clara had gone with her mother and come back. "Mom made me talk to the doctor first," she said, fidgeting a little. "It’s just...confusing. I mean, medical stuff I just don’t get. Mom’s already seen him, but she’s going to let me go in now. I'll let you know what's up when I get back. Okay?"

Rory nodded, trying to smile. "Okay," she said.

Clara returned the smile.

"Thanks," Rory said before Clara turned away. Because Clara didn't owe her that. Clara didn't owe her anything. Rory was the girl who had broken her brother's heart, so it just occurred to Rory that she was lucky for this in at all.

Clara just nodded. "That whole family thing," she said. "It's just a technicality. I'm sure Dean will want to see you soon enough."

Rory could only hope.


When her mother shoved a cup of coffee in her face, Rory realized that she hadn’t even seen her disappear.

“You look like a zombie,” her mother said. “You really should sleep but since that would require forcibly dragging you off the premises I figured I might as well just fuel the beast so, you know, you’re a little less of a zombie and more of a reanimated corpse.”

Rory accepted the coffee. “Thanks.”

Her mother settled next to her again. “Wow, just a thanks? No comment on how reanimated corpses would actually be less attractive than zombies?”

“Depends how fresh the corpse was.”

“Ah, so you’re not quite completely zombified,” her mother said, taking a sip of her own coffee. “You haven’t heard or seen from Clara again yet? Or the wonder-mother May?”

Rory shook her head. “Not yet.”

“Knowing May, she’s just taking her own sweet time,” her mother said. “And who does she think she is? His mother?”

Rory didn’t laugh. She couldn’t. “What if there’s a problem?”

“Honey, there’s not a problem.”

“We’re in a hospital.”

“Yes, but that’s all there is. You’ll see. Dean’s going to be fine.”

“You don’t know that.”

“And you don’t know it either,” her mother pointed out with finality. “Besides, I’ve been here before.”

Rory was too tired to give a polite what. Instead, she glowered at her mother.

“Dean does have a nice habit of ending up here,” she said. “I’m sure you’ve heard.”

“Maybe, but what does that have to do with you?”

“Well, I came with him once,” Lorelai said, like Rory should already know.

But Rory didn’t know. She should have, but she didn’t and she was far too tired for this. “Did you just stop communicating with me while I was gone?”

“Yeah, those daily phone calls made it kind of hard to not be in touch with you.”

“So why didn’t you tell me?”

“Because it didn’t come up?”

“How could it not come up?”

“Because it was a long day and I had to sit in the hospital and then I had to go and explain it all to Luke and then I had to explain it to Taylor who had heard it from Kirk and then I had to ask Taylor to talk to Kirk about no more testing of motorized bikes and there was this long debate about injunctions and amendments and by the time it was all over, it was illegal to attach motors to anything not intended to have a motor and Dean was fine so it just didn’t come up.”

The explanation did little to assuage Rory’s incredulity. “But why not?”

“I didn’t figure you planned on attaching a motor to anything. I mean, we don’t really like motorized things, though a motorized banana might be kind of fun.”

“No, I mean why didn’t you tell me about Dean?”

“Well, maybe because he was your ex-boyfriend who you hadn’t even thought about in years,” Lorelai said. “Come on, honey. You slept with him and we both know that it was over then. You didn’t want him, you didn’t love him, and you didn’t even really sound like you regretted it when he broke up with you, which you still haven’t told me all about, so I kind of figured that you probably didn’t care about the guy.”

It was true. It was true and it was blunt and it was hard to hear. It was almost downright cruel and Rory felt her eyes burn.

Her mother sighed. “I’m sorry,” she said. “I didn’t mean it like that. I just didn’t tell you. No deep or ulterior motives. Just didn’t seem to be relevant to where you were at. But the point here is this: Dean’s going to be fine. He always is. And it’s like an unwritten rule, if there’s a Gilmore waiting for you in a waiting room, you’re going to be fine. Worked with Grandpa, didn’t it? And Logan?”

Rory looked down, nodding a little. “I should have cared,” she said.


“About Dean,” she said again. “When we broke up that last time. I should have cared. I should have stopped him. He was standing there in the driveway, leaning against his truck, and I could tell he’d worn nice clothes and he’d even spent time on his hair. He wanted to do it right for me. I knew that and I was late and Logan and his friends were all standing there in their suits and ties and I could just see that Dean knew. He knew that I would never invite him inside that house again--not to protect him, but to protect me. That he would never be a boy I’d bring into this life. And it wasn’t because he wasn’t good enough for it but because I didn’t think he was good enough for me. I wanted what I couldn’t have and when I got it, I realized why I couldn’t have it in the first place. I was an awful, awful person--”

Rory was crying now, and she had been for awhile. Tears running down her face, snot clogging her nose and dripping into her coffee. Because it was true, it was all true. She’d let Dean do the hard work; she always had. She’d pushed him, played with him, and then let him slink away like he was the one who didn’t deserve her.

She’d broken his heart. Three times. She’d broken his heart three times, and now she was sitting here in the waiting room like she had a right to be here. Like she deserved it.

She didn’t.

“Oh, honey,” her mother said, wrapping an arm around her. “You were young. You were both young and going very different places. The timing wasn’t right and that’s not your fault.”

“But it is my fault,” Rory insisted. “It’s all my fault. I’m the one who flirted with Jess. I’m the one who kissed Jess. I’m the one who called Dean up again and again even after he was married. I’m the one who let him break up with me because I didn’t know how to do it. This is my fault.”

“Hey, come on,” her mother said. “Give Dean some credit. He can screw up his own life as well as anybody.”

“That’s not fair,” Rory sniffled, pulling away.

“No, maybe not,” Lorelai agreed. “But you’re not being fair either. We’re all selfish. Every one of us. We think of ourselves first because that’s how we’re wired. You didn’t love him, Rory. You didn’t but I don’t think you knew that. Dean just figured out it before you did, that’s all. And he did what was best for him and he’s better for it. You both are.”

“But this time--”

“This time, Dean’s father died and he’s stuck back home and you’ve been his friend, okay? That’s all.”

That wasn’t all, it really wasn’t, or maybe it was all and she didn’t want it to be all. Why did life have to be so complicated? Why did there have to be unrequited love and broken hearts and home towns that thought they knew everything but just made everything so much harder? Harder but better and this was where Dean was and she wanted Dean. She didn’t want to be his friend, she didn’t want him to be unhappy and she really didn’t want him to die.

“Okay, I can see your mind going, like, a million miles a minute there. Drink the coffee. Quickly. Maybe it’ll bring some sanity back to you. It’s been a long night.”

A long night. A very long night. A long night after a long day after a long trip home after a long time away after a long time without Dean.

Just plain too long.

And no amount of coffee could make that better.


Clara came back out, eventually. She looked better somehow more tired, exhausted even, but that sort of seemed like an improvement to Rory. Because Clara had been hyper before, awake with her anxiety, with adrenaline born of fear. And if Clara was tired, really exhausted, then the adrenaline was gone. She didn’t have a need for it. And that was surely a good sign.

“He’s okay,” Clara said. “They’re going to keep him here for a bit, but he’s okay.”

“He’s okay?” Rory asked, standing shakily. “Okay okay? Okay how? What is it?”

Clara blinked kind of slowly, tucking her blonde hair behind her ear. “He’s fine,” she said. “Maybe he should tell you. He’s awake. He said he’d like to talk to you.”

Lorelai ran a hand over her back. “See? Everything’s okay. I told you.”

Rory was listening, kind of, but not really quite getting any of it. Not her mother and not Clara and not this hospital she was in and how she couldn’t even remember what day it was.

“He’s in a room,” Clara was saying. “Room 311. Right down the hall. You can’t miss it. My mom went to the cafeteria for breakfast and I’m going there now. Then we’ll check in with Dean and his doctors again.”

Rory nodded--at least, she was pretty sure she nodded. Her head wasn’t really connected to her body anymore. Or maybe it was more her mind wasn’t really in touch with anything anymore; perhaps it existed on a plane all its own or maybe this was an out of body experience while she was still in her body. If that was possible.

Clara was gone and her mother wasn’t there and Rory was walking. So, now she wasn’t just having an out of body experience, she was positively blacking out and missing entire parts of time. That must have been the case, it had to be, because she was standing in front of room 311 and she didn’t really know how she’d gotten there.

Not just in front of room 311 but here. In this hospital, waiting on Dean, back in Stars Hollow, all of it. How had fate brought her through everything--through Chilton, through Yale, through stealing yachts and campaign trails and one of the most read papers in the country. Through Dean and Jess and Dean and Logan and Dean again.

It had to be fate. Didn’t it? Otherwise it didn’t make sense. She hadn’t planned on this. She hadn’t gone through all of it to end up in front of room 311, waiting on Dean Forester.

But why? Why would fate bring her here? Why would it take her from Detroit, from her nonstop onward struggle to excellence? Why would it take her to the store when Dean clutched his chest and passed out?

Fate. What the hell was she talking about?

Fate or no fate, she had to go in.




Posted by: ChristianGateFan (cgf_kat)
Posted at: September 25th, 2009 09:13 pm (UTC)

I love hoe Rory consideres fate, though a big part of her wonders why the hell she's even thinking about it. because she's Rory, and she's rational, and she's not supposed to believe in such things, but it'd beginning to look to her like fate might exsist--and might destine her and Dean to be together...if they can get it right this time. I love Rory, but I'm glad she's realizing how wrong she was so often in the past, especially with how she dealt with Dean, and that she realized it well enough to break down over it. Lorelai, of course, is showing that wonderful, deep, loving, wise side we all know she has, and I love that too, as always. :)

This chapter was beautiful it its way and wonderful...And now I can't wait to know how it goes when she walks into that room!

Thanks! Can't wait for more! :)

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: September 30th, 2009 06:32 pm (UTC)
cute!dean water bottle

Fate became quite the recurring theme in this fic--we have definitely not seen the last of it :) But which way fate takes them is another issue entirely!


Posted by: Dani (pinkphoenix1985)
Posted at: September 26th, 2009 05:17 pm (UTC)

WOW this is a very big thing for Rory- I think that she's finally realizing that she should think about the future because she might not be so cool with following in her mother's footsteps (i.e. staying single).

can't wait for the next part!

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: September 30th, 2009 06:33 pm (UTC)
first last always

Yes--I think Rory will have to discover that maybe all her dreams are not quite what they thought they were. It's a hard thing for anyone to come to terms with, though :)


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