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FF: Broken 3/5 (Repost)

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  • David A. Knapton
    I am reposting this chapter as I found I had place several parts in the wrong order. Title: Broken 3/5 Author: David A. Knapton E-mail: belgin_tei@yahoo.co.uk
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 8, 2007
      I am reposting this chapter as I found I had place several parts in
      the wrong order.

      Title: Broken 3/5
      Author: David A. Knapton

      E-mail: belgin_tei@...

      Archived: GilmoreSlash, Twisting the Hellmouth. If anyone else wants,
      yes, but it is polite to let the author know you are doing so.

      Disclaimer: I own nothing. But if I did I am sure you can guess how
      much difference that would make!

      Spoiler: Season 5 of Buffy and Season 1 of GG starting at the end of
      1.21 Love, Daisies, and Troubadours.

      Rating: 12A/PG-13

      Pairings: Rory/Dean, Lorelai/Max, Lorelai/Buffy.

      Summery: Buffy starts work.

      Notes: I do not remember ever hearing Tobin's surname, so I made one
      up. Most of what is left of this tale is totally AU with occasional
      reference to some season two storylines such as Lorelai's upcoming
      marriage to Max. (My gut tells me this will not happen lol.) And the
      dialogue from the same.

      Thanks so much to my great beta Tamara.

      `' = Thought.

      Feedback: If you wish.

      Please note I am English, so is my spelling. Live with it.

      ----------------------------------------------------------------------

      Lorelai tiptoed down the stairs in an effort not to wake Buffy.
      Reaching the bottom, she began turning towards the kitchen, "You
      don't need to be quiet, I'm awake," announced Buffy, her nostrils
      flaring as her nose took in the scent of Lorelai's earlier arousal.

      Lorelai's hand went to her chest as she turned to look down at the
      blonde, "God Buffy, you could've given me a heart attack."

      "Sorry, couldn't resist, you looked so cute, trying to sneak down the
      stairs, so you wouldn't disturb me."

      `Cute! She thinks I'm cute?' Lorelai could not help blushing. "Ah
      normally, I'm quite good at sneaking down the stairs, had lots of
      practise when I lived with my parents... So I ah was going to get
      some coffee... ah you wanna join me?"

      Buffy threw back the bedclothes and sprang out. "Sure," she said
      stretching.

      Lorelai froze, mesmerised at the sight of the blonde's exposed
      midriff as the baby tee she wore lifted away from her body. It was
      several moments before she realised that Buffy had stopped
      stretching. "Ah right then," she blushed again as she quickly turned
      and hurried towards the kitchen.

      "So do you want me to cook you some breakfast?" asked Buffy entering
      the kitchen behind Lorelai.

      "You know you don't have to do that, right?" Lorelai pointed out.

      "I know. I want to. It makes me feel useful," confessed Buffy pulling
      the bread out, and preparing to make some toast.

      "Well okay. But don't go blaming me if you turn into my little
      homemaker," chuckled Lorelai.

      "Hey, who you calling little," pouted Buffy throwing a slice of bread
      at the brunette making the coffee.

      Lorelai smirked as she caught the bread and pretended to examine
      it, "Well you're not very good at toast. This is all soft and white,"
      she tossed it back to the blonde who placed it in the toaster.

      Lorelai stood with her back to the coffeemaker, unable to pull her
      eyes from the blonde's form as she began pulling various food items
      from the fridge. As Buffy bent forward to retrieve the bacon that had
      slipped to the back, she stuck her backside towards Lorelai who
      blushed, unconsciously licked her lips, as she thought of the dream
      she had only an hour earlier. She turned quickly back to the coffee
      as Buffy turned and carried the food items over to the stove and
      pulled out the pans to start breakfast.

      "So, ready for your first day at the Inn?" asked Lorelai as she
      poured two cups of coffee and offered one to Buffy.

      Buffy smiled as she accepted the coffee while keeping an eye on the
      food, "Thanks. I'm not sure really," she confessed. "I spent a couple
      of months working as a waitress in a diner in LA one summer, nothing
      like Luke's, much more ah big city. But this is my first real job.
      Will I be expected to suck up to the boss," she laughed suddenly.

      Lorelai blushed almost purple at the sudden image that ran through
      her mind. Luckily, Buffy had already turned to flip the bacon and so
      she was able to hide it and turned quickly to refill her cup. "Well
      I'll expect you to be my eyes and ears among the staff. Any rebellion
      must be crushed," she joked.

      "Sorry Lorelai, I'm with the peasants," laughed Buffy. "Up with the
      revolution."

      "Here, here," exclaimed Rory exiting her bedroom, yawning.

      "You're up early honey," commented Lorelai automatically pulling
      another cup out of the cupboard and filling it from the coffeemaker.

      "Yeah. So are you," countered Rory. "Thanks," she said taking the cup
      from her mother and sipping it as she sat at the table.

      "Breakfast?" enquired Buffy looking over to the teenager.

      "Yeah thanks," nodded Rory.

      For the first time, Lorelai noticed her daughter was wearing exactly
      the same amount of clothes as Buffy. She frowned as it occurred to
      her that Rory often wore a baby tee and panties to bed in the
      summer! `So why can't I take my eyes off Buffy if I'm used to Rory
      walking around like that?' she asked herself. `Well duh, she's your
      daughter, incest is a sin... But Buffy hmmm lick her butt...' she
      sighed.

      "Mum, you okay?" asked Rory.

      "What? Oh sorry just thinking something dirty... about Max," Lorelai
      smiled slightly.

      "Eww. Don't wanna know," grimaced Rory.

      "Right there with you Rory," added Buffy, as she placed scrambled
      eggs, bacon and sausages on the plates and placed them in front of
      the two Gilmores before taking her own and sitting opposite the
      teenager. "I found out once, my mum had sex on a police car with my
      Wat... my high school librarian," she said smiling but both Gilmores
      could see it once more did not reach her eyes.

      "That must have been embarrassing," surmised Rory softly.

      "Yeah," sighed Buffy.

      "So I guess now that you're both here, I can give you the news... I
      phoned Max earlier and told him yes, I would marry him."

      "What?" cried Rory happily, jumping up and hugging her mother. "What
      did he say?" she asked as she moved back to her seat.

      "What."

      "What did he say?" Rory repeated herself.

      "What," smirked Lorelai, mischief dancing in her eyes.

      "Mum, what did he say?" frowned Rory in frustration.

      "I told you. What," laughed Lorelai.

      "Huh!" said Rory in total confusion.

      "You really aren't fully awake yet are you kiddo," chuckled
      Lorelai. "He said what when I said yes."

      "Oh he said the word what, when you said you'd marry him, got it,"
      nodded Rory.

      "Right," smiled Lorelai.

      "Congratulations Lorelai," said Buffy softly.

      "Thanks," Lorelai mumbled back.

      --------------

      "So are you gonna join us this morning?" asked Buffy as she stood in
      sweatpants and a t-shirt by the back door waiting for Rory to join
      her for Tai Chi.

      "I don't think so, I'll just content myself with watching while
      drinking coffee," smirked Lorelai.

      "You should join us mum, it's fun," cajoled Rory entering the kitchen
      wearing her own t-shirt and sweatpants.

      "Maybe some other time," replied Lorelai.

      "Really?" pushed Rory.

      "Or probably not."

      "We'll get you to join us, you see if we don't," said Rory stepping
      through the door held open by Buffy.

      Lorelai grabbed one of the chairs and pulled it outside. She sat on
      the back porch sipping her fourth cup of coffee of the morning as
      Buffy started slowly walking her daughter through the same routine
      she had shown her the day before.

      Lorelai forgot her coffee resting on her lap as she watched Buffy.
      Even though she was going slowly to make sure Rory could follow the
      fluid movements, Lorelai had never seen anyone move with so much
      grace!

      --------------

      "So are you coming out?" Lorelai called through the bathroom door.

      "I'll be out in a minute," Buffy called back.

      "Well hurry up already. It won't look very good, if I have to fire
      you for being late on your first day when I'm the one driving you to
      work," laughed Lorelai as she heard the bolt pulled back. `Wow,' she
      thought blushing as Buffy stood in the door in her maid's
      uniform. "You look pretty... presentable," she finished lamely having
      to turn away and headed down the stairs.

      Buffy frowned at the older woman's back as she followed her down the
      stairs.

      "Grandma's going to be so pleased," smirked Rory from the bottom as
      she spied the blonde. "Mum can tell her, we now have a live in maid,"
      she giggled.

      "That's true," mused Lorelai as she eyed Buffy speculatively.

      "Forget it you two," stated Buffy her hands on her hips. "I
      appreciate everything both of you are doing but no way am I cleaning
      up behind you."

      "But you're so good at laundry and cooking," pouted Lorelai making
      Rory laugh even more.

      "Weren't you the one that said we were going to be late?" said Buffy
      changing the subject.

      "Okay, let's go," said Lorelai grabbing her keys and heading for the
      door. "Bye honey, see you later," she called out to her daughter.

      "Bye," called back Rory. "Buffy," she said, the blonde turned to
      regard the teenager. "Good luck on your first day... Everything's
      going to work out."

      Buffy smiled a little lopsided, "I hope so Rory."

      --------------

      "Lorelai, you're in early this morning," said a smallish brown haired
      man from behind the desk as Lorelai led Buffy into the lobby.

      "Hi Tobin. I'm in early to show Buffy around," Lorelai gestured to
      the blonde, "She's taking over from Julie, while she's on maternity
      leave. So Tobin, meet Buffy Summers. Buffy this is Tobin Sellers, the
      Inn's night manager," she introduced them.

      "Nice to meet you Buffy," smiled Tobin coming around the desk and
      holding his hand out.

      "And you Tobin... It's okay to call you Tobin, right?" said Buffy
      shaking the offered hand. "Or do I call you sir or Mr Sellers?"

      Tobin laughed, "Tobin's fine. I'm sure Lorelai's told you we're just
      one big family around here."

      "Yes, just wait until you meet Michel, the black sheep of the
      Independence Inn family," chuckled Lorelai. "Come on, I'll show you
      the most important room in the place," she smiled leading the
      way. "See you later, Tobin," she called out as she pushed the door to
      the kitchen open.

      "Hey Sookie," Lorelai greeted a short fat woman who stood chopping
      something at a counter. "This is Buffy, the woman I told you about,
      the one that's staying with Rory and me for a while."

      Sookie wiped her hands on the cloth tucked into her waistband and
      turned to offer her hand. "Hi, I'm Sookie St. James," she smiled.

      "Pleased to meet you Sookie. So Lorelai tells me you have the second
      best coffee in town..."

      "Buffy you weren't supposed to tell Sookie that part," Lorelai stage
      whispered to the blonde.

      "So my coffee is only second best," Sookie mock growled her eyes
      narrowing. "Maybe I should stop making it then!"

      "Oh no Sookie, you make great coffee, you know I love your coffee,
      please don't cut me off," pleaded Lorelai dramatically.

      "Oh alright," chuckled Sookie. "I assume you know Lorelai is addicted
      to coffee?"

      "Yeah. I figured that out after her third cup over breakfast on
      Saturday," nodded Buffy.

      "Hey I'll have you know my coffee addiction is one of my most
      endearing qualities," pouted Lorelai before deliberately walking over
      and pouring her and Buffy a cup each.

      "Aren't you supposed to be showing me around?" asked Buffy as she
      took the cup.

      "Lorelai always finds time for coffee," laughed Sookie turning back
      to the vegetables she was chopping.

      "Of course," agreed Lorelai. "So guess who said yes to a marriage
      proposal this morning."

      "Who?" asked Sookie. Lorelai just stood there and arched an
      eyebrow. "No!"

      "Yes," smirked Lorelai.

      "No!"

      "Yes."

      "No!"

      "Yes, Sookie."

      "Oh my god," squealed Sookie suddenly hugging her friend. "What
      happened? I want all the details," she gushed happily.

      Buffy wandered over to the kitchen door leading into the grounds,
      desperately trying not to hear Lorelai tell Sookie about her and Max.

      --------------

      Buffy had just finished her first shift and was now in need of coffee
      before heading back to the Gilmore's house. She was happily surprised
      that the staff had not bombarded her with questions! The other maids
      were nice and Abigail, her immediate boss, had shown her the ropes
      after Lorelai had been called away. Her main duties centred on
      servicing the guests' rooms and helping to serve breakfast, and lunch
      if they were shorthanded, but that day there was no need.

      She left the silly cap and apron, she had been required to wear while
      serving breakfast in the women's locker room and headed for the
      kitchen. Sookie had been very nice to her, and waved off the couple
      of mistakes she had made during breakfast, telling her that she would
      get the hang of it in no time.

      Buffy would have liked to work longer as it gave her very little time
      to brood on her troubles but decided that she should at least try
      walking through the town on her own. Also, she had told Lorelai that
      she planned on cooking again that night, so she would need to stop at
      the market anyway.

      "Hey Sookie," she smiled as she entered the kitchen, heading straight
      for the coffee.

      Buffy had only taken a step towards her destination, when Sookie
      turned to acknowledge the blonde. Somehow, as she turned, her feet
      went from under her and she fell onto her back, the large knife she
      held went straight up and then began to plummet, point first, towards
      her face. Having had the wind knocked out of her, Sookie lay there
      stunned, watching the knife in slow motion as it came towards her.
      Then it suddenly stopped less than an inch from her eye. She blinked
      several times as the knife was quickly moved away from her face. That
      was when she realised that Buffy had somehow caught the knife before
      it could hit her.

      "Sookie, are you okay?" asked Buffy as several of her assistances
      joined the blonde around the prone woman. Buffy put the knife onto
      the counter and tried again, "Sookie are you okay? Do you have any
      pain anywhere?"

      Sookie shook her head, "No. No, I'm fine, I just knocked the wind out
      of myself, I'll be fine," she said holding her hands out to two of
      her staff to help her up.

      "Are you sure?" asked Buffy, worry on her face as she helped aid
      Sookie to her feet.

      "Yeah I'm fine... Thanks to you! How did you move so fast to catch
      the knife?" Sookie asked curiously.

      "No idea," lied Buffy. "Maybe it's like the times you hear about
      people picking up cars to rescue trapped people, only I was able to
      move fast instead of pick things up!"

      "Yeah I guess," nodded Sookie. "Anyway, thanks."

      "My pleasure. Anyway, if you're okay, I'll get going," smiled Buffy
      having decided to leave before someone could start questioning her.
      As she headed back through the door, she looked back, "Hey, you could
      always join Rory and me in Tai Chi sometime, maybe help your
      coordination, stop you having so many mishaps!"

      "Not really built for Tai Chi," chuckled Sookie, "But thanks anyway."

      "Okay then, but if you change your mind we start at six each morning.
      Bye Sookie see you tomorrow."

      --------------

      Buffy stood a little apprehensively at the edge of the square,
      quietly observing the various townspeople moving around, all with
      their own concerns but still having time to stop and converse with
      their fellows!

      "Are you okay?" came a male voice.

      Buffy turned to see a tall youth, "I'm fine thanks," she told him.

      "I haven't seen you around before."

      Buffy shook her head as she looked back to the square, "Only arrived
      in town on Friday, I think!"

      "You think?" prompted the boy.

      "Doesn't matter."

      "Ah okay," said the boy coming up to stand next to her. "It takes a
      little getting used to if you're from out of town," he mused. "I'm
      Dean by the way," he introduced himself.

      "Figured you were," smirked Buffy craning her neck to look up at the
      boy. "I'm Buffy."

      "I figured that too," smiled Dean. "You've been the talk of town for
      the last two days. Thanks for that," he laughed lightly.

      "Huh?"

      "Took the heat off Rory and me. We broke up a while back and only
      just got back together, a lot of the gossip around here used to be
      about us... well me mostly."

      "What, because Rory's the town princess?" laughed Buffy.

      "Something like that," mused Dean. "So are you going into the lion's
      den?"

      "Well unless I wanna sleep here tonight, it's go through the square
      or go through a lot of backyards to get home!" she laughed a little
      nervously. "Plus I planned on stopping at the market... Hey you work
      there right," she smirked looking up at him again. Dean nodded. "Any
      chance you could sneak me in the back," she asked.

      "Sorry, Taylor wouldn't like that," he chuckled.

      "That's what I figured," sighed Buffy as she began walking towards
      Doose's market.

      She was grateful that Dean was by her side. "So Rory says you're
      staying for awhile?" he said.

      "Hopefully. Hafta see! So you're from a big city as well, I hear?"
      asked Buffy as they passed several townspeople and tried to ignore
      their stares.

      "Yeah, moved here from Chicago last summer when my dad got a job as
      the foreman for a trucking company. So where are you from?"

      "I lived in LA most of my life, then lived in a small town called
      Sunnydale about two hours north of there," replied Buffy.

      "Oh so you're used to small town living?" surmised Dean.

      Buffy could not help the laugh escaping her lips as she shook her
      head, "Sunnydale is nothing like Stars Hollow... It has ah... gangs
      killing people, kidnappings, you name it..." she stopped as she
      realised she probably should not have said what she did!

      "Is that why you left?" asked Dean a little shocked. Being from a
      large city, he had grown up with the knowledge of the violence that
      seemed to plague them. But had never envisaged it happening in a
      small town!

      "Partly," replied Buffy vaguely as they reached the market.

      Ten minutes later, Buffy was exiting the store carrying a bag of
      groceries.

      "Hello dear. How are you today?" asked Miss Patty as she and another
      woman met the blonde at the door.

      "I'm fine, thanks for asking," answered Buffy a little nervously.

      "Oh, this is Babette Dell, she lives next door to you," Miss Patty
      smiled reassuringly.

      "Nice to see you recovered from the other night, sugar," said Babette.

      Buffy smiled back as Miss Patty gently kicked her friend, "Yeah, just
      a bad dream. Well if you'll excuse me, I need to get back with the
      groceries. It was nice talking to you. Bye," she said beginning to
      walk away.

      "And you too dear," Miss Patty called back.

      --------------

      "Max stopped me as I was leaving school and asked me to give you a
      message," said Rory as Lorelai met her at the bus stop.

      "Oh conspiring against me already?"

      "Yes, all part of my plan to take over the town," giggled Rory. "He's
      not going to be able to make it today. Headmaster Charleston wanted
      him to attend some meeting which he doesn't think will finish until
      about eight."

      "Oh okay. I'll phone him later," replied Lorelai.

      "You should get married in Italy," Rory declared suddenly going off
      tangent.

      "Way too far from home. Change topics please. There's tons of stuff
      going on in the world. Big stuff," Lorelai pointed out.

      "Like?" asked Rory.

      "Balkans."

      "That was ages ago. Read a paper," smiled Rory.

      "Ugh. They make my hands black."

      "Oh! You should walk down the aisle to Frank Sinatra with a huge
      bouquet of something that smells really good."

      "Pot Roast," suggested Lorelai.

      "And you should wear a long veil with your hair up," continued Rory.

      "Ugh, I'll take any other subject in the world for two hundred,
      Alex," frowned Lorelai.

      "Why don't you want to think about this?" asked Rory curiously.

      "I don't know! I think maybe I'm a little overwhelmed!"

      "I think the bridesmaids should be able to pick their own dresses,"
      added Rory.

      "You know how on All in the Family when Edith would be yapping about
      something and Archie would pretend to make a noose and hang himself
      or shoot himself in the head?"

      "Yeah?" frowned Rory.

      "I don't know. Something about this moment just made me think of
      that," mused Lorelai.

      "Fine, I'm done," sighed Rory. She looked around for a moment
      realising they were not heading towards Luke's. "Where're we going?"

      "Home," replied Lorelai as she opened the driver's door of the
      jeep. "Buffy's cooking again, and anyway I don't want too leave her
      alone to long. She seems to be getting better but still... And I like
      that she cooks for us."

      "Yeah but you shouldn't take advantage of her," chided Rory climbing
      in the other side of the jeep.

      "I'm trying not to!" said Lorelai her eyes taking on a distant look
      for a moment before she smiled across at her daughter. "But hey, you
      tasted her spaghetti and meatballs when you got in Saturday night!
      Rory, we have our own live-in cook. As Gilmores we are supposed to
      take advantage, it's the family motto; your grandmother would disown
      us if we don't."

      "Okay, but you do your own laundry," said Rory firmly.

      "But ma," whined Lorelai.

      --------------

      "We're home," Lorelai called out as they came through the front door.

      "Kitchen," shouted Buffy.

      "Oh there's our little homemaker," smirked Lorelai as they joined the
      blonde. Buffy arched her eyebrow. "Ah not little, ah... petite...
      Still bad?" she stammered. Buffy nodded her head as Rory stifled a
      laugh. "How's compact?"

      Buffy rolled her eyes, "All the same, Lorelai," she pointed
      out. "Dinner will be ready in about an hour. I figured you'd go to
      Luke's first!"

      "Ah no, sorry," said Lorelai.

      It was then that something occurred to Rory. "You haven't told Luke
      yet, have you?" she surmised.

      "No, not yet. I just haven't had the time."

      "Yes you have. You would have finished work at least an hour before
      you met me at the bus stop!"

      "Okay," conceded Lorelai. "It's just... I don't know how to tell him
      okay," she sighed.

      "`Cause you have a thing for him," smirked Rory.

      "Ah no," disagreed Lorelai shaking her head. "But you're always
      saying he has a thing for me. So I don't want to hurt his feelings
      okay," she said seriously.

      "Yeah okay mum. We'll just have to break it to him gently," nodded
      Rory in understanding. "Well if there's an hour until dinner, I'll
      start my homework."

      --------------

      "You really are a good cook, Buffy," Rory complemented the blonde as
      she tasted the fluffy mashed potato.

      "Thanks," smiled Buffy sitting opposite the teenager.

      "Yeah, I thought you said your culinary endeavours were restricted to
      just spaghetti and meatballs and Chilli?" mused Lorelai.

      "Well I asked Sookie for some tips and I picked up a basic cookbook
      from the market," admitted Buffy looking down at her plate a little
      embarrassed.

      "Well you're taking to it like a duck to water," smiled Lorelai.

      "Thanks," replied Buffy a little shy smile on her face. "I just want
      to be able to pay you back for the help you're giving me."

      "Well if there were any doubts about helping you before today, which
      there weren't, you more than dispelled them when you saved Sookie,"
      Lorelai smiled warmly.

      "Why? What happened to Sookie? Is she okay?" asked Rory in panic.

      "She's fine honey, thanks to Buffy," Lorelai assured her daughter.

      "I only did what anyone would have," explained Buffy blushing a
      little.

      "Not what I heard. According to Manny, you moved so fast it seemed
      that one moment you were by the door, the next you were standing over
      Sookie holding the knife," Lorelai pointed out with awe in her
      voice. "You saved Sookie's life."

      "It was like I told Sookie. It was probably like the times you hear
      about people lifting cars to save people but I just moved fast,"
      explained Buffy.

      "Maybe it has something to do with Tai Chi, how I saw you moving so
      fast when you did it on Saturday," suggested Rory.

      "I suppose it could be," agreed Lorelai before turning back to the
      blonde. "But however you managed it. Thank you for saving Sookie for
      me."

      "Ah okay," blushed Buffy turning her attention back to her food.

      Rory exchanged a knowing smile with her mother as they both let the
      matter drop.

      --------------

      "Lorelai!" called out Miss Patty as she spotted Lorelai walking past
      Doose's with Rory and Buffy the next morning.

      "Oh hi Patty," Lorelai greeted her.

      "So..." prompted Miss Patty.

      "So Patty," smiled Lorelai.

      "You said yes!"

      "How did you know?" asked Lorelai glancing at her two companions.

      "Oh ah someone told me," Miss Patty threw a quick guilty glance at
      Rory, "But I can't remember who!"

      Lorelai looked at her daughter, who blushed, "Hey maybe Babette
      overheard us talking yesterday morning... You know how thin the walls
      of our house are?"

      "Uh huh," smirked Lorelai nodded before looking back at Miss
      Patty. "I said yes."

      "She said yes," smiled Miss Patty happily looking at Rory.

      "I know!" nodded Rory a big smile on her own face.

      "I'm right here," said Lorelai. "And the little stoolpigeon hasn't
      got any more to say."

      "Hey, I'm no squealer. It was Babette I tell ya," pouted Rory
      dramatically making Buffy laugh.

      "He's a good man?" enquired Miss Patty drawing Lorelai back to her.

      "Oh yeah," nodded Lorelai, "He's a good man."

      "Oh I love this!" declared Miss Patty. "I just love this! Have you
      told Luke?"

      "Well, no, it just happened yesterday," pointed out Lorelai, Miss
      Patty gave her a look, "Oh Patty, stop it. I'll tell him. It's not
      that big a deal if he just finds out."

      "Well, whatever you say."

      "Well, uh, it just so happens we are on our way over there now to
      have some breakfast, and I'll tell Luke then," stated Lorelai.

      "Be gentle," advised Miss Patty.

      "Patty, me and Luke are just friends," insisted Lorelai.

      "Just friends. Yes, yes, I know," nodded Miss Patty not looking
      convinced.

      "It's true," insisted Lorelai.

      "Okay let's go," prodded Rory looping her arm with her mother's.

      The three started walking towards Luke's again. Buffy arched her
      eyebrow as she sensed people following them.

      "Well it is," added Lorelai looking at her daughter.

      "I know," reassured Rory gently patting her mother's arm.

      "What is it with this place? Why will nobody believe me?" sighed
      Lorelai.

      "I believe you Lorelai," interrupted Buffy, she was not sure how she
      knew but she did!

      "Thanks," Lorelai smiled a little shyly at the blonde.

      "They believe you," Rory reassured her mother.

      "No they don't," pouted Lorelai.

      "I promise they believe you."

      "You are pacifying me," Lorelai frowned at her daughter.

      "Just a little," agreed Rory.

      "Well, I don't like it," sighed Lorelai as they reached the diner. "I
      can't wait for the movie theatre to reopen," she said as the three
      sat at a table and glanced at the group of townspeople with their
      faces pressed to the outside of the window.

      "I thought you said this town didn't have a movie theatre?" asked
      Buffy.

      "Well it hasn't, but that just seemed like the thing to say!"
      chuckled Lorelai. She picked up the menu and began to browse
      it, "Hmm. Let's see, what looks good. I'm so unbelievably hungry, I'm
      gonna have to order breakfast and lunch, crazy huh?"

      "Mum, go tell him," Rory prodded again nodding towards Luke behind
      the counter.

      "I will," nodded Lorelai not looking away from the menu.

      "Now," insisted Rory.

      "Why?"

      "Because in five minutes, somebody's going to be pushed through the
      window," added Buffy. Silently betting with herself that it would be
      Kirk who was at that moment pinned between Miss Patty and Babette.

      "This is crazy. Why is everybody making such a big deal about this?"
      asked Lorelai.

      "Because everyone knows that Luke has a thing for you," Rory reminded
      her.

      "Luke does not have a thing for me," insisted Lorelai, although her
      voice lacked any conviction.

      "Tell him," Rory said firmly.

      "Uh, we can barely get through a single conversation without biting
      each other's heads off."

      "Lorelai maybe you should tell him. If he does have feelings for you,
      it might hurt him if he hears it from someone else," said Buffy.

      "Everything about me repulses that man. My coffee drinking, my eating
      habits. Remember when I called him Ranger Bob last week he hated
      that!" mused Lorelai.

      "Will you get me a muffin when you're up there?" asked Rory.

      "Me too please, Lorelai," added Buffy.

      "Okay. God. Fine," sighed Lorelai getting up and heading over to the
      counter. "Hey," she greeted Luke.

      "Fresh coffee will be ready in a minute unless you wanna just roll up
      a dollar bill and go nuts," smirked Luke.

      "No thanks, I can wait."

      Just then, Luke noticed the people at the window, "What the hell's
      going on with them?"

      "Oh, I don't know," answered Lorelai somewhat flustered.

      "Crazy people. Whole town should be medicated and put in a rec room
      with ping pong tables and hand puppets," snapped Luke before noticing
      that Lorelai seemed nervous. "What?"

      "Nothing. I..." stammered Lorelai. "Well, I have something to tell
      you. No I have something to share with you actually."

      "To share with me," frowned Luke.

      "Yes, 'cause when exciting things happen in your life, you want to
      share them with the people in your life who you think will find them
      exciting, which I think you will."

      "What is it?"

      "Well, it's very..."

      "Exciting," interrupted Luke. "I've heard. I'm all prepared to jump
      up and down if necessary."

      "Okay, here it is. Um, Max has asked me to marry him and I said yes,"
      Lorelai said quickly hoping to get the outburst over with.

      "Yeah, I figured," nodded Luke his face unreadable.

      "Oh. You did?" replied Lorelai a little surprised at his calmness.

      "Congratulations by the way," Luke smiled a little.

      "Thank you."

      "Have you set a date?"

      "No not yet. Uh, I guess I'll just have three blueberry muffins and
      some coffee," pouted Lorelai.

      "Coming right up," said Luke putting three cups on the counter and
      beginning to fill them.

      "Okay."

      "You know, I think it's good you're doing this," mused Luke.

      "You do? Good... me too!"

      "Where you gonna live?"

      "What?" frowned Lorelai.

      "Here? Hartford?" Luke clarified.

      "Here... I don't know, we haven't talked about it actually," admitted
      Lorelai.

      "Hartford's probably good, closer to Rory's school," Luke pointed out.

      "Oh, yeah, I guess," mused Lorelai.

      "Of course, it is a little far from the Inn."

      "Uh, yeah," nodded Lorelai.

      "But who knows how long you'll work after you're married."

      "Excuse me?" frowned Lorelai.

      "Oh, but you probably already talked about that, right?"

      "Uh, no, but I do think he and my father have come to an agreement on
      how many goats I'm worth," replied Lorelai sarcastically.

      "Hey, I'm just talking here. It's great, really. You gonna have more
      kids?"

      "Hey! Personal."

      "I mean, he wants kids right?" asked Luke.

      "In the world? Yes, he wants kids."

      "You haven't talked about that either," surmised Luke.

      "Okay, you know what we have and have not discussed is none of your
      business," snapped Lorelai.

      "Joint checking accounts?"

      "Luke!"

      "You do know his last name don't you?" asked Luke amusement dancing
      in his eyes.

      "Luke."

      "Fine, it's your business."

      "Yes it is. It's my business," agreed Lorelai.

      "Hey, some people go their entire lives without having these kinds of
      conversations. My parents didn't discuss a damn thing my entire
      childhood. Worked fine for them. Of course, when my mum died she
      hadn't told my dad where the coupon drawer was. Took him ten years to
      find it. Used a coffee can the whole time."

      "Okay."

      "I don't care what anybody says, a coupon can is not as good as a
      coupon drawer."

      "How are those muffins coming?" asked Lorelai her eyes flashing.

      "But you know what, you might like a coupon can. You never know. Here
      you go. Three blueberry muffins," he handed her the food.

      "Thank you," said Lorelai with relief in her voice as she returned to
      the table. "Now what's going on?" she asked noticing that the crowd
      had moved away from the window and were now looking at the ground
      below it.

      "Kirk passed out," giggled Rory.

      "Here's your muffins," said Lorelai placing one in front of each of
      the other two table occupants.

      "Thanks. How'd he take it?" asked Buffy.

      "Fine, he took it fine," mused Lorelai.

      --------------

      Lorelai held the phone to her ear as she walked out onto the back
      porch.

      "Hello?" answered Max.

      "Where are we gonna live?" Lorelai asked a little catch in her voice.

      "Lorelai?" Max asked in a puzzled tone.

      "Where are we gonna live?" she repeated.

      "Well, I..."

      "Your house, my house?"

      "I don't know," confessed Max.

      "I mean, we should figure this stuff out. I have a life and a kid,
      and both of them require a house of some sort," Lorelai continued to
      rant.

      "Okay, but..."

      "And I have stuff. I have a lot of stuff. You haven't seen my closet
      yet, but you would not believe the amount of stuff one person can
      accumulate. I don't even know what this stuff is, but it's there and
      it's mine and it needs a place to live."

      "Well..."

      "And I want to work," stated Lorelai.

      "What?" frowned Max.

      "And I like my bank."

      "Okay hold on," said Max trying to calm her down so he could at least
      try to answer some of her worries.

      "It's small and the teller's name is Margie and she can't count,"
      ranted Lorelai. "And I think there's something so poetic about
      banking at a place where the teller can't count."

      "Lorelai," cried Max.

      "What?" pouted Lorelai.

      "Calm down. Talk to me."

      "It's just... If I die, I want you to know where the coupon drawer
      is."

      "Well, I would like that too. I think," frowned Max.

      "Well, we need to figure these things out before..."

      "Before we get married," finished Max.

      "Well, these are important things to discuss," Lorelai pointed out.

      "I agree. They're extremely important things to discuss."

      "So my house, your house?"

      --------------

      "So all sorted out?" Buffy asked from the couch as Lorelai hung up
      the phone.

      Lorelai was still not sure how she felt about the whole Max and her
      thing but managed a smile as she joined the blonde on the
      couch. "Yeah, pretty much. My house, separate bank accounts as well
      as a joint one for all the bills. We'll keep most of my furniture but
      he insists that we have his couch and have more shelves for all the
      books he has, which will make Rory very happy," she chuckled.

      "Well that's good, no offence but a new couch would be good," nodded
      Buffy. "So what about the date?"

      "Ah no, not yet," mused Lorelai realising that she had not wanted to
      commit to a particular date.

      "Well if I'm going to stay in town for any amount of time, I better
      start looking for a place of my own sooner rather than later."

      "No you don't," said Lorelai a little panic in her voice. "It might
      be a year or more before Max and I get married. Please stay."

      "Okay," nodded Buffy watching Lorelai's face break into a happy
      smile. "But you know this, me staying here, is only temporary right?
      Just let me know when you need me out, okay?"

      Lorelai nodded, "Yeah okay."

      --------------

      Buffy was busy preparing dinner and Lorelai was seated at the table
      reading the paper when Rory came in and dropped heavily into one of
      the chairs. "I have no wilderness skills. How am I supposed to get
      into Harvard, if I have no wilderness skills?" she asked looking at
      her mother.

      "I don't know honey," smiled Lorelai. "Maybe you'll have to give up
      your dream of majoring in logging."

      Buffy laughed a little at the pouting teenager before her face fell
      as she imagined her sister having a similar look on numerous
      occasions. Blinking rapidly, to clear away the tears that now stood
      in her eyes. She turned her attention back to the meal she was
      preparing.

      "I called the Fireflies," Rory continued to rant as neither Gilmore
      saw Buffy's reactions. "Do they need troop leaders? Yes. Good, I'll
      be a troop leader. Great. The only catch is it's summer. Camping
      season. I need wilderness skills. Why did you never take me camping?"

      "Camping? Are you kidding?" laughed Lorelai. "I couldn't get you to
      step on wet grass until you were three."

      "If you had taken me camping, I'd have wilderness skills," Rory
      pointed out logically.

      "Well, I'll tell you what. I'll take you upstairs. I'll throw you out
      the window. If you manage to grab the tree, I'll be your witness,"
      smirked Lorelai.

      "I called the Sunnyside Home," continued Rory determined to get her
      mother to understand how important this was to her chances to get
      into Harvard. "Do they need any volunteers? And believe it or not,
      they don't, but they do need an accordion player for their Friday
      night polka party."

      "How come I never forced you to learn the accordion?" surmised
      Lorelai.

      "The library was closed. I can call them tomorrow, but they only have
      twelve books, so I'm not counting on that. The tutoring program at
      Chilton is still taking names. I guess I can do that but..."

      "Honey, calm down," said Lorelai placing her hand on her daughter's.

      "I'm not prepared," cried Rory. "I will never catch up."

      "You will catch up, but not in one night. You've made your lists and
      your calls, why don't you relax and call Dean to come over?"
      suggested Lorelai.

      "We're in a fight," sighed Rory.

      "Why?" frowned Lorelai.

      "Because you never took me camping," snipped Rory.

      "Oh boy, I am really sucking tonight," pouted Lorelai.

      "We were supposed to hang out and I told him I couldn't and he got
      mad and we're in a fight," Rory explained.

      "Ugh. Well, listen, why don't I cancel on Max tonight and I'll hang
      out here with you and Buffy. We can make popcorn and reminisce about
      how I never forced you to become a missionary," suggested Lorelai.

      "No, I'm fine. I just need to focus on this; I'll come up with
      something!" Rory shook her head as she stood up. "I'm going to
      change," she said heading for her room.

      "Well, I can help," offered Lorelai. "Buffy too."

      "No, I need to do this alone," Rory shook her head as she glanced
      back from her door.

      "Are you sure?"

      "I'm sure," answered Rory closing her door.

      "Okay, but listen, I would reconsider calling Dean. It's not his
      fault that you're so fabulous he can't think about anything else,"
      Lorelai raised her voice.

      "Mum," cried Rory through the door.

      "I mean, he just sits in his room, eating Fruit Loops out of the box,
      saying your name over and over and over," laughed Lorelai.

      "Rory, I love you Rory. Rory, I will not be ignored Rory..." Buffy
      joined in trying to deepen her voice in an attempt to sound more
      masculine.

      "Quit it," exclaimed Rory opening her door and sticking her head out
      to look at the two grinning women.

      "Okay," smirked Lorelai before turning to Buffy, "Oh Rory, please
      don't ignore me, my Rory," she hammed it up.

      "You're impossible," pouted Rory closing her door again as the two
      adults laughed.

      --------------

      Rory came bouncing out of her room less than half an hour later, a
      big smile on her face. "Mum, tomorrow I'm going to build a house,"
      she declared.

      "Is there a pill?" smirked Buffy.

      "You're building a house?" smiled Lorelai, "Hon. we already have a
      house."

      "It's a Rebuilding Together thing for the needy," explained Rory.

      "Oh so you're building a house for the needy," grinned Lorelai
      getting an image of her daughter in a set of pink dungarees trying to
      lift a huge hammer.

      "Help build a house," corrected Rory.

      "Did you tell them that there's a light bulb in your closet that
      burned out in '97 that you still haven't changed?" asked Lorelai.

      "It's for charity," Rory pointed out.

      "Wow, don't those people have enough problems without having you as a
      contractor?" chuckled Lorelai.

      "I'm sure there will be real construction workers there," countered
      Rory.

      "Oh."

      "I will be assisting, I will be helping out those less fortunate than
      myself, I will be getting college credit and this is the end of this
      particular conversation," stated Rory firmly.

      "You're right," nodded Lorelai, "It's a good thing. Nice, keeps your
      halo shiny."

      --------------

      Lorelai poured coffee into a cup as Rory came out of her room having
      changed from her Tai Chi clothes into blue dungarees, much to
      Lorelai's disappointment.

      "Time?" asked Rory.

      "8:30," replied Lorelai.

      "I'm late," sighed Rory heading for the door.

      "Hold on, coffee!" cried Lorelai.

      "Thanks. I'll see you tonight," said Rory turning to go.

      "Wait, one sec. Buffy and I have something for you," explained
      Lorelai as Buffy smiling at the teenager, joined her.

      "Mum, I have to be there in twenty minutes."

      "We know, but we made you something really cool," smiled Buffy.

      "Can't it wait 'til tonight?"

      "It won't be cool tonight," explained Lorelai.

      "What do you mean it won't be cool tonight? What loses its cool
      factor in twelve hours?"

      "This," smiled Lorelai triumphantly pulling a hammer from behind her
      back and holding it up. At least Rory thought it was a hammer but
      could not be sure as it was covered in pink decorations.

      "What is that?" asked Rory.

      "A hammer," replied Buffy, both her and Lorelai grinning like idiots.

      "It has feathers on it," Rory pointed out looking at it closely.

      "Yes," nodded Lorelai.

      "Why?" frowned Rory.

      "Buffy thought the rhinestones and bows would feel lonely," answered
      Lorelai.

      "What do you want me to do with it?" edged Rory.

      "Build a really pretty house," declared Lorelai.

      "How long is it gonna take me to talk you both out of giving that to
      me?" sighed Rory.

      Lorelai smirked, "Forty minutes..."

      "An hour tops," finished Buffy.

      "Hand it over," sighed Rory.

      "Call me when you get home, and please be careful," ordered Lorelai
      as the two women followed the teenager towards the door.

      "I will," Rory assured her mother.

      "I mean it Timmy, no falling down the well," chuckled Lorelai.

      "Bye," Rory said as she started opening the door.

      "Bye," the two women said.

      As Rory opened front door, she found Lane standing there with a box
      in hand and three others on the porch, "Oh, geez, you scared me," she
      told her friend putting her hand to her chest.

      "Sorry. Where you going?" asked Lane.

      "I'm doing that Rebuilding Together thing today," Rory reminded her
      friend.

      "Right," nodded Lane. "I'll be fast," she placed the box she held
      inside the door. "Okay. Here's my CD's, my 'zines, my posters, my
      books, three of your sweaters, and one Diva Glam lipstick," she began
      transferring the other boxes into the hallway. "I need to leave them
      here while I'm in Korea because my mother's bound to search my room
      and if she finds them, she'll throw them out. And then spend the rest
      of the summer praying for my soul."

      "I'll treat them like my own," smiled Rory.

      "Okay, now. This is the Lane Kim retrieval kit. It contains the phone
      number of my cousins in Korea, a map of the house I'll be staying at,
      a picture of me now and a mock-up of me in 6 months."

      "You've lost some weight," Rory noted.

      "Now, this is that name of that guy at the American Consulate, and
      several important Korean phrases written out phonetically, you
      know, 'Help', 'Have you seen this girl,' 'Comes from money', et
      cetera..."

      "Still no return date info from the parents?" surmised Rory as Buffy
      helped her mother move the boxes into Rory's room.

      "Nope, but they did buy me a winter coat," pouted Lane.

      "When are you going?" asked Rory.

      "Right after your mum's engagement par..."

      "Shhhh!" hissed Rory glancing behind her.

      "Do you think she heard me?" whispered Lane.

      "I don't think so," Rory shook her head. "No, she'd be in here
      grilling us for details if she had."

      "She wouldn't have pretended not to have heard so she wouldn't kill
      the surprise?" asked Lane.

      "And risk clashing with the decor?" Rory pointed out.

      "Right. Okay, I gotta go," said Lane.

      "Hey, Henry?" Rory suddenly remembered.

      "Called him."

      "And?"

      "He likes me. He's perfect," smiled Lane before sobering, "I'll never
      see him again. You'll read about it in my novel, A Connecticut Yankee
      in Pusan," she cried hurrying away.

      --------------

      Jackson walked through the kitchen door of the Inn, carrying a crate
      of Brussel sprouts as Buffy stood with Lorelai taking their
      break. "Prepare yourself for the most gorgeous Brussel sprouts
      ever..."

      "Lorelai's getting married!" Sookie cried out before glancing over to
      Lorelai, "I'm sorry, but I love saying that! Married, married,
      married!" she sing-songed.

      "Oh, that's great," replied Jackson. "Congratulations," he swallowed.

      "Thanks Jackson," Lorelai smirked at the nervous man.

      "Uh, hey, do you wanna look at the Brussel sprouts?" Jackson asked
      offering the box to Sookie.

      "Yes, I do," giggled Sookie. "No. Ooh, what about some nice Brussel
      sprouts with like a garlic olive oil for the wedding? That sounds
      like a 'til death do us part' kind of side dish, doesn't it?" she
      suggested looking at Lorelai.

      "Well except for the whole garlic breath thing," Buffy pointed out.

      "Yeah, I wouldn't know," added Jackson.

      "Well, what do you think is the most romantic vegetable?" asked
      Sookie.

      "Carrot," said Buffy aloud before she could stop herself. She blushed
      a deep red as she looked at the laughing Lorelai, "Ah didn't mean to
      say that..."

      "That's okay hon," whispered Lorelai. "I was thinking the same."

      "You know, I'm the wrong guy to ask," swallowed Jackson as an image
      of the three women all holding large carrots in a provocative way
      jumped into his head.

      "You're the vegetable guy," Sookie pointed out.

      "Yeah, but the normal vegetable guy, not the romantic vegetable guy.
      I mean, I would have no idea what an appropriate vegetable would be
      to serve at a wedding. I've never even been to a wedding... One, my
      cousin BonBon. Yes, that's his real name... And I didn't stay long,
      and I didn't notice the vegetables, so I would not be the guy to ask
      about wedding vegetables. I'm not the wedding vegetable guy!"
      stammered Jackson before hurrying back out the door.

      "Uh oh," chuckled Lorelai. "Jackson's got panicked `my girlfriend
      wants me to get married' face on."

      "Oh he's your boyfriend," asked Buffy looking at Sookie.

      "Yup," smirked Sookie. "Hey, next time he's here, tell him that
      you're pregnant."

      "With twins," suggested Lorelai.

      "Why not?" laughed Sookie.

      "You two are so evil," said Buffy shaking her head but unable to keep
      from smirking herself.

      --------------

      Buffy was just placing the food onto the plates when there was a
      knock at the front door.

      "That must be Max," surmised Lorelai getting up to open the door. She
      smiled at him as she opened it wide, "Hey Max," she said accepting a
      small kiss from the man. "Buffy is just putting out dinner."

      "Buffy. Who's Buffy?" asked Max following his fiancée into the
      kitchen.

      "Buffy's staying with Rory and me for awhile," explained Lorelai as
      she stepped aside so Max could see the blonde. "Buffy Summers met Max
      Medina."

      Buffy knew it was irrational but she did not like the man but managed
      to put on a smile for Lorelai's sake. "Pleased to meet you, call me
      Buffy," she greeted Max walking forward with her hand extended.

      "A pleasure, and likewise call me Max. So you're staying with Lorelai
      that must be fun?"

      "Yes it is," nodded Buffy resisting the urge to crush his hand as she
      shook it. "So I hope you're okay with baked potato, green beans and
      pork chops?"

      "I am but I'm not sure what my late Jewish grandparents would say,"
      he smiled.

      "Okay then, it's ready now," said Buffy returning to the task she was
      doing when he arrived.

      The meal was almost finished when Max started probing Buffy for
      information.

      "So Buffy, from your accent, I assume you come from California?" he
      said. "What brings you so far from home?"

      "Well Max," Buffy replied a little defensive, "They do say home is
      where the heart is. For now that's Stars Hollow."

      "Right," nodded Max. "So did you come to Connecticut for any
      particular reason?"

      "Max," warned Lorelai.

      "It's okay, Lorelai. You could say it was fate," Buffy replied
      cryptically, `Or the Powers screwing with my life!'

      "So you think everything is destined to happen?" mused Max.

      "You would be surprised what I know about destiny," replied Buffy her
      eyes as hard as diamonds. She looked at Lorelai for a moment, her
      features softening, "Can you and Rory clean up, I feel like going for
      a walk. Max, it's been a pleasure. I'll see you all later," not
      waiting for an answer, the blonde rose and left via the backdoor.

      "Max," snapped Lorelai looking angrily at the man, "What the hell did
      you do that for?" she asked getting up and beginning to gather the
      plates.

      "Lorelai, what do you really know about that woman?" asked Max rising
      to help.

      "I know she's holding in a lot of pain. And that she needs my help.
      And above all that she's my friend," snapped Lorelai dropping the
      plates into the sink and turning on the water.

      "Okay but what sort of pain," asked Max. "Lorelai, she could be a
      serial killer for all you know?"

      Lorelai laughed, "She said the same thing."

      "And what did you say?" asked Max curiously.

      "That I could tell she wasn't. Max, I don't know how long it's going
      to take but Buffy is very much a part of my near future. Until I know
      I've got her past all the pain."

      ------------

      As soon as Buffy reached the outskirts of town, she started running,
      within a hundred yards she was running full out. She was in East
      Wellingford, about halfway to New Haven before she stopped, sensing
      at least two vampires beyond the gates of a cemetery.

      Looking around quickly to be sure she was alone, she sprang up and
      grabbed a branch of an overhanging tree. Swinging up onto the top,
      she nimbly ran along it and lightly dropped into a crouch on the
      other side of the fence, scanning her surroundings, her hand feeling
      a broken stick, she grabbed it and ran forward towards the shadowy
      figures walking towards the gate on the far side of the cemetery.

      Without hesitation, she quickly pushed the stick through the right
      hand vampire's back and stepped back, taking a defensive stance.
      Although she was more than sure, she could have finished the second
      just as quickly. She wanted something to take out all her pent-up
      feelings on.

      Not just the confusion she felt over Lorelai with Max, but her
      sister's death, not being able to do anything to save her mother, as
      well as Giles death at the hands of a group of men that should have
      been aiding her and her friends to defeat Glory, not fighting them.
      But above all this, she wanted to erase the image of Xander having to
      do what she could not... Kill Ben.

      Buffy snarled at the vampire and dropped her impromptu stake.

      "That was a mistake, little girl," sneered the Vampire as he jumped
      at her.

      "Death is my gift," cried Buffy as she hit him across the face. "But
      that doesn't mean it has to be quick," she mused as she kicked him in
      the stomach before doing a roundhouse kick to his face as he doubled
      over.

      The Vampire got up slowly, swaying slightly. Buffy sighed as she
      watched the unsteady creature, "Please tell me, you know how to
      fight?" she hit him once more across the face. "`Cause I really
      wanted someone to work out my frustrations on," she punctuated with
      another roundhouse kick, sending him sprawling cross the path and
      into a tombstone.

      "Slayer?" gasped the Vampire as he once more rose, even more unsteady
      on his feet.

      "You must have been the smart one in the family," Buffy sarcastically
      commented as she scooped up the stake and strode towards the
      Vampire. "Before I finish this, tell me something. Are there any
      nests around here?"

      "Nests?" queried the Vampire frowning, which adding to the fact that
      he had very pronounced forehead ridges made him look even more ugly!

      "You know nests... vampire nests."

      The Vampire had the nerve to laugh, "What are you some Californian
      valley girl?" he sneered.

      "Hey, I'm the one that gets to do the jokes," she growled as she hit
      him in the middle on his face, breaking his nose. "Are there any
      nests around here," she back fisted him, spinning him over the top of
      the tombstone, where he lay groaning. "I got a lot of frustration to
      work out, so unless you want this to go on longer than necessary.
      You'll answer my question." She walked around the tombstone.

      "No," groaned the Vampire. "As far as I know, the closest `nest' is
      in New York. The only reason I'm not back there, is I came to collect
      Joe. His family had him shipped up here to be buried with his
      parents," he explained.

      "Damn," sighed Buffy as she bent and plunged the stake into the
      Vampire's heart.

      With another sigh as the dust swirled in the breeze, she turned her
      face back towards the north and began to make her way home. "Well
      that sucks... Maybe I can take a bus to New York sometime!" She
      easily vaulted the cemetery gates, "But at least my friends in Stars
      Hollow are safe!"

      ------------

      When she made it home half an hour later, having managed to find a
      bus stop for a bus that went through Stars Hollow on its way to
      Hartford, she found Lorelai alone at the table nursing a cup of
      coffee.

      The brunette rose quickly and walked over to the blonde, "Buffy are
      you okay? Where did you go? I looked everywhere... I'm so mad at Max
      for interrogating you," she rambled beginning to look her over for
      any signs of injuries.

      "I went for a long run," Buffy replied, "Then I walked around for
      awhile. I'm fine, really," she reassured her friend as she walked
      over to the coffee. "What happened to Max?" she asked pouring herself
      some.

      "Are you sure you're okay?" asked Lorelai hesitantly, Buffy
      nodded. "Max left about ten minutes after you. I don't know what he
      was thinking...?"

      "It's okay, really," Buffy tried to reassure the other woman as she
      sipped her coffee. "He's just worried about you and Rory."

      "Yeah, well, I'm an adult. I know what I'm doing... most of the
      time," Lorelai smirked.

      --------------

      Rory was unsure how she felt about the way Max had gone at Buffy over
      dinner. On the one hand, she was excited at the prospect of actually
      having a father figure living in the house. Not that she had ever
      felt the lack of paternal influence in her life, Luke and Jackson had
      always been there to help guide her, even Taylor and Michel had
      helped on occasions and now she had her grandfather? No, she was
      happy that her mother had said yes to Max's marriage proposal, but
      Buffy had quickly become her friend and she did not want to see her
      upset.

      So after her mother looked around town, without success, she had
      insisted on looking herself. Therefore, here she was walking the
      streets of Stars Hollow looking for her friend.

      Rory flipped open her phone as it started playing Manic Monday by the
      Bangles, `Gonna have to start hiding my phone again, or kill mum!'
      she sighed. "Mum, you changed my dial tone again," she answered in an
      annoyed whine.

      "No, no, it was the Bangle fairy," smirked Lorelai before becoming
      serious. "Buffy just came back."

      "Oh good," replied Rory turning around and heading back towards
      home. "How is she?" she asked.

      "She seems okay," sighed Lorelai. "Are you coming home?"

      "Yeah. God, I can't believe Max did that?"

      "Me neither. But Buffy seems okay with it, said he was just looking
      out for us."

      "I get that," agreed Rory. "But still..."

      "Yeah I know."

      --------------

      "Who can that be?" frowned Rory when there was a knock on the front
      door just as she was exiting her bedroom ready for Tai Chi.

      "Not gonna know unless we answer it," Lorelai pointed out looking a
      little bleary eyed this morning as she sat at the table sipping her
      coffee.

      "Right," nodded Rory going to answer it. On opening it, she found her
      boyfriend standing dressed in a tracksuit, "Dean, what are you doing
      here?" she asked stepping aside to let him in.

      "Well I figured that if I wanted to spend anytime with you over the
      next couple of weeks, my best chance would be to join you in your
      morning Tai Chi lessons. If it's okay with you and Buffy?"

      "I'm sure she won't mind... About the other day. I'm sorry I got
      angry, I'm being a bad girlfriend, you should break up with me...
      again."

      "Rory," interrupted Dean taking hold of her shoulders. "I got...I
      don't know, I got jealous of Harvard for a minute, which is
      crazy 'cause I love the fact that you're gonna go to Harvard. And
      then you have to do something that's gonna help you get there, and I-
      I don't even, I don't even really understand it myself."

      "Well, I didn't help. I was all wigged out when I got home," said
      Rory.

      "Well, you had all the right to be."

      "It's just that when it comes to Harvard, I sometimes get a little
      tunnel vision, and it's getting closer..."

      "Whoa," interrupted Dean before she could start panicking again.

      Rory smiled up at her boyfriend and took a deep breath before
      exhaling it. "...and I have to think about it..."

      "You don't have to explain."

      "But I don't want you to feel unimportant, because believe me, you're
      not," stated Rory.

      "I'm glad," smiled Dean.

      "I mean it. The only way you could be more important to me is if you
      had a Kit Kat bar growing out of your head."

      "Well, I can't make any promises, but I'll give it a try," laughed
      Dean.

      "I'm sorry," pouted Rory.

      "Don't be. I mean, I'm not going to a fancy school. I don't have that
      kind of pressure. I can't even imagine what that must feel like."

      "You could go to a fancy school if you wanted to."

      "I don't think so," Dean disagreed shaking his head.

      "Why not? You're smart."

      "No, you're smart."

      "You are too."

      "Rory."

      "And I could help you organize all of your extracurricular activities
      because I'm now an expert at it," offered Rory.

      "I don't..."

      "How are your wilderness skills?" mused Rory.

      "Hey?" Dean said squeezing Rory's shoulders.

      "What?" frowned Rory.

      "Do you accept my apology?"

      "Only if you accept mine."

      "Okay then," smiled Dean. "So are we doing Tai Chi or not?"

      "Yeah," nodded Rory leading him into the kitchen and out the back.
      --------------

      "I don't care," Michel snapped at Sookie, who stood on the other side
      of the front desk from the woman.

      "I just need a quick opinion," sighed Sookie holding a plate out to
      the man.

      "It took me two seconds to tell you I don't care. That's as quick as
      I get," Michel snapped ignoring the plate.

      "This is Lorelai's engagement party. It is a once in a lifetime
      event, and I want it to be perfect."

      "I am working."

      "Just pick a cookie."

      "I don't want to," whined Michel.

      "Michel, for the rest of their lives, Lorelai and Max are gonna think
      back on their engagement party and they're gonna talk about three
      things. They're gonna talk about the friends who came, and that
      special song they danced to, and the cookies that they ate."

      "Their world is very small, isn't it?"

      "Macaroons or chocolate pralines?" asked Sookie firmly.

      "Go back to the cooking room."

      "Not until you eat these and tell me what you think!"

      "Sookie! I only eat fifteen hundred calories a day. If I eat that, I
      cannot have my Boca burger later," Michel pointed out as Lorelai and
      Buffy walked in.

      "Hey Sookie. Is there any coffee left? I had a really lousy night,"
      asked Lorelai as the two women joined her and Michel.

      "Yeah, sorry about that," said Buffy quietly before brightening at
      the sight of the plate, "Oooooh cookies," she cried snagging one.

      "Told you. Not your fault," Lorelai reassured her friend.

      "Oh, sorry, ya know, I've been so busy I didn't even think about it,"
      Sookie apologised.

      "Oh, that's okay. I'll make some myself," smiled Lorelai starting for
      the kitchen.

      "No! I'll make it! I'll make it! I wanna make it! I wanna make it!"
      panicked Sookie hurrying to cut off her friend. "Let me do it! I
      wanna make...hey, I make the coffee!"

      "Sookie, relax, you're busy," Lorelai reassured her beginning to move
      around Sookie.

      "No, I'm not. Go back to the counter," cried Sookie. "Michel's
      stealing."

      Michel looked outraged and Buffy just arched an eyebrow as she
      nibbled her cookie.

      While Sookie was distracted trying to get Lorelai to concentrate on
      Michel's alleged crimes, the brunette sidestepped her friend and
      pushed open the kitchen door. Only to see the kitchen filled with
      decorated cakes and baked goods. "Oh my god. What is this?" she asked
      looking around.

      "Uh, the dinner special?" offered Sookie joining her friend.

      "The dinner special is a heart shaped pastry with Max and Lorelai
      written on it?" smirked Lorelai.

      "I couldn't find any good salmon."

      "Oh Sookie," gushed Lorelai. "You're throwing me a wedding shower,
      aren't you?"

      "It was supposed to be a surprise," pouted Sookie.

      Buffy entered the room, curious to see what had Lorelai so
      shocked! "Wow."

      "Oh my God, this is amazing, Sookie, even for you," cried Lorelai
      walking among the tray after tray of Max and Lorelai decorated items.

      "Wait 'til you see the ice sculptures!" beamed Sookie.

      "When is it?" asked Lorelai.

      "Tonight," replied Sookie.

      "Uh, so your yen to hit the bingo parlour in Enfield was..."

      "A vicious, vicious lie," smiled Sookie.

      "This is incredible. This is really, really incredible. My God is
      there any pink icing left on the planet?" chuckled Lorelai.

      "Most of the town is in on it actually. It's gonna be quite the
      affair. I think you'll be sufficiently impressed with the amount of
      people that wanna celebrate this with you."

      "Buffy?" asked Lorelai noticing that Buffy was no longer in the room.

      "No. Rory was not sure that she would be up for a big party?"
      explained Sookie.

      Lorelai nodded her understanding. "Michel?"

      "No."

      "Right. I just, I can't get over this. Ugh. Hey, you didn't by any
      chance invite my parents, did you?" frowned Lorelai.

      "Actually, I did."

      "Oh."

      "And at first, I was really torn because I know you have issues with
      them, but it is your wedding and I assumed you wanted them to be
      there. Oh no, your mother told you."

      Lorelai shook her head, "Not yet, but I'm sure she'll continue to
      tell me over and over again," she sighed.

      "Damn, I'm so sorry, Lorelai. I just didn't think," apologised Sookie.

      "Uh that's okay."

      "Hey, we can save them a piece of cake if they don't turn up."

      "That would be nice," nodded Lorelai.

      --------------

      Lorelai was once more waiting for Rory when she exited the bus, this
      time the teenager looked exhausted, "So I'm having an engagement
      party?"

      "It was supposed to be a surprise! Who told you?"

      "It was a little hard to miss all the Max and Lorelai decorations
      that Sookie was making," explained Lorelai as they headed for Luke's.

      "Yeah, I guess," nodded Rory.

      "So after last night, what have you told Max, to get him here?"

      "The truth. I pointed out that if he wanted to apologise to you, he
      should do it in person, and what better time to do that than at his
      engagement party tonight."

      "And he went along with that?" mused Lorelai.

      "Eventually," smiled Rory, "After I threatened to give his number to
      Miss Patty if he didn't."

      --------------

      "Will you come to my party tonight?" asked Lorelai looking down shyly
      at her lap as she sat on the couch with Buffy waiting for Max to
      arrive.

      "I don't know!" sighed Buffy. "I get the impression that Max doesn't
      really like me!"

      "He just needs to get to know you that's all," Lorelai pointed out.

      "None of you really know me, Lorelai," responded Buffy barely above a
      whisper.

      "Maybe not," agreed Lorelai on an impulse she took Buffy's hand in
      hers. "But I know you're a good person... Please come tonight."

      Buffy looked at the pleading woman sat next to her. "Okay, I'll come
      by a little later," she nodded.

      "Okay," smiled Lorelai rising as a knock came from the front
      door. "If you want, go through my things, borrow anything you want."

      "Alright, I'll be about an hour," said Buffy returning the other
      woman's smile.

      --------------

      Rory walked up to the table where Lane was in charge of the party
      music. "Hey Mr DJ, put a record on," she smiled at her friend.

      "How's it sound?" asked Lane

      "Great."

      "I'm trying to find that subtle blend between not too cliché sounding
      traditional tunes with out of left field, should be standard,"
      explained Lane.

      "Well, the Sinatra medley was great. I'd maybe skip playing anything
      else by The Damned."

      "Got it," nodded Lane. "What time is it?"

      "It's eight. What time do you leave?" asked Rory sadly.

      "I have a 10 o'clock flight."

      "Have I told you how much I'm gonna miss you?" said Rory a little
      teary.

      "Write me. Constantly," cried Lane as she hugged her friend.

      "Everyday," nodded Rory as they parted.

      "Encouraging letters, full of hope and see you soons."

      "I'll be tying yellow ribbons around the old oak trees," Rory gave a
      little smile.

      "I will be back for the wedding."

      "You better be," replied Rory firmly.

      "Just write me when the date's set."

      "I will. Max is teaching a summer course at the University of
      Toronto, so it won't be until at least the Fall. If you're back by
      the end of the summer, it'll be fine."

      "Don't say if," pouted Lane.

      "Right," nodded Rory.

      "I don't know if you've realized, but every gift so far has been for
      you," observed Max from the chair he sat on next to his fiancée,
      surrounded by gifts.

      "Yes, well, in this town, I am the queen. You are simply my jester,"
      smirked Lorelai.

      "A position I happily accept."

      "Aw, so come on then. How can you stand to leave all this for two
      months? Do you think Toronto's gonna make you into an ice sculpture?
      I don't think so."

      "I wish you'd come with me," cajoled Max.

      "I have to work," Lorelai pointed out.

      "Well, two months is a long time," countered Max.

      "I know," nodded Lorelai.

      "Will you still want me when I get back?" asked Max.

      "I think there's a very good possibility that I will be just as
      infatuated with you then as I am now."

      "Maybe more," pushed Max.

      "We'll see."

      "You okay?" asked Max seeing Lorelai distracted by somet<br/><br/>(Message over 64 KB, truncated)
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