Title: Suggestions (And Mallomars)
Author: Mosca
Feedback address: mosca6@lycos.com, or Feedback Friday me
Date in Calendar: 15 December 2004
Fandom: Gilmore Girls
Pairing: Rory/Paris
Rating: R
Summary: Identity, chocolate, mother-daughter relations, and the importance of voting: scenes from the first 90 days.
Spoilers/Continuity: AU, diverging after the first episode of season 5.
Advertisement: Part of the FSAC04

Disclaimer: Gilmore Girls is the intellectual property of Warner Brothers, Hofflund/Polone, and Dorothy Parker Drank Here Productions. This original work of fan fiction is Copyright 2004 Mosca and is protected in the USA by the fair use provisions of the Copyright Act of 1976 because I do not intend to sell it at any price. All rights reserved. All wrongs reversed. A turkey baster and great stealth.

Note: Thanks to k for the beta and to Distraction for brilliant initial brainstorming as well as editing help. This was written for the 2004 Femslash Advent Calendar, run by the inimitable AJ, who granted me a very gracious extension. The title is from a cartoon by Mick Stevens that appeared in the 11/15/2004 issue of The New Yorker.

December 24, 2004, 11:53 PM

"We've never shared a bed before," Paris says, immediately hogging all the covers. "Before three nights ago. We've lived together for a year and a half, and still, separate beds."

"Darn that Hays Code," Rory says, yanking the covers back.

Paris is kissing the back of Rory's neck. Rory doesn't know whether Paris has forgotten what the Hays Code was, or if she lacks a witty remark, or if she just feels like kissing. But Rory's not going to get an answer if she lays it out like that, multiple choice. Besides, the myriad of possibilities is strangely comforting.

Rory is thinking too much for a girl who has another girl's hand on her breast. She presses her back into Paris, sighs and stretches her arms out so her knuckles make the headboard say "plunk".

September 30, 2004, 9:47 PM

Rory leaves her door open, because it won't matter. Paris has shut hers, and Rory's pretty sure she's in that semi-catatonic state where she turns up the white noise loud and works really hard at meditating. Rory lies on her bed, pulls out her cell phone, and speed dials home. "Mom," Rory says when her mother has uttered about half a syllable. "Mom."

"What's going on, kiddo?" Mom says. "Are you watching the debate?"

"Sort of. You?"

"I was," Mom says, "but then Luke started waving his arms around and shouting about how the President is a lying redneck asshole who sold his soul to Halliburton, so I went to my room to hide."

Rory giggles. "Mom," she says. "Mom, there's something I—"

"What's wrong?"

"I kissed a girl," Rory says.

"Jill Sobule," Mom says. "Why are we playing this now?"

"Mom. Seriously." This would be a bad time to explain that this is why she has more trouble telling her mother things the way that she used to. But she feels that distance. Lately, the whole universe of her life might as well be somewhere in Europe, and she is sending postcards that Mom has no hope of understanding.

"Okay," Mom says.

"*Okay*?" Rory says. "That's all? You're not going to freak out?"

"Not really," Mom says.

"Because the freaking out actually would have helped," Rory says.

"You want me to talk you out of it?" Mom says. "Okay. Is she married?"

"Um. Not that I know of."

"Is she a Yale student with a bright future ahead of her, as opposed to, say, a grocery store employee? "

"Well, yes," Rory says.

"Does she give you that blank look when you get really excited about eighteenth-century political theory, or, being a Yale student with a bright future, actually know what you're talking about?"

"Can I just interrupt to say that as helpful as you're trying to be, you're talking me out of something completely different than the thing you're supposed to be talking me out of?" Rory says.

"I'm sorry," Mom says, "but I can't help but think that one experimental kiss—All summer, I kept hoping that you'd go back to school and start seeing other people, and look, you have, so—"

There is a series of very businesslike knocks on Rory's doorframe. "Mom," Rory says. "I have to go. I have to go *now*."

November 16, 2004, 8:20 PM

"That's it," Rory says. "No more meetings."

"You're going to make me face the Yale Lesbian Mafia alone?" Paris says.

"I'm sorry. I tried. But a vegan bake sale? Doesn't that defeat the whole purpose of baked goods?"

"It probably defeats the purpose of selling them," Paris says. "But we have to go. Otherwise, people like us don't get represented, and the whole world thinks that lesbians are dolphin-hugging, biodegradable-sandal-wearing weirdos, and then there are Constitutional amendments, and—"

"I hear New Zealand's nice this time of year," Rory says. "Lots of sheep."

"No," Paris says. "We have to stay and—and—and sell brownies. Ones with real butter in them. From real cows. Happy cows." She looks like she's just experienced divine inspiration; she finds her cell phone in her purse and starts pressing buttons.

"We could just buy a box of Mallomars and put little rainbow flags in them," Rory says.

"Quiet," Paris says. "I'm calling that girl who's in charge of the bake sale. I'm going to bargain her down to organic and free-range."

"I think that defeats the purpose of Mallomars," Rory says, but Paris is already on the phone with one of the dons of the Yale Lesbian Mafia. Which is good, because New Zealand is really far away.

November 2, 10:46 PM

Even features writers have to spend most of the night in the newsroom on election night. Even the religion beat. They're all at their desks, furiously hitting the Reload button, watching the gap between red and blue get bigger. They've worn themselves out on tension, and it's sliding into inevitability anyway. Paris is staring over her monitor at Rory like she is using her special powers of telekinesis to strip off Rory's clothes molecule by molecule. Rory is trying not to think about Dean, because when she does, she either feels like a fundamentally horrible person or like she's doomed to love him forever. She wants there to be another option.

She stares back at Paris, who goes stony-faced. Pretty soon, they're locked in a vicious staring contest, refusing to smile, refusing to watch the election returns. She's aware that people are watching them, but she doesn't feel it.

"Geller," Doyle says. "Gilmore. Would you two please make out already and get it over with?"

Paris gets up from her desk and goes over to Rory's. "He's the editor," Paris says. "We have to do his bidding."

"I—I-- I broke up with Dean," Rory whispers.

"Oh," Paris says. "Really?" She waits, like she thinks Rory is about to tell her what this is supposed to mean. When Rory doesn't, she says, "Thanks," and she kisses her.

The entire newsroom applauds. When the noise dies down, Paris says, "What? We've been going out for, like, a month. Jesus," and storms back to her desk.

Into the ensuing silence, Rory says, "Well, we have."

October 19, 2004, 8:13 PM

Rory is reading about algorithms when Paris bounds into their common room with an armful of stuff. Paris releases the pile onto the coffee table, right at Rory's feet. "Here," she says. "We're gay now. Show some pride." She is offering a rainbow button; she's got a matching one pinned to her sweater. Rory tries to put down her math book without losing her place, but it flips over itself and onto the floor. Paris's impatience puts undue pressure on her already insufficient coordination skills.

Rory takes the button and turns it in her hands for a minute before putting it down on the table. "I don't think I'm ready for this. I mean, I don't even know if I'm—"

"We've been kissing every night for the past three weeks," Paris says. "Three weeks isn't long enough to tell whether or not you like it?"

"I'm slow about this stuff," Rory says. "Scathing reviews of student musicals? 20 pages on what Friedrich Nietzsche would think of Zora Neale Hurston? That, I can do fast. But this stuff, I have to go slow or I get all ahead of myself, and—"

Paris is standing there, holding out the rainbow button, waiting for Rory to stop talking. But she doesn't look angry: she looks like she already knows everything that Rory is trying to tell her. Rory takes the button and holds it in front of her face, trying to see her reflection in it, like that would have the appropriate symbolic meaning. She gives up and pins it to her sweater.

"On second thought," Paris says, "wear it tomorrow." She leans in to unpin the button from Rory's sweater. "It doesn't *match*," she says.

Their faces are close enough to kiss, and so they do.

September 30, 2004, 10:58 PM

"Okay," Mom says. "I just freaked out."

"Good," Rory says. "I feel better now."

December 7, 2004, 5:33 PM

Rory has everything set up: the menorah, the candles, the yellow net bags of chocolate coins, the eight individually-wrapped small gifts, seven of them secreted away for future nights. She feels terribly thoughtful. But when Paris comes in, she dumps her bookbag on the chair and goes to the bathroom without noticing. "It's sundown," Rory says when Paris comes out, like everything is still just right. "We should start."

"Start what?" Paris says.

"Hanukkah," Rory says. "Did I get the day wrong?"

"I don't know," Paris says. "Probably not."

"Then what? Because I thought—I mean, I went online to make sure I had everything. I couldn't do potato pancakes because we don't have a stove, but—"

"No, it looks really good," Paris says. "It's just that the whole holiday is bullshit. Did you know that they hardly even celebrate it in Israel? It's less important in Jewish tradition than, like, Shavuot, which most people haven't even heard of. But Americans are so afraid of leaving Jews out that we have this fake Christmas. The only difference is that the decorations are blue and silver instead of red and green, and there's a menorah instead of a tree. It's offensive."

Rory hangs her head. She knows that when Paris knocks a person's ego down and stomps on it she very seldom means to, but it still hurts to be squished.

"The candles are pretty, though," Paris says. "We can do the candles."

October 1, 2004, 1:49 PM

There is tongue this time, and more hands than Rory normally associates with third kisses. "You taste like egg salad," she says.

"Should I go brush my teeth?" Paris says.

"That would mean stopping," Rory says. When they start again, Paris tastes like the beginning of the weekend, like dining hall chocolate pudding, like friendships that refuse to die but change instead.

November 25, 2004, 11:01 PM

When they've safely shut the door on the Emily Gilmore Thanksgiving Extravaganza, Mom says, "Between the hour of golf stories and the turkey coma, I'm surprised I can find my feet."

"I don't know," Rory says as they get into the car. "I thought Grandma's Detective Briscoe impression was pretty entertaining." She puts on an exaggerated frown and deepens her voice. "'How long is it you've been seeing that man now?' I thought she was going to ask you to corroborate his alibi."

Mom giggles, but she says, "Have I been like that? Because I want to apologize right now if even for a *second* I've been like that about—"

"No. Mom. No."

"Not even for a second?"

"Not even," Rory says.

"So," Mom says, "it's going good?"

"Yeah," Rory says. "It's, yeah. I mean, she's Paris, which is, you know, but I'm starting to... revel in her Paris-ness."

Mom is silent for a minute. It's possible that she's concentrating on not getting sideswiped by a truck that seems to be fighting for complete domination of the I-91 ramp, but it seems more like she's trying to figure out how to say something difficult. "Reveling in a way that I'm going to need to make a speech about?" Mom says when the truck has chosen a lane.

"What? No. Not even—no."

"Good," Mom says. "Because I don't know what I would have said. You probably know more than me about... that."

"We're taking things really slow," Rory says. "We're both kind of new to this, and besides, Paris doesn't want to try anything too advanced until she's finished reading the manual."

"There's a *manual*?"

"There is a manual, and Paris found it on Amazon, and now I have weirded us both out so much that I should probably find my own ride home," Rory says.

"No, manuals are good," Mom says. "Everyone should have a manual. They should be given away for free, and they should be embarrassingly detailed, and—"

Mom is giving the speech after all. It's a better speech than most, not for the rambling about diagrams and charts and quirky little statistics jokes, but for what's underneath it. Mom has spent her whole life wishing she had a manual. Probably so she can read it and then ignore it, but nonetheless, she is envying Rory her head start, her girl who buys answers over the internet.

November 2, 2004, 6:12 PM

Rory forgot to re-register in New Haven, so she is waiting at a folding table in the Stars Hollow Town Hall while Kirk searches for her address. "Which Lorelai Gilmore are you?" Kirk says.

"The one that isn't already crossed out because my mom voted this morning on her way to the inn?" Rory says.

"Booth 2," Kirk says.

She flips her switches and pulls her lever and gets her little sticker, and she's almost reached the exit when she smacks into Dean. "Hey, stranger," he says.

"I'm sorry," she says. "I would have told you I was coming, but I really don't have time to do anything but vote before I go back to Yale."

"Isn't that how it always is?" Dean says. "You only have time for whatever you came here for."

"Well, that's how you... schedule things," Rory says.

"I don't want to be scheduled," Dean says. "I don't want to be something you pencil in when you have the time, I want to be—"

"I don't live here. I work really hard. That's how it is, and it's probably going to be like that a lot. And if you can't live with that—"

"Maybe we should just break up?" Dean says.

She is glad he said it first. "Maybe," she says, taking a few steps toward the door.

"That's it?" Dean says. "You're not going to—"

"I just think—maybe you're right," Rory says. "Maybe it's not going to work, and we should just go have our lives."

He stands there like he is waiting for her to make sense, but she can't think of anything she can say that will. She can't explain to him that she is suddenly way too old for him, and she definitely can't justify a whole month of Paris. Her brain shifts to the obvious joke—a whole month *in* Paris—and she giggles nervously. It's a bad time to think about sex, especially if the sex involves a bad pun. More especially if it's sex that it has just occurred to her she might one day want to have.

"Is there someone else?" Dean says. "Like, at Yale?" He stares down at her. He is awfully, awfully tall. "When the hell were you going to tell me, Rory?"

A whole month in Paris. She'd like to tell Dean how she managed to let it go on this long, long enough for there to be meetings and buttons and the very real prospect of future nudity. But she's hardly seen him. She's been busy with her classes, with the newspaper, with all the things in her life that Dean will never begin to comprehend.

"I thought it was going to be different this time," Dean says. He doesn't say goodbye.

Rory fingers the little round badge stuck to her sweater. "I voted today," she says to herself. She's not sure who won.

December 14, 2004, 7:15 AM

Rory doesn't know why she looks like this. She is naked in front of the full-length mirror in her room, which is made of heavy caramel-colored oak and was a gift from her grandmother. It looks like its brows are permanently furrowed with disgust. Rory doesn't use it very often, and when she does, she doesn't look into it too deeply.

This morning, she has been standing in front of it, naked, for five whole minutes. Precious morning minutes that she could be using to grab a donut and coffee from the Student Union cafe on her way to her Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy final. But she has been feeling raw and steamy since she got out of the shower, and she's pretty sure her clothes aren't right anymore.

She should look different. She should be a whole different person now that she has a girlfriend. She keeps thinking that after things happen, she'll have the Gregor Samsa moment she deserves: after kissing Dean, after kissing Jess, after sleeping with Dean. And now, now more than any other time, she should not have the same neck or the same knees or anything, anything that looked like what she was last spring. She should look like what she is at any moment—good girl, slut, possible lesbian-- but she only ever looks like herself.

Paris knocks cursorily on the door as she swings it open. "Don't we have a final this morning?" she says. "Why aren't you dressed? We're not going to have time for breakfast, and *nobody* passes a final on an empty stomach."

"Sorry," Rory says. "Existential crisis."

Paris strokes the back of Rory's neck. Standing behind Rory, she is almost invisible in the mirror: there are only bits of hip and sleeve that Rory's body doesn't block. "You should wear that brown sweater," Paris says. "If it's clean. I like you in that brown sweater. But *hurry*."

Rory finger-combs her wet hair and sets about getting dressed. She checks herself in the mirror before they go. She still doesn't look right, but Paris doesn't seem to mind.

October 1, 2004, 1:11 PM

"I'm going to run to the dining hall before it closes," Rory shouts at Paris's door. "Want me to smuggle you something?" Rory always plans to get up early enough on Fridays that she won't have to dash to catch the last ten minutes of lunch service, but consciousness seems wasteful on a morning without classes.

"Hang on," Paris says. "I just need to get my shoes on."

Absentmindedly, Rory leans against Paris's door, and she topples over when Paris opens it. Paris catches her and lingers for a moment, her hands on Rory's shoulders. Last night, they ruled the kissing an accident, but that was a stupid idea, because it doesn't feel like they're done. Rory tilts her head forward and presses her lips against Paris's.

"What was that?" Paris says.

"A second kiss," Rory says.

"Okay," Paris says, "but we're going to miss lunch."

December 25, 2004, 3:57 AM

Rory doesn't need an alarm clock to know it's Christmas. She's been up for half an hour already, filling Mom's stocking. She has seen the wrapped presents under the tree and smelled the chocolate wafting from the hearth, and there will be no more waiting. She shakes Paris's shoulder and whispers, "Come on. Wake up. It's Christmas."

Paris opens one eye. "It's still dark out, and I'm Jewish."

"You'll miss the ritual pre-dawn tearing open of the gifts," Rory says. "And my mom declares anything chocolate fair game after sunrise."

Paris stretches. "What did you do with my pajama bottoms?" she says.

"Try the floor," Rory says. Only a few hours have gone by, but it feels like longer. That was last night, and this is Christmas morning. Rory feels like she's been dipped in chocolate that has not hardened, will not harden. It might have been the shared bed, or the cinnamon-scented anticipation of Christmas Eve, but when they started making out, they didn't stop. It was fumbly, and there were a lot of things in that manual that weren't worth a damn, but somewhere in there, they figured out a way to touch each other. It was sticky and intense and a little weird. And it was just like everything Paris did, finding one thing that worked really well and going at it until the job was perfectly done.

Despite the magnetic allure of candy and socks and little tubs of Play-Doh, Rory pulls Paris back into the bed. "The sun doesn't rise for two hours," she says.