Pairing: Rory/Paris, ft. the Stars Hollow ensemble
Chapter: 5 (Previous chapters here)
Word Count: 4,183
Author's Note: I apologize for providing exactly no information re: where, exactly, April and Anna live, or why they've moved away from ... New Mexico? Wherever they moved in season seven! To be totally honest, I am mostly using April as a plot device, but at least this time it's in the name of a fun evening of Shakespeare rather than the slow and devastating decimation of Luke and Lorelai's relationship! ... Right?
Part 5: Damn It, Romeo!
Rory sneaks out to meet Lane for a coffee-and-pie date at Weston’s. Taylor roped the camera crew into a tour of historic Stars Hollow, and Paris is using the time off to respond to emails or create a new video blog entry or whatever it is she does to keep her legion of admiring fans in line.
When Rory leaves she’s determined to have a nice, non-crazy-thoughts-plagued brunch with her best friend, but turns out, her mind is on the craziness. It’s really, really hard to de-crazy on this issue. She wants to pay attention while Lane talks about Hep Alien’s series of acoustic Ke$Ha covers becoming a YouTube hit (“I guess we shouldn’t have made fun of Brian so much when he said he understood Ke$Ha on a spiritual level – but, okay, yes we should have”), but her mind keeps drifting back to Paris, Paris, Paris. And all the things fanfiction Rory and fanfiction Paris got up to. It was ... a lot of things!
“What’s up with you?” Lane asks once she’s sick of Rory staring off into space. She reaches across the table to poke her in the arm. “Wait. Is that a stupid question? Clearly there’s a lot going on with you.”
“What if I was in love with Paris?” Rory finds herself asking. So, okay. Craziness wins this round.
“Well, she would probably get in a fight with Michele Bachmann over it and drag a camera crew back to Stars Hollow to prove it,” Lane replies with a perfectly straight face.
“That seems a little far-fetched, don’t you think?” Rory jokes.
“Why? Do you think you’re in love with Paris?”
“No! Not in love. That would be—but, I don’t know. I’ve been thinking about it. Is that crazy?”
“Only crazy insofar as Paris is crazy and anyone who voluntarily chooses to spend their life with her is therefore also crazy.”
“True,” Rory acknowledges, “but let’s be real. That ship sailed a long time ago.”
“You two did kinda latch onto each other way back when.”
“I think about the time I showed up to my dorm room at Yale and she was in it, I reconciled myself to the fact that there would be no escape.”
“See? Kinda crazy, that one. Then again, who am I to talk? Look at Zack. It’s been seven years since we got married and I still don’t know what that guy’s deal is.”
“He is a mysterious man.”
“And you’ve never heard his rant about socks that touch his ankles. Do you think Paris has been thinking about it?”
“Socks and ankles? Probably. That girl’s got a brain that just doesn’t quit.”
“Rory. Come on.”
“I don’t know! Sometimes I think maybe—but you know, it’s always been like that. She’s all fierce and scary and unstoppable and Paris until all of a sudden we’re having one of those little moments where she’s sweet, and—and genuine, and makes it seem like I’m the most important person in her life. It’s hard not to fall for that a little, you know?”
“That makes sense,” Lane agrees. “But ... wow. Paris.”
“I know! Paris! It’s crazy, right??”
“Am I allowed to pull the ‘I think we already had this conversation’ card?”
“Nope, I insist that you talk in circles with me so we can avoid the actual issue at hand forever.”
“I can’t tell if you’re being sarcastic or not.”
“Me either,” Rory says, and fights the urge to collapse face-first on the table. She takes a generous sip of coffee – liquid courage, Gilmore style – and then presses on. “My mom gave me, like, a talk last night.”
“A talk? What kind of talk are we talking?”
“Like a ... go get ‘er, son! kind of talk.”
“She called you son?”
“No! But that was the vibe. It was like a ... my child, I give you my blessing kind of talk.”
“So ... priest-y?”
“I’m sorry. I’m stuck with those hooligans Steve and Kwan all the time, and they have no patience for banter. They’re all tickles and Nerf balls or nothing. You’re my outlet. So your mom wants you to be in love with Paris for real?”
“I don’t know if she wants me to be. Not that she would be upset if I was.”
“That’s not the Lorelai way,” Lane agrees sagely.
“It’s more like ... she seems to think I am already?”
Lane frowns thoughtfully. It’s not exactly the ‘What the heck? That’s crazy talk!’ reaction Rory was hoping for. “Oh really?”
“And apparently my grandpa is convinced Paris and I are soulmates.”
“Right? It’s completely exhausting.”
“Well, to be fair,” Lane says, “you have been parading around town holding hands for the past few days. And there are paparazzi photos of you kissing in front of a Starbucks. Honestly, Zack and I were so excited we hung those up on the fridge.”
“Steve and Kwan have started calling Paris ‘Auntie Paris.’”
“We didn’t tell them to! They just kind of ... decided. You try fighting that kind of twinly conviction. Once both of them decide on something, it pretty much becomes a thing.”
Oh jeez. How is she supposed to explain to the boys that Auntie Paris isn’t their Auntie Paris?
“That kiss was for the cameras! It’s all for the cameras. Not real life.” Rory waves her hands in a way that’s supposed to be stern and emphatic, but mostly just comes out spazzy. “You know. You were around when we first met. It’s a miracle that Paris and I even get along. We were foes. And I don’t use the word ‘foe’ lightly.”
“Of course I remember,” Lane agrees. “Like that time she was all hell bent on psyching you out over that Shakespeare test.”
“Yes! I hit a deer because of her. Basically. A sweet, innocent deer.”
“And Paris leaned down close to you and recited a love sonnet in your ear to threaten you.”
“... Don’t make it sound like that.”
“I’m literally just relaying what you said happened.”
“Oh God.” Rory shoves a deeply angst-driven forkful of pie into her mouth.
“And now you’re thinking about it.”
“And now I’m thinking about it!” Rory exclaims through a mouthful of pie. It’s a good thing her grandma isn’t there to witness it. “What’s happening? You know who I blame for this? I blame Bill Maher. He’s always trying to incite conflict! Well, I hope you’re happy, Bill Maher!” she quasi-shouts at the room at large.
Everyone in Weston’s goes perfectly quiet for a nice, humiliating second, but then it’s back to happy chatter and business as usual. Verbal outbursts about super random things are pretty normal Stars Hollow conduct.
“Hey, so, dream with me here,” Lane says in soothing tones. “You two give it a try and it doesn’t work out. What’s the worst that could happen?”
They both take a few seconds to consider it.
“She murders me,” Rory decides.
“Okay, death,” Lane says at the same time.
“Super,” Rory sighs.
“So the stakes are high.” Lane smiles, all inconveniently reassuring. “But that’s never stopped you before.”
That’s true. Rory’s never been one to back down from a challenge, especially where Paris is involved.
“Maybe I’ll just kiss her,” Rory says, feeling half-bonkers but also weirdly thrilled at the idea. “You know. In a not-in-front-of-cameras capacity. And it’ll suck and be awkward and horrible, and that way we’ll both know once and for all that there’s nothing there. Probably.”
“She’s kissed you before. Did that suck?”
There’s an awkward pause.
“Shut up, Lane,” Rory orders.
“Oh my God,” Lane says, giddy. “It totally didn’t suck.”
“I’m stealing your pie,” Rory announces grumpily.
“I thought you looked a little flushed in those paparazzi pictures.”
“That was from embarrassment!”
“Embarrassment, right, sure. And loooove.”
“Oh God, who are you? My mom??”
“Moms get to be totally annoying. It’s our right after growing human beings in us and pushing ‘em on out.”
“Go be totally annoying at Steve and Kwan!”
“They’re at school. I can’t just turn this off because the kids aren’t around.”
“You’re the worst.”
“I love you too. Now go kiss your woman.”
And so it is that Friday night rolls around and Rory, Paris, Luke, Lorelai, and the camera crew head off to see April in Romeo and Juliet.
It’s a surprisingly traditional Elizabethan production; April is playing the Nurse, and April’s Justin Bieber-haired boyfriend is playing Romeo.
“April told me they originally wanted the theme to be Taylor Swift and some guy Taylor Swift’s going out with,” Luke says as they file into the high school auditorium, “I don’t remember who it was—”
“Neither does Taylor Swift, hon,” Lorelai promises him.
“—but the teacher wasn’t going for it.”
They duck into the back row of seats; it seems like the most respectful seating decision, considering the camera crew looming behind them and all. Paris insisted on wearing sunglasses to retain her anonymity, which strikes Rory as a little counterproductive. People definitely keep turning around in their seats to look at them.
“Wow, Luke,” Anna Nardini says, coming over their way. She nods toward the camera crew. “Making all of the other parents look bad.”
“Oh,” Luke says, sheepish. “I didn’t—hire a camera crew to film the play, that would be ... weird—”
“I’m kidding, I know all about it,” Anna says, having mercy on him. “I do Yahoo. April’s a bit of a celebrity at school, thanks to her stepsister.”
“High school kids care?” Rory feels a surge of panic. “Aren’t we too old and boring for them?”
“Don’t sell yourselves short,” Anna says, smiling. “You’re quite the it couple.”
As she walks away, Rory feels a fun new wave of confusion-slash-guilt. God. The it couple?? There are probably teenagers looking up to them, and all over a lie. More straight people getting acclaim for being the best gay rights activists ever! Who are they, Macklemore?? The answer is no, Rory thinks. Hopes. At the very least, she knows she can’t rap, and she’s pretty sure Paris can’t either.
Though it is worth pointing out (the logical part of Rory’s brain insists) that Macklemore thought he was gay because he could draw, not because he couldn’t stop thinking about wanting to kiss his fake gay life partner.
“These little suckers better bring their A game,” Paris says, settling into her seat. “We were a pretty powerful Romeo and Juliet duo circa 2001. Remember, sweetie?”
She hears Nigel flutter around excitedly behind them.
“How could I ever forget, darling?” Rory replies, holding back a sigh.
It’s an inconveniently good Romeo and Juliet. Since when are high schoolers this talented?? Sure, they are occasional issues with squeaky mics, and Rory notices a few missing lines, but Romeo and Juliet keep making very convincing googly eyes at each other. It goes without saying that April is basically as magnificent as Juliet’s Nurse has ever been. Rory wants to throw herself into proud stepsister mode, but she kinda keeps getting stuck on the My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand stuff.
She sits oh-so-casually, her hands curled around the edge of her seat, and tries really, really hard not to think about touching Paris.
And then Romeo strikes up the balcony scene. No big deal. Because Romeo and Juliet are teenagers who have no idea what they’re doing, and the whole point that everybody always misses is that they’re young and stupid and making bad decisions, and Romeo probably would have moved on to another girl if they’d managed to live for two weeks anyway, and it’s not really romantic so much as it is a commentary on the different but equally destructive follies of the young and the old and the thing is, maybe their relationship seems like a good idea when balcony wooing’s afoot, but it doesn’t change the fact that they DIE, it’s really hard to look past the dying part, once Paris was Romeo in a really stupid wig and she died right on top of Rory and never, never in a million years would 2001 Rory have thought that she would ever be in this situation—
“It is my lady. Oh, it is my love. Oh, that she knew she were!”
FINE, okay, she officially can’t do this. Damn it, Romeo!
“Rory, where the hell are we going?”
“I just needed some air. Air’s nice, right?”
“Oh, sure. Nothing like good, clean high school hallway air. Second only to the Swiss Alps. And you invited me along because ... ?”
“I need to talk to you.”
“Okay. About what?”
But this doesn’t exactly seem like the best high school hallway conversation. At random, she pushes on a classroom door. It surprises her when it actually opens. “Oh, okay, that’s unlocked. Huh. Pretty shoddy security around here.”
She steps into the classroom, waits for Paris to follow, and then closes the door behind them. And turns the lock. Just in case.
It’s your typical classroom: desks, books, a poster of Shakespeare on the wall. Without really knowing why – she is really bad at why tonight – Rory paces to the front of the classroom. There’s a homework assignment scribbled on the whiteboard: Read Hamlet.
“Man. That Shakespeare guy’s just stalking us tonight, huh?” Rory remarks in a totally-too-casual-to-be-casual voice, staring at the unknown teacher’s handwriting.
“Rory,” Paris says, urgently. “About what?”
“About—” But Rory doesn’t really have an ‘about.’
She turns around and there’s Paris right there, looking so curious, standing a little closer than she needs to be, which is such typical Paris behavior.
And so she takes Paris’s face in her hands and leans down a little bit and kisses her.
“Oomf!” Paris mumbles against Rory’s mouth, surprised, and digs her fingers into Rory’s forearms as she pulls away. “What are you doing?”
Rory’s heart sinks. God, instant shame. And in front of the Shakespeare reading homework!
“I don’t know,” she babbles, hoping that maybe, just maybe, the floor will do her a solid and open up and suck her into it. “I wanted to. I’m sorry. I thought maybe you—”
Paris interrupts her by kissing her back, hard. So hard that she pushes Rory back into the whiteboard and just about gives her a heart attack. But the good kind. Are there good kinds of heart attacks? There must be, because that is almost absolutely what’s going on right now.
“I’ve been thinking about that all day,” Paris says when they break apart, her breathing ragged.
“You have?” Rory says, her voice coming out in a (not unpleasantly) surprised squeak. Possibly she’s not at her sexiest right now.
Then again, Paris isn’t exactly looking at her like she’s Will Ferrell in a thong.
“As of a few hours ago,” Paris says, still breathless, “vitasackvillebest’s erotic romp about us has 48 glowing comments and 329 kudos and I knew I could do better – I mean, why wouldn’t I? I’m one half of the Raris equation. That’s the couple name they’ve decided to stick with, Raris, so I guess we’re just going to have to embrace it. Anyway, I put the ‘aris’ in Raris, and so if anyone’s going to write the most acclaimed Raris fanfiction on Archive Of Our Own, it should be me! I may not be into the recreational fiction writing like you, Jane Austen Acolyte, but I’m a wordsmith when I have to be.”
“Wait wait wait wait: you’re writing fanfiction about us?”
“I have the advantage, Rory! I know all the details! I may not have seen you naked in a full on Game of Thrones fashion, but believe me, after being roommates for years I caught enough glimpses. For example, vitasackvillebest didn’t know about that birthmark on your—”
“God! Paris! You’re so – augh! So you’ve been thinking about kissing me all day for research.”
“I live my research, Rory! I always have. You know this about me.”
“Yes, I do,” Rory admits, feeling a whole lot like she’s had all the breath knocked out of her. She slides out from between Paris’s arms and takes a seat on the side of the teacher’s desk.
“Why did you stop?”
“Because you just said you want to kiss me so that you can write an authentic fanfiction about us! Do you not see where that’s maybe a turnoff?”
“Well, at least I had a reason! Why the hell did you kiss me, hmm? Tell me that, Gilmore! Did you tip off Nigel and the Babes? Are they just outside the door?”
“I told you already! Because I wanted to! I just – I keep thinking about it, and everyone keeps acting like we’re perfect together, and so I got curious! You’re not the only one who gets curious about stuff, Paris. I might not be as Tremble Before Me, World! about it as you are, but I can go after what I want too, and, and try like hell to make it happen!”
“You want me?” Paris says, flummoxed. Her voice is small and achingly earnest and the look on her face goes right to Rory’s heart.
It’s like Rory’s words just pulled them twelve years back in time and they’re right back where they started. Here they are: two girls in a classroom with no idea what to do with each other.
“Kind of!” Rory exclaims, stupidly defensive. “Is that—is that crazy?”
Paris just stares at her for what feels like forever. Her eyes are bright.
Then in one swift movement, she’s right up in Rory’s space, kissing her hard again, pushing Rory back onto the desk. Under normal circumstances, Rory would feel really bad about it – like, oh my God, whose desk is this? Rory would not want two strangers doing this on her desk! And yet it’s really, really hard to care, because she’s getting very dizzy from all the kissing and she can’t help but want to touch Paris, like, everywhere, and Paris seems to be experiencing a very similar phenomenon because her hand is suddenly up Rory’s skirt, creeping steadily up her thigh and then—
“Aah!” Rory jumps. She shoves Paris off of her as gently as she can. It’s not exactly elegant because her hands are shaking. “Okay, we are on someone’s desk. We are on the desk of some poor, longsuffering high school teacher who is probably trying really hard to get through to his or her students! With a—a whimsical pig-wearing-glasses figurine!” Rory picks it up off the desk and holds it up as evidence. Just in case Paris isn’t convinced enough by that, Rory moves on to a nearby DVD. “Look! The Lion King! They showed their students scenes from The Lion King so they would understand that it’s an adaptation of Hamlet! We can’t do this to him or her.”
“Her. The nameplate says Mrs. Ramirez. You really need to brush up on your basic observation skills, Rory. I’ve said it before and I’m going to keep saying it.”
“Okay, you need to stop watching Sherlock. It’s only bringing out your most evil qualities.”
“You want to talk about evil? Evil is leaving ourselves suspended in this limbo of sexual frustration.” Paris casts a quick, militantly determined glance around the room. “What do you think? Floor?”
“The wastebasket’s empty. A janitor’s been here. That means the floor’s freshly vacuumed. Granted, I’d prefer a thorough steam cleaning, but honestly, at this point I want to jump your bones enough that it’s overpowering my germophobic tendencies.”
“Oh jeez,” Rory says, in the utter absence of anything else to say.
“Or we could just go back and watch the rest of the play,” Paris adds innocuously. “Sitting there. Right next to each other. All close but not touching. For hours and hours as teenagers do a passable job telling each other in iambic pentameter that they want to bump uglies—”
Rory imagines the scenario for about two seconds and then comes to the freaky but inevitable conclusion: “Floor.”
Turns out, it is surprisingly easy to kiss your way down onto the floor of a high school classroom if you’ve only got the proper motivation. Which is, in this case, Paris. They both get swept up in another wave of furious kissing, hands everywhere, clothes increasingly inconvenient. Kissing Paris feels so much like arguing with Paris that it makes Rory giddy; she never really realized until exactly this moment just how much she loves arguing with Paris. Apparently a lot! Paris’s hand starts wandering up Rory’s skirt again, and Rory is definitely starting to feel like it’s a great affront to all goodness in the world that Paris still has pants on.
When Rory goes for the button of Paris’s pants, Paris grabs her wrist. “No one’s going to come in, are they?”
“Aw, you don’t want to get caught,” Rory teases, keeping her focus on her new nemesis, the pants button. “That’s so prim and proper.”
“I don’t want to get caught because if anyone interrupted us, I’d have no choice but to kill them.”
“The door locked behind us when we came in, I checked.”
“You locked us in here on purpose? How long have you been orchestrating this?”
“There was no orchestrating! I didn’t even think I was going to work up the courage to kiss you. I mean, technically I don’t really know what I’m doing. I haven’t ever – you know, with another woman, and neither have you, as far as I know, unless we’re talking our fanfiction selves, so—”
“You understand the basic principles of female anatomy, don’t you, Rory?”
“As a female, I’m going to say yuh huh.”
“Well, the best course of action is to keep that knowledge in mind and touch where it’s likely to feel good. It probably won’t surprise you to find out that as a lover, I believe strongly in constructive criticism—”
“Please don’t say lover.”
“You just have to keep an eye out for all the signs. Odds are, if I like it, you’ll know it; gasps, moans, trembles, dilated pupils, erect nipples, not to mention that if you’ve got your hand in my pants, it’s going to be pretty obvious if you’re doing good work or not. Increased lubrication, slight swelling—”
“Gah, Paris!” Rory would definitely have her hands over her ears if they were not busy warring with Paris’s zipper.
“I’m sorry if my med school education forever destroyed the romantic mystery of the human body for me! My point is, I’ll tell you if you’re screwing up. Don’t worry about it.” She kisses Rory, which is infinitely better than the medical TMI fest, then breaks apart to add, “I can also pause to flash a hearty thumbs up and let you know you’re on the right track, if you’re used to receiving your sexual validation from a phallic symbol.”
“Oh my God, Paris, stop talking, stop talking!” Rory says, and kisses her hard until she (mostly) does.
FULL TRANSCRIPTS OF DOCUMENTARY FOOTAGE – PARIS & RORY’S MODERN STARS HOLLOW FAMILY - EPISODE 4: “STARS HOLLOW-CROSSED LOVERS”
LOCATION: April Nardini’s High School Production of Romeo and Juliet – Back Row Of Auditorium
PARTICIPANTS IN QUESTION: Luke Danes and Lorelai Gilmore
[Let the record state that DANES and GILMORE whispered the following conversation, so as not to bother their fellow audience members]
Do you think Rory’s all right? They’ve been gone awhile.
You sure? Maybe we should go check and see.
Oh-ho-ho, believe me, we do not need to do that.
Why not? What if she’s sick?
She’s not sick.
Why else would she and Paris be—
If you must know, Curious George, someone’s gettin’ lucky.
My money’s on empty classroom. Rory’s just never struck me as one of those sex-in-bathroom girls.
I’m sure they closed the door first. They’re Yale educated, after all. Smart and classy.
But this is a public place! With kids in it!
Says the man who did not whine about certain events that transpired between us at – or should I say in? – the Second Annual Hay Bale Maze.
I liked that deal we made where we were never gonna mention that again. What happened to that deal? And now it’s on camera, and – gyahh. [To the camera] We are not the kind of people who just have sex everywhere we go.
[To the camera] He’s lying. We’re actually having sex right now.
Oh, for God’s ...
Just don’t worry about it, all right, hon? The girls are fine, and probably great.
But why would they even ... [After a glance at the camera] ... sneak off together when they’re already so used to ... uh ... doin’ that kind of thing ... all the time ... at home?
Fools in love, huh? Who can ever know for sure why they do what they do?
(sighs) Okay then.