Epilogue - Witches Promise
For Disclaimers, warnings see Chapt. 1
A Schism in Stars Hollow
A Father Goose Digression
Epilogue - Witches Promise
The demon awoke before dawn, he put his slippers on. He covered his face in the standard battlegear. He walked on down the hall. He fed the cat.
He checked his cloaking spells. Apparently they were still working. It had been a scary weekend, though. Slayers and witches and bikers, oh my. Oh the terror when he’d first seen them in the square, the one-eyed man and the slayer. After so many years of being safe and accepted by the town he’d grown complacent, forgotten that there were those creatures still stalking the earth that could and would kill him just for being what he was no matter how innocent his actual life…
But they had simply passed by and he’d sagged, uncertain whether to thank the spells or the Slayer’s indifference. And then the witches came and he’d paniced again … But he understood now, they weren’t after him, didn’t even know he was there. He felt safe again, even brave enough to feel curious. Big doing’s at the Inn this morning, the little birdies told him. Maybe he’d even go see. But he had time yet. Time for breakfast. He finished dressing and hurried across the square to the diner, happy to find his favorite chair still free.
“Good morning Luke,” he said, “I’ll have the usual.”
“You don’t have a usual, Kirk,” Luke grumped and the demon smiled to himself. All was right with the world.
“Lorelai,” Sookie said, looking up from the ham she was garnishing, “what are you doing here on Sunday?” She paused. “It is Sunday isn’t it? Because I’ve got this whole big breakfast buffet set up and if it’s not Sunday…”
“It’s Sunday, Sookie. I just… had kind of a weird night and I just want to… check on things.”
“You know, that’s funny,” Sookie said, “I had kind of a weird night too. I mean I guess it was a dream … but …”
“Well, I heard this crash and I woke up and there were two men in my bedroom.”
“Oh yeah? Were they naked?”
“Was one of them George Clooney?”
“Were they both
“No. How could they both… where was I?”
“You had two men in your room. Does Jackson know about this? I bet he’d be interested…”
“What, no. Well, actually he was there too. He slept through the whole thing.”
“So you had three
men in your room. Now that’s just greedy, Sook. Especially when some of us don’t have any.”
“Well, who’s fault is that?”
“No, no, no, don’t even go there. Go on, you had two strange men … well, three, cause you know I Iove Jackson, but he is a little odd sometimes. So strange not naked men…”
“Right. And they were arguing, One was saying something like, ‘Do the smoke, do the smoke,’
and the other said, ‘I thought you were doing the smoke and I was doing the compulsion spell,’
and the other said, ‘No, I’m doing the spell, you’re doing the smoke,”
and that went on for awhile and then one of them said ‘Fine’
and suddenly there was all this smoke and then I heard this voice telling me to get up and go to my desk and open my notebook and write down my secret recipe for the chocolate sauce I served on the profiteroles last night. And I did. I couldn’t help myself. I was just….”
“Exactly. But here’s the weird part…”
we get to the weird part?”
“This morning when I woke up I went to my desk and my notebook was open and there was a recipe….”
“Your chocolate sauce?”
“No. Something called Chicken Rygel
which seems to be chicken boned and skinned and stewed with snails and okra in a sweet cream sauce.”
“Yeah. Weird, huh? I mean, that’s not a fair trade at all.”
“So,” Vanessa’s mother said, “what did you get up to last night?”
Normally she wouldn’t have dreamed of answering that with anything more than the usual, “Nothin’,” but today she just had to tell someone and the only other people she knew to tell, they’d been there. The words bubbled out.
“I was hanging with Dustin an Jules an Faith the real one came and hung out with us for a while and told us about how one time she and Xan killed these zombies with a dull razor and some hard-boiled eggs and then she let me hold her puppy while she flashed Dustin who’s probably still walking around with his mouth hanging open, and she gave me this stake,” she said, holding out her new most totally prized possession ever.
“Umhum,” her mother said, “that’s nice, dear. Is your father up yet? We don’t want to be late, I think it’s a buffet breakfast and the eggs will get cold.”
Vanessa sighed, then smiled. She’d left out the part where, zombie stories notwithstanding, she’d actually done most of the talking, pouring out her life story as she never had to anyone before. She could still feel the Slayer’s hand on her shoulder, hear the smoky voice,
“Hang in there kiddo, everybody’s life sucks at fourteen. Give your folks a break, yeah? They’re doin’ the best they can.”
She went to wake her father up, jumping on the bed like she used to when she was a little kid and waving her stake in front of his blearily blinking eyes.
“Look what Faith gave me,” she said.
Jaime Gutierrez sat in the back of the crowded meeting room and watched the script play out.
Joe B. stood on the stage and called for attention, announcing that it was true, the days events had been cancelled.
“We have had…” he paused dramatically, looking around the room, “imposters among us. People who do not and never will go around pretending to be slayers and watchers. Ladies and gentleman it is my very great honor to present to you Faith the Vampire Slayer…..”
Jaime grinned as the woman he now knew was Faith stepped on the stage carrying a heavy staff. He could feel the uncertainty in the room, the low buzz as people wondered it if could be real or more likely Joe B. playing some game to make a point…
“And,” Joe continued as a second leatherclad woman stepped forward with her own staff, “a young lady, known, I am told, to terrified demons everywhere as The Mechanic,
Zoey the Vampire Slayer.” Joe B. paused again, did the dramatic look around. “I sense some doubt,” he said, “Ladies, please remove it.”
And he stepped to the side but stayed on stage, still visible, Jaime could see the big man willing himself not to flinch as the two slayers began to spar, gently at first, then gradually escalating until their movements seemed to blur, the sound of the clashing staffs cracked like machine gun fire. Even in the back of the room Jaime could feel the sheer force of the blows, the power on display. They finished with a flurry of stunning leaps and tumbles and then standing side by side they held out the staffs and broke them like they were kindling, took a brief bow, turned and walked away, first to stunned silence, then to standing applause which Joe B. stepped forward to bask in.
He waited until the shouting and whistles died down, waited a little longer, milking the moment for all it was worth,
“Ladies and Gentlemen, the man himself, Mr. Xander Harris.”
He limped out, allowed Joe to shake his hand, waved for the applause to die down.
“Thank you,” he said, “but you should probably hear what I have to say before you clap too loudly.”
He let them down easy, praising their courage, their intentions as demonstrated by the charities … before telling them they had to stop. He was kind, even apologetic.
But firm. He grinned and invited anyone who didn’t want to accept the cease and desist decree to take it up with Faith and Zoey. And in the end they applauded, because what else could they do.
Joe B. announced that Xander and Faith would be in the dining room for an hour to answer questions, sign autograph’s if anyone wanted, please form an orderly line…
And that was it. Jaime felt a bit of not unexpected disappointment. It would have been so much more satisfying to see Joe and Sarah B. brought down a notch or two. But he understood, as he had the night before as he watched Giles make the deal, the watcher’s distaste only thinly concealed, but irrelevant. Joe B. got to save face and maintain control to the Society’s funds, in return Giles got a copy of the XLH’es extensive demon database, and Joe. B.’s cooperation in discouraging any resistance. It was a good, practical arrangement.
It just left a little bit of a bad taste in the mouth. Ah well, he thought, he’d tasted much worse in his time. He did have to smile, though, as he was leaving the hall and he saw the pile of discarded eyepatches in the trash can by the door.
Miss Patty bit her tongue. She was sitting in the corner of Luke’s diner with Babette and they’d come in, the witches and their entourage Patty remembered from that first night. They were dressed differently now. Normally, Patty supposed. No eyepatches, no black leather, the older man Babette was drooling over dressed in a tweed suit, the two witches in flowing cotton dresses. The other two girls in jeans and bright blouses, the two men in slacks and shirts that spoke much more of Italy than Hawaii.
They’d smiled and waved at her as they pushed a couple tables together so they could sit in a group and Babette was clearly bursting with curiosity. And Patty was bursting to tell her. There had been a few times over the years when she’d come thisclose to telling her about the magic but always drawn back not so much because she didn’t think Babette would believe her, but that she would… and then … it was just simpler to stay quiet. But hard sometimes.
She watched Luke pause and count heads as the man in tweed ordered ten chicken-fried steaks….
“There’s three more coming,” tweed man said, and Luke had nodded with that pained expression that paying customers always gave him. And then suddenly those clouds were gone, Patty saw the his face light up, even the beginnings of a smile and she glanced at the door and saw that of course it was Rory and Lorelai coming in, taking the last remaining free table as Luke hurried over with two coffee cups in one hand and the pot in the other.
“What’s the matter with Lorelai?” Babette whispered.
“What do you mean?”
“She looks… sad,” Babette answered. “Like she wants to cry on his shoulder instead of like she wants to jump his bones, like she usually does.”
“Oh,” Patty answered. “I don’t know.” She bit her tongue again.
There was the sound of motorcycles in the square again, then the door swung open and now there was a man with an eyepatch and two women in black leather, one of them carrying a puppy in the crook of her arm. Patty saw Luke begin to object, then think better of it. The newcomers were greeted with much laughter and teasing, with the blonde snake-handler, Buffy,
Patty remembered, begging Eyepatch for an autograph and Eyepatch telling her to call his agent and so on, the banter continuing even as the food came and vanished to be replaced by calls for more, to Luke’s amazed irritation.
Eventually the little witch, Kaitlyn, pushed her plate away, kissed the redhead on the cheek and came over to Patty’s table.
“May I?” she asked”
“Of course,” Patty answered adding as she pulled up a chair. “This is my friend Babette, Babette, Kaitlyn.”
“I just wanted you to know we spoke with Giles and … well, I’m sorry but he couldn’t think of any way to free her from the demon but we will ask the Devon coven….” Her voice faded as finally she caught on to Patty’s urgent signal… “Oh, goddess, she doesn’t know?”
Patty shook her head. Kaitlyn turned to look at Babette.
“She doesn’t know?” she asked. Babette shook her head.
“Oops,” Kaitlyn said, turning bright red. After a moment Babette laughed and took pity on her, reached out and patted her hand.
“It’s okay hon, it’s kind of silly really. I knew about Patty of course, she just didn’t know about me.”
“Know what?” Patty asked, “What about you? You’re a witch too?”
“Oh no, hon. I’m a gnome.”
Patty stared. “A…. gnome? But you’re….”
“We don’t all live under toadstools. All shapes and sizes, we gnomes. Okay, I’m on the tall side as gnomes go…..”
“And in your yard….”
“Mostly from my dad’s side of the family. Poor relations, if you will, but I don’t mind. They’re fun, but kind of sad now that Rory’s moving away. They love to bliss out on her aura.”
“Wait a minute, you mean all those stories little Rory used to tell about tea parties with the gnomes …”
“Oh…. Oh,” Miss Patty said. “I hope you gave that Pierpont a good hiding.”
“What? Why would I do that?”
“Umm, well. Didn’t Rory ever tell you … I mean, I thought she was just being precocious … well, I suppose it doesn’t matter now. You just tell him he better stay out of my sight for awhile. …Nevermind. So, gnomes. And Morey?”
“What about him?”
“What is he?”
“What do you mean? He’s just as human as you are, Patricia LaCosta!”
“Really? … Sorry.”
“Umm, well,” Kaitlyn said. “I’ll leave you two to … catch up in a moment. I just wanted to give you these …. “ she handed Patty two three by five cards with rhymes written in elegant calligraphy. “They’re spells,” she explained.
“But I can’t … all my magic went into the blessing…”
“Of course. But these don’t require your personal magic…. these are spells anyone can do. The world is full of magic, Miss Patty. That’s what makes Willow so powerful, you know, it’s not so much what’s inside her but her ability to draw power from the world, from books, from the earth, and channel it. That’s all these spells do, release a little magic. This one is for Lorelai.“
“What’s it do?”
“Nothing, really, I’m afraid. A light show, a little bit of euphoria. But it might give her hope. I can tell she’s … sad. Maybe even near despairing. If we can’t come up with an actual solution, then, when you think the time is right go to her, tell you’ve found a spell to help her. Don’t tell her solves anything, just that it gives her chance if she works at it. She’s damaged, Miss Patty, and unless we can find a way to stop it she’s going to slowly but steadily get worse. She’ll get colder, more brittle, less kind, less capable of genuine laughter. But she’s not dead. She might as well live in hope.”
“Is there hope?” Babette asked. “The poor girl’s a bit self-centered, but who isn’t really? She doesn’t deserve this.“
“There’s always hope. After all, in the end even Faust escaped his demon and his was a big one. The Power of Love and all that.” Kaitlyn turned in her seat, looked at Lorelai, then over at Luke. “Maybe,” she said softly. “Last minute miracle. Stranger things have happened.“ She stood and held out her hand, “Babette, it was nice to meet you,” she said and shook, and did the same with Patty. “Take care, sister. Blessings be.”
“Oh, Kaitlyn, wait,” Miss Patty, holding up the second card, “what’s this spell for?”
“Oh,” Kaitlyn grinned, “that one does the dishes.”
Finally, after they finished off a second peach pie and he delivered the to-go order of six cheeseburgers to the woman with the puppy …
… why he had let that pass he didn’t know, it was just that every time he started to formulate a sentence about dogs and restaurants … he just couldn’t.
In fact, without being asked he’d gone and cut up a little bit of meatloaf and brought it out in a dish and got the most dazzling smile from the woman, which was nice but wasn’t why he’d done it. He’d stood there a moment, wondering, trying to retrace his thought process when the redhead had winked at him and it didn’t bother him anymore, except that now that they were gone it was starting to nag a little. Mostly because he was afraid that Kirk would use his tolerance as an excuse to bring his killer cat to the counter in the morning expecting a saucer of milk.
… Now they were gone, finally, and even though half the tables in the diner were still occupied it seemed empty now, a bit after-the-storm. Strange group, he thought. He shrugged and began to bus the table.
Slowly the afternoon waned, the customers lingering over pie or a last cup of coffee sighed and took themselves back out into the world. Miss Patty and Babette had paused on the way out to give him Significant Looks about what he had no clue. But then they did that at least once a week so he didn’t pay it much attention.
Eventually and rather oddly, as usually they had long ago rushed off by this time of day, only Rory and Lorelai were left. Rory had the Harvard and Yale catalogs open side by side on the table and seemed to be parsing them sentence by sentence while Lorelai sat back watching her with a faraway look on her face. He let them be, quietly flipped the sign on the door to closed,
kicked Caesar out the back door early and began doing the closing clean-up by himself.
The sky was just beginning to darken when Jess came in, quickly tucking his Wal-mart smock into his backpack when he saw Rory. He exchanged hellos with the girls and went upstairs. After a decent interval Rory followed.
Luke came around the counter and filled Lorelai’s coffee cup.
“Missing her already, huh?” he said.
Luke nodded toward the college materials still spread on the table. “Seems like just yesterday she was getting ready to off to Chilton. Now, Harvard.”
“Yeah. She could come home weekends then, huh. Still a big step. Got you a little shook?”
“What. Why, no. Why do you say that?”
“I’ve been giving you decaf all afternoon and you didn’t say a word.”
“No, you didn’t.”
He smiled. “No, I didn’t. I figured for once maybe you needed it. She’s going to be fine, you know. Harvard, Yale, whatever. She’ll take them by storm.”
“Yes. Yes, she’ll be fine. It’s just…. I’m not sure if I will.“ She looked up at him then with such raw pain in her eyes he could almost feel its physical presence. He stood, as he always did at times like this, mumbling and searching desperately for something to do to make it better…
“Pie,” he said, “you want some pie with that? I think the hoover family left me one …. “ he hurried over to the counter, leaned over to grab a fork and the remaining pie. “Yes,” he said, “it’s cherry, you like cherry, right?”
“Yes,” she said softly, then stood as he came back. “Thank you but… I’m just having a little early empty nest syndrome. I’m fine, didn’t mean to go all weepy on you.”
“I should go. I don’t want Rory to think I’m monitoring her make-out time.”
“Her what? … Oh. Yeah. You want me to go get ….”
“No. No, let them be. For awhile. Well…. See you tomorrow.”
“Here,” he thrust the pie out awkwardly. “ Take this with you, you can eat it later. Take it. You can bring the pan back whenever. Please.”
And then she was gone and he sat alone at the counter, knowing he’d done the wrong thing again but not quite sure what and why.
She stood in the square holding the pie and fought the urge to run back to him. To tell him everything. He wouldn’t believe her, not at first. But he wouldn’t care. He’d try to help. But there was no help, forces beyond the both of them had set the path….
And he didn’t deserve that, didn’t need snakedemons and women with mortgaged souls in his life. He needed a sane woman. A Nicole… well, maybe not Nicole, but someone…. Better than her.
And she needed… someone who understood that there was a time for a pie and a time … for taking someone in your arms and holding them tight.
She started walking, paused again, looked around at the town, the evening shadows starting to lengthen. She loved this town, she did, quirks and all, especially the quirks. And yet.
It wasn’t enough. It wasn’t. It was a fairy tale town and fairy tales were lovely for little girls but little girls grew up. Rory grew up. Maybe Harvard wasn’t the only way … but she’d had to get her out. She wasn’t wrong about that, she insisted to herself. She wasn’t.
Speaking of quirks, she heard him first, then saw him, coming around the corner, dancing on one leg as if possessed, playing with more antic energy than usual, the little portable amp struggling to keep up as the town troubadour attacked his guitar and sang… Keep looking, keep looking for somewhere to be,
Well, you're wasting your time, they’re not stupid like he
She turned and walked away, almost ran, knowing somehow she didn’t want to hear, but the words followed her in the still of the small town Sunday night; Meanwhile leaves are still falling, you're too blind to see.
You won't find it easy now, it's only fair.
He was willing to give to you, you didn't care.
You're waiting for more but you've had your share.
The witches promise is turning so don't wait up for him,
He's going to be late.
belongs, of course, to the incomparable Ian Anderson and Jethro Tull
Warning: General SPOILERS below for GG as of 3/22/07
A:N This was originally intended to be, for the most part, a brief lament for the long decline and very deep fall of the once clever and brilliant Gilmore Girls and the once utterly charming Lorelai who, as the unwatchable seventh season whimpers to a close, is not even a pale shadow of herself but a pale shadow of someone else.
Hence the conceit of the Faustian deal and the visions of her future in the crystal ball. And me writing myself into a corner where I’m afraid there just wasn’t a happy ending for Lorelai that felt remotely true. Thus, it ends as it ends.
I also apologize for the lack of Paris. I tried. She just didn’t fit.
Lorelai may be lost to us, well, to me at least, but Stars Hollow is made of sterner stuff and it abides.
SCHISM IN STARS HOLLOW x with Gilmore Girls
Zoey --- Mechanically minded slayer, in charge of Cleveland bicycle/motor pool.
Timothy ---- Andrew Well’s boyfriend
Kaitlyn ----- Willow’s girlfriend, lesser witch
Vanessa – 14 year-old daughter of XLH members, Faith fan
Jules V. – 13, son of prominent XLH member
Dustin -- 14, son of XLH members, considered a perv by Vanessa
XLH members :
Walt Peckham --- Original leader of the XLH, deceased
Joseph B. ---- 2nd and current leader
Sarah B. ---- Mrs Joe B. and fist successful “Faith”
Harvey -- original member, geek, historian, naïve
Robert. Y. – Hardline mercenary con man
Davis. O. --- XLH as way of life proponent
Ed. G. – Original member, self-proclaimed Xander Expert
F. Erin. --- leader of equal rights for Faith’s movement.
XLH Jaime --- Semi-independent, vampires killed his sister.
XLH Al Jenkins – Xander
F. Charity Wigglesworth -- Faith
XLH Reginald Smythe-Smythe -- Giles
XLH Bill Rose -- Willow
F. Alba Estate -- Dawn
F. Anne Estate --- Buffy
XLH Anthony Bells -- Andrew
Amsherket – Gilmore family demon taking the form of an egyptian cobra or asp