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Physics of the Spin

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Summary: Rory Gilmore always thought she was Christopher Hayden's daughter, but things are a little more complicated than that... (Gilmore Girls/Stargate xover)

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Television > Gilmore Girls
Stargate > Non-BtVS/AtS Stories > Crossover: Other
(Past Donor)MhalachaiFR1321125,802148701185,5962 Jan 0812 Oct 09No

Almost Everything About Almost Everything

Daniel walked the halls of the SGC, mind planets away. While Mitchell was away at his parents' house on emergency medical leave after his father's almost-fatal heart attack, SG-1 was planet-bound. Not that Daniel minded the chance to get some work done, but he was itching to go back to those fascinating ruins off-world.

His fingers tightened around the folder he carried. He had been passing outside the infirmary when Dr. Lam had grabbed him and asked him to drop some information off at Dr. Lee's office. Since it was a task that was unlikely to put him in Vala's way, Daniel had accepted.

Not that he had anything against Vala most days, but her job in life seemed to be the total distraction of Daniel Jackson.

Or, at least, it had been. Daniel frowned as he ducked into the elevator. Ever since Rory Gilmore had arrived at the SGC, Vala had been bouncing around with the enthusiasm of an over-sugared child with a new toy.

Daniel soon arrived at Dr. Lee's laboratory, only to find the room empty. He glanced at the file in his hand. Nothing on the papers said Urgent. It would probably be all right if he left the paper for Dr. Lee to find.

The papers were neatly filed on the desk and Daniel was almost out the door when he heard something not usually present on a military base.

Sniffling sobs.

If Daniel had to name his one personality flaw, it would have been curiosity. He'd walked into dangerous situations a-plenty over the years, too curious for his own good. Now, knowing he should leave the office, he edged around the work table towards the back of the room. Someone had curled up on the far side of a filing cabinet, lower legs all that was visible from the center of the room. As Daniel approached, the crying stopped.

"Are you okay?" Daniel asked, torn between embarrassment and concern. SGC scientists did not curl up in corners and cry without very good reasons.

Although he didn't know of any SGC scientists who wore plaid Ked shoes. That only left...

A sniffle preceded a tiny voice saying, "Please go away."

Rory Gilmore.

Daniel's shoulders slumped. Another of his personality flaws, which Jack had always been quick to point out to anyone who would listen, was the inability to not come to the assistance of the damsel in distress. With Vala being hale and heartily annoying, Daniel hadn't come across any distressed damsels in months.

So, instead of leaving Rory to her breakdown, Daniel rounded the edge of the filing cabinet.

The girl looked up at him, eyes red. "Can this day get any more embarrassing?" she asked, trying to smile. It didn't work. "Do you want something?"

Ignoring his aching back, Daniel sat down on the concrete floor, giving Rory plenty of distance. "I want to make sure you're okay," he said gently. "These past few days must have been overwhelming."

"I guess," Rory replied. She pulled her knees tighter to her chest. Curled up like this, in the dim light of the lab, she appeared very young. "I mean, I find out that aliens are real and are trying to destroy all life in this galaxy and other, and that I have a father no one can stand."

Rory stared at a spot on the floor, fingers working at the worn knee of her cords.

"And..." Her fingers dug deeper into the cloth. "I accidentally called Major Collins 'Captain' and I think it really offended him but I didn't mean to and there's all these rules about rank and position and I can't find anyone to explain them to me and I keep messing up."

That, at least, Daniel could sympathize with. "When I first got back here, I stepped on a bunch of toes too," he offered. "As long as you're not doing it to be rude, people usually let it go."

Rory looked at him. "But I can't find any of this written down anywhere and--"

"You can ask anyone," Daniel interrupted gently.

As Rory continued to stare at him, Daniel started to understand what Jack had meant about the unnerving weight of her gaze.

"But is that the real reason you're in the corner?" he pressed.

Rory's eyes clouded. "No."

Daniel also knew when to wait.

"I... I don't know what I'm doing here." Rory's fingers slid down her pant leg to the floor, where they began to tap in arrhythmic patterns against the concrete. "I don't have a degree in math or any experience with any of this and I'm going to screw something up, bad, I just know it."

"Up until twelve years ago, no one on Earth had any real-world experience with wormhole physics or any of what we now deal with on a weekly basis," Daniel said slowly. "We take theoretical expertise and learned how to apply that to our work. It's..." He adjusted his glasses as he searched for the perfect description. "It's messy and it's not always perfect, but every single person down here knows that it's a process we have to go through."

"But I don't have any of that theoretical experience. I graduated from Yale with a Journalism degree and I spent the last two months sweeping floors in my mother's boyfriend's diner."

"And you managed to learn enough about theoretical mathematics and physics that you could understand some of the most esoteric and advanced science coming out of this program," Daniel added. "You figured out in a few months what takes most people ten years. I'm not saying there aren't gaps in what you know, but in the few days you've been here, you've contributed enough brilliant ideas to keep Dr. Lee and the science team busy for months."

"But that's all I've been doing, giving out ideas," Rory argued. "I don't have the knowledge to make any actual contributions."

Daniel shifted his position on the floor. The hard floor was making his tailbone ache. "You've been here a few days. Give yourself a chance to catch up."

Rory's hands slid flat against the ground. "I don't know if I can."

"Catch up?"

"Work like this." Rory glanced around the room, eyes flicking everywhere, before settling back on Daniel. "Everything I worked for, before, it was all mine and there was no right or wrong, just opinion. I think I grew used to that."

"When you were writing?"

Rory nodded.

"I see." Daniel thought back to the files Jack had shown him, Rory's school transcripts and several of her articles. Her grades were out of the park, the writing technically perfect, but a pervasive sense of exhaustion echoed in her final stories. "Why did you stop writing?"

The crooked smile she gave was so like Rodney McKay, Daniel wondered how the girl's mother hadn't seen it over the years.

"For my entire life, I was surrounded by people who would never say what they meant. Everything was always innuendo and impressions and disappointment. Not my mother," she hastened to add. "But when your mother has you at sixteen, society's disapproval never really goes away. Mom tried to keep away from all that as much as possible, but I still remember everything."

"That must have been hard on you."

"It created a certain sense of solidarity between me and Mom." Rory reached into her hip pocket and pulled out a worn photograph. She handed it to Daniel. "This is us when we went to Europe after I graduated high school."

"You look happy," Daniel offered as he looked at the photograph. In the picture, the girl looked bursting with happiness, her cheeks still carrying the soft roundness of youth. The Rory of now was almost gaunt, pale, with dark circles under her eyes from being in the SGC labs for sixteen hours a day.

Now Daniel understood why Vala had been unfailingly adamant about dragging Rory out to dinner every night.

"I was, I think." Rory took the picture back without looking at it.

"So why did you leave your writing job?" Daniel asked again.

Rory tucked the photograph away. "Because there were no answers. No way of knowing if what I had written was right or wrong, never any way of checking. I got sick of it all after a while. So I went home and was a disappointment to my mother for a few weeks, then I found out that Dad-- Christopher, was sick. You know the rest." She tucked her hair behind her ear, gaze once again resting on the floor. "Everyone thought I went a little crazy for a while, around town."

"Did you?"

Her fingers went back to worrying the fabric of her pant leg. "Maybe," she said after a long pause. "How sane can one be, when one starts envisioning the creation of zero-point energy in one's dinner plate?"

Daniel reached out to pat the girl's shoulder. "It might not be the most mentally healthy activity, but it's why you're here," he told her. "No matter what you might think, your work here is extraordinarily valuable. General Landry and the oversight committee don't keep anyone down here unless they are the best of the best. If you can't pull your weight, they'll let you know."

Rory blinked at him. "Really?"

"Really." Daniel gave his most reassuring smile. "You just keep having your brilliant ideas and we'll keep telling you if you're right."

"Okay." Rory smiled hesitantly.

Daniel slowly got to his feet. He was really too old to sit on concrete floors. "Are you going to be okay?"

Rory took Daniel's outstretched hand to help her stand. "I'll be fine." She bit her lower lip. "Can you not mention the Britney Boy crying fit to Val-- I mean, to anyone? I don't think it'd make me look professional to the other science folks."

"If you want," Daniel said.

"Good." Rory clapped her hands together. "So, back to work. No rest for the McKay genes."

Daniel opened his mouth for a memorable exit line, but Dr. Lee and a gaggle of scientists entered the room, and whatever Daniel might have said would have been superfluous.

In the outside hall, Daniel had only taken five steps before Vala appeared before him. "What were you doing?" Vala demanded.

"Dropping something off for Dr. Lee," Daniel said, trying to duck around the woman, but she blocked him.

"Was Rory doing poorly again?" she asked. "More of the lingering self-doubt and adorable self-abasement?"

Daniel was too tired to try and figure out what Vala meant by that last line. "She's just trying to find her place here."

Vala fixed Daniel with an evil glare. "Did you pull that comforting and warm confidant act? Daniel, how could you? She's just a girl."

Vala's meaning took a moment to sink in. "Oh god!" Daniel exclaimed. "No, she's just a-- No!"

Vala crossed her arms over her chest. "With your track record, how can you blame me for asking? It's been months since you had a cute young female to console." She frowned. "And you never pull that act with me."

Daniel turned around and went down the hall in the other direction.

~~~

Lt. Colonel Cameron Mitchell, decked out in crisp Air Force blues, strode down the hall past the last ground-level security checkpoint. All in all, life was pretty good at the moment. His father was home from the hospital and was going to be fine, and Mom was busy and distracted. After a week and a half, Cam was back at the SGC, ready for work.

He stepped into the elevator and pushed a button. When he had called from the car, the General's assistant informed Cam of a non-emergency meeting in the board room that morning. Details had been absent, so Cam spent the trip down wondering as to the subject matter. A new planet to explore? A new race of people to meet? Old friends come to visit?

His musings were interrupted a few floors above his destination when the elevator stopped and the doors slid open, and a twelve-year old girl stepped into the elevator.

Cam blinked. His second glance at the girl lifted her age up to early twenties, but still, she looked completely out of place at the SGC. A white lab coat covered an outfit completely of bright green -- green shoes, green cords, green t-shirt. There was even a green scrunchie holding the girl's hair back in a ponytail and a green coffee cup in her hand.

The girl never looked up from her notebook, using her cup-holding hand hit a button on the elevator wall. The doors slid shut, and the elevator continued down.

Cam frowned. The girl hadn't seemed to notice him. Not used to being ignored, he edged around to get a better look at her. She had an SGC security badge pinned to her lab coat, at least. But when had they started recruiting out of high school?

There was something familiar about the girl, but Cam couldn't figure out what.

The elevator opened and the girl barreled out, not looking up. Cam opened his mouth to call a warning as she headed directly towards the immovable mountain that was Teal'c, but the man stepped aside deftly at the last moment, avoiding the collision.

An eyebrow raised, Teal'c stepped into the elevator. "Colonel Mitchell," he said in greeting. "It is good to see you returned. How is your father?"

"Dad's going to be fine," Cam said, mind still on a little green girl wandering the halls of the SCG. "That kid..."

To Cam's immense surprise, Teal'c smirked. Smirked. "She is the newest scientist working with Dr. Lee on the matter of zero-point energy."

"Her? Why, she's only a little sprig of a thing."

"Indeed." The doors opened and Teal'c and Cam both stepped out of the elevator. "But that is only to be expected."

Cam waited, but Teal'c held his smug silence. With a sigh, Cam said, "Okay, I give up. Why is that to be expected?"

"Because she is the daughter of Dr. Rodney McKay."

Cam walked into an Airman.

Once he had disenabled himself and apologized profusely, Cam ran after Teal'c. "Oh, come on!" Cam exclaimed. "You can't just give that up and not tell me more! You're telling me that girl is Rodney McKay's kid?"

As he finished, they arrived in the board room, which was already populated with the rest of SG-1, generals, and a white-coat. At Cam's exclamation, General Landry looked over from his conversation with General O'Neill. "Colonel Mitchell, good, you're here. I see Teal'c has filled you in on the person in question?"

"Sir?"

Daniel carried the coffee pot to the table. "Rory Gilmore. Genius daughter of Rodney McKay," he said as he refilled his cup.

Cam looked at the gathered people, waiting for one of them to 'fess up to the joke. They all appeared deadly serious. "Um, sir?"

"Jack found her working in a Connecticut diner," Daniel added, and smiled.

Cam blinked a few times. While not the oddest thing he'd come across at the SGC, it certainly was up there.

Who'd have thought Rodney McKay would have had a kid?

"All right, everyone, sit down," General Landry ordered. The seats quickly filled. Cam sat at his usual place by the head of the table, missing the flash of blonde hair at his left. Sam Carter had gone onto bigger things, but he still missed her as part of SG-1. "All right, Ms. Gilmore has been here just over a week. I'll be blunt. Do we keep her or do we ship her off to Area 51?"

"She's hasn't done anything to warrant dissection, has she?" Vala exclaimed, looking up from her book. Cam frowned. Vala Mal Doran had an open book at a briefing, and hadn't said a word since he came into the room.

Had everyone gone insane?

Sighing mightily, Daniel patted Vala's book. "No one's going to dissect Rory."

"Oh." Mollified, Vala bent her head back over the pages and started scribbling.

As if there had been no interruption, General Landry continued. "What I mean is, she still hasn't signed the paperwork regarding her job offer, and I need that paperwork on my desk by the end of today. Is she making enough of a contribution here, or would she be better suited to R&D at Area 51?"

Cam had heard enough; or perhaps not enough. He put up his hand. "Sir? Could someone please tell me what is going on?"

At the end of the table, General O'Neill spoke while he continued to fold a paper airplane. "When two teenagers find themselves hormonally and emotionally unbalanced, sometimes kids happen. When one of those teenagers happens to be Rodney McKay, you end up with a Rory Gilmore. Yay high," he indicated with his hand, missing the girl's true height by about a foot, "Needs a sandwich, smart enough to figure out the concept behind a ZPM while slinging hash."

"She was a waitress?"

Daniel shook his head. "Journalism major."

"A journalism major," Cam repeated. He was still waiting for the punch line, but he was starting to get a horrible impression that he was the punch line. "And now she's at the SGC, doing..."

"Science," General O'Neill said, using sarcastic finger quotes. He settled back into his chair, suddenly serious. "There's no indication that she's been influenced by any outside source, not Trust, not NID. And outside of a disturbing fetish for oversized Russian novels, nothing international."

"We don't have any evidence either that the Ancients had any role in accelerating her mental development," Dr. Lee continued. "She's been working with my team all week, sometimes wearing the Ancient's synaptic activity measurement device, and she's making mental leaps beyond anything we could come up with, and there's nothing mentally abnormal in any of the readings."

"How valuable are her contributions, Doctor?" General Landry asked.

Dr. Lee sat up, as enthusiastic as Cam had ever seen the man outside of a World of Warcraft conversation. "Having her here-- well, it's like having Rodney McKay here without..." he trailed off, uncertain.

"Without having Rodney McKay here," Vala supplied, never looking up. "I don't know why none of you will say it out loud. He's arrogant and obnoxious." She paused. "And sort of attractive, in that 'tie a gag over his mouth' sort of way."

While Cam shuddered through that mental image, Dr. Lee jumped back into the fray. "If what she's done over the last week is any indication of what she can do, while still learning a whole new way of looking at the universe... why, I think we'd be fools to send her to R&D in Nevada at this point."

General Landry nodded. "Dr. Jackson? What's your take?"

"She's..." Daniel adjusted his glasses in consideration. "I think she's aware of the limitations of her knowledge. If anything, she might be hesitant to put herself forward."

"A humble McKay," Cam mumbled under his breath. What was the world coming to?"

"She also appears interested in the stories of the SGC," Teal'c put in. "Last evening, she inquired as to the history of the Jaffa rebellion and the destruction of the Goa'uld."

"Occupying all of my dinner hour," Vala said. "Which was totally unfair."

"Vala?"

"General?"

"Vala, put the book down," General Landry ordered. "How many times have I told you, no Sudoku in the briefing room?"

With great reluctance, Vala closed the book and laid it on the table. "Yes?"

"What do you think of Ms. Gilmore?"

Vala shrugged. "She's always up for a bit of fun, unlike this crowd."

Cam wasn't at all reassured by that, knowing as he did what Vala considered 'fun.'

"I mean, she's not normal, but it's a burden I've grown used to down here."

"You've been spending a lot of time with her," General Landry pressed. "What do you do?"

Vala's eyebrow arched, exuding innuendo for a long moment. "We watch movies or television. She tried to get me to read a very large book but I'm using it as a doorstop. Let's see." She snapped her fingers. "She's completely obsessed with pie."

"That's you," Daniel interjected.

"Oh, right." Vala gave General Landry a wide-eyed look. "What do you want me to say? We talk, we watch movies, she entertains me. If you're asking if she's after the secrets of the Goa'uld or the Ori, sorry. Wrong exit."

"Sounds like a paragon," Cam said.

"Oh, I never said that," Vala retorted. "She's quirky and obsessive and will trail off in the middle of a conversation as something occurs to her, and her attention span can be pathetic at times. Plus she's a stickler for names. She calls everyone by their rank."

"That's not a character flaw, Vala," Cam said. "That's manners."

Vala waved her hand. "She's too tightly wound and worried she'll mess up." Vala paused, considering. "I wonder what she'd be like drunk."

Sergeant Harriman appeared at the head of the stairs. He waited until the General gestured, then approached. "Sir, these were just delivered to your office."

General Landry took the papers and glanced at them. "Thank you." The sergeant vanished back down the stairs. "Well, it seems as if Ms. Gilmore has come to a decision." He laid the papers on the desk. "She signed the job offer."

Vala squealed, jumping out of her chair. "We get to keep her! Can I go?" she asked belatedly, hardly waiting for the General's wave before running off.

Cam slumped down in his chair, resigning himself to a crumpled shirt for the rest of the day. "Did I miss anything else while I was gone?" he asked.

"The Falcons kicked ass in the divisional game," General O'Neill said. He stood. "If there's nothing else, I'd like to go say goodbye before heading back to DC."

"Go, Jack. Thanks for your help on this, I owe you one," General Landry said.

"You owe me more than one." With a wave that might have been a salute, General O'Neill tramped down the stairs to the Control Room.

Cam stared at Daniel. "Has this seriously all happened in the week I was gone?"

"Week and a half," Daniel corrected. "You also missed it when Vala walked around backwards all day."

"Great."

General Landry gathered up the papers. "If that's all, then this meeting is over. SG-1, I want you back here at 1600 hours for the preliminary briefing on your next mission."

He stood, Cam stood, and the meeting broke up.

"Hey, Mitchell," Daniel called before Cam headed down the stairs. "Major Morris wanted to know if you were up for dinner at the steakhouse tonight? It might be a little crowded because it's St. Patrick's day, but if we go in right after the briefing..."

"Yeah, sure," Cam said, mind still whirling. He had forgotten that it was St. Paddy's day.

That would explain the green outfit the girl was wearing, although not her enthusiasm.

Everything always happened when he was off base.

~~~

Lorelai frowned down at her notes. The wedding party needed fifty seats, but the drawing she held only had space for forty seats. Grumbling at the inefficiency of her staff, Lorelai pulled out a pencil and started sketching.

Bob the doorman approached her table, quiet in the empty dining room. "Lorelai?"

She didn't look up. "Yes?"

"Michel wants to tell me you have a phone call."

Lorelai scratched out a line. "I'm busy. Go away."

"Right." Bob left.

And was back again in a minute. "Michel wants to know if you want Rory to leave a message or to call you back?"

Lorelai's pencil went flying. "Rory's on the phone?" she demanded, already moving. "Why didn't you say so?"

"Michel didn't tell me at first."

Lorelai rounded the corner and stormed towards the front desk. Michel held the phone to his ear, looking quite smug. "Oh, look, here she is now," he said sarcastically. "Surprise, surprise."

"Transfer the call to my office," Lorelai ordered. "I'll deal with you later, mister."

Unperturbed, Michel hit a button on his headset.

The phone was ringing when Lorelai skidded into her office. She grabbed the phone. "Rory?"

"Hi Mom," Rory said. The tinny line couldn't mask the happiness in her kid's voice. "How are you doing?"

"I'm fine, kid." Lorelai blinked away tears at hearing her daughter's voice. "Man, it's good to hear from you."

"Yeah, I'm sorry I only called once this week. I've been really busy."

"Doing what?" Lorelai eased into her chair, settling in for a long talk. Since that fateful day over a week ago when Rory proclaimed out of nowhere that she was leaving for Colorado, Lorelai hadn't known what to do with herself. She wanted Rory happy and busy, but she wanted her kid near, too. Maybe Rory was too old to mother like this, but damn it, Rory had been Lorelai's whole life for twenty-five years.

"Um... yeah. That's why I'm calling." Rory sighed. "Mom, you need to promise not to freak out."

Lorelai swallowed hard. "Really not the best way to start a conversation, kid."

"I know, but I'm fine. Totally, all the way." Rory took a deep breath. "I'm going to be staying in Colorado for a while. I've found something I'm happy with, something amazing I can be doing to help people, to do amazing things for humanity."

"Did you join a cult?"

"Mom! No, I didn't join a cult. I, um... I got a new job."

"With a cult?"

"No. With the U.S. Air Force."

Lorelai froze, hand halfway to the desk. "With the what?"

"The U.S. Air Force."

"You... oh god, you enlisted! You signed up! Being all that you can be!"

"I did not! And that's the motto for the Army, not the Air Force."

"Then what do you mean?"

"They have civilians working with them all the time!" Rory exclaimed. "I'm doing stuff to help them. Remember how we support the troops?"

"But that's different than working for the military!"

"Mom, oh my god! Listen to me! I'm doing good work with the potential of helping a lot of people!"

"You make it sound like a cult. Do you have to wear a uniform and shave your head?"

The sigh was audible over the phone line. "Mom, I'm pretty sure the U.S. Air Force is not a cult."

"Says you."

"Well, the cult's paying me nicely in any event. If I wire you some money, can you give it to Grandpa as payment for the loan he gave me last week?"

Lorelai winced. She hadn't even thought about how she was going to explain this her parents. "That's only going to annoy him."

"I don't care." Stubbornness, thy name is Rory Gilmore, Lorelai thought. "I have some money now and I don't like having a loan like that hanging over my head, Miss 'Chilton Payback Disaster of 2003.'"

"Fine, fine. What am I going to tell them?"

"That I ran away and joined the circus."

"That wasn't funny when I tried it in the fifth grade."

"Then tell them that as a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, I wanted to give back to my country."

Lorelai frowned. "That's a little pointed."

"What do you want me to say? That it would be better for me to come back to Stars Hollow and serve burgers at Luke's forever? My life..." Rory was quiet for so long that Lorelai began to worry. "I'm not the same person I was a year ago. I've got stuff going on I need to figure out before I can figure out the rest of my life, and I think I can do that here."

"Okay. Sure, fine." Lorelai tried very hard not to be hurt, but the idea that her daughter had to leave her behind in order to figure that stuff out... well, it stung.

"Mom? Are we okay?"

"Of course we are," Lorelai said quickly. She forced a smile onto her face, even if Rory couldn't see it. "I miss you, that's all."

"I miss you too."

Lorelai closed her eyes. She would not cry. If this was good for Rory, Lorelai would be happy. "Do you have a phone number I can call you at yet?"

"Not yet. I've been on base since I got here. One of the guys down here had an apartment in town he never uses. He said I can stay there until I find a place."

"One of the guys," Lorelai repeated.

"Yes, he-- Mother!"

"What am I supposed to think? You run off halfway across the country and join the military spontaneously... Is he that guy Mrs. Kim saw you with?"

"I'm not Catherine Zeta Jones!" Rory exclaimed. "And this isn't like that at all! I didn't come to Colorado because Jack O'Neill!"

"But was there a guy?"

Rory huffed into the phone. "It's complicated."

"So share. I've got all the time in the world."

"But I don't. I have a meeting to get to. Mom, look, I'm not in Colorado because of some guy. I'm here because of all the other reasons I've already outlined."

Lorelai wanted to argue, to scream at Rory that no guy was worth joining up for, but from the tone of voice coming over the phone, Lorelai knew Rory wouldn't listen. "You'll let me know if you need me to come out there?"

"Of course I will," Rory said. "I love you, Mom."

Unbidden, the tears came back to Lorelai's eyes. "I love you too kid, so much."

"Take care of yourself, and tell everyone I say hi. And give Paul Anka a pat for me, okay?"

"Sure thing, kid. You call if you need anything. At all."

"Other than giving that money back to Grandpa, I'm good for now."

"I was hoping you'd forget about that."

"No chance. Bye, Mom."

"Bye, babe."

Lorelai held the receiver to her ear long after Rory hung up, listening to the dial tone that separated her from her daughter.

She didn't understand. Ever since Rory had returned to Stars Hollow after quitting her job, after she'd gotten stranger and stranger, sitting on that park bench all day with her laptop, Lorelai had been battling panic. Something had happened to Rory around the time that Chris had told them he had leukemia. Maybe it was thinking about her own mortality.

Or maybe it was something deeper, something that Rory couldn't share with Lorelai.

That thought alone sent chills through Lorelai.

She shook off the panic. Rory sounded good, if a little snarky on the phone, and that was close enough to normal. She had a job and a place to stay, and could take care of herself. For now, Lorelai would have to accept that, no matter how much it rankled.

It was only after Lorelai stormed into the kitchen to commiserate with Sookie that she realized Rory hadn't said a single thing about exactly what sort of work she was doing for the military.

end part
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