Disclaimer: Alas, I own nothing. Not Lorelai. Not Rory. Not Luke (wipes away a tear). Nothing.
Set-up: This fic takes place approximately twelve years after the end of Meet Me at the Chuppah. Will Danes has lived in his father's shadow his entire life. But just because he looked like Luke and worked with Luke, doesn't mean he wants to be Luke. Tensions will rise as the younger Luke Danes plans to breakaway from the prying eyes and expectations of Stars Hollow and become his own man.
Chapter 1- A Great Man
The world is losing a great man today. He wasn't a war hero or sports icon. He didn't cure a fatal disease or make a miraculous discovery. He wasn't a successful businessman whose name appeared in the financial pages of New York Times or Wall Street Journal. He wasn't a celebrity. He was a simple man that loved his wife and children with all his heart until the day that he died.
He coached his sons' baseball teams, attended every play and recital his children were in or a part of, and read every article his daughter wrote. He treated every day with his wife like it was their anniversary. He did everything he could for his children. He was a generous man that did things for people not because he had to, but because he wanted to. He was proud of everything he was and didn't care to be the things he wasn't.
My father was a great man because he was a simple man. He was the all-American man. I bear his name with great pride. My name is Lucas William Danes Jr. and today I want to tell you about the great man the world is losing.
Luke sighed watched the world pass him by through the windows of his diner. He'd lived in the small town of Stars Hollow, Connecticut all his life. In the fifty-five years he'd been alive, he watched people come and go. Babies were born. People died. Families moved to and away. The faces in town changed, but like the town itself, the people never did. Majority of the eccentric townspeople were children or relatives of past residence, keeping the family name on the town census. Even the Doose name would carry on. Travis Doose, Taylor's nephew, took over Doose's and the ice cream parlor when Taylor decided to retire. But the name that would forever be tied to Stars Hollow was Danes.
Most of the credit for that belonged to Luke. The first honor came almost eight years ago. As his last act as town selectman, Taylor declared Luke's Diner as a historical town landmark for twenty-five years of being in business. It was the longest running business in town after a fire took out Doose's Market for almost a year. Then there was the fact that Luke was going down in the town record books as the resident to live longest in town with a fifty-five year run. Bootsy left town for three years after the fire that took out Doose's destroyed his news stand. Remembering the fire depressed Luke. Death reeked everywhere in this town.
Luke shook his head, leaving the recesses of his mind when he heard the bells above the diner jingle. He looked up to see his oldest son Will and three of his friends walk in. Luke sighed as he rolled up the sleeves to his dress shirt and loosened his tie. Time to work.
"She was five," Sam Lawson remarked as they sat at one of the tables in the empty diner.
"Already? No way," Josh Melville said. "Is it five already?"
"Mr. Flanks was one, two was Doris Henderson, and three and four were the Rupert twins."
"I don't think we can count Mrs. Gilmore," Lena Forrester, Dean's daughter, remarked.
"I agree with Lena. My grandmother didn't even live in Stars Hollow," Will said. "We can't count her as one of the Fatal Five."
Luke nearly dropped the coffee pot in his hands when he heard his son. "Lucas William Danes," he said in a scolding tone. "What the hell is wrong with you?"
"What I do?"
"Your grandmother just died. It hasn't even been an hour since the funeral and you're already disrespecting her by making her one of this crazy town's superstitious statistics. What if your mother walked in and heard you? You know she's heart broken about all this."
"We were just…"
"Well don't. Show a little respect and don't." Luke turned to Josh. "And you. I thought you'd know better. You're the oldest of this group, so lead by example."
"Yes sir," Josh said, lowering his head in shame. "I'm…I'm sorry sir."
"Yeah, sorry," Sam added. He dare not look Luke in the eye. He was afraid of Will's father more than anything.
"I apologize Mr. Danes. We meant no harm," Lena said.
"It's ok. Just…don't talk about it. Will, Josh, why don't you guys go grab some drinks for yourselves and your friends."
"Thanks Pop," Will said as he and Seth went behind the counter.
Luke walked behind the counter and started to wipe down the counter. He made circular motions with his rag over the area he always seemed to clean. He always wiped that area when he had something on his mind. The smoothness and shine of the particular area told the world Luke Danes always had something on his mind. And today, it was Emily Gilmore.
After a three year battle with Alzheimer's disease, the prominent Emily Gilmore had died. Lorelai took it very hard. She and her mother had gotten very close over the years. They'd slowly created a healthy mother-daughter relationship, only to have it end abruptly. It was one thing to lose her mother, but because of her illness, Emily could barely remember who Lorelai when she passed away. To have their relationship end that way devastated Lorelai. She knew Emily had no control over that fact, but it still hurt.
Will knew the hell his mother was going through and Luke couldn't believe his son could be so insensitive at a time like this. Just then, Lorelai walked into the diner. Luke stopped what he was doing and watched his wife make her way to the counter and hop onto a stool.
"Hey," he greeted. "Coffee?"
"Please," she replied softly.
He poured his wife some coffee and sat beside her at the counter. "How you feeling?"
"Tired." She brought the cup up to her lips and was about to take a sip, but put it down. "She couldn't even remember me."
"The last time I saw my mother, she didn't even know who I was."
"She had Alzheimer's. That's what it does."
"I know. It's just…I wanted her to know me. I wanted her to remember."
Luke glanced quickly at his son. He wanted Will to see his mother like this. He wanted him to feel guilty for talking about his deceased grandmother in the fashion he had. And it worked. Will felt awful. He immediately regretted even mentioning the Stars Hollow Fatal Five. He should have had more respect for Emily Gilmore than that.
"I'm sure she tried very hard to remember you. I mean, it must have been really hard to forget a woman like you in the first place." Lorelai let out a soft chuckle. Luke reached out and put his hand over hers. "I know I couldn't." He gave her hand a little squeeze.
"Anytime. You hungry? I'll make you anything you want."
"Even a double cheese burger with bacon and eggs in it with a side of chili fries topped off with carne asada and really, really hot jalapeños?"
"Yeah. Do you really want that?"
"God no. I'm not that crazy."
"Good," Luke laughed. "It would have given you a heart attack. It would have given me a heart attack just for cooking it!"
"Can I have that?" Sam asked.
"Shut up Sam," Will said, throwing a napkin at his friend.
"You guys hungry over there?" Luke asked.
"We're fine boss," Josh replied. He had taken up at job at Luke's after school. Sookie wanted him to be a chef, but working at the diner wasn't exactly what she had in mind.
Luke nodded and turned his attention back to Lorelai. "What do you really want to eat?"
"Nothing. I'm not that hungry."
"You haven't eaten in two days."
"I can't keep anything down. You think it's a sign?"
"Yeah. It's a sign that you've been eating food that isn't good for you over the last twenty-five years and you need to eat healthier."
"I can't believe you're pulling the 'eat healthier' crap on the day of my mother's funeral."
"At least it's not on the day of my daughter's funeral."
"Huh? What are you…oh you're good. You're real good."
Luke leaned over the counter and kissed Lorelai softly on the lips. "Go home and get some sleep. I'll be there in a few hours."
"What would I do without you Luke Danes?"
"Probably starve. Now go." He kissed her again. "I love you Crazy Lady."
"I love you too Coffee Man."
Luke watched as Lorelai walked out of the diner and continued to watch her until she was out of sight. He prayed everything would work itself out. He knew this wasn't one of those situations you can just fix in a few days, but he needed it to be ok. Otherwise, he didn't know how his family was going to get by. To get his mind off of things, he began to go through his receipts, involuntarily listening in on the group of teenagers.
"Guess what I saw in the school trophy case the other day," Sam said.
"Just tell us," Josh sighed.
"There was a plaque with Luke 'Butch' Danes on it."
"I'm just wondering what Will's dad's picture was doing in a Stars Hollow High trophy case."
"My dad went to Stars Hollow High you idiot," Will said rolling his eyes.
"But you go to Chilton."
"What does that have to do with anything?"
"I think Sam is trying to say if your dad went to Stars Hollow Higj, why doesn't he send you there? Did your mom go to Chilton?" Lena asked.
"My mom went to a prep school in Hartford, but not Chilton. I go to Chilton because Rory went to Chilton."
"Who's Rory?" Sam asked.
"His sister stupid," Josh replied. "Isn't it kinda weird to have a sister that's twenty-one years older than you with no siblings in between?"
"Wait, Rory's thirty-seven? Your mom's fifty-three, so that would mean she had Rory when she was…"
"Sixteen," Will interjected with a sigh.
"I thought your parents met when your mom was twenty-seven," Lena remarked.
"They did." Will looked down at his hands. "Rory has a, uh, different…dad."
"Whoa. What's it like to have a half-sister?" Sam asked.
"What's it like to have half a brain?" Will snapped.
Luke looked up from what he was doing. Rory's paternity was a touchy subject with Will. It had been ever since he was three, when he found out Luke wasn't Rory's father. He didn't like the idea that his parents could have ended up with different people. Knowing that, Luke and Lorelai decided not to tell their children Lorelai was once engaged to their "Uncle" Max or that Luke's second most serious relationship was with their beloved "Aunt" Rachel. They definitely didn't tell them about Luke's first marriage to Nicole.
"I was just wondering," Sam said, throwing up his hands in mock surrender. "You don't have to be a jerk about it. Can I just ask one question?"
"If I say no, you'll ask anyway," Will remarked.
"Does your dad treat her differently because he's not her kid?"
"Hey, Rory is my dad's daughter. He helped my mom raise her. Not Christopher."
"Who?" Josh asked.
"Christopher Hayden, Rory's biological father. My dad treats Rory like the rest of us. He loves her, therefore, he treats her the same. Can we please talk about something else now?"
Josh, Sam, and Lena agreed. As his friends began to talk about something else, Will thought about what he had told his friends about how Luke treated Rory. The more he thought about it, the more he realized something. It wasn't that Luke treated Rory differently. He treated Will differently. He wasn't sure if it was good or bad at the moment, but his father did indeed treat him differently.
"No, you can't do that!" Josh stated, shaking his head. "You can't count him."
"Yeah Sam, I don't think you can," Lena agreed.
"Why not? He lived here his whole life. Why can't we count him?" Sam asked.
"Because Sparky was Mr. Jensen's dog," Will laughed as Luke brought over refills. "You can't count animals, only people. Right Pop?"
"Don't drag me into this," Luke said. "This 'Fatal Five' stuff is a load of crap. There aren't any weird astronomical, cosmic beings controlling the universe, deciding who lives and dies and how many people live and die in this town. The only greater being I believe in is the Lord Almighty and I don't think he's wasting his time picking out which five Stars Hollow residents to kill off. The Fatal Five is just another crazy theory in this whacked out town."
"Mom's the one that came up with it."
"I rest my case. The fact that your mother came up with the theory just makes it even crazier." With that, Luke headed back behind the counter as the teenagers continued their discussion. They concluded it they were only up to four and there would be one more death in town. As they speculated who the fifth would be, Luke let out a long sigh. Death made him depressed and right now, it reeked everywhere.
Next time on "Breakaway": Luke and Lorelai talk about Richard. Rory and Logan argue about Rory's plans for the future. Will begins to drift from his dad. Luke and Lorelai's youngest children, Lana and Richie, will be introduced.
A/N: I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "You killed off Luke already! What the heck is wrong with you? Insert profanity here!" For those lighting their torches and sharpening their pitchforks, I say this to you: Not everything is as it seems. It's still early, you never know what's going to happen. No one does. Well, I do, but I'm writing the story.
Edit: I just realized that "Seth" wasn't the name I gave to Sookie's kid. Lol. It was Josh (after my brother) so I'm correcting it.