Disclaimer: If I owned Gilmore Girls, I'd be some where in Ireland right now, not here

Dedicated: To the wonderful Wispy because without knowing it, you pushed me to write the rest of this story after I felt like deleting it and starting all over again. So thank you!

A/N: Hey! this is my "Halloween" fic. and I only use the " because it doesn't have much halloween-ness in it, lol. But I'm writing another Halloween fic and that one will have more Halloween-ness in it. Okay, enough of that, lol, I hope you guys enjoy this, I really worked hard on it and I'm still not sure about the beginning the end is a little shakey to me so please, please review and tell me what you think. I'll give you some lovely flowers :-D

Oh and if anyone wants to know the meaning of the title, just ask and I'll tell yee.


- - -
- - -

She had to admit, it wasn't her normal routine she did ever year but this wasn't bad. She was actually having fun.

It was nice to get out, do something different, to smell the fresh air, so to speak. She didn't know if she'd do it next year but it was great to do it this year.

As she walked with the gabbing girls beside her, she smiled, thinking this was something she had been missing. Something she had been reluctant to do but once she got going, was glad she did, though the disappointment of her original plans hung around. Pushing that thought back, she swung her bag, careful not to spill its contents.

Maybe that's what disappointment was, her pervious thoughts coming back, when your let down only to be shown something else, something greater. But it was hard to get over it, she was, in a way, let down but she knew it wasn't done on purpose. She understood the reasoning as to why it didn't work out like she wanted; life. It wasn't that Lorelai and Lane didn't want to continue their annual Halloween day, it was a simple fact that they had things going against them.

Lorelai had to work the night shift at the inn because the flu was going around town and half the night crew was out sick.

Lane was under lock and key. Mrs. Kim had found Lane's real Halloween costume and freaked out, thinking her daughter needed more time in Church.

That was what led Rory to where she was.

Trick or treating with none other then Louise and Madeline.

She was surprised when the pair had asked her about it last week, but since she had thought her plans were going to go through, she turned them down until the news was broke to her about both of her friends couldn't follow through.

Lorelai has pressured her to make the call, not wanting her daughter to be left alone and miserable on Halloween. It was during the call that she found out that Louise and Madeline made a night of it, after trick or treating, they went back to the house, and once the doorbell stopped ringing, turned off all the lights in the house and watched scary movies until they passed out. These two would cease to amaze her.

It was as she walking, listening as they told her one of their stories she realized there was more to these two then what they let anyone see. Besides having a new boyfriend each week, they were truly best friends and they were completely dependent on each other. It was, in a weird way, amazing to watch the two together outside of school.

"Lou ran out of the house, screaming and I just looked at the guy and laughed. He was wearing the ugliest pair of pants and shirt ever. And his make-up was horrible. He looked totally fake."

Rory glanced at them, surprised. Apparently, there was this one house that like to make there house into a maze to get to the candy every year.

Sometimes, in moments like these, she regretted looking at the pair and making a snap judgment about them, or any one else in their school.

Except one.

He deserved everything she thought about him.

And nothing would change her mind.

Holding her bag of goodies in one hand, she held her side with her free had, the laughter continuing as they walked down the street. They were still ditzy but they were funny and had some great stories.

This was a good second choice, she thought, if she couldn't be home, then she was glad to be here.

She got to know the pair beside her, listen to stories and share some of her own. It was a good night.

As Rory was about to ring the bell of the next house, a loud crash echoed from the inside, startling the girls on the steps.

"What was that?" Rory whispered.

"I don't know. Whose house is this?" Louise whispered back.

Before another word was spoken between the three, they suddenly heard a yell from inside.

"You're going and I don't care how much you don't want to go!"

"You've never cared so why the hell would I have thought you'd start now?"

"Oh please, get of that tune already, you've been saying it since you could speak"

"Maybe I wouldn't have to say shit if you were actually the father you like to pretend to be!"

Rory actually flinched from the words, at how harsh they were, how much venom soaked the words. It sounded like they were right there in the foyer.

This felt wrong. Standing on someone's doorstep, listening to a privet argument, violating their privacy, even if they were yelling at each other. But at the same time, she couldn't tear herself away, looking at her company; she saw they were scooting closer towards the door.

"If you weren't such a fuck up, maybe I wouldn't have to pretend to be such a great father."

Rory gasped, the words stinging even her. How could someone say that to their child?

"You know…" Madeline whispered, "that kind of sounds like…" she trailed off as the son came back from his father's barb.

"Gee, because I had such role models. A mother who turns the other way the moment something goes bad. A who father won't tolerate any kind of mess up and if he can't control something, uses his fist and tells me they regret the day I was born."

Rory covered her mouth, catching the meaning in the younger males' voice. She felt her gut twisting, the overwhelming feeling of pity submerging her as she listened to something she knew was wrong.

"If you hadn't screwed your life up, maybe I wouldn't regret your sorry ass."

"How the hell can I screw my life up when I'm only 17?"

"Like anyone wants to touch you after they see you have a record. You can't even keep a girlfriend around long. They can't even put up with you."

"If I'm so horrible, why don't you just ship my ass off to Canada and be done with me?"

"Because your mothers afraid of what people will say."

There was a long moment of silence before a door slammed somewhere inside. All three of the girls stood there in a stunned silence, their night taking an unexpected turn.

After hearing the personal argument that had taken place between a society father and son, the mood amidst the girls wasn't as joyful and humorous as it had been. It felt like they were forcing themselves to talk, trying not to dwell on the conversation they were never supposed to hear for too long.

She couldn't imagine hearing those vicious words from her mother, they weren't even directed at her and she felt horrible. It was hard to think that someone she went to school with had to live with that. Thinking back, the younger males' voice had sounds familiar to her, it kept nagging her, knowing she had heard his voice before but could not place it.

"You know what?" Louise announced suddenly, stopping to look at both Rory and Madeline. "We should go back to my house and finish the rest of our night like we usually do and try to forget what we heard."

Madeline shrugged. "I don't know Lou; I keep hearing those words over and over. They make me want to cry, my parents never said anything that mean to me before."

"Yeah they were horrible but let's not let it ruin our night. We'll go back to my place, watch horror movies, gorge ourselves on the candy and freak out over how much weight we gained in the morning."

Rory nodded, once more surprised by the girls. "Sounds good to me. It'll help get our mind off it."

Louise smiled. "Then it's settled c'mon."

As Louise walked ahead of them, Madeline whispered something to Rory, hoping it was low enough that Louise wouldn't hear her. "She doesn't like to think about that sort of thing, she had to go through it with her step-dad until her mom finally divorced him. But I don't think it was ever that bad."

Rory cleared her throat, Louise flippant attitude making more sense.

"C'mon you two, hurry up!" Louise called over her shoulder.

Rory gave Madeline a tight smile before both picked up the pace, fallowing Louise back to her house.

Around three in the morning Louise and Madeline both cuddled up with their pillows as the Witching hour slowly drifted by both freaking out over the time and the day it was. But as soon as the clock rolled around to four, both relaxed and loosened their death drip on their pillows.

Some where around the fifth movie, after endless candy and soda, they all managed to crawl into their sleeping bags. It was Louise idea, saying if they were going to have sleep over, they needed to do it the correct way.

As Rory was about to drift off, she remembered something Madeline had said earlier. Rolling over, she nudged her in the shoulder, hoping she wasn't asleep yet. "Mmm."

"Madi." whispered Rory.

"What?" she replied sleepily.

"On the door step of that house, you said the voice sounded like someone. Who do you think it was?"

"Mmm, what? Oh. Bryce Dugrey." she said, snuggling against her pillow.

Rory froze, not expecting the answer. "Dugrey? Would that be Tristan's father?" she whispered back, afraid of her answer.

"Yeah, that's the one. It's been rumored for years that his fathers abusive."

She felt something twist inside of her, something she didn't understand, and something she didn't want to acknowledge.

"Y'know," Madeline continued, her eyes closed. "Tristan really likes you." she said before she fell asleep.

It was a long time before Rory said anything else, afraid to speak, or even move. She knew both of the girls were asleep but as she said the words aloud, she knew she was speaking to herself, admitting something she had been scared to do so before. "I know. That's what scares Me." she whispered to the dark.

Watching as he walked through the halls, Madeline's words from last night kept ringing through her mind. It had to be some cruel joke fate was playing on her; it was not possible that it was Tristan and his father that were yelling at each other last night. This was Tristan, the Kind of Chilton, he had it all. The grades, the girls, the cars - everything.

But as she watched him, something seemed different about him today. He wasn't strutting down the hall, wasn't stopping to chat to anyone. His normal "just rolled out of bed" style was off as well. His hair was looking oily, as if he hadn't showered recently, his pants were wrinkled and his tie was crooked. The most important thing she noticed, were his eyes. They weren't sparkling and they weren't light, they were dark and stormy. Almost black.

Before she could understand what was happening, she could see him in a foyer of an expensive house, his face flushed; yelling with the blurred figure she assumed would be his father. With a sudden sinking feeling, she knew.

As she turned toward her locker, she half expected him to stop and say something to her as per usual but as he continued on by, not even giving her a second glance, she felt something stir, something along the lines of hurt rumble through her. It was wrong. This wasn't supposed to happen. She was just supposed to go about her normal day, not give Tristan's mood and actions a second thought.

Nonetheless, as he breezed pashed her, without a second glance in her direction, she felt something clench inside, and a yearning go out to him, wondering how true Madeline's words were last night. Just knowing how hard his life really is, she knew he wouldn't want her pity but it was hard for her to feel something else. It was strange, how her opinion of him went from lower then earth to her suddenly feeling sympathetic for him. It still didn't excuse the way her had treated but it made a little more sense.

He had never been in any type of relationship where real feelings were involved unless it had to do with hate or lust and knowing that he had an interest in her, made it more difficult on her, knowing if she acted any other way towards him then her normal attitude, he would immediately know something was going on and try and figure out what was "wrong" with her and she couldn't tell him she over heard him and his father arguing the other night.

Sighing, she closed her locker and started heading toward her first class, knowing there was a possibility that she may see Tristan in class. She didn't bother telling Lorelai about what she over heard, she almost did but as she was about to speak the words, something held her back, something telling her not to tell her. Lorelai being Lorelai knew something had happened but didn't want to push Rory into telling her.

As she sat in her desk, she was as normal, the only one in the room. As she took her books out, she was aware someone entered the room but just assumed it was Ms. Willis and just continued on with setting her things up. Until she heard the chair scrape across the floor behind her, she froze, knowing exactly who was in the room with her.

Why was it weird? It wasn't like they were talking or even friends so it didn't matter that her was, for once, early to class. So what she over heard something, it wasn't the end of the world, was it? If the society circles could gossip about Bryce being abusive, then he must be used to it, right? But that didn't mean anyone in school knew his family issues, because the after all, it was all just rumors, no one knew for sure.

As she sat there, pondering it, trying to figure out why this was bugging her so much, why she was worrying over what to say to him, the classroom began to fill up and before she knew it, the ringing of the bell broke her out of her trance but for once, she wasn't excited to be in class, she wasn't looking forward to learning something new.

She just wanted to make him feel better, like he wasn't completely worthless but there was no way either one of their prides were going to let them and she was too scared to admit to over heard something she shouldn't have.

So as far as she was concerned, she was just going to go on with her life, as if she hadn't heard those words.

As the last class let out, Rory rubbed the back of her neck, the day taking a toll on her. The decision she made early was making her weary. Why was it so hard? She could not comprehend it. She and Tristan didn't have the best of relationships and didn't see why not talking to him, ignoring everything she heard last night, was so hard.

Then again, from what she had observed, he hadn't talked much of anyone today, not that she had been watching him. He'd skipped lunch as well. It was weird, it was almost as if his fathers words had finally drove him to his breaking point.

In a way, she wanted to reach out to him but at the same time, she knew he wasn't the type who would want her sympathy.

As she walked out of school, slinging her pack back over her shoulder, as she walked down the stone steps, she could here the students whispering, wondering why their king wasn't his royal self. With a sad smile on her lips she looked over at his car, which sat alone. He must have detention or something, she thought, he was normally gone by now.

Shrugging it off, she took her normal route to her bus stop, to wait thirty minutes before she'd have to climb the steps of the bus. Then it'd take another 50 just to get back home. Yeah, she had a long trip ahead of her.

But as she was about the reach the bench, she noticed it was occupied by a strange person. Not that it was strange someone was sitting there, but it was the person that was there which made it strange. She tightened her slacked jaw, moving slowly, almost trance like towards the wooden seat. As she took her seat, she tried not to show how nervous she felt. This was most definitely weird.

Glancing over at him, she wondered if she should say something. Maybe just a simple hi would do, that wasn't complicated. She shifted in her seat, damming herself for making a simple thing as saying hi difficult. She over thought things, simple things that didn't require such complex thought.

Looking at him out of the corner of her eye, she saw his legs were stretched out in front of him, his hands linked over his stomach, his head lowered, his chin almost touching his chest. From what she could tell, his eyes were closed. She could just as easily slip off the bench and he wouldn't have even known she was there at all.

"I don't bite, you don't have to set there all timid."

She was startled out of her thoughts, not expecting him to say anything. His voice was rough, almost as if he hadn't slept.

She shifted her weight around on the bench, not knowing what to say or if she should say anything at all.

It was amazing that over hearing something could change how she saw him, how to act around him. She knew it was going to send a red flag up but she couldn't help it. It was almost as if something inside was holding her back from the harsh jabs she normally wouldn't have given a second thought.

"What's up with you anyway? You've been acting skittish all day?"

What the hell was up with him? He could be so damn confusing.

Shrugging, she chose her words carefully before answering, "It's been a rough… day."

As if picking up on the apprehensiveness in her voice, he finally picked his head up, giving her an acute look.

Squirming under his harsh gaze, she felt like he could see everything, could read every thought passing through her jumbled mind.

"So um, what'd you do last night?" Rory asked, desperate for his eyes to move off her before she realized the mistake by asking that question as his eyes turned even darker, narrowing on her as if he found what he was looking for.

"Nothing." he answered flatly, still not moving his eyes from her face.

She couldn't meet his heavy gaze, feeling the pressure build in her chest, the shame rise to swallow her as he gave her the never yielding look.

"Did you have fun last night?"

Rory's eyes snapped to his, wondering what he knew. "What?"

The look on his face never changed, his voice that same rough tone, never showing any sign of emotion changes. "You went out with Louise and Madeline, didn't you?"

She couldn't figure out what he was getting out, what answer he was searching for. Feebly, she answered, "Yeah, we… had a blast."

He must have heard it in her voice because he looked at her a moment longer before nodding to himself, turning his head and looking back out in front of him.

Rory folded her hands in front of her, twirling her thumbs around, unnerved by his sudden demeanor.

They sat there for what felt like forever, in an awkward silence. Rory was to frighten that he found what he was looking for, to say anything.

Before she could do something with her scattered thoughts, she felt something pulling her away from her thoughts.

"How much did you over here?"

She cringed, hearing the anger seething behind his words.

"I - I, we didn't… I don't know what you're talking about." Real great Rory, most stupid excuse. Ever!

"Really? Because with the way you three keep looking at me today, I think you did hear something."

Rory hated the ire that soaked his words, the words she knew were true, no matter how much she wished otherwise. She knew Louise and Madeline had been watching him today but had hoped he had not noticed. Truthfully, she knew he had a keen eye and would notice them giving him worried glances.

"Did you just plan on setting here to grill me about what we overheard or do you have actual reason to be here?" she snapped, angry at herself for letting this happen, for letting it go this far.

He snorted a humorless laugh. "Because my life revolves around one Rory Gilmore. No, I have a fucking flat tire, I left my cell at home and don't feel like walking. So yes, I have a real reason to be here. Is that okay with you?"

She glared at him, forgetting why she had ever felt sorry for the ass in the first place. "Jeeze, I was thinking you weren't actually all that bad. Sorry, my mistake."

"So, you hear an argument between me and my old man and suddenly feel sorry for me? Sorry, I'd rather have you hate me then pity me, babe."

Shaking her head, she ignored his comment. It wasn't worth it and she wasn't going to put herself through this just because this guy was on some power trip. "Y'know what, Madi told me you actually liked me and stupid me, believed her but you just always know how to ruin my belief each day." she said as she stood up as her bus pulled up.

"And you know what?" he hissed, grabbing her forearm and swinging her around to face him. "You have your mind made up about me, no matter anyone is going to tell you, even after what you heard, it's never going to change because you can't handle it. Because it would ruin the perfect life you have going on to like a guy like me. So just get on the bus and forget everything you heard last night."

Rory stood there stunned, rooted to the spot as Tristan just shook his head and sat back down on the bench. No one had talked to her like that and as she looked at him, she finally saw something she never noticed before. No, never wanted to admit was there.


He was hurting, she knew his home life had something to do with it but most of all, she was doing it. She was hurting him and she didn't even know it. Giving the bus one last glance, she sat back down next to him, hoping he wouldn't tell her to get lost.

He leaned over, his elbows resting on his knees, running his hands though his hair. "The worst thing is, I know you should get on that bus and just forget about me but that idea is so... vile to me. I've never understood this sort of hold you have on me. I hate it so much."

She didn't know why moisture gathered in her eyes, but hearing how soft his voice was, how vulnerable he was making himself by saying those words.

"Sometimes, I think I deserve everything I get. From my father, from you. That if I wasn't such a fuck up, and then I wouldn't have people hating me for no reason. Every time I try though, to do the right thing, it never works out so hey, what's the point? The truth is, no matter how hard it is, I'm not good enough and just wish I could disappear. Sometime I wonder if know how lucky you are."

Rory shoved her hands under her eyes, wiping away the silly tears that fell from his speech, the way his voice broke. At how miserable he really was. More importantly, how he actually believed the false words his father had yelled at him.

Timidly, she reached over, grabbing his hand and bringing it to her lap, running her hands up and down. "Listen to me Tristan and I really mean listen. You are nothing like you just said. You don't deserve any of those things. What he said, he's a cruel, heartless man if he can say that to his son, then he's not much of a father.

"You need to believe in yourself. I remember reading this once, there are going to be days when your heart is so heavy you don't think you can carry on but one day, when you look back on days like these, you'll know they helped you become who you are… or something like that, I don't remember how it went." she joked lightly, feeling something flutter as she saw his lips twitch upwards.

"You don't know Rory. You can't know." he said scratchily.

"You're right, I don't but I do know that I'm going to be late getting home but I'll have great company while I wait." She offered him a small smile, hoping to lift the heavy mood.

"Rory?" Tristan said she he turned to face her, his free hand going up to rub his thumb across her cheek.

"Yeah…" she said, distracted suddenly by the warm haze settling over her.

"Thanks." he whispered before pressing his lips against hers, meeting in a slow, welcoming kiss.