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musesfool organized remixredux. I chose to remix jae_w's Homesick.

Title: Homesick (The Empty-Handed Remix)
Author: voleuse
Fandom: Gilmore Girls/The OC
Ship: Rory/Ryan
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Summary: Taste the almost nothing where sense and science meet.
Notes: Futurefic, no spoilers

0. he's spent a long time teaching himself not to want

Ryan stops by the coffee shop three times a week. It's not his morning cup of coffee, gas station black, but a richer blend. He never adds anything to it, just breathes deep the steam and lets the burn roll across his tongue.

This is the way he remembers, when he doesn't want to remember, or doesn't think he should.

One afternoon, a three-car collision jams the freeway, and he's half an hour behind. When he gets to the coffee shop, there's a new shift on, and a longer wait than he's used to. And standing by the counter, one of the customers catches his eye.

She's talking into her cell phone, and her free hand is set on her hip. There's some fancy stitching, black and silver, trailing up her blouse, and he gets caught looking at it, at her. When she snaps her phone closed, he shifts and faces away from her.

It's a complete surprise when she catches his eye. He clasps her hand in his and returns her smile. "Nice to meet you, Rory."

Her fingers tighten around his, and she smells like everything he hasn't forgotten.

i. this was just how smart people filled awkward moments

Rory intersects and intertwines with Ryan's life, faster and more easily than he expected. Or maybe exactly like he expected, but he never explains that.

It starts with three afternoons a week, when he gets off-shift. He gets to the coffee shop twenty minutes before she does, slings his jacket over a chair by a table in the corner. He orders something random and complicated off the menu, and has it waiting for her when she arrives.

He drinks his coffee plain, like always. When she teases him about his closed horizons, he laughs and changes the subject. Tells her he needs the caffeine to keep up with her.

He's only halfway kidding. He'd gotten used to silence again, to shrugs and half-muttered sentences.

Rory demands more, chattering and ideas clattering back and forth. It takes him a while to return to the pace. When he slides back into the groove, Rory isn't surprised, but her smile blooms wide.

He reaches out, snatches the newspaper out of her bag, and challenges her with the crossword puzzle.

ii. she said to me on the phone

Every time she walks into the shop, and every time she walks out of it, Rory is on the phone.

It's a couple of weeks before Ryan realizes she's always on the phone with the same person. Finally, he asks her about it, his expression carefully neutral.

Rory grins, tucks her phone into her jacket. "My mom," she explains. "We have a co-dependent thing going."

"Yeah?" he asks.

This, of course, provokes a thousand-word spiel about childhood and tap-dancing and chocolate milk shots.

As he walks Rory to her car, her cell phone rings again. He waits as Rory answers, and then she shoves the phone in his hands.

"Say hi," she instructs him.

And that's how Ryan is introduced to Lorelai Gilmore.

iii. she says them anyway, fast and quiet and real

It's been a month and a half, and Ryan doesn't have a shift the next morning.

He walks Rory to her car, then leans against the side. "Hey," he says.

"Hey, yourself." Rory raises her eyebrows, leans next to him. "Is this a stick-up?"

Ryan shakes his head, touches her shoulder, her chin.

Just as his lips brush against hers, her cell phone rings.

He pulls back. "Are you going to--"

Rory shakes her head. "It can wait," she murmurs.

They kiss again, and again.

iv. longing is its own country

He sprawls on the couch, watches Rory navigate the confines of his kitchen.

It's interesting, he thinks, the ways she pauses and spins.

She stops by the sink to look for the coffee grounds, even though she put them next to the fridge an hour ago. She spins the mugs a quarter turn in their places before she selects one, and snaps her fingers before she picks up the coffeepot. When she opens the fridge, she takes half a step back, as if she's surprised there's food instead of just beer.

He wonders if he went through the same acclimation, when he first moved in.

He wonders if Rory has noticed his own twitches and starts, the things that signify everything that isn't there.

v. and now he can't turn the light off

There are things Rory brings into Ryan's life that he didn't realized he missed.

The scatterings of Newsweek and Wall Street Journal under the coffee table. The spicy Cheetos he likes, but never buys for just himself. The radio set to KCRW in the morning, instead of just traffic reports.

And Rory, mumbling against his shoulder in the middle of the night, her legs tangling with his.

He's never slept easily or at length, but he likes to lie next to her, listen to her breathe.

When she wakes, he likes it that much more.

vi. he'd torn himself out again

It's getting close to the holidays. He flips channels past endless commercials. Rory rests her head against his knee, flips through a catalog.

There's a closetful of presents for his daughter, and Theresa, and Theresa's mom.

He listens as Rory enumerates her shopping list, dozens of friends and family members and pets to keep in mind.

He can match her, name for name.

He'll never tell her so.

vii. a smile so familiar he catches his breath

Rory runs across his address book one evening, while he's figuring out his car insurance.

"You know," she muses aloud, "having three addresses doesn't really necessitate an entire book."

There's a pause after her announcement, and he can tell she's debating possible lines of conversation.

He interrupts her considerations with a shrug. "Someone gave it to me, I think."

"Oh." She traces the gilt letters with her finger, fanning the tabs back and forth.

She wants to hear more, he knows. He glances up again. "She was in the PTA, I think."

Rory nods, and continues flipping through the empty pages.

Ryan swallows back the whole of the truth, and keeps filling out his forms.

viii. she can go back, because she never really had to leave

Rory mentions going back to Stars Hollow out loud. She's been thinking about it for weeks, he knows.

She calls it "home," and he thinks of the ocean, and french fries drowned in ketchup. Brand-new textbooks and bagels every morning. Fist fights and sand grinding against his toes.

He blinks, and Rory's watching him. She looks worried, but he knows it's for the two of them.

"I'm coming back," she tells him. Her voice is firm. She's making a promise, and he didn't know she needed to make it.

He thinks it's been months since he's read a comic book, or had pad thai for dinner.

"I'm coming back," she says again.

He smiles away the past, and touches her hand.

"I'm not going anywhere."


A/N: Headings taken from the text of the original story. Remix subtitle and summary taken from RT Smith's Nixology. Link courtesy of breathe_poetry.

Originally archived here and linked here.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 4th, 2006 10:34 am (UTC)
How do I love this? Let me count the ways. Seriously, I adore your writing style. And I could so see this crossover.
Apr. 11th, 2006 05:20 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! I think it's a neat crossover, but I never would have thought of it, without the original story.
Nov. 10th, 2006 02:43 am (UTC)
I realize this is really late but the pairing caught my eye and it made me go 'hmmm' and I realized, yeah they make sense. They really do. Rory and Ryan. Ryan with someone not insane and alcoholic and Rory with someone mature and steady and an architect to be!

Ryan and Rory. Yeah.
Nov. 26th, 2006 08:50 pm (UTC)
All credit for the pairing goes to the original author, but I'm glad my story worked for you! It seemed like an unusual crossover, but I had a lot of fun with it.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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