DISCLAIMER: Haha, Paris and Rory are all mine...mine! Muwahahahaha! While the CW concentrates on launching Gossip Girl, I can now finally say that I own... Oh, I can't? Really? Not until 2082 will they become public domain? I'll be long gone by then, darn! (sigh) Fine, I guess Amy Sherman-Palladino/Dorothy Parker Drank Here Productions, Hofflund Polone, Warner Bros. Television and The CW still own the rights to the show. Maybe in Antarctica I can claim...a penguin beat me to the rights? I just can't win!
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is definitely a different idea than I usually have, since I don't usually dwell into any storyline past season four due to the reasons I stated above. However if I changed a few things around and kept the girls as they were, I thought it would work out. Also, I've always wanted to do a story like this because I feel that Paris would have a rebellion like this because her attempt with the nose ring kind of didn't work out pretty well. I also pushed aside my feelings for Asher because really, he was Paris's true love and one of the few beyond Rory who could ever understand her on an intellectual level. No matter how wigged I get about him, I still think more of him than I ever will Jamie or Doyle. My thanks to Danielle as usual for her betaing, but more than that, her darned Marcia Cross lust drew me towards the idea of having Paris change her haircolor. She also helped me with the specifics of dyeing, since I kind of don't have to deal with those issues. Sometimes I'm out of my league, but she helps me stay equal in my writing :). A little known fact; Liza is a natural brunette and changed her haircolor back to brown post-series. She looks wonderful either way of course, but if she'd choose to be a redhead her hubby Paul might have to keep tongues from wagging. Especially a certain brunette co-star... Finally, this story is dedicated to the members of the WGA who deserve all they're asking for in their strike, which I hope has ended by the time I post this. Hopefully it doesn't last too long because I don't want to lose my shows in two months and have to be stuck watching crap like Charades with the Celebrities, Hey, You're Dumber Than a Five Year-Old!, World's Most Awesome Groin Injuries and The Search for the Next Superclown instead of Kate Walsh. The networks and studios need to give these people their true due, and they deserve much more than a nickel every time someone watches their shows on the web or buys a DVD. Writers are the ones who give characters like Paris and Rory, Addison and Callie, and Abby and Ziva, life. Without the writers of television, they have no life to them at all, and fanfiction writers have no inspiration to guide them.
SPOILERS: The story is set around November 2005 (aka mid-season 6), with a few changes to canon; The tax evasion plot that bankrupted Paris by proxy via her parents never happened. Her and Rory live in a relatively nice apartment, which isn't painted a dark color, isn't about to be condemned or torn down via eminent domain nor populated with doo-wop groups. Yes, I know how much Paris loved those guys who sat on her steps, but really, the tax evasion plot was just a lame excuse to show that Logan was meant to knock Par off her pedestal (sorry, didn't work), and I'm still mad at ASP (or network interference) for ever thinking up that idea. Rory didn't lose her virginity to Dean or freak out over Logan here. She got her sanity before Dean brought his game on and left him blue-balled (did he even look at his wife? C'mon, the actress posed in freakin' Maxim!), and thought Logan and the LDB were loonballs (Finn is an exception), so she climbed off the scaffold before she ever jumped. For the sake of this story, she had her first time with Jess towards the end of S4, but they decided to be friends after it didn't work out. Paris still loved and lost Asher, and had her thing with Doyle up to about a couple weeks before this story takes place. No episodes are spoiled because Rory was in Yale at this time, not off moping at a DAR event while Paris asked her to spare a buck. This is not my usual angry Sharon Gellar; she's just pushy and annoying to Paris, not an abusive mother.
ARCHIVING: This story was written as part of RalSt's 5,000th Story Celebration and was going to be out hopefully around that time, but it wasn't ready for primetime before then. I'm proud that I'm part of such a wonderful archive and thank my favorite webmistress Rachel for creating such a welcoming and open place to post my work and read that of others. As usual this is also posted to ff.net and GilmoreGirlsSlash, but not to aff.net since this isn't getting into R territory. If you'd like to archive it on your site, just ask before you do.

Seeing Red
By Nate

 

Rory was relaxing in the quiet of the apartment, enjoying a rare day of solitude with her longtime roommate and friend gone for the day. She was becoming used to not having two other roommates butt into her life, and enjoying the easy going nature of the Daily News as the days turned towards the calm Thanksgiving week, where not much happened on campus and the only thing to watch out for from the administration was a possible tuition hike swept under the rug like Nick and Jessica's divorce announcement.

She still couldn't believe how big a bullet she had dodged just a few months earlier. Mitchum Huntzberger had told her that she wouldn't cut it after an internship at the Stanford Eagle-Gazette, and she thought her journalism career was over as her sophomore year ended.

The next day, however, his 145 year-old empire began to crumble with a circulation scandal in several of his papers, shareholder revolts over Huntzberger Media's lame web strategy of putting everything behind a pay wall on all of their newspaper sites (derisively called by Romenesko as a 'Web -2.0 strategy'), along with several comics syndicates pulling their strips from newspapers like the New York Globe and Los Angeles Ledger after they found out their comics were regularly censored or replaced with more 'family-friendly' content, which was a double standard if you compared them to the salacious content of the Globe's Page Nine column. The company began to be sold in pieces, and a condemnation from Mitch Huntzberger seemed to have less impact on a budding journalist than a Michael Savage rant against some person or group. If he couldn't even keep his books straight, what did his word mean to any other journalistic entity about talent?

After a lame start to her time Yale, Rory had found her stride. With the help of Emily and Mr. Gellar, Paris and she had found a nice, quiet two-bedroom apartment just off campus on Lynwood above a women's clothing store, which was perfectly spacious for both girls' needs and had a great third floor view of the Yale campus and New Haven's skyline. The building was divided into four apartments, and all of their neighbors were friendly and respectful. They regularly talked to Janet and Tanna, and had plenty of friends on campus and in the newsroom.

In the end though, all they really needed was each other. Paris and Rory, since moving on to Yale, had developed an ironclad bond, sharing almost everything they possibly could, and with each of their various hurdles to get over, somehow they persevered together. Though they would still be at odds on the hot-button issues and have it out loudly, the debates weren't friendship killers like they were in their early years. Problems with men had gone down to a minimum as the both of them realized that men weren't in the cards for now and that they would focus only on school.

Paris especially felt this pain. Asher Fleming, a professor she grew to love in all senses, left her behind tragically a summer back in Oxford, leaving the usually strong blonde a mess of emotions she struggled to deal with until she was able to talk to Rory again. She tried to get back on the horse with Doyle, but there were too many incompatibilies between them. Paris didn't find her future revolve around approving questions for a Heliose's Hints ripoff column for the Terre Haute Herald-Traveler while Doyle didn't want to be stuck writing nothing but minor crime stories for a big-city paper, and several weeks before, they broke off their relationship.

Meanwhile, Rory hadn't tried at all since Jess moved to Philadelphia after a summer of trying to respark the fire but unable to find any of that desire that used to define them. Lately, the brunette had been concentrating on classes, and didn't even think about romance at all, thinking of it as something that got in the way. She even turned down a blind date set up by Lorelai and Emily because it would get in the way of a study/shows night with Paris. It ended up being a good call as when she eventually met the guy at a party he was only thinking of her as a future trophy wife, and was on par with most of Paris's obligation dates in her teenage years.

She was fine with her life as it was, although over the last few months, Rory could swear that she was growing to enjoy Paris's company in more ways beyond roommate, friend, and classmate.

As Paris started to feel the control of her mother melt away in regards to clothing and how she lived her life, she was beginning to see the blonde as far more than an annoyance. She used to be able to count on the girl wearing a turtleneck or a sweater from the first day of fall to the first day of spring like clockwork, not paying much attention to a beauty regimen beyond her face and hair.

Lately however, Paris had been taking advantage of the extra space of the new apartment, the larger closet and dresser in her bedroom. The girls had begun to shop together, not only at Westfarms or Rory's favorite thrift stores, but during October break they spent a couple of days down in Manhattan. Although Paris wasn't ever going to be the type for saying shirts like Rory's "Reading is sexy," to see Paris in a pencil skirt that rested above her knee, or wear a shirt that actually displayed the skin against her sternum, it was a complete 180░ from the girl she thought she knew, who wore a full swimsuit on spring break and a full wrap-around hat.

Spring break. That week still went through her mind, especially the moment in the nightclub where Paris pulled Rory towards her and laid a forceful kiss upon her lips. Rory recalled her words of 'you're not my type' at the time. She didn't think about the kiss beyond the teasing of Madeline and Louise on the deck, nor did she ever divulge her opinion of Paris's kissing style after they came back to New Haven. She thought it was something that would never be discussed again, and eventually it would be forgotten about, hidden behind their future husbands.

But what if she is my type? She asked herself that question as she moved into the apartment two months ago. She was surprised not to see everything set up by movers already, and that Paris seemed to be in a mood to move things.

As far as sexual teasing, that day was probably the worst in Rory's life. Having to watch her petite classmate move around various things in a tight ribbed blue t-shirt that flattered her curves perfectly, and low-rise jeans which displayed her apple-shaped rear in a proactive way (at least to Rory). Lifting a couch, plugging in various things and moving the fridge to the other side of the room ("It blocks the shadows from the window," she claimed), Paris and Rory did it all, changing the apartment's layout to something they were comfortable with, the brunette had to spend the entire day constantly looking at Paris from the other side, looking down at her deep cleavage while hoping Paris didn't notice.

By the end of the day, she wished Paris had decided to go with a sports bra. Instead, the indelible image of the heiress's endowments framed by her now long hair, and a pink bra with lacy frills along each cup. Add a bit of sweat, along with grunts of effort which reminded her of how Paris and Doyle were intimate in the dorm, and it reminded her of one her few times sharing that intimacy with Jess, which was remembered at the time well, but with her private bedroom had been overtaken by bedtime play with herself that got her beyond riled up.

Usually the subject in that dream was a certain blonde who in her dreams seemed to be aggressive yet caring, with her in bed. Not that I'll know how that feels, she always thought to herself. She had shelved the feelings behind her closed door for months, since her detour with a Yale secret society convinced her that she would stay on her study track, and that she felt better being the 'odd one out' in the world.

Looking over textbook work for her Media Crit 341 class, Rory was convinced it was to be a quiet day, and there would be nothing to stop her from spending it buried in her studies...

Of course, that was before Paris made one of her entrances of bluster. The door locks slid and clicked quickly into the door, and then the door whipped open, revealing the twenty year-old woman behind it, growling to herself, throwing her purse and keys onto the table.

Yeah, no quiet for me tonight, Rory thought as she saw Paris gritting her teeth, obviously mad about something. She knew Paris's weekly lunches with her mother were always an exercise in frustration for her, seeing as she was more loyal to her father than any other family member. Still, she went to satisfy the woman, and listened to her complaints about not finding someone special and 'your teen years are over, it's time to settle'.

Rory tried to distract. "Hey, Paris!" She smiled brightly...

Only to find herself on the end of the Deathstar Glare.

"Don't you mean, 'Hey, Sharon'?" She shook her head, throwing on the chair a plastic bag filled with something she couldn't make out, marked with the Rite Aid logo. Rory jumped in her seat, scared by Paris's tone. "You know, I thought being called 'Dr. Barbie' by Asher's second ex-wife was the worst insult of my life. Oh, was I wrong."

"You didn't have a good lunch?" Rory got up in an attempt to calm her down.

"Lunch was horrible, as usual. Twenty years, and my mother still doesn't know I'm allergic to shellfish; she ordered a crab salad for me." She paced the room after stripping off her jacket and hanging it on the tree next to the door. "Then it's onto more belittling that I'm not social, that I've decided not to pursue her sorority, I'm not at the right point in my studies, I need to see the family more. I try for her, and it's never enough."

"Paris--"

"You know, I'm at a happy place. Dr. Birnbaum helped me come to a breakthrough with that. I balance out my studies with fun, I'm even able to hold down a job, despite my harried schedule. I know not everyone considers clerking fifteen hours a week at an ambulance chasing firm that advertises on Maury next to pawn loans and auto title credit ads their dream job, but hey, we get fed and I can put gas in my car, so that's good. It's never enough for her though. She'd probably love it if I took synchronized swimming classes..."

"Calm down..." The brunette tried futilely to keep Paris from ranting, but she wasn't done yet.

"I can't calm down! She acts like she's so high and mighty above me because she was put through three horrible hours of labor with me on Christmas Day in '84, thereby ruining her perfectly planned Christmas party/baby shower. Hey, sorry if I was like 'Screw this womb stuff, I want to see the big wide world right now! Nine months of gestation is for the lazy, so look out, I'm popping this sac and breaking out a month early! Who cares if I ruin her party by breaking her water in front of all her friends!'"

Rory looked down, wrinkling her nose at the sudden TMI. "That's a mental image I didn't need."

"Get over it, you'll have it happen to you one day." She stared Rory down, flopping down next to her on the couch, trying to relax. "The point I'm trying to make is that there is absolutely nothing I want to change about my life. You and I, we're in a good place. I'm on the fast track to the V slot, and I'm welcoming taking over the paper next month. Oh, how happy I was to see Huntzberger get his pink slip last month, so I don't have to proofread his in-depth investigation on why tacos are better than burritos. I'm ready to make a career decision towards the end of the year, and finally, I'm not defined by men." Her hand slid onto Rory's lap. "We could give a damn about companionship, because I think we've done pretty well ourselves, haven't we?"

"You said it, sister!" Rory exclaimed, trying to cheer her up. It was a brief moment while Paris found her point.

"But no matter what I do by myself, people look towards my mother as the guiding force in my life. My nanny, of course not, she just raised me. My mother is more important, I guess, and I have to listen to her brain dead advice no matter what." A pause. "Along with what she assumes are compliments."

"Compliments are good," Rory reasoned. "You remember when she was picking on you about your weight and facial regimen? This is an improvement: it's great."

"It is not great," Paris wailed dramatically. "She was going on about how I was beginning to fulfill my legacy and all that, and you know what she said?"

Rory could only ask, not being telepathic. "No?" Paris looked down at the rug below her and put her own spin on what usually is an accolade.

Her voice swelled as if she were delivering a Shakespeare line. "She said...'You're beginning to look just like me.'"

Rory, clueless as to what a comment like that did to a fragile girl like Paris, responded as if it was normal. "Of course you should, you are her daughter."

She immediately felt an even deadlier death glare weigh upon her.

"You don't understand," Paris began. "I don't want to look like my mother."

"I didn't say you did," Rory argued, "I was just saying you have her genes, so there are some things you share. Like that lean you do."

"Lean?"

"The one you do against the desk at the paper or after class in the lecture hall. I see your mom do that all the time. You have her voice too, and her cheeks. And she's only a bit taller than you."

"Please, don't remind me of something I learned in fourth grade, I know how heredity works." The blonde shook her head. "She was trying to compliment me, but even if it was meant that way, it's an insult." She raised her hands and spoke loudly. "Do you really think I want to host luncheons or be a walking billboard for clothing for Talbot's when I'm 45? That's what she's saying!"

"Paris, she's proud of you. It's nice to have a compliment."

"But I can't look like her," she seethed. "My goal in life isn't to organize the party of the year. I want to save someone's life, or argue in front of the Supreme Court. I can't do that looking like my mother, don't you understand?"

"No, not really." Rory then directed her attention towards the Rite Aid bag sitting on the lounge chair. "It shouldn't matter; you're not defined by her, and you're your own woman."

"Which is what I'm going to prove." Paris rose up from her seat on the couch and walked towards the chair. "And you're going to help me out with that." She got a focused look in her eyes, and suddenly Rory felt like she did whenever Paris went into intimidation mode.

"Paris?" Rory asked, questioningly. "What is going on?"

"Nothing, nothing at all. I'm not affected by her remarks, and maybe I was planning on doing this for a long time." She took the bag and held it behind her back. "I actually put thought into this, plenty of thought."

Rory wondered exactly why Paris was suddenly nervous. "How much thought? What's in the bag?"

"Uhh...nail polish." The confidence from earlier began to dissipate. "I decided, pink was dull and lifeless. Tomorrow, I shall have purple fingernails."

"Nail polish doesn't usually come in that big of a box," Rory observed.

"There was a sale in bulk!" Paris looked around, suddenly having second thoughts. Rory approached her with a sway in her step that made Paris weak, and the blonde thought her idea wasn't well thought out just as she was going to tell Rory about it.

Meanwhile, Rory was starting to get an idea, and decided to have some fun with her roommate. "What your mom said must've thrown you into a pretty big panic." They were moving towards a side wall of the living room. "So you need my help with something?"

Paris gulped, looking down at Rory, wearing a blue top with a white undershirt beneath and black jeans. "I shouldn't do this. I was right, the girl at the counter told me I was going too far when I bought it."

"Bought what?" Rory said with a smirk, watching Paris pale.

"I still have the receipt; maybe I should bring it back..." What's happening to me? Paris thought to herself. I know we've been getting close and maybe doing a little flirting, but I don't expect to have anything happen.

"Second thoughts?" Rory brushed her fingers across her forehead, continuing to smile at her friend, who was still averting what was contained in the white bag.

"You're going to think I'm extremely stupid. You're right, I can't let Mother get to me, I'm just going to take this back--"

Just as the petite academic thought she could find a space towards the door, Rory surrounded her as her backside bumped against the wall. She had to bring the bag in front of her to avoid damage to the contents.

"Hand it," Rory commanded, asserting her control (and extra height) over the situation.

"It's stupid," Paris argued.

"Give it up. Just let me see it, and if you're right, no harm no foul." Rory's hand slid onto Paris's wrist to soothe her. Paris rolled her eyes up, feeling stuck.

"Fine." She handed the bag over roughly. "You win. Go ahead and make fun of me because I jumped on a decision with only 12 minutes and the recommendation of Becky the gum chomping cosmetician behind it."

Unwrapping the bag, Rory didn't know what to expect. Paris was scared as the bag was thrown to the ground, and her best friend in the whole world was about to make fun of her for trying something she would definitely regret.

Instead, she found the girl stunned silent, and a giddy smile inch across her cheeks as she read what was on the box.

"L'oreal Natural Preference 7LA, lightest auburn." She brought her gaze up towards a petrified Jewish girl, who suddenly felt as if Rory was about to rip into her for thinking she could pull it off.

"It...it was the nicest shade I could find. I have no idea how to dye my hair, and...I could've gone to a salon and made it permanent, but, you know, if I did that, and it turned out awful, my hair would be damaged, it would fall out, and I'd go bald, having to wear a wig until I graduate. I don't want to do that."

"So, this is your idea of proving to your mother that you're not just like her." Rory bit down on her lip, holding the box of hair dye up.

"I first thought of a belly button piercing, but the experience with my nose scared me off."

"You're not being serious, are you?" Rory looked down, her mind filled with...certain images.

"Are you mocking me?" Paris felt Rory wasn't acting serious.

"No...no, of course not," Rory stated. "I just..."

"You're right, I should've just gone with a lighter shade of blonde, or just chopped it off to my shoulders--"

She was surprised to see Rory react violently to that suggestion. "NO!!"

"Why no?"

"Because...you're Paris, you have long hair, something that I always associate with you." Rory found it hard to explain why exactly she hated the idea. "It's...it's...well, Laura Ingraham, she has a stupid bob thing going on, and I hate her so much. You with short hair, you'd look like her, and you'd be someone I hate."

"You hate Ann Coulter more," Paris reminded her. "You took one look at the Time with her on the cover, tore out that picture, shredded it, and then threw it down the incinerator. I have long hair like her."

"Trust me, there's a big difference between you and her," Rory insisted. "She has evil long hair. A sickly kind of blondeness, not like Louise's, but the kind you usually see on some idiot fashion model or crack whore. Her body, it's skeletal, scary, like the He-Man enemy guy, she thinks more about her politics than actually eating something. That, and everything she says is complete bullshit in a voice no one but Rush Limbaugh could get off to." She slid her hand within the smooth blonde locks, much to Paris's shock. "You're so, so much different than she is, your hair has life, it has all of these highlights within it, and they would be accentuated deeply if you decided to go red with it. Meanwhile, you have a healthy, beautiful body, and you have a great diet; you'll eat anything, even the worst health food. And your voice...it's so firm, commanding, but sweet like honey when you're in conversation." She looked up at the girl, finishing her point off. "The point is, you made the right decision on how to make a statement against your mother."

"So...you think I'd look good as a redhead?" Paris asked, still unsure herself.

"You're going to laugh, but I've always thought you could pull it off. I've dreamed about it in fact." She kept combing through Paris's hair. "I actually thought of suggesting it a few times, but I didn't know how you'd react to it."

"I thought about it in the past," Paris admitted, "I even got to the step before my sophomore year of dyeing it red, a very light shade of it. But just as Louise was going to start the process, I changed my mind. I was scared that the Harvard contacts wouldn't recognize me anymore."

"Well, you're in good hands," Rory assured. "Despite the counter girl's opinion, you went with a perfect shade. It's not too much and it won't overwhelm you at all." She smiled, helping Paris out of the corner. "If you don't like it, this washes out after about ten showers, but if you decide to go full-tilt, we can head up to the salon my mom and I frequent up in Stars Hollow and you can make it permanent."

Paris was glad to see at least someone understood how she felt about her self-image. "You really think this is going to work out, don't you?"

Rory was honest about how she felt. "Hon, it's time for some kind of change, any change. You have been changing, gradually. First with relationships by ending it with Jamie, and then after mourning Asher, you began to feel as if you shouldn't be a permanent widow, that there's a lot of life in you yet. You've evolved with your attitude, your choice of clothes, and you've opened up to new things. So far, it's been a silent change."

With that, she threw her arm around Paris's shoulder, directing her towards the bedroom. "But now, by becoming a redhead, you will no longer remind the world that you're Paris Gellar, the progeny of Sharon and Harold Gellar. Once the dye settles in, you will scream 'I am Paris Eustachia Gellar, and don't you ever forget it. If you do? I will snuff you out under my toe like a cigarette!'" Looking at the hair color box, reading the procedures and claims on the package, she was confident that the current blonde would be a splendid redhead.

Paris stared at Rory, amazed at how her changes were thrown into perfectly stated reasons for why a change would do her good. Shuffling her feet, she grinned and was hopeful that the process was as easy as the box made it out to be. She was excited to finally have a change in herself that was visible beyond the contact lenses she put in when she was fourteen after tiring of the way she looked wearing glasses.

The soon-to-be ex-blonde offered Rory one last opportunity to not dye her hair. "If you're sure, Gilmore. You can still talk me out of it."

That earned her a shake of the head, and a confident smile. "I would've talked you out of going blue, but not this color." Rory guided her towards her bedroom. "Now put on something you don't care about getting stained with dye, and we'll get started."

Before she went in the room, Paris turned around to show gratitude for having Rory as her roommate and best friend. "Thank you. If I tried this with Louise she might have talked me out of it."

"I know how she is," Rory mused. "She thinks she has the most beauty between the four of us."

"That's definitely true. I'm trailing behind the rest of you." Paris readied herself to walk into the room when Rory stopped her with a touch against her shoulder.

"I have to disagree. You're the most beautiful among us now. In three years, you've changed, heart and soul." Rory smiled at her. "You've loved, you've lost, and you persevered, Par. You take risks, and that's something that I love about you." Not waiting for a response, Rory drew back. "See you out in the living room." Leaving Paris alone, Rory left to prepare while she dressed.

Sucking in a breath, the twimmer of Rory's touch, along with her words, went through her mind, and all through her nerves. Paris let flashes of the time spent during spring break return to her mind, including the kiss. She felt overwhelmed by her feelings for the brunette, which had always been there but slow burning since she met Professor Fleming. She recalled the kiss as a moment of weakness, a panic as the Florida heat overwhelmed her. She kept trying to deny what she felt for the small-town girl behind a fašade, thinking her tendencies to love the brunette were just latent, a way for her sexual id to be occupied after ending things. There was no way that Rory would ever feel anything but friendly towards her, the words "you're not my type" sealing up that fate.

But with her comparison of her abundance of beauty compared to some Republican battle-axe, her enthusiasm for dyeing her hair, and her being called more beautiful than the vaunted Madeline and Louise, Paris felt so odd. She could never be as beautiful as Rory said she was.

She was caught, however on Rory saying that she loved her being risky. Just that one thing? she thought. Paris was also surprised with how little conflict she had with the Gilmore girl lately, beyond paper fights and remote bickering. Also, that unlike the first years at Yale, Rory had only gone back to Stars Hollow over fall break and the end of September, deciding to trust the washer and dryer downstairs with her laundry. They spent almost every night together now, even having set TV schedules where they would take breaks and veg out.

Still, Paris had to stop thinking the way she did because she thought there was no way Rory held a romantic candle for her. "Stop it, girl. You're going crazy if you think it's more than that," she whispered to herself. "Still, I don't want to ruin any of my shirts." An idea popped up in her mind, and she closed the door, intending to test the waters of Rory's 'beautiful' compliment just a bit in what she wore.


Later...

If anyone had told Rory when she woke up this morning that she would be pushing her studying for her Media Crit test off to the side because something else came up, she probably wouldn't have been surprised. Distraction came easily in college, in many forms.

It wasn't often, however, that Paris Gellar was the cause of that distraction.

"She's killing me," Rory said to herself as she sat down at the kitchen table to dig into a Lean Cuisine dish from the microwave. She had spent forty-five minutes taking care of her best friend's precious hair. It was the first time she had tried it with anyone beyond Lorelai, and the dyeing routine (usually just to touch up color) was old hat with her. But she had to keep Paris still and calm as she felt some tingling while applying the product from the bottle. The petite woman was anxious, having hope that Rory would do things right.

Meanwhile, Rory had centered herself, calming down after what she thought was being too forward with Paris about wanting to color her hair, and the other things around it. She called herself 'stupid' for dropping the Skeletor reference to compare Ann Coulter with Paris's healthy build.

But she was hoping the girl didn't take offense to her sort-of 'I love you' about her life changes. She did love her as a friend, that was true. But she tried to convince herself she didn't love Paris herself in an emotional or sexual sort of way. She tried to blame her problems on not having had any sex for at least the last few months, the last time being an ill-advised hook-up who was in a cultural seminar she took for extra credit. The guy was blonde and bland, the kind who she was thankful to have used a condom and the pill with. She had to fake it with him, and the next two weeks after their so-called fun were awkward as Rory decided not to go further with the guy, not even saying anything about it to anyone.

Calm down, there is nothing that is going on between us, she convinced herself. We'll bond and nothing more than that. She'll be a redhead, but inside, she's still the same crazy and neurotic girl who gets on your nerves! Trying to convince herself of the heiress's worst tendencies, Rory hoped to be thinking on an even keel all through the process.

So much for that. At the moment, she was sitting on a kitchen chair moved to the edge of the kitchen area, digging in her broccoli dish while listening for Paris's shower to rinse out the chemicals to end. She tried to deny it all she could, but she was being pulled towards wanting to let her frustrations out with Paris as she recalled the past hour.

Her nose was still filled with the woman's raw scent, barely buffeted by a sweet-smelling roll-on deodorant as she applied the coloring. She looked at Paris, stunned at how she looked after changing into some old clothes. She thought the woman would have just thrown on some old oversized top and jeans, something she could strip off quickly when she got in the shower.

Instead, she was in black soccer shorts paired with an old, tight shirt she had picked up many years ago during a summer trip with the parents up to the family's cabin near Enosburg Falls, Vermont. It featured the name of the village on the front of the blue shirt. When it was bought it fit her loosely, but going into her next decade it fit her tight like a glove.

Rory couldn't help but stare, in awe of what Paris's life coach had done for her. The assignment he gave her over the summer was to 'lose the freshmen fifteen, and maybe the senior six,' and though she went into the concept of voluntary exercise with some trepidation, Paris had eventually taken to it. She had taken to weights, and even joined Janet's running club to do a few miles throughout the week. She didn't have bulging muscles by any stretch of the imagination, but Paris was now well-toned, her arms firm to the touch, while her legs really stood out in a skirt or shorts, comparable to that of the famous Christmas Story lamp.

She thought back to the first time she had ever been able to touch Paris's precious scalp, the night of the date with Jamie in Washington. Remembering how wound up Paris was before she settled down and took out the tight rubber bands made her look cold and impersonal, and how when she released it, she felt a bit of a warm hum upon looking at the girl with her hair loose and relaxed for a summer night. The thought of her as attractive was immediately pushed out by the fact she loved Dean, and she never thought about it again.

"So..." Rory asked nervously. "You ready for this?"

"Yeah." Paris was unsure herself if she was making the right choice but went for it, willing to take a chance. "I need to do this. Mother can't get her way."

"All righty." With that, the process began, Rory hopeful she could remember the instructions as she went through each step, from the parting, to the application, to the working in. She expected Paris to be still, and she was for the most part, keeping her closed gaze straight ahead. Rory worked in the coloring carefully, thankful that Paris's routine wasn't complicated, since she rarely used her hair dryer except for in a rush, and that the hair had no split ends. Her only gripe with the dyeing process was the rubber gloves that had to be worn, denying her skin-to-scalp contact. She lived with it and applied the color carefully, letting her fingers draw against the sensitive scalp. She was under the impression that Paris's firmness would have meant she wouldn't react in any way.

It surprised her when Paris's breathing became shallow while she applied the solution near the roots. That was all she could go on, however, since Paris wasn't making much conversation beyond a couple of questions about rinsing and repeating when she shampooed. Otherwise, she was more into working the figures for an exam project than creating conversation, at least at the beginning.

She was beginning more to focus on what Rory was doing for her towards the middle of everything. Thinking about how she enjoyed Rory when they were in a close situation, she couldn't deny that she was still attracted to her after all of these years. Relaxing against the back of the front of their Bunker-like recliner while Rory worked it in, she also found herself into another aspect of changing her color.

"Mmm, that smells nice." She sighed, content. "Is it weird that I love the smell of cleaning and hair products?"

"Not really," Rory responded. "When I was younger the scent of Comet was more familiar to me than any kind of fruit."

"From your mother housekeeping at the Independence?"

"Mm-hmm. I don't know why I enjoy this and ammonia. I mean, they're cleaning products, not perfumes."

"It's a new scent to me though, really. Usually a wing or a room at the Manor was closed when someone was cleaning." She sniffed again, assured by the smell of ammonia that the color was 'working.' "I'm also partial to chlorine, like they put in the pool."

"I use powdered laundry detergent just because I love the smell of it." Rory laughed. "Do you find it weird that we're talking about chemicals instead of roses and tulips?"

"Not really: We've been classified as abnormal by both of our mothers." The other girl smiled, enjoying the time well spent. "I can't wait to see Lorelai's reaction to this when I come over for Thanksgiving at the diner next week."

"You're coming?" Rory was surprised, as a couple of days before Paris didn't know if she'd have time to fit in some time in Stars Hollow after visiting her parents.

"I'm a bit mad at Mother right now. I was going to stay three hours at home after dinner, but now I'll only spend an hour after, thus freeing up enough time to hit the Hollow and spend some time with you and the lovebirds."

Rory was giddy at getting to see Paris in town, though she was still a bit weird about Luke and Lorelai as a couple, since her mother took the term 'public display of affection' to extremes, much to Luke's consternation. "Thank God, maybe you can sit between those two during dinner. It's enough we have Grandma and Grandpa there hoping they stay calm, but Mom actually told me her goal is to make Luke miss the late NFL game by teasing him until he explodes!"

"You're sure you didn't have her?" Paris asked.

"Sometimes I wonder. They're good for each other, but I don't want to see it!"

"Me either. No offense to Luke, but he's not really my idea of a love of my life."

The conversation swayed towards a serious tone. "I know, you already had that," Rory said quietly. "Have you heard from the Flemings lately?"

"No, they've forgotten about me. I guess I was good enough to bury him and supervise the will, but nothing else." She sighed. "Today was the day we met for the first time, two years ago."

"I know, hon." Rory could remember the day from memory. "I'm sorry at the time that I didn't exactly cheerlead for you two; I know how much you loved him."

"I still need to stop at his grave over the weekend, lay a rose on his headstone. I've moved on as freeing my heart, but I think that he's unique. He was the only man I could ever love." She kept herself calm, holding back her emotions for Rory's sake. "I remember him talking about you and I in the last days before he died. He said to me a few hours before that no matter what, I should treasure your friendship with me and keep you close to my heart. It's almost like he knew his time was slipping away."

Rory was heartened, understanding that her friendship with Paris was becoming closer than that of Lane, the both of them drifting apart because of their differing dreams. "Is that why...Doyle's no longer with you?"

"The passion wasn't there," Paris shared. "I tried, but it wasn't." She let the sensations from Rory's scalp massage run through her. "He's a good guy, but I just can't see myself with him. It was sort of like what you and Jess had through that summer down in Philly."

"You're right," Rory conceded, the intimate conversation such a comfort. "I loved him, and I still do, but in the end I couldn't see us together. He's nice, but he's screwed up, his head in so many places. A father wanting him in Venice, his mom, the bookshop, along with everything in Stars Hollow, all of these balls in the air. I can't handle that, and then Dean with his still trying to get me back! Does the ring on his finger mean nothing to him? It's ridiculous with him. I'm at the market three weeks ago, and he moves close to me as if I still want him."

"I still don't understand why you don't tell Lindsay," Paris wondered. "He made the choice and you shouldn't have to feel guilty because he still wants you even after you gave it to Jess."

"I guess I just figure one day he'll fuck up, and I'll get to watch Lindsay rip him all up. I don't want drama, and it's just best to ignore him. Besides, the rumor mill is that his work for Joe sucks and he's going to be let go after the holidays, which should make his wife and parents so proud of him."

"Guys!" Paris let the word seethe from her slowly. "Why do we need them?"

"I don't know, I guess they're just...there." Rory shrugged as she moved towards the lower portion of Paris's locks. "There to make us get all angry and annoyed with each other."

"We're done with them, right?"

"Mm-hmm."

"Sometimes I just wonder...is it better with another woman?" Paris said without a hint or irony of sarcasm. Rory's eyes widened and her coloring slowed down for a moment.

"Um...huh? Come again?" She was pale, wondering if Paris was related to another Geller who knew how to bend spoons.

"You can't tell me you've ever not thought about it, Gilmore." Eyes still closed, she set up the situation as she saw it. "I'm serious though, a woman, we know each other, inside and out. Things might get complicated, but in the end we know where we want to be touched. Where with a guy, it has to be learned, over years and years. I had that with Asher, he had the touch. But the other guys, nothing."

"Oh my God!" Rory was embarrassed a bit, trying to get over Paris's sudden lesbian direction. "How can you think that?"

"So you've never had any thoughts about a woman. None at all."

"Well no, not really." Rory really didn't know how to answer without showing that she was having so-wrong thoughts of her friend. "A few times, but I never seriously considered it."

"Madeline and Louise seemed content with it," Paris argued.

"Yes, along with the servers not checking ID's after they kissed so they could score banana daiquiris." She sighed, wondering if the haircolor was seeping into Par's gray matter. "Maybe I have thought of it, yes. But not seriously."

"Rory, lets review your history in three seconds flat. No Dean, no guys, you're a lesbian." She was cocky with her theory. "Face it, Gilmore, you were leaving Stars Hollow High without a guy or any thoughts of a guy anywhere close to you. But the moment Mr. Tall, Dark, and Duncecap picks up your books, suddenly you're all about the men."

"It is not that simple!" Rory shrieked, flustered by the crazy girl's theory. "He made me fell all funny inside and all the sudden I was thrown off by him! One moment I'm all 'yay books!', the next I have a guy wanting me."

"I understand that, but c'mon, we both were taken in by the first guy who took an actual interest in us. How would it have been if they had completely ignored us and let us be scholastic? I didn't care, you didn't care, so really without Dean or Tristan, I think things may have been different in that regard."

Rory's mind was a jumble as she continued to apply the color and comb it in. She felt her heart thumping hard against her chest, trying to justify that she was 100% straight and had no interest in women at all.

Yeah, you keep telling yourself that, her inner vixen deadpanned. She knew she wanted Paris, but there had always been a sense that they would never hook up because of Rory's confirmed want of guys. But in the short bit of space between Paris's confession that she could be persuaded to explore their friendship further, she was always unexcited about what came with guys.

The kissing, for instance. Only with Jess was it any good. But it was always restricted by the nosiness of the town, and Luke and Lorelai watching them like a hawk. She loved the way he kissed, but he was always more about himself than her. Dean of course, after trying to spur adultery with her, wasn't a great kisser at all. He always used too much tongue, or tried to speed up things when she wasn't in the mood, or wasn't excited when she was.

She also examined the other things, interests. Jess she met to a T, but remembering her advice before Jamie, they were so compatible they were boring. Dean of course...If I'm from Mars, he's from frickin' Krypton. We had nothing in common beyond being homo sapiens and first lovers.

Then there was ClubGuy and Logan. She was kind of glad ClubGuy showed his true colors after watching the kiss, as he exposed his 'Nielsen Male 18-24' personality way too much. And she would want a brain transplant into Hilary Duff before she would ever say anything to Logan beyond "Hi."

Paris was perfect, she was lovely, and even though she was annoyed with her often, in the end she had grown to love the Queen Bee of Chilton as one of her closest friends, someone who could understand her so much more than any guy, Lane, even her own mother could.

But as a lover? Rory had dreams of Paris often, and over the last couple years, sexual dreams. But since she thought Paris was straight and taken, she couldn't have her. Rory could live with that.

"So...you would rather be a lesbian?" Rory asked.

Paris sensed the conflict coming and headed it off. "It's not a matter of being one. You can't just wake up one day and think you are because that's not how it works. I think with the right woman, the perfect chemistry, that understanding of each other, it becomes as natural as putting on a bra." She pursed her lips. "What about you though?"

"Putting me on the spot, huh?" Rory had to think for a moment, stunned by the casualness of the question. "I guess...I wouldn't have a problem with it at all. With the right person of course. Not Louise, for instance."

"Not me, either." Paris brought it further. "Lane?"

"Um, never with her," Rory assured. "I don't think of her sexually."

"So, whom?" Paris brought her voice down, and all the sudden Rory felt a rushed sense of sexual pheromones curse through her. She was so turned on at the idea of Paris as a redhead, but for her to indulge it was something so overwhelming.

"Do I have to answer that now?" Her voice was soft and she was sure that Paris could sense her vocal change. "Because you have to get in the shower in the next minute or so. We're done." The last of the hair coloring was applied, and Paris was now an ex-blonde.

"Really?" She didn't know where the time went, but she was glad the process was over. Getting up from her seat, she was surprised at the time that had passed, along with how much they had revealed in the last 25 minutes. "That's it?"

"Indeedy it is," Rory said, cheerful. "Once you come out of that shower, you're going to share more with Angie Everhart than Sharon Gellar."

"I'd rather share with Marcia Cross myself," Paris off-handed. "Come on, show of the year, psychology degree and to look that beautiful in that 40's? I'd kill for that." She smiled, noticing how messy her shirt was and that Rory's hands smelled of ammonia.

"Me too, I guess." Rory sighed, trying to reevaluate her positions on Paris as a possible girlfriend. "Well, I need something to eat, so I'll be occupied while you're washing off." Nervously laughing, she couldn't help but stare at the darkened tresses of her friend. She already looked much different. But in a good way to her. After a bit more conversation and some aversion techniques, Paris was in the bathroom.

She did leave Rory to remember what was brought up, peeking her head out from the bathroom door after she undressed. "By the way, Gilmore?"

Looking up as she took the food out of the box, Rory was distracted. "Yeah?"

"I do want to hear who you think of after I'm finished." With that, she closed the door, and for the past ten minutes, Rory had been concentrating on her meal in order to distract herself of thoughts of her newly copper-headed friend naked. Her free hand on her forehead, she attempted to figure out her sudden attraction to Paris.

I guess it's because she's a constant, she qualified. She was the only one who could seem to stand Paris beyond eight hours, knowing all the girl's unique quirks and eccentricities. Thinking about it, how since they both arrived at Yale, that she was becoming her own woman out of her mother's shadow.

She only had to go as far as what was beneath her plate to assess how much she appreciated Paris. The arts and crafts she had taken up as a freshman were becoming advanced, and during the summer she bought her and Rory a kitchen table, just so she could display a set of cloth placemats and a napkin holder she created over the summer. She had moved onto yarn crafts, creating an afghan throw over the couch. Even over the range, a sweet touch of a needlepoint piece in the Yale school colors reading Yale Sweet Yale. Without her, Rory would have to depend on boring starving artist sale art and Wal-Mart to decorate the room. Now Paris was moving onto DIY, going to classes off campus at the Learning Annex and deciding to switch out some fixtures around the house more to her needs than that of the original tenants, and she was thinking of building shelf units in both of their rooms after the Thanksgiving break.

Not that it was a coincidence that Paris was encouraged to get into DIY based on several home improvement shows with female eye candy like the Amys of DIY Network, and that was probably just a coincidence.

Rory was frustrated with herself. Do I say I have a thing for her, or do I not say a word? She thought about whether or not it would work, or about a possible future guy coming between them. Many situations ran through her head. To be trusted with dyeing Paris's precious hair, it had lit the dormant fire within her. She focused in to the sounds of the shower, looking for a distraction to numb her mind.

Even that wasn't working though, since it seemed Paris had finished the task of washing her hair and moved on to other...happier pursuits.

Rory's eyes widened as she remembered that her friend was a loud lover. "Oh dear...oh dear!" She heard the woman moan over the spray of the shower, though quieter than usual but still perceptible to Rory. There were no names mentioned, but it didn't take a rocket scientist or Jack Horkenheimer to know that she wasn't thinking about Brad Pitt or the position of Venus in that night's sky.

The brunette was flustered from the sounds. Enflamed, she was determined to ignore her libido, calling for her to watch her handiwork all wet and drippy. The pictures built in her mind of a soaped up woman, a hand between her legs, within the corner of the shower stall.

"Well, we did consider renting the apartment based on the portable hand shower." Smiling oddly from the pleasures given to them courtesy of Teledyne Water Pik, she proceeded to the living room, flipping on the TV and scanning through channels until she found herself watching some random episode of The Fairly Oddparents. Not her first choice, but enough to keep her distracted enough from thinking about something other than Paris with red hair. Soon, she was zoning out, thinking about her Media Crit class until she ended up curled up on the couch and slowly making her way towards a nap. She fell asleep with visions of Paris in her head, knowing that she could never say a word about it to the woman and that she'd have to suffice her imagination rather than the girl herself.


Even a bit more later...

Paris thought back to the first time Louise suggested she change her color, when she was twelve and it was with Kool Aid. She thought it wouldn't be a big deal at all, that it would just wash out.

Her mother's reaction to Paris having lime-colored hair changed her mind about straying from her blonde roots quickly. She was pulled to some snooty salon in the city, where some pretentious stylist who was still pissed about being passed up for a job in New York gave her a lecture that she should never dye her hair, ever. Not with Kool Aid or food coloring, or anything else. "You're not meant to be any other color than blonde," he said strongly. "If you try it again, you will lose all of your hair. Every other color looks bad on you, so do not try it again, dear."

Oh, how badly she wanted to walk into that salon and tell that dick off. Staring at herself in the mirror in her bedroom, she was in disbelief.

The Paris of old, who was prone to breakouts and horrible styling choices influenced by the gruesome twosome, had completely disappeared. The dirty blonde locks, which formerly made her as cold as Carly Fiorina, they were gone.

Staring back at her was a stunning auburn beauty, the coloring bringing out the freckles across her nose and the redness in her cheeks. She ran her fingertips across her olive skin and then through the newly colored strands of her hair. Her eyes were wide as she took in herself, amazed at what a $9 purchase could do to not only boost her confidence, but make her feel beautiful.

She curled some hair around her fingers to make sure it kept its strength, and nothing happened beyond the usual pain when she pulled.

"Rory did everything right," she said to herself in a hush, brushing her hair one more time to smooth it out perfectly. The bristles of the antique implement ran through it like silk, the coloring applied evenly and perfectly. "I look...I look..."

Paris thought back to the shower that had just passed, how she had thought of her roommate after being wound up tight after she calmed her down over her mother's comments. The concern she felt for her, how instead of getting her flustered, Rory now thought of her as quite normal. She had found her way into Rory's inner circle and was growing to fall in love with the town of Stars Hollow, all the aspects of Rory's life.

Most of all, she was falling in love with Rory Gilmore.

Over the last few months, she knew their flirting was becoming more blatant. As she drew away from her conservative wardrobe of old, she saw the journalist look more at her than anyone else. Her voice brought the girl to attention, and the crafts she created for her were treasured. Paris tried to assert that Rory would never feel anything sexual or romantic for her, but then again she always kept things hidden if they would change the status quo.

Finishing up, she unknotted the towel wrapped around her, tossing it carelessly towards the ground. Moving to the dresser, she found something to wear that would go with her hairstyle and new attitude perfectly. Thinking about what she could do to possibly show Rory that she was the one she'd pursue a relationship with, she decided to forgo shoes and socks and go right for the kill.

She wasn't usually one to choose a tank top with spaghetti strings showing off the girls, but this was an exception. She found a dark pink shirt in the shirt drawer and slid it over her moisturized and smooth skin, no bra. There's just something about college that's freeing, she thought, knowing three years ago she would never walk out of her room without a bra on.

Paris then put on panties and a pair of running shorts with the Yale bulldog on the right side. They showed off her legs like the soccer shorts, exactly the effect she intended. Looking herself over in the mirror one last time, she thought to herself how much she had changed since Asher's death. Before, she had lived for the future, seeing herself as a doctor more than she was in the current day. She grew up too fast and too soon, old before her time, thinking that relationships were more of a barrier than anything she ever needed.

But she was now living for the moment, knowing she still had years in the tank. She had to relax, because she knew Asher's extreme drive was what killed him, not her love. Looking at his planner as she made the arrangements for his body to come back to Connecticut, she saw that his schedule after coming back to New Haven was filled, every line from 8am-7pm, with very little white space in the smaller weekend boxes. She had not cried or panicked when she wasn't able to wake him, but looking at his appointment book as she began informing everybody and canceling never needed meetings, she let the tears fall.

"I can't do that to myself," she declared to herself, and when she came back she decided to cut her entire society schedule out and focus on school only, deciding that building her life was more important than filling her account. She was going to focus more on improving herself yet be able to continue to have a life with her friends and family. Taking up yoga and running also helped to bring her to a calm center, and showed that she was willing to change.

She wanted to continue that process, knowing that she needed Rory to hear from her that she loved her. If she didn't feel the same way, she would have to live with it, but she wouldn't do anything drastic if that was the case.

"It is time to go," she said confidently. One thing that hadn't changed was her awkwardness with pop culture, still having to be corrected by Rory when it came to the in-vogue sayings. Still, nothing was going to stop her, and as she walked out of her bedroom, she hoped her new hair color wasn't going to bring her trouble.

Taking a deep breath after pouring a cup of coffee for her roommate in the kitchen, she made her way into the living room to find Rory lying on the couch, asleep. She set the coffee cup down on the table in front of them and decided to just observe the brunette, just for a moment. Paris was used to watching Rory asleep, as she had to wake her up most of the time since the animal sound clocks Lorelai provided usually didn't have a snooze function or a loud 'buzzer'. Usually she walked in while Rory was having a dream, though it wasn't usually vocal.

As she grabbed the remote to turn the TV to C-SPAN while she grumbled about how awful a show Drake and Josh was though...

"Paris, you're a wonderful kisser." The words were whispered in a groggy tone. Paris paused in place, on bended knee in front of the couch. She dropped the remote control softly onto the glassy surface of the table, muting the flat screen so she wouldn't interrupt. Her eyes drifted towards Rory, mouth opened and eyes shut, in a full dream world. She was in shock, thinking she was the only one with somniloquy in her peer group.

She kept her ears perked up, hoping Rory would say more. She stayed in the same bent position, not moving anything more than her mouth. She thought even a crane of her neck would be a distraction. Still as she could be, she watched Rory's eyelids contract in and retract out. Whatever she was dreaming about, it was intense and filled her mind.

Another minute passed with nothing from Rory except her breathing. Paris thought she was just hearing things and Rory didn't comment on her kissing. Clearly, I'm going insane. This is Rory, remember? She thought Deano was good enough for three years, and she reacted wrong to my kiss at the nightclub. No way she remembered--

"Yeah, it wasn't you, the club was too crowded. You did ask for my opinion, right?"

Paris stayed still, feeling a mixture of emotions, including fear and uncertainty. More than that though, desire was coursing through her. She could barely breathe at all, stunned. The redhead decided to stay still that much longer, wondering what was to happen next. Settle down, settle down, she thought, trying to keep herself rational and centered. It may have been just a dream, something silly. Rory might not think of her in that way in reality.

Her heart was hammering hard while the silence was palpable. Paris awaited the next part of the dreaming, wanting to bite her fingernails out of habit, but keeping her hands dug against her legs. She wasn't moving.

Paris couldn't stand the silence; she wanted to be put out of her misery.

Misery would be the farthest emotion between the girls from now on. Just as Paris was ready to give up, Rory spoke within her dream.

"Par, you are my type. I realized it atop that platform. Logan was never for me, and I'm not going to let you slip away. I love you."

Usually, the heiress's mind ran on all cylinders, and there was nothing that could stop her at all. She was likely the only one in the entire Chilton population to grumble when the terrorist attacks cancelled classes for the rest of the week because her coping mechanism was work, not candlelight vigils. She always knew what she wanted and no one could stop her at all.

But Rory had just thrown her a serious Schilling curve. Rory was usually apt to avoiding the serious questions between them for as long as she could until it was dealt with under pressure. Paris assumed the same when she asked what girl Rory would go gay for.

To reveal it in a dream, out loud to her? She didn't expect that.

Her first reaction was to just get up, brush it off, and completely forget about it, putting it out of sight and mind for the sanity of both of them. Certainly, she couldn't say she heard Rory dream about her since her mind was her refuge.

What to do, what to do?! Paris tried to think of exactly that, but it wasn't coming to her. She knew she wanted Rory, but what if Rory only thought of her sexually in her dreams? If she said something, that would be the end of it and Rory would be in a panic.

She thought for another minute, as Rory again commended her kissing style, trying to come up with a perfect solution. She felt the new shade getting to her, making her feel bold and invigorated. No longer did she feel meek about love and the possibilities ahead of her.

Four hours before, her mother was criticizing her for everything under the sun, but complimented her on her genetic similarities, that she was growing to be a MiniMe of Sharon Gellar.

The one compliment in the world she didn't want, was the one thing that finally had Paris see the bullet heading towards her.

Rory had a thing for her. A year-long thing. Something that could have even been there latently since the night Tristan DuGrey walked out of their lives.

She could just let it go, never mention it again, and move on with her life, willing to find some guy who found her new do perfect to sate his fetish for a redhead.

That was before she remembered how she learned she was a sleep-talker. Her father walked in on her having a nightmare, and somehow sublimely, she associated his voice with the antagonist within his dream world. He stated asking her to get up, but before they both knew it, Paris asleep in her bed was talking to Harold through her dream. After not believing she was a sleep talker, he had her spend a night at a sleep clinic, where him and Dr. Birnbaum watched and waited for her to repeat the behavior for a camera. Around 3:30am, she had started talking aloud in a Victorian-period delusion, and when Dr. Birnbaum began talking to her, she associated the woman's voice with that of a nosy finishing school headmistress and found the woman's voice replacing that of the original dream character.

Paris didn't really delve much within dream psychology in her classes, but she was able to draw from her personal experience. She probably doesn't even know she sleep talks, or this is a very rare case of her imagination screaming out what she wants her reality to be. Rory had become much more shielded when it came to questions about why she wasn't searching for someone new, so Paris had good reason to believe that there was something there.

She decided that she was done being skittish. With her new hair color backing her up, she decided to be bold and take a chance on drawing out the emotion behind Rory's evasiveness. She just had to wait a few seconds more to find her opening.

Patiently, she waited, and gauged. She found the wavelength to connect on Rory's next sentence.

"Would I lie to you? Paris, anyone would be lucky to have you as their lover."

She moved closer, and began to insulate her responses into Rory's mind. Smiling, she was looking up at her near her midsection. With a hushed, close whisper, the type she might have in an intimate embrace, the real woman inserted herself into Rory's dream as flawlessly as Mel Blanc switched between Daffy and Bugs.

"Why didn't you say anything before now?" she asked to the sleeping girl. "Do you think I'll be cold to you?"

A moment...hopefully her test statement work.

"I just don't want to hurt you." Still sleepy and out of reality. Paris was relieved. "What if it doesn't work out?"

"We've been through everything, Ror." Her voice was firm, yet caring. "You're still there for me, even through all my failures and power trips. I could never hate you."

"I don't, never have I held hate. I can't even relax when you leave for the weekend."

Paris moved closer, sensing the brunette's spiced perfume. "You hate it when I go, then."

"I do."

"What if I were to say I feel the same when you go to Stars Hollow?" She sighed, closing her eyes, hoping to keep the dream setting solid. "I don't think half the things I've done since you came into my life would have ever happened without you."

"I was relieved to see you at Durfee," she confessed. "I was scared the first day of Yale."

"Me too. I went to Yale because you did. I considered Stanford until the last minute." She felt a weight lifted from her shoulders.

"It would have sucked without you."

"I probably would have transferred out by the start of second semester."

"You never leave me alone," Rory noted.

"I can't," Paris admitted.

"Is that because you love me?"

Paris didn't know what to say. Having a conversation with a dream state Rory was the oddest thing she could have ever thought would happen to her. To be asked if she loved her though, that was another level altogether.

She couldn't say what she felt though. To say it too fast, in reality, that was too much. She had to be slow about her seduction.

Paris scooted closer to parallel Rory's laying position on the couch, so she was able to meet her lip-to-lip, eye-to-eye. Her hands shook and she was unfocused, trying to keep her concentration. She didn't know how to speak her heart when it came to Rory. With Asher the moments came naturally and comfortably. But she feared Rory's reaction.

She also knew that if she would want to state her true feelings for the girl, she had to speak about them when Rory was awake. Say it while she's asleep, she strategized, it's not for real, just in that one dream. This has to have an impact otherwise it'll be for nothing.

The brown-eyed woman was lost in thought, thinking about how she should go about telling Rory how she felt. She could walk away and plan something for the next day, but the heated atmosphere of the afternoon would be gone. She wanted to strike while the iron was hot.

But then she found her memories drifting back to one of the few scraps of childhood she had that didn't involve flash card drills or being scared to death of her tutor for getting a math problem wrong by one number. One of her favorite films of all time was Sleeping Beauty, which was one of the few Disney movies she thought wasn't completely chauvinist and insulting.

She recalled the climax of the film, where the title character was awakened by a kiss from the prince. Back when she first viewed it, she was under the impression that the rescuer must be male. All through the years she thought the storyline inflexible, both within the narrative of the fairy tale, and in her own life. Tristan, or else a 'nice boy,' would be her one and only, and she'd be lucky to have anything that romantic ever occur within her life.

Years away from Tristan, and the days of any kind of 'nice boy' long gone, Paris looked pensively at her roommate, the scene in her head. There was no curse and Rory wasn't taking a 100-year nap, but the dots were connected for the academic that Rory loved her, even if she had never admitted it in reality.

If she didn't do anything, all of her initiative would disappear. But if she was to be bold...

Two years ago in some Daytona night club, she had been bold by kissing her. But they were under the lights, and pressured by Madeline and Louise to have fun, do something wild. None of that was in play, and the only other possible voice in the room was some Oklahoma congressman going on and on about alfalfa subsidies, but he was muted.

Letting out a relaxing breath, she prepared for some kind of reaction from Rory, be it positive or negative. She looked at the girl tenderly and brought herself close in for her second kiss ever with the girl. She hoped the kiss spoke volumes.

She recalled the force she applied in the first kiss, hands on each side of Rory's head, pulling her to her. Her own post-analysis was that her approach was too strong and made her look lipsticky and slutty. She couldn't be Louise like she thought; she had to be herself.

No hands, just her mouth as she approached. On Rory's breath, Paris could senses the effects of an orange Tic Tac freshening her breath. She went in softly, trying not to be like that troll taking Drew Barrymore's breath in Cat's Eye. It was a soft kiss, full of all the passion she held for the brunette caffi-holic, with a bit of flitted tongue along the ridge of Rory's lips. She closed her eyes for a moment to gather her courage, and then re-opened them. She saw Rory flushing a bit, and grunting into her mouth from the sudden loss of breathing capacity.

Rory could swear that Paris was up against her, not answering her question verbally but with her actions instead. It wasn't forceful like the nightclub kiss, but still unexpected. The pressure against her lips was just right, with the feel of Paris's hair in her hands making everything right. It was just as she imagined.

Except she felt like she was horizontal when she was supposed to be vertical. It was an odd feeling and she tried to regain her equilibrium, but for some reason couldn't do so and felt dazed when she tried.

She attempted to break off the kiss but was unable to do so. In a panic she wondered why she was losing control of herself. She moved her hands up to cup Paris's head in an attempt to pull away, but that didn't work.

I love this, but I need it to stop, she thought. She tried to worm out, doing so twice, but she couldn't. Paris was dominant in the situation, unwilling to let go of her lover...

Back in reality, Paris had pushed herself further up along Rory and accidentally jabbed an elbow into her side without noticing, jarring Rory from her rest. She jumped up in place, thinking she was still in her dream. In the haze of waking up, she was able to lift her arms up and force Paris off of her.

What wasn't seen however was that Paris, encouraged by Rory's response to the kiss within her sleep, had slid onto the couch and straddled the taller woman, keeping one foot on the ground, the other slid between Rory's legs. Perfectly relaxed, Paris kept her hands to her sides while breaking the kiss.

When Rory's eyes opened, she expected to be in her bedroom. She thought the weight upon her was a large carnival bear and pushed 'it' off from her in haste. Strange, I don't have one of those.

Instead, a tanned face met her eye to eye, surrounded by a curtain of shimmering auburn hair. The expected ten pounds of stuffed animal on her frame was instead that of a 130 pound roommate she had just dreamed of kissing. Her eyes focused upon the woman above her and at first she thought she was still dreaming.

Paris was a bit scared, but from the response of the sleep-kissing, felt encouraged and smiled down at her friend.

Rory blinked twice, her body hot from the physical contact. "Paris?" It was an adjustment to see Paris with her new hair color. "Umm, I dyed your hair, right?"

"Mm-hmm." She was emboldened, enjoying her new look. "It turned out wonderfully. I might have to go through with the permanence, depending on how Janet and everyone else reacts on Monday morning." She watched Rory stretch on the couch above her, sorting out her aching legs.

"It...it...oh my God." Rory couldn't put her reaction into words. The coloring shimmered in the spare sunlight still filling the room on late afternoon. She took a lock of the hair into her hands, surprised with Paris's open acceptance of her playing with her hair. Examining the silk-like strands closely for any kind of error or a missed spot, she looked over her work. Nothing was wrong, and she had perfectly done Paris's hair.

"It looks awesome," Rory complimented. "Really, it does." She smiled, a bit unnerved by the hot and hard look across Paris's face. "Before I showered I had a few misgivings that we should have gone lighter, but I see no need to change it further, at all." She nervously bit down on her lip, noticing that the new color really brought out all of Paris's facial features perfectly: The freckles on her nose and the plumpness of her lips, along with perfect coordination for the mole she hoped Paris would keep forever.

She stopped though, noticing Paris's deep brown eyes lightened, looking down at her. Her breath was slow and she was beginning to notice how the woman was positioned above her. Usually she would notice the girl's furrowed eyebrows showing she was permanently annoyed. Instead, Paris was serene and pleased, completely calm, smiling at her.

Is she turned on? She questioned to herself. The only time she really saw Paris that way was coming out of her room after her and Doyle had sex, or Paris in the afterglow of an encounter with the good Professor.

"I know it turned out well," Paris commented in a low tone. "You did it, after all." One of Paris's hands dared to slide beneath the hem of Rory's sweater, causing Rory's mind to wander as to why her roommate was exactly on top of her.

"Paris, umm..." Rory felt a bit lost. "It's really not that big of a deal." Her voice creaked as she found herself lost in Paris's eyes. "It's just hair and you wanted a change. I was glad to give it to you." She felt Paris's fingertips slide up higher, distracting her.

"Don't be so modest, you deserve to enjoy the change." Rory had never seen Paris this way before, so happy and...

Seductive. Rory had remembered coming out of the dream, though she forgot the specifics right away the minor detail that it was about her and Paris. Looking up the woman, she didn't realize what was happening right away.

"It's more about you." Rory blinked. "All I did was open the box and put the coloring in."

"Yes, but you also encouraged me to think differently, as it were. I admit it: I've been in a rut, sort of lost when it came to everything outside of my studies. You ground me, Rory, and without you I'd be stuck in some dark room ranting about how everyone is out to get me. It doesn't matter to me that I'm 17th in our class, because I'm having fun." Her hands continued to play at Rory's sides while she noticed that Rory's attention was drifting down towards her cleavage. "I'm just kind of glad the Daily News transfer should go off without a conflict. I just had this image in my mind that if Doyle and I were still together, I'd be at your birthday party making a lame joke about sleeping with the editor, when he was the editor and I was the editor-elect."

"We both know you don't do parties," Rory said, laughing. "You made fun of my drink to Grandma's face." Her face lit up as she recalled the moment. "I mean it was pink, and you said it should be blue, and that it shouldn't be as sweet as it was, that you wanted a bit of rum and whiskey in it because I have a sarcastic tongue on me."

"And she just looks at me and says, 'I will take that in mind, Paris', and walks away from me as if I just insulted her! Of course Lorelai took that in mind and had Jake at the Hollow Tap create the 'Real Rory' with all that stuff for your real party in the Hollow the next day!" She smiled at the memory. "Of course I failed to take in mind I'm a bad drunk. Five shots and I was down!"

"Hey, it made the party very interesting." Rory felt herself opening up. "I never thought that you would fake a striptease and sing Happy Birthday in a sultry style like Marilyn Monroe. It made the whole night to see you open up with the assistance of a few drinks."

"I still think it was embarrassing!" Paris shook her head.  "I wasn't even in tune, and I certainly could have done without Morey, Bootsy and Kirk commenting on my breasts." Rory was laughing beneath Paris, her smile lines fully formed. "The one night I choose to wear a button down dress to a party, I decide to get smashed on your drink and show myself off like a common floozy!" She dramatically raised her voice. "How come you didn't tell me to stop?"

Rory paused, evoking what she thought of Paris's little show that night. It was one of the major trigger points for her current crush, and though she was sort of embarrassed in public, internally she enjoyed everything about the girl's unexpected enthusiasm for her turning 21. Smiling, she bit down on her lip...

And stopped. The last part of the dream came back to her, the kissing she could have sworn was real, but wasn't. Licking around her lips, she knew she didn't own any vanilla lip gloss; she was more of a raspberry girl.

But Paris...

Rory's heart hammered in her chest as she looked up towards her salutatorian. The taste was so familiar from the last time Paris had kissed Rory.

That is, a kiss Paris never realized she had with Rory.

The birthday party, when Paris made a toast to Rory in her bedroom, after she gave her a private gift. One which she had enjoyed at least six times a week since it was given, because 'when you have this, you'll never need Jess again.' She had thanked Paris for the gift while her face was fire engine red, and proceeded to give the girl a peck on the lips platonically, and flittered her tongue against Paris's lips as she pulled away. The taste of the lip gloss had stayed with her since then, and she recalled it as a fuel to her fantasies with the 'private gift.'

Her eyes widened. The dream...the dream! It wasn't a dream! I could feel her weight on top of me and she was actually kissing me, being bold! She stilled as she thought about the possibility. Wait, what does that mean? Uh, uh...

The bulb in her head went off. She had a reaction, which she didn't know about until then. Now she had to confirm the action.

She closed her mouth and her arms encircled Paris's waist, looking up at her. Tingles went through her; she was so nervous. Rory decided to continue the conversation.

"Why didn't you tell me that sleep-talking was contagious?" Rory regarded Paris seriously, her eyes staring up laser-like at the woman. "I felt everything."

She thought that with that, Paris would be scared, begin to talk things out, back off from their intimate clench.

"You heard everything then also." Paris wouldn't pull any punches.

"Umm..." Rory couldn't recall. "I know that you kissed me at the very least."

Paris had nothing to lose. "I certainly did. You encouraged it." The small 'know-it-all' smirk along her lips, her courage was growing. "You were talking to me through your dream, but why have a pale representation of myself when you could have the real thing?" She pushed herself down a bit.

"But that was just a dream," Rory argued, "you can't go off what's in a dream and suddenly decide to kiss me. What if I would have woken up and clobbered you?"

"Clobber your best friend for taking advantage of the sexual tension hanging in the air?" Paris sighed. "You know you and I have been bound for this moment since the day we met." She dared to push her other hand within the waistband of Rory's hip-hugging jeans. "Jess and Doyle? A detour. Ever since our trip to Washington, we've been in a de facto Boston marriage. We benefit from each other, learn from each other, and we're at the point where we finish off each other's sentences. Add to that we pretty much share financial matters, along with our emotional needs."

"Paris--"

"Do you know where we'd each be if we weren't in each other's lives? You would've soon fallen in love with some dullard from New Hampshire, or talked into joining that stupid society and done something stupid like steal a boat because 'oh my God, Logan is so dreamy, I want to impress him!' You also kept me centered, and who knows where I'd be if you hadn't been the shoulder to cry on when Harvard sent the rejection letter?"

The strong conviction in Paris's voice was truly one of Rory's weaknesses, something that nullified the annoying doubts in her mind. She had clearly thought things through, taking everything in mind and making it clear where she stood. Rory hadn't realized in all this time since college started that they were pretty much already a married couple, except for the legal and romantic technicalities. Beyond the guys, they were in their own little world where no one could intrude.

Rory pursed her lips together. "I just...I..."

Paris slid Rory's sweater up in her hand, the smooth feel of the woman's pale skin enchanting her. "You have doubts, right?"

Rory nodded her head.

"Do you have doubts that you love me?" Paris's voice was soft and caring and Rory couldn't avert the truth. "You've been dreaming of saying those words to me for years." She watched Rory bite down on her lip and brush a stray hair from her eyes.

"I have," Rory admitted. "But do you feel the same for me?"

"What did the kiss tell you?"

"That there's no need to practice anymore and you have it down perfectly?" She was losing control of herself, seeing as Paris's top untucked and was trailing up her generous curves.

"What else did it say to you?" The redhead's eyes burned into Rory brightly. "As I used to tell Madeline: think, process, focus. The base hypothesis isn't as well-formed as the final solution." She could feel Rory's heat, and Rory attempting to wiggle away from her where her thigh met a certain spot on her jeans.

Rory regarded her with caution. She saw that whatever the hair dyeing had done, it had made Paris rethink what kind of woman she wanted to be. Above her, she couldn't find any sign that Paris Eustachia Gellar was about to follow in any of the steps of Sharon Edith Martinez-DeBartolo Gellar. She was being bold, trying to strike out on her own as much as she could. But there was no way she could imagine her friend running any kind of social chair, except for dissolving a group because it was sexist and matronly.

Paris's hands felt so wonderful against her skin, not at all like the rough crackled feel of Jess's. She felt gangly trying to fit against Jess, like a puzzle with a piece off just so, but the small woman above her was like a glove. She tried to imagine not making love to her at this point, to ask for breathing room and confront everything at another time.

A last thought closed the fate of the two women for the rest of the evening.

I can't have another night with Pinky though. I've thought about this for months, and to have only a gift from the woman...it's not enough. I need the woman herself. I want her, oh God do I want her.

She couldn't stand it anymore. While dreaming she had found herself getting wet from the very thought of sexual contact, and the real woman on top of her was soaking her. She was hungry, the taste from before not enough. A year and a half had passed since that first kiss in Daytona.

Rory was finally ready to face the facts that had spun through her since she told Dean to 'fuck off' after his failed seduction at the house, interrupted thankfully by Paris on the phone wanting to know what English souvenirs she wanted over the summer before departing JFK (a Beefeater hat, Paris's summer card for the Oxford library, pictures from atop the London Eye and twelve bags of Walker's crisps in various flavors including ketchup).

She couldn't handle Paris not in her life in any way, and now she felt being truthful was the best

Taking Paris's hands in hers, she pushed her up to a sitting position, and with a dash of simplicity, laid a soft and passionate kiss upon her lips, then let one hand feel through the strands of red hair which had finally taken them out from that blonde-brunette paradox that the girls had joked about them being in, like Sam and Brooke or Buffy and Faith.

Those couples were unrequited. These women would not be. Paris fell into the comfort of the kiss quickly, the soft feel of their lips coming together in such a torrid manner. Not at all like the nightclub kiss, it was filled with the pain and hope that having to hold back from each other had been kept within their souls for years. Long before the start of Yale, that night Paris confessed sleeping with Jamie, their hate had completely evaporated from both of their beings. No matter how much conflict they might have, it would never be from hate.

Rory and Paris had been through all of the stages of love. Beginning with mutual respect for their studies, and slowly into the first stages, where they familiarized themselves beyond numbers in a gradebook next to last names. Platonic love came next, building through the dorm in Washington. There it stayed until the passing of Asher, when Rory would be at Paris's side whenever she looked towards the printing press, thinking of her beloved man, and begin to cry, and Rory ran to comfort her. Slowly, surely, they because as close to a family as two disparate women could be. But the last few months, the building towards their respective paths, somehow they realized that as Paris said when Rory walked into Durfee 5, their journey was not complete, and their paths would always be side-to-side.

Soon, they would merge, as they could no longer hold back how they felt for each other. The kiss, breaking apart slowly as if they had to force each other off, was proof of that. They stared at each other, faces puffing and their bodies all wound up, taking in quick, short breaths. Rory's eyes were almost a clear turquoise and she could only answer Paris in one way.

"Paris?"

"Mm-hmm." She was speechless as Rory slid her hand along her leg.

"I've thought about what we need right now."

She removed the hand and rolled up the sweater along her abdomen, lifting it off from her body in a swift movement. Before Paris could object, she stared at her friend, dizzied by lust, wearing a blue flower patterned bra that showed off her small assets quite nicely, along with her slim and freckle-dotted form. She then slid her left hand back into Paris's right, and broke the fourth wall in their relationship as it had been.

"I need you," she spoke, deliberately. "But if I'm going to love you, we can't do it in my room, since it faces the street and all."

As Paris's throat dried, she couldn't offer any resistance at all as Rory made it clear they both felt the same. Her body hot, she could only respond to Rory in mere words, rather than her usual monologue.

"So I am your type?"

Rory smiled at her, yanking her towards her by the waistband of her shorts. "I am your love," she stated. The sweater fell from her hands and she pressed herself to the shorter girl. "You're the fire inside me and you are that even more now." Another soft kiss.

"I want you too," Paris said, the inevitable coming soon. "I love you, and I wish we saw that we did much earlier."

"We have time though," Rory husked suggestively. "Lots of time. We need to get in that room and catch up." They were doing a sort-of dance towards the bedroom door in the back portion of the living room.

"Definitely." Paris smiled. "We can be sick tomorrow."

Rory completed the sentence. "From the hair dye."

"Or making love to each other until we're too sore to move." Eight feet to the door...

"I'm just thinking about your hair, how sexy it makes you look." Staring at her girl, Rory kept running her hands through it. "Sexier without clothes on though."

"I always sleep nude anyway," Paris noted.  Another kiss, her hands wandered to Rory's side just below her breasts. "Makes it easier for me."

"Not tonight. Slow and tediously erotic for the both of us." They were near the door. "I've been so turned on since I started styling."

"I'm burning up myself, Ror."

"I can't wait to feel you." Her hand on the doorknob, she turned it, at the same time breaking away from Paris to unzip her jeans. "My dreamlover is finally going to come out and play."

"The same with you. Hey, we need to talk about my pub--" Paris was rudely interrupted by Rory's probing tongue before her bluntness could ruin the moment. They moved into the room quickly and before Rory could even have pulled her pants down three inches, the door was locked, as the brunette realized that blondes may have more fun, but redheads make things much more interesting...

The End

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