Rory Gilmore was an unnaturally light sleeper. Maybe it stemmed back to when she was much younger and had always tried to wake up as soon as possible in order to watch the Teaching Channel, or maybe from her first days at Chilton when she had been out of bed at five thirty in the morning in order to properly prepare herself to be in on time, or even earlier, if she was lucky. Whatever the reason, now in Yale, Rory still found herself waking at the slightest thing, especially now she spent most nights with her boyfriend; the drunken clamouring of distant frat boys, the thumping bassline emitting from an apartment a couple of floors above as someone opened the door to leave, the way Logan occasionally coughed in his sleep- she found anything would wake her, whatever the ungodly hour.
So that was when she first started to notice it. Not that “it” was even a problem, in fact, even denouncing it with an impartial pronoun was taking it too far. It was just… her mother. Every day, it was an established ritual for one to call the other and the conversations would be cherished by both Gilmores; it was only when Rory had some reason to call at some odd hour late at night or early in the morning that her mother would grumble, having to extricate herself from a sleeping Luke’s grip in order to answer the phone. And that was just it.
Rory would not have even seen it as a problem, had it not been for the fact she once found herself awake at three in the morning unable to get back to sleep and completely alone save Logan’s light snoring. Why didn’t Logan sleep with his arm around her? In fact, he seemed always to leave some measurement of space between them. She couldn’t fathom it. She knew Logan wasn’t exactly the gooey-cuddly boyfriend type and, frankly, she would have hated it had he been, but she just saw it as a little off that he always slept on his side of the bed, still and silent in sleep. Back when they had been in their “no-strings” arrangement, she had seen this as no problem, as normal, but now he was her boyfriend whom she had told she loved and who seemed to enjoy all the time spent together as much as she did.
That one night, when she had found she just wasn’t going to fall asleep again after some idiot had chucked a snowball, fresh from the cold sprinkling Yale had received the previous day, at the window- Logan hadn’t even stirred- she had found herself watching him as he slept. Tonight, she had noted he was clutching a pillow tight to his chest and had a troubled expression on his face, as if he were having a bad dream. She longed to reach out and smooth the crease between his eyebrows that made him look so lost, but didn’t, for fear he'd wake and know she’d been watching him, and had been about to try and get back to sleep, when, suddenly, he’d started talking.
‘No, Rory…’ At first, she thought he was awake, and so her head had shot back to him, eyes wide with surprise, before she realised he had indeed been sleep-talking. Curious, she lay on her side and waited to see if there was more.
‘Dad…’ He murmured voice low and pained, and she couldn’t help but notice. She wanted to wake him and ask him what dream he had been having, but stopped herself as he started to toss in the bed. ‘Don’t- don’t go, dad, I-I love you…’
Her eyebrows shot up as she heard the words slip from his lips, but then he was peaceful again, lying still with the pillow still clutched in one hand and his breathing slow and eve once more.
When she finally did manage to get back to sleep, it was with a frown on her face.
The next morning she had grinned as he had woken her with coffee in bed, giving him a grateful kiss as he had slid back into the bed beside her, sipping at his own mug.
‘Coffee?’ She had asked, but he had shaken his head.
‘Bourbon.’ On seeing her raised eyebrow, he continued. ‘Got a lunch meeting with my dad today.’
At the mention of Mitchum, Rory instantly dropped her eyes, suddenly reminded of last night’s bizarre events.
He looked at her with concern. ‘Ace, you OK?’
Avoiding the question, she told him: ‘You talk in your sleep, you know.’
His frown turned into one of confusion. ‘I do?’
‘Um… Well, me. And your dad.’
He raised his eyebrows at her. ‘Really? Wow. I had no idea I was that deep. How d’you know this?’
‘Oh, I was just awake early this morning.’
‘Ah. Light sleeper, right?’
She nodded, unwilling to continue, but he prompted her on anyway.
‘So, come on. What did I say?’
She sighed, taking a sip of her coffee. ‘Well, you said my name, and then you said something like “Dad, don’t go, I love you”…’
She trailed off as he visibly blanched and looked away, shifting uncomfortably in the bed. ‘Yeah, well. Who know what goes on in our dreams.’
She frowned at him. ‘I thought you weren’t that close with your dad.’
He sighed, looking away. ‘Ace, you’ve met him. He was a total jerk to you and, in case you hadn’t guessed, more than a little cold to me. but that’s how I grew up, in the heart of one of the coldest families in Connecticut and I hate to admit it has rubbed off on me. It was the reason I became a manipulative womanizer and it’s the reason, before you, I'd never had a committed relationship. I was never taught the ways to take care of girls, only the ways I heard from people like Finn how to catch them.’
Seeing his troubled expression, she grabbed one of his hands and held it tight in her own, still not saying anything.
‘That dream you heard me talk about, it’s this recurring dream I have where I lose both you and my father and I don’t know why.’ He looked up and gave her a sad smile. ‘I've never actually told anyone about my dreams anymore.’
She smiled, squeezing his hand. ‘I'm glad I was the one you told them to.’
He gave a deep sigh, before pulling her hand to his lips and twisting it round to press a kiss, absent-mindedly, to her palm. ‘It just sucks, you know? People think I've been so privileged growing up the way I did when really I would have killed to have been in your place,’ He told her, eyes downcast. ‘At least I would have felt loved.’ He mumbled the last bit, taking a large gulp from his mug before putting it down on a table beside the bed.
‘Logan,’ He didn’t look up, still lost in some deep thought. ‘Logan. Look at me.’ He finally relented, switching his gaze to hers. ‘If its any help, which I guess it probably isn’t, I love you.’
He smiled again, this time with a true sparkle in his eye. ‘I know Ace,’ He pulled her close, one arm around her shoulder and pressing a kiss to the top of her head. ‘I know.’
That night Rory found herself sleeping tight in Logan’s arms; and for the first time in God knows how long, she slept straight through the night, woken only by Logan’s soft kiss on her shoulder as he whispered a ‘good morning, Ace,’ to her and as the sun started to penetrate through the window beside them. Shifting in his arms, she murmured back a happy ‘good morning’ against his smiling lips, feeling as if she had never meant the words more in her entire life.