Notes and Disclaimers: Gilmore Girls, et al, not mine. No profit ever. Thanks to Mosca. Written for Lyrajane.



NOT EVEN PINKERTON




"One time when I was attending the 7th Day Adventist College, I watched an entire Charmed marathon on TNT as rebellion," Lane said. No wonder she'd never really looked back.

"Against good taste? And when did you swing watching TNT for an entire day in the Kim household?" Rory sipped her coffee and continued walking really fast towards Luke's where her car was parked.

"Snuck into your house while Lorelai was working and you were at Yale." Lane smiled. "That show sucks."

"Even rebellion couldn't polish that turd, huh?" Rory threw her coffee out in the trashcan.

Lane said, "No, not at all. I kept hoping, you know? But it was ridiculous and inane and badly-plotted and you might think otherwise, but Alyssa Milano is not a very skilled actress."

"It's surprising because she's had so much time to practice," Rory said. She opened the car door for Lane. "Get in, Miss Daisy. We've got a drive ahead of us."

"I'm not applying to Yale," Lane said.

"You could."

"I'm well trained in rejection, of course, so I could. But I mean, I don't want to go to Yale." Lane rubbed her hands together. Maybe she should have gotten coffee, too. "I mean, what am I going to get from college now?"

"Maybe if it were a school of rock," Rory said.

"Jack Black doesn't do much for me." Lane sighed. "Maybe this was a bad idea."

"It's not a bad idea."

"I'm just considering attending one of your crazy secular colleges."

"We do have larger biology departments," Rory said. "It's just a class. Just sitting in the back of a class, not raising your hand or drawing attention to yourself and seeing what it's like. If you maybe want to go back to college some day. Not tomorrow or not next semester, say. But someday."

"Are you breaking some sort of rule bringing me to class?"

"No. Not at all. People can audit. But the professor is a little austere."

"I know what austere means," Lane said. "That's a good sign. Rory, am I doing the right thing? Am I giving up on the band? Rivers Cuomo went back to Harvard but that was after Pinkerton. We haven't even had our Buddy Holly."

"You still will. You're just auditing, it's not a commitment. It's like a Paris Hilton engagement, it's so non-committal."

"You're comparing me to Paris Hilton?"

"No, not at all. No. There are entire oceans between you and Paris Hilton in every respect." Rory giggled. "Now I'm picturing Mrs. Kim doing a reality show called 'Wannabe a Kim' with tests and adventures."

Lane laughed. "Okay, me, too. They could compete to see who give out the most pamphlets in the town square."

"Who can sneak the most non-tofu based food into Thanksgiving dinner," Rory said.

"That's more the 'Who Wants To Be Lane' competition. I don't think you'd get many entrants."

"I bet you'd get a ton. Lots of people would want your life, Lane."

Lane stared at Rory. "Name one. I'm a waitress. My band is on hiatus, which is always the code word for personality differences or rehab and really means the band has broken up and I'm thinking about going back to college where I can start over as a freshman because no real college will actually give me credit for that class on the literature of Tim LaHaye."

Left Behind is not literature, Lane."

"I bet Yale wouldn't think so either," Lane said. She fiddled with her hair. "My mom's not so bad."

"Mrs. Kim is great. She helped you set up that whole tour."

"She kicked me out of the house."

Rory paused. "She invited you and Zach to that New Year's thing. She helped with the band. She's getting used to you. The real you."

"The real me is completely lost, Rory." Lane sat back against her seat and felt like drowning. It sounded so early Cure when she thought about it. Next step would be sounding like first album Fiona Apple and then after that you died from your own over-emo-ness or something.

Rory said, "I know from lost, Lane. I really do. I'm still a member of the DAR. But the thing about being lost is that it's the next step to being found. To being on the path. To being heading somewhere."

"Thanks, Tony Robbins."

"Low blow."

"I'm sorry," Lane said. "Thanks for taking me to your class. And being very motivational speaker for me." What else could a best friend really do besides tell you it would all be okay. It was her job. And right now, it was Lane's turn to be stuck in a rut of doing nothing creative, nothing worthwhile and not even enough angst to make up the bridge of a Bright Eyes song. One of the short ones, even. Lane was just lame. Lost and lame. That wasn't even a good name for a band.

Yale looked the same. Just like when Lane got kicked out of the house and spent a month staying at Rory's dorm. She glanced around and said, "Do you ever see Tana?"

"She transferred to a university in Walla Walla, Washington, because she likes the onions and the more jam-band-friendly environment. Apparently, over the summer after her freshmen year she got really into Phish and the Grateful Dead and the String Cheese Incident and decided Yale no longer had the right vibe for her."

"You're kidding."

"I wish I were. I wouldn't be getting so much email from her with little dancing bears on the bottom."

"Now I know you're kidding."

"Lane, I wish I were." Rory stopped at a coffee cart and ordered for both of them. "Darn jam bands. Those long solos fueled by the wacky weed seduced Tana right away from the Ivy League."

"Please tell me you're kidding. Please tell me there aren't people who let the String Cheese Incident change their lives." Lane blinked and sipped her coffee.

"I know it's not for you, Lane, but we should be tolerant."

"It's not for anyone, Rory." Lane drank her coffee as they walked to class so she didn't end up shouting at the absurdity of it. People changed colleges because they changed their music preferences. Bands broke up because of the horrors of cohabitation and dating disasters. Mothers did things. And Lane sat in the back behind Rory while an austere professor droned on about the French and Indian War.

Lane got up very quietly and waited outside the door for Rory, listening to her iPod. Bless Rory for loaning her one. Bruce Springsteen sang once that he learned more from a three minute record than he ever learned in school. And he was doing pretty good. It just took some time.

THE END

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