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Travellers Welcome

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Some years ago, the Stars Hollow Gazette held a contest to pick a town motto. After discarding the joke entries, the Kirk entries, and the entries written on the back of Le Chat Club receipts, the town was left with three semi-viable options.

“Stars Hollow is for Star Crossed Lovers”, “Stars Hollow: Travellers Welcome”, and “Stars Hollow: Live, Laugh, Love” (it wasn’t a commercialized saying yet).

The ballots ended up being destroyed in a freak candle accident, and in the resultant chaos no official motto was ever chosen. But an eight year old Rory Gilmore had submitted the Travellers Welcome option, and about a week before Christmas, someone with access to an awful lot of paint and a very tall ladder had unofficially added the new unofficial motto to all of Stars Hollow’s signs.

Which is how, after drifting off to sleep following a long and draining battle, and waking up in a strange field under an unfamiliar sky, Brienne of Tarth and Jaime Lannister made the gut decision that while the town looked foreign and strange, the sign indicated that they could cautiously attempt contact.

“The hour is late,” Brienne pointed out to Jamie, who appeared to be in stubborn denial about the strangeness of their arrival. “The people may not be able to receive us, nor willing to trust us.”

Jaime shrugged recklessly. “The sign says ‘travellers welcome’, my lady.”

“-not a lady-”

“-and we, tonight, are travellers.” His eyes searched the streets for an inn. “They are keeping things well lit for us.”

Brienne looked nervously at the metal poles boasting miniature suns. “Ser, you know as well as I do that no oil lamp known to us can produce light that steady. We are in a foreign land, and do not know the custom.”

“Moreover, we do not know how we got here.” Jaime rolled his eyes. “I am well aware that there is much we do not know. Therefore, the sensible thing is to acquire more information. I see a dining establishment. Let us see if the owners are still near.” He proceeded to pound on the door with a vigor that Brienne felt was quite unnecessary.

“Hello! Cook?”

After a few minutes of producing entirely too much noise, the door flew open, and a growling, ill-shaven man with unusual clothing stood staring at the pair. “What.” He remarked flatly.

Brienne could see Jaime beginning to open his mouth. “Sir, we are lost, and in need of some assistance.”

With that, Brienne saw the man’s scowl soften. “Lost? Lost how?” He gestured at their clothes. “And what’s with the getup?”

Before Brienne could answer, the man pulled them inside his dining establishment. “Aw hell, get in out of the cold.”

That night, Brienne of Tarth ate her first ‘cheeseburger’ and her first ‘waffle’. She didn’t care much for the former, but greatly enjoyed the latter. The eggs were familiar, at least. Somehow, in between bites, she and Jaime managed to construct a story and identity that satisfied the owner’s curiosity without arousing suspicion. She was unsure how far away they were from the North, from King's Landing, from Westeros even, but wanted to take no risks. Maybe the utter foreignness of this place should have frightened her more, but truthfully, she felt it was a welcome, if temporary, reprieve. Jaime appeared to feel the same, and even accepted her bid to take the first night’s watch without complaint.

~~~

“Lorelai!”

“Luke!”

“I got Amish people, or Renaissance fair people, whatever they are, in my diner! They’re sleeping on the floor!”

Lorelai rubbed the bridge of her nose and stared at her phone. “What?”

“I said-”

“-Yeah, I hear you! Hang on.” Lorelai relocated to her bedroom. The living room was no place for this kind of conversation. “Okay, spill. How exactly did this happen?”

“I don’t know!” Luke angry shouted. But not actually angry, Luke angry, so she was fine with it. “I was sleeping, like normal people do at one in the freakin’ morning, and they start pounding on my door. I thought we were going to have a problem, but then the chick, the girl, super tall, said they were lost, and I got a better look at them.”

“And? What did this better look reveal?”

Luke sighed. “Lorelai, they’re bruised up to hell, the guy is missing half his arm for chrissakes. They’re wearing old timey clothes, they’re clearly exhausted, and they vacuumed up about four of my cheeseburgers and an unholy amount of waffles. I don’t care about where they come from, I just want to see what we can do for them.”

“Aw, Luke.” Lorelai smiled. “You have a heart.”

“Damn right I have a heart. Why else would I be taking those horse pills for blood pressure? Can you help get them set up at the Dragonfly? They insisted on crashing on my diner floor last night, wouldn’t even take my couch.”

The town of Stars Hollow mobilized pretty quickly after that. Brienne and Jaime were startled by the number of people who were there in the morning with fresh clothes, offers of employment, and a long list of homes where they could spend a night or two.

And off in her Yale dorm, Rory Gilmore got the distinct and inexplicable feeling that she had been proven right about something, somewhere.