Thank you to everyone who read and reviewed this - glad you like it. I feel oddly better by at least giving these characters a bit more closure than we got on the show. They're now free to go off and have more adventures :)
As for a sequel that some asked about; goodness knows! I do have an idea (werewolves!) and I've started writing it but finding time to finish it is a whole different thing. I suspect that by the time I ever got round it the fandom would be long forgotten anyway! :)
Title: Every Problem Has Its Gift (8/8)
Characters: Galvin, Luke, Ruby, Mina (with minor appearances from some other canon people)
Pairings: Galvin/Mina, Luke/Ruby
Summary: Galvin’s life is full of problems, not least of which are trying at last to build a proper relationship with his godson whilst dealing with Mina’s disappearance...
Mina took a deep preparatory breath before she walked through the door and down into the Stacks. She certainly was feeling far more herself again, composed and back to normal, but she couldn’t help but be slightly nervous. She hadn’t been here in days, hadn’t even ‘seen’ Luke and Ruby yet. Galvin assured her that they sent their best wishes and hoped she got better soon but still, the last time they’d met she’d tried to kill them both. A bit of awkwardness was only to be expected and, she supposed, the very least she deserved.
She hadn’t been entirely convinced at first that she could simply recover from the ordeal but as the days had passed and her strength had fully returned, things had definitely got better. She felt so much more in control again and that was very comforting. She’d even begun to agree with Galvin’s reassurances that she’d done all she could, quite amazed herself that she’d managed to keep her half-life nature at bay for so long. It wasn’t the best circumstances to find out in of course, but the notion that she had that kind of strength in her was encouraging.
Mina had lived long enough to know that you had to try and find the good in every bad situation, that you had to pick yourself up and carry on if you were going to be of use to anyone. She certainly could spend her days in hiding, afraid of the power within her, or she could get back to hunting and stopping half-lives. She definitely knew which option made her more useful.
Two other things continued to bother her, apart from Luke and Ruby’s reaction. The first was Quincey’s appearance in the whole thing. She hadn’t mentioned it to Galvin, deciding that was one thing she wanted to keep to herself.
Yes, Quincey was supposed to be dead, but so was Thrip and he’d returned. What if Quincey’s appearance had been more than a hallucination too?
She’d fretted over the matter for a while before coming to the conclusion that it had simply been a fantasy of her addled mind. If Quincey had been alive, he would have followed her to the warehouse and joined in the fight, wanting to see Galvin’s expression as she turned on him.
No, her son was dead and a resigned part of her was grateful for it.
The other matter she couldn’t stop thinking about was Galvin himself, and he confused her most of all. The passion in his kiss had been unmistakeable. Even thinking about it now it made her tingle. They’d made a near art form of skirting around the underlying feelings between them for years, but it had been clear in that moment that he desired her, loved her even. But he seemed to have cooled since then. Not in his affection towards her, that was as strong as ever. Nor it seemed did he intend to go back to ignoring the matter, his manner around her definitely changed. But his attentions were no more than warm and chaste, ridiculous as it sounded. She was a hundred and fifty years old, had been a wife and a mother. She was certainly not some blushing young virgin, but he still treated her almost as such. He held her hand more often, embraced her more, sat ever closer to her on the sofa, his hand resting on her thigh in a way it had never before but...
Rupert Galvin was a man of action and it was disconcerting to see him so hesitant.
She’d meant to say something to him, to assure him perhaps that she was not adverse to his advances, in case he was still uncertain. But a notion had struck her before she’d had the opportunity to speak to him and she was glad that it had. It wasn’t her he was necessarily concerned about, she’d realised, but perhaps himself. Maybe he was trying to protect his own feelings. She had to admit, she was rather nervous about the prospect too. Their friendship was long ingrained and taking a step towards being lovers instead was something there would be no returning from. They risked losing much if it didn’t work out and so this had to be right and that couldn’t be decided by just one kiss. No, she reasoned, this transition, if it was to happen, would rightly need to be a steady one but that was fine by her – if there was one thing her long existence had taught her it was patience.
Good things came to those who wait. For now, she would just have to content herself with his gentle attentions.
“Mina,” Luke said brightly, as she entered the room, the boy hurrying over and taking her hand to help her down the stairs.
His greeting was a little too enthusiastic, and she suspected that Galvin had already said something to him about her apprehension, but it was sweet all the same and she smiled.
“How are you feeling?” he continued.
“Much better,” she said pointedly. “Thanks to you all.”
“No problems,” he insisted, kissing her affectionately on the cheek as they reached the desk, pulling out a chair for her to sit down.
Ruby was there too, Mina could sense her, but she remained unnaturally quiet.
“Hey, Luke,” Galvin said after a slightly uncomfortable moment. “I’ve found an old crossbow back here. Why don’t you come and check it out?”
The man really did have all the subtlety of a brick to the face.
“Sure,” Luke said, playing his game despite the transparent nature of it.
Which was all well and good, Mina reasoned as they hurried off, but she didn’t exactly have anything planned to say to Ruby.
‘Sorry, I nearly tore your throat out’? It hardly seemed adequate somehow.
The pair of them sat alone in a long, uncomfortable silence as Mina struggled to find the right words. Her heart sank when she finally heard the scraping of a chair, Ruby standing up.
“Look,” the other girl said awkwardly, perhaps thinking that Mina didn’t intend to say anything at all, “I’ve got to go and-“
“I am so sorry,” Mina blurted out in interruption, knowing it lacked grace, but afraid that the girl might leave before she had a chance. “Honestly, Ruby. I had no intention of hurting any of you.”
There was a tense moment before Ruby said anything.
“It’s all right,” she replied, too nonchalantly really. “Normally you wouldn’t have done it. You were just...not normal.”
Not the most tactful way of putting it, but she got her point across.
“And are you okay? You’re not still feeling any ill effects?” Mina pressed, reaching out her hand but not finding the other girl. Ruby made no effort to come nearer either.
“I’m fine,” she insisted. “No more light headedness. I haven’t developed a dodgy accent and big teeth. I haven’t turned into a bat. The marks on my neck are even starting to disappear. I would tell you to look, but...”
The attempt at humour was clearly forced but at least she was trying.
“How are you now?” Ruby continued before apparently realising how that came across and hurrying to explain it. “Physically, I mean. Luke did shoot you a couple of times after all.”
“Very well,” Mina said with a small smile. “Galvin’s been doing a most dependable job as nursemaid.”
It was a very obvious effort on Ruby’s part to show that she cared and there were no hard feelings. Mina suspected however, that she’d never completely forgive what had happened and certainly wouldn’t ever fully trust her again. Still, it was better than nothing all the same.
“Blokes will do anything to try and get a look at a girl’s underwear,” Ruby joked, clearly still trying to lighten the mood. “If he insists he should follow you into the shower in case you faint then he’s definitely up to no good.”
“I’ll remember that,” Mina replied with a small laugh and she was ever so relieved when Ruby sat back down again.
“Okay,” Luke announced, returning from the Stacks, with Galvin behind him, “what do you file crossbows under Mina? Because useless here can’t find any.”
She grinned. “M, for medieval weaponry. I’ll come and show you.”
Once they were alone, lost amongst the book shelves, she put a hand on his arm, stopping him.
“Did I hurt you?”
She remembered the fight in hazy manner and whilst she had no true recollection of the details, she knew she’d given him quite the beating. The image of his battered face would certainly not leave her mind in a hurry.
“I’ve had worse,” he said, and she could hear his jacket rustle as he shrugged.
She gave him a disbelieving look.
“Okay, I haven’t,” he conceded. “But I’m still in one piece. And hey, I figure if I can fight you and live that puts me in pretty good stead for whatever else we face. You’re one mean fighter.”
Trust him to find such a bright side. He was sounding more like Galvin every day.
“I have to thank you,” she said solemnly, not allowing him to let her off the hook so easily. “For helping me. You certainly didn’t have to.”
“Yeah, I did,” he said without hesitation. “You told me the truth about my dad and stopped me killing Galvin. I figured I owed you one.”
She smiled a little. “So, we’re all square?”
He hesitated a moment, as though he was thinking.
“I wanna ask you something first. And you’ve got to answer me honestly.”
She frowned in confusion, wondering what on earth it could be. Still, it was the least she could do for him.
“Very well. Go ahead.”
“It’s about you and Galvin...”
She sighed a little, not entirely comfortable with discussing the subject but feeling like she should give him some kind of answer other than ‘shut up and mind your own business’. She imagined he was only trying to be kind after all. She just rather preferred her privacy.
“Luke,” she began, wondering how she could possibly make him understand the intricacies of their relationship, “it’s very -“
“Complicated,” he finished for her. “I know. That’s what he said. I just don’t get why you two haven’t hooked up before now. I mean, it’s kind of obvious that you like each other.”
Were they really that transparent? She supposed she’d never thought about it from an outsider’s point of view.
Luke seemed genuinely...well, she supposed ‘concerned’ was the word. Almost as if he felt there was more to it than he was being told. There was of course, and whilst she didn’t exactly feel like unburdening her soul to him, somehow he did inspire her to confess a little. He was as close as she got to family after all, great grandson of the man who’d worked so hard to help her and whose decedents she’d felt indebted to ever since.
“There were a few moments,” she admitted quietly. “Despairing moments when things got a little heated...”
She heard his slight laugh and imagined it was accompanied by a smile.
“You mean you two thought you were gonna die and snogged.”
Trust a teenager...
“Charmingly put,” she replied dryly.
“So,” he continued, “why are they only ‘moments’?”
“Galvin once had a wife,” she said with a simple shrug, as though it explained everything, “who he loved very much.”
“And?” he threw back, just as simply. “You had a husband. Who, on the rare occasion you do talk about him, you make out to sound pretty irreplaceable. Maybe Galvin feels a bit intimidated by that.”
She frowned, surprised by such thoughtful insight. She’d honestly never considered it that way. Jonathan had certainly not been perfect as a husband. She’d loved him a great deal but there were things about him she didn’t like so well, some things that she preferred in Galvin. Neither was truly superior to the other, they were just different. Still, she could see Luke’s point, knowing that fond remembrance made her only ever mention the good, and she wondered if perhaps what he’d said was true.
Maybe she and Galvin were both unnecessarily living in the shadow of another.
“Look,” Luke said, having given her a moment to think that one through, “I know it’s none of my business, but he’s my godfather and, as I just found out, I owe him big time. I just want to see him happy.”
“So do I,” she admitted with a soft smile of affection, pleased to hear that. She’d worried about them to be honest. The last few months had been strained and difficult, the pair of them never properly bonding as they should. With the heavy hanging secrets finally out in the open though maybe they could finally be the friends she’d hoped.
“Are we square now?” she asked, still smiling.
“Absolutely. Now where’s this crossbow?”
Galvin had to admit that he was rather impressed with the mature way Luke and Ruby were handling everything. He knew he was guilty of misjudging them at times, especially Ruby, but like most people their age they clearly had it in them to put things behind them and just get on. He guessed they had too much of their lives still ahead of them to hold grudges. He envied them in a way.
“Thanks for that,” he said to Ruby after he was sure that Mina was out of earshot.
She shrugged, apparently knowing what he was talking about without having to ask. “That’s all right.”
“I was worried you might never forgive her. You two weren’t on the best of terms beforehand.” He was only half joking.
“She’s okay,” she replied with another shrug. “She can just be a bit nasty at times. Even when she’s not a vampire.”
He’d never thought it bothered Ruby that much, the vein of dislike between her and Mina seeming pretty mutual. The tone of her voice however suggested that maybe it did get to her more than she let on.
“She just doesn’t like you around,” he tried to explain, not realising until he’d said it that that sounded much worse than he’d intended.
“Yeah, I’d noticed,” Ruby shot back sarcastically.
“I don’t mean she doesn’t like you,” Galvin defended. “Mina’s seen a lot of people die. She just doesn’t like that you’re here when you don’t really need to be.”
“Well tough,” she said sharply, folding her arms as an outward display of stubbornness, “because she’s not getting rid of me.”
Galvin smiled a little.
“I guessed as much.”
No, whilst Luke was here, Ruby always would be, he’d come to accept that now. After all, wasn’t that how he’d got involved in this whole mess in the first place, trying to help his friend Jay when he found out what he did with his nights?
It seemed kind of bizarre to say he had a lot in common with Ruby of all people, but maybe they weren’t so different in some respects. Except, he hadn’t wanted to date Jay.
The thought made him chuckle a little as he poured coffee, refusing to answer Ruby when she demanded to know what he was laughing at. He was saved her indignant response as Luke reappeared from between the shelves with a crossbow in hand, Mina just behind him.
“Are you sure you should be playing with that?” Galvin asked, raising an eyebrow.
“Mina’s going to show me how to fire it,” the younger man said, sounding seriously pleased at the prospect as he held it up to start practising his aim.
Mina immediately reached out and pushed it down again.
“Outside in the tunnels,” she reminded him in warning. “Where you can neither kill anyone nor break anything.”
“Yeah, yeah, all right,” he conceded, as though she was being a terrible and unnecessary nag, before heading out there.
Galvin stopped Mina, a light hand resting on the small of her back.
“Just watch his aim,” he suggested quietly. “I don’t want to be pulling anything out of you.”
He didn’t so much grin at that and yet she still managed to pick up his amusement at the phrasing.
“Did this place turn into a hive of innuendo whilst I was away?” she asked with an arch of an eyebrow.
He just smiled, kissed her cheek and let her go.
As he turned round, Ruby was looking up at him from the desk, her head cocked and a curious frown on her face, almost like she was trying to work something out.
“Are you two...?” she asked eventually, waving her hand in between him and Mina, trying to indicate what she was getting at.
“Screwing like bunnies,” he replied, completely serious.
It wasn’t true. He hadn’t even kissed her again since that first night. But it was worth the lie just to see the embarrassed and kind of horrified look on Ruby’s face. Well, if she didn’t want to know then she shouldn’t be asking.
He chuckled to himself as she wandered off, following Luke and Mina out, muttering something about needing brain bleach.
Moments later, he walked over in that direction too but remained in doorway, watching as Mina gave Luke instruction, the boy looking way too pleased with himself and Ruby clapping as he hit the target he was aiming for.
Sipping at his coffee, Galvin smiled. Finally, after what seemed like months, all felt right in his world again.
Rupert Galvin’s life was a raft of problems floating on a sea of troubles and was it beginning to feel like it always had been. Now he had a new one to contend with and a particularly tricky one at that.
Where exactly did you take a hundred and fifty year old girl on a date?