Lady Paperclip (paperclipbitch) wrote,
Lady Paperclip
paperclipbitch

"Reasons I Don't Have My Driver's Licence", Demons, Rupert/Luke

Title: Reasons I Don’t Have My Driver’s Licence
Fandom: Demons {Yesyes I know}
Pairing: Rupert/Luke
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: 3150
Genre: Pre-slash
Summary: “So I’m not your godfather because I didn’t bring you a train set?” Rupert asks, very nearly amused.
Author’s Notes: A {belated} birthday present for widowedanthem, who is my person to watch Demons with so we can text each other comments on the weird sexual tension between everyone (Fake!Gaius/Not!Gene anyone?) and the general wtf nature of the show. While I don’t know how good this actually is, I can at least be sure that my dialogue is better than the show’s; for one thing, I haven’t used the word ubersmiter anywhere. And yes, I suspect I am a little guilty of writing the characters the way I want them to be rather than the way they are.



I am no good for you
I’m seeing ghosts in everything I do.

- Sia

+

Mina sighs, face bathed in white electric light. The shelves stretch away into darkness, full of books and books and books of Half-Lifes in a way that’s almost damning.

“He’s not his father,” she says, voice entirely without inflection. Rupert can read a dozen potential meanings into the four simple words, but he knows Mina is carefully preventing him from working out her meaning. It’s a game they’ve played for too long.

“I know that,” he growls, scowling at her. He isn’t sure how much she sees, how much she really understands; probably too much.

“Well,” and her red-painted lips slide into a grin. “He isn’t yet.”

The implication in her voice is thick, and it makes him grit his teeth. He can’t come up with a reply; at least, not one that won’t sound incriminating, not one that won’t be reflected coolly on Mina’s face every time he looks at her.

Killing Freaks doesn’t make you emotionally impenetrable, though he’s going to let Luke believe that for a while longer.

He leaves Mina sitting in her pool of lamplight, smirking at things that only she can see.

+

Luke is picking at his fingernails, or, more precisely, at the green sludge impacted underneath them. Exploding Freaks and Rupert thinks the kid’s probably earned a drink of some kind.

Diet coke, of course. The one area where he can feign responsibility.

“You’re not really my godfather, are you?” Luke asks after a strained silence that Rupert hasn’t been able to find the words to break. He doesn’t sound accusing; more like he’s trying the words out for size.

It wasn’t a question he was ever expecting to field, so he has no ready answer. Rupert’s hand clenches around his pint glass. “I was there when your dad asked me,” he offers at last.

Luke shakes his head, something like exasperation slipping through his expression. “No, I mean, you’re not like a real godfather.” He traces a wet circle on the table with the bottom of his coke bottle. “You know, Ruby’s godfather has always been around, there every birthday, bringing presents and stuff.”

Is that what it really comes down to? “So I’m not your godfather because I didn’t bring you a train set?” Rupert asks, very nearly amused.

Luke’s mouth twitches. “I wasn’t really a train set kind of kid,” he says at last. He sighs, draining his bottle. “This is kind of a shitty present,” he adds without venom, waving his green-stained hand, managing to encompass the world that Rupert has opened up for him.

Rupert is inclined to agree with him, but doesn’t say. He just rolls his eyes, and goes up to the bar for another round.

But he does put a pint down in front of Luke, who looks distrustful and then finally smiles.

“Just the one,” Rupert says, and doesn’t say don’t tell your mother because he already knows that Luke doesn’t pass on the details.

+

There’s a little girl trailing after Luke with a question in her eyes and she’s getting tiresome. Possibly this is because Rupert is waiting, with increasingly dwindling patience, for Luke to notice the girl’s infatuation and to pick one side or the other.

He won’t let her become another Maggie; he can give her that much, at least.

“Luke’s mum thinks he’s out all night shagging Mina,” Ruby chirps. She has a paper cup of coffee cradled in her gloved hands and if they are attacked she is going to be a liability. Rupert doesn’t point this out because he is attempting to be magnanimous; having Ruby help out seems to be an inevitability these days.

“Right,” he says, tone edged with disinterest. Mina and Luke have taken another street; trying to flush out their latest prey. Low-grade, pretty damn pathetic, though Rupert has never gone in for pity. “And what does your mother think you’re doing all night?”

Ruby shrugs, taking a sip of her coffee.

Luke’s mum is weirdly ok with the idea of him disappearing for hours at a time with someone much older than him who is supposed to be an authority figure,” Ruby says lightly, and Rupert would let it go except for the deliberate look she gives him.

Ruby was never supposed to become the perceptive one.

+

“I think,” Luke pants, “I think you’re actually shit at this. Secretly.”

“Is that so?” Rupert asks.

“Yeah.” Luke is lying on a mat, staring at the ceiling, and doesn’t get up again for another go. Rupert mentally counts to five, and when Luke still refuses to budge he sighs and dismisses the trainers, who file quickly and quietly from the room.

“Well, you’re looking pretty shit from where I’m standing,” Rupert tells him.

Luke screws up his face and then gingerly pushes himself back to his feet. “That’s the problem,” he says. “All you do is stand there. Do you know how to do any of this stuff you’re making me learn?”

This was a question Rupert was expecting, so he just rolls his eyes.

“I don’t need to know how to do it,” he says. “You do.”

Luke scowls. He looks like the myriad of other teenagers who stalk the streets, plugged into their iPods and ignoring the universe. Sometimes, Rupert thinks he should’ve given the boy a couple more years to mature with. Luke seems to need them.

“So you can’t, then?” His eyes spark with a challenge.

Rupert wouldn’t stoop to Luke’s level, but he has his honour to protect. He shrugs his coat from his shoulders and hangs it up carefully, ignoring Luke’s badly-hidden snigger. Instead, he takes two quarterstaffs from a nearby rack, passing one to Luke.

Luke doesn’t move, sizing up his opponent; his lips curl a little at the edges. He’s cocky, arrogant; they all were, once upon a time, though all thoughts of smugness faded years ago. Do this long enough, and everything will fade. Rupert, too, stays still, and waits for Luke to make his decision. Sure enough, the boy moves, a clumsy parry that Rupert easily deflects before he hits Luke around the head and takes his legs out from under him with two swift blows.

Fuck,” Luke mutters, facedown on the mat.

“Don’t bother unless you’re sure you can kick my ass,” Rupert informs him coolly, putting the staffs back.

Luke sits up, pressing the heel of his hand against his bleeding nose.

“You bastard,” he hisses thickly.

Rupert offers him a hand to his feet, which Luke ignores, awkwardly shoving himself upright.

A point of some kind has been proven.

+

He’s had too much coffee, and the artificial light in the stacks is starting to make Rupert’s eyes hurt. Luke and Ruby are leafing through gigantic tomes, looking for references to the latest player to arrive in town, though their enthusiasm has rapidly waned over the last couple of hours. Ruby has spent about the last five minutes staring stupefied at a page, doodling a biro pen squiggle in the corner. Sometimes, Rupert reflects, it’s just as well Mina can’t actually see.

“All right, kids, we’re done,” Rupert announces. “That’s enough for tonight.”

Luke and Ruby slam their books closed with loud bangs and clouds of dust. Out of the corner of his eye, Rupert sees Mina flinch. She really has gotten too used to his monosyllabic company and her own brand of silence, here in the Stacks. The New Young Blood has brought with it a lot more than just a fresh perspective, and Rupert still isn’t entire sure how he feels about it. He was getting stale, he knows, but often thinks it was better that way.

They keep up a steady chatter about school and exams while packing everything away. Like those still matter, like those things are still the most important things in their lives. Their blithe naïveté is simultaneously irritating and slightly painful.

“Keep your phones on,” Rupert warns them. “Anything could happen tonight.”

“We will,” they singsong, rolling their eyes at him. Rupert hates young people, has he mentioned that recently?

“Hey,” Ruby says, as the two of them link arms and head for the door, “Do you remember when our lives were normal?”

Luke laughs. “No.”

Mina waits until they’re gone before asking: “Do you remember?”

She’s hiding what she’s trying to get out of the conversation again, tone so expressionless it immediately makes Rupert suspicious.

“Oh, of course,” Mina adds after a moment, “You won’t remember.”

Rupert glares at her, while she adjusts her gloves, a little self-satisfied smirk on her face. She’s been the way she is for so long that she’s almost reconciled herself to it; for a second he irrationally hates her. Really hates her.

He knows he shouldn’t, but he makes a rude hand gesture in her direction anyway.

“Very mature,” she says.

“Have you been lying about being blind all this time?” Rupert demands. “Because you don’t know what I’m doing.”

“Maybe you’re just becoming more predictable,” Mina offers placidly.

It isn’t a comforting thought.

+

Rupert could easily dispatch the latest ugly bastard to appear on the scene, but he thinks the practice would be good for Luke. Unfortunately, Luke refuses to answer his phone –and Rupert is reasonably certain that they don’t schedule driving tests for nine at night – so it’s left to Rupert and Mina to do the job, and they really don’t need the practice.

Luke stomps into the Stacks the next afternoon. Mina is out preparing for her latest concert, leaving Rupert alone with the coffee machine, which is refusing to cooperate. Much like everything else in his life at the moment.

“Nice of you to drop by,” Rupert says icily. “Crisis is over, but hey; it’s lovely to see your face again. Maybe we could go see a movie or something.”

Luke ignores him, throwing a piece of paper onto the table. “This,” he says, “Now this is a fucking crisis.”

Rupert obediently swivels the paper towards himself and reads it. Luke’s predicted A-Level results are printed in a neat table; the letter D seems to be cropping up a lot.

“I told you,” he says, “Your school isn’t a lot of good to you any more.”

“Oh, sure.” Luke laughs. “I’ll just tell my mother that, shall I?” He waves a hand at the paper. “She’s devastated. All she’s ever wanted is for me to succeed, and in the last three months I’ve gone from being a B student to barely a D. She’s threatening to ground me-”

“Well,” Rupert interrupts, “That’s not really going to be a problem.”

Luke scowls, slamming a hand down on the table. “You just don’t get it, do you?” he shouts.

“I get it,” Rupert says calmly. “And I’m sorry you’re going to have to disappoint Jenny, but-”

“Oh, right, because I don’t matter any more, do I?” Luke’s face is twisted with genuine fury now. “So I get to let my mother think I’ve given up on my life, and, oh look, apparently I have.”

“There’s no point in getting angry,” Rupert tells him.

“Oh, fuck you, Galvin,” Luke snarls. “Fuck you and fuck what you’ve done to my life.”

A moment later, Rupert is alone again, staring down at the end of Luke’s future printed out in black and white.

+

“Luke thinks you’re a cunt,” Ruby says brightly as she all but bounces through the door. “His words, not mine,” she adds, giving Rupert a smile of smudged lipgloss.

Mina’s expression is a little too amused. Rupert refuses to say anything.

“So,” Ruby shrugs, “What are we trying to smite today?”

Mina’s mouth thins.

“What makes you think we have any need of you?”

Ruby just smiles. “Thought I could help with the research until Boy Wonder stops sulking,” she replies.

Rupert doesn’t point out to Mina that if Ruby was ever going to let herself be pushed out of fighting Freaks, that time has long passed. She’s here now, for better or worse.

“All right.” Mina tips her head to one side, thinking. “Stack 230, shelf 4, position 9.”

Ruby hurries off, repeating the directions to herself under her breath.

“What’s there?” Rupert asks, sitting down at the table.

Mina scrunches up her face as she tries to remember.

“Something about a grade four no one’s seen for about eight centuries,” she says. “But it’ll keep her busy and out of earshot for a while.”

Rupert smiles slightly, but it’s been four days since Luke left the stacks and Rupert hasn’t heard anything at all from him. Sooner or later, they’re going to need him, and since he isn’t speaking to Rupert at the moment that could be complicated.

“So I guess Luke doesn’t like me very much,” he says carefully.

Mina laughs. “You’re a borderline alcoholic with a dreadful taste in music, an unflattering haircut, and a tendency to drag Luke away from the important things in his life in order to put him in mortal danger. Of course he doesn’t like you.”

Rupert considers this. “You haven’t seen me in several years, Mina,” he points out, “You don’t know my haircut is unflattering.”

Mina shrugs. “Some things never change.”

He gets the feeling that Mina is saying something else, too, but decides it would be better to pretend not to understand.

+

When Luke slinks back into the Stacks again a couple of days later, he does it without fanfare and without apology. There are two ways Rupert can deal with this, and he chooses the quiet way; he shrugs and doesn’t mention it. Ruby’s smile is pleased and smug; her expression clearly says ha ha, I have saved everything, and you guys wanted to kick me out! How wrong could you have been?

“You two are giving me a tension headache,” Mina grumbles, rubbing at her temples with her silk-gloved hands.

Rupert glares at her; she doesn’t notice, though it’s entirely possible she’s pretending not to.

Boys,” Ruby sighs, hands wrapped around a cup of tea.

Rupert thinks he objects to being referred to as a boy, but Ruby and Mina have matching smiles and it is both depressing and unsettling.

Luke scowls. “Is there something evil I can go out and explode?” he asks.

Mina squeezes her eyes shut. “…No,” she says after a while. “Though at this rate I’m going to make something up and send you after it.”

+

“Luke,” Rupert snaps, “You’re being childish and if you want to be a child then that’s fine, but children don’t get guns.”

Luke attempts to stop him taking away the weapon, but Rupert knows what he’s doing and calmly rips it out of his hands.

“So is your latest plan to have me eaten by a Freak so you don’t have to deal with me any more?” Luke asks.

Rupert doesn’t hit him, but is seriously tempted to.

“Grow the hell up,” he snaps. “You’ve had your little rebellion, but you have a duty and there is no point trying to escape it.”

Luke sighs, looking down. His face is caught in stripes of light and shadow and he looks so young.

“I thought… I thought I was all right with it,” he says, “But… my mum. Mum had so many hopes and she wants what’s best for me and…” He sighs.

Rupert had this conversation with a different man about the same woman years and years ago. Mina’s words flutter back to him: he’s not his father. Rupert becomes aware that part of that was a warning; sometimes they’re so breathtakingly similar he has déjà vu.

“It’ll be all right, kid,” Rupert mutters.

Luke nods slowly, a wry smile curling his lips. “Thanks, Galvin.” He continues looking at him, something unreadable in his shadowed eyes.

“What, you want a hug?” Rupert demands.

Luke looks away, and Rupert refuses to think that that’s a blush staining the tops of his cheeks.

“Can I have my gun?” he asks instead.

+

Mina’s smile is bordering on smug.

You, Rupert Galvin, are completely fucked,” she informs him.

Possibly they shouldn’t have broken out the whisky Mina keeps hidden, but it’s a little too late for that.

“Tell me something I don’t know,” he replies.

Her laughter grates. “You are very possibly the world’s worst godfather,” she tells him.

“He didn’t want a train set!” Rupert protests.

Mina frowns. “I’m not talking about what you haven’t done for him, I’m talking about what you haven’t done yet.”

Rupert sighs. “Have I mentioned recently that you’re a Freak and I hate you?”

Mina smirks. “It might have come up, once or twice.”

Rupert pours himself a generous measure more of alcohol, splashing it over the sides of the glass. Mina’s sightless eyes are downcast, her expression one of amusement.

“Can I stop it?” he asks her after a while.

“Self-control was never one of your strong points,” Mina reminds him carefully. “And he’s just a child. A curious child who has no idea what he wants.”

“Luke’s at the age where he wants everything,” Rupert replies. And then realises: “Oh hell.”

+

The second time Luke completely fails to defeat him – Rupert might be aging, but he’s got tricks up his sleeve Luke couldn’t even begin to dream of – all Luke really manages to do is bring Rupert crashing down on top of him. Luke’s eyes are disconcertingly blue up close, and are filled with a question Rupert won’t even begin to think of answering. But I’m your godfather would be a paper-thin excuse, lip-service; and Luke’s a kid with a gun and a hero complex and, apparently, a stupid idea.

“Galvin-” he begins, but Rupert hefts himself to his feet and won’t look at Luke. This will not be his fault, and damn Mina and her insinuating ideas.

Rupert barely glances over his shoulder. “That’s enough for tonight,” he says.

Luke catches his arm, tries to force him to turn. “Galvin!”

Rupert shakes him off easily. “Don’t even think about it,” he snaps, harder than he means to. “You’re just a kid, and you have no idea what you’re playing with.”

He doesn’t look at Luke’s expression as he walks away.

The next day, Luke is in a tight black vest, and every time Rupert’s eyes stray to him his lips curl like it’s a victory. And part of this is Rupert’s fault but a lot of it isn’t and he is tired and angry and old and bitter.

When Luke and Ruby have trailed off chattering and laughing in an easy way that Rupert has never had, Mina sits in her pool of light at the table and tips her head to one side.

“So?” she asks.

Rupert kicks the coffee machine until it makes him something crap but caffeinated. “Completely fucked,” he mutters.

“I told you so,” Mina smirks.

Rupert sighs. “You always do.”

+
Tags: character: luke rutherford, character: mina harker, character: ruby, character: rupert galvin, pairing: rupert/luke, tv show: demons, type: slash
Subscribe
  • 6 comments
  • 6 comments

Comments for this post were locked by the author