It's odd, life. Strange in the fleeting ways people's lives entangle themselves, like fine silk – strong but still breakable. Spanning the breadth of existence, so that when one of those fragile threads snaps, unravel s and simply becomes no more the whole web is shaken; the effect of that broken bond shivering through the delicate network.
It's also odd, that when one strand is released, another will fill is place, strengthening those around it which were previously threatened by awaiting obscurity by the breaking of their neighbour.
The day Ruby's Mum was hit by a car, was the same day Ruby's favourite mug took up residence among Mina's bone-white china tea cups.
Ruby can't remember quite how the transition had happened. It wasn't a natural progression. Instead it was almost like the move had sneaked up on them, until Mina was suddenly uncharacteristically awkward and propositioning her outside her achingly empty house.
Galvin and Luke had both been useless when she got the call that was probably the first stage. A woman over the phone told her that there had been a very sad accident, and her mother was dead – she hadn't known what to do, what to feel. Luke and Galvin were bleak, staring impassively at her, suddenly so far away like she was standing at the edge of the world looking back at them.
Then Mina had pressed her close and wrapped a pair of slender arms round her waist and everything had clicked and flooded her.
And all at once she wanted to go back to not feeling – because this? It felt like someone had put a clamp over her internal organs and twisted it tighter.
At first she'd ignored it. Because Ruby couldn't risk human contact, in case it reminded her of what she'd lost. And right now it was just easier to shut down – departmentalise the part of her that wanted to cry and punch and hit and scream and run.
After Ruby had let Mina go, Galvin had put her in a taxi and ordered it to 'take her home'. Ruby had laughed because 'home' had been shifted into the past, where everything in it had been touched by her mother and now was no longer real in the same tangible way it once had.
The person at the door wasn't leaving. "Ruby."
It was Mina. Voice soft and barely audible through the door.
Ruby got to her feet, somehow she felt she'd owed at least acknowledgement to the women who had left her soak both shoulders of her black fur shrug.
The light outside was grey and bright, and it illuminated Mina's lines of concern as she smiled meekly in Ruby's general direction.
"How are you?"
"Okay," the teenager lied.
Mina nodded. She didn't have her cane, but her black car was waiting solemnly behind her. "I wanted to ask..."
She trailed off, frowning to herself.
"Did you want to come in?" Worry suddenly flared up in Ruby. The blind woman looked like she always did; ignoring the deep rings under her eyes, but the air around was heavy. "Are you okay?"
"Yes," Mina breathed, "fine. I just wanted you to..." She took a little sharp intake of air, "come and stay with me. For a while. So I, so we can make sure you will be all right."
Ruby thought about saying no, staring unflinchingly into Mina's defensively blank face.
"You need someone to look after you. I want to look after you, just... just for a while."
With the emptiness of her house cooling her back and Mina's hesitant plea starting to uncoil the tight feeling that had gripped her heart and throat, Ruby gave in and agreed.
And then Mina's hand was slipping to hers, cool and alien to tug her down the steps and towards the awaiting black car. The door clicked closed behind them, sealing the lingering stale air that was tinged with the past – as the outside embraced Ruby and wind snaked under her clothes, freezing her.
Ruby watched wordlessly as they rolled away and gripped Mina's hand a little tighter.
AN: not entirely sure if this is going to be a one-shot or two-shot yet, it depends on how forceful the plot bunnies running around my head are.
All reviews come with a complimentary hug from Mina