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Find A Way To See This Straight

Guest Jen

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Story Title: Find A Way To See This Straight

Type of story: One shot

Main Characters: Dex/Ruby

BTTB rating: T

Genre: Angst

Does story include spoilers: Yes (Up to episode 5455)

Any warnings: Language, Sexual Content

Summary: Dex has a “Saving People Thing” and almost winds up having sex with Ruby.

A/N: Written off the back of Friday's episode, so if you haven't seen that then this won't make a lot of sense. Also, with Cough Syrup on repeat.

Only posted over 2 posts for length, but meant to be read together.


find a way to see this straight


He hears his name being called and has to blink a few times before he can focus on Dallas waving a hand in front of his face.

“Are you okay? You sort of spaced out there for a while,” she says.

“Yeah, fine,” Dex mumbles, placing the final box in the boot of the car before leaning against it.

“Come on,” Dallas says with a sigh, “Fess up. What’s going on?”

“I think I need to check on Ruby,” he replies, eyes flicking over to the caravan, with its closed door and pulled blinds, and Dex can almost imagine it’s vibrating from the bass echoing around inside.

The thing is, Dex knows Ruby must be a mess. She’s lost her mum and that must be the worst thing ever. Dex doesn’t really speak to his mother anymore, but he knows what it’s like to miss her, and if he ever wants to he can call or email her and she’ll reply. If Ruby misses her mum, then what? Charlie has no way of replying, and that must hurt.

So he knows she’s not doing so great, but he can hear the music from across the caravan park as he’s helping to load boxes into Dallas’ car.

William is napping on the small bed, tucked securely between blankets, and even though Dallas doesn’t seem worried, Dex can’t help but glance over his shoulder at his small, sleeping body every chance he gets, just making sure that he’s still there, still okay, still breathing.

Maybe Dex is still feeling guilty about the whole chocolate-bar-that-became-anaphylaxis-and-almost-killed-Dallas’-kid thing, even though Dallas insists he needs to stop apologising.

“Ah,” Dallas muses, “The Saving People thing.”

“What ‘Saving People’ thing?”

“Me,” she rolls her eyes in that awesome self-deprecating way, “now Ruby. You have a compulsive need to help people.”

Dex can’t do much; he averts his eyes, toeing his sneaker into the dirt.

“It’s not a bad thing,” Dallas rushes on. “If it wasn’t for you then I wouldn’t be able to do this.” She gestures to the already packed boxes. “And it’s the reason you’re going to be a great nurse. Despite what your dad might say.”

He’s spoken to her about it at length. The fights and tense dinner conversation Dex has had with Sid on the subject. He firmly in the My-Son-Will-Be-A-Doctor Camp, and Dex categorically opposed.

With Dallas’ blessing he leaves her to finish packing and waking William for his afternoon feed, while he wanders over to Ruby’s caravan.

He knocks on the metal door not expecting to be heard over the thumping music which is exponentially louder when Dex opens the door and pokes his head into the van.

What he sees is much more than the mess he had built up in his head. Ruby is slumped against her headboard, cradling a bottle of vodka like it’s a small child, eyelids drooping closed. She perks up slightly when she notices Dex, dangling the bottle from sloppy fingers towards him - which Dex notices is under half full, and God, he’s hoping she didn’t drink all of it; maybe it was partially, or mostly all gone when Ruby became attached to the bottle? - but he can smell it on her breath when he unceremoniously yanks her hand and pricks her finger.

Ruby is pouting at him now, clearly not happy with his lack of sympathy.

Sure, he feels sorry for her. Her mum inelegantly getting shot and everything, but this - Ruby pretty much wasted, alone, in her caravan on a Thursday night - this is all self-inflicted, so he doesn’t really worry about being too harsh with her. She probably won’t remember it in the morning anyway.

Dex tucks her into the cramped little caravan bed and gets the hell out of there as fast as he can because right now Ruby is cracking stupid jokes and giggling to herself, but her eyes are suspiciously watery and it looks like she might start crying at any second.


Dex figures he has some sort of duty to check on Ruby the next day. Make sure she didn’t choke to death on her own vomit or something, especially after Casey seems completely reluctant to help. His friend Tyler, who Dex had a very rushed introduction to, seemed rather harsh as well, pointing out that Casey could do better - and who the hell does he think he is? Dex has no idea where Casey found him, but from all accounts, he seems like a bit of a d1ck.

But that’s beside the point right now.

Dex knocks again, just to be polite. There’s no music seeping under the door, and Ruby hardly ever leaves the van these days, so she’s definitely in there and heard him. So that only means one thing. She’s ignoring him.

He steps into the caravan to see Ruby rummaging around in the small bar fridge. She looks up briefly, catching his eye, resolutely not smiling when she sees him.

“Just dropped by to make sure you’re okay,” Dex says.

“Well, I’m not dead,” Ruby replies, deadpan, head still in the fridge. “Thanks for caring.”

She takes a step back and it’s now Dex notices that she’s pulled out a glass bottle and is screwing off the lid. The liquid is bright pink, the colour of little girl’s tricycles and lollipops, and it catches on Ruby’s lips as she gulps down the first few sips.

“Are you sure that’s a good idea?” Dex asks, cautiously.

Ruby swallows, “Yep,” she replies. She pushes past him towards the bed and slumps down into the blankets.

Dex sighs and takes the two steps across the width of the van and sits on the small, built-in ledge-seat.

Half the bottle is already gone when Ruby speaks again. “What’re you doing?”

“Waiting,” Dex replies.

“What for?”

“You shouldn’t be alone like this.”

“I’m not an alcoholic, Dex. I’m having a drink and you can join me if you want, or you can get out.”

Dex bites down on his lip, but remains seated. Ruby raises a scrutinising eyebrow in his direction, but doesn’t say anything more.


Things only go downhill from there. Ruby pulls bottle after bottle from the small fridge, and Dex is mildly concerned that she has substituted all remnants of food for colourful alcopops.

It’s vaguely like something out of Alice in Wonderland with these magical drinks having various effects on Ruby’s personality. Dex knows it’s not actually possible for the colour of the liquid to be dictating how Ruby acts, but all the same, the drunker she becomes, the messier it is.

She’s finished a bottle of red juice when she starts lashing out, pacing up and down the confines of her caravan.

“I hate him,” she bites. “I hate him. I f^cking hate him.”

“Who?” Dex asks timidly from his spot under the window.

She startles slightly, almost like she’d forgotten he was still sitting there. Something flashes across her face, but it’s gone too fast for Dex to figure it out. Ruby goes back to pacing.

“Brax. And Casey. I hate them. This is their fault! None of this wouldn’t be happening if it wasn’t for them! Charlie wouldn’t be dead if it wasn’t for them!”

“Ruby, I’m sure Brax feels just as bad about this -“ Dex begins, but he doesn’t get to finish, because Ruby in all her built up anger, spins around rapidly, knocking a box off the small kitchen counter, sending pictures and small objects crashing to the floor.

“Shut up!” Ruby demands. Her cheeks are wet, eyes wide and wild, and she actually reaches out and slaps him across the arm.


“Just shut up! I don’t need you!” she yells.


Sitting on the floor amongst the broken and scattered possessions, that Dex has deduced must have belonged to Charlie, Ruby cries with a bottle of blue liquid in her hands. She holds each of the photos delicately in her hands, her fingers trembling, bottom lip shaking.

Ruby stares at the broken picture frame, busted on impact from Ruby’s lashing out no more than fifteen minutes ago, and sobs.

“I’ve got no one,” she cries. “And I miss Casey, and every time I see him I want to cry and kiss him.”

“That would be wet,” Dex mutters to himself.

Ruby doesn’t seem to hear him. She just takes another sip, swallows hard, trying to stop the barrage of tears streaming down her cheeks. Dex can’t just sit back and do nothing. By not walking out when Ruby gave him the chance, Dex basically signed a contract to helping Ruby deal with this. To ride out her waves of grief and loneliness, and not run away when things got awkward or emotional.

At home, when Indi or Sasha get upset they usually lock themselves in their bedrooms so Dex doesn’t have to see them cry. It’s a preservation thing on their part, and a small consideration to remove all embarrassment when it passes and Dex has seen them with snot running down their faces. But Ruby is so far gone that she doesn’t care, and she can’t stop now even if she wanted to.

So from his place on the ledge Dex lowers himself onto the floor with her. Carefully he stacks up the photos, collects the jewellery box and small bottle of perfume - that, thankfully, didn’t break on impact - turning the cardboard box upright and placing them inside. Ruby watches him carefully until she’s holding the last picture in one hand, her drink in the other.

Slowly, Dex reaches out, his fingers tracing lightly over the back of Ruby’s hand, mirroring her hold and gradually working the picture from it. He drops it into the box with the others, but not before staring down at it.

Ruby is smiling up at him, all broad faced and young, with Charlie beside her, doing the same. They are both so full of life, and Dex sees the resemblance between them. It’s in their smile, so unlike the Ruby in a crumbled heap beside him right now. She’s pulled up her knees to her chest, head buried into her body and Dex reaches out and tugs her close.

At first she seems to struggle, doesn’t want to be touched, but then she seems to give up, leaning heavily into Dex, her body wracking with sobs as he hugs her and rubs small circles into her back, the way his mum used to when he’d wake up in the middle of the night after having a nightmare about creepy aliens or getting lost at the supermarket and not being able to find his way home.


She’s stopped crying, at least.

Dex coaxed her up from the floor and to her bed, and he thinks she’s just going to slip under the covers and sleep the rest of this off, but instead she doesn’t let go. She tugs at Dex until he’s almost sitting on top of her, staring up at him with red-rimmed eyes and pink, thin lips, asking him in a small voice, “You won’t leave me, Dex, will you? Please don’t leave. Promise me you won’t leave.”

Dex nods. “I’m not going anywhere,” he reassures her.

“I need you, Dex,” Ruby continues. “You’re the only one that actually cares.”

“I doubt that, Ruby. I know Leah’s been worried and Casey -”

“Casey isn’t here,” Ruby says sadly, and Dex remembers the way he looked so defeated in the Diner. The way he said that he’d tried and couldn’t get through, that Ruby was the one slamming all the doors in his face.

“Maybe if you let more people in,” Dex says.

“Do you know what happens when you let people in, Dex?” Ruby says slowly, obviously trying to curb the slur that’s becoming evident as her eyelids become heavier. “You let people in and they just trample over everything - they come in - let themselves in, or you let them in, either way - and then they’re in and you can’t make them leave, even if you want to. But then they do, Dex. They leave or they die and you can’t get them back. And it’s not like you can just fix it, you can’t fix it, because there’s this hole, where they were, and where they fit, and you can’t fix it. And it just hurts.”

Ruby’s not crying, she’s sombre and quiet and talking rapidly, tripping over her words and Dex has to concentrate really hard in order to keep up, which is not something he normally needs to be concerned about. But here he is, sitting on Ruby’s bed, her beside him, flat on her back, staring at the ceiling, pouring out her soul to him in some drunken haze of candidness and it’s oddly intimate.

Dex is worried about ruining it. About saying the wrong thing and Ruby clamming up again and shutting people out, and thinking she has to get through this on her own, which she doesn’t. He needs to make sure she understands that.

“You don’t have to go through this on your own, Rubes,” Dex says.

“Yes, I do,” Ruby replies, voice hard and thick and maybe she actually hasn’t finished crying after all. “There’s no one else, Dex, what part of that don’t you get? I don’t have a family any more. I don’t have a mum, and I can’t do anything about that.” She’s struggling into a sitting position on the bed, dangling her legs over the edge and swaying slightly as she starts to stand. “I can’t do anything about that, so you know what I do? I drink,” she concludes, reaching out for the last bottle that glows orange as the sun sets outside.

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There are cracks in the blinds that close out the outside world, but the light edges its way in. It’s sneaks between the slats and bathes the room in a golden hue, matching the tones of the last drink at Ruby’s disposal for the time being.

Dex can’t do anything but watch as she struggles for a moment with the lid, before she pops off the cap and takes a long sip. Some liquid pools at the edge of her mouth and Ruby licks it off with her tongue, before running her tongue along her fingers. It’s sloppy and Ruby is visibly unsteady on her legs as she wanders around the van again, no longer content to just lie still.

She’s pulling open drawers and slamming them shut again, clearly on a mission, looking for something. Finally she emerges successful from the bedside compartment, producing an iPod and sliding it into the dock. Ruby is glaring at the screen with drunken intensity, until she stops scrolling and his play.

Music fills the van, but it’s different from what was playing yesterday. Yesterday was loud and angry, with a booming bass and strong guitar, very little lyrics that could be understood, its purpose to block out and ignore everything around. This time it’s more contemporary, pop music almost, with less hurt behind the lyrics and Ruby actually starts to dance around the van.

She’s got her amber liquid courage in her hand, occasionally bringing it up to her lips to sip at it as she shuts her eyes and twirls around. Her hair bounces and flies around her face, and Dex watches as Ruby’s face begins to relax. The hard, deep worry lines beginning to ease, or at least lessen, as she moves from one foot to the other, spinning on the spot.

When Ruby opens her eyes she’s staring at Dex with a new intensity. He’d had to move out of her way, back to his ledge for fear of Ruby knocking into him in her newfound inhibition-less state.

But now she’s staring at him, a beckoning finger gesturing at him.

“Dance with me, Dex,” she says, her voice light and cheerful.

“No, thanks,” Dex says, dismissing her.

“No, come on, Dex. Just dance with me!”

“Ruby, I’m not going to dance with you. I don’t dance.”

“Everyone dances!” she reasons, “Come on, one dance, Dex. Don’t be a party-pooper.”

Ruby reaches out and grabs at his hands, holding on with a surprising amount of force, trying to pull him up from his sitting position.

“No, no no no,” Dex protests, trying to yank his hands out of her grasp, except Ruby doesn’t let go and tumbles down, and into Dex’s lap.

It happens so fast that Dex doesn’t even register that he has Ruby, sitting on top of him, actually in his lap, until Ruby is whispering close to his ear, “You want to help me, don’t you?”

Then she’s leaning in and kissing him.

Dex doesn’t know what to do. He literally doesn’t react. Well, he sort of does react, by kissing Ruby back. Feeling her lips pressed to his, moving in time, together, and Ruby is grabbing at the back of Dex’s neck, pushing them closer together, deepening the kiss.

Dex’s mind is spinning; probably more than Ruby’s at this stage, as Ruby skirts her tongue along his bottom lip. He doesn’t know what to do with his hands, which have somehow found their way to Ruby’s hips, sort of stroking at her sides, before Ruby removes her hands from his face and placing them over his.

“It’s okay,” she says, low and hoarse as she pulls back for a moment.

This time Dex kisses Ruby. With his hands firmly on her body he searches her mouth out, kisses her lips and waits for her to open. Sliding in his tongue Dex tastes the alcohol and sweetness of what she’s been drinking. It’s on her breath and in her skin as he sucks in a deep breath through his nose as Ruby shifts in his lap.

Dex lets out an involuntary groan as she presses down into him, and Dex starts to feel himself harden under her.

He’s single, she’s single, this doesn’t need to be an issue. She knows he’s never done more than make out, and that doesn’t seem to be a problem. So why then, is every brain cell in Dex’s head screaming, “Stop! Stop! Stop!

But at this stage, Dex is thinking less with his head, and more with another part of his anatomy.

Ruby knows what she’s doing, grinding down into his lap and dragging her teeth over his tongue, sending shivers down Dex’s spine. She licks at him, at his neck, uses her fingers to tug at the hair at the back of his neck.

Ruby is moving again, slowly easing off the pressure and Dex can’t stop the whine that escapes when she stops kissing him. She’s got a wicked smile on her face when he blinks open his eyes at the lack of contact. She’s holding out a hand, standing in front of him, and he takes it, lets himself be lead to the small bed.

Ruby turns, facing Dex, and she reaches up and starts kissing him again. Her hands are trailing away from just his face and neck and beginning to explore his front as well. Even through his t-shirt it feels amazing, the heat from her fingers rippling through Dex’s chest, playing with the material - bundling it into her hands and pulling on it tight, dragging Dex closer to her, before releasing.

He’s flush against her, the backs of Ruby’s knees hitting the end of the bed while she tugs at the hem of his shirt.

She pulls away for a moment. “Lose the shirt,” she whispers, and Dex startles slightly at the request. Even when he was with April they never really did more than some over the shirt groping. He certainly never got undressed in front of her, because up until the point at which they broke up, their relationship wasn’t about the physical stuff.

Dex knows he doesn’t look like Romeo or Xavier or Casey, the guys who surf and work out all the time and have actual muscles that girls find attractive. His hesitation must be obvious because Ruby says, “It’s okay,” in this reassuring way and she helps him lift the material up to his chest before tugging it over his head, so now he’s standing in front of her in nothing but his jeans and shoes.

Dex sucks in a breath, hopes she can’t tell that he had a fourth helping of pizza last night for dinner, but she just smiles and leans in, pressing a kiss right over where his heart would be. It beats faster, harder - if that were possible - as their mouths meet again, finding an easy rhythm before Ruby is pulling her own top off, her black bra very very visible to Dex.

This time when she reaches up to him, Ruby wraps her arms around Dex’s neck before dragging him down with her onto the bed until he’s basically lying on top of her. He’s trying to hold his own weight, his hands either side of Ruby’s head as she kisses him again, legs running parallel to her own.

Slowly, he eases down so their bodies are together. Dex kisses into Ruby as he feels the strain in his jeans brush against her bare leg, and he sucks in a sharp breath when her hands ghost down his spine until they are firmly at his hips, rubbing at the elastic to his underwear that is poking over the top of his pants.

And this is it, Dex thinks.

Dex, who was sure he was going to be the re-incarnate of the 40-year-old virgin is actually going to have sex.

In a caravan.

With Ruby.

Who is his friend.

And mourning her dead mother.

And been ingesting alcohol for the better part of the day.

And if that isn’t the definition of ‘boner-killer’ then Dex doesn’t know what it is.

He pulls back, their lips parting with a loud pop! Ruby blinks at him once.

“What’s wrong?” she asks.

“I can’t,” Dex replies.


“You’re a friend, and going through something really horrible, but mostly because you are very, very drunk,” Dex replies emphatically.

He beings to climb off her, sitting on the edge of the bed with at least 30 centimetres between them, because Ruby is still in just a bra and her skirt and Dex isn’t wearing a shirt, and since they are no longer making out this has become really awkward, really fast.

Ruby’s face falls, but her eyes are still dark, glazed over, searching Dex’s for something ... Dex doesn’t know what.

“You don’t want me?” Ruby says in a whisper. “You don’t want me. No one wants me. Charlie left me, Dex. She left me and I can’t bring her back, and now you don’t want me.”

“No, Ruby, it’s not like that,” Dex replies quickly, already trying to repair the damage he’s caused. He shouldn’t have let it get to this point; half-hard and lying on top of her in the dark, because now he has some serious backtracking to do. “I just think this would be a mistake.”

“You think I’m a mistake?” she asks shakily, voice cracking as she slides up the bed to the headboard, tugging the blanket with her.

“No, no no no. I just think -” Dex doesn’t know how he’s going to explain, particularly when Ruby is still very tipsy. “You’re my friend, and sex right now, with you, would be a bad idea. I don’t want to ruin our friendship.”

Ruby rolls her eyes at him and scoffs. “How original. Let’s not ruin our friendship, like I haven’t heard that before.”

“But I mean it, Rubes.” Dex sighs. He’s never had to reveal this much of himself before, let alone to Ruby - he never got to say this to April, but he hopes it was implied, even though for a while she thought he lost his virginity to Dallas. “Maybe it’s naive of me, but shouldn’t sex mean something? Shouldn’t it be between two people who actually love each other and want to be together? Not two friends who don’t have anything else to do. I want to help you in any way I can, Ruby - it’s some sort of weird complex - but not like that. I’m sorry.”

She’s blinking back at him, and hasn’t said anything.


Dex watches as her eyes go wide and Ruby is scampering off the bed at lightning speed and little grace and basically throwing herself in the direction of the small sink halfway across the caravan, where she promptly pukes up a rainbow.

Dex rubs at Ruby’s back and holds her hair and offers her glasses of water as she empties her stomach down the drain. He can see her eyes are leaking tears again and her skin is becoming pale, knees wobbling slightly as she grips the sides of the sink and throws up again.

Finally, Ruby steps back from the sink, spent, and Dex guides her back to bed. He barely notices that neither of them are not fully dressed, but that seems irrelevant right now. He tucks her in and offers her an aspirin he finds in the small cupboard under the sink.

Dex places the tablet in her palm and holds out a glass of water.

“Better?” he asks once she’s swallowed the pill and chased it down. Ruby nods morosely before she closes her eyes, brows furrowing together.

“Uggh, my head,” Ruby groans, turning over onto her side and pressing her cheek into the pillow.

Dex walks back to the kitchen and refills the glass. “When you wake up drink it, it’ll help. I think we should check your levels too, but the alcohol in your system won’t be doing you any favours right now, so maybe do that later too, just don’t go into some hypoglycaemic coma during the night, okay?”

There’s no answer and Dex looks back towards the bed from the kitchen where Ruby has promptly passed out. Dex watches for a while, but her breathing is steady and deep, her forehead easing tension and stress as Dex places the glass of water beside the bed.

“I guess Dallas was right about the Saving People Complex,” Dex sighs. Gently, Dex brushes a stray piece of hair away from Ruby’s face and backs away from the bed.

Before he leaves, Dex picks up his shirt, slipping it back over his head and placing the cardboard box back on the kitchen counter so Ruby won’t trip over it in the morning.

Walking home it occurs to Dex that he almost lost his virginity. In all the alcohol-induced craziness, it actually nearly happened, and not at all in the way had he thought it would. He’s glad he didn’t go through with it, because those consequences would have been exponentially more severe than anything Ruby is going to experience when she wakes, but at the same time, he feels the disappointment, there’s a bitter taste in his mouth that only a long Gilmore Girls marathon is going to fix.



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