Disclaimer: Spooks or MI-5, depending on the country you live in, belong to Kudos Film and Television and not the tasty chocolate covered granola bar of the same name.
Author's Note: This story is a gap/filler story for episode 3.01. I always thought there really wasn't enough time in the day for everything that happens, but I think this fits into the story fairly well. It is Harry and Ruth but not really H/R the way it would be say around episode 5.04.
An Extremely Long Day
By B-D Banzai
"He looks terrible," Ruth remarked as she watched Harry through the windows of his office. Harry was sitting at his desk, rubbing his forehead with his good arm, slouching in his chair. It was obvious to the most casual observer that Harry shouldn't have been out of bed, much less out of the hospital.
"I'm certain he left the hospital AMA", Danny said, following Ruth's gaze. "There is no way the doctors would have let him leave in that condition." The others assembled on the Grid, surrounded by sandwiches and sodas, stared at Danny. "What? That's what they always call it on American doctor television shows. AMA, which stands for against medical advice." Regardless of the terminology, Danny had to agree with Ruth's assessment of Harry's condition; he did look terrible.
"I think our work here is done for the day. Ruth, do you think you could arrange for a car to take Harry home?" Adam asked. Ruth was already replacing the phone on its cradle before Adam had finished his sentence.
"Done," Ruth said, picking up her own coat. "I'll see that he gets home." The rest of the group gave each other somewhat puzzled looks but Ruth had said it with such determination that it left no room for argument. The group could wonder if there was something more to Ruth's decision to take Harry home later, when there wasn't a crisis at hand.
Ruth entered Harry's office without knocking as was her custom already. He didn't turn around or even acknowledge her presence. Ruth walked around to the front of the desk, half expecting Harry to be asleep in his chair.
"Ruth," Harry said simply. It was almost too much effort for Harry to say much more than Ruth's name. What ever drugs the hospital had given Harry during his very brief stay, had worn off hours ago.
"Time to go home, Harry. I've booked a car," Ruth said, picking up Harry's coat from the coat stand in the corner. Harry made no attempt to get up to leave.
"I can't leave, Ruth. There is too much work still to be done," Harry protested. He tried to sit up straighter in his chair, reaching for a file across his desk with his good right arm. The simple movement nearly caused him to cry out in pain. Instead, he bit his bottom lip and closed his eyes. His entire upper body was in pain, but he couldn't let anyone on the Grid see his weakness, much less Ruth. He was breathing heavily, and Ruth was more than a little concerned. She steeled herself for a confrontation with her boss. She knew she was probably crossing the line with Harry: after all he was in charge. Ruth gently placed her hand on Harry's elbow in an effort to get him to stand up. "Time to go," Ruth repeated. Harry knew he was beat. He stood and allowed Ruth to lightly drape his heavy overcoat over his shoulders. She led him past the rest of the team as they were preparing to leave for the night. The answer to the Tom Puzzle wasn't going to be found this evening no matter how many sodas and sandwiches were consumed by the group. The morning meeting with Oliver Mace and the JIC would arrive soon enough.
The trip back to Harry's house passed quickly and silently. Harry stared out the window the entire time while riding in the front seat, keeping his injured arm clutched close to his chest. Ruth had taken the back seat in an effort to keep an eye on Harry. The pool driver pulled up in front of Harry's house, getting out of the car to open the doors for both Harry and Ruth. "Thanks, Alec. You don't have to wait. I'll take the last bus home from here," Ruth said to Alec, their driver for the evening.
"Ruth," Harry started again, but Ruth just held out her hand to help Harry out of the car, cutting off his protest. It was a low slung car and there was no way Harry was going to pull himself out unassisted. Harry sighed and reluctantly allowed Ruth to support him as he got out of the car. Alec waited until the two had safely made it to the front door before pulling away. Ruth gave a small wave to Alec as he drove off.
"Keys, Harry,' Ruth asked pointedly. Harry had recently done away with his elaborate security system Colin had worked up for him after it became apparent there wasn't any security system out there that couldn't be hacked. He slowly pulled a set of keys from his overcoat pocket and handed them to Ruth. As she opened the door, the audible alarm sounded, sending a piercing shrill through the house. Harry slowly and deliberately tapped the code in to the keypad, wincing with the minimal effort it took to deactivate the alarm. Ruth slipped past Harry, going through the hall to switch on the lights. She had assumed a 'take charge' attitude, though she wasn't sure if it was because she felt the need to make sure Harry was going to be safe and sound for the night or if was because she knew it was highly irregular for a junior officer to be taking her boss home.
"You don't have to baby sit me, Ruth. I am perfectly capable of taking care of myself," Harry said, gingerly trying to remove his overcoat but failing miserably. Ruth reached over and helped him out of the coat. She looked around for a place to hang it, but gave up and placed it over the arm of the nearest chair. As she looked at Harry, still just standing at the edge of the stairway, she thought he looked even paler than he did back at Thames House.
"I'm not babysitting you. I just don't trust you to go straight to bed without a detour to your study." She pointed to the top of the stairs. "Did the hospital send you home with painkillers?"
"Check the pocket of my coat," he said as he started up the stairs.
"I'll bring you a cup of tea with the pills."
Ruth searched around Harry's small but efficiently laid out kitchen, looking for tea. It was no surprise to Ruth to discover that Harry didn't exactly have an entire pantry full of kitchen accessories. Or that he had two bottles of beer, a small container of milk, remnants of Chinese take-away, and what appeared to be an unopened tin of tuna in his refrigerator. She quickly found Harry's stash of tea bags and set to work on the task of making tea. The simple act of making a cup of tea allowed Ruth a few minutes to reflect on the day's events. She glanced up at the clock on the wall and saw that it was 23:15. It was unbelievable to Ruth that everything that had happened in the relatively short span of a day – Tom shooting Harry, Tom's alleged drowning, Oliver Mace and his JIC goons, and finally the newest addition to their team, Adam Carter. It was almost too much to process. It was no wonder Ruth felt dead on her feet. She shook herself out of her melancholy and gathered up the cup of tea. She stopped off in the lounge to fish a packet of pills from Harry's overcoat pocket and two slips of paper. She was not too shocked to see that he didn't have his prescriptions filled, but she wondered when he would have time to have them filled. Would he just continue to fight through the pain? Tea cup and pills in hand, she headed up the stairs toward Harry's bedroom. She felt a little strange wandering about in Harry's home and she kept up a running commentary in her head to remind herself exactly why she was here. She had to convince herself that she was here to help all of Section B and her fellow members of MI-5 or was she here to help a friend who was in pain. Either way, to succeed in proving Tom Quinn was innocent and to protect their jobs, Harry needed to be well enough to take on the JIC. Ruth found Harry's bedroom, second door on the right, and was pleased to find Harry in bed. She didn't want to know how difficult it must have been to struggle out of his trousers and dress shirt. She was less pleased to see he was watching the late night news which was still reporting on the assassination of Sir John Stone, Chief of the Defense Staff.
"They still haven't found him," Harry said as a way of acknowledging Ruth standing in his bedroom doorway. Ruth knew he must be referring to Tom.
"Harry…" Ruth started, but trailed off after she realized she was about to say something like "You should be asleep" and thought she was beginning to sound like a mother hen. Starting again, she said, "I don't believe Tom committed suicide."
"I don't think he's dead."
"I honestly don't know what I believe anymore," Ruth said as she crossed over to Harry's bedside. She could clearly see the outline of another spread of bandages across Harry's upper chest through his thin t-shirt. He had removed the sling that had held his left arm tight against his chest and let his arm rest on a pillow instead. After looking at Harry in short sleeves, she had a better understanding as to why he was having so much difficultly reaching with his right arm. She could see a huge bruise in the crook of his right elbow where he had been poked by various needles during his brief stay in the hospital. Both hands sported similar bruises where the IVs had been placed. Ruth took a deep breath before she spoke again. "If he had assassinated the Chief of the Defense Staff, he would have killed you." Harry sighed and turned off the television.
"Seems everyone would shoot me given half the chance," Harry said, though he said it with a small smile. Ruth handed Harry the pills she had clutched her hand and placed the tea next to him on the bedside table.
"Take the tablets," she said when it looked as if Harry was going to resist talking the pain killers.
"I need to keep a clear head if I'm going to deal with Oliver."
"You need to sleep if you are going to deal with Oliver Mace and you won't sleep if you are suffering in silence."
"I'm not suffering. You are being overly dramatic."
"And you are being stubborn." Reluctantly Harry took the tablets and washed them down with the tepid tea.
"Happy now?" Harry asked.
"Yes I am," Ruth said smiling. "I'll have Sam take the prescriptions down to the pharmacy and have both filled. You may not want to take the pain killers, but the antibiotics should be finished. The last thing you need is an infection." Ruth left the room, turning the light off as she went. "Sleep well, Harry." He didn't answer and Ruth stopped to look over her shoulder to check on his well being. "Harry?" She was answered with a soft snore. Smiling, she shut the door. She checked her watch and realized it was well after midnight. Sighing, she sat down on Harry's couch and considered her options for getting home.
T he light filtered in from the window and Ruth half opened her eyes. "What?" was the first thought followed by "Oh no" when she realized she had fallen asleep on Harry's couch. She sat straight up, a blanket dropping on the floor next to her. She didn't remember having a blanket. She looked around quickly and saw a note in Harry's handwriting lying on the small table. Reading the note, despite all that was going on, she managed a small smile.
Ruth – I have to meet an old friend before the meeting with the JIC. I didn't want to wake you. The alarm on the door will arm behind you when you leave. I will see you on the Grid. Thank you for caring.
Love - Harry