Disclaimer: Spooks or MI:5 depending on the country you live in, belongs to Kudos Film and Television and not the tasty chocolate covered granola bar of the same name.
Author's Note: This is part two to "Stay with Me". Thank you to all who inspired me to write a second part with your kind reviews.
Stay with Me
By B-D Banzai
Ruth had managed to "convince" Harry to return to her flat by grabbing his coat and practically pushing him back into the living room by brute strength alone. He was shaking and crying. Ruth, with as much force as she could muster, sat him back down on the couch. She had never seen the man in such a state and it scared her more than anything she had dealt with when she was at MI:5. "Just stay put. I'll be right back." Ruth left Harry sitting on the couch, while she did what every one in England seemed to do in a crisis; make tea. "Tea cures everything," she mused to herself while she busied herself with the mundane task of tea making. In the living room, Harry tried to get a grip on his emotions. The pounding headache had not abated and it seemed as if the edges of his vision were starting to blur. He tried to concentrate on the photos on the coffee table, each in a simple silver matching frame. "Organized,' Harry thought to himself, "So very unlike Ruth." He picked up the first one; a picture of baby James taken on what Harry assumed was his first day in the world. He was swaddled in a blue receiving blanket with a matching blue hat. The same picture adorned countless homes through out the world. Placing that picture down, he picked up a picture of Ruth and Daniel. It was a picture taken on their wedding day, the happy couple, both smiling at the camera showing off their rings in a cheeky gesture. The final picture in a place of honor on the coffee table, where they would be viewed every day by anyone who sat on the couch, was a picture from what Harry assumed was Ruth's last day on the Grid. Everyone had assembled for a group shot near Ruth's desk. He found himself in the photo. His photographic self was not looking into the camera like the rest of the group. He alone was looking at Ruth with a deep sadness in his eyes that Harry recognized in himself straight away. He saw the same look every day when he looked at himself in the bathroom mirror. Ruth returned with the cup of tea and Harry hastily put the picture back down. He took the offered cup of tea and sipped. "Chamomile tea," he thought to himself. "She thinks I'm psychotic." She left him momentarily and returned with a blanket.
"Stay here tonight," Ruth said, handing him the blanket. Harry stared at her as if she was speaking Japanese. "Please," she pleaded. It's just the couch, but I need to know you are safe tonight." She could here Daniel pacing up above and she thought James might not have been so easily put back to bed. She took another look at Harry who looked as though he might be asleep with his eyes open. "The tea will help." She reached over and lightly touched him on the face. "Try to sleep. We will figure out what is going on in your head. I promise." Harry rested his head against the back of the couch and closed his eyes.
"Is he registered with the organ donor register?"
"What did you say?"
"Have you considered organ donation?"
"Please…I just need more time with him." Tears were threatening to fall.
"There has been no change in his condition. I just want you to consider…"A comforting hand on her arm.
"Just a little more time."
Ruth had gone back upstairs to find her husband Daniel pacing the floor but without James in his arms as she had anticipated. She could tell he was angry just by looking at the tension in his jaw, the stiffness in his shoulders, and the slightly exaggerated heavy foot falls. His whole demeanor radiated annoyance. Ruth's thought immediately turned to the first time she had told Harry that he paced, but in a good way. Daniel was not pacing in a "good way". He turned to look at Ruth, taking a few steps closer to her. "What is he doing here, Ruth?"
"I can't answer that and neither can Harry," Ruth said, her own anger and frustration at the situation starting to grow.
"Did you send him on his way?" he asked.
"Of course I didn't! I couldn't send him back out, Daniel. Isn't it obvious he's not well? He doesn't know what day it is. He just told me that I was dead!"
"Harry Pearce has never been entirely stable. I don't know why you didn't cut him out of your life when you left MI:5. Put that entire ugly chapter of your life behind you."
"How can you say that? Can't you put your jealously aside for two minutes?" Ruth was furious now. She looked at Daniel with such contempt and fire in her eyes it was a wonder he didn't spontaneously erupt into flames on the spot. Ruth turned on her heel and slammed the bedroom door, leaving Daniel staring after her in her wake. She walked to the baby's bedroom just to check on James to see he had been woken up by the short shouting match down the hall. James slumbered on, oblivious to his parent's outburst. She tried to stifle the tears that were threatening to fall. Quietly returning to the downstairs, she sat in the large comfortable chair, and watched Harry sleep.
"She hasn't left his side since she arrived."
"Let her stay until we have to prep him for surgery."
"We should tell her…"
"Don't take away her hope yet."
Harry opened his eyes, finding himself in a fetal position on the couch. He had no memory of how he ended up curled up with a small blanket covering the lower half of his body. Ruth smiled at him as he pulled himself to a sitting position. "Watching over me, Ruth?" he asked, rubbing his eyes.
"Making sure you didn't run off," she answered.
"I've woken your family, caused some sort of strife, and now you're down here instead of in bed with your husband. I really think I should be off."
"I've never stopped thinking of you, Harry, of what could have been. What should have been. If I hadn't been so stubborn…" she trailed off.
"This is much better than what could have been, Ruth. This is what I would have wanted for you. I want you to be happy." Harry took Ruth's hand and looked at the wedding band on her finger.
"It should have been us."
Ruth's own heart nearly stopped as the monotonous sound of his heart monitor changed from a steady beep-beep to the loud blare of a continuous long beep. A flurry of activity surrounded her as doctors and nurses flew into action trying to get his heart pumping again. She left the room, fearing that he had finally given up the fight.
"I'm not supposed to be here," Harry said, as he walked out the door of Ruth's flat. "Walk with me for a bit, Ruth." Ruth looked down at her robe and slippers, but followed Harry out into the night. The air was cold, but neither Harry nor Ruth shivered in the frosty air. "I need to tell you what I should have told you before you left. It can no longer remain unsaid." The two walked until they were just outside Thames House. The walk seemed oddly short. There was police activity in the street just a few yards from the corner. The pain in Harry's head and arm were almost unbearable, but he had to get the words out. "I love you, Ruth. I won't let you go."
She had laid her head down next to his hand on the bed, unable to keep her own eyes open any longer. The tears had all but run dry and she had nearly come to terms with the inevitable. The doctors may have managed to keep his heart beating, but they held out no hope for recovery. She didn't see the small movement of his finger or the flutter of his eyelashes.
Ruth looked shocked at Harry's words. "I couldn't compromise your position, Harry. As Section Head…" Harry cut Ruth's words off with a passionate kiss. The night was replaced by an almost unbearably intense light.
He managed with some effort to open his eyes, only to be blinded by the harsh, brilliant white light. He couldn't focus; couldn't see clearly. Just blurred shapes and a feeling of pressure against his hand. A voice speaking gently to him. A voice he recognized from his dream.
"Harry…I love you."