Disclaimer - still not mine
Ruth sighed as she opened the door of the car; she cast a quick look in to the shadows as she closed the door behind her, glad that she had the sense to warn Malcolm about what was happening. She knew he knew her well enough to work out what was going on. She glared at the driver as she pushed herself as far away from him as the small car would allow. She desperately didn't want to show the driver how terrified she really was. She ignored the seatbelt and kept her hand on the handle, pleased she managed to stop herself from shaking.
"Hello Ruth, it has been a long time" Frankie smiled at her. The engine was still running as he spoke. The car hadn't moved.
"Why were you hired to kill Andrew Lawrence and Ros Myers?" Ruth was acutely aware of the gun resting on his lap.
"You know what? I never asked. It's a job to me." He smiled. "How are you Ruth?"
"Strangely enough, I'm surprised. I never thought a hit man would enquire after my health" Ruth glanced in the wing mirror of the small car. She was convinced he was going to kill her. The darkness enveloped the car, but Ruth could just make out the lights off various ships and buildings around the more used areas of the docks. The light reflected off the water, giving it an eerie glow. Ruth didn't like the idea that she would be fished out of the dirty, cold water in the near future. Knowing she wasn't a very strong swimmer she knew if she went in the water she wasn't coming out of it alive.
"Ah Ruth, my brother enjoyed your company so much. I just believed I would find out why. After all you may soon be seeing him again" He smiled as he clicked the safety catch off the gun. Ruth swallowed hard as she pushed the door open slightly.
"Why?" Ruth was breathing heavily as she locked eyes with Frankie. He was so much like George. The same eyes, same jaw line. She held his gaze as he lifted the gun so that it was level with her forehead. She felt sick at the thought Harry would be identifying her body for a second time. Frankie raised the gun at the same time the windscreen shattered. His head hit the steering wheel as blood sprayed. Ruth couldn't scream as the blood splashed against her face. Her body shook uncontrollably as she heard Zaf yell for her. He was at the car door in seconds, pulling the door open as she sat there staring at the dead assassin next to her.
"Ruth? You ok?" Zaf was breathing hard as she glared at the corpse.
"I was talking him down!" She threw herself out of the car and stormed off to the waters' edge as Zaf just stared.
"Oh it looked like it Ruth!" He saw his boss approach as he called after her. "I saw him raise the gun Harry. He was going to shoot her, point blank range" He was breathing heavily as Harry nodded once.
"Yes. I saw. Zaf you were two seconds ahead of me, that's all. I just wish it had been me to pull the trigger." Harry watched as the younger man looked at the floor. He knew how much Zaf hated guns. By nature the boy wasn't violent.
"You saved her life, whether she realises it or not. Thank you" He tapped Zaf's arm. Adam yelled that a clean up squad was on the way as Zaf ran a hand over his eyes. He'd always considered Ruth as one of his best friends he hated to think that she thought badly of him. She was the only person he had dared talk to about Jo. He couldn't loose her friendship, it meant too much. Adam approached the two men as Harry ordered them to get back to Thames House.
"You ok mate?" Adam watched as Zaf stared out over the water.
"Yeah, let's find the others and get back. Leave the Renault for those two yeah?" He checked his watch, disbelieving it was already 3 am. Another couple of hours and it would be light.
Ruth was fighting the tears as Harry approached her. She had pulled her jacket around her as tightly as she could. Her brown curls blowing in her face as she stared out across the water. Harry hated seeing her so broken.
"Ruth" He approached her, noticing for the first time how much she was shaking. She didn't turn to him as she stood next to her.
"Zaf really believed Frankie would kill you back there. Christ Ruth, so did I. I nearly shot him, Zaf just got there first" Ruth finally raised her head. She wasn't as good as Ros at sending him death glares, but she came a close second.
"I was talking him down. Now that family has lost both their sons. Because of me" Harry was angry. She really couldn't believe it was her fault? He placed his hands on her shoulder, turning her so she faced him.
"Yes both sons are dead and that's a tragedy for any family. But it is not your fault. Frankie was going to kill you. He already shot Hans Linnerman dead and countless others over the years. I'm not sorry he's dead Ruth. I'm not. I'm grateful Zaf was faster than me, otherwise it would be your brains all over the inside of that car" His voice was low and measured as his gaze bore in to hers. She sighed as she felt the anger leave her.
"I didn't mean to snap at Zaf" She spoke quietly, unable to draw her eyes away from Harry's. He smiled slightly.
"I think he'll forgive you, this once" He smiled slightly as Ruth nodded. Tears filled her eyes.
"I don't think Anna will, or Nico" She knew it was the wrong thing to say as soon as the words had left her mouth. Harry stepped back.
"I'm sorry both brothers are dead. But both were criminals Ruth. They both played the game; we know that now even if we didn't when George died. Maybe if they'd both lived their lives within the law, they'd be alive now" He was shaking as Ruth turned and looked across the docklands.
"Harry" She didn't want to argue. Less than half an hour ago she had thought she'd never see him again. He was breathing heavily as he heard her call his name. He hadn't realised he'd stepped away from her until he saw her bury her face in her hands. In seconds he'd crossed back to her, aware that she wasn't crying. She was too shocked by the turn of events to cry, even though she was shaking.
"I'm here" He wrapped his arms around her and pulled her to him. He hadn't seen her this upset since Danny had died. He cursed the memory, her best friend had died and he'd left her to talk to some police. He shook his head, aware the clean up team had arrived. "I'm here" He kissed her hair as he felt her hug him back.
Zoe was worried about Zaf. They had all returned to the Grid as ordered. Only Harry and Ruth had yet to arrive. Zaf had been quiet, unable to settle since they had arrived. Tariq was running something through the computer as Malcolm made everyone coffee. Adam and Lucas were talking by the coffee machine as Ros searched through the desk draw where she sat. Lucas noticed a small cream envelope was removed and slipped in to the inside pocket of her jacket. His eyes met hers and he smiled. He knew they would have to talk about what had happened with her brother later, but for now he was happy she was seemingly at least ok. Both Adam and Lucas were distracted as the Pods whooshed open to allow Harry and Ruth to enter the Grid. Adam smiled slightly as Ruth headed straight towards Malcolm as Harry walked across the Grid.
"Briefing Room ten minutes" Harry shouted to the assembled spooks as Zoe groaned. She really wanted to go home. Ruth smiled slightly, knowing what Zoe was thinking. Malcolm looked up as she approached him.
"You put a tracker on me." She stated rather than asked. Malcolm had the good grace to look slightly guilty.
"Well, Ruth I er, well what I mean to say is" He stumbled over his words as she popped the offending device on his desk.
"When you grabbed my arm in the van. You knew I would just go. So you stuck that on my watch" She smiled slightly as Malcolm nodded once.
"Thank you" She kissed him on the cheek as he blushed furiously "Sarah's a very lucky lady" She smiled as she crossed the Grid to her own desk. Zaf held her gaze as she crossed the room. Ruth sighed, she had to apologise for her outburst. She knew Adam or Lucas would have taken it with a pinch of salt but Zaf was different.
"Sorry" She smiled slightly as Zaf looked at her.
"I really thought he was going to kill you. I shouted a warning." Zaf drank his coffee as Ruth nodded.
"I know. I really thought he was going to kill me too. I was just a bit shocked I suppose" She smiled slightly at her friend.
"We ok then?" Zaf propped his feet on the edge of her desk as Ruth rolled her eyes.
"Feet!" She laughed as he raised his eyebrows. Things were going to be ok.
Harry walked off in the direction of the Briefing Room, wondering what Ruth was laughing at. He sighed; it was good to see her laughing for once. She didn't do it often enough. He took his place at the head of the table as the rest of the weary spooks made their way in to the Briefing Room. Harry was surprised that this time Ros took her allocated seat rather than stand against the wall. Lucas sat next to her, with Ruth, Adam and Zaf opposite. Zoe couldn't help but yawn as she took her seat.
"Keeping you awake Zoe?" Harry smiled slightly as the field officer glared and nodded.
"Yes Harry. It's almost 4 in the morning. Can't this wait?" She pushed her mousy blonde hair out of her eyes as Harry shook his head.
"What have we got? Adam? Ros?" He looked to his two most senior officers.
"Hans Linnerman was killed by a single gunshot wound to the chest. We'll have to wait until the official post mortem report but I think its safe to say the bullet killed him" Adam tapped his pen on the oak mahogany table.
"We've made three arrests" Ros continued. "Philip Myers, Ian Jones - he was the goon who thought he could beat me up at Linnerman's place and Steven Hughes" Lucas looked up, amazed that Ros had managed to keep her voice even when she mentioned her brother. He didn't think he'd have been able to do the same if Guy or John had held a gun to him. It was only when he looked at her, he saw the muscles in her neck tense. She wasnt as unaffected as she'd like the rest of the team to think.
"Who?" Harry hadn't heard the name before.
"He worked for Andrew Lawrence when his party was in government. It seems it was him that was feeding information back to Jocelyn Myers and Hans Linnerman on what we were doing. He would be the one who told them where the safe houses were" Ruth spoke up for the first time. Harry held her gaze for a moment too long. It was Tariq that broke the silence.
"Yeah, it looks like Hans Linnerman was a little annoyed with us for destroying Nightingale." Tariq yawned as he picked up yet another can of red bull.
"Exactly" Malcolm interjected "It seems he had planned on going through with a deal with some of the planet's less than savoury arms dealers. He was funding a drug running business in Cyprus, Malta and the Middle East in return for making a rather healthy profit from some corrupt gang and militia leaders" He briefly caught Ruth's eye as she glared at the note paper in front of her.
"Andrew Lawrence found out about it and threatened to expose Linnerman PLC for the charade it was. That made him a target. Ruth and I were targeted by shear bad luck." Ros folded her arms across her chest as Harry nodded.
"Thank you everyone" He pushed his chair back as he dismissed the team.
"See you Monday" Zoe yawned as Zaf ushered her towards the door. She smiled as she felt his hand in the small of her back. The majority of the team had left muttering tired goodbyes as Ros hung back. Lucas smiled and nodded as she pulled the cream envelope out of her pocket. Ruth was shoving papers back in to the appropriate folders, still a little quiet and shaky as Harry watched his Section Chief approach.
"Ros?" He watched as she dropped the envelope on the table.
"I'm going. I just wanted to give you two this" She pushed the envelope towards the centre of the table. Ruth smiled; she knew a wedding invitation when she saw one. Harry frowned. He had no idea what Ruth had seen that he didn't.
"A month from today" Ros clarified "Family and friends only"
Ruth picked up the envelope and nodded. "We'll be there. Family and friends?" Ruth knew Ros hadn't spoken to her family until the time her brother had pulled a gun on her.
"Yeah, Section D, Carrie and the kids" Ros frowned. "As far as I'm concerned that's all the family I need" Harry smiled slightly.
"So, are you and Lucas ever going to send those permission to socialise forms in?" He tried to hide his smile. He knew Lucas was waiting outside the Briefing Room.
"I think the fact I had a kid by him kind of negates the need for a form Harry" Ros tried to give him her best death glare. "Anyway did either of you two put a form in?" She raised her eyebrows as Ruth nodded. Ros laughed as she left the room. It had been a long night and she was glad to be going home.
Ruth woke to find herself alone in the bedroom. She cursed; Harry had always been a morning person. She wasn't. Without checking the time she rolled over in bed and buried her face in the pillow. It was Sunday. They hadn't got home until the sun was coming up and she had no intention of climbing out of bed yet.
"Ruth?" Harry padded across the room as Fidget jumped off the bed before he got told off. He laughed at the sight of his wife buried in a mound of duvets. Less than 24 hours ago he had been scared he'd be a widower by now, instead the sight of a tired and mussed up Ruth made him laugh.
"Wot?" the muffled sound of her voice escaped the duvet as Harry returned to the bed, wrapping his arms around her.
"How do you feel about going away for a few days?" He laughed as she mumbled something in to the duvet.
"After the last time?" She pushed the duvet away from herself as she sat up.
"Lightening doesn't strike twice" He smiled at her raised eyebrows.
"I'm not leaving here. Not again" Ruth yelped as Harry pulled her to him.
"Sounds like the best idea you've had in a long time!" He chuckled as Ruth slapped his arm.
"Impossible man" She laughed as Harry kissed her.
author's note. Do I write the wedding? What do you think? May add an epilogue to this. Thank you for all the lovely reviews. Please let me know what you think.