Just Not Yet
This is set during the opening scenes of The Prodigal. All characters belong to the BBC.
A/N: This is my first fic in probably 6 years but it has been going round and round in my head so as I had a spare hour I committed it to type. Please be kind, my writing is rusty.
She pulls the car smoothly into a parking space on the empty rooftop level. Pulling on the handbrake she looks over to her passenger, curled against the window, his expression troubled, even as he sleeps.
Hating herself for having to wake him she leans over and softly calls his name,
He doesn't even stir at the sound of her voice, and for a fleeting moment she considers leaving him undisturbed to get the rest he obviously desperately needs. But she knows that Leo knows how tired Harry is. She has seen him silently watch Harry in the office, pressing his lips together in silent concern when he thinks no one can see. So whatever is wrong, whatever emergency has forced Leo to call them in, it must be important. So she leans over and repeats his name, touching his arm gently.
He jerks awake with a gasp, looking around bewildered and a wave of guilt washes over her.
"That was quick." She sees through the facade, knowing that the response is meant to reassure her, to make everything seem normal. But he must know, as she does, that Harry never sleeps on the days that is her turn to drive, because, as he usually teases her, her driving is too scary to let him relax.
A part of her wants to sit him down until he tells her what is haunting him but equally she is aware that sometimes, with Harry, it is best to wait for him to open up as he inevitably, eventually will. So instead she asks blandly,
"You still not sleeping well?"
He rubs his eyes and exhales.
"Not at night."
He attempts to smile as he says it, but the smile doesn't reach his eyes and instead he just looks exhausted and pale. She returns the half-hearted smile with one of her own as he continues.
"But I'm ok."
She almost can't believe he thinks she'll be convinced. His normally animated voice is flat and toneless, and even though its normally his job to do this for her, in that moment all she wants to do is take him in her arms and tell him it will be ok. Actually, that's not all she wants to do. Really she wants to kiss him gently, tell him how she really feels, how she has felt for the last five years and hope that her love for him will chase away the ghosts.
But he doesn't know that she feels that way. Can't know, not yet anyway.
She knows that secretly that's what Leo is hoping for, that she will come clean and he will finally be able to stop watching this complicated dance of "will they, won't they" that is being played out between the two of them. When they returned to England and started to put the horror of Hungary behind them all, she thought about it. Started to plan even how she would go about it all. She couldn't say the words aloud to him, she blushed even thinking about it, but she could invite him over for dinner and a movie as usual perhaps, something soppy that Harry would pretend to hate, while actually watching avidly. She would lean over and press her lips to his and hope that in her kiss he would read all those things that she didn't know how to begin to say aloud.
But Harry is so fragile right now, and she doesn't want to pour out her feelings to him when he can barely cope with his own. Even though she wants him to come to her flat every night so she can keep an eye on him, keep him company when his nightmares wake him, she knows she must wait for him to be ready. He must work this out for himself, grieve for Ana and his lost child and perhaps then he will be ready to listen to what she has to say.
For now though, she is Harry's best friend, nothing more and nothing less.
"Are you?" she asks, although she knows he won't answer truthfully.
"Yeah" he nods, pointedly, begging her with his eyes not to ask him anything more. She is aware now of how close he is, how easy it would be to reach out and caress his stubbled cheek. She is surprised how easily those thoughts come to her now, and how difficult it is to keep her hand still in her lap. Nevertheless she must, for it isn't the right time, not yet.
Harry is still talking, hastily, trying to put distance between him and her concern. She is aware it's nothing personal, that they have a meeting shortly and it isn't the time or the place for the heart to heart that she suspects Harry will need soon.
"What's the time? Twelve thirty, we're not late. Come on."
"Shall we have some lunch after the meeting?" she asks, the words out before she can stop them. Not that she wants to really. She feels like she should be cramming in enough time with Harry now. She only realised when she thought he was gone that all those shared moments, teasing, chatting, cups of coffee, didn't add to up enough. So now, even if she couldn't tell him everything, she was banking all those little encounters, storing them up so that, God forbid, if anything ever happened again she would somehow have more of him to hold on to in her mind.
She aches to tell him the truth. So that they can start making the memories that she wants to hold onto, but just for now, it isn't time.
"Yeah" he replies, and this time she can see the real Harry, her Harry, in his smile, and she is pleased she asked. He turns away to get out of the car, then looks back at her.
"Don't forget the champagne."
For a second she is confused, why do they need champagne for lunch? What are they celebrating? She worries that she has lost all sense of control, has she been speaking aloud all the thoughts in her head – does Harry agree? Are they celebrating the start of something they both want? Then, almost sadly, she remembers Leo. Leo and his MBE, and the champagne that they have bought together to celebrate the honour.
"Oh yeah" she sounds downcast and she hopes that Harry won't hear that in her voice. She looks up, and there he is, with that little smile waiting for her to lock the car.
She wishes she could run to him, wrap her arm round his waist, and laugh with him.
'Stop it!' She commands her wayard imagination. She would tell him, and tell him soon, because as Leo had made so clear in that dismal hotel room, there was never enough time.
So, even though she may be handing him the tools to break her heart, she would tell him.
Just not yet.