Disclaimer I do not own Spooks. No copyright infringement intended. This story takes place straight after Queen of the New Year. In my stories all characters from episode 2.1 until 9.8 are fair game. Malcolm never left, Adam, Ros, Lucas, Zoe, Zaf never left. Basically anyone who didn't die on screen like Danny and Jo are liable to appear at some point!
Ruth stared into space as Harry spoke to Catherine. She had been vaguely aware of him speaking to Lucas and Malcolm earlier. She closed her eyes as she tried to ready herself for what was going on around her. She couldn't quite believe what was happening, she heard Catherine agree to stay on their house to look after Scarlet and the cats. She smiled slightly as Charlie began to crawl towards her. It seemed the ten month old baby had something to say for himself.
"Hello little man" Ruth smiled as the baby gave her the gummiest grin in the world. Ruth couldn't help but smile back. The baby had recently started to try talking and standing up, neither of which was working particularly well. He reverted to crawling mainly because he could.
"Grandpa and I are going to miss you" Ruth picked up the little boy as he babbled away in a language only Catherine seemed to be able to understand. "We wont be gone long though" She kissed his head as the baby cuddled in to her. Ruth smiled slightly as Charlie made himself comfortable.
"I have my mobile with me" Harry told his daughter as Catherine rolled her eyes.
"Dad, stop worrying about us" Catherine smiled.
"Never, you know that." Harry returned her smile "I'm your Dad, it's my job to worry about you and your brother"
Catherine nodded slightly as she looked past him to where her son was sat on Ruth's lap. She understood what her father said. Since Charlie had been born she was well aware of what it was like to have another person need you so much. Charlie had completely changed her life, she was clean and back living in London. She still made films and still worked for charity organisations but heading off to various war zones had been postponed for the next couple of decades. Charlie needed her too much for her to put her life at risk. Harry followed her gaze. He was worried sick about Ruth, since he had found her crying in his office hours earlier she had become quieter than he had ever seen her. He wasn't sure if it was the effect her mother's hospitalization had or the prospect of returning to her home town had on her.
"Put the bags in the car. I'll talk to Ruth. If you need me and Graham to come to Exeter we will. If you need me you know where I am" She watched as her father nodded.
"How long have you been this grown up?" He hugged his daughter.
"Ah well, behave yourself. Get the bags in the car. Give me five minutes" Catherine walked away from her father towards the chair her stepmother and baby son were sat. Ruth tried her best not to cry while she was holding the baby but it was clear Charlie knew something was wrong.
"Dad's sorting the car out." Catherine sat down. Scarlet looked up from her position in front of the fire before ignoring the humans and going back to sleep.
"Ruth" Catherine watched the older woman's face as she spoke. "You don't have to go"
"Yes, I do" Ruth closed her eyes. "It's my Mum"
"Yes, and after what I have gathered no one would blame you if you didn't" Catherine stared at her as Ruth's eyes widened. "Before you go off on one no one has told me anything. It's just you never mention any of your family. I guessed about the baby and I know your Dad died when you were little but you never mention anything about your mum"
"I am not going to pry but I can see whatever happened was fairly major. Please just don't let it destroy you" Catherine rested her hand on Ruth's arm as she looked up.
"Dad loves you, you know that"
"Yeah" Ruth smiled as Charlie nodded, as if confirming his mother's statement.
"He's a clumsy sod at times, but he means well" Ruth and Catherine both smiled at her statement. "You know what I mean"
"If it was Jane"
"I would go" Catherine sighed "I hate what she did, I hate the fact she married the prat she did and ended up in prison. I hate the way she got Graham drinking again for a while and left me to pick up the pieces. But she's my mother, I'd worry about it and I'd feel sick and try to delay it as long as possible but I'd go. And I'd drag that useless brother of mine with me"
"Thanks" Ruth handed the baby back to her as Charlie squeeled and laughed.
"Just remember, she may be your mother but Exeter hasn't been your home for a long time. You've got friends here, your family" Catherine watched as tears sprung to Ruth's eyes.
"I know" Ruth closed her eyes as Catherine hugged her. Neither woman was aware that Harry walked back into the living room. He paused in the doorway as Catherine turned and walked back towards him.
"Dad, look after her" Harry nodded as Charlie tapped his arm. He kissed the baby's head as he saw Ruth take a deep breath as if steadying herself.
"I'll try" He stepped past his daughter as she went to let Graham in to the house.
She dragged her eyes from the fire to meet his. The sadness he saw there nearly killed him. So much had happened in such a short space of time, he had no idea how either of them had coped. The last time he had seen her look so desolate was when they had found out about Jo's death.
"Are you ready?"
"Honestly no" Ruth sighed as he took her hands in his. "But we should go"
Harry nodded as he stepped back slightly from her. She was determined to be strong. Her mother had disowned her when she was just 16 years old. Over two decades later Ruth didn't understand how any mother could, especially to her only child and especially when the child needed her more than ever. Sighing she picked up her jacket from the sofa.
"Harry" Ruth closed her eyes. She hated the hold her mother still had over her. Why had she believed Robert? Why hadn't she believed me? It was the one discussion she had never been able to have with the older woman and now it looked like she would never be able to. Harry stood in front of her as she said his name.
"I'm here Ruth" He pulled her into his arms, she stood just resting her head on his shoulder for a moment "Whatever happens I'm here" He whispered into her ear as she sighed. Both were unaware that Graham and Catherine were talking quietly in the hallway. It was only when Harry became aware of Scarlet barking that he realised his son had arrived.
"Time to go?"
"Yes" Ruth brushed a tear away from her cheek. "Yes, let's go"
Ros walked on to the Grid to the usual chaos the aftermath of an operation brought. Beth and Zoe were talking by the coffee machine as Tariq huddled over his desk working on some new toy he was inventing. He was quiet for the first time Ros could remember. Adam and Zaf were talking to various people on the phone but Dimitri and Lucas were nowhere to be seen.
"Ros" Malcolm walked towards her. His gait still a little unsteady.
"Home Secretary is in Harry's office"
"Great" Ros closed her eyes.
"Wants to know the latest intel on New Wave"
"He knows Harry told him yesterday" Ros narrowed her eyes.
"I told him that" Malcolm held her gaze "I think he wants to let us know who's boss now Harry is on leave for the first time in years"
"Ok, fine" Ros stalked towards the office "Let's show him"
A/N Well? Worth continuing. Be prepared this is a long one. Please let me know what you think.