A/N...I don't remember much about Ruthie, so I took some liberties here. Nate was annoyed that I had Ruthie be such a bad girl in 2 stories & he nagged me in my head to give her a nice Ruth/Nate story. Hope you enjoy! Oh...btw...I don't own Burn Notice...****WAH!****

Nate stood inside the kitchen door. No one had heard him enter the house. He was in shock at hearing Maddie, Fiona and Michael discussing Ruthie rather loudly.

"I'm so glad Ruthie didn't come, even though I do miss Charlie."

"I know you do Mom, but Ruthie doesn't think your house is a suitable environment for Charlie. Especially since the last time he was here, he got his hand stuck in a vase because you were distracted by the what the neighbors were arguing about on their front lawn."

Fiona plopped down on the couch and said "I don't see why it was a big deal. I got the vase off his hand. Sure it was bruised, but I didn't have to dislocate any fingers like Sean did to me when I got my hand stuck in a vase. Ruthie really needs to calm down."

The room was quiet for a moment. Maddie broke the silence. "Fiona, is my cooking really that bad? Ruthie never eats when she is here and when she does sit down at the table, she just pushes the food around her plate. The girl is giving me a complex."

Michael looked at Fiona with a large grin on his face. "Yeah Fi, what do you think of my mom's cooking?"

She shot a dirty look at Michael. "Maddie, you cooking is great. I can't tell you how nice it is to come here and smell a homemade meal being cooked. It reminds me of being back home and my mom cooking for all her kids."

Since nearly everyone in the house was complaining about Ruthie, Michael decided to add his opinion. "You ever notice she looks at me like she wants to kill me? It's like she's mad at me, but I have barely said two word to her during any visit I've had with her."

"I've seen that look Michael. I've wanted to slap her silly the times I caught her giving you that look, but she was holding Charlie so I had to behave."

Finally Nate had enough. He walked from the kitchen into the living room. "I can't believe you guys would be so nasty behind my back!"

Maddie looked at Nate, putting her hand to his cheek and caressing it in a way only a mother would. He pushed her hand away.

"Mom, sit down next to Michael." Nate began to pace around the small living room. "I try so hard to look past the fact that no one in this room gets along with Ruthie. I used to beg her to come with me for a visit, but she refused and when she did come, she made sure she made my life hell. Finally I told her I would come and visit on my own and I would bring Charlie when he was old enough to travel. Do you know what she told me? Anyone?"

Nate waited for an answer. Michael and Fiona stared at Nate, trying to read him and predict his next move. Madeline fidgeted with her cigarette lighter, avoiding Nate's eyes.

"No answer. That's just great. You all talk plenty when I'm not here. She told me she would rather burn in hell than have another visit here. None of you are without blame for her feeling that way. Let's start with you Fiona. When Charlie got his hand stuck in the vase and you got it out, did you know his hand hurt him so bad that he cried for nearly two days? We took him to the ER and they told us his hand and the muscles were bruised. Two days he cried because your first thought was to pull the vase off. You weren't thinking. You hurt Ruthie's baby and she isn't ready to calm down about that yet."

Fiona's glance fell to the floor. Nate continued his speech.

"Mom, I don't know how many times I've told you this. Ruthie is a vegetarian. The first visit we had, you served meat and it was fine. It was new to you, and I let it go. Every other time since then you've served meat when she's come to the house. We keep telling you she doesn't eat meat and you ignore us. She doesn't eat your food because its all meat! Don't be so self centered to think the whole food battle is because she hates your cooking."

Nate stopped a minute and looked at Michael. "Nate, don't you say anything about how I treat her. I barely say anything to her when I see her and I stay out of her way."

Nate wagged his finger at Michael and Maddie. "Even though she's mad at you Fi, Ruthie likes you, but thinks she's a little spacey since she doesn't have kids. It's you two she hates."

Maddie and Michael looked at one another. "Why would Ruthie hate us? I'm always nice when she's here. I don't smoke when I see her. I listen to her nagging me about how to care for Charlie even though I raised two boys of my own."

Nate cut Maddie off. "She hates you because she thinks you did nothing to protect me from Dad. I told her about the beatings and the abuse. I told her about how drunk he would get and start hitting us. She knows how he would disappear or end up in jail and we had to steal to get necessities to survive. She hates that I had to go through all of that."

Michael stood up and so he was face to face with Nate. "Nate enough. Mom did the best she could and there were plenty of times I took the brunt of Dad's anger so he wouldn't beat you."

Nate laughed. "She actually blames you for a lot of my issues Mikey. I'm a people pleaser. Always wanted to please my big brother and that just seeped over into other parts of my life. Gets you in a lot of trouble when you try to please the wrong people and you can't deliver. Did you know that I have abandonment issues? I think that everyone is going to leave me and I'm not good enough to keep them around. She blames you because you abandoned me to join the military and Dad took his anger out on me mostly after that. She hates you for not taking me away from here. She understands why mom didn't leave, but she thinks you should have waited until we could have left together and gotten Mom out too."

Michael looked at Nate and said in a soft tone "Nate, I'm sorry. I didn't know."

Nate stood there looking at Fiona, Michael and Maddie. "I know you are. Next time you guys talk bad about Ruthie, just remember that I love her. I love her truly, madly and deeply. She might be abrasive and annoying, but I can look past that. I see the woman who makes me laugh, who is an excellent mother and a best friend. She keeps me healthy and happy. When I was at my lowest in Vegas, she was there with me and helped me become the man I am now. She helped me get past my gambling problem. She was willing to overlook that I missed Charlie's birth because I was gambling. All she cares about it that I am not repeating my mistakes and I am the best dad I can be to Charlie. So say what you want, but she's been the one person who has stood by me through thick and thin. Maybe you guys need to learn how to be more supportive from her."

They all sat there in silence and watched Nate walk out of the house. About two weeks later, Ruthie walked into the living room of the home she shared with Nate in Miami. She looked shocked.

"Everything ok honey?"

"The weirdest thing just happened. Fiona called and said she wanted to take me out for lunch at this new vegetarian place and then maybe some toy shopping for Charlie. Why would she call me after never really talking to me after the whole vase incident?"

"Maybe she's just trying to friendlier to you. You should go. I'll take Charlie to my mom's for the afternoon."

Ruthie agreed. Nate quickly opened a newspaper and began to read the sports section, hoping to hide the smile that was creeping across his face. He fought for love and he had finally won.