Summary: An AU story. 36 year old Head of Section D, Harry Pearce has asked his analyst, Ruth Evershed to dinner but, due to a security incident, she's not been able to give him an answer. When she goes to his house to accept, a surprise is waiting for her. How will she handle what she finds?
Disclaimer: I don't own Spooks or any of the characters or dialogue you may recognise. They all belong to Kudos/BBC.
A/N: Welcome to my new fic. It's an AU story and for it to work, I've had to make a few changes to the canon timeline. So for this fic, I'm knocking 8 years off Harry's age – having him born in 1961 rather than 1953 and I'm saying that Ruth joined Section D, 6 years earlier than canon – in 1997. So to summarise, when this fic starts in October 1998, Harry is 36 (very nearly 37) and Ruth is 28.
Hope all that makes sense! If not, it should after the first couple of chapters. If it still doesn't, feel free to let me know and ask any questions you have. You may recognise some dialogue from the original series in here too; I may have borrowed some!
Friday 23rd October 1998
When Ruth Evershed had been seconded to MI-5 just over twelve months ago she expected to find a job she loved and new friends. She got them of course; the work was far more challenging and rewarding than the work she'd been doing at GCHQ and the team had become like her family. What Ruth hadn't expected was to fall for her boss. She knew Harry Pearce by reputation alone before she started in his section and had been thrilled that she would be working with him; he was a legend. At 36, he was one of the youngest section heads in the history of MI-5. Recruited in 1985, straight from the army, as a Junior Field Office for Section D, he'd risen quickly through the ranks; he was a Senior Intelligence Officer within 3 years. In February 1991 he earned his second promotion to Section Chief after saving the life of the then Prime Minister, John Major. Within 3 and a half years of that he was Section Head.
They had worked well together from the start, despite Harry's frequent tetchiness and fits of pique. As the months went on they grew closer; Harry began to trust her more and soften towards her. After she'd been there six months she counted Harry as her closest friend at work, and she was quite sure he felt the same. It wasn't until he had been shot by Tom Quinn back in April that Ruth had realised that what she felt for him went beyond the boundaries of friendship.
There had been no doubt in her mind that her feelings wouldn't be reciprocated. After all what would Harry, see in a shy, bookish woman such as herself? So, she'd resigned herself to the fact that her feelings would remain unrequited and she'd kept them to herself, locked away inside. And she'd been coping fine with that. Until yesterday, when Harry had decided to move the goal posts.
Yesterday morning on the rooftop, in the middle of a discussion about thermobaric bombs and whether or not she was naïve, he'd asked her out.
"Would you like to have dinner one night?"
"I'm sorry?" she'd replied, unsure of whether she'd heard him correctly
"Dinner. That is if you'd like to of course."
"That's…that's quite a conversation shift."
"Well, onto a rather happier topic than weapons of mass destruction. Or your naïveté."
Ruth had to suppress a little smile at his teasing. "I'm not naïve."
"I've booked a table. It's a place I think you'd like."
"That's very presumptuous of you. I might have said no." She'd tried to appear as calm and as nonplussed as possible, despite jumping for joy inside. She knew there was no way she was going to say no, but she didn't want to seem too eager. He was her boss after all.
"Well, I'll go anyway," he'd told her. "Be like the Charlie Chaplin character waiting for the girl and making the bread rolls dance. What film was that?"
Ruth had opened her mouth to answer him, to tell him that he wouldn't have to go alone, that she'd love to have dinner with him, when the door to the roof had swung open and Adam had appeared. He had come to inform them that there had been an assassination attempt on the Prime Minister. The moment between Ruth and Harry had been broken and they'd rushed back to the Grid to deal with the fall out and as a result, Harry had never got his answer.
Ruth had intended to find him once the furore had died down and tell him that should his offer still stand she would love to go out to dinner. But then Adam had approached her apologising for interrupting them on the rooftop and Ruth had realised that she and Harry were the subject of office gossip. The team assumed they were having an affair. Ruth was completely mortified and, after setting Adam straight, had gone home as soon as the perpetrators had been caught and her report completed, allowing her to avoid Harry completely.
She'd sat at home all last night and this morning analysing herself and Harry and the possibilities of them pursuing a romantic relationship. Finally, she'd come to the conclusion that people would probably talk about them whether they were seeing each other or not, and that she wasn't going to put the value of their opinions above that of her own feelings. Having reached that decision, she knew that she had to give Harry her answer, and sooner rather than later.
Which is why she is standing on his doorstep on this late October evening. Now she's here however, she is beginning to have second thoughts. After several minutes spent going over things again in her mind, she decides that the worst that can happen is he can tell her he's changed his mind, so finally she plucks up the courage to knock on the door. She hears the soft barking of a dog and then footfalls on the floor. Harry's silhouette appears in the small frosted window and a couple of moments later he opens the door.
"Ruth? Hi!" he greets the surprise obvious on his face. He is still wearing his work clothes but he's shed the jacket and tie, unfastened the top 3 buttons and rolled up his sleeves. He looks a little dishevelled but it's a look that almost takes Ruth's breath away.
"Hi," she replies, trying to remember to breathe.
"This is a surprise!" he remarks, as he looks back into the house, anxiously and pulls the door closed slightly, obscuring Ruth's view into the house.
"Yes, I suppose it is. You see, I was sat at home thinking about yesterday and I realised that…" Ruth trails off as noises from inside the house permeate her consciousness and she realises Harry has company. "You're not alone are you?"
"No I'm not," he admits, an apologetic look on his face.
"Oh God! Sorry! I should have called. I didn't even think-"
Ruth is shocked into silence by the appearance of a little girl in the gap between the door and the frame asking, "Who is it Daddy?"