Wahoo! Over the 100 review mark, thank you! Skipping 2-9, and going straight on to the end of the series / beginning of series three.
One month later.
Malcolm put the phone down as total silence, Ruth, Colin and Sam watching him for information. The conversation had lasted five minutes with Malcolm saying nothing more than encouraging "mm's" all the time. He turned to the other three, but his eyes focused on Ruth for a long second.
"Just tell us," Sam said, echoing Ruth's thoughts.
"Tom's on the run," Malcolm said.
"They didn't bring him in?" Colin asked, surprised.
"Harry tried," Malcolm said. "Instead of coming in quietly Tom… shot Harry."
"What!" Ruth blurted out, her mind suddenly freezing. "Shot… Harry? Is he alright?"
"He's being airlifted to St Mary's hospital in London, but he should be fine," Malcolm said in his calming voice. "Tom wasn't trying to kill him, only to get away. Harry'll be okay. He might have a few days in hospital but…"
"What about Danny and Zoë?" Sam asked.
"Fine, they're on their way back to London. I've been told to try and find out where Tom's escaped to. A most likely impossible task if Tom doesn't want to be found, but…"
"Excuse me," Ruth said, unable to think about this objectively any longer. She left the grid, feeling eyes in her back as she walked away. She went to the toilets and made sure she was the only one present before she locked the door. Then she allowed herself to break down and cry. Harry had been shot. Tom had actually pointed a gun at him and pulled the trigger. She couldn't believe it. It was sinking into her consciousness slowly and painfully. Harry was going to hospital. He could die. And her stupid fear of what people would say about them together had ruined the last few weeks, when they could have been together? What the hell was wrong with her? She clearly needed psychological help if that was the only thing stopping them from being together. And now Harry had a bullet hole in his body. He could be dying right now. She tried to stop it but the tears kept flowing, almost without her being aware of it.
Catching her reflection in the mirror a few minutes later, she realised how much of a wreck she looked like. Her mascara had run, her eyes were red and blotchy, and she looked awful. Grabbing some tissues, she made to hastily pull herself together, and to look slightly better than something the cat dragged in.
"Do not cry," she told herself. "Crying is not going to help anyone at all. Especially Harry." Drying her eyes, when she felt like she wasn't going to fall apart into one giant puddle on the floor, she left the bathroom and returned to the grid. And complete mayhem,
"What on earth is going on?" Ruth asked the room at large as men she didn't recognise in suits were walking around with boxes of files, much to her confusion.
"We're being raided by the JIC," Malcolm said. "Get Danny or Zoë on the phone and tell him what's happening now. No, don't touch that! That's very sensitive equipment!" Malcolm shouted as someone went after his latest toy, a bug that could be put inside a mobile phone and track all calls and texts without being detected. Ruth did as he suggested and called through. Danny picked up, mercifully after only two rings. Ruth quickly explained what was happening.
"Oh no," she said as the pods whirred and a man she didn't like and respected even less came on the grid. "Oliver Mace is here, head of the JIC. This is bad." Before she could say anything else, the phone was taken from her hand and disconnected by the man himself.
"No phone calls please," he said with an inane little grin that made Ruth feel sick. "As of now, you are all suspended. We are doing an investigation into section D, which we believe has more traitors than just Tom Quinn. You will all be investigated and I'd like you to all leave." No one moved. "Now." Again, no one moved an inch. "Or do I have to get security involved?" Reluctantly people began to move and Malcolm whispered to Ruth.
"He'll be okay. Doghouse three, two hours. Danny and Zoë will be there, I'll make sure." Ruth nodded once to show she'd understood and felt rather than saw the message being passed on to Sam and Colin. It felt like no time at all before Ruth was being escorted off of the grid. She couldn't remember the last time she had felt this disorientated, or worried. Because she was exceptionally worried about Harry's condition.
They'd met up and were discussing Mace, his history, his career and what they could do to get one up on him, and return to their desks where they should have been.
"I'm going to see Harry," Ruth said quietly but firmly.
"No one will be allowed to see him," Malcolm said.
"I don't care," she said. "I have nothing to do, and as a group we need Harry. We need access to our computers and our files. We can't do any of that away from Thames House. So I'm going to see Harry."
"There's nothing we can say to stop you is there?" Malcolm said, seemingly amused.
"Alright then," he replied. "If anyone can get us out of this mess, its him." It was one reason she wanted to see him. But it wasn't the main one. She wanted to see with her own two eyes that he was okay. She wouldn't be able to concentrate on anything else until she knew he was alright.
Going through the hospital to Harry's room, she had the distinct impression she shouldn't be here. Hoping it didn't show on her face, she approached his room, and quickly tried the door. It was locked.
"Excuse me, you can't go in there," a security guard said with a horrible twang of an American accent, letting her know her job to get in and see Harry was going to be harder than she first thought.
"You've locked him in a hospital room?!" Ruth said, holding onto her temper with difficulty. "Exactly what has he done wrong, except being shot at?"
"Miss, I'm going to ask you to leave now," he said. Ruth fished out her security pass from her bag and showed it to him, but he was immovable. "This is ridiculous," Ruth said under her breath as she walked down the corridor, thinking of her next move. What was she supposed to do now?
Three hours later Ruth sensed her opportunity. The guard had changed on Harry's door, and while it was still a CIA guard, now it was a woman. Ruth sensed she might get further with her than her first attempt, so she left to get a ring and try and get herself worked up emotionally, and returned not ten minutes later, trying the locked door again. It was so frustrating to have Harry this near to her, and yet not be able to go in.
"I'm sorry, you can't go in there."
"I have to," she said, making her voice as weak as she could. "I have to see him, he's my husband please."
"Mr Pearce is not married," the woman said firmly. But the look on her face made it clear to Ruth that she didn't know this as a fact, especially when her eyes dropped to the (stolen) ring on Ruth's finger.
"We only got married last week, and now he's been shot at! Please, I need to see him. I'm desperate. Please." The woman didn't respond but Ruth knew she was getting through to her. "I need to talk to him. I'll only stay ten minutes. I know he's not supposed to have any visitors but… I'm his wife. Have a heart. Please."
"Five minutes," she said, unlocking the door quietly and efficiently.
"Thank you," Ruth said sincerely. She opened the door, and when it closed behind her she breathed a sigh of relief.
"That was a performance," Harry said from the bed.
"You heard all of it?"
"That door's thin," he said as she sat next to him. "Its good to see you."
"How are you?" she asked, genuinely concerned, but hopeful now that he was sitting and talking to her.
"My shoulder feels like it wants to drop off," he said. "I'll live."
"Good," she said with a tight smile. "Look, as much as I'd love to tell you I'm here just for your well being…"
"You're not," he finished, the smile fading from his face. "What is it?"
"The grid's being completely overrun by Oliver Mace and his cronies. They're going through everything, using Tom's actions as the excuse that the entire department is rotten. We can't even set foot in Thames House, we'll be escorted off."
"Where did he get permission for that?" Harry said furiously.
"He says it's the JIC, but I don't believe him. There is no way on earth they'd agree to this so quickly. It must have been not twenty minutes after you were…"
"Shot," Harry supplied. Ruth nodded, but found herself unable to say the words. The thought of Harry faced with a bullet was not a pleasant one. "No, they wouldn't have let it go through that quickly. Actually, at all, I'm inclined to say. I have some friends and people who owe me favours on the Joint Intelligence Committee. They won't agree. Or maybe Mace hasn't waited for a sanction from them."
"Mm, maybe," Ruth said quietly, her face deep in thought as she looked at Harry. But none of her thoughts related to Thames House at all. They were all about Harry personally.
"I'm going to discharge myself," he said. "Get Mace out of my office and make sure he doesn't get too comfy."
"Hmm," she said to herself. "Wait, what? Are you alright to be standing, after being… shot? Will you be okay?"
"It didn't hit my lung, only the muscle in my shoulder," he said, loving that she cared about him like this, even if she was trying to hide it from everyone else. She couldn't hide it from him. "Its painful but I'll live."
"Good," she said. "Not that you're in pain I mean, but the fact it didn't hit your lung or anything serious. What was Tom thinking?"
"Maybe I misjudged him," Harry said quietly. "Maybe he is being set up."
"Don't defend him," Ruth said harshly. "He shot you and then disappeared into thin air. That doesn't seem like an innocent man to me."
"We have to prove he's innocent," Harry said. "And you have to go."
"There's a very angry CIA man arguing with the woman outside the door."
For the first time Ruth paid attention to something outside the small hospital room and heard raised voices. She knew her time was up. "By the way, I said I was your wife. I'm sure they'll see through it, but it was the only way I could think of to get to see you on such short notice."
"I don't mind," Harry said, a smile playing on his lips. "I'll be out of hospital soon. And then we'll fix this mess." Was he talking about just the professional mess? Or the state of their relationship too? Ruth felt that he was talking about more than one thing, and the tiny smile on his face seemed to confirm it.
"Good," Ruth said. She reached across the bed and held his hand gently. His thumb stroked the back of her hand softly and in that moment she didn't want to let go. Then the door burst open and Ruth was torn away from him. Two CIA goons were forcibly leading her out of the room, much to her annoyance. The last thing she heard was Harry demanding to see a doctor, which they couldn't refuse him. She had total faith that Harry would get his way and leave hospital, within the next hour at the very least. That thought warmed her as she was released by the Americans and went to her car.