Characters/Pairings: H/R overtones
Summary: Ruth is sick and Harry comes to check on her. Set late series 3.
Disclaimer: I don't own Spooks. If I did, Harry and Ruth would be happily retired in that house in Suffolk.
A/N: Wrote this while off sick today – what I wouldn't give for my own Harry Pearce!
"Oh, no," Ruth groaned as she turned in bed, her hand reaching out to turn off her alarm. She pulled the blanket up over her head, burying herself deeper into the soft mattress. Her leg grazed something on the bed and she realized she'd fallen asleep while she was typing at her laptop the night before. She felt horrible; her throat was sore, her muscles ached, her head was beginning to throb and she felt queasy. She tried to sit up, but as she did dizziness overcame her and she was forced to lie back against the pillows with a groan. She lay there for a few moments, debating what to do. They needed her in work today; they were on the trail of a dissident Chechen group who were on the verge of buying several weapons of mass destruction. But would she be any use to them today? Probably not and she'd just infect the other members of the team. Pushing a few errant strands of dark hair from her face, she slowly reached for the phone that lay on her bedside table and dialled.
"Section D," came Sam's chirpy voice on the other end.
Ruth winced, the sound not helping her headache. "Sam, it's Ruth," she began, her voice hoarse. "Is Harry in yet?"
"He's gone straight to Whitehall to update the Home Secretary." Ah yes. That's right; he'd told her that yesterday afternoon. "Are you alright Ruth? You don't sound too good."
"No, I feel really ill. Can you tell Harry that I'm not going to make it in today."
"Sure. You get yourself better and don't worry about it; we'll manage…somehow."
"Thanks Sam. Bye." Ruth put the receiver down and snuggled beneath the warm duvet once again; her eyelids feeling heavy. Sighing she gave in and closed her eyes, drifting into a dreamless sleep.
"Ruth?" The faint, muffled voice penetrated her sleepy haze, and Ruth shifted, pulling the blanket more securely over her head. "Ruth!" The voice came again a little louder this time, followed by the sound of the letterbox and a final shout.
Harry's voice finally registered, and Ruth sat up in bed, her hand pushing back the hair that covered her face. She swung her head quickly toward her bedside table, exclaiming quietly when it started to pound. She peered at her digital clock.
"Bugger," she muttered under her breath, then called out, "I'll be right there!" She got out of bed and grabbed her white terry cloth robe, walking toward the door. She pulled it open in one rough motion, then leaned against the frame, her belligerent glare on the person who dared to disturb a sick woman in bed.
"Just come to check on you; last time I was informed you were sick you'd actually been kidnapped by a delusional techno-freak."
"Shut up Harry," she said, a hint of playfulness in a voice; well as much as one can muster when they feel like death warmed up. She turned her back to him and headed inside leaving him to let himself in.
"Charming," Harry retorted. "Here I am, armed with fresh, hot chicken soup, and that's the thanks I get?" He entered the living room and placed the bag on the coffee table, before removing his coat and draping it over the chair. He had to breathe a small sigh of relief, seeing that she was really was okay. When he'd returned from his meeting with the Home Secretary, Sam had been in the archives so he hadn't received Ruth's message. His imagination had started to run away with itself; worrying about Ruth in all sorts of dangerous situations. When Sam had finally relayed that Ruth was ill, he still didn't quite believe it. She never took a day off and last time she'd informed the Grid she was ill, she'd actually being held against her will by Andrew Forrestal and tied to a balustrade. He knew he wouldn't rest until he'd seen he so he'd left the grid. On his way he passed a small deli and had been reminded of his mother's miraculous cure all for illness; chicken soup. So he bought her a tub and some other bits and bobs he thought she might be in need of. It was an also an excuse to spend some time with her; something he found himself wanting to do increasingly often.
Ruth, who was now curled up on the sofa, eyed the bag he'd brought suspiciously, "What did you bring?" she asked.
"Painkillers, rehydration drinks and some of the finest chicken soup London has to offer."
"Thank you Harry, but I don't particularly feel like eating anything at the moment."
"Come on, you need to eat something," he encouraged. Ignoring her protests, he went to the kitchen to prepare the soup. A few moments later he returned carrying two steaming bowls. "How are you feeling?" he asked, concerned.
Ruth looked up into his intense eyes, as he placed her lunch on the table in front of her. "I'll be okay," she said, closing her eyes briefly as her hand ran through her tussled hair. "I must've caught a bug somewhere…it's just a bad cold." Her voice was raspy, and she tried to clear it, but to no avail. Her throat felt dry. Harry continued to look at her, his expression unreadable. He missed her, he realized, as he stood there with his eyes on her still-uncombed hair, wondering if it were really as soft as it looked. She wasn't at work for one morning, and already he missed having her around the Grid; and not just for her brilliant ananlytical mind.
Suddenly the smell of the chicken soup hit Ruth's nostrils causing a wave of nausea stronger than before to come over her. She pelted towards the stairs; she was going to be sick.
Harry stood at the bottom of the stairs and could hear her retching in the bathroom but couldn't decide what to do; should he go to her and provide comfort, or should he stay away for fear of causing her embarrassment. A groan from Ruth made his decision for him; he was at the bathroom door in seconds. He found her kneeling on the floor, her head over the toilet bowl breathing heavily. He sat down on the floor behind her and gathered her hair in his hand, holding it away from her face, and rubbing her back gently until she had finished vomiting.
When he was sure that she wasn't going to be sick again he got to his feet and got her a glass of water. She took it from him with a small smile and took a big gulp. Harry shook his head, "Sip it, don't glug it," he told her. After taking a few sips, she tried to stand but her legs were weak and gave way beneath her. Luckily Harry was there to catch her. His arms went round her waist and she fell against his chest. "Come on, you need to be in bed."
"Excuse me, but I was in bed until someone disturbed me," she reminded him.
"Ah yes. Sorry; I was trying to be helpful."
"It's okay; I know. And I appreciate it." She pushed away from him; determined to walk by herself, to not be seen as weak, but she stumbled slightly and reached out to Harry again for support.
"It's alright Ruth; I've got you." Harry helped her to the edge of the bed and pulled back the covers allowing her to crawl in slowly. He disappeared back downstairs and she heard the opening of cupboard doors, the clanking of plates and glasses and the running of water in the kitchen, none of which were helping her headache. She wondered what on earth he was doing but her question was answered a few moments later when he returned to the room with a fresh glass of water and some paracetamol.
"Take these," he instructed handing the tablets to her. "I've put the soup back in the tub; you can warm it up later if you feel like it. Get some rest...and don't worry about work."
Ruth nodded, swallowing the tablets he'd given her. He took the glass of water from her and placed it on the bedside table, before placing a soft kiss on her forehead. "Ring me if you need anything, okay?"
"I will," she assured. "Thanks for the soup." She hoped he picked up on the deeper meaning behind her statement; she knew how much it had probably taken him to come round and show a glimpse of his softer side by taking care of her and she was glad he had.
He just smiled down at her. "Anytime Ruth. Anytime." And then he was gone.