Time for a new story! Set about five years after Cotterdam. It's probably going to be depressing though, fair warning...
Harry opened his eyes, pain throbbing at the back of his head from a blow that he only dimly remembered. He raised his hand to feel the damage and then saw his wrists were tied in front of him. He surveyed the room he was in at the same time as he remembered being passed over like livestock to a group of Indian agents who refused to even speak to him. He was alone, but he didn't fool himself that he wasn't being watched. It seemed like a basement type room, empty with concrete walls and floor but there was a high window too. And daylight was streaming in too, so he wasn't underground.
Suddenly the door opened and Harry watched as a suited man appeared, walking towards him. As he came into view, Harry recognised him. Mani Singh. "Good, you're awake," he said, sitting down in a chair opposite him.
"Was it necessary to hit me over the head and knock me out?"
"I didn't want a struggle," he said. "Do you know why you're here?"
"Why don't you enlighten me?"
"You took something from Baghdad. And then lied about where it was."
"So this is about the uranium."
"Yes," Mani said. "You didn't play by the rules."
"I didn't want it to fall into the hands of terrorists," Harry said honestly. "I'd rather save thousands of innocents from dying than simply than do things strictly by the book."
"I'm a civilised man," Mani said. "And I realise that you are very high up in MI5, and that you have passed every anti interrogation measure possible. I'm not a fool, so I'm not going to waste time. There is someone else who knows what I want."
"She's dead," Harry said as ice filled her heart. If he got to her… "You can't touch her."
"I don't believe you," Mani said. "I think, she's alive and well, and living in the south of France."
Harry didn't know where she was currently living, so he didn't know if he should say she was there, or push him off of the track. But if Mani knew where Ruth was… She was in terrible danger. So instead, he tried not to focus on her location. "She doesn't know."
"I think she does," Mani said softly. "Even if I'm wrong, I think having her here might… persuade you into being more loquacious."
No, he couldn't hurt Ruth, Harry thought. He couldn't. If he found her… Mani got up suddenly, the scratch of the chair on the floor making Harry jump. Soon he was alone, with nothing but his fears to comfort him.
The blindfold had been tied too tightly around Ruth's head. The beginnings of a headache were starting to take up her concentration. She had no idea where she was, all she knew was that she sat in a car, moving to some unknown destination. Although she guessed it was in England. They hadn't been on the private helicopter long enough to be anywhere further away, and she could think of no other place which would require her to be blindfolded.
She could cope with the blindfold, what she couldn't cope with was the fact her daughter had been taken away from her. She had no idea where her four year old child was, and it filled her with more terror than she could put into words. God, she hoped she was all right. Safe. Even though she probably felt more fear than ever before in her short life. Laura must be so frightened.
The car braked suddenly and Ruth could hear the spray of gravel outside. The door opened, letting cold air into the car so Ruth shivered. "Where's my daughter?" she asked as she was forcefully pulled out of the car.
"Walk or be dragged," an accented voice said, a hand on her elbow. Her hands were tied in front of her so she had little choice but to follow. She thought the voice was maybe Indian. Possibly Sri Lankan? As she walked she tried again.
"I need to know where my daughter is," Ruth said. "You will not get anything from me until I've seen my daughter."
"Shut up." Yes, definitely an Indian voice she surmised. "Stairs." Ruth climbed them clumsily. When she got to the top a door opened and her blindfold was roughly removed. She blinked at the sudden light after hours of darkness. Forcefully lead into a room, she saw Harry, and her heart almost stopped. He looked almost defeated and… lost. She sat in the chair, her eyes never leaving his, and the seconds felt like minutes. There were noises behind her as the men left and Mani came back in.
"Well hello Ruth," he said.
"Where is my daughter?"
Harry didn't move an inch or say anything but she felt his surprise coming off of him, as surely as if he'd shouted.
"I'm not going to say anything at all until I know where she is and that she's not being mistreated in any way," Ruth said firmly.
"I'll be back with a laptop," he said, an inane, annoying smile on his face. He left the room and suddenly she and Harry were alone for the first time in five years.
"Your daughter?" he asked.
"Laura," Ruth said. "She must be so frightened."
"How old is she?" Harry asked, his hazel eyes on fire.
"That's not the question you want to ask me," Ruth said firmly, not averting her eyes even once from him. She looked over the lines of his face, slightly deeper than the last time she'd seen him. But he was still Harry. Still the man she'd thought about every single day. Still the man who she saw in her daughter when Laura smiled. Or when her brown eyes sparkled with laughter, so like her fathers.
It took a little time for Harry to voice the question, but he became brave enough to do it. "Is she mine?"
Ruth looked at him, feeling unaccountably guilty.