Disclaimer: I don't own Spooks or, indeed, much of anything at all really.
Hi again, Spooks fans! It's been a while.
This fic was bashed out in about 2 hours, so is probably a bit iffy here and there. It is also rather AU. Imagine, if you will, that rather than the Actual Spooks Ending of Doom and Back-to-Work-as-Normal, Harry instead ended up buggering off out of the country to avoid the CIA and Ruth didn't fatally walk into a bit of glass. Then, six months or so later, this mad and improbable fic happens. No idea where it's going, but ah well! ;)
A phone rings in the middle of the night. For a moment, Ruth doesn't wake at the sound. She's deeply asleep and dreaming. In her dream, an alarm goes off and she's running down a corridor to the sound of a screaming, insistent siren, knowing she isn't going to make it out in time.
She wakes, breathless and anxious, with the phone already halfway to her ear – so used to being woken by emergencies in the dark hours that she can almost deal with them in her sleep, now. She presses the answer button and feels the cold plastic and glass of the phone against her skin. It contrasts with the heat from the duvet and makes her jolt.
"'lo?" It's only after she's answered that she realises she didn't check to see who was calling at this hour, and she has only just picked up on the fact that the phone she is holding is not the phone she uses for work. This is the phone she has had for the past few months – just in case – not knowing if it would ever ring, but which she has been very careful to keep charged anyway – just in case.
There is no answer, but she can hear deep, unmistakeable breathing on the other end of the phone line. She sits up in bed, letting the covers fall to her waist.
"Hello?" she says again, as though she doesn't know perfectly well who is calling her.
Another long silence, and she imagines her caller sitting with his eyes closed, holding the phone to his ear and smiling that little half smile that always makes her melt.
"Where are you?" She closes her eyes and concentrates, listening hard. She thinks she can hear people in the background, but muffled, as though they are far away. She might be imagining it, but she thinks she can hear the sea. She imagines a warm ocean and a heavy, comforting breeze and light, loose clothing and sultry heat that is perfect for being in love.
There is no question about what she is going to do. "Are you safe?" she asks Harry.
It takes him a while to answer, no doubt not wanting to risk speech on the off-chance that someone might be listening in, despite the security measures that have been taken, and debating how best to get his message across. After a minute, it comes. A reply, tapped out in Morse code. Y-E-S.
"Will it – you - stay safe, where you are at the moment?"
"Are you sure?" The sceptic in her can't help but ask.
He chuckles quietly at that.
She smiles, too. She has been waiting for this phone call for so long, all the time worrying that it would never come, worrying what she would say and do if it did come. It turns out it's easy, really. "I'll find you," she says. "Don't go anywhere, stay right where you are. I'll find you."
It takes her three weeks and the help of Malcolm to find him. It takes another three weeks to extract herself from the Home Office – a task made easier by the fact that the Home Secretary has been quietly expecting this ever since Harry left – and to ready everything so that she can leave.
Ruth doesn't know when she will next be in her flat – if she will ever be at all – so she cleans it carefully and diligently empties it of the things that matter most to her. Some of her possessions go into storage, while the most precious items are left with Malcolm. She buys Malcolm a bottle of expensive whiskey before she leaves; he has done a lot over the past few months, keeping her personal secrets and Harry's, as well as becoming the guardian of a large packet of documents that consists of Ruth's and Harry's insurance policy from MI-5.
An insurance policy in the loosest sense of the term, of course, but she is certain that should they ever need to cash in any of the intelligence that they've gathered between them over the years, there is enough there to keep them going well into the next century.
She first takes the Eurostar to Brussels, and spends a couple of days looking over her shoulder before moving on. Next up is a flight to Amsterdam, where she spends longer – a week this time. She spends part of her time in internet cafes and on computers in public libraries, checking that she hasn't been followed, making sure that there will be nothing to stop her keeping her promise to Harry, double and triple-checking the remainder of her travel plans.
She visits a couple of the museums too, laughs when a couple of youths in a café try to persuade her to try some magic mushrooms, and enjoys walking along the river. She thinks she'd like to come back, one day. With company, of course.
Eventually, she makes her way to Schiphol Airport – large and anonymous; the perfect place to catch her flight. It's ten days since she left Britain and she has been careful to cover her tracks. She knows she probably doesn't need to; Towers had told her, cryptically, when she left her job, that he was sure no one would bother her again, and she knows Malcolm will take care of her from a distance, but old habits die hard.
Ruth changes planes at Newark. It is the one part of the journey she has been dreading: stepping foot in the US, when it was not so long ago that Harry wormed his way out of CIA detention, largely thanks to the diversionary tactics of herself and Section D. Nothing can be proved, of course, but she's still half-expecting trouble at the border in retribution, and has to wipe sweaty palms dry on her skirt before she has her fingerprints taken at the passport control desk.
It all goes as it should, and two minutes later, she has an entry stamp in her passport and is rushing to catch her connecting flight. The sudden activity and the dash to the gate keeps her mind occupied for all the time it takes to get on the next plane and settle herself for take-off.
Ruth is exhausted when the plane lands at its destination. She hasn't slept on the flight; too full of nerves and excitement and something she can't quite put her finger on to sleep or even relax.
The airport terminal is hot and airless, and the queue at the border followed by the wait for her baggage seems to take forever. It is nearing midnight, local time. She has been awake for more than twenty four hours, and hasn't slept properly since she left London. Her modest suitcase feels very heavy in her hand as she finally steps outside to find a taxi.
The night is hot and sticky, and she learns from her taxi driver that it hasn't rained in a couple of weeks. He tells her they are due a storm, and that he hopes she won't be too disappointed by the coming rain. He compliments her on her language skills and tells her not to worry about holidaying on her own. This is a wonderful place to meet people.
She doesn't correct him as to why she is here, merely sits back and lets the man talk. With him talking in such rapid Spanish she has to concentrate to keep up and the air conditioning blasting strongly from the vent, she manages to keep herself alert enough to follow the route from the airport to her destination.
The taxi drops her outside a large hotel, which is still busy with people despite the late hour. Ruth tips the driver and then moves discreetly back from the sightline of the main entrance. Five minutes later, another taxi – pre-ordered this time – pulls into the wide driveway, here to collect her.
Part of her wishes she hadn't bothered with this extra precaution; a second taxi to take her the remainder of the way to Harry, but she knows it will be worth it. It wouldn't do for her whole plan to fail because she was too lazy to switch cabs on the way from the airport.
It takes another half an hour to reach her destination – a big, upmarket resort mostly frequented by middle aged Brits and Germans with cash to spend on fancy holidays in the sun. She can see why Harry chose it; large and anonymous enough for him to blend in with people not too dissimilar from himself in terms of demographics, yet far enough away from Europe and sufficiently unlikely enough that no one would think to look for him here.
He only arrived a couple of days ago too; Malcolm had previously traced him to a hotel twenty minutes away, but two days before Ruth had been due to leave, she had received a text message with coordinates, and a bit of investigative fiddling on the internet had led her here.
Specifically, to room 415.
Through good fortune, her taxi arrives at the same time as a coach load of tourists, some of whom Ruth recognises from her flight. They are all tired and anxious to get to their rooms, and the confusion while they are all trying to check in at once gives her the cover she needs to slip past reception and to the lifts.
All the way up to the fourth floor, her heart beats wildly.
The door looks so innocuous. Smooth wood stained a dark cherry, the little metal numbers polished and easy to read. A spyhole and a door handle. Ruth can't tell whether there is a light on in the room or not.
Down the corridor, she hears the ding of the lift and knows she needs to do this now, lest she get caught loitering outside a room without a key. She takes a deep breath, and knocks on the door.
Harry is on the balcony when he hears the knock on his door. He glances at his watch; half past one in the morning. There is only one person it can be.
He has made a hobby out of studying flight arrival times for the past few days, ever since he checked in to this new hotel on the Mexican coast, trying to work out what time she might land, adding in airport queues and the drive time from Cancun airport to deduce when she would arrive.
It turns out he is almost spot on in his predictions. He takes a deep breath and holds the warm air in his lungs for a moment, summoning up the courage he hasn't needed to use in a while.
Then he turns, and crosses the floor softly, and forces himself to check the spyhole before he pulls open the door. She is looking off down the corridor, and Harry allows himself a couple of seconds just to stare at her. Then, not wanting to stall any longer, he opens the door as casually as he can.
Her head turns and her gaze locks onto his instantly. They stare at each other for a long moment in silence, before Harry reaches out to gently take Ruth's arm and lead her into the room, relieving her of her suitcase as she passes him. "Come in," he says, the first thing he has said to her in six months, since they were forced to say goodbye in a hurry when he was spirited out of the country to avoid being captured by the CIA.
Ruth walks into the centre of the large room and then turns back to face him, crossing her arms across her stomach. She looks exhausted, he thinks. He knows she will have been travelling non-stop for at least a full day, and that she will have been on the move for weeks before that. It takes its toll. It took its toll on him, too; months spent moving from place to place until he felt secure enough to stop.
He walks towards her and stops just in front of her. Somehow, without knowing who made the move, she ends up in his arms. She feels boneless against him and he is convinced that if he were to stay still, she would fall asleep with her cheek against his shoulder. Slowly, her arms come up around his waist and he feels her fingers bunching the material of his shirt, as though she needs something to hold onto.
"I'm so glad you're here," he says, his hand in her hair, trying not to think about the time several months ago when he was concerned he might never see her again, and wasn't even one hundred per cent sure if she would want to see him again. It had taken him weeks to get up the courage to finally call her on the secret mobile. The elation he had felt when she told him she would find him still made him smile.
Ruth shifts in his hold so she can look up at him. "So am I," she says, like she is surprised to finally find herself here. Then she speaks to his chest, "It's been a long time coming."
He knows she means more than just this particular reunion – there is so much, with them, that has been a long time coming – but knows that this is not the time to get into a conversation about everything that has come before and where they ought to go from here. That can come later. For now, everything they need to do is simple, and finite, and lovely.
"You must be shattered," he says to her, stroking his thumb across her arm, her bare skin slightly clammy from the heat and the hours of uncomfortable travelling.
She nods and leans a little further into him.
Unwillingly, he pulls away slightly and then guides her into the bathroom, pausing by the door to switch on the light. "Have a shower," he says. "It'll make you feel better. Then we can sleep."
It's a testament to how tired she is – and, perhaps, the budding unspoken agreement between them – that she says nothing about the fact there is only one bed in the room. It is a very large bed, and very comfortable. More than good enough for two.
Harry hands Ruth her suitcase and she disappears into the bathroom, locking the door behind her. He takes the time to ready himself for bed, switching his light button-down shirt for a loose t-shirt and taking off his casual trousers before replacing the central light with the muted glow of the bedside lamp.
He slides shut the glass door that leads to the balcony, then goes to the fridge in the corner of the room and pulls out two small bottle of water. He places one on each side of the bed and then spends a few minutes faffing with the air conditioning, trying to get it just right. The normalcy, the domesticity, of the whole thing after so long of them having nothing even approaching normal amuses him and warms him. He likes it. By the time he is done, he can no longer hear the shower running in the bathroom.
Thirty seconds later, the door opens and Ruth comes in, wearing a man's blue dress shirt that falls almost to her knees.
It is one of the sexiest things Harry has ever seen. "I recognise that shirt," he says, a smile in his voice and on his face.
Ruth blushes slightly and nods, a smile on her face too. "I took it from your house a few months ago," she tells him.
He suspects that shirt wasn't the only thing she took from his house after he left, a fact for which he is grateful. There were papers in there that he'd rather others didn't see. Still, there is no point dwelling on that now, not when Ruth is sitting on the edge of the bed across from him, looking beautiful and as though she will fall asleep any second.
He pulls back the covers and they both climb in, lying close enough that he can smell her soap. He wants to hold her.
"I hope you won't think I'm terrible company if I just go straight to sleep," Ruth mumbles. "It's been a long day."
He shakes his head. "Of course not. We've got all the time in the world." He reaches over to switch off the light and then, in the dark, his hand finds hers as they drift off to sleep in the warmth of the Mexican night.
Can't decide whether or not this needs another chapter, so let me know if you'd like to read more :)