dweomeroflight: (Smoochy time)
[personal profile] dweomeroflight
Title: Never the Princess Now
Fandom: Spooks
Characters/Pairing: Ruth/Harry. Elena.
Word Count: 1500 words approx
Rating: PG
Spoilers: AU oneshot fic for up to 10.5 of spooks
Notes: I felt like writing something because I hadn't written any fic in almost a year. This wip had been in my mind for an age and I'd even written part of it already. In reality, I never believed that Harry and Ruth should be together. Both characters changed too much and not necessarily for the better. This oneshot uses the tragedy of the Gavriks to highlight the tragedy of Ruth and Harry. Elena never worked for me in 10.6. She became too much. I liked her better when she was ambiguous, hurting and screwed over by Harry. This story is that Elena. Enjoy.



My people called her the knave of clubs- the lowest suite and the weakest link, but from the moment I met her I knew differently. My people are not subtle in that way- for centuries circumstances have forced us to rely on brutality and paranoia to survive. This woman- this plain and steely woman- was a queen of spades, 25 points and the key to unlocking an entire secret service branch. The others? They buried their hearts deep and erased the location from memory in that stolid British way. Not so Ruth Evershed. Underneath her ice and her pain, she was still alive. It is why I disobeyed my orders and let her go...

1.

The two women sat side by side surrounded by paintings; one woman red and pale, aged angles but still beautiful, and the other dark haired and sad, sad eyes. They were two women enjoying a cultured gossip at the National Gallery at a glance.

“Harry Pearce is a very... unique man,” the red haired lady said.

“What would you know?” the dark haired woman said.

Her face hardened and she looked petty and ugly.

“I loved him. He loved me. Once.”

The dark haired woman flinched and the red haired woman smiled.

“Ruth, Ruth, you asked. I do not tell lies.”

“I don’t trust you, Elena.”

“The British have no love for the Russians. It is life, is it not?” Elena replied.

She at least was calm and unruffled. The tourists milling around the two women noted the difference between them- the cultured foreign beauty of Elena, the bitter, mean spirited mask that Ruth wore- and judged them both accordingly. They knew nothing. Nothing.

“What has happened, Ruth? What has happened to you and to him? This life, it tears us apart. It is not a life chosen for commitments and for longevity.”

“And yet-“ Ruth began.

“And yet I have Ilya and Sasha,” Elena smiled. “It is true.”

“Do you love them the same way that you loved him?”

Elena sighed and studied Ruth’s face.

“You are still so young.”

“You were never for him.”

Ruth said it with a kind of hard satisfaction.

Elena shook her head.

“Perhaps not. He slept with me, had a son by me, got what he wanted from me and left. He left me with the KGB- the KGB who killed my parents. Tortured them. You are right. Such a man was never for me.”

Her words seemed to have struck a chord with Ruth.

“He did his duty,” Ruth said, but she no longer sounded certain.

“A pretty lie, Ruth. You are old enough to see through such transparent fallacies.”

“It was a long time ago now,” Ruth went on desperately.

“So it was but some scars never fade. He made a choice all of those years ago. He is that kind of man.”

“And Ilya?”

“Steady and dependable.”

“Hardly the stuff of poetry,” Ruth sneered.

“No,” said Elena, “but real life and commonplace, garden variety happiness, rarely ever is, though we try to delude ourselves into thinking otherwise.”

Ruth flinched.

Elena held out a thin, claw like hand. It was immaculately manicured.

After a short pause, Ruth took it with her own nail bitten ones.

“It was good to meet you, Ruth,” Elena said.

‘I’m afraid I can’t return the compliment.”

Elena smiled, her mouth a slash of bloody crimson.

“Naturally. Still- I shall see you again soon and we shall talk. I am sure of it. We are- how goes the wretched English phrasing? Stuck with each other.”

2.

Ruth had spent the last days trying to put Elena out of her mind; the thought of her perfect red nails against Harry’s cheeks, the pale, soft thighs wrapped around his body, making a new life.

“It had all been so long ago,” she told herself. “The past is different. It doesn’t change the now.”

Only she couldn’t help but think of Harry commanding her to see Elena and him so sure, so certain that she would do as she was told; meek, submissive, and obedient to the last.

“He needed me to do it,” she would think, “because of National Security.”

Then Elena’s words niggled.

“Such a man was never for me.”

What did the bitch mean by that? And Ruth knew what she meant of course. Perhaps she had known ever since George had been shot in front of her.

Harry manipulated. It was why he had been so good at his job. Once.

Ruth wanted to believe that Elena had been about security threats and sending Ruth to Elena had been about trust but deep down she knew better.

It had been a kind of cowardice.

3.

“Trust. Funny thing, trust,” Ruth said on the park bench.

Harry tried futilely to clutch at her hand.

“It takes you years to build,” Ruth went on,” but only a second to break.”

“Please,” Harry said.

“Elena. Sasha. Would I have ever found out about them if they hadn’t come back into your life? Do you know what it’s like to feel something for someone, and then one day realise you don’t even know them?”

“You do know me! You know all the important things,” Harry said.

“Stupid man. People don’t love each other on a need-to-know basis, Harry. I think to myself, ‘Maybe this is the final thing. His last secret.’ But then I look at you, and I realise there are so many more. Aren’t there?

Harry couldn’t lie with her eyes fixed on him like that.

“Yes,” he said at last.

He tried to catch her eyes as she jerked away from him.

“How many more do you have buried for me to uncover?”

“The same as you do, no doubt,” Harry replied acerbically. “Everyone has secrets, Ruth. It’s naive to think that a relationship means total absolution, a kind of trial by penitentiary confession.”

There was a hard glint in Ruth’s eyes.

“That’s not what I meant and you know it. I sometimes wonder if you love me at all.”

“How could you say that?” He said fiercely. “How could you when you know how much I care?”

“Do you know something, Harry... people can love but they can still be somehow ugly despite that love.”

He winced.

“You have to make a new choice, Harry.”

And then she stood up and was gone.

4.

Harry didn’t want to think about Ruth. Not anymore. She had changed since George and he didn’t know if she would ever come back to him. He was tired of begging her to notice him, tired of the subtle dancing around each other.

Ilya sat opposite him and from his half smile; Harry knew that Elena had been talking to her husband.

“What do you have to show for all of these years, Harry? I have a house and a wife and a son. And a tortoise in the garden.”

He was needling Harry deliberately. Harry knew what it was that he had to show for a life of espionage but he didn’t appreciate having his nose rubbed in it by a Russian.

Harry had secrets buried in his garden and a house marked by mournful Beethoven. Would he ever find more than that now?

5.

Elena opened the door and smiled at Ruth.

“I knew you would come. You are welcome here.”

“I don’t want to say,” Ruth said dully. “I am leaving.”

Elena didn’t look surprised. She nodded slowly.

“I thought somehow that you would. You are too intelligent to do otherwise.”

“I need to get out, Elena. I need to start a new life for myself. One free of dreams and shadows.”

“That is wise but where will you go.”

Ruth held out a plane ticket.

“Some place sunny. Some place simple. Some place where men expect less of me.”

“Some people would think that a terrible waste.”

‘They aren't me. It’s not their right to choose for me.”

“And what about Harry?”

“Your husband will have him kicked out into the cold, won’t he?”

“Perhaps.”

Elena smiled but Ruth did not look angry, only sad. Such sad, sad eyes.

“When it happens, and I know him too well to know that this time there is no if, when it happens he may come to me. I left a note.”

“And if he doesn’t?”

“Then he was never truly for me.”

Elena nodded and reached out to place a bony hand on Ruth’s shoulder.

“You are stronger than many people would guess at, Ruth. I am... glad... that you are going away.”

“Thank you,” Ruth said quietly. “I do not like you but I know when a person is trying to protect me.”

Elena looked shocked.

“You don’t have to say how you are involved or why. That’s your own affair. I can’t pretend to know why you would help me, but I thank you anyway. From the bottom of my heart.”

“You are a very extraordinary woman, Ruth.”

Ruth winced as though remembering something painful and Elena took pity on her.

“Maybe he will come.”

“Do you really think so? We both know what kind of a man he is.”

“Oh yes, but for you? Surely he will come.”

Ruth’s eyes were haunted.

“Sometimes I wonder if I want him to follow me.”

She didn’t need to say anything more. Elena understood, had understood, from the moment the two women had met.

They stood in silence while the rain sheeted down, soaking them both to the bone. When at last Ruth said goodbye, Elena did not move to stop her. Instead, she closed the door and sank against its frame, while her heart ached ever so curiously, for a person she had never truly known and yet had done everything in her power to save.

I asked him to say how it happened,
how it all began.
I asked again but he never said a word.
As if he hadn't heard...

Pilate's Dream
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