A Little Less Conversation

Summary: Set just before 3.2. The ladies of the Grid get pissed at the George which leads to Harry taking a drunk Ruth home.

Disclaimer: Spooks and its characters are the property of Kudos and the BBC. I'm simply playing dress up with them.

A/N: This idea started out as pure silliness but the execution of such ended up more serious. As for a plot, there isn't one. If you feel a plot is critical to a story, look away now. Additional disclaimer information is located at the end of the chapter.

1 October, 2004

"Fancy a night at the George?" Sam asked Zoe after lunch. "I just had a horrible lunch date and could use a girl's night out."

"God yes. A girl's night sounds lovely. What was wrong with your lunch date?" Zoe lowered her voice as others started to drift onto the Grid.

"A friend set us up and we'd been emailing back and forth to get to know each other. At the end of lunch, which I thought had been going well, he tells me that it was nice to meet me but he can't stomach my accent."

"Men are such prats," Zoe exclaimed, turning a few heads.

"Well that's not news," Ruth added as she approached Zoe's desk.

Sam turned to Ruth. "Then you need to join us tonight at the George. We can swap stories and drink drinks with little pink umbrellas."

"That's the best idea I've heard all week. Hopefully things stay quiet for the next few hours." Ruth and Sam each walked back to their desks and settled in for the afternoon.

At 5:00, Zoe decided she needed to get away from the Grid. Danny and Adam were comparing notes about good places to wine and dine women and Malcolm was trying to engage anyone who would listen about a new eavesdropping device he was developing. She cleared off her desk, locked the drawers, and walked over to Sam's desk.

"It's time to go. We've been here long enough. I'll meet you downstairs in five minutes." Zoe walked over to Ruth's desk and repeated the message.

Ruth wasn't used to leaving the Grid so early, and certainly not when there were still tasks on her to do list, but having been in Section D for a year now, she felt it wasn't unreasonable for her to leave early on one day. Besides, she didn't have any plans for the weekend and knew she'd probably be at work tomorrow anyway. Ruth had also gotten in the habit of stopping at Harry's office to say goodbye before she left, but as she glanced towards his office she could see that he was on the phone. Her attention was drawn away by the arrival of Sam at her desk.

"Ruth, you're still joining us right?" Sam asked.

With a quick glance at Harry's office to see that he was still on the phone, Ruth nodded her head. "Yes, I'm locking everything up right now." She quickly stashed her working files into a deep desk drawer, locked the desk and logged off her computer. After grabbing her coat and purse, she and Sam exited through the pods.

Adam and Danny were so engrossed in their conversation that they took no notice of the women's departure. It wasn't until Malcolm and Colin interrupted them to ask where Ruth had gone that they looked around and noticed that the three women were not only not there, but that their desks had been cleaned off and the coats gone.

"Sorry, it looks like the ladies have taken their leave of us," Adam replied.

Danny was quiet for a moment. "Come to think of it, I did see the three of them chatting earlier today. Maybe they made plans to go out after work. Anyone interested in stopping by the George to see if they're there and having a drink?"

"I'm afraid I won't be able to join you this evening as I have plans with my mother. Goodnight," Malcolm said before turning back towards the Forgery Suite as Harry exited his office and made his way over to Adam, Colin, and Danny.

"I'm in. It's been a while since I've been out," Colin added as Harry joined the group.

"I'll come. Fiona is out of the country and Wes is at his grandparents. Might as well spend my night drinking with you instead of sitting home alone." Turning his attention to Harry he asked, "Care to join us at the George? We're not sure if that's where the ladies have disappeared to but we'll find out."

Harry glanced around the Grid, taking in the empty desks. "It's been a while, but we should be glad for the quiet. I still have a few things to wrap up, but I'll meet you down there once I'm done."

The guys cleaned off their desks, shut down their computers, and grabbed their jackets before exiting the pods and heading to the George.

"To us!"

Ruth, Sam, and Zoe each threw back a shot and then slammed the glass on the table.

"Vodka. How Russian of us," Zoe commented as she wiped her mouth with the back of her hand.

"If I'm going to be conscious for more than the next hour I need to switch to something else. Shall I get a bottle of wine?" Ruth asked.

Sam leaned forward so she could see Ruth on the other side of Zoe. "Make it three; a bottle for each of us. I'll have a red."

Ruth looked to Zoe to see her nodding in agreement. "Yes, but make mine white."

Ruth stood and moved over to the bar, which wasn't yet packed with civil servants from nearby government offices. She placed her order with the barman, who simply raised an eyebrow at her before gathering three bottles and three glasses and placing them on a serving tray for her to take back to the table.

As Ruth returned to the table, Sam was telling Zoe about her blind date over lunch.

"He was perfectly nice until the end when he told me that he just couldn't handle my Scottish accent," Sam said. "Considering we'd been chatting via email and I specifically told him that I was from Edinburgh, why the hell would he agree to go out with me if he doesn't like Scottish accents?"

"Arsehole is what he is," added Zoe. "I mean, I'm not asking for his life story on the first date, but at least be honest. Not like the last jerk who failed to mention his wife." Zoe finished her first glass of wine and poured herself another. "What about you, Ruth, any recent horror stories with men?"

"Well, considering I haven't been on a date since I moved to London, no. As if that's not depressing enough," Ruth took a long drink of her wine, "my last boyfriend dumped me after a year and a half because, in his words, I wasn't sexy enough. Not sure why it took him 18 months to figure that out." Ruth polished off her glass of wine and poured herself another.

"As I said before, arsehole," Zoe finished her glass of wine. "Too bad there aren't any good ones at Five. That just makes things easier."

Sam spoke up. "I don't know about that. I went a couple of times with a guy who worked at Whitehall and he knew I worked for Five, so I thought it would be easier, but he kept badgering me for details about ops. It was stuff I wouldn't have known anyway, but I started to feel like he was going out with me simply to get information."

"As I said before, arsehole. The whole lot of them." Zoe took another drink of wine as Sam and Ruth followed suit.

"So Adam, you like it here in Section D? Or would you prefer to be back with the cowboys of Six?" Adam, Colin, and Danny had just walked out the front door of Thames House and were making the short walk to the George.

Adam laughed. "I do like Section D. It's a nice change of pace, plus I get to work with the legendary Harry Pearce." He turned to Colin and Danny with what he hoped was a suitably serious face.

Both took one look at Adam's face and started laughing, which in turn caused Adam to laugh as well. "We're glad to have you," Danny said. "When is Tom supposed to return from his visit to Lisa Joyce?"

Colin piped in, "In the next day or so. Sounds like he'd wrapped up what he needed to take care of."

The three men fell silent as the remembered the op just over two months ago that caused Tom to shoot Harry and then disappear and be presumed dead.

"Any idea why the ladies disappeared without a word? They must have left together; that's the only reason I can think of as to why Ruth wasn't still on the Grid," asked Danny.

"Sam had a lunch date; she mentioned it while getting tea this morning but she didn't look too happy this afternoon. Maybe it didn't go well," Colin added.

"In other words, if they're at the George, who knows what we will find," Adam surmised.

"Damn," Danny added.

"We need music. Who has change?" Sam asked as the levels in the bottles dropped dangerously low.

"I do, I've always got it," Ruth said as she dug out her coin purse. The alcohol was taking its toll on her coordination, but eventually she fished out a handful of coins and handed them over to Sam, who took the two steps over to the jukebox.

"Any requests? Not sure this thing's got any music from this century, but there has to be something good," Sam said as she perused the offerings. They could hardly hear Sam muttering as she went through the available choices. "Take That, no. Shamen, no. Madonna, no. Duran Duran, no. Ohh, I haven't heard this one in ages." Sam dropped the coins in before pressing two buttons. The juke box started to hum as it located the correct record and Sam stumbled back to her seat.

Zoe recognized the tune straight away. "God Sam, did you have to go for depressing?"

Ruth, who took a bit longer to recognize the song, nodded in agreement. "It's depressing, but easy to sing."

And with that, all three started to sing along.

When you make love, do you look in the mirror? Who do you think of? Does he look like me? Do you tell lies? And say that it's forever?

None of the women noticed the door of the George open seconds later as Danny, Adam, and Colin arrived. It didn't take them long to locate their co-workers and they moved in that direction immediately. As they passed the bar, Richard the barman stopped them.

"They've been hitting it pretty hard since they arrived. It may not be long before they need to go home, you understand. I'll bring you your usual." The men nodded and continued over to the table. They stood there for a moment before Zoe realized someone had stopped near the table. When Zoe turned her attention to the guys, Sam and Ruth followed her gaze, but the three women kept singing.

I don't wanna touch you too much baby 'Cos making love to you might drive me crazy I know you think that love is the way you make it So I don't wanna be there when you decide to break it No!

Danny pointed at the empty chairs on the other side of the table and Zoe waved her hand as if to say, 'help yourself.'

The men took in the overturned shot glasses, the nearly empty wine bottles, and their co-workers singing along to Def Leppard. As the song finished, and with it the impromptu sing along, Danny decided to be brave. "So, what's the occasion for this little gathering?"

The women shared a smile. "Do you really want to know?" asked Sam.

The three guys exchanged a look and then Adam turned back to women before tentatively nodding.

Zoe spoke up. "Just commiserating about the fact that men can be such total wankers." All three women fixed their stares on the men at their table, as if challenging them to refute Zoe's statement.

Colin settled for a slight nod while Adam took a drink of his cider. Danny may have been an excellent interrogator, but when the tables were turned on him, especially by these three women, he didn't know what to say. "Sorry to hear that. Sam, lunch date didn't go well?"

As Sam launched into a lengthy explanation, Harry turned up at the table and grabbing an empty chair, sat on the end between Ruth and Colin. The look from Ruth confused him so he turned to Colin. "What's going on?"

Colin moved closer to Harry but didn't take his eyes off Sam. "Sam had a bad blind lunch date and apparently the three women have concurred that men are 'total wankers'."

"Ah. Lucky us, then," Harry said as he sipped his drink.

"Love Bites" was recorded by Def Leppard and included on the album "Hysteria." It was written by Joe Elliott, Phil Collen, Steve Clark, Rick Savage, and Robert John "Mutt" Lange.