Disclaimer: Spooks, Harry, Ruth, et al are owned by Kudos and the BBC. I'm simply helping them celebrate Harry's birthday before putting them back safely in their proper place.
A/N: I started this piece last year for Harry's 60th birthday and then life got in the way. Thankfully it's been sitting on my flash drive for the past year so I reworked it to fit his 61st birthday. If you could take a moment and leave a review, it would be appreciated.
"Do you regret that we didn't have children?"
Ruth was making tea in the kitchen when the question was asked, and she spun her head around in surprise.
"What makes you ask that?" she said.
Harry moved from his place at the doorway to stand next to her. "I was watching you with David and for a bit you looked rather wistful, as though you regretted not having children."
Ruth smiled at her husband's perceptiveness. "I did have a moment tonight, but it passed quickly." She picked up her cup and moved to the sitting room, sitting at the end of the sofa.
Harry followed her with his own cup and settled next to her. "You didn't answer my question, you know."
Ruth sighed, knowing that when Harry wanted an answer, he wasn't one to be denied. "I used to think about what our child would be like, whether they would have your curly hair or your honey-coloured eyes. But that was so long ago, even before I left London. By the time I returned and we got our act together, I felt like it was too late."
Harry looked down into his tea cup. "I'm sorry," he said quietly.
Ruth reached over, laying her hand on his thigh. "What are you sorry for?"
"I'm sorry that it took us so long to get to this point. And I… I've thought a lot about what our child would look like as well. It didn't matter whether it was a boy or girl, but I always pictured them as a miniature of you, with dark hair and beautiful blue eyes."
She leaned to her right, settling against him. "You don't need to be sorry about that. What happened, happened. We had one dinner then and we don't know what would have happened between us if not for Cotterdam. It's in the past and behind us. Besides, who says we'd have been able to get pregnant anyway? It's not worth driving ourselves crazy thinking about what if. We have a wonderful life now. We are together, married, and retired. We have little David to dote on and we get to watch him grow and change. Within a few years he'll be joined by a cousin or a sibling and then we'll have more grandchildren to enjoy and spend time with. We have a good life, Harry, and despite things I may have missed out on, I'm exactly where I want to be."
She shifted slightly so she could look at Harry. "What's brought all this on? Surely it wasn't just an expression on my face. Does it have something to do with your birthday?"
"I know it's just a number and as Catherine said, it beats the alternative, but being in my 60's suddenly feels very old. It's made me wonder if there are things I should do before I absolutely cannot do them. Does that make any sense?"
"Yes, but... Well in one breath you are talking about whether we should have had a child or not and the next you say you are feeling old and wondering if there are things you should have done." Ruth paused for a moment in contemplation. "Are you saying you think we should try to have a child?"
Harry shook his head. "No. Well, I don't think so anyway. We're grandparents now. Realistically, the thought of having a baby in the house full-time with nappies and middle of the night feedings doesn't sound like fun. Seeing you hold David made me wonder if us deciding not to have a baby was the right decision." He shrugged his shoulders. "My head knows it was the right decision but my heart is being sentimental, as though I've deprived you of something I already had for myself. Must be this birthday that everyone has been nattering on about."
"While I was planning this little party with your children, I did some thinking. We both tend to grumble about not wanting others to make a fuss over our birthday because we don't like to think about the number associated with the birthday," Ruth started.
Harry nodded in agreement. "Sounds about right."
"What we should be doing is celebrating these days because it's yet another milestone we've reached together. None of our tomorrows are guaranteed and I don't want either of us to look back and say, "I wish we would have celebrated those special days instead of trying to ignore them."
Harry responded by wrapping her in a hug. "More words of wisdom from my brilliant wife."
Ruth laughed. "I'll remember that the next time you are mumbling under your breath about me overthinking something."
Harry smiled and planted a kiss on her cheek.
"You should know, I taught your children some covert tactics so we could get together to set this all up and keep you in the dark. It's probably a good thing neither of them were interested in following in your footsteps; they picked up what I taught them quite easily," she said with a smile. "I'm glad we were able to surprise you, though. The look on your face was priceless."
"Yes, about that. When I said I didn't want a party for my 60th birthday, I didn't mean 'just wait a year and throw a surprise party for my 61st,' " he said.
Ruth laughed. "Despite all your blustering about it, I think you really enjoyed the attention."
"Honestly, I did enjoy myself. Maybe not so much the attention but I've come to realize that there's nothing better than having my family and close friends around me. The fact that everyone I would have chosen to have at the party was there was the best gift I could have." He paused and Ruth saw an emotion on his face she couldn't quite place.
"Harry, what's wrong? Are you okay?" She tried not to sound overly concerned.
"I'm fine. I was just thinking that six years ago I had no idea where you were and truly believed I'd never see you again. Catherine and I had contact but we certainly weren't close, and Graham was clean and healthy but still unwilling to speak with me. I think there's a part of me that believes I don't deserve all this good fortune and now that I have a family it's going to be taken from me."
Ruth leaned forward and kissed Harry's cheek, leaving her forehead pressed against the side of his face. "I'm being ridiculous, aren't I?" she felt him ask.
"No you're not. It just shows that we never know what might happen next." She backed away slightly as she placed her left hand on his cheek, turning him to face her. "We're both very lucky to be where we are. Let's not worry about what's behind us. Let's live for today and dream about tomorrow."
"Thank you, Ruth, for everything. The party, yes, but for our life and the part you've played in bringing my family back into my life. I will endeavor every day to show you how much I love you and am grateful for what you have brought to my life," he said.
Ruth was touched by the sentiment in her husband's words. "Oh, Harry. Thank you. Seeing you happy makes me happy and this was a wonderful day," she said as she embraced her husband.