Disclaimer: As noted previously, they aren't mine though I'd be happy to have the chance to tell Harry Pearce what to do. :-)
A/N: Thank you for the reviews and support you've given me during this story. This story has a personal connection for me in that I've been through several miscarriages, though none nearly as dramatic as Ruth's. Also, the paramedics from Chapter Two, Hope and Gus, are named in honour of two children that my friends lost during pregnancy. Hope passed away midway through the pregnancy and 11 months later Gus was lost just days before his due date. Amazingly, these people are now parents to two energetic and mischievous kids that keep them on their toes and fill their days with much love.
Finally, Happy Birthday to Ruth Evershed!
One month later
Ruth was settled on the sofa with Fidget lying next to her, the animal purring at the attention from his owner. Harry was pottering around the kitchen, cleaning up after their dinner of pasta, garlic bread, and salad and, by the sounds of it, making tea.
She and Harry were planning to discuss their future tonight, something they'd agreed to do shortly after her miscarriage. She'd spent a week at home recovering, with Harry by her side the first few days. They'd cried about their loss, but had also smiled about the baby they could have had. What they hadn't done was make any long-term decisions. Both agreed that they needed to heal emotionally, and in Ruth's case physically, from the experience before discussing and making decisions about their future. Her emotions ran the gamut in the days following the miscarriage; one moment she desperately wanted to be pregnant again and the next she was certain she never wanted to have kids. She didn't know what she wanted but she realized that then was not the time to discuss their future.
Tonight though, was that night.
When Ruth had gone back to work, she wasn't sure what to expect, especially given that the team knew she and Harry were together. The expected awkwardness never materialized and Harry swore he'd not said anything to the team. She was greeted with hugs and smiles from her friends and she was treated as she'd always been, as one of the team. Jo later confessed that Adam impressed upon her, Zaf, and Malcolm the importance of protecting Ruth and Harry's privacy, which was already understood.
Even though she was a desk officer, work was more draining than she expected. She was glad to go back to work and keep her mind off what happened but she'd used a med room the first few days to rest after her lunch. She'd resisted the idea initially, but it was Sally Chapman who'd made the suggestion and once back at work, Ruth had to admit that she wasn't 100% ready for the long days on the Grid.
It was a moment later that he walked in with a tray complete with cups, biscuits, sugar, milk, and a pot from which steam was escaping out the spout.
"In case you are in the mood," he noted as he set the tray on a small table near a chair. He sat on the edge of the sofa next to her, just behind Fidget. He reached up to brush a lock of hair behind her ear and she grasped his hand, holding it in place against her cheek.
"I know I said this before, but thank you for everything you've done for me this past month." She turned her head and kissed his hand. "Just having you by my side has made me feel better."
Harry smiled. "I wouldn't want to be anywhere else."
"You were right about a lot of things…" she trailed off at the look on his face. "What?" she asked.
"You're admitting I was right? I need to write this down," he said jokingly.
"Very funny. Really, I thought I'd just go back to work like nothing had happened, but it wasn't that easy," she admitted.
"I know the feeling. I've been injured enough and often found it difficult to take the time to recover properly." He stopped at the odd look on Ruth's face. "What?"
"I was there when you checked yourself out of hospital AMA with a gunshot wound to your shoulder! 'Found it difficult to take the time to recover properly,' my arse. You have no idea how to recover properly."
Harry laughed. "Yes well, I'm rather good at 'do as I say, not as I do.' "
Ruth smiled at his admission, though Harry noticed it didn't reach her eyes.
"I'm glad we're going talk about what happened and whether that, well the pregnancy part, is something we want to repeat in the future." She looked up to Harry. "Have you thought about it?"
Harry nodded. "I have, yes. And you, are you ready to talk about it as well?" to which Ruth nodded in reply.
"Do you mind if I say something first?" he asked.
"This has been on my mind every day since it happened. I've thought about us, about Catherine and Graham, including how I was with them when they were kids as well as my relationship with them now. I realize this may sound like a cop-out, but I assure you it's not. If you feel strongly about us having a child in the future, I'm happy to do so. But if you decide that this isn't something you want, I'm okay with that, too. I want us to be together and to be happy and if that involves having kids together, then I look forward to doing my part," he said with a smile.
Ruth took a moment to absorb his words and to Harry's credit, he didn't rush her. She took a deep breath before she started to speak.
"My mind has turned this over and over as well. This past month I've experienced a strange feeling and I didn't know what it was. Suddenly, I see babies everywhere I look, it seems. I never used to notice them so much before. Of course then I see a screaming toddler having a temper tantrum and I'm reminded that smiling babies turn into little kids, then bigger kids who become teenagers." She paused and smiled back at him. "And just when I think it might be worth all that hassle to have a child I think about our jobs and the risks we both have accepted with those jobs and I wonder how I, how we can even begin to think about bringing a child into that situation."
Harry squeezed Ruth's hand in encouragement.
"I think I know what that strange feeling is and, well the only way I can describe it is that I feel incomplete. Despite everything that happened and all the challenges our life entails, I think I want to have a baby. I had a wonderful relationship with my father and I'd like the opportunity for that kind of relationship with my own child, but to be honest, the idea of being a mother does terrify me."
Harry smiled at her admission before pulling her into a hug. "Have we just decided to have a baby?" he whispered.
She laughed and released his embrace. "I think so, though there are a lot of other issues to consider as well. We've not been together that long, Harry."
"Ruth, I can honestly say that being with you feels right to me. The only thing I have to compare it to is my marriage with Jane, which I know isn't necessarily right, but I've changed a lot since I was that much younger guy and I hope that together we can continue this relationship. You are my better half; you help me to remember that there is good and decency in this world. When I'm not with you, I crave your presence and when we're together I feel like I'm prepared for whatever life throws at me because I know you will be there with me. I'd like for us to be married some day; not because I need to possess you but because I want to take that vow with you and publicly commit my life to you." As he spoke, Ruth's eyes glistened more and more until a single tear ran down her cheek. "Did I say the wrong thing?" he asked.
She smiled and the movement caused another tear to roll. "That was the most amazing thing anyone has ever said to me. I love you, Harry Pearce," and she leaned forward to kiss him.
It was few minutes before they parted, sharing kisses and an embrace.
"Well, you have your check-up in a few weeks and the consultant said you should wait at least three months before we try again so I think we have some time to discuss how family life would work for us once we're parents. Does that sound okay? I don't want to feel like we have to work everything out tonight," Harry said.
"I agree and I think letting this decision sink in for a while before we make other decisions is good, too," Ruth added.
Harry pulled Ruth into another hug. "Speaking of kids, I called Catherine. After everything last month I realized I need to make a bigger effort with Catherine and Graham. She's back in London, doing finishing work on her latest documentary so we've set a date for dinner and I'd like you to join us."
It was easy for Ruth to see that this was important to Harry. "I'd love to have dinner with you and Catherine. Did you tell her about me and the miscarriage?"
"I did tell her about you but not the miscarriage. Not because I want to hide it but…" his voice trailed off.
Ruth squeezed his hand. "I know, Harry, and I agree that we don't need to share that right now. Someday, perhaps, but not yet."
"Yes. Anyway, I think you and Catherine will get on well and I'm looking forward to my two favourite women getting to know one another."
"Have you contacted Graham?" Ruth asked, certain that it had been sometime since Harry had spoken to his son.
He shook his head. "Not directly. I did tell Catherine she could invite him to join us, but I don't expect it will be that easy. Rebuilding my relationship with my son will take work, but I need to try. When I spoke to Catherine it sounded like she was going to be in London for a while, so I'd like to have a regular dinner date with her and keep inviting Graham. At least he will know he's always welcome to join us, if nothing else works."
Ruth smiled at Harry. "I'm glad you're making the effort; at this point it's all you can do." She leaned in and kissed him.
"I'm glad we had this talk. There are still things to be decided, but I feel better knowing we agree on this decision. Plus I'm really looking forward to all the practicing we'll have to do for getting pregnant," he said with a laugh as he leaned in to steal a kiss from the woman who was going to be the mother of his next child.