Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Requiem for the Dead Part II
14-12-2011, 09:57 AM (This post was last modified: 14-12-2011 10:08 AM by Silktie.)
Post: #1
Requiem for the Dead Part II

29 April 2012
London, the Grid

Erin came to a stop in front of Harry’s desk and they stared at each other wordlessly. Neither blinked.
“Don’t you ever ask me to use a child like that again,” she ground out.
Harry pursed his lips. “I will give you any order I deem to be the most effective at that particular moment, and you will carry them out,” he responded icily. “Lives depend upon you doing so.”
Her face flushed. “Screw you, Harry! There is a line we don’t cross. Or at least, there is one that I won’t cross. You on the other hand-”
She stopped herself, breathing heavily, before plunging on. “What if it had been Rosie, for God’s sake? Would you have ordered Rosie tied to that bomb?”

And there it was; the crux of the matter. Harry held her glare and his silence was all the answer she needed. Her eyes flashed mutinously and suddenly he was so, so tired. He stood up and collected his coat, brushing past his Section Chief as he did so. After shrugging it on he turned to her.
“But it wasn’t Rosie, Erin.”
He stepped back behind the desk. “Imaginative compassion is a liability in this job. You can’t afford to play the ‘what if’ game, not when there are so many lives at stake. The best you can hope for is that the day that it turns out to be Rosie you will not be the one that will have to make the decisions.”
Harry held her eyes, making sure the message sank in, before he reached for his glass, the gesture a dismissal. Erin stood a moment longer, then turned abruptly and stalked out. Harry rubbed his forehead wearily and nudged the file out of the way to stare at the words he had written.
Dear Ruth
Pain engulfed him and he sucked in a ragged breath.

Out on the Grid, Calum watched the man in the office toss back the Scotch, then pick up the leatherbound journal from his desk and slip it into his pocket. He left without a word. As soon as the doors closed behind him, Calum picked up the phone.

* * *
Twenty minutes later
London, South Bank

Harry sat on the bench and stared across the river unseeingly. It was early evening on a Spring day and the setting sun gave all it touched a golden glow. He didn’t notice the beauty of the day; his focus was inward. After an eternity he reached into his pocket and pulled out the journal. It fell open on the last page he had written on.

Dear Ruth,

He pulled out his pen and resumed.

Today I ordered that a four year old boy be tied to a bomb. He had dark hair, and dark eyes. Today of all days, Ruth. Just as I think that life can’t get any more wretched, it gives me a day like today. The universe is a cruel taskmaster, isn’t it?

All turned out well in the end, although I think the episode may have put a strain on Erin and Dimitri’s relationship. She refused to carry out my order, and Dimitri stepped up. I am more impressed with him every day. He is turning into a top class officer – brave, clear-headed, with good judgement. Erin, though… I worry about her sometimes. She hasn’t yet found the right balance between compassion and ruthlessness that is so crucial in this job. But then, she probably thinks the same about me. I can see it in her eyes when I make decisions such as the one I made today. She thinks I’m harder because I lost you.

A shadow fell across the page and Harry looked up to see William Towers stand in front of him. The Home Secretary’s eyes rested on the journal and Harry closed it gently.
“Hello, Harry.”
“Home Secretary.”
Towers settled himself on the bench next to Harry. “I’m off the clock,” he stated amiably, as if that explained his presence adequately, and half turned to observe the man next to him.
Harry nodded but didn’t respond, so Towers pressed on.
“I was on my way to get a drink and dinner when I saw you. Do you want to join me?”
Harry’s mouth twitched, whether in derision or amusement his companion wasn’t quite sure.
“You’re terrible at this,” he stated bluntly.
“Am I?” Towers shrugged. “I thought I was being quite subtle, myself.”
He watched Harry closely and was gratified to see the smile stretch a tad wider.
“Oh, you’re a paragon of understatement, William,” Harry said dryly and finally turned to face the other man. “Why are you really here?”
Towers sighed and looked out over the river. “Because of the date,” he responded softly and somewhat uncomfortably. “I… thought you might appreciate some company tonight.”
Harry was quiet for a while, his gaze on the journal in his hands.
“No,” he said eventually. “No thank you.”

The Home Secretary accepted the rebuff in good grace. Truth be told, he hadn’t really expected a different answer. He leaned back and stretched out his legs, watching the few people dotted around the Embankment. It was too early for the evening rush, it seemed. A red bus crawling along on the opposite bank caught his attention.
“Only three months to the Olympics, Harry. How are we doing on the security arrangements?”
The spook lifted an eyebrow. “I thought you were off the clock,” he murmured.
Towers smiled ruefully. “You’re right, you’re right,” he conceded. “You’re a bad influence on me.”
Harry smiled and relented. “I have a meeting with the honourable mayor of London next week to finalise everything.”
A note of distaste crept into his voice. “He’s contracted a private security company to assist.”
The Home Secretary rolled his eyes. “Good God.”
“Indeed. I’ve tried to argue against it, but you know what he’s like.”
“Yes. Well, good luck, and keep me updated.”

Towers stood, and looked at the man who had become a friend in the last few months with compassion. He noted the way his thumb absently traced over the journal in his hand and the faraway look in his eyes.
“Harry,” he said gently. “You need to fill the vacant positions in your section soon. You’re going to need all the hands you can get for the Olympics.”
Harry’s jaw clenched and he blinked, then nodded. “I know.”
Towers waited but Harry said nothing more. He sighed inaudibly.
“Well. I’ll leave you to it. If you change your mind about dinner...”
Harry nodded mutely, gratefully, but they both knew he wouldn’t.
Towers walked away. He looked back once and saw Harry busily writing. He hoped there weren’t too many state secrets in that journal.

* * *

He wrote:
Erin’s wrong though. I would have done the same had you been there. In fact, I like to think that you would have understood the need for the order, even though you would have hated it.

Harry paused, a niggling thought fighting its way to the front of his mind.
Or perhaps I’m turning you into something you never were – a yes-man (all right, yes-woman). A way to salve my conscience, to justify my actions. How could I truly claim to know how you would have reacted? Is it possible for people to know each other so well, that they could always predict the other’s reaction? I’m not so sure about that any more. Time passes and we remember things from our own perspective, rather than objectively. How could it be otherwise? Life is subjective.

Anyway, I’m rambling. Three months until the Olympics and Towers just reminded me that I need to find a second techie. And the hardest of all, a new analyst. Life must go on, even if I should wish it not to today.

Harry looked up, took a deep breath, and wrote a final few words.

Happy birthday, Ruth.

He closed the journal and slowly made his way home.

* * *
8 May 2012
Office of the Mayor, London

Harry was shown into the office by an efficient woman who regarded him with ill-disguised curiosity. He was used to the reaction; people who didn’t often meet members of the Security Services tended to find the experience quite exciting, until they realised that the spies were normal people like anyone else. He declined her offer of coffee and shifted his attention to the man behind the desk. The Mayor rose and came forward to shake his hand.
“Sir Harry. Thank you for coming. Getting excited about the Olympics yet, are we?”
“No,” Harry said acerbically. “The day they recognise cricket as an Olympic sport is the day I’ll get excited about it.”
The Mayor faltered momentarily. “Er, right. Well. I called this meeting to introduce you to the Head of the private security firm I’ve hired-“
“About that, Mayor,” Harry interrupted. “Let me reiterate once again that I find it highly irregular and, frankly, irresponsible. I cannot stress strongly enough how concerned I am about the involvement of this private security firm.”
The Mayor laughed. “Oh, relax. Must you take everything so seriously?”
He failed to notice Harry’s face darken ominously and blithely sailed on. “I didn’t rake in a firm willy-nilly from the street. There was a tender process, all above board.”
“Oh, a tender process. Well, thank God, we can now all sleep easy in our beds at night,” Harry retorted scathingly.
The Mayor frowned, taken aback. “I fail to see the problem-“
“Did you do a security audit on this firm? Background checks on every single guard to be used, every executive, every person who’s ever sold them equipment?”
“Well no, but it’s hardly necessary.” He smiled broadly, pleased with himself. “You see, the Head of the firm used to be one of you chaps. He assured me that he only employs the most trustworthy personnel.”
Harry stared at him, aghast. “You simply took his word for it? You imbec-“
The door opened at that opportune moment, preventing Harry from insulting the Mayor of London’s mental faculties. He turned away, trying to check his anger.
Behind him the secretary said, “Mr Smith from Fortress Inc is here, Mayor,” and ushered another man in.
Harry swung around and was met with an old face from the past.

* * *
Same day, late evening
The Grid

Harry sat in his office, jacket off and tie loosened. The rest of the Grid was shrouded in darkness. He nursed his second whisky of the night carefully, making it last. The journal lay open before him and he thought for a moment before beginning.

Dear Ruth,
The mayor remains adamant about using a private security firm to protect some of the Olympic venues. Have you ever heard such poppycock? I appealed to Towers, but even he couldn’t sway the man. I’m not sure what lies behind it – normally with politicians I would put my money on, well, money, but I have set Calum onto it and he can’t find any whiff of corruption or irregularity about the tender process. And then today I walk into his office to learn he’d done no background checks before awarding the tender, because the Head of the firm that won it used to be ‘one of us chaps’. The sheer stupidity of it is astounding. I know, I know; I should have expected something like this from a politician. Maybe I’ve been lulled into a false sense of security by William’s competence.

Anyway. The Head of the firm is Melvyn Smith. Smithy, of all people. I used to work with him way back in Belfast. He was an agent handler, but I lost touch with him after Bill’s death and my subsequent transfer to Six. I vaguely recall that he left the Service shortly after. I’m not surprised – I remember him as a cautious man, unwilling to take the risks that are sometimes needed to get things done. These are not good traits for an intelligence officer to have. He seemed happy enough to see me, even though we didn’t part on the best of terms. After Bill’s death, he made a comment in a meeting that we’d brought it upon ourselves because of the ‘bad things’ we’d done. I was sure that it was a not-so-subtle reference to Davie King’s father and I didn’t take kindly to it. I punched him. Shortly after that I was transferred and I never saw him again.

Something is bothering me about the whole situation, Ruth, but I don’t know why. I have this sense of unease, which is growing stronger as the Olympics get closer. I wish that I were more sure of my instincts, but after everything that’s happened I can’t help but doubt myself. Elena played me and I never suspected, never had the slightest inkling. Am I now seeing monsters under the bed that aren’t there? I intend to find out.

Perhaps your replacement, which arrives in two weeks’ time, can figure it out. I hope I don’t need a translator.

I hope I can cope with someone else in your post.


[Image: cheersignew.jpg]
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
14-12-2011, 10:30 AM
Post: #2
RE: Requiem for the Dead Part II
A terrific chapter. A wonderful explanation to Erin from Harry. So true. And then Towers was great too. I could imagine these two becoming friends and it was nice to see Towers seeks him out on that date was special too. And to add to the mix is an intriguing plot. Old people from NI, the barmy Mayor and Harry doubting himself to Ruth in his journal. Well done and more please

[Image: regnumdefende3.jpg]
Thanks to TygerBright for the wonderful sig.
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
14-12-2011, 01:57 PM
Post: #3
RE: Requiem for the Dead Part II
OK, so ruminations upon whether or not Harry is a harder boss/man/spy without Ruth. Good.

Aawww...the journal entry maded me tear up. You are one of the (very) few fanfic writers that can do that to me.

Is it possible for people to know each other so well, that they could always predict the other’s reaction?
I am here to tell you that the answer to that question is, no. We call them "low-telepathy days" in my house, e.g. "Whaddya mean you can't read my mind!?!" Wink

I always thought Dimitri had distinct shades of Harry in him. Too bad Kudos didn't develop that. Glad you are.

Your Towers is the best. Their exchange is...great!

“The day they recognise cricket as an Olympic sport is the day I’ll get excited about it.” Big GrinBig GrinBig GrinBig GrinBig Grin

I thought (hoped) that the private security firm might be Tom's but a new character is much better. Question is, is Smithy a goodie or a baddie? Pardon my presumption, a baddie might be a bit predictable....

Oh, and please let Ruth's replacement be as brilliant at the job as she was. As was Connie before she started hissing at people. That would be really nice to see. Harry needs a strong team behind him. Any chance of Malcolm returning to work with Calum? (I know, I know! I have to at least ask....! Angel)

Now cracks a noble heart. Good-night, sweet [Spooks];
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.

~Wm. Shakespeare, Hamlet
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
14-12-2011, 05:45 PM
Post: #4
RE: Requiem for the Dead Part II
Fantastic chapter, the idea that Harry writes to Ruth because he's got no one else around to talk to properly is quite heartbreaking. Loved that Harry and the HS have become friends and like how you cast aspersions over Erin's capability in the job! I also thought it was going to be Tom Quinn making a comeback but Smithy is a real link between Harry's past and the present. Now eagerly awaiting more!
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
17-12-2011, 01:18 PM
Post: #5
RE: Requiem for the Dead Part II
Love the scene with Towers.

I can't get the image of Harry Pearce meeting Boris Johnson out of my head. That would be soooooo weird. Smile Harry would eat him for breakfast.

[Image: Banner106smaller.jpg]
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
21-12-2011, 02:20 PM
Post: #6
Ruth RE: Requiem for the Dead Part II
No fair making me cry this early in the morning (just gone 8 am.) I've been playing catch up with your stories and have found each to be fantastic - not a disappointing one in the bunch. This one is shaping up in much the same way and I like the tie in with Harry's time in NI.

Thanks so much for sharing your stories - they really are like watching new episodes since I can see it all in my mind.

Zaf: "Shouldn't you be in prison or something?"
Ros: "This is the something."
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply

Forum Jump:

User(s) browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)