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Character Manifesto: Ruth Evershed, Spooks (MI5)

Fandom: Spooks | MI-5
Character: Ruth Evershed
Pairing(s): Ruth Evershed/Harry Pearce, Ruth Evershed/Tom Quinn, Ruth Evershed/George, Ruth Evershed/Danny Hunter, Ruth Evershed/Zafar Younis, Ruth Evershed/Malcolm Wynn-Jones, Ruth Evershed/Oliver Mace, Ruth Evershed/Dmitri Levendis, Ruth Evershed/The Doctor.
Manifesto by: lost_spook
Spoilers: Some general spoilers for Ruth's storyline across S2-10 (& esp. S5), though I've tried to be as vague as possible & warned for spoilers in the recs (Spooks spoilers are the worst spoilers). Character deaths & angst should be taken as warnings for the entire series and pretty much all fic, too. The manifesto also contains quite a few gifs.



Blurb: I think it's fair to say that my liking for Spooks took a sudden leap into love the minute Nicola Walker turned up as Ruth Evershed and dropped all her files, broke the desk lamp, and wanted to bugger the Home Office. She's one of my favourite characters in anything.

ruth1


Ruth is Senior Analyst for Section D, one of the desk spooks. Originally, she came on loan from GCHQ and was so desperate to get into MI5 that she agreed to report back to them on MI5's activities. However, once she got a second chance (courtesy of Tom Quinn), Ruth's loyalties have always been with the service - and with Harry Pearce.

She's brilliant at her job, while being wonderfully inept socially (so much of this is in Nicola Walker's elusive performance that it's hard to express in words). One of the joys of early Ruth is her sheer enthusiasm for her job, while surrounded by serious, angsting field officers. Of course, the angst gets to everyone in Spooks and Ruth grows into the job, even taking on the occasional field work - and falling for her boss, Harry (the main canon ship). She sacrifices the job she loves for him - or perhaps rather because she feels the service needs him more than it does her at that moment - and we and Harry have to do without her for too long.

Once Ruth is back, she's a more sober, serious Ruth, but she's still all about the job. She and Harry, as she points out when he proposes to her, are in many ways already in a threeway marriage with the service. ("We couldn't be closer than we are right now.")

Ruth is brilliant, hasn't yet lost her ability to feel for those around her, and has a wonderful hidden streak of potential megalomania. (She likes to feel there's not an institution in the country that safe from her, after all.) Despise her at your peril, as more than one person has found out across the course of the series.

In short, I love Ruth, and I'm all for fics about other people loving her, too. Why not? Consider this manifesto also a plea for more Ruth ship fic that isn't Ruth/Harry (though more of that is always good, too).






***



Ruth Evershed/Harry Pearce (Peter Firth)


"You and I, we're made of secrets."


As I've mentioned, the big ship for Ruth (and for Spooks) is the slow-burn, low-key, never-quite-consumated (in any sense) affair with Harry Pearce. Harry and Ruth are both brilliant at what they do, and both equally bad at relationships.

It's an improbable ship (it's mostly the fault of actor Peter Firth who decided that Harry had a crush on Ruth, played it that way; then Nicola Walker joined in, and so did the writers, and next thing it's the sole official Spooks OTP), and the source of much humour, angst, and heart-break by turns.

ruthharry




Ruth Evershed/Tom Quinn (Matthew Macfadyen)


"Lay all your sorrows on the king? You don't get to do that - leaders don't have feelings!"


Despite my Ruth/Harry love, I also adore the possibility of Ruth/Tom. She has a crush on him (especially after he gives her that second chance) and until the end of S2, when she switches her loyalty to Harry, Tom is important to her, and she finds it hard to accept his successor. I love 2.5 (me and nearly every other Spooks fan out there) and one of its highlights is the sudden shift in the relationship between Tom and Ruth, with him running the country and her running him. I have such an itch for Ruth/Tom apocalypse AUs as a result that it's just not funny.

ruthtom2




Ruth Evershed/George

Ruth's disposable canon husband from S8. Unsurprisingly, it's not a super-popular ship. (I have Issues about 8.01 that I think most people don't, so don't expect me to try and convince you otherwise here). However, some great writers have tried to fill in the background the show didn't give us about this relationship.



Ruth Evershed/Malcolm Wynn-Jones (Hugh Simon)



They develop a quiet but strong friendship across the series. There is also an episode where Malcolm poses as Ruth's brother and, yeah, you could see something you could plausibly build on there - two brilliant and lonely desk spooks getting together.


Ruth Evershed/Danny Hunter (David Oyelowo)

ruth9
"Tell me we'll never end up like that."


Danny and Ruth's relationship in canon is more of a friendship, but in late S3 they do get closer, sharing their loneliness, which could certainly lead to fic possibilities.


Ruth Evershed/Zafar Younis (Raza Jaffrey)

ruth10
(Zaf, on joining MI5 & Section D): "I've been shot at, tied up, accused of being a traitor - if you promise me a desk next to Ruth, I might just think about it."


After all, technically they do spend the night together that one time, they're both flirts in very different ways - and Zaf promised to smile at her if he saw her again. (He smiles at all the pretty women, he says.)


Ruth Evershed/Oliver Mace (Tim McInerny)

The dark side of the shipping force, usually imagined in combination with some plan to get at Harry Pearce. But let's never forget that Ruth has that wicked streak...


Ruth Evershed/Dmitri Levendis (Max Brown)

ruth11


According to the actor who plays him, Dmitri apparently has a crush on Ruth. Not that we see much of it in canon, but, hey...


Ruth Evershed/Lucas North (Richard Armitage)

ruth12 ruth13


Well, he kidnapped her that one time, right? (Oddly, I've not found any fic for this at all. You'd think one would exist somewhere, but if it does, I haven't found it. Fandom, you're slacking.)


Plus one crossover ship that crops up via a few authors (and should definitely sail further):

Ruth Evershed/The Doctor

ruth14


She is, you've got to admit, exactly his type - and Ruth is a born spook; she craves excitement and she'd love to travel (with the right person). Indeed, it's clearly such a good idea that Big Finish have now got Nicola Walker to play one of the Doctor's audio companions, but Spooks fans got there first.


Other Resources
LJ comms - these vary as to active they are (mostly not at all), but they all contain useful resources, links, graphics, fic etc.:
spooky_doings - still occasionally active, this is the main Spooks comm on LJ.
ruth_harry
nicola_walker (including a post of fanvid recs for Ruth and Ruth/Harry.)
spooks_mi5

Slow Beating Between Them - (very early) Ruth/Harry manifesto by hestia8
Ruth Evershed at the Spooks Wikia.
Ruth Evershed/Harry Pearce AO3 tag.
Spooks tag on hellyeahnicolawalker (Tumblr), the source of endless beautiful graphics and gifs of Ruth & Ruth/Harry.
Also littlespooksthings and harry-ruth.


Gifs stolen from the excellent hellyeahnicolawalker on Tumblr, although it's possible some may have originated elsewhere (with many apologies if so).

***


ruthharry2



The good ship Ruth/Harry dominates for obvious reasons, but I've tried to rec as many different pairings as I can. That did mean repeating a couple of authors, but I've tried to include a good variety. And whatever ship you favour, the best Spooks fic is frequently beautifully written and elusively wry, haunting and heart-breaking, so let's get to it:






Rec #1 Poetry & Prose (3)
Author: gottalovett
Pairing: Ruth Evershed/Tom Quinn
Link: https://www.fanfiction.net/s/10303783/3/Poetry-and-Prose
Rating/Warning(s): None.
Word Count: 50

Why This Must Be Read: Sometimes you only need a very few words to say everything, and this demi-drabble is a brilliant little taste of Ruth/Tom.




Rec #2: You and I Like Strangers Again
Author: Melwil
Pairing: Ruth Evershed/Tom Quinn
Link: http://archiveofourown.org/works/182035
Rating/Warning(s): Spoilers for 3.02 & 5.05.
Word Count: 173

Why This Must Be Read: Ruth, Tom, let lose again in the world, have a brief encounter. Fleeting yet haunting.




Rec #3: We Will Always Be At War
Author: fictorium
Pairing: Ruth Evershed/Harry Pearce
Link: http://archiveofourown.org/works/99228
Rating/Warning(s): Teen | AU, War
Word Count/WIP?: 346

Why This Must Be Read: A painfully sharp look at Harry and Ruth, fighting a war, blood on their hands, but still together.




Rec #4: The Grand Tour
Author: LJC
Pairing: Ruth Evershed/Harry Pearce
Link: http://archiveofourown.org/works/993731
Rating/Warning(s): G | AU (S5)
Word Count/WIP?: 783

Why This Must Be Read: Wonderful, brief AU in which Harry and Ruth get their grand tour as they daydreamed about - only incognito, of course.




Rec #5: Let our weakness speak
Author: Vaznetti
Pairing: Ruth Evershed/Harry Pearce
Link: http://archiveofourown.org/works/141336
Rating/Warning(s): Teen | S9 Spoilers
Word Count/WIP?: 2303

Why This Must Be Read: Gorgeous piece, showing Ruth and Harry dealing with the fallout of S9. Almost worth the mess that was much of that season just to get this out of it.




Rec #6: White Burgundy
Author: PrimeWoman
Pairing: Ruth Evershed/George, Ruth Evershed/Harry Pearce
Link: http://archiveofourown.org/works/618797
Rating/Warning(s): G | S5/S8 spoilers
Word Count/WIP?: 1491

Why This Must Be Read: Thoughtful, bittersweet and plausible look at George & Ruth getting together, both still grieving the people they've lost.




Rec #7: Substitute for Something
Author: melwil
Pairing: Ruth Evershed/Danny Hunter
Link: http://archiveofourown.org/works/181136?view_adult=true
Rating/Warning(s): Mature
Word Count/WIP?: 718

Why This Must Be Read: Danny and Ruth clinging to each other for comfort in the latter half of S3 - beautifully done and overlaid with the aching sadness of what's ahead for them both.




Rec #8: I Will Dream I Was A Daughter
Author: delgaserasca
Pairing: Ruth Evershed/Zafar Younis, Ruth Evershed/Harry Pearce
Link: http://tja-rama.livejournal.com/152876.html | Also on AO3, but locked to the site: http://archiveofourown.org/works/1639748
Rating/Warning(s): Teen | Spoilers for 5.05
Word Count/WIP?: 1318

Why This Must Be Read: The author is a brilliant writer of Spooks fic, and this fic is no exception. It's not really Ruth/Zaf so much, but it details the night they spent together before Ruth's exile with an undercurrent of Zaf's feelings for her (while Ruth thinks of Harry), and it's sharp and lovely.




Rec #9 Limerence
Author: Sangerin
Pairing: Ruth Evershed/Malcolm Wynn-Jones (Colin Wells/Malcolm Wynn-Jones, Zoe Reynolds/Malcolm Wynn-Jones, Ruth Evershed/Harry Pearce)
Link: http://archiveofourown.org/works/186659
Rating/Warning(s): Teen | Spoilers up to 5.05
Word Count/WIP?: 1107

Why This Must Be Read: Wonderful piece exploring the different loves of Malcolm's life (with the largest focus on Ruth).




Rec #10: Hungry For More
Author: melwil
Pairing: Ruth Evershed/Oliver Mace
Link: http://archiveofourown.org/works/182047
Rating/Warning(s): Teen
Word Count/WIP?: 402

Why This Must Be Read: Great, disturbingly plausible Ruth/Mace ficlet - Ruth at GCHQ is in need of excitement, even the wrong sort...




Rec 11: you are suspended between your sorrow and your joy
Author: zulu_ottawa
Pairing: Ruth Evershed/Dmitri Levendis (Ruth Evershed/Harry Pearce, Ruth Evershed/George)
Link: http://zulu-ottawa.livejournal.com/16133.html
Rating/Warning(s): Teen | Spoilers up to S9
Word Count/WIP?: 4107

Why This Must Be Read: Not only a lovely, unusual Ruth/Dmitri fic (the only one I can find), but a gorgeous, reflective look back at everything Ruth's been through over the series - who she was, and who she is now, her life and loves. Wonderful.




Rec 12: Differences of the body
Author: belantana
Pairing: Ruth Evershed/The Doctor (Ninth)
Link: http://archiveofourown.org/works/254654
Rating/Warning(s): G | Spoilers for 5.05
Word Count/WIP?: 885

Why This Must Be Read: Great little crossover that manages to be both fun and bittersweet for the pair. (Ruth/The Doctor was an inevitable crossover ship that managed to pick up a few authors, so I'm including my favourite example here for you.)




Rec 13: light swells (in a distance space)
Author: unwoundfloors
Pairing: Ruth Evershed/Harry Pearce
Link: http://archiveofourown.org/works/272446
Rating/Warning(s): Teen | Character Death, Spoilers up to 10.06
Word Count/WIP?: 1253

Why This Must Be Read: Harry looks back over the years, remembering Ruth. This is beautiful, perfect post-series piece.






Mods, some of these ships need tags (if it's possible): Ruth Evershed/Tom Quinn, Ruth Evershed/George (Spooks), Ruth Evershed/Malcolm Wynn-Jones, Ruth Evershed/The Doctor. Thanks!
Tags: fandom: spooks (mi5), ship: crossover, ship: ruth evershed/george, ship: ruth evershed/harry pearce, ship: ruth evershed/malcolm wynn-jones, ship: ruth evershed/tom quinn, special: manifesto
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