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Sir Harry Pearce, still clad in his overcoat, stood still and silent at the edge of the room with a half smile on his face as he watched the rest of his team gather around the colleague whom he had brought back with him from his unplanned trip to Russia. There was Jo, looking pale and exhausted, crying with relief and disbelieving joy; there was Malcolm, normally so stoic and always so steadfast, clinging to his colleague's left arm as if he'd never let go. There were Ros and Lucas, both of them rather damaged, but both determined to give their all for the sake of the service.

He thought of the ones who weren't there: Tess, who'd betrayed the service out of greed; Tom, who'd jeopardised a mission, and about whom Harry still felt some residual guilt; Zoe, who'd been shuffled out of the country, but was happily married and still a distant, secret part of his team; Danny, Colin, Fiona, Adam, Zaf and Ben, who'd all been killed in the line of duty, some of them willingly sacrificing their lives for others; and Connie, whom he had trusted and by whom he'd been betrayed, but who had, in the end, done what was necessary and saved them all, then died in the process.

And there, at the heart of his team, stood Ruth Evershed; Ruth, who was not only the heart of his team, but held his heart, too. He shook his head slightly, sure that that if he told her that, she would mock him for being sentimental.

It did not matter: Ruth Evershed was back home at last.