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Dinner

Reese made his way up the stairs and through the maze of corridors, pizza box balanced on one hand and a two-liter of soda in the other. It was near midnight and he was starving, having eaten nothing but protein bars for the past three days while staking out the most recent number. With that taken care of, he should have been looking forward to a hot meal and a few hours to relax, but he wasn’t. As he neared the hub, he prepared himself for the worst.

“I hope you’re hungry, Finch,” he said, stepping into the room. Finch sat behind his computer monitors, his jacket hanging on the coat rack, his cuffs unbuttoned and sleeves rolled up.

“I’m famished,” Finch replied, finishing whatever he was doing on the computer before glancing up, a frown creasing his brow. “What the hell is that? Pizza?”

“That Chinese place you like moved uptown last week. There was an open pizza place across the street and I didn’t feel like walking an extra thirty-seven blocks.”

“No, of course not,” Finch said with a sigh. “That’s all right. Go ahead and set it down; I’ll find us some plates.”

“What for? It’s pizza,” Reese said with a chuckle.

“It’s food, Mr. Reese,” Finch said, giving him a dry look, “and food should be eaten off plates whenever possible.”

“Fine, get plates,” Reese said, setting the box and the soda down on Finch’s table. He was too tired to argue with the fussy man.

“What kind of pizza is it?” Finch asked from the other room.

“Pepperoni, extra cheese, tomato, green pepper, and black olives on my-”

“I don’t like ol-”

“That’s why they’re only on my half,” Reese said, rolling his eyes as he headed for the bathroom to relieve himself and wash up. He was rinsing the soap from his hands when Finch’s voice came drifting in through the mostly closed door.

“What the hell happened to this pizza? Most of the toppings are stuck to the lid of the box.”

“That was my fault,” Reese said, shutting off the water and grabbing a hand towel off the rack. “I was uptown a few blocks and I saw a homeless man crossing the street, just as some asshole in a sports car decided to run the red light. I had to drop everything to pull the guy out of the way before he got killed. So you might want to wait a while to open that soda,” he added as he opened the bathroom door and stepped out, stopping short at the sight of Finch holding the open soda bottle, the sticky liquid running down his face and neck, crystal droplets clinging to the lenses of his glasses.

“Just for future reference,” Finch said, setting the bottle down and pulling his handkerchief out of his pocket, “you might want to begin such a story with ‘Don’t open the soda because…’ instead of saving it for the end.”

“Sorry, Harold,” Reese said, reaching back into the bathroom and grabbing a clean towel off the rack. He walked over as Finch removed his glasses and cleaned them off on his handkerchief. “Here, let me help you with that,” he said, setting the towel down on the table and leaning close, his tongue darting out to lick away a drop of soda dangling from Finch’s earlobe.

Finch drew a sharp breath as though burned, his entire body stiffening. For a moment he just stood there, then he returned to wiping off his glasses, a slight flush coloring his face. Reese waited, looking for a sign, not sure how his advances would be tolerated. Finally, Finch set his glasses down on the table and reached up to loosen his tie.

“Finished helping already, Mr. Reese?”

Reese smiled. “Not even close.”

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