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Surveillance – Ch. 10

Letting the near scalding water beat down on his back, Reese stood with his head bowed, his forehead resting against the tiles. It wasn’t often he found himself in a situation where the lines weren’t drawn in stark black and white, his course of action simple and direct – save the victim, shoot the bad guys, don’t get killed. Now he stood surrounded by gray, like so much steam in the shower stall, and he didn’t know which way to turn.

He shut off the water and stepped out, grabbing a towel off the counter and rubbing himself dry. He fought not to look at the closed door, though he couldn’t stop himself from wondering if Finch was still out there, waiting for him. The rational part of him said Finch was long gone – he was too reserved, too rigid, too solitary to let himself be seduced by a man – but all the rationale in the world couldn’t snuff out the ember of hope that burned in a dark, forgotten corner of his heart. He wanted Finch to be waiting for him, even though he knew he was almost certain to be disappointed.

Wrapping the towel around his waist, he stepped over to the counter and regarded his reflection in the mirror. God, he looked old. He ran a hand over one unshaven cheek, flecks of silver sparkling in the dark stubble. His gaze shifted to the new, pink scar just above his collarbone – where he’d been shot trying to stop the judge’s son from being kidnapped – before traveling down, picking out the old wounds, the scars faded, the broken bones mended, but the pain was never really gone.

That was something else he and Finch shared – an understanding of pain. His wasn’t as tangible as Finch’s – a damaged rotator cuff acted up every now and again, but he didn’t have the same kind of constant physical pain – but they both knew what it was to suffer. Hadn’t they suffered enough? Didn’t they deserve something better?

Reese shaved and brushed his teeth, his thoughts dwelling on Finch’s injuries, both new and old, and how best to be intimate with him without causing him pain. He wanted to touch him, to kiss him, to taste him, to hold him – intercourse was out of the question. Not only didn’t he have condoms or lube, but he wanted to take it slow, to not rush Finch’s first time. There would only be one first time, and Reese wanted to make it unforgettable, a memory to cherish, not one to regret.

He spat toothpaste foam into the sink, rinsed it away, and wiped his mouth with a hand towel. His gaze strayed across the counter, to his gun sitting beside the bottle of whiskey. He had thought about it, trading in his slow death for a quick one, but it was a thought just as quickly dismissed. He wasn’t a coward, or perhaps he didn’t have the courage to pull the trigger – either way, he was still there.

The question was, was Finch?

Reese turned toward the door, hitched his towel a little higher on his hips, and took a bracing breath. He was gone, he had to be. Reese walked to the door. Finch just wasn’t that sort of man. Opening the door, Reese stepped out into the hall. The room was silent; Finch was gone for sure. He returned to the main room and glanced around, unsurprised, but still deeply disappointed to find Finch’s clothes gone and the cell phone sitting on the end of the bed. With a sigh, Reese picked it and checked the messages and memos, hoping Finch had left him an explanation, but there was nothing. As usual.

Reese tossed the phone back down on the bed and returned to the bathroom. He regarded the whiskey for a long moment, then he picked up the bottle, unscrewed the lid, and dumped it in the sink. He told Finch he’d be waiting for his call; he couldn’t do his job with a hangover. Well, he probably could have, but it wouldn’t have been much fun.

Grabbing the pistol, he headed for his duffel bag of clothes beside one of the beds, but froze as a loud knock came upon the hotel room door. Who the hell could that be? The only person who knew he was there was Finch. Mouth dry, Reese walked on silent feet over to the door, standing to one side with the pistol held ready.

“Who is it?” he asked.

“Room service,” came the reply.

Reese tightened his grip on the gun. “I didn’t order room service.”

“Your friend said you’d say that.” It was a man’s voice, young, with a slight Midwest accent. “He left a note for you.”

Friend? Warily, Reese opened the door, ready to shoot though the wood if the young man made any sudden moves. He certainly looked the part, dressed in a smart uniform with a wheeled cart beside him, laid out with two covered dishes and a carafe of orange juice nestled into a bucket of ice. He handed over a folded piece of hotel stationary. Reese regarded him for another moment – if he was an Agency assassin or a hired gun or an undercover cop, he deserved an Academy Award for his performance.

He still kept the young man in his periphery as he unfolded the note and read the single line written in Finch’s neat, precise handwriting – Breakfast is on me. He signed it with a large, elegant F. Nothing else. Reese even turned the paper over to be sure. Barely able to stifle his sigh, Reese stepped back from the door, hiding the pistol behind his back, and motioned for the young man to wheel the cart in.

“Sorry about the towel,” Reese said. “I just got out of the shower.”

“Not a problem, sir,” the young man said, pushing the cart over to the small table standing before the window. He turned to face Reese. “Is there anything else I can do for you, sir?”

“No, that’ll do,” Reese said and he headed for the door. “Hang on, my wallet’s around here somewhere-”

“Thank you, sir, but it’s not necessary,” the young man said. “Your friend already covered the bill and left a very generous tip. If you need anything else, just let us know.”

Reese watched him leave, then turned to the covered dishes. The smell of food made his stomach growl and he allowed himself a small smile, glad that there were two helpings. He was starving. Maybe Finch couldn’t stay, but he did care, in his own way. Lifting one of the stainless steel covers, Reese raised his eyebrows, surprised and touched by the thoughtfulness of the selection – Eggs Benedict. Reese smiled again at the memory of that morning, the two of them in that little cafe, the start of another guarded exchange and then…It hadn’t been vital information by any means, but it had meant so much.

Placing the cover back on the tray to keep his breakfast warm, Reese laid the gun on the table and crossed the room to his duffel bag. He slipped into a faded pair of jeans and a gray T-shirt before sitting down at the table. He had just unrolled his silverware from the linen napkin when a muted click from across the room caused his head to whip around. The door swung open and Reese grabbed his pistol, rising to his feet and taking aim as a slender figure limped into the room.

“Finch,” Reese said, lowering the weapon and sliding the safety back on. “You…you came back.”

“I had an errand to run,” Finch said, coming over to the food cart, his expression neutral and his gaze rigidly avoiding Reese. “What’s good here?” he asked, sounding casual enough, but Reese could see the tightness in his frame, the nervous energy in his hands as he began setting the table, laying out the silverware with neatness and precision. He poured them each a glass of orange juice and then, with the quickest of glances, looked up at Reese before taking a seat at the table.

Reese had never seen Finch look so guarded, so unsure. He didn’t know how to feel about that. Finch was nervous, perhaps even afraid, but he was there, he had come back, when he could have easily gone home, or back to the library. That took courage.

Reese sat down and mimicked Finch by draping his napkin across his lap. He picked up his fork, set it down again, and took a sip of his juice instead, staring at Finch over the rim of the glass. Finch kept his gaze on his plate. Reese found himself watching Finch’s hands, his deft fingers manipulating the knife and fork with the skill of a surgeon. Reese’s eyes tracked each small bite from the plate to Finch’s lips, lingering on a speck of hollandaise sauce at the corner of his mouth, Reese’s fingers twitching as he resisted the urge to reach across the small table and wipe it away.

Finch swallowed and cleared his throat. “Eat your breakfast, Mr. Reese,” he said. “I’m not going anywhere.”

Reese felt the color rise into his face as he looked down at his plate. For a few minutes, the room heard only the soft sounds of two men enjoying a quiet breakfast, but then the silence began to weigh heavy on Reese, and a horde of unasked questions crowded to the forefront of his mind. He ignored the ones that shouted most insistently at him, knowing he’d never get a straight answer out of Finch, and instead settled on a less volatile topic of conversation.

“So, did you ever find out anything more about our friend, Mr. Allen?”

“No,” Finch said with a small shake of his head, “and I don’t expect to. I sent his gun to Fusco, but I’m not holding my breath.”

“He didn’t say anything while he was…questioning you?”

“I believe the word you were looking for was ‘torturing’,” Finch said blandly, “and no, he didn’t. He just kept asking who I worked for and why you were following him.”

“How did he see me?” Reese asked, frowning. “No one ever sees me. And how did he find the library?”

“Followed you, I imagine,” Finch said.

Reese stiffened. “I would have known if I’d been followed,” he said. “I’m good at my job.”

“Yes,” Finch said, “but it would be arrogant to assume that you’re the only one who is. Mr. Allen was a wake-up call. We need to be more careful.”

“I think you mean I need to be more careful,” Reese said, his frown deepening. “It was all my fault. He saw me, he followed me, and it almost got you killed.”

“Let’s not go there, Mr. Reese,” Finch said, pausing to wipe his mouth on his napkin. “I’m certain I’ve put you in harm’s way far more often than you have me. We both knew the dangers when we started this. We don’t need to keep score.”

“You’re saying ‘we’ a lot,” Reese noted.

Finch glanced across the table at him, catching and holding his gaze for a moment before looking away again. His poise and control was something to admire, especially when he looked Reese in the eye and it became evident just how thin this veneer of outward calm was. “I think the use of singular pronouns doesn’t have quite the same effect anymore,” he said. “We might as well acknowledge this for what it is – a partnership.”

Reese couldn’t help but smile. “Does this mean I get a raise?”

“All you ever had to do was ask,” Finch said, a darting glance belying a possible second meaning to his words. Reese sat back in his chair, brushing his knuckles along his lower lip as he regarded Finch, watching the rigid man struggle to maintain his composure. A slight flush crept up from under Finch’s stiff collar, his breathing sped up, and his fingers fidgeted with his silverware as he worked on chewing his breakfast; he seemed to be having difficulty swallowing. A dry mouth, perhaps? He reached for his glass, his hand trembling for just a moment.

“And what if I asked for something else?” Reese asked, his voice low and soft.

“Do you have something specific in mind, or are we being hypothetical?” Finch wiped his mouth again, then set his napkin on the table beside his plate, his fingers toying with his fork, but not picking it up.

“I want you, Finch,” Reese said, his heart beginning to pound as the calm veneer cracked, Finch’s fork clattering against his plate as he suddenly pulled his hands back and stood. Reese forced himself to remain seated, not wanting to compound one mistake with another. He shouldn’t have been so forward, so direct. Aggressive tactics were not going to work with this man.

“That’s what I thought you wanted,” Finch said, a tightness in his voice. He slipped his hands into his pockets and looked down at Reese, his blue eyes dark, the pupils dilated. “Please don’t expect too much from me, Mr. Reese,” he said, pulling his hands back out and setting a box of condoms and a bottle of lubricant on the table. “It’s been a long time…and I’m not the man I used to be.”

“You…You’ve done this…before?” Reese asked, feeling like he’d been knocked upside the head.

Finch arched an eyebrow. “You thought- Ah, is that why you started this? The thrill of unexplored territory, the challenge of seducing a straight man, the conquest of deflowering a virgin? Sorry to disappoint you, Mr. Reese, but I am neither straight nor a virgin.” He started to turn away, but Reese reached out, catching him by the hand.

“That’s not why,” he said, slowly rising to his feet and taking a step toward Finch. “Yes, that’s what I thought, but the fact that I was wrong makes no difference. It doesn’t change the way I feel about you. It doesn’t change anything. Well-” The corner of his mouth quirked in a small smile. “It changes one thing – The pressure’s off me to make your first time the most utterly mind-blowing experience you’ve ever had.”

“Sounds like I should have kept my mouth shut,” Finch said, a slight hoarseness in his voice as he pulled his hand out of Reese’s and unbuttoned his suit jacket. He shrugged out of it and draped it over the back of the chair, then moistened his dry lips with the tip of his tongue. He drew a hesitant breath, one hand reaching up to loosen his tie. “That’s all right,” he said finally, “it’s not my mind that I was hoping you’d blow, anyway.”

Reese raised his eyebrows as the blood rushed to a certain part of his anatomy, for a moment making it hard to think. “Oh, Finch,” he whispered and leaned toward him, stopping abruptly as Finch tensed. He was like a skittish colt, in need of a gentle, guiding hand. Slowly, Reese closed the distance between them, reaching up to run his fingers down the cool silk of Finch’s tie. He stopped before their lips touched, hanging back, waiting for Finch to come to him. Finch hesitated, his breathing ragged, and Reese could almost hear the circuits buzzing inside his head, listing the pros and cons, weighing the risks and rewards, crunching numbers, analyzing data, calculating outcomes-

“Quit thinking so much and just kiss me,” Reese whispered. “Please, Fin-” Warm, trembling lips pressed against his, silencing him, and Reese let his eyes slide closed. It was perfect. It was everything he’d thought it would be and more. His hands found Finch’s hips and he couldn’t stop himself from drawing the smaller man up against him, the feel of Finch’s stiff body against his own like the touch of a long absent lover.

Finch pressed his hands flat against Reese’s chest and Reese faltered, drawing back to look into Finch’s eyes, both of them out of breath and flushed. Had he changed his mind? After a moment, Finch swallowed hard, a determined sort of look replacing the hesitation, and he eased one hand up Reese’s chest, his fingers caressing the side of Reese’s neck before sliding into his hair. Reese closed his eyes, a long, low moan rising up in his throat as Finch’s fingertips played across his scalp, making his skin prickle. He tilted his head into Finch’s hand and opened his eyes, catching Finch off guard.

The walls slammed shut around Finch, presenting his usual guarded eyes and schooled expression, but not fast enough. Reese had seen beneath the surface, had glimpsed a churning sea of emotion so deep it was a wonder Finch could keep his head above water. The need in those blue eyes, the desperate, aching loneliness, was like looking into his own soul.

Finch drew back, wordlessly unbuttoning his vest as he walked toward one of the two beds. Reese followed, stepping up behind him and placing his hands lightly on Finch’s shoulders, feeling the taut muscles, the rigid frame. He let Finch slip out of the vest and then leaned down, pressing his lips to the side of Finch’s neck and nuzzling behind his ear, his only reward the slight catch in Finch’s breath and the tremor that ran through his body, but it was enough. Finch wasn’t going surrender easily – he was too controlled to just give in – but Reese knew how to wear a man down, how to find their weakness, how to breach their defenses. He was more used to using pain to get what he wanted, but he hadn’t forgotten how to be gentle.

Finch’s tie whispered beneath the fold of his collar as Finch pulled it free and let it fall to the bed. He unbuttoned his shirt, but stepped away when Reese tried to slide it off his shoulders. Finch turned around, Reese’s gaze moving slowly down his body, the unbuttoned shirt making him look deliciously flustered and disheveled, but the bandage in the middle of his chest was a silent, solemn reminder of how quickly things could go wrong, how tenuous their existence was, how precious each moment they had together.

“Take off your shirt,” Finch said and Reese felt an unexpected thrill race through him. Maybe Finch didn’t need to surrender. Grabbing the bottom of his T-shirt, Reese drew it off over his head and let it fall to the floor. Finch’s gaze drifted slowly down his chest, lingering, his eyes absolutely devouring the sight before him, and Reese suddenly didn’t know what to do with his hands, shifting his weight from one foot to the other as he started to shove them into his pockets, but then changed his mind and hooked his thumbs through his belt loops instead.

A small, soft smile graced Finch’s lips as he took a step backward and sat on the foot of the bed. “Come here, Mr. Reese,” he murmured. Reese took a step toward the bed, not sure what Finch wanted him to do, and Finch turned his gaze upward. “Closer.” Reese hesitated before taking another step, a deep and resounding ache sounding inside him as he realized that the crotch of his jeans, the faded denim stretched tight over his confined erection, was tantalizingly close to Finch’s mouth. Eyes hooded, he stared down at Finch, his breathing harsh and ragged in his ears.

Finch reached out, fingertips grazing the bulge in Reese’s jeans and forcing a startled gasp from his lips. Reese groaned, trembling inside as Finch rolled his hand over and dragged his knuckles down the clothed length of him. Without further preamble, Finch popped the button on Reese’s jeans and drew the zipper down, arching his eyebrows as he discovered that Reese hadn’t bothered to put on underwear after his shower.

“How…convenient,” Finch said, and Reese took one more step toward him, his jeans sliding down his hips as he straddled Finch’s legs. Freed from its confines, Reese’s cock bobbed in the space between them, the head warmed by Finch’s breath. Finch rolled his eyes upward, meeting Reese’s gaze, and then leaned forward, his lips parting.

“Oh, God, Finch,” Reese whispered, his voice hoarse and tight as the warmth of Finch’s mouth surrounded the head of his cock, such wonderful wet heat, that tongue, so deft with words, now teasing all his most sensitive places, making the breath catch in his throat. Wrapping one hand around the base, Finch began to slowly bob his head, letting a little more into his mouth each time. Reese stared down, enraptured by the sight of Finch, his Finch, skin flushed and eyes darkened with lust, Reese’s cock sliding between his lips, filling his mouth-

Reese couldn’t stop himself from reaching up, from laying a light hand on Finch’s head, his fingers combing through the soft brown hair. His other hand cupped Finch’s cheek before sliding down his neck, slipping beneath his shirt, gliding out to his shoulder, needing contact, needing the feel of smooth skin beneath his calloused hand. Finch seemed to need it, too. He moaned around Reese’s cock, an unexpected sensation that made Reese draw a sharp breath and step back, closing his eyes until the urge passed.

“That was close,” Reese said, looking back down at Finch, sitting still and quiet on the end of the bed, watching Reese and waiting. After a moment, Reese finished slipping out of his jeans, letting them fall beside his T-shirt, and he stood naked before Finch, gratified and reassured by the color that spread across Finch’s chest and up his neck, by the hunger in those blue eyes. It wasn’t inconceivable that Finch might just be doing this to keep Reese happy, to keep him around, because Finch needed him for their work, but some reactions could not be faked, even by a master of emotional camouflage like Finch.

Slowly, Reese sank to his knees before Finch, laying his hands upon the other man’s leg and sliding them down his calf, to his foot. Gently, Reese removed one shoe, then the other, and set them aside before peeling off Finch’s socks. Reese hesitated, and then leaned close, laying his head in Finch’s lap, his cheek resting against one thigh. With that guy in the alley, it had all been about sex and sensation, fucking hard and fast, trying to reach the destination with little thought to the journey. This was different, and Reese wanted Finch to know that.

Reese closed his eyes as a soft hand stroked the side of his face, fingers sliding through his hair, and he sighed, the darkness within him lifting for the first time in a very long time, but like the brief Alaskan dawn in the depths of winter, it couldn’t last, and after a minute, Reese raised his head, for a moment unable to meet Finch’s gaze. It frightened him, knowing how much power Finch had over him, power he had willingly surrendered. Anyone who could make him feel whole and alive also held the power to make him feel broken and dead.

He glanced up, into Finch’s eyes, and was surprised by the understanding he found there – not surprised that Finch understood, but that he allowed Reese to see it. The moment slipped away and the walls came back up, but Reese was starting to think that Finch had been guarding himself for so long, it was reflexive, an instinct he found hard to resist, and when Reese did see through the defenses, it was because Finch wanted him to.

Sitting back on his heels, Reese took one of Finch’s hands and coaxed him to his feet, neither of them saying a word as Reese unbuckled Finch’s belt, unbuttoned and unzipped his trousers, and guided them down Finch’s legs, careful not to let the material get caught on the bandage on Finch’s shin. Placing a hand on Reese’s shoulder to steady himself, Finch stepped out of his pants and Reese moved them out of the way. Looking up at Finch, Reese let the image burn itself into his memory, the white dress shirt hanging open, elegant black silk boxers underneath, soft skin flushed, lips parted, eyes wide.

Reese held his breath as he slowly drew Finch’s boxers down, feeling like a kid on Christmas, peeling back the bright, shiny paper to discover that the thing he had wanted most in the world was finally his. It was nothing to write home about, but it wasn’t anything to be ashamed of, either. It was Finch, and that made it perfect. Letting the silk pool around Finch’s ankles, Reese ran his hands up Finch’s legs, feeling him tremble as Reese leaned close and nuzzled the soft, pale skin of his inner thigh.

Finch drew a shuddering breath as Reese turned his head, the dark tangle of wiry curls tickling his nose, his breath and then his lips playing over the velvet skin of Finch’s sac as he opened his mouth and drew one testicle inside, his tongue laving the small, firm globe-

Reese jerked back, turning his head away as a sudden sneeze took him by surprise, his ears ringing in the silence that followed. Then Finch started to laugh. Reese glanced up at him, rubbing at his nose to chase away the ghost sensation that lingered, and smiled. It was the first real laugh Reese had heard out of him.

“Sorry to ruin the mood,” Reese said, rising to his feet.

Finch sobered instantly. “What? It was just a sneeze.”

“I’m not handing you your clothes and telling you to get out,” Reese said with a crooked grin as he grabbed the condoms and lube off the table and carried them over to the nightstand. When he turned back around, he noted that Finch had self-consciously drawn his shirt closed, adjusting the tails to hang down in front of his crotch, his fingers absently smoothing a wrinkle in the material. “In fact,” Reese said, walking slowly toward him, “I hope you cleared your schedule for the day, because we could be here a while.”

Finch swallowed hard. “Now, Mr. Reese, I warned you not to expect too much.”

“Relax, Finch; I’m not expecting anything,” Reese said, drawing close. “You’re here, and that’s enough for me.” His hands found the front of Finch’s shirt, pushing it open and sliding it off his shoulders. Finch made a wordless noise of protest, but Reese silenced him with a kiss, sliding his tongue past Finch’s lips as the shirt fluttered to the floor. Hands sliding down Finch’s back, Reese eased closer, pressing his naked body against Finch’s. Finch gasped into Reese’s mouth, every muscle tensing, his hands clutching at Reese’s shoulders as Reese rocked his hips, rubbing their cocks together, the delicious friction of skin on skin making his head spin.

Finch groaned and pulled back. “Please, Mr. Reese…” he whispered.

Reese closed the distance between them, brushing his lips against Finch’s. “I’m going to make you call me John,” Reese murmured. “Now lie down; I want you in my mouth.”

“You’re a fiend,” Finch said, breathless.

Reese smirked. “You have no idea.” He stepped away from Finch, grabbing the pillows off of one bed and tossing them on the other, letting Finch arrange them himself and not saying anything when it felt like he was taking forever. Reese could tell he was nervous again, and if the precise placement of a pillow helped him quiet his mind and compose himself, then Finch could play with the pillows for as long as he wanted. Finally, Finch lowered himself to the bed and reclined into his carefully arranged pillows, his neck and shoulders supported.

For a long moment, Reese just stared, his gaze moving slowly over the feast spread before him. Finch looked distinctly uncomfortable with the scrutiny and Reese couldn’t help but be amused by the irony of a man who watched everyone not liking to be watched. Moving slowly, Reese climbed onto the bed with Finch, his heart beginning to race anew as the reality of what he was doing washed over him. It was so easy to get caught up in the moment and not realize what it meant.

Reese crawled over Finch, kissing his lips, his jaw, his throat, starting at his mouth and working his way down. He took his time, reveling in the tiny gasps and moans that he coaxed from the reserved man, nipping and sucking on Finch’s nipples, teasing them into tight, tender nubs. Finch buried his hands in Reese’s hair, his breath growing hard and fast as Reese kissed down to his navel, running the tip of his tongue around the rim before sliding farther south.

Hovering over Finch’s stiff cock, Reese looked up, meeting his fevered gaze before opening his mouth and taking as much of Finch as he could. He drew back slowly, lips tight against spit-slicked skin.

“Oh…Oh…” Finch gasped, repeating the single syllable like a personal mantra as Reese swirled his tongue around the head, sucking and licking before sliding back down the shaft. Reese couldn’t believe how natural this felt, how good, how right, to have Finch beneath him, panting and trembling, his legs shifting restlessly, his fingers combing through Reese’s hair, but in the back of his mind, in a place he didn’t want to acknowledge, he knew that nothing this perfect came without a price. It was the law of the universe, a cosmic scale struggling to maintain balance; for every moment of pleasure, an equal amount of pain must be suffered. Reese could handle pain, and if the universe was willing, he’d bear Finch’s share, too, but he knew from experience that the universe wasn’t always so accommodating.

Finch moaned, long and low, his body taut, his hands curling into fists in Reese’s hair. “Mr. Reese…Mr. Reese, I…I’m…You might want to…stop now…”

But Reese didn’t want to stop. He began to hum, bobbing his head and sucking hard, one hand lightly tugging and stroking Finch’s balls.

Finch tensed, lifting his hips off the bed, and cried out. “Oh! Oh, John!”

Reese slowed, but didn’t stop, swallowing every drop and licking him clean as he began to grow soft. Raising his head, he regarded Finch, lying dazed and breathless in his carefully arranged pillows, and Reese smiled softly to himself. Crawling back up Finch’s body, Reese leaned down for a kiss, only to have Finch turn his head away. “What’s wrong?” Reese asked, his voice soft. Was this guilt, shame? Or had Finch gotten what he wanted and now had no further need of Reese?

“Sorry,” Finch said, “I just…don’t want to taste myself in your mouth.” He seemed almost embarrassed by the confession.

“Oh,” Reese said, relieved that that’s all it was. “I’ll be right back, then.” As he strode toward the bathroom, he suddenly stopped and glanced back. “Don’t go anywhere,” he said. “I’m not finished with you yet.”

“I’m all yours, Mr. Reese,” Finch said, looking truly peaceful and relaxed for the first time in all the months they’d known each other. Smiling, Reese hurried into the bathroom and cracked open the tiny, complimentary bottle of mouthwash sitting beside the sink. “Although,” Finch called as Reese took a swig, “you may come to regret your zealousness. I’m not twenty anymore; once may be all you get.”

Reese swished for another moment, then spat into the sink. “Don’t be so hard on yourself, Finch. You’re only a few years older than I am.”

“Flattery will get you nowhere, Mr. Reese,” Finch said dryly as Reese returned. “It’s more than a few.”

Reese stopped beside the bed, trying to look at Finch with a critical eye, which of course made Finch fidget uncomfortably. “Can’t be more than ten years,” Reese decided.

“Try fifteen,” Finch said.

Reese’s eyebrows shot up. “No. Seriously?”

Finch nodded.

“Well, you look damn good, old man,” Reese said with a crooked grin as he climbed onto the bed and grabbed the lube off the nightstand. Warming the little bottle in his hand, Reese captured Finch’s mouth, sliding up against his body and letting his unoccupied hand wander over Finch’s skin, savoring the warmth, the softness, the tiny noises Finch probably didn’t realize he was making. Reese was hard and aching when he finally drew back. “Are you sure you want this?” he asked. “It’s all right if it’s too soon.”

“I’m sure,” Finch said. “I want this more than anything. And I want this…” He reached down and ran his fingers up Reese’s cock. “Right now.”

Reese groaned low in his throat and resisted the urge to give Finch what he asked for. He popped the cap off the bottle of lube, then hesitated. “How do you want to do this?” he asked, unsure of the extent of Finch’s physical limitations.

“As long as you don’t get too creative,” Finch said with a small smirk, “I think I can manage.”

“Manage…” Reese repeated. “Finch, I don’t want to do anything that will hurt you.”

For a brief moment, Finch’s expression softened. “Everything hurts, John. Every day, no matter what I do or don’t do, I’m in pain. I’ve learned not to let it keep me from doing what I want.”

Reese knew it had taken a lot for Finch to admit what Reese had suspected for some time, and he appreciated the honesty, but that didn’t mean he had to like what Finch told him. “The other night,” Reese said, “you said lying on your side wasn’t too bad. Do you think you could manage that?”

“It shouldn’t be a problem,” Finch said, frowning slightly, “but isn’t that a little…awkward?”

“You let me worry about that,” Reese said, leaning down and kissing him again. Finch rolled onto his side, facing away from Reese, and repositioned the pillows to support his head. “How does that feel?” Reese asked.

“Fine,” Finch replied, and Reese wished he could believe him. Reese ran a finger lightly over the scar at the back of Finch’s neck and felt him shudder. “Compared to an average day, Mr. Reese, this is heaven,” Finch said softly. “I appreciate your concern, but I don’t want to be treated like a cripple.”

Reese sat up, leaning over Finch so that he could look him in the eye. “I could never think of you like that,” he said, “but I also can’t be insensitive to the fact that your body has limitations. It’s a fact, not a problem.” He hesitated. “Letting me care about you doesn’t make you weak.”

He lay back down and carefully drizzled lubricant on his fingertips, pressing his lips to Finch’s shoulder as he eased his slippery fingers between Finch’s cheeks. Finch drew a shuddering breath, his body trembling as Reese spread the lube across his opening, that tight ring of muscle softening at his touch. He had done this before.

Reese drew back, adding more lube to his fingers before capping the bottle and setting it aside. He slid closer to Finch, kissing his shoulder, his neck, letting his lips play over the scar as he slowly eased a single finger into Finch. Finch tensed at the intrusion, but it was just the body’s natural reaction. Reese waited for him to adjust and relax, and then began spreading the lube as deep as he could, waiting until he heard Finch moan before adding a second finger. Finch shifted his hips as Reese stretched him, pushing back against him, his breathing harsh and ragged.

“Please…” Finch whispered. “John, please…”

Reese inserted a third finger, meeting only token resistance. Withdrawing, he reached over Finch to grab the box of condoms off the nightstand, tearing into the box and quickly rolling one down over his cock. His heart hammering inside his chest, Reese pressed the head against Finch’s entrance and slid inside, his breath catching as the tight heat surrounded him.

“You all right?” Reese asked, his lips brushing against the back of Finch’s neck.

“Yes,” Finch gasped, his voice tight, “although ‘all right’ is something of an understatement.”

Reese smiled and draped his arm over Finch’s side, drawing him closer as he rocked his hips, small, slow movements that made Finch squirm and moan. The position did limit the depth and speed of his thrusts, but Reese wasn’t interested in a hard, fast fuck, anyway. Finch was different, Finch was special; he deserved more.

Reese drew on his extensive training to resist the physical sensations, to make it last for as long as possible, but he wasn’t made of stone. Finch’s soft voice, his breathless moans and gasps and cries as Reese rubbed across his prostate, was the sweetest kind of sensual torture and one Reese had no defense against. His movements grew urgent, his breathing harsh and ragged against the back of Finch’s neck, and he slid his hand down to Finch’s cock, a few strokes all it took to prove the doubtful man wrong.

Finch came hard, his hips jerking as he spilled himself, and Reese quickly followed suit, shuddering as he filled the condom. He felt almost delirious as he lay there, both of them panting, the air perfumed by sweat and sex, his body molded against the man in his arms, the man in whose body he was slowly growing soft. It was like the last moments of a dream before reality came crashing in.

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