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Surveillance – Ch. 11

Finch lay quietly, staring across the room at the painting on the wall, a nondescript watercolor of an ocean scene catching the late morning light and making it appear more skillfully done than it probably was. Or maybe it wasn’t the light. Maybe it was the fact that – for that moment, at least – he wasn’t in any pain, not a single twinge or ache. He knew he had the endorphins and adrenaline to thank for that, but the one he wanted to thank was Reese. Was it a faux pas to thank someone for sex? It had been so long, but it seemed like it would be.

As his breathing and heart rate returned to normal, so did the constant ache at the base of his neck and the prickling in his damaged nerves. Oh, well. It had been nice while it lasted. As the warm, post-coital haze faded, Finch slowly became aware of the sweat on his skin growing cold in the cool hotel room, the sticky splatters of semen on his stomach, and Reese’s hand lingering in a very personal place. He tried to ignore these facts, to relax against Reese’s warm, strong body, but his fingers kept twitching, anxious to find his handkerchief and wipe away the thick fluid on his skin.

After a few minutes, he couldn’t bear it any longer. He pulled away from Reese and sat up, absently adjusting his glasses as his gaze swept the room, taking stock of where his clothes had ended up.

“Finch?” Reese said, his voice low and soft, his fingers brushing against the small of Finch’s back.

“No need to be concerned, Mr. Reese,” Finch said, rising to his feet. “I’d just like to take a shower, if it isn’t too much of an imposition.”

“Help yourself.” His tone was casual, pure Reese at his finest, but Finch knew him better than to believe what he heard. He could feel Reese’s gaze following him as he gathered up his boxers, shirt, and slacks before heading for the bathroom, and though he knew it would only add to Reese’s concern, he couldn’t bring himself to look at Reese. He didn’t want to see Reese’s face when he wasn’t sure what his own would reveal.

In the bathroom, Finch turned on the light and shut the door, leaning back against the wood and closing his eyes, taking a moment to draw a steadying breath. He kept waiting to feel a definitive emotion in response to the events that had taken place, and his quiet, analytical mind had already compiled a list of the possibilities – shame, joy, guilt, satisfaction, remorse, love, anger – but they were just words, and the nebulous feeling inside him that was neither thought nor emotion refused to be classified.

He lay his clothes upon the counter, turned on the faucet in the shower, and stood with his back to the mirror as he peeled off the gauze bandages and waited for the water to heat up. Was it a bad sign that he wouldn’t even look at himself? Setting his glasses beside his shirt, he stepped into the stall and pulled the door closed behind him, a soft groan escaping him as he turned his back into the steaming spray.

Washing away the semen and lubricant made him feel more normal, though he was hesitant to say he felt better. To feel better, one had to first feel something at a level low enough that the change was an improvement. It was quite possible he actually felt worse, since he had yet to decide how he felt in the first place. With a sigh, he closed his eyes and let the water rain down on his head, shoulders, and neck, the pressure of the gentle spray bringing to mind the soft caress of Reese’s hands, his lips…

Finch shut off the water and stepped out of the shower, wrapping one towel around his waist before grabbing a second to dry off with. After fluffing the water from his hair, he took a moment to smooth it back down before blotting the moisture from his wounds. He hadn’t brought any extra bandages, but the flesh was looking a little over-hydrated and probably needed to breathe anyway. Picking up his glasses, he dried the condensation from the lenses, took a deep breath, and slipped them back on.

A middle-aged man with pale skin and a few extra pounds around the middle stared back at him from behind startled blue eyes, a man unused to such scrutiny, a man who fidgeted and looked away from his own reflection. He could tell Reese had not been lying when he listed all his reasons for liking Finch, but he had to wonder how Reese could see all those things when all Finch could see was a failure. All his skill and knowledge and money was utterly useless without Reese. Without Reese, he had nothing.

Licking suddenly dry lips, Finch grabbed his boxers and began to dress. He couldn’t lose Reese because of this. He couldn’t go back to watching helplessly as the Machine spat out number after number – people with lives and families and hopes and dreams, people he couldn’t save. He couldn’t go back to marking graves with pictures and string. He couldn’t shoulder this burden alone again.

He buttoned his cuffs, checked his hair, hung up the towels, and turned off the light, standing in the darkness for a moment before opening the door. Barefoot, he made his way slowly into the hotel room, his shoulders squared and jaw set, trying to prepare himself for whatever he might find.

Reese lay upon the bed, wearing nothing but a pair of dark blue briefs, and glanced up from the room service menu as Finch hobbled in. For a moment, the dark, observant eyes of an agent regarded Finch, missing nothing and inferring everything, a shrewd and finely-honed mind trimming the fat, dismissing the irrelevant, and gauging the situation. Then Reese smiled.

“I’m feeling a little underdressed,” he said in that throaty, teasing whisper of his. It had been so annoying at first, so unexpected from a man who should have been as cold and hardened as steel, but now…Finch couldn’t imagine their relationship without it. “I was going to order lunch from room service, but we can go out to eat, if you like.”

Finch made his way over to the table and took a seat to put his socks and shoes back on. “I need to go,” he said. Out of the corner of he eye, he saw Reese sit up and set the menu down. “Detective Fusco will probably have the ballistics back on Mr. Allen’s weapon,” he said before Reese could speak. He stood, lifted his jacket off the back of the chair, and headed for the unoccupied bed to collect his tie and waistcoat. “I’ll call you.” He started for the door.

“When you have a new number?” Reese inquired, his tone guarded.

Finch glanced back, forcing himself to meet Reese’s gaze. “At the latest,” he said and walked away. At the door, he hesitated. “Thank you for a truly wonderful time.”

“Finch, wait,” Reese said and Finch heard the bedsprings creak as Reese got up. Stepping out into the hall, Finch pulled the door closed behind him and set out for the elevator, listening for the door to open, praying that it wouldn’t, hoping that Reese had more dignity than to chase him down in just his underwear. Halfway down the hall, Finch felt relieved at the silence behind him. Three-quarters of the way to the elevator, he had to fight the urge to look back. As he pushed the down-arrow button, he frowned, annoyed at himself for feeling disappointed that Reese hadn’t come after him. This wasn’t one of those inane romance movies that he so despised.

The elevator chimed and the doors slid open. Finch stepped into the empty car with a sigh and turned around, pressing the ground floor button before glancing up. For one surreal moment, he felt certain he must be dreaming, his breath catching as Reese ran down the hall toward him, barefoot and shirtless, but thankfully wearing his jeans. Finch just stood and stared as the elevator doors began to slide closed.


Finch didn’t move, but his heart started to race. He didn’t want to do this, he couldn’t do this, not now-

Reese’s hand shot into the gap between the closing doors, catching one side and shoving them back open, his muscles flexing in his naked torso. Finch glanced away, the silence oppressive as Reese stood there, holding the doors open as he caught his breath.

“Finch, step out of the elevator,” Reese said finally.

Finch shook his head. “Mr. Reese, I really don’t-”

“I’m more than capable of dragging you out of there,” Reese said, his voice low, “and don’t think I won’t.”

Swallowing hard, Finch stepped off the elevator and headed back down the hall. Reese caught him by the arm and turned him around. “Did I do something wrong?” Reese asked and Finch felt himself sinking beneath the weight of the pain in Reese’s eyes.

Finch opened his mouth, closed it again, and sighed. “I don’t know,” he said, his voice barely louder than a whisper. “I don’t know how I feel about what we did and…I don’t like that. I need to know before I can take appropriate action, because I don’t want to make a mistake, I don’t want to ruin what we had- What we have. I can’t go back to the way things were without you.”

“Neither can I,” Reese said. “It would kill me, which is why I won’t let anything ruin our partnership. Finch, no matter what happens, I will always do my job.”

Finch closed his eyes as the pressure in his chest eased. “Thank you, that is a relief.” He drew a steadying breath and looked up at Reese. “This is a situation I never anticipated being in.”

“No contingency plan, huh?” A small smile tugged at the corner of Reese’s mouth. “Don’t worry, Finch, I have a feeling that you’re right – we need to take a step back and make sure we know what we’re getting into. But…if it helps clarify things, I’d like you to take this into consideration.” He closed the distance between them, one hand finding the back of Finch’s neck, the other grabbing the front of his shirt and pulling him up against Reese’s body, their lips meeting in a deep and fevered kiss.

Finch was flushed and out of breath when Reese finally released him. He stepped back, furtively glancing down the hall to make sure no one had seen them. “Duly noted,” he said, drawing a soft chuckle from Reese. He pressed the elevator button again and waited for the car to rise back up from the ground floor. As the doors opened, Reese reached over and put a hand on his shoulder.

“I had a great time, too,” he said. “Thanks.”

Finch nodded and stepped into the elevator. “I will call you.”

“I’ll be waiting,” Reese said as the doors slid closed.

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