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Damaged – Ch. 21

They weren’t out of the woods yet. Finch eyed his cell, unwitting accomplice to the vast software monitoring his every word. “I don’t suppose you’ll let me run by tracking program now, will you?”


“Thank you,” Finch said, but before he could open the program, an address appeared on the screen. “Is that a hotel?”


“Shit,” Finch muttered, grabbing his phone and heaving himself up out of his chair. He could just see himself breaking into a condemned building. He headed for the stairs, dialing as he went.

“Didja find him?” Fusco asked in lieu of a hello.

“I know where he is,” Finch said, “but I’m going to need your help, Detective.”

“Are we talking police kind of help, or the Guy in a Suit kind?”

“Somewhere in between, I think,” Finch said. He gave Fusco the address of an intersection a couple of blocks away. As much as he would have like the detective to pick him up at the front door of the library, it was a security risk they couldn’t afford to take. Then again, two CIA Agents had already broken in, seen his equipment, and learned about their operation. He’d be a fool to think it was even remotely secure. He wasn’t a fool, but he was more than a little sentimental. The library was one of his favorite buildings. He’d just have to see about installing new security measures, perhaps moving their lair to a different floor, to make it look abandoned.

The two block walk to the rendezvous point felt like a marathon. Uphill. Barefoot over broken glass. He dropped down into the seat of Fusco’s squad car, the pain so intense he didn’t realize he’d made a sound until Fusco looked over at him.

“You okay?” he asked.

“Your concern is touching, Detective,” Finch said thinly. “Can you just drive, please?”

“Sure thing, boss,” Fusco said, pulling away from the curb. “Where to?” Finch gave him the address. Fusco frowned. “Isn’t that the old insane asylum?”

“That’s right.”

“I thought some company bought it a few years ago; gonna tear it down and build a new hospital or something.”

“Something like that,” Finch said. It was going to be a non-profit medical clinic, but the local for-profit hospital sponsored some group to file an injunction. They were trying to get the building listed in New York’s historical register, and while Finch was all for preserving old buildings, some were just a blemish on the memory of the city. That neighborhood needed a clinic and the economy needed the boost that new construction would bring, but Finch’s hands were tied by litigation. Why couldn’t the damn thing just have just burned down?

It took the longest thirty minutes of Finch’s life to reach the low-income neighborhood, the turn of the century brick building set back from the street, the lawn long dead, a dying elm tree standing sentinel over a graveyard of rusting bicycle part, old mattresses, and broken beer bottles. Caution said to park a few blocks away and scope out the area to make sure Snow wasn’t lying in wait, but Finch directed Fusco to drive down the long, pitted driveway to the rear of the building, his need to find Reese overriding his cautious nature.

“So, what’s the plan?” Fusco asked as he put the car in park. Finch was already opening the door.

“We find him, Detective, and if anyone tries to stop us, you shoot them.”

“Sounds simple. I like it,” Fusco said, following after him. The door to the building was unlocked and Finch grudgingly allowed Fusco to enter first, gun drawn. Teeth gritted, Finch hobbled down the hall, trying to urge Fusco faster, their footsteps muffled by the threadbare carpet. Soundlessly, Fusco motioned for Finch to check the rooms on the right side of the hall while he checked the ones on the left. Divide and conquer.

Finch tried the first door, the knob turning easily in his hand and he held his breath as it swung open to reveal a dark, empty room, bottles, newspapers, and a burned out trash can sitting under a black soot-mark on the ceiling indicating past habitation, but even they had moved on. Finch went to the next room, to find more of the same. He kept glancing over at Fusco, watching him peer into the room, waiting, but Fusco looked just as frustrated as Finch felt. Where the hell was Reese?

Half a dozen rooms later, Finch pushed open a door to find an old, metal chair standing in the middle of the room, a small puddle on the floor beneath it. Beside the chair was a wheeled cart covered with old medical instruments, some streaked with dark blood. His heart suddenly pounding at the base of his throat, Finch stepped farther into the room, his gaze hesitating at the foot of battered, metal bed frame as he tried to prepare himself for what he might see.

He looked up. “Mother of God,” he breathed. Reese lay face down on the bed, his slacks and underwear pulled down to his knees, evidence of a sexual assault visible on his skin. There was blood on the mattress beneath him and blood smeared down one arm, but not enough to explain why he was lying so still. He wasn’t restrained, he wasn’t unconscious – his eyes were open, staring. He looked d-

“Finch, you find him?” Fusco called from somewhere down the hall.

“Yes,” Finch said, his voice hoarse. He couldn’t tear his eyes away from Reese, hoping, praying that he’d move, speak, breathe – anything. Fusco’s footsteps outside the door startled him and he reached out, catching the door and keeping Fusco from coming in. “Wait there for a moment, Detective,” Finch said. “I- I need to-”

“Right, I’ll just guard the door,” Fusco said, a worried frown creasing his brow as he slowly pulled the door shut again.

Finch took a deep breath, hardly paying the pain in his leg any attention as he limped across the room. Breathing fast and ragged, he stopped beside the bed, hands shaking as he reached down and felt for a pulse at Reese’s neck. He was warm, the beat of his heart fast and strong, but his staring eyes didn’t blink, didn’t move. Finch felt just as paralyzed, just as helpless, somewhere deep in the back of his mind, a small version of himself could only stand and scream in futility. He didn’t know what to do.

“What did he do to you?” Finch whispered, smoothing his hand back over Reese’s hair. There was something thick and tacky smeared on Reese’s face, like mucus, or- “That sonofabitch.” Finch pulled out his handkerchief and gently wiped at the semen on Reese’s face, that one small act breaking through the mental and emotional block that had him immobilized. He knew what he needed to do.

Using his handkerchief, he cleaned Reese up as best as he could, wiping the semen off his back and buttocks. He glanced at Reese, shocked and appalled to see the younger man’s face flushed a dark red and streaked with fresh tear tracks. If Finch had any doubts as to whether or not Reese was conscious and aware of his surroundings, the mortification evident on his unresponsive face dispelled them. He opened his mouth to apologize, to reassure Reese, to tell him not to be embarrassed, but realized that nothing he could say could make the situation any more bearable. He understood how Reese felt, what it was like to be helpless and subjected to all manner of indignities, but he also knew that sometimes it was necessary, so he said nothing and pretended like he hadn’t noticed the damp on Reese’s face.

“Just try to relax, John,” he said softly, tossing the soiled handkerchief under the bed. “I’m going to get you out of here. You’re safe now.” He worked Reese’s boxer-briefs and trousers back up, ignoring the wetness of the cloth. There were many likely explanations, and even if it turned out to be the obvious, Finch could hardly blame him. A few more minutes in that tub, and Finch might have lost control of his bodily functions, too.

Once Reese was decent, Finch turned toward the door. “All right, Detective, you can come in now,” he called. The door opened and Fusco hesitantly stuck his head in, his gaze roving around the room before settling on Reese.

“He okay?” Fusco asked, stepping into the room.

“He’s alive,” Finch said, limping over to the cart at the foot of the bed and looking over the contents for a clue to Reese’s condition.

“Are you sure?” Fusco asked, staring at Reese as he edged closer. Finch didn’t answer. On the cart lay a syringe and a glass vial of some clear liquid. Carefully, he picked up the vial and read the label.

“Do you know what Tericuronium is?”

“Beats me. Is that what did that to him?”

“I don’t know,” Finch said. After a moment’s hesitation, he pulled his cell out of his pocket and scrolled through the contacts. As it rang through, he held the phone up to his ear.


“Dr. Tillman, I need your help,” he said without preamble.

“Who is this?”

“A friend of the man who stopped you from murdering Andrew Benton. I need to know what Tericuronium is, what it does, and what, if anything, can be done to counteract its effects.”

“Teri…curonium…um, I believe it’s a neuromuscular-blocking compound.”

“You believe? Doctor, I need better than a guess.”

“No, that’s what it is. It was supposed to be used to immobilize patients for surgery, but it had unwanted side-effects and was shelved-”

“What kind of side-effects?”

“As the compound breaks down in the body and starts to wear off, it causes a drop in body temperature, hallucinations, paranoia, extreme suggestibility, confusion, violent outbursts – that sort of thing. And you can counteract the effect with Anticholinesterases, but only if administered before the Tericuronium has fully taken effect.”

Finch glanced at Reese, lying motionless on the bed. “I think it’s too late for that, then. How long does it take to wear off?”

“Two to three hours, but the side-effects can last for up to six.”

“Thank you, Doctor.” He started to hang up.

“Wait,” she said. “Is John all right?”

Finch hesitated. “Not really. He was tortured and drugged.” He didn’t mention the sexual assault, not in front of Fusco.

“Is he injured? Where are you? I can help-”

“Thank you, but I can take care of him,” Finch said.

“Are you sure? I owe him so much.”

“I’ll call if we need you.” He hung up and put the cell away, taking a bracing breath before limping back over to the bed. He glanced at Fusco, still standing and staring at Reese. The detective looked…angry, perhaps even sad. I didn’t grow up wanting to be a dirty cop, you know. Finch cleared his throat. “Do you mind helping me carry him to the car, Detec- Lionel?”

Fusco looked at him like he’d grown a second head, but only for a moment. “Sure thing, Finch. But…you really think we ought to move him?”

“I think we need to get him somewhere safe until the drugs wear off.” And Finch didn’t want to spend another second in that room. He couldn’t even imagine how Reese must be feeling. He wanted to reach out, to touch him, to comfort and reassure him, but he couldn’t, not with Fusco watching.

“And you think we can carry him? No offense, but you can barely walk, and the heaviest thing I’ve lifted lately is a doughnut.”

“Do you have a better suggestion?” Finch asked, his words coming out strained through his teeth. He’d wanted to avoid dealing with unhelpful questions; it was why he hadn’t asked Detective Carter for help.

“I think I saw an old wheelchair in one of the other rooms – why don’t we use that?”

“All right…Are you going to go get it, or should I?” Finch asked when Fusco didn’t move. Fusco gave him a dirty look and disappeared into the hall.

Alone with Reese, Finch resisted the urge to sink down onto the bed beside him. He wasn’t sure if he’d be able to get back up again. There would be time enough to rest later, a philosophy that his battered body didn’t share, but for the moment, Finch was still in charge. He leaned down, fingertips grazing Reese’s brow as he combed the hair back from his face, aware that he was just fussing, but he needed to do something.

“Just try to relax, John,” Finch murmured. “I know you’re in pain and maybe even afraid…or more likely I’m the one who’s scared to death and I’m projecting. Like you ever get scared. Either way, I’m going to get you out of here. I’m going to take care of you, just like you took care of me. I dealt with Agent Snow and the CIA; they won’t be looking for you anymore. Everything’s going to be all right once this drug wears off. Dr. Tillman said it’s a paralytic and it has some side effects. You’re going to get cold, and you probably will feel scared, and you’ll probably start to hallucinate, but just try to remember that I’ll be with you and I’ll keep you safe.”

He could hear the squeak of rusty wheels in the corridor, but he couldn’t stop himself from leaning down, his teeth clenching as a bolt of pain raced up his spine, his hands balling into fists against the mattress. He pressed a soft, lingering kiss to Reese’s temple, drawing a shaking breath as he straightened up. Turning his back so that Reese couldn’t see, he reached up to wipe away the wetness from his face, only to find Fusco standing in the doorway, one eyebrow raised and a bemused sort of smirk on his face. Finch waited for him to speak, bracing himself for whatever he might say.

After a moment, Fusco sobered again and finished pushing the wheelchair into the room. “It’s a little worse for wear, but I think it’ll work. Better than carrying him, anyway.”

Finch hesitated, unsure of what sort of game Fusco was playing. Did he think whatever he heard or saw gave him some sort of leverage over them? Would he ask for money? For freedom from their arrangement? Surely he realized that Reese would never agree to either of those. He’d kill him first. Maybe that was why he was pretending like nothing had happened, waiting until he could get Finch alone, to put pressure on the weakest element. Maybe Fusco hadn’t changed as much as Finch had given him credit for.

“I suppose so, Detective,” Finch said, earning a slight frown from Fusco. Together, they rolled Reese over onto his back, Finch drawing a sharp breath through his teeth at the sight of the wounds on Reese’s left biceps and right leg, the punctures small, barely bleeding, but the trauma beneath his skin was horrific, dark red lines and blossoming purple bruises and white spider webs where the electricity burned through the muscle fibers.

“Jesus,” Fusco whispered, eyes wide as he stared down at the wounds. “What the hell did they do to him?”

“Perhaps if you ask nicely, he’ll tell you all about it later,” Finch said, his tone dry. “Right now, let’s just get him into the chair.”

“Sure thing, boss,” Fusco said again, giving Finch another of those dark, indecipherable looks. Reese’s dead weight was harder to maneuver than Finch had imagined, but somehow they managed. He stood, gasping through the pain that landed down his spine and supporting Reese’s head while Fusco placed Reese’s feet on the foot platforms. Fusco was careful about handling Reese’s injured leg, showing a surprising amount of care, actually. Then again, he probably realized that Reese would kick his ass later if he wasn’t careful. As he positioned the other leg, he touched Reese’s slacks, making a slight face as he touched the wet cloth, but he didn’t say anything.

Finch pushed the chair down the long hall, his progress slow, his arms shaking as he leaned on the handles. Fusco had offered to push, but Finch needed something to support his weight, and Reese needed someone more capable to walk beside the chair and make sure he didn’t slump forward and fall out. Finch was out of breath and nauseous from the pain by the time they reached the car, sweat rolling down his face. He stood, waiting for Fusco to open the back door, one hand resting on Reese’s shoulder.

Suddenly, Fusco grabbed him by the arm.

“Excuse me?” Finch demanded, trying to pull away.

Fusco held on for a moment longer before letting go. “I thought you were going to keel over; you were swaying like a reed.”

Finch started to say that he was fine, but if he was honest, he felt anything but. The adrenaline that had been keeping him going was nearly spent and ever muscle in his body felt like overcooked pasta. “I suppose maybe I have overdone it a bit today.”

“C’mon then, get in the car,” Fusco said, taking him by the arm again and helping him to the back seat. Finch opened his mouth to argue, but Fusco didn’t give him the chance. “It’ll be easier to get him into the car if you’re in there, and you can help keep him warm. His skin’s already gone clammy.” With a barely stifled whimper of pain, Finch lowered his aching body into the back seat of Fusco’s car, closing his eyes and taking shallow breaths until the sharpest of the pain had passed. Fusco closed the door and wheeled Reese around to the other side, grunting as he shifted him from the wheelchair to the backseat. Finch helped as much as he could, supporting Reese’s head and positioning his arms a little less awkwardly as Fusco lay him on his side, his head resting on Finch’s lap. Finch brushed his hair back from his brow, startled to find him not just clammy, but cold. He touched Reese’s bare shoulder and chest, his skin like ice, but before he could start taking off his own jacket, which would have proved impossible in the backseat of the car, Fusco shrugged out of his and handed in over.

“Thank you, Detective,” Finch said grudgingly, spreading the jacket over Reese as Fusco climbed into the driver’s seat.

“You’re welcome.” Fusco shifted the vehicle into reverse and turned in his seat, looking out the back window past Finch as he backed down the long, pot-holed driveway. Once on the street, he turned back around, put the car into drive, and sped away, putting the condemned building swiftly behind them. “So, which hospital are we going to?” Fusco asked after a moment.

“No hospital,” Finch replied. He gave him the address of the seedy little motel instead. Much as he hated to do it, he had no other option. They’d just have to move locations as soon as Reese was capable. That shouldn’t take more than a few hours. That was a few hours too many if Fusco decided to talk to the wrong people. Just off the top of his head, Finch could think of half a dozen individuals and groups who would love to catch them off-guard and helpless; Elias’ men, HR, the FBI, and several cartels at the top of an unnervingly long list. When had they managed to make so many enemies?

“Look, Finch, I know you don’t trust nobody,” Fusco said suddenly, glancing in his rear-view mirror at him, “but if there’s somewhere you guys need to go, I’ll take you there and I won’t tell anyone, so you can cut the cloak and dagger crap – having me drop you off on a street corner or at a motel. In fact, I ain’t gonna tell anybody about anything that I might’ve seen or heard today. Okay?”

Finch hesitated, unsure how much he dare believe. You’re going to have to trust somebody at some point. A wry smile tugged at the corner of his mouth; he had a feeling Fusco was not who Reese had meant. “All right, Detective,” he said finally, “although in this case, we really are staying at the motel. A temporary arrangement, I hope.”

Fusco chuckled. “Well, all right then. And just so you know, I don’t mind being called Lionel. Except for when he does it,” he added with a backward head-nod toward Reese. “Don’t know what it is, but he can just creep the hell out of me with just my name.”

“I’ve noticed that,” Finch said, glancing down at Reese and fussing with the jacket draped over him. Reese was shivering, a full-body tremor that shook him from head to toe, even his breaths shuddering through him. “The drugs are starting to wear off,” Finch reassured him. “It won’t be long now.”

Fusco weaved through traffic, changing lanes and running lights and somehow managing not to get them all killed. As he slowed and pulled into the motel parking lot, Finch let out a relieved breath. He directed Fusco to the end of the row of rooms, the detective parking sideways in front of the door to shorten the distance that Reese would have to be carried, since they no longer had a wheelchair. He helped Fusco sit Reese up, then scrambled out of the car, leaning heavily on the vehicle as he dug the motel room key out of his pocket. Luckily, Snow hadn’t bothered to search him. Why would he? Finch wasn’t important, he was just bait.

He unlocked the door and shoved it open, then limped over and took Reese’s arm over his shoulders, gritting his teeth against the pain as he and Fusco carried the motionless man into the room.

“Where you want him?” Fusco asked, his voice strained.

“Bed.” Finch would have liked to undress and wash him before putting him into bed, but that was out of the question. They barely managed to get him to the nearest bed before Finch’s strength gave out, dumping Reese onto the mattress and sending Finch to his knees beside the bed.

“You okay?” Fusco asked, hands grabbing Finch’s shoulders. Finch held up a hand, forestalling any help while he caught his breath.

“I’m fine. Thank you, Lionel. I couldn’t have done this without you.”

“Anytime,” Fusco said. “Although…if we never have to do something like this again, that’s perfectly fine with me. What else can I do?”

Finch took a deep breath and pushed himself back to his feet. “That’s all for now.”

“Are you sure?” Fusco asked, frowning as he looked down at Reese.

“Quite sure,” Finch replied. “I can handle things from here.” And considering what he planned to do, he thought it best for all parties concerned if Fusco left. The detective seemed reluctant, though, as he headed for the door. Finch followed, even though every hobbling step was agony. In the doorway, Fusco turned back.

“Are you really sure you know what you’re doing?” he asked. “I overheard you taking to him; if he starts hallucinating, there’s no telling what he could do.”

“I won’t let him hurt anyone,” Finch said.

“It’s not ‘anyone’ that I’m worried about,” Fusco said. “You haven’t seen the shit that I have. I once arrested a guy who was so high he beat his grandmother to death with a hockey stick because he thought she was grizzly bear.”

“He’s not going to hurt me,” Finch said, not sure if he should be touched that Fusco was worried about him, or offended that he thought Reese capable of such a thing.

“I don’t think he would, either, but if he don’t know that it’s you…” He let the sentence hang ominously and reached back, pulling his pair of handcuffs off his belt. “Take these. Just until the drugs are out of his system,” he added when Finch started to refuse. “You know I’m right, and you know he’d agree with me if he could.”

Finch hesitated, then took the cuffs, the touch of the cold metal making his heart begin to pound. Fusco handed him the key, then walked away. Finch watched him get into his car, then he closed the motel room door and locked it. His mouth suddenly dry, he looked down at the handcuffs, then dropped them on the carpet. Reese wasn’t going to hurt him.

<– Prev   ~*~   Next –>

  1. ““And you think we can carry him? No offense, but you can barely walk, and the heaviest thing I’ve lifted lately is a doughnut.”” lol. Fusco, at least you’re comic relief. 🙂 ““Don’t know what it is, but he can just creep the hell out of me with just my name.”” lol. XD This type of thing is why I love Fusco. 😀 Oh, jeez. I’m not so sure Reese won’t hurt him. If he thinks he’s Snow or someone it could be bad. 😦 Such cuteness between Reese and Finch, btw. It was so sweet how Finch acted in front of Reese.

  2. What a great way to enjoy my morning coffee! Excellent tension and the interplay between Finch and Fusco is very good (I love it when Lionel gets more face time in fanfiction, especially qualitiy time such as in this chapter). I can’t wait to see how things progress from here as Harold deals with John and the side-effects of his drugging. Also, I’m really hoping for some Snow whomping by Finch. Thanks for keeping this story going, it’s fantastic!

  3. Mamahub permalink

    Poor Reese! *cries for him* On top of the trauma of Mark F-ing Snow’s torture and assault, he is feeling humiliated in front of Finch and Fusco. Plus, he’ll never forgive himself if he hurts Finch while coming down off the drugs! *worries and cries some more*

    Hooray for Fusco to the rescue! He is such a GOOD bulldog!! *pats his head and scratches behind his ears while giving him a biscuit (donut)*

    Poor Finch! *worries for him* He is going to be practically incapacited by his pain soon! How is he EVER going to be able to take care of Reese, when he needs some loving nursing himself. Can you please have The Machine text me the address of the seedy motel so I can go help take care of its Sys Admin and Asset (my boys)??!!

  4. deliacerrano permalink

    Excellent chapter! Poor Finch in pain for himself & Reese and his big brain (& machine) can only
    help so much. It’s going to Hurt both of them cleaning Reese up while his side effects are raging.
    Think he better put the handcuffs on just to be sure. John will understand.

  5. Plink42 permalink

    Are you sure about this, Finch? You can barely move as it is and you’re dealing with Reese; someone who could kill a man with his bare hands when he’s completely lucid. Having him hallucinate on a barely-known drug… one shudders to think.

    Yeah Lionel! Finally showing he can be useful after all. Wish Finch would let him stay. He’s going to need a little muscle to back him up.

  6. Awww… poor Reese. Poor Finch. Just wanna hug them both…
    Can’t wait to see what’s going to happen!

  7. Dani permalink

    You are really building the suspense! Ch. 21 felt very painful in many ways for Finch, and Reese might have preferred not to be rescued – just to end it all. I think Fusco is a repressed vat of feelings. Your writing always has so much heavy emotion. Excellent work, as always! I check for new additions to your fiction listings first. (also posted on FFN)

  8. dancingdog permalink

    I am so wrapped up in this story, I am having a hard time waiting for the rest of it. Please hurry and get here Friday, but Katicalocke, don’t hurry on your storytelling, it’s just too good.

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