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Damaged – Ch. 22

Taking a deep breath to gather his thoughts, Finch slowly turned around, regarding Reese for a moment, unsure of what he wanted to say. He had to say something, though. Even if Reese couldn’t respond, acting like he wasn’t aware just seemed rude.

“It seems you’ve made quite an impression on Detective Fusco,” he said finally. “He was really worried about you. Of course, he wasn’t the only one.” He gave Reese a meaningful look and limped past the beds to the adjoining bathroom. His hands shook as he grabbed a wash cloth off the counter and held it under the tap, waiting for the water to heat up. Once the cloth was as hot as he could stand, he wrung it out and returned to the bed, doing his damnedest to hide the pain he was in as he lowered himself to the edge of the bed. Like Reese needed one more thing to worry about.

“I realize you’re going to hate this, but as I see it, we have no other options,” he said. “You’re a mess, and you’re temperature is dropping, and I’m not getting into bed with you to keep you warm until I clean you up, so I suggest we just deal with it.” That said, Finch began washing the vomit off of Reese’s chest. He tried to stay focused on his task, resisting the urge to meet Reese’s unblinking gaze. He wasn’t sure what he’d see in those staring eyes, and the options were less than appealing. Folding the dirty side of the cloth inward, Finch began washing Reese’s neck and shoulders, his hands starting to shake again as he gently wiped at the dried blood on Reese’s upper arm. The wounds were just two small punctures, but it looked like something long and thin and pointed had been driven under Reese’s skin.

Finch swallowed hard. “I’m sorry I couldn’t stop this sooner. I tried-” A quiet sound stopped him, a strained whimper from Reese’s lips. Finch leaned closer, using the cloth to wipe at dried tear tracks. “All right. I know what you’re trying to say, and we both know that you’re wrong, but I won’t argue with you.” He placed his palm flat against Reese’s cheek, alarmed by the chill of his skin and the shaking in his body. “I’ll be right back,” he said, nearly out of time.

Finch rinsed the wash cloth and returned to find Reese making those helpless, strangled noises again, each ragged breath punctuated by a whimper that stabbed deep into Finch’s heart. “I’m right here, John.” He was regaining some small amount of muscle control, fresh tears spilling down his cheeks as he blinked his eyes, his lower lip twitching. “Just try to stay calm. You’re probably starting to experience the side-effects now. It won’t last long, just stay calm. I’m right here. I’m not going anywhere.”

He pulled off Reese’s shoe, the mate having gone missing, and he tried to think if he’d seen it in Fusco’s car, then realized that it didn’t matter. He dropped the shoe beside the bed and stripped off Reese’s wet socks. In the decaying institution, the scent of mold and urine was strong, and he’d been able to convince himself that Reese was wet for some other reason, but now in the clean hotel room, he could smell the urine on Reese’s clothes. How badly must it have hurt for Reese to lose control like that?

Finch tossed the socks into the wastebasket in the corner of the room, then began working Reese’s pants down. The sounds coming from Reese’s throat grew louder and more urgent, fingers twitching, toes curling, an expression nearing panic etched into the small lines on his face. He looked ten years older than the last time Finch had seen him.

The pants went into the trash, a handful of change spilling out onto the carpet, and Finch grabbed the waistband of Reese’s boxer-briefs, pulling them down and sliding them out from under Reese’s ass. He jumped as Reese screamed, the frightened cry trailing off into a sob.

“It’s all right, John,” Finch said, his voice catching, his eyes stinging. “It’s all right. That’s all over now. You’re safe.” He stripped off the wet shorts and tossed them, then grabbed the cloth and began washing Reese’s legs. Finch wasn’t sure if it was involuntary muscle movements or deliberate, but Reese kept jerking away from his touch, the drug seeming to be wearing off more quickly. The helpless noises were approaching words, though Finch couldn’t yet make out what he was trying to say.

The wash cloth was cold again, but Reese was clean enough. Finch set it aside and shrugged out of his jacket, letting it fall to the floor beside the bed. The waistcoat and shirt joined it a moment later. He toed off his shoes, but his lower back gave a particularly painful twinge when he started to lean down to pull off his socks, so he left them. Biting back a cry as he heaved his body up off the bed, he undid his trousers and let them slide down his legs. He stepped out of them, grabbed the comforter off the second bed, and lay down beside Reese, pulling the blanket over them both.

“Easy…easy,” Finch whispered as Reese raised his shaking arms, uncooperative hands pressing his knuckles against Finch’s chest. Finch pushed his hands out of the way and inched closer, shivering as he slid up against Reese’s cold, naked body and wrapped his arms around the quaking man.

“No…no…” Reese whimpered, struggling against him. “S- st- stop…M- Mark, please…”

Finch closed his eyes and sobbed, his heart breaking. If he ever laid eyes on Snow again, he was going to fucking kill him.

“John, it’s all right. He’s gone. He can’t hurt you any more. I won’t let him.”

“Mark, d- don’t…” Reese pulled away from him and Finch found himself fighting a losing battle. Reese was so much stronger, and as his muscle control returned, there would be little Finch could do to subdue him. He thought about the handcuffs, lying on the floor in front of the door, but he could just imagine Reese’s reaction to being restrained, and he wasn’t about to cause him any more distress.

Finch touched his face, making him flinch, stroking his cheeks and running his fingers through Reese’s hair, trying to get his attention, but Reese’s eyes were wild and unfocused, staring at something only he could see.

“No! No, stop!” Reese shouted, grabbing Finch by one arm and shoving him away, pain exploding in his neck and back. Reese scrambled to get away, barely responsive limbs tangling in the comforter, and he tumbled off the bed, hitting the floor with a pained cry.

Eyes closed and fists clenched, Finch drew slow breaths through the pain, waiting for the worst to pass, before pushing the blanket aside and sliding across the bed. He looked down at Reese, naked and shaking, arms raised defensively, his legs flailing, gasping and sobbing.

“John…John, it’s all right. Calm down, please.” But it was like Reese couldn’t even hear him. He eased himself down off the bed, placing a hand lightly on Reese’s shoulder.

With a feral cry, Reese seized him by the wrist, the other hand grabbing him by the front of his undershirt, and Finch screamed in pain as Reese slammed him up against the side of the mattress and box springs.

“F- fuck you, Mark,” Reese said, spittle flying from his lips.

Finch gasped. “John-”

Reese shifted his hand to Finch’s throat, choking off his words and breath. Finch grabbed at Reese’s hand, but that was futile. He pushed at Reese’s face, but the hand around his neck only tightened. Darkness began creeping in from the edges of his vision, panic filling his chest. Reese was going to kill him.

With his last conscious thought, he drew up his good leg and kicked out, hitting Reese in the chest and knocking him back. Finch collapsed to the floor, drawing a desperate, rattling breath. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see movement, and his heart leaped into his throat as a heavy hand grabbed the back of his shirt.

Mr. Reese,” Finch rasped. “Stop this. Now.”

The hand at the back of his neck began to shake and he heard Reese draw a shuddering breath. “Finch?”

Finch closed his eyes. Oh, thank God. “Yes, Mr. Reese. It’s me.”

“Finch, did Mark get you, too? Did he hurt you?” His hands were still clumsy as he ran them over Finch, touching his shoulders, his back, his arms, checking for injuries.

“I’m fine,” Finch said, wincing as he started to push himself up into a sitting position. Reese grabbed his shoulder and he tensed, a wave of fear washing over him.

“Don’t move,” Reese said, dropping his voice to a whisper. “Mark is looking for us.”

“Reese, he’s not- What are you doing?” Finch asked as Reese shoved his hand between the mattress and the box springs. Finch could hardly breathe as Reese pulled out a gun.

“I have to get you out of here,” Reese said, making several failed attempts to get to his feet. “I can’t let Mark hurt you.” He stopped trying and peered over the edge bed, looking around with wild, crazed eyes, his pupils blown. “He’s got agents everywhere. Stay close to me and keep your head down.” He grabbed the mattress and tried to get up again, and probably would have succeeded if Finch hadn’t grabbed him by the arm and pulled him back down.

“I can’t,” he said, thinking quickly. He couldn’t let Reese out of that room. In his condition, he was likely to see ‘agents’ anywhere, and there was no telling who or what he might shoot. “I can’t walk right now, but we’ll be safe here. No one will find us.”

“But Mark-”

“No, Mr. Reese,” Finch said firmly. “I made sure he can’t find us, but we need to stay right here and keep quiet. Trust me.” Please.

Reese glanced around the room, seeing God only knew what, then he lowered his body back to the carpet. “Good job, Finch. You never cease to amaze me. But I want you to stay close. It’s freezing in here.”

“I know,” Finch said. “There’s a blanket up on the bed.” He started to reach for it, but Reese stopped him.

“There could be snipers.”

“I’ll be quick,” Finch assured him.

“It’s too dangerous,” Reese said with a shake of his head. “Just put your arms around me. I’ll keep you warm.”

“Could you put the gun down?” Finch asked, inching toward him a little apprehensively. “You know I don’t like firearms.”

“I need to be ready in case they find us.”

“They can’t get in without tripping the alarms,” Finch said, breaking his promise for the first time. He hoped Reese would forgive him. “We’ll have plenty of warning. Just put the gun down and hold me, please.”

“All right, Harold,” Reese said, setting his weapon on the floor above their heads. “I’m sorry, I forgot that this must be a new and frightening experience for you, but you don’t have to worry. I’ll take care of you.”

Finch had to fight back tears as Reese shifted closer, wrapping his strong arms around Finch and drawing him close. After everything Reese had been through, Reese was going to take care of him. Reese was shaking uncontrollably, but his skin didn’t seem quite as cold to Finch’s touch.

“We’ll take care of each other,” Finch whispered. “I don’t know what I’d do without you.” He lay his head against Reese’s shoulder, his whole body aching, the pain a constant, throbbing reminder that this wasn’t just a nightmare, that he wouldn’t wake up and everything would be all right. He had a feeling that ‘all right’ was a state they would both have to struggle to reach any time soon.

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  1. Dang. Poor Reese. 😦 And Finch, too. Good thing he snapped out of it in time. Good chapter.

  2. Janet permalink

    I am SO enjoying this fic. I think what I like best is that you’re doing slash without forgetting that neither of them is a pansy. (It bugs me when someone decides that because Reese takes orders that he’s a delicate flower; or that because Finch has a debilitation that he’s weak.) You’ve managed to keep their voices true, which is crucial. And you’ve managed to introduce another element to their relationship without destroying the others. Thank you so much for your work, and for posting so frequently.

    • Thank you! I like the characters for who they are, so I try not to change them too much just because they’re in a relationship. They’re still the same people. I appreciate the compliments. I do try hard to keep them in character, regardless of what’s happening in the story.

      Thanks for the comment! ^_^

  3. deliacerrano permalink

    This continues to be a terrific story! Your Finch & Reese are each so strong in spite of their personal histories & hangups. You are so professional in your writing and the way you handle your stories. Like posting until a story is finished and posting as quickly/steadily as you do. I appreciate you on that level as well. So many start a good story then never finish. While I am giving compliments…this website is fantastic! Talk about professional!! Offers much & easy to get around…

    • Thank you so much! I’m afraid I have abandoned a few stories, like Empathy and at the moment, Be Careful What You Wish For, but I blame the plot-bunnies for that, lol. They give me too many ideas and there just aren’t enough hours in the day to write all the stories. Hopefully, I can get back to those two.
      I’m glad you like the website. I didn’t want anything fancy (mostly because I’m not a graphic designer), just a place for people to find my stories.

      Thanks so much for the comment! ^_^

  4. Awww… poor Finch. And Reese. But you know it’s true love when Reese recognizes his voice even through his hallucinations and instinctively wants to protect him!

    Fave lines: breaking his promise for the first time & “We’ll take care of each other”

    Looking forward to their recovery!!

  5. Dani permalink

    Oh, such a very poignant chapter! I read it first thing this morning at 6 am, and it’s even better the second time. I could feel the emotion bleeding from Finch.

  6. SeenaC permalink

    Still loving this story like mad! Almost physically hurting for the two of them.
    That closing scene with Reece & Finch “taking care of each other”…

    I neglected to comment on the previous chapter, but I just wanted to say that I also *heart* your Fusco. Would love to see more of him! I think he’d be awesome in wreaking righteous revenge for what was done to Reece.

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