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Damaged – Ch. 23

Reese wasn’t sure how long he’d been lying on the floor, naked and shivering, holding Finch in his arms, and for a while, he couldn’t remember why he was in that position, or even how he’d gotten there. The realization came to him slowly, just a feeling at first, a weight, a darkness in his chest, making it hard to breathe. Something terrible had happened.

He raised his head, eyes scouring Finch from head to toe, looking for blood or bruises, but he appeared uninjured. His eyes were closed, but Reese could tell he wasn’t sleeping. His breathing was too measured and deliberate, the lines on his face etched deep with pain, and when Reese tried to sit up, his eyes snapped open, filled with fear and worry.

“Reese?”

“Are you all right?” Reese asked, his voice rough.

Finch blinked, and Reese could tell he was struggling with his emotions, a fact that made Reese’s gut tighten into a knot. He was usually so good at hiding things. “Let’s not worry about that now,” Finch said finally. “You didn’t know what you were doing. Are you all right?”

“I- I don’t know,” Reese said. “What happened? What did I do?”

“You don’t remember?” Finch asked, his face going blank.

Reese glanced away, his gaze going unfocused as he struggled, trying to draw a memory out of the formless blackness inside him. “Something happened…something awful…” He glanced back at Finch. “Did I…do something?”

Finch closed his eyes and drew a slow breath. “You were drugged, John,” he said. “That’s probably what’s affecting your memory.”

“By who?”

“Agent Snow.”

Mark, stop, please. Reese gasped, the rush of memory like a physical blow, driving the breath from him. He could hear his own voice, begging, pleading, frightened, and he remembered pain, such God-awful pain. Electricity.

He sat up and looked down at himself, feeling sick to his stomach at the sight of his arm and leg, the small punctures and the horrific damage under the skin. He moved his arm experimentally, the skin tight over swollen flesh, the throbbing ache that he almost hadn’t noticed escalating to a screaming pain, like shards of glass embedded in his muscles. He ran a hand down over his thigh, clenching his teeth as his fingers traced the long, black line under his skin where the orbitoclast had been driven.

And there was something else, something worse. His stomach heaved and he gagged, turning his back to Finch as he began to shake. He remembered being thrown face down on the bed, he remembered Mark pulling his pants down, climbing on top of him, the pain, the helplessness, the shame. Mark had fucked him, and there hadn’t been a fucking thing he could do to stop it.

He’d tried. Reese closed his eyes, feeling tears roll down his face. He’d have said anything, told Mark anything, if he could have spoken, if it would have made him stop.

“Reese?”

Reese tensed as Finch lay a hand on his shoulder. Finch. Reese couldn’t face him, knowing that he would have betrayed him. He shoved himself to his feet, ignoring the stabbing fire in his leg. “I’m going to take a shower,” Reese rasped, feeling like he was going to vomit as he limped toward the bathroom.

“And then we’ll talk about what happened?” Finch asked.

“There’s nothing to talk about,” Reese replied, and shut the door behind him. He paused, closing his eyes and drawing several breaths to try and calm his churning stomach, but it didn’t help. Every beat of his heart sent another pulse of agony down his leg, but he walked with deliberate steps over to the shower. He was strong enough to bear that, but not-

He choked and vomited into the bathtub, but there was nothing in his stomach to lose, just bile. He turned on the faucet and washed it down the drain as he waited for the water to heat up. He climbed into the tub, letting the spray beat down on his shoulders, the heat from the water making his injuries throb, the pain so bad he had trouble catching his breath. Hands shaking, he began to wash, moving slowly, his touch almost tentative as he remembered Finch finding him, cleaning up the come that Mark had left on his skin – but it hadn’t all been Mark’s.

Reese turned, ducking into the spray and scrubbing at his face, the smell of his own semen suddenly thick in his nostrils. He could hear Mark taunting him, telling him that he’d liked it, and he felt sick again. His face stung, but he couldn’t get the feeling off his skin, he couldn’t get clean. He thought of Finch, wiping the filth off of him with his handkerchief, and he didn’t know how he was ever going to face the man again. He felt so disgusted with himself, he could only imagine how Finch must have felt. Revulsion and pity, at least.

He sobbed, choking on water, his hands clenching into fists. Why had Finch even come after him? He could have been captured; he could have been killed. Why couldn’t he understand that Reese was expendable? Why couldn’t he have just let Mark kill him? It would have been better than this – the pain, the shame, the memories, knowing that Finch had seen him like that-

Reese choked again, a strangled sound trying to escape. He couldn’t breathe. He couldn’t stop it. He was weak, helpless, broken, useless.

The pressure inside him exploded suddenly and he slammed his fist into the tile wall, a cry of rage and sorrow echoing within the shower alcove. He stared at the broken tile, smeared with bright blood from his cut knuckles, and then hit it again, knocking several chunks down into the bottom of the tub, a ragged sob ripping free of his constricted chest.

He jumped as the bathroom door opened.

“John, what happened?” Finch asked, sounding out of breath.

“Nothing,” Reese said, his voice tight. “I’m fine.”

“I don’t think so,” Finch said softly, his quiet voice almost lost in the hiss of the shower head.

Reese clenched his fists again, watching bloody water drip from his knuckles into the bottom of the tub and swirl down the drain. “Harold, just leave me alone,” he said. He was shaking, bleeding, on the verge of a hysterical breakdown, and the last thing he wanted was for Finch to witness it.

“I’m sorry, but I can’t,” Finch said, his voice moving farther into the room. “I’m worried about you. You were tortured. I know how that feels-”

“Do you?” Reese asked, his tone sharp. Mark put Finch in a bathtub and sprayed water on him. Reese had a hard time seeing the similarity to what he went through.

“All right, no, I can’t begin to imagine what he did to you, but I was scared and helpless, too. I know how that feels, and I know you were right not to leave me alone. I needed you, and I think that right now you need me, too.”

Before Reese could voice the cutting remark that formed on his lips, the shower curtain was pushed aside and Finch stepped into the tub, stark naked and looking like he’d rather be anywhere else. Seeing him afraid extinguished all the anger Reese had felt toward him.

Finch looked at the broken tile on the wall, the blood dripping from Reese’s hand, and he just looked so…sad. “Did you break any bones?”

Reese glanced down at his hand and tentatively flexed his fingers. It hurt, but not like anything was broken. “I don’t think so. I- I just…I couldn’t- I-”

“John, it’s all right,” Finch said, his face tightening in pain as he took a step toward Reese, his limp much more pronounced. “You don’t have to explain. I understand.” He braced one hand against the wall and reached out with the other, his fingers trembling as he reached into the shower spray to take Reese’s hand. “Let me see.”

Reese allowed him to lift his hand, letting the hot water wash away the blood, revealing several small cuts on his knuckles, his flesh already swollen and starting to bruise.

“We brought the first aid kit with us, didn’t we?” Finch asked, thumb stroking back and forth, grazing Reese’s bloodied knuckles.

“I think so.”

“Then we should be okay,” Finch said, as though some rubbing alcohol and a band-aid would fix everything. But that wasn’t what he was saying, Reese realized as Finch raised Reese’s hand to lips, placing a soft, lingering kiss on his knuckles. Reese took half a step toward him, but stopped as Finch’s shoulders tensed, his head snapping up, a momentary flash of unease in his eyes. You didn’t know what you were doing. Reese felt like he was going to be sick again.

“What did I do to you?” he asked, his voice trembling.

Finch gave his head a small shake, averting his eyes as he moistened his lips with his tongue. “It wasn’t your fault,” he said. “It was the drugs. You were hallucinating. I think you thought I was Agent Snow-”

Oh, God,” Reese whispered, turning away. The things he had wanted to do to Mark…He turned back, looking Finch over from head to foot. “What did I do?

“You shoved me against the side of the bed,” Finch said, “which, on a normal day, wouldn’t have hurt that much, but…today was not a normal day. And then you put your hand on my throat and…” He trailed off as Reese reached up, fingers grazing the side of Finch’s neck, brushing over faint red marks that would turn to bruises before the day was done.

“Finch, I’m so-”

“It wasn’t your fault,” Finch said in a tone that brooked no argument. “Agent Snow is to blame. I know you would never knowingly hurt me-”

“But you flinched,” Reese said.

Finch glanced away. “I know. I’m sorry.”

Hand still lingering against the side of Finch’s neck, Reese took a slow step toward him, stopping just before their bodies touched. Shower spray rained past him to patter against Finch’s side and Finch drew a sharp breath, but he didn’t move away. Looking deep into Finch’s eyes, Reese placed his hand in the middle of Finch’s chest and slowly began to apply force. Finch looked confused as Reese turned him and pushed him back against the shower wall, careful not to get him too close to the broken tile.

“John?”

Reese didn’t answer. He wasn’t quite sure how to explain what he was doing. He just knew he couldn’t bear to have Finch afraid of him. He couldn’t stop himself from shaking as he bowed his head, lips parting as he brushed them against Finch’s. Finch made a small, needy sound, but he didn’t move, letting Reese linger, allowing him time to try and sort out the storm of emotions inside him, to quiet the desire to give Finch a reason to be afraid. It howled and raged, wanting to slam him against the wall, grab his throat and squeeze, to show him what truly lay beneath the surface of the man he’d put so much faith in, the man he’d led out of the darkness, only to have the darkness follow them both. Finch would be better off without him. He was too dangerous.

Reese kissed him again, another feather-light brush of lips, as his hand slid up Finch’s bare chest, fingers splayed, spread across the base of Finch’s throat. He felt Finch swallow, his Adam’s apple bobbing against the webbing between Reese’s forefinger and thumb, and then Reese began to push, closing his hand around Finch’s throat. The smaller man stiffened, his whole body tensing, and he drew a sharp, rasping breath, but he made no move to push Reese away.

Reese could feel himself shaking as he leaned closer, capturing Finch’s lips, and the storm inside him cried out in futility, the weight in his chest lifting as Finch kissed him back. Reese relaxed his grip and let Finch draw a single, sudden gasp, before covering his mouth again, his hand tightening once more. Finch moaned into Reese’s mouth, the sound strangled, but Reese could feel his throat vibrating against his palm. Drawing back, Reese regarded Finch, his pupils dilated, his face turning red, lips parted as he struggled for breath. Reese met his eyes, a shadow of fear held within their depths, but not enough to eclipse the trust that Reese found there.

Reese pulled his hand away, leaving Finch gasping, a tremor shaking his body as he continued leaning against the wall. “I’m sorry,” Reese said. “I- I don’t know what that was.”

“Oh,” Finch said, his voice rough. “And here I thought we were experimenting with erotic asphyxiation.” He gave Reese a sideways glance and a small quirk of his lips, making Reese feel like Finch probably understood what had just happened far better than Reese did. “Are you all right?”

“I’m fine,” Reese answered, but then reconsidered. “I- I don’t know.” Considering what he’d just done… “I don’t think so.”

Finch stepped away from the wall, jaw clenching in pain as he put his weight on his damaged leg. “When I was scared and hurt and just wanted to be left alone, you said I needed to talk about it, that it would help, and you were right. So when you’re ready to talk, I’ll be here, and until that time, I’ll still be here. Whatever you need, I am here. You’re not alone, John. I will always be here for you.”

Reese felt like he couldn’t breathe again. He’d been prepared, resigned, expecting to die alone, abandoned, forgotten, used by his masters until he had nothing left, and then cast aside, disposed of like an empty wrapper. It was the fate he’d earned. He didn’t deserve to be saved.

But Finch kept saving him. This funny little man with his thick glasses and awkward gait, his dry wit and crooked smirk, his quiet strength and selfless devotion and utter brilliance and unwavering conviction, thought him worth saving.

He choked, fighting back the sob that rose up in his throat, and turned away, his hands shaking as he fumbled with the knobs, trying to turn the water off. The spray went cold, then off, and he reached for the curtain, trying to get away from Finch before he lost it completely, but Finch grabbed him by the arm, pulling him back.

“You need to let it out,” Finch said, “before you break something more important than bath tile.” Reese’s breath hitched, his body shaking, as Finch caught him by the back of the neck and drew him down into Finch’s arms. Naked bodies warm and wet, Finch held him, one hand stroking Reese’s hair, from the back of his head to the nape of his neck, a repetitive, soothing motion that crumbled Reese’s resolve. Clutching at the smaller man in his arms, he buried his face in the crook of Finch’s neck and sobbed.

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12 Comments
  1. This is so good, this chapter is so good. I can see Reese acting like this after what he went through, and Finch just being there for him.

    • Thank you! I was afraid he was acting a little erratic, but decided that after what he’d been through, erratic would probably be normal.

  2. Awws. So dark and sad, yet so cute at the same time. Absolutely loved this chapter. 🙂

  3. Janet permalink

    I’ve read it twice now, and I’m really fond of this chapter. It speaks to Reese’s reluctance or inability to communicate effectively with people, but also Finch’s resolve to help even those people who don’t welcome it.
    Beautifully written. Congratulations to you and your Beta, if you have one. If you don’t, you’re a miracle worker to be able to produce a weekly chapter of this quality.
    I’m grateful — and hideously jealous.

    • Thank you! I love Reese’s stoic loner qualities and Finch’s heartfelt determination.
      I actually don’t have a traditional Beta, but I do have a wonderful reader who points out my typos when I miss them. I just have no life so I can spend an unhealthy amount of time writing and editing my fanfic, lol. 🙂

  4. Cindy permalink

    Oooo… Very good. Loved the “erotic asphyxiation” part. Reese loves Finch, yet resents him – well written. I noticed you’ve picked up some artist fans for this story on Tumblr, too. (A Rinch graphic novel, hmmm.)

    • Thank you! I really wasn’t sure about that part, it wasn’t planned, it just sort of happened when I was writing, but I thought it worked.
      I saw that! The artist is extremely talented and I feel so honored. I couldn’t stop squeeing when I saw it! 🙂

  5. LOVE it! I just want to hug them both and put them on a warm island with plenty of soft bedding and medical supplies so they can recuperate together…

    Fave line: This funny little man with his thick glasses and awkward gait, his dry wit and crooked smirk, his quiet strength and selfless devotion and utter brilliance and unwavering conviction…

    And, since you seem to be expecting it anymore, two typos:
    “That’s probably what’s effecting your memory.” > “affecting”
    Clutching at the smaller man in his arms, and buried his face in the crook of Finch’s neck and sobbed. > he buried

    Can’t wait to see what happens next! They are, after all, NEKKID! 😉

    • Yeah, I may have to send them on vacation after this, lol!

      Thank you! I’m not expecting it, but I certainly do appreciate it. I have a hell of time knowing when to use effecting/affecting. 😛

      Yes, NEKKID and traumatized, which of course must lead to angst-ridden sex. 😀

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