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Damaged – Ch. 34

It had been a long time since Finch had spent an entire day lying in bed, lying on the couch, reading books, and watching TV. And it was driving him crazy. He wanted to check with the Machine, to see if it had new Numbers for him, but he knew no good would come of it. Reese was too preoccupied with Agent Snow and with taking care of Finch; he would never leave Finch alone, even in the safest of safe-houses, and despite Reese’s earlier promise, Finch knew he’d never turn a case over to Carter and Fusco, not completely. He’d want to monitor, to help, to give advice. So Finch watched a documentary on migratory birds while Reese fixed dinner – frozen lasagna, from the smell of it.

Even though it was the laziest day Finch could ever remember spending, he did feel a sense of accomplishment. He and Reese had spoken at length, lying in bed, Reese wrapped around him, holding him so tight that it sometimes hurt, talking about both of their kidnappings. Finch was surprised to discover that it was still hard for him to talk about being in the bathtub, helpless and slowly drowning, but even though he couldn’t stop himself from trembling at the memory, it had seemed to help Reese finally open up to him about the sexual assault. It was worse than Finch had ever imagined, and although he had practically begged Reese to forget about Agent Snow, Finch was seriously reconsidering. He might even help Reese find him.

All of that was behind them as they ate on the sofa, Finch propped up on pillows from the bedroom, while Reese kept trying to steal the remote and change to some bloody action movie. Finch finally compromised and they settled down together to watch a romantic comedy, Reese absently massaging Finch’s bare feet while the movie played.

A twinge in Finch’s neck woke him up and he opened his eyes, pushing his glasses back up his nose as he glanced around. Reese had fallen asleep on the other end of the couch and some new movie was playing. With a groan, Finch felt around for the remote, found it, and turned the TV off.

“John,” he said, his voice soft as he gave the ex-op a gentle nudge with his foot. Reese jerked awake, glancing around the room with an expression just shy of panic on his face. “John, it’s all right.”

Reese turned toward him, his sharp gaze moving over Finch’s body, checking him for injuries, no doubt. Apparently satisfied that Finch was okay, Reese sank back against the sofa with a sigh. “Mark,” was all he said, and all the explanation that was needed.

“Let’s go to bed,” Finch said, levering himself up on one elbow as he reached for the wheelchair.

“Hang on,” Reese said, giving his knee a soft pat. “I need to check in with Carter, so just sit tight for a minute, then I’ll take you to the bedroom and give you a sponge bath.”

Finch shivered as Reese’s voice seemed to touch him, eliciting a physical response that he wouldn’t have thought possible just from two simple words. He cleared his throat and adjusted his glasses. “Good to know that if we ever run out of Numbers, you’ll be able to support yourself as a phone sex operator.”

“Do you think so, Mr. Finch?” Reese asked, speaking with a deliberate low, throaty purr that caused a noticeable lack of space in Finch’s boxers.

“Oh, go on with you,” Finch said with a chuckle. “Call Carter. I’m sure she’s livid with our lack of contact.”

“I’m sure she’ll realize it was for her own good, as well,” Reese said. “We can’t be sure that Mark isn’t still watching her.” He rose from the sofa, paused to stretch, his spine giving an audible series of cracks and pops, and then headed for the small office that occupied the room across the hall from the bedroom. After a few steps, he glanced back. “Are you sure it’s all right if I use your land-line? That it’s untraceable? Because I don’t mind going back up to the surface to use my cell.”

“John, I think I know how to make a phone untraceable,” Finch said, giving him a look through the top of his glasses. “If Agent Snow or anyone else tries to trace it, they’ll find themselves in a monastery in Tibet.” At that, Reese chuckled and disappeared into the office.

Finch relaxed back into the pillows with a sigh, closing his eyes and peeling off his glasses. He reached down, rubbing his aching hip between the two bandages. There was a restless sort of gnawing at his bone from being unable to move and he gingerly shifted his injured leg, wincing as the muscles in his thigh pulled at the wounds. He remembered this from after the accident, where no position was comfortable, and it hurt to move as much as it hurt just staying still. Maybe he’d ask Reese for another half of a pain pill before they went to bed.

A noise in the hall drew his attention and he glanced over, putting his glasses back on as Reese flashed through the hall, moving from the office to the bedroom in little more than a blur. Finch sat up, his heart pounding.

“John, what is it? What’s happened?”

Reese emerged from the bedroom with Finch’s shoes in one hand and their coats draped over the opposite arm, his face grim, eyes dark.

“It’s Agent Snow, isn’t it?” Finch said. There was no way Snow could have found them, which meant- “Did he do something to Carter? Or Fusco?” If anything had happened to either detective, it would be all their fault. Reese didn’t answer; he didn’t even seem to be hearing Finch, he just knelt down at Finch’s feet and proceeded to put his socks and shoes on him.

With much effort, Finch pulled his foot out of Reese’s grasp, finally getting the man’s attention. “John, what happened?”

“Mark,” Reese said, his voice flat, toneless. Finch braced himself for the worst. “He’s dead.”

Finch blinked, not resisting when Reese went back to putting his shoe on. “I- I beg your pardon? Did you say he’s dead? How?”

“Car accident,” Reese said. He stood up and pulled the wheelchair closer. “Carter’s going to meet us at the morgue so I can identify the body-”

“Why do you have to? Why can’t she? She knows what he looks like.”

Reese stood over him, something heavy and raw in his eyes, a pain Finch hadn’t expected to see. “I need to see him for myself, Finch. I…I need to be sure.”

“All right,” Finch said softly. He reached up, allowing Reese to help him into the chair. He wheeled himself over to the door while Reese made sure they had everything they needed – his gun, his cell, and all of their meds. Finch supposed that was prudent. If Snow was dead, they really had no reason to return to the safe house. He stifled a sigh as he cast a glance around the room, surprised by how disappointed he was that they wouldn’t be staying.

They returned to the surface and emerged cautiously into the pitch black in the middle of Central Park. A light rain was falling, slow, heavy drips dropping into the leaf litter beneath the trees, and Finch was damp and cold by the time they emerged from the park. He didn’t complain, though, keeping a lookout while Reese broke into a parked car. Finch noted the license plate number so he could send the owner an apology and money to compensate for the damage and their troubles.

“I’ll ride in the front, if you don’t mind,” Finch said as Reese started to open the back door. He didn’t like being loaded into the back seat like groceries, and it would be faster if they didn’t have to put him in the back and the wheelchair in the trunk.

“You sure you wouldn’t be more comfortable in the back?” Reese asked.

“I’m sure I would be, but that’s not the issue. Front, if you please.”

Reese conceded with a nod, opening the front door and steadying Finch as he shifted from the chair into the front seat. The pressure against the wound in the back of his thigh made him feel out of breath and vaguely nauseous, but once Reese tucked a rolled-up towel beneath his knee, it raised his leg enough to make the pain bearable.

Reese collapsed the wheelchair and shoved it into the back seat, then climbed behind the steering wheel. The drive was silent and somber, Reese so deep in his own thoughts, Finch wasn’t even sure that he could reach him. He supposed Reese had a right to be emotionally conflicted over this. Agent Snow had been his friend, long ago. Surely, some of those feelings had to remain, even after all that had happened. Understandable as it was, Finch was of the opinion that Snow deserved far worse than a quick end in a car accident, which was why he kept his opinion to himself.

Carter was waiting for them, pacing in front of the coroner’s office, when they pulled up. She hurried over as Reese wrestled the wheelchair out of the back seat. Like so many things, it fit much better going in than coming out.

“I spoke to the medical examiner a few minutes ago,” Carter said. “He was just about ready to start processing the body.”

Finch glanced at Reese, looking for a reaction to hearing Snow referred to as ‘the body’, but there was none. Finch wasn’t really surprised.

“Any information on the accident?” Reese asks, holding the chair steady and allowing Finch to maneuver himself into it, which Finch appreciated, especially in front of Carter. Bad enough he had to use the damn thing, but he didn’t need help into it.

“Single car, one occupant,” Carter said, “headed north outside Harriman State Park. They said he was most likely speeding, lost control, could have swerved to avoid a deer or something.”

Snow had struck Finch as the kind of man who aimed for wildlife, but he kept his mouth shut, allowing Reese to push the chair into the big, cement building. Carter led them through the maze of corridors into the autopsy room, half a dozen stainless steel tables shining beneath bright, overhead lights, not all of them empty. Finch did his best to avoid looking at the covered bodies, but he couldn’t help it, his morbid curiosity wondering if any of them were Numbers that could have been saved.

“Detective Carter, over here,” said a man’s voice. They made their way to the last table, where the medical examiner was just finishing a full-body x-ray of the corpse. It was draped in a sheet, from neck to feet. Finch swallowed hard, a weight in his chest as he stared at the unmistakable profile of Agent Mark Snow, his face gray, skin dull looking, but it was him.

“Do you know this man?” the medical examiner asked, gesturing to the body.

“Is it Michael Kirkland?” Carter prompted.

“Yeah, it’s him,” Reese said, his voice devoid of emotion. “Do you have a cause of death?”

The M.E. glanced at Carter and she gave a small nod. “No. If I had to hazard an educated guess, I’d say internal bleeding caused blunt force trauma, but I’ll have to check before I can be sure. The x-rays might shed some light on things, though.” He turned away, walking to a computer that gave Finch monitor-envy. He suddenly wanted to be back in the library.

Reese stepped around the wheelchair, his hand resting for a brief moment on Finch’s shoulder before he stepped over to the table and looked down at Snow, staring right into his gray, expressionless face. Finch watched as Reese reached up, gently touching the top of his former friend’s head. Finch looked away.

“Mother of God,” the M.E. muttered suddenly, and Finch turned his chair to see what was happening. The black and white x-ray was slowly scrolling across the monitor, like a grisly screensaver. “This is why I won’t drive without my seatbelt,” the M.E. said, shaking his head. He used the tip of his pen to point at the screen, touching one place after another, and it took Finch only a moment to realize what he was pointing out. “Nearly every bone in his body has been broken. He was thrown from the vehicle, yes?”

“That’s right,” Carter said. “The body was found almost eighty feet from the car.”

“Must’ve hit a few trees on the way,” the M.E. said, and Finch cast a concerned look over at Reese, but the ex-op just stared down at the body, tight-lipped and grim. All of a sudden, Reese grabbed the edge of the sheet and flipped it back, exposing Snow’s bare chest, and Finch couldn’t help but gasp. The body was a mass of dark bruises and raw wounds, scrapes and contusions from the shoulders down. The arms were twisted and bent at improper angles, and Finch felt like he was going to vomit as Reese picked up one of Snow’s hands, every one of the fingers broken, snapped like dry twigs.

“I’m sorry, but you can’t do that,” the M.E. said, hurrying over and taking Snow’s arm out of Reese’s grasp. He placed it carefully at Snow’s side and quickly drew the sheet back up. “Is there something I can help you with?”

“No,” Reese said, shaking his head. “I’ve seen enough.”

Reese turned toward Finch, but stopped as the morgue’s swinging doors burst open. Everything seemed to stop, including Finch’s heart, as Agent Evans strode into the room, followed by a pair of somber men in suits – more agents, most likely. Reese reached for his gun, tucked into the back of his jeans. The agents reached for theirs. Carter swept her coat to the side and put her hand on her weapon. Finch couldn’t breathe.

“Stand down,” Evans said, holding out his hands, his words directed over his shoulder at his men, but his gaze fixed on Reese. The agents hesitated, then straightened up, nervously adjusting their suit jackets as they eyed Reese. Carter let her coat fall closed and Finch took an uneasy breath. Reese was the last to take his hand off his weapon, but he did not relax, his shoulders stiff, gaze unblinking as he took small, measured steps toward Finch.

“You knew I’d have to see for myself, didn’t you?” Reese said, his voice low, dangerous.

“I thought you might,” Evans replied.

“I hope there’s more than just the three of you if you plan on taking me in.”

“Why would I do that?” Evans asked. “You’re dead, and there’s only one dead man in this room that I have orders to collect.” He motioned to Snow’s body and the two agents walked over to the table, shaking out a fresh body bag.

The M.E. stepped forward, frowning. “Who the hell do you think you are?” he asked. “You can’t just come in here and-” Evans flashed his credentials and the man fell silent. Reese watched for a moment, then turned away, stepping around behind Finch’s chair and beginning to push him toward the door. Finch couldn’t believe it would be this easy, that Evans would just let them walk away.

“Reese?” Evans said suddenly. Reese and Finch both glanced back. “Keep up the good work,” Evans said with a single nod.

Reese nodded back. “Tell Esteban I said hello.”

Neither of them spoke until they were outside. Finch drew a breath, but Reese got his question out first.

“How does Evans know about my ‘good work’?”

“He was in the library,” Finch said. “He saw the List. He guessed what it was and that you were helping me with it. He could have taken me to Snow,” Finch added, because he could hear Reese’s concerns in the heavy silence. “I don’t think he’ll give us any trouble.”

“Not unless he has orders to,” Reese said, stopping the wheelchair beside their stolen car.

“I made sure he won’t,” Finch said. “Now, who is Esteban and why would you want to say hello to him?” Reese didn’t answer right away, assisting Finch into the front seat and placing the chair in the back. He climbed into the driver’s seat and started the car.

“Esteban is a CIA interrogator,” Reese said, pulling away from the curb. “I recognized his handiwork.”

Finch turned slightly in his seat to better see Reese’s face. He had that grim look on him again. “What do you mean?”

Reese stared out through the windshield, moistening his lips several times before speaking. “Did you notice Mark’s face? Not a scratch or a bruise on it. Not what you would expect to see of someone who had been thrown through the windshield of a car and turned into a human pinball. He should have been unrecognizable, but they wanted me to recognize him.”

“Are you saying that the accident was staged? And that Agent Snow was- was-”

“Tortured,” Reese said. “Carter called us at eight yesterday evening to say that Mark had been taken. He spent twenty-four hours in their ‘care’ having nearly every bone in his body systematically broken until they were certain that he had told them everything they wanted to know.”

Finch felt nauseous. He closed his eyes and took slow breaths, waiting for it to pass. After everything Snow had done, the hell he had put them through, the atrocities he had committed, Finch should have been glad he was dead, and more so that he got what was coming to him, but he wasn’t. There was bitter relief and a kind of pale satisfaction, but even that made him feel sick. He realized the hypocrisy in wishing that Snow had gotten worse when he thought it was just an accident, and being sickened in finding out it was more than he had even wished for. It just wasn’t in him to find joy in the death of another human being, even one as horrible as Mark Snow.

He glanced over at Reese. “Are you all right?”

“I will be,” Reese said. He seemed to hesitate, like he wanted to say something else, but he didn’t.

“You can tell me,” Finch said after a moment. “Whatever it is, I won’t judge you for it.”

“Even if I said I was glad he’s dead? Even if I was glad that he suffered before he died? You won’t think I’m a horrible person?”

“No, John, I would never. That is a perfectly reasonable way to feel, given the circumstances.” He moistened his lips, fingers worrying the bottom button of his jacket. “Would you think less of me if I didn’t feel the same?”

Reese glanced over him. “You’re not glad he’s dead?”

“I am…relieved that he won’t be able to come after us again, but it makes me sick to think about what was done to him. I…I guess I’m just not-”

“No, you’re not,” Reese said, reaching over and taking Finch’s hand, “and I’m glad. You are a gentle, kind, sensitive man, and I am so thankful that Mark wasn’t able to turn you into someone like me.”

“You’re a better man than you think,” Finch said, savoring the warmth of Reese’s hand on his own. He glanced out the window, the buildings vaguely familiar. “Where are we going?”

“My place. If that’s all right.”

“It’s fine,” Finch said with a small smile. “In fact, it’s perfect.”

<– Prev   ~*~   Next –>

  1. I am glad Mark F”N Snow is dead and died horribly…Guess that makes me a Reese. Now can our two guys have some smexy times?

  2. plink42 permalink

    Wow. Ever since Finch’s kidnapping I’ve wanted Snow dead, but I was picturing a quick death by Reese. I guess that makes me a Finch because I didn’t want anymore torture. That said, it’s a relief that Snow won’t bother them anymore and our boys can finally relax. Sexytimes would be fantastic but I don’t know how much they’d accomplish with both so injured. Guess they’ll have to be creative. 😉

  3. Yes, I’m ready for some sexy times also. It makes me itchy & looking over my shoulder that Snow is horribly dead but Esteban & Evans are there & know too much about them. Reese taking such sweet care of Finch is sexy in itself somehow.

  4. E-Kite permalink

    Definitely a Reese here; while I’m sure I wouldn’t have been able to dish out the torture myself, I am very glad he suffered before he died. But the way you portrayed Finch’s disgust was a wonderful constrast and conparison of your characterization for them. And, showed me, definitely, just how cruel my thoughts can be. And now that I read the other comments, I laugh because you actually got some of your readers in touch with their own sense of morale!

    Other than that, I also love the relationship dynamic between the two. I feel like they’ve created a thousand stepping stones in their relationship to a point where I could even believe it’s unbreakable. You’ve done it in an amazingly believable way and it was all without overdoing the romance or under-doing the plot.

    I can’t wait to read more of this, hoping Friday will come in a blink of an eye!

  5. Wonderful! Perfect characterizations for both of our boys, although I was rather shocked at Reese touching Snow’s head “gently”. Good closure for all of us readers, though, and looking forward to sexy times at Reese’s place!! 😀

    Fave Lines: “sponge bath” XD XD XD
    “you’ll be able to support yourself as a phone sex operator.” Oh, indeed… 😉

    Couple of typos:
    “Carter swept his coat to the side” – Whose coat?
    “fingers worrying the bottom button his jacket.” – “of”

    There are several places where you could stand to take out the commas, but they’re minor.

    Wonderful, marvelous work, as always!

  6. Lmao, “phone sex operator” would fit him nicely. XD
    I agree about the whole “swerving to hit wildlife” thing.
    Aw, Finch has ‘monitor envy.’ He’s missing his kid. That’s so cute. ^.^
    It’s bittersweet that Mark’s dead for me. He’s alright in the show, but in this fic I’m glad he’s dead for the horrendous things he did to Finch and Reese. DX<
    Thanks for the update. 😀

  7. rainiejanie permalink

    I feel like Reese cuz I’m glad Snow got what he deserved.

    I feel like Finch cuz I cringed reading about it.

    Am I weird?

  8. dancing dog permalink

    You caught me by suprise with Snows’ …’car accident’. I fall between Reese & Finch I guess; Snow as a character was irredeemable and loathsome, yet I can understand why the agency would remove a rogue agent, and why Finch felt nauseated. Evans, having given his former partner over creeps me out but his admiration for the work Reese and Finch are doing seems to make his character less skeevey. Your writing is first rate, thank you so much for this fiction.

  9. managerie permalink

    while Reese broke into a parked car.
    Finch noted the license plate number so he could send the owner an apology
    and money to compensate for the damage and their troubles.

    So Finch!

    Snow had struck Finch as the kind of man who aimed for wildlife

    ROFL So True!!!

    He turned away, walking to a computer that gave Finch monitor-envy.

    You’re Killing me here!

    Carter swept his coat to the side and put her hand on her weapon. Finch couldn’t breathe.

    Should it be HER coat?

    He spent twenty-four hours in their ‘care’ having nearly every bone
    in his body systematically broken until they were certain that he had told them
    everything they wanted to know.”

    ***snarls*** Good!

  10. farmgirl1964 permalink

    Excellent! I knew recognizing Snow so easily wouldn’t have been accurate for a car accident victim that had been ejected. Kudos to Esteban! I love the character’s relationship in this story. You have done a super job!! I also love Reese’s place and can’t wait to get there in the upcoming chapter….;-)

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