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Damaged – Ch. 5

Finch opened his eyes, warm, golden morning light bathing blurry shapes in a room that neither sounded nor smelled familiar. It was too quiet, no ticking clocks, no humming electronics, no murmur of traffic outside the window, and the pillow beneath his head smelled of some cheap, floral fabric softener and something else, something that he recognized, but that didn’t belong on his pillow. He lay there for a moment, trying to place the scent, before he reluctantly reached over to the nightstand and picked up his glasses.

Pushing back the covers, he slipped his glasses on as he sat up, the change in position sending an unexpected wave of nausea rolling over him. He sat, taking short, shallow breaths as a cold sweat broke out over his body, leaving him shivering in just his undershirt and boxers. With a headache swiftly forming at the base of his skull, he looked around the room again, a hollow feeling of unease growing in the pit of his stomach.

He was in a hotel room, but not one of the hotels he owned. Not even one that usually stayed in. Something about it was familiar, though. There was a room service cart over by the table, empty plates, empty glasses, an empty wine bottle, and a nearly empty bottle of whiskey sitting upon it. Finch swallowed hard, the sour taste in his mouth leaving no doubt as to why the bottles were empty.

He groaned as he levered himself to his feet, fighting the dizziness and nausea. He knew better than to drink. Something must have happened, something awful, but he couldn’t remember what. That was what the drinking was for, but it still made him uneasy not to know. Taking slow, shuffling steps, he made his way into the bathroom, trying to decide if it was really better to resist the churning in his stomach, or if he should just get it over with and go from there. He hated vomiting, though.

After relieving himself, he went to the sink, eyes searching for the complimentary bottle of mouthwash as he washed and dried his hands. He found an empty bottle, as well as someone else’s razor and toothbrush. Unease quickly turned to alarm as he looked around, noticing the damp towels in the hamper, the moisture inside the shower stall. There had been two plates on the table, two glasses. Who else was there? And where were they?

Emerging from the bathroom, Finch gathered up his clothes as quickly as possible, pulling on his trousers and dress shirt, shoving his feet into his shoes without bothering with his socks, stuffing socks and tie into his pockets as he grabbed his waistcoat and jacket. Damn it, what had he done? He checked his wallet, but all his money and credit cards were there, and his keys were safely in his pocket. Glancing around the room, he was surprised to see nothing that could have belonged to the other occupant, no clothes, no luggage, nothing besides the two plates and two glasses to suggest that he hadn’t spent the night alone.

Finch took a deep breath and let it out slowly. He was being ridiculous. Even before his injuries, he’d never been one to engage in casual sex, and he didn’t think he could get drunk enough to be intimate with someone now, with the stiffness and scarring, the pity and revulsion. He couldn’t bear it.

So he’d had dinner with someone, they’d shared a bottle of wine, and then…He picked up the whiskey, frowning at the label. It was the same brand Reese had been drinking on the subway, and in that hotel room-

Finch gasped, the bottle slipping from his grasp and falling to the carpet. Reese. He remembered sitting at the table, eating, drinking, talking with Reese. Why? What was Reese doing there? Finch sank into the chair, closing his eyes as he pressed his knuckles to his forehead. He was worried about Reese, he wanted to make sure he was okay, to make sure he ate a decent meal. He’d come to the hotel, he’d spoofed the key card, he’d ordered dinner…This was Reese’s room.

Reese had held him. Finch opened his eyes, his mouth suddenly dry. He could feel Reese’s strong arms around him, holding him while he cried. And Reese had cried, too. What had happened? A number…they’d lost a number. A man, a father, his children-

Finch again felt like he was going to be sick. Mr. Sutton, killing his children, and Finch had heard it all, he’d been helpless to stop it, the police too late, Reese busy with another case…Finch peeled off his glasses and covered his face with his hand, weeping all over again.

When he was able to get control of himself, he dried his face on one of the cloth napkins on the table, put his glasses back on, and rose stiffly to his feet, his head pounding, stomach churning. Clearly, drinking was not a feasible solution to anything, it just left him with more problems, questions he couldn’t find the answers to. Why had Finch awoken in Reese’s bed? Whose idea had it been for him to stay? Had Reese slept with him, or left? Was sleeping all they had done? And where the hell was Reese now?

Limping across the room, Finch paused in front of the entertainment center, bending at the waist to look back past the TV at the tiny camera he’d hidden there. Every time Reese relocated to a different hotel, within a day, Finch found it and placed a hidden camera somewhere in the room. He’d told himself it was just a precaution, just in case something happened to Reese, and he’d never looked at the footage the camera captured, he’d never had a reason to. But he did now.

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