Happiness Chapter 5

Finch’s lips twitched slightly to the side as he digested Reese’s last statement. Having read his file – the un-redacted version – Finch was aware of some of the “duties” the handsome operative had been required to perform, and so he was internally struggling to reconcile the seeming discrepancy. Although Finch had not intended for his perplexity to show and Reese had kept his eyes on the blue sky visible through the windowpanes, the perceptive agent sensed his unspoken query.

“It’s not like I haven’t had sex in all this time, of course,” he clarified. “The Company has… certain expectations… of its employees. I even enjoyed some of the encounters,” he admitted, his tone teasingly sultry. “Would you believe I once slept with a real, live prince?”

Finch attempted to say something, but his mouth was too dry.

Reese continued with a sardonic smile, “Of course, there are so many royals in the Arab states, I suppose it’s not all that special… It wasn’t even that great, really… And it took several weeks for all the lash marks to heal.”

Finch finally swallowed and managed to murmur, “I remember reading something about… ‘collateral injuries’ in one of the reports…”

Reese nodded but did not seem angry about his mistreatment or surprised at Finch’s knowledge of the incident. “It was all just part of the job. None of it was ever… meaningful. Not with someone I actually cared about.” He turned to fix his melancholy gaze on the other man before saying in a low, yet distinct voice, “Someone who really knew me… someone I could trust…”

Finch gaped at him for a moment, getting a suspicion of where this conversation was headed but unable to acknowledge the idea aloud just yet.

“Like I said, John… if you would like to get out – get a new identity and start over, somewhere far away from anything that could pull you back into your past life – all you have to do is ask.”

“That’s not what I want, Harold,” he replied, his dark eyes piercing his partner’s. “I want to help you with the Numbers – that’s the only thing that makes my life worth living anymore. Besides, you said it yourself: we’re infected with a contagious disease. Everyone we get close to is put at risk. I’m already infected, Harold, just like you… We’re both lepers in a leper colony, isolated from the rest of the world.”

“I’m sorry, John,” Finch said with a heavy heart. “I infected you, I know. And there’s no cure for this particular malady…”

“Don’t be,” Reese countered. “If you hadn’t gotten me out of the gutter, I would have died there sooner or later. Probably sooner, with no meaning to my life or death. So don’t ever feel sorry about getting me into this – it was the best thing that could have happened to me.”

A subtle change in Finch’s features showed his relief, although it was short-lived. It dissipated when he felt Reese’s fingers wrapping around his shoulder.

“And really, out of all the people on this planet,” Reese whispered, deftly inching closer while his hand prevented Finch from backing away, “I’m glad that I’m infected with you. If I had to be stranded on a desert island with only one other person, I can’t think of a better man to be with.”

“J—John,” Finch stammered, his voice a mere whisper since his throat had gone completely dry.

“You’re a good person, Harold,” Reese declared, his dark eyes capturing Finch’s in a piercing gaze. “I think it’s time you forgave yourself – and let yourself enjoy what happiness you can get.”

“What?” he gasped, startled.

“It’s not just the ‘infection’ that’s got you isolated and spending all your time and money on saving the Numbers,” Reese stated with calm conviction. “It’s some sort of penance, isn’t it? You’re making yourself pay for some terrible mistake – something so awful that you’ve sequestered yourself in that library, cutting off almost all human contact, intent on helping innocent people and beating yourself up over the ones you couldn’t save… as if you don’t deserve to be happy anymore…”

Finch glanced down, breaking eye contact, his expression the most vulnerable Reese had ever seen on him. The gnawing ache in Reese grew so large that it threatened to swallow him up – swallow both of them up – like a black hole.

“I know exactly what that’s like, Finch,” he said softly. “You know I do. That’s part of the reason why you chose me… because we have so much in common…”

Reese placed his free hand on Finch’s knee, the gentle warmth offering a comfort none other could give.

“You don’t have to tell me anything – I already know. I know what it’s like to feel worthless. You can be the best computer programmer or the best secret agent, but if you can’t protect the ones you love… it isn’t worth a damn. And you feel like you owe it to them to never be happy again. To never be loved again…”

Finch pursed his lips and raised pain-filled eyes back to Reese. His unspoken acknowledgement shimmered in them, strangling Reese’s words in his throat.

With one more shift of his body along the couch, Reese drew as close as he could to his partner, employer, and friend, then reached around his back with one hand, sliding the other up Finch’s thigh. The older man did not draw back as their lips met slowly, tentatively, in a gesture of both need and reassurance. Reese did not force the contact to last any longer than he could hold his breath – despite the hunger inside of him that clamored to devour those lips and plunder the treasures within – but drew back and contemplated the confusion furrowing Finch’s brow.

“I might not be ready to forgive myself either,” he admitted. “At least, not completely… not yet… But I need this, Harold. I need to have some happiness. And I think – for all your reclusiveness – you might need it, too…”

Finch was still drawing deep, ragged breaths, his mind reeling as it processed what had just happened between them. His mouth twitched twice as though to speak, and on the third attempt he succeeded.

“Yes… I believe… I do…”


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20 Comments

  1. Plink 42

     /  2012/08/18

    I just really want to hug both of them right now. All they want is someone to care for and care about, but neither of them think they deserve it.This was so lovely. :’)

    BTW, you’re a huge tease. 😉

    Reply
    • WOW that was fast! Thanks so much for reading & reviewing!!

      At least John feels ready for some lovin’… and has persuaded Harold that, even if he’s not sure he *deserves* it, he needs some lovin’ just to keep on going…

      I’ve been so busy with work lately, but I do hope it won’t take as long to post the next chapter. 😉

      Reply
  2. Mamahub

     /  2012/08/18

    I was JUST thinking about this story last night! I’m so glad you are continuing with it!

    And I’m ecstatic that Harold didn’t push John away or freeze up. They need each other so desperately! Hope there are even more “happy times” ahead! 😉

    Reply
    • Aww, cool! The plotbunny has been gnawing on my shin, but today was the first day I had any time to write. Stay tuned for more “happy times”!! 😉

      PS I added a caption to the picture. 😀

      Reply
      • Mamahub

         /  2012/08/18

        Tee hee! Just saw it! Perfect!!

  3. “Besides, you said it yourself: we’re infected with a contagious disease. Everyone we get close to is put at risk. I’m already infected, Harold, just like you… We’re both lepers in a leper colony, isolated from the rest of the world.” “I’m sorry, John,” Finch said with a heavy heart. “I infected you, I know. And there’s no cure for this particular malady…”” OMG, love that so much. 😀
    Glad for an update. Thanks so much. They’re so cute. ^.^~<3

    Reply
  4. deliacerrano

     /  2012/08/18

    They are so adorable & perfect for each other. No one else could understand their view of the world or what they have been thru. And that gentle kiss…HOT!

    Reply
  5. kmmerc

     /  2012/08/18

    Wonderful! Thank you!!!

    Reply
  6. managerie

     /  2012/08/19

    Excellent addition.
    I’ve been hoping for more of this lovely story.

    Reply
  7. rainiejanie

     /  2012/09/04

    I FINALLY got around to reading this just now. Sorry I took so long.
    I choked up a little after Reese’s speech. I felt so bad for both of them. I wanted to hug them too. Please continue! 🙂

    Reply
    • Thanks so much! I know, I just want to hug and cuddle them, then lock them together in a well-appointed room… 😉

      Reply
  8. Reblogged this on jay513 and commented:
    Just finished this. I just love being Rinched.

    Reply
  9. Kate

     /  2013/01/15

    OMG – I forgot about this story and just realized it wasn’t finished. Damn it!

    Reply
  10. managerie76

     /  2013/02/06

    Re-reading this beautiful and subtle love story

    Reply

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