Absence ~ Chapter 4

Over a sandwich and fries for Reese and oatmeal and fruit for Finch (who didn’t want to shock his system after fasting for so long), they compared notes about Root’s past and her intentions. They were careful to speak in low tones so as to not be overheard by the other customers or the waitress who frequently returned to their table to top off Reese’s coffee. As Finch recounted his harrowing experience with Root, he realized that he was still tense from the long ordeal, so he took a deep breath and willed his body to relax.

“I’m sorry,” Reese said suddenly, startling Finch.

“Whatever for?”

“I should’ve seen through her… all that talk about panicking, but she managed to rewire the elevator without her hands even shaking. I should’ve realized…”

“John, you can’t blame yourself over this,” Finch interrupted. “She’d set a trap – a very meticulous trap – and we’d seen exactly what she’d wanted us to see. We’ve run into cases before where people were not what they seemed, of course, but… this was our first encounter with someone who was actively trying to deceive us… someone who actually knew what we were doing.”

“Still… I have this blind spot when it comes to women. I should’ve known better already, but I keep missing it – I just don’t see them as potential perpetrators.”

Finch considered this for a moment before responding, “Well, at least you’re aware of this blind spot, so in the future we can both be more careful. Consider it a learning curve, John. It’s not like there’s a twelve-step program teaching us how to do this, you know.”

Seeing Finch force a smile onto his careworn face, Reese returned a wry smirk as well.

“No. I guess not. Although by the time we’re through, you could probably write a book about it.”

Finch chuckled. “Yes… but who would buy it?”

When they’d finished eating, Reese helped him get up out of the booth and they took turns in the single-stall bathroom. Finch had been rather nervous about a few of the truckers who’d been eyeing them over the course of their meal, but they seemed less hostile when they saw how badly Finch was limping. He didn’t mean to exaggerate it, of course, since that would have made Reese worry, but he didn’t bother to hide it, either. He breathed a sigh of relief when they were back in the car and headed north on the highway.

“Say, Harold…” Reese began hesitantly, which put Finch’s brain on high alert – Reese was almost never indecisive. “I was wondering… once we get back to the City… if there’s someplace you want me to take you.”

Finch felt his own defenses go up at once. He had thought Reese was over his curiosity about where he lived, and it seemed uncharacteristic of him to make such an obvious attempt to weasel it out of him.

“I’d like to go to the library and make sure everything’s in order. Apparently, Ms. Corwin had been following me – I want to check that my system hasn’t been compromised,” he told Reese, his manner guarded.

“All right. I didn’t notice anything out of place when I was there, but I couldn’t access the computers so I wouldn’t know if they’d been tampered with.”

“Uh… right,” Finch replied, wondering if Reese were hinting that he should give him the password.

“I was thinking,” Reese said, then licked his lips before starting over. “I realize you’ve been through a lot, and you probably just want to go home and have a hot bath or read and relax in your own comfortable surroundings, so I’m sure this is the last thing you’d want to do, but if you don’t mind I was hoping you would spend a few days at my place.”

The last part of his statement had come out in a rush and so, combined with the unexpected nature of the request, it took Finch a moment to process it.

“You want me to stay at your place?” he repeated, perplexed. “Whatever for?”

“So I can keep an eye on you. So I know that you’re safe.”

Finch stared at Reese’s profile, half-hidden in the growing dusk of the evening, with his mouth agape. It dawned on him how worried Reese must have been about him during his abduction to want to keep him close now – to want the reassurance of having him near.

“Well, I… I suppose I could manage that,” Finch replied slowly, unable to mask his surprise. In fact, he was surprised at himself as well. But it felt good to be back with Reese again, to feel safe. And now that the opportunity had presented itself, he wanted nothing more than to spend time with his partner in fighting crime. So he decided that it would not be a bad idea to go along with Reese’s proposal, and also managed to come up with a plausible reason why he would. “Actually… I think… after what I’ve been through, I could use the company.”

Reese exhaled as though he had been holding his breath.

“Good. Then we’ll stop by someplace to pick up what you need.”

The “someplace” turned out to be a bodega in Chinatown which Reese had been frequenting since moving into the neighborhood. Finch was glad to see they had a full selection of combed cotton underwear, even though he had to convert his measurements into metric.

“Look, Finch: they have silk pajamas, too,” Reese informed him, holding up a package.

“Mr. Reese… there are dragons all over it,” Finch pointed out with distaste.

“Dragons are a sign of power and health in China,” Reese countered. “Even virility.” He put the bright green item in the basket along with the underwear Finch had selected, then took the entire basket away from the him. “I’ll pay for this with my card so you don’t leave a trail. Now let’s go find you a toothbrush and a shaving kit.”

Finch felt rather strange to be walking into Reese apartment with the man himself – before he had given the key to Reese, he had stopped by often to make sure the furniture was delivered and set up properly. He noticed the bed had been moved a few feet inward, away from the windows, but other than that the place looked almost the same as when he had last left it.

They had discussed going straight to the library, but when Reese had asked if he didn’t want to take a shower first to clean off, the image of the old claw-footed tub at the loft had lodged itself in Finch’s brain. As hard as it was for him to climb into one of those, he loved how deep the hot water could be drawn; in fact he owned one himself and had ordered a special non-slip stepstool to make it easier and safer to use. When he had confessed to Reese that a nice soak would be just the thing for his tense muscles, his rescuer immediately decided that they would shop for the things he needed and let him freshen up at the apartment before going back out to the library.

“Don’t feel like you need to hurry – I have a couple of errands to run, anyway,” Reese told him. “Here’s a hanger for your suit. Just leave your other stuff on the floor and I’ll throw them in the washing machine.”

“Ah, thank you,” Finch said as he pulled off his tie, already anticipating the luxury of feeling clean again.

“I’ll get the water started for you. Do you like it hot?”

“Yes, please.”

Finch eased out of his suit jacket and hung it on the hook on the bathroom door while Reese used the removable showerhead to give the tub a quick once-over. The vest was next, but Finch paused before removing his shirt, acutely aware of Reese’s lingering presence.

“Harold… if you don’t mind… I just need to see for myself that you’re all right,” Reese explained.

After swallowing once and bracing himself, Finch began unbuttoning his shirt. The action must have jogged Reese’s memory, since he reached into his pocket and pulled out a small item which he set on the counter by the sink.

“Here’s your cufflink.”

“Ah, yes…”

Fishing its twin out of his own pocket, Finch lined them up.

“It’s good to have the pair back together again.”

“Yeah” was all Reese said, but Finch instinctively knew they were both thinking the same thing: some pairs simply belonged together. And even though they were two very different men, with widely different backgrounds and temperaments, they were a pair, too.

As Finch removed first his shirt and then his undershirt, he could almost feel Reese’s eyes scanning his skin, making sure he was unscathed. Despite his aversion to anything that could be considered an invasion of privacy, he found he didn’t mind it. His only moment of self-consciousness was when he glanced down and saw how far out his belly still protruded.

Reese took his shirts with a businesslike nod to dispel the awkwardness and gestured at his bandaged hand.

“There’s a first aid kit in the medicine cabinet, but I’ll patch you up afterward. Take your time and… try to relax. I’ll be back in a bit.”

“Okay,” Finch replied. Before he could think of anything else to say, Reese slipped out of the bathroom.

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  1. Plink 42

     /  2012/10/12

    I love it when Reese takes care of Finch. He’s so gentle with him, which is exactly what Finch needs right now.

    Have to wonder what errand Reese is doing. Seems strange that he would bring Finch to his place then just leave. Curious…

    Can’t wait for the next!

    • Yes, he’s “tough, but oh so gentle”… 😀

      Heh-heh-heh… You’ll find out soon enough! 😉


  2. managerie

     /  2012/10/12


  3. rainiejanie

     /  2012/10/12

    This might sound odd, but when you mentioned the big claw-foot tub a CBS the removable showerhead, I started picturing Reese–just Reese mind you–taking a long, slow shower with suds flowing down his body… I’ll just sit here consumed with lust for the rest of the night.

    What I would give to have a claw-foot tub at my house. I love a good soak, and that thing would be heavenly. With Reese in it too, of course. GAH!! Can’t stop! 😀

    • rainiejanie

       /  2012/10/12

      Huh? Where did “CBS” come from? 8/ Ignore that.

  4. Mamahub

     /  2012/10/12

    I like your speculation as to why when they got back to the Library, Bear as ALREADY THERE and Finch just met him then! I was trying to figure out how/why Finch was still wearing his “kidnapping suit” and Reese had supposedly picked up Bear from Fusco. I think it was a mistake on the part of the writers, but this works nicely. Reese took Finch back to his loft and Finch was able to take a shower, but would not have a change of clothes there (yet!!!). 🙂

    Great chapter. I really like how you’re keeping it quite close to canon. And then you can “fill in all the smexy gaps” – literally and figuratively, I HOPE!! 😉

    • Yes, that was an inconsistency in the show so I’m trying to resolve it. I’m glad it works! ^_^

      And yes, we need smexxxy gaps filled, don’t we? 😉

  5. Some pairs do belong together. ^.^ Thanks for this. I like your take on the time between getting Finch back and going to the library. 😀


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