Absence ~ Chapter 7

As Reese held Finch, his arms wrapped around the startled man in a strong yet tender embrace, he could not bring himself to meet Finch’s eyes. His employer had ignored or rebuffed all of his previous flirtations as teasing, sometimes even as annoyances, so Reese worried that this sudden expression of affection would also be dismissed as some extravagant joke. But the truth was, when he had heard Finch make that droll comment – so quintessentially Finch – Reese could not hold back the surge of emotion that had caused him to grab the older man and kiss the nearest parts of his head. Even now, as he tried to get a grip on his impulses, he was struggling to keep tears of joy and relief at bay.


Reese tried to answer Finch’s perplexed voice but a sob came out instead. He gritted his teeth, determined not to make a fool of himself in front of his very reserved employer, but before he could formulate a response, he felt Finch’s arms – hesitantly at first, then with increasingly more confidence – slide around his back to return the embrace.

“I missed you, too.”

It did not matter that Reese had not been able to utter the three other words which he had really wanted to say, or that he did not know if Finch meant what he said with the same intensity as Reese had: it was enough that Finch was not repulsing him. Reese’s tears grew to an unrestrainable torrent, falling wet and hot on Finch’s skin as Reese gasped for the air which had suddenly become elusive.

What surprised Reese even more, though, and ultimately brought him back to his senses, was feeling Finch trembling and shaking in his arms. It took him a minute to realize that Finch was crying, too – leaning against him, clutching him for support as sobs wracked his body. Reese attributed Finch’s breakdown to extreme exhaustion, which made him realize that he needed to let the older man rest. He feared he would never have the opportunity to hold the man he loved like this again or to have him be so vulnerable, so compliant to his advances; nevertheless, he would do what had to be done.

“I… I’m sorry, Harold,” Reese said, his voice hoarse, as he carefully tried to pull away without removing his support. “You must be tired after… everything. I should let you get some rest.”

Finch sniffed and answered, “That’s quite all right, John… I’m sure it’s been just as stressful for you these past few days. And I can’t begin to express how glad I am, and relieved, to be back here. I don’t think I’ve ever appreciated being safe as much as I do now.”

“Yeah… you never know what you’ve got…” Reese murmured.

“Until it’s gone,” Finch finished in agreement.

Since Finch did not draw away from him, Reese kept his arms wrapped loosely around his partner’s shoulders in a protective gesture as they walked slowly into the bedroom area. He wanted to protect this man, so much, from all the evil in the world. One of those evils now had a name and a deceptively pretty face, but Reese vowed anew to do everything in his power to keep Root away from Finch. But right now, he needed to let Finch rest and heal as much as possible.

“Is this side all right?” Reese asked, indicating the nearer side of the bed he had turned down while Finch was in the bathroom, covered with blue satin sheets.

“Uh… actually, I would prefer the other side, if that’s all right with you…”

“Of course. Although I hope you don’t mind if I join you – I didn’t get much sleep these past few days, either,” Reese said apologetically as he helped Finch limp around to the far side. “Carter was gonna make me sleep on the floor, but at least it didn’t come to that.”

“As tired as I am, Mr. Reese, I doubt I would have even noticed if you hadn’t said anything,” was Finch’s careful reply. He had felt a nervous jolt, somewhere behind his navel, at Reese’s casual mention of the sleeping arrangements; it had taken all of his self-discipline to not let his surprise and near-panic show on his face. But he could hardly ask the younger man to sleep on the couch when he had risked his life and almost literally moved heaven and earth to save him. He arranged the pillows the way he usually did, positioning them to support his injured body, while Reese observed his little ritual.

“Do you need any more?” Reese asked.

“No, this is quite enough, thank you,” Finch responded, then sat down on the edge. Reese stood guard in front of him, ready to extend a hand if he needed it, while Finch gingerly lay down with one pillow under his waist and placed another pillow between his knees. As he shifted to settle in, Reese pulled the covers up over him.


“Yes, very. Thank you.”

Reese smiled. “Thank yourself. You picked out this bed, didn’t you?”

“Yes. I hope you like it.”

“It’s the best I’ve ever had.”

“Good.” Finch removed his glasses and set them on the bedside table. “Goodnight, Mr. Reese.”

“Goodnight, Finch.”

There was a note of amusement in Reese’s voice but he did not comment on the incongruity of the formal address in such an intimate setting. He padded quietly through his apartment, turning off the lights, before stepping into the bathroom. By the time he came out and slipped into his side of the bed, he could hear Finch breathing long and deep, almost snoring.

“Goodnight, Harold,” he whispered at the silhouette of the other man as they both lay bathed in the dim light of the nocturnal city. The soft tuft of hair on Finch’s head, backlit by the window, practically begged to be touched. Reese listened for a while to make certain that Finch was really asleep, then inched closer to his backside, sliding noiselessly between the smooth sheets. One arm slid under his torso in the small gap created by the pillow; the other slipped over his waist to meet the first, encircling Finch, surrounding him with Reese’s protection and care.

Reese pressed his lips against the warm fuzz on the back of Finch’s head. He was alive, he was not gravely injured, and – most importantly – he was here, in Reese’s apartment, of his own volition. Without thinking, Reese’s hold on him tightened. This one man, outwardly unremarkable in an ocean of eight million, had become the most precious thing in Reese’s existence. He wanted not only to keep him safe, but to keep him: for himself, to be his and his alone, even as a secret from the rest of the world. Nothing else mattered anymore. The strength of his desire simultaneously made Reese hot with passion and cold with dread.

There was a sudden change in how Finch felt. He had stiffened, tensed, sensing Reese’s arms capturing him. Reese had intended to indulge in the contact for only a moment, but that moment was no longer one of solitude.

Finch swallowed and cleared his throat. “Ah… John?”

Reese grimaced; it was too late now to draw back.

“Yes, Harold?” he asked blandly.

“May I ask… what you’re doing?”

“I’m keeping you safe,” Reese smoothly replied. “I wouldn’t want to find you in bed with me when I’m half asleep and treat you like an intruder. I might hurt you out of reflex.”

“Ah… but if you’re holding me like this, you wouldn’t assume I’m an intruder?”

“Right. I’ll know you’re a lover, not an enemy.”

“I see…”

In his mind’s eye, Reese could see Finch’s mouth quirking to the side in his characteristic expression of forbearance. It made the corners of his own mouth curve upward and also made him want to hug Finch all the more tightly. Reese steeled his nerves and took the plunge, pulling Finch’s body close against his own so that there was hardly any air between his chest and Finch’s back, his hands pressed against the older man’s breasts.

“Sorry. I didn’t mean to wake you up,” Reese softly said, his breath swirling in warm eddies around Finch’s ear. “Just relax… I’ve got you. You’re safe now.”

“Yes… I suppose you’re right,” Finch mumbled, his heartbeat (which Reese could feel through the thin fabric of his pajamas) beginning to slow down to its normal rate. “I don’t suppose there are many places safer than this…”

“I won’t let anything bad happen to you. Not while you’re here,” Reese reassured him. “I’ve got you… I’ve got you, Harold. Go back to sleep.”

“Mmm,” Finch responded unintelligibly, and soon his breathing had slowed as well as his heart rate.

Reese brushed his lips against Finch’s head and neck a few more times before he, too, allowed his body to sink into sleep.

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  1. Kate

     /  2012/11/06

    Sigh – beautiful! Perfect! Can’t wait for more!

  2. *Sigh* So beautiful! Reese letting his emotions through to the surface, and being so gentle and tender and loving! Just absolutely lovely. 🙂

    And in the next chapter? When they wake up all refreshed and well rested? Do they (we) get a little sum-thin, sum-thin maybe? Hmmm????? 😮

    • Not quite to the surface — at least, not all of his feelings — just yet. Remember, Reese struggles with expressing his feelings…

      In the morning, when they’re both refreshed… you may expect sumfim. Maybe a few sumfim sumfims… 😉

  3. managerie76

     /  2012/11/06

    Quote: He wanted not only to keep him safe, but to keep him: for himself, to be his and his alone, even as a secret from the rest of the world.


    Quote:I might hurt you out of reflex

    quick thinking Reese. 😀

    Slight edit; it was enough that Finch was not repulsing him
    Should this be: it was enough that Finch was not repulsed by him?

    And:Finch was really asleep, then inched closer to his backside,
    Should this be: Finch was really asleep, then inched closer to his bedside?
    or Finch was really asleep, then inched closer to his back?

    or am I reading this one wrong?

    • Thanks! Reese just wants to lock him up (in a nice, safe place like a library) and keep him all to himself… 😉

      No, actually, I meant “repulsing” as in “Finch was not telling him to back off.” Maybe that was a bit unclear…
      “inched closer to his ass” was what that meant, so maybe “backside” could be shortened to just “back”?

  4. Plink42

     /  2012/11/06

    My heart overflowing with feels right now. 🙂 You can tell that each of them would like to take this further but they’re afraid of spooking the other. One step at a time, boys, you’ll get there. 😉

    Can’t wait for the next!

  5. rainiejanie

     /  2012/11/06

    Awww, I want Reese to cuddle me like that. Shove over Finch, I don’t care that you’ve been thru a trauma! *hee hee, jk* 😉

  6. farmgirl1964

     /  2012/11/06

    This was so sweet! It’ nice the way you have Reese finally give in and sob/cry with Finch and Finch comfortable enough to let go too. Then when in bed together Finch lets Reese keep holding him. They must both be SO exhausted. I can’t wait til Finch’s nighmare starts?? or they wake up happy??

    • I didn’t even think of giving Finch nightmares — he’s been through too much already! And he should feel perfectly safe, snuggled in Reese’s arms… :::drool::: XD

  7. D’aw. ^.^ So adorably cute. Thanks for writing. 😀

  8. deliacerrano

     /  2012/11/06

    Wonderful chapter! Love to read more fluffy interactions. They are MORE than adorable!!!


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