It’s Not Over 3

Finch spent the better part of the night trying to decipher the encryption of the hard drive. He worked feverishly to write a program that would decode the virus, layer by layer, but it would take time for all the layers of the onion to be peeled. When he set his program in motion and sat back, heaving a big sigh, it was already daylight outside. The clock on his computer showed it was a quarter past eight. It was time for Bear’s morning walk.

With another part of the computer, Finch called Leon Tao and turned on the speaker/microphone function. After what sounded like the cell phone was dropped on the floor and some muffled swearing, Leon answered.

“Hello?”

“Mr. Tao, I’m pleased to inform you that both Mr. Reese and I have returned safely from our… engagement. I trust Bear is still doing fine in your capable hands?”

“Yeah, we’re doing great. I took him to a pet-friendly bar last night, and the chicks were, like, all over me…”

“You took Bear to a bar?

“He loved it! He’s a natural. The ladies loved him and I thought for sure this one chick—”

“I would rather not hear the sordid details of your conquests, Mr. Tao,” Finch interrupted, “but since you seem to enjoy having Bear as your ‘wing man,’ as it were, I wonder if I might ask you to keep him for another day.”

“No problem, man — I mean, when you dropped him off and said you and John might never be coming back, I had to steel myself for the worst, you know? But I’m glad you’re both okay. Really! And Bear’s no trouble at all; he and I are best pals now — aren’t we, buddy?”

There was a dubious whine at the other end of the line which made Finch’s features soften a bit.

“Thank you, Mr. Tao. If you’ll excuse me, I’ve had a rather hectic few days. I do hope to pick Bear up tomorrow morning if that’s convenient for you.”

“Yeah, okay, tomorrow.” Finch could hear a stifled yawn. “Just not too early, okay? I might, y’know… have company over.”

“Thank you, Mr. Tao. Good day.”

After hanging up, Finch was seized with a tremendous yawn also. He had barely slept during Reese’s captivity and had been functioning on overdrive ever since his partner’s incarceration. He had only managed to stay focused on his computer monitor due to the insistent need of his curious mind to know for sure whether the code was what he thought it was; now that there was nothing more he could do to help the decryption process along, the strain of the past few days hit him hard. He needed to go home (or one of his many apartments) to get some much-needed sleep. But he also needed to eat something more nutritious than a hot pocket, and he needed to give the Machine a chance to contact him with another Number as well. With a groan he stood up, stretched, and slipped outside onto the city street, heading to a rather good bakery he had found the previous week.

Although he glanced surreptitiously at the pay phones he passed, none of them rang. Finch found his mouth watering and his stomach growling as he thought of the fresh doughnuts and éclairs he hoped to devour soon. Thinking about his breakfast reminded him that Reese, exhausted from stress and physical exertion, could use more nourishment too. The few minutes he spent standing in line at the shop gave him the time to talk himself into revisiting Reese’s apartment. The former operative needed breakfast, but he was probably too tired to go out yet, which meant that he would likely skip eating altogether if food was not delivered to him — or, despite the risks involved, he might try to eat whatever had been sitting in his refrigerator since before his last Number. Reese was capable of treating his wounds, but if there were any on his back, he might need help disinfecting them or putting bandages on them. Plus, Finch reminded himself, he could not avoid meeting the operative forever just because things might have gotten awkward between them. That kiss had no doubt been the product of Reese’s overwhelming relief at being alive, at being given another chance to make a difference. Like getting back up on the proverbial horse after a fall, if they were to continue their business relationship, both of them would have to get over their embarrassment at what was sure to have been a mistake caused by overwrought emotions — and the sooner the better.

With a box of pastries and a carrier with two hot drinks, one of mild hojicha tea and the other of black coffee, Finch headed to Reese’s apartment again.


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4 Comments

  1. Okay….
    ***waits patiently for more***

    ***gets impatient***

    MORE please!

    Reply
  2. Plink42

     /  2013/07/02

    I’m with Managerie. More soon please! 😀

    I like how, despite the awkwardness, Finch is looking for excuses to go back to Reese’s place. This makes me happy. 🙂

    Reply

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