Harold tapped his keyboard, editing a particularly tricky bit of code. He was so engrossed in his work that he didn’t notice the tall shadow passing over him not once, not twice, but three times before coming to a stop. Startled, he looked up at the man who had sat down next to him on the park bench.
“You come here often,” the stranger stated. “I see you every day around this time. Can I ask what you’re doing?”
“I’m coding,” Harold replied, trying not to sound inordinately peeved – just enough to inform the stranger that he was interrupting and unwelcome. “Unless you’re a coder yourself, it wouldn’t make any sense.”
The man pursed his lips and made a faint nod as though conceding Harold’s point. “Can I get you a coffee?”
“I don’t drink coffee.” Harold turned back to his laptop.
A part of Harold’s mind flagged the word as non-native to New York, where carbonated beverages were usually referred to as sodas.
“No, thank you. If you don’t mind, I’m a bit… preoccupied at the moment.”
Without another word, the man left. Harold surreptitiously glanced up at his retreating figure, relieved to be left alone. Human interactions had never been his forte and he had no idea what he had done to invite such unwanted attention.
Fifteen minutes later, he had finished the coding. He watched in satisfaction as the test simulation ran smoothly, even allowing a self-indulgent smile to curl his lips.
“I hope you like vanilla,” a voice came from above him. Harold gaped at the stranger who had reappeared on the sidewalk, holding two ice cream cones. “But if you don’t, you can have the chocolate.”
“Ah… Well, actually… I do prefer vanilla.”
“I thought you might.” The persistent man’s smile was as warm as it was shy. He handed Harold the vanilla cone before settling next to him on the bench again. “I don’t mean to bother you… but everybody likes ice cream, right?”
“I’ve never met someone who doesn’t,” Harold replied while taking in the man’s appearance: dark, nondescript suit; well-worn shoes; a self-effacing air that suggested the Secret Service or some other government agency that valued the ability to disappear in a crowd. Harold tensed, wondering if his past had finally caught up to him.
The stranger licked his chocolate ice cream from the side to the tip, obviously enjoying it. Harold realized his own was melting and hurried to lick around the rim of the cone before it dripped on his laptop.
“I really don’t mean to intrude, but I was wondering if I could take you out to dinner sometime,” the man asked after a moment.
“You don’t know me,” Harold countered, though not unkindly. He’d noticed the flush creeping up the other man’s neck and blossoming in his cheeks. He was also quite sure that if a law enforcement officer had discovered his true identity, he would not be asking him out on a date.
“I’d like to try,” the man said, then took a bite out of his cone.
The man shrugged. “I don’t know. Call it a hunch… an intuition. I like your face.”
Harold couldn’t suppress his snort. “You have a strange taste in faces, Mister…?”
“Reese. But please call me John.” The man’s eyes sparkled in delight as he turned to look at Harold.
“Harold.” He paused for a moment before adding, “Harold Wren.”
“Hi, Harold.” John’s smile grew in brilliance. “So… can I interest you in dinner?”
“Well….” Harold considered the matter. Or at least, he told himself he was – it was hard to think with those deep eyes looking at him so expectantly. In the end he nodded. “Why not? Seeing as how we’ve already had dessert.”
A/N: In this AU, John is on leave from his CIA job and looking for a little romance. Of course Kara would find out about Harold and try to tell John not to get attached, but after Ordos John would come back to Harold. Harold would have figured out about the DV victims sooner and prevented Jessica from getting killed, so John would have moved on from her naturally.