5. Adorable

Finch was, in fact, a very light sleeper; he often had to resort to medication to get a good night’s rest. When he did fall asleep at his desk, it was because his body had been pushed to its limits and had tripped the emergency power-down circuit.

It felt almost the same after Reese had massaged him so thoroughly – like his eyes were shutting down of their own accord. But he had heard Reese calling him. He simply hadn’t been able to muster the energy required to respond. And he had felt the taller man lying down on top of him, though it had not caused him any physical discomfort; in fact, although he might have been uncomfortable about such close contact with another male ordinarily, his mind was in a happy, hazy fog that didn’t register the touch as unnatural. It simply felt good to have Reese’s warmth against his skin.

But then he had also heard Reese’s remark: “Damn, Finch… you’re so adorable when you’re sleeping.” His brain registered it as a compliment, and something else – something perhaps requiring special categorization – but before it could finish processing the information, it had shut down and made him drift off to sleep.

Reese had found a good number of the “girls” from the pool at the convention hall, and was directed by them to make his purchases from a saleswoman who was just shy of getting to the next level. He tried various samples, rubbing coin-sized circles on his own skin, to decide what would be best for “my Harold.”

“He’s upstairs resting now, since I worked him over pretty hard – his muscles were so tense! I really need to get him out of the house for mini-vacations more often, I think. He needs a change of pace, the poor man…”

Reese kept his eyes open wide, giving him a more innocent and vacuous expression, and cocked his head at angles as though he had to listen hard to follow their instructions. His hips were also tilted and his hands more fluid in their gestures, reinforcing his gay impression.

“No! Really? You have a foot massage lotion? Harold loves foot massages! He’s on his feet so much, poor dear, and I do try to pamper him when I can. Oh, I have to have it! I’ll try it out on him as soon as he wakes up!”

With his purchases hanging from one elbow in a pink bag, his wrist upraised in elegant uselessness, Reese continued to chat with the women for a while longer before declaring that he really had to get back to Harold. Even on the elevator he kept up his charade, apologizing to an elderly couple for the strong scents that he had carried in with him.

“But they had so many different products, I just had to try them all,” he explained with a charming laugh. “Harold’s going to tell me I smell like a French bordello if I don’t wash it off right away, I just know it!”

The woman politely concurred, keeping her astonishment in check with some difficulty. Neither she nor her husband had ever met a six-foot-tall fairy before, and as soon as the elevator doors closed on the magnificent spectacle, they fell into a fit of giggles, eager to tell their family of their strange New York encounter.

Finch was still sleeping when Reese quietly re-entered the suite. He washed the samples off of his hands and wrists before approaching the bed.

“Oh, Ha~ro~ld?” he called in a low voice, kneeling to peer into Finch’s face. There was no answer this time, either, and for a few minutes he simply gazed at his unconscious employer. The guardedness so characteristic of Finch was, of course, absent, as was his usual look of intense concentration. Everything about him was relaxed, and Reese reached out to stroke his cheek with the backs of his fingers before he could stop himself.

If only it could always be this peaceful, Reese thought with longing. Your poor back wouldn’t get so tense and stiff… Although then I wouldn’t have an excuse to get you out of your clothes…

With a private smile curling his lips, forming parenthetical wrinkles on either side of his mouth, Reese sat with his back to the wall and simply watched Finch sleep. However, his thoughts were miles, even years away, thinking back to the deceit and despair that had led up to his becoming a wild monster of a man, lurking in the shadows of the city and being dragged into the murky streetlights only when his violence broke out like an unchained animal. He reflected, as he often did when not occupied with his work, on how Finch had saved him from himself – how the reclusive man had pursued him in an effort to exorcise the demons that haunted him as well. And the warmth that washed through Reese’s heart was more than gratitude.

We have more in common than you might think,” Finch had told him when they had first met. Reese found it amazing, even humbling, that the successful computer genius had identified with his former self – especially at his lowest point. But he understood now what Finch had known then: they both cared about justice and protecting the defenseless; they were both wary of governments and other organizations that had outgrown their original purpose; and they both wanted to redeem themselves, it seemed, from pasts that they would have erased if possible.

Whatever mistakes you might have made in the past, Reese thought at the sleeping man before him, you’re still a good man. I know your heart is in the right place. I just wish I could take more of your burden from you…

He knew that by working on the cases now and (for the most part) solving them, he had eliminated Finch’s burden for those; unfortunately, he could not travel into the past to rescue the ones that already lay heavily on his employer’s mind. Just remembering the bloodcurdling screams he had heard on the recorder – which must have been multiplied a hundredfold at least, based on the numbers and faces displayed on Finch’s tally board – made him ache with compassion, not only for the victims but also for the man who had been forced to watch, impotently, as the events unfolded, from a hundred thousand camera angles.

Finch stirred slightly with a sigh, causing Reese to stand up and lay his hands on the man’s back. Nothing seemed tense or out of place except for the scarred skin covering his injuries.

“I’m not sure that’s the most comfortable position for you, though,” he murmured, and gently rolled Finch onto his uninjured side, sliding out most of the pillows and placing one under his head. Finch’s eyes fluttered for a moment but became still again, denoting that he was in the deepest stage of slumber.

Tucking him back in, Reese considered dressing him in the new pajamas. Then he realized that he ought to remove his swimming trunks. Suddenly, the prospect of having Finch naked and at his mercy was too great a temptation to resist. Diving under the covers, Reese carefully pulled the trunks down the other man’s legs and took them to the bathroom, hanging them up next to his own to dry. He had noticed in the locker room earlier that Finch had showered with the trunks still on, so he didn’t bother washing them again.

It doesn’t seem fair to leave you naked while I’m fully clothed, though, does it? Reese rationalized to himself, and emerged from the bathroom wearing nothing but a smirk. Now we’re on a level playing ground…

He slipped in under the covers behind Finch, sliding one arm under his waist and wrapping both around his torso in a tender caress. The sensation of warm skin against warm skin, flesh against flesh, nearly made tears well up in the taller man’s eyes. He could remember exactly how long it had been since he had last experienced such gratification, and acknowledged that it had been too long, since such a simple pleasure now moved him so. Taking nothing for granted, he pressed his lips against the white skin of Finch’s back, enjoying the soft, silky texture. When he drifted off to sleep, his lips were still touching Finch’s shoulder, his arms still wrapped protectively and possessively around Finch’s body, and his dreams were of walking in a park along the river with the man he adored.

When Finch awoke he thought he was still dreaming, since he was wrapped in such a sense of warmth and well-being as he had not experienced in real life for quite some time. He lay there, simply soaking in the comfort which had so long evaded him, and hoped (in the back of his mind) that he wouldn’t have to wake up. However, there was a recurring noise coming from somewhere behind him, and the cautious side of his nature kept prodding him to investigate its source.

Sometimes it’s better not to know where the danger is coming from, he sighed internally, but knew that he would have to look into it now that it was beginning to worry him. He attempted to move and noticed, for the first time, the strong arms that were clasped around him. When he pushed back the covers, he recognized the fingers – those long, delicate fingers which were capable of so much – almost immediately.

Mr. Reese? he thought, his jaw dropping in bafflement. But he was quite sure of it. And then in rapid succession he realized that the sound was of someone sleeping with a light snore, and the warmth at his back had the consistency of another human being. A naked human being.

Dear God, what is happening? he asked with almost religious fervor. He sensed that he himself was naked, and as his startled, wide-open eyes began to focus on his surroundings, he remembered the massage. Reese removing his bathrobe. Pain in his pressure points, with eventual relief. Reese rubbing his legs, his feet, his toes, with inexpressibly delightful results.

Ah… right. So I must still be wearing those new swimming trunks…

However, he quickly realized that this was not the case. As he held up the covers to double-check, Reese stirred and tightened his hands around him, bringing them into even closer contact. With a chill that ran down his spine, Finch discovered that Reese, also, was as naked as the day he was born.

Don’t panic… There must be a reason for this… a very good reason… Finch told himself desperately. What happened? What’s the last thing I remember?

He recounted the acupressure session in detail, but his memory grew hazy from about the time when Reese had started simply massaging him.

So I must have fallen asleep. No, wait… John said something to me before I completely went under… something about…

Damn, Finch… you’re so adorable when you’re sleeping.”

From the recesses of his mind, like a critical recording from a case, the words were replayed. Finch froze, shocked and unable to digest their meaning for the visceral impact they created.

He… thinks I’m… “adorable”?

He pondered the statement for several minutes, analyzing it for any other possible meanings. Did it mean that he was not adorable when he was awake – was it actually a criticism of his usual demeanor? Was it said sarcastically? Was it perhaps a complaint because he had fallen asleep after Reese had done all of the hard work?

None of the alternatives seemed likely, so that the face value of the words – despite how unlikely that seemed as well – was still the most probable interpretation.

Of course, that would certainly explain… our current condition, Finch mused to himself, then swallowed as a sudden suspicion entered his mind. If… If he joined me here, in bed, right after I fell asleep, did he… could he possibly have…?

Finch wanted to dismiss the thought from his mind with a resounding, No! Of course he didn’t – he wouldn’t! He would never do such a thing! Take advantage of someone? It’s beneath him!

However, his dispassionate (and paranoid) mind insisted, You shouldn’t have trusted him! Why did you let him touch you like that? He might have thought you were asking for it! Maybe it was all signals – coded messages that only gay men know – and you inadvertently agreed to it. Maybe he worked you over so hard just to make you dead to the world, planning on raping you while you were out. Or maybe he was trying to seduce you, and took advantage of the opportunity you so foolishly presented to him!

Trembling, Finch attempted to disentangle himself from Reese’s arms, but of course Reese awoke as soon as he moved his hand.

“Good morning, Harold,” he purred in his ear, hugging him closer.


Leave a comment


  1. “Did it mean that he was not adorable when he was awake – was it actually a criticism of his usual demeanor? ”
    Seriously, Finch? Can’t take a compliment?

    He seriously thought Reese raped him? Dear paranoia, please, go away.


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