Happiness Chapter 1

WARNING: Smut ahead!

Reese paused for a long moment after Finch explained to him how he was “Patient Zero” of a contagion, referring to the knowledge of the Machine which the government was trying to annihilate. He quickly caught up to the other man, having the benefit of longer legs and uninjured (for the moment), but he then walked beside him in silence for a while. After all, what could he say? He had already said the standard response when a concerned third party heard of a tragedy: “I’m sorry.” Those two words were utterly inadequate, and yet Reese knew from his own experience that even a torrent of the most eloquent words would only have the same effect. Finch seemed to appreciate his reticence; at least he did not try to lose him in the crowd. They continued walking together in commiserating, if not companionable, silence.

Reese wondered if perhaps Finch had deliberately allowed him to find Grace – to discover that Finch, too, had given up the woman he loved in order to protect her, showing how much the two of them had in common – but discarded that thought as his own wishful thinking. He had tracked down the address by good old-fashioned detective work, with the dogged determination that had made him so good as an operative; the fact that Finch seemed unamazed and unirritated by his showing up on Grace’s doorstep was no doubt due to his growing familiarity with Reese. After revealing how much he knew about Reese’s past regarding Jessica, Finch could hardly be angry at him for learning of Finch’s own past regarding Grace. He was probably resigned by now to Reese’s snooping as well. That was all.

Reese felt the same surge of pain in his chest that he had felt upon hearing Grace recount her first meeting with “Harold”; the same hollow, gnawing ache that had radiated throughout his body like a cancer when he had heard Finch mention his four years of “happiness.” It had nothing to do with his own loss of Jessica, even less with the attractive redhead who had once been Finch’s fiancée. It had everything to do with how finished, defeated, and resigned Finch had sounded when he claimed to have been one of the lucky ones – as though all that happiness were permanently and irretrievably in the past, never to be found (even in another object) again. It cut deeper into Reese’s as-yet-unhealed heart than he cared to admit.

But he had to admit – at least to himself – that he wanted to make Finch (or whatever his real name was) happy. That he wished they could have had a more auspicious first meeting; that he wished he had responded better to Finch’s initial offer. That Finch might one day grow to care about him with every fiber of his being, to the point that he valued their relationship more than his own life – for Reese had been listening to his employer’s conversation with Peck, even while he had (as Finch’s good little “associate”) dealt with the team of assassins. He had been too busy fighting them off at the time, taking them out one by one, to fully process the impact of Finch’s statement; now he allowed himself to experience the pain head-on. He would not wallow in it, but he would not deny it or avoid it, either. He was in love with Finch, and he was jealous of the relationship that Grace had had with the quiet, brilliant man. It hurt to know that he still loved her; Reese wasn’t sure if knowing that she was still in love with “Harold” – and still grieving for him – made him feel better or worse. Just guilty, he decided, about begrudging her the past that she had shared with Finch, when he at least knew that Finch was alive and was able to spend most of his time with him – something Grace would undoubtedly give anything to experience again.

Reese’s lips turned up in a mirthless smirk. If she knew, she would envy what he had now, just as much as he envied what she had had in the past. He stole a glance at the unassuming man limping along next to him. Well, at least he had Finch now. Even if Finch considered his own happiness a thing of the past, Reese didn’t have to accept it as gospel truth.

“Harold,” he began, his soft voice gentler than usual, “do you have plans for lunch?”

“Plans?” Finch echoed, uncertainly. “No… not particularly. Why do you ask?”

Reese shrugged, trying to make it seem like no big deal. “I just thought I could make something for the two of us, now that I have a real kitchen. Plus you haven’t come by yet to see what I’ve done to the place.”

Finch stopped walking altogether to look Reese in the face.

“You can cook?” he asked in an incredulous tone.

Reese allowed himself to look hurt.

“I’m a little rusty, but I’ll have you know, I’ve never killed anyone with my cooking.”

“Well… that’s a relief. Coming from you.”

Finch attempted a half-hearted smile at his own jibe.

“It may be good for you to get your nose out of your books for a change – get some more ‘human interaction’,” Reese added blithely.

“Uh… All right… Can I bring anything?”

“Just yourself. Unless you want a really good wine to drink… You know my tastes in alcohol aren’t exactly… erudite.”

“Ah. Well, what are you cooking?”

“What would you like? I can do beef, pork, chicken, fish… I basically cook them all the same way.”

Finch grimaced for a fleeting second before realizing that Reese was only kidding.

“I’ll leave it up to you, Mr. Reese, as I have no preference at the moment.”

“All right… beef.”

“Red wine, then. I have a rather nice Merlot that would fit the bill nicely.”

Reese nodded and checked his watch.

“I’d better get cooking, then. See you at noon.”

“Yes… Oh, and Mr. Reese…”

Reese stopped to look back at him.

“Don’t fuss on my account,” Finch said.

“I won’t,” Reese assured him, then strode over to the sidewalk to hail a cab.


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