A/N: Finch’s first stakeout is filled with surprises. Missing scene in 1.13 “Root Cause” from Finch’s POV.
I’d insisted that we use my Buick for the stakeout since it was roomier than his Volkswagen and had heated seats. I had dressed warmly, of course, as per his instructions, but my injuries did not take kindly to being cramped in the same position for a long time or being chilled. I connected the car CPU to my laptop in order to monitor the battery drain, and John seemed to appreciate the extra comfort as well, even though he’d been slightly amused by my suggestion at first. He must think I’m such an amateur… a softie.
His remark about bringing an empty water bottle had been a rude (if practical) insight into his world. This was what he did, day in and day out. It was what he’d been trained to do, and what I’d hired him for. It was only fitting that I should experience some of the discomfort and… inconveniences… that he was forced to endure on a regular basis. I’d brought wet wipes and hand sanitizer, though, hoping to make things cleaner, at least, if not less embarrassing.
Once I’d hacked into all of the Powells’ computers and retrieved the necessary information, there was very little to do except watch their house for any signs of suspicious activity. Not that I’m good at that sort of thing – I could barely distinguish the shrubbery from the shadows – but John’s eyes kept up a continual search of the perimeter, making sure that no intruders were trying to break in to harm (or kill) our Number. I closed the laptop and tucked it into the glove compartment, leaving only the program monitoring the car battery on.
I was startled to hear John swear and turned towards him.
“Put your seat back – as far as you can,” he demanded, and I complied as quickly as I could, thinking that he needed to see around me or behind me, possibly even to shoot his ever-ready gun. He was certainly shifting his weight about in a hurry while the electric motor of my seat lowered me slowly towards the back of the car, but instead of looking out of the windows on my side, he was focusing inward, on me.
“What is it?” I managed to ask, unsure what the threat or problem might be.
“One of the neighbors just spotted us,” he replied with a short nod in the direction of the house we were parked in front of. “Are you comfortable?”
“As much as I can be, yes,” I answered, still with no idea as to how he was going to rectify the situation. He had propped himself up out of his seat, leaning into the middle of the cabin over the gear shifter. “What are you proposing to do?” I asked nervously.
“Make us look… less suspicious,” he murmured in that soft voice of his, and before I had a chance to press him for more information, he had placed a hand on the armrest next to me, wedged his left knee on the seat between my thighs, and was lowering his body directly over mine.
“Reese, wha—” I tried to protest, but my words were cut off when my lips were sealed – quite literally – by his. My brain shut down as I felt the warmth of his chest press up against me and the wetness of his lips moving, plucking at my lips and the skin around it. I felt unable to breathe, although my nose was in no way impeded by his actions, but could do nothing about it. I was simply too stunned by what was happening.
I had just opened my mouth to speak, but even if I hadn’t, I might have been gaping at him by now. At any rate, he took advantage of my paralysis to stick his tongue inside of my mouth and run it over the roof and behind my upper teeth. I hardly knew what I was doing as I grabbed fistfuls of his coat – in fact, I didn’t even have the presence of mind to push him away. My entire consciousness was focused on that tongue as it rubbed against my own, prodding it from below as if to stir it into action. Needless to say, I was in no condition to respond.
My eyes had closed of their own accord, and in the darkness my world was reduced to the sounds of his mouth as he seemingly tried to suck the life out of me, the sensations of his tongue and lips as they assaulted my counterparts, and the feeling of his hands roving over my body, slipping underneath my coat and jacket to explore my chest and ribs. I needed air, I needed answers, I needed help…
Perhaps sensing my distress, John pulled his mouth away from mine and planted a trail of kisses along my jaw line to my ear.
“Relax, Harold… I won’t hurt you. Just try to… enjoy it.”
My benumbed mind couldn’t begin to formulate an answer, but my vital organs, at least, were built for survival: I gasped for air like a drowning man. I could feel a chuckle reverberate through John’s stomach and into mine since they were pressed so close together.
“You can breathe through your nose, Harold… unless you’d rather have me breathe for both of us…”
I drew in another deep breath before John’s mouth clamped over mine again and found, to my relief, that it was possible to breathe through my nose, which made things a bit more manageable. By the time my heart rate had come down to an acceptable rate, I had processed the fact that he was kissing me, not trying to suck out my soul like some monster out of a horror movie. Why he was kissing me was a concept that still eluded me, but as I grew accustomed to the new sensations, I found that there was a rhythm of sorts to what he was doing.
His lips were mouthing over mine as though he were talking, repeating some unknown mantra, their inner softness scraping over the slight stubble on my upper lips and chin. His tongue reinserted itself between my teeth to rub the roof of my mouth or the surface of my tongue in time to his wordless mouthings. At one point I felt his saliva seeping past my lips, but he quickly sucked it – as well as my own – back into his mouth, which caused a strange turmoil in the pit of my stomach. But his hands were also moving over my skin (indirectly, through my dress shirt) distributing warmth and something more… a gentleness, a tenderness, that made me actually crave those touches, much to my own surprise.
His tongue began its insistent prodding again, then turned into long, powerful strokes that reached under the base of my tongue and dragged up and out towards its tip, over and over. It impressed upon me how strong a muscle that particular organ really was. I didn’t have the foggiest idea what he wanted me to do, but I tried reaching my tongue out towards his to see if I could block him or at least get him to stop his persistent attack. It only made him change tactics, as now he twisted his tongue to touch mine, almost as though he were… tasting me. And indeed, I could certainly taste the double espresso that he had been sipping. Sour, bitter, nutty, and sweet… I don’t care for coffee, but somehow, tasting it secondhand on his tongue made it seem… strong, and masculine… the perfect flavor for the man I knew him to be.
One of his hands moved up to my face and caressed it, playing with my ear and stroking my cheek. It was all a little overwhelming but served to remind me that I had hands, too. Which were, at the moment, still uselessly clutching his coat. It finally crossed my mind that I could push him away, but as he was lying on top of me, gravity – as well as his innate strength – would work against me. I abandoned that idea and wondered how he would like it if I began touching his body the way he was taking liberties with mine. I slipped my hands under his coat, then found the edges of his suit jacket and slid my fingers around his waist towards his back.
“Mmm… Harold…” he moaned.
I froze, wondering if I’d hurt him, belatedly remembering that he wasn’t healed from his gunshot wounds yet. As the haze of my initial shock wore off, I was able to rationalize that it was not his intention to cause me pain (he had just assured me of that) and therefore I should not retaliate in such a way, either. However, he was placing more weight on my body now, as though he were testing to see how far he could go without my protesting. It was not painful yet but was bordering on uncomfortable. Of course, as far as personal space was concerned, it had long since exceeded a tolerable threshold.
“Harold… Touch me, Harold,” he whispered in my ear, and for the first time I began to doubt my senses. This whole experience was turning into some surreal sort of nightmare. Had he really said that? There was only one way to find out. I slid my hands up his back, away from the area where I knew he’d been injured, and rubbed up and down along his spine. He moaned again but didn’t pull away; if anything, he pressed himself even closer to me.
His voice seemed to curl around my ears to send tendrils into my brain. His hands were touching me, conveying his heat and – what was it? Want? Desire? Lust? – to my skin. I realized that I was no longer simply rubbing his back but was pulling him down, closer against my own body. I wanted to feel his warmth, to be touched by his hands, and to have my mouth plundered by his tongue and lips. As though he could read my mind, John wrapped his arms around me, under me, and devoured my mouth again.
That’s when I felt it: the hardness of his erection against my hip. At first I only noticed something hard pressing at the base of my leg (my uninjured side, thankfully) but then my sluggish mind figured out what it was based on its location on John’s body. And it dawned on me that John really was “enjoying” this – that he was excited, aroused by this… whatever this was. That he was aroused by me.
It was enough to make me stop breathing again, although not for long – my instincts for self-preservation were too well-developed for that. But my whole body became rigid in a different sort of panic. If John were sexually aroused by what we were doing… he could very easily take what he wanted from me. I might be his employer, technically, but he was by far the stronger man and had been trained by some of the best experts in the world on how to subdue an opponent. I didn’t have my bodyguards with me; I was all alone, and nobody knew where or with whom I was, except John himself.
Noticing my immobility, no doubt – I’d stopped responding to his tongue-wrestling – John drew back enough to observe me.
“What is it, Harold?” he asked softly. Then, when I remained silent, he added, “I haven’t hurt you, have I?”
“No… not yet,” I managed to reply. Even in the dim light, I could see the pained expression on John’s deeply-chiseled face.
“I never will,” he stated, then lowered himself on to me again, this time his lips touching my throat. “I would never… knowingly hurt you, Harold. I just want to… touch you…”
“Is… Is that all, Mr. Reese?” I asked, with a pointed nudge at his masculinity with one leg.
“No… that’s not all I want to do,” he admitted freely, though his voice was devoid of the flirting tone it usually held. “But I would never do anything that… you don’t want me to, Harold. It has to be something that we both want. But that doesn’t mean… I can’t try to… persuade you… does it?”
I had to admit that he had a point. Even though he had caught me by surprise, if I were to be completely honest, I would have to concede that I… rather liked some of what he was doing. The tongue probing I could do without, but… it felt rather good to be held, the way he was holding me now. Even the way his lips traveled over my skin was… exciting, in a way… titillating. The very thought that I could elicit such a response from him – a strong, healthy, handsome man – was rather intoxicating.
“Harold,” he whispered, nuzzling my earlobe with the tip of his nose, “if you don’t like it, I’ll stop… As soon as the neighbor stops gawking at us from his window, we can go back to being… what we were before: professional, and detached. But I want you to know… my body wouldn’t react this way, if I weren’t… attracted to you. If I didn’t find you… adorable… and extremely smart… and… incredibly sexy…”
The way he was sliding his body against mine made my mouth hang open in surprise and (to my embarrassment) excitement. His hands were rubbing my chest, ribs, and abdomen so insistently and thoroughly that before I could even try to stop it, my own manhood was responding to him. I wanted to be touched more, stimulated more, wanted more… It had been so long since I’d had any sexual gratification from someone else, and now that I knew for sure that John was feeling unmitigated lust for me, I could allow myself to reciprocate the sentiment. His lips were traveling all over my neck, and with one hand he was unbuttoning my shirt so he could delve down deeper along my skin—
A bright light was beamed into my eyes, nearly blinding me, and before I had the chance to recover or even see what had caused the sudden ocular onslaught, there was a rough pounding against the car window.
“Hey! You in there! Whaddaya think you’re doing? This is a family neighborhood, for Christ’s sake!”
John must have lowered the window, since the cold night air hit my skin like ice water.
“What the hell is the matter with you?” he responded in a threatening tone. “Can’t you see that we’re busy? And if any kids are out on the street at this time of night, that’s their parents’ problem!”
“Oh, yeah, wise guy? Well, we’re with the Neighborhood Watch, and we don’t care for your kind hanging around our neighborhood. We can call the cops and have them deal with you—”
“Please! No police,” I gasped, struggling to bring my seat into an upright position as John extricated himself from my side of the car. “My wife… she can’t find out! It would be… devastating for her…”
The man with the flashlight (I could make out two others behind him) wore an expression wrought with disgust.
“You mean you have a wife, and you’re makin’ out like some high-schooler with a… another guy? You’re sick, man! And you should at least grow enough balls to tell her!”
“I—I can’t… She has Stage IV cancer,” I lied, desperately hoping to avoid any more trouble. “I can’t divorce her now, it… it just wouldn’t be fair to her. She doesn’t have much longer… I just want her to have a… a good memory of me… of our marriage…”
John stroked my cheek with his long fingers and sighed, “Oh, Charles… you’re such a sweetheart! After she’s done nothing but nag at you for twenty years…”
“She’s dying, John,” I said, unable to come up with a good alias for him on the spur of the moment. “It’s the least I can do. You know that, right? If it weren’t for that… I would marry you in a heartbeat…”
He leaned in to kiss me again, passionately but without any tongue, and I did my best to return the gesture. There was a collective intake of breath from the three members of the Neighborhood Watch – who were obviously not fans of the homosexual persuasion – but they made no move to call the police.
“John… darling,” I panted when we broke off, “I really should go now… I’ll see you tomorrow at work.”
“I know… I’ll miss you,” he said with such sadness in his eyes that I placed another kiss on his lips without even thinking.
“I’ll miss you, too,” I told him, then moved to open the car door. The Neighborhood Watch contingent backed away as though they were afraid my gayness might be contagious, allowing me to get my bearings. “Goodnight, John,” I said through the open window.
“Goodnight, Charles. I’ll be dreaming of you,” he murmured, then started the engine. I began my stiff walk in the opposite direction from the Powell house as he pulled away from the curb.
“H—Hey,” one of the Neighborhood Watch guys said, halting my steps. “You’re not from around here, are you? I never seen you before.”
“No… No, I’m not. My house is three blocks from here,” I replied, hoping it was far enough away to dissuade them from following me. “I asked John to drop me off here, since… well, since Evelyn likes to look out the window. I can’t risk having her see me with John… and it takes a while for my leg to loosen up. She would know if I’d just been let out of a car.”
They fell silent at that, having noticed my limp already (and after sitting in the car for so long, I really was rather stiff) and run out of things to say. Gratefully, I made my way down the street and turned onto the next block, somewhat chilly but glad to have a moment to think and breathe on my own.
A few cars from the corner, John had found a parking spot. I slid into the passenger side, sincerely glad for the heated seat, and turned to him with an awkward smile. I had come to a decision during my short walk.
“So, Mr. Reese… do you think Mr. Powell is in any danger until morning?”
“Not with those vigilant Neighborhood Watch guys on the lookout,” he answered dryly.
I nodded in agreement and announced, “In that case, I suggest we go to one of the safe houses to catch a few hours of sleep and… perhaps… pick up where we left off.”
He turned a Cheshire Cat smile to me and pulled the car out into the street.