Stroll

I was looking through my folder of fanfic ideas and came across this one that had almost been completed.
Set sometime before Episode 1.17 “Baby Blue.”

 


 

Reese had spent all but two of his rounds kneecapping some gang members plotting to murder a young pastor who, by helping kids turn away from drugs, had  significantly decreased the gang’s customer base. Finch was calling in an anonymous tip that would allow the police to search the apartment of one of the gang members, which would lead to a laptop with incriminating emails still in its memory. The pastor, while shaking his head at Reese’s methodology, had been extremely grateful for his help and even called him “an angel of the Lord.” Reese was wearing a wry grin as he walked into the library office.

“Hey, Finch,” he said, sauntering over to the file cabinet that housed his ammunition. “Everything all right?”

“As all right as can be hoped for,” Finch responded while he typed rapidly on the computer keyboard. “I’m hacking into the surveillance system of the building across the street from where you… incapacitated the ‘gang bangers.’ It’s going to have a malfunction that deletes the footage after an hour on a rolling basis. By the time the police get around to confiscating it, all traces of your involvement will be gone.”

“That won’t keep the ‘gang bangers’ from telling them about The Man in the Suit,” Reese pointed out with an amused emphasis on the term Finch had used.

“Well, no… but it will make it impossible for the authorities to identify you with Facial Recognition.”

“Good point,” Reese acknowledged, tucking a spare clip into his pocket and loading a new one into his weapon. Sensing Finch’s gaze of disapprobation upon him, he added, “Don’t worry – I’ll have the rest of this moved out within the week.”

“That will be a welcome relief.”

“I have to be careful where I put my stash, you know,” Reese mentioned. “Can’t have it falling into the wrong hands.”

“I’m aware of that, Mr. Reese,” Finch said with a sigh, pinching the bridge of his nose. “It wouldn’t do to spawn a crime of opportunity, which the Machine won’t alert us about.”

“Speaking of the Machine, do we have any new Numbers?”

“Not at the moment. You’re free to go… spend the rest of the day as you wish.”

Reese looked over at Finch, observing the way his partner was still massaging the pressure points on either side of his nose (under where his glasses rested) with a slightly pained look.

“Headache, Finch?”

“Oh… Nothing serious. I’ve been staring at the monitors too long, I suppose…”

“Care to join me for a walk?”

Finch considered it for a moment, then righted his glasses and turned back to the computer screen. “Thank you for the offer, but I want to make sure this gets taken care of properly—”

“C’mon, Finch,” Reese insisted, coming behind his chair and pulling it – and Finch – gently away from the desk. “You need to get more fresh air, not to mention exercise. We can grab a bite to eat on our way back.” When Finch opened his mouth to protest, Reese turned the chair around to lean down near his face, then cut him off with a smile and the words, “My treat.”

Finch pursed his lips, realizing that he was powerless in the face of such determination and charm. “It seems I don’t have a choice in the matter,” he dryly remarked.

Reese allowed his smile to broaden into a grin. “You always have a choice, Finch. But right now your choices are: coming with me of your own volition… or getting carried out like a sack of potatoes over my shoulder.”

Finch inwardly fumed, wondering how he could allow his partner – his employee, for heaven’s sake – to push him around so brazenly, even if the other man was capable of carrying out his threat. But he had to admit that a walk now would probably do him more good than the strong cup of tea and the painkiller he had been contemplating taking with it. And he was also, if somewhat grudgingly, appreciative of the fact that Reese was concerned for his well-being.

“All right, then – you win,” he said, attempting to sound gruff and coming across as simply tired. When he attempted to stand, Reese’s arm was thrust before him and, to his own surprise, Finch accepted the help. He was even more shocked when Reese refused to let him disentangle from that arm, then downright astonished to feel Reese’s long fingers intertwining with his own, locking him securely into position.

Supported by the taller man whether he would or no, Finch was assisted down the staircase. He could not help blushing when Reese opened the door to the outside with his free hand, still showing no signs of releasing – or of ever intending to release – Finch’s arm. By the time they had reached a street with the usual amount of New York pedestrian traffic, Finch knew his face had turned crimson.

“You do realize, the whole point of our operation is to not call attention to ourselves,” he commented under his breath.

“We’re not… unless you decide to have a spat and make a scene in public,” Reese responded, lifting one eyebrow in a taunting, almost daring gesture. Not wishing to be baited, Finch clamped his mouth shut, and they continued in silence to a nearby park.

Although at first Finch was merely resigned to strolling arm-in-arm with his partner, he could not help but be mollified when he realized how carefully Reese was matching his steps to Finch’s halting gait. Even his arm was being held at just the right height to prevent any further strain on his body. Perhaps sensing that Finch’s frosty mood had thawed somewhat, Reese began making polite conversation about the weather, the Yankees, the upcoming elections, and the smear campaigns that had already begun. Even though Finch knew that some of the questions were meant to probe deeper, to find out more about him, he found that he actually enjoyed the verbal parrying. He had realized quite early in their relationship that Reese was much more than muscle and honed skill; he was also one of the most intelligent men he had ever known. It was refreshing to have someone make a decent attempt at matching wits with him.

“Oh,” Finch murmured, quite involuntarily, as they neared the exit on the other side of the park. He had spotted a white truck parked next to the sidewalk. After a moment’s contemplation – during which he could feel Reese’s piercing, questioning gaze upon him – he patted Reese’s arm with an air of finality. “If you’ll excuse me a moment…” was all he said but Reese released him with the ease of tacit understanding.

Finch limped over to the food truck, hoping it was not yet too cold for what he hoped to order. Of course it was not the truck he had been a regular customer of so many years ago, but its fare was promisingly similar.

“Excuse me,” he asked the man who opened the service window, “Do you have any ice cream cones?”

“Sure do. Chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry?”

“Two vanillas, please.”

As Finch limped back into the park, he saw that Reese had procured a bench for them. After handing him one cone and settling down comfortably on the bench beside him, Finch savored his first lick.

“Sometimes,” he explained, “it’s important to enjoy the simple pleasures of life.”

Reese did not hide his amusement as he took a lick of his own ice cream cone. The two men sat in companionable silence while they finished their treat, watching passersby with vague disinterest. When only the paper cone wrappers were left, Reese slipped his hand over Finch’s where it rested on the bench between them. To his delight, Finch did not move it away.

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