A/N: During and after Episode 1.11 “The Super.”
WARNING: Smut alert!
Reese was frustrated. Not only was he cooped up in an apartment (although it was spacious by any standards, let alone New York City) but for the past hour or so, he could not get in touch with Finch. The maddening little man had apparently turned his cell phone off, or had re-routed all incoming calls to go directly to voicemail. In case of an emergency, Finch at least had the ability to turn Reese’s phone back on and contact him, but Reese (though he did know how to use a computer) was not technologically savvy enough to do the same. It was beginning to get dark outside and he was getting worried about Finch – although he justified it as being concerned in case something happened at the apartment that he could not handle in his present condition. He was also getting hungry, and did not relish the thought of ordering a food delivery. He had had enough Chinese to last him a good long time (though Finch never seemed to tire of it) and it was simply too depressing to eat pizza alone.
Reese turned his attention to the enormous flat-screen TV out of sheer boredom. He felt like a lonely housewife, trapped at home watching mindless soap operas for hours on end, even though he realized quite well that one of those soap operas could end as a crime drama. But it was far less stimulating to come up with wild conspiracy theories about the seemingly ordinary tenants of the apartment building without having Finch as an audience, always ready to respond with a dry comment – or with a sudden, pointed look at the suggestion of someone snapping and killing his employer. Reese decided to make himself some coffee so that he wouldn’t fall asleep on the job and get fired instead, and to maybe force some leftover Chinese down his throat, since he wanted to heal quickly and be able get around on his own.
On his way to the kitchen, he rolled past the large box containing the cushion which, for some unfathomable reason, Finch had been so eager for him to try out. Reese didn’t bother to suppress the smirk that rose to his lips as he considered that Finch might know a thing or two about convalescing in a wheelchair. It really was a very thoughtful gift, he had to admit, as he certainly had to spend a lot of time on his ass now, making bedsores a serious concern. With a wince, Reese pondered how awkward it would be if he did get a bedsore… He would have to ask Finch to help treat it, since going back to that mortician/surgeon was too risky and Reese would rather be shot again than to have Megan Tillman look at his sore ass.
Okay, okay… I’ll “use the cushion” in a moment, he conceded silently to his memory of Finch insisting that it would provide a cure for his restlessness. Coffee first…
One of the other housewarming gifts that Finch had brought was a Keurig brewer with a whole array of coffees and teas to go with it. Again, it was a very thoughtful item, since Reese did not even have to get up out of the wheelchair to pop a coffee container into the machine, which Finch had placed on a low table and filled with water. While the freshly brewed coffee was being deposited in his mug, Reese checked the refrigerator: boxes and boxes of leftover Chinese greeted him, as well as a carton of milk and a pack of eggs. He didn’t feel like standing up just to fry eggs, and besides, Finch might have mentioned something about those being for breakfast… He had promised to bring bran muffins for breakfast, Reese remembered, although he’d never asked for them specifically.
Must be another helpful recovery tip, he thought with a small smile.
At least he hadn’t been shot in the intestinal tract, Reese thought with less levity. He knew his prognosis could have been much, much worse if his bowels had been punctured, allowing septicemia to take hold in his bloodstream. The surgeon who had stitched him had been very good, but the morgue was hardly set up to treat a serious infection. He had been extremely lucky… but he didn’t believe in luck much. It was more likely that the sniper (and he had a good guess who it might have been) had not been aiming to kill. If Mark had been the one behind the sights, Reese knew he would never have walked away from that rooftop.
And of course, Finch had come for him. Despite Reese’s insistence that it was too risky, the reclusive, paranoid genius had driven like a madman and come to a screeching halt in the parking garage, just in time to catch Reese as he staggered out of the stairwell. He had come to his rescue during the lockup robbery as well, which had led to his interview with Carter – the reason why she had recognized him in the parking garage. Reese knew that he still was missing a lot (if not most) of the pieces of the puzzle that was Harold Finch, but although he was not quite certain yet what exactly it was that made the man tick, he knew enough to trust him. And, despite the man’s earlier protests to the contrary, Reese knew that Finch trusted him now, too.
The coffeemaker beeped that it was finished, and Reese realized that he had been staring into the refrigerator for some time now. Grabbing the nearest box, he opened it to find Mongolian Beef: too heavy. The next one was Lemon Chicken on a bed of lettuce: do-able, if he took off the fried jacket from the chicken. The third one was Finch’s favorite, Vegetarian Szechuan Noodles – not that Finch had ever admitted that it was his favorite, but it was obvious from the relish with which he always devoured it. The fact that it was a full box suggested to Reese that Finch was keeping it for tomorrow’s lunch. He wondered with diabolical glee what would happen if he ate it… Would Finch roll his eyes or make some snide remark when he discovered that it was gone? The temptation was too much, and he put the box on his lap before searching for a fork (he wasn’t as adept as Finch with chopsticks) and an oven mitt to place between his thighs – he needed both hands to move the wheelchair, and the coffee mug was piping hot, so he wasn’t about to take any chances.
Once he had carefully balanced everything, he rolled back in front of the TV and started eating the cold noodles, washing them down with the coffee. They weren’t bad even cold, so he could see why Finch would like them when they were warm. Of course, Finch had enjoyed a late lunch at Lily’s blue ribbon restaurant, Reese reminded himself, so he really didn’t have to feel bad about eating his stupid noodles… Besides, Finch might even be dining at some five-star establishment right now, after turning off his cell to ensure that he would not be interrupted by Reese. It would serve him right for leaving Reese by himself for so long! And really, Finch could afford to buy more noodles anytime (not to mention walk over to the restaurant whenever he wanted to), so it wasn’t that big of a deal… was it? With a pang, Reese realized that he was feeling guilty about stealing Finch’s noodles – yes, stealing – especially as he saw the books stacked up in front of the TV, which Finch had been considerate enough to bring for Reese.
Sighing, Reese closed up the box and set his coffee on the ledge beside the books. All of the titles seemed boring (he knew it was too much to expect Finch to bring him spy thrillers) but at least they might help him fall asleep later. He rolled back to the kitchen to put away the noodles – thankfully, it was still three-quarters full – and grabbed the Lemon Chicken box instead. He would tell Finch that he’d just wanted to taste a sample; surely the man wouldn’t begrudge him of that.
As he rolled back out, he paused in front of the white box. Finch had not replaced the lid properly, so it was still slightly askew, giving him a glimpse of the cushion inside – his “housewarming” gift. Reese pulled a wry smile, knowing that since he was here to work a case, once the case was wrapped up (however it might turn out), he would probably no longer live here. Still, it was a considerate gift, and despite his resistance to accumulating material possessions as well as his determination to outgrow the need for a wheelchair, Reese was touched. He pulled out the cushion and set it on his lap before going into the living area. He checked up on all of the feeds coming in from the neighbors while finishing the Lemon Chicken and coffee, washing down a pill (Finch seemed to have an endless supply of pain medications) with the dregs. He could stand the pain, but as Finch had cautioned, too much pain could dull his reflexes. He had compromised by agreeing to take half of the normal dosage.
Setting the empty box and mug on the table, Reese stretched and began flexing his muscles – very gingerly, since his abdomen was still tender – in preparation for standing up. When he did stand, it was on one leg and with most of his weight supported by the table. He placed the donut cushion on the wheelchair, then spent some time moving the parts of his body that did not protest, before lowering his weight back into the chair.
He shot up again in surprise, however, when the cushion began to vibrate beneath him. It stopped almost as soon as it had started, and he realized that it must have pressure sensors. Picking it up, he squeezed it between his hands, and found three contact sensors, a small battery pack, and four flat boxes (no doubt solenoids to convert power into motion) installed between the layers of foam. Basically, by sitting down on it, his weight caused the electrical circuit to be completed and allowed the device to function.
Why the hell does it vibrate, though?
The question lingered in his mind as his imagination wandered to an image of Finch having his ass jiggled (for some reason his whole body quivering like Jell-O Jigglers™) by the same device. He would have to be sitting down for it to work, of course; probably in a wheelchair. He could practically see Finch, with his neck still in a brace, leaning back and breathing “Aaahhh!” in relief (even his voice vibrating as though spoken into a fan) while the cushion did its work.
Cautiously, Reese repositioned the cushion and sat back down on it. It buzzed with an almost ticklish sensation, but it did relieve the pressure that had been building up in spots. In so doing, it also made Reese more aware of how tight and sore his ass had been getting after having to support his upper body weight all day. Leaning back, his eyes half-closed although still focused on the TV screen, Reese tried to relax and let the vibrations work through his butt muscles – muscles to which he had hardly paid any attention before.
It is rather relaxing, he conceded, even though his pride normally restrained him from relying on such things. It felt… humbling, as though he were admitting to being an invalid… weak… Even using a wheelchair had been an internal struggle for Reese, but he couldn’t very well refuse when Finch had already procured one for him, especially considering Finch’s own injuries. That the man had managed to hoist Reese up onto a gurney when he had been in shock and unable to do much to help himself was, in retrospect, a small miracle – one that Reese had chalked up to adrenaline. But Finch seemed to almost enjoy being the one to take care of Reese rather than vice versa, so he had sworn to himself to bear it with as much grace as he could muster.
As the cushion hummed beneath his bum, Reese was beginning to notice that it was also causing vibrations in other, more sensitive parts of his anatomy. The gentle friction of his male organ against the fabric of his clothing was unbearably delicious… It had been years since he had “gotten any” – in fact, with the aid of a calendar he could tell exactly how many years, months, and days it had been – and being trapped in the apartment did not help matters. Then Amber from 714 appeared on one of the TV screen segments with her yoga mat—
“I’m sorry, Amber, I just can’t watch you right now,” Reese apologized to the oblivious woman, turning off that feed in haste. He now had an unmistakable bulge in the front of his trousers and, rather than ignore it and risk having Finch return to find him in such a state, he decided to go to the bathroom and take care of the problem the way nature intended.
“Damn you, Harold! I thought you said I’d thank you for this,” Reese muttered as he rolled his wheelchair into the bathroom, which was of course wheelchair accessible – Finch had made sure of that. The cushion was still vibrating beneath him, but Reese was too hard-pressed by his need to remove it, let alone take it apart to find the On/Off switch. He manipulated his manhood in rhythm to the buzzing, and found to his dismay that the image which flashed most powerfully in his mind was of Finch enjoying the exact same sensations, however many years earlier when he had been forced to use the same accouterments. To the imagined yet vivid sound of Finch raising his voice in ecstasy, Reese came as well, missing his rather large target to leave ropy strands of his bodily fluids on the rim. For a long moment, he simply sat back, panting, enjoying the natural high of his release. Then he cleaned up the mess he had made (on the front of the wheelchair seat as well) with some toilet paper.
“Okay, Harold… maybe I will thank you later… whenever you show up,” Reese murmured with a smile. He had no way of knowing that the next time he spoke to his partner, things would start heating up rapidly with their case, leaving neither of them any leeway for idle chit-chat. However, he began to contemplate keeping the cushion when he left this apartment… After all, it had been a gift from Harold.
Never comprehending any of this, the simple machine within the cushion continued to vibrate under Reese’s soft, well-relaxed ass.
“Be honest, Finch – there is no Machine, is there? It’s just you,” Reese teased, confronting his shorter partner at the end (or so he thought) of the day. Finch seemed at once affronted and flattered by the jibe, his mouth slightly agape as he tried to come up with a witty comeback. Reese spared him – or rather, wanted to leave things as they were so he would have had the last word – and resumed walking down the sidewalk, adding, “I’ll be ready when the next number comes.”
“Funny you should mention that…” Finch said, shuffling a bit to catch up with him. Reese was hardly moving any faster than Finch right now, due to his dependence on the crutch, so they fell into an easy pace together as Finch continued talking. “I did get another number today… and decided to enlist the aid of Ms. Carter.”
“Carter?” Reese echoed, thunderstruck, and stopped yet again to face Finch. “You’re not serious?”
Finch stared back at him coolly from behind his glasses, although there was the barest glimmer of amusement in his eyes, as though he knew that he had found the perfect comeback to Reese’s earlier dig. “I am perfectly serious. I figured it was the least she could do, after… well, after putting you on the sidelines. Plus I thought it might keep her occupied… She’s like a bulldog, as you know – once she catches a scent, she’ll never let it go. So I decided to throw her a bone and let her play with it for a while.”
“And? What happened?” Reese asked somewhat breathlessly.
“That’s what I’m about to find out,” Finch answered, stepping to the curb to hail a taxi. “Would you care to join me?”
They got out of the cab rather closer to the library than they normally did, since Finch complained of his feet aching after all the walking he had done that day, although Reese suspected that it was his employer’s way of sparing him the added effort as well. Once in their inner sanctum, Finch traced both Derek Watson and Carter’s cell phones, their paths showing that Carter had indeed tailed him.
“I think her curiosity compelled her to follow,” Finch said as he typed into the computer.
“Let’s just hope she’s not in over her head,” Reese muttered from his seat next to Finch’s, his eyes scanning the various camera angles on the screen showing a crowded, upscale bar.
“Ah… yes. I did apologize for throwing her into the deep end,” Finch replied in his enigmatic manner, earning him a scrutinizing look from Reese. “Here we are… looks like Mr. Watson is up on the mezzanine… Ms. Carter is there, on the lower floor…”
As they watched, Watson descended the stairs and caused a flurry of movement as he exposed his gun. Carter reacted swiftly, disarming Watson and then holding him in an uncomfortable position against the counter as she placed her handcuffs on him. Finch’s fingers danced on the keyboard and a moment later the computer dialed Carter’s cell phone.
“That, Detective Carter, is what we do,” Finch declared curtly before cutting off the connection.
“She’s a natural,” Reese said, both relief and admiration evident in his tone, at least to Finch’s ears. “I’d better be careful…”
“Yes, you should – especially while your friends from the CIA are trying to keep tabs on her. If she catches up to you, she may lead them to you again, however inadvertently it may be.”
“Oh, I’m not worried that she’ll catch me, Finch,” Reese said, allowing a smile to grow slowly across his face. “I’m just worried that she’ll replace me in this job if I don’t recuperate and get back to it soon…”
Finch snorted. “Not likely. This was more to keep her out of our hair than anything else. I wasn’t trying to assess her skills, as I’ve no intentions of letting—of terminating you, Mr. Reese. Even if, under certain circumstances, I would allow for… early retirement.”
Reese’s smile broadened into a grin, knowing that Finch had caught himself (almost in time) from using the phrase, “letting you go.” The fact that he was self-conscious about using such terms could only mean that he was beginning to feel rather possessive of Reese – as if his solicitous care for him since his injury hadn’t been a clear enough indication.
“So I’m still your A-team?” Reese asked, eyes open wide in feigned innocence.
“You’re still my only team, Mr. Reese,” Finch replied without looking up.
“Aww, Harold… What a sweet thing to say,” he murmured as he placed one hand on Finch’s arm, interrupting his typing and forcing him to look up at him.
“It’s merely the truth, Mr. Reese,” was Finch’s slightly aggravated response, his lips pulling to the side as they often did when he was annoyed. “You have no idea how much time I spent looking for a person with your skill set and qualifications. It’s not a process I would like to repeat any time soon.”
“So you risked exposing yourself to some of the most nefarious members of the CIA, not to mention an officer of the NYPD who already knew your face, just to spare yourself the hassle of another candidate search?”
Reese knew he was pushing it, but he could not help needling Finch, his eyes dancing with mischief and glee. He knew quite well that Finch had grown to care about him (perhaps more than he had ever intended to) but he wanted to hear it from Finch’s own lips. He wanted a confession of sorts.
“That was a significant part of it, yes,” Finch answered, as dryly as he could manage. Then he deliberately turned away, affixing his gaze on the Board – the list of numbers, names, and faces that he had been unable to help – before adding, “But that’s only a part of it. You may not realize how those numbers that slipped by… those people who died violent deaths because of my inability to intervene, have haunted me… Matt Duggan was even worse, because I actually saw him die; he died on my watch, when I was supposed to be looking out for him…”
“Finch, there was nothing you could have done,” Reese interrupted, moving his hand from Finch’s arm to his shoulder, shocked and somewhat horrified at the somber turn this conversation had taken. “Even if I’d been there and known that they would use a bomb, I’m not sure I could have prevented it.”
“Oh, I’m aware of that, Mr. Reese – it’s not that I don’t understand the facts… but that doesn’t make it any easier to swallow…”
Finch drew in a deep breath, and Reese rubbed his shoulder gently, loath to break his physical contact with the man. He had not meant for his teasing to dig so deep.
“But if it is this troubling to see total strangers die – because even if I know something about them, they still are, after all, strangers,” Finch reminded, “I don’t even want to consider how much it would hurt, John, to lose someone I know. Someone… I’ve come to rely on.”
Reese had his confession now, although not as he’d expected – certainly not on his terms. But it was somehow more satisfying. And he knew he owed Finch a confession as well.
“I’m sorry to have put you through all this,” he said, meeting Finch’s eyes with no humor or disguise. “I shouldn’t have called Carter when I did – I should have waited until the job was finished, at least. I got sloppy… careless… and I almost blew our whole operation. I’m sorry.”
It had crossed Finch’s mind that Reese had been too cavalier in revealing his location to Carter, but he knew that the sympathetic man had only been trying to help the detective after leaving her in a confusing (if not compromising) situation. And although he himself preferred to err on the side of caution, he could not help admiring Reese’s confidence at times. However, it was a relief to know that his partner had reconsidered some of his actions.
“Apology accepted, Mr. Reese,” Finch responded, inclining his head in acknowledgement. “Just… please, don’t let it happen again.”
“I’ll do my best,” Reese promised.
Satisfied, Finch began the process of shutting down his computers in preparation for leaving for the night. Reese retracted his hand from his employer’s back, wishing he could find something to say to break the slightly depressive mood, but it was Finch who spoke first.
“Have you had dinner yet? I had a wonderful late lunch at Lily’s restaurant, but what with all the excitement of the evening, I’m feeling rather peckish…”
“Uh… I did have a bite a while ago, but I could use something… more nourishing,” Reese said, hiding the smirk that threatened to emerge. “Actually, Harold… I have a confession to make…”
“Oh?” Finch asked, one eyebrow shooting up as he glanced at him.
With as serious an expression as he could muster, Reese informed him, “I ate some of your Szechuan Noodles.”
Finch stared at him for half a second before turning to switch off the computer monitor.
“I suppose flogging you with a wet noodle would be… appropriate, but ineffective,” he said wryly before getting up from the chair.
“You’d have to do much worse than that to break my bad habits,” Reese agreed, also making his way slowly up onto his feet. “You might have to spank me… maybe even use a paddle…”
“That can be… arranged,” was the calm response. “At any rate, you’ve reminded me to have the movers remove the contents of the apartment tomorrow… We wouldn’t want to leave any prints for your ‘friends’ to find, now, would we?”
“No, indeed,” Reese said, balancing on one crutch. “Oh!”
“What is it?”
“I almost forgot to thank you. For the cushion.”
“Did you try it?” Finch asked, his face immediately lighting up with one of his rare but beautiful smiles. “It’s good, isn’t it?”
“Very good,” Reese affirmed, although his smile was distinctly more salacious – enough to stop Finch in his tracks. “That secret mechanism was… quite the surprise… I found it to be very… stimulating.”
“Oh,” Finch answered in a small voice, and then, “Oh!” as he realized to what Reese was referring. “I… well, I… ah… Yes, of course,” he stuttered, flushing upward from his neck. “Yes, I suppose it can be… somewhat… ‘stimulating,’ as you say… But it’s important to, ah… keep the pressure from building up, when you’re sitting down all day, and keep the blood flow moving…”
Finch broke off suddenly, blushing to the top of his receding hairline, as he realized his unintended double entendre.
“It really is just the thing for breaking up a monotonous afternoon, isn’t it?” Reese added with wicked nonchalance as he began hobbling towards the stairway. “I couldn’t help imagining you spending hours of… comfort and enjoyment, on that cushion, when you were laid up yourself. I can certainly understand now why you prescribed it for my restlessness.”
Finch swallowed hard, making his way after the taller man and trying to formulate his reply.
“Mr. Reese… As glad as I am that you’ve managed to derive so much… enjoyment, from the device… I hope you realize that I only had your health in mind…”
“Oh, I’m feeling much healthier now,” Reese grinned. “And I’m glad that you’re having our things moved out of the apartment – that is one item I don’t want to part with just yet, especially since it was a gift from you… Will you have everything brought here?”
“No, of course not,” Finch answered, horrified. “I’ll have them boxed and taken to a warehouse first, then transferred by a different outfit to a safe house. I’ll make sure your cushion is brought here if you wish, although… if you need one earlier than tomorrow, I have one you may take home with you tonight…”
Finch regretted the words almost before he had spoken them, for Reese turned an overly-pleased, feignedly-shocked smirk on him.
“You keep one here?” he asked, his blue eyes opened wide. “My, my, my, Harold… I always wondered what you did with yourself here, when you’re all by your lonesome, staring at surveillance feeds for hours on end… So, do tell: have you found other healthy practitioners of yoga to watch, or do you prefer something more… explicit?”
“M-Mr. Reese!” Finch spluttered, completely red in the face from his discomfiture. “Just because I can hack into virtually any video feed without the person’s knowledge, does not mean that I would do so for my own… entertainment! It’s only when I suspect that their lives are in grave danger that I resort to such tactics—”
Reese stopped him by leaning in, closer than he had earlier when accusing Finch of being the true magic behind the Machine, and forcing him to meet his eyes.
“I know you wouldn’t, Harold,” he stated, hoping to soothe Finch’s ruffled feathers, but still gaining an inordinate amount of pleasure in seeing the uptight little man flustered. “And really, with that cushion, you don’t need any videos at all! Well, assuming that you have any imagination, of course…” he couldn’t help adding.
Finch swallowed again and inquired in a low tone, “Mr. Reese… are you planning to continue in this vein for the duration of dinner?”
“Not if you’re buying, Mr. Finch,” he replied with a straight face. “But I do hope you realize, it’s all your own fault: you’re too damn cute when you’re embarrassed, Harold.”
Before Finch could even think of an adequate retort, Reese placed his lips squarely on the shorter man’s forehead.
“And right now, you’re downright adorable,” he concluded with satisfaction.
Finch gaped, not at Reese’s face directly, but at some point further off behind him.
“Uh… I, uh… um…”
“Actually, I think I owe you dinner,” Reese resumed with aplomb, “since I stole some of your noodles. Unless, of course, you had something else in mind?”
“Well, uh… there’s a place… a few blocks from here… I was thinking we could try,” Finch said, finally refocusing on the here and now.
“Will you be all right walking that far?” Reese asked. “I know you’ve been on your feet all day…”
“I think so… unless you’d rather catch a taxi,” Finch quickly added, remembering Reese’s current condition.
“I’m game if you are,” was his cheerful reply as he started making his way down the stairs. Finch followed at about the same pace – they were quite evenly matched now.
“Of course, if I’m buying,” Reese mused aloud, as though the thought had just occurred to him, “I can continue in whatever vein I want, can’t I…”
“…Please, John,” Finch implored him, stopping on the steps, at a loss for any other words. Reese stopped as well, turning to face him almost eye-to-eye although he was one step below him. Remembering all that Finch had been through today, Reese smiled kindly and nodded.
“You’re right – better not embarrass you too much… If you get too cute, I might forget myself and jump your bones. And that would be embarrassing for both of us.”
Still blushing furiously, Finch welcomed the cold night air as they left the library and plodded towards the restaurant, side-by-side.