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the_machine_mod ([personal profile] the_machine_mod) wrote in [community profile] meme_of_interest2013-03-28 06:03 pm

Prompt Post 01

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Reese/Finch sex pollen/drugged

(Anonymous) 2013-04-18 03:41 pm (UTC)(link)

I know it's an old and overused trope but I love it.

I'd love it if they both get dosed, rampant sex ensues and then we get to see the fall out afterward. Lots of angst with a happy ending please.

FILL: all the things we don't talk about, Reese/Finch, 1/?

(Anonymous) 2013-05-09 05:42 am (UTC)(link)
Right, so this takes place immediately after 2x17 "Proteus" (the one with the serial killer on "Owen Island")

It was dark by the time they got back from Owen Island. The library felt muted and lonely; as though they'd been gone for months. They were still, somehow, damp from the rain, but they weren't in a hurry to change into different clothes.

"Tell me again, what's happening with The Machine?" Is Finch keeping something from me?

"I'm as perplexed as you are, Mr Reese. It's too soon to tell if this is a result of the virus." I panicked when Reese's phone cut off. I panicked.

The table and chairs felt both familiar and new, as though Reese and Finch had come back from such a harrowing experience that they were changed people. The dog, Bear, nudged Reese's leg, as though to ask "is everything ok?"

It had, in fact, been a strange and unsettling case. Like something out of an Agatha Christie book, but without the necessary romance subplot, and fewer accents. Truth should be stranger than fiction, not a good approximation thereof. Then again, Agatha Christie's detectives had always possessed unimpeachable morals, and no one could say that about John Reese, Harold Finch, or any of their aliases.

The rain was picking up again, beating against the windows.

"You know, Finch, if you and I weren't on the same side... you would be very scary." Maybe I wouldn't mind.

Finch's eyes slid up from the table. “Are you frightened?” Sometimes I'm frightened.

“No,” Reese said. “You're on my side.”

They quietly considered this. The rain, persistent, beat heavier, now accompanied by thunder. And Finch reached into his pocket, to retrive the handkerchief the killer had given him.

There was something special about this handkerchief. Something neither Reese nor Finch knew or suspected. All but it's outer layers was imbibed with a drug. A powerful, inhibition-lowering, drug.

I am not sick. I am not maladjusted. I save lives.. Finch screwed his eyes shut and scrubbed his face with the handkerchief.

Reese took the handkerchief from Finch's fingers, and did the same.

FILL: all the things we don't talk about, Reese/Finch, 2/?

(Anonymous) 2013-05-13 03:11 am (UTC)(link)
OK SO

First I just want to apologize for badness of the prose in part one above; I will definitely rework it before posting to AO3. Sorry about that.

But more importantly, an alcohol-related note: as you know, the show hasn't really brought up Reese's alcohol problem from 1x01. Like, is it a problem problem? We don't really know. For the purposes of this fic, Reese is not an alcoholic. Therefore offering him a glass of wine isn't totally insensitive and irresponsible.

*

Sighing, Finch got up from his chair. He bit down on his lower lip, as though considering something. He breathed in, hesitated, and then spoke:

"Would you care for a glass of wine, Mr Reese?"

"Sure, Finch, but...?" Reese gestured towards the window, as though to say everything's shut down for the storm. "Where are we going to get wine?"

But Finch, reaching behind a row of books, retrieved a (slightly dusty) bottle, which he set on the table. He then went into the kitchen space, and came back with something that looked like a metallic attaché case, except that it turned out to contain two delicate-looking wine glasses.

"Gee, Finch, to what do I owe this?"

"Well, Mr Reese, it's not every day you get shot at with a speargun again."

Reese replied only with an odd sound, like a stifled giggle. Finch poured a small amount of wine in one glass, held it up to his nose, and drank it. Then he served them both.

"Thank you, Harold." Reese held up his glass.

Finch nodded. "Cheers."

The downpour continued, and they chatted aimlessly, while Bear napped at Reese's feet. There wasn't anything to suggest that something was odd, or different, about this evening. Unless one considered Finch's impromptu drink suggestion odd.

The conversation was unremarkable, until Finch asked Reese if he'd ever met a serial killer before the fake Fahey.

"Not that I knew of." he said. "Though if you want my opinion, most of the agents I worked with probably had a lot in common with serial killers." Reese said it as though there was nothing special about the statement, as though he hadn't just said that he'd worked with a bunch of sociopaths.

"That can hardly have been pleasant, John." Finch said Reese's first name - his official assumed name, anyway - softly.

Reese finished his glass and poured another, and something came over him. He flushed, and looked at Finch. "Harold, there's something you should know."

And Reese, for the first time since their meeting, and for seemingly no reason at all, confided in Finch. He told him about how, in the CIA, he'd sometimes understood his targets, he'd sometimes even identified with them. He'd occasionally even felt like their roles - his targets as villains, himself and his partner as heroes, were arbitrary.

"You know, Finch, when I chased you and Root all the way to Union Station, if I'd thought it would help me find you, I would have... The only thing that would have stopped me hurting innocent people would have been that you wouldn't have wanted me to. I'm not sure I... Sometimes I'm not sure that I have a moral code, like normal people." Reese closed his eyes, as though bracing himself for bad news.

Finch had reached out, halfway through Reese's speech, to clutch Reese's hands in his. His head bobbed a bit as he slurred "John, there is no such thing as a normal person. And if you really didn't have a moral code, you wouldn't be so worried about my reaction to what you've just said."

"Harold, you're so... reasonable." Reese stood up, and started to walk around the table.

Finch took off his glasses. "I'm not reasonable, I - John!" Finch cried as Reese stumbled, and nearly fell on top of him. Reese overcompensated, while Finch reached out to steady him, and lost his balance completely. He fell flat on his back, dragging Finch along with him.

They landed awkwardly, Reese breaking Finch's fall, and Bear trotting up to see what had happened. Reese nuzzled the top of Finch's head. "Are you ok?"

"Are you ok, John?" Finch breathed in Reese's scent, and threaded their fingers together.

"I feel... odd." Reese slipped his fingers underneath Finch's collar, to feel the skin there, then ran his hand down Finch's back, and squeezed Finch's body against his own.

"Oh." Finch said.

They lay there, holding each other, running their hands over each other, until they heard a crack of thunder outside, and turned to find Bear looking at them curiously.

"John," Finch slurred. "John, we should..."

Reese interrupted him. "Yes, I know." He got to his feet, swaying only a little. His hands at his sides, his face resigned.

But when Finch stood up, precariously, he had no intention of making Reese stop... Whatever it was they were doing... He meant to show Reese something. Something about one of the bookshelves.

Finch reached for Reese's hand. "Come here."

Holding hands, dizzy with something far stronger than wine, the two went up to the books, and Finch reached back, behind one of the books, and pressed down. Just to their right, an entire bookshelf swung open, revealing a small bedroom.

"Oh." Reese said. He turned to Finch and kissed him.

FILL: all the things we don't talk about, Reese/Finch, 3/?

(Anonymous) 2013-05-14 05:56 am (UTC)(link)
Or rather, Reese vacillated towards Finch, and his lips touched Finch's temple. There seemed to be something so unbearably intimate about Finch without his glasses, and Reese's mind was abruptly filled with and overwhelming need to be close to Finch, to be near him, to feel more and more of the texture of Finch under his hands, under his lips. Precious. Finch is so precious to me.

But Finch was pushing Reese, blindly, towards the inside of the bedroom. Dizzy from the drug and the wine, they wobbled through the bookcases, and pulled the secret door shut behind them. On the other side, Bear resumed his nap.

They fumbled for each other.

"John, this is okay." Finch clutched Reese, and breathed nearly directly into Reese's ear. "It wouldn't be with someone else. But it's okay with you."

Reese touched his lips to Finch's hair, to Finch's eyebrow, to his cheekbone, and then he slowly brushed his lips across Finch's.

"What do you mean?"

And then Finch's lips parted, and Reese kissed him, kissed him like he'd been waiting to do it, as though he'd always been waiting to do it, as though this was the answer to a question he hadn't even known he had.

Finch pushed Reese down on the bed, and sat down beside him.

"Harold -" Reese started to say, but Finch put his hand on Reese's mouth and pushed.

"Shhhhh," he soothed, and unzipped Reese's fly with his other hand. The fabric of Reese's pants was surprisingly thick, but his boxers were soft; Finch couldn't help but hand in. He palmed Reese's cock, while Reese writhed under him.

A frenzy seemed to come over them; Reese's hips snapped up into Finch's hand, while Finch, with his other hand, pushed down harder onto Reese's mouth and jaw. Reese reached out with his hands, but Finch snapped out "no" and Reese let them drop, limp and compliant.

"Perhaps you should ride me, Mr. Reese."

FILL: all the things we don't talk about, Reese/Finch, 4/?

(Anonymous) 2013-05-16 01:51 am (UTC)(link)
Finch climbed onto the bed, or maybe Reese pulled him on to the bed, it was hard to tell. As though in a dream, Reese pulled off Finch's clothes, Finch's clothes, first peeling his trousers off, and then pulling down his briefs. Something so unbearably vulnerable about Finch without his glasses. Finch smelled like gabardine and library books and something... something else...

Overwhelmed, Reese leaned in close to Finch, his head lolling down over Finch's nude thighs.

Once, on a camping trip, Reese had been so exhausted that he'd fallen asleep in front of the campfire, and had woken up with his head in his best friend's lap. For a brief moment - one of those moments that stay with you, always - The warmth of the fire, the smell of the campsite, and Joey Mackensie's thigh, had felt like everything he'd ever wanted.

But then he'd woken up. The abrupt realization that he wanted to rub his face all over Joey's upper legs had made the rest of the weekend awkward, and Reese couldn't look him in the eye. On the last day, his friend had become annoyed at his weird behaviour, and Reese had seen the impatient look in his eyes and suddenly imagined Joey taking it out on him. That night, in the tent, Reese had fallen asleep with an image of Joey pinning him down, and a painful, painful hard-on. Reese had always thought that no one else could possibly want what he wanted.

He touched the soft hairs on Finch's legs. With an impatient cry, Finch grabbed his hair, and pulled Reese down over his groin. Reese felt like he'd just figured out why people used the word "swoon". Finch rubbed Reese's face onto his cock, roughly, ungainly, until Reese managed to pull it into his mouth. Reese thrust his tongue out and took it down so he could feel the head of the cock in his throat, and kept it there, swallowing down on it until he could hear Finch groan.

You should ride me. Reese sat up and scrabbled at Finch's shoulders, whispered in his ear "Harold, where are the - do you have...?" And Finch pointed at the bedside table.

Reese grappled for the drawer, and handed Finch one of the condoms while he busied himself with lubrication.

He threw his leg over Finch and gripped Finch's cock, but Finch put his hand at Reese's throat. Reese held still, and waited. And waited.

"Mr Reese, does nothing strike you as odd, at the moment?" Finch slurred.

Reese closed his eyes. Something did strike him as odd, but he couldn't remember why he should care. He just wanted Harold. "Please." He begged. "Please, please, please."

Finch ran his hands over Reese's shoulders. "Alright."

FILL: all the things we don't talk about, Reese/Finch, 5/?

(Anonymous) 2013-05-17 05:11 pm (UTC)(link)
Reese slid the head of Finch's cock, back and forth, over his anus. He heard Finch inhale sharply as he started to push down. The head of Finch's cock was real, and blunt, and Reese wanted it. He gulped, and, like an echo of himself, mouthed the word "please" one last time, as he sat all the way down on Finch's cock.

Finch took a deep breath, and threaded their fingers together.

Reese started to move. He was drugged and inebriated but still athletic, and he moved slowly and then faster and faster, holding nothing back. He pulled Finch's hand up to his mouth, kissed it and sucked fingers into his mouth. He made the bed shake under them.

The penetration overwhelmed Reese completely. He felt... the phrase "mind-blowing" would have come to mind, if he'd been capable of thought just then. How could he have gone without this for so long? If he'd known - if he'd only known - maybe...

He clenched down onto Finch's shaft, and Finch moaned, loud and long. Finch's arousal was a powerful, powerful thing; it took hold of Reese; it shattered him. He took Finch's hand, wet with saliva, and wrapped it around his own cock. Finch squeezed, Reese moved up and down, and they were floating; their whole worlds reduced to Finch's cock sliding in and out; their obscene noises drowning out the rain and thunder.

Reese shuddered, and Finch surged up and came, hard, gripping Reese's cock with his hand. Reese came in his turn, sticky and lewd, and all over Finch. His head was a jumble of thoughts. Why haven't we done this before. He sagged, and Finch pulled him down, wrapping his arms around him.

They lay there together, and passed out.

FILL: all the things we don't talk about, Reese/Finch, 6/?

(Anonymous) 2013-05-31 05:25 am (UTC)(link)
So, gentle readers, FEAR NOT, I know where this is going. This is a wip but it is a wip with a pre-existing plan and, like, plot details worked out. That said, no idea how long it is going to take to write it all out D:


A scratching noise, scratch scratch scratch, woke Finch. He felt a dim light through his eyelids, but before he could even wonder what time it was, a telephone rang.

Finch let it ring once, twice, and suddenly realized that it had to be the Machine. Where is my phone. Sitting up, he became aware of his surroundings, and nearly fell to the floor.

Beside him, Reese was fast asleep, golden in the light from the single opaque window, sheets twisted around his thighs.

Finch looked at him, looked at the bed, the strewn clothes... Looked at the terrifying irreversibility of it all, and felt panic rise up. The telephone rang again.

Picking up pants and a shirt, Finch scrambled for the door to the library.

The new number was already up on his computer screen when he got to the desk, but he picked up the phone anyway. Nothing but an unintelligible collection of sounds on the other end of the line, however. What the...? He pulled on his pants as he read the words on the computer screen.

Will Thomson, 20, NYU pre-law. Lives in campus housing, has an adequate academic standing, and no criminal record.

Finch started to pull on his shirt, and the computer screen blurred in an out of focus. What was he supposed to do now? Wake Reese? Really? How? Was Finch to put his hand on Reese's sleeping shoulder until Reese opened his eyes, only to watch Reese remember what happened, and then react to that memory? Possibly with revulsion? What was Finch even supposed to say? That they... That he... Oh God, he's my employee. He's my employee and I've taken advantage of him. He's my employee and he's the only one I have and I don't want another one, I want him. Finch pulled on the other sleeve of his shirt and tried to calm down.

He had just finished buttoning his shirt when he heard Reese's footsteps. He looked up to see Reese, stark naked, gazing at him, looming just on the other side of the bookcase. He looked like the Vitruvian man. His proportioned, symmetrical body outlined by early-morning light.

Finch's brain went on automatic pilot, and said the first reasonable thing it could think of:

"We have a new number."

FILL: all the things we don't talk about, Reese/Finch, 7/?

(Anonymous) 2013-06-01 07:19 am (UTC)(link)
The new number, Will Thomson, wasn't being threatened by any professors, acquaintances, or fellow students. Neither was he a threat to any professors, acquaintances, or fellow students. He didn't really have any close friends. His family was far away. Neither Finch nor Reese could figure out why the Machine had sent them this kid's number.

Reese spent two days tailing him. Something would crop up; it was inevitable. He reported in regularly to Finch, and his reports sounded formal and unusually succinct. Not that his ability to do the job was in any way impaired. But he always cut off the comm link, unless it was absolutely necessary.

In the meantime, Finch busied himself with the task of working out what the hell had happened. He was certain that something unusual had taken place, and zeroed in on the handkerchief pretty quickly. It was a simple enough task to cut out a piece of it and send it to a lab that accepted analysis work from anonymous sources; the trouble was knowing what to do with himself while he waited for the result.

Finch couldn't process what had happened until he had all the facts. But he couldn't get all the facts until he got the lab results back. And while he tried to busy himself with work, the new number wasn't making it easy. A solid B student, wasn't involved in anything even remotely dangerous, hadn't inadvertently made any enemies, and Finch couldn't think of a single useful thing to do to further his and Reese's investigation. He just stared at surveillance footage of Will's NYU residence hall, and tried to pick out suspicious-looking university students. They all look so young.

"Finch, could you take a look at Will's browser history, and his credit card history?" Reese asked.

"Am I looking for something specific, Mr. Reese?"

"No, just... Anything."

Will's browser history was mostly Reddit, coursework-related things, and porn. Reese had already tried to find a journal or a notebook, to no avail, and Finch didn't find any kind of journal-type social media in Will's browser history.

"I give up, Finch. What are we missing? Why would a 20-year old college kid be in danger? What kind of danger would a 20-year-old be in, that The Machine would see?"

Suddenly, Finch knew. Oh, no. "Mr. Reese. What is the leading cause of death for white males between the ages of 15 and 34?"

"...Accidents? But The Machine wouldn't see that."

"Of course. I suppose I meant the second biggest cause of death."

Reese made a surprised sound, just as Finch found a web search for "lethal dose of codeine" in Will's browser history.

FILL: all the things we don't talk about, Reese/Finch, 8/?

(Anonymous) 2013-06-02 06:44 am (UTC)(link)
Will Thomson was suicidal. He had worked out a plan to kill himself, and that was what had been so confusing. Reese and Finch never knew if numbers were going to be victims or perpetrators, and in this case, it had turned out that the number was both.

The poor kid was suicidal because his academic standing was adequate. "You don't understand," he told Reese. "When I was in high school, I had a perfect GPA for three years in a row. My parents are expecting way better than "adequate""

Clues about Will's situation had been hard to find, because all the real information about his intentions had been in his evernote account, which he only ever accessed with his ipad.
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Will Thomson was suicidal. He had worked out a plan to kill himself, and that was what had been so confusing. Reese and Finch never knew if numbers were going to be victims or perpetrators, and in this case, it had turned out that the number was both.

The poor kid was suicidal because his academic standing was adequate. "You don't understand," he told Reese. "When I was in high school, I had a perfect GPA for three years in a row. My parents are expecting way better than "adequate""

Clues about Will's situation had been hard to find, because all the real information about his intentions had been in his evernote account, which he only ever accessed with his ipad. <emNewfangled gadgets, how can anyone keep up, I ask you?</em> Will had used to it write drafts of a suicide note. He'd also called student services a few times, but the mental health clinic was completely swamped with requests. The phone call had probably helped the Machine pick him out, however.

So Finch had joined Reese on campus, and they'd knocked on Will's door together.

"I can't tell you not to kill yourself, Will. You're the only one who had the right to make decisions about your life. But that's just it. Your opinion is the one that counts. Not someone else's opinion. If you're killing yourself because of what other people will think of grades, I urge you to reconsider."

They had somehow convinced him that they were alumni who were volunteering with student services, and had been told about his attempted phone call to student services. Will had quickly confided in them.

"He's right," Reese said. "We can't ever presume to know what it's like to be you, so we can't tell you what to do. But from what I remember, the great thing about being in college is that you care about stuff. You <em>care</em>. I'm twice your age and I'm cynical and I <em>wish</em> I cared about stuff. But you. You have really strong feelings about things, and that is a great thing. Don't let the darker side of that take over and blind you to everything else, Will."

"Please," FInch added, when he'd recovered from Reese's speech. <em>Where did that come from?</em> "Please, we know that the NYU crisis hotline is often overwhelmed, and we encourage you to call this number instead," handing Will a card with a handwritten number.

For now, the number would lead to one of Finch's burner phones. But then he was going to set up a private mental health crisis hotline. <em>Couldn't think of a better use for money.</em>

Finch and Reese left the residence building awkwardly, not speaking to each other, and Finch didn't even look up when Reese mumbled something and took off towards his loft.

Back at the library, Finch found Bear napping peacefully, and lab results waiting for him. The email said something about a "concentrated empathogen..." blah blah etc "serenic... stimulant... anxiolytic..." and then, curiously, "p.s. Where did you get this? Can you get more?"

FILL: all the things we don't talk about, Reese/Finch, 8/?

(Anonymous) 2013-06-02 06:46 am (UTC)(link)
DAMN YOU HTML

Will Thomson was suicidal. He had worked out a plan to kill himself, and that was what had been so confusing. Reese and Finch never knew if numbers were going to be victims or perpetrators, and in this case, it had turned out that the number was both.

The poor kid was suicidal because his academic standing was adequate. "You don't understand," he told Reese. "When I was in high school, I had a perfect GPA for three years in a row. My parents are expecting way better than "adequate""

Clues about Will's situation had been hard to find, because all the real information about his intentions had been in his evernote account, which he only ever accessed with his ipad. Newfangled gadgets, how can anyone keep up, I ask you? Will had used to it write drafts of a suicide note. He'd also called student services a few times, but the mental health clinic was completely swamped with requests. The phone call had probably helped the Machine pick him out, however.

So Finch had joined Reese on campus, and they'd knocked on Will's door together.

"I can't tell you not to kill yourself, Will. You're the only one who had the right to make decisions about your life. But that's just it. Your opinion is the one that counts. Not someone else's opinion. If you're killing yourself because of what other people will think of grades, I urge you to reconsider."

They had somehow convinced him that they were alumni who were volunteering with student services, and had been told about his attempted phone call to student services. Will had quickly confided in them.

"He's right," Reese said. "We can't ever presume to know what it's like to be you, so we can't tell you what to do. But from what I remember, the great thing about being in college is that you care about stuff. You care. I'm twice your age and I'm cynical and I wish I cared about stuff. But you. You have really strong feelings about things, and that is a great thing. Don't let the darker side of that take over and blind you to everything else, Will."

"Please," FInch added, when he'd recovered from Reese's speech. Where did that come from? "Please, we know that the NYU crisis hotline is often overwhelmed, and we encourage you to call this number instead," handing Will a card with a handwritten number.

For now, the number would lead to one of Finch's burner phones. But then he was going to set up a private mental health crisis hotline. Couldn't think of a better use for money.

Finch and Reese left the residence building awkwardly, not speaking to each other, and Finch didn't even look up when Reese mumbled something and took off towards his loft.

Back at the library, Finch found Bear napping peacefully, and lab results waiting for him. The email said something about a "concentrated empathogen..." blah blah etc "serenic... stimulant... anxiolytic..." and then, curiously, "p.s. Where did you get this? Can you get more?"

FILL: all the things we don't talk about, Reese/Finch, 9/?

(Anonymous) 2013-06-03 05:31 am (UTC)(link)
Ever since that night, they'd been keeping communication to a minimum. They'd never spoken so little, in fact. They had been in some kind of liminal space. All through the Will Thomson case, Finch felt the shock of what had happened, felt the dread of the unknown fallout, but had also found himself maintaining the working patterns he and Reese had established over the two years of their collaboration.

His coping mechanism, he'd found, was basically: "as long as I don't know exactly what happened, I don't have to think about what happens next, and I definitely don't have to think about my feelings."

And as far as Finch could tell, Reese's coping mechanism was basically "finish the job, then worry."

Well now the job was finished, Finch knew exactly what had happened, they had both had time to rest, and Reese was going to appear at any minute.

Finch fiddled with his pocket square, and tried to stop thinking of that night. He'd been able to put it out of his mind as long as he'd been working, but then after their conversation with Will, when it had all been over, Finch's head had been flooded with images, bits of conversation, and hazy memories. It had all seemed so real. The intimacy had seemed (still seemed!) so genuine. He'd felt... happy. And yet. It was all the result of a drug.

Finally, Reese and Bear walked in.

"Mr. Reese" Finch's voice croaked slightly. "Mr. Reese, do you recognize this handkerchief?"

Reese sat down. "Yes. That's yours. You had it the other night."

"I did have it. Yes. But as a matter of fact, this is not mine. It was handed to me by the serial killer on Owen Island."

Reese blinked. "I beg your pardon?"

"The man on Owen Island gave me this. At the time, I wiped off my glasses with it, but I did not unfold it. You see, had I done so, my hands would have come into contact with a very fine powder that was covering the handkerchief's creases." Finch demonstrated by unfolding the handkerchief. "Instead, that happened the other night. My hand and face were covered with it."

Reese's eyes widened, but he didn't say anything.

"As you will recall, you also handled this handkerchief."

"Yes."

"Now, I cut off a part of the material and sent it into a lab. Yesterday, they informed me that we had been dosed with a substance that was unknown to them, but that behaved like a concentrated empathogenic drug, Empathogens, as you may know, are associated with serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine release, and activation of oxytocin-containing neurons."

Reese's jaw dropped. "Finch, you mean to say that the serial killer, before he died, tried to drug you with a handkerchief? But that instead of giving you GHB or some other date-rape drug to make you pass out, he gave you something that would, what, put you in a good mood? Make you feel friendly?"

"I'm as bewildered as you are, Mr. Reese."

"So the other night, you and I... we were on ecstasy?"

"Well, no. But we were on something very similar." Finch couldn't make himself look Reese in the eye. His mind suddenly supplied an image of Reese's throat working on his cock, and he squeezed his eyes shut.

FILL: all the things we don't talk about, Reese/Finch, 10/?

(Anonymous) 2013-06-05 06:37 am (UTC)(link)
When Finch opened his eyes, he saw Reese looking back at him, and sitting very still. He seemed very, very attentive.

"Finch, are you okay?" Reese asked. "The drug - were there any adverse reactions with the pain medications you are using?"

"No, no." He was concerned with Finch's health? "Please don't concern yourself with -"

"Do you feel violated?"

What? "No! No," Finch looked imploringly at Reese. "Mr. Reese, if anything, as your boss, if -"

Reese shook his head, and Finch's voice died in his throat. "Finch," Reese said, "the kind of work we do... Things happen. We're in the field, we see things and do things other people will hopefully never have to do. These aren't normal situations. And sometimes, things happen."

Finch felt as though all the things that had happened to Reese, the things he'd presumably filed under the label sometimes, things happen, had just wandered into the room and sat down at the table with them, and for a moment, he felt surrounded by pain and loss. "Mr. Reese, if I -"

"Finch. We were investigating a serial killer. A serial killer. He nearly killed you, Finch. What..." Reese looked suddenly tired. "What you and I did together isn't even in the top 5 worst things that happened that day."

Sometimes it was so easy to forget all the lifetime of terrible things Reese had been involved in. This was a man who said things like, "you look worried, Finch. Did your tailor leave town?", and giggled when he rolled around on the floor with a dog. How to reconcile that incredibly silly person with the Reese who now sat in front of him?

Finch pinched the bridge of his nose. He nodded. "Perhaps you would like to take the day off, Mr. Reese."

FILL: all the things we don't talk about, Reese/Finch, 10/?

(Anonymous) 2013-06-08 05:47 am (UTC)(link)
Reese had taken the day off. Reese had, as far as Finch could tell, translated "perhaps you would like to take the day off, Mr. Reese." to "Mr. Reese, please take the day off," which was very perceptive of him. All he'd done was give Finch one last, searching look, and he and Bear had left the library.

The rest of the morning was quiet, with sunlight slowly moving across Bear's empty doggie bed, and Finch's cup of tea slowly growing cold on the desk. Finch busied himself with preliminary research for the crisis hotline, and he looked into purchasing the lab that had analysed the handkerchief. They'd done good work; best make sure they couldn't possibly go out of business. If only we could hire them to prevent this from ever happening again. If only. Not that there would be a point. Even if we'd had a universal antidote the other night, we wouldn't even had known to use it. We would have needed... Finch's heart stopped. Surveillance. We would have needed surveillance. Oh my goodness, why didn't the Machine warn us?

But it was obvious, wasn't it? He and Reese hadn't been in any kind of mortal danger. Sometimes, things happen.

What he really needed, Finch realized, was a project. A project that would take his current situation, and learn from it, and make sure... Make sure of what? Make sure that he never felt like this again? Finch didn't even know how he felt. He just... thought far too much about Reese's fingers threading through his, and about the texture of Reese's lips.

He hadn't slept in the library bedroom in days; he couldn't even go inside to change the sheets. He'd been sleeping in hotel rooms - not avoiding, exactly, just giving himself some breathing room while he recovered from the loss of control.

Finch didn't do well with loss of control. Most of his life had been spent in front of a keyboard and a screen, in the process of breaking a large, complex task up into smaller and smaller subtasks until the subtasks are simple enough to be performed with basic operations. Somehow, somewhere along the line, he'd forgotten what do do about problems that could not be solved with that process. If I could just figure out my current use case...

But deep down, Finch knew that what he needed was time, and some breathing room. Some breathing room.

*

When Reese showed up the next morning, the library was empty. Finch had left a note on the desk.

"Mr. Reese,

I will be away for a few days. I have every confidence in your ability to take care of the numbers in my absence.

Please apologize to Bear, on my behalf, for my leaving, however briefly, without saying goodbye."

FILL: all the things we don't talk about, Reese/Finch, 12/?

(Anonymous) 2013-06-11 05:18 am (UTC)(link)
Reese spent the week brooding all over the library.

It wasn't that he and Finch were separated. It was that and Finch couldn't even talk to each other.

During the Will Thomson case, Reese had kept the communication to a minimum. He hadn't known where they stood, and had kept comm discussions distant and businesslike. But even with the very spare communication, Reese had always known that if he wanted - if the situation called for it - all it took was the push of a button, and he would hear Finch's voice. Now he didn't have that, and it was lonely in a way Reese had never expected.

Finch had left his glasses on the office desk, as a kind of wordless request: please don't look for me. Reese felt a pang in his chest when he realized that Finch must have known about the tracker in his glasses all along. Known about the tracker, but kept the glasses, and not said anything.

Reese found that the CIA had left him emotionally prepared for all kinds of disturbing situations, but completely unprepared for the experience of having a colleague who cared about him. Reese tended to think of himself as a puppet doing someone else's bidding; with the CIA, that someone had always been someone who agreed with, and endorsed, that self-image. But Finch. Finch liked him. Finch liked him and wanted to spend time with him. Finch liked him, liked spending time with him, and even liked having Reese close by. And it wasn't even so that he would be easier to manipulate, later on. It was just… because. And apparently, Finch felt so close to Reese, that he didn't even mind that Reese tracked him at all times.

Or he hadn't minded, anyway. Until now.

*

The first number to come in during Finch's absence was a musician attempting to kill a conductor.

Reese enlisted Zoe Morgan's help for the case - apparently, she'd played violin all through college, and knew how these classical music types thought.

"The principal second told me all about it, Reese. Apparently, the violists's wife, a violinist, had an affair with the conductor." Zoe flipped her shiny hair as she talked. "They filed for divorce some time ago, but the strain of having to look into that conductors face in rehearsals every day, and having to call him "maestro", must have driven her completely crazy."

"Why would she try to kill the other…" Reese nearly said "the other woman" before remembering that the conductor was a man. Though the broken marriage was between two women. Damn newfangled society, how can anyone keep track, I ask you?

Zoe smiled up at him.

Reese started over. "Why kill the conductor?"

"You wouldn't say that if you'd ever been in a symphony orchestra, Reese. Everyone wants to kill the conductor. She just had a little bit more motivation than most."

Together, they'd taken care of the case in less than a day. The violist had kept her murder plans between herself and her browser history, and was really very organized and methodical, but she wasn't a professional killer by any standard.

"Kind of civilized, compared to your usual thing, Reese. And a way better soundtrack."

"Hey now, Zoe, don't start playing favourites with the attempted murder cases."

Zoe grinned. "Incidentally, John, where's your better half?"

Reese didn't even flinch. "Out of town. Everyone needs a vacation now and then, Zoe."

FILL: all the things we don't talk about, Reese/Finch, 13/?

(Anonymous) 2013-06-15 07:50 am (UTC)(link)
The next case came up and Finch still hadn't come back.

A payphone rang while Reese and Bear were walking back to the library. They'd spent an unusually long time at the dog park, and it was getting dark. If he was honest with himself, Reese knew he was dawdling - it had been three days since Finch had gone, and it was getting harder and harder, once he'd left the library, to come back and find it still empty.

He picked up the payphone receiver and held it to his ear. "Hello?"

It took a moment for the Machine to answer, and during the brief silence, Reese had an irrational thought: suppose it's Finch calling?"

But of course, it wasn't.

The new number was pretty run-of-the-mill. Robert Knox, 65, unmarried, owner of two rental properties in Brooklyn. Reese hardly even had time to type the name in before Google told him why Mr. Knox was in danger: his tenants wanted to kill him.

The website http://www.robertknox.slumlord.com included a "Robert Knox Incident File", detailing such gems as "3 February 2010: told me he was within his rights to order a strip search if I was late with my rent and he suspected that I had the money on me". The most popular story seemed to be the one where the heating malfunctioned in November of 2009 and the entire building was overheated to 105 degrees, even with the windows open, while Mr. Knox refused to believe the tenants. It had taken an entire week for him to even deign to inspect the place.

Overheating stories or the like didn't make people want to kill him, though. They just made him colourful. No, what seemed to be driving tenants over the edge was that Mr. Knox went out of him way to prevent them from moving out. He claimed not to have received notices, never gave back deposits, made threats about credit histories, and told naïve tenants made-up rules and laws about their leases. Basically, unless tenants were wealthy enough to afford lawyers, they were stuck with Robert Knox.

Not so long ago, Reese would just have helped them get rid of Knox. In and out, simple and straightforward. No one would even have had to see his face. But... Needs must, apparently. He grabbed Bear's leash (since he couldn't leave Bear with Finch, the dog just went everywhere with him) and went to knock on Mr. Knox's door.

Then, having paid Mr. Knox a remarkably fruitless visit, Reese put in a call to Detective Carter.

"A slumlord?" said Carter. "I didn't know people still used that word. Where is he?"

Reese was pleased to see her. Carter was so efficient, and she always seemed to know when he wanted to punch someone. Together, they sorted things out quickly - well, she sorted things out, and Reese loomed menacingly - and then, they gave the tenants detailed instructions in case Mr. Knox ever bothered them again.

Some of the tenants insisted on baking them brownies and muffins - Bear even got some doggie biscuits - and it took a while to get away. But soon enough, arms piled high with baked goods, Reese walked Carter to her squad car.

Carter smiled up at him. "Is Harold taking care of another case, John?" she said, apropos of nothing.

Reese's breath caught in his throat, just a bit, just for a split second. "Why?"

"Just, I haven't seen him, and I don't think I've heard you talk to him all day." She was just being asking after Finch. It was fine. She was being friendly.

Reese nodded. "Finch is working on another project."

The sun wasn't quite set when Bear and Reese finally headed back to the library. It was still devastatingly silent and empty. Bear poked through every corner of every bookcase, and then he trotted back to Reese and looked up at him, oddly mournful.

A distant voice in Reese's head whispered I thought we were a family.

FILL: all the things we don't talk about, Reese/Finch, 14/?

(Anonymous) 2013-06-23 09:21 pm (UTC)(link)
Reese left a handful of pastries, and most of the doggie treats, in the library's refrigerator. Then he took Bear back to the loft.

The loft was quiet and huge, the high ceiling and vast expanse of bare floor seeming higher and vaster even than usual. Being here, alone or with Bear, was usually a relief; a time to breathe. A moment for opening up the weapon closet for maintenance without Finch "tssk"-ing nearby. Or a moment to check up on his own projects.

But, like the saying went, too much of a good thing... Quiet and privacy were nice enough, but Reese had had enough of them now, and he wanted Finch back.

Reese filled Bear's bowl with kibble, and headed into the shower. He mentally reviewed his projects (mostly they just involved keeping tabs on his former bosses, though he did run regular surveillance on Logan Pierce. There was something about that guy...) With a shock, Reese realized he could now terminate his two-year-old project of finding out where Finch went at night.

Wrapped in a towel, he sat down on his armchair (the armchair Finch had bought for him) with his laptop (the laptop Finch had picked out for him) and looked over the file notes (project "RAVEN"). He added the appropriate comment, and shut the laptop.

Marking a project "complete" should have cheered him up a bit, but it only made him feel worse.

Reese had spent so much time alone, before Finch. But he didn't remember it hurting like this. Being aimless and lonely like this. I need to get a grip. Then again - he supposed that he'd never really felt loneliness before. If anything, back then, he'd been happy to run away from his coworkers. Even when Jessica died... he hadn't felt loneliness. He'd only felt guilt and regret.

Regret. That was one thing he wasn't feeling now, that was for sure. He didn't regret that night with Finch - he was feeling worried for Finch, sure, and he felt protective of him. Finch hadn't been an agent. He didn't... Finch didn't see his body as a tool. The CIA had taught Reese to dissociate himself from his body, and Kara had taken away any romantic notions he might've had about workplace sexual relations. But Finch... It was a good thing that he was taking some time off now. Some time away. He just needed some breathing room.

This is a good thing, John told himself as he fished some leftover takeout from the fridge. He needs to work things out. He's not... He's fine. He's used to stepping back and solving problems at a distance. This is his way of working things out.

Reese heard himself sigh loudly, and told himself - again - to get a grip. He's fine.

Later, however, just as he was drifting off to sleep, Reese distantly wondered: am I fine?

FILL: all the things we don't talk about, Reese/Finch, 15/?

(Anonymous) 2013-06-25 04:43 am (UTC)(link)
In the morning, Finch came back, and Reese saved the life of a poet.

The poet's case was, even by Reese's standards, absurd and amazing. And it said far too much about the world of publishing.

His name was Foster Mackenzie, and he'd - not to put too fine a point on it - lived under a rock for the past twenty years. He'd been lucky enough to have a wealthy patron who'd left him a small apartment in his will, together with a tiny allowance, and he'd since become, in essence, a hermit. A hermit with some friends, and a bit of a cult following among students (they came to him for advice), but a hermit all the same. He didn't even read the newspaper.

So he had no idea that an unscrupulous soul had been shamelessly plagiarizing his work. For years. In the New Yorker, no less.

That is, he had no idea until a few days ago.

The poor man had confronted his plagiarist, a Mr. Robert Cunningham, the day before, and Mr. Cunningham was planning to strangle him and make it look like a suicide. It would probably have been believable, even - just leave a few Gérard de Nerval quotes in the suicide letter, and remove any evidence of the plagiarized originals - and no one would have been the wiser.

Thankfully Reese had made it there first, and he hadn't even needed to make any threats. All he'd needed to do was make a few copies of some poems, and call the police. Cunningham wouldn't be charged with attempted homicide, but he'd never work again, and Foster Mackenzie was safe.

Fusco was particularly bewildered by the case. "Just when I start to think I've seen it all," he said, shaking his head.

"Truth is stranger than fiction, detective."

Reese was about to join Fusco for lunch, when his phone alerted him: Finch's glasses - the ones with the tracker - had just moved.

Reese's heart lurched. Finch was back. Had to be.

He excused himself from lunch (catch you later, Lionel) and practically raced to the library. A jumble of thoughts crowded his mind - he saw Finch telling him they'd been drugged ("do you recognize this handkerchief?") and Finch's handwritten note ("I will be away for a few days"), but also Finch whispering in his ear ("I trust you, John") and Reese didn't know if he was hoping for Finch to pretend it had all never happened, or... Or what?

He found his inner calm as he walked past the bookshelves, towards the library office. It had been five days since he'd found Finch's note. Five days without Finch's voice. But there, there Finch was, and for the first time since he'd left the CIA, Reese thought, maybe there were some upsides to being emotionally numb. Because there Finch was - Finch with his glasses, and his hair, and his waistcoat - and Reese felt a little bit undone. CIA-era John Reese had misplaced his sense of morality, but at least he didn't get fucking heart palpitations just from seeing someone's face.

Nonetheless, Reese walked up to the Finch's desk, and barely paused before saying: "Finch." Like he hasn't spent the entire week waiting to see him. Not at all.

Bear whacked his tail on the floor, over and over, with the purest canine happiness.

Finch looked up. "Mr. Reese."

FILL: all the things we don't talk about, Reese/Finch, 16/?

(Anonymous) 2013-06-27 05:30 am (UTC)(link)
"Mr. Reese."

Finch heard his own voice, heard it say John's assumed name in a calm, level tone. Almost as though he hadn't spent days rehearsing what he now had to say.

Finch gestured towards the table, inviting Reese to sit. "I am happy to see that you are neither hospitalized nor imprisoned."

Reese sat. "Couldn't. They don't allow dogs in hospitals or prisons."

With a shock, Finch realized that, by leaving Reese on his own, he'd left Bear vulnerable as well. "Ah. Of course," he said, chastened.

"Then again, maybe Bear could have used a break from being around me, too," Reese said. He'd obviously meant it to be banter, but Finch felt as though all the air had been taken out of his lungs.

He'd spent the week in an old safe house he hadn't used since university - the place where he'd written most of his thesis, in fact. He'd hunkered down there with nothing but a computer and some frozen dinners, and spent the week working on a project. A nice, coherent, complicated, workable project.

He'd emerged feeling grounded, and in control. He took a deep breath. He wouldn't let anything shake that control just yet.

"We have something to discuss, Mr. Reese."

He'd enjoyed the first few days alone. He'd put together most of the framework for an online suicide prevention network. He'd been pretty happy with the result, by the fourth day, when it had occurred to him that there might be something wrong with his vacation, such as it was.

And so he had something to tell Reese. "Thank you for respecting my privacy during my absence. You would not have been able to find me, but I can see that you did not even attempt it."

"Well, Finch -"

Finch help up his hand, just a little bit, so Reese wouldn't interrupt him. "Were you take a similar leave of absence, I would, of course, afford you the same respect."

Reese shifted in his seat.

"Mr. Reese, our partnership has the potential to become... claustrophobic, at times, and I would certainly understand if you needed some breathing room." Finch couldn't quite make himself look Reese in the eye. "However... it occurs to me that we... that you and I may be on uneven ground. You have, of course, the loft, and your credit cards, and your aliases. But they are the credit cards and aliases I gave you, and the loft I bought for you. Since you do not have similar knowledge of my sources of income or my aliases, I'm concerned that this might be... unfair."

As if on cue, Finch took out a folded piece of paper from his pocket, and slid it onto the table. "I've deposited a sufficient amount of money into this numbered account for you to purchase a safe house. The account is as untraceable as I could make it - untraceable even from myself - and I urge you to select an equally untraceable safe house."

Reese started. "Harold -"

But Finch held up his hand again. "Mr. Reese - John - you said that you did not feel that anything untoward had happened between you and I, and I trust you, but it would ease my mind if you had a space, a space I could not go looking for, even if I wanted to."

Reese slowly reached out for the piece of paper.

Finch forced himself to look up, look straight at Reese. "I would like us to be on even ground, Mr. Reese." His voice did not even shake.

FILL: all the things we don't talk about, Reese/Finch, 17/?

(Anonymous) 2013-06-28 06:19 am (UTC)(link)
In the morning, Finch waited for a number to come in, but nothing happened, and he instead spent most of the early morning staring at the library bedroom "door" in defeat.

He'd meant to go back in there. He really had. He'd gotten some breathing room for six whole days, he'd taken a step back and assessed the situation; he was in control. He'd planned to go back in there, change the sheets and tidy the room, and finally get some sleep in what was, for all intents and purposes, his real bedroom.

But then... Then he'd seen John, and John had been real, and familiar, and he made Finch feel self-conscious, and it had been all Finch could do just to plough through the speech he'd prepared. He'd given John the account number; John had taken it (without comment); it had all gone reasonably well. But he'd felt exhausted, afterwards. So, instead of the bedroom, he'd headed to The Coronet.

And now he was staring at the bookcase. The bookcase that hid a door to his bedroom. Fleetingly, he wondered if Reese had been in there since that night. Probably not. Reese would have told him, Finch was sure of it. He would have - he would have said something about finding the linen closet, or something of that kind.

Finch sighed. Reese. He'd left so quickly, the day before.

Suddenly, Finch heard the unmistakeable sound of Reese and Bear coming through the library hallway. He looked up, and there was Reese, juggling two paper cups, a pastry box, and Bear's leash.

Finch rushed forward to help him. He managed to grab one of the cups before it tipped over, and a spill was avoided. Meanwhile, Bear circled them, and effectively tied them up with his leash.

"Ah." Finch said, flustered.

Reese quickly dropped his end of the leash, but not before they'd brushed up against each other. Not before Finch had felt Reese's warm muscles through the fabric of his suit.

Reese coughed.

Once they'd settled down at the table, and Bear had settled down in his doggie bed, Finch took a sip of his tea. "Thank you for the tea, Mr. Reese," he said.

Reese bit into a danish, and looked at Finch expectantly.

Finch raised an eyebrow in response.

"What's our new number, Finch?" Reese asked.

Bwuh? "We haven't gotten a new number today, Mr. Reese."

Reese cocked his head in that way he did when something wasn't right. "I got a call this morning. Phone rang, couldn't make out the words, but sounded just like the The Machine."

"So you came here."

"Yup."

"I see. Well... we don't have a new number."

FILL: all the things we don't talk about, Reese/Finch, 18/?

(Anonymous) 2013-07-04 05:52 am (UTC)(link)
Finch promised to call if a number did come in, and Reese left, Bear in tow.

Sunlight did its best to shine through the dusty windows, and Finch drank the last of his tea.

Then he took a deep breath, and opened the door to the bedroom.

*

A number came in the next morning. Severin Sheffied, 14, student at the Owlsgate Academy in New Hampshire.

Reese was surprised. "A boarding school. That's a new one. Didn't know they had murders in boarding schools." Although... "Unless it's another suicide case. Think it's another suicide case, Finch?"

"I shouldn't like to hypothesize ahead of the facts, Mr. Reese."

Reese immediately set out to take photos of the unfortunate (and unfortunately named) Severin Sheffield. It would take his a few hours to get to the boarding school, which would allow Finch to create an identity for him.

Owlsgate Academy was in the middle of the woods, near a small village called Meadow. It housed less than a thousand boys and girls, of middle school and high school ages.

After the first hour's drive, Finch called. "You will be passing yourself off as a National Geographic photographer doing a piece on New England, Mr. Reese."

Reese couldn't help feeling a thrill as he heard Finch's voice through the comm. It had been so long. He heard Finch throw Bear his ball, and decided to keep comm channel open as he drove.

It was nearly lunchtime. The roads were getting progressively smaller, and the trees started to outnumber the humans. Reese stopped off for lunch, and to purchase some clothes. He had a sneaking suspicion that National Geographic photographers did not wear suits.

"Gotta tell you, Finch, it's been a long time since I've done field work in an actual field."

Soon enough, Reese finally got a visual on the new number.

"Unfortunately, Mr. Reese, a visual is all we have for now. I can get access to all the computers in Owlsgate Academy, but I have no way of knowing which one belongs to Severin Sheffield."

Reese found Mr. Sheffield was sitting below a willow tree, reading a dogeared copy of "Huh. Look at that: Seamus Heaney. Didn't know teenagers read poetry."

"Did they not teach you to read at your alma mater, Mr. Reese?"

Reese snorted. "Nah. My high school thought reading was dangerous. It might have led to independent thought." He looked through his lens at Severin Scheffield. "Finch, this kid looks terrible."

FILL: all the things we don't talk about, Reese/Finch, 19/?

(Anonymous) 2013-07-11 06:06 am (UTC)(link)
So... does anyone have any advice for writers who suddenly feel intimidated by their own story, and are too scared to write it in case it isn't as good as the story in their head? And yes I KNOW that is irrational.) Also... I'm really sorry about how long it is taking to get back to the porn. You'd think I could at least put in a masturbation sequence, but noooooo it's all plot. Apologies. (And seriously: advice? Please?)

*

Severin Scheffield's phone was such an old model that Reese couldn't piggyback it, and other than getting a good look at the kid and photographing the surroundings, they couldn't find out anything without getting into the school.

"I suppose I don't have much choice, Mr. Reese."

"I could just go talk to the kid, Finch."

"No, no. I'll make sure they need a substitute math teacher. I will be there by tomorrow, Mr. Reese."

"What'll I do until then?"

"Find out what you can about the school at the village nearby. I've booked you a room at the Merchant Arms, under the name John Andersen."

This turned out to be incredibly easy. The inn was attached to a tavern, whose owner was very chatty.

"Oh, taking photographs of the old place, are you?"

His name was Gerry, and he had the widest selection of beers on tap in New Hampshire. Not that it was any use for his main clientele. "The kids down at Owlsgate are too young, sad to say. They would sure love to get their hands on this fine brew, and heaven knows they can afford it."

Reese sipped politely at his brown ale. "It's very good beer, sir."

He smiled. "Call me Gerry. And try the cream ale next," he said, gesturing towards the taps. "And now tell me about yourself! You take photos for a magazine, eh? The teenagers won't even know what that means. They put everything on Instagram." He chuckled as he wiped down the counter. "Will you be taking photos of Owlsgate Academy?"

The man hardly let Reese get a word in. He was just showering Reese with information, and Reese hardly even needed to prompt him. By Reese's third beer, he'd told him the names of the last four headmasters, the latest teachers's gossip, and his favorite schoolkid pranks.

"I tell you, Mr. Anderson, this latest generation, they're taking pranks to a whole new level."

Reese's ears pricked up. "Are they?"

"Sure are. Them Owlsgate kids, they've been tearing the headmaster's patience to shreds these past few years. Internet is way too good for pranks, you know: gives them ideas. Though I have to tell you: they're good for business."

"What kind of pranks have they been pulling?" John asked.

"Well... the usual, you know: pouring water over cars in the middle of winter, putting office supplied in jello, that kind of thing. But sometimes they get creative. There's four of them, especially... I'm surprised you haven't heard about them. They've been in a national newspaper at least once."

"Is that so?"

"On April fools'... two years ago."

Four freshman students had placed dozens of mirrors next to the cafeteria windows, at just the right angle, so that the forest was hidden. The mirror reflected the field, and to all the students in the cafeteria, it had looked as tough the entire forest had been cut down. And then, the four of them had shut down the school's wifi, and switched all the newspapers being delivered that morning for counterfeit papers they'd made themselves, all including a story about the forest being cleared.

Reese was impressed.

"The four of them filmed the panic in the cafeteria, uploaded the video, and next thing you know, they're on the news. Next thing I know, the inn is full of journalists, and let me tell you, John: journalists sure love their drink."

"So no one was in danger, then."

Gerry seemed honestly perplexed. "In danger? Why would they be in danger?"

FILL: all the things we don't talk about, Reese/Finch, 20/?

(Anonymous) 2013-07-12 03:35 am (UTC)(link)
Reese looked up the students as soon as he left the tavern.

They were called Rob Little, Samuel Black, Joan Patterson, and Peter Perkins, and Reese couldn't find anything incriminating about any of them. They were pranksters, just like Gerry said.

"Let's keep them in mind all the same, Mr. Reese. They are freshmen. They may have classes with Severin."

Finch was telling him to check up on obvious leads, now? Reese raised an eyebrow. Not that Finch could see it through the comm. "I keep everyone in mind, Finch."

An odd noise came through the line, as though Finch had just choked on something.

"You okay, Finch?"

"Yes. Yes. I will contact you when I arrive at Owlsgate. Good night Mr. Reese." Finch said, perfunctorily, and he cut off the connection.

The line went silent. For just a moment, Reese felt bereft.

*

Reese slept soundly, despite the unnatural silence of rural New Hampshire just outside his window. In the morning, he settled down with a long lens just outside the school'ss territory, and looked through every single dormitory window until he found Severin. Finch was about to find his dormitory location with school records soon enough, but it wouldn't exactly hurt to have a visual right away.

He watched Severin as he went to the cafeteria. He was alone, appeared unwashed, and clothes didn't seem to fit. His hair was long in a way that would have been attractively androgynous, had it been clean.

Reese didn't know what to make of him. Severin ate breakfast, ignored the other students, and wrote lengthy notes in the margins of a textbook. He didn't look like an outcast. He just looked sort of invisible. And maybe a little bit unhappy.

What's putting this kid in danger? Reese watched him for a while. The other students hardly seemed to notice Severin. The school seemed so peaceful - almost pastoral - like a boarding school in a book. Why would any teenager be in danger, in this place? The terrible danger of… Privilege? Entitlement? Really bad fashion choices?

Reese was just about the pick up his long lens and head out to survey the grounds, when four teenagers - a girl and three boys - surrounded Severin's table. The angles were awkward, but Reese managed to take photos of the four of them.

The girl was tall and gangly, with dark, artfully tousled hair, and seemed only mildly interested in the proceedings. One of the boys was very pale, wore a cardigan that seemed like he'd gotten it from someone's great-uncle, and he was standing close to a very, very handsome boy with black hair and a look of mild sociopathy in his eyes, the kind Reese usually associated with the very wealthy. The last one of the group was short, and stood slightly apart. Reese got the feeling that he didn't quite fit in with the others.

He couldn't hear what they were saying, but it didn't look friendly.

FILL: all the things we don't talk about, Reese/Finch, 21/?

(Anonymous) 2013-07-12 06:35 am (UTC)(link)
I mistakenly referred to some students as freshmen in the earlier post; they're juniors (i.e. they are in their second-to-last year of high school)

*

Finch started teaching as soon as he arrived, and did his best to investigate the school from the inside, while Reese continued his investigation from the outside.

There wasn't much to know about the students. They liked bad music and were obsessed with their iPhones, and they were unexpectedly clever. They slept in class, both literally and figuratively, and then when Finch least expected it, they asked intelligent questions. Finch liked them.

Severin did well in the pop quiz Finch administered on the first day. There wasn't much more to know, as far as Finch could tell. Some slight reference to bullying in his school records, nothing else.

There wasn't much to know about the faculty, either. They were welcoming enough.

"Giving Fletcher's math classes, right?" A short-haired women thrust out a hand at him.

"Yes, that's right. Harold Swift." Finch smiled his most winning smile.

"And I am Mrs. Hall. Pleased to make your acquaintance, Mr. Swift."

Hall quickly introduced "Mr. Swift" to the entire teaching staff. They seemed harmless: not one warning bell was set off in Finch's mind. They were an eccentric bunch, but knowledgeable and kind.

The administration had assigned Finch one of the guest rooms, with huge windows that looked out to the forest. What a view. Though the school day was over and dinner had just ended, there was still some light out; he could just see the roofs of the village beyond the forest.

Finch put his earpiece in. "Where are you, Mr. Reese?"

"Looking at you, Finch."

Finch's heart lurched.

"I've..." He faltered. "I've accessed school records but there is nothing significant about our Severin Scheffield. Have any of the villagers said anything about him?"

Reese's voice came through, warm and familiar "No, Finch. Just a lot of chatter about some kids pulling pranks. I've sent you their names."

"I see..." Finch trailed off, looking at his computer screen. Reese had sent him dozens of photos that day. "What is your instinct telling you, Mr. Reese?"

"Nothing." Reese said, blunt. "Either the threat is something way out of left field, or these boarding school kids know more about secrecy and stealth than black ops agents."

"I fear it may be the latter, Mr. Reese."

"I did tell you teaching was a dangerous profession, Finch."

Finch sighed. "Perhaps that is why it feels so familiar to me, John."

FILL: all the things we don't talk about, Reese/Finch, 22/?

(Anonymous) 2013-07-13 04:44 am (UTC)(link)
So if you guys couldn't tell... I've never set foot in a boarding school So corrections are more than welcome, yeah?

(Like - should I change "cafeteria" to "dining hall"?)

*

Finch's second day at Owlsgate was almost as fruitless as the first. He found a way to identify the students's personal computers, but what he found on Severin's computer was disappointing. It had a file with some clever science fair project ideas, another file with some slightly creepy surveillance photos of a pretty girl, a frankly appalling selection of music, and the rest was all homework, homework, homework. He was just... a normal teen with above-average intelligence and a some social anxiety issues. Why has The Machine sent me your number, Severin?

So Finch tried to get information from the staff. "The students here certainly are well-behaved, Mrs. Hall," Finch commented over dinner.

Mrs. Hall, who taught most of the gym classes, rolled her eyes. "Are they? Don't let that fool you. Boarding school kids are very accomplished at disobedience."

Finch feigned ignorance. "Are they?"

"All those years of sneaking out of bed, you know. We try to monitor them, but honestly... We're outnumbered." Mrs. Hall shook her head. "We may have wit and wisdom, but we'll just never be able to top their collective intelligence."

Finch raised and eyebrow.

"Mrs. Hall is correct," a nearby teacher said. "They may seem polite and well-behaved but really Owlsgate is a co-educational St. Trinians'."

"Oh, dear."

"Well, perhaps we're a bit… tidier. But when it comes to covert and elaborate disobedience… Frankly, it's anybody's guess as to why the CIA doesn't just conduct recruitment drives on the premises."

Finch kept fishing as inconspicuously as he could. "From your lighthearted tone, I'm guessing their mischief has never put anyone in danger."

"Oh, heavens, no. Mostly we just have interrupted class time when the entire student body starts talking like pirates, that kind of thing. Or when we can't get into the classrooms because they've somehow filled them up with foam."

"I see. So the disruptions are caused by all the students? There aren't any… ringleaders?" Finch asked, as nonchalantly as he could manage. He winced. I hope Reese isn't listening in. His information-gathering techniques so amateurish.

Finch's dinner companions didn't seem to notice, however. They were pointed out four students seated at one of the long tables in the dining hall.

"See the four of them there? Sitting so close their heads are nearly touching?"

Finch looked. A girl, and three boys. "Yes, I see them."

"They thing we don't know, but they call themselves "The Marauders". I tell you - those four make so much trouble… Sometimes I wonder if they ever get any sleep."

Finch recognized them from Reese's surveillance photos. Could they be related to this? They aren't even sitting at Severin's table.

*

After dinner, Finch put their information together.

1) The names Reese had gotten from the bartender, Gerry, were the names of the four students Mrs. Hall had pointed out to him in the dining hall.

2) Those names were: Robert Little, Samuel Black, Joan Patterson, and Peter Perkins. Aka "The Marauders"

3) Reese had seen those four students talking to Severin during breakfast.


That was it. That was all the information they had.

"We're going to have to bug their rooms, Finch."

"I take your point." Finch looked outside, to where Reese was, undoubtedly, looking at him. "But how? This is a post-Tyler Clementi world, Mr. Reese. Teenagers can tell when their computer microphones on."

"I know, Finch. I brought some surveillance bugs. They might be clever little punks, but they're not in the CIA yet."

FILL: all the things we don't talk about, Reese/Finch, 23/?

(Anonymous) 2013-07-14 06:19 am (UTC)(link)
Reese slipped into the school just before lunch the next day, while Finch had a free period.

There were a few cameras in the school hallways, and Finch watched, while Reese made his way to the dormitories.

"The entire fourth floor is empty, Mr. Reese."

"Convenient." Reese answered, and made quick work of the room Severin shared with three other boys, setting up a a camera and microphone in the air vent.

He made his way to Joan Patterson's dorm next, where the air vent was inconveniently placed, but one of the cornices had a useful protuberance.

"I hate to backseat-spy, Mr. Reese," Finch said, "But did you happen to notice if the air vents and cornices were dusty?

"Yeah Finch, I noticed. They were covered with dust. No one's been in there in months."

"Good. I would hate for our marks to find the bugs because they happened to be storing their illegal substances in the same location."

Through the camera monitor, Finch saw Reese grin. "I like you, Finch. You're such a perfectionist when it comes to disrespecting privacy."

"And you enjoy your job far too much, Mr. Reese."

The remaining Marauders shared a dorm. "Helpful of them, really." Reese said, as he picked the lock. "What time is it?"

He still needed to get out without being seen. "You still have thirty-two minutes until the bell, Mr. Reese." Finch answered. Plenty of time...

Which was, of course, when Sam Black and Rob Little appeared on one of the monitors.

"Mr. Reese, two of the students are heading your way. Two of the students whose bedroom you are in are heading your way. You have approximately eight seconds." In a way, Finch was far less panicked than he'd been in other, similar, circumstances. There was a fear of discovery, certainly, but it was very unlikely that Reese would get shot. He sat back to watch the show.

Reese took five seconds to replace the air vent cover he was holding, and then, moving efficiently, he shut himself into the closet.

Sam and Rob came bounding into the dorm room.

"...Do you even, you deceitful freak?" Rob was saying.

Reese could just see them through the door panels. They were flushed, and Sam's arm was around Rob's shoulder.

Sam was grinning. "I can get anyone out of study hall, you know that. It's just a skill I was born with."

They went on teasing each other for several minutes. Reese typed out a text message as quickly as he could: "IF NEAR CLOSET SOUND FIRE ALARM"

Finch's voice quickly came through. "Understood, Mr. Reese."

Rob was speaking now. "Why didn't we come back here, Sam?" He asked, just before Sam gripped his wrist, pulled him close, and kissed him.

"Oh dear," Finch said, just as Reese thought: oh.

Sam kissed the other boy, from an angle where Reese couldn't see but he could hear. It was just as frenzied and passionate as Reese remembered from his own adolescence.

"What are you doing?" he heard Rob whisper.

"What does it look like?" Sam whispered back.

They moved towards the bed, and Reese heard them moan and sigh into each other's mouths.

"Mr. Reese." Finch's voice sounded strangled. "When you were in the CIA... I don't suppose there was a protocol for this type of situation?"