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Mutually Beneficial

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John was exhausted from another hard day of double duty. Being a cop and a agent stretched even his stamina too thin. The only thing John was looking forward to tonight was his date with Harold.

It would seem odd to outsiders for two people who have actually been together for nearly three years- married almost eighteen months now- to schedule a date with each other. John and Harold were not ordinary people.

Maintaining peace in the world, in the city, in their crew, and within their various aliases meant that more likely than not, John and Harold had no time in the day to be a couple. They were partners in The Mission, strangers on the streets, and comrades in arms while even alone in their Headquarters. Harold and John took their jobs seriously. No one wanted to be caught with their pants or defenses down should the Subway’s safe-house be breached.

In addition, the very idea of Shaw or Root interrupting even the most chaste romantic scene between them did not bear thinking. Harold would never touch John again, the embarrassment would be so complete.

Therefore, in a logical and sweetly romantic Finch way, they now scheduled dates in a dead zone for surveillance. As expected for a place no one willingly spent money on for cameras and patrolmen, the neighborhood was rough. However, Harold had purchased a building here decades ago. He anonymously owned the only decent apartment complex with round the clock security, ID badges for residents. and catering to low income families. Harold had said that ‘the poor were the hardest working and most disrespected faction of our world, they deserved to be given a level playing field at home at least.’

By level playing field Harold meant a gym, an enclosed courtyard and playground only the tenants could access, free child care, and after school classes. All of this was included in rent so low it felt like people had been transported to the 1950’s. The only amenities not provided by the best landlord in New York City were cameras or surveillance equipment. Only loyal humans who knew how good working for Falcon Industries was to ever betray the company, kept an eye on the building and surrounding neighborhood.

All visitors had to sign in and get a polaroid picture taken before they were allowed to enter the fortress. Minors and children had their pictures, fingerprints, and DNA in storage in case they ever came up missing. Two generations of kids had already graduated from college on special residence scholarships and moved their entire families to better parts of the country.

Yes, it was a great establishment to just blend in with the poor and downtrodden. No one knew Harold as anything other than another low renter; single and geeky. John was a familiar face these last three years, but as a cop. They didn’t know his last name, only Officer John to the kids. He would pretend to be on a call to help with a mugging or something official. No one questioned it. John would show up on a different floor to be seen by some passers-by, then slip away to the service elevator. This car had a special feature, it took you to the roof if you had a key.  On the roof was a small, but adequate apartment. It held books, a bed, a bathroom and a garden. This was their oasis from everything.

Shaw was commanded to leave John alone for all, but the most urgent emergencies on these occasions. Harold simply monitored in his multitasking way. That way only John was known to be incommunicado. No one would connect that John was with Harold.  A tiresome precaution, because neither Shaw nor Root really cared if they were together, but Harold was Harold and John loved him.

John entered his palmprint and the security code to open the virtual high-rise fortress. Once he came inside, he realized that something was wrong with Harold. Harold’s coat wasn’t hanging in the closet. No, it was lying on the chair with his vest and tie. Harold was neurotically neat. For him to strip like this meant only one thing to John; Harold had been in more pain than usual today. John tried to think of what activities might have tipped Harold over his superior pain threshold.  John figured it must be a combination of the wet and cold weather with sitting around a dank subway grading papers.

The lack of a good night’s sleep did not help either. Harold still averaged about four hours a night. Some days he stayed awake for forty-eight hours straight. Sleeping beside John was the only way for Harold to get a full night’s rest anymore. Which was another reason John tried to schedule a date night at least once a week, Numbers permitting.

The computer genius with a paranoid streak ten miles wide prefered to keep his wits about him at all time. Which meant Harold rarely took strong narcotics. Usually prescription grade naproxen along with vitamin supplements were his routine. Therefore, when Harold had a bad day he needed something to augment the other meds without knocking him out of the running. Harold would have taken his gabapentin to help with the pain.

John allowed himself a brief moment of self pity for his neglected libido. John did not let this dampen his mood too long though. Yes, that particular pill made in nearly impossible for Harold to get an erection thus preventing them from having sex tonight. However, being near Harold, being alone with the man he loved, being a comfort to the one person who connected John to the world was enough.

Besides, it wasn’t that the pill completely turned Harold off. It was just that Harold’s powerful mind was affected by the medication to the point where Harold wasn’t really aware of his body. No body awareness meant no sex drive. On the other hand, it meant that Harold would feel talkative and a little bit goofy. It wasn’t a good roll in the hay, but it was a pleasant evening getting to know his lover.