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Willow, Weep For Me

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It begins with a memory.

 

“Why are you smiling, Mr. Reese?” Finch asks quietly from his perch in front of his computers. It's understandable since the smile is bittersweet.

 

Today was free from the Numbers that have become a constant lately. Fortunately tonight looks like it may end up the same way. John figures this would be why Jessica keeps popping up in his head. Finch, always the observer, has certainly noticed. Only, instead of dodging the question like he normally would, John decides to answer.

 

“Just thinking, Finch.”

 

“Oh?” He phrases the syllable with the mildest of curiosity, causing John's smile to grow wider.

 

“You know, it's funny. I'd always hated public displays of affection,” he confesses as he watches a couple kiss while passing by on the street below. “It was fine when Jessica and I were alone. But whenever we were out somewhere I'd restrain myself. Too afraid someone would see how much I loved her, that she was important to me. When you work for the government showing emotion can be used against you and I just couldn't turn that part of my training off. I thought I was protecting her.” He pauses for a second as the truth of what he's about to say hits him. “...I never even held her hand...”

 

Lost in the past, he doesn't hear Finch stand to limp over to him. Nor does he hear the soft hum of the computers. It's not until he feels a soft, warm palm against his own that he realizes he's still in the library at all. He doesn't tense at the action. Surprisingly, he doesn't even grow concerned at his own reaction to it. He'd consciously allowed himself be vulnerable so he has no regrets. The very fact that it's Finch holding his hand makes complete sense despite, or possibly due to, how strange it seems.

 

He squeezes the other man's hand gently in gratitude, soaking up the contact like a dry sponge. Who knows how long it will last or if it will ever happen again. For now, though, he needs it. Needs this broken, brave man with the heart of a lion and the fragility of a lamb standing by his side until he can't stand anymore.

 

He'll try to figure out why Finch's touch feels so right some other time.