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“John?” Harold inquired into the darkened apartment. The living room was practically a void only broken by one beam of light spilling out from the bathroom in the hall. “Mr. Reese?”

Harold walked over to the light switch about to turn it on when a husky voice rang out from the shadows near the couch. “Don’t.” Silence reigned then a whispered,  “Please.”

Harold acquiesced then limped over to the nearest chair by memory alone rather than sight. Once he was situated he settled his suit jacket around his shoulders, shot his cuffs, straightened his already immaculate tie, and smoothed down his waistcoat. Once he had sufficiently stalled long enough he asked the impertinent and entirely too personal question, “Why are you sitting alone in the dark, Mr. Reese?”

John’s head was nothing but a silhouette framed by the sparse hallway light spilling out behind him. His hair and ears clearly defined in an all too familiar tableau. John was brooding and Harold wanted to know why. However, Harold's reticent nature made it impossible to simply demand answers or even let it be known that Harold knew John was troubled even after being partners for three years and lovers for the last two.

Sometimes Harold wished he wasn’t some throwback to Edwardian stilted conventions, but that was who he had become as a person; not an identity or affectation. Harold Finch or more specifically the Harold Finch that he was when alone with John Reese was the closest Harold had been to his true self than any other personae he had used in the last thirty years. Nathan had known more about Harold's background, but John knew more about the man.  With that thought firmly bolted to his spine more securely than even the literal metal fused to his neck, Harold didn’t wait for John to give some evasive answer.

Instead, Harold interrupted the other man and flat out asked, “What about this case has you more unsettled than any other in a long time? The children were in danger and I know that is one of your hot buttons. However, you seemed more subdued and depressed then your characteristic  fierce and focused after the resolution. So please tell what has you brooding?”

John’s features were hidden, but Harold had long practice at distinguishing John’s mood and expressions from voice alone. When John spoke it was with a reluctance but also a bit of shock at Harold's forwardness. “I’m usually better with kids then this case would assume. I just, this time with a real job and identity I felt lost. I wasn’t able to connect with Malcolm and Tracy. I never gained their trust like I should have. I felt a wall between us. What’s worse; it was a wall I built myself. I just…”

Harold nodded, “You can tell me John. I always want to know what your thinking and feeling. Not just because it could save a life specifically your own, but also because I dearly wish to be your helpmate and comforter.”

John stood up to walk over to Harold's chair. He folded his long frame into kneeling at Harold's feet. Harold gently cupped John’s face. They couldn’t see much in this light but the touch and their innate telepathy they had developed over the years made a connection between them like an open telephone line. John was afraid he was going to emotionally injure Harold with this information, but John was also hurting. Harold ached to soothe this wonderful man.

Harold leaned down and softly kissed the worried lips. Quietly, with his mouth mere millimeters from John’s Harold said, “Just tell me. Your pain is always tenfold worse for me to bear than my own. Please, love.”

John‘s eyes closed and silent tears rolled down to meet Harold fingers. John sobbed out, “She could have been ours if we met her now. We could have adopted her. Professor Whistler and his husband, Detective Riley could have raised her.”

Harold wasn’t adept at most social interactions, but he was highly attuned to John Reese. Harold nodded in understanding, “Leila. If Leila were in our care now we could have adopted her. That realization made you feel vulnerable and you built up your walls against the pain during the case. I dare say you made that discovery on the playground at the start.”

John nodded shakily and Harold brought his lover close to him. Harold held John tight as John mourned the life he could have had, mourned Leila in a way as well.

Harold was simply astonished that the white picket fence, dog, kids, and suburban life he had always assumed John eschewed was now something John wanted: and he wanted that with Harold.

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