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Palmistry

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Mr. Reese did not have a very expressive personality. His facial expressions which ran the full gamut of emotions from A to B coupled with the neutral low inflection of his voice revealed very little of his inner life.

When he exuded menace, it was an effect achieved principally by his palpable boredom with the dearth of originality in the criminally inclined coupled with a complete lack of reaction to the gun being currently jammed in his face. He simply didn’t care what they did or were threatening to do and it was terrifying.

Even when flirting, he appeared indifferent to the outcome, his pursuit of partners marked by straightforward offers of mutual pleasure, no further promises sought or made.

In short, Mr. Reese had been trained to be a cipher not a person, to blend in as much as anyone of his physical appearance could ever manage and he excelled at it.

As an avid observer of all things Reese, Harold had learned to watch his hands. Shaw kept at a professionally respectful arm’s length, fist bumps and high fives for Carter, pats for Fusco when he was showing promise and unrestrained hugs for Bear.

John's hands expressed so much more than anything he had ever managed with words. John reaching out to hold him when he might have collapsed from exhaustion. John placing a hand on his shoulder in a silent show of support. John gently mapping his torso, checking him for injuries at the railway station while his eyes scanned the crowd for further threats from Root.

And then there were all the times John’s hands had started to reach for Harold only to be pulled back reluctantly, just before making contact.

Harold hoped like hell he was right about John’s tell because he was already all-in and the stakes were high.

 

Finch was a man out of time. The suits he wore functioned like armor, keeping the world at a distance, his elegant and elaborate plumage drawing attention to itself rather than to the man beneath it.

Finch’s formality and propriety, so rare in New York, served not only to keep others at bay but to leave them with no urge to draw closer, certain that any such attempt would be unwelcome. Despite his use of bird inspired names Finch generally left others with the impression he was a cold fish. Early on in his attempts to obtain more information about Finch, John had even on a whim researched names like Harold Herring and Harry Cod.

Once John had ruled out the obvious answers, Finch being a shill for the CIA or just a bored rich man with Batman delusions, John had come to the same faulty conclusion others had that Finch wanted to help people because it was the morally right thing to do rather than from any innate empathy. Despite his growing regard for Finch he remained convinced that Finch preferred to live a life as free from messy and unpredictable human emotions as possible.

And then John had been shot by Snow’s operative and Harold had risked his own life despite his physical challenges, stubbornly refusing to let John die.

During his recovery, he’d had far too much time to think about it, the surprising strength of Harold’s hands as he’d helped John in to the car and how tightly he'd held John's hand as Dr. Madani had worked on him.

And now he couldn’t stop watching Harold’s elegant hands, the way they played across his computer keyboards, the way his fingers massaged Bear’s ruff.

He wanted with an intensity he hadn’t felt in a long time. He wanted to feel Harold's hands on him, caressing his cheek, molding the lines of his chest, cupping his neck as he guided John's mouth down onto his cock. He wanted to feel those clever fingers opening him up, playing him skillfully until he couldn’t help but beg for more.

The sexual fantasies he could handle, he wasn’t some wet behind the ears kid. But the thing that ate away at him, the thing he wanted more than anything, was just for Finch to hold him.

Not that it would ever happen. Why would Finch ever want him? Instead he'd work on adjusting his expectations, just like the CIA had taught him to do when the desired target wasn't achievable.

 

He should have known Finch wouldn't stay in the car, not with the elderly and vulnerable Miss Foster alone somewhere in the building. While there were now yet more men in need of new kneecaps, Miss Foster was safe in the care of her favorite niece. John should have been happy with the outcome but miscalculating Finch's course of action had led to Harold being hurt and John couldn't easily forgive himself for that.

They sat close together, their knees brushing, as he worked carefully on cleaning and taping up the bullet graze on the side of Harold's neck which thankfully didn't need stitches.

He understood his anger with himself and his relief that Harold wasn't badly injured but what he couldn't seem to process was how angry he was with Finch for risking his life. John dealt with life by distancing himself and yet here were all these messy emotions spilling out of him and in his very limited experience it meant only one thing. He was in love with Harold Finch and completely fucked because of it.

He went to palm the uninjured side of Harold's neck, wanting to touch him, to reassure himself Harold was still basically in one piece but faltered halfway to his objective. He had no right to lay hands on Harold unless he was in need of medical attention, no right to just touch him for the sheer pleasure of it.

But Harold, as always, came through for him, taking John's hand in his and bringing their clasped hands to rest against his own chest, his fingers caressing the back of John's hand.

"I hope I've read this right, John. If not—"

He didn't get to finish because John leaned in and kissed him, hesitantly, all too aware of Harold's newest injury.

Harold slid his hand to the back of John's neck, fingers scratching lightly against it. John shuddered and he felt Harold smiling against his lips in response to John's reaction.

He eased back to look at him. "It's been a long time since anyone touched me in anything but anger."

"You've had lovers, John."

He wouldn't really call one night stands "lovers" but then in some ways Harold might as well be from another century.

"So long since anyone who really knows me has wanted to touch me in anything but anger."

"I'm too tired for all this now, John."

And here came the brush-off, Harold already thinking better of it, John's words reminding him of exactly what sort of man he was dealing with.

"But please come home with me anyway. I'd love to hold you, to have you hold me, even if I'm not up to much else right now."

And just like that he was being offered everything he wanted. It was damn confusing but he'd adjust as he always had and somehow get used to being happy.