Stealth is key to John's work, always has been. He likes to keep his hand in.
Specifically, right now his hand is in a patch of little white-and-yellow flowers. He thinks they're daisies, although botanics were never John's strong suit. He's pretty sure they're not poisonous and Finch isn't allergic to them, which is the important part.
Speaking of Finch, the man is sitting on a bench a few yards ahead, engrossed in a book. John smiles as he plucks a handful of flowers.
He gets to his feet and soundlessly walks behind Finch. There's not a lot of people in the park today, everything quiet. Nobody wondering why a tall man in a suit is holding flowers and standing behind another man on a bench.
It's a warmish day, and Finch has left off his hat, hairs bristling up. John slowly, slowly lowers one flower to lie along Finch's hair; it'll probably fall off if Finch so much as stirs, but right now he's motionless as only Finch can be when he's focused on something.
John figured he's manage two flowers, maybe three, before Finch caught on. But Finch remains still as John dots his head with flowers, and ends up moving to put them in Finch's collar when he runs out of room.
When John is out of flowers, Finch says, "Next time, perhaps you can give me a nice bouquet instead. I'm fond of tulips." He sounds deeply amused.
John tries to think of how he was made and didn't even notice. It's somewhat effective at keeping him from grinning, or hugging himself while mumbling Personal information! From Finch! Voluntary!. "Maybe I'll make you a flower crown," he says.
Finch looks around then, turning half his body to give John an unimpressed look. Maybe-daisies tumble down from his head to his jacket, and yet Finch doesn't brush them off. "You can make flower crowns." His voice is heavy with skepticism.
A grin breaks out on John's face then, unstoppable. "I'm a man of many hidden talents," he tells Finch.
He gives Finch a courteous arm up, already plotting the extravagant tulip arrangement he's planning to send to United Heritage Insurance's offices. He might even learn Finch's favorite color out of the deal.
Chapter 2: Preen
Today, stealth is a secondary concern. The main concern is reading body language - in particular, Harold's body language. Last time, John utterly missed the point where Harold noticed him.
Admittedly, at the time he wasn't looking for anything less subtle than a loud squawk of indignation, but he wants to know that he can.
They're in the library tonight, and sadly, there are no flowers in John's reach. Harold is reading something on his screen, chin leaning on his fists, utterly engrossed.
(John carefully avoids examining how he feels about that: Harold, vulnerable, allowing vulnerability next to him.)
What John has at his disposal is a q-tip, and he feels it's sufficient for the cause.
He approaches slowly. The screen scrolls down at a steady speed. Harold's breathing is similarly even. John puts his hand behind Harold's head and waits. When there's no response, he moves it closer, until he can feel the warmth radiating from Harold.
Still no reaction.
Next he lets the q-tip make brief contact with Harold's hair, retreating when Harold still doesn't respond. He looks down. The scrolling pauses, then continues.
John considers saying something, asking something. If Harold is letting him do this, his data is invalid.
(If Harold is letting him do this, it might prove... something else. John doesn't know what.)
The muscles on the side of Harold's jaw are untensed, his mouth closed and soft. John decides that's as good a hint as any. He dares brush the q-tip over Harold's hair.
Harold doesn't make a sound, doesn't move. Not when John puts more pressure behind the strokes of the q-tip, not when John pushes it past the surface of Harold's hair and into its fine, messy strands, not even when John touches it - ever so gently - to Harold's scalp.
John is very observant, and he's sure if Harold moved away - or towards him - however subtly, he'd know. He wouldn't have to guess. So he can say with certainty that Harold is perfectly still.
Alright, enough. "Harold?" John says, soft enough not to startle him.
In return, he's pretty surprised when Harold lets out a snort and faceplants on his keyboard.
Another look shows that Harold's screen has been set, at some point, to auto-scroll. Harold's breath when he's sleeping is not all that different than it is when he reads.
"Your back won't thank you tomorrow," John tells Harold's sleeping form. He hesitates for a moment longer, then shrugs and pulls Harold's chair away from the computer with one hand, supporting Harold's forehead with his other hand.
The sofa is right there, and while it's not great, it's definitely better than the chair. Harold must have been really exhausted: his body is heavy in John's hands, slack. John maneuvers him carefully onto the sofa, putting an extra pillow under his neck and a throw blanket over his legs.
John only stops to put the gel packs in the fridge before making a strategic retreat. Yet his steps are light, and he realizes he's smiling. Who knows what piece of Harold he'll discover next?