"May I have this dance?"
Finch turned to his left. Reese smiled down at him, resplendent in the suit Finch had made for him, one hand out in a beseeching gesture. Finch's hand twitched despite himself, and Reese's smile widened.
"What are you doing here, Mr Reese?" Finch turned back to the crowd. "You're supposed to be keeping tabs on Mr Sawyer."
"I am." Reese's hand came over Finch's shoulder, not quite touching, directing his gaze. "He came here all by himself. I'm just following orders."
Reese's innocent tone left a great deal to be desired. Finch turned around again to deliver that sentiment in suitably damning tones, and found himself neatly caught between Reese's arm and his broad, finely-clothed chest.
"Dance with me," Reese said. He had a view of the room and Ethan Daniels, Sawyer's target, but Reese didn't appear to be concentrating on their mission. His eyes were fixed on Finch. He lowered his arm until it was millimetres away from Finch's trapezius, hovering, almost looming. If there had been a wall at Finch's back, they'd be re-enacting a scene taken from every high school in America.
The thought was infuriating. Finch took a step to the side and faced the crowd once more, leaving Reese standing with an armful of empty air.
"It may have escaped your notice, Mr Reese, but dancing is not a part of my skill set," he said. "Why did Sawyer come here?"
"I think he's about ready to confront his old boss, follow through on those threatening emails." Reese fell into parade rest at Finch's elbow. "Pity he didn't keep a closer eye on his new and highly illegal street purchase."
Finch raised an eyebrow; Reese dipped a hand into his inner jacket pocket and flashed a clip of bullets from a handgun. He didn't smile, but the glint in his eyes said everything. Finch nodded once and refocused on the crowd. Across the room, Sawyer began pushing his way through the milling couples on the dance floor.
"Detective Carter," Finch said, activating his earwig, "do you have eyes on our man?"
"I got this." Carter sounded amused. "Go dance with John before he starts pining right in front of me."
She hung up before Finch could respond. He froze, half in panic and half indignation, through the next few minutes as Sawyer pulled a gun on Daniels, and was handily rounded up by Carter and her team. It was possibly the fastest resolution they'd ever had to a mission. Reese stood quietly watching the drama, his face a mask of mild interest. He hadn't moved an inch to invade the half-foot or so of space that Finch had put between them. The ball was clearly in Finch's court.
"I'm … ill-suited to dancing, these days," he offered finally. "I never was very good at it, and now--"
He fell silent. Incredibly awkward was only the first of many ways to describe this excruciating conversation. The words hung there for a while, as the commotion died down and the benefit function got back underway. Reese slanted Finch a sideways glance.
"I'm not suggesting we dazzle the room with a tango," he said. "I just thought …"
Unusual, to find both of them so lost for words. Unusual, and telling.
"You thought?" Finch prompted, after a furious internal debate.
Reese stepped into Finch's line of sight, still out of reach, but there. Attainable. Possible. Full of potential.
"I thought it'd be … nice." He practically dared Finch to look at him. "Enjoyable. Maybe even fun."
Finch stared at him. "Fun," he repeated.
"Are you familiar with the concept?"
"Don't sass me, Mr Reese," Finch said automatically, and oh, there was the smile again. And a chuckle, to boot. This was such a very dangerous situation he'd found himself in.
"Harold." Reese's hand again, in the space between them, waiting. "Dance with me. Please."
There is no way that this can end well, Finch thought, and then he reached out and took Reese's hand.
They weren't the most graceful couple on the floor; Finch's injuries made for a stiff waltz at best. They also weren't the worst, and even if they were Finch wasn't sure he'd have realised, or cared. He was too busy cataloguing the feel of Reese's shoulder, the bare skin of his palm, the weight of his other hand guiding them more or less smoothly around the floor. Finch tried not to spend too long looking at Reese's face. Not in public. That way lay madness, and possibly charges of gross indecency.
When the music stopped, Reese kept hold of Finch's hip. His arm was like a band of heat across Finch's spine. He leaned down, stopping a precise half-inch away from contact.
"Home?" Reese breathed the word into Finch's ear.
Damn you, Finch thought. Damn the both of us.
"The car's outside," he said, and turned to lead the way.