“What are we doing here, Finch? Do we have another number?”
“No, a date.”
“You got me a date?”
“Not you. Bear. He needs a friend.”
“Good thinking, Finch.”
Harold watched as Bear loped off with his new doggie friend, then he turned toward a nearby bench. John followed him, of course, and together they sat on the bench.
“Our billionaire gave me a little something.” John held out a red box.
“It tells time to the nanosecond,” John added, as if that would make a difference. Harold knew there was something… a part of him just felt, intuited, the rest of him needed to make sure. He put the watch down carefully on the ground, then stamped on it. There was a tiny, sharp sound of breaking glass and metal.
“That was a very expensive watch. Not to mention a gift.”
Harold heard the mild reproving tone in Reese’s voice. Even if he were very surprised, John would never show it. But Harold caught the last part too, the reminder that he’d just broken something that had been a gift to John. What could he say now? ”I can buy you a more expensive watch, John,”? Or perhaps, “This is what I think about you taking gifts from someone like Logan Pierce.” Instead, he reached down and picked up a piece of the broken watch. He held it up for Reese to see.
“A gift equipped with GPS.”
Reese looked at it, still showing little emotion. “A cunning billionaire with unlimited resources.”
So all Harold said was, “Our friend is just curious enough to be dangerous.”
They sat for a little while longer, watching Bear play, enjoying the cool weather. Harold collected the remaining watch pieces and put them back in the red box. He slipped it into his own coat pocket, rather than returning it to John.
For his part, Reese seemed content, smiling as he watched the frolicking dogs, unconcerned that his present had been taken away and broken. Reese certainly was not one to covet expensive status symbols so the watch itself didn’t matter to him. And there was the fact that he’d shown it to Harold instead of just taking it home and putting it in his sock drawer. But the whole matter of Logan Pierce, from the watch with its GPS tracker to the way he’d commandeered John and taken him halfway around the globe to the fact that he’d followed him to where John was meeting with Harold – that was just too much.
John really shouldn’t have let it happen that way.
There were certain things that Reese couldn’t help. Logan Pierce was a loose canon, quite unpredictable, but in any event, John should have taken better precautions, at the very least in not leading the man straight to Harold. He’d noted how John had taken up a defensive posture the moment Pierce made his presence known and Harold had appreciated that protective instinct. But he didn’t like being seen when he didn’t want to be. He’d made a life out of not being noticed and only allowed himself to be noticed when he had carefully planned out every possible scenario and taken care that only the identity he’d chosen to would be the one that was seen.
They’d been speaking about what Harold had euphemistically referred to as stress in the home when Pierce had shown up. He’d acted, of course, as if the stress was John’s, yet he knew that part – actually most of it was his own. The hard drive John had taken that Ms. Stanton had planted, the virus it contained… that was what was causing Harold’s stress. And from the beginning, he had made a few astute guesses about it; his current work with it was proving him to be correct.
He didn’t know what was going to happen when time ran out. What would happen with the Machine was of the most importance of course, but when John found out certain things that Harold had done… what would happen to their relationship?
He didn’t want to think about that. There were more important things at stake than his own comfort and happiness, there always had been, or at least it had been that way since that morning when the Ferry exploded and Nathan had died and…
Harold tried to repress the shudder than ran through him.
“Are you all right?” John asked, his voice low and even but Harold could sense the concern.
“Just a bit cold,” he said, and he was, so it really wasn’t a lie. “I think we should go back to the library.”
Reese nodded, looking at him closely as if there were questions he wanted to ask but wouldn’t. “I’ll get Bear,” he said, and stood to go call the Malinois and Harold watched him smile and chat a moment with the woman who owned the dog Bear had had his play date with.
They returned to the library and John filled Bear’s food bowl and put it down for him. The big dog snuffled and chewed loudly as he ate his dinner. Harold hung up his coat and watched John pace around their workspace for a few moments.
There were so many things Harold wanted to tell him, so many things he couldn’t begin to put into words. So many worries occupied his mind these days. He reached into his coat pocket and found the broken watch, carried it over to the file cabinet and put it in one of the lower drawers. When he turned back, he found John’s eyes on him, questioning. He could tell John was wondering what he was thinking. Perhaps Harold could tell him that much. Or rather, could show him.
“Come here,” he said.
John moved toward him immediately.
“Mr. Reese,” Harold began, “you weren’t… in any way interested in our cunning billionaire, were you?”
“You spent quite a few hours alone with him on your travels to and from Russia,” Harold pointed out.
Reese looked mildly amused. “No, Harold, I wasn’t… I’m not… interested in Logan Pierce.”
Harold leveled him with an appraising glance. “I know that you sometimes identify with the people we help.”
Reese looked away, his face going blank. “I’ve been trying not to do that so much,” he said finally, “lately.”
Harold had suspected as much. He knew that Reese felt that one reason he’d been caught by Donnelly was due to his decision not to leave Abby Monroe and her boyfriend Shayn Coleman at the bank. They couldn’t have predicted that Reese would no sooner get out of Rikers than he would fall into the hands of his former partner and end up on a rooftop with a bomb about to go off strapped to his chest. Since then, Harold had noted a slight but subtle shift in the way Reese approached their numbers. He was still dedicated but seemed to be trying to keep from identifying with them as much as he had in the past as some way of safeguarding himself or their operation.
Still, Logan Pierce had been different. And Harold, with all the things fighting for his concern right now, things he could do nothing to change, decided that the one thing he could something about was how John had responded to Pierce. He needed to impress upon John that his dedication to Harold was the one thing that was… Harold found himself smirking as the word entered his mind… non-negotiable, now and, regardless of any revelations that might present themselves, in the future.
He looked up at him, letting his feelings show in his eyes. “John.”
The expression on the other man’s face instantly softened as if something that had been winding him up tight inside had finally been let go. He bit his lower lip briefly, and he met Harold’s eyes looking expectant, anxious and needy at the same time.
“He was flirting with you,” Harold pointed out.
John looked chagrined. “Yes.”
“And you didn’t seem particularly interested in stopping him.” It wasn’t a question.
John’s adam’s apple moved in his throat. “Sometimes the asset has to think you’re…”
“Think you’re what?” Harold interrupted, really not caring about the answer. He said Reese’s name again, with that same tone he’d used a moment ago, The one that he knew Reese responded to most. “John…” He pinned the other man with his eyes, waiting.
“You know I’m yours, Harold,” John’s voice was a husky whisper.
John looked relieved. He turned and moved to the work table, pushing pieces of equipment to the side, and Harold had time to notice that his hands were trembling slightly in his eagerness. Since the rooftop, their relationship had become physical and he’d found John to be an eager and compliant lover, willing to do most everything Harold wanted. And in sex as in most things, Harold liked to be in control. He’d never hurt John; the man had been hurt for real too many times. But he set the tone for their encounters and John was more than willing to defer to him.
He saw John start to take his jacket off.
“No, leave that on,” Harold said.
John’s face fell just slightly, then recovered.
“Turn around. Face the table.”
John did, leaning forward without being asked. Harold smiled at the sight of him, fully clothed, ready to bend across the surface. Quickly, he unbuttoned his own jacket, then his waistcoat and shirt, slipping out of them and dropping them over the back of his chair. Then he undid his pants, toeing off his shoes and shedding the rest of his things as well. Completely naked, he approached his waiting, fully dressed partner.
John started to turn his head to look back at him. “No, don’t look.” There were some things Harold wasn’t confident about, even in this, with John. There was a reason he preferred his three piece suits. They were his shield, covering the scars on his body that he still couldn’t reveal to John, even in their intimacy. Not yet anyway. And not this time.
John immediately gazed back down at the surface of the table. Pleased, Harold stroked the back of his head, murmuring softly to him. He reached around John’s waist and undid his belt and zipper, pushing his pants and underwear down his legs. Then he lifted the back of John’s suit jacket and folded it up to expose his ass.
John groaned and Harold noticed how tight his hands were gripping the edge of the table. He stepped in close, between John’s spread thighs, stroking himself to readiness. John’s breathing was already harsh with anticipation. He moved his right hand, capturing the tube of lubrication nearby and offering it to Harold.
Harold took it from him, opening the cap of the Uberlube bottle and spreading some over his own cock, enjoying the silky feel of the expensive product. Like everything he purchased for his own use, Harold had done his research and was happy that this lubricant didn’t dry out, wasn’t wet or sticky and increased sensation as well. John seemed to like it too, he smiled, as he poured more over his fingers and, reaching between John’s cheeks began to ready him.
John moaned tightly and relaxed as Harold’s fingers stretched him, leaning farther over until he was resting his upper body across the table. Harold, more than ready, positioned himself and slid in slowly, going as deep as he could in one long inescapable stroke. He loved the way John’s body welcomed him. He put one hand on each of John’s hips, just resting for a moment, letting them both get used to the sensations. Then, without further preamble, he began to thrust.
John was tight and hot around him, so willingly taking all Harold had to give. He pounded into the man, the relative weakness of his body forgotten as he took what he knew was his, claiming and owning this man who so willingly had bound his life to Harold’s and asked so little in return.
John was groaning, his shoulders flexing and straining as Harold fucked him, legs bent and body curved beautifully as he took all Harold gave. Harold still gripped his hip tightly with his left hand, but brought his right around to clasp John’s cock, finding it hard and wet with eagerness. He stripped it down in time to his thrusts, fingers tight, slick with lube, knowing just how much pressure and friction John needed. As he neared climax, Harold loosened his grip, backing John down a bit even as his own orgasm ripped through him, coming deep inside John’s body. He could feel the man’s thighs trembling in reaction, needing his own release, and when Harold was finished, he gave it to John, bringing him off quickly, catching John’s semen in his hand, then smoothing it over John’s ass and balls as he withdrew.
“Harold… “John panted.
“Shhh… “ He took a step back and reached to pull John’s pants and boxers back up. “Buckle up,” he whispered, his own voice unsteady from the sex. He hurriedly pulled on his own trousers and shirt, skipping his shoes and socks and vest, but covering as much of himself as he could as quickly as possible, before reaching for John again. He’d fixed his pants, but remained bent over the table. Harold grasped his shoulder and tugged.
John stood up and turned, letting Harold wrap him into his arms. He found John’s lips, so soft and pliant now, and kissed him deeply, plunging his tongue deep into John’s mouth, still feeling the need to be assertive. He stroked John’s hair, rubbed at his shoulders. John rested his head on Harold’s shoulder, relaxed and gentle, his breathing easy and deep.
“You’re mine, John,” Harold told him, an echo of John’s own words from earlier.
John pressed a kiss against Harold’s throat. “Yours.”