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Dessert Before Dinner.

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Harold stood in front of the full-length mirror, towel wrapped loosely around his hips, hair damp and mussed from the shower. Sighing, he poked and prodded at the pliant flesh around his middle, angling himself to view his body better. Regarding the scars that marred his back and neck, Finch frowned, feeling discouraged by his reflection.

This is going to take some serious consideration.

Stepping over to the large bureau, Harold pulled out a crisp, white undershirt, a dark pair of socks, and silk boxer briefs, in a rich, emerald green, John’s favourite. Dressing quickly, he headed to his closet, flinging wide the doors, and observed the contents within.

The expansive room beyond the panelled wood, held all his favourite suits, shirts, shoes and ties, each set packed neatly into an individual storage bag. The closet was organised and immaculate, and Finch knew each suit like an old friend. Stepping closer, he ran his hands along the line of waiting options, fingers dancing across the protective plastic, indecisive as a child in a candy store. Colours, fabrics, styles were all committed to memory, catalogued for easy reference. Finch’s fingers stopped on a potential suit, pulling it from the ranks and smoothing the plastic cover. Eyes roving along the line, Harold reached for another storage bag and took both over to his bed.

Pulling each suit from its protection, Harold considered them side by side. The first was a three-piece of pure black wool with the faintest lilac pinstripe, a complimentary lilac shirt nestled inside, and a burgundy necktie and matching pocket square to finish the ensemble. Its partner was a two-piece, of beautiful slate-grey cashmere, soft as silk. The shirt that accompanied it was a pale azure, patterned in squares and lines. While Harold loved this suit, it was a little showier, the white-spotted black tie a prominent feature. Sentiment overtaking good sense, Harold reached for the cashmere number, sliding it on over his limbs with practised ease. Once dressed he returned to the closet, pulling out the soft, grey, suede shoes that accompanied the set.

Turning back to the mirror, Harold admired the way the suit caressed his body, hugging him in all the right places. Fingers tugging at his tousled, chestnut hair, Finch hummed happily. He really did feel wonderful in this suit!

Possibly too casual for tonight.

Today was John's birthday, and Harold had booked reservations at The Grand, so he really had to look his best. Deciding against the casual cashmere, Finch quickly undressed again, replacing it neatly in its storage bag, before hanging both his choices back in the closet.

You are classier than that, Harold. You need something more sophisticated.

Harold pondered his options, hands gripping his hips, tapping out a rhythm against his silk pants. Briefly, he considered his beautiful cobalt wool three-piece, before he remembered he had worn it to Megan Tillman’s charity event the previous month. His deft fingers skipped along the clear plastic coatings, considering and discarding ideas. Nothing black, John would likely wear black. Hmm, the white linen? No, this isn’t a wedding. Brown with the burnt orange vest – far too outrageous! Along and along the rail until, epiphany!

Harold's hands shook with excitement as he pulled another storage bag from it’s place in the long queue. Bending quickly, he also selected a pair of black Oxford lace-ups, convinced that he had found the one!

Returning to his bed, Finch laid the suit out carefully and, whilst watching his progress in the mirror, began to dress once more.

First the shirt, a soft cotton in the palest rose, with fine white pinstripes, small pearlescent buttons securely fastened down the length of his body. Already feeling dashing, he moved onto the beautifully hand-tailored trousers. This suit was a wool-cashmere blend, and as Harold slid his legs stiffly into the stone-grey pinstriped material, the sigh of the exquisite cloth against his bare skin, he remembered why this suit was a particular favourite of his. Tucking his shirt into the pants, Finch pulled on a dark leather belt, superfluous in function, yet necessary to complete the look. Moving closer to the mirror, Finch took up the crimson, rose-patterned necktie. It was made of silk and twisting it though his fingers, Harold couldn’t help but remember the last time he had worn this set, how he had used the tie to secure John's hands together...

Snapping out of his reverie, Finch carefully set about looping the tie. When satisfied with the length and had rearranged the knot, he turned to the matching vest, sliding it over his shoulders and fastening the black-bone buttons, one by one. After a little adjustment of shirt and tie underneath the vest, Harold nodded and returned to the bureau to choose his cufflinks. Picking a pair of simple onyx and diamond squares with white gold, he smoothly cuffed his shirt sleeves. He stepped to preen in front of the mirror once more, taking up a brush to tame his quickly-drying hair.

Checking his watch, Harold realised John would soon be arriving, a warm feeling pooling in his belly at the thought of seeing John, carefully clad in one of the fine suits Finch had purchased for him. Harold applied John's favourite cologne, and then slid on his suit jacket. Fiddling and fussing at cuffs and lapels, Finch slid the crimson pocket square into his breast pocket, and stepped into his Oxford shoes, lacing them firmly over his feet.

As he straightened, the knock came clearly from the front door. Studying his appearance one more time, Harold smiled and headed towards the door to welcome John.

Opening the door, Harold’s heart swelled as John Reese stepped into the apartment, Finch’s favourite shy smile on his face. Shutting the door again, Harold turned to regard his partner with an appraising eye.

John had chosen a navy woollen two-piece, that hung from his broad shoulders with a natural grace. Underneath he wore a petrol-blue silk shirt, with Harold's favourite pearly-cream tie. Harold unconsciously licked his lips as he took in John's beauty, until he reached Reese’s face, where a dazed and astonished gaze was trained in his direction.

“Good evening, John. Is everything alright?”

John stuttered and opened his mouth, yet no words were forthcoming. Harold quirked an eyebrow at his lover, quite unable to understand John's lack of speech.

“John?” He tried again, stepping into the operative’s space and gently placing his hands upon Reese's chest.

John shook his head slightly, his eyes refocusing on Harold’s face.

“Sorry, I... Sorry” he stammered.

Worry lined Harold’s face, and he shifted uneasily, until he felt something brush against his belly. Everything suddenly falling into place, Harold watched as a lovely pink blush spread up John’s neck, across his cheeks to his ears, turning the tips a shade that almost matched Harold's shirt!

Finch felt a feral smirk spread across his bird-like features, and John squirmed under his hands, skin heated beneath his dark dress shirt. Harold reached up and placed a chaste kiss on his lover’s pink cheek, stifling a chuckle as a shudder quaked through John.

“Is everything alright, John?” He repeated, his tone sliding out, deep and sultry.

John could only nod his head, the blush on his cheeks deepening. Harold chuckled and stepped away.

“We have reservations, Mr Reese. Let’s not be late.”

As surely as if he had been slapped, John came out of his daze and fixed a dark and heated stare upon Harold. The effect went straight to the billionaire’s groin, noting also, the obscene bulge in John's trousers. Suddenly, Harold found he wasn’t hungry for food anymore.

“There’s no way we are leaving this apartment while you look like that!”

John's voice was a breathy growl, his eyes fixed on Harold like a predator stalking his prey. Before Finch could react, John grabbed his arm and began to lead him towards Finch’s bedroom.

“What about dinner, Mr Reese?”

“Dinner can wait!”