The library was an impending place to be at night. Finch’s immediate surroundings were lit up only by the pale blue glow of his computer monitor. The rest of the library was spotted with moonlight coming in from the dusty windows, highlighting the shadows of the bookshelves around him. His partner, Reese, had gone home hours ago after their most recent number attempt had ended unsuccessfully because of an interference involving their earpieces. Speaking of earpieces, Finch’s was sitting next to him on the table, a small, round tube hidden among what must have been hundreds of photographs and printouts he never got to organizing.
Up until now, the quiet had only been disturbed by his computer keys clicking, when a small, high-pitched noise came from a pinpoint spot on his desk. Finch, startled, looked away from his computer screen only to be momentarily blinded by his eyes adjusting to the darkness. The sound was coming from his earpiece. Finch picked it up, thinking it just needed batteries, or it had picked up another signal, even though he knew that wasn’t possible unless it was done purposely. But when he held it closer to his face he thought he could hear, talking, and the sound of feet hitting the ground. He quickly put it in his ear, but the signal was already starting to fade. He could still make out sounds of what sounded like a man screaming over the static coming through. It only lasted a few more seconds before it was gone, the choppy noises replaced by the sound of his own heartbeat.
He put the piece down, in front of his keyboard so it would be closer if he needed it again. And immediately started trying to find where the call came from. He started with his phone records, to see if it was an actual call or an intercepted signal. But his records confirmed it. On the screen showed Reese’s number above the words; call duration: 17 seconds, date: November 5th, time: 11:57 pm. Finch picked the earpiece back up and stuck it in his ear before taking out his phone to try calling Reese again. He hit the redial button, and waited while the piece rang in his ears. It continued ringing until the voicemail picked up. Finch ended the call and took the piece out again, setting it back down on the table.
Within seconds he was already hacking into the phone company’s website to trace where the call came from. The export dialog came up on his already over-crowded browser as his computer took over, tracing the GPS to find where the call had come from. He waited as it finally spit out an address. He barely recognized it, as it was all the way across town from where either of them lived, and he had only been over there once while helping Reese with a number. It was a decrepit side of New York, everything over there was either condemned or rotting, leaving a sick feeling in the pit of Finch’s stomach thinking as to how and why Reese was over there.
Walking down the streets of New York at night, even in the big populated areas, wasn’t something you wanted to do alone. Especially when you had no means of protecting yourself, which of course Finch didn’t. He had thought about it briefly before he had left the library, but even if he had wanted to take something, there was nothing in there he was even willing to think about using. He had no weapons of his own, so only Reese’s guns resided there. Well, most of them anyway. But now, as he was slowly leaving the city, he wondered if maybe, if he wasn’t going to carry a weapon, if he should call someone that was. Detective Carter and Fusco had most likely gone home hours ago. It seemed cruel to call either of them, as they also had to stay up late helping them with their number, but also because they had kids to take care of. So he continued to walk down the street, only stopping under a streetlight to check the map on his phone. He was still eight blocks away, and at this rate, he wasn’t going to be there for at least another twenty minutes, but he hadn’t seen a single cab out tonight, and any cabby willing to pick him up out here probably had more, sinister motives than to take him to his destination. While he was stopped, he tried calling Reese again, but still to no avail as the voicemail machine picked up again.
By now, any trace of the big city was gone, even though he was technically still in the boundaries. The shops around him were either closed or populated only by the unlucky employees forced to work the night shift. The streets were empty as well, making Finch feel like he was the only real person out there. This part of the city didn’t belong to any gangs, making whatever might have been lurking in the shadows all the more terrifying. The pain in his back was starting to worsen as well, shooting up and down his spine with each step, and it only made his pace that much slower.
By the time he got to his destination, the only thing he could concentrate on was the pain. It felt as if all the veins in his neck had been filled with molten iron, and now it was just coursing through his body. He stood in front of the building, it was big, probably used to belong to a factory of some company. But now it stood, abandoned. The windows were boarded up and broken, and the door was covered with graffiti, but also sported a big padlock across the front. As strange as it was that anyone was inside even though the front door was locked, Finch decided to pull out his phone and try calling Reese one last time before going inside. He held the phone to his ear, as his earpiece was still at the library, and waited while the phone was dialing. Though, just as it started ringing, he heard a car coming down the street. He turned, to see a small, black car racing down the street at what must have been, fifty miles an hour. It was dark enough that he couldn’t see how many people were in the car, but just as it zoomed past him he heard a loud ‘bang’. He stopped, as an instant feeling of something being morbidly wrong washed over him. His mind was panicking and his stomach felt sick as he tried to figure out what had just happened.
Finch’s hand brushed at his side, but pulled away when he felt something warm and wet. He looked at his hand, and even in the darkness, he could see the dark red staining his skin. He felt his side again, and noticed a hole torn in his jacket. He tried to make it over to the steps of the building to sit down, but before he could even make it halfway over there, everything went white, and he hit the ground.
Coming to, Finch realized he had fainted; something he hadn’t done since high school. By now, the pain in his side had surpassed the pain in his back by a long shot, and he struggled to get to his feet. He had lost all memory of why he was here, or even where he was, but the last thing he could remember was that he was supposed to call Reese. He reached into his pocket, but found that his phone wasn’t there. As he stood up, he felt as though he was standing on something, looking down, he realized that his phone had fallen onto the ground, and was now probably broken. He picked it up, and before checking to see if it still worked, stumbled into the alleyway between the two buildings. It was much darker in there, but it seemed all the more peaceful as he sank to the ground against one of the walls. He then checked the phone in his hand, clumsily hitting the on button to find that it still worked, but was covered in long cracks spanning almost every part of the screen. As tired as he was becoming, he unlocked it and did the only thing he knew how to do at the moment, call Reese. But as the phone was ringing Finch decided that suddenly, the phone call wasn’t so important anymore compared to just how bad he wanted to go to sleep. He dropped the phone back onto the ground, not bothering to end the call, and leaned his head back up against the wall and let his eyes close.
The next thing Finch knew, he was being pulled so rudely from his sleep by someone grabbing at him, and pulling him up to his feet. His eyes opened, and he saw the perpetrator to be a man in a suit. It took him a moment to realize that it was Mr. Reese, and he tried to open his mouth, to ask him if he was ok, but his mind couldn't remember what words to use. Finch didn’t have long to think about it, as before he could remember where he was he was already standing. It had gotten much colder while he was out, and he was shivering, pressing himself up against Mr. Reese in hopes of getting some of his body heat back. Reese had one of his arms around and under Finch’s for support, and in his daze, Finch weakly grabbed onto the back of Reese’s jacket, trying to stay upright. Forgetting about trying to keep either of their suits in pristine condition.