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“You were supposed to stay hidden!” John growled as he aimed a quick shot around the corner of the crate that currently protected them.

“I didn’t have a choice, Mr. Reese.”  Finch’s voice was calm, but his face betrayed his pain. 

“You did,” he said, pulling the scarf Finch wore roughly from his coat to wrap it around his leg instead, covering the slash the passing bullet had made across the back of his calf.  “It was the wrong choice.”  They both flinched as a bullet sprayed splinters of wood over top of them. 

“There was no other way to get the information to you.”  He set a cold hand over top of John’s, stopping him from adjusting the makeshift bandage any more.

“Sure there was,” he replied, peering across the space between them and the exit, mentally doing the calculations.  This wasn’t going to work.  There was no way.

“Mr. Reese is here with me,” Finch said quietly, hand to his ear.  “We are under fire at warehouse twelve.” A short pause as gunshots rang out around them.  “That’s right.  Where are – good.”  A longer pause as he listened to whoever was on the other side of the line.  “Three.  A woman and two men.  Two on the upper level, one on the ground floor with us.”

John looked at him expectantly, eyebrows raised.  When no explanation came, he returned his attention to their assailants, one of whom had clearly run out of ammunition.  But that still left two.  John checked his own guns.  He was running low as well.  He wouldn’t be able to hold them off much longer.  Knowing the answer already, he sighed and looked back to Finch.  “I don’t suppose you’ve got a gun on you under that coat?”

Finch frowned.  “You know how I feel about guns, Mr. Reese.”

“You just got shot with one, Harold.” He said, annoyance slipping into his voice as he peeked around the corner.  The man on their level had their back to them, probably reloading.

“Even so,” Finch said firmly.

John would never understand that stance.  Not in their line of work.  Sure, he understood the opinion.  He wasn’t overly fond of guns himself.  But how did Finch think this would all have played out without them?  They both would have been dead long ago.  Of course, that time might be coming sooner than he’d like if they didn’t get out of the warehouse soon.  “We need to move.”

“Where?” asked Finch, eyes wide behind his glasses.  “We’re under fire!”

John cursed inwardly.  He didn’t have an answer.  If they stayed, they would certainly die.  If they ran for it, death was almost as likely.  “I don’t – “

“Detective, yes, exactly.” Finch spoke quickly, pushing himself up a little straighter against the crate he had been slowly sliding down.  “Yes.  Hurry please.” 

“Carter?” He asked, eyes narrowed.  If Carter was coming, she likely wasn’t coming alone.  The last thing they needed was a bunch of cops swarming the place.

“And Fusco,” Finch confirmed.  “With backup on the way.”

“We need to get out of here before their backup arrives.”

“That would be ideal, yes.”

It felt like an eternity, waiting behind the crate with Finch bleeding and gunshots continuing to pelt the cement floor around them.  He didn’t think the crate would hold much longer.  And then they would really be in trouble.  He would already have gone for the exit if it were only him, but he couldn’t leave Finch.  How long could it possibly take to find a clearly numbered warehouse?  One which was ringing with the sounds of gunfire, no less. 

“They’re here!” John whispered to himself, the sounds of shouting drifting down to them disjointedly.  “Get ready.”

“Get ready!?” exclaimed Finch, pointedly looking down at his injured leg.

John pocketed one gun, holding his other steadily with one hand, ready to grab Finch and go. “You heard me.”  For good measure, he fired a blind shot in the general direction of the ground-floor assailant just to keep them on their toes.  They hadn’t fired a shot at them in a while.  He turned, crouching, ready to run, and grabbed a handful of Finch’s coat with his free hand, listening hard and trying to form a mental picture of what was going on where he couldn’t see.

“Dammit, I said freeze!” Carter’s voice carried clearly over the noise, followed by a single gunshot and a scream.  John heard the too-familiar sound of a body hitting the ground and more shouting.  This was it.  This was their shot.

“Now!” he shouted, getting swiftly to his feet and hauling Finch up with him.  He maneuvered himself under Finch’s arm, taking most of his weight.  He wasn’t difficult to move, but the pained sounds Finch was clearly trying to suppress made the task more strenuous.  “Come on, Harold.  A little farth- Agh!”

They both hit the ground, Finch to the side and John under the weight of the remaining man who had been firing at them.  John hurried to get his feet under himself but was unsuccessful, instead taking a punch to the gut that winded him.  He could hear Finch shouting something but couldn’t concentrate on him with the flash of a drawn blade slicing down toward his own face.  He just managed to get an arm free to block it and the blade lodged there instead and he swallowed his pain with a shout, pulling up a knee to knock the other man off of him.  He scrambled back to his feet quickly, pulling the blade from his forearm and moving toward Finch, who was attempting to get himself standing again.

“John!”  Finch called out, pointing to a spot behind him.

He didn’t have time to turn around before he was being rammed from the side, not able to even lift his pilfered knife before he was off his feet again.  White hot pain jolted through his body as he hit the edge of an overturned crate, and he fell to the ground clutching his side, teeth bared.  He didn’t have time for this.  Their number was safe, and these guys could rot in jail for all he cared.  His only concern was getting out of this place before Carter’s backup arrived at the scene. 

“This way!” A woman’s voice from behind him.

He craned his head to look over his shoulder and found Shaw, her gun raised and pointed straight at his attacker as she held a hand out to Finch who looked up at her incredulously.  “Ms. Shaw?  How did you- “

“Not now,” she cut Finch off, jerking her head to the side.  John spun to his left and not a moment later the man who had tackled him was dead on the ground, a bullet in his head.  “Come on!” she called, getting herself under Finch’s arm and dragging him toward the exit without looking back.

John spared a glance back into the warehouse.  Carter had things well under control and Fusco was just making his way through the upper level door.  He stuck the knife into his belt and went limping after Finch and Shaw toward the bright rectangle of light just a few yards away. 

“Never mind me, help Mr. Reese” Finch said tensely as he pulled his leg into the car. 

Sirens could be heard in the near distance now.  They had to go.  John stumbled forward, catching himself against the side of the car.  Looking less than willing, Shaw almost shoved him into the back seat, grumbling to herself as she shut the door after him and set herself in the front passenger side.  Root beamed back at him from behind the wheel.

“Root?” he asked, unable to say more for the pain in his chest on every inhale.  He barely registered the deep slash in his arm.  She said nothing, merely winking and tapping her ear before turning around and slamming her foot on the gas, sending himself and Harold back into their seats.  Finch exclaimed in shock, John in pain.

Neither woman looked back as the four of them sped down the street and away from the approaching sirens.  John tried to straighten himself in his seat, taking shallow breaths.  “You ok, Finch?”

“Quite all right,” Finch replied, one hand gingerly rubbing the back of his own neck, other balled into a fist on his thigh.  “Are you shot?”  He stiffly shifted to look John over, face pinched in pain and concern.

“No,” John grunted as he got himself into a slightly more natural position.  “Knife to the arm.”  He looked down to his sleeve as he spoke.  The blade had cut through the material easily, and the damage to his skin was clean.  It would be easy to stitch.  But his blood ran freely, dripping off the ends of his fingers and onto the car’s leather seats.  “Broken rib or two, I think.” He couldn’t bring himself to do more than wrap his other arm carefully around his middle and try to get his breathing under control.  “Nothing serious.” 

For most people, broken ribs and injuries that required stitches would be more than enough cause for panic.  But for Finch and John, it was just another day at the office.  They fell into silence as the car rejoined normal traffic a minute later.  It would be a long night.