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'I think this is it.' Harold is frowning down at the device strapped to Reese's chest, trying to keep his hand steady as he wields the wire cutters.

Reese closes his eyes and waits until he feels the whole contraption loosen, being lifted off him. Harold is wiping his forehead and arranging the components carefully on the tray he'd set on John's kitchen counter.

Their eyes meet. John's are still wide, shining, but he's visibly nearing total exhaustion. Harold glances at the bruising on his chest and abdomen, then pretends to be busy examining John's wrecked shirt.

Reese slides down from his stool. 'Bathroom.'

Harold stands at the refrigerator, finding very little that is salvageable. The most offensive articles are removed, gingerly, and deposited in the trash. Eventually he manages to put together a small plate of cream cheese and crackers, a pickle, a glass of seltzer.

John lopes downstairs in fresh shorts, his face and hair damp. He makes straight for the bed but Harold follows him over.

'Try to eat something.'

Reese looks sceptical but he doesn't argue. Propped up at the head of the bed he eats mechanically, while Harold sits perched on the edge, looking at his hands. Now, after everything, they're shaking. Reese watches him closely, but nothing he can say seems adequate. He finishes the food, dusting his fingers.

'Happy?' He attempts his usual teasing smile.

'I'm very happy to have you back, Mr Reese.' Something about the way he says it makes Reese's face grave again.

'Here.' Harold is taking away the empty plate, refilling the glass and returning it to the bedside, as Reese slips down to lie on his stomach. Harold draws in a breath at his first close view of Reese's back.

'Oh, John.' He reaches out tentatively, touches a shoulder more blue than tan.

'I'm ok. It's ok.' Reese sighs. Harold's hand shifts carefully to the back of his neck, softly brushes down to the edge of the bruising. 'Feels good.'

'Does it?' Harold is barely whispering, drawing his hand down the less injured patches of skin.

'Don't stop.' John lets out a deep breath. Harold can see one side of John's face, the way it softens at each careful stroke.

Harold doesn't stop. He never thought he'd get to touch John like this, not even once. He can't get over the softness and warmth of his skin, the solidity and visible fragility of his flesh. His hand wanders back up to John's neck and sweeps down his spine. John is making little noises in his throat, stretching under Harold's fingers. He arches his back, letting his ass curve upwards, shifting his thighs apart. Harold imagines stroking- groping- his backside, sliding his fingers down between John's legs, fondling him. Wonders what sounds he'd make. Harold can't imagine making him come, but then he can't imagine this, being encouraged, invited to help himself like this. John must be half out of his mind, after everything he's been through.

His hand is motionless at the small of John's back, and then John turns on his side, pulling Harold's fingers over his hip to his stomach, where he presses Harold's palm to the skin under his navel. His eyes are still closed, but he's flushed and breathing hard.

'You're exhausted. I should let you...'

'Stay with me.' John opens his eyes, looking at Harold fondly but sadly, prepared for disappointment.

Harold can't stand it, has run out of whatever has kept him sane so far, apparently, because he kicks off his shoes and puts his glasses on the nightstand, while John shifts hurriedly to the middle of the bed. Harold climbs next to him and immediately finds himself pulled close. They're kissing and John's fumbling at Harold's buttons, almost clumsy for once and making those little sounds again, making Harold gasp at the feeling of hands on his skin after so long, so so long alone.

Harold practically squeaks at John's hands on his ass, and John laughs, kissing his neck, grinding up against him, then sounds surprised himself when Harold shuffles down his body, kissing his chest and stomach, pulling his boxers open and down. He moans when Harold licks him, mouths at him, almost yelling as Harold's lips close around him, sucking, his hand working while John's knuckles go white from clutching the sheets.

'Oh, fuck,' and Harold's murmuring in agreement, taking John further in, moving his mouth back and forth, awkward but eager, and reaching between his legs to jerk himself brutally hard and quick. John's moaning and saying his name and Harold is wishing he didn't need to breathe, taking in air every third stroke, not letting up even as he gets close himself, humming out frantic little noises as he tenses and shoots over his hand, then ignores John pulling his hair, taking John's come down his throat, he slows but doesn't pull off until John is wriggling away, gasping at the overstimulation. Harold collapses on his side and then John is all around him, kissing his face and neck, pulling up his hand to suck it clean. Harold feels like his heart is going to burst, or it has burst already, and he holds John to him tight until he nuzzles into his chest, muttering something incomprehensible as Harold strokes his hair. Harold is still just barely conscious when John goes limp and passes out, but only for as long as it takes him to feel pleased, and then they're both out cold in a mass of tangled clothes and linen, holding on to each other like it was the most natural thing in the world.