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When you find that one person who connects you to the world, you become someone different. Someone... better. When that person is taken from you, what do you become then?


Reese knew what happened when that special person was taken. He'd felt it keenly when he'd found out Jessica was dead. He'd looked her husband up, intent on killing him. Except he found he couldn't do it. Some part of him was already dead; he couldn't bring himself to go through with it. Instead he'd escaped back to New York, disappeared in the crowd of homeless people. He was lost, as dead inside as the CIA thought his body was. He'd never love again, never be whole again. The only thing he could do was slowly drink himself to death.


Except he'd been interrupted. By a weird guy in a three-piece suit and glasses, who had him tied up to a strange bed and forced him to listen as a woman died. It was nothing Reese hadn't heard before, but the shock of it brought him out of his drink-induced coma. He'd reacted without thinking, let his long honed reflexes take over. It amazed him that he could still do that. It enraged him that a stranger dared speak of Jessica. It amazed him that he'd agreed to help out in the end.


Even more amazing was the fact that helping Finch with the numbers had changed his life. He'd found a meaning again, and he'd been able to use his lethal skills for doing good. He was no hero, he knew that better than anyone. He didn't live in the black-and-white world, his world was comprised of shades of gray. Nobody was absolutely good or absolutely evil. Except, possibly, for Finch. At least Reese thought so. But maybe he was biased.


After living under Stanton's thumb, being told he could only walk in darkness, it was a miracle to help change people's life, to save them. To see gratitude, directed at him. At them. Because somewhere along the way he had turned into them. He wasn't alone anymore. He was part of a team. He refused to think of it as a cell, despite what his stubborn brain tried to claim, nor was Finch his handler. He'd left that behind him; to see them as handler and operative was degrading to Finch. No, they were a team, equals with different sets of skills. Neither could work properly without the other.


At least that was what he'd believed. Then Finch was gone. Taken. The machine had contacted him, expected him to continue without Finch. He just felt lost, cut adrift. Disconnected. That was when he realized it. He'd been given a second chance. He'd found that special person once more. He'd always assumed that love would be the corner stone of that connection, and he'd been right all along. What he hadn't counted on was the many forms love could take. He would never love another person the way he'd loved Jessica, she was his once-in-a-lifetime. But then he'd never loved anyone the way he loved Finch either. It wasn't about romantic love at all, and it didn't have to be to form that connection. Finch was his friend, his mentor, his moral compass, his brother, his crutch. He was everything Reese would ever need again. He was the single most important thing in Reese's world. Something swelled in his chest, coalesced and hardened. He'd been given a second chance; he would not squander it and walk quietly into the gentle night. He'd rage until he had his light back. This time he knew who he became when that special someone was taken away, and he'd use it, let himself become the weapon he was meant to be. Be whatever kind of monster he had to be to win. And it that raging included glaring contests with traffic cameras and saving moronic accountants, then so be it. He would not fail, he could not fail. He wouldn't survive on his own. Without that gentle voice in his ear, that connection, his life would be over. He wouldn't find someone else to help him out of the darkness, and he couldn't do it alone, without Finch. Besides, he wasn't done with his life yet. Not by far. Finch and he had lives to save. Including each others'.


Doubt had eaten him as he tried to chase down Finch, doubt and the ever-increasing fear that he'd be too late. That he'd be too slow to save the single most important thing in his life. Finding Finch's cuff and the code made emotions swell in him again. He knew Finch wanted him to continue without him, but this was also proof that part of Finch trusted him to save him. Wanted him to save him. Counted on him. And he'd die before he let that trust and confidence in him down.


Seeing Finch throw himself at Root had nearly stopped Reese's heart. He'd been so sure Finch was hit. He didn't even consider to chase Root down as she disappeared in the crowd. All that mattered was having Finch near, to make sure he wasn't hurt. To get him back to safety when he was sure he was okay. Catching the bad guy was, for the first time ever, of secondary importance to Reese.


Finally he could relax. Seeing Finch look around him in wonderment caused his shoulders to drop, his hands to unclench. They were safe. He resisted the impulse to hug Finch as he watched Bear make his introductions to his master's friend. Finch should know all about the no-dogs-policy at his apartment. That there existed no such thing. But he'd sleep a lot better at night knowing that Bear watched over his partner, kept him safe when Reese wasn't there. An extension of him, to ensure that nobody would take him again. That he'd never lose what mattered again. He turned, wanting to say something to Finch. Wanted to explain, needed to explain that he loved him, and that he'd do anything for him. Kill for him, die for him, whichever was necessary to keep him safe. But as he looked into Finch's eyes he kept his mouth shut. It was like looking in a mirror. All his emotions were reflected in Finch's eyes; all the words unsaid were painted plainly on Finch's face. All he could do was smile, a tiny, private smile. Finch gave a small nod and patted his shoulder. Finch was his connection, after all. They didn't need to say the words to know they were there.