I don't own Person of Interest or the characters, but I did buy season 4 on DVD. You know, if that counts. Of course, three days after I bought it Netflix decided to upload season 4 themselves. I was not amused.
"You know, Harold, it wouldn't hurt you to at least buy a pillow."
Harold jerked awake, hitting the keyboard and jostling some papers on the table in his haste to raise his head. He'd fallen asleep in the library. Again. With an irritated groan he palmed his forehead, neck sore and tense from the uncomfortable position he'd slept in. Painkillers for breakfast it was, then.
"Seriously. It's not like you don't have the funds." Reese continued, setting down a steaming cup of tea as a peace offering when he noticed Finch's scowl, "A pillow costs, what? Six dollars? You could manage that right?" he teased, leaning back with a hand around his own paper cup.
Harold's eyes narrowed as he turned his whole body towards John, trying to keep his neck as still as possible while still sending his message across. There was no room for his antics so early in the morning, especially after the night of sleep he'd just had. "I appreciate your concern Mr. Reese, but I'm afraid now is not the time." he forced himself up from his chair, desperately trying to ignore the pain in his back, and wobbled towards the glass board, taping a sheet of paper next to several others and a photo of a young woman, "I spent the night sifting through our number's financial accounts. I'm afraid you won't like what I found."
John had to try and hide his smile of content when Harold waddled back to the desk and took a small sip of his tea. He forced the smirk away and inquired further, "What'd you find?"
"Offshore transfers. At least two a day, all for sums over a thousand dollars."
"So she's pulling two grand out of thin air every day?" he confirmed, looking over the number's accounts.
Harold hummed and sat himself down again, "It would seem so. I've done my best to trace back those accounts but they all lead to dead-end aliases."
"You're certain they're aliases?"
"John Smith and Jane Doe." Harold muttered around his cup, "Whoever created these identities apparently had a very limited imagination. I'm surprised bank authorities didn't sniff out the irregularities themselves. These names are hardly passable for sound aliases."
"Because names revolving around birds are a hundred times better." Reese snickered, smirking down at Finch where he sat in his chair, the challenging glare from earlier back in his eyes.
"Thank you for that, Mr. Reese."
"You're very welcome."
Harold scoffed, but John didn't let the faint tone of amusement slip his notice. "Well then," Finch continued, "If you're quite done belittling my choice in aliases, do you suppose we could get back to the number?"
"Right." John replied, trying his best to wipe away his smile before gently gripping the back of Harold's chair, leaning in to stare at the screen with him, "What are we going to do about her secret income then?"
Fingers flying over the keys, Harold did something to the computer, popping up copies of the documents on screen to accompany the taped ones on the board, along with live video feed on their number. She was idly sipping coffee in a café, poking restlessly at her omelet in between drinks. "It seems we're not the only ones basking in morning routine." Harold observed, "Though I will admit the lack of pastries today was rather disappointing."
"I'll remember to pick up a cake next time then."
"I hardly think that a cake is- Oh.. You were joking." John's smirk always seemed to light up the room, today being no exception, and Harold found himself smiling despite his mild irritation. He did things like that every now and again, a serious response that would alarm Finch, only to top it with some sly smirk or edgy grin. Harold would be lying if he said he disliked it, "Well then, maybe doughnuts would be nice."
Normally John would nod by then, and that would be the end of it. However, as the day progressed, his teasing simply continued, if not strengthened. Jokes over the earpiece, a sly wink at a few of the cameras, casually mentioning Finch when he actually began schmoozing with the number. Honestly, she'd asked if he was even available. Finch had expected him to say yes, play the angle, maybe see if she would want to engage with him further, but he'd been caught startlingly off guard when he'd laughed, and told her no.
"I'm afraid I've got somebody who would know if we were to go out again." he replied, grinning to himself like he'd just made a joke.
The number smirked, "The clingy type huh?"
Reese smiled charmingly, "Paranoid is the word I use."
"It's not paranoia if they're really out to get you, Mr. Reese." Finch grumbled through their connection, watching their little conversation through a live feed.
He wanted to make a comment on John's choice to tell her he was taken. Well, maybe he was, Harold only monitored him a majority of the time. He wasn't watching every single second. He could bring up feeds- no. He coughed uncomfortably and returned to the screen, "Mr. Reese, perhaps you should have said something different to keep her interested in you."
He tried not to feel concerned when the John Reese on the monitor scoffed into his glass.
They were in a classy bar, the number practically laying over the counter, a little drunk, and John sitting in a stool at her side, sipping back water instead of vodka. The girl, Claire (at least that was the name that had shown up for the social security number) spun back and forth in her own seat, giggling every now and then, obviously very intoxicated. "I had a boyfriend who w's like that once." She replied, turning an empty shot glass on the counter.
"What happened?" Reese inquired, forcing his best casual smile as he pressed for the information, "Get tired of his nosiness?"
She scoffed, "More like frightened."
That caught Finch's attention, "Mr. Reese, if she's attempting to hide from an ex boyfriend, it could be that he's caught up with her."
"I know what that's like." he replied, either secretly conforming with Finch or... he was truly empathizing.
"You do?" she frowned, "Your girlfriend scary? You don' seem like the kind uf guy to put up with that kinda thing."
He smirked, "It's like having big brother following you. There's really no way to escape all the attention."
That was the comment that actually startled Harold. He flinched. His eyes shut and he was forced to listen closer, to hear every truthful note in John's voice. He'd never spoken his hatred towards the machine in such a way that was so closely associated to him, like he was the fault. Harold didn't want to be John's problem, not ever. The conversation continued without him, but he was jolted back to the present when he heard the small, regretful tone in John's voice.
"He was violent?"
No. Mr. Reese wasn't... should not be dealing with domestic violence cases again. It wasn't good for him. Claire hiccupped and the blonde head of hair on the screen nodded solemnly, "Yeah. The jerk was... just scary."
The John on screen tapped his ear casually, and the connection was suddenly dropped. Finch's heart leapt in his throat. His fingers worked hurriedly to tap into the audio feeds on Claire's phone, breathing out a heavy sigh of relief when it connected and he could hear the conversation again. Claire was shaking her head, poured over the bar like a blanket, "It wasn't so bad at first... he was really nice."
"They always are at first."
The blonde head of hair nodded again, more exaggeratedly, "He- he just didn't want me to see anybody else. It-it wasn't horrible, but then... I just went to see my mother-" her voice hitched and her sentence died instantly. She waved her hand for another shot, but John vetoed her order and the bartender sent him a confirming glance. "I ran a week ago." she continued, completely unaware she wasn't about to get more alcohol.
"Running. I get money-" she frowned suddenly, seeming at nothing, face scrunched up in sour distaste. She didn't continue, just waved at the bartender again. "I want another one." she groaned, rubbing her temple. When he didn't immediately start pouring, she glared, "Another, damn it!"
"Alright, Lady." The bartender huffed, "I think you've had enough."
John ended up escorting a pouting Claire into a cab and sending her home, only bothering to reopen the connection between him and Harold when he was satisfied that she'd get back to her hotel safely. "Finch."
"Mr. Reese..." Harold replied, hesitant, "I-"
"Don't mention it. I don't want to talk about Jessica and you know that."
Harold shut his eyes, suddenly becoming slightly frustrated, "Mr. Reese, I wasn't going to... I mean, that wasn't what I wanted to say."
"I can handle this, Finch. Just like the marshal. It's fine."
"Mr. Reese." Harold tried again, this time there was a purposeful determination behind his voice, "I'm more than aware that you can.. handle yourself. Not that I'm not concerned with your mental welfare, but that was not the topic I was hoping to discuss. Now, if you'll please let me speak, I could tell you exactly what I wanted to say!" he huffed, sucked in a calming breath, and once his head was cleared, took the moment to realize that Reese was standing still outside the library.
The security feed made it look as though he was shell shocked, like Harold yelling at him was something so utterly unexpected. It made Finch want to shut up and never open his mouth again, "I-I didn't... I apologize Mr. Reese..."
"No need, Finch. Obviously you have something to say."
Despite the reassuring words, John still hadn't moved. He was just standing, staring at the door. "Are you going to come in?" Harold asked, concerned.
The John on screen was suddenly looking around, eyes catching with the camera before he shook his head and raked a hand through his hair, "Of course you have cameras out here."
"I- I'm sorry Mr. Reese, but having security outside our primary base of operations is-"
"Good. Very necessary. I know, Harold."
"No..." he grumbled, frowning at the monitor, "Mr. Reese, I heard your conversation."
The figure on screen tensed. Harold wanted to bite his tongue, stop himself from speaking again. Obviously John didn't want his opinion against the machine... his opinion against Harold- to be known. He wanted to bow his head when John huffed, "Doesn't that just prove my point?"
"We were getting information from a number, Mr. Reese, and you turned your communications device off."
"And you hacked into her phone to listen in anyway."
"Would you have done differently?" he inquired, his voice reaching an edge again. He was irritated, frustrated, upset, and utterly unable to communicate any of it to John. "If you wish the machine- if you wish me to stop watching you then-" he raised a hand to his face, pinching the bridge of his nose, "then this arrangement can no longer be an arrangement."
Then the figure on the screen was gone. Harold busily searched around, startled. He'd only looked away for a moment. His instinct was to find another camera in the nearby vicinity, but as he started to drag up other feeds he stopped himself short. If John was hiding form his view then he should respect that and just- Before Harold could resign himself to leave well enough alone, the library doors were open and Reese was standing in the hallway in front of him. He was only slightly light of breath, staring Finch down with wide, then suddenly angry eyes before stalking forward, "You said there would always be numbers."
"Y-yes, I did. The numbers never stop coming. However, it's quite impossible for me to work with and not monitor you, Mr. Reese... I just think that if you-"
"That's not my problem." Reese frowned, coming to stand right in front of his chair now, knees barely grazing his. "Monitor me all the hell you want."
Finch was basically pushed back into his chair, herded into simply cowering there, clenching his fists over the arms of his seat like a frightened little mouse. He was staring up at Reese, watching wearily as he stared right back with equal determination not to look away. "If that was not your problem..." he tried, mouth suddenly dry, "then what, Mr. Reese, is?"
"I can't even have a drunken conversation without you knowing about it. You watch me every day, Harold. You know exactly what I'm doing, where I am, who I am, and yet I know close to nothing about you." John let out a heavy sigh, like he'd just unleashed some great weight off of his shoulders, "Nothing accept the kind of tea you like."
"Isn't that in itself rather extraordinary?"
"It's irritating." Reese bit back.
Harold didn't want to speak anymore. Everything he'd said only seemed to make the situation worse. Reese didn't want to be monitored, didn't want Harold to know about him, wanted to know more about Harold. That wasn't how their arrangement worked. It could never work that way. "I'm a very private-"
"Very private person. Yeah, I know, Finch."
"Then you'll excuse me for saying that I'm not comfortable with sharing my life's story."
Reese scoffed, finally ending their little staring contest and shutting his eyes. He looked tired more than anything else, if not annoyed, "I'm not asking for your autobiography, Finch." he muttered, kicking his gaze back up, "Just some of your trust."
"Trust is..." Harold began to retort, but shut himself down. "Trust is difficult for me."
John sent him a weary smile, and took a step back, making Finch feel less like he was trapped against the chair, "I know."
"But..." he continued, making Reese pause momentarily, "I suppose it's not... entirely unfair of you to ask for it."
And damn it all if Reese's face didn't light up like a little puppy, all hopeful and excited, like Harold had just told him he might be winning some kind of prize. The man reigned it in rather quickly though. He coughed, blinked a couple times, and turned back towards the board, "So Claire..."