Title: Defining Relevance

Author: Jedi Buttercup

Rating: PG/K+

Disclaimer: The words are mine; the world is not.

Summary: It didn't take Reese long to figure out the outlines of his new employer's story. 500 words.

Fandom: Person of Interest, 1.1 - "Pilot"

Notes: Written 9/26/2011 as a tag for the first episode; reposting now there's a section for it here.

For all he didn't have access to Finch's fancy sources of information, it didn't take Reese long to figure out the outlines of his new employer's story. The man had certainly dropped enough clues; and for someone as conscious of knowledge as he seemed to be, it could only have been deliberate.

Sometime in the recent past, Finch had lost someone important. Parent, lover, partner, child; the details didn't matter. The loss did. Odds were even that it happened at the same time he'd injured his leg and back. The fact that he didn't carry a cane said more: that he wasn't interested in blunting the pain or making things easier on himself, perhaps even that he felt he deserved the impairment. The surveillance system he'd built for the government must have been nearly complete at the time... and afterward, Finch must have discovered his lost one's information at the top of that list of "irrelevant" discards.

That was when the idea had been born, Reese imagined. The day Finch began planning his own death and tracking potential operatives. He couldn't blame him for being secretive and distant; the one thing that kept Finch focused was a compulsion to stop more unnecessary deaths from happening. It was a motivation familiar enough for Reese to trust in, and to use.

Which was why Finch had let him figure that much out, he'd decided. Their investigations required them to work closely enough that a certain level of mutual reliance was necessary; to serve as someone else's eyes, feet, and fists was a lot to ask of a deservedly paranoid stranger. Finch had claimed he'd never lie to him, too; Reese had worked that angle from the other side many times, cultivating a relationship to earn an asset's trust, and recognized the manipulation. He just found it hard to care, so long as Finch lived up to his promises.

When he'd first picked his current name, one he answered to more easily than his birth name after a decade with the Agency, he'd been thinking of the classic movie: of the man who fought to defeat an implacable, terrorizing foe to protect one innocent, even at the cost of his own life, and his future son, a Messiah figure who expanded that mandate to protect millions.

He'd failed at the former; Reese's nightmares reminded him of that daily. But they'd been a little quieter- less jagged- since Finch had found him. Because the latter... that, he might still be able to accomplish. With Finch's reach and resources, he might, just might, still have a chance at building a better world for other men's Jessicas. Even if he'd long since forfeited the right to live in it himself.

For that opportunity, and for the echoes of his own pain visible in Finch's gaze, Reese would put up with the voice in his ear, the kibitzer over his shoulder, the constant invasion of his own privacy.

He had a purpose again. It was worth it.