Title: Building His Wings On The Way Down

Author: Jedi Buttercup

Rating: PG/K+

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

Summary: Living like there's no tomorrow is a game for young men- or those with nothing left to lose. 500 words.

Fandom: Person of Interest, 1.16 - "Risk"

Notes: The plot thickens. Title from a Ray Bradbury quote: "Living at risk is jumping off the cliff and building your wings on the way down."


No risk, no reward? No consequences, either. Living like there's no tomorrow is a game for young men- or those with nothing left to lose. Adam Saunders may be the former, but hopefully he's learned enough from his little adventure that he won't live to be the latter.

The kid's had it rough before, Reese knows; but not that rough, and with his three thousand dollar suits, loving uncle, and shoeboxes full of cash, Reese doubts his temporary homelessness will stick with him for long. But then, to look at him, no one would think any differently of Reese, would they?

In the last few months, he's gone from sleeping on the streets to partnering with a billionaire who drops our's and we's in reference to assets that beggar anything he'd ever handled in government service. It's hard not to start taking that kind of luxury for granted. But trusting in it is dangerous; it dulls the instincts. Reese had arranged that little trip down under Joan's watchful eye as much for his own sake as for Adam's... though he'd ended up getting a more potent reminder than he'd intended.

It's not that he hasn't been expecting an eventual showdown. Adam had asked if he'd ever played Russian Roulette; and what else should he call the trail of living enemies he and Finch have left behind them? Threats will only deter the hardened ones for so long. It's not as though he hadn't recognized a mind as sharp as Finch's in Elias from the start, either. The surprise was that Elias has amassed enough power to helm the Tritak scheme in only a few short months.

It hasn't been that long since Elias was micromanaging individual break-ins. Less, since the takeover of a single neighborhood absorbed the man's full attention. But he's swimming in a bigger pool, now: manipulating multiple agencies and politicians to swindle hundreds of millions of dollars. There's no telling how far a man with that kind of initiative could reach by the end of the year.

Move and countermove. Carter's instincts are good, but Elias' are better. The mob boss knows Reese protected her, and her involvement in the SEC case is easy to determine, so arranging that call had been more taunt than anything else. The smile audible in Elias' voice had only underscored the point: what else might he know? Where will his retribution strike?

Reese thinks of his partner, who seems to believe debugging his system means their hacker has forgotten their location; Carter, in harm's way each day; Fusco, embedded among Elias' cronies in HR; and again of Joan, and the days when he had no one and nothing to worry about.

Of Jessica. Of the dead businessman Fusco's research on 'Harold Wren' had turned up.

No risk, no vulnerability, either. But Reese has had his share of living without connections, without purpose. That's one reminder he'll never need again.

Let Elias try. The final roll of the dice will answer all.

-x-