Title: Johnny's In America

Author: Jedi Buttercup

Rating: PG/K+

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

Summary: Finch may as well have left a trail of breadcrumbs. 500 words.

Fandom: Person of Interest, 1.22 - "No Good Deed"

Notes: Written May 14. Titled from the David Bowie song on this episode's soundtrack.


Finch has a habit of holding people at a distance.

He knows this about himself. It's been a part of his makeup since before the Machine was a mere spark of an idea; since before he met Nathan at MIT. He compartmentalizes each relationship from every other, and effaces himself from any kind of public recognition. It's custom and nature working in tandem; as Nathan used to say, he likes his secrets.

That habit has never bothered him before. But lately, the distance he maintains between his core self and the rest of humanity has been shrinking- and not only in regards to Reese. His careful constructs are all beginning to collapse in on themselves; he is in more danger now of being known, in more than one sense of the word, than he has been in many years.

He'd love to blame that on the company he's been keeping, both constant and incidental- like Peck. On their ability to read him, hard earned through training and experiences he can only conceptualize, outpacing his ability to move three steps ahead of the game and prompting Finch to say more than he should. But the truth is, he wouldn't even be in this position if he truly hadn't wanted it to happen.

Somewhere at the root of his own mental processes, a tiny crack is busily becoming a flood.

Any exploit is a total exploit, he'd told Nathan the night they'd shut down the Machine. That's true of more than just computer systems. For years, he'd said- and believed- that they had to draw the line somewhere, an extension of a concept he'd lived his life by for a very long time. That line was necessary to reduce the Machine's relevant output to an actionable quantity... and for a while, had allowed him to maintain his detachment.

Subsequent events, however, had put a crack in that fa├žade. And its slow and steady expansion has led him... here.

Finch turns his torso as the creak of Grace's front door carries across the park. He may as well have left a trail of breadcrumbs; he may not know which specific clues Reese picked up that led him here, but the eventuality of his presence in this place had been more or less to be expected. A former spy and special forces operative visiting the woman he'd once loved more than his own life? Finch should, theoretically, have done all he could to prevent it from happening.

But despite all Reese has done, despite the fact that some of the red in his ledger can be attributed to Finch's account, Finch knows that Reese will not hurt Grace. The man would sooner kick a kitten than harm an innocent. Finch has been around him enough to know.

Has been around him enough to be known.

He wraps his hand around the cup of Sencha Green John had left at Soldo's Coffee for him, then stands as the distance between them shrinks a little more.

-x-