Winter Solstice:

On the longest night of the year, in the dark and cold, Finch hopes for the coming days, Reese fears where he went wrong, and Joss has reached the end of both hope and fear.


Finch


Finch sat quietly in his library with a quote from Kahlil Gibran running through his head: "If you love somebody, let them go, for if they return, they were always yours. If they don't, they never were."

It wasn't just true for romantic love, though, it was about partnerships and friendships, as well. And now Reese had gone, and while Finch had sent Fusco to check in on him, to ensure Reese was safe, or as safe as he ever was, Finch had no intention of trying to drag Reese back against his will.

Finch had already hijacked Reese's life once. Finch had researched his target thoroughly before arranging their meeting, and then proceeded to push every button he'd found to make Reese into the type of hero that Finch needed.

And it had worked. It had worked for more than two years.

But now they had their first real failure, not due to a wily opponent or overwhelming odds, but because Finch had failed to live up to his promise to provide information in time.

In their first meeting, Finch had said that he would never lie to Reese, and then immediately lied by promising to always get him information in time to do something. And maybe Finch hadn't meant it as a lie, but here was proof that Finch hadn't been able to live up to his promise.

Well, Finch had done his best, but he was just a man, with all the frailties inherent in the condition and more.

And now Carter was dead. God. She was dead like so many others Finch had been unable to save, too late to save. But it was the first time that his had happened while Reese had been his partner. For the first time, Finch hadn't been able to get the information fast enough to let Reese save a target already important to both of them.

Finch wondered who Reese blamed most for Carter's death. Simmons, as the actual gunman, was clearly the target who would get taken down, but Finch wondered if Reese hated himself or Finch more for failing to protect their ally.

Reese hadn't attacked Finch, hadn't ripped into him for lying about being able to give Reese information in time. Reese hadn't even acknowledged Finch.

Finch rather thought that was worse than any yelling or even physical attack that Reese might have been inclined towards.

Clearly Reese wasn't used to failure of this nature. Not like Finch, who sometimes felt like he was all too used to failures of all kinds.

This was just one more in the long, long list of failures and maybe it was time for Reese to come to his own conclusions about his role in this life.

Could he accept that Finch wasn't perfect. Or not.

Well, Finch had let Reese go. Now, it was just a matter of waiting to see if he would return or not.


Reese


Carter was dead. Joss was dead. And Reese was so confused.

She was everything to him. He wanted her to be everything to him.

She should have been everything to him and so he told himself that she had been everything to him.

She had been everything to him. Right?

Because he had been suicidal and then she had stepped in and helped him and then he wasn't suicidal any more. So she had saved him. Right? She must have been the one to save him.

And she was a beautiful woman, so of course he had to be attracted to her. Of course he was attracted to her. How could he not be?

But she had definitely been damn impressive. That he was certain of. Seeing her hijack that truck had been a joy. And setting up both the dirty cops and the Russian mob, both at the same time, had been a thing of beauty. He remembered grinning and thinking she was awesome.

Carter, no, not Carter: Joss. Joss had definitely awesome. She had been so amazing in so many ways. Surely she was completely amazing in all ways.

She had to be.

Who else could possible be as amazing as her?

And yet, the more he told himself that she had been everything to him, the less he could remember any of the details of who she had been.

It was like loosing her all over again. He told himself that she had been everything to him and that her smile had brought brightness to his life. And yet, when he tried to picture it, she couldn't quite figure out what her smile had looked like. Her voice had made him feel safe and yet he couldn't quite remember what it had sounded like.

It was only days since her death but the more he thought of how much he missed her, the less he could remember her. And the more he hated himself.

Why?

Why did this have to happen?


Joss


She died thinking of her boys.

They were the most important people in her life and in those last few seconds, the only thing she could think about was that she would never see them again.

Her boys. God, she loved them. Her son Taylor was the joy of her life and her reason for going on. And, god, Paul. She had loved him. She had loved him and married him and born his child. And then she had had to push him away to keep their son safe.

She had done it, because she needed to, because Taylor needed her to, but it had broken something inside of her to do it. She had thought that he couldn't trust him to help her, to support her the way she needed him to. But this time, he came through. This time, when she absolutely needed him to help her, to protect their son, he had come through for her.

Thank God for Paul. Thank God for Paul keeping Taylor safe.

Thank God for giving her her boys.

Her last thoughts, in that time between being shot and finally dying, were for her boys.

Prior to that shocking experience of mortality, Joss had been thinking about her boys Cal and Lasky. They were both dead—dead and betrayed, shot by dirty cops. Nothing she had done would bring them back, but at least she had avenged them. She had tracked down the head of HR and identified Alonzo Quinn. She had arrested the man responsible for her partners' deaths and she had brought him to face justice.

She had been juggling what seemed like a thousand different details of the plan, had been terrified that she might miss something important, but it had worked.

More than a dozen dirty cops, nearly two dozen Russian mobsters, and Alonzo Quinn all delivered to the FBI. It was a tough case—physically, mentally, and emotionally—but it had worked.

It was some hours back, while still stuck in the mortuary, that Joss had last given real thought to her boys, Reese and Finch. Oh, Reese and Finch. They were so good at being superheroes and so bad at being people. It was kind of ludicrous and Joss had not been looking forward to pulling out her old it's-okay-to-be-gay conversation for John Reese.

If he needed to declare his love to a woman while in a siege situation, she wouldn't deny him that until they were out of the situation. But, really? Come on. She had offered help to a lot of hurting veterans through the years, Paul included, and she knew when she had helped and when that help had been brushed off.

From the sound of it, Reese probably had been saved that day, the day he had met Joss and been bailed out of jail by Finch, but Joss knew perfectly well it hadn't been her who had given him purpose. If he was declaring his love for her in the middle of a siege, she could only assume he was going through one hell of a sexual-identity crisis, most likely involving his older, crippled, somewhat nebbish-looking boss. If that was the case, he was pretty far gone, and someone needed to give him a reality check that he couldn't force himself to be in love with someone more conventional. Either that, or a reality check about the fact that he wasn't in the military anymore.

Maybe Reese would come to this realization without her intervention? She could hope.

But it certainly wasn't a conversation that could happen in a siege environment, so she had put it out of her mind. If they both survived this, then she could look forward to having a super awkward conversation with Reese, possibly while being monitored by Finch.

Oh joy.