Disclaimer: Not mine. Spoilers for "Firewall." The Mark Twain quote is from Roughing It.


Oshikochi no Mitsune, Kokinshu 161:

The cuckoo's
Call is silent-
But an echo
Of a song sung elsewhere,
Might not that return to us?

He went to the library partly looking for some way to locate Finch, but also because he didn't know where else to go. There was no one he trusted enough for this, no one he would endanger by asking for help.

Reese had been extensively evaluated psychologically during his time with special forces and the C.I.A. All the tests had found the same thing: he didn't panic. No matter what he was faced with, he remained calm, rational, detached.

He was close to knowing what panic felt like now. Finch was gone, and he had no idea where the woman who'd called herself Dr. Turing would take him. Or what she planned to do with him. Turing's office held enough to identify her as Root, the mysterious computer hacker whose skills were comparable to Finch's. How much she knew about the Machine, Reese couldn't guess. Either she wanted information from Finch, or she wanted to eliminate him as competition. If that were the case, Reese reassured himself, he would have found Finch's body. She would have killed him right there rather than kidnapping him. Which meant that he was still alive.

But Finch was at her mercy, and he didn't have Reese's training on how to handle being kidnapped, threatened, and tortured.

Reese had a lost, helpless feeling swirling in his chest. Finch told him there was a contingency in case anything happened to him. But, typical Finch, he hadn't said what that might be, and Reese could find no hint of it in the library.

Harold Finch was a frustratingly secretive individual. Reese wished he'd been able to learn more about him. He understood Finch's secretiveness: there was no reason for him to trust the ex-assissin he'd plucked from the streets. Finch knew everything about his past, all the worst things he'd done. Reese was useful to him, and if that hadn't been the case Finch wouldn't have had anything to do with him. That didn't bother him. Reese knew he would never knowingly betray Finch, but he also knew that if he were in Finch's place, he wouldn't trust himself either.

And now Reese had led Finch's nemesis straight to him; he'd been taken in by Turing, hadn't identified her as a threat. Though in his defense, she'd acted out her part perfectly. He went over her performance in his memory and couldn't think of a single cue, a single slip that indicated she'd hired the people trying to kill her. She was good. She was meticulous. That didn't make him feel any better.

The truth was, he needed Finch. It wasn't just that he couldn't access the Machine to get the numbers without him, it was that...whatever Finch's opinion of him, Finch was his friend, and he wasn't sure what losing another friend would do to him, he didn't know how long he could last before he slid back to the kind of existence he had before Finch.

Reese left the library to look for answers elsewhere.

He recalled the day he'd first met Mr. Finch, a strange, pale, limping man who knew too much. When he reluctantly accepted this employment, he never imagined how much he'd come to respect, admire, and flat-out like his new boss. Finch was very unlike what he first seemed.

He thought of something from a Mark Twain book he'd read in high school: all that glitters isn't gold. In fact, to a prospector nothing that glitters is gold: gold in its native state is but dull, unornamental stuff, and only low-born metals excite the admiration of the ignorant with ostentatious glitter. And it was the same with people. Reese had always stood out: he was handsome, charming, and strong. He'd known that about himself by observing people's reactions to him even before it was officially noted in his C.I.A. evaluation. But all that was just glitter. In spite of all that, he'd failed where it really counted. He'd failed those he loved time and again. He was mica, flashy but ultimately not worth much. Finch was gold.

He would find him. He would protect Finch or die trying. He was, after all, a well-trained and extremely competent C.I.A. operative; he just needed a place to start.

If Finch were here, he'd be able to find himself. Maybe the Machine was spitting out his number at that very moment.

The Machine...

The Machine had to know exactly where Finch was. It must have seen what happened. Finch had designed it to protect itself; was its programming sophisticated enough to recognize how valuable Finch was to its existence?

He wasn't sure how to communicate with it, but it was worth a shot.

Reese stopped where he was on the crowded New York sidewalk and turned to the nearest security camera.

"He's in danger now," he said to it, not worrying about the passing pedestrians, who—gotta love New York—would mind their own business, most likely assuming he was either insane or praying, either of which might not be far from the truth, "because he was working for you." The camera's blinking red light reminded him unsettlingly of an eye. "So you're going to help me get him back."

A few moments later, a nearby payphone began to ring. He walked to it, not knowing what to expect, and picked it up.