PS: A lyric from an oft recorded, 38 yr old ballad by Dobie Gray spawned this story:
"I've been too long in the wind - too long in the rain – Taking any comfort that I can;
Looking back and longing for the freedom of my chains..."

I always thought that last line a dichotomy…after all, how could one be free, yet chained? Free, yet want to be controlled?
But then I remembered that wild animals often won't leave their cages even when released because the confinement has come to represent security, safety..home.

I supposed a lethal wolf like Reese, all ready a bit unsure of his own stability, would feel safer knowing there was a tether, knowing Finch was 'looking after him'.
The chain represents that connection…

Disclaimer: I don't own any of these characters. Such a pity.


He stands at the edge of the park, the cantilevered spans of the Queensboro Bridge framing a spectacular panorama of the New York skyline. It's a view that at any other time would have held his attention, if only for a few moments as it has done so many times in the past. It's not the first time he's been here, in this park. But now it may be his last.

There are benches nearby but only one is occupied. And by the one person who has become the center point, the anchor in his current existence. The one person without whose support he would simply be…done.

He tells his feet to move but they have rooted in the pavement and even as his brain sends the proper commands, muscles lock in defiance. He doesn't fight this resistance, settling back into his shoes much like the exhaustion settling into his bones. It has been long days, during which time he has terrified any number of people.

But none so much as himself.

Kara called it 'walking in the dark'…that remote detachment from the real world necessary for black-ops wet work. His has never been a demonstrative persona, an armed forces background not exactly a positive environ in which a male is encouraged to emote. And any effusive emotion brought into the service and still present during early training is soon leeched or suppressed for military missions.

All the more frightening then the blistering rage that has driven him the past several days.

"I feared with this case you had certain sensitivities; I thought it best to let you sit it out."

"What kind of sensitivities?"

Sometime early on in the progression of these horrid events he slipped the chain that tethered him to this normal world. Or rather, more normal…for him. The connection to a handler who seemed to be successfully leading him out of the shadows. Unlike his former one, who had believed he bloomed best in the dark…probably because she did…this new handler nourished growth in that part of him he thought had long ago withered and died.

So what had originally ignited that fury? Was it becoming a lone wolf again that impelled him to transform into the entity he had hoped to bury forever? Or had that need for autonomy been triggered by his rage?

Whatever the sequence, somewhere an initial spark found fuel to grow into a monumental blaze, searing through all his good intentions and restraints, destroying the tie he had originally, reluctantly at first, accepted. The tie that connected him to his unique benefactor and the possibility of some sort of redemption.

But then he set his feet once more on that dark path of his past and spurned any urging to turn back. So…why?

He knows the answer. He just doesn't want to rewind that tape, review the horror. So now he stands here, silently observing the well dressed little man on the bench, and despite his best efforts to throw the brake on those memories, they train on anyway.

"Send me her address, and we'll discuss my sensitivities later…"

The destructive cycle started with the realization that the one person whom he was tentatively learning to trust, lied to him. With the best of intentions perhaps, but lied all the same. The similarities of that last case to his past…stung…but his initial surge of anger was spent during the violence perpetrated in the Marshall's office.

If only the fuel run out at that point, but it hadn't. The monster he had hammered into submission had through later actions fed the flames by summoning painful memories of New Rochelle. At that point the fire ran wild and he didn't even attempt to confine the blaze. His rage flared uncontrollably, images of the past flickering over those of the present.

Predictably his wrath morphed into a mental state with which he was only too familiar: that mind-set a well trained assassin reaches for when faced with a dangerous, distasteful mission. That stoic, stone cold, numbed feeling he had hoped to have consigned forever to the same dark cubby that held nightmares spawned by the Company's bloodiest assignments.

"I think under the circumstances it might be a good idea to bring the police in on this one…"

"Finch, you hired me to take care of these things; you don't like how I do it, hire someone else!"

His auto-pilot engaged and with years of training kicking in he was soon fully clad in his black-ops role. He had after all, plenty of experience transporting unwanted "packages" to black holes. Professional forgeries, the rental of a small plane, a little strong arming to resurrect a few foreign contacts…and he soon introduced his captive to a justified nightmare existence.

The flight back was torturous. The fires finally banked and the flames wicked away, but now with the successful delivery of his hostage came the realization that he had scorched a few bridges in the process, perhaps burned them to the ground.

Such as his provisional truce with a certain NYPD detective, though he took extra steps to shore up that edifice. He can only hope that she will understand his efforts and appreciate that he had employed more control than she probably anticipated…or that he himself had expected.

So he stands here now, his thoughts centered on his current situation…how to span the gap to the man on the bench. Is there a way back or is this the bridge that has now been charred forever into ashes? He knows he needs to air the regrets that nag him, say the sorries long overdue. But even as his feet finally obey and he moves forward, he struggles with a sense of loss and a longing for the freedom of his chains.

With a muted sigh he approaches the bench, gingerly lowering himself next to the man whom, despite all his own paranoia, has become his deliverance, his very lifeline.

"I was beginning to wonder when I'd hear from you again."

He remembers to breathe now, his salvation in the four letter word he hears, not the two letter word he had so feared. With years of practice he hides his reaction, savoring that comment. It's "when" not "if"…

And he replies far more calmly than he feels.
"I had some business to take care of out of town."

The clink of the chain is inaudible, but connection is still there…and so very welcome.