Reese was feeling lousy, this wasn't the out of control feeling he got when he fell down a bottle of Wild Turkey, this was full-on flu. Even with his eyes screwed shut, his body missed the warmth and soft curves of Carter's the instant she left. He hated showing pain, but his arm was throbbing in time to the beating pulse of the headache, pressure was building behind his eyes and his lungs felt like they had been rubbed down with sandpaper.
The very last thing he wanted was to be a burden to either Carter or Finch. So he had to get up and get out of there. Slink home with his tail between his legs and rest up.
He grunted something that might have been an answer, but his throat was too sore for speech. A gentle hand stroked his hair.
"Stay there, John."
He wanted to protest, get out of the way, crawl away and lick his wounds, but the bed was soft and warm, and he wasn't quite able to be proof against the softened tones in her voice.
Joss sat next to Reese on the bed, he was sick, and trying too hard not to be. Something about his stubbornness melted her heart. He had a touching faith in her too, and Jocelyn Carter could think of many reasons why John's stubborn and touching faith in her could be seen to be misguided.
She was aware that Finch didn't entirely trust her, and that Finch's distrust, aside from the man's usual paranoia, had been earned when she had betrayed John to Mark Snow. Even though she had been played, and Reese had clearly forgiven her, Finch maintained a certain reserve. She couldn't blame him, Joss couldn't quite get the image of the seriously wounded John she had helped into Finch's car out of her head either.
As she helped him into Finch's car, the look in John's eyes spoke of a weary defeat, and she wasn't sure if she would ever see him alive again. Without meaning to, her heart clenched within her at that dreadful sight.
Knowing that she had got him shot. Accepting that for all her posturing, the day he had saved her life when her CI had been bought by Elias, Joss Carter did trust her mysterious guy in the suit, and she had brought hell itself down on his head. If he had died that day, she would probably have had to walk away from the job. Knowing that wherever her moral compass lay, getting the man shot who had saved your life; spared you so that you could get to go home to your son, well that was contemptible.
But John had survived. He was as tough as they came. And, she got to make up for the error of judgment that could have killed him.
Now he needed her.
Joss put a jug of water beside the bed with a glass, made sure that the quilt was tucked around him, fetched a second comforter from the cupboard in the hall and spread it over him. Keep him warm, give him plenty of fluids. She was a mother, she knew the drill.
Although she didn't feel even slightly motherly towards John Reese; though the moment when she moved to get up, he made a funny little sound in the back of his throat and cuddled closer. Her heart flipped over at that sound.
When she laid the back of her hand against his forehead and realized that in the fifteen minutes or so since she had left his side to prepare for her day, and when she had returned to order him to stay put, his temperature had gone up, she really started to worry.
She went to the medicine cabinet in her bathroom then, and picked up her thermometer. When she took it, his temperature was 102°.
He needed more than rest and fluids. If she went through her own channels Snow would get to finish what he started, and Joss would be responsible for Reese's death. Which left Harold Finch.
She glanced at Reese's phone lying on the bedside table. He was too far out of it to ask for help himself. It was an invasion of their privacy, but John needed medical attention, and the one person she knew would provide Reese with instant medical help was Harold Finch.
She picked up Reese's phone. No saved numbers, not even the phone's number. Essentially a blank, but she could send a text from his phone to hers. Longest shot in the world. But Finch kept a close watch on Reese, she knew he did, and this was a shot she needed to take.
Finch, he's sick. Needs your help.
Her phone pinged with an arriving message. And she carefully erased it. It was a risk, but then everything was. John was worth the risk, she didn't want to fight anymore.
She supposed that she wasn't surprised when her phone rang within seconds. Finch would be there very shortly, with the help that John needed.
Carter knew what she was going to do this time. Stay with him. Without the slightest hesitation she dialed the precinct's number. She was calling in sick.
When she had done all that she could do, she sat back down on the bed, Reese burrowed against her, and she held him in her arms while they waited for the support.
Finch had had the feeling that Reese's soaking from the other night was going to cause more problems and it had. Confronting his feelings for his employee was an unexpected twist.
If anyone had asked him before Reese's shooting what his feelings were for John Reese, Finch would have said 'employee' without hesitation. Since the shooting, his own kidnapping and subsequent rescue, Reese's own crafty intervention in what he saw as Harold's barren life, the dynamic had shifted.
Deep inside, Finch couldn't be hard-edged about it. John Reese was an intelligent, sensitive human being, almost broken by what a government agency had tried to turn him into. Every day Finch turned his weapon, Reese, loose upon the city, he knew he was turning the city, or more properly the criminal elements of the city loose on John Reese.
One tiny corner of his soul almost wished that John Reese had taken the money and run, right at the beginning. He would be safe now. Not lying in his bed in an apartment that Finch owned, sicker than Finch had ever seen him even after being shot.
Once again, Dr Tillmann was helping them out. She fixed a saline drip, and recommended oxygen. "To help ease his breathing." She didn't say it. She didn't have to, Finch knew that additional oxygen for a man of Reese's health and strength spelt bad things for just how sick Reese had become.
Tillmann had shown Finch and Detective Carter how to change the saline bags, how to administer the medication, "keep him warm, keep him quiet, and try to bring his temperature down, but do let him sleep as much as possible. I'll come back tomorrow morning and see how he's doing."
So now it was a waiting game, and Finch's fears started to rise again. Because as hard as it was to accept, John Reese had become something much more than an employee. And it was yanking Finch's guts out to see him in that condition.
He didn't know what he would say to Stacey. He didn't know what to say to Detective Carter, he could see the tears in her eyes, he could feel the tears in his own soul. But Stacey was so young, she saw things in terms of black and white, how could he tell her of his own fears for Reese's life.