Platonic

Disclaimer: Not mine. But oh if wishing made it so.

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"...and when one of them meets the other half, the actual half of himself, whether he be a lover of youth or a lover of another sort, the pair are lost in an amazement of love and friendship and intimacy and one will not be out of the other's sight, as I may say, even for a moment..." ― Plato, The Symposium

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It occurs to Finch, as he stares into Alicia Corwin's dead eyes, that he's waiting for Reese to come and save him.

He shouldn't; the machine doesn't work that way. It will just give John numbers, more people to save; it won't tell him what he wants, if saving Finch is even what he wants. He gave the man a job and a purpose, this is true, but John doesn't owe him anything. Finch wouldn't think any less of him if he decided to keep to his purpose, to follow the numbers and save the people that Finch couldn't.

In fact, there's even a part of him that might admire him if he did.

And even beyond that, he might not need saving. He might be able to outwit this woman, this Root. She's brilliant, yes, but Harold is no slouch. He certainly can't outrun her, but there are other plays that he could try, even with her all too real threat of the harm of innocent life.

He might not need saving.

But he wants it all the same.

If he's being honest with himself, he's grown used to it, though it was hardly a natural transition.

Finch has been paranoid for as long as he can remember. His talent with computers meant he'd had to be, even from a young age, and so he'd learned to count on no one but himself. Learned that no one would come to save him; that he'd have to do it on his own.

And then, he'd gotten himself into a situation where couldn't do it on his own.

He can still remember Theresa; remember the shooter, and the visceral fear of dying. Finch may be dead in name, but despite his chosen line of work, he's actually in no hurry to shuffle off the mortal coil, and that moment, where the shooter had them in his crosshairs, with nowhere to run, Finch had been terrified, certain he was going to die.

And then, like his own personal guardian angel, there had been Reese, standing over the man's body. Reese, who shouldn't have been able to get there in time, but who had, by nothing more than the sheer strength of his will; the sheer determination to make sure that no one harmed Finch or Theresa.

And it had been then, standing in that hotel hallway, his heart beating too fast with adrenaline and relief, that Finch had realized something, something with far more impact than a bullet.

After all of those years alone, he had someone to come after him.

And then, just to drive the point home, the man had done it again, and again and again.

I don't pay you to save me, you know, Finch tells Reese once after a particularly close call where Reese had almost lost the number of the day because he had stopped to save Finch.

I know, Reese had replied in that soul-shivering rasp of his, eyes dark and intense, Partners, that's just what they do. And then, a hand, both respectful and cheeky on his shoulder, a comforting weight, you'll get used to it.

The, I'll always come for you, was unsaid, but Finch heard it all the same.

And so he stays put, and waits for Reese.

Admittedly, it's not something he's very good at.

He'd thought hiring the man to help him with the numbers, to help him with the overwhelming guilt, so much more crippling than any pain in his body, would make it easier. Easier to be the man on the other end of the phone; the man who hears and sees everything but doesn't have the skills to act on it.

The man who hears all the death.

But he didn't hire a man, he hired Reese, and naturally, it's this one detail that makes all the difference.

One day, he will hear Reese's death.

It's a thought that steals his breath, makes his heart skip a beat.

It was supposed to be easier.

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It's not.

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Harold is an intelligent man; he can pinpoint the exact moment where everything changed.

When he hired Reese, there hadn't been a moment of lightening. He had been looking for a very particular combination of skills; deadly but an appreciation for life; violent but gentle; a killer with a conscience. A very rare and special man yes, and Reese, by virtue of possessing this conundrum had been rare and special as well, but Finch, too concerned with making sure that Reese didn't breach his precious privacy, hadn't given much thought to trusting the man.

With the numbers, and slowly, with his life, but still, there had been a distance-a clear line between the roles of Finch and the roles of Reese. Finch watches, is the man at a distance, the man on the other end of the phone, and Reese is the direct approach, hands on with his guns and his iron will, his absolute confidence in his own skills.

And even though Finch knows the danger, even though those moments where he can't get John on the coms stop his breath, Finch can't help but be in awe of the things that this man can do, with little more than the sheer force of his will. Reese has taken on assassins, drug dealers, mobs, dirty cops; all situations where a lone man, no matter his training, should not prevail and has, all for Finch and the numbers.

Reese and Finch, partners against the world, doing the impossible.

And then there is Snow, and John calling to say goodbye as he bleeds out and Finch realizes that he has gotten too used to Reese doing the impossible.

Because Reese is the man who survives, who comes for Finch; the man who beats the odds.

Now he is the man who is dying as he speaks to him, using his last breaths to thank Finch; now he is the man who needs Finch.

The man who tells him to stay away.

Finch, the Finch he was before Reese, would-he'd realize that he was driving into a situation where he was sure to be caught by either the CIA or Detective Carter, and his paranoia would have had him turning the car around, his need for self-preservation trumping everything else.

Finch, the Finch who has a partner named Reese, hits the gas.

He won't let his partner down.

It's that thought that keeps him sharp as he loads Reese's body into his car with Carter's help, as he drives too fast, hits too many bumps for a man with a fused spine, finds a doctor that won't ask questions but will be able to patch up Reese and not get them noticed by the CIA.

He won't let Reese die.

And it's then, as he stares down at him, this man who comes for him, that it truly hits him; the reason that Reese can't die. Because it's then, as the doctor bustles to save his life that Finch realizes that if he dies, he won't know how to go on. Harold is no stranger to loss; Nathan, his own body, Grace, all left a hole in him, but he soldiered on through that-he survived, because that's what he's always done.

But this-this man with his guns and his suit and his voice and his impossible certainty-snuck into his very soul when Finch wasn't looking and made himself a home there in that once empty place, and Finch knows, with a certainty he's only ever felt before when looking at code, that if this man died, Finch would not survive it.

Finch is no stranger to the works of Plato, but he has always held The Symposium with a grain of salt. It was Plato's soulmates-beings with four arms and four legs and two faces, split apart by the gods in fear of their sheer power, forced to search for their other half for the rest of their lives-that he'd always had the issue with.

Because, well, Finch had always thought that it was a nice ideal, but not a possible reality. That no two people could fit together so well, complete each other so well that they could share something as individual as a soul, as sense of self. That another person could be your arms and legs, could be the parts of yourself that you couldn't be.

He knows better now.

But Reese does wake up, lets Finch put him in a wheelchair and hover over him, and life goes on, another number, another job, and Finch buries his epiphany in favor of doing the work that Reese can't without getting himself killed.

He gets him a cushion instead, and doesn't say, if you had died, I would have died as well, because my soul-the very core of me-is too tied to you to exist on its own anymore.

Reese naturally ignores the cushion, saves the girl, saves Trask and saves Finch, all while on crutches, because he's Reese, and that's what he does.

He's the one who comes for him.

His partner.

It makes his heart flutter.

This too is something he doesn't say.

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And, for a while, life goes on in a very predictable pattern. There is a number, and Reese doing the impossible, and Finch listening over the phone, breath always just about to catch in his throat at every gun shot and lost signal. Reese saves the numbers, these people who are so much more than irrelevant, and saves Finch, and Finch is content with this, with the unspoken nature of their partnership.

And then Caroline Turing shoots Alicia Corwin in the face, and calls herself Root and takes Finch, and everything changes.

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Root, for lack of a better name, is a brilliant woman. It takes great intellect to do what she has done-to track the existence of the machine and to fool not only Finch, but Reese as well-and although Finch may abhor her methods and think her truly insane, he can acknowledge that she possess a certain, critical brilliance.

And yet, for being the woman with all of the contingencies, there is one thing that she does not see, and it is a shocking feet of stupidity.

Your knuckle dragging friend, she calls Reese, dismissing him as just another human, so below her-and, to a peripheral extent his own-intelligence.

Not a threat to her.

Finch though, Finch remembers a lost baby, and what are you going to do, and the rasping reply, whatever it takes, and the look that had been in Reese's eyes.

Plato's gods themselves couldn't have stopped Reese in that moment, and yet Root, who understands machines very well but people less so, doesn't think John is a threat to her.

It will be her downfall.

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If Harold learns one important thing from Root's little scheme involving Denton Weeks, it's that she doesn't just want the machine.

She wants him.

No, not sexually-at least, not entirely-though it's a thought that brings no relief, because the truth is much worse. Root wants to be his equal-to be a part of him. To live inside his soul, to be the person that he relies on, the person that he smiles at, the person that he trusts to have his back. To be his second set of arms and legs, his second face-the other half of him, more powerful together than apart. She thinks she is entitled to the role of his soulmate in Plato's definition, before the word was corrupted by sentimentalism and lost its power.

His partner.

She wants to be John.

She isn't.

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He tells her as much, if in a slightly round-about way.

She doesn't take it well.

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Root stops pushing the chair, and Harold knows, without even seeing that John is there.

That John has come for him.

He has to hold back the smile, back the smirk of satisfaction, though some of it leaks out.

Because Root can try all she wants to force her way into the core of him, but she never will. Someone is already there, someone so beyond her, so much better than her. Someone who slid in so naturally that Finch didn't even notice until it was already too late, so much more elegantly than Root's pitiful efforts, little more than blindly hacking away with a knife.

John is the best code.

Then there's a gunshot, and Finch loses all train of thought for a second.

But only a second, because then there's Reese, and everything is suddenly much better.

He should chase Root-she's the priority, the dangerous number-shouldn't stop at Finch's body, stare at him with the intensity of a thousand suns, hands checking for injuries, that, if they were there, Finch thinks John might be able to make better by simply the sheer force of his own will.

He shouldn't do those things.

He does of course.

He's Reese.

"I really didn't intend for you to come find me Mr. Reese," he says when he can finally stand again, because no matter the bread crumbs he left at Denton's cottage, he really didn't. There were numbers, people who needed John more than he did.

John says something in return, about Finch saving his life and returning the favor, but in his eyes Finch can see what he really means.

Partners; this is just what they do.

He pulls Finch into his body as they leave, a protective gesture, and Finch, who hasn't been able to abide being touched since his…accident leans into the solid bulk of the man, and basks in the warmth of him.

They're going to have to have a talk.

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There is a dog in the library.

A large, expensive-book-and-possibly-man-eating dog in the library.

That obeys John's every command.

Of course it does.

He tells John they'll probably get along, and he even means it.

They're both unwaveringly devoted to Reese, after all.

And then Root calls John, to thank him and to threaten him, telling she'll take him again when she feels like it, and dismissing John's own promise.

She means it as a threat, but it loosens something in Finch instead.

She still doesn't see John-see the partnership that they have-as a threat.

It's why she'll always lose.

"How did you find me?" He asks into the silence left by Root's call, more to break the ice than out of genuine curiosity. He's almost certain how Reese did it-even Root had known-but he needs the confirmation of it, of John doing the impossible once again.

"The machine-I…negotiated with it," John says, simply, like he doesn't realize how miraculous the thing he has just done is. Root had, and had hated him for it, for the ability to connect to the machine, but Finch can only marvel at it. At this man, who, using not a computer but the all too human need to save a partner, managed to hack the Machine in a way that Root will never be able to.

"For me?" He asks in reply, instead of all of the things that he'd like to say, but Reese must see something in him anyways, because he answers, his raspy half-whisper unmistakably fond, eyes intense but so kind, "Finch, the list of things I wouldn't do for you happens to be a very short one."

And then Reese stops, looks closer, brow furrowing just so, and Finch's heart can't help but skip a breath as those intense eyes bear into him and fill with concern as Reese takes another step closer to him and asks softly, "Are you sure you're alright?" And then, coming even closer, hand raising awkwardly before halting, question asked so carefully, "She didn't do any…lasting damage?"

And Finch, who has never considered himself a very brave man, looks at this man, his partner in so much more than the numbers, gathers his courage and takes a risk that he hopes against all hope will be worth it, "She wanted to carve a part of me open-a part of my very soul-and fit herself in the hole."

And then, because Reese hasn't moved yet, hasn't pulled away or shut him down, Finch takes a limping step closer, locks his eyes with Reese's and goes for broke, "But she couldn't. There was already someone there."

There's a moment then, where what Finch has said just hangs in the air, heavily, and Reese doesn't, face revealing nothing, and Finch thinks he's made a grave error, his own heart lodged somewhere near his throat. To ruin what they have…

But then, like a miracle, Reese smiles, his eyes light, and he takes that final step into Finch's so closely guarded personal space and says, the lines of his body brushing Finch's own, "Well then," and he brings his forehead down to rest on Finch's own, so his words ghost across his face, "If I'm to live there, I should at least pay rent, don't you think?"

And then, before Finch, with his massive intellect can think of anything to say, John continues, not an ounce of teasing his voice, as serious as death, "If anything had happened to you, I would have burned the world. I don't know how or when you did it, but I'm not me without you anymore."

And then, big hands creep from his shoulder to his chin and tilt it upwards gently, so Finch can meet Reese's eyes without aggravating his neck, "I told you Finch, you saved me."

He kisses him then, because he can't not, and Reese's mouth opens to him like a blossoming flower as he draws Finch in closer, big hands that have killed so many people so gentle as he reels him into the warmth of his arms where Finch fits perfectly, like he was meant to.

He knew they would.

That's what soulmates are.

And then John guides him slowly backwards towards the bed Finch keeps in the other room, and Finch decides to stop thinking and prove a point to John another way.

He didn't save John; they saved each other.

That just what partners do.

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FIN

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A/N: Yeah so, my first POI episode was the second season premiere, where I, with no context, watched one extremely handsome, deadly man do absolutely anything to save his friend. Yeah, slash was pretty much inevitable after that. So I spent a week watching the first season, and absolutely fell in love with Finch and Reese; two parts of the same whole, unable to do their calling without the other. That sounds a lot like soulmates to me. Seriously, Finch's panic every time Reese drops a call-that would have been enough. Everything else about this show is just icing-slashy, slashy icing. Also, the title is a play on words; platonic friends are friends without a sexual aspect, but the platonic concept of soulmates suggests something else. So, that said, enjoy and reviews and constructive criticism are always welcome.