Title: Learning to Ride
Author: Athar Riordan (RiordanHawk)
Fandom: Person of Interest
Series: The Road to Perdition
As things begin to once again settle down for Team Machine, Harold Finch gives Melissa Reese a personal project to keep her occupied while she recovers from the showdown with Jacob Sweeney and while John Reese returns to work. However, what was first a personal project turns into bonding time between the three library occupants – as Reese gets a taste of parent/child bonding, and Harold gets to grips with being godfather to a second friends child.
Hello and welcome to my first attempt of Person Of Interest fanfiction.
I found this show when the series began airing in the UK, but after they reached the cliff hanger that was 'Number Crunch' I naturally had to find out what happened and so I'm now caught up with the show to date.
This particular story is part of a series – which will be collectively known as 'Road to Perdition', but while beginning to write parts for the stories set earlier than this – a plot bunny invaded and this was written. It was meant to be just a random bit of fun that looked at a way for Finch and Reese to bond with John's biological daughter, Melissa, who was placed into the care system as a baby - but then became a mini multi-chapter story that will mention characters and sub-plots that will be taken care of in the stories I'm writing that are set before this.
Now... on with the story...
Chapter One: A Bicycle Manual?
The hard backed book landed on the library study table with a small thud, causing Melissa Reese's head to snap up from the book she was reading, and for her body to tense at the noise – until her blue eyes landed on Harold Finch standing on the other side of the table, after finding the offending book now between them on the desk. Looking at the older man with some confusion, the teenager closed the book she had been flicking through and, with a slightly furrowed brow, reached across to turn the larger books cover around so that she could see the title. It was a Bicycle Manual.
"Harold?" Melissa prompted, looking back up at the older man with a slightly raised eyebrow. "What's this about?" she asked slowly.
"I'm giving you a project – one that I hope will end up being both enjoyable and productive for you." Finch answered, as he studied the teenager and noted her tensed look.
"I assure you, Miss Reese, that you have done nothing wrong," Melissa's shoulder slumped slightly at this. "However, while you're recovering I thought it would help you to have a project to work on to pass the time."
Melissa nodded slowly in understanding. With a recovering knee and cracked ribs, the teenager had found herself trying to find ways to occupy her time more recently with Tasha back at school, and Reese returning to his day job – and despite the vast library she found herself in, Melissa was beginning to feel the age old feeling of being trapped returning, as she was unable to get outside the door without help (much to her chagrin).
"So... that bike book?" Melissa trailed off.
"Will be your project handbook," Finch informed her with a nod.
"My handbook? Harold, I've never ridden in my life," Melissa confessed with some exclamation. "And we're in New York – not exactly the best place to learn..."
"Let's worry about the riding in due course, shall we?" Finch said, as he moved around to her side of the table and held out a hand for her to take. Melissa put the novel on the table, and took Finch's hand to help her stand before taking the crutch he offered her. "But first, we need the focus of your project."
"Okay... but aren't you doing something for John?" Melissa asked, as they headed out. Thankfully Melissa had been able to start putting some weight on the knee and so was now able to make a trip down the library stairs (even if Reese still insisted on carrying her up to prevent strain to her damaged ligament).
"It's all in hand, Melissa, not to worry," Finch assured, as the pair made slow progress to the ground floor; Harold had picked up their coats on the way to be put on once they reached the ground floor.
"Now, here you go," the billionaire said, helping the teenager into a long coat with a high collar which protected against the cold winds of the skyscraper filled city.
"Thanks," Melissa nodded, as they walked out of the library. Seeing the black car and suited man with a tall build standing beside it looking around the area, the teenager let out a slight hiss of pain as she stopped in mid-step.
"Are you alright, Melissa?" Finch asked with a flash of concern at her sudden stalling.
Melissa nodded as she shifted her weight slightly off her knee, before nodding at the suited man they had been headed toward. "Who? -"
Of course, Finch thought, berating himself. While the two men had been settling into the new routine of having Melissa with them, the teenager was not aware to what extent Finch was endowed. Reese had been using one of Finch's cars since Melissa had come to live with him, and so the teenager had been left unaware of Harold's own driving arrangements.
"This is my driver, Mr. Sully," Finch explained as he placed a hand lightly on the teenager's shoulder and put himself between the driver and teenager to assure her he would not allow anything to happen. "Mr Sully; Miss Reese and I need to go for a trip down town please."
"Of course, Sir.. Miss," the driver said, nodding to each in turn. The middle aged man held the back door open for the pair, as Harold helped Melissa into the backseat before following suit.
"Mr. Sully has been in my employment for some time, Melissa. Since my accident, I have been unable to drive myself as often as I would prefer for obvious reasons, and so I've had to rely on Mr. Sully's assistance more often than I used to; But he is a good man, I assure you " Finch soothed, as Sully pulled away from the curb and slowly entered the light traffic.
"Sorry," Melissa murmured, as she turned her eyes out of the window.
The past few weeks had given the teenager some confidence when it came to the adults she often came into contact with – Finch, Reese, Carter and Fusco. But after the final confrontation between Reese and Sweeney, the teenager had taken a small step back when it came to interactions with new individuals; particularly men.
"It will take time, Melissa, but it will get easier." Harold spoke gently, as he kept his eyes ahead to give Melissa some privacy as she found her balance.
"Mels," the teenager muttered automatically, with shyness in her voice.
"Excuse me?" Harold asked, turning to Melissa, who turned her eyes to her lap before glancing at the bi-specked man beside her.
"My friends... they call me Mels..." the teenager bit her lip. "Melissa was always a bit of a mouthful," she shrugged, before she began to fidget in her seat slightly.
Harold's gaze softened. "Thank you... Mels..." the older man spoke, as he tried the nickname he had first heard during a conversation between Melissa, and her close friend, Tasha. "I must admit, it may take some getting used to. Melissa is a lovely name – it suits you." He added kindly.
"It was just an idea; you-you don't have to-" Melissa stuttered, before Finch put a hand over hers and patted it lightly before giving her hand a gentle squeeze.
"It's an honour, Melissa. Thank you."
Melissa nodded, after looking up from the hand Finch had placed over hers.
Over the past few months, the teenager had made progress in regards to her aversion to touch, that was developed after years of living with foster parents like Jacob Sweeney and Michelle Clarke. After Tasha, it had been John who had made the most progress with the teenager – if being able to carry her away from a violent showdown without the constant flinching he had often seen before, and having her sleep in his bed while he helped her deal with regressed night terrors that had begun to surface now that she felt safe enough to confront them, was anything to go by. Finch's own rare display's of hand and shoulder squeezing were long ago accepted by the teenager, and were found to be oddly reassuring in small moments of uncertainty when Reese wasn't there to give her the reassurance needed. There were still times, however, when Melissa would flinch violently if certain parts of her torso were brushed against; but it had been getting better.
"So," Melissa began, after a pause. "Where are we going?" she asked, as the Sully drove the car into heavier traffic as they made their way downtown.
"To find a bike of course – well a frame anyway," Finch answered, as the mood settled back down.
"It's not a bike without wheels, Harold" Melissa smirked weakly, causing Finch to roll his eyes.
Sounds like something Mr. Reese would say, Finch mused not unkindly. It Seems John had been rubbing off on young Melissa quite a bit more than he thought. "And as I said, this is a project; and all projects must start from scratch."
"Well, I did think about becoming some form of mechanic when I was going through a motorbike phase after living with a nice biker couple for a while," she mused, thinking back to those fun couple of days in the temporary placement. "I guess this is the next best thing." Melissa smiled.
"Indeed," Finch said, offering the teenager one of his own rare smiles.
To be continued?
I'll leave it up to you :)
Thank you for reading and let me know what you think :)