As always, thanks to all you who R&R, and are following my story. I appreciate it!
Reese focused the camera, zoomed the lens, snapped a dozen shots. Lowering the camera, he allowed himself a satisfied smile, turned it off and clicked the lens cap on. Finch would love the shots of Fusco slamming their POI onto the hood of his car as he was being arrested. He touched his ear bud, dialing Finch.
'Wrapped, and delivered, Finch,' he said, as he turned to leave.
'Excellent news, Mr. Reese,' Finch responded, and Reese could hear the smile in his voice. 'Dinner is on me.'
'Good. I'm in the mood for Chinese,' Reese chuckled, hung up, and paused to do one last scan of the crime scene across the street before leaving. In the crowd of a dozen uniforms, he caught the eye of Detective Carter, giving him a glare. His smile faded, and he clenched his jaw tight, completely ignored her. As he strode away, he knew she had crossed the street, begun to follow him, and he was having none of it. He didn't owe her any explanations, and it really irked him that she couldn't just be happy to have one more dirt bag off the streets. Sure, she had to do some fabrications to cover his part in the arrests she and Fusco made, but that was part of the arrangement. They got cleaner streets, he was able to care for the numbers. He'd been deliberately ignoring or deflecting her queries about the night of Yogorov's intended assassination; she was desperately trying to piece together what exactly had happened with the outside gunman. He pleaded ignorance, but, of course, she didn't buy it, and she was really getting pissed off about it. Not my problem, he growled to himself.
They definitely had an odd friendship, or perhaps, more accurately, partnership, but there had to be restrictions on exactly how much familiarity he could allow her to have. Familiarity led to carelessness, and that was dangerous for all concerned.
It didn't take him more than two blocks to be rid of her. From his chosen cover he looked back, allowed himself a tight smile over the annoyance on her face as she realized he'd given her the slip. He cast one final glance across the streets, just to be certain Carter hadn't changed directions, then headed toward where he'd parked his car. He didn't bother to notice the silver and black motorcycle, which pulled up between two cars. As he disappeared from view, it's rider stopped to snap photos of Detective Carter's retreating form.
Finch and Reese were having a good laugh over the photos of Fusco and his furious suspect. Fusco was having way too much fun slamming the felon against the car hood, but both men could easily admit the jerk had it coming. Reese took a long swallow of the celebratory cold beer Finch had thoughtfully provided.
'Another good day, Mr. Reese,' he said, the smile reaching his eyes. Reese nodded in agreement, and propped his feet up on the tabletop. Even that failed to draw a glare, which meant Finch really was in a good mood.
'What did I miss?' a woman's voice asked, from behind them, spinning Reese around, quickly, as he came lightly to his feet. Angelica gave him an 'oh, come on,' look, head tilted, eyebrows raised, and held up her hands, displaying two bags bearing the name of Reese's favorite Chinese restaurant.
'I asked Angelica to pick up the food. I hope you don't mind,' Finch explained, as he stood. She leaned over, gave the photos onscreen a look, followed with a laugh, shook her head.
'Nice,' she commented, indicating the pictures.
'Dinner is served. And, I brought a movie,' she added, setting the bags down to pull the case from her jacket, handed it to Reese. He took it, read,
' Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid?' with a confused twist to his face. Angelica shrugged, said,
'Classic Redford and Newman. An oldie, but a goodie.' She leaned close, a sly sparkle in her eye, informed Reese,
'I like movies. Ever seen this?' Reese shook his head, favoring Finch with a confused look, which Finch ignored.
'Awesome!' Angelica enthused, taking the DVD from his hand.
'It's an outlaw-buddy story. I thought you two would especially enjoy that.' Reese looked at Finch, who shrugged, admitted dryly,
'We do resemble that remark,' and headed toward the small refrigerator just around the corner.
'Next time, you can pick the flick,' she consoled, turning to unpack the food.
''Next time'?' Reese echoed, as Finch reappeared, carrying a beer, which he uncapped, then traded it to Angelica for the DVD. She accepted the brew with a smile, and a
Finch turned to Reese, nodded, explained,
'I felt it would be good therapy for both of us to relax and escape from the rigors of our….difficult employment…occasionally.' Reese didn't understand, but he was also really hungry, the food smelled delicious, and actually, he couldn't recall the last time he'd watched a movie. Plus, the prospect of spending a little time with someone other than Finch, well, specifically, with Angelica, was pleasantly attractive. She'd been notably absent from his work with the last two numbers, and, as much as he hated to admit it, he'd wished there had been a reason to call her in. Apparently, however, she'd been quite occupied dealing with whatever Finch's 'special project' for her was. His eyes narrowed as that memory crossed his mind; he needed to spend some time finding out what Finch was up to that called for Angelica's help. He decided that tomorrow was a good time to add that project to his list.
The empty Chinese food containers had all been piled neatly back into the bags, a half-dozen empty beer bottles stacked in an orderly row alongside. The end credits of the movie had just begun to roll across the screen as Reese drained the last swallow of his beer. The room was dark, except for the glow from the monitor, and the faint glow of the streetlights, outside the windows. Behind him, he heard a faint snore; Finch. Reese smiled, shook his head. Finch hadn't even made the halfway point of the movie. He glanced over at Angelica, sitting next to him, swirling the final swig of her beer around in the bottom of the bottle. She caught his look, turned, asked,
'Did you like it?' Reese thought for a few seconds, enduring her expectant stare, finally admitted, with a smile, and a slight nod,
'Yeah, it was pretty good.' Angelica broke a wide smile, downed the last of her brew. She tossed a fond grin over her shoulder at Finch, expression gentle, and Reese could see she had some type of history with his employer. So, maybe, he wouldn't have to wait until tomorrow to start his enquiry into her. Plus, his curiosity was piqued, so Reese turned his chair slightly toward her, asked,
'How did you and Finch meet?' Angelica studied his face, a small furrow in her brow, lips tight, as if deciding whether or not to answer.
Reese was patient, kept his features soft and open, though her eyes, quite pretty, even in this low light, were rather distracting. At last she sighed, leaned over to set her bottle with the others on the tabletop.
'I was Finch's first,' she said. Reese blinked, unable to keep shock from claiming his features, at least for a few seconds.
'His first? ' he blurted out, and Angelica gave him an evil glare, knowing exactly what had popped into his mind.
'Number. The first number he saved.' She gave an annoyed snort, advised, ' Mind out of the gutter, Reese.' Reese was happy it was dark in the room, as it made it much easier to hide his flustered expression. She looked away, studied the blue glow of the monitor.
'I owe him,' she said, quietly. Reese let the idea sink in for a minute before venturing, a gentle tone,
'Who did he save you from?' Her chin dropped to her chest, her face a study in sorrow, but pulled herself back up, met his eye squarely. Clearly, she had come to terms with whatever had happed.
'Myself.' The tone was so bleak, so lost, it hurt to hear it. She could see he was confused, so she sighed, closed her eyes, gathered her thoughts. Looked back at the monitor, as if it was too hard to say the words while looking at someone.
'You know what I mean, Reese, you've been there. My story is written on your face. Handled, lied to, used, abused,…discarded. Lost everyone…family, friends...come to the edge of the cliff, and very nearly stepped off. Alone. A ghost, living in the shadows.' Reese felt a pang in his chest, because, of course, she was right. Was he really that transparent? Especially to a stranger?
'He was there, the night I almost took that step. I'd written out my goodbyes, to the few acquaintances I had left…my CO, some of my comrades in arms. Had the gun, and a hollow point bullet for it. I was eating, what I figured was my last meal, at my favorite restaurant. When this funny little man sat down across the table from me. His eyes were so sad, sympathetic, like a little bird, feathers all fluffed up in a cold wind. He said, 'Don't do it, Angelica. There is so much more you can accomplish with your life.''
Reese allowed a smile to touch his lips at her description of Finch. Now that he thought about it, he did rather resemble an annoyed bird, at times. Then the truth of her words really hit him; she was telling his story. He'd been to that point, wishing for death, actively courting it, even, and then Finch had found him. Angelica looked back to him, and he could see his sadness mirrored in her eyes. Suddenly he realized he'd leaned forward, laid his arm sympathetically across the back of her chair, and they were very close. Quickly, he sat back. If she noticed, or it bothered her, she gave no indication.
'So,' she continued, a brighter tone, ' a couple weeks ago, when he got a hold of me, asked for a favor, I couldn't say no.' She faced him, the vulnerability completely erased from her face. She'd become the competent, tough woman he'd first met. A practiced façade.
'I really don't care how Finch does what you guys do, here. I'm just glad that he was right, about me.' Studying his expression, she asked, bluntly,
'Was he right, about you?'
Reese thought a second before replying, uncertainly,
'I'm still working that out.' She smiled, a gorgeous wide grin, true humor, and shook her head. Behind them, Finch sighed, shifted in his chair, and jolted awake. Saw both of them looking at him, mumbled,
'How did it end?' and they both laughed.
'Everybody died,' Angelica joked, and then she winked, 'Don't believe me. I always say that, about every movie.' Finch managed a grumpy scowl, stretched stiffly, as Reese moved to flip on some lights.
'See you in the morning,' Angelica said, to Finch, as she gathered up the empties and the trash, picked up her helmet. Shared another smile with Reese over her shoulder, said, seriously,
'Watch your back, Reese,' and disappeared down the dark hall. He made a confused face over that remark; he always watched his back. He let it go in favor of another line of questioning.
'What did you tell her, about me?' Reese asked, but he wasn't angry, as he met Finch's gaze. Finch looked straight at him, adjusted his glasses, said,
'Nothing, Mr. Reese. I didn't have to. In case you hadn't noticed, she has excellent powers of observation, like yourself. Besides, your stories are very similar.' A slight scowl furrowed Reese's brow, but he knew better than to question Finch any further about her, or her 'similar story'. For a man who had never learned to endure interrogation, he was damn good at doing so. Finch could see the renewed curiosity floating around behind Reese's eyes, and he offered,
'I'm certain that, when you are both ready, she'll tell you whatever it is you'd like to ask.'
'Really,' Reese scoffed, 'What is that supposed to mean?' but Finch just looked back at him with that enigmatic expression he saved for when he was done answering questions, and came to his feet. Reese sighed, resigned, but realized he was rather excited at the prospect of unraveling yet another mystery surrounding someone he knew.
'I'll see you in the morning, too,' Reese reminded. Finch just looked at him, expression completely neutral, replied,
'Of course you will. Good night, Mr. Reese.'