Finch sat momentarily stunned by the news that had just come through over the police scanner. News that he knew would have a profound effect on the work he and Reese did and most assuredly, on how they did it. At that moment, Reese entered and found the paled face Finch seated at his usual place in front of the computer. Reese took in the reddening brims of Finch's eyes and the glossy sheen that coated them and it appeared that the older man was on the verge of tears.
"What's wrong Finch?" Reese called out as he frowned up a bit in concern.
"Mr. Reese," Finch looked to the man who stood before him, as his mind raced as it tried to form the words. "I just overheard on the Police scanner…there's been an accident, a very bad accident." Reese's brow burrowed more deeply as he contemplated Finch's words, he easily deducted that this 'accident' involved someone Finch apparently knew, and as Reese continued staring at the seated man who stared back at him as if he had more to say but did not know how he should say it, Reese realized the accident involved someone he also knew. Reese let his mind wander on who it could be, who did Finch think mattered so much that he hesitated telling him about their accident. His eyes snapped to Finch's and suddenly he could feel his blood pressure rise and could hear his own heart beating loudly in his ears.
"Carter?" Reese asked and then held his breath as he awaited an answer.
"Yes," Finch confirmed and he watched as Reese stumbled back a step as if he had just suffered a physical blow. "But it's not Detective Carter." Finch continued knowing that was what Reese had assumed. Relief washed over Reese and his eyes clamped shut for a moment to erase the images his mind had conjured of Carter lying dead in some alleyway. However, his moment of rejoicing was short-lived as realization dawned and once again, he locked eyes with Finch, and silently waited for him to go on. "It's Taylor. Apparently, he was on a school trip to the museum, a driver lost control of their truck, and it hit the bus that Taylor was on, and caused it to go over some bridge…the report said that rescue workers were already on the scene pulling bodies from the river. One of the cops there was from the 8th precinct, Detective Carter's precinct and he identified one of the bodies as Taylor's. He called it in discreetly so they could get word to Carter before the news gets wind of it." Finch had not gotten his last sentence out before Reese had disappeared out the exit.
A short time later
Without being asked Finch sent Reese the whereabouts of Carter, whom he tracked through her cell. Reese arrived at the Jewelry shop that had just been robbed in time to see Carter cuff a perp who apparently had just killed the owner while attempting to rob the place. Her eyes quickly honed in on the man in the dark suit who was stalking across the street to where she stood with two other patrol officers.
"Take him downtown for booking please," She instructed one officer who grasp the perp's arm and hauled him to his car. Carter then moved to meet Reese halfway. "John what are you doing here? I told you that you should lay low now with Snow and this mystery woman out there gunning for you."
"Carter," Reese spoke as he gently grasped her by the elbow and began walking her to the diner a few doors down. "Something's happened and I need you to come with me."
"Ok," Carter replied with a baffled look on her face but she did not protest as Reese tugged her along. She had grown to trust him and learned to move when he said moved, but fully intended to question him as they went. "What's up?" She inquired but before he could answer and before they could reach the diner a flashing Police car pulled up to the curb right beside them and Fusco stepped from it. "Fusco what are you doing here, I thought you were working the homicide in the Bronx." Carter said as she frowned a bit at her partner.
"I was but then I got a call, and I came to get you…" Fusco stumbled over his words as he sent an apologetic gaze to Reese, who he could tell was just about to tell Carter about Taylor.
"Ok, why…what's up?" Carter questioned. She pulled from Reese's grip and moved to Fusco's car readying to head out.
"Uhm…" Fusco began but then hesitated and looked to Reese for some help. Carter followed Fusco's gaze and settled her eyes on Reese for a few seconds before looking once again to Fusco.
"Ok somebody tell me what's going on?" She asked in a more demanding tone.
"Joss," It was Reese baritone voice that filled her ears and she gave him her full attention. "There's been an accident." She let the words resonate in her head before she let her eyes moved from one man to the other.
"An accident, is that why you're here too?" She asked as she pointed to Fusco.
"Yeah," Fusco answered in a deflated tone.
"Well what kind of acci…" The words died on her lips as she shot enlarged, fright-filled eyed back to Reese, who looked back at her not with his usual hard steely glare, or the playful gleam, but with sad, sorrowful eyes. Instantly she knew and just as quickly fell into denial and began shaking her head. "No, no…" She fumbled in her pocket until she fished out her cellphone, which she opened, and hit the speed dial. "Pick up, pick up, pick up," She whispered out the chant as she pulled nervously at her bottom lip with her free hand. When she got no answer, she ended the call and then once again hit the speed dial to call Taylor's cell. Once again, she got no answer and before she could repeat the action again, Reese's hand grasped her hand stilling her actions.
"Joss, I'm so sorry." He said around the lump that had formed in his throat.
"No!" She yelled at him as she shoved against his chest. He stumbled back a bit but did not release his hold on her hand or the cell phone. "Not Taylor, no…please…please…not my baby, please." Carter moaned out as her legs buckled and she began to crumble. Reese caught her before she hit the sidewalk. Her outburst garnered a brief glance from the people walking by. "Didn't you get his number? Why didn't you protect him?" She asked as she gripped his shirt and looked at Reese with wild tear filled eyes. "Why didn't you protect my baby?" she half screamed, half cried as her head fell against Reese's chest. Reese closed his eyes to the guilt that suddenly filled him at her question. He too wondered why Finch had not called him to tell him that Taylor's number had come up, and he planned to get that answered but first he had to deal with the devastated woman clinging to him. It was Fusco to the rescue as he moved to where they stood and tried to pull a sobbing Carter from Reese's arms. Reese did not want to let go and so tightened his embrace.
"Let me take her." Fusco said but still Reese held on. "Look a crowd's gathering and I know you don't want to draw attention to yourself, so let me take care of her." The words made Reese relinquish his hold on Carter and she despondently moved to Fusco who took her to his car. Reese watched as Fusco put Carter in the car, his eyes locked to her face which was contorted in grief and anguish. "I'll call you and keep you in the loop." Fusco tossed out to Reese before he got into the car and drove off.
Reese burst through the entrance and Finch could see the anger written all over Reese's face. Finch also knew that the heated glare Reese had locked onto him were a demand for answers.
"It was an accident Mr. Reese. The Machine finds those who are most likely to be murdered or to commit a murder. Taylor wasn't murdered he was killed in an accident." He allowed a moment of silence to fill the room and to let his words sink in and dispel some of the anger and guilt he was sure Reese was feeling. "I take it you were able to get to Det. Carter and tell her of the accident."
"Yeah," Reese replied as he let his back rest against the door frame. "I don't know if she'll ever work with us again, she feels betrayed and I don't blame her."
"That would be a shame, she's a great asset."
"She's not an asset, not anymore and you know it Finch." Reese countered as he bowed his head and cast sad eyes to the floor. "She's a friend."
"Well I'd say that right about now she will need all of her friends. She doesn't have any real family, some distance cousins but none that are in New York. It was just her and Taylor. So maybe you should go be her friend."
"I don't think she wants to see me right now." Reese replied sounding defeated.
"She's grieving and once she gets over the initial shock of what's happened I think she'll realize that we're not to blame, and that it was a tragic accident." Finch stated as he turned from the screen to look at the emotionally exhausted man standing before him. "She's headed to the morgue to identify Taylor's body, John." He spoke more softly. "I think she going to need you whether she's ready to admit that or not." Reese blew out a heavy sigh and nodded his head before her headed back out.