So this is what happens when I watch Skyfall and think about Reese, John Reese. -headdesk-

Copious references to Skyfall, possible spoilers, though you don't have to have seen the film to understand. Hope you enjoy!

of exploding pens and other trivialities

"Why do you never make me any exploding pens, Finch?" Reese asks one day.

They have just finished watching 007: Skyfall, over some Chinese takeaway and curtsey of some exclusive Movies Preview Club Mr. Harold Wren belonged to. Reese took an immediate interest to the new Q, computer savvy and all that, which seems to be the new trend in international crime novels nowadays as well as the world in reality.

"I'm not your Quartermaster, Mr. Reese," Finch murmurs, picking up the takeaway box.

"So you think you are more like M?" Reese quirks a brow, looking faintly amused.

"No," Finch answers resolutely, "there is nothing bureaucratic about our work, in case you hadn't noticed."

Reese hums, and follows the dancing of Finch's fingers across the keyboard. They don't have a new Number yet, and it is still too early to retire back to his own quarters. "Can you, though?"

"Make our work more bureaucratic?" Finch raises a brow in amusement, though does not look at him.

"Make an exploding pen," Reese says.

Finch pauses in his housekeeping work, and studies him for a few seconds.

"You are nothing like Bond, John," he says softly.

Reese considers this for a moment. "I can be," he says, thinking of the few occasions where he managed to blow something up spectacularly in enemy compounds when he was working for the CIA.

"I should hope not," Finch cuts across his reminiscence in a half amused, half alarmed tone, "I'm not sure how the introduction of Reese girlswould fare for our operation."

It takes a complete second before Reese catches up to Finch's meaning and he blinks, then laughs. "No, I'm not like Bond, am I?"

Finch gives him a once-over and an odd look that seems to say, 'you can be', though the man says nothing, and only smiles placatingly.

"What about a gun that is custom mould to my fingerprints?" Reese prompts again, hopeful.

Finch sighs. "Need I remind you of my aversion to firearms?"

"At least a radio, then."

"Mr. Reese, our secure phone connection works anywhere there is satellite coverage, which is pretty much all of the globe. I should think that is better than a radio." Then, after a brief pause, "I'll build you a new app to use in an emergency."

Reese chuckles. "Oh you do spoil me, Harold."

Finch gives him an exasperated look. "I thought you were skeptical of so called crime novels and spy movies?"

"They can be fun," Reese says dismissively, "although it's rarely that glorious."

"Never had a chance to ride a motorbike across the rooftop?" Finch asks, fairly intrigued now.

"Someone once rode a motorbike over me," Reese says, airily. "Does that count?"

Finch grimaced. "Not nearly as glorious."

"Never had a chance to jump onto a moving subway train either," Reese says, thoughtful. "Though I can't say the opportunity won't present itself again in the future."

"Please do refrain from doing that," Finch says in a pained voice. "Besides, my facial recognition software is much, much quicker in identifying faces in crowds, Mr. Reese, and you can trust that I won't tell you to jump onto a train once it has departed."

"I'm heartened," says Reese in a mock toast of his after dinner coffee. He takes a careful sip. "Are you sure you don't want to see some of my more glorious moves?"

"I like you alive, John," Finch says, oddly firm. "Unlike the MI6 or the Agency, I don't have a line up of agents, and you are not expendable."

Reese smiles, eyes soft. "Not the one to say 'take the shot' then?"

Finch doesn't even grace that with a reply, only gives him a look and huffs.

Reese sets down his cup, feeling suddenly warm and heartened, not least because of the dollop of brandy Finch added to his coffee, as a pick-me-up just in case a late Number comes in. He looks over the interior of the library, listens to the contact tap tap tap on the keyboard, and the low hum of the air vents near by.

"These books have secrets, Mr. Reese," Finch murmurs, almost too small for him to hear.

Reese's eyes land on the top section of the rare editions shelf, where some old, dusty and ready to fall apart at the first thumbing books stood in plastic wrappings, and have been there since he could remember. He stands up, and edges towards them.

"I really wouldn't do that," Finch says, without looking up. "They are very delicate."

Reese gets a distinct feeling that for once, Finch isn't talking about books. "What happens if I touch them?"

"Nothing," Finch says, looking a little smug now, "But if you try to move one of them, well, let's just say, something distinctively 007 happens."

Reese's finger almost twitch at that, though he knows better. "Tell me."

"Oh, come now, Mr. Reese." Finch offers him a small smile that is almost a smirk, "You don't think I don't have a contingency plan for every location that we live in?"

Reese thinks this might be the most curious conversation he has ever had with his employer. "Does it blow up?"

Finch eyes him. "You are very fond of explosions, aren't you?"

"I was a spy," Reese says, going for cheeky now. "It comes with the job description."

Finch considers this for a moment, then brightens. "Ah, I do have something for you."

"That explodes?" Reese is alarmed now, for all Finch's aversion to firearms, he doesn't really trust the man around explosives.

He watches cautiously while Finch gets up, stalks around the desk and starts rummaging around in one of the bottom drawers, filled with outdated files and unused stationary. At long last he produces a pen with a triumphant 'aha!'

Reese is flabbergasted. "You really do have an exploding pen?"

Finch gives him a look that says, 'don't be obtuse, Mr. Reese' and proceeds to click the pen three times.


Reese's instincts tell him to run for cover, though his mind is stuck at the ridiculousness of the situation. He grabs the edge of the desk just for good measure.

"Should we run?"

Finch tries very hard to maintain a straight face as he gives him that look again. "Such lack of finesse, Mr. Reese."

The end of the pen blinks briefly, and fades. For a few seconds it looks all very anti-climatic, then the computer on the desk starts beeping incessantly, and Finch breaks into a wide smile.

"It still works," he says, looking extremely satisfied.

"What does?"

"This," Finch caresses the pen with an almost revering look. "Click three times, and it sends a distress signal to my computer. It's a tracker of sorts, very simple, but gets the job done. I made this just after watching Golden Eye."

Reese raises an amused brow. "So you were into gadgets for a while?"

"A while," Finch says, not taking his eyes off his primitive creation, almost lost in thought. "Then I realised I can't make anything that has the potential to do physical damage, and tracking is that much easier with a paired phone, so I stopped."

He looked up and smiled, a faint but warm smile.

"Here, I want you to have this."

Reese blinks, mildly surprised. "Are you sure?"

"Yes," Finch hands him the pen with an air of finality to it. "Think of it as the backup plan. Like the radio."

Stunned, Reese turns the pen over and sees a light engraving to the side.

H. W.

Reese looks up. Finch is still smiling at him, his eyes holding a soft, affectionate light, that almost speaks.

"Keep safe, John," he says quietly.

Reese decides not to tell him that he has had many fancier gadgets from the Agency, for he is sure that this pen is more precious than them all. He places the pen in his chest pocket, close to his heart, and smiles back.