Carter sets down the flowers and carefully wiped away the mud on the headstone. There had been torrential rain in the past couple of days, strange for this time of the year.

"Finally together now," she murmurs, dragging her finger over the name Harold and John in reverence. Behind her, someone sighs.

"Come on, Carter," Fusco says softly. "It's starting to rain again."

"New York cries for them," Carter says, looking up. "They didn't deserve this."

Fusco sighs again, the amiable plump features of his face suddenly ageing by a decade. "No, they didn't."

"They couldn't even find their whole body," Carter keeps on, almost mesmerised by her own thoughts, "They found trace evidence of blood, a few vertebrae with obvious injury, some surgical nails that was used to uphold the neck, sixteen fingers with an extra calf - half the building sank, they couldn't even retrieve -"

"Hey, hey, come on now," Fusco says, laying a gentle hand on her. "You know better than to dwell on details like that. We carry on their work, that's what they would have wanted."

Carter stared at the headstone for a few moments more, a few raindrops sliding into the curved engravings of the W and the R. Then she sighs and straightens up.

"Yeah," she says, taking the umbrella Fusco offered, "Let's go and do our jobs."

"I do feel sorry we had to do this to our Detectives," Finch says, looking up from his computer that is linked to a private satellite network. "Perhaps we should send them a postcard."

"Lionel? No," Reese says, coming through the door and struggling with the five pound fish that he just managed to tow from the ocean. "He'll sleep better at night thinking we are dead."

"You don't give enough credit to Detective Fusco," Finch says, scowling a little, then he sees Reese's face and realises he was joking. "Alright. I take it you don't want to personally sign it, then?"

"I'll send him a souvenir," Reese says. "A voodoo doll from Haiti or something, just to let him know that I'm still watching, from the great beyond."

Finch laughs, and Reese loses concentration for just a moment; the fish promptly escapes and writhes its way across the living room floor. Reese goes after it with admirable agility, but he is not fast enough - Bear charges out from the bedroom with a happy woof and sinks his teeth into the fish's head as Finch and Reese groan in unison.

"Bad boy!" Reese says, "That was dinner!"

Admonished, Bear growls and his ears droop, the fish falling to the floor once more with a thump.

"Well," Finch begins as Reese is surveying the fish for damage, "I'm not so sure about dinner, Mr. Reese, this specific type of Hexagrammos lagocephalus -"

"It's a trout," Reese says, blankly.

"No," Finch counters, lips twitching a little, "It's a rock greenling. A particularly boring one, granted, but it is not a trout. It's commonly cultivated as a gamefish."

Reese narrows his eyes, looking up at Finch and down at the fish, finally at Bear again, who promptly gives a whine and thumps his wail once in apology. "Hear that, Bear? This could have been a gamefish. We could have kept it if you hadn't bit its head off so quickly."

"Actually I'm not so sure about keeping a five pound gamefish, Mr. Reese..."

"Would you keep quiet and let me discipline the children for once?" Reese asks exasperatedly, hopping off the floor with one graceful motion. "Bear! Jagen! Go hunt some dinner for us."

Finch opens his mouth again, unable to resist. "I'm not sure that's what Bear is trained...for..." He trails off as Reese stalks closer, raising a finger in an unmistakable 'shush' gesture. Reese stops five inches away, hovering over him, blocking the sunlight, seemingly giving off a radiance of his own.

"One," he says, voice smooth and low, "Bear developed excellent hunting skills once I taught him to identify prey from foe and two," he nudges closer to Finch's cheek, "I would really like some alone time before dinner."

"Is that so?" Finch says, letting the book he was reading drop to the floor. "I seem to recall alone time before lunch, and breakfast."

"What can I say," Reese replies, smirking, "All that unspent energy without all the kneecapping."

For a brief moment Finch looks scandalised, then his lips twitch, and Reese is ready to seize the moment, only he is stopped by a firm hand on his chest. Reese looks down to find Finch with a calculating look, the look that he always gets when he is tackling a particularly difficult piece of code, or contemplating how best to push Reese over the edge in bed, so that Reese is reduced to nothing but feeling. Reese stops obediently, waiting, smiling a little, and Finch finally meets his eyes.

"I may not be young like you anymore, Mr. Reese," Finch murmurs, a subtle authoritative tone in his voice that goes straight to the bottom of his spine, "But don't think for one minute that you will have any unspent energy left when we are done."

Reese grins, and his eyes twinkle in a way of challenge; Finch looks equal parts affronted and amused, he raises an eyebrow that says, why, are you doubting my abilities, Mr. Reese? And Reese staggers backwards in a surprisingly possessive kiss, where hands slid up his waist and pulls at his hair at the same time, lips taking claim and tongues coaxing obedience, and he complies without question. He finds the kiss heady, slightly intoxicated, drunk on the fondness and exasperation that is drawn by the movement of their lips, a smiling that flits across, indulgent, unburdened, free.

Reese is pushed towards the bed, where Bear had obviously stole a nap recently, and Finch rolls his eyes and whispers in his ear "you do a terrible job at disciplining the children," and it shouldn't be hot as it is but he is impossibly turned on, and replies by a chuckle and a buck of his hips.

Finch works at his buttons with a steady, unhurried precision and it almost drives him mad, but Finch silences his attempt at helping with one look, and he gets irreducibly hard. The afternoon sun flutters through the blinds, soft, blown open by the wind, warm and salty of the ocean, a glimpse of the garden they had maintained in the backyard, its summer fruit ready to bear, and Reese sighs, unable to wipe the silly grin off his face.

"I see you are not concentrating," Finch says, tucking at his briefs with a small, mocking scowl. "I must try harder."

Reese laughs and starts to protest, but the noise dwindles into a sigh as Finch takes him whole, in one, practiced and familiar motion, bringing him to full hardness, engulfed and warm, much like the rest of his body, and his heart, for god's sakes, sappiness and dignity be damned. Reese sprawls out on the bed and waves his long limbs up and down, as if he was lying on snow and playing around in it, and Finch looks up again.

"Okay," he says, muffled, then letting go with a pop, "Now you seem to be enjoying this too much."

Reese chuckles and watches him through hooded eyes, the satisfied, content smile never leaving his handsome features, and realisation dawns on Finch's face.

"I see," Finch says, brushing the side of his length with his lips and warm breath, "Well I'm glad."

"I can put my finger on it just fine this time," Reese says, smiling, "Must be this retirement."

Finch raises a brow and says nothing, lips hovering over his crown, but Reese is able to make out a smile behind those eyes, sharp blue, clear as the ocean. He dives in, letting the warmth submerge him, supporting him, letting go.

Though Reese is not twenty-five anymore and three times is really pushing it in a single day, Finch still has extraordinary patience and remarkably agile fingers, so the waves build to a tide and the tide into an improbable high, and every fibre of his being begs to be let down however unceremoniously, but Finch just hums and keeps him dangerously tipping on edge, holding him firmly place without letting him fall, and Reese knows defeat when he sees one. He opens his eyes to see Finch smiling, a small, devious smile that only makes an appearance when the man is truly satisfied with himself, and Reese realises his muscles are quivering, ready to explode, all the unspent energy -

Then Finch abruptly lets go, and Reese almost sobs.

"God," he gasps, urgent, voice raw, "I'll do anything. Finch, just -"

"Anything?" Finch says, amused, lightly brushing his finger under his crown, looking for all his part lazily pleased, "Alright. You are washing bear for the next three weeks."

"What?" Reese mumbles incoherently as Finch skilfully avoided yet another attempt from him to pleasure himself, "Yes, okay, is this what you really wanna talk about now?"

"The final frontier, Mr. Reese," Finch murmurs, and Reese stares at him incredulously, forcefully hit with that inexplicable urge again to laugh and cry at the same time.

"You are insane," Reese says, chest heaving rapidly with a strangulated noise, "Okay, I'll wash him for a month -"

"And you will not permit him to nibble on my second edition books just because they are second editions," Finch commands, giving him a firm stroke, "All your talk of discipline, Mr. Reese, you know you spoil him too much."

Reese nearly growls. "Fine, but you also stop feeding him leftovers that -" he is duly stopped by another stroke, long and leisurely this time, with not nearly enough force and he whimpers in frustration.

"Did I give you the impression that this is a negotiation?" Finch says all too innocently, "My bad." Nimble fingers circle his head again, smearing the glistening wetness and Reese swallows another whimper, "Now, where were we?"

"Discipline," Reese says through gritted teeth.

"Ah yes," Finch says, appearing more than thrilled, and Reese fights the urge to smother him with a fierce kiss, "You will train Bear not to dig up the root vegetables we keep in our garden because they are not treasures or trophies for your little games."

"Done!" Reese rasps, and is rewarded with two strokes, firmer this time, Finch's thumb pressing lightly beneath the curve of his crown.

"Let's see..." Finch says thoughtfully, brushing maddeningly light strokes along his length, "I liked the crab you caught the other day."

"I'll catch you a damn lobster feast if you'll just -"

"And will you accompany me to the other side of the island to watch sea gulls?"

"Yes!" Then a wayward squint, "Do you really have to ask?"

For that Reese is rewarded handsomely, and his head flops back onto the pillow with an incoherent moan. Finch surfaces a moment later, voice laden with delight,

"Oh yes, I almost forgot, kindly wash the carpet. Bear has done a great deal of unspeakable things to it -"

"I was going to!" Reese growls, desperate at the interruption.

"Good," Finch says, smug. "Alphabetise the books you read after you read them, please, back on the bookshelf."


"The vases I bought from the nearest island market is not a suitable target for shooting, however strong your distaste."

"Okay! Ah..."

"My secret tea stash is not to be used for cooking, no matter how exotic the recipe is."

"Agreed! Oh God, Finch, just -"

"Marry me."

"- I thought I did," Reese says, blinking rapidly, not missing a beat.

Finch's lip twitch as his hands pick up motion. "Still in possession of your full faculties, I see," He murmurs, seductive and enticing, "Let's see what we can do about that."

Reese opens his mouth to say something, then his eyes flutter close and all the glorious muscles in his body tense, rigid, for a brief moment before the frontier is breached; then the waves crush him and he finally meets the water, warm and welcoming, drowning, intoxicated as he falls back down, limp, relaxed and thoroughly burned out. Finch reaches up to brush a strand of damp hair away from his forehead before pressing a kiss, playful, content, and Reese smiles into it.

They lay side by side for a long idle moment, listening to the sound of distant waves and the wind ruffling the leaves, sending the smell of the ocean and sundown into their room. At some point Bear comes back into the house and drops something heavy onto the floor, tail thumping happily; but he doesn't enter the room, not with his acute sense of smell, and Reese suspects that despite all the talk about the lack of discipline, Bear knows when not to disturb the parents.

"I bet there is one thing you forgot about in all this," Reese says after a long while. Finch looks at him inquisitively. "I'm so spent I can't possibly make dinner now," he says, completely unapologetic.

Much to his chagrin, Finch actually chuckles. "You underestimate me, Mr. Reese," he says, with no small amount of smugness, "There is a pot of casserole waiting for us in the kitchen. I made it when you were out for the afternoon."

Reese turns to stare at him, flabbergasted. "You had it all planned?"

Finch doesn't reply but raises an elegant brow. "I know everything... about you," he says in a mock sing song voice that is incredibly annoying and endearing at the same time, expression more alive than Reese has ever seen.

"I can't move a muscle," Reese says, "Or I might be tempted with undue acts of questionable nature upon your body and psyche."

Finch merely laughs, a free sound that flies with the gush of the ocean, clear and unaffected, the most wonderful thing Reese has ever heard. Reese pops himself up on an elbow and watches Finch smile, the small curve of the lips, relaxed lines around his eyes, bright and affectionate, full of the fierce devotion that Reese is made to feel by every touch and every look, every word and every kiss. The inexplicable, indescribable and improbable urge is back, to laugh and cry at the same time, to celebrate and implore, to rejoice and remember. Reese closes his eyes and inhales, the familiar scent of Finch's aftershave mixed with the ocean, and reaches under his pillow, fumbling.

Finch watches him with fascination as Reese produces his hand at last, curled into a fist. Reese is looking at him again, a small smile upon his lips, eyes warm and expression a little sheepish, as if he's waiting for approval, and unfolds his fingers - Finch stares down at two perfectly round shells, each with a heart shaped pattern on its back, already carefully punctured with a hole so that it can be threaded and worn around the neck.

"I know it's not exactly a ten carat ring," Reese says, soft, almost a mesmerising whisper, "But I figured you'd just be able to buy a bigger one anyway, and I wanted something different - " He takes an deep breath, almost embarrassed because Finch is looking at him oddly, "- I've been searching the beach since we got here, and I only found the resembling set last week. I thought maybe we could..." Making a vague gesture towards the neck, Reese's voice trail off as Finch's grip suddenly become painful on his arm.

"You are a traditional romantic," Finch says, finally, voice steady and face blank, betrayed only by the quivering of his fingers. Reese looks down at his arm and smiles.

"You said so yourself," he murmurs, nudging his nose against Finch's cheek, feeling the slow flush that creeps under the warm skin. "Marry me."

Finch's lips curl against his. "I think we are way past that frontier now, John," he says, unreserved and pleased, "Happy sixth anniversary."


I will apologise for the plot holes but not for the sap (ok maybe a little for the sap), but not the fluff! OK the fluff. Man, sue me for wanting them to be happy. *sigh*