Thank you beth e for fixing so many of my grammatical mistakes. I may have put a few back in.
Everything Falls Apart.
'Private person', Finch realized was a euphemism for someone with something to hide. Finding Reese, it turned out, was not the redemption Finch thought it would be. It was more like opening Pandora 's box and letting all his own hated secrets out. He hadn't lied, he'd told himself, except by omission, which was widely accepted as remaining truthful. But Reese didn't see it that way at all. Reese saw it as a deeper lie, a lie within a lie, a betrayal.
Apparently that had been the point of this whole venture, Finch reflected now, now that things had fallen apart. "Be careful what you look for," he'd admonished Reese and here he sat, alone, tucked away from the rest of the world in the library he had bought and immediately hidden from the world, in an ambush of legal and financial sleight of hand. He'd basically stalked Reese for years, in secret, looking for the proverbial ghost in the Machine, the numbers, the face, the voice. The Machine kept tracking all of it. It was Reese who made the Machine demand more information, more programming, more code, more databases, more hacking, more, more, more. Finch truly had believed the Machine was making mistakes, that he was making mistakes. It only made him learn more about how to find people and plots that were purposefully being hidden, and then he taught the Machine to learn that too.
It took years, but in January, 2011, the Machine finally found him. The face, the voice, the numbers, the prints and DNA that was the ghost, born John Henry Harris, May 1, 1968 in Puyallup, Washington. In February Finch had moved to New Rochelle to continue his rehabilitation from his accident. He'd had an idea and he knew Reese would be coming to New Rochelle. Finch thought he knew everything and by most human standards he did. That didn't mean he understood. They'd bumped into each other, intentionally, in February. Finch hadn't anticipated the crime scene at Arendt's house or the nosedive Reese would take in the aftermath.
It was 4:30 AM, early Friday morning September 23rd when the Machine notified Finch. The Machine had picked up video from the subway, and NYPD's 8th precinct had run Reese's fingerprints through AFIS. Finch sent one of his lawyers and had Reese in a car by the time the police got their hits. He had gone after Reese like he went after everything, just another stepping-stone in his life, to get what he really wanted. Now he wanted to save lives that were in trouble. Reese was on his way to their initial meet by 5:30 AM.
It had taken Reese only a few months to shed his cloak of infallibility; people were getting savvier, he mused. After eight months, Reese had looked him in the eye, wanting an explanation, hoping for an answer- some reassurance that he was a friend, a confidant. But Finch had stared back, shuttered, cold, locking Reese out. He had wondered briefly at the welling in Reese's eyes. He'd seen it before, in New Rochelle, then asking about Jessica, such a small tell for the sorrow that was Reese, grief and regret. How was he supposed to have told him about Ordos, the Machine, that Machine, Corwin? How could he tell Reese he didn't get to Jessica in time because when the CIA took out Ingram he had only been collateral damage, but someone had taken Ingram's, his laptop, and it had made its way to China. It had taken months but Corwin had uncovered the theft and its whereabouts, and Corwin had sent Reese to destroy all traces of it. How could he explain that? He couldn't, and now Reese was gone again, feeling lied to, feeling betrayed.
The Machine already knew how to search for John Reese. Now the Machine gave him bits of video with Reese and a bottle in hand. Finch was surprised by the brief flare of annoyance he felt that Reese was drinking top shelf scotch these days. Reese's eyes had been the most telling, and they were empty in every one of the videos. Finch swore he had seen life there once. Humor, joy, maybe just hope. Reese had needled and spied and researched, ostensibly to get closer. Maybe that was all Reese wanted, someone to know, to trust to spend the rest of what he apparently thought would be the rest of a very short life. Someone, not something. He wanted a second chance at something very real; a second chance at life with all the fullness it had to offer and Finch could not deliver. So John realized he was just another pawn used for the sake of what was right, to avert the threat that was very real, with information from a reliable source. Nothing tangible, nothing real, and he'd killed for the hope that he would get to know the source- really know it, trust it enough to make him believe in what he was doing. That hadn't happened.
Months later when his cell rang, caller unknown, he answered with dread. "Hello?" he said hesitantly. It was Han, John's friend, from a town near Ordos, from the park where they played Xiangqi. "Mr. Finch?"
"John says he wants to come home now. He asked me to call you."
"Oh, thank God." Finch looked at the caller number and asked while his fingers flew across the keys. "Where are you?" A blip appeared on his screen. "Never mind. I'll be right there."