Person of Interest and all character names therein are owned by Warner Brothers, Bad Robot, and Kilter Films. All characters are fictional and resemblance to any persons living or dead is coincidental. No copyright infringement is intended.

After
by Sailor Chronos

Reese grunted angrily as he slammed his hands against the bars of the vault. He had been shut out by the one man he trusted most in the world. It was clear that Finch wasn't expecting to survive this day, and had taken extreme measures to ensure that his partner was safe from whatever was to come. But betrayal or not, Reese was having none of it. Since he had returned to work with Finch after Carter's death, he had sworn that nothing would separate him from his friend again. "What have you done, Finch?" he demanded.

Looking tired and defeated, Finch painfully stood upright and held his face a few inches in front of the bars. "When I hired you, I suspected you were going to be great," he said breathlessly, with a sad smile. "What I couldn't have anticipated was that you would become such a good friend. I'm afraid this is where our partnership ends."

Finch turned and picked up a briefcase from the floor, and then began to stumble out of the vault, holding his left hand tightly against the wound in his abdomen that a Samaritan agent had inflicted upon him earlier.

"Harold!" Reese called after him, his heart hammering in his chest as he grabbed the bars and shook them in a futile attempt to reach his best friend. "Don't do this. Please!"

"Good-bye, John," Harold whispered, and then he was gone.

The man who rarely raised his voice could no longer hold back the cascade of emotions as his anguished cry echoed off the vault walls.

"Harold!"

The memories hit him hard and fast.

After he had lost Jessica –

"You need a purpose. More specifically, you need a job."

After he had been betrayed by Mark Snow –

"Stitch him up, no questions asked."

After he had been used by Kara Stanton –

"This is my past catching up with me, it doesn't concern you."

"But this moment does. I'm not leaving you here, John."

After he had lost Joss –

"We save lives. You save lives. You're dying, John. Let us help you."

After he recklessly pursued a killer off-grid and suffered a gunshot wound and hypothermia –

It had been Finch who had figured out where he was and rescued him.

Despite the dubious relationship they had in the beginning, Harold Finch had more than earned Reese's loyalty. And Reese had paid it back many-fold by working the Numbers and protecting Finch, to the extreme of taking bullets for them. Against all odds the two of them had become an inseparable team, and he would be damned if he was going to allow Finch to walk away from him now. Not after –

Glaring desperately up at the ceiling camera in the vault's anteroom, he growled "Can you hear me?" and hoped against hope that the Machine would talk to him one last time. There was no reply, but he continued anyway. "Get me out of here. Please." His voice cracked and he tried to swallow but his throat was dry. "He gave me a purpose. He saved my life. I won't let him face this alone. No matter what happens next, I will protect him and I will care for him. I promise. Because..." He clenched the bars until his knuckles turned white and let out a shaking breath as he finally admitted it to himself. "I love him, just as you do."

A loud clank issued from the heavy brass door and it slowly swung open.

"Thank you," he whispered. He checked his pistol and strode out, grim and determined. He was going to save Harold or die trying.

The Samaritan agents were as nothing to him. No more kneecapping now; the situation was too dire. He mowed them all down with ruthless efficiency as he made his way to the roof of the building. The last two agents never even saw him because in their haste to corner Finch they didn't think to watch their own backs.

Finch heard the noise of gunfire and bodies falling and swung around, wide-eyed with fear as he held up a pistol in his trembling hand. He straightened up in amazement as he saw Reese approaching. "Please, stay away."

Reese halted and spread his arms out. "What are you going to do, shoot me?" he asked. It was the same question that Finch had asked of him on another rooftop, in another lifetime.

Finch responded as expected. "This is my past catching up with me. There's no need for you to throw away your life."

Stubbornly shaking his head, Reese said, "I've been on borrowed time since you found me. Sometimes one life, if it's the right life, is enough. As long as I can spend it with you. I'm not leaving you here, Harold."

Finch's mouth dropped open in shock and he lowered the gun. Immediately Reese rushed to his side and put a strong arm around his partner's body to assist him. What he wanted to do at this moment was to pull Harold into his arms and tell him his true feelings that he had buried for such a long time. However those few seconds of selfishness would doom them. Their immediate escape was essential; any discussion would have to wait.

As they made their way back to the roof door, Reese shoved his pistol into his belt and scooped up one of the downed agents' assault weapons. There would undoubtedly be more hostiles on the way, but he wouldn't let that stop him. Not now, not ever, not until Harold was safe.


A few blocks away, a severely wounded Lionel Fusco and Sameen Shaw clung to each other for support as they limped around the corner of a building. Samaritan agents had discovered the subway hideout and the ensuing firefight had been brutal. Amid almost overwhelming odds, they managed to disconnect the train car that housed the ailing Machine's brain and move it to another location. But the ex-con turned assassin Jeff Blackwell hitched a ride and nearly killed them before they could take him down.

They heard a low-pitched rushing noise, and looked up just in time to see a missile fly by and obliterate a nearby brownstone. Dust and shards of rock flew everywhere, and the people in the streets panicked.

The two comrades-in-arms stared at each other helplessly. There was nothing they could do in their present state. They'd had no contact with either Finch or Reese for some time, and had absolutely no way of knowing whether they were dead or alive. That hurt more than physical wounds ever could.

"We'll just have to hope," said Shaw quietly.

"Yeah," replied Fusco. "That's all we can do."


John Reese had once believed that in the end we were all alone, and no one was coming to save you. But then he met someone, a person who connected him to the world. Thanks to that person he had become someone different, someone better. When that person was taken from him, he had stopped at nothing to get him back. Even when that person had tried to push him away, even when the spectre of death was upon them, he had refused to leave his side. It wasn't just personal loyalty to an employer any more; it was an alliance that transcended the bounds of mere friendship, becoming an unbreakable bond.

After the missile explosion and ensuing chaos in New York, the two of them had been presumed dead. It didn't really matter, because as far as most of the world was concerned they had both been dead for years. But those who had known them would undoubtedly remember them as heroes.

Perhaps one day they would let Fusco and Shaw know they were in fact alive. Perhaps one day they would resurface with new identities and find ways to help people, Machine or no Machine.

But for now, finally, they had a well-deserved rest.

Together.

Reese breathed in the tropical breeze that was rustling the open window's white sheer curtains. The friendly yellow sunshine and the merry cheeping of birds in the trees outside were welcoming, but the king-sized bed was comfortable and at the moment he didn't want to leave it. A memory of a similar scene from many years ago replayed in his mind, but he gently filed it away and focused on the here-and-now.

He nestled himself against the warm body of the person who was occupying the other side of the bed.

Who stirred and took a long breath as he opened his eyes. "Hmm. John?"

"Good morning, Harold."

His partner smiled. "Yes. Yes, it is."