A/N: Just a little one-shot to tide you over till the next chapter of Chaos. Thanks to everyone who reads and reviews! It's much appreciated. Many thanks to SWWoman for everything she does above and beyond. Please enjoy...
It had been six months since they buried Joss and he still couldn't bring himself to visit her grave. It was just too painful. He closed his eyes as he was assailed with memories of her touch, her scent, that one day they spent together and opened themselves up to one another, agreeing to keep it on the DL. That chaste kiss in the morgue had just been another expression of how much she meant to him. If only he had said more. If only he had told her he loved her more than life itself. If only…
"John," Finch called with concern.
"Yeah, Finch what is it?" he answered pulling himself away from his myriad thoughts.
"I was telling you about our new number. Are you sure you're alright? I can get Shaw to work this one if you still need some time," Finch said compassionately.
"No, Finch, really, I'm alright. I need to work it keeps my mind occupied," so I don't have to think about her he added silently.
Finch seemed to understand without being told the silent plea and continued.
"Her name is Abigail Simpson. She lives in a two bedroom apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. So she is not poor but not swimming in money by any means. I've sent you her address. She has a decent credit score, pays her bills on time and seems to lead a normal life accept for one thing. I can't find any photo of her anywhere. No DMV, no social media, nothing. She has a very real social security number or The Machine would not have given it to us. But no photo anywhere makes me extremely curious….and a little nervous."
John listened with increasing interest. Who could this woman be? Standing to his feet he said,
"I'll go to her apartment, have a look around. She may have photos at home that we don't have access to." John smiled one of his rare smiles. "Don't worry, Finch. She's probably just like you. Ultra-cautious when it comes to her security." Finch just harrumphed as John turned and left the library.
Turning into an alley across from Abigail Simpsons apartment John decided to stake it out first before going inside to see if any activity might be of interest. He was glad he did because he had only been there a few minutes when he saw a familiar face leaving the building with who he could only assume was Abigail for she was covered from head to toe to conceal her identity. Although something about her struck John as familiar but he didn't know why. The man he recognized as Agent Moss from the FBI that had investigated Donnelly's death and later interviewed Joss for the FBI.
Sitting bolt upright in his seat, he took a closer look at the woman as she started to climb into the back of Moss's SUV. Just before stepping in she turned and looked straight at him as if she knew he was watching her. John's breath caught in his chest. She had wide sunglasses on that covered most of her face, but he would swear that was Joss! Then she turned back, was in the SUV and gone before John could blink an eye.
He drew in a deep, steadying breath. He had to get a hold on himself. There was no way that was Joss. He had held her as she bled to death in his arms. He was there when she drew her last breath. He felt her heart stop beating, god dammit!
Finally getting control of himself, he decided to check out the apartment. That may not have even been Abigail Simpson, he thought. That was a chance he was going to have to take if he wanted some answers.
There was no doorman at the front of the building so John just took the stairs to her floor, elevators tend to have cameras, and made his way to her door. Letting himself in as he had done a million times before wasn't easy though. She had some rather unique safety measures in place that he had to circumvent to get in. She was ultra-cautious or ultra-paranoid, he didn't know which. After finally gaining entrance to her apartment he stopped to listen for movement or sound. It was quiet and still as if no one was there. He began looking around and noticed she didn't have any photos on display here either. He thought that a bit unusual, but he didn't have any photos either accept for the one of him and Joss taken by Shaw when they were goofing around one day.
He made his way slowly through the house not finding anything that would physically identify Abigail. He stepped into her bedroom and examined the room thinking off hand that Joss would like this room. It was warm and cozy, with bright colors and lots of pillows on the bed. Walking over to the bed he saw two framed photos standing on the bedside nightstand. Finally, a picture….
He stopped dead in his tracks and with a trembling hand reached for the same 5x7 framed photo of him and Joss that he had on his nightstand. His mind was racing. What did this mean? Why was this here? And then his eyes fell on the other framed photo. It was a picture of Taylor, and it was recent, taken with a high powered lens. Just as he was about to reach for the other photo he heard movement behind him and spun around reaching behind him for his weapon.
"What are you doing here, John?" Joss asked simply, as if she had been expecting him.
John blinked. Was he losing his mind? Had he finally gone over the edge?
Joss smiled as she walked toward him and placed her hands on his shoulders. His body jerked at her touch, the familiar warmth that he had missed for the last six months suffusing his body.
"No, you're not losing your mind. I'm really here." She whispered quietly, lovingly.
With that he reached for her, wrapping his strong arms around her and pulling her close molding her to his body. He looked into her deep, dark eyes and brought his lips down to meet her welcoming kiss.
He was not gentle as he should have been. He was too hungry for her touch to waste time on sensibilities. He swiped his tongue across her lips and she opened them inviting him to discover again the riches to be had there.
Joss knew he would come. She had waited impatiently for months for John to come for her. He finally did and it was glorious. She returned his kiss with the same hunger because she didn't want to waste time either. She didn't know how long they would have before Moss showed up.
Reluctantly she pulled out of the kiss leaning her forehead on his chest. She knew he had questions, and wanted answers, but that was going to have to wait. Right now she had to get him out of her apartment before anyone found him there.
"Joss..?" John began looking into her dark, worried eyes and he frowned as Joss interrupted him.
"John, listen to me. I know you have questions you want answered but now is not the time." She said pulling out of his embrace and taking him by the hand to pull him toward the door. "You need to leave before someone finds you here."
But John didn't budge. "I'm not going anywhere, Joss. I just found you after months of thinking you were dead. I'm not about to leave." He said stubbornly.
"John, please," she begged him. Of all the times for his stubborn streak to kick in now was not it. "If they find you here they will move me and you won't know how to find me again…," then she stopped. "How did you find me?" She asked curiously then a mischievous smile filled her face. "My number came up, didn't it?" John looked nonplussed. How did she know about The Machine? "Don't worry, John, I know all about Finch's Machine. We talked about it before I came to get you out of jail. I had already guessed most of it; he just filled in the blanks." John smiled and shook his head staring at her in disbelief. Then he became serious again.
"Joss, I don't want to leave you. I just found you and your number came up. That means you're in danger." Grabbing her by the arm and pulling her to him, "I'm not gonna lose you twice. I couldn't live through it….not again." He said his voice raw with emotion.
Joss softened in his arms and reached up to caress his cheek. He closed his eyes at her gentle touch then opened them as she spoke,
"John, you're not gonna lose me, ever."
Placing his hand over hers he whispered, "You're damn right I'm not because you're coming with me."
"John, I can't…" but she was interrupted by a knock on her front door.
"Joss, it's Agent Moss!" came a male voice from the front.
"Shit!" Joss spat out. "I knew it!"
"Joss," John said calmly, "I know you have a way out of here that no one knows about, even Agent Moss. I know you too well for you not to have a rabbit hole. Time to decide….do you want to stay here or do you want to go with me?" And he smiled that captivating smile that made panties drop.
She just shook her head and smiled back just as beguilingly. "Come on, let's get outta here….."