by Kass

Set after S2 x 03, "Masquerade." Thanks to Esteefee for beta!

"Mr. Reese, I'm impressed."

"That I'm capable of mustering up a bottle of brandy? I think I'm insulted."

They're sitting in John's living room. Bear is sprawled between them and the door. Their snifters are mostly empty, but the bottle is still mostly full.

"No," Finch says, snippy. "That you remembered which brandy I like."

John raises his glass in a silent salute. Harold should be impressed that he remembered that. It was one mention, months ago, offhand, in a conversation about shirt cuffs. It's gratifying, feeling Harold's appraisal. Harold noticing that he noticed.

"And that you found something so comparable," Finch muses, and downs what remains in his glass. John follows suit, then picks up the bottle, quirking an eyebrow in a silent question.

"Go ahead," Finch says, managing to sound magnanimous even though they're at John's apartment pouring John's booze.

Bear heaves a surprisingly human sigh and rests his muzzle on his paw. John smiles. Finch tries to look unamused, but he isn't succeeding.

"Oh, come on," John says. "You like him."

"He's a bear," Finch objects, though it's obviously pro forma.

"Hence the name."

"He takes up space," Finch says petulantly. "And he distracts me."

"He's good for you," John argues. "And he'll take care of you."

"Yes, I suppose he will." Finch's voice is quiet. He appears to be contemplating his brandy glass. When he looks up, his gaze burns John like the brandy going down.

They're not talking about the dog anymore. If they ever were.

John's heart is in his throat. He's staring at Finch, he knows he is, he knows he's supposed to stop, but he can't. Finch's tie is ever-so-slightly loosened, and his eyes are wide, and John aches with wanting.

Finch clears his throat and sets his glass down. Every instinct John has is on high alert, waiting for whatever's next.

"I've never," he begins, then stops. Swallows. "I've never felt lost, exactly."

In a rush of heat John remembers what he said to Sofia, knowing that Finch was listening. I spent some time feeling lost. Someone found me. Is he blushing? It had seemed like a reasonable thing to say to her, at the time, though in memory it's clear that he really intended it for Finch's ears.

Finch takes a breath, then forges on. "But I didn't expect you to find me."

John does not want to think about Root. About what she did to Harold. He pushes her out of his mind, because she is not important; not now. Right now the only thing that matters in the entire universe is Harold Finch, sitting on his couch with his jacket off and admitting the thing John hasn't dared to ask.

John is unreasonably proud when his voice comes out level. "I will always find you."

It's a promise. It feels unaccountably like a wedding vow. For a long instant there is no reply, and John feels frozen in amber, waiting.

"And I you," Harold says, quietly.

John can't help the grin which breaks across his face. Harold's shy smile turns John's heart upside-down.

"Well then," John says, feeling giddy. "Where do we go from here?"

It's innuendo, of course, but it's gentle; Harold can pretend it isn't there and John won't mind.

To John's chagrin, Harold levers himself to standing, wincing a little bit when his body protests the movement. Damn: John pushed too hard. Harold's going to go home, their evening's flirtation over. Well. It would be churlish of him to complain, after everything they both just said. John steels himself for the goodnight.

But Harold just stands there, his face inexplicably fond. "John," he says presently. "You must have a bedroom."

Arousal flares through John like wildfire. Good goddamn, Harold has taken his bet and raised it.

John's standing before he even realizes it, energy coiling in him like it does before a fight. But this is nothing like a fight at all. This is -- this is Harold. Acerbic wit and ridiculous sideburns and more brilliance than the sun. "I do," he acknowledges, and it feels like a vow, again.

Harold quirks an eyebrow. "Lead the way."

The End