Characters: John/Finch, Bear, John's Parents, Joss and Shaw.
Total Word Count: 10,000+
Word Count for this chapter: 2,668
Summary: John gets shot and talks to an old friend.
Warnings: Blood and canon typical violence.
An: chapters will be posted on Fridays, but not a WIP. All chapters are finished.
After The Machine called them, John and Harold went back to Harold's house. Harold walked into his bathroom and when he came out he was Finch dressed in a suit. John wore the same suit he had worn the day before, but it wasn't the first time that had happened.
If John had been worried that the change in their personal relationship would affect their working relationship he needed not be. Finch was his boss and it hadn't taken them long to find their latest number.
Now, John walked into the warehouse and took in his surroundings. The air was thick with dust and the holes in the ceiling let in shafts of yellow sunlight. There were inky black shadows along the walls and in corners that could hide enemies, but John knew that Bear would take care of them.
He walked across the warehouse and stopped in front of their latest number who was tied to a chair. The poor sap had run a foul of the Italian mob and was battered and bruised. John went behind the chair and cut the knots that held the man's hands. His fat wrists were already red and raw.
'Thank God!' Fred exclaimed as a bead of sweat rolled down the side of his thick, pasty neck.
John stood up and walked around the front of the chair when suddenly a shot rang out. John looked down and there was a hole in his coat. He opened his coat and his white dress shirt was stained by an ever growing pool of blood. That was the least of his concerns. He had to get the number to safety in case the shooter decided to shoot him.
The shooter stepped out of the shadows with a smug grin on his face. His teeth were as jarred as broken glass and his blond hair was greasy.
The grin lasted just as long as it took Bear to jump up behind and grab the man'a arm between his jaws. The man's gun clattered to the ground and John shot him.
Bear ran up to John and whimpered.
'I'm okay,' John said to Bear even as he vision started going dark around the edges.
He covered the man with his body as they made their way out of the warehouse just in case there were other shooters.
Once they were outside, John finally felt the pain he expected from the gunshot. He concentrated on the white hot pain trying to stay aware.
'Are you okay, Mr. Reese? I heard gunshots,' Finch said in John's ear.
'I've been shot. I need to get to a hospital.'
John saw Shaw walking towards him and even she looked worried. Things must have worst than John thought.
'Shit,' Shaw said under her breath as she caught John as he fell against her.
The world went black as Bear's bark filled the air.
John opened his eyes and was surrounded by white He looked around and noticed that the white was snow and it was broken up by the green of pine trees.
He had no idea where he was or how he got there, but with nothing else to do he started walking. The snow was up to his ankles and was fluffy. A cold wind blew against his face and he caught the scent of pine. He was wearing his winter coat and held it close to his body.
He walked for several minutes. Even though he was completely lost something was pulling at him, something was keeping him moving.
As he walked he saw a dark shape on the horizon and walked towards it.
As he got closer he saw that the shape was a cabin. It was small with a peak roof covered covered in snow. There was a stone chimney with puffs of smoke coming out of it. In front of the windows there were white flower boxes with familiar looking flowers in them.
A man was standing in front of the cabin chopping wood with an ax. He was covered head to toe in furs, a thick bread covered his face and wild hair stuck out from his fur hat.
As the ax came down the crack of wood filled the air. The man didn't notice John and John yelled 'Hey!' to get his attention.
The man turned to John and John gasped.
'Dad?' John asked. His dad was just as he remembered him, expect for the beard, right down to the messy black hair and the blue eyes that he shared with his son.
'Johnny?' Greg said as he walked up to his son.
John held out his hand. He had no idea what to do when you were face to face with your dead father, but he thought he couldn't go wrong with a hand shake.
Greg took John's hand and pulled him into a hug. John closed his eyes and breathed in the scent of his father's cologne He had forgotten about that smell.
The stood in the snow hugging each other for a long time until John broke the hug. Greg touched his son's face.
'Oh, Johnny. You've grown.'
'Yeah. Am I dead?'
Greg touched his son's cheek. 'Not yet. The borderland is a place between the living and the dead.'
'Borderland? Is that what this place is called?'
'Yep. Come on, you're mom will want to see you too.'
They walked into the cabin and John caught a whiff of lilac. His mom always loved lilacs. The cabin was warm and a fire in a stone fire place lit up the room. On the walls hung watercolor paintings.
'Holly! Someone's here to see you!' Greg called out.
Holly stepped out from the kitchen and broke into a wide smile as her eyes fell upon John. She looked younger than the last time John had seen her. The last time John had seen his mother her body had wasted away from cancer. Now, her blond, curly hair was cut into a bob and her green eyes sparkled. Her yellow sundress moved with her as she ran up to her son and clasped him in a hug.
'Oh, John. Oh, my boy,' she kept repeating as she hugged him. John felt like a little boy who had woken up from a bad dream to be comforted by his mother.
'Mom,' John said. His voice breaking like glass.
Holly broke the hug and looked up at John. There were tears in her eyes. 'My boy. Come let me get you something to eat.'
He didn't feel hungry. He guessed people who may or may not be dead didn't get hungry, but he couldn't say no to his mom.
He followed his mom into to the kitchen and gasped. The kitchen was from the apartment he had grown up in. The walls were the same shade of pale blue, the floor was the same black and white checkerboard pattern and even the white, metal stove was the same.
He sat down at a table (the same table he remembered doing his homework at) and his mom sat down a piece of blueberry pie.
Once he took a bite of that sweet pie he was taken back to his childhood. His mom had won awards for her pie and blueberry had always been his favourite.
'Do you like it, baby?' Holly asked as her fingers brushed against John's cheek.
'I love it. Thank you.'
'Anything for my baby.'
As John ate his parents sat down across from him and something occurred to him.
'Are you two ghosts?' he asked.
His dad shrugged. 'I think so.'
'Have you been watching me?'
This time it was his mom who answered. 'Sometimes. We're proud of the work that you do.'
'Very proud,' his dad added and John felt his cheeks heat up. He had never heard his dad say he was proud of him.
John was about about to add something when there was knock at the door. John's mom got up to answer the door and when she came back with Joss,John jumped up from his chair and almost ran over to Joss. She looked so alive it was hard to believe that she was dead. There was a big grin on her face.
'Is it really you?' John asked as he wrapped Joss in a hug.
'In the flesh,' she said as she hugged him back.
'How did you find me?'
'Something told me you'd be here,' Joss said as she broke the hug and they walked to the table.
She sat down next to him.
'So I'm guessing you're not dead yet?'
'Good because I was serious when I said if you died I'd hate you forever,' Joss said jokingly.
'I'm sorry,' John said seriously and Joss's smile faded. 'I'm sorry I couldn't save you.'
'Hey, hey. There's nothing to be sorry about. You can't save everyone and besides, I knew the risks when I decided to take down HR.'
'I know. I'm... I'm just sorry.'
Joss reached over and laid her hand on top of John's 'It's okay. If you want to make it up to me you can watch after my son. I don't want him here until he's old enough to have grand kids.'
'I promise. He's a good kid.'
Joss smiled. 'You don't have to tell me. Now I think I'll have a piece of that pie, if you don't mind.
'Not at all!' Holly said as she walked over to the counter and cut a slice of pie.
Later that day (John wasn't sure if there were days and nights in the borderland, but it sounded right) Joss and John were sitting on a wooden porch-swing that squeaked as it moved back and forth.
'So are you and Finch in a relationship yet?' Joss asked and John's eyes went wide.
'How did you know?'
'Please anybody with eyes could see that you liked each other. I'm just glad you finally got your heads out of the sand. You deserve to be happy.'
Part of John thought Joss was right, but a small part of him thought he didn't deserve to happy, not after all the people he had let down. He knew if he died now he would be leaving Finch behind and he couldn't stand the idea of that.
'You're leaving soon. Aren't you?' Joss asked.
'Yeah. I need to get back to the land of the living.'
Joss stood up and pulled John into yet another hug. 'You take care of yourself and Finch. Give Bear extra love from me and try to keep Fusco and Shaw out of trouble. Okay?'
'I promise I will.'
John went back inside as said his goodbyes to his parents and Joss and walked away from the cabin. He had no idea where to go, but he thought if his instincts could lead him to his parents than maybe they would lead him out of the borderland.
The farther he walked the darker the sky began and the wind blew colder. John kept walking, but each step was harder than the last.
A cold wind hit him that chilled him to the bone, but he had come too far to turn back.
He trudged through the snow and the wind sting his eyes and blew against his face. The longer the walked the more he concentrated on just trying to put one foot in front of the other. Something deep down inside of him told him he was getting closer.
The sky opened and freezing rain fell down chilling him even more. His step faltered and he fell down into the snow. He closed his eyes and thought about giving up.
Suddenly he felt something tap on his forehead. He opened his eyes and VGAs face to face with a small yellow bird with black wings.
John tried to catch the bird, but it hopped just out of reach. Something within him told him he had to catch that bird. It took all his remaining strength, but he battled through the cold rain and snow and stood up. He took a few shaky steps and the bird hopped ahead of him. Again and again he would walk towards the bird and again and again it would hop just out of reach.
Suddenly the bird stopped and John looked ahead of him. In front of him there was a wall of what appeared to be golden light.
John took a step forward and was surrounded by golden light.
John gasped as his eyes flew open.He tried to sit up, but felt a hand on his chest.
'John. John. It's okay. You have to relax,' a familiar voice said.
John laid back down as Harold stared down at him. As he settled down he saw that he was laying in a hospital bed in The Library. Next to him were various machines that beeped.
'What happened?' John asked. His voice was rough and weak. His body felt numb, but he thought that was from pain killers.
'You were shoot, but luckily Ms. Shaw was able to control the bleeding until she could get you to the hospital.'
John nodded and closed his eyes as he felt Harold's hand on his own. He must have fallen into a dreamless sleep because when he opened his eyes Harold was gone and Shaw was sitting in a chair by John's bed. She was grinning.
'What?' John asked. His was stronger.
'You and Finch, huh?'
'Me and Finch what?'
'Being coy doesn't suit you. You and Finch are a couple, huh?'
John just shrugged because he had never thought about him and Harold in those terms, couple sounded like a couple of high school kids.
'Oh come on. While I was driving you to hospital you kept asking for Harold and he hasn't left your bedside since you got here. Plus I once caught him kissing your cheek.'
'Fine. You're right.'
Shaw clasped her hands in front of her. 'I knew it. This is great!'
'I never thought you were sentimental.'
Shaw rolled her eyes. 'Please. Fusco owes me a chicken dinner now.'
Now it was John'a turn to roll his eyes. 'I'm so glad that my love life brings you so much enjoyment.'
'Everyone needs a hobby.'
Shaw got up to leave and John called after her, 'Enjoy your chicken.'
John settled back and listened to the beeping of machines by his bed. The noise was strangely soothing because it reminded him that he was alive after being shot... again.
He heard the familiar click of Bear's nails on the floor and opened his eyes.
'Hey,' John said as he saw Harold standing in the doorway.
'Hello,' Harold said as he sat down next to John's bed. John couldn't help but notice that Harold's suit was rumpled and there were dark circles under his eyes.
'Bear has been very worried about you,'
'Oh yeah? I wouldn't want to worry him. Shaw knows about us, by the way.'
'I know. Apparently, she and Detective Fusco had a wager on it and she won.'
'I heard. What else do they think they bet on?'
'I couldn't even begin to fathom that.'
John wanted to say something important. 'Thanks for not asking how I feel.'
'You're welcome. One thing that irritated me was people asking me that. Is there anything I can do for you?'
John thought about it and there was only one thing he wanted, something his mother used to do. 'Could you read to me?'
'Of course. What would you like me to read?'
'Whatever you want.' Harold could have read a phone oil and John would have been happy.
Harold walked over to a bookshelf and picked up a book. He sat back down in his chair and began to read.
'Buck did not read the newspapers...'
As Harold's voice filled the John laid back and closed his eyes. That night he dreamed of snow.
They were together. Little did he know that all too soon Samaritan would tear them apart.