Title: Life and Death: Dinner
Characters: John/Finch, Bear
Total Word Count: 10,00+
Word Count for this chapter: 2,458
Rating: PG-13 for now (NC-17 for later chapters).
Summary: John, Harold and Bear have dinner together
An: chapters will be posted on Friday, but not a WIP. All chapters are finished
John was lounging in The Library. They had saved a number and John was taking a well deserved break.
He liked to think of himself as a man of simple pleasures. A well oiled gun and a break every once in awhile were all he really needed and he had a closet full of well oiled guns and even a rocket launcher.
Apparently a break consisted of him was leaning back in a desk chair. He closed his eyes and listened to Finch type on a keyboard. The click of keys was strangely soothing. He could just picture Finch's look of focus as he stared at the computer screen. He would never admit it to anyone, but he pictured Finch more than he probably should.
'Would you like to share a holiday dinner with me?' Finch asked John and it took John a moment to process what his boss was saying. Finch was by his own admission a very private person and while they did go to the movies to together, he had never thought Finch would ask him to dinner.
John opened his eyes and looked at Finch. Finch was staring at him, his brow was furrowed and his tongue came out to wet his lips. He reached up and removed his glasses and cleaned them with his pocket square.
'Sure. What's the occasion?' John asked as he continued to look at Finch. Finch put his glasses back on and turned back to his computer.
'No occasion, as such. I just thought you might like to share a holiday dinner with me... As friends,' Harold added and if John didn't know better he would have thought Harold sounded disappointed.
'Of course I'll have dinner with you. Should I bring a gift?' John tried to keep the excitement out of his voice, but failed miserly. He was excited about seeing where Finch lived, but more than that he just wanted to spend time with him.
'If you like.'
Two weeks later, John was finally on his way to have dinner at Harold's house. They had had to put off their dinner because of a seemingly never ending string of numbers. Tonight however The Machine had been quiet.
He stepped out of his car and stepped onto a ordinary snow covered sidewalk. Snow was falling fast, large, wet flakes stuck to everything. Even though the snow on the sidewalk was covering his shoes and sticking to his pant legs, he barely noticed. This was the first time he had been invited to Harold's house and he wanted to take it all in.
As he adjusted the brightly wrapped packages under his arm he noticed that Harold's house was perfectly ordinary. Part of him had been expecting Harold to live in a tall, glass and steel tower full of birds and computers, but he had to admit that the small house suited Harold.
The house was square and made of red brick. There were no decorations on the outside, but behind a large window candles flickered. Snow was piled high on the sidewalk, but a wide path leading from the front yard to the door was dug through the snow in the front yard.
John walked up a set of stone steps and knocked on Harold's door. He suddenly felt butterflies in his stomach; perhaps Harold wouldn't like his holiday gifts. He couldn't remember the last time he had shopped for someone, but Harold had given John a job and a purpose and he deserved more than anything John could buy, but damn if John hadn't tried.
Harold opened the door and he smiled wide when he saw John. John smiled back and him and noticed that Harold was wearing a light grey t-shirt; the collar was frayed and the fabric looked worn and soft. John had to stop himself from touching it, but then he had had plenty of practice ignoring his feelings where Finch was concerned.
'You came. I was beginning to think you wouldn't.'
'I wouldn't miss it. I just had to do some last minute shopping and the roads are getting bad.'
A cold breeze blew snow flakes around John's feet and whipped against his long, dark coat.
'Please come in out of the cold,' Harold said as he stepped aside.
John walked in and sat his packages down on a dark wooden end table. As he kicked off his shoes, Bear came up to him and nosed and pawed the packages.
'Hey, you'll have to wait to open your gift,' John said with a smile as he reached down and ruffled Bear's fur.
He took off his gloves and flexed his stiff fingers. Even though he had just walked from his car to the house his hands were cold. The removed his coat and hung it up. Picking up his packages followed Harold to the living-room.
The room had rich brown walls and John felt a dark, plush carpet under his feet. A tall, curving floor lamp filled the room with a yellow glow.
He sat down on a dark leather couch and Bear jumped onto his lap.
'Is it okay that Bear's on the furniture?' John asked.
'Of course. I would never keep you and Bear apart.'
'Of course. I made something to eat if you're hungry.'
John's stomach grumbled. 'I'd love something. What did you make?'
'I bought a small turkey and mashed some potatoes.'
'Lead the way.'
Bear jumped off John's lap and John followed Harold to the kitchen. The smell of a roast turkey fill the small kitchen and made John's mouth water.
'Need some help?' John asked as Harold sat a bowl of potatoes on a table.
'Could you take the turkey out?'
John open the oven and warm air hit his face. He lifted a turkey in a pan out of the oven and sat on a long, wooden dining table. He loaded up his plate with turkey and mashed potatoes as Harold did the same.
As John tasted the potatoes he had to stifle groan. The potatoes were buttery and Harold had left some of the skins on. He didn't even need to put more butter on them.
'I take it you like the potatoes?' Harold asked as he took a bite of turkey.
'Oh yeah! Did you use an old family recipe?'
Harold rolled his eyes. 'Hardly. I googled it.'
'Ah. You should google recipes more often. If you can do this with potatoes I can't wait to see what you with chocolate cake.'
Harold smiled. 'I'll keep that in mind.'
They then ate in silence. The silence should have made John uncomfortable, but it wasn't. Every so often he would 'accidentally' drop turkey for Bear.
After they were finished they moved to Harold's living room. They sat down on opposite ends of the couch.
'I hope you don't mind, but I brought you and Bear some gifts.'
'Of course I don't mind. In fact I bought you something as well.'
Harold got up and sat I large rectangular package on John's lap. He ripped through wrapping paper and took a gun out of a box. It was an AR-15 and John didn't use the word beautiful often, but damn if it wasn't beautiful. The gun was black and John could tell it was finely crafted.
'It's great! Thank you, Harold!' John exclaimed as he ran his hand over gun metal.
'You're very welcome. I thought you would appreciate something useful.'
'You know me too well. I'm sure I'll get a lot use out of it.' John said as he sat one package on Harold's lap.
Harold carefully removed the paper and lifted up his gift, a book. Harold opened the book and carefully turned the pages. His eyes went wide.
'You bought me a first edition of Birds of America by Audubon?'
'Yeah. Do you like it?' John suddenly felt self conscious. He could stare down gun toting bad guys, but apparently Harold made him nervous.
'It's very nice, but I can't believe you were able to find me a first edition.'
John shrugged. 'You can find anything online for the right price.'
'Of course. I believe this particular edition sells for $110,000. There is just one thing missing,' Harold said as he looked up at John. There was something in his eyes that John couldn't name.
'An inscription from you.'
'Wouldn't that ruin it?'
'Not at all,' Harold said as he pushed the book to John and handed him a pen.
John opened the book and looked at down at the title page. Even though the book was old it had been well cared for and the page was pristine. He knew exactly what he would write. The pen slid across the paper and his words covered the page.
He handed the book back to Harold. Harold looked down and Bear barked.
He wrote: To a good friend and a great boss who gave me a job and purpose.
'Thank you for such kind words.' Harold said after he read the words.
'You deserve it. Now I should give Bear his gift.'
John picked up a small package and opened it to reveal a bright yellow squeaky toy. John couldn't tell if it was suppose to be a duck or a rabbit, but it didn't seem to matter to Bear who ran after it when John threw it.
'Well, I guess I should get going,' John said, even though part of him wanted to stay in Harold's warm house instead of going out into the cold.
Harold got up and walked over to the window. 'Oh, dear. It looks like a storm has gotten worse. Perhaps it would be prudent if you stayed the night.'
John wasn't going to argue. 'Okay. What should we do?'
Harold turned around and hobbled over to a bookcase and picked up a wooden box. 'Do you like chess?'
Half an hour later, John was sitting on the floor in front of a chessboard. A glass half filled with ruby coloured wine sat next to it. When Finch had offered to open a bottle of wine, John couldn't say no.
John moved his pawn. As Harold moved his queen, John took a sip of wine and let the sweet liquid sit on his tongue.
'Checkmate,' Harold said as he toppled John's king.
John let out a yawn.
'Shall we turn in?' Harold asked as he put the chess pieces back in their box.
'Sounds good to me. I'll take your couch.'
'I have a guest room with a bed that is more than comfortable.'
John stood up and his back cracked. 'Lead the way.'
John followed Harold down down a long hallway. They stopped in front of a door.
Maybe it was wine or the fact that John was warm and happy, but before he could stop himself he kissed Harold on the cheek.
When he backed away Harold's eyes were wide and John was desperately trying to come up with an excuse, he was going to blame the wine.
Harold reached up and touched where John's lips had been.
'John? Please tell me that kiss was real.'
John couldn't believe what he was hearing. 'You want it to be?'
'Absolutely. I had always hoped it would happen I just never thought it would.'
'I see. Would you like me to kiss you again?'
John moved forward and gently touch Harold cheek, the skin was soft under his fingers. He brushed their lips together.
As John deepened the kiss, Harold's hands came up an kneaded John's shoulders. They stayed like that for several long moments and then they broke the kiss.
John pulled Harold into a hug and rested his chin on Harold's shoulder. The sent of cool cologne surround him. He ran his fingers against Harold's side and the t-shirt was just as soft as it looked.
'Would you like to sleep with me?' Harold asked.
'Do you mean sleep as in sleep or sleep as in sex? Both sound good right now,' John said as he kissed the top of Harold's head.
'Oh, dear. I was thinking about sleep, but I wouldn't be against amorous activities later.'
'Sounds good, let's go.'
They released themselves from the hug and walked across the hallway to the bedroom. Harold turned on a light and the room was flooded with light. The walls were pale blue and the floor was hardwood. Book cases lined the walls, but what John was most interested in was the big bed that stood in the middle of the room.
It was a wooden four post bed covered in the colourful quilt that looked handmade and several lumpy pillows sat against a carved wooden headboard.
'Do you need something to sleep in?' Harold asked as he moved to a closet.
'Do you have anything that would fit? If not I don't mind sleeping in my underwear... or I could just sleep naked,' John added just to see Harold's reaction.
Harold's eyes went wide and his cheeks turned red. 'I... Um... I mean to say... I think I may have something that fits.'
Harold handed him a shirt and silk pajama bottoms.
John unbuttoned his shirt and watched as Harold's gaze followed his hands down his chest. Once he unbuttoned his pants and got into his clothes he walked over to Harold a reached for Harold's glasses.
'Need some help getting ready for bed?' John asked.
'Oh I think I could use some assistance,' Harold said with a coy smile.
John removed Harold's glasses and sat them down on an end-table. He then reached for the hem of Harold's shirt and lifted it over Harold's head. He took a moment to admire Harold's chest; pale skin was covered with dark hair and Harold's nipples were pink. It took all of John's willpower not to kiss and lick those nipples, Harold wanted to sleep.
Once John had gotten his fill of looking he removed Harold's pants and noticed that Harold's pale legs were clad in red silk boxers.
John let himself touch Harold's thigh. 'Do you want to put something on?'
'Of course.' Harold said as he moved to his closet and brought out a pair of pajamas. Harold covered up his skin with green silk.
They walked over to the bed and laid down. It took several moments of moving around until they were both comfortable. John was laying on his back, his head resting on soft pillows and Harold was on his side using John's chest as a pillow. John lifted his arm and ran his hand over Harold's back, the silk was soft and smooth.
As John fell asleep he thought things couldn't get any better.