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Jul. 21st, 2013


They fell over a while ago. Somehow, it’s not until this moment that gravity starts to catch up to him.

“Oh my god,” he mumbles as Finch pushes a wet little finishing kiss against the corner of his mouth. “Oh my god.”

Finch’s head drops heavy on Fusco’s shoulder. He exhales, deep and serious. After a moment, his breathing slows and his movement stills. He settles in on top of Fusco and he becomes very quiet.

Maybe gravity got him too.

Because gravity is playing hell with Fusco. It’s amazing the stuff you miss when you’re in the moment. From the instant that Finch kissed him, all Fusco could think about the two of them together and how much he wanted that and how badly it spooked him that he wanted that. There wasn’t any room for consequences.

Now, with the rush of climax fading, reality’s starting to set in.

Because that was Finch, just now. He kissed Finch. Finch kissed him back. They took each other to the floor and they’re still here, draped in each other. That happened. That’s happening now.

Finch shifts awkwardly on top of him, releases Fusco’s hands with a kind of jolt. Like he’s surprised at himself for having grabbed them in the first place. “I. Ah.” He pats Fusco’s chest. The strikes are muffled by the lapels of the suit jacket.

“You doing okay?” Fusco asks.

“Yes,” Finch replies, but he sounds distracted. “Yes, of course.” The front of Fusco’s suit has been rumpled by what they did and Finch tries to iron out the wrinkles with his palm. “You?”

“Mhmm. Just. I need to catch my breath.”

“Of course,” Finch repeats. “I understand completely.”

“It’s just a lot to take in.”

“I know.” Finch winces again and lifts himself up off of Fusco a little, rolling off to the side and sitting beside Fusco’s prone body with a grunt. He sits bent, tousled, and raw pink from blushing and contact. “I’m going to go, ah, wash and change.” Finch gives him an odd look, nervous and half-hopeful. Like he expects Fusco to invite himself along.

Fusco can see the appeal to that. The two of them warm and soaked and clean and sequestered might give them a moment to find each other again, to legitimize this thing they’ve done.

As it is, Fusco needs some time to think. So he pretends to not notice Finch’s look and Finch seems a little relieved. He struggles to his feet and wobbles upright. “I won’t be long. If you need anything…”

“I can take care of myself,” Fusco says, looking up at Finch. “You go on ahead. I need a minute.”

“Alright.” Deep breath. “I hope…” But whatever he hopes, he can’t make himself say it. He stalls. He closes his eyes. He goes.

Fusco stays where he is on the floor, running his fingers through the strands of the carpet. He just keeps quiet and lets reality filter back in.

There’s the hum of the air conditioner, the gentle play of warm afternoon light sneaking through the curtains. Faintly, he can hear a couple of kids talking and laughing as they walk beneath the windows. There’s some kind of alley around the back of the house, like a skinny little highway between the rows of brownstones.

He wonders if somebody passing beneath could have heard the two of them.

The pipes in the walls give a heavy groan as Finch turns the water on.

Fusco shifts against the carpeting, rolls his shoulders as he sits up. His back’s killing him. The skin across his shoulders is burned and rubbed raw. He stretches. He glances into the mirror and doesn’t really like what he sees.

The nice new suit’s all rumpled. It’s a fucking shame. It is, to see the jacket and shirt wrinkled and the tie with its loosened knot knocked all askew. For a second there, Finch let Fusco look through his warped lens and see himself changed and respectable. Now he just looks fucked.

He can’t wear the suit, now. Not just because it’s too damn quality for him, but because it was quality and he ruined it with what they did. Because he can’t leave now, he realizes. The plan he’s formulating in the back of his head without really thinking of it is that he’ll run, he’ll change clothes quickly and slip out while Finch is in the shower, except he can’t because leaving the suit behind in this condition is unacceptable, but so is taking it with him.

He finds his own clothes folded neatly in a pile at the end of Finch’s little sewing table. That stings the worst out of any of it, that Finch was thinking about the sanctity of Fusco’s clothes even when he was decking him out in that nice suit. Fusco tries to show the same level of care when he takes off the suit, but he can’t. Finch folds like a goddamn machine, all crisp and precise angles. Fusco’s not even sure if he’s ever taken that kind of care of his own clothes. He does as best he can with the rumpled suit.

He leaves it at the end of the table with a note scrawled in smeary, inexperienced fountain pen that Finch should send him the bill for the dry cleaning. It seems…not right, not even adequate, but all he can make himself do in terms of repayment right now.

Fusco thinks it would be smart to creep out now, while the water’s still pattering faintly in the shower upstairs and Finch might not hear the sound of the door as it opens and shuts.

But that’s wrong, more wrong than the paltry, weak excuse for a note he already regrets leaving. He can’t just go and not say goodbye. So he makes himself sit at the foot of the stairs until he hears the sound of falling water go quiet from upstairs and he’s waited an amount of time where someone might reasonably have dried off and put clothes on.

Finch takes a very long time showering.

It’s okay. Fusco needs that time to figure out what the hell he’s going to say.

Minutes are wasted at the door of Finch’s fine and fancy actual bedroom before he realizes that Finch probably isn’t there. The results are better when Fusco goes to the door at the end of the hall and raps his knuckles on it, quick and sharp.

“Just a moment,” Finch calls. He takes somewhat longer than a moment and Fusco can hear scuffling in the room beyond.

When Finch opens the door, Fusco forgets what he’s going to say. This is because Finch’s hair is dark and spiky from the water, with little droplets collecting at the tips of each sharp, dampened barb of hair. Because he is not wearing his glasses and the shallow indents they’ve left high up on his nose are strangely endearing even as his eyes become shockingly large without the frames in the way. Because his cheeks are pink from the warm water. Because he’s wearing a loose, gray t-shirt over flannel pajama pants and Fusco’s never seen him dressed so simply in his life. Because he’s got a thick, fluffy white towel thrown over his shoulders and it makes him seem soft and inviting.

“I have to go,” Fusco mumbles.

“Hmm?” Finch cocks his head to one side. Fusco’s pretty sure Finch heard what he said and just didn’t like it.

He repeats, “I have to go,” and Finch frowns.

“I was hoping you’d stay a while,” he says. Finch has faint, tentative hopes and they strike Fusco with brutal, unintentional force. “I could make dinner. We could talk. About what happened.”

“I don’t want to talk about that.”

“Then we don’t have to,” Finch insists. “We can just…have dinner. Be together. You don’t have to worry about what to say.”

Fusco inhales deep and catches the scent of Finch’s body wash. “I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

“Mmhm.” Finch bites his lip. He looks hurt, but very thoughtful. “This was a mistake. I shouldn’t have done that.”

“Wasn’t your fault,” Fusco says. “I started it.”

“Only in the short term.” Finch amends his statement neatly. “We shouldn’t have done that.”

“No.”

“It was short sighted. Unprofessional. Completely counter to our mission.”

Fusco nods along, numbly.

“And it, ah. While we were. Together. Privately, and this is in no way an insult to you, but I felt that it wasn’t going well. That there was a disconnect between us. Am I wrong to…?”

Fusco shakes his head and Finch sighs with obvious relief.

“I’m sorry,” Finch says, very suddenly. “I know I’ve been pushing you for quite some time, months and months now and that can’t – cannot have been easy for you. I…I took advantage.”

“Well.” Fusco shrugs, mock-cheerful. “That’s what you brought me here for, right?”

Finch’s brow furrows. “No. No, I never…”

“Look, don’t bullshit me, alright? You bought me all those fancy clothes. You bought me goddamn underwear. What the hell did you think you were trying to do?”

“I never meant to - !” Finch’s pitch is wild and a little helpless, and he pauses to regain control of his voice. “I had hopes,” Finch admits gently. “I thought our relationship might undergo a change. But I never wanted you to do anything you were uncomfortable with.”

“You had hopes,” Fusco repeats under his breath. “You had – I don’t know. I don’t know about you.”

“This wasn’t my intention,” Finch frets. “None of it was. If you’d…if you’d let me give you that jacket in the first place, this would never have happened.”

Don’t you blame me.”

“If you’d just accepted the payoff, I could have forgotten all about you, could have gone on thinking you were…”

“I was what?”

Finch pauses. He gives Fusco a guilty, fearful glance. Distantly, Fusco can feel the way his own skin is blazing, radiating heat and he knows he must be red with shame and vulnerability and anger. He must seem very ugly just now. “It doesn’t matter,” Finch says. He sounds like he’s trying for calm and reasonable but there’s something timid lurking in his throat that slashes all his words up and sends them out ragged. “It doesn’t matter what I thought of you then. I was wrong.”

“You thought I was cheap. You thought I was cheap and you could buy me.”

Finch says nothing.

“No wonder it pissed you off so much when I wouldn’t take that fucking jacket. You’re not used to people you can’t buy and sell, are you?”

Finch closes his eyes and goes white knuckled on the frame of the door.

“Yeah, well. Don’t look so beat down. You were right about me. It worked and I’m just as cheap and weak as you always thought I was.”

“You’d better go,” Finch whispers. The sound of his voice is cold and it sinks like a stone in the air.

“Okay.”

“Please go now.”

“Alright.” Fusco says. “See you around.”

Finch winces, full body, and does not open his eyes.

“I’m going.” He walks away backward, slowly, and watches as Finch eases the whining door shut inch by inch.

That could have been worse, Fusco thinks to himself as he takes the stairs down. They could have shouted at each other. There could have been hatred between them, real hatred. There could have, he acknowledges as he wedges his feet into his shoes, been tears, although that seems unlikely. Things could have become violent. Fusco might have been too caught up in the softness of Finch’s skin after a shower and he might have reached out and touched him and Finch might never have told him to leave and they’d still be up there together, digging themselves in deeper and making it more and more impossible to finally accept that it won’t work.

This is good, he thinks as he shrugs on his jacket and sneaks shameful out the door and into early evening sunlight and coolness. It’s good that they’re stamping it out before it can grow, before either one of them can hurt the other. This is a clean break.

He takes the walk back toward the café, near where he parked his car, and he’s already behind the wheel and driving home, merciful home, when he realizes that it doesn’t matter that he left the suit behind. It doesn’t matter because everything he’s wearing right now is something that Finch gave to him and he is that cheap and he is that weak and he might as well have stayed.


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