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The Feathers and all

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1-

"Since when are we helping the feds?" said Samin Shaw with an obvious disgruntled expression on her face, looking at the photo of a petite young Black woman wearing a suit with an abundance of afro hair.

Harold Finch gave her a quizzical look from behind his computer screen, moving his horn-rimmed glasses a little upward. "Since when have we chosen to be persnickety when it comes to saving human lives?"

"Keep your hair on. I'm not saying I'm out. But I mean she is government! Aren't we supposed to stay off the radar? Northern Lights being shut and all? Research, Control, they're all, well, canceled."

"We are neither, so we get to carry on - and need I remind you were once a government employee?"

"Nah but I mean… she's a Fed."

"And your point is?"

Shaw looked impatiently first at Finch and then at the other man, currently slumped in an armchair with one hand lazily scratching behind the ears of a Malinois, another holding a book, wearing a dark gray suit with an impeccably clean white shirt, and she continued, "So have you two both forgotten about agent Donnelly and his crazy hunt for 'the man in the suit'? I mean I wasn't there in person and yet I can't forget!" 

"Do we need the reminder Harold?" said the man in the suit in a low-pitched raspy voice.

"Not in the slightest, John."

"There you go Samin."

Shaw said waspishly, "I liked you better when you were just pining after your boss John. I don't like this chemistry in the HQ."

John gave her a dry smile. "What is it Samin? Can't stand the aroma of love?"

"Say the "L" word one more time and I'll take Bear and you can both fall on your…"

Harold interrupted, "Yes, yes, we know you're in it only because of the dog Samin, but for the sake of argument, can we get back to the case of Miss Farnsworth please?"

Shaw growled, "Fine. Her file says she's stationed in Boston. Why do we get her number?"

"Because she's been in New York for the past few weeks so it's safe to assume whatever she's involved with doesn't concern what she does for a living in Boston."

"Send me the address then. I'll check her closet."

"And if you need assistance…"

"I'll call Fusco or Joey."

"Be safe!"

She bent to play with Bear for a few seconds and left without a word.

Silence reigned for a full minute after her absence, then Finch, looking at his partner sideways said, "I know it must be very difficult for you to see her doing what you've done for years…"

John came out of his reverie and started scratching Bear again. "My chiropractor says I'm not ready for serious athletic performance. I'll take it that means not going in the field."

Finch raised an eyebrow, "Like he knows what you do for sport actually involves shooting perpetrators in their knee caps."

John shrugged, "Yeah, well, I didn't want to freak him out. He is really a good doctor."

Finch turned his chair to fully face him, "Faruq’s recommendations have always been par but I know injuries haven't stopped you before. Remember when we received Ernest Trask's number?"

"The super? What I remember is being homebound in a wheelchair when you were working around both on the computer and in the field after having managed to save my life."

Finch got up and limped toward him, smiling earnestly. "What I mean is I can make an educated guess and say you're sitting numbers out because you love me."

John took Harold's hand and drew him closer, "And how did you deduce that, Mr. Finch? Did your omnipotent Machine tell you that? Oh no wait, it's because I tell you that trivial fact every morning and every night, don't I?"

But before their embrace could be completed another voice entered the high ceilinged room and Bear jumped up happily again. "Aah Jeez, just because I've given you my blessing doesn't mean I have to see you like seals in the HQ."

A faint bemused smile brushed John's lips and he let go of Harold's hand, who limped back to his chair, his formal demeanor back. "Maybe that will teach you to knock before you enter, Lionel. And since when did we ask for your blessing?"

Detective Fusco had beelined for the pastry tray on the opposite corner and answered with his mouth full. "What do you mean? 'course you needed my blessing. The guy worked as my partner in the precinct for a whole damn year!"

"Ah Lionel, still missing detective Riley?" said John, "You do know he wasn't a real cop, right?" 

Fusco took the second donut and answered, "Yeah, well, I liked you better when you were him though. Dark and deranged, making my life a living hell mind you, but this chirpy cupid I don’t know!"

The cupid comment made Finch a little tense although John didn't seem to be thinking much of it. "What is it Harold with our friends liking me better in a bad mood?"

Fusco answered instead of Finch. "Because this John Reese is new. We don't know him." And as John raised his eyebrows he continued, "Ok, ok, I'm happy for you two, honest. Not very happy for Samin though. She didn't look her usual cheerful self when I bumped into her leaving this place, ready to kill." Then tilting his head toward the board with Farnsworth's photo on it, he said: "That's the new number? She looks Fed."

John finally got up and went closer to the board. "You're improving, Lionel. Should get a raise I guess."

"Hah hah hah. Very funny of you Mr. Ex-Detective. So she is Fed, ha? That's new." 

Finch started pulling some files on his computer, sending them to display on the white screen where her photo was already. "Agent Astrid Farnsworth works for the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Boston. She works with a team of three including Agent Olivia Dunham…" he transferred some more files onto the screen next to the main number, "And Peter Bishop, and they answer to their superior Special Agent Phillip Broyles. They had a fourth member, a consultant of a sort, Doctor Walter Bishop, who went missing a year ago without any trace."

Fusco came closer to take a look at the photos of another young woman, blond hair with serious features, a young man of similar mood and a smiling old man. "He looks coco to me," he said, pointing to Doctor Bishop's photo. "Any connection between him and the younger Bishop?"

"Yes indeed. That's his son for all intents and purposes."

"I don't get it. He's adopted or something?"

"That's the best way to describe their situation for now, Lionel, as the digital evidence of their cases is almost zero and I can only deduce that highly secretive missions, perhaps black ops in nature, have taken place. However, that's not the main issue."

John was looking at the information files Harold had uploaded. "What sort of cases does she usually handle, Harold? Maybe we can make a connection there."

"Ah, that's another piece of the enigmatic puzzle. From what I have been able to ascertain through some channels, the Fringe team deals with improbable phenomena. What do you know about fringe science?"

Fusco answered passively.. "Beats me."

John's eyes were narrowed however. "Pseudoscience you mean? Sounds more like what the CIA would have been interested in. What are we talking about here? Telekinesis?"

"That would be very close to the point. Some say it's not an actual science, but both the FBI and CIA are highly invested in the field. As you can imagine, there'll be any number of military applications involved."

Fusco was blowing on his coffee. "Those guys have a finger in every pie!"

"I don't recall you handing in your resignation to the NYPD, Lionel!"

"That's more like the old John, cracking wise ass jokes! But somebody has to pay for my retirement anyway, and I don't think he's going to."

He jerked his thumb toward Finch who was rapidly typing and didn't comment on that bit but said: "Agent Farnsworth has only one living family member, her father."

"Any other significant person?"

"No… it seems work has been all she has, especially over the past four years, but she has managed to keep her relationship with her father strong and regular. I can't say that about the other members of her team. Dunham has a sister she doesn't seem to be particularly close to, and Peter Bishop is an only child. His mother has passed a long time ago to suicide it seems. It appears their interaction has been restricted to their own circle with Dunham and Bishop not only married but they also have a daughter, named Henrietta, who was born in 2012. I haven't found a photo of her yet."

Fusco was staring at the board. "I don't get it. What is she doing in New York anyway? Sightseeing?"

"Unlikely. Tourists don't rent houses to stay over three weeks."

"A house? Where?"

"Uptown. But Samin's on it. If you could, I have another assignment for you to handle. See what you can find about her and her activities in the law enforcement database."

"Locally, sure, but you know I can't hack into the FBI, right? Besides, why don't you ask your little machine? I'm sure it can give you all that there is to know."

"I'm sure it could, but I trust human eyes and touch to make human connections, Lionel. As for the data, local information should suffice for the time being. And as a matter of fact, there's not much to be gained from the Bureau about her task force." 

Fusco was gaping, "Don't tell me you've hacked the FBI!"

"It wouldn't be the first time," Harold answered as he drank his green tea.

Fusco wiped his hands, and picking up his coat, he told John, "You know it's your fault?"

John looked honestly confused, "What is?"

"You're turning Glasses into a badass!"

At which John couldn't help but to smile as he said, "Oh poor Lionel, you've never known what a badass he's always been!"

"Yeah, yeah, whatever. I hope you're back out there soon and stop corrupting this guy."

He left and John's eyes followed the bulky detective while he was going out, his smile slowly fading and suddenly as if called by his name, he turned to look at Finch and his worried face. "I could have taken care of that, Harold. It was just research."

Finch didn't have any answers for him so John went to Harold's chair, turned it to face him and took the armrests firmly so Harold could not avoid his stare, let alone get up. "We need to talk." And seeing the beginning of an argument he interrupted, "No, it can't wait until this case is over. I have done a lot of thinking during the past few weeks about our present situation." 

He kneeled in front of Finch, whose eyes were a little wider than usual when he said with a voice full of apprehension, "John, you're not breaki…"

"God no! Why on earth would you assume something crazy like that?"

"Well, I have a long list of why you shouldn't be attracted to me in the first place so should I go through it alphabetically or chronologically?"

John straightened up, took a deep breath, and this time, took both of Harold's hands into his own. "Harold, you're the only one connecting me to this world. Nothing can change that!"

"I know but I still can't find it logical for you to…"

John sighed. "For a genius, you do have a thick skull!"

"Excuse me?"

"Who says love should have logic or reason?"

Harold's lips closed in a little 'oh' and John continued, "But… as much I love spending time behind computers, Harold, you can't babysit me forever. I can't work like this."

"You're not my employee. I thought that arrangement ended when you moved into my apartment."

"No complaints there but I'm not used to just watching and letting somebody else take care of me. Don't get me wrong. I enjoy every second spent with you…"

Harold sighed. "I don't want to be a mother hen, John. I promise I'll leave you to swoop down on criminals the moment your doctor gives you a clean bill…"

John interrupted him again. "That's the point Harold. I'm not waiting for it."

"But…"

"Hear me out. Do you remember the time you proposed this job? Told me both of us would probably end up dead?"

"John!" Finch objected indignantly.

"You were right. The thing is, unlike those days, I don't have a desire to end up dead anytime soon."

Harold was taken aback and John used this rare occurrence of Harold Finch being speechless to continue. "I'm not saying I'm leaving this crusade we have going. Aside from you, this job is what gives my life meaning and I can't think of retirement like a normal person. Hell, there's nothing normal about our life together and I love it just the way it is. All I'm saying is that maybe it's time for a less combative job description for me in our proffesio…"

He didn't get to finish his sentence as his mouth was shut by a sudden passionate kiss.