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Kelly ([personal profile] gonerunningaway) wrote2013-10-05 03:26 pm

Mnemosyne, Chapter Four: Calliope

Title: Mnemosyne, Chapter Four: Calliope
Fandom: Person of Interest
Rating: NC-17
Word Count (this chapter): 954


They hadn’t had a call all day, and they’d each gone out to stroll past several pay phones every hour or so, Bear keeping them company. Finally, at one, Harold said, “It doesn’t look as though we’ll get a number today. You might as well go home.”

“I almost think you’re trying to get rid of me,” Reese said mournfully. “Don’t you enjoy my company?”

Harold gave him a quelling look. “I’m sure you have better things to do than roam the stacks or clean your arsenal yet again, Mr. Reese.”

“The stacks still have a lot I haven’t read, Harold.” Reese rose to his feet, leaving the handgun he’d disassembled on the table behind Harold’s monitors, and walked off into them.

“You know how I feel about guns,” Harold called after him.

“Don’t worry. It won’t bite,” Reese called back.

Harold shook his head and turned back to his computer. He had work to do for Harold Sparrow, the one who had left IFT as a result of Reese’s interference; he was doing contract work now, and he was closing in on a deadline. Harold could code the project in his sleep, but he’d have to take longer just to incorporate enough errors that it would pass as Sparrow’s work. Then he’d have to document absolutely everything, something the client requested, before sending it on to the next link in the chain of this project. The next person got the fun of editing his code and so catching any errors, which meant Harold couldn’t use any of his particular shortcuts. Sparrow wouldn’t know them, let alone use them.

Easy coding or not, it was still coding, and he sank into the familiar work with ease. His fingers flew across the keyboard, and he scanned everything as he went, occasionally going back to add a typo or incorrect command. He hardly even heard Reese come back to his work area.

“How’s it going, Harold?” he asked.

“Just fine. Really, it’s quite simple, but they had to outsource the project because their own IT person is support, nothing more. Fortunately, Harold Sparrow just so happened to need a new contract at that time.”

“Lucky for him,” Reese said, sounding amused. Harold heard the thuds of two things hitting the ground, and then John padded soundlessly over to him and sank down on the floor, leaning slightly into Harold’s chair.

Harold rolled the chair out a bit and turned it and his keyboard to a new angle, one that would allow him to work just as efficiently but meant that John could lean against his leg as he read without being under the desk. “Is there enough light for you?”

“I’m fine,” John assured him.

“That’s not an answer,” he said crisply.

“There’s enough light for now, Harold.” John opened his book and leaned into Harold’s leg, and Harold got back to work.

The only sounds after that were John turning pages and Harold typing, occasionally Bear’s claws clicking across the floor until he decided to come lie by John’s side. Every so often, Harold came to a point where he needed to pause and check back so his typos matched or he made another error identical to previous ones, and then he dropped his left hand to John’s hair, stroking through the strands as he scrolled and read. John made soft, pleased sounds every time he did it, following Harold’s touch with his head the way a cat might, and Harold indulged him longer than strictly necessary every time.

He finished the project just as the light through the windows was turning orange. He saved it to send later; it was still earlier than Sparrow should have it finished, so he’d hold off for a few days before sending it on to the next independent contractor. “John,” he said softly, and John looked up at him. “You should reassemble your gun before we leave for the night.”

“I wouldn’t want a mouse to run off with anything,” John agreed, rising to his feet. “How does Italian sound?”

“I suppose I could make reservations,” Harold said dubiously, eyeing the dog hair on John’s pants.

“I know a place. It won’t matter what I’m wearing, as long as it’s something.” He bent over the other side of the table, his hands moving expertly.

“That does not inspire confidence, Mr. Reese,” Harold said. “Will they allow Bear?”

“As long as he has his vest, they have to.” He straightened, gun in hand, completely assembled. “I’ll find it, and then he and I will be ready.” He stepped off toward the stacks and wherever he might have left the vest.

Harold stood and twisted from one side to the other, then stretched carefully. His back had always locked up if he sat for too long, which was a hazard for a programmer; it was part of why he’d had the treadmill upstairs in IFT while he coded the Machine. He half-hoped John had left the gun somewhere, rather than carrying it to dinner with them.

“You should take up yoga, Harold,” John said from behind him. “It would help with that stiffness.”

“I don’t have the time, Mr. Reese.” He picked up Bear’s leash. “Don’t forget your shoes.”

Bear stood, his ears perked up, and John bent to fasten the vest around him; then John snapped on the leash. “You could at least find something you could do in five minutes. I know you’re not working on the computer the whole time you’re here and I’m out there.”

“I’ll consider it,” Harold said, and John grinned; he clearly felt triumphant. He made a mental note to make sure John didn’t look like that again until much later that night.