Title: Where Do You Go
Pairing: John Reese/Jordan Hester
Fandom: Person of Interest
Table: 1, stories_a_z
Disclaimer: This is entirely a product of my own imagination, and I make no profit from it. I do not own the lovely John Reese or Jordan Hester, just borrowing them for a while. Please do not sue.
***Jordan sat at the table across from John, a slight frown on his face as he studied his boyfriend. There was something bothering John; he didn't have to be a mind-reader to see that. The other man's brow was furrowed, and he seemed to be deep in thought.
He hated it when John was like this, though he knew that it was probably something he would have to get used to. But still, it made him uncomfortable to know that John's mind was a million miles away when they were sitting right here with each other.
Where did John go when he slipped into himself this way? Jordan desperately wanted to know, but he still didn't feel as though he had the right to pry into John's private thoughts. And he already knew that if he asked about John's work, his boyfriend would be evasive.
John had a right to his privacy, Jordan told himself firmly. And he'd told his lover that he wasn't going to pry, that he wouldn't ask too many questions, and that he would wait until John felt comfortable with telling him more about what he did. He'd meant those words.
If only it wasn't so hard to deal with not knowing! He hated the fact that John seemed to be so far away from him at times when they were together; they seemed to have precious little time with each other as it was, and he didn't want John drifting away.
But if he started to question John more closely, he had no doubt that the other man would pull away, and he definitely didn't want that. Jordan felt as though he was caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place, unsure of what to do, unable to move one way or the other.
He cleared his throat, hoping that the sound would bring John out of his thoughts and back to the present time. He wanted his lover in the here and now, here with him, not lost in some place that was so far away it would be impossible for Jordan to follow him.
John blinked, looking startled for a moment before his gaze focused on Jordan again. He smiled ruefully, reaching a hand across the table to twine their fingers together, his voice soft when he spoke. "I'm sorry. I got .... lost in my thoughts for a few minutes. I shouldn't have done that."
Jordan wanted to say that it was okay, that he didn't mind, but that would be a lie, and they both knew it. He squeezed John's hand gently, wishing that there was some way he could get his boyfriend to talk about what was bothering him without seeming too inquisitive.
"Where do you go when you drift off like that, John?" he asked, his voice soft. "I'm not complaining, but I wish you'd stay here with me when we're together. I know you've got a lot on your mind, but I want to be the place you go to get away from all of that."
"You are," John told him, an edge of worry in his voice. "I'm sorry, Jordan. It's not that I want to go off to another place when I'm with you, I just ...." He sighed, shaking his head and closing his eyes for a moment. "I don't live the kind of life that most people do, you know."
Jordan nodded, wondering if John was going to tell him more about his work. He wasn't going to count on that, and he wasn't going to push John for more information, but he couldn't help leaning forward and concentrating more on what his lover was saying.
"I can't really tell you where I go," John told him, his words hesitant, as though he was searching for what he wanted to say. "I don't want to pull you into parts of my life, Jordan. It would be dangerous for you, and I'm not going to risk what I have with you in any way."
Jordan squeezed John's hand again, taking a deep breath before he spoke. "John, I understand that you don't want to put me in any kind of danger. And I'm not going to push you to tell me anything you don't want to. I just wish you felt like you could trust me."
"I do trust you," John said softly, his gaze locking with Jordan's. "And one day, I will tell you a lot more about myself. I just hope you can be patient until I feel that the time is right. This isn't just about me, Jordan. What I do involves other people's lives -- and their safety."
"I understand," Jordan answered, though he wasn't entirely sure that he did. "I don't want you to tell me anything you don't feel comfortable with revealing, John. I just .... want to know where you go off to when you drift off like that. It's kind of disconcerting."
"I guess I'd feel that way, too," John told him, sighing softly. "You know that my partner and I try to help people, kind of in the way that we helped you, right?" He didn't wait for Jordan to nod, but went on, his voice still very soft. "We try to make things right."
Jordan could feel his breath catching in his throat; maybe he was going to find out more about his lover than he'd thought he would when John first began speaking. His fingers tightened on John's, his heart speeding up and his breath coming faster as he listened.
"But sometimes we're too late," John continued, and his voice went flat on the words. "Sometimes we don't get there in time to save everyone we could. We might help the person we're meant to be helping, but there are days when we have to deal with collateral damage."
Jordan nodded, his heart aching for his boyfriend. He knew that not being able to help everyone who needed him would be something that ate away at John, something that made him feel he hadn't done all that he should have been able to do. He was that kind of man.
"I know you don't like the idea of anyone being collateral damage," Jordan said softly, wishing that he could say something that would take away what he was sure was a sense of failure for John. "But you can't save everyone, John. You do what you can."
John nodded, sighing softly. "That's where I go, Jordan. I go off somewhere in my head that replays what happened over and over, looking for exactly where I made a mistake, trying to find a way that I could have saved someone and wishing that I'd gotten there in time."
"You can't keep doing that to yourself," Jordan said firmly, shaking his head. "You do the best you can with what you have. I don't know exactly how you get the information that tells you who you should be helping, but I'm guessing that isn't foolproof, either. It's not your fault."
"We have more successes than failures," John said, a small smile flitting across his features. "I can take comfort in that, can't I? And if I wasn't doing this, then I'd never have found you. And you might never have gotten your identity back. So I can't say that what I do is a bad thing."
"It's definitely not a bad thing," Jordan told him, his fingers tightening momentarily around John's again. "You help a lot of people, John. If what you do for others is anything like what you did for me, then I know you do a lot of good in the world. I wouldn't want you to stop."
"Even if it means that I'll keep going off into my own little world sometimes when I'm with you?" John asked, tilting his head to the side as he regarded Jordan. "I'm sorry I have a tendency to do that. It comes with the territory, I guess. I'm never far from my job."
"Except when we're making love," Jordan murmured, his gaze not leaving John's face. He needed to know that John didn't go to some other place when they were together in an intimate way, and the only way that he would get that reassurance was by asking outright.
"Of course not," John told him, smiling. "When we're in bed, I'm always right there with you. I don't think I could go off somewhere else in my mind even if I wanted to. Having you in my arms, making love to you, is way too much of a distraction."
"Am I only a distraction when I'm naked in bed with you?" Jordan asked with a smile, mirroring the tilt of John's head with his own. "I'd kind of like to think that I can distract you all the time, not just when you're concentrating on us having sex."
"It's never just sex, Jordan," John said, his voice very soft and husky. "With us, it's always making love. Being with you is so much more than just sex. Every time." He smiled, a soft laugh spilling into the air. "And yes, you're a distraction all the time. Even when I'm not with you."
Jordan frowned at those words, a worry that he hadn't had before suddenly popping into his mind. "I hope I'm not a distraction when you're working," he said, his anxiety showing in his tone. "I don't want you to be so distracted that you put yourself in danger."
John shook his head quickly, his fingers tightening around Jordan's. "Don't worry, Jordan, I won't let that happen. When I'm working, I'm focused on that. As much as I might want to think about you and being with you, I can't let myself do that."
"That's good to know," Jordan told him, feeling relieved at John's words. The last thing he wanted was to put the man he loved in any more danger than he would already be in through his work, even indirectly. "I wouldn't want to be responsible for getting you hurt."
"You won't be," John assured him, finally letting go of Jordan's hand and leaning back in his chair. "Any trouble I get into through my job is my own doing, Jordan. And believe me, I've had a lot of practice at getting out of that kind of trouble. I can take care of myself."
Jordan nodded, wishing that he felt as confident about those words as John sounded. "I don't feel like I've really gotten a complete answer to the question of where you go, but it's good enough for me," he said with a smile, pushing the other questions to the back of his mind.
He didn't want to ask any more questions; he simply wanted to enjoy the rest of his time with John. The time they shared was precious, and he didn't want to waste a moment of it -- especially now that he knew just how to keep John right here by his side in every way.
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