Navigation:     Home   About   News   Fiction   Links   Email  
Story Data

Posted March 29, 2012

Also linked at:
    Archive of Our Own

Series: Knowledge is Not Their Problem

Title: This Is Not the Grand Arena

Author: Jedi Buttercup

Disclaimer: The words are mine; the world is not. I claim nothing but the plot.

Rating: PG.

Summary: Reese's alliance with Carter has been a fragile thing from the start. 500 words.

Spoilers: Person of Interest 1.17 "Baby Blue"

Notes: Pragmatic!John. Title from the Operative's line in Serenity: "You are fooling yourself, Captain. Nothing here is what it seems. You are not the plucky hero, the Alliance is not an evil empire, and this is not the grand arena."

Reese's alliance with Carter has been a fragile thing from the start. Constructed of hope and shadow, dedicated to saving the lives that slip between the gaps of an increasingly corrupt legal system, it couldn't have existed in a city without the malignant counterweight of Elias.

That cuts both ways, of course. He'd seen today's withdrawal coming. And if she's honest with herself, Reese knows Carter has, too. She's chided him for playing God, for taking too much into his own hands, for months; it's just that until Leila's number had come up, the lines he and Finch had crossed hadn't pushed too hard against the principles she's chosen to defend.

And even now-- if things had worked out differently, if Elias had kept his word, she'd probably just have shaken her head and continued as usual. With disparaging words for their methods-- and grudging thanks for their results. But they hadn't. Szymanski is one of hers, one of the good ones, not one of Elias's; and he's in surgery tonight because John had given their safe house up to the enemy. It doesn't matter what his reason was; that's more than she finds herself able to accept.

John regrets the detective's pain. But it doesn't change the necessity of his actions-- just their price.

In the game of choose your consequences, once he'd taken Finch's offer, he'd given up the ability to not care about every life under his protection. He'd turned that switch off once; he never will again, not after all it had cost. And if sometimes that takes him farther into the grey areas than Carter is willing to follow... well, this isn't Metropolis, and she knows that. It isn't even Gotham, however tempting the comparison might be; they don't live in a world painted in primary colors. He is not the hero of the piece, and he doesn't choose his battles with accessible legal channels in mind.

Moretti had dug his own grave long ago, and Szymanski had signed up to put his life on the line. Both men were well over the age of reason; they'd made their choices, and Reese had given them each as much warning as he could afford. Leila had enjoyed none of those privileges. She was six months old, and if Reese had left her fate to the police, they would still be looking for her.

He'll never be able to forget that tiny form shaking against him. If anyone's truly at fault for that, it's Elias; and once Carter's had a chance to think, he gives even odds that she'll relent. The only thing that's changed since she first joined their cause is her perception of how far Reese is willing to go-- and from the way she'd threatened him over Leila, her convictions aren't truly as different from his as she'd like to pretend.

Whether she does or not, though, Reese won't withdraw his protection.

The next time Elias threatens one of his-- there will be payment.


Go to: Top | Series Index | Serial Fiction (Other) | Fan Fiction Index

© 2012 Jedi Buttercup.