Title: Stand Or Fall
Pairing: John Reese/Jordan Hester
Fandom: Person of Interest
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.
***John paused outside Jordan's apartment door, raising his hand to knock and taking a deep breath as he did so. He had no idea what kind of reception he would get, but he was sure that it wasn't going to be a good one. He had too much to answer for.
What did Jordan think of him now? Would his boyfriend even let him step foot into his home, now that he probably thought John was a cold-blooded killer? There was no way of knowing just what Jordan thought until they had talked; he couldn't just guess at those emotions.
The last thing he wanted was for the man he loved to back away from him with fear in his eyes -- but that was what he could envision Jordan doing. He had to somehow make his boyfriend understand that what he had done was out of necessity.
He hadn't wanted to kill that man, but he'd had no choice. He'd done what he had to do, and if Jordan couldn't understand that, then .... well, maybe they weren't meant to be together, after all. Not if Jordan couldn't accept that sometimes he had to do things he didn't like doing.
What was he going to say to Jordan? He had no earthly idea. But whatever he said, he knew that he couldn't tell his boyfriend about the machine. Not now. Not yet. One day, he would be able to share all of the secrets in his life with the man he loved, but this day wasn't it.
Raising his hand and curling his fingers into a fist to knock, John was surprised when the door opened before he could rap on it, and Jordan was standing there in front of him. He couldn't take his eyes from the other man; Jordan filled his sight, his mind, his senses.
Jordan stood back, not saying a word, but indicating that John should come in. John wanted to speak as he stepped into the apartment and Jordan closed the door, but he wasn't sure of what to say. He didn't know where to start, or what Jordan needed to hear.
Instead of speaking, he simply followed Jordan into the living room, taking a seat on the couch while the other man sat in a chair facing him. Jordan's eyes didn't leave his face; John couldn't remember ever feeling as if he was under a microscope as much as he did now.
"Why?" Jordan whispered, his voice trembling. "I didn't think you were a hired killer, John. I thought you tried to help people, not kill them. What I saw you do tonight didn't make you look like one of the good guys. It made you look like somebody I should be afraid of."
"I didn't have a choice," John said, hoping that his voice wouldn't break as he spoke. Normally, it wouldn't, but this was Jordan he was talking to. This was the man he loved who was listening to his words; he had to make Jordan understand.
"He's killed a lot of people, Jordan, and tonight, he would have killed a woman and her children," he went on, leaning forward and not losing eye contact with his boyfriend. "It was either take him out while I could, without endangering them, or putting their lives at risk."
"Oh," Jordan said, his voice very small and soft. "I-I didn't think that it could have been something like that." But as soon as he'd seemed to sink into acceptance, he shook his head, his gaze and his voice hardening. "But there's still a lot I need to know."
"I know I need to tell you more about what I do," John said, wishing that they weren't having this conversation now, when he already felt that he was walking on eggshells with Jordan. "But I can't tell you everything, Jordan. You know that. I've already explained why."
"Because your partner doesn't want you to." Jordan shook his head, scowling. It was the first time that John had ever seen his boyfriend look truly angry; the sight startled him. Jordan had such an even temperament that it was odd to see him lose his cool.
"He's saved my life more than once, Jordan," John murmured, striving to keep his voice on an even keel. "He gave me back my life when I thought that I didn't have anything left. He gave me a reason to keep going, to look for redemption. And without him, I'd never have met you."
Jordan smiled at that, his dark gaze meeting John's. "There is that," he said softly, not looking away. "I guess I can thank him for that, too. If he hadn't brought us together with .... whatever it is that you and he do, then I'd never have fallen head over heels in love."
"I want to tell you everything about what we do, Jordan." John's voice was firmer now, more decisive. "But there are a lot of good reasons as to why I can't. And the fact that the man who brought me into this and who works with me doesn't want me to tell you is only the tip of the iceberg."
"He doesn't think you can trust me," Jordan whispered, looking down at his clasped hands. "And that means you don't trust me, either. If you did, then you wouldn't have any problem with telling me more about why you two do what you do. You don't think I can keep your secrets."
John shook his head, feeling more frustrated by the moment. "No, that's not it at all!" he objected, trying to keep his voice even and not let his tone turn confrontational. "I don't want to tell you because I don't want you to be used against me. I don't want to put you at risk."
"I know that," Jordan told him, a pleading note in his voice. "But I can't deal with feeling like you don't trust me, John. We're lovers. I've given you my body, and my heart. That counts for something, doesn't it? I trust you completely, but you don't trust me at all."
"That's not true," John said softly, wanting desperately to reach out and take Jordan's hands in his, but unsure of whether or not that would be the right thing to do at this point. "I trust you with my life. And with my heart. I trust you to not let me fall, to be my rock."
"We have to trust each other," Jordan told him, his voice catching on the last words. "If we don't, then we're not going to make it, John. We have to let our relationship stand or fall on that trust. It's not just about love. It's about loving each other enough to know that trust is there."
At those words, John couldn't keep himself from touching Jordan any longer. He rose to his feet, reaching out for the other man's hands at the same time. He grasped Jordan's hands, pulling his boyfriend to his feet and into his arms before Jordan could protest.
"I do trust you," he whispered, raising one hand to stroke Jordan's hair. "I'd trust you with my life. You have to know that. But I trust Harold, too -- and he gave me back my life when I thought that it was over. I have to respect his wishes, Jordan. Please try to understand that."
"I do," Jordan said with a sigh, resting his forehead against John's. "I know how much you owe him, John. I'm not questioning that. But I'm a part of your life -- and in some ways, I guess that makes me a part of his life, too. He has to learn to trust me."
John nodded slowly, realizing that Jordan was right. His boyfriend couldn't simply be kept away from what he did; if he was going to be in John's life permanently, then he had to know what kind of danger he might face. Jordan had a right to know about the machine.
"It's not something that's going to be easy for him to talk about -- or me, for that matter," he said slowly, trying to choose his words carefully. "But I agree with you. He has to learn to trust you, now that you're such a big part of my life. There's no way you can be completely kept out of what we do."
"I don't want to interfere with anything the two of you are doing," Jordan told him, raising his head to look into John's eyes. "When we first met, I told you that I've been an introverted kind of person. That's still true. I'm not looking for some kind of glory. I just want to know what you're dealing with."
"And you have that right," John told him, feeling more and more sure by the moment that he would be doing the right thing to tell Jordan everything about what he and Harold did. But he couldn't tell his boyfriend all before he talked to Harold. He owed his partner that much.
"I'll have to talk to him first," he told Jordan, cupping his boyfriend's cheek and gazing into his eyes. "But I think I can make him understand how important it is that you know about what we're doing. We might need you one day, Jordan. And I don't want you to be kept in the dark."
"I'm glad you feel that way," Jordan said, his gaze not leaving John's face. "Our relationship has to stand or fall on trust, and I want to know that you trust me. Harold needs to trust me, too, if I'm going to be a big part of your life. We're more or less all in this together."
John nodded reluctantly, acknowledging that Jordan was right. They were in this together, and they had been ever since that first night he'd spent with Jordan. He should have known as soon as he'd given his heart to this man that Jordan was a part of all he did.
"We'll stand or fall on our trust in each other," he whispered, knowing that Jordan was right about that. "But I don't think we'll fall, Jordan. I've trusted you ever since we first met and I found out that you were the person I needed to be helping out of that mess. I always will."
"I trust you, too," Jordan murmured, nodding in agreement. "I just wish Harold felt like he could trust me. He can, you know. I'm not going to spill any of your secrets to anybody. I'm not that weak, John. I might not be like you, but I'm not a coward."
"I know you're not," John told him, raising a hand to caress Jordan's cheek. "I'll convince Harold to let me tell you everything. I don't know how I'll do it, but I will. He has to realize that you're the biggest part of my life, and that I can't keep on shutting you out."
John didn't know how he'd convince Harold to let Jordan into all of their secrets, but he knew that he had to. He had the definite feeling that the future of his relationship with the man he loved depended on him doing so. And if couldn't convince Harold, then he would have to do something radical.
He'd have to go against Harold's wishes, no matter what his partner might think -- and no matter how it might affect that partnership. He had to let Jordan know exactly what he did, the dangers that he faced; he had to tell his boyfriend all, whether Harold approved of that or not.
He had no idea just what would happen, but he knew one thing for certain. He wasn't going to give Jordan up, and he didn't intend to stop working with Harold. He only hoped that the two of them could be brought to trust each other, and that the three of them could end up working together.
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