Title: Do the Right Thing
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, you can't go on like this. You're putting all of us in danger."
Harold's voice was slightly higher-pitched than usual, which John knew from experience meant that he was feeling cornered and was trying desperately to get his point across.
"Why, Harold?" he asked, leaning back in his chair and crossing his arms over his chest. He was glad that Harold had chosen a public place like this restaurant for them to have what he had termed a "serious discussion," because if he hadn't, then John was sure that he would lose his temper.
He was so tired of Harold constantly telling him that Jordan was a liability in their work. Harold was wrong. Jordan was not a liability. He could be an asset, if Harold would let him.
"Because you're leaving yourself vulnerable where Jordan is concerned." Harold shook his head, looking down at his plate and cutting a piece of steak. "John, I know you love Jordan. And I'm happy that you have that love in your life. But have you thought about the danger you're putting him in by being with him?"
John sighed, nodding slowly. Yes, he had thought a great deal about the fact that being in a relationship with him might be putting Jordan in the line of fire.
He would protect Jordan. He had no other choice. Because he wasn't giving them up.
"You have to do the right thing, John," Harold told him, leaning forward and looking John in the eye. "I know it hurts to give up the person you love, but you need to do it, to keep him safe."
At this point, John felt as though he'd suddenly had enough. He was tired of listening to the same thing from Harold over and over again, never going up and down the scale, simply playing the same note like a recorder that was stuck in one place. He wasn't going to keep listening to this. He was done with it.
"Doing the right thing means keeping him safe, Harold," he answered, his voice a sibilant hiss. "And I can do that. I'm not going to give up the man I love just because you felt that you had to give up on your relationship."
Harold stared at him, wide-eyed with shock, and John almost felt as though he should stop and reconsider what he was saying. But he had gone too far now, and he wasn't backing down.
"You gave up on your relationship with Grace because it was easier than letting her into your life and explaining everything to her," he went on relentlessly. "And because you didn't have the balls to let her in, you want me to give up my love. You want me to be just as miserable and lonely as you are. Well, I won't be."
Without stopping to take a breath, he kept going, his words pouring out. "You want to drag me down to what you are. You can't stand to see me happy, because you're so damn miserable."
He threw his napkin down on the table, rising to his feet. He was no longer hungry.
He knew that his words had hurt Harold, but he also knew that they were true. Harold did want John to be in exactly the same place he was, emotionally dependent on one person.
Harold wanted the two of them to be bound together by emotional need, and in a way, he was manipulating John. He didn't want his business partner to need anyone but him -- and he wanted Jordan removed from the picture so that John didn't have a lover, didn't have someone who meant the world to him.
It wasn't enough for Harold that they were good friends, and that John would lay down his life for him. He wanted John to give up everything for him. That was his idea of "doing the right thing."
Well, for him, it wasn't the right thing, John told himself as he looked down at Harold. He cared for this man, wanted to help him and protect him. But he wasn't going to let Harold manipulate him into giving up the love of his life. He had given up on someone he loved before, and he wouldn't live with that kind of regret again.
"I won't choose between Jordan and you," he said, keeping his voice even. "If that's what you want, then you've got to know that I'll always choose Jordan. That's the right thing for me."
With that, he turned and walked out of the restaurant without looking back.
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