Master list can be found here.
Title: The Softer Side
Fandom: Live Free or Die Hard
Pairing/Characters: John McClane / Matt Farrell
Summary: John wasn't a cuddler. No, really, he wasn't.
Notes/Warnings: established relationship, domesticity
The Softer Side
John wasn't a cuddler – never had been one. He wasn't going to change that fact about himself. It was already enough to be out in the open with being in a gay relationship. Not only that, but also being in a relationship with a guy who was half his age. Neither John nor Matt liked it when people commented on their relationship behind their backs, disgust and arrogance pouring out of them. Matt got riled up the most by the accusation that he wanted a stern father-figure, showing him the ropes. John mostly rolled his eyes when anyone wondered aloud why he needed Matt. Really what was the point in arguing with someone who asked, “If you so badly want to take care of someone else, what about your own two kids?”
When John had complained about such a line for the twentieth time, Matt had surprised him with snarling, “Then stop calling me kid!”
It was harder than John had expected to stop calling Matt 'kid'. It still slipped him from time to time, which always earned him a long drawn sigh from Matt, accompanied by a frown and a shake of his head. Later, John would always sneak up behind Matt, embrace him and nibble at his throat. Matt would crane his head until it came to a rest on John's shoulder, giving John full access to his throat. Matt's eyes would be closed but his lips were parting eagerly, inviting John's tongue in.
That wasn't cuddling, it was a peace offer.
When John came home from work he would always drop his keys on the small table in the hallway and hang up his jacket on the rack. Then he'd look out for Matt. Sometimes he found him in the kitchen preparing dinner. Neither of them were excellent cooks but they managed to cook decent food more often than not. John would enter the kitchen, loop an arm around Matt's waist and turn him around. Matt's eyes would sparkle and his hands would cup John's face before they kissed. After a thorough kissing session John would hold him close, rub his hands over Matt's back and inhale his scent.
That still didn't count as cuddling, it was just their way of saying, “Hi! It's good to see you.”
Often enough Matt would be in his office. The office had been John's spare room but that seemed to be eons ago. At first it had been Matt's bedroom when he had stayed the first few days with John after the fire-sale. Nowadays Matt slept in John's bed and the small room was filled with tons of stuff John didn't even know the name of. Matt worked here on his programs, designed them and tested them. It had taken Matt some time to figure out which job he should take because suddenly a lot of companies had wanted to hire him. In the end Matt took a job as a game designer. It wasn't the job that brought him the most money but he liked it. When Matt had told him about his decision John had said, “Once a kid, always a kid, huh?”
Matt had shrugged and smiled this lopsided yet affable smile that was so typically him. So, when John found Matt in his office, working, he often stood on the threshold and watched him. As soon as he was sure that he wasn't interrupting anything important John would sit down on the only other chair in the room. The chair creaked, always, and Matt's head would swivel around. A big grin would spread over Matt's face before he got up. Sometimes his legs would buckle because he had forgotten to eat. When that happened, John would reach over and scoop him up in his arms, then place him on his lap. He'd scold Matt for forgetting to eat again but Matt would simply tuck up his legs and make himself comfortable on John's lap. He would rest his head against John's chest after a quick kiss and fall asleep in an instant. John would sit there with Matt sleeping peacefully on his lap. One of his hands would hold Matt in place while his other hand brushed strands of hair out of Matt's face. All his attempts of putting the long strands behind Matt's ears would be in vain but John didn't mind.
That also didn't count as cuddling since John was only making sure Matt was okay.
John had never understood why Holly became clingy in the summer. He was sweating and going nuts from the heat as it was but Holly would lean against his bare chest, throw a leg above his waist and press herself up against him. He could only bear the additional heat for five minutes at maximum. He always excused himself and let her lie in bed with a wounded expression on her face.
It was different with Matt. During the summer heat Matt would sprawl his lanky frame all over what had become his side of the bed. He didn't touch John; it even went so far that when John felt around for him at night he would swat John's hand away, grumbling, “It's too hot, keep your hands to yourself.”
It was good that they were both on the same wavelength regarding the topic of cuddling. No, really, it was. Yet, when the air cooled down in the early hours of the new day John would carefully scoot closer to Matt until his chest touched Matt's naked back. Fine goosebumps would arise all over Matt's body and he shifted in his sleep to get closer to John. They both would sleep in this tight embrace for maybe an hour or two more. John would shut off the alarm-clock before the alarm buzzed and entangled himself from Matt.
Still, that didn't count as cuddling, he had only helped to warm Matt up.
It was winter, a mere eighteen months into their relationship, when it finally hit John. They were sitting on the sofa, watching an old Hitchcock movie because John had insisted that Matt needed to be educated properly. John's feet were propped up on a stool and Matt was half sitting, half lying between John's parted legs. Matt's head rested against John's chest and a blanket covered them both. Matt had curled himself up on one side, with that motion snuggling even closer to John while the very same stroked over Matt's hair.
John stopped in his ministrations which led to Matt nudging his hand with his head. John was reminded of a cat and for a split of a second he waited for Matt to start purring. He shook his head and Matt tilted his head to look at him. Matt was relaxed, totally at ease but at the same time his face held puzzlement, “Why did you stop?”
“I don't like cuddling.”
“Really? What are we doing then here?”
Matt folded himself up even more and John immediately adjusted his grip around him. John felt Matt chuckle, then heard him say, “We're snuggling. In a very manly way. That okay with you?”
John was silent for a moment. He wasn't sure if Matt was mocking him but if he was honest – he didn't care. “Yeah. As long as we're not cuddling.”
“We could always smooch if this makes you feel more comfortable,” Matt suggested. He was looking at John again, his eyes holding that special twinkle which meant he was being playful.
John bent down and kissed Matt firmly on the lips. He manhandled Matt in a straddling position and peppered his face with small kisses. After a while he fumbled for the remote and switched off the TV. “Wanna smooch in bed?”
Matt nodded and hand-in-hand they stumbled towards the bedroom. Later, after they had been united in the best possible way, John was lying on his side. He was nestled up against Matt's back and held him tightly.
Maybe he did like to cuddle after all.