Master list can be found here.
Fandom: Live Free or Die Hard
Pairing/Characters: John McClane / Matt Farrell
Word count: ~ 3900
Beta: Many thanks to moose_mcmoose
Notes/Warnings: established relationship; This is a sequel to “Things Unsaid”, set 6 months later in April. It's unnecessary to read the other story beforehand.
Summary: Sometimes you get chosen by someone and can't do anything against it.
“Why is it that we always end up in situations like this? Why? Do you have an implant somewhere and every fucking criminal in the world tracks you down to see who is tougher, huh? Why can't we just go out for once without bullets flying around our heads and-”
Matt's shrill babble was cut off by a shriek when a bullet hit dangerously close to his head. John dragged him behind a garbage container in the dark alley and crouched in front of the younger man. Matt's hands were shaking, his huge eyes displayed his fear and not for the first time John asked himself how long it would take Matt to decide that he was better off without John. Swiftly, he brushed his thumb over Matt's cheek and whispered, “Stay there and be quiet.”
Matt groaned and watched John crawling to the edge of the container, peering around it. “Sure. Stay quiet, I can't stay quiet. I'm going insane if I can't even express that I'm scared to death and that I won't ever get used to it and who in hell are these guys? Why are they going after us? Hey, can you even see anything? Because I can't. There's no streetlight and it's pouring with rain. I'm certainly getting sick, well, if I'm going to survive tonight which I'm not sure I will because-”
“Kid! Shut the fuck up if you don't want them to find us!”
Matt's reply to this was an odd mewling sound. John's head swiveled around; he discovered Matt tucking his legs up and hiding his face behind them. It hurt him to see Matt like this but right now he had to concentrate on keeping them alive. He turned his attention back to the alley and listened. He only heard the rain splashing but also Matt's harsh breathing, sometimes interrupted by hiccups. What was it with the kid today? He had been fidgety and either babbled non-stop about whatever the hell triggered a never-ending stream of words or he had been completely silent. He had also been reluctant about going out for dinner whereas he usually beamed at the prospect of that.
John inspected the alley and wasn't all too happy about the fact that they were trapped. He had set off an emergency call and was waiting for his colleagues to arrive. For the time being there was nothing he could do other than wait and keep his eyes open for any kind of movement. He inspected Matt for a few seconds, then it dawned on him. “Christ, have your parents been there again?”
A shudder ran through Matt's body which told John all he needed to know. John felt his blood pressure increasing at the thought of those arrogant pieces of shit that claimed to be Matt's parents. It simply couldn't be that they were related, Matt had nothing in common with them. Whenever they showed up unannounced they tried to talk Matt into leaving John and the life he was now leading.
Their arguments made John's head hurt all the time and he was still more than furious about the time they had accused John of battery against Matt, filing a lawsuit which had resulted in John getting suspended from work for a few days. In the end everything had settled; but it had also made public that he was in a relationship with Matt. Some colleagues had eyed him apprehensively at first but soon they had just shrugged and accepted John's choice. Frankly, John hadn't cared much about his colleagues, he had been to busy with calming down a furious Matt.
Matt's parents hadn't dared to show up for four months afterwards but they had started anew a few weeks ago. Matt was a nervous wreck each time and right now John decided that he was going to stop the Farrell's from visiting again. He hated having to deal with all this stuff but foremost he hated how deep they cut into Matt's soul and confidence each time. Matt didn't take anything from them and stood his ground but their accusations and ignorance still hurt him.
John took in a calming breath, then peered around the container again. There was still no movement but also no sirens to be heard. Why did it take so long for back-up to show up? He turned around to Matt who had uncurled himself, a forlorn expression appearing on his face. In a low voice John said, “You're okay with me taking care of your parents? So that they won't bother you again?”
Matt frowned and squirmed uneasily on the ground. “I … I don't know. They're gonna twist your words and I don't want you to get into trouble again.”
“I'll find a way, okay?” Matt didn't seem to be convinced so John added, “Trust me.”
That was all John needed to say. Tension flew out of Matt's body and a small smile settled on his face. He nodded, then asked, “How long do you think we'll have to hide here?”
John shrugged his shoulders and wiped water from his eyes. The vision was blurry and he wasn't sure if he'd seen a shadow moving or not. He glanced around and cursed the rain because he couldn't hear anyone approaching them. He almost pulled the trigger of his gun when Matt squeaked loudly.
Swiveling around and aiming his gun he expected someone holding Matt at gunpoint but instead there was a big, wet and dirty thing sitting on Matt's lap. Matt stared at the fury thing wide-eyed, his face a mask of disgust. His hands were up in the air in a placating manner so to not spook the animal on his lap. Finally he squeezed out, “Geez, what the fuck? I can't stand cats! They are full of fleas and whatever other bugs and this one reeks and could you please take it off me?”
“You don't like cats?” That was odd, for whatever reason John had always assumed that Matt would like any kind of pet.
“No!” Matt yelled. The cat meowed which caused Matt to withdraw his head and promptly thump it against the brick wall behind him. “Ouch! Damn, flea ball! John, take it away!”
Despite their current situation John couldn't help but smirk at Matt's whiny voice. He sounded like a petulant child, demanding help when it would be easy for him to help himself. John shook his head and was about to rescue Matt when he heard someone panting and splashing through puddles. Shit! He couldn't make out their assassin or assassins and he also couldn't think of anything to do to protect them. There was no place to hide or run so he crouched backwards until he was at least blocking Matt. “If I tell you to run you'll do that without looking back, understood?”
John glanced quickly over his shoulder and caught a terrified look in Matt's eyes. Before Matt could start an argument he repeated, “Did you understand? And that's not up for discussion.”
Suddenly John heard the tell-tale clicking sound of someone pulling a trigger. Obviously, and also very fortunately, for John and Matt that someone had run out of bullets. John straightened up, aiming his gun in the darkness but still couldn't make out anything. He was taken by surprise when the man lunged at him and kicked his gun out of his hands. He grumbled something about a cowardly motherfucker but that only earned him another hard kick right into his nether regions. Whoever it was, he was strong and John rolled under him in a swift movement. He pushed his head backwards against his assailant and heard the other man shout in pain. It was a satisfying sound in John's book.
Not so satisfying was the voice that yelled, “Lay down, asshole! Or I'm gonna blow your kid's head off!”
John turned his head and sure enough there was Matt being held by another man. A gun was pressed against his temple but he still struggled in position, pissing the assailant off to no end. John's own assailant was back on his feet, wiping blood from his bloody nose and reloading his gun. He aimed at John who had no other chance than to concede defeat for the moment. Matt was still struggling against the grip around him and with gritted teeth John had to watch the kid getting thrown against the wall and receiving two hard slaps on his cheeks. He'd hurt that bastard really bad if he'd get a chance to do so, John vowed to himself.
Matt was leaning against the wall and was about to open his mouth. John cringed in advance; a babbling Matt wouldn't be helpful for either of them right now. He was about to tell him to keep his mouth shut when Matt's assailant abruptly howled and hopped around on one foot. He howled again when that dirty and stinking cat attacked him again, this time aiming for his face.
John took advantage of the situation and lashed out against the man who was holding him. A few seconds later he had wrenched the gun out of said man's hands and ordered him to put his hands behind his back and stay put. The other man had dropped the gun while he fought against the hissing and snarling cat but the animal clung on.
Finally, sirens could be heard in the distance. While they waited for the other cops, Matt asked, “Are … are we gonna try and get the cat off him?”
John just shrugged, “Nah, the cat is doing a good job of keeping him busy.”
Matt gave a somewhat hysterical laugh at this comment and John looked at him with increasing worry. Matt's teeth were chattering and his body shaking but he couldn't go over to him now, he had to wait for the back-up. Short time later other cops swarmed the alley and hauled the two perps off. The one who had been attacked by the cat was moaning and his hands and face were laced with deep and bloody scratches. John didn't feel even remotely sorry for the guy but he was very much interested in finding out why they had tried to kill Matt and him.
Detectives were already firing away questions at him and Matt but one look at Matt showed John that the kid needed a quick moment to collect himself. He excused himself from a detective called Parson, “Sorry man, I'll answer all your questions in a moment. Just give me a second with the kid.”
The other man looked perplexed but a piercing stare from John and he had his way. Miller, who was interrogating Matt, got the same treatment and despite a lot of people hustling around John pulled a shaking Matt into his arms. The kid all but fell into his arms, wheezing and muttering non-stop.
“I wish I would have stayed in bed this morning. Would've been a much better choice,” Matt mumbled into John's shirt. “Christ, it's so cold! Why is it so cold, it's April, almost May, it shouldn't be that cold, that's just not right, or is it?”
“I'm gonna warm you up as soon as we're back home, alright?”
Matt lifted his head and looked at him fondly. Water was streaming down his face and his hair was plastered against his face but at least he didn't look like he was going to have a breakdown anymore. He asked, “Promise?”
John nodded, hugged him again, then released him. “Let's get this over with so we can go home,” he suggested.
They both answered questions though Matt mostly said that he didn't know or didn't see anything. He was also pretty distracted by the dirty cat winding around his feet. Whenever he tried to push the cat away, the cat would follow and press itself more firmly against him. Even the other detectives couldn't help but smile at the open display of affection and Miller grinned, “You got yourself a new friend, I'd say.”
“I don't need a new friend! Least of all a four-legged friend and especially not one that you can smell from a mile away.”
“You should be more grateful, it rescued you,” Miller replied. “It must really have a thing for you. My wife explained to me that cats chose their owners and not the other way around so maybe you should get used to it.”
“What? No way, man, no way. That's … that's just … I don't know. I … are we finished now? Because, you know, I'm freezing and I'm hungry and I really wanna go home and forget about people trying to shoot me.”
Miller nodded and after a quick talk with John they decided that John could do the paperwork tomorrow. He turned to Matt and gently laid a hand on the small of his back to guide him out of the alley. The cat trailed behind them which caused Matt to babble and rant again. He was also still chattering with his teeth and trembling from the wetness that seeped through his clothes. John frowned, they could at least have given the kid a blanket or an umbrella or let him sit in a car. He hoped that it was simply careless behavior on behalf of his colleagues but he'd bring this up tomorrow.
They only had to walk five minutes to their shared apartment and both breathed a sigh of relief when they reached the building. They were almost through the front door when they caught a glimpse of the cat slipping through the door too. Matt scowled at the cat, went back to the door and muttered, “It's all nice that you saved us and thank you for that but now go away.”
He waved his hand into the direction of the exit but the cat wound around his feet and purred loudly. It rubbed its head against Matt's legs which caused him to cringe. Seeking for help he looked over to John and said, “What are we going to do with it?”
“It's your cat.”
“W-What? No, it's not! It's nobody's cat, it's … it's a stray. Oh, come on, man, please, can't you get it to go away?”
“Do I look like a cat-catcher or something? You want it to leave, you make it leave. I'm going upstairs and take a shower.”
John turned around after seeing an incredulous look spreading out on Matt's face. It even took the kid a moment to find his voice and shout after him, “John! John! Shit, McClane! That's not fair!”
John shook his head and murmured, “Life isn't always fair, kid.”
“I heard that! John!”
John was already unlocking the apartment door when he heard Matt's footsteps behind him. He glanced over his shoulder and was greeted by a scowling Matt, the cat close on his heels.
“I don't want to take care of it,” Matt complained when he followed John into the apartment. The cat was completely unfazed and entered the apartment as if it belonged here. It sniffed here and there and inspected everything closely. “Oh my God! It'll smear dirt and whatever all over the place. Eeew! Okay, okay, you know what we're gonna do? It can stay here for one night as … as a thank you from us but first we need to clean it.”
Matt strolled after the cat and with an almost comical expression of disgust picked the cat up from the floor. The cat purred loudly and licked over the back of Matt's hand which resulted in a litany of curses from Matt. John stripped out of his drenched clothes and trailed after Matt into the bathroom. He was adjusting the water temperature when he became aware that Matt was staring at him with a wounded expression. Petulantly Matt said, “I thought you'd wait for me. Didn't you say something about warming me up?”
“I will, don't worry. Get the cat clean so you can shower too, your lips are getting blue.”
“Thanks so much for your concern.”
John blanked out the further rant but from time to time watched to see if the kid was making progress with the cat. He had put it into the tub and was lathering it with a generous amount of shampoo. John took in the sight of the younger man while he was occupied. Matt's clothes were glued to his body, accentuating his slenderness. John had to avert his eyes when his imagination started to run wild. He ended the shower and toweled himself off. “I've never heard of a cat which likes to get cleaned. I always thought they were shy of water?”
“I have never heard of a stray cat befriending a total stranger and rescuing his life by attacking someone else. She's a strange cat.”
“It's a she? How do you know that?”
“I cleaned her, that's why. Here, you towel her off while I take a shower, I'm an iceberg.”
Matt pushed the cat into John's hands but she only snarled at him and immediately jumped out of his arms. John sighed, went after her but she hissed at him and showed her claws so he backed off. “Sorry kid, your job here.”
“Oh for Christ's sake! How often do I have to tell you to stop calling me kid!” Matt threw his hands up in the air and glared at John. He had gotten rid of his shirt and was shivering even more than before.
John pulled him in close and rubbed his hands over Matt's chilled body. Matt rested his head on one of John's shoulders and sighed in contentment. John took a moment before he reacted to Matt's complaint, “I only agreed to stop calling you kid when we're having sex.”
Matt snorted, “Yeah, but I meant that you should stop it in general and I'm sure you only stopped calling me kid because otherwise you won't get laid.”
There was no point in denying the truth so John kept his mouth shut. He gave Matt's butt a playful slap and loosened their embrace. Matt sighed again, but this time it was in annoyance. Yet, he went over to the cat and quickly rubbed her dry. She looked like an over-sized ball of fluff afterwards, with fuzzy hair sticking out in complete disarray. Matt snickered and John snorted at the sight in front of them. The cat shook herself, then strutted out of the door, holding her head high in the air like she was a queen going on parade.
John finally got dressed while Matt hopped into the shower. John went into the kitchen but a glance into the fridge reminded him why they had wanted to go out for dinner in the first place. He picked up the phone and ordered pizza, hoping that the kid would be okay with his decision. Sitting down on the sofa he watched the cat prance around the living room, sniffing at everything and anything and completely ignoring him. Her interest in him grew when he put a few slices of sausages in a bowl. It was better than nothing.
Matt emerged from the bathroom right in time when the delivery boy rang the bell. Together they settled on the sofa, Matt sitting cross-legged like usual and dressed in sweatpants and a hoody. His hair was still damp and he had to brush it out of his face several times. John liked watching Matt's profile though he'd never admit that. He had turned on the TV, and although Matt always bitched and ranted about whatever was on, he kept sitting next to John.
When they were both finished with eating Matt stretched his body, then took a cushion and placed it on John's lap. He curled himself up on his side and rested his head on the cushion. Automatically one of John's hands landed on Matt's hipbone whereas the other one carded through Matt's hair. The cat stared at them motionlessly from across the room. John raised an eyebrow and she meowed. Swiftly she crossed the distance, jumped onto the sofa and snuggled up in front of Matt's belly.
“What the hell? Isn't it enough that we're allowing you to stay here for one night? Why do you have to be all over me?”
John kept stroking Matt's hair and could barely hold back his laughter. Matt bitched some more about the cat but John tuned it out. Eventually he suggested, “Maybe you should pet her. It could stop the constant nudging.”
“But I don't want to pet her!” Matt protested vehemently.
“Why not? Now that she's all clean she doesn't look that bad.” On the contrary, the cat was a rather pretty example of her species. She had long white fur with a few gray parts and her eyes were of a brightly gleaming blue.
“I … I … if I start petting her I'll get attached to her and then it'll break my heart when we throw her out tomorrow.”
John raised an eyebrow in surprise. “We don't have to throw her out.”
Matt turned on his back so that he was staring up at John questioningly. “What do you mean? Wait! Wait, do you want to have a pet? Why didn't you say something? I didn't even know that you like pets and-”
John cut Matt off as he bent down, kissing him firmly on the mouth. Matt's arms curled around his neck in an instant and he allowed John a thorough exploration of his mouth. When they broke apart both men were panting. A satisfied smile appeared on John's face as he took in the sight of Matt's moist and swollen lips. He was about to ask if Matt still needed warming up when the cat climbed on top of Matt's belly and made herself comfortable there.
“Shit! What is it with this cat? Go away!”
The cat simply blinked before she stretched herself out on top of Matt. She began purring loudly and a few seconds later Matt conceded defeat. He reached out and scratched the cat behind her ears, then proceeded to stroke her gently. The purring increased in its volume and caused both men to chuckle. “Ah well, I guess, she deserves to be treated well for one night, right?”
John nodded and said, “Guess, we'll do the warming up part later tonight.”
“Yeah, don't think you can get out of it.”
“I wouldn't dream of it.”
John rested his hand on Matt's chest while Matt went on with petting the cat. Matt said, “This is, uh, very domestic right now. It's weird. Weird in a good way, you know, good weird. Do I make sense?”
Ten minutes later Matt and the cat were both asleep and John thought that this was indeed very domestic. He grinned when another thought struck him – the cat had chosen very well. It was something they had in common.