Orbits, Drift

Act 3

The way Matt figures, having had his dick in John’s mouth means he now has a free pass to everything, and that includes John’s significantly bigger bed. This first night is only a little strange when John stands at his doorway, scratching the back of his neck and looking like he forgot the script, but Matt just yawns and strolls past into the room like he owns the damn joint.

John doesn’t complain, which is good, because Matt likes having more sex on the agenda.

Then Matt blows John for the first time. He spoils it a little when he starts giggling around John’s cock, because his brain’s short circuiting again like it can’t process that he’s actually going down on John, and mother of all miracles, John’s letting him.

“You really have some lousy bed manners, Matt,” John says. He shoves a hand into Matt’s hair and tugs, which is just his way of asking nicely not to mess about.

This time Matt doesn’t miss anything. He catalogues the way John bares his teeth, the way his thighs strain, the way the groan of release shatters loose from somewhere deep in John’s chest. Matt just barely stops himself from throwing both his fists in the air in victory, though there really should be a prize for getting big bad-ass John to look all stunned like he’s just discovered the gloriousness of blowjobs.

“Who’s awesome, huh, who’s awesome?” Matt says, scooting up the bed. He finds John’s ear and bites the lobe. “Who’s awesome?” he sing-songs.

John turns, and there’s a million-watt look in his eyes that goes straight to Matt’s dick.

Matt concedes breathlessly, “Okay, you are.”

Then John gets him off, and Matt really needs to work on his stamina because it’s getting embarrassing how little John has to actually do. It’s going to be a long time going if Matt’s going to get any headway at all on figuring out everything John has to offer.

The thought thrills a little… Or a lot, whatever – semantics are for losers who aren’t getting their dick palmed by John McClane.

+ + +

Matt wakes up with a thin ray of sunlight cutting across his face, which shouldn’t be the case because he always makes sure the curtains are drawn before he heads to bed.

Then it catches up him on whose bed he’s in, and Matt’s all the way awake without even a hint of coffee.

First thing’s first. There’s the chance that Matt is still asleep and dreaming this entire scenario; it’s happened before. So Matt carefully rolls over and confirms that yes, he’s in John’s bed, and yes, the bedsheets smell like John. (And sex with John.)

The shower’s running, so John must be done with his morning run.

Matt stays under the covers, ready and watchful for when the shower noise stops and John steps out.

Wrapped in a towel.

John pauses the motion of rubbing himself dry, and scowls in Matt’s general direction. “Did you just squeak?”

“No, I didn’t,” Matt says.

He watches John get dressed for work (because he’s allowed now), admiring the way his skin moves and gathering intel that will definitely come in useful later.

Matt blurts, “Did you ever jerk off thinking me?”

John freezes. Or, his body freezes, while his head does that thing where it turns slowly to trap Matt in its narrow glare. “What?”

“Jerk off? Thinking of me?” Matt asks. “I’d like to know.”

John sighs a little. “I’ve got to get to work, Matt.”

“So? I’m not asking for a quickie,” Matt says. “I’m just asking if, at any time prior to events of last night, you ever touched yourself in a somewhat sexual way to thoughts of me. Because I definitely did, of you. Just sayin’.”

Matt didn’t ask for a quickie, but because the world is awesome, he gets one anyway.

+ + +

Okay, so maybe the world has something to prove, like if it’s going to finally give John to Matt on a silver platter after months of foreplay (which Matt didn’t even know was foreplay, dude), then it has to balance the stakes somehow.

Matt would’ve been content with something small and heart attack-inducing, like a surprise visit from Lucy (or Jack or Holly), but of course, things are never that simple.

It happens near lunch.

Matt’s at his computer (because where else would he be) when the phone rings. He picks up without looking, muttering a distracted, “Hello” and getting confusing static for his trouble. “Hello?”

The thing is, Matt knows his static, like he knows the tell-tale electronic hum of a lot of equipment turned on at the same time, and the faint noise he can make out through the ear speakers of John’s ancient cordless phone is of someone very deliberately not speaking.

A chill moves up Matt’s spine.

He hangs up. After almost a minute of the phone not ringing again, Matt hits *69, only to get an engaged tone.

Maybe it’s McClane-sense rubbing off on him, a remnant of the four hundred dozen stories that John’s told him over dinner about not taking things for granted and of noticing when the bits don’t align quite right. Human instinct can be a powerful thing, and Matt likes to think that he has at least some now due to being an up close survivor of Fire Sale ’06.

Matt turns off his music and stands in the doorway, ears on alert.

He’s still standing there when a shadow appears in the narrow crack under the apartment door.

It could just be a Mrs. Loh dropping by to borrow some milk, or that guy from down the hall looking to exchange some quarters for laundry day.

Or it could be something else.

Matt retreats into the spare room, grabbing his headpiece and pouch. It turns out to be a good decision, because not too long after the door slams open in an unfriendly hinge-breaking way without so much as a knock.

Matt’s out the fire escape and climbing.

He makes it halfway down a floor before the bullets start flying.

“Shit shit shit!” Matt shimmies down faster, paying attention to the timing of his feet and ignoring the sudden screams from passers-by below. He hears the breaking smash of the window above and has a hand bracing upwards for when the glass shards fall around him.

The fire escape moves with new weight, and a quick glance upwards confirms that he’s not alone on the side of John’s apartment building.

In the hopes that there’s anyone listening, Matt shouts: “Someone call 911!”

Another jerk of the fire escape makes Matt look down, and he sees beneath his feet that there’s someone the climbing up the fire escape towards him, and the face behind those dark shades doesn’t look friendly at all. Also: that’s definitely a gun Matt sees in his hand.

“Stop him!” The voice comes from above, and it’s female.

Matt climbs over a railing into a narrow balcony and – hoping that this apartment belongs to one of the friendlier folk in John’s building – climbs through the half-open window and shuts it quickly behind him.

Ah, it’s the Gonzales family.

“Call 911!” Matt says as he rushes past poor Mrs. Gonzales, who looks halfway ready to kill him. The people chasing would be more creative about it, so Matt runs.

Once in the hallway, Matt ignores the lift (dead end) and heads for the stairwell. There’s no way he’s going back up (hell, he’s seen enough horror movies), so he starts a frantic hop-slide downwards, keeping as much pressure off his left leg as possible.

He’s still hop-sliding as he reaches a hand into his pocket for his phone.



There are other footsteps in the stairwell, and moving fast.

“John, you gotta get—”

A hand that is not Matt’s grabs the phone and throws it at the wall, where it splinters.

Some stuff happens after that, but it goes by all fast and whooshy like the world’s sped up while Matt’s stuck in slow-mo. Matt doesn’t have the brainpower to process until he’s down on the concrete floor with his arms locked behind his back and the sole of a leather boot pressed against his neck.

“Matthew Farrell.”

Matt blinks through the unruly curtain of his bangs. “Mai. Oh my god, Mai.”

+ + +

There is impossible, and then there is the past year of Matt’s life.

If anyone had told him a year ago that he would be worth any sort of anything to anyone beyond his ability to manipulate the zeroes and ones that make the world go round, he would’ve… Well, he would’ve not really understood the question, truth be told.

This is Matt, after, and there’s something new burning beneath his skin alongside the lizard brain’s desire to live.

It’s likely that Mai doesn’t know.

She’s dragging him along down the stairs, and Matt’s not putting up any sort of resistance, because that would be an exercise in futility. Mai is obviously a super ninja master, and if the burn scars along the side of her face and neck are any indicator, she’s a super pissed-off-like-Jaws-4 ninja master with a fucking vengeance the size of Manhattan.

So Matt lets her drag him all the way down, past the security desk (oh shit, Matt hopes that Paul’s just unconscious) to the maintenance part of the basement, which is filled with dust, shelves and pipes that go plink-plink.

“Stay your location,” Mai says into her headpiece, and then she tosses Matt to the floor.

Matt stays curled up right where he’s dropped, looking helpless just the way Mai remembers him. But that’s just the outside, ‘cause inside, Matt’s thinking that Mai doesn’t know that under his jacket is his pouch, which contains has his own headpiece and communicator set. He’s also thinking that Mai hasn’t tied up his hands yet, so if he looks even more helpless, she might not bother at all.

So he fakes an asthma attack.

“Don’t move, asshole,” Mai says, kicking his shin.

“I’m trying,” Matt gasps. “I need – my inhaler – I need…”

Mai leans down and grabs Matt’s chin, making him look at her.

Yeah, that’s some crazy shit going on in her eyes.

“You will die only when I say you die,” Mai says.

Matt swallows, and he doesn’t need to fake it.

She throws him down again and Matt just whimpers softly, clutching his chest like it hurts.

Matt is

terrified, because he’s only human, but there are bands wound deep into his bones that stop him from shaking to pieces, and they are born from faith that matches the big fucking grudge chip Mai has on her shoulder.

John’s gonna be pissed.

+ + +

The original plan, as far as Matt can make out, was this:

Blow up the building, make John watch, make John dead.

It’s simple and to the point, befitting of a straightforward-thinking person like Mai who apparently doesn’t believing in beating about the bush. In that original plan, Matt was to be the leverage, and Mai had planned to snag, bag ‘n drag him out of the building to some safety point for her use in case John did something funny. But Matt fucked things up by making a ruckus, so John’s going to arrive ahead of schedule.

So the new plan, as far as Matt can tell is:

Blow up the building with John in it, make them all dead.

It’s obvious that the three muscle-bound mercenary brutes that Mai has working for her have no idea that they’re not getting any bonuses for this job. It’s doubly obvious that they’re paid not to believe anything Matt says, so he doesn’t try, and just not-so-subtly continues his faux asthma attack in a corner of the maintenance room.

Matt really doesn’t want to die, but if there’s anything he’s learnt from the last cycle of things blowing up, it’s that he has to keep focused.

Mai has a headpiece around her short brown wig and two laptops open on a table before her. She’s not really paying attention to Matt, but Brute #1 is. Brute #2 and Brute #3 are elsewhere in the building, presumable terrorizing the inhabitants or getting the place all spruced up for John.

Then Mai touches her headpiece, and for the first time since their reunion so far, smiles. McClane, how nice of you to join us.”

Matt is watchful.

“My terms are simple,” Mai says. “You walk in, everyone else walks out. Just like that.”

She touches the keyboard, and Matt can just make out the CCTV-quality images on the screen.

“Guarantees?” Mai says. “Why don’t you just prove that you have some fucking balls, McClane!

Ah, so John’s taunting her now.

Mai’s breathing heavily, because the thing about making things personal is that it’s really difficult to balance ‘personal’ and ‘logical’. She’s listening to whatever John says, her face like she’s just now learning that John has some piss-poor manners. Suddenly she stands, and barks an order to Brute #1 (who’s also wearing a headpiece) to watch the cameras.

She doesn’t even glance back at Matt when she walks out the door, presumably on the way to help John find his balls.

Brute #1 is not even watching Matt.

Matt takes a deep breath, and hopes that whatever gods have been smiling on John deign to bless Matt with a little of their attention.

He rolls, and then kicks.

The shelves tilt, and bless them, the ones that count drop on top of Brute #1 and Mai’s collection of electronics. But Brute #1 is still a big brutish guy, so Matt keeps moving, using his size to squeeze between planks and rusted metal.

He manages a fair distance until Brute #1 starts shooting at the walls to get Matt’s attention.

“She needs me alive!” Matt shouts, tongue heavy with sawdust. “Alive, alive, alive! She does!”

That seems to at least make Brute #1 pause. Then, yea verily, the gods are smiling because Brute #1 says, “Copy that” and, after making some noises that sound electronic, leaves the room.

Matt pushes himself through the debris and realizes that the gods may be smiling with sharpened teeth, because hello, there’s a silver briefcase open on the floor and there are some pretty fucking huge red numbers doing a countdown.

Matt’s fingers are numb, but he manages to reach into his pouch and get his communicator and headpiece. “Connie?”

Matt? Where the hell—”

“Basement, there’s a bomb, someone better get down here, quick!”

The main’s entrance sealed,” Connie says. “But John’s got Mai distracted for now. Can you get the maintenance door open from where you are?

“Yeah, yeah, I think I can,” Matt says, and he’s on his feet.

+ + +

The building doesn’t blow up, which is good.

Matt doesn’t have a heart attack, which is also good.

Rick Sol, resident NY bomb expert, wipes his sweaty hands and turns to grin at Matt. “See? Told you I’m good.”

“Yeah,” Matt says. He lies down, because the world is starting to feel a little wobbly right about now. He’s never had seasickness before – let alone on land – but, hey, there’s a first time for everything, like surviving countdowns in digital red.

Connie’s somewhere nearby and talking.

Matt remembers this part. There was a lot of talking after the first time, too; of people trying to figure out what happened and letting everyone else know what they thought happened and correcting what those other people thought happened, like it’s some sort of competition to catch all the facts.

Five minutes or five hours later, John’s sitting down on the floor next to Matt.

“Hey,” John says.

Matt exhales, turns his head a little. “She beat the crap out of you?”

John picks at his shirt, which does look a tad worse for the wear from when Matt watched him put it on earlier that morning. “Nothing I couldn’t handle.”

“Yeah,” Matt says softly. “I gotta get up. Hey, help me get up.”

“Is it your knee?” John says, doing as Matt asks.

Actually, no, the knee’s in pretty good shape, but Matt’s mouth isn’t working right. He’s still shaking, the world’s still wobbly, and John’s the only sure, solid thing in the whole universe.

So Matt reaches, and holds on.

+ + +

There’s no hospital stay this time, because Matt’s only got some superficial scratches and John’s pretty vocal on how he won’t tolerate anything longer than a couple of minutes in the back of one of the few ambulances currently parked around the apartment building.

So Matt’s sitting in the ambulance with John, watching him get some brand new stitches along his left arm.

“You’re pretty quiet,” John says.

“What? Yeah,” Matt says. It’s an accurate observation. “Just – just thinking, I guess.”

“Yeah,” John says. He sighs, and the softness of it roars a klaxon in Matt’s ears. “You know, kid—”

Aww, man, I just set up my hardware,” Matt says. “Will it be taken away for, like, police evidence or something? Because that would be really lame, it’s private property, you know, completely legal and you’d know, right? You’d vouch for me, right? And shit, shit, shit, I was just in the middle of debugging, that’s a whole morning’s work, gone! Just like that! Are you hungry? Because I’m hungry.”

It’s a different sigh John makes this time. “You’re always hungry.”

“You should get the rest of the day off,” Matt says.

“Paperwork, Matt,” John says. “There’s always paperwork.”

The medic is still there patching John up, so the most Matt can do is smile weakly. Then John does a one-up and reaches over to squeeze Matt’s hand.

+ + +

While the basement is cordoned off, John’s apartment is good to go. After enduring the normal spate of post-event interviews, Matt starts a makeshift repair the broken window. The super is understandably too busy to help, but Matt’s nothing if not resourceful.

After that, Matt crashes.

He’s not tired; in fact, he’s quite the opposite. Matt’s tense inside and out, and there’s a live-wire humming between his veins with no friendly outlet to ground him. The adrenaline aftershocks are steady and strange like the heavy pulses of Matt’s heartbeat, and they’re waiting for John.

Matt’s half-asleep when he hears the front door open, the familiar noises of routine as John sets his things down, shrugs off his jacket, and then shuffles through the apartment. Matt moves a little under the covers, figuring that John’s going to appreciate having his sheets pre-warmed.

John doesn’t turn on the light, just undresses quietly and slides under the covers to spoon up behind Matt.

Fingertips touch Matt’s forehead, brushing his hair. “You’re awake.”

“Yeah,” Matt breathes. “Some day, huh?”

John is still, and it’s easy to tell that he’s just as tense as Matt – maybe more so, because of the two of them, John’s the one who had to deal with the uncertainty of not knowing. The way John’s touching him now is part of that assurance, the fingertips digging in just a little too hard as they drag across Matt’s sides.

It’s going to be different from last night, and Matt wants it.

They’re not even touching properly, but Matt’s heart is already pounding because he can feel the soft tremors in John’s touch. It’s no surprise that John’s macho stoicism is only skin deep. Then John’s hand comes around, solid against Matt’s heartbeat and pulling him until his back is against the warm wall that is John’s chest. John huffs against Matt’s shoulder, and starts mouthing the skin there.

It’s funny – they both want the same thing, but they’re still not on the same page.

They’re getting there, though. They’ve been spending months getting there.

Matt brings John’s hand up to his mouth, sucking the digits into his mouth.

“Shit,” John mutters. He shifts, rolling Matt beneath him to get some serious kissing done. Matt parts his legs, fitting himself to the breadth of John’s thighs, and hallelujah, they’re in business. John’s all advance planning and not wearing underwear, but Matt’s skivvies may as well not be there at all for the way that John’s erection is pressing against his own.

Matt doesn’t mind when John pulls away, because that means that he’s getting down to business, removing the only piece of clothing between them. John is obviously a man with a plan, and that plan involves lubrication and a condom (and hello, when did John buy those?). He heaves Matt’s legs up, knees on to his stonewall shoulders, and then his hands are working.

This part, Matt’s happy to let John take charge. It’s been a while, so he needs this moment to adjust, eyes shut, head tilted back and body relaxing to the intrusion of John’s fingers. Matt lets himself fly on the feeling, and his dick can afford to be ignored for a while.

Then John’s cock is there, poised and tentative.

Matt exhales at the new intrusion, hands holding on to the bedsheets.

John is careful. He’s always careful, because he’s the big bad-ass who knows the strength of his fists like he knows where every piece of his life stands. Matt’s the other guy, the one who makes things up as he goes along and somewhere along the line decided that it would be a good idea to make a cocoon for himself within John’s boundaries.

They still have a lot to learn about each other, so they might as well start with this.

“John, wait,” Matt says.

“What?” John says, his voice strained, and who can blame him, he’s balls deep inside Matt. “It’s a bit late to—”

“Just – just, please,” Matt says.

John sounds agonized but hey, he can be a nice guy when it suits his purposes, so he pulls out. Matt’s stunned at how stretched he looks, because he really is hard muscle everywhere.

John’s breathing heavily. “Well?”

The electricity sparks away along Matt’s skin. John’s almost undone, and now Matt wants nothing more than to finish the job. He sits up and shoves both hands at John’s chest.

It works because John doesn’t see it coming. He falls on his back, wind unexpectedly knocked out of him, but Matt’s on the move, scrambling fast on to John’s lap and settling down.

Christ, Matt,” John hisses. There’s a whole new look in John’s eyes, and Matt wants to keep it there – to study it and dissect and break it to pieces a million times over.

“Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about,” Matt breathes, and he barely recognizes his own voice. “Take it.”

“What?” John says.

“I said take it,” Matt says, grinding in short, sharp bursts. Matt can be just as focused as John when he wants to be, and he wants to be right here, on top of John, around John, taking in all these sights and the sounds that are just for him. Matt will know everything, inside and out, if it’s the last thing he does.

“Matt – fuck – oh, dammit, Matt—”

“What?” Matt snarls. “Come on, John, you can take it.”

“Oh yeah?” John says. His smile is shaky but he’s thrusting up, apparently not content to take it lying down. “You gonna make me?”

Matt starts to laugh, but it turns into a gasp when John gets the angle right and he sees stars. “Shit,” Matt says, and pushes down, ignoring the way his thighs are starting to quiver. He reaches a hand back and finds the space between John’s balls, pressing against the skin.

John’s trying to reach Matt’s dick but his fingers are shaking, clawing at open air and Matt’s thighs. Yeah, he’s a goner.

But so’s Matt, really.

Matt’s gurgling, arching his back as John lets out a last, desperate groan that just registers past the sudden roar of blood in Matt’s ears.

It’s impossible, Matt’s body wasn’t made for this—

Except, maybe it is. After all, no one knows how far they can go until they’re pushed.

John’s first words, after, are: “You trying to kill me, Matt?”

Matt laughs. “Say it, John.”

John sighs. “You’re awesome.”

“You know it.” Matt reaches over and pats John on the arm comfortingly. “Don’t worry, next time I’ll let you fuck my brains out.”

John’s silence is thoughtful, and it makes Matt giggle a little into the pillows.

+ + +

It’s a brave new world, and in John and Matt’s little corner of it, the routine changes.


Act 2 ~~~~~~~~ Back to Live Free or Die Hard ~~~~~~~~        


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