Situation Normal

Part 3

They settle into a rough routine over the next couple of days, and Matt calms down a little after that first night, which is great, because John kind of likes the kid and he might have had to kill him if he’d kept up the tweak routine. Matt can cook things that come out of cans, and John can cook things that come out of boxes, so they get a little variation in their diet, at least. Their only real conflict comes when John wants to do something that Matt says is not in his permitted activities, from his release instructions, and they argue.

Apparently, even though John has a shriveled up, shrunken heart and a black pit for a soul (both direct quotes from people who know him pretty well), he’s incredibly susceptible to big brown eyes looking up at him and a particular tone of voice. Matt is not in any way an idiot, and John suspects he’s doing it on purpose. He can’t prove anything, but he always seems to end up back in bed, resting, after one of their little discussions.

On his third day home, John feels good enough to sit up for three straight hours without needing to take a nap, and they celebrate by ordering pizza, watching the Knicks get totally slaughtered at home, and mocking the announcers. Matt flails around a lot talking about how Isiah Thomas is actually the devil reborn, and describing some website that’s tracking the signs of the apocalypse based on his coaching record, and John laughs like he hasn’t in what feels like years.

Once in a while, just now and again and at odd moments throughout the days, John thinks about that kiss in the hospital. It’s a blurry memory, but a nice one. And Matt had apparently declared his intentions to Holly, if her innuendo during her periodic phone calls is any indication (he ignores it with great dignity, he feels), but so far, they’ve been nothing but buddies. Pals. John takes the couch and Matt sits in the chair, John goes to bed and Matt sacks out on the couch. John reads the paper, Matt messes around with the tower of computer equipment that’s slowly been migrating from Camden to Brooklyn, with every trip Matt takes.

If he’d been feeling any less like shit, John might’ve started to get a complex about the lack of any attempts at action. As it is, he’s pretty glad the kid’s not making any moves that John won’t be able to follow up on.

Things change a little on his fifth day home, though. His vision and hand-eye coordination have actually improved to the point where he’s shaving, standing in the bathroom after his first real honest to god shower, and he feels human again. He studies his reflection in the mirror, and yeah, it’s not such a bad face. Scarred up, sure, and the nose is definitely not a thing of beauty, but it’s not so bad. A couple weeks of rest and clean living have actually gotten rid of the dark circles around his eyes he’d been sporting, there, and the bruises have mostly faded, and he makes a snap decision and gets out the clippers, starts buzzing off the stubble growing on his head. No need to advertise that hairline any more than he has to.

The phone rings, and he ignores it. Matt’ll get it.

The knock on the door is quiet, so much so that he almost doesn’t hear it over the buzz of the clippers. He finishes the last little bit behind his ear, then calls “C’mon in” while wiping his face down with the towel, brushing the short hairs off the back of his neck. He’s got just a towel wrapped around his waist, but hell, Matt’s probably seen him in less by now.

“That was the DA’s office,” Matt says, leaning a shoulder against the door, meeting John’s eyes in the mirror. His face is set and a little pale. “They’re scheduling a hearing for…Stinky. He’s being charged with all kinds of shit, I guess, including attempted murder of a police officer, but they still want us to give statements. I told ‘em you were still recovering and we’d call them back.”

“Huh.” John honestly hasn’t given much thought to Stinky over the last few days. It all comes back in a rush, the clenched-heart feeling of knowing that this guy was crazy, that he wanted to hurt Matt, a lot, that John was pretty much helpless to stop it. He drapes the towel around his neck, leans against the sink, and takes a deep breath. “Too bad I didn’t kill him.”

“Yeah, well.” Matt’s mouth twists in a parody of a smile. “Apparently he’s going for an insanity defense? Which I guess makes sense, since he’s fucking CRAZY, but still. They’re afraid he’s gonna get off, or get hospital time, or something.”

“Oh, fuck no,” John says, disgusted. “He knew exactly what he was doing. He talked about it, for Christ’s sake. He was totally aware of his actions.”

“I know that, you know that, but still.” Matt’s hands are clenched in tight fists, John sees, as he wraps his arms around himself. “What if he gets off? On a technicality or whatever? It happens all the time on Law and Order. I mean, what if they didn’t read him his rights the right way, or he didn’t get a lawyer fast enough, or—“

“Kid.” John cuts him off, firmly. He’s discovered it’s one of the only ways to get the verbal flood stopped, once it gets going. Matt makes a face at him, he hates it when John calls him “kid,” but he does pay attention. “How many times I gotta tell you, Law and Order isn’t real? That psycho isn’t getting off, not if I have to beat sense into the lawyer myself. And if for any reason he hits the streets without a lobotomy, and he breathes air in the same state as you, I’ll find him and shoot him.” He frowns at his reflection. He missed a spot under his nose, shaving.

“You’ll find him and…shoot him?” Matt’s sounding the words out slowly, like he doesn’t quite understand them.

“Yeah, sure. No jury in the world’d convict me.”

Matt stares at him, and the next thing John knows, he’s got a whole lot of skinny hacker boy pressed up against him, hands on his arms, and a hot, clumsy kiss landing somewhere in the vicinity of his mouth. He’s so startled he can’t even react, not really, though he does get his hands up, and balances himself with a hold on Matt’s back.

“You are just…” Matt pulls back and looks at him, and John stares back, helpless and silent. “I have never met anybody like you in my whole life, you know that?”

“I get that a lot,” John tells him seriously, and there’s that brilliant grin he’s been waiting to see. He can’t help it, he has to smile back.

“Yeah, well, from now on, nobody gets to kiss you for it except me.” There’s a fierceness to Matt, a spark that John had seen flashes of during the Fire Sale, even during that crazy fight with Stinky (he can’t even remember the guy’s real name), and now it seems to be directed entirely at John.

He just hopes he can handle it.

“I thought you’d given up on that,” he taunts a little, because fuck, okay, maybe he’d been thinking about that kiss a lot, and wondering what the hell Matt was waiting for. Or if he’d hallucinated the entire thing.

“Excuse me for not wanting to mack on some guy who was three seconds from passing out from a brain injury,” Matt shoots back, grinning. “Anyway, it’s in your release instructions, no activity that might—“

“—that might raise my blood pressure, yeah, yeah, I know.” John’s grinning hard, still, and he slides his hands down to Matt’s narrow hips. It’s been a long time since he’s done this, but he’s pleased to discover that his palms remember the shape of a man’s body, and it’s still the thrill it always was before.

“So no getting fresh,” Matt warns, even as he arches up into John’s touch like a cat, flexible and oh so pretty, and seriously, John’s mouth is starting to water, here, and he thinks, fuck my blood pressure. This is something I want, and something I can have.

“I really don’t like people telling me what I can and can’t do,” he says, low and semi-serious, just before he leans in that extra inch and seals his mouth over Matt’s.

Soft lips and the hint of stubble against his cheek, the quiet sound of Matt’s indrawn, startled breath, and yeah, this is what he’s been craving. Matt opens for him sweet as candy, licking his tongue when he pulls him close and goes for a deeper, hotter kiss. And god, it’s good, it’s so good he’s dizzy with it. Kissing and kissing, sucking on Matt’s tongue, drawing back just enough to lick Matt’s lips for him. Matt’s not some wilting violet, either…the hand on John’s neck is strong and sure, and when he pulls back, Matt chases the kiss insistently, going for it, eyes half-closed and face flushed and lips shiny and irresistible.

John doesn’t even try to resist.

He has no idea how long they spend standing there, making out in the bathroom like a couple of horny teenagers, but when Matt finally pulls back for real, gasping for air like he’s been underwater, John’s lips are numb and his mouth tastes more like Matt than like himself. He blinks, stupid with lust, as Matt puts a little distance between them, and then tries to tug him closer again.

“No, no, hey. Not until you get the all clear from the doctor.”

“Matt. Oh, you do not…you have GOT to be kidding me.”

Matt shakes his head, stubborn, twisting away from the hand that McClane’s got planted firmly on his ass. “You almost died, and there’s no way I’m going into that office and saying, hey doc, yeah, I couldn’t keep my pants on for two more days, so he had this relapse, and wow, how long is the coma gonna last this time?.”

“You have GOT to be kidding me,” John repeats, but now it sounds alarmingly like he’s begging, and from the flash in his eyes, Matt’s hearing that too. He shakes his head, and John tightens his hands. “Matt, seriously, this is not something you do to a guy. Come on.”

“No means no, McClane,” Matt says, and it’s almost prim, though his eyes are laughing. “I’m pretty sure they must have covered that in sensitivity training. Don’t they make all you guys take that, now, in the NYPD?”

“Not a single class covered appropriate responses to the deliberate infliction of blue balls,” John grumbles, but he lets go of Matt and steps back, reluctantly. At least he can tell that Matt’s just as hard as he is, and the kid’s still flushed, and his hands are shaking just a little as he reaches out, brushes some hair off John’s shoulder. “Seriously, quit touching me.”

“It’s not teasing if I plan to follow through,” Matt tells him, but he steps back, too. Out of temptation’s reach, more or less, though it’d be a lot better if he was in a different room. John is still only wearing a towel, and his cock is seriously aching, it’s so hard, and the towel isn’t leaving anything to Matt’s imagination. Matt bites his lip and John throws his hands up in the air, turning around to face the sink again, refusing to even look at the kid.

“Get out of here, or we’re gonna be following through right now, fuck my blood pressure,” he growls, and he can hear Matt’s shaky breath, and the sound of his feet heading away.

“Don’t forget to call the DA,” Matt reminds him, and then he’s gone.

John closes the door, and gets a hand under his towel, bracing himself against the sink. Two hard pulls and he’s coming, groaning through gritted teeth and hoping Matt isn’t listening. It won’t do anything for his reputation if Matt knows that thirty seconds after he leaves, John’s coming harder than he has in fifteen years. He comes his brains out, shivering with aftershocks long moments after he finishes, and he leans his head against the wall, breathing hard.

That probably wasn’t so great for his blood pressure either. He can’t find it in himself to care.


The People vs. David G. Stanford is apparently in its beginning stages, from what John can gather from his call to the prosecuting attorney’s office. The lawyer sounds like a real jerkoff, but John isn’t expecting anything different, and he thinks he gets through to the guy on just how nuts Stinky really is. He calls his Captain, and gets yelled at to go rest, what does he think this is, vacation? He calls Holly, and it goes to voicemail. He calls Lucy and gets the same. He finds himself pacing up and down the living room, more worked up than he can remember being since getting hurt.

Matt’s nowhere to be found, he’s probably on one of his random shopping trips, cleared out while John’s temper still simmers from reliving the fight and talking to a lawyer. Smart kid. LUCKY kid. John can’t even leave his own house. It’s kind of like being on house arrest, only it’s “for his own good” and therefore he’s not supposed to bitch about it.

He calls the brain doctor, and gets his voicemail too. He leaves a probably-too-explicit message about the changes he’s going to make to his release instructions, and hangs up the phone. There has to be something he can do. It’s like the last five days of confinement all come slamming into him at once, he clenches his fists, paces a few more laps, and then thinks, screw it. He’s always been an active guy, it’s no wonder he’s going out of his mind, here.

He drops down and starts doing pushups, sit-ups, the routine that he’s abandoned for the last week, relishing the burn and stretch in his muscles, and listening for a key in the lock without even consciously realizing it. When the door swings open, he’s ready.

“Well, hey there.” In one quick move, he’s got Matt pinned against the wall beside the door. Matt, unfazed, peers at him over the top of the two brown paper grocery bags he’s got in his arms.

“Hey there yourself. You gonna grab one of these, or are you so busy being a caveman that you don’t care if all the food ends up on the floor?” Matt sounds genuinely curious, and John ducks his head, grinning. Yeah, okay, that was a little Neanderthal-ish, even for him.

“Guess who I called?” He grabs one of the bags, stepping back and giving Matt room to get the door closed and head to the kitchen. He watches him go, realizing how at home the kid is here, now.

“I hope the DA, since that’s the message I left you,” Matt answers over his shoulder.

“Yeah, I did that, but I called my doctor too. The blood pressure thing shouldn’t be a problem anymore.” He grins like a shark at Matt, who’s suddenly giving him his complete and undivided attention.

“Really? Without even going in for a checkup?” Matt looks skeptical but willing to be convinced, and John nods. He’s not exactly lying. The blood pressure thing really won’t be a problem, as long as he can get Matt to ignore it too.

“It won’t be a problem,” he repeats. “So you’d better get that put away quick, because otherwise it’s going to end up on the floor.”

“Caveman,” Matt accuses again, but he’s moving faster already.

“Tease,” John shoots back, and starts stalking him around the table. Matt laughs, and dodges, and this is amazing, this is pretty incredible, John’s never really felt like this with anyone before, this comfortable. He chuckles, he probably sounds like a crazy person to Matt, but he can’t help it.

“Emotional swings are a sign—McClane!—of possible brain injury, especially in people recovering from—John, seriously, John, McClane? Aw, shit—head trauma. John, cut it out!” Matt’s laughing almost too hard to move, and John catches him easily this time, and Matt doesn’t try to get away.

“Come on,” John says, “don’t make me throw you over my shoulder.”

“You really can take the caveman thing too far,” Matt tells him, but lets himself be manhandled out of the kitchen and towards the bed. John feels like his nerve ends are all waking up from a long sleep, sizzling into activity, and he steals little kisses even while his hands are trying to get Matt’s stupid Megadeth shirt off.

“Careful of your shoulder,” Matt gasps, and John growls at him, and Matt shuts up. Some part of John files that away for future reference, and then he’s got his mouth back on Matt’s again, their shirts are off, and there’s all this really incredible skin for his hands to touch.

He cannot believe they’ve waited this long for this.

Tipping them gently onto the bed is another really, really great idea, because without having to concentrate on standing up, John can devote his entire attention to the amazing little noises Matt’s making. It shouldn’t surprise him that the kid is vocal in bed—he can’t shut up any other time, so why should he start now? But his own reaction to the little moans and gasps and mewls is startling, the way he rolls to pin Matt on the bed, the incredible jolt of lust that hits him hard in the belly as soon as Matt’s fly is open and he’s got his hand shoved in there, fingers brushing hot velvet skin.

“Oh my motherfucking god, McClane,” Matt says, going still, as John takes him in hand. John rolls again, so he’s on his side, off his bad shoulder, and so he can get a better angle. All he can hear is Matt’s panting breath, all he can feel is the slick slide of skin against his own, and he closes his eyes and concentrates on setting a rhythm. It’s a little tricky at first, because Matt won’t sit still, wriggles on the bed and shoves his hips up demandingly, strokes John’s shoulder and his hip in a totally distracting way, but John settles him with a word and a hand flat on his belly, and gets down to business.

His own cock is actually painful, now, against his fly, but he’s too distracted by Matt to give it more than a second’s thought. It’s quiet in his little room, and he can sense every breath Matt takes, and he gives a good hard yank on belt loops and Matt’s naked. John can’t stop staring at the way the filtered light coming in the small window turns Matt’s skin to bronze, or the way his long legs move restlessly on the crumpled sheets, or the sweep of his eyelashes when he looks up to meet John’s eyes.


“Is this some kind of revenge for earlier,” Matt gasps out, and John realizes he’s been staring for so long that his hand has gone still, and he shakes some sense back into his head.

“No, not that you don’t deserve it,” John tells him, giving the cock in his hand a pointedly hard, stripping pull. Matt gasps and arches again, and John grins. He can feel the beat of the blood under his fingers, sense how close Matt is in the way the tip of his cock is slicked with wetness, and he barely has time to stroke twice more and get his other hand down to cup Matt’s balls before the kid’s coming hard, it looks like, biting his lip and shaking his way through it, beautiful and actually, for once, silent.

John breathes, strokes Matt’s cock once more, then pulls away, shucking out of his jeans without ever taking his eyes off Matt. He looks like a wet dream, sprawled out and sated in John’s bed, and John’s half-tempted to just jerk off again, watching him, but he’s had a lot of time with his own hand lately, and he’d really like someone else’s hand, since it’s a possibility.

“If you pass out right now, I am going to be so pissed at you,” John informs Matt, who cracks an eye at him and grins a slow, lazy grin that makes all kinds of promises.

“Do you really think I’m that rude?” Matt rolls up onto his elbow, and starts sliding his hand down John’s side, slow and teasing. He rubs a little at John’s belly, and John resists the urge to purr.

“Well, I wasn’t going to say anything…” John trails off with a drawn-in, heavy breath, as Matt reaches his goal, taking hold of his cock and twisting his wrist in this clever little move that makes fireworks go off behind John’s eyes.

The kid apparently has talent.

He tips over onto his back, opening himself up to Matt and his clever hands and his even more clever mouth. Silky-soft hair almost tickles him, brushing against his chest when Matt leans down and takes a nipple between his teeth, biting down gently, then licking the abused nub. John has no idea how Matt figured out how sensitive his nipples are—maybe just a lucky guess—but he almost comes out of his skin, and he can feel the vibration of Matt’s laughter where his mouth is still touching John’s chest.

This isn’t going to last long. In fact, it’s probably going to be over embarrassingly quickly. John forgets everything: the trial, Matt’s stalker, his own job, hell, his own NAME, and gets lost in the wash of sensation. Just the fact that he’s not alone is amazing; that he’s with someone like Matt, that he’s here with Matt himself, is blowing his mind.

“Matt, Matt, fuck, oh, fuck, kid, come on, harder, do it, do it,” he hears himself chanting, and Matt squeezes him warningly hard.

“Don’t call me ‘kid,’” he says, and bites down on John’s nipple again and flicks his wrist, and John comes, just like that, his spine feeling like it’s melting and shivering and shooting out his cock, leaving him wrecked and spent, breathing hard and fast and throwing one arm over his eyes, needing a second of darkness to pull himself together.

The phone rings. He ignores it. Matt ignores it. They lie there, panting, draped all over each other, not moving so much as an inch.

“John, this is Doctor Burrows,” the voice echoes out, amplified by the answering machine. It sounds like the doctor is smiling. Oh, shit. “I appreciate the message, and I’m glad you’re feeling better, but really, saying that you’re going to get laid if it kills you and for your doctor to just deal with it? Not the most diplomatic thing I’ve ever heard. Anyway, you should be okay for a little more exertion, as long as you’re not getting headaches, but don’t run any marathons, okay? Come in on Friday like we scheduled, and I’ll check you out then. Talk to you later, take care.”

The answering machine clicks off. John keeps his eyes closed.

“You’re a shit,” Matt says, finally, but he doesn’t sound all that upset, so John risks a look. Matt looks as wrung-out as he feels, and also kind of like he’s won the lottery. John takes that as a good sign. “You should totally pay me back by making me dinner.”

“I’ll order the pizza, how’s that?”

“If you get wings, too, you might be forgiven.”

“Do I get laid again tonight if I’m forgiven?” Matt laughs, shaking his head in a disbelieving kind of way. “What? I wanna know what the compensations are gonna be, before I go spending big money on wings.”

“Big money, right.” John feels the bed shift, and glances over, and Matt’s right there, smiling at him. Still with that kid-on-Christmas look on his face. “How about this. You get wings, you don’t kill yourself before your appointment Friday, and on Saturday, we can go get some more clothes and stuff from my place. And then you’ll be forgiven.” Even though he’s smiling, there’s something hesitant in Matt’s face, almost like he’s waiting for John to say it’s okay for him to stay. John reaches up and scrubs a hand through that ridiculous mop of hair.

Like he’d have let the kid stay in the first place, if he didn’t want him here forever?

“That sounds like a plan, kid.”


“Whatever you say, kid.”

As he’s fending off a sudden and vicious pillow-attack, John thinks, for just a second, about life before, and how he’s not going to be eating alone tonight, or tomorrow night, or maybe, a lot of nights in the future. He tackles his way through the pillow barrage, gets Matt down on the bed, and dives in for another kiss.

This is his normal. Normal-ish. Whatever, it works for him, and maybe he’ll call Lucy and Holly and even Jack, tomorrow, and let them know how he’s doing. When he gets off the phone, Matt will be there to give him shit, he’s pretty sure, and maybe insist on them getting a bigger bed, and John? John can’t stop smiling.



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



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