Harlequin's Slash Fic

Die Hard: 01 That Guy

Title: Die Hard: 01 That Guy
Author: Harlequin
Universe: Die Hard 4.0
Characters featured: John McClane/Matt Farrell
Category, Word count: Short story; 5889 words
Rating: R
Summary, Notes: By the end of the movie, I was way too invested in McClane/Farrell slash to buy into Matt and Lucy working out as a couple. So, in this story McClane stays out of their way until he’s sure it’s over, and then visits Matt to see if his reaction to the younger man might prove mutual.
First published: 4 January 2008 on Harlequin’s Slash Site
Kudos: Nominated in the Best Romance category in the Forsaken Fandom Awards, 2008. XD


That Guy

The kid smiled; Matt Farrell just instinctively broke into a broad grin as soon as he saw who was at his front door. John McClane held tight to that memory through what came next.

Because barely a moment later the kid’s face fell, and he backed away, hands outstretched defensively. ‘No. Oh, no. What did she tell you?’

John followed him into the apartment, closed the door behind him. ‘What did who tell me?’ he asked amiably, though he could guess.

‘Lucy. Oh, man… What did she say?’ The kid found himself backed up against the far wall of the hallway. He swallowed hard. ‘This is the bit where you beat me to death, right?’

‘Why?’ he came back, voice hard though posture still relaxed. ‘Should I? What did you do to my daughter?’

‘Nothing! Nothing!’ Though the kid’s gaze slid sideways; he had something to hide. ‘OK, so I admit that I was the one who did the breaking up – but it’s not like that’s not what she wanted. I think. Uh… John, I swear to you –’

‘Relax, kid,’ John said, his hands saying calm down. ‘Lucy doesn’t know what she wants. Not yet, anyway.’


‘I came because I figured it’d be over by now.’

‘Oh.’ Matt straightened up a little, frowning over this. ‘It’s been, like, a month since I saw you.’

John wasn’t gonna ask how long Matt and Lucy had managed to last. He’d guessed about two weeks, then doubled it to be sure.

‘So, why couldn’t you have come before?’

Ah. Well, he wasn’t quite ready to get into that yet. ‘You got coffee here, kid, or do we have to go out?’

‘No, I got coffee.’ Matt kind of considered him for a moment, as if he knew he was being diverted. Then, ‘Come on,’ and he led the way into the kitchen and living area.

‘Nice place,’ John commented. And it was. A lot lighter and more roomy than the kid’s last apartment, which had of course been completely destroyed. Everything here was new; the few items of furniture were all of good quality; they were all solid and chunky but with a bit of class. Rather masculine in an understated way. John suspected Lucy had had something to do with the choices. ‘Nice stuff.’

‘Thanks.’ The kid was indeed diverted now, as he thought about this while he got the coffee brewing. ‘Yeah, there was no reward or anything –’

John snorted. Of course not. There never was. But especially not when Matt had been a small part of the original problem, even if he later became a significant part of the solution.

‘And of course I had to give back the fifty grand…’ Matt shot him a glance. ‘I mean, of course I gave the FBI the money. But then I found out that apparently I had building and contents insurance! Fully paid up, and everything!’ He shrugged expressively. Who knew?

John chuckled, and shook his head. He was glad for the kid, but no one had ever done that sort of thing for him. He wondered if Deputy Director Bowman was behind it.

‘So, Lucy helped me find some new stuff.’ Matt gestured around at the lounge, the fruit bowl on the kitchen counter; the latter was filled with fruit that had seen better days. ‘And I’ll show you what I got…’ Matt picked up two steaming mugs of coffee, and tilted his head to indicate John should follow him.

The spare room was empty except for a desk and chair. And a computer setup that impressed even John. Three screens, a couple of hefty boxes, a laptop and a separate keyboard, a printer, something else, and a bewildering variety of speakers; everything black and streamlined with bright blue lights and oddly evil-looking detailing. ‘I guess you’re happy, then,’ John commented.

‘As Larry,’ the kid confirmed. ‘Look, that’s a state-of-the-art –’ and he launched into a detailed description.

Which went right over the top of John’s shaven head. He just settled in with his coffee, and made like he was listening, and meanwhile just considered the kid.

Matt Farrell was sweet and good-hearted, clever and brave, if a bit naive. His only real annoying trait was a tendency to talk too much when he was nervous or enthusiastic. Lucy was a fool to let him go. But, then, Lucy was young, and had yet to work out her priorities. And John was glad for her sake as well as his that she wasn’t in a rush to make the big decisions.

‘This means absolutely nothing to you, does it?’ the kid eventually asked.

‘Not so much,’ John agreed.

Matt chuckled and shook his head. ‘Well, come back out to the lounge. Might as well be comfortable if I’m gonna bore you to death.’

They passed the open door to Matt’s bedroom this time, with its massive rumpled bed. John’s heart clutched with misgivings. ‘Lucy was never in there. Was she?’

‘No. No, man. Never.’ The kid seemed a bit pained by the accusation, though he shot a guilty glance back at John, who had stalled by the doorway. ‘It’s not that I didn’t ask, I admit that. But she wasn’t – Well, she was interested, I’m not saying she’s one of those people who just aren’t into it – but she wasn’t interested, you know?’

‘I know,’ John said easily, letting Matt off the hook. Smart kid, his daughter. Smart enough to know when to follow her instincts, and when to back off. He cast another look around the bedroom, furnished with the same dark, masculine style as the rest of the apartment. And that massive bed. Whoever chose it knew that Matt would be getting seriously lucky at some stage. This boded well.

John let out a long breath, and followed the kid back through to the living area. They settled at either end of the long leather lounge, the kid limber enough to sit there cross-legged.

‘So, what have you been up to this past month?’ Matt asked.

‘Not much.’ Waiting. ‘You?’

And Matt started talking about his studies, which was all advanced stuff to do with math and logic and computers. None of which meant anything to John. He just sat there and watched him.

The kid was pretty. John had thought that right from the start. Was this why so many older guys made complete fools of themselves? Perhaps it got so that any young, nubile creature seemed pretty, boy or girl. Maybe over the years you lost the need to discriminate. And there’d been so many years now and so much mileage that he wasn’t even instinctively protesting to himself, I’m not old yet. John was old, he was weary, and this boy looked as pretty to him as any girl ever had. He didn’t even feel ashamed of it.

He’d wondered how to raise the subject. He’d rather be a man of action than of words; he’d like to just take that pretty face in both hands and kiss the kid, but if any of this was unwelcome, then he’d never be forgiven for such a physical assault. He’d never forgive himself. It would have to be words. If he could get one in edgewise.

‘Matt –’

‘– and a divide and conquer algorithm was obviously the way to go, but these fools were trying to apply a greedy solution, which just ain’t thorough enough…’ Matt blinked and looked at John, apparently only just now hearing him. ‘Sorry. I’m boring you again.’

‘I wouldn’t say boring.’

Matt laughed a little under his breath. ‘That’s one lesson I never learn. I am such an utter geek.’

‘It’s all right, kid.’

‘No. No, it’s really not,’ Matt said with rueful mourning, as if he’d given up hope for himself long ago.

‘Look, kid… There’s something I’ve got to talk to you about.’

‘Yeah?’ He was still sunk in contemplation of his own shortcomings.

‘Yeah.’ Maybe it was easier to start now while Matt wasn’t really paying attention. ‘Yeah, look…’ John cleared his throat. ‘Lucy doesn’t know what she wants. But I do. I know what I want.’

The kid looked at him, a bit curious, but also distant.

‘You,’ John said. ‘I want you. I’ve had a thing for you since the first time I saw you.’

Matt was still looking at him, but blankly. Still a bit distant. This was really coming out of left field for him. This was totally unexpected. After a while he echoed, ‘A thing…’

‘Yeah. And I think you had a thing for me, too.’

‘You think?’ With a touch of sarcasm. Good, he was rallying.

‘When it came to Lucy, you were just sublimating.’

‘Sublimating?’ In disbelief.

‘Yeah. You had a thing for me; you transferred it to her. It felt safer.’

‘A thing?’

John looked at him. ‘Are you just gonna repeat everything I say all night?’

‘No. No, man.’

‘Cause that would make it real easy. I got a thing for you, kid.’

Matt shook his head, and muttered, ‘A thing…’

‘Oh,’ said John brightly, ‘you, too, huh?’

‘Oh, very funny,’ was the flat reply. Matt was considering him sourly.

John just shut up and waited. He’d spent all month waiting. And recovering, that was true. He’d been shot through the right shoulder twice – once by himself – apart from all the usual wear and tear of such an adventure. And the kid had been shot through the thigh. ‘Hey, how’s the leg?’ John thought to ask.

Matt blinked, then caught up. ‘Fine. It’s fine.’ He peered down at it, his left leg, as if it wasn’t really a part of him. ‘I quit the bandaging; I’m not even limping any more. It still aches sometimes, but it’s fine… What d’you mean, a thing?’ he added accusingly.

‘What d’you think I mean?’

‘Is this one of those old guy, young guy things, where the old guy gets to fuck the young guy, and the young guy gets nothing but shafted?’

John steadily returned the kid’s gaze. ‘No. Where d’you get that from?’

‘You know, like the Ancient Greeks.’

‘No. Not like the Greeks.’

‘You wouldn’t want to fuck me?’

‘Not if you didn’t want it. What d’you take me for?’

Matt shrugged uncomfortably.

‘I’m not that guy, kid.’

‘All right,’ Matt allowed. But – ‘What if I wanted to fuck you?’ the kid asked as if this was the ultimate challenge.

John shrugged, and thought about it. He wasn’t really certain about the act, it wouldn’t quite come clear in his imagination, but neither did he really care about it like the kid seemed to expect him to. Maybe he’d lost that aversion somewhere along the way, too, along with the need to stick to girls. ‘If you wanted to, I guess. Sure.’

Matt just kind of boggled at him. ‘John…’

‘Is that a yes, then?’

‘No.’ But a moment later Matt blushed, and dropped his gaze. ‘I dunno. Maybe.’

‘OK.’ John let out a breath. ‘What’s it take to turn maybe into yes?’

‘Dunno.’ The kid seemed subdued.

Silence for a while. But even though John wasn’t a man of words, the silence felt like it was creating distance between them. Unwanted distance. ‘Look,’ John began softly. ‘I realise this is kinda out of the blue. I realise this is new to you. It’s new to me, too.’

‘You haven’t done this before?’

‘No, kid. Either I’m going senile, or I’m finally realising it just doesn’t matter very much.’

That stung him. ‘It doesn’t matter?’

‘Of course you matter, kid. This matters. But I mean, most guys spend their whole lives thinking it’s a real issue whether they like boys or girls. You think it really matters that you like girls, full stop. No matter how open-minded you are, you think you’re not a real man otherwise. And then one day you see this guy who’s so damned pretty he takes your breath away, and you can’t stop thinking about him, and you finally realise that maybe it never really mattered at all.’

Matt was nodding, though he was also trying to hide a smirk. No doubt he thought John was talking like a dinosaur now; kids these days were a lot more relaxed about the whole gay issue. But all Matt said was, ‘You think I’m pretty?’

‘Yeah,’ John warily admitted.

‘You couldn’t stop thinking about me?’


‘But you figured you’d wait till I stopped sublimating?’

John tried giving him a withering look, but it didn’t seem to work very well. Retreating, he muttered, ‘Wasn’t gonna get in the way, if you’d have been happier with…’

‘Hey,’ said Matt, cutting him off. ‘It’s not entirely new to me.’

And John just looked at him, wondering what was coming next. He wasn’t exactly sure he wanted a full confession.

‘There was this guy, this guy I was friends with in school. Years ago now. We never did very much, but… Well, we were lonely, that was all. We weren’t getting any.’

‘I see,’ he whispered in response.

‘It was nothing but cuddling, really. And kissing.’


‘I never thought I’d be doing that again. Like you said, I thought I knew who I was.’

‘Is that a no?’

‘No. But you want a lot more than kissing and cuddling, don’t you?’

‘Yes.’ After a moment, John added in a very small voice, ‘I’m lonely, Matt. I’m not getting any.’


‘I want you to take me to that big bed of yours.’


And John suddenly looked at him, startled.

‘Yes,’ Matt repeated. And he smiled a little, nervously, glancing at John and then his eyes sliding away.

John’s heart was thudding, the adrenaline was flooding through him, but he stood. He was used to taking decisive action when required. He held his hand out towards Matt.

And Matt stood, too, and grasped his hand firmly. And led John to that big bed of his.

Naked. They were lying there naked, without even a sheet for modesty, for it seemed the kid wanted to take his time and explore. None of what John was used to when it came to casual sex; none of the close your eyes and let passion or at least the memory of passion carry you along; none of the anonymity and pretence. Just naked honesty; just the two of them, Matt Farrell and John McClane, lying there together in that moment on Matt’s bed. Thoroughly aware of each other.

Matt was lightly tracing the almost-healed scars on John’s shoulder. ‘Does it still ache?’ he asked.

He didn’t try to tough it out. ‘Yeah, a bit.’

‘How long’s that last?’

‘Not much longer now.’


John shaped a hand to the kid’s pretty face. ‘You said yours wasn’t hurting any more.’

‘No, not really.’

‘You get to a hospital if it does. Especially if it’s a sharp pain, or you wrench it.’


John lifted his head from the pillow, and did what he’d wanted to do from the start: he kissed that wide expressive mouth.

Matt moaned into the kiss, and went with it, but then when it was done he drew away again. Looked down at John from where he was propped up on his elbow. Surveyed him, fingertips running lightly down his torso to trace older scars… Eventually Matt murmured, ‘Maybe it is kinda sexy.’

‘Thanks,’ he deadpanned.

‘I mean –’ Matt laughed, and looked directly at him. ‘Of course you are. I mean, you asked once if it was sexy, that you were hurting, and I said no. But here you are, all battle-worn, and I’m seduced.’

John grimaced. ‘Dunno why I said that. Sounds kinda weird now.’


‘You’re getting off on the fact I’ve been hurt?’

‘No.’ The kid thought for a moment. ‘I’m getting off on the fact that you’ve led such an extreme life, and yet you still care enough about me to talk me into bed.’

‘Ah.’ He wasn’t sure he completely understood, but John filed it away for later, and he slid his lower arm down around Matt’s waist, crushed him up closer so the kid was lying alongside him from head to toe.

But it seemed Matt still wasn’t quite good to go, because he suddenly twisted around and shot his leg up in the air. ‘See, I got scars, too, now. You said chicks dig scars. D’you dig them…?’

John lifted himself up on an elbow, the better to examine Matt’s thigh. Both the entry and exit wounds seemed fine; the flesh was healing over, and they were a good purple colour. ‘You’ll be all right, Matt.’

‘Yeah,’ the kid replied on a gusty sigh, ‘I’m all right…’ And he seemed to mean more than the injuries.

‘No more of that, though. One merit badge is enough.’

‘One’s enough to get you into my bed?’

‘One’s plenty.’ And John lay back down, and he kissed Matt again. God, he could get used to this. This time when it was done, Matt looked at him assessingly with his bright dark eyes, but he didn’t start talking.

So John hefted up and over, shifting the kid onto his back, and leaning over him now. Leant down to kiss him some more. Loving the magic feel of Matt’s youthful skin. John let his hand move from that pretty face down to his chest, grazing the hard little nipple for a moment before sliding down further, and inexorably further, until he was wrapping fingers and thumb and palm around a gratifyingly hard cock. Touching another man’s cock, for god’s sake, and yet it felt as natural as breathing.

Matt was stretching and twisting in his arms, like a cat. Moaning quietly, almost purring. John let out a huff of laughter – surprised and delighted laughter – and explored further, took Matt’s balls and rolled them in his palm.

And then within moments they had settled into it as if this was already an old familiar habit. John shifted his lower arm down further so he cupped Matt’s neat buttocks; his right shoulder ended up taking his own weight, but he leant in a bit to ease the ache. His left hand began an all-encompassing palm-and-fingers rub up and down Matt’s cock and balls. And he leaned in further still so his teeth could mock-bite Matt’s nipple.

The quiet purring moans became a cry, a shout, and Matt’s arms came up to circle John’s shoulders. The kid squirming against him, that beautiful youthful skin caressing John, and John staying with Matt, intensifying his efforts no matter how much the kid wriggled and pushed.

Another shout, and Matt really close now, all of him, the two of them so closely involved with each other – and Matt coming, coming, pulsing strong against John’s palm – groaning, ‘John… John!’ And then John just holding him, wrapping him up in the aftermath.

‘Oh man…’ Matt eventually breathed. ‘That was something.’

‘Yeah?’ John responded, though he hardly needed confirmation. The kid’s sated body lay pressed against his, heavy and content.

‘That was awesome.’

John chuckled, tightened his arms for a moment, somehow gathering the kid closer still. ‘Don’t flatter me, kid.’

‘It’s the simple truth.’ Matt grinned up at him, then lifted his head to kiss John, thoroughly but briefly. ‘Oh man…’ he breathed again, collapsing back against the pillow.

John stayed with him still, but had to argue. ‘An hour ago, you didn’t even know what I wanted,’ he reminded him. ‘You didn’t think you’d ever be doing this again.’

That grin slipped into lopsided wryness. ‘Lot can change in an hour.’

‘Yeah.’ He supposed he should put it down to the adaptability of youth.

‘So, uh…’ Matt was eyeing him speculatively. ‘You wanna fuck me, then?’

John just stared at him. Confused. ‘I thought you said –’

‘I didn’t say I wouldn’t. I just said I didn’t want you to be that creepy kind of guy who’s nothing but take, take, take.’

‘Oh. Uh.’

‘So, you want to…?’

John cast his gaze over the pretty, nubile creature in his arms, who’d just told him the results of John’s efforts were awesome. ‘No man’s gonna say no to that,’ he warned.

‘Good.’ Matt looking as smug as that darned cat who’d got the cream. A whole dairy full of cream.

‘You’d better be sure.’

‘I’m sure, man.’

John sighed, and leant down to kiss him. A deep, involving kind of kiss. Matt warm and pliant in his embrace, stretching and pressing against him as if there were nothing more delightful.

Eventually John lifted his head. ‘Condoms?’ he murmured.

‘Yeah.’ Matt turned within his arms, and reached for the bedside drawer. When he turned around again with a boxful, and saw John’s raised eyebrow, he just shrugged. ‘I’m a student. Hope springs eternal. You remember…’

‘I guess,’ he said with a show of reluctance as he let the kid go, and got up, sat back on his heels. ‘D’you have…’

‘No.’ Matt gazing up at him with those candid dark eyes. ‘Just use spit.’

John’s resolve failed him. ‘Are you sure? You didn’t go that far with your friend.’

‘No, we didn’t.’

‘This is gonna hurt.’

‘No, it won’t,’ the kid replied with sublime confidence. ‘Come on, John,’ he murmured, ‘fuck me…’

No man was ever gonna say no to that.

Matt’s arms were above his head, his hands grasping the slats of the bed head, the sweet curve of his biceps flexed as he anchored his weight. His lithe legs around John’s waist, caressing, clinging. His cock bobbing in time with John’s thrusts. His head thrown back and his mouth open in an oh, his breath coming in gasps. His eyes shut, and his face contorted. Still pretty, though. Still pretty. But contorted.

‘God,’ John burst out. ‘Matt. Does it hurt? Am I hurting you?’

‘No. No. Keep going.’

‘You look like –’

‘I’m loving it.’ Very firm, though his voice was strained.

‘Matt –’ John made himself stop, though it took every last one of his better instincts to do so. He stopped there, deep within Matt, held by him, held tight.

Those dark eyes gazing up at him. ‘Don’t stop, John. I’m loving it.’

‘I’m hurting you.’

‘Not hurting. Not comfortable, maybe. But not hurting. Please – keep going.’

‘If you groan like that again –’

‘It’s passion, not pain.’ Matt rolled his eyes in exasperation. ‘Hey, I’m having my cherry popped here. I may be over-dramatising.’

‘Ah,’ said John.

‘You still gonna let me fuck you?’

‘Yeah,’ John rasped. He could imagine it now. And god he wanted it, whether it was passion or pain or both. ‘Yes,’ he promised.

‘Then fuck me. Fuck me now,’ Matt demanded.

So he did.

They held each close afterwards, wrapped up in each other as if there were nothing and no one else in the world. And for those few moments, it was easy to pretend there wasn’t.

‘Thank you,’ John eventually whispered, wondering if the kid was too dozy now to hear him.

‘Oh,’ Matt said quietly, ‘I’d thank you, too, except I’m not half done with you yet.’

John let out a huff of laughter. And then the kid began kissing him again, and John realised he himself wasn’t half done yet either. ‘All right,’ he agreed once his mouth was freed.

‘But I’m starving! What time is it? Maybe we should order some food.’

‘Sure.’ He was hungry, too. But his arms were very reluctant to let go of the kid with his youthful skin and his lithe limbs and his slim torso. He clung on easily even as Matt started wriggling in a bid to escape, and then Matt was laughing and wriggling more, like it was the most delightful game he’d ever played. God, John could get really used to this. What with his strength and Matt’s enjoyment of it, there was no way Matt was going anywhere.

But eventually John let him go, and Matt dashed for the door, his laughter echoing as he headed down the hallway.

He was back in a moment, with the phone and an array of menus. ‘What d’you feel like?’ Matt asked, sitting cross-legged down near the foot of the bed, naked and exposed and completely comfortable with it. ‘Pizza, pasta, Chinese, Thai, chicken, fish, hamburgers; you name it, there’s a place that delivers. One of the benefits of living near the campus.’

‘Anything,’ John replied.

‘I’m in the mood for Thai. That all right? I want spicy.’

‘Sure. I’ll eat anything.’

Matt laughed at him, those dark eyes dancing, and John just deadpanned his way past that one.

They ate on the lounge, and John insisted on having the news on. Not that Matt let him hear much of it, cause he provided his own running commentary.

The credits rolled, then maybe an hour later, to his great chagrin, John woke from a nap. God, what a way to impress the kid… dozing off in front of the evening telly. Matt didn’t seem bothered, though. John was sitting propped in the corner of the overly-comfortable lounge, and Matt was lying back along the length of it with his head on John’s thigh, playing some kind of handheld game with earplugs in.

Eventually Matt noticed John was back in the land of the living, and tugged the plugs out. ‘Hey, you,’ he said quite happily, tilting his head back to look up at him.

‘Sorry bout that,’ John muttered.

‘No worries,’ Matt said evenly, as if it were the most reasonable thing in the world. ‘You’re an old guy now, you need your rest, I get that.’

‘I’m not so old…’

‘What are you, then?’ Matt sat up, speaking gently, as if it was time to be honest. ‘Fifty?’

‘Not yet!’ But Matt kept watching him, and John gruffly admitted, ‘Well, not till next week.’

‘Doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter! You’re way fitter than me, for a start. Not to mention stronger…’ Matt was checking him out, a speculative gleam in his eye. ‘Hey,’ he said, looking very directly at John now, ‘you wanna head back to bed? You done with the snoozing?’

‘I’m ready to rumble, kid.’

‘Cool. Come on!’ And once more Matt led him by the hand down to his bedroom.

And not so long after that, John was lying on his side, but halfway forward with his left leg cocked, and Matt was behind him, pushing inside. It was a long slow process, and Matt was concentrating hard, grunting under his breath with every millimetre gained. John tried to relax, and tried not to try to relax, which he figured would be counterproductive. It didn’t hurt, but the kid was right – it wasn’t exactly comfortable, either. He remembered how it had felt to force his way into Matt, how tight he’d been, even though Matt was by his very nature looser than John… The tightness, the pressure, were gonna be so much worse for Matt.

‘Kid,’ John said. ‘Does it hurt? Is that hurting you?’

‘No, man.’ But his strained voice gave the game away. ‘What about you? You want me to stop?’

‘No. No. I said you could.’

‘You don’t have to prove anything to me.’ Matt sighed, and carefully lowered himself until he was lying along John’s back. His arms slipped around his shoulders. ‘I know you’re a man of honour, John,’ he murmured, pressing his face to John’s left shoulder-blade.

It felt nice. The kid, just holding him, felt so damned nice. John sighed, and sagged, and tension he hadn’t even been aware of now left him.

‘Oh!’ Matt cried. ‘Hold that thought! That’ll do it.’

And Matt was pushing again, and John tried hard to just zone out and be open and not resist and kind of not even be there, which sort of defeated the purpose, but he must have done all right, cause the kid was home now, and beginning to thrust in and out – and then he let out a whoop.

God, John… God, not long now… Oh, this is embarrassing… God!

And the kid rammed home one last time, his whole self caught up in one long last thrust in which he was coming, coming, coming, with the deepest groan ripping from him. Then he sagged to lay his full weight on John, and seemed completely spent.

They just lay there together like that for a while, both utterly loose. Until suddenly John couldn’t stand it a moment longer; he had to move. He had to be whole again. ‘Kid,’ he murmured. ‘Matt. You’re gonna have to let me go.’

The kid obliged, of course, as carefully as he could.

John headed for the bathroom. Then, when he came back to the bed, he wasn’t too proud to let the kid settle him, lift the covers over him, cuddle him.

‘You all right?’ Matt whispered.

‘Yeah. Just give me a minute.’

‘Sure.’ And Matt held him, his face tucked neatly into John’s shoulder. John held him back. It was sweet. They were warm there together. They were kind.

It was a long while later that Matt finally offered, ‘Can I do something for you in return? I mean, I don’t think I want you to fuck me again, not right away – but anything else. You name it, John.’

He prevented himself from replying, Just hold me. ‘Give me a while longer, Matt. Not quite there yet.’

‘Yeah, sure.’ The kid asked, kind of hushed, ‘Did it hurt that bad?’

‘No.’ He felt almost as if he’d been in mild shock, though. Not that he wasn’t used to that kind of thing. ‘I’m fine. You?’

‘Yeah. Never been finer.’

John let out a huff of laughter. ‘You over-dramatising again?’

‘No,’ Matt whispered.

A silence passed. John had never known such comfortable silences. Ever. Hell, for that matter he’d never known the kid to be so quiet for so long.

But eventually Matt said, ‘John?’


‘I need to know what guy you are.’

John made a noncommittal kind of grunt.

‘You know you said you had a thing for me?’


‘Well, what did you mean? What did you mean exactly?’

John thought about that. What had he meant? Just that, surely. Just what was self-evident by now. He’d had a thing. He suspected he still did.

‘I mean, are you the guy who just wanted to have sex with me, and we’ve done that now, so that’s it?’

Possibly, thought John. Though that didn’t mean he wouldn’t be up for more, and soon.

‘Or… are you the guy who’s fallen in love with me?’


Matt shifted up a little, got onto his elbow, so he could look at John. ‘You’re that guy?’

And, yeah, he was. John knew that now. But he kept his face impassive. Because it would be kind of impossible, wouldn’t it? If they told each other it was love, then they’d both try to make a go of it, they’d both really try to make it work, but no matter how discreet they were, eventually they’d be found out. And John would be the laughing stock of the entire precinct, if not the whole city, and Matt would be teased unmercifully about his rather sugarless sugar daddy. Lucy would find new cause to never speak to John again; his ex-wife new cause to despise him. His son would find it creepy. No one would have any sympathy, and it wouldn’t even matter that he was right and they were wrong: whatever fragile understanding he and Matt reached would be torn apart under the pressure. It would just be impossible. It would end up hurting them both.

And yet the very nature of love was courage and hope, wasn’t it?

Matt’s dark eyes had been searching his face, but were already dimming. Matt was sinking to lie down beside him again. To pretend it was just a sex thing. He’d wanted it to be love. He’d asked the question, surely knowing how futile it all was. And yet he’d been brave, and he’d hoped.

‘People who get close to me end up getting hurt,’ John explained, his voice rough with the grief of it. ‘They end up deciding it was a very bad idea.’

‘I’d have taken my chances,’ Matt said with sad stoicism.

No one would be on our side.’

We would be. On our side, I mean. And maybe that’s all we’d need.’ An emphatic glance, though the kid was sure he’d already lost the argument. ‘I was figuring there’d be some good stuff, too. I figured that would outweigh the other stuff.’

John sighed, and thought about it some more. But he’d already decided. He’d been set on this course for a month already. ‘Yes,’ he said.

‘What’s that?’ Hiding down there with his face pressed hard against John’s shoulder.

‘Yes, I’m that guy.’

‘Oh!’ Matt was up again, gazing down at him, eyes shining. The resilience of youth. ‘Really? For real?’

‘Really for real,’ John confirmed.

Matt laughed in delight, and then said very seriously, ‘You know, I think we’re both due.’

‘Yeah, we are.’

‘I, for one, am overdue. Oh god. I’m so glad it was you.’

And John took that beautiful face in both hands, and he kissed the kid. Like he’d been wanting to for a month now. He kissed him with love.

It was the dark of the night, and they were all alone.

Soon John gathered that lithe, limber body up close in both arms, spread his palms and fingers against that magical skin, and started moving. John liked to be active during sex; he liked to move his hips, and feel his body shifting against another’s. He liked his partner to be active, too, and Matt certainly seemed happy to oblige; he was stretching and pushing and caressing with every possible inch of himself. Though John found time to wonder if the kid would teach him the delights of being passive, too.

After a while Matt slipped a hand down in between them and wrapped it firmly around John’s cock, gave him something to thrust into. ‘John…’ Matt was moaning. ‘John…’ He seemed almost as into it as John himself was. ‘Oh god I…’ And then those dark eyes were gazing into his, and Matt was confessing, ‘I love… I love…’

John kissed him. God, if he could do this for the rest of his life, he would die a happy man. He took the intensity up another notch.

Which didn’t stop the kid talking, of course. ‘I love…’ Oddly, he laughed. ‘And you’re the guy…’ An interruption for a moan as John fitted them even closer together, and Matt’s cock pressed hard against John’s hip. ‘You’re the guy… love is so precious… you can’t even talk about it.’

They were so close now. Close to each other. Close to coming. It was beyond anything John had felt in years. He couldn’t remember anything being even half this good. ‘It is precious,’ he rasped. ‘You’re right. I’m that guy.’

Matt surrendering to the impending pleasure, his dark eyes glowing.

‘I love, too,’ said John.

A long pure moan of satisfaction, and it was done. They were done. And the understanding they’d reached wasn’t fragile at all; it was tough enough to take on the world.

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