Harlequin's Slash Fic


Title: Stake-Out
Author: Harlequin
Universe: Die Hard 4.0
Characters featured: John McClane/Matt Farrell
Category, Word count: Short story; 4584 words
Rating: R
Summary: Matt surprises John by showing up while John’s on a stake-out, but then John surprises Matt even more. Matt’s been living in John’s spare room for months, unaware that John has been thinking about where they might take their relationship.
Notes: This was (belatedly!) written for the July 4 ficathon on the hard4brains Live Journal community.
First published: 6 July 2008 on Harlequin’s Slash Site
Kudos: Nominated in the Best Romance category in the Forsaken Fandom Awards, 2008. XD



‘Matt!’ John greeted him. ‘What the…?’

‘Hey, John,’ Matt amiably responded, juggling bags in one arm while sliding onto the bench seat and pulling the door shut behind him. ‘How’s the stake-out going?’

‘What the hell are you doing here? How d’you even find me? This is no place for hanging around alone.’

‘Well, you’re here alone,’ Matt pointed out with what he felt was unassailable logic.

‘That’s different. I’m a cop, I can look after myself. For God’s sake, Matt,’ he grumbled, ‘it’s after midnight.’

‘So I figured you’d be hungry.’ Matt handed over a brown paper bag stuffed full-to-bursting.

As soon as John got a whiff of the contents, he forgot about being startled and disapproving, and settled for grudgingly accepting. ‘Hamburgers…’ he muttered.

‘The proper kind, the old-fashioned kind. You remember how they used to be?’

‘Yeah, kid,’ John said with a chuckle. ‘From before you were even a twinkle in your Daddy’s eye.’

Matt snorted. ‘There’s an image I could do without…’ He shook it off, and continued, ‘I know this place, see? Does this kinda food like it’s meant to be.’

‘Mamma Kay’s Diner.’

‘Yeah! How d’you know?’

‘Kid, I’ve been a cop in this city for more years than I care to remember. You think I don’t know where to get hamburgers?’

‘Oh.’ Matt dared to shoot him a mischievous glance. ‘I thought that was doughnuts.’

John answered that with something between a groan and a growl, and then started munching on the burger. ‘You got fries?’

‘Yeah, old-fashioned fries like they’re meant to be…’ Matt looked around as he ate his share. ‘Pretty cool car, man,’ he commented.

John broke into a pleased grin. ‘1973 Buick Riviera boat-tail. Beautiful, isn’t it?’

‘Doesn’t it kinda stick out? I mean, for a stake-out, aren’t you meant to be a bit more discreet?’

‘This kinda neighbourhood, it fits in. They have cars with balls, if you hadn’t noticed.’

Matt just snorted, though he saw what John meant when he looked up and down the street.

‘Anyway, I like it,’ John continued. ‘Drives like a dream.’

‘You sound so impressed – what d’you do? Lose your virginity in the backseat of one?’

‘Huh,’ John said, amused. ‘No comment.’

Matt smirked to himself. There was a thought to conjure with… He wondered if it was with Holly. Probably. John seemed to have been a one-woman man for most of his life. There must have been women post-Holly, and maybe even pre-Holly, but none of them had been significant enough to rate a mention.

John cast him a glance. ‘The car’s older than you, kid.’

‘You saying I coulda been conceived in the backseat of a Riviera?’


‘You obviously don’t know my parents,’ Matt replied in flat tones that automatically cut off that diversion.

After a few minutes, John said, ‘You’d better stay now, kid. I’ll drive you back when I’m done. I don’t want you wandering off alone here.’

‘All right.’ Matt shrugged, though he had to admit he’d been kinda hoping he could stay. An honest-to-god stake-out! Who wouldn’t wanna be in on that?

When John was finally done with the burger, he neatly gathered together all the trash, bagged it, and then put it on the floor between them. ‘Thanks, kid. That was good.’

‘That’s all right.’ Before the silence could stretch too long, Matt followed that up with, ‘It’s like you said. On July fourth? When we were heading for West Virginia. You said some stuff about not wanting to be That Guy, not wanting to always be eating alone.’

John was staring at him with a hint of astonishment. Not that you could ever really astonish John McClane, Matt supposed. ‘You remember that?’ John muttered.

‘Yeah, course I do. And, well, I guess I just wanted to keep that going. I mean, we’ve had a meal together every day since I moved into your spare room. Except today. Well, yesterday by now, I guess. So, here I am, bearing food.’

The hint of astonishment deepened for a moment, and then John pulled himself together. Squared up and sat facing out through the windshield again. Back on duty.

Matt peered ahead of them. People were coming and going occasionally. A few cars had driven by. Nothing much seemed to be happening. Nothing nefarious, though some things maybe seemed a bit dubious. ‘What exactly are we meant to be watching?’

‘Never –’ John had to clear his throat. ‘Never mind, kid. Don’t want you tipping them off by staring.’

‘Oh. But I wouldn’t be obvious about it!’

John snorted his opinion of that.

And they just sat there for another hour or so. John didn’t do anything or say anything. Nothing much happened around them. There were fewer people to watch now, fewer cars. Finally, in desperation, Matt pulled out his new iPhone and earphones, and listened to music. Otherwise, it was deadly dull.

‘Are you sure I can’t just head home?’ Matt eventually asked. ‘I bet I’d be fine.’


‘Just no. That’s your only answer?’


‘Aw, man…’ Though of course the whiny tone wasn’t gonna get him anywhere.

More time dragged by. Then John said, ‘Matt. Matthew.’

The song had reached a crescendo so Matt almost didn’t hear him. He caught the tail end of a quick glance, dragged out the earphones, and asked, ‘What? D’you say something?’

‘Yeah, uh –’

And the silence returned. John was still facing forward, sitting upright and unmoving. Unrelaxed, now that Matt really looked at him. Uncomfortable. ‘What’s up?’ Matt asked.

John cleared his throat again. Started to say something, then stopped as if he’d thought better of it. Matt just stared at him. John was never like this. Not that he talked as much as Matt, but when he wanted to say something he usually just went right ahead and said it, whether anyone else wanted him to or not. Matt waited. Shifted around sideways on the seat, with his leg bent under him, to face the man.

Eventually John simply observed, ‘You’ve been living at my place for months now.’

‘Yes,’ Matt cautiously agreed, afraid now of where this was going. He didn’t wanna be told to move on. Not yet, anyway.

‘It’s been working out fine, hasn’t it, kid?’

‘Yeah. I thought so.’

‘We get along all right.’

‘I thought we were getting along great,’ Matt said mournfully. He hadn’t known he had any kind of talent for cohabiting, having been on his own for pretty much a decade now. He’d felt John was proving him wrong, but maybe that was wishful thinking. Matt took a breath. ‘Is this the It’s time to move on talk…?’

John cast him an irritable frown. ‘No. D’you wanna move on?’

‘No! No, man. I wanna stay. I mean, unless it’s no good for you, in which case tell me, cause it’s your place, after all – but I can’t see me wanting to live anywhere else.’ Not ever, Matt added to himself in surprise. ‘Not for a while yet, anyway,’ he finished lamely.

‘You’re doing me a favour here, kid,’ John announced heavily.


‘Yeah, well…’ John was looking studiously out his side window, avoiding Matt’s curious gaze. ‘You were right, I guess. I was tired of eating alone.’ He cleared his throat yet again. ‘Stay as long as you want.’

‘Great!’ Matt was beaming. ‘That’s really great.’

‘But, uh –’

Matt’s mood fell flat again. There was always a catch. After a moment, he prompted, ‘But what?’

‘Well, uh – you never said anything about your being gay.’

And his mood sank like a stone. A stone in an ice cold lake. ‘Was I meant to? Did I have to? Seems like you figured it out yourself anyway.’ Then he got heated again, and declared, ‘Coming out is a dead concept! I’m just gay, John, that’s all there is to it. Deal with it any way you want.’

John had turned to him during this little tirade, and was now watching him with amusement. ‘All right, kid, all right. I can deal with it.’

Matt glared at him suspiciously. ‘Is it gonna be a problem? Like, if I bring my boyfriends back home?’

John seemed taken aback. ‘You have boyfriends?’

‘Well, no, not right now. They’re only… theoretical at the moment. Putative boyfriends!’ he declared, feeling clever.

Putative? What the hell’s that? Sounds disgusting.’ They both had a chuckle at that, but then John sobered up again. ‘No, kid, that’d be OK. Except –’

Always a catch. ‘Except what?’

‘I was trying to say before, I feel I owe you, kid. You’re doing me a favour.’

‘Goes both ways, John.’

‘No, I owe you.’

‘No, really, John, I –’

‘Matt!’ John cried out in frustration. ‘I’m trying to pay back the favour, all right? Quit arguing!’

Matt stopped himself, and grinned at the man. ‘All right, I’m listening.’

But it still took John a while to finally get the words together. ‘Was thinking about what I could offer you in return. I mean, not just a roof over your head.’

‘You don’t need to –’

‘Sex,’ said John McClane. ‘We could have sex.’

Matt just stared at him, speechless. Beyond confusion.

John coloured up. John McClane actually almost kinda blushed. He turned away to the side window again. ‘Never mind, kid.’

‘No, no,’ Matt kinda spluttered. ‘I do mind. I mean, I appreciate the offer, but –’

It was John’s turn to prompt him. ‘But what?’

‘It’s a good offer, man, but it’s pretty cold.’

John said rather distantly, ‘I got the idea you might be interested. Maybe I was wrong about that.’

Matt considered the man. He was gorgeous, there was no getting away from it. ‘You weren’t wrong,’ he said gently. ‘I have to tell you, I was always interested in minds before. You ever heard that line? His mind excited me. Most people think it’s bullshit, but it isn’t. Then I met you. And I figured, Hey, bodies work for me, too!’

John cast him a rather dry look. ‘I am so glad that my brawn makes up for my lack of brains.’

‘You don’t lack brains, John. You know a heap of stuff that I don’t.’

‘Didn’t learn it from books.’

‘Learning from life counts, too. There’s a hell of a lot of people who don’t. They’re the real idiots.’

‘Don’t patronise me, kid.’

Matt sighed. Drew back, and turned to face the front again. ‘Look, I guess I’ll head home, yeah? You don’t wanna be sitting here talking about this.’

‘Stay right where you are!’ John told him, like it was a command. ‘We won’t talk about it. I’ll drop the whole stupid idea. But it’s after two, and you’re not going anywhere in this neighbourhood.’

Matt slid down in the seat, sulking. Nevertheless, he muttered to John, ‘It’s not stupid.’

‘Yeah? Sure seems that way right now.’

‘Nah, it’s not. It’s just that I –’ He sighed.

‘Come on, then,’ John said impatiently. ‘It’s just that you what?’

‘Well, the only other time I’ve loved someone, really loved someone, it all went bad. This guy’s life was pretty much destroyed.’

‘Why? Was he married?’

‘No. No. Nothing like that.’ Matt sighed again, sank down further and curled up in the seat. He supposed he owed John the truth. ‘He was my professor. Years ago now. I started college earlier than most, but I always had a thing for older men. I shouldn’t have chased him – we shouldn’t have done anything – but it was love. What could we do?’

‘They found out? At the college?’

‘Yeah. There was a scandal. He was cleared of anything illegal – it was just dumb luck, we were in the state with the lowest age of consent – and I had to submit another major assignment to be marked by someone else – though I still got the highest grade you could get. Anyway, he was cleared, but nothing went right for him after that, and he lost his job. And it all started cause of me.’

After a long moment, John said, ‘You wouldn’t destroy me.’

Matt let out a sarcastic Hah! ‘Your cop buddies wouldn’t be very understanding.’

John seemed piqued by that. ‘Hey, the NYPD has a float in the gay pride march every year, and the cops get to wear their uniforms, too.’

Matt cast him a look. ‘So, d’you wanna be on it next year?’

There he was, almost blushing again. But also chagrined. ‘Look, this isn’t easy for me, kid. I was raised Irish Catholic. They’re a bit more understanding these days, but not a whole lot. I wouldn’t be standing at the altar watching you walk down the aisle any time soon.’

Matt gaped at him. ‘You were talking having sex, and now you’re talking getting married…? Christ, this can’t have just materialised out of thin air. Exactly how long have you been thinking about this?’

‘Months. I had to be sure.’

‘And you’re sure you wanna get married already?’

‘First things first, kid,’ John replied shortly.

‘A date…?’ Matt suggested.

John cast him a wry look. ‘Dating is a dead concept.’

‘What, then? Sex?’

‘If you want to, I’m offering. That’s all.’

‘While we’re still… living together like this. We’d be living together.’

‘I guess.’

‘I mean, you’re not just talking about a one night deal, are you?’

‘No. Partners. We can try it, anyway.’

Matt shook his head. ‘This is… too much to take in, man. I thought… well, occasionally I thought there was a glimmer of interest, just every now and then. But I had no idea you’d actually offer… I mean, you’re straight!’

John shifted uncomfortably, irritably. ‘I was married for a lot of years. Even when we weren’t together, I was still married. And we married young. But I always figured that… it wouldn’t have been impossible for me. To like a guy that way. I kept it a secret; I’ve never told anyone else before. Because – well, there was always Holly, back from when we were kids, but also because of the way I was raised. Things were different in my day, in my neighbourhood. It wasn’t exactly an option you went after unless you had no other choice. And you had to give up a lot for it. You’re too young to remember what it was like.’

‘No, I get it,’ Matt said. ‘It was kinda like that where I grew up, too.’ He sighed, and said in a low voice, ‘My parents haven’t spoken to me since they found out… you know, about my professor. I still call them every now and then, but they just hang up the phone.’

‘The hell you say,’ John protested on his behalf, looking at him.

The honest, indignant reaction made Matt feel a little less pathetic. Nevertheless, he confessed, ‘I ruined a lot of things back then.’

‘You wouldn’t ruin anything for me,’ John stoutly declared.

‘Oh, John…’ Matt whispered in regret. And they sat there in silence again.

Until John suddenly muttered, ‘Oh fuck.’


‘They made me. They suspect something, anyway.’

Matt glanced wildly around, trying to move nothing but his eyes. Sure enough, there was a group of guys staring at them from down the other side of the street, and one of them was slowly approaching with intent.

‘You get into the back,’ John said urgently – not moving, exactly as Matt wasn’t moving – ‘call 911, and no matter what happens, don’t get out of the car. No matter what, kid.’

Well, Matt had a better idea than that. He didn’t give himself time to think, he just went with it. He slid along the bench seat, twisting around so that he was facing John, and he wound his arms around John’s shoulders – and he kissed him.

A stunned moment in which John went rigid with shock. Then a brief sweet moment in which John responded, and kissed him back as if surrendering himself, his hands spreading across the small of Matt’s back, gathering him in close. A blissful hint of what they could be together. But then John pulled back slightly, keeping Matt where he was; he tilted his head so they were forehead to forehead. It was so intimate. For that instant, they were perfectly attuned. ‘Don’t do anything stupid,’ John whispered. ‘These guys are deadly serious.’

There was a disgusted groan from outside the car, and the guy spat. ‘Ah, it’s just a pair of faggots.’

Matt looked around, as John did. They stayed defiantly in each other’s embrace. ‘Leave us alone,’ Matt complained, even as he felt John’s hands tighten on him, reminding him: Don’t do anything stupid.

‘The fuck d’you think you’re doing here, man?’

‘We were having an argument,’ Matt explained impatiently. ‘Now we’re making up, all right? Leave us alone!’

‘Get the hell outta here! You don’t bring that shit down here to my patch!’

John cut in before the situation could escalate any further. ‘All right, all right, we’re going.’ He pushed Matt aside, and reached for the ignition.

‘Faggots!’ yelled the guy as the Riviera powered off down the street. The other guys threw stuff at them as they passed. Matt didn’t think they’d done any harm to the car; at least he hoped not. It soon got quiet again.

‘Matt,’ John said very evenly as they reached a slightly safer area. ‘Which part of Don’t do anything stupid did you not understand?’

He was ready to defend himself. ‘I pissed him off –’

‘You did that,’ John agreed.

‘– so he wasn’t thinking straight. Don’t tell me it’s not a smart tactic. You did exactly the same thing to Thomas Gabriel when you wanted to distract him.’

‘Huh,’ was John’s only response to that.

They drove through the night. New York was secretly alive and humming around them, the streets burning sodium orange. Matt was sitting where John had left him: nearby, in the middle of the bench seat. Why ever did modern cars have separate seats now? Matt wondered. Whoever thought that was a good idea? He shifted a bit closer still, and rested his hand on John’s thigh. It was as strong and firm and hot as he’d imagined. He relived the kiss they’d shared and the intimate moment after. Matt said, ‘Take me home, John.’

‘I can’t, I’ve got to take the car back to the station first.’

‘Do you? Can’t you take it back tomorrow?’

John glanced at him. Considered him for a moment. Then asked, ‘Why?’

‘Take me to bed, John.’

‘I thought you didn’t want to.’

‘I did want to, I do want to, it’s just –’ Matt sighed. It was all too complicated. ‘I’ve changed my mind,’ he said instead.

John went back to being silent. But when it came time, he turned left towards home instead of right towards the station.

They didn’t speak, even as they climbed the stairs to the apartment, even as they discarded keys and bags, and then walked down to John’s bedroom and each discarded his own clothes. They looked at each other, though. Not meeting each other’s gazes, not directly, but watching each other, considering each other.

John, of course, had an incredible body. He was stocky, solid, strong, without an ounce of anything that shouldn’t be there. And he had a cock to match, hanging heavy against his thighs, and balls to match, bobbling between. Beside him, Matt felt weedy, almost insubstantial. Or he would have if it wasn’t for his smouldering hunger, which was so intense that it had a life and a substance of its own. His own cock was betraying him with its eagerness, already fully powered up.

They each got into the bed, and met in the middle, moved into each other’s arms. Christ, thought Matt. They’d hardly even kissed for a moment, and now here they were, naked, together.

John shifted up onto his elbow, leaned over Matt. Considered him for one last long moment. Matt looked trustingly up at him, wondering why he wasn’t nervous, realising that actually he was. And then they were kissing, and his nerves were singing, no longer fearful. And Matt gave himself over to the other man for safekeeping.

Their first kiss had been blissful, but it was nothing compared to this. John gave his full attention to the task before him, and if they’d ended up doing nothing but kiss, Matt would have considered himself thoroughly ravished. But eventually John moved on. Or, more to the point, down.

‘Can I…?’ John asked, lips feathering across one of Matt’s nipples. ‘Does this do it for you?’

‘Yes,’ Matt responded, though it had never been a real highlight of sex before for him.

As opposed to now. John devoted a great deal of time to each nipple in turn: licking, mouthing, sucking, gently biting and gnawing. By the time he was done and started trailing that hungry mouth further downwards, Matt was lying stretched there, spiralling away into pleasure.

That mouth pressed kisses down his torso, John shifting down in the bed, his hands wrapped around Matt’s waist, then his hips. This was new to John, of course, so Matt assumed he wouldn’t dare actually take the last step there and become that creature scorned by the straight world and adored by Matt: the cocksucker. Matt sighed as John indeed bypassed Matt’s straining erection, and trailed down a thigh, angling inwards. Which was delightful enough.

What amazed Matt, though, was what John did next. He carefully took first one and then the other of Matt’s balls into his mouth, gently sucked on them, rolled them on his tongue. Matt was grunting on each breath by this stage. It was incredible. And then John defied all expectations by moving back up again, kissing and licking up the length of his hardness, before settling in to – yes! – suck cock. Matt cried out in the joy of it.

John wasn’t so expert that Matt was immediately beyond thought, so Matt could lie sprawled in sweet pleasure reflecting on how John was the most incredibly considerate lover. Here he was, diligently applying himself to ensuring Matt’s enjoyment, to creating and building and leading Matt’s responses until they inevitably became an orgasm. When it came, it was a truly mind-blowing one. Then John held him afterwards, wrapped him up gently, quite tenderly. And a dazed Matt reflected that John must have had the best of teachers in these arts. He’d only met Holly once, but from this perspective he saw that she wouldn’t have been the sort of woman to accept second-best from her husband in his role as her lover. She wouldn’t have accepted mediocrity. Bless you, Holly Gennero. Thank you, Mrs McClane.

Well, John had certainly earned his reward, as he must have earned it a thousand times before. ‘Fuck me,’ said Matt, his voice hoarse. ‘Please, John. Fuck me.’

John looked down at him, examined him. Didn’t bother asking, Are you sure? He could see that for himself. Matt needed this, god, he needed this. After a moment, John pulled away, and Matt waited cool and bereft while John rummaged in his bedside drawers. Then John sat back on his heels, peering at the box of condoms; Matt figured he’d need reading glasses soon. A tense pause, and then John cast Matt a look that was amused and grieving and ironic and chagrined all at once. ‘Past their use-by date.’

Matt chuckled, and pushed himself upright. ‘I got some.’

‘Stay there,’ John said, ‘I’ll get them. Where?’

‘Same place. Top drawer.’

A humorous glint from those eyes, and then John was striding out of there, cock stiffly pointing the way.

When he got back, Matt saw he’d swiped the lube as well. Good. John saw him noticing it, and said, ‘You’ll have to tell me, show me…’

‘Sure.’ They managed the mechanics of preparation without any untoward fuss or embarrassment, and then suddenly Matt was on his back, with one heel hooked on John’s shoulder and the other leg bent around his waist, and John was slowly, carefully pushing into him. ‘Aarhhh…’ Matt groaned, relaxing into the act. It had been so long, so very long, and he’d forgotten how good it felt. Or maybe it had never been quite this good, even with… Matt groaned again, tilted his hips a little, and then John was home, they were joined, and John was hovering over him, gazing down at him in wonder. ‘Do it,’ Matt ordered, his voice ragged. ‘Fuck me!’

And John obeyed, first teasingly pulling out and then powering into him, and doing it again, and again, gazing down at him all the while as if he’d been waiting for Matt his whole life.

‘Did you mean it?’ Matt whispered in the cooling dark before dawn. ‘About some day waiting for me at the altar?’

‘Yeah. Yeah, I guess. That’s how I think, Matt,’ he added as a warning. ‘I’m not into casual. I’m into long-term, and marriage. Maybe I’m just old-fashioned.’

‘Fine by me.’

‘Well, give it some time, kid. Let’s see if it works.’

‘It’ll work,’ Matt replied, supremely confident. He snuggled in even closer. ‘I’ve done casual. I’m ready for more than that. The happiest I’ve ever been was the other time I really loved someone.’

‘The other time,’ John echoed thoughtfully. He got it. He understood. John wound his arms even tighter around Matt. Eventually he said, a bit doubtingly, ‘I have to think of Jack and Lucy, too, though.’

Matt’s heart sank. Here it came. The ruination of precious things. ‘They’re not gonna approve?’

‘I don’t – well, I do care, but if they don’t approve, they’ll just have to live with it. We’ll find a way to make that all right. Find a way to make it all right with your parents, too, if we can.’

‘Oh god,’ Matt cried, torn between despair and joy. ‘That’s a lost cause. Though I guess if anyone can fix it, you can.’

‘But that’s not what I meant, about Jack and Lucy. I got three of you to take care of now. Like, if we made this formal, then you’d have my pension when I go. My kids wouldn’t get that anyway, so they wouldn’t be missing out on anything. But I’ve got to make sure they’re OK, as well as you.’

‘John… John…’ Matt felt overwhelmed. It had only been a few hours ago that they’d kissed for the first time, and now here he was being cast as the principal mourner at John’s funeral. Well, it all felt absolutely right, as if this story that John was imagining would simply come delightfully true without any effort on anyone’s part. But weren’t they getting a bit ahead of themselves? ‘John,’ Matt said, gazing directly into his honest eyes, ‘I wanna do this with you, I really do. I don’t want to do casual any more. But let’s give it some time, like you said. And if we make it formal – however we do that, whether it’s tuxes at the altar or just names on a form somewhere – I promise I won’t get between you and your kids. I promise. Is that enough for now?’

‘Yeah, Matt. That’s perfect.’

But suddenly it wasn’t enough for Matt. ‘I do,’ he murmured, lying there warm and happy and safe in John’s arms. ‘What the hell. I love you. I do.’

And John caught him up closer, and responded with simple sincerity, ‘I do, too.’

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