Technological advancements were one of John's least favorite things, but even he acknowledged that caller ID was a useful feature. Not that he needed the warning to steel up his nerves or anything, but still, it was nice to be able to glance at the number on the display, pick up the phone, and inject a deliberate cheerfulness in his voice when he answered, "Good morning, Holly."
"John. I see the police force has finally got caller ID."
"And how are you this beautiful morning?" The day really was beautiful, summer's humid heat becoming a distant memory as the weather cooled and the leaves turned color.
"I'm fine, John. I was wondering if there was anything you'd like to tell me."
"To tell you?" Had Lucy told her about Matt? He wouldn't have expected her to without mentioning it to him. What the hell else could she be asking about? "No."
"Well, that's interesting. I'm watching you neck with that luscious twink who helped you save the country. For some reason, I thought my ex-husband and father of my children might want to warn me he's gone gay. Since he knows the press still occasionally asks me about him."
"Matt is not a twink," John defended automatically, though he wasn't sure what twink meant, other than it sounded a lot like boy toy. "What do you mean you're watching?"
"Jesus, John. The two of you are on youtube. Didn't you know?"
He was tempted to snap that of course he didn't, but more importantly… "What's a u tube?"
"It's a website." Holly gave that little sigh he hated. "Open your email, John. Ignore all those emails you haven't answered. Look for my name on top of your list. Just clink on the link. If there's something you'd like to tell me, call me back." She hung up.
John mostly pretended he didn't have an email inbox, which tended to be clogged with departmental nonsense. If it were important, the Captain would yell it at him. An email from Holly.Generro@nakatomi.com was waiting at the top of the list. Inside was only a link, which he clicked on, and it opened up to a website. A small video started playing, him and Matt getting out of his car in front of the restaurant. They were talking though the camera hadn't picked up their words, just the sound of the faint wind that had been blowing. Both of them were wearing coats, him in his long black coat, Matt in John's black leather jacket that he'd poached even though it was a size too large. As they both reached the sidewalk, John raised his hand, cupped the back of Matt's neck, and pulled him into a kiss. The camera zoomed in, catching mostly the back of John's bald head, and then Matt's flushed face as he was released. They started talking again as they walked into the restaurant, and the film stopped as the door shut behind them.
Then it started up again, both of them walking out. John was carrying his coat now, as the restaurant had been warm. Matt said something teasing. There still wasn't any audio of their conversation, though John remembered what it had been. "So do I taste different after a good steak?" he'd asked, and John had answered, "Let me find out," tugging Matt into another kiss. A longer one this time, because they were going home and could have sex if anything came up. Matt's arms had gone around his shoulders. "You always taste good," John had said when he'd released Matt, and fuck if the audio hadn't managed to pick that up, and Matt's, "Let's go home." Thankfully he hadn't said more, but then the expression on his face made his thoughts pretty damned plain. Words weren't necessary. They got back into the car and the video stopped, two curling arrows over the screen asking if John wanted to repeat or send to a friend.
Hitting repeat, John dialed home. Matt picked up on the second ring. "Morning."
"We're on u tube. How do we get off it?"
"We're what? How do you even know what youtube is? What's the url? No, never mind, I'll find it. Hang on." John waited, hearing the muted clicking of Matt's laptop keys. "Oh – wow. That was yesterday."
"Yeah, yesterday. How the hell did someone get it and how do we get it down?"
"Probably filmed with a cell phone. I can ask the youtube review team to take it down, but I don't know that they will."
"What do you mean, they won't take it down? That's some stalker creep filming us. I didn't give permission for that to be put on the web."
"Yeah, but it was a public place and we're both public figures. They don't usually take things down unless there's a copyright violation."
John realized that someone was hovering, glancing up to see Charlie leaning over, watching his computer screen. "Do you mind?" he hissed, as the Matt on the computer screen suggested again, "Let's go home."
"Do I mind what?" the Matt on the phone asked.
"Not you. Charlie."
"Hey, say hi to him for me."
"No, I don't mind," Charlie said, even as he started typing on John's keyboard, clicking on the 'send to a friend' arrow and entering his email address.
"Hey!" John protested, batting at Charlie's hands, but the link had been sent.
"I'm checking the rest of the stuff, but it all looks old and mostly news reports," Matt said. "That's the only one that looks like someone filmed us."
John glared at Charlie, getting a smile in reply before he drifted off to his desk. "The rest of the stuff? What rest of the stuff?"
"If you look on the right hand side of the screen, you'll see other videos that have the same keywords. Everything that's under McClane and Farrell."
"There's more? What the hell is this site?" John looked where Matt had indicated, and started scanning the other links listed.
"It's a site for people to post short videos. It's all kinds of random stuff. Sometimes it's people filming themselves or making videos and sometimes people put up clips of things from television. It looks like someone saved a bunch of your television appearances and put them up."
"How could someone do that? Jesus, some of this stuff is from the Nakatomi thing. We only had videotape back then."
"Someone must have saved it and converted it to an avi file. That's a computer file. It's pretty easy to do. It might be that kid with the McSpace page."
"The one who wasn't born? The one you saved at Nakatomi?"
John vaguely remembered Matt mentioning something about the pregnant woman's kid honoring him on his MySpace page, but he'd never asked to see it. "Can you get that stuff down too?"
"I can't get the MySpace page down, but I can ask about the youtube videos. They might take down the network stuff, though I don't know if they'll do it for me. A network executive might need to complain. I'm not even sure they'll take down the kiss thing. John…"
"It's being watched and favorited as we speak. Massively. I think it must have been posted in a community or a chat room."
"Posted where?" John asked, as his Captain yelled, "McClane!" Weren't chat rooms where pedophiles hung out? "Damn, the Captain is calling. Look, do what you can, okay?"
"Okay, but I gotta warn you – " Matt's warning got lost in the Captain's shouting, "McClane! Get in here!"
"Do what you can, okay? I gotta go." John hung up, yelled, "Coming!" and headed toward his Captain's office. He glared at Charlie along the way. He couldn't see Charlie's computer to be sure if he was watching the u tube, but figured Charlie was owed a glare. The Captain was staring at his computer screen, looking rather like he'd developed another ulcer, squeezed in among his many existing ones. He was a few years younger than John, but a few inches shorter and wider, the benefits of a primarily desk job. At least he'd managed to retain most of his hair, even though it had gone silver.
Sitting in a guest chair was Christopher Campanelli, the department's PR guy, who always had the unfortunate effect of reminding John of Ellis in his sleekness, though he'd didn't seem quite so stupid. He was pretty sure that Campanelli would never willingly volunteer to negotiate with terrorists, unless it was through a bullhorn from a safe distance away.
"What is this, McClane?"
"It's the back of your computer screen," John answered. "A nineteen-inch LCD."
"Taking computer lessons from your boyfriend, McClane?"
John didn't normally play dumb, but sometimes a little prevarication worked best with the Captain. "I don't know what you mean, Captain."
The Captain pushed on the screen, making it twist on his desk, and there was John, kissing Matt and telling him he always tasted good. "I mean this."
Fuck. How did this kind of thing reach Holly in California and his Captain within the same half hour? Did people hang around on u tube, randomly looking for trash? "That's an invasion of my privacy by some creepy stalker, Captain. Permission to investigate and nail the bastard."
"When did you become gay, McClane?"
Jeez, why did everyone have to keep labeling him? "When did my life become this department's business, Captain?"
"Don't be obtuse, McClane. You're the department's best-known detective. Everything you do in the public reflects on us, and now you're on the goddamn web sucking face with someone young enough to be your son."
"And I repeat again, Captain, when did my life become this department's business? My personal life is my own."
"Captain, if I could?" Campanelli asked, continuing when the Captain gave him a nod. "You're right, John, of course. Your relationship with Matt is strictly your personal business. But you're a realistic man. You have to know that this'll be considered news. You two are famous. We'll be asked for a statement. Now I can – and will – tell them that the private lives of police officers aren't up for discussion. But you know that won't make them go away. They'll keep asking questions. It would be helpful if we could have a few details, just so that we know what we're dealing with. So we're not surprised by anything."
The problem with sleek jerks was that they could sound reasonable, and John felt the defensiveness inside him loosening a tiny bit. He understood hating to be surprised.
"If you really think this was someone stalking you, we can open a case file for the tech squad, see if they can get information from youtube. And we'll point out to the public that voyeuristic filming like this is not appreciated and will not be tolerated."
"What do you want to know?" he asked, keeping his tone guarded, letting himself drop into the other guest chair.
"It is what it looks like? It's not faked? You're having a relationship with Matthew Farrell?"
"When did it start?"
The Captain frowned. "Christ, McClane, you were still in the hospital."
"And it's serious?" Campanelli asked quickly.
"Not the entire month," John directed to the Captain, even though it had started in the hospital. They could think it hadn't. Looking toward Campanelli, he added, "He moved in with me. Is that serious enough for you?"
"And are you open about this relationship? Did people know before this youtube thing?"
"Lucy knew. Charlie. Some of my neighbors. His parents. Holly saw the youtube this morning. I haven't talked to Jack lately. We're supposed to see my mom next weekend."
"Is this your first homosexual relationship?"
"Christ, McClane, do you have to do everything whole hog? You couldn't have your first homosexual relationship with someone your own age?"
Campanelli's polite little 'shut up' glare at the Captain might have been funny in another situation. "Has anyone objected to your relationship? Or have you had any other problems with someone appearing to stalk you?"
"His parents aren't thrilled. But they wouldn't be stalking us. And I'm not aware of anyone else filming or watching us."
“Thank you, John. I think that’s enough for now. Of course, we can’t tell you what to do about your personal life, but I’d advise against talking to the press,” Campanelli said smoothly, giving advice as if John hadn't been dealing with the press before he'd graduated from PR school.
“Christ, yes, John, don’t talk to the press. You always irritate them and then they want to investigate the department to get back at you.”
John ignored the Captain’s lament. “My turn for a question. How did you know that was out there?”
“I check the various news sources and do a search on certain web sites every morning. It’s part of my routine,” Campanelli answered readily. “The youtube video has NYPD as one of its search words.”
So at least the stalking bastard hadn’t tried to get John into trouble by sending the link to the police. But why had he even posted it? What was the gain? John wasn’t sure he believed Matt’s guess that it was the MySpace kid, not unless he lived in Brooklyn. He’d have to ask Matt to find out. “I’ll get back to my job,” he said, suiting action to words and leaving the Captain’s office. The two of them were talking press strategy before John even shut the door.
The phone was ringing again. He’d gotten a lot of calls this morning, most of them irritating, few of them work-related. John let the call ring over to voicemail, before picking up the handset, dialing his sister’s number. Her before Mom, he decided, feeling an obligation to let her know, wishing that he could get hold of Jack. “Hey, Maggie.”
“John! Is Mom okay?”
Why did she always assume something gloomy had happened whenever he called? “Yeah, Mom’s fine. I called to tell you something.”
John took a breath to steady himself, looked around the room at the other officers, most of whom were buried in their work, overtly ignoring him. Charlie gave him a thumbs up, having made no pretense about being both amused and supportive of John’s latest notoriety. “I’m in a relationship with Matthew Farrell.”
“You heard me.”
“Did my older brother just say he was gay? Mr. Macho man himself?”
“I said I was in a relationship with Matt Farrell. I thought you should know and now you do.”
“John…” Her voice softened. “If you’re happy, I’m pleased. Surprised, but pleased.”
“Yeah. I’m happy,” he admitted. They hadn’t always gotten along as kids. Too close in age, too competitive, too alike, but when it came down to it, they’d always had each other’s backs.
“Have you told mom?”
“I’m going to see her today. Lucy’s fine with it. I haven’t been able to reach Jack. Holly knows.”
“It’s not any of her business anyway,” she said, her voice stiffening. Maggie had been decidedly antagonistic toward Holly since John’s drunken binge after she’d left him. McClanes did not tend to forgive easily.
“There’s some video on the web. Matt and I walking together. She saw it.”
“Someone filmed you two? Like a stalker?”
“Nah. Just someone filming with a cell phone. One of the guys here says that kind of things happens a lot these days.” Charlie had also been vastly amused to explain that no, chat rooms were not only inhabited by pedophiles. John didn’t understand why Charlie found his lack of knowledge so entertaining. He wished he could have remained ignorant, because all that he’d learned today certainly wasn't giving him any warm and fuzzy feelings about the Internet.
“Okay. Well, let me know if you have problems with mom or anything.”
“Will do.” He hung up. Time to tackle his mother now.
"Mr. McClane! John McClane!"
Fuck. His favorite airhead reporter tackling him outside headquarters before he could escape. Could this day get any better? "Ms. Kramer," he said brusquely.
"Mr. McClane," she said, sticking a microphone in his face. "I wonder if you had any comment about the youtube video of you and Matt Farrell kissing."
"No. I have no comment."
"When did you become a homosexual, Mr. McClane? Do your children know? Your ex-wife?"
Not answering was hard. John’s natural inclination was to meet someone word for word. But he’d been young and cocky after the Nakatomi thing, and made a fucking fool of himself on national talk shows. “No comment.”
"You're one of America's most macho heroes, Mr. McClane. How does it feel to suddenly become a gay icon?"
A gay icon? What the fuck? Why did reporters always sensationalize everything? He kept walking, letting her and the cameraman race after him. “No comment.”
“How did it start? While you were saving the world or afterwards? Did you seduce him or did he seduce you? The public wants to know, Mr. McClane.”
The thought that the public had any fucking right to know how he and Matt had started having sex made John see red. He stopped and swung to face her. "Do you know how many people died in Iraq today? How much the price of gas went up? How much revenue the city lost because of the Broadway strike? Find the public some news that’s more real than your hair color."
He stalked off, and this time she let him go.
John’s father had been a good man, but a hard one, and a product of his times. Slacking wasn’t allowed in the McClane household. John and Margaret always studied diligently and did their chores without any lip, or they suffered the consequences. They’d gotten after-school jobs as soon as they could, because this pampered strolling around the malls nonsense didn’t even exist when they were growing up, and if it had, they wouldn’t have been allowed to waste their time.
John had gone to college and gotten a degree before following his father into the police force. His father’s grudging support for his college plans had been surprise. John had expected lectures about how his father had walked a beat all his life, and that should be good enough for his son. Apparently his dad was okay with John having the advantages that one important piece of paper gave, which made John wonder what indignities or irritations his dad had hidden behind the tough beat cop facade. Not that he'd ever asked, nor had his dad ever offered an explanation.
His dad would not have approved Matt, who worked odd hours earning a living by using his brain and typing, a skill his dad considered clerical, and whose bisexuality would have been simply inconceivable.
Still, he might have liked Matt’s personality, his cheekiness, his irreverence, his questioning of authority. Or maybe not, John considered, stabbing the button for his mother’s floor. At least maybe his mom would like him. She’d become more…adventuresome after his father’s death. Liberal and interested in all sorts of weird stuff. ‘Kooky,’ his sister had let slip once.
She was home and alone, happy to see him, and didn’t seem inclined to try to feed him, so that was a good start. He hated when she fussed over him. They settled in the living room, and she gave him an expectant gaze. Sometimes he expected her to look like she had when he was a kid, with an unlined face and brown hair. She was a senior citizen now, her hair still long but all white, still curled into a bun. As a teenager, he’d gloated when he’d grown to be her height, and even more when he’d surpassed her, but now he found it disconcerting to realize she’d shrunk another inch or two. “You don’t often visit me unannounced, John. Is everything okay?”
Jeez, did his entire family only expect him to be in touch when something was wrong? “Everything’s good, mom.”
“So you just dropped by for a visit?”
John didn’t squirm, even if her look was the same one she gave him when she could smell tobacco on him. Dad had been the disciplinarian in the family, but mom hadn’t been a push-over. “I’m in a new relationship, mom.”
“It’s about time, John. Lucy will certainly appreciate you having someone else to occupy your attention. What’s her name? Does she work with you?”
And now the moment of truth. “His name is Matt. Matthew Farrell. He’s that hacker I met.”
“Well. That would explain why Holly was never right for you.”
John stared at his mother. “What do you mean, Holly was never right for me?”
“You saved her from terrorists twice, John, and she still divorced you. I’m glad this time you’ve found someone who can help you instead of needing to be rescued.”
“Mom…” John said helplessly, because of all the responses he’d expected, getting into a discussion about Holly hadn’t been on the list. “I didn’t know you didn’t like Holly.”
“I didn’t dislike her. I used to admire her for standing up to you and insisting on her own career. That was still a very difficult thing for a woman to do in the 80s, and certainly something I would never have dared with your father. But she was very unreasonable to expect you to be someone you’re not. I hope this young man understands you better?”
“Yeah. I think so.” Unlike Holly, Matt seemed to love when John was being his most domineering. “It’s not like we’re getting married or anything.” Though they could up in Canada, which was weird to consider. Or even filing for a domestic partnership would get health benefits for Matt.
“I saw him interviewed on Leno, and he seems like a very sweet young man. Very passionate and idealistic. I hope you don’t take advantage of him.”
Take advantage of him? Did that mean sexually? Because no way was he discussing gay sex with his mom. “We’re honest with each other.”
“Good.” She peered at him, her eyes searching his. “Do you love him, John?”
He’d lied to his mother a number of times in his life. As a kid, trying to get away with breaking the rules. As an adult, not wanting to reveal his problems with Holly, his fights with the kids, his drinking issues, or even the difficulty of breaking the cigarette habit. But this time he couldn’t. “I don’t know, Mom.”
Reaching his house was a relief, making him conscious of how much his home had become a haven since Matt. He’d spent a lot of time at his house after his divorce, being as much of a hermit as Lucy had accused him, but that was mainly because he’d had nowhere else to go. Now he genuinely liked being home, because home meant Matt, and his mind shied away from remembering his mom’s question.
And at least there were no damn reporters. Perhaps Chelsea had spread the word. “Matt?” he called, unlocking the door. There wasn’t any answer, but that didn’t surprise him. He hung his coat in the hall closet and went to the second bedroom, now Matt’s office. Matt was in his standard position, typing away on his computer, Red Bull by his keyboard, ridiculously fucking expensive earbuds in his ears, keeping his atrocious music out of John’s hearing. “Hey,” he said, putting one hand on Matt’s shoulder.
“Hey, John.” Matt pulled the earbuds out, swung around and stood up, and John pulled him into his arms before he could say anything else. He cupped the back of Matt’s head, tilting it, and kissed him like he knew Matt liked, firm mouth, lots of tongue, and no resistance allowed. Matt ground his hips into John’s, kissing him back with equal passion. Being dominated turned Matt on, and John was happy to indulge him.
When the kiss ended, they stayed standing, holding each other tightly. “You get bothered a lot today?”
“Your answering machine filled up, so I unplugged your phone. And turned off my cell phone.”
"Even my parents called."
"They already knew."
"Yeah, but now it's spreading so their friends will find out." Matt rolled his eyes, but his tone was bitter.
"I don't give a shit what your parents' friends think. And you shouldn't either."
"Yeah, I just – " Matt paused, and John waited, rubbing his palm on Matt's back. "They believe in equality. In gay rights. Even gay marriage. I can't believe they're still upset about you."
"I'd beat the crap out of any guy who was my age and hit on Lucy," John admitted, feeling a certain sympathy for Matt's parents, even if he had no intention of giving Matt up. They could deal or remain unhappy.
"You'd probably beat the crap out of any guy who was *my* age and hit on Lucy. You're consistent. My parents say they support gay rights, but they want me to date some nice girl from the burbs."
"My mom and sis think it's okay," John offered, not sure that would be consolation. "Mom was concerned I don't take advantage of you."
"Take advantage of me?" Matt gave a perplexed smile. "Seriously?"
"I like when you take advantage of me. I even got you a present to make it easier."
A present? That could mean so many things with Matt, whose choices could be weird or hot. But mostly weird and hot. “Yeah? How?”
"It's kinda gay though. I know you don't like gay things. You probably won't like it," Matt said cheerfully, his good humor restored.
Matt was an asshole, teasing John after a long day. “It's not that I don't like gay things," John protested, cupping Matt’s cheek, his thumb stroking the weird little stubble he always had on his chin. "Whatever Charlie wants to do, that's his business. It’s just us, you know? You and me. I don’t want to be someone’s fucking gay icon.”
“You’re such a romantic, John McClane.” Matt smiled, leaning into John’s touch.
“So what's my present? Do I have to put you over my lap and spank you to get it?” Not that a good spanking was much of a threat, since they both enjoyed it so much.
“You’d find it if you did.” Matt took a pace back, enough to undo his jeans, pushing them and his underwear down to his knees, turning to give John a view of his backside, where a black something protruded from his asshole. “It’s a butt plug.”
“Christ. That means – "
“I’m ready for you. I stuck my fingers up my ass and spread myself and stuck it in. Just for you. So you don’t have to wait.”
“Fuck.” John started working on his own fly. How the hell did Matt do it, make John so hot so easily? Just by being himself and so hot to be fucked? “Spread your legs. Put your hands on your desk. And you had better have condoms and lube in this room.”
Matt obeyed all the instructions, kicking one leg out of his jeans, positioning himself for John, opening the desk drawer as he did. John grabbed for the supplies, rolling the condom on his already hard dick, coating it with lube, and taking hold of the butt plug. “I can just pull this out?”
He yanked the plug out with his left and shoved his dick into Matt with his right. Jesus fucking Christ, Matt was a genius. This was exactly what John needed today, Matt’s hole, tight and warm and clinging to his dick. Dropping the plug, he captured Matt’s hips with his hands, and began fucking him. They were both still wearing too many clothes, but that didn’t matter. They could be naked after dinner. Right now was perfection, thinking of nothing except how good Matt felt, focusing on the physical pleasure of thrusting over and over again, his whole length fitting easily into Matt’s ass, his balls swinging free as they slowly tightened up, preparing to discharge.
“God, John, you are so hot,” Matt was mumbling. “I love when you fuck me.” His head hung down, giving John only a view of brown hair, leaving him to picture Matt’s flushed face.
“I love to fuck you. I want to fuck you every day.”
Only Matt could laugh in the midst of being reamed so hard he was almost being shoved into his desk. “You already do.”
True. Asking Matt to move in had been a genius idea. “Yeah. And I’m going to keep on fucking you every day. Forever.”
Matt’s ass squeezed at John’s cock. “Yeah. Touch me, John. Jack me off.”
Releasing one of Matt’s hips, John reached around, grabbing Matt’s dick, jerking it to the beat of his pounding. Matt’s dick felt good in his hand, stiff and leaking pre-come. “Every day,” he swore again, making a promise he intended to keep. Matt pushed back, his hands over his head, reaching to grab onto John anywhere he could, moaning loudly as he came. His ass contracted around John's dick, making him share every squeeze and quiver of Matt's orgasm wracking through his body. Shuddering, Matt slumped in John’s arms, his head lolling on John’s shoulder. John bit at Matt’s ear, eking out one more shudder. He loved it when Matt came first, and went all pliant and loose in his arms. Taking hold of Matt’s hips, John thrust in again, then one more time, then came with a savage grunt.
If Matt hadn’t been in his arms, John might have collapsed too, but instead he coaxed Matt into his desk chair, before dealing with the condom. “You okay?” he asked, tucking himself in and doing up his fly.
Matt stretched luxuriously. “Yeah. You feeling better?”
“Much.” He felt like stretching himself, though he doubted that he’d look as much like a cat as Matt did. More like an old hound dog. “What’s for dinner? Did you eat all the pizza?”
“No, I just had a sandwich for lunch. There’s still plenty of pizza.”
“Good. I’m hungry.”
“You want to talk about what I found?” Matt asked.
John could tell it wasn’t what he wanted to hear. If Matt had located the person or got the videos removed, he would have called to announce the good news. So whatever he had to say would be incomprehensible, inconclusive geek-speak, that would leave John wanting to hit someone. “Let’s have dinner first.”
“Sure.” Matt stood, and John helped him tug up his jeans and underwear, doing his fly as Matt waited. “So you liked the present?”
“Yeah.” John gave him a kiss, soft this time. “I loved the present.” And maybe I love you too, he thought, finding it surprisingly easy to contemplate. “Let’s eat.”
~ the end ~