John is tired as hell. It's not that his life is exhausting, but being a cop isn't fulfilling anymore, if it ever was. He can trace the beginning of the problems to a single day in 1988 -- Christmas Eve, as a matter of fact. Every single problem, actually, because if he and Holly hadn't gotten back together, they wouldn't have split again. Not that he wants Holly dead, although he can see how that would have really changed his life.
But if he'd had to put aside an eleven-year career with the NYPD to raise Lucy by himself, she'd probably hate him a lot more than she does now.
Maybe everything worked out for the best, although John only thinks that while he's in the hospital, so doped on the IV drugs that he can't even work up the energy to scratch the morphine itch running through his blood.
The first time John's life turned upside down isn't the night that he saved a bunch of people from some crazy Germans -- no, it was the night he bullshitted Holly Gennero into going out with him. He came alive that night, and at the end of it, after a bunch of Nathan's hot dogs, a walk on the Coney Island boardwalk, and one single ride on the scariest roller coaster in the world, John McClane, no good Irishman, sweet talked a Catholic schoolgirl into letting him put a hand up her skirt and take her out on a real date.
He never looked back, man. Not once. Holly was the only one for him. Still is the only girl he ever wanted to love, impress, keep all to himself.
Nakatomi Plaza fucked with his head, fucked with Holly's head, but that's not even number two on his list. He was there when his kids were born. People don't get how important that is. He helped make them, and he went to six bodegas before he found one in Crown Heights, in fucking Brooklyn, that had the right kind of ice cream to go with the right type of pickles for Lucy. Johnny was spicy food, and by the time he was born, John was on a first name basis with three different guys in Little India. And he was there when they were born; nothing would have kept them away.
With Lucy, John drove Holly to the hospital himself. She went into labor on their way to see Urban Cowboy; John had won tickets off some stupid radio contest. He comandeered a blue and white, lights flashing, sirens blaring, Holly in the passenger seat swearing she would never do this again, a scared officer barely out of the Academy in the back behind the grate.
Johnny was less dramatic, but no less affecting. John's a man's man, and he knows that no man would begrudge another man tears when his kids come into the world. Hell, John's not ashamed of it.
Lucy would call it "the sucky part" -- and it is. The sucky part is that after his kids, yeah, the important stuff in his life has been the shitty things that keep happening to him. No jackass in his right mind would run over broken glass in his bare feet, or -- or do any of the things John keeps doing, like send a fucking SUV to smash into a helicopter.
Although that was pretty fucking cool.
Holly left him -- okay, she left and he didn't go with her, but it's six of one, half-dozen of the other -- and they got back together when he performed a terrifying and stupid series of acts of heroism. He's been to the department shrink enough times that he can figure out what that meant for their relationship. And the next time they were in trouble, he saved her plane from crashing, which was totally accidental. Sometimes he wonders exactly what would happen to the world if all the people were like all the idiots he keeps running into.
How hard is it to open up your eyes and see what's going on around you? Pretty damn hard, apparently. John shouldn't have to be the only one doing it, except he is, over and over again.
And then, with Zeus, with Zeus and the Return of the Crazy Germans, John had the stupid idea afterwards that he might get Holly back. Stupid acts of heroism had caught her before. Forget Nakatomi Plaza, forget making the world safe for schoolchildren and airplanes everywhere -- he rode the Cyclone for a chance with her, the scariest roller coaster in the world.
All it did was convince him to quit drinking, though. He was 1099 days sober when he realized that even that act of heroism wasn't enough to bring her back.
He wonders if he's gonna have to tell all this to the kid, to Farrell. The hero worship in his eyes is more than John can stand, and they're in adjacent beds. The kid's got three laptops, and has somehow wired their hospital cable to get all the movie channels and all the porn channels.
There's still nothing on at 4 in the morning. It's always at 4 in the morning that John can't sleep, and the morphine clicker thing only clicks so often for so much. If they'd give him just a little more, he figures he'd be able to get some sleep without the itching in his blood chasing him everywhere, demanding he watch Matlock reruns on one of the many many many channels that are in Spanish.
Sometimes he looks over at Farrell, whose face is always bluish or greenish from the computer glow, even when he's sleeping. When Farrell is awake, it's like he's got a sixth sense for when John is looking at him, because he always looks up, catches John's eye, blushes, and looks away.
John dated Holly for years before they got married. He knows what it looks like. He's fifty, not a moron. He's tired, not an idiot.
He stares at the cracked ceiling and makes up elaborate scenarios: Farrell's got a crush on him, but won't say anything because he thinks John'll beat him up. Farrell's got a crush on him, but won't say anything because he thinks Lucy will beat him up. Farrell's got a crush on him, but knows that there's no way a guy like John would ever have anything to do with a guy like him. All of the above. It's so true, and John is too old to hate himself for it, that a guy like John wouldn't have anything to do with a prissy guy like Farrell.
Okay, he didn't wince when he sighted down the gun, but that doesn't really make him less prissy. He blushes for chrissake. He blushes, and he doesn't get what it means to be a guy like John, a guy who always has to do the right thing. That's how John was raised, with his father saying, over and over again, "You just have to try to do the right thing." It's a little hippy-dippy for John, but it's all he's got, and it seems to work, except it always gets him into these fucked up situations.
John doesn't swing that way, and even if he did, he wouldn't swing with some guy who should be riding roller coasters to impress girls like Lucy.
Mostly, he thinks, while eating blue Jell-O and watching CNN, he wouldn't do it because the whole time he'd be thinking about Holly. The last time he got laid was a long fucking time ago, and he thought about Holly the whole time. He's not going to do that again. Not even if he's wondering if maybe he didn't need to go so far and kick so much ass -- if maybe it was a little bit about impressing the kid. Impressing Farrell. His shoulder is going to be a bitch to use for the rest of his life, and there's every chance that the department's gonna take this opportunity to force him into early retirement, or hit him with a desk job. John's gone over it a million times, and he knows that he did what he had to do -- but he wonders if maybe a little part of him did it to impress the kid.
Shooting yourself in the shoulder is the new riding scary rollercoasters.
He almost snorts the blue Jell-O when he thinks that.
He clicks the drip again. And again. And again. He doesn't need to be thinking about shit like this right now. He doesn't need to be thinking about Holly, and the kids, and this kid who is exactly the right age to be one of his kids. He doesn't need to be thinking about all the times in his life that he's spectacularly fucked up, and how nobody's gonna write about that in the paper. They're gonna write about how he's a hero, and that's shit he doesn't want or need. He's not a hero. He can't even take life one day at a time.
He just does the right thing, and that right thing is sometimes fucking shit up and kicking ass. Maybe that's what he should say to Farrell. John's got a rhythm to his life, he's got a routine now, but he doesn't think some kid who had never seen a car explode before, except on television, could understand that. Kids think routine is boring. John knows routine is what saves you, when everything else is gone and over and finished, when everyone's left, when your daughter's not talking to you and your ex-wife and your son pretend you don't exist and your bosses are salivating to shove you into retirement and everything is fucked up and you blew a hole in your shoulder and smashed a car into a helicopter and every other fucking thing --
Sometimes all you got is a cigarette and your routine.
Hell, sometimes all you've got is a cigarette and a crazy German holding you at gunpoint.
John knows this better than anyone, but he doesn't know how to tell this to Farrell, who, more than a week after, as they start dialing down the morphine, gives John a sleepy smile before he falls asleep in front of his computers. A sleepy sweet smile, and nothing like the kind of smile anyone gives to their father figure, everything like the kind of smile people give to their heroes; a little like the kind of smile Holly gave to John after he rode the roller coaster, didn't throw up, and bought her a hot dog.
John's faced down terrorists, scared kids with guns they don't know how to use, mass murderers, serial killers, women with poison in their fingernails, men who abuse their wives and kids, kids who kill their parents/abusers, and all kinds of crazy motherfuckers. John was there when the towers came down; John was there when his kids were born.
Nothing since the moment Holly turned, her hair blowing and her eyes wide, and John realized that he had to spend the rest of his life with her, has anything scared the shit out of him more than Farrell's stupid sweet sleepy smile.