John McClane was a name that would forever be tagged to The Nakatomi Incident, The Dulles Takeover, and The NYC Bomb Scare. As time went on, his involvement would become little more than a paragraph, a side note in history books. That the Children of Tomorrow wouldn't learn, however, was that he was so married to his job that his wife and kids left him, and at the age of fifty he was one step away from becoming a full-blown alcoholic. It also wouldn't be known that he continued to protect New York City after he was no longer a cop.
After his retirement, John grew too restless in his new sedentary lifestyle and took to patrolling his neighborhood, discouraging most of the crime in the area. There were a few cases where a new crew came in to set up shop, unaware that a no-nonsense former cop lived in the vicinity, but they were quickly informed of the situation, usually through John's fists or well-placed warning shots, and the neighborhood was once again relatively safe. It became routine for him to prowl the streets, at odd intervals to keep criminals guessing, and it was because of this that he met Matt.
There was only one bus stop on the route that John patrolled and in the seven months he passed it, no one had gotten on or off there. The stop was located in an inconvenient spot, too far away from anything to be really useful, but the city couldn't get rid of it because there had to be a bus stop at certain intervals. It came as a bit of a surprise to see someone sitting on the cold metal bench one night in December. As he drew nearer, he could see it was a boy in his late teens to early twenties, dark hair flopping around his ears like the students at the nearby college. What tipped him off to the fact that this was no college student was the tight leather shorts that were cut so high they sat on the crease where thigh met hip and probably exposed half his ass when he bent down.
The kid tensed as he neared, John was relieved to see. At least he was smart enough to realize it was dangerous to be out this late alone. John sat down on the opposite end of the bench and studied the younger male. He wore no coat and his shirt had no sleeves, upper arms were bared to the cold air. Paired with the short shorts and oversized shoes, John figured he was a male prostitute, more that likely a new one if he was waiting for the bus this late at night.
"Hey, you do know the buses don't run this late, right?"
The kid's shoulders sagged. "When was the last one?"
"Line quits running at eleven. Won't start up again until six." There was a good five hours until then.
"Damn, well, uh, thanks, man. I'll just walk, I guess." John watched the kid head down the street, arms wrapped around himself and rubbing his bare legs together to try to keep somewhat warm. He looked no older than John's son and he cursed the streak of protectiveness that forced him to stand up and jog after the kid.
"Hey, kid, wait up." John caught up fairly easily, but kept his distance. He could see the younger male was nervous at being followed. "I know you probably got someone to report to, but walking anywhere in this cold is suicidal. It's only a few degrees north of negative digits."
"So? I don't see a hotel nearby, do you? And I don't know who you're talking about, I don't report to anyone."
"Save it kid, I can see the twenties sticking out of your pocket. I've got an extra bed you can use tonight."
"Do you invite every stranger you meet to stay the night? Good way to get robbed, man."
"Anything of mine goes missing and I hunt your ass down and toss you to the cops." That was clearly the wrong thing to say. The kid tensed up like an armadillo and started walking away again. "Ah, come kid, relax. If you're smart, we won't have a problem, will we?" John caught up to him again and latched onto the back of his thin t-shirt. "Come on, I ain't gonna do anything to you. Christ, you're my son's age. I'd have to be some kind of bastard to let a kid like you fend for himself in this cold."
John didn't let the kid argue, only pulled harder on his wrist when he resisted. He managed to get inside his apartment without his neighbors seeing, something he was glad for. The last thing he needed was for people to think he took to paying for sex with younger men. The kid stood awkwardly in his kitchen, visibly shivering now that he was in a warmer environment. John took the risk of the kid being a runner and went to his room to grab the warmest sweatshirt and pants he owned. When he reappeared, his only box of cereal was sitting on his counter next to a half gallon of milk and the kid was munching on an overflowing bowl of it.
"What? You invited me in, and it's good manners to feed your guests."
John rolled his eyes and tossed the clothes to him. "Whatever. Take a hot shower and change into these." Before the younger man closed the bathroom door, John yelled out, "You got a name, kid?"
A dark haired head peeked from behind the door. "Uh, yeah. I'm Matt, uh, Matt Farrell."
Matt scrubbed his scalp roughly, eager to get the smell of smoke and stale sex out of his hair. The shampoo and soap in the shower were basic Old Spice brands, something that didn't surprise him. The guy that dragged him here seemed to be the kind of guy that didn't put up with fruity scents.
And what was up with this dude anyway? It was obvious that Matt was a male whore, even a five year old could have figured it out. Matt wondered if he'd just been invited into an insane man's apartment. Quickly, he rinsed the shampoo out of his hair and pulled the shower curtain just enough to peek into the rest of the bathroom. He was alone and he could see the lock still firmly in place on the door.
"You're getting too paranoid, Matt," he muttered to himself and picked up the body wash. It lathered up nicely and he took extra care to wash every inch of his body. He poured a bit more liquid soap into a palm and bent forward, bracing his other hand against the tile wall. Gently, he pried his ass cheeks apart and carefully cleaned himself out as best he could. It wasn't an enema, but it would have to do. He hissed at the stinging caused by the soap and looked down to see a small bit of blood running to the drain along with the soap suds. It wasn't enough to be a worry, but he wouldn't be able to take customers for at least a week. He made a mental note to never go with tonight's client again.
He'd told the truth when McClane made a vague mention of a pimp, he worked for no one but himself, but sometimes it was tempting to sign on to the protection of one of the local Johns. At the very least he'd have a place to stay each night, but he couldn't afford to fall into that debt trap. He was already in shit owing the FBI money for hacking into their systems for fun.
Finally the water ran completely clean and Matt wrapped himself in one of the fluffiest towels he'd even seen. The small bathroom was filled with warm steamy air and it took everything he had to put the clothes given to him on and leave the little sanctuary. The apartment was silent except for the sound of something frying in the kitchen. He followed the delicious smell of bacon and stopped just inside the doorway.
His bowl of cereal had been cleared away and a plate of scrambled eggs, bacon and toast sat in its place. The older man stood in front of the stove top, forking the last few pieces of bacon onto a plate. Matt waited to be acknowledge, unwilling to startle a guy obviously stronger than him.
John finished fixing a late night meal for the both of them and took a seat at the little card table that served as a catch all for bills and everything else. When Matt still didn't move from his spot, John turned to him. "Well, what are you waiting for, the president? Food's getting cold." The kid hesitated for a split second, then crossed the linoleum and sat down across from him. He gulped down the food as quickly as he could without choking and John fought back a smile. Definitely still in his teens. Ate just like his son.
"So what are you thinking selling yourself like this? Drugs?"
"No! I know better than that. Drugs just make it worse."
"Well, at least you have some smarts. What's the deal then?"
Matt chewed a bit of bacon slowly, hesitant to open up to McClane with his 'story of woe'. "I, uh, owe some money to some people."
"Oh yeah? Who?"
McClane's concern made him angry. Who was this guy that he felt he had to stick his nose in Matt's business? Why did he have to show more worry than Matt's own parents did when the FBI broke down their front door and dragged their only son to interrogation? Matt glared at McClane. "Why do you care? Just who do you think you are, poking into my problems, huh?"
"Like I said, got a son about your age. I know that if my son was in your position, I'd want someone to take care of him if I was unable to for some reason. He probably wouldn't take my help anyway. He always thought I spent too much time on my work."
"What did you do?"
"Used to be a cop. Just retired this year."
Matt dropped his fork and pushed his chair back, fully intending to gather his things and take off. "Great, just what I need. Were you going to throw me in a cell before or after getting your rocks off with me?"
John blocked Matt's path, just as angry at the accusation. "What kind of guy do you think I am? Christ, kid, you ain't what I look for in a man. I don't get off on daddy kinks." John's breath exploded in one long gust. "Look, kid, you can leave right now if you want, I can't stop you. Hell, you can even keep the sweatshirt and pants. Just think about this, though. You've gotten a break, getting a chance for help this early in the game. You probably think you've got this all handled, right? You'll get the money you need quickly, then be on your way to getting back to normal. It only gets worse, Matt. I've seen kids just like you fall deeper and deeper into that pit. Trust me, okay? I don't want anything from you except for you to think hard about your choices." John stared into Matt's brown eyes, willing the kid to choose the right choice. "I got the second bed set up for you, if you wanna use it. I'm going to go to bed. If you decide to leave and I find anything missing in the morning, your ass will be in a cell faster than you can say 'I don't know how it got there', got it?"
Matt nodded, unable to say anything. He knew that his hope to get through his debt quickly and get on with his life was wishful thinking, he'd already been at prostitution a year and he hardly made a dent in his debt. He watched John set the dishes in the sink for cleaning later and disappear down the hall to an unseen room. Matt sat back down in his chair and picked at a fraying edge of the card table.
John tossed and turned all night, mind too busy wondering if the kid would take off or heed his advice to let him sleep. More than once he cursed his silent floorboards. He'd be able to tell what direction the kid took if they were squeaky. John silently wondered about his need to take care of the kid. Those deep brown eyes were so innocent still, only slightly tainted by cynicism and depression. He may not be a cop anymore, but the wish to take care of his fellow New Yorker still sat in his heart, as strong as the day he decided to join the ranks of the NYPD.
'Screw it. If the kid makes a run for it, I'll just hunt him down and drag his ass back.' No way was he going to let Matt ruin his life. There were too many kids like him, but if John could help one, then he'd do so. His mind finally settled enough for him to fall asleep. He'd face what the day brought to him after he got some shut eye.