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12 June 2010 @ 11:36 pm
Die Hard 4 Fiction: "Technically, 'No" Was Never An Option" (John, Matt, Gen or Pre-Slash, PG-13)  
Title: Technically, No Was Never An Option
Fandom: Die Hard 4
Author: HalfshellVenus
Characters: John, Matt (Gen or pre-Slash)
Rating: PG-13 (language)
Summary: If this constituted a 'favor,' John McClane was the damn Easter Bunny...
Author's Notes: For 5_prompts ("a funny thing happened") and for writers_choice ("Duty").

x-x-x-x-x

John never wanted this assignment anyway, so it figured that the kid he'd been sent to escort/rescue/wrangle didn't want to come with him, and even pulled out the full repertory of sarcasm to let him know it.

The universe was a bitch, and it had John McClane on speed-dial.

The part where he and the kid nearly got blown to pieces trying to leave the apartment was the cyanide on the cupcake. It almost made John forget how the night began, where just five minutes of talking with Lucy managed to make her even angrier than she'd already been—whatever the hell was going on there. Lucy and her moods had been a complete mystery to him since she'd turned fifteen.

Now, if John remembered correctly, bringing the hacker kid in was supposed to be a catch-and-release operation. It hadn't worked out that way, though. The two of them had left the outpost again when the kid insisted that something bigger was in the works. Then they'd gained and lost an FBI agent in some sort of massive gridlock fiasco, and the government convoy that was supposed to protect them had dwindled down to just the John and the kid, trapped in a tunnel like sitting ducks.

Before long the bullets started flying, kicking John back into action. He wasn't the type to take an ambush lying down, and if that meant turning his car into an air-to-ground missile, well so be it. It sure impressed the hell out of the kid.

Impressed John too, as it happened, but he wasn't about to admit to having been anything less than completely confident that he could pull that off.

After that they'd started driving again, miles and miles through the dark with the kid's admiration keeping John warm and energized against the pull of night. Even when the kid drifted off for awhile, nothing changed. Thomas Gabriel was out there waiting to unplug the Eastern seaboard and plunder the wealth of unguarded financial data, and John and the kid were going to stop him. They didn't have a plan, but they'd be there all the same. In John's experience, that was half the battle anyway.

When they got to the facility, John was pleased that he didn’t have to ask the kid to come along while he worked through Gabriel’s perimeter security. Assuming they made it inside okay, they’d be cutting it close on whether the kid could lock Gabriel out of his own hacked-together system, or at least keep him from triggering the financial download he was after.

The kid wasn’t Bruce Lee in disguise, but then who the hell was? Certainly not John, or anyone else he’d ever worked with on one of his impromptu missions. The closest they got this time was the badass chick in the high-heeled boots who kept trying to break John’s neck, and she was clearly working for the other side. John was glad as hell to get rid of her because if there was one thing he hated, it was a dogged opponent. That was his job. Other people pulling that shit just made him tired.

Gabriel always seemed to be one step ahead of them, though. John wondered how the hell Gabriel's thugs had found Lucy, but wasn't it always that way? John's family was to criminals what mini-marts were to the Stop-And-Rob industry—as if homing signals or beacons were involved.

He tried to pull that thought back as soon as it escaped, but it was too late. The universe exacted its revenge, and John spent the next hour dodging bombs and falling off freeway ramps. The fact that he survived it (too impossible to be just dumb luck), showed that the cosmos' sense of humor was almost as twisted as his.

Everything dead-ended at a warehouse—the semi he'd been chasing, Lucy and the kid, and Thomas Gabriel himself. John moved silently to the doorway, ears tuned to the voices inside. Lucy was in trouble, and time was running out.

He took down one of Gabriel's men, but it didn't stop Gabriel from coming after him. First he shot John in the shoulder (which really fucking hurt), and then trapped him in a headlock and ground his gun into the wound while John's own weapon lay useless and out of reach on the floor.

It only took a couple of seconds before John remembered that the upper hand belonged to whoever would use any means necessary, no matter what it cost him. The bullet he shot into himself from Gabriel's gun hurt worse than the first one had, but when it was over Gabriel was dead and the kid had taken care of the other guy, so it was worth it.

The kid and Lucy—and the rest of the country—were safe. If it ever sank in, maybe John's head would stop spinning.

Afterwards there were TV cameras and ambulances, and mountains of paperwork would pile on later. But not just yet.

Lucy had suffered the least of the three of them, and she'd stopped being mad. They'd probably still go a few more rounds in John's lifetime, but right now things were good.

Shoulder aching, he walked over to where the kid was being treated for the gunshot to the knee. It'd been a hell of a long day for both of them, yet somehow it all faded away as soon as the kid looked up at him with that big, open smile. John crouched down beside him (Matt, his name was Matt), and smiled back, suddenly feeling oddly peaceful.

He wasn't looking forward to the hospital or rehab, and he was sick of the media attention already. Hell, he'd never claimed to be a patient man.

But in that moment, with the way Matt looked at him, John realized he'd wanted every bit as much to be a hero to someone in particular that day as well as to the country—the world—at large.


-------- fin --------

 
 
 
Devo79devo79 on June 13th, 2010 10:10 am (UTC)
I like how this one follows the movie plot and not what happens after.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: John/Matt Lovehalfshellvenus on June 14th, 2010 06:30 am (UTC)
The "after" has all this great slash potential, but something about the prompts inspired a slanted retake of the movie itself. All the extra thoughts under the dialogue, and all the hints of great possibilities.

And with a character as snarky as McClane, any setting is fun to write.

Glad you enjoyed this one!
(Deleted comment)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: John/Matt Lovehalfshellvenus on June 14th, 2010 06:32 am (UTC)
When I first started this (weeks ago), everything up to the tunnel and the ending were written out. It was more a question of whether to end so early in the movie's plot arc, with those John/Matt implications, or put in the effort of going all the way through. It's nice when the ending is clear, and you know what mood you're working toward. :)
I Am the Bad Wolfjerel on June 13th, 2010 03:07 pm (UTC)
(here via writers_choice)

There were a lot of great lines in this. I like the cyanide on the cupcake, but I think my absolute favourite was "The universe was a bitch, and it had John McClane on speed-dial."

And honestly? I could almost hear Bruce Willis-as-McClane reading this. Great job with the voice.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: John/Matt Lovehalfshellvenus on June 14th, 2010 06:35 am (UTC)
I'm so glad you took a chance on this one-- I post a really random-fandom selection at writers_choice, but a lot of them are smaller fandoms like this one. That community has been wonderful for pushing out stories I didn't even know I was going to write, and "double prompts" sometimes work even better for me in clarifying mood.

John's POV is so much fun to work with, in part because of the irony of him being a cop when he has authority issues himself and not a lot of patience, and also because of his ability to crank out such awesome and creative solutions to a situation. \o/

healingmirth: beforehealingmirth on June 13th, 2010 08:45 pm (UTC)
It's pretty rare (at least for me) to find really quality fic that covers events that we already know, but I really love how you've written McClane's voice in this. It definitely elevates it well above a retelling of the movie.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: John/Matt Lovehalfshellvenus on June 14th, 2010 07:14 am (UTC)
It's funny, when I first started writing fanfic, paralleling canon (writing under canon, sideways to canon, pre- and post-canon) was most of what I did. Then I got away from that and got more comfortable with less familiar settings and new adventures.'

But sometimes, there's real appeal in working with the undercurrents of the canon story and adding subtext (as well as the non-dialogue version of the "tone" of the original).

I'm glad you think it was worth the read, and more than a simple rehash of what we already know so well. Thanks for commenting!
Mrs_Sweetpeachmrs_sweetpeach on June 13th, 2010 10:15 pm (UTC)
You did a fabulous job of recapping the movie from John's POV. And the pre-slash is nice too.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: John/Matt Lovehalfshellvenus on June 15th, 2010 11:50 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'd hoped the slash would go farther, but sometimes the story wants to be something else. But it sure opens the door, doesn't it?
natasha_alexisnatasha_alexis on June 14th, 2010 04:31 am (UTC)
I agree with Jerel: 'There were a lot of great lines in this. I like the cyanide on the cupcake, but I think my absolute favourite was "The universe was a bitch, and it had John McClane on speed-dial."'

You have John's voice and POV down pat, and the very subtle reference to his attraction to Matt is wonderful.
That last line was a killer.

Thank you for the very enjoyable read.

n_a
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: John/Matt Lovehalfshellvenus on June 15th, 2010 11:51 pm (UTC)
So glad you enjoyed it! I love snark, and McClane is a wonderfully snarky character who also happens to be incredibly capable and herioc and really easy on the eyes. Oh, the tight t-shirts!
Life is a Contact Sportnorthernwalker on June 15th, 2010 12:49 am (UTC)
ohn's family was to criminals what mini-marts were to the Stop-And-Rob industry—as if homing signals or beacons were involved.

I am dead with laughter because it's so true!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: John/Matt Lovehalfshellvenus on June 15th, 2010 11:52 pm (UTC)
So evil, but so true!

Oh, the curse of nefarious villains who do their homework-- even on the fly!
max_qmax_q on July 3rd, 2010 11:59 pm (UTC)
This fic has lots of fresh impressions for me though I've seen the movie thousand times. I love the way that the last lines showed the elements which let this pairing started originally.
Thanks for a great fic!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: John/Matt Lovehalfshellvenus on July 4th, 2010 06:57 am (UTC)
This fic has lots of fresh impressions for me though I've seen the movie thousand times.
Honestly, I think that's one of the most thrilling comments ever, given that the story basically parallels the movie.

I love the way that the last lines showed the elements which let this pairing started originally.
That chemistry was always there, but I really think the subtext was overwhelming- because Matt did look at John like that, over and over, and they meshed together in a completely unpredictable and wonderful way. And from that, a thousand slashers were born. :)
Tigerquiet__tiger on July 4th, 2010 05:20 pm (UTC)
Sweet at the end, bringing it all together as to why this pairing exists!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: John/Matt Lovehalfshellvenus on July 5th, 2010 06:34 am (UTC)
Thank you! I sure love them-- they're so different, and yet somehow perfect for each other. :)
'Snickpersnickett on October 15th, 2010 02:45 pm (UTC)
Sorry to be so late to the party but this was posted shortly before I joined fandom and I have just gotten around to the archives now. But I wanted to say WHY this one stood out for me.

There are the obvious hilarious, awesome, McClane-like lines your other commenters pointed out like speed dial and cyanide cupcake and stop-and-rob, but my favourites were 'other people pulling that shit just made him tired.' and 'air to ground missile/it sure impressed the hell out of the kid.'

And here's why. I'm addicted to this fandom like crazy, but it's the *characters* that do it for me, getting to write all that banter and quirks and voices. I don't see slash on screen. I wish I did, everybody else seems to. But I'm from fandoms like Fast & Furious and Supernatural where the smoldering looks are overt and the subtext is the text. And then you come out with this and it's SUBTLE but it just plain works. John kinda *likes* having someone to impress, all words to the contrary, and forgive me but I kind of get the idea from 'Matt, his name was Matt' and 'the kid had taken care of the other guy' that Matt might have made just the smallest impression of his own. And it was Johns *job* to see him safe, and then they were, and he could be peaceful (and not only because of Lucy). This could totally TOTALLY be where the seed came from.

So cool. Thanks. *shuts up now*
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: John/Matt Lovehalfshellvenus on October 29th, 2010 01:06 am (UTC)
Sorry to be late with the reply! I was out of town when you posted this, and I'm going through my email backlog.

I'm so glad you found this and enjoyed it. It took me a little while to get into the fandom as well, after seeing the movie. I wanted John/Matt slash right away, but what little slash fanfic I found for that was really OOC and just didn't work. I began a story for them many months afterward that stalled out after the first chapter, so it took awhile before I got to my first finished story. And there are a number in the archives you'll want to read if you can find them-- things by max_q and poisontaster, though the ones by plutogirl10 are gone now.

But I'm from fandoms like Fast & Furious and Supernatural where the smoldering looks are overt and the subtext is the text.
I definitely saw the slash potential for this movie onscreen, but yes, compared to Supernatural (which made brothercest seem the expected outcome of the characters' upbringings), the stuff in Die Hard 4 is practically invisible.

John kinda *likes* having someone to impress, all words to the contrary, and forgive me but I kind of get the idea from 'Matt, his name was Matt' and 'the kid had taken care of the other guy' that Matt might have made just the smallest impression of his own.
Yes, he had! Even while John was thinking he wasn't really paying attention, Matt somehow squeazed in through the cracks. I really enjoy that kind of situation (especially in slash), where the character is initially unaware of what they're actually feeling. In a sense, you have to persuade the character of that unexpected attraction as well as the reader. And for a guy who's always thought of himself as straight (as I see McClane, anyway), it's all going to be a surprise to him. Making it convincing enough to push him in the slashy direction is where the magic comes in.

Which is to say, I flail happily over the fact that you noticed all of the tiny details in steering John toward that direction!

And there is never too much commenting, so no worries. Thanks for taking the time!
tyrical: DC_Wonder Woman 1tyrical on October 23rd, 2013 11:27 pm (UTC)
Funny! Being a hero to one person is better than being seen as a hero by all.
The fact that John has this difference ingrained makes him "That guy". This was truly great work! I felt like I just re-lived the best parts of that movie.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: John/Matt Lovehalfshellvenus on October 24th, 2013 07:17 pm (UTC)
Personal admiration is so different from the goodwill of the "masses," and I think John deflects so much of it anyway. But when it's right there, looking at you with big, brown puppy eyes, it sinks down into you and makes you feel it. :)