- *No Site Warnings Apply
- Action Adventure
- Canon Divergence
- Crime Drama
3 July 2009
Tony stopped outside of the diner and checked his reflection in the glass. It wasn’t one of his regular spots, but he’d eaten here before, and the food was good. But the real reason he’d chosen this place for this meeting had everything to do with its decor.
He straightened and zipped up his jacket. He adjusted his Dodgers baseball cap and after making sure the visor covered a fair part of his face, he walked in. He made a beeline to the back and claimed a booth. Anywhere else he’d sit facing the door, wanting to see whoever came in. Today however, he sat with his back to it. The dark glass of the back wall was more than enough. The reflection it gave of the rest of the diner was perfect for covert recon.
He’d never expected to have this meeting, but when he’d gotten the call yesterday, well, one did not say no to a legend.
He smiled at the waiter as he came up to him. “Morning. Coffee, cream, scrambled eggs, bacon, and sausage, please,” he ordered and went back to watching the reflections when the young man left. Tony sat back and let his mind wander over the list he’d made of job offers. He’d cut out a few, knowing he didn’t have the credentials for the offers made, even if he was flattered by them, but he still had a substantial list going, with perhaps more to add to it. The next conversation he was about to have was well in his wheelhouse, however. He was a little surprised it was taking place in DC though. After all, he’d just been in New York.
He was half way through breakfast when the two men walked in. One young, brown floppy hair falling over his eyes. One older, bald, a slight crooked grin on his face. Tony noticed the older man’s gaze roaming the diner before helping the younger man into the seat of the booth right behind Tony, so he and the young man were back to back.
“Ack. Matty. First, I want coffee and breakfast. You can put your point to me while I eat. And you are going to eat, too. No arguments,” the older man said, cutting the younger one off.
Tony took a sip of his coffee and let the mug cover most of his face. So, this was John McClane. The super cop from New York. When Tony had gotten the call that McClane wanted to have a talk he’d blinked more than twice. McClane was a cop. And from all reports a hell of a detective. One that always found trouble. A tower situation being just one of his troublesome situations. This was the main reason why Tony wanted to watch a little before having any introductions. It was something else to watch a legend when he was being a man.
So, if that was McClane, who was the other guy? Matty. Tony racked his brain trying to make a connection. He finally remembered, how the hell could he have forgotten? A few years ago, that damned Fire Sale. The guy, Tom, Tommy – no, no – Thomas? Thomas Gale? Gabe? Gabriel! That was him, Thomas Gabriel. So Matty had to be Matthew Farrell. A computer genius. A hacker. What was Farrell doing here with McClane? Curious, Tony brought his mind back to listening.
“What the hell is that? What did you order? McClane! McClane! Joohhnn!” Matty was definitely whining. Tony bit his lip to hide his reaction and stop from laughing.
“It’s just breakfast, Matt. Eggs, bacon, you know,” McClane said calmly.
“No, no John. That’s not just breakfast. That plate is a cholesterol bomb just waiting to go off. Probably somewhere around your heart or brain. A heart attack or a stroke. That is what is on your plate. Not breakfast.”
Tony heard McClane sigh. Wow. No one ever said John McClane had patience. But he took the tirade with a smile in his voice and tiny sideways grin on his lips. Tony kinda liked the guy. He did wonder why McClane put up with Farrell, though. And why the hell was the kid there anyway?
“OK, kid. You got lots to say about my breakfast, my diet.” And Tony both heard and saw the air quotes around the words. “What about yours? Huh?”
“Mine? Mine?” Farrell was squawking indignantly. “I ordered muesli. Muesli and Greek yogurt. Healthy. Heeaallthy. I didn’t even order coffee. I got tea. See!” Farrell was moving around and pointing so much that he was moving the seat he and Tony shared.
“That is healthy, yeah. But what about the Red Bulls you main line on a daily basis? Hmm. How many Matty?” McClane teased. The tone brought Tony up short. He was teasing Farrell. Teasing? Teasing or flirting? Tony listened harder. McClane was an NYC cop. The cop of cops. A man’s man. What the hell?
Tony was in no way homophobic. He’d had his fair share of male lovers. More than, really. But he’d kept that side of himself very well hidden, because the brothers in blue were not all welcoming to cops of the homosexual persuasion.
Tony was seriously curious about Farrell now. He glanced at the window beside him, hoping to be able to see Farrell’s reflection. He was lucky as Farrell pushed his hood back and shook out his hair. Tony lifted his brows. Pretty. Matthew Farrell was pretty. And young. Good going, McClane.
They were talking again. Tony turned his attention back to their voices. “Are you sure you want to recruit him, John?”
“He’s one hell of a detective. Youngest in Peoria. Hell of a record with NCIS. He’s a great cop. We can always use great cops,” John said.
“Yeah, but you did read the rest of his file, right? He gets into more than me. More even than you! New York cannot handle that much trouble. No siree,” Farrell said around a mouthful of muesli.
McClane chuckled. “It would be nice to not be the only one. I could use a break Matty. Maybe get a holiday or two off. Sorta why I wanted to meet DiNozzo here, on his turf. Thought it would be nice for us to get outta New York for a few days. Catch the sights here in DC without someone trying to kill us,” McClane quipped.
“Hey!” Farrell protested and jerked sharply, causing Tony to jerk too since they shared two sides of the same seat. “Yes, getting away for a few days would be nice. No guarantees about no one trying to kill us though. Not with your luck. And don’t throw your napkin at me. What are you, like, twelve? Really, McClane!”
“You dodged it didn’t you?” McClane teased, his voice filled with laughter.
“Okay so, DiNozzo’s history. There are serial killers. Kidnapping. The fucking plague. Your history. Nakatomi. The Gruber brothers. Mercenaries at the damned airport. The. Airport. The Fire Sale—and that wasn’t the last one, I just know it. For all I know, your next big thing will involve something blowing up. What am I saying? All your things involve something blowing up. Need I say more. You are a walking disaster magnet and so is DiNozzo.” Farrell talked like he was making the most exaggerated list known to man. McClane stayed quiet and Tony could see the cop shrug. And Tony knew he himself had no argument against anything Farrell had said, at least not about his history. McClane’s history? Oh, Tony was sure the man had stories he could tell, if one could get him talking.
“What’s wrong Matty? You got a reason for not wanting DiNozzo?”
“Ah, no?” Farrell asked quietly.
“Matty? What’s going on?” McClane asked softly.
Tony heard Farrell sigh, then drop his flatware to the table.
“He’s… Ahh, ummm, DiNozzo is really kinda good looking. And he’s a cop. Like you. Maybe…”
“I’m not interested in DiNozzo. Yeah, he’s a good-looking guy. But he’s not my guy. You’re my guy. And you’re right about something. DiNozzo would be an asset to the NYPD. But I’m not sure the NYPD would be an asset for him. It would be like he was going backwards. He doesn’t need the NYPD, he needs bigger and better. And from what I hear, departments bigger and better equipped than the NYPD are making a bid for him. But the Chief wanted me to come talk to him. Try and recruit him. So, I said yes. For a couple of reasons. One, I wanted to meet him, he’s got a hell of a rep. Two, I didn’t want anyone to sugar coat things to him. I wanted him to know the truth about things. And bringing you with me also means I’m gonna have to tell the truth,” McClane told Farrell
“All you had to say was he’s not your type,” Farrell said, voice smiling.
McClane barked a sharp laugh. “He is really not my type. He’s not my floppy haired hacker boy,” he finished softly.
“You’d better believe it,” Farrell said sounding mollified.
Tony wondered if he should find a way to leave and then come back in for their meeting. Maybe get rid of his cap and jacket even. He didn’t want to intrude on any more of the men’s privacy. This was getting awkward. He started looking for the waiter to get his check.
“You heard enough yet DiNozzo? How about you join my boy and me? After you get rid of the Dodgers cap anyway.” The voice made Tony stop and straighten. With a sigh he slumped forward and turned his head, a grin already on his face.
“I don’t usually get made,” Tony said, pulling off his Dodgers hat as he said it.
“Perk of my history, kid. Matty scoot in. DiNozzo sit your ass over here.”
Tony climbed out of his booth and slid into the seat next to the floppy haired Matthew Farrell. “Hey,” he said waving a little at him.
“Hey.” Farrell waved back then turned back to McClane. “You knew he was there the whole time? And you didn’t warn me? God, McClane! Sometimes you are such an asshole. No, let me rephrase that. You are an asshole!”
Tony watched McClane do this smirk shrug thing that could literally melt whoever it was aimed at. He knew it could, because he saw Farrell melt and huff and fought hard not to do the same thing himself.
“Damn, he doesn’t fight fair,” he told Farrell.
“Huh, tell me about it. Anyway, you obviously heard, like, everything so don’t get offended. I just don’t think the NYPD could survive both McClane and you. But you two talk shop. I need to visit the bathroom.” Farrell got up from the table, swiping the last piece of bacon off McClane’s plate. Tony got out of the booth and Matt slid by him. McClane just watched him go indulgently.
“Yeah, I let him get away with shit. But he doesn’t really ask for much. Just that I keep myself safe and come home. And I try my hardest to do that. But bad stuff follows me. Just like you,” McClane said now looking directly at Tony.
“You make me sound like a trouble magnet.”
“Aren’t ya, kid?” McClane did a pursing his lips smirking thing that made Tony groan internally.
“Huh, bald, sassy and smirking. Who woulda known,” Tony sighed. “So, I agreed to this meet and greet, but I don’t really understand why we’re having it. It doesn’t seem like you want me in your PD.”
“I love the PD. It’s almost everything to me. But at one point it was all I was. I lost my family over it and a lot of other bullshit. I wouldn’t have anything but the PD if it wasn’t for Matty. So, when it seems like every official and wet works department on this planet got word you were on the market, my Chief told me to talk to you. So here I am. He did tell me to try and recruit you too, but I figure he knows me and knows I’d be shit at it. He also has enough cops that could try to recruit you, and he didn’t send any of them. So here I am. And all I’m gonna do is talk. You’re a hell of a cop. A detective through and through. But you’re more than that kid. So much more. Don’t let a badge define you or block you in,” McClane told him.
“Is that the advice you’d have given to yourself all those years ago?” Tony asked him seriously, head cocked to the side.
McClane finished his coffee before shrugging. “Don’t know. My path gave me two great kids, a great wife who deserved more than I knew how to give at the time, and then brought me Matty, and really, they make everything worth it. Does that mean I think you should follow in my footsteps? I don’t know. I do know you should do what feels right for you. Spread your wings, kid.”
“Thanks McClane. You know, when you called me asking to meet up, I thought you were going to pitch the NYPD to me. Like you said I’m a cop. Always will be one way or another. But you’re right, there’s more to me than the badge, and it’s taken me a long time remember that. Can I ask you a personal question? It’s sorta changing the subject,” Tony asked and watched as McClane shrugged, and made a go ahead motion with his hand.
“You and Farrell? You’re an item?” Tony asked and saw McClane tense just a touch but nod once anyway.
“Your department know?”
McClane grinned. “Not a chance anyone could hide Matty. And I wouldn’t do that to him anyway. So yeah, my department knows. My Chief knows. My neighbours know. Even my ex-wife and kids know.”
“How umm… are they…?”
“Matty earned their respect during that Gabriel crap. The Chief hired him as freelance for our tech stuff and he works as a consultant for the FBI. He even qualified for a gun. I’m not saying he can run the course like a cop, but he can hold his own. His actions and the scars he still has. The limp he walks with in winter. It all earned him respect from my brothers in blue. So, most of them treat him like the little brother they never had, and me, well at first, they treated me like the scumbag picking up their daughter in a panel van. You should have heard the shovel talks I got. Now they figure I’m serious, it’s let up,” McClane told him, smiling all the while.
“So, you done yet? Talked him out of joining the NYPD?” Farrell asked as he joined them back at the table. This time instead of taking the seat next to Tony, McClane got up and Farrell slid into the booth now facing Tony.
“I haven’t made up my mind yet. I sorta think I’m gonna have appointments and meetings out the wazoo for a while to come. But your partner makes a convincing argument. I shouldn’t ever settle, and yet, on the other hand, your PD seems kinda very accepting. I like that,” Tony answered.
Farrell smiled. “I can’t argue there. They’re a great bunch. Most of them, anyway, and any newbie that’s transferred in learns the lay of the land soon enough.”
Tony smiled and let his gaze drift to the front door where a young man was entering. He blinked and felt his hackles rise. In front of him he felt McClane stiffen and glanced his way. Their gazes met. Communication flowed between them instantly.
The diner was empty but for them and an elderly couple seated in a corner playing chess. Tony watched the young man walk stiffly to the counter, and in a blink he had pulled out a sawn off shotgun, waving it around and yelling about hold ups and money.
He was maybe six feet away from their booth and Tony didn’t think twice about it. He dove for the guy’s legs instinctively knowing McClane was going for the guy’s head. Between them they had him on the floor and cuffed in seconds. The cop in Tony and McClane meant that cuffs were a part of their everyday apparel, apparently.
They weren’t even breathing hard. Tony could hear Farrell on his phone calling the police. Tony and McClane grinned at each other.
“Well, that was fun,” Tony grinned.
“Quick and easy. Can’t complain,” McClane grinned back.
They looked around when sneakered feet stepped in front of them. Looking up, Tony saw Matthew Farrell standing there. Hands on hips and one foot tapping. “This. This is why you can’t join the NYPD. You’re just like him,” he said pointing from Tony to McClane and back again. “Both of you. You’re both That Guy!”
Tony couldn’t help laughing. McClane soon joined in. “Would that be so bad?” Tony teased then ducked when Farrell tossed his own cap at him.
“Huh. Well if you do join the NYPD, for fucks sake, get yourself a Yankees cap,” Farrell groused, but he was grinning too.