John was beyond pissed. He’d drug Matt to the car and unceremoniously shoved him into the passenger seat with explicit instructions not to leave the car and then gone and gotten permission from the officers on the scene to take Matt home. As long as they had a way to contact him, they hadn’t minded in the least- the older detective giving him a knowing smirk as he’d quickly given them HIS contact information with the comment that the boy would be staying with him for the unforeseeable future.
When he’d got back to the car, he noted that Matt had not only stayed in the car- but that he had only moved enough to put his seatbelt on. Otherwise he was in the same position as when John had left him. John had gotten into the driver’s seat, started the car and taken off without a word to the young man- who kept shooting him nervous and slightly ashamed looks. Good. Let the kid stew in his guilt for a little while.
John grunted, continuing to ignore Matt’s inquisitive look at the noise. Finally, Matt couldn’t take the silent treatment any longer and hesitantly spoke, “Look…I…I know I shouldn’t have done it. You’ve gotten after me too many times in the last year for me not to know I shouldn’t have done it…” his voice trailed off uncertainly. John didn’t look at him- keeping his eyes firmly on the road in front of him as he drove the home- but he did nod.
“You’re right. You shouldn’t have done it. I HAVE gotten after you about taking needless, stupid, deadly chances…WAY too many times. I’ve gotten after you so many times you don’t even do me the courtesy of listening to my words anymore.” John’s tone was even, calm, and non-confrontational. His words cut into Matt, who winced and looked away in shame again.
The kid didn’t attempt to talk anymore until John was pulling into the driveway of his house. When he finally realized where they were, he turned surprised eyes on the older man. “You’re staying here until I can be certain you don’t have a death wish.” John remarked brusquely before getting out of the car, walking around to the passenger side, and pulling Matt out so that he could drag him into the house and plop him onto the living room couch. Then he just stared at the kid as if trying to figure out a puzzle that was missing a piece.
Matt began fidgeting after about thirty seconds of the staring. “What?” he finally asked in a belligerent tone. He closed his eyes tight as he heard his own voice. He really didn’t want to get John riled up again.
Snorting, John answered him. “You want to know what? I’ll tell you what.” He pointed at the younger man, his stern glare holding the boy in place even if Matt’s feet wanted to take him far away from his mentor’s ire. “This is the third… the THIRD time… this week that I have either seen you do some foolishly dangerous stunt for no good reason- or heard about a dangerous stunt you pulled second hand. And I’m not even counting the last six months where you have done things that are just as stupid and dangerous but managed to hide it from me until weeks after it had occurred. That’s it kid. No more talks. No more warnings. You remember what I told you earlier this week when you scared the life out of me for the second time? Or did you tune me out then too?”
Matt winced at the aggrieved tone in John’s voice and blushed because he remembered full well what John had told him- but he didn’t want to say it out loud himself. John wasn’t going to let him get away with not saying it though.
“Well? Do you remember?” John took a step closer and Matt gulped.
“Yes sir. I remember…you…you said you’d turn me over your knee and make it so I couldn’t sit right for a week if I did something like that again…” his voice was a hesitant whisper and he couldn’t look at the older man.
“Right. Glad you heard at least one thing I told you- even if it wasn’t the most important part.” McClane grumbled unhappily, before pulling Matt onto his feet and taking his place on the sofa.
Matt was about to protest that John couldn’t have been serious about the threat, when he suddenly found himself lying across his mentor’s lap.
He only had enough time to throw his hand down in front of him to prevent himself from hitting the floor with his face and that action took away what little time he might have had to keep John from yanking his jeans and underwear down to his knees. “NO! John!” but his time was out. Without any further warning or giving him time to prepare, McClane began smacking the pale bottom in front of him- easily subduing the younger man by pulling him in tight against his torso and pinning one wrist against the small of his back.
It was times like these that Matt wished he was able to be more brave and stoic- that his emotions didn’t come to the surface so easily- and that he handled pain better. In no time at all he was squirming, whimpering, and finally crying as John continued to show his displeasure through Matt’s backside. He didn’t beg- he knew he had been warned and John was doing exactly as he’d promised to do. If given a choice, he wouldn’t have talked. Unfortunately, after the fourth circuit of scorching smacks, John decided to start asking him questions.
“Why, Matt? Why would you keep deliberately doing things that could easily get you killed, when it is unnecessary and there are plenty of other options available that don’t run the risk of you ending up six-feet under? Explain it to me kiddo, because I have to admit I am completely baffled by your behavior…” John’s voice was calm and Matt could hear the undercurrent of care and worry in the tone. The older man kept a steady rhythm of smacks going, not letting up even to ask his questions. Matt feared he truly wouldn’t be able to sit for a week.
Letting out a choked cry, he tried to answer- but found he didn’t really have one. “I…I don’t know. I really don’t!” he went limp across his mentor’s lap as his cries turned into soft sobbing. “I’m sorry John…I don’t mean to do things that worry you…I don’t plan to risk my life- it just happens! I don’t know why…”
Sighing softly, John stopped spanking the now scarlet bottom and began to rub the kid’s back. “Ok- don’t worry about the why just yet. Can you tell me what you were thinking or feeling right before you jumped in front of that van today?”
Matt swallowed and tried to focus enough to give an answer to that. He really wanted to reach back and rub his very sore tush, but he somehow doubted John would allow him the option. “I…I wasn’t really thinking of anything other than ‘stop them’…” he took a shuddering breath expecting that John wouldn’t be happy with the answer and afraid he’d start spanking again.
Instead, John squeezed his shoulder gently and continued rubbing his back. “What were you feeling?”
Matt frowned as he gave the question serious thought. “I…I felt excited. Good. I…It was a real rush…kinda like skateboarding in a forbidden area or jumping out of a tall tree only 100 times more powerful…I. I don’t know how to explain- but it was a really good feeling right before and during. After didn’t feel quite so good…especially when I saw that you’d seen me….” His voice trailed off sheepishly.
“That’s what I was afraid of,” John said so softly, Matt almost didn’t hear him. The older man tugged the boys clothing back into place as gently as possible, then helped him off his lap. As gentle as he was, Matt still couldn’t suppress a hiss of pain. He might not be having problems all week as John threatened, but the next few hours weren’t going to be any picnic.
John stood up from the couch then turned Matt so that they were facing each other, John’s hands holding the youngster’s shoulders so he couldn’t make a quick escape. “Lucy told me why she broke off the engagement.” He noted the wince that Matt quickly hid behind a too-bright smile.
“Yeah. Kinda weird I guess. Not every father stays friends or continues to care about their daughter’s ex fiancé.” Matt eyed John nervously.
“No,” John agreed. “But then, not every father looks on their daughter’s ex as a pseudo-son. Plus she made it perfectly clear I wasn’t to tear you a new one because she left. She said to be nice to you and that she still loved you- she just couldn’t go on knowing that one day she’d have to bury you because you kept taking stupid chances. You’ve pretty much been taking those chances since we stopped the terrorists.” John stated it as a fact. He left no room for argument- not that Matt could have argued the point without lying. It was the truth.
John continued, looking slightly uncomfortable. “I want you to go see someone Matt- I could be wrong, but the way you described feeling when you take chances like that…it sounds almost like an addiction…”
Matt jerked backward, an offended look on his face. “I don’t do drugs John! I don’t even drink that often…why would you think…I can’t…” he struggled briefly when John took him by the shoulders again and drew him closer, but didn’t truly fight to break away.
“Relax, Matt. I know you aren’t doing drugs. I’d kick your ass two ways till Sunday if I caught you doing something like that…” McClane smirked and brushed a hand brusquely through Matt’s hair. “I meant addicted to danger. It happens sometimes. Most times, people who have that issue, have jobs where they can get their fix in acceptable ways. YOU however are not a soldier, policeman, fireman, or any range of jobs that require that type of behavior from you. And you aren’t trained to do those types of behaviors safely.”
Matt nodded his head warily, knowing McClane was right, but uncertain what admitting so would get him. John smiled wistfully. “I just want you to talk to someone. I’m not even going to pretend I would know how to help you in this situation- but I want you to get help- before you kill yourself. For all I know, it may just be something as simple as getting you into training for a more exciting job….” John’s voice trailed off as he noticed the dejected look on the boys face.
“Hey!” he placed a finger under Matt’s chin, making him look up and into his eyes. “Whatever is causing you to behave in such a self-destructive way- we’ll figure it out and we’ll work on it together. I’ve invested too much time on your scrawny ass to just dump you now,” he growled affectionately, pleased when the younger man chuffed in amusement.
“Will you go with me? To…to talk to someone I mean?” Matt’s look almost hurt, it was so nervous and hopeful at the same time. John found himself nodding his head and agreeing without even thinking about it.
“Yeah, kid. I’ll go with you and I’ll stay with you as long as the counselor thinks it is helpful and you want me.” He sighed softly as he suddenly found himself with an armful of shaking boy. What did he expect? Kid always had been more emotional and demonstrative than John ever would be- even so he found himself wrapping his arms more tightly around the boy and holding him closer. If it helped the kid, who was he to pull away?