The various homes, flats, and other dwellings of London are located throughout the city. You can visit a friend at his home or even have one over or enjoy an evening in with yourself. Your choice!
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by: Matthew Cox
(Apologies and thanks to Marvel's Daredevil, which features a tale not that different from this story.)

April 13th, 11:49 pm

Three nights ago, Matt's world was turned inside out. There were no more lights or colors for him. Instead, life was edges, vibrations, sounds, and smells. The combination produced a world of sensory input beyond normal, but it had a few obvious drawbacks. After all, what good was super sensitive hearing if it meant you heard every argument in the apartment complex, or every slammed door, or every moment of physical abuse?

Some things could keep any man up at night; worrying about the future, worrying about money or status, worrying about a career. Matt was now kept up worrying about Mrs. Dawson. Her husband had a new habit of coming home drunk and beating her before bed. It was exhausting and soul searing to listen to a woman sob herself to sleep every night. It was time to put an end to her suffering.

Matt's perch in the roof of the apartment complex gave him a good aerial view with his radar sense. Likewise, it enables him to stalk his target without being seen. The SBS advocated for unexpected lines of attack and for decisive endings to all skirmishes. If his plan went well, there wouldn't be any more decisive ending than tonight.

Larry Dawson pulled himself out of his old rattle trap rust bucket. He grunted in anger. His job was hell, his car was shite, and his wife was an incompetent shrew. He'd crawled into the bottle to escape, only to find out that the bottle just magnified his problems. If he could just have one thing go right, it would be enough.

Larry hauled himself up the stairs to apartment number sixteen. Before he even got to the door, he was barking orders at the idiot he married.

"Margie! Dinner better be on the table and it had better be hot or you know what's for dessert!"

He reached into his pants for the house key, then gasped in surprise as a masked man in black dropped from the roof and planted a kick in his sternum. Larry overbalanced and fell backwards down the stairs, yelling as he tumbled. A sick crack made his vision go grey.

Aww shit my arm's broke!

He was a big man, but the guy who hit him made Larry feel like a small, weak kid again. Before he could push himself up, the man in black was on him, slamming a fist into his face.

"You listen and you listen well. I don't allow men to beat their wives. If you hit her again, I'll know, and you'll have a worse day than just falling down the stairs, do you understand?"

Larry could only nod. Once he confirmed that he understood, the man was gone as if he'd never been there. Who the hell was that?

Matt couldn't repress his smile as he slipped back into his bedroom. The open window was the perfect way in and out to do some clandestine vigilante work. He changed and hid his black tactical outfit, oblivious to his bruised knuckles with the skin split. Instead, he drifted off into one of the best night's sleep he'd ever had.
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by: Niklaus Schmidt
Klaus couldn't help but notice it was oddly quiet tonight as he nursed a beer while watching Insidious. It was a Friday night, and typically, he'd be out perusing the pubs and clubs for at least a good, fun evening. Sometimes, he'd bring someone home. But since the incident a few nights ago with Matt, Klaus had figured staying home in case his best mate needed him was probably best. At least for a while. Matt had, of course, assured him he hadn't needed babysitting. It wasn't that Klaus didn't believe he could take care of himself, but it had to be difficult dealing with the blindness and all the otherworldly symptoms it had brought along with it. Klaus couldn't help but think he'd escaped one freak show only to return home to his own personal brand of crazy.

He glanced at the clock as he heard the neighbor man bark orders at his wife before even through his door. Right on time, douchebag. It just wasn't the proper end of a work day without that sound. An argument usually followed, and perhaps Klaus should call the authorities, but what if that caused problems for him? Have the neighbor man walk the six or so steps to his doorstep and pound the door and do who knew what? Eh, if it sounded bad enough, he'd call. It was a recent development so far as he could tell. He wondered what had caused it but neighborhood drama was none of his business.

However, the sound of a thud and a scream and tumbling caused Klaus to become alarmed and pause his movie. Had the missus finally struck back? No, there was another voice. Um, he'd stay inside then. He couldn't make out what was being said, but he didn't fancy taking a tumble of his own. Klaus returned to his movie when the tango outside seemed to have stopped, falling asleep on the couch about three quarters of the way through. It was kinda creepy and decent, but he was tired and this wasn't his first time through it.
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by: Matthew Cox
The early morning sunlight felt good. Matt chewed thoughtfully on what he thought had been cheerios. Instead, they were fruit loops. Well, couldn't win them all, right? At least the sugary o's were still breakfast food and not lentils or anything weird.

The apartment was peaceful. Klaus was snoozing on the couch, Matt was in his sweats, and the Dawsons were behaving perfectly nice to each other over breakfast. He had a physical therapy appointment in several hours and life was good.

Klaus stirred on the couch, but Matt waited for his friend to speak before replying. After all, he was supposed to be blind, right?

"Good morning to you too. Who kicked you out of bed and onto the couch?"

Matt grinned over his cereal bowl, trying and failing to orient his gaze at Klaus.
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by: Niklaus Schmidt
Klaus glared daggers at his friend for his joke. It was too bloody early in the morning for that right now. Too bloody early, especially after he'd downed four beers last night. He didn't have a hangover per se, but his head did hurt a bit. He hadn't drank any water before falling asleep. "Demon lulled me to sleep, mate. What, with his frequent dancing to..." He vocalized the old timey song the demon played on the phonograph in the movie a few times as he stood from the couch and grabbed his beer bottles to carry to the sink. He began to rinse them out soon as he got there and set them in the recycle pail when he was done. Then, it was time for some water and some oats. He glanced at Matt after setting the microwave, and upon seeing the Fruit Loops, he rose a brow. "Revisiting childhood, mate?"
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by: Matthew Cox
Revisiting his childhood, indeed.

"Wouldn't you know it, Cheerios and Fruit Loops come in the same shape box and are the same circular shape. Truly a dastardly ploy to ruin the life of any poor blind man out there who wants a heart healthy breakfast."

At least he didn't put orange juice in his cereal rather than milk. The thought alone was enough to amuse him. The small smile stayed on his face as he took another bite, chewing thoughtfully.

"Supposed to have life therapy or something like that today. Braille lessons and dark glasses, woo hoo! Oh and my mom wants to come over and cook for us since we're apparently too disabled or too inept to figure out how to make meals. So, go mom, right?"

And after that, Matt had every intention of getting drunk. He hadn't been able to go out the first night and Klaus was too much of a nanny to go out the second night. With his first vigilante victory under his belt, though, Matt wanted to celebrate.

"Oh, and we're getting beers tonight. I'll stumble my way to a bar without you if you pantywaist out of it again."
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by: Niklaus Schmidt
Klaus chuckled at Matt's commercial quoting. He supposed he ought to plan to ask Matt what he wanted and grab it on his own trips or go along with him. And pick things that came in distinctly shaped boxes. This was going to get quite interesting, Klaus figured. No more store brand gallon jugs of juice. Had to get name brand now. That would be a change. He normally just grabbed whatever was cheapest, but he'd actually have to think now. Honestly, he hadn't thought of that.

As Matt went on about his mum wanting to come over, Klaus shook his head and opened the microwave as it beeped. He grabbed a spoon, mixed the oatmeal, and came and sat across the small two-person table from Matt. He scooped a bite and blew on it before saying, "Fine. Beers tonight." If Matt was getting that restless, then he supposed it was best he was accompanied and watched. Klaus would throw a few down but pace himself tonight. "And I suppose your mum wouldn't be too bad," Klaus mused after eating the bite of oatmeal. "She does cook rather wonderfully."
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by: Matthew Cox
How the hell had he put up with these sugar bombs before? Matt chewed quickly and swallowed, then patted around the table until he found his water glass. He took several swallows of THAT to ease the sucrose costing his tongue.

Was even his sense of taste that refined now? It was probably something in conjunction with his sense of smell becoming inhuman. Pheromones, he discovered, had different smells based off of a person's emotion. Gun powder cling to off duty cops, chefs reeked of garlic even when they were just walking down the street to work. It was insane how many different identifying odors there were.

Klaus quipped how his mother cooked wonderfully and earned a chuckle from Matt.

"You know her, nothing but the best for her favorite boy. How did you become her favorite, anyway?"

It was probably because they'd lasted so long as friend's. The boys nights in school with Klaus playing Nintendo with him until four in the morning, the help with homework, the brotherhood they had had endeared Klaus to the Cox family. In fact, his mom still referred to Klaus as her third son. Even Matt felt more like a brother than a friend to Schmidt.
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by: Niklaus Schmidt
"Oh, you know, just some good ol' school boy charm. 'Yes, Missus C.' 'Thank you, ma'am.' 'I love your scarf. Brings out your eyes.' Ladies love the compliments!" Klaus winked habitually before realizing that Matt wouldn't see it and glancing back down to his oatmeal, only his eyes caught something off about Matt's hands. He cringed a little at the discoloration and the crusty blood on the skin. "Jeez, man! What, you get in a scuffle with one of my walls or something?" Klaus almost wanted to reach out and touch, but he didn't for the time being. He hadn't heard any punches in his apartment or seen any broken walls lately. He didn't exactly go into Matt's room, though he'd have to soon enough. He had his weapons safe in there, and while it was secure and doing no harm, he didn't exactly want to have to intrude on Matt's privacy just to get things out for the hunt. At the very least, he'd pull the clothes.

"Those look horrible."
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by: Matthew Cox
Horrible? Hands? What had he done to...Oh, right. Matt blinked and rocked back slightly,then gingerly ran his fingers over his knuckles. Dried blood, scabbing, likely bruising. How did he explain this away? Oh, yes, Klaus, last night I beat the shit out of our asshole neighbor. You may have heard him falling down the fifteen concrete steps or yelling when his arm broke. No? Maybe you heard me threaten him to stop beating his wife...

"I tripped and fell, didn't open my hands soon enough and hit the ground. They don't hurt as bad as they feel like they look...did that sentence make sense to you?"

Lame. Stupid and lame. Klaus was probably too smart to fall for that, so he'd have to be careful in the future. Maybe some gloves or hand wraps...definitely have to wash his hands. He'd better do that now.

Matt stood and groped his way to the sink, batted around for the soap and then washed his hands. The lather stung the cuts on his knuckles, echoing how stupid his excuse was. Thankfully, they seemed to be minor splits. How long had it been since he worked his fists with a punching bag? Too long if the skin was splitting like this. He needed to get back in the gym. Okay, seriously? A blind man in a gym? Might as well ask him to drive over there as well. There had to be a way to get a good workout going...
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by: Niklaus Schmidt
Klaus snorted his disbelief at that explanation. It was almost involuntarily to open your hands and splay them out to catch you in a fall. But what could he say? If he made too much of a big deal out of it, Matt would be smart enough to avoid further evidence of...well, whatever this was. A kink in the bedroom? (Unlikely. Given Matt's goody two-shoes nature, going at it doggy style or even woman on top was probably taboo enough.) Fight Club happened to have come to town? (He really couldn't see Matt just fighting for fighting's sake. He barely spoke of the marines as it was.) Getting more easily cheesed? (Klaus hadn't noticed this, but it was possibly.)

Klaus allowed himself a small laugh at Matt's question. "Yeah, it did. It sounded weird, but it did. more careful. Don't need you to hit your head next time because you couldn't catch yourself." Yeah, Matt probably knew about how much conviction was behind that statement. He supposed it was possible as in some small percentage of a chance, but it was suspect.
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by: Matthew Cox
"Yeah I-I'll do that. I was carrying something at the time and didn't want to drop it...teach me to not watch out for myself, right?"

A little levity never hurt. Besides, he was pretty sure that Klaus suspected something but was too polite to give him hell for it. God, he wish things would smooth out soon and his friend would go back to the crass, needle-him-about-everything quasi-antagonist that he was before the incident.

Hmph. Incident. He needed to stop treating it like a car accident and move on. Sure, his counselor would probably tell him that he needed to embrace the emotions of now and accept his loss, cry it out, affirm his emotions, and all that. Standard stuff for crisis counseling, but after last night, Matt felt good. He felt good about his new abilities, felt a growing confidence in his own self, and had aspirations for regaining the sense of normalcy that he once had. Sure, things would never really be normal again, but there was a new normal that needed embraced.

He started, realizing he'd zoned out at the sink in the middle of drying his hands. Klaus had spoken.

"Hunh? Sorry, I was thinking...dreading, more like, the crisis counselor later today...'embrace your emotions, cry it out.' No thanks. I'd rather hit a gym and sweat it out...God, can you imagine how ridiculous I'll be at the gym?"

He gave a small laugh, imagining. He'd need an assistant and a spotter...hopefully someone who can do both.
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by: Niklaus Schmidt
"Yeah, pretty sure you're worth more than that fugly twenty pound lamp," Klaus replied, referring to the lamp he'd seen passing Matt's room when the door was open the other day. At twenty pounds, the lamp was replaceable. The broken bones were a bit more expensive. Of course, Matt missed all that with his zoning out at the sink. He must like utility bills being high or had a clean streak Klaus wasn't aware of.

After Matt spoke, Klaus laughed at the thought of his friend at the gym now. "Well, you know I'll spot," he said, though he had no idea who the hell he would have spot for him now. Sure, Matt could curl his fingers around the bar for a bench press and catch if he needed to, but he couldn't watch him for form or anything like that on a dead lift or a weighted squat. And Klaus had no intention on stopping the use of free weights. Hopefully someone else would be around and willing. "But I can see you now...trying to figure out which weight's which and insisting on getting yourself racked." He shook his head and chuckled. "You're stubborn, mate, you know that?"
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by: Matthew Cox
Matt edged his way back to his seat and took a drink, then nearly choked on it with the mental image that Klaus was putting up. Yeah, he'd be pretty damn hopeless at the gym without help. He coughed and cleared his throat, then retorted.

"That's a hell of a thing to say to a disabled man, Smitty, making fun of the way he works out. Your mother didn't teach you to speak like that."

He took another sip, keeping his sincere and overly stiff facade for a moment before grinning slyly at Klaus. Life would be pretty dull if he didn't have someone to help him through the hell of rediscovering his abilities.

Disabled. What did that even mean in his context? If anything he had more abilities now than he did at the eak of his military career. His radar sense didn't fade with the setting sun, so he had night vision as well as the ability to be a human emotion detector and heart beat detector. He could smell different chemical compounds like a damn bloodhound. Speaking of which, he HAD to get Klaus to stop buying cheap juice. The additives in it were bad enough to make him not want to drink anything but water ever again.

Great, was he going to become a food snob too? At least he could afford organic stuff so that he didn't have to deal with the smell and taste of trace pesticides.
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by: Niklaus Schmidt
"My mother didn't teach me to say a lot of things I say, Matty," Klaus replied with a grin. He wriggled his eyebrows to show his implications without thinking then cleared his throat when he did. It was odd, hearing Matt refer to himself as disabled. If there was one thing Klaus had never thought would be technically true about Matt, it was that he would ever be potentially labeled as "disabled" or thought of as an "invalid." Even when he'd served his tours in the Middle East, Matt somehow had been blanketed by some idea of invincibility in Matt's mind. Klaus had been far less worried than Matt's poor mother.

Klaus took another couple bites of oatmeal before he stood and walked over to the fridge to pull out his jug of orange juice and poured some into the first cup he pulled out of the cupboard. "Want some?" he asked. "Orange juice, that is." Matt had water, and maybe orange juice wouldn't work as well with Fruit Loops as it did with brown sugar and cinnamon instant oats, but orange juice was the king of breakfast beverages, second only to coffee on a work day.
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by: Matthew Cox
Matt smiled softly. He could hear Klaus' negative reaction to the 'disabled' word. Well, he was, wasn't he? Sight was an ability, and right now he was 'dis' with his sight. Sure, he had the shiny new radar sense, but he still needed to learn what was what with it. You didn't get to be an expert over night, even if you did beat the tar out of a drunk low life. Practice would bring his new sense up to standard with his reflexes...then he wouldn't be 'dis' anything.

"Klaus, that has so much corn syrup in it that i'm not sure it's legal to call it 'orange juice.' Besides, how else could I rub it in your face that I'm healthier than you if I don't drink water?"

He asked that, fully aware that the Fruit Loops were sitting there mocking him, getting soggy in their milky pool of sadness and sugar. Healthy...right. He needed to go get some real food, preferably fruits and vegetables. In the time he lived here, he couldn't remember seeing a vegetable that didn't come out of a can or a frozen tv dinner. If anyone could change that, it would be Matt.

"Should probably go grocery shopping later today too...I'll pay if you act like Vanna White and tell me everything about anything I'm interested in getting. May even buy a vowel off of you if you do well enough."

Bad joke, but it was still banter. He needed the banter to keep from focusing on everything.
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