Men Without Fear

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Cazzik
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Men Without Fear

Post by Cazzik » Mon Apr 06, 2015 8:11 pm

Image

Hell's Kitchen, New York City

The shadows were his friend, his ally. He didn't need a partner or any other form of backup. Just the shadows. He moved silently through them like some kind of jungle cat on the prowl. The alleyways were his territory, this was his neighborhood. His movements were quick despite the armored suit he wore. It was pieced together from one of Matt's old costumes. He wore a red and grey jumpsuit with the armored overlays protecting his vital areas. He realized how much he required some extra protection after the last time he went hunting. One broken rib, several internal bruises, and a whole lot of blood. Some of the street gangs had been badgering local businesses so he had decided to put on a black hoodie and show them they weren't the only ones that could instill fear in others. Despite his injuries the shops had been left alone for the last six weeks. He counted that as a victory.

He had no desire to become some permanent vigilante. He didn't want to be a hero or an icon. All he wanted was to protect his neighborhood. He wasn't Matt. Despite his training he did not want to be Daredevil. He didn't even want to be out here doing what he was doing, but someone had to. Some lowlife had been preying on street kids in the area. Last night one of them had escaped and made it to Saint Grace Children's Home; which he, Nathan Graham, just happened to be the director of. This scumbag would hurt no one else.

He turned the corner down another alleyway. The scent of the man was easily tracked. Nate had memorized the signature off of the girl, Sarah, when she had made it to the home. It had taken him very little time to track the pervert through Hell's Kitchen tonight. The air was crisp and cold and just happened to be the perfect condition for tracking. He could hear two individuals up ahead. His radar easily gave him all the information he required. One was a larger man, muscular and very fit. Not a day over forty. The other.....the other was a girl no older than fifteen. He had located his prey.

From out of the shadows he erupted. Grabbing the other man by the back of the shirt he tore him away from the girl. She had been relatively unharmed. Nate spoke in a dark, rough tone, "There's a safe place six blocks down. Saint Grace. Go. Now."

The girl climbed to her feet, shaken but able to move. Despite her shock she managed to move her legs, faster and faster in the direction the masked man had pointed. Nate turned his attention to the larger man in front of him as he climbed to his feet. The man was ex-military. He carried himself well. He had seen action....and it had taken its toll on him. There was a slight clanking coming from the individual. His knee. It had several metal pins in it. A weak point. This would be over quickly. The man raised his fists, "You better pray to God that I decide to kill you nice and fast, you son of a bitch."

Nate pulled out a pair of eskrima sticks, "God and I don't talk anymore. People like you....you're the reason."

The men lunged at each other. Less than forty five seconds later the larger man was unconscious on the rain soaked concrete.
"I'd like to nominate Cazzik for the Sexiest Man on Earth 2010." --Balsa

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Re: Men Without Fear

Post by Cazzik » Sun Apr 26, 2015 4:57 pm

Nathan silently entered Saint Grace's through the roof hatch. There had been numerous reasons why he had selected this building to open the children's shelter. Not only did it have an ideal layout for the home but it also had several easily hidden areas for Nathan to sneak in and out of. He climbed down through the shaft that led directly to his office; which remained locked at all times specifically for this reason. He could feel the injury on his lower back. It had reopened during the night's events and warm, fresh, sticky blood trickled out. He would need to bandage it as soon as he could. He climbed off the ladder and sighed as he sat in his chair. He groaned quietly as he reached up and removed his black and red mask. He sat there for a moment, taking in the quiet air. The kids he sheltered here were mostly asleep. He counted sixty three other heartbeats tonight, some of them were staff, but the majority weren't. One of them was still pumping with adrenaline. It was the young girl he had rescued. She had made it to the home. One of the volunteers was sitting with her now, trying to calm her down.

There was another heartbeat getting much closer to his office. He could have identified the person based solely on the rhythmic beating but the cheap after shave and smell of maduro cigars further identified the individual as his friend, Charlie. The man had been the closest thing to family he had had after the passing of his parents as a child. Charlie Gardner had been an orphan as well and had gone through the foster system in Hell's Kitchen just as Nathan had. The lock on his door slowly turned and Charlie stepped into the dimly lit room. He eyed Nathan up and down before slowly closing the door and locking it behind him, "Did you get him?"

Nathan nodded as he stood up and began taking his armor and shirt off, "Yeah. I found him a few blocks away. I dropped him in front of the police station on my way back."

Charlie nodded as he watched his friend open up the gun safe he kept in the office. Inside were no firearms but an extra suit, all black, and a couple of pairs of eskrima sticks. He noticed the blood flowing from the other man's back, "Jesus, Nate. You popped your stitches again. Sit down and let me take care of it."

Nathan didn't argue. The pair sat down on the couch and Charlie started to work on the wound. This was becoming common place. Charlie's heartbeat quickened and his body was giving off a familiar odor that told Nathan his friend was angry with him again. Charlie didn't like what Nathan was doing, though he understood why he was doing it. "You have something you want to say?"

The other man shook his head and continued stitching, "Nope. Nothing I haven't said before."

They sat in silence for a moment until Charlie finished his task. Nathan stood up and began putting on regular clothes as his friend put the medical kit away, "You should know, Claire called while you were out. She knows something is up, Nate. You won't be able to keep this from her forever."

Nathan nodded, "I'm aware. I'll handle it."
"I'd like to nominate Cazzik for the Sexiest Man on Earth 2010." --Balsa

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Re: Men Without Fear

Post by Cazzik » Sat Jun 27, 2015 8:30 pm

Rikers Island, New York

Lester McClain sat back in his cell and watched as the commotion carried on. Less than five minutes ago the prison he was incarcerated in came under attack by a large group of armed individuals in black military garb. They hit the facility fast and hard, making the prison's security look like an utter joke. Lester smiled as the sounds of gunfire echoed through the hallways. It wasn't long after he heard the first shots that the cell doors had opened. Inmates swarmed the halls and began attacking the guards in waves, despite them being in full riot gear. McClain was an old man, far past his prime. Despite the enjoyment he was experiencing he decided to let the others have the fun. He was content to watch for the time being.

Some of the invading gunmen passed his cell, moving in tactical formation. They were well trained and this wasn't their first rodeo. Lester sat comfortably on his cot and listened as another approached his cell block. As they passed him he noticed one stood out from the others. While the rest all wore solid black combat gear one of them had orange accents throughout his uniform and mask. The man stopped in front of the cell and turned to look at its inhabitant. The pair stared at each other for a moment before the other man stepped inside the little cubicle. Lester eyed him curiously, his wrinkled face hiding just how dangerous he could be, "Who the hell are you, soldier boy?"

"Just a man on a mission. Nothing to do with you."

Lester never took his eyes off the other man, "Then why exactly are you standing in my little home sweet home?"

The gravely voice of the soldier slipped out from under the faceless mask, "I recognized you. You've aged....but it is you." The man said, "They finally put you away. What did they get you for?"

Lester shrugged, "I killed the manager at Office Depot with a pen. He deserved it, I'll have you know. Liar told me the warranty on my laptop was expired."

Though he couldn't see it Lester liked to think that the soldier smiled at the story. What the man did do was pull out a set of throwing knives and toss them over to the inmate, "If memory serves, you prefer blades over guns. Take them. You should get out of here while you still can."

He turned and walked out of the cell and proceeded down the corridor. Lester stood up and stepped out after him, "Hey man! Seriously, who the hell are you?"

"Just a man on a mission, Mister.....?" He stopped and turned back to Lester, "What are you going by nowadays?"

"Lester McClain."

The soldier nodded, "Watch your back, Mr. McClain. Knowing your history there are still a lot of people that want you dead."

The inmate watched the other man go before he turned and proceeded the opposite way down the cell block.
"I'd like to nominate Cazzik for the Sexiest Man on Earth 2010." --Balsa

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Re: Men Without Fear

Post by Cazzik » Tue Jun 30, 2015 6:42 pm

Charlie Gardner stood in line at the coffee shop, patiently waiting for his morning dose of caffeine. The smell of fresh baked bagels surrounded him like like a warm blanket. Charlie was a man of routine who did not like to stray from his path very often. This portion, the morning, was always his favorite. A cup of hot coffee and a blueberry bagel was always the best way to start a new day with fresh possibilities. It always put him in the right mood to go back to Saint Grace's and do his best to make the world just a little bit better. He collected his breakfast and found his favorite table. All of the chairs were mismatched in the building and the walls were decorated with random memorabilia throughout giving the whole establishment a fun, antique feel.

He inhaled deeply and smiled. Best part of the day right here.

"Hey there, Charlie."

Oh crap! Well, today went down the shitter real fast. He smiled and looked up at the gorgeous woman standing before him. She was dressed in a light business suit that somehow went perfectly with her chocolate complexion. Her brown hair fell around her shoulders naturally, making it appear as though she had to do very little to make herself look this good, "Claire. What brings you down to my little breakfast nook?"

The beautiful Indian woman smiled and sat down across from him with her own coffee. Her eyes were intense and she never took them off of him, which, in truth, made him nervous, "Come on, Charlie. You know why I'm here. Nate has been dodging me and I want some answers."

Charlie took a bite of his bagel. He knew this is where the conversation was headed. He shouldn't have been surprised that the lawyer decided to dive right in without any small talk, "He's fine. I'm telling you nothing is going on. We've just been busy with the home. It's been a huge success and we've been working a lot of hours in order to expand it. That's all. I swear."

Claire stared him down with those intense eyes, "You're lying."

Charlie sighed and as he did he noticed none other than Nathan himself walking past the window of the shop. The words Thank God echoed through his head. Nate could handle Claire himself. Charlie watched as the other man stopped just outside of the glass door. He seemed to be contemplating something and it only took Charlie a few seconds to figure out what was going on. Nate knew Claire was inside. Those damn super senses of his had alerted him to the presence of his ex-fiance. Nate looked directly at the door and mouthed the words I'm sorry to his friend before turning around and walking swiftly away from the coffee shop. Charlie frowned. Nate.....you rat bastard. There is going to be hell to pay for this one.

Claire reached across the table and gripped the man's hand tightly, "Please tell me, Charlie. I'm worried about him," Here eyes continually focused on him, "For the sake of our friendship I need you to tell me."
"I'd like to nominate Cazzik for the Sexiest Man on Earth 2010." --Balsa

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Re: Men Without Fear

Post by Cazzik » Mon Oct 05, 2015 8:56 pm

Somewhere in Hell's Kitchen

The girl shook with fear; almost violently. Tears streamed down her cheeks, her eyes reddened with every moment. Her skin was pale. This girl was truly terrified....and she had every right to be. Her long brown hair was matted with sweat. Her wrists hurt. They had been bound tightly with rope behind the back of the wooden chair she was sitting on. Her ankles had been tied to the front two legs of the seat. She was effectively unable to move let alone escape.

The room was dark and she couldn't be certain how long she had even been there. It was cold and it felt damp. Maybe she was in some kind of a basement, she couldn't be sure. She knew there were stairs because she could always hear her captor walking down them on his approach. She had spent the last several hours....days maybe....praying that someone would find her. Where were the police? Where was a super hero when they were really needed?

Her heart stopped in her chest as she heard the sound of a door creaking. Then the familiar sound of footsteps on the stairs. She could feel herself panicking and there was nothing she could do about it. She was so far past terrified at this point there may not even be a word for it. She saw the dark figure enter the room with her. For awhile he stood at the base of the stairs, seemingly staring at her. He then slowly moved across the room until he reached his destination in front of his captive. Suddenly a blinding flood light filled her field of vision. She was unable to see anything. There was only his voice at that point, "Jenny, Jenny, Jenny. You look positively radiant. You see, I told you all you needed was a little time to yourself in order to shrug off some of that seriousness and stress that you've been carrying around. Honestly, Jenny. It's just not healthy to have all of that bottled up. You need to learn to lighten up. Enjoy life. Every once in awhile cut loose and have some fun."

He moved something around on the table next to him. She couldn't tell what it was. He paused and stared at her for some time again before moving the light to the side and stepping in close to her. His white mask had two eye holes drilled out and a smile drawn on in what appeared to be dried blood. He raised his hand to her face and slowly dragged the dull side of a scalpel across her cheek, "Don't worry though, Jenny. The Dollman is here to help. You and I are going to play."

Her scream echoed up the stairwell and throughout the building. No one heard her; save for the Dollman.
"I'd like to nominate Cazzik for the Sexiest Man on Earth 2010." --Balsa

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Re: Men Without Fear

Post by Cazzik » Sun Nov 01, 2015 9:35 pm

ONE WEEK LATER

Nathan frowned as the car pulled away from the curb. His senses had informed him early on they were almost at their destination. He had dreaded the entire commute. He stood out on the New York sidewalk dressed in his black, formal suit, glaring up at the law offices of Mayer, Ingram, & Rogers. This was not the last place on Earth he wanted to be, but it was pretty close. His date for the evening stepped up next to him and wrapped her arm around his, "Excited, Nathan?"

His frown deepened, "Please remind me why I agreed to come to this thing?"

The beautiful woman smiled at him mockingly, "Well, there's a myriad of reasons, really. I made you feel guilty for dodging me for the last several weeks. I also made you feel guilty for breaking off our engagement. Not to mention the guilt that accompanied lying to me about your extracurricular activities for God knows how long," Claire tilted her head slightly and the smile turned into a jokingly judgmental look, "That, Mr. Graham, is a whole lot of guilt."

Nathan shrugged, "It's a Catholic thing."

She became a little more serious, "I know. I also know how much you didn't want to come here tonight. So, thank you. I appreciate it."

He nodded, "You don't need to thank me, Claire. I told you I was here for you." He motioned toward the front door, "Shall we? Wouldn't want to keep all of my old co-workers waiting."
"I'd like to nominate Cazzik for the Sexiest Man on Earth 2010." --Balsa

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Mir
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Re: Men Without Fear

Post by Mir » Thu Nov 05, 2015 10:59 am

If there was one thing for certain, when MIR threw a party, it was an excellent party. The New York City offices were the largest offices for the entire firm, making sense as the firm had been founded in New York City. The building in downtown Manhattan had many tenants, but everyone knew to call it the Mir building. Upon entering the first level of the MIR owned floors, Nathan was taken back to the days that he had come here much more frequently, sometimes never leaving. It had been an interesting life, full of many ups and downs. The money had been great, but then again, when you joined big law coming out of law school, especially a school like Yale, making close to two hundred thousand a year kind of came with the territory.

But because of the high salary it was understood that you needed to put in the hours to earn that kind of lucre. Holidays had become a thing of the past, and there was only so much of that lifestyle a man like Nathan could take. He wasn't sorry about the decision that he had made, but at the same time, he meant what he had said to Claire. He was here for her. If that meant braving the storm of these people and the questions that they would ask, well, it was the least that he could do for Claire. They had been together for years, though the time had seemingly flown by. Now they weren't, clearly by his choice. However, friendship was something that he could offer and offer freely.

For her part, the smile on her face told him that she was happy that he was here. He could sense a subtle change in body temperature. Claire was flush with the idea of using this event as a means to try to bring him back to the firm. Luckily, MIR didn't ascribe to the old Cravath model of hiring. Not that he was looking for a position anyway.

"C'mon, let's go." She said, taking him by the arm and starting to walk. He purposefully moved slow, knowing that he could always fall back on his "disability". Knowing that he was going to spend a few hours here didn't mean that he wanted it to start any sooner than it needed to.

The doors opened and he walked into the large hall, that had been built for this specific purpose. Instead of renting out a large hotel or flying the partners and higher tier associates to some exotic location, Mayer, Ingram, and Rogers preferred to use the large hall that had been constructed in the building itself, cutting down on costs, and reminding everyone that extravagance was not the way that this firm conducted business. MIR was built on the tenets of working hard and maintaining humility. That was something that Nathan did appreciate about the firm.

"Do you want anything to drink?" Claire asked.

"Whiskey would be nice." He said and she started to walk away. "Get the bottle. Lord knows they can afford it."

Thanks to the dull roar of conversation, the sonic waves that bounced off of Claire's face gave him a good image of the dirty look that she shot him, before she disappeared into the crowd. Nathan smiled to himself.

"Nathan Graham, holy shit."

He turned at the sound of his name, recognizing the voice.

"How have you been?" He asked, with a smile on his face, as he remembered just who it was that he was speaking to. This had the possibility of being a pleasant conversation or just one man measuring his perceived successes against Nathan’s perceived failures.

"How have I been? How have you been? How are you...like...living?"

"Very well." Nathan replied, with a smirk.

"What have you been up to?" The newcomer asked. "How's life on the outside? I mean...how do you eat?" He asked, laughing. For a lot of the gunners in Law school, getting a job in a firm had been all they could think about and all they could dream about. Any kind of a life outside of the firm was impossible to even consider. So what Nathan had done had been baffling, leaving many struck dumb by the sheer audacity of it.

"Well, I started a blog." Nathan said, knowing the reaction the comment would elicit. "It's a blog that talks about clothes for people's pets, you know, like dogs and cats? Yeah, so I had a spike in viewership when I did a post about crocheted sweaters for cats for the winter." He said. "Those hits add up, let me tell you. It keeps the lights on." Nathan said, deadpanning the entire way.

"Does...does it keep anything else on?"

"The fridge." Nathan said, nodding slowly as Claire reappeared, holding two glasses. One had white wine, the other whiskey, neat.

He accepted the glass of whiskey and took a sip. There were few things right in this world like whiskey. Putting ice in it was a crime, and Claire knew how he felt. He and Claire walked away from the man, who had a mildly shocked expression on his face as he stared at their backs.

"What again, exactly am I missing, by not being a part of this firm anymore?" He asked, giving Claire a lopsided look that told her he was not convinced that he was missing much of anything. "Aside from this awesome whiskey, of course."

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Re: Men Without Fear

Post by Cazzik » Mon Jan 25, 2016 1:48 pm

Nathan had passed the time by making small talk with many of his former co-workers. Not all were as arrogant as he remembered. Thanks to his senses he was able to tell that some of them actually were genuinely happy to see him. Claire had been speaking to one of the senior partners for the better part of twenty minutes, leaving Nate to continue his conversation with former colleagues. As he was preparing to excuse himself from his current company and return to his date he stopped. His sense of smell picked up a new fragrance. It was stunning. Without a second thought for the individuals he had been speaking with he proceeded to move away from them.

He slowly moved through the crowd, oblivious to everyone else. The light, floral scent was intoxicating. No one seemed to pay him much attention as he continued his hunt. As he grew closer to the bar the scent grew stronger. Lavender and vanilla. Normally both were strong fragrances but the individual wore them with intent; with purpose. They were not overpowering and complimented each other well. He identified the woman standing at the bar as the source. She wore an elegant, tightly fitted dress. Her long hair loose, flowing down her back. Her pulse was steady. She held herself well. She was beautiful and confident and she knew it. He approached her right side and stepped up to the bar. The woman gave him no immediate notice until Nathan spoke, "Whiskey? Neat, even. You have good taste."

She smiled, not looking at him, "If you're going to drink never settle for less than the best," She turned her head and smiled at Nathan, despite his blindness, "I don't much care for cosmopolitans."

Nathan laughed, "Neither do I, Miss....?"

She held out her hand and took his, "Morgan. Belle Morgan. It's a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Graham."

Nathan gave her a quizzical look, "I don't remember introducing myself, Ms. Morgan."

She slid her empty glass away and motioned for the bartender to bring two more beverages, "Please, call me Belle. And you didn't need to introduce yourself. I'm acutely aware of all current and past talent at this particular law firm."

Nathan took the whiskey glass with gratitude and continued the conversation," You work here? I'd like to think I would remember you."

She continued her smile, "I'm sure you would. But no, my employer is a client of Mayer, Ingram, & Rogers. He was unable to attend and asked me to come in his stead."

"And who is your employer, Ms. Morgan?"

She took another sip of her whiskey. A teasing, seductive energy flashed in her eyes, "I told you to call me Belle."

Nathan's own smile grew, "Of course. My apologies. May I ask who your employer is, Belle?"

She nodded, "I work for Victor Klein."

Nathan's eyes widened a bit under his glasses, "The real estate mogul?" She nodded and he continued, "Klein International owns a fair chunk of New York. I heard the company is moving into Hell's Kitchen. Trying to clean it up, I'm assuming. Lot's of potential real estate for grabs. Tell me, what is it you do for Mr. Klein?"

Belle sipped on her whiskey again and shrugged gracefully, "A little of this. A little of that. My job is of little interest, Mr. Graham. I am curious to know why a successful Yale graduate would give up the job of a lifetime to open a children's shelter in the middle of Hell's Kitchen, though."

Nate drank some of his own beverage, "Someone has done their homework. And if we're going to be on a first name basis it should be a two way street don't you think?"

Belle nodded, "Very well, Nathan. Please, tell me what prompted such a dramatic change?"

His smile faded momentarily, "There were many factors that played a part. Mostly, I just didn't feel I was making a difference here."

Unknown to the two at the bar they were being watched intently from the other side of the room. Claire wore a deep frown as she continued to sip her wine.
"I'd like to nominate Cazzik for the Sexiest Man on Earth 2010." --Balsa

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Mir
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Re: Men Without Fear

Post by Mir » Tue Feb 23, 2016 7:55 pm

Belle saw one of the people she had come with attempting to get her attention. She turned to Nathan. “It appears that our time is up.” She said.

“That’s a shame.” He replied.

“Till the next time, Mr. Graham.” She said, with a smile, and walked away.

With no knowledge of how Claire was feeling, Nathan started to walk himself, back through the crowd of people. He saw many people that he knew, people that he had worked with. People who had questioned his motives when he had quit, and others that had supported him. This had been an interesting life, one that he was glad he was no longer a part of, even if there were times that the missed it. As he moved through the crowd, people gave him a wide berth, not knowing that despite being blind, he could still see. He slowed to a stop, when he noticed someone staring. It was the guy from before, and Nathan turned towards him.

“I’ve got a question.” The guy said, one of his hands in his pockets. “How big of a loser are you that you realized you couldn’t hack it at Mayer, Ingram, and Rogers?” He asked, as more people turned towards the two, and Nathan realized, unfortunately, that there was a small crowd developing around them.

“Not as big of a loser as someone who needed help sending out a Notice of Lawsuit and Waiver of Service of Summons.” Nathan replied. “I mean, I’m blind, but I figured it out in under an hour.” He said.

“That’s really funny, Graham.” The guy said, starting to get annoyed. He looked around as some of the attorneys present started to smirk, which had nothing on the reaction of any paralegals or law clerks present. After all, something this simple, such as service on a complaint that had been filed, was almost basic for everyone here, and to think that this attorney had had such an issue with that, was funny, almost comical.

“I know, that’s what I thought when you were bumbling around on the public drive.” Nathan said.

Light citrus

There were more laughs.

“Well, I pulled in over a million dollars with my bonus. What did you make after you spent all that money on your law degree?” He asked.

“I made peace of mind.” Nathan said.

“Yeah, but we can buy peace of mind.” One of the people in the crowd said, with a laugh. “You can’t really do that, if little Enrique or Jamaal gets shot.”

“Civil litigation has its perks, I guess.” Nathan said. “But I get the satisfaction of knowing that little Enrique or Jamaal is doing their best to stay off the street.”

“Ah, fuck ‘em.” The guy said. “There’s a thousand like him, and no one gives a shit.”



“I give a shit.” Nathan said, starting to get annoyed.

Christmas. He was thinking of Christmas.

No, it was like walking through a forest….maybe walking through it on Christmas, with cinnamon in the air? But how was that-

He turned, as he finally heard the voice crystal clear. It wasn’t the first time he had heard the voice and he had been trying to find it ever since that first time.

“I think it’s a great thing that you’re doing.” Holland Daniels said, cutting through the crowd and placing a hand on Nathan’s shoulder. “You can make all the money in the world, but you can’t take it with you.” She said. “But there’s still good that you can do with it.” Holly turned and gave him a smile, and it was like a jolt shot through him.

When she spoke, he could see her better, the vibrations of her vocal cords giving his radar sense enough of a picture. She had on a ankle length dress, with the material off one of her shoulders. Her eyes sparkled, and he could see a necklace around her neck, one that had a few small pendants.

“Graham’s pet project is going to fail.” The guy said. “No one knows about it. No one cares about it.”

“How do you know that no one cares?” Holly asked.

“Because no one knows.” Someone said. “The only reason I heard about it is because Claire won’t shut up about it. You don’t read about it in the papers or anything. There’s no way that Nathan has the funding he needs. I don’t even know the name of the place, just that he’s doing it.”

Nathan looked away. They were right about that. More often than not, he was struggling to keep the place afloat. Saint Grace’s relied on donations and the general good will of the people of the area, and it wasn’t often that that coincided with the children’s home being in the black. “It’s Saint Grace’s Children’s Home.” He said, under his breath, almost as if admitting defeat.

After all they were right.

That was when Holly spoke again. “Well, that goes to show how little you all know.” She said. “My name is Holland Daniels, and I’ve won Pulitzer awards." She said, as a few people perked up, realizing who she was from the name. "As it so happens, I’m here specifically talk to Mr. Graham about how Wayne News International wants to run an article highlighting the work he’s doing with the children of Hell’s Kitchen, complete with a fundraiser that will be personally attended by Isaiah Muir.” She said.

That got everyone’s attention.

Nathan looked at her.

“Really?” He mouthed.

She nodded and smiled.

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Re: Men Without Fear

Post by Cazzik » Fri Mar 11, 2016 4:02 pm

Holland stepped up closer to Nathan, "Would you care to grab a drink with me, Mr. Graham?"

She was attracted to him. Her heartbeat gave it away. However, if that had not been enough, he could smell the extra pheromones coming from her. He obviously couldn't deny his own attraction to her. He nodded in agreement. He couldn't say no to her. Her presence was intoxicating to him. Under normal circumstances his mind was under constant assault by the all of the sensory information he was receiving. For some reason, it seemed dulled when Holland was around.

Instead of locating Claire as he had intended he proceeded back to the bar, this time with Holland. He assumed the woman he arrived with was off speaking to her co-workers anyway. Nathan raised his glass to Holland, "You know, I was more than capable of defending myself back there."

She smirked, "Were you? After seeing you at the wedding it seems like you are a little more capable with your fists then you are your words. Which is awfully strange for a blind man, don't you think?"

Nathan nodded in amusement, "Not that a fundraiser wouldn't be amazing but what are you really doing here, Ms. Daniels?"
"I'd like to nominate Cazzik for the Sexiest Man on Earth 2010." --Balsa

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Mir
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Re: Men Without Fear

Post by Mir » Mon Mar 14, 2016 8:49 am

"I moved back to New York." She said, simply. "I'm not sure what I was looking for when I went to Bludhaven, but I definitely didn't find it there. I needed something different and apparently it looks like I just needed to come home." Holly said, with a small smile. "Strange how things work." She added looking away. "That's not what you asked me though."

"Not to say it wasn't interesting. Though now that I think about, I think I do know why you're here, Holland. You still owe me that dance." He said, with an air of mirth in his voice.

"No, I don't." Holland replied, turning and looking at him as she wrinkled her nose. "I do not."

"You promised me a dance at the wedding reception and you did not deliver. I waited patiently. I danced with a flower girl. I tried to dance with the maid of honor, but she's really fast. You promised me a dance. I am licensed in the State of New York as an officer of the court duty bound to uphold the law. You made an offer, I accepted, there was consideration, which means it is a contract, even under Delaware law in Metropolis." Nathan said, holding up fingers as he enumerated his points. "Maybe that's why you're here?" He asked with an inquisitive look. "To finally make good on that contract we entered into."

"Assuming I'm bound by this contract that I didn't agree to, what if I've decided to breach the contract?" Holly asked, lifting her drink up to her lips and taking a sip as she gave him a cool look over the rim. She wasn't sure how he was able to do it, but his ability to read body language despite not being able to see was incredible.

"Oh, well Ms. Daniels, I wouldn't advise doing that." He said, putting a hand over his chest. "I know I'm not your counsel, but it would be inadvisable. You'd leave me no choice but to seek some form of relief allowable by law."

"That sounds potentially harmful."

"Like I said, I am duty bound to uphold the law." He said with a look of stoic seriousness on his face.

She leaned into whisper into his ear. The pheromones were intoxicating and swimming all around her. Mixed with her perfume, it was fairly overwhelming. Nathan wasn’t sure why he was having this reaction to Holland, the same way that he hadn’t been sure at the wedding. There was something about her. The way she spoke cause synesthesia. He could sense and remember smells based off the vibrations of her vocal cords. Even for a man with his abilities that was incredible. She whispered. "Maybe I should have my lawyer talk to you then. They’ll probably be better able to deal with this than I will." Holly said.

"Who might that be?" Nathan asked as he shook his head to clear but also genially confident that she was joking around.

She waited a few moments. There was nothing like dramatic build up especially since she had a good feeling the reaction that she was going to get. It almost wasn’t fair. "Everyone in the room besides you." She said.

He paused, his face changing. "You...have Mayer, Ingram, and Rogers on retainer?" He asked.

"You do know who I am, right?" She asked, and he feigned ignorance.

As if he hadn't done multiple searches on the internet since he had gotten back from the Matthews wedding. He’d read whatever articles she’d written that he’d been able to find.

"Assuming I didn't have this firm on retainer by myself, I work as a journalist at large for Wayne News International. Isaiah Muir has first right of refusal on all my big stories and articles. Mayer, Ingram, and Rogers are the out of house counsel for Wayne Enterprises." Holly said, laughing lightly at the look of mild shock that rolled across Nathan’s visage.

"So in a way, everyone in here works for you." Nathan said.

"Well, you don't work for me." She said, giving him a sweet smile. "But I have a habit of wrapping people around my little finger.” She added, absentmindedly twisting a lock of hair around her finger.

It’s like she was trying to get to him. "Ever do that to Isaiah Muir?" He suddenly asked, unable to stop, before giving her a sidelong glance. He was half joking, half serious. After all, Isaiah Muir was serious competition for a man with the small means possessed by Nathan.

"I couldn't possibly comment." She said, innocently.

But her heartbeat jumped slightly. As if she was remembering something from the past.

Son of a bitch.

It was time to shift tactics before he went down a rabbit hole that he did not want to go down at all. "I think I can take anyone in this firm. Who's your main point of contact?" He asked.

"A nice lady I've met a few times. Claire Burris? I don't know if you know of her. I think she recently got promoted to junior partner, but if you don’t work here anymore you may not know."

Son of a bitch.

Wasn’t this just peachy.

“I don’t think we need to get lawyers involved, Ms. Daniels.” Nathan said. “After all, I know you’re a respectable member of the community and you always pay your debts. We’ll table the issue for another day. Why are you here though?” He asked.

“I took a position at the Daily Bugle. Ben Urich’s old beat, actually. Hell’s Kitchen. I like the gritty parts of life.” She said. “I’m here because as a loyal client of Mayer, Ingram, and Rogers, they invited me.”

“So there’s no article or fundraiser.” He replied, a little crestfallen. “You were only saying that to get them to back off of me.”

“There is now.” She said. “I may not have heard about the work you’re doing at Saint Grace’s, but now that I have I want to help. I’m sure that many people will feel the same way, and some of those people will have deep pockets.”

“I don’t like asking people for money. I was raised to be self-reliant.”

“There’s nothing wrong with asking for help when you need it. Your pride shouldn’t matter anymore, the only thing that should matter is how best to help the kids.”

“But how can you promise a fundraiser?” He asked.

“Sweetie, I’m magical.” Holly said. “Trust me, you’re getting a fundraiser.”

“How can I thank you for everything you’re doing?” He asked.

“Tell me how you did what you did at the wedding.” She asked.

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Re: Men Without Fear

Post by Cazzik » Thu May 05, 2016 4:35 pm

Nate's internal defenses immediately went up. Holland was gorgeous. He enjoyed his time with her. However, he had nearly forgotten she was a journalist. She was digging. He had done his best to keep his abilities unnoticed at the wedding, but he was also aware he had performed a few extraordinary feats during the attack by James Matthews; and Holland had been there to witness all of them. Like any normal human being she now wanted to know exactly what she had witnessed, "How did I do what?"

Her eyes narrowed, "You know what I'm talking about. You're blind, Mr. Graham. Despite that you managed to defend both of us quite vigorously against multiple assailants. How do you explain that?"

He shrugged his shoulders "Adrenaline, I guess."

She snickered, "Adrenaline? You expect me to buy that crock of shit?"

He laughed openly, "No. No, I guess not. Listen, I don't have an explanation for you. Let's just both be happy we walked away from that ordeal alive."

"You don't have an explanation or you don't have one that you're willing to share?"

"Does it matter?"

Holland took a sip of her beverage before responding, "I guess not. At least, not right now. We can always revisit the subject later on."

He smiled, "That we can."
"I'd like to nominate Cazzik for the Sexiest Man on Earth 2010." --Balsa

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Re: Men Without Fear

Post by Mir » Fri Jun 17, 2016 8:22 am

“Talk to me about this fundraiser.”

“Sure thing, lawman. Talk to me about your blind kung fu.” She replied, sweetly, while taking a sip of her drink.

“It’s all in the wrist, I promise.” Nathan said, working one of his hands around in a lazy circle. “It’s like golf, the swing is what’s important.”

“Really? Show me.” Holly said, her eyes lighting up as she set her glass down on the table.

The look on his face showed that he was a bit baffled as to why Holland was driving after this one point. He could see that this was something of particular interest to her but he wasn’t sure why.

But everything about her was…intoxicating. He wanted to be around her and wanted to see that smile of hers more and more.

“You’re really interested in this aren’t you?” He asked.

“You have no idea, Graham crackers.” Holly said. “You see, I did take a position at the Daily Bugle, working the Hell’s Kitchen beat.”

“Hardly a place for a lady like yourself.” Nathan said, interrupting. “I wouldn’t want you in Hell’s Kitchen, Holland, it can be a very dangerous place. A very rewarding place too, but very dangerous.”

“Right, whatever. Luckily you’re not in charge of me.” She said and he frowned for a moment. “Anyway, all I’ve been hearing is about this Daredevil character and how this person keeps showing up in the right place, at the right time, with the right amount of stupidity to stop bad things from happening. That reminds me of someone I met recently.”

“You don’t honestly think that I’m…wait a second. Are you saying I’m stupid?” He asked. “I’m already blind, now you’re just being insulting. Actually I’m not even sure what you’re insinuating. How is Daredevil stupid?”

“He’s doing something the police should be doing.”

Nathan smiled. “Careful Ms. Daniels. You’re in a room full of lawyers, and you’re a journalist. You should understand the power of words. ‘Should’ is a very important facet of that sentence you said. The police should be doing something about the problems we’ve been having in the Kitchen.” The blind man said. “It’s rife with crime and people falling to the struggle. But they’re not. Not necessarily because they can’t or they won’t, however those are factors to consider to rectify the problem.” Nathan said and then his mouth thinned. “Until the problem is solved though, something has to be done, doesn’t it? What do good people do when their authority figures fail them?” He asked.

“Take the law into their own hands apparently.”

“We have things like citizens’ arrest. This…actor of justice could be construed as merely taking that one step further.”

“I don’t have to quote to you the meaning of assault and battery, right?” She asked, and he laughed.

“No, you don’t. I would say to consider that this Daredevil person is a stop gap, a safety valve of sorts to aid the police in their duty and responsibilities.”

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Re: Men Without Fear

Post by Cazzik » Mon Jun 20, 2016 2:26 pm

Daniel Wilhelm was nervous as he sat at his desk in the dim light. He could feel the sweat dripping from his brow. The offices of Wilhelm Financial had been abandoned hours ago; everyone heading home to their penthouse apartments. Daniel was alone, staring out the window at the skyscrapers of Manhattan, waiting for his visitor. The clock on his desk said 10:04. As the seconds ticked by he could feel his body shake. And suddenly it stopped. He was stone cold, afraid to move. He watched a figure emerge from the shadows outside of his office door. He didn't know how the man had entered the building and he certainly didn't care to ask. The man wore a horned, red mask, slightly covered by a yellow hood. Two wicked, bladed weapons hung at his belt. He moved silently, as if he was part of the darkness, "The money. Did you bring it?"

Wilhelm nodded slowly, lifting a briefcase from behind his desk and sliding it over to the other man. "It's all there."

The yellow, masked man lifted the case and began walking away. Daniel mustered his courage and spoke again, "He's in Hell's Kitchen. My sources reported earlier today. You'll kill him, yes? You'll kill Lester McClain? He murdered my son."

The yellow clad man stopped in front of the doorway but did not turn, "I know where he is. I know what he's done. You've hired the best. Ikari never fails to deliver on a contract."

With those words the ninja vanished once more into the shadows, leaving Wilhelm alone yet again.
"I'd like to nominate Cazzik for the Sexiest Man on Earth 2010." --Balsa

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Re: Men Without Fear

Post by Mir » Sat Aug 13, 2016 7:34 pm

Holly sighed.

Why was this man being so difficult? Why did he always have to be so difficult, and why did she still seem to want to deal with him? It was so frustrating sometimes, it really was. “Are you going to do it or not, Isaiah?” She asked.

“I do not understand why my request is so hard for you.” Isaiah replied, over speakerphone.

She stared at the phone, which was on her vanity table as she got dressed. “In order to get you to throw a fundraiser for the Saint Grace’s Children home, you want me to go to the Maldives with you.” She said as she moved around her newly leased apartment, grabbing different clothes. “Do you not understand why that seems like an odd request?” She asked.

There was an audible pause. “No.” He finally said.

“Fine. I will go with you for a week to the Maldives. But I have a counter request.”

His response came very quickly, as if he’d already anticipated it. Isaiah was sneaky like that, she wasn’t sure how he did that, how he was so good at that. It was scary sometimes. “You can not use me as a way to get an interview with the President of Maldives about the corruption scandal.” He said.

“Then you’re useless to me.” Holly replied, as she stood in front of her mirror, holding up different jackets to see what went best with the top she had on. She stopped and looked at the phone, glaring at the device that was currently patching her through with the boss of all bosses. She was a freelancer for Wayne News International, in addition to any other commitments she had, which meant, ultimately, Isaiah Muir was her boss. He was being very annoying. “Fine. Fine. I’ll go to the Maldives. But this better be an amazing fundraiser.”

“They’re not going to have to worry about money for a number of years. As long as they know how to manage it. You said the guy in charge is blind?” Isaiah asked.

“Yeah. But you can’t tell. It’s weird, like he has a sixth sense or something. He was at Paul and Emma’s wedding, that’s how we met.” She said.

“I officiated the marriage.”

“I know. I was there.” She said. “I was also there while you were in a go-kart shooting robots.”

“Christopher Chase’s hoverchair is hardly a go-kart, that’s a horrible oversimplification. I think you’re being rather insensitive to the plight of the disabled, especially considering you want me to throw a fundraiser for a blind nanny of small children.”

Ignoring the jab, she threw on one of the jackets. “You call him ‘Wheels’. His hoverchair doesn’t have wheels.”

“It’s a term of endearment. Obviously.” Isaiah replied. “Look, I’ve got to go. Send Britney or Winston the dates you’re looking at for this fundraiser. Also, the dates you’re looking to go to the Maldives.” He said. “Keep making me lots of money Holly.” He said before he hung up.

She rolled her eyes. Isaiah might have been a reclusive anti-social billionaire who had the driest sarcasm out of any man she’d ever met, but really he was a teddy bear pushover. The amount of money that the Muir/Nevins conglomerate made on an annualized basis was highly rivaled by the amount of money deposited into the Martha and Thomas Wayne Foundation and the Hugh and Eleanor Muir Foundation. Grabbing her phone, Holland gave herself a once over. She wore dark blue jeans with a green wrap top, and a black leather jacket. Walking over to her closet, she opened the doors and stared down at her shoe collection. Something simple, something easy to move around in.

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

“So is she really attractive?” Charlie asked, sitting behind his desk in their office at St. Grace’s Children’s Home. He had his feet up on the desk and was spreading cream cheese on one of his coveted blueberry bagels. When there was no response from Nathan, he turned and looked over his shoulder at his friend.

Nathan gave Charlie a quizzical look, before pointing at his red glasses. “How would I know?” He asked.

“Oh, don’t give me that. You always spot the hot ones from a mile away. Then you play the ‘I’m blind, love me until I mess you up emotionally’ card, and they fall for it, hook, line, and sinker.” Charlie said, putting the two pieces of bagel back together.

“But Charlie, I am blind.”

“And you do mess them up emotionally. I’m not judging, just observing, Nate.”

“Back on topic, she is attractive, yes.” Nathan said. That was putting it lightly. Claire was attractive yes, but Holly? Holly was something else. He’d never seen a woman with the physical attractiveness she had, and the wit and sarcasm she possessed matched it. Her intelligence and ability to make him feel both uncomfortable and comfortable at the same time was incredible. He’d never met a woman like her.

“How did you get her to give this interview?” Charlie asked. “This could be big for us, you know that?”

“Uh, well, Charlie, I met her at that party that Mayer, Ingram, and Rogers threw.”

“The one that you couldn’t convince Claire to also bring me to?” Charlie asked. “The one where all the networking was happening? That party?”

Nathan chuckled lightly. “We seem to be talking about the same thing.” Nathan said, with a small smile. “Yes, that party. She wants to do this interview and she’s going to convince Isaiah Muir to throw us a fundraiser.”

That part got Charlie out of his seat, bagel in hand. “You didn’t mention that last part. That changes everything. He said, waving the bagel around. “Do we need to get tuxes? I don’t have a tux. Maybe I could rent one. You should rent one.” He said. “We need to rent one.”

“One or two? We could share it.” Nathan replied.

Whatever Charlie’s response was going to be, he was cut short when Nathan turned to the door to their office, a few seconds before there was a knock on it. The door opened, and their secretary stepped in. A shortish middle aged African American woman, she gave the two of them a look. “There’s a tall leggy white girl here to see you. Blonde.”

“Mrs. Corey, I’m not sure that’s the best way to describe someone.” Charlie said.

Virginia Corey put her hands on her hips. “That’s what she is, isn’t she?” She asked.

“I am a white girl.” Holly said, poking her head around the door behind Virginia.

“Holy…you weren’t kidding.” Charlie said, looking at Nathan.

“Kidding about what?” Holly asked, as she stepped into the room, brushing loose strands of hair behind one ear.

“About how punctual you are.” Nathan said, with the save. “Thank you, Mrs. Corey.” He said, and the black woman glared at him before disappearing behind the closing door. “Holland, how are you today?” He asked, his pulse skipping slightly as her scent hit him. As always, she wore the same perfume, and it mixed well with her skin. The same scent, always the same scent. It meshed well with her voice, and it always produced the same combined result.

Vanilla, with oranges. The smoky haze of a forest. The warmth of a dying fire.

“My punctuality. Sure.” She said, dryly. Holly turned to Charlie. “Holland Daniels.” She said, extending her hand and Charlie reached out to shake it, before he realized he was using the hand still holding the bagel, he was staring at her so robotically.

“You’re gorgeous.”

She laughed, giving him a quizzical look that passed between Charlie and Nathan who simply shrugged. “Thanks, I think.” She said.

“No, really. I mean, Nate was describing you, but he’s blind, so you know.” Charlie said. He coughed. “So, uh, Nathan tells me that you’re writing an article about the children’s home?” He asked.

“Front and center on the cover of all Wayne News products.” Holly said with a smile. “I spoke with Isaiah today, and he’s agreed to the fundraiser.” She said.

“Isaiah. Wow…must be nice to be on a first name basis with a billionaire.” Charlie said.

“Charlie suggested he and I share a tuxedo during the fundraiser.” Nathan said, pointing between himself and Charlie, who gave him a look. “Anyway, we should start the tour.”

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

Holly laughed, one of her rich laughs that came from the stomach. Nathan was admittedly distracted by the oscillation of her vocal cords to hear what she was laughing at. Holly was crouched, sitting by one of the children who was playing with some of the toys they had at the children’s home, and the little girl had said something to cause Holly to laugh. She took one of the action figures and joined in the imaginary fight. Looking up at Nathan, she spoke. “So what made you want to start this children’s home?” She asked.

“I was in the foster system after my mother died. I know that the system tries its best, but there are still problems. I figured I could maybe help out, you know, help some of these guys stay off the streets.” Nathan said, blindly reaching behind him, and catching an errant ball. He turned and looked in the direction of the child who’d thrown it. “Maybe teach them how to aim.” He said, throwing it back, but with enough spin that it didn’t look like it was perfectly thrown. This woman could tell something was going on.

“You named the children’s home after a Muslim convert to Christianity martyred for her faith and deemed the patron saint of Valencia, Spain….because?”

He smiled. “Someone knows their saints.” He said.

“I’m Catholic.”

Really?” This was getting better and better. “Well, she was one of four siblings, and three converted to Catholicism. The fourth ended up turning them over to the authorities, which, back in the 1100s, meant death. They continued to fight for their brother and try to convert him, try to help him. I focus more on the help aspect, than the conversion. I don’t push Catholicism on these kids.” He said. “But I want them to know that here, they have a family. That’s important to me.”

“How old were you…when you lost your family?” She asked.

He gestured and she set the toy down, rising. They walked over to one of the walls of the playroom and she saw two framed pictures on the wall, of a man and a woman. Nathan looked remarkably like both. The man was dressed in NYPD blues. “My father died when I was eight. He was working his beat, and came across a bad situation. I’m not sure what happened, to be honest. The perpetrator was never found. Doctors dug five .357 caliber rounds out of his body, and it was too much for him to handle.” He said.

“Wow. That’s so sad.” Holly said, unconsciously reaching out and putting a hand on his arm.

“I understand the sacrifice that the police make on a daily basis, and I know they’re doing the best they can with the resources available to them.” Nathan said. “My mother tried really hard to keep everything the way it was, but you can’t lose a father and expect things to stay the same.”

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=


“Nathan.”

Nathan looked up at the closed door to his bedroom. His mother was outside knocking on the door.

“I’m busy.”

“Nathan, we need to talk.” She said, and opened the door.

He was sitting on his bed and he looked up at her. “What do you we need to talk about?” He asked.

“I think you know what it is.” She said, sitting on the ground cross legged. Her voice was measured and stern. “I’m a teacher at the same school you go to, Nathan. I spoke with Mr. Brownstein.” She said. “Your teacher had some interesting things to say about your behavior over the past few days.”

“It wasn’t my fault.” He said. “So I got in some fights.”

“But that’s not like you.” Lilly said. “What’s going on?” She asked. “You can talk to me about it.”

“I don’t want to.” He said, looking away.

“Why not?”

Tears sprang into the little eight year old’s eyes.

“What happened, Nathan?” She asked.

“Billy started making jokes about how
his dad was still alive.” He said, finally.

The shock of it rolled over her face. “Billy Pouncey, Greg’s son?” She asked and Nathan nodded. “I’ll speak to his father. He should know what the son of a cop is doing to the son of another cop.” Lilly said.

“Please. Don’t.” He replied. “I can deal with it on my own.” She said.

Lilly leaned backwards a bit. “I think I know what’s been bothering you. I know you miss your father, but you don’t have to get through this by yourself. I’m here for you. Your family is here for you; Father Malloy is here for you.” She said, her voice softening.

Nathan swiped at the tears. “It’s not the same.”

“I know it’s not the same.” She said, her voice softening further. “But, honey, he’s gone. He’s gone, but he’s not gone. I don’t know how to explain it.” Lilly said. “He’s here.” She said, pointing at her chest. “He’s with you, no matter where you go and what you do.” She said, rising. “You know, your dad always wanted you to have something and it took him a while to find it, in your grandparents’ garage. I thought you were a bit too old by the time he found it.”

She left the room and came back after a few moments with a small brown teddy bear.

“What’s that?” Nathan asked.

This, is Huckleberry.” She said. “Huckleberry was your father’s teddy bear when he was a boy. He wanted you to have it.” Lilly said, kneeling in front of where her son was sitting. “Huckleberry kept your dad safe.” She said. “No reason why he can’t do the same for you.”

Nathan cracked a smile. “This is a bear. How did the bear keep Dad safe?”

“Hucks is magical, kid.” She said, using the affectionate nickname that Richard sometimes used for the bear and for his son. “Your dad may be gone, but he’ll always be there for you. You keep him in your heart and in your mind and he’ll be there for you. Our lives changed…forever. But I’m telling you, your dad will be with you.” She said. “Promise me you won’t get into any more fights?” She said.

He stared at the bear’s face. “I promise. I won’t fight anyone anymore.” He said.


=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

“Graham crackers, you there?” Holly asked, waving a hand in front of his face.

He shook his head and smiled. “Yeah, sorry just spaced out there a bit.” He said. Didn’t keep that promise to her, did I?

“You were telling me about your father’s passing.” Holly said.

“Yeah. I understand what the cops go through, that’s what I was trying to say.” He said, referencing again their conversation at the party about the vigilante Daredevil.

“How did your mom…pass?” Holly asked, watching his facial emotions.

“Three years later.” He said, looking at the framed photograph of Lilly Graham. “It was a car accident. We were in the car together and it was November, one of the first snow falls. Another car swerved and hit us head on.” Nathan said. “It’s how I lost my eyesight.” He added.

“You realize you might be the most tragic person I’ve ever met, right?” Holly asked. “I’ve met quite a few both as a journalist and as a regular person.” She said. Connor Queen. Kyle Davis. Christopher Frazier.

“I’m not sure if that’s a prize I should want.” Nathan said. “Unless it’s going to get that dance you owe me.”

“I don’t owe you a dance.” She said, starting to walk elsewhere in the room. “What happened to you after your accident and after your mom passed away?” Holland asked, curiously. “Were you put into the system right away?”

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Re: Men Without Fear

Post by Cazzik » Fri Aug 26, 2016 4:37 pm

Nathan nodded, "Yes. It's remarkable how fast the state will swoop in and grab a minor after they're orphaned," He smiled at her, "Almost as fast as they kick them out once they hit eighteen."

Holland's face cringed slightly, "Is that what happened to you?"

He shook his head, "To me? No. But it happened to a lot of others. Charlie and I, we saw a lot of good kids that ended up doing bad things over the years. Simply because they had no one to turn to after they were considered adults. That's what I'm trying to fix here. The system is broken. I understand they're doing as much as they can but these kids need support after they get out on their own. Here, they have someone to turn to. Charlie and I......we've been where they are."

Holly nodded but said nothing. Nathan motioned for her to follow as he left the playroom and moved down the hall. The pair walked in silence to the next room. As they entered Holly's eyes widened at what she saw. Bookshelves lined the walls, all of them completely full. Several individuals of varying ages were in chairs, fully engrossed in whatever it was they were reading, "Nathan.....this library, it's impressive. Especially for a community children's home," She grimaced, "No offense."

Nate smiled and waved his hand in a dismissive manner, "No offense taken. This is where I really put my time in. Books helped me get through my childhood. They helped me go to college, become a lawyer, and ultimately open up this place. I want these kids to have the same opportunities I had."

The woman walked over to the built in fireplace. It was old, definitely original. Above the mantle on the wall was a modestly framed photograph of a man with a teenage boy. The pair sat on a park bench in the middle of fall. The leaves on the trees were a beautiful assortment of reds and yellows. They just seemed to be sitting there, enjoying each other's company. She noticed they both wore glasses similar to Nate's, "Is this you? The boy in the photograph?"

Nathan nodded, "Yes. That's me. I was sixteen when that photo was taken."

Holly stared at the photograph. Nathan Graham seemed happy as he sat on that park bench in the middle of a New York autumn, "The man with you, is he blind as well?"

"Yeah, he was. Actually lost his sight around the same age I lost mine. He was involved in a chemical accident, actually."

Her eyes saddened as she turned and looked at her companion. He had said was. As in the past tense. This man was no longer around anymore either, "Who was he?"

Nathan continued to stare in the direction of the photograph, almost as if he could see it, "His name was Matt. He helped me to cope with my blindness. Became something of a big brother to me."

Holly pushed a little further, "What happened to him?"

"He died. Murdered, actually. Right after I turned nineteen."

"Nate, I'm so sorry."

He shook his head and smiled slightly, "Don't be. Happened a long time ago."

**********

YEARS AGO

The rain poured down on them all, soaking them to the bone. Winter in New York City was cold. The water falling from the sky made it even more so. None of them cared. The three watched as the police tapered off the area and placed Matt in a black body bag. Nate stood completely still, afraid that if he moved he might realize that this was actually happening and not a dream. His mentor was dead. His friend.....his brother, gone. Nate had become concerned when Matt didn't show for their training session. A short time later he had gotten the call from Stick.

The old man stood behind them. To his right was Tristan, a year older than Nate. Slightly taller. Stick's apprentice. No one else in that alley had any idea what had taken place. The police thought it was just some random act of violence. Maybe even an old vendetta against the retired attorney. Only the three of them, soaked by the winter rain, knew the truth. The murderer hadn't come for Matt Murdock. They had come for the Man Without Fear. Whoever they were they had succeeded where numerous adversaries had failed. They had killed Daredevil.
"I'd like to nominate Cazzik for the Sexiest Man on Earth 2010." --Balsa

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Mir
KING OF STRONG STYLE
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Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2006 5:43 pm

Re: Men Without Fear

Post by Mir » Thu Feb 23, 2017 5:04 pm

“Yeah, you’re really old.” Holland replied with a smile. She reached out and poked him in the arm.

She was going to comment further, when a little girl came around the corner, a red head. The little girl couldn’t have been much older than eight or nine, and she clutched an old, beat up teddy bear. The girl walked up to Nathan and held the bear out. Holly noticed that the bear was missing an eye, and the girl produced the eye in her other hand.

“What’s wrong?” Nathan asked.

“His eye fell off.” The little girl said.

The look on Nathan’s face changed to one of much more concern. “Well, we’ll have to fix this right away.” He said, accepting both from the little girl. “We’ll figure this out, I promise.” He said and the little girl smiled, hugging his leg before shyly waving at Holly and then leaving the room.

“You’d probably be better off throwing the bear out and getting a new one.” Holly said.

“Oh, I would never throw this bear out.” Nathan said with a big smile. She watched as he turned the button over and over in his fingers, his thumb running over the grooves. It was as if his touch picked up so much more than everyone else’s touch. He moved it over his fingers as if it was a coin. “This is a very special bear.” He said.

“Why?”

“This is Huckleberry.” Nathan said. “Huckleberry belonged to my father and after he passed away, my mother gave him to me. The eyes always fall off, we can never stitch it back on properly.” He said.

She was touched by the sentiment he had attached to the bear. Obviously the bear meant a lot to him from where he had gotten it from. People cherished lasting memories of their deceased parents. “I’m good with a thread and needle.” Holland replied, wanting to be helpful. “I could fix him for you.”

He turned towards her. “Really?” He asked, an honest smile springing to his face. “I try to do the best I can, but I think there’s something just wrong with his eyes.” He said. “Kind of like the bear wanted to mimic the man.” He added, the smile dimming slightly. “We should keep moving.” He said.

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

“We have to throw them this fundraiser.” Holland said, sitting on her bed. She had one knee tucked close to her body, her other leg extended. She was on the phone with Isaiah. “We just have to.”

“I already promised you the fundraiser.” Isaiah said. “You better not be welching on me, Daniels.”

She sighed. “I’m not, calm down.”

She’d finally gotten back from the children’s home, having had to tear herself away from there. Holly was fairly certain she’d overstayed her welcome and had been imposing due to how long she’d been there, but Nathan had seemed more than happy to have her there and answer any questions she had. Holland had more than enough to write the article she was planning.

Now she needed that fundraiser.

The sun was setting in New York City. Tomorrow was going to be a productive day.

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Cazzik
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Re: Men Without Fear

Post by Cazzik » Sat Aug 19, 2017 1:45 pm

"It's been a long night," Nathan thought to himself.

Blood dripped from the cut on Nate's chest. Another stream trickled from his nose. His makeshift suit was cut and torn in multiple places. He gripped his eskrima sticks tightly, staring at the man in front of him. Nate had no idea who the hje was, though he was clearly impersonating his old mentor, Daredevil. Multiple familiar scents. Pungent in the air. The old penny smell on the bloody boxing wraps. The sting in his nostrils from the scent of toxic waste that had bathed his skin sometime in the past. His eyes narrowed, "What are you?"

"It would seem I'm the same as you. Same skills. Same abilities. Clearly not as honed as my own, but you are an adequate fighter," the other man twirled his Kama blades in his hands. He wielded them effectively. So effectively that Nate couldn't remember the last time he had sustained this many injuries against a single opponent. It was true, this ninja seemed to posses all of Nate's abilities. And he was well trained on top of that.

"That doesn't answer my question. Are you with the Hand? The League of Assassins? What the hell do you want in my city?" Nate felt his anger. White hot.

The ninja's heart remained steady. It was difficult to get a read on the man, "I've spent time with the Hand. But I'm here on my own accord. I'm hunting, and you've interrupted my game. Leave. Now."

"I'm not going to let you kill that man. Besides, he's long gone now. You won't find him," Nate quipped.

"You know that's not true. Either one of us could find him again, easily. I will kill him. You can't stop me. I've been paid a lot of money to end Mr. McClain's life. Even had I not, I'd kill him for free. He murdered someone important to me. This contract....it's two birds with one stone."

"I don't care what the reason is. You're not killing anyone and you're not going to continue to wear that uniform. Daredevil was a friend of mine. I won't let you tarnish his memory. Stand down. Now!" Nathan yelled at his adversary.

The ninja's head tilted, "A friend of yours......interesting. That man you just saved murdered your friend. Murdered Daredevil."

Nate began to respond but was cut off by the other man, "He murdered Matt Murdock."

Nate stopped cold. Who the hell was this guy? The ninja's heartbeat varied for a brief moment. He had clearly learned something of importance. The yellow clad warrior took this moment to hurl one of his kama blades at Nate. Matt's apprentice dodged the weapon but his adversary vanished, leaving him with one last sentence, "I'll be seeing you soon, Nathan Graham."
"I'd like to nominate Cazzik for the Sexiest Man on Earth 2010." --Balsa

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