It was a quiet night before Matt's world burst into flames.
It being the second time this had happened, perhaps it would've been wise for Matt to react quicker, or perhaps have predicted it before it had happened. However, after his Fisk escapades, he'd grown unobservant. Weak.
He wondered what Stick would think of him now, standing outside of his burning apartment building and hearing it crumble and feeling the heat radiate off of it as it burned.
He wasn't even sure exactly what had happened, but he knew it involved the Avengers, somehow, and some kind've robot hellbent on destroying New York City. It had all occurred so suddenly that Matt was helpless to stop things from happening. The best he could do was make sure the building was empty of all life before retreating himself with only a couple burns and some singed hair.
He felt a small, wrinkled hand on his arm, and he jumped, not expecting it. His senses were all out of wack, and honestly he felt a bit like crying. He hadn't been able to save any of his own personal belongings, too caught up in making sure everyone was out safe.
He didn't regret that, but...
His dad's stuff. All he had left of him. Was now all ashes buried under the rubble. He wiped his eyes under his glasses and turned towards the woman. Underneath the smoke, he picked up the scent of cherries and weed clinging to her clothes. Miss Francine; one of his neighbors.
"Sweetie, we should go. The fire department will handle the rest. Do you have anywhere else you can stay?" She asked kindly. Matt nodded weakly, though he was unsure whether or not he was lying.
Asking to stay with Karen was a no-go, as she still wasn't comfortable around him at all, and he didn't know where he stood with Foggy trust-wise anymore.
He didn't deserve their trust, after all that had happened. But Miss Francine didn't need to know all of that. Satisfied with his answer, she walked off, leaving Matt to fumble with the phone he'd had the foresight to stuff in his pocket as he'd raced out of his collapsing building.
"Call Foggy." He instructed his phone, his voice raspy from the smoke. After a few rings, the man picked up.
"Matt. I saw the news. Are you okay?" Came Foggy's voice instantly before Matt could even give his own greeting.
"My building's gone. Crushed and set on fire by whatever it was I heard the Avengers fighting." There was an awkward silence.
"I'd offer to let you come over, man, but..." Foggy's voice trailed off awkwardly, and Matt felt embarrassed for even asking. Right.
"Right." He echoed his thoughts, his voice empty. He felt like maybe he would cry. "That's fine."
"If you don't have anywhere else to go-" Foggy started, sounding guilty. However, Matt cut him off quickly. His friendship with Foggy was still strained; they had only just recently started talking again. He didn't want to ruin that so early on by forcing himself into Foggy's private space.
"I have somewhere else I could go. Don't worry about me. Thanks anyways." He hung up before he could respond. He coughed and began to shuffle away from the building. What he could only assume was a paramedic approached him and asked him if he needed to go to the hospital. Matt shook her off, continuing down the road.
He heard the sounds of battle, but they were quickly moving away, out of Hell's Kitchen. From what he could observe, there were scarce other buildings that had been as badly damaged as his. He sat on the curb as soon as he got far enough away from the building that he could breathe through his mouth without gagging from the smell of smoke. He buried his head in his knees and forced himself to not cry.
He heard somebody running past him, before they stopped suddenly and walked back to him.
"Hey man. Are you alright?" Asked a man's voice. Matt's nostrils were still singed to the point where he had trouble discerning all but the strongest smells, but he got a whiff of stale coffee and sweat. His ears were ringing, and his senses were scattered, but he got the vague shape of him in his mind. He was very muscular, with short hair. He was wearing armor, with something strapped to his back.
An Avenger, he assumed. With this thought in mind, he recognized the man as Hawkeye, though he seemed to have lost his bow somewhere.
"'M fine." Matt managed, his voice cracking. He cleared his throat and repeated himself, this time hardly sounding like he was on the verge of tears. "Shouldn't you be out fighting?" The man swore slightly under his breath and sat beside Matt gingerly.
"Lost my weapon anyways, and the rest of the team has everything under control. 'M never much help anyways." He chucked self-deprecatingly, and leaned closer to Matt. Underneath the coffee and sweat and faint scent of explosives he smelled... Nice, actually.
He smiled weakly, appreciative of a pleasant scent amidst all the ash and dust in the air.
"So. What's botherin' you?" Hawkeye asked, sounding genuinely curious and concerned. Matt felt like crying all over again.
"My apartment. It's gone, I..." He cleared his throat. "I lost everything, and I don't have anywhere to go tonight." He felt the man's heart rate spike before he put a hand on Matt's shoulder, rubbing him soothingly. If Matt were at any other point in his life, he probably would've recoiled at the unwelcome touch. However, it had been a very long time since anyone had touched him for any reason other than to hurt him.
"Maybe you could stay with me, at the Tower? The Avenger's Tower, that is. Me and Tony aren't exactly close, but if I tell him that you're a friend of mine and lost your home..." The man suddenly interrupted himself.
"Oh shit man, are you blind?" It wasn't the rudest thing Matt had heard, but it still made him cringe back a little, just because he hadn't been expecting it.
"Um, yeah? That's not a problem right?" The man only laughed.
"Nah, man. It's just funny, because I'm deaf. Maybe together we can be a whole Helen Keller." Maybe it was just how unexpected the joke was, or maybe it was just how fucked up it was to say something like that, but Matt laughed so hard that it hurt.
"Yeah, um. Maybe we can be." His smile was so wide it was hurting his face. It felt nice to be happy again, after so long. The man pulled him a little closer, wrapping his entire arm around him, giving Matt a better picture of just how muscular the man was.
Now, Matt had had experiences with being attracted to men. Inevitably, he developed a crush on anyone that was nice to him for an extended period of time. However, this was probably the first time in his life that he had an actual honest-to-God "Holy shit, I'm gay" moment.
Bisexual? Whatever. Unimportant. What did matter is, Matt enjoyed having a very muscular man half-hug him very very much.
"So what's your name, friend?" Hawkeye asked after almost an entire minute of sitting there and listening to the sirens, completely oblivious to Matt's internal struggles.
"Matthew Murdock. You can call me Matt, though."
"I'm Clint Barton. Let's see about getting you a place to stay for the night." Clint said, standing up. He helped Matt to his feet, and Matt couldn't help but notice how calloused his fingers were.
He was most certainly screwed.