((Co Written by The Collector ))
Matt sighed as he walked up the steps of his apartment building, pulling on his tie and folding up his white cane as he topped the stairs and walked down the hallway to his door. He hated the small building sometimes. It felt….damp…suffocating. But he didn’t have time to think about it, tonight he was exhausted. A full day at court…then longer at the office. He was not sure he was going to be able to go out on patrol tonight…his legs were already sore, his stomach aching with hunger, his head pounding. Maybe he should just go to bed? He slid his key into the door before pushing it open. “No no I at least have to go see Hamlet.” He mumbled under his breath to himself as he walked into the small apartment. But something stuck him…..right away. Someone was there. Someone was in the apartment. His breath caught and he stepped carefully around the corner of the small foyer hallway into the open floorplan of the apartment. The living room and kitchen were separated only by a bar and it was at that bar that someone sat. He was not sure who….but the flat’s darkness would hopefully give him cover too. There was no lights. Only the glow from neon signs outside the large window. “Who are you?” He cocked his head, his ear towards the perpetrator.
How the Collector had gotten into the vigilante’s apartment would be beyond most people; no broken windows, the door had been locked and there was no hole in the wall. How had he gained access? Well, that was a question that would have to lie in the wind for the rest of time. Most people knew that the Collector broke the laws of reality itself. Hell, his existence itself was technically against reality. Why was he here though? Of all the people, of all the places, he was in the home of a man who really didn’t do much to him…well except break into his home with the rest of the Rogues. Actually, that might be why he was in the vigilante’s home. “Concerned citizen,” There it was; that low and ever so gruff tone that held a heavy Kentucky drawl. “I saw…your selection of whiskey and…ohh, I just had to help myself to a drink.” There was an audible little THUNK as he set his glass down on the bar top, only to fold his arms over his chest. “I’m surprised why you need a bar. I’d hate To have you as my bartender.”
Matt’s chest began to tighten a little and he forced himself to take a deep breath. “Collector?” He mumbled and relaxed, if only slightly. Knowing who it was, well it was a considerable relief of stress. “I am very astute in many ways. You know that just as much as anyone else from the Inn….I can make a drink.” He hesitated. “I was saving that Whiskey.” He mumbled softly. Sourly.
“Mm…well, it’s certainly good whiskey. I might have to take the bottle from you. Yknow…as a way of you paying me back for breaking into my home and threatening me along with the rest of your little band of merry men,” Of course he was talking about the Rogues. The one group of people that he despised with a passion. He just sat there, trying his best to get comfortable as he enjoyed the glass. It was rare he had good whiskey. Yes he had bottles at home but he dare not use those. They were rare bottles and he’d like to keep them as full as he could for as long as possible. Matt moved a little, towards the bar top… placing a hand on it.
“I am not a invalid.” He hissed softly. “And you know my interactions with the rogues are not common. Breaking into your house was…..circumstantial.” Matt was none too fond of the rogues himself, though the group had largely fallen apart now. However he didn’t necessarily associate himself with them. And never had, him going on that mission was….well it was only because Hamlet had gone.
“You might not see yourself as an invalid but…then again. I guess you don’t see what you wear when you got out and play ‘hero’…it’s honestly hilarious.” The Collector couldn’t help but cackle loudly before he took another sip of the whiskey. It was really good whiskey, he was going to take the bottle with him. “You shouldn’t leave a good bottle out in the open if you’re intending to save it. Then again, I’m surprised if you’d be able to find it.”
. “You have been causing a lot of trouble lately….is that what it’s over?” Of course Matt was referring to the break in, NOT the whiskey. He tried his best to linger towards the collector without looking like he had too much purpose… had a knife taped to the bottom of the bar, he was trying to inch towards it casually. “why the hell are you here?”
One thing that should be remembered was that Matt wasn’t in the presence of a normal man. The Collector was a being that defied reality at times. So a knife? Good luck with that working. “Art, my blind batman,” He replied. “It’s not trouble, it’s art. I’m just taking your friends and making them into art.” And then there was another cackle. He did love to talk in the strangest ways, to confuse or to give a headache. “And why am I here? I think that’s a question you know. On the inside at least. I mean…think it through. WHY would I be here?”
He swallowed hard. “You are here…..because of Dream…aren’t you?” he asked tentatively as he sat in one of the stool. The knife may not /kill/ the collector, that was not (and rarely ever was) his intention. But disarm….distract. Allow him a chance to get away…. to get to the small glass flower that sat on his bedside table. Or the coin that was on the living room table. To get him to something that could get him out.
There was a sharp tutting sound from the Collector. “Well, you answered my question of you being an idiot.” There was a harsh edge to his voice, harsher than needed but this was the Collector after all. He apparently got off on getting under people’s skin and slowly chipping away at them. Seeing as Matt wasn’t the brightest bulb -at least in the eyes of the Collector- meant that getting under the blind vigilante’s skin was going to be easy. “It’s not because of Dream…well…it is and isn’t. It’s more of getting to Dream via Hamlet and getting to Hamlet via you.” What did he mean by that? Well it was easy. Everyone knew of his torture to Valerie and Odyne…so it was clear that Matt was now on the madman’s radar. “So…I hope you don’t mind getting your clothes messy because we. Are. Going. To. Have. Some. Fun.” Each word was met with a heavy pounding of the bar with nothing more than his fist. Why? To annoy.
Matt’s jaw clenched tightly. “Obviously.” He mumbled. “That is what I meant. By Dream. You can’t physically do anything to them that they won’t live through. That they Can’t Just…heal….” There was a certain panic rising in his chest then. Valerie….Odyne…they could survive some ‘fun’ with the Collector. But Matt was not one of them. He was a mortal. Just a man…with some good hearing and that wouldn’t help him now. Not now. He knew he wouldn’t make it to the table. He knew he couldn’t get away fast enough. He knew that the knife that his fingers were curling around wouldn’t do enough damage….
He knew he was royally fucked.
The pounding made his own heart thud louder in his chest, but it was met with a quiet sort of calm. “Then let’s have some fun…” He yanked the knife off the bottom of the bar and aimed to plunge it into the Collector’s neck and make a dive for the table. The portal coin that sat there….
“Fun, fun, fu-” Oh that wasn’t a wise move. Not a wise move at all on Matt’s part. The Collector just sighed as he watched the knife pass through him as if he was just made of mist. He did hate the stupidity of the Rogues’ sometimes. Using just his hand, he grabbed Matt’s arm and twist it violently, up to the point where any more pressure could result in a broken arm or…even worse, a compound fracture. “Do you really think I’m that stupid?” He knew of the coin. Those damn things were strange and a little irritating but he knew it was close…and he knew Matt wanted it to escape…not that he would now.
That stopped Matthew in his tracks with a strangled noise as he tried to position his body to relieve some of the pressure….to little avail. “No…” He hissed softly. “But I had to try. Fun with me is never one sided. I would hate it if you were left to put in all the work…And you should know…I am not going easily.” He smirked a little, his breathing hiked with the effort it took to keep his arm from snapping. “I will never stop fighting. And if you plan to kill me…for your sake…I hope you get it right the first time.”
“So fucking cliche.” He replied with a roll of his eyes as he kept the pressure on the vigilante’s arm. He made sure that there was no way of getting comfortable, of relieving the pain. No, the Collector liked to watch his victims squirm on the hook he casted to them. Matt was already hooked and squirming…but it just wasn’t enough. With one arm in use, the Collector leaned in and flicked his free arm. In a matter of seconds, it was nothing but mist from the elbow down yet it still held the shape his arm. “All you lot ever spout out is cliche.” And with that…his misty arm suddenly entered Matt’s body. There would be pain followed up by a sharp icy sting that assaulted every sense in the vigilante’s body. “And I don’t plan to kill you…you’ll be my new plaything for a while! Isn’t that fun!”
Matt snarled at him softly, his lips parting to say something…to interject to spit out a spiteful comment. He had not seen the misty arm’ed attack coming. It caught him by surprise, and as his body erupted into pain his knees buckled. A strangled yell escaped him, but it was choked by agony, his whole body was tensed. His other arm reached for whatever was /inside him/. But there was nothing to feel. He couldn’t see. It all just hurt. His face red with distress, and his teeth gritted…and yet he was able to manage a strangled-“Just don’t tell Hamlet.” Before his unseeing eyes fluttered closed and he sunk into a darkness, void of the pain he was enduring.