A/N: I actually came up with the idea for this and sent it to Mythopoeia-and if she writes it, she'll do a better job than me! But here is my take. =)
"Hey," Karen says one day. "Um."
She's sitting on the desk, and he knows this because she's tapping the heel of her shoe against the drawer every couple seconds. He listens to the soft cascade of her hair across her shoulder, thinks that he should really broach the subject of what color it is with Foggy.
He could always ask her, of course. But he likes to hear what someone looks like through other people's eyes. It's what he's used to.
He leans back, the sagging fill of the secondhand office chair lumpy against his shoulders. The right one's still a bit sore. He nearly dislocated it a week ago. "Proceed, Miss Page."
She laughs, a little unevenly. He frames her features in his mind—the shape of the lips that would laugh like that, eyes creased at the corners in a nervous smile.
"My question is…kind of rude," she says. Her leg swings again. She's wearing high-heels today. Patent leather—there's a faint squeak against the metal desk.
"Fire away," he tells her, smiling. "I've heard it all."
"Ok." She tucks her hair behind her ears—a strand catches on her chipped nail-polish—and clears her throat. "Why—why do you believe in God?"
"Because I'm blind?" he asks, softly, not because he's offended, but because he hasn't heard that one before, actually.
Matt blows out a breath. She won't understand, probably. They've discussed this a little before—she's vaguely spiritual at best, the kind of person who's genuine and kind and believes in karma, not much more. She'll freak out if he mentions Eucharistic Adoration, the litany of saints—much less his daily struggle. The long days of darkness, in his heart as much as in his eyes.
But does he believe?
Yeah. It's just like breathing. Sometimes it's hard. Sometimes he doesn't think about it. But he just—
"I was raised Catholic," he begins. Contrary to what some people might think, it's not hard to keep up with facial expressions. They're not dependent on sight, not for him. He smiles, arches his eyebrows, the whole nine. Quite a display, for someone who will never see again. "And—I mean, for most kids, it was probably something that their parents did. But my dad—he didn't feel at home in the Church. He saw himself as an…an outcast, I guess. Too dirty. Uh, but that's not—that's what he did. If he had allowed himself to really become part of a parish, I think they would have welcomed him."
"I don't know," Karen interjects. She's been listening, pretty intently, if her heartrate and breathing patterns are anything to go by. "I've always felt like it's a little intimidating. Incense and stained glass and the whole…guy on the cross thing." She shudders. "Kind of twisted, no offense."
Matt has to hold his hand still, keep it from darting automatically to the slash across his chest. Kind of twisted. Broken, and bloody. Karen wouldn't understand that, either.
"I guess I'm used to it," he muses. "It has a different meaning, to us. To me." His Catholicism, at least for the moment, is kind of an isolated thing. Except for Father Lantom, he's yet to connect with another person. "It's about sacrifice. Giving your all. There's something profoundly comforting in that."
"And kind of sad."
"Yes." He shrugs. "I don't think I'd be able to trust it without the sadness, though. We make the world an ugly place, don't we? God had to take all that on himself to save us."
"Save us?" Karen's eyebrows are up, though he's not sure how he knows. "You call Hell's Kitchen saving us?"
"Mankind's still a work in progress," Matt returns gently. "Salvation's offered. Not everyone takes it."
"Huh." She goes quiet, and then hops off the desk, moving to put a hand lightly on his forearm. "I still don't get it, not completely," she says. "But—I get you, a bit more. You've got a lot of faith."
Matt smiles, because the words don't come as quickly as he'd like.
Tonight, when he falls and fails and fights again, when he listens to the sorrow of a city and steps into the path of every darkness he knows, he prays that his faith will be enough.