I don't own anything except my plot. I'm not sure, if I rather had Harold or John in my life - I think a bit of both would be perfect:) But this is not about me (is it ever about us - about you or me?), it's about the two men that are both heroes in their very different own ways.

I'm pretty new to the show and to ff-net. I wrote this chapter at 3 am in Germany. I am German and English is just a language I've learned in school or, probably most of it, I taught myself by translating lyrics, reading books and talking to people in Australia, Canada, Great Britain and the US. I hope you forgive me any mistakes.

I like reviews, but I'm not begging for them. So if you leave me one, I will be happy, because to get something you didn't ask for is a much better feeling than asking for it and feel that it wasn't given from the heart and with free will. Does that make sense?;)

It was already dark outside, when he left the small store. He was happy with himself and smiling. The gift he got for his friend would hopefully make him smile.

He didn't like any kind of weapons, but he knew it was a necessary of their job; at least for his partner who was working out there, in the jungle of the numbers. It was funny how his life had changed since he had found the man. 'Funny' was probably not the right word to describe it, but the only one he could think of tonight.

He was tired, his car was parked two blocks away, because he had left it there earlier that day and had been picked up by John. He had then taken a cab to come to the store, get the gift and then his car.

The streets were lonely and in a few corners it was too dark to see much of the surroundings. There was another thing. The current weather changes didn't help his hurting back. The weather had been crazy for a couple of days now and he didn't get enough sleep at night, because he was in too much pain and then the pain got worse, because he fell asleep on his desk or the table during the daytime.

Yes, walking was uncomfortable for him. He knew, he was slower than usual, but he took his fate as it came. No, complaining wasn't like him. Such times were long over; he sometimes, lately more often, felt that he deserved the pain for what had happened because of the machine, before he and John started working together.

A group of young men stepped out of a door behind him. He always felt somewhat nervous in such situations, but didn't worry too much about it.

John had offered a few hours of training, so that he would be able to defend himself, but that was back, when he didn't know John well enough. And honestly, why? Back at that time he hadn't gone outside a lot. Funny that he remembered that just now.

He heard the boys behind him whisper and laugh and felt his nervousness reaching his heart, that was now beating faster. Then there was a voice behind him.

"Hey gimp! Move faster, you're not alone on the street."

He was used to people calling him a lot of mean words since his accident and he normally didn't care about it anymore, but it was a different situation. He was alone in a dark street with this group of boys. He stepped aside in order to let them walk by so they could walk in front of him.

"We want to see you run. Do it!"

He heard them laugh and knew he was in trouble, he stayed where he was and tried to not show his fear.

One of the guys had something in his hand and was in an instant at his side. He held the knife against his throat. "Run!"

There was no way he could run on good days, let alone on days like this, when he felt stiff and in bad pain. "I can't, but I have money."

"We don't want your money, we want to see you run." The man pushed him forward. "Run!"

And he ran as good as he could, what wasn't fast. The guys laughed, they jostled him forward, tripped him up and called him names that started hurting after a while. He felt terribly helpless.

Someone pushed him too hard, he couldn't find his balance again and fell on the ground. Pain shot through his body and he cried out.

The boys laughed even harder. "Can't walk, huh? Oh, does it hurt?"

"Hey, Rick leave him alone. He had enough." One of the guys came closer, bent over and reached out to help him get up.

He was surprised, but thankful and grabbed the strong hand. He was just half way up, when the guy pushed him back hard and he hit the ground again, this time with the back of his head. Pain ran through his body again.

Two guys picked him up pinned him to a house. Another one rammed his fist in his stomach. He bent over in pain and saw stars, when the same guy pulled his knee up and connected it with the victims forehead, before he blew several more fists across his torso and face.

He didn't know how much time had passed, when they let him go and he went down on his knees and then on the ground. He got his wallet from his pocket. He had nothing but money in it, maybe four hundred dollars. "Here's my money, please let me go."

One of the guys took the money, but didn't let him go. He got down beside him and pushed the blade deep in the good leg, through the muscles in the knee. Their prey screamed in pain. That gave them new motivation and all five of them started kicking at him.

Feet hurt his face, his head, his torso, his legs, his neck and then there were several kicks to his back. From his tailbone up his spine, he was sure they didn't miss a single part of it. When the knife was pulled out from his leg, only to be pushed in there again, this time from the other side, he felt his consciousness fading. But he didn't pass out before the knife hit again, this time somewhere else, maybe his kidney.

The guys pulled the unconscious man up and threw him into a big dumpster. They covered him with trash until nothing was seen of him. The man wouldn't make it out there anymore. It would be his death bed.

They left the dumpster and walked away into the night, discussing about a way to spend the gimp's money. None of them noticed the camera that was watching them through the whole thing.

The camera started connecting with the machine.