Matt cocked his head, listening for anything out of the ordinary. The night was quiet in the wake of the building collapse earlier that day. It had been just long enough for the first responders to clear out, but not long enough for business to return to normal. Apparently dozens of cops descending on the Kitchen with sirens blasting just a few hours ago had driven the ordinary criminals underground for the night.
He should probably go home and actually get a good night's sleep for once. He knew that he was getting run down between handling all of the legal work, spending his nights as Daredevil, and spending every other free moment he had with Foggy, but there wasn't a lot he could do about it right now. He just wished that he wasn't on a first name basis with the barista at the coffee shop across from the hospital.
There was a scrape of feet on the concrete roof behind him. The steps would be silent to anyone else, which meant that the person was exceptionally well trained. As the person approached, a soft whisper of air brushed the back of his neck, bringing with it the light musky scent of sweat mixed with a hint of tea tree oil shampoo and the aroma of a high end, spicy soap that made his nose itch.
Matt wasn't concerned; he'd immediately recognized the steady, almost unnaturally calm heartbeat behind him, and he turned to face his friend. Because of his radar sense, he could "see" a vague human shape in front of him, but he didn't know if the man was in costume or not. Erring on the side of formality, he nodded his head. "Iron Fist."
"You know, just once I'd like to sneak up on you," Danny said. "I should tell the Thunderer that his training regimen could use some improvement."
"If you want to go unnoticed, you should change soap," Matt said somewhat self-servingly. He was struggling not to wrinkle his nose at the odor. It was obviously expensive soap, and he was sure that to a normal person it would be pleasant, but his heightened olfactory senses didn't approve—especially when it mixed with Danny's otherwise pleasant natural scent.
Danny lifted an arm and sniffed loudly at it. "I can't even smell it. Is it that bad? Misty picked it out before—well—before."
"It makes my nose itch," Matt admitted.
Danny was quiet for a moment and then sniffed again, this time breaking out into a sneezing fit. "Oh yeah, wow, I see what you mean."
"What did you just do?" Matt asked, curious.
"I've been learning how to focus my chi to heighten my senses," Danny explained. "Some of the previous Iron Fists were very good at it, but I'm a lot better with hearing than smell. I have to try harder with smell."
"Interesting," Matt said. He leaned back against the low wall surrounding the edge of the roof and crossed his arms over his chest. "Did everything go okay tonight?"
"The office was watched," Danny said suddenly all business. "Several people were set up in the building across the street, but they never made a move. They got out of there in a hurry when all the sirens started, though." He paused and took a step closer to Matt. "So are you going to tell me what's going on?"
Danny went absolutely still, so still that Matt couldn't even hear him breathing. "…Lady Bullseye?"
"Bullseye Bullseye," Matt repeated, keeping his voice artificially light. "Although she was there too."
"So he's… alive?" Danny asked tentatively. "How is he alive?"
"Hand resurrection," Matt answered. "Apparently he's been playing games with my life since I got back to New York."
"And now?" Danny asked. "Did you… stop… him?"
Matt knew that what Danny really wanted to know was whether or not he had snapped and killed Lester—again. It frustrated—and embarrassed—Matt, but he knew that Danny had every reason to be concerned. After all he'd been a witness to the last meeting between Daredevil and Bullseye. "He's in custody."
Danny relaxed, the tension leaving the air around them.
"Thanks for your help tonight," Matt said. "I owe you one."
"Not a problem." Danny moved over and pulled himself up to sit on the wall next to Matt. "With things finally calm in K'un-L'un and Luke on diaper duty, I haven't worn the costume much lately. Most of my time is spent at the dojo or at the soup kitchen, and it's nice to get out and actu--"
Matt held up his hand and Danny cut off in mid word. "I heard something."
Matt appreciated that unlike Spider-Man, Danny actually knew when to shut up and let him use his senses. He tilted his head and concentrated his hearing, trying to reach out as far as he could. After years of practice, his brain automatically filtered out the extraneous noises. The cars on the street, the people in their apartments, and the couple fighting about money at the diner across the street all faded away until the only thing that was left was the sound of a man begging for his life a block away.
Without pausing to explain, Matt leapt off of the roof and immediately launched his grapnel at the building across the street. He swung up onto the roof and ran, jumping over the narrow gaps between buildings, following the all-too-familiar sound of fists hitting flesh. Once he got close, he could clearly hear the wet, gasping sounds that indicated a victim with a punctured lung.
He paused on the edge of the roof directly above the fight in the alley for only a second, long enough for his senses to tell him that there was one man on his hands and knees and two people standing over him. The two aggressors were laughing, their voices pitched high and nearly hysterical. Not hesitating any longer, he jumped straight down into the fray, and planted a well-aimed kick at the closest person—barely more than a boy. It knocked him back long enough for Matt to grab the other one, also a teen. The boy struggled wildly against him, stronger than a person of his size should be.
It was all Matt could do to hold him. He heard the other boy retreat, each footstep a loud slap against the pavement, but there wasn't anything that he could do about it. The injured man was gasping for air, breathing shallowly, and Matt was relieved when Danny landed in a crouch a few feet away and immediately went to aid him.
"What happened to the other one?" Matt asked, finally wrestling the boy's arms behind his back.
"I saw him run off, but he was moving fast—too fast." Danny answered before turning his attention back to the victim. "An ambulance will be here in a minute. Can you move your arm?"
Matt let Danny take care of the man and gave the boy his full attention. "What was this? What were you doing?"
"Having fun," the boy said, giggling. "I'm as strong as Spider-Man."
Matt seriously doubted that, because if he was as strong as Spider-Man there would be no way that Matt could subdue him—not physically at least. However, he was starting to get a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach. This was too familiar. "What are you on?"
"Nothing," the boy replied, quickly. It was an obvious lie, and now that Matt was paying attention, he could tell that the boy's heart was overstressed and beating erratically.
"Shit," Matt muttered.
"What?" Danny asked.
"This look like MGH to you?"
"Fuck," Danny responded. "I was hoping you took care of that problem a few years ago."
"Me too," Matt replied. The police sirens were almost on them now, and he couldn't wait to hand the boy over. He wouldn't be able to get much out of him in his present state anyway. This was the last thing he needed in his life right now.
Danny opened the door and let himself into his latest apartment. After he'd moved out of Avengers Mansion he'd found a new apartment, one without memories of Misty around every corner. They were still friends, nothing would change that, but he didn't really need to come home and be reminded of that time that they'd had sex against the kitchen counter, making the loose cabinet door over the stove creak. It made cooking dinner difficult.
In fact, he should probably institute a no sex in his apartment rule. He had a history of ill-conceived hook-ups—many of them with Misty—and putting a sex moratorium on his apartment might cut down on awkward morning afters. At the very least, it would make them easier to escape from.
He locked the door behind him and tossed his keys onto the side table before heading for the bathroom and a much-needed hot shower. He stripped off his uniform while the water warmed up and left it in a pile in the corner to deal with later. It had been a long day and if he and Matt were right about the MGH, there were going to be many more in their future.
Of course, it didn't help that Danny had spent last night and every other night of the past week out in the van distributing food and supplies to the homeless until the wee hours of the morning. Part of him felt guilty for skipping tonight, but meditation and will power could only keep him going for so long and tonight he needed sleep.
He stepped into the shower and bowed his head under the stream, letting the hot water soothe away his tension. He reached for the soap, but stopped with his hand hovering over it. He hated to let it go to waste, but he also hated that the scent irritated Matt. He didn't see Matt a lot, but he did count him a good friend, and the last thing Danny wanted to do was make him miserable. Besides, as concerning as the incident was tonight, it had felt good to be out in costume again, fighting next to somebody he trusted to have his back--good enough that he might see how Daredevil felt about company tomorrow, too.
It was pathetic how lonely he'd been lately, but with Luke off being a responsible father and Misty hip deep in Asgardian drama, he was down to a very small social circle. He really needed more friends.
Making up his mind, Danny grabbed his shampoo and used a handful as soap. He'd been using the same shampoo for years and Matt had never commented on it, so he figured it was fine and he could get new soap tomorrow.
By the time he got out of the shower it was way, way too late to call Luke—Jessica would kill him if he woke Danielle. Instead, Danny sent him a text filling him in on the MGH and the shocking news that Bullseye was alive and targeting Matt—again. Just thinking about Bullseye made Danny shiver, not because of Bullseye himself--Danny was used to dealing with psychotic assassins--but because of Matt. He had seen a lot of horrible things in his time, but watching a friend turn into a monster was up there.
Once he was done, Danny crawled into bed and fell immediately into a deep dreamless sleep.
It felt like he'd only just closed his eyes when he was woken up by somebody banging on his door. He groaned and rolled out of bed, surprised to notice that the sun was already high in the sky. Apparently he'd slept later than he thought.
"I'm coming," he muttered as he made his way to the door, rubbing tiredly at the grit in his eyes as he walked. "Hold your horses."
He opened the door and found Luke on the other side, Danielle with him in a stroller. Luke was carrying a diaper bag slung over one arm, and Danny did his best not to laugh at the fact that Luke Cage looked like he was carrying a large purse—one that on closer inspection seemed to be covered in tiny cartoon ducks.
Apparently he didn't hide his amusement well, because Luke glared at him. "The bag was a gift from Jess' mom."
"I didn't say anything." Danny held his hands up in an innocent gesture, before squatting down in front of the stroller and tickling Dani's side. "How's my favorite girl?"
"She has an upset stomach, so you might not want to do that," Luke answered.
Danny snatched his hand back and stood up. He moved away from the door, gesturing for Luke to follow him as he went into the kitchen and pulled out the eggs. "Breakfast?"
"It's after noon."
Danny shrugged as he started cracking eggs into a bowl. "Breakfast for lunch?"
"Sure," Luke said. He set the diaper bag down on the kitchen table and took a seat. "Late night?"
"Not really," Danny said. "But it's been a long week. I had some sleep to make up."
"So I got your text," Luke prompted after a moment. "And I sent you about a dozen texts this morning."
"Sorry." Danny poured the eggs into a pan and then went to put down some toast. "I had a lot of sleep to make up."
Luke grunted. "Are you doing okay? Everything good in K'un-L'un?"
"Yeah, it's fine and I'm fine," Danny answered. "Just keeping myself busy with the soup kitchen and the dojo."
Luke frowned. "You really need to get out more. I know things have been complicated since we left the Avengers and then everything with Misty—"
"I'm fine," Danny repeated firmly, hoping to derail this topic of conversation. "How's Jess?"
"Good," Luke said. "She kicked me and Dani out for a few hours. Said she needed some 'me time.'"
Luke frowned and Danny could tell he was tiring of the small talk and wanted to get down to business. "So, seriously, Danny. Bullseye?"
"Yeah," Danny answered, sobering immediately. "That's what Matt said."
"Sweet Christmas," Luke said, shaking his head. "How's he handling it?"
"I don't know. He seemed surprisingly okay about it, but we didn't really have much time to talk before duty called."
"I can guarantee he's not okay," Luke said. "Shit like that messes with your head."
"Yeah," Danny agreed. "I actually thought I might head out to Hell's Kitchen tonight and see if he wants company." He put a plate of food in front of Luke and sat down across from him with his own plate. "I've sort of missed the costume the last couple of months."
"Might be a good idea," Luke said. "And it sounds like a lot more fun than the list of chores Jess made out for me to do."
"You know," Danny said, "I love Jess and Dani, but I'm starting to think I dodged a bullet with Misty. I can't imagine living a normal life with a wife and kid."
"Neither could I until it happened," Luke said. "And trust me; nothing about my life is normal." He ate a few bites of egg before looking back up at Danny. "What about the MGH?"
Danny shrugged. "We aren't sure that's what it was, but it looked that way. Couple of teens, one too fast and the other too strong, beating up some guy. The kid we caught said he was 'as strong as Spider-Man.'"
"Sounds like MGH," Luke agreed. "I don't know why the dealers always sell it that way. Doesn't anyone want to be as strong as Power Man?"
"It's the mystery," Danny said, around a bite of toast. "No one knows who he is and kids always like a mystery. You they know."
Luke grunted as he finished his last bite. He took the plate to the sink. "We should get moving. I told Jess I'd go to the store while we're out. Wanna tag along?"
"Actually, yes," Danny said. "I have to get soap. Just give me a minute to get dressed."
Luke crouched down in front of Dani. "I think someone needs a diaper change before we leave anyway."
Danny wrinkled his nose and got out of the room before any diapers actually came off. Yeah, he was pretty sure that fatherhood wasn't for him—no matter how excited he'd been when he thought Misty was pregnant… well, after he'd gotten over the abject terror at least. He had the kids at the dojo and all of them were already potty trained. That was enough.
After an afternoon spent shopping with Luke and Dani, Danny dropped his one lone bag filled with a wide variety of soaps off at his apartment. He hadn't wanted to stand in the toiletry aisle channeling his chi to see which one was the most pleasant to heightened senses, so he'd bought a bunch of different options to try later. Luke had given him a funny look, but Danny had purposely ignored the silent question.
He took just long enough to put a clean costume on under his street clothes, stuffing the mask in his pocket, before heading out again, this time for Hell's Kitchen. It was only late afternoon, but he thought he'd see if Matt wanted to grab dinner and talk about the MGH situation before they took to the roofs.
Danny had a car take him to Matt's office. As he waited for the elevator, he realized that it was the first time he'd been here the normal way. In fact, the only time he'd been to Matt's newest office was through the window. He should probably make a point of using the front door more often.
When he got off of the elevator, he saw a harried-looking receptionist, surrounded by piles of files. She looked up when he stopped in front of her desk. "Can I help you?"
"I'm here to see Matt," Danny answered.
"Do you have an appointment?"
"It's okay, Sheila," Matt called through his partially open office door across the room. "He's a friend."
Sheila waved Danny past her, muttering about unnaturally good hearing as she returned to the files in front of her. He caught the word Daredevil mentioned more than once.
Danny entered Matt's office and closed the door behind him. "You know, for somebody who's trying to hide your identity, you aren't very good at it. Sheila's on to you."
Matt shrugged. "Her and half of New York, but the important thing is that she can't prove it." He paused. "Of course, the real secret is paying her enough that she won't bother to try."
Danny pulled out the chair in front of Matt's desk. Once he was seated, he could barely see Matt over the towering piles of paper. Matt was surrounded by even more papers than Sheila had been, and he looked frazzled. His hair was uncharacteristically mussed as if he'd been running his hands through it in frustration, and there were dark black smudges underneath his eyes. Almost as if he knew what Danny was looking at, Matt grabbed his glasses. Once they were on, the tinting hid the bags from sight.
"Big case?" Danny asked.
"Not really," Matt replied. "Just a lot of little ones. Without Foggy here, things are really piling up. He's better at keeping up with the paperwork than I am."
Danny frowned at the mention of Foggy, suddenly feeling guilty that he hadn't been to the hospital to see him yet. "How is he?"
Matt sighed. "Not great. The chemo is really wearing him out, but he's staying positive."
"That's half the battle."
Matt tilted his head at Danny. "Speaking of Foggy, I've been meaning to ask you if there's anything you could do." He waved his hand over his shoulder, in what Danny assumed was supposed to indicate a healing gesture. "Like what you did with Dakota."
Danny shook his head. "I wish I could, Matt, but cancer isn't like a bullet wound. The problem is in his own cells; I could accidentally feed it with my chi. I'm sorry."
Matt sighed again, his shoulders slumping. "It was worth a shot. So, to what do I owe the pleasure?"
"Got any dinner plans?" Danny asked. "If you're up for it I thought we could get a bite and then go try to track the MGH."
"I told Foggy that I'd stop by for a while before hitting the streets," Matt replied. "I figured I'd just grab something to eat on the way."
"Want company?" Danny asked. "I've been meaning to visit Foggy myself."
"Sure," Matt said. "Just let me finish one more stack first."
Danny pulled out his cellphone and opened up a comic app. "That gives me time to catch up on this week's comics."
Matt opened his mouth, but then seemed to change his mind, and just shook his head. He grabbed the top paper off the closest pile and Danny watched as he ran his fingers over the words, pausing occasionally to carefully make a note in the margins.
After spending way too long watching Matt's precise movements, Danny finally looked away and down at his phone. He hated reading comics on such a small screen, but it was a lot more convenient than carrying the actual issues around. He opened his favorite and settled back into the chair to read.
Matt paused in the doorway to Foggy's room, cup of coffee in hand, and listened to Foggy laughing. That was a sound he hadn't heard enough of lately. He didn't want to interrupt the moment, so he leaned against the wall beside the door and listened to Danny tell a story about Luke's parenting woes while he sipped his coffee.
Matt was glad that Danny had come to the hospital with him. Having someone else there to keep Foggy company meant that he could leave the room frequently to get fresh air without feeling like an ass, and as long as he came back with coffee or a snack, no one seemed to notice. He kept hoping that he would get used to the chemotherapy smells, but it hadn't happened yet, and it was all he could do not to throw up on his visits.
Once he finished the coffee he stuck his head in the door. "I hate to break up the party, but Danny and I should hit the streets."
"You mean roofs," Foggy commented, dryly.
"Something like that," Matt agreed. "Besides, it's getting late and you should sleep."
Foggy sighed. "I am tired. But thanks for coming. It was good to see you, Danny."
"You too," Danny replied. "I'll try to come back again soon."
Matt waved at Foggy, and then he and Danny walked side by side to the elevator. It was a novel thing to leave the hospital the normal way and not just jump off the roof in order to escape the stifling atmosphere as fast as possible.
"You okay?" Danny asked while they waited.
"It stinks in there," Matt replied, tapping his cane absently on the floor. "I threw up the first day he was on the chemo drugs."
"You didn't act like it bothered you," Danny said. "I don't think he has any idea."
Matt shook his head as the elevator opened and they both stepped on. "I hope not, but Foggy knows me too well."
"He's in good spirits."
Matt nodded and forced a grin, not really wanting to talk about Foggy's illness. He took deep breath in the confined space and was reminded of something he'd noticed earlier. "Did you really use your shampoo as soap today?"
"Your nose could put Wolverine to shame," Danny said. Matt was surprised to hear Danny's normally calm heartbeat speed up as if he was nervous or embarrassed, but when he spoke his voice was light. "I knew I was coming here. I wouldn’t want to send you into a sneezing fit mid-battle."
"It's appreciated," Matt said, his ears still focusing on Danny's heartbeat. Danny didn't get flustered easily and he was no stranger to being teased, so the reaction was unexpected.
The doors opened and they silently made their way out and into an empty alley nearby to strip off their clothes. Matt pulled the mask over his face and then stacked his clothes in a neat pile behind a dumpster. "I lose more clothes this way. Most of the time they're gone by the time I get back."
Danny tossed his clothes on top of Matt's. "I just look at it as donating them to someone in need."
"Yeah, but you have a lot more money than I do," Matt pointed out. "You know, I sometimes courier clothes across town so I have something to wear."
Danny laughed. "We probably should've just left the clothes in Foggy's room and gotten them tomorrow."
"That would have been too easy." Matt flexed his hand around his club, eager to get a move on. "Where to?"
"Luke called in a favor for me," Danny said. "One of Misty's old cop buddies told him that there's been an increase in MGH dealer arrests recently, but most of them have been just a few blocks outside of the Kitchen."
"Someone's trying to avoid me," Matt said.
"Seems like it."
"Race you there." Matt aimed his grapnel up and swung onto the closest roof.
"Bastard," Danny muttered.
Danny was fast, but he was going to have to make it up to the roof in a more traditional manner. As Matt ran, he heard Danny's feet on the fire escape behind him and he laughed. There was no way he was going to lose this race.
Sure enough, he was well ahead of Danny by the time he left the Kitchen. He slowed down when he got to the area that had seen an increase in activity and almost immediately he heard a deal going down. Drug deals always had a furtive sort of rushed quality to them. All of the people involved tended to whisper nervously in a way that Matt had trained himself to hear over the loud noises of everyday life.
He shot his grapnel and swung out in the direction of the deal. The quick drop as he waited for the line to catch was always a thrill, and combined with the anticipation of the upcoming fight, he was flooded with adrenaline. He didn't hesitate at all, dropping straight down into the alley where the deal was going down. There were four people huddled together in front of him.
"Fuck, it's Daredevil!" The shout came from a boy who had his arms lifted in a surrender gesture. Matt's radar couldn't make out enough facial features to guess how old he was, but he sounded like he was in his early teens. "I swear this was my first time, I'll never do it again."
One of the men punched the boy. "Shut up!"
Matt pointed at the boy. "You get out of here."
Matt let the boy run past him, the ammonia scent of urine washing over him. He had to hope that if the boy was scared enough to wet himself, he wouldn't go out looking for drugs again anytime soon.
"Now, the three of us are going to have a conversation," Matt said to the remaining men.
"I don't think so," the largest man replied. He drew a handgun, pointing it directly at Matt. It was an all too familiar shape to Matt's radar and he reacted immediately, dropping down and swinging out with his cane to take out the man's legs.
Matt's move would have worked if it was an ordinary gun. Unfortunately, before he had a chance to knock the man off of his feet, an intense sonic blast filled the alley. He was completely disoriented by the piercing sound and let go of the cane to cover his ears. It felt like someone had stuck a knife in his ear and twisted, the pain radiating through his head and down his spine.
That was when he felt the first punch. The impact was almost welcome because it gave him a momentary distraction from the pain in his head, but it didn't last. Steeling himself, he dropped his hands, exposing his ears to the full intensity of the sonic weapon, and lunged forward, fists flying. The noise had him off his game, though, and one of the men caught his arm and pulled it back until he felt a sickening pop.
The man threw him against the wall—hard—and he slid down to the ground, clutching his arm. Pain was now radiating from his shoulder as well as his ears. He took a deep breath, bracing himself to stand, but suddenly it was all over. The men were gone and the alley was so silent it was deafening. The only thing he could hear was a ringing in his head.
His ears felt raw and his radar was disorienting him because of the attack on his hearing, but he caught the familiar scent of tea tree oil shampoo mixed with sweet sweat. Danny was here. Matt couldn't hear his heartbeat, but he trusted his nose and relaxed back against the wall.
Matt rubbed at his ears with his good hand, waiting for his hearing to return. This wasn't the first time someone had pulled a sonic weapon on him, and it always took a few minutes for his senses to right themselves. This weapon had been particularly effective, though. Someone had upgraded.
He felt a hand touch his knee gently. He assumed that Danny was trying to talk to him so he shook his head and pointed at his ears. "Sonic weapon. Can't hear."
Danny took Matt's hand in his and guided it until it was resting on the side of his own face before nodding once.
"It should come back in a minute," Matt said. Danny nodded again before dropping Matt's hand and stepping back.
Matt closed his eyes and focused on his hearing. Before long he began to hear his own heartbeat, a bit more stressed than usual because of the pain, and after that things came back quickly. The sounds in the alley rushed in—although still slightly muffled—and with them his radar snapped back. The vague blob that had been standing in front of him was now Danny-shaped. There was no one else nearby, so the dealers must have gotten away.
"Okay," Matt said. He reached out his good arm. "It's back. Help me up?"
Danny grabbed him and pulled him to his feet. Matt kept his injured arm close to his body, but his shoulder still screamed in protest at the jostling, causing him to curse.
"You okay?" Danny asked, concerned.
"I think one of them dislocated my shoulder," Matt said, gritting his teeth against the radiating pain.
"Serves you right." Danny began probing Matt's shoulder with less than delicate fingers. "You're the one who made this a race and ended up alone against three thugs who were probably hopped up on MGH."
"I can handle three people." Matt said, defensively.
"Apparently not this time," Danny pointed out with a sharp poke to Matt's shoulder. "What happened, anyway?"
"I caught a deal in process, but they were ready for me," Matt said. "Sonic guns aren't common. Obviously whoever's behind this knows me."
Danny sighed. "You just jumped down into the middle like last night didn't you?"
"It usually works for me."
"I'm really not used to being the responsible one," Danny complained. "I hate that you're making me have to be the responsible one."
Matt laughed, momentarily distracted from the pain in his arm, which was apparently Danny's plan because without warning he suddenly wrenched Matt's arm, popping the bone back into the socket. The pain was excruciating and drowned out all of the noise around him until all Matt could hear was his own racing heart.
"Fuck! Warn a person."
"It's easier not to." Danny manipulated Matt's arm, rotating it around before letting go and stepping back. "So you have two choices: either I take you to the Night Nurse and she makes sure you take care of that, or I come back to your place and I do it."
"I can take care of it," Matt said lifting his arm carefully to make sure he could actually move it without Danny guiding it.
"That wasn't one of the options," Danny said. "I'm being the responsible one, remember? I don't trust you to ice it properly."
Matt rolled his eyes behind his mask. "Fine, but only if you use some of your healing mojo on it."
"Deal," Danny said.
They started back towards Matt's apartment, but this time Matt joined Danny on the fire escape to save his shoulder the strain of using his grapnel.
"What kind of drug dealers invest in sonic weapons?" Danny asked. "Those aren't cheap. Someone is going to a lot of trouble to avoid you, but still armed their street level dealers with sonic weapons. Are all the criminals that scared of you?"
"Pretty much," Matt replied. "It helps when they think you're more unstable than they are." Danny didn't respond, but Matt could tell that he was holding his tongue. "What?"
"Do you…" Danny started. He took a deep breath. "Yesterday you said that Bullseye had been manipulating you for months. Do you think that this is something he could have set up before he got arrested?"
"You don't have to do that," Matt said. "I'm not going to break if you mention his name. I'm good. Honest."
"This from the man that just said the criminals think he's unstable," Danny muttered.
"It could be Lester, I guess," Matt said, answering Danny's original question. "But he was trying to get my attention; this feels like the opposite."
"Yeah, yeah it does."
By the time they got back to his apartment, Matt's shoulder was throbbing and he was fairly certain that it had swollen up underneath his costume. He was not looking forward to trying to get it out of the sleeve.
"Okay, strip," Danny said as soon as they were inside.
"Shouldn't you buy me dinner first?" Matt joked as he took off his mask, tossing it onto the kitchen counter.
"I did," Danny said, indignantly. "Remember that hot dog vender outside the hospital? He wasn't giving them out for free."
Matt started to chuckle, but it quickly turned into a gasp as he tried to pull his costume off of his shoulder to free his arm.
"Here, let me help." Danny's hands were gentler this time than they had been in the alley. With Danny's help, he managed to free his arms and he pushed the costume down around his waist.
"How bad is it?" Matt asked. "It feels swollen."
"It is," Danny said. He ran his callused fingertips gently over Matt's shoulder, a warm tingle following in their wake.
"That feels strange."
"Shhh," Danny hushed him. He took a step closer to Matt and pressed his entire palm against Matt's shoulder. "Focus your chi."
Matt closed his eyes and tried to meditate, but it was hard to concentrate when they were standing so close that he could smell the orange juice Danny had drunk at the hospital still lingering on his breath and mixing with the strong scent of his shampoo. Adding to the distraction, he could feel every hard callus on Danny's hand as he rubbed soft circles into Matt's skin, each caress sending warm pulses through him.
He was surrounded by Danny, his senses drowning in him. Just knowing that each tingle in his shoulder was Danny's life force running through him like electricity was almost overwhelming, and before he thought it through, he leaned forward and pressed his lips to Danny's, a sharp bite of citrus flooding his mouth at the contact.
Danny's hand stopped moving, the energy suddenly cut off. Matt pulled away, an apology on his lips, but before he could get the words out Danny lunged forward and crashed their lips together. Matt leaned into him, returning the kiss, and wrapped one arm around Danny's waist, bringing his other hand up to trace over Danny's jawline.
He'd touched Danny's face earlier, but he'd been too distracted by the pain to really register what he was feeling. He carefully explored Danny's cheek with his fingertips, feeling the bones, and filling in the blanks that "seeing" Danny's radar outline couldn't give him. Danny felt handsome.
He'd never kissed a man before—not that he hadn't been attracted to men, because he had been—and the stubbled jaw under his hand was a new experience. He could feel each hair scratching at his hand, hundreds of little scrapes that made him shiver. He slowly moved his hand up until he reached the smooth fabric edge of Danny's mask. He pushed it up and off, his fingers running through Danny's short, damp hair as the cloth mask hit the kitchen floor.
Danny broke the kiss and leaned his forehead against Matt's. "What are we doing?"
"Going upstairs?" Matt suggested, playing with the hairs at the nape of Danny's neck. He slid his other hand down the sleek material of Danny's costume, brushing over his firm, muscular ass.
Danny pressed closer, his body flush against Matt's. "Yeah, okay."
In the Kitchen by zepher.
Danny lay perfectly still with his back to Matt. Matt was breathing deeply and the last thing he wanted to do was wake him up. That way led to talking, and he didn't think he could handle a conversation about this right now, so instead he stared at the shadows dancing on the curtains. He could tell that his eyes were unnaturally wide, almost bugging out, and there was no way he was going to be able to sleep.
Why did he always do this? He always ended up sleeping with his friends, making everything complicated. Ill-conceived hook-ups were practically his MO with Misty, but the last person he'd expected to have poorly thought out sex with was Matt. Well, that wasn't true; there were less likely people, like Deadpool, but that wasn't really the point (and they weren't actually friends anyway).
Danny tried to reign in his racing thoughts, because the last person he wanted to think about while naked was Deadpool. Naked. He was still naked—in Matt's bed. He hadn't even realized that Matt liked men, but apparently he did, if the really great orgasm he'd just had was any indication. Everything had been great, actually, from the kiss to the way Matt seemed to know just how to touch him to make him see stars.
Matt had made him see stars and all he'd done was give Danny a freaking hand job. He was so screwed.
He forced his eyes closed and took a deep breath, using all of his considerable training to clear his mind. It didn't work. Apparently he'd been able to meditate in a hell dimension while being beaten bloody every night, but this was too much for him.
Deciding that sleep wasn't going to happen tonight, and especially not with Matt's warm body lying next to him, he carefully pulled back the sheet and stood up. He grabbed his costume off of the floor and tried to get dressed as quietly as he could. He paused every few seconds to listen for Matt's breathing, but it never left the even rhythms of sleep.
Danny didn't believe for one second that Matt was actually still asleep. There was no way that a man who could hear a fight happening three blocks away without even trying had slept through his clumsy attempts to get dressed in the dark, but he appreciated that Matt was letting him have whatever was left of his dignity.
Once he was decent, Danny slipped out of the room and left Matt's apartment. It was still early enough that it would be easy to hail a cab, but he decided to walk. The night was clear and the moon was bright, and hopefully a walk would clear his head..
"What the hell, Danny?" Luke asked as soon as he opened the door. "Do you know what time it is?"
Jess peered over Luke's arm and gave him an appraising look. "Are you injured? Are there people after you? Do you need immediate back-up?"
"No," Danny said, starting to feel guilty for waking them up. He wasn't even sure how he'd ended up here. It hadn't been a conscious thought, but when things in his life got complicated, Luke was his go-to.
"Then why the fuck did you wake us up at four in the morning?" Jess asked.
"I slept with Matt," Danny blurted out.
There was dead silence for about ten seconds before Luke spoke. "Slept with, slept with?"
"I'll put on the coffee," Jess said. She pulled her robe tighter around herself and disappeared into the kitchen while Luke stepped back to let Danny in.
"You slept with Matt… Murdock?" Luke asked, sitting down on the couch. Danny nodded and Luke shook his head. "Do you want to die a horrible death?" Danny glared at Luke, who held his hands up innocently. "The dude has a pretty bad track record is all I'm saying."
Danny flopped dramatically back into the nearest chair. "What am I going to do?"
"Well, don't take this the wrong way, but is this a new thing?" Luke asked, his voice carefully neutral. "The guy thing?"
Danny dropped his eyes to stare at his hands. "No, but it's been a long time."
"Okay," Luke said. "So this freak-out is about Matt then?"
"Wouldn't you freak out if you slept with Matt?"
"I would freak out if Luke slept with Matt," Jess said, coming into the room with three mugs on a tray. "But I don't share well."
Luke snorted. "Yeah, I can't even imagine a situation where that would happen."
Jess handed Danny his usual mug—it had a cartoon dragon on it, which Luke had bought as a joke. "Yours is chamomile tea, since it doesn't look like you've slept at all."
"Thanks," Danny said, taking a small sip. "How do I always end up in these situations?"
"You think with your dick," Jess offered, not at all helpfully.
"Thanks," Danny said dryly. "I appreciate your loving support."
"Oh, come on, Danny," Jess said. "This isn't that big of a deal. In fact, it kind of makes sense."
"It does?" Luke and Danny said in unison.
"I've seen the two of you fight together," Jess said. "You're usually in perfect harmony, almost erotically so."
"You know, you have a point," Luke said. "The two of you do have a certain rhythm, although I don't know about it being 'erotic.'"
"I know what you're getting at," Danny said. "Fighting alongside Misty was always like sex, but I've never thought about it that way with Matt. Besides, last night we were anything but in sync. He ended up with a dislocated shoulder."
"Maybe that's why you banged," Luke suggested. "To get back into the right rhythm."
"Was it good?" Jess asked, curiously.
Danny felt his face heat up. "Uhhh."
"You do not have to answer that," Luke said, giving Jess a glare. "In fact, I'd prefer to be left in the dark about some things."
Jess laughed. "Seriously, though, what are you afraid of?"
"Matt and I are friends. I don't want to ruin that."
"Then don't," Luke said. "You're both grown men. There's no reason it has to be weird. Sex doesn't have to mean anything."
Danny didn't say anything, not meeting Luke's eyes.
"…unless it did," Luke said, picking up on Danny's discomfort. "Do you like him?"
"I don't know," Danny answered. "Maybe? I bought like twenty different bars of soap yesterday because my usual one irritated his sense of smell."
"So that's what that was about!" Luke exclaimed. "That was fucking weird. Yeah, I'd say you like him."
Danny buried his head in his hands. "That's what I was afraid of."
"Look on the bright side," Luke said. "I think you're getting over Misty. Although Matt comes with a shitload of issues, so I don't know if that's an upgrade."
A loud wail intruded on their conversation as Dani started crying.
"I've got it," Jess said to Luke as she stood up. "Make him get some sleep before he leaves."
Luke nodded. "Sure thing."
"So you're okay with all of this," Danny asked quietly after Jess was out of earshot. "The me being bi thing?"
"Yeah," Luke said, leaning over and clasping Danny's shoulder. "You're my brother and nothing is ever going to change that."
It was late morning by the time Matt finally dragged himself out of bed. He hadn't slept well because the entire room smelled like sex—sex and Danny. The air was thick with the heavy, sweaty odor of it and he was going to have to change the sheets later if he wanted to get any sleep tonight. As it was, he'd spent most of the night half-hard because his body couldn't decide if the scent was gross or a turn-on. Either way, he definitely needed to get away from it, so he took a quick shower to wash away the almost bleach-like smell of come, which was burning his nose.
The hot water helped to soothe the residual ache in his shoulder. Danny's chi had seriously sped up the healing time and it was almost as good as new, only twinging a little when he rotated it. It would probably have been completely back to normal if he hadn't interrupted Danny with that kiss. That really amazing kiss…
He still wasn't entirely sure how they'd ended up there. The whole situation reminded him of what had happened with Dakota. Apparently there was something about shoulder injuries that really turned him on. He obviously had issues, but at least he wasn't married this time. That was an improvement, right?
Matt sighed and leaned his forehead against the cool, smooth tiles. The last thing that he needed to do was screw up another friendship like he had with Dakota. As confusing as last night was, though, he had bigger things to worry about. There was someone out there flooding the streets with MGH and he couldn't let that stand.
He hurried through the rest of his morning ritual and headed down to the kitchen to grab a piece of toast on his way out. As he entered the room, his radar picked up a strange lump on the floor. Kneeling down, he was hit with a blast of Danny's natural scent, heavily overlaid with the familiar tea tree oil shampoo. Apparently Danny had forgotten his mask on his way out. Matt picked it up and shoved it into his pocket.
Matt put a slice of bread in the toaster and took out his cell phone to call Foggy while he waited for it to pop up.
"Hello?" Foggy asked, his voice weak.
"Hey, buddy!" Matt said, forcing himself to be as cheerful as possible. "How're you doing today?"
"Tired," Foggy replied. "But I managed to keep down breakfast, so I'm not complaining."
"Good," Matt said. "Listen, I'm calling because something big has come up and I may not be able to make it to the hospital today."
"How big?" Foggy asked.
"Some MGH dealers with sonic weapons," Matt said. "They're selling to teenagers."
"Not good. Part of me was hoping you just had a date with Kirsten."
"Nope, not Kirsten," Matt said, absently patting the bulge in his pocket where Danny's mask was. "Definitely not Kirsten."
"I still feel bad about that," Foggy said. "I shouldn't have—"
"Foggy, it's fine," Matt interrupted him. "I don't think that Kirsten and I would have worked out anyway."
"I know that tone!" Foggy exclaimed, his voice growing stronger in his excitement. "You've got a new girl. Well, who is she?"
Matt sighed. He was not going to have this conversation with Foggy over the phone. "There's no girl."
"Damn it," Foggy said. "I was hoping to live vicariously through you."
Matt chuckled. "You'll just have to settle for stories about me taking out drug dealers instead."
"Do you have any leads?" Foggy asked.
"Not really," Matt replied. "Danny's been helping me, but I've been too busy to investigate properly."
"You should have him bring Misty in," Foggy suggested. "A PI could investigate easier than you anyway."
"I think they broke up," Matt said. The last thing he wanted to do was see Misty the day after he'd had sex with her ex.
"So?" Foggy asked. "They're always breaking up and then getting back together. It's what they do. Besides, is this crime fighting or high school?"
Matt's stomach sank at Foggy's words. He was surprised by how much he didn’t like the idea of Misty and Danny getting back together, but he pushed that aside. Foggy was right. He was way too old to be acting like this. "You're right. A PI would be helpful."
"Of course I'm right," Foggy said. "I'm always right."
Matt laughed. "Don't let it get to your head. I'm going to get off here, but I'll check in with you later."
Once he'd hung up, Matt grabbed his toast and headed out the door. He had someone he had to see.
It had been a long time since Matt had heard Dakota's heart, but its every beat was still achingly familiar. Just hearing it again brought back all of the mistakes that he'd made. Mistakes that he never wanted to make again.
"This is a surprise," Dakota said, greeting him at her office door. He could tell by the tone of her voice that the surprise wasn't a pleasant one. "What brings you here?"
"I want to hire you for a job."
"No way," Dakota said. "I've washed my hands of Nelson and Murdock for good."
"This isn't for the firm," Matt paused for long enough to make sure no one was close enough to overhear him, but he and Dakota were the only two people in the building. "It's for Daredevil."
"Even worse," Dakota said.
Matt sighed. "I just need you to run some records and talk to some cops. It'll be a lot faster than if I try to do it."
Dakota sat down in her desk chair, the leather creaking. "What's it for?"
"MGH," Matt answered, leaning against the wall and crossing his arms. He absently tapped his cane against the side of his leg while he talked. "Someone is dealing it just outside of Hell's Kitchen."
"And you need me because the cops outside of the Kitchen don't like Daredevil very much?" Dakota asked.
It was true that his reputation had taken a hit after his stint with the Hand. The cops in Hell's Kitchen had been on Daredevil's side for years and so they'd mostly forgiven him, but outside his home turf the opinions were more mixed. He'd hoped his time with the Avengers might have helped that, but Avengers popularity was at an all-time low too. Not that it mattered. He wasn't in it for the fame.
"That would help," Matt said. "But to be honest, with Foggy in the hospital, I've just been swamped."
"How is Foggy?" Dakota asked, her tone softening.
"He's tough," Matt replied. "His spirits are good."
"Good," Dakota said. "Send him my best."
"I will," Matt promised. "So will you take the job?"
"Are you sure you wouldn't like a referral?" Dakota asked hopefully. "Misty would be great at this. She knows that territory better than I do and she knows your identity, too."
"Not Misty," Matt said, a little too fast.
"Okay," Dakota said, drawing the vowels out. "I'll do your legwork if you explain why you just freaked out at the mention of Misty."
"I didn't freak out," Matt said indignantly.
"You sort of did," Dakota said. "For you, at least. And now you're avoiding."
"I slept with Danny," Matt said quickly, deciding to rip it off like a band aid. Maybe talking about it would help him figure things out; besides, he had never been very good at keeping secrets.
Dakota didn't respond at first, but just as her silence started to concern Matt, she started laughing. It started off soft, but built up into a hearty chuckle. "So you thought seeing your ex was easier than seeing his?"
"Something like that."
"Man without fear, my ass," Dakota muttered under her breath. "So do you like him?"
Matt shrugged. "We're friends."
"The best relationships start that way," Dakota said. "At least he knows what he's getting into."
"So did you," Matt pointed out.
"Honey, what we had was not a relationship," Dakota said. "What we had was awkward."
"Yeah, yeah it was." Matt remembered the time she had driven him to see his wife after they'd slept together and felt the familiar shame well up. He crossed the room and sat in the chair across from her. He leaned forward so that his elbows were resting on his knees. "I am so sorry, Dakota. I really am."
"I know," she responded softly. "Water under the bridge. So tell me about the MGH."
Midway through filling her in, Matt's cellphone beeped with a text message. He took it out of his pocket and made sure that the volume was on the lowest level before he told it to play. He'd had Tony make this phone special for him so that it read the texts so quietly that most people wouldn't be able to hear them. It was also much better at actually pronouncing the words than any of the other phones he'd had. Sometimes it was nice to know people.
The computer voice Tony had programmed was female and cheerful and at total odds with the message. "Text from Danny Rand. MGH at the School of Thunder. Someone sold to my kids. I'll fucking kill them. End text."
"I have to go," Matt said, already typing out a reply to Danny on the keyboard he'd insisted Tony add—touch screens were the worst. "Danny has a lead on the MGH."
"I'll run down some contacts at the precinct and get back to you," Dakota called after him as he left the room.
Danny slammed the empty locker shut and moved on to the next one. He cut the lock and opened it to reveal a jacket and a stack of books. He picked up the jacket and shook it out before checking the pockets. All he found was a stick of gum. He tossed it onto the ground and moved on to the books, upending each one before feeling around the shelf.
"Have you ever heard of the fourth amendment?" Matt asked from the doorway.
Danny spun around to face him. "They signed away those rights with their membership."
"No way that kind of waiver holds up in court," Matt said. He paused thoughtfully. "Although, you do have the private institution thing going for you. If anyone sues, I'll take the case."
"Gee, thanks," Danny muttered. He was so angry he was practically shaking. He really wanted to punch something, but the last thing he needed was another wall to replace. "My kids are on MGH and you have jokes."
"Hey." Matt stepped closer and reached out a hand, laying it lightly on Danny's arm. "We'll find the bastard."
Danny leaned into Matt's touch, feeling some of the tension leave him. Matt ran his hand down Danny's arm, leaving goose bumps in its wake, and squeezed his hand once before stepping back.
"So what happened?"
"I haven't been here enough lately." Danny leaned back against the row of lockers. He resisted the urge to rub over his arm where Matt had touched him. "I checked in today and one of the tutors told me that a few of the kids have been extra aggressive, which isn't unusual. A lot of the kids here have more than enough reason to be aggressive without drugs, but when one of them threw me through a wall it wasn't hard to figure out."
"Yeah," Danny replied. "I was thrown through a wall by a kid who couldn't weigh more than a hundred pounds. Alicia's a middle-schooler and she threw me hard enough that the whole wall came down with me. She's a good kid, though, felt horrible about it and admitted everything."
"Where is she?" Matt asked.
"Her aunt took her to the hospital. She needs to detox safely and they're going to run tests to make sure she didn't do long term damage to her genetic code," Danny explained. "She hasn't even hit puberty yet. Who knows what this is going to do to her in the long run?"
"Did she say where she got it?"
Danny shook his head. "No, and I'm not going to press her. It's hard enough for kids out here without being labeled a narc."
Matt nodded. "Okay. I asked Dakota to talk to the cops. Hopefully she'll find something that way."
"It's just, Matt, she's barely more than a baby." Danny ran his hands through his hair, yanking on the ends in frustration. "She said she just wanted to have cool powers like Dazzler."
Matt shook his head sadly. "Come on, Danny, you need to get out of here. We can do a lot more good out there than you can tearing through all these lockers. Speaking of…" He pulled Danny's mask out of his pocket. "You left this last night."
Danny blushed, extremely glad that Matt couldn't see it, although when he looked at Matt he was amused to see that the tips of his ears were redder than his hair. He took the mask from Matt and crammed it into his own pocket. "Uh, thanks."
Matt unbuttoned the top button on his shirt, momentarily exposing a flash of red spandex underneath. "Do you have someplace I can ditch my clothes?"
Thinking about Matt undressing made his blood suddenly run south, and in order to avoid looking at Matt, he bent down and gathered up the scattered contents of the locker. Danny carefully put the books back onto the shelf, taking extra time aligning their spines in hopes that his burgeoning erection would go down. He wasn't wearing the right pants to hide an erection. Logically he knew that Matt couldn't see it, but logic didn't seem to matter right now. Besides, who knew how good that radar sense of his was?
"Uh, yeah," Danny finally answered. He managed to focus his mind enough to control the flow of blood in his body, before closing the locker and turning around to face Matt. "We can stow our stuff in my office."
Danny led Matt to his office and resolutely avoided watching as Matt slipped out of his suit. He knew it was ridiculous since Matt was wearing his entire costume underneath his clothes, but he was still a little flustered.
"Where to?" Danny asked once they were changed. With his mask on he felt a lot more in control, thankfully.
"Until Dakota gets back to me, I thought we could stake out the area from last night," Matt suggested.
"Sounds good," Danny replied. "But no racing this time."
"No racing," Matt promised.
Danny scanned the streets below him on the lookout for anything suspicious, but he really doubted there would be much activity before dark, which was an hour away. Still, he did feel better now that he was doing something proactive.
"I hate stakeouts," Matt said. He was crouched on the roof, hidden in the shadows with his head tilted as he listened to the people below. "Too much sitting, not enough doing."
"It was your idea," Danny pointed out. He watched as a man bumped into several people coming out of the stores. "There's a pickpocket down there."
"If you stop him we'll have to find a new vantage point," Matt warned. "No dealers will come near this street tonight after an appearance by Iron Fist."
"I know, but I hate just letting it go." Danny sighed and leaned against the roof railing. "I feel so useless today."
"Danny, who's paying for Alicia's hospital bills?"
"A charitable fund set up for the—"
"Danny," Matt pressed.
"Me," Danny admitted. "I had the money wired around so that her aunt didn't know it all came from me. I know she wouldn't have felt right accepting it."
"It seems to me, that you've been anything but useless today," Matt said. He frowned and reached into a belt pouch, pulling out his phone. "I got a message."
Danny watched as Matt pressed a button, all of his concentration on the phone. After a moment he typed a response, his thumbs banging hard against the keys. "What is it?"
"Dakota texted. It's the Owl," Matt nearly growled.
"Wasn't he behind it last time?" Danny asked.
"Yes," Matt replied curtly, turning to face out over the edge of the roof.
"Matt?" Danny asked, concerned by Matt's abrupt change in attitude. "Talk to me."
Matt didn't answer, his back tense.
"Seriously, Matt," Danny said, growing irritated. "I know you're used to being a lone wolf, but we're working together on this and I don't have time for whatever this is, so talk to me."
Matt finally spoke, his voice tight. "Last time I paralyzed him. I carefully sliced every single nerve so that he couldn't even feed himself, but still he's back."
Danny hadn't known that. He wasn't sure if purposely paralyzing the Owl was better or worse than killing Bullseye. He stepped closer to Matt, trying to see his face. "When was that?"
"Before Shadowland," Matt said. "And, in my defense, he was going to rape Dakota."
Danny took a deep breath but kept silent. He knew Matt was trying to make things right after Shadowland and him being judgmental wouldn't help things.
After a moment Matt sighed, some of the tension leaving him. "Sorry. I'm trying not to let myself get back into that mindset and the last thing I need to do is let the Owl of all people get under my skin."
Danny shuddered. "That's a visual I really didn't need."
Matt let out a surprised laugh. "Not much danger of that. Trust me."
"I do." Danny said, seriously. "I do."
Matt smiled at him and Danny decided to take a risk. He leaned forward and pressed his lips softly to Matt's for just long enough to feel Matt reciprocate before he pulled back.
"So what else did Dakota say?"
"Apparently Leland's been trying to avoid me and Spider-Man and that's why he's set up out here," Matt answered. "Spider-Man caught him not too long ago, but he got off on a technicality."
"They always do."
"She said the police are pretty sure he's holed up in an old factory a few blocks from here, but don't have enough evidence to move on him," Matt continued. "None of the dealers or users have been willing to turn." He frowned. "What I don't get is why the sonic weapons?"
"To keep you away," Danny pointed out the obvious.
Matt waved a hand. "No, what I mean is that Leland has never been this patient and cautious before. He doesn't have the temperament for this kind of planning."
Danny shrugged. "Maybe he learned some patience when he was laid up."
"Maybe," Matt said doubtfully. He shook his head. "First Bullseye and now the Owl. Who's going to show a surprising new degree of cunning next? Man-Bull?
Danny laughed. "That'll be the day. So what's our plan?"
"I hate this plan," Danny said. He was crouched down next to Matt on the roof across from the Owl's hideout, watching as various cars pulled up, letting unsavory-looking people out.
"He'll never see it coming," Matt said.
"I hate being the decoy." Danny plucked at his costume. "It's because the white and gold is bad for sneaking, isn't it? I knew I should have gone with black."
Matt shook his head. "Danny, I have no idea what your costume looks like, but yes, you should have gone with black. White doesn't blend in anywhere."
"It does in the snow."
"Does that come up often?" Matt asked, curiously.
"More than you'd think," Danny replied. "Ask Luke about the last time he went to Tibet with me sometime."
A large black SUV pulled up in front of the factory and Matt sat up straighter. "That's him. I can hear his screeching voice."
Sure enough, the back door of the SUV opened, revealing the Owl. Danny would recognize that ridiculous haircut anywhere. "Yeah, I see him."
Danny popped a set of earplugs in. He wasn't as sensitive to sonic weapons as Matt was, but there was no reason to take chances. "Yeah."
"Give me ten minutes," Matt told him, his voice muffled by the earplugs. "And try to take out any sonic weapons."
"You got it." Danny jumped over the edge of the roof, landing on the fire escape, and quickly climbed the rest of the way down.
Once he reached street level, he squared his shoulders and walked straight towards the front door. As he walked, he concentrated the chi of Shou-Lao into his fist. He had wanted to punch something all day, and the large metal door was right there. Matt wanted a distraction after all.
Matt heard a huge crash followed by the painful sound of machine gun fire. He couldn't hear anything underneath the loud shots, but he had to assume that Danny had everything under control. Despite his complaints, Matt knew that Danny had no problem walking into a room full of armed thugs. In fact, he was probably looking forward to it.
While the Owl and his men were distracted by Danny, he swung over to the roof of the factory. There was one guard by the roof access door, but he didn't even know Matt was there until the flying club hit him between the eyes, knocking him out.
Matt stepped over the unconscious man and moved cautiously down the stairs. The gunfire was still drowning out most of his hearing, but in the occasional pauses he caught Danny's voice, usually followed by someone else screaming.
"Which one of you did it?" Danny yelled in a lull. "Which one of you sold drugs to my students?"
Any confessions were drowned out by the sound of bullets firing.
Matt continued his slow creep down, relieved that there hadn't been any sonic blasts yet. He'd hoped that sending Danny in first would distract them enough that they wouldn't bother using them. If they believed that a stupid dealer had pissed off Iron Fist, they wouldn't think to defend against Daredevil. He and Danny had worked together before, but it wasn't often enough that the criminals would expect it.
He reached the catwalk above the main floor and stopped to analyze the situation. He immediately picked out Danny in the middle of about a dozen men. There were another half a dozen unconscious around him. Matt could tell that Danny was playing with them, his movements slow and exaggerated. If he was going all out there wouldn't be anyone left standing.
Off to one side on some sort of platform was the Owl. He was screaming orders and threats to his men, his voice like nails on a chalkboard. It made Matt's skin crawl and he welcomed the next volley of machine gun fire which drowned him out.
Matt stalked around the catwalk, staying well in the shadows, until he was right above the Owl. Using all of the skills that Stick had drilled into him, Matt dropped down silently behind Leland. He'd barely made a sound, even to his own ears, and Leland didn't notice anything. Matt stood up, his arm wrapping quickly around the Owl's neck, pressing just hard enough to keep him still.
"Call them off," Matt growled into his ear. "Or I break your neck."
"You wouldn't," Leland gasped.
"Ask Bullseye what I would or wouldn't do."
"Daredevil!" someone yelled and the chaos below suddenly stopped as all of the men turned to look up at the platform.
"What am I? Chopped liver?" Danny asked, smashing a gun out of one man's hands.
"The sonic weapons!" the Owl screamed, struggling against Matt's hold. "Shoot him, you idiots!"
Danny moved faster than Matt's radar could reliably track, and suddenly he was the only man standing, a pile of unconscious men surrounding him.
"My back-up's better than yours, Owlsley." Matt squeezed the Owl's throat just a little tighter.
Matt heard a creak as Danny opened a crate. "There are whole crates of MGH down here. The first responders should see plenty of it in plain sight when they answer the disturbance call."
"What disturbance call?" the Owl gasped.
"The one my friend down there is about to make," Matt said. "Now you have two choices. You either talk to me, or you talk to the cops, but you aren't getting out of this one."
Almost as soon as Danny hung up his phone, Matt began to hear sirens in the distance.
"You bastard! I left Hell's Kitchen alone!" the Owl yelled. "What more do you want?"
"What I want," Matt said harshly, "is for slime like you to stop selling drugs to schoolchildren. Now, where did you get the sonic weapons?"
The Owl squirmed in Matt's hold, bucking around until he managed to bite Matt's arm. Thankfully his gloves were long enough to protect him.
"I don't think he's going to talk," Danny said, coming closer. "He's starting to froth a little at the mouth."
"The last thing I need is rabies," Matt muttered. He shook Leland. "The guns—where did you get them?"
"You'll pay for this!" the Owl screamed. "Next time I won't avoid the Kitchen!"
"There's not going to be a next time." Matt spun around, slamming the Owl's head against a metal beam hard enough to knock him out.
"Here," Danny called up to him, tossing a heavy chain up to Matt.
Matt took the chain, which had a hook on one end, and threw it up over the catwalk. He looped the other end around the Owl's belt and pulled him up until he was dangling in the air.
"Nice," Danny said. "But we should probably go, unless you want to answer questions all night."
"Not really," Matt said. He followed Danny out the back entrance just as the cops began pouring in the front.
They crossed town in near silence. Today was a win; even if he didn't know where the Owl got his new toys, they had dug up the MGH problem at the root. That was the important part.
"You okay?" Danny asked once they'd made it back to his office at the School of Thunder to get their civilian clothes. "You're awfully quiet.
"Yeah," Matt replied. He pulled on his pants and sat down in Danny's desk chair to put on his regular shoes. "I'm just wondering about those sonic weapons. I wonder where he got them? Did you see any identifying marks?"
"No," Danny answered. "They were all painted black. Completely black." He came over to sit on the edge of the desk, his leg bumping against Matt's thigh. "I'm sure he just got them on the black market. We like to make fun of him, but he's got connections."
Matt sighed. He reached out to put his hand on Danny's calf, holding it still. "I'm sure you're right. I'm just getting paranoid in my old age."
Danny snorted. "What are you? Thirty-five?"
"Something like that." Matt said vaguely. "I'm practically elderly."
Danny grinned. "Hey, I'm thirty-four."
"Going on thirteen," Matt teased.
"Hey!" Danny exclaimed indignantly. He kicked Matt's calf gently with his free leg. "I just try to enjoy life. You should try it some time."
Matt listened to Danny's heartbeat. It was fast and nervous like it had been in the elevator yesterday, but now he realized what it was that he was hearing. He'd heard hearts beat like that around him before—Karen, Milla, Dakota—he'd just never heard it from Danny. Danny liked him. He was attracted to Matt and it made him nervous and aroused and all the other things that made his heart speed up and his voice rise slightly.
Knowing he had that effect on Danny was intoxicating.
"So what are your plans for the rest of the night?" Danny asked hesitantly.
Matt squeezed Danny's calf once, marveling at the steel-like muscle, and then slid his hand up to rest on Danny's thigh. "I don't have any…"
"No?" Danny asked. He dropped his hand down to cover Matt's.
Matt smiled up at Danny. "Share a cab?"
Danny woke up disoriented. It took him a moment to realize that he was in Matt's apartment, in Matt's bed. Again. He wasn't as freaked out as he had been before, but he still wasn't sure what he and Matt were actually doing. It would probably be easiest to just leave now and avoid any awkwardness in the morning.
Danny got up carefully, trying his hardest not to wake Matt as he tiptoed across the room to pick up his pants. He'd managed to get one leg in, before Matt sat up.
Danny stared at Matt a moment, and then nodded. "Okay."