It had been a slow day. Summer heat has engulfed the city, sticky and suffocating, and all three of them were sitting at their respective desks panting like dogs after a run, all windows wide open with the hope of letting a non existent wind in.
Foggy looked up from the paragraph he had read four times without actually understanding a single word with a low whine. He would gladly jump into a tub full of ice at the moment. He couldn’t stand heat, it made his hair stick on his face and a his skin sheen with a constant veil of sweat. Not to mention it just killed any will to do anything in him.
“I can’t wait until we are not-broke enough to afford air conditioning…” He sighed to himself, voice low. “The day we get one, I’ll dance naked in the office, I don’t even care.”
It was a empty promise made to himself, but as he pondered if he should go and beg Matt and Karen with the promise of a lovely naked dance, he caught a movement over the glass separating his office from the other rooms with the corner of his eye.
Matt, sitting in office with his shirt half open and dark hair sticking to his forehead, was chuckling.
Foggy pondered for a second if his friend had just gone insane because of the heat, laughing to himself for no apparent reason, before remembering that, right, super powers.
Suddenly Foggy felt very awake, sitting straighter in his chair. He still found himself surprised about the realization that Matt had superpowers, from time to time. He really never thought about that much, he’d rather avoid thinking about it at all if he could.
(He was never gonna get over the fact that Matt could read him like an open book. In braille. And probably had heard him every time he masturbated when they were in college. Dammit, Matt.)
So there were moment like this, when Matt would do something he really wasn’t supposed to, and Foggy would feel utter confusion for a second before remembering.
So, Matt could hear Foggy whisper to himself from across the other side of the office. It wasn’t really that surprising considering he’d admitted he could recognize Foggy’s heartbeat from blocks away, but it was the first time that Foggy really understood the implications of it.
He launched another look at Matt, that had already got back to his reading, his hands going back and forth on the paper and his mouth a tense line of concentration. Foggy stared at him for a little while more, before barely whispering out “A banana in a tutu.”
Matt’s hands stopped abruptly. He turned his head up and slightly to the left, in Foggy’s general direction, his right eyebrow tilting over the edge of his glasses in a quiet display of confusion.
Foggy found himself grinning like and idiot, a little laugh bubbling in his throat.
Oh, this was gonna be so much fun.
His newfound weapon had to be used wisely.
This is the decision Foggy had reached, when he thought about it. If he started whispering non-sense at Matt all the time, it would not only lose the surprise factor, but also probably make Matt shut his voice out with his freaky selective hearing and ninja meditation powers of ninja-ness.
No, Foggy had a nuke in his hand, and he was gonna deploy it at the right times, just when Matt started to forget about it all over again.
(But man, was it hard to patiently wait for the right time. He had come so close so many times. But still, he resisted. Foggy was a warrior.)
Thankfully, the perfect occasion showed itself one August night, in the form of a surprise call made by Brandon East, douchebag extraordinaire.
Foggy and Matt had the unlucky experience to meet him back in college. One year older than them, tall and lanky with dark hair and blue eyes, Brandon has immediately shown his true face when the first thing he did upon meeting him and Matt had been scanning Matt with a look that screamed ableism from a mile away.
Foggy had made sure to don’t made any connection with the guy at all, never really explaining to Matt why.
Then one day Brandon flat out said that Foggy better drop the “dead weight” if he wanted to actually have a career while Matt was sitting right at his side and, well- Foggy wasn’t a violent person by nature, but breaking one of his knuckles on the idiot’s jaw had been extremely satisfying.
(a little less satisfying when Matt insisted on taking notes for him in classes so he wouldn’t strain his hand, and then pestered him incessantly until Foggy gave in and let Matt teach him how to properly throw a punch once he was healed.)
(Now that he thought about it, that should’ve been his first clue. But then again, Matt’s dad was a boxer, so sue him for not being surprised about Matt knowing how to throw a punch.)
Thankfully, Brandon never spoke to them ever again after that incident, a fact that made Foggy wonder repeatedly why he didn’t just flat out decked him in the face the second he laid those disgusting eyes on Matt.
They had more or less forgot about him as soon as they graduated. That was, until the call.
Foggy had answered, distracted and vaguely hoping that the unknown number could mean a client magically dropping in their laps from the sky.
Foggy frowned at the overly cheerful voice he didn’t recognize. “Huh?”
‘Long time no see! Don’t you remember me? It’s Brandon, Brandon East!’
Foggy blinked, a step away from saying “excuse me, who are you, again?” before something in his brain clicked.
“Brandon East?” He repeated, slowly. “…From college?”
Matt, sitting across the table tapping at his braille display, looked up and for a moment Foggy felt worried that his eyebrows would get lost in his dark hair, seeing at how fast and high they climbed up Matt’s forehead.
‘Yeah! So, how are things going? I heard you and Matty got your own firm going and all that!’
Matt silently mouthed “Matty?”, which clued Foggy in the fact he was actively listening to the other side of the conversation. Foggy replied with a vague but clear gesture of “what the fuck” with his free hand that Matt couldn’t see but surely perceive the general meaning behind.
“Huh, yeah, you know how things are. We wanted to… Have our own thing and all.” Foggy babbled, at a complete loss of how to react. “Getting the ball rolling. Things. Why are you calling?” He added with honest to god confusion in his voice.
Matt clearly rolled his eyes behind the glasses and murmured “Very subtle, Nelson.”
Brandon replied with a fake laugh, if he ever heard one. ‘I was thinking about organizing a reunion with old college buddies. I was making a mental list, and then remembered you two! I thought “man, it wouldn’t be a reunion without Nelson and Murdock, those two scoundrels”’
Foggy mouthed “scoundrels”. Matt basically faceplanted the desk.
‘I made some calls and thankfully I got your number. Man, you can’t say no, basically everyone its gonna be there.’
Foggy was sure he just landed into an alternative universe, because there was no way this was really happening. It had to be Matt’s fault, with all his superhero antics.
“Uhm, It’s a very tempting invitation…” Foggy said, trying to muster some real conviction into the words. “But… Uhm-“
‘C’mon, Marci Sthal is coming too! You had a thing going with her, right?’
Foggy wasn’t gonna ask how he knew that because he hated gossip and also ugh, East spying on him. Gross. “Yeah, I guess. We just friends now. Look, Brandon, it’s a really nice idea, but me and Matt are pretty busy now-“
Matt snorted a little at the obvious lie.
“-So I can’t make any promise. When this thing is gonna be?”
‘This Sunday, at nine. I rented a place, I’ll text you the address!’ Brandon said, still too cheerfully for Foggy’s taste. ‘You gotta be here, or I will be offended for the rest of my life!’
Foggy wasn’t sure how he stopped himself from saying “More than you were when I broke your jaw?”, it was right on the tip of this tongue. Instead, he replied “Cool! We’ll try our best. Thanks for reaching out."
‘Anytime. Sunday, dress nicely!’
When the call finally ended, Foggy unglued the phone from his ear and looked at it as if it was an alien object.
“…Did that just happened?” He asked to no one in particular, and Matt huffed a small chuckle.
“Well, that was unexpected. Are we going?” He said, voice even.
“What? Of course not!” Foggy replied, frowning. “He invited us to be the laughing stock, Matt! ‘Ehi, look at these two idiots that left Landman & Zack arm in arm to go save the world!’ He clearly thinks we are worthless losers and wants us there so he could elbow all his pals, snickering, and brag about all the money he’s making bullying people for corporations!”
“You talked with him over the phone for, like, a minute and a half.” Matt replied, sliding the glasses off his face. “You can’t know that. It has been years. Maybe he has changed.” He added, always the logic and cool one.
“People like him doesn’t change, Matt. He was a daddy’s boy with more money he could ever use and a god complex, do you think making even more money suddenly turned him into a saint?” Foggy replied, passionately and with a not thin streak of irony in his voice. “He was a dumbass and he still is. I’m not going here so people could point at me and laugh, and neither do you. They are not worth a minute of our time.” He ended his small rant with a tone of finality.
Matt was about to reply when Karen strode in with two cups of coffee, asking “Where are you not going?”
“An old… acquaintance from law school invited us to a reunion.” Matt said, putting his glasses back on, mouthing a thank you when Karen put the cup in front of him. “Foggy thinks it’s gonna be armageddon, I think it wouldn’t be that terrible.”
“A reunion?” Karen said, voice clearly betraying her excitement at the idea. “Oh, no, we have to go! I need to listen to the tales of all the times Foggy put his foot in his mouth in college. I have to!”
“Tu quoque, Karen!” Foggy dragged his hands across his face. “Can we not, pretty please? It’s gonna be like willingly take a somersault into a pool full of sharks. Which sane person would do that?!”
“I don’t know.” Karen said, evenly. “You seems to have got taming sharks down to a tee, Foggy-bear.”
Matt giggle-snorted into his coffee as Foggy’s face darkened in a pout “I hate you both.”
So, Sunday come. Karen, God bless her, managed to convince a friend to lend her her car. It wasn’t a bentley but it was still a nice car and Foggy was pretty happy they wouldn’t have to go through the indignity of getting there by cab. She picked him up, stunning in her light blue dress, and they drove to Matt’s place. He was already on the sidewalk, waiting for them.
“Ehi, handsome.” Karen said with as much leering in her voice as she could muster when they stopped in front of him. “Going anywhere?”
Foggy laughed, but he had to admit that Matt looked pretty darn handsome. He shaved, just enough to leave that five ‘o clock shadow that suited him so much, framing his nice lips. His hair feathered over his forehead in a clearly well crafted casual style, and he was wearing his nicest suit. For all his talking about not caring about other people’s opinion, he sure spent some time making sure to look pretty darn good.
Then again, knowing Matt he probably did it just because he knew that Foggy cared. Fine. Foggy wouldn’t tease him about it. Yet.
“I wanted to take a bath in a pool full of sharks, before remembering I forgot my swimsuit.” He replied with a lopsided smile.
“Get in, smartass, or we are gonna cross the line from being fashionably late to being just late.” Foggy grumbled, opening the door for him and taking his cane to let him climb inside.
“There’s no such thing as being ‘fashionably late’, Foggy.” Matt said while Foggy climbed back inside.
“Sure is. It’s when you don’t get there ten minutes earlier and look like an attention starved puppy.” Foggy said, hastily adding. “Not that I know the feeling, of course.”
“Of course you don’t, sweety.” Karen replied sounding dangerously like Foggy’s mother, not taking her eyes off the road. “Your friend sure knows how to show off. I remember this place from when I worked with Union Allied. All the executives loved to hang out there to have all their rich-guys parties.”
“Do not call him my friend, for the love of god.” Foggy replied, scandalized. “Matt, remind me why are we going again?”
“Because its not gonna be half as bad as you are making it out to be. Because I’m sure you’re gonna actually be happy to meet some people there. I can distinctly remember you liking plenty of our peers back in law school, they were not all Brandon Easts, Foggy.” Matt replied, smiling at him from the backside mirror.
“I hate it when you go all logical on me, mister cool-as-a-cucumber.”
“…And also because Karen wants to know all the terrible things you did in college. I’m pretty sure she’s writing a book about that.”
“Ssssh, don’t give away my secret!”
“You two are the worst and I don’t even know why I’m friends with you.” Foggy sighed dramatically. “Are we there yet? I know there’s gonna be alcohol. At least I can drink myself dumb and forget why I even put up with you two bullying me all the time.”
“That sounds like a great idea. More material for my book.” Karen grinned, cheerfully. “And guess what, we are here!” She added, pulling into a parking lot.
Foggy leaned over to look outside the windshield.
The place had a rich-guys vibe going on, all right, with the walls made of glass and all the golden lights inside. Inside filled with lots of fancy looking tables and couches. The parking lot was already filling out with expensive cars, and people running toward each other with a smile, in their fancy looking suits and dresses.
When they climbed out the car, Matt sliding his fingers in the crook of Foggy’s elbow, something small immediately tackled-hugged them.
“Matthew! Foggy!” The small thing said, with a shrill feminine voice, arms hooked around their necks. “Look at you!”
“Kate?” Foggy said, recognizing the woman. She had always been tiny and jumpy, easily excited by the simplest things, and going by the huge, happy smile she was showing them, she hadn’t changed much. “Wow, your hair is so long!” He added, amazed by the fact she wasn’t sporting her usual pixie cut.
“And yours is so short!” She laughed. “Matt, you look the same. What’s your secret? I’m getting so much wrinkles!”
Matt grinned wolfishly at her “I’m sure your are exaggerating, Katherine. You sound as lovely as usual.” He said, in that damn smooth voice of his, and Kate lightly slapped his arm with a giggle.
“Charmer.” She said, amused. “You guys have to tell me everything. I’m so happy to see that you are still working together, I still remember fondly the sheer terror in the eyes of those that had to confront you during practices. It was my favorite show. Until it was my turn to practice with one of you, that is. Why don’t we get inside and you can present to me your amazing looking companion?” She added, smiling at Karen.
Foggy found himself laughing happily and nodding at the suggestion. As they walked inside, Karen presenting herself as their secretary-slash-babysitter with a laugh, Matt leaned a bit into him “So, still regretting coming?” He murmured, a smile tugging at the corner of his mouth.
“Oh, shut up, Murdock.” Foggy whispered back, unable to keep out the fondness in his voice. “There’s a lot of fins, here, and not all of them are dolphins like Kate.”
Matt snickered, slightly bumping against his shoulder. “Well, I hope you brought your harpoon.”
They spent a good hour and half dancing back and forth, in a storm of “Hiii how are youuu!” and people hugging each other, laughing and making playful jabs at each other’s looks.
Foggy’s cheeks hurt for how much he was smiling, and his good mood wasn’t touched even by Brandon acting as if they had been best buddies for years. Karen had disappeared at some point, apparently getting along with Kate like peanut butter and jelly.
Foggy was sure she was just hunting for embarrassing stories about him, but he surely wasn’t gonna deny her a good time. If she was having fun, Foggy was more than happy.
He and Matt got tackled again by Brandon and a bunch of guys Foggy couldn’t honestly to god remember as they made their way to the counter to get something to drink. Brandon, more than a little tipsy, put an heavy hand on his shoulder with a grin.
“Foggy, I was looking for you! You have to tell my colleagues about that time you managed to make a case for a clearly guilty murderer back in school. It had been a shining moment of talent, let me tell you.”
Foggy smiled forcefully. He might not mind Brandon that much, but it still didn’t meant he’d like to talk to him more than it was strictly necessary.
“What can I say, I am good at talking so much my jurors gets confused and forget what they are deliberating about in the first place.” He replied with a lopsided smile, raising a good laugh in Brandon and his colleagues. “To be honest, I can’t even remember the specific case you are talking about. Me and Matt used to practice so much, even outside of class, that at some point in my life hearing the words “my client” made me nauseous.”
That gained him another round of laughs. Hoping that was enough to be considered polite, he ducked his head. “Now if you don’t mind, we were going to get something to drink. My throat is killing me.”
“Sure thing.” Brandon said, disgracefully tailing after them when they resumed their walk to the counter. Matt’s mouth, that never stopped showing a polite, pleasant smile, started to slid downwards. Foggy barely breathed out “Goddamn shark stalker”, which made Matt smile again.
“This round is on me, guys. What do you want?” Brandon asked, casually leaning on the counter, making a vague hand gesture to the bartender that dutifully took their orders.
Foggy forced himself to clink his glass with Brandon and his friends, that were circling them in a kind of creepy way.
“I’m really happy to see you, you know?” Brandon said, after taking a sip. “We might not have been… On the best of terms, back then.” His voice was leveled. “But I always admired your ability. Knew you where going somewhere in life.”
‘Understatement of the year’, Foggy thought, while smiling pleasantly.
“Though… Your firm isn’t doing so well, right now, isn’t it?”
Foggy forced himself really hard to keep the smile on his face. “You know how it is, with this economy.” He replied, cooly. “But we make do. Things are getting better, it’s only a matter of time.”
Brandon hummed thoughtfully. “Well, I wish you the best of luck. But if things don’t work out, just know that there’s one open spot at my firm. We always could use someone as good as you.”
That was the moment Foggy realized.
All this time, Brandon had been talking about him, not them. Nelson. Not Nelson and Murdock.
Heck. Matt wasn’t even holding a glass, Foggy noticed. It was as if he was part of the furniture.
Shitty slimy bastard.
Anger instantly boiled into him, rising up to his throat. And Matt must’ve heard his heart racing madly, because his hand feathered over the small of Foggy’s back in a ghost touch. It was barely there, but Foggy felt it, and gulped down the rage.
Karen choose right that moment to pop up at Matt’s side. “Hello guys- Is something wrong?” She immediately asked, the smile sliding down her face when she took into Foggy’s pale, tense expression.
Matt smiled easily. “Everything’s ok. I was thinking about taking a breath of fresh air, do you mind walking out with me, Karen?” He said, his voice smooth and pleasant. Karen looked between them for a couple of seconds, before wordlessly offering her arm. Matt’s finger hooked on her elbow gently and Karen guided him out the crowd, looking back at Foggy with a worried expression one last time.
They were walking out, but Foggy was sure Matt was listening.
He took a sip of his drink, the amber liquid glinting in the glass, and then wolfishly grinned into it. As the silence stretched, Brandon was still looking at him, half smug half curious.
Matt better be listening, because Foggy was about to give the prick a good piece of his mind.
When Foggy climbed into the car, Matt had tears streaming down his cheek and was laughing loudly like he never heard him laugh before, snorting and hiccupping, breathless, his glasses lopsided, an hand on his stomach.
“Oh thank God, Foggy, you’re here.” Karen said, her eyes huge and her hands hovering as if she was a second away from grabbing his shoulders and shake him. “I think Matt is going crazy. He started laughing out of the blue five minutes ago and hasn’t stopped since!”
“You —hic— you did not call him that!” Matt managed to wheeze out, before doubling over, his shoulders shaking with more laughters.
“Damn straight I did, buddy. Put up a good show.” Foggy replied. He had marched out the place, fuming, countless pairs of eyes glued on his back. But seeing Matt now, like this, his cheeks red, laughing like a children, immediately made his rage evaporate as if it was never there, and he felt his mouth twisting into a shit eating grin. “Put up a good show indeed. I don’t think we are gonna get any other invitations any time soon.”
Matt hiccupped again and slid his glasses of his face, drying his eyes against the back of his hand “N-no, I don’t think we are gonna.” He said, still slightly shaking with suppressed little laughs.
Karen was staring at them as if she was pondering calling an ambulance. “Was there cocaine in the bathrooms? There’s always cocaine in the bathrooms, in the movies.” She said.
“No cocaine in the bathrooms. Just me looking out for my buddy.” Foggy replied, patting Matt’s knee a couple of times. “ We are telepathic, Karen.” He said, deadpan.
“Suuuuure you are.” She replied, her eyebrow tilting. “You know what, I can actually believe that. You guys are freaky sometimes.” She sighed, and started the car. “Well, I had a good time and made a couple of friends before you two somehow managed fuck it up in some mysterious way only you would be capable of. We going home?”
“Let’s go to Coney Island.” Matt blurted out, grinning. “It’s still early. Let’s go have some real fun.”
“Who are you and what have you done with Matt Murdock?” Foggy said, turning around to get a good look at Matt sitting in the back as Karen pulled out the parking lot.
“I don’t know.” Matt replied, voiced suddenly thoughtful. “I might have took him and stuffed him into-“ His voice cracked and he couldn’t finish the sentence, starting to laugh again in short uneven breaths. Foggy followed him, hiding his face against the velvet-y fabric of the seat his shoulders shaking.
“Allright. Definitely cocaine in the bathrooms.” Karen said, pouting a little. “Do you really want to go to Coney Island?”
“Sure.” Matt replied, sitting a little more upright, his voice giddy. “We can have some cotton candy and ride the ferris wheel.”
“You can’t see shit, Matt.” Foggy pointed out with a grin, ignoring Karen’s pointed look. “But I guess it’d still be romantic. I can kiss you under the moonlight.”
Matt snorted and snickered.
“Can you two stop, I feel like I’m an episode of the Twilight Zone!” Karen whined, but there was a small smile on her lips. “No wonder the girls still had a bet going on you two.”
That was enough to sober Matt up. Foggy turned toward her as well. “What?”
“Oh, you know, they totally tried to squeeze juicy details out of me. Wanted to know when you two started dating. Wouldn’t believe me when I said you two never started dating.” She said, deadpan, before tilting an eyebrow. “…Are you two dating? I think I’m having second thoughts, actually.”
Matt started to laugh hysterically.
After that Foggy said to hell with cautions and using his weapon only when necessary. Heck, it wasn’t even a weapon, Foggy had been stupid to consider it so.
It was a blessing.
It was a blessing when Matt would enter the office, grumpy and dripping all over the place because of the rain and as Karen fussed around him to get him dry all Foggy had to do was barely whisper some stupid joke he heard in starbucks that morning to make him grin and lighten up his mood.
It was a blessing when in the bar some woman would approach him as he got out the bathroom, and Foggy from across the place murmured in his glass “She wants a piece of dat avocado ass”, making Matt laugh right in her face.
It was a blessing when he could whine at Matt, already out in the corridor, that he was hungry and can he please bring him a sandwich from the coffee shop down the street, thank you, and Matt would get back with the sandwich and a chocolate glazed donut too.
It was a blessing when Karen would wax poetics about Daredevil’s latest antics reported in the paper and Foggy could just silently mouth about how dumb the horns on the helmet looked and Matt would stick his tongue out at him.
It was a blessing when sitting on Matt’s own couch he watched Matt getting suited up and climb outside the roof entrance promising to be back soon, and Foggy could whisper “I love you.” after he had been long gone.
It was a blessing when Matt gently woke him up murmuring against his cheek “I love you too.”