Foggy mostly gets little old ladies. That's how he likes it, really. He likes little old ladies and little old ladies like him, and as a result they tip well for a night of entertaining conversation and telling people that his baby face should not make people assume he's anyone's grandson and a kiss on the cheek. It means he has to spend kind of a lot of money on suits to go out to the kinds of places little old ladies who can afford escorts go, but that tends to pay off in his day job as well, so it's not that bad a drawback.
He is fully aware of the dubious legality of his second job and the irony that clashes with his first one, but just because he's working as an intern at a great criminal defense firm that does some good does not mean they can afford to pay him enough to live on, so Foggy deals with it. He only takes jobs that require him to have actual sex when they're out of the city and mostly just goes to parties with little old ladies. It's good. He has a rhythm.
So he's a little nervous when he gets a phone call on his second phone (the one with the red case, because okay, he's got a sense of humor) and the voice at the other end says there's a call that could use his skillset and then gives him an address less than three blocks away, right in the heart of Hell's Kitchen.
“What do you mean, my skillset?” he asks, already packing up his bag. “How long? Did they pay for extras? You know I don't do that in city limits.”
“I'm aware,” says the voice on the phone, who always sounds perfectly level. Foggy thinks he would kind of like to punch him if they ever meet. “The client sounded like they could use someone to put them at ease. You're there until midnight. He indicated no sexual interest.”
Foggy raises his eyebrows, stuffing his miniature first aid kit in his bag along with everything else. “He?” They don't get as many rich businessmen looking to let off steam as he kind of assumed, which he's both grateful and a little disappointed about.
“Please give five knocks on his door,” says the voice on the phone, and hangs up.
“Five knocks, what is this guy in, a spy movie?” Foggy asks no one in particular, and goes to make sure his hair is combed before he goes anywhere.
If Foggy has a fatal flaw, though, besides the smart mouth and the desire to afford groceries as well as do good, it's curiosity, so when he gets to the right door, he knocks five times, steady.
Mr. Bond opens the door in less than ten seconds, and Foggy isn't sure what he's expecting, but it's not what he gets. What he gets is a guy his age, in sweats but with the startling kind of good looks that mean he really should not be calling for an escort, wearing sunglasses and clinging on to the door looking pretty exhausted.
“Is the password swordfish?” Foggy asks, because one of them has to say something, and this is a building with pretty thin walls. He's not going to ask if this guy hired a hooker while they're in the hallway.
“No,” says Mr. Bond, drawn-out and slow. He looks kind of familiar, and Foggy is really hoping it's only a same-neighborhood kind of familiar and that it's not reciprocal. “You knocked five times. You're here because ...”
“Because you called me, Man in Black,” Foggy says, having mercy on the poor guy. “Can I come in?”
“Oh! Yes.” Mr. Bond steps away from the door and lets Foggy in. He trails along with one hand almost on the wall, and Foggy puts the sunglasses together with that and feels like an asshole and relieved and like an asshole for being relieved. “Can I offer you a drink or something?”
“No, thanks, I'm good. You called in the after-dinner rush, and all.” The apartment is nice, other than the really bright billboard right outside the window. It's big and open and rough, not a lot of furniture, and the light coming from the outside alone should make it feel more intimate but mostly turns it into some kind of solitary Batcave. He has his suspicions that Mr. Bond is not a very happy man. “Is there anything I should call you? They don't give us details on the phone.”
“Oh.” Mr. Bond makes a series of interesting faces. “Just Matt. That should be fine.”
“Okay, Matt,” says Foggy, as warm as he can, but something's feeling familiar, the blindness and the name and Hell's Kitchen, and—that's it. It's a big city, but Foggy can remember a childhood hero. He knew Matt Murdock was a year ahead of him at Columbia, would have been the same year if Foggy hadn't taken a year to work off some undergrad loans. This is going to be weird, but Matt doesn't know him in return, and Foggy is really good at pretending things aren't awkward until it's almost true. “Care to tell me what you're looking for out of the next few hours?”
“Not … not sex.”
“Good, I don't do that in the city.” Matt seems like he's going to spook, so Foggy doesn't come any closer, just strolls in the direction of the windows like he's thinking hard about the view. “Other things I don't do include unexpected extra hangers-on, any party where I'm likely to run into my family, and striptease, not that I think you'd be into it unless there was some sort of sensory element? I don't know, I just can't make it sexy. But you said you don't want sex.”
“I want ...” Foggy turns away from the window and Matt is standing in the middle of his living room, looking kind of adrift, and he's taken his glasses off to clutch in his hands. Foggy wants to say something about smudging the glass but that's probably an asshole thing to say when Matt is looking very seriously at his left ear. “Would you come over to the couch, please?”
“Sure.” It's the kind of couch Foggy has himself, saggy and old. The cushions would probably be pilling if he could see them, but there's a sheet thrown over the whole thing, something with the kind of threadcount he only wishes he could afford. “Honestly, man,” he says when sitting down does not tempt Matt into doing anything but sitting on the couch without touching him at all and sitting rigidly upright, “the sooner you say it the more time you get doing it. Whatever it is. This is a judgment-free zone. I will give you unbiased opinions about your wardrobe, I will kiss you, I will let you call your friends and pretend I'm Captain America and that you picked me up at a bar, though honestly I wouldn't recommend that one, litigation is always a possibility with impersonation.”
Matt lets out a sharp, startled bark of laughter. “No, no, the offer is appreciated, but I don't think … anyone would believe me.”
“Uh huh, anyone.” Foggy inches closer. It's not subtle, because the couch creaks, but he doesn't need it to be subtle. “I'm just saying. It's probably not going to be the worst thing I've ever heard.”
Once again, Matt goes through a bunch of expressions before settling on anxiety. “Would you hold me, please?”
And Jesus, if that isn't the saddest thing Foggy's heard all week. “Absolutely,” he says out loud, as relaxed as he can get it. “I'm a great hugger. Just let me know if you aren't comfy.”
Foggy knows how to hug tricks, and it isn't how he hugs Matt. He hugs Matt like he hugs his nieces and nephews when they're crying, just gets in his space and wraps him up. Matt stiffens for a second—stupid, Foggy should probably have warned him, it's not like he can see Foggy coming—and then relaxes, clutching on to the front of Foggy's shirt.
And then everything stops. Matt clutches, Foggy holds, and there's silence for at least ten minutes while Foggy gets increasingly twitchy, because this is not exactly what he's used to. “You can talk. Or something. If you like,” Matt finally says, a burst of sound.
“Mind if I rearrange us a little first? Because otherwise I am not going to be able to bend over tomorrow.”
Matt drops his hands immediately and almost wrenches Foggy's wrist trying to escape. “Of course. I'm sorry.”
“Hey, no worries, I just want both of us to be comfortable.” Foggy eyes the couch and then Matt and wedges himself in a corner where he's got the back and the armrest for support, and then he reaches out to tap Matt on the arm. “Come here?”
He's got Matt's number now, so he's not surprised at the way Matt just climbs into Foggy's lap, head tucked against his neck, curled up against him, one hand resting lightly right over Foggy's heart. Foggy wraps his arms around Matt, adjusts until he's comfortable enough to hold on for a while, and starts talking.
Mostly, he talks about his family. He can't exactly talk about being a lawyer, if Matt is one too and considering he's doing the escort thing tonight, and a lot of his life is all wrapped up in the law and why he wants to do it, but plenty of people have big families. He can talk about that.
It takes half an hour for Matt to stop doing anything but breathing into his neck, but he starts talking back, asking quiet questions, laughing when Foggy tells a particularly funny anecdote. It's more of a conversation after that, and Foggy finds himself absently playing with Matt's hair while they talk, about current events and whether Tony Stark should have the responsibility of rebuilding Hell's Kitchen without raising the rent sky-high and how many housing disputes there are right now. Foggy has a two-minute monologue about the so-called Devil of Hell's Kitchen and all the trouble he's been getting up to lately, documented more on Twitter than in the news, and quits when he can feel Matt getting tense again.
“You should check the time,” Matt says eventually. “I don't want to keep you longer than I should.”
Foggy lets go of Matt just enough to dig his red phone out of his pocket and check the time. Five after midnight. “Five till midnight,” he says, with zero shame. He doesn't mind giving Matt a few extra minutes of hugging. “Want to stand up and really hug it out?”
Matt tilts his head, listening for something, and then pulls back. “Yes. Please.”
Foggy is stiff getting to his feet, after something close to two hours on Matt's couch. Matt is too, when he follows, staggering a little and letting Foggy steady him. Once they're both upright, Foggy wraps Matt up again, like he's a friend Foggy hasn't seen on years, hanging on. Matt does the same, holds on so tight Foggy's ribs creak a little.
“Okay,” Matt finally says, and extracts himself from Foggy's arms. “Thank you. This has been ...”
“A really good time,” Foggy supplies, instead of any of the more honest words that have been nagging at him since Matt made a shaky noise at Foggy stroking his hair, like necessary and upsetting. It hasn't been bad, though. He likes Matt, and the hushed closeness of the night is different from what he usually does. “Feel free to ask for me if you want to do this again sometime.”
“I will.” Matt frowns and looks at the floor. “I didn't get a name, though. Should I just request the same man as last time?”
Foggy blinks. “Oh, right, sorry, I'm usually better about introducing myself. You can ask for Frank.” He hates it, but it's close enough to Franklin that he answers automatically if someone calls him that, and it's the name all his regulars ask for him by.
“Frank.” Matt tilts his head, like he's sizing up Foggy and wondering whether the name suits him, and then he smiles. After an evening of Matt looking shattered and fragile, it's an impressively charming smile. “Thank you. Maybe I will.”
“Happy to hear it.” Foggy claps Matt on the shoulder. “Have a good night. Get some sleep. Looks like you could use it.”
Matt looks startled. “I probably could. And I will. Thank you again.”
“You are very welcome,” says Foggy, and goes over to the door, because they could say goodbye all night. “So, I'm off. Nice to meet you, Matt.”
“Nice to meet you too, Frank,” says Matt, and Foggy opens the door, steps out, and shuts it again. He's about halfway down the hallway when he thinks he hears the deadbolt click.
Foggy frowns at his phone and then at the pho he's been looking forward to treating himself with all week. “I have lots of repeat customers. Should I get my calendar?”
“The request is for tonight. The same gentleman as the other week.”
Matt. Foggy wasn't really expecting him to call again—Matt's the kind of guy who doesn't stay single long, and if he was just getting over a breakup or something, which is Foggy's leading theory, he probably doesn't need a second night of it. “When does he want me?”
“As soon as you can make it, for approximately two hours again. Same address.”
It's a rare Friday night off and Foggy really just wants his pho and to watch a movie. He almost says no, and then makes the mistake of thinking of Matt and wondering if he's as much of a mess as he was last time. “Okay. I'll start out as soon as I finish dinner and pack my bag up. You can let him know it will probably be close to an hour.”
“Of course,” says the caller, and hangs up.
Foggy hurries through his dinner instead of savoring it and then eyes his bag. He doesn't really need anything to go see Matt if Matt just wants the same thing as last time, but on a whim he stuffs the ridiculously soft blanket his Aunt Mary gave him for Christmas into it and then goes and changes into the softest clothes that aren't sweatpants that he can find in his closet.
He gets to Matt's apartment fifty minutes after he got the call and the door opens less than a second after the fifth knock.
Matt's hair is wet, and he's wearing what look like workout clothes, like he called for Foggy on his way back from the gym, and no sunglasses. His knuckles are bruised, and so is his cheek, and he stands at the door just as awkward and rigid as he was the first time.
Foggy shuts the door behind himself and then hugs Matt, because if he makes Matt ask every time he is eventually going to explode from asking people for nice things, he suspects. “You look like you've been in a fight, man, you should tell me how that happened,” he says when he lets Matt go.
“Oh. I.” He stops.
Foggy sighs. “Not that you need to, but do you think I'm going to report you for assault or something? I'm a prostitute, Matt, I'm pretty sure that's the definition of mutually assured destruction.”
“I wouldn't report you,” says Matt, and licks his lips, stalling. “I was boxing, though.”
Foggy raises his eyebrows. “Blind?”
“I'm good at it. But I missed a swing, clearly.” He gestures at his face. “If it bothers you—”
“Why should it bother me?” Foggy keeps hold of his bag and starts moving slowly in the direction of the couch. Matt can tell him if that's not where he wants to be tonight. “I just thought I'd ask why you were all bruised up.”
“Boxing,” says Matt again, which is really suspicious, how is he a lawyer if his lying skills are shitty, but Foggy decides it's not his business. Some people want to talk to him, confide in him, but he's not going to try to pull that out of Matt.
“Couch again?” he asks instead, pulling the conversation back around to what he's here for. “I read an article the other day about security in a post-SHIELD age, we can talk politics and cuddle.”
“That ...” Matt tilts his head like he's following Foggy with his ears and not his eyes, and then trails behind him to the middle of the room. “That sounds nice, actually.”
“You have no idea how nice, I brought a present. Well, a temporary present. But a present.” He gets on the couch and drops his bag next to it. “Come over here. I'm on the side closer to the window. Unless your idea for tonight is different, I just kind of assumed.”
“No, it's … the same thing is good,” says Matt, and he comes over, feels for Foggy's knee and then apparently extrapolates the rest of him, because a few seconds later he's got Matt clinging to him like a vine. Foggy keeps a hand free and pulls the blanket out of his bag with a few hard tugs and runs it against Matt's skin. Matt shivers. “What's that?”
“Softest blanket in the world. I know it's not actually cold, but I thought it would be nice.”
Matt looks up at him, and he looks sort of lost and it's terrible. This guy should not have to hire a hooker to get a blanket and a hug. “It will be nice. Thank you.” He puts his cheek against Foggy's shoulder. “Your shirt is soft too.”
“Dress to impress,” says Foggy, same thing he says whenever one of his little old ladies compliments him on a suit. And then, on instinct, he adds what he says to the ones who are more proprietary of him: “I put it on for you. Good?”
“Great,” says Matt, voice small, and returns to his nonverbal clinging.
Okay, maybe a little too much. Foggy gets the blanket over them, mostly Matt, as well as he can while hampered by almost six feet of clingy lawyer. “I was going to talk about that article,” he says, and launches in.
Matt takes a while to start responding, but then he asks interesting questions, makes interesting observations, talks about rightful lack of faith in police, the Avengers, whether the government is going to attempt to replace SHIELD, and finally, he lifts his head and says “What do you think the solution should be, then? You admit the government, both local and federal, aren't doing a good job of keeping things secure or just, but you called Tony Stark a vigilante.”
“Well, he is. Was. But if I had a solution, I would not be turning tricks for a living.” Matt keeps looking at him, or at least facing in his direction in an expectant manner. “I don't think people should take the law in their own hands, but right now the law isn't exactly keeping up with the world. It's a problem.”
“Last time, you mentioned the Devil of Hell's Kitchen. Better or worse than Tony Stark?” Matt ducks his head back down again, like suddenly having his nose smashed against Foggy's collarbone is the most important thing in the world.
“I don't know,” Foggy says, honest. “Obviously pretty passionate, seems to leave criminals giftwrapped for the police, but what happens when he disagrees with the law about what right and wrong are? Like, setting aside the whole vigilante thing, that's a scary thought. What happens when he decides someone deserves to die? The justice system isn't perfect, but there's a lot of people involved. You can sort of triangulate an idea of public right and wrong.”
“What about things that aren't crimes but should be? You talked about people getting driven out of their homes last week. That's legal, but it shouldn't be. The justice system can't do anything about that at all.”
“It can add new legislation,” Foggy counters, even though his heart isn't in it. He's doing the research of precedent for a kid who started selling drugs at his nice school where he was on scholarship to stay on his landlord's good side. He's just lucky he's got a rich uncle. Lots of kids like him don't. “I don't know. I just don't think one person should be playing judge and jury.”
“You're probably right,” says Matt, sounding miserable, and snuggles deeper into the blanket. “But if people are getting hurt and you can do something about it, shouldn't you?”
For some reason, this matters to Matt. Foggy pets his hair a few times, considers his answer. “I guess if it weren't in the moment, I would ask someone I trust. Two heads is better than one, right?”
“I guess,” says Matt.
That's quite enough of that conversation. They've spent more than an hour, and Matt seems to be committed to the cuddling but looks unhappier than he did when he opened the door. “Anyway, who hires an escort to talk politics? I got a call from my oldest sister earlier and she had a great nephew story, let me tell you about the Great Bathtime Revolution.”
By the time he's told the story, including a rousing rendition of “Rubber Ducky,” Matt is looking happier again, and after that they're quieter. Foggy doesn't have a lot more stories to tell that don't get too personal (not that this isn't already personal. It's easier to make light party conversation than it is to act as someone's walking, talking teddy bear, he's discovering), and Matt seems content to just rest there and listen to him breathe.
“I've probably kept you too long,” Matt finally says, untangling them and clutching at the blanket instead.
Foggy goes for his phone. Ten minutes over. “You've got great time sense,” he says. “Are you all set?”
“Yes. Thank you.” Matt starts bundling the blanket up into an awkward wad, and Foggy picks his bag up and takes it to stuff it inside. “Is it okay if I call again?”
“Anytime you want. Next time I'll figure out something less fraught to talk about.”
Matt shakes his head, frowning a little. “I liked talking to you. It was interesting. Talk about whatever you want. And maybe bring the blanket again? If you don't mind.”
“Sure.” Foggy stands up. “I can tell you where to get your own, too, if you want. And, uh ...” He tries to figure out how to phrase it so it doesn't sound like he's offering sexual favors, but there's really no way to do it. “You can always let them know on the phone if you want me to bring anything else special. Chocolates, teddy bear, whatever.”
“Right.” Matt tilts his head and then smiles, standing up. “I don't need a teddy bear if I have you, though.”
Foggy swallows. “Right you are.” He jerks his head at the door and then wants to pound his head against it. Matt can't see that. “So I'm going to go. You know the number. I generally only book three nights a week, but I'll stretch it a little for regular customers if I have to, so don't mind about when you do it. Though a day's notice might be welcome sometimes.”
“Of course. I should have thought.” Matt coughs. “So you don't do this full-time?” Foggy winces, but before he can draw breath to say something diplomatic, Matt shakes his head. “Never mind. I shouldn't ask. That's your business. Thank you for coming, Frank.”
Frank. Right. “You're welcome. I'll see you next time, blanket it in hand.” He goes over to the door and taps it. “Okay, Matt, on my way out. Get some rest, and try not to get any more black eyes before I see you again.”
“No promises,” says Matt as the door closes, and it doesn't sound like he's joking.
Doesn't matter. Definitely not Foggy's business.
Foggy has been asked to bring vibrating cockrings and received less judgment than there is in that sentence. “Anything else?”
“No, that was all he said. The usual arrangement, beyond that—two hours, five knocks.”
“Great.” Foggy has thought about Matt off-hours, and not as a fun story he wishes he could tell. That's already in too deep, for something like this. He knows it. The voice on the phone knows it. He could say no and would never hear about it again. “I'll be en route in ten,” he says instead, and curses himself the whole time he digs a worn t-shirt out of his dresser.
The fourth time, Matt falls asleep half an hour in, curled up under Foggy's blanket with his head in Foggy's lap, and he clings so hard to Foggy's thigh whenever he tries to shift that he stays fifteen minutes late before his leg starts threatening to cramp up and he has the heart to wake Matt up. He apologizes for about five minutes and the next time he's the one to start the conversation, with a determined face like he's trying to make up for it, which is pretty hilarious. Foggy wishes more of his tricks fell asleep on him, it's pretty stress-free.
Three days after the fifth time, Hell's Kitchen blows up.
Foggy wakes up in the hospital the next morning with a side full of glass shards. “What the hell happened?” he asks the nurse taking his vitals.
She looks exhausted, and she's probably explained that to fifty people tonight, but she still stops checking his bandages and looks up at him. “There were bombs—targeting the Russian mob, they think. News is saying it was the Devil of Hell's Kitchen, that he hurt some police, maybe killed them, that he had hostages.”
“Asshole,” says Foggy, because it's the best he can come up with. He is going to have a million trump cards to play in his next argument about vigilante justice with Matt, who seems to circle around to it once a night or so. “Doing something about people who are getting hurt my ass.”
The nurse stops what she's doing again, and Foggy takes the opportunity to squint at her employee badge. Claire, apparently. “What do you mean, Mr. Nelson?”
“Something a friend of mine said about this guy, that's all. Or related to him, anyway, how you shouldn't stand by when people are getting hurt. That doesn't really hold water if he's setting bombs.”
“It does seem out of character,” says Claire, and when he blinks at her, she shrugs. “I work at a hospital. We hear about the Devil sometimes, here. He's not nice. Maybe he's not even doing the right thing. But he goes after the people who hurt the good people.” She stands up and pulls her gloves off, suddenly brisk. “You should get some more sleep, Mr. Nelson, your vitals are good. A doctor should be by sometime in the next couple hours to talk about your options for release and further treatment.”
Foggy does go to sleep, because it turns out being in explosions is exhausting, but he's still thinking about what Claire said when the doctor wakes him up, and if Matt would agree.
“I'm sorry to hear you're injured, Mr. Nelson. You can always inform us if you would prefer not to be called for a while. You are freelance, after all.”
“I honestly didn't even think of it, but thanks. Is it a future event, though? I can put it on my calendar.”
“It was for tonight. Your friend with the blanket.”
Matt, shit. Of course. Foggy's tempted to say he feels okay after all, but he's smart enough to know that the thought means he really can't. “Well, you can tell him that when I return from my vacation he can be first on my list. Should I pencil him in for my first night back?”
“I'll call him back and send you a text with further details.”
It's about twenty minutes before Foggy gets the text. He wishes you well and says that your first night back is acceptable. An extra hour.
Foggy puts it on his calendar and then very carefully doesn't think about any of it.
“It sounded like your knock,” Matt says, and for once, he's the first of them to make a move, pulling Foggy in close and hugging him. “I was worried. They said on the phone that you were indisposed.”
“Hey, let's go to the couch,” says Foggy, shuffling them over with Matt still holding on like they're slow dancing. It's not graceful, but there's no one there to judge. “That was an asshole thing for them to say, sounds like I'm a consumptive Victorian heroine. I got hurt in the bombings, got some stitches taken out of my side the other day, but I'm good now. Sitting down.” Matt lets him go for that part, and Foggy gets settled in his usual position, pulls the blanket out and covers Matt over as he sits down too, resting against Foggy a little more gingerly than usual. “Seriously, Matt, I'm good. No thanks to you friend the Devil.”
“You're the one arguing in his favor more often,” Foggy points out, and frowns at him. More bruises than usual, though they're all fading. “Looks like maybe you got hurt in the bombings too, so maybe you aren't feeling that charitable towards him.”
“I was at work when it happened,” Matt says, and Foggy has no idea if that's agreement or not, because he doesn't seem to want to elaborate. “But I'm not friends with him.”
“We don't need to talk about it.” Matt sounds more tense with every word out of his mouth. Foggy doesn't need to make it worse. That is in fact the opposite of what he's here for. “I watched so much trashy television on my little impromptu vacation, though, so unless you want to hear about the merits of various Iron Chef franchises, you should introduce an alternate topic of conversation.”
“No, you should tell me.”
So Foggy does, in great detail, and Matt finally relaxes against his shoulder. He still isn't holding on as tight as usual, but his breathing is even and he's getting that blissed-out Zen look on his face like he does when Foggy is giving him the proper amount of cuddling, even after Foggy runs out of TV to summarize and trails into silence.
After that, Foggy almost falls into a doze, because there's an extra hour and he doesn't know how to fill it and Matt is comfortable. He half-assumes Matt is sleepy as well, only to be proved very wrong when, after what must be most of an hour of silence, Matt asks “Do you think it's ever right to kill someone?” in a small voice.
Foggy is suddenly not sleepy at all anymore. “Self-defense,” he says after giving himself a minute to think. “Soldiers in the line of duty, but honestly I'm pretty fuzzy on that. You're still killing an individual, not a symbol. Do I want to know why you're asking me this?”
“I think I asked the wrong question. Do you think there are people who deserve to die?”
Matt is a defense lawyer (Foggy looked him up, so sue him). That's a pretty alarming question. “I think it's kind of irrelevant given my answer to the first question,” he says slowly, choosing his words. “Seriously, why are you asking me this?”
“I'm triangulating,” Matt says, nonsensically. “Even if people are hurting people. A … a lot of people. And there's nothing the law can do, or that it will do. You don't think someone might deserve to die then?”
“Okay, I'll bite. Yeah, I think some people deserve to die. I'm not a saint. But that doesn't make it right to kill them.” He taps gently on Matt's shoulder until Matt looks at him. “Even if people aren't doing things precisely outside the law, you can report it. Should report it. If the person does eventually set foot outside the line, it establishes a history of asshole behavior that prosecutors could exploit.”
“I'm aware of that. I'm … I don't know if I ever told you, but I'm a lawyer. But that also means I'm aware that sometimes the people I could report to aren't incorruptible.”
Foggy closes his eyes. “I'm going to pretend that this conversation is theoretical and that I am not worried. The opposite of worried. Insouciant, even. But even in this very hypothetical situation, Matt, even if someone deserves to die and you think the law won't do anything about it, there are other ways to do it. No one should have to become a murderer to stop someone.”
Matt doesn't seem to have an answer for that, and they lapse back into silence. Foggy isn't on the edge of sleep this time, though. His head is whizzing, trying to figure out what Matt is involved in, if it has anything to do with his positive feelings about vigilante justice, a hundred other questions that have presented themselves in the wake of this conversation.
He checks his phone eventually, and there are twelve minutes left in the last hour. “It's about that time,” he says. Close enough, anyway. “You feeling better?”
“Yes,” says Matt, and actually sounds more sure of it than Foggy was expecting. “Thank you. And I'm sorry you were hurt. Stay safe.”
“You too, Matt.” Foggy clears his throat. “Seriously.”
“I'll do my best, Frank.”
Foggy winces, but it's good. It's a reminder that Matt is paying him to hug him and talk to him, and that that's all this is. “You gonna let me up?” he asks.
Matt looks startled, and a second later he's letting Foggy go, sitting up straight, bundling up the blanket like always. “Of course. I'll call again soon?”
“Looking forward to it as always,” Foggy says, and stuffs the blanket in his bag before he heads for the door. He pauses with it open, against his better judgment, and says “Don't do anything you'll regret, okay?”
“I won't,” says Matt, and Foggy really wishes that were comforting.
Foggy is running errands for work, out getting coffee and running some confidential documents to another firm while he's at it, and there's Matt, walking along the sidewalk, a cane tapping in front of him. He looks different during the daytime, standing tall and put-together, in a suit and his sunglasses.
Obviously, he can't see Foggy, but Foggy panics a little anyway, says “Shit” and ducks into the nearest shopfront when he thinks he sees Matt's head swivel towards him in that way it does when he's listening for something.
He ends up buying three postcards from the store before he can bring himself to leave again. Matt couldn't possibly have noticed him if Foggy didn't say hello, but that's no reason to tempt fate.
Foggy keeps his eye on the police blotter more than usual, too. He doesn't actually think Matt is going to kill anyone, but he sounded serious. And maybe it's just another aspect of his whole “sympathy for the Devil” thing, but that's kind of nerve-wracking too. Any day now, the police are going to catch the Devil, and Foggy already knows that somehow Matt Murdock is going to be footnoted as his defense attorney, and … well. Matt will be in trouble, and Foggy has to admit to a little self-interest, because if Matt comes under scrutiny, someone's going to peg the prostitute thing really fast, and then Foggy is disbarred and in some serious legal trouble.
So he should cut his losses. He should say no the next time Matt calls.
“Your usual customer,” says the voice on the phone. “Two hours, with the blanket.”
Foggy thinks of saying no, and wonders what Matt would do instead, if he would buy his own blanket, call a different escort, go out and find himself a date instead. “I'll be there in half an hour,” he says instead, and goes to find his soft clothes.
Matt is a disaster when he opens the door.
He's pretty clearly waited a couple days to call Foggy after something happened, but he's moving like everything hurts, and he has the remnants of what looks like one hell of a head injury decorating his forehead. “Jesus, Matt,” Foggy says, because he can't stop himself, “should I even be hugging you? I'm a little worried I'm going to disarrange something and puncture your lung, and I can't go down for manslaughter.”
“Please,” says Matt, mouth turning down, looking away like a scolded kid. “I need it, Frank. You can be gentle if you like, but I need you.”
Matt is like a whole UN's worth of red flags and Foggy hates that name more every time he says it, but he sighs, and Matt relaxes, like he already knows that means that Foggy is giving up. “You let me know if something hurts you, seriously.”
“I'm going to be—”
“Kinky shit is extra,” Foggy says, firm as he can, because it's the first thing that came to mind that Matt might actually listen to. “And honestly I usually don't do the hard stuff even outside the city. So you don't let me hurt you. Clear?”
Matt looks like he wants to object, but after a tense few seconds he nods. Good. Foggy's not sure if he could stick to his guns and leave if Matt didn't agree, and he really doesn't want that boundary tested. “Yes. Will you stay?”
“Yeah, okay.” Foggy starts for the couch, and Matt follows in his wake. Foggy takes a breath or two before he sits down, trying to get himself calm enough to do Matt any good at all, and then gets himself situated and the blanket in position. “Okay, come over here and make sure you're comfortable. If you act like you are in pain at all we are going to do nothing but hold hands.”
Matt responds by climbing into Foggy's lap and winding his arms around Foggy's neck, pulling the blanket over both of them. “This is good,” he says when he's settled. “Tell me something good that's happened to you since the last time you were here.”
“I found a great bakery that sells the world's most delicious cheesecake brownies,” says Foggy, on a whim. He actually found it more than a month ago, but it's something nice and happy and innocuous, so he can be forgiven for stretching the truth. “Seriously. Like a religious experience.”
Matt snorts quietly into his shoulder. “My priest might disagree.”
“Your priest has clearly not tried these brownies.” And Jesus, of course Matt is a lawyer who gets beat up and talks about killing people and hires hookers and has a priest.
“He likes lattes. Maybe you're right.” Matt clears his throat. “Tell me more?”
Foggy does, because that's what he's here for. He talks about the bakery, how it's got gingham curtains and an array of other pastries he hasn't tried yet because his budget only stretches so far and the brownies are too good to pass up, and how it's always playing a cheesy oldies soundtrack that gets the songs stuck in his head for the rest of the day.
Matt relaxes by slow degrees in his lap, and Foggy very gently strokes his back until he's practically purring, and then he lapses into silence.
“I have to ask,” he finally says, maybe an hour in, and feels Matt go tense under his hands. “Because you look bad, and our last conversation was pretty intense. Did you kill someone?”
“Someone ...” Matt sounds miserable. “Someone died trying to hurt me, but it wasn't the person I meant last time. And it wasn't on purpose, I promise, I swear. He wanted to hurt me more than he wanted to live.”
“Jesus Christ.” Foggy has to struggle with himself before he can manage a reply. He should call the police, but he already knows he isn't going to and he hates himself for it. He's in this too deep. “Jesus Christ, Matt, what are you mixed up in?”
Matt breathes shaky against his neck, and Foggy thinks he feels something damp on his collar. Matt's crying. “I can't tell you.”
“Yeah, probably smart. Forget I asked. I shouldn't have asked anything in the first place.” Because there's a picture forming in Foggy's head, and he doesn't know how it's possible, but he's almost sure it's true anyway, putting the pieces together. The conversations, the dead man Matt is splitting hairs over, the bruises, the way Matt said he was triangulating after Foggy said the Devil couldn't do that the way the justice system can.
“I'm sorry.” Matt sounds choked and horrible, and he shouldn't be feeling guilty over upsetting someone he hired to hug him. Foggy should be so low on his priority list, especially if it's as long as he's starting to think it is.
He can't push. He's already pushed too hard, and he's not supposed to. He's supposed to let Matt dictate the tone of the conversation, and he's not supposed to ask personal information or give it out. He knows all the delicate conversational rules, and this conversation is very delicate indeed. “Hey,” he says, and he sounds as shaky as Matt does. “I thought of something else good that happened to me since I saw you.” Matt makes a noise that's probably meant to be questioning. “Got to make friends with a dog in the park the other day.”
Matt exhales, a huge sigh. “Thank you. Please tell me about the dog.”
Foggy does, because that's the job. He talks about the two-minute encounter with a terrier for way more time than it deserves, embellishing freely until he can at least pretend it's interesting.
“Thank you, Frank,” Matt finally breathes, and he's not as relaxed as he was before Foggy ruined it, but he's not stiff as a board in Foggy's lap anymore.
“You're welcome. And, just between us, you can ...” He's regretting this already, it's stupid, but Matt needs a lifeline and Foggy really hates that name. “You can call me Foggy, if you want.”
“Foggy,” says Matt, and he sounds happy and confused and nervous at the same time. “Thank you, Foggy.”
Foggy adjusts his grip until he can put his chin on Matt's shoulder and indulges himself enough to hold on and stay almost fifteen minutes extra. He knows he can't come back.
“If it's blanket guy, you should maybe find someone else to send.” Foggy swallows. “I think he was getting a little too attached. Probably smart to cut that off before it gets bad.”
“Of course,” says the voice, like he knows there's more to the story than Foggy is telling him. “However, I was calling on behalf of Mrs. Charles.”
Thank God. Mrs. Charles is one of his favorite little old ladies, one of the proverbial ones who lunch. She's always funny and sweet and loves it when Foggy is an old-fashioned gentleman for her. She's probably his favorite client. “Great, it's been a while since I saw her! When does she want me?”
“Next Friday night, for the Fisk benefit.”
Foggy chews on his lip a little. It's the kind of event where he might run into people who know him as a lawyer, but Mrs. Charles is pretty subtle, and despite what the movies say, no one's first guess is “escort.” It's probably safe. A lot safer than another night with Matt, anyway. “Awesome,” he says, “I'll put it in my calendar.”
“She'll be glad to hear it. I'll let her know, and I'll be sure to make a note about your gentleman as well.” He sounds satisfied enough about it that Foggy knows he should have pulled the plug ages ago.
It doesn't mean he feels good about it, but it's the smart thing to do.
“Should we say hello to the hosts?” he asks, after they've all said hello and fussed over his new tie and told him they don't see him half as often as they want to, directing it at Mrs. Charles. They were fashionably late, after she couldn't find the earrings she wanted and he had to convince her that she already looked gorgeous.
She just laughs at him. “No, no, he'll find us at some point this evening if he's any good. I'm too old to be toadying up to politicians, Frank. It should go the other way around.” She waves over a waiter and snags a flute of champagne she presses into Foggy's hands. “I can't drink, damn medication, but you can. Enjoy it for me.”
Foggy makes a show of taking a sip and smacking his lips over how delicious it is (which it is, Wilson Fisk looks terrifying in person but he doesn't stint on his alcohol), but he doesn't drink on the job, so he just keeps it in his hand as an accessory and listens to Mrs. Charles tell a story and laughs in all the right places.
It doesn't take long for him to start feeling dizzy and tired.
Maybe, he thinks at first, it's strong champagne. He's no lightweight, but he's feeling unbalanced just from the light touch of Mrs. Charles's hand on his arm. Then he thinks he's sick and it's coming on fast, when he has to excuse himself to start coughing.
People start screaming, somewhere in the room, but Foggy is too busy passing out to come up with more theories by then.
Foggy feels cotton-mouthed like he only does after his worst hangovers and sore beyond belief, but he peels his eyes open, because whoever is talking to him sounds firm. Hospital. He recognizes that right away, and that's good. Hospitals are definitely where people who feel as shitty as he does belong. “What happened?”
He manages to focus enough to realize he's in the room with a familiar-looking nurse, one he talked to the last time he was in the hospital, the pretty tired one. Claire. “The champagne at the Fisk benefit appears to have been poisoned. You're lucky you only had a little in your system. People died.”
Foggy winces. His brain is slow, he isn't caught up yet, but there are a million questions he wants to ask. “How long has it been?”
“Approximately twenty-four hours since you were brought in.”
“Did anyone call my parents or anything?” It's probably Sunday. He needs to call work too. Both jobs, no way he's taking any red-phone clients for a week or two. Or possibly ever if he's going to go to events where he gets poisoned.
“For a while, there was a CDC quarantine, no visitors allowed. You can call them now that you're awake, if you'd like.” She checks a few of the monitors and looks at his chart. “You're going to be tired, don't worry if you start falling asleep again soon. It's going to be a few days before you're released, unless you have a caretaker at home.”
“I don't.” And hell if he's going to stay in his childhood bedroom with his parents fussing over him. “Do they know anything about the poisoning?” He winces, but he has to ask. “Is it the Devil of Hell's Kitchen again?”
“No,” Claire says, surprisingly sharp. “I don't think anyone would accuse him of using poison. Police are still investigating the information. They'll take a statement when you're awake a little longer, they're getting them from everyone at the party.”
Great, now he gets to lie to the police about how exactly he got invited to a party that fancy when he's just an associate at a not-very-fancy law firm. “Sounds like fun.”
Claire stops being brisk long enough to straighten his blanket and give him a warm smile. “Just rest for now, Mr. Nelson. I'll make sure that someone knows to bring you a phone the next time you wake up so you can call family or anyone else you need to call.”
He's tired, but he can't quite fall asleep as she checks one last thing and leaves again. It's kind of hard to wrap his mind around being poisoned, even if it wasn't directed at him, and even harder to wrap his mind around almost dying. He wants to curl up on his parents' couch and let his mother make him tea and never think about it all again. He wants a hug.
Foggy doesn't mean to go to sleep thinking about Matt, and how nice it would be to be on his couch in the dark talking politics way too heavy for near-strangers with Matt wrapped around him, but it's what happens, and when he wakes up again four hours later to a different nurse checking his vitals and offering him a phone, it sticks in his mind.
He takes a nap, does laundry, takes another nap, makes dinner, and dozes on the couch until he finally gets up the courage the check the news. He avoided it at Chez Nelson when his father wasn't clucking over the police being unable to catch vigilantes or poisoners, but he wants to know what's going on.
The Devil of Hell's Kitchen has been quiet, and Foggy spares another thought for Matt—he still doesn't know how it's possible, because Matt is definitely blind and that seems pretty incompatible with being a terrifying criminal vigilante who maybe accidentally murdered someone, but possible or not, the thought won't leave him alone. Foggy's a good lawyer. He knows to listen to thoughts that won't leave him alone.
He texts from the red phone while he's thinking about things he shouldn't, says he's not taking jobs until further notice, but instead of the almost-immediate terse acknowledgment he's expecting, he gets a message that the text can't be delivered, and when he tries again, he gets the same thing. When he calls, after five minutes and another text, there's a crisp electronic voice telling him the number has been disconnected.
Foggy stares at the phone for a few minutes, but he doesn't expect different results if he calls again. Something happened to the escort service, apparently, and they haven't bothered to explain that to their employees.
It makes a decision for him that he probably should have made on his own months ago, and it's probably good—less lies, more sleep, even if his grocery supplies are going to suffer.
He thinks about Matt again, though, how he's not even going to know now if Matt requests him even if he can't say yes.
And that's good. Or at least he'll tell himself it's good until he believes it.
He walks slow on his way home, both because he has to if he doesn't want to have to sit down in the middle of the sidewalk and because it's good to see everyone going about their lives. He ducks into a store for some canned soup and milk, and when he comes out, Matt is leaning against a building on the other side of the street with his phone pressed against his ear. It's hard to tell in the dark, but it looks like he's frowning. He's definitely got the slump-shouldered look he tends to have when he opens the door for Foggy, which seems at odds with his suit.
Foggy's got a Pavlovian response to Matt looking like that, apparently, because he almost wants to start across the street and give Matt a hug before he starts home.
They aren't in Matt's apartment, though. Foggy's not on the clock, doesn't even have that job anymore from what he can tell.
His phone rings—his regular one, the red one is safe in his bedside drawer at home—and Foggy picks it up, glad for the distraction, even if it's just his mother doing her daily check-in. “Hi, Mom.”
When he glances over at Matt, Matt's head is tilted in his direction, but he's still got his phone up against his ear like he's listening to the longest voicemail in the world.
“Yes, work was fine, everyone was glad to see me back,” he says in answer to her question, and makes a point of not looking at Matt as he walks away.
“If he was behind the poisoning at the benefit too, I am going to visit him in prison and punch him,” says Foggy, but he gets up and follows Todd to where it seems like half the office is bent over someone's laptop, watching the news footage of what looks like half the city getting arrested.
Nobody gets any work done for the rest of the work day—even the senior partners get sucked into watching the coverage, though one of them makes a point of saying that they're going to go through every legal dealing they've had with Fisk, any of his shell companies, and Landman and Zack to make sure there are no irregularities.
By the time Foggy makes it out of the office, Fisk is in custody, and by the time Foggy makes it home, through a restless city full of sirens, he's escaped.
Foggy stays glued to his computer and his phone the whole night, looking on the news and Twitter for the latest updates. It all comes too fast, even though Fisk is captured again amazingly quickly, but after that the stories change pretty quickly, and there's the Devil of Hell's Kitchen again, in a new costume from the pictures, one that's the same kind of ridiculous as Captain America's, with horns and everything.
Brett shows up on the news, saying “no comment” a lot but making it clear that the Devil was a lot of help in the arrests, that while his actions are illegal he's no longer a person of interest for the bombings and his assistance with finding Fisk is appreciated.
There's a little bit of footage, and Foggy looks at the shape of the shoulders, thinks about bruises and cuts and secrets.
Good for Matt. Maybe when the cops aren't chasing him down he'll need the hugs a little less.
There are a few people sitting in the booths in front of the windows—it's not exactly a lunch place, but some people like having mediocre coffee and incredible baked goods for lunch, Foggy included, so he's not going to judge him. One of the corner booths has a guy facing away from the line, with a mop of hair that looks way too familiar and a cane leaning against the table.
Matt doesn't know he's here, Matt is ten feet away and Foggy hasn't been talking or anything, so Matt does not know he's here. Foggy repeats that to himself until he gets to the front of the line, and then he keeps his voice low when he orders. “Could I have two of the cheesecake brownies, please? One to go, and ...” Oh, this is a bad idea. He knows it's a bad idea. He's going to do it anyway, though. “And one for the guy in the corner, compliments of the house?”
She raises her eyebrows at him. “That's what he ordered. Do you know him, or do you just have really good flirting skills?”
“Oh no, no flirting, remaining totally anonymous. And maybe he just looks like he needs a chocolate fix. Exudes that aura.”
“Right,” she says, drawling it out slow, and pulls two out of the display case, puts one in a bag and one on a plate.
Foggy gives her more money than two brownies are worth and more than he probably should and hands it over with a wink while he takes the bag. “Keep the change.”
She grins at him, genuine as any service professional is for a big tip, and Foggy gives her a nod and escapes before Matt figures out he's there or gets the brownie that will really tip him off.
He means to find a bench somewhere he can eat his brownie and think about his life choices, but he can't exactly say he's surprised when that's prevented by running footsteps behind him when he isn't even half a block away. When he turns around, Matt's running along with his cane clutched in his hands and people are giving him some seriously weird looks.
“Right here,” says Foggy when Matt's close enough, because he doesn't want to talk but he's not enough of an asshole to let Matt run by.
“Foggy,” Matt gasps out, pitching to a stop about a foot away. “You gave me a brownie.”
“And apparently you ran out without eating it.” Foggy winces, but it's all he can think of to say.
“I'll go back for it, I just … I was worried. They told me that you were indisposed and offered to send someone else, they'd never done that before, and then the line was disconnected completely.” Matt makes a face. It's hard to interpret, behind his glasses. “I know how that sounds. But I was worried.”
“Yeah, I'm. I'm fine. Line got disconnected for me too, no explanation or anything, but it was probably best anyway.”
Matt's mouth twists, and Foggy clutches so tight on his bakery bag that he's a little afraid he's going to squish the brownie. “Did I … no, of course I did something wrong. That last conversation, I shouldn't have ...”
“I asked.” Foggy sighs. “It wasn't the conversation, you were just—we were just, I'm not going to pretend it was just you. We were getting attached, and that's not good. You know what my job was.”
“Well, the line got disconnected.”
Matt nods, and even with the glasses Foggy can tell how miserable he looks. “May I give you my number? I don't expect you to call it, and I'm not asking for yours, but in case you ever decide … you're right. I got attached. To you. And I know it was your job, but if you ever want to, I would love to see you again. Without that.”
Foggy takes a deep breath. They're in the middle of the sidewalk and they can't have the talk that they really need to, and he's only got twenty minutes left in his lunch break. “Were you stalking me? I mean, you're at the bakery I mentioned. I can be forgiven for making some assumptions.”
Matt shakes his head immediately, which is more comforting than it maybe should be. “I went there because it reminded me of you, several times, but I didn't really expect you to walk in, much less send something to my table. And I … I heard your voice the other week, on the street, you were on the phone, and I wanted to come say hello, but I wasn't looking for you, and I thought that would be crossing a boundary.”
“It really would have been.” Foggy sighs and then digs a receipt and a pen out of his bag. Matt's number in his phone is going to be way too much of a temptation. “Tell me the number.”
“Really?” Matt asks, mouth dropping open.
“No, I'm joking. Yes, Matt, give me the number. Can't promise to call it, but ...” Sidewalk is mostly clear. May as well get all the cards on the table. Foggy leans forward a little, and ignores the way Matt does it too, sways until they're almost touching. “Good to have the Devil of Hell's Kitchen on my speed dial, right?”
Matt makes a startled noise and reels back, and that's all the confirmation Foggy needs. “What?”
“Not having this conversation right here. I guarantee you don't want to. Give me the number, Matt, I have to get back to the office.”
He can tell Matt wants to ask more questions, and Foggy maybe owes him a few answers, but there isn't the time, so he's glad when Matt just reels off the number, lets Foggy scribble it down and stuff the paper in his pocket. “Thank you,” Matt says when he's done, standing there awkwardly, hands clenched around his cane. “For letting me … for giving me … thank you. For the brownie.”
Foggy wants to hug him. He probably could, in public, a quick back-slapping hug would be more normal than the two of them standing here looking terrible. “You're welcome,” he says instead. “Enjoy it. I'm going to head back now.”
“Bye, Foggy,” Matt says in the small voice he always used when he opened the door to his apartment, and it takes everything Foggy's got to mumble out something reciprocal, turn around, and start walking.
He still waits most of a week to do it.
It's a Sunday afternoon and Foggy is fidgeting in his apartment, since he's just starting to figure out how much of his free time his second job took up and now he sort of feels like he needs a hobby for the first time since last school. Matt's number has been sitting on his kitchen counter for days, and when he gets up to get himself a snack he stares at it for a few minutes and then gets out his phone.
Matt picks up after two rings. “Foggy?”
Foggy stares at the phone for a second and then clears his throat when he hears Matt inhale. “Tell me you haven't been answering the phone like that all week. You've probably made some telemarketers really wonder about the weather.”
“It is you,” Matt says, sounding relieved, and then adds “I haven't been, I don't get many calls from numbers I don't already have stored, and this was a local area code. I thought it was worth hoping. I'm glad you called.”
“I thought we should probably talk. I figure we've both got some questions.”
“Yes. You … you knew about the mask. Can I ask how?”
Foggy sighs and goes over to the couch with his phone. “Sure, let's start with the big one. I guessed, mostly? From how much you were getting hurt and from the things you were talking about. The part with the man who died was really not subtle.”
“I suppose it wasn't. Doesn't it bother you? I hurt people. You seemed so calm about it, and if you knew before you stopped coming to see me you never let on.”
“It bothers me.” Foggy rubs his forehead, tries to think of what to say. “It's still you playing judge and jury, which—you should know better, you're a lawyer, by the way, it's like you're asking to get disbarred, and I should know about extracurricular activities getting people disbarred. But it also wasn't exactly my business when I was a hooker you hired, and I don't know. I don't think you're a bad person, Matt.”
“Thank you.” Matt clears his throat. “That … I hope I'm not one. I try to be a good one. And what do you mean, you know about getting disbarred?”
Foggy winces. If he's asking Matt questions it might as well go both ways. “Turns out you were a year ahead of me at Columbia.”
“You're a lawyer?” says Matt, with really unflattering surprise. “But you—”
“Yes, tell me how my second career is illegal, Daredevil.” It's a little harsh, but it quiets Matt down. “Yeah. I'm a grunt associate at a defense firm.”
“I do defense too,” says Matt, quietly. “I had a corporate internship for a while, they said I would be crazy to turn it down even if it wasn't my specialization, but I didn't like it. I'm working elsewhere now, but I want to start up my own practice someday.”
“Okay.” Foggy leans back against his couch. “I feel like we got sidetracked here. So, you're the Daredevil.” Matt makes an affirmative noise. “But you're blind, right? I feel like you would have judged my soft blanket for how ugly it is if you weren't.”
Matt laughs, a startled, happy sound. “Yes, I'm blind. If you're asking how I do it, though, my other senses are enhanced, and from body heat and shapes in the air and how sound echoes I can tell what's around me, and hear things other people can't.”
Foggy frowns. “What kind of things?”
“I ...” Matt stops. It is really unlikely, Foggy decides, that he's going to like whatever Matt says next, so he braces himself. “Your heartbeat,” he finally says. “I recognized that before I recognized your voice, on the street and then in the bakery. It's familiar, after I spent nights listening to it, focusing on it.”
“My heartbeat. Okay. That's … really weird.” Matt makes a little noise, but Foggy cuts over it. “I'm not exactly mad, I probably wouldn't have told me if I were you either. But it's weird.”
“Do you have other questions?”
“Probably. I'm still trying to assimilate the last answer. Do you?”
Matt pauses for long enough that Foggy gets nervous again. “You don't have to answer this. But when you got me that brownie, you said that you stopped coming because we got too attached.”
“You told me that you accidentally killed a man and I didn't call the police on you. I brought a blanket for you to hug me under.” Foggy shrugs, even though Matt can't see it. “Not exactly my average client interaction.”
And God, there it is, probably the reason he called Matt instead of writing him off as dangerous and a terrible idea, because he's both of those things, but he still manages to sound so tentative and hopeful and sad, and Foggy likes him, likes sitting next to him and talking politics they disagree on and feeling Matt get dozier and more relaxed on his lap. “Most people want me to go to parties, or to have sex with them. Not many people just want hugs.”
“Not just hugs. But it's all I would ask you for while I was paying you,” says Matt quietly. “I don't go to a lot of parties, but I could, if you wanted.”
“No thanks,” Foggy says, because he doesn't know how to express his gratitude that Matt didn't ask to kiss him or fuck him while he was being paid. He probably wouldn't have called Matt, if they'd ever done that. “I get poisoned at parties, apparently.”
“What?” Matt says, and it's deadly.
“I went to the Fisk benefit. I am fine. Brief hospital stay, scared my parents, we were talking about feelings.”
“Feelings.” That's apparently a really good distraction tactic, because Matt sounds soft again, not like he's planning to go out and do violence to someone. “You said attached, but you didn't say feelings.”
“I sort of thought they came implied,” says Foggy, with maybe a little more sarcasm than is really necessary.
Matt's exhale is a burst of static across the line. “I don't want to pressure you. You called me when you didn't have to, and I'm so grateful, but I'd like to be near you. You could come to my place. Maybe bring the blanket, if you want.”
Foggy can already tell he's going to have trouble saying no to Matt, if they do this. There's no harm in saying yes to this, though. He doesn't have to work until tomorrow morning, and he wants to see Matt too. The phone isn't exactly good for some of the weightier questions and arguments they're going to need to have. “Okay. I should be there soon. Knock five times?”
There's a pause, long enough that Foggy starts to wonder if Matt heard him, or if he's surprised or upset or something, before he says “Yes, okay. Thank you. I'll see you soon.”
He and Matt have never really figured out how to say goodbye. “Right,” says Foggy, and hangs up.
Matt won't know or care, but Foggy makes sure he picks a different bag to pack his blanket in, and packs a change of clothes in the bottom, just in case.
“Hi.” Foggy shuts the door behind him and then stays where he is, because he doesn't know how to do this anymore. He doesn't want to think about how long it's been since his last date that he wasn't paid for.
“I don't … you can sit down, if you'd like,” says Matt, tentative, the start of a frown creasing between his eyebrows. It's nice seeing him without his glasses again.
“Could I kiss you?” Foggy asks. He has a suspicion Matt won't say a thing without Foggy's permission, and they both know it's part of what they're trying to figure out.
Matt beams at him, a huge sunny smile Foggy can already tell he's going to do stupid things to get him to reproduce, and then he steps right into Foggy's space. “Of course.”
Foggy reaches out, telegraphs his movements, touches Matt's shoulder. “Okay, well, I'm—”
“You're right here,” Matt says, nonsensically, and kisses him.
Matt's lips are chapped, and he holds on just a little too tight when his hands hit Foggy's arms, and he kisses like he's never intending to come up for air. Foggy has done a lot of kissing, loves it, so he kisses back, slides his hand up to Matt's face and pulls him in closer, doing his best to make both of their knees go weak. The door is still close enough to catch them, after all.
Just when Foggy is seriously beginning to wonder about oxygen deprivation, Matt pulls away. He looks a little lost and concussed, which is something he's way more used to from Matt, but he doesn't look unhappy either. “Good?”
Matt focuses in on him, hands gentling on Foggy's arms. “Yes. Wonderful. Do you want to sit down on the couch?”
“I knew you just wanted me for my blanket,” Foggy says, without heat, but he starts over to the couch. Where there's already another blanket that looks a hell of a lot like his, only purple. “Or not?” he adds, because Matt stops walking when he does.
“Oh.” Matt starts turning red, but he goes over to the couch anyway, sits down next to Foggy's usual spot and then waits expectantly. “I got it after the second time you brought yours. But I liked yours better. It ...” He makes a face. “It smells like you.”
“Well then.” He's going to have to deal with that later. A lot later. When he is alone and can think about things like heartbeats and smells and not freak both of them out. “I think for fairness's sake I should get yours and you should get mine.” He grabs the blanket up in a ball and sits next to Matt.
“We could share,” says Matt, grabbing an edge of the blanket. “Both of them, if we get cold.”
“I'm really not expecting us to get cold,” says Foggy, because he's still thinking about that kiss, and this shouldn't be different from every time he was over paid to hug Matt, but when Matt starts arranging himself and the blanket, it doesn't feel like it did when he just needed comfort.
“Just in case.” Matt ends up on Foggy's lap, arms around Foggy's neck, and both of them are breathing a little hard. Matt's head is cocked like he's listening to something, but Foggy really doesn't want to know what his heartbeat sounds like right now, so he pulls Matt in again and kisses him, opens up his mouth for Matt's tongue and relishes the noise Matt makes into his mouth.
When they pull apart, Matt starts leaving kisses all over Foggy's face, his forehead and cheeks and chin, like he's exploring, feeling it out with his lips. It should feel awkward, or silly, but Foggy leans into it instead, breath coming quick, and Matt finally stops with his mouth pressed right over Foggy's pulse.
“I really did intend to talk when I came over here,” says Foggy, and it comes out unsteady.
Matt pulls away far enough that Foggy can see him grinning. “We can talk all you want.” He leans in again and kisses Foggy. He gets more intense every time. About three more and they're going to have to stop politely ignoring what Matt can no doubt feel sitting on Foggy's lap. “But maybe in a little while?”
“Sure, a little while,” says Foggy. It's hard not to feel agreeable with Matt in his lap. “Or you could tell me something good that's happened since the last time I saw you.”
From the way Matt grins, he recognizes the words as his own, and he kisses Foggy hard for it. “You're the best thing,” he says quietly when he pulls away, and leans back in.
Foggy pulls him down. For now, that's really all the conversation they need to have.