“Hey, is this Foggy Nelson?”
Foggy blinks at his phone for a second. It was an unfamiliar number, so he was expecting either someone wanting to sell Franklin Nelson religion or credit cards or Matt calling with a Saturday-morning emergency. This is neither of those things. “Yes, speaking.”
“Hi, Foggy! I'm glad you didn't change your number. This is Sam Wilson—you know, from college?”
Foggy turns off his TV. “I don't exactly know a lot of other Sam Wilsons, but hi, man, how are you doing? Last I heard from Facebook you were in DC.” And last he heard from the news, he was standing at Captain America's shoulder during a news briefing, but Foggy is really not equal to the task of talking about that right now.
“I was, but I'm in the city at least part-time these days. I figured I'd look you up, I just wasn't sure if you still had the same number.”
“I'm going to have this number till I die. I will fight whoever decides to take it from me. What brings you back to the city?”
Sam pauses. Sam, or at least Sam when Foggy knew him, is not given to silence except when he's listening, and the well-honed instincts Foggy is developing for when Matt is about to bullshit him start going off. “I suspect you have a few guesses,” he finally says, and Foggy's got to respect that. His identity isn't as top-secret as Matt's, but he's not as public as some of the Avengers. “But I wondered if you wanted to meet up for lunch. It's been too long since we caught up.”
“Sure, I've got nothing to do today.” He and Matt still aren't hanging out too much on the weekends, which isn't great, but at least leaves him free to catch up with old friends. “There's a great diner a couple blocks from me. I'll text you the address, meet you there about twelve thirty? I should probably shower.”
“Sounds great,” says Sam, so sincere it's a little painful. “It'll be great to see you, man.”
“Yeah, you can tell me all about being friends with Captain America,” says Foggy, because he's a little bit of an asshole and he owns it, and hangs up.
Foggy greets Sam with a hug, getting a few slaps on the back as he does, and raises his eyebrows to say “Always nice to catch up in private with an old friend” before he moves to shake hands with superheroes. At least he can be a little bit blasé. He slept on a superhero's couch last Tuesday night.
Sam just grins at him. “Figured you might as well meet them straight off. Steve, Natasha, this is Foggy, I knew him in undergrad, and—you did do the law degree thing, right? Where are you working these days? You never post on Facebook.”
“Yeah, neither do you, Falcon,” says Foggy, picking out a booth and sitting down. At least New Yorkers are too proud of their own coolness to make it too obvious that they're spying on a bunch of superheroes having lunch with a guy from the neighborhood. “And yes, I did the law degree thing, you are speaking to Franklin Nelson, Esquire. I've got my own firm with my friend Matt.”
Sam nods. “I've seen some pictures of him, right? I don't think he's on Facebook at all.”
“He doesn't get much good out of it.” Foggy shrugs, and says “He's blind” when Captain America and the Black Widow both look politely interested. “Now, are you going to admit that you won this reunion and send your friends away before they get bored to death, or are we going to keep on for a while?”
That makes Captain—no, he's really got to call him Steve, Foggy refuses to be intimidated—that makes Steve grin, surprisingly wicked for a national hero. It's a very Matt grin, the one he does when he's about to say something that will get a jury on their side. “Mr. Nelson, we won't be bored, I promise. We were hoping for some stories about Sam in college. He always claims he didn't do anything against the rules at all, but I think he's lying.”
Foggy glances at Sam, catches him beaming, glances at Natasha and finds her looking back with her head tilted, and relaxes into a grin. “I mean, if you're looking for embarrassing stories, I'm definitely your man. Let's order some burgers, and then I'm going to tell you about the time Sam got stuck on the roof of the student union.”
It's not quite the most surreal two hours Foggy has ever spent (sitting in Matt's apartment waiting for him to wake up and explain probably wins that one, with the first alien invasion a close second), but by the time his phone rings, he's made Natasha laugh with her hand over her mouth like she was surprised she was laughing and threatened to smack Captain America upside the head for trying to steal the check.
“Sorry, I know this is rude, but it's my best friend,” Foggy says once he's checked his phone and seen Matt's name. Sam just gestures him on and turns to ask Natasha a quiet question, so Foggy answers, turning away for some semblance of privacy. “What's up, Matty?”
“I was just wondering what you're doing today. I stopped by your apartment, but you weren't there, so I thought dinner.”
Foggy hums. “Dinner should be okay. I've been out for a long lunch with a college friend and some of his colleagues, that's why I wasn't home. Your place or mine? No, yours, you've been at mine once already today.”
“Come over around six, I'll make us something.” Matt pauses. “Who are you meeting with? Anyone I know?”
That's unlike Matt, but then again, Foggy doesn't hang out with a lot of people who aren't Matt or Karen or occasionally Marci or Claire. “You never met him—Sam, from undergrad, if I've talked about him.”
“You have,” says Matt. “I'll see you at six? We can wait until tomorrow if you're busy.”
“I don't think lunch is going to go on for four more hours, buddy, I'll be there.”
“Good. I'll see you then.”
Foggy rings off with the usual pleasantries, even though it was a weird conversation, or maybe just a weird conversation to have with Sam and Natasha and Steve sitting at his table with him. “Sorry, apparently I've been neglecting him.”
Natasha raises her eyebrows. “You work with him five days a week, don't you?”
Foggy shrugs. “Yeah, but it's Matt. We're sort of attached at the hip.”
“Well, we can't get in the way of that,” she says in a tone that even Foggy knows is weird, and Steve elbows her. “Fine, fine, tell me more about Sam's attempts to seduce that barista.”
“Gladly,” says Foggy, and the conversation lasts for another half an hour before Steve gets a text and says they have to leave and even seems reluctant about it.
He ends the afternoon with three new superheroes in his phone contacts and a threat from Natasha to rope him into the movie nights they apparently inflict on Steve on a regular basis.
He should tell Matt about it, he knows that, but Matt wants to talk about their latest case and only asks once, hesitantly, about how Sam is, and Foggy can brush it off pretty easily.
It's probably about fifty percent petty joy over having a secret Matt doesn't know and fifty percent preventing Matt from fretting at him about more people putting him in danger, which would no doubt lead to the argument about the media and government liking Captain America way more than they like Daredevil. Again.
He also wishes he were surprised that Matt doesn't mention it, even to tease Foggy. Daredevil is still someone Foggy knows mostly through bruises and news articles and mornings after, and Foggy knows just how much Matt protects him from hearing but he has to know it's in the news, that Foggy is curious, especially when it happens again and then again, with Captain America and War Machine and probably other people too, since maybe there are Avengers stealthy enough to stay out of the news. Probably not, Foggy is depressingly aware of the personality type, but it's nice to hope.
It takes about two weeks for Foggy to meet his next Avenger.
He's walking home from work and ignoring the sound of sirens a few blocks away that probably mean Matt is involved in something big when there's a shockwave of light and sound that comes with a scream, just a few buildings behind him.
Foggy turns around, because there's no way he can get away from fast-moving trouble and he may as well know if he's about to be blown up. There's a woman crumpling to her knees in the middle of a ring of unconscious ninjas (they look like ninjas, anyway, which definitely means Matt is involved, Matt seems to attract martial arts experts like a magnet), and she looks familiar enough that Foggy makes a snap judgment and goes towards her and not away.
She's conscious, which is good, though the way she ominously raises her hands when he gets too close is less good. “Back off.”
Foggy puts his hands up, and hopefully surrender is a universal gesture. “I'm friends with Sam, I know Steve and Natasha. Are you with them?”
She frowns and there's a weird feeling in his head. “You aren't lying. Yes.”
“Jesus Christ, superheroes. Are you okay?”
“I overreached myself, that's all.”
Foggy looks around at the ninjas, all of whom are decidedly unconscious. “Are you going to be better by the time these guys wake up? I can text Sam and you can wait at my place, if you want.”
“You're very odd.” She stands up, and it looks like it hurts to do it, another uncomfortable reminder of Matt. “Your name?”
“Foggy Nelson. I went to college with Sam.”
“Wanda Maximoff.” She takes a step and nods, probably making sure she can do it. Claire could quit at the hospital and have a whole business where she just yelled at superheroes. Foggy would invest, if he had any money. “Where is your place?”
“Another block. I'll text Sam, someone will probably meet them there.”
“True. This isn't a large-scale attack.”
Foggy slows down so she doesn't have to walk too fast and takes his phone out. He sends the text to Steve and Natasha as well as Sam. They can decide who comes to get Wanda. Hey, I have something of yours, she's okay and we're going to my apartment, you know where that is because you are creepy spies.
He's expecting them to be fast, but either Wanda underestimated the size of the attack or they aren't in a hurry, because he's got a cup of the tea he keeps around for Karen in her hands before there's a knock on his window, followed quickly by the sound of the lock being disabled and Natasha's entrance.
“You could at least pretend to let me open the window for you. It would have taken literally ten seconds,” says Foggy. Natasha looks tired but uninjured. Good. “Tea?”
“Tea.” It sounds like some incomprehensible foreign concept on Natasha's tongue. “Wanda, would you like to stay for tea?”
“I mean, only if everything is cleaned up.”
Natasha shrugs. “As cleaned up as it can be, anyway. I'll stay for tea.”
They end up staying an hour and drinking two cups of tea each. Wanda doesn't talk much—he doesn't think she's shy, but she's definitely quiet, and Foggy knows when to cut his losses—but Natasha makes polite conversation and asks leading questions about nothing in particular. He mostly ends up talking about Matt and work, which are safe topics as long as he leaves the Daredevil of it all out.
“Speak of the devil,” he says when Matt calls sometime after Natasha has told an embarrassing story about Sam during Avengers drills and the sirens have died down, and he immediately wants to kick himself. “Matt, how are things?”
“I just wanted to check and make sure you're okay.” Matt sounds tired, or maybe someone choked him again. That happens way too often for Foggy's comfort. “Do you want me to come over?”
“No. I'm good. Get some rest, Matt, you sound like it's been a long night.”
“If you're sure.” Matt sounds a little stung, but Foggy is really not equal to the task of explaining Natasha and Wanda tonight, so he'll just have to pick Matt up some breakfast on the way to the office in the morning. “I'll see you tomorrow.”
“Take care, buddy.”
Foggy hangs up and finds Natasha and Wanda both watching him, Natasha with a really impressive poker face and Wanda with her head tilted like she's thinking. “Your boyfriend?” Wanda asks.
“Everything but,” Foggy says with all the cheer he can muster. “Business partner, best friend, we just don't date.”
“Hmm,” says Natasha, still with the poker face, which is abruptly terrifying. “We should go debrief with the rest of the team. Thank you for your help, Foggy. We'll text you about that movie night.”
“Right.” His life is not getting any less strange. “Nice to meet you, Wanda.”
She frowns at him. She does a lot of frowning, and is pretty much the kind of person who makes him want to hug her if it wouldn't be weird from some strange man. “Thank you for your hospitality, Mr. Nelson,” she tells him, stiff, and follows Natasha out the window.
Sometime, he's going to ask Matt why putting on a mask makes you automatically unable to open doors.
“You couldn't have warned me?” he asks Sam in the kitchen while they're getting snacks, lowering his voice because who knows what Vision's hearing is like.
Sam just laughs, easy. “I mentioned you, Vision was curious, and you'll like Rhodes.” He lowers his voice. “And I think Wanda likes you, and she doesn't like many people, so I'm encouraging it.”
Foggy is a sucker, and both of them know it. “Fine, fine, I'll live through the awkwardness.”
“Hey, if you want to balance it out, you could always ask your friend Matt along.”
He shrugs. “Matt's not much of a movie person.”
Sam snorts. “Yeah, that's what Daredevil said when we asked him along.”
Because Foggy has been trained by law school not to make a total ass out of himself, he manages not to choke, and he hopes he sounds way more casual than he feels when he says “Is Daredevil on the team now, or something? I've seen him in the news with you guys.”
“He's an ally.” Sam shrugs. “I think Steve would offer, but Daredevil is pretty attached to this place. Seems to me like he'd rather stay here, and we can't promise that.”
“Maybe so,” says Foggy, and picks up a bowl of popcorn, salted and buttered. “Okay, I think I'm about ready to face them all again. But you owe me for this. Next time I have to move house you're flying my shit across the city.”
Sam laughs and picks up a tray of drinks. “I'd say that's fair.”
Foggy winces. It's worse because Matt doesn't sound accusatory. He sounds tentative, like Foggy's going to walk out the door again, and Foggy really hates feeling guilty for his completely justifiable anger. “Only at work five days a week, I know, it's pretty awful. We'll hang out sometime this weekend, okay? I've just been spending some time with Sam, reconnecting.”
“Are you dating?” That's tentative too. “You never mentioned if you did before, but when you're spending so much time ...”
“No, Matt, honestly, we're just hanging out.” He's spending way more time with the Avengers than he really means to. Natasha texts him weird videos at least twice a day, Steve laughs at his jokes, he's unexpectedly bonded with Jim Rhodes, Vision keeps asking him about points of law, and Wanda keeps plying him with tea. “When do you want me this weekend? We can spend the day together on Saturday, maybe, I don't have Saturday plans.”
Matt's shoulders relax, and he feels even worse. “I'd like that. We can have brunch, take a walk, maybe.”
“Oh God, I've just realized that your terrible sleep schedule has turned us into the kind of people who brunch. Next thing you know we're going to spend our Saturday mornings going to farmer's markets and talking about the economy.”
“You like doing both of those things,” Matt points out, because he's a filthy traitor. “You like haggling, and I like farmer's markets better than the grocery store when we can afford it.”
“Then maybe we can go to the farmer's market after brunch and admit to ourselves that we're turning into brunch people.”
Matt laughs, finally relaxed, and Foggy really hopes he can't smell relief. “We ate brunch almost every weekend at Columbia.”
“That's because students mostly sleep too late for breakfast but still like breakfast food. If you do it when you're an adult it's a thing.”
“It should be a thing. We'll have brunch, and we'll go to the farmer's market, and then maybe we can call Karen and see what she's doing,” says Matt, and nods, everything decided.
“Fine, then, we're succumbing to the inevitable.” Foggy kicks Matt gently under the conference table. “You can just tell me if I'm not hanging out with you enough, you know? Sam is great, but you're my best friend. I'd rather be with you any day.”
Matt smiles down at his braille display. “Thank you, Foggy.”
“Anytime, buddy. Brunch or no brunch, you're stuck with me.”
Natasha says it so blank that it's a judgment in and of itself, and Foggy rolls his eyes. “I know, right? His idea, in my defense.”
“And you went along?”
“Well, I wasn't going to tell him no.”
“Of course you weren't.” She sounds indulgent enough to make him wince. He knows that tone; he's been friends with Marci for years. It means he's digging himself a huge hole and she's the only one who's got a ladder long enough to get him out. “I feel like I should meet him, he's so important to you.”
“That's, um … very nice, and probably unwise.” Matt is going to say so many things about glass houses and stones when he eventually figures out that Foggy's Sam is Sam Wilson. For now, he's just lucky that they were busy being miserable at Landman and Zack when everything went upside down and Foggy didn't think to mention it. “When's everyone else getting here, again?”
“They're running late from Stark Tower, I think.” Natasha raises her eyebrows at him. “I'm assuming you don't want to meet Tony Stark.”
Foggy considers all the hair-raising things he's seen in the press and heard from Jim and decides that she's probably right. Tony Stark is like a walking lawsuit, he and lawyers probably can't exist in the same room. “Yeah, but I don't want you to judge me about eating brunch either,” he says.
“Did I say anything about judging you?” Natasha, who's been systematically exploring his apartment and stopped in front of his bookshelf to frown at his selections, turns to raise her eyebrows at him. “I just think that maybe you weren't being honest when you said that you and your Matt aren't dating, that's all.”
“Honestly, Foggy, you should consider having a date with someone else.” Natasha tilts her head, and Foggy's been to law school, so he knows that they've reached the point, that she's been leading him and he followed like a complete idiot. Matt would be so ashamed. “If only to remind yourself of the fact that you and he are apparently not together.”
Foggy has heard worse from half of his relatives, Marci, and at least two strangers. “Let me guess, you know a great person.”
“I know many.” She grins at him. “Just ask Steve.”
Right on time, there's a knock on Foggy's apartment door, because Jim is a polite man who makes his teammates use the door, and Foggy goes to let everyone in.
Natasha stays quiet on the matter for the rest of the night, but he's got a healthy amount of suspicion. She hasn't dropped it. He has no idea why the Black Widow is suddenly interested in matchmaking Foggy of all people, but it's clear she and Marci must never, ever meet.
Steve, because he's kind of an asshole but also a polite asshole, stays after everyone else leaves to help Foggy put his apartment back in working order and spray his couch down with the horribly expensive non-scented cleaner he buys for Matt's sake, and Foggy waits until he's pretty sure that even Vision can't hear them before he says “So, if Natasha is trying to encourage me to go on dates, is my doom pretty much ensured?”
Steve grins at him in the middle of lifting Foggy's coffee table out of the way so he can get crumbs off the floor. “I was wondering why she's stopped with me.”
Foggy takes a second to consider that. “She tried to set Captain America up with people? How did that go for her?”
“Not well.” Steve shrugs and moves the table back. “I wasn't ready. She wants people to be happy, though, and teasing them. This takes care of both things at once.”
“So I'm doomed.”
“If you wanted to date someone besides ...” Steve clears his throat and straightens Foggy's collection of newspapers that he hasn't bothered to throw away on the coffee table. “If you aren't ready, that's fine. But if you wanted to take a chance, she knows how to vet people.”
“For secret spy organizations, not for dates,” Foggy points out, and then sighs. “And you're allowed to say it. If I'm not ready to be over Matt.”
Steve raises his hands. “That's your business. Don't let Natasha make you do anything you don't want to do, but you can always think about it.”
Foggy's got a feeling he's not going to be thinking about much else for the rest of the night.
“Mostly fine. I believe Daredevil is injured, but he said he had a nurse to go to when I said I have a friend in the area.”
That's probably best, all things considered. He's doing better at balancing his time between Matt and the Avengers, but he's feeling more guilty about lying to everyone about it by the day. “Well then, I'll just get out my kit and we can figure out how much patching up we can do before Sam gets here.”
“Thank you.” Wanda is frowning, and Foggy starts some water boiling for tea on his way to the bathroom to raid his medicine cabinet. “I'm not an effective fighter, when I'm exhausted from using the aether. I should ask Daredevil if he can help me. Natasha might be willing, but I don't think she likes teaching.”
Matt's a good teacher, or at least a good study buddy, and Foggy has poked through enough of the SHIELD files from the dump since he got to be friends with the Avengers that he can see why Natasha might not want to teach a lot. “I mean, you just said that Daredevil is the other one who got his ass kicked tonight,” Foggy calls from the bathroom, scooping everything into his arms and taking it back out to the living room.
“He was the first one on the scene,” says Wanda, with a shrug. Foggy really needs to have a chat with Matt about waiting for backup, once he's admitted who his new friends are. “He needs taking care of, I think. I can't blame him for not wanting to be on the team, but someone would be nice.”
“Everyone's got someone. He's got his nurse, apparently.”
“I suppose.” Wanda smiles at him in thanks when he dumps his supplies on the coffee table, and he leaves her to sort through what she actually needs before he goes to check on the water for tea. “Do you want to call your friend and ask him how he is? You often do, when there's been trouble. I don't want to interrupt.”
Matt is apparently hurt but okay, if he's getting to Claire on his own power, but he isn't going to say no to Wanda. She's still quieter than everyone else—Vision is quiet too, but he's observing, figuring humanity out. Wanda isn't. “Sure, thanks, I'll make sure he's okay.” He grabs his phone from the counter and turns off the stove so Wanda's tea can start steeping while he makes the call.
Matt picks up on the third ring, since Foggy called his burner phone. “Foggy? Is everything okay?”
“Just what I was calling to ask you, buddy. Life was way easier when we were just dealing with the mafia and not … whatever it was tonight.”
“They call themselves The Hand,” Wanda calls helpfully from the living room, and Foggy slaps his hand over the receiver.
“Nothing you need to worry about,” says Matt, because he's terrible. “Is someone there with you?”
The phone, he's discovered, is pretty much the only place he can lie to Matt, or if he can't Matt hasn't told him yet. He really hopes it's the first thing. “Just the news. You're okay?”
“I'm fine. I'm with Claire, and she wants me to put down the phone so I can steady her to—help patch me up.” Stitches, then. Maybe worse. Great. “Thank you for calling, though. I'll bring bagels to work tomorrow. Okay?”
Matt sounds so hopeful, and Foggy wants to yell and tell him it's not the bagels, and that now that Foggy knows the big lie the smaller ones are really painfully obvious, but he hasn't got a leg to stand on right now, so all he does is smile and say “Okay, Matty. Take care.”
Foggy hangs up and takes Wanda's tea over to her. She likes it strong, so she won't drink it yet, but it's something to do, and she seems most of the way through wrapping her ankle up in bandages. “He's fine, then?” she asks, taking the tea.
“He says so, anyway. I figure I'll trust him.” Foggy sits down on the other end of the couch. “Let's text Sam to let him know you need to be carried home tonight since I don't have crutches and then we can see what's on TV until he gets here.”
They end up watching one of the Harry Potter movies, and all the Avengers come through the window or the front door before the end of it, finishing it off before the late-night TV shows start playing.
He misses Matt, wishes things could work out so he could come along to things like this, but it's a good night.
Foggy winces and turns to face Natasha, who he should have suspected of subterfuge as soon as she offered to help him clean up instead of Steve. He's way too trusting. “Time and place are already set up, I'm guessing. Wardrobe?”
“I can cancel, of course, but I think you'll like him.” She smiles at him, one of the little ones that seem a lot more honest than her big grins. “He's attractive, and charming, and passionate about his work. I think you would find a great deal to discuss.”
A former SHIELD agent, maybe, though Natasha seems to know everyone everywhere so Foggy isn't willing to take bets on that. “And if he's so attractive and charming, why is he going on blind dates with one of the two poorest lawyers in Hell's Kitchen?”
“Because no one is perfect.” Natasha raises her eyebrows. “I think it's worth a try, Foggy. I'd like you to be happy.”
“You think I'm not?” He is, actually. He's got Matt, and Karen, and Marci, and now the Avengers, and that's a lot more friends than he's had at once in a long time. Matt is still sheltering him (not that he can blame him, he's letting himself be sheltered) and Karen and Marci don't know about any of it, but it's still good.
“I think,” says Natasha, “that things with Matt are a lot more complicated than you like to let on. Maybe he knows you're in love with him, or you two used to date and you aren't over it, or it's something unrelated, but I think you could use the distraction. We're a good distraction, but we also fly off across the world at a moment's notice when we need to. A boyfriend might help.”
Foggy has to wonder if she knows. Vision has scary amounts of information access, Wanda can apparently read people's minds, and Natasha just knows everything. If they knew who Matt was, though, he thinks someone would tell him, probably Jim or Steve. The Avengers are universally kind of assholes, but they're good people. “A boyfriend might help,” he admits. Marci was helping, until they crashed and burned again.
“Wonderful. Friday night, unless there's an emergency in which case I'll text you, you have rooftop access to your building, don't you?”
“Because that's not an unnerving question at all. Yes. The landlord doesn't like it when people smoke in their actual apartments.”
“Friday night at seven thirty, then, he'll bring dinner, you just bring a picnic blanket. I'll bring him along, don't worry about him being able to get there.”
“This is a terrible idea. Fine. Friday night, I am bringing my baseball bat in case he turns out to be evil, people who hang out on rooftops are a little sketchy.”
Natasha laughs at him. “That's the idea. I'll see you then, Foggy, and don't worry, I do think the two of you will get along. He's even from your neighborhood, you'll have that to discuss if nothing else.”
“Fine, see you then.”
There are still dishes to do, but Natasha seems to take that as her cue to exit anyway. Through the window, of course.
Matt looks just as frozen, which isn't fair, because he probably knew they were heading for Foggy's building five minutes ago. He's carrying a picnic basket, which would be hilarious at literally any other time. “It's a pleasure,” Matt says after too long a pause.
“I told him you were charming.” Natasha sounds a little more fond than Foggy was expecting, for someone who only knows Daredevil from fights on the street. “You could at least try.”
“Don't worry about it, he's no doubt just bowled over by my stunning good looks.” Foggy sets the blanket down on the roof, because he's not going to bail on this date. He and Matt clearly need to have a discussion about things. “Are you going to chaperone this date like he's a Victorian maiden, or are we okay?”
“It's fine, Natasha,” says Matt. He hesitates over the name. Probably he usually calls her Black Widow or Ms. Romanoff or something, because that's Matt all over. “Foggy and I will be fine, and I'll try very hard to be charming.”
“By 'from my neighborhood' you meant 'beats up criminals in my neighborhood,' didn't you?” Foggy says, when Natasha looks over at him. “I'm sure you think you're very funny, and if you say anything about potatoes or potahtoes I am never speaking to you again.”
Natasha gives him a disappointed look, because of course she knows that's a lie, and of course so does Matt because he's awful. “I doubt he would take on crime in this neighborhood if he weren't from it. Are you comfortable on your own with him? I know you are with the rest of us, but he doesn't come to movie nights.”
“I'm good. I'll call you if things get weird and you can call everyone over and we can have movie night instead.”
Natasha shoves Matt a little, and he takes a step forward. “We'll be fine. He's a friend of yours.” Matt sounds choked enough that Foggy has very little hope that she doesn't already know three quarters of the story. “Thank you for the introduction, Natasha.”
She frowns at Matt and then at Foggy, and then she nods. “Text me if something goes wrong,” she says, to either or both of them, and takes off at a jog.
Foggy sits down and then waits until Matt's shoulders relax, presumably when she hits the edge of normal human hearing range, and then waits an extra thirty seconds, because he really does not like assuming that Natasha's anything is normal. “Well, this brings a whole new meaning to the words 'blind date.' Are you going to sit down?”
Matt looks really ridiculous finding his way to Foggy's voice and sitting down on the blanket, all in his costume. He settles the basket between them. Foggy will bet any money that Natasha packed it for him. “Movie night,” he finally says, like that's the weirdest thing about this situation. “Everyone.”
“I would like to point out before we begin this conversation that you have zero legs to stand on, because you have been fighting with them for kind of a while now and never even teased me about getting me Steve's autograph.”
Matt takes his gloves off, lays them on the blanket next to him. “You don't like knowing what I do. You accept me, and I'm grateful for that, I can never tell you how much, but whenever it gets specific, you're unhappy.”
“Did you think that maybe telling me you have some backup now might help?”
“No.” Matt's frowning, and Foggy's almost relieved that he's wearing the mask. It's a lot more pathetic when he can see Matt's whole face. “You still haven't told me how you know them. Movie night … were you lying about your friend Sam?”
“You would know if I was,” Foggy points out. Sometimes he's a little petty, sue him. “I just might have kind of left out the thing where my friend Sam is Sam Wilson, and he introduced me to some of his co-workers.”
Matt is fiddling with his gloves. “He talked about a friend—they all did. They didn't use your name, though. I didn't connect the dots. I should have. You could have … why didn't you tell me?” Foggy takes a breath, and Matt shakes his head. “I'm not accusing you of doing anything wrong, I just want to know.”
“A lot of reasons, I don't know. It was all kind of weird and surreal and you weren't telling me so I wasn't telling you, which I realize is immature, but there it is.” Foggy starts going through the basket, just for something to do with his hands. Wine they definitely can't afford, sandwiches, brownies. A small box of condoms tucked discreetly in the bottom, but he isn't going to tell Matt that. “Plus, just so I don't sound like a complete asshole, they don't know who you are. If you didn't want to tell them I didn't want to make it easier to put the pieces together.”
“If I'd known they were people you could trust, I might have told them.” Matt must smell the sandwiches, because he reaches forward and feels around a little bit until he gets one out.
“You were protecting me.”
“You don't want to be involved.”
“You didn't exactly give me a chance to be after I found out.” Matt winces, and Foggy waits to see if he's going to recover from that, fight back. Matt's good in a debate, but he isn't trying very hard. Maybe because they've got no idea what they're debating. “Do I want to know about every punch you throw? Jeez, no. But things like allies, general outlines … yeah. Daredevil is kind of a huge part of your life, buddy. We're going to run out of things to talk about if you don't share.”
Matt makes no moves to eat his sandwich, just stares at his lap. The mask is weird. It makes Foggy forget that Matt can't actually see the sandwich, just kind of smell its shape and components. “I'm sorry.”
“We've both kind of been assholes about it,” Foggy says, because he's willing to be the bigger man. “But that's what blind dates are for, right? Getting to know people? Maybe we could stand a little of that.”
“A date.” Matt finally smiles a little. “How did you get talked into this, anyway?”
“Me? How about you? She must have been working on you for weeks, you're the most stubborn asshole in the city.” Matt doesn't answer, and Foggy shrugs. Apparently he's taking the lead on this whole conversation. “She thought I might be lonely, once the Avengers don't have to be in New York anymore, and said a boyfriend might help.” And she wants him to stop pining over Matt, and that would be really funny if it didn't make him want to beat his head against a wall.
“She said I was lonely too, and then said she knew someone who was funny and smart and … well, I wasn't expecting you.”
There is more to that sentence that Matt isn't saying, but Foggy isn't going to push him right now. “Believe me, I wasn't expecting you either. Though in retrospect I really should have been. So let's eat sandwiches and drink wine and talk about your vigilante activities, and if it gets really awkward I'll go downstairs and get the terrible cheap stuff that will actually get us drunk.”
Matt's mouth goes kind of lopsided, trying to smile and not quite getting there. “Like a date?”
“Unless you want to tell Natasha who you are tonight, yeah.” Matt's stiffening up again, and Foggy sighs. “You've been on dates. They are hanging out with kissing at the end if they go well, and we don't have to go that far.”
Matt relaxes, but it takes a second. “Okay. We can do that. As long as you don't mind.”
“Why would I mind? Tell me all about how you got into vigilante justice, Daredevil, since we've clearly never met before.”
Matt smiles, and Foggy breathes out. It's going to be an awkward night, and he has no idea what they're going to tell Natasha tomorrow, but they can do this. They've done worse.
“Gross, I am not a silent movie heroine. And it went ...” Foggy's had worse dates, that's the surprising thing. It was he and Matt hanging out like normal but talking about the things they haven't really had the chance to discuss since Foggy found out Matt was the Devil. He asked at the end of the night what they were going to tell Natasha, and Matt said they could say they were going to have another date, until they figure out how to explain everything to the Avengers. Matt was even smiling when he said it. “Well. It went well.”
Sam grins and shakes his head. “Don't tell her that, man, she'll never stop and I'm pretty sure I'm next on the list, since she and Steve have reached some kind of truce.”
Foggy shrugs. “I'm not promising anything. But I've had way worse dates.”
“And you're feeling better about Matt?” That's careful, because Sam's less of an asshole when pried away from his teammates.
“Yeah. Surprisingly, a lot better.”
Foggy, in the middle of handing out individual bags of popcorn because when he tried to do a communal bowl there were pitched battles, freezes. He would roll his eyes if it was Natasha or Steve or even Sam, but it's Jim asking, so he turns to face him. “Why do you say that?”
“You've been on a few dates, right?” They did do another, Natasha-approved, and it got interrupted by the sound of sirens before Foggy had to figure out what to do at the end of the night. It turns out hanging out with Matt when they're calling it a date is different than hanging out with Matt normally. Maybe it's that they're tense and it's the only place they really talk about the superhero thing, but that's probably not the reason Foggy was half-expecting to get kissed at the end of the night. “He could come over, we keep trying to convince him to hang out with us and you might tip the balance. He can stay in costume.”
Natasha is watching with her eyebrows raised, and there's really no good reason to say no that doesn't involve explaining, so Foggy tosses her the remaining bags of popcorn. “You pass those out, leave one for me, and I'm going to call him.”
He's got the number for Matt's burner phone now, but he hasn't called it, so he's expecting the way Matt picks up and says, tight and tense, “Are you in some kind of trouble?”
“Hey, Daredevil, it's Foggy,” says Foggy. It feels ridiculous, but he's not going to be the one to out Matt. He's in his bedroom to make the call, but there are some sharp ears on the team, if not as sharp as Matt's. “Sorry to call you when you might be out, but I figured it's early enough in the evening that maybe you aren't out yet.”
“Why are you calling me—oh, are the Avengers there?”
“It's movie night! Do you want to climb through my window and hang out with me and the team? We're thinking a double feature, some old school James Bond.”
“I don't know if I should.”
“Show up in the costume. You'll be a little overdressed, but it would be nice if you could be here.”
“Are you sure that's wise?”
Probably not. He and Matt in combination are pretty bad at lying, and they're going to expect Matt to be a stranger in his apartment, not to mention a stranger with working eyes. Plus Natasha might expect them to act like they're dating and Foggy's not at all sure where the line is there yet. Matt needs a third identity so he can have that conversation with him. “It's got to happen sooner or later. Up to you what you do when you get here, though.”
“No, I won't do that to you. It's supposed to be a good night. I'll tell them who I am when you aren't around. Soon, but not tonight.”
“If you don't want to come, I'll tell them you're fighting crime or something, it's fine.”
“I'll come,” says Matt, and Foggy thinks it surprises them both. “Start without me, it may take half an hour or so, but save a seat for me.”
“Okay. Will do. Don't get in any fights on the way here.”
“I'll call if I do.”
“Great, comforting,” says Foggy, and hangs up to go back out to everyone else. About half of them look like they've been listening in and feel a little bad about it. The other half doesn't feel bad about it at all (Natasha) or just weren't listening in (Jim and probably Sam). At least he knows Vision wasn't listening on purpose. “He's coming, he'll be here in about half an hour, but he says we should start the movie without him.”
Natasha looks smug. “I knew setting the two of you up was a good idea.”
“Yes, you're a genius. Where's my popcorn?” She tosses him back a bag. “Let's get the movie started, then.”
Foggy is pretty sure none of them pay much attention to the first part of the movie—well, except Vision, who's pretty fascinated by most movies, since he says absorbing information about them isn't quite the same as watching them in real time—and he's relieved when there's a gentle knock on the window and he can go over to let Matt in like Matt couldn't just climb through. He's wearing the costume, and it's even more ridiculous when the rest of them are in jeans, but Foggy decides not to bring that up. “Foggy. Thank you for calling,” says Matt while Foggy helps him through the window.
“Glad you could come. You know everyone, right? Come on in, find a place to sit down, I'll give you the nickel tour later. There's not much to see.”
“I imagine not,” says Matt, because he thinks he's funny, and then looks over Foggy's shoulder. He can probably sense everyone's body heat. “Hello, everyone. Thank you for inviting me.”
There's a general chorus of greeting over the sound of an explosion that ends abruptly when Steve pauses the movie, and Foggy touches Matt's arm. “Want popcorn?”
“No, thank you. I never liked it much. It tastes like Styrofoam.”
“Yeah, but Styrofoam with butter and salt,” Foggy says, like they haven't had this argument a dozen times, but he goes back to his chair anyway, since this is his apartment and he made it clear that the superheroes can fight over the seating all they like but he gets the most comfortable seat.
Matt, of course, presents a problem. Normally Matt gets the couch because he likes curling up on it, but Steve and Sam and Natasha took the couch tonight, and Jim is in a pulled-up kitchen chair, and Wanda and Vision are on the floor. Foggy's about to open his mouth to try to figure out something , but Matt puts a hand on his arm. “You just sit down. I can take the floor.”
“You don't have to.”
“It's fine, Foggy.”
Foggy isn't going to argue with him with everyone watching, so he sits down in the chair and tries not to freeze up too much when Matt sits on the floor right where he can lean against Foggy's left leg. Matt must feel it anyway, because he gets a gentle grip on Foggy's socked foot and squeezes, a reassurance.
“All settled?” says Steve, grinning at them like the asshole he is. “Good. I'll take the movie off pause.”
It's not like Foggy and Matt watch a lot of movies, especially not these days when Foggy has to take the time he can get with Matt and doesn't want to spend it staring at a screen. It's still weird to have Matt sitting right there, in his terrible costume with the devil horns, and not keep up a running commentary on the movie, telling him everything that's going on.
Matt's pretty obviously not engaged with the movie, as a result, and his weight gets heavier and heavier against Foggy's leg as time goes on, like he's falling asleep despite the gunshots and explosions that keep showing up on the screen. If Matt wasn't wearing the stupid hood thing, Foggy would play with his hair, since his head is right there, but he rests his hand on the back of Matt's neck instead, massaging a little through the material, and he's surprised when Matt relaxes even more, moving until he can rest his head on Foggy's thigh.
He's out cold by the end of the second movie, and the Avengers seem pretty happy about it when it's over and they start picking up to go. “I'll call you tomorrow,” Natasha mouths, first one out the window, and everyone leaves after her in a ragtag group, though Vision makes a token effort at collecting everyone's cups and popcorn bags before he goes.
Foggy taps Matt on the shoulder as soon as they're all out the door. “So, how much of that was pretending to be asleep?”
Matt's voice is gravelly when he answers. “Only the last few minutes, once they all started moving around and whispering. I'm sorry, if I made them be more quiet than usual.”
Foggy shrugs. “Not your problem. It's not like I could tell them movies aren't really your style unless I can give you the rundown on what's happening. They all seemed pretty happy you were here, though.”
“They were talking about us in the street, a little. They said they're glad you're happy now, and that I seem better too.”
Matt is still leaning on his leg, and Foggy starts feeling awkward about it. “I mean, good that we're both happy, but you know that I was doing okay before, right? I wasn't hiding some sort of deep sadness or whatever.”
“I should have spent more time with you without all of this, Natasha said you seemed lonely when she set us up.”
“Crap, Matt. Did I feel a little abandoned because you were going out to fight crime instead of hanging out? Yes. Not your fault, though.”
“A little my fault.” Matt grabs his foot again. “Sam asked if she was sure it was a good idea to set us up.”
Matt swallows and pulls away, moving around until he's facing Foggy, still sitting on the floor. After a second, he shakes his head and pulls the hood off too, so it's hanging off the back of the costume and Foggy is just looking at Matt. “To set us up when you're trying to get over someone, he said.”
Foggy tips his head back against the back of the chair, and then he stands up even though it puts his knees practically in Matt's face, because he can't be siting down for this. “Natasha decided I was pining.”
Matt sounds curious and a little hurt, and he scrambles to his feet too, when Foggy paces a few steps away. “Want to rephrase that so I can evade it without lying, please?”
“Come on, you owe me that.”
“I don't think there's a way I could rephrase it that you would like, and I'm still curious.” He gestures at his costume. “Just because I do this now doesn't mean I don't care about your life. Is it Marci? Karen?”
“Natasha said ...” Matt looks down and away, fingers twitching like he wants to reach for his glasses. “When she was convincing me to go on the date, she said that anyone who wouldn't want you if you wanted them is an idiot.”
“Well, that's true and you know it. I'm a catch.”
“I'm not disputing that. I'm just asking if I'm an idiot, Foggy.”
Foggy opens his mouth and closes it and tries to figure out what he can possibly say that won't give it away, make everything horrible and uncomfortable and make Matt even more apologetic than he already is about the Daredevil thing. “You're definitely an idiot. We knew that already.”
Matt steps forward, and Foggy has been trying so hard not to lie and give the game away, but he's observant, and so is Matt. He knows when he's lost. “Am I an idiot about this?”
Even Foggy can hear the way his heart speeds up, and that's it. Matt's got to be able to tell. The last secret Foggy somehow, by some miracle, managed to keep even in the wake of discovering he's got zero privacy, is out. “I mean, depends on whether you take Natasha's word as law or not, I guess. I definitely have a crush on Meryl Streep and she's not an idiot, she just doesn't know me.”
And Matt beams like he does when they win a case or when Foggy says something funny. “I know you.”
“I am aware of that, actually,” Foggy says, or starts saying, because Matt is suddenly in his space and cutting him off with a kiss. The angle's a little weird, the kiss landing mostly on Foggy's upper lip until Matt corrects, hands coming up, one to Foggy's shoulder and one against his face. The fabric of the costume is a lot softer than he thought it would be, and Matt is kissing him like he doesn't want to stop. Foggy doesn't either, but he does anyway, ignoring the pitiful noise Matt makes and the way he changes tactics to press his face into the curve of Foggy's shoulder. “Okay, so I'm the idiot.”
“Never,” says Matt, and kisses him again. That lasts for a while, long enough that Foggy hears a text come in on his phone, one of the Avengers letting him know they're home and didn't get into any fights on the way, which he insists on. “I can't stay tonight, I don't have clothes for work here, but I want to be sure … I'm not assuming things, am I? You wanted me before Natasha set us up like this.”
“I've wanted you for actual years, Murdock,” Foggy says, because he may as well be honest, and it gets him a kiss, so he's not going to regret it. He ends up breaking the kiss laughing, though, and doesn't manage to stop until Matt makes an impatient noise and flicks his shoulder. “I'm just trying to decide if she's going to be really smug or really annoyed when she finally figures out who you are.”
Matt laughs. Foggy doesn't get to hear that as often as he likes, these days, and he's glad for the up-close opportunity to bask in it a little. “I guess we'll just have to see,” he says, and kisses Foggy again, grinning enough that it's clumsy and they have to pull away and just rest their foreheads together until they can stop smiling.
“It's really hard not to be smug about that. Go us, we're super spies. How about everyone else?”
“A few of them were more curious about my blindness than invested in you and I.” That makes Matt frown. He hates it enough when regular people treat him like he's going to break. If any of the Avengers got anywhere close to trying Foggy's surprised Matt didn't punch them. “I think Vision knew, but it's hard to get a read on him. Wanda might have. She said I should take care of you.”
“Already did.” Foggy is still feeling pretty smug about that, too.
Matt laughs and elbows him. “I don't think any of them are really angry with you, if you were worried. They know you were protecting me.”
“Like none of them have ever had to worry about secret identities. Natasha is the queen of secret identities, if she was really mad I would have to be really unimpressed.”
“Mostly just irritated she didn't figure it out before we told her, I think.” Matt puts his head on Foggy's shoulder. “I'm sorry you had to keep the secret for me. I know you hate doing it enough with Karen and your family.”
“I have never once told you I want my family to know about you, they would kill me and then kill you and then my mother would cry.” The Karen argument is getting old at this point, so he ignores it. “And I figure technically the Avengers are your people, you get to decide when to come out of the superhero closet.”
Matt shakes his head, dislodging it from Foggy's shoulder. “They're your people, I just fight with them.”
Foggy grabs for Matt's hand and squeezes it. “Maybe they can be our mutual people. I'm pretty sure you and Wanda are actually going to love each other, and probably Steve as well.”
“Mutual people,” says Matt, and he's probably trying to sound like Foggy is being ridiculous but mostly he's smiling so much that it comes out fond. A lot of things have come out that way for the past couple days. Karen's been grinning at Foggy on and off at the office because they are embarrassingly obvious. “I suppose they can be.”
“I'm glad you've accepted that I'm always right. I knew there was a reason I love you.”
It takes Foggy a second to figure out why Matt is suddenly all damp-eyed and quiet instead of arguing about who's right more often, and then he shifts until he can put his arm around Matt's shoulders. “Come on, you already knew that. I say it once a week.”
“Now I know the way you mean it.” Matt moves his face so he's talking right into Foggy's neck. “You too.”
He hasn't actually said the words, but Foggy knows Matt has plenty of baggage. He's not expecting him to say it quite yet, and that's really just as good. “Yeah, buddy, I know,” he says, and pulls Matt's face up so he can kiss him.
“Thank you, this is my favorite,” Matt says, looking a little surprised.
“I know, it says Matt's, gross on the package in Foggy's handwriting.”
Matt laughs and elbows Foggy, and just like that, everyone relaxes. There's probably still some weirdness to get through, but the worst is over. Foggy is going to have to thank Wanda later, but for now, he says “One morning I was out of my tea and I tried one of Matt's teabags and I had to use mouthwash to make my mouth stop tasting like grass.”
“It doesn't taste like grass,” Matt says, taking a drink. If he thinks he's going to kiss Foggy with that mouth he's got another think coming.
Natasha, who's been looking between the two of them ever since she came through the window, not exactly suspicious but something close to it, finally quits it and catches Foggy's eye to give him a nod before she says “Would you like audio description on the movie? I found one with a track.”
Matt glances at Foggy. “If you don't mind, he'll just tell me what's going on this time. It's what we're used to.”
“I don't mind,” says Steve, with a shrug, and smiles at Foggy. “It should be interesting.”
Foggy does his best with the movie commentary, and grins every time he makes someone laugh. Wanda is leaning back against Matt's knees, Natasha is perched on the arm of a chair with Steve's arm looped around her waist to keep her on, and Vision is on his front on the floor, peering at the screen with his usual attention.
Halfway through the movie, during a dialogue-heavy section, Foggy gets up to start the second round of popcorn, and he's not totally surprised when Sam follows him into the kitchen.
“Things are good? Natasha was feeling kind of shitty that she outed your crush on Matt by accident by setting you two up.”
Foggy shrugs. “It ended up okay, I'd say. If Matt had turned me down I might have been annoyed at her, but it worked out. I'm only sorry because it means she's going to have to find a new victim. Steve might want to prepare himself.”
Sam laughs. “I'll make sure he knows.” The apartment is small enough that at least half of the people are hearing this, but Foggy's getting used to that. It's not like he keeps a lot of secrets, especially now that the big ones are out of the way. “I've got to say, man, I'm pretty glad I called you up when we got into town, it seems to have worked out pretty well for both of us.”
Foggy looks out of the kitchen and at the crew watching the movie. Jim is texting someone, grinning at his phone, Steve and Natasha are laughing about something, Vision glancing up at them, and Wanda is narrating quietly for Matt, taking over Foggy's job for a few minutes while he's gone. “Me too. Now let's get that popcorn and get back in there.”