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The city doesn't get quieter at night, really.
Maybe there are less people awake to disturb Matt's senses, but night is full of sirens, of people hurt in back alleys. Night is when people cry into their pillows and hold on to each other too tight and wake up from dreams gasping.
Matt likes it anyway, though. He likes listening to security guards laughing quietly in their stations at whatever they're watching muted on their televisions, and to parents whispering or singing to children having nightmares, and he likes the laughter that drifts up from people stumbling their way home. Something always interrupts, takes away from the good moments, but they're easier to single out and remember at night.
Tonight, he's climbing back in his window at what must be close to three in the morning, later than he'd like when he has a secretary in the office now and has to be more careful with his hours. The second he focuses, he knows that Mara from the floor below him is still awake, pacing back and forth across her living room, taking deep rhythmic breaths.
Her breathing isn't likely to calm her down, but Matt matches his to hers anyway, an instinct he still has from when he'd wake up panicked to hear his father asleep in their apartment, as he takes off his costume, puts it away. There's no worse on him tonight than a few bruises from a purse-snatcher. Everything has been a little quieter since Fisk was thrown in jail, Hell's Kitchen taking a breath, but Matt goes out anyway. A little quieter doesn't mean quiet.
Downstairs, Mara stops pacing, and a second later there's a brief burst of static, and then the sound of a radio, not loud enough that anyone else would be able to hear it through the walls, a stranger's voice.
“—taking my life into my hands, I know,” the stranger is saying. He sounds like he's smiling, and he's got a light voice, a pleasant one, nothing that grates or jars like so many radio broadcasters. At least if Mara keeps it on, it won't be impossible to sleep. “For what it's worth, I've never been mugged. I just like taking walks at night! I guess that's good, they don't pay me enough here to let me take cabs to and from work—ooh, frowns in the producer's booth, I'm very sorry, but you know it's true.”
Mara chuckles a little and he can hear her settle, sit down, maybe on her couch. Matt keeps listening, gets something to wear to sleep out of his drawer.
“I started doing it in college, college radio is great for making you a night person, but I don't know—there's this solidarity. It's pretty nice, on my walk over here this older guy saw me and he gave me this nod like we were part of some secret society, and let me tell you, I'm not cool enough to be a Mason.”
Matt slides under his sheets.
“I get it's not always safe, between the crime and the aliens and debatably the Daredevil, but sometime if you're ever up late and your windows aren't painted shut, try opening them sometime.”
Matt, of course, doesn't need to. He can just listen a little harder and hear three people snoring in his building, someone on the phone speaking a language he doesn't recognize in the next building, a couple having a fight down the block.
“Anyway, you're not here to listen to me talk, you're here for some tunes! Let's have some Billy Joel, and in the meantime, this is Foggy With a Chance on WCBF, here every night from midnight on.”
It's easier to tune the radio out when it's playing some vaguely familiar song, and Matt does, enough that he can drift off to sleep.
By now, Matt doesn't bother trying to cling to sleep for the last four or five minutes before his alarm blares. He sits up instead, stretching, testing his body. He's stiff and sore, but no more so than usual, and what sleep he did get was good—Mara must be feeling the same, because he can hear her snoring downstairs, back in her bedroom, the radio off.
His neighbor hums while his microwave works, and it's a pleasant sound, much better than the last resident, who tended to swear at the news in the mornings.
Matt's alarm finally goes off—he's beginning to wonder if he should start setting it five minutes earlier so he doesn't start resenting his neighbor—and he taps it, listens to the time, sits up.
Karen calls when he's still making himself breakfast, waiting for the toast to come up in his toaster. “Do you want coffee? I've got some time this morning,” she says, once he's said hello.
The only time Karen offers to pick up coffee instead of make it herself (though usually he asks for tea, Karen makes wonderful tea and terrible coffee) is when she hasn't slept, when she comes into the office sounding shaky and tired and smelling of too much caffeine and leftover alcohol. He'd hoped it would get better, with Fisk in jail, but it's not improving as quickly as he would like. “Thank you, Karen. Be sure to reimburse yourself from petty cash.”
“Of course,” she says, in the indulgent way that means she'll do no such thing, because petty cash is empty at the moment. He has a few more clients these days, but the firm is still new, and petty cash isn't the most important money that needs to be set aside. “Anything special for your order this morning?”
“No, just the usual.”
He can hear something change over the line, Karen catching the phone between her shoulder and her ear as she does something with her hands. “I'll have that for you when you get to the office, then.” Her voice goes a little tense. “You're going to be there for opening, right? There's the deposition at two but I know we're getting more walk-ins these—”
“I'll be there for opening,” says Matt, grabbing the toast as it pops up and then reaching for the butter. “Feel free to get yourself a muffin or something as well, Karen. My breakfast is almost ready, so I'm fine on that front.”
“Sure, Matt.” She's softer now, like she's found something to be worried about. It's a strange feeling, being worried about, one Matt is just beginning to get used to from her. He might resent it a little if it weren't reciprocal. “I've got to go, lots of foot traffic this morning.”
“See you in a little while, Karen,” says Matt, and hangs up the phone.
His neighbor is still humming next door, something vaguely familiar, and Matt lets the sound wash over him while he brushes his teeth and gets dressed. He's trailed off by the time Matt leaves the building, and Matt forgets about it on his walk, going a little faster than he should with his cane so he can be sure to get there right when Karen does, fifteen minutes early with coffee in hand.
It smells chemical and bitter, like most coffee does, but she smiles when she hands it over, he can hear it in her voice, and he drinks it all.
Two laughs, one louder from the radio and a soft chuckle from whoever has it turned on. It's late, and Matt is paused, listening for anything else that might require help before he goes home. “You can't say you've always done the smart thing,” says whoever is talking to the man on the radio, another tinny voice with static overlaid, a caller.
“Half a law degree!” It's the same show Mara was listening to the other night, Matt recognizes the way the DJ talks like he's laughing about something. “I'm a boring rule-follower. Hey, don't you—sorry, my producer is laughing at me, because she's a terrible human being. Anyway, my friend, I am going to recommend that you keep your vandalism as a cherished dream and do something else instead. If the police don't catch you, someone else might.”
The caller laughs. “I don't think the Daredevil goes after vandals.”
“You never know. I mean, the legality of that is a whole other matter and my producer says I'm not allowed to talk about that so much anymore, but anyway, I'd be careful if I were you.” A brief pause. “And I'm getting the motion to wrap this call up and play a song before commercial, so here's a tune for you. If you're just tuning in, this is Foggy With a Chance, and this is The Clash.”
Matt finds himself laughing while the introduction of the song is still playing, something he heard in law school a few times when people were drunk and silly. He stops a second later, listens to see if anyone was close enough to hear, but he's too far from the street and whoever it is with the radio playing didn't hear him. He wasn't laughing loud enough to really worry, but it's good to be sure.
When the commercial starts, Matt moves to a different rooftop, goes somewhere he can't hear the radio playing. It's a distraction, after all, and he can't afford to be distracted.
“It's not bad,” Matt offers once he's inside, the window shut and locked behind him.
Claire snorts and comes to sit next to him, already picking up a suture needle. “You wouldn't have come if it weren't bad. Where's the cut?”
Matt shifts the costume until he can give Claire his left forearm, sliced a little too deep when he tried to deflect a knife sharper than it sounded. “I would have patched it myself, but the angle would be difficult.”
“Of course, that's the only reason you wouldn't,” she says, as flat as ever, but her hands are gentle on his arm while she prepares to disinfect the wound. “Anything else I should know?”
“No rust on the blade, or anything, it should be fairly clean.”
Claire sighs. “Of course.”
The music stops, and there's a familiar voice again, saying “And that was our nightly song to praise my lovely producer, who sulks if I don't worship her as she feels is her due. Next up, we've got a request from a listener who must be in the mood for a dance party.”
“It seems like everyone is listening to this show,” Matt says, and grits his teeth against the first tug of a stitch passing through his skin. He hates the sound almost more than the feeling.
Claire pauses—a little movement, maybe her tilting her head, considering her answer. “I think the show started about when I started hearing about you, they had it on in the break room sometimes, but I didn't really pay attention until the night the bombs went off.”
Matt doesn't flinch. “What happened then?”
“This guy, the DJ, pretty much the minute it happened, he started running a service, had people call in if they were looking for someone they thought might be hurt. They'd evacuated the station, it was pretty close to one of the sites, but he stayed until almost eight in the morning, played switchboard operator. He helped. I listened some that night, and I kept listening.” The air moves, Claire shrugging. “He talks current events, takes requests. Basic late-night radio.”
The song is jarringly cheerful, and Matt isn't sure if he'd rather ignore it or the sound of Claire's needle moving, not that he can tune either of them out. “I didn't know,” he finally says.
“You missed a lot that night.” When she speaks again, she sounds like she's smiling. “I don't know why you would know, unless you were keeping track of your press coverage. He didn't like you, when they were assuming you were the bomber.”
Matt winces, partially at the tug of a firm stitch and partly at the thought. “No one did. I can't blame him.”
“We've got a caller in who apparently saw the Daredevil tonight, and our goddess the producer has allowed the call through—hey, caller, first of all, are you okay?”
“I'm fine,” says a voice laid over in more static—a woman, probably young, maybe college-age. It doesn't sound familiar. “I was just walking by when I saw something, and I figured I should call in.”
Claire is keeping quiet, working, and Matt tilts his head to listen more closely. This sounds like a routine, like people call in to tell this Foggy where Matt has been on a night, and he doesn't know why, unless it's some late-night version of what he's heard people did with Tony Stark when he was actively out in his suits, tracking where he was and what he might be doing.
“Some guy wearing black with a gun, looked like bad news. There wasn't anyone else there, I just heard noises and looked out my window and there they were.” She hesitates. “He was unconscious, the guy—I called 911 before this, don't worry—but it looked like the Daredevil was bleeding too.”
“Yikes.” An unhappy noise. “Well, hopefully he's okay. Anyone else, if you know what the Daredevil was up to tonight, or why, remember that the police accept anonymous tips! They're probably wondering who the unconscious guy is.” His voice softens. “And you sound upset. Make yourself some tea! And I'm going to play a song for you before commercial break.”
“Done,” says Claire, soft but enough to get Matt's attention back on this room again, and not on whatever studio this show is being broadcast from, where they seem to run some kind of unofficial tip line for reasons he can't fathom. “A couple times now, he's helped me. You aren't good at self-reporting, but I know what to have ready when they have the right information. That's why I was listening.”
“Oh.” Matt doesn't know what to say about that, about knowing that people in the city look out to make sure he isn't hurt, or to make sure that the people he's been fighting find hospitals.
“He didn't like you very much at first.” Claire strips off her gloves, putting them in a bag that rustles. Biohazard. “But I think he changed his mind.”
“Hey, man,” says someone, and it sounds half-familiar. He sounds pleasant enough, but most people do, at first. “I just moved in next door, and I got some of your mail. Thought I would drop it off in person and be neighborly.”
Matt holds his hand out for it, deliberately nearly a foot wide of where it's being offered, and smiles, relaxes. Of course it's just his neighbor—he recognizes the voice, now, from humming and quiet cursing and brief muffled conversations. “Thank you very much. And welcome to the building. I hear it's not pretty, but at least it's mostly quiet.” For someone normal, anyway.
“Shit, sorry.” A jump in his heartbeat. He's noticed Matt is blind, then. To Matt's surprise, he finds himself the recipient of a firm handshake and not his mail, though the mail follows a second later. “I've got to head out for work soon, but door's always open if you need a scoop of sugar or whatever. I keep weird hours, but I try to be quiet about it.”
“Of course. Thank you.” He is, from anyone's perspective, an exemplary neighbor, and even though Matt can hear him more than most people would be able to, it's mostly homey noises, nothing that really bothers him even if he loses a few minutes of sleep.
“Right, well, good to meet you, I'm going to go find a jacket, heard it might rain tonight.”
“Keep dry. And thank you again for the mail.” He'll have to have Karen check to see if it's anything important, but from the shapes of the envelopes and his knowledge that he deals with almost all of his bills online, they wont' be anything but credit card offers. “That was very kind of you.”
“Anytime, man,” says his neighbor.
Matt only realizes after he's shut the door that he should have introduced himself, but his neighbor didn't either, so at least if he was impolite they both were.
He turns it on that night, though, after he comes home soaked to the skin but pleased. Things are always a little quieter in the rain, and he can get a better idea of his surroundings from the sound of the drops. He's no more hurt than he was when he left, barring the odd bruise or two, and he came back home at a run for the joy of it, jumping just a little farther than he should when surfaces are slippery. It's left him wired and restless, and he needs sound, something to focus on.
Foggy With a Chance is a spot of cheer on the rainy night, Matt finding the right station with the sound of his laugh coming through the speakers, loud enough that Matt turns the volume down immediately, in case it's as loud to everyone else.
“—believe me, but I swear it's true!” He's still laughing, and it's a warm sound. “Our producer goddess has heard this story, I creepily took photographic proof for her and everything. Can anyone tell me they wouldn't do the same if they just saw Captain America in the street and got to shake hands with him? Oh, now I'm getting called a hypocrite, thanks—Captain America is not a vigilante, someone back me up here, I am pretty sure he's as government-sanctioned as they come.”
Matt struggles out of his costume and hangs it to dry, finds a towel and some of his softer sweatpants to put on while he keeps listening.
“Anyway, I'm going to play some music, and there will be a magical change of subject after that because I have been mocked enough tonight. Anyone out there have any requests? Talk to me, New York, the phones are too quiet. Are you all sleeping because it's raining?”
Then there are the cheerful strains of some song Matt heard in the grocery store the last time he ventured in, and before he's even thinking about it, Matt has his phone out, asking it to find the station's phone number and then dial it.
“This is WCBF, Marci speaking, are you calling for Foggy With a Chance?” It's a woman's voice. She sounds bored, and she has a husky voice that would be pleasant if it were a little less sharp.
“Yes,” he says.
“If you are actually calling to talk about Captain America I'm kicking you off the air, we've reached our superhero quota for the week.” Then, muffled, hand over the receiver. “Yes, Foggy, I'm serious, I let you run the Daredevil watch out of the good of my own heart but the rest of it does not make for compelling radio.”
“I find it interesting,” Matt offers, already wondering why he called, what he's supposed to say. It was instinct, reaching out for someone else as awake as he is tonight, but good as he usually is talking to strangers, this seems different. “But it wasn't what I called for. I just wanted to hear some music.”
“Great. What music?”
“I don't actually know.”
Marci, who must be the producer Foggy's always talking about, sighs. “You sound harmless. I'll put you through. Hold for one second, please.”
“Of course,” says Matt, but he's already talking to the doubled sound of the music from the radio.
It's about ten seconds before the line clicks and there's different breathing down it. The song seems to be at the bridge, winding down. “Hello, this is Foggy. Marci says you want music but you don't know what it is?”
“A recommendation, I suppose.”
“I can do that.” He sounds like he's smiling even when he isn't on air. “Anything I should call you? We don't do real names on the show except for me, the anonymity makes people comfortable, but some people like me to call them something.”
“Foggy is your real name?” Matt blurts, amused.
“Not on my birth certificate, but yes, it's what people call me. I'm a little offended, I'm beginning to think you aren't a long-time listener—song's winding down, on in twenty seconds. Anything else I should know?”
“No. I don't need to be called anything, thank you.”
“Suit yourself, my friend. Ten seconds.” Foggy covers the receiver. “I'm on it, Marci, you know I am.” And then, back to normal, “Five, four, three ...” A brief pause, and the music on Matt's radio stops playing just in time for him to hear, doubled, “We've got a caller on the line who wants a music recommendation. What kind of song are you looking for?”
“Something that suits the mood of the night. I've been out for a walk in the dark. It's lovely.”
“Sure, the rain is lovely. Anything else I should know about your music tastes or anything?”
“I trust your judgment.”
Foggy laughs. “A daredevil, I see!”
“Capital or lowercase?”
Another laugh. “Let's say lowercase so my wonderful producer doesn't get mad at me again. So, a song for rainy nighttime walks that you somehow enjoy? I can make that happen. And get some sleep, you sound tired.”
Matt still feels awake, but he knows his voice is scratchy, this late. His skin is still clammy from the rain. “I will, thank you.”
“Aha! Here we go. Enjoy. Call back sometime, always willing to inflict my music on other people.”
“Maybe I will,” says Matt, to his own surprise, over the sound of the introduction of an unfamiliar song playing.
“We're off air,” says Foggy. “Hang up, listen properly, go to bed.”
“Thank you,” Matt says again, and hangs up.
He sits where he is for the rest of the song, listening. It's a quiet song, relaxing, for walks in the rain a lot more sedate than what he was doing tonight, but it lets him wind down at last, until he thinks he can actually do what Foggy said and get some rest.
More than once, he hears someone call in with the so-called Daredevil watch. The reports vary in length, vary in content, but they come in. Sometimes, someone has seen him in a particular area of Hell's Kitchen, clearly in a hurry. Sometimes they'll call in an injury, and Matt makes sure to let Claire know the next morning that he's fine, that it was something he could take care of on his own. Sometimes it's someone who watched him let the devil out, and Matt can barely bear to listen to those calls, how even Foggy's voice gets and how shaky the callers tend to be, even if they say they saw the person he was hurting doing something terrible just before he came.
Once, a woman calls in whose voice sounds vaguely familiar, though recordings never sound like real people, since they don't come attached to the sounds of the words resonating in chests and a heartbeat supplementing them. She says Matt saved her, and he thinks it's a woman who was walking home from a party and almost got a knife to the chest before he stopped it.
It's strange, and Matt feels warm and embarrassed and shaky, and when Foggy says, warm, “Good. That's good,” he has to press his hands to his mouth and breathe for a few seconds.
After she's hung up, Foggy plays something cheesy about being a hero, claiming that the Daredevil needs to loosen up a little, and Matt laughs, tips his head back on his bed, and keeps listening.
Fisk may be behind bars, but he isn't the only nightmare in Hell's Kitchen. Matt's spent a week tracking down another human trafficking ring, and it's done now, all the ringleaders in police custody (and the hospital), and it's a win, but it doesn't feel like one with the memory of the smells and sounds and everything else he experienced tonight. His knuckles are bruised and bloody and his knee was nearly dislocated, but that's not what makes him fumble at the radio dial and hold his breath through a song to listen for Foggy's voice.
“Online chatter is saying something big happened tonight, haven't got a location but the Daredevil was involved, so it probably wasn't great. Anyone out there have information?”
Matt does. He can't give it out, because he isn't certain who was watching, who might have seen what. He only knows what he had his focus on, and he can't share that.
He calls anyway.
“Daredevil hotline apparently, Marci speaking,” says the woman from last time, on a sigh. “Information, condemnation, or swooning?”
“I just want to hear a song,” Matt says, and winces when his voice comes out wrecked and awful.
A pause, the sound of a breath and of hair sweeping across the phone speaker. “Huh. Okay. Probably not a good night for your ex-relationship problems.”
“No, it's not that. I just need some music, that's all.”
Another pause, and oddly-shaped breaths that might be her mouthing something through the glass of the studio to Foggy. “Fine, putting you through,” she says, even though Foggy has kept up talking throughout the conversation. “Don't cry, he's already stressed.”
Matt almost asks what she means, but there's the click of the line changing, and then Foggy saying, doubled, “We have a caller who wants some music! What can I do for you?”
“It's been a bad night,” says Matt, as carefully even as he can, but Foggy makes a little noise that only transfers through the phone. “And from what you're saying, it seems like maybe the whole city is having a bad night.”
“You sound pretty bad, man.” Foggy is talking slow, worried, if he can be worried for a complete stranger. “Anything you want to talk about?”
“No, I just … I'd like to hear something quiet. Something to help.”
“Oh hey, you've called in before. The daredevil who doesn't give me any music guidelines. Did you like the last one?”
“I did.” Matt swallows. “It's maybe not the night to be calling anyone a daredevil, though. Even lowercase.” He doesn't want to be the Daredevil right now.
“If we don't have jokes, what do we have?” Foggy asks, and it's gentle, but it's a little bit of a press too. “But okay, I'll give you something soothing. You're right, I think we could all use it. So this is something my mom used to play when she was having a bad day.”
“Thank you,” says Matt, and there are the first few notes of something that sounds familiar, played on an old CD player across the orphanage when he was there, one of the nuns listening to something late at night.
“It's going to be okay,” says Foggy, and it doesn't come through Matt's radio, just his phone. “Whatever the Daredevil broke up, it was a mess, but he broke it up.”
“It won't end for those people, though.” Matt can't help saying it, even if he should hang up, take the song as a gift and turn the radio off before other people start calling in. “The ones involved in whatever it was. Whoever he was trying to protect.”
There's a short pause. “Do you know something?”
“I don't.” It's too fast, an obvious betrayal, and Matt keeps talking. “I need to go. I'd like to listen to the song. Thank you, for playing it.”
He hangs up, before Foggy can answer, and sits tense with the phone clenched in his hands while he listens to the song. It's beautiful, and quiet, and everything he needs, but he still can't relax.
“I hope that helped,” says Foggy on the radio when the song is over, and then his voice gets a little louder. “We've got another caller, someone who may have some information on what happened tonight and if it's anything people might need to hear about.”
Matt turns off the radio. He doesn't need to hear the rest of it.
“You again,” says Marci, in tones of great dislike. “You upset him last time. Are you going to do it again?”
Matt frowns and leans back into his couch a little more. He's recovering from bruised ribs, moving a little slower than he should, but it wasn't really a bad night. He called because Foggy's sounded happy the whole time he's been listening and he wanted a piece of that, selfish as that is. “I hope not.” It's the best answer he can manage.
She's communicating with Foggy, he can tell, and after half a minute she sighs. “Fine, I'm putting you through. If you keep on being boring sad radio I'm going to block your number.”
“I'll try to be more interesting,” he says, a little tart, and she laughs before the line clicks.
“Hey, it's you again,” says Foggy, all cheer, even though he must have any number of regular callers. “You doing better tonight?”
“Yes, thank you. I apologize for the other night.”
“So formal, man, I think we know each other better than that by now.” Foggy sounds like he's smiling. “What can I do for you tonight?”
“I want to hear something happy.”
Foggy snorts. “Any specific brand of happy? I don't subscribe to the Tolstoy school of happiness, where it's all one thing. The first time you at least gave me happy walks in the rain as a guideline. What's the mood this time?”
Matt considers. “I just … you've sounded like you're smiling tonight. A private joke, maybe. Something that sounds like that.”
“Huh.” It's a startled-out noise. “I can—oh shit, ten seconds, I can work with that, though, want to stay on the line?”
“If you'd like.”
“You are so unhelpful, three, two … hi, everyone, that was the Police, and this is Foggy With a Chance on WCBF, for everyone just tuning in. We have a caller on the line! Say hi, daredevil—and in case the actual masked menace is listening and somehow has PR people, that's lowercase, no copyright infringement intended.”
Matt laughs. “Hello. And I thought you were rather fond of him, why are you calling him a menace?”
“I mean, I can acknowledge that he does good, but I think half a law degree and basic knowledge of the law kind of confirms the menace thing.”
“You don't think his actions are the kind worthy of jury nullification?” Matt asks. He's not sure if they are, he's never sure, but Foggy runs the Daredevil Watch. He might agree.
Foggy laughs. “I like you. I'd debate on the matter, but my producer is frowning at me—so, listeners, we're going to listen to something happy, worthy of secret jokes and smiling in the middle of the night.”
Matt smiles at just the words, reflexive, and then laughs when the introduction to the song starts, definitely something happy. “Thank you.”
“You're very welcome,” says Foggy, and it's only through the phone. “So, jury nullification?”
“You have half a law degree, I have a whole one.” He shouldn't be giving information out to strangers over the phone, but he thinks it's safe. They don't know he's the Daredevil, they don't know he's Matthew Murdock, gaining a reputation in Hell's Kitchen as someone willing to take on hopeless cases. He's just a man who asks for music, and who has a law degree.
“Don't tell me that, I'll start asking you to call in and consult when people unwisely tell me about their illegal acts on the radio.”
“You couldn't afford me,” Matt says, flippant, because it's the kind of thing he's expected to say. “If the real Daredevil ever calls in, though, you can always ask me to call to offer legal aid.”
A brief pause, the music coming over Matt's radio. “You a fan?”
“Innocent until proven guilty.” And Matt is guilty, of a great deal, but he can't say that. “You don't sound like you believe that, though. Aren't you a fan? You talk about him frequently enough that your producer minds.”
“Yeah, but I've only got half a law degree,” Foggy says, dismissing it. “And I guess I'm … not a fan, exactly. But he does good things, even if he's sort of terrifying, and I saw him one time, and he was pretty hurt. So I figured Hell's Kitchen should look out for its own.”
“When did you see him?” Matt asks, and winces as soon as he's said it.
Foggy doesn't seem to find the question suspicious, though. “A few weeks before Fisk got arrested. He looked pretty beat up, even if it was only from a distance. And wet.”
“Of course, the wetness is important.” But Matt knows that night. It's odd, to know that someone saw him before he called Claire, while he was still stumbling his way home after Nobu. “Sympathy for the devil, then?”
“Just for that, I'm playing that next. But yeah, I guess. And—shit, Marci's making faces at me, new call, and you've missed half your song.”
“I'll look it up tomorrow, I figured out the title,” Matt assures him. “Good night. Thank you for the music.”
“Anytime, lowercase daredevil. Good night.”
Matt hangs up and listens to the rest of the song before he turns off the radio and gets ready for bed.
There's just enough innuendo in that to clue Matt in that she's asking if he's with someone, or if he was last night anyway. “I have the song stuck in my head,” he says. He could tell her he's been calling into a radio station when he can't sleep—it would be a peace offering, one less lie he's telling Karen, and he thinks she would find it funny, but Foggy feels like something that's just his right now. It's not something he gets often.
“But I am happy, Karen.” Or something close to it, anyway. Something close enough to it that it doesn't taste like a lie while he says it.
“Good. I am too.”
It's close enough to the truth that it makes Matt smile as he plugs the flash drive with the depositions on it into his laptop.
Foggy, to his surprise, is still there. His voice sounds a little scratchy, after a night of talking, when he starts in after the tail end of a song, saying “One more anonymous caller called in during that song, and word on the street is that the Daredevil was moving pretty slow, but didn't seem to be having one of his worse nights. As always, he's welcome to call in and give us an update on his medical condition himself, but it seems like our neighborhood vigilante is doing okay for now.”
Matt sits up, wincing a little as his ribs twinge. He wrapped them, but that doesn't do much more than keep things in place for the first few days. He may have to take a night or two off.
“In other news, I'm supposed to tell you that the Stark Industries head of research is going to be on our morning show, so tune in around eight if you're interested in hearing about how other scientists and engineers handle Tony Stark, or whatever projects SI is working on right now. Ah—I'm being told that she'll be in specifically to talk about arc reactor technology and green energy, so definitely tune in for that! Let's have some music, and then we'll figure out what's going on for our last forty minutes.”
When the music starts, Matt fumbles for his phone and tells it to call the station.
“Foggy With a Chance, Marci speaking, if you have questions for the guest we just talked about you have to wait for the drive time producer to come in.”
“I don't.” Matt clears his throat to get some of the roughness out of his voice. “This is … ah, lowercase daredevil, I suppose.”
“Of course it is.” There's the sound of swallowing—coffee, he's guessing, by her energy level. Unlike Foggy, she sounds just as poised and sarcastic as she ever does, even this late into their shift. “I'll put you through.”
The usual click, and Matt waits for it to adjust before he says “Good morning, Foggy.”
“Oh hey, it's late for you! Or early, I guess.”
“I woke up and couldn't get back to sleep, and when I turned on the radio I thought I might as well call in this morning.”
“Why couldn't you sleep?”
Matt presses his hand to his side as he straightens. “Cramp. And once I'm awake I'm awake, in general.”
“What do you want to hear this morning?”
For a second, Matt can't think of anything to say—he's called for music before, of course, but this was just a whim, because they're both awake and both tired. He can't say that, though. “Oh—I just thought something for being up too early. You know, the mood of the morning.”
“Or too late,” Foggy agrees. “I can make that happen. Do you want to dance, or do you want to wallow in it?”
“Somewhere between the two? I'm not doing much dancing this morning, but there really isn't a reason to be grumpy either.”
“Of course, the happy medium.” It sounds like Foggy is grinning. “I think I've got something for you. It's a little silly, but I'd say that's good for either the end or the beginning of a day when it's this hour.”
“I'll look forward to it.” The song is only halfway through, and Matt grasps for a new topic of conversation, even if it might be smarter to hang up and wait. “How did you end up doing radio all night, anyway?”
“They needed a broadcaster, Marci was already a friend of mine from law school, she's got long-game plans to take over the entertainment industry and in the meantime she's getting ready to stage a coup here. So I did her a favor. I'd done some radio in college. What about you? How'd you get into law?”
“I wanted … to do the right thing, I suppose.”
“Oh my God, of course you talk like an Oscar nominee about it. That's pretty much the reason I got out of law, though, so I'm not going to make too much fun of you.”
Matt laughs. “That's the short answer, anyway, the long one would take much longer than this song has left, especially considering they seem to be down to repeating the chorus at this point and we're probably going to be on air soon.”
“Whoops, you're right, I just turned around and Marci is glaring daggers at me—hi, Marci, I'm on it! I've got something in mind, we're all set. Twenty seconds.”
“I should really hang up,” says Matt. “I can't think of anything to say to the listeners unless you'd like me to introduce the song or something.”
“No, no, stay.” Foggy pauses for a second. “If you want. Nobody usually calls, this early in the morning, gives me something to talk about.”
“What, you're going to ask me about current events?”
“Maybe—five, four, three ...” The usual pause. “We've got a treat this morning! It's lowercase daredevil again, asking me to stretch my music recommending skills as usual. Say hi, daredevil.”
“I really should come up with a better name for myself.” It's too close, and it's a little funny, but mostly strange. “Hello, though. I woke up early and was happily surprised that the show was still going, so I thought I would call in.”
“That sounds like something mildly catty one of my more fun great-aunts would say. 'Oh, Foggy, I turned on the radio and was happily surprised it was still going on.'”
“I didn't mean to—”
“Don't worry about it, man. Like I said, the more fun great-aunts. And I know what you mean. Anyway, you want an early-morning song, right?”
“Yes, I do, if you have something.”
“I always have a song for everything, I'm a little offended.” Foggy's voice is still light, though, so Matt doesn't take him seriously. “Someone else can call in after this and tell him how I've always got the right song for the occasion.”
Matt laughs. “I'll be sure to keep listening.”
“You do that. And in the meantime, here's this one. Enjoy, everyone!” The introduction to something starts playing, and a second later Foggy is humming, just through Matt's phone, a little off-key but just as warm and pleasant to listen to as ever.
“I should probably hang up to listen,” says Matt, interrupting the humming even if he regrets it a little. “Thank you. This has been a good start to my morning.”
“Well, call anytime. You've probably figured out the schedule by now.”
“I have.” Mostly. It took him a long time to figure out that Foggy's weekend is Monday and Tuesday, but he has it memorized now. “Good night, Foggy.”
“Good morning, lowercase daredevil,” Foggy says, unexpectedly warm, and Matt hangs up to listen to the rest of the song.
He's still awake, radio long since turned off, when his neighbor gets home. Matt hears him walking down the hall, humming the whole way, before shutting the door behind him, the sound that usually wakes Matt up. It's a familiar song. It's a familiar sound.
“I am such an idiot,” Foggy says, very quietly, on the other side of the wall.
Matt's a worse one.
Of course, no secret Matt has can really be harmless, not if it's told. Right now, Foggy is a secret, and a good one, but the second he knows, starts knocking on Matt's door or asking for his number or inviting him in at the rare times their schedules overlap, he's in danger. Wilson Fisk is in jail, but there are other criminals who have put a prize on the Daredevil's head, and there's the ever-present looming danger of Stick arriving again, with another horrible favor to ask or an out-and-out declaration of war. Matt has enough dangerous weak spots in Claire and Karen and even Father Lantom. He doesn't need another, in such close proximity.
“Hello,” Matt says anyway, when he runs into Foggy in the mail room a few days later.
“Oh, hi! It's your next door neighbor, in case you were just being friendly to whoever was in here. Want some company up the stairs?”
Matt should say no, but he nods instead. “May as well. It might be strange otherwise. I'm Matt, by the way. I don't think I ever managed to introduce myself.”
“You didn't! Fran sort of introduced you in absentia, though. From across the hall, I mean, I introduced myself to her because she's home more often than you are when I'm awake. You're a lawyer, right?”
And it's Foggy, so much himself that Matt's embarrassed he didn't connect the dots before, even without the benefit of Foggy's heartbeat on the radio. “I am. Fran hasn't introduced me to you, though.”
“Shit, did I forget my name last time? I mean, I know you did, but normally I am way better at being polite. Anyway, Franklin Nelson, please call me Foggy.”
It would be very easy, Matt knows, to feign shock and ask if Foggy has a radio show, bashfully admit that sometimes he has insomnia and calls in, and isn't that a funny coincidence? He at least doesn't lie outright. “It's a pleasure to be properly introduced,” he says, warm, and finally moves to get his mail. There isn't much of it, but he likes to check.
Foggy laughs, and that's the most familiar thing of all. “Sounds like we're in a Regency romance novel. Oh, Mr. Nelson, you'll say, you couldn't possibly dance the waltz, it's very improper.”
That makes Matt laugh, despite himself. “I don't think I'd be very good at waltzing.”
“Hey, man, don't sell yourself short. And don't sell me short, I'm a great leader.”
They manage to keep up a pleasant conversation the whole way upstairs, before Matt excuses himself to his apartment. Foggy hums in his apartment, no sign of if he thought anything was familiar about Matt's voice, no sign of anything at all, and Matt puts on a record to distract himself until he's eaten some dinner and his phone has told him that the sun should be going down.
His ribs are still too tender to do much, and he's promised Claire to try harder, so Matt ends his patrol early and turns on the radio almost as soon as he's through the window.
Matt isn't really expecting anything—Foggy's five-minute chat with a neighbor shouldn't have any impact on his job.
For the whole half hour Foggy spends intermittently talking about Victorian manners and how funny they would be applied to the modern world, Matt can't keep a smile off his face.
Matt rolls his shoulder, testing the range of motion. The bullet went straight through, and he was lucky, even if it's going to be longer than he would like before he'll be any good on patrol again. “I know.”
Claire doesn't say he should stop, or even that she's worried. He can never be grateful enough for her. “I'm going to give you a sling, I expect you to wear it as much as you can. You know the rules about cleaning and bandaging.”
“Thank you.” He's going to have to be slow getting home, without full mobility and with the promise that resting weight on his right arm will just make him collapse. Matt stands up and gropes for the parts of his costume he scattered across Claire's living room. After a second and a sigh, Claire presses them into his hands one by one while he struggles into them.
“When I turned off the radio, latest report said you were probably dead, from the amount of blood they'd seen and how you were moving.” Claire ducks away from him once he's dressed and a second later starts fitting a sling on his arm. “I know you won't keep this on to get home, but I want you to know how it should sit.”
Matt takes a breath and tries not to wince as she readjusts the position of his shoulder. “You were listening to the Daredevil Watch?”
“How do you think I knew to be ready for a gunshot wound? Yes.” Claire pulls back. “That's how it should feel. Wear it at work, tell your friend something, I don't care what, but you can't jostle that too much, not yet. Especially if you refuse painkillers.”
Karen is already suspicious of his every excuse, but Matt knows how much medical advice he can safely ignore and this really is the smartest thing. “I'll think of something to tell her. Thank you, again. I'll let you get some sleep.”
“You may as well call in,” she says, following him to the window. “Funny coincidence, a regular listener seeing Daredevil alive tonight, but it looks like he's recovering.”
Matt doesn't bother denying it. Claire is the only person who really knows Daredevil and Matt Murdock. Of course she's aware of this as well. “I might. Sleep well, Claire. I'm sorry.”
“I know,” she says, and stands by while he leaves through the window, finds his way to the roof much more slowly and painfully than usual, and starts his way home. He makes sure he's several buildings away from hers before he takes off the sling, and keeps it tucked awkwardly under his elbow.
He's exhausted by the time he gets home, the pain making him dizzy enough that he makes sure to pour himself a drink of water as soon as he's through the window, before he even turns on the radio.
There's a song he doesn't recognize playing, and Matt doesn't bother waiting for Foggy's voice before he picks up his regular phone, left on his kitchen counter, and takes it to the couch to call the station.
“WCBF, currently taking calls for Foggy With a Chance,” says Marci, more serious than Matt has ever heard her.
“Hello, it's lowercase daredevil.” Matt coughs. His voice sounds too rough. “I think I have some information about the other Daredevil, though. I heard that—”
“Is it good news?”
“I think so.”
“I'll put you through.”
A click, and then it's Foggy, sounding wary, who says “Hello?”
“Hello, it's me,” says Matt, and then feels like an idiot. “It's lowercase daredevil, that is. But I heard that you might think Daredevil is dead, and he isn't.”
“Jesus,” says Foggy. “You saw him?”
“He must have someone to take care of him. He had a sling, and he was moving slowly, but he was alive.”
Foggy breathes out, hard. “Jesus,” he says again, drawn out this time. “Okay. That's … the song is almost over. Are you willing to say it again on air? People are worried.”
“May not be a fan of the way he does things, but I'm smart enough to know Hell's Kitchen is better off with him in it—ten seconds. You staying with me?”
“Yes.” Matt shifts on his couch and tries not to make a noise when it jostles his shoulder. He needs to change and put his sling back on if he's going to stay up, but for right now, talking to Foggy is the priority.
“Okay, good. Good.” Foggy sighs, and he doesn't really sound tired, just upset. Matt hates it. “Five, four, three … hello, everyone. We've got some Daredevil Watch updates, ironically enough from lowercase daredevil. Tell them what you told me, okay?”
“He's got a sling,” says Matt, and knows it's stupid, avoiding the lie of “I saw him,” but he can't help doing his best. “He's probably in pain, he was slow, but he seems to be alive, not in immediate danger. There's someone looking out for him.” It was a clumsy attempt to comfort when he told Foggy that off air, but it's for Claire now, if she's awake and listening. “Besides the people of the Daredevil Watch, that is.”
“That's good to hear. Whatever medical professional or amateur is out there, thanks. People were pretty worried. And as always, if anyone has any information about who or what the Daredevil was hunting down tonight, the police happily accept anonymous tips.” Foggy sighs, and when he speaks again, he sounds much more chipper. “So, hey, let's have some celebratory music! It's been kind of a drag around here for the past couple hours, if you're still up and feeling relieved you can get up on your feet and dance.”
Something starts playing, and Matt listens for the sound of the switchover so he knows they're off the air. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah, sorry, I … it sucks sometimes, that's all. Sitting in here while something awful is happening just passing the information on. I know that's important, but it still sucks.”
“It's very important. It's … it's amazing, what you do. Seeing if he's safe, passing the word on, it matters.” It matters to Matt, even if he can't bear to listen most times they start talking about him. “If he heard it, I'm sure he would agree. He couldn't take anyone up on their offers of assistance, but he would have to be grateful.”
“Right.” All of a sudden, Foggy's voice is all sharp edges, not worn and scratchy from a long night. He doesn't sound angry, but he's paying attention now, in a way he wasn't before. “Where did you see him, anyway? I like to keep track.”
“A rooftop. Around 49th and 10th, I think,” says Matt, wary. He wasn't there for long, but he did pass by. Someone might have seen him.
“You were out for one of your walks?”
Suspicion. Foggy is suspicious. Matt wasn't careful, but he knows he hasn't been obvious either. There's no reason Foggy should connect a caller on his radio show to the Daredevil, even if he gave them the same name by accident. “I was walking.” Now's the time to lie, to say something that would make it impossible for him to be a vigilante, but he chokes on the words. “If you think I know this because I'm on his bad side—”
“If you were on his bad side, you would probably be in the hospital,” says Foggy, and Matt winces. Foggy sounds like a lawyer, now, cross-examining a witness with the scent of blood, and Matt thinks about the jokes about half a law degree that seem like much less of a joke now. If Foggy left law school, it's not because he couldn't do the work.
“I think the song is almost over.”
“I have another one queued up, sometimes it's good to get a groove going, and I have Marci's blessing. You realize that avoiding this is only making me more suspicious, right?”
“I'm not certain why.”
“You're not stupid, and neither am I. Want me to drop it? Tell me outright you aren't Daredevil.”
“Well, I'm lowercase daredevil,” says Matt, and then sighs. He doesn't want to lie, but he's already lying to Foggy, juggling being too many people. He can lie again. “But I'm not the other Daredevil.”
“Huh,” says Foggy, while one song fades into another. “I have to go. Marci has another caller on the line.”
“No, she doesn't.” Matt wants to take it back as soon as he says it, because he can't be sure, but he's almost certain Foggy is lying anyway.
“Lie for a lie, then,” says Foggy, and hangs up.
Matt turns off the radio in the middle of the song.
Matt winces and puts on his best smile for Karen. “I know, it looks bad, but I told you, I have a friend who's a nurse, and she told me I didn't have to go to the hospital. The sling is just to remind me not to jostle the shoulder much.”
He can hear her breathe in and bite down on at least three different responses before she finally speaks. “I know you say you can't care for a dog right now, with trying to get a practice off the ground, but isn't there some kind of solution?”
“I'm not sure, beyond being more careful. I wasn't relying on my cane as much as I should have, so close to home.”
“If you're sure.” Karen is fussing around while the kettle comes up to a boil. “And … I know you don't like it when I press, but you look so tired. Maybe it would help if you slept more.”
“You aren't pressing, Karen, you're concerned. I appreciate it.” Matt hopes his smile is convincing. It's hard to concentrate on much, with his shoulder hurting as much as it does and with the periodic thought of Foggy, who got home half an hour later than usual and was unnervingly quiet when he did get there, only his heartbeat letting Matt know he was there at all after the door shut. “I will do my best, but the doctors always said it's difficult without light perception.”
“I know.” Karen hesitates—a hint of the smell of copper. She's biting her lip. “I hope you aren't just sitting there alone at night. I sometimes have insomnia too, you could … you could call me, if you wanted?”
Karen is kinder than Matt deserves. “Thank you. If it helps, I've found myself listening to late-night radio lately and it's soothing. It helps.”
“Maybe I'll try it sometime. But I'm glad you've got something that helps.”
Chances are it won't be there to help him anymore, not in the same way. Foggy isn't petty enough to stop the Daredevil Watch, but he'll have told Marci, and Marci will refuse his calls, if Foggy doesn't do it himself. “Do you have something that helps?”
“Sometimes,” says Karen, and then the kettle is boiling and Matt loses his opportunity to ask more.
“Hi, neighbor!” says Foggy, all cheer.
Matt doesn't know what to do with his voice so there's a chance Foggy won't recognize it, but he didn't the last time they spoke, so all Matt can do is hope. At least he took off the sling when he got in the building and put it in his briefcase so Foggy won't have that point to connect. “Hello, Foggy. You aren't usually leaving at this time, are you?”
“No, no, I'm going to have dinner with my parents before work tonight, that's all. I don't make a lot of money, it's nice to go and get fed, and my mother will send all the leftovers home with me, which is great.”
“I hope you enjoy it, then.” Foggy talks about his family sometimes on the radio, how it's big and affectionate and constantly exasperated with him, something about a story with a butcher that he claims his producer keeps cutting short before he can really start it.
“What about you? Any big plans for the weekend?”
“No, not really. I keep fairly quiet. I may have to do some research for a case I'm working on.”
There's a pause, the air moving a little—Foggy's hair is long, he can tell, and moving against the shoulders of his jacket. He's shaking his head. “Well, I tend to sleep from nine or ten in the morning until five or so these days, so if you ever want to hang out or something, you can always knock.”
“That's … thank you, Foggy. That's very kind.”
Foggy laughs, but it's not his genuine laugh. Matt knows how that sounds by now. “No pressure, I know the sound of someone saying he's actually never going to do that when I hear it.”
Matt doesn't do him the disservice of protesting, but he can't exactly explain his reasons either. The more time he spends with Foggy, the more likely it is Foggy will figure it all out, and it's not safe. He was stupid not to lie to Foggy on the phone, not try to tell the truth, even if a slippery truth, until it fell apart. “I'm not very good company.”
“See, man, I know that's a lie, but it means a lot that you're trying.” Foggy walks a few steps down the hallway. “Offer remains open, but I'm going to go eat the most delicious lasagna in the world.”
“Enjoy the lasagna, then. And the leftovers. And I promise, if I'm lonely and we're both awake, I'll at least think very hard about talking to you.” That, anyway, is the truth.
“Huh, that's … okay, that's fair. I won't say I look forward to it because no one should be lonely, but I'll keep my ears open. Have a good night, Matt.”
“You too, Foggy.”
Matt lets himself into his apartment, and listens to Foggy climbing down the stairs until his heartbeat blends in with his surroundings too much to keep paying attention.
He turns on the radio that night to listen to Foggy talk about his night with his family, full of stories, talking about lasagna and the lectures he gets on never being awake when his mother calls.
No one mentions Daredevil the whole night, and Matt falls asleep with the radio on.
Matt is scrambling for his phone and calling the radio station before the introduction has finished playing.
“WCBF, Marci speaking, if you are who I think you are you are in so much trouble.”
“Am I right in assuming that he wants to speak to me about something? Do you know why?”
“Very important music recommendation news, I imagine,” says Marci, wry. “He won't tell me what you did to piss him off so bad, but it was worthy of a twenty-minute rant after we got off the air that day and now he suddenly wants to talk to you. I'm putting you through. Don't fuck up.”
“I'll try,” says Matt, but he's already hearing the sound of the line transfer. “Foggy. What if I hadn't been listening?”
“I would have figured out some other way to get in touch, I guess. Why hasn't anyone made you a bat signal yet? Aren't you supposed to have a whole team of costume and gadget designers? I know you've got the costume part down, anyway, you should talk to your guy and see if a bat signal can be arranged.”
Matt can't imagine Melvin's reaction to being asked for that, but it's irrelevant anyway, and Foggy is babbling like he's nervous. “Is something the matter? Or did you have … did you have questions, after our last conversation? Other than about signals, I mean.”
“I can't believe I'm saying this, but there's something I think the Daredevil could help with. I've got the name and badge number of a cop who's taking a little too much pleasure in arresting people, and I thought it seemed like your kind of job. I don't have any proof, video or audio or anything, just a witness who doesn't have much credit with the police due to his arrest record. Interested?”
It isn't Foggy reaching out just because he wants to speak to him, but it's something, anyway, and much more than he was expecting. “Tell me. I'll do what I can.”
Foggy gives him the name and the number and Matt scrambles to find somewhere to write it down before he forgets it. “You said one time that you've got a law degree,” Foggy says when the song isn't even halfway finished and they're done with the business. “That's what's confusing me most, I think. How does a lawyer ending up taking the law into his own hands?”
“I want to keep people from being hurt.”
“I respect that, but then you hurt a whole lot of others and you know they're innocent until proven guilty.”
“Sometimes the court system is flawed. You know that, you stopped law school.” Matt takes a second to breathe. “I can't not listen when someone needs help. My ears are too sharp for that.”
“I guess.” It's Foggy's turn to pause. “How's your … your arm? You weren't making it up about having a sling, someone to take care of you, right?”
“My shoulder. It's still sore, but improving quickly. And yes, I have a friend in the medical field who looks after me on the worse nights.”
Almost the whole bridge of the song goes by before Foggy speaks again. “You can … I mean, if you ever want music recommendations, you can still call in. I was surprised and kind of pissed off, but I didn't mean to chase you off forever or anything. So, line's open if you want to call and if you can get past Marci.”
“She doesn't like me much. But thank you. I will. And I'll look out for that cop.”
“Thanks. Don't get shot. Or arrested. Want to hear a song?”
“Yes,” says Matt. “I should get to sleep. Something quiet.”
“Something quiet, okay.” Foggy's quieter now himself. “I can do that. I think we should hang up. And maybe you could call in a few nights? Tell me how it's going?”
“I'll do that. Thank you, Foggy. I wouldn't have called back otherwise.”
“Well, then, I'm glad I asked you to call.” The chorus is most of the way through its last repeat. Matt thinks Foggy likes the song, he's heard it on the show before. “Night, Daredevil. Get some rest.”
“Thank you. Good night, Foggy.”
It's Monday night when Officer Price ends up behind bars, and Matt has to wait until Wednesday to call Foggy.
He calls early on in the night, in between the usual rush of callers who are just awake for the early part of Foggy's show, requesting this or that song for a friend or a partner or just themselves. Marci, when she picks up, does it with a sigh. “WCBF, Marci speaking, taking calls for Foggy With a Chance, we've already played 'Tubthumping' tonight so there is a seventy percent chance you're out of luck.”
“I seem to be in the lucky thirty percent.”
Marci sighs again, loud enough that she means for him to hear it as opposed to the quiet one from before. “Oh good, it's you. You could just give him your number and you two can do your weird flirting thing on your own time, you know.”
“We're not—he's not—” Matt gives up. “Is he free to speak to me?”
“Now I know how my mother felt when I had my first middle school boyfriend and we only had the landline. Putting you through.”
“I didn't know if you heard,” Matt starts as soon as he hears the usual click.
“No, I live under a rock,” says Foggy. “Marci was scowling. I figured it had to be you. Thank you.”
“I didn't … you don't need to thank me.”
“I guess I don't.”
“Thank you for the information, though.” Matt clears his throat. “I just wanted to make sure that you were aware. If anyone else passes tips of the kind on, I'll try to call in regularly, just in case.”
“Not totally comfortable being your mercenary pimp, and if they give me any evidence at all it's definitely going to the police because that's the law, but if something like that happens again, I'll keep the option in mind.”
“I'm not a mercenary.”
“I guess you aren't. Do you want to hear some music? What are you in the mood for?”
Foggy sounds almost normal, and it seems wrong that it should be that easy, that he's forgiven and has another ally—a friend, maybe. “I don't know. Something good. Something happy.”
“Man, haven't we moved past this by now? You can do better than 'something good.' Want to be more specific?”
“I'm glad you aren't still angry with me,” Matt says, and he can feel the blush in his cheeks. “Something for that.”
“Okay. I think I can find something. Do you want to stay on, talk to the nice people? A few people asked after I called you out the other night.”
“Not tonight, thank you. I'll just listen. But maybe soon.”
“I'll let you hang up, then. And I hope you enjoy your song.”
“Good night, Foggy.”
If they weren't neighbors, Matt thinks he would tell him to call him by his name. It's a common name, and he doesn't think Foggy is interested in figuring out his identity. It would be nice to hear. They are neighbors, though, and Matt isn't ready to tell Foggy everything, to explain it all and risk him not understanding, much less risk the danger he could be in.
Instead, he hangs up and waits for the music to change.
“Lowercase daredevil called in during that song to ask for some music,” says Foggy in the break between. “He didn't stay on the line for us, but hopefully he'll like this number.”
Matt does, listens to all of it sitting perfectly still, paying attention to each note, but when it's over he mostly thinks about how Foggy sounded just as relieved as he felt to be talking again, back at some kind of equilibrium, when neither of them should really care at all.
Matt, in the middle of making himself a late dinner, almost misses the pan with the egg he's cracking in. That's a familiar voice in Foggy's apartment, but it's not Foggy, it's Marci.
“Because you can't host every time we get together and I want to wow you with my cooking prowess.”
A pause, and the click of high heels on Foggy's floor, muffled occasionally by rugs, perhaps Marci inspecting the apartment. “Well, the view sucks, but the place could be worse. Which is good, because I'm pretty sure your cooking prowess is nonexistent.”
“Excuse you, I'm as good at cooking as I am in bed.”
She laughs. It's a surprisingly nice laugh, for someone who's always so sharp, drawling along the edge of sarcasm even when she's saying hello. “That remains to be seen, but I really hope so.”
“Crap. I'm a great cook whose milk has gone bad, unfortunately. Let me see if the neighbor has any and if not I'll run out for some and then I will wow you with my cooking prowess.”
“Do you mean Fran or the hot neighbor?”
“Fran is visiting her son for dinner tonight, I'm very proud of her, so I'm going to have to try my luck next door instead.” A pause, where there must be gestures. “No, you are not. I will be back in two minutes.”
“You let your milk go bad on purpose,” Marci says, laughing around the words, and Matt listens to Foggy move toward his door and then out of it, already turning the heat on his stove down, waiting for the knock and then waiting a reasonable few seconds after he hears it.
“So, can I ask for a metaphorical cup of sugar?” Foggy asks as soon as the door is open.
Matt smiles. “What's it a metaphor for? I may be able to help.”
“A literal cup of milk, as it happens. Mine went bad and I have a friend over for breakfast. Well, dinner—breakfast for me.”
“Because you work nights,” says Matt, already walking back to his kitchen. “I'm having breakfast for dinner myself. My milk should be good, there might not be quite a cup left but I won't need any before my next delivery.”
There's a little scuffle at the door—Matt should have been paying close enough attention to know Marci was leaving Foggy's apartment, Foggy is too distracting for Matt's concentration—and then Marci is speaking. “So you're the famous Matt. I was hoping I'd get to see you when Foggy Bear asked me over.”
“Could you not?” Foggy whispers, obviously not meant for Matt to hear.
“Am I famous?” Matt asks, ignoring all that and tilting his head to face the door, raising his eyebrows enough that she'll be able to see over his glasses. “I didn't think I was.” There is still milk in his refrigerator, and Matt pulls it out. There should be enough left, from the weight. “Here we are. I hope it's enough.”
Foggy is still lingering at the door, and Marci is just behind him. She smells like perfume far more expensive than a radio producer should be able to afford, and from the sound of it she kicked off her shoes in Foggy's apartment. “Man, this is the fancy milk, I feel bad now,” says Foggy, taking the container when Matt hands it over.
“Please don't, you're welcome to it. You'd do the same if I asked.”
“Yes, but I don't have the fancy milk.”
Marci laughs. From the sound of it, it's at Foggy. “Thank the nice man, Foggy. I'm going back to your place.”
Matt listens until the door to Foggy's apartment closes. “She seems nice.”
It's Foggy's turn to laugh. “She's kind of intimidating, but we went out of law school together in a blaze of glory and she's stuck by me ever since, so … anyway. Thank you. I'll get some new for you, only fair—no, I can see you planning to object, don't you dare. That's what neighbors do, right?”
Matt smiles. “Right. Enjoy, Foggy. It was a pleasure to meet Marci.”
“I appreciate the sentiment. She'll just be sad she wasn't more intimidating. Thanks again, Matt. Seriously, feel free to knock if you ever need anything.”
“You're welcome. Good night, Foggy.”
Foggy pauses for long enough that Matt thinks of all the times he's said that now, how all of them have been on the radio. Foggy is too clever not to notice some kind of pattern. He may not suspect Matt right now because he knows Matt is blind, but if they keep talking, he'll figure it out. “Good night, Matt.”
Matt closes the door when he starts to walk away and goes back to his dinner, slightly burned but not bad. Edible, anyway. He's close enough to his next grocery delivery that he doesn't have enough to spare to throw it away.
He tries not to listen in on Foggy and Marci's conversation, but he can't help tuning in when he's halfway through his dinner and Marci says “Hot neighbor's voice sounds familiar. Do you think he's a caller?”
Foggy's pause is long enough to make Matt's heart speed up, the panicked fight-or-flight impulse he can't do anything about. “I don't know. Maybe. I told him I work in late-night radio and not a lot of people are named Foggy. If he's a caller he doesn't want me to know it, so I figure … privacy, you know?”
“You're a radio host, not a therapist.”
“I know. But if he wants to call in and request 'Call Me Maybe' and doesn't want to be judged for it, who are we to stop him?”
Matt breathes again, coming down from his worry. It isn't good, and he knows that someday, Foggy is going to figure it out or he's going to have to tell him, but for tonight, he's safe, and Foggy and Marci are laughing about something work-related as Matt puts on his armor and goes out into the city.
Matt clenches his jaw. “There was a bruise there before I got cut open, the skin is especially sensitive. I'm sorry, Claire.”
“Don't apologize, just hold still.” Claire makes a few more stitches before she speaks again. It's quiet in her building tonight. Santino is awake, playing some kind of video game with the sound down low, probably so he doesn't wake his mother, and someone on the second floor is smoking out their window. “I've heard you call into the radio show another few times.”
Matt waits until she finishes another stitch to speak again. “Foggy figured out that his caller is Daredevil—the night I was shot, when you said I should call in. I thought you should know that.”
“Has he done anything about that?”
“He was angry, and then requested that I call in again—he was the one who tipped me off about Officer Price.” Matt waits for her to make another stitch. “You should also know … he's my neighbor. Foggy is. We've met a few times in that context. He doesn't know yet about that part of it.”
“So.” Claire ties off the last stitch, and Matt waits while she puts her materials away and takes off her gloves, a soothing routine. “You think I deserve to know, but not him. Are you going to tell me that's safer?”
“It has to be,” says Matt, shifting to see how much flexibility he's lost with his latest cut. “If I told him, what happens when someone finds my apartment and he comes in from next door and ends up in danger?”
“And if he hears a crash in your apartment and comes in and doesn't know what he's getting into?” Matt doesn't have an answer for that, and Claire seems to know it. “I'm not here to give you advice, Matt, but if you thought I should know, he should know too. That's how it works.”
Matt has a hundred thousand objections, but he knows all of them are unacceptable, and that they all boil down to avoiding Foggy being angry at him again. “I don't know how.”
“Then figure it out.”
There's a wealth of things Claire isn't saying, but she doesn't need to say them. It isn't her responsibility to say them, so all Matt does is nod. “Thank you. Are you ready for me to leave?”
“Yes.” She snaps her first aid kit shut. “Try to keep yourself together for at least a week this time. I have a busy week at work and I don't want to hear about you getting shot again when you should still be recovering from the last one.”
“I'll be careful,” says Matt, an empty promise. “You be careful too. I'll try to stay off your doorstep for as long as I can.”
Claire waits until he's almost to the window before she speaks again. “Good luck, with your conversation. I hope it works out.”
“Thank you,” says Matt, and opens the window. “Me too.”
Foggy opens it half a minute later and makes a surprised noise when he sees Matt. “Hey, what can I do for you? Are you correcting the milk imbalance? Don't think I've forgotten that, I definitely didn't, I know I owe you.”
“You really don't. May I come in? I need to talk to you.”
“Sure.” Foggy sounds like he's frowning, and he's nervous from the way his heart speeds up. “My couch is sort of near the … should I walk you over there?”
Matt can tell where the couch is easily enough, but he nods anyway. “Thank you.”
They're quiet while Foggy leads him over, inexpert and clumsy, and waits for him to sit down, sitting down on the other end of the couch instead of in the armchair Matt knows is somewhere nearby, an old recliner that creaks every time Foggy opens it up. “So, this sounds like the beginning of every movie breakup conversation ever, only I know we aren't dating,” Foggy says when Matt can't bring himself to start talking. “Maybe you're going to tell me I'm being an asshole neighbor or that milk has an exchange rate equivalent to gold bars, which would not be shocking, and that you really need it replaced.”
“You have a late-night radio show,” Matt starts, and that silences him. “It's called Foggy With a Chance.”
“You have a regular caller. He says … he says he has a law degree, and you found out something else about him too.” Matt looks down, grounds himself with a hand on the couch cushion. It's soft, worn, pilling a little, and the cushions smell like some kind of cleaner and food stains and, somewhere under it all, wet dog. “About me.”
Foggy's heartbeat is already a touch too fast and it only gets faster in the long silence that follows. “So, the blind thing is a good disguise, I'll grant you, but it's also kind of an asshole move.”
Matt winces. “No, I'm … I can't see at all. I was in an accident as a kid, and I can't see.”
“How do you do it, then?” Matt has never heard Foggy's voice so even and calm, and it makes him clutch on even tighter to the couch cushions.
“The rest of my senses, they're much stronger to compensate. I can sense objects in space, how far away they are, their relation to each other, sometimes how they're moving. It's enough to let me fight.”
Once again, a silence that lasts too long. Matt almost wishes he'd told him over the radio, where these conversations are restricted to the length of a song and he wouldn't have to wait for Foggy's reactions. “Did you know who I was before I introduced myself?”
“Only a few days before. My hearing is sensitive, I could hear you, but people's voices sound different in person, the resonance and the heartbeats make it hard to recognize.”
“Heartbeats.” One word, flat.
“Heartbeats. I can hear when people are lying, or upset, or any number of other things.”
“Sounds like 'sensitive' is an understatement. Seriously, super senses? That's a thing now? Jesus.”
Matt flinches. “I'm sorry. I never wanted to tell anyone. There was always the fear that ...”
“That you'd end up a medical experiment or a pariah or an accidental celebrity or something,” Foggy finishes for him. “I get it. I don't like it, my neighbor can hear my heartbeat and I am thinking of every single embarrassing thing I have ever done in this apartment, but I get it.” Matt waits for him to continue. He doesn't sound like he's done. “Okay. Just let me think through this a little. What else can you do?”
Matt tells him. He skirts around the violence of it all—Foggy knows that, everyone does—and talks about what he can do instead, hear and smell and understand. “I consider you a friend,” he finally says, when he can't think of anything more to say and Foggy is still just sitting there with his heart a little too fast. “I understand if you don't agree after … well, after all of this.” Foggy is the first person he's told about all of it. He doesn't have precedent.
“I'm still kind of stuck on the heartbeat thing. You know a polygraph test isn't usually court-admissible as evidence?”
“I'm aware, yes. It isn't precisely that.”
“Of course. Lawyer.” Foggy laughs, short and sharp and not very amused. “Jesus.”
Matt fidgets for a few more seconds, but it seems like Foggy doesn't have anything more to say. “If you have questions, you can ask, or I can leave if you want. I just wanted to let you know. A friend of mine told me it isn't fair for you not to know. Either way has its dangers, but I suspect you would have figured it out on your own sooner rather than later.”
“And you thought I would get pissed off if I had to Nancy Drew my way through the rest of these mysteries and wanted to get ahead of that,” Foggy surmises. He isn't wrong. Matt lets it stand. “It makes sense. Do you want a beer?”
“It's technically day-drinking for me, but you look like you could use one and frankly so could I. Want to stay for a beer?”
Matt isn't sure what he was expecting, if Foggy forgave him for keeping secrets. He wasn't expecting this, though. “Yes.”
“Cheers,” says Foggy, and stands up, going over to his refrigerator and taking out two beers—bottles, Matt can hear them clink against each other and then the hiss of Foggy removing the tops.
It isn't the best beer Matt's ever tasted—the stale taste of factory overpowers everything else—but when Foggy hands it over he drinks gladly, and when Foggy, taking slower sips, starts asking questions, he answers them as well as he can. It's hours before he realizes he should let Foggy go about his day, long past the time when he would really do any good going out.
“Call in if you ever have a hard night,” Foggy says when Matt manages to extricate himself from the conversation and makes it to the door. “I'll play you something happy. I can't patch you up or whatever, but I can do that.”
“It's a lot of help. Thank you, Foggy. Knock if you ever need anything, even if it's just the answer to another question.”
“Thanks, Matt,” says Foggy, and he sounds thoughtful, more awake as his day goes on while Matt is only getting more tired. “Maybe I will.”
Foggy talks, too. He's always had the habit of muttering at his appliances when they don't work, or saying his to-do list out loud as though to remind himself, but now there's the occasional fully-formed sentence, said just a little clearer and louder, there for Matt to overhear.
Matt imagines it's something like having a roommate, and he finds himself regretting the singles he always requested from housing in college and law school, because if there's a chance he would have ended up living with someone like Foggy, it would have been much better than being alone.
He doesn't call the show again until a Thursday night when he's out until almost four and knows he has a hopeless meeting with a client later, one he's doing his best to keep out of jail but who the system is against.
“WCBF, this is Marci for Foggy With a Chance. If you're asking about tonight's playlist, it's on our website because sometimes he decides it's a good night for weird shit and I can't keep up with it all.”
“Hello, Marci, it's lowercase daredevil.”
“Jig's up, actually, I know you're Foggy's neighbor.”
Matt almost chokes on air. “Did he tell you that?”
“I surmised. He was moaning around about feeling stupid and then about both of you, so I made my judgments, and now you've confirmed them, thanks,” says Marci, and transfers him in to Foggy.
“Hey, judging by how smug Marci looks, it's … um, walls have ears, so I am going to continue calling you lowercase daredevil.”
“Hello, Foggy.” He's smiling already. “Marci has figured out that I'm your neighbor, in case she doesn't mention that to you.”
Foggy snorts. “That explains a lot, thanks. Now, it's either really early or really late for you. Everything okay?”
“Yes, the Daredevil Watch shouldn't be calling in. And it's late, though I have got a busy day at work.”
“So you want something to help you sleep?”
“Something calm, anyway. Marci says you're playing weird music tonight. I'd be interested to hear what she terms as weird.”
There's a pause, the sound of air over the line—Foggy mouthing something to Marci, probably. “Weird and calm, I can do that. I'm going to be late at the station today, monthly meeting with Marci and the manager, do you want me to bring some coffee home when I come?”
Matt opens his mouth and closes it again, startled and warmed by the offer. “Please. Black with one sugar, I'll pay you back.”
“Don't bother, I still owe you for the world's fanciest milk. We'll call it even. Or you can owe me a favor, I guess. But that's what friends do, right? Buy coffee?”
Matt has to swallow before he can speak, and even then he knows his voice comes out sounding strange. “I suppose so. Thank you, then. It sounds like this song is almost over.”
“Right. I'm going to hang up on you and you're going to get in bed and the song will lull you to sleep, if you can tell me any lyrics past the first chorus I'm not doing my job right.”
Usually, Matt doesn't like to sleep with the radio on, since there's the chance he'll miss outside noise, but he'll do it tonight, for that promise. “Fine. Good night, Foggy. I'll try very hard to get to sleep on time.”
“Night, M—daredevil. Sweet dreams.”
Matt hangs up and goes to his room to sit down on the bed, the radio still playing quietly in the other room. No one else will hear it, so at least he doesn't have to worry about that.
When the song ends, Foggy starts talking. “During that song, we had a call from our very own lowercase daredevil, who must have some serious insomnia, and he requests that I play something calming and weird. So this one's for you, buddy. Get some rest, okay? Just because my sleep schedule is ruined past recovery doesn't mean yours has to be.”
It's pretty, something electronic and not at all to his usual taste but soothing, just like Foggy promised, and Matt falls asleep halfway through the first chorus.
The radio, now that he's tuning into the world again, is playing some obnoxious morning talk show that gets him out of bed and scrambling to turn it off on his way to the door, opening it just a second after Foggy knocks for the second time.
“Whoa, hi, I'm coming in because you probably should not be showing off the fact that you look like an MMA fighter to Fran if she happens to come outside.”
Matt can feel the blush start. He rarely wears shirts when he sleeps unless it's cold, but he hadn't thought. Foggy, from the heat Matt can sense, is blushing as well, though the smell of the coffee he's holding is masking anything that might tell Matt whether it's because he's embarrassed or attracted or just still warm from jogging up the stairs. “Of course, come in, I'm sorry. I overslept my alarm.”
“Good,” says Foggy, following him through the door and shutting it. “You need to sleep sometimes. Seriously, lawyer by day, vigilante by night, you must be chronically sleep-deprived.”
Matt shrugs and takes the coffee when Foggy taps his wrist and offers it. It's from the place on the corner, where they roast their own, more expensive than he can usually justify to himself. “I don't need much sleep, but I probably could use more. Sometimes I manage to do it in two shifts—an hour or so when I get home from work and then more when I come back. I didn't manage that last night.”
“Well, you should manage it more often. Drink that, I didn't get it for you to stand there and smell it all day and it's probably cool enough.”
It's still a little warm, Foggy must have walked fast to get it to Matt, but he takes a sip anyway, savoring the taste, already feeling the rush of the caffeine and sugar even if it's psychological and will take a few more minutes to kick in. “Thank you, this is exactly what I needed.”
“Well, you can always let me know if you need me to grab something for your breakfast or whatever on my way home—I should give you my phone number, actually, I can't believe I let you get away last week without that, you shouldn't have to call the radio station to talk to me.”
Matt smiles and takes another sip of coffee. “I'll just give you my number, you can send a message and I'll store it that way. It's probably easier on us both.”
“Awesome.” Foggy digs around in his pockets, the sound of something metallic clicking against his wallet and his phone, probably coins, the change from the coffee, and comes free with his phone in hand, from the sound of his fingers moving as he unlocks it. “Lay the number on me, I'll send you a great text. And then I'll go, because you have to get ready for work and I need to make myself dinner.”
Matt tells him the number, and drinks some of the coffee while Foggy considers what message he wants to send Matt. They're standing close together, bent over Foggy's phone even though Matt can't see it, and Foggy seems tired, swallowing yawns after a long night of work, and Matt wants to brush his hair out of his face and send him to the next room to sleep, not have him leave the apartment and go next door like he's going to have to. He wants, when Foggy makes a triumphant noise and Matt's phone vibrates back on his nightstand, to pull Foggy closer and kiss him. It's a dangerous thought.
“Look at you, you are going to fall asleep standing up, I should have bought four more coffees,” says Foggy. “I'm going to go home, you get ready for the day and then check your texts. And have as much caffeine as you can safely consume.”
“My secretary makes very strong coffee,” Matt assures him. “I won't fall asleep on my clients.” He raises the mostly empty cup. “Thank you again for this. Let me know if you need me to bring you anything on my way home. I don't do well in grocery stores, I have to ask clerks for help, but anything else.”
“I'll keep it in mind.” Foggy is thoughtful, something behind the words, but a second later he's shaken it off, and he's back to his usual cheer. “I'm going to go. Have a good day at work, and maybe take a nap or a full night's sleep when you get home. You aren't going to do much good fighting crime if you start snoring on a mafia boss.”
Every night Matt doesn't go out is a night someone else might get hurt, something else might go wrong. He knows he can't go out every night, though, and perhaps Foggy is right. It's been a while since he took a night and slept it all the way through. “Thank you, maybe I will.”
“Good. Please do. I'll check in tomorrow sometime, see how well-rested you look. There will be consequences if you don't start looking more rested. I'll start playing the worst songs I can think of when you call in, and then all my listeners will suffer.”
Matt laughs, and it's rough, but hopefully it sounds as sincere as it is. “I'll keep it in mind. Thank you again for the coffee, Foggy, it's much appreciated. And sweet dreams.”
“Have a good day at work, Matt,” says Foggy, and lets himself out of the apartment.
Matt makes himself shower and eat breakfast before he goes to his phone to listen to the text that Foggy sent him. “For Daredevil,” the screenreader says, “both upper- and lowercase, in case you ever need anything besides music.”
He listens to it three times before he puts on his suit for work, and taps a few times on the wall between their apartments before he leaves, just so he can hear Foggy sleepily mumble “Go get 'em, tiger” from where he's half-asleep watching TV on his couch.
“So, I have something I thought you should know,” Foggy says, and it's slow and that's not a good tone, it's not angry like he was at Matt when he figured out who was calling his radio show, it's more like the way he sounds when he's worried about a caller, tight and tense.
Matt pauses in the street, steps out of the way of a man who swears at him for clogging up the sidewalk during the morning rush. “Do you need me to come back home? I can call Karen and tell her I'll be late.” She's doing a little better lately, and it might make her happy to know that he's taking an hour to help a friend.
“Normally, I would say no, I'll just tell you on the phone, but I think what I tell you is going to piss you off and I don't want to inflict you on the unsuspecting public.”
He turns around and start walking. He's halfway to work, but he can call Karen on the way. “I'll be at your door in fifteen minutes.”
Foggy opens his door as soon as Matt knocks, out of breath, a stitch in his side from bruised ribs that are still recovering, and immediately puts his hand on Matt's elbow and pulls him inside. “I'm fine, it's okay, I really should not have scared you like this, but … well, I wanted you to know.”
“You're tired, you're up late for you, and something clearly happened after I turned off my radio last night.”
Foggy even smells exhausted, a little stale, and he's been biting his lip, Matt can smell the copper. “This could have waited, probably, but then you would make that face at me—no, don't make that face at me, you would make the face where you remember that I know you're Daredevil and start calculating how long it's going to take me to get killed—and this way you have to wait for the end of your work day before you go out and punch anyone.”
Matt takes a deep breath. “Who am I going to want to punch, Foggy?”
“Some guy called a threat in to the station around five this morning, told Marci he wanted to request 'Devil Went Down to Georgia' because apparently he thinks he's funny, and told me one of these days someone is going to kill me for showing so much sympathy for the Daredevil.”
For a moment, Matt can't even begin to form the words to answer. The world slows down like it does before a fight, and he clenches his fists, but Foggy is here, and Matt makes himself breathe until he's sure he won't do something that will scare him. “Was there an active threat, or just the general one?”
“We had an abrupt commercial break and Marci took the phone line back, so that was about as far as he got with me, but Marci says he was saying some pretty ugly things. It got recorded, and she has the number blocked, and we made a police report, so it's all okay, but I kind of thought you should know.”
“Are the police going to do anything?”
“I figure they'll look into it, but you aren't exactly their favorite person, so it's probably not going to happen too fast. But I've got a friend on the force, he'll probably do some searching, at least enough that I can get a restraining order.” Foggy touches Matt's arm, gentle. “And hey, if I need to go to court for something, I know a lawyer.”
“I'm a defense attorney, I wouldn't defend him,” Matt says, on autopilot.
“But you could defend me if I punched him in the nose.”
Matt nods, because Foggy is trying to lighten the mood, told him this and is trying to make Matt feel better when he should be terrified. “He's … he isn't wrong. You joke about it, but you're in danger being my friend, knowing everything you do.”
“Matt, he didn't call in because I'm your friend. He didn't know that. He called because I help people look out and make sure you're safe, and you might want to remember that I did that before I met you. Before I moved in down the hall, before you called the station the first time, I was doing that, and I knew it would piss people off. My choice, okay?”
“You aren't safe, though.”
“My choice,” Foggy repeats, firm. “And now that I actually know you, really worth it. I wanted you to know about this, that's all. It's not something we need to do anything about.”
Matt is going to be listening, now, for anyone who mentions Foggy With a Chance and seems angry about the Daredevil Watch, but he knows Foggy is right. The police are aware, and Marci is. He trusts Marci to defend Foggy. “Tell me if anyone threatens you more directly. Sometime, a criminal is going to be angry enough to go after my associates, and you're public about it.”
“I know. I'll play it safe, I'm not stupid.” Foggy squeezes Matt's arm, and Matt had forgotten he was holding on at all, but Foggy has been holding on and not letting him go. “And hey, one good thing. A bunch of people called in after that while Marci was dealing with business and told me to keep on doing it, that the guy was an asshole and I'm an angel and you're a hero, all of which are true things.”
“Of course,” says Matt, a little choked. He would never call himself a hero, but Foggy saying it still means more than he could say.
Foggy lets him go and steps back. “So that's what I interrupted your workday for. You can go back, if you want, or I'll feed you a piece of toast before you go, since you never eat enough.”
“The toast. I don't have any meetings until ten thirty, I can wait.”
“Good.” Foggy walks away, toward the kitchen. “I'll get out the jam.”
When he gets home, after staying an extra hour to take care of paperwork he's behind on that Karen can't take care of, Matt only stays in his apartment long enough to drop off his bag and his cane before he goes to knock on Foggy's door. Foggy is awake, he can hear him wandering around and smell the lingering hints of his breakfast.
Foggy also, it seems, has his equilibrium back after a day's sleep, because when he sees Matt at the door he laughs and puts an arm around his shoulder to usher him inside. “Look, I'm safe and sound and not even a little bit murdered!”
“Any word from the police station?”
“No, but Marci is probably harassing them, so you don't have to bother.” Foggy shakes him a little and lets him go, leaving Matt standing a few feet away from his couch on his own. “I'm seriously okay, Matt.”
“I know.” And it's easier to believe with Foggy bustling around his apartment the same way he always does.
“Good.” Foggy wanders over to the kitchen. “So, what do you think, pizza? There's a place that delivers and does breakfast pizza all day, so we'll both have a meal appropriate to where our sleep schedules are.”
“Mushrooms and peppers on mine, please. I'll pay.”
Foggy makes a displeased noise, a friendly argument in the making, and starts talking about Marci and his plans for the night's show, a soothing stream of words that Matt knows are meant to take away the sting of the morning's conversation. It even helps, some.
Matt ends up paying for the pizza, mostly by virtue of hearing the woman with the delivery coming and slipping out into the hall before Foggy can, and they eat it from the boxes on Foggy's couch, laughing and licking grease off their fingers.
“I should probably head off for work, Marci will have legal shit to discuss with me,” Foggy finally says, startling Matt. He hadn't noticed the time going by. “I'll let you know if I hear anything, but I can pretty much guarantee it's going to be unconditional outpouring of support. You should listen. It will be great for your ego.”
Matt stands when Foggy does. “Do you want an escort to work? I don't have to walk with you, but if you give me five minutes, I can—”
“No, Matt. I am not some famous public figure. That asshole last night gave no indication that he knew who I was. I'm fine.”
They're standing close, close enough that even though they aren't touching anywhere Matt can feel Foggy's warmth, standing right in front of him, like maybe Foggy is looking him in the eyes even though Matt can't see it to show how sincere he is. “You're fine,” Matt repeats, because Foggy seems to expect some kind of response.
Foggy sways into his space, close enough that their clothes almost brush, and Matt has a dizzy second to think He's going to kiss me before Foggy pulls back, his heart beating so fast that he may as well have kissed Matt. “Hey. Turn on your radio around two tonight, okay? Won't be before, might be a little bit after. I'll play you a song.”
Matt swallows. “I'll be sure to listen.”
It's a love song. Something he's heard on the radio any number of times, and now it's his, from Foggy, just like the others whose titles he's carefully collected, and it's a love song. The words are in there and everything, and Foggy is good at dedications. He knows what he's saying.
Matt is so lost in the lyrics that he forgets to call in until the last chorus is fading out.
“WCBF, Marci speaking, holding all calls in favor of true love,” she says, sounding unimpressed.
“I think you might want to put me through, then.” Matt winces at how much his voice shakes.
Marci sighs. On the radio, Foggy has started talking, saying the name of the song. He sounds nervous. “I can't believe any of this. Putting you through.”
The usual click, and then Foggy is talking to him through the phone. “And we've got a caller! Hey, what can I do for you tonight?”
“I'd like to request a song.” Matt doesn't know quite what he's doing, but he's trying to figure it out, and judging by Foggy's sharp intake of breath, it's a good beginning. “This is lowercase daredevil, by the way, in case you didn't know. So you've got to choose it for me.”
“Well.” He can hear Foggy breathe. He wishes he'd kissed him earlier, because the radio station is too far away, he looked up the address at work when he was worried about Foggy's safety, and he needs to sleep. He has to wait for morning, after this. “What kind of song do you want, then?”
“What would you play for someone who just had a song requested for them on the radio who wants to say thank you, and yes?”
“Thank you and yes.” He can hear the grin in Foggy's voice. “Funnily enough, I've got just the right thing here ready to play, just in case anyone felt like that tonight. I'll turn it on for you. Hold on, everyone, here comes a great song.” Something starts playing, something else vaguely familiar, and then Foggy is speaking again, just to Matt. “Okay. Yes?”
“Of course, yes. Did you think I would say no?”
“I don't like counting my chickens before they hatch.” Foggy sounds just as shaky and excited as Matt feels. “Listen to the song. It's your epic declaration of affection for me, you should at least know the words. I'll stop by with coffee in the morning.”
Four more hours of the show, plus however long it takes Foggy to get coffee and get home. Five hours, maybe, before he'll stop by and bring Matt coffee and Matt will kiss him before he takes a sip. “I'll come knock on your door if you don't,” he says. “Night, Foggy.”
“Night, Matt. Sweet dreams.”
“You couldn't have done that last night?” Matt asks, breathless, when Foggy pulls away.
“I wanted to be sure. I realize now that this was stupid because you're going to have to go to work in an hour. Do you think you could open a nighttime law practice so I can actually see you sometimes?”
“Karen might object.” Matt kisses him again. He can now. Foggy makes a surprised noise, and this time he touches Matt, grabbing the front of his shirt like he needs a lifeline. “We'll figure schedules out. We'll have to.”
Foggy is, he's beginning to discover, an amazing kisser now that the first shock of it is over. He knows just how to breathe, how to angle his head so they're as close as possible, kissing deep and slow. It's the kind of kiss that starts things, and Foggy is the one to pull away, laughing when Matt chases his lips. “I'm preemptively claiming Monday night as date night. I don't work and no one commits crime on Mondays.”
“Monday nights,” Matt agrees, and reels Foggy back in.
He's late to work, in the end, and Karen laughs at him when he shows up with a grin on his face that he can't force away all day no matter how hard he tries.
“Hello, I'm calling to request a song.”
He's met Marci a few more times now, enough to know what makes her roll her eyes, from Foggy's narration. “Of course you are. You get at least one dedicated to you a night even when you aren't listening, I should probably not let you request more.”
“You get at least one a night as well,” Matt points out. “Can I speak to him?”
She sighs, theatrical and long. “Fine. Putting you through. There's about a minute left in this song, wrap up the sentimental stuff quick or it's all anyone will ask him about all night.”
“Is this lowercase daredevil?” Foggy asks after the click. “I thought you would still be out for one of your walks.”
“There's an open window near me, someone has your show on, so I thought I could pause my walk.”
“You're standing on a roof pretending you're Batman and you want some music for that,” Foggy says, sounding amused.
Matt laughs. “Something like that, yes. Do you have something for me?”
“I have just the thing. Be safe, okay? I'll knock when I get home.”
“I'll look forward to it. Night, Foggy.”
“Night, Daredevil.” Matt hangs up, and listens to the tail end of the song before Foggy starts speaking again. “I've had a request from lowercase daredevil looking for something for a late-night walk, so what can I do but oblige him? Enjoy, buddy, this one's for you.”
Matt recognizes the song when it starts and can't help laughing, glad no one's around to hear. He waits on the rooftop, listening through the song, before he moves along, continuing his patrol, Foggy's voice talking about a commercial break fading away with the distance. He'll have to tell him in the morning how much he liked the song.