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“Everything was fine, and then it all went to shit,” is, in retrospect, a pretty decent description of That Day, although the “fine” part of it might not have rung very true at the time; but then again, Foggy was being a damn fool — a healthy, happy, neither concussed nor particularly traumatised fool who took everything he had for granted, his anonymity and therefore safety especially, so all the little things in life, like not having your skull cracked open by a supervillain seeking revenge on your superfriends, didn’t seem to account for much.

So, like Foggy had already said, everything was fine, and then Snailciety (Snail Society) happened. Daredevil and a couple of less prominent Avengers quickly swept the whole mess under the rug, and, personally, Foggy was fucking embarrassed on sneeple’s (snail people’s) behalf and even couldn’t help but feel sort of sorry for the poor bastards; that is, until one of them got so worked up about Matt’s heroic capture of most of their organisation that he somehow got in touch with Fisk, had managed to pry some very sensitive information out of him concerning all Daredevil’s known associates, and then went on his merry way to abduct Foggy right from his own bed and drag him onto the roof of an eight-storey building.

Foggy tried to escape multiple times, because he was not, in fact, the proverbial damsel in distress, waiting for the hero of the day to swoop in and save her, but got kicked a whole bunch for his trouble and eventually just drugged out of his fucking mind for the obvious convenience of the snailcker (snail fucker) who was, truly, a dick. Hell, dying at the hands of a snail-themed shit circus was gonna be excruciatingly embarrassing, and at that point Foggy was even kinda glad he didn’t get to live long enough to see the papers.

But then, of course, Daredevil showed up, and it all really went to shit.

“You’re gonna pay for what you did to the Great Snailciety, Daredevil!” the assclown shouted right above Foggy’s ear, making both him and Matt cringe for a variety of different reasons.

“For fuck’s sake,” Foggy hissed around the blood in his mouth, and that had been the only (shitty) warning either of them got before the prick hurled Foggy down all those eight storeys.

It sucked a lot.

 

 

*

 

 

The very first thing that comes to Foggy’s mind is that eyeballs aren’t supposed to hurt, right? The second is that if his fucking eyeballs hurt then it must be bad. And then: oh, god, they’re gonna have to change the nameplate. Again. Matt will kill him if he dies, and Karen will be left alone to deal with Matt’s bullshit, so Foggy won’t get his posthumous special medal for that particular act of bravery. Dying sucks so much for all the parties involved.

Foggy cautiously opens two lakes of fire that may or may not have been his eyes once in some previous lifetime. Matt is sitting by his bed, shoulders hunched and tense, hands clasped together, his face tight with a strange, strangely mesmerising mixture of anger, reverence, and utter contempt. Matt is—

Matt’s praying. For his stupid, worthless, sinful little soul. Foggy thinks he might actually weep, because this is absolutely ridiculous and fruitless and so heart-wrenching he kinda wants to claw his own face off.

It should be impossible with how frigid he already is, but Matt goes taut all over, still as a finger holding the trigger, a blinding flicker of hope seeping slowly into his face, and it looks so fucking painful, that twisted, ruthless, crippling shard of hope, Foggy’s heart breaks all over again like that terrible evening he barged into Matt’s flat thinking he would be bleeding out on the floor somewhere, but instead found out that Matt’s choice of death was far more slow and agonising than anything Foggy could’ve come up with in his sick, frensied worry.

Matt inhales sharply, almost frantically.

Thank fucking god,” he croaks, which:

“Totally undermines the pr—” Foggy tries to say, but his vocal chords are, apparently, crisp, so he settles for a coughing fit instead. Nice.

Matt fumbles around for a glass of water while Foggy’s too busy gagging on his own lungs and weeping profusely, which? So not fun.

“It’s okay,” Matt says, his voice all tangling up in gruff, raw, and kind, “you’re okay, Foggy, just wait a sec, I’m coming right up.”

You always do, don’t you, Foggy thinks and is resolutely too out of it to make a dirty joke about Matt’s sloppy phrasing. He’ll just kick Foggy’s ass for being an ungodly wisecracker after almost dying on him twice (falling off a fucking building and this pseudo-pneumonia snafu), and Foggy’s damn fine ass just isn’t in the right place — namely, the hospital bed — for anything right now, to say nothing of a little roughhousing.

“Hey,” Matt gets all the way up in his face, “there you go.”

He carefully holds a nearly full glass up to what he assumes is the general vicinity of Foggy’s mouth. Foggy sips the water carefully through the straw and blesses, like, all the gods from all the mythologies he can remember (he should probably brush up on those) for ever meeting this Darkwing Duck of a best friend. Who may be considered the main reason behind Foggy’s plenty enjoyable hospital vacation, but Foggy decides right on the spot that it isn’t Matt’s damn fault. The idiot has surely been beating himself up for the past, uh, however long Foggy’s coma lasted, anyway, when, really, the only one to blame here is the fucking motherfucker who dropped Foggy all the way down to Wonderland (and if they continue juicing him up on painkillers, Foggy might just start asking invisible huge-ass blue caterpillars for some good old weed).

He should probably tell Matt just that (excluding the caterpillars) as fast as humanly possible.

“For the record,” Foggy rasps pathetically, “‘s not your fault, Matt.”

Matt looks like he wants to hit someone, hard, break their face with his raw hands and then stomp on them for good measure. Foggy remembers that look from their last year of college; yeah, thesis was a nightmare.

“I think you still have a concussion,” Matt says, clipped. His fingers are curling and uncurling, restless for a fight.

“Like you would not believe,” Foggy agrees, trying for a reassuring smile.

It doesn’t work for shit. Matt’s whole body goes slack, and he slumps into the chair, not defeated, but just… done. Foggy feels him deeply in his bones. (And not only about being done.)

“I talked to Karen,” he says grimly, and Foggy’s heart skips a couple of beats. “She’s out of town for now, safe.” He adds hastily, with fervour: “You will be, too.”

“Uh,” Foggy offers intelligently, but, hey, he’s got head trauma, okay, it’s taking a toll. “Wait, hold your horses, buddy. You talked to her?”

Matt nods patiently, ever the saint.

“So you told her? About Batman?” Which is their code word for horns and red tights.

Matt manages to look both incredibly guilty and absolutely, stoically self-righteous, which Foggy would’ve found an admirable ability, hadn’t he wanted to strangle the life out of the bastard.

That fucker. Always making some SHIELD-level shady decisions, the ugly fallout of which will, without a single doubt, be Foggy’s job to clean up. God, have mercy on his soul, this is unbearable.

“This is wrong,” Foggy says as harshly as he can, “on so many levels. So you send her away without telling her the truth, fine. But I could’ve died here, Matt,” his voice breaks, as does Matt’s face, “hell, I still can. And I don’t even get to say goodbye. What the fuck,” he trails off, eyes prickling ruthlessly, and can feel every single broken bone shifting as he’s breathing, every second of the fall, all over again, like he’s hitting the ground just now, with asphalt and dirt and blood jammed repeatedly into his face.

Matt chokes like he did back then, looking for all the world like Tony Stark when he got his chest slashed open.

“It’s the only way,” he says like he’s asking something big of Foggy, and maybe it wasn’t God he was praying to earlier.

It’s Matt. It’s Matt. Foggy doesn’t know when exactly he became okay with doing something fucked up if that was the explanation. He doesn’t think an answer would make it any easier, so why even bother?

“Fuck’s sake,” Foggy repeats himself numbly and closes his eyes, hurting and annoyed beyond closure, because sometimes he wants to be blind, too, for just a little while, because it’s easier not to see the suffering you’ve inflicted by simply standing up for the choice you know is right.

A nurse comes by not long after that and pumps him full of sedatives to help him sleep. He does.

“Thank you,” Matt says, pretending for both their sakes that he doesn’t sound broken, just as Foggy is about to go under.

Matt always says that, so Foggy never mentions it again.

 

 

*

 

 

Foggy is moved out of the ICU about a couple of weeks after he wakes up from his initial four-day long coma. He feels nauseous just thinking about it, so not thinking at all is a good option and one that he happily runs with. His relationship with Matt and, as a consequence, with the whole outside world is strained at best, because leaving your best friend to die alone by sending his loved ones away is Not Cool, Matt. It stings. Not just the horror show of morbidly intricate cuts and gashes covering his entire body, that is. But Matt doesn’t leave his side and looks like a kicked puppy at all times, so it’s kind of hard to stay mad at him, especially when you’re on drugs 24/7.

Sometimes Foggy catches himself saying something stupid out of pure boredom, and Matt laughs, the worry lines on his face still evident but somehow flickering, seemingly dimmer, and even smiles his rare boyish grin that means trouble, to which Foggy can’t help but answer with a dopey smile of his own.

Matt seems genuinely happy in those moments; Foggy kind of hates himself for being so hard on him, but Matt was being a selfish asshole when he made that decision. Although, if the dosage doesn’t work quite so well anymore, and Foggy sometimes has to go full-on “fake it ‘til you make it” just to snatch a crooked little laugh from Matt, well, can you blame him? It’s still his avocabro; they don’t really have anyone else.

The huge smile Matt gives him when they leave the ICU behind is totally worth all the trouble.

Foggy’s still staying in the hospital for obvious reasons, but now he at least gets to read or walk around a bit or text. Actually, texting Karen is the first thing he does, despite Matt telling him he’s been updating her on Foggy’s condition every single day. (Foggy pouts at him for an hour straight, but his heart does melt a little, if he’s honest.)

“Hey there, I’m alive, how ‘bout that,” he sends Karen a message with an attached photo of his bruised, nonetheless dazzlingly beautiful face. She replies with, “The fog is (in the) clear!” thinking, undoubtedly, that she’s being hella clever. But then she convinces him to download Snapchat and, once he does, sends him a video of her crying and babbling a series of “I love you’s”, “I’ll kill you if you do that again’s”, and “Praise the Lord’s”. The remnants of his heart are engulfed by the great Fire of Love, and for a while it’s all embarrassingly touchy-feely, sappy, and even borderline cheesy, and Foggy would be crying, too, at least of shame, if his face weren’t swollen to the smouldering pits of hell and back. But it’s okay, it doesn’t really hurt, for the first time in weeks, and when Karen signs off, Matt slips quietly into the room and they hug, albeit awkwardly.

“How’re you feeling, buddy?” Matt asks, painfully gentle, and Foggy knows him just that much to understand.

“Yeah, no, don’t you even hope. I’ll live, so we’re still gonna have to pay all those sweet, sweet medical bills,” Foggy doesn’t really answer, but his voice says everything for him.

Matt honest-to-god beams.

“Does that mean the nameplate stays the same?”

Dude,” Foggy snorts, “how the fuck were we gonna afford a new one, too, on top of virtually recycling my whole body?”

“We would’ve thought of something. Together,” Matt replies solemnly, pulling a Captain America on him, the smug bastard.

Together, my ass. You woulda just sold my vintage childhood collection of The Invaders,” Foggy accuses him bitterly. “And your soul.”

“I don’t think I have one, sorry,” Matt smiles sheepishly, “so The Invaders will have to suffice, I’m afraid.”

Jerkwad.”

“It’s gilipollas to you, dimwit.”

Foggy just gives him the bird, because a) it’s the universal gesture of stern disapproval, c’mon; b) he’s an adult; c) and an asshole to blind people who are just super-powered dicks who can see everything anyway. Matt carries on smiling, so Foggy flings a pillow at him (see points b and c).

They almost end up getting thrown out of the hospital for starting a floor-wide pillow fight. It feels great.

 

 

*

 

 

Foggy gets out of the hospital. They somehow pay his medical bills and don’t wind up on the streets, completely broke. It’s a miracle if Foggy’s ever seen one, so he thanks the ancient gods he’s been reading up on (man, the things you do stoned) and feels blessed to be an American. Thanks, Obama. Real helpful.

Aside from affordable medical care, everything else is relatively fine — only when it isn’t. Foggy loses his shit over nightmares more times than he’s hypothetically comfortable with, and ever since That Day Matt treats him like he’s made of glass (way to return the favour, pal) and the most precious thing he’s ever, uh… sensed? Spotted on his radar? God, talk about confusing.

They don’t really bring up Karen much these days, but every so often Matt would say something about getting Foggy out of town for a while, and it would piss Foggy right off.

“What the fuck do you think you’re doing, Murdock?” Foggy’d say, and it would all go downhill from there.

Matt storming off to work out his issues with Foggy by dressing up in red leather, beating the shit out of some hapless muggers, and calling it “Justice” gets old real fast, so Foggy is forced to consider his options.

a) Actually listening to Matt and getting the hell out of his hair.
(A resounding no, obviously.)

b) Staging his own death and taking up a new identity.
(Thanks for the input, Karen, but not everyone is Black Widow or, at the very least, starring in Revenge.)

c) Becoming a superhero while simultaneously befriending superheroes, thus creating two lines of defence for everybody.
(Well, god damn.)

And that’s about it.

Are you fucking out of your mind,” Matt says flatly when Foggy tells him all about that brilliant plan.

Foggy experiences an intense need to cringe, but keeps his posture calm, if only for his own benefit. In Foggy’s defence, it sounded very reasonable and convincing in his own head (compared to the other options, that is).

“No,” he says.

Matt doesn’t reply.

“Maybe?” Foggy amends.

Matt still doesn’t reply and instead raises an eyebrow oh-so-eloquently, the show-off.

Definitely,” Foggy says. “But, listen—”

No,” Matt snaps ever courteously. “No, Foggy, there’s nothing to listen to, you’re insane, and if you keep up this nonsense, I swear to God, I will admit you to a psych ward if only to keep you out of harm’s way you want so mulishly to explore. I’m not kidding.”

“Wow, that’s rich,” Foggy spits, “coming from a guy who puts his friends’ lives on the line every single night.”

It’s a low blow, but Matt is a selfish asshole with decision-making skills of a five-year-old.

“Foggy,” Matt hisses, his eyes zeroed in on Foggy’s own. Foggy doesn’t know how he does that.

“Do the math yourself,” Foggy tries very calmly. “You train me, however long it takes, we go on our merry way saving the city together and are occasionally seen hanging out with the Avengers. Bam, everyone’s safe. Bad guys know we have friends in high places, you have a back-up, I have useful new fighting skills and a back-up, and Karen has two bodyguards for when she’s home. It’s a win-win-win situation, really.”

Matt looks at him like he’s stupid and belongs in a mental institution. Foggy doesn’t like that look, because sometimes it comes dangerously close to being true.

“Are you explicitly aware of the fact that I’ve been training the entirety of my conscious life?” he says. “No days off, for twenty years?”

“Yes,” Foggy says patiently.

“And that I have heightened senses of pretty much everything?”

“Yes.”

“Are you deliberately messing with me?” Matt asks with steel in his voice, his Daredevil voice.

Screw it, Foggy goes all-in.

“I have nightmares about the fall, Matt,” he forces every word out like it’s physically challenging. It sure feels like it. “Time and again, he lets go and I fall and Daredevil is always late to save poor ol’ me, who is absolutely, sickeningly useless, who can’t do jack squat.”

Foggy hates seeing Matt looking at him like he’s fragile, but he has a point to make.

“I don’t want to feel helpless anymore, it’s the worst fucking thing in the world and then some,” he says in a small voice he can’t stand hearing.

Matt considers him, sees him, with a look of utter disgust on his face, and Foggy knows the answer before Matt actually speaks, because the disgust says it all without a single uttered word.

“All right,” Matt says and so obviously hates himself for it.

Foggy should feel relieved, but he doesn’t.

 

 

*

 

 

The training. Holy hell, the training; it’s so ridiculously arduous, each workout session is like a stupid BuzzFeed article equipped with an obligatory voting poll: Vigilantism Enthusiast Keeps No Vigil Over Own Health: What is Foggy Nelson going to break this time!? A) nose B) leg C) psyche D) Matt’s smug face E) The Patriarchy.

By the end of the first month Foggy is fried and doesn’t think he can actually survive this. Matt is really hard on him, partly because he thinks Foggy’ll quit sooner or later, but mostly because Matt just knows he won’t, and it’s actually the tiniest bit reassuring, since Foggy’s not so confident about his own willpower anymore, and it’s nice knowing that someone believes in you, even if they still think all you are is simply hell-bent on self-destructing.

But Foggy honestly isn’t left with much choice here.

“It’s the only way,” he shamelessly echoes Matt from back at the hospital.

Matt looks away grimly and doesn’t say a word. They’ve been fighting a lot for the past year, including the big Daredevil reveal, and after what happened to Foggy Matt’s grown a lot quieter and more closed off, wary, perhaps, and he doesn’t get angry anymore, just walks off to beat the crap out of someone and then drags himself home, almost reluctantly, to teach Foggy some more, even though he looks bone-deep tired and miserable every time.

He’s stretching thin, Foggy thinks. Sometimes he’ll catch Matt looking at him just this shy of pleadingly, as if Foggy’s going anywhere, and it’s almost like Matt doesn’t realise how raw his face is these days when he looks at Foggy. Maybe he really doesn’t; maybe they’re royally screwed this time around, and there’s nothing either of them can do before the inevitable train crash happens.

They’ll wipe each other out if they carry on like that, Foggy decides, so he catches Matt’s wrist the very next time Matt is showing him a really sick new move and says: “Hey, let’s go get hammered, gilipollas.”

Matt smiles briefly, almost shy, like he’s been waiting for Foggy to say exactly that for god knows how long.

“Yeah,” he says, clearing his throat, “that would be awesome.”

Foggy grins, a constant, tugging ache right in his stomach ceasing, and they go straight to Josie’s. Foggy’s kind of edgy all the way there, because he’s still half-expecting some random asshole to just snatch him for whatever reason, heck, take your pick, but leading Matt is a routine, completely unnecessary one for sure, but it still somewhat soothes him.

Not like getting drunk out of his mind, though, but it’s a draw.

“I don’t wanna go home, man,” Foggy babbles near to incoherently, sizing up the residue cognac in the bottle.

“How come?” Matt asks rather boldly for Foggy’s somber mood.

Foggy sighs. He’s a stinky sad drunk, it’s pathetic.

“Fuckin’ nightmares all the time,” he says darkly. “You try sleepin’ in a bed some prick abducted you from. Jesus.”

Out of the corner of his blurred vision Matt goes through a complicated series of emotions: from pissed as hell to dismal to contemplative.

“Crash at my place?” he offers thoughtfully after a short while.

Foggy tries to squish a telltale warm & fuzzy™ feeling lurching in his gut that he might just get away with blaming on that crazy vodka cocktail he’s had earlier, but it doesn’t really want to vanish into the depths of alcohol-induced oblivion, and Foggy has absolutely no idea what to make of that.

“I’m gonna vomit all over your carpet.”

“I don’t really have a carpet anymore.”

“Then your couch,” Foggy tries.

“‘s already soaked with the blood of my enemies. And occasional dumpster dirt, if I’m totally honest,” Matt deflects somewhat mournfully.

“Dude, gross,” Foggy says, glaring at Matt as best as he can in a state of being more or less utterly shitfaced.

“You’ll love it,” Matt smiles, and it somehow seals the deal, Foggy’s not sure. “And I’ll cook pancakes for breakfast.”

Now he absolutely is.

“Oh-kay, let’s go,” he hops off the bar stool, swaying in all existing directions. “Chop chop, jovencito, it’s way past your bedtime.”

“Yo cago en la leche de tu madre,” Matt says, since god gave him a superpower of being a patronising dick, but he catches Foggy when his handsome face is about to have a long-awaited rendezvous with the ground, so Foggy very generously forgives him.

And, really, forgiveness had been granted the second Matt mentioned his heavenly pancakes, and so, because he’s a man of honour who can keep his promises, the morning starts with a breakfast literally to die for (“Siri, why did God create hangovers?” “Here’s what I found on the web for—” “Siri, no.”).

Aside from the nausea, splitting headache, and eyes that feel like they’re full of radioactive sand from Uranus, it feels good. Until the morning workout starts, of course, but looking at Matt’s quite remarkable abs is not the worst way to spend your free time.

God, Foggy honestly doesn’t know where that came from.

 

 

*

 

 

The first time they go out together to strike fear into the hearts of criminals it’s a complete disaster.

Matt deliberately picks out a simple, bland, black-and-white case for Foggy to ease into, as seamlessly and painlessly as possible, and instead Foggy gets in over his head and ends up concussed, beaten bloody, and an inch from being gutted, like Peppa the fucking Pig. Matt is mostly unharmed and that, coupled with the fact that Foggy loyally took about ninety percent of the blows meant for the famous Daredevil himself, is the only highlight of the evening.

Matt is Not Amused. Foggy should’ve seen that one coming, honestly. He just didn’t expect to be so bad at crime-fighting; after all, he had an awesome teacher.

Who is now, apparently, doing his best to save Foggy’s sorry ass from getting sepsis or whatever (they caught up on medical books, re: common sense).

“How many fingers am I holding up?” Matt asks calmly.

Take a wild guess as to how many and which one — sorry, ones — in particular.

“It’s a personal question,” Foggy tries.

How many fingers am I holding up, Foggy?” Matt repeats, his tone menacing.

“None!” Foggy blurts out indignantly, fighting a losing battle to save his pride. “You ain’t holding up any fingers, Murdock, you’re flippin’ me off.”

“Attaboy,” Matt smiles sweetly, because he is a monster, and puts his fingers to a much better use, namely — stitching Foggy up and getting him drunk in the process, since everybody knows that inebriated Franklin P. Nelson is a big pliant gummy bear full of fluff and regret.

“Why,” says Foggy without really thinking about it, “are your hands shaking?”

Matt abruptly stops disinfecting a wide gash on his shoulder.

“You’re s’posed to not suck at this, dude, c’mon, rock my socks off, House,” he prattles on. “Or, wait, is it just me? Am I that drunk yet? God, this whiskey is a disgrace, how could I ever let yo—”

A palm is suddenly there, covering his mouth, obstructing his speech. Bad palm, shoo.

“One of these days,” Matt says unsteadily, “you’re gonna talk yourself into a coma, buddy.” He spits, “Again.”

Oh, so it’s Matt’s hand. Nice. Foggy’s head is stupid with whiskey and a moderate concussion, but the hand really is shaking, though, and there goes the other hand, cool on Foggy’s warm, puffy face, and Foggy leans into it without hesitating. The first ‘bad’ hand moves slowly from his mouth to his temple, very tenderly for its rough skin, like it’s trying to get a feel of his face, figure out the sharp angles and the soft spots, how his eyelashes waver slightly with the effort of trying to keep his eyes closed, when it hurts really bad not to see him.

“Don’t you die on me,” Matt murmurs, voice tender and rough, too, just like his hands. “You understand?”

“Okay,” Foggy breathes. Okay. Yeah, got it.

He thinks he says more, but the fingers are too distracting when they are flicking over his cheekbones or jaw or the corners of his eyes. They get warmer the longer they’re touching his face, but they aren’t there for very long.

Matt gradually pulls away, Foggy’s warmth clinging to him the way he would never let himself.

“Let’s get you patched up,” he tries to say without breaking the quiet, but Foggy is still startled. “And then you catch up on that beauty sleep, okay?”

Foggy can’t open his eyes, because it wouldn’t be fair, but oh he wants to.

“Whatever you say, chief,” he mutters, breathing in wood, antiseptic, and Matt’s hideous aftershave.

Matt’s hands touch his shoulder again, and it hurts like it always has, for reasons infinitely more complicated than a knife wound.

 

 

*

 

 

The nightmares are abrupt and stifling. Foggy never dreamed of coming back home from this life unscathed, but somehow his mind just glossed over the possibility of him waking up in the middle of the night, heart hammering out of his chest (he would make a joke about the Mighty Mjolnir if only he could stop having a heart attack for one goddamn second, for the love of christ), torn between screaming bloody murder and pulling his entrails out through his eye sockets.

Unsurprisingly, Matt thought of that, too.

“You could use the breathing techniques I taught you to relieve the physical symptoms,” he says kindly once Foggy spills his guts, too exhausted to keep it stuffed after the fifth nightmare in a row.

Matt smiles sadly, like it all means something more than shitty caffeine-fuelled mornings of feeling dead from the inside out, and Foggy wants to believe it, too, that nightmares have a point, and you can reason with them and even make them go away, but he sleeps alone at night, always missing something, like you miss a limb when you’ve got a prosthesis: it’s bespoke, shiny and new, alien, and all wrong.

“I found this podcast,” Matt says. “Sounds like some weird, existential, crazy cat lady material, but it helps.”

“Aw, what the hell, do your worst,” Foggy says, kind of desperate at that point, and this is how they end up listening to Welcome to Night Vale together all night.

Foggy doesn’t remember falling asleep, just bits of definitely-not-angels, the brightest of gods with their mirror teeth bared in unravelling ironclad smiles, and Matt’s little almost-laughs at the absurdity of intern death rates. He wakes up dishevelled and confused as heck, because the dreams weren’t exactly pleasant, but an enormous glowing monster-cloud that rains dead animals (all hail!) is a refreshing enough change from Matt getting his skull bashed in by Fisk’s gunmen.

Speaking of Matt. Somehow through the night they promptly decide to cuddle, as the evidence before their own eyes suggests, and they don’t talk about it ever, but once in a while they’d do it again: listen to this weird The Conspiracy Zone meets Addams Family podcast just before drifting off and then wake up all tangled up in each other afterwards. It’s nice. It’s all Foggy could want and everything he’s not going to have, ever.

Oh, well. He follows Matt’s noble example and takes it out on the Russians.

 

 

*

 

 

to: Foggy
from: Karen

11:17AM
have u done the deed yet????

to: Karen
from: Foggy

11:20AM
What deed

11:20AM
?

to: fuck sake
from: Karen

11:21AM
first of all no

11:21AM
second of all ill kick ur asses if u guys dont stop making all our lives harder by dancing around each other like schoolchildrn

11:22AM
jesus im out of that kindergarten for how long now & its still frustrating

to: Karen
from: Foggy

11:23AM
Christ on a cracker Karen, we’re not boning!

11:27AM
Ok w/e, srry gotta go save the city w/ this grande avocados thing

11:27AM
You can bug me w/ this later, around like ninever pm est

to: puts ass in sass
from: Karen

11:34AM

11:34AM
dont think this is over nelson

 

So, that conversation happens. Foggy still isn’t sure what the proper response to your friend coercing you into having sex with your other mutual friend for, apparently, the peace of mind of everyone involved is even remotely supposed to look like. Foggy’s not so certain dating Matthew Michael Murdock will bring anyone peace, least of all the one of mind, but, hey, what does he know, right? He’s only been putting up with the guy’s shit for ten years straight, and it’s not like they’re best buds or anything. And, well, sure, Matt’s mastered the art of Waking Up Like That, which means he’s not so bad at that whole front of the head thing, but if you, say, decided for whatever reason to scribble the words “Matt’s issues” on a piece of paper, you would be gravely mistaken to write any of those words in lowercase. And capital i Issues are okay, don’t get Foggy wrong, but only as long as you don’t throw wining & dining into the mix. Then all kinds of relationship hell break loose (see exhibit “E” for Elektra, attached hereto and made a part hereof), and considering Matt is pretty much the Devil in this scenario? Yeah, fun times.

Christ, he needs a fucking shrink for this. And they all definitely need Jesus.

 

 

*

 

 

The papers love them.

“DEVIL BOYS FROM BEYOND!” Who IS Daredevil’s Mysterious New Partner!? Has Hell’s Kitchen become too much for the fearless street crime-fighter? Could it be the beginning of a new superhero team? FIND OUT on pages 6-7!

The feeling is not mutual.

“What the shit,” Foggy croaks out once the pain is bearable enough for the atoms in his body to exist in this world without the sweet, merciful Lord holding him together by the means of superglue and Matt’s pancake magic.

“That shit,” Matt sounds vaguely — or Foggy’s ears are just flaking off of his head, that’s also a horrifying possibility he never wants to think of ever again so long as he’s still breathing — vaguely scandalised, “is our superhero name.”

Foggy probably looks like he’s about to cry.

“I want to cry so—”

“Hey, now, it’s not that—”

“—bad,” Foggy finishes, closing his eyes and hoping for Zeus to descend the high Greek heavens right this second, abduct him, and make him his glorified boytoy. Or a wine waiter, hell, whatever works for gods these days. Foggy’ll take anything but this gigantic pile of horseshit for a fucking life. Sweet Jesus, if only you knew how done he is with this discount version of JLA (Juvenile League of Assheads).

Matt takes a loud breath (Foggy’s migraine kinda hates him for it) and hesitantly stands there for a moment before sitting on the couch, very gingerly trying not to disturb any hurt part of Foggy there is (that is to say, every part) which is, actually, all too precise for a person who’s supposed to be lacking a little something in the five senses department (Foggy kinda hates him for it, too, just a bit).

“We could contact someone from The New York Bulletin, see if we could sway ‘em,” Matt offers sympathetically.

Foggy outright moans, because now that is a great solution to the problem, sure.

“You get all of your two kidneys punched daily tryina clean up this ungodly mess of a city, and they call you fuckin’ devil boys, Matt! It ain’t about going in there and making them spank your ass and call you Sally,” Foggy gripes. “Why do you get love, respect, and Daredevil, and I’m a court jester? I’m not even the one wearing horns, for chrissake.”

Matt pats his knee, ‘affectionate’ written all over his stupid face.

“Don’t be cranky, grandpa, you’ll get your hip new pet name yet,” he smiles his “the world is a happy place and I’m hella cute, so stop fretting” puppy smile. Foggy hates that, he absolutely hates that.

“If by ‘getting a pet name’ you mean some dumbass Sneeter Snarker shrimp of a news reporter browsing a drag queen name generator late at night instead of studying for his SATs like a good widdle schoolboy, then, yeah, sure thing,” Foggy grumbles, trying so hard to keep pouting.

Matt’s expression turns thoughtful, and that’s when Foggy knows he fucked up big time.

“You know,” Matt says, and Foggy thinks, no, “Ann T. Christ and the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen has a certain ring to it.”

“They should’ve just called you Satan, because you have no soul.”

“How about Anya Knees?”

“Oh my god, I will smother you.”

“Kinky. Saphho Kate?”

Foggy can’t say anything to that, because he’s cracking up so hard, he’s probably dislocated his fractured rib again, and while the whole body laugh thing is totally as excruciating in his condition as it sounds and you should never try it at home, kids, he can’t really find it in himself to stop, especially after Matt joins in, his mirror teeth glistening with laughter.

“Are you,” Matt wheezes, “are you crying?”

“Did you, like, smell my tears or something?” Foggy asks, curious as much as disturbed.

“Uh, or something?” Matt says, making a face as if to indicate that the amount of salt Foggy’s been producing with his manly tears is equal to the one in a whole ocean.

“Jesus Christ,” Foggy chokes and starts laughing again. “Lord.”

The next couple of minutes are absolute hell since Matt keeps up the ugly faces, because he takes his joy in torturing people. Foggy should probably stop making friends with pun-loving weirdoes who turn out to have one hell of a Dark Passenger on the side but without, like, an Aston Martin to balance that shit out. Story of his life, man.

“To answer your question,” Foggy finally says, pawing at his eyes, “yes, I am weeping copiously for your terrible sense of humour. Every time Matt Murdock makes a joke, a baby unicorn dies. Real talk.”

“Aw, c’mon, Foggy, it’s not that bad,” Matt says, eyes twinkling. “At least I’m not unicorny.”

Foggy groans.

“Franklin P. Nelson, cause of death: severe second-hand embarrassment induced by dumb, tasteless puns.”

“Not on my watch,” Matt grins, patting his knee again.

“Yeah, yeah, you keep saying that,” Foggy snorts.

“I mean it.” Matt’s hand lingers a bit, because that’s how he makes promises. He can’t look you in the eye, deeply and meaningfully, and say, “I’ll keep you safe, no worries,” so instead he touches you to make sure you listen, and that touch is the best kind of promise he can give.

Foggy believes him either way. Even about the stupid name thing.

 

DAREDEVIL & HARUM-SCARUM: THE DYNAMIC SUPERHERO DUO OF HELL’S KITCHEN!

 

Oh, what the—

Matt! 

 

 

*

 

 

They sort of meet the Avengers. It’s awkwardly one-sided, like just about everything else in Foggy’s life right now.

Well, by “the Avengers” Foggy mostly means a front row view of the Hulk saving a “puppy” from falling debris (it’s a fully-grown Chesapeake Retriever, really, but the first rule of the Devil Boys club just so happens to be don’t argue with giant hulking green beasts, estúpido).

“Fascinating,” Matt says, impressed.

Foggy hums vaguely since at the moment he is more preoccupied with the poor dog’s safety. Those big supposedly radioactive hands don’t really seem all that gentle, although, by the looks of it, they’re trying very hard to be.

After that Matt and Foggy are a little distracted by getting people out of the Serpent Society’s way (what is it with supervillains these days? What’s next, puppy dog tails?) and they only get another glimpse at the team in the aftermath of the anticlimactic battle, which is when Iron Man flies in, does some hand-wavey stuff with the Hulk, who then turns into an “adorable squinting puddle of confusion” that says, “Tony, no,” just as Stark begins to sing Anaconda (aw, hell) while kicking absent-mindedly at some snake-shaped thing on the ground.

“You’re ruining all my fun, old man,” he says, at once petulant and mournful, and when Banner smiles, they hurriedly blast off into the sunset together, semi-bridal style.

“Did you see what I just saw?” Foggy asks, puzzled, just to check.

“Yeah, pretty sure,” Matt replies dubiously, with a mysterious knowing air all around him. “C’mon, let’s get back to work.”

They do. They help people out with the wreckage, doing the best they can along with other rescuers and doctors on site, and are joined sometime later by Hawkeye and Black Widow; their efficiency has a distinctive shady government agency training vibe to it, but the endless stream of wisecracking is something else.

“I will never say anything about your wisenheimer ass ever again,” Foggy vows, because, dude. How come they haven’t unleashed the Hulk on their cool, rad tower yet with all the obnoxious mouth-running?

Matt snorts.

“Why, you seem awfully concerned with the well-being of my buttocks lately.”

“Still not as bad,” Foggy says stoically. “But you should definitely work on getting into that fancy Sassvengers rock band, Double D, you’re a perfect candidate.”

“Whatever you say, uh, Harum-Scarum, was it?” Matt grins.

“Fuck you, too, Dick Grayson,” Foggy says sourly, because, seriously? Seriously, New York Bulletin? Captain America is disappointed in you, son; you disappoint.

Matt tries to keep a straight face, but in the end they break out laughing, just as somewhere in the background Hawkeye winds up adopting the “puppy” after they, apparently, bond over pizza. Black Widow very bitingly and even more affectionately comments that they’ll get along perfectly, since both are “fervent Domino’s stans whose natural habitat is scientifically proven to be a dirty dumpster. Watch Wednesdays, 9 PM on Discovery: Barkton and His Dog, the Shadow Trashlords of NYC.”

Huh. Go figure.

“You kids,” Foggy says wisely, “should start a club.”

Matt smacks him on the head, and Foggy thinks real hard about getting himself some horns, too.

 

 

*

 

 

It’s been almost a year of training, rare, grudging missions together, pain, and ridiculous texts full of unrepentant, gratuitous puns (courtesy of Karen). But, yeah, they miss her like hell, both of them, despite the fact that sometimes it feels quite the opposite when it comes to certain very sensitive matters.

(“She sent you what?”

“For the hundredth time, Foggy, ‘Go toot his foghorn,’ space, eggplant emoji, space, winking emoji.”

“How did you even— nevermind. Fuck Stark phones and his, what’s-its-name, his Siri thing. The fool is gonna make another Ultron out of a goddamn garbage bin, I swear to heavens.”

“He’s got ears literally everywhere, you know. He’s gonna whip your ass for the Apple blasphemy next time we get invited to an Avengers Hip Phillies party.”)

To her credit, Karen’s decent enough on Skype, though, only making a couple of offhanded Devil’s Gate jokes per session, and there are even times when sobbing and comfort foods are involved, but it’s pretty much an endearing experience for all of them. Matt tends to lean into Foggy a little as they listen to Karen rattling on excitedly about her somewhat promising acting career and then everlasting summer fogs (funny) and eventually the motherfucking, shit-eating piece of junk that are California State Taxes. With a big T, yep.

“Why do you think laxation and taxation sound so alike?” Karen says in a dead voice, her expression betraying something greater and vastly more horrifying than nothing.

Matt perks up from where he’s been quite discreetly slouching into Foggy and opens his mouth.

Bitch Prefect — Bad Decisions.mp3 starts blaring in Foggy’s head, like a triggered safety alarm. He absent-mindedly makes a note of playing it at his funeral when the time comes.

“Why?” Matt asks, the sweet summer child.

“Because both are shit,” Karen says savagely, and Foggy wonders.

Yeah, his friends are fucked up. But, god help him, he loves them entirely too much than is probably considered healthy.

So, all in all, things aren’t that bad; yes, crime-fighting and paying taxes in California hurt like a bitch, but, judging by the look Karen gets when she talks about the life she’s been determinedly making for herself there, about the new legal drama role, all the pain is, in the end, worth it.

Foggy thinks about how Matt’s smile has been growing less brittle with each of their nightly escapades or how nowadays Matt touches him more than he ever did, as though he’s finally allowing himself to not want to be alone. Foggy thinks a lot about Matt, about dirty and painful and painfully easy ways to die, about wordlessly chugging down saliva with slimy chunks of blood just so Matt wouldn’t see, in his own terrifying way of dissecting the world without a single regard for collateral damage. Like with the heartbeat; Matt always knows when it’s about to get real bad and cold and light-headed, because hearts spin a whole web of stories behind your back, they’re traitorous like that, and there’s nothing you can do to stop either of them (Matt is intrinsically unstoppable).

It doesn’t get real bad very often, though, because there is no such word as ‘dispensation’ in Matt Murdock’s vocabulary, but when it truly does, all hell breaks loose.

 

There are many things they don’t talk about, That Day being, unsurprisingly, one of them. So when Matt runs off into the night to be his usual sadomasochistic self, Foggy doesn’t think much of it; anyway, they agreed (read: Matt bullied him into promising) to take things slow, hence Matt doing most of the stunts alone, under the watchful eye of his would-be Oracle (Foggy’s no Barbara Gordon, but he tries).

When Matt comes home with blood up to his elbows and carving most of his empty, starved face, Foggy knows instantly he’s been screwed over.

“Matt?” he asks, practically running up to him. “Are you all right? What the fuck happened?”

Matt sinks down heavily to the floor, somehow looking weirdly, steadfastly collected, out of his mind, and heedful of staining the nearby couch all at the same time.

Foggy is going to have a fucking heart attack. After months of repeatedly getting his ass kicked, shot at, hacked into, and nearly set ablaze by a couple of Molotov cocktails.

“I,” Matt tries, but his voice is heinous. How Foggy manages not to flinch, violently, is beyond him. “I found a lead on that fucking snail joker,” he says, sounding a little more human.

Foggy breathes in as deeply as he can, because it seems like he won’t be getting another opportunity any time soon.

“Seems like a lead wasn’t the only thing you’ve found, huh?” he says, wanting ardently to take off or hit something real hard or fall dead right this second or— or simply call Karen and listen to her voice, trying not to burst apart, and beg her to come back, because this isn’t something he can deal with alone.

“No,” Matt says, “it wasn’t.”

“Oh, I see,” Foggy says. “Literally, I see; you’re fucking dripping blood, Matt, all over the goddamn floor—”

“He threatened he would find Karen and hurt her the exact same way he hurt you, only this time he’d finish the job,” Matt whispers on this side of rough, and maybe he’s really been screaming for some long time. “I beat that outta him, I made sure.”

Foggy feels nauseous, because he knows without thinking that’s what he would’ve done, too.

“Doesn’t explain the blood,” he says softly, carefully.

Matt smiles without looking up, nothing behind it, not even rage or satisfaction.

“No, it doesn’t,” he agrees.

Foggy waits for him to continue, and Matt does, once he raises his hands and takes off the mask, his fingers unusually clumsy, heavy.

That must mean something; the mask thing. Right?

“Fifty-four seconds, I told him,” Matt breathes, the smile writhing viciously to stay on, “every bone I snapped. And when I broke him, y’know what he said?” He looked up at Foggy’s face with a look on his own like he wished he couldn’t see a thing. “He said he’d still do it all over again. Not just for petty fifty-four,” Matt jaggedly gulps in air, “seconds.”

Matt’s face finally crumbles under the weight of all the blood smeared on it, and he is crying as if he’s at once remembering all the times he’s had to hold someone’s body together with nothing but his hands, his shame, and his love.

Foggy drops down right next to him and hugs him as tight as he can without it hurting more than feeling lonely does. Blood, sweat, the distinct smell of terror — doesn’t matter. Matt latches onto him with hands that are shaking too badly for a killer, but Foggy wouldn’t doubt him anyway, no; he did once, not a fan, thanks.

“I wish I’d done it,” Matt chokes, “I wish I had,” and doesn’t stop.

“I know, buddy, I’m so sorry,” Foggy says. “Didn’t doubt you for a second, okay?”

Matt doesn’t reply, but the shaking thing and the “I wish I had” thing both cease a little, so Foggy keeps saying, “I never doubted you, don’t you forget that,” thinking frantically of other words to pull together to make it more bearable, and he does, going on for minutes at a time, with Matt breathing skittishly into his neck, hands tightly in place around Foggy, as if slipping through was ever an option for him either way.

 

 

*

 

 

It’s one of those times when Foggy’s too battered after the latest job they’ve done and Matt is still reeling from almost throwing the proverbial line out of the fucking window because of that one snail clown, so they indulge themselves and spend the night in, lavishly watching/listening to Hell’s Kitchen (because they’re both hilarious) and drinking beer. Foggy’s so exhausted he would feel dead if not for the pain steadily rolling through his whole body in waves; he can’t for the life of him hold himself upright, so Matt becomes a begrudging pillow in exchange for Foggy’s commentary on just what the fuck are those dumbasses doing to make Gordon Ramsay lose his shit eight hundred times in one minute. Foggy thinks they should rename the show, but then all — meaning the pun — would be lost, and where’s the fun in that?

“Hey,” Matt murmurs, muffled by… something. “You awake?”

“Yeah,” Foggy slurs quite a bit, “yeah, why?”

“You stopped talking. I assumed one of you was out of it: either you or Gordon Ramsay,” Matt keeps talking, gentle and kind, and Foggy’s too tired for feeling awkward or like it’s not his favourite Matt voice out of them all.

“Really? Ha,” Foggy exhales. “I think I just… drifted.”

Matt hums.

“Ready to turn in and call it a day?” he asks.

“Y’know, when I drifted off? I felt it like you do. I mean heard it,” Foggy says instead of only if you do, too. “Let’s stay up for a while and just listen.”

“To a poor old man flipping out over his terrible protégé cooks?” Matt says, not unkindly. In fact, very, very kindly, so much that he almost sounds tender.

Oh, Foggy thinks. Oh.

“Nah, you’re old.” He shifts, trying not to lean into Matt so much for various and variously horrifying reasons, the main being his wounded, just like the rest of him, pride (or so he tells himself, but he’s not nearly alive enough at the moment to deal with it).

Matt catches his wrist, hand so unbearably, undeniably gentle.

“Stay,” he says, orders him around like a damn dog almost, but still with that head-splitting kindness Foggy wishes he never knew in the first place so he wouldn’t have to waste so much of his time pining after it. And who’s Foggy anyway to refuse Matt Murdock anything he could ever want? Story of his fucked up, co-dependent little life.

“Okay.” Foggy stills, and they stay like that, weirdly hugging, touching close to everywhere and yet with enough room between them to ask for more. Neither of them does.

Foggy closes his eyes again, and so does Matt, and they both listen to Gordon Ramsay hollering about some donkeys, spatulas, and elephant shit. Foggy’s everything hurts like a mother, but Matt breathes slowly in and out somewhere above him, dragging him through the worst of the pain, and it’s okay, Foggy guesses, to need him more little by little every day, it’s okay to give yourself up for him to pick up all the pieces of you and fit them into something new, something better, a reflection in the mirror you wouldn’t want to shy away from. Foggy wants to grip Matt’s hand in his own and say, I think I’m at my best when I’m with you, or slap him in his unlawfully pretty face and yell, What the fuck are you dragging us both into, I don’t want to die, and living with you dead is like dying, just worse times infinity. He doesn’t want to think about the fact that, actually, it’s the best kind of death in his book, and, anyway, Matt’s thumb is tracing little circles on his wrist with absent-minded affection that tugs hard at Foggy’s heartstrings.

“Sap,” Foggy accuses Matt’s bony shoulder, finally giving up and slumping into him all the way.

“Donkey,” Matt mumbles, his cheek a deliberately light pressure on Foggy’s head.

For a moment their laughter drowns out the sound of someone being a fuckface extraordinaire and Gordon Ramsay telling them exactly that, and then it’s quiet, warm and quiet and home.

 

 

*

 

 

It’s no secret that they talk to Karen every day, because, hey, Karen here, she’ll drag you out of the ninth circle of hell if you disappear on her, especially Foggy, who is, unfortunately, notorious for being a target for arbitrary jackasses in ridiculous snail costumes and thus needs closer attention at all times.

It’s what they do on a daily basis, call and text and snapchat, and recently Foggy’s found this cool new website that allows you to watch Netflix together with your long-distance mates, upon which he was called both a genius and a genio by Karen and Matt, respectively, and now they’re sometimes doing that, too — not admitting Foggy’s brilliance, sadly, but coming together to witness the unadulterated glory that is The Office. It feels overwhelmingly homey, and Foggy misses Karen so much, but a) it’s not completely safe yet (that argument is rapidly getting older than balls, Matt) and b) she has her own thing there for now, which is why calls, Netflix, punny texts, and dorky photos will have to do.

So, when it does get a bit secretive and a whole lot suspicious, Foggy is totally justified to be accidentally eavesdropping on Matt apparently having a quarrel with Karen over, well, over something. Foggy can’t really make out what, exactly, since he’s not a complete asshole, mind you, but a few interesting phrases get thrown around, including something distinctly sarcastic along the lines of, “Un caballera no tene memoria,” — Foggy is honest to god starting a “Matt Murdock needs to stop being such a dick 2kforever” campaign.

“It’s not like I can just go up and talk to him, Karen,” Matt says. “Things are already complicated enough between me and him, okay? I don’t want to screw it up even more, not after the— the fallout we had last year. And certainly not after he nearly died on us,” Matt adds, audibly stricken, which is the precise moment Foggy decides he’s really heard enough, thanks.

Matt keeps talking after that, gradually growing softer and more delicate, and then there’s something of a “miss you, too,” thrown out in the air, really tender, but bitter still, and Foggy’s heart kind of draws in on itself and his throat closes up, because suddenly all the bad stuff comes roaring back and overshadows all the good, even though it shouldn’t happen like that, even though it’s not true; good things always shine the brightest. But they’ve lost enough; they’ve even lost Karen in a sense, because they can’t really hug her, can they? And they can’t make her snort at an undoubtedly hilarious joke and be, physically be there to see it.

Sometimes a superhero’s life isn’t all that bright and effortlessly glorious as the media makes it out to be.

 

 

*

 

 

They’re sitting at a Starbucks (because by day they are posh, self-indulgent, pun-loving lawyers), bantering quite pleasantly, and drinking their coffee-flavoured sugar when Foggy notices the eyes a lady at the table across is making at him. Looking back, the suggestiveness wasn’t very subtle to begin with, but the fact that Foggy Nelson is probably too preoccupied with one Matt Murdock at the immediate moment should be taken into account by default. Foggy’s dad used to tell him that a man must have his priorities straight if he wants to succeed in life. Having your cough platonic cough male best friend as your first priority was, without a doubt, not at all what he was implying at any given point of his parental guidance.

So, partly to restore his dad’s faith in his overwhelming straightness and partly to flaunt, Foggy smiles brightly at the lady and, muttering a hurried, “Be right back, man,” gets a seat at the opposite table, successfully surrounding himself by a small, albeit diverse group of girls.

His dad would be very proud and equally as smug.

“Hey there,” Foggy says pleasantly and doesn’t stop smiling. It all goes surprisingly smooth from there.

Debbie turns out to be quite the charmer, honestly, and Foggy would’ve gone for her, totally, one hundred percent, but he is already so idiotically, inconveniently, heart-stoppingly in love, he doesn’t think there will ever be enough place in him for something as powerful and big as this thing between him and Matt is. Doesn’t mean he has to be moping and pining about it 24/7, so they move in the tables, graciously invite Matt into the conversation, and just have a lot of fun with Debbie and her friends for what feels like an hour. It’s nice. Karen will tease him about cheating, he will flip her the bird, and then she will say something really sweet and considerate to win him over. She’s the grand manipulator and absolutely delightful. (He misses her so so so much.)

Debbie leaves. She also leaves him her number, and for a second he doesn’t really quite know what to do with it. Matt seems to be more courteous about it, so he thanks her profusely and smiles radiantly. Foggy catches himself looking a second too long, but by the time he turns, the light outside could have just as easily made Debbie’s own smile flicker. He’ll never know.

“Well,” Foggy says, a bit awkwardly. “That was a blast, huh, Murdock? Finally, I get to romance some dames, too.”

Matt hums, pulling on his coat. He seems somewhat reluctant.

“Yes, Foggy, you made a big hit with the girls today,” he says mildly. “I imagine the great Tony Stark started out just like you.”

“Aw, gracias, amigo, that’s such a nice compliment, I’m touched.”

“Yeah, well, don’t get used to it, Clooney.”

Right.” Foggy snorts. “What, are you jealous, Gosling?”

“Uh-oh, don’t get your hopes up, Somerhalder,” Matt replies all too cheerfully.

“Sure, like you know just how hot he looks,” Foggy says grumpily. “You should patent that whole hotshot radar thing you’ve got go—”

And then Foggy trails off, because it clicks. Or, more accurately, it Blows Up Right In Foggy’s (Terribly Handsome) Face.

“Holy shit,” says Foggy, staring blankly at Matt Bullets Don’t Hurt Me Because Fuck Pain I’m Daredevil Murdock trying desperately not to look like he wants to crawl into a hole in the ground and never have to — ha — come out again.

“So,” says Foggy conversationally. “All it took was losing a couple dozen pounds, and you can finally get it up for long enough. Real charming, Murdock.”

Matt’s face contorts with something he tries very hard to save only for the costume. Find what you love, someone clever once said, and let it terrify you, Foggy adds, feeling not so much clever as a little pissed off and a lot in love— or the other way around, he can never remember.

But he’s not scared. Not in the way that would fucking smash Matt’s heart to a pulp should he ever find out.

All it took,” Matt bites out, raising his voice barely above a whisper, and he can see, he can, because he looks at Foggy’s face like it kills him, “was seven broken bones, class II haemorrhage, fifty-four seconds of flatline, and all of my remaining sanity. Fifty-four seconds, Foggy. I lost you for a minute, and it’s not like there was someone I could beat up to get you back. So, yeah, it took all of it, fucking everything for me to realise I had the one most important person in my life and I’ve been screwing him over a good long time before some bitter, batshit crazy D-lister villain dropped him from an eight-storey building just to get back at me.”

Foggy somehow finds it in himself not to choke. Falling off the moon seems less painful to him than this.

“Buddy,” he whispers, because Matt can’t read his lips, and even this much volume still looks like it hurts Matt unbearably, “hey, buddy, I’m sorry.”

Foggy tenderly tugs on his coat, like an affectionate, lovesick sixth grader.

“Come here,” he says and takes Matt’s hand.

Matt stiffens and then looks so hopeful Foggy’s heart breaks little by little, until everything in him stills in trepidation.

“I won’t bite,” Foggy says, “I promise. Not until you ask me to.”

“You mean,” Matt says, and Foggy kisses him on the mouth. In a Starbucks. Right after some Frappuccinos that should not, should never be mixed together, because it takes all of their willpower to be tender and not recoil in absolute disgust. Green tea and salted caramel are a match made in hell, and this is their first kiss, for sake’s sake.

Matt makes a face. Foggy wants to punch some Russians.

“We are never coming here ever again,” Foggy says.

“And if we’re feeling punny, Barnes & Noble’s just around the block,” Matt adds.

Foggy beams.

“See? This is why I love you.”

“D’aww,” Matt ruffles his hair. “This is all very heartfelt, but what about Debbie?”

Foggy rolls his eyes so hard and kisses him again, because he’s a little shit and his dad was always grudgingly proud of that, too.

Matt’s face tries to twist up in a deft portrayal of “ew, gross,” but instead splits into a huge, happy grin. Karen would probably find it adorable to a point of utterly obnoxious, but Foggy’s young and he is in love, so the grossness kind of comes with the whole package.

They order two large matching cinnamon lattes to go, because making out and then rinsing the horrid taste out seems like the brightest idea they both can come up with. The cinnamon really makes it better, and so does Matt’s mouth, and, wow, just when Foggy thinks this couldn’t get any worse if he tried, Matt laces their fingers together and, smiling stupidly, gets himself a chestful of hot coffee.

“So, this really is love,” Foggy says, trying to wipe it up a little with his own sleeves.

“Yes,” Matt says, totally unperturbed, “it is.”

Foggy kind of falls for him again.

Karen will laugh herself into a cardiac arrest, most likely.

 

 

*

 

 

to: Karen
from: Foggy

11:36PM
I’m warning you now

11:37PM
It’s gonna be very fucking awkward when you get back

to: THEY FONDUED
from: Karen

11:37PM

11:37PM
I WO ULD LIKE TO THANK NOT ONLY GOD BUT JESUS

 

 

*

 

 

Sometime between fighting Doombots, bionic zombies, and animal-themed villain pizza parties (Barton, Dog, chill ) Foggy saves Matt’s hide a couple of times, and then one time there’s a tiny kid with a gigantic camera taking a photo of him devotedly carrying Matt to safety just this shy of bridal style, so cue —

DAREDEVIL & LIONHEART, THE NEXT BIG RENAISSANCE OF SUPERHERO FRIENDSHIP: I’M WITH YOU TILL THE END OF HELL’S KITCHEN!

Yeah. He likes that one much better.

“Ya te lo dije,” Matt says, getting blood all over their new couch. The one they bought together, like an annoyingly loving married couple they are, just two days prior. Nice.

Foggy knows hitting him in the horns will only hurt more (the couch, not Matt), but the temptation is great.

“I will hit up the New York Bulletin and helpfully inform them that you asked to be referred to as Matty Mathical from now on,” Foggy says, smiling brilliantly, “since right now you are auditioning for the next season of RuPaul’s Drag Race.”

Matt is pensive for a moment, and then he takes Foggy’s hand (Foggy doesn’t swat him away, because anything for the couch) and says somberly, earnestly, “Not without you.”

The couch, Foggy has to admit, isn’t nearly worth his suffering.

 

 

*

 

 

to: Karen
from: Foggy

7:02AM
Kay what the hell?

7:03AM
Why on earth would you send Matt half a dozen pics of our lord and savior?? He’s catholic sure but he’s also blind

to: not a foggiest neltion
from: Karen

7:07AM
shit

7:07AM
tell him i franklin hoped for a murdockle

to: karnage
from: Foggy

7:08AM
I’m an attorney, I will sue you

to: attorney @ luh
from: Karen

7:09AM
id law to see u try

 

“That’s it,” Foggy tells the screen vehemently. “I’m calling the punlice.”

Somewhere under the pillows Matthew Michael Murdock, Daredevil, age 26, tries to cover up his ungodly snort with an embarrassed groan, but Tony fucking Stark isn’t ever getting rich enough to buy it.