The greeting was simple, warm, but Daisy smiled as she sat down on the bench in the locker, phone cradled against her ear.
“Hey yourself,” she replied.
“Heard what happened on the news,” though Matt Murdock's voice was a little electronically distorted, she could still imagine the crooked smile that he wore on his face. His voice sounded lighter too, as if the grief that they had both shared in the past year had eased with the passage of time. “Quake saves Los Angeles.”
“Yeah,” she replied as she propped up her boot and absently picked at the laces, “had some help with that. Some guy who could have given Punisher a run for his money with the skull thing.”
“Called himself Ghost Rider,” Daisy could hear a small snort of laughter and responded in kind, “I know, I know...who comes up with these names anymore?”
“Obviously not you,” Matt replied, “but in all seriousness, I'm glad that you found some absolution.”
“Yeah,” she shrugged, “but it wasn't all of it. Ghost Rider...he...he made me come to an understanding of what I had sought, what I wanted.”
There was some silence on the end before a heavy electronic breath issued over the phone. “Not...what we talked about, right?”
Daisy smiled sadly, “...Not what we talked about.” The fact that Matt had hesitated and alluded to what was not said told her that what they had discussed, what they had promised each other. It was lies, a facade, a way for them to try to hold onto what had been shattered in front of them by the death of their loved ones. However, a part of her was glad that someone else understood, even tried to cover it up along with her – the hurt, the pain, the emptiness and self-destructive tendencies that reached out like vines and wrapped tight with the skeletons that they could not shed.
“I'm sorry,” Matt said quietly.
“Me too,” she replied, “how are you?”
“Doing...okay,” she sensed his initial hesitation before his reply.
“Daredevil's been quiet lately,” she commented.
“Yeah,” he replied, “it's part of the okay... I...I...after Elektra, seeing Kamala like that...” He paused and she heard the unspoken '...you' in his silence. “Karen and Foggy have been helping. I'm handling some pro bono work for Foggy. Trying to keep myself occupied instead of, you know...”
“Seems like percussive therapy wasn't exactly the right thing for us then,” she smiled sadly as she set her foot down and tapped it absently.
“It was right, it's just...not good at the moment,” she could almost see his defensive wince and laughed lightly.
Another moment of silence reigned between them.
“I know, Matt,” she shook her head, even though he could not see it, “thank you, for everything though. For all of it. It helped. Sometimes though, sometimes things just seem really rough and some times...”
“You are welcomed any time, Daisy. All right?”
“Same here,” she could not help the slightly sarcastic laugh that emerged from her lips, “though I can't invite you into the base or anything.”
His laugh was warm and inviting, just as she remembered. It felt good to talk to someone who knew, who had been through what she had been through. Someone who was finding their anchor once more as she had begun to find hers after months of being a vigilante and going on a self-destructive path of destruction that hid her internal turmoil of wanting nothing more than to die.
“Take care of yourself, Quake.”
“You too, Daredevil.”
* * *
As soon as the trembles started, Matt could only think of one thing – was Daisy somehow behind this? Just as that thought crossed his head, he discarded it, as he tried to keep his footing. His head hurt, the vibrations and acute sounds of the earthquake that ran through the very foundation shook him to the bones. It felt unnatural, man made, and it made his teeth sit on edge. He squeezed his eyes shut and reached with one hand into the pocket of his trousers, where he always kept the gift that Daisy had inadvertently left for him the time she had visited after Elektra's death. It was just a scrap now, but its rough woolen edges was still unmistakably Blankie – Daisy's childhood token.
The rough feel of the cloth on his fingers helped him focus his senses, to not be overwhelmed by them and to remind himself the brief techniques he had learned whenever Daisy had activated her earthquake inducing powers. When the tremors finally stopped, he pulled his fingers from his pocket and breathed a sigh of relief. He immediately pulled out his phone and dialed the number that Daisy had left as her own.
After four beeps, it went to voice mail.
“Daisy, it's Matt. Wherever you are, I hope you get this. We just had something that felt like an earthquake in Hell's Kitchen and probably the whole of Manhattan Island. Please let me know if...er, what's going on.” He caught himself in time from asking if she was to blame.
Gradually the sounds of sirens started to filter through his senses and he winced as he tried to finish his message. “I gotta go, the people...New York got hit bad by this...I can hear them. Stay...just...stay safe, all right?”
He hung up and grimaced as he could clearly hear the screams, the cries of those injured. It hurt and he felt himself tensing. It was almost like 9/11 once again, where he heard the screams of those who died and those who were injured. He had to do something.
* * *
There was no time to lose and so Matt made his phone call while he climbed up the stairwell to the New York Bulletin. He had not been able to reach Daisy since the earthquakes, nor had he received a reply from her, but wherever she was, he knew that she deserved to know. The Hand would not threaten her, but it was still the same. She was someone he cared about. After the four beeps, her voice mail came on.
“Daisy, things are about to go down again with the Hand. Not Nobu, but the actual leadership of the Hand. Stick's here...I think I forgot to tell you that he's kind of wrapped up in this and that I was trained to fight them. But I broke away-you know what, story for another time. Anyways, I wanted to let you know that the Hand's targeting people we care about and, well, you know...I care a lot about you. Just...be safe, wherever you are, all right?”
He hesitated for a second before taking the plunge, “Elektra...she's alive. I don't know how they revived, her but...she's alive and fighting for them. I...” He forced himself to swallow against the painful lump in his throat, “I think I know how you feel now...with Lincoln...and that whole thing...but...yeah...I'll...let you know what happens. She doesn't even remember me...but I think I can get to her.”
Matt wanted to say more, but forced himself to stop and hit the 'end call' button as he reached the floor that Karen was on. A very small part of him wished that Daisy would call back, would answer his call about Elektra because somehow, he felt terribly lost. He simply did not know what to do.
Except perhaps save Elektra, or die trying.
* * *
Matt's messages were not heard by Daisy as she found herself hundreds of thousands of miles away from Earth on board a space-worthy vessel of sorts. When she finally heard the messages he left she had received a text from Foggy saying that Matt had died fighting Elektra and the Hand.
Daisy immediately rushed to New York City.