Chapter 1: Chapter One
CHAPTER ONE: Exclamation, Question, Statement, Command
“Oh shit, oh god.”
“What do you mean he has a brain disease?”
“Yeah, an experimental treatment sounds good.”
“Call the Thompsons and tell them that we want to be a part of the trial.”
And with those four sentences, eight-year-old Foggy Nelson’s life changes forever.
Foggy’s mom is yelling. She’s packing her suitcase and yelling and Foggy doesn’t understand.
“I can’t handle this, Ed, it’s too much!”
“Rosalind, stop! Think for just a moment! He’s your son, he needs you!”
“No. He’s never needed me. He’s your son through and through. I’m nothing but a surrogate and you know it. I’m leaving. I’ll send checks for child support, you’ll never see me again.”
“Rosie, please. Don’t leave me.” Foggy can hear his dad’s voice break and wobble. “Don’t leave us.”
Foggy waits for his mom’s response but none comes. There’s only the sharp click clack of her heels and the sound of their apartment door slamming shut. Foggy bites on his fist and tries to hold in his cries but his dad must hear because he’s rushing into Foggy’s room and sweeping him up in a hug in moments.
“It’s okay, son. We’ll do just fine on our own.”
“Don’t leave me, Daddy!” Foggy knows he sounds like a baby, but he can’t help it. He wraps his arms around his dad’s neck and whimpers into it.
“I won’t, buddy. Wild horses couldn’t pull me away...”
The next day, his dad dresses them up in their Sunday best even though it’s Wednesday and they take a taxi out of Hell’s Kitchen and up to one of the fanciest buildings in Manhattan.
The lady at the desk is nice and she offers Foggy a lollipop while they wait. It isn’t long before a lady in a lab coat comes out and shakes his dad’s hand.
“I’m Doctor Louise Thompson. You must be Mr. Nelson?”
“Ed, please. And this is Foggy. Say hi, bud.”
“Hello, dear.” Dr. Thompson has a warm smile and a voice that reminds Foggy of cookies and milk. “Would you like to go play in the toy room while I talk with your father?”
“Sure.” Foggy says, after he dad gives him an encouraging nod.
“Marvelous, right this way.” She leads them to an elevator where they go down, down, down and then through a series of doors and hallways until they stop in front of a steel door with a rainbow painted on it. She gives it a firm knock before poking her head in. “Albert? Kevin?”
“Come in, Louise.” Calls another warm voice and she pushes the door open to reveal a man in a lab coat and a boy about Foggy’s age.
“Ed, this is my husband, Albert, also Dr. Thompson. And Frankie, this is my son, Kevin. Kevin, my sweet, come say hello.”
The boy waves at Foggy and Foggy waves back.
"You and Kevin have the same type of brain." His dad says as he crouches down to look Foggy in the eye. "And Dr. and Dr. Thompson here are going to help you both."
“Really?” Foggy asks, giving a tentative smile- his first all day.
“Really really. Now you be nice to Kevin, I’ll be back in a bit.” He pats his back before standing and exiting the room with the two doctors.
“Do you like rugby?” Kevin says.
Foggy shrugs as he sits down on the floor next to the other boy. “I don’t know what rugby is.”
“It’s a sport. We play it back in England.” Kevin has a thin face, a shaved head, and deep eyes that Foggy thinks look quite a bit like a grown up’s.
“You can teach me if you want.” Kevin smiles widely at that, and Foggy smiles back. There. He looks better with a happy face.
Kevin spend the next hour showing Foggy how rugby works. He’s a year younger than Foggy but he doesn’t act like a baby and he has an awesome action figure collection that they play with once they’re tired of rugby. He’s starting to get hungry by the time his dad and the Thompsons come back
“Hey, Fogs. You and Kevin here had fun?” Foggy’s dad gives him a weak smile and opens his arms for a hug.
“Yes!” Foggy nods enthusiastically as he wraps his arms around the man’s neck. “I learned rugby and we played with action figures.”
“Good. Howa ‘bout we get something to eat, hey? How’s pizza sound?”
Foggy nods again and his father lifts him up and out of the room with ease. The last thing Foggy sees is Kevin waving goodbye, his parents in their lab coats on either side.
It only takes Foggy a couple of weeks to decide that he doesn't like the hospital. They shave his head and make him do really hard puzzles in front of a camera and he only gets to go to the hardware store with his dad on Sundays.
"It'll get better, Foggy. I promise.” He says as he drops Foggy off one day. “You and Kevin are both gonna get better and then you'll get to start kindergarten just like all the other kids."
His dad looks tired, Foggy thinks.
At least Kevin is nice. They play together every day and giggle over whispered jokes and share each other’s cookies at lunch and hold each other’s hands through needle pokes. Foggy doesn’t have any brothers but he thinks Kevin would make a good one.
“Kevin, wanna play eye spy?” Foggy asks. They’re both propped up hospital beds as Kevin’s mom and dad strap suction cups to their shaved heads.
“I don’t know how.” Kevin say, shivering under his thin gown.
“It’s easy. You just have to try and figure out what I’m looking at. Ready? I spy with my little eye something yellow.”
“Um, is it the soap?”
“Nope, try again.”
It’s two days after his ninth birthday when Mrs. Thompson asks Foggy to come with her to the basement.
“Come along, Frankie. We’ve got big plans today.”
“Okay.” Foggy hands Kevin his action figure. “I’ll be back in a bit.”
She leads him down, down, down until they’re at the end of the hall. She opens a steel door and a cool breeze rushes out. Foggy wraps his arms around himself.
“What are we doing here?” He asks as Mrs. Thompson ushers him into the room.
“I think we’re ready to help you now. We just need to test one last thing. It may hurt a little, though, I’ll need you to be brave. Can you do that?”
“Yes.” Foggy says, nodding firmly. His dad had told him all about being brave.
Mr. Thompson is waiting for them, wiping down something shiny, and he smiles when they come in.
“Ah, Frankie. Hop up here, now. Come on.” Foggy does as he’s told and lays still as they strap his arms tight to the table.
“Okay, here we go.” Foggy squeezes his eyes shut and bites his lip. He can feel something cold press against the back of his neck. “Three, two- “
“Ahhh! Stop! Stop!” Foggy thrashes as his whole body is consumed with pain. It feels like fire and ice at the same time, he can’t think, he can’t breathe-
“In through your mouth, out through your nose. One, two, three, in, one, two, three, out. There we go.” Mrs. Thompson’s voice is sweet, gentle, and Foggy has time to think through the pain that it sounds like poison.
“Aaaaand all done.” Mr. Thompson steps away from the bed and the pain recedes instantly. “It’s called cerebral fluid, Frankie. You did a very good job.”
Foggy’s throat tastes like blood and his eyes feel wet and he thinks that maybe he’d rather they didn’t fix his brain after all.
When Mrs. Thompson takes him back upstairs, he finds his dad waiting for him. “Hey, Fogo. Give your old man a hug- oomph.”
Foggy flings himself at his dad and wraps his arms around his waist. A cry bubbles up and out of his throat and he can feel his dad tense in his grip. “What is it? Foggy, what happened?”
“They- they poked my brain and it- it hurt really bad. Let’s go home. Take me home. Please, Daddy. I want Mom and I want to go home!”
“Son...” Foggy’s dad runs his hand over Foggy’s shaved head and pulls him tight. “I’ll care of it.”
The next morning, Foggy and Kevin can hear their parents fighting from the playroom. Their words aren’t clear, but the tone is angry and Foggy grips Kevin’s hand tight.
“Play eye spy with me.” Kevin whispers into the tense air. Foggy nods. “I spy with my little eye something blue.”
“Captain America’s shield?”
“No, try again.”
After an hour of whispered guessing and yells echoing in from the hallway, the door flings open and Foggy’s dad stomps in. “Foggy, come here. We’re leaving.”
“You can’t leave!” Mrs. Thompson rushes in behind him, breathless and red cheeked. “We’re so close, Ed. We need them both to find a cure. We can save both our boys, we know it.”
“There might not even be a cure!” He shouts back, tears gathering in his eyes. “He might have less than a year left and I’m not going to let him spend it in this god forsaken place! Come here, son, time to- Shit!”
Foggy’s dad collapses to the floor. Behind him is Mr. Thompson, a needle in his hand. His face is grim but determined and he takes a step towards Foggy. “Come here, Frankie.”
“Daddy!” Foggy wants to rush towards his dad but Mr. Thompson is blocking his path.
“Be brave, Frankie. Stay still.”
“No, stop! Don’t- “Mr. Thompson takes one quick step forward and plunges the needle into Foggy’s neck. Darkness swarms up and consumes him and the last thing he sees is Kevin’s scared, young face and his resigned, old eyes.
Foggy wakes up in the back of a van. He’s strapped into the back seat and Kevin is asleep on his lap, Captain America action figure hugged to his chest.
“Where are we?” He tries to say but his mouth feels like cotton.
“Ohio, dear. Now shush or you’ll wake your brother.” Mrs. Thompson’s voice is as soft and gentle as ever as it filters back from the front seat.
“Yes, little Kevin Peters. And you’re Franklin Peters. Aren’t you excited to move to Oklahoma? Our family has been planning it for oh so long.”
“No, where’s my dad?”
“He’s right here, driving. Now shush, Frankie.”
“My name is Foggy.” He protests weakly, but he lapses into silence anyways, tiredly taking in the blurry green landscape outside.
The next couple of years are a blur of pain. He's told to solve more puzzles in front of the camera and every time he fails, things just get worse.
"Be brave now, Frankie." Mrs. Thompson always chides. "It'll only hurt a bit."
It hurts a lot. There are needles in his neck and surgical scars on his head and it hurts so much that Foggy wishes he was anybody else. Anybody but Kevin, at least, because Kevin suffers right beside him.
Kevin whispers to Foggy at night about running away. Foggy whispers back about finding his dad.
They move from Oklahoma to Oregon, and then to Arkansas. Their new house has a hot tub outside that the boys are allowed to play in when the neighbors can’t see. Mr. Thompson brings home a stack of school work for the boys to work on. He always tells them that it’s high school level material and that “they should be very proud.” Foggy thinks that he’d rather be doing sixth grade work like other kids his age, if it meant he could go to a normal school.
“I spy with my little eye something silver.” Kevin nudges Foggy’s ankle as they sit at a bland table in a bland room in front of a camera.
“Scalpel.” Foggy answers numbly and Kevin sighs dramatically. He always picks scalpel.
“I spy with my little eye- “
“Knock knock, boys.” Mrs. Thompson walks into the room carrying a too familiar tray and Mr. Thompson shuts the door behind them.
“Kevin, you first. Stay still.” Mr. Thompson lifts the cerebral fluid needle from the tray and steps forward.
“No, please, Dad. Please.” Foggy watches, frozen, as the needle slides in, down, under Kevin’s skin. He screams louder. “Stop! Go away!”
They step away, faces confused. Foggy rushes to Kevin’s side and wraps his arm around the younger boy.
“Are you okay?” Kevin nods into his shoulder as the adults quickly rush out of the room, voices too low to hear.
“What happened?” He asks, accented voice wilted and soft.
“I don’t know.” Foggy answers and pulls him closer. “I don’t know....”
Nothing strange happens for a couple of months. Kevin turns ten and his parents bring him a rugby ball in a plastic grocery bag and a boxed cake to celebrate. The boys are being prepped by a team of scientists working out of an abandoned warehouse for brain surgery. They slowly grow more tense, months turning into weeks turning into days, until-
“Stop! Let us go!” Foggy struggles as two men drag him and Kevin out of their playroom and towards the makeshift surgical theater down the hall.
“Frankie! Frankie!” Kevin is sobbing, thin body shaking with his cries. “Help me! Mum! Da! Frankie!”
Foggy tries to dig his feet into the ground but his bare feet slip uselessly along the dirty cement. He and Kevin are both dumped and strapped onto cold metal tables. He can feel the prick of a needle being pushed into his vein, can feel the cool liquid surging into his body, pulling him into darkness. The last thing he hears before he loses consciousness is Kevin’s slurred voice.
“I spy with my little eye something red.”
Foggy blinks awake, vision bleary and hearing echoing dulling. He forces himself to focus, forces himself to sit up. He’s still in the surgical theater but he’s alone, all of the doctors and Kevin missing. He can hear a commotion though, shouts and laughter coming from the hall. Laughter that is most definitely Kevin’s. Without a second though, Foggy pushes himself off the table. His bare feet slap loudly against the cool floor but he doesn’t stop.
Kevin, where’s Kevin?!
“Kevin?!” His voice sounds too loud and too quiet, echoing back him endlessly.
“In here, Frankie!” Kevin’s voice doesn’t sound scared, hurt, sad- if anything, it sounds gleeful. Foggy follows it to the playroom, bursting through the door to find- oh.
The younger boy is lounging on their beaten-up couch, smile stretches wide over his face. And the doctors are.... jumping? Mr. and Mrs. Thompson and their four assistants are all jumping up and down is place.
“What’s going on?” Foggy asks, taking a hesitant step into the room.
“Oh Frankie.” Kevin beacons him closer. “Something marvelous. Watch. Mum, slap Dr. Richmond.”
Crack. She does as Kevin says and before Foggy can even follow the movement, there’s a red handprint on the other woman’s face.
“Tell one of them to do something.”
“Um... Mr. Thompson, touch your nose.”
He does. What the hell...?
“They did it, Frankie.” Kevin wraps his arms around Foggy, head buried in the crook of his arm. “They cured us. But they did something even better too. They made us superheroes.”
After the thought processes, the boys pack up what little objects they treasure and instruct the Thompsons to drive them as far away as possible. It’s the start of a long, leisurely road trip that stretches from coast to coast. They see the Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore, Disney World, Disney Land, wherever their heart desires. They slowly experiment with their powers, testing each other’s strengths and limits.
They learn that they can’t influence each other but that they can override commands that one has already given. They learn they can control people for about twelve hours, and from about fifty feet away. They learn that wording is everything, and a well-placed question or an ill-timed sarcastic comment can make the world of a difference. They learn that people will stop at nothing to fulfill their instructions.
“What do you think will happen if I tell them to lick their elbow?” Kevin asks one day, as he and Foggy slowly lick away at ice cream cones under a beach umbrella.
“Maybe they’ll try for twelve hours until it hears off?” Foggy offers.
“Hm. Da, lick your elbow.”
Foggy watches as the now familiar blankness swims into the man’s eyes. He stretches and reaches for a few minutes, growing increasingly more agitated. It starts to lose its appeal. Foggy turns back to watch the waves lap at the beach. It’s relaxing.
“Hey, Frankie, look at- “
Foggy’s neck snaps around to find Mr. Thompson laying on the ground panting, arm dangling at an awkward angle.
He feels sick, like he might throw up. Mrs. Thompson is fretting over her husband, tears welling up in her eyes. Kevin is- Kevin is laughing. Light, bubbling giggles that push the air right out of Foggy’s lungs.
"Boys, would you like to do some school work today?" Mr. Thompson stands tensely in the doorway.
"Go away, Da, we're playing." Kevin says before Foggy can even lift his head. He immediately turns away but Foggy stops him.
"No, stay. I want to learn more about the history lesson from yesterday." Foggy starts to get up from where he and Kevin are building a Lego house.
"Sit back down, Frankie.” Kevin says.
"No. You might not care about school but I do." Kevin glares at him like he always does when Foggy ignores one of his demands.
"Whatever. Mum, bring me some ice cream."
Mrs. Thompson stiffens in the living room. "We don't have any, my dear.”
"What? Why not? Go get some, right now. You'd better hurry."
"Of course, love." She's out of the door as quickly as possible and Foggy sighs into his book.
It used to be fun, telling them what to do. After all of the surgeries and tests, it had felt fair. But now... now, Foggy is just starting to feel mean.
That night, Foggy curls up in bed and hugs his pillow to his chest. He's twelve. He'd be starting junior high soon, if he'd been born anybody else. As it is, he doesn’t even have any friends, let alone a traditional education. He at least used to have Kevin, but-
Foggy is pulled out of his thoughts and out of his bed by the sound of a pained scream coming from downstairs.
He clomps down the stairs and finds Mrs. Thompson curled up on the ground, hand covering half of her face. It looks red and- and burnt. And there's an iron on the ground beside her and Kevin is laughing. Laughing his giddy laugh that used to be the highlight of Foggy’s day.
“Kevin! What did you do?!" He demands, spinning the younger boy roughly by his shoulders.
"She told me to pick up my toys." He sounds happy and Foggy feels sick.
"We're just kids, Kevin! That's what we're supposed to do! Pick up our toys and- and study, and eat our vegetables! We can't just control people for fun!"
Kevin glares angrily, arms crossing in front of his chest. "But I can just control people, can't I, Frankie? And so can you."
The next morning, Albert and Louise are gone and Kevin cries like he used to at the testing facility, full body shudders that tamper off into hiccups.
"They're my parents. They’re the ones who did this to me and now they're leaving me because of it!" Between his thick accent and his tears, Foggy can hardly understand him. But he gets him and Foggy thinks that that's a scary thought indeed.
There's a girl in Kevin's bedroom, naked and dancing. They're fourteen and thirteen and sometimes they whisper to each other about girls the way they used to whisper about superheroes. But this-
"Oh, fuck off, Frankie. You know your powers don’t work on me.”
"But they do work on her! You have to stop, she doesn't want this."
Kevin sighs like Foggy is being purposefully obtuse. "She does want it. I told her to enjoy."
"That's not the same!" Foggy waves his arms around as the girl continues to obliviously dance. "She wouldn't be doing this if we didn't have powers!"
"But we do have powers!" Kevin yells back.
They've had this argument a million times. Kevin uses his powers, Foggy tells him it's wrong, and Kevin gets angry. They've been living like brothers for almost ten years, and it's- well, Foggy can't remember what it was like to be normal. His whole life has been a series of painful experiments and then trying to rein Kevin in.
"You, put on your clothes and go. Find your parents and stay with them. Forget everything he's told you." Foggy snaps his fingers at the girl and she bolts for the door.
"I wasn't done with her." Kevin is well and truly mad now, eyes squinty and face red. Foggy opens his mouth to argue but Kevin continues. "But I am done with you."
"You're- what?" Foggy feels his heart twist.
"Done. With you. You and I aren't the same anymore, Franklin."
"But" -but you're all that I have, but we're alone, but we're brothers- "But you don't have anywhere to go."
Kevin laughs cruelly. "That's the beauty of it. Without you in my way, I can go anywhere."
Foggy takes a step forward and jabs him in the chest with a well-placed finger. "I'll find you, no matter where you go. I'm not going to let you hurt anybody."
"Did you know you have a sister, Franklin?" Kevin's grin is slow and sure, his eyes alight.
"What?" Foggy staggers backwards for a second and his stomach lurches. "I don't- that's not-"
"Her name is Candice. Your father married a lovely woman, Anna, and had her while you were being tortured in a lab. She's ten right now. And don’t forget about your mother. Miss Rosalind Sharpe? She’s a successful lawyer, I believe. Living in a high rise in New York.”
The last thing Foggy hears is the thudding of his own heart and Kevin's manic laughter as he sprints out of the room.
It takes him three months to track down his dad and his new wife. His sister is enrolled in the fifth grade and seems to be a perfectly normal little girl. Foggy feels like he should be jealous. He's just relieved.
They're living in a suburb in New Jersey and safe. Foggy guiltily stares through their window for a few moments before hitching a ride to New York. Once he gets to his mother’s apartment building, he quickly jogs up the steps. He starts banging on the door- "Hello! Mo- Miss Sharpe! It's-" only for it to swing open.
No, no, no.
The apartment looks fairly average, if lavishly decorated. He takes a step forward and feels something crinkle underneath his foot. He looks down to see a piece of paper. On it, in blocky and rushed writing, is a single sentence.
Kevin wants you to know that I’m taking a trip up to the Empire State Building and that if you don't want this to happen to your dad and sister, you should leave him alone.
Foggy is tripping, falling, stumbling down the apartment steps, tears and air pushing out from his body. He thinks he makes it to the sidewalk before his knees give out. He can feel the world going on around him but it doesn't seem real.
Eventually there's a tap on his shoulder and Foggy tears himself out of the haze to look up. A police office with a gruff face and kind eyes is kneeling in front of him.
"What's your name, son?" He asks in a gentle voice.
"Foggy." Statement. Statements are safe.
"Alright, Foggy. I'll call your mom if you can give me her number." He's talking to him as if he were a child instead of a fourteen-year-old, but Foggy isn't in the mood to mind.
"Do you know if there was a suicide at the Empire State Building today?" Questions are safe too, adding a question mark is always a good idea.
"Oh shit." No. "Yeah, a woman." Kevin, why? “Kid, was that...?"
"Oh shit." Exclamations can be a little bit trickier, but he has practice.
"Hey, come here. We'll get it sorted, it'll be okay." The officer puts his hand on the back of Foggy's neck and Foggy rears back, hands pushing against the man's chest.
"Don't touch me!" Command. Commands are bad. Kevin uses commands, commanded his mom to burn herself, commanded Foggy’s Mom to- oh God, Mom- Kevin, why would you-
"I won't. Why would I touch you? I don't want to touch you."
No more commands, Foggy thinks. Not ever.
Chapter 2: Chapter Two
And along came Matt! This chapter spans about ten years in quick summary and sets up the rest of the story. Enjoy!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Foggy is dropped off in front of an orphanage with a plastic bag of generic clothes, a thin folder of paperwork, and a healthy fear of the world. A nun is waiting for him outside. She’s younger than Foggy thought a nun would be, with just a simple dress and head wrap, instead of one of those black gown things that they wear on tv.
“Hello, son. I’m Detective Bolton. Can you tell me your name?”
“Is that a nickname? What’s on your birth certificate?”
“I don’t think I have one.”
"You must be Nelson Fogwell. Come along." The nun ushers him into the building and Foggy follows numbly.
"My name is Sister Alice. The children leave for school at 7:00 AM, you'll be attending as soon as your paperwork is finished. Sunday Mass is at 8:00 AM and Wednesday worship is at 6:00 PM, you'll be expected to attend both, understand?"
"I'm not Catholic."
"You are now. You'll be rooming with the only other high school boy here, room 223. Why don’t you go say hello? He’ll make sure you get to dinner on time.”
Foggy briefly considers telling -commanding- the nun to give him his own room, but he swallows the words and the accompanying nausea. No, he can get through life the same way everybody else does.
He passes through a worn but clean common room where a handful of toddlers are wobbling around with blocks, then an equally shabby and tidy dining room, before finding a rickety staircase. He climbs it and slowly drifts past rooms of cribs and cots before he stops in front of 223. When he softly pushes the door open, he finds a young man sitting cross legged on one of the beds, running his fingers over a book and wearing dorky sunglasses.
"Hello." His voice is quiet but the boy's head still snaps up to face at him, fingers stalling over the book.
"Who's there?" He asks.
“Where are you from? Where’d you grow up?”
“I’m from here in New York but I grew up in a lab.”
“A lab? With who?”
“They said they were my parents but that’s not true.”
"Me? Um, I mean Foggy. My name is Foggy. Well, Nelson. Nelson Fogwell, but. Um. Foggy, ya know?"
The boy's lips twist to the side. Whether it's in annoyance or amusement, he can't tell. "Hello, Um-Foggy. My name is Matthew Murdock. They told me I’d be getting a roommate."
"Yelp. That’s me." Foggy takes a few steps forward -the room is cramped to say the least- and offers his hand.
When the boy doesn't move, he wipes his sweaty palms on his jeans instead. "Whatcha reading?"
"Just something for school. You'll probably have to read it too, once you get enrolled."
"Is it any good?"
"No. Though it's hard to find books in braille, so I can't really complain."
"Oh!" Foggy says dumbly. "You're blind!"
Matthew's lips twist to the side again, this time definitely in amusement.
"So they tell me." He gives a sarcastic laugh and taps his glasses lightly.
Foggy send a prayer of gratitude to whatever god these nuns want him to believe in- of all of the people that he could’ve been stuck with, he got a boy who can’t see his scars. “How long have you lived here?”
“Since I was twelve. That’s when I lost my dad. What about you?”
“What did they want with you?”
“They- my brain. They said they wanted to fix my brain.”
“And did they?”
“I don’t know.”
Foggy feels his heart start to pound, his breath goes short. ‘I don’t know’ he wants to scream. He wants to shout and cry and yell it from the tallest building in Hell’s Kitchen. His mouth flips open half a dozen times before Matthew makes a ‘never mind’ gesture and sets his book aside.
“I’m sorry, you don’t have to tell me what happened to you. I don’t like talking about my past either.”
“Thanks.” Foggy collapses onto the free bed and picks at a string on the blanket.
“So you don’t know where you came from. But do you know where you’re going?”
“What do you want, son? What do you want with your life?”
“Can I just ask one question?” Matthew is leaning forward, hands bracing his weight on his knees. His head is tilted and his eyebrows are dipped behind his glasses.
“What do you want?”
Foggy runs a hand through his shaggy hair and sighs. “Just to be a kid, Matthew. For once in my life, I just want to be a normal kid.”
Apparently, it was the right thing to say because Matthew relaxes and holds out his hand to shake.
"Matt. Call me Matt."
Command. If only Matt knew how dangerous those can be.
Matt and Foggy quickly develop what the school guidance counselor calls "an unhealthy co-dependence born of mutually traumatic pre-pubescent experiences."
The nuns call it "convenient."
They perfectly complement each other in every way. Matt has a polite exterior, formally thanking nuns and apologizing profusely when a teacher catches them whispering in class. Foggy is the exact opposite. Overly casual with authority figures, dismissive of responsibility, and happy to stake his claim as an outsider. Once their exteriors are worn away, however, their personalities do rapid switches. Matt has a hidden temper and is quick to strike out in anger with both his words and fists. Foggy will instantly shy away from even the slightest sign of confrontation, devolving to speaking only in questions and quietly stammered answers.
They both have secrets. They both get wary and tense and doubt themselves and each other, but for now...
"Murdock, Fogwell, if I hear one more peep, you're staying after."
"Yes, Miss Martin." Matt dutifully responds, even as Foggy continues to chortle into the crook of his elbow.
He wiggles away from Matt’s attempts to jab him in the ribs and receives another stern look from their teacher.
“Well it wouldn’t be this hard to stay quiet if class wasn’t so long!” Foggy stage whispers.
Matt bites at his lip to hide a smile and keeps his head tilted towards the board. Foggy doesn’t let their fooling around distract him from his note taking- Matt relies on Foggy’s notes a lot, now that they’re taking all the same classes.
The bell finally rings and the boys linger in the classroom an extra minute, waiting for the crowd to thin. It’s the last class of the day, and Foggy leads Matt through the empty hallways towards their lockers.
“Do you think we’re having that history test tomorrow?” Foggy asks lazily, offering his elbow to Matt.
“No, I heard him- uh, I heard some kids say we just watch a movie.”
“What? How would they even- “
“Sh.” Matt lets go of Foggy’s elbow and presses a finger to his lips. “Did you hear that?”
“I said, who the fuck’s number is that?” A man’s voice echoes down the hall of the old school, loud and angry.
“It’s none of your business, Jake!” An equally worked up boy’s voice answers, his tone fearful instead of mean.
Before Foggy can even register what’s happening, Matt is speeding down the hall, cane all but forgotten in his hand. Foggy hurries after the other boy, nearly tripping in his haste
“Matt, what’re you doing?!” He yells, but his friend doesn’t slow.
“None of my business?” The voices are closer now, probably just one hall down. “You’re my brother! I’m not letting some fag get his hands all over you! Now tell me who it is and you can go.”
“No, you can’t just- ow!”
Foggy bursts around the corner seconds after Matt to find a thin boy pressed against the wall of the empty hallway, chest heaving and breath coming out strained from his throat.
Matt is between the scared boy and a man -Jake, apparently- in a worn varsity jacket. His cane is discarded on the ground and his fists are raised in a boxing pose.
“What the fuck do you think you’re doing, Murdock?” Jake asks, taking a step closer.
“I’m not going to let you hurt your brother, that’s all you need to know.”
“Oh yeah? What’re you gonna do about it? Even with working eyes, your daddy couldn’t punch the broad side of a barn, I doubt you’re- “
Snap. Foggy watches as Matt’s fist whips out lighting fast and the man’s head snaps back. He crumples to the floor instantly, not even a twitch.
“Shit!” The boy lets out a pained whine and presses farther into the wall. “Shit, shit, shit! I’m so dead! He’s gonna tell our dad!”
“Hey, hey, hey. Can you calm down? Will you tell me your name?” Foggy reaches for the boy and wraps an arm around his quaking shoulders.
“Okay, Jimmy. I need you to do as I say. Slow your breathing, calm yourself.” Foggy quells the wave of nausea that flairs in his stomach. It’s a command, but it’s for the boy’s own good. His young face immediately relaxes and Foggy sighs in relief. “Good job. Now go to the principle, tell them what happened.”
Jimmy scurries to do as instructed and Foggy turns back to Matt. Matt who shamelessly sucks up to nuns and kisses toddlers scrapped knees and always offers Foggy his ice cream sandwich after dinner. Matt who is standing statue still, head tilted at an unnatural angle. His cane is laying untouched on the ground and Foggy carefully picks it up and holds out.
“So, uh. Nice punch?” Foggy offers, trying to catch Matt’s eye out of habit.
“How’d you do that?” Is Matt’s response. He reaches out and reclaims his cane, still with an unnatural stillness.
“What?” Foggy asks, even as he can feel his already racing heart speed up.
“Calm Jimmy down so fast. You’re- that was amazing.” His voice sounds normal, happy, impressed. His face is like stone.
“Um. Thanks.” The silence stretches in between them, gaping in the hole of their new friendship.
“Foggy, if you- “
“Murdock, Fogwell!” A voice booms behind them and Foggy spins to find Father Gabriel pointing at them. “My office. Now.”
“Yes, Father.” Matt says, posture melting from rigid stone to his normal relaxed stance. He slips his cane onto his wrist and steps forward to grasp Foggy’s elbow.
Foggy feels like he’s missing something. Like he’s the character in a movie who doesn’t realize the monster is under his bed. But he leads Matt forward nonetheless, equal parts soothed and stressed by the sight of Matt’s pink, bloodied fist resting on his arm.
“Sit.” Is all Father Gabriel says when they get to his office. Foggy does as instructed and Matt follows suit after his hand feels out the back of a chair. “Is what Jimmy said true?”
“Yes.” Foggy starts to say, voice too quiet to hear. He clears his throat to try and speak up, but Matt beats him to it.
“That depends.” His tone is defiant, strong. “What did he say?”
“He said you punched his brother unconscious while they were having a family dispute and then Mr. Fogwell here used mind control.”
“Ha!” Matt barks out a laugh as Foggy’s palms start to sweat. “This is insane. Can we go now?”
“Yes, you may go. Straight to detention. The sisters will be informed that’ll you’ll be home late.”
"That’s not fair!" Matt insists, chin titled defiantly. "We were only protecting that boy. His brother should be the one in trouble!"
Father Gabriel ignores him and turns towards Foggy. He tenses and ducks his head to hide behind his hair. "And tell me what you think should happen, Nelson."
"Um. I. I think that, maybe, Matt is... right?”
“Well, you may join Mr. Murdock in detention. Good evening, boys.”
Matt all but drags Foggy to the detention hall, body seemingly fueled by pure righteous fury.
“We didn’t do anything wrong!” He insists loudly, normally reserved voice echoing off the halls of the old school. “I mean, he deserved that punch! And honestly, mind control! That kid didn’t even say thank you!”
“I’m sorry.” Foggy whispers into his hair, heart thudding into his chest.
“Foggy, no, don’t be sorry. Jake is the one who’s going to be sorry, whenever he wakes up. I broke his nose, I know I did. And if Father Gabriel thinks that- Why are you laughing?”
“I just- I think you’re a good person, Matthew Murdock.”
Matt looks stunned. A happy stunned. And then a boyish, crinkly, handsome smile takes over his face. “So are you, Nelson Fogwell.”
Foggy spends the hour in detention, the sweltering hot walk back to the orphanage, and the entire lecture from Sister Grace trying to control his giddy smile.
And Sister Grace isn’t happy. She sticks them with diaper duty for four weeks
“Matt, could you pass me the wipes?”
“Here. How many people signed the constitution?”
“69?” Foggy laughs at his own joke and the baby, little Mary Sue, joins in. Matt rolls his eyes fondly and lets his book fall shut.
“Okay, we’ll take a break from history.”
Foggy is... content. For the first time since he last saw his father, the air itself seems breathable. Every morning he wakes up in his shitty twin beds, goes to a shitty high school, and then comes home to a shitty orphanage where he eats shitty food at a table with a bunch of babies and toddlers who are only there until a spot in the foster system opens up. And yet....
And yet he’s happy. Happy with Matt at his side.
“All clean, Mary Sue. What’s next?” Foggy sets the baby back into her bouncer and picks up his book.
“Calculus. Will you read me the equations?”
“Sure, here it goes....”
They burp babies, study, and dodge bullies. They obediently attend church -Matt a bit more genuinely than Foggy- and sweat in their cramped bedroom that has bolted shut windows. And they grow closer every day.
They’re sophomores and they’re closer than family. Closer than Foggy ever got to be with his father or with Kevin.
“Describe the sky.” Matt and Foggy are excused from gym class indefinitely -you can’t exactly force a blind kid and a boy with scars from open brain surgery to play baseball- and they’re lounging happily in the grass.
Foggy nods seriously. “Okay. It’s a bright blue. Clouds are very fluffy. There’s a huge bird flying- “
“Fogwell, heads up!” The coach’s voice is loud and sharp and before Foggy can even turn around, there’s the loud smack of a soft ball slapping into Matt’s outstretched hand.
“Holy shit! Matt, are you okay?” Foggy scrambles to pull Matt’s hand down and inspect it. It seems fine and Foggy lets out a relieved sigh. “Dude, how did you do that?”
“I, uh- “
“Murdock!” The coach jogs up to them, eyes wide and out of breath. “Are you alright?”
“Yes, sir.” Matt ducks his head shyly and bites at his lip. “I guess I’m lucky you called out, it probably would’ve hit me straight in the face.”
“Right, yeah.” The coach still has a stunned look on his face buts he’s nodding along in understanding. “Okay. Fogwell, why don’t you help him to the bleachers, huh?”
“Yes, sir.” Foggy does as he’s told, but he can’t shake the feeling that something is... off.
Of course, he’d noticed that Matt wasn’t ordinary almost right away. He can’t quite pin down what is off with his best friend, but he knows that it’s something. It seems as if he just knows things sometimes. Of course, he always manages to pull some kind of excuse out of his perfectly sculpted ass, but still.
He will shush Foggy just before a nun rounds the corner, gracefully duck out of the way of oncoming basketballs, and he always seems to know where the babies throw their pacifiers. Other times, however, he’s overly dependent on Foggy, demanding that he reread a passage from the textbooks they can’t get in braille or shyly asking for help learning to shave.
And then there are the times where Foggy can’t hide his own secrets....
It’s the day before summer break and the class room is no more controlled than a prison riot. Father Wilson, 80 years old and Italian, is observing the chaos with the coolness that only a life time of dealing with teenagers can cultivate.
“Hey, Murdock! Catch!” Matt sits perfectly still as a crumpled paper ball hits him in the face. Foggy is sure he could’ve caught it.
“Very funny, Schmitt. Let me know when you graduate past elementary school humor.” Matt is always so calm when others tease him. And yet, if someone so much as giggles at Foggy, Battlin’ Jack Murdock’s son rains down on them.
Schmitt pushes out of his chair and stalks forward, bulky frame towering over the two boys. “Wanna say that to my face, retard?” And then something in Foggy breaks a little, because Matt visibly flinches back from the word.
So Foggy stands up, leans over until his mouth is as close to Schmitt’s ear as it can get, and whispers “pee yourself.”
Schmitt does as he’s commanded -no commands, Foggy had promised himself, but he can’t seem to help himself- and his face immediately flushes with shame. The teenagers start to go wild, all of the typical pointing and laughing you’d imagine in the situation. All besides for Matt.
Schmitt pushes through the crowd and into the hallway. Foggy sits back down and can feel Matt’s eyes- Matt’s attention, at least- boring into his skull. The rest of the day is spent in a tense silence.
When they get back to their room, Matt opens and closes his mouth a few times before finally turning away and unpacking his back pack.
“So do you want to start with chemistry or Hamlet?”
Foggy lets out a breath he’s been holding all day and briefly closes his eyes. This means something, he thinks. That Matt could have mentioned the incident today and didn’t.
He just doesn’t know what.
They’re juniors and Foggy things that maybe he’s in love with Matt Murdock.
Matt is a lot of things. Tall, dark, and handsome. Funny, smart, and kind. Passionate, righteous, and religious. But most of all, he’s-
“No, that’s wrong. I got it right.”
Competitive. He’s competitive.
“Mr. Murdock, you got that question incorrect. Now please sit back down.”
“But the answer’s JFK. Theodore Roosevelt might’ve been the youngest president, but you asked who was the youngest person to be elected to be president was. Roosevelt became president after McKinley was assassinated.”
“Matthew, if you don’t sit back down, you’ll be doing lines after class.”
Matt collapses down beside Foggy with a huff. His cheeks are flushed red and Foggy has the overwhelming urge to reach out and touch them. “It’ll be okay.” He says instead, patting Matt lightly on the back. “She’ll give you the point, she just doesn’t want to admit it in front of class.”
“That’s not the point, Foggy! It’s the- “
“The principle of it. Yeah, I know, Murdock. It’s always about the principle with you. Now will you shut that yap of yours? I’m trying to focus.”
Matt continues to sulk but the day finally drags to an end. Foggy waits for Matt to finish loading his book bag before he pushes away from the wall.
“Wanna walk with me to work?” He asks.
Matt crinkles his nose and shrugs. “Only if you’re walking there to quit.”
“Matt. Will you not do that? I can’t quite my job. It pays for all of our stuff.”
“What stuff? We’re wards of the state!”
“Our phones. Our late-night burger runs. Our college applications fees. Being a bus boy isn’t that bad.”
“They treat you bad. And you never stand up for yourself.”
“I do too stand up for myself!”
“Foggy. In all the time I’ve known you, I’ve never once heard you tell someone to back off. I mean, how hard is it? Just say it. Fuck off. Come on, practice.”
“I don’t want to.” Foggy tugs anxiously on a lock of hair and Matt sighs.
“Okay, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to push. Just- don’t let anyone think that they can push you around.”
“I mean it.” Matt looks so serious, and he stops in the middle of the sidewalk to “stare” straight into Foggy’s eyes. “You’re amazing, Foggy. Don’t let anybody make you feel like you’re anything short of perfect.”
They’re seniors and they’ve decided to go to law school together.
Matt insists on long hours in the library and Foggy is alternating between studying and flicking Matt’s ear in boredom. “Hey, nerd, can we go get some burgers or what?”
“Burgers from where?” Matt stretches, revealing a strip of stomach and boxers.
“Uh.” Foggy’s mouth goes dry and he points vaguely towards Tom’s, the bar and grill across the street from the library.
Matt’s lips twitch up in amusement. “Tom’s is closed, Fogs. Howa ‘bout we hit up Lucky Dragon or something?”
“What do you mean closed? It’s 4:00.”
“Yeah, I heard them say- “Matt snaps his mouth shut and frowns.
Oh. Right. Blind man. Whenever Matt does something that he shouldn’t be able to, he tenses up and gives noncommittal shrugs. It’s almost like he thinks Foggy doesn’t know that he’s- well. Psychic? Doesn’t know that he’s something.
“Heard them say what?” Foggy asks anyways as he shoves their stuff into their bag.
Codependence say what?
Matt gives -wait for it- a noncommittal shrug and latches onto Foggy’s elbow. “I’m really in the mood for some shrimp. Lead the way.”
They enjoy a quiet dinner. Matt snorts rice through his nose when Foggy does a Christopher Walker impersonation and they giggle like children when the other tables stare. It’s relaxing. After they pay and leave, they take a slow walk back to the orphanage.
Matt’s cane is dangling limply from his wrist as Foggy points out night time sights. “There’s a drag queen across the street. Very fierce looking, definitely your type. Want me to go score you some digits?”
Matt laughs loudly and stops walking to clutch his side. “I didn’t tell you I was gay so you could hook me up every two seconds, Foggy!”
“Well just ‘cause I’m not getting any action doesn’t mean you can’t!” Foggy says back, biting his lip nervously.
It’s not that he minds that Matt has a sex life. What Foggy feels for Matt goes beyond the physical. And it’s not that Foggy is jealous. He can’t -won’t- sleep with someone, not when they don’t know what Foggy could accidentally do in the heat of the moment. But sometimes it’s hard. Hard hiding so much from Matt, hard being alone, hard to wake up and see that face and know he can’t have it.
Foggy shakes away those thoughts. It’s been almost four years, he’s had plenty of practice at squashing his Matthew Michael Murdock feelings.
“You could, Foggy.” Matt’s voice is utterly serious, laughter forgotten. “You could have anybody, if you wanted.”
Foggy blinks. There’s something in Matt’s voice that’s too deep to just be encouragement from a friend. But just as Foggy almost opens his mouth to ask him to explain, Matt’s posture goes rigid and tough.
“What? What is it?”
“I think I heard...”
“Ahhhhhh!” A horrified scream fills the air, female and young.
Foggy’s never heard a scream like that and he instantly knows what it means. He takes off towards the mouth of the alley, Matt two uncannily smooth steps ahead of him.
“Shut the fuck up, you whore!” A man with his pants tugged to his waist is wrestling a young woman to the ground.
She screams and thrashes under him and Foggy throws himself between the two of them as soon as he’s close enough.
“Get away from him!” He can hear Matt yell, but it’s drowned out by the sound of Foggy’s nose crunching. Ow.
It’s painful- nothing compared to a spinal fluid extraction, but still. Foggy stumbles backwards and blinks away stars, only to see- oh shit.
Matt lifts the man up by his collar and punches him squarely in the face. He tries to push Matt away but he only gets another punch for his efforts and crumples to the ground. The girl lets out another scream from behind Foggy as Matt throws himself down on the man, fists flying. The man’s back snaps back and forth, each crack more sickening than he last.
“Oh my god, Matt, please stop!” Matt ignores Foggy’s plea as he wails on the now clearly unconscious man. “You can’t do this! Matt, you’re gonna kill him!”
When his friend doesn’t so much as slowdown in his assault, Foggy sucks in a deep breath and- “Freeze!”
Matt’s fist halts midair, dripping blood. The poor girl is hugging her knees to her chest, eyes wide in shock.
“Holy shit. Okay. Okay. Um. You,” Foggy points at the shaking girl. “Go across the street to the gas station. Tell someone that a man attacked you. Call the police. Tell them the man is unconscious in this alley because a stranger jumped him. When they ask for details, just say ‘it all happened so fast.’ Take care of yourself. Okay, go.”
Matt is still crouched on the ground with his fist midair. The man is still an unconscious and bleeding lump below him. Foggy’s heart stutters in his chest.
“Matt. Matt, I’m so sorry. I didn’t know what to do. You were going to kill him and I couldn’t let you. Just -” Man up, Nelson. “Just act of your own free will.”
Matt instantly lurches up and away. “What the hell? Foggy, what did you just do?” His bloody hands are still clenched into fists and Foggy has seen enough to know that Matthew Murdock isn’t psychic.
“I. I’m sorry, I swear. I just couldn’t let you kill him.” Foggy backs up until he bumps against the wall. “I couldn’t let you become a killer.”
“I don’t understand.” Matt’s fists lower slightly. “I just- why did I- “
“I can... sort of. Um. Control people’s minds?”
“That’s what you can do? Control people’s minds?!”
“Yes? I was genetically experimented on as a kid and now people follow any commands I give.” Foggy knew that this day would eventually come, but damn the look on Matt’s face. “I know it’s horrible and weird and- and I’ll move out tonight. You never have to see me again.”
Foggy tenses, waits for anger, for screaming, for-
Oh. That’s not what he’d been expecting.
“Prove it. Tell me to do something else.”
“I- I really don’t feel comfortable with that, Matt.”
“Do it. Show me.” His voice is steady, calm, almost intrigued, and his fight stance has relaxed into his trademark head cocked pose.
Trust Matthew Murdock to find psychopathic tendencies interesting.
“No. I don’t like using it. I really would just rather not.”
“I won’t get mad, Foggy. Just do it.”
“Won’t get mad? I could- I could make you piss yourself, like that time with Schmitt! Or I could tell you to bite your own tongue off. Are you insane? You should be running right now!”
“You could do all of that? With just words?” Matt’s voice still doesn’t carry the tone of fear that it should. Instead, he sounds almost... impressed?
Beginning to feel irritated by his friend’s lack of common sense, Foggy pushes himself away from the wall. “What the hell is wrong with you? I’m dangerous! You should hate me!”
“I don’t hate you.” Matt says it as if it’s the most obvious thing in the world. “I could never hate you. You’re- well, you’re Foggy. My best friend.” Matt peels off his jacket and starts to wipe at his face and hands. “I’m serious though. Give me a command. Tell me to do something I’d never do on my own.”
“Will you listen to yourself? No! I’m dangerous, Matt. And not ‘beat a man to death with my bare hands’ dangerous, which we’re going to be talking about.”
“Then tell me to talk about it.” Matt says, now standing directly in front of Foggy. “Your nose is broken, let me snap it back into place before it gets any worse.”
Foggy slaps away Matt’s incoming hand. “Please don’t do that.”
“Do you want to go to a hospital?”
Sharp scents, shiny knives, beep, beep, beep....
“Fine. But will you tell me how you know that it’s broken?”
Matt gives a pointed ‘look’ before his hands gently start to map out Foggy’s face. His nose is painful to the touch, but Matt’s feather light fingers hardly skim his skin until- Snap!
“Son of a bitch!” Foggy jerks away and wipes at the spurting blood. “Alright, Murdock. You asked for it.”
Deep breath. He said he won’t get mad.
“Tell me how you know my nose is broken.”
“I heard it crack, can hear the cartilage rubbing against the bone. I can smell the blood. And I can feel the heat of the swelling.”
What the fuck?
“What the fuck?” Matt steps back and looks at Foggy with genuine bewilderment. “I wanted to say it. It’s like it was the only thing I could do. I wanted to say it, even though I knew I didn’t want to?”
“No, no, no. I already explained my thing. Did you just say you can hear the cartilage in my nose?”
“I, uh, I can sense things. When I was blinded, I lost my sight. But everything else was amplified. I can hear- well, everything. I can hear everything. I can taste the bread from the bakery two blocks over in the air. I can smell what kind of soap whoever’s trash this is uses. I can even- Shit. Come on.”
Matt reaches out and yanks Foggy by the arm. He pulls him down the alley and out onto the other street. Foggy stumbles blindly -ha- after him, stumbling and sputtering. “Matt, can you please- “
“Sh. The cops are almost here.”
And- oh. Foggy can hear the sirens coming. Matt keeps tugging Foggy until they reach the orphanage. They cautiously creep up the creaking stairs and into their bedroom, where they collapse onto Foggy’s bed, panting and sweaty.
“That was- “
“I can’t believe- “
They giggle when they talk at the same time and the tension seems to melt away. Foggy nudges Matt’s arm. “Go ahead, if you’d like.”
“Hm.” Matt’s glasses are crooked and blood splattered but he still looks like a puppy when he tilts his head and raises his eyebrows. “It seems so obvious, now. The way you talk.”
“Yeah. I- It’s not easy, controlling every word out of my mouth. It’s exhausting.”
Matt nods eagerly. “I understand. I spend all day pretending like I need other people, when I’m more capable than anybody I’ve ever met. It makes everyday life so- “
“So tedious?” Foggy bumps his knee against his friend’s. “You don’t have to pretend with me anymore, okay? I want you to tell me everything you can do.”
Matt gets a look on his face like maybe he’s going to cry, and then lunges at the other man. He wraps his arms around his body and gives a watery laugh.
“Thank you, Foggy. Thank you so much. I was so scared to tell you. I didn’t want you to think I was a freak. But now the I know we’re both I special, I can tell you- “
“What?” Matt, covered in sweat and blood, smiles serenely and Foggy thanks the god that he doesn’t believe in for the chance to know Matthew Michael Murdock.
“Matt, I’m not special. What you can do- it’s a gift. You’re amazing.” Beautiful. Foggy swallows the lump in his throat. “I’m not gifted. I’m cursed. If I misspeak, if I lose concentration for even a second, I take away a person’s free will. Do you know what happens if I tell someone to go fuck themselves?”
Matt shakes his head. “It’s not like that. You could never hurt someone.”
“I have, Matt. You have no idea the stuff I’ve done.”
“Then tell me.”
And he does. He tells him about his brain tumor, the Thompsons, the years he spent with Kevin, and his family. Matt wipes away his tears and in return tells him about his accident, his father, Stick, and the war the he is prophesied to fight in. They fall asleep on the small bed, thighs brushing lightly.
They’re college kids now, tucked into their cramped college dorm and Foggy doesn’t have a single complaint.
After their confessions, Matt relaxes around Foggy. He’s still Matt; weirdly composed around strangers, irresistible to men and women alike, hilariously dry witted. But he seems freer. He happily pulls Foggy towards organic food trucks and dryly comments that, yes, Foggy, he can smell the burning lasagna that he’d unhelpfully flung out of the window.
It’s almost August and boiling out when Matt tries to fix the wiring in their AC unit. He’s taken over most of these kinds of things but Foggy is drawing the line here
“Please, Matt. I’m not going to let a blind dude nose around in an electrical panel.”
“Foggy.” Matt’s glasses have been discarded and his open face looks vaguely annoyed. “I can do it.”
Foggy shakes his head. “I don’t think so. Unless you can smell the difference between red and blue wires, I’ve got it covered.”
The taller man throws his hands up in exasperation but takes a step back. Foggy grins triumphantly. “Good, now stay there. Please”
“Mmm. You know you don’t have to do that.” Matt has an unhappy tilt to his lips now, where before there had been a fond smile.
“Say please all the time.” Oh, right.
While Foggy can finally lament the fact that it’s unfair that he can’t sing along to the musical gift that is the Spice Girl’s Tell Me What You Want, it still feels wrong to be open about his powers like Matt is. So he’s extra careful. He always adds an ‘I think’, a ‘please’, a question mark, whatever he needs to be one hundred percent sure he’s not controlling someone.
“You know that if you accidentally compel me, it’ll be okay.”
That’s the word Matt uses, whenever he talks about it. It sounds so mild for what Foggy does to a person. But Matt hasn’t seen it, not really. He’d been righteously angry at the stories Foggy had told him about Kevin, but it isn’t the same as seeing it firsthand.
So Foggy says “that’s not how it works” and picks up the screw driver. He doesn’t actually have any idea what he’s doing but the sweltering New York air is doing things to Matt’s skin -shiny, glistening, mesmerizing things- and Foggy is determined to fix it as soon as possible.
“Be careful. What do you mean that’s not how it works?”
“I am! This is me, being careful! Now will you shut up so that I can concentrate?”
Matt gives a whine high in his throat. “Can I please do it? I can’t stand this.”
“Can’t stand what? I’m almost 21, I think I can handle- fuck!” When Foggy turns to glare Matt into silence, the screw driver catches against one of the wires and sends a zap up his arm.
Matt is yanking him away from the panel before Foggy can even register the pain. Not that it’s significant- after the third electric shock session, Foggy got pretty used to being zapped. He stills lets out a dazed “ow” as he sticks the burnt finger into his mouth.
“No, don’t move. You’re bleeding.” Calloused hands pull at the sore finger and Foggy jerks away violently.
“Sto-. Please don’t do that. Please.” Normally Foggy doesn’t mind Matt’s touch but there’s something about an electrical burn that nags at Foggy’s trauma.
Matt doesn’t seem to notice Foggy’s panic over his own. “Oh god, your heart skipped, Foggy, I heard it. We need to get you to the hospital.”
“Matt, really- “
“Come on, get up. Here, take my- “
“I don’t like hospitals, I’d rather not- “
“Don’t be ridiculous. I know what I heard, just stand up-
Silence. Foggy manages to scramble away from Matt and tries to calm his breathing. Shit. The other man is frozen, eyes wide and hands stretching out.
“I didn’t mean to say that. I’m sorry. Matt, I’m so sorry. I just didn’t want to go to the hospital. Fuck! Just, uh. Act of your own free will.”
Immediately, Matt is back at Foggy’s side, though gentler than before. “Foggy, I’m so sorry. Are you okay?”
“What?” Foggy is panicking, he can feel it, he fucked up, he controlled Matt, he isn’t supposed to-
“I said are you okay. I didn’t mean to scare you. Take a breath, calm down.”
“I don’t- Matt. I controlled you. That’s twice. I shouldn’t- “
“It’s okay. Please breath, buddy. I’m not mad, I’m fine.” Matt’s glazed over eyes show concern and Foggy forces himself in slow his breathing. In, out, in, out. Just the way Mrs. Thompson taught him when he was a kid. Except it’s easier now. Before, there were bright lights and a knife pressed to his scalp.
Now there’s Matt.
Matthew Michael Murdock, who wakes up with messy hair and a pillow creased face and smiles at Foggy before he does anything else. Matt who runs his fingers over Foggy’s messy hair and makes dry remarks about Rapunzel. No matter where they are and who’s watching, he latches onto Foggy’s elbow. He’s become a solid weight that Foggy has grown so used to that he doesn’t even remember life before it. He’s consistent and kind and fierce and so inherently good and Foggy needs him like he needs air. With his face crinkling smiles, his playfully naive shrugs, his determination to do right by the world that has taken so much, taken everything, from the two of them. He’s Foggy’s entire existence in one tall, lithe, bendable but unbreakable package and- And he knows. He knows everything Foggy has to share and he isn’t mad, he’s understanding, accepting, forgiving.
And he’s looking a Foggy with a wobbling lip and blotchy cheeks. “Please say you’re okay, Foggy.”
Foggy doesn’t say he’s okay. Instead, he leans forward and press his lips to his best friend’s. Matt makes a muffled noise of shock before rocking forward and gently cupping those calloused hands to Foggy’s cheeks. It’s gentle, a press of lips more than anything, but they both pull away breathless.
“What...?” Matt reaches his hand out and runs a fingertip over Foggy’s still pursed lips.
“I probably should have asked. Sorry.”
Foggy lets out a gasp as Matt drags him onto his lap. “Stop saying sorry.” He says, before again claiming Foggy’s lips with his own.
They celebrate Matt’s 21st birthday with a six pack from a gas station and a DVD of Alien, Nelson Fogwell’s with a bottle of Walmart wine and a Night Court box set, and Franklin Nelson’s at Josie’s, a nasty dive bar that they both immediately take a shine to. That’s where they celebrate their first anniversary, their second anniversary, all the birthdays in between, and that where they’re headed to now, pre-law bachelor degrees and graduation caps tucked firmly under their arms.
They’d stopped by to see the nuns after the ceremony and had gotten a lovely fruit basket and some cheek kisses. Matt’s cheeks are rosy from the attention, his good ol’ catholic boy side satisfied before what is sure to be a night of thorough debauchment. He’s been giddy all day, gleefully yanking in Foggy’s elbow, hand, shirt, hair, whatever he can tangle his fingers into.
“Do you think she’ll give us free peanuts? On account of the whole Summa Cum Laude thing?” He sounds so earnest that Foggy gives an indulgent nod.
“Yeah, babe. I’m sure she’ll give us peanuts.” Matt hums, pleased.
When they get to the entrance, Matt opens the door for Foggy, showing more competence than he usually lets the public see. Foggy gives his boyfriend a shove towards their usual booth and gestures over his shoulder.
“I’ll grab the first round, go relax if you want.” Matt gives an eye roll but does as Foggy suggests.
When Foggy steps up to the bar, Josie slaps him on the bag and winks. “There’s my lawyer love bird. Ready for that Saturday Night Special?”
Saturday Night Special. That’s the somewhat unoriginal code name Foggy had given when he’d stopped by last week with a carefully wrapped package. Josie had smirked and cat called and told him not to ruin her bar’s ambiance with anything mushy.
“You got it, Joes.” He had said it so confidently last time, excitement pushing against his heart like a force of nature. Now the words come out of his mouth all raspy and stuttering and when he tries to pick up the beer mug of fore-mentioned Saturday Night Special, he realizes his palms are sweaty.
“Man up, Fogwell. You’re a lawyer, this’ll be a piece of cake.”
“Not a lawyer yet, but thanks.”
When Foggy makes it back to the table, Matt has his puppy look on, head cocked and eyebrows dipped. “What’ll be a price of cake? What’s a Saturday Night Special? All I wanted was a beer. Why’s your heart beating like that?”
“Will ya just drink up, Murdock?” Foggy manages to get out, sliding the beer mug across the table.
Matt looks like he’s about to open his mouth, when- Clink. Even Foggy can hear the noise of metal against glass and Matt’s worried expression melts away to- to tears.
“Shit, Matt, please don’t cry! It’s okay, we can just pretend this never happened, I’ll take the beer back and- “
“No!” Matt easily blocks Foggy’s outstretched hand and hurriedly tilts the glass up. He chugs it, cheap beer disappearing from the glass to leave only a glinting piece of metal in the left-over foam.
As Matt pours the ring his hand and runs his fingers over it, Foggy clears his throat. “Matthew Michael Murdock, will you marry me?”
Foggy belated remembers that he’s supposed to be on his knees, but he’s pulled into a still crying Matt’s arms before he gets the chance. “Yes! Yes, Foggy, of course!”
Of course? Matt’s face is red and blotchy and all crinkled up in one of his boyish smiles. He doesn’t move as Foggy untangles himself to pluck off his glasses and gives his all when they join in a searing kiss. They don’t separate until Josie gives a rowdy wolf whistle and the bars scattered patrons join her, claps and shouts turning Matt’s face red for an entirely different reason. He leans away from Foggy with an embarrassed chuckle and holds out an open palm towards Foggy, beer wet ring laying there.
“Would you do the honors, Nelson?”
They spend the rest of the night clinging to each other happily, sneaking kisses and getting steadily more buzzed. They end up getting Matt’s free peanuts and gracefully lose at pool to an old man with less teeth than tattoos. It’s a perfect night. They stumble home earlier than normal but Matt seems particularly eager to- well. He seems eager. And even though Foggy slips up a couple of times that night, Matt seems more than willing to forgive the broken “harder” that he’d coaxed out.
Life isn’t perfect between the two of them. Foggy finds himself getting frustrated with Matt’s savior complex and with the way he thinks anything less than perfection is failure. And on a few occasions, frightened by Matt’s bouts of violence. Never towards Foggy, of course, but the sight of Matt beating the rapist in that alley from years ago still haunts him.
“Could you just relax, please?” Foggy watches as he paces back and forth through their small apartment, hands balled into fists at his side.
“Relax? How can I relax? She’s crying, Foggy, she’s pregnant and crying and her boyfriend is yelling at her and we’re sitting down here like nothing’s happening!”
When Matt changes direction and heads towards the door, Foggy jumps up to catch his wrist. “Matt, will you think for a minute? I know you want to go running around saving everyone but you aren’t Batman!”
“I don’t want to save everyone.” Matt firmly jerks his arm out of Foggy’s grasp and takes another step towards the door. “Just her.” And then he’s gone, leaving their apartment feeling larger than Foggy knows what to do with.
Matt has spent hours, days, weeks, years trying to convince Foggy to forgive himself for what Foggy considers crimes against nature. And while Foggy is an inherently happy person who laughs loudly and often, he goes quite for days after one of his slip ups. On nights that Foggy cries into his pillow, Matt slips out their bedroom window and explores the city, unsure of how to help and unable to listen to his fiancé’s tears. Once the sun rises and Matt forces himself back home, he’s given a halfhearted kiss and an unusually large half of their bed.
“Does it make you feel better?” Foggy’s voice is snot thick and heart shatteringly small.
“Does what make me feel better?”
“Getting away from me for a while. Exploring the city on your own.”
Matt starts to run his fingers through Foggy’s hair but the other man flinches slightly. “It’s not about getting away from you, Fogs. It’s just- I like breathing in the city.” Foggy gives an understanding nod but Matt can hear him swallow down a cry.
But overall their life is peaceful, easy. No demons in the shadows and no monsters in their path.
So of course, that’s when Elektra shows up.
Thank you for the read! Hope you enjoyed!
Foggy is very focused on the shrimp cocktail he’s trying to eat when Matt stumbles into the kitchen with a beautiful dark-haired woman. “Hurry along, Matthew, we can’t keep our loves waiting.”
“This is it, here.” Matt reaches a ‘blind’ hand out in Foggy’s direction. “Babe, you still back here?”
Foggy smiles at the sight. Matt is as relaxed as he ever gets, with rosy cheeks and a quirked smile. “Right here, Matt. Who’s this?”
“Elektra Natchios. She asked if we wanna get out of here and find a real party.” Matt bumps into Foggy with a purpose and Foggy laughs as he hugs Matt to keep from falling over.
“A party? Where?”
“The where doesn’t matter.” Elektra’s voice is thick with an exotic accent and her eyes flash with mischief. “It’s the who that’s important.”
“When I went to get drinks, I ran into Elektra at the bar and I started talking- “
“Flirting!” Elektra playfully accuses, pointing a bejeweled finger at him.
“Talking, Foggy. I was talking to her. And then she goes- “
“I told him that he was wasting his time, that I had a very beautiful and very gay fiancée waiting for me back home.”
“And so I said me too! And she asked if we wanted to ditch this place for her fiancée’s penthouse.”
“It’s quite lovely, I promise. Won’t you come?”
Foggy immediately gets an off feeling but allows himself to nod. Matt has a habit of picking up strays, surely Elektra is no different. She herds them outside and into an absurdly expensive car -of dubious ownership- and Matt presses his lithe body against Foggy as he perches on his lap.
“Will you tell us about your fiancée?” Foggy asks.
“Of course, Mister...?”
“Nelson Fogwell. But everybody calls me Foggy.”
Her laugh is sweet, almost sickeningly so. “Charming.”
“Very.” Matt agrees as leans into Foggy’s neck with a laugh.
“Her name is Marcella. Short, curvy, blonde, and wickedly smart. Seems Matt and I have similar tastes, no?” She laughs again, carefree and wild. “She goes to Columbia as well, actually. She’ll be graduating law school next year.”
Matt makes a surprised, pleased noise. “Us too! We know Marci! Remember her, Fogs? Marci Stahl? She was in our Debate 260.”
“I think so, yeah.” Foggy knows exactly who Marci is. She’s the only person between Matt and Foggy on the Dean’s List. Smart, beautiful, an amazing lawyer in the making.
“You two will get along fabulously, I’m sure.”
When they get to their apartment building, Foggy leads Matt out of the car, through the doors, and into the elevator with a steady stream of descriptions. “They’ve got a chandelier, very classy. Oh Matt! They have an elevator guy. Hi, elevator guy.”
Matt wedges his elbow into Foggy’s rib with a giggle and Elektra grins charmingly at the man. “Good evening, Carlo. To the top, if you will.”
“Certainly, Miss Natchios.” When it comes to stop, they step out and Foggy lets out a low whistle.
“Damn. I wish you could get a load of this place, babe. It’s like, glass and steel and primary colors.”
“I’m sure you have a lovely home.” Matt says to Elektra instead of replying.
“Well thank you, dears. Now where oh where is my Marcella!” Elektra takes long strides across the empty room, her heel clacks echoing. “Dearest, I’ve brought you gifts!”
“If it’s another pet, I’m sending it back.” A voice at the far end of room draws all of their attention and the blonde bombshell that is indeed Marci Stahl from Matt and Foggy’s class walks into the room.
“Strays, my sweetest, I’ve brought you strays. Ones I believe you’re familiar with, no less.”
“Is that a Foggy Nelson I see? All gussied up for little ol’ me? And he brought along his side kick no less!” Marci has a way of saying cruel things and making them come out kind, and this is no exception. She has a lively smile on her face and her normally styled hair is soft and relaxed on her shoulders.
“That’s us. The token half blind, half chubby gay orphaned lawyer couple that was raised by nuns.” Foggy untangles himself from Matt to extend his hand.
Marci’s hand is soft and cool and firm and her laugh is the same way. “Of course, the power couple. I’m coming for your spot on the Dean’s list, Murdock.”
“Then you’d better hurry, Miss Stahl.” Make gives his charming smile and holds his hand out for a hand shake as well. “Now, I believe we were promised a party.”
“Oh, trust me,” Elektra says, wrapping her arms around Marci. “There’s plenty of parting to be had right here.”
And there definitely is. Marci pulls out a few bottles of boozes that could pay Matt and Foggy’s rent and slips what she calls “the greatest movie of all time” into the DVD player. When the opening credits light up the screen, Foggy dissolves into a puddle of giggles.
“What is it?” Matt whispers into Foggy’s ear.
“Legally Blonde!” Foggy manages to sputter, receiving a death glare from Marci.
“You better watch it, Foggy-Bear. This movie is my life coach.” That gets Matt and Elektra laughing as well and the last thing Foggy remembers is Elektra suggesting they do shots every time “pooh-bear” is said.
“Good morning, Foggy-Bear. Would you like an omelet?”
Foggy wakes up to Marci tapping him repeatedly on the nose. The morning light is streaming in behind her and between the glare and her cheery voice, Foggy thinks that he might hurl. “Whasssit?”
“Omelets. Ya know, fancy eggs?”
Foggy pats his hand around until he finds Matt’s face, which is pressed between Foggy’s waist and the couch. “Babe, wanna fancy egg?”
Matt nods wordlessly and wiggles deeper under Foggy’s side. “Yes, please, Marci.” Foggy says and Marci smiles, amused.
“Omelets it is. Elektra is gone already but you two can stay as long as you need.”
“Gone?” Foggy stretches widely and scratches his fingers through his grumbling fiancé’s hair- honestly, a puppy.
“Yeah, she’s a little inconsistent, if you hadn't noticed.” Marci’s voice filters over from the kitchen and Foggy follows it. “She’ll be hanging off my arm for two weeks straight and then disappear for days on end. It’s normal for her.”
“And that doesn’t bother you?”
“Does it bother you that Matthew has never seen you face?”
“If anything, it’s a blessing.” Foggy keeps his voice light and starts to open and close cabinets looking for plates. “I’d hate for him to realize how out his league I am, the poor blind bastard.”
“Which blind bastard are we talking about?” Matt lets his hand on the wall guide him into the kitchen and flashing one of his blindingly charming smiles.
“Nobody you know, dear.” Marci says playfully as she slides an omelet onto the breakfast bar. “Omelet with bell peppers, onions, mushroom, ham, and swiss. Need any hot sauce or something?”
“Matt doesn’t believe in condiments. I think I’d like some though, if it’s okay.” Foggy slides in next to his fiancé and puts a fork into his hand.
“You think?” Marcia gives Foggy a strange look, lips pursed and hip cocked. “For a confident guy, you sure beat around the bush, Foggy-Bear.”
Foggy’s heart ratchets up a notch and he flinches slightly when Matt’s warm and calloused hand wraps around his neck. “We were raised by nuns, Foggy’s cleaned many a toilet for forgetting to say please.”
“Nuns, right. Tell me about growing up there.”
They spend the rest of breakfast chatting and Matt and Foggy end up grabbing a taxi back to their apartment, content with the food and company. It isn’t until they’ve both showered and are curled around each other studying that Matt hums into Foggy’s side.
“I really like them. They remind me of us.”
“How so?” Foggy asks, remembering the cold and calculated smirk that Elektra wore and the light and carefree laugh that Marci had.
“They both seem... broken. And like they made each other whole again. I know you can’t hear it, but Elektra moves the way someone who has fought for her life does. And Marci holds her breath whenever someone walks up behind her. I think they’ve both been through something and they came out together and that’s how I feel about you.”
“So you’re comparing us to the gorgeous, filthy rich women who steal $100,000 cars for fun?”
Matt does the lip twitch that means he’s trying to hide a smile. “Yes?”
“Will you just get over here and kiss me?”
Now Matt does smile, widely and beautifully. “Yes.”
Months go by and Matt and Foggy develop a close friendship with the two women. Matt and Marci debate the law in passionate and heated conversations, red wine and dark beer sloshing when they gesture dramatically. Foggy and Marci bond over baked goods, musicals, and a love of all things tall, dark, and handsome. Foggy and Elektra don’t bond much at all. And Elektra and Matt, well....
They disappear for long stretches at a time, leaving Foggy and Marci to their soufflés and ballets. They’re almost always walking disasters when they return. Elektra will be barefoot with her stiletto heels dangling from her wrist, Matt will be missing a tie, one or both of them will be dripping wet, sweaty, dirty, or in any other manner of disarray. It’s disconcerting, for Foggy, to see Matt getting along so well with someone else. Not that he isn’t happy, of course. Foggy is thrilled to see Matt making friends outside of their relationship.
“Nelson, dear, hand me my brochette?”
But did it have to be her?
She’s overly formal where Matt is polite, overly vulgar where Matt is dry witted. Overly vindictive where Matt seeks justice.
“Sure. Here ya go.” Foggy hands Elektra her kabob -honestly, a brochette? - and leans back into Matt’s side. “So you ladies have any plans for New Year’s Eve?”
“Not unless you two have changed your minds and want to join us in Brazil for Christmas?” Marci wiggles her manicured eyebrows and Foggy snorts.
“She just wiggled her eyebrows, Matt. It was adorable.”
“As she always is.” Elektra presses a kiss to her cheek. “But truly, you should come with us. The orphanage will make it through a Christmas without you, surely.”
Matt shakes his head calmly. “The nuns are expecting us, we can’t back out now.”
“If you insist, you saints. Shall we do gifts now?”
The girls get Foggy a watch that compliments his good suit, with his and Matt’s engagement date engraved on the back. It’s sweet, and Marci possibly blushes a little when Foggy hugs her. They get Matt a pair of noise canceling head phones that he coos over for the appropriate amount of time, even though Foggy knows he’ll be able to hear through them. Marci giggles in delight when she opens the tickets to an underground street musical that Foggy had had to beg and grovel to his boss for. It was worth it, he decides, when the rosy cheeked girl sticks them to their otherwise barren fridge with a magnet. Elektra seems equally pleased with her antique throwing star that Matt had found on the internet somewhere. Foggy had thought it was a little strange, but so is Elektra and she seems genuine in her thanks.
“Oh Matthew, I adore it! I’ll hang it next to yours and Nelson’s wedding photo, if you ever actually decide to tie the knot.”
Matt blushes and nuzzles into Foggy’s neck. “We’re working on it. Law school is a little time consuming, if you haven’t noticed. Only one more semester and then we’re home free.”
“Says you.” Marci pouts as she pours them all glasses of wine. “You’ve already landed your internships. I’m trying to get in at Hogarth still. The whole lesbian angle is going to clinch the deal though, I’m sure.”
“Of course you’ll get it, Marci. You’re second in your graduating class at Columbia Law School. You’ll have ‘em eating outta the palm of your hand.” Foggy kicks her lightly in the ankle and she kicks back.
The rest of the night is smiles, laughter, and enough wine that Matt forgets to pretend to need Foggy’s help when they stumble home later. They curl up around each other in their freezing apartment and Foggy listens to Matt describe the city until he falls asleep.
“Nelson, are you really letting the blind man carry the presents?” Sister Judith glares at Foggy but he gives a shameless shrug.
“Don’t you know he’s more graceful than I’ll ever be? Besides, if I was carrying presents, who’d be watching the children?”
And maybe “watching” is a loose term, since he has a sleeping baby in each arm and the three toddlers that are currently residing at the orphanage are busy decorating him with tinsel and fake snow, but still.
Sister Judith gives a weary sigh and plucks up one of the babies out of his arms with a practiced motion. “If you insist. It’ll be on your conscience when he ends up crippled though.”
Foggy can hear Matt choke down a laugh from where he’s coming back down the stairs. “Sister, don’t fret so much. Is there anything else I can do?”
“Convince Nelson to clean up this mess while I get these ruffians ready for dinner?”
“Of course.” Matt smiles his charming smile and Foggy can feel his heart stutter. He’s so beautiful.
“Thank you, dear. Sister May, would you relive Nelson of baby duty?”
Another nun gently takes the other baby from Foggy’s arms and suddenly it’s just the two of them, back in the orphanage common room where they fell in love. It almost hurts how much Foggy cares for the other man, who’s still standing there with his dope-ish smile and kind, glasses covered eyes. Speaking of which-
“Would you like your present now, Matty?” Foggy’s voice comes out as a whisper and he clears his throat.
“Yes! I’ve got yours here too!”
“Me first, please?” Foggy says, reaching out to stop Matt’s hands from reaching into his pocket.
“Okay.” Matt holds his hand out flat and Foggy pulls out the warped box from his jacket and places it into the offered hand.
Matt quickly disposes of the wrapper and opens the box. “Oh. Glasses?”
“Yeah. I um. I found ‘em at be mall. They’re uh, they’re dark red and they’ll match your hair and your eyes and they’re real sturdy and I got the warranty in case you don’t like them but- mmm.” Matt cuts Foggy off with a kiss and then leans back with a smile.
“I love them.”
“You can’t even see them.” Foggy points out, but doesn’t argue when Matt sets his old glasses aside and slides them on.
“But you can. How do I look?”
Beautiful. Always so beautiful. “You uh- you look good, babe. Very grown up.”
“Thanks.” Matt gives a wry grin before bouncing on the balls of his feet. “Okay, your turn. Close your eyes.”
“I didn’t make you close your eyes!” Foggy jokes, but does as instructed. After a moment, Matt reaches out and puts a small, smooth piece of glass into his fist.
“Okay. Open ‘em.”
Foggy blinks away stars and. Oh. In his palm is a picture frame, small and new and containing a ripped and dirty picture. A picture of a familiar family, a man, woman, and young girl. They’re all blond and smiling and Foggy feels a lump in his throat and a burning in his eyes. “Is that...?”
“It’s your dad and sister. And Anna. I know that you don’t know them but I just thought that- oh, Foggy, don’t cry, baby.” Foggy blinks and realizes that, yes, he is crying. He can feel the warm drops sliding down his cheeks.
“It’s a happy cry, I promise.” He sniffles out, giving a watery smile. Matt cradles Foggy’s face in his hands and thumbs away a tear.
“I know. I knew you’d love it. Elektra said-“
“Yeah, Elektra said it was too depressing for a holiday, but I knew you’d love it.”
“You showed Elektra a picture of my family?” Foggy feels a sense of dread in his stomach, feels his heart speed up- feels anger, something he feels so rarely, cloud his judgement. “Did you... did you tell her? About me?”
“No, Foggy! Of course not! I just needed her help breaking in. I wouldn’t have been able to see which pictures I was taking without her.” Matt’s hands are still cupping Foggy’s face and the shorter man angrily pushes them away.
“You did what?! Did you just say you broke into my dad’s house? Are you insane? Matt, do you realize how stupid that was? You could’ve gotten caught, we never would’ve been able to sit the bar exam! Or worse, Kevin might still have people watching them! Not to mention the fact that Elektra has enough information on me to start putting pieces together!”
“Foggy.” Matt’s face is equal parts shocked and hurt. “I didn’t get caught, I’d never put you or them in danger like that. And I don’t understand why you’re so upset. It’s just Elektra.
“Just Elektra?” Foggy takes one, two steps backwards, away from his fiancé. “Matt, we can’t trust anyone. It’s supposed to be you and me. She could be dangerous. She could be a spy from the government looking for me, she could be under Kevin’s control, she could be working for the Thompsons or their lab! You have no idea what she’s after!”
“After? She’s out friend, Foggy, she’s not after anything!” Matt doesn’t look hurt now. He looks angry, his self-righteous fury puffing up his chest and tightening his fists.
“She’s a stranger, Matt! We’ve know her less than half a year!”
Matt takes a step forward. Foggy flinches back. The air is tense, silent and heavy. Matt looks like he’s about to say something just as the door swings open.
“Are you two coming down or what?” One of the sisters pokes her head in and smiles warmly.
“Actually, Sister.” Foggy steps forward and shoves the picture frame against Matt’s chest. “I’ve got to get going. Matt can still spend the night though.”
And with that, Foggy is jogging down the steps and out into the cold, not giving the orphanage or the boy he met there a decade ago a second glance.
Foggy spends the night in a cold and empty apartment and wakes up to a bed that feels far too big. Within seconds of opening his eyes, Foggy rolls out from under the covers and reaches for the nearest clean pants he can find.
“Ya done fucked up, Nelson. Fix this.” After brushing his teeth, quickly running his fingers through his hair, and grabbing his keys, he flings open the apartment door.
Matt is standing in the hallway, one hand raised in a fist to knock and the other clutching a wilting bundle of daisies.
“I um, I got flowers. The lady at the shop said they were cheerful looking.” Matt awkwardly shoves the bundle forward, and Foggy numbly accepts them.
“They are.” Foggy lies, squeezing the pathetic bouquet to his chest.
“I’m so sorry, Foggy. I am, I promise.” Matt looks like he’s going to cry, lip trembling and eyes blinking behind his new glasses.
“No, babe. Matty, I shouldn’t‘ve gotten mad. It was a wonderful gift, I was just surprised that you shared so much with her.”
Matt lurches forward and wraps his body around his fiancé, strong arms pushing his warmth into the other man. “I’ll never do it again, I swear. You’re right, we need to be careful.”
“We do.” Foggy mumbles into Matt’s shoulder. “But we also deserve friends and lives. It’ll be okay. Just...”
“Just what?” Matt’s tense voice is giving way to contentment and Foggy gives him a light kiss.
“Just please be careful with Elektra? You’re right, she’s obviously gone through something. And that’s means that she’s got secrets too.”
“I will.” Matt says as he pushes his fingers into Foggy’s hair and deepens their kiss. “I will. Now will you lead a blind man to bed, Mr. Fogwell?”
“Leading the witness, Mr. Murdock? I might have to hold you in contempt of court.”
Matt lets out a delighted laugh and toes off his snow wet boots by the door. “No objections here, Your Honor.”
Foggy roughly shoves the taller man’s coat onto the ground and pushes his chilled hands under Matt’s threadbare t-shirt. “Mmmm. Abs.” He lets out a cartoonish moan, just so that he can hear his fiancé’s laugh again.
It works and Matt swings Foggy up into his arms and carries him to their bedroom. “You may begin, Counselor.”
An hour later, both men are satiated and panting. Matt is running his fingers through Foggy’s hair and narrating a neighbor’s sitcom style phone call with her mother.
“So the mom’s going on about how corrupt New York City is and Nancy is saying that at least she has friends here and- Ha! Nancy said that if she’s that worried about her virtue, maybe she should send her a chastity belt!”
“No way, really?” Foggy laughs into Matt’s side and blows raspberries against his skin. “Do you think either of our moms would’ve been like that? Annoying, but from a place of love? Do you think Anna makes Candice eat all of her vegetables?”
“Probably. I mean, my birth mom is still out there. They could be scolding our hypothetical half siblings as we speak.”
“Hm.” Foggy considers it before shaking his head. “I don’t know. My mom would’ve loved you, though. She wasn’t a very nurturing woman, from what I remember. But she was driven. She would’ve respected you.”
“Dad- Dad would’ve thought you were the greatest thing ever. All he ever wanted was for me to go to school, fall in love, be happy. I bet if he’d gotten the chance to meet you, he’d have told everyone he had two sons. Probably would’ve wanted to reach you how to box, so that you could look out for his blind son.” Matt’s voice is far off and gentle, a nostalgic smile lighting up his lips.
“Box, huh? Battlin’ Jack would’ve had the patience to teach me?” Foggy play jabs at Matt who slaps it away gently.
“You’d be a good Padawan!” Matt looks almost offended. “Anybody would be lucky to teach you!”
And maybe it’s the fear that their pasts are eventually going to catch up with them- or maybe it’s the feel of a sweaty and breathless Matt under his body- but Foggy hears the words come out of his mouth without his brain’s approval. “What about you?”
“Would you like to teach me?”
Matt frowns and shakes his head. “I don’t think so, Foggy. I’m not- when I fight, it’s not- I wouldn’t want to hurt you.”
“You wouldn’t!” Foggy insists, sitting up and prodding at Matt’s chest. “And I should know. At least the basics, right? Please, it’d be fun?”
Matt looks unsure, which means Foggy is going to win. “I mean, our pasts aside, it’s a wonder I haven’t been mugged already. New York is awash with suspicious characters, Matt!”
“You’d just tell them to stop.”
“What if they’re deaf?”
“A deaf mugger? That’s your argument?”
“Says the blind ninja!”
“I’m not a-“ Matt bites his lip and runs a hand down Foggy’s naked chest. “You’ll be scared. Seeing me like that, it will scare you.”
“Like you said, Matt. I can just tell you to stop. Not that I ever would need to, but- “
“Okay.” Matt interrupts, his ‘idea’ face taking over his handsome features.
“Okay?” Foggy asks, through by Matt’s sudden shift in mood.
“Under one condition.”
Matt sits up too, so that he’s face to face with Foggy. “You help me practice fighting off your powers.”
Foggy flounders for an answer, gestures wildly between the two of them, tries to slow his breath, because what?
“Wait, Foggy. Come on! There’s got to be a way to control it. How will we ever learn if we don’t experiment? And I trust you, you’ll never have to worry about me getting mad or hurt- what could possibly go wrong?”
You’ll become scared of me, Foggy wants to say. You’ll realize I’m a monster. But that’s what Matt thinks too, isn’t it? And Foggy knows he could never be scared of Matt, not really.
“You have a deal, Murdock. But you gotta promise you’re going to take this seriously!” He playfully waggles a finger at his fiancé who reaches out licks up the digit, red tongue darting back into his mouth.
“Promise. Now get back over here, Nelson.”
This was going to be awesome.
This was not awesome.
They’ve been at it for two months, and Foggy is confident that it’s a waste of both of their time.
Foggy was sweaty, sore, tired, and Matt wasn’t showing the slightest sign of letting up. Foggy didn’t complain though, only nodded as Matt re-explained a combination move that Foggy felt decidedly sure was not included in ‘the basics’.
Foggy darts forward, throws a right, left, right, and then ducks under Matt’s reaching arms and pushes as hard as he can into Matt’s back. The taller man falls to the floor and easily springboards back up, face glowing with a giddy smile.
“Fantastic! I bet you could take down anybody without formal training at this point.”
“And who do we have to fear that doesn’t have formal training, Matt?” Foggy says bitterly, flopping to the ground.
“Water break?” Is all Matt says.
Foggy nods and Matt retrieves their water bottles before joining him on the floor and pressing a sweaty kiss to Foggy’s neck. “Okay, your turn. Compel me.”
Foggy pushes down the twist in his gut and nods. “Okay, um. Touch your toes.”
Matt instantly does so and then grunts in frustration. “I know we can do this, Fogs. Can you try something longer? Something that will take a long enough time for me to focus on the feeling?”
“Like what?” Foggy asks, fingers absently drawing patterns along Matt’s back.
“I don’t know. I just need time.” Foggy stays silent, content to never command Matt again, but the other snaps his fingers happily. “I know! Tell me to hold my breath?”
Foggy shakes his head firmly. “Kevin used to do that to Albert all the time, you’ll just hold it until you pass out. I’ll just tell you to do jazz hands or something. Ready?”
“No, not ready! Foggy, it’s got to be something I’m not willing to do normally if we’re going to figure out how to control it. It needs to be something....”
“Painful.” Foggy hugs his knees to his chest and shakes his head. “I’m not doing that, Matt. When you think of something else, let me know.”
Matt’s lips twist to the side in reluctance but he stands and stretches anyways. Foggy follows suit, ignoring his muscles protesting at the movement. Anything to keep Matt off the topic of Foggy’s powers.
He doesn’t let it go though. Weeks pass, and everyday Matt “the Martyr” Murdock tries to smoothly debate his way through Foggy’s resolve not to compel Matt to do anything dangerous. He still gives harmless commands though, and Matt insists that he’ll improve with enough practice. Foggy’s “boxing” does improves, though it’s more Matt’s own unique style than boxing.
The girls are still a huge part of their lives, Marci becoming more lovable and Elektra more mysterious the longer they know each other. Marci and Matt cram for the upcoming bar exam, while Foggy lounges nearby wherever they are, hoping to absorb some of their knowledge.
It’s a couple hours before one of these study dates when Foggy has a genius idea.
They’re sparring, Foggy throwing punches that Matt is easily dodging, when it comes to him like a light bulb. He’ll never make it in a real fight if he doesn’t know how to get up from a punch, right? And Matt said he wanted Foggy to tell him do something he’d never do on his own free will....
“Matt.” He says before he can change his mind. “Hit me.”
Foggy feels more than sees the punch. His head whips to the right and he stumbles back a few steps before dropping to the ground. Pain is radiating out from his left cheek bone and Foggy tentatively reaches up and touches it. Ow.
“Fuck! Oh my god! Foggy, are you okay? I’m so sorry, baby, let me see.” Matt is on the ground next to him instantly, calloused hands gently pushing away his fingers to tap at the spot. “I don’t know why I- oh.”
As quickly as Matt was at Foggy’s side, he now lurches away. “Matt-“ Foggy starts, but his fiancé cuts him off.
“You- you told me to- I would never- why would you do that to me?” Matt’s face, always so expressive, is blank, empty. “You promised you would never do that to me.”
“You wanted to practice fighting off commands that you’d never do on your own. And I need practice taking a punch. Win win.”
Before the words leave his mouth, Foggy know that it was the wrong thing to say. Matt turns and strides away, grabs his phone, cane, and keys, and starts to cram his feet into his worn sneakers.
“Matt, wait, I’m sorry. But I’m fine! It was just a light jab, it probably won’t even- “
The sound of the door slamming shut cuts him off.
“Bruise. Damn.” Foggy considers chasing after him, but he knows that Matt will just outrun him anyways. He resolves to meet Matt at Marci’s. Matt never stays mad for long, and that will give him time to relax.
When Foggy arrives though, Matt and Elektra are nowhere to be seen and Marcia is perched on the edge of the counter, jacket resting in her lap.
“Shall we?” She asks, delicate frown twisting her features.
“That bad, huh?” Foggy asks.
“Elektra was already in a foul mood when Matty got here, and his particular brand of doom and gloom only fueled it. What were you two fighting about?”
“I took a little artistic liberty with the wording of a promise. You?” Marci gets up and slips on her jacket.
“I caught her sharpening a six-inch knife in the bathroom.” Foggy follows her into the hallway and watches as she locks the door. “I found an address written down in her desk, I think it’s our best bet. Do you know how to drive?”
“I haven’t in a few year- “ Since I was 13… “But I think it should be fine. Where are we headed?” She relays the address as they buckle into Elektra’s absurd convertible and carefully pull out onto the busy New York streets.
Foggy drives carefully, worrying at his lip as they go. Maybe Matt was more upset than he thought? Maybe he shouldn’t’ve said what he had. But Matt never gets mad at Foggy, let alone so mad that he runs off without talking about it. Foggy is pulled out of his train of thought by Marci pointing to the correct driveway. She was right- the house is other worldly nice.
As Foggy climbs out of the car, he notices that the front door is open. He speeds up, jogging down the long front yard, and he can hear shouting as he gets closer. He slides to a halt in the doorway, Marci close behind him, to find-
Shit. Matt is all but cowering against the wall, face and fists splattered with blood and expression distraught. Elektra is frozen mid gesture, pointing at… someone? Someone tied to a chair, face beaten to a pulp and unconscious.
“Foggy!” Matt says, tears beginning to well up in his eyes. “I wouldn’t have done it, I swear! I would never do that!”
“Do what?” Foggy asks, as he takes another cautious step into the room.
“This is none of your business, Nelson.” Elektra snarls. “Take Marcella and go back home.”
“Marcella isn’t going anywhere!” Marci shouts from behind Foggy. “What the fuck have you done, Ellie?”
Foggy takes Elektra’s distraction as a chance to dart towards Matt and wrap his fiancé in his arms. “It’s okay, baby. It’s alright. Can you tell me what’s going on?”
Matt buries his head into Foggy’s shoulder and gestures vaguely towards the unconscious man in the chair. “It’s- he’s the one. He killed my dad, Foggy. And- and Elektra found him and she- I wouldn’t have done it, please believe me!”
Foggy’s brain clicks and his head snaps to look at Elektra. She is as elegantly dressed as always, but her posture shifts oh so subtlety from inconspicuous to dangerous- deadly. Marci is still standing in the doorway, face stuck between anger and confusion. Foggy isn’t confused anymore.
“Who sent you?”
“What?” Elektra asks, voice too loud in the echoing parlor.
“I said,” Foggy steps forward, blocking Matt from view. “Who sent you?”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“Was it the Thompsons?” Foggy’s voice comes out strong and unwavering. “Tell me.”
“It was Stick.” The words pop out of Elektra’s mouth at Foggy’s command. Her face clouds over with confusion and Foggy feels Matt stiffen behind him.
“Tell me why.”
“He wants to pull Matthew back into the fight. He needs him to fight against the Hand. What the hell are you doing to me?” Where there was confusion on Elektra’s face there is now fear. Foggy knows, in a small part of his mind, that he’ll regret this tomorrow. But right now, all he can feel is anger. Anger that Elektra -that Stick- would try and take Matt from him.
“Pick up that knife.”
“Foggy, wait!” Matt tugs at Foggy’s shoulder but Foggy doesn’t turn.
“Press it to your throat.”
Elektra does and Foggy dimly hears Marci gasp in the background. “Tell me: What exactly was your plan here? Start from the beginning.”
“Stick sent me to seduce Matt. When I found that he was already engaged, I had to sway him with friendship. I found Marcella to get closer to you two. I was told to do whatever I needed to bring Matt back to Stick.”
Marci starts to cry, quiet and reserved tears that come with practice. Matt doesn’t let go of Foggy’s shoulder but his grip goes slack. Foggy swallows down the anger that is coursing through his veins.
But you can control people, Frankie….
“Leave. Find Stick, tell that if you or him ever come near the three of us again, I won’t hesitate.”
The sound of the knife hitting the floor and Elektra’s heels clacking drowns out the sound of Matt dialing the phone.
“Hello. I’d like to report the location of a wanted felon.”
Constructive criticism is a gift!
“It was all a lie.” Marci is laying on the floor of Matt and Foggy’s dingy apartment, dumbly gazing at the ceiling. “We dated for 9 months, we were engaged 7 months. She bought me a kitten. And it was all a lie to get close to some blind orphan I go to school with.”
“Hey.” Foggy protests. “He’s not any blind orphan, he has superpowers. That’s gotta make you feel better, right?”
“Oh. Um.... Well at least you didn’t drop out of school for her or something, right? ‘Cause like, that’d’ve been bad. Oh! And she didn’t take Miss Whiskers!”
“Shut up, Foggy.”
“Right. Shutting up.” Foggy slumps back into the worn coach and barely contains a put-upon sigh.
Matt was out searching the city for any trace of Elektra. Once the shock of the situation had worn off, he’d thrown himself into a righteous anger, fists swinging and lips stuck in a snarl. When he’d gone and Marci and Foggy had finished taking care of the police and Sweeney- God, poor Matt -Foggy had gently herded a shocked Marci back to his apartment. He’d offered to take her back to hers- and Elektra’s -and she’d silently shaken her head no.
“Do you think she chose me ‘cause she knew you and I’d be friends?”
“I think she chose you because you’re smart, funny, and smoking hot. I think the fact that we’re besties material was just a bonus.”
Marci gives a soft laugh and sits up. “You’re a real player, Nelson Fogwell.”
“Actually, it’s Franklin Nelson. Since the cat’s outta the bag and all. I was kidnapped by some scientists when I was a kid, I’m sorta hiding from them. And their son, Kevin, who also has powers. So, if you ever meet a snotty, tall, dark haired British man about our age, would you cover your ears?”
“Because you guys are.... telepathic?”
Foggy shrugs and picks at a tear in the cushion. “If that’s how you wanna describe uncontainable, involuntary mind control. Do you remember when I told you to pass me the remote a few weeks ago?”
“I remember feeling weird, I guess. Is that all you do?”
Foggy gives a bitter, halfhearted laugh. “I wish. I’m dangerous, Marci. Please don’t forget that, whatever you decide to do. Matt and I are both dangerous.”
Marci’s silence greets him, stretching between the two friends. He’s about to offer to go find food when Marci’s normally confident voice stops him in a cracked whisper.
“My mom is in prison for treason. My step-dad was a high-ranking official in the Russian government. She- she made a deal, told them everything she knew is exchange for citizenship for Anton. But he wasn’t granted a Witness Protection detail and the Russians weren’t exactly happy with him, so- So if you ever meet a tattooed, muscular Russian, tell him to leave us alone.”
“Us?” Is all the Foggy manages, heart breaking when Marci wipes away a stray tear.
“Well I can’t leave you two to fend for yourselves. I mean, look at this dump. Black couch with a brown throw rug? Positively atrocious, Foggy-bear. I can still call you Foggy, right? Because Nelson-bear just doesn’t have the same ring.”
Foggy nods dumbly, smile fixed firmly to his face. Whatever happens, at least Marci Stahl is on their side. The two eventually drag themselves up and down the street where they pick up some pizzas and beer and when they get back to the apartment, Matt is sitting cross legged on the recliner, Miss Whiskers perched in his lap.
“Marci-” Matt says, face indescribably sad and kitten held out like an offering. “I’m so sorry that-”
“Sorry that your sensei’s protege seduced me to try and draw you to the dark side?” Her voice betrays the smile she’s trying to hide and Matt gives a relieved sigh.
“I was going to say sorry that there’s no way for you to beat me on our Contract Negations final next week, but that works too.”
“You just watch me, Murdock. Pepperoni or Hawaiian?”
“Pepperoni. The day a Murdock eats pineapple on a pizza is the day my great aunt Patti rises from her grave.”
Marci laughs as she plucks the kitten out of Matt’s hands and cradles her to her chest. “More for me. At least Foggy here has some taste.”
Foggy nods vigorously as he climbs onto Matt’s lap. “Exactly. I’m the very essence of culture. Now should we watch Ace Ventura or Austin Powers?” Marci gives a pitiful groan and Matt viciously tickles his side.
So, this is what family feels like.
“Left, right, left, dip, left, right, and-” Thump. “Oof. And swipe the legs.” Matt reaches a hand up and Foggy tugs him back to his feet. “Good job. Your turn.”
Foggy wipes at his brow and gracelessly collapses down beside Marci on the couch. “Tell Marci here that you don’t like her homemade alfredo sauce.”
“Marci, I don’t like your homemade alfredo sauce.” Matt visibly stiffens and then frowns. “Sorry, I didn’t mean that.”
“Rude, Matty. You really know how to kick a girl when she’s down.” Marci shoots him a smile as she taps away at her laptop.
“Down? Please tell me that you’re not still talking about you A-? It’s still all A’s!” Foggy waves a hand between Marci’s face and the laptop screen. “And writing a letter to the professor isn’t going to help!”
“Are you insulting my powers of persuasion?”
Matt laughs tugs at a lock of Foggy’s hair. “Watch it, babe, I heard her convince a street prophet to admit he wasn’t God yesterday.”
“Oh my god, stop creeping, Murdock. That was three blocks over.”
“Well, what can I say, Stahl? Your voice carries.”
“And your voice grates. Have you scheduled your bar exam yet?”
“Next Tuesday. You?”
“Monday. Aaaaand sent. Alright, boys, I’m headed to harass a middle-aged man who clearly misread my essay. See you tonight!”
Marci glides out of their apartment like she owns it and Foggy and Matt are left sweaty and content on the couch. They watch tv with their legs tangled together and eventually drag themselves up and into the shower. When they curl up in bed, Foggy presses his cold toes against Matt’s warm legs and presses his head against Matt’s shoulder.
“Do you think we’ll both fail the bar exam spectacularly, lose our internships, and have to become circus performers?”
Matt snorts and runs his hand up and down Foggy’s back. “No, I think we’re both gonna ace it, wow them at Landman and Zach, and go on to open our own law firm where we serve our city with pride.”
“Mmggkay.” Foggy mumbles into Matt’s side, closing his eyes and drifting asleep.
Nine months come and go and Foggy and Matt get everything that he’d dreamed of. They and Marci blow the bar exam out of the water and go on to their perspective internships with ease. They find an apartment in Hell’s Kitchen that fits them perfectly, a cozy studio with a fire escape exit for Matt’s midnight runs and a sliver of Foggy’s dad’s old hardware store visible from the window. Marci gets an apartment in the same building, a floor down, because “I need to be able to keep an eye on you losers without you ruining my bachelorette pad.”
They work hard, twelve-hour days that leave little time for their normal workouts and mind control practice. Foggy can tell that Matt’s spirits are waning, can tell that any day now Matt is going to either quit or lose his temper. And on top of that, there are.... other struggles.
Matt is kept awake at night by a young girl crying. Foggy calls child protective services and cries himself when they don’t do anything. He has to talk Matt down from the edge when he wants to track the man down, insists that they call one more time.
“We’re lawyers now. We’ve gotta do this the right way.”
Matt nods seriously and Foggy sighs in relief. Over the next few days, Matt seems stuck in a somber mood but doesn’t say anything else on the topic. And when Matt finally explodes at work, all but pleading Foggy to quit and start the law firm that they’d dreamed off, Foggy instantly agrees. They steal a box of bagels, make out in front of the homophobic secretary on floor two, and head to the bank to apply for a loan. After they finish at the bank, Matt presses a quick smooch to Foggy’s lips and promises to meet him at Josie’s in a few hours.
“I’m just going to swing by the orphanage, tell the sisters the good news.”
“It’s bad news, Matt. We’re unemployed.” Foggy says playfully, but gives him another kiss and pushes him towards the right direction. “Give the kids a hug for me, okay?”
“Of course. Love you.”
Foggy takes a moment to follow Matt with his eyes as the man slips into an alley and undoubtedly climbs up a fire escape to traipse over the city. Once he’s lost sight of him, he drags himself to Marci’s office to break the news.
She takes it... well?
“So, what do we need to first?” She asks, immediately pushing aside the folder she was reading and perching her chin on a neatly manicured hand.
“To get our practice going. We’ll need an office, obviously, and a small loan to get things started. Do you think we can apply for a license to practice today or do we need to draw up a business plan first?”
What? Foggy makes a vague hand gesture and Marci nods.
“You’re right, we’ll just google it. Where’s Matt at, Foggy-bear? Already off scrounging up some down and out destitute innocents?”
Foggy manages to pull himself together and a smile takes over at his face. “You’re coming with us.”
“Well, Foggy-bear, of course I’m coming. Without me there to balance out your lovers’ quarrels, you’d close down within a year.”
“We do not quarrel.” Foggy insists. “We bicker. There’s a distinct difference.”
“Right.” Marci smiles back at him and Foggy’s heart floods with affection. “Just give me a moment to tell my quick to anger boss that I’m quitting the job I begged for nine months and we’ll be on our way.”
“No rush! We’re not meeting him until later tonight at-”
“Yeah, Josie’s, I get it.”
Matt practically falls through the doorway of Josie’s, fifteen minutes late and sweaty and with a busted lip.
“Murdock,” Marci says dryly. “Better late than never.”
“And better bleeding than broken. Will you come here, you dork? What the hell happened to your face?” Foggy snatches Matt’s chin in his hands as soon as he’s close enough and leans in to inspect the fresh wound.
“I just missed a jump, Fogs, I’m fine.” Matt smiles his dazzling smile, the smile Foggy fell in love with, and presses a quick kiss to Foggy’s lips. “Still kissable and everything.”
“This wouldn’t happen if you walked on the sidewalk like a normal human.” Foggy points out for what feels like the millionth time. He still pushes Matt’s beer in front of him and reaches over to tangle their fingers together. “Just be more careful.”
“Yeah, I will, yeah. Did you tell Marci the good news?”
“That we’re unemployed and about to become one of the staggeringly un-encouraging new business owner statistics? Sure did!” Foggy forces some cheer that he doesn’t feel into his voice, nerves getting more frayed as the past twelve hours becomes a reality.
Matt snorts into his beer. “And what did you have to say, Miss Stahl?”
“That we had better find an office with a view, Mister Murdock.”
And unlike Foggy, who always seems to look for the cracks in people’s facades and for the shadows in the corners, Matt just nods brightly at Marci’s oh-so-casual ‘we’.
“We. That we shall. Another round, Josie. The law office of Fogwell, Murdock, and Stahl is open for business.”
They laugh, drink, and have an all-around good time. Matt seems to have shaken his dark mood completely and Foggy basks in the carefree laughs that’s he’s been able to coax out of his fiancé all night. They stumble home together, Marci piggy back on Matt’s back and Foggy tasked with carrying heels, glasses, and cane.
As the tuck each other in for the night, Foggy has enough energy to voice one last thought, a quiet whisper into the night.
“Is she crying?”
“No, Foggy. She’s not crying tonight.”
“Thank God.” Foggy mumbles back, before falling asleep.
He misses the way Matt’s swollen lip twists up into a victorious smile.
Karen Page is.... beautiful, obviously. And scared. And according to Matt’s freaky hearing, innocent. Foggy wonders, briefly, if Kevin had told her to do it but he banishes that thought from his mind. Not everything has to come back to Kevin.
After they go over the basics, Matt and Foggy lead Karen back to their apartment building where Marci is waiting with warm clothes and a cup of expensive tea. She offers Karen her couch and the shivering mess readily accepts.
“Please don’t hesitate to come get us, okay?” Foggy asks, leaning against the door frame. “Matt and I are just a hop skip away.”
“And trust me, for the teddy bears that they seem, they both pack a mean right hook.” Marci says it so lightly that anybody who knew Matt less wouldn’t be able to catch the stiffening of his back.
“Honestly, Karen.” The man steps forward until his cane bumps against the edge of couch and then kneels in front of the woman. “We’re right upstairs. We’ll protect you.”
“I will.” Karen whispers softly, reaching out to squeeze Matt’s hand. “Thank you. Thank you all three of you. I thought I was done for.”
“Never gonna happen. Matt here has a soft spot for sexy blondes.” Foggy winks and runs his hand through Matt’s hair. “Isn’t that right, babe?”
“Only you.” Matt snatches Foggy’s hand and plants a kiss to the palm.
Foggy hears Karen give the quiet “oh” that everyone makes when they put together the ‘not quite brothers’ vibe and he smiles at her one last time. “My fiancé and I are going to try and catch some shut eye. We’ll see ya tomorrow.”
“Night, boys!” Foggy hears Marci coo before the door swings shut.
As Matt and Foggy get ready for bed, Matt keeps up a narrative of the conversation downstairs.
“She has a copy of that spreadsheet somewhere, Foggy. It’s going to get her killed if she isn’t careful.”
“Or it could be the key to her freedom?” Foggy suggests around a mouthful of toothpaste. He spits into the sink and looks at Matt in the mirror. “And honestly, babe? Me, the optimistic one? You really are in a mood lately.”
Matt shrugs uncomfortably and takes his glasses off. “It’s just- stress. But you know that I love you, right? More than anything, Foggy, you have to know that I love you.”
Foggy frowns and slips his hand against Matt’s cheek. “Of course. You’re my whole world, Matty.”
Matt bites his lip and nods. “Okay. Why don’t you go to sleep? I think I’m going to stay awake, read up on Union Allied some, alright?”
Foggy nods in agreement and kisses Matt on the cheek before slipping into their bedroom and under the covers. He shuts his eyes and feels sleep take him under.
When Foggy wakes up, it’s to Matt snuggled into his side and to a pounding on their door. He all but falls out of bed and races to open it. When he undoes the lock, Marci stumbles in, silk robe and braided hair askew.
“She’s gone! Karen! I woke up and she was just gone!”
Shit, shit, shit. “Matt! Matt, wake up please! We need you to play blood hound!”
Foggy starts tugging on the nearest pair of shoes and stumbles into the bedroom. “Karen’s-”
“Missing, yeah, I heard. Listen, you head to the office, Marci, you take the police station, I’ll take the roof tops. How dark is it?” Matt turns away from Foggy and Marci to pick up a shirt off the floor and-
“What the fuck is that?” A large black bruise, fresh and swollen, stretches across Matt’s back. “Matty, what did you do?”
Matt spins around and flashes a charming smile. “Right, that. I just fell last night. It was slippery in the rain, I shouldn’t’ve even gone running. I’m sorry.”
“Fell? Matt, you’ve been falling a lot lately, are you sure-”
“Foggy, can we talk about this later? We need to find Karen.”
“No, we can’t keep-”
“Really, Foggy-bear.” Marci grabs Foggy and starts to pull him towards the front door. “You know how I love to disagree with tall, dark, and moping over there but we’ve gotta find the murder suspect in our custody who’s already been almost killed twice.”
Foggy lets himself be pulled away and catches a last glimpse of Matt as he slips out of the window.
He finds Karen less than ten minutes later, wrapped in a blanket outside of their office. She’s wet and shivering -again- and smiling like a lunatic. And after she explains to Foggy and then again to Matt and Marci what happened, the lunatic thing only seems cemented.
“In a mask?”
“Like a ski mask or a ninja mask?”
“And he didn’t threaten you at all?”
“No. It was amazing, Foggy. He was like- like a superhero or something.”
Superhero. Just great. Foggy has spent the last ten years trying to avoid the superhero scene and now a ninja flips into his backyard.
“Matt, can I speak to you outside?” Foggy doesn’t wait for an answer, yanking Matt by the arm while Marci starts to go over the details of the other woman’s story.
“What, Fogs?” Matt asks once they’re in the hall way.
“What? What what do you want me to what you with first?” Foggy hisses roughly under his breath and jabs a finger into Matt’s chest. “You’ve been disappearing at night since we were boys. It didn’t stop when we started dating, when we got engaged, it didn’t stop when we moved back to Hell’s Kitchen and opened a fancy little business to call our own.”
“Zip it. Please. I’ve been fine with your little disappearing acts. You know I love you and that I understand why you do it. But for as long as this masked psycho is running around, you’ve gotta stop. Will you promise, Matt? Please? Because I can’t handle- I couldn’t go on if-” Foggy bites down on his lip to keep in a cry. “I love you, Matthew Murdock. And God as my witness, I’m going to marry you as soon as this business settles down. And I need to know that you’re safe.”
Matt is doing his ‘holding back tears face’ as he cups Foggy’s cheeks. “Foggy, I can’t- I-”
“Guys!” Marci pops her head into the hallway and gives a cocky grin. “I just scored us a secretary.”
“That’s great!” Matt says brightly and slips past Foggy to re-enter the office. “Ya hear that, Fogs? Karen here is stuck with us!”
“That’s wonderful.” Foggy gives a plastic smile and then forces himself to give a more genuine one. “Just don’t let Marci here eat you alive.”
They finish up for the night and head out, Matt clutching Foggy’s elbow tighter than normal. “Babe, I think I’m gonna swing by the precinct and pick up Karen’s stuff for her. I’ll meet you back at the apartment.”
“Okay. Call me when you know when you’ll be home.”
“Of course. Love you.”
“Love you.” They exchange a quick kiss and Foggy jogs to catch up with the girls. He doesn’t realize he’s given Matt a command until they’re a block away and shrugs it off.
It’s no big deal.
Foggy orders burritos and waits for Matt to get home. Foggy watches an episode of Mad Men and waits for Matt to get home. Foggy gets ready for bed and gives up on waiting for Matt to get home.
“Gad damnit.” He says into the darkness and crawls into their empty bed. He can’t fall asleep though and gets up after an hour of tossing and turning. He methodically cleans, reorganizes, and re-cleans the apartment. He’s in the middle of baking a pie when his phone rings. The screen lights up with a picture of Matt and Foggy kissing in front of the Statue of Liberty and the words “Fiancéèêëēėę Calling” flashes brightly.
He almost hits the decline button before sighing and lifting the phone to his ear. “You'd better be dying, in jail, or you just ran into Jennifer Lopez and need my input for wedding planning.”
There’s static on the other end before Matt’s voice hesitantly comes over the line “I think it’s the first one.”
What? Foggy feels the room start to spin and grabs at the counter. “Matt? Matt, where are you?”
“A dumpster outside of that apartment building on 45th and 12th. You told me to call you when I knew when I’d be home. I think it’s never.” His voice is weak and raspy. “I love you, Foggy.”
The line goes dead.
Foggy is frozen for a split second before he springs into action. Within minutes he is sprinting out of the door of their building and racing the four blocks to the complex that Matt described.
When he reaches the building, he circles it three times and finds nothing but empty dumpsters. He pulls out his phone and dials Matt’s number, listening closely, hoping to hear it ring-
“Please tell me you can help.” A woman’s voice, confident but scared, comes over the line.
“Do you have him? Is he alive?”
“For now. I didn’t call an ambulance, he said-”
“He’s talking? Where are you?”
“My apartment. It’s on 44th by-”
“I’m outside, what number?”
Foggy bursts into the building- a falling apart, code breaking slum- and forces his burning legs up to the fifth floor. After he locates the right apartment, he pounds on the door once, twice, and it’s yanked open by a Latina woman with a smudge of blood on her cheek.
“He’s alive. On the couch.” Foggy brushes past her and stumbles into the small room. There, on the couch. Matt.
“Matt!” Foggy falls to his knees in front of his fiancé and lets out a watery breath. “Oh my god. Baby, what were you doing?”
The man doesn’t answer, unconscious to the world, and Foggy starts to cry. Angry, broken hearted, betrayed; Foggy is lost in a cloud of emotions. Eventually the woman rests a hand on Foggy’s shoulder. “He was, um. Wearing this.”
She presses something into Foggy’s hand, a black piece of fabric. Foggy doesn’t need to look at it, lets it fall to floor. He knows what it is.
“So, uh, Matt has multiple puncture wounds, some broken rips, definitely a concussion, and what appears to be severe rental damage.”
Fuck, Matt. “That last one’s been there for a while.”
“Is his... blind?”
“Then how can he be who he is? This crazy... vigilante?”
“He’s special. He’s so special.”
The silence is heavy until Foggy looks away
Matt wakes up slowly and then all at once. He fumbles around with his hands, feels at his face and then his head snaps to the right. “Fogs? Is that you?”
“Sure is.” Foggy’s voice comes out angry, short, and Matt winces back.
“Where are we? What happened?”
“You’re on my couch. You almost died.”
Well, Foggy thinks, at least Claire seems just as angry.
“You’ve seen my face, his face, shit. We’ve gotta go, come on, we gotta get home-”
“Matt, sit down.” Claire orders, reaching around the back of the couch to push him flat. “Foggy said the blindness is the norm for you, but that still leaves two or three broken ribs, a concussion, puncture wounds. You’re in no condition to go anywhere.”
Matt, per usual, ignores any sense of self preservation and immediately sits back up. “You told her our names?” He hisses, hands moving to support his ribs.
“Why, is that a problem? Would you have rather I lied?”
“Shut the fuck up. You don’t get to talk, not now. Just go back to sleep.”
Matt flops back onto the couch silently and Foggy almost feels bad. Almost. Claire opens her mouth, squints, shuts her mouth, and sits back down.
After a minute, Matt’s breathing slows, his body relaxes and Foggy sighs. “Stubborn bastard. Do you think he’ll be safe to move by daylight?”
Claire shrugs. “That will probably depend on his concussion. Do you live far?”
“Matt’s a bit of a drama queen, but that doesn’t mean he’s wrong about our identities. The less you know about us the better. We’re.... we’re like lightning rods for shitty situations.”
“Well, if it makes you feel any better, I’m already as scared as I can get.” She shoots a small smile. “And something that will make you feel better? He’s doing good. Maybe it’s illegal, maybe it’s a little more.... enthusiastic than necessary. But it’s good.”
Foggy wipes his face with the back of his hand and nods. “I know.”
They sit in silence for over an hour, Claire eventually picking up a worn paperback book and Foggy resting his eyes and taking in the city sounds the way Matt taught him. Foggy is almost relaxed when he’s startled by a jolting, gasping breath.
“I can’t breathe!” Matt wheezes, hands clawing at his chest and eyes wide with fear. Foggy watches helplessly as Claire jumps to the rescue and saves Matt from a gruesome death by collapsed lung.
“Just breath normal.” She says and Foggy tries to follow her instructions as well. Normal, yeah right. “Listen, guys. You gotta tell me what’s going on here. If a blind ninja dies on my couch, I’m gonna have some explaining to do.”
“They kidnapped a kid.”
Matt tells them what happened, explains how the boy was taken and Matt had walked into a trap trying to find him. Foggy grinds his teeth at the details and knows that Matt hears when he looks at Foggy with a tearful face.
“I’m sorry, Foggy. I shouldn’t have, I know you’re mad, but he’s just a kid. I had to.”
“Matt, you can’t just- You promised me. That we’d always have each other. You’re my partner, in every sense of the word. And you’ve been lying to me for weeks. I don’t-”
“Sh. Someone’s coming.”
“Wait, what?” Claire jumps to her feet and looks between the two men
“There’s someone in the building going door to door.”
“How do you know that?”
Matt holds up a finger to silence her. “He’s on the third floor already. Smells like Prima cigarettes and discount cologne.”
“You can smell a man on the third floor?” Claire looks to Foggy as if he’ll tell her Matt is insane but Foggy nods minutely.
Matt gives a mirthless laugh and tries to pushes himself up. “You’ll smell him soon enough. He really likes that cologne.” Matt groans and Foggy gently pushes him back against the couch.
“Lay down, dumb ass. What do you need?”
“A knife, probably. Claire, do you have anything in your kitchen? I’m too weak to fight him hand to hand and-”
“Holy shit. No, Matt. I meant what do you want me to tell him to do? Do you just want him to leave, do you need information?”
Matt looked at Foggy in confusion, blank eyes boring into the space over his left shoulder. “But- but this is illegal. And you hate using your powers.”
“Wait, what powers?” Claire asks but both men ignore her.
“Well you should’ve thought about that before you got us into this mess. Where is he?”
“Fourth floor. He probably knows where the kid is. But if he finds out that Claire helped us and he knows where she lives....”
“What are you guys talking about?”
“I’ll head him off at the staircase, get the information we need, tell him to walk into a precinct and admit to something.”
“Don’t let him see your face.”
“Fine. Give me the fucking mask and keep your ass on the couch.”
“Could somebody listen to me?!” Claire all but shouts, crossing her arms and blocking the path to door. “What is going?”
“Foggy’s sort of... telepathic.”
“But I can’t read minds. Only control them.”
Claire blinks, raises her eyebrows, and shakes her head. “Only?”
“Yeah. Okay, anything else, Matt?
“Just the boy. We need to find the boy.”
“I got it, Matt.” Foggy tugs the mask on and shrugs past Claire into the hallway. He waits in front of the stairwell door for less than a minute and a ratty looking man reeking of cologne struts in. It only takes him a moment to take in the mask and he lurches at Foggy.
“Freeze. Go limp.” The man crumbles to the ground and Foggy takes a step closer, crouches down in front of his face. “For the rest of your life, tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Who are you?”
“Semyon Yelchvon. What the fuck are you doing to me?”
“Where is the boy?”
“Eleventh and 44th, in the basement of the Troika restaurant.”
“How many men are there?”
“Around a dozen. They’ll slaughter anybody who tries to get close, especially you.”
“Oh, don’t worry about me. Why are you here?”
“To kill you. The man in the mask. Do you know what we call you?”
The man lets out a shaking laugh. “The Devil. I thought it was just something they said to scare us. But you are, aren’t you? You’re possessing me. I’m going to die.” He starts to laugh hysterically, still laying like a puppet with cut strings.
“It doesn’t matter who or what I am. Spread the word. You mess with the man in the mask and this is what happens. Walk directly to the nearest police precinct, find a cop, confess to every crime you’ve ever committed. Do nothing else, speak to no one else. Spend the rest of your life rotting in a jail cell. Go. Now.”
Foggy watches at the man trips over himself to comply and when he’s out of sight he turns and re-enters Claire’s apartment. As he yanks the mask off and stuffs it into his pocket, Claire lets out a sigh of relief.
“Good job, baby. You really scared him, he’ll tell everyone to stay away from the Devil.” Matt has a smile on his face, the type of smile he always tries so hard to hide. Foggy closes his eyes, breathes.
“Don’t call me that.”
“Right. I guess being compared to Satan isn’t-”
“Baby. Don’t call me baby.”
“Oh.” The command twists the smile right off of his lips and he turns his face away, still laying on the couch like Foggy told him to.
“I’m going after the boy, you need to stay here with Claire.” As Foggy ignores Claire’s protest and turns to leave, he can hear Matt grunt in frustration behind him.
“Wait, Foggy! Don’t go! Are you insane?”
The man spins on his heels and glares down at Matt. “Am I insane? Maybe. But at least I’m not a liar!”
“I wanted to tell you, Foggy!”
“Then why didn’t you?! Tell me the truth!” Foggy’s command is loud in the small room.
“Because I love you. I’m scared I’ll get you hurt or you’ll finally leave me. Foggy-”
“Because you- oh, for Christ’s sake! I wouldn’t even be here tonight if I hadn’t told you to call me!” Foggy stomps forward, rips off his engagement ring, and presses into Matt’s hand. “You have until I get back to decide what you want. This fucking mask or me. Don’t get off that couch. Claire, call me if something goes wrong. Please.”
“Foggy! Foggy, wait!” Foggy ignores Matt’s cries and lets the door slam between them.
Foggy finds the building and ducks into the alley behind it. He shoots a quick text to Marci, telling her that if he doesn’t contact her by tomorrow morning to find Matt. She texts back a “?” that he ignores.
“You got this.” Foggy whispers to himself before he slips on the mask and pushes his way into the building. He makes it to the basement uninterrupted and can hear a faint rustling behind the door. Come on. He flings open the door, exposing a long hallway, and yells at the top of his lungs. “Sleep!”
There’s a collective rustle, the sound of objects falling to the ground. Foggy breathes out in relief and takes a step-
“Uh oh.” Foggy freezes. Two large men step out from a room down the hallway. “Freeze! Stop!”
“Это он! Дьявол!” One of the men spits out angry sounding Russian and they start to stalk down the hallway towards Foggy.
“No English. Awesome.” Foggy spreads his legs shoulder width apart and raises his fists (thumbs on the outside, Fogs). Apparently, this is going to go down Matt’s way after all.
When the first man gets close enough, Foggy reigns in the instinct to punch (let them punch first, it exposes their abdomen.) When the man takes a swing, Foggy ducks and puts all his weight into the third and fourth rib (maximize damage as early as possible, it wears them out). The man grunts and stumbles back. Foggy has a small moment to smile, breath out, straighten-
Crack. The second man drawls close, snatches Foggy by the back of his head, and slams his nose into the dirty wall. Foggy sucks in a dazed breath as blood spurts from his nose. He throws a wild elbow and feels it connect with something soft (stomach punches are tempting but they don’t do lasting damage unless you hit hard enough to puncture an organ).
“Fuck! Sleep! Stop! Down! Back!” Foggy stumbles backwards away from the mobsters. One of them lunges, pulls him to the ground. Foggy punches, kicks, scratches, but still feels the man’s meaty hands wrap around his neck.
As Foggy’s vision goes black he hears a grunted shout of Russian. He gives one last, futile push against the body on top of him, prays that the boy will be okay-
“Huuuugh!” The man’s hands leave Foggy’s neck and he sucks in a gasping breath. He coughs and chokes and forces himself to get to his knees.
If they’re messing with him, he’s not going to make it easy.
Except when Foggy’s vision clears, the two mobsters aren’t smirking down at him. They’re laying on the ground, heads bleeding, at the feet of-
“Matt?” It’s definitely Matt. Tall, muscular, clad in his stupid fucking black pajamas and with a t-shirt covering his face.
“Foggy! Foggy, breath, it’s okay, I’m here-” Matt collapses, pulls Foggy against him.
“What- hghg- what the hell?” Foggy sucks in a breath through his raw throat. “How’d you get here?”
“I couldn’t let you come alone. I had to keep you safe.” Matt presses a kiss to Foggy’s sweaty temple and squeezes him even tighter.
Foggy shakes his head, leans away slightly to look up at his covered face. “But I told you to stay.”
“I fought it.”
Foggy’s brain stalls. He tries to process the thought. Matt.... fought it?
He can’t think of anything else to say so he carefully pushes himself up. Matt follows suit and they trudge into the far back room. There’s a boy laying on a beat-up couch, peacefully asleep. Matt gently lifts him into his arms, carries him up the stairs and into the alley. Foggy calls the cops from a pay phone and they wait in the shadows until the boy is tucked carefully in the back seat of a cruiser.
“Matt-” Matt starts, but Matt shakes his head and tugs off Claire’s ripped t-shirt.
“Foggy. I love you. You’re all I’ll ever need, all I’ll ever want. But this city- it needs me. So- So if this is how it has to be-” Matt’s hand reaches into his pocket and then hovers in front of Foggy, shaking with small, un-contained tremors. “I’m so sorry that I couldn’t be the man you think I am.”
In his palm rests two simple silver bands. Foggy reaches out, holds one of them between his fingers.
“Actually, Matt,” Foggy pushes the ring onto his finger with a steady he and. “The man in the mask is exactly type of man that I think you are. The man that I fell in love with. Maybe together, we can be the Devil that this city needs.”
For the second time in half an hour, Foggy is tackled to the floor. This type by his fiancé pressing a passionate kiss to his masked face.
The next few months are... insane. Foggy and Matt quickly gain a reputation on the street. The Devil, the man who can beat you senseless in the dark, can possess you, can be in two places at once. Fisk is powerful, a monster unlike anything Foggy has ever heard of. But they conquer him, just like they conquer everything else. The firm gets the kind of good press from putting Fisk away that has Karen and Marci popping champagne and dancing around the office gleefully.
With Marci’s help, Foggy is able to convince Matt to tell Karen everything. She takes is well, seems fascinated by the boys’ powers, and they grow closer than a group of four coworkers has any right to be. Summer turns to fall and with fall comes a strange story in the news. A girl is claiming a man, a dark haired British man, forced her to kill her parents. They’re eating lunch in their office when Trish Walker's voice comes over the radio pleading people to come forward with stories about this man -Kilgrave- to aid in the girl’s defense.
“I have to contact them, Matt. It’s him.”
“Give me time, Foggy. I’ll find him without you having to talk to the authorities.”
“Matt, just because you’ve developed some kind of immunity to me doesn’t mean that you’re immune to him. Don’t tell me to do nothing.”
Matt presses his lips to Foggy’s temple and holds it for a moment. “Do nothing.”
Foggy laughs, feels the strange sense of exhilaration he gets every time Matt defies him.
“Matt, he could be ruing lives as we speak, and-”
“I’ll find him. Just give me one week. What’s the worst that can happen in seven days?”
It only takes six days for their office door to be kicked open by two women with headphones on, one dark haired and leather clad, the other blonde and vaguely familiar.
The dark-haired woman gives sickeningly sweet smile. “Hi! I’m looking for a Frankie Nelson?”
Thank you for any kudos and comments!
Chapter 5: Chapter Five
Here comes Miss Jones and co! Welcome back!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
“I’m just saying. It doesn’t make sense that they would leave Luke with his aunt and uncle. They didn’t even change his last name!”
“But, Foggy,” Matt leans forward, gesturing with a shrimp speared fork. “Anakin would never willingly go there. He hates sand.”
“Ha!” Foggy laughs and covers his mouth. “You’ve got me there, babe. Fool proof plan on Obi Wan’s part.”
“Well if that’s settled, can we talk about this Tronter case before Marci and Karen get back from lunch? Because it’s only three weeks until our court date and so far, your opening statement says ‘but hips don’t lie, your honor.’ Thoughts?”
“I think that it’s a solid stance.” Foggy says seriously but reaches across anyway. “Alright. Hand me my laptop.”
A loud smash from the office lobby has both men jumping from the conference table and racing to see what the commotion is. Standing in the spot that used to be their front door are two women sporting headphones. One is tall, blonde, and vaguely familiar, like Foggy imagines a second cousin would be. The other is short, pale, dark haired, and wearing a beat-up leather jacket.
The dark-haired woman steps forward and gives a sickeningly sweet smile. “Hi! I’m looking for a Frankie Nelson?”
Shit, shit, shit.
Before he can think of what to say, Matt chirps up in his patented faux-naive voice. “I think you might have the wrong office, no Frankies here.”
The woman taps her head phones and smirks. “Can’t hear you, Doc Watson. You, Rapunzel,” she points at Foggy and snaps her finger. “Tell your pal here to slap you.”
“Doc Watson?” Foggy looks to Matt who just shrugs. “Okay. Slap me.”
“Uh,” Matt makes a comically confused face. “No?”
The two women exchange glances and then both slowly take off their headphones. “Tell me to slap you.” The dark-haired woman steps into Foggy’s space and looks up at him with challenge in her eyes.
“.... Slap me...?” Foggy puts as much inflection into his voice as possible and steals himself for the strike in case she doesn’t perceive it as a question, but- Nothing happens.
“Hm. He’s clean, let’s go.” Thank God.
The women turn to leave but Foggy throws himself in front of the door. “Wait, please. Can you just wait? Is this about Ke- Kilgrave? The man from the news?”
“Yeah, why?” The blonde woman asks but the other puts a hand on her shoulder.
“Trish, we’ve got seven more blond, twenty-eight-year-old orphans to test, come on.”
Trish shrugs off her hand and looks at Foggy and then Matt. “Jessica, they’re lawyers, maybe they can help. Do you know anything about Hope Shlottman?”
“I know that she’s being represented by Hogarth, Chao, and Benowitz for the murder of her parents. And that her defense is mind control.”
“And what do think of that? As a lawyer?”
Foggy looks back at Matt who is giving him an oh-so-subtle signal to shut the hell up and then looks back to Jessica and Trish. “I think you need to find this man. And I think that we can help.”
Matt audibly groans and Jessica snorts and rolls her eyes. “Help? How the hell could a half blind, orphaned, gay lawyer couple help us catch the most dangerous man in New York City?”
Foggy swallows, breaths, and ignores Matt’s grunted protest behind him. “Everybody jump.”
Matt doesn’t jump. Trish jumps. Jessica... doesn’t jump. What the hell?
“What the hell?!” Jessica grabs Foggy by the collar of his shirt and lifts him up against the wall. “You’re him! You’re Frankie Nelson! How’d you pass the test?!”
Foggy gasps and struggles against Jessica’s iron grip. “You didn’t jump. You’ve developed an immunity.”
“Immunity? What are you- Oof!” Matt rams into Jessica with his shoulder and knocks her to the ground.
“Keep your hands off him.”
“Blind lawyer’s got moves. Alright, let’s do this.”
Jessica climbs to her feet, Matt raises his fists, and Trish and Foggy both dart forward.
“Wow! Jess, chill!” “Everyone just relax, please!”
“You okay, babe?” Matt whispers, trying to usher Foggy behind him.
“I’m fine. You’ve gotta let me do this, Matt. I can help.”
“And why would we even want your help?” Jessica spits from behind Trish. “You’re just some mind controlling dick like him!”
“Ask anybody, if you want. I have an apartment that I pay for, a job, coworkers, a fiancé. I have an entire established life with no trace of manipulation. I’m nothing like Kevin.”
“Who the fuck is Kevin?”
“Do you really think that Kilgrave is his birth name? Louise is very traditional, she’ll shit herself if she ever finds out that he’s going by some stupid name like Kilgrave.”
“Who the fuck’s Louise?”
“You know his mom?” Jessica face goes from enraged to baffled. “I guess I just assumed he was always an Armani suit wearing, lobster eating, life ruining piece of scum.”
“No.” Foggy sniffles, ignores the sudden pang of sadness in his chest. “Not always. Now, will you please listen?”
“How do we even know that you’re not working with him?”
“How do we know that you’re not working with him? I mean, you just lifted a grown man into the air with one arm, don’t you think that seems a little suspicious?”
“I am not working for that piece of shit!” Jessica shouts. “If you want to stop him so bad, where have you been, huh?!”
“We’ve been looking for him.” Matt says, tilting his head in a way the Foggy knows means that he’s scanning the city. “We haven’t been able to pin down a location yet, but we’ve been trying.”
“So have we.” Trish’s voice strikes Foggy now that she’s speaking so passionately; she’s the Trish from Trish Talks. “We couldn’t find him so we decided to try and find you instead. He had Jess under his control for months and you’re all he could talk about. He’s in New York looking for you. He thinks that you’re the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen.”
Jessica snorts and eyes Foggy up and down. “And I’m assuming that that’s not true. No offense, but I’ve seen pictures of Daredevil, I’d recognize that ass anywhere and that is not it.”
Matt coughs into his hand and Foggy chokes on a laugh. “Yeah, he was always obsessed with the superhero shtick.”
“Do you think that this is funny?!” Jessica snaps. “That man could tell anybody in the city to walk into traffic and they’d do it!”
“Not everyone. You’re immune, like Matt is.”
“What the fuck does that even mean? I spent months with the douche, I sure as hell wasn’t immune then!” Jessica takes a step towards Foggy again and Matt jerks back into her path.
“Calm down, babe. After Matt had been exposed to my powers for an extended period of time and then was compelled to do something that he’d never do otherwise, he was able to break out from under my control and now he’s.... desensitized, I guess you could say. The same thing must have happened to you with Kevin, right?”
Jessica sways uncomfortably and stuffs her hands into her jacket pockets. “I guess.”
“Which means that immunity to one of us is immunity to both of us. Touch your nose.”
Trish quickly taps a finger to her nose and then looks at Foggy with a poorly concealed fear. Jessica doesn’t touch her nose and looks at Foggy in wonder. “What about you? Are you immune to each other?”
“So that’s three of us that he can’t control.” Matt says, fists clenching under his suit jacket. “We could take him down for sure.”
“Exactly. So, all we’ve gotta do is find him and make sure he doesn’t hurt anybody else before we take him down.” Trish smiles widely and pulls Jessica into a one-sided hug. “Jess, we can do this!”
Matt reaches over and squeezes Foggy’s hand. “Are you sure you want to do this?” He whispers.
“No.” Foggy grimaces and squeezes Matt’s hand back. “But it’s the right thing to do.”
“Marci, please. Will you just go to New Jersey? I need you to keep an eye on my parents and sister. We’ll call you every couple of hours to make sure everyone is safe.” Foggy is pacing the floor of some weird, abandoned, underground CDC bunker with some hopefully compel-proof cage as he explains the situation as quickly as possible to Marci over the phone. “Yes, I love you too. No, I don’t need you to drop off your taser. Alright. Be safe.”
After Foggy hangs up, he finds his way back to the main room where Jessica, Trish, and Matt are waiting with a cop, Simpson, who is ‘totally Trish’s new boy toy,’ according to Jessica. Matt is twiddling his folded cane between his fingers and reclining against the same wall that Foggy left him at. Foggy presses a hand to his side and smirks when Matt jumps in ‘surprise’.
“Oh, hey, babe. Ready to try this thing out?”
“Sure am, sweet cheeks. Promise to let me out when I’m done?”
Matt chuckles and pushes Foggy gently towards the glass and metal unit. “Only if you cave and agree to take our honeymoon on Coney Island.”
“We’re New Yorkers, Matt! New Yorkers can’t take their honeymoons in New York!”
“Listen,” Jessica drawls in a half apathetic, half annoyed tone of voice that Foggy is quickly realizing is her norm. “This is all very sweet, you’re in love, you’re gonna get married and have little mutant gaybies. Now will you please get in the cage?”
She yanks the hundred-pound door open with a seemingly effortless pull and Foggy feels his eye brows raise. He play-curtsies and edges past her into the small room.
"Alright, what ne-" She slams the door behind him and the room is plunged into total silence.
"Oh. Okay." He sits down on the cot and swings his legs back and forth until Jessica’s voice buzzes over an intercom. “Okay, Fogwell, give us your best shot.”
“Um. Everybody do jazz hands.” The group all give him deadpan looks and Foggy nods. “Alright, good, it works.”
Jessica wrenches the door back open and Foggy steps out. “So, what’s the plan now?”
“Well,” Simpson says. “Jessica found a drug that will knock Kilgrave out and interfere with his powers. If we can find him, that should do the trick. Then we get him locked up here, get footage of him confessing to his crimes, and send the bastard on a one-way train to hell.”
Foggy swallows. “Are you implying we should kill him?”
“The bastard deserves it.” Jessica spits and looks at Foggy with contempt. “Are you going to defend him?”
Foggy tries to envision Kevin as the man who killed his mother but he can only seem to picture the frightened young boy who was pinned down and experimented on. “No. Of course not. But you don’t understand what our lives were like. His earliest memories are of his parents strapping him down for electric shock therapy. He.... he needs help. We’ve got to try to help.”
“If you think I’m helping that walking turd, you’ve got another thing coming. You have no idea the shit he’s done.”
“He killed my mother. He’s the reason I haven’t seen my father since I was a child.”
“He’s the reason an innocent girl is in jail! He’s a fucking rapist! And he’s going pay!” Jessica’s voice echoes through the cement tunnels and meets silence. “Son of a-”
Jessica spins on her heels and jogs out of the room before anybody can react. Trish calls out and moves to follow. “Wait, Jess-”
“I got it.” Matt cuts her off and pushes away from the wall. “Trust me, I’ll talk to her.”
“You shouldn’t be up here in the dark.”
“Jesus fucking- Murdock! Don’t sneak up on someone like!” When Matt rounds the corner, Jessica jerks to her feet with a gasp.
“I’m serious. It’s a long way to the ground.”
“Yeah, well, I’m a long way from normal if you haven’t noticed.” Jessica drops back to where she’d been sitting on the edge of the building and Matt perches next to her.
“Strong. Durable. Advanced healing?”
“To a point.” Jessica shrugs and swings her legs back and forth. “I could definitely take this fall. What about you? Telling me not to wander around in the dark, you’re not even using your cane.”
Matt adjusts his glasses and leans back on his hands. “Don’t play dumb, Miss Jones, it doesn’t suit you. You know I’m the Daredevil, with Foggy loaning his voice from time to time. Why haven’t you told anyone?”
“You’ve been doing decent work in this shit hole of a city. It’s not my business if you wanna do it while wearing some stupid red pajamas.”
Matt gives a surprised laugh. “Yeah, Foggy hates the suit too. Says he’s a fool for letting the blind man pick out the costume.”
“So, you really are blind?” Jessica’s voice is as indifferent as always but Matt can hear the detective’s intrigue below.
“Since I was a kid. I’m a long way from normal myself.”
They sit in silence for a few minutes, Jessica swinging her legs and Matt lazily tracking the commotion of the city. Eventually Jessica’s heart rate slows to a healthy pace and she starts picking at the loose strings in her jacket. When she finally speaks, it’s cool, casual, and steady.
“How long did it take for you to become immune?”
“About 12 years. But he didn’t use his powers on me until about two years ago. We started working on resisting compulsions in case Kevin ever showed up.”
Jessica snorts and Matt can hear her hair rustling against her jacket; shaking her head, probably. “Kevin. No shit. I can’t imagine him as a kid.”
“I don’t think you want to. What he and Foggy went through as children...” Matt swallows and tilts his face up. “Foggy is covered in scars. He refuses to let anyone cut his hair because anything touching his scalp triggers memories of open brain surgery. He can’t smell disinfectant without throwing up. And he wasn’t the one suffering at the hands of his own parents. I’m not trying to minimize what he’s done, Miss Jones. He deserves everything that’s coming. But monsters aren’t born, they’re made.” Matt thinks of an exotic laugh and the clang of gold bracelets. “For what it’s worth, I’m sorry that you’ve suffered.”
“I’ve been suffering my whole god damned life. Just look at us. A couple of orphaned, mutant freaks.”
“Just Jones will do, Murdock.”
“Jones. Listen. Foggy is a good man. I’ve known him since I was a teenager. He’s a kind hearted, gentle, compassionate human being. You can trust him.”
Jessica heaves a sigh and Matt can smell the iron in the air when she breaks through the skin of her lip. “I know. I’m.... working on it.”
Matt nods and the two regress into silence. Eventually Jessica stretches and stands up. “Alright, come on. I think if we hide out any longer Trish is going to come hunting for us. But I guess Fogwell could just tell her to wait.”
Matt feels a frown pull at his face and he shakes his head. “That’s not- No. Foggy would never do that. He doesn’t ever use his powers, unless someone is in immediate danger.”
“Oh, come on.” Jessica’s boots scuff against the rough ground. “Not even to get to the front of the line at Starbucks? Or to get rowdy neighbors to quiet down?”
“He doesn’t even tell guilty witnesses to confess on the witness stand. He’s always going on about working within the system and virtues and ethics and all that mumbo jumbo. He’s a good man.”
“And you’re a lucky one, Murdock. Don’t fuck this up, alright?” Her tone is bitter and hard and Matt feels his heart break for what this woman has gone through. “Ready?”
“Actually, Jones, I have one more thing to ask you.”
“Ah, there they are! My favorite leather wearing superheroes!” Foggy is perched on the edge of the control panel and talking to Trish about his favorite Broadway performance - Little Shop of Horrors, obviously - when he spots Matt and Jessica rounding the corner.
“Jess, thank god!” Trish runs and collides with her friend, wrapping her arms tightly around her. Jess halfheartedly hugs her back before pushing away and scuffing at the ground with her worn boots.
“Sorry for darting. But I’m ready now. I think we’re all ready. So, what do we have to do to find his bastard?”
Simpson pulls something out of his pocket. “I got that footage you wanted. We could start there.”
Jess nods and steps forward to snatch it out of his grip. “I’ll take it. Everyone gets some rest, I’ll call you as soon as I know anything.”
Matt and Foggy take a taxi back to their apartment and try to relax. They’re both tense though, and end up sparring in the living room until their downstairs neighbor shouts at them. It takes two days for Jessica to contact them, two days which they spend restlessly pacing and attempting to work on their limited case load. When she finally calls, she tells them to meet her at an abandoned lot by Central Park and to dress casually.
“As in no BDSM suit, Murdock.” She hangs up without further comment
“Fogs, if you don’t want to-”
“We have to do this.”
When they get to the lot, Jessica and Trish are standing around a worker’s van.
“He’s meeting his source in about fifteen minutes. I was just explaining to Trish here that you’re the Daredevil and that Simpson’s presence is not needed.”
“What?!” Matt makes a gaping expression and Jessica shrugs.
“Deal with it. Fogwell, get in the van.”
“Hey!” Foggy protests and shakes his head. “How about we talk about this for a second? You can all stay in the van, I’ll do it. I’ll probably be able to lure him away without making a scene and then we can drug him once we’re away from the crowd.”
“Babe, she’s right.” Matt unfolds his cane and reaches for Jessica’s elbow. “I can get close, drug him, and then Jessica can help me carry him back to the van.”
“Matt, we don’t even-”
“I agree.” Trish’s voice is cool and collected and firm. “I drive, you be ready in the back to help, and Jessica and Matt will handle the street action. They’re both immune and a blind man and a five-foot-tall girl have a way better chance of getting out of any resulting commotion. Agreed?”
Foggy reluctantly nods, presses a kiss to Matt’s lips, mutters an ‘I love you’ and follows Trish into the van.
“You ready, Murdock?” Foggy can barely hear Jessica’s voice over the engine but he clear as day hears Matt’s response.
“I’ve been ready to meet this man since I was eighteen.”
The extraction goes... smoothly. Jessica rounds the corner with an unconscious man in a suit sling over her shoulder, Matt hot on her heels.
“We’re being followed, go!” Matt shouts and Trish peels tires as she slams on the gas.
As the van lurches forward, Jessica lets the man fall onto the floor. Foggy reaches out a shaking hand, rolls the figure over-
Kevin. He’s obviously older than the boy Foggy knew, with a suave hair cut instead of a shaved and scared scalp. But it’s Kevin. Foggy has to push down tears and puts his hands into his pockets before he does something stupid like reach out to touch.
“Breath. Just breath, in, out, it’s fine.” Matt’s voice is soothing and Foggy almost nods before he looks up and realizes Matt isn’t talking to him.
“Main Street, Birch Street,” Jessica grips the edge of the seat and Foggy hears it crunch under her grip. “Higgins fucking Drive.” She looks up and catches Foggy’s stare. “It’s him, right? Keven Thompson and Kilgrave are the same person?”
No, Foggy almost shouts. This isn’t my brother. This isn’t the boy who helped me keep my sanity.
But he just nods and looks back down at the achingly familiar face. “Yes. It’s him.
The silence is tense as Trish pulls the van off the main roads and into a warehouse district. “We’re almost there, it’s-”
“Quiet.” Matt holds up a hand and angles his head. “We’re being followed. They’re tracking us.”
“He must be wearing a beacon or something!” Trish looks away from the road with wide eyes.
“Shit!” Jessica starts patting Kevin down from the waist up and Foggy starts tugging off his jacket.
“His phone.” Trish yells from the front seat. “Phones all have GPS chips now.”
Foggy finds the phone, chucks it out the window, and turns Matt. They all hold their breath and after a beat he nods. “They see that the signal has stopped moving, we should be good.”
They all sigh in relief and Jessica kicks Matt’s shoe with her boot. “You’re damn convenient, Murdock.”
“So they say.” Matt says it mildly but Foggy can hear the glow in his voice.
When they get to the facility Jessica carries Kevin to the bunker and dumps him into the cage.
“Trish, do you want to go get the captain? We’ll keep an eye on Obi-Wan here.”
Trish looks like she wants to argue but she just nods. “Yeah. We'll be right back.”
Jessica, Matt, and Foggy all stand awkwardly around the room for a few minutes before Matt perks up. “We should get pizza. What do you think, Fogs?”
“Yeah, sure. Jessica, do like Hawaiian?”
Jessica looks confused and then mimes gagging herself. “I’m a pretty shit human being but not that shit. Keep your fruit and seafood off my pizza.”
“Exactly!” Matt gestures wildly as Foggy groans. “Meat lovers, extra cheese, no bacon. Tonio’s Deli is three blocks away.”
“No bacon?” Jessica sounds even more offended than she had a moment ago.
“Trust me.” Matt makes a sour face. “You don’t wanna know what is in Tony’s bacon. Foggy, would you like to pick it up? Or I can-”
Foggy smirks and starts towards the door. “No! No, I can do it. I’ll be back in half an hour; will you call me if the drugs start wearing off sooner than expected?”
Foggy strides out of the room without an answer and breathes in deeply. He hadn’t expected seeing Kevin to feel so.... final. Like he now knows that there’s no saving the boy he grew up with. He’d obviously known that there was a darkness in Kevin, but to see it laid bare is more than Foggy had prepared himself for.
He forces himself to calm down as he walks the three blocks, and then orders and waits for the pizzas. As he draws close to the building almost twenty minutes later, he’s feeling much better.
That is until he opens the door to find the bunker empty.
“Actually, Jones, I have one more thing to ask you.”
“Foggy.... Foggy doesn’t have the heart to do what needs to be done. When we get Kevin -Kilgrave- we need to get him alone. I have a plan for getting him to confess to Hope’s crimes, and then we can discuss what needs to be done after that.”
“And Trish won’t be a part of this?”
“If you think that that’s what’s best, then-”
“No, I mean I don’t want her to know. She’s innocent in this, she doesn’t deserve to be any more involved than she already is.”
“Then do we have ourselves a deal?”
“He’s still asleep.” Matt is crouched just outside of a circle of light, ears tuned into the heartbeat of the figure in front of him. He’s tied to the chimney on an abandoned roof top in Hell’s Kitchen, the city echoing below them. “No, wait. Here he comes.”
Jessica swallows as Kevin starts to stir. Matt waits until he can hear his eye lids flutter before he growls. “I don’t like uninvited guests in my city, Kevin.”
“What?” His accent is thick as his speech comes out slurred. “What’s going on? Jessica! Jessica, come here!”
“Jessica doesn’t work for you anymore.”
“Jessica, do as I say. Come here and untie me.” Jessica is silent and takes an unsteady series of steps forward. Her heart thumps in her chest. Kevin smiles wide. “Good girl. I knew you’d be happy to see me. Give me a smile-”
Crack. Matt hears the crunch of bone and smells the rush of blood.
“Ah! You bitch! You just broke my nose!”
“At least I’m a bitch with free will. Long time, no see, Kevin.”
“Kevin, funny. Where’s little Frankie then? He must be around here somewhere.” He strains against the ropes and grunts. “I thought he was the Daredevil but I guess not. Look at you, all leather and horns. How very theatrical.”
“No Frankies here.” Matt spits.
“Bloody useless, you are. Alright, untie me.”
Matt smiles the smile that Foggy tells him scares the shit out of people with working eyes. “No.”
“No?” Kevin sounds morally offended and struggles against his bonds. “Untie me right now!”
“I don’t like being told what to do. How about I tell you what to do instead? You’re going to walk into the police station, confess to any crimes that you’ve committed, including Hope Shlottman’s, and then spend the rest of your life rotting in a cell.”
Kevin throws his head back and laughs. “Ha! You must be working with Frankie, you sound just like him! No, I think not. Why would I ever do such a thing?”
“Because we poisoned you, asshole. You’ll be dead in five hours without of this antidote.” Jessica plucks a small vial out of her pocket and wiggles it in the air.
Kevin screams and spits out blood that’s dripping from his nose. “You’re going to regret this, Jessica. And you! ‘Devil of Hell’s Kitchen’. I’ve been looking for you. I know you think you’re some great hero, but I’ll tear this city apart!” Keven struggles and thrashes.
Matt steps into Kevin’s space and crouches to ‘look’ into his eyes. “So, are we agreed? You confess, you get the antidote.”
Kevin spits in Matt’s face and grins. “Try your damndest. You’re both going to pay for this.”
“Sure thing.” Jessica stomps forward and forces a balled-up rag into Kevin’s mouth. She ties it off behind his head and starts to untangle the rope pinning him down.
“I’ll be listening, yell if you need me.” Matt steps backwards and when Jessica nods, he flips off of the roof and lands in a crouch on the fire escape.
He listens as Jessica leads a gagged Kevin down to the street and into the precinct. He hears her explain to the front desk that she’s delivering Kevin ‘Kilgrave’ Thompson and that he’s ready to confess to his crimes.
“You can’t take his gag off, he’ll have to write his confession.”
It’s an hour before anyone steps into the interrogation room, and Matt can hear the questions and the scrawl of pen on paper. He’s poised to act but so far things are going according to plan. That is until he hears an achingly familiar heart beat drawing near.
“Trish! Trish, this is Foggy! Listen, I just got back to the bunker, they’re gone!”
“All of them, Matt, Jessica, Kevin, they’re not here!”
Foggy is running down the street, phone pressed to his ear and lungs burning. “I don’t know what to do!”
“There’s a group of people that have been victimized by Kilgrave, they’re meeting right now. On the coffee shop on 52nd Street, you know the one? I’ll meet you there.”
“Okay.” Foggy hangs up and flags down the nearest taxi. He forces himself to breath and tries calling Matt again. It goes straight to voicemail and he swears.
As soon as the taxi pulls to a stop, he tosses a twenty into the front seat and darts into the building. Trish is there, red faced and wild eyed.
“Here’s the group, you should ask-”
“Louise.” Foggy’s breath drains from his lungs. Sitting at the table is the face that appears in Foggy’s nightmares. It’s older and scarred and it looks so, so sad.
“Oh Frankie. Oh, my dear Frankie.” She reaches a shaking hand out and then pulls it back. “You’re trying to stop him, right? You’re here to stop Kevin?”
“I wouldn’t have to stop him if you hadn’t left!”
Foggy stumbles back, feels Trish’s hand brush his elbow. “Where’s Albert, is he here?”
“He’s at our hotel room. Please, Frankie, you have to understand-”
“We don’t have time for this, come one.” Trish shoves them both away from the startled group and onto the street. “We need to find a way to find them.”
“Right, right. Louise, Kevin is with two of our friends, Matt and Jessica. They’ve both developed an immunity to his powers but it’s only a matter of time until he manages to get away.”
“An immunity? But that’s-”
“It took long term exposure. They both have genetic modifications as well. The point is that we have a small window of time where he doesn’t have anybody under his influence. Now do you and Albert have any ideas?”
“If we could get a blood sample of those immune, it’s a possibility. Our equipment is in the hotel room.”
Trish nods and waves for a taxi. “Let’s go.”
Albert is... less than thrilled to see Foggy. There’s a fair bit of yelling, some aggressive pointing, and at least one threat. In the end though, Trish and Foggy are able to convince them to bring their equipment to their law office where they set up while Trish calls contacts and Foggy flips through channels on their police scanner.
“There! They just mentioned a Jones and a Thompson! 17th precinct. Come on, please.”
As the draw closer to the precinct, Foggy feels his blood start to boil. No matter how many times he thinks Matt is past keeping secrets, something like this happens. When they round the corner, he can see a familiar outline lurking in the mouth of an alley and he feels his eyes narrow.
“Hello, Daredevil. Funny seeing you here.”
“I’d like you to meet my adoptive parents, Albert and Louise. Folks, this is my fiancé, Matt. He’s the Daredevil. And a known liar. And poor decision maker.”
“Hey, Matt.” Trish’s voice is as cold as Foggy’s.
“Um, hello, dear.” Louise steps forward and holds out her hand to shake.
The absurdity of the situation hits Foggy and he laughs when Matt bats away the woman’s hand like a bug. Matt growls in his vigilante voice. “Are you serious? What’s going on? How did they find you?”
“Oh, I found them. Trish and I went to a Kilgrave Support Group meeting. I was there looking for you. Because you ditched me. And took Kevin out of the Kevin-proof cage. I heard over our police radar that Jessica had brought him in and I figured you’d be lurking in an alley nearby. And lo-and-behold!”
Matt shifts under Foggy’s stare. “I was just trying to help. Jessica and I were going to handle it without you ever knowing, you don’t have to be involved.”
“Involved?!” Foggy shoves Matt against the alley wall. “He’s my problem! Mine and theirs. Albert and Louise and I are the ones who let this happen and we’re the ones who need to fix this. You had no right to-”
“No, Frankie.” Albert steps between the two men. “We should never have left you with Kevin, you were just a child as well.”
“You better shut the hell up.” Matt’s head snaps to the side to face the older man. “You two are the reason this is happening! You two are the ones who performed experiments on children! You two are the ones who abandoned telepathic pre-teens without taking any responsibility for your actions!”
“Oh!” Louise presses her hands to her mouth. “Oh, Frankie, I’m so sorry. We just didn’t know what to do!
Matt instinctively reaches a hand out to comfort Foggy and he pushes it away. “Trish and I are going in there to make sure that you and Jessica haven’t fucked this up."
Foggy starts to cross the street, Trish at his heels, when a gunshot rings out.
“He’s got the gag off! Go, go!”
Foggy sprints through the doors, two steps behind Trish and three behind Matt, and stumbles to halt at the sight that greets them.
Every police officer in the building is standing stock still with their gun pressed to their temple. The secretaries are equally as still, scissors and letter openers pressed to their throats. Jessica is holding a small glass vial in her hand, posed as if to drop it.
Sitting cross legged on a desk is Kevin. His face is covered in dry blood and his eyes are lit with a manic gleam. “Oh, there you are, Frankie. Long time no see.”
One more to go! See you folks next week!
Chapter 6: Chapter Six
And the final chapter! Please enjoy!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The silence in the police station is deafening and Foggy steels himself. “Hey there, bro. Ya got a little something on your nose.”
“Yes, a present from my dear Jessica. I see you’ve turned her against me.” Kevin’s smile is like de ja vu, cold and authentic. “Just like you turned my parents away. Hello, Mum, Da.”
“Oh, my sweet Kevin-”
“Shut the hell up! Don’t say a bloody word!” Kevin shouts, cutting off his mother, and she snaps silent. “Nobody in this building say a fucking word! If anybody tries to touch me, every person in this building is to kill themselves!”
“Kevin, please listen. I didn’t turn anybody against you. You were torturing your parents. You kept Miss Jones as a slave! You’ve got to stop this madness.”
“Madness? The mad part is that your little pet superheroes poisoned me! And now Jessica is refusing to give me the antidote!”
“What?” Foggy looks between Matt and Jessica and she holds up a glass vial for display.
“You missed your cue, Devil-boy.”
“Well I got distracted. How’d he get the gag off?”
“One of these fine officers finally took pity on me. Now hand it over or I’m going to tell another one of them to shoot themselves. Do you really want that?” Kevin points dispassionately to - oh fuck - Foggy can see the blood splatter around the corner, can see the foot of a body.
Matt clenches his fists and rolls his shoulders. “It’s fake. You were never poisoned in the first place. We just needed you to confess. Which you’ve obviously done. A room full of cops has seen what you’re capable of.”
“Fake? Oh, for Christ’s- Listen. I’ve had a long day, Frankie. Just come along.” Kevin slides off the desk he’s sitting on and casually walks up to Foggy. “We’ll handle this like men.”
“Handle what?! I don’t even know why you’re doing this!”
“I came to New York to find you! I heard all about the Daredevil and I thought to myself, ‘Finally, little Frankie is taking advantage of our powers.’ I was going to find you, help you, be the superhero team we always dreamed about! But then I found my sweet Jessica instead. When she betrayed me, I just wanted her back. That’s all. Her and you. The three of us could just leave, be our own little superhero team. Doesn’t that sound fun?” Kevin smiles wide and Foggy is struck with the knowledge that the man standing in front of him is totally insane.
Foggy hesitates, glances at Jessica and then Matt, and swallows. “Kevin, please don’t make me do this.”
“Tsk tsk, Frankie. Don’t push me. Do you really think you’ll be fast enough to save all these lovely folks?”
“So, we go with you and you don’t hurt any of these people?” Jessica steps forward, face conflicted.
“Well, yes, ideally. But you’ll just try to trick me as soon as these people are safe. Come on, admit it.” Foggy and Jessica meet each other’s eyes and Kevin kicks a nearby desk and shouts in anger. “Why are you making this so difficult!”
“Because you’re a fucking psychopath!” Jessica shouts, voice angry and coarse.
“So would you be, if you were as alone as me! You both have things to live for! I see how you look at your precious Patsy. You love her more than you’ll ever love me! And you!” Kevin points at Foggy and snarls. “Don’t think I didn’t notice that little ring on your finger! Who is it, hm? Maybe it’s that little lawyer you prance around with, Stahl? Or maybe the secretary, she’s cute as button. Or maybe the answer’s right in front of my face. You always were a little faggot.”
Foggy’s heart stops. Kevin smiles wide and points at Matt.
“I spy with my little eye something red.”
“Kevin, you can’t-!”
“Shut up! You, point your gun at Patsy. You, point your gun at the Daredevil.”
“Stop! We can work something out!” Jessica’s voice is desperate and Kevin turns to looks at her.
“My beautiful Jessica, as long as these two are alive, neither of you can truly be mine.”
While Kevin is looking at Jessica, Foggy whispers as quietly as he can. “Ready? On one. Three, two...” Foggy can see Matt shaking his head out of the corner of his eye but he ignores it. “One!”
Foggy yells as the top of his lungs as Matt dives for Kevin. “Sleep!”
There’s a loud crashing noise as everybody but Jessica and Foggy fall to the ground. Matt is on top of Kevin faster than Foggy’s eyes can follow.
Now, Foggy has seen the Devil of Hell’s kitchen fight more times than he can remember. He starts with a head blow to disorient, puts damage into the stomach to weaken, and then pins his opponent to the ground and lays into them until they fall unconscious.
That’s not what happens here.
Matt slam’s the other man into the ground and straddles his chest.
“Kill- Hgk!” Matt cuts off Kevin’s command with a crushing punch to the face and then wraps his gloved hands around his throat. Kevin struggles against the hold but Matt is stronger and soon Kevin starts to flail.
“Stop! You can’t kill him, stop!” Matt doesn’t seem to hear him, doesn’t relent in strangling the man beneath him. “Please!”
“Hhfhgk!” Kevin sucks in a breath as Matt releases him. He seems semi-unconscious and Matt stands and backs away from his prone form.
He takes three quick strides and embraces Foggy, burying his face in his neck. “Foggy, I wouldn’t have-”
“I know, I know. I couldn’t risk letting you-” Foggy starts to wrap his arms around his fiancé when a loud and agonized scream makes them snap around.
“Ahhhhhh! Kevin is laying on the ground shaking. Fresh blood pouring across his face. Jessica is crouched over him, fist bloody, holding-
“Tell me to smile now, you son of a bitch.”
Foggy gags and starts to dry heave. He sits himself onto the floor behind a desk and tries to block out the sound of Kevin’s blood curdling screams. He can hear Matt and Jessica arguing, can hear sirens approaching. After a few moments, Kevin’s shouts tamper off before stopping and when Foggy dares to glance over, he looks....
“Is- is he-”
“No.” Matt crouches in front of Foggy and grips his shoulder. “He’s just unconscious, he’ll be fine. Now come on, we’ve got to get out of here before more cops show up.”
“They’ve already seen my face.” Foggy gestures to the room full of sleeping cops and staff.
“It will be okay, come on.” Matt tugs at Foggy’s arm but he gently pries Matt’s hand free.
“No, it won’t be okay. I need to stay, Matt. Jessica and I both do. You go home, change, wait for my one phone call. Come back as Matt Murdock, my fiancé. The Thompsons are here, Kevin and I are both here. It’s time to come clean.”
“He’s right, Murdock. Take Trish with you, keep her safe for me. Call Hogarth and tell her to get ready to clean up another one of my messes.” Jessica slowly lowers herself to the ground and leans back against the desk across the aisle from Foggy. “Fogwell and I’ll keep an eye on each other.”
Matt looks like he wants to argue but he nods anyways. “Okay. Be safe. I love you.”
“I love you too.”
Foggy watches as Matt hefts a sleeping Trish into his arms and slips out of sight through the side door. Within two minutes, a team of uniformed police busts through the door, guns raised.
“Everybody fre- Holy shit!” The man leading the team pauses and stares at the room in horror.
“It’s okay, they’re only sleeping. There’s a man, though- he’s- dead. One dead and one in need of medical attention.” When Foggy stands, the officers jerk back and point their guns at him. He holds his hands up wearily and Jessica copies his movements. “My name is Franklin Nelson, I’d like to report a crime.”
Jessica and Foggy are both hand cuffed and lead to interrogation rooms. Foggy can hear Jessica shouting about psychos and criminals and not having to have gotten involved if ‘you’d done your god damned jobs.’ Foggy sits calmly and quietly until a detective walks into the room. He’s about Foggy’s age, with dark skin and honest eyes. Foggy remembers him from the raid on the Hell’s Kitchen precinct, remembers that he was an honest cop.
“I hear you’re claiming to be Franklin Nelson.”
“Yet you’ve been living as Nelson Fogwell since you showed up without any paperwork at the age of fourteen. Can you tell me what you’re trying to accomplish here?” The man sits down and squints.
“I just want to set things right.”
“Here’s the thing, Mr. Fogwell. I knew Franklin Nelson. My momma used to work in the diner across the street from Ed’s Hardware. He was a real brat, loud as hell and always down to tattle. But he died when he was eight. There was a fire in the hospital where he was being treated for brain cancer. And now here you are. Right age, right description. So, you want to explain that to me?”
Foggy blinks. “You’re Brett? Brett Mahoney? Your mother’s name is Bess, right? Does she still smoke those smelly cigars? God, she was the best. Used to save us the stale pieces of pie and let us read comic books under the counter.” Foggy laughs and shakes his head. “I did tattle on you, huh? Guess I was always meant to be a lawyer.”
Brett breathes in and works his jaw. “That’s impossible. Foggy...?”
Foggy smiles at the other man. “Hey, buddy. Long time, no see. Congrats on making detective.”
“That’s all thanks to your ol’ pal Daredevil. How the hell’d you get mixed up with him?”
Foggy swallows. “He came to our firm with evidence on the Fisk case. So, when I heard that Kevin was in town, I.... reached out.”
Foggy slumps into his chair and sighs. “This is a hell of a story, you might want to grab some coffee first.”
And so Foggy explains everything to Brett, from his diagnoses to his disappearance, to the orphanage, law school, opening his firm, and Jessica Jones coming to him about ‘Kilgrave’.
When Foggy finishes, Brett whistles and loosens his tie. “And so the man missing a tongue is Kevin?”
“And he’s missing his tongue because Jessica Jones... ripped it out?”
“Because she has superpowers?”
“And you’re expecting me to believe that you’re.... telepathic?”
“Tell me I’m handsome.”
“What the hell?” Brett jumps out of his chair and looks at Foggy wide eyed. “You’re really-”
“Told you. May I please have a glass of water now?”
“Yeah... yeah, just one minute.” Brett leaves the room and Foggy closes his eyes in exhaustion. He considers laying his head down on the table but almost catches a cold at the idea of all those germs. He starts to twiddle his thumbs and when it feels like he’s been waiting on Brett for hours the door finally reopens.
“Hey, Foggy. You’ve got a visitor.”
“Matt? Hey, babe, took you long eno- Dad?”
Brett opens the door fully to show Foggy’s dad lurking in the hallway. He’s older and bald and wrinkling, but it’s his father.
“Foggy? Oh my god, Foggy!” He elbows past Brett into the room and wraps his arms around him. Foggy tries to hug back as much as he can with handcuffed wrists and feels tears dripping down his cheeks. “By dear boy, my son.”
“Dad, what are you...?”
“They called me, they said someone was pretending to be my son. But these women, Marci and Karen, they’d been at our house for days, they said they were with the police and that they were reopening your case and then we got the call and-! I can’t believe you’re here. I never stopped looking, I swear.”
“I know, Dad, I know. I wanted to come see you, I wanted to meet my sister, but I wouldn’t put you in danger.”
“Hush, Foggy. It’s all okay now.” He squeezes Foggy tightly and then pulls away to look at him. “All grown up. A lawyer! I’m so proud of you, son.”
Foggy tries to hold in his tears and shakes his head. “You shouldn’t be. I’m the reason Mom- it was my fault, I didn’t stop her.”
Ed shakes his head and wipes away Foggy’s tears. “None of that. Don’t take any blame that doesn’t lay on you. We’re together now, that’s all that matters. You can meet your sister and Anna.”
“And you can meet Matt.” Foggy smiles around his tears and holds up his ringed finger. “I’m engaged.”
Ed smiles back and nods. “Of course, my boy, of course.”
Brett steps into the room and frowns. “I can’t let you go, Foggy. I know that you haven’t done anything wrong, but there’s a system in place. You’re looking at aiding and abetting, obstruction of justice, willful withholding of evidence, violation of the Sokovia Accords, and that’s just the start. You, Jones, and the Thompsons have a lot of explaining to do.”
Foggy nods and smiles. “Can I call my lawyer now?”
The trial feels drawn out but Foggy knows that it goes as quickly as possible. He submits a request to keep his identity a secret and the court approves, with a strict reminder that any uncovered vigilantism would be prosecuted. Thanks to Matt however, the court dismisses Foggy as the Daredevil when the hero is spotted out and about in the city while he is in custody. Jessica is released without charges after three weeks and Foggy after five. The Thompsons are stripped of any medical licenses and charged with kidnapping and violation of civil liberties.
Kevin is.... Pathetic. After he’s released from the hospital, his trial is a worldwide media circus. He scribbles answers in his cramped handwriting and lashes out against anybody who draws too near. He’s sentenced to life without parole and is shipped off to an undisclosed prison for ‘enhanced individuals who pose a threat to un-enhanced civilians.’
Foggy and Matt meet Anna and Candice. Candice is a beautiful and smart girl who clings to Marci and Karen with all the idol worship that teenage girls are known for. Anna is a sweet woman who coos and flutters around Foggy as if he were her own long-lost son. Foggy’s dad has hardly changed and is the same fun loving and caring man that he remembers from his childhood.
Foggy caves to Matt’s pleas to take their honeymoon on Coney Island... on one condition.
“I want to take our bachelor party in Vegas! Wouldn’t that be awesome?”
“No, Foggy! It doesn’t count as a bachelor party if you go with the man that you’re engaged to!” Marci looks patently offended, arms crossed and cheeks rosy. “Karen and I are taking you and that’s final.”
The four of them are curled up the girls’ couch with Jessica and Trish perched on the edge of the love seat. Foggy pouts and pokes his fiancé’s side. “But what about Matt?”
Matt brushes Foggy’s hand away and shrugs. “I don’t need a bachelor party. You know I don’t like being away from the city.”
“Oh, come on, Matt!” Karen pokes his other side with her toe. “You need to, it’s tradition.”
Jessica’s voice is gravely and bored and slightly annoyed. “You could always let me and Trish throw you a party.”
“Yes!” Trish bounces up and down and claps. “Oh god, I’ve always wanted to throw a bachelor party. We can have a penis cake and play games and everything!”
“Gag. Never mind.” Jessica rolls her eyes but Foggy can see her hide a smile in her scarf.
The group grows tight and the law office of Fogwell, Murdock, and Stahl works closely with Alias Investigations and Daredevil works closely with Jessica Jones. Malcolm and Karen have taco Tuesday, Marci and Trish visit art galleries, and Jessica begrudgingly lets Foggy french braid her hair. Foggy calls his father every weekend and he can honestly say that he’s never been happier.
And six months later, when he finds himself standing next to a freshly ordained Marci, the sight of Matthew Michael Murdock’s is almost too much for his bursting heart to handle.
“Oh shit, he looks good.”
“Do you, Nelson Fogwell, take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband?”
“Go on then, Foggy. Kiss the groom.”
Across the street from the wedding, an old man and a beautiful woman are scrutinizing the crowd.
“Which one is it?”
“The one holding hands with him, who do you think?”
“The one who smells like women’s hairspray and bubble gum?”
“Oh, that’s Franklin for sure.”
“Good work, Ellie.”
Ta da! What do you think? It's the first project I've finished in years and I'm feeling pretty proud of it. I'm thinking of writing a sequel that will introduce Stick and Frank and bring Elektra and Kevin back into the spot light but I haven't made up my mind yet. Please let me know what you think!