Chapter 1: Domestic Vigilantism
This is a sequel to Punch or Kiss Him, where Jessica helps Matt fight Fisk after The Defenders and Trish becomes my version of Hellcat. She has a huge crush on Daredevil while she forces him to train her. Read it if you want to know how Matt and Trish get together. But I think this one will work on it's own as well. I plan to explain everything that happened before along the way if necessary. Ask away in the comments if anything is unclear.
I think this is harmless enough for a Teen rating, but let me know if I'm mistaken or if it should go up. :)
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
“It's all connected to IGH.” Karen sums up what she found so far for Trish. “Not just the origin of Jessica’s powers and Will Simpson’s strength. By now criminals in Hell’s Kitchen also deal with samples of those pills. Frank says, it's a bit like enhancement drug lottery. They rarely give anyone special abilities, mostly make you addicted and very aggressive. There is just no way to know anymore which ones actually work and it appears that you also can't know what kind of ability you might get. We think IGH got plundered by Fisk’s men, but some scientists must have fled with the good stuff and when they realised that most of the pills weren't helping them get stronger, they just started to sell them.”
Trish nods slowly. “And apart from the pills?”
"Like the substance you were injected with? It could easily have come from them. The pills you guys found in the laboratory definitely did. And it sounds like while the effects of the pills and inhalers wear off, sometimes with injections it's permanent." Karen offers Trish a sympathetic smile. But there's really no need for it, since that substance also gave her power, something she always longed for. "Maybe there is more out there we don't know about. We also don't know if IGH is still active somewhere.”
"Thank you. This will help.” Trish takes the folder on IGH from the journalist who has become a dear friend since they met. Someone she can talk to about anything, not just work, while other people in her life usually try to shut important stuff down. And from what Karen told her it's even worse with Frank Castle, so she can relate. These people may be incredibly strong, but they are also damaged and in some ways more vulnerable than they would like to admit. “Don't write anything about this yet, okay? Or can you keep Jessica’s name out of it?”
“People need to know about this. Especially if this stuff is poisoning the streets.” Karen is right, of course. She is always eager to tell the truth and that makes her brilliant at her job.
Trish still has other priorities. For her some people come first. "I know and they will, but Jess is already an outcast. If her name comes up in this, people will be even more afraid of her than they already are.”
Karen considers this. “You know, if I could talk to her and make people understand that she is a victim in this - as an anonymous source....”
"She wouldn't like to be seen as a victim.” Trish also hadn't told her yet about her little investigation. That will make her angry enough. She is not looking forward to telling her. "You can quote me anonymously and I can tell you about those headaches I had initially."
“Alright, don't worry, I'll keep her out of it. And maybe I'll find someone else who wants to talk.” Karen smiles. She trusts her.
"Let me know if you do and I'll keep you informed as well, in case I find anything else.” She's going to tell Matt about this tomorrow. He has been keen on finding a way to help Jessica. This might be a chance to repay her for everything she has done for him. “So, how are you?”
Karen shrugs. “I'm fine, really. Work is difficult these days, but in a way, it makes me want to be as good and honest as I can be. You know?”
“I know what you mean. But I only get to talk about diets and celebrities at the moment. That's hardly relevant.” Trish rolls her eyes. She has been trying to keep a low profile on serious issues lately, especially anything involving vigilantes or special abilities. By now, she is desperate to get a meaty story like this again. “Please give me a heads up when your story is finished. Maybe I can get you invited on the show.”
"Sure." She smiles.
"And how is Frank?" Trish has been curious about Castle from the moment she found out that the sweet and charming woman in front of her cared for him deeply.
"He has been around more and I think that has a lot to do with him finally accepting that Matt is with you now. He didn't want to come between us, somehow."
Matt is still not thrilled about Karen's frequent contact with the Punisher, although it's not like he would get a say in the matter. According to Karen he never really did. She hated the way Matt tried to decide for her what was too dangerous. And that was even before she knew he was Daredevil. Trish made sure from the beginning though that he knows ordering her around, even if he knows better, is not the way to go. It's been a struggle. "Frank also probably stayed away in an effort to protect me."
Trish scoffs. "Those two jerks have more in common than you'd think."
Karen drinks from her coffee and raises her eyebrows curiously. “And how is your new hobby shaping up?”
She is of course talking about Trish running around the city as Hellcat at night and fighting thugs with Daredevil.
A happy grin is blooming on Trish’s face. “It's a blast. And the company is excellent as well.”
Her vigilante boyfriend has not disappointed her after he gave up on pushing her away. Sure, they did fight sometimes, but mostly those arguments came from worrying about each other. It all came from a good place. Like Matt thinking that she's too tired sometimes and trying to convince her to stay home, when he is going out to protect his city. Or Trish getting angry whenever he takes unnecessary risks and gets hurt. Apart from that it is going really well.
Like this evening. When she returns from meeting Karen she can already smell that he is cooking in her apartment. Matt knows his way around the kitchen (not just Hell’s Kitchen) and she started putting braille labels on the ingredients he can't smell that easily when she found out about this talent of his. While fumbling with the keys she makes an appreciative comment knowing that he'll be able to hear her.
Trish puts the bag with the IGH folder on the floor next to the entrance. She'll bring it up tomorrow, for today she has other plans. “Hey! What are you making?”
"It's a surprise.” Matt smiles. “I wanted to try something new, but didn't have all the ingredients.”
“So, I owe this pleasure to your inability to stock your fridge?” She doesn't mind, of course.
Matt raises his eyebrows and smirks at her. “I'll make it worth it.”
"I don't doubt that.”
Trish goes over to give him a welcoming kiss and then looks over his shoulder. “Huh… this looks… elaborate.”
Matt chuckles. “Anand gave me the recipe. It will have to cook for a bit longer.”
While she hugs him from behind one of her hands casually slides under his shirt. “I was hoping I could enjoy the meal now, when I realised you were cooking. You're telling me I have to wait?”
“Let me just get two more ingredients in then we can let it cook for a while.” He kisses her again teasing her with a bit of tongue and a wicked grin afterwards.
"Are you saying I get to taste you first?” Not a bad consolation prize.
“If you want to…”
"Do I ever not want to…?” She starts kissing his neck while Matt is putting some more spices in the pan and moving the spoon around until they're evenly spread. Then he suddenly turns around and lifts Trish up to put her on the counter.
Now both her hands are under his shirt and he’s also all over her. When he moves on to opening her bra she can hear him sigh which amuses her again. “You pick the most complicated bras just to annoy me, don't you?”
"So far you've always managed to open them easily.” She giggles and whispers: “Impress me.”
Matt leans back chuckling and raises his eyebrows. “Seriously?” He then tilts his head to the side and puts one hand in her hair to move her forward and kiss her thoroughly, then he skillfully moves his other hand behind her back and quickly opens the clasp with a swift movement of two fingers and immediately covers the now freed skin with his palm. Damn. He’s faster at this then she is even with using her own powers.
“This really does turn you on.” She can feel him laugh at the realisation.
Then she starts opening the buttons of his shirt without needing to use her hands, keeping them busy elsewhere and he makes some approving noises.
She grins: “You like it, too, when I use my ability.”
“I can't deny that…” His lips travel down her neck until he breaks away from her with a surprised laugh. “You're not really stirring the food while I'm kissing you, are you?”
Trish lets go of the spoon with her mind. “Does that bother you? Don't tell me you're not listening to what's going on in the streets right now.”
Instead of replying he just pulls her even closer until that clever tongue in her mouth has her undivided attention, which probably was his intention. His fingers travel across her skin, knowing somehow exactly how she wants to be touched and it is getting more and more difficult to notice anything else around her.
But just when it gets interesting Matt breaks away with a knowing smirk, his hair a total mess and he is otherwise adorably disheveled as well. “I think the food is almost done now.” Closing the buttons of his shirt again he walks back over to the pan.
Matt chuckles while she tries to get her breathing under control, fixing her bra and blouse. She should have seen that coming. But the food smells amazing, so she just rolls her eyes and gets two plates out.
“I hope you have dessert planned.”
"Don't worry. I plan to satisfy all your needs today.” Now that's a promise.
And he delivers on it, not just regarding the meal which was also delicious. If her cook wasn't as hot as Matthew Michael Murdock she would have been completely content with being fed like that and just going to sleep. But as it is Trish can't resist him, even tired like this. After they have put everything in the dishwasher she pushes him against the fridge to give him a long and passionate kiss. Matt picks her up effortlessly and walks with her legs around his hips to the bedroom without leaving her lips with his or bumping into anything along the way.
"Smooth,” Trish comments and looks behind him once to close the door with her mind. Then she gets rid of his shirt and pulls him into her arms.
Sleeping with Matt is still pretty much as good as it gets, since both of them usually enjoy the same things and like teasing each other. Even if he is sometimes surprised by what works for her, so far he’s always been on board with anything she suggests. He never suggests anything though which kind of irritates her. She’s sharing all her inner - occasionally embarrassing - desires and he still insists that there is nothing he’d like to try. “Your imagination is much better than mine, trust me.” He would always say.
When she realises that her vision is very vague suddenly and she “sees” herself from his perspective - all smells and quiet snores in a world on fire - she knows she has fallen asleep again. “Crap. Wake me up!”
Trish always wanted to have special powers to help people, but when it finally happened by accident while fighting a kidnapper, she didn't get to choose what she would be able to do. If she had, travelling with her mind into other people's heads while sleeping would not have been it.
“Not happening. You are exhausted.” He’s whispering now making sure that she in fact won't wake up. Damn. He’s stubborn, he won't change his mind.
The good thing about this ability is that it helps her pick up his fighting technique. He told her a couple of days after he found out that she had been dreaming herself into his patrols that he noticed her learning process must be incredibly fast because of it. “Can you show me those backflips again at least? I think I'm starting to figure out how you do them.”
He chuckles. “Sure. Any more preferences?”
“Don't get killed.” They are joking about it now, but she was sure she'd lost him already when he was taken and tortured for days by Fisk's men. It was probably the worst week of her life and that's saying something.
"Noted.” Matt had afterwards accepted that it was foolish to think that fighting Fisk alone would not lead to others getting hurt. In the end Elektra died for him (again!) and even Vanessa, Fisk's wife, took her own life as well as her own husband's after she saw what he was capable of. Trish would have killed him, too, if she had gotten the chance and while she was worried about that instinct, killing the guy was the only option left, since he knew Matt's identity and was determined to make him suffer. He needed to be stopped the same way Kilgrave did.
The first people Daredevil saves this night are two teenagers, a girl and a boy getting mugged. The boy tries to act tough, but the moment Matt shows up, his girlfriend only has eyes for the vigilante. “Careful, I think the minor has a crush on you.” It happens all the time now. The people of Hell's Kitchen aren't scared of him anymore after they have seen videos of him as a hostage. Instead some of them are kind of star struck when they see him and others immediately want to check if he’s wounded and take care of him. He hates it and Trish loves making fun of it.
“Can we have a picture with you?” The girl flutters with her eyelashes.
“No.” His sharp tone makes her boyfriend bark out a laugh and she starts to pout.
"Come on, Matt, being mean to fans will give you a bad image.” Trish laughs while he already climbs the fire escape. The boy is trying to take a picture of him and as he arrives at the roof he makes sure that his middle finger is caught on camera.
"Make sure you get home safe,” is his last warning. The young couple giggles and starts to get going. He discreetly follows them to make sure, they are fine.
Criminals also have become a bit more cocky around the Devil of Hell's Kitchen and try to make fun of him, but they usually regret it instantly. Trish sometimes still has to hold him back, before he loses control. Just one more reason she doesn't like to see him go out alone like this.
It is a rather slow night, so Matt even has time for a break on the roof where he shows Trish some more moves with a bit of commentary. “If anyone sees or hears you doing this, you're going to look like an idiot.”
“Jessica would argue that I always look like an idiot.”
"True. Guess I'm the kinkier sister.” Thinking of Jessica makes Trish want to check up on her, so when she's had enough fight instructions, she tells him that she is going to jump into her sister’s head.
"Yes….?” Usually Matt urges her to go. Maybe he feels that she is spying on him.
"We talked about this. I think you need to get some proper sleep. Your mind needs rest, too.” Somehow after training her Matt decided that he is the expert on her condition.
"I am sleeping.” She can hear him sigh. “You don't have to worry, I've got this under control.” Well, he can't know she's lying now. There is no heartbeat around to listen to.
“Fine. I trust you to take care of yourself. But please… let Claire take a look at you, or any other doctor. To be sure that everything is fine.”
It's really funny, the way he starts to sound like his best friend Foggy, the ultimate worrier, when it's not him brushing off health concerns. “I'll do that when I feel something is wrong. Everything feels normal. I've just had some stress.”
Okay, yes, she has been more tired lately. And yes, she has been sleep-stalking people a bit, unintentionally, and maybe she isn't always able to control that, but it is getting easier to switch around.
Thankfully this is not the only ability she gained, only the freakiest. She can't jump into any heads when she's awake, but somehow she's still able to detect their emotions at least. As long as they are not bottling them up. The most useful power of hers though, is moving things with her mind. It's more difficult to do with heavier objects, but that one still is handy in a fight.
Trish finds Jessica in a bar again with some guy trying to chat her up. She witnessed this kind of thing before, but that guy is especially unworthy of any kind of attention. Still, Jess seems to be drunk enough to not care anymore. Trish doesn't say anything knowing that her sister doesn't like her peeking into her head at all - naturally. Now at least she's able to avoid it, so she leaves immediately. She is just worried about her, but she doesn't want to take away her privacy, not if she can help it. Also, she really does not want to see what comes next.
Jessica has been distancing herself from Trish and Matt since they’ve gotten together. It's not really like she's not happy for them, especially after all the drama and pain that led to it. Trish can feel it. But it also makes her a bit miserable at the moment and she needs some space. That's also the reason why Trish wants her to confront her own past. She thinks it might finally help her deal with her issues. Jessica is even worse than Matt in letting other people in and if she keeps this up, someday even Malcom might give up on her after she fires him again.
I don't know yet how much of Jessica Jones season 2 will turn up in this storyline, but there definitely won't be that addiction plot for Trish, since she’s already Hellcat. If you have any preference where I should take this, who you want to read more or less about, please tell me in the comments.
Also: don't expect daily updates anymore. Even weekly will be difficult. My first story was already written when it was posted. For this I only have two chapters so far, the second one is from Jessica's perspective.
Chapter 2: Be Happy Somewhere Else...
Jessica has a new case she doesn't care for and avoids another one she wouldn't get paid for.
I can't write Jessica without a lot of swearing, as you can imagine. So, if you don't like that, this fic isn't for you. ;)
It's been a long time since Jessica woke up with a hangover like this, because she not only heals faster, she also sobers up way too fast. But this was another one of those nights, when no amount of alcohol seemed to make it bearable, so she kept drinking. All her clients lately have been assholes or non-existent and she has to become even less picky if she wants to pay her rent for the next month. Not a great thought to start another shitty day and then it gets even worse.
"You've got a client waiting for you." Malcom's voice almost makes her jump.
"Fuck, what did I tell you about encouraging morning people to hire me?"
The idiot smiles. "Don't...?"
"Yeah..." Jessica takes the bottle of Whiskey he is offering her. "So, you do remember. It seems, you don't listen to anything I say." He just shrugs and she starts getting ready, knowing she can't afford to show the door to anyone anymore.
"Go and write down the details already."
Ten minutes later Jessica sits at her desk listening to Sonia Arocho bitching about her ex husband who currently has the custody for their son. Of course, she wants her to find dirt on him which is at least something a bit different. It would be nice not to follow a potential cheater around for once. Or maybe he did cheat, they are divorced after all.
Since Kilgrave and being accused of killing even more people after him, first by Fisk's men and then by journalists looking for someone who scares people, clients have come to her because of her reputation to be ruthless. It would be nice to get a case she would give a fuck about again. Could this be one? A mother fighting for her kid? Saving it from a bad upbringing? "Is he a bad father?"
Sonia frowns at the question and says: "Well I'm his mother. The boy needs me." The fact that she's defensive about it tells Jessica that he is probably a decent dad. And from her own experience mothers can very well be manipulative monsters.
"And he's a criminal." Okay, that's something to go on. But the fact that he still got custody in the first place is even more surprising then and that makes Jessica think she probably should not be helping this woman. So far, she isn't making the best first impression. Not that Jessica is a good judge of what it takes to be a good mum. She clearly wouldn't be, but for Sonia it seems to be more about sticking it to her ex, not about what's best for her son.
"Is he rich? Does he have a real good lawyer or something?" He could still be a bad guy. All she hopes for here is any indication that their son would be better off with his mother.
But Sonia informs her that he is in fact struggling to make a living after getting out of prison. Jessica kind of hopes now that she doesn't find anything. She will have to help this woman, because she needs the money and the kid may have to pay the prize. After she agrees to look into this, Sonia stomps out on her high heels taking with her Jessica's hope of getting some work that is actually worth her time.
The displeased private eye turns to Malcom who's looking at her apologetically. "I'm fired again, aren't I?"
"No, actually, I want you to call Matt Murdock and ask him what kind of information we would need for a case like this."
"Trish's new boyfriend? He'll be annoyed if you don't contact him yourself. He has been calling you a lot and I had to make up excuses why you couldn't talk to him." Malcom doesn't look happy about that task. Usually he jumps at every opportunity to make himself useful. "He sounds a bit arrogant to be honest."
"He's a lawyer and such a do-gooder on top of it. What do you expect?" And Malcom has a crush on Trish. Did she expect him to like the man who's taking up all her precious time now?
"I'd rather call Nelson." Why did she not fire him again?
"Nelson is a busy guy. Try your luck with him or Jeri if you want. I don't care. But Murdock is the one who really owes me. If you don't want him to ask for me all the time then call him about this. Maybe if he gets to assist me in some way, he'll stop bothering me."
Jessica immediately starts researching Sonia's ex. She hears that Malcom actually calls Matt and makes up another reason why she isn't able to talk to him herself. The assistant she can't get rid of looks at her like she has to at least give him a cookie for this, then he starts taking down notes and repeats everything he writes down, so she already knows what she should be looking for. Any contact to other criminals he used to work with would be enough.
Malcom finishes the call with a sigh. "I doubt that this will make him call less. But he was happy to help. He offered to take the case as well."
"Well, let's see first, if the father is a scumbag, before we fuck him over like that." Oscar Arocho even looks far too nice in his mug shot. She already likes him more than Sonia, to be honest.
Later that day Trish comes by the office and Malcom doesn't mind handling her with small talk. There is a whole other conversation going on between the lines and Jessica has this distinct feeling that it is about her. In the end Trish makes him leave them alone. He usually does what she says, so why doesn't he go and just be her assistant? While Malcom walks out, her sister stocks her fridge with leftover food. This is going to be one of those conversations again. The ones where she's concerned for her or wants her to save the world in some way. At least she brought food.
"I hope that's his cooking and not yours." She has to admit that Matt's taste is pretty much as good as you would expect from a guy who can smell every ingredient.
Trish smiles. "I wanted your attention not poison you." Then she takes out a file and sits down, clearly nervous. Jessica is not going to like this at all, she feels. This day is not getting better anytime soon.
"What's this? Got a case for me?" She eyes her suspiciously.
"Not if you don't want it. But I'm informing you that I'll be looking into this and I'd like for you to help me." Her eyes are begging her to listen and Jessica finds herself wanting to. She can't hide forever and she does miss her.
"Trish, just spit it out."
Her sister swallows. "It's a file on IGH. Everything Karen has found so far. I want to know what made you like this after the accident and I think it would help you to find out, too."
Jessica takes a deep breath and then rolls her eyes. "I guess, I don't get a say in this." Her anger at this slowly comes through in her answer, despite her best intention not to snap at Trish for another of her well-meaning but ill-advised suggestions. "Sorry, but you're on your own. I have no time for any sort of self discovering bullshit. The rent needs to get paid. I'm guessing there isn't any money in this."
Trish shoots back: "I would pay you, but you never take my money - or Matt's - for something like this. This is important." And there comes another rant about screwing around with her life and her powers. "People are selling this shit in Hell's Kitchen now. There are enough desperate idiots who want special abilities to fall for this crap and if some of these actually get lucky, who knows what they will do with it?!"
"You mean idiots like you?" And that was a low blow, but Jessica is tired of Trish telling her what to fucking do and how to use her abilities. She figured it would get better after Trish started playing vigilante herself, but it didn't. She can see tears gather in her sister's eyes, but by now she's too angry to care. "This might be a hobby for you and I just want you to let me do my job. I'm sure the Devil of Hell's Kitchen would be happy to assist you. Why don't you ask him?"
She can see how Trish tries to compose herself. "I will... I just wanted to come to you first." When she doesn't react, Trish goes on. "Fine. I don't want to waste any more of your time. I'm going to find out what they pumped into me." Shit, she wouldn't have hesitated if Trish had said it was about her as well. She has a right to know what made her like this. Then again it's not like she minds finally being... special. "I'll let you know if I find anything that you should know."
"I don't think I want to know," Jessica mumbles, already pouring herself a drink.
On her way out Trish only stops to say goodbye to Malcom who is stunned. His boss throws him a look that warns him not to say anything and he leaves her alone with her thoughts after that.
This isn't just about IGH and those enhancement drugs - fake or not. It's Trish worrying about her again and meddling because of it. They've had several arguments about Jessica's lifestyle and the way she is dealing with her past. It was especially disturbing when Trish started visiting her mind in her sleep. She had no control over that for a while and that led to Jessica blowing off some guys, because her fucking sister was stuck in her head and didn't get out of it anymore. Because she fucking cared. She didn't do it on purpose, though.
Now that doesn't happen anymore, since Trish seems to have gotten it under control. Or maybe she just doesn't tell her when she is there which makes Jessica too paranoid to try anything, mostly. She could still have sex during the day, of course.
Her sister certainly has sex any time she wants. Matt is always with her and they are still in that awful stage of their relationship where they only have eyes for each other. They deserve it after that rocky start. Still, those two went from being the hot new pairing to a superhero power couple within a week. It is fucking annoying, the way they finish each other's sentences and protect the weak together. She'd rather die than become as obnoxiously couplish as they are... or a third wheel. She's fine on her own and they should stop looking at her like something is wrong with her.
When she starts following Oscar Arocho around she considers talking to him, but he seems rather likable and she might want to help him if she gets to know him. She doesn't want another Luke situation. This is different though. It's purely professional. She just needs the money from his ex... whom she didn't kill...
And someone else is keeping an eye on the guy which is not a very good sign.
As soon as the sun's down there's a message on her phone. It's from Matt and it just says: "You've got company." Usually she just ignores messages from him for a couple of hours, but something makes her reconsider. It would be very cryptic if she hadn't noticed the other man, too. Matt could know more, though, given his freaky senses and if he already made the effort to come this far...
"Get your ass down here, Devil Boy, if you're that desperate to talk." She speaks loud enough for him to hear, since he must be in the neighbourhood. Maybe she just needs to tell him to leave her alone to his face, if he doesn't get it.
Seconds later she can hear some noise behind her and sure enough there he is, already in his ridiculous outfit. "Are you following the ex-felon who has custody for his kid?"
Huh, she expected him to ask about Trish first. Instead he tells her what he found out about Arocho and Jessica stores that information away reluctantly. In their fight against Fisk she came to know that she has become a bit of a devil whisperer. Maybe it was the other way around, too. Maybe, Matt also knows how to approach her. "He's picking the boy up at a friend's place."
Matt nods. "There is a Morano on his tail."
Fuck. The Morano clan is one of the groups filling the power vacuum Fisk left behind. They are a bunch of gun crazy morons with a leader who has been clever enough not to pick a personal fight with any of the super powered individuals watching each others back. Lenny Morano has been trying to give them information on his competitors since she made a deal with the psycho to save Matt from Fisk's clutches. He's been playing them from day one and having fun with it.
"Let's ask the guy some questions." Jessica goes ahead expecting him to follow. As they walk around the alley to wait there Matt smiles and Jessica can't take it any longer: "Not gonna ask about that argument with Trish?"
"Nope." It comes out rather casual, but he hesitated. He's careful not to upset her and obviously supresses a grin which only annoys her more. The creep probably checked her fucking heartbeat.
Then a man walks around the corner and when he spots them, he uses some kind of inhaler before he immediately runs the other way. He is very fast now, so Jessica has to follow him full speed. She still catches up with him after a couple of streets and grabs his coat, slamming him against a dumpster. When he swings around he hits her right in the face, screaming: "I'm sorry!"
But Jessica doesn't let him go, instead she pins him against the wall and asks: "What were you looking for, there?"
She can hear the panic in his voice. "I was just there to find a guy who forged documents for us." Matt is coming up behind her, a bit out of breath.
"Why? Is he working for you again?" It's definitely Arocho. This might be easier after all. If he is still working with the Morano clan he really should not have custody for his son.
"No, no, no... He went to prison for something and didn't even get paid. I'm supposed to give him the money."
"That's a lie." Having a human lie detector with you has some advantages. Jessica punches a huge hole into the wall next to his head and he shrieks. Did he forget that he took that drug? Or maybe those enhancers don't help with healing. He still hit her pretty bad.
After he calms down a bit he confesses: "Okay, okay, Lenny told me to offer him another job."
"Where did you get that inhaler?" Matt tilts his head, still listening to the man's heartbeat and Jessica makes a move warning the enhanced criminal with her fist again.
"We took them from some guys who worked for Fisk, when Lenny was looking for you." The Moranos did profit quite a lot from helping them, even more than she was aware of. Maybe that also explains why Lenny's bodyguard Tuck is such a good shot.
"Are you selling this stuff?" This has become more Matt's interrogation than hers.
He guy struggles to push her away again and it works. But Matt steps in his way and he wisely avoids his strong punches, himself landing one precise kick to the guy's stomach. That makes the criminal stay put. In that moment Jessica feels she doesn't want her friends without superstrength and healing deal with that drug business alone.
She hears Matt repeat his question and this time the man answers: "Not the real stuff. Just drugs. Lenny even kept most of it from us. He said we should lay low and wait for the dust to settle and then went underground himself. I don't even know where he is."
Matt grabs the inhaler from the guy and Jessica pushes him away. "Okay. Go!" There is nothing he could be arrested for. He was merely spying.
The guy blinks. "Really....?"
"Run before I change my mind."
Matt leans against the wall and inspects his new evidence. "Of course Lenny is involved." Yeah, the sneaky bastard probably keeps all the drugs until his rivals have used all of theirs. Then he'll rule in Hell's Kitchen alone. "So what are you going to do? Take pictures of the criminals aproaching the kid's father or warn the guy?"
She did not expect him to talk about her case again. She was still contemplating if she should get involved with this shit after all. They might be more vulnerable, but Matt and Trish know what they're doing. She can't babysit them all the time. "I'm not sure."
Suddenly, she hears a boy's voice. "Look, dad, there's a superhero!"
Jessica smirks at Matt's groan, but the dad - her target - pulls his boy away already, sending them a suspicious glance. Did he notice the criminal looking for him as well?
"I gotta follow those two." Matt is about to climp the building when she grabs his arm. "Watch her back. You hear me?" She knows he was going to do that anyway, but this is her way of greeting Trish and letting her know that she is pissed, but that she also still cares.
Her sister's overprotective boyfriend nods with a small smile on his lips. "I'll protect her. With my life." It sounds like he's joking, but he's dead serious.
"No, asshole. No martyr shit this time." She's not gonna babysit them, but she can still give him a piece of her mind. "You idiots stay safe. And call before you really get into trouble or I'll punch you so hard you'll wish to meet your maker even more." Now he's grinning like a jerk and she knows, this was his plan all along. She gets what Trish sees in him, annoying as it is.
Chapter 3: A Taste of Your Own Medicine
There are things Matt can't do shit about, but that's okay.
The fallout between the two sisters does not seem to be permanent. Jessica has implied that she'll be there for them if they really need her, but that's not what Matt is concerned about. He knew, of course, that they could count on her if anyone's life was at stake, but Trish is hurting, because she misses her best friend and he can't do a thing about it. All he can do is listen. And he does. At least to her heartbeat, since Trish doesn't want to talk about it anymore. Her relationship with Jessica is very strong and very complicated and she probably thinks he won't understand.
"Now you know what it was like when you two were fighting." Karen takes a sip from her beer. "At least you know what it's all about." Foggy puts a sarcastic chuckle on top of that dig.
She'll never let that go. "I'm still sorry about that, Karen." He knows, he fucked up there and didn't make it easy for his friends. But knowing what Jessica's fight with Trish is about doesn't make it any better. He can understand both of them, really. In this case, he can relate to Jessica more - to the fact that she doesn't want to stir up the past, but he also gets why Trish is worried. With her sister distancing herself from them, she doesn't have a lot of friends left. Every time he has to talk to Malcom on the phone the guy sounds more irritated, struggling to come up with explanations why she can't speak, as if they both didn't know she's just avoiding him. And as much as he hates to admit it, Trish is right that it helps to talk about shit. Father Lantom really helped him keep his sanity in the beginning when he became Daredevil. But letting others in seems to be even more difficult for Jessica, despite the fact that she doesn't even bother to keep her strength secret.
"I didn't want to make you feel bad, I just wanted to remind you that I know what this is like." Karen lays her hand on his arm, but Foggy just snorts.
His best friend is already pretty drunk. "I might be over our fights, but that doesn't mean that it's not a little satisfying seeing you get a taste of your own medicine." He raises his glass while Karen shakes her head smirking. "To karma! Chukku ji chukku... That is Punjabi for cheers. I think."
While Foggy still looks like he's contemplating that, Matt raises his glass, too. "To karma. I guess, I need to buy you two another round." He smiles, knowing it is all friendly teasing and they laugh. Since things have calmed down the former Nelson & Murdock team has become closer again without secrets straining their friendship. Now Karen is the only one acting more guarded and she gets especially tense whenever Castle is mentioned. To say that he was surprised Trish asked those two to look into IGH would be an understatement. Matt is aware he had to keep his thoughts to himself, though.
When he's back with three more beers Foggy is just telling Karen that Jeri Hogarth is really sick and the partners want to get rid of her. "What is she suffering from?"
"ALS... But she doesn't have any of symptoms yet. They tried to raise awareness for the disease with that ice bucket challenge online a couple of years back. Remember?" Foggy smiles.
"You mean that silly prank where you threw cold water on a poor blind guy without warning?"
Foggy grins like he expected that reaction. "Poor blind guy, my ass. You totally knew what was coming. I looked a lot more ridiculous when I did it myself." Then he's more serious again. "Anyway, Jeri is a shark and I do not see her go down without a fight, neither against death and certainly not against some lawyers thinking her time is up."
Karen seems to agree with his assessment. "From what Trish told me the woman is scary. She even tried to make a deal with Kilgrave. Who knows what she would do to save herself."
"Yeah, but things like that can change your perspective as well," Matt ponders. "Maybe she'll see things differently. She doesn't deserve to go out like that."
"I didn't mean it like that!" Karen sounds apologetic for her harsh judgement. "But Foggy is right. She might have an ace up her sleeve. She is also representing Haley James and other actresses against that producer scum Tatum. I just asked Foggy about it, and that is why we were talking about her. I hope her illness doesn't work against the case. Otherwise we might need some help outside the law..." Karen smiles at him and he is still not taking it for granted, the way that she now mostly approves of his actions. The way she always understood, even back when he was lying to her, that sometimes the law just isn't enough.
And he sure as hell will do something if that producer guy isn't punished. "Trish will have James on her talk show to talk about that case." She was very insistent on doing that although her boss tried to dissuade her. There is nothing stopping Trish Walker once she decided to do something.
Karen obviously kept in touch with the radio host, sharing her passion for a good story. "She was getting tired of all the nonsense she had to talk about since the election..." Since Trish was attacked in the studio by another man in a devil costume trying to frame Daredevil, she means. It happened because she got pulled into his mess with Fisk. Matt changes the topic after that still not very comfortable with how his choices have affected the people around him and for the rest of the evening they try to keep things light. That is also what Trish tried to do for a while on her show. Keep things light. At some point the ratings were even way better than they were when she discussed vigilantes. That Fakedevil creep sure made more people tune in at first, but they stayed for recipes, everyday advice and her laughter. He couldn't blame them. He wanted to see and hear her happy and carefree as well.
But she isn't satisfied doing this anymore, because she isn't the type to ignore the bad or complicated stuff. It must have helped that she had another outlet as Hellcat for a while, but maybe taking that direction as a talk show host also reminds her of her career as Patsy. Matt knows how she feels about her past. He also had noticed Trish's reaction when that case came on the news, her heart beating faster, her usual wit taking a backseat. She had told him once that going into the entertainment business at a very young age had meant that she had certain experiences with men like that.
So when she stayed silent for longer than usual he asked her what's wrong, but she said that it was nothing, that she was just tired which for once she definitely wasn't. Trish had told him that she's over it. Still, seeing the man accused and then maybe acquitted would probably bring back some unpleasant memories. Matt looked Tatum up later and wasn't surprised that he actually was some kind of mentor for the young Patsy Walker.
After his evening with Karen and Foggy he again tries to call Jessica still thinking about what Karen had told them about Maximilian Tatum. She had to know if Trish had any unpleasant encounters with that man and her sister will have to put their differences aside for a moment to be there for her. But of course Malcom is on the phone again and this time he just cuts him off: "Let's not waste any more time on this. Just tell her that Trish will have Haley James and some journalist on her show tomorrow. Can you do that?"
He knows it's not Malcom's fault that he is losing his patience with Jessica, but he can't deal with his fake politeness right now. He'd prefer her just telling him to fuck off herself. They haven't worked together since he doesn't need Jessica's help anymore and he gets that she's not into their vigilante shit, but they've become a good team and good friends as well. So it's not just Trish missing Jessica. But Matt knows he can't force her and they have to wait for her to reach out to them.
That night he's patrolling with Hellcat and everything is pretty much business as usual. They don't talk about Jessica or Tatum and she's clearly enjoying the distraction. Of course, he listens for any suspicious behavior related to the drugs they are investigating. He doesn't know where Lenny is hiding or where his rivals are dealing at the moment, but they'll find out.
Matt is glad to be able to blow off some steam when they stumble across some robbers at a petrol station. First Trish smirks at him and makes her sign that she has already put the safety on the guns back in place. Between all the shouting and threats nobody notices that handy little trick. They go in together performing their by now perfected routine. Daredevil and Hellcat attack the three robbers from both sides and by the time the third one has the safety on his gun off again, Trish already put him to sleep with one of her little drugged arrows. Matt is a bit disappointed when the guy falls down in front of him, before he has time to teach him a lesson.
Trish may not be able to fight exactly like him, but with her abilities it's like she has ten arms sometimes. If she is really focused and has been sleeping enough, she can make him her sidekick by now. She is even able to redirect bullets if she reacts fast enough. All this really shouldn't bother him, but he is itching for a fight that is more of a challenge again, for him at least.
When they leave to let the police make the arrests Trish struggles to catch up with him. "Hey, not so fast!"
He waits for her on a roof and Trish immediately puts her hand on his neck to pull him into a kiss. After a surprised second he leans into it. "I'm sorry that I took out the third guy. You were disappointed back there."
Damn, of course she felt that. "It's not like I can help what I'm feeling, Trish." That came out a bit more annoyed than intended.
"I know, I know! And I'm sorry that I can't help sensing it either." And then she adds with raised eyebrows: "We're both too preoccupied to block this stuff when we're fighting, I guess..."
He sighs, because she's right. It's not her fault and she's not intentionally invading his privacy. Dealing with this actually has made him more aware what it must be like for others when he listens to their heartbeat. "It's not a problem. Maybe I just need to run around alone again. Sometimes..."
No, Trish doesn't like that idea at all. She worries a lot, every time he leaves without her, either because she fell asleep early or has to do a show first. And it has been safer to do this together, even Foggy is less on his case nowadays. It's nice to have a partner in fighting crime... most of the time. Shit, they don't have to argue about this. It's silly. "I have a better idea." And that smile she offers is promising. "We haven't trained in a while. How would you feel about a sparring session?"
Her heartbeat shows her excitement. "You want to fight me?" He chuckles, surprised at her good mood.
"You know, I think we're a better match now since the last time we tried that."
Her annoyed tone makes him assure her: "Of course, we are!" The last time she tried to fight him she was still pretty clueless and he really is curious what difference her progress has made. She can sense that he likes her idea and now looks even more pleased with herself. "Okay, but don't hold back."
Trish thinks for a moment. "I think we can do this without hurting each other too much."
Matt smirks. "Okay. Ready?" She nods and blushes, probably because one of the last times they did train like this, she tore his clothes off on three and they had sex for the first time. "One.... two...." Trish scoffs at his teasing grin before he says "three" and she starts with throwing her arrow that he kicks out of the way leaving room for her to attack him earnestly from the front.
He loves it. The way they can anticipate each other's moves and react accordingly. Every time he has her at a disadvantage she throws something at him from behind, right or left, but he knows she could use her mental powers more, so he incourages her: "I said, don't hold back!" Then he holds one arm behind her back, trapping her in place and she uses one of his own billy clubs to hit him. But he dodges the attack and before she hits her own head, like she used to do in moments like these, she redirects it and he has to let her go again to block.
Suddenly things are thrown at him from all sides and it is quite an exercise to block or dodge all of it. Trish is not able to attack, though, when she's focusing so much of moving stuff with her mind. She hits him a couple of times, but her throws become weaker by the second and soon after she has to defend his kicks and punches with her arms and legs again. This keeps going back and forth for a while until they both lose some of their energy.
It ends with him pinning her down, but he knows she could throw something at him from behind again. "Don't let me win, because you don't want to hurt my ego..." That would actually damage it a lot more.
"I'm not..." She whines. "I noticed that you were worried about hurting me and I did use it to my advantage a couple of times." Yeah, she hesitated, too, sometimes. "I think this is as far as we can take it. And I can feel a headache coming up if we keep going."
Matt lets her go then and takes one glove off to swipe some blood off her cheek and kiss her temple. "Thank you. Really. We should do this again."
Trish beams at him. "We really should." And then he helps her up and they go on their way again looking for more trouble.
After a while he hears it. A boy screaming his lungs out at someone else: "You can't pick on me anymore! I'm stronger now." He motions for Trish to come and they hurry over there. It turns out that it is two boys actually. One of them has a gun pointed at another. But it's the other one who is threatening him. Trish first puts the safety back on and nods at Matt.
They silently approach, but suddenly the taller boy with the weapon is attacked with a knife and his gun isn't going off. Matt goes for the one with the knife, sensing that his heart rate is especially out of control. Trish easily snaps the gun from the other one and pushes him out of harms way. But he was cut on his arm already and is yelling in pain now. "You fucking psycho!" She holds him to stop him from retaliating.
The one with the knife is more difficult to contain, because Matt doesn't want to hurt him and in his panic he lashes out crazily. Then he tries to attack his victim again and Matt can barely hold him back, finally getting rid of the knife and pushing him to the ground roughly. "Calm down," he orders.
Trish offers to bring the injured boy to a hospital, because there is a lot of blood, but he clearly doesn't want that. He had been pointing a gun a minute ago, after all. Matt growls: "Who started this?"
"He has been threatening me every day!" The boy on the ground yells. "I couldn't take it anymore!"
The one with the cut up arm spits on the ground and mumbles: "Pussy..."
That makes the mad kid jump up and attack again and Matt stops him by pushing him back down. "Did you buy drugs to make you stronger?" The boy's eyes widen and he nods. "Can you show me where?"
After a long interrogation Trish and Matt agree that both boys should make statements with the police and it's pretty obvious that the one with the cut is already in trouble with them. He's starting to accept that he won't get out of this, though. Hellcat brings the him to the hospital and informs the police as well, while Daredevil drops the other one home so his parents are present when the officer arrives there to question him.
On the way the drugs wear off and he starts sobbing silently. Matt treats him more gently and tells him not to play a hero again. He makes the kid promise that he will keep his fingers from that drug. Matt explains the situation to his parents in two sentences and they just stare and nod, completely freaked out both by the vigilante on her doorstep and by their boy's behaviour.
After everything is taken care of he meets Trish again at his place, where she's entering through his open window. "Did he cut you?"
"No, I don't even think his strength was enhanced, to be honest. He was probably just more aggressive and fearless than usual." Matt was mostly worried about hurting the boy.
"The poor kid must have been really afraid to go this far." Trish gives him a short welcoming hug and then goes to change into some comfy clothes she keeps at his place these days.
When she comes back she pulls him close again for a proper kiss. "Can you come to my workplace in the black outfit after the show tomorrow evening? I think I could use a little distraction after that..."
So apparently she is nervous about the interviews after all which is no surprise, really. "I'll be there if you need me. Anything in particular you want me to do?"
He can hear how she bites her lip which she does more frequently since he told her that it's easy for him to pick up on teeth to lip movements. "Impress me..."
Matt chuckles at the familiar phrase. Then he remembers the reason she wants him there and whispers cautiously: "Do you want to talk about it?"
But she just takes his hand and leads him into his bedroom instead.
It will be at least two weeks until the next chapter, so I wanted to leave you with this. I've already written one more from Trish's point of view, but maybe I'll write another one before that. We could take a look into my version of Oscar or see what Karen, Malcom and Foggy are doing.
Or I could introduce a new character that will play a role in this. Any preferences? :)
Chapter 4: I'm Done Listening To Others Except You
Trish has some thoughts on the man who abused her as a teenager, the people she's afraid to tell her story to and the only man who's opinion counts.
So, obviously there will be mentions of rape in this, but I'm not going into detail. This is more about Trish's issues and insecurities around it all. And her powers also make it worse.
The night before the interview she doesn't get any rest. Maximilian Tatum is nobody to her. It's not really him robbing her sleep, it is obsessing over what others might think of her that does. It took Trish many years to realise and fully accept that she wasn't at fault. She was 15. He was responsible for her career and her own mother told her to sleep with him. Could she have said something earlier? Sure. Could she have said something when women started accusing the producer of sexual assault and rape? Yes. But she didn't think her voice was needed. It was so obvious that the man was guilty. There were so many men and women speaking up suddenly that she thought she didn't have to go through all that again. That she didn't have to be accused of just wanting publicity for a sob story that really wasn't all that special as it turns out. She was not alone in this by far and others were even younger.
A part of her was afraid of what would happen if they started to blame her for everything. She reads or hears those arguments all the time: It's not like she fought him off, it's not like she said no, it's not like she didn't want to be a star back then. At least that is what she thought. But she was a fucking kid, she didn't have a clue, wasn't able to give consent and didn't realise it would almost destroy her. It made her end up in rehab and she doesn't want to go there again.
Things are different now. She's no longer that little girl and he doesn't have power over her anymore. No man has, unless she wants him to. Now she knows, if he tried to use force on her, she'd be able to actually kill him. Of course, she also doesn't want to become a killer. What would Matt think of her? He'd understand, probably. He would not condemn her openly, but what if she felt his disappointment? So, she can't really tell him what happened. She's too afraid of his judgement although her heart tells her she could trust him.
Preparing the show on Max's case, is her only way to contribute and help other victims getting heard. Public outrage is the only thing that makes a difference in cases like these, apart from vigilante violence. But if anything happens to that creep the cops would land on her doorstep eventually. She can't risk getting exposed.
When she starts reading the pieces her second guest wrote about the case, about the actress who accused Max first, her blood starts to boil. It's even more upsetting, because he attempts to sound objective. He believes the stories of these women, but questions why they haven't said anything before. He doesn't deny that the man is a monster, but he thinks that more evidence is needed to proof that a man is guilty in the future. That more women have to talk immediately when things like these happen, not when it's "fashionable". Again, not this one - it's just a general feeling. If there is just one victim though, she (or he) is fucked. He feels that the power is somehow being reversed. That in the future instead of women not being heard, men will not be heard when they are wrongly accused. Trish doubts that logic. Instead, the guilty men will be more careful and at least behave differently in public. That in itself will be an improvement, but it will also make it more difficult to see their true faces. If a man turns out to be innocent - and she'd know, sensing his feelings - she would make sure he is believed as well, of course.
She'd do everything in her power to fight for everyone who can't. If they really can't. But what happens if people who are weak and exploited suddenly gain power? Will they naturally abuse it? Will the freaks IGH produces turn their ability into a deadly weapon and try to right every wrong they had to endure? And what is taking it too far? Could her power turn herself into an abuser of the weak? And wouldn't Maximilian Tatum still fucking deserve that?!
From the moment Trish goes on air sitting opposite Haley James and Trevor Gunn she regrets setting this up. The atmosphere is tense and she fears that she might break the trust the actress has in her, that she might take a cowardly stance after all, because she fears the public opinion. Thankfully Haley stands her ground and she doesn't need further support. She just needs Trish's platform and doesn't expect more from her. They talked about it before the show and while Trish felt she needed to be honest with the woman, Haley did understand her reluctance to talk about her own past.
When the show starts Haley James owns it from the beginning. "I want to thank you for inviting me here. I know people are tired of hearing about Mr. Tatum's behaviour towards women, but he hasn't been convicted yet and we need to remind everyone that it's important to follow this through." She sounds collected and calm, just the way a victim is supposed to sound if she wants to be heard. Not hysterical, but strong.
Trish has to control her temper while Gunn anwers: "You're right that he hasn't been convicted yet, though. That is why we need to hear even more brave women come forward. I was actually one of the first to believe you when this story broke. There were rumors around the guy before, but he also has a right to get his side of the story out. It doesn't mean that every guy who is being accused is guilty, of course."
"No, it doesn't," Trish says. "But we're not talking about other less severe cases here, Trevor. This once again shows how things like that did happen under our noses and we didn't do anything to stop it. There won't be enough evidence to catch every creep in the industry and we will have to live with that. But we don't listen to what serial killers have to say to defend themselves. Why should we listen to serial rapists and let them keep rationalising their sick behaviour?"
Trevor offers her a condescending smile before he starts mansplaining the situation to her. He ends with the statement she feared most: "It's all those women who stayed silent all this time who made it possible for him to get away with this - who also got something out of it. Other men didn't know what was happening."
That is the moment she understands that the journalist knows about her. While Trish is too shocked to actually talk, Haley is the one who saves her ass. "You are aware though that it wasn't just women who spoke up, right? It's not like we conspired to ruin a man who was uncomfortable or something. He's a criminal and even men who knew about it, were punished for complaining or warning other women. We have to stand together on this and agree what kind of behavior is not acceptible anymore." Before he can answer, she goes on: "And it's ridiculous to equate rape with wrong accusations of rape. It's not like a fake victim can throw random accusations around without sounding like a fraud immediately. But for a famous rapist to get convicted, there need to be several victims who come forward. Ideally around 50..."
That kind of gets through to the journalist. "I get your argument, actually. On the one hand we have one man wrongly accused and on the other there are several women who were abused. That is true. But the moment we say that we should just believe every victim, that might change the system the other way around, don't you think?"
He looks at Trish and all she can think of is this: "Aren't both the alleged abuser and the alleged victim innocent until proven guilty, though? People say that wrong accusations end careers, but even true victim's careers have suffered and that's somehow not as important, because they were stopped in the beginning."
They discuss the issue for nearly one hour and Trish talks carefully and gives Haley most of the time. It's all she can do, really. Before the time is over though, Trevor, apparently frustrated that she wouldn't say anything just directly asks her: "Mr. Tatum was a mentor for you as well Miss Walker and to be blunt, I'm surprised that you're not sharing your own experiences with the man. You haven't even mentioned it."
And suddenly she sees the man in question in the room standing behind Trevor. By Haley's confused look after she turned her head in that direction and the lack of action by other employees, there is obviously only one person in the room who sees him and now everyone is staring at her. "Yeah, Patsy, tell them. What did I do to you?" He smiles and she shivers, completely forgetting that she's on air.
Trish blinks twice and the vision is gone again just like that. All she sees is the frowning journalist who looks like he's taken aback by her reaction, afraid that he crossed a line he wasn't aware of. She smiles darkly at him and opens her mouth, determined to make a point: "Maybe I have nothing to say to this. When I started out in the industry I've listened to the people who knew how things work and I'm done doing what people expect me to do and how they expect me to do it." Her voice is so low, it sounds nothing like the chatty radio host she usually plays. This was the real Trish coming through and it feels amazing. She didn't say too much, did she? The smile on Haley's face is gratification enough for her. If she receives a shitstorm over this, so be it.
She is able to keep her shit together until her guests leave the building and her boss gives her a pitiful smile. She can feel how the atmosphere has changed, since she gave that almost answer, how the others are studying her move. They are waiting for her to do something. Cry or yell at them or have a breakdown. This will have consequences. Now more people are going to ask her about Max, try to make her say something. He is probably going to try and intimidate her as well, as if her mind making him up wasn't enough. The way to the bathroom is longer than she remembers. But as soon as the door is locked things get out of control. She sinks to the ground hyperventilating like a scared little girl again.
Also, there is nothing in the bathroom that she can throw around in anger to make her think of something else. Then she hears a knock on the window. Matt is hanging out there and the fact that she doesn't know what he's holding onto on this side of the building makes her panic for a different reason. She somehow manages to open the window with her mind and he climps in sitting down beside her. He reaches for her hand massaging it the way he used to do when her powers gave her horrible headaches. "Slow breaths, Trish. I've got you."
After a couple of deep breaths she starts to relax a little and takes him in. His anxiety is mentally suffocating, but he's dressed in black like she asked him to and that makes her heart flutter. When she smiles it immediately lessens his concern which calms her down as well. But then she realises that she doesn't want to look at the mask right now. "I made a mistake," she whispers and takes the cloth off. "Right now, I need Matt Murdock, not Daredevil."
With that she sinks in his arms feeling safe and above all cared for. Matt just rubs her back and says reassuring things into her ear. After a while she is almost back to normal again and breaks away to see his face. She thinks back to the way he came in and snorts. This is not acceptible. "You're an idiot." At his confused expression she points at the window. "This was too dangerous."
His sad eyes light up a little. This is more familiar, her bitching about him being reckless. "You were having a panic attack," he remarks with an apologetic smile that is too sweet for his own good.
"It would have passed and then I'd have met you on the roof like we planned." She rolls her eyes. "Let's go to my car now. I think I need to go somewhere." Trish pushes him to the door asking him if anyone is outside who might see them run for the elevator. He's not allowed to go out through the window and needs to wear the mask again in case anyone sees them together. Matt doesn't dare to argue. As soon as the way isn't crowded anymore they hurry over to the elevator and Trish pushes the button for the garage.
"I think taking the window was less risky," he jokes while she enters her car moments later. Mostly it took longer and she had more time to think about what she's doing. Right now she doesn't care if anyone sees her with him in costume. He hestitates outside of the car tilting his head, but then joins her with a heavy sigh, assuring her that nobody saw them.
An hour later they stand before Max Tatum's office and Trish takes another long breath. She's glad to have Matt by her side for this, but she can tell that he is on edge as well.
"Are you sure, you want to do this?" Matt cups her cheek to make her look up into his eyes. His beautiful caring eyes. Eyes that at least didn't have to see the ugly shit he hears at night.
"I think I need to get more evidence and make sure he won't get away with this." She thinks they should have enough, really, but she has to contribute in some way or at least try to do that.
So they enter the building, Trish picking the lock without touching it. The police must have searched this place already, but in none of the articles did they mention the hidden room in the New York base of his production company that you can only enter from his office. The one that is completely soundproof, where he went with some girls after an audition to drink and make them some kind of offer.
There must be something in there. Videos of his conquests or pictures, anything that shows what was going on in this room. Max always liked to remember and he even liked to remind her of what they did, what he did. She vaguely notices Matt's reaction as they enter the room. He is clearly wondering what it is and she sees when the realisation hits him that it was a trap designed to make you feel like you didn't have a choice here. She gulps. "Do you want to know what happened?"
His expression is glum. "To be honest, I think your heartbeat tells me all I need to know."
He means it. His gloved hands open the stocked mini bar. If they find drugs here they can't prove where they were, but they could at least call the police tomorrow and be sure that they would find something here that they maybe didn't find before. But it's time to face the fact that maybe he got rid of all the evidence in time. Or he payed the cops.
When she sees Max again she pales. "He really trusts you, doesn't he? But what if he finds out you wanted this?"
She never wanted this.
"You're afraid to tell him what really happened."
Max is right. She is. She's terrified. She shouldn't be afraid to tell him, but she is. And while her sleep-deprived mind is torturing her with that asshole's comments she slowly comes to the conclusion that she actually needs Matt to know the entire truth, that she will always fear he'll think different of her if he hears it. She'll always feel that she is hiding something from him.
"Matt....?" He stills and there is a concerned look on his face again. "I think I need you to know more. I need you to tell me that my heartbeat isn't lying."
He hesitates and she can feel her eyes well up. "We're not in a courtroom, Trish. I think I get why you didn't come forward with this. I've seen it happen myself, victims getting blamed." A tear runs down her face and he hurries over to hold her. She is grateful for the comfort, for his arms around her and his soft kisses. "Your feelings about this are true, they are all that matters to me, even if there is no evidence."
Trish closes her eyes, basking in his unconditional support, but tonight she hopes for more than that. "As much as I really appreciate the sentiment..." She distances herself again, already missing the warm contact and ignoring Max's devilish smile. "I think, I need you to know the details before you declare me.... a victim."
He sighs and nods. Then she starts telling him the whole tale. She can feel his anger when she mentions her mother's role with this, how she went through with it all telling herself that it was what she needed to do, if she wanted this career and how she later crumbled under it all. How she begged Jessica not to do anything and how she now felt guilty because of the things he did to others. By the end of it she doesn't see Max anymore, only Matt's face, consumed with understanding and sorrow.
"You feel responsible for not stopping him before," he whispers. Trish closes her eyes knowing how he feels about stuff like that. "You can't honestly think that I would blame you..."
He can probably sense the tears in her eyes and the way her heartbeat skyrockets. "Oh god, Trish... No..." And his arms are around her again, thankfully, comforting her. "It's not your fault. You've had a hard time coming to terms with this. You were a teenager, your mom was shit and you didn't want Jessica to get into trouble. Jesus, Trish, we'll do anything to stop the guy if he walks free. But I'm pretty sure he'll be found guilty by the law. Okay?"
"Yeah...?" He's a lawyer. He should know, right?
"I've read up on the case and it's pretty strong. Hogarth will ruin him." That makes Trish smile and she kisses him.
"You're perfect. I don't deserve you." It's ridiculous that a man as uncomfortable with sharing his own feelings is that good at finding the right words when it really counts. Maybe it's the idealistic lawyer in him.
Matt chuckles. "I think we have established that you do and that I don't deserve you."
Trish huffs. "I think the jury changed it's mind. You, Matthew Murdock, hero of the people and best boyfriend ever, deserve everything." Her hand slips under his shirt then and she kisses him with everything she has to underline her verdict. It is a huge relief to feel him, to want him and feel him want her back. She should probably tell him about seeing Max as well, but one big confession was enough for the day, she hopes. Also, her body is too preoccupied with touching him and it doesn't feel like she'll be able to stop anytime soon.
Matt carefully backs away after a while panting heavily. "Trish, what are we doing....?"
She whines at the loss of contact. "I know this is a bad idea. It's just..." She looks at his conflicted face through her still blurry eyes and her heart aches so much, she can barely make the words come out. "I want to show that he didn't break me, that someone like you could still accept me... as fucked up as I am."
"You're not fucked up..." She snorts, fully aware that her actions right now do say otherwise. But he just adds: "... any more than I am." And that's probably true.
She starts kissing his neck, feels his own desire and just generally enjoys his closeness. "I'll stop if you want me to." That came out more needy and miserable than she wanted it to. If he rejects her now in this emotionally charged up moment she'll understand. She's just trying to forget where they are or make a good memory in this place. But she knows it's not the most healthy decision.
"No... it's..." He hesitates and she can feel his hot breath in her neck. "It's fine. I love you." She has never been and never will be again grateful for his recklessness. But just in this moment she cherishes it.
"I love you so much." She takes his black shirt off and pulls him down on the couch with her.
Chapter 5: You're family
Jessica talks to a certain divorced dad, who hates her, can't say a word to her troubled sister and then she's locked into a room to listen to concerns and feelings. This is not her day, until it is.
The moment Malcom told Jessica that Trish was doing a show about that poor excuse of a human being she knew it would get ugly, but her sister didn't answer her calls. Right. Lecturing Jessica about not dealing with her issues and then refusing to talk about her own. Bloody hypocrite. Okay, so, maybe she has Matt to talk about it now and she might be too angry with her best friend and sister at the moment.
So far, Trish prefered not to give away the details of her past to her boyfriends. She even told Jessica to keep it quiet as well, but somehow it seems like it could be different this time, like maybe she can be more open with Matt. After all, her sister actually has worked on her own problems. She went through rehab and therapy. She has done all she can to get over it and she mostly is, but she never wanted anyone apart from Jessica to really see her weaknesses. Even before the Kilgrave mess she was the only one who understood.
Whenever Trish told anyone else, she usually didn't like the way they treated her. Like she was glass - or even worse - like she was broken. So she has been trying to avoid that. But with Max on trial she can't just ignore it and Matt would figure it out sooner or later. He's smart like that and he can hear her heartbeat. Jessica still doesn't answer his calls though, because she's not sure how much he is supposed to know. Despite their argument about IGH and her sister's investigation the PI doesn't want to break her trust and reveal her secrets without her consent. Trish doesn't deserve that, so she is burying them with her own.
"Jessica?" Has Malcom been talking to her? She makes some kind of grunt to acknowledge his question. "What's going on with Trish? Is she in trouble?"
"Not yet." She hopes.
"I started to look into IGH and-"
"How do you know about that....?!"
Malcom looks guarded. "You two weren't exactly whispering."
While leaning back on her chair Jessica sighs and takes another sip from the bottle of her personal fuel. "Don't expect me to help you with that. You're the reason I have to stalk Arocho now. Either do your assumed job and assist me or get your own PI license."
"Jessica I don't think it's a good idea to-"
"I don't care!" She needs to take a deep breath. "Do it in your own time and please, don't bother me with that anymore. You know how to contact her. I'm sure she'll be greatful." Jessica puts a fake smile on her face and is glad when he finally accepts her decision, probably working on it again.
Malcom doesn't say anything else. He just types away and eventually tells her the address of a playground where her client's ex used to go with his kid after school according to Sonia. Jessica is starting to get sick of his well meaning advice. Malcom won't fix her. Just because she helped him and cared about him, doesn't mean he owes her. And she's much more difficult to fix anyway.
When she arrives at her destination Arocho is already there, drawing something and watching his son play with some other kids. While he keeps himself busy he still seems to be very aware where his son is running around. Every time the kid seems to have hurt himself, his father looks concerned, but he doesn't intervene as long as the boy is still playing with others. It also appears that the kid doesn't have a lot of friends, is sometimes even ignored within his group and tries hard to impress them. Then his father calls for him because there's blood on his knee and he immediately cleans the small wound. After some begging the kid can go play some more with a medical strip on his leg like a trophy.
Since little "Vido" seems to be a huge superhero fan, he probably gets more bruises than the other kids, but his dad doesn't stop him, unless he's about to do something really dangerous. That child needs constant supervision and his dad just rolls his eyes with a smile when he has to make him calm down and be careful again. He hugs the little guy before letting him go to the playground one more time. Even with the most exhausting mothers he seems to get along as well, but mostly he keeps to himself and just helps out when needed. For example when there's an emergency because of a sweets shortage or when he has to look after a girl while her mom has to go and lecture her big brother.
After witnessing all of that Jessica decides to tell the man about Sonia and the Moranos. As she approaches him she can see that he recognises her and he's not happy about it at all. "Whatever it is I have nothing to do with it."
She doesn't see a reason for him to be that hostile. Yet. Jessica furrows her eyebrows trying to figure him out. "Glad to hear that, because your ex hired me to find dirt on you and take the kid." She glances over at the boy who is now looking her way curiously. "I'm not doing it."
"Of course, you won't, because there's nothing to find." He appears way too defensive for that to be true. The guy sounds angry and now the kid is also coming over, probably sensing trouble. It was okay playing with others who ignore him while the alternative was watching his dad draw, but this was more interesting and Jessica can tell that Vido remembers her as well.
Oscar Arocho is fiercely protective of the boy and he won't risk losing him. She has seen that, but knowing that Lenny the bastard usually gets what he wants and right now he wants the father to work for him, she decides to go one step further. Jessica offers him her card and when he doesn't take it she puts it on the bench beside him just when his son appears in front of them. She also notices the drawing of the kids playing together. Vido is observing the scene from a tree in this, smiling. The resemblance is remarkable.
"Your former employer is looking for you and another PI will take the case soon, so I just wanted to tell you to be careful," she warns the father.
"What's in it for you?" He looks at her suspiciously.
"For you to call me if you need someone on your side."
Oscar ignores the card, but the kid takes it and smiles at her with a spark in his eyes. Before he can be stopped he asks her: "How do you know Daredevil?"
His father intentionally looks in the other direction. If she's able to win over the kid though... "I work with him sometimes." Vido's eyebrows shoot up as high as they possibly can. "Are you a superhero, too?"
Jessica is tempted to pick up the bench Oscar Arocho is sitting on just to irritate him further and ridicule him in front of his child, but she knows it won't help her case, so she's keeping it honest instead. "I'm no hero, but I have some skills I'd like to use to help others who need it. If they want me to."
Arocho huffs. "You mean, people like Lenny Morano?"
"I am not working for the mob...!"
Vido is now staring at both of them back and forth in wonder while his father looks straight into her eyes accusingly and she tries to avoid his gaze. "Then why did someone approach me with an offer by Lenny Morano shortly after I saw you with the so called hero who is rumored to be working with him?!" His voice is low and he can barely keep it under control.
Jessica is taken aback by his outburst and the information he shared in it. "I had nothing to do with any of that! And neither does Daredevil, by the way. Where did you get that ridiculous idea?"
The man seems to almost lose his patience then. "Vido, can you please go and play some more? I need to talk to this woman in private." Jessica waits for him to continue and as soon as the child is out of earshot he does. "My son doesn't need to lose one of his heros, but I hear that the Devil of Hell's Kitchen is taking it easy on the Moranos and I can't be seen with someone who's working with him then."
It's not his fault. He is entitled to be sceptical about vigilantes and Jessica knows they aren't all as good as they think they are. But she was the one who approached the Morano to save Matt and she feels like she has to defend her decision. "You can't refuse my help against the man you accuse me to work with. What's the logic in that? I've made very clear towards Lenny Morano that I'd make his life hell if he didn't help me save my friend's life. I watched Devil Boy get tortured for days looking for clues and in the end the guy I made a deal with tried to kill him as well." Now it's Arocho's turn to be taken aback. "Think of me what you will, but I just did what I thought I needed to do and Daredevil is merely trying to get Lenny to stick to some rules while fighting him. The moment the Moranos are poisoning the schools with drugs again, the Devil will hold them accountable before the law can."
Before the man can reply to that they both hear some noise from the playground and it's moving their way. Apparently a kid is crying and someone accuses Vido of being responsible. But Arocho's son doesn't feel he did anything wrong and defends himself quietly: "He was bullying them. I was just trying to help. I didn't know he'd hit his head."
Jessica decides it's time to disappear while the father argues to defend his little vigilante in the making against one incredibly snobby mom who can't see that her son's an asshole. Serves him right.
In an effort to get more urgently needed clients she then goes to the police station and distributes some business cards. She knows Arocho won't contact her and she doesn't get her hopes up for others to do so either. It's usually better if the lawyers she knows refer her. On her way back to the apartment Jessica decides she needs to get some food and booze now that she won't get payed by Sonia either. So she is in the grocery store when she hears it. From the moment Trish Talk starts she knows that Gunn asshole is up to something. It looks like she has to swallow her pride and make her way to the radio station.
When she arrives she listens to the end of the show that can be heard in the entire building and she actually catches the moment when Trish puts that guy into his place. But she's obviously too pissed off for listeners not to notice the change in her voice. They'll know that she's affected. Shit. This can't be good. All this was supposed to be over. A few minutes later she sees him get out of the elevator and she follows him to pull him into the next alley and push him against the wall.
"Who are you to decide what she has to talk about in public, asshole?" Jessica snarles at him.
"I'm sorry!" He whines. "I just wanted to help."
She flashes her most sarcastic smile. "You slimey little scum. She was a minor when she worked with him!" If implying that she slept with Max to further her career will cause a relapse into addiction, he'll really regret this interview.
"What are you gonna do Miss Jones? Kill me?" He swallows. "Like you killed that British clown?"
Her fist almost connects, but she can stop herself on the last second. Trevor Gunn makes a funny face expecting to get hit and she's about to make fun of the guy when he starts choking for no reason. There is something strange happening to the air around them. Jessica lets go of the journalist in her panic and he falls to the ground unconscious. She takes a couple of deep breaths before checking his pulse. He'll be fine, she decides, but there's blood where he hit his head, so she calls an ambulance, knowing that he will remember her attacking him anyway. She looks around to check if anyone was watching or doing something else. After she makes sure that she is alone she runs back to the station, not sure what to say yet.
Trish won't stay in the building for long, so Jessica checks the garage first, but the car is still there. Soon though she can spot her sister walk towards it and she looks rather determined and messed up at the same time. When she sees that Matt is going with her she allows herself to relax a little. Before getting into the car he tilts his head, probably aware that she's standing there and that there's blood on her hand - the journalist's blood. He's appears to be torn between giving her location away and waiting for her to join them.
Jessica can't. She's relieved that he's there for Trish so maybe she doesn't have to be. "I'm sorry," Jessica mumbles. "Don't let her do anything stupid."
She can tell that this is not the message he was hoping for, but he doesn't say anything and they drive away together. The strange encounter with Trevor Gunn makes her push back any thoughts on her sister though. Was it stupid to think that someone else had done that to him and left the moment he fell to the ground? There were some freaky abilities reported across town, because of those enhancement drugs. Maybe she has to look into that after all. Or maybe he just has some kind of disease. But for that to be true he did look way too surprised. Maybe she should have stayed with that jerk and explain that it wasn't her, the moment he woke up.
The next day she finds herself being arrested for attacking the journalist and Matt is defending her as her lawyer. He enters the interrogation room without his sarcastic smile this time which means this is either more serious than she thought or Trish told him everything. They don't really discuss the case. She knows he heard everything she told the police officer. He also must have heard the man thank her for killing Kilgrave, for taking the monster out who made the whole police station dance to his tunes.
"I don't blame you", is the first sentence he utters. Trish definitely told him, then.
"I don't need your approval." He raises his eyebrows.
"If I had your strength, I might even have killed him without intending to." He's not dead now, is he?
"Aren't you gonna do your job now and get me out...?"
"Well, you're under investigation for attempted murder. There aren't any marks on his throat to support his claim that you tried to choke him and it's a good thing you called an ambulance as well. But you still attacked him and if his body had a strange reaction to it you might have to pay his medical bills." And then he adds with a no nonsense voice: "I'll give you the money for it and I won't take no for an answer, because I'm getting something in return: I'm taking this opportunity to talk to you. I'm pretty sure that you happen to be broke and don't want to spend time in jail."
Jessica leans back daring him to continue with her crossed arms and a killer glare. "Looks like I'm your prisoner." She rattles with the cuffs that are connected to the table. "Shoot."
His smile at that appears to be bitter. Again she expects him to talk about Trish, but Matthew Murdock surprises her with a different approach: "You know about my father. He was a good guy, trying to make a living and care for his son. Got himself killed because he wanted to make me proud. I wasn't able to help him. All I could do was patch him up after a fight."
She thinks of the man that she saw draw his son today, who would do anything to keep him. So Jessica stops him right there. "If this is about Oscar Arocho, I decided to warn him instead of working for his ex."
"It's not. But that means you will need my money even more, I guess... What I wanted to say is this: You're family." She cringes. "I know that you don't want to work with us, but please, there's no need to cut ties with us because of that."
Jessica snorts. "Matt, you're a grown man, I'm not like your father, or that Stick guy for that matter. Don't make me into something I'm not. You won't get Christmas presents from me."
The glasses shield his expression a bit, but he's clearly annoyed. "You don't want to understand. I don't want to lose you guys, like I almost lost Foggy when he found out what I do." There's more, but he hesitates, knowing she won't like it. "I also don't want you to lose us. Especially Trish."
Now it's her time to be annoyed. "I have other people in my life. And what makes you think that you're so special?" She really doesn't. Just Malcom. That's it.
"Name one, apart from Malcom."
"Asshole." She can come up with other faces, but no names.
"That's what I was thinking." He grins. "Well, this asshole and his girlfriend would like to have your charming company."
She rolls her eyes at him."If you want me to play nice, go and find some other friends." Why did she defend this jerk against Arocho's accusations again? Maybe, it's the way he smirked when she called him a "friend" just now. Yeah, he's not too bad to be around.
"Okay, we miss your insults then. And I'm way out of my depth at the moment... Last night was a minefield to navigate." Matt sighs and for the first time since he entered the room he allows his calm mask to crumble. Before, his words were carefully chosen to make her understand that he's on her side. She can see how it works on his clients who first see his disability and are then impressed by his confidence. On her though, vulnerable Matt is more effective, because it's what he truly is.
Jessica uncrosses her arms as he directs their conversation to Trish's interview. "I tried to call her a couple of times to make her cancel it."
Matt blinks. "You did?"
"Of course, I did. But she was the one who didn't want to talk suddenly. Unless she already did talk to you..."
"Huh..." Matt swallows. "Well, she told me everything about Max. But I think she's hiding something else."
That makes Jessica look up. "You think it has to do with IGH?"
He shrugs. "I don't know."
Jessica then makes a decision that she has been running from, but that also was unavoidable: "Tell her I'm in. I don't care which one of you pays me, but I'm treating this as a case and the moment she starts looking for my files or wants me to go down memory lane I'm out." Matt nods. She gives him credit for knowing that this is as far as he can take it. Trish is the only one who can go further and apparently she needs help now, more than she cared to admit.
It all happens pretty fast after Matt gets to work on her release. The moment Jessica can go, her sister is there to hug the shit out of her. "I've missed you."
Yeah, she did, too. When they break apart, she apologises for calling her a desperate idiot.
"I don't mind being one of those idiots as long as I still have you." Trish smirks at her, because they both know she totally digs the weird powers she gained through that drug accidentally. They also both know that this isn't really what their argument was about. It was about Trish meddling in Jessica's business and her not bothering with Trish's concerns and problems. It was about them drifting apart.
Matt isn't around for the reunion. In fact he stays away for the entire day, so the sisters get to catch up. But someone else is around watching them. Someone they don't see.
At the end of the day Jess finds Malcom asleep on the desk. She wakes him up to ask him if he has found anything interesting on the drug and IGH. He then wordlessly gives her some papers with a proud smile. When she says that Trish and Matt are their new clients he gives her an awkward hug and just goes to bed.
Chapter 6: The Devil in the Details
Now that the team is mostly on the same page again, they get to work on that drug case together, compare notes, make plans and kick some ass.
"Focus on the technique. It's not gonna work if you're forcing it." Matt instructs Trish while she is throwing punches left and right.
"Easier said than done." Trish manages to avoid one of his punches on reflex, but that wasn't the point of the exercise. The point were counterattacks. It was her idea to practise some moves that use an enemy's strength against them. The most complex and effective way to fight and the only way to oppose people ten times stronger than you.
Between his careful attacks he encourages her: "I think all you gotta do is trust in your fighting skills. I know it's difficult to do at first. I learned it from a guy who was a lot stronger and bigger than me. But it'll work." She just needs one successful combination and from there it will get easier.
Matt tries not to make it too difficult for her, but when she fails she gets hit sometimes. That's why he offers to take a break again. "I'm too close to give up now. I think I'd have to start over if we stop now." He can tell that she is determined and that she concentrates on every one of his corrections. So, they continue.
Ten minutes later she is able to pay him back the bruises she'll get from this and he can finally hear her triumphant laugh. They repeat it a couple of times and then he shows her how to do the same with kicks. This time she gets it a bit faster and when he loses his balance he pulls her to the floor with him. Trish then pins him to the ground reminding him of their first training sessions that always ended with her in the position he is in now. They are both panting and a wolfish grin is spreading on her face, that is easy for his senses to detect. "I'm getting a bit nostalgic here, to be honest."
Matt certainly doesn't mind. "You know what? I get why you liked our little lessons." He waggles his eyebrows and moves his hips, eliciting a soft sigh from her lips. Her heartbeat is already faster because of the exercise, but that's not why it speeds up when she leans forward and he can feel her breath on his skin. She starts kissing him dropping her soft body onto his and leaving his hands to cup his face and stroke his side. His freed arms travel behind her back and move under her shirt. Why again did he even fight this?!
She's caressing his neck with her mouth when Jessica enters. "I thought this was supposed to be a training session, not a make-out-session."
Right, he is not very perceptive when they are doing that. But no one is trying to kill them in their sleep anymore, at least not the people who know their identity. Matt can hear the amusement in Jessica's voice while Trish scrambles away as if her parents just caught her with her fitness trainer. This is the first time all three of them are together in the same room - at Fogwell's gym, because there is more room - since their fight against Fisk. They have to make it work.
Matt just leans back on his elbows. "You know, if you were more punctual you didn't have to see that."
"I wasn't complaining." Matt can sense that Jessica is stretching now and Trish is trying to calm her nerves. "I've been saying forever that sex is a form of exercise. Not that I need it, being super strong and all."
Matt grins like a loon. He did miss her dry sense of humor. "Super strong women don't need sex?"
She huffs. "Everyone needs sex."
"No, everyone wants it. There's a difference." Trish is finally over her embarrassment and joins the conversation after she gave her sister a welcoming hug. "But let's get started here. We're not doing this just for fun."
Jessica smirks. "That's a shame. It did look like fun."
Matt stops Trish however before she takes position in the ring. "I think, you should take a break for a while and just watch." He's not really sure that she's ready for this yet and even Trish accepts this easily, giving him another peck on the cheek to show him that she's really fine with that.
Since it's getting really warm now, he has to get rid of his sweaty shirt for the next part. Of course, the girls can't leave this unnoticed. Jessica chuckles. "You're girlfriend is rolling her eyes, because I know that look on her face. I think you just proved my point."
Matt smiles trying hard not to sound too pleased with himself. "For your information: We did train like this without her jumping me."
His senses pick up on her blushing, because that sure isn't true. In fact the first time she was confronted with his bare chest in a training session they totally had sex. But Jessica doesn't need to know that. Trish would probably agree.
Testing his fighting skills on Jessica is a really enlightening experience. It's a good thing she heals fast, because the couple of times he uses her own strength to reverse her attacks she seems to be quite affected. The two times he has to block her though, do also hurt quite a bit. One proper punch by Jessica Jones even makes him sway a little. "I think I've had enough for today."
"Trish....?" Jessica's concerned voice makes him notice her sisters increased heartrate.
She must have looked somewhere else again. "Huh....? Alright, my turn." Trish gets up to take position opposite Jessica and she's nervous.
"Jess, try not to knock her out, please."
"You think I want to hurt my sister, dumbass?"
But Trish is somehow back to avoiding Jessica's punches on instinct. It makes sense that her strength makes her insecure again. In the end he's just glad that she didn't get hit though. She'll have to train this more with him first.
And again she doesn't mention whatever has been bothering her earlier. After that strange night in Tatum's office Trish superficially seemed more at ease. Maybe telling Matt her story and also making up with Jess was what she needed to do. It still hurt though that she feared he would judge her for her actions. What kind of man did she think he was? The first woman he fell in love with was a killer without a conscience and he managed to see the good in her. It would be horrible then to have any issues with Trish's decisions when she was a teenager. She was used to make money and now she's the one calling the shots. If anything, he was impressed with the life she has built after that and the trust she was able to put in him.
But sometimes she seems startled by nothing and her heartbeat goes crazy for no reason at all. At first he thought, maybe she's reading something on her phone relating to the case, or in the newspaper. Then he realised while sometimes it is entirely possible, other times she appears to be staring in a direction where there couldn't be anything to see or read. Like in the bathroom or in the bedroom. It is kind of spooky.
The fact that she started taking sleeping pills is also a bit unnerving. He had talked to her about her lack of sleep and about going to the doctor, but he doesn't think she consulted any expert about what her powers do to her and she still looks very tired in the morning, even after closing her eyes for eight hours straight. He's worried she might be visiting other people's minds too much at night, checking on Jessica or Karen. Maybe she haunts Haley James as well or - god forbid - Maximilian Tatum. That would explain a thing or two, maybe.
They did argue about it sometimes. About her powers not being good for her. They weren't from the beginning. At first she had headaches, but that's under control, as long as she doesn't take it too far. But she doesn't want to talk about negative side effects, because she still sees it as a blessing. So, she shuts down those discussions fast now. Instead of dealing with her health they investigate IGH. Hopefully this way they will stumble upon someone who knows what's going on with her. Maybe someone had similar experiences.
Trevor Gunn is still an ass most of the time, but at least he does accept that whatever happened to him wasn't Jessica's doing. She was as surprised as him when he started choking and the doctors also had some ideas at least what could have caused it. The private investigator herself though still feels that there was foul play and that someone was manipulating the air around Gunn in some way. She told Matt that she had felt a strange shift back then and it was entirely possible that others wanted to hurt that dick. In fact, after Gunn woke up even he himself wanted to at least apologise to Trish for pushing her like that to talk about Tatum.
"I know that Jessica is Miss Walker's sister and maybe she can tell her that I've had time to reflect in the hospital and that I'm sorry if I upset her." He wasn't even lying.
While Jessica still agrees with Matt that the slime bag could have "reflected" before opening his stupid mouth, Trish does count this as a small victory.
Karen and Frank are investigating the IGH angle of the case and so far they had searched the old laboratory and are looking for a new one through their former employees. They gave Jessica a list of names to find someone who might have answers for them. It is important to know whatever they can about those abilities and their side effects. And if those drugs are still being produced somewhere and for whom.
Matt is surprised to hear that Malcom had already managed to do a lot of research as well. Apparently he started this the moment Trish asked for Jessica's help and his approach was very practical: He searched all online posts and press releases from the police department about enhanced individuals and noted down their appearances. Some of them just appear to describe encounters with Jessica, Luke or Danny. The PI is particularly amused by one that suggests she has laser eyes.
The most common abilities are super strength and endurance. Others don't seem to feel pain and some are just incredibly fast or have impossible reflexes. The rest have powers that appear to be to weird to pin down. The ones who don't feel pain are probably the scariest in the gang wars that are starting to break out around town. But they will also be among the first to die in them, because they won't notice when they're hurt. A lot of them are already killing each other in the streets.
It was only a matter of time before Daredevil and Hellcat stumble upon an open confrontation. So, of course they do one cloudfree night. "If you think you'll get away with this, you're an even bigger idiot than I thought."
"And if you think, I'm taking any more orders from a weak little puppy like you or your megalomaniac master than you're deluded."
Matt indicates where he'll go to stop the enhanced guy who is running away, probably with something valuable to one of the ruling bosses. Trish nods, already understanding his plan. Before she can go on her way to the other side he holds her back, though. "Trish..."
Her hand moves behind him to rest her forehead against his and reassure him. She whispers: "Don't worry. I know, I shouldn't be picking a fight with that guy, yet. You just be careful. I have your back." And with that she's gone and he also starts to catch up with the criminals who are still arguing conveniently loud.
Matt considers that it might be a trap, but those two aren't even lying. "You could have just left, why also betray us?"
Before the traitor can answer a can "miraculously" rolls in front of his feet making him stumble. The one chasing him is able to fire one more bullet next to him before Matt expertly knocks him out from behind.
That's when the enhanced criminal sees him. "Well, well well. If it ain't our neighborhood devil. Trust me, you don't want to mess with me."
"We'll see about that", Matt jokes for Trish's benefit and the man jumps at him suddenly. This one apparently doesn't have more strength, but he feels lighter and that makes him fast. He is also almost able to fly. His punches and kicks on the other hand don't have much power. To defeat Matt he would need to train some more. He could run away though with whatever he stole from his boss, so Trish tries to keep him there, throwing more obstacles in his way.
Until she has company, clearly from another gang who was waiting for that traitor. "Hey Kitty, Kitty... I'm sure you're pretty under that mask."
"Well, maybe I'm a disgusting frog waiting for some royal asshole to kiss her." Since her answer doesn't sound too worried, Matt concentrates on his opponent before he can flee.
"But I think your character is so ugly even a blind man could see it." Matt smirks at that line.
He can also hear the punch she receives for that last sentence which is not a good sign at all. Super strength then. Losing his patience with the quick runner in front of him, he just slams him to the ground with all his weight and wrestles that book he took with all the valuable information in it out of his hands. Then he lets the man run knowing his best option now is going to the police anyway. When he focuses his senses back on Trish's fight he can feel that she throws one of her little arrows in an empty street for no reason, which worries him some more.
Matt runs back to the contruction site where Hellcat and that super powered jerk are fighting. She avoids most attacks easily, but one. Thankfully the moment she hits the floor Matt throws all his weight against the guy to engage him in a fight himself.
The others who came with the man attack Trish now. Back on her two feet she's not that easy to bring down again. She makes clear however that it's time for them to run for it and since he has the book he thinks that's reasonable. Sadly the gang doesn't agree and the enhanced guy is following them street after street.
Suddenly he jumps for Matt when he's about to swing to the next roof and the man gets hold of his foot making him dangle into the street from the top floor. He then lets go of the foot and Matt somehow manages to at least hit a dumpster. He can hear the other man being pushed off the roof after him and Trish take the long way down. She limps straight to the dumpster he landed in.
"You think I killed him?" Trish audibly panics. They can both barely move after the fight, nursing broken bones, breathing heavily.
"No, no. I can still hear his heartbeat." It's fading though, hopefully his abilities will help him through it. But she did it to save him. No need to discuss the consequences right there.
Luckily he has gotten the little book from the other guy and Trish looks at it as soon as they put enough distance between them and that other freak. She thinks it might be important and that it includes secrets from their business. Names of bribed police officers and clients. "By the way, Trish....?"
"Cool it with the blind jokes? I know." He laughs. "The moment I said it I realised you're the only one who gets to do them. Fair enough."
When Brett Mahoney arrives Matt tells him that the unconscious guy is enhanced and that he should be careful around him. Hellcat offers him the book with all the information, but she tore out the pages on the drugs.
Later that night they collapse on Matt's bed together, exhausted after changing out of the costumes. Then Trish finds a position that allows her to put her arms around his bruised body without hurting him or herself. She kisses his shoulder and he hums unable to drift to sleep easily after that night.
"It was a close call."
"I know." She strokes his side and he shivers.
"Tell me it was worth it. What did you find in that book?" He puts an arm around her carefully and hears her swallow.
"I think..." Her heart jumps. "I think it mentions Jessica's accident."
Okay, this time around I'm writing every chapter with the point of view of one character, but should I be switching around more? I'm not sure it's working the way I wanted it to. The next one will stay in this structure, after that I can change it. What do you prefer?
Chapter 7: Saviors
Looking at it from a different perspective and introducing new characters. Or: Did anyone wonder what Lenny's gang has been up to during all this?
One week before:
They say the Devil of Hell's Kitchen hears your scream and that's when he comes. So, what if you can't? What about all the people who are too shellshocked when they get mugged? What about the victims who aren't raped by a random attacker, but by someone they know? A lot of them don't scream and he'll never know. That's what Liam thinks after he has been beaten up by his father again. Never once did he scream, because then the neighbors would hear it and there would be consequences. Also, who'd believe a boy with his own history of violent behaviour that he wouldn't defend himself?
So, the devil never came to save him. The one who did save him was Lenny. He took him in, wasn't lying about his illegal business and he offered him a job. The Moranos needed people among themselves who didn't scream. Who accepted that the world wouldn't do them any favours and that expecting a saviour to make their life better was something morons did. Instead they just took what they wanted and as long as Lenny made a good profit and he didn't get into what he called unnecessary trouble, he rewarded the people working for him.
And some of them weren't too bad. Even Tuck, at first glance a ruthless killer without a conscience who didn't question Lenny's orders to kill someone to protect his people, even if it was one of their own. But he got his nickname from a character in Robin Hood. He believed in taking from the extremely rich and giving to the poor. Lenny didn't sell just any drugs. He sold designer drugs to rich brats and Tuck was fine with that. Even Liam didn't feel too bad about that. It was the one time they didn't treat him like shit, because they wanted something and they were scared of him.
With the new substances - the ones that were supposed to give you a chance at powers - some of them were starting to become suspicious and asked for papers and documentation like the others offered. It's because you never really know what you get with those IGH pills. The inhalers are pretty much straight enhancers that lose their effect after a while and make you addicted. The stuff that you inject into your bloodstream always gives you some power, but you don't know which. It's the pills that could either be regular drugs or enhancers for a limited time or give you permanent abilities. Since you can't know for sure what happens after taking a pill - it's much more unpredictable than with regular drugs - the customers need to at least be sure that it's from IGH. Lenny told his dealers that the other gangs were faking their papers to trick the idiots. There never was any proof where the drugs came from in the first place. All they had to do was fake the documents the exact same way the others did to make the customers believe them. If there were problems they could just say that it was a different batch.
Liam is going through the plan for the next day with Tuck when the door is thrown open and a bleeding Amadi comes running through. Liam helps him to a chair and without any further comment Tuck just holds out his hand to take back the package the younger man left with and failed to sell. He tells them with colourful descriptions how they were attacked by another gang and didn't have a chance. One of them was arrested, while his friend was shot and is recovering in a hospital now, getting grilled by cops.
"You were supposed to lay low, not take any risk if the client isn't trustworthy", Tuck shakes his head.
"We hadn't even met the client! I don't know how those assholes found us." Liam can see that his outburst isn't making their boss any less disappointed.
"None of the other dealers are actually selling the real stuff anymore", Amadi informs them. "But they are taking the drug themselves instead. We're totally outmatched by their power if Lenny doesn't let us take anything, too."
Tuck raises one of his eyebrows. "You really want that?" The strange man with his hat and long black coat might be the only guy able to carry off that look without anyone thinking it's a costume of some kind. "Follow me, both of you." Nobody dares to question Tuck's orders. It's said that his own reflexes increased through the drug which makes him an even more deadly marksman. But maybe it's just a rumor. Lenny has a pretty strict policy about nobody taking the drug. He says he doesn't want any more addicts among his people, but he could of course just fear that someone might try to take his position after becoming enhanced. Nobody knows if he took anything himself, though.
On their way Liam sees lots of plants, making the house look like a garden or a flower shop and Amadi seems to get more nervous the longer they walk without talking. His friend is right to be concerned. Speaking up against someone stronger than you is not a good idea and he also hasn't done much to help the business recently. It is the first time though that he questions the way things are run. Tuck opens the door to a room stuffed with plants that grew to the ceiling. "Wait here."
Liam and Amadi walk around for a bit wondering what that place is for. They won't get executed here, right? The Moranos have a reputation to be cruel, but so far Liam hasn't seen anything out of a gangster movie since he has been working for them. Then again, you probably wouldn't see it coming if they decide to actually kill you.
"You think there are drugs growing here?"
"Wrong guess." They jump at hearing the girl's voice all of a sudden. She is leaning against a small tree, may be around 16 years old, thin and dressed in a greyish brown overall. Her expression tells them that they just invaded her space and she rolls her at the boys.
Amadi, the oldest among them, is the first to find his voice. "What are the plants for then?"
"They are here for protection", she states and looks to the ground, not making any sense, but nobody dares to question it.
Liam spots a bed in the corner of the room, surrounded by green. "Do you live here alone?"
She nods. "Lenny and Tuck take care of me. They feed me, let someone teach me and even brought me a TV."
"Can't you go outside?"
"I can pretty much only go outside. Don't come any closer!" Liam stops dead in his tracks, noticing that he scares her.
"I see you have met Yuki." They didn't hear Lenny come in, Tuck close behind isn't making a very happy face. Liam sees him look at the girl with apprehension. "I hope you don't mind us intruding." She shakes her head.
Then Lenny focuses his attention towards the boys. Liam has to force himself to breathe. This is the moment he will probably regret getting involved with the Moranos. "Tuck told me what happened and I'm sorry for letting you down."
Okay, this is not what he expected and the twinkle in the criminal's eye seems to be missing. Apparently the current drug war is taking a toll on him, too. When he continues he sounds resigned: "I promised to take care of you if you work for me, but now it is said work that's making your life difficult. I understand that you have problems with my rules. Some have even started using those inhalers themselves although I explicitly forbid that..."
While Liam is too afraid to say anything Amadi starts to mutter quietly: "No, Sir, I didn't..." But his boss signals that he didn't finish, so the noy shuts up again.
"You're all idiots and frankly, killing some of you would probably make my work easier." The man smirks and Tuck also chuckles at that. "But then we would have to get rid of more bodies and while that young man in the hospital might be too scared to inform the police, he'd definitely try when he finds out that I snapped his best friends neck."
Lenny sighs, seemingly oblivious to the shear horror on Amadi's face. Liam had no illusions about Lenny being dangerous, but he did not have a reputation of terrorizing his own people. On the other hand, they used to listen to him. If that changes and if their actions affected his business...
"I'm not going to kill any of you, so relax before you have a heart attack. Here's my proposal: I'm letting you try the drugs." Amadi's eyes widen. "But don't get too excited. I might be in possession of a batch that definitely will have some effect, that will make some changes to your body. What you just have to understand first is this: Not all of them are good and some are really bad." He chuckles. "I certainly would never take that risk myself."
Lenny takes out his cigarettes and offers them one, too, but they decline. Liam and Amadi are too confused by what is happening. They were told that those drugs are giving people powers. They have seen it happen as well.
"You two don't believe me. Well, Yuki here can tell you what happened to her when she took the drugs a couple of days ago and what we're doing to help her with her new condition. Right, darling?" She nods sadly.
"However, you have to decide first, if you want to stay with me, if you trust me to keep taking care of you or if you want to leave now and try to survive this war on your own."
"If I stay, I get the drug?" Amadi sounds unsure.
"If you want it, sure. It could kill you or change your life forever. I can't tell you any more right now."
"Will you kill me if I leave?"
"Only if you tell on us. I'll give you some payment for your last job and urge you to take your sister and leave town for a while. Things are going to heat up around here. Tuck will shoot you if you become a problem, of course."
Amadi sighs. "Okay, I want to go." Tuck then motions for him to go outside with him and the boy follows reluctantly.
"What about you?", Lenny asks smiling broadly at Liam, already knowing his answer.
"You'd kill him?"
"It's his choice." There is a cold shower running down Liam's back. He really should go and build a new life, a life without crime. But what Lenny is offering might be worth the risk. If he wants to go back to his family he needs to be strong. And he kind of believes their boss about the substances being dangerous. He'd take it himself if it was safe. Or maybe he did and just doesn't let it show? The point is: Liam has never given him a reason not to trust him. He'd help him use it or live with it if that will help him in some way. It's all about business in the end.
Liam turns to Yuki: "Do you regret taking the drug?"
"Yes." She looks straight into his eyes then and doesn't hesitate. "But I don't regret staying with Lenny."
"If you stay, too, she can tell you all about it." There is a smug smile on his face.
The boy only hesitates for a second. "I'll stay."
It felt like dying. Of course, he did regret taking the drug and this one Lenny has trouble making up for, but he's trying, because Liam sure has become quite useful. Yuki doesn't see him anymore after he changed, nobody does. He wants to reverse it, wants someone to save him.
Would the Devil if Hell's Kitchen answer his scream now, though? Or is it too late? Is Liam too far gone? The man in the mask didn't seem to be too interested why anyone was turning to crime. He beats them all up, no matter what. Why should he make an exception for Liam? For a guy who didn't help anyone but himself. He only wanted to survive, so he ignored their cries.
Patsy sure didn't ignore anyone's cries. She was also one of those who didn't scream apparently, who didn't make a fuss. That he heard on the radio, although she didn't say it explicitly. It was pretty obvious. He saw her first with the woman who was following the forger around. Apparently they are friends. And somehow Patsy gained power, probably from taking the drug as well, because now he sees her run around town in a catsuit with none other than Daredevil. He's been watching her, because he can. He could tell Lenny about her identity and about who he saw her with. He could also follow the devil around and find out about his identity, but he somehow has the feeling that the masked man would notice him. He saw him tilt his head once when he was getting too close and it's impossible to follow that guy while keeping a distance. He is way too fast. Liam could also decide to inform them about his boss' plans.
He does neither. Instead he sticks to Lenny's mission and goes to break into IGH's new laboratory. He is supposed to get some answers, more drugs as well as documents that could help them make their product look more authentic.
"Hey." When Yuki hears his voice she jumps.
"Don't sneak up on me like that."
"Couldn't help it." She rolls her eyes. "Let's do this."
The girl walks with him to the back of the building. "I'll stay here until you find a way to let me in." He nods and she hides.
Liam makes his way to the front and sneaks in behind one IGH employee, watching the door close and lock after him. Moving to the backside he doesn't see anyone, but the door to the back doesn't move. He needs to go for a window a bit further down and when he opens it he whistles until Yuki finds him.
She looks around carefully. "I hope nobody heard us." Then he helps her climb in.
They walk around the building with Liam shielding the tiny Asian and find the security room without problems where they take out the guards. While they are unconscious they tie their hands and tape their mouths to be on the safe side. Then they hurry for the laboratory.
When Yuki finds a stash of the drugs she puts them into a bag they carried. Liam takes a closer look at the documents he finds in the room and they seem to have come across the jackpot. This time they can actually see what the single pills are supposed to do and compare it with the labels. Then suddenly he hears noise outside. Did they already find the guards? But there is no alarm yet, so they decide to hide and stay completely still.
When the door opens they bring in some sort of patient who's struggling against constraints and one nurse shouts: "We need one more injection to quiet her!"
Another one prepares a syringe and while four more try to keep the woman under control she headbutts one of them - obviously with super strength - so he flies into the cupboard next to Yuki and Liam. That's when they get caught: "Who and what the fuck are you?!"
He grabs Yuki by the neck and shouts for security. When his screams die, because she returns the favour and steals his breath, too, she already starts choking. Liam thinks then, that they will need a distraction to get out of there alive, so he decides to free the patient. The woman suddenly stills when she notices what he's doing and he tells her quietly: "You help me. I help you." A wicked smile spreads on her face then."
"What-" Before the nurse can say anything against what he is doing, she is knocked unconscious and more follow. At least one of them has a broken neck Liam notices with worry, suddenly not so sure that was a very smart move. Yuki took out the guy who was choking her, but the other nurse buried the prepared syringe into her and she's swaying when the woman next to her is suddenly slashed with a scalpel.
The free patient then picks Yuki easily up with one arm before she can fall and asks into a room of bodies on the ground: "Where do we go?"
Liam remembers to pick up his papers shuddering at the blood on the ground and the weapon in her hand. "Follow me."
Chapter 8: Some Things You See
Back to Trish & Matt trying to understand what's going on. Also, her powers make Trish really sleep deprived, so she keeps seeing things that aren't there.... or are they....?
They are finally getting somewhere. Trish gives Matt a summary of their new evidence while he prepares scrambled eggs for breakfast. The book they took after that fight with the enhanced criminal which left both of them with a lot of bruises did at least turn out to be quite useful. Apparently he'd be able to read it with his fingers on the page as well, but it would take a lot longer for him to do so. When he was fighting alone he used to go to Claire with stuff like this, he told her once. Trish is a bit proud that he trusts her not to miss anything important.
There is some information written down in poor handwriting that the Hell's Kitchen laboratory had to be shut down by IGH after a strange accident which occurred the same year Jessica's did. It could be a coincidence, but a huge one with her also gaining those powers back then. The drugs must have stayed there until around the time that IGH stuff started appearing in town again. First it came back through Fisk's people, since they had it when Trish got injected with that substance. But someone else must have found that old laboratory in search of more drugs. That also explains the sudden quantity of those pills and inhalers available and the different effects. Lying around all those years must have made some of the pills useless and others probably came with unintended changes and side effects.
The gangsters wrote down which color of pills did what, which ones did nothing and were safe to sell because they just made you believe you were stronger and which ones had the most unpredictable consequences. Matt shakes his head when she tells him about it. "I don't think we want to know how they tested all that..."
"Yeah... I doubt anyone consented to practically being experimented on." Trish knows she didn't, even though she's mostly happy with how this turned out for her. But it also was a long journey from getting horrible headaches that Matt had to help her control to discovering her ability that she had to force him to help her explore. She'll also figure out how to deal with all the tiredness eventually. "I'm giving this to Karen later. I think she'll be able to use it and verify some things in here. I'm just waiting for her to answer my text."
Matt nods. "I hate to say this, but I'm glad Frank is watching her back. This is really dangerous." When he gives her a plate of delicious breakfast she can sense his worries. So she pulls him into a kiss after putting her food on the table.
"Karen is a big girl and she's very clever. I think you underestimate her." She smiles when she feels him relax with her mind and her body.
"I hope you're right," he says when they both sit down together.
After a minute Trish mentions what's been bothering her most about this. "We can't tell Jess about the accident. Or she'll just cut us off again."
Matt groans. "But you'll want to know more about it."
"Of course." Her smile carries regret. She can't help it, she has to know. And she also has to know what that frown is about when she sees him tilt his head to listen. "Did something happen....?"
Matt sighs. "A neighbour is watching TV. They are attacking Anand for the drug mayhem. The police is losing control with the gang wars and all those weird abilities."
"I mean, of course they are. He won the election. He's the mayor." Trish decides to read up on it as well on her phone and sure enough there are already many articles blaming Anand Chopra for the situation, with headlines like: "Is Chopra responsible for our vigilante plague?" He wanted to change things so Daredevil wouldn't be needed anymore, fight corruption. Of course his political rivals are laughing now.
There is another article about Tatum's case online, but she ignores it. Matt assured her that he'll get convicted without her help, so she didn't react to any of the interview requests. The people who already believed the women that he is guilty - which is the majority - already assumed that she's a victim as well anyway. It made him look more guilty already. The only thing an interview would do would be directing the attention towards her and they don't want that. She can deal with people accusing her of protecting the creep as long as Matt stands with her, as long as he doesn't blame her. In fact he asked her not to go public now, because he argued more attention on her might make people find out about her secret identity. And while she hasn't been seen with Matt yet, having Hellcat exposed could lead to Daredevil getting exposed as well. THAT she also doesn't want.
But she still sees that asshole sometimes mocking her with his presence in her mind while she can't accuse him openly. She also thinks she hears odd things when she walks down a corridor alone sometimes. "I think I need to take a nap." Matt doesn't say anything anymore, but she's aware that he's observing her sleeping habits. Okay, she knows it's not good that she can't really sleep without slipping into someone's head anymore. But they have a lot of things to do and she'll deal with it later.
The first thing she sees after she has fallen asleep is a busy street. Someone appears to be going somewhere, when suddenly there's a kid that's about to run on the street and right in front of a car. The boy freezes in shock, when he realises his mistake, but Trish sees Jessica's arm pull him back, just in time.
Saved by the strong woman the little boy throws his arms around her deeply irritated sister and she look looks down at a mop of wild hair. When his upset mother comes to thank her, she mumbles: "You're welcome." Then she gestures towards the kid. "Could you pry this off me....?" Trish tries not to laugh, to hide her presence, but the looks on those faces are priceless. Jessica may need to acquire some people skills.
The mother does as she's told, still grateful, but also a bit offended, obviously, while the boy looks genuinely scared when he actually takes her in, like he expected someone else.
Jessica then keeps walking without another word. Since Trish doesn't know where she is going she gets bored and decides to peak into someone else's head. This time she sees a woman with short black hair doing small talk. About to jump again she suddenly hears her name. Apparently this is that lawyer, Hogarth. That means she must be in Haley's head. A new perspective. Interesting.
The actress is discussing their next step with her lawyer. "So, we don't need Walker to come forward as well? I think I could make her do it..." Of course, Trish would help if they needed it, but there's no need to "make" her do anything.
The woman in front of Haley smiles reassuringly. "It would help, of course, but I think we can do it without her." Then she pours another drink. "Also, right now the people we need to believe that she is another victim do it already. If she comes forward now after telling everyone it's none of their business, she'll just have a shitstorm thrown her way. You don't want that, do you?"
That's just great. And Trish also doesn't like that look she gives Haley. She's not supposed to flirt with clients, right? Before she can hear an answer something pulls her out of her "dream".
Trish wakes up to a mechanical voice saying Foggy's name over and over. Matt answers the phone sounding tired and exhausted. Within seconds he's alert, though and stands up. "I'm coming-" But he hesitates because his friend apparently stopped him from the other end of the line. "What? Who?" The whole exchange makes Trish nervous. Then he tells Foggy to text an address to her and says that he'll see him later.
"What's up? Where are we going...?" It has to be something serious. She can feel that he's scared, probably for someone's life.
"Karen's in hospital, because she was undercover at IGH's new laboratory."
Crap. "How is she? Where was Frank?"
"I don't know. Foggy told me to go to the lab and to ask Claire to come as well. Do you want to come along?"
"You bet your ass I do."
When they arrive at the crime scene, Matt tilts his head to listen to the police. "Two dead, seven injured." What the fuck happened here? She can tell that Matt is particularly tense. Karen could have died. She puts an arm on his back and waits for him to say more. "Shit. I hope nobody took any more drugs from here. They also treated some people in there, say it was voluntarily. But most of them were locked up."
Foggy texts telling them that Karen is stable at least, but she hasn't woken up yet.
She can feel his anger as he moves closer to the crime scene, but a cop stops him there. "Sorry, Matt, I can't let you go closer. But you're probably here for Veronica Machackova over there." He points at a girl sitting on a bench with a phone to her ear and Matt nods vaguely. "She's good to go. But trouble is following that one around, so I'm glad she knows some lawyers."
Matt mumbles: "I don't know her..." He doesn't sound sure about it, though. He can probably hear her talk to someone over phone, but Trish stays in the dark. "Thanks Brett..."
As they walk closer, he suddenly chuckles softly like hearing something she says makes him remember her fondly after all. Trish raises a questioning eyebrow. "You do know her."
"Well, she might have tossed me a midnight snack once after I saved her from muggers", he whispers.
Trish can't help smiling at that. "You hate that kind of thing."
"No, that was before the videos..." Right, before his popularity spiked from people watching him get tortured. "She was... nice. It was memorable." Seeing him smile despite the situation makes her like this girl already.
"Miss... Machackova?" She ends the call by telling whoever she was talking to that she'll be there soon. Matt holds his hand out for her and she scrambles to her feet and takes it. "I'm Vera. You must be Foggy's former law partner, Mr. Murdock?"
"And you're his favorite barista. Call me Matt, please. This is Trish." She takes her hand and Trish can see that she doesn't recognise her at all. Refreshing.
"Foggy told me to come here for some reason, while Karen's in the hospital. But Brett Mahoney informed me that they don't need you anymore, so-...?"
"I can bring you to Frank Castle." Trish's mouth falls open, but before she can say anything Vera rattles on. "Karen told me to hide him before she fell unconscious. Luckily my friend Terri was with me and her apartment is close by, so we dragged him there. He's really heavy by the way." She appears to be a bit nervous, but quite confident in what she's doing here. As far as Trish can tell, though, she's freaking out on the inside. "Am I gonna get in trouble for this?"
Matt shakes his head. "Not from us. So, I take it you asked Foggy for help, because he represented Castle?"
"Yes, I didn't want to tell him over the phone. And Karen is his friend, so he wasn't able to come, obviously. When he said he'd send you to help me with the police, I hoped you'd be able to help with that other thing...." Matt agrees to do so easily, still pretty confused about the situation and they follow her directions.
Vera feels unsure, but there's an urgency in her step. She knows they have to hurry. And apparently talks a lot when she's nervous. It would be annoying if she wasn't so cute. "We tried to stop the bleeding, but there were quite a lot of wounds. I hope it was the right call to listen to Karen. Terri's going to kill me over this."
Trish talks with her to calm her down a bit, but she doesn't need to check with Matt to know that she's hiding something. "How the hell did you find them?"
"We were lucky, I guess. Or they were. Found them on the streets just like that and I called an ambulance immediately." This time she checks with Matt who shakes his head looking as confused as both of them feel.
"Does anyone of you have special abilities or something?" It's a shot in the dark, but when Vera pales she has her answer. That would explain the trouble magnet comment by Brett. Trish smiles. "It's okay. We won't tell anyone."
Vera keeps mum after that and the silence is a bit chilling, but they arrive at the apartment five minutes later. Trish pretends to lead Matt the whole way there which always feels weird, but not as weird as this woman hiding a known killer and talking so much without saying how she found him.
The moment the the door opens Vera's friend demands a proper explanation why they had to bring that man to her place. They leave Matt and Trish with Castle while Terri pulls Vera into another room to talk to her alone. That won't help much, though. Matt moves Frank around a bit and they take his jacket and shirt off to checks his injuries while the man is still unconscious. He's in really bad shape.
Trish feels Matt's concern for the man in front of him. Despite all their differences, those two have history. "You think he's going to make it?"
Matt grabs an already blood soaked towel from the table and uses it to stop the bleeding. "I don't know, I hope Claire won't take too long. Any news from Karen?"
Trish didn't hear any message arrive and Matt sure didn't either, but she checks her phone anyway. "Not yet."
They both observe Frank's breathing for a minute, when suddenly Matt's eyebrows shoot up over his glasses, while he obviously listens to the two friends who must be arguing in the next room. "They saved Karen. Apparently Vera's friend had a vision of her getting attacked or something."
"That explains a lot." But it doesn't really explain why they decided to drag a bleeding vigilante to the apartment. "She needs to tell us what she saw."
Matt nods, then she sees him smile. "Sounds like Vera keeps going to the places on those visions to help and her friend reluctantly comes along, because she keeps ending up in trouble."
"Cute. Sounds like the cop was right about her."
Suddenly Frank opens his eyes and out of reflex starts to attack the man putting pressure on his wound, but Matt calls him back to reality. "Frank, calm down! You're safe."
"Red....?" Frank stops fighting immediately and looks around the place. "Where the fuck am I? Where is Karen?!"
In a soothing voice Trish explains the situation to him: "Karen was taken to the hospital. She's stable, thanks to the two women who decided to take you in." Trish sees Frank sigh and he closes his eyes while Matt again puts pressure on the wound.
"Doprdele...!" Vera and her friend are back from their not very private discussion to see the extent of the man's injuries.
Frank reluctantly utters: "I... thank you for hiding me." He looks like he couldn't care less and Matt just smirks.
"So, I guess it's time for introductions. I'm Terri and this is my extremely reckless friend Vera. You're welcome to stay in my humble home as long as you need..." Then suddenly her eyes widen as they fall on the radio host. "Oh my god, you're Trish Walker," she states bluntly.
Said celebrity shifts uncomfortably. "Yeah, that's me." She smiles and waves awkwardly. "Thank you for your hospitality, Terri."
"Does anyone want coffee?" Frank snorts at Vera's quiet offer, breaking the growing tension in the room.
Before anyond can answer the doorbell rings. "That's Claire." Matt informs them and Vera comments that she really hopes he's right. She utters something to herself that amuses him while her and Terri go to open the door.
When the nurse enters the room with the bleeding man on the couch she shoots Matt an uninpressed look that he can't see. "Seriously? Castle?"
She rolls her eyes and gets to work.
"Wait..." Terri eyes Vera with a disbelieving glare. "Frank... Castle... Did you bring the Punisher to my doorstep, Mechy?!"
"Um..." Vera looks a bit guilty, but she tries to defend her decision: "Karen asked me to help him..."
Matt then comes to her aid: "He has a lot of enemies and if he'd been taken to the hospital as well, they might have killed him. You probably saved his life."
Terri still looks quite upset, but Trish starts to engage both of them in a conversation to distract the two from what's happening in front of them. Slowly they calm down and start to share their story. Although Terri takes a bit longer, because she is still a bit starstruck. It turns out, they know Karen through Foggy, but it was Karen investigating those strange abilities that led to them becoming friendly and when Vera and Terri hear that she was working with Trish on this, they are less reluctant to talk about that vision in which Karen was attacked by a really strong woman who was with a strange Asian girl by her side. Frank says that he also got his gun knocked out of his hands which suggests that one of them might have powers similar to Trish.
Terri got her powers from someone who drugged her drink and when the police didn't find the guy she eventually had her first vision of another girl getting attacked by him. They somehow figured out where he went, but when the police couldn't act on their vague tip, Vera decided to go there and do something. That was the first time they met the policeman from earlier.
"But that's really dangerous," Trish informs them with a smile and she really knows what it's like to have a friend with an ability that makes them able to change things. Terri agrees with her statement, while Vera just shrugs, pointing out that they had to do something. Trish decides she really likes them and feels like they should help.
"I think Matt could give you Daredevil's number." Said lawyer / vigilante looks at Trish in surprise, but considering that this woman might get visions if something happens to his friends he's on board with that idea. Vera and Terri also seem really relieved by that offer and Matt tells them he'll ask the vigilante, probably planning to give his personal tragedy detector a burner phone as soon as possible.
After a mimute of silence Terri suddenly asks: "Are you two together?"
"Terri!" Vera shakes her head at her friend's curiosity. She's clearly embarrassed and even Trish can't figure out how she noticed it that fast.
They hadn't talked about it, but considering herself being a public figure and both of them having secret identities to protect now, she figured it would be better if not too many people knew about their relationship. And they didn't really go out in the open or something. One look at Matt tells her they're on the same page. "We'd like to keep it quiet, actually."
"Right, of course, none of my business." Vera looks surprised at her friend's stuttering, like she doesn't see her scramble for words a lot.
Trish tries to reassure their host then that she isn't offended. So she takes Matt's hand in hers with a smile and sees the corners of his mouth turn up slightly under his glasses. "It's fine, I just want to protect our privacy."
She can tell that Frank takes notice of that as well. Good. Maybe that will help him accept that Karen and Matt are definitely over, if he still had doubts.
"I can't believe you're gossiping while I'm here saving the life of a murderous vigilanty," Claire comments with a snort.
Well, things like these become scarily common in a life like theirs. Of course, they're all still worried about Karen, but Trish thinks they can't fall apart when anyone gets hurt like that anymore. They can't afford it. Distracting themselves with jokes and casual conversations is their way to deal. So, she's very grateful for the charming company.
When Jessica calls, she agrees to meet Trish at her place. She needs to give her an update, but before she leaves she hugs everyone who isn't dying or saving someone from dying. To her surprise Vera decides to comfort her: "I'm sure Karen's gonna be fine."
And her sincerity makes Trish tear up a little. "I really hope so."
On her way home she's still a bit emotional and barely keeps it together. But her paranoia takes over again slowly. And sure enough she sees that creep again lurking in an alley next to her place. He walks right up to her and she tries to ignore it like she always does. Only this time it's real and her heart nearly jumps out of her chest when he grabs her arm suddenly and warns her: "If you say anything about me, Patsy, you'll regret it. Trust me I might go to prison, but your career will be over as well. Do you understand?"
She swallows, trying hard to remember that she can't hurt him without exposing herself and maybe Matt. She at least wants to say something, but somehow she's unable to form words, still in shock from him actually approaching her.
"To make myself clear: I have a video of you in my office with some idiot you pulled into your mess and I won't hesitate to leak it if you forget that you signed a paper not to talk." He starts screaming at her. "I already financed your rehab and therapy, you bitch. How much more do you want me to pay?!"
That somehow makes her unfreeze, anger coming up while she feels bile gathering in her throat. "You fucker. You were the reason I needed all of that. It's your fucking fault I'm messed up!"
He grunts. "That's such bullshit and you know it or you wouldn't have signed. You wanted something I wanted something. We're even."
An incredulous laugh then escapes her throat and she gathers all the restraint she finds in her not to punch him in the face. "We're even?! You payed some hush money that didn't hurt you a bit and that I needed to get my life together. I was a child, asshole! I didn't know what I wanted. And for your information: All I want to do now is move on from that shit and spare others the same fate." He backs into the wall while she continues to warn him now almost whispering angrily. "If you even think about leaking that tape, I'll fucking kill you."
The way that he looks at her then makes her think that he believes she can do it, too. He starts stuttering: "G-good... as long as we're on the same page..."
"Sure, we both know that you're scum and you're lucky that I'm not ripping your dick off right now." Seeing him flee from her after that is a bit satisfying for a second.
Then Trish remembers that he has a tape of her and Matt. Her only consolation is that he at least didn't recognise the man with her which is surprising since pretty much everyone got to see most of his body when Daredevil was kidnapped and tortured. Even if Tatum didn't see his face, he could have easily noticed the scars. Crap.
And someone could have heard their argument. She could swear that she heard someone scramble away just now. But she can't see anything. If Tatum turned out to be real maybe this now is her mind playing a trick on her. Things are really getting muddled up. Shit.
Full credit for the characters of Vera & Terri goes to Anika_Ann who wrote the wonderful Damned Series and allowed me to borrow her creations for this little escapade. I probably didn't do justice to them, but these are alternate versions anyway, so I hope that's fine. ;)
Chapter 9: About a Boy
By the end of this chapter, I realised I might have channeled About a Boy here a bit, so I called it that as well: A little boy seeing that his single parent is in need of help reaches out to the least likely person who ends up giving a damn after all. Of course, Vido is not being bullied and he is not very weird, he's just worried that he might be taken away from his dad.
Also: Is Karen waking up?
Jessica walks out of her apartment to find Oscar Arocho's kid on her doorstep. He beams at her like she's Santa and when she raises an eyebrow at him he becomes nervous suddenly. "Does your dad know where you are?"
He shakes is head, big curious eyes never leaving her.
"Are you lost?" Another headshake. Worth a try.
She contemplates her options while he waits for her to keep guessing like it's a game. He is not her responsibility, his father refused her offer of help and Trish is waiting for her. However, with all the - potentially enhanced - psychos running around Hell's Kitchen, she probably can't just send the boy home on his own. "How did you get here?"
A shrug, without a word. They are probably already looking for him everywhere. Jessica groans. She hates kids. You need patience to deal with them and she has none left.
"Can you help?" It's as if there are little stars in his eyes. People tend to be scared of her, but to this kid her powers aren't a thread, they're a promise.
Suddenly Malcom comes out of the building as well. She almost forgot about him. "You have to bring this to Oscar Arocho."
Her so called assistant looks at her like she's asking for something impossible. "First of all: that's not a thing, that's a child." She rolls her eyes. "Also, you told me to interview those rich kids who ended up in hospital because of the drugs..."
Okay, she's not crazy about talking to those either and seeing Arocho again might not be the worst thing ever. Where did that thought come from? "Fine, go! I'll take care of this."
Malcom smiles. "Good. Just don't take care of him the Morano way." He hurries down the stairs before she can bother with a sarcastic reply.
She looks back down at the problem in front of her. Before the child can start crying or something Jessica takes out her phone and calls Trish. "Hey, something came up and I won't make it." She starts walking and the boy follows.
There is a pause on the other end. "Can you then maybe come to the hospital later? I'll text you as soon as we know Karen's room number." Under different circumstances she would have noticed the little tremble in Trish's voice, but the kid keeps her on edge and she doesn't want to lose him in the crowd.
Before they enter the subway, she buys a bottle of Whiskey that makes the kid shake his head in disapproval. While she's taking a sip though, she can feel a little hand taking hers. She allows it, because that will make it easier to keep track of him.
That the boy seems completely unconcerned with the situation, like he gets what he wanted irritates Jessica so much she feels like she has to explain: "I'm just bringing you back home to your dad. You can't run away like that. Understand?"
"But you're coming with me." He's right. That's what she's doing. His dad probably needs some kind of explanation.
"What's your name again?"
"Vido." He smiles as if she finally agreed to play with him and she decides she needs to drink some more.
When a couple on the other side of the train looks at them and makes not so subtle gestures in her direction, probably discussing her "parenting" skills, Jessica informs them: "I'm not his mother and he doesn't like alcohol. So no harm done."
"My dad didn't want me to go to her, so I came alone", Vido announces excitedly. Jessica just prays she won't get arrested for kidnapping before they arrive.
"I'm bringing him home to his dad", she clarifies again. Not that it's anyone's business, but if they are worried about the kid and not just judging her, she can't blame them.
It feels like a miracle that they arrive to their destination, without any real problems. Jessica has her hand in Vido's neck by the end leading him comfortably and as soon as he sees his stressed out dad he starts running towards him. Arocho's pure relief is visible on his face and then he picks the boy up telling him to never do something like this again.
He nods at Jessica forcing out a reluctant "thank you". Then he calls the boy's mother to say that their kid was found which of course leads to an argument. He sighs deeply mumbling that this incident won't help him keep his son. Then he eyes Jessica again sending Vido to his room. She thinks she knows what's coming next.
"I don't know why he came to me. He asked for help." She thinks this should keep his obvious anger in check.
"I'm a good father." What? She didn't question that. "Not all men are bad, you know?"
"What, you think I don't know that? I refused to help your ex. What more do you want?" Seriously, she didn't have anything to do with anything. Although, right now, she regrets not taking money from Sonia.
Oscar Arocho seems apprehensive, but it looks like he has already made up his mind about her. "What am I supposed to think when I get photos from a PI of me and one of the Moranos and I'm being blackmailed by them...?"
"Are you kidding?! I warned you about the Moranos and offered to help you with them!"
"And I was hired by your ex! Why should I help them blackmail you? What do they even want? Money? From a single father....?"
Arocho finally looks like he didn't consider that and like this would at least make him listen to what she has to say. "They are forcing me to work for them, actually... Or they will give Sonia the pictures."
"Crap." She sighs. "You're not gonna do that, are you? That won't help you in your custody case. You should have listened to me..."
His anger seems gone when he now tries to explain: "Look, I may have misjudged you, but I looked you up and the first article that I found was about you assaulting some journalist who said some reasonable things on the radio..."
"Reasonable?! Did you listen to what he said?"
Arocho takes a step back in fear, because Jessica's poorly hidden fury finally pours out. He shakes his head and she rolls her eyes.
"You know what? Let professionals investigate from now on, ok? Your little article probably forgot to mention that Trish Walker is my sister." She sees that he's taken aback by that. Clearly didn't even cover his basics in his research. "Guess what: I'm just as protective of my family as you are of yours, asshole."
She starts to walk away, but turns back one more time to add: "And I wasn't even charged, by the way." Not because she didn't attack the guy, she just didn't choke him and she has a great lawyer. But he doesn't need to know that.
And that's it. She walks away, not giving a damn anymore. She just hears him yell an apology after her and she swears she can feel Vido's stare on her back. Damn, why did she remember the kid's name?
Her mood isn't better when she reaches the hospital. Nelson is in the room with Trish and the news is running on TV when she arrives. Jessica doesn't know Karen that well, but Trish and her became close, when the journalist crashed at her sisters place to hide from Fisk. Trish is clearly upset that her friend ended up in the hospital, thanks to the story she gave her. "What exactly happened?"
"Well, apparently, Frank and her found the new IGH lab and when an opportunity presented itself she went in to take a look." Trish tells her everything Castle remembered, about the lab and the dangerous people he tried to stop, before he found Karen and pretty much carried her to safety with his last bit of strength.
"Why isn't he in hospital then?"
"Karen begged the people who found them to hide him." Trish looks at the journalist and Foggy takes her hand in his.
"Was this woman in the lab as stong as me?"
"Frank says she must have been even stronger." Karen is lucky, she is just in a coma. Two people working there died during this break-out.
Nelson shakes his head. "Why is it always my friends who feel the need to put their life on the line?!" He is almost as pale as the blonde on the hospital bed.
And speaking of the devil: Jessica then notices Matt standing at the door. After a short greeting he mumbles that Karen's heartrate is very low. His grip on the cane tightens, until he leans it on the hospital bed, because with them he doesn't need to pretend. Nelson is the first to hug him and Jessica just waves at him awkwardly, not very comfortable with all the emotion in the room. Then he closes his arms around Trish and it's obvious that they are not going to let go of each other anytime soon.
They update Matt on Karen's condition and he brushes his lips against Trish's temple, when it sounds like she's blaming herself for bringing this to Page. Jessica has to admit that they are good together. She hasn't seen her sister actually happy in a long time and she can tell that even in a sad moment like this, even with all the drama their life brings, that Trish is actually more balanced when he's with her. She really needs to be able to make a difference. Trish was never able to stand by and stay safe anyway. While getting to know him made her act out those urges to save the world, both of them also look out for each other and they call each other out on their bullshit. The fact that she is anxious right now is just due to Karen lying there, alive, but not waking up to tell her story.
Jessica tells them then about the state of the gang wars and who has the upper hand at the moment. It appears to change daily. She also heard quite a few conspiracy theories of who might be behind the drug problem. A lot of people are blaming the mayor, Anand Chopra. Some even think he faked Daredevil's abduction to get elected which is in a way true. He just didn't know that this was Fisk's plan all along and the abduction was very real. Chopra was desperate first to win and then to correct the mistake he made when he accepted the criminal's help without knowing who he was dealing with.
Of course, his rivals could also be behind it, but Matt doesn't think that's true. "They are using it right now, but I don't think they planned this. If they did they'd have been more prepared during the election." Then he sighs. "Hell's Kitchen has enough criminal energy that it's always easy to be the opposition without getting your hands dirty."
"Says the man who gets his hands dirty every day to save his city," Nelson comments drily.
His friend is annoyed. "Foggy....!"
But he puts his hands up in defeat immediately. "Sorry, buddy, I know you can't help it. I know what you do is important."
Matt then tilts his head listening to a news report that Jessica didn't catch the beginning of. It's about some international diplomat offering help to their mayor with modern technology. He excuses himself to call someone afterwards.
"He's probably right, though. I think the first drug wave came through Fisk's men and it's just more likely that several greedy players have their fingers in the game."
"You're right." Malcom enters the room right then. "The victims are rather cagey, because they bought their drugs illegally, of course. But one definitely got them from the Moranos and others from different sources. Either someone has been supplying all the gangs to cause mayhem... or they all got their fingers on them individually." He then apologises for walking in like that and then introduces himself to Nelson as Jessica's assistant with a polite smile, before greeting Trish with a warm hug.
Jessica ignores it. "I've also heard rumors of a task force that is supposed to catch those addicts or even kill them in case they are enhanced."
Trish stares at her, shocked to hear this. "Anand can't agree to something like this!"
"But he might have to." Matt's former law partner says. "He's under a lot of pressure." They all know what this might mean even for the barely tolerated people with powers in town. Especially for Jessica Jones, who isn't even hiding her identity. They might just arrest her some day if the fear of enhanced people spreads even more. And she can actually understand it, considering the gang wars breaking out at the moment.
"Jess, I need to tell you something else..."
"Who's that...?" Matt frowns when he reenters the room, tilting his head questioningly.
"That's Malcom. You've talked to him on the phone."
Matt's frown deepens. "And the other one?"
"What do you mean? There's no one else...."
Suddenly Jessica hears footsteps and Matt is hit in the face by someone they can't see. He stumbles to the ground staying in his clumsy blind man role. Jessica runs out of the room and all she sees is another nurse being shoved out of the way. She looks at Matt who's about to run after the invisible person, clearly the only one who can sense someone they aren't able to see, when Jessica holds him back. She keeps her voice down, so Malcom can't hear her. "Don't reveal yourself over this. Whoever this was didn't hurt us."
"And Karen...?", he growls. "What if he was here to hurt her?"
Jessica thinks about this for a second and it suddenly makes more sense. "You're right! This person was there in the lab. He or she must have taken Castle's gun." Matt looks surprised at that conclusion.
"That means they don't have Trish's powers after all." She helps Matt up and indicates his bleeding nose which makes his girlfriend look for something in her bag. Then she talks louder again, to the other people in the room. "We've gotten it wrong before: One of them is just invisible."
"JUST invisible?! Are you kidding? That's a pretty badass ability to have... How do you fight someone you can't see?" The lawyer by Karen's side looks amazed and horrified at the same time.
"I guess, Matt has to deal with him." Foggy and Trish laugh to make this seem like a joke while Malcom just looks confused.
"I almost had him." Matt huffs. Trish now has found a handkerchief in her bag and goes to swipe the blood dripping from his nose. Jessica can't hear what she's mumbling, but probably something that reminds him of all the people who would have seen the blind man run without his cane, had he acted on his impulse.
She sees how Malcom looks at the couple, clearly mystified that Trish would fall for a guy like that, someone who appears rather defenseless against the danger they're in. He also introduces himself to the lawyer then who smiles charmingly.
Jessica later asks Malcom with a smirk if he still thinks that Trish's new boyfriend is arrogant. Her "assistant" snorts and mumbles softly: "It's not really nice to talk bad about a blind man like that, right?"
"No, it's not." And Malcom is nice. He'd also like Matt if he gave him a chance. But she sees why Matt likes making people uncomfortable about his disability. It's mean, but also kind of fun.
The blind man himself though isn't too focused on making his new acquaintance feel awkward. When he later talks to Jess alone, he's still bummed over her stopping him earlier. "I could have taken your scarf again. I don't mind if Malcom knows who I am. It's just a matter of time anyway."
"No, the nurses and doctors saw you here and they would have identified you easily." Jessica shakes her head. "And the scarf suits me much better." She smirks.
"Relax..." Trish joins them and snakes an arm around Matt's middle. She probably sensed that he is still on edge and really can't leave him alone for long. Jessica rolls her eyes with a smile. "But it seems like we need to be careful when we talk about our plans in the future..." She has a point there.
Jessica tries to remember what they talked about before Matt came back from his call. Luckily Malcom was also there, so they didn't discuss too many secrets. Did he bring that spy, unintentionally?
When Jessica arrives home she's greeted by Vido on her doorstep. "Can you fly....?" She groans.
"I can make you fly."
"Really...?!" He looks at her like she just promised him a birthday gift or something. Kids....
"I don't have time to bring you home. Can you just give me your dad's number? He can pick you up."
"There's no need for that." She looks behind herself at Oscar Arocho. The man appears to be nervous, but not hostile for once.
Jessica turns back towards her building to open the door. "Good, because I really have enough to do. Just explain to him, that he has to leave this bitch alone to do her work."
"We don't say that word." Good, although it describes Sonia quite well, she thinks.
"I'm here to apologise." Jessica hesitates and turns back to take him in. He looks sincere, not like he's just here to ask for her help.
"I heard your apology before. You're here for my help." Vido looks back and forth between them.
Now it's Arocho's turn to sigh. "It may have crossed my mind that you know the Moranos pretty well. And you brought Vido back to me. I think I actually trust you." He lets that statement sink in. "But I can go somewhere else to ask for help. I just thought, since you lost a client because of me that I should bring my business to you."
That sounds fair. Jessica opens the door for him. "You're lucky. I'll even give you a discount, because I think I could use your help, too."
Oscar Arocho raises an eyebrow, but he smiles at Jessica and she so didn't feel her heart jump just now...
Chapter 10: Blind & Visible
It might not seem like much is happening, but we're getting there... :) Our heroes worry about Karen, Matt gets to know Malcom a bit better and he meets Oscar. Even if you're as uncomfortable with discussions about emotions and stuff as Matt and Jess I'd urge you to not skip this one, because there are still some important plot clues in there. ;)
"You're coming to the hospital when you're done with Frank, right?" That's the first message Matt received from Trish after she left Terri's place. It was followed half an hour later by: "Foggy needs you. And don't even think about bailing on us and doing you know what alone...!" And since he couldn't come up with half a good excuse, he went to listen to all the nervous heartbeats in the hospital. The doctors and nurses around Karen did sound steady and focused at least, but the smell of death and sickness all around was making him a bit nauseous.
It was also obvious that Jessica felt even more out of place in the room, probably because she doesn't even know Karen that well. Her being all business helped him cope in a way. Trish was anxious from the moment he came in and it became worse after someone apparently invaded their space by being invisible among them. He was a young man who was standing in their midst and he panicked when Matt pointed him out, like this hadn't happened to him in a while. The guy didn't wear any clothes which made the fact that everyone seemed to ignore him even weirder. Since apparently nobody else saw him flee Matt figured he had to run after him, because who knows what he might have heard or whom he might tell? But Jessica stopped him, thinking of long term consequences in that moment and looking at the big picture. She also figured out that the invisible man must have been at the lab, so Matt told them everything he was able to sense about him at least. He was quite tall, appeared to be ordinarily built, going by the strength he used to hit him and he was desperate to run.
Things took a while to calm down after that strange incident. They discussed what this might mean for their investigation, how they had to be guarded in case someone was listening and then they decided that Matt was supposed to scratch his chin when they weren't alone. Trish stayed pretty quiet the entire time. And it was like she craved his presence there, like she needed him close, needed his embrace. He wasn't complaining, because sensing Karen's weak heartbeat also didn't do him any good. Still, after observing it for a while he thinks it's about more than her friend getting hurt like that. He worries that she might feel responsible for what happened to Karen. So he whispers into her ear that she's certainly not.
He can feel her tense up, like he just reminded her of it. "I don't know. I asked for help. If it weren't for Frank, Vera and Terri..."
"Sssssh... no, don't think like that." He kisses her temple. "Karen would have found another bear to poke. Trust me. I know. She's absolutely capable of finding trouble without you pulling her into it." Even his embrace doesn't seem to really comfort her and she just mumbles something about pulling everyone into her shit before disentangling herself and seeking out Malcom whom she barely took notice of so far.
Before Jessica leaves she tells Matt about Oscar Arocho being forced to forge for the Moranos and they agree that they might be able to use this. They can find out what exactly Lenny is up to and help the single dad in the process. Promising to contact him about it the PI goes with that same awkward wave she came with and abandons him to struggle with all the emotional shit alone.
He sits down on the chair next to Karen's bed and takes her hand in his when Foggy emerges by his side. "I'm glad you found the time to come by, buddy." There is none of the usual accusation in his voice, but Matt knows that his friend remembers he wasn't always there in times like these. He had more "important" things to do. And it's actually true. Even now he had things to do. But mainly, he doesn't want to be here and deal with this. He hates staying in hospitals and listening to people dying, but it's an effort he has to make. He wants to punch things, badly, especially after he had to let that invisible guy go.
Foggy knows what's going on inside him, even with the tinted glasses hiding his eyes. He always does, nowadays, ever since he learned his secret. "Matty, relax. There's nothing you can do right now, but be here with us."
"That's not true and I could have-"
"Stop it. If you had run out, you'd have been exposed." He looks at Karen. "And maybe that person was here, because he felt guilty, have you considered that?"
He hadn't. "You think he might not be a threat?"
"I hope he doesn't have to be. I mean, if someone is indeed spying on us like this, we have to watch what we're saying all the time. Otherwise, we're screwed. I'm just glad you can see him in your own way, so hopefully he doesn't know who you are yet." A frustrated sigh escapes him.
Maybe he should ask his former law partner about his opinion more often... Matt is just thinking of Trish's curious behavior when he hears his name and he tilts his head to listen to what Jessica's assistant is saying to her. "I think Malcom doesn't like me much."
"What? The Murdock charm doesn't work on him? Made any blind jokes in front of him yet?"
"I don't think making him even more uncomfortable will make it any better." He smiles. "Jessica had some fun with it at least..."
Foggy checks out the man talking to Trish whom he might have feelings for. "Your girl looks annoyed. What did he tell her?"
Matt chuckles. "He asked her if all this isn't a bit dangerous for a blind man to get involved in. She's making him feel awkward about my disability, too."
"Awww... are you flattered that he's so concerned or pissed that he's jealous?"
"I'm just amused that he's being so very obvious." He keeps listening and his smile fades. "Trish is asking him to keep our relationship secret."
"Did you agree to this?"
"Technically we didn't talk about it, but I think we both know that the danger of someone figuring out who we are is much higher if people know we're together, with or without masks." His friend nods slowly. "I'm used to hiding and so is she probably. She had reporters after her most of her life."
"Still, you don't sound so happy about keeping it private..."
"I don't want to be guarded around her every time we're not alone." He swallows. "And I sometimes want to be able to support her openly when people talk shit about her. That Tatum case is troubling her a lot more than she lets on. On top of the general lack of rest she gets because of her powers." At that thought he has to cringe. They need to do something about that, but she doesn't want to. "I heard someone in a café once make a sleazy comment about Patsy."
"What did you want to do? Beat the guy in the café up?" Of course, that's what Foggy jumps at. What? He thinks he can't keep it together during the day now?
"Foggy, if you haven't noticed, I'm good at using words as weapons, too. Not just fists." At that reminder he receives a genuine smile. That's the Matt Murdock his friend wants him to be anyway. "But it's not about actually doing something to these assholes, it's the fact that my tongue and my hands are tied and she has to go through all the public scrutiny alone."
"I don't think she feels alone, buddy. She knows that you have her back." He pads his friend on his back while saying that. "She's smiling at us right now."
"Probably knows I'm listening." Matt slowly starts grinning. "She's explaining to Malcom that he shouldn't worry about me and that I'm really careful."
The irony doesn't escape Foggy and his chuckle seems less pained than it used to be. "Yeah, right..."
"You've really gotten used to it. Me being...." When Foggy flinches he stops that train of thought and just ends with a very grateful "thank you".
The hospital makes Foggy even more emotional and Matt can feel his tension. "And thank you. For coming. I know that you'd rather do something else right now."
That's true. Of course it is. But between his best friend making an effort not to point out his flaws and Trish's request earlier to stay with them he doesn't feel like him running right now would be appreciated. So Matt stays until the nurse asks them all to leave. Trish has to go to work and when she pleads with him to wait for her that night he can tell that it's important to her. "I sometimes felt like someone was following me," she admits finally and Matt knows what that could mean. Whoever spied on them earlier might already know who she is. If he ever senses the guy around when he's in his Daredevil suit he can't really show that he knows there is someone or the guy might come to the conclusion that he is Matt Murdock. If he hasn't already. Was that what she was nervous about?
Outside the hospital he finds Malcom in a discussion with a police officer who he knows to be an asshole. Matt slowly goes to stand next to him and smiles, knowing that he makes the cop uncomfortable, too. “Is my friend here in trouble?”
The man in front of him steps away from Malcom reluctantly. He clears his throat before saying: “Murdock… Of course you're best buds with drug addicts…”
“Former addicts,” corrects the black man helpfully and Matt grins.
“See? Now that we have cleared that up, I'm sure you have something better to do. I know there are current addicts who seek your attention, officer.” Matt raises his chin and tilts his head in the grumpy man’s direction.
The policeman shoots another warning at Malcom before walking away.
“Thanks, but I had it under control.” Malcom smiles like he's embarrassed and then mumbles: "Happens all the time.”
“I know. Just wanted to speed it up a little.” Matt then also leaves, a bit proud that he didn't sound as satisfied with himself as he was. Even blind lawyers can be useful, see?
The night with Hellcat starts out rather quiet and he doesn't catch the invisible guy around. Matt isn't sure yet what he should do if they stumble across him. He keeps thinking of ways to make others see him as well. Rain would help. Maybe they could drop something on him and make it look like an accident. Or maybe they could use it to feed him wrong information.
They wait for something weird to happen all night, but it doesn't and they don't get any closer to solving the puzzle either. He also stops by at Terri's place again and finds Frank gone already. She's over her initial schock at seeing him knocking on her window surprisingly fast. "You're here to give me your number."
Matt offers her a burner phone. "It's already saved."
She studies him before taking it reluctantly. "I hope I won't have to use this."
"Me, too. Trust me."
There's an awkward silence before she says pointedly: "Then take good care of your friends, tough guy."
Huh? "MY friends....?" She can't know already, can she?
Terri huffs and closes the window still standing behind the glass and waiting for him to go. Right.
He turns around and hurries over to Trish who was watching their exchange from the other side of the street.
"She was checking out your ass when you left." Trish giggles. "I like her."
He smirks and risks giving her a short kiss, since there is still nobody around who could be watching them. He can feel her soft sigh when he breaks away and they move on to stop some muggers. Thankfully there aren't any enhanced people on the street this night, because they can both still feel the bruises from their last fight against one of them.
Karen hasn't woken up when they visit again the next day, but Matt knows that the doctors said it could take a while. He also knows the longer it takes the more time she'll need to fully recover. And the chances of her waking up at all will get worse, of course.
But Frank seems to be better. Matt sees the guitar in the corner of the room, realising that the Punisher must have come by last night to sing a song or two for Karen. Sometimes he can't believe how much of a softie that guy really is. Very deep down.
He meets Jessica in front of Arocho's place. "I just need you here to make sure nobody is listening in."
"Right." Matt knew she wouldn't need him to fight, since he wasn't here as Daredevil. "I could take him as a client. Do you want me to?"
"I'm not your boss Murdock. But I think he's a good dad. Help him if you want to." There is something she isn't telling him.
They wait in silence for Arocho to answer the door. When he does he smiles friendly at both of them and invites them in after introducing himself to Matt. There is some strange tension between Arocho and Jessica. Matt isn't sure if it's because they were at odds with each other before or if there was more to it.
"Where is Vido?" Huh... she knows the kid's name? When Matt asked her about her neighbours, Malcom was the only one she could actually name. Then again the boy was a part of her case.
"He's in school. I didn't want him to worry about this."
Jessica then checks with Matt if someone's listening. He's leaning against a wall next to a window, so he can't be seen from outside. "All clear."
"Please.... it's Oscar."
"Fine. Oscar, we're setting up a trap for the Moranos. We need them to think that you'll be alone some time, in a place where they can threaten you. We'll involve a police officer Matt here trusts, who will make sure that this won't fall back on you, but you will have to ask them what they want you to forge for them and pretend that you'll do it. You'll wear a wire as well."
It's easy to convince the man of their plan, mostly because he has no better options and for some reason he seems to trust Jessica. He's also scared of her, but he thinks that she can get this done. So they go over their plan until it's as good as it can be.
Suddenly he can feel another heartbeat and it's not the kid looking inside for his dad. Matt scratches his chin and Jessica sighs deeply. This means they might have to improvise. Someone is listening. He indicates the second window. "So, when are you going to the studio next to paint?"
Oscar gets it and plays along with what they agreed on before. "Friday. Vido is with his mum on that day. I should use the opportunity to be creative, when I can be alone for some time." Matt takes that moment to step into view and offer some legal services for the custody case. When he turns around he does it slowly, making sure he's recognised. Sure enough the spy hides behind the wall and shortly after he senses him run away.
Matt waits a couple of seconds and then turns to Jessica. "You think he's working for the Moranos....?"
"Why else would he come here?" Jessica doesn't like that prospect any more than he does. And if he knows who Trish is... if the Moranos know... They say goodbye to Oscar who needs to go and pick up his son anyway.
He nervously shakes Jessica's hand and Matt assures him that he's in capable hands. "She helped me against Wilson Fisk. I think she can deal with Lenny Morano." A charming smile flashes on his face.
"You're that lawyer my friend's aunt was raving about. You took pro bono cases."
Jessica rolls her eyes. "He also needs to get paid, you know?"
"I make great burritos." Matt tries to ignore Oscar's wink, but then the man blushes, probably because he remembers that he's blind and Jessica shakes her head at both of them, practically fleeing from the apartment.
Matt laughs and answers: "I'll keep that in mind."
As soon as they're outside an annoyed Jess stops him.
"I need a drink. Can you wait here for a second in case Malcom arrives....?"
"Sure," Matt mumbles.
His phone informs him of a new message while he watches her go. “He wants to meet you first.” It was worth a shot contacting Anand Chopra. They are working on the same problem after all and the mayor has just different resources and ways to contact people. But Matt isn't sure yet, what he wants to ask for. There are two issues bothering him right now: The enhanced people they're fighting and the side effects for people who didn't ask to get drugged, like Trish and Terri. While their powers seem to be useful, they also cause a lot of grief and troubles.
He is so much in his thoughts that he doesn't notice the thugs arrive who are suddenly pointing a gun at his head that he pretends he doesn't know about. When they order him to give them his wallet he curses that he's supposed to act disabled right now and hopes Jessica hurries up.
"Faster, we don't have all day!" He's stalling them with his blindness, but they're quite young and nervous which makes the guns in their hands ten times more dangerous and he doesn't have any protection.
Matt curses silently when he senses Malcom come up. "Hey! Calm down. Don't you see that he's blind?" He holds up his hands showing that he doesn't have a weapon. "He can't do it faster. You're scaring him!"
"Oh yeah? What the fuck do you know about robbing someone?" One of them points his gun at Malcom now. Shit. The other one still focuses on Matt and tells him to keep going. It's the middle of the day though, so they will try to avoid shooting even a warning shot, because that would only attract attention. When Matt makes a show of letting his wallet fall to the ground the man in front of him pushes him roughly against the wall, putting the gun to his head. "You did that on purpose you asshole!"
"Hey, just take the wallet and leave him alone! There's no need for violence!" Malcom is scared and rightfully so. Matt's senses tell him exactly when the guy he's arguing with has enough and hits him in the stomach. He's lucky that the mugger doesn't have special strength, but it's enough to shove him to the ground and kick him two more times. Then suddenly Jessica's assistant starts to fight back. When he gets up he sends the gun flying with a well placed kick which makes the struggle a bit more even. Matt does the same to guy in front of him. Even a blind man would know exactly where the gun is placed on his temple after all. When the man ducks to pick it up again, Matt also places some "lucky" hits on him with his cane, but that's about all he can do and it only makes the man more angry who then starts bashing him up for real. At some point Matt just pretends to be unconscious and the guy just takes his wallet and walks over to the other one fighting Malcom.
Matt uses that opportunity to grab the one gun still lying there and he shoots all the bullets into the ground. When the other one turns around to aim at him again he lets the weapon fall and holds his hands up. "You have my wallet, the police will be here soon. Just go and leave us alone." Matt knows that was risky, but he thinks they're not gonna shoot. Malcom is clearly panicking, when he gets kicked one last time, before the two decide to run. Spitting out some blood Matt limps over to the man who tried to save him, putting his own life on the line.
They stare at each other - well one of them stares in the darkness - and after Malcom stands up he breaks the silence. "Okay, I get it now." Matt raises his eyebrows, not sure if he made the Daredevil connection already and Malcom elaborates: "What Trish sees in you. You're tough as shit, despite being blind and all. No offense."
"None taken." Matt's actually quite amused by the verdict. "You're not bad either. You know, there was no need for both of us to get roughed up like this.” Matt chuckles.
Malcom just shrugs and gives him something for his bleeding nose. “I had to try.” His senses tell him that the man is observing him. "You should be more careful."
"Don't worry about me. I've had worse." A building fell on him once. And he was tortured for five days.
"I know. I read up on you. Saving an old man as a kid made you lose your eyesight."
Matt isn't surprised really that he was researched. He's more surprised that Jessica didn't tell Malcom and curious what he's getting at.
"Just saying: if you hang around Jess and Trish you need to take care of yourself. I don't want to see her sad because you're a reckless, heroic idiot." Says the man who just confronted armed criminals for threatening a blind guy. "And if you hurt her I'll kick your ass."
Matt smiles, because he thinks they'll get along just fine. "You'd beat up a blind man?"
They both laugh and that's how Jessica finds them. "Did you guys finally beat your issues out of each other?"
Matt smirks. "No, actually. You should see the others...."
Jessica grins and offers Malcom her bottle: "I'll share if you'll share."
That night Trish is busy with her talk show when Matt receive the message where he's supposed to meet with the man who offered Anand Chopra help with his drug problem in Hell's Kitchen. That the guy in black armour was able to sneak up on him makes him a bit nervous at first, but he approaches him carefully, obviously trying not to startle him. "I must say, I was surprised when the mayor told me that you'd like to meet. I didn't think Daredevil would actually be in contact with the politician like people say and that he would ask for help from an outsider."
"Things are getting out of control." That's an understatement. The body count is high and all those abilities are not putting the odds in their favour. They can't just wait for the gangs to take each other out. Innocent lives are lost in the crossfire. "If we work together I can explain to you how I know Anand Chopra. I'd do anything to protect my city."
"That sentiment I can relate to. And I accept your wishes to stay anonymous as well." He has a soothing voice with a foreign accent. Maybe Matt might be able to trust him with personal matters as well. "So, what is it you want from me?"
"You have advanced technology, you say. Do you think it's possible to reverse the effect of the drug?" He hesitates. "Against people's wishes?"
It should be quite obvious who that guest appearance is, but I wanted to keep it a bit mysterious as well. If you don't know it yet, I probably didn't write him the right way. ;) At this point I'm just hoping I didn't screw up too much.
Terri I again borrowed from the Damned series written by Anika_Ann and let's just say I'm intrigued by her visions. Also, she's hilarious. :)