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 eyes 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 boy 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 pages from 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. :)
Chapter 11: Afraid of Me
Complications... Trish is confronted with the possibility of Tatum walking free, but protecting Matt's identity might be more important to her. At the same time keeping so many secrets from him is getting more and more difficult and there's a little breakthrough in the IGH investigation.
Over time Trish's powers developed and she has become more and more aware in her dreams. In the beginning she actually sometimes used to forget what she saw and now it's easier to remember than some of the things that happen while she is awake. Also, in reality it's become harder to differentiate between what's true and what is not.
She's not surprised when the night after they visit Karen at the hospital she sees Max, because ever since he told her about the security tape her mind has been pretty much racing. She's terrified of getting exposed, she's deeply ashamed of her actions, of not being able to keep it in her pants in that crushing moment of weakness and she's mostly terrified of Matt suffering the consequences. Would he be recognised? She should really warn him about the possibility. Or she should tell Jessica, but that might make her do something reckless to protect her.
And how would her sister react if she tells her: After getting accused of protecting a sexual predator by not sharing her story she broke into the man's office with her vigilante boyfriend in his sexy dressed down costume and then fucked him right in the room where she was raped as a teen star. She doesn't even remember what exactly made her act this way. There was this desperate longing in that moment to know that she was loved and forget where she was, but how does that even sound...?!
When Tatum steps into Hogarth's law firm Trish has this insane feeling of dread that she is going to find out what exactly he was able to see on that tape.
She sees him knock on the door and the secretary doesn't stop him from going in. "I've got an offer for you."
"Get out." Hogarth smiles icily and when he doesn't move she leans back. "There is nothing you can do to save yourself."
"But I'm not the only one who did things with clients he shouldn't have done." He slams a couple of pictures on the table with a cocky smile and Trish recognises Haley's face. "I've got enough money I can throw at those little sluts - even that foreign one who didn't have a case to begin with - if we can just make this quiet down. Or I'll make all of you wash your dirty laundry in public as well." That's it. That's his plan. Trish gave him ammunition on her, but if he found something on every one of these women...
Jeri Hogarth gets up to close the door then. "This won't get you off the hook forever. Everyone will know it's just a distraction. They believe Haley."
"Are you sure? You're still talking to me." Trish so wishes she could punch the smug look off his face. And so does the actress' lawyer by the look of it.
"I'm still talking to you to let you know that we're prepared."
"And if I told you that I could help cure your disease...?"
The look on the woman's face makes Trish fear her next move, but before she can see and hear it, she wakes up.
Matt's arms are around her and she can feel his breath in her neck. It's always a relief that he likes crashing at her place. A while back she gave him a key, making it sound like a practical decision for the nights when she can't go with him. He accepted it easily though he doesn't use it much. Since he didn't bother to wake her up when he came back from his patrol, there shouldn't be any major injuries to take care of. But he usually comes to her only after a rough night. So she turns around trying hard not to disturb his sleep in the process to take a closer look. There aren't any bloody stains or new bruises visible which is a relief.
It's all the new messages on her phone, as if something major happened, that make her worry so she sits up on the bed urgently and Matt wakes up as well. Could the tape have been released? She hears him groan while she's scrolling through her inbox and what she finds seems bizarre.
"Matt... Why does Daredevil have a Twitter account?"
Still half asleep he mumbles: "Met Anand last night and I wanted to get the record straight on my abduction."
Huh... okay. But not too straight, because she read his first message and he didn't mention that the mayor actually DID get him into that situation unintentionally. "How did you even get it verified?!"
He smiles. "Let's keep some mysteries..."
Seriously? Okay, Trish retweets his statement. Maybe it's not a bad idea to use this tool. Once people find out he's Daredevil it won't matter anymore anyway. "I hope you don't have Twitter on your own phone..."
"You think I'm an idiot?" Matt raises an eyebrow and then swallows. "Why are you freaking out like you've seen a ghost...?"
Damn, her heartbeat still gives her away. Should she tell him it was a bad dream? Trish turns to him while he moves to sit next to her. She cups his concerned face and forces the corners of her mouth to go up. "It's..." Nothing, she wants to say. But he won't believe her and then they will keep tiptoeing around those topics or fight. He has a right to know, doesn't he? Then again, right now the tape is just leverage. Max won't have a reason to use it if she won't come forward. So, Trish goes with a half truth. "It's Tatum. I keep seeing him in my dreams." And when she isn't asleep as well. Since she saw him for real Trish has tried to find ways to recognise her hallucinations. If others don't react to him, he isn't real. If he should make a sound that is missing, like a door opening, he isn't real. Sometimes when she isn't sure, she tries to touch him and when nobody sees her she tries to punch him. It's cathartic in a way.
Matt nods and rubs her back, probably thinking she has nightmares. "Is that why you're not getting enough rest?"
"That... and maybe I've not actually been sleeping properly. You were right. I can't turn it off anymore..." There's a tear running down her cheek. She doesn't know why she's telling him, but keeping all those secrets is exhausting. "I'm always in someone's head. Sometimes it's people I don't even know, so I don't spy on you guys. I'm sorry, it's just... I can't help it." Her powers are everything she wanted, admitting that they might cause problems, that she is sometimes even ashamed of using them, is not just hard. It's killing her.
"What if there's a way to go back to who you were before...?" Matt sounds fearful, he probably knows her answer already.
"I.... I can't..." There's another tear and she waits for him to scold her the way she would scold him. It's reckless and irrational, just the way him fighting Fisk alone was.
What she doesn't expect is Matt hugging her, but suddenly she feels his arms around her again and his lips at her temple. Safe. Cared for. "I'm glad you've told me." Right. He had his suspicions already and his reaction makes her feel guilty about not coming clean completely, about not telling him about the tape or her hallucinations. There are no accusations, he just sounds relieved when he assures her: "We'll figure it out. Don't worry. Just don't hide those things from me. I just want to help."
She has to tell him. It's now or never. But before she can gather the courage to reveal more they hear a robotic voice say Foggy's name over and over and Matt picks up his phone eagerly. All he can say is hi and she already hears his best friend yell: "She woke up! Karen woke up!"
Within half an hour they are at the hospital and the journalist is already sleeping again. Foggy hugs both of them when they arrive. "She's still weak, but apparently needs to tell you guys something."
Matt loosens his tie and takes off his jacket to make himself comfortable. "I guess that means we'll wait for her to wake up."
At least Karen is going to be fine and maybe she'll give them a new lead. But this could take a while and Trish needs some time with Matt alone right now. The mood is much better than it was during their last visit. Foggy and Matt are joking around quietly. Trish then decides to take the guitar out of the corner in the room. She hasn't played in a really long time and she can see Matt tilt his head curiously. "Any requests, guys?"
Foggy grins. "Can you play Journey? Don't Stop Believing?"
"I'm not sure if I can still play at all, but let me try." She is getting familiar with the instrument first and then starts playing the song. The former pop star makes a couple of mistakes and has to stop sometimes, because she forgot the next line or chord, but Foggy still manages to sing along enthusiastically.
She can see Matt smile under the glasses. "Did you write your own songs as well?"
Trish feels a blush spread on her face. "Yeah, exactly one, but the producers didn't like it. It sounds like a song from a teenager, but back then I was actually a bit proud oft it."
"Can you play it?" Foggy looks at her expectantly, still happy over getting to sing his requested song.
"I haven't played this one since they said it sucked..." Trish tries the chords she used. It's easier to remember, since she wrote it herself. "I think I can manage. Are you sure you want to hear it?"
"Of course, we are. I'll try not to laugh, okay?", Foggy encourages her, but it's Matt's soft smile that makes her go for it. She gets more confident during her intro and then starts singing in a low voice:
If people were afraid of me
Then all the jerks would leave me be
They couldn't tell me what to do
What to wear and what to bear
Nor make me into someone who
Is their tool a dancing fool
I'd tell them what it's like to fear
Your own ambition, things you hear
People say about your weight
Your hair, your voice and your best mate
Stand up for what feels just and right
No matter what you have to fight
If people were afraid of me...
But I'm no fighter, just a girl
Living in a fucked up world
Head filled up with silly dreams
It's all harder than it seems
Everyone is fast to judge
Be no victim, be no slut
If people were afraid of me...
Anger running through her vein
Buried under it is pain
She can help you with her power
May the creeps all cry and cower
Always grateful that we met
Really wish I was like that
If people were afraid of me
Like they're of her then I'd be free
I wouldn't think I'd need to do
What I hate to change my fate
Turning into someone who
Regrets to be weak like me
Looking back at it now that song is a bit darker than she remembered it to be. She used to think of it as a fun and catchy tune, because the melody was like that. But she knows how confused she was back when she wrote it. Today she's a much stronger person, not just because of her powers, which makes the song feel less angsty. She clearly remembers Tatum being afraid of her now and even her hallucinations of him haven't bothered her all day.
Matt has a deep frown directed at the floor hiding behind his glasses while Foggy clears his throat. "That was jolly..."
"Guys, there's no need to be polite. I wrote this as a teenager," Trish reminds them laughing awkwardly.
"You wrote about a fucked up world for teenagers?"
"Karen! Did you pretend you were sleeping?"
Everyone now gathers around their friend's bed. Foggy puts a hand on her shoulder and Matt just takes her hand in his on the other side. "It's good to have you back!"
"It's good to see you all, too!" Her voice sounds scratchy, but she manages to smile. "And so was waking up to such a nice performance. I didn't want to disturb your song."
"You should have! That was embarrassing. And I might have improvised the fucked up part."
Foggy grins. "Then you improved it. Nothing sells like a parental advisory sticker."
Karen smiles at all of them weakly. She will have to stay at the hospital for a couple of days, but she'll be fine. And there is something she wanted them to know, so when she holds Trish's gaze, her friend understands what's coming. "Trish, that woman... she's not Jessica's mom, but she looks like her."
Her eyes widen at that information. "What do you mean?"
The journalist confirms some things they came across already, about the accident that led to the old lab getting closed down. She saw the documents and is sure that it was Jessica's family. But Karen has more: "One of the scientists told me that it was caused by an enhanced soldier. Apparently he saw things that weren't there." Oh, no, no, no... "They were told to make that family disappear, but instead they tried to save them."
While Karen is tired from talking Trish puts some things together. "They saved Jessica and gave her those powers in the process. Did anyone else survive?"
"No. But they tried to revive the mother with the help of alien substances. When she woke up, she was even stronger than Jessica and didn't remember who she was or who she was supposed to be. They studied her and her personality was very different. She was violent. Angry." Karen closes her eyes. "That's all I have."
"That's a lot," Trish tells her. Can Jessica's powers also come from aliens then? Could that be responsible for her anger as well? And who is that woman if she isn't her mother?
"When she fled from the lab, was there an invisible guy?", Matt enquires further.
Karen thinks about that for a moment. "There could have been. But I am sure, whoever came was there for the drugs, not to free that woman, that patient. They just teamed up to get out."
Trish looks out the window and swallows. "Thanks Karen! All this is a huge help. I'm so sorry I dragged you into this."
"This isn't your fault, Trish. You didn't tell me to go in there and a I knew the risks."
Matt is by Trish's side suddenly to comfort her and she tries not to ponder on her guilt any longer, because Karen is fine and she has other things to worry about, namely the guy next to her. Since she sang her song she has felt Matt radiate conflicting feelings and his face still looks a little pale. When the horrible hospital food arrives she takes him outside to hunt for something edible. Primarily it's an excuse to talk to him in private.
He hesitates and she can feel him push down his emotions. "I don't know. I think I could relate to what you were singing?"
Trish tries to lighten the mood and chuckles. "About feeling weak and slutty?"
She can sense him relax a little. "I wasn't always like this. If Stick hadn't taught me...."
No, she doesn't want to give that asshole too much credit, so she stops him right there: "Then you'd still be an amazing lawyer. You'd still be able to fight for good people in the courtroom."
"And you? If you hadn't been injected with that drug?"
That she didnt expect. Trish lets go of his arm and shrugs. "I'd be a radio host..." It would honestly suck going back to being just that.
She is no fool, she knows that he thinks her powers are hurting her and that she should give them up. But they don't even know if that's possible and there has to be a way to make those side effects go away.
Suddenly she feels herself getting pulled into a small chamber. In the darkness she can see Matt tilt his head and she tries to ignore the way his body is pressed into hers in case this is something serious. When she feels his lips on hers she relaxes immediately.
After a couple of seconds he leans his forehead against hers, but she can still feel his breath. "What was that for...?"
"Do I need a reason to kiss you, now?" He smirks and starts playing with her hair. It's causing goosebumps when she hears him whisper in her ear: "You do have a beautiful voice."
Trish takes that as a cue to kiss him again and bury one hand in his hair while the other one sneaks under his shirt. When he breaks away again he tells her that Claire will be coming to Karen's room after her shift and she stops all those movements.
"Was this you bribing me to be sensible?"
"Maybe... Is it working?" She can make out his little smug smile in the dark. Damn, it is, but she doesn't want to admit it. This is preferable to fighting with him anyway. "Just tell her about your symptoms and maybe you two can come up with a short term plan to deal with it. She won't tell me anything, okay?"
It's a fair arrangement, so Trish sighs, almost ready to accept it.
"And you'll stay home tonight, to see if anything changes."
That request she has to argue with at least. "No, but tonight you might be going up against the Moranos. I can't-"
"Jessica will be with me tonight. Don't worry." He leaves another soft kiss on her cheek. "I'll be careful."
"You come right back to my place afterwards, if you're injured or not."
"I promise, but I won't wake you up."
"Deal." She's not happy about it, but it's the best compromise she could hope for.
When they go back into Karen's room with some sandwiches the patient greets them with a knowing smile: "You two are just like horny teenagers." Trish's face turns deep red at the thought of still looking dishevelled. They tried to fix their clothes, but making her relationship with that man appear platonic in public sure isn't that easy. Matt wears a knowing smirk, probably still very pleased with himself for convincing her of his plans. Jerk.
She does actually share all her symptoms with Claire later who looks very concerned. "Matt is right then. It's lack of sleep that would cause all this. The hallucinations, it can feel like being drunk and you overestimate your abilities." Fucking hell, being wrong sucks. The only upside is that she can blame it on the sleep deprivation as well that she didn't take this seriously. "You should not be fighting like this."
Trish sighs. Now that she has it confirmed ignoring Claire's advise really would be reckless. "Is there something you can give me, that would help?" She tells her about the sleeping pills she took and Claire doesn't look happy that she didn't take her advise before that.
"Maybe there is something better. Let me check." She's back after a couple of minutes with some pills. "Take these before you go to sleep and let me know if it changes anything."
Trish nods, hoping this will help. "I will. Thank you!"
Matt and Trish have to split up after leaving the hospital. He is going to meet Jessica to help Oscar Arocho and fight the Moranos and Trish is supposed to go home and wait for him. She waves at him in the hall like she doesn't know him and tries not to stare at his leaving form with a bad feeling in a stomach. A feeling that tells her to go there anyway and watch his back.
Before going home though, she pays Jeri Hogarth a visit. The panic from this morning has subsided a little, but it's coming back when she sees her looking up from her computer screen. "What can I do for you, Miss Walker?"
"I was threatened by Max and I need to know if you will need me to put him away after all." Trish studies her face. "I can't get caught up in his little scheme of mutual destruction..."
She has to wait for the woman's answer. "What does he have on you?"
"It's not really me I'm worried about."
"Is it Jessica?"
"No..." Trish doesn't trust the woman. Telling her about Matt is not an option. "Please. Just... I need to be prepared. I need to come clean about something, if it comes out." Trish bites her tongue, so she doesn't give anything else away.
There is another uncomfortable silence. "Do you want me to drop the case?"
"No!", she can't let that happen. Matt wouldn't want that either...
"Good, because I won't." Hogarth then plays a tape from her conversation with Tatum that morning and she stops it right after he calls them all sluts.
Trish cringes at his toxic words. "Okay, just, please give me a heads up if this might blow up."
"I can do that, I think." She leaves the lawyer, deep in thought. Trish noticed that she stopped the tape before her disease was mentioned. Hopefully it really doesn't tempt her. On the other hand: At least Matt's identity would be safe then. They could just deal with Tatum in some other way.
That night she finds it even more difficult to fall asleep and she decides to take one of the pills Claire gave her. She has to try and get this under control. Staring at her vision of Max in her bedroom her eyes slowly close and she drifts to sleep.
Trish wakes up from a nightmare and runs to the bathroom immediately to throw up. The good news: A horrible dream like this means it's working! The bad news: It's still the middle of the night, there's no sign of Matt and no message from him or Jessica. Throwing up probably also means that she would have to take another pill, but maybe four hours of proper sleep would be enough? If she doesn't take one, she could find out what they are doing...
So, she goes back to sleep. But her nightmare is still haunting her. In it she saw Fisk demasking a tortured and bloody Daredevil, then it was her sleeping with Matt in Tatum's office and to her disgust turning into her abuser.
Not surprisingly, it takes a while for her to fall asleep after all that. When she does she sees Max again, just getting back home from one of his blackmailing expeditions she assumes. He's on the phone which makes him leave the door open to put a briefcase on his table. As he closes the door she suddenly sees an Asian girl hidden in a dark corner behind him. She seems to look at Trish directly putting her index finger in front of her lips. Was this a proper dream again, another nightmare? Was the pill still working?
"I'm taking care of it, don't worry. Just get me the drugs, I'll get you the money and we'll stay in business." The creep sounds pretty sure of himself. It certainly feels real. But shouldn't she then be in one of their heads?
After he hangs up, the girl steps out of her hiding place and he jumps at seeing her there. "How did you get in here?!"
She doesn't say anything, just closes in on him which is starting to freak him out. Then he starts gasping for air. He grabs a knife on the table and throws it at her, but his aim is rubbish and she's still walking closer to him apparently suffocating him somehow. Suddenly Trish remembers Trevor Gunn getting attacked like that. Jessica didn't choke him. It was this girl! This is definitely real then. She's killing him. She's killing Max Tatum, because she's one of his victims.
Observing it all Trish is strangely detached. She's not capable of pity for this man, but she can't deny that witnessing his messy struggle for life is a horrifying sight. Yet, it's not possible to look away. After he breathes his last she stares at his corpse, thinking: This is it! She's off the hook, Matt's identity is safe and that bastard got the ugly ending he deserved.
But her relief is short-lived, because then the murderer looks straight at her again and Trish realises she's in the invisible guy's head. She sees two gloves take the dead man's phone and he uses a lifeless finger to unlock it. Trish doesn't understand what's happening until she sees the video from the office and it's being send. They're trying to frame her! People will have no trouble identifying Patsy Walker in this. At least Matt has his back to the camera. But damn, she had plenty reasons to kill Maximilian Tatum.
Trish wakes up with a start. She needs an alibi right now and then she has to explain this shitshow to the man who's life will be even more of a mess. All because of her.
Chapter 12: Betrayal
Jess thinks back to the moment she found out that Matt Murdock is alive and about his urge to try and repay her for all the things she did for him. Things get complicated when they try to help Oscar against his criminal blackmailers, hoping to also get a new lead on where the drugs are coming from. What they find out though, is not what they were looking for.
"Karen woke up. Let's meet at the hospital." Jessica cringes when she reads Trish's message and she is relieved that she is able to respond with a legitimate excuse. "No time. Gotta prepare our Morano trap."
Nope, she doesn't do hospital visits if she doesn't have to. Right now, Oscar Arocho needs her help and he might get them new information on Lenny or the invisible guy. She refused the IGH case at first, because it sounded like a damn therapy mission and she didn't want to actively look for any more past demons to cast out or whatever. She's going to treat this like any case, but it's not easy to do that around her also personally involved sister and the self proclaimed protector of Hell's Kitchen. They are both too intense sometimes and she's still not sure that she can trust them to keep their promise and not look into her own past. They're annoying like that and it's even more annoying that she can't help worrying about them, that she can't let them do their crap alone, it seems.
After a couple of minutes she writes: "Tell her to get well soon." Karen is a nice girl and she doesn't usually hang around those. It is good to hear that she woke up, but Jessica has wasted enough time being almost sober in the hospital. (There is no way to get a drink there which borders on irresponsible, because a lot of the visitors surely need it.) And it's not like her friends need her support now that she's awake. They could tell her later if she had anything to add to Frank's observations.
Jessica never understood what the fuss was about with that blonde journalist anyway. Of course, Trish bonded with her and she swears there's more to the young woman, but frankly, she had all of her sister's worst habits minus the fun parts. Enduring the two of them together and with Devil Boy in the mix isn't very appealing right now. It's not like Oscar's company is that much better, no. Okay, so it may be nice to talk to a completely normal guy for once, with every day kid-raising-problems, who doesn't chase criminals in his free time. That is definitely a plus. Yeah, fine, the mob may be after him, but apart from that: Ordinary. But it's not like he'd talk to her if she hadn't promised to get the crazy killer clan off his back...
A couple of blocks away from the building with the studio where the man is supposed to paint - his drawing of the playground was rather nice... - Jessica decides to suddenly jump up on the roofs to make sure she won't be followed by anyone she doesn't see. She enters the apartment next to the place that now has cameras and bugs installed. This is where they are hoping to catch the Moranos or get a new lead at least. She sees that the live video for their little stakeout is already running. But there is nobody in the room yet, since Oscar is still nervously sitting here with Malcom and officer Brett Mahoney. She greats them with an awkward wave.
The police officer nods in her direction. "Miss Jones, your assistant told me what we're doing here. We've been trying to get something on the Moranos for weeks. Murdock can be a pain in the ass when you're opposing him, so I'm glad that he contacted me about this. I think this can benefit everyone."
"He told me, we could trust you and that you won't fuck this up for Mr. Arocho." Oscar's smile tells her that he appreciates her concern.
"We have backup on the floor in case something goes wrong," the officer assures her. So the single father won't be in danger. "If what they say supports his version of what's been happening, he won't have any issues. Just make sure they confirm that he refused to work with them before and then today he has to agree and ask what they need him for."
"I can't get in trouble for this, right?" Arocho still looks conflicted.
Jessica puts a hand on his shoulder to comfort him and he's startled for a moment. In his eyes though she sees a need to be told that he won't lose his son over this. "Unless you lied to us you have nothing to worry about. I'm not telling you it is not dangerous, but it is the best way to prove that you're on the side of the law here. And I'll protect you." He smiles at her last statement and releases some of his breath that he's been holding since she approached him. "You're afraid of me."
He shakes his head vehemently, but when he opens his mouth "a little" comes out to Jessica's amusement. Then she turns to the officer and informs him that Matt will be coming later and that he's with a friend at the hospital. She needs him here as a lawyer, because he's the only one able to point out someone invisible who might not show up on the cameras. And in case Oscar needs a lawyer, because he forgot to mention some incriminating detail. Hopefully they'll get enough information to go Morano hunting on the roofs tonight.
That will have to be without Hellcat, though, because Trish calls her later to let her know that Claire said she shouldn't be fighting right now. What she says doesn't surprise her of course, but that she admits it at all and listens to the nurse surprises her sister. Trish asking for medical advice about her powers sounds too good to be true and that probably means that the side effects must be much worse than they suspected. Jessica sighs deeply, but Trish sounds frustrated and she shouldn't be lectured when she has finally come to her senses. "Look, just catch up on your sleep, I promise I'll look out for him, okay?"
"Thanks Jess. For everything. We..." It seems like there is something else she wants to say, but she stops herself. "Please, take care of yourself."
"I will." But she'll heal. Keeping that horned idiot alive is the bigger challenge. They both know that. And Jessica also knows that he is probably the one who made Trish talk to Claire and that kind of thing provides one more reason for her to protect his martyr ass.
Matt arrives two hours later and from the look on his face - and she can read him pretty well by now - he is also thinking of something he isn't sharing yet. "Later," he mumbles when she asks about it and she doesn't like his hesitation. This is either about Trish's side effects or about whatever Karen told them.
Malcom also takes in the lawyer's state. Ever since they fought together he has become strangely protective of the blind man who he doesn't know is secretly deadly. "How is your journalist friend?"
Everyone ignores Oscar's precise brush movements that they've been observing for a while to look at Matt and he swallows. "She'll be fine. She's tougher than she looks." That's not the first time someone says that about Karen Page. And the same can be said about Matt Murdock. She has this strange urge to take care of that idiot. It's not just because of what Foggy calls the blind wounded duck thing or him being her sister's boyfriend. He has this aura of someone who's been through hell and challenges life to hit him with another tragedy any day. Jessica recognises it to some extent, because she's not that different. They both don't expect good things to happen and they've found different ways to deal with that.
While waiting for someone to show up Jessica thinks back to the moment when she found out that the lawyer who died sacrificing himself as Daredevil is in fact alive. He called her, just like that. For some reason he didn't expect her to recognise his voice and she wouldn't even have made the connection either if the job he had offered her hadn't been to check on Franklin Nelson and Karen Page. He sounded weak and unsure.
"Murdock...?" Her voice wasn't much steadier when his name left her lips.
For a couple of tense seconds he didn't utter a word. Then she heard him take a deep breath. "You can't tell anyone."
She had to let that sink in. Getting a call from a dead man can be a bit overwhelming. "Where the fuck are you....?"
Two hours later she was sitting in front of him and she couldn't help but think: Is this a miracle? Did some higher power save the Devil of Hell's Kitchen, because he was a proper hero, giving his life for his city? And then she thought: Bullshit. That couldn't be true, because he looked beyond miserable. This wasn't a reward to him, a chance to live the life he deserved. It was a punishment. He had intended to die. She saw it in his empty eyes, when he told her about being responsible for the danger his friends were in after Fisk had threatened them. When he argued that they were better off without him, she wanted to kick the stubborn bastard.
But she also could relate and that's probably why she couldn't leave him be, why she wanted to help him fight the depression that he didn't acknowledge. He was blaming himself for things that he had no control over and being Daredevil was the only way that he could bear existing. The only way for him to cope was to feel that he made a difference that he had some kind of purpose. That is her theory at least and he hasn't shown her anything that doesn't support it.
Just like Malcom and Trish saw her at her lowest, she saw Matt Murdock when he'd given up and she was the only one who knew, the only one who could save him from himself. She doesn't know when she started considering him a friend, maybe it was even since before Midland Circle, but it was definitely long before the word actually came up at Trish's little birthday party. Ever since then he's been trying to help her in any way he can, so it wasn't really a surprise that he joined Trish's let's-fix-Jessica-club, he's just a bit more careful, trying hard not to overstep any boundaries and she appreciates it. She has a feeling, though, that she's won't like what he'll tell her later. He certainly thinks she won't and it worries her while they are waiting for something to happen.
At one point he's tilting his head with a frown and she sees a tiny smirk appear on the corners of his mouth. She can't ask what's amusing him, though, because it's probably some conversation he listened in on.
"You know, that woman he's painting looks a bit like you." When Mahoney points it out she sees it, too, and that grin on Matt's face tells her he probably guessed it as well, by tracing the brush strokes. Ugh, of course. If that's supposed to be her, it's very flattering, though. She feels a blush creeping up on her. Is that how Oscar sees her? That woman looks tough, but when you look a little closer, she also seems a bit fragile to the forms and objects around her. Can he see that already?
Before she can think about that some more someone crashes through the window and just knocks the man out to take him. Jessica reacts as fast as possible. She grabs some cuffs from the table knowing she's the only one able to follow, jumps out the window and when she's up on the roof she sees the person look back, assuming to be face to face with the strong woman from the lab. There's a moment of pure shock when she actually recognises her: "Mom....?"
The woman stops for a second and then jumps to the next building with Jessica on her trail. She chases the woman for a bit until she slows down, turning around with the unconscious man in her arms. Can it be...? It's not the first time she knows of someone coming back who was supposed to be dead.
The woman just looks at her suspiciously and now that she doesn't move, she looks exactly like her mother, only a lot older. "I don't know what Lenny promised you, but you don't have to work for him. This man has a son who needs him."
"I'm not your mother." She sounds sure, but she doesn't move. "They are coming after people like us. I've lived in a lab long enough. I'm not gonna let that happen again."
"You still don't have to work with a criminal." Jessica is still not sure what's going on. She looks at Oscar and sees all the cuts he has from the jump through the window. Shit, she was supposed to protect him and she failed. "Put him down. I can help you."
"Jessica, what are you doing...?" It's Matt. He must have tracked them with his freaky senses. He can't have followed them out the window without giving his identity away, so he probably used his other methods to find them while the cops were running around without a clue. "She isn't your mother."
Jessica stares at him disbelievingly. She isn't your mother? He fucking knows?! It didn't sound like he just heard this for the first time. "How do you know that?" Her sharp voice cuts through him. She can tell.
He opens his mouth and closes it. "We stumbled over it. You told us you didn't want to know..."
"And you kept looking after you promised you wouldn't." She can see him panic. "Since when did you know?"
"Look, she's not your real mother! Please, listen to me..." He's suddenly desperate to share everything he knows. Too late.
"Since when, Matt!"
There is a heavy silence, until he sighs and she can imagine the pleading look in his eyes under those stupid glasses. "We found out that the old lab was closed after your accident a couple of days ago, but we didn't look into it and today..."
"Shut up! I don't even care."
She's noticed that the woman - maybe her mother - hasn't left yet, kind of curious about the drama. Then she just says: "Leave him. Come with me."
Matt stares at her desperately and Jessica scoffs. "I'm not going to work for Lenny."
"I'm not sure I'll do that either." She smiles and it's a kind smile, one that Jessica wants to trust. If she doesn't give it a chance she might never know.
"She's lying. Jessica, please. She's a killer. She doesn't have any memories of her life before they tried to revive her body."
And that makes her snap at him: "Well, she never pretended to be someone she can't remember. But you! You knew all of that and you had all day to pull me aside and fill me in. You knew she was running around in my mother's body, asshole!" And Trish must have known as well. The feeling of betrayal spreads in her like a disease and the only cure is walking away. So she does.
"Jessica, don't go! I can't let you...!" He tries to grab her arm and she tears it away and pushes him back. "You don't get to decide for me! I'm not listening to your orders, understand?!"
She sees that he gets what she's refering to, that he is taken aback, but he's still not giving up. "Shit, I'm not trying to control you! I just want to help. Like you helped me, when you pulled me out of the convent, back into life." From the way he sounds she's almost sure that there are tears gathering behind his stupid glasses.
When she turns away again, he grabs her shoulder which makes her try to punch him straight in the face. But he dodges and she then attacks him fully, knowing he won't let her leave, just like she didn't let him stay in the convent.
She knows that he wants to help, but she's too angry to care, too far gone to feel bad about hurting him. So when the other woman hits his head against the wall, she's relieved for a moment. But a second later she sees the blood on his skull and immediately kneels next to him checking that his breathing is still fine and that the murderer behind her didn't kill him. "I didn't break him, did I?" Jessica shakes her head and sniffs silently while she reluctantly takes the cuffs out of her pocket to chain him to some pole, so he won't be able to follow them.
They wait there for a moment. Fuck, did she really just do that? His glasses fell to the ground in their struggle and she takes them with her. They are a bit broken, reminding her of him breaking her camera after they first met. She puts them in her pocket, then she asks her maybe-not-mother to give her a second and grabs a bottle of water from an apartment close by that she leaves next to him.
Jessica looks at him one last time, determined to text Trish as soon as she's confident that he won't be able to find her. She's scared that he knows her scent too well by now. She also grabs his phone and lays it down out of his reach.
"He is going to hate me for this."
"He'll understand." No, he won't. She doesn't even understand. It's not like she trusts this woman. She might be doing a big mistake just because she felt betrayed by the people who were supposed to be her family.
Jessica looks at Oscar who is now also lying on the floor and stirring a little: "Let me take him somewhere safe and I'll go with you."
Don't hesitate to point out continuity mistakes I make.... :D That would actually help me make this better or come up with explanations later. ;)
We'll find out what happened to Trish after getting framed in the next chapter, especially since Matt doesn't answer his phone...
Chapter 13: What You Deserve
Matt is stuck on some roof and the past comes back to haunt him. Things get a little rough... (read the notes for a warning and to know more about what happened in the previous story.)
So, maybe this needs to be mature after all, I'm not sure. This chapter gets pretty dark, but not graphic and it's all in the past...
For everyone who didn't read the first story (is there anyone...?) or just not the epilogue, here's what happened:
When Matt was tortured, he was also raped, which might sound like a bit much, but it's a theme in Jessica Jones and I'm dealing with it. So, yeah, everyone of the main characters has very different experiences with sexual abuse. Hell's Kitchen is not a happy place, okay? (Although I'm trying to make it a bit happier... I don't know. It doesn't let me...) And it pisses me off that people make fun of male victims. It's not taken seriously when little boys get "seduced" by teachers and don't get me started on prisoners. There are way too many jokes about that kind of thing, it's literally not even funny.
Matt is a great example of a man who was brought up being told that he can't admit his weaknesses and that he can tough it out. But at the same time, he's fucking sensitive, so obviously in a situation like this, it comes up again. Yeah, that's what he's going through here, but the others understand. And Jessica did tell Trish to free him, she just didn't know her sister didn't stay home that night after all.
So, if that kind of thing makes you uncomfortable, jump ahead to the comfort part which is much longer anyway. Oscar and Foggy to the rescue.
The first thing his senses pick up is the smell of blood with an agonizing headache and a general dizziness. When he moves his hand to touch the wound he realises that he's cuffed with his arms around a steel post. Not again. No. He takes slow breaths to calm himself and concentrates on his environment which keeps the panic at bay. He's on a roof and he had a fight with Jessica. Matt winces at the memory. They really fucked up this time. She's right, they should have told her. Still, how did he end up here? Did she....? No, it was that other woman. The one that clearly isn't her mother anymore. He now feels the wound on his forehead with a hiss. Yeah, she knocked him out and she probably wanted to make sure he wouldn't be able to follow her or track her.
No, wait.... Did Jess actually go with her?
Matt notices a bottle of liquid, probably water, close enough to grab it. He doesn't think that strange woman would have cared enough to do that. Yeah, the PI he considered one of his best friends probably left that for him to find. Great. So she fucking watched him get chained to a pole or maybe she even did it herself - he checks his pockets - and they took his phone to keep him from contacting Trish. But at least he has something to drink. Thanks for nothing. He kicks the bottle out of reach and yells her name knowing she won't answer. Matt slams his feet against the steel and the chain of his cuffs until they start to hurt.
He then climbs up on the pole frantically, already knowing that it's going to be useless. Once he's on top, his legs holding his position, he feels for a little crack where the steel meets the wall. Super human strength would be great right about now. His fist connects with a part that looks a little rusty a couple of times, but all it does is make his knuckles bleed. He also has nothing on him to try and pick the stupid lock. It looks like he's trapped for a while.
Matt slides down the stupid pole hitting the ground with a thump and breathes hard. Stick would laugh at him right now, but there is no need to overreact. Jessica will tell someone. She wouldn't leave him here, clearly she just didn't want him to follow her. Trish will come any moment now to free him. Again. But it has gotten late and she might have taken her sleeping pills already, so maybe she'll only come in the morning. He really shouldn't be annoyed about that now, because that's what he was hoping for, that she's taking the danger seriously. Him being a little uncomfortable for a couple of hours because of it is a small price to pay. Really, it's all going to be fine.
After an hour of meditation he kind of has to pee. But the mind controls the body.
It's not the same. He's not waiting to be executed after five days, like he did when Fisk's men had him, when they were torturing him. If someone finds him here, he's not wearing the costume, he won't get exposed. Someone could rob him, but maybe he could also call for help. He hasn't done that in a while, so it feels weird when he tries. But there's no Daredevil out there to answer his calls, so now he can feel for himself what that's like. It's not like he hadn't known before. But Matt hasn't relied on anyone else to save him since he was a kid. Even when he was taken he didn't cry for help. There was no point anyway, since he knew that he was in a remote forest. All it would have gotten him was more pain and he didn't want to show them that they were getting to him.
But that was then. This is now. Nobody is watching him now. Nobody is making videos to humiliate him in front of the entire world, to ruin the reputation he built and break the faith in the residents of Hell's Kitchen that someone will hear them if they scream. So he tries to scream for help one last time, but it's useless. Someone actually wakes up and goes back to sleep even after Matt calls again, making sure he is heard. This is what he gets, then. The one time he himself is calling for help, the city won't answer. Maybe that person just hoped that Daredevil would come and save the day, maybe he or she just didn't care. Or maybe he or she was just afraid to go outside. They voted for him to get exposed, they watched him get tortured and even worse: They shared the videos.
Okay, that's actually not fair. Trish told him that a lot of the people in Hell's Kitchen did care what happened to him. He didn't ask to be dragged into the spotlight, but when it happened the whole nightmare humanized him in a way that made him uncomfortable. He doesn't like the public attention, the pity or the interest in him as a person. It threatens his secret identity and the people he loves. He isn't doing this for fame or some kind of reward, but because someone has to and clearly nobody else knows about what he hears at night, nobody else is in the position to do it.
It's when he listens to the TV in an apartment upstairs that the murder comes to his attention. Maximilian Tatum has been killed. About 20 minutes and an even worse headache later he finds out that Trish is a suspect. They are looking for her around town. So much for her saving him. Matt can't believe what's happening and he desperately tries to concentrates on police officers talking, now, but all he gets is vague bits of news. Did she try to call him or Foggy...? Did she actually do it, when she was supposed to stay home? Maybe Tatum attacked or threatened her. Apparently there's a video that makes her look guilty. Security cameras? They searched her place, but thankfully nobody found the costume. Has she been Hellcat tonight after all and now she can't go home? Has she tried to call him?
His mind is racing thinking of all the possibilities and he still has to pee... Since this might end up taking longer he relieves himself, trying hard to ignore the smell after this and the memories that come with it.
He hates this. He's just as useless as he was when Fisk's men took him. When they told him what they would do to his friends and allies if they tried to save him. Only this time it was one of his closest friends who is responsible for him being trapped. This time it isn't his fault. Okay, maybe he deserved it. They really should have told Jessica what Karen found out, but they had promised to stay out of her business. So maybe they didn't actively look for something on her past, but it rather fell into their lap. But she didn't know this. He could have explained and instead he fucking ordered her not to go with the woman who looked like her mother. Damn, he knows what it's like, meeting the woman who gave birth to you when you least expected it. His own mother had nursed him after a building fell on him and he hasn't seen her since... well, since Jessica got him thrown out of the convent.
He remembers the day he called her, to check on Foggy and Karen. She recognised his voice, of course. He should have known that she would. When he heard her step in front of his bed and the scent of alcohol took over his room, a bottle still in her hand, he didn't know what to tell her. He wasn't able to explain anything, but Jessica - smart as she is - understood. More than he wanted, more than he realised back then. She understood that he was a coward. She came back again and again, until she finally got him out of there.
"This isn't you," she told him once.
But he wouldn't listen: "You don't know me."
"Neither does your mother. She could have, but she doesn't."
"She's trying to change that..." So, yeah, she didn't raise him and he didn't know her either, but he wanted to give this relationship a chance.
"But she doesn't see... She might have helped you recover physically, but you're rotting inside." He could hear her drink from her bottle. "I'm getting you out of here, Devil Boy, kicking and screaming if necessary."
And she did the next day. Laughing and himself pouting.
A robotic voice cuts through this train of thought: "Trish, Trish, Trish...." Is that his phone ringing....? It seems to be out of reach. He considers his options, but there doesn't seem to be any way to get his phone without risking it falling down all those storeys to the ground. He gives up on it just when it stops ringing.
There is nothing he can do, so he just waits and listens. To the city, to the cops looking for Tatum's murderer. To crimes he can't stop. Someone mentions that they are questioning Trish now. And he's not there to defend her.
Another attack of the stupid steel post later, he slumps on the floor again, his head leaning back and tears running down his burning cheeks. This is ridiculous. Why is he even crying? He'll just have to wait a little longer. It's not like he hasn't been through much worse. This is nothing.
"Did you see the video? That little slut. Apparently Patsy broke into Tatum's office and had sex with some guy there."
What? Where did that come from?
"Yeah, she's nuts, isn't she?"
Slowly, Matt understands what this means. It's not a security tape that they have of her, at least not one of the murder. It's a video of them that Tatum had. And it was leaked online. There are more and more people talking about it as Hell's Kitchen is waking up.
Shit. There was a camera? Matt's head starts spinning. He should have known.
What did he do? Why didn't he stop her?
"I know this is a bad idea. It's just... 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... any more than I am."
For a second he's scared that he'll be recognised, but apparently the video doesn't show his face and they are all talking about her. His heart is beating faster and faster.
"I'll stop if you want me to."
"No... it's... It's fine. I love you."
"I love you, too."
What the hell had he been thinking?! She was clearly in a fragile state and he knows other ways to comfort her...
"She's asking for it. She killed that man, before he could expose her for what she truly is."
"It's a shame, I kind of liked Patsy."
"That bitch probably deserved it."
"Look at that. Not much of a hero now, are you? The Devil is a little slut."
His heart is racing and he wants to scream again, but it's like he's frozen, unable to do anything. His lips part, but there is no sound coming out and his body starts to shake.
Where is unconsciousness when you needed it? Matt is too tense to meditate, so at some point he starts remembering the things they did to him. Things he tried to forget and that are all coming back with a vengeance now.
"I thought, that's his end. They even raped him? Bastards."
"I'm trying to forget those videos. But I saved him."
He starts to sweat as well. Mind controls the body, my ass. Right now his body is having a total mutiny, forcing him to relive the five worst days of his life in fast forward and it makes him sick.
"You want to save people? Save yourself first. The Devil of Hell's Kitchen at our mercy."
"Matt, you have to talk to someone about this. To your priest at least."
"I don't want to see you get hurt ever again."
"I'm sorry, but you will."
"You want me to cut you some more....? Red looks so good on you..."
He can't really tell for how long he's spiralling like this, but long enough to vomit, which makes him try to dull his senses as much as he can. His phone has been ringing a couple of times, but he's barely able to notice. So when someone comes up on the roof, he's completely out of it.
Suddenly there's a hand on his arm and it feels like he almost has a heart attack. His fist hits the man on reflex and he curses, approaching him carefully now.
"Sssssh... It's okay. I'm here to help." It's Oscar. But Matt is too freaked out to respond.
"Jessica has send me." He takes out some kind of needle and easily opens the cuffs with it. Right, ex felon. Used to work with the Moranos. "She had texted Miss Walker, but her sister was taken to the precinct. That's why Jessica called me to help."
Matt's whole body is still shivering, but he's free now and he's trying to take slow breaths to calm himself down. Now that his wrists aren't in cuffs anymore, he is able to defend himself if he needs to. Nobody can hurt him.
"I don't know why someone would do something like this to a blind man."
Matt is still trying to get his breathing under control when he croaks out. "Phone."
The robotic voice informs him that he has 27 messages from Foggy, Trish and Jessica. He can't deal with listening to them, but when he receives another one from Jessica he just asks Oscar to take a photo of the open cuffs and send it to all of them.
"Foggy, Foggy, Foggy..."
No. His head is still spinning and aching. "Please, can you...?"
The man takes the phone back and answers with an uncertain voice: "Hi, this is Oscar. Jessica told me where to find Matt... He is with me, but he can't talk right now." Neither of them knows how to behave in a situation like this with someone you barely know. The man who freed him lays a hand on his shoulder, but he feels Matt flinch and takes it away immediately.
"Is he bleeding...?"
"There is some blood, yeah. Among other things."
"What? That doesn't sound good. Can you bring him home or call a cab for him?"
"Um.... yeah, sure."
"Tell him, I'll be there soon."
Oscar returns Matt's phone to him and scratches his head while the blind lawyer waits for him to make the offer. "I'm bringing you home. Your friend will be there soon."
Matt shakes his head, now slowly gaining back his control. "That's.... That won't be necessary. I know how to get home."
Oscar seems unsure. "You don't even have your cane." Damn, he is a good man. Matt won't get rid of him. "I can't tell my aunt that I left that nice lawyer looking like he's been through hell to wander around Hell's Kitchen alone."
Matt sighs and accepts his fate. While walking down the stairs, acting blind, he gets another call. "Trish, Trish, Trish..."
This time he answers himself. "Hey, how are you...?"
There's a deep sigh on the other end. "Oh, thank god, you're okay. I just saw Jessica's message. I didn't know what happened.... I'm so sorry... Foggy has been trying to contact you and when you didn't answer your phone..."
"I'm fine. It's not your fault. Oscar is guiding me home." He has to let her know that he can't talk openly right now.
"Oh, okay. Good." She swallows.
"Tell me, what's going on with you. Is Foggy with you?"
"No, Jeri got me out actually. But Foggy came by earlier to talk about some things... He says that maybe I should stay away from you for a while, until this blows over..."
He stops walking for a minute and Oscar looks concerned. "I didn't think of that..."
"Matt, I'm really sorry. This whole video thing, it's my fault!" She's starting to cry. "If they find out about you now, just because I was reckless..." Really?! That's what she's concerned about right now? Not possible murder charges? Or the people talking shit about her ever since the sun is up? And she's thinking about what this means for him? Okay, he was wearing the black outfit that he wore when they first called him the Devil of Hell's Kitchen, but he wasn't wearing the mask and it must have looked like anything people wear for breaking and entering he would assume.
"No, we..." Not in front of Oscar. "It's not your fault." It's really his... "Are they charging you...?"
There's a pause.
"I didn't do it, Matt." Now, that's a relief.
"Good." He starts walking again. They both know she could have done it, if she was pushed enough, if she snapped. If she's innocent all this might not be so bad.
"You don't sound so good, though." Damn, she can't sense his feelings through his phone, but it's that obvious? He swallows.
"I'm not." There's a pause, because he rarely admits that.
"Bad memories?" Her question is very cautious which makes it very clear what memories she is talking about.
Of course she'd get it and he doesn't even need to answer. She's been there for him after he was tortured. He can hear her curse her sister under her breath. "I'll be there as soon as I can. Just gotta make sure nobody is following me." She hangs up the phone and doesn't wait for him to protest. So much for her staying away from him.
Before his mind can start spiralling again they are on the street and Oscar's kid distracts him a little. "Hello, Mr. Murdock. I'm Vido. My dad told me that you helped him and I'm supposed to thank you." He looks up at his dad then, making sure he did well.
Matt tries to offer him a small smile and he holds out his hand for the little guy to shake. "Call me Matt and I barely did anything. Nice to meet you." He helped Oscar Arocho to get information and he's not taking credit for a plan that actually got this kid's father hurt. He probably owed him and now the man is making sure that he gets home safe. And he even has to take his kid along. Matt is sure he has something better to do and he hates wasting his time.
During the cab ride he listens to father and son have an everyday conversation and that calms his nerves quite a bit. He doesn't even protest when they enter his apartment and Oscar starts to make some coffee for both of them while they wait for Foggy.
"You don't have to stay here. Really, I'm fine." He's such a bad lier.
"I'm just going to wait for your friend. And that coffee looks good, to be honest."
Having a kid run around in his place really makes him more tense, now. What if he finds the mask?
Oscar also takes care of his head wound. He's probably used to doing that with a boy like Vido, who was jumping on the couch, until his father told him to stop. "So, you work with Jessica regularly?"
Huh... he sensed it before, but now with Oscar's heart beating faster as the question slips out of his mouth, it is quite obvious that the guy has a bit of a crush on her. But right now Matt's not in the mood to talk her up. "Yeah... when it makes sense." Whenever she allows it.
"She is a good person isn't she?"
It's not like he'd disagree, but... "She's complicated."
"So why did she chain you to a steel post?"
"Jessica had her reasons." Matt lowers his head. She did send Oscar to get him after all.
As the doorbell rings the father calls for his son and on his way out he lets Foggy in who gathers Matt in one of his trademark hugs. He's barely able to say goodbye to the charming little family. Vido is already down the stairs when Oscar tells him to take care.
As soon as they're alone, Foggy checks his injuries.
"You smell. You should go and take a shower."
Matt nods vaguely, but he doesn't move.
"Do I have to remove sharp objects from the bathroom? I haven't seen you act like this since... Since the election." Foggy carefully takes his friend's hand and when he brushes over the bruises forming on his wrists Matt pulls them away. "Do I have to tell Trish?"
"She's coming already." A soft sigh is leaving his lips.
"Okay, okay... that's... good." Foggy nods distractedly.
Matt knows that wasn't the plan. "You didn't want her to meet me until this.... thing...-"
"You know what? Screw that. We can risk it once. From tomorrow onwards, it's gonna be me again taking care of you, buddy."
"I don't need-"
"I know, I know. Well, Jessica told me a thing or two about not leaving you alone when you're like this." He gestures at his friend like it's still obvious that he had a breakdown. The smell of vomit might have helped that impression.
"She... what?!" Matt still has to wrap his head around the fact that Jessica has been able to read him pretty much since they met.
"I mean, I get that she caused this, but back when you were fighting Fisk together she kind of blamed me and Karen for your little death wish before Midland Circle. She wasn't completely wrong."
"Save it. I know that we failed you." Foggy sounds sad. He always keeps making his friend sad when he should be joking and laughing.
"It wasn't a death wish..."
"Oh, great, you're not even denying that it was our fault." The humourless chuckle makes Matt's stomach clench.
"Foggy, you're being ridiculous."
"Good. Then be a good choir boy and wash the smell of vomit off. If I can smell it, I'm sure it must be unbearable for you."
Matt finally relents and slowly walks to the bathroom. He can hear Foggy call Karen who's still in the hospital and then the doorbell rings again and Foggy whispers to fill Trish in. Knowing he doesn't want him to listen, Matt concentrates on the feeling of water running down his body. When he is done he dresses in his hoodie and sweatpants.
Matt waits at the bathroom door and listens to Trish calling her sister. "Hey Jess. Of course, you're not picking up and you know what? If you don't want anything to do with us, I think that's fine with me." She sounds bitter. "After the way you reacted last time, we didn't know what to tell you. So, yeah, we're not perfect and neither are you. I'm calling to remind you that you're not the only one with issues and traumas here. Matt was on that roof for hours alone and he's a mess. He doesn't deserve to be treated like that, when he was just trying to help you."
That's the end of her message, so Matt decides to step out of the bathroom. "She did leave me with a bottle of water." He smiles bitterly.
Trish almost runs over to wrap her arms around him. "Matt, I'm so sorry... about everything. I knew about the tape. Max threatened me with it, but since I wasn't going to testify against him anyway, I figured it would never see the light of day.... I didn't want to bother you with it." She's telling the truth now, finally.
"You didn't.... What?" This actually explains a lot of her behaviour. "Is that what made you all jumpy...?"
"Among other things... I understand if you're angry with me, but the good news is: They're not able to recognise you." Again, not what she should be worrying about.
"They're talking shit about you. You don't seem that bothered."
He can hear her sarcastic little chuckle. "You should see the Tweets I get. But, really, my priority right now is protecting your secret identity. I don't care what they say about me. I'm used to it."
"Which is why you guys can't be seen together, just in case..." Foggy adds, always thinking of ways this could go sideways, ways Matt could be exposed. "I'm gonna order food now. Chinese?"
"That would be great, actually." He doesn't think he could eat much, but he probably should get something into his stomach.
"Make yourselves comfortable, then. I'll eat with you and we'll talk about how Trish luckily decided to go out with Malcom last night, making sure she's recognised everywhere and that she has a solid alibi." Foggy starts ordering on his phone while he walks to the kitchen area. "She sang karaoke. There are videos of that, too. You should hear her version of 'I need a Hero'."
Trish scoffs. "Malcom picked that one. I only knew the refrain."
While he appreciates them trying to make light conversation he cant help but notice: She knew that she needed an alibi. She saw it happen in her sleep. "So, the pills didn't work?"
Trish sits down on the couch and Matt puts his still spinning head in her lap. "They did actually, until I woke up from a nightmare." She starts to massage his skull in her comforting way and Matt is slowly relaxing under her touch. He takes her other hand in his when she moves around, still a bit tense herself. "You're not mad at me? For keeping this from you?"
"Why would I be? I'm a bit hurt that you didn't share this with me before, but... it doesn't change anything." He then turns his head to the ceiling so she can see his face. "But can you forgive me? I should have stopped you in Tatum's office."
Trish then rests her hand on his cheek, stroking his skin lightly. "You know what? I don't think I ever needed you more than I did that night and you were there for me. Please, stop feeling bad about this. I wish it happened somewhere else, too, but fuck it. It was worth it." There's a silent tear escaping his eye and Trish brushes it away with the soft tips of her fingers. "And I'm gonna return the favor now and treat you like you deserve: With love and care."
"You two are ridiculously corny, you know that?" Matt can't help but smile at Foggy's comment and he hears Trish's heart flutter in reaction. That was the first genuine smile he managed all day and most of the tension has finally left his body in that moment. Maybe he does deserve good things after all.
Chapter 14: You Know What I Would Do
The investigation into Tatum's murder makes people ask Trish all kinds of uncomfortable questions that start to threaten both hers and Matt's secret identity. At the same time the fight against enhanced individuals has taken an ugly turn that might change the way things are run in Hell's Kitchen again and Jessica is right in the middle of it.
It doesn't take long for Matt to fall asleep, curled up in a ball, with his head in Trish's lap and her hand in his hair, soothing him every time his muscles tense from a bad dream. She'll never get over how young and innocent he looks like this. Considering how intimidating he can be, it's an endearing and heartbreaking sight. It's easy to forget how breakable he is when he's being Daredevil. As a blind lawyer his fearless attitude also makes him a natural winner, even while siding with the losers of society. She was really counting on him having her back in her interrogation. When nobody was able to reach him she knew something was majorly wrong. There was just no way he didn't hear about Tatum's murder. But Foggy was probably right that it was for the better: them not being seen together right now.
Matt was exhausted from reliving that trauma of being chained again and while their position has become uncomfortable for her a while ago, she doesn't dare to move. It reminds her of that time after they rescued him when he was living with all the terror and anger close to the surface. He really needed to get out of town then. Two more hours she sits like that observing his uneasy movements. Then he wakes up suddenly, groaning a little.
"Hey... you should go to bed. You probably didn't get much sleep last night."
She didn't want to disturb his rest before, but now that she won't wake him up her hand moves to a spot of skin that his hoodie revealed in his sleep and he giggles softly, before catching her arm in a tight grip to kiss her knuckles. "I think I'm good. Thanks, this was comfy." He blinks the tiredness out of his eyes.
"Okay, for you maybe..." The moment the mumbled words roll off her tongue she curses herself, because he scrambles out of her lap with a guilty expression on his face. "Oh, sorry."
"No, don't worry, it's fine." Before he can leave the couch completely she catches his arm. "Please, don't get up yet." Matt hesitates for a second, then leans back again and smiles in her direction. His arms open as an invite to snuggle to his side which she does gratefully.
Matt kisses her temple and she finds his skin again, tracing soothing circles on it and making him sigh. "I'm sorry I wasn't there for you yesterday."
Trish rolls her eyes at the most unnecessary guilt trip ever. "It's not like you asked to get cuffed to a roof." He tenses at the mention of it slightly and she feels bad for causing it. But they probably should talk about this. She has put it off way too long already. "Have you... considered talking to a professional about this? About what they did to you?" She can tell that he suddenly regrets staying on the couch, so she tightens her hold on him knowing fully well that it won't keep him from running if he decides to do that.
"I can't." He swallows and turns his face away from her. "It could expose me. And therapy isn't for me anyway." The last part was quietly uttered in a different direction.
She can't push him too much. That much she knows. "Please think about it at least, okay? I think, it would help. We could find a way... you could do it in the mask, maybe...?" She kisses his cheek and then starts travelling down his jaw to let him know that this conversation is over for now.
But when she's about to kiss his lips he opens up another one. "So, the pills have worked?" She knows what he's also saying is: You're not that sensible either.
And he's right. She nods. "For a couple of hours. Then I threw up and saw Tatum get murdered." Trish shrugs. "I haven't had any hallucinations today." Not that she knows. Or maybe since Max is dead he doesn't come up again. "I could find out what Jessica is up to..."
"Trish.... you can't... There is always gonna be something you would want to find out." She rolls her eyes at him and the familiarity of the argument. "And maybe using this again and again is the reason you can't stop anymore."
"How would you know....?" His mind always comes up with different reasons why she should stay out of the fight. Why he has to do something alone. Or maybe it's not just him alone... Trish has a suspicion. "Did you talk to Claire? You said that you wouldn't!"
"I didn't, but I have common sense." There is a challenge in his raised eyebrows that she probably should to ignore.
"Since when....?!" She huffs and the bastard just smirks. They are going in circles again and there's only one way out. Straddling him and kissing him until he doesn't argue anymore. Luckily Matt isn't that interested in fighting either and within seconds he's impressing her again with that sinful tongue of his. The smug look on his face when she breaks away however makes her annoyed again.
She later takes a long shower mulling over the fact that he already seems to be back to his playful attitude and she's not sure that's a good sign. Of course, she rather sees him like this which makes her want to go along with it. But from what Foggy said before he left, Matt must have been completely out of it on that roof. If something like that happened in a fight it could be fatal.
When she's back from the bathroom she sees him still in his hoodie leaning on the doorframe to his bedroom, hair tousled in all his smug Matt Murdock glory. "You're a hypocrite. You want me to do therapy, but won't listen to my advice. I'm starting to get why Jessica wanted to get away from you."
Trish is a bit stunned by his bluntness. He's usually more careful about how he phrases things even when they're fighting. She's about to say something equally hurtful when she hears sounds from the kitchen. It feels like her heart falls into her stomach and she turns around reluctantly. What the fuck? Matt is cooking and he's already dressed as a lawyer. There is nobody standing in the door.
She's trying to get her shit together, while she walks into the kitchen and carefully touches his back. Solid. She hugs him and leans her head on his shoulder. "What are you making?" Her voice sounds timid. She doesn't like it.
"Chili con carne." He holds the spoon in front of her smiling like a loon and asks: "You want to try?"
She does and while humming around the delicious meal Trish thinks of all the reasons why she doesn't deserve this man. A tear escapes her eye then and of course he picks up on it. Matt turns around wearing a concerned expression. "Hey... what's wrong?"
To reassure him she smiles, but it turns out bittersweet, which he won't see at least. "Nothing. Just... you. Being here, tolerating my bullshit." She chuckles and this time he will detect the sadness in it. "And I won't get to see you that much the next couple of days or weeks even." He engulfes her in his warm embrace, his chin resting on her head. "I think I'm just tired again. I'll go home and get some proper rest." Hallucinating Matt saying things to her that she thinks of herself could get ugly. Time to be sensible.
"Okay, but let's eat first and you explain to me what happened yesterday." She sighs. That she can't say no to. That and him kissing her again, soft and slow this time - no cockiness, just displaying genuine feelings and such. Damn, Foggy's right. They really are corny.
Telling the whole tale of how she arranged her very public alibi with Malcom makes her feel like this was another person altogether. Acting like that, singing and partying after witnessing a murder - even if she hated the guy who was killed - that should have made her feel icky, shouldn't it? Or was she actually celebrating his death?
Matt says, unless they make some sort of connection to the actual murderers, the invisible guy and that Asian girl, they can't pin this on her. But the police doesn't even know about them yet, so all they can do is speculate that she ordered someone to kill Max and watch her very closely. Jeri Hogarth said pretty much the same thing. She didn't share the tape she had of the dead man, though, which would have made clear that he was threatening all these women, not just her. She was trying to protect Haley from scrunity, no doubt.
Trish can relate in a way, because her own main concern is Matt's identity. The guy at the station did ask her about who was with her in that office. "He has nothing to do with this."
"He's a suspect. We need to check where he was when Tatum was murdered." Why did she not see this coming? All Trish knew was that she couldn't reach him. Now it's clear that Matt doesn't have an alibi. Neither him nor Daredevil were seen anywhere around town for the entire night.
"He was just someone who supported me in a bad situation. I was the one being blackmailed and he didn't even know about the video. There was just no reason for him to do this." Going with the truth is usually the smartest option. Just not the whole truth.
The cop stared at her unconvinced. "Unless he wanted your attention." She got this uneasy feeling that the man already had some idea who she was with and he just wanted her to slip up. Did they suspect Daredevil? But he is not a killer.
"My client wouldn't know what that guy was up to. Could we please talk about why she's being investigated, when she clearly wasn't even at the murder scene?"
"It's not like she's helping us find the guy who did it." The cop shook his head in disapproval.
"Because you're looking in the wrong direction! I'm clearly being set up. I wasn't even going to testify against the man and I told you everything about my history with him. I had no reason to send someone to his house and make him breathe his last-" She really should have kept her mouth shut, but she didn't like the way the detective looked at her. As if she was even more naked than she was in that tape that he probably enjoyed watching.
"Trish.... calm down." Hogarth interrupted her. "I think, Miss Walker shared enough. She doesn't have to tell you who she is sleeping with. It wasn't Mr. Tatum's concern and it really shouldn't be yours."
"Oh, we'll find him anyway." And then he licked his lips. "Let's see who talks first then: You or your little toy boy."
A few minutes later she was free to go and Hogarth informed her that protecting her lover's identity could hurt her case, unless they have a different suspect soon. Even Matt looks conflicted when she tells him about that. "We really need to be careful from now on. And you shouldn't go out as Hellcat for a while either, because they'll be following you around..."
"Matt, people will notice if she doesn't pop up from time to time." It would only look more suspicious.
He winces, because he knows she's right. "Do it less then."
They start to walk to the door where he kisses her one more time. "Please, just be careful."
"Okay." At least as Hellcat she'd be able to meet him in the dark sometimes. "I'll be in touch." She looks at him once more, knowing she won't be able to do that for a while. Trish takes in his sad smile when they say goodbye, she especially lingers on his eyes that his mask will be hiding and gives his hand a long squeeze before stepping outside and closing the door. Damn. Then she remembers the terrifying feeling she had when she hallucinated him earlier and figures she needs to get home to take one of those pills as fast as possible.
She just stops by the hospital first where Karen is about to get released and Foggy is helping her get ready. "So, how is our avocado?"
"Better." Trish smiles gratefully at Matt's best friend. "But if you could keep an eye on him, I'd really appreciate it."
"You can count on it." Foggy's broad smile relaxes her a little. With Jessica gone on her own and Trish forced to keep her distance, his last "normal" friends are the only ones able to ground him, make him think before he acts reckless.
Karen is still shaky on her feet, but she manages to hug a surprised Trish. "I heard about the murder and the video. If you want to talk about it, you can call me any time. And I don't mean as a journalist, but as a friend. Okay?"
Trish can feel her eyes get a little glassy. "Sure thanks." There's a lump in her throat. "You, too. And you need to rest. No investigating for you, Miss Page."
Karen smirks. "You know, I think I'll be able to write a kick ass article about what I already have anyway. Almost dying in a super powered drug war is quite the story you have to agree."
"Of course." Foggy and Trish share a tired smile and then she helps him carry Karen's stuff down the stairs, carefully using her powers to make them less heavy for both of them.
She was planning to actually lay low for a couple of days, not give any journalists or detectives any more reason to look into her, but Hell's Kitchen always has different plans for it's local vigilantes, doesn't it? On the way home her phone informs her that there was some incident about enhanced people getting killed by a new task force, when another gang related fight broke out. She switches on the TV as soon as she enters her apartment and watches as people are being carried to ambulances. Was Jessica there as well? She's still angry with her for cuffing Matt to the roof, but she shoots her a message anyway...
After things keep sounding worse by the second Trish decides to call Matt, because there's just no way he didn't know about this. Hearing his voice is a relief, but the laboured breaths he takes worry her. He must have run to that place to check this out. "Was Jessica there?"
"I came here as fast as I could, but there's no trace of her." Then Matt tells her what was happening and it sounds awful. Those people were being killed like wild animals and she can hear the outrage in his short, detached sentences. The mayor, Anand Chopra, stepped in to stop that task force, but the damage had been done and people from all sides want to get rid of him: The ones who thought he shouldn't have acted at all and the ones who thought he acted too late. "I don't think this was gang related at all. From what I heard it was a couple of teenagers playing around with their new abilities. Chopra was right to stop it. But a police man was also hurt and then things spiralled out of control fast. The situation was difficult to handle."
This task force thing had to get ugly. "Let me know if you find out anything else."
And really this should be the top story that day and it makes Trish even more angry that people still keep talking about her instead. Her boss tells her she needs to take a longer vacation this time. She wants to go on air and explain herself, but he's strictly against it. The one good thing in this is that nobody in the media or the public really cares so much about who the guy in her "sex tape" was. She hopes it stays that way. That they focus all the attention on her and Tatum's murder.
While getting an alibi was quick thinking, what she didn't anticipate was people finding her behavior suspicious. There were videos of her karaoke performances that night online and Trish just didn't think how closely they'd analyse those for indications that she knew what had happened that night. And she DID know after all. She just had nothing to do with it. Trish was thinking of the video from the office leaking while she sang that 90s song "Bitch" and she was drunk enough not to care. And while performing "Believer" from Imagine Dragons the lyrics kind of made more sense to her than they had ever before.
She's really trying to ignore all the things people say about her online. But when a video talking about "that guy in Patsy's sex tape" (Now really, why are people preferably using her child star name in relation to this? It's disgusting.) arrives online she has to check it out.
The name of the girl talking to the camera is Emma and apparently people asked her to comment on the developing story, because she had talked about Tatum's case in the past. "So, I didn't want to do this, but I watched the sex tape, because it's the only bit of evidence we have, apart from Patsy's karaoke chops." Trish almost stops at the mention of the name, but she just can't. She has to know if anyone recognised Daredevil. "I really felt horrible for her at first. It's clear that she was crying in the beginning and that she's a complete mess. But can we talk about the guy she's with for a second here? Because, damn, he's hot. And he sure has some moves. By the time they're done I was actually a bit envious. Sure, Trish Walker's life and career are a total train wreck, right now, but whoever she had sex with in that office was - like - porn star athletic. I mean, it's hard to appreciate that from an angle like that, but he sure knows how to please a lady and I'd say despite everything that the girl is lucky."
Should she feel angry for someone ogling at her boyfriend like that? But at the same time, the girl is not wrong and she doesn't make it sound vulgar. Her point is probably to not just focus on the woman in cases like this, but in this instance Trish would really have preferred it that way. Where was the stupid patriarchy when you needed it? "Let's not forget: They're both adults and a lot of people have sex in inappropriate places. Also, they clearly didn't know that there was a camera." Then she looks thoughtful for a second. "And you know what else is different? One of those people may have been a victim of sexual abuse as a child and for some reason it makes people judge her harder, see a fault in her, when really it should make us more understanding."
Trish stares at the woman on the screen gathering her thoughts. "I'm not saying that she was in the right if she hired someone to kill the creep to keep this from spreading. All I'm saying is: If she goes to prison for it, even if she is guilty, I'd still feel bad for her. And I hope that dude she banged in the office will visit her there." Almost unconsciously Trish hits the follow button after watching the clip. No mention of the scars yet. Good.
With that calming her down somewhat she does some more research on that horrible task force that a lot of the citizens of Hell's Kitchen had been calling for. The people running it were soldiers and other highly trained individuals, but they don't seem equipped to act in a way that would protect innocents or people who weren't a threat. She can just imagine what they'd do if they encounter someone like Jessica. Trish really needs to know that she's safe. She could find out what's going on easily though. All she had to do was not take the pill...
"You know what I would do..."
Fuck. She looks to her right and there he is, sitting next to her on the couch. Daredevil in his black attire, probably because that was the one she liked to fantasise about even more. "You're not real."
"Yeah, but you don't mind seeing me... seeing this." He gestures at himself and there is that familiar smug smile on her vision's lips. "And you want to know where Jessica is." Looking at him like that makes her weak in the knees. It's really not fair. At least Matt doesn't know how her body is betraying her, because he isn't really there.
But Trish closes her eyes and sighs. This actually makes her decision easier. She gathers the stupid pills from the bathroom and to her surprise he's still sitting there when she's back preparing to take one.
"Suit yourself." He shrugs and just like that pops out of existence. She already fucking misses him, misses the real Matt Murdock she was able to touch. Having visions of him while she can't risk meeting him all the time would have been a nice comfort. Being sensible can suck sometimes.
After taking a pill she falls asleep fast, thinking of her sister and all the crazy shit that happened in the last 48 hours. While most of the night her dreams are rather wild, there is one portion in there where things seem more real. She sees an older woman shouting at an Asian girl who doesn't seem that impressed. "Lenny can't protect us from that task force!"
"And you think a private investigator can?!"
"Yuki, relax you know what happens when you get upset..." Trish can't see where exactly that voice comes from.
"This is all bullshit. You weren't supposed to kidnap that forger either. He was supposed to get hired and blackmailed a little if he didn't agree." Yuki crosses her arms. "There was no need for violence."
"There was also no need to kill a man who was about to get convicted anyway." That sounds like Jessica talking!
"He had crap on all the women accusing him. You know what a tape like that would mean to a girl like Yuki?" Again the voice out of nowhere. "I'm sorry that your sister had to go down for it, but she seemed to be the only one who could handle it. She's Hellcat after all."
"She was handling it! And you will all go down if you stay loyal to the Moranos. You need to surrender and sell him out, before it's too late."
"I can't. I owe him too much..."
"Jessica, tell them that we know the mayor. We can help!" Stupid subconscious outbursts...
Trish doesn't remember that little exchange when she wakes up to a message on her phone from Jessica that reads: "I'm fine. Sorry about Murdock. Stay out of my head." So, she apparently heard and read her sister's messages at least. Trish counts this as a good sign. The fact that the pills don't seem to completely stop her powers from taking over... not so much. But she feels rested enough.
When she reads the news that morning her optimism falters. Apparently stopping the task force was Chopra's last action as the mayor. New evidence surfaced that connects him to Fisk thanks to a certain journalist called Trevor Gunn and he had to step down. There will be a new election soon and in the meantime a former army general takes over, who promises to do everything in his power and make Hell's Kitchen safe again. "Oh, hell no."
It really looks like Hellcat should get out again sooner rather than later and the pills aren't working that well anyway...
Should I be bringing in Luke, Danny and Colleen to help out? Personally I think it's more interesting to have the now fractured team tackle things in Hell's Kitchen, but really it would only feel natural to at least ask for more help at this point. Then again, Matt already contacted an outsider...
Chapter 15: Misfits & Soldiers
Jessica has doubts about her actions as she gets to know Alisa, Liam and Yuki a little bit. And it turns out they are all in the same boat now, being hunted by a task force that doesn't look too closely at what they do with their powers. Can she trust her new allies?
And does she even bother to check on her friends & family?
"He said that you had your reasons, but what made you chain a blind man up like that?! Murdock was a total wreck. He even got sick."
Damn... That bad...?
Since she doesn't react to the message, Oscar writes again: "Are you maybe in trouble, Jessica? Do you need help?" Sending him to free Matt was a dumb idea. But she didn't want to contact any of his friends after Trish turned out to be busy with getting framed for murder. She could have told Foggy. Maybe she felt bad. Why did she trust Oscar with it - of all people? He didn't have a high opinion of her before, but it seemed to have changed since Vido came to her. What will he think now?
Even Malcom was pissed. He called her the day after Trish was taken to the precinct for questioning, but Jessica didn't pick up. Later he send her a long voice message informing her that the police is watching her sister and that she's pretty much alone in this, because she's still determimed to keep her relationship with a certain lawyer secret. Probably even more so now, which Malcom wouldn't understand. And then even Nelson sends her a message saying "not cool" and picking at her conscience. She ignores it. He can take care of his friend. Matt is better off with Foggy Nelson anyway and she's better off without him trying to repay anything he thinks he owes her by being fucking annoying. But she asks Malcom to keep an eye on Trish.
So, was it worth it, alienating everyone to deal with this alone? To figure it out herself without anyone pushing her? She doesn't know. But she has realised fast that she's not that different from these people. They're all misfits. Some more damaged than others. That the woman she went with still goes by her mother's name, Alisa, is weird, but she's not calling her "mom". She's not.
They stay at a small run down hotel in a very cheap and shady area of Hell's Kitchen (and that's saying something...). Their neighbours are poor and some of them must be small time criminals. When people there are looking around suspiciously it's either because they are hiding something bad or they are paranoid of others hiding something bad.
Her own roommate didn't actually work for Lenny, but it sure turns out that Liam, the invisible one, and Yuki, the Asian girl, were and they're both pretty loyal to the dick. Alisa had arranged meeting them, because Jessica needed to know what they knew and it didn't go very well. For one: Liam seemed apprehensive from the beginning and a bit scared of the woman he himself had freed. But at least he hadn't told Lenny about Hellcat yet, he had no clue who Daredevil was and Jessica felt that he actually seemed to long for a fresh start without crime.
Yuki on the other hand was a different. It turns out that she was the one who killed Tatum and while Jessica is really glad the creep is dead, she can't condone the act itself. He wasn't Kilgrave, after all. His power wasn't as sinister, he was just human scum and he was about to be punished by law anyway. Jessica doesn't know what the man must have had on the girl, but Liam felt protective about her and she didn't want to push his buttons, in case it was possible to get through to him.
She'd still like to punch him for leaking that video. If only she knew where he was standing.
Alisa doesn't care about any of that. She's still trying to figure out her place in all this and Jessica really doesn't know who she is, apart from someone who was experimented on - in her mother's body - as long as she exists. In the beginning she didn't even struggle or mind, because she thought it was normal. That's how she tells it at least. Now her life is like a blank page looking for something else to write on it, something better hopefully, and trying hard to ignore all the fucked up pages before.
They both don't seem to know what to make of each other, waiting for the other one to tell them they belong maybe. The anger worries her, though. It could have killed Matt on that roof she fears. And maybe it's in her, too. She doesn't know. She can't be sure that it's not and that terrifies her. They might not actually be related, but they have similar powers and they got them from the same people.
Would it make it easier to think that whatever made her angry came from her powers, from IGH? Did they screw her up way before Kilgrave?
Did he tell her to smile all the time, because she never used to on her own? Or was he the one who ruined it?
Trish used to make her smile...
On the third day Liam stops by alone. They met somewhere else before and he must have been able to follow them, even across rooftops. He knocks on the door to their hideout and Alisa opens it reluctantly, not seeing anyone.
"They are shooting teenagers now..." Jessica doesn't even need to see him to know that he is terrified. Although he's not that easy to spot for any shooters, he could still die in a crossfire. But maybe he's even more afraid for someone else's life? Her suspicion is confirmed immediately: "I want to help her, but she doesn't even want to listen to what you have to say."
It's difficult to decide if you can trust someone when you can literally see through them. "Why didn't you tell on us?"
Liam now walks into the room slowly, his footsteps making the wooden floor creak a little and Jessica is suddenly painfully reminded that this is how Matt can locate people. And he's not there. He might not forgive her for what she put him through, although she was right to be mad at him, too. She thinks.
"I'm aware that working for the Moranos isn't ideal. But I'm a runaway. Lenny helped me. He treated me fairly, with more care than my dad ever did and he never makes me do things that I'm not ready for. He never asked about Hellcat, so I had no reason to tell him who she is."
"So, you would, if he did? Ask you, I mean?" That is the important question here. But Jessica already knows the answer.
When he's silent for a few seconds, it becomes clear that Liam also knows that she knows she can't trust him. "I didn't tell anyone that I ran into the vigilantes while following Arocho. So they don't have a reason to ask."
"Yet... What about Yuki?"
"She wanted to inform Lenny and I got her to compromise with framing Trish Walker, so she's out of the picture."
And their location? "Lenny must have asked about Alisa and me, too. What did you guys tell him?"
"I...." The boy hesitates, probably because the woman in question is standing right there. "I was afraid of her and didn't want to work with her. So, I was glad she took off with you. Nobody saw her approach us."
While Jessica is starting to believe Liam, she's not sure that sneaky Lenny could be that ignorant. She won't make the mistake of underestimating him. So she peaks out of the window curtain to check if Lenny could have send someone after them. There is actually a guy at the opposite road looking directly at her for a second and then suspiciously away. "Someone is outside."
Now Alisa looks, too. Then a wicked smile spreads on her face. "No, I saw that guy in the grocery store. He is one of us." She checks on another window. "I saw him light a cigarette with his finger and when he saw that he was observed I showed him how much I could carry and he relaxed easily."
"Did someone else see you?" If their neighbours see that they're enhanced, they would get reported fast. They're very afraid of people like them and wouldn't hesitate to get them killed.
"I don't think so..." Alisa doesn't sound so sure.
Jessica talked to a woman the day before who argued that even if they weren't dangerous, if they tolerated freaks like them in society then normal people wouldn't get jobs anymore and crap like that. As if a section of society was suddenly doped and the others would be left behind. Jessica did want to remind her that while some abilities were useful, pretty much all of them also had major disadvantages... Like never being seen again is not a great deal at all.
And Yuki can barely be around people for a long time without suffocating them by accident. What they describe of her arrangement with the Moranos sounds like she has to either sleep outside or in a room with many, many plants, or she'd suck all the oxygen from an entire house. She doesn't want to know how they figured that out.
"If you want, I could have a look around. Listen to what they're saying..." Liam's offer is a huge surprise. He sounds like he honestly wants to help, to keep his options open. Maybe he thinks Lenny won't make it to the end of this war.
Jessica shares a look with Alisa and agrees. They see the door open and close. The wood isn't creaking anymore, but she examines the air next to the door, just to make sure that they're really alone. Alisa is the first to ask: "So, what do you think of him?"
"I want to trust him, but maybe we should move when he leaves this time." They took a risk when they stayed last time, knowing fully well, that he might have been able to follow them. But Jessica thinks, if they trust him, he might trust them, too, and Liam would be a very useful ally who sounds like he isn't as immoral as his boss. He's not a traitor. He does betray Lenny in a way by talking to them, but that's just because he's looking out for himself. Maybe they can get him on their side if they promise to leave his boss alone. For now.
"Let's see what he brings us." Alisa agrees. She's just as paranoid as their neighbours, Jessica thinks. A couple of times she was about to lash out, assuming they were caught. The woman is trying hard though to keep her fight instincts in check since Jessica keeps reminding her that she's safe and that nobody will suspect them as long as she doesn't let her anger show.
When Jessica checks the news again on her phone, she reads about the officials asking all enhanced people to register the next week. It's the best way to surrender peacefully and they say it'll also be the last opportunity. After that there won't be any questions before shooting. They will officially be illegal on the street, not just like drug addicts, but like dangerous criminals, even if they didn't do anything, but take a pill, even accidentally or against their will. When a journalists asked the stand in mayor if they'll make them wear some kind of identification, so people know what they're dealing with, he says that they are working on a solution for this problem and that scientists are also working on a cure that will be ready soon. Naturally, protests have already been announced by some groups, but mostly the people of Hell's Kitchen are just glad something is happening. When they aren't gossiping about Trish.
She tells Alisa about that turn of events, but since she only lived in a lab, a term like "fascism" doesn't ring a bell, of course. It would be weird for those scientists to educate their patient about that she guesses. Concepts like "everyone is equal" and "human rights" are completely foreign to her. It's utterly depressing. "You mean what they did to me wasn't really their right?"
"Well, you would have been locked up, since you killed people." That she had to acknowledge. "But you should not have been treated like an animal. And you should have gotten treatment. To get better."
She thinks about that for a while. "And if the treatment was what made me worse? Would it be really wrong to kill them..? If they were a danger to me?"
"It's never okay to kill!" Apart from mind controlling monsters maybe...
Shit. Wasn't it exactly like Kilgrave? They told her that this was normal and treated her like a lab rat. How did creating her in the first place allow them to do that?! And now, it's like she's talking to her own mother as if that woman was a kid. It was all kinds of wrong and disturbing. The woman had a lot of fucking reasons to be angry. Maybe it had nothing to do with the drug after all. Maybe she reacted that way, because subconsciously she knew it was all fucked up.
And then Jessica has another thought: "Did you have to learn to talk as well? In our language?"
"Yes, but I picked it up very fast. I had to understand their orders to avoid punishment."
Jessica cringes and the door opens, followed by creaking wood.
"So..." Liam closes the door again. "I don't like the way your neighbours are whispering. And the guy across the road is also watching the house intensely. I think, maybe you should pack."
"Okay. Let's go." Jessica doesn't have much to throw into her backback. When Alisa notices that the man on the other side is gone, they decide to climb out the window instead.
Liam goes last and closes it. Suddenly that weird man is standing right in front of them and he puts a finger in front of his lips. "I was about to get you out. Come on, follow me." He walks a couple of steps in front of them and then produces a small flame that lights up the dark alley, waiting for them to go after him. Jessica can see a rat run into a corner and then walks towards the alley carefully. She can't see his features in that hoodie.
Alisa comes along as well. But she doesn't know if their invisible spy is with them. "Liam..?"
He doesn't answer. Then she hears his fast footsteps. "Hurry up, they're coming! They just parked in front of the hotel."
The lights of the car can be seen between the houses and Jessica walks towards the dark figure in front of them a bit more decidedly.
A minute later Jessica hears distant shooting and sighs miserably. Maybe she made a right choice in trusting Liam. She still is wary of the other man, though, who takes them to his place. But between two unnaturally strong women, what could happen?
Liam decides to return to Lenny, though, for the night. Before he leaves Jessica manages to grab his arm and he freaks out a little. "Relax! I just wanted to... thank you. You're a good kid. I'd like to help you get out of his mess." He doesn't say anything, so she adds: "And Yuki, too. If she allows it."
Still nothing. But then he awkwardly states: "Oh, sorry. I nodded.... We'll... see each other." She hears him chuckle. Oh, crap, he has the same sense of humour as devil boy.
"Bye!" While he shuffles away she hears the soldiers approaching. They vanish into a building, just before five of them turn into the street, to look for them.
Jessica did check on the internet what was happening with the others regularly. She had received one more text from Trish who informed her that she is taking pills to properly sleep and not spy on her. Jessica still wants to make sure that they stay off the grid. A part of her is also glad that her sister finally came to her senses about her powers.
After it was reported that Trish's intimate video was actually taken in Tatum's office it made her look even more crazy to the public. They were caught on the same damn camera that the producer used to film all his sexual encounters after all. Maybe she was going insane, but Trish has always been impulsive. That Matt - choir boy - Murdock went with it was actually more shocking. Then again: His ex was Elektra, so maybe she shouldn't be surprised.
She's still angry. A little bit less since they had reasons to be pissed, too. Jessica just didn't think chaining Matt to the roof would take him back to the time that he was taken. But Trish was all about facing your trauma, right? So really, why was she mad again...? Or was her sister right? Did Jessica blame all her mistakes on her own traumatic past and not allow the others to do the same with theirs? Matt and Trish are both fucked up in their very own ways, too. Did the fact that they were better at pretending, that they appeared to be able to be happy together maybe make her forget that sometimes?
When Jessica sees a new interview with her famous sister by some "internet personality" surface she's taken aback by the headline. That can't be right, she thinks. Jessica clicks on the video and watches as Trish explains why she was in that office. It's all pretty strange seeing her sister explain her actions to a complete stranger as if she was talking to a friend on her own terrace. She says she was looking for evidence of Tatum's guilt and that the door had been open, so she didn't have to break in. Jessica knows, of course, that locks wouldn't keep her out anyway, not with her ability to open them without lifting a finger.
Trish also reminds everyone that Tatum had the video, but he didn't tell the police about it, so she can't have been there illegally. Really it must have been because then they would have found that room. The one they can't have looked that hard for before. He probably would never have released it, she muses and again curses Yuki and Liam for framing her sister.
But the experienced talk show host handles the interview quite well. She appears to be reasonable mostly and at the same time embarrassed by her own actions without being too defensive. That changes slightly as the girl - Emma - asks her about the man she's was with. Jessica can tell that she desperately wants to protect his identity. For a moment the question seems to catch her off guard, like she didn't agree to talk about him. Then Jessica sees her come to a decision: "I don't want to drag him into this. He values his privacy and so do I. The worst part about all this is that the whole sex tape situation makes what happened cheap and vulgar. When really it was a very tender, vulnerable and intimate moment in the wrongest possible place." Trish laughs. "I'm not going to apologise for it, because messed up as it sure was, it was also quite wonderful and raw and real."
Her interviewer laughs with her. "Oh, I'm sure! Do you not regret it then?"
Trish smiles her cheeky take-it-or-leave-it-smile that she rarely puts on in public and Jess is weirdly proud of her. "Not at all."
Then there are suddenly noises around, Emma says "holy ****" and Trish stares it utter shock as the Devil of Hell's Kitchen jumps into the frame and utterly snogs all the breath out of her, to clapping and whistling around the terrace. He then whispers something into her ear while her mouth still hangs open and then he smiles smugly at the camera his lips more red than usual from kissing (WTF, Matt?!) to issue a menacing warning: "I just wanted everyone to know that Trish Walker is very much under my protection and whoever lays a finger on her is going to regret it. And if you say crap about her remember that I might hear that as well."
Jessica can see the conflict on her sister's face. First she blushes deeply, then for a second she can see her frustration over Matt's martyrdom. SHE was trying to protect HIM there, or his stupid secret identity. And then her annoyance over him protecting her - when she can very much take care of herself - flashes across her face, before she watches him jump down the building in horror and delight. You had to know her to read her expression like that though. It's all pretty funny to watch, if you ignore the implications of what it means.
The camera follows him and only catches his foot before he vanishes under the terrace. Then it turns back on Trish who's laughing at the idiot she's madly in love with and trying to get a hold on herself.
Emma is amused, too: "What was that?!"
"Honestly, I have no idea! I don't even know him." Trish just shakes her head in disbelief. Yeah... right.
Emma isn't that easy to fool either: "So.... He wasn't with you that night?"
"What?!" Her eyes widen and Jessica has to congratulate her on her acting here, because she's definitely improvising at this point. "You think I have an affair with Daredevil? Just how crazy do you think I am?" She definitely blushes like crazy now while chuckling at the notion. You could interpret it both ways: Either she thinks the idea is ridiculous - and excites her very much - or she's desperately denying it, because she's caught - which is the truth. By the end of the interview Trish tries to remind everyone that really they should be talking about the plan to register all enhanced people and shoot everyone else. (Yes, please! On so many levels....) About what it means to the vigilantes or rather the street level heroes of New York as she likes to call them.
Jessica is dumbfounded by the whole thing.
The reactions are... interesting. And the video went viral pretty fast. That makes her smile, because many more people watched the interview than the security tape apparently and most of them liked what they saw. They like the idea of their local vigilante and Patsy, but nobody figures they could be in a relationship for real. Everyone who believes that it was him in the tape thinks it must have been an intense one time thing. Everything else just sounds ridiculously domestic. And mostly, people are freaking out over the fact, that she might have seen his face (among other things...) and nobody talks about her and Tatum anymore. Some think Daredevil killed Max and they don't blame him. Others think the whole scene must have been staged as a PR stunt.
But still: the point is that Daredevil is protecting her sister, physically and emotionally, without regard to his own safety, because that's who he is. She might get some attention from people who want to know his identity, but she can deal with it. They don't need a super powered PI. They'll be fine.
Jessica closes her eyes and she dials the number without thinking. Oscar picks up after three rings. "Yes?! Are you alright?"
She takes a deep breath. "I may need a favor and I shouldn't be asking you. But I really am in trouble..."
"Don't worry about it! I owe you. The Moranos didn't contact me anymore and after what happened Mahoney said the police doesn't believe I could be working for Lenny." He sounds eager to help. Which makes her feel bad for what she's about to ask.
"I need fake passports."
Chapter 16: You're Mental
Matt explains, what made him go on camera and everyone agrees that he's an idiot - a sweet, caring and overprotective idiot.
And just when he's starting to see a silver lining in all this thinking this can't work out that easily, he takes another hit in his - rightfully pessimistic - gut. Because life is just never fair, or is it?
He knew she wasn't going to like his plan, so he didn't inform her and when she started talking about him, telling the whole world what that night had meant to her, how turning it into a sex scandal couldn't ruin it for her, it felt like the most natural thing to kiss her. Initially all he had wanted was direct a warning at the camera, but he found that this was one of his best ideas yet.
"Completely fucking mental!" She mumbles again into the phone, while he is already in a completely different part of town, looking for trouble. "They'll know it was you! And now we can't EVER be seen together, because people would start to make the connection. All they have to do is compare those lips again and they'll SEE! Lips that you fucking drew their attention to!"
"Calm down, Trish." He knew she would call right after the interview team left. "They already made the connection..."
"What...?" Why did he think saying that would make it better?
"No, no, no... Not to my regular identity. They knew that it was me on the tape, as in Daredevil." When she doesn't react to that he elaborates. "Last night, one of the men I was fighting said he knew. Some guy under Fisk who saw the scars on my back is spreading the word. I figured if the criminals knew anyway I at least had to warn them to back off... He threatened to hurt you."
Matt can hear her sigh. "Trish...?"
"Shit. This is all such a mess." She doesn't sound angry anymore. "I never realised how damn hard it is to keep your identity secret."
"And I'm glad you had the foresight to want red hair as Hellcat." If she was with him at night sounding like the woman from TrishTalk now, who may have had a thing with Daredevil, that parallel was much more obvious than a blind lawyer being a vigilante.
"Ah shit. I didn't think of that."
"It's lucky, you didn't talk about any of us on air in a while..." He remembers their arguments about her defending Daredevil too much in her show.
"Stop smiling. I know you are. Smug bastard." He can hear her smile as well and then she sighs again. "Maybe we'll need Danny's help again at some point."
If the people will be calling it Daredevil's sex tape from now on, it was worth it. He just has to look out for her for a while, to be sure that she's safe. But he also knows she can take care of herself and her place is a fortress anyway, so he isn't too concerned.
Until he hears her doorbell ring. "Who is that...?"
Trish chuckles. "Now you're worried? Hold on..." He can hear her walk to the door. "Shit, it's the detective."
"Don't hang up. I want to hear what he wants." She keeps the phone to her ear when she addresses the man outside.
Matt nervously waits for his answer. "Ma'am, we'd like you to come to the station and describe the vigilante called Daredevil to us."
Damn. Of course, they're on his case again, instead of looking for the people who actually did kill Maximilian Tatum. "Say, you don't know him."
She does as he says.
"Then describe the man who broke into the office with you."
"Remind him that there were no signs of breaking & entering." He hears her repeat it.
"Ma'am, if you cooperate, this would be easier..."
Matt tries to think fast. "Okay, you could go. Tell them, you didn't know who I was, that I offered help and that it was dark. Just describe some other guy to them..." He can hear her take a deep breath, cursing the day she got involved with him, but her heart isn't in it. She rather sounds a bit amused.
It's a lot to ask, lying to the police. He knows she'd do it without hesitation, but he always hoped it wouldn't come to this. "Alright. I'll come down in two minutes. But you're wasting both of our time. He didn't kill Tatum. He's not a killer." It was a useless comment.
"Maybe I just wanna catch a dangerous vigilante, no matter if he killed an alleged rapist." Alleged, my ass, thinks Matt. The guy was a monster.
Trish ignores his last words and mumbles "asshole" into her phone, before hanging up. He's not completely sure whether it was directed at him or the detective. Maybe she meant both of them and he was just only one who heard it.
A little later Matt is back to getting some work done and meeting a new client - a man who was accused of having powers and reading people's minds, when his burner rings. He's really not expecting a call and he also doesn't recognise the number, so he excuses himself and picks up reluctantly. "Who's this?!"
"Um... rude? You asked us for help about reversing those drug effects." The accent he knows, but her voice is new to him. The woman also sounds quite young.
"Sorry, I... didn't expect a call on this number..." He considers asking her to call again later, but he doesn't want to offend her any more. And he is actually glad to hear from them. "May I ask who I have the pleasure to talk to?" He is going for polite. Maybe it's a bit too much?
But she sounds more cheerful when she answers: "I'm the one who will help you save your city. You can pick up the cure soon and I'll make it possible to inject it safely without your patients' cooperation." He can hear her type while talking.
"Really?" She sounds confident. And honestly, he can't wait to start with this, make people normal again - criminals and innocents - before they are supposed to register.... Finally some good news, which is why he can't help being a bit sceptical. Of course, he doesn't want her to notice and he hopes he sounds more excited when he says that this is faster than he expected.
"Well, I'm fast. Fixing people is what I do. Although what those scientists did with the drugs was a mess. Amateurs, all of them. Whatever abilities they give - if they give any - are really just complete accidents. They are basically knocking the DNA around and hoping for the best. The men who made them must either be morons or insane. Probably both." He tries to follow her babbling. "You can't just hammer down random keys on a piano and expect a musical masterpiece to come out. Imagine how much skill it requires reversing all that! So, that's where I come in and luckily I enjoy a good challenge." The girl giggles. For real. Maybe she really just is that smart.
"Right... um. Thank you." Could it be that easy after all? The prospect of an actual cure sounds just too good to be true, but he allows her optimism to cheer him up a little. "We'll be in touch, I guess...."
He is about to hang up when she starts talking again, now a little unsure: "By the way... It is also not very smart to kiss your girlfriend on camera when you have a secret identity."
Oh shit. "How did you know....?"
"Hang on... She really is your girlfriend?!" Now she's clearly amused. Everyone seems to be entertained hearing about his - frankly ridiculously complicated - love life these days.
Crap. They will think they're working with an amateur who can't even keep his personal shit out of a mission. And he already talked to them about Trish's issue with the drug... Without using her name, but does that even matter anymore? "Um... Can you keep this to yourself, please?"
"Boy, you're in trouble... I hope your enemies are as dumb as those scientists... I could easily figure out who you are, but my brother says you want to stay anonymous, so I won't." She sounds disappointed that she doesn't get to solve the puzzle of Daredevil's identity.
"Thanks...?" Defending his actions to a stranger is more difficult than he thought, especially with a client waiting for this strange call to end. Maybe they were all right. He's an asshole and an idiot.
But instead of telling him to get his shit together and fuck off, the girl surprises him with a little laugh. "You're welcome. Good talk and don't worry, the drug stuff we'll be able to sort out. See you soon!" And with that she's gone. Damn, that girl already saw through the image he created for Daredevil. But that means she is smart and not unrealistically confident. A smile spreads on his face and he finds himself hoping again. Can the solution maybe be easy for once? Can they stop antagonising all those enhanced people if there is a cure? All this business about registering them and shooting the ones who don't trust that process could escalate fast.
His new client says he can't read minds. But you can't prove that. Luckily, it's difficult to prove that he can do it, too. No matter how many people feel that there is something off with him. Matt isn't sure there is nothing different about him either, but he doesn't appear to be lying. However, maybe his bosses just want to get rid of him, because if he actually can read their thoughts, he could find out about all their dirty little company secrets. And even that case would the solved instantly, if the man could just take a cure and lose any ability he might have gained illegally or accidentally.
Foggy also has similar cases now. They enjoy discussing the legal consequences of having that drug affect so many people, even indirectly. There are new prejudices, new violent addicts, people trying to hide their condition, because they didn't get what they were hoping for and accusing others of drugging them. And there are people spinning out of control, because of their new powers. It's all a legislative nightmare, but Foggy as always finds the fun in it. "We're in a new era of superhero law. Matt, think about it: With that many people out there with powers, we could witness new laws allowing them to fight crime. Then Daredevil is basically performing a citizen's duty..."
"I don't think it'll work that way, buddy." Matt laughs at his friend's excitement. "It's much more likely that he gets sued for invading everyone's privacy because of his hearing."
"Always the pessimist." Foggy shakes his head. "You don't realise how much people love you, especially after that interview stunt. Which - by the way - was mental. And awesome, but definitely mental." Here we go again. Entertainment for the masses: Matt Murdock's weird romantic gestures.
"I know." He smiles, still doesn't really regret it. "Trish said the same thing."
"She did, huh? Smart girl."
"She also wasn't excited about being called to the police station to describe the Devil of Hell's Kitchen." Foggy would have found out anyway.
"Oh, crap." His friend takes a deep breath and Matt can tell that he would like to yell at him again. But apparently he sees him preparing himself for the lecture and just mumbles that he knows what he was going to say. They stay silent for a while.
Foggy wants to stay true to his promise that he'll keep an eye on him while Trish can't, that he'll tolerate his recklessness and stick around. But that doesn't mean he won't call him out on being careless. Matt doesn't mind. He's glad to have him and they even laugh again when he later receives a message from Trish who says: "I'm done. Tell Foggy, I've got this, in case he's worried."
When he finally gets to meet her as Hellcat again the next night to hunt for Tatum's real murderers she's in a much better mood than the last time they spoke. "Soooo... what did you tell the police?"
"Oh, I described you in great detail."
Sometimes he wants to be able to see her expression. The humour in her words must be sparkling in her eyes. "You what...?"
"I didn't remember your face that well, because apart from those sinful lips the Devil of Hell's Kitchen has pretty forgettable features. I only recalled angry low eyebrows and a big ugly nose. And then I wouldn't shut up about your exquisit body. The one that everyone saw already."
He stares at thin air and then they start laughing simultaneously. "That detective probably threw the drawing away as soon as you left."
"He should have." She reaches for him, her thump caressing said lips softly. He can hear her heart calm down a bit the moment she touches him. "You made it about you."
"The tape, dumbass." Her arm falls to her side again. "I still think it was reckless, but it was very sweet as well. Thank you." He can hear the smile in her voice and his lips form one as well in answer. Yup, worth it.
"What about the pills...?"
"They are working so far." A lie. He raises his eyebrows, but doesn't say anything while she lowers her head and closes her eyes. "Who am I kidding...? You know I'm lying. But it's better than without them. Getting worse though."
"Are you still seeing things....?"
"Shit..." She looks away, not that it makes a difference to him.
"I can tell that you get spooked and you've thrown arrows at nothing sometimes..."
"Well, I've not had hallucinations today or yesterday. Before they were constant."
Constant?! That is even worse than he thought. "They might get a cure ready soon..." Her heartbeat indicates that she's not as relieved as he is about that prospect.
"Matt, I can't let you do this alone, without Jessica's help." She sounds desperate. "Please, don't ask me to become useless again...." Maybe if asking is out of the question, he has to be the one to make the decision for her own good.
She wouldn't forgive him for that, but what if things go sideways? She could hurt someone.
That night, though, her arrows always find the right mark. He can tell that she hesitates sometimes, but it seems she can separate the illusions from reality, if she concentrates. Also, those arrows are pretty useful against criminals who use enhancers, because getting kicked and punched twice as hard is a pain. Literally. He has to admit that doing this alone would be a lot more difficult and dangerous.
At one point they come across a drunk guy who seems to be able to control metal - badly. It's kind of floating around when he gets panicked and screams: "I didn't want to hurt anyone! Don't kill me!"
Matt has trouble avoiding serious damage - he'll have lots of bruises the next day - before knocking the man out. He thinks that should put an end to it. Big failure. When he looks up he doesn't expect a knife to slice up his face by just falling down. Luckily Trish sees it in time and it just leaves a tiny cut. "Thanks..." He huffs, fully aware that this lapse in concentration could have been very fatal.
Then he becomes aware of someone watching them from a dark corner. The invisible one. Trish's lack of reaction when she glances there says it all. She doesn't see the man. But she does see Daredevil scratching his chin to indicate that they aren't alone.
"We shouldn't call the police on this guy. They might send the task force and kill him." Matt is trying to make their audience understand that they don't have to be enemies. At the same time he's looking for a way to make him visible without making it obvious that he knows where he is. Could he throw water at him maybe...?
Trish catches on. "We should tell him to just sleep it off and stay home until the cure is ready." Then very quietly she mumbles that there is some laundry hanging in the street and she could make it fall down when he coughs.
They really do make a good team. Matt tries to lure their spying company under it and right on cue she makes it rain wet clothes. When a blanket falls on the contours of a person it is yanked away before Matt can yell: "Stop!"
But following the running footsteps is easy enough and should be possible for Daredevil to do, too. Hellcat follows him for two more alleys, then she suggests quietly that he should maybe let him go and spread the message. The spy never attacked them. He did work for Lenny and he did help kill a guy, but he was also scared. Could he be in contact with Jessica as well? It's not like Matt wanted to get him arrested either. He doesn't know what would happen if they got their hands on someone who's invisible. If he panicked like the drunk guy and attacked, the order right now would be to shoot.
Matt slows down a little and lets the footsteps put some distance between them until they slow down and are quiet again. They don't follow and instead go back to the other one who is starting to stir. Trish offers him water to make him sober up a little at least, but he's not freaking out anymore, because they try not to scare him. They talk some sense into the man, telling him to stay home for a couple of days. When he worries that some people might know about his abilities already, they urge him to leave town for a while.
The next night is a bit quieter and Matt sends Trish home a little earlier. She doesn't argue. When he asks if anyone tried to kidnap her yet to get to Daredevil she laughs and says that two cocky little bastards waited for her at the radio station the day before. But she put them to sleep before they even got close and told the police that Daredevil saved her. "You know, I could have said that Hellcat has my back. Now you get all the credit." She jokes.
He also notices that she keeps checking on him, as if she has to make sure he's real and that doesn't bode well...
The next day he meets Foggy again and he works on his cases. While he's starting to expect that the cure might be ready soon, he has this uneasy feeling that things are going too smoothly in a way. Part of him is waiting for disaster to strike before things can get resolved.
And it seems like this paranoid part of him will be proven right when he finds four calls from Terri on his phone that make him stop in his tracks. When he tries to call her back she's busy, probably working a shift. A shiver runs down his spine then. What if she saw something happen to Foggy or Karen? Then the mechanical voice on his mobile reads out her only text: "Be careful around Trish!"
Will someone actually be able to attack her and catch her unaware? He runs to her place to check if she's alright and makes sure none of the officers see him enter the building. When he hears that she's under the shower he uses his key. There is no sign of anyone breaking in. But still her heartbeat goes crazy the moment she enters the kitchen he's standing in. She can barely have seen him out of the corner of her eyes when she makes the knife fly on instinct. It immediately finds it's target.
Matt blinks in shock. He feels for the weapon sticking out of his stomach. There was no armour to protect him and he didn't expect this at all. All he could do was move a bit to at least not get hit in his most vital organs. He has to lean against the kitchen counter, so he doesn't just drop to the ground. Shit, he should have thought of this possibility. Terri saw him get stabbed. And to think he went there because of her message. Self fulfilling prophecies suck. A bitter laugh escapes him. "Trish....?"
Hearing his voice makes her gasp and her heart go erratic. With his luck, she might die of a heart attack now that she realises what she did. How romantic. Or probably not. So they kill each other accidentally. It's too stupid to be tragic. Think, Matt. Stay awake. Stick is insulting him in his head while she's moving towards him now. Trish must have seen someone else or expected someone else. Someone who's after him. Before he can decide what to say he finds his body slowly shutting down.
Matt feels her catch him before he further falls onto the knife. "Fuck, fuck, fuck!" Her voice sounds desperate and he's already drifting away. Shit, he can't fall unconscious now! Not yet! His mind races to come up with a plan.
She moves her hand towards the object that keeps more blood from flowing out, but he stops her with a firm hand on her wrist. His breath comes fast, eyes blinking, blood pumping out around the knife she threw, mistaking him for an intruder. "Don't..."
He'll just bleed out even faster if she pulls it out now. Luckily, she understands, now spilling salty tears while he keeps bleeding. Shit. This is too much for a single nurse to fix and they both know it.
"Oh my god, I'm so sorry! I fucking thought..." She lays him down on the floor carefully and soon has the phone in her shaking hands.
"Wait! Call the question mark on my burner," he chokes out. "Say that Daredevil gave it to you." She said she's good at fixing people. Now he thinks he may have a challenge for her.
Matt offers Trish his phone and he can hear her make the call. She explains that there's a man dying in her apartment who was trying to uncover some things about the task force and doesn't want to go to the hospital. It sounds like they're sending someone. Since the cold floor is starting to feel really uncomfortable he tries to stand up and walk across the room. Trish hurries to assist him and put his arm over her shoulder, ending the call with one last beg for help.
"You shouldn't be moving!"
"Couch..." He directs weakly.
As soon as she has led him there he relaxes and she kneels beside him still freaking out. "I'm so sorry! I never thought I could hurt you like this. I've been seeing things that weren't there... I've been seeing you and you weren't there..." While talking her tears are falling more freely.
"I'm not gonna die." For some reason he's fairly sure of this. He trusts his new allies. They won't let him die and he's not gonna go to the hospital. Or maybe he's delusional.
"You're just saying that to make me feel better." She shakes her head and he knows that she'll feel horrible about this for a long time, that she'll blame herself. Not just for stabbing him, but for risking something like this. He's pretty sure that he'll survive, but in case he doesn't he can't have her feel responsible all her life.
So he slowly takes her hand and directs it to his throat, letting her feel his low heartbeat which makes her wince. "Not dying..." His voice is thin like a whisper. She kisses his cheek, crying harder. "Would have been stabbed in the face recently if it weren't for you."
She just shakes her head desperately. "I hope you can forgive me..."
He smirks. "Of course, I forgive you. But you better don't act like I mean something to you, because you're about to have a visitor and his sister already thinks I suck at keeping our identities secret. I've got a reputation to protect." Talking is hard, but joking makes him feel better.
"Fuck, Matt, this isn't funny."
"It is when you know you're not dying." Probably not.
He smiles and she lets out another string of curses. "I hate you."
"No, you don't. But keep this up. Humour me."
For the record: This cliffhanger could have been much worse. ;)
But it's not like anyone would believe that he'd die here, so I'm barely pretending he might.
Chapter 17: Yet Another Broken White Boy To Fix
Shuri tries to save the lawyer who got stabbed in Trish Walker's apartment and she thinks he might be Daredevil. Not that she's trying to find out. No, really.
Oh, and of course she gets the cure ready that could take Trish's hallucinations and her powers away...
Enter: Shuri and T'Challa! Finally! Okay, I have to admit, though, that I wasn't able to watch Black Panther more than once yet and it's been a while. Writing characters that I've been able to observe for several seasons is a lot easier. But I rewatched some clips and this is what I came up with. Hope it works. :D
Should I tag them, maybe...?
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Shuri is on the verge of a breakthrough when her brother arrives with a medical emergency. She recognises radio host Trish Walker from her little research on Daredevil and she is nervously fussing over an unconscious man. Could he be the local vigilante they agreed to work with? The guy she talked to on the phone? If so, he is not very good at keeping his girlfriend out of that double life of his.
"Is there anything I should know about, before I try to save him?" The sentence is directed at their new celebrity guest who just shakes her head.
"Okay, fine. You should probably wait outside..."
Suddenly she is confronted with a stubborn glare, eyes red from crying. "There's no way I'm leaving him. He may have trusted you enough to call you, but I'll stay until he wakes up." Huh, that one's intense.
Shuri looks at T'Challa for help, but her brother had to deal enough with that on the way and he's done with it. He just puts his hands up and moves out of her way. Some king... unable to oppose a hysterical white woman.
"Lady, you need to let me work, if you want me to save him." This makes Walker let go of the dying man's hand that she seems to have grabbed unconsciously before and take a couple of steps back.
She mumbles "sorry", but all the while her glances aren't any more trusting. But she looks terrified. Did nobody tell her who they are? "I'll be watching." Shuri rolls her eyes and ushers her brother out at least. There's no time for introductions now.
She then gets to work saving the man who was dumped into her lab like that. The first thing she notices is that he seems to have had a couple of brushes with death, going by the many scars on his torso. That would support her theory that she's patching up Daredevil, or rather attempting to. At least it could explain why they didn't just call an ambulance instead, since crime fighters outside of the law probably try to avoid hospitals if they carry that much evidence of their hobby around with them. The only thing that does throw her off though is the fact that he's completely blind and that the injury isn't recent. A blind guy jumping across rooftops?
The knife is pretty deep inside him, which is bad, but he's lucky, because it could have made even more damage had it cut through him an inch to the side. As soon as she removes it his blood fills the wound and she uses all her knowledge to stop the bleeding and put him back together again. It's a bit difficult, because she doesn't have all the options her lab in Wakanda offers, but soon enough, the tricky part is done and his chances of surviving this increase. Her brother brought him to her just in time it seems.
At some point Walker left the room after all, returning a few minutes later looking rather sick. "I think he'll make it," she informs her eventually. She's pretty sure that she hears the woman thank her, but it's too quiet to be sure. After that there are no more sounds from her direction, apart from what might be sobbing whenever too much blood can be seen.
Her new patient also presents Shuri with an opportunity to use some new inventions she came up with. While stitches can leave a mark which his whole body is testament to, when she's done the skin holds together nicely with a soft little strip and it will heal as if this never happened. As long as he doesn't move around too much. So, just in case she puts some bandages over it. Good as new, she thinks and grins.
When she's done and the man is stable, because she's a miracle worker, she turns to the woman who came with him again. Walker must have slid down the wall at some point and now she is shivering a little. "It could take a while for him to wake up, but he will. You really look like you should get some sleep as well."
She sees her face distort in desperation. "I... I can't leave him... please... It's my fault." Her eyes wander to where he's lying again.
Shuri doesn't know what to do. "Miss Walker, I don't know what happened, but you did everything you could. It was right to call us. He will live because you did and I don't know what the doctors in the hospital would have been able to do for him..." Probably not that much. And the Devil is one of the few people in town with that number...
Her last statement makes the blonde close her eyes. The expression on her face looks pained for a second. "Thank you. I don't know what I would have done if a man would have died in my apartment." Yeah, sure, he's just some random guy. You're not fooling anyone, woman. "I'm Trish. May I ask what's your name?" They finally shakes hands.
"Call me Shuri." Trish then seems to slowly calm down a little, but she looks almost as white as her patient. She could use another bed to rest and something to drink, for sure. "I'll be right back."
When she returns with another stretcher and a tea she catches Miss Walker caressing the injured man's face for a second and Shuri pretends she didn't see. Then Trish smiles at her tiredly and says: "Thank you, princess."
That makes the king's little sister raise her eyebrows and she hands her the tea silently. Should she be surprised that the host of a radio show knows who she is? Most probably wouldn't have heard her name. It's not like she likes to go with her brother to those stuffed official events. She's more of a behind the scenes badass, providing him with everything he needs and making it look awesome.
So when she asks the journalist how she knows her name, the answer makes her blush a little: "The smartest girl in the world? Everyone should know your name. Instead they know Patsy." She rolls her eyes at her own child star persona.
The bitterness about her fame doesn't surprise Shuri, especially after her recent claim to fame includes a leaked sex tape and being a murder suspect. "Then you may be happy to know that I've never heard of you before we came here." They both laugh and Shuri walks back over to her main project. "Now, excuse me, I was about to cure your city when you came in with that injured lawyer of yours." Shuri smirks, but the smile of her guest looks a little sad. Well, it might be her boyfriend who almost died minutes ago.
About two hours later Trish is finally sleeping and Shuri joins her brother who's just talking to Anand Chopra, the former mayor who they were working with to solve the drug and gangs problems in his city, before he was forced to leave office. "He's Daredevil, isn't he?" The man knows the vigilante, because he claims they fought corruption together. He's been praising his ally from the beginning, but he also seemed to feel guilty for something and they just found out why: Anand was in fact responsible that the self-proclaimed protector of his city was tortured and almost exposed. He's been trying to make up for his mistake ever since.
T'Challa shrugs. He's been very clear that they are not supposed to poke around to discover the man's identity. He gave his word that they wouldn't. However if it was him with that knife in his gut, maybe they should know. "You tell me. Or did the vigilante maybe give Miss Walker the phone with my number?"
Sounds like they can't help being curious either, so she decides to share some more clues: "He sure has a lot of scars that look like he's fighting crime in his free time, but he's also completely blind."
"What? Then he could be one of those attorneys who took down that criminal Fisk... What was the name of the blind one again? Matt Murdock," Anand suggests.
"Daredevil, a lawyer...?" Her brother is sceptical. Sure, that does sound like a bit of a contradiction. "But she did say the stabbed man was asking questions about the legality of that awful task force and the way they operate. Sounds like that Murdock guy, then. How many blind lawyers can there be?"
Yeah, that sounds about right. But there's more he seems to forget: "And she's Trish Walker, the woman who's associated with the Devil of Hell's Kitchen like no other right now."
"Oh, really....?" He's clueless. Of course.
"I know you don't read gossip, but don't you find it necessary to check what the press has to say about the people you work with....?" Well, she did. And the accounts differed on that man quite a bit. Though he has become more and more popular recently.
Still, the king of Wakanda doesn't sound very regretful about his lack of knowledge. "Usually I have more important things to attend to... And I've met the man, so I don't need to form an opinion through what the tabloids say about him."
"Well, Daredevil kissed Walker during an interview of hers and it went viral." Her brother makes a gesture that tells her he has no idea what to make of this information. Zero.
Losing her patience Shuri continues: "And she came with this man...."
"...who you say is completely blind," he finishes.
"Maybe there are other ways to see..." She kind of likes the idea of a blind superhero.
Anand however does follow the gossip in Hell's Kitchen. "I saw that interview and I don't think the fling with that talk show host is very serious. So if she is with Murdock, that doesn't mean he's the Devil. She was shocked when he kissed her. Also: I met him with another crime fighter once and the sparks were flying. I'm telling you." T'Challa looks at Anand Chopra as if this is a new, strange side of the man, he's come to respect over the last couple of weeks. Shuri thinks it's kind of cute that he is so invested in Daredevil's love life, which is apparently not as secret as it should be.
Then the former mayor offers a much more sober explanation: "Murdock is supposed to know Daredevil. If the lawyer got hurt, because he's involved with the same case we're working on and the vigilante was close by... Maybe he wanted to help when he feared regular doctors wouldn't be enough..."
"That sounds plausible." Her brother decides. And a lot less exciting, Shuri thinks.
"More plausible than a blind lawyer running around and beating up bad guys in a devil costume at least..." Anand shrugs, but he's not too happy with this version either. After all he was the one who came up with the idea that the man they brought in might be the Devil himself. He was eager to find out who he is.
"In any case he was lucky that he was brought here." Shuri informs them, that this fateful coincidence of knowing the vigilante saved the man's life. Secretly she's more and more convinced now that this Matt Murdock isn't the weak, law abiding citizen he is supposed to be and that the Devil is a lot more human than he gets credit for. Her clues: Murdock's otherwise inexplicable scars, the Devil's speechlessness when his girlfriend was mentioned on the phone and Walker's ridiculous attempts to hide her feelings for the man. She thinks it's very likely that whatever is going on between them is more than a fling. But they're not supposed to poke around, so she doesn't say anything else on the topic.
At some point Trish Walker comes in to get her anxiously: "He woke up. Says he's fine, but maybe you can check him again?" The woman is worried, so Shuri follows her quickly to her patient. His eyes are open, but unfocused. Seeing him like this makes her earlier conviction about his identity a bit more absurd. Besides his disability he does also look way too soft and sweet to be Daredevil...
"Hi, I'm Shuri! I fixed you as much as I could. Wasn't able to restore your eyesight. But everything else should be in working order. Here are some pain killers."
His grateful look seems also way too wholesome. "Thank you for all your efforts, but I don't need them."
"What? Your eyes or the pain killers?" Shuri laughs at her own joke and the injured man laughs along.
Then he just states smugly: "Both, actually."
Not so soft after all, maybe. "Okay, tough guy, I think you'll have to rest a couple of days and judging by your scars I guess I'll have to ask Miss Walker here to watch you and make sure you do. I didn't use stitches on you and with the strip holding you together, you really shouldn't move around that much. But it won't even leave a mark that way."
She was expecting them to be pleased about that. Instead there's some uncomfortable silence, before he smiles weakly. "I understand. I sincerely thank you for saving my life. Miss Walker says you are amazing." He appears to glance at the woman in question who stares at the floor. Her eyes look a bit watery again. "My name is Matt, by the way." He holds out his calloused hand and Shuri shakes it.
"Nice to meet you. And thanks for the challenge." She winks at him awkwardly trying to estimate if he remembers her words from the phone call, but he just raises his eyebrows in confusion.
Huh... interesting. She leaves them alone again shortly after that. Actively trying to find out Daredevil's identity would be wrong. But she never promised not to look into Matt Murdock. Did she?
It turns out that the man isn't any less interesting. She reads up on the lawyer that evening, after she has the cure ready. He's more of a straight hero it seems. Nothing controversial about him: Lost his eyesight saving an old man, then lost his father to the mob and dedicated his life to helping people using the law. Intriguing tidbits: His father was a boxer and Matt not only took down that Fisk guy with the "help" of Daredevil, he also knows Jessica Jones, Trish Walker's adopted sister...
When she goes to see him the next day he looks a lot better. Trish still sits by his bed and seems just as conflicted as the day before. Ever since he woke up, really. She has no clue what that tension between them could be about.
"How are you today?" Matt smiles at her and she's glad to see a twinkle of mischief in his eye. Not bad for a day after almost dying.
"Fine. I think maybe I can leave..." What the...? Shuri stares at the crazy man and his maybe girlfriend seems to be on the same page with her, because she just shakes her head, a lot less surprised.
"You nearly died yesterday." Maybe she has to remind him? Amnesia or something?
He winces and the blonde closes her eyes. "It wasn't that bad." Then he tilts his head in Trish's direction while she swallows and Shuri finally gets it. The woman who called them for help had told her it was her fault. So she must still feel responsible and that's why he acts like it was nothing.
Shuri smiles reassuringly. "No, you're right. It wasn't THAT bad. But still, with an injury like that you need to rest for a week at least..."
"I can't stay that long..." Now he looks anxious.
"You said yesterday he would have died in a hospital."
Shit, what was better though? Telling her that she saved his life or making her believe that she didn't almost get him killed? Shuri smiles at the woman. "I was trying to make you feel better about calling us. It really wasn't that dangerous." Totally was. She'd probably be mourning him right now, if she had brought him to the local doctors.
Murdock looks grateful, as if he somehow knows she's lying. After a moment in which he seems to contemplate something, he opens his mouth again: "You said the cure would be ready soon...?"
There is a cocky smile gracing his lips now and the radio host just slumps down on her bed apparently not liking this revelation at all. "So, it IS you!"
"I just heard Anand talking to your brother and they almost figured it out anyway." Oh... sounds like the man has good ears. No sight, but extraordinary hearing. Now that's intriguing...
"We didn't actively try to find out..." Shuri wants to sound apologetic, but maybe it doesn't come out very sincere. Well, she also has good news for him: "The cure is basically ready today. I just need to make more of it now."
"You mean, you can take them away for good? Those powers?" She can see a quiet conversation happen between the pair now. And that shouldn't be possible since he can't even SEE. But a lot of things shouldn't be possible and they are. There is so much she still wants to know more about and she can't wait to find out. Then they start talking again and it slowly becomes clearer what this is all about.
"Trish, it was hurting you.... Those powers are dangerous..."
The blonde whines. "Why didn't you tell me? Were you planning to do what's best for me? Take them away and safe me from my own stupidity?"
"I'm sorry...." What is he even apologising for?
"No, Matt, you don't understand." She hesitates. "I wish you had. I wish you had done it before all of this happened, before I almost KILLED you. Please, give me that cure if you have it."
She stares at Shuri now, pleadingly. "What...?" Did Trish Walker have powers, too....? Could she be that Hellcat person?
"Trish, calm down. We can find another solution. I know what those powers mean to you. I can't take that away from you. Just be more careful for now..."
"Matt, you could have died, because you didn't listen to your instincts! I'm dangerous." And to underline that statement she makes a scalpel fly to his neck and he raises his chin slightly, a challenging look on his face.
"What are you doing....!" Shuri just patched him up yesterday. It was all for nothing if she just slits his throat now.
And when nothing happens for a couple of seconds his lips form a smug smile. "I know you would never hurt me intentionally." His voice is incredibly soft, too soft for a man who is supposed to be that violent. The scalpel falls to the ground with a cling and his girlfriend - there is no way they are not involved - who apparently made it fly starts sobbing again. Was she the one who stabbed him, by accident maybe?
Shuri sees Matt wince and get up to wrap the mess of a woman in his embrace. Ah, shit, she's gonna have to fix the bandage again, isn't she? "You really shouldn't be moving around with a wound like that."
Trish rolls her eyes then, breaks away from him and mumbles something unintelligible while leading him back to the bed. "Lie the fuck down, you idiot. I'll make sure that you'll listen to this girl. If it's the last thing I'll do."
Shuri knows the look on Murdock's face while he does as he is told and takes Trish's hand in his again. She's seen her brother wear the same expression a couple of times. This is a man in love with a stubborn, smart woman. It's time to leave them alone again to sort out their issues. "I'll be back later."
When she finds her brother, Anand is just telling him that enhanced people are told to register in two days and hiding their abilities could get them into legal trouble at best or just hunted down by the task force.
"I've got the cure ready, guys." She grins and greets her brother Wakanda style. "We'll have enough of it by then."
"I knew, we could count on you!" T'Challa smiles at her and Anand also insists that he never doubted it either. She can't blame him that he's worried though.
"Would have been faster if I didn't have to save Daredevil's ass on the side."
They stare at her since they must still be unsure how a blind guy can pull this off. She has to admit that it's one awesome cover. "I don't know how he does it, but it's him alright. He just confirmed it to me. And I think his spectacular hearing might be an answer to how he does it." Then she turns to Anand with a triumphant smile: "I think Trish Walker is Hellcat, by the way."
"No way!" Anand grins with excitement. "Well, actually, that makes a lot of sense."
And she agrees. "It does, doesn't it?"
"Yeah, they are perfect together!"
Her brother is still very unimpressed with the gossip. "Seriously?!"
"But I don't see any sparks flying. More like knives and scalpels. They seem to be fighting."
And sure enough a few minutes later Trish informs them that she's going to leave. She says it's personal, that she needs to figure something out and that she regrets that she won't be able to help them. It's quite obvious that this turn of events has left her devastated. She also gives them the number of Matt's best friend and practically implores them to call him.
Matt seems resigned after she left and not in such a hurry to leave suddenly. "We could have given her the cure, if that's what she really wanted."
He sighs while he sits up, so Shuri can fix his bandages, since the wound opened again, of course. She'll need to make something more flexible for this one. "It's not. She would have regretted it."
Was he really that blind....? "It seemed more like she did regret hurting you."
A sad chuckle leaves him. "And that's exactly why she shouldn't make a decision like that now. She also helped me a lot before this happened." Even without the pain killers he barely flinches, must be used to it then.
"You're a good guy." After she's finished with his bandages, she contemplates his predicament and realises that she wants to help. "I might have an idea, but I'm gonna need something from Wakanda and it will take time to get here. Maybe there's a different approach to dealing with her side effects in particular."
This brings out a hopeful smile in him. "You saved my life. I trust you, princess."
"You better." And that's how Shuri finds herself befriending the so called Devil of Hell's Kitchen.
"But we need to solve this drug business first."
She rolls her eyes. "You sound just like my brother. No wonder he likes you. But this is not your kingdom to take care of, Devil Boy." Honestly, why the hell does the guy sacrifice that much, when all he gets in return is scars and heartbreak? Even the little respect and gratitude his people have for him always seems to be clouded by cynicism.
"It's my home." He just shrugs. "Jessica used to call me Devil Boy." Matt smiles fondly, but it disappears fast. Another touchy topic. In that moment Shuri can't help putting a hand on his shoulder in comfort.
"I think I know what will cheer you up." She grins. "Trish gave us Foggy Nelson's number and he should be here soon. I can't wait to meet to guy who puts up with you."
"Oh, you'll get along, I'm sure." He laughs.
"But while I finish working on the cure, you have to explain to me how exactly your super hearing works and how you fight, because I'm dying to know!" Shuri walks back to her working place while Matt lies down and starts to explain his world on fire to her. In her head she already thinks about how this could maybe make it possible to help other blind people adjust in their life.
And Matt's right. His best friend is a lot of fun. They even make jokes about the ridiculous devil design together. Daredevil however defends it, mainly because he seems to be very fond of the guy who made his suit. He insists that all of his visible injuries came from the time before he started to wear it and from getting tortured. As soon as all this is over she wants to take a look at it. Not to criticise the work, because it apparently served him well and he likes it, but maybe she can give some pointers.
Leaving the healing protector of Hell's Kitchen in Foggy's company, Shuri later looks for her brother to tell him what she'll need to help Matt and Trish. The king of Wakanda is visibly amused by her annoyance about the lack of recognition the vigilante receives after all the times he has already bled for his city. She also tells him about some of the stories the two friends shared with her. "You know, he just seems more vulnerable than he wants to admit. His friend is extremely protective of him and so was Trish. There is no way he is going to stay put when it's time to fight. I'm going to have to make something that'll keep his wound closed. Or saving him was for nothing."
T'Challa smirks: "Give him some credit. He went up against entire drug rings and as far as I know he doesn't seem to have special strength, healing powers or vibranium to rely on. He must know how much he can take."
"And one knife brings him down?"
"One woman brings him down. He just has to figure out a way for them to be together. Then they'll be invincible." Shuri shakes her head at her brother's cheesy line and laughs, before giving him a hug. He looks like he needs it. "They're not accepting our help, before they properly tested the cure. That will take longer."
It seemed so much easier when Anand had a say in matters. Why do these people always have to make it difficult to help them? "I'll get back to work then. We've got a city to save, whether it deserves it or not."
The next update will take longer and then we'll find out what Jessica has been up to.
Also: Ooooh.... I just saw the new teaser for Daredevil season 3 and had to come here to say how ready I am for his apparently dark and angsty return! :D
Although I do hope to see a Matt Murdock smile again by the end of it.
Chapter 18: Running Away
Things are getting a bit tense for Jessica and the gang and she's a total hero without even trying, as usual.
But first: This is what I imagined happened after Matt showed up to help Jess save Trish in The Defenders. ;)
"You're working with Daredevil?!" The excitement in Trish's voice was palpable when she saw the vigilante for the first time. He helped Jessica get her adopted sister to the precinct safely and fought one of the Hand's ninjas that attacked her.
"I should have led with that to get you to come along..." Trish had an important meeting and Jess had trouble convincing the blonde that her life was maybe more important. That it was in danger.
But after the Devil of Hell's Kitchen made an admittedly spectacular appearance - despite his silly costume - the oh so important meeting suddenly seemed forgotten. "Can I talk to him?"
"Hell, no." Jessica rolled her eyes. "And stop fan-girling. That freak might still be able to hear you. It's embarrassing."
Trish's eyes were shining even more at that information.
"Shit, you're so in awe..."
"I mean, did you see him fight?" Trish giggled and then grinned at her sister. "Thank you for protecting me, by the way."
Jessica ignored Trish thanking her. She's family, of course she'd protect her, even when her sister made it difficult. Always. And she saw him fight alright... "Did YOU see his ears or horns or whatever he likes to call them?" Murdock's outfit is completely ridiculous, like all superhero costumes are. But Jessica didn't realise how much the guy really needed his armour when she first got to know him. And really, her not having a secret identity did put Trish's life in danger that time. So she kind of respected Matt's decision to look like an idiot and protect the people he loved, even back then she understood. Still... the horns?!
"But he totally saved your ass." Trish snickered and Jess rolled her eyes. "I told you to learn some fighting technique..."
It was true. Her sister had been bugging her to get some proper training, but she never had any intentions of joining a fucking vigilante group. Then she ended up in one and everyone seemed to know karate. It was annoying. Trish was dying to do all that and her not being enhanced was the only thing stopping her. Jessica did have a feeling though that one day - if her sister had enough money and resources - she'd find a way to become a hero without special powers. She always envied her abilities and maybe both of them wished their roles were reversed. Then fate gave her what she always desired and now she won't admit that it's hurting her.
If Trish was in her position right now, she'd find a different solution. Hellcat wouldn't be waiting in a Diner for a nice guy to help her out and commit a crime for her. But running away seems like the most reasonable option. She has to wait till things have calmed down a little in Hell's Kitchen, because it's obvious that they are about to escalate and she doesn't have to be there for the big bang. All she can do right now is keep Alisa and herself out of trouble. Maybe she could convince others to flee as well. Yuki wouldn't leave Lenny, she's pretty sure, but Liam could and he wouldn't need a passport either.
Why can't she just live her life in peace, without that super power crap? At least none of her new enhanced companions know karate or want to save the world...
"They're all pretty special, aren't they?" Kilgrave's voice. He would love this new group of freaks. She thinks he wouldn't even have to use his powers on Alisa to make her kill people. With toys like that he'd have a lot of fun she assumes...
Jessica can feel the panic attack coming and starts mumbling the roads of her childhood home. She doesn't know for how long she's sitting there with her face in her hands when someone suddenly touches her back and she almost punches Oscar in reflex.
He holds his hands up defensively and she closes her eyes taking deep breaths. When she has calmed down a little she looks at him again and he tries to smile.
"He's still afraid of you. And he should be."
Jessica tries to ignore the chilling voice and swallows. "Thank you for coming. I'm so sorry that I asked you for this. I'll pay as soon as I can. But you can still go if you don't want anything to do with this." He really should go. Far away from her.
Oscar offers her an encouraging smile. "No, I can see that you need help..." Is that concern or pity in his eyes? Anyway, she didn't come for this. And she can't do this with Kilgrave in her head. It feels like her body is not her own even as the panic is slowly fading. He is not supposed to see her like this.
"This was a mistake..." Jessica gets up to go, but Oscar blocks her exit and then he puts the two passports on the table, his eyes begging her to stay. They are ready...? How did he manage to do this that fast? The moment stuns her and brings her back to the present a little faster. "You owe me nothing..." Aware that he can't force her, he still seems a little afraid of her even while stepping in her way. But he's standing his ground.
"Your lawyer even told me that you had your reasons to chain him up. If he doesn't think you're a bad person after what you did to him, then I think I have to trust my gut. I want to help you with whatever it is that makes you act this way... I've seen the news and I know what kind of danger people like you must be in right now..." She avoids his gaze, but thankfully Kilgrave is gone from her thoughts and there is just a bit of uneasiness left. Since her mind now isn't as preoccupied anymore with fear and terror she's suddenly aware of the meaning this man's words might hold.
"I don't think I'll need anything after this. Thank you." She sighs and takes the passports while he relaxes visibly and steps aside to let her go. Before leaving she feels like she has to clarify something else: "You can't fix me."
Oscar has a very warm smile, very much not demanding or expecting anything from her. "Okay, but I'd like to know that you're alright. Please, send me a message when you reach wherever you're going." He licks his lips. "I... I like you. Please... just... let me know if there's anything... or if you want to talk..."
He likes her? Well, that became more and more obvious, but... why? Was it because Vido likes her, because she brought him home safe? But why question it while he looks at her like that... When Jessica grabs him for a kiss he seems a bit freaked out by her sudden action for a second and stumbles back awkwardly.
But that short hesitation is enough for Jessica to make up her mind. "Shit, I'm sorry," she mutters and leaves the Diner with her passports as fast as she can.
She can hear him call after her. "No, Jessica, wait....!" But that only makes her run faster and jump up the building as soon as she's outside, so he can't follow her.
Thinking about their conversation then makes Jessica wonder why Matt decided to defend her in front of Oscar. After what she did to one of her best friends the way Vido's dad saw her - the way he already painted her - had to change. Instead Murdock made the guy think that she had a reason to do this - which makes her feel even more like a bitch for her actions. Now Oscar somehow got the impression that she was worth dealing with her issues.
She's not. Not for a single dad who doesn't need any more problems in his life. Crap, she can't deal with this right now.
On her way she drops Matt's glasses in some store to get them repaired. At least that she should do for him. But it doesn't make her feel better. Even Malcom is completely team Murdock now, especially since he thinks the attorney's girlfriend might have an affair with the Devil of Hell's Kitchen. The last time they talked Jessica almost informed him that the poor blind man would be very amused by his concern, but it's not her secret to spill. And if she does say who he is, she's just gonna seem like even more of an ass for forgetting about the torture.
When she arrives back at their hideout she has a message on her phone. It's not from Oscar to her relief. It's Hogarth telling her that Yuki wasn't among the women accusing Tatum because she's mentally unstable and it isn't clear that he even touched her. Maybe someone else did something to her, though. She was really young when she met him and her version of what happened changed a lot over time, which didn't make her the best witness. Maybe it's not just the drug making everyone crazy. Maybe you just needed to be a bit unhinged already to take it intentionally in the first place.
Their new host is working at the moment and she's still not sure what to make of the guy. He did save them from the task force however or at least it looked like he was planning to do that. His name is Tom and he took the drug, because he thought it would get him out of his crappy apartment and his crappy job. It doesn't seem to have worked out that great, though, because unless people calm down about those powers, so he'd be able to work in a kitchen heating up food or in a factory, his only option would be working for the mob or hide his new abilities and hope nobody reports him.
He doesn't have guest beds of course, so Alisa sleeps on the carpet commenting that she's used to discomfort. Jessica takes the couch again thinking that it's no wonder Alisa doesn't value human life very much after her experiences.
She is glad when Liam comes back later as well to tell them that he saw Hellcat and Daredevil again. Apparently they're not calling the police on enhanced people anymore and just tell them to stay home a couple of days until the cure is ready. They're trying to save those people from the brutal task force. And from the way he tells her about it, it seems obvious that Liam is in awe of them. Ugh, another one of those. The familiar mix of desperation and fondness that she feels makes her smile a little.
What she didn't expect though was Yuki banging against their door a couple of minutes later. After they let her in she looks around, which is obviously futile. "Is Liam with you?"
"I'm here. What's up?" He sounds apprehensive.
"Lenny has a plan to deal with the task force, but he needs your help. You have to come with me. Now."
Jessica stares at the girl. "Did you tell him about us?"
"No, I just told them I knew where our invisible guy might be."
Liam then whispers: "I was actually thinking about registering..."
That surprises Jessica just as much as Yuki. The girl frowns in his direction. "Seriously?" Then her face becomes more gentle. "Look, I know you want to go legal some day, but now is not the time. You can't trust them."
When Liam doesn't answer immediately Jessica decides to wait how this turns out and not draw attention to herself while there is so much tension in the room. "They will just lock you up and put something on you, so they can see you. Or they'll just kill you!" Yuki seems honestly concerned about that.
Liam speaks up very quietly: "But if they have a cure..."
"Right... you want to be seen again..." Yuki hesitates and tries to be understanding. But it's obvious that she doesn't want to talk about this. She's in a hurry, so she wants to lighten up the conversation and smirks. "I enjoy talking to you as if you were the crazy girl's imaginary friend. And I don't want anything to happen to you..."
Jessica isn't sure registering is such a good idea and she needs to remind them, that the cure isn't ready yet. Maybe it'll never be. "We don't know if it's possible to cure this." It's not like they found anything against Kilgrave either.
"Maybe the mayor's cure for this is death. We don't know..." Yuki is a ray of sunshine, isn't she? But she has a point. The current mayor seems like a guy who'd see this as a solution. On the other hand Jessica also doesn't want to know what Lenny's solution might entail. Not less of a bloodbath probably. Running away is definitely the sane option here.
Suddenly there's a voice coming from outside and she needs a moment to understand what is happening . She can't believe they've come to arrest them after they've been so careful. Jessica sees Alisa's head snap to the door in anger more than fear. "Step outside the apartment. We won't hurt you if you don't give us a reason to do so."
Yuki's expression darkens and Jessica sees her take a deep breath, but suddenly her mouth is shut by an invisible hand which makes her lash out around her, but it seems that Liam's grip is tight enough. "Don't, please..."
The air already feels a little thinner in the room. Jessica isn't sure how good Yuki is at focusing her ability on a certain area. She did avoid to take out Liam in the lab when she used it and Jessica felt it, too, when she choked Trevor Gunn right in front of her, but maybe her own powers protected her from Yuki's then. Would the soldiers outside feel it...?
Alisa then runs to the window and peeks outside the curtain, just when the voice starts talking again. "The building is surrounded. So don't even think about running. We're counting to 10, then we're coming in."
Her not-mother somehow looks at her for an answer, probably thinking about how she'd be able to attack them without getting shot too much in this mess. "One..."
Jessica really doesn't like their odds right now. "Two..."
Yuki starts to struggle again and ends up shooting her pleading look. "Three..."
What would Trish do....? "Four..."
Matt wouldn't allow anyone to get killed in this would he? "Five..." It would only make it worse for the others who are being hunted if they hurt anyone in that stupid task force.
"Six..." But if she doesn't do anything, they're all gonna die now. Alisa stands behind Yuki signaling that she could attack Liam from behind.
"Seven... Miss Jones, if you are in there: Nobody wants to hurt you. You're not considered a threat after the Kilgrave case. Help us." The voice sounds genuine which she didn't expect.
"Eight..." Fuck... she can't let this happen.
"Wait...!", she shouts and their counting does stop. "I am Jessica Jones and I'm coming outside. Don't shoot. Let's talk."
The answer comes without delay. "Okay. I promise." She finds herself hoping that she can trust that stranger. With one last warning look at the others she opens the door to a group of heavily armed soldiers. She steps outside holding up her hands - which is ridiculous for an unarmed, superstrong person, but they seem to understand the gesture - and she firmly closes the door behind her.
"There is no need for violence. Please..." She can't make out much of their faces under the helmets, but they still look threatening. "These people are just scared. They don't want trouble."
"Listen. We've been under scrutiny, after some idiots made the call to shoot at those teenagers. But this isn't easy. I don't want to lose any of my guys here either." That she can believe. Maybe this isn't that hopeless after all. "Just tell me who we're dealing with in there and we'll just take them in, if they cooperate."
Jessica sighs. It is their best option right now. At least she doesn't have to mention Liam. "It's Alisa... Jones and some Japanese girl called Yuki."
There is a silence now that doesn't bode well. If they know about them from the laboratory... "Alright. Listen... they have to surrender quietly. No sudden movements or I can't guarantee anything."
She doesn't like the sound of that and neither did the others behind the door and after they hear some muffled struggle noises and a loud thump she feels the air shifting. "Fuck...!"
Immediately the soldiers jump into action and one of them bangs a shoulder against the door. Then things happen very fast. The first one drops to the ground from lack of oxygen and the next just shoots at the lock while Jessica tries to reason with everyone. "Yuki, please stop it! I won't let anything happen to any of you!"
The door bursts open and all she sees is Alisa holding up her hands and trying hard to look innocent.
Someone shouts confused: "Where is the girl?!"
Yuki must be hiding behind Liam or he got hold of her again, so she can't use her powers. "Talk, or I'll shoot."
Alisa shrugs. "I don't know." And that earns her a bullet in the shoulder.
"No! Why did you do that?!" It's the soldier or commander she talked to before. He's trying.
But apparently now all bets are off again and she feels the air shift faster. The soldiers seem already quite affected and Alisa takes that as a cue to knock one of them out with a punch.
Another one yells: "There she is!" And Jessica hears some more shots and she doesn't care anymore if she'll become a target. She has to do something, so she just pulls back one of the soldiers and bends his rifle, so he can't use it anymore.
"Stop shooting, you're making it worse!" At this point the soldiers who appear to be suffocating are shooting around the room without much of an aim, probably almost as scared as Yuki while Alisa is already on her knees, but at some point she must have grapped one of them as a shield who is now riddled with bullets.
Jessica is about to enter the room to try and disarm more of the shooters even if it makes them aim at her, when she feels heat flow by her side and she sees three soldiers in front of her catch fire.
She turns around to see Tom standing in the door. "STOP! You're killing them!"
"They're killing us," the man shouts back. "I'm saving you guys..." When she looks back again, the men are lying on the ground, but now there are huge flames keeping everyone from fleeing the apartment.
"You trapped them inside."
"No." He smiles. "I took care of the men outside as well. They can leave through the window." Took care?! What does that mean...?!
Jessica stares at the man for a second, then she decides to jump through the flames and luckily she doesn't catch fire. What she finds is two soldiers now cowering in a corner and the rest is on the ground, unconscious or dead. Alisa has one rifle aimed at them while Yuki is crying on the floor. "Liam....!"
"Where is he?"
The girl shakes her head. "I can't see him!"
Well, obviously. "Calm down! Where was he when the shooting started...?"
More sobbing. "He was shielding me and then... I pushed him away because I didn't want him to... I wanted to hurt them, too."
Jessica finds a drop of blood close to the crying girl and two smeared ones a bit further. He must have crawled to the other side of the room behind the shooters. Smart.
Suddenly she almost stumbles, her foot apparently touching something invisible. She hurriedly turns his body around and suddenly she sees the blood. It's not too much, but there are two bleeding wounds while she feels awkward touching that obviously naked boy - which funnily enough never occured to her - she finds out that he's hit in the leg and his nose is also bleeding. Maybe Yuki gave him a broken nose in their struggle. Then she checks his pulse. "He's breathing."
"Guys, we should leave, before they send backup," she hears Tom shout behind her. "And before the building burns down..."
Yuki nods. "I'll just get a bucket of water against the fire, so that maybe we can all jump through. Can you take him?" Her eyes are pleading with Jessica who is tying her scarf around Liam's bullet wound to stop some of the bleeding.
"Sure, I can. Don't worry. It looks worse than it is." But they also need to put the fire out so noone else dies in there. She looks at the two scared soldiers who seem terrified between the gun pointed at them and the fire that's slowly spreading. "Who's the one I talked to earlier?"
The one they point at is lying close to the door and the fire, so Jessica pulls him further into the room. But she doesn't find a heartbeat. "Shit... You guys need to explain that we tried to stop this!"
They stare at her and then Alisa suggests something not very helpful: "Should we really let them live? They wouldn't..."
Jessica sighs. "We have to be better than them if we don't want to be hunted like animals."
"You still think they'll stop doing this?" Tom asks from behind the fiery door frame doubtful.
"I have to." Then she throws Liam over her shoulder to carry him out and grabs her bag. Yuki then comes back with her bucket and Jessica closes the windows. "Let the soldiers go first."
Alisa scoffs. "Fine..." She gestures with her weapon and they jump up.
"And Yuki, maybe you can starve the flames from oxygen as well?" The girl nods and throws her bucket of water against the fire which doesn't have as much of an effect as she had hoped. But Yuki also starts breathing in and the fire at least stopped spreading further.
"Now or never. Run!" While the air gets thinner every second they all run through the fire one after the other. One of the soldiers has to get rid of a burning jacket and Jessica has to stop Alisa's hair from catching fire. But somehow they all make it out before the ambulance and the backup arrives. Jessica looks at the soldiers one more time and she sees one of them nod in her direction and making a sign for them to go as fast as they can.
This could have ended better. But they're alive at least. Liam wakes up a couple of minutes after they fled and he doesn't want to be carried, so Yuki takes his arm over her shoulder to help him walk. However there is no way this wasn't planned in some way. There were too many coincidences and she has a theory that Lenny was behind it all. If he really needs Liam for that plan of his, the perfect way to make him help would be giving him a taste of what they are up against. She's still certain that Lenny already knows about what the boy has been up to behind his back. Maybe he sent Yuki to trap him, convince him of the danger and then also help him flee.
Then again the girl actually looked terrified when he got hurt, but maybe she just never thought it would go that far. And how did she find him? It's not like she could have followed him and she wasn't there when Tom "saved" them.
That guy was beyond suspicious anyway. The nonchalant way he accepted his apartment burning down was the last straw really. Jessica observes him out of the corner of her eye. She didn't say anything when he suggested that they should stick together to be safe. A big part of her expects him to just straight up lead them towards Lenny. But Tom doesn't. Instead he takes them to a cheap hotel booking three rooms - one for him, one for Yuki and Liam, one for her and Alisa.
That night she decides to observe his room. Maybe he's in contact with the Moranos. Maybe they'll come the next day and maybe she should check the name in the reservation... "You don't trust him."
She actually jumps when she hears Liam's voice beside her. "Don't scare me like that, freak."
"You're a freak, too."
She smiles. Jessica finds she doesn't hate him. He deserves to know that Yuki is playing him. "Look, I have to tell you something..."
"I know she set us up. I saw this Tom guy text Lenny earlier when he didn't feel observed. Said she did great and all..." He sounds heartbroken.
"I'm sorry. I think she really cared when you got hurt. If that helps." The corners of her lips go up a little.
"It does." There's a short silence. "I'm sorry, too. About Trish. I heard she's in rehab because of what we did...-"
"Wait. What...?" Rehab? What the hell?! How did Liam know that before her?
"Maybe it's false if you don't know. It's just something the tabloids reported...." She didn't read up on them this day. Shit.
"It just doesn't sound like her..." Her side effects can't have gotten that bad, or can they? And is Hell's Kitchen doomed when even someone like Trish is running from trying to save it?
So sorry for taking so long with this chapter. I think I might get ahead with this faster now. Not sure how many chapters are left to write, but things are certainly coming together for the big finish soonish and the aftermath will also take a bit longer to untangle some of this, I think. Might end up being a similar length as the first story, or maybe shorter. :)
Chapter 19: I Just Want To Feel
Feeling frustrated about being tied to a bed much longer than he can tolerate Matt goes out in the streets again way to early - with little backup.
And again it might have consequences he didn't anticipate.
"You're doing better than I expected, by the way. I didn't think you'd be able to last this long with an injury like that." The king of Wakanda makes a point to acknowledge his partner's abilities. But he's being generous. "I think I picked the right ally in Hell's Kitchen. Where did you learn to fight like that?"
The compliment makes Matt smile, although he doesn't feel like he earned it tonight, like he was able to contribute much. "My dad was a boxer, but he never wanted me to fight. After his death a mad man called Stick trained me as a kid." A quiet moment goes by, then he adds: "And maybe I have the devil in me."
T'Challa shakes his head. "That's not your so called devil I just saw. That's a good man making his dad proud, fighting for a good cause - not for money or power."
Damn, he hates that the intelligent monarch makes his democratic leaders look like self-serving morons. Especially a certain mayor who decided shooting at people who might be enhanced and don't want to register, because people might hate them if they knew, would be okay. It is really starting to screw with his world view. "I kinda wish we had a king like you right now..."
"I'm flattered." T'Challa chuckles. "But we've also almost had a violent war-mongering king and I understood as well what made him like this. Right now, no system seems perfect. That's why we need to learn from each other." Then he eyes him more closely - the material of the suit makes it easier to detect where he's looking. "And you, my friend... you need to learn your own value. If you give your life over a mugging, you're not there for the fight that decides the future of your city."
Matt gets the hint at his insistence to go out and fight despite his injury. And he can't deny that the man has a point. It's not a new argument to him and he has that thought on the back of his mind in his saner moments. But he also does consider this to be one of the important fights, a fight that is about the soul of his city in a way and therefore one he can't miss. Past midnight when things appear to be slowing down he finally convinces the king that they should split up. With T'Challa working in a different part of town, they are able to cover more ground.
But he promised him and especially his sister to be careful and he intends to keep that promise, for Trish's sake as well. He is mostly relying on his billy clubs and the cure that he is now able to inject into his enhanced enemies. Some of them even run the moment they feel their powers fade which makes his job almost a bit too easy.
After sitting or lying around for so long it feels amazing, putting some order back in Hell's Kitchen. Tomorrow they'll be able to provide Luke and Danny with the cure as well, but the most damage it did in his part of town, so this is where they are starting to take the city back. This is where he needs to hit the skulls of those drugged dickhead who thought the best use of their powers was to spread terror and anarchy. Maybe some were just reacting to what others did to them. Who knows anymore? All he knows is that they need to stop that vicious circle.
He's dealt his current opponent two perfect punches when the guy starts wavering. Normally he'd go for a more acrobatic kick now to have some fun with it, but instead he checks that he still hasn't started bleeding again, so he finishes the guy with one more boring push to the ground.
Then suddenly three more men come out of the next alley and another three from the other direction. "Well, well, well... if this isn't an opportunity to test our new abilities..."
Matt smirks. "They can't be that impressive if you need to be six against one..."
The moment they run at him he makes the first two stumble and fall with his billy clubs and then gives a third one - whose heartbeat is indicating that he's enhanced - a taste of the cure. He then can't afford holding back anymore and flips to hit the next guys in line avoiding two gunshots and one very powerful kick.
When he takes his fighting stance again waiting for their next move the guy he gave the cure to seems to understand what's happening. "Shit! Guys, my powers are fading... I gotta run..." And he does, a call of "Coward!" following him close behind with some snickering.
Matt clenches his fists around his billy clubs and the next attack is a bit more dangerous. The guns he takes care of first. Between kicks and punches he's trying to register which ones actually seem to have some sort of ability, because he really doesn't want to waste any of the cure. One definitely has superior strength, one just has very good fighting skills, so maybe he's a regular criminal who is very a talented fighter. Another one seems to be unnaturally good at taking a punch and Matt has to hit him more often to make him finally go down.
The strong one is the first he cures, but by the time he has injected the resilient guy, his wound starts bleeding again. Shit, he should probably make a run for it, but then one of them surprises him with exceptional speed. That is not something he encountered before and with his wound reopened he doesn't have time to come up with a useful block or counter attack.
Suddenly he finds himself on his back, trying hard to adjust to the fast onslaught of punches from the man on top of him.
"Last night has seen the biggest confrontation since the gang wars started in Hell's Kitchen with at least 48 casualties. About 10 of those appear to be innocent victims who had no known criminal connections as far as the police knows and another 6 were soldiers of the task force or police officers." He sighs when he hears the news, the words from the radio hitting him right where the knife was just two days ago. He can't afford to rest any longer. With a death count like that things should calm down for a while, the gangs need to regroup or heal. But that's not something Matt wants to count on. With the drugs out there making small time criminals feel like they're invincible, it's like there are new alliances forming every couple of days trying to take over the city.
He has to go out again. So, Matt gets dressed, when Shuri enters the room with a cheerful: "Good morning!" But seeing him put on his shoes makes her heartbeat go up fast: "No, no, no, you can't leave like this!"
"But I have to. People are dying. I have to help now. If I wait until I'm ready, it'll all be over..." He feels mostly fine, really. He just has to be a bit more careful, pick the fights he can win. "You're a genius, you can patch me up again, right? In case something happens?" He tries to put on his most charming smile.
"No way, flattery will get you nowhere with me, you wannabe king of Hell's Kitchen. Do I have to call Foggy?" Her eyebrows are raised while she smirks.
Matt winces, already imagining the lecture from his best friend. "Please, Foggy has to work. I don't want to screw with his life like last time." He sits back on the bed, almost resigned. It's just hard to stay put in a time like this. He knows the Black Panther did all he could to save the people in his town, the man just lacks Matt's hearing and maybe he just missed one troubled area last night.
"Let me just change your dressing. I have this new one I want to try on you and tonight you come back and let me check if it holds. It should also give me a signal that tells me where you are, if it starts bleeding again." That he didn't expect. She grins at his stunned expression. "And if it does work I'll let you go with some of the cure, to weaken your drugged up opponents, so you have a chance to survive out there."
Matt doesn't know what to say. Apparently she predicted that this would happen and decided to work on something that would keep his wound closed. "When did you have time for this...?"
"Don't worry, it didn't distract me from my work. There was a lot of waiting involved in making the cure. This kept my brain occupied." Then she sits down on a chair in front of him. "Lift your shirt."
He does as he's told and Shuri gets to work immediately. "So, are you going to see her?"
He winces, half because of the injury and half because Trish leaving still hurts, more than his injury, despite understanding her motivation to do so. "I can't. Not as Matt Murdock right now. And she doesn't want me to."
"She wants to protect you..."
"I know." They stay silent after that.
About ten minutes later Shuri is happy with her work and needs to go back to her bigger project. Matt feels so grateful a "thank you" doesn't really cut it. But he says it anyway.
"See you tonight, no excuses, Mr. Devil."
"I wouldn't dare."
On his way to Father Lantom he keeps thinking of Trish and their conversation before she left. His head was resting in her lap and they didn't say anything for a long time both knowing that she was going to leave him there.
He was holding one of her hands close to his chest, while her other hand was stroking his hair or massaging his head in a soothing way. "I need to get this under control if you don't want me to take the cure yet. It's not even just the drug and the powers anymore. I'm the problem. I'm just trying to help, but I end up hurting the people I love. First it pushed Jessica away... and now...." He hummed softly. "I should have listened to you. Aren't you mad at me? You should be angry."
His lips parted and he started intwining their fingers. "It sounded like you were having a heart attack when you realised it was me." He can understand her impulse to run from this, from him. This is better than just taking the cure because of her guilt. Maybe this would even have happened without the hallucinations as well. She threw the knife on instinct. Did she even see him before doing that? What is one mistake against all the times she saved someone?
If she still doesn't want her powers anymore after thinking about it properly, she should get rid of them. But this is final and her abilities mean a lot to her. There is no way back from that decision. She won't let something like this happen again. "I figured you would feel bad enough as it is and now you're taking this seriously."
"I almost killed you."
"Not that easy to kill." He laughed a little making Trish shake her head in annoyance.
"Matt! This isn't funny."
It really wasn't. She was going to leave him, too afraid of causing him pain and it was killing him. "I know. But I don't know when we'll be able to meet again. I don't want you to remember me sad and in pain." It was hurting him feeling how distressed she was in his company right now. Every time he showed any discomfort, she hated herself for causing it.
It reminded him of that time she almost drowned because of him. Because Fisk attacked her and he was barely able to revive her. He knows what it feels like, someone dying because of a decision you made. She almost died, because he got her involved in his mess, he agreed to train her. But he made a different decision after that. He fought alone and that turned out even worse. That led to Elektra's death and him getting tortured.
Back then, after he almost lost her, he just ran away without even saying goodbye. "I'm glad you didn't just go, like I did, when Fisk threatened you all. Promise that you'll be back."
"I will." She caressed his cheek softly. "And maybe by then I can start dating Matt Murdock. No more hiding around with Daredevil."
"He'll be disappointed."
"He won't have knives in his stomach." And then a little quieter she added: "I don't want to put him at risk."
His answer was just as quiet: "It is worth it."
For some reason he finds himself close to St. Agnes instead of his church. Was he thinking of Maggie? He's about to turn around when he hesitates and considers the convent, the place Jessica got him out of against his will. Maybe it's time to face this.
Three nuns give him suspicious glances before he finds his mother. "Matthew..."
"Mother." He nods at Maggie.
"I think I lost the right to be called that."
He sighs. "No, you didn't. I thought you did, but you were trying to do what you thought was best for me. Can we talk somewhere?"
She leads him into a little chamber and then looks him up and down before speaking up: "You don't look so well. Do you need our help? Do you want to come back here?"
"No, I have things to do..."
He holds his hand up to stop her. "I didn't come for this. You don't get a say in the decisions I make. That right you lost when you left." He spits out the last word and is also surprised by his own anger. But he takes a deep breath before going on while tears are gathering in her eyes. "I was mad at you for what you did and I haven't acknowledged it yet, because meeting you... It was overwhelming. And I was weak, I couldn't deal with it. Still can't, to be honest. But I think I can forgive you. I want to."
"That means the world to me, Matthew." Her heartbeat tells him that she's being truthful. Why wouldn't she be? "When they tortured you I felt like I failed you again... Like I didn't do enough to keep you from that path."
"That's not on you." He swallows. "And I won't apologise for what I do. If you have a problem with it, frankly, you should probably keep it to yourself if you want to see me again."
She smiles and her voice sounds hopeful when she says: "I might see you again?"
Matt takes a deep breath, but he doesn't answer, instead he starts telling her what happened. "She left me..."
"Trish Walker...?" Matt chuckles at the notion of the nun keeping up with gossip, because of her vigilante son. "Did she break up with you?"
He shakes his head. "No, nothing like that. She left to protect me..." He swallows, finally also getting a bit choked up and then he whispers: "Like you did."
"Oh, Matty..." And then she puts her arms around him carefully, unsure if the gesture is welcome, but he allows it and starts sobbing a little. "I'm so sorry, Matthew. You're not alone. I promise to be there, whenever you need me." They stay like that for a while until his own heartbeat is back to normal, feeling like a void he never knew was there somehow might get filled again.
"You know, maybe it's for the better." Yeah, probably physically it is, he thinks, not realising she meant something entirely different. "You don't seem to have the best taste in women... First that creepy one who brought you here, then the one who was caught in your bed..." Her face becomes red while Matt breaks away from her embrace abruptly.
"Don't... don't say that." He huffs. "Elektra died for me twice, Jessica did more for me than you ever did and Trish..." A tear falls down his cheek, as his voice is raising in anger. "She made me happy."
Maggie puts a consoling hand on his shoulder. "I'm sorry. I truly am..." She's lying. She'll never understand.
"You don't get it."
"No, I don't. Because you don't look so happy, son." She sounds desperate and in a way he can't blame her when she's seeing him like this.
"Maybe I can't be if it means living without the people I need..." He stands up and she closes her eyes.
"Do you need the pain, Matthew? Is that it?" Her voice doesn't sound accusing, just fearful, maybe hurt.
He turns back one last time to say: "I need to feel... something."
The pain from those fast punches is actually nothing to his reopened wound in his stomach that the guy is sitting on. Matt concentrates hard to ignore what he's feeling and then manages to catch the fast guy's fist. He rolls them around and knocks him out with a right hook that is as precise as it is quick.
Getting up shakily he's immediately tackled to the ground again, his head is starting to spin a little, but he fights the guy off after an intense struggle. He has to give the cure to the speedy one before the guy wakes up, otherwise he might actually be outmatched this time. He can feel another one get up and come at him, just before he's able to inject the cure. Suddenly, he's pinned against the wall and the cure falls out of his hand in the process. The guy with enhanced speed catches it, before it hits the ground.
He hears him snarl: "What do we have here? Can this little needle take all of our powers away....?"
Matt doesn't say anything, he just waits for their next move.
"And what about you? Do you have powers that we can take away?" He can feel the cold steel of a gun against his neck. "I could just shoot you right now. But I think it would be more fun to see you weak and hopeless the way you were in those videos during the last election. Do you remember what that felt like, little devil?" And with that Matt can suddenly feel the needle enter his skin.
He hadn't even considered this scenario, but the moment he felt the drug enter his bloodstream that nightmare of being properly blind makes him freeze in shock. He barely registers T'Challa stepping in and taking out the remaining three men without any trouble.
Matt just falls to the ground in exhaustion like a bag of bones and moments later his ally kneels in front of him, pulls out the needle - Why didn't he think of this? - and feels his accelerating heartbeat.
"Don't worry, I've got you." He helps Matt up and puts one of his arms around his shoulder to half carry the vigilante to his brilliant sister.
"Tell her, I'm sorry her new invention didn't hold the blood in," Matt mumbles.
But the king of Wakanda chuckles. "No, you can explain that to her yourself. She hates doing the same thing twice." Yeah, he shouldn't really count on her to save his life every time he messes up anyway. After they've dealt with the drug problem, Shuri will leave again with her brother who is currently carrying his weight.
Chapter 20: Be Human
So, this is the one in which we check in with everyone before things blow up.
On the day everyone who is enhanced through the IGH drugs is supposed to register there is an article by Karen Page in the New York Bulletin:
We're all afraid. The day this article releases will probably be a defining moment for Hell's Kitchen and it's residents. After weeks of gang wars, after teenagers getting killed without ever being a threat to anyone, after people using their powers to avoid getting arrested - or maybe even shot - we'll finally find out what this city is made of.
Matt wakes up with new wounds and all new dressings this morning. Apparently Shuri had patched him up again. It takes him a couple of seconds to remember what had happened before T'Challa had to intervene and save his ass. He got injected with the cure he himself was carrying. Could it have an effect on him as well? Even if he didn't get his senses from a drug?
Matt concentrates, anxious about any weaknesses he might find, and he is extremely relieved when he hears T'Challa and Shuri talk about an article Karen wrote about the situation around enhanced people forced to register today. He can smell the blood he lost yesterday somewhere in the room. He can make out his surroundings vaguely. It all seems to be working the way it always did. Thank god. Losing his senses would be the last thing he needed right now.
The article sounds like it uncovers a lot of dirt. Tracing back where the drug came from Karen apparently was able to link IGH with several influential people who funded them, one of them being Maximilian Tatum, before Fisk found out about it and decided to take the drugs for himself - maybe for profit or to fight the vigilantes in the streets. However he only found an old lab with failed experiments and expired substances. That's why the results were mixed. Through his people other gangs, like the Moranos, got their hands on the drugs or found the old lab themselves and quickly it spiraled out of control from there, with lots of fake pills mixed with the real ones.
Matt listens to his allies discuss the article for a while longer, deciding that they probably should keep a close eye on what's happening today. He also thinks that he has to call Frank and make sure he's aware that Karen has again put a huge target on her back.
It takes a while for the Punisher to pick up the phone. "Hey, Red... Don't worry, I've got her."
"Good." He sighs in relief, until he hears a familiar giggle in the background. Of course, she's with him... "Is she taking this seriously?"
There's some shuffling and suddenly Karen is on the line. "Hi, Matt! Thanks for checking up on me. But you know that you could have called me, right?"
Okay, yeah, maybe. But... "Karen, you have a history of lying when you're seeking out trouble." And the moment he says it he knows it's a mistake.
"Oh, really....?" Karen sounds amused, though. "But I'm capable of learning from my mistakes. What about you? What have you been up to, hero...?"
Crap. He can't even suppress a moan when he moves a little in that moment. "Had a rough night..." Or more like: A rough couple of days.
"Matt, stay out of it today. I'll have to be there to report on it in case something happens, but you can sit this one out, okay?" The humor has left her voice now. "I'm sure, Jess and Trish are on it."
He's not so sure Jessica will go anywhere near this and Trish sure won't. But he doesn't want Karen to worry either. "I'll be careful."
"By the way: You were right about Hoharth. She was the one who gave me a lot of names and evidence in the end. Turns out having nothing left to lose made her want to be on the right side of this."
"Good for her. I think, Jess and Trish will be happy to hear that." She doesn't need to know that he can't tell either of them anytime soon. "Take care, Karen!"
Matt is still contemplating whether he should even put his lawyer clothes on or go straight out as Daredevil. On the other hand, there will probably be a lot of police today and the task force as well, so maybe the vigilante should stay out of it.
Then Malcom calls him to ask if he has heard from Jessica. "She didn't answer my last text and then I found out that she was involved in a confrontation with the task force. Could you maybe look into it...?"
The lawyer suit it is, then. For now it'll have to do. "Thanks for letting me know, Malcom. I'll tell you as soon as I find out anything."
I saw where the drug was made, I was attacked when it was fought over and I've heard and seen how it soured and destroyed relationships.
We have to remember that not everyone took the drug willingly and the few who didn't shouldn't be punished for something they had no control over. And there is an even bigger amount of people who took the drug, but didn't commit any crimes. Some did it, because they hoped to be able to protect their loved ones in dangerous times like these. While the criminals are fighting each other and innocents die in the crossfire between the gangs every day.
Jessica has to tell Matt about what she knows. And she can't put this on Malcom. He can't keep delivering her messages. So, reluctantly she calls Matt's number.
He picks up after the second ring: "Jessica?! Are you alright?"
"Yeah, I'm fine, Devil Boy. Relax. I'm staying out of trouble as much as I can...."
There is a short silence, then he admits: "I've heard about that incident with the task force."
Shit. "I tried. You know how it is..." She hears him chuckle at that. "What did you hear? Am I a threat now?"
"The official version is that you tried to mediate between the soldiers and the suspects. It could have gone worse if you hadn't been there."
Now that's a relief. Apparently the remaining soldiers knew they survived because of her. "Look, Liam, that's our invisible friend, he's a good kid. Had an abusive father and ran away from home. He ended up with Lenny, took the drug, so he could help the rest of his family and he plans to register. Do you think that it's safe for him?"
She can hear his sigh on the other end. "I honestly don't know. I haven't caught anyone lie about it yet, but maybe they just don't know. We have a cure though. If this boy wants to be normal again you can tell him to meet me, Danny or Luke. Whatever you prefer..."
She tries to ignore the implication, that she won't want to deal with Matt. Guilt is setting in her gut and it doesn't help that he doesn't sound so good. "I have no way to contact him. Maybe, I'll have to just go there as well and hope he talks to me."
There is another pause and he sounds even worse when he asks her about Alisa: "And how is she....?"
"My not-mother?" She winces. "Bad... As in they fucked her up real bad and she's trying to cope. She's trying not to kill anyone else, but she's insanely paranoid, for a good reason."
"That's... that's.... Okay, I hope you'll be able to help." She can tell that he wants to say more. After a few seconds he adds: "Thank you for calling, Jessica."
She can't stop now. Not before he knows everything he should know about, but a huge part of her wants to stop before this gets any more emotional. "There is something else: Lenny Morano has some kind of scheme to deal with the task force. I just wanted to inform you."
"Okay, thanks. I'll keep that in mind."
She's about to end the call right there, but the honest, slightly broken tone of his voice makes her hesitate. "I'm sorry..." She says it without thinking.
The last thing she hears is his quiet answer: "I know."
She puts the phone back in her bag trying to shake that conversation and continues to walk towards the rehab centre preparing herself mentally for the next one. She can ask her sister what happened to him. She can deal with someone she can scream at right now. Someone who's just as mad at her as she's mad at them.
Alisa is still staying with that scary Tom guy for the moment and she can't leave her there alone for long, but she just had to see her sister before possibly leaving the country. Although she thinks, maybe she has to find Liam first and help him get the cure.
The moment she enters Trish's room all of her anger suddenly melts away. They look at each other, tears gathering in her sister's eyes and without saying a word she stands up from her chair and a few quick steps later she's in her arms.
Jessica didn't expect that reaction at all. She expected more arguments and accusations. But Trish looks like a mess. She's clinging to her like she's drowning and Jessica is fishing her out of the water again. Whatever made her come here it was really bad.
"It was me." Jessica frowns, but she just holds her sister, while trying to make sense of what she's telling her. "He didn't wear the suit, didn't expect an attack and then I thought he was someone else and I stabbed him right in the guts... He almost died because of me!" Trish is sobbing now, her embrace becoming even more desperate.
Shit. Can't they just be a boring couple for a couple of days without any life-or-death-drama befalling them? Another Murdock sobfest under way. Still, Trish probably didn't do this intentionally. "That sounds like whatever happened was an accident and he probably knows it." Is that why he did sound like he was about to crumble over the phone? Did they break up in her absence?
"But I needed to leave, so I can't hurt him any more than I already did." Okay, apparently they switched roles then. This time it's Trish's turn to keep a distance and make them both miserable. "And I can't be seen with him anyway without people figuring out his or my secret identity....!" More sobbing. Ugh... this is even more annoying than when they're together.
"You did what you thought you had to do." Jessica comforts her. It's funny how silly their own differences seem suddenly. "Stop being so whiney. I told you dealing with him would be a pain. You're a superhero now. Act like it."
Trish laughs bitterly. "Thank you....." Then she slowly moves away from her sister and smiles at her. "For coming as well."
"I'm sorry I didn't reach out sooner." Trish makes a gesture that lets her know she understands, still too raw to form any more sentences. "Is this why you came here, or does it have something to do with your powers?"
"It does have everything to do with my powers." Then she looks at Jessica in a way that tells her she's really not gonna like the next part. After gathering some courage she continues: "I looked for a soldier who apparently has the same powers I have and I met with him."
"And...?" Jessica raises her eyebrows, not sure where this is going.
"He made a huge mistake. His hallucinations caused people to die and he's been trying to get rid of them ever since, through meditation, yoga and anything really. It has gotten better, but it never really went away." She closes her eyes. "Jessica.... He's the one who caused your accident."
Oh. Jessica sits back, trying to let that sink in. Okay, Trish did have a good reason to go there. It's not her fault this is connected to the accident. But she has the sudden urge to push her away again. "Jessica..."
"No... give me a minute." She holds her hand up. Calm down. It's unfair to take this out on Trish. She had just told her whatever happened with Matt must have been an accident. If she demands to know who that soldier is now, she's also telling her that she's responsible for her actions as well, for what she did to him. Jessica looks at Trish and it still seems like she has more to say, so - reluctantly - Jessica nods.
Trish takes a deep breath before she says: "I know that you've been blaming yourself for what happened, but you see, someone else caused that accident." As she continues she sounds even more heartbroken. "Someone like me."
A bitter laugh escapes Jessica then: "My family's death is not on you, Trish. And neither will Matt's be. I'm not gonna let you carry that burden." And then she takes her sister's hand in hers. "But thank you for being honest with me." She's not sure that this will make her blame herself less. However it was sweet of Trish to try and take some of that guilt away.
She also shows her Karen's article in the Bulletin. It's a well researched piece carrying a lot of pathos that resonates with her vigilante sister, of course.
Later Jessica decides to answer Oscar's last text and let him know that she's going to stay and that she is fine.
Ask yourself if you want to be a hero or a villain? Truly. Because you don't need powers to be either. Right now it all comes down to this: Do we tolerate atrocities and injustice in the name of a fake sense of security or do we look at everyone affected by the drug and decide individually who is a danger to society and who needs our help and compassion? Who might even be able to help fight what is threatening to destroy us?
Matt meets Foggy in front of the building and they watch as the first groups enter looking like they have an appointment with their executioner. "I don't like this."
His best friend nods. "Me neither, to be honest. But whatever you do, buddy, please be careful."
On his way to get his armor, Matt still isn't sure if maybe he'll be needed as a lawyer more. Maybe he should just hide it close by and try to manage this crisis as Matt Murdock. That will probably help keep his stomach wound closed.
But then he hears something alarming the cops are talking about. There's a bomb threat for the building where the people are supposed to register and it's supposed to explode at 1pm, three and a half hours from now.
Could that be part of Lenny's plan? Even if it's an empty threat, it is definitely going to cause panic in the building and with the distrust against the police and soldiers right now, it's very likely that someone will attack and a fight will break out. There's no way this could end well. Matt sends everyone a message to give them a heads up on the situation.
All I'm asking is that you don't look away. Look at everything. The danger, the potential, but most of all take a close look at what is happening to our city. Decide for yourself if you want something done differently and then tell us.
Together we can find a peaceful solution. Together we have power.
Yuki watches with Tom as Jessica and Alisa enter the building. She had hoped Liam would come to his senses about his plans to register and return to them. She pretended that she would stay at the hotel with them, so he could have a room for himself to think. He knew she couldn't stay there. The risk of her draining the place from oxygen at night were too high.
She also didn't tell him what Lenny's plan was when he asked. They only communicate in code words about it now, to be on the safe side. Lenny trusts Liam not to betray them, but the boy is emotional and his boss doesn't want to take any chances.
It's a brilliant plan and it should end this war on enhanced people for good, but it's a bit more difficult to do without their invisible boy. "Where are you, Liam?"
Tom smiles at her. "Don't worry. He'll come running back to us after this."
Chapter 21: People With Power
Jessica looks for an invisible boy which is a bit difficult, while Matt decides his recently stabbed ass needs backup.
She almost doesn't react in time. The man is already in the room. He must have somehow come through the front door, but with people getting all kinds of abilities these days nothing really seems impossible. So she sees him out of the corner of her eye and she makes the knife fly on instinct. It immediately finds it's target. The strange man with a face she doesn't recognise then utters her name and leans against the kitchen counter. He's in pain and in shock. It's his voice though that makes her heart jump first.
Then her breathing stops for a second and she looks again.
Why didn't she see...? Is this real?
There is so much blood now flowing out of his wound and she watches in horror while he is trying to form words.
When Trish wakes up from her little nap on her chair she's still shivering from the memory. He's alive. Hopefully healing, hopefully not getting involved in whatever is going to happen today. The TV is still running since Jessica left to find Alisa and eventually Liam as well. Even with taking sleeping pills she has a lot of sleep to catch up on. But she's also very nervous about what's going to happen today.
The Matt-hallucinations haven't really stopped either which is partly unsettling and partly nice, because she likes still being able to see him. Like right now, as he's climbing in through the window in his armor. "You know, I prefer you haunting me in your workout clothes. Ideally shirtless."
She sees the devil smirk. "Then you'd just think this is too good to be real again." He chuckles.
"Funny. Yeah, he'd totally say something like that, the smug bastard."
Now he's full on laughing. "If I had more time I'd tease you about this right now, because this is golden." She freezes. "But.... We've got to go fast: I'm really here, Trish."
Suddenly there's a hand on her shoulder and she jumps up from the chair in shock staring at the Devil of Hell's Kitchen in her room, who's now taking off his helmet. "What the hell are you doing here?!"
"I need you with me today." He says it like her coming along is an option.
"I can't. You know that. Better than anyone."
"You can. Look, I know you can't bear standing by any more than me. Shuri gave me the cure for your arrows. It doesn't hurt or change people that didn't take the drugs. You can't do any harm if you're sticking to this. And you can do a whole lot of good."
It sounds reasonable and she wants to believe it, which probably means she's insane. "I can't risk this...." Looking into his begging eyes now she can still clearly remember his pale face, drained from blood because of her.
"Trish, I will stop you if it becomes necessary. Okay?"
Him being out there right now is doing nothing to convince her. "Are you sure, you should be fighting with this...?" She indicates the place where the knife was buried in his body and he carefully guides her trembling hand towards it. Not pushing, but placing it firmly over his suit where his wound had to be.
She closes her eyes while he kisses her temple to comfort her. "Shuri made sure I won't bleed out without her knowledge."
Whatever that means. "We're reckless if we do this, aren't we?"
There's his head tilt. "Maybe a little, but I'm sure that we aren't useless. Trish, there was a bomb threat and Jessica wanted to go into the building."
Crap. She has no choice now. "I really hope I won't regret this." With that she takes her own armor from him and changes into it.
Jessica received Matt's text about the bomb when she had already entered the building. One more reason to try and find Liam as fast as possible.
She turns to Alisa: "You don't have to stay. We can meet after this is done."
"I don't have anywhere else to go." She looks at the daughter of the woman who's body she's inherited. "You don't have to stay either. You don't even know Liam."
"I know I can help him. It's no big deal. If I don't find him in the next two hours, we can leave."
Alisa considers this for a moment. "I think it is a big deal. You're staying in a building with a-"
"Sssssh... careful what you say here. We don't need panic to break out," she whispers. "Who knows? Maybe, someone here has super hearing."
"All I'm saying is... you might not wear a stupid costume and I think that's why you don't get as much credit as your pompous vigilante friends, but you're a hero. I'm sure, your real mother would be proud of who you've become."
That doesn't mean anything to her. She doesn't care for the hero tag. In fact she resents it. Wilson Fisk probably saw himself as a hero, too. "I'm not a hero. I'm stronger than most people here and I'm still planning to run as soon as I find this boy."
"No, you won't run. You may plan to do so, but you won't." Alisa smiles.
Behind her Jessica sees a bunch of soldiers enter the building and one of them looks vaguely familiar, but she can't place him. It looks like they're observing all areas now, ready to act as soon as someone does anything suspicious.
"Where the fuck is Liam? We have to get out of here..."
Matt and Trish arrive at the roof next to the building two and a half hours before the bomb is supposed to explode. There are soldiers guarding the back door and the front door now, but people are still entering and leaving the building without problems.
Anand and T'Challa are curing people secretly around the corner. If things escalate the king Wakanda will be able to join them fast. But first, maybe they can try to handle this without a huge fight.
"Do you see the open window on the 13th floor? That's our entrance." The floor number is just their luck, however the other storeys of the building are filled with people right now.
Trish rolls her eyes. "You do know that I'm still no acrobat, right? Can't we try the roof door first?"
"I can do it alone and open the door to the roof for you. It was locked when I checked it earlier."
"But I can unlock it, remember?"
"Right..." He hadn't thought of that, because he worked out the way to enter the building before he figured he'd get her. There's a huge Daredevil grin spreading on his face. "See? I'm already glad you came along. One stunt less or me to do."
"One less opportunity for you to show off."
"Ouch, that hurt."
"What? Sorry! I didn't realise I was close to your injury..." Her concern is adorable, but also a bit embarrassing in this moment...
"It was a joke, Trish." He chuckles. "I was pretending to be insulted..."
She huffs, clearly annoyed. "That was a bad joke. Let's go." She runs towards the edge of the building and jumps to the next one, easily landing on her feet. Yeah, she might not be on his level, but she does have catlike reflexes.
"He's in there, isn't he?" Karen comes up from behind causing Foggy to jump a little.
"Yeah... probably." He shakes his head. "I swear, if I see that building blow up and bury him..."
"I know." Karen sighs. "It does bring back unpleasant memories and now I'm here to report on it, too. What are you doing here?"
"Looking for clients, what else? I think a lot of people leaving that building could use a lawyer. I'm distributing business cards."
"Smart. I'm proud of you, Nelson." Karen smiles, but it disappears immediately when they are approached by another journalist.
"Trevor Gunn..." Karen nods at the man politely.
"Miss Page." He puts his hands in his pockets in a nervous gesture. Foggy can feel some tension between the two. "I read your article this morning. Great work."
"Thank you. I won't give my sources away if that's what you're here for."
"No... um... well, I mean yes, I thought maybe we could share some information." He hesitates before going on. "But... but I also wanted to ask you... Do you think I caused this? By exposing Chopra?"
Foggy looks between the two colleagues or rivals and he's a bit surprised at the more experienced man seeking out his friend's opinion.
Even Karen seems a bit flattered. "No. You reported the truth. I mean, we have to be aware of our responsibility, but it's our job to write about what we find out, whether we like it or not. You have a chance to write about another truth today and I trust that you will." She smiles at the man, although it looks a bit forced and he nods, apparently satisfied with her answer.
"Well, keep that in mind and maybe contact me if you change it and want to compare some notes." He offers her his card and she takes it reluctantly before he leaves.
After a few seconds of silence, Foggy nudges her shoulder with his own. "Look at you, the star reporter....!"
"Stop it Foggy!"
"No, I mean it. I'm proud of you." Foggy grins.
Suddenly they see fire on one of the top floors of the building. They share a concerned look and Karen takes his hand, murmuring: "If he's in there I just hope he has backup." And Foggy agrees wholeheartedly.
That girl she saw murder Tatum heads in the other direction while the guy who just created a wall of fire to stop them from following her blocks their way. He looks ready to throw another flame at them and Trish stops Matt from attacking him regardless.
"Are those suits even fireproof?" She feels her own skin still burn from the taste she just got of this man's power. "Let me deal with this."
But he just makes her little arrow go up in flames. Shit. It's not like she has an endless amount of those. "I'll distract him then." Matt starts running towards the guy and she knows she can't really stop him, so instead she tries to look for an opportunity to take that fiery power.
Matt doesn't give him much time to gather the heat, so the little flames here and there can't do that much damage she hopes. However it's not that easy to aim through the fire with hallucinations potentially tricking her. When she finally throws another one of her arrows Matt has his opponent pinned against the wall and his hand is burning a bit longer and therefor stronger.
Within a couple of seconds though, he suddenly starts screaming and waving his arm in pain. Matt immediately helps putting the fire on his jacket out. "The fire extinguisher is further down around the corner!" He points behind her and Trish starts running there to get it.
When she's back, she starts putting the fire out while Matt is questioning the man they fought. "You're working with Lenny, aren't you? Tell me what his plan is!"
"I'm telling you that you're on the wrong side of this. You will regret it, if you stop us. Please!" He's holding his burned hand in front of him, his face still distorted in pain.
Since Trish doesn't see any more flames she joins them. "You want us to just leave and let this bomb explode with most of the task force and all of those enhanced people in the building?"
"What bomb?!" The guy looks at her in shock and Matt nods with a confused frown, confirming that he doesn't seem to be faking it. "That isn't part of our plan... Shit, did some asshole want to take out so many of us at once? Even people who agreed to surrender peacefully...?"
Trish can't blame him from being disgusted by the idea. But somehow she thinks Lenny won't have a less violent solution to this. "If your plan is really better, tell us what it is."
The man scoffs and then stares at her angrily. "You'll find out soon enough."
"Let's go, find the girl." Matt already starts jogging in the direction she left in.
Catching up as fast as she can, Trish whispers: "Do you know where she is?"
"No, I lost track of her during the fight."
He slows down after a while and then she sees him tilt his head. "What's happening....?"
His hand then reaches for her face and he nudges her head to the side a little looking concerned. Oh... right. "You got burned."
"It's alright, I hardly feel it." Then she turns the tables. "What about you? Any burns threatening to overstimulate your senses?" She wouldn't be surprised if that was a thing. Those kind of wounds really sting in a particular way...
"I can deal with it." And with that he starts moving again quickly. "We need to find that bomb. I can't smell any explosives. Maybe we have to move down a bit further."
The people are eyeing the soldiers nervously and Jessica can feel the tension in the huge room filled with powered people build by the second. It also doesn't help that the process seems to be slowing down, with employees in this place disappearing and not coming back. They talked quietly before, but now there's constant murmuring and she can tell it's just a matter of time before someone starts speaking up.
"Why are you here?" She can hear some woman ask a soldier close to her more clearly.
The man mumbles: "Security."
Another one, obviously with a higher rank then addresses her: "Please, just ignore us. This is just a precaution."
Jessica saw another squad run by on the staircase earlier. Probably the bomb experts. Hopefully they'll find something soon, so everyone can calm down again.
But then someone decides to take things up a notch and yells: "They just lured us here to kill us all..."
Immediately people start to argue, with mostly sane voices trying to make everyone shut up, so the soldiers don't lose their chill.
But at some point, when they start to push each other the task force really starts to get tense and finally their boss makes them aim their guns and everyone freezes. You could have heard a needle fall down right then without super hearing. "Nobody move. If you just stay peaceful, nobody will get heard. There's just a situation we need to take care of."
People start whispering then, apparently wondering what that "situation" was supposed to be and some of them are again blaming each other for making this dangerous for them all.
Before the whispering becomes murmuring again, Jessica decides to speak up. "Everybody shut the fuck up! We all want to get home without a fuss. Stop making it worse."
Alisa looks at her with a told-you-so-expression on her face and about two minutes later the speaker in the room comes to life and when she hears Yuki's voice Jessica curses under her breath: "Can everyone hear me? Hi! I'm one of the freaks who are supposed to register today. I'm stuck with a dangerous condition I've been trying to control and I don't think the official are offering people like me a fair chance here to proof that I'm not a danger to society." Well, she sure is a danger to serial rapists, but that one Jessica doesn't hold against her.
"But why should we have to prove anything?" At her question, Yuki gets some agreeing shouts from the crowd. "I want the people holding us at gunpoint right now to know what it's like to be on the receiving end of this and they'll find out in a couple of seconds."
Jessica can see the crowd turn slowly. Now the enhanced people look more curious and concerned while the soldiers are starting to sweat a little fearing what Lenny Morano apparently has in store for them.
When Yuki continues the tension in the room becomes almost unbearable. "Half of the soldiers in this place had their drinks spiked with the drug this morning."
Jessica changes an alarmed glance with Alisa. Oh, shit's definitely gonna go down soon. "You won't know who's enhanced until your powers show. If you're one of us now, your colleagues might want to shoot you pretty soon. And if you're not, half of your well armed team might switch sides, because they could fear that you'll shoot them the moment you find out." She lets that revelation sink in for a moment and Jessica can tell that the soldiers are completely blindsided by this and have no clue how they are supposed to react.
"Holy shit." Alisa looks at the soldier Jessica noticed earlier. "That's Tuck!"
And sure enough, the man - nearly unrecognizable without his coat and hat winks at Jessica with a lopsided smile. That was what they wanted Liam's ability for. To give those soldiers the drug unnoticed. Looks like Lenny found another way.
"I think this should be a lesson for you. In the meantime I want you to let my people walk out of here without a scratch." Now, Jessica sees smug looks on some of the people who came here to register out of fear, but who obviously changed their minds.
Nothing happens for a minute, but then the first ones try their luck, slowly making a move towards the exit.
"Nobody moves!" Hollers the man in charge of the task force. "You all have your orders and the drug won't change that order for us. We won't let anyone leave until we know who poisened my people!"
Jessica groans. What about the fucking bomb?
"Now I get why they needed me." Fuck, Liam. Couldn't he have made his presence known ten minutes ago?!
I was so excited when I read that they're actually considering a second season of The Defenders and people seem to think Trish or Hellcat could be a part of that. :D
Also: More Defenders would be nice, because fun times! Sure, it's not as good as some of the solo shows, but I'd be sad if it stayed a one time thing.
Chapter 22: False Alarm
Matt and Trish are looking for a bomb that might be made up while Jessica has a hard time keeping everyone from trying to kill each other over something they were told.
So, did everyone see the long trailer? They are actually going with the fake Daredevil storyline this season and it looks chilling! I'm so excited to see that play out in the show. :D
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Matt can't take out the electricity and the light in the building without causing a major panic, but it's very difficult to move around in the place without running into someone who could try to arrest them. However, when he encounters the first police officer, the guy lowers his gun in relief after a second. "Oh, thank god. You guys are here to help, right? You're on our side?"
Trish confirms his hope immediately: "Of course! We want to help deescalate things."
The guy nods, clearly just hearing the part about them helping. "Good, good. I mean, with every criminal having super powers, we kind of need the assistance..." Now that's a new tune to the Devil of Hell's Kitchen.
"Not all of them are criminals...", Matt mumbles, but when asked to repead what he said, he keeps his mouth shut. Not worth it. Trish just assures the man that they're happy to be useful.
"We're just looking for a bomb in the building," Matt adds.
"Yeah... right! Good luck with that. Actually, I sympathise with whoever planted that bomb. We should just let them all blow up, but I guess we're supposed to be better than that, right?"
Matt's trying to keep going downstairs without saying anything that might get them into trouble, but Trish kicks his leg to make him answer the way he's expected to. "Yeah, let's be better." Quickly, they leave the guy behind, hoping that he's not going to spread the word about them.
In the basement Matt has to come to the conclusion that it must have been a false alarm. They're on their way up again when he receives a text from Terri on his burner phone.
He stops, because the message makes a chill go down his spine. It says: "The building is going to explode in an hour! Get everyone out of there, now!"
Shit. Matt sighs. What now? The last time he did something because he received a warning from Terri, it led to her vision becoming true. He shows the text to Trish and she looks concerned. "Are you sure you didn't smell any explosives anywhere...?"
Trish of course doesn't know why he's freaked out now, because he never told her why he came to her apartment that day. He didn't tell anyone that it was because of Terri's vision and he's not gonna start now. So, instead, he calls his oracle to get the facts straight on this. "Terri, what exactly did you see?"
"I saw the building explode, like I said. There was a big explosion right next to Karen and Foggy." Nobody outside of the police could know about the bomb threat yet, so this wasn't Terri just freaking out over the news or something.
"How do you know it's in one hour?" That would be 20 minutes before their time was up.
"Saw it on Foggy's watch." Shit.
"Are Karen and Foggy at least safe outside?"
"I think so."
He doesn't want to jump to the wrong conclusion this time. What if whatever they do leads to the bomb exploding earlier, before anyone gets out? "Did you see people running out or looking out the windows? Were there people trapped in the building...??"
"Well, no, not exactly." There is a longer pause. "I'm trying to remember. I saw the building. Nobody coming out and nobody going in either. And then those two standing pretty close to it and suddenly a loud bang and both of them falling to the ground, looking back up at fire and smoke. I'm sorry, Matt, that's all I have."
"Thank you, Terri. You're a great help." Shit. What now?
Trish takes his hand in hers. "We still have an hour. We'll find it."
"And if it's not here yet....?"
Trish considers this. "Then you should concentrate on the entrances and we'll catch whoever brings it."
"And we hope Jessica can convince them to evacuate this place somehow, without everyone killing each other." Right that moment he's listening in on the tension between the task force and the crowd getting worse again.
The soldiers are yelling and shoving people around, trying to stay in control as long as they still have it, while Liam tells Jessica that he started to look for her when she told everyone to shut up. "I recognised your voice immediately. Didn't expect you to be here, to be honest."
Jessica is majorly pissed at the boy. She could be far away from this fight. But now, since nobody's allowed to leave, she's trapped with everyone else in this mess. While he can just walk out without getting noticed easily. "Devil Boy and the others have a cure. I wanted to let you know that you didn't have to register if you just want to be normal again."
"Really? You just came here for me....?" She's almost as surprised as he is.
"Well, it's not like we wanted to come." It's not like she expected something like this to happen either. Alisa is watching the scene in front of her play out, looking like she'll jump into action any moment.
"Shit, I'm sorry you got stuck here because of me. What can I do to help?"
Jessica rolls her eyes. "Go, get the cure, so this wasn't for nothing."
There's silence. Not being able to watch his expressions still bugs her, but even more annoying is not knowing if he's still there watching her. A part of her thinks he left and did as he was told, but then she hears him talk again: "Nah... maybe I can be more useful to you like this. What's one more day being invisible?"
Shit. Why does everyone else who gets some power want to be a hero except her? Meanwhile some from the crowd started arguing again with the soldiers, to let them all go. But nobody tried to run for the door yet. Most of them patienty wait to get searched for anything that would tie them to an attack, to the bomb or the drugging. However this gives them a chance to talk to the guys in the task force. If it's one of them with new powers...
With the pace they need to search everyone the bomb would explode before it's Alisa's turn. So, she still has time to think of what to do and it'll be difficult to keep her calm. At least if this escalates, hopefully they'll know who started it and who just defended themselves because of the security cameras.
But then there is again noise coming out of the speakers and Yuki informs everyone of something else, that might change their situation slightly: "I've switched the security cameras off by the way, so in case a riot breaks out, we'll never know who started it... Whatever happens in this place, stays in this place."
Part of her expects them to start fighting immediately, but the tension just stays the same. They're still hoping that the boss of that task force gives in and lets them go, even his soldiers look like they're hoping for the same while they are still carrying out their orders. One by one they'll find out though, if they actually are on the other team. Jessica decides to make her way over to the guy with all the decisions and appeal to his common sense. He has to know that there's a bomb in the building, right?
And maybe she has a task for their spy, too. "Okay, Liam. Maybe you can walk around a bit? Listen in and find out if anyone else is planning anything?"
"Sure. I'm on it..." This time she can hear him shuffle away and avoid bumping into anyone.
So, what does she say to the man in charge...? She could accuse Tuck, of course. Maybe if she says who drugged the soldiers that would stop this nonsense. But looking around while moving through the crowd she finds that the guy who's the deadliest member of the Morano gang seems to have vanished already. Looks like waiting around to see what happens wasn't part of Lenny's plan. Maybe he's just hoping to make some supers join him later for this little stunt.
"Sir..." The boss of the task force turns around to her, clearly intending to dismiss her immediately, but then he does a double take.
"Jessica Jones...!" He considers her. "You've saved two of my guys. Maybe you can try to talk some sense into these people."
"I was actually hoping to talk some sense into you." He narrows his eyes at her. "I saw a Morano guy earlier posing as one of yours and I thought.... maybe if he did this, we could all go home without anyone dying."
"I didn't see anyone leave. How do you know he's really gone?" She can already tell that she's not getting anywhere with this asshole. But she's not giving up yet. She argues some more with him, reminds him that his team is compromised and that they don't have unlimited time to find any culprits. After a while she's sure that the man can't think that this building might explode. Strange.
She sends a text to Matt afterwards saying that the soldiers don't seem to be in a hurry to leave. Suddenly she hears Liam right next to her. "I heard someone outside say that there was a false bomb alarm. They didn't find anything in the building."
When Malcom sees Karen and Foggy in front of the building he goes up to them axiously. "Do you have any idea where Jessica is?"
"No, sorry." The blonde reporter shakes her head with a sad smile. "Do you think she could be inside?"
He tells her that that's why he came there and they chat a little bit about what's happening and how everything just got worse after Anand Chopra left. After a while they notice that people are going into the building and nobody is coming out again.
"Something's wrong. It's been ten minutes since I've been able to give anyone my card," Foggy observes. The worry on the friend's faces makes Malcom even more nervous.
"What's going on...? Maybe I can help? Maybe someone should stop more people from going in?" Malcom looks at the next group that walks inside hoping to leave the place safe and declared innocent.
Foggy lowers his voice. "We've been told that there was a bomb threat..."
That can't be right. "Shouldn't people be coming out then instead of going in....?"
"They should. Or they found the bomb," Karen says, but she herself doesn't look convinced. "You know what? Maybe it's a good idea to stop people. Actually, we've been told that the king of Wakanda and Anand Chopra are helping cure everyone who took the drug. They're hiding around that corner." She points towards the right side of the building.
"The king of Wakanda? T'Challa?" Malcom is stunned. "Do you guys know him...?"
"Well, Daredevil does." Foggy just shrugs like this wasn't a big deal.
That damn vigilante again. Okay, maybe if he is involved Jessica is involved, too. Malcom says goodbye to the lawyer and the reporter and walks towards the corner Karen pointed at. However, he probably shouldn't approach anyone right in front of the building if he doesn't want people to notice what they are doing. He knows the mayor didn't officially approve of that cure yet, so he tries to guess early who wants to register.
When he sees two boys in the street, pale as sheets going in the right direction, he thinks catching who's there to register might be easier than expected. But before he could talk to them a girl jumps in front of them.
The boys - obviously grateful for the delay - find themselves easily drawn into a conversation. They can't really be sure that whatever the girl's selling them aren't drugs, but somehow they look like this is exactly the kind of bad judgment that got them into this mess. So, they start to follow her.
Malcom then finds himself suddenly standing right in front of her. "Hi! Um... sorry, Miss Page and Mr. Nelson told me I could be helping, doing exactly what you're doing right now, I think...."
He's not sure, how exactly to explain this, but the girl is already beaming at him. "Great! Foggy has send you to the right place. I could use some help here. Follow me!"
Malcom follows her into a building close by and up a couple of stairs. The terrified boys are still right at their heels hoping for a miracle. And when she opens a door they're suddenly standing right in front of T'Challa himself and the former mayor who is right in the middle of injecting someone.
"No way!" The boys apparently recognise the men and the worry on their faces is replaced by pure relief, while the girl just shoves them towards the line in front of Chopra and tells them to sit tight and wait for their turn.
Then she addresses the foreign king. "I've brought some help! Foggy told him where we are."
T'Challa extends his hand and Malcom just stares at it before taking it with a bright smile. "It's an honour, Sir! I want you to know that many of us really do appreciate what your doing for our city."
The man chuckles. "Thank you. But don't worry, most people who came here so far have been showering us with gratitude and some even helped us bring more patients." One of the new boys actually also offers to help with his power before receiving the injection. "We've had so many come in that it takes a really long time to get them all treated and I might have to jump in and help Daredevil any moment he needs us. Which is why my sister Shuri here would like to stay..."
The girl already started treating another one and Malcom understands immediately what is needed. "Right! I can go outside and lead some more here."
Shuri - apparently a Wakandan royal - grins in his direction. "Awesome, thank you! What's your name?"
Malcom is still a bit stunned by the fact that the king's sister brought him there, but he recovers after a second, remembering how busy everyone is. "The name's Malcom and it's my pleasure." He makes a little awkward bow and Shuri laughs. He sees her nudge her brother with her elbow and whisper something in his ear before he runs down the stairs and gets to work.
After convincing two larger groups of anxious enhanced people to follow him and get cured he suddenly catches sight of Oscar who looks a little lost. "You're looking for Jessica?"
"Yeah.... She texted me that she's staying in the city. I thought she might be here..." Shit. Malcom still had hoped that she bailed on this. And Oscar looks just as terrified for her as he is. "In the news they said that there was a bomb threat...?"
It had to get out sooner or later. But did they know it inside already? Why isn't anyone running out of that building?
"There is nothing and there are only ten minutes left!" Matt concentrates on what he's hearing and he seems to be getting more and more desperate my the second. "The grenades on the soldiers are the only explosives in this place."
Trish doesn't want to distract him from his task, but her thoughts are running wild, too. The soldiers have fucking grenades on them? What kind of fight were they preparing for? Now, she's even more relieved that they managed to take out the man with fire powers. If he was there when a fight with the task force broke out the building sure would blow up. Or there would be some smaller explosions at least...
She's trying to keep most of her ideas to herself, but some things she has to say out loud. "Is it possible that it's not the whole building exploding? Did Terri maybe just see the start of people fighting and with the enhanced ones throwing smoke and fire around..?"
She can see Matt tilt his head some more. "Yeah... it could be..."
Then again the stupid grenades themselves could cause a chain reaction and maybe even bring the walls down by themselves. She grabs his arm - partly also to be sure that it's really him - and tells him to stay focused on the doors just in case. Then she walks with him towards the stairs where there are two soldiers guarding the place with their backs to them. Both have grenades on their armour. She shoves Matt into a corner again trying to come up with a plan.
After a moment she feels him tense again. "What's happening...?"
"There's nobody even close to the doors. Apparently the public now knows about the bomb threat and so do the people inside and they're panicking..." of course, they are. She can see how his concentration appears to shift to different people. There are about five minutes left to the explosion Terri saw. "Jessica is trying to calm them down. The soldiers say that the building was searched and nothing was found or they wouldn't be staying there."
"Good argument." Trish thinks out loud. "You know what? Maybe we changed the future already. Maybe there won't be an explosion after all...?"
Matt sighs and she can feel the tension radiating from him. They could leave, just in case. But as long as other people are still in the building, as long as Jessica is still there... Then she has another idea she has to tell him about, while he's still listening to the argument downstairs. He's shaking his head in despair and cursing them under his breath for not leaving.
"Matt!" He ignores her whispered call for attention and she shakes him a little by his shoulders. "Matt, listen to me for a second..."
When he doesn't react she shifts a little to concentrate her powers on the soldiers. A few moments later she has two grenades in her hands and the full attention of the Devil of Hell's Kitchen who already has the needle of the cure in her neck. Good, he's being true to his promise. But he didn't inject anything... yet.
She smiles at him reassuringly. "Do it, if you think it's necessary. But listen to my plan: We fake the explosion." She feels his breath catch in shock. "All Terri saw was fire and smoke above Foggy and Karen. What if that convinces everyone that the bomb was found and dealt with..."
He's considering it, she can tell, but he's also terrified of that idea for some reason. "You want us to... cause the explosion?" The question is barely audible, but they both know their time is running out.
"Matt... nobody is going to enter the building now. There is no bomb. The most likely scenario is a fight breaking out, because people aren't allowed to leave a building they think will explode any second." He knows that what she says makes sense and he's carefully taking the needle out of her body without injecting the cure. "We need to throw these grenades out of the windows and make them explode safely in the air."
Matt then does something she has never seen him do. He makes the sign of the cross and mumbles something that she assumes is a prayer. After that he takes out his phone and says: "Send to Jessica: Tell everyone that we found the bomb and that we're making it explode outside of the building."
Then he leaves their little corner and stealthily walks over to the two soldiers. With one quick hit behind the head he takes one out easily and the kicks the large gun out of the other man's hand. Before the guy can call for backup he's knocked out, too. Matt and Trish run towards the next window and he opens it for her, probably hearing Foggy and Karen chat below them.
She looks at him one time and although he's scared shitless he nods at her to throw the grenades outside. Before letting them go she takes a deep breath, pulls the little pins out and then she swings her arm to make them float.
Sorry, for involving Terri's vision again like this, but it's just too much fun to play with... ;)
Also, it would be bad to make her ability have terrible consequences twice, right?
Chapter 23: It's Not Over
To prevent a riot Trish threw two grenades out of the window, fulfilling Terri's last vision and now we're dealing with the consequences. However, maybe trouble comes from another direction...
"What the fuck are you doing, Red...?" Frank can't believe his eyes - his finger hovering over the trigger of his gun - when he sees Hellcat throwing two grenades out of the window with Daredevil standing next to her making the sign of a cross. Karen is down there! Next to Murdock's best friend... What is he thinking?!
The explosion happens in a safe distance though, far above her head, but it makes a lot of noise. People are looking out of the building, their expression a combination of shock and relief. He can see that Daredevil's head is tilted, probably listening to what the reaction is down there.
Did they do that to make people think they found the bomb? Right, if it was a false alarm and people didn't believe it was, they would have a riot on there hands - with enhanced individuals. He can't blame them for getting paranoid. If some asshole was afraid of powered people and wanted to get rid of as many of them as possible he'd blow up that place now.
Then Frank notices movement in the building on the opposite side of the square under the explosion. The police is gathering down there now, leading people like Karen away while she's arguing with them. That stubborn woman...
Could someone be aiming for her from that place? No, wait. That's not one shooter. Frank again looks back and forth between the buildings and the square with mostly police men in the middle, then he notices Matt staring right at him. "Are we thinking the same thing, Red?" He sees him nod. "It's a deathtrap." The gangs were planning to surround the police, hoping that the enhanced ones who came to register would join their fight now that they are being aimed at... "I can't see Karen anymore. I'll get down there."
Frank takes his gun and he starts running while taking his phone out to call that reckless journalist. He's relieved when she picks up quickly. "Karen, tell me exactly where you are. I'm coming!"
They witness the explosion right after Jessica tells them the bomb was found and not to worry. "Not bad, Devil Boy," she comments.
Some of them actually applaud, but that's just one issue taken care of. There is still this other one of half the task force getting drugged and Jessica sees that their boss is still not ready to let things calm down. "Look, these people didn't come to make trouble. They came to register. And I'm telling you the one who's really responsible for poisoning your team is Lenny Morano. I saw one of his guys among your men."
He then frowns at her. "Then why didn't you say anything?"
"I didn't know how to place him, okay?" She sighs. "He looked very different."
The room has been rather quiet while she was talking to him, so they both look around when people are suddenly shuffling and mumbling again. Then a familiar voice can be heard, a person making his way across the room, getting mixed reactions from the crowd. "Hello, everyone. Let me talk to the man in charge here."
Moments later Anand Chopra emerges from the crowd. "Sir, I know what's happened and I think there's an easy solution to all this..."
"What do you know?" The man looks sceptical.
"Doesn't matter." Chopra shakes his head and then holds up a little syringe, looking around the room. "This is our cure. I can demonstrate that it works. We've been using it on a lot of people who came here today and if anyone just wants to get rid of those abilities, whatever they are, he or she can do this now and go home. How does that sound?" There is some clapping from the crowd, but when he turns back to the man he talked to before, he doesn't look happy at all.
"It also has no effect on people who didn't take the drug, so-"
"You planned this." Anand Chopra just stares at him confused for a moment. "You're behind my men getting drugged and now you want to play the hero and become the mayor again!"
Knowing fully well that the former politician is telling the truth, Jessica doesn't know how to convince the guy in front of her to go along with this. Matt probably got the man there by telling him that half the task force had been drugged, but how could he know that if he wasn't involved? She has to admit that it looks suspicious. "Look, this can be investigated later, but Mr. Chopra has no reason to lie about the cure. Even if he would be responsible, we can at least give people the chance to go home in peace today without anyone getting hurt." A part of her already knows the man doesn't listen to reason any longer.
"Arrest him." Chopra scoffs and Jessica rolls her eyes, as two of the soldiers move towards the former mayor. Then suddenly another man in uniform knocks his own boss out effectively and shouts: "Stop!" Immediately all the soldiers in the room point their weapons at him.
Everyone freezes, including Jessica. Then the man starts talking: "I'm in charge now. So, before someone does anything he or she might regret, please listen: I've been hearing everyone's thoughts for the last thirty minutes and I'm telling you now that this man was only looking for reasons to lock people up or shoot them. I will face the consequences of my actions later, but I had to do this." Jessica looks around the room. The tension is high, but everyone is taking in every word very carefully. "I also know that most of my team members agree with me, drugged or not, and wanted him to shut up. Many of them were just afraid of being the only one to think that way."
Huh... interesting. Jessica didn't see that coming. "I would appreciate a lot if everyone could just lower their guns now, so we can discuss how we can all get out of here alive."
After a couple of seconds a woman in uniform shrugs and does as suggested. One by one they all concede and Jessica sees the mood in the room relax a little. One look at Alisa who's standing a bit further away witnessing what's happening and smiling oddly vindictive tells her though, that some of the people here might see this as a power shift as well.
Matt has been narrating everything that's happening while they are making their way to the other building across the square over various rooftops. Frank apparently didn't get Karen to go very far, but Anand and Jessica seem to have things relatively under control at the moment. However after the explosion Matt has become aware of a group who's been gathering close by. Apparently, some of the gangs saw the bomb threat as an opportunity to come together and teach the police and the task force a lesson. While the media fears an escalation of the situation and one spokesperson of the police hinted that they are prepared for a riot, the criminals of Hell's Kitchen decided to give them one.
Lenny Morano isn't among them surprisingly, so maybe his plan was just corrupting those soldiers. The gangs speculate that he's done and lost too many people, but Matt knows the guy long enough. He thinks it's more likely that the Morano will just sit this one out and then reemerge afterwards like nothing happened. With the cure around, it probably won't take that long for things to get back to normal and for their IGH drugs to all be used up. Who knows where the new laboritory might be if there even is one now...
Trish opens the door to the building on the rooftop and they slowly make their way to the ground. "There's a group of five two storeys down."
She stops him then, catching his arm in a tight grip. "Look, they are probably enhanced. Are you sure you're up for this?"
"That's what I brought you for." He smirks and Trish seems to be concerned while taking an arrow in her hand. With her other hand she pulls him in for a kiss. Soft and gentle lips brush against his and she takes her time, making it almost feel like a goodbye. When she pulls away she leans her forehead against his and he understands what she's trying to say. "You won't lose me. I'll be careful."
Her hand cups his face and he can still feel her breath on his skin. "I'm glad you decided to get me." She kisses his cheek once more. "If this is my last time being Hellcat, at least I had your back. But remember that you can end it any moment. I won't be mad, as long as you don't let me hurt you again."
Matt nods and she starts walking down the stairs with him following right behind her. "And now, let's kick some ass." If this gives her closure about her desire to be a hero with super human abilities, that's good. Because Shuri told him that even if her idea will work at all, it would definitely dial her powers down to some extent. Right now, Trish's scared of what she might do, so she wants him to take them away entirely with the cure. But even if that is not necessary, whatever decision she makes, she'll never be as powerful as she is right now. On the other hand if she uses her abilities too much she still gets headaches, so maybe with it being less overwhelming she will be better at focusing and fighting.
She has already made amazing progress and her dreams helped her learn fast as well. As they come across the first criminals, Trish is the first to attack, taking them by surprise with her arrows. She has two of the five men injected with the cure before they even see them. "Now, who do we have here? Did you guys come to play?" The man makes an inviting gesture, a sleazy smile planted on his face like a comic book villain.
The guy on his left notices the arrow in another one's back, pulls it out and crushes it with two fingers. Now Trish has only two of those left. Crap. "What's this? Something that's supposed to slow us down?" They laugh, but still wait for the vigilantes to attack. Okay, one of them is strong, the one in the front is probably the most powerful one and the others he has no idea about.
Matt tries to prepare himself for anything they could throw at him and he moves to attack. "You'll see!" As his fisk connects with a hand, caught, he already feels the power of that criminal run through him. A torturous pain overpowers him while his muscles are cramping. Trying to pull away his opponent tightens his grip with a second hand. Matt's senses are getting confused and he almost doesn't notice how someone else kicks Trish's arrow away. "Get her!"
He's not able to "see" this way, so Matt tries hard to block all the pain, but it's too overwhelming. It is so disorienting that he doesn't even have any idea how Trish's fight is going. He's barely able to move his arms in the direction he wants, so it's impossible to reach for the cure in his suit.
Eventually he collapses on the ground and the man must have let go of him, because that pain is fading. Then someone starts to kick him, but that he can deal with. In fact it keeps him focused, so he surprises his attacker by catching his foot and making him crash hard with the ground.
After slowly getting an idea of his surroundings again he senses another attacker coming. He fights him off as quickly as possible, because now he's aware that Trish is on the ground and needs some help. He tears a guy off her, so she can focus on the other one and Trish deals with him furiously, making use of her claws like she has never done before.
It's a brutal fight, but in the end both of them are somehow standing. Five bodies lying around them. He points at one of them. "This one we still have to cure." Matt takes care of it while he notices Trish using the breathing technique he taught her to calm down. When he's done she immediately takes his hand, which calms her down.
"Hallucination...?", he asks her and she nods.
"Need a second...."
Matt is honestly not sure he's ready to go on either, so he's grateful for the little break. He uses it to focus on what's happening down below. And that is not very reassuring. Trish picks up on his distress, of course. "What is it...?"
"They are attacking the police. I can't find Karen and Foggy on the square..." He feels Trish squeeze his shoulder.
"Frank will have taken care of them."
Yeah... hopefully. And Malcom he also heard talk to them earlier. "We've got to get down there." At least T'Challa just arrived on the square.
The moment they see the attack outside of the window happening, nobody in the room knows anymore if they should cheer or cry at this development. They had gotten so close to resolving some of the tension and then the gangs of Hell's Kitchen decide to make them all go to hell.
"Can you check if Daredevil is down there?" Jessica whispers to nobody, feeling stupid about talking to an invisible person again.
But Liam answers quickly, as if he was just waiting beside her for an order like that. "Sure, be right back."
Jessica didn't want to leave the new man or Anand Chopra out of sight for even a second. It seems like all is depending on these two suddenly and somehow everyone seems to have accepted that the former mayor is speaking for the enhanced crowd mostly. And that is just fine, because everyone affected by the drug has been too hysterical to defend their standpoint very well. Chopra might have become a bit better at catering to emotions in his supporters, but he can still be dry and detached when it's needed. "Those police men outside are not equipped to deal with a threat like this. This is almost as bad as that alien attack. Let the people here go, so we can cure them and you help those officers outside. Or we could cure all the soldiers, so their loyalty won't be questioned."
One of the other soldiers embraces that last suggestion, their new boss isn't too convinced. Well, mind reading is rather useful... "Maybe we could also help against the criminals with our powers!", a voice from the back says with some eager agreement around following.
"Hey," says Liam beside her to make her aware of his presence. "I saw them outside, Daredevil aided by the Black Panther and Hellcat." What?! Wasn't she supposed to be in a clinic? Safe and watching this on TV?
"How did they look? You think they'll need help?" She'll have to go, won't she?
Liam takes his time before he answers carefully: "They're still fighting, but there's a lot of blood..."
No. She doesn't have to hear more. "Fuck this. I'm going outside. Shoot me if you think you need to, but I'm not gonna listen to this any longer while my friends are dying out there."
The moment she starts walking all guns and eyes are aimed at her. When she passes Alisa the woman doesn't hesitate to join her.
It is so quiet, that she can hear the order even after the doors fall closed behind her. "What are you waiting for? Go and help her."
Jessica smiles and opens the next window to jump down into the chaos.
Care to speculate? It's not like I don't know what'll happen next, but.... okay, maybe I don't. I've got future chapters half written, but the stupid action scenes, apart from key moments are a complete blank.
In this one I was tempted to write: Just imagine some epic Daredevil-style hallway fight. ;)
Chapter 24: Hell's Playground
Malcom is still treating the drugged people who want to be cured, but everyone else is out there fighting in an enhanced riot.
Malcom is the only one left giving the cure to the last of their drugged patients. The moment they saw the riot break out on the TV the king of Wakanda and his sister left to help out in the mayhem down outside. People still came to get cured after that somehow, sent either by Chopra or the others, Malcom is pretty sure, but not as many as before.
Of course, doing this alone isn't easy and it takes longer. In the beginning he had a long cue of people waiting to get treated, but by now there aren't many left. With the riot down there spreading in the streets most people obviously think they should leave the area as fast as possible. And of course, the ones that don't aren't in a hurry to become powerless again. Malcom also can't wait to get out of there. However, some of his patients get sick and they have to lay down for a couple of minutes after he has treated them. It's not like he can just leave them, so he keeps going until there are only three left.
One of them has a gun hidden that Malcom tries to ignore, but somehow they end up talking and commenting on what is happening. At some point he just asks the guy what it is he can do. Since usually the criminals like to keep their abilities he is a bit curious why this one apparently wants to get rid of them.
The guy looks embarrassed for a second, so Malcom assures him that he doesn't have to know to help him. Annoying an armed man is probably not a very good idea. "No, it's alright. I was just stupid to think that taking the drug would make me less of a joke to them..." He sighs dramatically. "We do a lot of kidnappings and they think I'm too nice to the hostages. But honestly, terrifying them doesn't make them cooperate that well and all the screaming and trying to run is really exhausting, you know....?"
Oh, great... Does he want sympathy for that now? "I can imagine," Malcom offers reluctantly.
"And you know what the drug gave me? The ability to grow plants! Of all things!" He makes a face. "That's not worth getting in trouble with that task force for."
You would think carrying a gun would be more likely to attract the attention of the law, but somehow this guy doesn't think so. "For what it's worth: I think that's a pretty unique power. Ever tried your luck at gardening?"
Now he looks like he's contemplating that for the first time and suddenly it doesn't sound that awful anymore. "No.... I didn't think of that." Really? He's probably planning to grow weed now.
Jessica is nowhere to be seen in any of the footage on TV. But she has to be down there, right? Malcom sees Penny give another one of their patients a bucket to throw up in. A lot of them were eager to help after they got treated, most helped by sending new people in, though. She was the only one who stayed and just started assisting him explaining the procedure to everyone. It was nice to have someone else do this for him for once. They really should have asked that nurse to come. Claire. But it's over today anyway. The others will just come back later to take the rest of the cure and he'll wait for them to return.
Then something strange happens. One of those soldiers comes in and looks around. Malcom observes him out of the corner of his eye and he continues treating his patient vaguely acknowledging the man standing in front of his desk now. "I'm sorry to interrupt, but I need a big bag of that cure to heal my people." He indicates the bottles of liquid behind Malcom. "Could you give me some of it?"
"Who told you to come here?" Malcom isn't sure why, but he thinks something is off about the guy.
"Some people who came from this place told me you could help."
"I don't know. Can you maybe wait, until someone comes back? Or tell me your name?" He can't just give some of this away, can he? They were very careful not to waste anything.
The man doesn't react at first, then he just sighs. Malcom thinks he won't try to force him, but he's mistaken, because a moment later there's a gun pointed at him. "Give me those three bottles behind you."
When he doesn't react the soldier raises his eyebrows. Then he frowns and bang! He shoots behind himself barely looking and Penny starts sobbing. "She wanted to attack me. Just give me the bottles. Don't mess with me." Reluctantly, Malcom follows his order.
The soldier smiles, bows his head oddly and thanks him. "Now, was that so hard?"
Malcom just stares and then watches the guy walk away. What the hell was that?
"That guy wasn't a soldier...", the criminal comments. No shit.
Penny looks just as confused, holding her arm where she was probably shot. He rushes to her aid. "Why did he shoot at you and now me?"
Penny laughs bitterly. "Oh, I took a scalpel... He must have noticed."
And sure enough that thing is lying on the ground. "You're nuts!"
A humourless laugh escapes her, while he is trying to come up with a plan. "We need to get you to a hospital."
"And risk more injuries going out there?" She has a point.
The bleeding needs to stop at least. "Wait." He searches through the room looking for something to take care of the bullet wound. There's a first aid kit in the kitchen, that will do for now. As he walks by a window he looks outside and the street seems rather empty at the moment. Then he sees a group of 10 very armed individuals leave a building and enter the next one. Not good. If they start plundering now in the chaos it's only a matter of time until they enter their building.
When he returns to the others a guy who was throwing up minutes ago is giving Penny a bottle of water and the rest is watching the news intendly. The TV is just showing Hellcat and Daredevil picking a fight with a man who's flying above their heads with a gun in his hand. The police men are trying to shoot him, but what he's wearing seems to be bulletproof. Malcom watches as the Devil jumps on someone's shoulder and somehow from there he's high enough to kick the man, but after one hit the guy just flies out of reach and starts shooting again, while Daredevil falls back to the ground, which looked rather painful. It appears that Hellcat manages to shield him from the bullets while he struggles to get back up.
With the flying man is out of view for a moment the vigilantes are immediately fighting some more criminals, but they're clearly exhausted. Daredevil's punches look slower than usual and so do Hellcat's reflexes. Every time they make a mistake they pay for it, but they keep going and help each other out whenever necessary.
Suddenly their flying enemy rushes down. Out of nowhere he grabs Hellcat and carries her up into the sky. He stops in a very high spot where it is still possible to watch her desperate struggle and then suddenly they both seem to be falling. That is when the person holding the camera is knocked over so Malcom doesn't see how their bodies hit the ground. The last view of the clip is Daredevil probably staring in that direction in horror and not seeing the bat coming that hits him right on the head... Shit. Maybe Matt won't have to worry about the vigilante stealing his girlfriend after this fight.
Between all the crazy shit going on, strange powers at work in every direction and some police men shooting around, at nothing sometimes, they decided, that the guy with the gun above their heads needs to be taken down first. She didn't expect the man to grab her and take her with him into the air, though.
Trish sees Matt jump up to try and catch her foot once more, but they're too high already. Within seconds they're so high that she'd be dead if he lets go of her, so Trish decides she should maybe stop struggling and instead hold on. Maybe use this opportunity to get rid of the gun. He can't shoot right now anyway, since he has his arms around her.
When he finally releases her to make her fall to her death, Trish doesn't let him. She keeps grabbing some part of him and whenever he hurts her to make her release him she retaliates and holds on more desperately. However, after a minute or two she realises: There is just one way to truly end this. She needs to use the cure on him even if it will kill them both.
There's no time, really, to think of Jessica and Matt before she does it either. This is not like that one time when she almost drowned. She needs to focus on the flying man she is fighting while refilling one of her little arrows and burying the needle in his leg. From there it takes a while to have an effect, but then they start descending...
"You crazy bitch...! You will die with me!" As if she didn't know. If she hadn't done anything on the other hand, she would just have died for nothing. Trish simply lets go of his leg then, falling faster and faster, closing her eyes and waiting for it to end, when suddenly strong arms circle her from behind and pull her up to balcony close by. This must be what bungee jumping must feel like, she thinks for ridiculous short second, before turning around and hugging her sister for saving her life once again.
"What were you thinking, Trish? What are you even doing here?!" Jessica shakes her head, while the woman she just caught from a fatal fall tries to look innocent and calm down a little, before running back into battle. Because there are still more people in danger, one of them being her reckless boyfriend.
A relieved smile appears on Matt's face knowing that Jessica saved Trish. He can breathe again more freely and fight on with even more vigor. He needs to counter lots of different abilities today: He was shocked with electricity, sprinkled with acid and he was made dizzy by something he couldn't pin down. But so far he has managed to stay on top of things. Mostly.
Sure, he's getting a bit tired and he's losing some blood, but him and T'Challa make a good team. He has the king's back and every time Matt slips up his new ally isn't far either. Together they fight a girl who bites through Matt's armour with mean teeth and another one who can summon some kind of force field that apparently only vibranium could enter.
He only separates from the Black Panther, when he sees Jessica back on the battlefield almost falling for a trap. And part of it he's literally seeing which makes the thing even more spooky: A girl standing between corpses and appears to be afraid. He can see her golden hair, her blood drenched blouse and torn trousers. But he can smell and sense the metal of a knife, blood dripping from it, and he can hear the low chuckle of a sinister person - exactly from the place the girl is standing. "Jessica, look out! This isn't real!"
Jess acknowledges him confused and then raises her fists, while the "girl" now stares at her wide eyed. "Who are you?"
With new people attacking him, Matt is too busy to help Jessica, but at least he warned her. There's also the invisible boy close by, who manages to make some of his own and Jessica's attackers trip and fall. Matt is suddenly very grateful that Jessica left with Alisa and made those new allies that way. The strong woman herself is also shielding Jessica right now. It looks like she is very protective of her.
But then things turns ugly when Jessica decides to hit the illusion looking like an innocent girl who then appears to be bleeding and choking to death from one punch. When a police officer sees that he aims at Jessica and shoots two bullets at her, making her tumble and fall on her knees right in front of the man with the knife. That guy at least loses focus on his image and the girl vanishes, so Matt can take him down without arising any suspicion. Without looking like a threat to the other police men arriving then.
Jessica should be alright, but maybe she should leave the scene. Maybe they both should, Matt acknoledges, stumbling to her side. He could help her up and they could fight their way to safety together. However that's when he realises that Alisa saw what happened and she snapped the neck of the police man who shot at Jessica, because he thought she was attacking an innocent girl.
"Nooo!", Jessica screams and Matt isn't sure if it is directed at the woman who looks like her mother or at the police officers all aiming at her now. They shoot, but she doesn't look too impressed. On the contrary: She just seems to be even more angry.
Jessica knows this is it somehow. She'll die. Blood oozing out of the bullets wounds. Then Alisa attacks once more and it is brutal. She kills another one of them and punches one more with full force when suddenly one of Trish's little arrows finds her and she can't fight anymore after a couple of seconds. Without those powers Alisa is still angry and running at them, but also completely human and defenseless. This way she can't survive getting shot multiple times, even if they don't aim for her head. So Jessica sees her body riddled with bullets crash to the ground. Gone. Forever. She died trying to fight for her. And because Trish wanted to save those stupid police men who were trying to kill her!
Vaguely Jessica realises that Matt is trying to take care of her own bullet wound, so she doesn't lose too much blood. He ties something around her arm and he's pushing on her side, pulling her up again and again to make her move. She barely notices Trish and Liam coming along with them and taking care of everyone trying to attack them.
"I've got you," Matt whispers next to her. "There was nothing you could have done to save her."
A tear rolls done her cheek at that statement. And she feels Matt shift to punch a guy in the head. She should be helping them, but somehow she can't make herself act, still too much in shock. Alisa wasn't her mother, so why did her death touch her like that? She was a violent creature and she just proved that again. But she also didn't know any better, did she?
Setting one foot in front of the other, Jessica is trying to console herself that this time Matt didn't sacrifice himself and that she herself stopped Trish from doing so earlier. It was her arrow, though, that sealed Alisa's fate. Jessica notices that Trish doesn't dare to look at her once every time, she needs to fight off some attacker in front of them.
About ten minutes later they managed to leave the battle behind and climb the stairs to a place where Malcom and Oscar are already waiting, immediately fussing over her especially. "Why are you here...?"
Malcom smiles gently and takes her hand to lead her onto a couch. "I was helping with the cure and Oscar was worried about you."
While he runs to get medical supplies Trish is checking out Matt's injuries that look a lot worse than she realised before. Even Oscar seems a bit concerned, although his focus is on Jessica and he sits on the couch she is lying on, not daring to touch her right now in front of everyone.
After a minute her sister seems convinced enough that Matt won't drop dead any second and she kisses his temple, before leaving him to rest a little. She then kneels down in front of Jessica, her face still directed to the ground. "I'm sorry, Jess..." A wavering sigh escapes her and for the first time she meets her eyes, her own full of regret. "I... she was dangerous..."
"Yeah, just like me... if something happened to you." She can see her nod and move away again, leaving the place and walking down back into the battle.
I'm back! :) Still a bit busy, but the next chapters should be a bit easier to write.
And a huge THANK YOU to Anika_Ann who gave me some awesome ideas for a lot of the powers featuring in this chapter. :D