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Mattie Murdock—who by all accounts up until this point and by her own admission has been very Catholic and very heterosexual—goes to college and, two months later, kisses a girl and cuts all her hair off—shaved on one side, kind of floppy on the other. She makes Foggy go thrift store shopping with her and ends up with a lot of tight jeans and men’s shirts and some crop tops that Foggy might’ve slipped in when Matt wasn’t looking because—well, because.

She wears loose tank tops that don’t hide her secret, terrifying muscles and pulls off not wearing makeup like it’s her fucking job.

Essentially, she went from looking like a beautiful, pious young lady to looking like a mega hot dyke and it’s driving Foggy completely insane.

“I want a tattoo,” Matt says, right after she wakes up and climbs into Foggy’s bed while Foggy’s still sprawled out under her sheets. Matt looks sleep-ruffled and happy in a sports bra and a pair of boxers—it’s Saturday, and Foggy hopes that she can keep her here for a few hours, at least.

“Will the rebellion never cease, Murdock?” she asks, laughing when Matt collapses partially on top of her, resting her head on Foggy’s thigh.

You have one,” Matt says, poking gently at Foggy’s upper hip, where she got a generic flower tattoo from the flash sheets off the wall of the closest tattoo parlor the day after she turned eighteen. “Are you rebellious?”

“I’m so rebellious,” Foggy says, dropping her hand down to brush over Matt’s hair, mostly as an excuse to trace fingers lightly over the freshly shaven part, just a little prickly now. “What do you want to get? Please tell me it’s a crucifix. I would put money on it.”

“I was thinking—boxing gloves, maybe,” Matt says, casually even though her voice goes kind of hesitant, kind of soft. Mattie’s never exactly been an open book about her past, but she’s told Foggy some things and Foggy filled in the rest from what she’d heard around the neighborhood. People stopped talking about Battlin’ Jack but, sure as hell, nobody forgot him.

“I like that,” Foggy says. “It’s fitting.”

Matt’s quiet for a few moments before she pushes up to wrap her arms around Foggy’s waist and rest her cheek on the swell of her stomach instead. Foggy still feels self-conscious whenever anyone even touches her stomach, but Matt looks content whenever she does it and Matt doesn’t look content all that often.

She probably should have cut off all the cuddling when she realized just how far gone she is for Matt, but Matt went from kind of jumpy and evasive to letting out her touch hungry urges on a variety of hot girls at parties—but especially on Foggy, when they’re alone. Foggy was a big part of getting her there. And, also, frankly, Foggy doesn’t want to stop, because having Matt in her bed is like a dream come very, very close to true.

“Can we go today?” Matt asks, around a yawn, rubbing her cheek against Foggy.

“You got money?” Foggy asks.

“Some from my loans, still,” Matt says. “I shouldn’t use it, but I want to.”

“Good enough for me,” Foggy says, sitting up enough to drag Matt into a full body contact hug while Matt grins and wraps her arms tight around Foggy to hug back.

“You have to hold my hand,” she says, close to Foggy’s ear, before she climbs off of her and stretches out with another yawn.

Foggy says, “Like you’ll even need me to,” and files away the faintly pleased look that Matt gets on her face before she turns around to look through her clothes, pulling out a soft flannel shirt that’s just big enough for Foggy to steal sometimes.

Foggy’s surprised when Matt tosses it at her instead of putting it on.

“If you want,” Matt says, shrugging.

“I’m keeping it forever this time,” Foggy warns her.

“I don’t mind,” Matt says. “You make this happy noise every time you put it on, I–I like that more than keeping it to myself.” 

She loves me, Foggy thinks, but Foggy thinks that about every three days before she comes to her senses again. There’s no reason for it to be real this time, even with Matt training a hopeful smile in her direction. She’s got to stop getting her hopes up.

*

“There’s a place in the Kitchen that takes walk-ins,” she says, when Matt comes wandering back from her shower. “I need to visit my folks, anyway, if you don’t mind letting my mom feed you.”

“You want me to meet your parents?” Matt asks, and Foggy’s not sure if she’s pleased or confused, but she’s smiling when Foggy looks up and she’s—also in a towel. Just in a towel.

Foggy looks down immediately, hitting a few random keys on her laptop.

“Sure,” she says. “They’d probably like to meet you to confirm you’re not the kind of girl that’s gonna murder me in the night.”

“Or so you think,” Matt says.

She’s bent over looking through her dresser drawers so Foggy get a few of her ass in spandex boyshorts when she glances up again and attempts not to actually whimper. She’s not going to survive this year. It might be easier if Matt just murdered her.

“What should I wear?” Matt asks.

“Uhm, clothes,” Foggy says, laughing when Matt gives her a look. “Wear whatever you’d normally wear.”

“I’m meeting your parents,” Matt says, after a beat, pulling a face.

“Oh, in that case,” Foggy says. “What do you have in terms of evening wear?”

Matt throws a pair of basketball shorts at her face.

“I’ll try and find my pearls.”

*

Matt’s fidgety on the train ride over so Foggy takes her hand because she knows Matt will like it—and she does, angles a sweet smile at Foggy and squeezes her hand without saying anything. She doesn’t let go when they get to their stop, holds onto Foggy’s hand and her cane as they leave with the crowd and finally make it out into the open air again.

Matt takes a deep breath.

“Still smells terrible,” she says, contented and apparently fond, walking forward and taking Foggy’s arm when Foggy lets go of her hand, “but—less concentrated.”

Mattie is fiercely loyal to every aspect of New York and obstinately takes the subway even though she looks pinched and in pain the entire time, because she’s sensitive to a lot of things—smell, especially. She didn’t explain it but Foggy guessed it had to do with losing her eyesight.

Basically, being crammed into a car full of people with varying levels of personal hygiene isn’t great for her.

“C’mon, my mom’s waiting,” Foggy says, laughing. “She probably started baking cookies the second I called her, so the apartment’s gonna smell way more appealing than—street smells.”

The closer they get to Foggy’s parents’ place, the more shaky Matt looks, to the point that Foggy pulls her aside and shakes her shoulder gently.

“Tell me what’s going on in that pretty head of yours,” Foggy says. Matt’s smile is brief but genuine.

“I don’t—interact with many parents,” she says, after a moment of consideration. “I don’t know the protocol, I guess.”

Foggy’s heart aches but quickly catches up to her head and her voice, which is steady when she says, “You know how you can charm your way through basically anything?”

Matt’s smirk lies somewhere between smug and bashful.

“I guess.”

“Well,” Foggy says, putting an arm around her shoulders and waiting for Matt to lean into it before she starts walking again. “You won’t even have to do that with my mom. She’s been prepared to love you since the second I told her about you.”

She glances over when Mattie doesn’t say anything to see that she’s kind of pink and looks—thrown, maybe.

“Is it okay that I said that?” Foggy asks, carefully, and Matt shakes her head like she’s clearing it.

“It’s fine,” she says, laughing. “I just—have issues.”

You?” Foggy asks. “Issues?”

Matt makes a faux-offended noise and knocks into her with her hip, sending them both off balance for a moment before Foggy brings her close to her side again. She wouldn’t say this out loud for fear of spooking Matt like the gorgeous deer she is, but—Foggy kind of thinks she belongs there.

*

“I should’ve worn a skirt,” Matt moans, as they’re climbing up the steps of their building.

“You own one skirt,” Foggy says, “and I’m going to throw it out when you aren’t expecting it, because the one time I saw you wear it, you looked like you were ready to go burrow into the earth.”

“Yeah, I want to do that a lot,” Matt says, sighing. She’s wearing tight black jeans and a soft grey sweater that Foggy gave her before her grand lesbian transformation even happened, because Matt didn’t really come to school with warm clothes and she’s always freezing during class.

Matt was supremely squirmy about it for a few days but now it basically lives in her backpack.

“You look great,” Foggy says, firmly, holding open the door for her. “You always look great.”

“So do you,” Matt says.

“Well, you would know, buddy,” Foggy says.

“I do,” Matt says. “I know how many people you’ve went out with.”

“That’s just because I was kind of a slut at the beginning of the semester,” Foggy says, laughing. “You don’t have to be hot if you’re just very willing.”

“Francis Nelson.”

Her mom’s made a game out of catching Foggy at her worst. She always wins it.

“Slut’s a positive thing now, ma,” Foggy says, smiling up at her mom who’s standing at the top of the first flight of stairs with a laundry basket on her hip and a fake frown. “I’m empowered.”

“You’re going to be the death of me,” she says, sitting the basket down and walking down to wrap her arms around Foggy and press a kiss to her temple. “I’m buying you condoms.”

“I have condoms.”

“I’m buying you more condoms.”

“Christ, please stop talking about condoms when I’m trying to introduce you to my roommate,” Foggy says, laughing and leaning into Matt’s side, who looks surprised and nervous and amused all at once. “This is Mattie. I like her, please don’t scare her away.”

“It’s wonderful to meet you, Mattie,” Foggy’s mom says. “Can I buy you condoms, too?”

“I—don’t actually need them, ma’am,” Matt says, and Foggy’s mom hesitates for half a second before she snorts and reaches up to ruffle Matt’s hair. Matt makes a soft unreadable noise but she grins helplessly wide.

“Of course. I’ll give you cookies, then,” her mom says. “They should be done soon—honey, why don’t you take the laundry downstairs and start it while I get to know Mattie more.”

Matt’s face is suddenly stricken, turning to give Foggy a don’t you dare fucking leave me look, but Foggy’s got self-preservation instincts and her mom’s already carried the basket down four floors. She’s about to try to come up with something when she looks up to see that her mom has somehow spirited a very uncomfortable Matt away.

Foggy climbs up to grab the basket and get the load going as quickly as possible to make sure her mom doesn’t scare Matt away or maybe forcibly adopt her. She—really doesn’t want Matt to be her sister.

*

Matt leaves the apartment with a plastic container full of cookies and a perplexed, overwhelmed smile, saying after they’re out the front door, “Your mom’s really nice.”

“You sound surprised,” Foggy says.

“Well, she raised you. . .” Matt says, laughing when Foggy gasps, voice dropping lower. “No, I can—I can see why you’re so great.”

“Yeah, she might have had something to do with it,” Foggy says, stopping on the bottom step to hook her arm through Matt’s before they start down the sidewalk again. “You planning on sharing the cookies?”

“I don’t know,” Matt says, skeptically. “She said they were all for me.”

“Betrayal,” Foggy sighs. “Ready to go get a needle shoved into your arm thousands of times?”

“Ready,” Matt says, grinning, like she’s not scared at all. She probably isn’t. Mattie’s kind of stupid brave, sometimes.

The shop is two blocks away, so in no time they’re standing in a tiny cramped front room talking to a ridiculously cool looking lady with David Bowie’s Aladdin San face tattooed on her forearm, along with a bunch of zombies and flowers.

After Matt’s filled out the form verifying that she won’t sue if she gets gangrene or something, she sits down next to Foggy on the well-worn leather couch by the front door and says, “I just have to talk to the artist when she’s done with her current appointment and—tattoo.”

“And tattoo,” Foggy agrees.

They sit quietly for a moment before Matt says, softly, “Thanks for coming with me.”

“Well, someone’s gotta hold your hand,” Foggy says.

Matt breathes out a soft laugh before she holds her hand out. Foggy takes it.

“Glad it’s you,” Matt says.

*

“Are people normally as obnoxiously stoic as she is?” Foggy asks, and Ananya, the tattoo artist who Foggy is sure they both fell in love with the moment they met her, laughs softly.

“Everyone’s different,” she says, still focused intently on Matt’s arm, “but she is zen compared to the last guy I had in here.”

Matt’s face turned red the second that Ananya touched her to hold her arm in place—Foggy’s not jealous, she gets it—and she’s still pretty pink when she smiles and asks, “Really?”

“He made a big deal out of being all gruff and tough,” Ananya says, lips tipped up, “and he started crying the second the needle touched him. It was pretty satisfying for me.”

Foggy laughs and squeezes Matt’s hand, leaning in to see the half-finished tattoo. Matt spent about half an hour talking to Ananya about it while she sketched something simple—a thin black outline on Matt’s bicep. Foggy confirmed that it’s perfect.

“Is it really not that painful for you?” she asks.

“I’ve had worse,” Matt says, then makes a face. “Uhm, I mean—”

“The accident?”

“Yeah,” she says, sighing. “The accident. I’ve got a good tolerance, anyway.”

Matt hisses softly and squirms in her seat in a way that’s—interesting.

“Stay still,” Ananya says, soothingly, and Matt nods enthusiastically.

Foggy can’t see her toes because Matt’s wearing combat boots but she suspects that they’re curling. Her tattoo experience wasn’t a toe curling one, but maybe because she was a little bit drunk on Smirnoff Ice and her tattoo artist was a large grizzled older man named Kevin.

Foggy wonders if it’s just because she’s getting hurt by a hot woman or because she’s getting hurt.

“And,” Ananya says, drawing out the word slowly, “We are done. Good job, kid.”

“Thanks,” Matt breathes, smiling. “Uhm, Fog?”

“It’s perfect,” Foggy says, leaning in closer. It’ll look better when it’s not tender and red, a little blood-smeared, but it’s perfect. Matt smiles grows into a grin, kind of reckless and so happy.

That’s perfect, too.

*

Foggy buys Matt pancakes for lunch at a diner nearby, since she just spent a chunk of money on permanently scarring her flesh, and Matt’s so amped up that she can’t stop moving in her seat—accidentally kicking Foggy under the table a few times, confirmed accident because Foggy said, “Are you attacking me or trying to play footsie, Murdock?”

And Matt said, “Neither, but that can change if you want.”

The flirting is a hazard.

“I’m taking your coffee,” Foggy says, amused when Matt just nods and pushes it towards her. “You don’t need the caffeine.”

“I think it’s adrenaline,” she says. “That was really cool.”

“Yeah,” Foggy says, carefully. “It seemed like you really liked it.”

Matt looks like she’s about to agree before she raises her eyebrows instead.

“What do you mean by that?” she asks.

There’s a hint of an edge there, which normally means that Foggy should either tread lightly or trample on through. She’s curious enough that she decides to do the latter, saying, “I mean, the coolest woman I’ve ever met is holding you down and hurting you—I can see why you might be—y’know. . .compromised.”

“Compromised,” Matt echoes, with the faintest smile.

“I’m trying not to use the word aroused.”

Matt lets out a surprised laugh and immediately smothers it with a comically large mouthful of pancakes. Foggy can’t help but watch her face as she chews, how it goes from nervous to a little bit more relaxed, tilting her head towards Foggy after she swallows.

“I might have been into it,” she says, after a long moment. “Is that weird?”

“Being into pain?” Foggy asks.

“. . .yeah,” Matt says. “I guess.”

“I think it’s pretty mainstream,” Foggy says, feeling suddenly nervous. She’d expected Matt to deny it outright or at least be fairly squirrely about it, but Matt has been all about living her true and authentic self lately. Even if her true and authentic self might be kind of a kinky weirdo. “There’s actually a club on campus.”

“A club?”

“Yeah, I have a previous one night stand and current friend who’s part of it,” Foggy says. “He says they have, like, workshops and discussion groups and stuff about BDSM? It’s educational. And kinky, I guess.”

“Weird,” Matt says. A long moment paces before she adds, quietly, “Would you go with me?”

Foggy slides Matt’s coffee back to her. She was curious about it, too, even though she wasn’t sure she was into it—she knows she’s not into pain and she doesn’t think she’d like getting tied up, but—well, watching Matt get compromised by getting a tattoo definitely compromised her, too.

“Absolutely, buddy.”