The Kitchen is quiet.
So very quiet.
Too quiet .
Matt thinks that’s suspicious. As he moves effortlessly over rooftops, he wonders if he should be glad the city is so calm tonight.
Dex had escaped the hospital a few nights ago and no one had seen him since. Sometimes Matt wondered, if Dex had had a guidance like that of Father Lantom, would he be like Matt?
He’d told this to Frank and the marine had laughed. He said some people are born wrong in the head, evil, and it was no one’s fault. Specially not Matt’s.
As he moved closer to the place he and Frank had agreed to meet in, he saw him in the distance, the marine waved at him from two rooftops away, and as Matt made to jump the next roof, he heard a noise.
A familiar heartbeat. Dex .
He turned, following the lead, and felt Frank move to follow him, probably concerned by his sudden retreat. The heartbeat feels close, he’s not alone and the other heartbeat with him is erratic, fast. Maybe he’s hurting someone? Matt sneaked into a fire escape and peeked into the window of a dimly lit apartment. He could hear the two heartbeats there.
Matt opened the window and as soon as he did, something was thrown at him and he dodged it just in time for it to make a soft noise and fall to the floor. From the sound of it, it was a bottle of lube.
“Who the hell are you?!” Called a male voice. The other heartbeat, Matt thought.
Just as he was about to answer, Frank crawled in through the window.
“Billy?” He said, and Matt realized what was going on. “Who’s this guy?”
Well this was awkward. Matt snorted.
“We should leave.” He said, and pushed Frank out the window. The Marine protested as he was pushed out the window, while Matt excused himself.
Matt laughed until they got to his apartment.
“Was that the guy you told me about?” He said, falling on the couch and taking his boots off.
“They were fucking , Red! We caught them in the middle of sex !”
Frank was having the equivalent of a heart attack in his mind. A mental heart attack? That sounded wrong.
“They threw a bottle of lube at me…”
“I always knew Billy was bisexual but I didn't think he’d be into that !”
“You knew? How did you know?”
“Well,” Frank stops pacing and sits next to Matt on the couch, “I always kind knew. Maria asked me once if I was sure I never had sex with Billy but I also always knew he wasn't right in the head and I wasn't gonna stick my dick in that .”
Matt laughed louder this time, then unzipped his suit and took it off slowly, knowing Frank liked a good show.
“Did you ever think about it tho? Of doing it with Billy?”
Frank made a disgusted face.
“No! He was my best friend, Jesus! You don't bang your best friend.”
“Debatable but…” Matt shrugged.
“You’re weird, Matt.”
“What worries me,” Matt began, getting up from the couch to go to the bathroom and wash his face, “is if Dex gets attached to Billy and he doesn't feel the same. I know Dex isn't exactly stable and he can be dangerous.”
“You’re worried about Billy of all people?”
“Dex is dangerous and lethal, Frank.”
“And Billy is a psycho. They’re a match made in hell if you ask me.”
Matt barked a laugh.
“I think it's nice that at least they are letting out their tension in a somewhat healthy way.”
“How is that healthy, Red? Please explain.”
“At least they aren't trying to kill us , Frank, that's something.”
Frank conceded that this was, indeed, a very good point.
“It was gross though, it was like that one time we caught Captain America and Bucky in that broom closet.”
“Or Tony Stark and the iron man suit.”
“Aw Red, not the iron man suit! I forgot all about that one!”
Matt cackled and sashayed (really sashayed) into their bedroom.
“Billy Russo? That guy who tried to kill you? The one who’s kinda responsible for your wife and kids’ deaths?” Karen sipped on her coffee and wrote it down, if it came out, it’d be a great story for her new vigilante gossip blog.
“Red thinks it's nice that they’re blowing off steam with each other instead of us.”
“I mean he’s not wrong , but they are dangerous people.”
“ Thank you !” Frank sighed, at least Karen understood his point. “Matt thinks it’s cute and tha’ it’ll help them recover.”
“It might work.” Karen took a bite from her bagel. “ Or it’ll only make them worse, because now that they are together, they will do bad things together and cause more trouble.”
“They’ve been pretty quiet in the last few days.”
“Maybe they’re in the honeymoon phase, like you and Matt. Let’s hope it lasts for a long time like you and Matt . If it does, then Matt has a good point.”
Frank hummed and drank his coffee. The waitress came by to refill his mug a moment later. Maybe Matt did have a good point.
It wasn't a good point. Matt was wrong.
One minute Frank was happily drinking coffee outside the deli after having had a nice lunch date with Karen, he rounded a corner and went back to Red’s, and the next he felt something stinging his neck.
Then he fell on the floor like a bag of bricks.
And now he was tied up to a pillar in a warehouse and the maniac Matt called Dex was pacing. He didn't seen impatient or nervous though, he seemed like he was just… waiting.
“The hell is this about?” He asked and the kid jumped a foot in the air and then made a shushing motion at Frank.
“Shut up, you’ll ruin the surprise!”
“What surprise? What the hell kid?!”
Dex made another shushing motion and left him there. Frank hung his head. This was ridiculous. If he was gonna kill him he should at least do it quickly.
After another hour, Frank was starting to feel numb. At least the kid should have had the decency of tying him up to a chair . There was nothing here but boxes and an ugly ass oil stain in the far away wall. Frank couldn’t feel his legs anymore.
He heard voices and looked at the door. Maybe Matt had caught wind of his disappearance and came to find him?
“Dex I can't see anything.”
“Just a little more, honey bun.”
It was Billy and that dumb kid again. Shit. Shitshitshit. Frank tried to free himself again and upon closer inspection, he realized he was tied up with red ropes and had a bow.
He was the surprise.
“Almost there.” Dex walked in with a blindfolded Billy and made him stand right in front of Frank, then he removed the blindfold. “Surprise! I got him for you!”
Billy stood there looking at Frank and then at Dex and back to Frank. He did this a few times before suddenly bursting into ugly tears and gross sobs.
“Baby what's wrong?” Dex went over to Billy and held him in his arms, gently kissing his tears and looking worried.
“This is the sweetest thing anyone's ever done for me!”
“Oh my God .” Frank was going to throw up.
Billy wrapped Dex in his arms and they started kissing. Frank groaned, suddenly the oil stain in the wall was very interesting.
They started openly making out. Dex took Billy’s shirt off and trailed kisses from his neck down his chest. Frank tried to look as far away as possible without breaking his neck and whistled some song he heard at the deli that day.
“So pretty…” Dex whispered against Billy’s skin. “How did I land such a pretty boy huh?”
“Oh Dex .” Billy laughed and pulled Dex up for a dirty kiss, as Frank tried and failed not to be incredibly uncomfortable and tried to think about non sexual things like puppies, flower fields, Foggy in a thong eating peanut butter while dancing to Single Ladies. Frank gagged.
Speaking of Foggy, Frank would have to call him and tell him he was right, Matt is an idiot who can’t be trusted. Dex and Billy were fucking insane and would drive them all to an early grave, Foggy included. Dex had finished removing Billy’s pants at this point when Frank heard some shuffling behind him.
“Frank.” Someone whispered in his ear. Red was here! And he was untying him! “Time to go!”
“But they’re here, we should―"
“Let's leave them to it, time to go , Frank.”
Matt pulled him by the arm and they sneaked out of the warehouse.
Frank would need to watch a lot of puppy videos to forget about Billy and Dex almost fucking in front of him.
It had been several weeks since the last incident.
Matt arrived home to the sound of something hitting the floor and dog paws running around the hardwood floor.
He frowned. Frank wasn't supposed to be home yet. He called and told him he felt antsy so he’d stay a few extra hours at the construction site. If Frank wasn’t here, then who was?
The door was open, someone had broken in and was staying there. He could hear their heartbeat. Dex .
Dex was sitting on his couch, Max sat in front of him, panting and wagging her entire body. Dex threw the ball into Matt’s bedroom and Max scrambled off in that direction, barking excitedly, as Dex took a spoonful of the chocolate chip marshmallow ice cream Karen had brought with the groceries that week because she claimed if she weren’t there both Matt and Frank would die from living off coffee and spite.
“That’s my ice cream, Dex.” Matt said calmly, there was no fight in Dex at the moment, and Matt didn’t want to force the fight out of him.
“Why can’t I have a healthy relationship, Murdock?”
“Well,” Matt sat on the other couch, a ways away from Dex and considered him carefully, “maybe it’s because you break into my apartment and eat my ice cream and play with my dog instead of actually talking to your partner, I don’t know, it’s a wild guess of mine.”
Max came back with the ball and dropped it on Matt’s lap this time, who picked it up very carefully and threw it to the kitchen. Max was probably as tired of running in the same direction as Matt was of finding this man in his house.
“I just…” Dex sighed and reclined on the couch, taking another spoonful of ice cream. Matt supposed he looked miserable. “I love him, Murdock, but sometimes I’m terrified he’ll leave too.”
“Have you told Billy of this fear?” Matt asked gently, Dex scoffed. “That’s a no?”
“He says I’m being ridiculous, that no one has ever treated him as well as I do. How is that possible? He’s perfect! He deserves to be treated like a prince ―”
“ And I adore him and worship the ground he stands on and I want to treat him right but I’m also so. Scared. Of losing him! Everyone I love either dies or leaves!”
“Dex, there’s no use in thinking about that right now.” Matt took courage and gently hit Dex in the head with his cane. “Think about how happy you are now and try your best not to ruin it, for all our sakes.”
The front door opened and closed with a loud slam and Frank walked in, looking like he’d been hit by a truck.
“Hello, darling.” Matt said. “You smell like blood.”
Frank paced the living room, glaring at Dex, then he pointed at him several times, like he wanted to say something but couldn’t find the words.
“You look like shit Castle.” Dex said, as Max returned with the ball and danced around Frank, excited that her human had returned.
“You. Get the fuck out of here and go talk to your boyfriend.”
“Billy did this?” Matt stood from his place and went to gently touch Frank’s face. The marine flinched at the pain this caused him. He had a nasty purple bruise already forming under his left eye and his lip was split. His nose was probably broken again.
“Instead of actually talking about your issues you guys go and do this kind of dumb shit. Go. Talk. To. Him. Or next time I won’t be so nice.”
“Did you hurt Billy?” Dex stood like he’d been sitting on a spring, looking like he was ready to catch Frank’s hands.
“Of course I fucking hurt him , what do ya think we did? Play patty cake and paint each other’s nails? Why do ya think I look like this, huh?”
“If you hurt him badly I swear I―”
“Dex, if you threaten Frank I am going to have to hurt you and we all don’t want that. Go find Billy and fix your shit.” Dex looked like he wanted to object, wanted to hurt Frank, but Matt stood his ground. “Now!”
Matt didn’t think he’d spoken so firmly, but Dex looked away and left the apartment, slamming the door for good measure. Matt sighed and went to get the first aid briefcase, as Foggy called it, from the bathroom.
“I swear it’s like handling a moody teenager.” He said, as Frank slumped on the couch, Max sniffling his hand, looking for scritches.
“Least he listened to you, Billy was all punches and tears and ‘ Why doesn’t he just tell me he doesn’t wanna be with me anymore! ’ I swear, they’re terrible…”
“They just need to talk.” Matt sat next to Frank with the bulky kit and started working on his face. “He really did a number on you, huh?”
“You should see how he looked in the end.”
“Did you hurt him badly?” Matt frowned, and Frank scoffed.
“Nah, enough to knock him down and leave, at least he wasn’t armed. I’m sure it smells worse than it looks.”
Matt continued to tend to Frank’s wounds, the marine hissed and groaned from time to time. When Matt was done he closed the kit and put it on the floor, then picked up the tub of ice cream. Of course it was empty. Matt sighed, he was really looking forward to that ice cream, he loved Ben & Jerry’s.
“He ate my ice cream, the little shit.” Matt shakes his head and takes the kit back to the bathroom.
That night they don’t go patrolling. Danny tells them he can take over for the night, and he’s been seeing the Avengers around town and doesn’t want Matt or Frank to get in trouble with them, so they can stay in, Frank can catch up on Golden Girls and Matt can finish reading his book.
Sometime during the night, Matt puts his book down and turns to Frank.
“Are we his parents now, Frank? Dex, I mean.”
“What?” Frank turns away from the TV and frowns.
“Did we unknowingly adopt a villain? He’s always here when he fights with Billy and just keeps asking me for advice about adulting like I somehow know how to do that .”
“That’s ridiculous, Red.” Frank turned back to the TV and Matt considered it for a moment, then he shrugged and turned back to his book.
The next day there was a new tub of chocolate chip marshmallow ice cream on their freezer and a note from Dex thanking Matt for his help. Matt threw his hands up in the air because of course they had unknowingly adopted a villain!
At some point, Matt simply gives up on trying to kick Dex out of his home.
Karen almost has a heart attack when she finds him there, sleeping on Matt’s couch with Max on top of him. Matt is sure Foggy did have a heart attack when he came by to leave them groceries (because he also thought if he and Karen weren’t there, Matt and Frank would die of starvation) and Matt was playing Jenga with Dex. Frank wants to kick Dex out, but thinks about it and only tells him to go talk to his boyfriend and let him and Matt fuck in peace. Frank also wanted Dex to please stop hogging his dog.
Frank is quite annoyed at this point. He doesn't want to say anything because Matt tries to be very kind and very nice to Dex but it's really getting ridiculous.
It had been quite a good night. Matt and Frank had a nice dinner, took Max for walkies together holding hands, and now Frank was trying really hard to make Matt cum from only sucking his nipples, which was working because Matt was super sensitive and he loved getting his tits sucked on.
Except the window opened and Dex crawled in, and Matt pushed Frank off himself and covered them both with the sheets. Dex covered his eyes as soon as he realized what he’d walked in on.
“Aahhh my eyes what the hell?!”
“Kid what the fuck?!” Frank sat up, at least Dex looked a little sheepish now.
“I’m sorry! I didn't know you were busy!”
“What is it, Dex?” Matt asked gently.
“I… I thought about what you said about doing good and second chances and all…”
Frank threw himself on the bed with a sigh, Matt nodded and told him to go on.
“I told Billy about it but… I don't think that’s what he wants.”
“Dex, you should think about what you want to do, Dex.”
“But I wanna be with him!”
“I love him! I thought… I thought I could do this and be with Billy and have a good life and be good like you! I wanted you to be my north star but you can’t help me… You can't help me!”
Dex crawled out of the window and left.
He didn't show up for the next few days.
Matt felt guilty. Because of course, this was his fault.
Had he tried harder to convince Dex to think about himself and let Billy do his thing, they wouldn't be in this situation.
Dex would still be around, coming over every time he had a disagreement with Billy, playing with Max and eating their food.
It had been three weeks and Matt was still moping. Occasionally, Frank would find Billy and would become his personal punching bag, but there was no sign of Dex.
Matt was perched on a rooftop like New York’s saddest gargoyle when Frank found him, he’d had a run in with Billy and some shots had been fired, both literal and figuratively.
“I can’t find Dex anywhere, no matter how much I focus.”
“If he doesn't want to be found, then you won't find him, Red.” Frank sat next to him with a groan, he had a gunshot on his leg, Matt could smell it. “The kid’ll come around.”
“Did Billy say something?”
“Besides yelling nonsense? Nah.”
Matt sighed and went to rub Frank’s arm. He could sense some nasty bruises on his cheek.
“Let’s go home, it's late and nothing’s happening today.”
Matt thought it was strange that Billy had been following him since he left the house.
He went to work, had lunch with Frank (some yummy enchiladas Mrs. Lieberman made for them), then went home on his own because Frank was working extra again. He wanted to get something for Matt and he pretended like he was hiding it from Matt but Matt knew.
Matt figured that if Billy Russo wanted to hurt him, he would have done so already.
He went right home as soon as he left work and as soon as he was at his door, he turned around.
“If you want to come in, we only have cheap beer and donuts.” He told Billy, who tensed behind his corner. “You’re not being very sneaky right now.”
Billy came out from his ‘hideout’ (not very good, but Matt had an advantage Billy didn't know about) and didn't look at Matt.
“You are Frank’s friend, Billy.” Matt stated.
“We’re not friends.” Billy said.
“Frank is not here, and I won't fight you if that's what you want.”
“I’m not here for that.” Billy said, then he sighed, he sounded tired. “Look is Dex here?”
Matt frowned, if Dex wasn't with Billy, then he was worried.
“Dex hasn't been around in three weeks. If he's not with you, then we should be worried.”
“What did you do to him? What did you say to him? He was talking nonsense about being good and some north star and then he left and I haven't seen him since! If you did something to Dex then I’m gonna have to kill you.”
“And then Frank will have to kill you and we’ll all be dead, because that works great, right?” Matt was getting tired of Billy’s shit and he’d just met him. “Dex is not here, instead of fighting me, you should be more concerned about finding him.”
Billy huffed indignantly, Matt rolled his eyes and hit him over the head with his cane.
“Get your head out of your ass and find Dex, if you really care about him as much as he cares about you, then you’ll probably know where to find him.”
Matt was sure Billy was pouting.
“I don't know where to find him…”
“Hmm, then I guess you don't love him as much as you claim, huh?” Matt shrugged and felt Billy tense.
“Who do you think you are to say that?”
“I’m just saying.” Matt opened the door and went into the apartment, if Billy wanted to follow, it was his choice.
As soon as Billy walked in, Max growled at him. Matt had never seen the dog this defensive.
“Max doesn't like you.”
“I don't care about this dumb dog.”
“Careful there, Frank doesn't like people insulting his dog.”
“Frank can kiss my ass.”
“He doesn't like your ass, trust me.” Matt offered Billy one of the cheap beers Foggy insists on bringing and the other man declined. “Dex hasn't been here in three weeks, so you’re barking at the wrong tree. He wanted me to be his guide of sorts. Wanted to be good. He said you didn't agree and he was upset the last time we spoke.”
“He said something like that. I didn't think it was important…”
“It is to him. Sit.” Matt motioned to one of the bar chairs, Billy felt like he was talking to a mother. “You know he’s all alone in this world, right? He doesn't have anyone, and he thinks everyone he loves will someday leave him. If you find him, you should try your best to keep him happy. He told me he worships the ground you stand on, and you should work hard to be the person who deserves to be worshipped like that.”
“Do you work hard to deserve the way Frank worships you ?”
“It's a work in progress.” Matt admitted.
Billy seemed to consider it for a moment, then he turned and left the apartment.
Matt let out a deep breath he didn't know he was holding.
Frank went feral when Matt told him Billy had been there, but Matt was unharmed, so all was well.
Matt assured Frank everything was fine, but he expressed some concern about Dex. What if he hurt himself? What if he hurt others? They would have to be on the lookout for Dex, if not for Billy, at least to make sure Dex was fine and wasn't hurt or hurting others.
Matt wanted to do right by Dex, help him get on the right track and be good.
However, a few days later, when Frank arrived home before Matt, he noticed something was off. Someone had been there. The dog’s food and water bowls were filled, the apartment had been tidied in an incredible way and there was a thank you note in some ugly ass scribbles. Dex had been there. And he ate Frank’s tamales he had saved for dinner.
The marine didn't even have it in him to be mad at the kid. Everything would be fine.
Except it wasn't. Micro was having what Matt called “the trembles", and shrieked at Frank on the phone about how Billy had found him and sent his wife some ugly ass flower arrangement no one wanted to touch because they were afraid it would have explosives. Frank told him to chill and went to their house.
The flowers had no explosives, they were meant for Sarah and Zach as an apology of sorts, but Sarah said they were ugly and she wanted them gone, Frank, oh my God!
Frank brought the flowers back to the apartment and gave them to Matt. He figured Matt deserved them for his trouble with those two psychos.
Matt was ‘admiring’ the cleaned up apartment.
“It's just so… clean.”
“I wonder if Billy is unnerved by all his tidiness.”
“As long as they’re happy and not hurting anyone, I don't care.” Matt took his coat off and put it in the closet.
It was cold .
Karen took another drink from her coffee and started her car, going back home. She looked at her phone before driving off and smiled at a text from Frank. It was a picture of Matt sleeping on the floor with Max and her puppies.
She drove off and on the corner of 4th saw a familiar gold head of hair. The light was red so she squinted to see if she could look at it better.
It was Dex. He was at a crepe shop, feeding berries to someone.
The light changed and she had to move, she couldn't see who the other man was.
She tried to drive faster, she was already late for dinner.
The Liebermans had a big house. Karen always thought it was very pretty, the kind of house she’d want to have one day. With green grass on the front yard and a nice driveway. Frank’s ugly truck was already parked there. She wrapped her scarf tightly around herself and got off the car.
Leo greeted her at the door and helped her take off her coat and scarf, as Sarah came to greet her with a kiss on her cheek.
“They’re throwing popsicles out there!” Sarah said, and guided Karen to the living room.
Frank sat next to Matt, the lawyer still looked a little drowsy and like a cranky child who had been woken from his nap. He kept refusing to be fed olives. David and Zach were bringing trays with chips and other munchies, and Foggy and Marci sat on the other couch, drinking wine. Everyone greeted Karen.
“Hey! I think I saw Dex on my way here.” She said casually. Matt yawned and finally accepted an olive.
“He went by earlier, he and Billy gave us presents and all.” He said. “I’m glad he’s doing well.”
“Of course you are, you mom .” Micro grumbled, Matt reached and poked him with his cane.
“Silencio, salty Jewish Chihuahua.”
Micro made an indignant noise while Sarah laughed loudly.
So far, all was well.