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Not Your Average Eyewitness

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Brett doesn’t know too much about Matthew Murdock. Blinded as a kid, grew up in an orphanage after his father was killed, and unfortunate enough to get stuck with Foggy Nelson as a roommate. Foggy certainly likes the guy, but Murdock is closed off enough that Brett doesn’t feel like he’s ever gotten a chance to know him beyond cursory greetings and chatting about the weather.

Brett knows that Murdock is smart. Summa cum laude doesn’t just happen, and Foggy had ranted to him enough times about his brilliant roommate making him feel like a slacker for earning just cum laude . Brett personally doesn’t know much about law school, but knows that it must take a special kind of person to do so well despite the number of hoops Murdock must have had to jump through to make up for his lack of sight.

What never fails to astonish Brett, however, is just how good Murdock is at recognizing people. He most recently saw the skill in action just last week, when the pair of lawyers had dropped by the station to pick up some paperwork. As they were entering the building, an officer was walking toward the door, and Murdock paused to hold the door with a, “Good morning Officer Danvers.”

She looked startled that he’d known she was there, much less who she was, but greeted him warmly on her way out.

When she was gone, Foggy turned to his friend and asked exactly what Brett was thinking. “How did you know that was her? We’ve only met her once, and she hadn’t said anything yet.”

Murdock shrugged. “Her perfume. She’s the only one at this station who wears Versace.”

They got their paperwork, said a quick hello to Brett, and were on their way. Brett thought about the incident long after the lawyers were gone.


 

Brett is just finishing his shift when he gets the call. Foggy’s voice is tight and clipped on the other end of the line, providing him with an address that he immediately recognizes. Police and an ambulance had been dispatched to that location just five minutes ago.

Suddenly worried, he asks Foggy if he is okay. “Yeah, Matt and I are both fine. The ambulance was for someone else. Can you come? After everything with Fisk, we’re still having trouble trusting other cops.”

Brett arrives on the scene ten minutes later. The lawyers are standing at a slight distance from the action, under a streetlight a hundred yards from the ambulance and two police cars. All three vehicles have their lights flashing, there is some sort of action happening at the back of the ambulance, and several officers are clustered near the entrance of an alley. He ignores the bustle and walks toward Nelson and Murdock.

Foggy is flushed and out of breath, looking furious and upset at the same time. Murdock, by contrast, has a bit of tightness around his mouth and white knuckles around his cane but otherwise appears calm. His composed attitude is offset by the remnants of blood on the side of his right thumb and staining the cuff of his shirt.

Now for the question of the hour. “What happened?”

Foggy closes his eyes for a second and takes a deep breath. “We stayed late at the office, and were just leaving for dinner. We were walking over to that Ramen place on 52nd, and heard something in that alley.” He gestures expansively in the general direction of the still-flashing lights, as the ambulance doors close and it pulls away from the curb.

“We decided to check it out, because apparently we’re idiots like that, and interrupted… something. Not sure what exactly was going on. Sounded like a mugging at first, but personal? He at least knew her; not sure if she knew who he was.”

Murdock takes over for his flustered friend, tone clipped and almost clinical. “There was a man in the alley threatening a woman, saying he knew what she’d done and that she’d pay. She kept saying that she didn’t know what he was talking about, but it sounded like she was lying.”

Foggy shoots Murdock a look at that part, but doesn’t interrupt. Murdock continues, “He was yelling at her. Told her that she should have known to keep her mouth shut. I think that’s when he noticed us.” He looks at Foggy for confirmation. (Looks? Turns his head toward? Whatever.)

Foggy nods with a grimace. “He had a knife, and it’s like we’d managed to interrupt halfway through him stabbing her or something, because he jumped and turned toward us and the knife was in his hand and covered in blood. I guess being interrupted freaked him out or something, because he ran away from us and out the back of the alley. The woman was bleeding pretty badly; looked like he’d gotten her just under the ribs. Matt put pressure on it while I called 911.”

“And called me,” Brett can’t help but add. “Was there something in particular I was supposed to do, or did you just want to make my night more interesting?”

Foggy shakes his head, though Brett can’t tell which question he’s answering. “When I called, the cops were just arriving. I was worried they might think we had done this, or that one of them was on Fisk’s payroll and might want to get back at us by accusing us. The lady didn’t look good; the EMTs said she’ll be lucky to live, and that if we hadn’t been here she would have been a goner for sure.”

“Tell me you at least got a look at the guy who did do it.” Brett doubts it, but it’s worth asking.

As expected, Foggy shakes his head. “It was too dark, and he was too far away. It was definitely a guy, relatively light skin tone, and dark hair. Pretty average size. Other than that, I don’t know.”

Brett thinks back to a week ago, to Murdock holding the door and recognizing Danvers from her perfume, and has a hopefully-not-awful idea. “What about you, Murdock? Any identifying features?”

The lawyer rears back a bit in surprise, then tilts his head a fraction of an inch, one corner of his mouth quirking slightly. “I don’t suppose you’re asking if I saw anything?”

Brett wonders if Murdock can hear him rolling his eyes. “Oh, come off it, Murdock. If you can recognize Danvers from five feet away based on her perfume, you have to have noticed something .”

The tiny curl of the lip vanishes, mouth pressed back into a thin line. Brett can’t see behind Murdock’s glasses, but he’d bet the other man has closed his eyes in concentration. (Does he need to bother? It’s not like he’s distracted by having his eyes open.)

“Based on his gait when he ran away, he’s got a slight limp on the left side; I’d guess an old knee injury. A bit of an accent, but not thick. Irish, but raised here. Smokes cheap menthols and tries to cover it up with mints.”

Brett’s doing his best not to gape at the man - it’s not like Murdock can see it, but Nelson would never let him live it down. “Alright then. I don’t have to tell you two that it wouldn’t hold up in court, but hopefully that’ll be enough to narrow the search and find something we can use. Do they still need you here?” He gestures toward the still-flashing lights outside the alley, ambulance gone but police finishing at the scene.

“He just motioned to the cops by the alley,” Foggy narrates for Murdock before turning back to Brett. “No, we already told them what happened and they said they’d get in touch if they need anything else.”

Brett nods. “Alright, I’ll make sure those extra details are added to the report. Lord knows I’ll be able to get in touch with you if we need you for anything else.”

Murdock starts to open his mouth and Foggy elbows him. “Matthew Murdock, so help me, if you say anything about blasphemy I’m going to punch you, and you’ll deserve it.”

Murdock closes his mouth, and Brett rolls his eyes again. “Go get your food, then go home and get some sleep. Hopefully we’ll have the guy in custody by this time tomorrow.”

Ignoring the suddenly-stubborn clench to Murdock’s jaw, Brett tiredly nods goodnight to the two lawyers and begins walking toward the cops still gathered by the alley.

Out of the corner of his eye he sees a white cane begin to tap down the sidewalk as both of the other men walk off, though not in the direction of their original dinner destination. Apparently interrupting a stabbing was enough to kill the craving for Ramen. Even so, Foggy is talking animatedly and gesticulating wildly as they go. (Does Foggy ever feel weird about using so many hand gestures when talking to a blind man? Nah, Nelson would do that even if he was talking to a fence post.)

Then Brett puts it out of his mind and goes back to his job, with only a small amount of grumbling over working late.


 

When Brett arrives at the station the next morning, he finds out that Daredevil left them a present in the early morning hours. The “present” is a man in his mid-thirties, and he’s so average-looking that Brett would typically never have given him a second glance.

Except for the fact that he also has a faint Irish accent, a scar from an old surgery on his left knee, and a pack of menthols sticking out of his coat pocket.